Monday, September 28, 2009


The first day of a new job is a lot like the first day of school. You pick out what you're going to wear the night before, you worry about if the new people will be nice and you typically spend a restless night of sleep. I hit the road at 6:00AM figuring I'd beat the traffic. I quickly moved over to the fast lane thinking I would go faster (yeah, right!) Within a matter of minutes I was at a dead stop! What the hell? I quickly saw that a van had stalled out in the fast lane. AAUUGGHH! After getting around this van I tried to get back into the commuting mind set (be aggressive, don't let anyone in, not too much space between you and the car in front of you, etc...) There were a few slow spots but then? Clear sailing! I made it to the job in 45 minutes. Not bad for a 34 mile commute however the only problem was I still had an hour and 15 minutes to kill before my orientation! I pulled into a nearby Home Depot where the day laborers thought I was soliciting work. I waved them away and tried to take a short nap but was afraid I'd oversleep. I finally made it into work only to find that the HR lady who was going to do my orientation called in sick. Oh well.......

Sunday, September 27, 2009


OK now I can honestly say I don't get this whole texting thing. I see people texting everywhere I go. I see people texting while they're driving (What? Yes, I know some of you do it!), while their sitting courtside at a Laker game (what? that's just wrong!) and every other place you can imagine. People who do it tell me it's addictive. I dunno.....isn't it easier and faster to just call someone? Is it because you don't want to talk to someone and it's like an e-mail? Maybe because I am currently without a cell phone (what?) that I don't partake in this activity. I dunno......even when I had a phone I don't think I texted more than a couple of times. I'm sorry but maybe I'm just old school but I just don't get this whole texting thing!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


On Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, CA sits Canterbury Records. This store has survived the times and is still going strong! Now according to the web site, Canterbury has been in business since 1956 but I'm not sure exactly how long the store has been at it's current location. I know that I have been going to the same location for as long as I can remember and I used to go there way back in the 60's (yes, a long, long time ago). I remember back then they had listening booths where you could listen to a record before you bought it. I remember my friends using the listening booths as a place to stuff 45's down their pants and steal them! What? I dunno.....I may have been guilty of doing this once myself. I blame it on peer pressure. Now I'm not sure if they actually sell records anymore but I can tell you they have a very well stocked selection of jazz cd's and the prices in most cases are very reasonable (typically $11.99 for classic Blue Note stuff). Of all the stores I have been shopping for jazz cd's I rank Canterbury right behind Amoeba in Hollywood.
If you're in the area I definitely recommend you check it out!

Friday, September 25, 2009


Well as most of you know my extended nine month vacation (unemployment) has come to an end. Because I start my new job on Monday I have been trying to take advantage of my last week off and do as many things as I can. It has been hot as hell this week so it has somewhat limited all of the things I wanted to do. Anyway, this meant that it was time for another weekday trip to Chinatown. Oh yeah! I drove to Pasadena and hopped the Gold Line train for $1.25 and after a short ride there I was. It's nice to go during the week when it isn't so crowded. You can browse freely and ask the lady in the DVD store "English subtitles?" She always says "yes, yes, English subtitles" regardless of whether they have them or not but when it is slow you can have them pop the DVD in and check it out for yourself. So I picked up a few of the latest Chinese bootleg releases which you may be reading about shortly as one of my recommended DVD Picks of the Week. Now what really amazes me is I can read about a movie being released on China and in 3 -4 weeks I can buy a great bootleg copy of it here in Chinatown for only $4. Incredible! After that I hopped the train home to relax and enjoy the latest in Asian cinema. I will definitely miss my weekday trips to Chinatown!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This weeks DVD Pick of the Week is the Hong Kong action film titled Invisible Target. This is a non-stop action movie and has it all! Martial arts, gun battles, exploding cars, car chases, foot chases and one of the stars is Jackie Chan's son! A must see and my pick of the week. Now you can rent this at your local video store or buy it. Me? I own the 2 Disc Ultimate Edition of course! Anyway, here's the trailer for Invisible Target. Check it out! I'm sure you will enjoy it!


