Saturday, May 21, 2011

Clashing Weddings

It's not June yet, but still, there two weddings underway simultaneously in Old Town Plaza. We parked ourselves halfway in-between. Both weddings featured Mexican music, but the tempos were all mish-mashed, and we had to leave, just to preserve our sanity.

Michelle Says The Secret Word Is "Margarita"

Want to have a relaxed, fun, even flirtatious shopping experience? Michelle says the secret is to casually drop the word "margarita" into a conversation with a salesperson. If done right, the merchants and salespeople pick up immediately on the undercurrent of fun, the vibe of enjoyment promised by the word "margarita", and before you know it, they are extending just-for-you discounts, and otherwise doing everything in their power to make your shopping day light and vivacious!

It works!

Christmas In May

Since I wasn't here in December, we're planning a shopping expedition to Old Town to set things straight.....

Mimmo's With Karl And Karen Was Fab!

Enjoyable Italian cuisine with Karl and Karen Schindwolf!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Processing in Duplex, As A Means To Managing Information

I've always enjoyed listening to teenaged girls talk to each other, because they tend to talk all at the same time, which can save a lot of time getting messages across. The drawback, of course, is that the actual information content of the speech has to be fairly-low, in order to make oneself understood.

We all have ways of dealing with modern media's vast throughput.

S.'s method is to have both the TV and the radio on simultaneously, which helps maximize media throughput. The drawback, of course, is that what one actually learns depends on what part of the room one is located, and often, one can't make sense of any of it, because of the cross-chatter.

K.'s method is to use the TV for visual messages, and the radio for aural messages. The TV is usually on mute. There are exceptions of course. Sometimes one has to rely strictly on the TV: making sense of Les Feldick's Kinta-Oklahoma-based TV Gospel Ministry teachings depends on actually listening to him. Same goes with making sense of the plots of movie musicals from the 40's. But for many purposes, like watching stock stores on FOX TV's Business Channel while getting the daily message from Rush on the radio, K.'s duplex method of processing media throughput is superior.

There is the question about whether the information is accurate, of course, but that's an entirely-different question. Teenaged girls have rudimentary fact-checking methods. Regrettably, modern media hasn't caught up with all that yet.

The Upcoming Rapture

I learned of the Rapture this weekend from an Albuquerque billboard. Indeed, since I hadn't heard of that prior to arriving here, I at first assumed it was a local event.

I will be annoyed if the world ends on Saturday, because I'm supposed to fly to Vegas on Sunday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sudden, Radical Drop In The Southern Oscillation Index

Within the last two weeks, La Nina suddenly snapped off, and we are in neutral conditions again! The change is abrupt and radical: in April, the SOI was at the highest level recorded since 1904! Then, wham!

Times are changing again, and a lot faster than anyone expected! Maybe this is the beginning of the end of the Southwestern drought? Maybe it won't be quite as windy and cold as it has been in California, and the Southwest too?

Wandering The Desert Near Casa Colorada

Let's see: Unusual stands of low-growing sage brush? Check!

Mountain peak on horizon, with base partially-obscured? Check!

Railroad? Check!

Tuco's house? No check!

Fire And Water

I just know there is an interesting tale associated with this place, but I have absolutely no idea what that tale might be!

Afternoon Venture Near Cabezon Peak

The Cabezon town site as seen from the south.

I struck out northwest from ABQ seeking 'Breaking Bad' sites (that's one of their principal corridors out-of-town).

Lower Jemez River Valley just downstream from Zia Pueblo, as seen from the mesa top at Jemez Dam.

Fiercely-alkaline and completely-dry riverbed near San Ysidro.

Some of what I was doing was reliving the days of 1974 when I made the acquaintance of Brett Goebel from the village of San Ysidro, and he showed me some interesting places around his hometown. We were 17 then, and just keeping entertained for the weekend was difficult enough, given small-town claustrophobia. Kids from small towns tend to be more innovative than folks from cities in finding things to do, however, and so we made-do. (I've blogged before how ridiculous it is for people in Sacramento to complain how miserable and bored they are, when they have such a cornucopia of entertainment options available to them. They should spend a weekend in San Ysidro!)

