I just moved to Tempe, Arizona from scenic New Jersey. Actually, I keep saying "just moved" when in reality, I've been out here for well over three years. People ask me all the time why I left, and frankly, I can't really put my finger on any one thing... it was just time for me to go. I moved out here by myself, but within 3 months, three of my best friends (Jeremy, Danielle and Stefan) moved out as here well. But why did I choose Arizona in the first place? Click here to find out.
I really like where I live. The people are pretty laid back, the traffic isn't too bad, rent is astoundingly cheap. Tempe itself is really a cool town; lots of stuff to do, Arizona State University is right here, just off of Mill Avenue which is chock full of shops and coffee and the like... (though, in all honesty, I really don't give a rat's hiney about ASU or shops; but you can't ever say that around here. Zoinks!) Anyway, Tempe is really spiffy because there's always something to do, and it's usually not real expensive. My latest thrill-seeking journey has brought me to the town batting cages-- it's cheap, it's close and it doesn't require sitting. Before that, I was addicted to Laser Quest, which wasn't as cheap or as close, though admittedly a bit more fun. (Great Laser Quest tip from my pal Stefan: "As you know, whenever you get shot in Laser Quest, your assassin's name appears on the back of your gun. It's always fun to pick a really girlie name as your "handle," because nobody wants to get obliterated by 'Petunia' or 'Oprah.' ")
There are many things I miss terribly about New Jersey, besides the way people cut you off and then lovingly give you the finger. First and foremost, I miss my brother Jeff who is the coolest guy ever, along with the rest of my awesome family (which has just gotten bigger, in case you didn't catch that from my homepage). I miss my best friends Liz and Lorraine, as well as my other college buddies, whose pages you can find on my main page. I also miss 91.1 WFMU, which is a freeform radio station which hails Jersey City, NJ. It rules. Listen to it. Give them money because you'll get fun stuff in return. They have an awesome website. Go play.
So what do I do for money? I used to work for Accord Semiconductor Equipment Group as the database manager for the sales and marketing department. That was a great job because I got to dress like a slob most of the time, I had my own sunny office and my coworkers were really cool. Then I got this awesome contracting job with CDI Corporation that had me on the road installing Windows NT networks for Hewlett Packard at their various sites around the country and Scotland. However, HP underbudgeted, so the project got canceled two months into it. (The only memento I have from working there is this item I photocopied off of a marketing guy's cubicle wall.) So now I'm working as the Manager of Information Systems for East Valley Diagnostic Imaging, which is a radiology group that owns four medical imaging centers (as in MRI, ultrasounds, CT-scans, X-rays, etc.). My job is cool, because I get a teeny office with lots of computer parts and toys to yutz with, and I also get to do all the corporate IS planning, which is eventful and challenging. Anyhoo, all these nutty computer jobs are totally unrelated to my degree, which is a BA in Music Education from Montclair State University.
I find that my hobbies are much more degree-related. I recently performed in Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I played "Domina", the evil wife. Doing musical theater is good fun for me-- it's a great way to meet people and to satisfy those narcissistic and exhibitionist tendencies we all have. Last year, I vocal-directed Fiddler on the Roof for Tempe Little Theatre, and they swindled me into being in the show as well... apparently someone dropped out and they need another warm body on the stage. Grrr... Two years ago, I music directed Once Upon a Mattress for TLT, which was especially cool because it featured my Renaissance band Musica Ficta as the pit orchestra. It rocked, but was also challenging due to the chromatic texture of the score, and the diatonic limitations of Renaissance instruments. So I had to re-score the entire show to gracefully remove all unnecessary key changes and accidentals. Quite an adventure, but we won glowing reviews, which I might get around to scanning and uploading someday. In 1996, I was in TLT's production of Little Shop of Horrors as the Voice of Audrey II, and I won the Director's Choice Award for that performance, and also got kick-butt reviews.It doubly-rocked. I'd post some pictures from it, but they all came out cruddy. Well, there might be one laying around... I'll see. In the non-musical arena, I just did my first comedy since high school (that's 10 years ago... someone shoot me), also with Tempe Little Theatre. We performed Rumors by Neil Simon, and I played the ditzy cooking show host, Cookie. It was a reasonably big role, and I still can't believe I got cast. The reviews for that were mixed; one guy loved me to death, and the other guy said I wasn't believable. Oh well, as my buddy Evelyn says, "A review and dollar can buy you a cup of coffee." For my first foray into non-musical theater in 10 years, I'm certainly happy.
My other hobbies include singing, writing, brooding, napping, floundering and daydreaming, as well as avoiding responsibility and obligation whenever possible, replaying terribly embarrassing moments over and over in my head until I barf or fall asleep, smelling everything, stalking people on the net, and seeing how long I can go without doing laundry. Oh yeah, and I also like origami, thanks to my good chum Greg.
ANYWAY, the Valley of the Sun is pretty neat. Cacti abound (although in lesser numbers than you'd think, they are now an endangered plant and protected by the government), there are beautiful mountains surrounding us, and the Grand Canyon is only 3.5 hours away. Sedona, which is a tourist-trappy hippie haven, is about 2 hours away. As much as I hate the dopey new-agers (I like the well-informed, sincere ones), Sedona does have great hiking trails that take you through Indian ruins and past petroglyphs (ancient rock drawings by native people), as well as the brightest red mountains and coolest rock formations you have ever seen.
I do love to hike, and I really love to go camping around Arizona. My pal Jeff is the HikeMaster General, and plans the most incredible journeys for us. We've hiked the entire Lava Tube in northern AZ (2 miles of absolute darkness and some icy terrain-- all underground, of course) and camped among coyotes and elk, and we've touched old Indian ruins by the dozen. And we've also eaten about 93 pounds of turkey jerky. :-) (Camping, for me anyway, is just an excuse to sit outside and eat turkey jerky. But that's probably too much information...)
But by far, the coolest part about living here is knowing that some of the Tattooine footage in Star Wars was shot here. Yep folks, I live on Tattooine. You know you're jealous!
Well, that's about it. If you're still interested and want to learn
more, go get a hobby. ;-)
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