Snow Day

Last Snow?

Wednesday morning, I went onto the front porch (before dawn, because of my Day Jobbe hours) to get a log for the fireplace and felt crunching under my feet. Turning on the porch light, I saw that we'd received a tiny bit of snow overnight.

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Had this not become the year of The Great Cancellation, today would have been the start of the three-week trip to the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest. I sort of was hoping a big storm would come through and dump so much snow on Donner Summit that I-80 would close (as has been happening over the past week or so). Then I could have said, "Oh, well, I wouldn't have been able to go anyway. And those grapes were probably sour, too."

Instead of a trip in the Rolling Stone, Lisa and I drove into Reno to attempt to do some shopping. Home Depot had not yet gotten any cans of Lysol spray back into stock. (We have one can left, but it's been our normal practice to keep several anyway; it's just bad luck for us that we were on the low end just before there was a run on it.) Cost Plus World Market has closed their stores (although initially they were open during the early days because of their food selection, which was why we were going there). WinCo Foods was open, however, and we only had about a five minute wait in the queue to get in.

We tried really hard to maintain social distancing, but it's not easy when the people around you don't seem to see a need to do so and instead walk around aimlessly, ignoring everyone around them. But because of WinCo metering people in and out of their stores, the general density was relatively low. We got what we could. We're trying to keep the stock of groceries extended in case the quarantine has to go hard, which we reckon could happen any day now.
Wildlife

Who Has Time to be Bored?

A couple of days ago, Lisa told me that the rabbit was back where it had been sheltering. This time I managed to get a photo, although it wasn't easy.

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Back inside, I haven't had time to think about getting bored during the quarantine. Day Jobbe has been crazy busy of late. I'm not complaining. I'm still fully employed and well paid, especially by local standards here in Nevada's third-most-populous county (way behind Clark (Las Vegas) and Washoe (Reno); we're still considered "rural"). I did get a chance to go for a walk around the block this morning and wave at Amtrak (almost completely empty), and that's just about it.
WSFS Logo

Where No Worldcon Has Gone Before

So it appears that visit to New Zealand to attend Worldcon is a casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus, as CoNZealand announced today that it will be an online-only Worldcon.

How this will shake out for many things remains to be announced. There are serious questions about how the WSFS Business Meeting can be held in any format, and I've previously argued that WSFS rules don't allow remote participation at the Business Meeting by any means. However, I also yield to the argument that a worldwide pandemic isn't something contemplated by our organizational rules. On the third hand, I think it might be wise to contemplate planning a "Postpone Everything" motion for that meeting that essentially punts everything forward one year. As long as there are no significant objections from the participating members, it's not procedurally that difficult to craft a motion to do so, although it takes a bit of parliamentary out-of-the-box thinking to figure out how to do it.

At one point, I thought I would be chairing the 2020 WSFS Business Meeting. Now, I think I'm relieved to not be the person caught on the horns of this particular dilemma. My only responsibility is (as assistant videographer) is to make sure that a recording of the meeting gets online.

Personally, I'm very concerned about my sunk cost of around $3500 in airfare on Air New Zealand for Lisa and me. As of now, AirNZ isn't offering any refunds or credits at all, and the current emergency conditions don't cover late July/early August anyway. But even if they do, AirNZ was only offering a one-year "banking" of the fare (like my flight to Seattle originally planned for next month). "Banking" the fare is okay for Alaska Airlines, where I expect I'll find a use for it, but we weren't planning on any other travel using AirNZ in the next year. Also, our travel insurance was not "cancel for any reason," and therefore we may be out an annoyingly large sum of money. It's still early days, though, and we'll see what happens later this year as we get closer to late July.
Fernley

Fixing a Pole

On Saturday evening, Lisa and were out for a walk and noticed that the damaged power pole on Main Street had been replaced.

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Despite the fact that this line seems to be part of the feed to our house (the line running to the left then turns another corner and runs down Front Street), we did not experience any power outages of which we are aware. And I would have noticed, I think, as the UPS on the computer stack would have started sounding an alarm and my CPAP machine would have stopped working should the power have gone out overnight.
Kevin and Lisa

Home Cooking, Episode 2

Tonight's dinner, eaten while watching an episode of Time Team on YouTube, was pork in tomato sauce over Barilla whole grain rotini pasta. Lisa used half a package of ground pork, browned in olive oil and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, with a can of Giorgio mushroom pieces and stems. The base sauce is Di Napoli Classico Tomato & Basil no sugar added. Lisa also added a small can of tomato paste and added additional basil and oregano. There was enough for our dinner tonight and my lunch tomorrow (and maybe another thereafter).

