Sunday, October 15, 2017

Like Lassie

The dog next door got loose, so she came knocking at the front door, and like Lassie, she guided me to her home. Life goes better when her favorite people are all in one place.

Wow, What A Crowd!

The Magic of Dove

As The News Worsens, The Maps Improve

San Francisco Chronicle.

Jerry says: "To illustrate the heat in the California fires: What you're looking at is trails of melted aluminum from the car's wheels. Aluminum melts at 1221°F."

The winds just weren’t that strong. PG&E will have to find another scapegoat:
On Tuesday, the Bay Area News Group reported that Sonoma County emergency dispatchers sent fire crews to at least 10 reports of downed power lines and exploding transformers as the North Bay fires were starting around 9:22 p.m.

In response, PG&E said that “hurricane strength winds in excess of 75 mph in some cases” had damaged their equipment, but they said it was too early to speculate about what started the fires.

However, wind speeds were only about half that level, as the lines started to come down, the weather station records show. At a weather station in north Santa Rosa where the Tubbs fire started, the peak wind gusts at 9:29 p.m. hit 30 mph. An hour later, they were 41 mph.

Monday, October 09, 2017

I Have Two Home PCs Now

I can now waste time twice as fast as I ever dreamed possible.

"Blithe Spirit" - Theatre in the Heights

With Carolyn Gregory as Madame Arcati at “Blithe Spirit,” Theatre in the Heights, directed by Blake Flores.

"Blithe Spirit," directed by Blake Flores at Theatre in the Heights in Citrus Heights (October 6-November 5, 2017), is a great show. Who doesn't love a ghost story, after all?

Noel Coward's 1941 drawing-room comedy tends to be long (three acts), and relies on that timeless formula that two is company but three is a crowd, but it is so well-written as to be endlessly appealing. The actors have ample opportunities to switch moods and mine new comedic gold as opportunities arise.

Carolyn Gregory did well as the dotty but well-meaning spiritual medium, Madame Arcati. Steven Handa was pleasant as Charles Condamine, the charismatic novelist with an afterlife problem. Elvira (Crystal Neher-Evans) and Ruth (Ronnie Duska Fowler), Charles' wives #1 & #2, make a formidable team, alternately fighting one another and working in league. I particularly liked Ronnie Duska Fowler's performance as Ruth, jealous wife #2. Ruth has to switch emotional gears rapidly, convincingly, and often, and Fowler performs flawlessly. Torie Stoicich (a dancer) was amusing as the laconic and bumbling maid, Edith.

Bike Mike Has Been On a Roll Lately

F*ck Guns

Friday, October 06, 2017

My Attic

Strangest place on Earth: my attic. I should be able to see where raccoon came in, but don’t, so I won’t go up here just yet.

Make Arrogant Bastards Naked and Vulnerable Again

Someone perusing my blog noted I have a pretty good picture of that Las Vegas music venue, with Mandalay Bay, the Luxor, and those fuel tanks all visible (photo taking off from McCarran Airport on Feb. 14, 2017).

I spent a lot of time at Mandalay Bay and vicinity, back in the day (2001 - 2009). Strangely, I’m not as affected by this shooting as others around me are, even though I’m familiar with the turf. Just another Sunday night in Vegas.

In its own way, Vegas is a heartless, brutal place. All cities have hearts, sometimes big, expansive hearts, but Vegas' heart always seemed to be a shrunken, smoldering lump of charcoal in the endless desert. It's the truest expression of the American spirit.

Paddock carefully planned this, and I’m curious about his motives and actions. He was looking for a target crowd, but cared not at all what their interests were. Country music; hip hop, alternative music, it was all the same to Paddock. That’s strange to me, but indicates his mindset. Music = emotions. Music Festivals caught his attention only because they are often larger than sporting matches or other sorts of events.

My suspicion is Stephen Paddock carried out this massacre as a challenge to himself, in order to defeat emotionality - to not let emotions deter him from experiencing the thrill of executing a master crime.

I’m intrigued by the lack of a political angle to Paddock. Mesquite, NV, is a hotbed of political intrigue, with Cliven Bundy and his crowd, and stranded between Mormon ways and Sin City, but Paddock apparently didn’t care. That hell was for others.

Paddock had spent his entire life trying to corral emotions; to master them. Paddock became a pilot, and that kind of training forces you to sublimate emotions. Successful gamblers too have to be dark, discriminating, dispassionate people, and Paddock certainly tried to be, but that road is hard. Gambling tricks you at every opportunity, with emotions hiding everywhere. Gambling makes you dishonest and sneaky. As Fyodor Dostoevsky noted in "The Gambler," if you could successfully purge emotions from gambling, you could win as much money as you please. That never happens, though.

