Don't Move to Tucson

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SEWELL, DAVID R.

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Sep 2, 1992, 10:41:00 PM9/2/92
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Everyone knows that after a couple years of riots, earthquakes, fires,
and budget crises a lot of Californians are thinking about moving out of
state. But take it from a native Southern Californian: don't move to
Tucson. You'll hate it here.

For starters, there's no beach. Not even a decent water park (like in
Phoenix--now, Phoenix is a place you might want to consider...). You
have to drive three hours to the Gulf of California and even then
there's no surf to speak of. Not even any rivers to jet-ski on, they're
all dry washes in Tucson.

There's absolutely nothing to do here. No amusement parks--God's truth.
The closest thing to it is a miniature golf place with video games and
go-karts. No major league baseball or football teams. Even the
Cleveland Indians moved their spring training camp out of here a couple
years ago (to Homestead, FL, but that's another story). Hardly any
sidewalk cafes. (Now Phoenix has some cool sidewalk cafes where you can
sit out under the micromist and watch the beautiful people stroll
by--you might want to check that out.) Terrible music scene, unless you
like Philip Glass premieres and tours by Celtic folk-rockers who like
the desert because there's nothing like it in Scotland. The typical
Tucsonian's idea of a good time is to get up at 5:30 for an 18-mile hike
into the Catalina Mountains. Really!

Only two freeways here, and they don't go anywhere you want to go
(except I-10, which goes to Phoenix). Boringest architecture in the
world. The developers mostly try to make houses blend in with the
scenery so they all get painted drab earth colors, and then instead of
planting palms or jacarandas or something bright they landscape with
what they call "low water" plants, mostly the same old things that grow
around here anyway, like barrel cactuses and mesquite trees. And
Tucsonians' biggest hobby is knowing the name of everything that grows
around here, and gathering prickly pear fruit to make jelly, and writing
newspaper articles about it!

Culture here has no class whatsoever. You'd think Hollywood was in
another world or something, and forget po-mo. The big name writers in
town are guys who still talk about Ed Abbey and do totally bogus things
like recreate 150-mile ritual runs of the Mojave Indians from Yuma to
the middle of nowhere. Give me a break!

Just thought I'd warn you. I'd get out, but...well, you know how it is.
Someone's gotta live here, I guess. If I were you I'd be thinking
Oregon, Seattle... if it has to be Arizona I'd check out Phoenix. Or
Bullhead City--kinda warm, yeah, but you can run your speedboat on the
River & do the casinos in Laughlin whenever you want. But Tucson--
forget it.

David Sewell
(former resident of Sacramento, Monterey Park, Alpine, San Diego, La
Jolla, and Rainbow, California)

Eugene N. Miya

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Sep 3, 1992, 2:51:22 AM9/3/92
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In article <2SEP1992...@violet.ccit.arizona.edu>

dse...@violet.ccit.arizona.edu (SEWELL, DAVID R.) writes:
>Everyone knows that after a couple years of riots, earthquakes, fires,
>and budget crises a lot of Californians are thinking about moving out of
>state. But take it from a native Southern Californian: don't move to
>Tucson. You'll hate it here.

You forgot mud slides, droughts (although if you listen to some uninformed
in this group, we no longer has a drought -- ha), cultural diversity, etc. etc.

>For starters, there's no beach.
>

>There's absolutely nothing to do here.
>

>Only two freeways here, and they don't go anywhere
>

>Culture here has no class whatsoever.
>

>Just thought I'd warn you.

Thanks for the tip. I don't plan to move to Tucson.
Now you have to convince the other 48 states.

