Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

November 2014 Election Analysis – Part I: The Major Offices

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Oct 19, 2014 @ 5:28 pm PDT

userpic=voteThe general election is just about two weeks away, and that means I should start going through the ballot to revisit who I should vote for. I do this afresh each election, and I post my analysis here for you to review. If you disagree, let me know with a convincing reason why I should support the other bum. But more importantly, I encourage you to do the same: Go through your sample ballot, where ever you are, and study the candidates and make an informed decision. Put some critical thought behind your vote. Don’t just vote a slate without thinking — on either side. Don’t just vote against the other guy; vote for the positions you like. This is your chance to make a difference. Most importantly, remember to vote. Many many many, and even many more, have given their lives so that you have the ability to vote. Respect them, and exercise your franchise. Even if you disagree with me.

On to the ballot… as this is long, I”m going to split this into three pieces: the major offices, the propositions, and the minor offices.



Marital Discord in the Back Woods

Written By: cahwyguy - Sun Oct 19, 2014 @ 8:20 am PDT

Don't Hug Me, We're Married (The Group Rep)userpic=theatre_ticketsBack in August, when I was planning my theatre for October (you can stop laughing now), I noticed a period where my wife would be out of town and I had no theatre booked. “Aha!,” said I, “This is a perfect time to book something my wife might not like.” It turns out I was wrong. Yes, I booked a silly show in a series I had long heard about but never attended. However, it turns out that my wife would completely enjoy it. Luckily, it runs until mid-November, so perhaps she can squeeze it in. By now, you’re probably curious about the show’s identity. Last night I went to the Group Rep (FB) in North Hollywood to see the fifth show in Phil and Paul Olson’s long running “Don’t Hug Me” (FB) series: “Don’t Hug Me, We’re Married“, featuring Book and Lyrics by Phil Olson (FB), and Music and Orchestrations by Paul Olson (FB).

Ads for the show describe it as follows:

“Set in a north woods bar in Bunyan Bay MN, plans are on tap for a double wedding. But before the nuptuals transpire, we’ll have to deal with a surprise visitor, two un-Hallmark proposals, an over-zealous wedding planner, a stag and stagette party, uber-mosquitoes, a quirky male stripper, an unhappy bridesmaid, a gigantic hangover, a sexy cheerleader, a rapping minister, and the dreaded wedding dress. One small hitch before the hitchings, they can’t find anyone who will pay for the wedding. What could possibly go wrong?”

What this doesn’t say is that all of the above takes place with a cast of 5.

When the show ended, I kept hearing the same word from others in the audience: “cute”. Indeed, about 10 minutes into the show, that was my one word summary: “cute”. This show is not high art — I don’t think it was intended to be high art (in fact, Phil seems to imply that was the intent in this interview). The songs and dances related to the plot, but they weren’t memorable and at times seemed to stick out (although they were well performed). The plot itself was very humorous, although it wasn’t a joke-a-minute-fest, and some of the recurring gags recurred a little too much. But that’s what this show was: cute humor for small casts; not high art but definitely entertaining. Art snobs wouldn’t like it, but audiences would enjoy it. It wasn’t “donuts for dinner” (as defined in “[title of show]“), but it wasn’t a gourmet meal either. It was Applebees, ummm no, it was Cracker Barrel. A filling meal, a tasty meal, a meal you enjoy when you eat it even if the surrounding are a bit corny…. but a meal that you didn’t choose because of the nutrition.

But on the way home a realization hit me: Although the presentation was a little corny, the underlying subject wasn’t — in fact, the underlying subject was something I had just been thinking about. Let me explain. My favorite little theatre, Repertory East (FB), loves to do a lot of fundraisers where you dress up: tux, tails — in fact, next week they are doing a full costume event (FB). I never go to these. I rarely get dressed up (the last time I wore a tux was my wedding); I never go out dancing. I don’t bring my wife flowers or do the spontaneous romance. In other words: I’m just like Gunner in this show. I’m not a romantic. On the other hand, my wife is like Clara. She’d love the romantic gesture (once she picked herself off the floor). She’s probably silently disappointed in my lack of romance. Yet we both love each other dearly — just like Gunner and Clara do in this show. On the other hand, there are couples just like Bernice and Aarvid in this show: couples deeply in love, who will make any gesture to show it. They wear their love on the outside; they have the courage to express it and it just shines away.

