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Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Kevin Standlee's LiveJournal:

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Friday, May 24th, 2019
2:58 pm
Leaving the Birds in the Lurch
I'd intended to post some more photos of the birds drawn to our bird feeder, but Flickr has been doing a major server move, and it looks like it's taking more time than they thought.

We're going halfway to Tonopah tonight, stopping at Hawthorne. I hope the hotel there has the download speed we had the last time we were there, because if it does, we have a lot of stuff on our "to be downloaded when we get enough bandwidth" list.

Current Mood: busy
Thursday, May 23rd, 2019
5:29 pm
Change of Plans
As we'd started the Tonopah bid too late in our planning year to plan to go to BayCon (sorry, folks), we were actually looking at having a long holiday weekend at home with nothing more adventurous than going over to the Nevada State Railroad Museum and riding their McKeen Car. However, some things have come up and we've decided to squeeze our way into Tonopah this weekend (not that easy) for their annual Jim Butler Days event. Lisa is taking the camera gear and we're going to shoot as much video and as many photos as we can that show Tonopah dealing with a town-filling event. I hope that we'll end up with video showing that the town is actually capable of holding something that big (i.e. bigger than our Westercon will be).

Current Mood: busy
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
4:38 pm
And Still It Comes
This morning, there was a new dusting of snow on the Pah Rah Mountains from overnight.

More May SnowCollapse )

I've been having a chiropractor do some work on my back because I strained muscles during my last trip to the Bay Area. He moved down from Alaska to take over an existing practice. This is his first spring in Fernley. I told him that this is the coldest and wettest May I can recall since I moved here in 2011.

Current Mood: impressed
Tuesday, May 21st, 2019
6:52 pm
Hail Fernley House
While it's not going below freezing at night, it was still cold enough today for me to once again rekindle the fireplace, as I was having some challenges feeling my fingers. Around mid-day sometime, I heard a racket from outside and when I opened the front door to see what was going on, I was surprised by the weather.

Not SnowCollapse )

It was particularly loud on the metal-roofed shelter over the travel trailer.

Current Mood: impressed
Monday, May 20th, 2019
2:21 pm
Sliding Along
I spent many hours yesterday preparing an automated (unattended) slide show about Tonopah, which we intend to leave running at our bid table on one of my computers and (assuming we can make the connection) in our room party. It's about 5 minutes long and has a lot of slides in it. This is not the same thing as a short set of slides to which I would speak during a presentation, but a long show of images of Tonopah.

As it's possible to save a PowerPoint slide show as an MP4 file, once I'm satisfied with what I have here, I may upload the resultant video to YouTube and post it, so that people and see the show even without coming by our table or room party.

Meanwhile, we now have a Tonopah Merchandise Store on Zazzle. This is not as effective as having shirts made and trying to sell them at our bid table, but it also means we won't be left with unsold inventory. We bought items for ourselves and they're on their way. Particularly if you're going to be at SpikeCon and want to show support for our bid, consider buying a shirt or tote bag and let people see you in it, particularly on Thursday or Friday, the only days that voting will be happening.

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, May 19th, 2019
10:00 pm
New Time Sink
Breakfast on Sunday lasted longer than usual because I came during a rush period (which I usually try to avoid) and my order accidentally slipped out of the queue. I wasn't troubled, given that I typically linger over breakfast while reading, but eventually I realized that I'd been forgotten. My server was aghast and apologized mightily. I told her not to worry about it.

After breakfast I walked to the local bowling center. I have not bowled in some weeks because of the hip muscle strain I developed during the last trip to the Bay Area. However, I did play pinball. The Frontier Fun Center has got a new pinball machine — Ghostbusters — replacing the KISS machine that I didn't like very much. As it happens, the local supplier who supplies the machines was there, and we spoke for a while. He also repairs and restores video games, and I mentioned that Lisa has an Asteroids machine that needs restoration. He gave me his card and we may be in touch later for him to come around and have a look and see what he might be able to do and whether we can afford it.

Current Mood: optimistic
Saturday, May 18th, 2019
8:24 pm
Popular With Birds
The local birds have continued to spread the word about our bird feeder.

