kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
It rained last night. I didn't hear it, but Lisa said it was quite heavy at times, with lots of wind. This morning, when we went out for a short walk just after sunrise (after the rain had passed), we had a bit of surprise to the west of us.

Snow Day in the Pah-Rahs )

Winter is coming. We need to go buy more firelogs soon, but we need to be sure we have a dry place to store them. They're only pressed sawdust, so if they get wet, they dissolve. The wood box is not completely water-tight.

Priorities

Oct. 1st, 2017 07:58 pm
kevin_standlee: (House)
I want to apologize to those you who have been expecting things from me including minutes of meetings of which I'm Secretary and reviews of minutes of meetings of which I'm Chairman. I'm dreadfully far behind on this. Day Jobbe currently eats a lot more of my brain cycles than it once did, and I don't have time to get caught up on weekends right now. Typically, I spend a good chunk of a weekend dealing with piled up fan work; however, Lisa and I have a significant Home Improvement project going on that has to be done only during good (as in neither too hot nor too cold nor too wet nor too windy) weather. We spent much of last weekend and this weekend working on it. It involves Lisa spending too much time up on a roof doing precarious things while I alternate between worrying about her falling off the roof and rushing to get tools and supplies to pass up to her. Our work window is narrowing, as today's roof work was cut short when wind came up — and a cold wind at that.

I promise to work on these various other projects when we finish the weather-sensitive ones.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
I was indeed able to get away from Day Jobbe at 11 AM and head out of the Bay Area. Even then, I faced multiple slowdowns (caused by accidents) along I-680 and I-580 before escaping the Bay Area around Tracy. As usual, I stopped at Lodi Jct. for fuel at the Flying J, then in Sacramento to see my sister, before heading up the mountain. Although I'd used the air conditioning while driving through the Central Valley, after Auburn it wasn't needed, and for a while near the top I had the heat on. Summer may have only just ended, but when I stopped at Donner Summit, it was clear that Winter is coming.

Could Be a Donner Party-type Winter )

I stopped for dinner at Truckee, then drove straight for home. I arrived in Fernley around 8 PM, and was very glad to be there. Lisa helped me unload the Rolling Stone. She's been very busy this week while I was gone. She has put the portable swamp cooler away for the season and done a great deal of cleaning inside the house and tackled cutting down the pile of old pallets we'd accumulated in the side yard. This not only makes the house look much tidier, but those cut-down pallets are firewood, which Lisa needed as it's gone from hot enough to need the swamp cooler to cold enough to build a fire in the fireplace in just over a week.

My current plans don't have me needing to be in the Bay Area again until November. However, if that late-Summer snowstorm is a harbinger of the kind of winter we're going to have, I might not be driving across again until next spring!
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
It having been roughly three months since the last time I spent a week in the Bay Area on board the Rolling Stone, my travel-packing skills are a bit rusty. I didn't forget my razor this time, but as I was coming down the mountain, I remembered that I'd left my after-shave ointment (Cosmetic Lad by Lush) behind. That I could fix by stopping at the Lush store in Roseville, although I got away from Fernley so early that I had to kill a little time waiting for the mall to open.

After Roseville, it was on to Sacramento to spend and hour visiting with my sister at the nursing home. It appears that all of the postcards I sent from Germany, Finland, and Iceland have now arrived. I sure hope the poster tube I sent from Helsinki with the small WSFS banner makes its way to me in Fernley before next year's Worldcon!

Something I'd been unable to locate while packing was my washcloth. My towel is on board the RV, but I couldn't find the washcloth. So in Fremont (where I also had dinner), I stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond and bought a new one. So of course when I was unpacking for the evening, I found the old cloth. I apparently had put it away in a cupboard in the RV where I usually don't store such things. Like the Cosmetic Lad, it's not a big deal, and there's nothing wrong with having a spare. Indeed, I wish that I'd packed a washcloth for our European trip. By now I should remember that most of the hotels in which we've stayed in Europe don't include a small washcloth among the standard bathroom linens, which is particularly strange when they only include bath gel instead of bars of soap. It's as though they assume their guests will be bringing their own washcloth. Travel shows you where there are different assumptions about things, I guess.

