Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Better Call Saul" - Special Topics

This post contains Special Topics related to "Better Call Saul" (last updated January 22, 2020).

The Blog Sidebar contains links to Filming Location posts.  These include:
  • Eight "Breaking Bad" filming location posts;
  • Three additional posts regarding "Breaking Bad" related subjects;
  • Seven "Better Call Saul" filming location posts;
  • Two additional posts regarding "Better Call Saul" related subjects;
  • One post regarding "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie";
  • Three links to OldeSaultie's Google maps of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" filming location sites. These are the best filming location maps on the Web! The KML files available at these addresses are particularly useful for importing locations into GPS-equipped devices.

Let me know if you have any problems or questions (E-Mail address:


To avoid unnecessary friction, I have redacted the addresses of all single-family homes in these books. (These addresses are still available in these blog posts, however.)

The pictures in the print edition are black-and-white, in order to keep costs down. Pictures in the Kindle edition are in color.

"A Guidebook To 'Breaking Bad' Filming Locations: Albuquerque as Physical Setting and Indispensable Character"

The Fifth Edition (Publication date November 3, 2018; 375 pages) of the book, updated through Season 4 of "Better Call Saul," is now available and can be ordered at these links:

Print, Kindle.

“‘Breaking Bad’ Signs and Symbols: Reading Meaning into Sets, Props, and Filming Locations”

The First Edition (Publication date November 3, 2018; 290 pages) of this book can be ordered at these links:

Print, Kindle

This book delves into some of the symbolism in AMC's hit television series "Breaking Bad." Toxic modernity is symbolized by architectural elements derived from Chicago. Indeed, Albuquerque is used as a kind of stand-in for the City of Chicago. Like many cities in America’s Great Plains and Mountain West, Albuquerque obtained much of its architecture directly from the Windy City via the AT&SF railroad and Highway 66.

The creative team is interested in telling stories about the legacies and corruptions of modernity, particularly Chicago’s “Century of Progress” (1833-1932). In particular, Chicago-derived daylighting innovations (the practice of passive window design to help illuminate the interiors of large buildings) are featured: Glass Block Windows, Luxfer Prismatic Tile Windows, and Plate Glass Windows. Once the backgrounds of scenes are encoded with meaning, a variety of stories can be told there.

A series of tables are presented - for example: Parallel Beams in the Ceiling; Twinned Features; Five-Pointed Stars; Octagons; Monkeys; Horses; Cats; Moth Orchids; and Skulls.

Certain symbols advance the plot: Native-American symbols; Foreshadowing symbols like Pueblo Deco arches; Danger symbols like bells, stagger symbols, and desk lamps; plus Earth Art.

Featured stories as told in television-scene backgrounds include: The Legacy of El Chapo; Tributes to Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”; The Badger Comes To Entrap; The Five Apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe; The legacy of London's Crystal Palace; and Homages to Patrick McGoohan's “The Prisoner.”


Kelly Tow's Commemoration of My Automobile Accident

Kelly Tow heard about my automobile accident, and put together this wonderful commemoration.

"Better Call Saul" Fandom

Donnakay Ohmburger's "Better Call Saul" bench (which she won in a Tractor Brewing Co. raffle).

Donnakay Ohmburger's "Better Call Saul" bench (which she won in a Tractor Brewing Co. raffle).

Donnakay Ohmburger's "Better Call Saul" bench (which she won in a Tractor Brewing Co. raffle).

"Better Call Saul" Bench and Pillars of the Community

Since Donnakay Ohmburger won a "Better Call Saul" bench last year in a Tractor Brewing Company raffle, she deploys it at charity fundraising events and fan meetups. She placed it back at its iconic location, on August 31, 2016, in Albuquerque's Washington Park, for the "Better Call Saul Bash".

Marc Valdez.

King Tommy Au-Yeung and Donnakay Ohmburger.

King Tommy Au-Yeung.

King Tommy Au-Yeung.

Leah and Dan Winter.

Eddie Dominguez's "Pillars of the Community" (2002).

"I want to be a rock star."

KRQE Channel 13 news came on over for an interview. Frank and Jackie Sandoval drove up with their Breaking Bad RV tour. Kelly Tow from San Diego disembarked, dressed in her trendy bright yellow hazmat suit.

Videos Shown During The "Better Call Saul Bash" - August 20, 2016

Adam Ramirez and William Dickey had the great good fortune to tour Rio Rancho High School.

The Travels of the Baca Family

"Who among us is without sin?"

Adam Ramirez and William Dickey tour Albuquerque.

A Commemoration.

The art of Jake Schoonmaker.

A slide show of Saulty Dog meetups.

Photos From The "Better Call Saul Bash" Filming Location Scavenger Hunt - 08/20/16 - Albuquerque, NM

Photos From The "Better Call Saul Bash" - 08/20/16 - Embassy Suites Hotel - Albuquerque, NM

"Better Call Saul Bash" Videos

Presentation of Gifts to Marq and Ed

Marq Tells A Story

Polygonal References and Other Symbolism in "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul"

I've been hunting down various geometric references in "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul". Vince Gilligan likes Cartesian grids, among other things, but there are other polygons involved as well.

