Thursday, December 28, 2017

CHP Touches Base

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) received my supplement to the report on my accident, and the reviewing officer from the Woodland office called to touch base.

I complained that the CHP did not cite the driver of the truck that hit me. CHP concluded unsafe speed was at fault, but not whose unsafe speed.

The officer explained CHP could not cite anyone if they did not directly-observe the infraction, with two exceptions - drunk-driving or hit-and-run - neither of which applied in this case.

The officer explained there were two places on the report where the responding officer indicated the truck driver was at fault. The first place was a numeral "1" placed in a box on the first page. I never saw the numeral because it was at the edge of the first page, and fell entirely off the page in the Xerox copy I had.

The second place was the last paragraph of the report, where the responding officer concluded the truck driver was at fault. I missed that last paragraph because I was busy screaming and repeatedly hurling the report against the wall.

The reviewing officer patiently explained that he understood my point about the confusion about what was exactly meant by "the right lane." I replied I was prepared to file a supplement to the supplement to the accident report if need be, since I now believed I understood where on the freeway the impact point was. The CHP officer patiently explained that knowing the "AOI" as he termed it wouldn't change the conclusion of the report. I agreed.

In the event I held a grudge against the responding officer, the reviewing officer further explained that normally the Woodland office would have responded to the accident but they were having their Christmas party that night, so the South Sacramento office responded instead. The Woodland office returns the favor to South Sacramento on a different night. I replied I never held a grudge against the responding officer, only that I believed he was confused, which was understandable given that everyone else there was confused that night too.

So, we finished the conversation amicably. I won't be filing a supplement to the supplement to the accident report, since it wouldn't do anyone any good; nay, not even me.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Marc's Top 20 Movies Of The Year

2017 was a pretty-good year for movies. Of course, which movies are your favorite depends on what you see.

My Top 20 movies of the year (bleeding a bit into 2016) are as follows:

1. “Coco”
2. “Atomic Blonde”
3. “Get Out”
4. “Lady Bird”
5. “La La Land”
6. “Jackie”
7. "The Disaster Artist"
8. “Dunkirk”
9. “The Florida Project”
10. "Wonder Woman"
11. “I Am Not You Negro”
12. “All Eyez on Me”
13. “Sing”
14. “Hidden Figures”
15. “Battle of the Sexes”
16. “Mark Felt”
17. Disney’s “Beauty & the Beast”
18. "The Last Jedi"
19. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
20. “Blade Runner 2049”
21. “Beatriz at Dinner”

The Pretty but Mysterious Monument at Alhambra and W Streets

At Alhambra and W Streets. This very pretty but mysterious monument near a bus stop.

Plus, some random homeless trash.

Your Stick Figure Family Was Delicious

In the drug store parking lot.

Marc's Top 10 Pop Songs of 2017

Time for Top 10 lists. I'm feeling fairly-estranged from Pop Music these days. Maybe like old guys I'm wallowing too much in the past. Indie tunes are ascendant these days, but Dance and Hip Hop tunes are in eclipse. Still, there were a few recent tunes I liked.

Marc's Top 10 Pop Songs of 2017

1. K.Flay - Blood In The Cut 9/7/16
2. Lana Del Rey - Coachella - Woodstock In My Mind 3/14/17
3. Grouplove - Welcome To Your Life 9/9/16
4. Lorde - Green Light 3/2/17
5. Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do 8/27/17
6. Kendrick Lamar - Humble 3/30/17
7. Portugal. The Man - Feel It Still 3/6/17
8. Cardi B - Bodak Yellow 6/24/17
9. Courtney Barnett - Elevator Operator 7/6/16
10. Fink - Cold Feet 2/15/17
11. Arcade Fire - Everything Now 6/1/17

"Blood in the Cut" was my favorite (actually came out last year, but I became aware of it only recently). Filmed in the American Southwest, and featuring Streamline Moderne architecture. That's the way to my heart. Irresistible!

Beggars Can't Be Choosers

The weather situation is pretty desperate here in California, with December much drier even than during the recent brutal drought. At Sacramento Executive Airport, it's the third-driest December since they started recording in 1941. We might be sailing right off a cliff into a new, even-more-brutal drought.

The weather forecasts are suggesting a Pineapple Express type storm is coming in early January. The NVG forecast is suggesting the storm will come as soon as January 2nd; the GFS forecast is suggesting much, much later, maybe around January 9th.

Despite the divergence on timing, either scenario is possible. It all hinges on the actions of a cutoff low, and as they teach in weather school, forecasting the actions of cutoff lows is difficult.

