Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now

Do you remember those animated cartoons from TV in the late 60's where the Pitiful Little Man with hat in hand is followed around by a dark rain cloud? That Little Man was the Post-Posey-Injury Giants. This pitiful bunch just began a seven day road trip in Milwaukee, the first week of a 17 game stretch without a day off...look up foreboding in the dictionary and there's a picture of this week's SF Giants...

They clearly looked like Shell Shock Victims in their loss Thursday night to the visiting Florida Marlins. Friday night, a new light burst through that pesky rain cloud, and the World Champion San Francisco Giants are standing in the sunlight again!

Unfortunately, Giants' catcher Buster Posey isn't the only Giants player out with fact Buster wasn't the only Giant hurt in Wednesday's game! Giants' shortstop Mike Fontenot pulled a groin muscle trying to beat out a hit to first base Wednesday and was placed on the 15 Day Injured Reserve List along with speedy base stealer Darren Ford.

The Giants recalled Brandon Belt from the their Fresno Triple-A Club, and bought the contracts of two Giants' prospects from their Farm System, catcher Chris Stewart, also from Fresno, and infielder Brandon Crawford from the Single-A San Jose Giants. Call Stewart an insurance move, as Giants' back-up catcher Eli Whiteside is the real deal, and the pitching staff knows and trusts him.

Getting his first Major League Start Friday night, Brandon Crawford played shortstop for the injured Fontenot. Typically, the first hit of the game was a grounder to Crawford who fielded the ball on one hop and threw the batter out at first.

Crawford lined out to center in his first at bat, and hit into a double play in the 5th. Then, in the seventh inning, Brandon Crawford hit it out of the park...with the bases loaded! Grand Slam, the Giants take the lead 5-4. Giants' Play-by-Play announcer, Duane Kuiper called the play: "High drive...right-center field...Outta Here! And the Kid hits a Grand Slam, and the Giants take the lead"... "Welcome to the Majors, Kid" Priceless...

You could almost see the sunrise in the Giants' dugout! That pesky cloud and all the Pitiful Little Men had vanished...heads were held high once again, and the Posey deal was removed from the team's focus. The Brewers scored to come within one run in the 8th, but with a little drama in the 9th, closer Brian Wilson saved the win for starter Tim Lincecum, who didn't have his best stuff, but still didn't issue any walks, gave up three runs on six hits, and struck out four.

As has been the Giants' style since last July, it's a different hero every night. What a relief. As the Narrator said in Steinbeck's "Cannery Row": "Once again the world was spinning in greased grooves" I second that emotion!

Rookie Crawford is only the third Giant to hit a Grand Slam for his first Major League hit. It was only moments after the Homer that TV put up a graphic with the three Giants who'd achieved the feat, and I realized I was in the stands of Candlestick Park on June 25th, 1968 when rookie Bobby Bonds got his first Major League hit, a Grand Slam. Bobby (Barry Bonds father) grounded out to shortstop, and was hit by a pitch, all while swinging for the fences, and the fans let him know of their displeasure when he wiffed big at the first pitch of his third at bat. Bobby blasted the ball over the right field fence and the boos became cheers, the Giants won that game and a star was born...not a given by any means...the Giants were loaded with Hall of Famers then, Willy Mays, Willy McCovey, Juan Marichal, and Gaylord Perry.

So the clouds are lifted off my Giants...this afternoon we saw some blue sky here in the Inland Valley too. The forecast says High Sierra campers will be cold...and may be making snowmen...1-3 inches of snowfall in Saturday night's forecast, and snow levels low enough that chain controls are possible...

I keep telling myself at least the boat ramps will be in the water come October!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Better Part of Valor

Mothers teach their children that if you don't have anything nice to say, it's better to say nothing a all.

My armchair diagnosis of SF Giants catcher Buster Posey was accurate. Alas Buster suffered both a broken fibula and torn ankle ligaments...lots of 'em. He's most likely out for the season.

The still stunned Giants lost their third straight game Thursday afternoon...they looked shell shocked.

Forecasters have drizzle on tap for the Inland Valley Friday leading to a cool Holiday Weekend across NorCal.

