Friday, October 26, 2007

Waiting With Bated Breath

Parenting advice:
AS lawyers for Britney Spears and her ex-husband fought a court battle over custody of their two young sons, a publisher said today the pop star's mother is writing a book about parenting.

Religious publisher Thomas Nelson said it will publish Pop Culture Mom: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World, by Lynne Spears.
Ivan Sandoval's Role At DMTC's Founding

To add to the various encomiums upon the recent passing of Ivan Sandoval, it's important to note Sandoval's formative influence as Artistic Director (for a year) in some of DMTC's earliest years (1985-86).

He will be greatly missed by Sacramento's theater community....

Case In Point

No wonder celebrities can't stand the company of journalists: FEMA's fake news conference.
Even The Celebrities Are Embarrassed

Funny post:
Oh, the irony! Maria Shriver has announced that she will not be returning to her career in journalism because she is so disgusted by what television news has become in the wake of the Anna Nicole Smith imbroglio. Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, the First Lady of California said, "it was then that I knew that the TV news business had changed and so had I."

This is rich coming from a woman who spent a year doing "in-depth" stories on the OJ Simpson trial, and spent years doing the oh-so-hefty weekend Today Show?

...So the celebrity action star marries the celebrity mouthpiece, and announces his candidacy on her network (on a comedy show, yet), and they become the celebrity Governor and celebrity First Lady of the celebrity state. Well done, American Television Journalism! Couldn't've done it withoutcha! A state the size of major European countries has as its chief executive a man who has absolutely no experience in elected politics, courtesy entirely of the nature of celebritizing the news, and now his wife has decided that journalism has sunk below her standards!
Only Glam Fans Please

One problem with being a fashion perfectionist is that even studio audiences have to pass a certain inspection before being allowed even passing association with a star:
"ITV Productions are currently casting an audience for a new ITV 1 one-off special The Kylie Show ... We are looking for 17- to 30-year-olds who are not only dancers but are also Kylie fans. You will ... be required to join in, dancing and cheering, as Kylie performs a range of songs, old and new, on a series of different sets."

..."We are casting urban, individual, funky, glamorous-looking people to be part of the featured audience. If you are interested and fit the bill please contact us. This is a non-paid event. However, it will be a great experience and refreshments will be provided."
How To Escape Monkey Attack

Rhesus monkeys gone wild:
It's like Mom said about muggers: Just give 'em what they want. When monkeys get aggressive, it's usually because they think you have something to eat. According to one study, about three-quarters of all the aggressive interactions between long-tailed macaques and tourists at Bali's Padangtegal Monkey Forest involved food. If you are holding a snack, throw it in their direction, and they'll stop bothering you. If you don't have any food, hold out your open palms to show you're not carrying a tasty treat or back away from the monkeys without showing fear. To diffuse the situation, don't make eye contact or smile with your teeth showing—in the nonhuman primate world, these are almost always signs of aggression.

...Aggressive city monkeys will give you lots of warnings before an actual fight breaks out. First, the animals will look at you in the eyes, open their mouths, and bare their teeth. Rhesus macaques, the aggressive monkeys that cause a lot of the trouble in Delhi, will then warn you with a grunt. Next, they might fake a lunge toward you; this often causes a victim to lose his balance. If you're still withholding food, they'll grab at your knees and legs, and put their mouths on you so that you can feel their teeth. Finally, if you still won't cooperate, they'll sink their canines into you. The study in Bali found that most macaque bites don't break the skin, but a wound could allow transmission of herpes B, which can be fatal to humans.

...What if you can't or won't appease the monkeys with food? You can try to chase them off by shaking a stick at them, but they might get violent if cornered. If they don't budge, bop 'em on the head; visitors to temples in India sometimes carry a stick for just this reason. Primatologists will sometimes send a macaque warning signal called the open-mouth threat. Basically, form an "O" with your mouth, lean toward them with your body and head, and raise your eyebrows. Female victims might seek protection in a group of men, since monkeys are somewhat afraid of males. But whatever you do, don't freak out; those who scream, wave their arms, and run away are only going to make the macaques even more aggressive.

Hamaca Firmat

A haunted Argentine swing moves without human contact.

Or a wind-driven resonance phenomenon of some sort is at work.

But whatever it is, it's pretty cool.....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Don't Get Complacent Yet

I don’t like this Horno fire coming in from the northwest, on the Camp Pendleton military reservation.

Just make it stop.....

