insidious_plots
aka christopher, aka zane
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Name:insidious_plots
Location:Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Monday, October 25
  Fw: Rio Rancho reaches agreement on wireless contract

KOBTV.com/text
Rio Rancho reaches agreement on wireless contract
10/20/2004
Writer: Associated Press

Rio Rancho’s plan for a citywide high-speed wireless communication system is
back on line.
The city has reached an agreement with a wireless service provider, Azulstar.
Rio Rancho city administrator Jim Palenick plans to ask the Rio Rancho City
Council to approve the agreement next week.
Azulstar would begin deployment of the wireless network on November 15th. The
project would be completed by May 15th.
The city had contracted with Usurf America for the wireless network earlier
this year.
The company says it terminated its contract with the city in August because
the financial terms didn’t fit its new financial model.
The city says it terminated the contract after it became clear that Usurf
couldn’t meet the deployment deadline.
 
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


Sunday, October 24
  some october photos and screen caps

firstly, we have uploaded a new batch of pics, though there are more to come for this month... since we are only uploading the small, low-res versions, i made an ALLPICS page like i always have with the dreameye pics...

be sure to look at the ones that start with "cloudsonmtns", there are a few of this cool massive cloud that just crawled over the mountains one day a couple weeks ago, like it was trying to creep up on the city, as you can see...
cloud crawling over mountains
very hard to resist uploading the hi-res versions... though, Amy at moonshine highways saw it, too, and has a couple...

(btw, we also got a couple pics of another great cloud phenomenon a week or so later, they start with "cloudymtns"...)


we have also been making an occasional effort to get some cool bar/drink pics, there are a few in there, various file names...
irish whiskey with chocolate-covered espresso beans


and secondly, karl ch@bbed me this:
I got a few (small) screen captures of your site in case you ever wondered how the world sees you...

Safari on MAC (used an outside source)

Firefox 0.9.3 on WinXP

WebTV 2.6 (IE 4.01)

so, i took caps of his site on my psion, one on the default browser on black and white mode, one on the default browser with greyscale turned on, and one on opera...



as mentioned before, there are still more october pics to come, we just need to sort them, i will of course post when we upload those...


Sunday, October 10
  AIBF - day 10, big finish

remember the Smokey Bear balloon i took a pic of?

well, he made big news today...

with headlines like Balloon Gets Caught In Radio Tower [koat tv] and Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta ending with a bang: "Smokey the Bear" balloon is wrapped around the top of a 670ft AM radio tower, four people in gondola [fark]...
and someone in the fark thread mentioned it was even on cnn...

behold...



i ALMOST saw it happen... i was recording the mass ascension coverage on tv this morning and popping downstairs once in a while to see if there was anything worth taking pics of... last trip i had made down, i saw smokey and almost took a pic since he was in a good spot, but, i have not been taking many pics since we went to the event, not much chance of topping those... anyway, so, i then came back upstairs... within a minute or two they were talking about it on tv... i bet i missed it by 30 seconds...

by the time i ran out there, all i saw was this...

the reports are still coming in, but, it is now confirmed that there were three people aboard, all ok, they were able to get out of the gondola to the ladder that runs inside it and climb down... it took nearly an hour... there was the 70-year-old pilot, and two passengers on their first balloon ride ever... they were 14 and 10 years old... he sent them down the ladder first...

here is the pilot climbing down the tower, and here he is after they got him in a cherry picker, as he and a rescue worker look up at the tattered remnants of the balloon...

of course, the big question now is how they are going to get that thing down from there...


garth's informal predictions at America's Outback didn't include radio towers, but, turns out he was right about the power lines...
Balloon catches on live power line, no one injured
Balloon Fiesta Pilot Trips Up With Power Line


other headlines the last few days have included...
Balloon Fiesta Brings Injuries, Power Outage
Rough landings, snagged balloons mark morning
Pilots Injured As Balloon Makes Hard Landing Near Chama
Gas balloon makes hard landing, injures pilots

here is a google news search if you want to see more...


and the whole 10-day event has also been well blogged...