It was also a day of travel contrasts. It was chilly leaving Fernley, and quite literally freezing (as in 0°C) at Truckee. I had to run the heater for a while going over the top. But by the time I was at Roseville, it was warm, and by Sacramento, I had the air conditioning running. Definitely autumnal weather. That's fine with me, though; much better than the heat of summer.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
One way of saying, "Autumn is here" in Fernley: yesterday was the first day since we got home from Europe that I didn't run the swamp cooler on "cool" mode (i.e. evaporative cooling). We ran the fan for a while to move cooler outside air into the house, but otherwise didn't have to do anything else. Today it's about 10°C cooler than it was on Monday, which is a great relief.

Of course now we need to be thinking about scheduling having the fireplace chimney cleaned and laying in the first load of firewood. We don't need it yet, but it won't be that long.
kevin_standlee: (Menlo Truck)
An early draft of my schedule for this year (before I moved to nearly all work-from-home) had me working in the Bay Area this week or next week. (As it happens, I do plan to do a week there later in September because I have a dentist appointment in Redwood Shores and am loathe to give up on my dentist of many years.) I am very happy that I did not have to be down there. Hard as it is to believe, it's actually hotter in the Bay Area today and for the next few days than it is here in Fernley.

While the heat is slightly less, we do have much smoke and haze from the many wildfires continuing to burn throughout California and Nevada. I was quite concerned to hear about a big fire near Oroville, and relieved to see that it's not threatening my father and other members of his side of the family who live in hills east of Oroville.

As long as the highs stay below about 35°C, the swamp cooler here seems to cope with the heat. Above that, it starts to get more difficult, and my brain slows down in the heat. Not that I'm yet 100% recovered from the Worldcon trip, which is why there still isn't a bunch of things done that should have been done by now.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
We've been having thunderstorms in the area lately, which unfortunately means also getting brushfires set by the lightning that comes with it. Still, when we get some rain, we sometimes get things like this.

Double Rainbow )

The rain hasn't actually cooled things down all that much, although the clouds cutting the direct sunlight, and that helps a lot.

Today, Lisa and I ran into Reno for the last set of errands and grocery shopping before we head off on the trip to Worldcon. Not a lot, but we did need to get some things done.

Kuma Bear complained about the heat. We told him that it should be cooler in Finland and Iceland.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
We had another band of thunderstorms roll through today. It did not rain that much and did not reduce the temperatures a great deal, but it did apparently start a fire north of here.

Fire to the North )

As I started to compose this message, I thought I'd get an updated picture of the fire and got a small surprise when I went out onto the porch.

Hello, Bunny )

After all of the wildfires that we've had around here, it's almost hard to believe there was much more left the burn, but there's clearly a lot more dry brush out there, even with hailstorms and thundershowers flattening things.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
Lisa had cause to be on the roof of the travel trailer yesterday and noticed that the seal on the forward skylight was failing. We did not have any of the roof goop sealant, nor did Big R stock any, so after work today we drove into Reno to buy a tube of it from Safari RV. Thunderstorms were in the area, so Lisa went up and put some plastic sheeting over the skylight to fend off the weather.

It being Monday (off peak) and with no big event in town (Hot August Nights happens while we're traveling to Worldcon), we decided to return to the Peppermill, where (thanks to our locals discount) we got two excellent buffets for less than half what we paid the Atlantis for meals that made us sick. Lisa went to the manager and told her about us being "unfaithful" and that we'd returned to the fold.

Even better: we won $65 playing keno, which paid for the meal, tips, and had some "profit" left over besides. We praised Keno Bear for his keno-playing skills and gave him extra fish.

We had no further errands, and it was a work night, so Lisa drove us home after dinner. We started picking up rain as we headed east. Around Painted Rock, Lisa and I both were mystified by the white residue on the highway thrown into contrast by the tracks of the big rig we had been following. A few minutes later when we got home, we figured out what had happened.

Not a Snowstorm, but the Remains Looked Similar )

The white debris through which we had been driving was obviously accumulated hail from one of the bands of thunderstorms hitting the area. While it has cooled things down a little bit, there also has been a lot of lightning in the area as well. We hope everyone stays safe and that there are no more fires. We've had more than enough this summer.
kevin_standlee: (Family)
I needed to go see my sister at the nursing facility in Sacramento as I continue to sort out things on her behalf. In addition, there are some things Lisa and I want for the Worldcon trip that can't be easily had in Reno. So this morning, we set off for Sacramento. Neither of us had had a good night's sleep, in part because of the heat. Until we got near Truckee, there was a whole lot of smoke in the air, mostly I think from the Long Valley Fire north of Reno. The Farad Fire that closed I-80 for quite a while last week is reported as 100% contained, and the areas near the freeway are burned out by now.