The fellow shot by police in San Bernardino has been ID'd:
A sixth man, Russell Lane Daves, 27, of Topock, Ariz., was shot to death by San Bernardino police Tuesday after he fled officers who approached to see if he might be trying to set a fire.
In the 90's there was a whole, strange paramilitary scene up there in the Oatman, AZ area, not that far from Topock. I wonder if the scene is still active and if there are links?

He's known to the police:
In September, Daves was arrested in Mohave County for endangerment domestic violence. According to the Mohave County Sheriff Department, Daves told deputies to shoot him as he walked out into the desert with his 2-year-old son. Deputies convinced Daves to hand his son over to a deputy and he was taken into custody after resisting arrest.
Apparently a graduate of River Valley High School in Bullhead City, AZ, in 1997.

Who can say for sure? Probably not al Qaeda, though, like some conservative bloggers are speculating.
The Modern Spirit

At M.'s suggestion, I've been taking a modern dance class up in Carmichael on Thursdays. Something new; a change of direction. The movement is real nice.

It is odd, however, being so much older than everyone else. Apart from M., and the teacher, who is in her 20's, I think the next-oldest person is about 16.

Nice group though - limber and talented!
Preparing The Haunted House

I'm glad there are people in the world who have vivid imaginations. A family I don't know came in on Sunday and completely revamped the crude stuff we had started in the dressing rooms. Now it looks so much better!

We need more people doing the Time Warp. I know we need to frighten people and all, but if I'm the only one up there on the stage doing the pelvic thrust, it'll irritate the spirits in the Indian burial ground under the orchestra pit....

(actually we have several people on the dance, but we need more....)
Geophysics From "The Onion"

What would it be like to touch a cloud? :
"It might feel like a marshmallow or like cotton candy," said geophysical sciences department chair Michael J. Foote, Ph.D., who in July received a $10 million National Science Foundation grant to analyze the effects of clouds on the human somatosensory system. "We know that it might be sticky. But it could also feel fluffy or creamy."

While Foote claimed that a person would likely attain instantaneous unconsciousness if laid horizontally atop a cumulus cloud, opposing scientists argued that a person would fall right through.
California Fires From The International Space Station

(More interesting than VP Cheney falling asleep today as GW Bush droned on about Southern California winds.....)


Crafty devils!

Eager-To-Please Mongolia

Just wanting to be helpful:
The State Department with great fanfare on Tuesday signed an agreement with landlocked Mongolia that will allow Mongolian ships to be boarded and searched if they are suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.

This despite the fact that Mongolia -- a vast land that's home to the Gobi Desert, windswept steppes and largely populated by nomadic yak herders -- has no navy at all and lies thousands of miles from open waters.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

REPO! The Genetic Opera - Official Movie Trailer (2008)

Wow! Paris Hilton and Sarah Brightman TOGETHER in this horror musical.

It's bad, bad, bad, and it will be a huge hit....

The Backup Dancers Were Cool

So pay them already:
Britney Spears is so "in her own world," she likely has no idea the hard-working backup dancers on her MTV Video Music Award performance of "Gimme More" have not been fully paid. "The dancers were paid for the actual show and some of the rehearsals, but not all of them," an insider told Us Weekly.
Barmaid Behaving Badly

Bad barmaid. Bad barmaid:
SHOWING patrons she could crush beer cans between her exposed breasts has cost West Australian barmaid Luana De Faveri, a $1,000 fine.

Hanging spoons on the barmaid's nipples also cost one of her co-workers $500, while their bar manager was fined $1,000 for failing to stop the pair, police said in a statement.

...The pub manager, Roy Williams, 43, was fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the act by failing to stop the women's behaviour.

Superintendent David Parkinson of the Peel Police District said: "It sends a clear message to all licensees in Peel that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour in our licensed premises."
Effective Code Pink Protest

Facing Evil Condi today.
Beginning To Worry About Cousins Fred & Maribel

Here’s a map showing where Fred & Maribel live.

They have fires of some sort in all directions, and even though they aren’t pressing in on them yet, it’s conceivable. It looks like the North San Diego County fires have raced down the Escondido watershed, close to the coast at Solana Beach. They are evacuating everything up to Carlsbad, but there’s no assurance the fires will stop there.

Here's some possible reassurance:
The greatest hope came from weather reports predicting the most extreme Santa Ana winds -- peaking at 60 to 80 mph in recent days -- would largely disappear. By Thursday, temperatures were expected to drop as much as 15 degrees in some places, and the severely dry humidity, which also fueled the fires, should ease.

