Saturday, January 21, 2012

Settled Down...Kinda

About last night...

Stutter-step start...not in my fave BR350
Nice to be grooming in falling snow again...
Didn't need the cloud deck settling in just before dawn...
Really didn't need the cloud deck to turn to rain...
For want of a silly cable, I went tuneless all damn night...

I remembered a very funny bit that Jimmy Fallon did the other night. I promised Driller I'd embed it.

The fire between Reno and Carson City is behaving...for now.

Gonna be another Interesting Day...

Another wild night on tap...may end in rain again...grrrr...

Friday night update:
Tonight's shift is gonna begin with rain...hurry cold front!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gettin' Down to Business

It's true! There's an inch of new snow on the DaveCave's front deck tonight! Chain controls are up, and the Washoe Drive Fire is settling down a bit as the winds abate a little and the relative humidity is rising thanks to the storm.

KOLO8 TV is still wall to wall Washoe Drive Fire! The fire's forward progress has been halted for now.

Up on My Mountain, snow is accumulating! Maybe 5-6 inches and counting. My world is gonna look so fine tonight! Snowfall will taper off overnight, but the second wave is due Friday evening.

Friday's storm looks to be wetter and bigger. Some new trails will fall from the sky Friday night into Saturday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Worst Is Happening

I got off early this morning, then fell asleep before noon. When the wind shook me awake at 2:30PM, my Twitter timeline came alive with news of a wildfire in the Washoe Valley between Reno and Carson City.

Evacuations are mandatory, and a few homes have reportedly been consumed. KOLO8 TV has preempted regular programming for fire coverage. Their WeatherDude reports steady 35 MPH winds in the Washoe Valley and 100MPH gusts up on the ridgetops.

Hwy 395 is closed, and Vice President Joe Biden's speech at Galena High School has been cut short to allow time to evacuate!

The fire has a name now, The Washoe Fire. It's not the only fire either...I looked at Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center page and saw The Jack's Valley Fire.

KOLO8 is streaming their coverage now, and will cover a live press conference at 5PM.

NWS Reno has extended Wind Warnings and Red Flag Warnings until 10PM.

It's just beginning to snow in Truckee, and 4 miles west, Chain Controls are up over Interstate 80's Donner Summit

More Weirdness

My head hit the pillow at exactly bedtime today, 2PM. I got off work a little early, picked up the mail, and picked up a few things at the Auto Parts Store.

Back at the DaveCave, I put out the garbage and recycling stuff, did some chores in the garage and driveway, and Pow-Wowed with Mr Landlord on our plan to get my pickup, Mrs Landlord's car, and all the other winter crap into the garage before the storm arrives for real Thursday afternoon. Then I made a killer breakfast...a pastrami and cream cheese omelet...yummy...

I woke up with a dream...probably another big gust of's blowing like a storm is really coming in...and one is...followed by most of a week's worth of juicy drought busters! These are the first serious westerly winds of my season to date!

I tuned in the 5 O'clock News looking for an idea of exactly when the snow would start flying. Imagine my surprise when the weather map had a wide ranging Red Flag Warning for my neck of the woods, alongside a Winter Storm Warning on the West Slope, and Winter Weather Advisories to the north and south.

Warnings for everybody! Twitter Timeline has tipped me to several Prescription Burns around the Tahoe Basin that the Forest Service is conducting. I heard an advisory on the radio on my way home from work...Carson City was getting a lot of smoke from Prescription Burns on the El Dorado National Forest.

I won't lie starting fires in wildlands during Red Flag Warnings gives me the Heebie-Geebies.

I'm still up...not good...I guess I'm a little too excited. I get back in my favorite's been down for a couple of days getting a new injector pump. Thursday night's shift is the one that's pumping this extra adrenaline through my fevered brain.

Damn, am I ever ready!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quick Phobos/Grunt Reentry Update 5

The flight of Phobos/Grunt is over, but accusations of blame are just beginning to fly!

I don't know if the US radars on Kwajalein atoll are even used to study asteroids...

All this seems like so much CYA...are all these Space Agencies still full of aging Cold Warriors?

Comrades, fellas...Old Dudes! You can let go of the past without dishonoring it, or diminishing your place in it's history! You'll save a ton of money and grab more brass rings along the way if you figure out how to cooperate!

From the Muddied Waters Dept:
@Zarya_Info tweeted:
"Phobos-Grunt - is everyone writing fantasy about the re-entry? Aviation Week item riddled with inaccuracies/errors: "

Lest we forget, Kosmos 2176 has most likely reentered. Predicted reentry zone was again the Southern Pacific Ocean.

