Sunday, August 31, 2008

Oh, and here's a strange one that just happened to me...

Night before last, in the wee hours of the morning, I'm poring over all of these old photos. I ran across a photo from three or four years ago - of a friend and her girlfriend at a Thanksgiving dinner party. So for three or four seconds, I looked at the two or three photos and reminisced.

At about 10:00 that morning, she called me out of the blue just to check in. I hadn't spoken to her in over a year. I told her that I was just thinking of her a few hours earlier, and that she must have gotten my message.

Woo...oooh....wooo...or however the Twilight Zone music goes...

This happens to me all the time.

Once I was walking along and the thought of a woman I hadn't seen in two years popped into my head. It was a "I almost forgot about her and I wonder what she's doing" thought. I kept walking, went around a corner, and there she was sitting at an outdoor cafe/bistro table.

Another time I was in a store, and the clerk working the cash register was once a laborer for me. He and the Australian woman I considered marrying (green card thing) worked as my "labor crew". He asked about her, I told him she was back in Australia, I walked out of the store and received an email (on my cell phone) from her.

Strange, but true.

A turkey on Turkey Peak

Turkey Peak Wild TurkeyPhoto by Alex.Tango.Fuego [it's a bad scan, so my apologies for the poor quality...lots of speckles]

I'm in the process of going through five and a half years of images, selecting "the best of the best" for my photography website, which I hope to have live in two weeks or so.

This is a unique photo that I ran across. When my daughter was six or seven years old, we took a "dadder-daughter" trip to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area two hours west of Austin. She called our weekends together "dadder-daughter" time.

Anyway, this turkey, which I assume was wild, was hanging around the parking lot when we arrived for our hike. We hiked around the park for about four hours I suppose, and ultimately ascended to the top of Turkey Peak. It's a craggy pink granite promontory that is a Class 3 walkup [requiring the use of your hands to climb, but no ropes].

This immature turkey accompanied us on the entire hike, staying a few feet behind, or venturing out in front a bit. Sometimes it would take wing and fly, but it always stayed close by as we hiked along the trails. It climbed, hopped and flew to the summit of Turkey Peak right along with us, where this photograph was taken. We ate lunch on the summit, and then the turkey followed us all the way back to the parking lot.

Strange, but true.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Albuquerque aka Denver Tango Festival :: This weekend!

Albuquerque/Denver Tango Festival

That's right, they are dancing tonight (and last night) in ABQ! Tomorrow night, Sunday night. Lots of dancing - all milonguero. All my friends are there and I am working through the weekend. Even on Monday. Suckage.

Here's a tentative schedule...for those of you Googling for it online...

http://www.laeternamilonga.com/lab08_sched.html

Chicken Shortage in Addis Ababa

Chickens by Peter B. Tzannes on Flickr"Chickens" by Peter B. Tzannes on Flickr...


My sister sends news that due to regular power outages in Addis in the spring, the incubators did not keep all the eggs warm, so there is a severe chicken shortage right now. The nearest chicken farm without said shortage is 100km away, but they are bringing in chickens to sell at the market this weekend. She hopes to get there early enough before they are all sold.

I'm hungry. I think I'm going to open the ziploc bag thingy of pre-grilled chicken strips and heat it up on the stove. With some salad out of a bag, too. With Product 19 Cereal for dessert. Or maybe Eggo waffles. Yeah, that's the ticket. Grilled chicken strips, salad, and Eggos.

I think I may be sinking too deep, and too comfortably, into confirmed bachelorhood.

Hey, what can I say? I have to find some way to amuse myself at 1:00 in the morning...

You heard it here first, on Alex.Tango.Fuego!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tango En Vivo

My buddy Rigoberto [so named for anonymity] sent me the video below of La Cumparsita/D'Arienzo last night. I've seen it before, and thought that I had actually posted it in the past. I also remember posting the one of Adrian Guida. I was not able to sift through and find them, though. There was a period several months ago that I was posting stuff without tagging it. I'll have to go back and fix that. Orphans.

Anyway, there is something about live tango that stirs the soul. Something about transporting yourself back to the day when it was all live - or at least there might have been special events, like there are now, where a live orquestra was on stage.

Many people don't like to dance to a live orquestra, as the individual musicians sometimes don't mesh into one contiguous rhythym. I have had the pleasure of dancing to Extasis in Denver, and also Orquestra Color Tango at the Buenos Aires Social Club, where I developed a crush on their pianista. I'll lead off with them in the video line-up.

Thanks to Rigoberto for the subject of this post. Do a little searching on YouTube - there is an amazing amount of stuff out there. I've included some links at the bottom.

Oh, my point is that if you ever get the chance to see a live event/orquestra/duo/trio/quartet/quintet/whatever performance, or dance at one, definitely, most definitely, go for it.




Orquestra Color Tango :: Malena







Orquestra del Rey del Company y Juan D'Aienzo :: La Cumparsita

A live (TV) version of la orquestra del Rey del Compas, led by Juan D'Arienzo.
Note that this YouTube user/channel, has 837 videos of live performances of the Singers, Golden Age Tango Orquestras, Bandoneonistas, and modern day Orquestras as well. There are also interviews, film clips and TV show clips. Hugo, in NYC, has done a remarkable job collecting and cataloging a wealth of historical footage. We owe guys like this a huge debt of gratitude.

This is the one Rigoberto sent me...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUiH_HpWYSc
[Embedding disabled by user.]





Osvaldo Pugliese :: Alberto Moran :: El Abrojito







The following is one of my favorites for the passion of the singer...sheesh man, the hair is standing on end all the way up and down my neck and back just listening to this now...

Osvaldo Pugliese :: Adrian Guida :: Y No Puedo Olvidarte








Extasis Tango :: Denver Tango Festival :: Mercury Cafe
Thanks go to miles/tangobliss for the video...







Javier Ponce :: Malena







Ashes in Order :: August Hoerr :: Shane Perlowin :: Asheville, NC :: Anaphora Tango
Ashes in Order is Shane Perlowin on guitar and August Hoerr on accordion. They are based in Asheville, North Carolina. This piece, entitled Anaphora Tango, was composed by August. August is the son of tango friends here.







And no post on this subject would be complete without mention of the esteemed and exalted Mr. Glover Gill and Glover Tango (and sometimes the Tosca String Quartet). Glover is a composer, pianist and accordionist.

This first one is "Mi Otra Mitad de Naranja", composed by Glover and performed by the Tosca String Quartet. More of a nuevo piece. The video is by tangohous/Mikas.



Glover Gill :: Mi Otra Mitad de Naranja [partial]



The second one I wanted to post I couldn't find. It's Glover's piano solo of the song "Malena". He is an amazing pianist, tattoos and all. His solo of Malena is even better than Lucio Demare's. Look for Glover's CD titled "Solo Tango". It's a good one. Get it!


Happy Wednesday to all. Oh, I almost forgot about the links...here ya go...

My Favorites on my YouTube Channel "ZGman" [Disregard the non-tango stuff, especially the rooftop rough sex/porno]

HAranguiz [Hugo in NYC] - Most extensive collection...

The fuckers at YouTube are cracking down. One link I was going to leave you is "Elvio07". It appears they have suspended his channel.

ElCachafaz08 It appears this might be Elvio07's new channel.

Here's a good playlist embed from Oleh/OneTangoSpring...no live orchestra footage, but a good catalog of 23 different tango orquestras...



Keep searching on your own...there's tons of stuff out there...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Aack! Sorry, I forgot about the Las Vegas Tango Weekend.

In posting about upcoming U.S. Tango festivals, I totally forgot about a small, but intense one. I haven't actually been, but I've heard good things about it from friends who have.

Los Hermanos Macana [Enrique y Guillermo di Fazio] will be there!

It's September 18-21 - just a few weeks away, but that's one of the nice things about Vegas, you can pretty much just drop what you're doing and show up. Show up in the city that is, not the festival - you still would be wise to pre-register, although you have missed any early bird registration deadlines.

Here's the website :: http://www.lasvegastangoweekend.com/presentacion.html

It's being billed as a combination of Tango instruction simultaneously with Master Musicians - strongly focusing on musicality.