Although this show has a cotton-candy exterior, at its heart it is appealing simply because people see themselves in it. They see themselves so much they just start cheering for the characters. You want these characters to end up happy. It is this tender and sentimental heart that makes this show work. So what if an intuitive karaoke machine provides silly music with a look and a nod. So what if you suspend your disbelief when the dances come out and the singing starts. That’s the nature of this beast, don’tcha know.

The basic plot of the show is this: On the one side, you have Clara and Gunner: married for 20 years with the typical long-married blues. They are having a contest on who can be the better spouse. On the other side is Bernice, who has just decided to marry Aarvid. This upsets Kanute, who wants to marry Bernice. Thrown into the mix is Trigger (who is played by the same actor who plays Gunner, but in female clothing, explaining why the two are never seen in the same place at the same time and a number of other wink wink nudge nudge jokes — a running joke), who wants to marry Kanute. A double wedding is arranged, with predictible sitcom results and outcomes. This basic story, as I’ve noted before, is cute and sitcomish, but it is fun to watch.

The songs and accompanying dances range from silly to, ummm, sillier. None of the songs stick with you afterwards, although a number are very cute (there’s that word again): in particular “The Day That Bob Dylan Was Here”, “It’s All Comin’ Together” (notable for the clever passage of time), and the “Bunyan Bay High School Fight Song”. There was one number that truly made me suspend disbelief titled “We Are Gathered Here Today”, but I won’t spoil the twist.

One last note on the show itself: I fear that this series may depend too much on people knowing the recurring jokes and motifs from the previous episodes. In fact, if you read the synopsis of the past shows on the series website, you’ll see that all of the plays involve the same five characters in different situtations. That’s great if you’re a fan of the series; it makes it harder to get into if you’re thrown  into the latest incarnation without knowing the backstories and relationships that underlie some of the humor. Essentially, this is a musical sitcom on stage: the first show or two introduced you to the characters in depth, but the rest build upon your prior knowledge of these characters and their quirks. If you come into the show in the middle, it takes a while to warm up, and sometimes you wonder why people are laughing. Multi-part stories rarely work in the theatre; when they do, they are designed to also work as standalone pieces (Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach trilogy is an example of that, as are August Wilson’s works). Pure sequels (cough, Annie 2, cough, Bring Back Birdie) often don’t work as well, but usually that is because they try to repeat the same jokes and structure as the original. Having not seen the earlier incarnations, I can’t assess how much of that is the case for this play (but it surely seems to be based on the other play’s synopses).

The performances were very good. I was particularly smitten by both female leads: Truett Jean Butler (FB) as Bernice and Rebekah Dunn† (FB) as Clara. Butler just had some quality that drew me to her — I don’t know if it was her face, her expressions, her emotions — but my eye was just drawn to her character. Similarly, Dunn had that weary long married look of exasperation I know so well :-); and she had a completely different look in the second act when she let her hair down that gave the real demonstration of how love endures in a long term marriage. As my wife says, “Divorce never, murder frequently”. Both had good singing voices but came across a tad week — I think that was more the nature of the songs and the orchestrations than anything else. It would be interesting to see them in a caberet performance.
(†: In previous shows, this actor appears to have been credited as Rebekah Brown Czarnecki)

The male performers were equally strong — in particular Don Schlossman (FB) in his dual roles as Gunner and Trigger (which must be exhausting). Bert Emmett (FB) was good in his comic relief role as Kanute. Lastly, Troy Whitaker (FB) gave off a lovely boyish naive charm as Aarvid. Again all sang well but not strong due to the nature of the songs.