I'll be holed up watching plenty of motorsports...this season of Formula One has been excellent, and they race on the streets of Monte Carlo Sunday. I'm looking forward to the 100th running of the Indy 500 too.

I found a recipe for Cream-cicles Adult-Style. Home made ice cream may be a go...we'll see...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Agony and Ecstasy

I'm still trying to find my BodyClock equilibrium I guess...I can't seem to find a tread of a viewpoint, or a theme to pursue here...I've gotta quit whining about the weather...Cliché Warning: "it is what it is"...I'll also refrain from whining about My Generation's incessant butchering of the English Language. "60 is the New 45"...Shut Up!

For the time being, I'm afraid I'm reduced to observer/consumer status. Some more BodyClock resetting and I'll be ready to boldly snark on my observations again...

Today began with a slight drizzle when I fetched the Daily from the driveway. Back in the kitchen, I busied myself preparing a pot of French Roast. When I looked out the window a minute later, it was pouring rain.

In the afternoon, we did errands on dry roads and under sunny skies. About 4:30PM I saw a tweet saying that the CHP had closed Interstate 80 over Donner Summit due to snow, spinouts, and accidents. I checked the webcams, snow on the ground in Truckee and 4-5 inches at Pass Level.

A few minutes later my Twitter feed touted a Tornado Warning for Butte and Glenn Counties. This got my attention, and I tuned in Sacramento's NBC affiliate KCRA3-TV.

KCRA3 was wall to wall on the tornado story. They had Mark Finan in the studio in front of the Doppler Radar Map...south and west of the offending storm cell, LiveCopter 3 HD was feeding stunning video live when they caught a tornado touch down in a rural area southwest of the little hamlet Durham. The ropelike funnel was backlit by the sun and was throwing up showers of water from standing puddles that were everywhere in the wake of the passing storm cells.

Tornado near Durham
Soon KCRA3 added a third asset, their reporter Richard Sharp, was driving north on HWY 99 towards the storm streaming live video. Almost seamlessly, the three jelled into one organism. Finan was the Ringleader, prompting chopper pilot Dann Shively where to look for rotation in the Wall Clouds based on the shear signatures in the Doppler images, and asking Sharp for corroboration from his vantage point. This was excellent television, organic and compelling...I predict a Local Emmy.

As if by magic, funnel clouds began to slither down from the cloud deck. These were hypnotic images, like snake charmers' cobras, dancing luridly down towards the ground but not quite touching down. That's a good thing because by now the storm had changed course and was now heading due east between Oroville and Paradise where there are more farms, ranches and related infrastructure.

During the time the storm was still headed northeast, the anchors in the studio were talking by telephone with a NWS Forecaster from the Oroville NWS Office who said South Chico was inline to get hit by the rotating portion of the big cell. I phoned Chico Dupre and got his voicemail. I emailed him next, and went back to watching the story unfold. I was so enraptured that it didn't occur to me to DVR the show.

I finally got a reply from Chico Dupre. He was fine and all the action was about five miles southeast of his place.

KCRA3 stayed with the story until 7:15PM or so when the Warnings expired and the storm moved into the foothills and lost it's punch.

I made crookneck soup for my Mom and turned on the Giants' game. They were behind but soon tied the game in the 3rd with some heads-up base running. The Marlins scored three more runs in the 9th only to give up four Giants runs in their half of the 9th to send it into extra innings. In the 12th, a sacrifice fly to right field lead to a play at the plate that left Rookie of the Year Giants' catcher Buster Posey writhing in pain on top of home plate after the base runner "ran through" him. He was helped from the field favoring his left ankle. Posey never had the ball, so the run was the winning run. Replays showed Posey rolling his ankle badly. My medical opinion is severe sprain at the least, with a fracture or damage requiring surgery a likely possibility.

There's your Agony

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


It's not what you think...I enjoy the Charlie Sheen show as much as the next single guy, but the title is not an homage to the Torpedoed Truther.

I was feeling pretty good today...rested up from a week of motoring all over California chasing the AMGEN Tour of California and simultaneously trying to stay an hour ahead of the lingering winter, it's snowfall, and the resultant chain controls.

