Friday, June 08, 2012

Some Videos From DMTC YPT's 25th Anniversary Cabaret

First is a video presentation by Broadway performer and YPT alumnus Jenifer Foote, followed by a discussion by Jenny Reuter and Jocelyn Price of the ideals that motivate DMTC's Young Performer's Theatre (and as encapsulated by the term "Jan-ness"), and then followed by the presentation of the First Annual Producer's Award Presentation to Hugo Figueroa.

More videos at my YouTube channel.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Always Thought That Ray Bradbury Was Overrated

Read him briefly in my youth, but never enjoyed anything he wrote:
I remember reading “Mars is Heaven” at about age 12 with all the shock and disbelief that probably would have hit me if I’d tried to read Proust—or rather, with all the shock that would not have hit me, but would have gone far over my head had it actually been Proust. A spaceship lands on Mars, and the astronauts disembark to find an idyllic small town in which all their childhood fantasies are fulfilled (Bradbury was born in 1920 and raised in Waukegan, Ill.). That night, though, the crewmembers who have thrown themselves into their idyllic Waukegan past die: Only the doubters survive. Somehow, it’s the moment in which the happy nostalgics drift away into their respective houses for the evening that stays with me, not the aftermath.

Coming off a straight diet of shoot-‘em-up-and-blast-off Tom Swifts, I vividly recall reading Bradbury the same way I read Cordwainer Smith, Norman Spinrad, and especially Philip K. Dick—with the uneasy sense that something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear. In a weird way, Bradbury is (like T.S. Eliot or Willa Cather) an Imagist: He succeeds not by telling a complete story, but by lodging some enigmatic unforgettable image deep in a reader’s brain—like those men moving in the twilight into houses that both are and are not their childhood homes.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Breaking Bad Filmed At Octopus Car Wash Today

E. from Albuquerque wrote today:
Hi Marc,

Today, June 6 2012 around 4pm, I drove past the Octopus car wash and noticed something looked different. And yes, I do cruise past there frequently hoping for signs of Breaking Bad and for the second time in about 2 years I was rewarded. I don't live too far from there so it's no bother. I confess I also drive past the White residence, which is not far from the car wash and Taco Sal which is just across the street.

The car wash had a sign out stating they were closed. There were some big trucks coming and going. Some Octopus car wash employees were standing out front and when customers drove up wanting to get a car wash the employees would go up to their cars, talk to them and then give something, a piece of paper. Didn't seem right, the car wash shouldn't be closed on a Wednesday afternoon, it wasn't raining, it never rains here. So I drove up to one of the employees and he told they were closed for filming and gave me a one dollar off coupon for my next car wash. I asked him if it was Breaking Bad that was filming there and he said yes. He told me I just missed the actors, Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston, they had left around 3pm. Darn my rotten luck!! I would have loved to catch a glimpse of them. He said the actors spent some time sitting outside and were very friendly to the Octopus staff. He said the trucks were loading up electrical equipment and that some exterior shots at the car wash would be done at some other time but that the actors were done there and wouldn't be back, they would be filming somewhere else. I wish I knew where. He said he told the actors that there is an app for finding Breaking Bad filming locations and also a tour of the locations in Albuquerque. That's news to me. He told me he has a buddy that works for Q studios. I wish I could have talked to him longer but I had to leave because I was in the way of the big trucks.

Since Season 5 episode 1 airs July 15 it seems they should be just about done filming their 8 episodes. Are there any suppositions we can make regarding the Season 5 plot and the recent filming at Octopus?

Thanks for all the Breaking Bad info and pictures on your blogspot. I am so enthralled with Breaking Bad I have to rein myself in sometimes, don't wanna worry my friends too much.
I replied:
I wondered if something was up: I saw a Google search flit by today regarding filming at Menaul & Eubank, and thought maybe it was Breaking Bad.

If there is a Breaking Bad locations app and tour, this is the first I've heard of it. Has anyone else heard of this? I wonder if the person was just confused on this score. But both would be natural things to do, and i'm wondering if the clever folks at Q Studios have been busy.