Here's the lineup ::

Hermanos Macana
Graciela Gonzales
Fernanda Ghi y Guillermo Merlo (Teachers and Organizers)

Special Guest Musicians::
Pepe y Pablo Motta (Pablo Motta Trio)
Anibal Berraute Quartet
Melanie Hutton (Singer)
Hugo Latorre

I've taken workshops before with Fernanda y Guillermo - they're great - I'm sure the entire event will be a good one. You could expect the majority of folks from Arizona, California, Vegas, Reno and other western states.

Plus, I imagine the airfares to Vegas are some of the lowest in the country right now.

When dancing a milonga can be intimate...so very intimate...

One couple, sharing a dance in an incredible open air venue [Denver's Cheesman Pavilion] built of marble in classic Greek architectural style... a lone, classically trained guitarist in one corner, with no other accompaniment...one man, one woman, [one guitarist] dancing a beautiful tango [milonga]...

And 300 people watching!!!

I've posted this before, way back in early October of last year, just after I started the blog. I really like it so I am re-posting it. Someone in Tel Aviv, Israel was looking at it tonight, last night that is, so that's what refreshed my memory. That's right, my one year anniversary is just around the corner - September 9 a year ago was my first post.

Oh, and that's Gregory "Grisha" Nisnevich, on the guitar. He's based in Denver and is a great dancer in his own right. The song is "Milonga del Ayer".

Here it is...
La Tanguera found and posted this YouTube video from the May 2007 Denver Milonguero Festival...it's the video version of my photos of their performance...



Here is the photo...click it to see more from my Flickr stream...
Julio y Corina 2

Down the road in a cloud of smoke...

Jerry Jeff Walker singing "L.A. Freeway"...I saw Jerry Jeff in concert in Lafayette, Louisiana, when I was 16 or so...he was so drunk he couldn't even play one song...I think that was the last live (large venue) concert I ever went to...I decided then and there that my money was better spent on LP's...

Monday, August 25, 2008

I wanna go home with the armadillo...

Gary P. Nunn...singing "London Homesick Blues"...he's singing about the long defunct Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas...which I have the unique privilege of having been to...once...vague and distant memories...

"~the friendliest people and the purtiest women you'll ever see~"

Sunday, August 24, 2008

On Sunday :: Graphic Starvation

You may have noticed that I keep rolling the prior post forward each Sunday. The thought came to me that I should use Sunday, and my "On Sunday" thread, to post something spiritual or humanitarian. I was raised in the Episcopal church/ideology - which is also known as Anglican Catholic, versus Roman Catholic. I drifted away from going to church in my high school years - drifted away from organized religion in general. I was married in the church (the first time), but insisted the priest strike the language that "we were sinners, and not worthy to kneel at the altar of the Lord..." - something to that effect - from the ceremony.

So, this On Sunday theme is not intended to be "preachy". It is something I am doing more for myself - to bring my spiritual and humanitarian sides to a higher level in my life - and sharing it on my blog in the process.

Back to this post, the prior post that is, "On Sunday :: A Matter of Perspectives". I think I originally posted it three weeks ago. The concept came to me to show photos, with no words, photos of space and this delicate blue marble that we live on. Just to get us to think about our place in the universe. Then it came to me to also have a photo that represented poverty and starvation. The grandeur and beauty of the universe, the magnificence and opulence of human endeavor, countered with the terrible ugliness of some life experience on this earth. I naturally went straight to flickr to do a search.

The last photo is the one that I chose, because it represented for me, in the most graphic way, the visual image of starvation. Only one person, Kendalee, commented and verbally made the connection I was trying to achieve graphically - literally, and literally. A graphic depiction of a graphic situation for one innocent child on this earth. Kendalee said that we, as humans, as a global society, "are capable of such magnificence and yet such indifference" at the same time.

Before seeing this photo, I used to believe that starvation was a necessary evil. Mother nature in her worst incarnation - controlling the human population. High birth rate - drought - not enough food - then people will starve. Now I believe that with so much money flowing around the third world, so much of it being diverted to corrupt government officials, so much food being produced, that no single individual on the planet should ever go hungry. I often wonder if foreign aid (for food or other uses) from the world powers, from the world bank, from the IMF, ever ends up back in the U.S. - buying a swimming pool or a Beemer or putting a kid through college - for someone in America with the "right" connections. Now that would be a true travesty. There is always talk of "protecting American interests". If there were a way to profit from ending starvation, perhaps things would be different. Profit. Cash. Spoils. Does it always have to be about money?

I ask that you take a closer look at the photo - the last one. Apparently, the photographer who took it was so effected by the image, the image in real life, that he took his own life. The image shows an emaciated child dying in a field, with a bird of carrion looking on. The child appears to be between the ages of 2 and 6, but it's hard to tell with starvation and malnourishment. The photo is tagged on flickr with "Sudan".

Look at the photo and ponder how this child came to be in the field. Did she (could be a little boy, but who knows...) crawl off to die on her own? Did a parent or relative place her there to die? Perhaps an aid worker, with no other option, carried her and laid her there to die. She's just laying there, too weak to even support herself upright, or roll over on her back. Perhaps she is trying shield herself from the inevitable when the bird may begin to peck at her while she is still alive and breathing. Perhaps she has seen her friends die this way, and knows what is coming. At this point, is she hours away from death? Or days?

I know it's all pretty overwhelming and graphic and painful to ponder this scene. It is for me, as I sit here with tears streaming down my face. It's too much for me to bear. It's too much for all of us to bear. I think that's why we avoid thinking about it. That's why our media shows us the latest news on Britney Spears and not starvation in Africa or elsewhere in the world.

All I know is this - no human being should ever have to endure what this child did - and thousands like her. It's morally reprehensible for this to be occurring, right now, on our planet.

I have written to my sister, who lives in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia with her family to find out a good aid program/charity to donate to. I'm going to find one or two to start donating regularly to. Right now that's all I can do for my part. I'll let you know what I find out about a charity/cause.

This is my new mantra: "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem..."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On Sunday :: A matter of perspectives

Carina Nebula by NASA

Photo by NASA


St. Peter's Basilica by Sander Beekman, on Flickr


Why is this still happening? by vlo970, on Flickr

Upcoming Tango Festivals! :: Make your plans now!

It's not too early to book airline tickets and make hotel reservations for two upcoming tango festivals in Texas.

The first is the 10th Annual Fandango de Tango in Austin over Thanksgiving. It's billed as "An Immersion in the Art of Argentine Tango". I know this is a conflict for most people - family and Thanksgiving celebrations surely over-ride a tango festival. But, if you can make it, it's a good one!

Here is the info:

Nov 26-30
Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark
6 milongas :: 90 hours of classes
Early registration deadline is October 1. [$200 deposit by Oct 1, balance by Nov 1]

"Headliners"
::
Fabian Salas
Nito y Elba Garcia
Guillermo Merlo & Fernanda Ghi
Diego di Falco y Carolina Zokalski
Pablo Pugliese y Noel Strazza
Alex Krebs y Luciana Valle

Here is the flyer.
Here is the website.
Here is the registration form.



The other one is the Houston Tango Festival January 22-25, 2009.

Here is the line-up ::

Teachers
Brigitta Winkler Berlin
Tomas Howlin BsAs/Montreal
Cecilia Gonzalez BsAs
Donato Juarez BsAs
Javier Rochwarger BsAs
w/ Monica Caivano Austin
Tova & Carlos Moreno Boston

Special Master Classes
Horacio Godoy & Cecilia Garcia BsAs

Immersion Tango Workshop for Beginners
Ector Gutierrez Baton Rouge/New Orleans

DJs
Avik Basu Ann Arbor
Jason Laughlin North Carolina
Ramu Pyreddy Philadelphia/DC
Shorey Meyers San Francisco
Vijay Namasivayam San Francisco
Yulia Kriskovets DC

Orquestra
Glovertango Austin

Yoga
Andrew Dugas Houston/Eugene, OR

I hope to see some of you there. I'll be attending both!

Harley Vista


Harley Vista
Originally uploaded by dagpeak

I want one.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Who'da thunk?

My nail bag...
Click on the photo and it will bring you to the entire "set" of photos on flickr...

