Saturday, January 11, 2014

How "Breaking Bad" Broke All Of Biggie Small's Crack Commandments

Follow these rules, you’ll have mad bread to break up
If not, twenty-four years on the wake up

Sixty Years Without A Bath

No one knows why he lives like this.

Impressive! Since the California rainy season has utterly failed this winter, and with water use restrictions a dead certainty, I might look like this by next November.
Likes to smoke a pipe filled with animal dung.

Damn, this guy is a role model!

I Want To Believe

From a 2011 review in Salon by Matt Zoller Seitz:
"Breaking Bad" is, in its heart, the story of the supposedly respectable, white, upper-middle class becoming the Other. I don't think it's an accident that those quasi-mythic drawings of Walt in the guise of his porkpie-hatted alter ego, Heisenberg, resemble old Project Bluebook sketches of extraterrestrial visitors. Walt is becoming as much an alien -- an undesirable Other -- as the illegals who have periodically sneaked across the border throughout the show's run.

Which reminds me of the only time I ever reported a UFO sighting.

Why Lavell Crawford's Fans Were Upset With 'Breaking Bad' Finale

Jeff Brofsky Will Be At Albuquerque Comic Con

It's time for Albuquerque Comic Con, and that means it's time for Jeff Brofsky! Here is brand-new profile of Jeff:

Brofsky's love for comic books goes back to his days as a youngster, growing up in Far Rockaway, N.Y. He still remembers his father, a lieutenant with the NYPD, giving him a buck and telling him to select 10 comic books.

Although his dad seemed to prefer that he pick out favorites like Superman and Batman, the youngster "wanted Marvel (brand) X-Men, Spider Man ("the first hero of the Silver Age of comics," Brofsky says), Fantastic Four." He wouldn't let his father read his new comics because he didn't like the way his dad bent the covers back when he read them, almost as if Jeff Brofsky anticipated a price guide coming out sometime in the future, with incredibly high prices for those in "mint" condition.

Some of those old titles are still some of his favorites.

"I still have a lot of stuff," he said. He keeps his best comics, including some top-dollar items, in a safe deposit box, and keeps his prized comics in mint condition by not reading them. Many of his old favorites have been reprinted in volumes of hardback books.

...Brofsky's parents moved the family, apparently part of that great Empire State migration, to Rio Rancho in 1972, right after Brofsky graduated high school. Brofsky said some Rio Ranchoans may remember his name in the Observer several decades ago, when he donned a costume to be "Chicken Man" at New Mexico Six Guns' hockey games at Tingley Coliseum.

He attended the University of New Mexico, where he ultimately obtained his bachelor's degree in psychology.

"I use it every day," he says of that degree, although a marketing degree might have suited him better for his Tall Tales Comics venture. Although his passion had once been stamps and coins - he remembered organizing his own show for those hobbies in New York - comic books remained a passion when he was an adult.
I went on two Vegas weekends. Since what happens in Vegas ends up on my blog, here is that report.

Friday, January 10, 2014

I Have A House Guest!

I've been in my house for nearly nineteen years. I've never had a house guest before! Shake things up a bit!

He went on a walk this morning. Who does that?

Curious if E. has met him by now:

M.: Say hello when he returns from his walk.

E.: I'll hide in my bedroom when mokum comes back.

M.: No, be sure to say hello! He's a nice guy!

Parking Violation In Midtown

Scofflaw on left; cop car on right.

Busiest Week Of My Pathetic Life

I hope it's enough....

A Roadkill Opportunity?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Sheryl Crow - "No One Said It Would Be Easy"

Really like this song.

So, Chris Christie's Got Himself A Scandal

It figures a bully like him would do something like this:
“What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable," Christie said. "I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge."
I like a tweet posted at Daily Kos:
If you think Gov. Christie wasn't involved in closing the lanes to the bridge, then I have a bridge to sell you.
— @zachbraff

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Rush Limbaugh, Meteorologist

He's an ass, but he makes me laugh, sometimes.

