Friday, January 18, 2019

Jasper Visits Two Carmichael Elementary Schools

The students at Deterding and Thomas Kelly Elementary Schools really like him.

Beastly Weather

Beastly driving home Wednesday night in the rain, particularly on the I-80 Yolo Causeway. At one point, the driver next to me on the left erred. The driver couldn’t tell where the lane boundary was and so was partially in my lane. We were just inches apart. Three and four inches of water on the road. Panicked drivers ahead kept braking, rather than rolling smoothly. Slowed to 35 mph. Windy as all get out. Plumes of spray whipping everywhere. But, made it home.

Slightly Ahead

Here in Sacramento, we've been lagging rainwise this entire water year (since Oct. 1st), but with the rains on Wednesday, we finally stand at 107% of normal - slightly ahead.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Story About a Second Career

Rap star:
“His name was on the lips of the multitudes,” recalled Ed Boyer, a Los Angeles Times journalist who first heard rumors about South Central’s rapping doctor in April of 2000. Boyer tracked down Hershfield to his office, and visited Project Blowed to hear him perform. “I’ve seen Dr. Rapp rock the whole house,” Tasha Wiggins told Boyer, as Hershfield climbed onto the stage. Another Project Blowed member, Gabriela Orozco, said, “Oh, I think I’m going to cry. I mean ... he’s doing it.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dogsitting at Gabe's

Assistance in Removing Fallen Fence

Some Pictures From DMTC's "Hunchback of Notre Dame"

I'm Assistant Stage Manager for this show, holding down stage right, but I don't really do much in the show. So, here are some pictures.

RIP, Carol Channing

Liquid Chocolate

A tanker full of liquid chocolate rolled over on I-40 Monday near Flagstaff, Arizona, causing it to spill out over the roadway.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says the crash happened in the westbound lanes of the interstate near milepost 211, east of Flagstaff.

The tanker was carrying 40,000 pounds of chocolate (about 3,500 gallons) of liquid chocolate that was being kept at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, DPS said in a tweet after reviewing the bill of lading.

Spine of Steel

The Onion:
WASHINGTON—Standing uncharacteristically firm as the partial government shutdown stretched into the 25th day, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer admitted Tuesday that he was honestly pretty amazed he hadn’t caved yet. “Realistically, I thought I’d make it five days max before rolling over and giving them whatever they wanted,” said Schumer (D-NY), adding that despite lengthy negotiations with Republican lawmakers, he had oddly been unable to find the right moment to raise a white flag in the spirit of token bipartisanship. “It’s weird because giving up is just sort of what I do.

Poisoning Brock

Recently, I put my head to the long-running question: How did Walt poison Brock? Vince Gilligan and crew have been unusually dodgy regarding how Brock was introduced to Lily of the Valley. Food tampering seems the likely mechanism. (I've interpreted the use of Glass Block Windows in the hospital during Brock's stay there as a reference to the 1982 Chicago Tylenol poisoning murders - killing through product tampering.)

At the 2013 San Diego ComicCon, Gilligan addressed the question:
“That’s an excellent question,” Gilligan says. “The writers would always tell the story of the Evil Juice Box Man. The way we worked it out on our timeline is he had just enough time to do it, but it would’ve been very tricky indeed.” They figured he crushed the poison up, stuck it in a juice box, and got into Brock’s school. “That’s our inner story, the writers and I, for how it happened. It would’ve been very tricky timing, but he was a motivated individual at that point.”

I don't think Gilligan is quite straight with his fans here. The trouble with a juice box is that once it's opened, it's hard to reseal. The damned thing keeps leaking. So, some other product was tampered with. But what product?

Much later, in the episode 'To'hajiilee,' Andrea asks Brock whether he would like string cheese or squeeze yogurt for lunch. Brock replies, "Both." String cheese seems unlikely as a poison vector, but what about squeeze yogurt?

There are not many squeeze yogurt makers. I quickly settled on Stonyfield Farms' Organic YoKids Squeezers as the likely target, in part because Stonyfield Farms is based in pristine, organic New Hampshire (BrBa goes to New Hampshire in 'Granite State'), and in part because it was bought out in 2001 by Group Danone, a French multinational concern, and maker of Dannon Yogurt. (Multinationals that buy out smaller brands catering to various food niche markets are satirized by BrBa - specifically, Madrigal Electromotive's purchase of Los Pollos Hermanos, among many other fast food restaurant chains).

So, how easy is it to tamper with YoKids Squeezers without detection? Pretty easy. Here is a photo of an unopened squeezer on the left, and an opened squeezer on the right. Little blue tabs on the neck fold back to reveal the opened container, but the tabs can easily be reset after tampering, with only an easily-overlooked light-blue strip marking the tampered product. Unwary kids and adults wouldn't even see the mark.

It's easy to see why Vince Gilligan might get dodgy here, and work through extreme misdirection. Directly-identifying the product would have been an invitation to a massive lawsuit.

How Walt got the tampered product to Brock is still a mystery. I doubt Walt entered Brock's school. Too many eyes there. Had to be something simpler. Walt may have just walked to Brock on the sidewalk and handed the product directly to him. After all, in BrBa, there were hints that Brock already recognized Walt.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

No Natural Predators

Fallen Fence

Oy! I guess I’ve had this wind damage for several days now, but as alert to my physical reality as I always am, I didn’t even notice. A vine-laden fence toppled. I guess I don’t even really need that fence. I wonder what Steve thinks, the landlord next door? Does he need the fence?

The Digital World is a World of Trouble

Default positions:
The visits came in waves, sometimes as many as seven a month, and often at night. The strangers would lurk outside or bang on the automatic fence at the driveway. Many of them, accompanied by police officers, would accuse John and Ann of stealing their phones and laptops. Three teenagers showed up one day looking for someone writing nasty comments on their Instagram posts. A family came in search of a missing relative. An officer from the State Department appeared seeking a wanted fugitive. Once, a team of police commandos stormed the property, pointing a huge gun through the door at Ann, who was sitting on the couch in her living room eating dinner. The armed commandos said they were looking for two iPads.

“It’s almost with religious zeal that these people come, thinking their goodies are in my yard,” John told me. “The Apple customers seem to be the worst.”

Unexpected Spider

A little paranoid. Came up from the basement with something dangling in my face. Didn’t get the clearest look before hurriedly stripping, but it appeared to be a black widow spider.