All this reentering satellite stuff caught the UKGuardian's eye.

Quick Phobos/Grunt Reentry Update 4.1

Here it is Wednesday...Phobos/Grunt reentered Sunday...still no word from ESA, NASA or US StratCom.

There's still some background noise about the failure and the location of the debris field. has the rebuttal to the Marshall Islands Radar Charge:

"Sources within the Russian Space Agency have suggested to newspapers that a US radar on the Marshall Islands might have accidentally disabled Phobos-Grunt. The mishap could have occured, they say, while the radar was using megawatt pulses to track near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 on the same night the Mars probe was launched. According to an analysis by satellite tracking expert Ted Molczan, however, "the asteroid was below Kwajalein's horizon during both of Phobos-Grunt's passes" over the radar facility. An errant "zap" seems unlikely. Besides, says NASA, they weren't using the radar anyway."

Spaceflight 101 Blog:
Phobos-Grunt's Exact Reentry Location Remains a Mystery.

Kosmos 2176 Reentry Update
Most predictions say the Russian Satellite reentered Tuesday afternoon PST...I won't be holding my breath on this one...

Stay Tuned!

Afternoon Update:
The plot thickens!

Bedtime In the Garden of Good and Evil

All the waiting is nearly over. This afternoon's Reno AFD says the waiting for snow ends Thursday evening.

Formula One's first practice session of the first race of the 2012 Season in Australia is only 58 days away.

It's a month and a day until the San Francisco Giants' pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

Only four days until the San Francisco 49ers host the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game...Winner advances to Super Bowl XLVI

Now I'm up 3:21 past my bedtime...gonna suffer tonight.

My @CorduroyPlanet twitter timeline is running about Warp 7.1 today. Lots of Giants baseball news, as the team comes to terms with it's players.

Lots of the fellow SF Giants Fans I follow are prolific Baseball Fans who tweet every move of the Giants' rivals' personnel moves, not just the Home Team news.Today is the last day of negotiations before the Arbitration Deadline. The Giants and their ace Tim Lincecum are $4 million apart...or about 20% adrift.

All the Tahoe Sierra Ski Resorts are tweeting up a blizzard of "Here Comes Winter" stuff.

I'm waiting on some Space Junk Reentry News...Confirmation of Phobos/Grunt's final resting place, and today's eminent demise of another Russian satellite, Cosmos 2176.

As with the whole Phobos/Grunt Saga, news is trickling out like molasses in January, and with all the baseball transactions, I'm bound to miss the news and Cosmos 2176's splashdown.

I won't give a damn later this week when I'm pushing newly fallen Sierra Cement around!

Must sleep NOW!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quick Phobos/Grunt Reentry Update 3

Day two of waiting for confirmation of Phobos/Grunt's final resting place.

Monday (yesterday) @esaoperations tweeted:
"Formal update in ESA web on reentry will come only Tuesday 17.01. Team waiting for one final set of estimates. Regret delay."

Again this morning @esaoperations tweeted:
" team still waiting for final data inputs to complete our report. News as soon as we have it. Regret (more) delay."

I see the dearth of observation tools in the Southern Oceans at play here, while US Space-Based radars are Top Secret, so out of bounds for now...I'm sure US StratCom doesn't want to tip potential adversaries to their capabilities...

I see cooler heads are speaking out out in regards to the charge that US Radar Sabotage may have brought about Phobos/Grunt's demise.'s been 24 hours since ESA promised their formal update on Phobos/Grunt's reentry. I'll post an update to this post when ESA publishes.

Stay Tuned!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Quick Phobos/Grunt Reentry Update 2

While still no debris has been found, and no location confirmation is forthcoming, there is news:

@esaoperations Tweets: "Formal update in ESA web on reentry will come only Tuesday 17.01. Team waiting for one final set of estimates. Regret delay."

Dutch Sattrackcam's blog illuminates the problems pinpointing the exact spot that Phobos/Grunt reentered and crashed.

If you feel the Post-Phobos/Grunt letdown like I do, fear not, another piece of space junk will reenter tomorrow reports @SPACEFLIGHT101:

 "1,900-Kilogram COSMOS 2176 is expected to re-enter the Atmosphere tomorrow at 16:10 UTC +/-7 Hours. Current Prediction:

Stay tuned!

The Nature of Waiting

I did a lot of waiting this weekend. Starting last Wednesday I started writing two blogs daily, my usual scratch on my world, making corduroy at a ski resort, and a second daily post, focused on the pending demise of the Reentering Satellite Of The Month for January, Russia's Phobos/Grunt.

