Saturday, July 23, 2011

Annoyed By The Success Of J Street Nightlife

Over the last decade, Midtown Sacramento nightlife has really improved. With that success comes problems.

On sporadic weekends, people pee around the back door of my employer. This started a couple of years ago. There is a modicum of privacy, I suppose (although it's well-lit - I don't understand), and it's just a short distance from Streets of London.

Weird stuff happens at that back door. One night, I opened the back door at 2 a.m., and there was a guy standing there with his weenie in his hands staring straight at the door and just about to let loose. "Please don't do that," I asked. "OK," he said, and he left.

Another night, I was just about to open the door, and I heard someone just outside the door screaming at the top of their lungs, "I'm going to kill you!" Sounded serious too. That made me hesitate opening the door, but when I gingerly opened it five minutes later, no one was there. Just a passing thought in the mind of a typical Sacramento barfly, I suppose. Not much determination behind the thought - no follow through.

Tonight, when I drove up to work, there were two women at the back door: one peeing and one standing watch. They hurried away as I parked. I followed them out on the sidewalk and shouted: "You two! Yeah, you two! Don't do that anymore!" It didn't help that two men walking down the sidewalk had slipped in between them and I, and they were looking back at me and no doubt thinking "WTF?", so I had to be very specific: "Yeah, you two women! Don't do that anymore!"

Just give me a break, please.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mutato Muzika - Lena Logan - CDC

I'm not familiar with CDC: the Sacramento dance world changes all the time, so it's hard to keep up. Nevertheless, this looks interesting!

Live-Blogging Today's ABQ Storms

(1:18 p.m. PDT) First gust front appears at Mt. Taylor.

(2:18 p.m. PDT) Little storm south of San Ysidro began moving into the Jemez before the gust front from Mt. Taylor arrived.

Big storms in eastern NM today. Air flow more from the west today: yesterday, it was from the south.

(3:50 p.m. PDT) Nice big gust front roaring into the Upper Rio Puerco Valley from the collapsing storm in the Sierra Nacimiento. It's just reached the storm near San Ysidro, so we'll see what happens there.

Kind of a rinky-dink day for the ABQ. The main action is further east. Lots of little storm cells near Dalies: the radar can't see over the high terrain east of Acoma, and there are little storm cells lurking there, before they pop over the ridges and head east. There's a persistent little cell on the southern flank of Mt. Taylor. Rain for the Magdalenas and "M" Mountain.

(4:01 p.m. PDT) And wouldn't you know it, as soon as that gust front reached the cell near Zia, it started taking off!

(6:20 p.m. PDT) Take your attention away for a few hours, and wow! A storm just barreled into the ABQ metro area! Hammered it!

But it's important to remember that the catalyst for its growth was likely that gust front that came down the northern Rio Puerco Valley, about 2.5 hours ago, which spilled over into the Jemez River drainage. The cell near Zia took off when the gust front reached it (and headed east), and that cell in Rio Rancho didn't even exist until something spurred its growth. I bet it was that gust front!

No, correction. It was a gust front from the decaying Zia storm that triggered the Rio Rancho storm.

We live in a world of interconnections!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gust Front Imagery

I just love watching the radar imagery from near ABQ! There seems to be another one of those gust front thingies radiating away from Mt. Taylor right now!

It's moving SE about 20 mph, and it's about to hit I-40!

Now, it's running down the Rio Puerco Valley; probably will reach ABQ only in an attenuated form.

And now, another, one, coming from the north, down the Jemez River Valley, through and past San Ysidro.

This is fun!

Big storm out near Clines Corners. Probably suppressing convection over the Sandias a bit.

And yet a third gust front, from the storms over the mesas SE of Acoma. It looks like this one is finally triggering convection, on the high ground of the West Mesa east of the Rio Puerco and west of Los Lunas, and maybe this will the storm that hits ABQ today!

(later, 3:48 p.m. PDT)
That gust front kept propagating east too, and has reached the Rio Grande, triggering more convection just west of Los Lunas and Isleta Pueblo (with El Cerro de Los Lunas as the nucleation point). The storms SW of ABQ may be crossing I-40 and move north, perhaps missing most of the city, but the city can't escape this Isleta Pueblo cell!

