Friday, June 17, 2011

Fine Distinctions

At 2:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, I rolled into my driveway, to find a man quickly striding away from the general area of my driveway, and the driveway next door. Not wanting to interfere with the departure of strangers at 2:00 a.m., I waited for him to leave before getting out of my car, but instead, he stopped and stood behind my car, and started shouting, "hey, you, in the car!" So, I got out of my car and engaged him in conversation.

"Sorry about that, but I peed on the fence," he said.

I replied: "Please don't do that! People live over here!"

"It's better than over there," he replied, gesturing to the fence by the cemetery.

"But no one lives over there," I countered.

He replied: "Sorry - won't happen again."

Peer Pressure

Candy is going skydiving tomorrow, and wants as many friends to accompany her as possible.

Wandering Pets Bring People Out Of Their Houses

Yesterday evening, Bailey the Bunny had hidden himself so perfectly that no one could find him. Even E., normally so evasive of spider webs, was content to wander through the webby basement trying to coax Bailey out. In the morning, of course, Bailey had reappeared, hungry for breakfast, and ready for the day.

Yesterday evening, there was a knock at the door. Doug from down the block asked: "Do you have any chickens?" Turned out, Baby Chicken was wandering the alley. How did Baby Chicken get out there? This is how Baby Chicken got scooped up by Joe The Plumber in the first place: by wandering. So, we corralled the baby and put it back in the yard. Incidentally, Doug informed me that his cat had killed a Scrub Jay just that morning.

A few minutes later, I noticed a cat in the yard stalking Baby Chicken. Similar for Scrub Jays, a cat poses a real danger to a Chicken this small. I chased the cat out, and placed an extra board to block a cat entry through the fence.

A few minutes later, as dusk faded to dark, Baby Chicken wandered into the ivy, and vanished. Where did it go? In the morning, Baby Chicken was still missing.

Steve, the property owner from next door, was happy with the Selvaggio Bunny fence project. I had been worried a bit by that - it's his fence too - but as I expected, he's happy with any property improvement he doesn't have to pay for himself. He reserved his disdain for the property improvement on the DMV office building on the 24th Street, and waxed indignant about the use of taxpayer money to improve the facade. I listened, but I wan't similarly indignant: it's counter-cyclical spending that keeps the economy moving along!

Wandering pets bring neighborhoods together....

Vandalism & Static Revenger 'VEGAS'

Kelsey likes this. I like this too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Having A Bit Of Trouble With The Comments

They probably want money. I'll try to enable Blogger's comments system.

Anthony Weiner Resigns

Shows you where bad judgment will take you!

What is mystifying to me is the standard used to justify throwing Weiner to the wolves. Congress-critters of both parties have done far, far worse, yet remained members in good standing. Three things come to mind:
  • His family couldn't endure the turmoil;
  • There may be worse news out there that has yet to be revealed (like this Ginger Lee lie-request thing?), or;
  • Weiner got caught in a power struggle (with Debbie Wasserman Schultz?) and didn't have the resources to tough it out.
I lean towards the third explanation. It looks like his colleagues couldn't run away from him fast enough. Last month, he was the party's supernova. Today, he is a cinder.

Sometimes you need the help of friends to get you through the day, and Weiner may not have even had a dog to rely on. He still has a future in politics, if he wants it, but he needs to engage in some bridge-building first.

I Guess The GOP Is Happy Going There

That independent, anti-Janice-Hahn ad is amazing, and amazingly-bad, but all it's really doing is expressing, with the outside voice, the GOP talk-radio mentality that is usually reserved for the inside voice. Rush has been working this corner for decades!

When the GOP hands you a hammer, it's time to start pounding nails....

Pet Shangri-La

Left: Baby Chicken.

This morning, the Big Chicken was making the acquaintance of the Baby Chicken, while the rabbit explored the labyrinth of the basement.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Peter Pan" - DMTC - Tuesday Night Rehearsal

Wonderful Profile Of Peter Wagner

On Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee featured a wonderful profile on Peter Wagner, bicycle maker.

Peter was a cast member in the first musical I was ever involved with ("Fiddler On The Roof", Woodland Opera House, 1997). Even then, his bicycles were the envy of Davis!

Like I say, an excellent profile!:
The wacky world of Peter Wagner, perhaps Davis' foremost recycler, is headquartered in an ordinary suburb on the west side of town.