This non-descript hillside hides a precious secret: the Ojo del Diablo cave we used to visit shortly after high school! It's a kind of random cave - not like Carlsbad - more like broken slabs of alabaster. My 'Caveballs' story comes from here.

As always, I pressed on much further than I had originally intended. I was looking for a cement pool containing water gathered from a hot spring. We had visited the place at night in 1974. The place sticks in my mind even now, because in the darkness I stepped on the shattered end of a 7-Up bottle, but the calluses on the bottom of my feet were so thick from habitual walking around barefoot that the shard did not cut the skin! Nevertheless, I was having no luck finding the place this time. So I kept pressing on....

Suddenly, I made a profound discovery, while passing the place where the road to San Luis meets NM State Highway 44. Sometime since my last visit 37 years ago, they paved the road to the village of San Luis! In addition to this smooth paved road, even the dirt roads in the area seemed in amazingly-good shape! Come-on people, this isn't the traditional low standard of Sandoval County roads! I wonder if it's because La Nina has ensured that it's barely-rained here for months? Whatever it was, I was encouraged - lured, even - to timidly take my econo Chevy Cobalt rent-a-car onto roads I would heretofore never have dared without a four-wheel-drive vehicle!

The Rio Puerco's river bed has been deeply-entrenched into the soft ground by flash floods. The deep cutting results perhaps from over-grazing, or perhaps it's a natural vulnerability. The entrenchment makes traditional New Mexican agricultural irrigation almost impossible to practice in the Rio Puerco Valley, which, together with relentless attacks by the Navajos in centuries past essentially-doomed the villages to decay.

A home in San Luis. The tiny villages of San Luis and Cabezon were the 'bleeding edge' of the Spanish Empire's colonization of the New World. The Spaniards were never successful in settling areas closer to the Colorado Plateau fastness of the Navajo realm. Life here was brutal: merciless Indian attacks, cold weather, alkaline soil, irrigation ruined by the entrenchment of the Rio Puerco River. The ephemeral edge of European civilization was right here!

A home in San Luis.

In 1974, we had an absurd automobile accident somewhere right around here.... I'm pretty sure it was right here, at this cattle guard!

Various pictures of Eerie Cabezon Peak!

Here there be cows (South of Cabezon).

Visit To My Grandparents

Had a bit of trouble with finding the gravesite - the nearby trees are taller than they used to be.

Lots of Mahboubs in the OLOS Cemetery (I'm related by marriage to this merchant family). We tend to forget the Lebanese contribution to the turn-of-the-century West, which is why I get such a kick out of the Ali Hakim character in 'Oklahoma': most people forget the Lebanese, but Rodgers & Hammerstein remembered.

Lots of random Valdezes too. I wonder who these folks are?


Big booming Dolby Stereo! Great special effects! Natalie Portman! Andrew Hopkins! Clashing Vikings! Morse legends! Science! Great views if New Mexico's Sangre de Cristo Mountains! And I STILL nodded off!

Could we try ACTING please? Maybe a worthy script?

(Never liked comic books much)

Looking For More 'Breaking Bad' Filming Sites

I'm having considerable success locating sites I missed the last time I was here (August 2010). For example, I finally located the 'Green Light' intersection (where Walt gets cash tossed to him through his open car window). That was a real distracting element when I was here last time!

Lots of random driving around ABQ. Re-familiarizing myself with the place.

Today (Thursday) I spent a frustrating day trying to find Tuco's desert home. I feel like I'm getting close in the vicinity of Casa Colorada, but so far, no luck....

Flight To NM

Left: Catalina Island, of the coast of Southern California.

