Friday, April 01, 2016

The “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” is Frickin' Resilient

Despite the nearly-normal rainfall in northern California this winter, there is no indication yet that the recent pattern of drought in California is going away. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has been strengthening again this year, which just means continuing trouble:
Over the past several years, California weather watchers have become well acquainted with the now-infamous “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” of atmospheric high pressure—the unusually persistent atmospheric anomaly responsible for redirecting winter storms over the Pacific and ultimately bringing record-breaking warmth and dryness to the Golden State. Like a boulder displacing a narrow stream of water, this sluggish atmospheric feature consistently deflected the storm track to the north of California during the typical “rainy season” months of October to May. As a result, much of the state was left high and dry—even during what is typically the wettest time of year.

"The Goblin Song" Released Online!

Awesome! This week, Nora Unkel and Wild Obscura Films release "The Goblin Song" online! (It's been on the Film Festival circuit since last year.)

Nora Unkel was raised in the musical embrace of Davis Musical Theatre Company's (DMTC) Young Performer's Theatre (YPT) in Davis, CA, and so it's no surprise her ambitious final film project with NYU Tisch School of the Arts would be a musical!

(Musicals are much harder to produce than regular films because there are so many more pieces in motion.)

Nora exploited every resource available to her, bringing NYU actors and crew to join YPT alumni (such as the talented Cody Craven) and DMTC supporting crew to film in the Sacramento River Delta, and conversely, bringing Davis singers to NYC, to make her project a success.

And succeed it does! Cross-pollinated bicoastal synergy at its best. Best short film ever!

The Goblin Song from Nora Unkel on Vimeo.

Babe Alon 5 Presents "Mr. Sanders"

"The Debut" At Momo's Lounge

What an awesome dancing evening at Momo's Lounge last night!

The Dancers, led by Krystle Morales.

Greeting the Comedians.


Australian Beer Ad

LIKE ➡ Small Banana

Posted by Small Banana on Monday, March 28, 2016

Ostrich and Emu Meet Weasel Ball

Can never get enough of this video.....

Ostrich & Emu Meet Weasel Ball

A chance encounter that does NOT disappoint... via SuperViral.TV

Posted by UNILAD on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Albuquerque "Tumbleweed Tornado"

"Tumbleweed Tornado"

"TUMBLEWEED TORNADO": You guys have to see this video a viewer sent in to us yesterday... if there was ever a moment to fully capture what spring is like here in New Mexico... it would be this one (VIDEO):NOTE: This would technically be a dust devil... (but I love it just the same.)

Posted by Kristen Currie on Thursday, March 31, 2016

Apropos of Nothing, a Turkey Came to Work This Afternoon

Bicycling To Oblivion

I like to think of myself as a practical person, but my dreams suggest otherwise. I just dreamt that I bicycled from here to Pearl Harbor. Sounds prudent to me.

If People Acted Like Telenovela Stars

If People Acted Like Telenovela Stars

Posted by Pero Like on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Murals Nearby

Sacramento becomes more like Albuquerque and Albuquerque becomes more like Mexico.

Mike Snider on the Marty Stuart Show

On Easter, I was watching RFD TV (not my normal beat) and saw this fine bluegrass music!

(Too bad the entire episode isn't on line. Mike Snider is a fine comic. Comedy sometimes depends on sublimated rage, which was leaking through as he flogged CDs. The modern music business is exhausting. It isn't enough to assemble the best bluegrass musicians on the planet, and haul amplifiers up and down stairs every night, but you've got to flog the CDs too.)

The Political Illiterate

Awesome 'Formation' Tap Dance!


Posted by Ratchet Queens on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Alice" Mashup

The first film version of "Alice in Wonderland", in 1903 by Hepworth and Stow, partially restored. Timeline:

First published: 1865 (151 years ago);
First film version: 1903 (113 years ago);
Jefferson Airplane song: 1967 (49 years ago).