We went to the Roseville Galleria (nearest Lush store) for the after-shave ointment I use and some "toothy tab" substitutes for toothpaste I prefer to use on long trips because it's neater than tubes of toothpaste. Then it was on to Fry's for some bits of electronics that Lisa and I wanted. By then we were already wilting from the heat, which wasn't more than a degree or two hotter than Fernley, but significantly more humid. I suggested lunch, but neither of us was very hungry. So we went to the nursing facility, which at least was cooler.

Errand of Telephone Mercy )

After spending time with my sister, Lisa and I were hungry, despite the heat, so we set off east, stopping at In-N-Out in Rocklin (we've given up on the Auburn location because it seems to always be over-crowded), ate burgers, and turned for home. We stopped only at Donner Summit for a rest break and just before home to get some milk and yogurt for my breakfast tomorrow.

The Summit Snow is Finally Gone. Well, Mostly )

It was pretty comfortable at the summit, but we needed to get home, so we pressed on. The house was, as expected, very hot and stuffy, but the overnight low is supposed to get down to 18°C tonight and once the sun went down it started cooling nicely. We have the fans and coolers running full-tilt. Once it's cool enough to do so, I must get some sleep. It's another busy week at the Day Jobbe, and a number of both Westercon and WSFS tasks, plus personal preparations for the Helsinki trip, are looming.
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
We're trying to take this week as easy as we can, recovering from the Westercon trip. We haven't even finished unpacking the minivan, because it has been so hot that you can burn your hand on the van's door handles.

I'd go to bed even earlier than usual, but it's too warm. Not as hot as Las Vegas, but the swamp cooler can do only so much to take the edge off of the 36°C days. Nights are pretty good, but until the sun hits the horizon, I can't open the bedroom window to let the relatively cool breezes in.

Summer is my least favorite time of year around here. Winter we can manage with heating. Spring and Autumn are generally quite nice. But Summer I could do without. I'm looking forward to spending three weeks of it in places where I'll need a pullover. I bought a new one just for this trip: it appears to be warm enough, but also lightweight on account of luggage space being at a premium.
kevin_standlee: (Pensive Kevin)
This morning after breakfast, Lisa carried the camera gear to the room where the Westercon Fannish Inquisition was to be held. She had been asked to record it. The room was relatively small, which is okay because only a few people attended, but also had no amplification, meaning that the recordings were limited to whatever the built-in microphone in the cameras could pick up. I ended up running the event, in part because my voice pitches well enough for the microphone.

There were only two participants in this particular Fannish Inquisition. the first was the Utah in 2019 Westercon Bid.



After the bid for 2019 it was time for questions for next year's Westercon in Denver.



These two presentations used up the entire hour, and there were no announcements from any bids for future years at this time. No Worldcon bidder/convention presentations were scheduled.

While the Inquisition was going on, Ben Yalow, Site Selection Administrator, got a phone call. He came to me as Lisa was packing equipment away and told me that because of the call he really needed to fly home right away and would I please take over as Emergency Holographic Site Selection Administrator. I agreed to do so, but asked him if he could get the table going today and after I helped Lisa get the gear back to the room I would come down straight away and take over.

After helping Lisa, I went to the Site Selection table and Ben briefed me on procedures. Judy Bemis, Linda Deneroff, and later Seth Breidbart volunteered to help me. After Ben gave me the gist of things, I told him, "Thank you. I relieve you, sir!" and when Ben started to dither over additional things, I said, "Go home, Ben!" He left. We all hope that the issue was not too awful serious. (It's not medical, but I think it best to wait to hear from him about what the issues way before saying much more.)

Plans of mine to spend most of today at the San Jose Worldcon table were obviously scuppered, as I needed to run Site Selection. However, we had other commitments as well. In particular, Kuma Bear was supposed to run an Art Show tour, with us helping him. Fortunately, Judy and Linda were able to run things while we did the tour and then went off to get some lunch. Kuma will write about the Art Show later.

Lisa and I had lunch at the Cornish Pasty bar a block from the hotel. The staff were friendly, the pasty was good, as was the scotch egg, but Lisa said the fries were too peppery, and we both agreed that the music was too loud and too distorted. Still, we were better off for having had lunch.