>(former resident of Sacramento, Monterey Park, Alpine, San Diego, La
>Jolla, and Rainbow, California)

--eugene miya, NASA Ames Research Center, eug...@orville.nas.nasa.gov
former resident of Santa Barbara, Pasadena, and Gardena (LA).
Resident Cynic, Rock of Ages Home for Retired Hackers
{uunet,mailrus,other gateways}!ames!eugene
Second Favorite email message: Returned mail: Cannot send message for 3 days
A Ref: Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning, vol. 1, G. Polya

Russell L. Carter

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Sep 3, 1992, 2:58:41 PM9/3/92
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You forgot to mention the heat! Or as I say, Tuscon is beautiful,
burning hell desert. You could have added that Californians might not
like six months of 100-115 degree days. And living in air
conditioning all that time. They don't have Circle Ks every
500 yards for nothing, ya know. And Californians might not
like the traffic jams going up Mt. Lemmon in the summer... or
maybe they would!

ooohh, and the dust storms! You could describe what an outdoor
arts fair is like when the dust rolls in. I sure can.

Hope this helps,
Russell

ELIZABETH M DREIKE

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Sep 6, 1992, 6:55:05 PM9/6/92
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Thanks for cheering me up! As a native Californian (Silicon Valley)
stranded in Phoenix, it was good to hear I could have landed somewhere
worse! Seriously, whenever the heat, shortage of culture and lack of
ethnic diversity (does anyone know where I can find real Dim Sum here?)
get me down, I remind myself rent is 40% of the bay area and people here
really are friendly. While the scales still tip in favor of California,
it isn't too out of balance here.

J. Robert Burgoyne

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Sep 6, 1992, 8:31:08 PM9/6/92
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Hey, I had some fun in Tucson.

I watched 3 tourists get their neckties cut off at the Pinnacle Peak.

Robert

SEWELL, DAVID R.

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Sep 8, 1992, 2:00:00 AM9/8/92
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(Eugene M., you're too much of a California fixture for anyone to think
you'd move. Nice to see you elsewhere than rec.backcountry, now
that I'm in a civilized part of the world that gets alt.california.)

In my original post I probably shouldn't have seemed to be naively suggesting
that Tucson is some sort of eco or cultural utopia that honors & preserves its
sacred space & history in a way California should have but hasn't. All you
have to do is look around or read, say, Charles Bowden's _Frog Mountain Blues_
(about humanity vs. the Santa Catalina mountains) to know that rapacity and
stupidity are here too. But it is a very curious sensation to feel that in
some way I have come home here because the things I have always valued most
about Southern California are the things, mutatis mutandis, that people here
tend to honor.

For example: Tucson doesn't have a major amusement park, but the closest things
to it are probably Old Tucson and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The first
is a kind of hokey Wild-West rendering of frontier history, the latter a
world-class zoo/arboretum covering Sonoran desert and upland ecosystems. But
both are firmly rooted in their local place & history. Now think about
Disneyland as a California place, as THE Southern California place, its one
single archetypal statement to the world. When I was there this summer it hit
me how little Disneyland has to do with any California reality other than
Hollywood. Not a single ride or exhibit based on a California theme (am I
wrong? correct me!). Landscaping designed in large part to recreate Hannibal,
Missouri, the "Congo," New Orleans, Switzerland, what have you, with nary a
California scene (I almost said "native plant," but that's possible extreme) in
the place.

My father worked for Disney Productions for 25 years & helped design some of
those rides, so it hurts me to say it, but Disneyland is the vision of a man
who was what I call a Ronald Reagan Californian: someone who lives there for
years without giving his soul to it (or vice versa). (Remember Reagan's
favorite hobby at the ranch? "Clearing brush." Yeah, that ugly stuff that
burns when a fire comes through to help its seeds germinate. The only good
chamise bush is a cleared one...)

Real Californians, as opposed to Reagan Californians, aren't made, they're
born, and they can be born in a matter of minutes. Jerzy Grotowski, the
avant-garde Polish theater director, turned into one when he hit Irvine as a
visiting director in 1983. He told an L.A. Times interviewer during his first
week or so there: "Everyone tells me that California is a very new place...but
the sea is old. The mountains are old. In this new place, we can find
something which is very old."

