As I learned last year, besides honoring those loved ones who have passed, some participants choose to make political statements. Just so they meet the rules of the parade which one is no one may participate in the parade if they are not either wearing make-up or a skull mask.
To be perfectly truthful, I have just recently started watching Breaking Bad (I do not watch a lot of TV anymore – primarily the news). In fact, I am confident that I have spent more time watching the film crews shooting scenes here around Albuquerque than I have actually watching the show. But one of the episodes I watched the other night just so happens to be the same episode used to create this spoof – AMC’s Breaking Bad as a sitcom on ABC. I most definitely caught the humor – and I have very nearly become a major Breaking Bad fan overnight.
Recently a pharmacist at the Walgreens Pharmacy at 10300 Central Ave SE in Albuquerque, NM, refused to fill customer Susanne Koestner’s prescription for birth control because it was “against his religion.” The ACLU of New Mexico has stepped in and posted a petition online for those of you who would like to sign it.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says Koestner’s difficulty getting birth control medication amounts to sex discrimination because Mononessa is a contraceptive for females.
• Sun will be low on the horizon for the event.
• The centerline for the event passes nearly through the Albuquerque International Airport. Any location in the metro area will provide an excellent view of the eclipse.
This is a photo I took of a hot air balloon flying low overhead.
To best see it, click on the image once to enlarge, then again for full size.
This is one day of my Project 365: A Photo a Day for a Year. So, please check out the new additions.
The Balloonist’s Prayer:
May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God joins you in laughter
And sets you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.
~ Author Unknown
Two men spent their Super Bowl weekend in jail because of a dispute over a stolen burrito.
Two Albuquerque police officers were fired on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011, after a brutal beating and head kicking incident of a car theft suspect back in February this year. Officers John Doyle and Robert Woolever had both been with the department for about four years.
This parking garage surveillance video shows Doyle kicking Nicholas Blume, accused of car theft, in the head multiple times. More…
City will not ban fireworks due to fear of civil lawsuits
Apparently the city of Albuquerque will not ban fireworks due to a fear of possible civil lawsuits. How asinine is this? New Mexico is in the the worst drought in recorded history… and the city is worried about law suits?
How about this… when we lose numerous homes due to a careless firecracker, those homeowners who lost their homes should sue the city for NOT banning fireworks.
Since the city will not ban fireworks (is there money under the table here???)… then here is my personal plea to all… please, wait until next year. Wait until the monsoons have passed, and hopefully rehydrated the state…. then set your fireworks off.
I am not anti-fireworks… I grew up with a family that had annual firework extravaganzas every Fourth in our rural Indiana fields. Love them! But I favor keeping our Bosque, keeping our National Forests, and keeping our homes over fireworks any day.
The fireworks can wait.
Here is my little video pleading no fireworks. The footage of the Bosque here in Albuquerque I took today. Below the video is an update on the Las Conchas Fire, and new photos from Los Alamos National Lab’s photostream on Flickr.
Las Conchas Fire Update
For Immediate Release: June 30, 2011
Date Started: 1 p.m., 6/26/2011
Number of Personnel: Approximately 752 personnel including seven hotshot crews and 14 handcrews.
Location: Approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35
Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine. Fuel moisture is extremely low.
Cause: Unknown – under investigation
Equipment: Four dozers and 28 engines
Size: approximately 92,735 acres
Aircraft: Five helicopters
Percent Contained: 3%
Residences: 13 destroyed and 3 damaged
Commercial Property: 3 damaged
Other structures: 2 destroyed
Las Conchas Fire Burns More Than 6,000 acres of Santa Clara Pueblo Land – 6/30
Santa Clara Pueblo, NM – The Las Conchas Fire has charred more than 6,000 acres of the watershed of Santa Clara Pueblo and continues to destroy cultural sites, forest resources, plants and animals that the people of Santa Clara depend upon for their livelihood and culture.
“We are devastated to witness the destruction of our precious homeland,” said Governor Dasheno. “From time immemorial to this day our community has been stewards of this land, have fought to regain portions taken from us and have invested millions of dollars in restoring the forest and resources.”
Nevertheless, after two days of extreme fire behavior, the Las Conchas Fire entered Santa Clara Pueblo lands mid-day on June 29. In the last 24 hours the fire has exploded across the western third of the reservation. This includes the area known as “P’opii Khanu,” the headwaters of the creek, which the Pueblo regained in 2000 after 140 years of struggle.
Below: Las Conchas Fire progression map June 20, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –Wildfires are burning around New Mexico and it’s getting harder for residents to avoid all the smoke.
Smoke has been so thick in recent days that it’s caused health problems for many residents.
“It can make peoples’ eyes water. It can make their throats burn. It can be a real nuisance for some people that seem to be a little allergic to it,” Air Quality Meteorologist Jeff Stonesifer said.
When a big hot fire throws massive plumes of smoke into the air, the smoke will ride the prevailing winds that typically blow from southwest to northeast. The smoke cloud contains steam, carbon dioxide, compounds of nitrogen, partially burned particles called hydrocarbons, tiny pieces of dirt and ash and small amounts of poison like carbon monoxide.
The very thick smoke over the past few days has brought the poorest air quality in the history of Albuquerque.
“Your nose and your lungs can filter out the larger particles, but they can’t filter out the smaller particles,” Stonesifer said. “I’m not too worried about the carbon monoxide. I’m more worried about the particulate matter and the little bit of toxic stuff in there. You know, cigarette smoke causes health problems too and that has a lot of the same stuff.”
Air quality experts still point to visibility as being the main indicator of how poor local air quality is because you can observe the changes much quicker than monitoring devices can detect and report it.
