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Timothy Pickering moved to Tucson from Wisconsin in 1992 to attend grad school in astronomy and play with big telescopes. After taking a two-year break from the heat to live in the Netherlands, he returned to work full-time as a staff scientist with his favorite big telescope, at the MMT Observatory. When not busy chasing his 2-year-old around Himmel Park or Fenton Memorial Park, he can be found enjoying a cold, dark beer at various watering holes.

What was the first concert you ever saw?

The Replacements at the Madison Civic Center. I was baptized by Paul Westerberg's whiskey spray. I don't think that venue ever booked another rock concert.

What CDs are in your changer right now?

How quaint. My portable music player contains Canadian-produced works including Feist, The Reminder; Arcade Fire, Neon Bible; Kathleen Edwards, Asking for Flowers; Stars, In Our Bedroom After the War; and The Stills, Logic Will Break Your Heart.

How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?

I went all-digital several years back. My iTunes library is now approaching 21,000 tracks.

Do you download music, and if so, legally or illegally?

I get all of my music via digital downloads. I've been an emusic.com subscriber since 2004 and have supplemented that with iTunes purchases and, more recently, amazon.com MP3 downloads.

What was the first album you owned?

Men at Work, Business as Usual.

What song would you like to have played at your funeral?

Tom Waits, "Way Down in the Hole."

Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?

There are a few bands that I recognize on a logical level to be cheesy or a bit of crap, but I like them a lot anyway, like The Killers or Keane.

What band or artist changed your life, and how?

Dethkorpz (come.to/dethkorpz) taught me the true meaning of metal at an early, formative age.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Kathleen Edwards, Failer.

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