Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Last Train From Albuquerque

Among the most-admirable things about the television series "Breaking Bad" are the fine time-lapse videos. Such artistry! So, on my last visit to Albuquerque, I decided to emulate them and make one of my own.

This may not be final - still having technical issues - but it's still fun. Learning that video-camera autofocus isn't necessarily a good thing when it comes to time lapse.

The video starts out at LAX. I wasn't going to include it, since that's California, but just like the cameo appearance of a unicorn, the big white whale of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crosses the field of view, as big as day! In Albuquerque, the railroad overpass over Central Avenue is used, just like "Breaking Bad" used it. Sandia Crest and the Sunport are used too.

Music is "The Tired Moon" by "Houses".

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation (1989)

"South Pacific" - DMTC - Final Dress Rehearsal - Part V

Gotta Love Facebook!

That's New Mexico For You

In 1995, the state Senate unanimously passed a bill to require psychologists and psychiatrists to wear wizards outfits and wave a wand when testifying in court because the senators were annoyed with how often their "expert" testimony was relied upon.

Why The GOP Is Irrelevant

Like she says.

City of Albuquerque - Breaking Bad, A Duke City Farewell

Awesome documentary about the impact of "Breaking Bad" on Albuquerque. Opens with the descanso my sister, nephew, and I put together, and features that unique human, Michael Flowers! (contains spoilers)


Southern California, From Frazier Park To San Diego - February 19, 2014

Lake of the Woods and Frazier Park.

Oh, so here's where they put Frazier Park! I was wondering where it was. I did some modeling in the late 90's using met data from this area.

The rugged NE corner of Ventura County, California!

Black Mountain, White Mountain, Cobblestone Mountain, Sewart Peak, and Snowy Peak.

Agua Blanca Creek Canyon, north of Whiteacre Peak, Los Padres National Forest (and also The Sespe California Condor Sanctuary).

Lake Piru.

Santa Clara River - Piru and Fillmore.

Simi Valley.

San Miguel Mountain, important landmark around which the airliners hook past and make their final turn to get on the glide path to land at San Diego's Lindbergh Field. The peak looks like an island in an ocean of marine stratus clouds.

San Miguel Mountain.

Cloud condensation trail in the humid air in the wake of the wing, Naval Medical Center, and Balboa Park.

San Diego Air and Space Museum, and Highway 163.

Nestling right into the City of San Diego!

"Tilly" Conjures Magic For The Faeries

Last Friday, I went to buy shoes at the same shoe store on "J" Street where Joe the Plumber dragged me in 2011 (Birkenstock in Midtown) and where I learned Megan O'Laughlin was working. Sure enough, she was on duty! She helped me buy two pairs of comfy new shoes.

Megan is also working as a Magician for the Faeries at Handcrafted Children's Entertainment, so if you need a Magician, or a Faerie, give her and her fellow Sprites a call!

The Media Love Trouble On The Streets Of ABQ

There's something more strangely-exotic about stupidity in Albuquerque than, say, Sacramento, or God forbid, Fresno. Don't know why for sure, but I can see why the TV show "Cops" would want to linger awhile in the Duke City (via

The bodycam footage was recently released of the Albuquerque police officer involved December shooting of a man holding a brake pad.

APD officers responded to the scene after a woman called police, saying a man was hitting her car with his backpack. Shaine Sherrill raised his hand and pointed either a break pad or a knife towards police, but officers believed it was a gun and opened fire, KRQE reports.

Sherrill, who during a domestic violence call last year told officers he wanted to be shot and killed by police, has filed a lawsuit against the city after being shot by police.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What Was That Gathering At The Yolo Causeway Last Night?

About forty young people at the western end of the I-80/Yolo Causeway, about 10:45 p.m., swarming over the bank of the Wildlife Refuge to an uncertain fate?

"South Pacific" - DMTC - Final Dress Rehearsal - Part IV

The Chinese Saw Something In The Water

Need to send out a ship:

Tom McClintock Hitches A Ride On The Wahmbulance

Ever since Tom McClintock got to Capitol Hill, he's been slowly sliding into idiocy. Now he's a whiner too.

With passage of the 2010 voter initiatives, there will now be, under most circumstances, two candidates in the November election: the top-two vote-getters, of whatever party, in the June primary election. So, unless there is no opposition whatsoever (like a dictatorship might feature, or as apparently McClintock desires), there will be two candidates in the November election. Two candidates. Two of them. As in, Not One. Two.

To Tom McClintock, even the possibility of choice is an intolerable situation:
Three days after learning he would face an intraparty challenger, Republican Rep. Tom McClintock has come out swinging against what he's calling an attempted "total liberal takeover."

