kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
On Friday evening, Lisa suggested that we go for a little drive around town and go have a look at something that we see all the time here in Fernley.

To the Manor Driven )

It's a great view from up there, but even if we had the $1.6 million (I know, cheap by Bay Area standards), I don't think Lisa and I would want to live here. Maybe we'd buy it, hire a caretaker, and set it up as an place to hold retreats for SF/F convention runners.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
What a week. On Monday I had a fire built in the fireplace because it was so cold, and on Friday, I had the windows open for the first time this year. Today, we heard the first ice cream truck of the year roll down the street. Then the clouds moved in and the wind started blowing. It didn't rain here, but it sure looked like it wanted to do so.
kevin_standlee: (Wonderful Trains)
A caboose was once an integral part of a railroad train, in that in many cases, the collection of cars was not actually a "train" unless it had a caboose carrying markers (lights marking the end of the train). Changes in technology, including rear-end devices allowing the engineer to operate the brakes from the head end and to tell whether rear of the train is moving, as well as remotely controlled locomotives cut in at the rear (or sometimes part-way along), made most railroad cabooses (which went by different names on different railroads) obsolete. But they still turn up occasionally, including yesterday.

A blast from the railroad past )

Another piece of non-revenue equipment has been in the area lately as Union Pacific reinvests in its track.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling )

I didn't realize the maintenance crews were actually dropping rails off outside yesterday, or I would have shot some video as well. By the time I realized what was happening, the crew was getting ready to quit for the day and tie up their train for the night. The UP dispatcher spent a lot of yesterday trying to thread other trains around the maintenance crews as they did their necessary work.
kevin_standlee: (House)
It's starting to warm up again. I let the fireplace go out last night. There's no more wood in the small box on the porch. Soon we'll know whether we can take the box off the porch, thoroughly clean the porch, and think about applying another coat of paint. It was a pretty long and relatively harsh winter, and the paint from last fall is chipped in many place. It's probably best to repaint before the long summer days start baking the wood again.
kevin_standlee: Round logo with text "Tonopah, Nevada - Westercon 74 - July 2-5, 2021 - A Bright Idea" (Tonopah Westercon)
Not that it was ever going to be a walkover even if we were the only bid on the ballot, as I know better than most, but Tonopah will not be running unopposed to host Westercon 74, as two bids have filed to host the 2021 Westercon, Tonopah NV and Phoenix AZ. (I do not include Bob Hole's Tonopah, Arizona bid, which is not a filed bid and will not be on the ballot.) Links to the bids' filings are at the linked post on the Westercon web site.

As the lead maintainer of Westercon.org, I'm in a delicate situation here. I actually forgot to update the Westercon site after we filed the Tonopah bid, and by the time this was pointed out to me, I thought it best to wait until after the filing deadline. Phoenix's bid was filed very close to the deadline, so it took a couple of days to get it confirmed and posted to the SpikeCon web site. I'm trying to be neutral about the news posts there and to give both bids equal billing, while also making it clear that even being on the ballot doesn't mean you're guaranteed to win.

We do expect to continue bidding for Tonopah NV, and we do still have the support of our convention facilities. We'll do our best to show people why we think our small site in Nevada is the one for which they want to vote and that they want to attend.

Please don't try to bait us into throwing mud at other bids. I've been through this before, and I don't consider it to be a winning strategy to say, "Vote for us because the other bids are worse!" (Particularly because there's a fair chance that either bid will want to recruit people on the other bid's committee post-election.) I expect any bid to accentuate their positives and attempt to ameliorate their negatives, and therefore for questions about other bids, I'll always refer people to those bids rather than try and speak for or about them.

But one thing: If you're thinking, "I assume Phoenix will win, even though I personally prefer Tonopah," then I do earnestly ask you to join SpikeCon if you're not yet a member and to vote for us. You don't have to go to Utah to vote, and you don't need an attending membership to vote. A supporting membership makes you eligible not only to vote on Westercon 74 site selection, but also NASFiC 2020 site selection, and both those races have stakes in play, even though Columbus is running unopposed for NASFiC. (That's because if None of the Above wins in their election, there will be no 2020 NASFiC at all, unlike Westercon and Worldcon, where such a case sends the selection to the Business Meeting.) So if you have a preference in either or both of those elections, the best thing you can do is to join SpikeCon and vote.

Rain Day

Apr. 16th, 2019 04:41 pm
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
No, it didn't snow today, although the clouds that moved in about 7:30 AM looked snow-like, and the storm had dropped snow (and raised chain controls) over Donner Summit. I had to get the fire started again, because it started getting uncomfortably cold. It's hard for me to do my keyboard-based work when I can't feel my fingers! Rain did end up falling for a little while. There's no telling when the last fire of the season will end.

Sleep

Apr. 15th, 2019 07:48 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
While I'm happy that I was able to go and spend the time with my sister and get her out of the nursing home for half a day, it was clearly a lot of work for me as well. Also, I'm only still just getting back to normal after that horrible cold. After work today, I fell into bed before 3 PM and slept for about three hours. I was then able to get up and go with Lisa to do some grocery shopping, and I feel a bit better now, but I still am not completely myself.

