Friday, December 09, 2005

No Dragons Were Harmed In The Making Of This Film

Friday evening, I went with the DMTC crew to the Natomas Regal Cinema multiplex to see "Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire." My mistake was drinking three glasses of Gewurtztraminer at the annual company Christmas party, just prior to sitting in a warm, dark room in a comfy chair. I dozed a bit, and lost some of the busy plot.

Plot loss wasn't as bad as when I saw Austin Powers III, however, and actually fainted, because I started laughing uncontrollably at the shadow play featured in every Austin Powers movie (the Mini-Me getting 'born' bit just slays me) , and I couldn't get my breath for more than 30 seconds, since I was folded up in a seat with a belly full of popcorn and diet soda, and my wheezing and snorting laugh cramped up my diaphragm's style, and Michael Myers just wouldn't stop being funny, and the inevitable result was a few moments of unconsciousness. But, that was then. This is now. Where was I?

Oh yes, plot loss. Anyway, the Harry Potter movie was interesting visually, but a bit hard for me to follow, since I haven't read the books, and couldn't properly place the wizards, and the dragons, and the potions, and the special effects. Steve apparently had similar difficulties, even though he was wide awake. But I think we all enjoyed the film nonetheless. Just don't spring Harry Potter charades on either of us, though.

Outside, KCRA Channel 3 was preparing to go live to catch the 11 p.m. premiere crowd for "Narnia." I leaned into the TV van and said "It's bad to watch so much TV!" The fellow in a suit sitting inside the van smiled and said, "Yeah, unless you are paid to do it!"
Cool Album Cover Ideas From The Mid-70's...

That somehow didn't go anywhere. Maybe if we had taken the photo BEFORE sunset, and worn swim suits, and maybe played in a band, it would have helped! (Courtesy of Dyer Lytle: seated, left, Walt Kubilius; right, John Shortess. Skidding, left, Marc Valdez; center, Joel Weinfeld.)
Many Happy Tidings!

To Lauren and Mike Mac, on the occasion of their wedding - tomorrow!
A View From A Bridge

There is an unusually-detailed review by Corky Templeman in the December 1st East Sacramento News (unfortunately no link yet available) regarding Natomas' Charter School's "A View From A Bridge." Wish I had seen the production, but the review is written in a breathless 'you are there' perspective that is very helpful in - putting you there!

I thought it was interesting how rapidly Chloe Condon's characters are evolving - from an orphan in Annie, to Zaneeta in Music Man, to a maiden in Pirates, to a politically-embroiled lover (Catherine) in Bridge:
The energy of Catherine and Rodolpho's ebullient liaison spilled into the audience just as Eddie's dark and insane rage would inevitably submerge it. The audience held its breath as they began to witness the peeling back of the outer layer of this family.
Ouch! At this blistering pace, by next year, Chloe will burn through adulthood, and start playing retirees!

Over at B3ta, drama student 'La Rousse' discusses her five-year journey in search of a drama degree:

  • played a prostitute;
  • played an old lady (same production);
  • been beaten up twice;
  • learned to waltz;
  • fallen on my arse more than once;
  • played a body piercer;
  • played a chav;
  • rapped parts of midsummernights dream;
  • been blindfolded and poked;
  • run around the woods in the dark with a firey torch;
  • played a STD , and;
  • played Mary Tudor and a horse;
Women tend to have more complicated dramatic journeys than men do. No matter what happens, I'm the cop, or the drunk (except in "Victor/Victoria", when I was the bartender).

I also thought it interesting in "A View from A Bridge" how Colin Sphar apparently composed the jazz accompaniment. Cool! Times change. It was only as far back as 2001, in DMTC's "Oliver!", that Steve would mutter during intermissions, in a jaundiced 'I Hate Kids' mind set, that young Colin should go play on the Interstate (Steve was just teasing, but he's such a good actor, sometimes it's hard to tell). If Colin did venture onto the busy asphalt, it apparently only helped with the music!

