February 28, 2006
Clear Channel Supports The Arts
Get this for event planning! Clear Channel, the company that has reduced radio to such a useless medium that people send up satellites and buy special hardware just to get around their obese presence, scheduled a "martinifest" at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The deal was that guests would get unlimited martinis for only $30! On top of that, they ignored the capacity limit imposed by the museum. That limit was 1,400, but Clear Channel sold over 2,000 tickets and admitted more than 1,800. Some of the vendors ran out of food and mixers and began pouring straight shots of vodka to appease the thirsty crowd.
Some unruly guests accosted artworks, which have been taken off display for a checkup.
It was crazy. People were shoving people over. People were getting sick, screaming, shouting, messing with the artwork.
People threw up, passed out, were injured, got into altercations and climbed onto sculptures.
Take A Look
This is how some people see the Coachella Valley (when it's not raining).
West Side Road - Death Valley
More photos along the West Side Road in Death Valley:
New Sight In Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree National Park is a place of creepingly slow change. The life and death of the Joshua Trees themselves grow and die only very slowly. Set that against the background of even slower geological changes, and you know things there just don't change much. But now! Now we've got a plane crash! Just 10 miles northwest of the Cottonwood Visitor Center a plane crashed that had been stolen at Big Bear by two 14-year old boys. Somebody should be on the scene with a camera and GPS device -- oh, but it's raining today.
They'd been predicting it for a couple of days and the locals responded appropriately, rushing the stores to buy loaves of bread and gallons of milk. It was going to rain! A Great Outdoors hike was pre-emptively cancelled more than 24 hours in advance (to be fair, the hike was to be in Mission Creek, which hasn't stopped flowing for more than a year now).
And then it came last night while I was out driving. Our first rain since October. I was momentarily confused by the fact that I couldn't see through the windshield. Ah yes, I remembered that I needed to turn on the wipers. And just where is that control? A couple of seconds of digging deeply in my memory brought up the datum and I turned them on. I was surprised to see that my Rain-X application was still working. I've no idea how long ago I put that on.
It's rained all night. The predictions were for as much one-quarter inch, but I think we may have had more. My electronic doodah says the outside humidity is 72%. Before the rain it had been a lot closer to something like 25%. Doubtless the valley will experience mild levels of chaos today.
Desert Sun Predicts...
February 27, 2006
An Enigma message that was one of three German messages encrypted in 1942 and never decrypted by the Allies has finally been broken through brute force methods and distributed computing. And here's the message (hold onto your hat!):
F T 1132/19 contents: Forced to submerge during attack. Depth charges. Last enemy position 0830h AJ 9863, (course]) 220 degrees, (speed) 8 knots. (I am) following (the enemy). (Barometer) falls 14 mb, (wind) nor-nor-east, (force) 4, visibility 10 (nautical miles).
Huh, do metric nations use nautical miles?
Mac Print Queue
Man, what do I have to do to clear a print queue on a Mac? I tried to print a document that turns out to be way longer than I want and contains way more graphics than I want, so I don't want to print it. After a page or two of it printed, I turned off the printer. I tried to stop it nicely by selecting the printer and trying to delete jobs, but the "delete job" option is grayed out. On a PC that would mean the whole print job had been fed to the printer and was sitting in the printer's cache. In that case, turning off the printer would make it all disappear. But not on a Mac. When I tried to print a subsequent text file I got a warning box that tells me the previous job hadn't finished and I could either print it now or add my new job to the queue. It doesn't give me a way to kill the previous job. And still when I look at the printer on my Mac the "delete job" option is still all grayed out.
Well, it would seem that a complete shutdown and restart of both the computer and the printer oughta do it, but no! It still wants to print that job and uselessly drain my ink pots. What to do?! How to kill?!
UPDATE: Never mind! I found it, hidden under System Preferences (why there?!).
Don Barrett has provided several pages of information and photos about the whole Tecopa area. Hmm, I think I've met him in the real 3-D world, but not at Tecopa.
You can get access to his other photos here.