I finally got the roof deck completed and dried in as of noon today. I picked up the timbers in Tennessee on June 15. I never would have thought it would have taken me this long, but, I essentially did it by myself. I had help standing the 10"x10" posts up - they weigh in at 450lbs each. Then I had help this week with the double layer of plywood decking and getting the felt (tar paper) on the roof. Otherwise, it was just me. About 500 manhours of labor.

I figured out that the 4x4 rafters had between 16 (for commons) and 24 (for jacks) separate/individual "actions" done to them. Just lots and lots of tedious and painstaking work. Plus, there is a high degree of perfection in the joinery. Due to the natural (slight) twist in the ridge and hip rafter structural members, each common and jack rafter was scribed to fit perfectly. Only one or two fit on the first try.

Anyway, I will start laying stone on Monday, and will squeeze the roof shingles into the next week somehow. Maybe I will work at night, in the dark.

I'm beat. I think I'm going to sleep all weekend. It's supposed to rain.

Houston, we are a go for lift-off :: T-minus 30 days and counting...

I'm making it official.

Some of you already know this. Some of you may have figured it out from inadvertent hints and inferences. Some people never knew I left Aspen back in January. Some people thought I was already living in Austin. I haven't exactly been forthcoming that I am living and working in Georgia right now. But at the same time, I haven't exactly hidden the fact either. I have after all, been doing all my dancing in Atlanta. Oops! I never write about my dancing, now do I? A tango blogger who doesn't write about his dancing!? WTF!?

Anyway...so I left Aspen in a howling blizzard in early January and moved to Georgia via Moab, the Navajo reservation, Phoenix, El Paso del Norte and Austin. Actually, I left Aspen in October, spent the month of November in Austin goofing off, then went back to Aspen for the month of December to conclude my affairs there and pack up the last of the stuff in my office/hovel/hole-in-the-ground I had called home for the prior six months or so.

So I've been here in Georgia since mid-January. At first, it was to be a permanent relocation for me, but things didn't work out that way. My brother moved to Florida and my mom is now more or less alone in Austin. So, me being the "good son", I will be moving back there as soon as I finish this project - which I named "The Last Tango in Georgia".

So named because it is my intent to never, ever, again build a project of any kind for any client. So named because I chose to do the vast majority of the heavy labor, and the skilled labor, myself, which is very nearly going to be the death of me. But at the same time, I like it. I like the splinters and the cuts and the sore muscles and the sunburn. I like the sawdust and sand everywhere, including my bed. I like seeing something rise out of the ground and take shape as the result of my mind, and my hand. Design-Build. Design. Build. It takes on a new meaning when you do it all by yourself. With day-labor help at times.

The future? I will consult, sure. I will build for myself, certainly. But I have been in this business for 30 years and I am done with it. No mas. Finito. Onward and upward.

The loggia roof is about three hours away from being completed as of today. Then I have to install the shingles (awaiting decision from client...what's new?). I'm starting on the stonework on Monday. Thirty days should be plenty of time to finish.

Plus, I'm now incentivized by my 30 year high school reunion which will be held on the 27th of September in Lafayette, Louisiana. Being that this is on the way back to Austin, it's perfect timing. Somehow, until about a day ago, I completely, utterly, spaced that this year is the big three-oh. My friend Saundra found me through the blog and left a comment. I hadn't updated my new email with the guy who keeps tabs on us all. I've been re-connecting with long-lost friends the past few days and I'm really looking forward to this reunion. Somehow everything seems to be falling into place with cosmic perfect timing.

Austin will be good for me. Most of my family is there. It's been "home" to me throughout the years, and even though I haven't lived there much, I know the city well. It's where I belong. I'm going home.

I will miss my new friends here in Jaw-uh-juh. Especially Mrs. Robinson. She has been a good friend to me.

Tabula Rasa. Once again. That's a thread I never finished, or never really even started. You get your "clock cleaned" in life a few times in a row and maybe it makes you finally sit up and take notice. Maybe it makes you a new man. Maybe it makes you a better man. Maybe it makes you an idiot.

So, T-minus 30 days and counting...mas o menos.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sweetwater, Texas :: Ground Zero for Wind Farming

Granted, there are wind farms in many other places besides Sweetwater, Texas and I will admit that "ground zero" may not be the best choice of words. This is a short video (3-4 minutes) produced by T. Boone Pickens & The Pickens Plan focusing on wind farming in the town of Sweetwater.

I thought it might be nice for people to see what a wind farm actually looks like, for those that haven't had the benefit of being up close and walking beneath the gigantic towers.



"It can be done, and it will be done, because it has to be done." T. Boone Pickens

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's a sad day...

Fukitol


I just canceled my reservation for the Denver Labor Tango Festival in Albuquerque. I was hoping to be finished with "the project" by now, but it ain't meant to be.

Maybe next year...Memorial Day...

Damn!

I need to take some Fukitol I guess...

WARNING :: Video of Graphic Child Abuse

This is a video of physical and emotional child abuse of the most heinous and egregious variety - making children dance ballroom tango...my buddy Rigoberto sent this to me...credit to him for finding it...he is a man of honor...always looking out for injustice in the tango world...



P.S. This is a joke. They are actually kinda cute.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cost of a house in 1924 :: $4,470

Cisco, Utah

Okay, they added a heating system in 1929 for $225 - make it $4,695. I ran across this doing a search for cedar shingles.

I remember our house in Lafayette, Louisiana that my parents bought in 1974 for roughly $45,000. It was a three bedroom, two bath, "ranch" style (one story) with a carport. It was in a "nice" neighborhood, on one acre with huge oak trees. Oh, and it was on a small lake. I would paddle my canoe around it after school - kinda like Walden Pond. It had a huge deck in the back yard, a small workshop that I built like a little Acadian style cottage, and we ended up enclosing the carport to make an art studio for my mom to paint in. Middle class geologist level. My mom sold it in 1983 or 1984 after my dad died for $150,000.

I just did a little looking - out of curiosity - at current real estate prices in Lafayette. I found a similar sized/aged/designed house pretty close to my old neighborhood. It's listed at $295,000. Brand spanking new homes are in the $400,000 to $500,000 range.

Remember when you could buy a raw lot for $10,000? Then it was $20,000, then $50,000, then $100,000 and $150,000. One hundred and fifty grand just for a freaking bare lot. I know this will depend a great deal on where you are geographically. Hell, a "lot" in Aspen can run you $8,000,000. I call it a lot, but it's really a tear down. That means there's a perfectly good, livable house on it that someone is going to tear down to build a McMansion. McMansion really doesn't convey the proper image. 15,000 square feet at $800 per square foot construction cost (and I'm being modest/frugal here) - that's $12 million plus the "lot" at $8mil equals $20,000,000. That doesn't include architecture, structural engineering, civil engineering, MEP (mech/elec/plumbing) design, interior design, lighting design, landscape design, furniture, art, you get my drift. Add $2mil for design and the sky is the limit for furniture/furnishings/art. I dunno, budget $5mil for that. Just call it $30 mil with some quick and dirty ciphering. $30mil trophy house. I had a client once who spend $6mil on a house for the wife. He had spent $6mil on a sail boat the prior year, so she was getting her house that year. Trophies. Ornaments. Trinkets. Fixed Asset Jewelry.

Or, you could have bought Peter Guber's Mandalay Ranch a few years ago for $47 mil. 650 acres. Nice spread. 10 minutes from the core of Aspen. Milky Way Galaxy stretching out across the night sky. (bet they didn't have that in the sales brochure...) Wild elk migration route. Which reminds me of a cold blustery morning with the dark sky spitting ice at me. I stopped on Owl Creek Road on my way to work to help out some elk calves. They had gotten trapped on the other side of the fence after their mommas hopped the fence. I pulled some of the fence rails in a couple of places so they could cross the road.

Anyway, beaucoup dollars. Mucho dinero. Conspicuous consumption. Trophy living. Keeping the trophy wife happy. Whatever you want to call it. What does it mean in the U.S. today when a piece of shit, barely livable house costs $200,000 or $1,000,000? (Again, depending on your market...).

I would be happy with a patch of exposed limestone rock with a bunch of scrub cedar somewhere out west of Austin in the hill country. $10k for one acre - owner financed. Off the grid somehow. I would at least need a window unit blowing on my head/bed at night, and a refrigerator. I could build a nice little bachelor haven for $20 or $30k. Nothing big, nothing fancy. Finely handcrafted with loving care.

