30 November 2007

Bella Ciao

Check out this really cool Japanese ska version of Bella Ciao (a song oft performed by Sirius.B)


Friday Night at Broadway's -- Downtown Asheville (10 PM till Late)

Saturday NIght at the Root Bar -- Swannanoa Area (9:30 PM till Late)

In the News

Hugo Chavez (the president of Venezuela) continues to show strange and erratic behavior, and as a referendum looms, the outcome seems rather tough to predict. The big question ahead is: Will we (the international onlookers) see the rise of a dictator, or the fall of another wannabe? Perhaps an even bigger question is: Will willfully ignorant leftists continue to support Chavez even after he has stripped away the last of civil rights from the Venezuelan people?

[Note: On the political spectrum, I fall rather far to the left, but draw a line when expected to support dictators. As I've tried to explain to many people over the years, just because you don't like Americans (or Bush, or American foreign policy, or whatever it may be), does not mean that the enemies of Americans are any better. Fidel Castro is a punk. So is Chavez.]

Here's a NY Times Article about Chavez and the upcoming elections:


Also interesting, though not surprising, is this article detailing the lies with which politicians feed the public. In this specific case, the liar is Rudy Giuliani.


28 November 2007

More Scary People

For a view of more scary people talking politics in the public eye, check out this YouTube collection of the words of Ann Coulter.

In case you don't know who she is, check out the entry in Wikipedia. If you feel like going to her website, by all means do so, just please don't click on any of the advertisements...I don't want to feel responsible for financing her big fat mouth.

Manhole Covers

Regarding the post from the other day about Manhole Covers: Next time you pass one (anywhere in the country, as far as I can tell), look down and read all the words written there. Chances are that it'll say "India" somewhere. Just yesterday I found a bunch of India-made covers right here in Asheville, NC.

What a strange thing to outsource. Can you imagine the weight of thousands of manhole covers being shipped across the seas? The amount of wasted energy that such a practice assumes?

Sirius.B in the NEWS

Hey all -- Sirius.B (my band, for those unfamiliar with this website) has made it into print media this week -- The Mountain Xpress (the premier arts newspaper of Western NC), has published a feature on us. The article is entitled, "The Gypsy in Their Souls: Sirius.B's Motley Band of Travelers."

You can read it here, at the Mountain Xpress Website.

We've also got two shows in the Asheville area this weekend, so if you live around here, come on out to:

Broadways -- Friday night @ 10 PM
The Root Bar -- Saturday night @ 9:30 PM

27 November 2007

Mitt Romney

I don't want to get overly political in this space, but I'm afraid.

Check out the video below--so jingoistic, so xenophobic, so racist--It's amazing and frightening that this sort of thing is reaching a receptive and captive audience.

Straight out of 1984 or a million other dystopian novels, I give you Mitt Romney....

26 November 2007

Manhole Covers

Photograph from the New York Times -- These men are in the process of forging the manhole covers that ConEdison uses in New York City.

25 November 2007


Hey -- This is not a paid advertisement --

If you have not yet opened Pandora's Box, do so now. Go to www.pandora.com, type in the name of a band that you enjoy, and let the website create a specific radio station for you. It is really amazing...

24 November 2007

Torturing the Pets

Guadalupe gets tortured by the general Christmas frenzy and the participants in said frenzy.

Wars of the Future*

Here's an excerpt from the article "Outsourcing War", published by the Brookings Institution.
Nowhere has the role of PMFs [private military firms] been more integral—and more controversial—than in Iraq. Not only is Iraq now the site of the single largest U.S. military commitment in more than a decade; it is also the marketplace for the largest deployment of PMFs and personnel ever. More than 60 firms currently employ more than 20,000 private personnel there to carry out military functions (these figures do not include the thousands more that provide nonmilitary reconstruction and oil services)—roughly the same number as are provided by all of the United States' coalition partners combined. President George W. Bush's "coalition of the willing" might thus be more aptly described as the "coalition of the billing."

And here are some of the jobs listed on the Asheville Craigslist for Saturday, November 24th:

(*By the time that I had posted this blog, nearly all of the jobs listed below had been "flagged for removal" by Craigslist.)

Mechanic Engineer Equipment (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Communications (COMM/EL) Technician (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Generator Mechanic (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

SARSS Operator (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Welder (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Computer Repairer (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Power Generator Technician (PGAP) (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Track Vehicle Mechanic (Skill types: M2/M3/M113/AAVP7) (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Tank Turret Mechanic (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Mechanic Wheel Vehicle (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

MIMMS Operator (IRAQ) - skilled trades/artisan

Tattoos and Turkeys

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Black Friday too.