The trouble is that Meteorologist speak is slowly bleeding into common English usage. Weather guys talk like this all the time. At least the 'polar vortex' crisis of 2014 isn't as severe as the 'haboob' crisis of 2011 and 2012, when Arizona was hit unusually hard by these dust storms, and people all over the state freaked out about lurid-edged Arabic words contaminating the pristine way they speak out in the 602:
We are having a record-breaking cold snap in many parts of the country. And right on schedule the media have to come up with a way to make it sound like it’s completely unprecedented. Because they’ve got to find a way to attach this to the global warming agenda, and they have. It’s called the “polar vortex.” The dreaded polar vortex.

Do you know what the polar vortex is? Have you ever heard of it? Well, they just created it for this week…They’re in the middle of a hoax, they’re perpetrating a hoax, but they’re relying on their total dominance of the media to lie to you each and every day about climate change and global warming.

Made Buzzworthy!

Dave Layman noticed this Buzzworthy article that appeared last October regarding the descanso my sister and myself made. Somehow, I missed it, but it's cute:
"This Might Be The Sweetest Walter White Tribute Yet"


For as little as a half cent each click, websites hawk everything from LinkedIn connections to make members appear more employable to Soundcloud plays to influence record label interest.

...Italian security researchers and bloggers Andrea Stroppa and Carla De Micheli estimated in 2013 that sales of fake Twitter followers have the potential to bring in $40 million to $360 million to date, and that fake Facebook activities bring in $200 million a year.

...Dhaka, Bangladesh, a city of 7 million in South Asia, is an international hub for click farms.

The CEO of Dhaka-based social media promotion firm Unique IT World said he has paid workers to manually click on clients' social media pages, making it harder for Facebook, Google and others to catch them. "Those accounts are not fake, they were genuine," Shaiful Islam said.

...In 2013, the State Department, which has more than 400,000 likes and was recently most popular in Cairo, said it would stop buying Facebook fans after its inspector general criticized the agency for spending $630,000 to boost the numbers.

...In Indonesia, a social media-obsessed country with some of the largest number of Facebook pages and Twitter users, click farms proliferate.

Ali Hanafiah, 40, offers 1,000 Twitter followers for $10 and 1 million for $600. He owns his own server, and pays $1 per month per Internet Protocol address, which he uses to generate thousands of social media accounts.

...David Burch, at TubeMogul, a video marketing firm based in Emeryville, Calif., said that buying clicks to promote clients is a grave error. "It's bad business," he said, "and if an advertiser ever found out you did that, they'd never do business with you again."

Charity As A Form Of Kickback

Pharmaceutical prices are way too high:
As drug prices have soared in recent years and insurers have increased co-payments, a new type of charity has blossomed to fill a vital niche — helping patients pay the steep out-of-pocket costs for their medicines.

But the largest of these co-payment assistance charities, the Chronic Disease Fund, is now in turmoil after questions have arisen about its relationship with a pharmaceutical company that is itself under investigation for its marketing practices.

The practice is casting light on what has long been an open secret: The bulk of the contributions to these charities come from the pharmaceutical companies. The foundations not only help hundreds of thousands of patients a year, they also raise drug company sales and profits.

After all, if a patient cannot afford out-of-pocket costs of $5,000 for a $100,000-a-year drug, the drug company gets nothing. But if the manufacturer or the charity pays the $5,000, the patient gets the drug and the company receives $95,000 from the patient’s insurance company or Medicare.

...Critics say co-pay assistance helps keep drug prices high and circumvents efforts by insurers to control drug spending by making consumers bear part of the cost.

“These subsidies are unfortunately used to promote the overutilization of expensive brand-name drugs,” said Wells Wilkinson, a lawyer at Community Catalyst, a consumer advocacy organization.

The charities counter that any benefit to the drug companies is secondary to helping patients.

“Look at the alternative,” said Dana Kuhn, founder and president of Patient Services, one of the charities. “If they didn’t donate their dollars, people would die.”