With a wood floor of course. Walnut. Dark and rich and smooth. Smooth like a woman's...like a woman's...er, skin...

I think I'll call it "La Ermita del Tango".

No, on second thought, I'll go with "El Rancho Deluxe". I always liked that movie.

8 ctf


8 ctf
Originally uploaded by leone.

nice one....from Leone....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

On Nuevo :: A visual quiz

The debate about nuevo tango goes on. Most call it a "style". I always thought tango "style" was more of an individual thing, not a type or form of the dance. I always thought about it like this, that over time, I would eventually find, or develop my own "style" when I dance tango. Or that it would somehow, miraculously, spring forth out of my "cellular essence" over time. (I just made that up...) Not that I would be "dancing" a particular style, but that my dance would have its own individual style. My own unique quality and character of movement - no matter what 'form' of tango I might be dancing at the moment.

I think of nuevo more as a "form" of tango than an individual style. Milonguero/more close embrace, salon/more open embrace, show/stage/fantasia, nuevo, swango, texas/two-step tango (which I have yet to invent), tango con salsa, tango parody/humor...what am I missing? I don't know if 'form' or 'style' or 'type' is the proper word I am looking for.

I'm even up on wiki looking at the Linnaean Taxonomic structure. (you remember it from biology class - kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species) There's even some new ones - superkingdom, and "tribe", which I like. It's kinda like "Which church do you go to?" that you get alot in the South. "Hi, my name's George, I live next door and I saw that you just moved in. Welcome to the neighborhood! Which church do you go to?" Talk about a non-sequitur.

Anyway, I like "tribe". I think we should all adopt/be in our respective/different "tango tribes". Nah, never mind, then you have to have a chief, or a high priestess, and a medicine man, and the guy who cleans the latrine, and all kinds of skanky dogs hanging around...not that I don't like dogs, just not the skanky tribal variety...but I digress...

I know this is not the direction we want to go in, further classifying and categorizing and identifying and defining and debating and ultimately dividing. I am definitely a proponent of the "one tango" philosophy. Just don't be doing your "one tango" if it is in direct and immediate conflict with my "one tango". (Big grin...)

But, (and there always is a but...{I love to be repetitive and always say this...it's my "style"...})...back to wiki...there are a couple of interesting things I discovered...

Taxonomy...identification/categorization/classification...is a human thing...we humans like to do that kinda shit...it is innate..."some have argued that the human mind naturally organizes its knowledge of the world into such systems..."

And the other one is..."Anthropologists have observed that taxonomies are generally embedded in local cultural and social systems, and serve various social functions. Perhaps the most well-known and influential study of folk taxonomies is Émile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

So what we have here is a failure to communicate...no, I just wanted to say that...in a really twang-y tone of voice...

So, what we have here is an innate, embedded, socio-cultural folk auto-taxonomy going on. We can't help it. We're all just trying to figure out this mystery called "el tango" and where we all fit in its scheme of thangs...no, not "we"...it's our brains that are doing it all by themselves...boy howdy that's an effing concept...that there's this whole subculture of subconscious human brains all doing their thing together without our direct knowledge or participation...I think I'm having a Matrix moment...I'm gonna have to go ponder that one some more....sheesh, that's deep....

Whatever...I'm kinda just blowing smoke here...but it's kinda making a little sense...?

Because I am a man...no, a male...and males are visual creatures...and it makes better sense to "see" something sometimes...with your visual cortex...here is the visual quiz...and of course, the ladies are very welcome to take the quiz, too...

(sidenote...I am in awe of the females of our species..they use not only their visual cortex, but their intellect, their heart, their soul, their divine feminine intuition...whereas we males are under the influence of our visual cortex and the resulting squirt of some neural peptide juices, deep down, "somewhere", and that's about it...I'm over-simplifying and over-generalizing for effect of maximizing the scope of the compliment to the ladies out there...we're not all neanderthals out there...but you get my drift...)




MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION:: WHICH ONE OF THESE IS "TANGO NUEVO"?

(College level, so that's why there's six possible answers instead of three like high school, to make it more challenging...)

Please leave your answer in the comments section. Bonus points for being obtuse.



NUMERO UNO ::





NUMERO DOS ::





NUMERO TRES ::





NUMBER FOUR ::





NUMERO CINCO ::





NUMERO SEIS ::





BONUS ESSAY QUESTION ::

DOES NUEVO TANGO REALLY EXIST, OR IS IT A FIGMENT OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS HUMAN IMAGINATION?

Are we not tired, so very tired, of reading this?

From a BBC article on whether Carlos Gardel was born in Argentina, or Uruguay.

"Shady past :: Tango was born at the end of the 19th Century in the brothels and bars of Buenos Aires when men, in simulated knife fights, danced with other men. "

If I really, really want to read tons into this, and let my imagination run wild, the brothels and bars were of the turn of the century gay variety, where men hung out with men, simulating knife fights, and then continuing to simulate a knife fight, while spontaneously erupting into an intimate tango together...

I have more to say on this subject (this brothel born history of tango)...later...

Friday, August 15, 2008

On the importance of the DJ :: In conclusion...

This was a comment that I left on the original (Part 1) post. It was so long, my afterthought is that it should have been a separate post...so here it is...

Thanks everyone for some great commentary!

Here are my final thoughts - especially based on Steve's latest post - and it goes to the more esoteric/abstract end of the subject.

Thought 1 ::
As observed by Steve, poor music selections/mixes can have a negative influence floorcraft and navigation.

Thought 2 ::
Poor music selections/mixes can have a negative influence on musicality, connection and emotion - and ultimately the overall dance/milonga "experience".

Thought 3 ::
Poor music selections/mixes can have a negative influence on the inexperienced or uninitiated tango dancer's music/al "taste", "knowledge", and "understanding" of said tango music.

Thought 4 ::
Based on the aforementioned three "thoughts", "pervasive" poor music selections/mixes can have a negative influence on the tango community as a whole, in the areas of connection, emotion, musicality, and floorcraft/navigation.

Conclusion ::
Ergo, in my view, the importance of the DJ is very high indeed, even if we may not consciously be aware of this factor in deciding to attend a milonga or not. It is only after we arrive at a milonga, and in general for the more experienced dancers, and to a higher degree for those who have been to Buenos Aires (per Steve's observation), that we are able to determine that the DJ may be sub-par, or at least playing sub-par music. A fact which may be imperceptible to less experienced dancers.

It's kinda like really good architecture/design/urban planning. Some buildings/rooms/spaces/neighborhoods/cities just "feel" good. They feel good and cool and right the moment you walk into them. It's an energy thing. You don't know why. You can't determine why or what it is about the place that makes it that way, even if you try.

And so it is with the tango DJ. If they are astute and doing a good job, the only thing anyone notices is lots of good connections/emotions, good dances and a great night at the milonga - they forget the DJ is even there.

Anyway, this is what I was thinking - and everyone knows I think too much.

Sorry for the long comment, it should have been a post, which I suppose I will do now...again, thanks for all the commentary, and all the reading if you made it this far!!!...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the importance of the DJ...Part II

Here is the link to Part I, where I am also posting this as a comment for convenience...

Here are follow-up posts from Yura and Steve on the YahooGroupsTangoDJ forum...

From Yura, replying to Tom's post ::

Tom,

I agree that DJ holds the energy on a milonga, and his/her role to manage energy and mood is important. But there are two points of view: point of view of a DJ and point of view of a dancers. Try to ask dancers at different milongas why they coming here. And count how often they will name the DJ... :) It seems to me that to many dancers (I think, most of a dancers) DJ is as jukebox -- and nothing more.

As Christopher wrote, there are different types of dancers with different priorities (I completely agree with all he wrote). The purpose of my post was to stress this: to dancers (not to all) DJ is not the most important factor for milonga. Most of the dancers, whom I interviewed, identified following important factors: location, place, time, other dancers (familiar). Very few people named DJ in the list.

It was very interesting result for me that I wanted to share and discuss with forum. Many thanks to all who shared the thoughts on the subject.