Am I wrong? Is the bumper sticker I used to see in La Jolla that said "THERE IS NO LIFE
EAST OF I-5" right? Has California never been more than a virtual place, with
Hollywood therefore the only real California? Is Leisure Suit Larry what's
really real about Coarsegold, not the Sierra? (...is the Sierra only On-Line
after all?)

End of rant. Sorry for the incoherence; this is what happens when someone
exiled for 8 years in western New York gets access to West Coast newsfeeds,
kind of like Crusoe finding someone to talk to again...

--
David Sewell, English Dept, U of Rochester | "Grammarians without any
ds...@troi.cc.rochester.edu | character at all lecture
dse...@violet.ccit.arizona.edu | us upon that of Homer."
(On leave in Tucson, Arizona, '92-'93) | --Diogenes the Cynic

Eugene N. Miya

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Sep 8, 1992, 6:41:55 PM9/8/92
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In article <7SEP1992...@violet.ccit.arizona.edu>

dse...@violet.ccit.arizona.edu (SEWELL, DAVID R.) writes:
>(Eugene M., you're too much of a California fixture for anyone to think
>you'd move. Nice to see you elsewhere than rec.backcountry, now
>that I'm in a civilized part of the world that gets alt.california.)

Hey, no problemo.
This is one of my Control groups to ca.general in FAQ experiments.

>For example: Tucson doesn't have a major amusement park,

>Disneyland as a California place, as THE Southern California place, its one
>single archetypal statement to the world. When I was there this summer it hit
>me how little Disneyland has to do with any California reality other than
>Hollywood. Not a single ride or exhibit based on a California theme (am I
>wrong? correct me!). Landscaping designed in large part to recreate Hannibal,
>Missouri, the "Congo," New Orleans, Switzerland, what have you, with nary a
>California scene (I almost said "native plant," but that's possible extreme) in
>the place.
>
>My father worked for Disney Productions for 25 years & helped design some of
>those rides, so it hurts me to say it, but Disneyland is the vision of a man
>who was what I call a Ronald Reagan Californian: someone who lives there for
>years without giving his soul to it (or vice versa). (Remember Reagan's
>favorite hobby at the ranch? "Clearing brush." Yeah, that ugly stuff that
>burns when a fire comes through to help its seeds germinate. The only good
>chamise bush is a cleared one...)

I think your comment about Disneyland is well taken. It was a starker
contrast when it was surrounded by orange groves. The analogy was similar
to corn fields (I only recently saw Field of Dreams and I am not a baseball
fan). Maybe a field in Iowa will have a city pop up around it.

Sam Goldwyn (MGM) made a comment that you can find just about any biome
(my term not his) for making a movie in CA. If you want that, I'll post
for you: it's in my book on hot springs. I see them doing the same thing
at Dizzyworld in FL now. I don't have this book at work, but let me know if
you want to see the quote. Great quote.

I plead guilty to the clear brush analogy. I pick wine grapes for a friend
(invites sent out via ba.mountain-folk). There is something satisfying
to the CA soul in doing physical labor (for at least a little while).
Some interesting people do this (physical labor).
Not easily explained. That's why of why I think CA culture is so out door
based. Actually Woody Allen's comment about Right Turns on Red lights is
a good one.

I'm also certain that every CA kid in Southern CA considers working for
WED Enterprises 8^) (I did, but assembly language programming of DGs and
Univacs didn't appeal to me). Who can missed Mikey's ads in the LA Times?
Hey, WED is on the net. The movie/entertainment industry is certainly
an all pervasive thing down there, but it has it own non-reality as you
point out. For the life of me, I can't understand and can't convey to you how
much my Dad hated Lucille Ball (he was fervantly anti-communist and regarded
Ball are the ultimate "Red" and I think RR was the same way, they got
along well, never met her, met Him several times [no interest in his
politics]).

>Real Californians, as opposed to Reagan Californians, aren't made, they're
>born, and they can be born in a matter of minutes. Jerzy Grotowski, the
>avant-garde Polish theater director, turned into one when he hit Irvine as a
>visiting director in 1983. He told an L.A. Times interviewer during his first
>week or so there: "Everyone tells me that California is a very new place...but
>the sea is old. The mountains are old. In this new place, we can find
>something which is very old."
>Am I wrong?

