Friday, August 01, 2014

Most Extreme Selfies

Number Seven is the Webmaster of "Inhabitants of Burque" blog falling to Earth above Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park.

Miguel And Jennie And The Big Lebowski

Miguel and Jennie have big plans for November! I will be there if I can.

Meanwhile, I tried introducing "Breaking Bad" to Jetta last night. She objected to what she saw as its glorification of sex, drugs, and violence. She has plans of her own to see "The Big Lebowski" in that greatest-hits tour of classic movies that's traveling around to various theaters this summer. Except Jetta keeps calling it "The Big Lewinsky":
Trying to start a “Breaking Bad”-themed fan fest in Albuquerque, N.M. — where Heisenberg-related tourism has flourished — is harder than you might think.

Like a certain fictional chemistry teacher-turned-drug kingpin played by Bryan Cranston, super fans Jennie Rexer and Miguel S. Jaramillo are starting out small with their venture. They have no choice. Their campaign to raise $35,000 for the fest on crowdfunding site Kickstarter stalled out, and now they have to reach into their own pockets to realize their dream.

“It’s expensive to put on a fan fest!” Rexer told Speakeasy in an email interview. So far, they’ve already paid a few thousand dollars for deposits on the venues as well as other necessities. The cost will grow even further, though, if they end up attracting more special guests. (Series creator Vince Gilligan would be their ultimate guest, Rexer said.) New Mexico natives Steven Michael Quezada and Jeremiah Bitsui (recently of NBC’s “The Night Shift” and the Sundance selection “Drunktown’s Finest”), who played popular recurring roles on the series, are already slated to appear at this year’s event.

Rexer, a Houston-based neuropsychologist, said that she was inspired to create the event after seeing how a fan fest devoted to Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 cult comedy “The Big Lebowski” took off. Will Russell and Scott Shuffitt founded the Lebowski Fest, a traveling party-slash-convention, 12 years ago in Louisville, Ky., with low expectations and even lower costs.

“We started Lebowski Fest as a lark and expected 15 to 20 friends to show up, and didn’t expect to even do it again,” Russell told Speakeasy in an email. “We rented a cheap, tiny bowling alley on the seedy side of Louisville and printed up a few flyers to put around town. We never dreamed that 150 people would show up.”

Hundreds more showed up the following year. Since then, Lebowski Fest organizers have held more than 60 fests in 30 cities — the next event is scheduled for Aug. 22 and 23 in New York — and it has been embraced by the movie’s stars, including Jeff Bridges and John Goodman.

That’s the kind of growth Rexer and Jaramillo hope to see. “Breaking Bad,” like “The Big Lebowski,” has become one of those unlikely pop culture stalwarts that ends up burrowing deep into the minds of many and inspiring obsession. Tapping into and celebrating its rabid following — which remains large and intense since the series finale netted more than 10 million viewers last fall — appears to be a no-brainer, particularly with prequel series “Better Call Saul” coming soon to AMC.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bad Ideas

I've been having some luck with B3ta's 'Question of the Week' recently, and getting my answers on their 'Best' page. For example, last week's question:
Bad Ideas

"Let's get all the fireworks and pile dog shit on top of them". I can't believe I actually said that, and I still can't believe I was the one who lit them and couldn't run away in time. Tell us about your spectacularly misjudged ideas.
Here is my answer, with comments:
French fusion

I spent a weekend at an astronomical observatory with an eclectic group of international scholars, including two French astronomers very much in love. They were so cute and romantic. It was as if they were a single fused personality, with each completing the other's sentences.

I unwisely got into the back seat of a car with the French astronomers in the front seat, and we went driving around the mountain top. I thought the male half was driving, but he was only working the pedals. The female half was doing the steering, and in truth they really weren't a single coordinated person. Their lack of coordination caused them to lose control coming down a steep narrow washboard dirt road. We fish tailed back and forth and nearly flipped the car.

Love hurts, as they say.
(Perv With A Dog had his eyes pecked out by scrub jays on, Sun 27 Jul 2014, 10:12)

Has someone hijacked this account,
with intent to post coherent stories?
(I helped save b3ta! monster munch living in a honky paradise, Mon 28 Jul 2014, 9:03)

Was that actually coherent?
The syntax, grammar and spelling were all good, but something was definitely awry.
(eViLegion has been lurking way longer than you., Mon 28 Jul 2014, 12:50)

I understood it, which was a bonus.

(I helped save b3ta! monster munch living in a honky paradise, Mon 28 Jul 2014, 13:38)

Bloody wimmin drivers eh? EH???