Pineapple Express storms aren't what we need in January. We need cold storms from the Gulf of Alaska, to build up the snowpack. Beggars can't be choosers, though. However the precipitation wants to come, we'll have to take it.

A Lame Repair

I repaired the gate, same as it was before, with one minor enhancement, but the gate was badly built in the first place. The nuts on the bolts holding the gate are on the outside, so all anybody needs is a wrench and some time to dismantle it. The enhancement is to string a thin bicycle cable through the gate and the chain link fence, so one now also needs a cable cutter to remove the gate, but we aren’t talking about Ft. Knox here. There is a second gate on the other side of the yard with the same defects.

Somehow, I suspect I won’t have more problems. Most crime around here is opportunistic. I may be missing a hammer, and someone broke a sprinkler and a riser out front for no good reason. That will be a hassle in the spring. Maybe I’m getting harassed.

A Body in Four Hills

This Albuquerque homicide has caught my interest. If one had to dump a body without leaving city limits, this area would be prime. The question, of course, is why anyone would have a body to dump. We'll learn a lot, I fear:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The body found in Four Hills on Saturday was that of a decapitated woman, who showed other signs of “massive injuries,” a police spokesman said Tuesday.

Officer Simon Drobik of the Albuquerque Police Department said investigators have identified the woman, but the person’s name won’t be released until her family has been notified.

...Two Four Hills residents walking their dogs around noon Saturday found the woman’s body in an arroyo behind some homes near Winterwood and Autumnwood SE.

It’s unclear if the woman lived in the neighborhood or if she was homeless, but Drobik said the department is making the case a top priority.

Giving Thanks

On Tuesday, I was back out at Merari’s Wall, in Roseville. I’m not terribly spiritual, but I feel a connection here. I had trouble figuring out where this place was located, so didn’t come out in July, after her auto accident here. I didn’t make my first visit here until December 1st: the day before my own auto accident. I think her spirit extended a measure of protection over me, saving me from injury, so I’m here to give thanks.

Yes, Merari died way too young. Here’s a link about her accident. She’s still on Facebook as Merari Ceyeli.

Calming Baby

Greta Gerwig Dream

Woke after a strange Sacramento dream. Went over to Greta Gerwig’s office to pick up a jar of her Christmas chili. She sat behind a big desk, smoked a cigar, and gave me tips on press interviews.

Friend Ben comments:
“When you’re doing Kimmel, Marc...” (puff puff), “...Never look Jimbo straight in the eye except at the end of a sentence, see?” (puff puff). “Now, with FALLON, it’s the opposite.” (puff puff). “Look Little Jimmy squarely in the eye until the end, when you look directly in camera 3 and do this....” (blows a smoke ring in a perfect figure eight).

I Had No Idea My Local Market Was On The Internet

Posting videos, and everything! A friend in New Mexico flagged it.

I’m just amazed they bother being on the Internet. They used to sell vegetables, but they only bother with alcohol now. They really know their clientele!

Ride 'Em, Cowboy

Japanese monkeys - just like people:
Japanese macaques are known to ride deer like humans ride horses, for fun or transportation — behavior the deer seem to tolerate in exchange for grooming and discarded food. But these monkeys were up to something different.

The researchers compared the monkey-deer interactions, which happened during mating season, with homosexual monkey-monkey interactions, where female macaques mount each other. They paid close attention to the "mounting postures" the monkeys assumed on the deer, and the vocalizations they made, to determine that the interactions were, in fact, sexual ... at least for the monkeys.

Life Under Trump

Where The Homeless People Go

The big shuffle:
Cities have been offering homeless people free bus tickets to relocate elsewhere for at least three decades. In recent years, homeless relocation programs have become more common, sprouting up in new cities across the country and costing the public millions of dollars.

But until now there has never been a systematic, nationwide assessment of the consequences. Where are these people being moved to? What impact are these programs having on the cities that send and the cities that receive them? And what happens to these homeless people after they reach their destination?

In an 18-month investigation, the Guardian has conducted the first detailed analysis of America’s homeless relocation programs, compiling a database of around 34,240 journeys and analyzing their effect on cities and people.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Peaky Blinders Theme

House-sitting at Gabe and Eleanor's, I realized I could binge-watch "Peaky Blinders," the acclaimed crime drama that so many of the UK "Breaking Bad" fans really love as well. I got as far as Season 2, episode 3.

Love Nick Cave and his dark music!