His yard looks like the back lot of an all-clown circus, where he has swing bikes, drifters, sociables, recumbents, trikes, big wheels, velocipedes, unicycles, hand cycles, a 6-foot unicycle, bikes with pedals, bikes without pedals, tall bikes that elevate the rider 8 feet off the ground, and four-seaters. What isn't scattered about the overgrown grass in his front yard can be found in the garage.

Wagner built them all, welding bits and pieces of discarded or donated bikes into functioning, funky, pedal-propelled vehicles. He often enters some of his collection in the annual University of California, Davis, Picnic Day Parade. Several had a small role in a music video recently produced by university students. He and his wife, Jerri, compete in kinetic-sculpture races around California and Oregon, and were married during one weekend event.

Wagner, 58, is an inventor, adapter, bona fide bike wizard and self-described eccentric. He's built around 250 bikes, sold 180 and kept the rest. He makes his living primarily as a substitute school teacher.

Shrimp Maniac

M.: So, how was your vacation at Lake Tahoe?

E.: It was good. I won $90.00 playing 'Shrimp Mania' at 2:30 in the morning. Then C. tried to win on Shrimp Mania, but he started losing, so we went across the street, and he won $200.00 over there.

M.: So, you two won!

E.: No, we lost it all. Oh yes, there is also a lot of snow up there.

M.: Did you meet the bunny?

E.: No, what's his name?

M.: Bailey.

E.: Billy-boy (Tagalog slang for 'gay').

M.: Well, I don't know....

E.: Can I call him "Annie-Annie"? (short for 'bunny-bunny').

M.: You can call him whatever you want!

Home For Wayward Chickens

Joe the Plumber informs me he found a Baby Chicken. He also informs me he was able to evade E. and carefully place the Baby Chicken in my yard.

Preparing For Season 4 Of "Breaking Bad" By Updating My BB Blogposts

I've discovered just how popular the TV series "Breaking Bad" is worldwide, by the number of hits I've been getting on my four Breaking Bad filming location blogposts. It's amazing: this New-Mexico-based TV series resonates with people everywhere, crossing all barriers of language and custom! It's a real testament to the skill of the scriptwriters, actors, and cinematographers (among others) who have brought the TV series to such success!

Hits on my blogposts have been increasing of late, as "Breaking Bad" fans get excited by the approach of Season 4's premiere. So, in order to provide best service to "Breaking Bad" fans, I've carefully gone back reviewed all of the Breaking Bad episodes and re-edited these filming location blogposts (which I had updated only last week anyway, but which always can be improved).

By carefully going back, with an eye to location detail, I've been able to locate several more filming locations.

"Breaking Bad" fans deserve the best! Fans of the landscape of the 'Land of Enchantment' deserve the best!


Links to these four "Breaking Bad" Filming Location posts are as follows:

Part 1 - List of Filming Locations
Part 2 - Waldruggie's Locations Revisited
Part 3 - Newer Locations
Part 4 - Season 4 & Unfinished Business

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grouping Kylie Videos By Venue

This is an excellent Kylie fan site! All the Las Vegas YouTube videos are here!

At The Eastern End Of The Port Hills Fault

The crustal breakage continues near the seashore. Presumably the shocks will eventually start heading north, just offshore, following the locations of other small quakes since last September. That should be what it does, but what it's actually doing the last few days is arcing southeast, through Port Levy. I wonder what's going on there?:
A magnitude 5.0 tremor has rattled Christchurch this morning, as scientists say there is now a higher chance of a new large quake in the region.

The tremor, which struck at around 6.27am, was centred 20km southeast of the city at a depth of 6km.

It was followed by a 4.2 magnitude shake at 6.32am.

...Scientists analysing Monday's quakes – yesterday upgraded to magnitude 5.6 and 6.3 – now believe they occurred on another fault 2km to 3km south of the Port Hills Fault, which generated the February 22 shake.

Seismologist Bill Fry said there had been six aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or greater on or near this fault since February.

Like most of the quakes since September 4, they had been high in energy. However, most of the energy released on Monday was horizontal, compared with vertical on February 22.

"This contributed to the anomalously high shaking intensity of the earthquakes, as the amount of shaking is proportional to the energy released," Fry said.

"The spatial size of the underground rupture area for the magnitude-6.3 quake was relatively small for the amount of energy released. This implies that the fault was very strong."

Visiting United States seismologist Kevin Furlong said Monday's major aftershocks had probably reduced the stress buildup around the eastern end of the Port Hills from the February 22 quake.

