Saturday, March 17, 2012

What A Difference

...a week makes!

On Interstate 80, chain controls moved downhill overnight to Drum on the west side and the Nevada State Line to the east. This morning they're back up to Kingvale to Donner Lake Interchange.

After 36 hours of rain, snowfall finally piled up. Resorts are reporting up to four feet on top!

Let's all be careful out there...The Sierra Avalanche Center warns of Considerable Avalanche Danger: Due to the combination of several feet of new snow and persistent deep slab instability, large destructive avalanches are possible today.

Good, chain controls on 80 lifted at 10AM.

KCRA3's Chief Meteorologist, @kcraFinan tweets: "Runoff from the storm continues. Folsom Lake is up 5 feet overnight, 15 feet in the last 5 days"

A couple more days of snow showers and maybe a thunder shower this afternoon are on tap, and the winds have abated...

Have at it everybody...but mind your avalanche hazards!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Niche Sports Pile-Up

I'm about to drift off to sleep with a smile on my face. With apologies to Sammy Cahn...Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

The rain finally stopped in the Inland Valley this afternoon. I dashed over to the SturgeUrge Compound for a visit, between calls to the phone company and the bank.

The rains have bedeviled our VoiP Telephone Service at the Ancestral Digs...two days of phone calls and "We'll work on it from our end" have turned into a "Service Window" Friday morning from 10AM to Noon. I fear the problem will have abated until the next deluge, and I need to make a conference-type call on this line tomorrow...

But that's not what has me I enjoyed two of my four "niche sports", when three were potentially available. Oracle Racing was trial racing on the Bay again after a couple of days of weather delays. I'm gonna get over to The City one afternoon in the next week or so to see the AC45s wring it out in match racing trials. My plate was overflowing today...I'm thinking Monday. Truth be told? Bicycle racing is gearing up on the Continent, but I don't have my BodyClock reset yet, and I won't get jazzed-up about it until the Spring Classics begin for real...

Formula One's 2012 season began in earnest today. I watched two thirds of Free Practice One online from Melbourne, Australia. I joined it in progress, after whipping up dinner...fluffy brown rice...Chinese style Garlic Asparagus, and Garlic Mini Bok Choi...I got it all together, served my Mom, and the covered serving dishes held dinner together and warm until Sister K and her Dave got home...I took my plate and a cold Old Chico brew to the computer and watched the beautiful images from Down Under.

When I joined the webcast, the cars were on Intermediate Rain Tyres, on a drying track. Over the final hour, lap times fell about 20 seconds as the dry line finally seduced the brave to go out on slicks. Yes, it's just the first 90 minutes of practice, but the expected leaders,  McLaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes all topped the leader board for a time, while defending champs, Red Bull Racing had some issues. The Mid-Pack runners and the backmarkers all ran better than expected.

After the practice was over, I caught the last four innings of the Giants-Mariners game from Peoria...Arizona. Up and coming short stop Brandon Crawford got his first hit of Spring Training, the go-ahead two run homer run in the sixth. Giants 7, Mariners 5 Happy Days...

After the game, Sister K and I had some laughs at the expense of her ex one day employer, and celebrated her new position. She starts in ten days or so...way to go Sister!

I had just enough time to grab a quick shower before P2 started on SpeedTV at 10:30PM. Again, the session began on a drenched track. The lesser teams were out early on Full Wet Tyres. About 30 minutes in, everyone was on on Intermediate Wets. The sun finally broke through, and the dry line followed shortly. The last 20 minutes were a joy as lap time fell quickly, until everyone realized that the "Last Man Standing" would likely top the leader board for the session. Red Bull Racing, McLaren and Mercedes traded top spot until Mercedes' Michael Schumacher set the last, fastest time of the session.

One more practice, P3 streams at 8:00PM tonight and 90 minutes of Qualifying on SpeedTV at 11:00PM. The Australian GP airs on SpeedTV LIVE Saturday night at 10:30PM (all times PDT)

 The weather in the Tahoe Sierra is too awful to write about...the next wave Friday night will bring lower snow levels and paste over the damage done in the last 36 hours of less than snow...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mental Health Week

My White Flag isn't bothering me as much today. The Sierra Avalanche Center warns that the Avalanche Danger is Considerable!

The rains continue unabated here at the Ancestral Digs. I've been scanning the webcams every few hours and it's raining to over 7000ft. These bands of precipitation are forecast to continue until Thursday-ish, as the Reno AFD says the snow level will rise to 7500-8000ft. With a juicy sub-tropical moisture tap, "Cold Front" is a non sequitur. Chain controls swam uphill and were lifted once the rain washed the summit clear, but not before powerlines blew down across Interstate 80 near Rainbow Road and closed the interstate for a time.

This is the big reason I fled...the Psychological Low that rain on ski hills brings. Wet enough, and long enough, it begins to become a Public Health Problem...count me out! I don't think I have the energy to deal with all the negativity that's sure to become the default atmosphere around Truckee and environs...

Down in daffodils-in-bloom-land, the rain is a much needed Blessed Event, but the Psychological Low down here isn't going to be nearly as deep or pervasive as in snow country.

@ORACLERacing cancelled shake down America's Cup AC45 racing on the Bay again today and Facebooked about it.