After dinner we went out for a walk, which I really need to take after eating that pasta. The walk was delayed a bit by a phone call from my father. I don't talk to Dad very often, but we spent half an hour or so talking about how we're all getting along. The isolation isn't bothering him as he's got ten acres of land on which he lives near Lake Oroville, the maintaining of which is a full time job (he's a retired forest ranger).
WSFS Crew

Help Kate Hatcher's Family

Kate Hatcher, the chair of SpikeCon (Westercon 72/NASFiC 2019) died in March after a battle with pneumonia. Her partner Ben and daughter Ireland have urgent financial needs and Rick Kovalcik has launched a Kickstarter to help them out, including pledging to pay the Kickstarter fees up to the initial campaign amount. (That didn't stop me from including an extra 5% for that purpose with my donation.)

The Gavel is Yours, Madame

This is the full photo which the one on the Kickstarter is using. I took this of Kate shortly after she received the Gavel of Westercon.

Kate was very good to me, Lisa, and Kuma as we were the co-Fan Guests of Honor of Westercon 72, and she even was understanding of us splitting our time between our tasks as FGoHs and also running a Westercon bid. I'm very grateful to her, and have been happy to contribute toward this fundraiser.
Fernley House

Should Have Gotten More Done

I really should have been more busy today. There's a report due to the SFSFC Board of Directors by their meeting next Saturday, and today would have been ideal for writing it, but I have been completely out of energy today and got nearly nothing done. Lisa and I did get out for a couple of walks, though: one in the afternoon and another one after dinner. We had the rest of the pork stew left over from last night as we watched an episode of Hec Ramsey ("CSI: The Wild West") from the 1970s. Lisa spotted that they couldn't possibly have had electricity in the town of New Prospect, Oklahoma in the very-definitely-established episode date of 1902, and we looked it up later and confirmed that rural electrification didn't reach Oklahoma until the 1930s.

Anyway, I hope I'll have the energy to write that report about Westercon 74 in the next couple of days so I can give it to the Board to have enough time to read it before our (exclusively online, of course) meeting next weekend.
Kevin and Lisa

Home Cooking, Episode 1

Tonight's meal was pork stew, consisting of stewing pork picked up at Raley's, carrots, potatoes, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, and a bit of flour, according to Lisa, stewed for a long time, and served with HP brown sauce. It's very good, and had enough left over for lunch tomorrow, or maybe the next day, as I still have a helping of chicken and rice soup Lisa made a few days ago. We'll have this stew again soon, because the stewing pork came in a large enough size that Lisa only used half of it for tonight.

Our grocery bills these past couple of days have been monumental, but this must be offset against us not traveling to Seattle for Norwescon and otherwise simply staying home. Lisa is aiming to keep us well fed in our semi-isolation. And fortunately, Fernley is sufficiently thinly populated that we can still go out for walks and maintain 2m separation from people most of the time.
Fernley House

Making the Best of Things

Supply chain management is what I do for a living, and right now it's obvious that supply chains are borked up all over the place. Another sign of it was right in front of our house on Thursday.

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With our household supply chain needs taken care of at least for a while, we find ourselves well-stocked with good food. This morning, I woke up to find a plate of fresh scones that Lisa made overnight before she went to bed. (She and I are keeping dramatically different hours, only seeing each other at the "edges" of our respective "days.") We'll eat pretty well for a while now. But I'm one of the fortunate ones, as I'm still fully employed and I worked from home already. As long as my company's customer has stuff that still need to be moved and that can still be moved, I should be okay. Fingers crossed.
Reno

Venturing Out for Restock

Yesterday afternoon, one of the local rabbits stirred out for a while, apparently tempted by spring growth.

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This afternoon, we decided that inasmuch as grocery stores are open and Raley's in Fernley is pretty well picked over that we would risk going to Reno. We appear to have gotten lucky as we went to both Winco stores (some stuff was at one but not the other) but did not have to wait to get in. To keep the density down and allow people to practice social distancing, they were metering people in and out of the stores, and both times we could go right in but by the time we came out there was a queue. We also went to Cost Plus World Market (which is open because they sell food) to get some of the nice food they have there, then to Butcher Boy and got a duck (on the grounds that if we're going to have to stay in for a while, we might as well enjoy it). Then it was on to Staples (the only place I know that sells the refill soap for our liquid soap dispenser around these parts; they were still open), and Raley's Reno (for a few things that weren't at any of the other stores). We would have also stopped at Scolari's Reno, but they are temporarily closing at 4 PM; had we known that, we would have gone their first.

We did our best to maintain 2m separation, but clearly a lot of people don't have the idea. While queuing to check out, I had to use our shopping cart to keep the people behind us from crowding in.

We're fortunate to have a big house that can hold a lot of stuff. I think we're well stocked for a while now.

And meanwhile, there are still a lot of morons around here screaming about how the guv'mint doesn't have the right to do any of the things they're doing and this is Communism and a Hoax and we're all going to marched off to death camps and so forth. If there was a way to herd all of those people into their own space and keep them away from everyone else, I would encourage them all to gather together, shake hands, stand shoulder-to-shoulder, hug each other, and trade all of their germs, just as long as they stay away from the rest of us. These people are drilling holes in the bottom of the lifeboat. I don't care if they kill themselves — but don't take the rest of us down with them!