The only information I've seen regarding Season 5 plot falls in the category of idle speculation. There are things I'd love to see happen, but that's one place they won't let me near!

You're not alone with your Breaking Bad obsession! I'm surprised how often polite conversation with strangers soon turns to Zafiro Añejo, and similar dark matters.

Does anyone know anything? Inquiring minds gotta know!

Bailey the Rabbit Revealed One Of His New Hiding Places Today

It's a place behind a pile of boxes in the basement, and it's almost impossible to reach. There's a garbage bag placed on the shelf where the wall meets the elevated foundation, and Bailey couldn't help but make a rustling noise and attract attention as he shifted weight on the garbage bag. Bailey gets to this space through a tunnel hidden among the boxes. It's almost human-proof, and that makes Bailey feel more secure.

Kimberly Cole Music Video Audition

This stuff is hilarious!

Transit Of Venus

Above: Danielle DeBow got a good image of the event!

I was getting ready to head over to Davis yesterday evening for the DMTC Board meeting, when I remembered - oh crap! - a once in a lifetime opportunity: The Transit Of Venus! It's happening right now! So I grabbed three pair of sunglasses and ran out in front of the house to stare at the sun.

Damn, that disc is bright! I think I just made out the dot of Venus by carefully examining the brilliant background. Then I ran back inside with my seared retinas, bumping into furniture along the way, then blindly jumped into the car and barreled west on Highways 50 and 80, calm in the knowledge that another life milestone was accomplished.

Reminds me, I knew a fellow in Tucson who, one day, became enamored with the Beauty of the Sun. He stared at the sun for twenty minutes, without eye protection. Apparently no one in his life ever told him that staring at the sun was a bad idea, and he didn't feel any notable pain. He was left with seared retinas that never quite healed, so, even today, he can't identify people as they approach at night. He was easy to scare at night: he couldn't tell if others were friends or foes. Boo!

RIP - Vincent Bezdecheck

Steve sends an E-Mail with news that Vincent Bezdecheck passed away recently.

As Steve notes, Vincent was an "incredibly talented designer" who was instrumental in the success of DMTC shows from 1991 to 1995.
[UPDATE: A nice obituary in the Sacramento Bee.]

Mr. Trololo Passes On

BadTux notes the recent death of "Mr. Trololo":
Consider the above video, of popular Soviet singer Eduard Khil in 1976 performing the Soviet-era pop song “I am Glad, ‘cause I’m Finally Returning Back Home”.

Evil Is Victorious

Wisconsin reembraces evil, and we will all rue the day:
With 40 percent of precincts reporting, Walker has 59 percent of the vote, and Barrett has 40 percent, according to the Associated Press. The result is very likely to narrow, with more liberal areas typically reporting later in Wisconsin. Walker has been projected the winner by multiple news organizations.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Today's Watchword Is "Overreaction"

These people are just overreacting:
Strange Giant Swarming Spiders Attack Villages in Northern India

It’s like the opening scene of a horror or science-fiction movie: swarms of giant hairy spiders are attacking villagers in a remote area of Northeastern India, and two people have already died.

Ecologists have so far been unable to identify the swarming thumb-sized arachnids, but believe they may be a new species of tarantula. So anti-venom hasn’t been supplied to victims yet, and that’s left locals to seek treatment from witch doctors, who maybe making things worse by cutting spider attack victims with razors for bloodletting. In fact, authorities aren’t yet sure whether the early deaths occurred because of the original attacks, or the extreme treatments.
Please. Tarantulas are nearly harmless. Do what they do in Cambodia: eat them. They make very tasty treats.

Overreaction is a meteorological theme too. When will the sea breeze arrive in Van Nuys? When will the sea breeze arrive in Van Nuys? That's what people wanted to know. When, when, when? Well, today it was very late. Some people didn't think it would arrive at all, and despaired. But I knew it would eventually get there, even if it was all battered by the time it arrived, which it finally did around 4 p.m. People just get too worked up.

