Thursday, February 04, 2016

Elevator Cam

Intentions

Walking around with Bella late at night, it can be hard to discern the intentions of people. I got paranoid the other night, imagining two people were following us, but our paths eventually diverged. Later, two young men sitting in a pickup truck shouted out in relief as we passed by: "Oh, you're carrying a pooper scooper! We thought it was a machine gun!"

Last night, Bella and I arrived at a street corner just as two men in conversation approached. We froze, fearful of alarming them by our unexpected close proximity. "Complacency and apathy, complacency and apathy" one man said. Seeing us standing in the shadows, the man turned towards me and said, "What do YOU think? Complacency or apathy?" I replied, "Complacency is the worst."

Bernie Sanders, Rabbi

Nicknames

Various nicknames I call Bella, the Black Labrador Retriever:
Bella Wella, Miss Argle Bargle, Goofball, Miss McNerfball, Malolo, Miss McBurble, Schnubble, Gubby, McNurble, Pretty.

Furies 2.0

History Of Japan

Trump Of The Tundra, Indeed!


An Average Winter, So Far


The long-range weather forecasts are showing the first half of February will be dry, and the second half of the month will be wet.

At Sacramento Executive Airport, rainfall totals are 90% of average. (For the months of October through January, rainfall totals are: 0.12 + 1.57 + 1.75 + 5.44 = 8.88 inches, when 0.95 + 2.05 + 3.25 + 3.64 = 9.92 inches is normal.) In this 2-week dry spell, we will slip away a bit from the 90% mark, with some catching up later.

This winter, so far, has shaped up as surprisingly normal. Not enough to conclusively break the drought, for sure, but a better experience than in our immediate past. Things are still unusually dry near Los Angeles and in the Imperial Valley.

People expected El Niño to rule the California winter - some people still do - but it's important to remember that California is pretty far from the Equator. What happens near the Equator influences our weather, but doesn't determine it.

Not Buying This Argument

I also don't buy this argument, amusing as it is. What I recall is how Bill Clinton (and presumably Hillary) went to extraordinary lengths to avoid use of the word 'genocide' in 1994 when referring to Rwanda, because otherwise they might face pressure to do something about it. Sometimes you have to say unpopular things, because it is right, and the Clintons rarely do. Bernie will go that extra distance.
YOU DON'T LIKE THAT SHE PLAYS THE GAME? THAT SHE HAS TIES TO THE ESTABLISHMENT? FOR ONE THING, THAT'S HOW SHIT FUCKING GETS DONE. FOR THE OTHER THING, THE BIGGEST THING, A WOMAN DOESN'T GET THE FUCKING OPTION *NOT* TO PLAY THE GAME. NOT NOW. NOT YET. WE ALL WISH THINGS WERE DIFFERENT BUT THEY DON'T BECOME DIFFERENT WHILE WE'RE ATTACKING THE FUCKING PERSON WHO CAN MAKE THAT POSSIBLE.

AND THESE NEW BERNIE VS. HILLARY MEMES. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU EVEN DOING?

Monday, February 01, 2016

Gangsta

Last night, I had my first extended Facebook discussion with enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump. I can't say it went well.

We are just starting the formal 2016 election season. We need to have a brief discussion about appropriate language in a political discussion. These Trump enthusiasts were fond of using the word "gangsta" when referring to Obama and the Democratic Party. Lately, I've noticed the word bouncing around in conservative circles when referring to Obama.

"Gangsta" has a number of connotations, in culture, in music, and in the politics of music, but when it's used in politics proper, and particularly when it's applied to Obama, it's a racist dogwhistle. If you use gangsta, you may as well use the "N" word. You aren't fooling anyone. (And outspoken conservatives supposedly don't buy into 'political correctness' anyway, so why the euphemism?)

I don't put up with racist dogwhistles. If you want to use gangsta in a political sense, then we can't be Facebook friends. I don't care if we've known each other since elementary school. You are my enemy. I will Unfriend you without notice.