The direction, by Doug Engalla (FB) assisted by Natalia Santamaria (FB), worked reasonably well to make the characters as believable as possible given the story and the setup. The dance, under the choreography of Stan Mazin (FB), seemed simple. On the one hand, these are supposed to be patrons and owners of a backwoods bar in Minnesota — you’re not going to be seeing anything fancy there (unless it is with a moose). On the other hand, however, the simplicity of the dance and the nature of the movement made the songs stand out that much more: they became more like novelty numbers than seemlessly integrated. I can’t help but wonder if a different approach to the movement might have made the songs fit in a little better. Perhaps not. It could just be that is the nature of this particular beast. They do grow them strange in the back woods.

Turning to the technical side: The set design by Chris Winfield (FB) evoked the backwoods bar well; evidently, there were hidden homages to the past instances of the series. In any case, it was a well done set. This combined with costumes by Jocelyn Finn that again evoked backwoods Minnesota well, including some cute costumes for Trigger and Bernice. Steve Shaw (FB)’s sound design provided appropriate sound effects, although the music itself was a bit electronic. The lighting design by J. Kent Inasy was simple and mostly, umm, white; no particular instance of using light to create or enhance mood stands out to me.  The show was produced by Laura Coker (FB).

There’s one other technical credit I want to call out: Nora Feldman, who did public relations. Nora didn’t get me to this show; in fact, by the time she sent me the press release I already had tickets for the show (for some reason, I’m on a number of lists for theatre press release). Nora did, however, respond to me when I asked if she could coordinate a ticket donation for the upcoming MoTAS Charity Golf Tournament, and that enabled me to meet Bert Emmett, the President of the Group Rep Board of Directors. I had a delightful conversation with Bert after the show about theatre and such. So I thank Nora and Bert: both for making the donation (for which MoTAS thanks you), and for taking the time to talk to me (which I appreciate).

Don’t Hug Me, We’re Married” continues at  the Group Rep (FB) until November 15. Tickets are available through  the Group Rep (FB) box office, and discount tickets may be available on Goldstar or LA Stage Tix. The remainder of  the Group Rep (FB) season looks interesting: the farce “Don’t Dress for Dinner” (December 12, 2014-January 25, 2015); “Tiger by the Tail” (March 6-April 9, 2015), “Love Again” (a set of three mini-musicals) (May 15-June 28, 2014), and “Lombardi” (July 24-September 6, 2015). I particularly want to see that last show, “Lombardi“.

[Ob. Disclaimer: I am not a trained theatre critic; I am, however, a regular theatre audience. I've been attending live theatre in Los Angeles since 1972; I've been writing up my thoughts on theatre (and the shows I see) since 2004. I do not have theatre training (I'm a computer security specialist), but have learned a lot about theatre over my many years of attending theatre and talking to talented professionals. I pay for all my tickets unless otherwise noted. I believe in telling you about the shows I see to help you form your opinion; it is up to you to determine the weight you give my writeups.]

Upcoming Theatre and Concerts:  October currently has two shows remaining: “Pippin” at the Pantages (FB) on 10/25, and the Los Angeles Symphonic Winds (FB) at Calabasas High School on 10/26 (follows by the MoTAS Golf Tournament the next day at the Calabasas Country Club). November is back to busy, with “Big Fish” at Musical Theatre West (FB) on Sat 11/1, “Handle with Care” at The Colony Theatre (FB) on Sun 11/9 (shifting to avoid ACSAC and opening night), a trip out to Orange Empire Railway Museum to see my buddy Thomas on 11/11,  “Sherlock Holmes and the Suicide Club” at REP East (FB) on Sat 11/15, the Nottingham Festival on Sun 11/16, and “Kinky Boots” at the Pantages (FB) on Sat 11/29. I may also see some theatre when I visit my daughter Erin in Berkeley between 11/20 and 11/26. Right now, I’m looking at The Immigrant at Tabard Theatre (FB) in San Jose, “Harvey” at Palo Alto Players (FB) in Palo Alto, or “Rhinocerous” at the UC Berkeley Theatre Department (FB). As for December, right now I’m just holding one date: “She Loves Me” at Chance Theatre (FB) in Anaheim on 12/20. Right now, there is only one show booked for January 2015 – “An Evening with Groucho” at AJU with Frank Ferrente. As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411.