The San Francisco Giants are streaming their game against the Cleveland Indians from Scottsdale, Arizona...On the mend catcher, Buster Posey knocked a 6th inning homer to tie the game 2-2! Giants closer, Brian Wilson, also rehabbing last season's injuries, pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout...Springtime for the Giants is All Sunshine, All the Time so far.

I was so keen to listen to baseball today, I actually left a very interesting, technical webcast of The Flying Lap, Peter Windsor's excellent Formula One news and chat weekly. Peter's guest was Craig Scarborough, the very clever F1-Tech blogger. Sunday's Australian Grand Prix from Melbourne promises rain-induced drama, not to mention the usual Season Opening Race Drama.

After three weeks of testing in February and early March, the new cars are coming into focus. Wholesale changes to aerodynamics and exhaust gas routing have been captured on many team's race cars, and "Scarbs" covered them in detail with beautifully rendered drawings and spy photos. 

Clever aerodynamicists have reportedly resurrected the F-Duct, coupling it's actuation to the Drag Reduction System, thus leaving the driver out of the loop which is in keeping with the letter of the Sporting Regulations that scotched the F-Duct in 2010.

We can see for ourselves tonight at 10:30PM PDT when SpeedTV broadcasts F1 Practice LIVE from the Streets of Melbourne! The forecast is for "Rain all Weekend" in Melbourne, so it's bound to be extra interesting!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Steady Rain

I'm still up at 2:20AM. By my calculations, it's been raining steady for 24 hours now.

About four hours before the storm...
I just put the trash and recycling out at the curb here at the Ancestral Digs. It's been really raining all day...the gutters are running high and wide.

I stayed up too late last night too...I awoke to a knock on my door after falling back to sleep at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix replay on SpeedTV...My alarm roused me at 0600, I listened to Armstrong and Getty until the race started at 9AM, and I noticed a little scratchiness in my throat...a good day to stay home, I thought...

The tickle in my throat is gone, thanks to Sister K's Barley/Minestrone soup, and the copious amounts of water I've been guzzling all day. I got a couple of naps in...I guess it's just what my body ordered!

I feel like I ran up the White Flag when I fled down the hill Monday afternoon, but the bright side is I can get a headstart on the Ancestral Diggins. There's still time to get a crop of Chinese Pea Pods in before the heat of summer sets in...hopefully...

I want to move some gladiolus before they push up, and a hydrangea that would be much happier on the shady side of the house.

Tomato seeds start this week, and I need to research the supposedly frost resistant variety of Dwarf Meyer Lemon trees newly available to home gardeners...

The forecast says there'll be a break in the rain Thursday...I'll take it...the 11 O'clock News said there's already been 4 inches of rain in the Bay Area.

Team Oracle, the America's Cup racing team is in San Francisco for another two weeks of training on the Bay before heading off to the America's Cup World Series round in Naples, Italy. If the weather clears Thursday, and the winds cooperate, I'd love to see the AC45s work out...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Proof In the Pudding

Custard is like pudding, right?

The homemade ice cream turned out to be hit and miss. The "Rocky Road With Crème de Cacao" is a hit. I sweetened the pot a addition to a half cup each of marshmallows, walnut pieces and semisweet chocolate chips, I added a like amount of white chocolate chips...mmmm, coco butter...

The "Ginger With Dark Rum" was a disappointment. The recipe said "fresh ginger gives this ice cream a fierce bite..." I guess the authors I and have a different measurement for fierce. When I was chilling the custard for this one, licking the spoon held no bite...fierce or otherwise. I had some crystallized ginger from last year in the pantry, so I chopped up a third of a cup and added it at the end of the churn. It did provide the bite, but I'd prefer the bite came from the ice cream itself.

This was a very creamy treat, the crunchy ginger bits took away from the luxurious mouth feel. The recipe called for 2oz of fresh ginger root, I used 2.5oz. I dunno if my ginger had been in the reefer too long (a little over two weeks), or if the blanching water stole all the gingerey hotness. I'm going to do some experiments...first up? Get out the Juicer and juice up a foot of ginger root and play with that first.

On the bright side, I breezed through the scalding, tempering, gelatin blooming and ice crushing with a kitchen towel, cutting board and a 22oz waffle head framing hammer.

Bigger Picture Calling:
After today's delightful Giants game, I got an email from Friend of CorduroyPlanet, BajaBabe, subject line: Calling:

" on your cell and all I get is a busy signal? Several other numbers are doing that also? Wonder if the solar flare has knocked out some signals? Still looking for the Rhubarb recipe."

I grabbed the phone and gave her a ring. "It seems to work goin' uphill" I said when she answered. We bantered for 20 minutes before we said goodbye. I told her that our garage door opener mysteriously opened during the first magnetic storm this week.

I got to thinking, and yes my phone has been acting a little strange over the last few days. Friday (after the garage door opener event) my phone was very garbled, no matter if I was in the DaveCave Cellular Sweet Spot or not. At the time I chalked it up to heavy traffic at my local cell tower. There were tons of skiers and boarders in town, and upon the mountain enjoying the fresh powder. It just may have been that solar flare and it's geomagnetic storm, not the Prefect Storm of powder and smartphones. We've unplugged the garage door opener until the eStorms pass...
Our old friend, sunspot AR1429 kicked out another CME Saturday., this one a M8 Class flare. Could be more aurora, overhead...through Tuesday/Wednesday.