kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
We had to go into Reno/Sparks for two different reasons today, one personal and one business related. First was a doctor's visit. Kuma Bear very much liked the fish tank in the doctor's waiting room.

Bears Watching Fishes Watching Bears )

Despite much grousing, Kuma appears none the worse (and in fact somewhat better) for having had his annual bath.

After the doctor visit, I had some business at an XPO office in Sparks about which I will write more in a separate entry. With the Day Jobbe stuff out of the way, we went to lunch at the Sparks Nugget (which is being all torn up inside, including what may be a total refit of their convention space), then got our last "in town" grocery shopping trip before the Westercon trip done. We were happy to head home.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
I realized yesterday that the plan for Lisa and me to convoy to Sparks to drop off the minivan for the brake work on Monday conflicted with an eye exam I have scheduled on Monday afternoon. So instead we did it this morning. It means they have it all day Monday even if they don't have time to work on it, but that's not a problem. I drove the Rolling Stone and Lisa followed me into Sparks.

After that, we went to the Peppermill buffet to celebrate Kuma Bear's 27th birthday (which was yesterday). I cashed all of our accumulated comps to pay for half of the cost of brunch. Saturday brunch is less expensive and over-the-top than Sunday, but there's not a whole lot on the Sunday menu in addition to Saturday that we'd want to eat anyway.

Brunch Bear )

After eating, we waddled around the Peppermill as is our wont, contemplating what sort of SF convention we could organize in the convention's space. We think the key issue is what does the Peppermill think about SF genre convention hospitality functions (i.e. room parties). If that is something we could manage, then the Peppermill's function space looks to me like we could run a fairly compact convention in the Westercon-sized range. No, we're not bidding for anything; it's just hard for us to be in convention space without thinking about planning events.

After we got home, we walked down to the fire station, where they were having a small open house, but it was nearly over when we got there, so we moved on and picked up our mail at the post office and came home, where a lie down from the huge meal this morning seems in order. No more meals are needed tonight. I'm just glad my blood sugar reading came in under 200.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
We hadn't been to Reno for a shopping trip lately, so we put aside Home Improvement Projects and headed into town this afternoon. All mostly routine. As we left Grocery Outlet, we both were feeling hungry, and Lisa suggested the Atlantis. We haven't been there for a while, so we went over and had lunch at Cafe Alfresco, where some of you reading this may have eaten while you were attending Renovation in 2011 (the weekend before we bought Fernley House).

It was a sign of how many things we had to get and how long it has been since our last trip that we were out around eight hours. Perhaps we'll get back to work on the home work tomorrow.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Over the past few days, Lisa and I (mostly Lisa) have unloaded my sister's boxes from the minivan to our storage locker and garage, so yesterday we could put the middle seat back into the Astro, returning it to what we consider its normal configuration. (The rear seat lives in the storage locker except for those rare times when we need seating capacity more than cargo space.) Today, however, we took slight advantage of my Central Time-zone shifted schedule and shortly after I knocked off work for the day, we headed into Reno, where we had dinner at the Peppermill (the server and manager recognized us and commented that it had been a while, which is true) and did a round of grocery shopping. It's certainly a lot less crowded on a Thursday evening than a Saturday afternoon.

Lisa drove us home, and I'm about to fall into bed, since by my body clock it's nearly midnight.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Because we called off the originally planned trip to the Bay Area by train today (it's just as well; the train was three hours late), we instead went and did a fair bit of shopping. [ profile] travelswithkuma and I got to hang around a bit.

Hanging Out With Kuma Bear )

By the time we finished all of the grocery shopping, we were getting hungry, so we went to the Sparks Nugget and had a very late lunch or early dinner at the Oyster Bar. The food is as good as usual there. How well the resort is doing overall is another story. They're doing a big renovation. It sort of looks like the Gilley's "cowboy" nightclub they put into the space where Trader Dick's Polynesian restaurant used to be is closed down. Whether that's permanent or not, I haven't heard. Not that I was ever going to go to Gilley's. I wouldn't ride the mechanical bull even before I hurt my back a few years ago playing "whirlyball" at a company outing in Chicago, and the music there was both too loud and not to my taste. The Nugget just hasn't been the same since the Ascuagas sold it (and then the new owners resold it not long thereafter). But we'll keep going back to the Oyster Bar as long as it's there.
kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
Sunday afternoon, we decided to go ahead and make a second trip to Reno, this time with the insulated cool-bag so we could buy good cheese and other perishables. The deciding factor was that Cost Plus World Market was running a one-day sale on many thing we would normally get.