It will be interesting to see what these talented folks do next!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Makeshift Swing

I've known people who would have done exactly this. I got out of rock-climbing when I realized my double-jointedness was a recipe for disaster:
An experienced rock climber died early Tuesday after he climbed to the tip of a 10-story crane on the University of Colorado campus and then used rock climbing gear to create what amounted to a giant swing.

Ryan Young, 22, may have been blown off course by a gust of wind, sending him crashing into a building across the street, CU police Lt. Tim McGraw said.

"As we all know, the winds were blowing last night, and as we also know, crane arms aren't tied down," McGraw said. "They're somewhat akin to a large weather vane. A little movement on the end of the crane could have a huge impact."
Melody on Tour

Nice story regarding Melody Davi in the Sacramento Bee today. Sounds like she's becoming a good judge of audiences too:
Davi said she discovered that the most appreciative audiences are in out-of-the-way places.

"The crazy thing is that when we get to smaller venues, we have the best reaction," she said.

She described the sold-out Stockton audience, for instance, as "a great house."

Following the brief break, "42nd Street" left this week for a six-day trip to Anchorage, Alaska.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Breed Apart

One nice thing about attending New Mexico Tech, in Socorro, for two years in the mid-70's, was being a Techie: a breed apart among college students.

The hallmark of being a Techie was an independence of thought and manner. All college students are susceptible to herd-think, but the awkward placement of NM Tech far from major cities removed the herd, and served to provoke original thinking and adventurousness, whether that meant plunging into caves and abandoned mines on weekends, or scouting for Indian ruins, or hiking through the mountains and badlands of central NM (there were plenty of 'chemical' adventures as well, but I steered away from most of that).

Dyer just sent this scanned photo from one of several trips we took to the vicinity of San Antonio/San Marcial, NM, around 1975. Hanging from the sign is John Shortess: I'm there in the checked shirt, with Joel Weinfeld (with his beta version of photogray glasses) and Walt Kubilius (leaning on the pole). I'm not sure if this is the trip where we found the dessicated cow or not. It looks pretty chilly in this photo.

As I recall, the grand challenge of the location was trying to screw up the courage to cross the Santa Fe railway trestle on foot from San Marcial, over the Rio Grande river, to the remote, desolate east side. The trestle crossed the Rio Grande at an shallow angle, and thus was a couple of miles long. Had a train come down the tracks there would have been no alternative but to jump 30 feet into the shallow Rio Grande, or into the neighboring brush, miles from help. It would have been difficult, at best, to try to outrun the train over such a long distance on foot. Alternatively, we could have hung off the end of railroad ties as the train passed by a few feet away. Very scary. I don't think any of us ever attempted the grand challenge. A pity, really. Maybe we were more susceptible to herd-think than I thought! Maybe I can still do it! ("Confused Man, No Doubt On A Chemical Adventure, Swan-Dives Into Muddy Oblivion" will read the headline).

The world is a small place. The only time I've ever seen a Broadway play ('Dracula' in 1978), Walt and I bumped into John Shortess in the lobby of the Broadway theater, quite by accident, 2000 miles from Socorro. How strange!
Mel Gibson, Republican For Governor?

Ha ha! California voters would never vote for an actor for Governor, would they?

(Oh yeah, I guess there's a track record there, isn't there?)
Happy, er... Holidays

It's just plain amusing that the Bush White House is in so much trouble with the xenophobic right wing for its "Happy Holidays" cards. Like The Carpetbagger notes:
Laura Bush's press secretary defended the holiday card saying the First Family "included best wishes for a holiday season, rather than Christmas wishes, because they are sent to people of all faiths." But that's only likely to make things worse — conservative whiners don't care about non-Christian faiths and they don't want the White House to care either.