Feeding TimeCollapse )

Often there are many more birds clustered on the ground around the feeder than are on it.

Meanwhile, it looks like I would have been able to make it through the Sierra today to visit my sister after all, but it sure didn't look that way from the weather forecast on Thursday, so I stayed home and worked on Tonopah bid stuff.

Current Mood: cheerful
Friday, May 17th, 2019
4:25 pm
Breaker, Breaker
Yesterday after lunch, Lisa and I walked to the post office, where the circuit breaker we ordered for the Rolling Stone had arrived. When we got home, Lisa installed it.

We Like Like for LikeCollapse )

The replacement took only a few minutes, and everything works as it should now. Given that it's starting to look like I'll need to make another trip to the Bay Area in the next few weeks, this is a good thing. But fortunately that week is not now, because I don't want to have to buck snow, ice, and chain controls on I-80.

Current Mood: relieved
Thursday, May 16th, 2019
3:32 pm
Snow Kidding
It rained off and on last night and part of today. This morning, shortly after I went out and refilled the bird feeder, Amtrak came through, and I saw something that you rarely see in Fernley in May.

New SnowCollapse )

There were chain controls in the Sierra today, and even times when I-80 was closed completely. This change in the weather is apparently going to last for several days and through the weekend, so I've canceled a trip I'd planned this weekend to visit my sister in Sacramento.

Current Mood: impressed
Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
4:10 pm
Mini Wildlife Refuge
The little birds are very much enjoying the bird feeder. Bigger birds would like to do so as well, but they're too big to perch on it, but they've been hanging around looking for handouts anyway.

QuailCollapse )

Besides the birds, we're also getting bunnies. Last night while I was sitting in on a SpikeCon conference call, Lisa quietly crept through the front door and told me that there were two rabbits out in the front yard just beyond the fence, besides the small birds and the quail and the doves. The bunnies seemed more interested in grazing on our weeds than eating birdseed, though.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
4:49 pm
Plate Train
Union Pacific is doing a rail replacement project on the Nevada Subdivision that runs in front of Fernley House. Some days ago a rail trail dropped lengths of rail alongside the tracks. We've seen piles of ballast appear as well, but that must have happened while we weren't looking. Today, a different sort of train dropped the next set of supplies.

Rolling Improvement ProgramCollapse )

This train makes a lot of racket while unloading all of that metal. I took some video to give an idea of how loud.

Dropping Tie PlatesCollapse )

I assume that a train similar to this one will be through in a few days dropping bundles of ties, after which the crews that turn rails, ties, tie plates, ballast, and spikes into a railroad track will arrive.

This being a main line, it has to be relaid every few years. Typically the main line rails, if not obviously damaged, can be re-used for lighter-duty tracks. But if the rails are shot, they can of course be melted down and re-rolled, and lots of the metal pieces can similarly be recycled. Only railroad ties are a problem. They're toxic, being creosote-treated wood, and it takes specialty installations to dispose of them safely.

Current Mood: cheerful
Monday, May 13th, 2019
8:09 pm
Nearby Medical Appointments
Today, Lisa and I both had appointments to have our eyes examined at the optometrist here in Fernley. His office is a 5-10 minute walk, so this wasn't difficult. My eyes have deteriorated slightly, as I expected, so I also put in an order for new general-purpose glasses. My prescription sunglasses and my computer lenses look to be good for another year.

My back has been hurting since the trip to the Bay Area, thanks to huddling in conference rooms and not sleeping as comfortably as usual in the Rolling Stone. A new chiropractic office has opened in the same small center as where the optometrist's office is, so on the way out, I stopped in to make an appointment. To my surprise, the doctor could see me that afternoon! Lisa decided to go on home to make dinner (she roasted a chicken, and it was very good) while I filled out paperwork and the doctor examined me. It doesn't look like I have a pinched nerve, just some strained muscles. He worked on me for a while, and I feel somewhat better. I have a follow up appointment on Thursday.

I'm not used to being able to get medical appointments on such short notice. We made the vision appointments only a week ago, and the only reason we couldn't do them sooner was because I needed them to be at 3 PM or later so they would be after work. The small-town practices here must have somewhat more slack in their schedule, so I don't have to make plans weeks and months in advance.