I have a couple of weeks to prepare for spending a week down in the Bay Area. The travel gets harder the older I get, obviously.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
Thanks to some fortunate timing of sporting events, I was able to watch the Formula 1 race live last night from the hotel room before going to sleep, and when I woke up the final round of the Masters golf tournament (shifted earlier and compressed due to weather conditions in Augusta) was already going, so with a slightly extended check-out, I got to see that as well. This gave me a leisurely morning at the hotel before I left for home a bit after Noon.

See the Snow )

I got home around 4:30 PM, tired but happy to have had a good weekend with my sister. We'll do that more often now that we know the process.
kevin_standlee: (Family)
After somehow waking up on the stroke of 4:40 AM (when my alarm normally goes off on weekdays) and then going back to sleep for a couple of hours, I had a fairly leisurely morning before setting off to meet up with my sister and one of her nurses at the long-term-care facility. There, they taught me how to administer her medications, gave me a set of them with instructions for when she was to take them, issued me a spare oxygen bottle, and let Kelli sign herself out of the facility for a day out.

We don't have a handicapped parking placard for Kelli, so I rolled her out to my minivan in the regular parking lot. While I was helping her out of her wheelchair into my van, she called out, "Look at that!"

Talking Turkey )

Having gawked at the wildlife, we got Kelli into the van, I got her wheelchair loaded, and we set off to do some shopping.

A Grand Day Out )

After what Kelli said was the longest excursion out of the home in five years, she was happy, but very tired. And so was I. I was delighted to be able to help her get out of that place for a while, and we now know that when we finally get a chance schedule a proper ceremony for my mother, we'll be able to check my sister out for a full day out and I can help take care of her so that she can also attend.

Now I'm back at the hotel. I'm very glad I booked two nights so I didn't have to fret about trying to head home, as I'm pretty worn out myself. Tomorrow, however, I have no constraints on my time and can take my time getting home.
kevin_standlee: (Family)
For the first time since January, I've finally managed to make it across the Sierra and down to Sacramento. I was able to leave Fernley around 1 PM after tidying up Day Jobbe stuff for the week, and made good time by my standards. The weather was fine and clear, and the roads were dry and fast, even with three or four meters of snow looming over the road near the summit. I had time to stop in Roseville to finally buy more of my shave ointment from Lush (no Lush stores in Northern Nevada) before heading down to the hotel. The Crowne Plaza gave me a room upgrade and a room just down the hall from the hot tub. I got moved in, set up the computer, confirmed that there was no work chasing me over the mountains, and walked to get some dinner and bring it back to the room. After dinner, I soaked in the hot tub (ah, luxury), something I rarely get a chance to do while traveling.

I checked with my sister for when she wants me to be at the nursing home tomorrow morning to start training me on how to make her equipment work, and then we'll decide what to do for her day out with me.

Alas, the hotel TV doesn't include the Giants broadcast, but I can get the game over my phone, and with the wi-fi it doesn't even use up any of my bandwidth.
kevin_standlee: A token issued by the North Lyon County (Fernley, Nevada) Fire Department. The token has the logo of the fire department (the state of Nevada with a fire department symbol) with the city name and 'Since 1952" around the rim. The reverse (not shown) has the seal of the state of Nevada. (Fire)
I went to the North Lyon County Fire Protection District board meeting tonight. Unlike some past meetings that have been long and contentious, tonight plowed through a long agenda but had relatively little discussion or debate, and a lot of stuff got approved pretty quickly. I did not stick around waiting for the closed session on labor negotiations, but from the informal discussion I heard, even that didn't seem too controversial.
kevin_standlee: (Wildlife)
This afternoon after work, Lisa and I went into Reno to get ink for the printer and to do some grocery shopping. As we were unloading the groceries, I discovered that the local birds have finally discovered our bird feeder.

Bird on the Feed )

This feeder sways too much in the wind, and we have a lot of wind here. Lisa is considering ways to attach some stays to the feeder so it doesn't spend so much time trying to shake the birds off of it.

Not 100%

Apr. 9th, 2019 02:37 pm
kevin_standlee: (Default)
I'm clearly not completely recovered from last week's cold. Yesterday after work, I fell into bed about 3:30 PM and slept for five hours, after which I was up for a couple of hours before going back to sleep for another five hours.