"The high-pressure system is going to move far enough to the east where it will turn off the Santa Ana spigot," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada-Flintridge. "Up to now, the firefighters have been trying to just stay in front of these fires, doing the best they can. But they'll really be able to fight back against these fires by this weekend."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Southern California On The Move

Trying to escape:
If you are driving around the El Camino Real Mall in Carlsbad and you think your eyes are playing tricks on you, they aren't.

That's a traveling zoo tucked next to the loading dock area near Macy's, complete with a Bison named "Baby Bo," llamas, kangaroos, alligators, monkeys, exotic birds, snakes, a chinchilla, a sloth and even hissing cockroaches.

Driven from their 5-acre Fallbrook ranch and animal house by the wildfires Monday afternoon, the owners of Pacific Animal Productions pulled off the 78 freeway seeking shade for their 100 animals.
The State Department In CYA Mode

Iraq Security Contractors to Get Sensitivity Training
We're scared now, Condi!

BGT FINAL - Connie Talbot high quality video/sound

"Over The rainbow" with Connie

Santa Ana Winds

Lots of interesting posting here.
Whatever Lame-O Rationalization Convinces

When you are spread thin:
While the southland burned as daytime temperatures soared toward 100 degrees, the fire season in Northern California was officially declared over Monday, thanks to recent wet weather. The moisture lessened the chances of a major blaze here, according to fire safety experts, and freed up fire crews for the trip south.

Some 700 firefighters from 16 city and county fire departments stretching from Monterey to Del Norte County were rounded up and sent south to help. Hundreds more from the California Department of Forestry were deployed to fires in seven Southern California counties, including Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego.

"Obviously the conditions we have up here today are much different than what they are seeing in Southern California," said Keith Richter, chief of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, who coordinates mutual aid requests for the region. "We're all acutely aware of the situation. We have to be mindful that in case there is a fire up here we have to maintain enough resources so we can handle it."

...The exodus of firefighters south has caused some concern among Bay Area residents and fire safety officials. On Saturday, a 16-acre grass fire scorched a ridgetop in the rural Marin County village of San Geronimo after an errant toy rocket ignited some brush.

The blaze was quickly brought under control, but local fire officials saw it as proof that comparatively wet Northern California is still ignitable.

"There is still danger," said Kent Julin, a Marin County Fire Department forester and president of FireSafe Marin, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fire safety. "We do see the beginnings of the green grass from the rains we had, but there is still standing dry grass, and it doesn't take long for that to dry out."

Julin said testing shows that the chaparral on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais is still very dry. He also pointed out that Northern California can fall prey to Santa Ana-like offshore winds like the ones that fed the devastating Oakland Hills Fire on Oct. 20, 1991. These have become known as diablo, or devil, winds, he said.

"This is the time of year when we too have those strong offshore winds with low humidity and relatively higher temperatures," said Julin, whose agency deployed 18 engines, eight supervisors and 54 firefighters to Southern California. "This is also the time of year when we have our worst fires."

Bay Area fire officials insist that despite the end of fire season and the out-of-town deployments, they are well equipped to handle local emergencies.
Three Of Seven....

...Clues that Dumbledore is gay:
  • His pet. "Fawkes, the many-colored phoenix, is 'flaming.'"
  • His name. "While the anagram to 'Tom Marvolo Riddle' is 'I am Lord Voldemort,' as my good friend pointed out, 'Albus Dumbledore' becomes 'Male bods rule, bud!'"
  • His fashion sense. "Whether it's his 'purple cloak and high-heeled boots,' a 'flamboyantly cut suit of plum velvet,' a flowered bonnet at Christmas or his fascination with knitting patterns, Dumbledore defies the fashion standards of normative masculinity and, of course, this gives him a flair like no other. It's no wonder that even the uppity portrait of former headmaster Phineas Nigellus announced, 'You cannot deny he's got style.'"
Garuda's "Singing Pilot"

Beware Garuda Airlines:
But, despite finding flaws with the pilot's actions - including that he ignored 15 "very loud" alarms to continue with his unstabilised landing approach at excessively high speed and steep descent - it did not recommend any criminal action.

The plane overran the runway in Yogyakarta, central Java, crossed a road, and hit an embankment before exploding into flames in a rice paddy field, 252m from the runway.

