Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday Night Concerts In The Park

Manned the DMTC booth on Friday night at Caesar Chavez Park in downtown Sacramento.

Danced to this band, with the name Mondo Decko.

Live-Blogging ABQ Storms - 07/30/11

(1:30 p.m. PDT) Another easterly day. Rain once again in the Bernardo-Lemitar corridor, and Santa Fe. Nothing in Albuquerque - yet! At least it's raining somewhere!

(2:50 p.m. PDT) Welcome rain moving across South Valley. Will the Airport get any? Rains in SE Torrance County might approach ABQ.

(3:20 p.m. PDT) Second round of storms look like they are ready to come down from the Manzanos.

(3:30 p.m. PDT) Big cell blowing up near Bernalillo!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The 14th Amendment Approach

Andrew favors this approach, and so do I:
Prominent members of the House Democratic Caucus emerged on Wednesday to express their support for executive action. Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking African American in Congress; and Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, both said that the president should invoke the 14th Amendment if given no other options. The idea initially gained popularity weeks earlier when former President Bill Clinton said that he would use presidential authority under the Constitution "without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me."

...Initial reports from White Press Secretary Jay Carney suggest that this is not a choice Obama prefers -- partly because of potential legal challenges and the fact that bonds issued after an executive order may remain subject to higher interest rates or ratings downgrades by Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

...It's time to try a different approach. How can Obama end the stalemate? By calling the Republicans' bluff. Our nation is bitterly divided over questions about its political and economic future. In times of crisis like this, only brave, defiant leadership can serve as a sufficient answer to self-righteous cowardice.

Live-Blogging ABQ Storms - 07/29/11

Nice big easterly wave rained a lot west of El Paso last night, and is moving across western Arizona now.

(1:55 p.m. PDT) Looks like an easterly day. a line of convection is setting up along the dry line; approximately from Santa Rosa to Truth or Consequences, and heading west.

(2:25 p.m. PDT) Lots of action on the SE flank of the Jemez, and just east of Socorro. Convection increasing on north slope of Mt. Taylor.

(3:10 p.m. PDT) Skies are darkening just east of Willard. They might get a nice fetch of moisture through the Rio Grande Valley near Polvadera, making the place live down its name, even if just for one day. Rains are heading up Water Canyon near Socorro.

And a gust front is coming down the flanks of the Jemez, and has already reached Santo Domingo/northern Rio Rancho.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Live-Blogging ABQ Storms - 07/28/11

(2:45 p.m. PDT) The action today appears to be along the spine of the southern Rockies. There is rain east of the Sandias, Manzanos, and Los Pinos, and it looks like it might spill into the Rio Grande Valley. But not yet.

(3:00 p.m. PDT) Is that a gust front near Belen?

Oh, there is a bit of dryline action going on here: the air moving into ABQ from Texas is drier than air to the west. Maybe some rain will happen!

(3:50 p.m. PDT) Lots of rain fell earlier around Madrid. It's pretty wet east of the Sandias.

Powerful gust front came down into the Rio Grande Valley, down Tijeras Arroyo, and points south! The earlier gust front caused a flareup at Cerro de Los Lunas, and is now moving west in an impressively wide swath into the Rio Puerco Valley. The breadth of the gust front was obscured earlier: it was a lot bigger than just Belen.

It's not quite clear where these fronts are coming from - there is no obvious collapsing cumulonimbus tower. The mountains may be obscuring what's going on, at least, as far as the radar is concerned.

Another gust front from the Madrid storms is passing across the Rio Grande into northern Rio Rancho.

(4:10 p.m. PDT) Gust front action today! There seems to be a second gust front starting east of Belen. The gust front that passed from the Madrid storms caused a jemez flare-up as it passed through Santo Domingo, and now it's colliding with the earlier Belen gust front out west of Rio Rancho. Right now, that's a prime place to get convection! Meanwhile the powerful South Valley gust front is still pushing west.

