Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scratch Fishing

In fishing lingo, a "scratch bite" translates into "slow fishing". Golf has the "scratch golfer", whatever that means...I'm not a golfer, in fact I always say: "I've lost more friends to golf than heroin" Golf is addictive in my estimation.

Even appliance sellers have "scratch and dent" I'm still "blessed" with that scratchy throat...grrr...I woke up at six this morning and tuned in my favorite radio chuckleheads, and promptly went back to sleep. I woke at 9AM and phoned SturgeUrge to say I couldn't make it today, and went back to sleep until 1:30PM

The weather is building in Friday night, and showers are forecast for Saturday and Sunday. It won't be any trouble scratching out some recuperation time this weekend...In fact, it's less than an hour until the San Francisco Giants vs Texas Rangers game is on TV. The Giants faced off against the Rangers in the 2010 World Series, though now that we're in Spring Training's Doldrums, I don't expect their history to have any effect tonight. I find baseball very comforting...I'll be all bundled up, under the covers, too.

The game should be over before the Malaysian GP P3 streams at 10PM (Spring Training games never go extra innings, and do end in ties from time to time)

Madison Bumgarner 22, starts for the Giants against the Rangers
I've set the DVR to watch Qualifying after midnight...I should be sleeping soundly by then...

The Malaysian Grand Prix airs LIVE Sunday morning at 12:30AM on SpeedTV

IndyCar racing begins Sunday on the streets of St Petersburg, Florida

Looks like I'll have plenty of distractions to keep me in bed and outta the rain!

This afternoon I saw an interesting story in Truckee's fishwrap of record: "Crawfish Harvesting Nears for Lake Tahoe" I'm wondering how crawdads contribute to algae blooms...It seems counter-intuitive to me. Crawfish are bottom dwellers who feed on other invertebrates and all matter of dead stuff that would otherwise decay, increasing the fertilizer available to algae.

I wonder...are crawdads introduced to Lake Tahoe? Whenever we go camping and trout fishing in Sierra lakes, I always bring my crawfish traps. We usually catch a meal or two's worth, and they're especially yummy when you catch 'em yourself!

Crawfish don't appear on DFG's "California Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan" hit list. I'm gonna keep an eye out for the crawfish/algae bloom nexus...

Play Ball!

Friday, March 23, 2012

That Old Familiar Feeling

No, it's not the flush of new love in's that telltale scratch in the back of my throat again...grrrr

Today, it's my only quote my favorite line from Russell Crowe's fantastic Patrick O'Brian film, "Master and Commander": "What a fascinating, Modern World we live in".

Captain Jack Aubrey, hero of O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels of seafaring daring-do in the Royal Navy during the age of Admiral Nelson, says this aboard his wooden ship, after a dinner toast. The idea of an 18th Century sea captain seeing his insular world as modern, really struck a chord with me...everything is all about your viewpoint, and the ecosystems of history.

After a day free of errands, and avoided chores, the planets aligned and I had the supper of homemade Crookneck Squash Soup and Reuben Sandwiches on the table in time to slink away to my room with my Reuben and a Czech Style Pilsner to watch Formula One Free Practice One (P1), LIVE from Sepang, Malaysia via SpeedTV's Internet Stream.

The Malaysian Grand Prix is the second of twenty races in 2012, and a much different track than the Albert Park temporary road circuit in Melbourne, Australia last weekend.

Sepang International Circuit is a newer, purpose-built natural terrain road course designed by German Architect Hermann Tilke, who's gone on to design and build another eight F1 Racetracks since Sepang which opened in 1999.

I love the luxury of watching 90 minutes of F1 cars on the track without any commentary what so ever! There's a timing ladder on the side of the screen, and a countdown clock on top of the frame. The only human voices you hear are the occasional Radio Communications between the drivers and their engineers.

Not smoke, it's cold air condensing in the tropical heat and humidity
During streamed practice, the normally super paranoid and secretive teams who usually keep the TV cameras at bay, let their hair down a bit, allowing the occasional long, lurid look at a new front wing, an exposed undertray, aerodynamic pieces, or suspension internals...spy photos LIVE in real time...gotta love it!

Formula One, more than any other motorsport is about cutting edge technical development. New bits and pieces come into play every race weekend. Rumor is, Ferrari brought a totally new chassis to Sepang, after racing their new Ferrari 2012 only once at Melbourne!

I watched P2 on TV LIVE four hours later. My team made progress, but I don't think they'll catch the McLarens this weekend...unless it rains, and rain is always in the cards at Sepang.