Running Site Selection is relatively easy when there aren't a lot of ballots being cast. As I said in a reply elsewhere, not only is this a small convention (I'm guessing fewer than 500 bodies on site), but a lot of the "usual suspects" who regularly attend Westercon aren't here due to various factors. This means that a higher-than-usual proportion of the membership are people who won't/can't attend conventions outside of commuting range. For them, a site in Utah might as well be on the Moon, so they're not going to take any notice of or participate in the election. So 42 votes is low, but not terribly surprising.

At 6 PM, we closed the polls. Seth Breidbart and I along with the Hatchers (the Utah bid team) went up to the Board Room where we had been told we could count ballots. Unfortunately, the room was locked and we were unable to find anyone who could get the room unlocked. Fortunately, the adjacent room (where the Inquisition was this morning and where the Business Meeting will be tomorrow) was just winding up its last panel, so once they cleared out, we could use it to do the counting.

Counting itself was pretty simple, with so few ballots. Linda Deneroff joined us and helped with the count. To my relief, the number of voter information sheets and the amount of money we received matched the number of votes cast. Sometimes there are more voter sheets than ballots, which is okay because that means someone paid for a vote and then didn't cast it, but the bad result is when you have more votes than voters, which doesn't happen often and fortunately didn't happen here.

Because Westercon rules don't require that the Business Meeting formally accept the results, I declared the election final, congratulated the winning Westercon 72 Committee, and gave them their voting fees and membership data. I then wrote up the results for the convention newsletter, thanked everyone for their help, and Linda and I carried the Site Selection gear back to my hotel room, where Lisa was taking a nap. The three of us went to dinner at the "Identikit Irish Pub-Restaurant" next to the hotel, which had decent food, and then we hit the parties.

Before heading to dinner, I had set one of the computers to processing the Fannish Inquisition videos. They were done when we came back from dinner, but they are huge and the bandwidth here at the hotel isn't that huge, so I set them to uploading. It took many hours to get those videos online.

After 11 PM, Lisa and I remembered that we wanted to go to CVS to get some more Diet Coke for me and chocolate milk for her. You'd think a four block walk at that time of the night wouldn't be so bad, but the heat was still very stifling, and it was very hard on both of us, Lisa worse than me. I hope we're able to get enough rest to be able to get our remaining responsibilities done tomorrow.

On Monday morning, I'm helping Worldcon 76 co-host the Con Suite from 10:30 to 12:30, although I need to leave early because I'm chairing the Westercon Business Meeting, which Lisa is recording. There is no business expected, so unless someone surprises us, it will be a very short meeting, with an initial report from Westercon 72 the only thing I'm expecting. We have the afternoon free (other than helping with Worldcon 76's table), but will need to get dinner early, because we have to set up for the 8 PM Match Game SF show. Fortunately, we have two hours for set up. Unfortunately, we need to move the gear in from the car in the blazing sun. I've moved the minivan closer to the room where the show will be, but it still it likely to be a strain on us.
kevin_standlee: (Trains)
Yesterday evening, while I was in the kitchen washing dishes from dinner, I heard Lisa shout for me to come outside quickly. From the sound of an oncoming train I had an inkling that it was something special. And it was, but it took too long for me to get the camera to activate to get a good picture of it.

Parting Shot )

After the train came through, we took a short walk and got a companion shot to yesterday's morning solstice sunrise.

Sunrise, Sunset )

Thank goodness it's sort of cooling down at night here (at least dropping below 20°C) or else it would be nearly impossible to get any sleep. Also, the daytime highs are slightly lower than their peaks earlier this week, which helps a lot. Lisa has been staying in the travel trailer (where the only full air conditioning is) during the day, and I can't blame her for that. I'm surviving with the swamp cooler and fans running full-tilt except when I have to turn them off for a conference call.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
Because of my Central-Time-Zone-bound work schedule, I'm up before sunrise every day. Today, however, is the least before sunrise I am up, and I had the timing right for the northernmost sunrise we get here.

Sunrise Over the Asphalt Plant )

Yesterday, we had menacing clouds mixed with smoke.

Wildfire Weather )

It's still quite hot here, but not as bad as the previous two days, and a breeze helps a bit, although it's bad for any wildfires, of course.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
After a few days of snow in the mountains and weather that nearly led to us relighting the fireplace, normal service is being restored, and the temperatures should be quite summery by this weekend.