Jim Dayton & Shorty Harris - Death Valley
"Bury me beside Jim Dayton in the valley we loved. Above me write: 'Here lies Shorty Harris, a single blanket jackass prospector.'" - Epitaph requested by Shorty (Frank) Harris beloved gold hunter. 1856-1934.
Here Jas. Dayton, pioneer, perished, 1898.
Also along West Side Road you'll find this grave of Frank "Shorty" Harris and James Dayton. Those who can't grasp the phrase "stemming the rose" will also not be able to read between these lines.
Naturally, these are all included in my Death Valley set on Flickr.
Constable Ron Gilbert
This news article came to my attention because of Constable Ron Gilbert of the Toronto police mounted unit. No, that's not my secret "Brokeback" side. The story is about the horse he trained, Brigadier. Brigadier had to be shot last Friday after a driver waiting in line at a drive-through "ABM" (which we hope is Canadian for "ATM" and that they don't really have drive-through anti-ballistic missiles up there) became enraged, pulled away, made a U-turn and drove directly and deliberately into the horse, breaking both of his front legs as well as injuring the Constable riding him, Kevin Bradfield. The driver left the scene, but his car was found later and he was arrested. I hope he just pleads guilty, because I can't imagine them being able to find a fair-minded jury to hear a case like this.
Death Valley Tanks
One day in Death Valley we drove up West Side Road, which is a 40-mile long dirt road that goes along the west side (who knew!) of the salt flats. The east side road is the nicely paved state highway. The first photo op along the West Side Road (coming from the south end) are these rusting tanks left from mining activities:
New Slide Films!
Just to let you all know that slide film is NOT DEAD, Fuji has released two new films: Fujichrome T64 Professional, an ASA 64 slide film for tungsten, and Fujichrome Provia 400X Professional, which replaces Provia 400F.
There no big technological leaps here, just evidence that progress continues in the film industry.
Sanfranciscotom has shared with us this SFW illustration from an early brainstorming concept session before production of Brokeback Mountain began.
February 26, 2006
"Meat" as Meat
The deer and the Mongolian goat were surprisingly similar: a little stringy, they had the appearance and feel of overcooked squid tentacles. The Xinjiang horse and the donkey, on the other hand, were quite different. Though both came sliced lengthwise, and looked like bacon, the horse was light and fatty, while the donkey had a firm colour and taste. The testicles were slightly crumbly, and tasted better with lashings of the sesame, soy and chilli dips thoughtfully provided.
Yeserday I went on the GOPS hike in the Two Tanks area of Joshua Tree National Park. This is surely one of the less popular areas of the park. There is no spectacular visual attraction right by the roadside. Nonetheless, we discovered the area to be as chockablock with beauty and history and amazing geology as the best parts of the park. After the group hike, went on over to the Ryan campground area. I've put all the photos from yesterday in one set on Flickr, to make it easier for you to view them. Here are a few highlights:
Cairn Sex Damaged
Yesterday I returned to the area in Joshua Tree National Park where earlier some of us had discovered some pretty surprising rock arrangements, including what I called cairn sex. There were some new things. Some of the things we saw there last time had disappeared (the whale, for instance). And to my great disappointment, the cairn sex scene has been partly demolished. The sucker is completely scattered, and the suckee has lost a limb, but he still has the good fortune to possess a very granitic erection:
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
February 25, 2006
Big Morongo Shut Off?
I was quite surprised this morning when I drove along Indian going toward Route 62. A chain link fence has magically appeared, stretching all the way from the curve to Route 62. That must be about 2 miles, maybe more. It completely blocks all access to the lower end of Big Morongo Canyon! This is in preparation for real estate development. There are locked gates on the roads that are there, including the road to Big Morongo, but that doesn't do us any good in getting access to the canyon...unless we've got a bolt cutter.
This is the result of the fact that the city has been dragging its bureaucratic feet in putting together a code that will define where and how developers must maintain public access to the public lands in the Little San Bernardino Hills.
February 24, 2006
I didn't want to be the last person on earth to see Brokeback Mountain which I am going to tell you, to no one's surprise, is a very good movie. No one but a corpse would walk out of the theater with dry eyes, which is why (I thought) the theater was nice enough to keep the lights down all the way through the credits. But then when the final last bit of film ran through the projector and started slapping around in the booth, I knew their automated system had simply failed.