Sunday was the predicted day of Phobos/Grunt's fiery reentry, and I devoted my day to the satellite's end. I did watch the Texans vs Ravens playoff game (full disclosure- I slept through most of the first half), and I enjoyed every play of the Packers vs NY Giants.

While I watched the games, I was fully multi-tasking. My laptop had open tabs with Twitter, Facebook, and Real Time Satellite Tracking, while I surfed the Sunday newspapers, spaceflight pages, weather reports, personal weather stations and webcams. I even made a Sausage, Olive and Mushroom pizza for lunch.

Just about an hour before the predicted reentry, the Real Time Satellite Tracking site crashed. Too many people around the world were trying to track Phobos/Grunt's end, resulting in a DOS (Denial Of Service Attack) type lockup. Fortunately, Twitter was humming along without a hitch, no whale page, not a single quirk...just waiting for word of the crash.

It was about this time when I began to ponder the waiting game. Even as compelling as the events were, it was still a waiting game. Twelve hours later, I'm still waiting for confirmation of time and place.

It's not just the whole Fall/Winter season has been all about waiting!
Waiting for enough snow to go to work.
Waiting for enough snow to work more than weekends.
Waiting for snowmaking temperatures.
Waiting for enough snowmaking to open enough trails to open daily for the season.
Waiting for the stubborn blocking high to move, allowing storms to track into our area.

Scientific American explains the wait: "Jet Lag".

As I type, flurries are in the neighborhood. Northstar is getting a few flurries...not enough to measure, but snowflakes are falling. It even shows up on channel 13's Weather Radar:

Irony of ironies, by next Sunday we may all be waiting for the snowfall to stop! TahoeWeatherDiscussion has the details in his "Sunday Morning Update"...6-8 feet depending above 7000ft!

There's another kind of waiting that I know something about...procrastination...I'll write about it sometime...maybe...eventually...

Flurries found Truckee and the resorts!

Even a little at the DaveCave!

Phobos/Grunt Watch...Wanted: Wrap-Up

It's been almost 20 hours since the reported end of Russia's Mars probe, Phobos/Grunt.

No official confirmation has been forthcoming from Roscosmos, US StratCom, NASA, ESA...etc.

Reports say the spacecraft crashed into the South Pacific Ocean 700 miles west of Chile...or in Brazil...or in Australia?

Here's the round-up of what is out there from the usual sources:

Russian Space Web

Universe Today

Spaceflight 101

Space Safety Magazine

Sky and Telescope

Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies

As you can see, events are as murky as everything else since Phobos/Grunt failed to leave Earth orbit for the Red Planet.

Quaint reminder of the Cold War era of spaceflight? Or annoyance?

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quick Phobos/Grunt Reentry Update

Typically the hours after reentry are the longest. Confirmation usually takes days unless debris actually lands on land.

There's two stories coming from Russian sources an hour after supposed reentry.

Stay tuned!

Phobos/Grunt Watch: Missed It

Mea Culpa:
Not that! Phobos/Grunt still, I missed my last chance to see Phobos/Grunt in orbit.

I was playing with my sleep schedule again...I got off work Saturday morning a little early, had two beers and set the alarm clock to rouse me at 1:30PM My team was playing in the NFL's Divisional Playoffs.

It was a great game, won by my San Francisco 49ers in the final seconds. I was elated...and drained...emotionally exhausted. After trailing all game, the New Orleans Saints scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:37 left in the game. The Niners marched it down the field, amazing passes and catches...and won in front of a rocking packed Candlestick Park. 97 seconds of awesome!

During the game, my twitter feed was rockin' too. Plenty of 49er Fan Hyperbole, and lots of Phobos/Grunt tweets.

I had Real Time Satellite Tracking running in another tab, and I was looking forward to my last chance to view a Phobos/Grunt pass before the inevitable.

I woke up 10 minutes after the probe passed over the DaveCave...just damn!

The Latest Phobos/Grunt Info:
Spaceflight101's latest reentry data

Add @drspacejunk to your twitter stream, she giving great tips on safety should Phobos/Grunt's debris land in your area:

No 1: DO NOT TOUCH FRAGMENTS RT Tell me, , what should I do if lands nearby?

  No 2: the spacecraft fragments are legally the property of Russia, and you cannot sell them on eBay.
No 3: Keep animals and household pets secure. The sonic booms will cause them to panic.
No 4: If or parts of it land near you, notify the relevant authorities. In Australia - state emergency services

About 9 hours to go...

Stay tuned!