Saturday, February 11, 2012


You can take the groomer outta the tractor, but you can't take the weathergeek outta the groomer I guess.

I awoke after my afternoon nap (it is Body Clock resetting time after all) and turned on the TV news. They said showers were coming...a quick click to's webcams told the story.

Wet roads in the foothills, Blue Canyon had rain (hence no TV reporters doing remotes) Sunshine from Donner Summit to the State Line.

It's almost 1AM and the precip never got here...or much past Blue Canyon for that matter...

I had a fine old day watching C-Span. They had extensive coverage of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington DC. The three leading GOP candidates speechified, along with pundits galore. Fully half of the attendees are under 25 years old.

After the late news, I saw MTV's Kurt Loder on a late night chat show. I remember him from when MTV came to Truckee in 1988. He looks old...what the hell? I'm old now too!

24 years have past...does MTV have any M on it anymore? I gave up on MTV when it became all game shows and reality shows back in the 90s...

Friday, February 10, 2012

The 700

this would be the 700th time I've tapped out one of these screeds! That's a lot of hunting and know I am feeling a little peckish this afternoon.

I just fired up the snowblower for 15 minutes. It was warmish out, with some high overcast. Sacramento tallied a 70°F this afternoon. I blew the pile of snow where I park on the street. I'm gonna need the driveway space to work on the pickup. Save for the street-side edge, the pile of snow was soft as a Slurpee™ In a couple of days, even the muddy shoulder will be dry, provided the forecast is correct...the Reno NWS says "cloudy with a slight chance of snow showers" from Friday night thru next Wednesday...we'll see...I'm going to be on the road for a week, so all should be clear when I return.

While warm out for early February, I found an interesting global warming story from Britain's Guardian. I'm not surprised...the satellite data show zero warming of the sea surface temps since the last big Pacific El Niño in 1998.

Many true believers cite the loss of snow cover on Africa's Mt Kilimanjaro as "proof" of global warming...sorry, no. It's deforestation that's to blame. Cutting of forests for firewood has robbed Mt Kilimanjaro of the moisture that turned into snowfall.

Once the trees were chopped down, they no longer transpired the moisture that  was orographically lifted and then fell as snow.

I didn't need any excuse to post this awesome video taken from the International Space Station...then it occured to me that each of these brightly lit cities are where the official thermometers live. These are the instruments that provide the temperature records that show warming temps worldwide...Urban Heat Island much?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Game Change

What a shock! I got laid off Monday! A bunch of us did. There was even a news story about it on the 11 O'clock news Tuesday...there's some smart thinking in the front office.

We lost both Christmas Weeks, Martin Luther King weekend yielded about 20% of it's potential. Next up is President's Weekend Feb 18/19/20...It's lost as of today...or, If the long-range models are right, it could be snowed out...stop the bleeding...I would.

I'm gonna sprain my elbow from patting myself on the see, I've been banking every paycheck this season...putting off those non-essential purchases in case the season fizzled. Turns out I'm psychic!

On the positive side, I can quit obsessing over the weather until November!

I can now devote my full attention to the Ancestral Diggins...I'll get my tomato seeds into their seed trays next week.

Gotta wire up the automatic irrigation system, and replace a couple of fence posts.

I'll be doing some traveling, more Lincoln Highway sleuthing, too.

Last week I scored some GPS aids on close-out from the Lincoln Highway Trading Post to help with the search.The 2010 Edition of the Official Lincoln Highway Maps cd was $5, marked down from $39.99 DeLorme's Street Atlas USA 2010 was marked down to something like $15-$20 too. The 2010 E The GPS reciever was $25.99 at Amazon

Between chores and travel, there's weatherproofing and wiring to do on the camper too...

Since Tuesday, the 2012 Formula One teams have been testing at Jerez, Spain. Most are trying to gather data on the new Pirelli tires...the performance gap between super-soft, soft, medium, and hard have been narrowed. Pirelli hopes the difference will be approximately 0.85sec/lap this year...down from about a second and a half last season.

The new Sporting Regulations have again taken away downforce, the blown diffusers are history, and the exhaust gasses are effectively prohibited from producing any aero advantage.