"It's obvious -- the liberals want to entice enough Republicans to break off and join Democrats to elect a liberal Republican in a district that won't elect a liberal Democrat," McClintock wrote in an email to his large network of donors.

The fundraising appeal follows Republican Art Moore's entry into the 4th district contest. Under the state's new primary rules, the top-two votegetters, regardless of political party, advance to the general election in November.

Jeffrey Gerlach, who is not affiliated with a political party, is also running.

McClintock's campaign noted that at least three prospective Democratic candidates pulled papers to run, but ultimately stayed out of the race.

...Meantime, McClintock is telling supporters it will require a full-blown and expensive campaign right through to November.

"There's good news," he wrote. The people in the 4th district know me and know where I stand, and I believe we will keep this seat as a conservative one."
Oooh, "a full-blown and expensive campaign"! Imagine that!

Who are these two other candidates? Jeff Gerlach has no party affiliation and his Website looks brand-new, with virtually no opinions expressed yet on any topic. So, is McClintock trembling in the face of an empty suit?

What about Art Moore? He looks like a standard-issue Republican.

Too much to bear for Congressman McClintock!

Here's our very own Carpetbagging Idiot, Tom McClintock from Thousand Oaks, last August. Enthralled by financial interests, Tom McClintock has come to learn that financial crime doesn't really exist!

"Just Because He Says You're Beautiful - Five Things Every Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl Should Know"

"Just Because He Says You're Beautiful - Five Things Every Head-Smart/Heart-Dumb Girl Should Know"

On my recent trip to the SWPCA conference in Albuquerque, several publishers had tables groaning with books for sale. Then off by herself at a little table there was just one woman on her own personal, national book tour, selling just one little book (plus giving away little bags of Valentine's candy). Stephanie Rochelle Redd boiled down her fumbling romantic history into just five observations ("At first I thought there were ten, but there are just five"), imploring the attention of posterity with "please learn from me."

I was struck by her example. You mean anyone could have signed up for a table to sell books at? Her answer was: "Yes!" Wow! It had never, ever occurred to me to do that! I could have reserved a table and sold my Governor's book!

More importantly, though, she was doing everything herself. Daunting, but to a well-organized person, doable.

Such faith in the power of words! A real inspiration with her drive! And a very charming woman too:

Here is her romance blog.

Eva Yerbabuena's Ballet Flamenco Performed "Lluvia" Tuesday Evening At The Mondavi Center

Tonight, Eva Yerbabuena and Ballet Flamenco performed "Lluvia" at the Mondavi Center in Davis, CA. Fortunately, there are several videos on YouTube of portions of this 90-minute dance, showing what a strange and compelling art Flamenco really is:



One interesting thing about the portion of the dance shown in the second video was seeing how important illumination is in the presentation. Side lighting, with a dark background and a black dress highlighted her hands, which seemed to flutter like birds, and her face. The dress itself with the peacock-like long train, also seemed to suggest a bird.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tread Lightly

Tread Lightly by Lauren Taylor in Kansas City, MO (from the Heisenberg Chronicles).

Peace With The Comanche Greatly Influenced Relations With The Navajo

For me, Pekka Hämäläinen's book, "The Comanche Empire" (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008), opened a new window to view what had become of interest: how the Diné ‘Ana’í of the Navajo came to ally themselves, first with the Spaniards, and then with the Mexicans and Americans, against the rest of the Navajo. All of this composes the "Miasma" (classic Greek term) that prefigures the opening and conclusion of the television series "Breaking Bad" at To'hajiilee.

Here are some extended quotes from Hämäläinen's book:
[p. 107] On February 25, 1786, Juan Bautista de Anza, lieutenant colonel in the Spanish Army and the governor of New Mexico, stood in front of his palace, preparing himself for the ceremony. He had waited for this moment too long, ever since the glorious day on the llanos seven years ago when he held the green-horned headdress in his hands [headdress trophy from his defeat of Comanche chief Cuerno Verde in 1779]. The memory of his triumph was already growing faint, making his gubernatorial tenure seem like a failure, but now there was hope again. He examined his subjects - hispanos, indios, genízaros, men, women, children - who swarmed in the dirt plaza, filling it with nervous expectation. Then the crowd shivered, erupting into shrieks and yells, and Anza saw him. Ecueracapa, the capitan general of the western Comanches, emerged at the end of a corridor of shouting people. The Indian rode slowly toward him, flanked by three adjutants and escorted by a column of Spanish soldiers and Santa Fe's most prominent citizens. He calmly crossed the square, dismounted in front of Anza, and gently embraced him. It was there, in the arms of the man he could think of only as a savage, that Anza knew there would be peace.
The Comanches were desirous of peace because they faced renewed hostilities with other tribes, and they had been suddenly weakened by epidemics. Ecueracapa made the peace overtures, starting in December 1785. Having captured Chiquíto, an Indian member of a plains-bound Spanish hunting party who also spoke Comanche, Ecueracapa:
[pp. 118-119] called together four consecutive councils to discuss details of peace talks and, having reached an agreement with the other chiefs, sent Chiquíto and two Comanche envoys to inform Anza that he would be arriving shortly in Santa Fe.

