Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Local Color IX -- open carry division

In keeping with the classic police state policy of "If you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about", the City of Santa Fe has contracted with a third party company to deploy two Speed Enforcement vehicles at random locations every day -- sorta mobile Mexican Sleeping Policemen. The fact that the local paper publishes their location every morning seems like it would reduce the effect of the random placement, but they are often near elementary schools in order to catch late-to-or-from-work parents.

These vehicles are not very popular. They bring to mind the time my Mother got a camera-ticket for running a red light...three months after she died...because the registration on her old car had not been transferred correctly.

So. A couple weeks ago some guy in a nightshirt drove up to one on Bishop's Lodge Road at 1AM and let it have a few rounds right between the eyes. He was not a very good shot because the video camera survived the assault:

But he was pretty good at concealing his identity since he is still at large. See the news article here.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Creating Turbulence

I've started experiments for the Axle Contemporary installation. I got a buncha sorta inexpensive surplus blower fans that just don't poot enough to really matter in the long run. But I managed to retrofit some of them into a long-ago-abandoned project to make packing pellets fly around in a frame. Here's a little video clip:

It's nice to see that there are some self-organized avalanches along the sides, so hopefully I can get more of that happening with more-bigger wind.

While unearthing the abandoned-frame-project I realized that I've been thinking about this for a while now. In 2006 I tried to capture peanuts blowing in the wind -- I'm sure you've seen them playing with each other in an empty parking lot -- for Erika Wanenmacher's class, but the day of the demo there was no wind and the fittings on the outside air didn't match the available hose. So Nada Dicé. Erika did mention that lovely bag-blowing scene in American Beauty though:

Which brings us to Jen's suggestion of using leaves, or even better, seed pods. A couple years ago I saw these really well adapted spidery pods from a local grass -- very delicate miniature tumble-weeds -- running around on the road up on the Mesa. I'll try to find a photo (silly me threw out the two that I had been keeping). But it would be difficult to collect and preserve enough before September.

So virtual seed pods I guess it is...

I have also upgraded my fan compliment with two 5" muffins that put out 250 cfm (at 40 watts). Nearly cut off a pinkie when one sucked my finger in as I was bench testing it. Video forthcoming...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cultural Reverse Engineering

In what I assume is a very successful attempt at proving that I have too much time on my hands I drew myself into solving a non-puzzle that appeared on the back cover of the April 2, 2012 New Yorker magazine:
In the setup our hipster guide has said "I could use a latte", and Siri, rather than answering, "You are not late for any appointments", correctly offers up four nearby venues. I noticed that there were distances to each of the locations and figured that I could triangulate where in San Francisco's Mission district our protagonist was standing. So I went off to Google Mopes and plotted out the locations.

The first interesting thing was that the hippest of the hipster locations was called out on a fairly large scale map but that one had to zoom in two more clicks to see the names of the other three -- I wonder how that is decided? Anyway, I've been to the hippest, albeit over three years ago. It was chock full of folks plugged-in to notebook computers, which I would presume, not yet being re-cycled to the recherché status of portable typewriters, are rather declasse now. All one heard was the hiss of the espresso machines and the clicking of keyboards in a background of earbud leakage.

The second interesting thing is that the distances don't match any ground truth:

The blue pins are our target locations. The black circles are the radii given by Siri. They do not intersect. So I took the liberty of somewhat arbitrarily adding 100% or subtracting 50% from the given distances. That's the dotted black circles. That gave me the option of standing in the crosshatched zone, near 20th and Valencia. Which does NOT look like the background in the ad. Unless things have changed rather drastically...

This leaves only one real question: Why doesn't our iPorn-4S using hipster already know that he's within a stone's throw of his optimal environment?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Local Color VIII -- Kinks in da'Hood

By a process of default thinking I declined to respond to a medical call at 01:45 Saturday morning -- one of those, "The go-getters will go get it," things. It turns out to be a wise decision because there were shots-and-tasers-fired and our Med unit wasn't released until 08:00, so everyone got to stay up all night waiting for the taser barb removal ritual. This all happened in my neighborhood, which, combined with multiple recent calls further down the street to transport intoxicated inhabitants to rehab, is making my colleagues in the VFD a bit suspicious of my general geographic sanity level...

Case #0212004766 -- 03-31-2012
Aggravated Assault On A Law Enforcement Officer and Mental Evaluation Hold

Location: E. Sunlit, Seton Village area, Santa Fe, NM

Arrested: Charges pending, name witheld for actve/on-going investigation

On Sunday March 31, 2012 at 1:43 am Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputies received a call for service in regards to a suicidal female. Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputies arrived on scene and the suicidal female barricaded herself in the residence with a small, black in color, semi automatic handgun. Deputies attempted to negotiate with the female to surrender the weapon and come out of the residence. The female was not complying with any verbal commands at which time Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputies encountered the female in a hallway pointing the weapon at them. Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputies advised the female to drop the weapon and the female wouldn’t. One shot was fired by a Santa Fe County Sheriff's Deputy, not striking the female, and the female sought cover within a bedroom.

Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office S.W.A.T. Team was activated and arrived at the scene. The female was still irrational and not complying with any verbal commands. The female demanded her purse be brought to her and Santa Fe County S.W.A.T. complied with the demand. The female attempted to retrieve the purse from the porch at which time Santa Fe County S.W,A.T. implemented the use of a Taser. The female was struck with the Taser and then taken into custody without incident at 7:40 am on today's date.

The female was transported to Christus St. Vincent's Hospital for a mental evaluation where she currently remains with an involuntary hold for observation. This case is under investigation and charges are pending.