All the new cars I've seen have a new nose except the McLaren MP4-27. The new nose is being called the stepped nose because the Sporting Regs dictate the nose be lower, forward of the front bulkhead. To my eye, it's a broken nose...think Streisand...

There's 37 days of waiting until the F1 boys turn their wheels in anger. The Australian Grand Prix takes the green lights Sunday March 18th, which should be Saturday night in the States.

The Daytona 500 runs Sunday February 26th, and baseball's Spring Training Games begin in March!

Play Ball!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Phobos/Grunt Watch: Wrap-Up...It IS Rocket Science!

Somehow I missed this thoughtful piece last week.

"A rational approach to the challenge of spaceflight involves significant mental discipline and a specific habit of mind to ask the right questions and not be satisfied with superficial answers or deflectional excuses. Without this approach, disaster and disappointment is inevitable. And even with our full attention, as Mike Griffin [NASA Adminstrator, 2005-2009] once said, “Spaceflight is so hard that even at our best we are barely able to accomplish it.”"

"A Ride On the Lincoln Highway"

San Francisco Bay Area readers can view the excellent Lincoln Highway documentary Thursday evening February 9th at 8PM on KQED Channel 9, San Francisco's venerable PBS affiliate. Night owls and DVR people can catch a replay Friday February 10th at 2AM.

"A Ride On the Lincoln Highway" is 60 minutes of coast to coast history.There's an interview with Brian Butko, author of "Greetings From the Lincoln Highway" and the excellent Lincoln Highway News Blog.

There's also the great story of one of the original Boy Scouts who traveled coast to coast during the 1928 Lincoln Highway Marker promotion.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Phobos/Grunt Watch...Loose Ends

Here's something...not the definitive closure I'm seeking...but better than nothing...

The Russian International News Agency has the story...

Smoking Gun?

"In February 2012, it transpired that one of two processors in a pair of TsVM-22 computers in the probe's flight control system had failed and had to be deactivated during preparations for launch. To make matters worse, the second remaining channel in this computer started conflicting with its counterparts in the second remaining TsVM-22 machine. As a result, the decision was made to shut off one TSVM-22 computer entirely, even though it remained physically onboard. Therefore, Phobos-Grunt would have to fly with only a single operational computer, leaving no redundancy in the flight control system."

More from Anatoly Zak.

If there's more in the coming days, I'll put up another Phobos/Grunt Update...

Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

National Holiday

Yup, it's Super Bowl Sunday, and I'm tardy with today's screed...forgive me, I had Saturday night off due to the Austerity Regime on My Mountain. I stayed up until almost 4AM before a nap turned into bedtime. By the time I woke up, the Super Bowl Pre-Game Show was just getting started! 10AM Pacific for a game that kicks off at 3:30PM? Bread and Circuses...I get it...

My original plan was to dash to Reno at 10AM, get stocked up on provisions, and be back at the DaveCave in time for kickoff...I slept through that bright idea...

Instead I'm savoring a pot of French Roast and looking over my mail and a new Lincoln Highway book that came in the mail this week. I'm not watching the pre-game...instead, I'm not watching FoxNews...

Thanks to "The Lincoln Highway-Utah", I've found another mile marker along the Lincoln Highway that's part of my personal connection with America's First Cross Country Highway.

In the Avenues District of Salt Lake City is my 7th Grade alma mater, Rowland Hall-St Marks School. The 1913 alignment turned left at the intersection of South Temple and State Street. Rowland Hall-St Marks occupied the city block one block east of said intersection.

Rowland Hall-St Marks is where the seed of my love of history was planted.

Looking at the school's website, I found a couple of interesting things:

They outgrew that city block in the Avenues in the 80's and moved to two new campuses in the south side of Salt Lake City.

One of my current favorite bicycle racers Levi Leipheimer is a Rowland Hall-St Marks alumnus!

One block north of the turn, is my 6th grade school, Lafayette Elementary. It was at Lafayette Elementary that I saw JFK's motorcade drive by in 1963, and heard the news of his assassination.

Damn, where did the time go? The teams are taking the field to the sounds of hard rock n' roll...I'm enjoying a bloody mary, and the BBQ is warming up...I haven't hit the chips and dip yet...

As they say in Baseball: Play Ball!