Friday, December 06, 2013

The Emu Tango

New Mexico 1940s

Things that influenced my mother to move to New Mexico in the early 50's.

Crazy People Talk To Me

C.P.: (looking wistful) I just saw my daughter on the street! She walked right past! She was with her boyfriend. She's pregnant too. She didn't look well. Put on too much weight. She should go to the gym. You know how people begin to look like the people they hang around with? She looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger! I said 'hello!' from across the street, but she didn't respond. (with a pixie-like shoulder-shrug) Maybe she didn't hear me? She walked right past! I'm her mother. It's good she's pregnant. She should get married. She just walked right past!

M.: Maybe you should follow her?

C.P.: Maybe I should!

Trying To Get A Better Sense Of Gran Quivira

This week, I've been thinking about Indian ruins in New Mexico. Among my thoughts has been - why Gran Quivira? I mean, why is it there? It was a salt trading center, true, but it's a little removed from the salt itself. There's very limited irrigation potential in the area - like, nearly zero - and it's cold too, at 6,500 ft. above sea level. Reminds me of other unlikely places for settlement, like Chaco Canyon, but that was a religious center of great overarching importance. Gran Quivira's religious function was important to the Spanish, but I don't think anyone has argued it had similar religious importance to the Jumanos and others who lived there.

The geography is odd. Was it astride a trade route to the south? Would turquoise traders have passed through? How about trade routes east and west? Not immediately evident. (Then again, the function of modern trading centers like Albuquerque aren't evident either. Albuquerque's importance resulted partly by historical accident).

Gran Quivira appears to have been a polyglot kind of place, mixing Pueblo and Plains Indians, among others. Was it tolerant too? Or just the opposite?

Gran Quivira just strikes me as detached from the world in some way. Like an Indian Pueblo designed by Star Wars fans.

Why was it there? Why was it as important as it was? What did it do? And most importantly to me, who lived AROUND it?

SCAQMD Near-Road Mitigation Measures and Technologies Forum

Frank went down to LA and made our presentation to the SCAQMD Near-Road Mitigation Measures and Technologies Forum on November 21, 2013. The presentations and video recording of the symposium are now available. Frank writes:
My 15 minute presentation for Sierra starts at 3hr:25min:15sec, and the short Q/A for this session begins immediately after my presentation at 3:40:24.
Fun! Thanks for Frank's kudos at 3:45:20!

Baby A.K.A Birdman - Do That (feat. P. Diddy)

Part of the Aerobics soundtrack over at Pepper Von's. Infectious dance tune.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Can't Get Enough Of 2003 House Music!

I've never listened to this Remix (I usually listen to the Gabriel & Dresden Remix), but the photos in this video are beautiful, and comes with lyrics.

And for a song that is likely to be about marriage!

The Car Is Vibrating So Violently Now I Need Ear Protection To Drive It

I wonder when it will fail?

Made This Week's Best QOTW Page

I'm surprised the B3ta folks liked my story! This week's question:
Self-Inflicted injuries

Spanishfly asks: Ever injured yourself in a moment of frustration? When have you ever done something stupid or sensible that has ended up with you injured? Punched an Asda sign because they didn't have tiger bread? Yeah, us too
My answer:
Tiny cable car across the river

Driving along, we noticed a cable across a river. There was a little cable car too. I guess they used it to measure water depth. We stopped and found it wasn't secured. We sat in the two tiny seats below the two wheels that rode on the cable, and rolled down the cable until we were halfway across the river. Then we stopped. It was uphill on both sides now, so if we wanted to get back to safety, we'd have to do some work. So, we put our hands on the cable to pull ourselves along. And one of the wheels promptly rode into my hand and ripped the skin off my thumb and fingertips, thrashing every sensitive nerve. Hurt like crazy, and we still had the entire distance to haul ourselves. Bled all over that cable on the journey back. Left unique scars on the fingertips too, so goodbye to any hope of a life of crime.

Fefe Dobson - Legacy

Your face is all I ever see on this crowded street
Like no one's watching you don't care to act a fool with me
You made me dance in public trippin' on my own two feet
Just like a drum my heart is jumping like a trampoline
No where to wash away my worries like the angry sea
Having a good old time never been on the edge of my seat

It's raining lava got me sweating I can feel the heat
the fires ragging no telling what's bout to come for me

If I die tonight at least I left a legacy
If I die tonight at least I left a legacy
If the lights go out I'm forever in your memory
If I die tonight at least I left a legacy

It's true the eyes are the windows of a person's soul
It's like I'm staring in the mirror when I look at you
I turn the heavens down if the devil came for you
I'd rather go through hell or high waters
Yeah it's true

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Hats For Hipsters

I can't believe I didn't post this before.