I noticed the cucumber slices - "Cucumber Water For Customer Only!" - are seven-sided in "Better Call Saul".

Seven sides could be a reference to Sigillum Dei, or perhaps to the Thelemic Star of Babalon. If the latter, it would complement Vince Gilligan's use of Jack Parson's story for Gus Fring in Breaking Bad.

Jack Parsons was a convert to Thelema, and had half his face blown off (see also my "Breaking Bad" Season 4 post). Or maybe seven sides refers to something else altogether.

Octagonal symbolism is present in several places in "Breaking Bad". The importance of the number eight is truly ancient, found in both Judaism and Buddhism:

"For Jews 8 was the number which symbolized salvation, rebirth and regeneration ... But for early Christians 8 was the number which symbolized the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the formation of the New Covenant. ... It is for this reason that Christian churches built during the Byzantine period were 8-sided structures."

I was very struck by the octagonal designs in the office glass block windows at Beneke Fabricators (Gonzalez Mechanical). The octagon is a very significant Christian symbol, and like catnip to Vince Gilligan.

Skyler's got the orchid on her desk, but early on, the orchid is white.

When Marie informs Skyler that Hank has arrested Walt ("Breaking Bad", Season 5b, episode 14, 'Ozymandias') the flower on Skyler's desk carries a double meaning. The flower is a very-popular variety, the Phalaenopsis Orchid, sometimes called a Moth Orchid, because the flower petals resemble moths.

In Chinese folklore, moths represent the spirits of dead ancestors.

The pink/purple color of the orchid suggests Marie's dominance of the conversation, and indeed, Marie dictates terms, but the petals suggest the spirits of the dead have already taken flight.

There are two examples of octagons from one episode ("Breaking Bad", Season 5b, episode 10, 'Buried').

When Jesse casts his money away and retreats onto park playground equipment, he is found on a spinning octagon, with (what appears to be) half of a snub cuboctahedron nearby.

When Hank tries to persuade Skyler to turn state's evidence, much of the restaurant is lit with sunburst lamps with octagonal symmetry.

The single light that is out is over the booth where they both sit.

The octagonal symmetry of the sunburst on the wind chime that Howard bumps into ("Better Call Saul", Season 3, episode 2, 'Witness').

While the DEA interview Skyler, the octagonal penthouse of the Albuquerque Federal Bldg. & United States Courthouse, 421 Gold Ave. SW, is visible out the window ("Breaking Bad", Season 5b, episode 15, 'Granite State'). Perhaps Skyler is under the protection of divine grace.

There is so much symbolism in "Breaking Bad" there's hardly any room for a plot. I was trying to track down Catholic imagery - specifically St. Margaret and the devotion of the Sacred Heart (a clue: the secretary at Beneke Fabricators is named Margaret) - so I took another look at the "Breaking Bad" final scene. Sure enough, Walter White is symbolically crucified and penetrated by the Holy Lance - the Spear of Longinus.

Heisenberg died for our sins.

Interesting. When Kim increasingly feels doomed at HHM and seeks advice from Chuck ("Better Call Saul," Season 2, episode 5, 'Rebecca'), she is briefly shown in the presence of a Phalaenopsis Orchid (aka, the Moth Orchid).

Two episodes later, when Kim ponders Jimmy's offer to join him at Wexler-McGill while smoking a cigarette on the parking garage rooftop ("Better Call Saul," Season 2, episode 7, 'Inflatable'), she does so beneath the octagonal penthouse of the United States Federal Courthouse, the same one in the background when Skyler is interviewed by DEA agents ("Breaking Bad,” Season 5b, episode 15, 'Granite State').

Adam Ramirez Envy

Adam Ramirez (from Austin, TX) and William Dickey (his friend from Maine) have been not only the most-dogged "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" filming location fans, but the luckiest as well. They've gone places I can only dream of! (But as we all know, good luck is made!)

A sampling....

Southwest Aniline, Southside Water Reclamation Plant (SWRP) Cogeneration Facility ("Breaking Bad", Season 1, episode 7, 'No Rough Stuff Type Deal'). Walt & Jesse steal a methylamine barrel.

Farmer's Market Store, Rio Grande Market ("Breaking Bad", Season 2, episode 6, 'Peekaboo').

Sunset, On the edge of East Mesa, ENE of the Chicken Farm, ("Breaking Bad", Season 3, episode 6, 'Sunset').

Happy birthday Ted (at Beneke Fabricators, aka Gonzalez Mechanical)!


Recreating the Rooftop scene with photographer James Gelet at the Gizmo Store ("Breaking Bad", Season 4, episode 12, 'End Times').

Madrigal Headquarters in Hanover Germany, Atrisco Heritage Academy High School ("Breaking Bad", Season 5a, episode 2, 'Madrigal').

Madrigal Electromotive Houston Office, Scott & Kienzle's Law Offices, ("Breaking Bad", Season 5a, episode 4, 'Fifty-One').

Where Jesse tossed away cash on Arno SE.

Parking Garage at the difficult-to-access Hamlin Law Offices.

Adam has a friend keeping an eye out for Mesa Verde Bank & Trust.

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