I didn't get a window seat from SMF to LAX, but I did snag the last-available window seat from LAX to ABQ. So, I got some pictures.

Left: View of the Salton Sea, looking SSE, towards Mexico. Looks like an alien planet!

Below: Tablelands adjacent to I-17, north of Phoenix. If I'm not mistaken, there are some interesting Indian ruins down there.

Familiar streets of Payson, AZ.

Here's an airliner above us, and to our right, paralleling our path to ABQ.

Cinder cones and lava flows. Here, the cone is in the upper right, and the lava flow descended away from the cone, to the bottom left.

Two parallel dikes. Region of dikes and parklands in west-central NM. These dikes are amazingly-straight; running for miles!

This other airliner descends below us on the right, then in front of us and below, in order to get into queue for landing in ABQ first.

Flying into the Albuquerque metropolitan area.

Approaching ABQ, we ran abruptly into turbulence. The airliner was jumping all over the place!

One tactic pilots have of dealing with turbulence is to descend to lower altitudes (where eddy sizes tend to be smaller). So, we descended, but we kept the lower altitude even as we approached the city. We passed over ABQ at a surprisingly-low altitude, making an alarmingly-low-altitude arc over the city's northern suburbs as the plane bucked and kicked.

Left: Cottonwood Mall. Apparently it is not adequate to merely fly over the Mall: the pilot seems to intend that we shall fly through the mall. That will be a considerable surprise to the shoppers there!

Below: The old and new Corrales Rd. Bridges over the Rio Grande, plus the Montano Rd. Bridge.

Interstate 40, near Winrock, Coronado center, and all that.

The San Mateo, Louisiana, & San Pedro over-crossings are visible, as well as the closest over-crossing (Wyoming?)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Still Haven't Figured Out What To Think About Ricardo Sanchez Running For Senate

Ordinarily, I'd be all in favor of a retired Hispanic general running for office in Hispanic-rich Texas. That's nearly a perfect fit for the conservative-leaning Hispanic electorate. But it's General Sanchez, and his tenure in Iraq was stormy. Then again, Iraq in 2003 was hardly the Peaceable Kingdom. So, is this a good idea, or a bad idea? The right man at the right time and place, or an accident waiting to happen? Beats me!:
Calling Sanchez a “strong, independent voice” is a major understatement. On October 12, 2007, Sanchez went after the media, saying to a group of military reporters that the media opts for sensationalism and self-aggrandizement. He said he believes reporters were willing to “compromise integrity” to get stories. “The death knell of your ethics has been enabled by your parents organizations who have chosen to align themselves with political agendas. What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our servicement who are at war. My assessement is that your profession, to some extent, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to maipulate what the American public sees on TV, what they read in our newpapers and what they see on the web. For some of you, just like politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your preconceived notions, biases and agendas.”

...Then, Sanchez went after the politicians. “There has been a glaring, unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders. As a Japanese proverb says, ‘Action without vision is a nightmare.’ There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight. Since 2003, the politics of war have been characterized by partisanship as the Republican and Democratic parties struggled for power in Washington. National efforts to date have been corrupted by partisan politics that have prevented us from devising effective, executable supportable solutions. At times, these partisan struggles have led to political decisions that endangered the lives of our sons and daughters on the battlefield. The unmistakable message was that political power had a greater priority than our national security objectives. Overcoming this strategic failure is the first step toward achieving victory in Iraq – without bipartisan cooperation, we are doomed to fail. There is nothing going on in Washington that would give us hope.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Upward-Mobility, Old-Time Gospel Music

Theme from The Jeffersons.

I must agree with John that it is highly-unfortunate that I find this hilarious!

Telegraph's Greta Gerwig Profile

Aspiring Director?:
Both on screen and in person, Gerwig has a slow, deliberate way with words, as if you’d just stopped her on the street to ask for directions to a place she loves but whose location she can only hazily remember. The effect is to make her sound at once both certain and vague, and to lend an undertow of irony to her sunny, straightforward Californian demeanour.

