Saturday, April 7, 2012

Opening Day

Friday was Opening Day for the 2012 San Francisco Giants. The Boys of Summer opened in Phoenix. After an encouraging Spring, the Giants looked good losing to the Diamondbacks. Two time Cy Young starter Tim Lincecum got shelled in the first inning, before buckling down in the second.

The Giants got to D-Backs starter Ian Kennedy in the 5th and 6th, but Giants errors and some more D-Backs fireworks sealed the Giants fate 5-4

There was much to celebrate for Giants' fans.

The first thing is, nobody got hurt! The Giants got 11 hits. Finally the Ian Kennedy puzzle that's bedeviled the Giants for two seasons is showing signs of getting solved.

Buster Posey played all nine innings behind the plate for the first time since his season ending ankle injury last May, and went 2 for 4 in the batter's box. One error was charged to Buster when he mishandled a weirdly spinning chopper that bounced in front of the plate and spun out of his glove. No harm no foul IMHO Buster is good as new.

The Giants play seven of their first nine games in the afternoon. This pleases this old baseball fan to no end! I still feel the sting from when I first heard the news that Chicago's Wrigley Field was installing lights for night games...the last Major League Yard to yield to Television's Will. Sure, baseball looks better under the lights on TV, but the deep shadows thrown by the  mid-afternoon Sun have been part and parcel of baseball for more than a century. Losing a high pop-up in the Sun is part of the drama, and the players are less likely to be injured in the heat of the day...think Midwest in August...Dog Days, anyone?

The Reno Aces beat the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 9-5 in Reno tonight...this time without the snowfall...

I did errands before the 4PM game. Wonder of wonders, my favorite Mexican Produce Market finally opened their store in the same town as the Ancestral Digs! The poor folks have flown the "Opening Soon" banner since November! Talking to the locals in line, it seems the County had a long list of hoops they had to jump through. I picked up some asparagus for half the Safeway price, asparagus that was a few days fresher, I might ad...perfect button crimini mushrooms were .99/lb, not $3.99/lb, and they had beautiful bunches of organic Golden Beets! Did I mention the Champagne Grapes? WooHoo!

I had a mind to have white fish for dinner. We've been doing a lot of chicken this week save for the Osso Buco from the slow cooker. I fancied some ahi sushi appetizers...barring that some hamachi, with some white fish done piccata-style for the main...I was thinking sole, preferably petrale.

The local Safeway was pretty proud of their fish. All their sole and snapper was $9.99/lb and up! I headed east and Lunardi's was prouder still ($29.99/lb for sashimi-grade ahi? Are you kidding me? That's Biblical Pride right there)...So I headed to Concord to the Mexican Produce Market Mothership (where they feature a fish market with live Dungeness Crab and Lobsters)

I did a quick reconnaissance of the aisles. Prices were exactly the same as in the more toney shopping center location by the Ancestral Digs, though the more crowded Mothership had many more choices, especially Asian and Indian produce. I struck out on a large eggplant, though...

In the back is the fish market. It was plugged with shoppers stocking up on Lenten Fare. I gazed at the crab and lobsters while the outnumbered fish mongers filled orders. Finally I got up to the cases. Oh My God, they had beautiful big snapper fillets for $3.49/lb! Here's my  white fish in spades! I bought twice as much as dinner required. The other two fillets will freeze up fine and hit the table next week.

Now that I think about it, Safeway did have a bunch of nice looking Standing Rib Roasts in the meat case for $5.99/lb. These have been going for $8.99/lb for a while now down here...I don't want to do a goose for Easter, after all...

Bone Appétit

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Sky Is Falling

...Again! Well, not actually the sky per's another dead satellite...another Russian one. This one won't reenter over North America, and it's little compared to Phobos/Grunt, ROSAT and UARS. Molinya 1-89 only weighs 1600KG, about a ton and three quarters.

My Springtime plans are beginning to gel. Friend of CorduroyPlanet, Kirkvallus is coming down to the Inland Valley in May to catch a couple of stages of the AMGEN Tour of California. Stage 3 San Jose to Livermore climbs Mt Diablo, so we'll be up there watching the action. Here's a .pdf of the Stage 3 Map.