Source: KOAT News 7 | 1:40 pm MDT June 15, 2011
Here are a few videos taken from my home in Albuquerque of the smoke which has been moving in and out of the city.
Bobby Bradley reached a new height this morning after becoming the youngest person to fly solo in a balloon. The 9-year-old took off at dawn in Tome, N.M., near Albuquerque.
He was joined by three other balloons in his brief flight as family, friends and a crowd of 50 supporters cheered him on from the ground. Bobby landed safely after about 26 minutes in the air.
Bobby already has 30 hours of flight experience with his mother and father, and has been practicing with the balloon tethered to the ground or a truck. He wears a harness and a helmet. “This was his idea,” said Tami Bradley, his mother. “He started taking control of the burner when he was 4 years old.”
Under FAA regulations, he would be too young to fly a full-size balloon until he turns 14. His homemade airship, the Heavenly Dream, weighs less than 150 pounds and may reach an altitude of 1,000 feet.
My experience in a hot air balloon, Albuquerque NM
I only live about 5 minutes from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Park, and when I flew for the first time last summer, I had no idea just how much work is involved with piloting. I’ve seen them set up the balloons many times during the annual fiesta, and was quite aware of the organization and coordination involved, but the actual piloting is much more detailed and technical than I was aware.
The pilot I flew with, Don, was highly experienced with thousands of hours of flight time under his belt. He just relocated to Albuquerque to assume the job as the director of the annual balloon fiesta. Don also pilots a special shapes balloon “Paddy“, and flying a special shapes requires even more training and flight time. Plus additional crew members are required simply due to the size of the balloon itself.
There are many aspects to flying a hot air balloon of which I was aware of before I flew, but did not actually become concrete to me until I was soaring ever so serenely hundreds of feet above the Rio Grande river. On that day, there were approximately a dozen or so other balloons flying, and Don was very aware as to the position and travel pattern of the other balloonists. This was not to avoid collision, as that is very rare, but he watched to determine what the thermals and air stream was doing at each balloon location. Depending upon ones altitude, the flight path may change greatly, and it takes a very wise and well-seasoned pilot to use these thermals to ones advantage.
During the main part of the flight, the winds peacefully float us along while we would take in the scenery, and marval at the miniature homes, traffic, people, horses, and dogs spread out beneath us. The dogs. Dogs simply just do not like hot air balloons. For two years, I lived in the typical flight path of the “box” effect (see below). My dogs, as well as all the neighbors dogs, were literally crazed… running back and forth constantly in a barking frenzy. During the fiesta, the majority of responsible dog owners simply bring their pets inside during the morning flights. When lofting in the air that day, I must admit that watching the dogs go crazy was mildly amusing. From the dogs point of view, a large strange behemoth approaches from above frequently putting out a thunderous blast. Dogs duty: run, bark, and chase… must rid the skies of this beast overhead. Threat floats off. Job completed. Do not get me wrong, I have raised and trained dogs my entire life, and am a true hard-core dog-lover. But there is always humor in everyday life, and watching the miniature dogs from above was entertaining.
Box Effect: Part of the reason for the success of the Fiesta are the cool Albuquerque morning temperatures in October and the Albuquerque box. The “box” is a set of predictable wind patterns that can be exploited to navigate the balloons. At low elevations the winds tend to be southerly (from the south), but at higher elevations they tend to be northerly. Balloonists use these winds to navigate in a vertical box: they ascend slightly from the launch park, move south, ascend further, move north, descend, and repeat the box or land back in the launch park or quite nearby. During events involving on-field targets, such as the “Key Grab” (where pilots attempt to grab prizes, including a set of keys to a new vehicle, from atop tall, flexible poles), it’s not uncommon to see the same balloon make 5 or 6 passes at the targets, simply by working the “Box” to keep returning to the field.
The landing appeared to me to be the most technical part of the flight, both with piloting the balloon and coordinating via radio with the chase crew on the ground. The pilot, having watched the flight pattern and winds during the entire flight, would take advantage of watching the other balloons ahead as they descend through the various thermals. A large field with road access is the prime spot to land. With skill and expertise, Don would carefully time both hitting the burner and releasing air from the envelope in order to land in the targeted spot. The chase crew leader is well-seasoned and just as experienced as the pilot. They were waiting ever so faithfully on the ground to assist with bringing the balloon down safely. The basket touched briefly, re-ascending a few feet, while still moving forward, then eventually came down in a perfect landing. The chase crew now having surrounded the basket and using weight and expertise to halt our movement.
I still chuckle to myself… another person along for the ride was a local news anchor-woman. She is from New Mexico, and with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta being the an international event as well as the largest in the state, all news stations heavily cover the event and know it very well. As we began our descent and Don was relaying our landing plans to the chase crew, the anchor-woman asked, “We don’t land where we took off?” Without blinking an eye, nor cracking a smile, Don politely replied, “Nope, these are one-way trips only.”
What this young 9-year-old boy did was not an easy feat. From my limited experience, it is easy to see that there is much more involved than hitting the burners, ascending, releasing the air, descending and landing. Especially the landing. Having lived in Albuquerque for 10 years now, and especially during the fiesta, balloonists do not always land where they want to. They have landed in the middle of intersections – which maneuvering through the power lines is as delicate as walking a tightrope; landed in the river when they were targeting an open area next to the water; in the middle of a herd of cattle; and so on. There has been occasion where the not-so-lucky tangled up with the power lines, which turns in to a life-or-death situation.
I am sure Bobby will keep looking up to the skies and will very soon have his pilot’s license. He has very wise, experienced, and supportive parents along his side. He will achieve his dreams.