Saturday, June 04, 2011

Sacramento Pride - 2011

DMTC's booth.

An uncharacteristically-wet day, but everyone was game for a party.

Cheer teams showed their prowess!

This Wallow Fire Is Huge!

And getting bigger all the time!:
The Wallow Fire burning in eastern Arizona has pushed its way across the White Mountains charring 150,000 acres so far, with no end in sight.

It is now the third-largest wildfire in Arizona history.

...The fire ended its seventh day Saturday after substantial growth overnight, fire officials said, with zero percent containment. About 1,300 firefighters are battling the blaze that has forced the evacuations of the communities of Alpine and Nutrioso and continues to threaten Greer.

...With no natural barriers to stop it, the fire has the potential to grow, depending on weather conditions, officials said.

...Wallow is surpassed in size by the Rodeo-Chediski blaze, which burned more than 460,000 acres in eastern Arizona in 2002, and the Cave Creek Complex Fire, which charred more than 240,000 acres in 2005.

The Wallow Fire has surpassed the 2004 Willow Fire, which burned about 120,000 acres near Payson.
Folks in Albuquerque are troubled too:
One of the largest wildfires in Arizona history threatened mountain retreats and spread ash and smoke as far away as Albuquerque, New Mexico, more than 200 miles away, officials said Saturday.

...Albuquerque city officials, northeast of the blaze, advised residents to avoid outdoor activity and close windows and doors when heavy smoke is visible or can be smelled. The smoke alert was issued through Monday morning. Light ash has been reported in several areas of the city, according to CNN affiliate KOAT.

Unfettered Urban Fowl

Together with the usual assortment of urban birds that flock to where I lay out bird seed every morning - mourning doves, pigeons, sparrows, crows, and the occasional scrub jay - I now have a new bird coming around: a chicken. I have no idea where the chicken came from, but it's one of God's creatures too, so it's welcome to whatever seed it can wrest from the interloping squirrels.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Unsignaled Lane Change

E.: MMMMAAAAAARRRRRCCCC! The cop, he stopped me! He made me exit at El Camino! He said I didn't use my turn signal. He said I crossed that triangle where that road comes into the Capitol City Freeway over by that place by Madison where the road goes like this.

M.: ??????

E.: You know, where El Camino goes north-south.

M.: ???????

E.: You know, like this!

M.: ??

E.: That cop, he is so e-stupid. I've seen cops do exactly the same thing!

M.: ????????

E.: I got lost after he let me go. I had to drive and drive and drive until I recognized anything.

M.: You are the Green Destiny!

E.: I AM the Green Destiny! Bow down for your mercy!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

It's Been So Cold Lately!

Marc & Jetta discuss the weather:
J.: The weather here is so strange! It's so cold! And the tornadoes have been worse than ever this year! Isn't all that connected to Global Warming?

M.: I don't blame Global Warming for the cold weather. I blame La Niña instead.

Sacramento temperatures were below average almost the entire month of May. Yesterday, it was 14 degrees F below average!

Anytime you have strong, sustained onshore flow in this part of the world, you get temperatures that are below-average, because the Pacific Ocean is cold. Plus, we've had a sustained trough in the West: the trough of a long-wavelength, stationary Rossby wave. That helps bring in colder air from the polar regions. So, it's been cold here.

This year is a lot like last year, when it was colder-than-average too. And for the last two years, we've had one of the strongest La Niña episodes ever. There's a connection there! This La Niña ended with an abrupt bang less than a month ago, so things will change again, but not enough time has passed for the collapse of La Niña to have an effect here yet. The weather is still acting as if La Niña is going full-tilt.

The climate forecasters saw and understood the broad impact of La Niña last year, and it's played out almost like a textbook case. The only surprise was that California didn't get engulfed in drought too. We were lucky: the drought extended across the entire Southern tier of states, except California.

Here's a recent graph of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), demonstrating the recent, abrupt end to La Niña:

J.: But isn't all that associated with Global Warming?

M.: Not really. La Niña would have occurred whether there was Global Warming, or not. There might be loose connections between the two phenomenon, though.

J.: So what is the effect of Global Warming?

M.: The effect of Global Warming is to make the Earth warmer.