“When people ask me what I do, I still feel strange saying, 'I am an actress’, but I do say that now.” She pauses and smiles wryly. “And people say, 'But what is your day job?’”

...She liked growing up among the farmsteads and municipal offices of Sacramento in northern California, she says, but never felt she quite belonged there. In the New York films of Woody Allen she glimpsed an alternative vision of a more exciting, grimier, cleverer, more complicated life, and as soon as she could she left home for the Big Apple. “It sounds silly to say out loud, but those films have so much to do with how I have defined the narrative of my own life,” she says. “Annie Hall is like what I thought love was when I was young.”

...She is also planning to direct one last low-budget film of her own, based on a screenplay she has recently completed.

To be a director, she thinks, “you have to be a bit desirous of being the king of your own little kingdom. You have to want to be godlike.” Does she? “I am not sure.” Again there is a pause, a bashful smile. “I think I might.”

When You Build With Shipping Containers, You Get Your Permits Fast!

It looks nice and airy, but what about those hot desert summer days?

I'm With Dick Cheney: Rather Than Look Reality In The Face, I'd Rather Shoot Reality In The Face

And this strikes me as a bad reason to run for President:
And we reached a crossroads of saying, either I really believe the things I've said my whole life, or I'd be a fraud.
It's not either-or Newt!

Another Whirl On The Potomac Word Circus

Round, and round, and round we go! These midway rides make me nauseous:
LONDON (AFP) – The US commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden was "not an assassination", US Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday after the Al-Qaeda leader's sons denounced the operation.

Holder told the BBC the raid on bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan on May 2 was a "kill or capture mission" and that his surrender would have been accepted if offered, but that the safety of US Navy commandos was paramount.

"What happened to bin Laden was not an assassination," Holder said.

"I think the action that we took against him can be seen as an act of national self-defence. You have to remember it is lawful to target an enemy commander," he said.
Spider Webs everywhere! Look at what Al Qaeda has wrought with its NSA! From Wikipedia:
The proliferation of non-state actors (NSAs) in the post–Cold War Era has been one of the factors leading to the theorizing of the Cobweb Paradigm in International Politics. Under this paradigm, the traditional Westphalian nation-state is experiencing an erosion of power and sovereignty, and non-state actors are part of the cause. Facilitated by Globalization, NSAs have challenged nation-state borders and claims to sovereignty. Multinational Corporations (MNCs) are not always sympathetic to home-country's or host-country's national interests, but instead loyalty is given to the corporation's interests. NGOs are challenging the nation-state's sovereignty over internal matters through advocacy for societal issues, e.g. human rights and the environment.

There exist many armed non-state actors, e.g. opposition groups, that operate without state control and are involved in trans-border conflicts. The prevalence of these groups in armed conflicts has added layers of complexity to traditional conflict management and resolution. These conflicts are often fought not only between non-state actors and states, but also between non-state actors. Any attempts at intervention in such conflicts has been particularly challenging given the fact that international law and norms governing the use of force for intervention or peacekeeping purposes has been primarily written in the context of the nation-state. So, the demands of non-state actors at the local and international level have further complicated international relations.
The ultimate NSA, of course, was the Communist Party, which took root within Russia, its host state.

NSAs have been the preferred vehicle for operations for some time. Look at the GOP, which used to be a political party, but which lately has been functioning as a kind-of NSA within the American state (its lack of loyalty to the U.S. state evident in the 2003 Plame controversy). These days it operates more as a clearinghouse for MNCs. It even has an archipelago of militias (all those Second-Amendment folks) operating on its behalf! The Tea Party movement is GOP-II, which cuts out most internal political deliberations, making for a more-efficient tool to affect the flow of events.

Acronyms are not always the best vehicles for thought, but sometimes one has no choice about using them, when trying to describe the indescribable!

Coming From Several Directions At Once On Facebook Today!