Yura



From Steve ::

I think place, time and other dancers matter a lot to most dancers, but the answers Yura received makes me wonder how much the quality varies across the djs in the community (Moscow?) that was polled. It also makes me wonder about the quality of the dancing.

There is a phenomenon where the dj can have a big impact on the quality of the dancing, but the dancers don't consciously realize the effect the dj is having. I've been to milongas where the djs stray too far away from music with a solid dance beat. The dancers don't dance very well with each other because the music isn't helping them with the connection. The navigation suffers because the lack of a solid dance beat has too many people disconnected from the music and moving at somewhat different times from each other.

What do the dancers think? They think they or their partners and most are having a bad night and that everyone is being rude about navigation. They don't necessarily associate the difficulties with the dj.

When I dj, I always watch to see how well the dancers are connected to the rhythm of the music and make adjustments to what I play.

In general, I've found it is the dancers who have been to Buenos Aires that are the most conscious and have the strongest opinions about the music that is played.

With best regards,
Steve

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dreaming Redux

My project was rained out this morning so I was sleeping in. Have you ever woken up from a dream, a dream that was so good, that you wanted to go back to sleep and have it continue?

Well, I was able to do that this morning, three times. I slept in until about 10:00 am but woke up briefly three times from about 6:00 am until I finally woke up for good. Each time, I was able to continue the dream more or less where it left off. Hell, I don't know, maybe I was dreaming that I woke up, but I do remember the fuzzy haze of hearing the raindrops falling outside.

I don't know much about the dream state of the human mind, but I recall that dreams don't actually last as long as they seem in real time, that they are just a few fleeting seconds in time, if that. But after waking, I sure felt like I was dreaming for three or four hours. And the time span within the dream was also three or four hours.

I'm also feeling a mild "afterglow" from this particular dream. I won't go into the details, let's just suffice it to say that there were women in the dream.

I love sweet dreams.

Everybody knows this right? :: Why some tango music is scratchy...

P1000155_PS2_Crop_Sm
Photo by Alex

So now I've got tango music and DJ'ing on my brain again. I should do a photoshoot "This is your brain....This is your brain on Tango...". Remember the old public service announcement showing the egg and then the egg in a frying pan? "This is your brain...This is your brain on drugs...". Damn! I hate how I can digress from a post in just the second sentence.

This is actually a post I've been thinking of for a while. I'm surprised that I can still remember it. There are so many things about tango that we all assume everyone knows. On the subject of scratchy recordings, I've heard (and read things about) people saying they "don't like" the old scratchy tango music.

Granted, listening to a live tango orchestra in the Golden Age [roughly 1935 to 1945] was about as high fidelity as you could get. Recording technology in that day was "mono", not "stereo", which did not become prevalent in commercial recording until the 1960's. So, to start with, the original master recordings were not exactly "hi-fi". All of the musicians and the singer were facing a large "horn". All the highs and lows and mid-ranges and musical details laid down on one, single track. The discs pressed from the master showed an immediate decrease in fidelity and quality. The vinyl records got scratched and worn with use.

There were two primary recording companies working with the tango orchestras - Odeon and RCA/Victor. In the 1960's an RCA warehouse manager, in order to make more room for a new venture, destroyed most or all of their original master recordings. So today, many recordings (CD's) do not come from a master, but from vinyl records [many from private collectors], and from recordings of recordings, most of which result in scratches, pops, clicks and of course, lower fidelity.

Some of the current recording companies do their own, sometimes poor quality, "restoration". Some of the recordings have even been sped up, and/or the pitch changed. The resulting "restorations" can sound muddy or tinny. Some individuals are also doing high quality restoration. Keith Elshaw at totango.net is a restorer and authority on tango music and recording. There is a great wealth of information on his website. You should check it out.

Finally, I'll get to the gist/crux of this post. There is a reason some of the music sounds scratchy and old. That reason is part of the history and culture of tango. Yes, if all of the music played was like this, it could get on your nerves after a while. Some DJ's avoid the older/poorer recordings. I never have. I have always enjoyed dancing to the few/several old funky recordings that I have, so I play them at the milongas/practicas I have DJ'd.

When those start to play, I envision an old couple in Buenos Aires, at home, putting that old scratchy disc on the turntable, and dancing a few tangos together before bedtime, remembering the old days.

When a clearer, higher quality recording of an orchestral/romantic tango plays [like DiSarli's Verdemar] I envision myself dancing during the Golden Age, in a lavish, architecturally beautiful ballroom, to a live orchestra, with the particular beautiful woman I hold in my embrace. I transport myself, I transport the two of us, to that time, that song, that orchestra, that dance floor.

All of this makes me wonder. I wonder if some DJ's avoid some of the richer recordings, with more character. I wonder if this "conditions" dancers, conditions entire tango communities to more bland recordings. More bland versions by more bland orchestras. Sometimes I will hear a particular version of a song [by a certain orchestra] playing, and wonder, "why is he playing this version? it's the worst one!..."

I would much rather dance to a richer, more full-of-character, more romantic, "scratchy" tango/vals than some clean, bland, piece of shit.

And that, my friends, is an understatement.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What I do is not who I am :: Part I

I wrote this back on May 17 as part of my "I am" thread. The thread was intended to be a journey of self-exploration and self-analysis for me. I intended to lay out some really deep, very personal "stuff". Because, you see, what I have been "doing" in my life for the past 30 years has really not been working. I'm in a strange place in my life right now. I find myself on a strange and unfamiliar path. A path that I chose with open eyes, open arms, open mind and open heart, but a path that I did not want. How's that for irony? A path that I looked down, and out of curiosity or some masochistic emotional need, or some lesson to be learned, I chose to walk this path.

But here I am. Now. No regrets. Really, no regrets. I was all by my doing and conscious choice. I am who I am today because of that path. I just want to understand. I need to understand.

For whatever reason, I hid this post as a 'draft'. I'm not sure when exactly I hid it, or why. I have a tendency to do that. I write stuff and never publish it. I also write 'em and post 'em and then pull 'em - sometimes. Perhaps that is as it should be.

Anyway, here it is...


I don't remember if I read this somewhere, or if I came up with these words myself. "What I do is not who I am." It was an epiphany of the highest order for me. So simple, yet so remote was the understanding. Distant. Shrouded by fog. Clear and muted at the same time.

I remember writing the words on a yellow legal pad. I can't remember now exactly when it was. Six years ago in Aspen? Was it ten years ago? Quite possibly it was as long as thirteen years ago - in Dallas. Thirteen long years. Gone in a blink.

I very distinctly remember coming to the realization that I had become my job. My job was me. My entire identity - "who" I was, was "what" I did. What I did for a living. What I did for dollars. I was a workaholic of the worst variety. I would go into the office at 5:30 in the morning and not leave until 6:30 or 7:30. My logic at the time was that I wanted to miss the horrible rush hour traffic of Dallas. Go in early before it started, leave the office late, after it had subsided.

I remember drinking cold, stale coffee at 4:00 or 5:00 pm. The dregs of the pot.

I was a sick fuck.

There were times, under the heavy burden of single-handedly running a new division of the company, that I would stay even later - until 11pm or 1am. Sometimes, I would just get a room at the hotel next to the office and not even go home.

It was also, unfortunately, my escape from an unhappy marriage. One that was doomed from the very beginning to fail. But that is another story. For another time.

The saddest part of all, is that my daughter remembers me never being home. Now that, I regret.

On the importance of the DJ...

From the Yahoo Group "TangoDJ"...a thread that just popped up...

The first post from Yura ::

Posted by: "Yura"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:13 pm (PDT)
Hi all,

I think that the imporantce of the DJ and her/his contribution to a milonga often highly exaggerated - and not least by the DJs themselves. The DJ would like to believe that people come to the milonga because they like the music which she or he plays, but this is not true. Rather, this is not completely true. People come to a particular milonga, because they like the room, the location is convenient for them to get to, they can eat well there, because the floor here is just slippery enough, and because a lot of good dancers come there. Nobody goes to a particular milonga only because this is the place where a particular DJ plays the music. Choosing between a milonga in a convenient location, with a long bar, good floor, moderate prices, and mediocre DJ, versus a milonga held in a place not entirely comfortable, attractive, or convenient, but with a very good DJ, I bet that all other things being equal, most people will choose the first milonga.