J.: On TV, they said the recent tornadoes might be connected to Global Warming.

M.: Well, we've always had tornadoes. In general, they are small in size, and their strength depends on multiple factors. Some people do make connections, however:
"Basically, as we warm the world up, the atmosphere can hold more moisture in it," said Anne Jefferson, an assistant professor in the geography and Earth science department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

"Weather patterns that used to be limited to the South move farther north now," she said. "Both of those things together will increase the frequency with which we see these big rainstorms, and those are likely to increase flooding in the future."
But it's also important to remember that since Global Warming is forecast to have a greater effect in polar regions than equatorial regions, it might also reduce the strength of storms, by helping erase the temperature difference between the equator and the poles. So, the ultimate effect of Global Warming might be that the continents will tend to dry out and desertify, but where it does happen to rain, it will rain heavier. But it's probably unrelated to why it's so cold here, now.

J.: Are you saying that Global Warming has no effect?

M.: No. The effect of Global Warming is to make the Earth warmer. That is what it does.

J.: But they say it will cause flooding and disaster, and that the changes are coming faster-than-expected!

M.: Yes, it might do exactly that. The glaciers and ice caps are melting faster-than-expected, and all that.

You can look at weather data from just about anywhere and see the effect of warming. The effect is most-visible in morning low temperatures in dry locations (where water vapor has a less-complicated and less-confusing effect overall).

For example, I looked at morning low temperatures for April for Mina, Nevada (a dry month in a dry place), and starting in the mid-1970's you can see these low temperatures rising. No matter where you look on Earth, you tend to see similar trends.

Remote deserts are nice, because the greenhouse warming associated with water vapor is minimized in the deserts, so if you see any changes, it's likely carbon dioxide to blame, rather than any changes associated with the urban heat island effect, or changes in roughness associated with changes in land use, or first-order changes in water vapor. And minimum temperatures are where you would spot the change first, because turbulence is at a minimum for these mostly-stagnant conditions. Cooling occurs principally by radiation.

Using US HCN data for Mina, NV (on the road between Hawthorne and Tonopah), and looking at just the monthly mean minimum temperature for the month of April (a rather dry month), it's easy to spot the warming signal. And this particular data set ends in 1994, so recent warming isn't even on here.

J.: Starting in the mid-1970's?

M.: Yes, Global Warming started happening some time ago. People have been talking about it since the 1880's.

J.: Some people say it's irreversible!

M.: I'm sure it is irreversible. But neither of us will live long enough to see the full impact of Global Warming.

J.: So, that's something!

M.: Yes, that's something, all right, but it's probably unrelated as to why it's cold, here, now. Like I say, that's probably La Niña at work.

Kylie's Performing In Brisbane Tonight

That's interesting. For once, Americans saw a Kylie tour before the Australians.

Pictures From My Fugue State

After the colonoscopy, I was still in a haze from the anesthesia. Indeed, I can barely remember certain things, like the wheelchair ride. How did I get from the 5th floor of the Ft. Sutter Surgery Center's facility to the parking garage? Beats me! Nevertheless, I did have enough presence of mind to take a few pix of the operating room anteroom.

I wanted to blog on at endless length about my colon pictures, but the only pictures I saw were two microscopic pictures of diverticulae - not very interesting. Apparently I have non-bleeding internal hemorrhoids & mild diverticulosis: very common occurrences in people my age. As a response, the doctor recommends more fiber in the diet. I have a jug of Metamucil I inherited from my Dad, and that will suffice as a start.

No polyps were noted; no biopsies were taken; no cauterization was done. The time elapsed from probe insertion to probe removal was seven minutes! I have a very boring colon!

And maybe that's just as well!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Starting To Get Ready For My Colonoscopy Tomorrow

I have to remember, it's colonoscopy, not colostomy.

A couple of years ago, the humorist Dave Barry posted a classic colonoscopy column. Excerpt below (this is what I'm going to be preoccupied with this evening):
Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes -- and here I am being kind -- like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ''a loose watery bowel movement may result.'' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

Project Selvaggio Bunny Containment Fence

Rebuilt back fence, in the area where the back fence had been too decrepit to contain a wily, eye-gouging rabbit.