There seems to be another gust front propagating south along Highway 44, near San Luis, deriving from the storm cells to the north. It's triggering new storms in the Sierra Nacimiento. And a new cell has started on the mesas just north of Zia.

This is fun!

There is a gust front propagating west, the opposite direction from these others. It seems to originate from storms in the vicinity of Claunch, northeast of Socorro.

Meanwhile, the gust front from the mesas near Acoma has completely crossed the Rio Grande and is climbing onto the East Mesa east of Los Lunas.

These gust fronts might collide.

Meanwhile, the prior gust fronts, from Mt. Taylor and Jemez, that essentially collided NW of Rio Rancho, were inadequate to trigger storms NW of Rio Rancho. I wonder why they weren't strong enough? Paradoxically, maybe the terrain is a bit too high there. The first gust front was probably quite attenuated, because it it was climbing out of the Rio Puerco Valley. Farther south, the terrain poses less of an obstacle. It probably will require storms to move in from the south to get this convection going. and there seems to be something popping up in Rio Rancho now, just north of the Sandoval/Bernalillo County line.

(later: 4:10 p.m. PDT)
That eastward-moving gust front, or whatever it is, is running smack into the Manzanos. The westward-moving one is triggering convection NE of Socorro. And now there is practically a wall of thunderstorms from Isleta to Bandelier.

Meanwhile convection is slowly-weakening around Mt. Taylor.

(later: 4:20 p.m. PDT)
There was apparently a second gust front coming from the NW, down the Jemez River Valley, but probably originating from the storms near Cuba, moving simultaneously with the gust front that reached the Sierra Nacimiento. This second gust front seems to have been the trigger for the convection along the West Mesa, particularly NW of Rio Rancho.

Convection really firing up in the southern Manzanos now as the easterly-moving gust front reaches that area.

(4:30 p.m. PDT)
The storms on ABQ's west side just might miss the city: they seem to be moving north. But as the gust front from the NW sweeps across the Bernalillo area and moves towards the Sandias, storms there finally seem to be firing up. There is also some sign the southern Manzano storms are moving north, so ABQ may still get some rain out of this.

(4:45 p.m. PDT)
There's a little storm cell going in Tijeras Canyon just north of I-40. Southern Manzano storm cells are collapsing. I just bet there will be a gust front from those cells in a few minutes, heading west into the Rio Grande Valley!

Storm cells look like they are deliberately-avoiding the rain gauge at the Sunport. Figures!

There is now a broad arc of thunderstorms from Jemez, along the West mesa, then along I-40 to Grants; then straight south. There is a semi-coherent ring of storms around the flanks of Mt. Taylor, but not on Mt. Taylor.

(4:55 p.m. PDT)
From the southern end of the Manzano storms, there is now a gust front heading straight for Socorro.

(5:15 p.m. PDT)
Storms firing up East of Bernalillo, and towards Placitas. Socorro gust front triggering new convection just SW of town. No new gust fronts....

(5:25 p.m. PDT)
Magdalenas firing up, as well as SE of Socorro.

Glee Choreographer Mecca Andrews To Give A Master Class

This looks intriguing: Mecca Andrews will be in town and hosting a Master Class on July 30th at CDC:
As a dancer and choreographer, Mecca has worked with some amazing people and projects including GLEE, MTV, J.LO and more!

Borders To Close

Caption: Sisters Julia, 23, left, and Megan Aube of Davis chat Tuesday in Davis on the lawn at the Borders bookstore, which likely will go out of business. (MANNY CRISOSTOMO/ Sacramento Bee)

I thought it was nice that the Aube sisters were featured in this article. Otherwise, though, the news is bad:
Now it's Borders' turn to be devoured. The retailing chain – battered by technology, changing consumer behavior and the lackluster economy – is expected to go out of business. A bankruptcy judge is expected to approve Borders' liquidation plan Thursday, and the going-out-of-business sale could begin the next day.