Saturday News Chum: Better Late than Never

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Oct 18, 2014 @ 3:36 pm PDT

Observation StewI know, I’ve been abnormally quiet the last two weeks. Combine business travel, coming back with a cold, a busy week, and planning for a golf tournament (you can still sign up to play) and… whew! Still, I’ve got a few articles accumulated:

  • Passwords. Passwords of the bain of our existence online. For the longest time, I resisted the pull of password managers, keeping my passwords on a card in my wallet in 4 pt type or smaller, with only a code for the account and the password. Even that got unmanagable, and based on the recommendations of a number of others, I went with Lastpass. That’s all in the way of leadin to this article on what you should consider in a password manager. I looked for one that never handled the decrypted password vault in the cloud, and that could support two-factor authentication. It has certainly moved me in the direction of having longer and stronger passwords, which is a good thing. What is annoying, however, are the large number of accounts out there that do not provide anyway to change your passwords once established. Here’s a related useful article on how to enable two-step authentication on almost everything.
  • Getting the Youth. The Golf Tournament I mentioned above is for the Men of Temple Ahavat Shalom. We have a problem: often, when I’m in a meeting, I’m the youngest in the room. How do we get college age kids active and involved? Here’s an interesting article from the Forward on Open Hillel, and how they got young folks back. Interesting thoughts. Intellectual debate about religion. Whou’da thunk it? :-)
  • Abandoned Malls. I haven’t seen the movie “Gone Girl”, but here’s an interesting article on the abandoned mall in the movie — which is in Southern California. Abandoned things are interesting — I still remember as a young child of perhaps 12 or 13 visiting some abandoned homes near my grandmothers in West LA that were about to be torn down. I go to that block today (1 block south of Santa Monica off Veteran) and all those homes have been replaced by large apartments. I still see the homes.
  • A Nobel Cause. I almost had a theme to post here last week: I had an article on how to dissolve your Nobel prize, and an article about carrying a Nobel prize through an airport. Never could find a third Nobel prize article.
  • Halloween Ideas. Seen on the news: The Teal Pumpkin campaign to indicate houses safe for those with food allergies.
  • Microsoft Patches. Lastly, I lost a good hour this week to failed Microsoft patches. I warned folks on Facebook, but here’s an article on the problem from Information Week.

What You Mean “Discover Us”? We discover you!

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Oct 13, 2014 @ 5:03 am PDT

[Today is Columbus Day, and, FYI, the banks are closed. Whether you view today as a celebration of Christoper Columbus (which is happening less and less), or a celebration of indigenous peoples (a fitting repurposing), we need to remember the real reason for the day: to give bankers 3-day weekends :-)]

In 1961, the humorist Stan Freberg issued Volume 1 of The United States of America, a musical telling of the founding of America through the Battle of Yorktown (Volume 2 goes through the end of World War I (“They’ll never be another war…”)). The first scene on Volume 1 relates the story of how the Native American’s discovered Columbus, and how Columbus traveled to the “New World” to fulfill his dream — to bring death and disease to the people of the new world (and because his love affair with Isabella had been discovered). As today is Columbus Day, I present a transcription of the scene:


Delayed Stew: Post-Holiday News Chum Stew, in multiples of two

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Oct 06, 2014 @ 12:31 pm PDT

Observation StewThis has been a busy weekend, what with Yom Kippur and MoTAS building the Sukkah on Sunday. As a result, the posting of the usual News Chum stew got delayed until today. Hopefully it didn’t get burned sitting on the stove for so long.