(Dr Doctor Can't you see I'm burning burning?, Mon 28 Jul 2014, 13:57)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An East Mesa Hike - 07/21/14

Starting and ending point: Philips 66 gas station and convenience market, a short distance north of Isleta Casino.
Isleta Casino.
Patch of unusual bushes on north-facing slope.
Juniper on a north-facing slope.
Northern fence of the Isleta Indian Reservation.
What I once thought might be the 'Sunset' "Breaking Bad" location.  Water tank against the backdrop of the Manzano Mountains.
Some strange-looking beetle/cicada.
Looking south towards water tank on petroleum pipeline road.
Exposed caliche being eroded away at the edge of the East Mesa.
Close-up of that unusual bush.
Many of these arroyos have protected banks that fill up with tumbleweeds (Salsola kali) that get blown in. These things are fire traps!
Gus Fring drives past this  small stock tank at the beginning of the 'Sunset' scenes in "Breaking Bad".  The disaggregated tank in the distant background was not shown.  Historic Google Earth imagery shows the distant tank had a top until fairly-recently. Sacred Datura (Datura meteloides) clusters around the base of the stock tank.
The distant tank collected flying wasplike ants like they have on J Mountain on the West Mesa.
The Manzano Mountains.
Descending towards the Rio Grande, along an arroyo, here are more junipers.
Purple nightshade.
Spectacle pod? (Dithyrea)
Goldenweed, or Yellow Daisy (Aploppapus gracilis).
Spectacle pod?
Looks like Hymenoxys on the pipeline road.
Hymenoxys; aka Actinea; Perky Sue (Hymenoys argentea).
Water tank again.
Ragged edge of the East Mesa.
More tumbleweed-filled arroyos.

Looking southeast.
Looking west-northwest.

"The Black Church And Hip Hop Culture" - A Collection Of Essays

At the end of June, when I was on Jury Duty, I read a curious new book called "The Black Church And Hip Hop Culture", edited by Emmett G. Price III, that I picked up at the Southwest Popular Culture Association (SWPCA) in February. I was curious about the subject because it seems to me Hip Hop is heavily-influenced by Gospel culture, as is all African-American culture.

It appeared that most of the essays were written either by pastors (with a conservative and somewhat disapproving outlook on Hip Hop) or community activists (more accepting of Hip Hop). Some of the essays were quite pedestrian, of the sort: "Well, things are different now that we have Hip Hop."

In my view, the best essays were:

  • 'Rap Music as Prophetic Utterance' by Cynthia B. Belt (poetic discussion of Tupac Shakur).
  • 'Formality Meets Hip Hop: The Influence of Hip Hop Culture on the Afro-European Church' by Shana Mashego (discussion of Catholicism in Louisiana).
  • 'Isn't Loving God Enough? Debating Holy Hip Hop' by Cassandra Thornton (urging a spirit of understanding).

RIP, Gail Jones

Apparently Gail Jones, an important choreographer with DMTC in the early years, passed away recently.  Here is a list of the shows she contributed to while at DMTC:

A Visit To The National Museum Of Nuclear Science And History

I had never visited The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, but had a bit of time, so I went.

What an awesome place! Especially when I was young, I paid very close attention to the Space Race and strategic armaments, so this place was one immense nostalgic callback to what mattered a lot when I was growing up.

Carbon, the most-versatile of elements! (Mendeleev Periodic Table of the Elements embedded in the floor of the museum).

Little Boy and Fat Man.
Fat Man.
Gadget (Trinity Site).
Holy crap!  Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), the highly-destructive payload of what appears to be a Titan II missile!  Top secret stuff!
Close-up of the MIRVs.
Titan III?
Miss Atomic Bomb.
Fail-Safe: What a great movie!
Outside the museum, they have what they call Heritage Park, where they keep the really impressive stuff.  Here is my favorite from childhood, the B-52 strategic bomber.  I remember one day, we had one of these circling all around the North Valley, to what purpose I could only imagine.
B-47 bomber.
Peacekeeper MX warhead.
Thor, the IRBM that President Kennedy had already posted in Turkey and which he used to menace the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
Titan II missile.
Jupiter.  Awesome!
First generation Minuteman missile.
Titan II engines.  I still remember fourth grade, and watching the shutdown of Gemini 6's engines on TV during their aborted first attempt at launch - in 1966?
Titan II missile - the Martin Marietta workhorse of the Space Age!  Built just outside Columbine, CO.
Matador missile?
MK-17 thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb.
B-52 strategic bomber.
MK-53 thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb.
B-29 Stratofortress, akin to the Enola Gay (Hiroshima) and Bock's Car (Nagasaki).
One massive warhead!
Without You, There Is No Security.
Help Us - Be Secure.
If You Want To Fight!  Join The Marines.