Regarding The Skipper

Watching Gilligan’s Island on MeTV reruns. It’s funny, when I was 14, The Skipper seemed fat. Now, he seems trim. The perspective of age.

I Have a Fondness For People Who Make Public Appeals, Evangelists Included

Florin and Franklin Blvds. “Are you representing a church?”

“Only one church. Body of Christ!”

This Was How I Started Exercising


Trump is likely using Russian-supplied blackmail to hold together the Republicans:
“The RNC was hacked,” Kendzior said. “We don’t know what happened with those e-mails. We know that Lindsey Graham’s personal e-mails were also hacked and we know that Trump has a long track record of blackmailing and threatening those who he sees as his political opponents. That goes back throughout his entire career.”

Kendzior reminded Reid that many Republicans benefitted in 2016 from millions of dollars of dark money donated by Kremlin-aligned Russian nationals living in the U.S. and that Graham is one of those politicians.
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“I think what concerns me most is that they seem afraid,” she said of the Republicans gathered to heap compliments on Trump this week. “They seem unable to stand up for themselves. They lack all dignity.”

“Trump has berated them, he has insulted them,” Kendzior said. “He’s often gone after their wives and their family members, saying terrible things and yet they prostrate themselves to him. What kind of leader are you? What kind of man are you?”

Rumors have long swirled about the never-married Graham’s sexual orientation. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee insinuated earlier this year that he has concerns about Graham’s sexuality.

Bike Theft

While I was gone this evening, thieves dismantled my back yard gate. The basement and garage were open, so a lot could have been taken, but all I can immediately identify as missing is a bicycle I never ride that I got for a nominal sum from Joe the Plumber.

It’s early yet. I need to check carefully. But items I think would be sitting ducks for thieves are still there.

There was someone working on a bicycle in the alley who saw me drive off; perhaps he’s the guy. No real description, though. If you see a big, hairy guy working on a bike, let me know.

Spray of Glass

In my continued, obsessive effort to better-understand my automobile accident, one of the central questions has been where on the freeway did the colossal impact actually occur? No one seemed to know.

Last night, coming back from Davis, I noticed there was a spray of crumble glass on the freeway. It could always be from another accident, of course, but I think not in this case, since my accident is recent - only 3 weeks ago - there hasn't been much time for the glass to disperse. The explosion of the back window into tiny chunks was something to behold! Tonight, I confirmed the glass is there.

So, if the colossal impact occurred at the spray of glass location, a full one-quarter of a mile was required for me to stop my spinning and skidding car, and it makes the CHP accident reconstruction even more improbable as a reasonable explanation.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Sigue Sigue Sputnik Love Missile F1-11

A pretty bad memory from the 80's that I never had, so it's all new to me.

Eisenfunk - Pong

I like putting YouTube on, walking away, and coming back to some random thing the algorithms think I might like. The algorithms know me pretty well.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

An agreeable good time. Better than "Rogue One."

Orkestra Obsolete Play "Blue Monday" Using 1930s Instruments

Friday Night at the Mall

I feel like a salmon who took that left turn in Albuquerque.

This salmon finds an inviting stream.

Santa Claus holds court.

I really enjoy the mall. Weird place. Skate-and-snowboarding shops seem to be in. Very tempting merchandise, not usually seen in my demographic.

Most amusing moment of the day was coming upon a woman in Macy’s who was trying mightily to pull up the falling pants on a young male manikin and preserve its dignity. An impossible job, seeing how emaciated the young teen manikin was. “Looks awkward,” I commented. The embarrassed woman laughed and nodded just as her family arrived to point and laugh too.

Maybe I’ll be back tomorrow. Good prices in Sears.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Jolly Old St. Nick

"Climbing the Razor's Edge into the Bright, Blue Dome of the Sky: A Trip through the Academic West of the Seventies and Eighties"

Introducing my new book!

"Climbing the Razor's Edge into the Bright, Blue Dome of the Sky: A Trip through the Academic West of the Seventies and Eighties," is Volume 2 of Marc Valdez’s memoir about growing up in New Mexico, and the years beyond.

Volume 2 covers Marc Valdez’s college years (1974 – 1990), and covers his experiences getting a Ph.D., plus holding two postdoctoral positions. The scope of the memoir covers Socorro and Albuquerque, New Mexico, but expands beyond New Mexico’s boundaries to include Denver, Colorado, Tucson and Tempe, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

In a way, my college years were a kind of creative imbroglio, but since I was in academic environments a long time, there were many twists and turns.