Various factors contribute to this choice, but there is one lesson from this is that among all the factors influencing the dancers' choice of a milonga, the DJ is far from being in first place. And I belive the DJ should remember this.

Many thanks to Kirill for his help in translation.

Yura




Reply posted by Andy ::

Posted by: "Andy"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:02 pm (PDT)

hi Yura,

I'm afraid you compare apples and oranges. The point is not to choose
between a good DJ and a bad floor or vice versa, but between 2 DJs at
otherwise similar circumstances.

It also depends how you define mediocre. The main border line is not
mediocre but "acceptable" and this is a individual choice. I don't' know
the name of all good DJ I had ever the pleasure to enjoy, but I
certainly remember the ones that I never want to hear again, doesn't
matter how gorgeous the place, the attendance, etc. are!

Actually the choice between two milongas running at the same time is a
sum of all criteria, like every choice in life. There are "knock out"
criteria and acceptable criteria. The choice is made by the weighted sum
of the criteria after excluding the knock out candidates. One doesn't
have to know anything about decision making theory, it happens
unconsciously. For me the long bar and the prices are absolutely
irrelevant, the floor a little bit, what counts is if one or better
three of my favourite dancers are there and a maximum one or two, better
zero kamikaze dancers attending ;-).

Andy





Reply from Tom ::

Posted by: "Tom"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:34 pm (PDT)

Sorry, I couldn't disagree more. Well, it isn't about the music, it is
about the emotions evoked by the music.

The DJ manages the energy of the dance and creates the psychological
experience for the attendees. A good DJ can make things work out okay,
a bad DJ can suck the life out of the party, and a great DJ? A great
DJ can create an extraordinary experience. It is an art, not an
analytical understanding.

The DJ is like the master of ceremonies, or in a new-age sense, the
ritual master, the keeper of the drum-circle, if you want to go new-
agey. Once you have experienced a milonga that takes you beyond
yourself, then maybe you understand. If you haven't, well many things
can get in the way: inexperience, bad mood, lack of "good" dancers,
missing your favorite dancers, non-musical crowd, a crowd that just
doesn't feel the music.

You are right that it works better when all the practical things are
in place, but a good DJ creates the psychological experience. This is
what the great DJs from the electro/trance-scene or even the disco-
scene have taught us.





Reply from Jake ::

Posted by: "Jake"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:41 pm (PDT)

Yuri Alekseev wrote:
> Choosing between a
> milonga in a convenient location, with a long bar, good floor,
> moderate prices, and mediocre DJ, versus a milonga held in a place
> not entirely comfortable, attractive, or convenient, but with a very
> good DJ, I bet that all other things being equal, most people will
> choose the first milonga.
>

"... all other things being equal"? We might as well propose that both
milongas are taking place in the middle of a power outage, and vote in
favor of whichever DJ can whistle.

"Most people" would, I imagine, have a better experience at /both/
milongas if no element was unnecessarily compromised but instead raised
to its optimum. Put the strong DJ in the strong venue: it's not very
complicated. Why follow a recipe for mediocrity, when there's an easy
chance for excellence?

I.e., there is no convincing reason to retain a mediocre DJ when you
could have an excellent one (or two), all other things /actually/ being
equal. Ego is in fact the only thing (to my knowledge; I omit the
possibility of malice) that could prompt one to decide otherwise.

Jake





And finally, a very lucid analogy from Plademan ::


Posted by: "plademan"
Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:27 pm (PDT)

Thank you Tom for your perspective.

I hope this analogy can provide a parallel perspective.

A good dancer dances steps, rhythms and melodies of the music.
A great dancer dances the emotions of the music.

A good DJ manages the energy and plays balanced tandas.
A great DJ plays emotionally connected tandas that pulls the dancers heart strings.





For me, it is always about the music, which always comes down to the DJ. I would dance on a street corner in the rain, hungry, thirsty, cold and tired if the music (DJ) were good/great. I have left many a milonga two to three hours before it ended because the music being played was crap.

The first poster, Yura, (whom I do not know) represents a great number of tango dancers who I believe don't "get" that tango is about the music first, the connection second, and everything else is not even a consideration.

Well, almost...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Amazing New Technology :: Hybrid Solar/Wind Clothes Dryer

Clothesline in the wind

These are the types of lifestyle changes that we must all start to make. Are you willing to give up your dryer and put up a clothesline in your back yard? Will the ubiquitous clothesline of days gone by become the cool/new/green highly coveted "technology"?

Look honey! The Jones' have one of those new hybrid solar/wind clothes dryers. Can we get one, too? Can we? Can we? Oh please please purty please?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I'm sorry?

Dating Ads

This shit chaps my ass..."not" online dating? Then what the fuck is it? If you meet someone through a website, even when/if you eventually meet them in person, then it IS, MOST DEFINITELY, on line fucking dating. Dating, that is, not fucking. I meant to say "fucking dating", not "dating and fucking". What are these assholes thinking? It's probably some dickweed 19 year old geek/putz who started an internet dating website with daddy's money. Now he's making $8 million a year. Okay, maybe not $8 million a year, probably more like $50k a month.

And then the other one..."over 40 and still single?" Inferred: "what's your fucking problem, dude?" "Click here and see if you can find a 20 year old nymphette (like one pictured) who will date you...but let's see your money first..."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Smart folks in Clayton County Georgia

I've been digging around for some time on this. It's an NPR piece on an innovative way to treat wastewater by using a system of wetlands. I'm sure there may be other small towns, municipalities and other government entities that may be using this "technology". Although it's not really technology, just some common sense, some engineering, and some earth moving. I bid on a few of these plants many years ago when I was in the water/wastewater treatment business - as a general contractor - but I never actually built one.

Note that the caption on one of the photos is incorrect. It says they started building the wetlands back in 2000, when in actuality, it was back in the 1980's. They had that much foresight that long ago to realize that water scarcity was going to be an issue. They had the vision and the determination to 'do the right thing' and 'do the thing right'.

Plus, not only is it good for water, and good for the environment, but it's good government because they are saving money (tax dollars and lower water bills) by doing it this way.

Kudos to those folks!

Anyway, here's the link - it's titled "Georgia Wetlands Offer Cure for Drought", by Kathy Lohr

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90043021

Check it out.

P.S.

I hope everyone realizes that when you flush your toilet (and shower and sink "grey" water), it goes through a piping system to the treatment plant (or reclamation facility as they are calling them now) where it is treated (many nasty nasty stages/processes), then chlorinated, dechlorinated (although now the technology is UV irradiation and/or ozonation systems), and then it runs into the nearest river or stream as "effluent". You can't drink it at that point. And I wouldn't be doing any fishing for many miles downstream.

I hope everyone also realizes that we draw our municipal/drinking water from the same rivers, or a lake, or a reservoir. The drinking water is filtered through multiple sand beds, ozonated and/or UV'd and then chlorinated and flouridated for your drinking and bathing pleasure.

They are smart enough to build the water treatment intake structures UPSTREAM from the poo-poo plant effluent.

But still. You wouldn't believe what's in our water. More on this later.

Greensburg Greentown

I remember hearing about this on NPR. I'm going through my 1-800 voice mail (which I call and leave messages to myself about stuff) looking for something else and I ran across this.

Greensburg GreenTown is a nonprofit organization established to provide the residents of Greensburg, Kansas with the resources, information and support they need to rebuild Greensburg as a model green community following the May 2007 tornado.

Great for Links and Resources - and to read about an entire town that is actually doing what most people are just paying lip service to.

http://www.greensburggreentown.org/

The Future is Drying Up :: On Water

Twin Lakes
Twin Lakes, Colorado :: Photo by Alex


Cindy left a link in a comment to this article in the New York Times.

I haven't read the entire article yet, it's a long one. It appears to be focused on the Southwest and the West and the Colorado River. I have been painfully aware of water resource issues for many years. Water and water rights were in the news almost daily when I lived in Aspen, where all the water is headed downstream a short distance to the Colorado.