I had the pleasure this year of celebrating the day with family, friends, and Ellen. We all repaired to Ellen's house, where we roasted one turkey and deep fried another. Everybody who attended brought along a special dish to throw into the mix. I brought collard greens and brussel sprouts, both cooked in a southern fashion (lots of bacon fat, some salt, a dash of sugar in the sprouts). My mom cooked a delicious sweet potato casserole (lots of butter, brown sugar, walnuts). The meal was filled with similarly healthy options.

Lots of wine and beer brought us through the day, eventually leaving us sitting in the living room, full and content, playing songs and singing until the wee hours of the night. Guitars were unveiled, percussive instruments were improvised, and throats opened up to release torrents of sound.

And then, on the day following Thanksgiving (Friday, yesterday), after a delicious Indian feast at Mela, a restaurant here in town, my brother and I were inspired, in a moment of spontaneous genius, to visit the tattoo shop next to the restaurant. There, within the confines of Liquid Dragon Tattoo (some name, huh?), we once again defiled the no longer pristine vessels of our souls.

That's two in a week. I think perhaps that I'll slow down for a while now.

20 November 2007


A few months ago Xavi had the idea that he and I get a tattoo of a star with the word "Partigiano" under it. (The star was a symbol of the Partigiani, as well as communist symbol in general.) After a good bit of deliberation, Xavi chose to not have the text done. I, on the other hand, decided to get a pretty large and elaborate tattoo with "Partigiano" written in script and a star on either side.

The contrast in the styles of our tattoos speaks to the obvious differences in our personalities. Xavi's tattoo is understated, geometric, and aligned. Mine is large and somewhat ridiculous.


The Partigiani were the underground resistance fighters in Italy before and during WWII. The song "Bella Ciao" is a song about the Partigiani and speaks of their commitment and allegiance to each other and their fight against the fascist government in Italy at the time.

In some ways this resonates because of certain political parallels between then and now. It also symbolizes a sort of brotherhood between Xavi and I. Finally, Sirius B is a star, so the tattoo stands in part for what we're doing musically.

For Some history on "Bella Ciao" and the partisans, check out:

Bella Ciao
Italian Resistance

The Color Fred

The young lad riding the bicycle is my brother PJ.

He's the bassist in the band "The Color Fred" (new project started by Fred Mascherino, previously of Taking Back Sunday).

Blue Plate Special

Sirius.B will be performing at WDVX, in Knoville, Tennessee on December 19th. We will be playing during their Blue Plate Special, which is a radio show recorded before a live studio audience in downtown Knoxville.

17 November 2007


Read the full article from the New York Times here

Step aside Moore and Taylor. Welcome Garcia and Rodriguez.

Smith remains the most common surname in the United States, according to a new analysis released yesterday by the Census Bureau. But for the first time, two Hispanic surnames — Garcia and Rodriguez — are among the top 10 most common in the nation, and Martinez nearly edged out Wilson for 10th place.

The number of Hispanics living in the United States grew by 58 percent in the 1990s to nearly 13 percent of the total population, and cracking the list of top 10 names suggests just how pervasively the Latino migration has permeated everyday American culture.

Garcia moved to No. 8 in 2000, up from No. 18, and Rodriguez jumped to No. 9 from 22nd place. The number of Hispanic surnames among the top 25 doubled, to 6.

16 November 2007

Captain Masterpants

To all those who don't know the story:

I was born Christopher Michael Bond. Well, technically speaking, I was just born. Soon after my birth, however, my parents named me Christopher Michael Bond.

Within the last few years, genealogical research revealed an interesting fact: My great-grandfather lived the first twenty-something years of his life as Hiriberto Romero. He lived in Las Vegas, New Mexico (a dusty little town that I had the pleasure of visiting last year) among many other Romeros (the Romeros seem to have been something of the town's founders). Interestingly, at the time of his birth, New Mexico was still only a US territory. He was, therefore born an American citizen, but lived in what I imagine must have been an extremely Mexican environment.

At some point, for reasons which are hazy and convoluted, at least at this remove from the event, Hiriberto Romero became Herbert Bond. I don't know if this was a "legal" change or not, nor if this change was prompted by some sort of illicit activity or desire to hide his identity, or what....

The story that I have been told is that Romero's friend Lloyd White found jobs for both of them in Mexico City. Apparently, it was at this time that Romero changed his name to Bond. While his actions were seemingly quite backwards, they do (I think) have a certain logic to them -- Here's my best guess:

The company was (I believe) an American company, and probably reserved their best jobs for Americans, preferring to keep Mexicans in positions of labor, blue collar stuff, etc. Hiriberto, though technically an American (and fluent in English), probably felt that his name would be a mark against him with the company, so he changed it.