Damned Slippery Artificial Fibers

(Around dawn, about 6:30 a.m., at Casa Valdez in Sacramento.....)


E.: (tentatively, faraway in the dark) MMMAAARRRRCCC? Are you OK? I heard some big boom....

M.: (slowly getting up) Ugh! I fell out of bed!

E.: You did? Why?

M.: I was thinking about going to the restroom, so I rolled to the left, but the blanket was there, and it's made from artificial fibers, and because it was cold I was wearing a sweater also made from artificial fibers, and those fibers have a low coefficient of kinetic friction, so I slipped off the bed into the nightstand, but it skidded over too, and so I went BOOM on the floor!

E.: Maybe you were dreaming....

M.: I WAS dreaming! I dreamt you were leading an aerobics class right here in my bedroom, and you all were trying to be real quiet, so as not to wake me up. There were twenty people here. Jenny Plasse was here. Everyone was here!

E.: (giggling)

M.: And where are my mouth guards? It's e-dumb! Maybe I swallowed them. No, wait a minute, here they are! I sometimes take them out in the middle of the night. I don't know why...

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Comin' Soon

Nearly Got Rear-Ended Last Night

Traffic was moving slowly, as it often does on 19th St. just south of J St. The van approached way close before it stopped, and rocked back and forth from the braking. Close call!

I Like "Cornered" Cartoons

Mike Baldwin:

South Park's "A History Channel Thanksgiving"

It hurts my ribs!:
"Does the appearance of stuffing at the first Thanksgiving table suggest a kind of alien technology?"
Stop! Make it stop!

Time To Resume The Annual Homeless Battle In The Alley

I drove to work this evening, and as I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed a homeless guy sleeping under the hedge, behind the garbage cans. I drove a short distance and pulled to the curb to call E. and alert her to that fact, since I knew she might go out to her car, and inadvertently startle him, or vice versa.

It's always hard to know the best course of action in these situations. Leave him alone, for the sake of peace, or confront him, for the sake of peace? Leaving E. to her own devices could be tricky, though. Would it be garden shears, or rocks, or a club?

Upon returning, the homeless guy was gone, the garbage cans had been moved, and two long trails of pee trailed away into the alley. I knew from the evidence what had happened:
M.: EEERRRRLLLYYYYNNNNDDDAAAAA! Oh, sorry to wake you up!

E.: mmmmmmm

M.: So, did you call the police?

E.: Yes. The non-emergency number. I told them there was a homeless guy sleeping next to the house. They asked me if I wanted them to knock on the door, and I said no, because I didn't want him to know who called.

M.: So, you saw the police arrive?

E.: Yes.

M.: I wonder if he's angry? He peed twice out there.

E.: He's the same guy who attacked you last year! I saw the dog!

M.: That weird little dog? So it's THAT guy again! I wonder if we'll start having problems again? I made peace with him, but who knows?

Monday, December 02, 2013

So, It's Mostly About The Plastic Ball

John flags Badtux's article regarding why too much ethanol is a problem in American gasoline:
...So, here’s something that started happening around 2008 or so, as the percentage of ethanol started creeping upwards and in some cases passing the E10 boundary: Those check valves started swelling up. And once swelled up, they blocked the inlet to the fuel tank.

...There’s 20 years of cars out on the road with that check valve that swells up if exposed to too much ethanol.

Twenty years. And if it happens to a car, the only way to fix it is to replace the gas tank.

And there aren’t enough gas tanks in parts depots to do that.

And there isn’t enough gas tank manufacturing capability to do that.

And even if there was, there aren’t enough mechanics in America to change the gas tank in basically *every car sold in America over the past twenty years*.

Twenty years. That’s a lot of frickin’ cars that would be disabled by one stupid little plastic ball if we went past E10 nation-wide. And even E10 is somewhat iffy with these check valves.

Amazing, how one stupid $1.50 rubberized-plastic ball can derail an entire policy initiative. But that’s reality. Going past E10 would basically bring America to a halt.

Tony Hoffarth's Breaking Bad Flickr Stream

Tony Hoffarth from Los Angeles likes filming locations of all sorts, and he was recently in Albuquerque.