I did some shopping this morning...catching the last day of grocery store sales for those staple items here at the Ancestral Digs. This afternoon I headed out to the HomeDepot for some irrigation timers, seed starter mix, and On Sale 5" vegetable and herb starts...I totally wiffed...struck out...failed...lead down the garden path by the lying HomeDepot Website that claimed my Local HomeDepot Store had 17 of the timers I need in stock...Imagine my surprise when they had a different timer with a different part number that I had not researched. No seed starter mix and the On Sale Starts were Sold, zip, zilch...nada...

Deflated, I gave up for the day...tomorrow I'll go back to the manufacturer's website, download the Operator's Manual and compare...these things are kinda complex, and I need them to be. I need close control over fifteen unique sprinkler or soaker hose runs, with a rain sensor so I won't water when it rains.

After dinner I settled in to watch the Giants' game...they lost. Not the end of the world, but I was getting used to their dramatic, come from behind, walk-off wins...hey, Torture is exciting when it ends with a "W" win some, you lose goes on...

Then the sky fell on me! I tuned in KCRA3's 11 O'clock News and the satellite images were disturbing! There's a big, classic Winter Storm wound up in the Gulf of Alaska that's coming to California Wednesday evening. It's forecast to be just a glancing blow...NWS Monterey says showers in the North Bay Area, and the Reno Office says showers in the morning, picking up in the afternoon, with ridge gusts 80-100MPH! Snow level 7500-8000ft...Jesus!

You know, Squaw Valley recorded three feet of snow since the AMGEN Stage 2 start was moved downhill to Nevada City from Squaw last Monday May 16th. Gentlemen...Start...Your...Snowplows!

That reminds me, rain did play it's hand at Indianapolis last weekend. Pole Day wasn't impacted, but Sunday, or "Bump Day" did have a couple of Rain Delays that upped the blood pressure of the yet-to-qualify teams, and broke a few hearts of those who couldn't get onto the track before time ran out.

This weekend, Memorial Day Weekend has returned to normal, that is two of the greatest spectacles in motorsports will be contested on the same day as they have for 50 years until some fools "had a better idea" last season...

At 0430 PDT Sunday May 29th, the fun begins in Monte Carlo, where the Formula One cars run through the city streets of the tiny Principality to the delight of the assembled glitterati (fresh from Cannes Film Festival) I looked, Grandstand seats start at $450USD and I quit looking when half way down the list of grandstands the tix were up to $1450USD! And I thought $89 was steep for a Giants' Game! (Thanks BajaBabe!) I didn't check on the Yacht Mooring Fees..."If you have to ask, you can't afford it" goes the old saw...

At 0900, the ABC-TV coverage of the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 permitting...OK, I checked the Indy AFD...things could get a little bumpy for the next few days. Saturday looks like lingering thundershowers, but Sunday looks decent for the 500. Sister K and her Hubby may be in town...I'll be ready to make a batch of Homemade Ice Cream in case they can make it down.

In years past, I hosted an intimate "Ice Cream Social" on Indy 500 Day, but all my gearhead racefan friend are scattered across all four point of the compass today...sigh...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taking Stock

The AMGEN, the late snowfall, Mt Hamilton, AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants, Old Highway 40, Reno/Tahoe International Airport, COSTCO Gas, Pole Day at the Indy 500...

These are a few of the places and events that consumed the past week. I drove up the hill Saturday morning and dropped BajaBabe off at the Reno Airport for her flight home. She phoned about 8PM to say thanks and that she was home safe and sound. We left the Ancestral Digs a little after 8AM

Truth is, her call woke me up...I'd fallen asleep watching the Giants' game. I checked the Giants' website...they won 3-0, and Tim Lincecum pitched the whole game. The Giants are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Colorado Rockies in the National League West.

Later today, I head back down the hill with stops at IKEA, HomeDepot, COSTCO, Asian Grocery what am I doing up at 3:14AM? I dunno...I fear it's some BodyClock reset backsliding...and I'm in a quandary whether to stay up for the 5AM start of the Spanish Grand Prix or to try and get some sleep and watch the replay later this week...I'm not sleepy yet.