It's pretty cold along the Front Range of the Rockies right now - temperatures in and around zero degrees Fahrenheit. Lows dipped to 45 below at West Yellowstone. Deborah in Ahwatukee (just outside Phoenix), reported 34 degrees yesterday (Sky Harbor airport reported 37 degrees), which is pretty darn cold for that place. Doug went camping at the Grand Canyon, and it was three degrees Fahrenheit there (thank goodness for down).

FNMOC forecasts suggest this weather pattern will continue for awhile, with an extreme ridge in the west and an extreme trough in the east, and given the long Rossby wavelength, it won't be moving very far, very fast. Continued arctic intrusions into the Plains....brr!
It's Official...

The best Woodland tradition is/was:
Chili Cook-off (5) 24%
Yolo County Fair (2) 10%
Stroll Through History (7) 33%
Hot August Cruise Night (3) 14%
Christmas Parade (4) 19%
I like the Hot August Night myself. Low-riders with bouncy hydraulics and sharp bicycles with great paint jobs shimmering in mirror shards on black velvet.

Laurie T, And The Trick

A fine band - lots of 70's covers: 'Hotel California' by the Eagles, KC & The Sunshine Band, some newer stuff that sounded like Shania Twain. I didn't hear them play Sheryl Crow, but she would have fit right in.

At one point, a delicate diplomatic moment arose. An enthusiastic patron called out for a DJ. For most bands, that might be quite insulting. Seeing the patron's enthusiasm, though, and the possibility that her English skills were quite limited, the appropriate interpretation of the remark was that she wanted more dance tunes. So everyone clap your hands!

At one point, the band offered to play Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Free Bird' but then changed their minds. I took this to be a good omen. 'Free Bird' has been overworked all these years.

When I graduated from West Mesa High School in 1974, a student committee chose two songs to best represent our class: one by Cat Stevens (was it 'Oh Very Young'?), and another by Seals and Crofts. These were excellent, youthful, optimistic songs from our golden year of 1974.

When the Cibola High School class of 1980 (my youngest sister's class) chose their class song, they chose 'Free Bird,' even though it actually came from 1974. In the intervening six years, the song had become something of an anthem of southern rock-and-roll, and had achieved an enduring second popularity that escapes most pop songs. I took the mismatch of year to be a bad omen, however, indicating a nostalgic, conservative bent-of-mind of the graduating class. Then that fall, Reagan was elected, and it's been downhill ever since.

When most of the band members of Lynyrd Skynyrd were wiped out in a plane crash, I heard about it on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Cronkite pronounced the band's name with a jolly Swedish lilt that knocked me on the floor with laughter. It was clear that Cronkite had never seen or heard the name until it popped up on his teleprompter, and he gave it a good, robust sight-read attempt. I suppose if you tried to plot out social circles with a Venn Diagram, and put Charlie Daniels and the Allman Brothers Band in one bubble, and the '60 Minutes' crew in another bubble, you'd end up with two separate, isolated bubbles. It was the funniest plane crash I ever heard about, which reminds me of Don Henley's song, 'Dirty Laundry' (which Laurie T and the Trick also covered), which was inspired by the 1977 movie "Network," and cynically discusses a TV anchor:
We got the bubbleheaded bleach-blonde, comes on at 5
She can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye
It's interesting when people die, give us dirty laundry
We need new anthems to replace the old ones like 'Free Bird'. How about 'Beat It' by Michael Jackson? (Bad idea - forget I ever mentioned it) How about that incredibly windy Celine Dion Titanic hit 'I Will Always Remember You?' (Too cold!) How about the 'Macarena'? (I can hear the call for a DJ now).

We'll think of something, I'm sure.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

All That Glitters Is Not Gold....

But better to have loved glitter and lost glitter than not to have loved glitter at all.
Orchestral Din

And "Sleeping Beauty" no less. Who'd have thought it would be so - noisy?:
To stick within the law, some musicians will have to wear ear plugs and some will have to be replaced at the interval, costing Australian Ballet up to $100,000 extra for the production. WorkCover told the orchestra's managers, Opera Australia, the musicians could not be subjected to noise greater than 85 decibels averaged over a working day, which it believes Sleeping Beauty will exceed.