Today, we got a cold wintery storm blowing through, knocking over trash cans, dropping rain here (and snow to the west, with chain controls going back up again on Donner Summit), and obliging me to restart the fireplace again. It's a good day to stay inside and hunker down.
kevin_standlee: Round logo with text "Tonopah, Nevada - Westercon 74 - July 2-5, 2021 - A Bright Idea" (Tonopah Westercon)
This morning, I got up to discover that I'd accidentally uploaded the Tonopah Convention Center video to the wrong YouTube channel. Unfortunately, you can't move a video from one channel you manage to another, so I had to wait until I had time to upload it to my own channel (I did that over lunch because it soaks up all of my bandwidth and took an hour), then delete it from the wrong channel. I didn't see any views on it from the wrong channel, so presumably nobody noticed. I then posted the video to the bid's web site, Facebook page, and Twitter, after having shared it first with the SFSFC board. So here's the finished work:



We got a note from the Mizpah (whose rep was with us while we were shooting the material) saying that they liked it and congratulating Lisa for her work. Personally, I'm happy I didn't flub up anything more than I did, given that I was improvising the whole thing. I also learned a bit more about video editing, and was even able to edit out a particularly bad flub in the middle of one of the sequences. I can't hear where I edited it, and I hope you can't, either.
kevin_standlee: Round logo with text "Tonopah, Nevada - Westercon 74 - July 2-5, 2021 - A Bright Idea" (Tonopah Westercon)
I'm feeling much better today. Lisa and I were able to get out for a couple of good long walks. I started working on editing the video that Lisa shot while we were in Tonopah. I put together an approximately eleven minute video of me walking around the Tonopah Convention Center explaining how it's laid out and what a great place it is for the convention we can hold there.

I still don't know enough about using Premiere Pro to be able to generate the final result in anything other than a much-too-large file (800 MB for 11 minutes). Every time I try lower settings, I get smaller files, but their quality is awful. YouTube says it will take about three hours to upload this file over our poor upload connection. Sometime tomorrow it will get published, and you'll be able to have a look for yourselves what we've been talking about.
kevin_standlee: (Trains)
I was feeling a little bit better today. At least I could walk farther than from my bed to my desk without keeling over, and I wasn't coughing the way I have been most of the week. So I decided I could go get breakfast at the Wigwam without infecting everyone. I enjoyed the breakfast, and was fortunate enough to win it back on a free-play coupon. (It's about a 50% chance of winning.)

Later in the day, Lisa (who continues to improve faster than I do) and I went to get groceries from Raley's. But before we did, Lisa spotted something bright and shiny in our small rail yard across the street, and it was something to refute those people who continue to predict the end of the boxcar in rail traffic.

The Best Cars in America are Built in Oregon )

Shortly after we got home from Raley's and got the groceries put away, Amtrak #5 (eastbound) came through slowly on the siding, only a few minutes late. I wasn't sure why they had been put in the siding until a few minutes later I saw Amtrak #6 (westbound), running about nine hours late, coming the other way on the main. The delays from back east due to the flooding continue to plague the California Zephyr. This was the closest I've seen to the two trains meeting right in front of the house, and the difference was less than the two-mile length of Fernley siding.
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
The cold is slowly retreating, but I'm still not myself. My team leader at work, after hearing me coughing and wheezing through our morning conference call, told me it was okay to go back to bed after I got my core tasks done today, which I did, and I thus slept from about Noon to 4 PM or so.

Lisa continues to be ahead of me on the recovery curve, and the fact that she's awake a lot of the time that I'm asleep means that she's been able to keep the fire burning. It's warming up and we don't need the fireplace as much, but letting it go out generally leads to it getting too cold, and it's a hassle to relight it.

Snow in the mountains again this weekend, so it's just as well that I'd canceled my planned trip to see my sister this weekend. Instead, I'm going to spend the weekend as inactive as I can and try to continue to recover from this bug.
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
I suppose I'm theoretically better. Not so much fever, and the body aches are starting to subside. However, my head is still full of fuzz, and I've spent today working at Day Jobbe until the dizzy spells can be no longer ignored, then lurching to the sofa to nap for a little while until summoned by a ping from the computer from someone needing something right away. I can't take most decongestants because they're contra-indicated for high blood pressure.

Thank goodness I can work from home, or I'd just have to take the whole week off sick, which I'd rather not do if I can avoid it, because in a PTO situation there's no separate sick leave. If I can just manage to log enough hours this week (albeit in dribs and drabs), I should be okay.
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
Lisa is doing slightly better than I am, but I'm still "walking wounded." Besides sleeping much of yesterday, I also slept from 6:30 PM to 4:30 AM with periods of wakefulness.

Two nights ago, when I went to bed at 3:30 PM, I woke up, saw light coming through the windows, and though, "Uh, oh, the alarm didn't go off and I've overslept!" only to realize that I'd slept about three hours.

So today is mostly continuing to focus on recovery and with getting some Day Jobbe work done. Aside from posting a new Tonopah photo to the Facebook page (which I hope to do every day between now at the election in July), I'm not thinking about the Tonopah bid until I have the rest of my brain cells back from the cleaners.

Off My Feet

Apr. 2nd, 2019 05:18 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
After work yesterday, I fell into bed about 3:30 PM and slept — fitfully — until 4:45 AM this morning. I staggered to my desk and struggled to do Day Jobbe for about four hours before recognizing that I couldn't even focus on the screen. I told my co-workers that I was out of action and went back to bed for most of the day.

Lisa appears to be about one day ahead of me and is feeling much better. This is good because I was out of milk and needed to go to the post office to get something in the mail today, so she could take me in the car, as I'm still too unsteady to drive, since I can just barely walk.

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