Bears Knows Whats He Wants )

We seem to be spending more time at home and, this past weekend notwithstanding, making fewer trips to Reno/Sparks of late. That may just have been an effect of the winter weather, but it also shows how much we have come to like our house.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
We've not been going to Reno as much as we once did, and consequently when we do go in to do our shopping, we typically buy more at once. We had fairly elaborate plans for a day of grocery and other shopping in Reno today. With the Astro laid up in Fremont for repairs, Lisa got the Small Orange Pickup out to stretch its legs. When we refueled it at the Pilot station on the way out of Fernley, she said, "The last time we put gas in was in February."

Knowing that she hasn't used the pickup much, I said, "2016?"

"No," she replied, "2015." Yes, this was the first time the pickup had been refueled in more than two years.

The pickup ran just fine even though it hasn't run much of late, but when we got into Reno we realized we'd forgotten the insulated bags, and thus couldn't buy any perishable groceries. Consequently, after our first two stops for non-perishables, Lisa elected to cut the expedition short and take us home. We'll make another trip later. Nothing was critically urgent.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
This morning Lisa and I drove into Reno bright and early to get our shopping errands done.

High Water in the Truckee )

Our first stop was the Atlantis Hotel-Casino, where I cashed in the ticket for my bet on the Australian Open.

Not a Job I Would Want )

Collecting my winnings for betting on Roger Federer to win the Australian Open, we decided to spend them on brunch at Toucan Charlie's, and were in fact the first customers at the counter when they opened. (This is the source of today's post title; thank you, Roger!) I enjoyed the breakfast, but the buffets have stopped agreeing with Lisa. There are just too many things in the food, particularly food dyes and additives to which she's sensitive, that make her ill.

We did manage to complete the rest of our shopping and got home just after 1 PM. Lisa, who has mostly been up nights the past week or so, went to bed along with [ profile] travelswithkuma while I started doing my laundry and packing the RV.

In the most recent storm, all of the trans-Sierra routes have been hammered and closed at various points, including US-50 (rockslides), CA-70 (flooding), and most importantly, I-80 (major mudslide). The only alternative was a detour from I-80 onto CA-20 to Grass Valley, then CA-49 to Auburn. This would work, but was likely to be slow and crowded as a major freeway was being funneled into a two-lane mountain highway. To my relief, this evening Caltrans announced that they'd managed to clear the mudslide and that all lanes are now open again. I'm off to the Bay Area in the morning.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Because there's a new round of storms coming at us, we did make a second evening trip to Reno in order to restock the larder last night. Although it wasn't strictly necessary, we feel better having things filled back up.

This morning, I awoke to find that we'd had a rain of ice pellets and freezing rain. Later in the day, it got up above freezing and the slippery stuff melted. We'll see what it's like after tonight. Possible snow coming back at us soon.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
Now that we have a full sized house (as opposed to a little travel trailer or small apartment), we could put up a full sized Christmas tree if we wanted to do so; however, Lisa prefers to get a small living tree. We have even managed to keep one alive for a second year. This year, we left the little tree outside and will take it back outside after the holiday, then re-pot it into a larger pot as soon as possible.