As I have gotten older I have noticed my hair is getting grayer and grayer. Looking at old photos of myself it wasn't too long ago that there wasn't a gray hair to be found on my little head. Now I don't think I would ever do something as drastic as shave my head but one thing I have considered from time to time is whether I should dye my hair. What? I mean who doesn't want to look a little bit younger right? Women do it all the time so why not men? Well I can tell you that I seriously doubt that this will ever, ever happen! I have seen far too many men look absolutely ridiculous with their unnatural looking hair color. Now I don't know if they realize how silly they look or if they try to dye their hair themselves or what, but to me it just doesn't look natural at all! I mean you see a really old guy with jet black hair and it looks natural or believable? I think not! I've seen some dye jobs that have turned yellow or orange from the sun and have also seen men that try to dye their facial hair as well which probably looks good for maybe one day. Really, really bad. Sorry but I seriously doubt you will see SAXOMAN ever dye his hair and if you do? Smack me on the back of the head and tell me how ridiculous I look! HAHA!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


When I was a kid growing up in Junior High and High School a lot us kids used to escape to the mountains for the day. Because it was so close we could go exploring and do mischievous things without getting caught! Above Altadena, Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Hastings Ranch were many places to go exploring such as Eaton Canyon and "The Falls" (a big waterfall where kids used to hang out). Kids would go up there to get away from their parents, the cops or everybody. Now one thing I remember about those adventures is the name Stinky Felix. You would see the name Stinky Felix spray painted on rocks in the most remote areas you can imagine in these mountains. Now back then graffiti wasn't popular or something everybody did (unlike now) but there it was, Stinky Felix wherever you went. Now one day we actually met this guy who claimed to be Stinky Felix. We were in awe, like meeting a celebrity. He is real, he's not a myth, he does exist! We were star struck! Anyway, I'm sure there are many rocks in the San Gabriel mountains that still bear the spray painted name of Stinky Felix. All I can say is long live the legend of Stinky Felix!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Now why am I blogging about Catholic School? Did I go there? Do I have horror stories about the nuns or worse yet, the priests? No, actually I didn't go to Catholic School but I did live up the street from Saint Phillips Catholic School (see pic) in Pasadena from about age 5 to 12. Every day I would see and hear the kids that went to this school walking by my house. I can tell you that these kids seemed to be the worst kids I had ever come across in my young life. I would see these kids smoking cigarettes and using the foulest language my young ears had ever heard! Oh my! Now maybe there was a reason why these kids were being sent to Catholic School but to me they all seemed like they should all be in Juvenile Hall. Really bad, bad kids. Anyway, that's my take on Catholic School.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Yes, it's true. Yours truly (SAXOMAN aka Afro-Samurai) is going back to work! After 9 months and a couple of weeks off, I am joining the work force once again. I will no longer be living off of the unstable State of California and will now be earning a real paycheck! I will now be a prisoner to commuting (see pic) as well as being a prisoner to long pants, dress shirts and shoes and socks! I will miss wearing shorts, t-shirts and sandals and will also miss my weekday trips to Chinatown, Venice Beach, the movies, and all my favorite cd shops. I will also miss sleeping in and waking up without an alarm. What I will miss most of all is my daily hour nap that I got in the habit of taking every afternoon. Jeez.....I hope I can stay awake all day at the new job! It will be good to finally get back to work as the job search and the never ending interview process has been exhausting. They want me to start right away so I have one more week of freedom left! Oh no! Now I can't guarantee to my many readers (2? 3?) how this will affect my blogging but I expect my postings to drop considerably. Please continue to read as I'm sure my new adventures will create many more interesting blog topics!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


This weeks DVD Pick of the Week is Johnnie To's 2004 release titled Breaking News. Johnnie To is one of my favorite Hong Kong filmmakers and producers. His films are typically set in the streets of Hong Kong and I have probably seen so many of his films that I could navigate my way around Hong Kong with no problem (yeah, right!) What's great about this film in addition to being action packed is the way the police and the bad guys both utilize the media to try and show different versions of what is happening. Another pick of the week that is worth checking out! Watch the trailer for this movie here. Note: Ignore the first 45 second intro of the trailer.