Drug companies often directly subsidize the co-payments for privately insured patients. But they cannot do so for patients covered by federal programs like Medicare’s Part D drug benefit, because that would be considered a kickback, an illegal inducement to use a drug.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Wonder How Pamela Trokanski's Plans Will Affect DMTC?

Synergy? Competition? Trouble? Success?:
Trokanski is fixing to build an 18,000-square-foot, two-story building next to her current studio that will introduce what she calls “Life in 11 Dimensions,” which will bring together a spa, healthy meals, dancing, art, theatrical productions and a community meeting space.

...According to a professionally drawn site plan for the project, a full 3,438 square feet can be devoted to meeting places for community groups, business conferences and the community, with a dedicated nearby space for the healthy food vendor Stone Soup to provide on-site catering. Produce could come from an on-site organic garden. A theater will have 115 to 200 seats depending on the production.

“It’s kind of a gift to Davis,” Trokanski said. “Living a healthy, creative life in a healthy, creative community in a healthy, creative world.”

Collaboration is the name of the game. Acme Theatre Company, a longtime troupe for high school-aged actors, is just one of several groups looking to benefit from “11D,” as the project is being called.

“We’ve been thinking of a collaborative space, so when Pamela talked about 11D it seemed just like a dream,” said Emily Henderson, artistic director of Acme. Henderson first met Trokanski as her student at a dance class at Davis High School, an example of the roots Trokanski has in the community.

Oak Park Heads Balletward

They are onto something good:
Denver Russell has the chance of a lifetime. She will star in what’s believed to be Oak Park’s first rendition of the classic ballet “The Nutcracker.”

“It means a lot to me,” the bashful 10-year-old said last week.

Denver is one of 40 girls in the Girls Self-Esteem Program Academy who are practicing their dance moves around the clock and honing their pointe technique by balancing on their toes.

...Girls in the program, ages 4 to 18, practice ballet three times a week and pay between $25 and $50 a month to participate. Most of the girls are black and hail from underprivileged families from across the Sacramento region, said Kandice Kelly, the program’s director.

“I’m of the belief that every girl in the world should take ballet once,” said Kelly, a former ballerina. “It helps with poise. It helps with grace.”

Kelly founded the program five years ago after volunteering at the Fathers Resource Center, a nonprofit for single fathers that she discovered while working as a television news reporter.

“There were a lot of girls who didn’t have mothers. And the little girls started following me on the weekends because I was the only female,” Kelly said.

Obnoxious Bureaucrats

Al Qaeda is apparently very meticulous:
This transaction in northern Mali shows what might seem an unusual preoccupation for a terror group: Al-Qaida is obsessed with documenting the most minute expenses.

In more than 100 receipts left in a building occupied by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu earlier this year, the extremists assiduously tracked their cash flow, recording purchases as small as a single light bulb. The often tiny amounts are carefully written out in pencil and colored pen on scraps of paper and Post-it notes: The equivalent of $1.80 for a bar of soap; $8 for a packet of macaroni; $14 for a tube of super glue. All the documents were authenticated by experts.

Nice Article On Liorah Singerman

Theater busy:
“My mother was a teacher in the Sacramento school district,” says Singerman, “so I knew how much performing arts were suffering in the schools. It was just horrible.” That first season, she spent 90 minutes a week for 10 weeks with students at Caroline Wenzel Elementary School in Greenhaven. They produced a review that was a huge success.

Five years later, Singerman is juggling shows at five schools—Didion, Crocker Riverside, Sutterville, Holy Spirit, and Shalom School—as well as a production of “The Wizard of Oz” at Sierra 2 Center for the Arts and Community in Curtis Park. That production will be taken to the participating schools, which simplifies the logistics of sets, lighting, costumes and choreography. Singerman—relying on her husband’s skills—has introduced the use of film to project the stage sets. “We rearranged our living room and set up a green screen, just like they use for weather reports,” says Plaza. “The kids came over and we shot footage.”