America's Outback has great pics from the day 7 special shapes mass ascension...

mr. bohnsack posted many pics from the day 9 mass ascension with links to over 400 high-res pics from the three previous years... he also links a few other abq bloggers posting about the aibf... (including me; plus, i fit his comment about those with "freshly purchased digital marvels"...)

and Quirky Burque even gave us the Balloon Fiesta Avoidance Plan...


i am probably not going to keep up with posting all the follow up news and/or blog posts about it all, but, i will definitely get pics and vids again next year, and post 'em all here...


there are a few pics and one vid from the last few days that i did not comment on, and now that it is all done, the vids will stay for a while until we need the space, so, take one last trip to the now completed AIBF collection...


Thursday, October 7
  AIBF, day 6

first, i want to note that the day 3 night events and all of day 4 and 5 were rained out...

and now on with the post...

each event is better than the last...
though, in this case, it is because we actually went to where it was all happening...



when we got there a bit after 6am, it was still dark and there were a dozen or so glowing balloons in the sky for the dawn patrol and that was cool and all, but, at about 7am, the mass ascension officially started and suddenly we were surrounded, trapped in between rows of inflating ballons and the sound of generators and burners pretty much drowning out everything else...
and, as each one filled, it lifted off, as you can see in this video...
within minutes, the sky was filled with them... and, actually, 'sky' is the wrong way to put it, they were not only up, they were on every side, filling vision from from ground to directly overhead...

just a few brief comments...
because of the perspective, you can really see how gigantic these things are (one balloonist had a bumper sticker that read "Have YOU ever tried to park a six-story house?"), and because we were right there, up close, the pics are much much better than before... i am particularly fond of this one and she got this amazing one...

other highlights in this batch include many special shapes (like a pirate, the bees, and the creamland cow), a few assorted interesting things like this balloon with no gondola, just a seat and a tank strapped to the guy's back, the giant squirrel that flew down the vendor strip, right above the crowd, and pics/vids of the "chase crews" that actually catch landing balloons and get them stopped without the gondola full of people tipping over...

anyway, this collection is now, without a doubt, the best batch yet, there are more than usual because there were so many good ones and the videos are all very cool, i highly recommend watching all six of them before they are deleted...
so, don't settle for the highlights above, go see everything...
all of the files in this batch start with "6-"...


Sunday, October 3
  AIBF, day 3, first event

first, i have to start with bad news...

note to self: today is the THIRD day, not the SECOND day!!!
additional note to self: get an ftp client that warns you when it is about to OVERWRITE a file!!!!


in other words, i named today's files "2a", rather than "3a", uploaded them, the client said nothing and proceeded to overwrite yesterday's files that were unlucky enough to have the same filename... namely "2a-massascensionX.jpg", where "X" is the number in the series...
not only does that mean the pics are lost, but, it screws up links in yesterday's post...
i keep cutting sleep short and i think it is getting to me... fortunately, i wrote today's post before i realized this, so, i don't have to pretend to be in a good mood...


while i am here, i might as well once again remind anyone reading that the vids are only temporary, they will almost certainly be deleted within 12 to 24 hours of this post...
though, these might stay longer because the next two days seem to have little that i think i will be watching...
we'll see...
also, the warning that the vids are being uploaded as i write this and it takes a while on dial-up, so, vid links in the post might not work yet... if you want to see it, try again later...


anyway, on with the post...

the most amazing day yet...


the winds were different today, so much so that the dawn patrol was cancelled... however, the mass ascension show went on and those winds blew them our direction...

we were surrounded by them...
they were landing all around us...
we could hear the people in the gondolas talking and see their faces...

also, it was cloudy and misty, which caused some gorgeous light effects, as well as the added bonus of seeing balloons traverse in and out of the clouds...

this is simply the best set of pics/vids yet...
we took something like 700 pictures and videos and i chose 15 of the pics and 6 of the vids...
there were some very very hard choices this time... we had tons of great shots of balloons close up, landing, great shots of some of the special shapes balloons, just gold and more gold... but, there are nine days of this, only so much webspace, etc., etc., so, some editorial decisions had to be made...

so, i went with plenty of great stuff showing the sheer size and beauty of the event and the number of balloons, and the only time i uploaded anything of a single balloon was when it related to two certain memorable events that took place...