Now I don't consider myself a fashion icon or anything like that (far from it) but I do try to use a little common sense when I dress myself. I get a kick out of people watching and one thing that really strikes me is that a lot of people look like they got dressed in the dark. I was driving down the street today and I saw a guy wearing plaid shorts and a Hawaiian shirt! What? My wife said "he's probably single" as a wife would not let a man leave the house looking like that. I've seen fat guys who believe it's acceptable to walk around with no shirt (Hey, cover that up!) and I have seen way too many overweight women wearing very tight clothes that they shouldn't be wearing (Not a pretty sight). Ladies, just because it's stretch material doesn't mean it should be stretched to the limit! Please! I see other men wearing shorts with tucked in shirts (what?) and some guys that still think short/shorts and knee high socks are in (No!) Now, like I said I am in no means perfect and not a fashion icon but please people, use some common sense when you get dressed.
Just my two cents......

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Last night I went to the L.A. County Fair (yes,again) to see the Average White Band and War in concert. You really can't beat the price of these concerts (free with your fair admission) and I try to go to as many of these as I can. Playing all of their hits, AWB and War had the crowd rocking! I guess due to economics, AWB no longer travels with two sax players and instead utilizes just one horn. They are still able to create the two sax sound so for any musicians that may be interested in how this is done, go to this link to read all about it.
Now I can tell you that there were so many shaved heads and tattoos in the crowd that it felt like being transported to the L.A. County Jail. HAHA! I must say though that regardless of the crowd, this just shows that the power of music can unite people of all ages and races. I did have a minor gripe about the sound mix in that I felt the vocals and horns weren't loud enough. Maybe I have too critical an ear, I dunno. Just my two cents.
Up next!? Why some more funk with The Gap Band and The Brothers Johnson at the Fair on Oct. 2nd. I'll be there for sure!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Yes, it's officially love! I just picked up the brand new 160 Gig iPod! WHOOHOO! For those faithful readers of my blog (2? 3?) you know that music is like oxygen to me, I just can't live without it. Well once the new 160 gig iPod came out this past week I knew I had to have it for my overflowing music collection. I have been struggling with an older 80 gig model and only part of my music collection at my disposal. I rushed over to Best Buy and picked out a new 160 gig model in black (of course) and I tell you I got dizzy and almost passed out from the excitement. I had been saving my Best Buy Gift Cards that I had received for Christmas (what? Yes, Christmas), my birthday and my recent graduation. I had to first download the latest version of iTunes and then connect my brand new iPod. I then waited...and waited.....and waited. Hell, I had to wait half the day for my over 18,000 songs to be downloaded! I've already used up 99 gigs on this new iPod so I have a little ways to go before I fill this one up. Me and my new iPod are now inseparable. It is officially love! HAHA!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


OK now I can honestly say that I really don't get today's music. The other night I watched a good portion of the MTV VMA's (Video Music Awards). One of my first thoughts as I watched this was, "who the hell are all of these people?" Now maybe it's because I don't have kids or maybe it's just because I'm old, but I find that year after year I drift further and further out of touch with what's happening in today's music. Now don't get me wrong, there are several current groups and artists that I really do like (Ozomatli, Poncho Sanchez and Joshua Redman to name a few) but most of the music I hear today is just not very good at all (to me). There seems to be more importance placed nowadays on the visual look of the artist and the stage show than the real content of the music. I must admit that I had no idea who Lady Gaga (see pic) was before this show and watched as she performed and smeared blood all over her face and body. Ewww! Also, Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez looked seriously out of place sitting in the front row amongst all of the very young musical "artists". Now I really doubt that years from now people are going to look back and say "Wow, 2009 was sure a great year for music, wasn't it?" I think not!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Now way back in High School most of my friends drove lowriders. I was busy saving my money for a saxophone so a car was really secondary to me. For some odd reason most of my friends all bought 1958 Chevy Impalas (see photo). There must have been at least 10 friends that all drove 58 Impalas. Some of them would put hydraulic lifts in the front, back or all the way around. They actually were pretty cool looking cars and I always regret not having me a lowrider too! Anyway, because I didn't have a car I would make the long walk home from school each day. Frequently my friends would see me walking and offer me a ride. They would tell me to hop in the front passenger seat and I just thought they were being nice. I had no idea of the real reason for this at the time. What would happen next is that they would drive until they found the most unattractive, overweight girl that they could find walking home. They would then pull up right next to her with me right in her face (because I sat in the passenger seat) and proceed to bounce their car repeatedly with their hydraulic lifts as a way to "impress" the girl. Now I can tell you that when this happened I wanted to just die from embarrassment. I would bury my head in my hands, shaking my head repeating "noooo, noooo...... nooooo.....lemme out!" For some reason they all got a kick out of this and I can tell you that I fell for this trick more than once! HAHA!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