I look forward to the DVD release so I can turn on the captions. A friend had earlier remarked to me that the combination of accent and mealy-mouth rendered some of Heath Ledger's lines totally incomprehensible, and he was quite right.
I must say that I was pretty damn surprised after all this talk of COWboys to discover that these men were shepherds. Sheep are shorter and woolier than cattle, mostly. True, later they did spend some time with a cow here and a bull there, but the story is about shepherding.
I loved that phrase "stemming the rose" delivered by Randy Quaid. It took me a few seconds to put the picture together and decided to Google it when I got home to find out the origin. It seems to be original with E. Annie Proulx. Even more interesting in my Googling, I came across people's theories on its meaning that revealed the depth of their denial. Here are a couple of samples from this page.
in regards to "stem the rose":
i was guessing that it meant "to get drunk". with rose being a reference to Old Rose Whiskey. i think that is what they were drinking in the movie.
Posted by byron james
"Stemming the Rose" is a euphemism for "struggling against love". In the movie "Brokeback Mountain", Jack and Ennis were hired to protect the sheep from wolves.... ie... to _stem_ the wolf attacks. Instead of stemming the wolf attacks, they stemmed the rose... which meant that they were battling against homosexual desires. Essentially, it was used to equate _being overtaken by same-sex-attraction_ to _being overtaken by a wolf attack_ .... and was used as a device to show that the boss saw them as being attacked by love.
Posted by Glenn G
My god people, start learning to think with your dicks, will you. The Final Jeopardy winner is Proulxfan who explains
Is there confusion about the meaning of "stem the rose"? it's a reference to homosexual sex-- "the rose" is a reference to the rose-esque appearance of the anus, while "stemming" refers to... well, giving the rose a stem, i.e. a penis. I'm not sure it's really a commonly used phrase, but I have heard it before.
Posted by proulxfan
And on that subject of stemming that rose (Yeah, baby, stem that rose! Uh-huh, that's right, stem it. Oh my rose!) who on a movie set is in charge of making the sex believable? I know, ultimate responsibility must fall to Ang Lee, the director, but is there someone like a Special Assistant Grip to Mr. Ledger, for instance? Cause, ya know, we do have Ennis (Ledger) suggesting he's a virgin - I mean a complete virgin - but that's just some guy talking. But when we get down to that very first ever stemming of that rose, well, guys, we know it only happens like that in bad porn flicks. I mean, no false moves. It was pants down, one (1) gob of spit in hand, applied appropriately, and then wham! In only ten seconds that rose is stemmed. No screaming. That would take a LOT of "practice."
One picky quibble: there were a couple of very nicely photographed close-ups that allowed our gaze to linger on Heath Ledger's left ear lobe which is pierced. I am just so sure that in all of the Hollywood makeup industry, somebody knows how to cover that.
The big problem: it piles one more movie on top of that big, big pile of movies where the queer gets it in the end, and if there's another queer who survives, he gets to live a miserably lonely life alienated from his family. Yes, yes, this one tells that very tired old story maybe better than all of the ones that come before. But is this what we want, to perfect this one single story of ultimate misery for gay people?
There has been at least one exception: Latter Days, which I hoped was the little crack that would bring about the collapse of the dam, but now we get Brokeback Mountain. And we know how Hollywood is. I predict a great rush of gay tragedy movies, probably none as good as this one.
How come in the movies, that first stemming of the rose leads to regret and tragedy? Ennis wakes with a hangover and goes up the mountain to find a dead sheep (like we didn't see that one coming). Maybe, just maybe, it's a reference to religious celebrations where a sheep is sacrificed to celebrate and thank the gods for blessings, like rose stemmings. But I don't think so. I think the dead sheep is a bad thing, and the faithful sheep dog was right there to give Ennis that look saying that if he had been faithful as well, then bad things wouldn't have happened.
Funny, first time I fucked a guy the birds never sang so well, the sky was never bluer, the air was never so sweet. The only regret was that I couldn't do it even more. So howzabout a film like that, okay?
BTW, it was a great film for surveying American pickup trucks and western men's hat styles.