Opera Australia has agreed to shorten the length of time some musicians spend in the pit and hire casuals - at an average cost of $140 a shift - to fill the 750 extra spots it now needs to cover.

Australian Ballet has to foot the bill, but the upheaval has also given Opera Australia a headache. Finding replacement musicians two weeks before Sleeping Beauty opens on December 2 is proving difficult. Vernon Winley, Opera Australia's human resources director and executive in charge of the AOBO, said Opera Australia would have to look at bringing musicians in from other states. "We're having to look very hard," he said.

... Musicians complain of damage to their hearing, and at least three have refused to play in Sleeping Beauty.

Those that remain are worried the quality of the music will suffer and are considering writing a disclaimer for the audience.

"It's going to be really awful," said Will Farmer, a trombonist. "Nobody knows, for example, how it's going to sound when the whole brass section have got their ear plugs [in].
Telling Remark

By Digby, regarding Christopher Hitchens:
For a guy who models himself on George Orwell he sure is a naive little thing, isn't he? Where has he been?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Rio Rancho Estates - The Nightmare Unleashed

Tribune caption: Earthmovers are the only occupants of what will one day be Rio Rancho's new Downtown six miles west of the city's current center. In this aerial photo, Unser Boulevard runs along the bottom of the photo, crossed by the under-construction extension of King Boulevard. (Craig Fritz/Tribune)

Nothing in my life has been so bothersome to watch as the relentless, sprawling growth of Rio Rancho Estates, west of my hometown of Corrales (which, in turn, is NW of Albuquerque, NM). Nothing can stop the cancerous spread of Rio Rancho, with its utter contempt for the land and the living creatures on it. [Note: I've had many good friends from Rio Rancho over the years - my complaint is with the form of development, not the people].

The most ominous part of the growth is that there seems to be no natural limit for it. Rio Rancho, and the WESCORP development planned further to the west could eventually dwarf Albuquerque, and become even larger than, say, Phoenix. But even then, there would be no natural stopping point. It could outstrip LA even, and envelope any and every possible barrier, spilling past Mt. Taylor, chewing north and south, and west, west, west. Only the spread of a contagious, fatal human virus could stop it.

The Albuquerque Tribune has recently run a special series, looking at the feeding, breeding, building, despoiling horde out there.
Today, this suburban Shangri-La is just a few subdivisions away from becoming the third-largest city in New Mexico, behind Albuquerque and Las Cruces. In a few years, its borders are expected to span a massive 300 to 400 square miles - nearly twice the geographic size of Albuquerque and Las Cruces combined.
In the last Ice Age, Rio Rancho used to be a vast 400 square mile Serengeti Plain, with mammoths, camels, and other large grazing animals roaming around. There are plenty of red, clayish, river-mud-like rocks, for example, in the hill north of the Country Club, that indicate the Rio Grande once wandered across that vast area. The Rio Grande eventually settled into its current valley near the Sandia Mountains, and the vast plain dried out a vast steppe, with its own, unique charm.

Now, the place is being carved up, and what little life left is being systematically erased.

It’s a strange social environment too. Development always takes surprising turns out in Rio Rancho. The place has developed a strange, schizophrenic dichotomy between those homeowners who built their own homes in detached independence, and those who have their homes built for them, as part of clashing subdivisions. A drive up Highway 528 just highlights the strange weirdness of the place – the clones and the cowboys. Are they in harmony? Or are they at war? Or are they all – just plain weird? What must it be like to be a kid there, growing up?
"It was a mesa with millions of tumbleweeds," longtime resident Arturo Boniello says of the nowhere he bought into in the 1970s. "It was a bunch of nothing."
People misremember their own history. No, the tumbleweeds sprouted up in your wake! Tumbleweed is an opportunistic plant – it grows in disturbed soils. If the place had been left in a more-natural state, there wouldn’t have been nearly so many tumbleweeds!