Singerman choreographs, directs and produces every show, with help from husband and assistant director Michelle Petro. Parents do everything from selling tickets and refreshments at the shows to ensuring that Young Actors Stage has a home at their children’s schools.

We Can Neutron Dance: Hollywood Movie Dance Tribute - Part 2

Kate writes:
Posted on Sullivan’s site as mental health break – very fun (especially if you like/remember the song), and very well done.

Say What You Think

Good point:
Following reports that the Iraqi city of Fallujah had fallen into the control of an al Qaida-affiliated group over the weekend, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wasted little time in putting out a statement blaming the tumult on the Obama administration's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the country in 2011.

...White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the likes of McCain and Graham ought to be transparent about what exactly they're proposing.

"I've heard members of Congress suggest this, but if members were suggesting that there should be American troops fighting and dying in Fallujah today, they should say so," Carney said during his daily press briefing.

Thrown Under The Bus

In the end, everyone abandoned Liz Cheney. And it's a good thing!:
Cheney’s early 2014 struggles had a lot to do with the flaws of her own campaign, and now she says family concerns ultimately doomed her bid. But I think her already-flailing debacle of a campaign (before the family news came out) tells us something about the fizzling of the Tea Party as an oppositional force, especially when it comes to serious, entrenched conservatives like Wyoming’s Mike Enzi. It bodes well for 2014 that she flamed out quickly. Nepotistic sister-betraying Cheneys and other Tea Party opportunists just may not find Republican primaries as easy as they were in 2010. And that’s good for both parties, and for the country.

A Happy Ending!

Amanda sends a happy note:
UPDATE: Alex is found! Thank you! Thank you to all who helped. He had located a river and was found following it. Stayed in the woods 2 nights. He is tired, hungry, and disoriented but otherwise well. Sooo many people came out for the search. Wouldn't have found him without you and the shares

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Search Starting For Alex Salyers

Search starting early tomorrow morning for Amanda's brother, in the Sierra foothills vicinity of Cool, CA.
My dear mountain friends: My brother Alex has been missing since last night. He may have just wandered off, but no one knows where he is and we'd like to know he is safe. Last seen walking towards Auburn Lake Trails. Please let me know if you have any info.

Money, Success, Fame, Glamour

Michael Flowers, of "Breaking Bad" Set Dressing fame, continues to make challenging and interesting video mashups.

I am puzzled. Where is the moral? But it's five minutes till curtain, so must run....

First Weekend Of "Cabaret" Done

Was this just the most-endless Tech Week, or what? A performance or rehearsal on ten of the last eleven days! Endurance was useful for Stage Managing this show, but with a lingering cold, it was hard to find, at times. I'd fall into coughing jags, and had other issues.

New Year's Eve went pretty well. The cast was motivated!

Friday night, there were some glitches - people missing set changes, usually. Twice, I snagged the line leading from my head set to the radio transmitter while moving furniture, which disconnected me from the headset and delayed relaying 'Lights!' to Jenna in the Light Booth.

Saturday night was nearly-perfect for set changes. Just some prop problems (Letter to England, etc.). Dalton told a few tales - about how he and Katherine inadvertently spat into each other's faces, and the like. There was a distraction too. Katherine came onstage in her fur coat towards the end of Act I. She took off the fur coat and laid it down. Just then, a highly-visible moth came out of the fur coat, and started buzzing about on stage. Strange!

Sunday afternoon, a few set change issues returned. At the end of the first Train scene, Hugo exited stage right again, instead of stage left. With him delayed, that set change turned into a massive clusterfrack stage left. Richard and I nearly collided while changing the set just before 'Sitting Pretty', which definitely slowed things down. Katherine noticed the last egg remaining for the weekend was very-strangely puckered and distorted. We wanted to make Dalton eat it on stage, or at least see if there was a bat inside of it, or something, but thought better of it, and sent Rebecca out to get more eggs instead.

Feeling A Bit Nostalgic

First, for 1985....

Then for 2004.