Saturday, March 3, 2012

Was That


Why yes! After lunch I dug out the car and finished clearing my side of the driveway. Even though the snowblower does the lion's share of the heavy lifting, I still raised a good sweat...It felt like it was 70°F out there...thank God the champagne powder was still light as a feather! The forecast winds must have sneaked thru while I was getting my beauty sleep, because the only real work was shoveling the layer deposited by the snowblower on top of the deep dry drifts atop the car...

I put the car back in my parking spot, and trundled back down to the DaveCave for some re-hydration...After a few minutes, I grabbed the new billfold and headed out to the Post Office and grocery store.

At the Safeway's Customer Service Counter, I inquired again if "anyone turned in a camo wallet?" Again, no...I paid for my bag of groceries and left.

The Post Office Box held my replacement Credit Card...Oh Joy! I zoomed home and fired up the laptop. When my desktop rendered, Carbonite's notification window materialized, reminding me that my automatic renewal had been stymied by my Invalid Credit Card.

My cell reception was especially horrid this afternoon...the sliding hoards tweeting the Hero Snow Powder Orgy and posting Twitpics by the thousands, no sounded like a windy day thru the earpiece, but it was still as a funeral out. The noise wouldn't let me activate the new CC via the automated self serve system, so I went out to the front porch while I waited for the human CS Rep to pick up...shorts, no shoes, no shirt. The front porch was already dry and warm. The human breezed me thru the process, and I fed the new CC# into Carbonite's dropdown a minute, Carbonite began backing up the 79 new files since the automatic renewal failed Tuesday. 77 of those files were photos...

That's a relief! This is the first time I've been without Carbonite since my major laptop crash in July, and Carbonite restore in September. I have a couple of new applications that I've been holding off installing lest they crash my system in my naked state.

At 2PM I saw the first tweet about the heavy eastbound traffic heading out early to beat the rush to the mountains. I shut the browser and turned off the lights and headed to Reno.

I paid $3.89/gal at COSTCO Gas, touched bases with COSTCO Customer Service to make sure my lost COSTCO Card wouldn't be an ID Theft issue, and that the 1997 card in my desk drawer was still good to go...Thanks COSTCO CS!

I guess I'm living right. I left downtown Reno right at 5PM. The Sun was low over the mountains, so visibility was compromised in a big way, which was exacerbated by the eternal highway construction on I-80 thru Reno. Arriving home around 5:30PM, I settled in and launched the laptop. Twitter blew up around 6:30...seems there was a 12 car pileup on WB I-80 at 6:05...Damn, that's all I need! I really am living a charmed life...despite the hiccups... WooHoo!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Phobos/Grunt Watch...Epilogue

What a pleasant surprise! Phobos/Grunt news after all this time.

The truth is, I need some distraction's been a tough couple of days...

We've been hunkered down during the biggest storm period of the Winter...avalanche warnings were up, as were the winds during the storm period.

Today three skiers decided to do a little backcountry skiing in Ward Canyon, despite the heavy snowfall and wind loading that caused the Sierra Avalanche Center to post High Avalanche Danger first thing in the morning. The lure of Champagne Powder can be hard to resist...especially this lean Winter...

The three found their avalanche, and one skier was swept 300 feet downslope. Luckily two were skied out for help, one stayed with the victim. I saw the story in @CorduroyPlanet's Twitter timeline. The local paper had the story that lit up all the regional news outlets from Sacramento to Reno.

On the evening news, a Placer County Sheriff's Deputy said: "The victim was wrapped around a tree with several fractures"

After my "evening nap" I saw the tweet announcing the victim's sad...Unofficial Squaw had the story. Avalanches are serious business, especially in the uncontrolled backcountry...

So, it was a happy distraction when I discovered this Phobos/Grunt story at Space Safety Magazine.

I find it disconcerting that the only manned space program on Earth has returned to Soviet Era Secrecy. American astronauts ride Russian rockets and spacecraft to and from the International Space Station. Only a willingly blind fool doesn't see trouble on the horizon.

I pray that the next few years are uneventful. NASA won't have manned launch capability until 2015 at the earliest. Godspeed, indeed...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hunkered Down

It's a good thing the weather's been frightful because I've been cleaning up after my lost wallet all day! It's 2AM now, and I just made a nightcap...

Still Life With Piña Colada
I never realized how many monthly bills I've automated! I think an encrypted document with everything in one place is in order, with a copy on CD stored in the safety deposit box!

I talked with one helpful Customer Service agent in Ohio, and they've had an unseasonably mild winter too...

My day began  at 10AM when Mrs Landlord called. She said she was down with a chest cold and taking a sick day, that Mr Landlord was on the road, and not to worry about taking out the garbage and recycling...she'd made arrangements for a special pickup Friday!

I couldn't have agreed more! The wind blew like crazy all night (It's still blowing now) The DaveCave's front porch is still clear of snow, but up in front of the garage, copious drifts have accumulated.

I told Mrs Landlord that I'd blow the berm as soon as the plows came by. The sooner you get on a fresh berm the better.