(4:30 p.m. PDT) Almost like a gust front wall cresting over the West Mesa, heading west into the Rio Puerco Valley, originating from the Jemez, from the Sandias; even the Manzanos. It has caused a flare-up of convection in high terrain south of San Ysidro. Impressive on one hand, that it is so broad, but not impressive, in that it just cause flare-ups, and doesn't do more. Oh well, no one said these things had infinite power!

(5:10 p.m. PDT) The shock is passing into the Mt. Taylor area.

All Hopes Hang On Don

You know things are bad when everyone is desperate to get hit by a Tropical Storm. But that is precisely the case with Tropical Storm Don, which looks like it might direct much-needed rain to Texas and northern Mexico, without also being so destructive as to make people wish they were dead. I'm hoping it juices up the Southwestern monsoon, which seems to need some help right now:
It's not often that news of a tropical storm is welcomed.

But if Tropical Storm Don maintains its current path, the expected heavy rainfall may prove to be a silver lining for the most drought-plagued area of the United States.

"Some parts of Texas are more than 15 inches below average (for rainfall). This storm will likely not be a drought-buster, but could at least put a dent in and around where the storm makes landfall," CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said Thursday. If Don "does not intensify into a hurricane, this is likely a good thing."

Any rain would be a welcome relief for many Texas farmers, who are suffering from the third worst drought in recorded history, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

...Despite the drawbacks for the cotton industry, Staples said there's no denying the state desperately needs the rain.

"Unfortunately, no part of Texas has escaped the damage of this drought," he said. "We welcome Tropical Storm Don as much as we're looking forward to Friday night football."

Don could bring benefits beyond the rain itself. "It will also cool the temps down for a day or two as far north as lower Oklahoma," HLN meteorologist Bob Van Dillen said. "We'll see how strong he gets and what the weather will be like for the western Gulf over the next few days."

Blogger Jerry Wofford on the Tulsa World website referred to Don on Thursday as "our newest friend that was just born Wednesday near the Yucatan Peninsula."

"Sweeney Todd" (School Edition) - Workshop Master Class - Runaway Stage Productions

My camera broke in the middle of Act 2, but I did get some pictures....

The line I always like from the show is when Sweeney Todd dispatches the Old Beggar Woman just as Judge Turpin approaches: "I have no time!"

Company, with Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett) and Karen Harris (Johanna) clearly evident.

Company, with Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd) and Austin McKinley (Judge Turpin) clearly evident.

Cole White (Anthony Hope) and Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd).

Karen Harris (Johanna). Everyone loves a party!

Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett) & Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd).

Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett) & Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd).

Madison Wells (Bird Seller) and Karen Harris (Johanna).

Karen Harris (Johanna).

Cole White (Anthony Hope) & Madison Wells (Bird Seller).

Cole White (Anthony Hope).

Ben Herrera (Pirelli). Apparently Ben came in substituted with just a day's notice!

Ben Herrera (Pirelli), Andrew Freedman (Beadle), & Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd), with two bearded gentlemen.

Ben Herrera (Pirelli).

Andrew Freedman (Beadle), Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett) & Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd).

There's Kendyl in the Quintet!

Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd) & Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett).

Dante DaPrato (Tobias Ragg), Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett), & Ben Herrera (Pirelli).

Judge's chambers at the Old Bailey. Austin McKinley (Judge Turpin) & Andrew Freedman (Beadle), with an unlucky wretch.

Austin McKinley (Judge Turpin) & Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd).

Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett) & Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd).

Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett) & Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd).

"God, That's Good!" - Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett).

"God, That's Good!"

Cole White (Anthony Hope).

Karen Harris (Johanna).

Angela Hogy (Old Beggar Woman).

Karen Harris (Johanna).
"By The Sea" - Emily Kelly (Mrs. Lovett) & Spenser Micetich (Sweeney Todd).



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Live-Blogging ABQ Storms - 07/27/11

(5:05 p.m. PDT) Boy, it just ain't happening today! Winds are from the W & SW, but no gust fronts to speak of, and the storms are hugging the high terrain....