That's my guess, though he could also have been a fugitive of some sort. Like I say, the story is a bit hazy. Or, perhaps he just grew bored of being Hiriberto Romero and decided to change his name.

So--that's where the "Romero" in "Christopher Pancho Romero Bond" comes from.

What about "Pancho"? Where does that come from?

The answer is simple--Pancho doesn't come from anywhere. It has no connection to my specific history, I just like the name, and at the urging of a friend, chose to re-baptize myself with it upon my arrival in Asheville. And so, for the first two or three days after moving here, I introduced myself as Pancho to all those that I met. . .

And then I felt stupid, and so I stopped doing so, though by that time it was too late. My friend refused to stop calling me Pancho, and tons of people knew me as Pancho already, so the name stuck. I now love the name. It is who I am, it fits me, and it's how I usually think of myself these days.

So there it is -- the reason for the crazy (and long) name. But here's the thing -- The other night at Bobo, a local bar and gallery, the bartender Cliff greeted me in the following fashion, "Captain Masterpants! How are you?"

I heard the name and it struck me as pure genius. Captain Masterpants. It is a amazing! It is a sobriquet of the gods, and I'm not sure that I want to let a name, an opportunity, a chance like this slip between my fingers. And so, from now on, from this day forth, I am no longer Christopher Pancho Romero Bond.

I am now Christopher Pancho Romero Bond, aka Captain Masterpants.

And you better not forget it.

14 November 2007

Russians and Bella Ciao

An email from my father:

"Told a friend at work about your band and showed her the site. Had her
listen to Bela Ciao as it opened. Her eyes lit up and she got this
huge smile and said that is her favorite song in the world! I thought
she was kidding but she wasn't. She's Russian and says every time she
goes to a Russian restaurant it is sung or played - sometimes in
Spanish, sometimes in Italian. She kept listening to it all afternoon
and wants to buy your CD when it comes out.

Now you know, if you need $ you can play in Russian restaurants."

13 November 2007


This is a little video that my roommate Emily put together for school -- There is some footage from our Halloween show ('twas a party) as well as from our radio show date.

Show and Tell

Another cool photo courtesy of J Bird Photography.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Old School

For some reason or another, I just logged into Friendster, and came across this really cool, old photo of me. This was back in the days when I was (a) still smoking, and (b) still growing my hair. Amazingly, while I've lost hair since then, I'm not really sure that I'm all that much balder. I guess i was just more creative then (and a little less bald).

The picture was taken by an Italian friend of mine. It was a misty day, early afternoon. The scene you see behind me is that of the entry area to a Zapatista "caracol". (Caracol means snail, but in this instance, refers to one of the 5 or 6 administrative centers of the Zaptatista movement).

The Zapatistas, for those that don't know, are the members of an army known as EZLN (Zapatista Army for National Liberation). Their name, Zapatista, is taken from Emiliano Zapata, (a liberator from the Revolutionary period of the early 1900's} and his followers. The Zapatistas of today are a revolutionary group of mostly indigenous people based in Chiapas (far South of Mexico). While they don't actually engage in much combat these days, they did begin their struggle with an armed insurrection in San Cristobal de las Casas, a major city in Chiapas. Today, they continue to deny the right of the national government to rule their lives, and live in autonomous communities and zones. When one enters one of these areas, there are signs that read, "Esta Ud. en territorio zapatista -- donde el pueblo manda y el gobierno obedece" (You are in zapatista territory -- where the people lead and the government obeys) .

Pretty heavy stuff.

To read more about the Zapatistas, check out the following links:

Wikipedia Entry on the EZLN
Official EZLN Website (they are very high-tech revolutionaries)
Zapatista communiques in English

12 November 2007


This is Houston.
Do you read?
Hello! Auckland.
Come in!

Photo Sneak Peek

Our friend Julie (mentioned in an earlier post) took some pictures of the band at our show on Thursday night at Hannah Flanagan's, a bar here in Asheville. She has not yet presented us with the full and finished product, but we have been given a "sneak peek". For more, check out the comments on the sirius.B myspace page.

For more of Julie's photography, check out:


Also, check out the updated sirius.B website at:


We've put up new photos, videos (under "stuff") and songs.

11 November 2007

Buying sirius.B Music

Hey! You can now buy sirius.B music online before the album is released early in 2008. Use the link on this page (look right) or shop below to treat yourself to some sirius.B tunes!

The album will be out within the next few months, and will include many of the songs below as well as many more.

Enjoy, and thanks for your support!

"The Man"

Well, it finally happened. My forays into the marginalized existence of a street performer have led me into direct negative contact with the law.

