Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Got Nothin'

Another sunset enjoyed from the horizontal...I'm still grinding out some remove and replace carpentry at the SturgUrge Compound in advance of the looming cold front. Perhaps my fatigue is the cause of my contentedness. There's no bee in my bonnet, no fire in my belly, everything is A-OK (if you don't factor in all the troubles NASA has been having getting the Space Shuttle Discovery into orbit this week)

There were lovely high clouds for the setting sun to paint SF Giants' Orange tonight, and once enjoyed, I fired up the internet to check on the latest AFD's, remote sensor data, and to do  a little tele-presence viewing with the High Sierra webcams.

Things looked altogether too nice up there...too warm up there...and the forecasts keep getting less and less optimistic for snow in decent amounts.

Boreal has done yeoman's work getting their mountain open with such tiny windows of snowmaking temps, and the Boreal Groomers have been rock stars keeping the trails together in the warm days and nights since they opened.

Looking at this afternoon's webcam image told me they were in more than a bit of trouble today. Boreal hasn't had any significant snowmaking time since they opened on Friday October 29th for their Traditional Halloween Opening.

After I watched the 5 O'Clock News and weather, a tweet from @borealmtn announced they'd be pulling the plug until Tuesday morning November 9th. You've gotta hand it to the whole Boreal Crew, they worked miracles given the little support they got from Mother Nature! As my friend BajaBabe says: "Mother Nature bats last"

No kidding! Since Boreal opened, there's barely been any time where the overnight thermometer even got into the 30's (and I'm talkin' 39°F, not 30°F!) Afternoon temps flirted with the 70's most of the week, too.

Give Boreal's Snowmakers and Groomers a big hand folks...they've earned it in spades!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Calm Before the Storm?

Thursday was a fine fall afternoon here in the Inland Valley. Sunny and in the 70's, it was a great day. Once I finished up over at the SturgeUrge compound for the day, I hit the Remote Sensors to confirm another nice Fall day on the Sierra Crest.

The webcam views showed a sunny afternoon and the PWS data confirmed the Warm/Wonderful part. Mid-60's afternoon temps seem so luxurious in November. How long can it last?

I searched Reno's AFD for a little insight. They're dealing with that splitting system scenario that's so common during La Niña events, so timing and track are a little iffy. They do say the second wave for Sunday night into Monday will come in warm and cool down to Lake Level snow levels. Alas by the time snow levels drop, the moisture will have past, so there's only going to be a few inches of accumulation.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Rain on My Parade

I watched a parade on TV Wednwsday...all four hours of it!

No I'm not big on parades really, It must be 30+ years since I've seen more than a second of the Rose Parade while clicking around the dial in search of a College Football Bowl Game.

Now that I think of it, I do watch the Fourth of July Parade in Downtown Truckee when the CableTV company puts it up on the Local Channel...Truckee's Independence Day parade is so "Small Town America" and comfortably corn-ball. I love watching the kids havin' such a giddy good time. The highlight show never goes more than an hour.

So, what of the Four Hour Parade?

This was the San Francisco Giants World Series Parade. The four hours of TV coverage was on COMCAST's SportsNet Bay Area, and had the studio hosts babbling about the day and the Giants' history in San Francisco while they introduced each live report from the parade route. The whole affair was like an Orange and Black stream washing down a cobble strewn brook...mellow in comparison to the edge of your seat excitement that was this season for the SF Giants and their fans.

There's lots of stuff to talk about and remember about the team since they arrived in San Francisco back in 1958 full of hope and promise...lots of wistful memories were conjured up Wednesday.

The Giants say more than a million fans lined the parade route and filled the Civic Center Plaza in front of City Hall where the stage was set for the Giants and a bevy of dignitaries on hand to fete the team.

Throughout the whole four hours, I saw and heard so many "If only so and so had lived, they'd be so happy that the Giants finally, after all these years, won the "Big One"

Everyone in my family said it this week. "Dad would have loved this"...

Typical of any "Only in San Francisco" event, there were signs and costumes...I read in today's Chronicle their account of the day. One fan was holding his infant son who had a sign that read "I've been waiting SEVEN MONTHS for this" Here's the Chronicle's photo album.

COMCAST SportsNet showed the whole four hour show again Wednesday night...

It was a beautiful  warm Autumn day in the City, and the forecast is for two more days of warming before the next wet system comes to visit.

