Saturday, June 11, 2011

Heart Attack City

Friday was a weird day for me. I got up early and was out of the house before 10AM. Errands done, I was home in time to view most of FP2 (Free Practice 2) from Montreal. 90 minutes of Formula One cars going for it on the track. A couple of racers found themselves hitting "The Wall of Champions". The Montreal track's most infamous landmark, the concrete wall is hard out of the final chicane.

The wall is arguably the most renowned feature of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named for the late Canadian F1 driver who's son Jacques was F1 World Champion in 1997. Jacques is another driver who's found the wall in the Canadian Grand Prix.

In FP1, defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel added another Champion to the wall's panoply of World Driving Champions who've come to no good against this wall. (To do a fast lap on this track you must throw caution to the wind and court disaster by shaving as close as you dare to this wall outside the final turn before the Start/Finish line) Vettel's crew had the right front corner of the Red Bull RB7 repaired in time for Vettel to record the 2nd fastest time in FP2 behind Fernando Alonso's Ferrari 150° Italia.

The wall is emblazoned with "Welcome to Quebec" (I can almost hear Bugs Bunny whimpering "Oh Irony, Irony" in his grimace voice)

Two other drivers found the wall Friday, all emerged with only bruised egos.

I wanted to do some stuff in the garden, but I wanted to enjoy some heat and opted instead to do some audio/video housekeeping. It was windy outside...even blustery, and colder than the two glorious sunny and warm days that we just enjoyed.

About 3PM I finally found the will to hit the garden for some maintenance...I did an hour of clipping before my forearm started to pump up, and I called it a productive day!

I made Emerald Stirfry for dinner and settled in to watch the Giants vs Cincinnati. The game was another nail-biter. As has become all too common this season, another Giants' player had to be helped off the field after an injury...

Freddy Sanchez, the Giants' 2nd baseman (and hottest hitter lately) made a headlong, sliding stop of a line drive, and dislocated his shoulder...I didn't need to see that. The Giants tie the game in their next at bat, and went on to win it Walk-Off Style in the 9th. Heart Attack City! The sold out crowd didn't want to leave when it was over, and it turns out they didn't have to...there was a fireworks show slated for the Post-Game Festivities.

Yet another SF Giants infielder goes down to's getting to be like a stuck record. Freddy will get an MRI case scenario is 2-3 weeks on the Disabled List.

I can't dwell on it alarm is set for 5:30AM. Saturday is the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Qualifying for the Canadian GP, and IndyCars from Texas.

It's a motorsports marathon that runs overnight into Sunday. Saturday after the IndyCar race, Le Mans goes from night into the day. Visually stunning, sunrise over the 8.5 mile Circuit de la Sarthe is always exciting in the steadily simmering style of endurance sports car racing.

The front rows of the grid are all diesel AUDIs and Puegeots. The first gasoline powered car is the 8th fastest of the LMP (Le Mans Prototype) Class.

Just an hour after the F1 cars light 'em up in Montreal, the MotoGP motorcycles race at Silverstone in the British GP. My DVRs will be workin' overtime!

The Giants vs Cincy games are on National Television all weekend. Saturday's 1PM game is on your local Fox station, while Sunday's game has been moved up to 5PM on ESPN to make room for the hockey playoffs on NBC.

I'll quote the late rock n roll tunesmith, Warren Zevon..."I'll Sleep When I'm Dead"!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Makin' Hay

Wow! Two days in a row now...Big Ol' Sol has been burning bright and unimpeded by clouds here in the Inland Valley. As the sun was setting Wednesday, the SF Giants were rallying to win over the Washington DC Nationals. Ahh...Springtime!

After lunch, I headed out to pick up a few things from the Asian Grocery and COSTCO. It was a lovely afternoon, and I was torn between rolling with the window down or the A/C on. I compromised and ran Baja Rental Car Style...window down and the A/C on! This put a big smile on my face!

The lines at COSTCO Gas were long as always, but I was rewarded with my $3.79/gal prize. I orbited the warehouse parking lot for a while looking for a spot, and chalked it up to the "Lunch Rush"...I crossed the street and hit the Mexican Produce Market. The eggplants were big, beautiful and a were the cucumbers, and they had the ground habanero chili powder I need for the Cucumber/Lime/Chili Palatas.

Trader Joe's for a few staples, and the Asian Grocery for shitake mushrooms, pea pods, and baby bok choi. I swung back to COSTCO on my way out of town...orbited the parking lot long enough to realize that everybody and their uncle was out and about enjoying the sunshine...I punted and pointed it back towards the Ancestral Digs.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Feeling the Sun on My Skin

How excellent is it to feel the infrared rays coming from 93 million miles away? Warming my skin while futzing in the garden...making the breeze not matter...Celestial Summer is under two weeks away, and I'm beginning to believe that it will actually arrive...