As I cheerily bade farewell to the Trump enthusiasts: "Looking forward to peeling the skulls of people just like you!" (And hopefully just in an electoral sense, because, despite my Hispanic heritage, my switchblade skills are rusty, my carving knives are blunt, and I'd botch the job for sure.)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Folsom Lake Jumped To "Average" Overnight


The last storm that rolled through California had very unequal impacts throughout the state. In some ways, it was like a fire hose directed at the Sierra Nevada. Since the ground was already wet there, the rain rolled off very quickly into the streams. So, today, Folsom Lake reached historic average for the date. In a very un-average way, of course.

Claustrophobic Night

Awoke from a dream where I was walking through long, windowless neon-white hallways, up and down hidden stairwells, seeking an exit, and slowly realizing I never would.

Playing Defense

From The Onion:
HUMBOLDT, IA—After making sure to douse every home, farm, and business located in the municipality with gasoline, retreating Clinton campaign staffers reportedly set the central Iowa town of Humboldt ablaze Friday to stem the advance of Bernie Sanders volunteers. “Once we received word the Sanders campaign had begun canvassing in nearby Fort Dodge, we only had a matter of hours to burn everything to the ground,” said communications director Jennifer Palmieri, who tossed a lit torch through the window of the town’s hardware store before rushing over to help a group of Hillary for America workers erect a roadblock made of dead livestock to prevent all entrance to and exit from the city. “With so little time left before voting day, we simply can’t allow them to establish a foothold in this part of the state.

Border Dispute

You Are Doing Just Fine

Welcome To An Incovenient Location

"Anomalisa"

Saw this stop-action Friday night. Peculiar. Basically, the story a Mid-Life Crisis. I can empathize.

According to excerpt of a review by David Ferguson on imdb:
We soon notice that Michael appears beaten down, even exasperated with life. He is an author in town to give a presentation on his specialty … Customer Service. The story continues along familiar lines of a business traveler in the midst of a mid-life crisis, until things change for him when he stumbles on a couple of his fans who are in town for his presentation. One of them is Lisa, whom Michael is attracted to thanks to her innocent energy and wonderful voice. What makes her voice so wonderful? Well, it turns out that Michael is voiced by British actor David Thewlis, Lisa is voiced by Jennifer Jason Leigh, and EVERY other character in the film (male or female) is voiced by Tom Noonan. Lisa and her voice are the anomaly that makes up the film's title … Michael is smitten with her because her voice is not like all the others - providing a spark of hope.

Mr. Kaufman seems intent on making us realize how easily we can slip into a rut and simply go through the motions in life … every day and every person being pretty much like the rest. Michael has learned to wear his Customer Service mask – one who pretends to care about the issues of others. It's a terrific metaphor for someone refusing to face the responsibility for their own happiness. His awakening occurs at the hands (and in bed) with Lisa. Yes, you should be prepared for the uncommon and slightly unsettling site of Puppet Private Parts. The clumsy passion of the first encounter between Michael and Lisa does wonders for each of them … restoring her self-esteem and awakening him from his daily slumber of hopelessness.

Natalia Osipova Fascination

I'm impressed by these YouTube algorithms! Seven years ago, I became fascinated by Natalia Osipova. She had since slipped my mind, but YouTube remembered:

Friday Night Zumba With Camila Was Fun!

Some Dancehall Inspired Music

And THIS Is Why Thursday Nights Are The Best!

Jamaican Dancehall with LaToya Bufford at Sierra 2 in Sacramento!

Here's the video from tonight's DHPU class with CHOREO inspired by the one and only CRAZYHYPE! Easy to follow but crazy MADD energy involved! Thank you dance lovers & friends. Can't wait until the next one!

Posted by Toya on Friday, January 29, 2016

Auburn Road Gets Local Press


Nice article about Auburn Road!:
Auburn Road takes its name from a stretch of Auburn-Folsom Road in Granite Bay, the area in which the ladies routinely rehearsed for over two years after officially becoming a band. But their history goes back farther.

