Saturday, March 31, 2012

Money's Worth

I figure I got about five bucks-worth from my $1 MegaMillions lottery ticket. It was a fine afternoon here in the Inland Valley. Partly sunny, I hit the local liquor emporium for the tix, avoiding any line whatsoever, drove thru TacoBell while listening to Dennis Miller on the radio, and I realized it's been a whole week since I've been out of the house.

Even the grocery store cooperated! I parked right out front and grabbed everything on my list...finding a checkout stand with no line even...I drove back to the Ancestral Digs feeling like a jewel thief who's just pulled off the perfect crime.

I grabbed a quick catnap before the ballgame, and read a lot of snark on Twitter.

I didn't win...I, and by I, I mean the lotto computer, picked only one number that didn't pay.

You know I'm a glass half full guy, so I take solace knowing that the take-home jackpot would have only been $400 Million, heck, the Federal Government blows through that size bankroll in about 25 minutes!

The rain returns Saturday, but the weatherman promises it'll be outta here by Sunday afternoon. It'll be good to keep resting up! The IndyCars ace this weekend...on a natural terrain road course. There's a bicycle racing "Spring Classic" on the tube LIVE Sunday morning, The Tour of Flanders.

Yep, Spring is bustin' out all over...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lookin' Up

Remember our old friend AR1429, the active sunspot region that kicked out a series of M-Class solar flares, or Coronal Mass Ejections in early March?

Well the view from NASA's SDO satellite shows the region is still kicking up it's heels on the farside of the Sun. AR1429 which will come around the Sun's limb after two weeks traversing the farside, has kicked out a couple of C-Class flares showing the region's ongoing activity.

I'm still trying to see the Northern Lights for the first time. Perhaps AR1429 will deliver.

The night skies have been busy over the past couple of weeks, but the show has been obscured by this year's Miracle March cloudy regime. Jupiter, the Moon, and Venus aligned this week above the clouds...

Later this spring there's two big deal astronomical events that truly are events of a lifetime.

On May 20, 2012 there's an Annular Eclipse who's path of totality comes right over Truckee! Then on June 6th, Venus will transit the Sun in a six hour event which can be seen across North America, and won't be seen again until 2117!

Looking ahead only five years to August 21st, 2017, the United States will be blessed with the Real Deal, a genuine Total Solar Eclipse!  This time the path of totality favors friends of CorduroyPlanet, BajaBabe and KirkVallus

Seeing any of these events is like hitting the lottery which reminds me of another factoid from today's background static...

The big Mega-Millions lotto jackpot for Friday night's drawing is over a half a billion dollars...that's $640 Million bucks. This Mega-Millions Game is the redheaded stepchild to PowerBall, the other multi-state game of chance. California threw in with Mega-Millions, while neighboring Nevada doesn't have any lotteries...they have plenty of gambling to tax already.

The lure of millions has caused a traffic "situation" west of Reno, NV on Interstate 80. The Reno paper has the deets. I don't normally play Mega-Millions, but a buck buys a ticket and more than a dollar's worth of fantasy when we're talking real money, so I'll pick up a ticket before Friday's draw...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Comeback Trail

OK, I'm gettin' this cold whipped now. Fever's definitely broke and is behind me. Nose dried up, just some productive coughing left to do.

Unexpected plus:
All the extra sacktime, plus listening to the audio of the Supreme Court arguments on Obamacare, kept me up 'till 6AM the other morning...what to do? I lounged in bed listening to Armstrong and Getty until 10AM, then napped until 2PM.

I'm late getting this post written because I couldn't keep my eyes open past 1AM last night! Today I woke up at 0530. Could be just the set-up for my final BodyClock reset...fingers crossed...

The Pacific Battleship Center announced that the USS Iowa would be open weekends for five more weeks before the ship's planned move south. I'll try to thread in a visit between rainstorms.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Knocked Out!

That's what this cold did this weekend. It knocked me out...Late Saturday night I played fast and loose with bedtime to watch the rain-delayed Malaysian Grand Prix (and was rewarded with a bang-up race). I went to sleep at 4AM...and slept right through IndyCar's opener from St Petersberg, FL, and the NASCAR race from SoCal.

Darn thing is, now I'm sleeping from 2AM to 2PM in round numbers...the weather isn't helping either...a new March Miracle is tryin' to get born. Sunday (or was it Monday?) it rained more than 8 inches up in Marin county. I think we got 2-3 inches in the Inland Valley from that wave, and another inch or two today. Rain Wednesday, and more for the weekend.

It's been tough being sick and trying not to infect the rest of the family. Sister K started a new job Monday, and I wanted to cook dinner so she wouldn't have to, but I didn't dare to until Tuesday. I did a baked chicken dish with rice. I announced that dinner was ready, but everyone has to serve themselves, 'cause I don't want to give you my cold...oh, and there's salad in the refrigerator...

SturgeUrge phoned and we caught up. Salmon season opens April 7th, and we haven't been crab fishing since before Thanksgiving. This week's rains should flush the crab out of the bays, and back into our evil clutches!

Looking south from Richmond berth. Click for larger view.
We're trying to get a trip to Richmond in to tour the USS Iowa, but dodging these rainstorms makes it tough to visit the battleship because it's only open Saturdays and Sundays. They're painting the Iowa now, and servicing the hull and decks before she moves south to Los Angeles Harbor.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blowin' Up

It's official...Sports Television ♥s Twitter.

It began at the Daytona 500 back in February. Granted, the 500 that usually runs about four hours lasted more than 37 hours, what with all the rain delays, and that late race Red Flag for cleanup of Juan Pablo Montoya's spectacular spin into the jet dryer that resulted in a river of fire cascading down the 31° banking across the track.

Every decent explosion needs a catalyst or trigger. Twitter's sports trigger was pulled by NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski who snapped a photo with his iPhone of the fire from the seat of his #2 Penske Racing Miller Lite Dodge, and Tweeted it. It went viral, and the announcers filled the time with a lot of talk about Twitter. I blogged about it here and here.

The Twitpic™ that launched 100K followers
Fast forward to this weekend and SpeedTV's Formula One coverage of the Malaysian Grand Prix...

Right out of  the box, SpeedTV's talking heads have been touting Twitter alongside their broadcast product this season. During Saturday morning's Qualifying Show, the #SPEEDF1 hashtag was used enough to become a Trending Topic on Twitter. Even as a Twitter user this surprised me. A half billion people worldwide watch F1 on television, but it never occurred to me that millions of them might be on Twitter.

College basketball's March Madness is the big sports story of the month. I don't follow b-ball, college or NBA, but I'm sure it's powered by Twitter now. (I have seen some March Madness hashtags, and probably missed uncounted many of my readers know the names of college cagers?)

I guess Twitter is a natural sidebar to info/data-rich sporting events like motor racing and baseball, in fact I signed up on Twitter to follow Lance Armstrong when he made his Tour de France comeback attempt in 2009. Armstrong's tweets were his attempt to reach his fans and supporters directly, without the often hostile filter of the European Cyclopress.

3:31AM Update:
Malaysia didn't disappoint. Rain fell hard 10 minutes before the start. The race was red flagged on Lap 9, and the rain delay ran an hour. The rest of the race has been a bang-up delight! My favorite kind of race...Starts in the wet...dries during the race...but rain threatens throughout, complicating strategy.

The McLarens lead the race before the Red Flag
Not much happening on Twitter...too much happening on track!

WOW! That was a helluva race! hot damn! Oh look...29 tweets I've ignored during the final 6 laps!

Two outta three on the podium are beaming like they stole the Crown Jewels...and they did!

So, I'm down with 18 more races like this one!