THE FRYING PAN-ARKANSAS PROJECT ::

Up in the mountains above Aspen, much of the water (mostly from snowmelt) is diverted over the mountains and through the woods to the Front Range of southeastern Colorado - Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The Frying Pan-Arkansas (the Frying Pan River is just over the ridge from Aspen, and is a Gold Medal fly fishing stream - it runs through Basalt - the Arkansas River is just over the continental divide east of Aspen) Project involves 26 miles of tunnels and 281 miles of conduit and siphons. Reservoirs include Ruedi (on the Frying Pan), Twin Lakes, Turquoise Lake, and Pueblo.

It also involves seventeen "diversion dams" or structures, on the rivers around Aspen. These structures basically suck, or divert water from the river into conduits (pipes), flumes or canals, which are all then fed to the storage reservoirs.

Needless to say it's a huge project, and includes two hydroelectric power plants - Otero and Twin Lakes/Mt. Elbert which is rated at 200 MegaWatts.

Note that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is the developing/managing entity when it comes to fresh water resources.

Here's a Wikipedia link.



COLORADO-BIG THOMPSON PROJECT ::


This diversion project takes water from the headwaters of the Colorado and Big Thompson Rivers and diverts it to the northern Front Range cities of Denver, Ft. Collins, Boulder, etc.



THE ANIMAS-LA PLATA PROJECT ::

Down in southwestern Colorado (near Durango) on the Animas River is the Animas-La Plata Project. I spent my summers in high school backpacking and mountain climbing in the Weminuche Wilderness - the Needles and the Grenadiers Ranges. We would get there by taking the narrow gauge railroad along the Animas River.

This one has been controversial, and is still under construction. The reservoir is slated to be filled in 2009. Water supplies will largely go to the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners area.



These are huge projects that redistribute surface water, largely from snowmelt for municipal use (your tap water, watering your yard and your golf course, and washing your car) and agricultural (irrigation) uses. This is just the state of Colorado. All of the other Rocky Mountain states have similar projects to capture the snowmelt and send it downstream, and not let it just seep into the ground.

One thing that comes to mind, the Roaring Fork River (in Aspen) dries to almost a trickle in August and September each year.

The rivers where this water goes are the Platte (Nebraska) and the Arkansas (Kansas) to the east, the Rio Grande to the south (New Mexico, Texas and Mexico), and the Colorado to the west (Utah, Nevada, California). The Colorado, again, is the focus of the NYT article.

Water resource issues are not limited to the westerns states alone. Remember the drought in Georgia being in the news this year, and the fear that Atlanta would completely run out of fresh water supplies?

There are issues with overdrafting of major aquifers - the Floridan aquifer, the Edwards aquifer (Texas and my post on "The Unforeseen"), and the Oglalla aquifer, "one of the world's largest", which stretches north-south from the west Texas plains to South Dakota.

Overdrafting of the aquifer beneath Palm Springs, California is causing ground subsidence. There are roughly 120 golf courses in the Palm Springs area. I'm not sure, but I think there is a tie between the aquifer beneath Palm Springs and the Colorado River.

What's the point of all this? The point of this post, besides being "educational"? It's that water, like oil, is a fixed and finite resource. There is not more water that's going to miraculously appear from somewhere - unless it's in the form of higher sea levels as the polar ice caps melt due to global warming - if you believe the worst case scenario of that theory.

It may manifest itself in that the American dream of the irrigated, green, lush lawn (with the white picket fence) may go by the wayside. Washing the car in the driveway. Taking a shower every day or even twice a day. American luxuries based on the affluenza mindset. How would you feel about buying a brand new house that didn't have any grass? Where's the dog going to take his morning dump?

Too many people, too much development/sprawl, not enough water to go around. Another delicate resource we take for granted. Turn on the tap and it's there. Right?

Don't even get me started on water "quality" issues. I used to build water and wastewater treatment plants. I wouldn't want to scare you.

RESOURCES ::

Here's a link to a household water budget worksheet.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

FBI: Hospital used homeless as 'human pawns'

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26061635/

If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

These are your dollars. This is your money. Tax dollars (okay, FICA withholding) that should be going to something useful.

The citizens and taxpayers of the United States are being Enroned and ripped off by our own government.

The Federal Deficit is growing by $1,000,000 per minute. One fucking million dollars per fucking minute.

They are stealing our money and our future, and our children's future.

Sonsabitches. They should have their skin peeled slowly in a public square and be left for the flies.

Madre Flor

Madre Flor

This is a flower that someone gave my Mom on her birthday back in January. I casually whip out my superduper new Nikon macro lens to show my uncle how cool it is. This is the best resulting shot. Abstract to say the least.

I'm entering it in a photo contest "CloseUp 08" sponsored by ASMP, the American Society of Media Photographers. I'm a member, and it's free for members to enter one image, so I figure what the hell.

I was just thinking last night that I really need to start working on my "self promotion" skills when it comes to my photography. It's a weakness that will kill me if I don't start correcting it now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

1st International Conference on Tango Therapy

A PRI (Public Radio International) "The World" feature on the 1st International Conference on Tango Therapy.

Psychologists and physical therapists believe learning to tango can help people suffering from Alzheimers, Parkinson’s Disease, and depression. Richard Reynolds finds out more at the first International Conference on Tango Therapy.

Click here, then click the play button...

The Unforeseen :: Revisited

Great Blue Heron

Well, that was a first. It was the first time I have ever cried watching an environmental documentary. Perhaps it hit home for me because it was all so close to home for me. Austin, Barton Springs, Barton Creek, The Edwards Aquifer, The Texas Hill Country. My roots there pre-date the Alamo. My roots go back in Texas before there was a Texas, before there was The Republic of Texas. Deep, deep roots. Deeper feelings, or rather, emotions, about it all.

So, I just finished watching the documentary "The Unforeseen" (on the Sundance Channel), mostly about development, urban sprawl, growth and water in one particular area of Austin, Texas. It carries a much bigger message though, a broad and deep message about all that is facing us these days. It goes not to our standard of living, but to our quality of life. Not quality as in "how good is it?", but quality as in what is the depth, breadth, character, texture, taste, and feeling of our day-to-day lives as individuals, families, social circles, as communities, cultures, societies and nations.

Following are some things, key points, key words that stuck out for me. At the end of the post are some links for you to find out how to purchase or rent the DVD. Or, just be on the lookout for it and watch it when you can.

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Developers defined as the "classic American character", reshaping the future and getting rich in the process...

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On golf courses: "I find them repulsive, so uniform and so green, the earth whipped into submission for these men..."

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Developers, they know the cost of everything, but they know the value of nothing...

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A conservative lobbyist, speaking, apparently, on "liberals" who enjoy swimming and leisure time along Barton Creek..."these self-indulgences will catch up to you eventually..."

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"If the people will lead, the leaders will follow..."

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Robert Redford: "...quick return on short term investment, with long term damage...a scar is all that is left..."

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A private citizen on private property rights: "...don't want a bunch of sumbitches telling us what to do with it (our land)...."

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A private citizen shouting and waving a placard: "People are number one! Bugs and birds are at the bottom of the list...Save people first!..."

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Economists have set up this meter of economic activity...that all growth is good...that ANY economic activity that involves money changing hands is good for the economy...and does not take into account any down side or long term unforeseen costs...

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There should be honest accounting...the true cost...the long term cost...

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People are making choices that damage other people...that damage everyone...that damage nature and the environment...that damage the world...and humanity...

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We should be living in harmony with nature, not in opposition to it...

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Add quality to the housing stock, without actually expanding housing...housing for everyone...affordable housing...use what's already there...it's not all about size and quantity and gargantuan scale...improve the landscape until we run out of opportunities to improve it...

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Something about "the pursuit of the almighty dollar"...

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If you don't act on the gift (of the natural world), then you are part of destroying it...

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Growth itself is not the enemy...it is the nature of that growth...the quality and character within it...

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"...where all the land has not been consumed by intention..."

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We should have a stronger, more mature regard for the future, unwilling to leave a mess behind us...

I was struck by the title "the unforeseen" - that today, we are actually living and reaping the unforeseen consequences of multitudes of actions and directions - paths and choices - individually and collectively - both societal and economic. Are we evolving or devolving?

We are reaping the unforeseen.

The Unforeseen Film Site

The Unforeseen on IMDB.