“We have been singing together since we were about 9 years old,” Paulson explained, adding the group met at Sing, Inc. in Roseville. “We went there since we were 7 or 8 years old, and so we just kind of bonded over the years. We performed in bigger singing groups, and went to Disneyland … We grew up together and just kind of found a bond that worked out.”

Indonesian Rock-And-Roll From Back In The Day

Trump With A Cockney Accent

The Truth No One Wants To Talk About

Friday, January 29, 2016

Elevation Makes Precipitation

There's a very strong orographic component to this storm, characterized by NWS Reno as a "modest atmospheric river". It's raining a lot at higher elevations, but hardly at all in the valley:

(Last 24 hours worth of precipitation, in inches)

Reincarnation

Trading Operas

Gabriel and I traded John Adams' operas. I lent him "Dr. Atomic": he lent me "Nixon in China". They are both so good!

Today, I shared with him small fragments from my rock collection of (mildly radioactive) Trinitite. The entire Trinity Site crater was coated with the greenish glass, formed from molten sand, after the first atomic bomb detonated.

Nuclear power - it is a thing!

China is a thing too. Kathleen Kim is so over-the-top as Chiang Ch'ing!

Opera: A Decptive Pursuit

An emergency behind every door:
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Police in Amsterdam mistakenly kicked in the door of a local opera singer after residents called in reports of a man screaming.

...The singer did not hear the knocks and was unaware anyone was at the door until it was kicked in. Police found him singing along to a song while wearing headphones.

The Mailman Always Rings Twice

It's interesting to watch Bella contemplate an escalating range of threats.

On Monday night, I was quite disturbed by the sudden disappearance of a large, familiar tree on X Street. The tree was still there Sunday night, but it vanished. Presto! Gone! Nevertheless, Bella thought the matter inconsequential.

Last night, we could hear an animal scratching around between two houses, but couldn't see it in the darkness. Who knows what it was? A raccoon, perhaps? Bella started lunging and barking the way a dog should when confronting an unknown animal.

Tonight, we watched a car making intermittent stops in the neighborhood. A man would get out and make a delivery to each house. I recognized these as newspaper delivery people, but the pattern of delivery reminded Bella of someone else, someone far more sinister. Bella stiffened and came to attention, ready to strike in an instant. Yes, as horrible as it was to contemplate, here was clear and convincing evidence that The Mailman, the Most Dangerous Person on Earth, also delivered at night.

The Evangelicals Betray Cruz

Back in 1980, I was among a group of people protesting outside a Tucson arena where Jerry Falwell was to speak.

After the speech started, we realized the arena doors were unlocked and apparently unguarded, and so we ventured inside to chant "Sieg Heil!", only to realize that it was a trap. We were expected! Falwell pointed towards us and used us as godless foils in his speech about the decline of morality in America. Attendees recoiled in fear. We were boxed in by beefy guys, and forced to hold hands with them. In their tight, suffocating embrace, we all sang "God Bless America" together.

So, I'm familiar with getting sandbagged by evangelicals on a political mission. Poor Ted Cruz. Never saw it coming:
But there's a simple explanation for the evangelical embrace of Trump: Having not succeeded in making America Christian, evangelicals coalescing around Trump have decided to settle for making it great (or "great," as the case may be).

It's all there in Falwell's own words about Trump, whom he describes as "a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again." Note that Trump is not described as a wonderful husband, often a crucial criterion for evangelical voters, or as a revivalist who will save the Christian nation, or even as the guardian of crucial Supreme Court appointments who could oversee making abortion illegal in all 50 states.

Cheese, The Hardest Drug

Cheese addiction:
Researchers from the University of Michigan have revealed that cheese contains a chemical found in addictive drugs.

Using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, designed to measure a person’s cravings, the study found that cheese is particularly moreish because it contains casein.

Was There a Pause in Global Warming?

No.

Peace Garden

I just noticed this little Peace Garden (apparently created by the Aikido Center), next to the bus stop on 21st, next to Pancake Circus, but only because Bella and I have been walking past there every night, and like all dogs do with monuments, she keeps trying to find excuses to pee there. It's nice! She can pee somewhere else.

