Saturday, December 31, 2011

Long San Diego Layover

Wow! A three hour layover! Time enough to leave the airport and walk up and down the sidewalk along the San Diego waterfront. And time to return and have a small lunch and go back through security. But the flight is delayed, so despite all this whiling away, I still returned to the airport too early.

Day Three

Went to the Forrester location, Tingley Drive, downtown, and Odelia. Then joined 'Walldruggie' in a search for Mike's Pub.

The friendly bartender at Billy's Pub pointed us to Louie's on Menaul, which indeed turned out to be the proper location.

Afterwards, I went to Tijeras Arroyo and portions of the South Valley. Then it was time for a fine dinner at Sadie's with my sisters and cousins.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day Two

Parts of the day were spent gathering photos from old BB locations as well as new ones.

In the morning, I went out to Rio Rancho and photographed several sites.

Then it was off to Cabezon Road south of San Ysidro. Washboard dirt road slowed me down. Didn't explore too much because of the possibility of bogging down in muddy ruts, and also because I could hear the booming of target practice further on down the road.

I returned to the vicinity of the Hyatt Tamaya resort. I wanted to travel down a dirt road adjacent to the resort to visit the BB volcano cliffs/power line cook site from Season 2, but ultimately I chickened out. I was being watched and there was the possibility of two security forces (resort and Pueblo of Santa Ana security). Or maybe it was just paranoia. In any event, I retreated and ate lunch at the Bernalillo LotaBurger.

Then, an afternoon winding through the NE Heights, down to Central and I-25, and back to Golden Corral on San Mateo for dinner. I discovered one BB site by accident. The house adjacent to where Jesse and Jane discuss Georgia O'Keefe in the car is right around the corner from Gus' house. After photographing Gus' house, I turned the corner, and it was like - whoa! I recognize that house!

Tomorrow, we have a big family dinner planned at Sadie's. We'll have big party going to a popular restaurant on one of the biggest dining days of the year. I anticipate delays.

NM Sojourn, So Far

Spending time with my sisters, particularly Michelle. It's a work week for folks, so not as much time as desired, but still, some.

Still following 'Breaking Bad' filming locations. Mid-afternoon yesterday, I finally met 'Walldruggie', whose original photo posts regarding the show inspired me to do the same. Great conversation! Great fun!

In the morning, I visited the strange, many-windowed white building where Saul rendezvoused with Walt late in Season 4. What an unusual place! Well-built; lovingly-built, but now in ruin. It has the institutional character of a youth hostel, with rooms above and kitchen and living area below, but little touches (it sits adjacent to modern facilities for troubled youth; fortified windows on the rooms above) suggest it may have had some correctional purpose at some time. 'Waldruggie' said someone who worked nearby told her it was once a girl's school. That is an interesting hypothesis. The building bears a faded label: if I recall, 'Book Alliance Program'. So, the building has probably had several incarnations over the year. In any event, it seems unique, which makes it sad it is now so desolate.

Tried to eat breakfast at Loyola's Restaurant, but the family restaurant was closed for the holiday week, so ate at the University Denny's instead, in Walt and Jesse's booth. Recent upholstery upgrade makes the booth nearly too tight to slip into.

Wandered briefly around Gibson Hospital until I attracted the attention of security. Photographed bus stop on Gibson. Got mixed up regarding roads near airport.

Ended up driving around Q Studios: e.g., Pavilion parking lot. Headed west on Los Picaros Drive to loop around and go east into Tijeras Arroyo, but stymied by a closed road barrier (weird doings afoot). Saw an open gate and went onto a sandy, steep dirt road, but had to abandon the four-wheel fun because the chance of being trapped was too high. Tried to find alternative road into Tijeras Arroyo, but failed.

Left the area and went to Martin Road, and went Los Pollos Hermanos (aka Twisters) on Isleta Blvd. A family from Ohio was posing at the Los Pollos Hermanos wall painting inside the restaurant. I smiled. They explained they came because of the connection with the TV show. One (Michelle from Ohio) was a confirmed 'Breaking Bad' fan. I introduced myself and said I kept a 'Breaking Bad' film locations web site. To my surprise, she recognized me. Great time!