The report revealed details of the final minutes of the flight, obtained through analysis of the plane's black boxes.

It found the pilot was "singing" during the approach, below 10,000 feet and prior to reaching 4,000 feet, which was "not in accordance with the Garuda Basic Operations Manual policy for a sterile cockpit below 10,000 feet".

"The pilot was probably emotionally aroused because his conscious awareness moved from the relaxed mode "singing" to the heightened stressfulness of the desire to reach the runway by making an excessively steep and fast, unstabilised approach," the report said.

It found the pilot, who was uninjured, later "fixated" on landing the aircraft, ignoring the 15 loud alarms in the cockpit and two calls from his copilot to abort the landing.

However, there were clues that he realised things were amiss prior to the crash, commenting "Oh, there is something not right", the report said.

"The pilot in command's intention to continue to land the aircraft, from an excessively high and fast approach, was a sign that his attention was channelised during a stressful time," the report said.

The report found the copilot also failed to follow company procedures that required him to take control of the aircraft when he saw the pilot repeatedly ignore the warnings.

Gaurda records showed no evidence that the company provided simulator training for flight crews covering required responses to the warning sirens.
A response:
IT IS hard to describe how sick I felt when I read those words - "pilot ignored 15 alarms and pleas to abort a landing" - yesterday morning.

At once feelings of emptiness and horror filled me. How senseless, I thought, was this act by a Garuda pilot that resulted in the deaths of 21 people, including two friends, and which took my legs, shattered my spine, and burnt 60 per cent of my body.

I relive that horrific landing every day of my life. I hear the screams rising up from my throat as it became apparent to me and my fellow passengers something was not right. We knew we were going too fast, we knew we were going to crash, we thought we were going to die. And many of us did.

There must be a criminal investigation into the actions of the pilot and co-pilot who between them crashed that plane carrying hundreds of people at the airport at Yogyakarta in March. Manslaughter charges must be laid against these people.

It boils my blood to hear of the unwillingness of the Indonesian crash investigators to co-operate with police and hand over the relevant evidence so they can pursue the two pilots.

People died. Lives were ruined. Somebody must be held accountable. We now have a report that implicitly points the finger at the two people who were in charge of that aircraft. They must be dealt with.
DMTC Haunted House

Coming up:

DAVIS-Looking for the perfect, safe way for your children and teens to celebrate Halloween? The Davis Musical Theatre Company (DMTC) has the answer with its first annual “Haunted House” on Friday, Oct. 26 from 7-11 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27 from 1-5 pm., and Saturday, Oct 27 from 7-11pm.

The Friday & Saturday night “scary extravaganza” is recommended for teens and up, while the Saturday afternoon “Haunted House” is geared towards children and families. The $5 admission charge goes entirely to support the non-profit operation of DMTC, which provides the opportunity for many actors, singers and dancers of all ages to practice their crafts and entertain the community.

“Visit the Haunted House ...... if you dare!” says Jan Isaacson, event organizer and DMTC co-founder. Performers from DMTC will showcase their scary side with some very spooky rooms to visit. Jan says she definitely has some surprises in store for those who dare to venture out of their house. Games and candy will be part of the event at the Hoblit Performing Arts Center at 607 Pena Dr. Davis CA 95618. For more information, please contact DMTC at (530) 756-3682 or online at
What Was Old Is New Again

Juan Cole notes how the Deist French, under Napoleon, tried to convince the Arabs that they knew better what Muslims should believe about Islam than they did, and how Americans are falling in the same trap today. Cole comments an a letter written by correspondent Jaubert with the French army in Egypt:
Jaubert is referring to Bonaparte's broadsheet to the Egyptians in which he claims that the Deism of the French revolution, being non-Trinitarian and opposed to the Catholic hierarchy, is more or less a form of "Islam" (in the vague sense of a strictly monotheistic, non-Christian religion). Jaubert thought Bonaparte's stratagem brilliant, but knew it would be laughed at in worldly Paris. He compared it to the class war the French Revolutionaries unleashed in the early 1790s, when they tried to convince the working and poor strata that an attack on monarchy promised a better life for the disadvantaged.

