Saturday, February 25, 2012

Streams Of Consciousness

All things considered, I've had a wonderful day.

Up at 0600, I listened to Armstrong & Getty who were in rare form.

Perusing my Twitter timeline, I noticed that the San Francisco Giants would be streaming the day's practice at their website.

I clicked over just in time to watch batting practice. It was great to see Buster Posey knocking them outta the park again! His injuries appear to be fully mended. So many Giants were hurt last season. They're all back to work, and the team looks hungry.

During the webcast, the announcers were soliciting questions via twitter. I fired off a bunch, and lo and behold they answered one on the webcast: "@CorduroyPlanet asks: How many catchers will make the 25 man roster?"

Answer: Two. Posey and a back-up.

I'm pulling for Chris Stewart to be the back-up, but I figure Héctor Sánchez will get the call because he's a switch hitting powerhouse, and it takes some time to "season" a young catcher to Big League reality. Sánchez stands to get a day or two behind the plate weekly, until Buster Posey finds his legs.

It was so great to hear the crack of the bat again! Spring doesn't start for almost a month, but spring training makes nothing but springtime music!

The Spring Training Stream ended in time for the Noon News. I tried to tune in KPIX  channel 5 from San Francisco, but CableTV wasn't havin' any of it.

I've been tracking yet another Winter Wildfire up in Napa County since Thursday afternoon. The Soda Fire started mid-day Thursday when a vineyard contractor was burning pruning debris and root piles, and the forecast high northeast winds blew embers into the underbrush. The contractor was unable to arrest the flames and the fire escaped into the steep Soda Canyon terrain.

I have good friends who have 1000 acres at the bottom of Soda Canyon Rd, with a turn of the century farmhouse, and a few acres of Syrah vines. I was the cat skinner who cleared those acres on a vintage cable-blade Caterpillar.

 Oakland's KTVU2 recently began streaming all of it's newscasts, so click*click, I watched on the really small screen. The news was good...yesterdays gusty northeast winds, had turned into light southerly breezes, and temps are forecast to fall back into the mid-60s.

Fortunately, the fire is up canyon, and well east of my friends' Soda Canyon Ranch, on the other side of Atlas Peak.

It's almost midnight at the DaveCave now, and the winds have been howling for the last hour. It must be the next approaching cold front which is forecast to give us a dusting Saturday night...if we're lucky...

Just so I can fall asleep tonight, I scanned the PWSs around the Napa Valley. They're recording mostly westerlies...10 MPH and under. Perfect.

Back to my perfect afternoon...My plan was to run over to Reno for a tank of gas, some HomeDepot stuff, a stop in Hirschdale for the fishing report, and to reconnoiter Boca Reservoir's ice.

SturgeUrge will be over at Lake Tahoe for his annual ski week, and traditionally we go ice fishing on Boca for a day....Truth be told? I'm really looking to see if there's any open water at the inlet end of Boca. It's been so warm that the ice is rotten, even down by the dam where we usually slay 'em.

Remember what they say about the best laid plans...I bagged the Reno trip so I could watch one more streaming event....

Back in Florida, NASA was making it's third attempt at launching their new Atlas 5 rocket carrying the NAVY's new communication satellite MUOS1 into orbit. High winds and rain forced the scrub of the first two launch attempts. SpaceflightNow provided a very robust stream, that I watched along with about 10K other stream viewers.

A picture perfect launch, and streamed without a glitch.

After the launch, I ran downtown to the Post Office and grocery store. Jeez, gas went up another dime today.

Reno is on for Monday...gas at COSTCO is 80 cents a gallon less than here in Truckee. I can buy lunch and still pocket some savings!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Too Early?

...for Spring Fever? I may have an early case coming on...

It's 11AM, I'm halfway through a pot of French Roast, as I prep an Asparagus Frittata for "brunch"...

Both asparagus and artichokes are appearing in the grocery stores at mid-season prices now...can "real" springtime be far off? The Spring Equinox is still a month away...

...oh yeah, the Green Flag just dropped on the first Gatorade Duel at Daytona International Speedway! The Twin 150s are qualifiers for Sunday's Daytona 500. The slower cars are trying to race their way into the Big Show. The final four spots are up for grabs...oh, and ambient temps are above 80F under sunny skies!

Of course I'm multitasking...I'm following Formula One pre-season testing from Barcelona via Twitter too.

The F1 teams are trying to log as much data as possible about Pirelli's new tires, and how the tires interface with the new aero rules. The blown diffusers are history, and strict new Sporting Regulations prohibit using exhaust gasses to generate downforce.

The 2012 Sporting Regulations specify reduced downforce, the tires are closer time-wise between compounds, and have improved longevity, with the bonus of generating much fewer "marbles" which will preserve the more novel "passing zones". I'm not sure my ticker can stand better racing than last season, but I can't hardly wait for March 18th's Season Opener in Brisbane, Australia!