The Role of Warm Ocean Temperatures in Promoting Snowfall

Jerry Steffens writes:
People sometimes scoff at the idea that increased snowfall could be associated with warmer temperatures, but this past weekend we saw an example of just that. As the accompanying figure shows, water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean are considerably warmer than average. When this happens, there is a stronger temperature contrast with arctic air masses that descend from Canada, providing more energy for storms. (In meteorological jargon, the process is called baroclinic energy conversion.) This is one reason why the recent storm was able to become so intense.

Perlstein on Trump

Rick Perlstein, historian of modern American politics, on Donald Trump:
The feeling I got was that this was the first time in a very long time that I’ve read anything about the Republican Party that I couldn’t assimilate into my normal categories. That was a very uncanny and uncomfortable feeling for me. I realized that I had to go back to the drawing board and rethink what was going on. This is something that’s very new, very strange, and very hard to assimilate into what we thought we knew about how the Republican Party worked.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Young Ted Cruz Reflects on his Goals in Life

Yosemite Sarah Palin

Japanese Prius Ad

Difficulty Adjusting to India

Events at 5:50 are amazing!

That Chicken Has Focus!

Politics Newly Leaked Emails Indicate Michigan Republicans Didn’t Poison Water To "Save Money"

They did it to sabotage Michigan government:
MCM also reports that “A high-ranking DWSD official told us today that Detroit offered a 50% reduction over what Flint had been paying Detroit. In fact, documents show that DWSD made at least six proposals to Flint, saying “the KWA pipeline can only be attributed to a ‘political’ objective that has nothing to do with the delivery – or the price – of water.” The deal was signed in 2013, and Governor Snyder refuses to release the emails from this period – refusing to offer up the paper trail of how, exactly this decision was made.

OccupyDemocrats cannot independently confirm or deny these allegations, however; if they are true, they begin to paint a very different picture than the one we originally thought we were looking at. What appears at first to have been a tragic case of desperate cost-cutting and criminal negligence is now taking on the contours of a much deeper conspiracy in which the people of Flint were a sacrificial lamb on the alter of free market fascism.

Hoofwanking Bunglecunt

Royal Philharmonic At The Mondavi Center


Elgar, Mozart, and Brahms at the Royal Philharmonic, Pinchas Zukerman conducting.





I Have A Dream, 2016

On The Trail of Planet Nine

They don't have it yet, but they are zeroing in:
"A good theory should not only explain things that you set out to explain. It should hopefully explain things that you didn't set out to explain and make predictions that are testable," says Batygin.

And indeed Planet Nine's existence helps explain more than just the alignment of the distant Kuiper Belt objects. It also provides an explanation for the mysterious orbits that two of them trace. The first of those objects, dubbed Sedna, was discovered by Brown in 2003. Unlike standard-variety Kuiper Belt objects, which get gravitationally "kicked out" by Neptune and then return back to it, Sedna never gets very close to Neptune. A second object like Sedna, known as 2012 VP113, was announced by Trujillo and Sheppard in 2014. Batygin and Brown found that the presence of Planet Nine in its proposed orbit naturally produces Sedna-like objects by taking a standard Kuiper Belt object and slowly pulling it away into an orbit less connected to Neptune.

But the real kicker for the researchers was the fact that their simulations also predicted that there would be objects in the Kuiper Belt on orbits inclined perpendicularly to the plane of the planets. Batygin kept finding evidence for these in his simulations and took them to Brown. "Suddenly I realized there are objects like that," recalls Brown.

Rose The Rat On Broadway

Filling a special need:
“Given that she was abandoned along the median of the West Side Highway, I had absolutely zero expectations,” she said. “I just wanted to give her a decent life. Who knew?”

A Picture Of Tev Ditter At The Mondavi Center in 2012 Or 2013

(Courtesy of Jackie Shelley.)