It was likely stress had now transferred further east and offshore, he said.

"So there will be aftershocks from this and they will likely mostly be on or near the fault that ruptured [on Monday], and also possibly further to the east, and also some to the north-northeast, as was the case after February."

He said the first quake had been a trigger for the second, with both showing almost identical movements.

"Although their locations relative to the February event are slightly different – more to the east – I think they reflect the same tectonics," he said.

"Whether we want to say they are the same fault or simply adjacent faults is really semantics to me. They are fault segments that are interacting with each other."

After such an incredible sequence of quakes, the problem now was knowing what "normal" was.

Earthquake scientists had "cut their teeth" on the behaviour of quakes from plate boundary faults such as the San Andreas in California and New Zealand's Alpine Fault but knew far less about small crustal quake sequences like this one.

"We know the plate boundary faults' history and behaviour that, say, every 300 years they do this or that. But with this type of event, we don't know what is normal for the Canterbury region," Furlong said.

"We assumed what we had up to September 4 was normal, but it appears it wasn't normal. We don't know what is the background condition that the Earth is now moving towards.

"Each earthquake sequence is unusual, this one both because of its character and observation.

"It's as well-recorded as any of this size has ever been. We are seeing things about it – things that we don't see in any other place.

"It's aspects of this that makes this [sequence] very important to science and why it's hard to be definite about how it's going to behave."

Geotech Consulting engineering geologist Mark Yetton said he had not seen any obvious surface rupture on the Port Hills from Monday's quakes.

Monday afternoon's biggest earthquake came close to outstripping the magnitude of the deadly February 22 quake.

GNS Science seismologists yesterday reclassified the 2.20pm aftershock as magnitude 6.338, just 0.005 of a magnitude smaller than February's 6.343 quake.

Aerial pictures of the Christchurch area. Photos by DON SCOTT (The Press).

Caption: Timeball Station (at Lyttelton) after the magnitude-6 earthquake.

Caption: Dust rises from the Manchester-Gloucester streets area.

Caption: The unstable rock face behind the Redcliffs School.

Caption: The causeway to Long Lookout Point, showing dust from the destruction that hit the city from the coast.

Caption: The road over to Sumner from Lyttelton.

Caption: Christchurch Cathedral.

"I've Gotta Crow!"

This morning, I heard some fluttering on the back porch. I went outside to find out what it was, and discovered the neighborhood chicken on the roof of my bedroom. It's nearly two stories up there!

What is that chicken thinking? Does the chicken want the flying freedom of the nearby pigeons?

Lord and Master of the Driveway and Alley!

Bailey the Bunny is surprised!

Oh, Boo-The-Freakin'-Hoo!

Last year's disastrous Gulf Oil spill convinced me of one thing: I HAD to stop patronizing ARCO/AM-PM with my business!

I managed to spend some money at AM-PM every single day! It was my favorite business! Given the criminal mismanagement of ARCO with respect to the oil spill, I had to bring all that to a dead stop!

I pretty-much succeeded. In the last year, I've patronized AM-PM maybe three times.

It looks others did the same thing too. The boycott is killing the company, at least in California, and they are beginning to wind things down here. Good riddance, that's what I say!

Monday's Sacramento Bee featured a weepy article talking about how sad all of this is. You won't find me crying!:
When workers dismantled the ARCO corporate logo at the former Arco Arena earlier this year, it served as a fitting symbol of the company's California retrenchment.

Known for selling cheap gasoline and for its 24-hour ampm convenience stores, ARCO has been a dominant player in the state's petroleum industry for decades. It is California's largest gasoline distributor, with more than 20 percent of the market.

But since last year's deadly Gulf of Mexico oil spill, parent BP PLC has either sold off or put up for sale most of its California assets.

..."There's been so much economic pain for them from the gulf disaster that they have been shedding assets and are looking to shed even more assets," said Gordon Schremp, senior fuels specialist with the California Energy Commission.

The divestitures are notable because ARCO used to be one of California's largest companies, and its history is ingrained in the economic history of the state.

..."It hurts my pride to see a company I so adored disappear," said George Babikian, who served as president of ARCO's refining and marketing operations before retiring in 1993. "It was a great company."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pummeled By Monday's Dual Christchurch Quakes, Andrew Discusses Natural Disasters

Trying to appease the angry New Zealand Earth Gods with conversation:

It looks like the two big shocks bracketed Sumner. Hope you are in a place where rockfalls and falling debris can’t get you.