OK...having caught up on F1, I can focus now on the Good Old Boys in Daytona. (It's already 9PM in Barcelona!)

NASCAR has new aero rules this year too...on the restrictor plate tracks the two car draft is gone, and they're racing in a pack again...this is another of those Good News/Bad News Deals...

The restrictor plates are mandated to keep the speeds on the super speedways below light tell you the truth, I'd like to see them can the plates and slow 'em down with aero restrictions. I love the draft and the old "slingshot" moves.

There's another new regime in NASCAR this year. Say adios to carburetors, and hola Fuel Injection. I don't know how much driver adjustability NASCAR new rules allow, but this could really obscure the fuel mileage strategy, especially on super speedways...

In the first Gatorade Duel today they had a little "Big One"...nobody hurt, but lots of wrecked race cars...No "Big One" in today's second qualifier.

What I said about Springtime? Judging by the local gas station it must be Memorial Day in Pepperland!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


If I had to pick a theme to describe the past week, it would be colorful.

The Inland Valley was a riot of color, even when it was drizzling.

Fruit trees are in blossom, acacia trees are fully ablaze with bright yellow blooms, and emerald green shoots of emerging grass color every hill and dale.

At the SturgeUrge Compound, the moss is vivid green and his camellias are a riot of blooms.

Everywhere I traveled, the daffodils and paperwhites were at their peak. Hat tip to CalTrans for the white narcissus along westbound I80 just west of Davis!

I crossed the Big Valley on my way home Wednesday. It was so warm I fired up the air conditioning...even though I was wearing just running shorts and a t-shirt. Sacramento reported 68° had to be chilly at the airport, it was toasty along Interstate 80!

Back on the mountain, the colors faded to gray. It's been a week since the last measurable snowfall, so it's just so much dirty spring snow...and Spring is still a whole month away...

The resorts reported 12-18 inches last week...only vestiges were visible alongside the roads.

I did stop at my favorite Asian market in Vacaville for a tray of Mini Bok Choi and some shitake mushrooms. These are the tiniest Bok Choi I've ever seen!

Sticking with my theme, I made a colorful dinner Tuesday night:

Rhubarb-Braised Pork Chops. The recipe is really for Rhubarb-Braised Chicken Thighs, though I've yet to make it with chicken...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

High Contrast

Yin and yang in Sunday's mountain news.

Truckee's local fishwrap worked overtime on the holiday weekend to report: "Dry Conditions Posing Problems for Tahoe Region Wildlife" Bad News Bears...

The news from Stevens Pass in Washington State is about too much snow: "Avalanche Takes Three Lives Near Stevens Pass"

That's "Our Snow" falling in the Pacific Northwest courtesy of La Niña's tendency to split our cold fronts.

This year's La Niña seems to shaping up to be especially deadly for beast and man!

By Monday noon, the story was even being reported in Europe. Friend of @CorduroyPlanet, PlanetSki has the names. Perhaps because European skiers have been having high avalanche danger in their mountains too.

Even Royalty have been avalanche victims. Dutch Prince, Johan Frisco was hit by a slide Friday in Lech, Austria. He survived 15 minutes buried in the avalanche debris, and remains in critical condition in an Innsbruck hospital.

Both the Washington group and the Dutch Prince were skiing out of bounds. Both groups decided to ski outside of controlled slopes during High Avalanche Warnings. Swept away survivors on both continents wore and deployed airbags.

It's not nice to mess with Mother Nature. I opined on avalanche danger back in August 2009. Titled  "Poaching" it was the 19th CorduroyPlanet Post ever.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sleepin' In

Damn, I didn't mean to sleep in...I awoke to my alarm at 8:15. I wanted to listen to Farmer Fred's Garden Show on the radio. I fell back asleep after 20 minutes or so...crap. I was gonna call in, too...

Fred's guest was Debbie Arrington, garden writer for the Sacramento Bee, the subject was roses.

I need some advice about automated irrigation for Dad's roses.

I had another question for Debbie about a column she wrote in October 2009.

I was listening to her on Farmer Fred's show and she'd written a column about the Mavericks' Surf Contest WeatherDudes. They were forecasting "30 Major Winter Storms to hit Central California" I remember the chill that ran down my back when I heard that! I wrote a blog about it: "Thoughts On The Beach" Sadly, the link to Arrington's original column is broken now.

I've always wanted to know if the Surf WeatherDudes nailed that forecast or not. Looking back at the 2009/2010 season, I think we were a little shy of the 30 storms they promised. Perhaps we did get all 30, and they've paled in memory after the pounding we took during the 2012-2011 season?

Anyway that was gonna be my second question...

My Take-Away Lesson? I better get to work on my BodyClock Reset!