Today's Election Day! Now that's something to get all worked up about! Onward, Scott Walker Recall! But whatever happens, just don't overreact. Remain copacetic. That's all.

"I Gotta Crow": DMTC-YPT 25th Anniversary Cabaret

No Opinion Regarding The King Tide

Andrew lives in that free-floating noösphere where globetrotters trot. Still, he worries about the home base:
A better paper on tides and earthquakes……

They are forecasting almost record high tides in the next 24 hours with floods in NZ and Aussie so I hope this doesn’t trigger anything in the Chch fault lines. At least I am in Perth, Western Australia for most of this week……
So, what is this high tide?:
An emergency warning has gone out to coastal residents near Thames to be wary of flooding as the combination of a king tide along with a low pressure front hitting the country is raising tides to abnormal heights.

Waikato Civil Defence Group emergency management officer Greg Ryan said the combination of a king tide, a weather system bringing strong north easterly winds and a storm surge will result in abnormally high tides over the next day.
So, I replied:
I’ve been reading about the subject for the last hour and a half, and the only conclusion I have is – No Opinion.

The subject is interesting. New Zealand is at a tidal node, so the tide constantly marches around the islands (counter-clockwise, I think). But does it matter if it’s a King Tide, or not?

I don’t know.

In any event, it looks like the rain will roll into Perth sometime late on Wednesday. THAT you can prepare for!

Monday, June 04, 2012

An Early "Hairspray" Rehearsal Picture

From May 15th - way early in the rehearsal process!

Bailey The Rabbit, Looking A Bit Ragged

It's June, which means it's time to molt, or whatever rabbits do when the temperature warms up. Bailey much-appreciated the cooler temperatures, and came out of the dusty basement to catch some daylight.

My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student

A disdainful message from the parking garage at San Francisco's De Young Museum.

Visit To San Francisco's Pier 39 On Memorial Day Weekend

Visit To The De Young Museum (II)

Some pictures from Memorial Day weekend.

Closing Weekend Of "Ruined"

Left: Tyehimba Kokayi

Joe The Plumber and I went to see the Friday show in the closing weekend of "Ruined". Great show!

Saw Jeanette there. It's been too long, and I'm glad she had a place working back stage in this show.

DMTC - YPT 25th Anniversary Cabaret

Weekend Watching

I had more time than usual to watch TV and video, so I availed myself of the opportunity.

I finished rewatching "I, Claudius". I'm glad that they apparently are going to remake this series. There's a lot you can do with Ancient Rome!

I watched "Sunset Cleaning". I watched it mostly for the Albuquerque filming angle, but it's a strong movie in its own right, and it was fun to watch!

Then my sister texted me that A&E was premiering "Longmire". It was supposed to be Wyoming, but it was clearly a New Mexico TV series. Locations appeared to be Tres Piedras, Valle Grande, and there was the West Mesa shooting range.

Then I caught the tail end of this documentary - "This Way Of Life":
A film about a family. Mum, dad, six kids and 50 wild horses, a beach, a mountain and a burnt down house. Against the stunning beauty of New Zealand's rugged Ruahine Mountains, Peter Karena and his wife Colleen struggle to instill in their kids the values of independence, courage and happiness. The family has little in the way of material possession but they possess a physicality most of us can only dream of. The children ride bareback as they hunt and play in the wild. Unafraid and untamed, they are supremely confident, as if risk is an alien concept. Shot over four years, This Way of Life is an intimate portrait of a Maori family and their relationship with nature, adversity, their horses and society at large. The Karenas cultivate the magic in the everyday, turning hardship into a meaningful and satisfying life. This complete immersion in another way of life reveals that the price of freedom is something that is well worth paying. (Director: Thomas Burstyn)
Since I caught the movie late I couldn't puzzle out the family vendetta aspect very well, nor why the house burned down. The adults were a bit stressed, living in a campground and trying to take care of the horses and the kids, but for the kids it was Perfect Paradise: reminiscent of what the American West was like a hundred years ago. After awhile, I became a little annoyed with the primary protagonist, the young paterfamilias. Young, headstrong, a little stupid sometimes: but maybe that's you get when trying to run a large family and run a bunch of horses from a campground. And Waimarama, and Hawkes Bay, New Zealand: gorgeous country!