Thanks Marc,

I had just flown in from Tahoe and got home to a nice sunny day (though a lot of haze in the air which caused some airlines to cancel flights – from the ash from the volcano in Chile). I had barely been in the house 30 minutes when the first earthquake hit – and then the second one was awful. The house felt like it was being violently thrown up and down and I don’t understand how buildings can put up with that kind of force without major damage. There is some damage though but not too bad. And everything fell off the shelves and walls again!! I think I may leave things on the floor as when I pick them up there seems to be another aftershock!!

I watched in horror as it looked like half of the cliffs fell into the ocean across the other side of the harbour (Godley Head) when the big one hit.

Best regards,
Hi Andrew:

I had seen something in the news that flights had been cancelled in NZ because of the ash, but found it hard to believe, somehow (I mean, that’s halfway around the world!) But then I saw the plume video here, and rethought:

The cliffs falling into the sea: That sounds awful! The news is the Lyttelton Timeball station finally collapsed, for good. A lot of broken buildings in Christchurch are collapsing, for good.

You and your neighbour’s houses are on a lot better foundation (volcanic rock in Diamond Harbour) than many in the Christchurch area (alluvium, subject to liquefaction). If any houses can survive the trauma, yours can!

It’s funny, the little superstitions we employ to try and appease the angry Gods. Don’t pick up those items on the floor, and see if that helps!


Yes, as a plume modeller, you should know how far that kind of stuff can travel! It is funny because on Saturday morning I was hiking at Tahoe and looked across the lake to where a controlled burn was taking place. They couldn’t have picked worse conditions for that burn for exposing people to smoke. I could see the source of the smoke and then it rose just slightly into the air and then levelled off at the height of the temperature inversion (quite low), spreading smoke across a distance of several miles each side of the source. Stable atmospheres are not good for dilution of particles as we all know from our work. And between Chile and NZ, there isn’t a whole lot of anything to intercept the particles so they just carry on moving I guess! My AirNZ flight from Auckland to Chch flew very low to stay below the ash. Other airlines didn’t fly at all.

Best regards,

My friends and relatives in Albuquerque, NM, are doing nothing but complaining about air quality, due to the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona. They are directly downwind of the fire. Similar to the Chilean Volcano/NZ situation (but on a smaller scale), even the considerable distance downwind isn’t enough to protect them.

There are other fires too. A friend went to visit the Chiricahua Mtns. of southeastern Arizona, and found the Horseshoe Fire everywhere.

Meanwhile, life in Sacramento continues on in its frivolous Californian way. I’m painting a porch. I adopted a rabbit this weekend. I put my Albuquerque roots to use in documenting filming locations for the TV series “Breaking Bad”. I went to see Kylie in Las Vegas in May.

The only thing I’m unprepared for is natural disaster, and California has been ominously quiet, of late.


I hope CA stays quiet for some time to come as I need at least one home without earthquake damage!! Mind you, my Tahoe place came perilously close to fire damage when the Angora Fire broke out a few years ago.

Your comments about CA life made me laugh. On Saturday I got stuck in traffic for hours at the Bay Bridge because some guy tried to jump off the bridge.

Have a great week,

The Great Escape

Sunday morning at 2:30 a.m. was the last time I had seen Bailey. It was nearly midday Sunday, and Bailey had disappeared.

At first I figured Bailey was in one of the many niches available for a secret bunny to hide, but I slowly realized Bailey wasn't in any of them. So, where was the bunny?

Meanwhile, Joe the Plumber came over, mostly to hang out and talk about himself as I painted the back porch. I wasn't in the best of attentive moods - how am I going to explain this fiasco to Giorgio and Karina? - and so when Joe offered to get some hamburgers, I eagerly bade him well.

I thought I heard a surreptitious noise on the other side of the back yard fence, in the neighbor's yard, but there were plenty of scrub jays and squirrels making surreptitious noises over there. I went into the neighbor's yard and poked around, but found nothing.

When Joe returned, we prepared signs and he papered the neighborhood. We went on two strolls around the block, asking people if they had seen anything. Eventually, we were back in the neighbor's yard, trying to locate that surreptitious noise.