When the sun went down, I made some chicken soup, which I consider to be a basic skill, before searching the internet for some Paleta recipes.

Paletas are Mexican Popsicles or Ice Cream Bars. Summer weather will be time to make some Cucumber/Lime/Chili Paletas, some Paleta de Durzazno con Miel (Peach/Honey) and maybe some Adult Beverage-Style Creamsicles.

A week or two of warm temperatures will bring tree-ripened stone fruits to my local Farmer's Markets. I am so ready for some of my Lumpy Peach Cobbler. Melons need some help from Ol' Sol too...I've been trying to buy a decent cantaloupe for a month now. I can't seem to find one with "creamy netting over creamy skin" to quote the late Greengrocer Joe Carcione.

I haven't even looked at a watermelon yet...I haven't seen any non-seedless varieties in the markets yet...Watermelon Seeds=Watermelon Flavor in my humble opinion!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Finally! That's What I'm Talking About!

The sun began to shine a little after lunchtime here in the Inland Valley. It's a welcome change. I watched the Noon News from KCRA3 in Sacramento and the weather gal said the rain was over except for some possible thundershowers for the foothills and Sierra Tuesday afternoon.

After the news, I made myself lunch and after lunch I checked the internet to see if some garden stuff I ordered was going to be delivered anytime soon. While checking my email, I saw a new Tweet and clicked on Twitter to find this welcome gem from KCRA3's Mark Finan: 

"Time flies... Example.. Yesterday (67) was March. Today (77) is April. Tomorrow (82) is May. Thursday (87) is June"

Man, I hope he's right! I need some days of solar rays to recharge my soul.

After lunch was properly settled, I hit the Diggins for some sunshine. I started in the rose garden which has been in full bloom in defiance of the rain regime. Last time I took a close-up gaze at Dad's Roses was about three weeks ago. The rain hasn't been kind. I found Rose Black Spot on five roses that were clear three weeks ago. I spent an hour picking infected bits off the roses and put the refuse out for pickup tomorrow.

A look at last year's Rose Black Spot problem.
After the recycle truck comes Wednesday, I'll finish cleaning up the rose garden and apply my secret anti-fungal weapon, garlic spray.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kiss It Goodbye

I was watching the Giants' pregame show today. Another young lion is going on the Disabled List. Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch on his wrist in Tuesday's game with the St Louis Cardinals. Friday he had an MRI of the wrist and it showed a hairline fracture that didn't show on the x-rays.

I wasn't watching the TV per se, just listening while multitasking. What I heard next got my attention and I sat bolt upright and paid attention. The announcers said the Giants were calling up someone who's name I don't recall and that his nickname is: "The Weatherman"

Lemme just say that when I heard fhat my blood suddenly went ice cold. Haven't I suffered enough...winter without end...a spring-long string of injuries to my World Champion San Francisco Giants...and now the indignity of having a guy nicknamed "The Weatherman" added to the roster.

It seems the player is a Storm Chaser...while in the minor leagues, he'd spend his off days chasing tornadoes...sounds like a kindred spirit. Should he stay in the Majors, he won't have time to chase tornadoes. Baseball season overlaps all of Tornado season...welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid...

Now I was rattled...Talk about piling on! I've grown way too sensitive about this weather. I got up and headed for the kitchen.

I turned the radio and started getting dinner together. Sister K is in the house this weekend, Mom had mentioned earlier that it was like Soup Weather, and I was already started on a batch of Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwiches.

I measured the flour, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt into a tub. I ground the white pepper into the breading tub, snapped the lid on and shook it well.

The game finally started 20 minutes or so late due to the heavy rains in the morning. I turned the TV in the family room on but left the sound off. I gathered the veggies for the coleslaw, the breadboard, and the tools for the prep work and settled down to listen to the game and make the signature coleslaw for Betty's sammies.

I chopped all the stuff and baked a sourdough Luigi loaf. I made yellow crookneck soup, and deep fried the chicken breast fillets that had been languishing in their buttermilk bath since yesterday. I plated everything and called out: Dinner's ready!

The Giants began to come from behind, but alas they came up short. Dinner was fun...Betty's are always a hit.

After dinner I retired to my room and tuned in the Giants' Post Game Wrapup and fired up the internet. There it was...atop my Tumblr feed, a scrap of photographic wizardry that sums up my lousy attitude perfectly. My face grew a wry smile and I felt the warmth returning to my bloodstream.

Submitted for your approval:

If these beauties were real, I'll bet I could sell a gross of them in Truckee in under a week!

I checked all the AFDs: Monterey, SFO, Sacramento, and Reno. The showers will linger through Sunday and move on Monday after which we'll enjoy a dry...but still cool week.

Goodbye Winter...and good riddance!