I think these links function, for now:

Print Version

Kindle Version

[P.S.: Hmmm.... Is that a problem? I've been striving to call myself "Marc P. Valdez" in order to distance myself from the 50 or 60 people named "Marc Valdez" in the United States, but here I've flubbed it on the cover of my own book, where you'd think I'd have at least the semblance of control. I'll live with it. I think there's a Texan named Marc Valdez with skateboard videos on YouTube. Oh, yes, and there is that gender-confused Filipino singer named Marc Valdez with the singing career in Japan. I got a teenage fan, a Filipina Facebook friend who stood by me for five years, out of that. Maybe confusion works in my favor. Life is marketing.]

Hip Says "Slow Down!"

Oy. Can't stay asleep. My hip says "Oy." Vigorous day yesterday. Walked everywhere. Everywhere. Plus, way too much Dancehall fun last night. fun.....too much fun....

Wednesday Night at the Movies with Joe the Plumber - "The Disaster Artist"

I've stumbled into a new tradition - Wednesday Night at the Movies with Joe the Plumber. Because when you don't even have a van to live in down by the river, but you and your pit-bull puppy are living down by the river anyway, there's nothing better than Wednesday Night at the Movies. And I like movies too.

The idea behind indulging Joe is that now that I have a pickup truck, we might finally be able to move his cuckoo clock, his box of junk, various Native-American paintings, and his massive exercise unit (which would make a tasteful addition to the mounds of homeless junk down by the river), and transport it all from my basement to his storage unit, conveniently-located somewhere in Elverta. But first, the movies....

In the last month, or so, we've seen "Lady Bird," "Coco" (in Spanish), "The Last Jedi," and last Wednesday night we saw "The Disaster Artist."

"The Disaster Artist" is great fun. Go see it. Joe the Plumber gives his stream-of-consciousness equivalent of two thumbs up for it. A good buddy film.

Joe and I should make a movie.

How Did I Get Here?

I particularly like this mashup version, because most of David Bowie's "The Man Who Fell From Earth" was filmed in New Mexico in 1975. You can find these exact places without much trouble:

Resistance Is Not Futile

But only if we continue to resist. So far, we're doing a good job.

Interesting - "Trump had fewer deportations than Obama's first year":
Despite President Trump's tough-on-immigration rhetoric, there were around 177,000 fewer deportations this year than in 2009, Obama's first year in office. That number is lower than any year during Obama's presidency, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data.

So, is it a win for the Trumpies? That’s what they always say, but they are idiots, so what do they know? Illegal immigration peaked in 2010, and dropped, mostly because of the economy, but also because of demography. Birth rates dropped dramatically in Mexico from the 60’s into the 70’s, and the needy 60’s kids driving the immigration no longer need El Norte to the extent they once did.

Meanwhile, ominous news from the medical front.

And taking the lead coming around the Clubhouse turn here at Apocalypse Downs is fentanyl!:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday reported that the life expectancy in the U.S. decreased in 2016 for the second year in a row.

According to the CDC’s 2016 mortality report, the life expectancy for a member of the U.S. population born in 2016 was 78.6 years, down 0.1 years from the expectancy for a person born in 2015, itself a decline from 2014.

The government figures released Thursday put drug deaths at 63,600, up from about 52,000 in 2015. For the first time, the powerful painkiller fentanyl and its close opioid cousins played a bigger role in the deaths than any other legal or illegal drug, surpassing prescription pain pills and heroin.”This is urgent and deadly,” said Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The opioid epidemic “clearly has a huge impact on our entire society.”

Step One 30th Anniversary Videos, This Time on YouTube

I want broader distribution of these videos, particularly for the heartfelt "For Bre" - Part 2 video.

If I Were Homeless in Sacramento

I’m a bit puzzled by the ways of the homeless this winter in my Sacramento neighborhood. Once again, we are in extreme drought mode, with warm, dry weather. There should be lots of homeless nearby, yet I think there are fewer than last year. I don’t know why.

Joe the homeless Plumber sleeps beside the American River, not too far from Costco, and gets his meals at Loaves and Fishes, so maybe that’s where they are all at this year. Joe says it’s cold there right by the water, and he snuggles next to his pit bull puppy for warmth.

If I was homeless in Sacramento, I think I’d prefer sleeping under the W-X freeway, where there’s illumination all night long and the cover overhead provides rain protection and keeps it from getting too cold. Echoes nice for singing too.

Ambling Around Midtown

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Trying To Puzzle Out The Geometry of Sutter Medical Center

I was disoriented when they brought me out of the ambulance. Where was the door through which I was brought into the emergency room?

Oh, over here, on the east side!