Documenting The Tent

DMTC's John Ewing carefully documents how to erect DMTC's pop-up tent. The tent will be erected at Caesar Chavez Park this Friday, and several subsequent Fridays, for the Friday Night Concerts in the Park.

Insomniac Squirrel

I got home this morning at about, gosh!, 3 a.m. Oddly, I heard a irritated squirrel chittering away on the telephone pole out back.

I don't know what the problem was, but the squirrel was quite unhappy....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shuttle Atlantis Return To Earth, As Seen From ISS


Perfect Example Of The Lunacy

So, who will be our General William Tecumseh Sherman, who will finally take full measure of the danger, and break the Enemy Within?

Live-Blogging ABQ Storms - 07/26/11

It looks like the big action today is along the NM/AZ border area, and bending over to incorporate Mt. Taylor too.

That was an AWESOME bow shock radiating away from the convection last night in NW Sinaloa! Wow!

(1:35 p.m. PDT) A small gust front radiating westward into the RG Valley from the Highway 47/60 junction east of Belen. Big rainfall boiling off the Ladrones. Big rain on the Malpais south of Grants. Lots of action everywhere!

(2:05 p.m. PDT) That's some big storm out there near Alamo! And the little gust front finally triggered convection just east of the RG Valley at the Socorro/Valencia Co. boundary.

Four Corners is seeing lots of rain too today. Storms north of Mt. Taylor are heading towards Lindrith.

(3:05 P.M. PDT) New gust front heading towards Bernardo from the NE.

Also a gust front heading NE in SW Valencia Co., trying to catch up with the weakening storms that just crossed Highway 6 heading to the NE, towards ABQ.

(4:00 p.m. PDT) Big storm blowing up near Edgewood. And Alamo too. Other large storms crossing Highway 44 out towards Counselor.

(5:00 p.m. PDT) The big action remains out near Blanco, and points SE of Farmington. Also, rain near Acoma and points south. Rains near Vaughn too. Things are getting quiet right around ABQ, despite the approaching (but weakening) storms to the SW.

Just Trying To Keep It All In Perspective

Because the cult must be destroyed, and the sooner the better:
But it's also important to remember the big picture. The big picture is that America is being held hostage by a conservative movement that behaves much more as a bizarre religious cult, than a legitimate political entity. It is perhaps the most dangerous cult to have ever held sway over a major nation-state in modern times.

...The possible outcomes of any and every imaginable crisis are only two: 1) give the cult everything it wants, when it wants it; or 2) do nothing and let the world burn. Which is fine, because once the flames have died down, the cult can at last build their Kingdom here as it is in Milton Friedman's heaven. If healthcare costs explode, then the system collapses and the people who are left will only buy the healthcare they can afford at market prices. If global temperatures rise, then Social Darwinism will preserve the deserving. If the American economy collapses, then it can be rebuilt, minus the surplus population and those pesky Keynesian programs that kept it afloat and alive. 2nd Amendment remedies will deal with the lesser people who resist.

One can rage all day and night, and legitimately so, at the failures of the Left and Democrats over the last 30 years. It would take an encyclopedia to count them all.

But one also must remember that the American political system is facing perhaps the most dangerous enemy it has ever faced: an intransigent cult of individuals who simply do not care if everything goes down in flames around them, so long as the sacred tenets of the cult remain unchallenged.

The American political system was crafted by thinkers and philosophers deeply steeped in the Enlightenment. The Founders assumed that the competing elements of self-interest and cooperation, hinged on a delicate balance of powers, would be enough for men and women of Reason to, through fits and starts, ultimately find the best solutions for the problems facing the country based on evidence and argument. The system is built, in essence, upon the presumption of Reason. Of give and take. Of compromise.

The system was not built to handle a takeover of the system by an unreasoning cult. Big money has had outsize influence on our political system before, and the American People have managed to beat it back time and time again. But never before have we been faced with the sort of unified, concerted, intentionally reinforced delusion that besets our halls of power today.

