Saturday, December 5, 2009


With a tip of my hat to Carly Simon...

It's started again...that anticipating/wishing/hoping/praying/buzzing in the skiing/snowboarding/big wave surfing/weather-geeking universes!

According to all the AFD's up and down the West Coast, the next big chance for Pattern Change is on it's way towards the forecast area. Friday morning's Reno ADF called the coming events: "the perfect recipe for snow" welcome is that news? Pretty darn...

Here I am, still cooling my heels at the Ancestral Digs, gathering online intel day in, day out, doing the myriad chores and projects to fill my days of waiting.

The Bay Area TV News folks are practically gushing in anticipation of this storm coming to town. Breathlessly they run through their forecast sound bites, and weave in their hoped-for announcement of the 2009/2010 Maverick's Surf Contest. Fifty foot waves are possible by Tuesday at Mavericks they gush. Good gosh, what a way to kick off Winter! Thanks are in order for all the Mountain Folk who've been doing their Snow Dances! Here's hoping those aligning models trumpet the arrival of a real El Niño Style Winter Season!

Getting Ready
Thursday afternoon, the FedEx Guy stopped by the Ancestral Digs to deliver my new Handheld Device. After hours of online research, trips to Geek Emporiums, and the local Verizon Wireless Store, I decided on an iPod Touch for my mobile internet solution.

The Touch is the Apple iPhone...sans the phone. Verizon, my carrier released the Motorola Droid last month, and driven by Google's Android Operating System, this Smartphone will remake the Smartphone Playing Field. This device was my number one choice, but I opted to wait to jump into a Smartphone Plan until the impact of Google's arrival on the Mobile Landscape plays out. To get all the cool advantages of Smartphones, you've got to get a Data Plan in addition to your monthly Cell Phone Plan. I'm too cheap to commit to doubling my monthly phone bill, especially since I don't really need Mobile Internet except during Grooming Season.

I spent all of my Thursday night (and a good portion into Friday morning) loading the Touch with handy "Aps", and synchronizing it with my computer. Even across platforms this was all enjoyable, not the giant cluster of hassles of a few years ago. Apple's Ap Store boasts 100,000 applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch today. Dozens and dozens of Weather Aps are available, with more choices coming online weekly.

In the coming weeks, as I become more adept at operating this little handheld computer that plays tunes, I'll be able to communicate right from the operator's throne of my Snowcat! That's the bonus, fun side of this device. Looking at Real-Time Weather Radar and Satellite Images on the Mountain will be invaluable! Getting up to the second intel about what's coming our way...without having to get off my Mountain to get in front of a Mountain network computer, is going to be Golden! Massaging the Back-Up Plan will become proactive, instead of reactive. This is going to save hours of grief, and make my crew even more effective.

One night this season, I expect my cat will go down...just a hydraulic hose or fitting, or maybe a relay will sideline me for an hour or so while the Graveyard Mechanic works on the problem to get me going again. If I'm in range of the Mountain's WiFi, I will write this blog from my broken cat!

If you're following @CorduroyPlanet on Twitter, expect an occasional Tweet from the seat of my cat as well...this is going to be too much fun!

More Lost Time
From the "It happens every Fall Division"...
So I'm playing with the iPod, while not watching the NewsFeed from FoxNews on the TV,and scrolling through my freshly imported Bookmarks, I clicked on my link to the Half Moon Bay Buoy from the NDBC (National Data Buoy Center) to see if Surf Contest Conditions were brewing. In an instant the page loads and says: "The page you requested is not found" I should have expected this...I looked at all my Buoy Pages just a month ago in preparation for Crab Season...all six were good to go.

I end up whining about this practice the Government goes through every Fall. I thought they change these pages because they have excess time on their hands, but as I started to revise my Bookmarks, I noticed that Google is now a major part of the NDBC Product.

All the Buoys are on Google Maps now. Typically, you zoom in on the World Map until you can resolve the little piece of ocean you want, and hover the cursor over the colorful specks representing the different Stations (read buoys) until the buoy you're looking for is on it's link and you get to the Buoy's Page where the data is displayed...Whew!

I must have stumbled onto the NDBC's Annual Revision Festival half way through the process...of my six Bookmarked Buoys, four are the new-style Google-fied feeds: Point Reyes, Bodega Bay, San Francisco, and Half Moon Bay...just in time for the Big Surf Contest. All told, I shot 30 minutes resetting my Buoy Bookmarks...not as bad as I feared...side note: Bodega Bay's Station 46013 Buoy has been down since October, and the Coast Guard is working to get it into their Buoy Maintenance Schedule, and back online.

A quick look at the Buoy Data shows seas between 9 and 10ft this Friday 12/4/09. The Local TV WeatherGushers, are all abuzz about the Big Swell forecast to arrive Tuesday, and the possible call to arms of the 25 World's Greatest Big Wave Surfers. The Mavericks Surf Contest Window has been open since November 1st. When the Organizers decide the swell is huge enough, the call goes out to the 25, and they have 24 hours to get to Half Moon Bay for the Big Show.

It could be the Epic Kickoff to a Big Winter...Lord knows drought stricken California could use the water!

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