There's much less chance of fog ruining the TV view on Mt Diablo than at last year's Stage 4 that climbed Mt Hamilton between Livermore and San Jose. Baja Babe and I spectated from the Mt Hamilton summit, and it was an awesome spectacle.

Sadly, Perennial ToC contender Santa Rosa's Levi Leipheimer won't be contending this year. Levi was hit by a car while training April 1st for the Vuelta al País Vasco in Basque country, and suffered a broken tibia. Levi sounds like he's game for the challenge though...

I grabbed a couple of tix for the SF Giants vs St Louis Cardinals during the week, too. It's a Day Game and should be a blast! Our seats are out in right-center field over the archways, under the Splash Hit water cannons and Fog Horns...note to self, remember to bring ear plugs!

There's Reno Air Race News this week. The NTSB will hold a press conference next Tuesday, to release recommendations to improve safety at air races and give an update on the ongoing investigation into last year’s tragic crash at the Reno National Championship Air Races.

Tickets for September's Reno Air Races went on sale a couple of weeks ago, but there's still uncertainty whether the Races will go on or not. 

Tonight was Opening Day for the Reno Aces Triple-A ball club. They defeated the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 5-2 after a...wait for it...snow delay!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Brighter Day

Man, I'm all tuckered out tonight. Finally spring training is over for the Giants...they played the Oakland A's to an 8-1 loss at AT&T Park Wednesday in the last pre-season game of 2012.

To tell you the truth, I think the boys were ready a week ago! The Giants made their final cuts to reach the 25 man roster Wednesday, and my guy, catcher Chris Stewart didn't get the Posey backup spot.

The Giants traded Stew to the Yankees! So Stew will be wearing the pinstripes, and playing in the new Yankee Stadium. Congratulations Chris Stewart! Young switch-hitting Venezuelan slugger, Héctor Sánchez got the nod as Buster Posey's backup.

Finally the Giants brass read the tea leaves and went with the Young Guns instead of the creaky old veterans. Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Brett Pill all made the team.

Giants' pitching is largely unchanged from last season, Closer Brian Wilson is healthy and ready, only 2011 Cinderella Story, Ryan Vogelsong will be late to start with a back strain...he's pitching in Triple A Fresno for one more week and will miss one Big League start.

Last weekend's Tour of Flanders bicycle race was so good, that I did choose a Fantasy Bicycle Race Team for this weekend's Spring Classic, Paris-Roubaix. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about, you couldn't do better than watching Paris-Roubaix on NBCSN (used to be Versus) It's not called a Classic for nothin'!

The NBCSN LIVE coverage begins at 6AM PDT Sunday morning April 8th. They have a three hour recap at 4PM PDT that afternoon. Look for TeamCorduroyPlanet's Tom Boonen to win!

I'm going to bed now, smug and satisfied because we finally got COMCAST to fix the phones and internet at the Ancestral Digs! Ed the COMCAST Tech found what the last two guys didn't, and the VoiP phone works, the updated modem screams, and we're on the calendar for the Underground Crew to come out soon to pull 200+ feet of new R-11 under the street from their junction box to our house.

So, more than two months, three different techs, and soon a whole crew of conduit cable pullers, and we're back in the 21st Century. Hat tip to my Bro-Inlaw for ramrodding the whole shebang! My contribution was just opinions...and worth what they cost!

'Night all!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Christ! It's started raining again here in the Inland Valley again!

The local TV Weathermen said this wave would miss us, and the Tahoe weatherpeople said the miniscule amount of precip would have trouble dropping any lower than Susanville...March is over...and yes, the almost miracle added to our paltry pack, but the measurements say we're at roughly 50% of "normal" now.

Mother Nature, get over it now, it's Baseball Season, OK?

The Not Quite March Miracle played hell with my fun. The False Spring had all the fruit trees blooming along with the daffodils and paperwhites here in the Inland Valley.

Around the corner from the Ancestral Digs there's a home on a corner lot, with a teensy-weensy circle driveway and mature landscaping. The little driveway makes an island with the sidewalk and curbs. There's three well trained trees on the island...two Flowering Plums and another fruit tree with white blossoms.