Alice in Wonderland ~ 1903

Alice in Wonderland ~ 1903

Posted by Freaks on Thursday, March 3, 2016

Easter Egg Chaos

Last year, the Sacramento Easter Egg Hunt degenerated into chaos. This year, Orange, CT:
Staff had laid out nearly 10,000 eggs over three fields at the PEZ visitor center and planned three start times for different age groups, but some parents ignored that plan, rushing the fields early, trampling signs and shoving other participants. One woman said an adult injured her grandchild's nose.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Two Late-Spring Portents

Spring starts in Sacramento around February 1st, so it's been going on a while, but I today I saw two portents of late spring.

One, I saw a female Scrub Jay poking around for peanuts. Scrub Jays prefer bugs, spiders, and the like, and generally come to my table only under two circumstances: 1.) inexperienced fledglings having no luck elsewhere, or 2.) a female's got a nest nearby and she needs lots and lots of readily-available food. Maybe #2!

Two. Back in the 90's I used to occasionally rent costumes from a place called Broadway Costumes on Franklin Blvd. Fun place! They had long shelves with eerie-looking, ancient, papier-mache Easter Bunny heads. A veritable army of cheery Easter Bunnies! I haven't been back to Broadway Costumes since 2004, and hadn't thought about the Easter Bunny heads for more than a decade, but today, I saw one of those exact heads sitting on top of a car parked on P Street. Somewhere nearby, an Easter Bunny was at work!

The Gig Economy Stalls

I've only had the most tentative contact with the gig economy. I've never used Uber or Lyft, on general principle. I did try to join a service called Varsity Tutors, but maybe thankfully, they didn't seem to want me.

This article discusses the large number of service companies that are crashing and burning, mostly because they can't guarantee quality. Indeed, the gig economy appears only to thrive under two conditions:

1.) a huge venture-capital subsidy that is unlikely to last; and/or;
2.) a universal, portable safety net much more expensive and comprehensive than anything the American economy currently has to offer.

Thus, if the gig economy is going to take off anywhere, it's probably going to be in Europe. America is just too uninviting.

Great excerpt:
His company had charged customers $25 per hour (which later rose to $30) to hire one of their personal assistants, and the worker received 80 percent, or about $20 per hour. That seemed like a high wage to Kan, but much to his surprise he discovered that, when his errand runners made their own personal calculation, factoring in the unsteadiness of the work, the frequency of downtime, hustling from gig to gig, the on-call nature of the work as well as their own expenses, it wasn’t such a great deal. Wrote Kan, “It turns out that $20 per hour does not provide enough economic incentive to dictate when our errand runners had to be available, leading to large supply gaps at times of spiky demand . . . it was impossible to ensure that we had consistent availability.

Kan says the company also acquired a “false sense that the quality of service for our customers was better than it was” because the quality of the “average recruitable errand runner”—at the low pay and on-call demands that Exec wanted—did not result in hiring the self-motivated personality types like those that start Silicon Valley companies. (Surprise, surprise.) That in turn led to too many negative experiences for too many customers, especially since, like with TaskRabbit, a too-high percentage of its on-demand workers simply failed to show up to their gigs. (Surprise, surprise.) It turns out, he discovered, that “most competent people are not looking for part-time work.” (Surprise, surprise.)

Indeed, the reality that the sharing economy visionaries can’t seem to grasp is that not everyone is cut out to be a gig-preneur, or to “build out their own businesses,” as Leah Busque likes to say. Being an entrepreneur takes a uniquely wired brand of individual with a distinctive skill set, including being “psychotically optimistic,” as one business consultant put it. Simply being jobless is not a sufficient qualification. In addition, apparently nobody in Silicon Valley ever shared with Kan or Busque the old business secret that “you get what you pay for.” That’s a lesson that Uber’s Travis Kalanick seems determined to learn the hard way as well.