I made a pot of French Roast and did the dishes. Looking out the kitchen window, I could see the neighbors' driveway was still berm-free. An hour or so later I clicked on Where Is My Snowplow and saw that there was a plow getting close to the neighborhood.

It was now noon newstime...I tuned in Channel 13 for the Blue Canyon Live Remotes and the forecast...about 15 minutes in I heard the plow lumbering up the street. I was already in long pants with shoes and socks on. I wanted to wait until KCRA3's 12:40 weather report before I suited up and hit the driveway/berm project. At 12:30 the plow made it's downhill pass, I watched it go by while warming up my coffee. I felt a pang of guilt when I sat back down and waited for the KCRA3 weathercast.

While watching the radar images the plow ran up the hill again...that's a lot of snow! Pulling on my slicker and putting in my ear plugs, I heard the plow make it's second downhill pass...that's gonna be some berm, I thought...

The front stairs were almost scoured of snow as the wind was blowing a steady 15-20. The drifts between the cars in the driveway were two feet at the garage door giving way to 18" or so out at the berm. This was the highly prized Champagne Powder...Utah's Finest, so to speak...

I blew my way out of the garage and through the berm...not much resistance...perfect timing! I blew the berm in front of my car first...It's the downhill direction...The wind wasn't making this easy...Five passes, and I turned around and began blowing the berm across the street.

The wind was definitely on my team now...I blew the berm past Mrs Landlord's Subaru and Mr Landlord's Pickup. The deep snow and the stately speed of the plow made the berm very manageable. I left a solid pass in front of our cars to help catch the next berm.

Sometime around 6PM I went down for a "nap"...I awoke at 8:30...I may have missed the plows, but hey...It'll wait till morning! This snow is so dry, even if the berm has 12 hours of set-up time it'll be a piece of cake to blow!

Well, the 3:09 AM AFD says there's more snow on the way, and that the big winds will blow again between 5AM and 10AM Winter Storm Warnings are up...looks like the wind will be on my team again when I blow the driveway berm!

Good night, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Grinding It Out

How did I get this tired? I got a full night of sleep, languished in the sack this morning, before I ran the snow blower for a whole five minutes before sitting around the Truckee DMV Office waiting for my number to come up...or my appointment time to arrive.

Time won...the woman in the cheetah print overcoat loved the low number I handed off to her...I bet it made her day...I saved her an hour+ of waiting.

I went back to my bank for my new ATM the post office to see if a Good Samaritan found my wallet and dropped it into my Post Office...sadly, no...

Longs Drugs sold billfolds...CVS doesn't. Grabbed a $10 Nylon Billfold at Porter's. It's better than the one I lost...though the olive drab camo of the old one did start a conversation or two!

I was back at the DaveCave by 3PM, and spent the rest of the afternoon shredding junk mail...mostly pre-approved credit card solicitations, and old credit card statements. I pay my bills online, the paper bills remind me to do my due diligence every billing cycle...saved me $10.05  once...

Anyway, why am I so tired? Couldn't have been watching a lot of the 37 Hours of the Daytona 500! I laid about Saturday morning while the race announcers vamped for hour upon hour...raggin' on and on about the rain and Twitter of all things. There's only so many questions that race car drivers can pontificate on...Finally, the Daytona 500 was postponed for the first time in 54 years.

No problemo...Monday was gonna be snowy outside, I'm without my wallet and Debit Card, and the pantry is stocked...I'm set for NASCAR's Super Bowl! The race is postponed again, now until 4PM Pacific.

Still snowy out, I prepped a batch of Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwiches...lunches for the next couple of days, anyway...

I turned up the sound on the TV just before the green flag fell, and Darrell Waltrip shouted: "Let's go racin' boys, and Danica!"

That didn't take long..."The Big One" happened on Lap 2...Danica's car caught enough of it to send her car behind the wall for a new rear end housing and all that goes with it...she started near the back after starting from the Pole in Saturday's Nationwide Series Race...after quite a while she rejoined 38 laps down.

Rules changes brought back Pack Racing for the most part, and the late start and cool temps all but eliminated the two-by-two drafting that we saw all week. Under the Florida sun, in 80° temps there was a hybrid of pack racing and two-by-two drafting. Two cars could hook up and escape, but they couldn't stay paired for more than a couple of minutes before the pusher started to overheat. It was the best of both worlds...

Back at the Daytona 500, the pack stayed together through the race. Needless to say, the Lap 2 wreck was just the first Big One. There were 9-10 yellow flag a red flag that stopped the race with 40 Laps to go...for another Two Hours!

Here's what happened. During a caution period, Juan Pablo Montoya exited the pits after some work was done on his #42 Target Chevrolet and was accelerating along the bottom of the track to catch the rest of the pack behind the Pace Car. A couple of Safety Trucks were towing Jet Dryers at the top of the Turn 3 banking (31° steep banking!) blowing tire debris down to the infield.

At about 100MPH, something under Montoya's #42 broke in a shower of sparks, and he spun up the track right into the leading jet dryer causing a huge explosion!