In fact, the Egyptian Muslims do not appear to have believed that Deism looked anything like Islam, since they emphasized practice (prayers, fasting, etc.) over mere doctrine. The Chronicler Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti pointed out that if strict monotheism and rejection of the trinity made a belief "Islam," then Jews would be Muslims. Bonaparte's attempt to convince the Egyptian Muslims that he was one of them is reminiscent of American claims to be supporting "true" "moderate" Islam against Salafi fundamentalists who had "hijacked" the religion-- as if any Muslim thinks Washington can tell what true Islam is.
Patzert's Bleak

Satellite image of Southern California fires at 12:30 p.m. today (Google/Forest Service, from the Los Angeles Times)

Bill Patzert, noted (and often accurate) JPL climatologist, isn't very optimistic about this year's fire season in Southern California:

"Santa Ana winds are a winter thing and actually peak in December," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

Patzert said bursts of Santa Ana winds traditionally last two days, making this possible four-day trend highly unusual.

Even when the wind dies down, the high temperatures and unprecedented dryness ensure that firefighters will be on the front lines for days to come, he said.
And this:
"In the long-range forecasting business, there's always the contrarian," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada-Flintridge. "But the contrarian seems to be pretty absent at this point. I've got a lot of compassion for the firefighters. The consensus is it's going to be another dry year in the Southland."

Patzert said these winds were notable not just for their power but their longevity.

"This Santa Ana has got legs," he added. "This could be a 72-hour event. And when the winds get this strong, it's really dangerous."
The weather forecasts look pretty darn bleak. The only possible source of relief, Tropical Storm Kiko, looks like it won't make it to California before getting captured by the trough off the western coast, and brought into northern, not southern, California, next week. So, condolences to the firefighters, and the victims.
Chink In The Armor

So to speak:
Here's a story that seems a little strange on the surface. The Congressional Steel Caucus, made up of members from steel-making districts, is charging that the new fence going up to protect the United States' southern border from illegal foreigners is being constructed with foreign-made steel.

Chinese steel, to be exact.

"It's outrageous, offensive and unacceptable," Pennsylvania Rep. Jason Altmire tells NBC's Mike Viqueira.

The Congress members say they were tipped off to the foreign-made steel by outraged American union workers and have confirmed with the Department of Homeland Security that specific Buy American provisions written into the law authorizing the fence were waived by the department.

Lost Luggage

Hard to keep track of the stuff:
A garment bag stowed on board a flight from Midway Airport made an unscheduled landing less than a mile from the airfield, federal authorities said Monday.

The bag was accidentally jettisoned from a Delta Connection plane Sunday morning when a cargo-bay door opened shortly after takeoff, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Atlanta-bound plane, carrying 70 passengers, returned safely to Midway, officials said.

An employee of the Belt Railway Company of Chicago found the luggage Monday on rail yard property at 6900 S. Central Ave., officials said.

"It is now in transit on its way to be reunited with its owner," said Kate Modolo, a spokeswoman for Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which operated the flight for Delta Connection.

A duffel bag that also fell out of the plane's cargo hold was still missing on Monday, she said.

...Airline inspectors had recently written up the plane, a 70-passenger Bombardier CRJ700, for deferred maintenance on a malfunctioning indicator light on the cargo door, the FAA said. But the aircraft was cleared to fly after ground crews completed a visual check to ensure the door was properly latched before flight, authorities said.

Monday, October 22, 2007


One thing I insist on is that no one - NO ONE - should mock anyone who has lost a home due to wildfires. Someone could be as rich as Croesus, but when a fire hits the home, they are homeless, and not all the insurance money on Earth can restore the wonderland of a child's bedroom.

I condemned certain French commentators who mocked Bay Area residents who lost their homes in the Oakland fire storm of 1991. I condemned certain Americans who were less-than-sensitive when rioters set homes aflame in France several years ago.

Then there is CNN's Glenn Beck:
I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.
For a supposedly-liberal network, they are damned cruel, don't you think?
The Ice Version

Fun review of what appears to have been a fun show:
For anyone going to "High School Musical: The Ice Tour" who hadn't seen one of these productions in 25 or 30 years, the sensory overload could have been enough to cause a nervous breakdown. Not that anyone would hear the screams above the squeals of pleasure coming from the thousands of elementary schoolgirls and a few stylishly dressed men.

Say what you want about the traveling show that came to the Oracle Arena in Oakland for four shows between Thursday and Saturday (the show goes to San Jose this week) - nothing about it was small. The production had a chronological narrative that clumsily recapped the events in both "High School Musical" and "High School Musical 2," but the show was more about the production values than the story or even the music. Aided by a drive-in-size video screen, countless metal props and enough scaffolding to paint Danielle Steel's house twice, the frosty surface of the arena was transformed at different times into a karaoke bar, a school cafeteria, a baseball field and a golf course.