When I was 15, I used to walk from Corrales to Rio Rancho, where I’d either go visit friends (particularly Jeff Anderson) or go to work at a tree nursery where I had a summer job (Jeff helped get me that job). I remember the two of us once approached a lonely, unfenced, modern-looking suburban house that had sprung up suddenly along my usual path. Dust blew everywhere from the disturbed soil. I heard a lonely, frightened man with a Brooklyn accent warily shout hello. We said hello back – we meant no harm, and we were just passing by – but I always wondered what he was thinking, lost and adrift in this strange, new, sunny, barren world, where unknown teenagers can just walk right up to your door, or buzz past on dirt bikes.

I could see the rapid transformation of the place, how grading the hills above Corrales stripped the sugar sand of any coherence whatsoever, allowing instant arroyos to be made when the summer thunderstorms came along. One 30-foot deep arroyo appeared overnight in 1974, north of Ella Drive, where Corrales and Rio Rancho shared a boundary, and where the Rio Rancho folks had unwisely decided to dump water from the gutters of Corrales Heights. Lots of money was spent corralling that damage in. A dam was built, but there was enough water fetch on the face of the dam itself to allow continued arroyo development downstream, dam or not: the 30-foot deep arroyo became 50-feet deep below the dam. I can only imagine what a wretched mess that particular place must be, 30 years later.

This picture epitomizes everything that angers me about Rio Rancho: the dunes, like all major soil disturbances out there, are pretty-much man-made. Tribune caption: Vincenzo La Mendola, 10, rides down a sand dune north of Northern Boulevard on Unser Boulevard. Vincenzo's grandfather moved to Albuquerque in 1974 from New York after seeing real estate advertisements; he later moved to Rio Rancho. The dunes are typical of what all of Rio Rancho once looked like, but they are destined to become the city's new Downtown. (Craig Fritz/Tribune)

In the beginning of Rio Rancho Estates was the Word, and the Word was Greed:
The campaign was concocted by a fledgling New York conglomerate called American Reality and Petroleum Co. - AMREP for short - whose main stock in trade before Rio Rancho had been mail-order roses.

"I got those advertisements showing rivers and green grass, green, beautiful," Boniello says. "I hesitated when they started coming, but those mailed things kept coming."

…Rio Rancho, they said, was a lucrative investment, costing as little as $10 down for half-acre lots, which started in the 1960s at $795, but reaping as much or more than 150 percent in resale values as the shining metropolis of Albuquerque spilled westward.

Rio Rancho, they said, offered fishing, camping, swimming and golfing in a place where the sun shone 360 days a year. It sloped along "one of the greenest most fertile valleys in the world," the brochures bragged. It was "a resort region featuring giant lakes," another said.

…By 1969, some 1,500 people lived in Rio Rancho. The community had one police officer and a volunteer sheriff's posse. …New Yorkers then made up a large percentage of the population, earning Rio Rancho the nickname "Little New York" and making memberships to the New York Club the hottest social ticket in town.

…"There is no question that Intel made this place," Forbes says. "It exploded afterward. Before, we were like one big, happy family here, even though we were all different religions and backgrounds. Unfortunately, it's changing."
The place is straining to stay ahead of the boom:
This school year, more than 13,621 students are enrolled in the district's 16 schools, up from about 5,905 in seven schools in 1994, when the district began.

…To help pay for the buildings to house such successes, Rio Rancho voters in 2003 approved the maximum sale of general obligation bonds, taxing themselves to the limit and maxing the district's bonding capacity.

…Hveem has seen the high school's population skyrocket from about 2,000 in 1997 to 3,481 students in the 2004-05 school year, 693 more than the second-largest school in the state, Cibola, at 2,788. Hveem says this year's population could reach about 3,700.
And the boosters:
Not surprisingly, Mayor Jim Owen, a hopelessly optimistic man who can make a weed seem like a rose, sees it differently.