Montoya's car was destroyed, but he climbed out of the wreckage as soon as it came to a stop in the infield. The Safety Truck driver was shaken, but not stirred, and helped by the Safety Patrol to walk down the extreme banking.

When they were halfway down the track, the spilled jet fuel found an ignition source and a huge river of fire ran down the track.

I've never seen anything like it! In the darkness, it looked Biblical...the fire burned for several minutes before track fire crews finally doused the flames. It turns out the jet dryers carry 200 gallons of Jet-A fuel!

Take a minute to ponder the irony..."Safety Truck" = hot jet engine+200 gallons of Jet Fuel in a simple aluminum tank, not in a fuel cell like the race cars, all mounted on a slow moving trailer, with 30+ racecars whizzing by at 70+MPH under caution

A funny thing happened during the Red Flag...the race cars were all parked on the back straight, while the fire was doused and the track dried and repaired. From his #2 Miller Lite Dodge, Brad Keselowski took a photo of the fire scene with his iPhone and Tweeted it.

 The rest is history... Read the linked article, especially if you don't "get" Twitter...The TV talk quickly turned to twitter before the race was finally restarted.

Who was expecting a Green/White/Checker Finish? Only everybody watching! Matt Kenseth won his second Daytona 500 in his #17 Roush-Fenway Best Buy Ford.

Twitter during the race, and especially during the red flag was almost as much Snarky Fun as Live Tweeting the Oscars Sunday night! Getting a laugh with 140 characters or less takes some doin'...

Jeez, the wind is really howling now (12:15AM) I'll wrap this up and log off before the power goes off! Good Night!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Matter Of Perspective

It's raining on the Daytona 500 this morning...a nice drenching rain that's stretching the FoxTV producers bag of tricks a little thin...

NASCAR apparently discovered Twitter during their off season (or more likely FoxTV discovered Twitter recently)...So the pit reporters are making the rounds of the motorhomes and haulers, interviewing the drivers to pass the time. At least one Twitter question for each interview so far.

Kevin Harvick #29 Chevrolet, Tweeted a TwitPic of a box of diapers...awww... Kevin talked about being a new parent, they sold their race teams to concentrate on parenting, and had The Dog Whisperer in to help with their dog.

I seem to remember that the Harvick's dog lived in their wonder it copped an attitude...Harvicks' huge country estate, and the dog's relegated to the garage?

I continued wandering the web:
Here's a different kind of weather story...too much snow last year impacting Lake Tahoe.

Sounds like NDOW needs a snowcat, I've ridden my mountain bike up to Marlette Lake a couple of times, and the trail is a popular cross country ski destination. A milk run for a groomer!

I found these amazing photos on Photojojo!'s Tumblr. see them all here. Talk about a large canvas!

I know I'm all over the place today, but can't a man have as many perspectives as he wants?

No Spring Training stream today, but Twitter has been crackling with SF Giants News from Scottsdale. Buster Posey catching Matt Cain...Lots of fireworks during Live batting Practice...Matt Cain hit by a Héctor Sánchez comebacker...Pablo Sandoval drilled by LHP Jeremy Affeldt...and again on the shoulder both are fine.

Afterwards Affeldt quipped: "We don't need to be dropping our 3-hole hitter on the first day." Brandon Crawford hitting it hard, Posey crushed a couple of Sergio Romo pitches.

Willie Mays in the clubhouse today. Legacy Giants, JT Snow and Jeff Kent on the field, Will the Thrill in da house!

T minus 2 Hours and Counting:
Daytona rain delay now at three hours...10+ jet dryers on the track between storm cells. Rain has stopped...Twitter tweets on...It's 4:05PM in Daytona...they have lights...should get it in tonight...

Time to make lunch...Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich...

Things Are Lookin' Up

Remember this?

That was on the Local Fishwrap's Facebook Page Thursday.

Same scene Friday...I took the photo Saturday afternoon...right after I lost my wallet at the grocery store...however I wouldn't know my wallet had escaped for another 5-10 minutes when I was putting away the bag of groceries and discovered the gaping hole through which the billfold surely escaped...

Upon further inspection, my wallet must have been named Houdini to escape through this hole...a damn perfect storm...or escape act...

It's frustrating that a glass half full guy would come home with half a sack of groceries that's fully empty wallet wise...

As it happens, there were three Debit Cards and two Credit Cards in the billfold. Thankfully everyone who I talked to at the banks' Customer Service phone banks were helpful, understanding, and spoke in understandable accents.

Of course I'll have to get a new Drivers License now. It looks like yours truly will be doing the "New Air Jordans Camp-Out" early at DMV Monday morning. The website let me make an appointment at their earliest convenience,Tuesday afternoon!

Before I turned in for the night, I surfed the web for the day's news. Tom Stienstra's story about Tahoe Basin Bear Trouble in today's San Francisco Chronicle really put my lost wallet into sharp focus as a puny problem in the Big Picture compared to the plight of the local bruins.

With hungry bears emerging early from their hibernation, a small war amongst Incline Village residents has been brewing over Nevada Department of Wildlife's efforts to capture a problem bear in their neighborhood.

Alas, it's gonna shake out as a bad spring for basin bears...