The announcement electrified the Southwest, where news traveled quickly....

Word of the forthcoming Comanche-Spanish negotiations also reached the Utes, who were outraged by the new Spanish policy. Having nurtured a stable and mutually beneficial alliance with New Mexico since mid-century - an alliance that had been sustained by common dread of the Comanches - they now feared that Comanche-Spanish rapprochement would leave them marginalized and exposed to Comanche violence. They met with Anza and "heatedly declared against the attempted peace, advancing the most vindictive and even insulting and barbarous arguments against it, even stating to the chief, Anza, that he preferred frequent, unfaithful rebels to friends always obedient and faithful."
Anza took quick advantage of the new arrangement:
[pp. 123-124] The Comanche treaty was a momentous coup for Anza and it gave him leverage to enter into negotiations with the powerful Navajos who dominated a vast territory west of New Mexico. In March 1786, only weeks after the conclusion of the Comanche talks, Anza invited Navajo leaders to a peace conference. His objective was to pacify the Navajos by forcing them to resign their alliance with the Gileño Apaches, and he had laid the ground for this move a year before when he banned all trade between the Navajos and the inhabitants of New Mexico. Now eighty Navajos came to meet him in Santa Fe, where, significantly, a small Comanche delegation was also present. When the talks between Anza and Navajo leaders began in the Governor's Palace, two Comanches, at Anza's request, made a surprise entrance "so that the Navajos, having seen them, might be moved by fear and respect they have for this warlike nation." According to Garrido's report, one of the Comanches demanded that the Navajos become Spain's allies, lest "the forces of the Comanches as good allies and friends of the Spaniards would come and exterminate them. He menaced and terrorized them so much that with the same submission which the governor [received] they replied to the Comanches that they would fail in nothing agreed upon." The Navajos agreed to a treaty in which they pledged to sever ties with the Gileños, form a military alliance with Spain, and enter a nonaggression pact with the Comanches. The resulting borderlands détente, midwifed by Comanches, served Comanche interests as much as it served Spanish ones: if Comanches were to develop closer commercial interests with New Mexico, they needed the colony to be safe and prosperous.
The Spanish appointment of Don Carlos of the Cebolleta branch of the Navajo as "chief of the Navajos" was in 1786 - likely at this very meeting. Despite his rank, the other Navajo leaders did not submit to Don Carlos as their leader. The Navajos were more-atomized and politically not as well-organized as the Comanches. Ecueracapa, through incessant travel and diplomatic activities all across Comanchería, had achieved a first-among-equals sort of rank among Comanches, and could speak broadly for most of them. Don Carlos couldn't, but the 1786 meeting was the start of a process whereby the Diné ‘Ana’í slowly came to identify their interests more-closely with the Spanish than with their fellow Navajo, which culminated with Joaquín's separation of the Cebolleta band from the rest of the Navajo in order to negotiate a separate peace, in about 1818. One can imagine that hastening trade with the Americans, eastward, across what would become the Santa Fe Trail, made good relations with the Spaniards more important than ever to sustain. And the vulnerable Cebolleta band was located on the eastern flanks of what was to become Mt. Taylor, squarely between the Spanish and the rest of the Navajo.

And so, what was the Spanish method to induce compliance? Hämäläinen continues:
[p. 132] Rather than trying to incorporate or contain indigenous societies, the new objective was to transform them into an entity that Spanish agents could understand, manage, and control. ... Bourbon officials had initially thought that more authoritative Comanche leaders were needed to unite unruly Indians behind peace treaties, but once the treaties were formalized, the officials reconceived political centralization as a means to subdue their new allies. Inspired by pragmatic visions of a consolidated New Spain, the Bourbon officials had concluded that they never could bring the empire to Comanchería. Instead, they resolved to bring the Comanches into the empire.