So, full of happy feelings and warm all over, I surfed the web to see how warm the mountains were. It was  nearly 70°F Wednesday afternoon. Reno's AFD  was still touting possible record high temps before the weekend arrival of the next system, and Boreal walked back their program to one chair, night skiing only.Boreal's website announced that their "Operation schedules will be updated day-by-day"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Heat Is On

What a "weekend"! No rest for the wicked I always say...I couldn't help myself on my days off...I had to write about the SF Giants and their place in my life.

I managed to get some tech issues wrangled, did a bit of carpentry at the SturgeUrge Compound, and touched bases with most of my far-flung family before sitting down to today's game...Mid-Term Election Returns on the radio!

Talk about Blood Sport! Politics is for keeps! Enough said.

After it was all over but the crying, I turned my attention back to the High Sierra Snowmaking Saga.

Sure, it's only November 3rd, but Boreal is endeavoring to stay open for night skiing Mid-Week this week.

The weekend system is but a memory now. Here in the Inland Valley the temps are climbing to Indian Summer levels. In SoCal, Red Flag Fire Warnings are up for the big Santa Ana Winds.

Up on the Sierra Crest, a look at the PWS data shows all stations still in the Mid-40's at 12:47AM. Worse yet, the Highs were in the Mid-60's Tuesday. Reno's AFD calls for warm temps until the next system comes calling Sunday and Monday with Lake Level Snow possible.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fathers and Sons

The Baseball Connection
Forgive me regular readers, I have to gush because my San Francisco Giants just won the World Series!

This has been some ride for a kid who was raised by a Native San Fransiscan to love the SF Giants and hate the LA Dodgers.

I was only six years old when the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers moved into California. Somebody in MLB had a bit of the PT Barnum in them back then, because they moved an established cross-town rivalry West and transplanted it into the fertile ground of the NorCal vs SoCal rivalry...genius.

I have vague memories of going with my Dad to see the San Francisco Giants at their temporary home, Seals Stadium before construction of Candlestick Park was complete. The stadium was the home of the Minor League San Francisco Seals, a Pacific Coast League team that was home to the DiMaggio Brothers.

The Seals celebrated their inaugural year in Seals Stadium by winning the PCL pennant in 1931. The following year, Seals outfielder Vince DiMaggio arranged a tryout for his younger brother Joe. In 1933, Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 61 straight games with the Seals, a harbinger of his 56-game hitting streak for the New York Yankees in 1941...Pop was a big fan of the Seals' Vince DiMaggio...Joltin' Joe DiMaggio? Not so much...

When Candlestick Park was finished, my Dad's Office bought Season Tickets. They used their seats to woo potential clients, and as perks for employees. I watched a lot of baseball from Section 10 Box 2A Seats 3-6

These were Front Row seats on the Left Field Line just outside of the Visitor's Dugout. (Seat 1 was adjacent to the dugout, and the row of seats behind our seats were reserved for the Visiting Team's wives and girlfriends). Actor Carl Malden had Seats 1&2 during the run of TV's "The Streets of San Francisco". Malden loved baseball, period...he always had a program folded open to the scorecard and he dutifully kept score from batter to batter.

We always bought a program, and my Dad showed me how to mark it up to keep score. I was never any good at keeping score...there was too much baseball happening all over the field and stands for me to pay attention to the scorecard.

As I was nurtured into a loyal SF Giants Fan, I fell in love with baseball...My Dad got me signed up for the local Little League Team, and we went to many Giants games every season. When I was 10 years old, the Giants had a magic season. Loaded with future Hall of Fame players, the Giants battled from the depths of their "June Swoon" to force a playoff series against those hated LA Dodgers for the pennant. They WON! It was amazing!

Next up, my Dad pulled me out of school to go to Game One of the World Series against the New York Yankees...the Whitey Ford, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Clete Boyer Yankees! We lost that game, and finally lost the Series, and I learned a little something about expectations and reality.

I've been waiting since that day for My Giants to win a World have untold numbers of SF Giants fans. Tonight our prayers have been answered.

Baseball is a 19th Century Game occupying October's Center Stage in the Media-Saturated 21st Century...

All throughout the Post Season, I've been watching and listening to the Giants' games with several of my closest and oldest friends, and sharing every up and down by way of the internet.

My Facebook page has been lighting up like a pinball machine in a 7.9 earthquake. Friends I haven't had a face to face with in 30+ years are sharing every pitch, close call, triumph, and setback.

Tonight, when it looked like the SF Giants would finally be World Series Champs, lots of the guys let their guards down a little...