firstly, there was the very close fly over of the maroon balloon...
miss mary got up this morning to sleepily watch the mass ascension (and jake even joined us!) and, after we stood downstairs for a while (where i have been watching/photographing from), we decided to change our position, so, we hopped in her convertible and drove across the street to the other side of the mall...
now we were even more surrounded than before... and this one ballon was headed straight toward us and flew right over our heads, REALLY low... i was thinking that if i picked up a rock, i could hit someone in the gondola easily... don't know how close you have ever been to a hot-air balloon, but, it is massive... like a house hanging over you in the air... out of a couple dozen pics and three vids, i have uploaded one vid and one pic... the vid is pretty cool because you can see the flame inside and everything...

then, there was the REALLY dramatic one...

miss mary had already gone back to bed (she first went to bed about 4a, got up around 6a for this stuff, and has to get up again around 2p, poor thing) and most of the balloons had landed... the couple dozen or so that were left were all VERY close... i saw a couple land behind our apartments, so, i figured i had enough pics from here, i would stroll over where those had landed and i could see more were headed to... i get about half way, when i look over at where i was... and there is a balloon, maybe 30, 40 feet off the ground, passing right over where i was standing before i decided to move...
D'OH!!
it looked to me like he was going right past our bedroom window... like if i was on our balcony, i could have tossed the pilot a bottle o' guinness... but, there was no way i was getting to my balcony or even in front of our apt fast enough, so, i started hurrying the other way around the buildings, hoping to cut him off... and, it worked... i was at the end of our block of buildings and, there he was, right over the building across from ours...
so, i started shooting... i was a bit out of breath after my jog, but, i got a great pic and vid of him coming over said building, then a vid of him vanishing over the building i was standing in front of...
now i wanted to follow him, since it seemed we were headed the same place, so, i started jogging again... then, it was clear jogging would not do it, so, i started running (they move much faster than one might imagine!)... needless to say, stuff i shot during those moments is not upload-worthy... i did finally catch up in time to get a vid of him deflating (and a pic)... i am not the steadiest hand in the world, but, this one is particularly shaky because i am flat out of breath...

standing there, i took a few more and filled my (128MB) card, so, not much more to do but walk back home, sort, upload, and make this post...


and now, here in a couple of hours, is the first night show... glowing balloons, really looking forward to that... HOPEFULLY i will get some decent stuff from it, but, i have vowed to not post anymore pics/vids of specks unless i have a REALLY good reason...


so, anyway, this morning's batch is pretty fantastic, if i do say so myself, and again there are a few more that i did not mention in this post, so, go have a look... and remember, all of today's pics/vids start with "3a-"... [now, if only I had remembered that!]


Saturday, October 2
  AIBF - day 2

so, this morning was the dawn patrol and mass ascension... the dawn patrol was pretty damn cool, but, the mass ascension was indescribably amazing...



it was pretty much impossible to count, but, there were definitely over 100, but definitely not 200... and there were a few "special shapes", like a cow, a bottle, a scarecrow, a kettle of some kind, a couple that were what looked like bees maybe, and an american flag...

there are 13 pics and 3 vids, whittled down from a collection of over 350 combined that i took... the videos were the hardest to narrow down to the best of the best, so, i settled for the ones that best showed just how big this whole aerial display was.. check them out before i delete them tomorrow... 1, 2, and 3


a few more besides what i commented on above, all the pics from this morning's set start with "2a-"...


Friday, October 1
  AIBF, day one, second event

the "Fiesta Challenge Competition Flight"...

a bit underwhelming, i must say...

it was cool, at first; a whole bunch of 'em taking off at once, but, there weren't THAT many (c'mon, people, you said seven hundred!), it took up a very small section of vision, and they only went a very short distance and then landed (except for one blue one that darted up, leaving the others wayyy behind, headed north, and last i saw him, vanished over rio rancho), so, the main entertainment was over pretty quick...
at least from where i was standing... for this sort of event, my location is not close enough, it seems, because it is starting to look like this thing does not do well at long distances... or maybe i'm just doing it wrong... either way, i keep getting these pics of specks, ranging in sharpness from fuzzy to blurry, which isn't very interesting...

anyway, to be fair, the whole thing really officially starts tomorrow and i see some very cool stuff coming up on the schedule, so, as i am wont to say, we shall see what there is to see when the time for seeing comes... (wish i could remember what that is from...)