My Theater World Is Colliding With "Breaking Bad"

OK, this is getting bizarre. The Totah family have been a part of our theater, DMTC, for many years. And JJ Totah has been working with Jesse Plemons, from "Breaking Bad"? Just too strange! Too strange! I will have to get drunk, and consider.

(Oh, by the way, don't let JJ ride a dirt bike, because Jesse can't help himself.)
It won’t be hard to find Totah after his star-making performance last night. The child actor is only featured in two of Other People’s scenes — he plays the flamboyant younger brother of Plemons’s best friend — but he makes the goddamn most of them: Totah waltzes into his first scene casually hitting on the far-older Plemons, then spends his second scene in drag, staging an over-the-top, twerk-filled performance for his bemused family. It’s rare to see such an exuberantly gay kid onscreen, and as Totah described his character afterwards, he delivered the equivalent of a double-snap sermon and brought the house down.

Handsome People

Tonight's challenge was to keep Bella from colliding with others on the sidewalk. The first group was 2 tall, handsome guys. The second group was 2 fairly good looking homeless men sitting in a storefront with a Pit Bull puppy. The third group was a devastatingly handsome man and his beautiful platinum blonde female companion climbing into a truck at 1:30 a.m. I don't know where all these beautiful people came from all of a sudden, but it's an improvement.

The GOP's Criminal Treatment of Flint, MI

A good run down of the problems created by the removal of accountability in government, through the Reign of the Emergency Managers, which was imposed on Michigan's cities by the Republican Party.
Flint was one of the first cities to be assigned an emergency manager in 2011, and over the course of four years had four such managers. One of the first manager's first acts was to suspend local government, and this remained essentially in force until the departure of the last emergency manager in 2015. Even today, Flint is under the scrutiny of a "transition advisory board" that has veto power over any local decision, and that has frequently overstepped its professed limited mandate to assure fiscal restraint.

Woody Guthrie, Meet Fred Trump

Not a match made in Heaven:
In December 1950, Woody Guthrie signed his name to the lease of a new apartment in Brooklyn. Even now, over half a century later, that uninspiring document prompts a double-take.

Below all the legal jargon is the signature of the man who had composed “This Land Is Your Land,” the most resounding appeal to an equal share for all in America. Below that is the signature of Donald Trump’s father, Fred. No pairing could appear more unlikely.

Not A Nabokov Supporter

Some things are equivalent to overheard private conversation. Some things shouldn't be in print:
It is no secret that the pueblos of New Mexico maintained and continue to assert tight control over the release of sensitive religious or cultural information to outsiders. According to Nabokov and Wilbert Hunt, Edward was exiled from both Acoma and from Santa Ana, another of the Keresan-speaking pueblos, for being vocal about his Christian faith and for failing to participate in traditional cultural and religious activities. Reasons for the close control over ritual knowledge include the Catholic Church’s attempts to stamp out Native American religions during the Spanish Colonial period and the similar efforts of Protestant missionaries from the 1840s onward. Beginning in 1884, U.S. law forbade the practice of Native American religions, a law that was not entirely superseded until the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978. And anthropologists themselves have not always behaved according to pueblo standards of decorum. At Zuni Pueblo, in the 1880s and 1890s, BAE anthropologists Frank Hamilton Cushing and Matilda Coxe Stevenson comported themselves so poorly that they have never been forgotten. It is said they forced their way into closed ritual performances and kivas, or underground ritual chambers. Although Cushing somehow got himself initiated into Zuni’s Bow Priesthood, he was also been implicated in the removal and replication of sacred materials like kachina masks and images of the War Gods.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Good Ol' Sarah Again

Well, there are two ways to look at this. One is the Party of Personal Responsibility is just full of it. They blame everyone else but themselves at every opportunity.

Or two, maybe there's the beginning of wisdom here. Families pay a price for warmongering. Best not to invade foreign countries unless there is no choice. As there was a choice with Iraq. Peace.