Trees, Trains, and Gifts Sort of Under the Tree )

Lisa and were up much too early for a holiday. (I have both Friday and Monday off.) Actually, I think Lisa hadn't really slept much last night. We made a virtue of necessity and drove into Reno to deal with the last pre-holiday shopping. We first went to the Peppermill and had a non-weekend breakfast, using up most of the last of a gift card I'd received. We then dealt with the last of the shopping, by which time time was catching up to Lisa and we headed home, where she fell into bed and I took the rest of the day off. I'm quite glad not to be doing extensive travel at this time of the year, although I do continue to go out and wave to Amtrak when they go by. If I did have to travel, that would be the way I'd prefer to do it.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
We were too tired to do all of our grocery shopping last night, so this afternoon we went back into Reno/Sparks to finish the weekend shopping. First we went to the Cost Plus World Market in North Sparks, where we'd not been before, hoping to track down some Fentimans Curiosity Cola. We'd been told by the people at the Reno store yesterday that they were in the process of discontinuing carrying it "because it was too popular," which doesn't make a lot of sense to us. We hoped to catch the last of the stock in North Sparks; alas, we were too late and they had already sold the last bottles. An inquiry to CPWM's web team returned a useless, non-committal answer. Now we have to hope that Whole Foods Market (also listed as a retailer of this cola on the company web site) will actually stock it, because Lisa likes it a lot.

The rest of the day was routine. The stores were busy, but not utterly jammed, which is good. We skipped eating dinner in Reno again this weekend and headed home, arriving just after full dark. After dinner, we went for a walk in the -6°C chill. No clouds tonight, and even in town, there were a lot of stars visible, but the lack of cloud cover means it's apt to get even colder tonight. Time to throw an extra log on the fire and blanket on the bed.

Quick Trip

Nov. 22nd, 2016 08:34 pm
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Lisa and I made a quick trip in to Reno this evening in order to buy a miniature spruce "living Christmas tree." In past years, we've put this off so late that we don't get a good selection, but this time we found one that looked pretty good. The challenge is repotting it after the holiday and trying to get it to stay alive for another year. It's tricky, given that Fernley isn't really the best climate for such trees.

After the errand, we stopped for dinner at the Manhattan Deli at the Atlantis Hotel. We are now sufficient regulars that we know to buy the smaller portions. Their half-sandwiches are bigger than most places' full-sized ones.
kevin_standlee: (Formula 1)
Sleeping in my own bed and going to bed early (but not too early) last night seems to have helped me get a little closer to where I want to be. Aside from waking up around Midnight thinking "time to get up" after six hours of sleep and then going back to sleep when I realized the actual time, I had a very restful night's sleep, waking up on my own at 6 AM (which is fine, as that's what I want to do during the work week). I got up and after getting cleaned up, walked down to the Wigwam for a good breakfast, then used my free-play coupons and got lucky, turning $0 into $25 (less the $14 cost of the breakfast). When I got back home, the Formula 1 race in Brazil was just starting, and I got to watch a very wet, sloppy race that they somehow actually managed to complete despite two red flags, multiple safety cars, and sundry other messes on the track. In fact, the final lap was going to be the final lap no matter what, because they'd hit the time limit anyway. But anyway, I did get to see it.

Around Noon, Lisa and I went into Reno/Sparks and did our large-scale grocery shopping, of which there was a lot because I'd been away for two weeks. Neither of us was that hungry, so for a change we didn't have lunch or dinner in town, but instead just came home. Really a very domesticated weekend, but I need to rest up because I've got another trip in a few weeks. I used to do lots of different conventions, including one six week stretch where I did five different conventions (some were only one day comic shows), but that was 25 years ago. I'm not up to that anymore.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Lisa and I went to Reno relatively early tomorrow (Lisa having moved to a schedule that has her up early so she can take me to the Amtrak station tomorrow) and had breakfast at the Peppermill Buffet. As usual, this was probably cost-effective (excluding my habit of playing keno) because our shopping thereafter included not a bit of impulse shopping, and we had no desire to have any lunch at all when we got home.

Lisa's early-morning schedule now has her going to bed in the middle of the afternoon, which she did when we got home. I finished my laundry and did the largest part of my packing for the next two weeks. This is a complex trip, with me taking the train tomorrow to Emeryville/Fremont, collecting the RV, working at a client site for two days, then flying on Tuesday evening from SFO to London and spending the night there, then taking the train to Paris, crossing Paris, then taking a train to Barcelona for Eurocon. I return the Tuesday thereafter, then work for three days in the Bay Area, then (I hope) drive home. The biggest part of the complexity is packing to have clothes for work, clothes for travel, and clothes for Eurocon. Fortunately, work clothes (and anything else I don't need on the Eurocon trip) I can store in the Rolling Stone on Tuesday after work. Nonetheless, it means I have to give a bit more thought to my packing (and take a bigger suitcase).