Met 'Waldruggie' at Barelas Cafe. We had planned to visit the Mexican field hospital site, but I explained we might have trouble because I had passed by the location and the gate was closed. Nevertheless, on the return trip, the gate was mysteriously open. So we drove on-site and snapped only just a few photos when Irritated Guys In A Large Cab Pickup Truck Towing A Horse Trailer showed up. I quickly explained what we were doing to Irritated Guy #1, and we were firmly escorted from the property.

Afterwards, 'Waldruggie' showed me Jerry's Market, where Walt Goes Naked in Season 2. I've been looking for that place for 1.5 years! Then I showed her River Park in Los Lunas, where Hank did his clumsy RV Surveillance! Great time for us both! On Friday, we will meet again and try to sleuth out where Mike's Bar is located. I think downtown, but 'Waldruggie' suspects the vicinity of Eubank & Central.

Ate dinner with sisters & Ken at Sweet Tomatoes. Afterwards, saw Bruce and Richel. Watched Gabriel Iglesias' 'Live From El Paso' DVD. Funny guy!

And after that, a few snaps of the Mesa Verde Apartment Complex (where Victor catches Jesse in the opening of Season 4).

Today, will head towards San Ysidro. Go Northwest, young man!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Who Is This George Jetson?

The airport bus can be interesting. One fellow entered the bus and theatrically unbuckled and rebuckled his belt, and raised his arms to slowly smell his armpits (whew!). Then he placed his palm against his face and head and repeatedly struck the back of his hand. Theatrical abuse of his own face! Then he pretended his head was a cinder block and made as if to rotate it around and around. I couldn't quite catch everything he was muttering. Something about 'Steve Austin, Six Million Dollar Man', and 'I'm here Scotty'. But I did like it when he said 'Who is this George Jetson?'

At the airport, a man tried to hurry with his rolling carry-on suitcase to make the bus, tipped the suitcase in his haste, tripped over the edge of the suitcase, and pancaked face first on the pavement. He made the bus but lost dignity in the process.

At the security checkpoint, the fellow next to me in line presented an expired driver's license from 2007 for identification. I don't know how that all worked out.

New Mexico Hiatus

I'm going to take a quick trip to NM and look around, so posting until the weekend will be haphazard.

Ron Paul Was Reaching Out To Rednecks

An outreach effort that really didn't work, so it was abandoned:
So why were Ron Paul or his ghostwriters engaged in racism and conspiracy theories? And why did Ron Paul allow this?

...[I]n the 1990s and 1980s, anti-government sentiment was much less mainstream. It seemed contained to the racist right-wing, people who supported militia movements, who obsessed over political correctness, who were suspicious of free-trade deals like NAFTA.

At that time a libertarian theorist, Murray Rothbard argued that libertarians ought to engage in "Outreach to the Rednecks" in order to insert their libertarian theories into the middle of the nation's political passions.

Rothbard had tremendous influence on Lew Rockwell, and the whole slice of the libertarian movement that adored Ron Paul.

But Rothbard and Rockwell never stuck with their alliances with angry white men on the far right. They have been willing to shift alliances from left to right and back again. Before this "outreach" to racists, Rothbard aligned himself with anti-Vietnam war protestors in the 1960s. In the 2000s, after the "outreach" had failed, Rockwell complained bitterly about "Red-State fascists" who supported George Bush and his war. So much for the "Rednecks." The anti-government theories stay the same, the political strategy shifts in odd and extreme directions.

As crazy as it sounds, Ron Paul's newsletter writers may not have been sincerely racist at all. They actually thought appearing to be racist was a good political strategy in the 1990s. After that strategy yielded almost nothing -- it was abandoned by Paul's admirers.

...Undoubtedly the movement that Paul inspired has moved far beyond the race-baiting it engaged in two decades ago. Young people from college campuses aren't lining up to hear him speak because of what appeared in those newsletter about the 1992 L.A. riots. Rand Paul tried his hardest to place Paul-style libertarianism into the context of the Tea Party. And he will likely carry on the movement without this 1990s baggage.

But the questions remain. If Ron Paul is so libertarian that he won't even police people who use his name, if his movement is filled with incompetents and opportunists, then what kind of a president would he make? Would he even check in to see if his ideas are being implemented? Who would he appoint to Cabinet positions?