Videos From Detroit Pride

Daavaaad captured some great video, marred somewhat by standing too close to the speakers (but that's always a hazard at these events).

Kelsey B

"Boys" and "Beauty Queen"

Kimberly Cole

Great energy on Kimberly's part, plus something I've never seen before - someone signing the lyrics for the hearing-disabled (which we will all be if we stand too close to the speakers).

Julissa Veloz

Magnificent Gust Front In Oklahoma

Before I forget, I wanted to mention the magnificent gust front that passed across Oklahoma in the early morning hours of Sunday.

I was watching the Weather Channel late on Saturday night, and their radar images were clearly showing a secondary line of thunderstorms approaching Tulsa that were generated from the passage of gust front that was formed as thunderstorms collapsed just west of Oklahoma City. This gust front raced eastwards faster than the original line of thunderstorms, bearing a new crop of thunderstorms that crossed northern Arkansas over the next few hours.

Last summer, every day, I watched gust fronts echoing back and forth from the thunderstorms in the vicinity of Albuquerque, NM, but those were puny compared to this amazing gust front!

When it comes to weather, the rest of the world can't hold a candle to what happens every day on the Great Plains!

Listening To The Thunder

A welcome rainy day in Sacramento!

Anonymous Skullduggery

I just love Anonymous skullduggery! For the most part, they are hitting hard exactly the sort of people who need to be hit hard. I would like to aid them myself (except my heavy-handed all-thumbs Web skills would quickly expose the entire collective):
Though its job was to help other companies protect themselves from cyber attacks, HBGary Federal itself was vulnerable to a simple attack method called SQL injection, which targeted databases. Databases were one of the many key technologies powering the Internet. They stored passwords, corporate emails, and a wide variety of other types of data. The use of Structured Query Language (SQL, commonly mispronounced “sequel”) was a popular way to retrieve and manipulate the information in databases. SQL injection worked by “injecting” SQL commands into the server that hosted the site to retrieve information that should be hidden, essentially using the language against itself. As a result, the server would not recognize the typed characters as text, but as commands that should be executed. Sometimes this could be carried out by simply typing out commands in the search bar of a homepage. The key was to find the search bar or text box that represented a weak entry point.

...Now that they were in, the hackers had to root around for the names and passwords of people like Barr and Hoglund, who had control of the site’s servers. Jackpot again. They found a list of usernames and passwords for HBGary employees. But here was a stumbling block. The passwords were encrypted, or “hashed,” using a standard technique called MD5. If all the administrative passwords were lengthy and complicated, it might be impossible to crack them, and the hackers’ fun would have come to an end.

Sabu picked out three hashes, long strings of random numbers corresponding to the passwords of Aaron Barr, Ted Vera, and another executive named Phil Wallisch. He expected them to be exceptionally tough to unlock, and when he passed them to the others on the team, he wasn’t surprised to find that no one could crack them. In a last-ditch attempt, he uploaded them to a Web forum for password cracking that was popular among hackers — Within a couple of hours all three hashes had been cracked by random anonymous volunteers. The result for one of them looked exactly like this: 4036d5fe575fb46f48ffcd5d7aeeb5af:kibafo33

Right there at the end of the string of letters and numbers was Aaron Barr’s password. When they tried using kibafo33 to access his HBGary Federal emails hosted by Google Apps, they got in. The group couldn’t believe their luck. By Friday night they were watching an oblivious Barr exchange happy emails with his colleagues about the Financial Times article.

On a whim, one of them decided to check to see if kibafo33 worked anywhere else besides Barr’s email account. It was worth a try. Unbelievably for a cyber security specialist investigating the highly volatile Anonymous, Barr had used the same easy-to-crack password on almost all his Web accounts, including Twitter, Yahoo!, Flickr, Facebook, even World of Warcraft. This meant there was now the opportunity for pure, unadulterated “lulz.”