Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Breaking Bad" and the 2001: A Space Odyssey Monolith

Friday night, I saw the 50th anniversary, 70 mm roadshow film version of Stanley Kubrick's “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and I wondered if there might be any 2001 references buried in "Breaking Bad." Possibly. The monolith in 2001 had physical dimensions of 1:4:9 (representing the squares of the first three prime numbers). The tall sign for Albuquerque's Crossroads Motel in "Breaking Bad" also has a 9:4 aspect ratio. The sign lies on its side, like the Star Gate orbiting Jupiter in 2001.

The critic Rob Ager has noted the monolith represents the film screen itself, "a transitionary doorway in and out of the film narrative." At the Crossroads Motel the doorway might be to the past, to its namesake, London's Crystal Palace of 1851.

The doorway motif reappears several times in "Breaking Bad" - for example, in Georgia O'Keeffe's Doorway painting. Several story lines in "Breaking Bad" may be based on Stephen King's "Night Shift," a collection of horror stories, including 'I Am The Doorway.'

Greasy Space

Apparently even worse than Vegemite:
It looks cold, dark and empty, but astronomers have revealed that interstellar space is permeated with a fine mist of grease-like molecules.

The study provides the most precise estimate yet of the amount of “space grease” in the Milky Way, by recreating the carbon-based compounds in the laboratory. The Australian-Turkish team discovered more than expected: 10 billion trillion trillion tonnes of gloop, or enough for 40 trillion trillion trillion packs of butter.

...To tackle the question, Schmidt and colleagues recreated in the laboratory the process by which greasy carbon forms in the outflows of carbon stars. The material was collected and analysed using spectroscopy to work out how strongly it absorbed light of certain wavelengths.

“This allowed us to figure out how much greasy carbon is in the line of sight of various stars,” said Schmidt.

They found that there are about 100 greasy carbon atoms for every million hydrogen atoms, accounting for between a quarter and a half of the available carbon in the Milky Way.

“This space grease is not the kind of thing you’d want to spread on a slice of toast,” said Schmidt. “It’s dirty, likely toxic and only forms in the environment of interstellar space – and our laboratory.”

"Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" - California Music Theatre - Music Circus

Wonderful energy! Professional theater is sometimes the best!

Hung out with Jackie and the ushers. Saw Tylar T., Jon and Laura, and Ron and Kathleen. Great time!

“2001: A Space Odyssey” - 50th Anniversary!

I went to the Tower Theater Friday night to see the 50th anniversary, 70 mm roadshow film version of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” to a surprisingly large audience of about a hundred people. Matias Bombal (a well-known Sacramento cinephile and Gabriel McAuliffe’s childhood friend), gave introductory, purplish remarks, and recalled those golden years before video conquered all.

Bombal was beyond enthusiastic about the color reproduction (“note the blues!!!!”) Since the projectionist would have to adjust the focus several times during the film, Bombal noted that he wasn’t just playing the film, but “rendering” it before our eyes. Bombal went so far overboard with his remarks it would have required the Coast Guard to reel him back in.

And it brought back memories of the first time I saw a porn movie. About 1973. The projector overheated and the sound sporadically cut in and out. The projectionist cursed and banged repeatedly on the projector, making the sound pop - his own way of ‘rendering’ the film. Ah, the majesty of film!

Nevertheless, Bombal was absolutely right. The blues were spectacular. The film was amazing. Touchstones like advertising logos in space, used originally to make the future seem more-familiar, now work for nostalgic purposes.

Bombal also made me laugh. I hesitated to enter the proper theater. I asked him, “Is 2001 being shown here?” and told him the sign above the door (for Misterrogers ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’) was ambiguous. Referring to 2001, he replied “Was it as ambiguous as the show’s conclusion?”

My dad didn’t understand 2001 when we saw it at the drive-in theater, circa 1971 (I think it was a Stanley Kubrick double bill with “A Clockwork Orange”, the first time I saw fluorescent-colored hair portrayed on film and knew instantly that that was the future of youth). I belonged to the Science Fiction Book Club, and I had already read 2001, so I overexplained it to my dad, and made him hate the film even more.

There are still a couple more screenings left at the Tower. See “2001: A Space Odyssey” rendered as it was meant to be seen! All those blues!

The Right Wing is Unnecessary

Travis Bell's General Lee

Indianapolis DJ (and big Breaking Bad fan) Travis Bell, and his flying car. The Jetsons, it ain't, but charming in its own right.

Inaugurating Construction Friday

Contractor is here, and home repair starts with thunderous noise at 8:05 a.m.

"Hidden Palms" - Wm. J. Geery Theater

I haven't been here in years. Strange little show.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Looking Through Photos

Just realized I had taken a photograph of a hillside used in David Bowie's 1976 film, "The Man Who Fell To Earth." Taken just south of Madrid, New Mexico in October, 2012.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mark S. Allen Interviews Julia Hixon, DMTC's "Little Mermaid"

And this was 6 a.m. too....

Starting Some Home Repair

Contractor coming in tomorrow.

Hanging With Bats

Whiling away under the Yolo Causeway and the adjacent causeway for the Capitol Corridor. Forest fire smoke from Northern California loomed above:

What is it like when the bats under the Yolo Causeway emerge at sunset? I wanted to find out.

I saw very few bats actually emerge, and the ones that did seemed to drop like stones from their cracks. They came in waves, and circled about under the bed of the freeway, their wings making a crackling sound. A wind tunnel of thousands of bats.

Baby Jailer

The Red Cross is denied access to Trump's Baby Jails. Remember, due to the Geneva Conventions, which the Nazis honored, the Red Cross was able to visit Nazi camps for American POWs in World War II, and that was the only way some Americans were able to make it out alive:
This is eerily reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. The Red Cross was repeatedly forbidden from touring concentration camps during World War II. Finally, in 1944, they were allowed to inspect the hoax camp, Theresienstadt.

"American Animals"

I saw "American Animals" last Friday evening, a true story about four average college students who decided to make a daring art heist. The actual thieves weave in and out of the story too, generally watching sadly from the sidelines as their younger selves pass by on their mission.

The film made me wonder if I could have conspired to steal rare art in college and still maintained my studies. I think the distraction would have been just terrible. How can you focus on calculus when you urgently need to obtain disguises?