First Impressions of a Foreign Kind
Before I moved to Albuquerque a few months ago, I had a talk with my roommate (who had already lived here for a year). She explained to me that Albuquerque was a huge art-based city with such attributes as relaxed people, balloon festivals and green chile. She explained that you had to ask for “no green chile” or else people put it on everything. She also warned me of another thing.
She paused for a second before saying, “Well, the people here are really nice.” My initial response: “Oh no … ” “Yeah,” she said, “That means you have to learn how to be nice back.”
She wasn't lying. Since I've moved here, I've noticed that everyone I've met, or had the pleasure of conversing with, is incredibly nice to the point where it makes me feel inadequate, almost foreign. Not to say I'm this huge egomaniacal, mean-spirited, better-than-everyone person. In fact, just the opposite. Everyone I've met has told me how incredibly nice I am, but when I meet people that are described as “nice” or “sweet,” my guard is immediately up. But that hasn't happened here.
Whether I'm riding the Tram over a plane crash that happened years ago (fearing for my life) or traipsing through Old Town in search of some old-fashioned quality to help me escape the somewhat-midlife modernity of adulthood, everyone I speak to always wants to know two things: Where are you from? And what brought you to Albuquerque? I've never seen a place where people want to know your story, know who you are, and know about your hobbies, goals, artistic endeavors, favorite color, etc.
What was once a fear and apprehension of moving to a city surrounded by the desert quickly turned into relief at the fact that this city not only has so much to offer, but that its people are just happy and content to be here. And that shows in their carefree attitudes. My hometown could use a little of that. This, in itself, is one of my first experiences of living here, and though people have suggested a few items of adventurous inquiry, everything worth doing is done in due time.
Who knows? By next Friday, maybe I will have ridden a donkey in the desert while sipping Tequila, or fired a shotgun at broken bottles at the foothills, or eaten at a traditional, Burque restaurant. I'm always up for more suggestions.
Sierra County varmint hunter
$3.00 per gopher tail
I love me a small-town newspaper. Truth Or Consequences has two, The Sierra County Sentinel and The Herald. The above item was in the January 18th edition of the Sentinel and has a marvelous last paragraph.
On this day 1/5/81
"Yorkshire Ripper" charged with murder
On This day in 1981 Peter Sutcliffe was charged with the murders of 13 women in the county of Yorkshire, Northern England. Sutcliffe was identified as the Yorkshire Ripper, a serial killer believed to be responsible for at least 13 murders and seven maimings over a period of six to ten years. The Ripper preyed mostly on prostitutes and was the subject of many televised pleas by police for information, resulting in so many leads that authorities were overwhelmed to a degree that made the case virtually unsolvable.
The Yorkshire Ripper case is one of the inspirations behind Red Riding, an excellent trilogy of feature-length television episodes that first aired in March of 2009. Red Riding captures the bleakness of Northern England in the 70's and 80's while weaving together a dark and complex story that is not easy to forget. You may be compelled to watch the series many times, each viewing transporting you to a particular time and place in Britain.
Red Riding is available on Netflix Watch Instantly.
Peter Sutcliffe will never be released from prison.
These ain't the kind of dishes you serve food on
Winter Wonderland Fashion Show at the SUB tonight
Local retro-fashions boutique 66 Pin-Ups presents a very well-sponsored fashion show of retro styles this evening in Ballroom C of the Student Union Building on the main campus of the University of New Mexico. Reasons to attend: It's a benefit for Engineers Without Borders; beautiful women (and men) wearing nifty threads; Paul Higdon's much-lauded Range Box from Alibi's 2012 Operation Art Box will be used as a prop.
Of course after the show the Range Box will be returned to it's home at Sister Bar, where being surrounded by beautiful and handsome people is par for the course.
Looking for a sign?
Here in the land of my ancestors be a man with grit, a man who dares send messages to all and sundry from his perch on a bench. This is Ralph Dymer, and he is Sign Guy.
Sign Guy has been killing some retired man's time sitting in front of his senior's apartment building for the past few years where he displays homemade signs with content running the entire spectrum of moods, from merry to disgruntled.