Bourbon officials applied the centralizing pressure most systematically on the western Comanches, whose continued loyalty they considered critical for the survival of New Mexico and, by extension, the silver provinces of northern New Spain. The policy was first articulated by Anza in 1786 when he argued that by elevating Ecueracapa "above the rest of his class" Spaniards could reduce the entire Comanche nation to vassalage. The idea was to create a well-defined hierarchical structure extending from the principal chiefs to the bottom of Comanche society through strategic distribution of political gifts. Accordingly, Spanish officials in New Mexico and Texas funneled vast amounts of gifts among the Comanches through Ecueracapa and other head chiefs, hoping to originate a downward flow of presents from Spanish authorities to principal chiefs, local band leaders, and commoners and, conversely, an upward-converging dependency network on top of which stood the king of Spain. The institution of principal chieftainship, as Pedro Garrido explained was "the most appropriate instrument that we could desire for the new arrangement of peace, not only to assure the continuance of the peace of the peace celebrated, but also to subject the warlike Comanche nation to the dominion of the king."
In the end, the Spanish were mostly-happy with their compact with the Comanche, and how well they controlled the Comanche. On the part, the Comanche were also happy with the compact, and with how well they controlled the Spanish. Nevertheless, the Spanish policy was never successful in reducing the Comanches to actual dependency. The Spanish simply needed the Comanche more than the Comanche needed the Spanish. Most of the Navajos were also resistant to dependency. It was only the portions of the Navajo nation that were physically closest to the Spaniards that eventually did succumb.

Fun Historical Photos

Recording the Lion's Roar for MGM Studios.

"The Diving Lady" Updated

Deborah reports:
The Diving Lady sign is the only neon sign I fell in love with. When she crashed after a microburst in 2010 I thought she was lost after seeing all those shards of glass and broken rusted metal. But a small miracle in the form of the Mesa Preservation Foundation managed to reach the right artisans and supporters of the Lady and she now dives at night again. I have done over 10 paintings of her but the original depicting a crash is still my emotional favorite. 3 years later mg
Lady it needed a little help. Sketchbook Pro has become so sophisticated a painting program that I was able to straighten lines, work a more sophisticated dress pattern, etc. Here is my Diving Lady, again, all repainted and glowing.

President Obama On "Between Two Ferns"

The Mexican Government Is On A Roll

Over the last month, with the capture of "El Chapo", Luis Alfredo Aguilera Esquivel, and "El 69", and the killing of Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, and "El Pantera", the Mexican government has finally put the cartels on the defensive. Finally, a run of good news. It's a hard and bloody road, and the best to them:
MEXICO CITY — If nothing else, the slaying of cartel boss Nazario Moreno Gonzalez by Mexican soldiers may have burst the bubble of mysticism that had made him one of the stranger figures to emerge in the country's drug war.

...Moreno fancied himself a protector of his people and an enforcer of rules. Among other things, he forbade the use or sale of methamphetamine on his home turf, insisting that it only be shipped to the U.S. As cracked as that moral code was, it could feel like something to cling to in an often lawless land, and it made Moreno a kind of legend.

...Last year, "self-defense" militias sprang up in the rural state and threatened to confront Moreno's Knights Templar directly, given the lack of government action. Outside the village of Buenavista Tomatlan, the vigilantes trashed a shrine to Moreno.

In January, Peña Nieto sent a massive deployment of troops and federal police to avert a conflagration between the two groups. Since then, those troops and police have been rounding up suspected cartel members, often acting on tips from cooperating vigilantes.

...At the same time, the federal government said it has recently reestablished its control over the port of Lazaro Cardenas, on Michoacan's Pacific coast. The Templars long exerted a strong influence at the port, controlling the importation of drugs and methamphetamine precursors and shipping out minerals the cartel extracted from illegal mines — all major sources of income. On March 3, the government announced that it had seized 119,000 tons of illegally mined iron at the port that the cartel had been hoping to ship to China.

...Late last month, troops killed a local cartel leader named Francisco Galeana, also known as "El Pantera." A few days later, the government announced the capture of Luis Alfredo Aguilera Esquivel, a cartel member and son of Servando Gomez Martinez, a.k.a. "La Tuta," the man presumed to be the leader of the cartel's day-to-day operations.

Then, on Friday, authorities arrested 15 people on suspicion of extortion and kidnapping, including cartel leader Abraham Zamora Zamudio, also known as "El 69." The self-defense groups have applauded these law enforcement victories, which could serve to break up the cartel and lead the vigilantes to return to their homes and farms.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sacramento/Black Art Of Dance 2014

Getting ready for showtime! Went to see Tyehimba Kokayi, Richard Jackson, Osayande Kokayi, and the crew, with Linda Goodrich and Lorelei Bayne, over at Sac State on Saturday night.

Interesting stuff. Liked Tyehimba's opening contribution. Didn't like Nicole Manker's piece - the absence of costume coherence, or much coherence at all, undermined the piece - but Earth Wind and Fire is infectious, so liked it in the end. Philip Flickinger and Tony Nguyen presented a variation of Lindy Hop. Liked Lorelei's Maya Angelou piece. Liked the others, in varying amounts.

Tyehimba, Richard, et al. greeting fans afterwards.

Sandia Crest

In the distance, the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo, most prominently, Santa Fe Baldy.