Also this afternoon, I shifted a couple hundred more pieces of wood on the Mountain of Misdumped Wood before coming in to turn on the World Series.
kevin_standlee: (Beware of Trains)
Having received the latest issue of the Western Pacific Railroad Museum member newsletter, which gave the museum's hours as being open until the first Monday of November, Lisa and I got the idea of heading over to Portola and spending a couple of hours looking around. They don't do train rides that late in the season, but that didn't trouble us. We're members of the museum, but it has been over a year since we last visited, so Sunday morning we hitched up and headed for Portola, which isn't nearly as far away as I thought it was.

Uh, Oh. )

We were of course disappointed at not being able to visit the museum, but it's only an hour's drive from Reno, so it's not like it was a catastrophe. And on the drive back through the Sierra Valley, we got to see some wildlife.

Oh, Deer )

The day wasn't a total loss. We went back to Reno and cashed in some coupons and frequent-buyer credit we had at Cost Plus World Market and Grocery Outlet before going home. For a change, we did not have dinner in Reno, as neither of us was especially hungry.

Looks like we'll have to wait until next year to actually use our museum memberships in Portola again.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Today Lisa and I went to Reno/Sparks to deal with accumulated errands and shopping, including getting the minivan's oil changed. We got an oil change just before the Kansas City trip and more than ran through it (and burned up/lost about a quart of oil in the bargain) during that trip. Then it was a round of grocery stores, RV supplies, and clothing stores as we replenished the larder and I bought a new pair of slacks and a shirt — and moved down one shirt size, just barely. I hope that lasts, and is not just temporary stress-related weight loss due to Day Jobbe.

Tomorrow morning we're up fairly early to get me into Reno to catch the California Zephyr to Emeryville and then on to Fremont to collect the RV. Next week I'm in the Bay Area, and then I get to home for two weeks. As I told Lisa while we were driving home, "I want to come home already, and I haven't even left yet!" But at least I don't have to drive there tomorrow.

Neato Keno

Aug. 8th, 2016 10:23 pm
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Sunday afternoon, Lisa and I drove into Sparks to get the oil changed in the Astro at Jiffy Lube. While we were there, I had them do an air conditioner check as well, inasmuch as it seemed to me like the AC wasn't putting out as much cool as it should. They did say we were were down a bit on coolant, and it was certainly putting out lots of cold air when we left.

Hot August Nights ended on Sunday, so we decided to risk going over to the Peppermill for dinner. (We avoid Reno during Hot August Nights because it's too crowded.) Things were mostly back to the normal Sunday night, although the price was of the Saturday night buffet. We were able to get our regular table. A lot of the staff are starting to recognize us.

As usual, I marked my normal keno ticket. We usually play five games, which covers most of dinner, and sometimes we win back some of the $10 the ticket costs. Tonight we got a lot more. During the third game, I looked up and saw that I'd gotten 4/7, which is good, particularly as this is a "way" ticket marked as a 1, 2, 4, and 7-spot ticket. (Don't worry if you don't understand what that means.) In this case, it meant that I'd hit a 4 out of 4 ticket, which would be enough to pay for dinner. Then I looked at the board more closely. When you throw in the other numbers, I'd hit 6 out of 7, the best win I've every had in my life. This ticket won $271!

(It's a pity that last number didn't hit, because if it had, I would have won more than $4000.)

The keno runner came by and said, "You look happy," consulted her book, and told me how much I'd won. Then she gave me the even better new: the Peppermill has a Sunday night promotion for anyone in their players club who plays keno between 5-10 PM. The biggest winner of the night gets a $500 bonus prize, and my $271 put me on the top of the leader board! All I had to do was stay until 10 PM and have nobody beat my win.

