Saturday, September 1, 2012


Slack tides are when you make lunch and wait for the tide to start moving again.

Slackers are the chronically unmotivated...

I feel like a slacker today...I'm tired, but I did make a little headway on my GPS antenna project.

I stayed up Friday night to stream P3 from Spa-Francorchamps at 2AM...

As forecast, there were streams of rainwater flowing across the track everywhere. Nothing to see here...move along...nothing remotely slack about the blustery winds in the Ardennes forest either...

So, staying up late for nothing kept me from staying awake when the alarm woke me for Qualifying. Thanks DVR for picking up my slack!

I watched Qualifying after watching my San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field Saturday morning (10AM PDT) A very satisfying game for Giants' fans.

Troubled Giants' starter Tim Lincecum pitched a good quality start, and notched the win, behind good hitting up and down the batting order. The Giants would be World Beaters if they hit at home like they do on the road!

We're having this weird weather here in the Inland Valley...I made Crookneck Squash Soup for dinner Friday night after the overcast didn't burn off at all. I did errands in the hot, sunny end of the Valley and the best it could do was 70°F at 5PM! Two weeks ago we were having triple digit highs!

So I should get plenty of sleep before the Belgian Grand Prix airs at 0430 PDT Sunday morning. Shouldn't be any trouble staying awake either...with two soaking wet rounds of practice, and only one dry session, the teams didn't gather enough data on the tires and setups to make informed choices or strategies for race day.

All the rain washed all the rubber off of the track, so the track will be changing plenty as the race evolves. Spa-Francorchamps always provides good racing and thrills a-plenty, and I don't see why tomorrow should be any different.

I'll post an after action report Sunday...but not until the 11AM Giants game ends...think early afternoon.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Ho, ho, ho! I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve! Just four hours until the Formula One cars take to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for Free Practice One for Sunday's Grand Prix de they say in France.

I'll be watching the 90 minute session streaming LIVE at SpeedTV's website, and I've got the DVR watching P2 because even though the alarm clock will get me up to watch at 5AM Friday morning, that doesn't mean I can stay awake for all 90 minutes...

The weather forecast looks wet for P1 and P2, with drying conditions for P3 and Qualifying, but Sunday's forecast to be dry.

I'm posting early so readers can stream the link too.

More later...did I mention that the Giants swept the Houston Astros? Yup, they came from four runs down to win 8-4 scoring 3 in the 5th, 3 in the 7th, and one each in the 8th and 9th.

Tomorrow the Chicago Cubs from Wrigley Field

11:45PM Update:
Tweets are starting to emerge from a Wet Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. An hour and fifteen minutes 'till the cars roll off.

Down in Phoenix, Arizona the Dodgers lost to the Diamondbacks 2-0. My Giants lead the NL West by 4 1/2 games.

10:23AM Update:
Alarm clock- Check
Eyelids- Check...from the inside...

I'm watching P2 on the DVR. Looks just like P1 rain, rain, cars on track...with commentary.

The forecast still looks soggy for P3 and Qualifying, Sunday Partly Cloudy, Highs in the 50°F's

T Minus 29 Minutes and Counting

A good win by the San Francisco Giants in Houston tonight.

I baked a fresh peach pie before the game, and made the jalapeño cole slaw for Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwiches. I filleted the chicken breasts and marinated them in buttermilk sense working myself into a lather in this heat!

I enjoyed a Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich while the Giants held onto their lead in the 8th and 9th innings. before I had a piece of pie for desert...whoops, missed. The pie turned out like soup inside!

I've been scoring these tree ripened O'Henry freestone peaches at the Farmer's Market for the last 3-4 weeks. I've been making my "Lumpy Peach Cobbler", but wanted to make a pie to change things up a little.

This week's batch of O'Henrys was a bit smaller than last week's...and I guess a little juicier as well! Still, it is delicious!

So, today's title refers to the time I began writing this post. I'm monitoring the launch of another NASA satellite, the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP). The twin satellites will study the highly charged regions of the Van Allen Radiation Belts, where Man and Satellites find it hard to survive.

So the launch is at T Minus 4 Minutes and holding. It's a built in hold, and everything, including the weather is nominal.

It's a good week for internet streaming! Formula One ends it's Summer Holiday this weekend, so a new episode, #81, of Peter Windsor's excellent video podcast, The Flying Lap was on tap.