this time, there are 4 pics and 1 vid... the pics are rather similar, but, it is kind of cool how you can see a helicopter in the vid, though...
they are all in the ABF subdir and the files from this event all start with "1b-", as previously mentioned...


btw, i made something of a connection... i was thinking of those window air conditioners growing up in hellishly humid dallas suburb summers... the underside would be practically an upside down puddle of condensation... the water forms into droplets in random places, and the drops fall, usually more than one drop at a time, sprinkling whatever is underneath... that is what the balloon launches remind me of, as you watch many of them inflating at once, some get to fully inflated and then "drip up" into the sky...


big day tomorrow, including the first dawn patrol and the first mass ascension... no idea what the dawn patrol will be like, but, the mass ascension should be mind-boggling...


  AIBF, day 1, first event

first, let me get this out of the way...
here are three resources for webcams in albuquerque...
ABQcam, AWS cams, and KOBTV's city cams...
and here is the schedule of events...
if you show up at the right time, you may get lucky... there were a few visible on abqcam this morning, of the others, several are down, so, i have not checked them...

ok, now on with the post...



this morning, i got up at 6am for the first event, "Albuquerque Aloft", which was balloons rising from elementary schools all over town...
i am still getting used to using a real camera, trying different white level settings, adjusting the edge enhancement, seeing what resolution works best, to use digital zoom or not, etc.... next year, my pics will be much better, though, i read the whole manual, and took hundreds of practice pics yesterday preparing for this...
i'll say this, though: taking good pics of tiny balloons against a huge featureless sky is nearly impossible for me, so far... (i am open to advice if anyone wants to post any...)

anyway, so, this morning i took hundreds of pics and many videos... however, i have only 20mb of webspace free at the moment, so, i whittled them down to the 20 or so that were most upload-worthy...
http://insidiousplots.com/photos/2004-oct-AIBF/

ok, for reference, there are supposed to be two events today, so, i named the files from this morning "1a-(filename)", the first event (a) of day one, and so the next event will be "1b-(filename)", etc.... should make browsing the directory easier when they start to pile up...

now, here is how we are going to do this...

all the pics are already uploaded, BUT, the vids are not... they are being uploaded as i write this... there are eight of them, at least 30 minutes each to upload, so, it will be awhile until they are all up...
however, since i have comments about some of them, i am still going to mention them, with the links, and so, if you get a dead link, it is almost certainly either because it is not uploaded yet or because it is already deleted, more on that to follow...

like yesterday, the vids are TEMPORARY, they will almost certainly be deleted when i post tomorrow's batch of stuff (and maybe even when i post tonight's)... before i started uploading today's stuff, i first deleted the vids i posted yesterday, as i said i would have to because they just take up too much room...
so, they will only be available for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how everything works out, and then gone forever...

anyway, now that we have agreed on the rules, let us move on...

amazing...
surreal...
breathtaking...
trippy...

around us, in more than one direction, we could make out balloons inflating on the horizon... to the east, there suddenly started appearing many balloons, not sure what that area was, but, there must have been 20 or 30 coming from that spot alone... the only problem is that i had to shoot into a dark hazy area, with the sun right above it, so, they did not come out too great... which is why i called these pics hazy 1, hazy 2, and hazy 3...
balloons just kept popping up and drifting away, so, i usually got no more than 10 in a shot, but, i took at least one video of a pan across the mountains to try to show the numbers involved...
word is there are some 700 balloons registered for this year...

these things get REALLY close to our apartment... here is an example... i called this balloon "santa fe" (hey, i have to come up with file names, so, i try to think of descriptive names for the balloons)... and here is a halfway decent vid of it... in fact, it stayed within this area, so, i also have a video of it landing...
and, speaking of landings, i also got video of this yellow one landing behind the mall... the video is in three sequential parts: 1, 2, 3...

btw, one set of batteries lasted me all morning and even the sorting process afterward, but, that was about it...
tonight i will try out the rechargeables...


and i think i am going to abruptly stop here...
there are still a few more in there that i did not comment on, so take a moment to have a look...
(oh, to spare confusion, i guess i could mention that this one is called "seagull" because it had seagulls painted on it, even though you can't see that in the vid...

next event is the Challenge Competition Flight, this evening from 5p to 7p (about three hours from now), i have no idea what to expect, but, the pics and vids will be posted tonight...

and there are nine more days of this to come...



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