Not everybody loves Sign Guy. Sign Guy's presence has been known to provoke compulsive honking from drivers passing by (and he is essentially sitting beside a highway, so there are plenty or passing cars) which greatly upset Sign Guy's fellow apartment dwellers. Read here about the time Sign Guy lost his bench.
Free Pussy Riot
On the altar of the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, five masked women prayed. They prayed for an end to President Vladimir Putin’s rein. They prayed for the virgin to become a feminist.
The February protest aimed to highlight the ties between Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church that put him into power. The words convey the weird tangle of church, culture and state. Scope the full text.
Three women were arrested days after the prayer—five had participated in the minute-long event—and have been held in prison ever since on charges of hooliganism. There was a time when this would have seemed more outrageous to free speech-prizing Americans. But we’ve gotten used to arrests after political protests.
Their trial began yesterday and they could do seven years in prison. Two of the defendants have young kids.
The women’s lawyers say they’ve been deprived of sleep and not fed. And though polls indicate most Russians think seven years in jail is too severe a punishment, they seem to agree Pussy Riot should do some time.
Still, internationally, Putin’s looking ever more the fool.
Musicians like Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill and JD Samson of Le Tigre stood in solidarity with Pussy Riot from the start. Hannah Lew of Grass Widow wrote that she feels spoiled as an American musician, and U.S. performers should be inspired to engage in nonviolent protest.
Madonna, Sting, Peter Gabriel and the Red Hot Chili Peppers jumped on the bandwagon today, too, showing support for Pussy Riot.
Freepussyriot.org is keeping track of the collective’s allies.
Edgewood’s international blacksmith contest
Sparks flew, fire burned and metal clanked on metal. In a mere hour and 10 minutes, farriers—equine hoof care specialists—from around the country and the world transformed pieces of steel into working horseshoes.
Over the weekend, 70 farriers gathered at Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood, N.M. to test heir skills. Craig Trnka, who founded the World Championship Blacksmiths, said folks had come from England, Wales, Canada, and Mexico.
“And Arkansas,” he joked, “We have a few foreigners from Arkansas.”
After competing in horseshoeing competitions for many years, Trnka, an Edgewood resident, decided that farrier contests should be used to teach, too. He created the World Championship Blacksmiths in 2006 with the goal of showing the public the value of well-educated farriers.
“There are six go-arounds, but you’re only competitive in one,” Trnka said. “You’re watching way more than you’re actually competing. This is my ideal dream of how a competition should be formatted.”
During their off rounds, competitors watched others and studied other techniques. Swapping tips and tricks, all participants benefitted. “There’s very little education for farriers in this country,” said Trnka, “So this is a continuing education process.”
Although the organization has expanded and holds contests countrywide, Edgewood is still a favorite destination for competitors. Trey Green, a member of the WCB national team, fondly remembered early versions in New Mexico happening at Trnka’s house. “This was the original one,” Green said.
But the move to Wildlife West was a nice change for both the competitors and for the park, he said. Half of the proceeds from the 2012 Championships went to the wildlife rescue zoo, which protects animals native to New Mexican and Southwest ecosystems.
The Edgewood competition drew international star in horseshoe-making Mark Evans of Wales. A master of the craft, Evans has been shoeing horses for 30 years, competed throughout Europe, America and Britain, and taken on 10 apprentices. While evaluating each of the competitors, Evans meticulously followed each stage of their shoemaking process. He gave marks for the shape of the shoes, their fit and how they were nailed into hooves.
From the master farriers down to the onlookers, all who attended the World Blacksmith Championships came away more knowledgeable about the craft.
Ask the chick from "Shit Burqueños Say"
Lynette, newly crowned Burque culture queen, has all kinds of shit to say. She's going to say it in our paper.
So, like, what do you want to know?
Shit Burqueños Say: The Return!
Since I’m from New Mexico all my life, some of these jokes don’t make sense to me. While watching part two, I was thinking to myself, “Mountain? Button? Why’s that in there?” My sister had a similar reaction. She did not understand what was funny about the “Coke” thing in the first one, because that’s what she calls soda pop. Someone had to explain it to her.
It’s great someone’s documenting this stuff. Albuquerque is a special place.
Shit Burqueños Say
You don’t even know.
Siiiick work from the Blackout Theatre company.