Was it any good? I'm not completely sure, because I'm not a 9-year-old girl.
So Sorry

Apologies to all:
A few months ago, online pearl merchants The Pearl Outlet ( noticed that a growing number of customers, when asked the reason for their pearl purchases, replied that the baubles were given as an apology, usually to a wife or girlfriend. Intrigued, The Pearl Outlet hired pollsters Zogby International ( to find out more.

When Zogby's researchers queried 7,590 Americans, both male and female, they discovered that people who are more willing to say "I'm sorry" make more money than people who rarely or never apologize.

People earning over $100,000 a year are almost twice as likely to apologize after an argument or mistake as those earning $25,000 or less, the survey found. Respondents were asked to identify themselves as belonging to one of a set of income ranges. They were also asked whether they would apologize in three situations: when they felt they were entirely to blame for a problem; when they thought they were only partly at fault; and when they believed they were blameless.

In all three cases, "a person's willingness to apologize was an almost perfect predictor of their place on the income ladder," the study says.

More than nine out of ten (92%) of $100,000+ earners apologize when they believe they're to blame, compared to 89% of people earning between $75,000 and $100,000, 84% of those who make $50,000 to $75,000, 72% of those earning between $35,000 and $50,000, and 76% of people earning between $25,000 and $35,000. Among survey respondents who make $25,000 or less, just 52% say they usually apologize when they know they're at fault.

And think about this: Even when they believe themselves to be completely blameless, 22% of the highest earners say "I'm sorry," compared to just 13% of those in the lowest income group.
The Scaife Divorce

Ugly (and fun) reading.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Ask A Mexican" Gustavo Arrellano In Sacramento

Left: Arrellano signs the frontispiece of his new "Ask A Mexican" book, which summarizes some of his columns and answers some of the flood of questions that he receives and never gets to post in his column (here, for example, is this week's column).

The first time I ever heard about "Ask A Mexican" was in the Albuquerque Alibi alternative weekly. A Oregon man had been suspended from work for racism and sexual harrassment for posting one of Arellano's columns on a bulletin board at work in Oregon, a column the man had picked up in the Albuqerque paper while on a trip to New Mexico. Some people have NO sense of humor!
"Vayanse, arriba arriba!" said Arrellano.

(Actually, Arellano told some nice stories about writing the "Ask A Mexican" column, which started in the OC Weekly in 2004, and has won much controversy and much admiration).

Gustavo Arrellano and the new editor of the Sacramento News and Review, Matt Coker.
Sally's Get-Together

I was so late, everyone else had gone home. So, Sally and I just chatted.
Annual Company Dinner - Sterling Hotel

I drank a bit of wine, which was a mistake, since I don't drink. After that, the rest of the evening's excellent repast just made my stomach upset.

But it was fun sitting with Jean and Alec, and the folks from Michigan were nice. I left early, though....


One of the things Adam (labelled by E. with the affectionate nickname "Psycho I") left behind at the house last year was a foul-smelling, slowly-leaking can labelled "Wood Preservative (with phenol)." Pretty useless. I wanted to get rid of the can, but it screamed toxic waste.

But it did say wood preservative. And I had some wooden timbers bordering my driveway that, while already preserved, looked they could stand a coat of this foul, oily liquid. So, yielding to Adam-like thoughts, I poured out some of the gut-churning Love Canal goo into a cup and painted the top of one timber.

Big mistake. Big, big mistake. It was SO smelly, so noisome, that it threatened the entire neighborhood. E. came screaming out of the house "MMMMMMMMAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRCCCCCCCC!" It was clear I had recreated Love Canal in my driveway. So, I hurriedly ripped the timber out of the ground, threw it into the car, and drove off before my ex-cop next-door neighbor came poking his head into my driveway to find out what was going on (I missed him by two minutes).

I always wondered why people engage in the practice of illegal dumping. It seems so anti-social. Sometimes, though, it is driven by raging necessity. Like today.

When I returned, I continued the cleanup, tossing 20 lbs. of tainted gravel into garbage bags and lugging them to the garbage can, and throwing away befouled towels and clothes (sadly some good ones too). Unfortunately, I got a bit of the oily goo the upholstery of the car, so now my car smells like the industrial ass of Pittsburgh. I may have to resort to extreme measures to get relief, like hacking the upholstery out of the car with a knife.