Go Clean Your Room!

Written By: cahwyguy - Sat Oct 04, 2014 @ 8:45 am PDT

userpic=tallitLast week I wrote about the Rosh Hashanah sermons at our synagogue. Last night was Kol Nidre (Erev Yom Kippur), and guess what… another sermon. Nu? You expected I wouldn’t write about it?

Last night’s sermon was given by Rabbi Shawna (I”ll link it here once she posts it) and dealt with death. She was basically building on the notion that Yom Kippur is preparing one for one’s death. Setting the accounts straight, so to speak. Her theme was the things that you need to do now to prepare for your death.

Much of what she discussed was practical device designed to make life easier for those you care about when you get older and cannot make decisions, or when you are no longer there to make decisions. This included the following items, which I presume that everyone is doing (if not, do it):

  • Make an Advance Directive . Figure out what life-saving measures you do and do not want when you are in the final stages of life. Respirators. Pain killers. Intubation. Life support. Investigate all of these things and decide what you want. Write those instructions down, and make sure you children and trusted confidants know where to find the information.
  • Make Sure Your Children Are Addressed. Have children or others you support or take care of? Make sure you leave guardianship and care instructions.
  • Boxing It Up. How do you want to be buried: fancy box or plain pine? What type of service? What cemetary? If you can, pre-pay and make pre-need arrangements, and make sure your loved ones/confidants know where your instructions are.
  • Heirlooms. Do you have family heirlooms your kids will be fighting over. Make sure you leave clear instructions on who gets what.

Shawna also discussed the importance of leaving an Ethicial Will: Ethical instructions you want to pass on for future generations on how to live, and the values to have. More importantly, she stressed that even more important than writing your values down is living your values and teaching your children through your actions. She put it this way:

The way you live your life is how you will be remembered.

This is a very important thing to keep in mind.

However, Shawna forgot two important things:

Clean Your Room. Yom Kippur helps you deal with the spiritual junk you accumulate. You should also work to clean up the mental junk: all those grudges you hold, all the bad attitudes. Get rid of those now, before your children have to deal with the impacts of them on your friends.

More importantly, when you die, someone will have to dispose of all that physical stuff and junk you’ve accumulated. All those papers you’ve kept. All those photos. All those files and collections. All your furniture. All your tchotchkes. We’re still disposing of stuff from my dad 10 years ago! Make your children’s life easy and declutter now! This will also make it much easier for them when you have to move into assisted living or senior living (and more and more are doing).

Here’s an important postscript to this: Remember to clean your porn stash. Yes, most people have one and never admit it. Your children discover it while cleaning your house when you die, and no amount of brain bleach can get rid of those images.

The Electronic World. If you’re like me, you have a large electronic life. Accounts at banks and other financial institutions. Passwords to your email and social accounts. Obtaining access to these things is difficult when you die or become incapacitated, and increasingly they are required to keep paying your bills. Here’s my advice: (1) Get a password manager, such as Lastpass. (2) Make sure your children/trusted confidant has the key passwords they will need — the password to your account on your computer, the master password to your password manager, and anything else they might need to get to the password manager (such as your phone unlock code). (3) Make sure they know how to answer those pesky security questions, or keep a list of them and their answers as a secure note in your password manager.

Additionally, clean your room. Have instructions to your loved ones on how to disburse your electronic files as appropriate. Clean out all those electronic files that go back to the days of MS-DOS that you will never use again. And for heaven sakes, get rid of that digital porn stash as well — or at least encrypt it so they just delete it. A digital stash is better than those disgusting magazines you have under the bed or in the file in the garage, but still … oh, I need that brain bleach!


Shawna said, “The way you live your life is how you will be remembered.” I’ll add to that: The last impression you leave for your children is the junk you leave behind that they have to clean up. Make sure they don’t need the brain bleach and the mental floss.