Bush Official Would Vote for Bernie Sanders Before Donald Trump

Interesting article! (h/t, John)


Raccoon in the California Capital's Hunger Games

After finishing rewatching the conclusion of the Hunger Games movie Mockingjay Part II, it was time for Bella and I to walk the streets of Sacramento, and reflect on lessons learned.

Lots of spooky people on the streets this evening. At 1:45 am, apropos of nothing, two men walked past in the dark carrying fishing rods. Spooky.

Even spookier was Bella's alertness near a certain tree. She pulled me around the tree, and suddenly lunged. I grunted as the leash went taut, and two panicked doves in the tree above my head flew off into the dark.

Sitting on the ground was a small, juvenile raccoon. It didn't look like a real animal at all, more like a stuffed toy, but very slight movements betrayed its true identity. It was completely exposed, and incredibly vulnerable. The juvenile raccoon was in the California Capital Arena experiencing its own Hunger Games.

Bella, the Capital Mutt, made several more lunges at the raccoon, but I controlled the leash, and subscribed to Peeta's advice about avoiding mayhem at all costs, and so we broke free and continued our walk through the night.

Lydia's Birthday Party In West Sac

Good DJ too. Reggaeton; Cubano, ...

"Eye In The Sky"

Friday night at the Tower Theater, I saw the movie "Eye in the Sky", with Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and Alan Rickman in his last acting appearance.

What a great movie! Loved it! Full of moral complications. And no one is better at registering moral complications than Aaron Paul!

I particularly liked the compromised position of Sergeant Saddiq. In my job as an air quality consultant, I hold a position reminiscent to Saddiq's - I calculate concentrations; he calculates CDEs - and so I empathized with his dilemma for days.

I like the summary at this blog:
"Babou Ceesay as Sergeant Mushtaq Saddiq, who is diplomatically blackmailed into fudging Collateral Damage Estimates (CDE), internalises and ‘cottonises’ the proverbial sledge-hammer moral blow he receives, to perfection."

Here is a part of Saddiq's problem....

Supaman - "Why"

This is great!

I had the feeling I had seen these folks before, but I was wrong. Instead, I was thinking of the folks at 9:50 in this video.

I Need To Get Bella An Emu

Emu and Dog. Australia.

Emu and Dog. Australia.

Posted by The Drop Bears on Thursday, October 8, 2015

CORE's "Rise" - Harris Center, Folsom, CA - Saturday Evening, March 26, 2016

Because of Lydia's birthday party, I joined Sadie, Nan, Linda, Helen, and Fred at intermission.



Choreographer Kelli Leighton at Bows.

Question and answer session.

Choreographer Kelli Leighton.



Sadie, Nan, and Linda.

Cool staircase here at the Harris Center. (After "Man of La mancha", I'm conditioned to look closely at staircases.)

I saw the CORE show last year in Auburn, but as Kelli noted, this version has been about 75% reworked. The piece is dedicated to Kelli's Norwegian grandmother, who came to the U.S. post-WWII, but I kept confusing it in my own mind with my great-aunt, a Norwegian woman who was born on a sailing vessel in what is now Indonesia, plus my experience living a year in Salt Lake City (1989-90). Indeed, since most of the dancers did not wander far from established stations, it felt like they were monuments in a kind of psychic landscape - a Monument Valley of the imagination - with Kelli's grandmother being a solitary traveler. Almost like she was a solitary 49er heading west in a covered wagon (with the skirt being the wagon - both a support and a burden).

Just a different way of looking at the dance.
"Rise" - the dancers' perspective (part 3)

Rachael and Lexi share their inspiration for their performance in "Rise". Tickets available for Saturday's shows at #BTS #BehindTheScenes #COREContemporaryDance #RISE #Sacramento #DANCE #HarrisCenter #Folsom #Sac365 #SubmergeMag #VisitSac #SMAC #ARTS #LOCAL #ContemporaryDance

Posted by CORE Contemporary Dance on Thursday, March 24, 2016