And I still have Psycho I's can of dark, oily phenol-laden liquid.

After "The Music Man", I yielded to temptation (E. was along) and went to Cache Creek Casino in the hills west of Woodland, arriving about 11 p.m. I ate a sandwich, and repeatedly ran afoul of a security guard in the nightclub (no food in the club; no pictures, etc.) E. went off to find her favorite "Aliens" slot machine.

At the blackjack table, I encountered a rarity, a solidly-productive table. My $200 soon ballooned to $700, but about 1 a.m., a collapse occurred. I left the table with about $430. I tried to find E. in order to leave the casino.

I could not find E. At all. Round and round, up and down the aisles of slot machines I went, looking for a Filipina sitting at a slot machine. But the building was FULL of Filipinas sitting at slot machines: fat Filipinas, frumpy Filipinas, frowsy Filipinas, foul Filipinas, ferocious Filipinas, flippant Filipinas, fumbling Filipinas, fixated Filipinas, flabby Filipinas, fit Filipinas, fortyish Filipinas, and even some fantastic Filipinas, but no E. There was even a Filipina wearing a tunnel-carpel bandage on her slot machine trigger button right wrist (I wonder how long she had been sitting at that particular machine?) I tried to enlist the help of the security guards, but they just smiled. I left messages on E.'s cell phone, but since she turned it off just prior to the show, it was pointless.

Finally at 2:30 a.m., I gave up. I would never, ever see E. again. I went to the parking garage to get some sleep in the car.

Twenty uncomfortable minutes later, I returned for one last search, and found her there, concerned because I had apparently vanished from the casino (apparently we had both been in search mode for at least the last hour). I yelled at her for dramatic effect. We finally left at 3 a.m. for the hour-long drive back to Sacramento.

So, it was a winning night. A small, ugly win, but aren't they always in a casino? (considering E.'s $40 stake, I ended ahead $192).
"The Music Man" - Woodland Opera House

Left: Cast at bows.

Gina Marchitiello was a wonderful Marian Paroo. Rodger McDonald was great as always as Harold Hill. Nancy Agee was perfect as Mrs. Paroo. Abby Miles was a winning Amarylis, Kendra Evans was cute as Zaneeta Shinn, and Casey Camacho was fine as Tommy Djilas.

Left: Following Friday night's show, twin sisters Paige and Macy Almendariz celebrated their shared birthday with the rest of the cast.

I arrived 15 minutes late for the show (being a long show, it apparently started at 7:30 p.m. rather than the traditional 8 p.m.), so I missed three signature numbers ("Rock Island," "Iowa Stubborn," and "Trouble").

I thought it was a solid, good show. There were a few weak points: Mayor Shinn (Stephen Kaufmann) got so carried away with his various befuddlements that it threatened the pace of the show at several places; the barbershop quartet sounded like it needed more bass; Winthrop (Samuel Stapp) got into trouble musically at one point. But these were minor matters, outweighed by the good points.

Among the strong points, the girl who played Gracie Shinn Giana Andersen) has one of the best stage presences ever: energetic, smiling, happy. The amazing Almendariz sisters were present, with their gymnastic skills, to really give the show a kick. (I blogged once about astonishingly-limber Brittney).

At intermission, I saw several young people in the audience who are also associated with DMTC in Davis. I saw Jabriel upstairs, and he said "Wow! Like, everyone I know is here tonight!" Then I saw Carina, and she said "Wow! Like, everyone I know is here tonight!" Then I saw Rebecca and Kennedy coming up the stairs, and Rebecca said "Wow! Like, everyone I know is here tonight!"

How odd, I thought. The upstairs section was nearly empty, and the downstairs area was full of old people. Are their correct? If so, then they really need to expand their social horizons - meet new people, get to know folks their own age. If not, then the mystery is why they all expressed the same strange thought. After the show, I saw Scott S., but fortunately he expressed a different thought, something like "I know several people here tonight."

I chatted with Chris Taloff (Constable Locke), who mentioned the double bill on Saturday (one of these killer days per run these days at WOH). I tolf Jeff Nauer (Marcellus) how, when he wore his bowler hat, he reminded me of Benny Hill. That tickled him: the first comparison to a celebrity he'd experienced since he shaved his beard.

Left: Anvil salesman Charlie Cowell (Andy Hyun) at bows. Andy's Charlie was both amusing, and dark.