Elaborate Revenge Plot

This case freaked me out:
It sounds like the plot from the TV series CSI - a jilted ex-boyfriend builds a 'master plot' of fake crimes which he pins on his ex-girlfriend and gets her jailed for seven months.

But rather than being a work of fiction, this was the reality that happened to Seemona Sumasar.

Her ex-boyfriend Jerry Ramrattan, who was obsessed with the police drama, allegedly built a web of lies and deceit so convincing it fooled prosecutors and police into arresting her.

"We Get The Sacrifice, They Get The Wealth"

Tell it like it is, Nancy!:
"This isn't just about them saying we should reduce the deficit," she said, adding: "This is an excuse. The budget deficit is an excuse for the Republicans to undermine government plain and simple. They don't just want to make cuts, they want to destroy. They want to destroy food safety, clean air, clean water, the department of education. They want to destroy your rights."

...The Republicans, Pelosi said, her voice rising, have something very different in mind.

"They do not like the government," Pelosi said. "They're riding an engine of popular support for, ok we have to reduce the deficit. And they're using that to destroy."

"The Speaker has said that between him and the president they have a different vision of America and that's how come their budget proposals are different," she said. "Quite different...We get the sacrifice, they get the wealth."

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Bulwer-Lytton Awards Out!

Since Molly won last year's awards, she got to judge 2011's dreadful and amusing contributions:

Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.

Sue Fondrie
Oshkosh, WI

(At 26 words, Prof. Fondrie’s submission is the shortest grand prize winner in Contest history, proving that bad writing need not be prolix, or even very wordy.)


As I stood among the ransacked ruin that had been my home, surveying the aftermath of the senseless horrors and atrocities that had been perpetrated on my family and everything I hold dear, I swore to myself that no matter where I had to go, no matter what I had to do or endure, I would find the man who did this . . . and when I did, when I did, oh, there would be words.

Rodney Reed
Ooltewah, TN

Monday ABQ Storm Live-Blog

(12:20 p.m. PDT) Looks like an easterly kind of day. There is an easterly wave making its way westward across southwestern Arizona. High summer!

In Albuquerque, it's starting off as a Sandia/Manzano kind of day. The clouds from last night didn't burn off till well after sunrise. And it's raining hard, right now, in the Tijeras/Cedar Crest area!

(2:40 p.m. PDT) Winds are from the SE. There has been an interesting handoff - like a relay race - as storms from north of Ruidoso head NW, decay, apparently had off to new storms behind the Los Pinos, handoff again to new storms behind the Sandias, decay, etc. The handoff isn't visible, though. Gust fronts are generally visible only relatively-close to the radar. Over mountain ranges, they can't be seen.

Nevertheless, there now seems to be a stationary gust front just south of Bernardo. It's just sitting there: the storm motion is to the NW, and outflow just matches advection.

(4:30 p.m. PDT) The Bernardo gust front eventually assisted in the development of cells just east of Socorro.

A new cell is developing on the north flank of Mt. Taylor. Not quite clear what is happening there.

But a big gust front just passed across ABQ, from east to west, particularly notable in the South Valley, but also present in the North Valley!

(4:40 p.m. PDT) And a second gust front at Belen! meanwhile, the stately Bernardo front is moving on in to the Polvadera area, and will likely trigger cells near "M" Mountain.

(5:10 p.m. PDT) Another gust front near Bernalillo merged with the West Mesa gust front, and they all are pressing west.

No storm near "M" Mountain yet, although one may move in from the south. Raining heavily in Bernardo now.

(11:30 p.m. PDT) Disintegrating storm approaching ABQ from the SE. The rain guage at the airport has served as an effective rain repellent so far, but that might change tonight.

Public Urination Is Pissing Me Off

On Sunday evening, I was putting nearly the final paint touches on the North Garage Face (lower half) Summer Project, when two men came down the alley and started urinating in my hedge, next to my garbage cans. Because of the angle of the driveway, they were not aware I was standing a short distance away.