I was amazed by how many guys talked about their Dads taking them to their first Giants game at Seals Stadium...lot's of remembrances of Dad's and early baseball lessons, baseball games, and baseball love. My Generation, who are closer to 60 than 39 were all little boys when the Giants came to town...formative baseball age, if you will...

Fathers and's the Great Unspoken Secret of baseball. I saw it referred to on TV tonight in the Post Game Hoopla on CableTV. Lots of talk about Giants fans waiting 52 years for a SF Giants Championship...about the Giants fans "looking down from above" finally seeing their beloved SF Giants winning it all.

On TV tonight after the game, my childhood idol, the best baseball player of all time, Willy Mays spoke of many of the same joys and fears that all my friends were feeling throughout the Giants' Post Season. Mays is a fan, as much as he's the Greatest to ever play the game.

Baseball is the only Professional Sport that has this level of love at it's core. Baseball is a super highway back to America's Agrarian Past, that pastoral, simple past of our best dreams and hopes, and a handy framework over which generations of Dads have molded their sons into civilized, caring and able men.
My Dad kept me out of school to go to Game One of the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees...the New York Yankees of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, and Clete Boyer. We lost that game, and finally the World Series setting up the Epic Oddesy

Monday, November 1, 2010

Marinate Until Saturated

OK, I'm marinating in it...San Francisco Giants World Series Baseball.

I'm a Radio Guy. I've loved Radio and radios since I can remember. I'm in love with the spoken word as well as the written word. I blame radio. I had the lucky fortune to be born in the San Francisco Bay Area in what is now known as "The Golden Age of Bay Area Radio"

Born in the early 50's, radio was ubiquitous in my childhood. Oh, TV was there, but TV was more Event Oriented back in those days. TV went off the air at bedtime. There were TV Shows that everyone always watched...your Ed Sullivan Shows, Jackie Gleason Shows...back then TV meant Variety Shows.

Growing up, I didn't know a single family where the television was on 24/7...not one...even big families with a bunch of kids.

My Dad was a radio Guy. A Civil Engineer, Dad was a hands-on guy, not just an idea man. Dad built stuff. He built a boat, a house full of furniture, and all the little nick-nacks that clutter up the furniture. Some of his dining chairs are still in use at the Ancestral Digs 50+ years after he made them.

I was too young to remember the Shop he built the furniture in, but I remember every shop since that one. They all had one thing in common...when you entered the shop and turned on the lights, the Radio came on too.

Back in the day, Dad listened to KSFO. "The World's Greatest Radio Station" was their slogan, and it was not an idle boast. KSFO was a popular music station in those days...Sinatra, Patty Page, Mel Torme, Steve and Edie, Big Band Dance Music, and the occasional Comedian. To me, all that was just filler (though my music library today features all those artists as well as My Generation's tunesmiths)...just filler between the DJ's. KSFO had so many Hosts that went on to the Broadcasting Hall of Fame...Don Sherwood, Al "Jazzbeaux" Collins, Terry McGovern, Ed "The Moose" Syracuse, Carter B Smith and more.

The hosts on KSFO all were storytellers, weaving "Theater of the Mind" with their ongoing shtick, casts of imaginary characters, and running gags on listeners and management. Irreverent good fun most of the time.

To me radio was always about the talk between the music until the Underground FM Revolution began in San Francisco. With the good quality of the FM sound, and the Freeform Programming, music came to the front of the class. I said goodbye to KSFO and hello to KMPX-FM.

The between tunes babble was way different on was the 60's Counter Culture on the air, but the FM Guys could spin a yarn, and the way many of the creative FM DJ's had of weaving the tunes into their presentation could be electric.

Eventually, business caught up with the new normal, and KMPX became KSAN...things just never seemed the same to me after that. Eventually the 70's happened to Music Radio. Disco, and Programming Services ended the Freeform FM's Heyday...not long after that I discovered Talk Radio.

Don Chamberlain's "California Girls" on KNEW was a "Relationship Talk Show" in the station's reality it was the first "Sex Talk" Show. Chamberlain's show only took women callers. It was heady stuff in it's never knew what you'd hear. Over the first summer I listened to Chamberlain's show I found other radio programs to keep my mind on a good simmer. (I was painting houses with a high school buddy in those days, and we found painting mind-numbingly boring)

We listened to lots of Public Radio. KPFA had lots of radio drama in those days...even serials. I fondly remember their multi-day presentation of "Day Of the Triffids" that was SciFi Gold...and really scary!