We'd intended to go shopping after dinner, and there was actually enough time to do so and still come back before 10 PM. (You have to claim the bonus no later than 10:30 and must be present to win.) So we went and did some of our shopping, although one of the stores had already closed. We came back to the Peppermill and at 8:30 were still leading, so we went and played slots for a while using some of the "house money." We even managed to come out $5 ahead on that.

At about 9:10, I went and checked the leader board again: $460. Darn! Someone beat us for the bonus prize. Oh, well, it did mean we could go home, which was good because I was very tired. Lisa drove us home.

Even with a $10 tip to the keno runner and a larger-than-usual dinner tip, we still came out around $250 ahead for the night. That means the keno winnings paid for dinner and for the oil change and AC service on the minivan, and then some.

That was some pretty good luck! Unfortunately, it was counteracted by some bad luck related to the air conditioning about which more tomorrow.
kevin_standlee: (Giants Fanatic)
This week has been very hot, with daytime highs up to 40°C in Fernley and no air conditioning except the swamp cooler. It's been livable, but only just. Yesterday, I suggested to Lisa that we go into Reno after work and take in a Reno Aces baseball game, because they were hosting the Sacramento RiverCats, The San Francisco Giants' AAA affiliate. She agreed, and off we went. It was so hot that the AC in the minivan could only barely keep up even when on max cool. (I wish I had time to take it to an AC specialist and make sure it is fully charged.)

As is our usual practice, we parked in the Circus Circus garage and walked to the ball park. As we did so, we could see some heavy cloud rolling in. This cooled things somewhat, but also raised the prospect of being rained out again, like our last Aces game. We got two upper infield seats, and they were a good view, looking down from over the first base side. The clouds moved off, which wasn't as good as we might have liked because we were in direct sunlight, but only for 30 minutes or so as the sun sank behind the casinos of downtown Reno.

Great Night for a Ball Game, Unless you're a RiverCat Supporter )

Lisa and I were not the only people turned out in our Giants gear. It doesn't match the RiverCats' kit, which is red and black, but you got the idea.

Alas for us Giants fans-by-proxy, the RiverCats were unable to mount a big comeback, and the final was 5-1 Aces. Still, we got very lucky with the weather, and it was much cooler than it was back at home in Fernley. The burgers were good, too. And with only about 9,000 seats in the stadium, you can get a great seat for the price of a nosebleed special at the big league parks.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
During the trip home from the Bay Area, Lisa looked under the minivan and pointed out that there appeared to be a crack in the muffler. So this afternoon, I was able to get away from Day Jobbe (with some difficulty) at 2:30 and run into Sparks, where I'd made an appointment online at a chain muffler dealership. They were a little dismayed by this as they don't like giving out appointments that late in the day, but they did manage to fit me in. $375 later, I had a new muffler, which I think will help some things with the van. I'd rather have given the work to Cory in Fremont, but there's only so many vehicle shuffles we can do.

After getting the muffler replacement, we went to the Peppermill for dinner, and then played the slots for a while. Lisa hit a hot streak and we ended up slightly money ahead, and also put more points (4x comp point today) into my account. It wasn't far enough ahead to pay for dinner, but it did offset what I lost on the keno ticket.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
I was so distracted by the story of the Hugo Huey and getting ready for my drive to the Bay Area that I forgot to write up yesterday witnessing a head-on traffic accident right in front of us while we were on our way to breakfast.

No Pictures )

After doing what I considered my civic duty to call in the accident (and give my contact details to the dispatcher if we're needed later), we got out of the way and went on to breakfast. That was a scary-looking accident, but it was probably only about 35 mph, and not as scary as the time some years ago that Lisa was driving us on OR-22 east of Salem and we came within a split second of being clobbered by an out-of-control driving coming the other way at full speed crossing over and missing us by less than a car length. (The other vehicle was past us before it had really registered that it was careening out of control on the icy highway; besides any evasive action by us would have resulted in us crashing, too. As it happens, just going straight was what saved us.) We were reminded of this incident last week on the way home from Westercon, as ODOT has now installed K-Rail on the median of that stretch of OR-22 to prevent such cross-over accidents.

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