The Unforeseen on Treehugger.com

The Unforeseen on PBS

Pre-Purchase the DVD :: Release Date September 16, 2008

The Unforeseen on NetFlix

Here's my original post :: On the universe, life and water :: The Unforeseen

Sunday, August 3, 2008

My first ride...on a Harley...

My good friend Mrs. Robinson offered to let me ride her ... Harley ... several weeks ago. We finally got to it this weekend. Riding and riding and riding, for about an hour. It was fun. It reminded me of the first time I rode when I was 14 years old. But Mrs. Robinson's Harley....hmmm....sweet to say the least.

This video is of me cruising back and forth on her street - from one cul-de-sac end to the other. At first, I could only get it up to 20mph or so, in 2nd gear. It was good to get used to starting and stopping, shifting, braking, turning and other low speed stuff at first - back and forth, back and forth.

Then Mrs. Robinson took me for a spin... in a new neighborhood nearby with freshly paved streets and not a single house. Faster and faster I went, getting my balls in gear to gun that baby with some full throttle action. I got her up to about 45mph and 4th gear on the two backstretch straightaways.

It was a fun day (okay, only an hour) of riding. Thank you, Mrs. Robinson, for taking me out for a ride.

Now I'm just trying to figure out how I can have a life riding from state to state, city to city, taking photos, dancing tango, and make some sort of living along the way. Maybe I'll only do it for a year of this lifetime. Six months would be nice.

Who knows? I have the helmet. It's a start.

Random still life...

Random still life...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Brother, can you spare 22 terawatts?

I just ran across a good article on ReasonOnline by Ronald Bailey "Brother, can you spare 22 terawatts?" - with great "big picture" figures from Daniel Nocera, a professor at MIT. He looks at current figures, and extrapolates them out to the year 2050 with a global population base of 9 billion.

He also compares world energy consumption at three levels: 1] U.S. levels; 2] Western European levels; and 3] Indian subcontinent levels. I find this very useful in getting my head around the "quality of life" and "living standards" issues.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

However, Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writes a sobering analysis of the challenge of supplying adequate energy to the world in 2050. In his article, "On the Future of Global Energy" in the current issue of Daedalus (unfortunately not online), Nocera begins with the amount of energy currently being used on a per capita basis in various countries and then extrapolates what that usage implies for a world of 9 billion people in 2050. For example, in 2002 the United States used 3.3 terawatts (TW), China 1.5 TW, India 0.46 TW, Africa 0.45 TW and so forth. Totaling it all up, Nocera finds, "the global population burned energy at a rate of 13.5 TW." A terawatt equals one trillion watts.

Nocera calculates that if 9 billion people in 2050 used energy at the rate that Americans do today that the world would have to generate 102.2 TW of power—more than seven times current production. If people adopted the energy lifestyle of Western Europe, power production would need to rise to 45.5 terawatts. On the other hand if the world's 9 billion in 2050 adopted India's current living standards, the world would need to produce only 4 TW of power. Nocera suggests, assuming heroic conservation measures that would enable affluent American lifestyles, that "conservative estimates of energy use place our global energy need at 28-35 TW in 2050." This means that the world will need an additional 15-22 TW of energy over the current base of 13.5 TW.


Here is Ronald Bailey's conclusion:

Maybe Nocera is right that solar power is the way to go, but history teaches us to scrap the Apollo Project model for technology R&D. Federal bureaucrats are simply not smart enough to pick winning energy technologies. Instead, eliminate all energy subsidies, set a price for carbon, and then let tens of thousands of energy researchers and entrepreneurs develop and test various new technologies in the market. No one knows now how humanity will fuel the 21st century, but Apollo and Manhattan Project-style Federal energy research projects will prove to be a huge waste of time, money and talent.

I agree, we need to keep the Federal government out of this. They haven't managed to come up with a comprehensive energy policy to date, and they have managed to screw up virtually every aspect of "government", all while wasting our tax dollars.

Plus, they would probably give the contract to Halliburton and put Dick Cheney in charge.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Flor de monserrat :: revisited :: Adrian & Amanda Costa

I've posted this one before...but I ran across it again over at Clint's blog Hybrid Tango...

My goal is to be able to dance milonga like this...toned down to the social level...but that damn traspie side step...that one is a killer to lead...I still can't get it...

Note how liso they are...muy liso...

Roof Sex

If you are easily offended by rough roof sex...then don't watch this...especially in front of your kids...turn the volume down...

I found this to be hilarious...as much as the sex scene in the stop motion superhero animated film...I forget the title....oh yeah....Team America/World Police...

A leader's tango rituals...

MtnHighMama made a post about leaders not emptying their pockets before dancing. I left a comment that this seemed to be common sense to me from day one.

But, I guess we guys are clueless sometimes, so I will be the first to fess up about what I do and don't do when I'm going to dance. Personal hygiene and non-dance related stuff. This is all primarily pre-milonga...but sometimes it applies to classes and practicas, too.



DO ::

Shower before every event...milongas, classes, practicas...shampoo and deodorant soap...

Antiperspirant/deodorant...

Tiny, tiny spray of cologne...I wear Gucci...I know, I know, we are not supposed to wear it, but Gucci is very subtle and I have not gotten any complaints...the key is a tiny amount...I spray it dead center of my throat between my collar bones...none of this aftershave applied with the hands bullshit...I don't want to smell some other dude's aftershave on my hand if we shake hands...and you shouldn't be able to smell it from 15 ft away...this goes for women too...

Brush teeth and floss...I carry Scope mint flavor mouthwash in case I eat something...

Eclipse sugar free mints....the best...

"Turbo" groomer for the nose and ear hair...I'm tall, so I don't want a woman looking up and seeing anything scary...I have like two little blonde hairs in each ear and sometimes they get kinda long...

Trim the eyebrows...

Trim & file my nails...and I've also resorted to using a foot/callus file to smooth out the calluses on the sides of my fingernails...from working with my hands...I want them to feel smooth...and especially my right hand...I don't want to snag my rough skin on her dress or top...especially on her smooth, soft, supple skin...

Close, close shave...I use a four bladed razor and pull my skin tight to ensure that it is smooth, smooth, smooth...always for milongas...not so critical before a class or a practica...I grow a beard like an American Indian, so I can get it pretty smooth...some guys I know just can't "hack" it...pun intended...they get a five o'clock shadow at noon...

Lotion on the hands and elbows, especially if I'm wearing a short sleeve shirt...my elbows can get kinda crusty...gross, I know...

Extra black t-shirt...plus sometimes an extra dress shirt...

On shirts, I've gotten to be sensitive about the collared shirts I wear, as sometimes they can stick out into the woman's face...if it's a problem, I turn the collar inside, usually just on the right side...

Bandana to wipe the sweat...now I'm bringing a hand towel as well...I keep it tucked in my shoe bag and try to be discreet about it...

Empty my pockets...I have a keypad entry on my vehicle, so I typically leave my keys and wallet in the car...

Wine opener and vino tinto...

Condoms...(No, just kidding...I must say I have never carried a condom in my life...)

I always bring my laptop and come prepared to DJ in an emergency...hey, ya never know...

Cash...





DON'T ::

Dont' eat heavily before...or eat pungent foods with lots of garlic or onions or spices...I try to eat foods that I won't be burping up little flavored clouds of breath...I know, gross...

No banana (or anything else) in your pocket...perhaps a bandana, but not a banana...

Don't wear aftershave...spring for some cologne - at least $50 for a bottle - the good stuff...and bring a woman with you to help pick it out...the spray kind...so you don't get it all over your hands...

Don't allow your nose hair/ear hair/eyebrows to be bristling like some alien creature...you young bucks don't have to worry about this yet...about 10 years ago, my daughter (with my ex's help, I'm sure) bought me a Sharper Image Turbo groomer....it was amazing the first time I used it...I could breathe again...

Don't wear glasses....contacts if you can't see without them...

No fucking fedora...your pencil neck might get broken in the process of me ripping it off of your head in the men's room...

Do not drive an RV to a milonga in order to offer on-site "sexual healing" work to followers...apres milonga...(true story....)

Don't make rude or insultory remarks, or bandy about overt sexual innuendo to your followers...be a gentleman in other words...

What else? Let me know if I am missing any Do's or Dont's...



What can I say...I was a Boy Scout...our motto was "Be Prepared..."