In time I discovered Owen Spann on KGO, and Talk Radio totally replaced what was left of Music Radio on my playlist. The discovery aspect of music radio was dead...killed by the Programming Services. Album Rock stations rose from the Underground Radio Ashes...playing the same 50 FM Hits...50 times a week...I was done.

Once hooked on Owen Spann, I found Jim Eason, Dr Dean Edell, Bruce Williams, Michael Jackson (The British Chat Host, not the moonwalking singer)...and loved 'em all...

...Which brings me to my point. Even with all that talk radio, there is one flavor of talk radio that TruckeeDave can't abide...

Sports Talk
I can't, and I barely can even try to give it a chance...I find it to be so much static...all Fanboys and retired sports figures hashing and re-hashing wins, losses, and interminable sporting minutia. I don't go there...Period.

So how come I've been listening to Sports Talk all week? San Francisco Giants Baseball...that's why!

The Giants are such a good story this season! Scrappin' their way up to the top of the baseball world from the NL West basement over the final three months of the regular's a feel-good story in an otherwise noisy world. Can't this election be over any sooner than Tuesday? I'm dreading the inevitable post-election litigation in every remotely close race that'll drag this one into December or worse...

OK, I've become a FanBoy...I'll admit many ways I'm the same 10 year old SF Giants fan that I was in 1962...when my Giants lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.

Oh, I'm not going wall-to-wall sports talk...but I am listening to the extended pre- and post-game Giants' Shows...this story of the 2010 Giants is so much fun...the misfits, oddballs, cast-offs and home-grown rookies are just plain Playin' Baseball...fundamental, hustle-up baseball...a different hero every game...even the East Coast-based "Sports Media" haven't told their story...and it's a good story.

Clearly this year's World Series Broadcast is in the hands of TV Guys...not Baseball Guys.

Sadly, the TV Guys aren't telling the Giants' Story...the Giants' Story is simply...the Giants are playing baseball the right way. Sure they have great pitching, but no sluggers...just good defensive execution plus heads-up base running and situational hitting.

When I think about it, the story is just baseball...simply baseball, the Giants are merely the players...this season Baseball, The Game, is the star, and the story.

Just plain Old Fashioned Baseball played in the World Series like every one of the previous 105 World Series...there's plenty to talk about...for baseball lovers.

The Giants win Game 4 and take a 3-1 lead in the World Series.

As always in Baseball, some history was on display. 

The Giants' 23 year-old catcher Buster Posey- and 21 year-old pitcher Madison Bumgarner  are the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra in Game 1, of the 1947 Series between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers

As with every Post-Season Giants Game...I turned the TV sound OFF and listened to the play-by-play on the radio. KNBR 680AM, the SF Giants Flagship is home to several future broadcast inductees to the Radio Hall of Fame...and John Miller who's already enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

These guys are a treat to listen to. If you're out of range of KNBR, no problemo! The KNBR Feed is on

Sunday, October 31, 2010


No joy in Mudville tonight. My Giants lost 4-2 in Texas. Now I'm waiting for Sunday's Game 4...

I got out of Truckee about 11AM Saturday morning...wet and gray, the mountains were socked in and drizzle was the flavor of the day. I wanted to go by Donner Lake and lookie-loo the autumn colors...maybe snap a photo or two...Sorry Charlie, low hanging clouds obscured all my eye candy, and I never even pulled over for a closer look.

I mailed my absentee ballot at the Soda Springs Post Office and decided against heading east on I-80 for a reconnaissance lap by Boreal...the clouds were on the deck up top, and pulling over for a Photo Op in poor visibility seemed like a fool's errand...or ironic epitaph, so I turned west and chased the rain bands down the mountain.

The rain let up for the most part in Sacramento, with just a cloudburst outside Vacaville.

I fired up the laptop about five minutes before Game 3's first tour of the webcams and PWS's showed no change on Donner Summit. I thought the remote weather stations were broken because the temps were the same as when I last looked 7-8 hours earlier.

On closer inspection, the MESOWEST station at Sugar Bowl had stopped updating Friday. All the other PWS's were online, and the temps were still hanging right around 39°F

After the game, I looked to Reno's AFD for some insights. They noted the clouds Banked up against the Western Slope:



That's not encouraging if you plan on making snow and selling lift tickets this week...I got the impression that next weekend could be less than ideal for snowmaking as well.

I have to remind myself of what my Boss said back in September: "I want to open Thanksgiving. I want to open when we're ready"

That happy thought didn't save me from remembering how much waiting lies ahead.