"Breaking Bad" Phoenix

My sister Michelle was appalled that someone stole our descanso. While hunting through Uncle Jack's compound and discovering broken descanso bits in the weeds, she kept encountering visitors, such as the fellows from Roadside America, or Amy and her friend from Kentucky (who are headed to Washington State in a week), who were equally crestfallen to discover it stolen.

My sister is a "No Half Measures" kind of person. Something had to be done. Descanso 2.0 will be in place by the weekend.

Breaking Bad Bastardo Watch

My sister, nephew, and I continue to fume about our descanso being stolen.

While trying to recover broken pieces of the descanso, my sister met two interesting people who had apparently heard of it. They had wanted to feature it on a Web Site called 'Roadway America', or something like that. She had an interesting adventure with them trying to take pictures of the more-secure Walter White headstone at Vernon's. Sounded like, when finally written up, it could make an interesting story!

I'm wondering if 'Roadway America' refers to this Pinterest PinBoard, or is associated with it?

DMTC "Oliver!" Saturday Night Cast Party

Rihanna - Pon de Replay

Bubble Thinking Continues To Plague The Economy

Kevin Drum nicely summarizes the problems with the current economy. Basically, the people who control the huge sums of investment capital that are available in the world don't want to invest in new industry, and instead are looking for cheap profits:
Roubini's argument boils down to this: The major economies have been growing only slowly. Yet with low interest rates and aggressive central bank action across the globe, there is a giant pool of money that has to go somewhere. That somewhere has not been productive new investments, like companies building new factories. Rather, it has come in the form of people taking advantage of cheap credit to bid up the price of existing real estate in cities from Stockholm to Sydney.
The key problem, as it's been for over a decade, is why investors can't find enough productive uses for their money. Weak economic growth due to rising income inequality is one possibility. Another is the rise of cheap entertainment—Facebook, Xbox, World of Warcraft—which portends lower demand for physical goods and services in the future. Or maybe it's because of steadily rising unemployment thanks to the growth of automation.

Whatever the reason, if this imbalance continues, it's hard to see things turning out well in the medium term. We need either less capital formation or else more consumer demand—or both. The alternative is bubble after bubble. They may come in different places and different things, but what other alternative is there?

Röyksopp – Sparks (Murk Downtown Miami Mix)

I've been in a 2003 House music mode for a few days. I've been trying to post a YouTube video of Röyksopp's "Sparks (Murk Downtown Miami Mix)" on my blog, but apparently doing so would run afoul of copyright restrictions of some sort. Bummer. So, instead, I watch the clever original video, and listen to the superior Murk Remix on Spotify.

I've written before how UK House reached some sort of pinnacle in 2003. I like the advertising associated with the Ministry of Sound compilation for that summer, which I still think is the Best. Dance. Music. Compilation. EVER!) One of my fondest memories of the 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall Election campaign was driving down Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard with these then-brand-new tunes booming from the rent-a-car's speakers.

Kirika's Getting Into The Holiday Spirit

'Get Fierce Funk' Thanksgiving Eve Class

A special exercise class, to prepare us for the food-centric holiday. We collected two barrels of food and clothing (one of which came from just one person!) for the Sacramento Food Bank.

Instructor Krystle Morales is in the foreground, as is Tyehimba Kokayi with his trusty Djembe drum (I'm in the back).

The Perfect Christmas Gift

Angie Steward bravely went out into the frenzied Black Friday hordes and found some of this, which she purchased. I'm so jealous! The annual Wildlife Care Association (who takes care of injured small birds and mammals in the Sacramento area) fundraiser is just a few days away, on December 8th, and this would be SO perfect for that! I wonder if I can find it in time? I've been good this year, Santa - really!

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving with Sally's friends in Guinda was pleasant. Loren brought jellies and jams from Santa Rosa, including a translucent Muscat grape jelly that I'm eager to try. Imogene has a new black-and-white cat with the most luxurious fur.

Here is the tree out back. All the leaves are already gone.

There's lots of wildlife in the area. A few years ago, for example, we saw a bobcat. This Thanksgiving, I saw a roadrunner. Even though I've been in Sacramento for 23 years, and even though roadrunners are supposed to live here (and, surprisingly, not be very common on the Colorado Plateau, where Warner Brothers place them in their cartoons), this is the first time I've actually seen one in the Sacramento area. Yay!

I take a picture of the tree out back every Thanksgiving. It's interesting contrasting this year's leaflessness with 2010's colorful leaves. Thanksgiving was slightly later this year (November 28th, vs. the 25th) and considerably warmer than in 2010, so I'm wondering if that's the difference, or what?