Rio Rancho, he says, is a clean slate, free of the usual mistakes older cities have made. Its personality is broad, fresh, American.

"We're a good blend, a new breed," he says. "We're the maverick people who can get things done."
No, you are a parasitic clone.

"In 1995, there was not one stick of wood out here," he says. "Now it's rooftops as far as the eye can see."

A newcomer might see ugly, uncontrolled sprawl. Owen sees a beautiful future.

"We'll be that big because we can be that big," he says. "Albuquerque is hemmed in, but Rio Rancho has room to grow."

…Finishing up his first term as mayor, Owen has turned into the city's primary salesman, a veritable P.T. Barnum.

His stories of the old days act as the prologue to a tale of unparalleled growth, of a city with so much potential he terms it "the Dallas to Albuquerque's Fort Worth."

"I'm the one that coined the phrase," he says of his Dallas reference. "Everybody thought I was insane.

"But everybody's saying it now."

By Owen's estimate, Rio Rancho could someday grow to almost 400 square miles once it envelops all the land he hopes to annex.

If that comes to fruition, Rio Rancho would more than double the land of present-day Albuquerque.

"We can be that big. Albuquerque can't be that big," Owen says. "The only way they can move is west, and they have no heart to move west.

"We will go west all the way to Laguna (Pueblo)."

... Nearly 90 subdivisions are under construction.

"You can't fight growth," he says. "We exist as a result of being able to have affordable housing. We're trying to build this community in such a way that you don't have to go to Albuquerque and Santa Fe."

One good feature of the Tribune series is to focus on the role of “redevelopment” in trying to establish some coherence to development in Rio Rancho. Redevelopment in such a place is like trying to repair the damage caused by a suicide bomber: civic planning would have been a better thing to do, but who has the time to plan during an explosion:
"Redevelopment is the acquisition of property for the public good," Tollefson says.

Using powers granted by the state, a municipality like Rio Rancho can buy individually owned lots in tracts of land that have not been developed or are developing too slowly.

...The city of Rio Rancho, incorporated in 1981 and now with a population of about 70,000, uses redevelopment as a tool for what it calls orderly growth.

…Matt DeAveiro of Coldwell Banker, who has been selling real estate in Rio Rancho for 18 years, says the redevelopment process has two sides. Owners fret the process will cheat them out of a fair price, he says, but the money might be the only chance they have to get anything out of their unimproved land.

"The only way you are going to improve those properties is by bringing utilities in, and (individual owners) are not going to do that because they can't afford to," he says.

"And redevelopment is the only way the city can go forward and help citizens throughout the community."

According to Tollefson, roughly 25 percent of Rio Rancho's 103 square miles is developed or under development.

...Tollefson says tracts selected for redevelopment are those adjacent to or surrounded by developed tracts and so are those that have immediate access to infrastructure.

"Rio Rancho wants to retain a rural character and large lots in some areas," Tollefson says. "We want a diverse mix of residential development.
Rio Rancho has never had a rural character, and never will. It is hostile to rural values, like living off the land, rather than grading it into oblivion.
Their population estimates four years ago showed Rio Rancho would be home to 100,000 people by 2020. Now officials peg the total at 125,000 by 2010.

At that rate, the city will add about 11,000 people a year, Tollefson says.

To pay the tab for so much development, Rio Rancho in 1995 started an impact fee system, charging developers for improvements like roads and parks.

"In terms of financial improvements, we're able to keep up because of impact fees," Tollefson says. To hold that trend, city councilors have proposed raising the fees by 51.4 percent. As it is, an average house price includes $6,094 in impact fees. That would rise to $9,229 by January 2007.

In Albuquerque, impact fees - increased in July of this year - vary depending on the location of the house. A 2,000-square-foot house on the West Side, for example, includes $8,000 in impact fees; something similar in Nob Hill includes $1,332 in fees.
The place eats resources too:
In securing a future with water, Rio Rancho must play catch-up to Albuquerque, where Duke City officials in the early 1960s set up the San Juan-Chama project, giving it the right to sip water from the Rio Grande.

