Saturday, April 16, 2011

Catchin' My Breath for the Grind Ahead

Lately all I do is work and sleep...on my days off, I relax and sleep. The days are getting longer and ski season gets a day shorter daily.

Grooming's been good so far this week. SuperHero Snow reigned on my first shift of the week. We kicked it big time, knocked out some extra trails, and were punched out early. Last night, the squeak in the snow was gone, but temps had stayed reasonable, so it still went well.

Still, I felt used up driving home. I've been meaning to hit the Post Office and grocery store each morning after work, but I guess I've deemed these to be Non-Essential trips. I can survive on my larder, such as it is.

That new distributor isn't going to install itself...just a sunny day God...that's all I'm askin'...

I fell asleep twice today watching Formula One P2 Practice on my DVR. Last evening I streamed P1 which is presented without commentary. I was struck by how much the weather in Shanghai looked like Coastal California winter weather. I enjoyed the long, uninterrupted looks at the team's latest aerodynamic bits, especially the front wing elements (which are terrifically complex, and sculpturally gorgeous)

So this morning I was watching P2 from China when Steve Matchette former Benetton-F1 mechanic and SpeedTV F1 Analyst commented on the smog in Shanghai...not a coastal marine layer ala Coastal California in industrial smog! Yikes! I remember the Summer Olympics from Beijing, and how I worried for the athlete's looked worse yesterday.

P3 streams at 8PM PDT and Qualifying is DVR-ready at 11PM, and the Chinese Grand Prix rolls out Saturday night at 11:30PM PDT

Friday, April 15, 2011

Master and Commander

A great film that one. Captain Jack Aubry had a great line in it: "What a fascinating, modern world we live in"

I often remember that line when today's tech offers a new experience. Tonight it was 90 minutes of live streaming video from Shanghai, China. Formula One's P1, the first free practice of the F1 weekend.

This is pure raw video without commentary, and with only the barest compliment of graphics showing the time rankings.

This is good for a hardcore gearhead like me. It seems the teams are much less protective of their stuff when there's not a pit lane reporter accompanying the camera man to explain every new nuance to the millions of television viewers around the world. Long, lurid looks at the latest front wing elements, and other aerodynamic bits would get the garage door slammed in mid-shot on TV. Man does this stuff flick my switch!

I gotta keep it short today...I needed my sleep!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Light Switch Weather

I'm being more than a little lazy this morning...this being laundry day and all...I was up before 0430, and fell back asleep until 8:30AM. Upon waking, I was elated to see another bluebird morning shaping up.

I fought my better nature, and lazed in bed for another hour and a half...scanned the email, read some pundits, caught up on the Formula One News, and watched the Trainwreck News.

I finally got up and headed upstairs to make sure the garbage and recycling were curbside just before 11AM. WTF? It was snowing horizontal...and there was a half an inch on the deck and stairs!

Now at 11:30AM the sun is starting to break through again! There's still snowflakes floating about, but the little front appears to be blasting through in a forecast.

I scanned the webcams, satellite images, and checked CalTrans for chain controls...chain controls are up on Hwy50 over the controls on I-80 yet, the Kingvale webcam shows wet lanes, but no shadows yet. The remote sensors have the mercury just under 30°F at pass level 7337 Ft.

The sun's getting brighter out, so it's probably all but finished...laundry is dragging on too...the snow came on like a light switch, but it looks more like the end will be the taper-off kind...

I watched the Noon News from Sacramento...should be some cold air hanging around for a day or two...fingers crossed!

Drat, a close reading of Reno's AFD says normal temps will likely return by Thursday afternoon...for sure the Hero Snow will be baked off by Friday night. #earningit

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cheeseburger Time

Sunday mornings are my Friday Nights. After our most excellent Saturday Graveyard Shift, my week ended on a high note. I had enough time in hand to spend a few minutes on top of my mountain with all my lights off watching the first colors of  dawn paint my world as Venus changed from Mars red to Venus white.

We wrapped up the mountain and base areas by 8AM and we finished the shift helping Park Guy wrap up his list. We were back at the fuel dock by 8:30AM, and punched out by 9:00

A glorious morning made me savor my drive sky, cobalt blue lakes, velvet mountain forests is the sunshine, clean, cold air...every time I have a morning like this, I thank my lucky stars that life lead me here.

In Full Savor Mode, I postponed a grocery store stop and headed home to the DaveCave, where my DVR was brimming with open wheel racing and the Spring Classic Paris/Roubaix bicycle race.

I parked the parts runner in the driveway, grabbed my stuff and headed down the stairs. As I took the first step, I heard it...the first cheeseburger bird call of spring. "Hell yes!" I shouted...

After watching the F1 Qualifying and the start of the Malaysian GP, then sleeping through the Giants/Cards Game, I woke up and finished viewing a great F1 race from Mayalasia. The IndyCar Race from Alabama's Barber Motorsports Park was quite a bit less engaging so I surfed the web and found this:

No, I'm not the Goofy Gus muggin' for his child here, but you can hear my point...

I don't think Springtime has officially arrived until I hear the Mountain Chickadee sing "Cheese-Bur-Ger" I love these little guys!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Embarrassed By My Riches

We enjoyed another phenomenal shift last night.

It began with a beautiful view of the crescent moon setting over the mountains to the West. A thin coat of new snow greeted me on the way out of the DaveCave, and the ambient temp was noticeably colder  than it's been in weeks.

I got to work about 15 minutes early, and all the swing shift guys were already in the Groomer's Ready Room, signed out, and ready to go home...they were a jovial bunch. Hero Snow will do that!

The Graveyard Crew would be looking for something to do before

Into the night we went. I was going for the same trails I opened Thursday night. Now I'd be able to climb these runs, and they'd be perfect when I finished.

As I surmised, we were looking for something to do a little after 0500. At 0530 the Boss called and I asked him if he'd winch a run in the demo Beast Winchcat when he got in. "Sure, I'll give you a shout on the 2-way when I get there"

I radioed Jeweler, and asked him to meet me. We tag-teamed a plow project that I've been trying to do for three weeks. With the big winch on deck, I finally had the place to put a ton of snow, and another cat to make the pushing much easier.

Jeweler dug and pushed blade-full after blade-full of snow 50 yards, and piled it up in front of me. I pushed it down into the run the Boss would groom when he got in. All in all, Jeweler and I moved around 120 cubic yards of snow in a little over a half an hour.

We got a good start on the project. Jeweler took the big wind drift down five feet. Now our guests don't have to climb up and over this thing (or skirt around it) It's still uphill from the bottom of the ramp to the trails to the West, but now it's a gradual rise, not a Himalayan Expedition.

Prinoth Beast Winch
I expect that barring breakdowns, we'll have another go at it tonight.