New fence to the right; more-or-less crepit fence to the left.

The Worrywarts Are Worried Again

Backyard Evolution

Under Construction; July, 2006.

Under Deconstruction/Reconstruction; May, 2011.

Good Intentions

We're all just trying to help:
BEIJING — The mutts were destined for the dinner table — all 520 of them crammed onto a truck hurtling down a Beijing highway toward awaiting restaurants in northeastern China.

...The highway incident has been its biggest success thus far. The mob of dog lovers finally won the standoff by pooling together more than $17,000 to pay off the truck driver. But their victory was quickly eclipsed when they soon realized they had no idea where to house the hundreds of loud, wild and decidedly not housebroken canines.

Even after combining forces, the handful of animal rights groups in the region had trouble handling the overflow from the truck. Most of the dogs they unloaded were strays, and many were dehydrated, malnourished or suffering from deadly viruses. Several have died since the rescue. Dozens this week remained under treatment at animal hospitals around Beijing.

“We are a small organization. We haven’t even tried to pay the animal hospital bills yet,” said Wang Qi, 32, who works at the China Small Animal Protection Association. “There was so much enthusiasm when the dogs were first rescued, but our worry is, what happens now?”

Cinnamon The Chihuahua And Julissa Veloz: One Strange Facebook Legacy

One of the Facebook's cellular characteristics is that sometimes you can make fleeting contact with notable celebrities you don't even know, and didn't even think you were in a position to contact.

Cinnamon the Chihuahua enabled such a fleeting contact with singer Julissa Veloz, through fellow singer Kelsey Barney, via this Facebook exchange:

Kelsey Barney
Love me some Sweet Sugar Poison! Check out my labelmate's new song and video Julissa Veloz Dave Matthias Rod Carrillo
Sweet Sugar Poison (Official Video)- Dave Matthias vs Julissa Veloz
May 27 at 11:26pm · Unlike · · Share.

Marc Valdez
‎2 days ago, a friend found a Chihuahua in the woods and gave it to me to raise (sweet sugar, so to speak). This morning, I whipped out my iPhone to watch this video, and saw a wandering tick dance along the edge of the iPhone in accompaniment (poison). Not sure what Julissa's song is about, but to me it's about vampires & parasites.
Saturday at 8:23am via Facebook Mobile · Like · 1 person.

Julissa Veloz
Spot On
Saturday at 8:25am · Like.

Gallows Humor

Joe the Plumber was the one who coined the perfect eulogy, in 2002, when Ferguson the Cat died.

Despite raw knuckles from a fist fight the previous evening amongst the homeless folks over by the railroad, Joe had insisted on digging Ferguson's grave.

We were at a loss for words as we tamped the cat's body into the grave. Joe finally piped up: "Shit happens."

So, I knew the dangers of waxing philosophical after Cinnamon the Chihuahua's burial:
J.: I told my co-worker that I had brought you a Chihuahua. He said there he read in the paper that someone in Yolo County was offering $1,000.00 for the return of a White Chihuahua. I told him I should take your Chihuahua, paint it white, and claim the reward.

M.: We could dig the Chihuahua up, paint it white, put a little sombrero on him, and both claim the reward.

J.: Make a little sign: "Yo quiero Taco Bell!"

M.: Brilliant!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Disease Progression Chronicle

Last night, same as the night before, the vomiting accelerated (with a bit of diarrhea). I had thought there had been progress during the day, but apparently not. Kindly, Joe brought over some Pedialyte to help out.

About 3:30 am, it was bathroom break, so we went outside. About 6 am, I thought the dog needed to go again, but uncharacteristically, the dog wouldn't stand up (probaby the encephalitis kicking in). About 8:03 am, the dog let out two agonized muffled screams, then lay still. Now, I'm uncertain whether the dog is alive.

This distemper is a bitch of a disease.

(Update 8:43 am: Rigor Mortis kicking in)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Grim Reaper Is Scouting The Block

The Chihuahua has a bad illness; probably distemper. I've been thrown into a nursing capacity - cleaning it, trying to feed it, giving it medication, keeping it warm. I just hope the effort will prove a success. Right now is a trying time.