These are all legitimate questions. And the media is going to start asking them now. If there isn't already a "ceiling" on Ron Paul's support, widespread knowledge of the newsletters could build one quickly.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I Can't Hold Liquor Worth Squat

Just a little half-glass of wine, and I'm back in headache-land again!

Then again, maybe it's the wine. Leighton noted this on Facebook.

The Reason Why Virginia's Primary Requirements Were Strengthened

Because it was about time:
Put another way, Winger says Republican officials used to essentially ignore the legal requirement that signatures be verified, accepting raw signatures instead. But this year, things were different. The state GOP gave the list of signatures a close look, Winger says, which is why Gingrich and Perry (who both professed to turn in more than 10,000 signatures) didn’t make it.

Osborne ran as an independent after he says the Republicans denied him a shot at the GOP ballot line. Then he filed a lawsuit against his local GOP in October, claiming it was unfair that he had to have his signatures verified by the state while his GOP opponent only had to get the sign off from the Republican Party. The legal action is still underway, but Winger wrote the suit led the state GOP to switch up its verification procedures (or, put a different way, start having some.)

The Cost Of Gasoline Is Historically High

Jerry sends this interesting inflation-adjusted graph.

A Useful Christchurch Map

This map shows the progressive, episodic earthquake succession to the east (green; then red; then blue), as well as observed fault locations and locations of fault structures underground. I worry that some of the quiescent faults on the northern flank of the Canterbury Plains might become active in the near-future.

Interesting Ron Paul Ad

Excellent ad!

Here, a writer tries to reconcile Ron Paul's racist newsletters with his evident respect for the guy. Too much agonizing here.

Myself, I am not so bothered by the content of the newsletters. The kind of post-60's racism evident in them was quite common in conservative circles back in the 1970's through 1980's. At that time, I lived in Arizona, and rented from a fellow, who, like Ron Paul, was a physician, and who uttered lots of very similar sentiments. In addition, my landlord hailed from Alabama and kept a surreptitious segregationist library, so, if anything, he was even more racist than Paul. Opposition to celebrating MLK's birthday was common in conservative circles in Arizona, and briefly even made part of state policy by Governor Evan Mecham. That opposition was rooted, in part, in scorn for supposed communist influence, but racism was always the (usually unspoken) subtext. Today, that particular racism has withered, replaced by growing fear of illegals crossing the border. Times changed, and conservatives changed with them.

I prefer to have racism out in the open and not buried under strictures of political correctness. Today, Paul is denying he wrote his newsletters, which is an unfortunate response to modern-day political pressure. I'm sure most of his readers in the 80's were similarly racist and would have read the newsletters hardly noticing the racist elements.

But time moves on.

Ron Paul's miserliness would be a catastrophe for the domestic economy, but it would be a breath of fresh air for foreign policy. The Pentagon and its allies have made Al Qaeda the successor to the USSR in its quest for huge budgets, but they might well meet their match with Ron Paul. It might be well worth the sacrifice to have U.S. imperial overreach finally brought to heel.

So, What's The Big Picture In Christchurch?

I let the processor go at this Web Site, which maps out earthquake epicenters. I chose "All" quakes since September 4, 2010 larger than magnitude 3.0 (which takes hours to plot).

As I've blogged about previously, the entire region of the North Canterbury Plains seems to be in a process of trying to rotate counterclockwise, to accomodate differential continental drift. The earthquakes seem to be occurring on faults that permit this movement.

In addition to the east-west faulting represented by the Greendale and Port Hills faults, there appear to be an underlying series of north-south faults in the region, visible here at Darfield, Lake Ellesmere, and Akaroa. Notice how the easternmost north-south line of epicenters lances right through the center of Akaroa? I bet Akaroa is on that fault! North-south faults have been mentioned by others as well.

I'm intrigued by the shallow earthquakes (labeled in orange and red), where brittle crust is simply shattered by tectonic stress, and seems to lead the progression of fault movement.

The progressive shift of earthquakes to the east may have stopped. It wouldn't be that surprising if fault movement just offshore starts propagating northwards, parallel to the coast on a north-south fault, and perhaps eventually crosses the coast again north of Christchurch.

We'll Have The Fourth-Driest December On Record In Sacramento

So dry!:
If the area remains dry through the month, Sacramento will finish with an arid 0.07 inches of rain for December.