Peter's guests were Craig Scarborough, author and draftsman of the excellent F1 Tech Blog, Scarb's F1, and Strategy Engineer for the WilliamsF1 Team, Mark Barnett. Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix is one of F1's most iconic races.

Spa-Francorchamps is an awesome circuit. 7km in length, it's a high speed favorite of drivers and fans alike. 75% of each lap is spent at full throttle. Most of the turns are medium to high speed bends, and many are famous, or as some wags might say...infamous.

Wikipedia has the whole story...and a classic story it is! 

Even the most casual F1 fan knows the names, Eau Rouge, Raidillon, La Source Hairpin, Blanchimont and the Bus Stop Chicane. Each turn is breathtaking in it's own way.

Throw in the always unpredictable weather of the Ardennes Forest, and Spa-Francorchamps never disappoints. 

Here's a gif from the 2008 Belgian GP that'll whet your appetite for more Spa-Francorchamps action. This is Kimi Räikkönen threading the needle made up of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. They all made it through the corner! Felipe Massa won it that year, but Räikkönen bookended the Brazilian with wins in '07 and '09.

Räikkönen, back at it after going RallyCar racing for a couple of years has yet to win this season, but most observers expect him to be the next new winner this season in the Lotus, which is rumored to be debuting their new Double DRS at Spa. Even without the blown wings fore and aft, the Lotus is very quick. Once Lotus get their starts dialed in, they should win several races...until the rest of the teams fit double wing stalling setups on their cars!

Free Practice 1, Friday 1AM PDT, and FP3, Saturday 2AM PDT are streamed LIVE beginning Friday morning by SpeedTV, and they broadcast P2, Qualifying and the Grand Prix on SpeedTV

I'm ready! It's been four weeks since the Grand Prix of Hungary. There's gonna be lots of surprises I'm sure. This season so far has been full of surprises, and I don't see what that would end.

The Atlas 5 rocket has boosted the RBSP successfully into orbit.

Good night!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Week

The doping problem that surfaced with my San Francisco Giants when 2012 All Star Game MVP, Melky Cabrera (and Giants' Left Fielder) tested positive for testosterone and incurred a 50 game suspension from Major League Baseball really deflated my balloon.

Melky totally lit up opposing pitchers across the League. Not coincidentally, he lit up the fans and AT&T Park.

A bunch of fans became The Meklmen and dressed up as Old-Timey Milkmen and carried on throughout the Park and across the league. Before long, a couple of comely lasses showed up as the MelkMaids. TV spots, Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts followed, and a festive time was had by all...great fun, really (like San Francisco needs an excuse for a Dress-Up Party) More MelkMaids and new outfits in Orange gingham...

All that went up in flames, Melky...Dope...

It seems like just days after Melky betrayed the fans (or as Melky said accepting his All Star MVP Award, "Thank you the Fang"), the Giants began to suffer a lot of strained hamstrings.

Pablo Sandoval (The Panda) was first, then Buster Posey...couple this with some losses, it was a little much.

After a day off Monday, the Giants were on the road at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Despite a highlight reel catch by the Panda and shortstop Brandon Crawford, the Giants trailed the Astros 2-1 when they came up to bat in the 9th.

A Brandon Belt single, a pinch hit double by Joaquin Arias and another single by catcher Héctor Sánchez won the game 3-2. A wild one, but more importantly, the Dodgers lost and the Giants extend their lead to 3.5 games ahead of the Dodgers.

So now I find myself watching Hurricane Issac come ashore near New Orleans. Let's hope it turns out better than Katrina did seven years ago today.

Closer to home, Red Flag Warnings are up all around the Tahoe Sierra...please be careful everybody!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lance Armstrong's Monkey Trials

It's a day off for me, but News Never Sleeps, and this story alarms me.

Today's American Spectator weighs in with the Back Story on Lance Armstrong's surrender to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)

The piece is food for's some snippets:

If you're not familiar with USADA, its website describes the agency as follows: "The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency… is the national anti-doping organization for the Olympic movement in the United States. The U.S. Congress recognized USADA as 'the official anti-doping agency for Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sport in the United States.'" It also claims to be a "non-governmental agency," but it will probably not come as a surprise that it is funded in part by your tax dollars. You will also note, by the way, that USADA's description of its mission ends with the words "in the United States." As this suggests, it isn't immediately obvious that the agency's jurisdiction gives it the authority to revoke titles awarded in a European bicycle race.