We've seen this battle before in American culture. "Breaking Bad," for example, is a story about a rational man losing his bearings, and ends with use of an automatic machine gun.

Gambling became tedious to Paddock after a while. A master crime would suffice, though. He had to work alone because other conspirators are unreliable. His getaway planned failed only because he got caught up in the thrill.

Like Dostoevsky wrote: “No, it was not the money that I valued—what I wanted was to make all this mob of Heintzes, hotel proprietors, and fine ladies of Baden talk about me, recount my story, wonder at me, extol my doings, and worship my winnings.” Same with Paddock.

And now it's left to those other dark, dispassionate people, the politicos, to parry the damage. The GOP effort on bump stocks isn’t serious. Bump stocks are relatively easy to make. Outlawing bump stocks would be like outlawing sandals. If they were serious they’d outlaw the guns.

We have to go after the guns. Purge the emotions and go right after the guns. That's the only approach that people like Paddock will ever understand and will ever work. Experience the thrill of making arrogant bastards naked and vulnerable again.

More on Paddock.

"Imagine Dragons" Evolve Tour - Golden One Arena - October 4, 2017: Part 5 - The Venue, Golden One Arena

I've been in Golden One Arena several times since it opened a year ago, but I haven't looked around much. I'm intrigued by the place. These luxury suites. The fancy features. (Don't get me wrong, it was a mistake to build it when ARCO Arena had so much life left in it.)

"Imagine Dragons" Evolve Tour - Golden One Arena - October 4, 2017: Part 4 - The Teen Girls

I couldn't help but notice the teen girls. They came late, missing K. Flay, and had the seats right in front of me. Nevertheless, instead of sitting, they stood and danced the entire time. I had to move to empty seats nearby to see the show, but it was all copacetic up there in the nosebleed section - there were other empty seats. I was amused the girls knew a lot of Grouplove's songs, and sang the lyrics of "Tongue-tied" from memory - a song I had barely heard of before.

"Imagine Dragons" Evolve Tour - Golden One Arena - October 4, 2017: Part 3 - Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons - Real crowd pleasers!

The lead singer opened with an impassioned plea that the violence in Las Vegas must not stop music gatherings like this one from occurring. The band is from Las Vegas. The shootings really hurt.

I liked their subtle emphasis on science.

I was surprised the band had an 'unplugged' segment, featuring string instruments. I've never seen this before, in any rock concert. Imagine Dragons stopped playing midway in the concert and strolled to a smaller stage located on the floor opposite the main stage. Among several songs, they sang a tribute to the recently-deceased singer, Tom Petty, with his song "Won't Back Down" - the theme of the entire evening, actually.

I was here to see Tom Petty in this very Arena on September 1st - scarcely a month ago. You just never know....

When they finished, the band strolled back to the main stage to finish the evening.

"Imagine Dragons" Evolve Tour - Golden One Arena - October 4, 2017: Part 2 - Grouplove

I got a good impression of Grouplove. Good band.

"Imagine Dragons" Evolve Tour - Golden One Arena - October 4, 2017: Part 1 - K. Flay

I've been a K. Flay fan for less than two months. I've never met anyone who is a K. Flay fan. Should I get a ticket for the concert featuring K. Flay opening for Grouplove and Imagine Dragons, when I don't know much about those two other groups? Do I like their music even? Especially when K. Flay won't get her share of attention?


I decided to go to the concert at the last conceivable instant - about an hour before the show. I knew I could get free parking where I used to work, but it meant a mile walk to get to Golden One Arena, and a mile walk to get back to my car. The cheapest seat in the Arena. Right up at the tippity top, on the side of the stage, where the stairs are so steep you may as well be a songbird on Everest.

K. Flay!

Does anyone here even know who she is? I got a T-Shirt. Spread the word.

Nothing gets me more excited than an excellent music video combined with Streamline Moderne and the American Southwest. Where was this filmed? I haven't been as excited by a pop song in a long time!

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Started Season 4 of "The Wire"

Murky Baltimore streets.

RIP, Tom Petty

He was here just a month ago.


Trouble in the Old Las Vegas Stomping Ground

I love that area. The venue was right in-between the Mandalay Bay and the Desert Rose Resort - places I've stayed - and right across the street from the Luxor. But not a happy night. Not at all.

Pilots usually have the most-even tempers. Something does not compute. I'm intrigued to hear of recent, heavy, gambling-related expenses on Stephen Paddock's part. It wouldn't surprise me if it all boils down to a serious losing streak.

The scale of the American gun problem is metastasizing, as clearly evident here. Slaughters are ramping up in scale.

A little glimmer of sense is beginning to penetrate.

Caleb Keeter gets it. Do you?