The top five driest Decembers since 1849: 1876 – 0.00 inch; 1989 – 0.00; 1999 – 0.03; 2011 – 0.07, so far; 1956 – 0.22.

All is not lost. The National Weather Service notes that although December 1999 is the third driest on record, that rainfall year finished with 23.74 inches, about 4 inches above average.
There is a chance for a small amount of rain on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the next big opportunity for rain, according to the FNMOC NOGAPS forecast, looks like the wee hours of Monday morning, January 2, 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Kiwi Joke

Over at Wicked Thoughts, Australian Bussorah posted a New Zealand joke. I repost it here, in the interest of international comity:
“Kiwis” is the nickname for New Zealanders. “Eden Park” is a New Zealand football ground.

There are many different pronunciations of English. Cockneys (working class Londoners), for instance, have lost the “th” sound. They say “wif” instead of “with”.

In New Zealand, however, they have lost an entire vowel sound. They have lost the “i” sound so say “fush” instead of “fish”. The story below features an attempt to represent how New Zealanders speak.

The national football team is the “All Blacks” who are in fact mostly white — but are revered nonetheless. A picture of some of the team above. Most New Zealand jokes are about sheep but this one is different.

50,000 Kiwis meet in Eden Park for a “Kiwis Are Not Stupid” Convention.

Prime Minister John Key says, “We are all here today to pruv to the world thet Kiwis are not stupid. Ken I hev a volunteer?”

Ritchie McCaw the great All Black gingerly works his way through the crowd and steps up to the stage.

Key asks him, “Rutchie whut uz fufteen plus fufteen?” After fufteen or twinty seconds Ritchie says, “Eighteen!”

Obviously everyone is a little disappointed. Then all 50,000 Kiwis start chanting, “GUV HUM ANUTHER CHANCE! GUV HUM ANUTHER CHANCE!”

Key says, “Well, sunce we’ve gone to the trouble of gitting 50,000 of you un one place, end we have the world-wide priss end global broadcast media here, I thunk we ken guv hum anuther chance.”

So he asks, “Whut uz sivven plus sivven?” After nearly suxty seconds he eventually says, “Twunty!”

Key is quite perplexed, looks down and just lets out a dejected sigh and everyone is disheartened.

Ritchie starts crying and the 50,000 Kiwis begin to yell and wave their hands shouting, “GUV HUM ANUTHER CHANCE! GUV HUM ANUTHER CHANCE!”

Key, unsure whether or not he is doing more harm than damage, eventually says, “Ok! Ok! Just one more chance.Rutchie, whut uz two plus two?”

Ritchie closes his eyes, and after a whole minute eventually says, “Four!”

Throughout the stadium pandemonium breaks out as all 50,000 Kiwis jump to their feet, wave their arms, stamp their feet and scream:


World Historical Figure Newt Gingrich Gets His Battles Mixed Up

Newt is upset: he didn't get on the Virginia primary ballot:
Newt Gingrich’s campaign is looking to buck up supporters after their embarrassing failure to get on the ballot in Virginia, likening their inability to secure enough signatures to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

“Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941,” campaign director Michael Krull said in a message posted to Facebook. “We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action. Throughout the next months there will be ups and downs; there will be successes and failures; there will be easy victories and difficult days - but in the end we will stand victorious.”
I disagree about the proper historical analogy. Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack: the Virginia ballot qualification wasn't. It should have been on Newt's radar for months IF HE HAD A FREAKIN' CAMPAIGN BASED ON MORE THAN RUPERT MURDOCH'S NOD! They make the qualification hard, Newt, in order to weed out the frivolous candidates.

No, the proper historical analogy to Newt's problem is the Battle of Thermopylae, where the valiant 300 Spartans pinned down Xerxes for days, but ultimately faced annihilation (the final reference in this video to Callista is very touching):

[Also, thanks to Mickey Bitsko for correcting my reference to Thermopylae from Marathon.]

Rupaul's Drag Race

Channel surfing on Christmas night I stumbled across Rupaul's TV show. I didn't know it was out there. Really, next to Breaking Bad, it's just about the best show on the tube.

David Sedaris On Dutch Christmas

Not the same as here.