This is a distinction that was not lost on the International Cycling Union (UCI), the governing body for international sports cycling and the entity that administered doping tests while Armstrong competed. Knowing that he never failed any of these tests, UCI has indicated that it is not prepared to merely rubberstamp USADA's precipitous action: "Article 8.3 of the WADC [World Anti-Doping Code] states that where no hearing occurs the Anti-Doping Organisation with results management responsibility shall submit to the parties concerned (Mr. Armstrong, WADA and UCI) a reasoned decision explaining the action taken. Until such time as USADA delivers this decision the UCI has no further comment to make."

Last time I checked, we still live in America...under the Constitution...right?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


This doping deal has gotten to me...the 2012 Vuelta a España finished it's first week Friday, without TeamCorduroyPlanet playing along in a Fantasy League. Lance Armstrong, facing a New Salem Witch Trial, said Uncle. Alberto Contador's doping suspension is over and he's contesting for his home Tour. I guess I'm just turned off...

I was slacking when the Tour de France wrapped up and the Olympics showcased British Cycling...I may say something about it once my  "Doping Allegation Receptors" heal a little...

There's still one more week of Formula One's Summer Break. The cars will fire up next Friday for the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps, and I can hardly contain myself! There's no doping in least no "performance enhancing drugs" A NASCAR driver flunked a drug test a couple of weeks ago...methamphetamine, "speed" Oh the Irony...

I don't think there's a drug problem in America's Cup Racing...Though who can forget the highly inebriated Ted Turner nearly falling off the stage and taking the podium with him after defending the Cup onboard "Courageous" in 1977?

It's almost NFL Football Season. The NFL has become the new Tobacco I fear. The hand-wringing do-gooders are after the sport the same way they went after "Big Tobacco"...with the determination of Pit Bulls.

The suicide of San Diego Chargers' superstar linebacker, Junior Seau in May has brought into the daylight Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), progressive damage to the brain associated with repeated blows to the head. No less a luminary than Conservative Pundit and Baseball Author, George Will addressed the problem in his column this month.

I'm not the Football Fan I was back in the 80s when my San Francisco 49ers began as Cinderella-Story SuperBowl Champs and built a Dynasty behind Joe Montana. The NFL Owners and the NFL Player's Union have brought myriad changes to the ol' Gridiron. The game is so different now compared to the game I loved as a kid watching YA Tittle throw the Alley-Oop to RC Owens at San Francisco's Kezar Stadium.

Many new rules protect the players (and the owners' investments in them), but many changes have diminished the deeper textures of the game for me.

Free agency is "Katy Bar the Door" much that when a team does scale Olympus and hold the Lombardi Trophy overhead while the showers of champagne rain down, the following season almost always resembles a Community Rummage Sale as the newly crowned Football Stars move to other teams who's Salary Cap headroom allows a little  shopping for the High Priced Spread.

For me, this unfettered movement has killed the deeper rivalries. Oh, the NY Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles will always have a rivalry worthy of notice, but the rivalries between  individual players on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage never have a chance to develop today.

Before wide open free agency, teams in the same Conference played twice a season, plus potential playoff meetings. Season in and season out, opposing players would build a history with their opposite, rich with perceived slights, fakes, deference and disses...great stuff, now only memories.

Don't get me started on Instant Replay which has slowly dug in like a bloated tick sucking the life out of the game. 

NFL games are played mostly on Sunday afternoons...My Friday Nights during ski season. The extra half hour that Instant Replay has added to the games has proved fatal to my ability to stay awake until the end of the games. 

What about TiVo you ask? 

Truth? I'm too plugged in to avoid seeing the outcome before I watch the DVR'd games...same with motorsports...

I'd be remiss if I didn't remember Retired NAVY Aviator Neil Armstrong who passed away Saturday. I can still vividly remember standing out in the yard with my Dad looking up at the Moon after watching Armstrong step onto the Moon on TV. I remember thinking "how clever of NASA to land Americans on a Full Moon...

I guess it's been a bad day for Armstrongs period...however, Neil's family makes a simple request that brightens my heart:  

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.