California Highway Headlines for September 2014

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Oct 01, 2014 @ 7:38 pm PDT

userpic=roadgeekingAs the new year turns (what, you say, it’s not New Years yet? Silly! It is both Jewish New Year and the start of a new Government Fiscal Year)… as I was saying, as the new year turns, here are some headlines about California highways from the last month of the last year:

  • Presidio Parkway project moving along, slated for 2015 opening. New tunnels are forming and new roads are poured by the day as Marin drivers see their future path taking shape where Doyle Drive once stood. In its place the new $1 billion Presidio Parkway is emerging and is set to open in the summer of 2015. Late 2015 had been the target date, but a good pace of construction and the drought have helped push up the date.
  • Event marks near-completion of Highway 12 Jameson Canyon project. Leaders from communities on both sides of Jameson Canyon gathered at Jameson Ranch Vineyards to applaud what state Department of Transportation Director Malcolm Dougherty called a much-anticipated near-grand opening of the wider, safer Highway 12 between Fairfield and Highway 29 near Napa.
  • Officials celebrate completion of Jameson Canyon widening project. After years of planning, two ballot initiatives, traffic snarls and fatal crashes, the long-awaited Jameson Canyon Road/Highway 12 widening project will be completed by the end of next week. Given that history, the elected officials who gathered at the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning reflected a mixture of moods — at times somber, mirthful, thankful and relieved.
  • New carpool lane in Novato set to open. Caltrans is set to open a 1.6-mile carpool lane Saturday morning on northbound Highway 101 in Novato, another incremental piece of the Sonoma-Marin Narrows highway widening project. The new lane, from just north of Atherton Avenue to just south of Olompali State Park, will ease the commute for northbound drivers at a key bottleneck where four lanes of traffic have merged into two. The $14 million project includes a widened bridge over Rush Landing Road, where traffic will now merge into three lanes through the 1.6-mile stretch.
  • Editorial: Progress made on widening Novato Narrows. For thousands of Novato commuters, the widening of Highway 101 can’t come soon enough. New lanes, widening of the highway’s Novato Narrows segment, are being finished “a chunk at a time.” That’s the way Mike Ghilotti, president of San Rafael’s Ghilotti Bros. Inc., described the methodical progress of the 16-mile job.
  • Federal money approved for fixes to bottleneck at 57 and 60 freeways. There may be relief in sight for drivers and truckers facing one of Southern California’s worst bottlenecks. Federal officials Tuesday approved a $10-million grant for a series of fixes to the congested interchange between the 60 Freeway and the 57 Freeway in eastern Los Angeles County.
  • New Hwy. 101 off-ramp opens in Petaluma. Another small piece of the Sonoma-Marin Narrows Highway 101 project opened this morning. Caltrans said the northbound off-ramp at the new Petaluma Boulevard South/Kastania Road interchange is now open to traffic. The interchange is now three-fourths open, with only the northbound on-ramp left to be completed. Crews continue to work on the new frontage road, extending Petaluma Boulevard South along the east side of the freeway. Farther south in Marin county, the new interchange at the Redwood Landfill is nearly complete with only the southbound off-ramp left to open. That project, including a new bike path through the Narrows, is expected to be completed next month.
  • MURRIETA: Keller Road/I-215 interchange to be accelerated. It’s still years away, but Murrieta officials are working to fast-track a new Interstate 215 interchange at Keller Road in the northern reach of the city. With the inking of a $1.25 million contract with Pasadena-based Jacobs Engineering Inc. on Tuesday, the Murrieta City Council is aiming to complete a condensed second phase of preparation in about 18 months. The phase – which involves planning, design and environmental study – usually takes three to five years.
  • Richmond Bridge third lane proposal inches forward. A proposal to add a third lane to ease congestion on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is moving forward, albeit as slowly as the traffic on northbound 101 at rush hour. In March, “The Bay Area Transportation Authority approved a contract with HNTB Corp. for up to $3 million to provide design services,” the first step toward making the third lane a reality, said Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin. A bike path on the upper deck is also part of the design.
  • 880-280 interchange: New ramps near Valley Fair to open in a few days. Work on the $62.1 million interchange at interstates 880 and 280 is coming down to the final paving stretch — and getting to Silicon Valley’s main shopping hubs at Valley Fair and Santana Row this Christmas season should be much easier. In a few days, three new on- and offramps to Stevens Creek Boulevard will open, and by Thanksgiving a special lane feeding traffic onto Monroe Street and bypassing Stevens Creek Boulevard should be ready. And early next year the biggest plum — the flyover ramp from north Interstate 280 to north Interstate 880 — should open, just before all the shovels and cranes are removed and workers depart for good.
  • . Caltrans and Metro today released the long-awaited draft environmental study for the High Desert Corridor project, which contemplates a new 63-mile freeway between Palmdale in Los Angeles County and the town of Apple Valley in San Bernardino County — along with a possible high-speed rail line, bikeway and green energy transmission corridor. The study also considers the legally-required No Build alternative.
  • Bay Bridge Steel Rods Are Sound, Final Tests Confirm. Metropolitan Transportation Commission chairman Steve Heminger said Tuesday that he is pleased that final tests confirm that most of the steel rods on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge are safe and don’t need to be replaced. But Heminger expressed concern that a 2011 investigation that found problems with some of the rods, which secure earthquake shock absorbers to the deck of the eastern span, wasn’t brought to his attention or made public until recently
  • Latest defect: Bay Bridge tower rods sitting in water. Nearly every one of the 423 steel rods that anchor the tower of the new Bay Bridge eastern span to its base has been sitting in potentially corrosive water, Caltrans officials said Tuesday — one of the most serious construction defects found yet on the $6.4 billion project.
  • California artists to get pieces of old Bay Bridge to work with. At least 300 tons of the old Bay Bridge will live on in California public art projects that could include anything from light poles or street benches to large sculptures.