I walked out into the alley holding a paint scraper. "I do not appreciate you doing that," I said. They said nothing. "What are you doing?" I asked. A juvenile titter.

Things got ugly.

I started shouting epithets. One, the young black man, shouted epithets back. The white man with the Mohawk style haircut zipped himself up, dodged the fresh, voluminous trail of piss, and started walking off sullenly. The noisy teenage swim party going on two doors down abruptly clammed up: doors slammed and the party ended in twenty seconds.

I escorted the men down the alley. The black man and I both shouted four-letter and five-letter, and six-letter insults at the top of our lungs at each other.

You may piss in my hedge, but be aware, I will tell you exactly what I think about you.

On my property, those are my rules.

Thunderstorm Semaphore

My sister texted last night from Albuquerque, with news of two storms, and a power outage that was forcing her to shuffle frozen materials to her neighbors. Hardship!

Looking late last night, it looked like there was the remnants of a series of storms, perhaps a mesoscale convective complex (MCC) moving west, just south of the city. It's unusual to see these kinds of storms in Albuquerque. If anything, it's usually a symptom of high summer, when the tropical easterlies make their northernmost approach. These storm complexes mimic the sort of MCCs you see boiling off the Sierra Madre in Sonora, and other points further south.

I was so excited about NM storms, that I forgot all about the Arizona storms. On Sunday, there was also a much-larger easterly, much-better-organized high-summer MCC spilling off the Mogollon Rim, and heading west, just north of Phoenix. The Zonians are naturally excited this morning about this storm complex.

I learn new things all the time. Last week, I realized the National Weather Service (NWS) radar displays are sensitive enough to show gust fronts, which catalyze new storm cell growth. Now, it's possible to see the effects of these things in real time!

I became rapt watching the old storms triggering new storm growth near ABQ: I'm sure they do the same kind of signalling in AZ. The upshot appears to be, if it doesn't rain in the mountains first, followed by abrupt storm collapse, it will not rain in ABQ that day. The torch must pass first!

On Thursday, the trigger for ABQ precipitation came from the storms east of Acoma. On Friday, the trigger came in a relay, from the Jemez, to Zia, then to town. Every day is a little different, in part because the overall wind direction can be a little different, and the trigger can come from storms over any high ground anywhere near town, but I'm sure there are persistent themes: Mt. Taylor, the Manzanos, the Sandias, the Jemez, even areas farther away, etc.

In Arizona, the coherent unifying presence of the Mogollon Rim favors the development of MCCs: the storms can advance in unison towards lower elevation to the south and west.

It's just all this semaphore that's going on: convection signals are flashing and echoing all over the Southwest during hot summer afternoons. It's like hearing the gods on Mt. Olympus having a spirited debate. With the NWS radars it's like getting a radio that's finally tuned to this fascinating frequency, and listening in....

Episode 2, Season 4, of "Breaking Bad"

Episode 2

(07/25/11) Apart from the opening scene motel room (which might have been on a stage), there was only one new site in Episode 2 of Season Four, but it seems tailor-made to demonstrate how little I know about Albuquerque. The Restaurant/Bar where Mike and Walt meet is a fine example of late 19th Century New Mexico architecture, with its magnificent tin ceiling, so the location can only be in downtown Albuquerque, but I still didn't recognize it.

Doing some quick Google searches, I note that the Villa di Capo Italian Restaurant at 8th & Central, which is hosted in the Skinner building, has just such a tin ceiling, but since I've never been inside, I don't know if this is the correct site. Do they have a big bar inside, or did the Breaking Bad architects slam something together overnight?

On second thought, this site can't be right. The door is wrong. It must be some other location.

I spent a fruitless evening looking at Google images of Albuquerque bars. It would have been better to have stepped outside and visited some local Sacramento bars instead.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Peter Pan" - YPT - DMTC

Saw the Saturday night show. Interesting retelling of "Peter Pan"! For the most part, I liked it.

I think Pam needs to be particularly commended for the lights. I believe she had greater problems here than with the Main Stage production, but her resolution was better than with the Main Stage production.