P3 streams Friday night at 10PM PDT, and Qualifying airs at 1AM on SpeedTV, and the Malaysian GP runs early Sunday morning at 12:30AM

In today's Modern World, not only did I watch events LIVE from the other side of the planet, but I augmented the streaming video with live weather radar via WeatherUndergroundn and a lively stream on Twitter, with the teams, the TV guys and head honcho of tire supplier Pirelli tweeting extra tidbits of pertinent data from the track...What a fascinating, Modern World we live in!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


This picture makes me think of the little kid who's favorite question is: "Why?" Dripping with cuteness, the little guy's "Why?" almost becomes two syllables.

RIP Mel Parnell who died today at 89
Somehow, this 1953 photo of Mel Parnell, the Boston Red Sox' winningest lefthander  in history, and ace of the Sox' staff during the Ted Williams Era, sums up my winter. I wouldn't call it "The Winter of My Discontent" exactly, but it is different on outside, looking in. Baseball in the snow, while not this year's reality (It's in the 80's in Arizona where most of the ball I care about is being played this week), still the juxtaposition spoke to me.

Perhaps I'm just tired...the ol' BodyClock isn't perfectly reset just yet...the other morning I was surprised when the alarm went off at 0600...and I hadn't closed my eyes yet. It's been a week full of errands, the last of the post- wallet loss phone calls, and fitting in some yard chores between rainy days.

It's been a tough couple of weeks for the Tahoe Sierra Ski/Snowboard Community...not enough snow, then snow enough for fatal avalanches, then 36 hours of Biblical-Style rain, then it started to snow, and more drama including more fatalities...

The deep fresh snow claimed a couple of people who fell into tree wells or deep powder and suffocated. Tree wells are the newest peril on the slopes, gaining purchase alongside snowboarding.

This past weekend, there was a fatality at Sierra-At-Tahoe, the type of fatality I've never heard of before:  "In Northern California, a skier fell into a hole created by an underflow of water at the Sierra-at-Tahoe resort. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s department said the victim was 54-year-old Yiwei Hu of Gold River."

The linked article wasn't clear if the "underflow of water" was a known hazard that escaped marking, or if the near-torrential rains made a "new" watercourse below the piste that failed and caused the victim's fall.

There certainly was enough rain on the resorts for the runoff to make mischief. I guess it goes without saying...Don't ski alone.

I won't lie, if I had to get laid off in Mid-Winter, this year couldn't have been a better choice...too much heartache and drama...bad business, any way you cut it...

Finally, I'll end with a "brighter side" factoid. Tickets for September's Reno National Championship Air Races are now on sale.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vision Thing Again

Bipolar ski news this weekend...the old yin and yang if you will. Last week's storms brought welcome rain and snow to the Tahoe Sierra bringing the season totals to around 50% of normal. This winter, this passes for the good news...

The Sacramento TV News WeatherTalkers forecast more snowfall plus lousy driving conditions for Sunday, which torpedoed the weekend crowds for the resorts. I don't even know what CalTrans was thinking...

I watched chain controls march up the hill thanks to the dual remote marvels, webcams and Twitter. CalTrans lifted controls Sunday afternoon just in time for the lowering sun to allow the still wet superslab to refreeze with the inevitable consequences...the interstate was closed for "accidents and spin-outs" for hours. I saw this one coming...CalTrans? Not so much...

I don't know if it was snowfall induced exuberance, or lack of foresight, or what that made for a deadly weekend on the slopes. The Reno paper reported some of the carnage. Truckee's local paper has a sad round-up.

The avalanche at Kirkwood happened in bounds around 2:15 in the afternoon, the two skiers were very lucky to escape with their lives. With Friday's long period of rain to 8500ft, avalanche hazards will be heightened for days...there's several unstable layers in the snowpack that will remaining unstable for the duration. I cringed repeatedly as I watched the tweets from various resorts announcing the popular out-of-bounds access points opening. I wonder if the Marketing departments are coordinating their messaging with their Ski Patrol's Avalanche Gurus?

There was a happy ending up on Mt Rose. Three skiers and two snowmobilers in two groups became lost out of bounds, and were found before they found more adventure than they bargained for...they phoned for help when they knew they were lost...The Mt Rose summit is filthy with antennae of all kinds, some of them cell phone towers...Can you hear me now?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Too Much Fun!

Two! Count 'em...Two Giants games on TV today!

The Giants drubbed the Oakland As in the afternoon game, 7-2 based on a good outing by starter, Tim Lincecum.

The night game is tied 3-3 at the the final. (Spring Training games can end in a tie)

I didn't catch the 9th inning, I switched to SpeedTV for the Formula One Season Preview.

At 10:30 the Australian GP coverage began LIVE from Melbourne. A great start to what's sure to be an exciting season. The Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend will be a totally different challenge for the teams and drivers who will need the two week break before they race in China on April 15th

Spring comes Tuesday March 20th. Baseball begins it's regular season the first week of April. I wonder if our weather will get the memo?