Citing his past as a member of the military, Palin said her son returned from the Middle East "hardened" and "a bit different." Palin continued, linking her son's alleged PTSD to the assault charges against him. The former failed vice presidential candidate then turned her attention to the president, stating, "It starts from the top, the question though it comes from our own president, when they have to look at him and wonder, do you know what we go through." Paul Rieckhoff, the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), was critical of Palin blaming the president, stating that he hopes it "doesn't become a portable chew toy in a political campaign."

The allegations by Palin against the president contradict with the details in question. Palin blames Obama for her son's actions and his possible PTSD that he suffered as a result of spending time in Iraq. However, Track Palin was a part of Alaska's 25th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team that served in Iraq for one year in 2008. While honorable, the time he spent in Iraq that Palin claims caused his PTSD was under the orders of then President George W. Bush, and not President Barack Obama.
Then, there is the argument she's actually a genius:
No, Palin is the vanguard of a new way of right-wing speechifying, a surprisingly avant-garde method of political outreach for people who think of themselves as the protectors of tradition. Her methods are the most outrageous, but as with most artistic revolutionaries (in this case, with the art of making political speeches), what seems iconoclastic now will swiftly become the norm for those who follow.

The Bigotry

Funny New Zealand TV Ads

I like the Marmite ad in particular.

Four Enormous Thumps

The neighborhood was as calm and collected tonight as I've ever seen it. Amazingly warm, too, for January. Very pleasant!

Bella and passed through the intersection of 26th Street and 2nd Avenue. Suddenly, from the apartment complex at the southeast corner, came Four Enormous Thumps. Bella and I backtracked to puzzle at the noise. A dog barked in the distance. No explanation. Peace resumed once more and we continued home.

Big Bellied Patriot Loon

Bamboo Bikes

Cool!

Do Australians Feel Love; Are They Capable of Love?

Flight of the Conchords

Just This Once

Elvis And Dylan

Wandering the city with Bella. Found a scattered music collection, and beaded bracelets. On X Street between 22nd & 23rd. Mostly Elvis & Dylan. Also noted someone's trunk popped open on 26th. (Are these CD's from there?) Also noted 3 Mysterious Dudes lurking next to the cemetery, but our nearby uncomfortable presence seemed to provoke them to leave.

Watching DVDs

Got new DVDs of my two favorite shows. Watching "Dr. Atomic", and marveling at how well De Nederlandse Opera did their New Mexico homework. For example, the set features a brilliant skyline, which I recognize as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as seen from Los Alamos (featuring Santa Fe Baldy and the Truchas Peaks).

And watching "Clouds of Sils Maria", and marveling at how Director Olivier Assayas slips Friedrich Nietzsche's expressions and thought into every Alpine nook and cranny. Rendering the densest philosophy into a popular movie must be the hardest thing imaginable. Kristen Stewart is the most humane, empathetic character of the film, which means, in Nietzschean terms, she's the one who gets annihilated.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

California Weather Experts Are Beginning To Stumble Into Their Own Bullshit, And It Has To Stop

I was completely exasperated by an article by Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times about El Niño, so I wrote him a letter:
----------------



Hello!:

I’m not a registered subscriber, but I check the LA Times every now and then, particularly on El Niño stories. There was just too much wrong with your last story to let it go without comment. I think the weather experts are getting caught up in their own inconsistencies. Quoting from your story:

“The answer is that much of the rain Northern California has received in recent months is not significantly related to El Niño. Most of that precipitation — including this week's storms hitting San Francisco — is coming from the typical winter weather pattern in California: cold storms from the northern Pacific Ocean, coming northwest of the state.”

This was true early in the season, but the storms that have been hitting Northern California over the past week originate from just north of Hawaii and are definitely influenced by tropical air, and thus are definitely influenced by El Niño. They aren’t northern, Gulf of Alaska storms. Temperatures in Northern California are well above normal. It’s a misfortune that the storms aren’t also hitting Southern California – the storm patterns are offset a bit too far to the west – but the rains in Northern California have been exactly the high-frequency, low-total storms that Bill Patzert has previously-described as the trademark of El Niño.