Then we discovered Bailey's Secret Niche. Behind the Savage, Pointy Agave, behind the Thorny Rose, behind the Obscuring Palm, behind the Ivy, there was the narrowest hole in the fence: almost impossible for people to see, but detectable from a rabbit perspective. Bailey slipped through the fence, and ran into the wire mesh placed against the fence on the opposite side for the contigency of preventing dogs from breaking into my yard. So, Bailey had left the yard, but technically was not at liberty. Still, with Ivy draped on both sides of the fence, Bailey was invisible.

Rabbits seem to live in a perpetual dread of being exposed to predators. Not in this niche! Bailey had found relief, and peace.

At least, until Crazy, Pursuing Man located Bailey and blocked that niche from use.

Left: Feeling glum after having his secret spot discovered and blocked off, Bailey goes back into Invisible Secret Bunny mode.

Bailey discovers the hidden wonder world of the garage.

Finally Getting Some Progress Painting The Back Porch This Weekend

The Lack Of Accountability Was A Feature, Not A Bug

How quickly people forget! The lack of paperwork was all part of the Bush Administration's efforts to deregulate the administrative overhead of warfare, which, admittedly, can be extraordinarily burdensome. But it was burdensome for a simple reason: people steal!

Now people want to get all medieval about the theft of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. But that misses the point. The Bushies figured a little theft was OK in the short run, and cheaper, as long as they didn't have to get all those signatures in triplicate, all up-and-down the Pentagon's chain of logistics command. What the Bushies failed to account for, though, was just how long the short run would be, and just how much money could quickly be siphoned away by clever people:
Approximately $6.6 billion in cash was likely stolen after being flown to Iraq during the months that followed the U.S.-led invasion, Pentagon officials said recently.

Stuart Bowen, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, told The Los Angeles Times that the sum just might be "the largest theft of funds in national history."

The cash was part of a series of shipments totaling more than $12 billion, taken largely from the U.N. "oil-for-food" program and the sales of Iraqi oil. Officials in the Bush administration had hoped the massive pallets of cash would help calm Iraq's civilian population following the chaotic and violent invasion and toppling of Saddam.

The funds -- which were separate from a $53 billion appropriation Congress approved for Iraqi reconstruction efforts -- were cobbled together by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before being flown to Baghdad and distributed to interim Iraqi ministers, who U.S. officials see as the most likely culprits in the theft: an allegation that's not officially been leveled.

The Pentagon admitted last year that it could not account for over $8.7 billion in Iraqi reconstruction funds, and that about $2.6 billion of it was sent out without any documentation at all.

Investigators said in 2005 that Bush officials apparently neglected to put procedures in place to track the money or hold recipients accountable for its proper applications.

Iraqi officials have since threatened to take the U.S. to court to reclaim the funds.

Oh Come On, Tim Pawlenty Isn't THAT Dull!

Starting with such an unpromising premise, Pawlenty's joke is better than most people could come up with.

Do you want to talk dull? I mean, real dull? In 1975, my friend Walter said "Quick, we're going to the airport to see Scoop Jackson!"

Henry "Scoop" Jackson had just started campaigning for the 1976 Democratic Presidential nomination, and since Walt's father was a newspaperman, we had the inside scoop about his airport press briefing. So, we went to see someone who just might be a true American statesman!

Scoop Jackson made Tim Pawlenty look like Don Rickles and Joan Rivers, combined.

The Coming Of The End

A bit of news:
The California radio preacher who predicted that the end of the world would take place last month is hospitalized following a mild stroke.

Staff at Harold Camping's radio company, Family Stations Inc., reports that the 89-year-old preacher has been recuperating in a local hospital after suffering the stroke on Thursday.
People are strange. It seems to be a common failing of the human race that people can't seem to distinguish the sense of foreboding that accompanies one's own death from the sense of foreboding that accompanies the end of the world. You will die: it's unlikely the world will die anytime soon, though. Yet, in our emotional lives, the two concepts are hard to distinguish.

New Mexico: The Nation's Nuclear Waste Leader Since, Oh, 1945, Or So

Ooooh, the template!:
WIPP has become the only long-term nuclear waste disposal site in the country in part because local officials in Carlsbad lobbied to have a repository built nearby to boost the local economy.

A 1957 report by the National Academy of Sciences recommended getting rid of waste in salt beds and domes as the "most practical immediate solution of the problem." Salt remains an ideal substance for protecting nuclear waste, experts say.

Dyer Went To The Chiricahuas, And Found They Basically Burned Down

A few of Dyer's pictures.

Perimeter of the Horseshoe Fire.