The law came in the form of a somewhat husky female police officer with a deep voice and a fierce manner of walking.

Apparently, my first problem was that I had written out a small note to passers-by, which read, "I am 1/6 of the Asheville band sirius.B. Please take a card, and please leave a tip if you enjoy the music." Apparently, the presence of the tipping sign moved me from the category of street performer to pan-handler. At least that's why I assume there was a problem with the sign.

After making me fold up and put away said sign, the rather gruff woman informed me that I would need to keep it down, that she "had already received several complaints" (which I doubt, though it is entirely possible that some people don't enjoy my "soothing tunes and graceful rhythms". Still--how likely is that "several" people were too cowardly and lame to ask me to keep it down, and instead called the cops?) -- Regardless of the veracity of her statement, I was made to understand that I could not continue "bellering" (this is really the word she used) and that I would need to tone it down a bit.

Needless to say, she ruined my mojo, and I angrily and sadly packed up the tambourine (I had been tapping it beneath my feet), the kazoo with its holder (ahhhh....how I love the kazoo) and the guitar.

I can't remember . . . what was it that N.W.A. said about the police again?

Asheville Art Scene

Asheville is all up in arts this weekend, and the streets are lively with those enjoying the Asheville Film Festival and the Studio Stroll.

The Studio Stroll, which I mentioned in yesterday's post, was a fun place to be and a great place to play. Jamie and I climbed up on to a stage in the Flood Studio and played for hours for all those who came strolling through. The stage was amazing--about ten feet up in the year, in the corner of the studio--and we suprised everyone who entered the room. Our music had apparently carried through much of the cavernous building, so people would peek around every corner, expecting to finally see the source of the sound. When they ultimately entered our room, they'd peek around the corner, looking confused, and then look up, and ahhh...the mystery was finally solved.

Today I'm planning on heading downtown to capitalize on the crowds of movie watchers at the film festival. I'm hopefully get to play in my favorite busking spot, which is quite close to the participating theaters and should see a lot of foot traffic.

And that's all for today--More soon, from Asheville, Western North Carolina, art capital of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

10 November 2007

Weekend in Asheville

Well, this weekend looks to be somewhat quiet here In Asheville, though I guess there is still tonight and tomorrow, and anything could happen. sirius.B played a show on Thursday at Hannah Flanagan's, a bar here in town, and I'm still quite beat from the late night and the red wine.

This afternoon I'll be playing with Jamie, the bassist for the band, down at the Studio Stroll., which is a bi-annual event in which local artists open up their studios to anyone who wants to check out their work. We'll be down there for quite a while, in what I guess will be basically some organized busking.

Besides all of this, nothing much else going on here. We took a bunch of photos of the band the other night, or rather, Julie (of J-Bird Photography) took pictures of us. She looked really cool taking the pictures (all down on one knee, throwing out orders and whatnot), and if we look 1/2 as cool in the pictures as she looked while taking them, then I'll be happy. I'll put them up here as soon as they're ready.

More soon.

Oh, and if you're bored, go check out Bent Objects, a really great site filled with some hilarious little sculptures. Make sure to click on the link to check out "Really Bent", scupltures for "mature" audiences.

06 November 2007

Max Patch

Here are a few photos from Max Patch, which Ellen, Lupe and I visited yesterday. I didn't quite capture the feeling of the place, but it really is a beautiful spot. It was apparently clear-cut some time ago, and has been kept clear of trees ever since. Oddly, for once, this seems to be a positive thing, as the clear area affords hikers a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains.

When we left the place, we treated ourselves to a more detailed view of the mountains by getting lost and driving through winding roads of packed dirt, treacherous cliffs, and stunning views. Luckily, we made it out alive, though not before I had already begun waxing philosophic on how "I could kind of understand wanting to own a gun..."

Funny what a little time in the hinterland will do to your thinking.

05 November 2007


My mom called me the other day, wondering how Lupe was recovering from her bee sting.

"She's okay," I told her, and then went on to remind her that I had been stung as well. "I know, I know," she told me, "But I want to know if my granddog is okay."


In other news, I've just returned from a nice two day trip out to Hot Springs, North Carolina. I've got some lovely photos of the camping trip and the subsequent visit to Max Patch (a mountain not far from Hot Springs) that I hope to have up tomorrow.

Until then, I hope that all are well. More soon.

02 November 2007


Lupe and I both got stung by bees today. Now my arm is all swollen and nasty looking. Bees are bastards.

Don't forget--tonight, at 7 PM, tune in to www.wwcufm.com to hear an interview with (part of) sirius.B. The show is meant to last an hour, and they'll be playing some of our tunes as well.