“One reason why storms haven't been able to get through to Southern California in recent weeks is an area of high pressure southwest of the state that has been unusually persistent, Stanford University climate scientist Daniel Swain said.”

The trouble with this statement is that the area of high pressure southwest of the state is almost always there. It’s not adequate to describe it as unusually persistent, and just leave it at that. What does unusually persistent mean if it’s always there? It’s like describing the Rocky Mountains as unusually persistent. Is the area of high pressure stronger than normal, or larger than normal? Really? Skepticism is warranted!

“Patzert said there was yet again another weakening of the so-called trade winds in the central Pacific Ocean, which will allow the ocean west of Peru to heat up again, further fueling El Niño. ‘This thing is getting ready to have a second peak,’ Patzert said.”

Possibly, but hardly assured. The Australians see a general weakening of El Niño and aren’t calling for a second peak. Patzert needs to be pressed harder on this point. Why does he think there will be a second peak? Are the Australians wrong? Why are they wrong?

The general sense of the reader’s comments is one of increasing skepticism. There is merit here. The rainy season is nearly halfway done. El Niño may eventually arrive in Southern California, but it may not stay long if it arrives just as the rainy season ends. Questions to the weather experts need to be harder and more skeptical.

Marc Valdez
Sacramento Meteorologist

Monday, January 18, 2016

Auburn Road's "Fancy" is So Strong!

I've been listening to Auburn Road's "Fancy", their first album, and I'm awestruck how good it is! Any one of the songs could stand alone as a single (with the exception of the 45-second "Mic Check", which wasn't supposed to be anything but some fun). I like "Tuff Girl", in particular. Michael Anderson and crew have done an outstanding job!

At the album release party, band member Kristen Brown made one observation and one announcement. First, at the moment, the Country-Pop charts don't feature enough women. Time to change that. Second, they chose not to use AutoTune. That is the correct choice: Auburn Road's strength is their harmonies.

Now, all WE have to do is catapult them to the top of the Country-Pop charts!

Days of Olde

Weather Outlook

Generous 0.98" of rain at Sacramento Executive Airport during the last day. Two more storms are forecast to sweep through this week, with clearing next week, and slipping back into the rain the week after that.

El Niño appears to have peaked right at the start of the year, so during the year the equatorial Pacific will slowly get back to normal. Waters off of California have cooled somewhat, but not enough to prevent that Really Resilient Ridge from popping up sporadically like an unwelcome Zombie. Living in Cali means accepting the ever-present threat of drought.

The recent storms have affected Southern California very little. If this continues, an even bigger gap will open up water-wise between NorCal and SoCal than usual. Not good. The storms coming in near the end of the month may extend down south, but we'll see.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Time Passes Fast!

When I ventured to get a picture with the girls of Auburn Road, I explained that I had been in their Fierce Funk class. I saw a flash of recognition cross their faces, and one said "that was so long ago!" Made me smile! It's amazing how fast time passes when you are young. To me, it was just the day before yesterday!

Auburn Road opted for a sophisticated look for tonight's album release party. Their roots are deep in the Sacramento community scene. Here is a video from a year-and-a-half ago:

Auburn Road "Fancy" EP Album Release Party

An excellent time tonight at the Tower Theater, at the Auburn Road "Fancy" EP album release party. Turnout of about 240 excited fans. Great to see Michael Anderson's hard work in progress!

Their "Fancy" EP is available on Itunes.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bizarre January Weather News, Courtesy of the Tropics

In bizarre weather news, Hurricane Alex in the Atlantic struck the Azores, and Hurricane Pali in the Pacific dissipated. Hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere in January. It's now a thing.

"The Northeast Atlantic is a challenging location for hurricane development thanks in large part to its relatively cool water. ... However, upper-level temperatures near Alex were unusually cold for the latitude, which meant that instability--driven by the contrast between warm, moist lower levels and cold, drier upper levels--was higher than it would otherwise be.

...Peaking at Category 2 strength during its eight-day life, Pali was the earliest tropical storm and earliest hurricane to develop between the International Date Line and the Americas, and it was closer to the equator than all but two other hurricanes in global records. Only two other tropical cyclones have been observed in January in the Central Pacific."