Ten days ago, those flowering plums burst into bloom with their lovely purple flowers. The branches weren't covered with blossoms, more like the sparse, artistic smattering of blooms in a Japanese painting. These were set off by the heavy lichen encrustation on the stout-ish limbs. Deeply textured bark with hospital green lichen colonies larger than apples breaking up the long dark branches. When I first noticed the show, I thought I've gotta get down here in the evening when the golden hour will make for some amazing photos...I'll bring my tripod and reflectors and make some awesome photos...

Cue Mother started pouring rain the next morning, and didn't stop until every blossom on all three trees was stripped off unceremoniously and deposited right into the gutter. Life goes on...springtime is nothing if not ephemeral...

The rain will stop before the weekend, so I can move a clump of gladiolis, to make room for two rows of pea pods before putting in some more summer-y vegetables.

During Saturday's rain squalls, I watched bicycle racing LIVE from Belguim. The incredible Tour of Flanders really sparked-up my bicycle racing receptors...This weekend the Spring Classic, Paris-Roubaix will be LIVE on NBCSN (exVersus) at 6AM PDT. I may play a Fantasy Team for the one day classic.

This would be wholly three months early compared to years past...I may make a team for the Giro d'Italia, the first Grand Tour in late May/early June...

Spring is shaping up nicely...Formula One is still another 10 days away...Easter Sunday will be mostly quiet on racetracks around the world...thank God MotoGP kicks off it's season on Easter!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blowing Up Again

Because I'm gaining on both my BodyClock reset and this pesky cold, I was up at 7:30 Saturday morning. The forecast rain had arrived and the winds were calm. By noon, the rain was reaching my window, a pretty good trick that...sneaking under the big redwood tree that was now thrashing about enough to make me worry a little

My Twitter stream was blowing up too. Most of the Tahoe Sierra Ski Resorts were tweeting which chairlifts were "On Windhold" and the regional newspapers were tweeting Wind Reports and Warnings. By mid-afternoon, "Windhold" morphed into "Closed for the Day", and chain controls dipped all the way down to Colfax.

The last Cactus League home game for the San Francisco Giants was on television. The weather in Scottsdale was 80°F, and Scottsdale Stadium fire up the Misters for the first time this spring. (No, the Misters aren't a Blue Eyed Soul Outfit,  these are real misters...tiny nozzles that make fog to help cool the grandstands. They're popular in hot, dry climates)

The Giants could have used a good tempest...they got shelled early and lost 11-2 to the Cincinnati Reds. Their final Arizona game is Sunday against the Diamondbacks in Maryvale, AZ In the Cactus League, a 30 minute drive to the opponent's park is a Road Game...Opening Day can't come soon enough!

After the game, I made chicken and snow peas for dinner, but not before I fished the patio table and umbrella out of the pool...

The Reno NWS Office posted some cool satellite images of Saturday afternoon's dust storms kicked up by the same wind that put our lawn furniture in the pool...

As Seen From Space!
Chain controls have moved up to Nyack, but the real treacherous conditions will be in the Sierra Tahoe Backcountry Sunday. The Sierra Avalanche Center has observations from around the Basin Saturday that should be fair warning...Here's the lowdown on Donner Summit:

"Rain up to 7000' in the early morning hours quickly switching over to snow by 11am above 7500'.  Snow intensity increasing greatly by 2pm, 2-3'' per hour.  Winds SW strong to gale all morning into afternoon."

"Wet snowpack in the early morning hours.  Punchy conditions below 7500' under the 1-2'' of new wet snow.  Above 7500' 2-4'' of new snow on a more supportable melt freeze crust.  As the day progressed the temps dropped and the snow increased.  Very minor cracking in wind loaded terrain, new wind slabs were still developing into the afternoon.  4-6'' of new snow in protected areas, winds were moving lots of snow, visibility was very limited.
Photo:  Small natural wet slab avalanche observed at 8am, north aspect, 35-40 degree slope, 7000', on the north face of Donner Peak just east of Snowshed Wall."

This season, too many seem unable to resist the siren's song. Avalanche danger out of bounds will be high to extreme Sunday. I pray the cooler heads will prevail...

Let's be careful out there people, and don't be an April Fool...Heed the Avalanche Warnings!