The Perils Of Waiting Too Long

It finally began raining in Albuquerque yesterday, and I was watching the event on radar. An interesting image appeared: a perfect circle radiating outwards from the South Valley near the mouth of Tijeras Arroyo. Apparently a downburst, or related phenomenon, had struck the ground and the gust front was radiating away in all directions. The radar was picking up the resultant dust. But I waited too long to try and download the images, so the data have entered archives, and there is no place dustier and spookier than Weather Data Archives. I waited too long. That should teach me!

There was also another strange thing I noticed about yesterday’s rain. Maybe it’s nothing – just coincidence – but it caught my attention.

Storms started early on Mt. Taylor, then midday, they all completely collapsed, and the skies cleared there. Only THEN, did it start raining in a ring all around Mt. Taylor, including the ABQ area. I wonder if Mt. Taylor, being a large, shield-like, looming volcanic presence, has an inordinate influence on weather in the ABQ area, by triggering a gravity wave that can promote storms (but only after storms have already first occurred on Mt. Taylor)? That’s my hypothesis. I’ll see if today’s pattern follows this description.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Drilling deep on some of these "Breaking Bad" sites. Getting progress too!

Bulb Wars

Actually, there is room for everybody here. The Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) save money, and who doesn't like to save money? When I replaced all my incandescent bulbs with CFLs in 2001, my monthly electric bill dropped by 45%. Forty-five percent!

At the same time, CFLs don't necessarily provide the best light, and some people - artists and photographers, principally - would mind that.

So, no need to make incandescent bulbs illegal, like in Australia, where it became urgent to wean the nation from electric power because the drought was terminating hydroelectric power generation. We aren't in that bad a jam.

But we do need to make use of better technologies as they become available. Making a fetish of using incandescent light bulbs just mires us in an inefficient past. It's not about freedom; it's about progress.

The Latex Glacier, And Other Home-Repair Fun

I've been making incremental progress on painting, plus there was the normal landscape maintenance this last weekend.

About two weeks ago, I tossed the five gallon container of gray latex paint into the basement. I tossed it right next to some sharp metal strips. Apparently one of the strips perforated the latex container, and the paint slowly oozed out. Now, I have a blob of gray latex paint on the floor that resembles a latex glacier.

Then, I used an electric hedge trimmer to cut some of the plants in the flower box out front. Sure enough, I got the electric cord mixed up with the vegetation, and cut the cord in a spray of sparks. Fortunately, the spray was brief: no fuses were blown.

Home repair can get pricey at my place, repairing and replacing damaged equipment.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Matt Zoller Seitz reviews "Breaking Bad" - Season 4, Episode 1: "Boxcutter".

My view is Gus would not have killed Victor, despite Victor's many mistakes, unless Victor posed a deadly threat. Victor's ambitions must have become intolerable. We need backstory.

Walt and Jesse, with Mike and Saul's help, will end up as the Southwest's drug kingpins. They will do Gus in, and have to learn to manage an entire drug underworld they don't understand.

I'm worried about that Superlab. It is a dungeon. At some point, they and their families will have to make an escape into the sunlight, but where can they flee?:
If you'd watched the previous three seasons, you couldn't help thinking about Walt and Jesse's moral degeneration over time. They've gone from small-potatoes hustlers on the fringe to major players. It's impossible to make that trip without becoming desensitized to violence, and increasingly willing to rationalize the most horrific crimes.

...If Walt and Jesse are horrible human beings, then what does that make us, the loyal viewers? Complicit. They're our stand-ins. They are capable of almost anything, and there is almost nothing we won't watch them do. It's the line about how to cook a frog in a pan of water; the show's writers turned up the heat so gradually that it isn't until season two or three that you looked down at your arm and thought, "Hey, are those blisters?"

This is the aspect of "Breaking Bad" that elevates it into the pantheon of great crime stories, and the aspect of the series that improves on "The Sopranos," "Deadwood," "The Shield" and other popular, crime-driven cable shows. It's not dropping us into the middle of an unfamiliar world and asking us to empathize with characters whose moral compasses are (one would hope) horribly defective compared to most people's --- characters we could always choose to feel superior to, if things ever got too icky. Gilligan's series starts with an ordinary, law-abiding man, Walter White, deciding to become a criminal, then hooks him up with Jesse, a petty criminal, then slowly introduces us to other, harder sorts of criminals, all of whom have certain awful lessons to impart to Walter and Jesse. Then it gradually takes us deeper and deeper into a criminal world, starting from the outside and moving slowly in. We don't realize how deep inside we are until we realize we've spent the better part of an hour in an underground meth cooking facility watching two guys being threatened and a third being murdered, and it seems perfectly normal.