Prescient Song From 1997

Mad TV predicted the 2016 campaign! This could be a Trump campaign song.

Rainiest Week of the Year

It's the rainiest week of the year. These are the light, misty rains that climatologist Bill Patzert at JPL in Pasadena has described as the classic sign of El Niño in California (and not, as most people assumed, heavy Pineapple Express type storms). The unfortunate irony is that we are experiencing these misty rains pretty much only in Northern California, and not in Southern California, as many climatologists predicted this winter. Weather is twisted like that.

Nevertheless, during Bella's walk in the rain tonight, there were a surprising number of people on the street. These include 1.) the friendly black man in a black jacket riding a black bike into the darkness; 2.) an elderly man in golf course wear wandering down by the freeway entrance; 3.) the suspicious young man in camouflaged gear lurking by the back door of the Donut Shop (give him a friendly neighborly wave); and 4.) a driveway parking ballet adjacent to a mysterious limousine. The dead cat in the gutter we noticed a week ago is still there, and looking the worse for wear.

"The Danish Girl"

After Zumba, I decided to sit in a dark room and eat an obscene amount of popcorn, but figured a movie would go well with that too. I had seen all of the movies I wanted to, however, so decided to take a chance and see "The Danish Girl" with Eddie Redmayne. I didn't know a single thing about the movie, but knew Redmayne is up for Best Actor at the Academy Awards in March. Is he as good as Leonardo diCaprio?

The movie is about transgender issues. I didn't know! Big surprise!

Beautiful cinematography. Lovely Northern European light. Same director as for "Les Miserables".

As the movie veered into identity issues, I was having more and more problems with it. Too much jumping of gender sharks.

Redmayne has more expressive possibilities here than he did as Stephen Hawking, but his range still struck me as narrow.

The movie has editing issues. Scenes start half a second too early - you can practically see the actors inhale as they prepare to emote - lending the movie a curious stilted feel.

Something bugged me about Alicia Vikander's acting too. Alone of the cast, she pronounces the name "Hans" with a flat American accent, which is all the more baffling and unnecessary, since she's Swedish. All she has to do is say the name the way a Swede would say it. It's not just gender that's mixed up here. She's more expressive here than as the AI robot in "Ex Machina", however.

Still, Redmayne does a pretty good job. He's good with roles that feature physical distress. But he has competition. So, in March, we will find out if it's better to be dismembered by a pioneering surgeon or a grizzly bear.

Gun Nuts Lie

Badtux on George Washington:

“A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”
Yep, it turns out that’s a fake quote invented by gun nuts.

The actual George Washington quote:

“A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a Uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.”
Background:

George Washington’s disdain for the militia was famous back in the day. They had let him down far too many times by running when the British charged with bayonets.

...As a result, Washington got the following written into the Constitution as a power of the new Congress, Article I, Section 8 Clause 16, where Congress is given the power to regulate the state militias....

The hope was that by having the Federal government in charge of arming the militias and setting standards of training and discipline, the militias could be brought up to the point of being militarily useful, rather than a useless armed rabble.

Restless Dog Syndrome

Some people have Restless Leg Syndrome; I have Restless Dog Syndrome. Usually it means a cat is creeping around somewhere outside, but she's already made her feline patrol, and it's manifesting itself as an insatiable demand for attention - at 3 a.m.

In A 1980's Mood

Pantages Theater, LA, December, 1983.

"Good Day Sacramento" Dance Fitness Exhibition

Six different dance fitness formats from all over California were featured this morning on "Good Day, Sacramento", broadcasting from Step One Health and Fitness Studio at 19th and T Streets. Not only was the broadcast good for publicity (New Year's resolutions, and all), it was also an opportunity to see what other folks do, and to try out different formats.

"Good Day Sacramento" hosts three videos of the broadcast, and I wedged my way into all three. I get the most air time here, dancing "Cize" for the first time ever.