Three Days, Three Snow Levels )

Unfortunately, the pump on the swamp cooler is starting to give us trouble, and Lisa will have to investigate further before we decide whether we'll have to replace it.
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
Maybe we swapped the swamp cooler and the firewood a few days too soon, as snow came back overnight. A late storm out of the Gulf of Alaska came through yesterday and last night, putting a few inches of snow in the Sierra (chain controls went back up for a while) and giving us high winds and rain in Fernley.

Not to the Valley Floor )

Snow didn't make it down to Fernley itself, but it got cold enough that we got one of the heaters out of storage. We've been on the verge of restarting the fireplace for the past two days. I've been holding off because once this storm blow through, the temps are supposed to shoot back up into the mid 30s°C, and I'd sort of like to have some capacity to absorb some of the that heat before we have to turn the swamp cooler back on later in the week.
kevin_standlee: (Watch for Train Traffic)
This morning, Amtrak came by with a private car on the rear.

Varnish on the Tail )

Also just barely visible in this photo is a tiny bit of snow on the higher peaks of the Pah Rah Range. On June 1. I don't remember snow lasting on the Pah Rahs this late in the year before.

Home

May. 21st, 2017 07:22 pm
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
After the SJ Giants game last night, I considered trying to drive part way home but decided to go to my usual location for the night and leave from there, mainly because I have not scouted out any locations between Sunnyvale and Yuba City where I can lay up for the night.

(Before any well-meaning person says, "Just part at any Wal-Mart," be aware that while many Wal-Mart locations (including Yuba City) are tolerant of overnight "dry camping" of RVs, not all of them are, and those in larger cities are much less likely to be tolerant of it. It's store by store. Tracy or Stockton would be convenient, but a cursory check of some resources shows that they're not friendly, either by store policy or local ordinances. I don't like being rousted. It's happened twice to me, and it's very unpleasant.)

Anyway, I woke up at 5 AM on my own, and did not rush getting up for a change. I stopped for breakfast in Tracy and continued up to Sacramento to visit my sister, then detoured to Yuba City to do errands for her there, then turned east for home. It was quite warm in the Sacramento Valley and didn't get comfortable until I was well into the Sierras. My MP3 player's mix of old time radio shows ran out, and so I stopped at the vista point on CA-20 to fire up my computer and pour more shows into the MP3 player. I also took the opportunity to open all of the doors and the roof vent to allow the Sierra breeze at 5000 feet to flush some of the valley heat out of the Rolling Stone.

To my annoyance, I discovered that for some reason the MP3s of Ray Gunn & Starburst are not compatible with this little slot-player. It's not the first time that I've found that not all MP3s are alike. I contributed toward the second series crowd-funding, but I still haven't listened to it.

I got home a bit after 5:30 PM and plan to fall into bed as soon as I can. It's another week of 6-to-3 days, with the added excitement of mixing more concrete in the afternoons now that winter appears to have finally left. Lisa said that there was still snow on the Pah-Rah Mountains this morning, but the afternoon, it was gone.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
Yesterday morning after breakfast, I walked to the Frontier Fun Center and played pinball, which was good for my mental health. On the way there, I took this photo of the Pah Rah Mountains west of Fernley.

Still Some Snow )

Later on Saturday, I got some of the tasks done that have queued up on me while I concentrate on the Day Jobbe. Not all of them. But I do have to spend some time not working and away from the computer or I get even less effective.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
I left for Yuba City around 7:30 this morning, after having breakfast at the Wigwam. No free breakfast won this week; that's why it's called gambling.

Rabbits and Trains )

It was excellent traveling weather in the morning, and I made good time. I'll write more about the full day later, but it took me to Yuba City, then to Sacramento. I'd packed an overnight bag in case I needed to stay down there, but after stopping for dinner in Auburn around 5:30 PM, I decided to push on home.

Cutting it Close )

Wet snow began to accumulate on the windshield, but not the road. I had some difficulty getting the windshield to clear even with the defroster on full blast. Fortunately, the snow faded away around Floriston, just before the Nevada state line. It rained thereafter off and on until just east of Fernley, where it was windy but dry when I got home. Lisa had a fire going.

In retrospect, although I did get home safely, it would have been more prudent of me to have stopped for the night at Colfax and to have come home tomorrow. But I'm here now and I don't have to travel again until next Sunday. I hope it won't be snowing again then!

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