Living for the City - Sylvester

I can't imagine how this oversight happened. Here you have the Best Song EVER, sung by the Best Singer EVER, and all the way back in 1986 too, so there's been plenty of time for word to get around, yet somehow I never heard of it until last night!

I was watching one of those biography thangs on Cable Teevee, when they pulled this rabbit out of the hat. So, a belated thank you to Sylvester!

Miniature Golf On Saturday Night

On Saturday, we went up to Scandia Family Fun Center, near Madison and I-80, for some Miniature Golf.

There was a time when I blamed most of the troubles in my life on Miniature Golf. That was specifically true near the end of high school, and sporadically in the years afterwards, when my Rio Rancho friends and I couldn't come up with any other mutually-agreeable activity on weekend evenings other than Miniature Golf (and sometimes Bowling), choosing to ignore my many warnings that there were no Girls at the Miniature Golf course, and that the whole thing was pointless anyway. At least you could see Girls if we went elsewhere, like the Movies. And Girls weren't necessarily thronging the places we went afterwards either - places like Der Wienerschnitzel. In fact, figuring out where the Girls actually were was a pressing problem. Supposedly they are half the human race, but you could have fooled me. Where did they all go? Were they under arrest in some stadium somewhere? But despite my warnings, my friends ignored me then.

And they ignored me now. There still aren't Girls at the Miniature Golf course. But somehow, with the lower testosterone levels consistent with Middle Age, who gives a crap anyway? That Whole Thing was pointless anyhow.

Anyway, there we were at Miniature Golf course on Saturday evening, listening to the deathly silence from the people riding the "Scandia Screamer" ride, and wondering about how quiet things were. That was the whole point, right? To scream? But all we could hear was the low rumble of the mechanism turning the "Scandia Screamer", and sense ice-cold fear as people were whipped dozens of feet into the air, into the refreshing Delta Breeze. A bit disappointing, from the listeners' perspective. I guess that Whole Thing was pointless too.

But sheer Pointlessness is an important component of Recreation. Everyone gets excited about a foot race, even though the runners are running around in a circle.

So, we had fun, and relaxed in each other's company....

Monday, July 18, 2011

Trying To Keep Up With Italians

"Well, Get Back To Work"

Tonight, Season 4 of "Breaking Bad" premiered! Yay! The long wait is over!

Workplace dynamics were a bit awkward in tonight's episode. Reminded me of workplace dynamics wherever you go in America.

Which may have been one of the points of the episode.

In any event, there were several familiar locations shown on the teevee, and several unfamiliar locations too.

Familiar locations include:
  • Studio locations (Superlab, and Gale's Apartment);
  • Saul Goodman's office;
  • Walt's new single apartment; and,
  • the White & Schrader residences.

New and unfamiliar locations include:
  • Parking lot (Victor catches Jesse);
  • Parking lot (Barrel of corrosives removed); and,
  • Circle where Skyler parks Walt's car.

There were also several locations that looked familiar enough to hazard location guesses:
  • Time lapse of ABQ at night (looked like the I-40 Bridge over the Rio Grande, looking east);
  • Zia Motor Lodge sign (4611 Central Ave. NE; Central & Madison); and,
  • Denny's (probably across from the University of New Mexico, at 2608 Central Ave. SE).

Regarding the fate of dear Victor, it reminded me of Albuquerque New Year's Eve, 1995, when I witnessed something along the same lines.

Life in Albuquerque can end abruptly.

As it can wherever you go in America.

[Crosspost: "Breaking Bad" locations - Part IV]

"The Dwindles"

I was talking to D. about a mutual acquaintance whose health appeared to be in terminal decline. D. said the person had "The Dwindles." That term took my breath away, it was so apropos!

One of these days, I'll get "The Dwindles" too! Something to look forward to!