Actually the Sierra are among the younger mountains of the world.
The oldest rocks are from the West coast of Greenland. A friend just brought
some back.

CA was once the symbol of great opportunity. Every CAian should visit
Sutter's Mill some day. Opportunity is a double edged sword.

>Is the bumper sticker I used to see in La Jolla that said "THERE IS NO LIFE
>EAST OF I-5" right? Has California never been more than a virtual place, with
>Hollywood therefore the only real California? Is Leisure Suit Larry what's
>really real about Coarsegold, not the Sierra? (...is the Sierra only On-Line
>after all?)

That's an interesting question. (Leisure Suit Larry)
Shortly after my term running the local SIGGRAPH, I sponsered a local
SIGGRAPH meeting at Xerox PARC on the topic of "Computer Erotica or
Computer Porn?" I spoke to Sierra OLS's people, they were very touchy about
the issue, not wanting to hurt sales. I drive throught Oakhurst/Coarsegold
to go climbing. I remember one sales woman saying: "Mister, the product
is R rated in our opinion, and I'm the mother of a 14 year old and I don't
want him playing this game." What was also interesting was getting samples
of Virtual Valory (we're getting away from CA) and MacPlaymate. I think
this woman's statement about what she sells says something about the
CA mentality. I would not have followed up to this post (just read it)
were it not for LSL. Yeah it's kind of a state of mind, but you
can shovel snow if you have a house up at 6,000 ft. I look at the Valley
where Sierra OLS sits: the best example of a distributed cottage company.
You'd never guess a "high-tech" company existed there. Most people driving
thru Yosemite from LA would never think of it either.

>End of rant. Sorry for the incoherence; this is what happens when someone
>exiled for 8 years in western New York gets access to West Coast newsfeeds,
>kind of like Crusoe finding someone to talk to again...

Ah, think nothing of it. It's the Usenet.

--eugene miya, NASA Ames Research Center, eug...@orville.nas.nasa.gov

David R. Sewell

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Sep 15, 1992, 1:17:19 AM9/15/92
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>Yeah it's kind of a state of mind, but you
>can shovel snow if you have a house up at 6,000 ft. I look at the Valley
>where Sierra OLS sits: the best example of a distributed cottage company.
>You'd never guess a "high-tech" company existed there. Most people driving
>thru Yosemite from LA would never think of it either.

Sierra On-Line is one of the most utopian companies I can think of
(despite Levy's portraying it as fallen-into-capitalist-evil in
Hackers); it reminds me of Le Guin's vision of hi-tech in Always Coming
Home, where the computer network is kind of hidden away in little redwood
buildings & fits into the biome perfectly. I guess my fear about
Hollywood-as-virtual-reality is that people tend to forget there was a
real reality there before Hollywood. As long as the two can coexist I
have no problem.

Eugene N. Miya

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Sep 15, 1992, 4:20:36 PM9/15/92
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In article <dsew.71...@well.sf.ca.us> ds...@well.sf.ca.us

(David R. Sewell) writes:
>buildings & fits into the biome perfectly. I guess my fear about
>Hollywood-as-virtual-reality is that people tend to forget there was a
>real reality there before Hollywood. As long as the two can coexist I
>have no problem.

I just saw two recent films: The Player and LA Story (Oh, also Martin's
comment about movies in Grand Canyon are relavant, make that three films).
And friend and I grew up in that environment. It's totally perverting.
Gives you a warped perspective of the world (just not as concentrated
as Player nor as wacky at LA). I think that's a problem with the cultural
elite, but I'd rather than a cultural elite (look around, the net is
if nothing else) than certain people's vision of a status quo.
Art usually follows science and reality (I can think of exceptions).
And that's what Hollywood is. But it's great that Caltech is over in
Pasadena and Santa Clara is also part of the same state. Sort of like the
Twilight Zone episodes where people "don't fit in."

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