Rio Rancho, by contrast, must keep buying water rights under a permit granted by the state Engineer's Office. So far, says state Engineer John D’Antonio, the city is on the right path.

"There is enough, but it gets increasingly harder to find water and land to take out of (agricultural) production," he says. "It's going to be expensive. Water rights are available, but it's difficult to find willing sellers."

Costs vary, but water rights have sold for several thousand dollars an acre-foot in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. Under a 1979 permit with the state Engineer's Office, Rio Rancho is entitled to 12,000 acre-feet of water a year but must offset the effect of its pumping on the Rio Grande.
What can stop the sprawl? The counter-culture can’t do it…
There it lies, at the end of Rainbow Boulevard, a secret treasure.

Where the rough dirt road stops, an ancient escarpment drops into the scrubby vastness of the Sandoval County desert. Silently, it marks the northeast border of Rio Rancho with a stunning, postcard-worthy view.

Gilbert and Virginia Otterstetter, living in a solar-powered trailer just three uninhabited miles from the site, have it mostly to themselves. For now. But in about five years, Rainbow Boulevard will be paved and lined by houses, and the secret treasure won't be much of a secret anymore.

Gilbert, 62, and Virginia, 60, moved there for the solitude, for the big sky, for the independence. The sun powers their hot water heater, oven and electricity. A friends hauls 1,500 gallons of water to them for $50.

"We are totally off the grid. We don't owe anyone anything," Virginia says.

…"Eventually they are going to be out here," Virginia says. "But are they going to want to build around my ugly trailer?"

She doesn't think so. She worries that a developer, as has happened in the city's past, will persuade the city to use eminent domain to claim her plot so it can be absorbed into a tidier development parcel.
I liked the words of V.B. Price:
I've never been a fan of the concept of Rio Rancho - a supersprawl, developer city built around the Eisenhower-era fiction of limitless water and limitless petroleum, a generic American place plopped on a distinctive New Mexican landscape, with no ecological or cultural sensitivity and no conservation strategy, selling people "affordable housing" miles away from most of their jobs.

…Granted, Rio Rancho is an economic competitor. But even with Intel's semiconductor plant there, the city's self-promotion as a "tech-savvy community," with broadband for all, and its expanding call center industry, Rio Rancho is still an economic parasite on Albuquerque, where most of its jobs and cultural attractions reside.

From an airplane, before Rio Rancho became a city, the area's endless miles of bulldozed roads seemed to many New Mexicans like airstrips for an invasion from Long Island, N.Y. And as Rio Rancho has grown, it has, indeed, invaded some of the most beautiful country in our area, sprawling right up to U.S. 550, without any buffer zone. The mountain-blocking walls on N.M. 528 along River's Edge make driving in Rio Rancho like driving in occupied territory.

It's for reasons like this that many New Mexicans see Rio Rancho more as a land-gobbling amoeba than a City of Vision.

It's worrisome Rio Rancho is a city that's growing beyond its water supply and that's clogging the interstates into Albuquerque with lung-wrecking traffic congestion.

Rio Rancho's water problems could get serious, especially if it tries to grow to 100,000 residents by 2020. Right now, it's in a struggle with the state Engineer's Office over transferring water rights from Sierra County. Rio Rancho's growth means taking water from rural places that might like to do a little of their own growing one day.

If Rio Rancho does continue to grow, I wonder if it will feel some of the animosity from rural New Mexico legislators that's always directed a Albuquerque. At least that would be sharing a burden.
Remember, Sierra County is more than 150 miles away. Rio Rancho, the behemoth child, is hungry, and getting hungrier....
Three Pieces, or Two?