When I started Junior High school I met a lot of new people from some of the neighboring cities such as Sierra Madre and Hastings Ranch. One day one of the girls invited my friends and I over to her house to see where she lived. Now I'm not sure how we got there (maybe by her parents after school) but when we arrived we were stunned! We saw wide streets with no cars and no sidewalks too! We saw large beautiful homes and perfectly manicured yards. It really felt to us like an entirely different world. The girl then showed us her horses. Horses? We never knew anyone that had horses before. Where do you keep a horse we asked? Now I don't remember us being allowed inside the home because we looked like thugs but it was really like being transported to another world. I think we tried to hitchhike home but no one would pick us up because, well we looked like thugs. I think we finally had to call someones parents so that they could come pick us up from the strange, foreign land. Whew! What an experience!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The Photo of the Week comes from Costa Rica. This was taken last year while on vacation at Playa Tamarindo in Costa Rica. This is also commonly referred to as Playa Tamagringo due to the overabundance of white tourists. This photo was taken from one of the many restaurants we visited and yes, the nachos were as advertised!

Friday, September 11, 2009


This weeks DVD Pick of the Week is the 2007 release Curse of the Golden Flower. I know from the cover it doesn't look all that exciting and you probably may have passed on this at the video store. My recommendation? Check it out! I recently picked this up in the $5 bin and was thoroughly entertained by this movie. Lavish costumes and sets abound in this story of deceit and love. An epic movie with battle scenes and a story line you are sure to enjoy. Check out the trailer and go rent Curse of the Golden Flower!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


For those faithful readers of my blog you know that I have been patiently waiting....and waiting.....and waiting for Apple to come out with a bigger (storage capacity) iPod. I currently own an 80 gig model that is completely full of music and I am even having to select what music goes on my iPod and what gets left off. There has been a 120 gig model out for some time but I decided to wait and bide my time hoping a newer and larger capacity iPod would be released. Well now, the time has come! After threats of being discontinued all together, the iPod Classic is now back with 160 gigs of storage! Yes! And the price has even been cut too (although by only $20 measly bucks to $229). Anyway, there were many announcements at Apple's invitation only event today in San Francisco such as iPod Nano's with video cameras! What? As soon as this new iPod hits the stores, I'm there! My life is complete. I can now carry my entire music library with me (for now) wherever I go.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I am trying to get an idea from my many (2? 3?) readers what they enjoy most abut this blog. I have added a poll on the right side of this blog where you can let your voices be heard. I know some of you enjoy my real life stories while others count on my musical picks to help hip up your music library. I'm not sure how many Asian cinema fans are out there but this is one of the reasons I am having you all vote on what you really like. Hurry! Vote now! I've only let this survey run until Sept. 30th so vote now and as often as you like! NOTE: ALTHOUGH IT APPEARS THE VOTING (TALLYING OF THE VOTES) IS NOT WORKING WHEN YOU VOTE, PLEASE VOTE ANYWAY. I CAN ONLY ASSUME (HOPE!) AT THE END OF THE POLL (SEPT. 30th) I WILL STILL BE ABLE TO VIEW THE FULL RESULTS. SAXOMAN (aka Afro-Samurai)