Register and Attend ACSAC 2014 (December 8-12, New Orleans LA)

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Sep 30, 2014 @ 8:50 am PDT

userpic=acsacWhen many people think about conferences, this media created image comes to mind of the conventions of yore that are pure boondoggles. But those who attend technical conferences and symposia know that the media image is far from the truth. Conferences are serious affairs during business hours with training sessions, papers, panels, keynote speakers. Much of that you could get through a web course or a book, but a conference goes beyond that and gives you something even more important: that chance to network and interact with your peers in the industry, and to make those connections that prove critical as you do your job.

I’m mentioning all of this because registration is now open for the 30th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC), being held December 8–12, 2014 at the Hyatt French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. ACSAC is a great mid-size conference — it’s not the gigantic RSA or Blackhat with thousands of people making it impossible to network, nor is it a small symposium with a narrow technical focus and insufficient critical mass of attendees. ACSAC typically has an attendance around 200, and provides well rounded technical program with training and workshops on Monday and Tuesday, and papers, panels, speakers, and case studies on Wednesday through Friday. I’ve been attending the conference since the 4th ACSAC in 1989 in Tucson, and have continually found it to be of value in what I do.

Let me give some highlights for this year’s program:

You can see the full program at the ACSAC website; each session has links with more information. Information on conference registration and hotel registration is here. Please spread the word about the conference with your friends, colleagues, coworkers, and associates.

Disclaimer: If you know me at all (and I hope you do, if you are reading this), I’ve been involved with the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) for a long time. I’ve been the chair of the training program since 1990, and over the years I’ve also done local arrangements and been general chair of the conference. I’m also the Secretary of the sponsoring organization, ACSA. ACSA, the sponsoring organization behind ACSAC, also runs the New Security Paradigms Workshop, and is the initiator and sponsor of the Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS).

P.S.: ACSAC 31 (and 32) will be at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles near Universal City December 7-11, 2015 (and December 5-9, 2016). Mark your calendars now to “save the dates”. I’ll be doing local arrangements for those conferences, and would love to demonstrate why Southern California is the best draw for cybersecurity!