There is some question regarding how the HMS Titanic sunk in 1912:
Undersea explorers said Monday that the discovery of more wreckage from the Titanic suggests that the luxury liner broke into three sections -- not two, as commonly thought -- and thus sank faster than previously believed.
So, how can DMTC simulate what really happened to the Titanic? Special effects:
The wind began to switch - the house to pitch and suddenly
the hinges started to unhitch....

The house began to pitch. The kitchen took a slitch.
It landed on the Wicked Witch (of the North ... Atlantic)
in the middle of a ditch,
This is what will happen to the "house" that Mike Mac will build!
The Wasted Teachings of Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome

Gabe quotes, from Meditations, Book V, No. 28:
Art thou angry with him whose arm-pits stink? Art thou angry with him whose mouth smells foul? What good will this anger do thee? He has such a mouth, he has such arm-pits: it is necessary that such an emanation must come from such things—but the man has reason, it will be said, and he is able, if he takes pains, to discover wherein he offends—I wish thee well of thy discovery. Well then, and thou hast reason: by thy rational faculty stir up his rational faculty; show him his error, admonish him. For if he listens, thou wilt cure him, and there is no need of passion; leave that to actors and whores.
I respond:
Hmmm..... It's good not to get too excited by such things, I suppose. But those actors, and those whores: who can blame them?
Gabe replies with a pithy saying:
All roads lead to Rome.
I respond:
Including the road with the smelly armpit/bad breath guy, but I'm not going to get all passionate about it, like the hos and the actors do.
Gabe replies:
You cannot step into the same river twice.
I respond:
Smelly armpit/bad breath guy never stepped in a river at all: otherwise, the discussion would be moot.
Gabe puzzles at the word "hos". I elaborate:
There he is! He's foul, but he's coming to Rome, and he's got bling-bling!
To emphasize, Marcus Aurelius is well-known as the last, and the philosophic best, of the Five Good Emperors of Rome.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Into The Woods" Closes

Nice show, but more fatalities (15) than any show since "Sweeney Todd," and with a cast of only 17, or so, it's just too many casualties: City of Davis health and safety code demands no more than ten (10) fatalities per production. But I guess that won't work, with "Titanic" coming up, with its 1,000+ casualties. Weren't all those folks in steerage anyway? In any event, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is casualty-lite, with only a missing goat or two, so maybe it all averages out.
Can't Shake Epsilon

Persistent hurricane!:
The storm was about 1,000 miles west of Portugal's Azores islands and moving to the east at 12 mph (19 kph).

"Epsilon is a tenacious tropical cyclone which has maintained hurricane intensity over cool waters and apparent unfavorable atmospheric conditions," the Miami-based hurricane center said. But it reiterated its expectation that the storm would steadily weaken over the next few days.
Dreamcoat Productions

Jocelyn Price says that Julia Spangler and herself, under the sponsorship of Julia's mother, Helen, are going to put together a theater company of their own, aimed at teens, called Dreamcoat Productions. They have several projects under consideration for the coming year, with performances planned for DMTC's Hoblit Performing Arts Center.

It seems that if the number of available facilities expands, the number of theater companies will expand as well, to fill the available space. The proliferation of theaters in the Sacramento area over the last decade might be partly responsible for the proliferation of theater companies in the same time period. Makes the Elly Awards process more complicated than ever, these days.

I had thought that DMTC should cast about looking for dance companies to fill DMTC's dark nights at the New Theater, or other perhaps other embryonic theater companies, like Flying Monkey or Big Barn, would make approaches to us. There's no reason, of course, why we can't give birth to our own companies, like Dreamcoat Productions.

And we might still hear from other folks. Jennifer Lin says that Sacramento Opera is beginning to look for a smaller facility than the Sacramento Community Center, or the Mondavi, for smaller productions. Perhaps we'll hear from a number of people over the next year. We'll need to come up with rules and procedures. Right now, all I can think of is some basic rules: no spitting on stage, no fireworks or large predatory animals. Mimes would be OK, though. We need mimes - theater companies talk too much, in general.