Sunday, September 6, 2009


This weeks Reggae CD Pick of the Week is Beres Hammond with the cd titled Sweetness. I had just picked this cd up earlier today as I was doing some long overdue cd shopping. Now I don't have a lot of Beres Hammond cd's in my collection but every one that I have picked up has been a winner! Now for some reason most casual music listeners that I know are not even aware of this great reggae singer. For those of you that are not yet hip to Beres, all I can tell you is check him out. His smooth vocal sound and laid back style (known as Lovers Rock) is something I'm sure you all can enjoy. Here is a live video of Beres performing one of the hits from this cd titled Double Trouble. Check it out!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Does anyone hitchhike anymore? I know when I was younger and before any of us had cars my friends and I used to hitchhike all over town. At that time we thought nothing at all of hopping into a strangers car to get where we needed to go. We used to hitchhike to each others houses, to the bowling alley and hang out, hitchhike to other schools to go to their dances, hitchhike to parties. We would even hitchhike home from school because it seemed like about a 5 mile walk. I just checked the distance and it was only 1.5 miles to my house. Oh well, it seemed much further at the time. Sometimes one of us would do the hitchhiking and two or three others would hide out of site because nobody would typically stop for a group of delinquent teenagers. Sometimes we would be hitchhiking around midnight just trying to get home from somewhere. Anyway, nothing ever happened to us but I'm sure that would not be the case today. I can only believe that hitchhiking has become a thing of the past and is a reflection of the times we currently live in. How sad.....


Today starts the L.A. County Fair! Now I don't know about the rest of you but I really enjoy this fair and go many times while it is going on. I eat an assortment of foods that you just can't find any other time of year. Some of the many foods for sale at the fair are: deep fried Twinkies, deep fried Oreos or Snickers bars, funnel cakes, pork chop on a stick, giant turkey legs, Pink's chili dogs, sausage sandwiches, ice cream, pretzels, onion rings, corn on the cob, ribs and on and on...See what I mean? Great healthy stuff! HAHA!
I also enjoy the concerts and in the past have seen many top name acts such as: Earth, Wind and Fire, War, Tower of Power, Smokey Robinson, Ohio Players, Grover Washington, Rose Royce, Brothers Johnson, Heatwave. This year I'm looking forward to seeing War and Average White Band on the same night! Whooee!
Now I don't go on any of those crazy rides (scared) but I enjoy wandering around looking at all the stuff. Some of those people that give the demonstrations are really funny to listen to. Oh yeah, I always get my wedding ring and tennis shoes cleaned for free when I go there too. HAHA! Anyway, check it out! It's a blast!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


This weeks Latin Jazz cd Pick of the Week is by Yeska with the cd titled Skafrocubanjazz. This cd came out way back in 1998 but it has stood the test of time to my ears. Go to the Amazon link to hear a sample of each track of this very hip cd.
Now I couldn't find any live performances of Yeska and don't know if the group is even still together or not but here's one of the standout tracks from this cd titled Fideo Para Aqui. Check it out and get hip! Remember, that's my mission statement.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Now I'm not positively certain if this was my very first fight or not but it is one that I still remember to this day. I was in Elementary school (5th or 6th grade) and remember one of the school bullies telling me to "meet him after school". Now I'm not sure what I had done or said but as I saw this person throughout the day he kept reminding me to "meet him after school". So after school I go to the side of the school where a crowd is gathered around waiting to see me get beaten to death (sadistic kids!). After a few minutes it looked liked nothing was going to happen and I would be home free. I said "well if nothing is going to happen then I'm leaving". So then the bully pushes me and I push him back. He pushes me again and I push him back. Then, BAM! he smacks me right in my jaw! OWWWWW! I was shocked! Stunned! He hit me! Right in my jaw! I couldn't believe that this guy actually hit me! I grabbed my jaw with a stunned expression on my face and turned and walked away without saying a word. I walked the 4 blocks to my house holding my jaw the entire way home. When I got home I looked in the mirror and saw that my jaw was all red.
Now what's funny is that this bully eventually became a friend of mine in Junior High and High School and would beat up other kids for stepping on his suede shoes HAHA! I haven't seen this guy in many years but know others that have. I have relayed a message to him that I haven't forgotten about this incident although he now claims not to remember this happening. Even if he's in a retirement home or on his death bed I will seek my revenge!
Here is a clip from the 1987 film Three O'clock High that reminds me about this whole situation. This is a really funny movie that I recommend you check out!