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, May 12th, 2019
10:53 am
Spring Chores
With mild weather, Lisa has started working on chores around the property. She whacked away at the weeds yesterday, and I then did some raking to clear the area I laughingly call the flower bed (I've never managed to get anything to grow in it but weeds). Later in the afternoon, we went to Big R for more parts so we could finish a project she started earlier this year.

Spouting OffCollapse )

We can get outside home improvements done in the spring and autumn, but not so much in the winter and summer.

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, May 11th, 2019
12:26 pm
Troubleshooting the Stone
Yesterday after work, I went out to the Rolling Stone with Lisa to help her try to diagnose the problem with the electrical circuit feeding the 'coach' or 'hotel' power on the RV. (That's the interior lights aft of the front seats, the water pump, fans, and most importantly the DC accessory outlet that powers my CPAP.) I held tools and sat inside the RV looking at a light we'd turned on, calling out whether it was lit or not, while Lisa tested things.

Lisa's initial theory was that the ground lead (line from the negative terminal of the battery to the frame of the vehicle) was loose or frayed. However, the screws were tight and wiggling the line did nothing, so she tried a different theory, this time with what looks like success.

Breaker, BreakerCollapse )

Had we worked this out while I was on the road, and had we realized that just lubricating the hood latch would have made it open without assistance, I might have been able to work around this problem by just tapping on the balky breaker when I needed power. However, I survived (albeit with some accumulated fatigue from insufficient restful sleep), and for less than $20 in parts, we should be good to go once the replacement arrives.

Current Mood: pleased
Friday, May 10th, 2019
2:20 pm
Follow the Bouncing Bunnies
Yesterday morning when I went for a short walk around the block, I had company for a short time.

Rabbits Springing AlongCollapse )

The birds are very happy with our bird feeder now that they've discovered it. Larger birds that can't perch on it wait underneath for the smaller birds to knock birdseed off the feeder. I can watch them from the front window, but if I go out onto the front porch, they scatter.

Current Mood: cheerful
Thursday, May 9th, 2019
10:31 am
Not Summer Yet
A couple of days ago I snapped a photo of a relatively typical westbound California Zephyr. What isn't typical is what's on the mountains this late in the year.

May Snow in the Pah RahsCollapse )

I'm not complaining about the cooler weather keeping the snow from melting in the mountains, not at all. Summer is my least-liked season here. Fortunately, we usually skip multiple weeks of it with our Westercon and Worldcon trips.

Current Mood: cheerful
Wednesday, May 8th, 2019
7:49 am
Bullet Bitten
We bought our airline tickets for the Worldcon trip yesterday. Lisa and I will fly on IcelandAir from SFO (they've started flying out of SFO again 4x/week) to Dublin, attend Worldcon, take the train to Belfast to attend Eurocon, then take the bus back to Dublin Airport to fly to Iceland, where we'll stay for three nights before flying back to SFO. We'll bracket the trip with nights in an airport-area hotel that includes a certain amount of parking, at a rate that effectively means they're renting us the parking for three weeks and including two hotel nights in the cost.

The two coach fares run about $2700 (we got the 'flex' fares that will allow us to make changes without penalty, which costs more), and we've also put in bids for upgrades to Saga class, which I hope we'll get, at least for the two long legs SFO-KEF and return.

Current Mood: optimistic
Tuesday, May 7th, 2019
10:43 am
Catching Up
Yesterday afternoon shortly after finishing up Day Jobbe and after going to the post office with Lisa, a massive wave of fatigue rolled over me. That week of sleep without my CPAP apparently caught up with me. I fell into bed and slept for more than twelve hours. Lisa came with a pot of soup, discovered me dead to the world, and left me sleeping with a note on my computer about the soup so I'd know I had it available for lunch today.

I'm still not completely recovered. Sure glad I only needed to spend one week in the Bay Area. That might be the last time I'm there until October, depending on work schedules and other things.

Current Mood: sleepy
Monday, May 6th, 2019
3:00 pm
Slow Roller
I did not hurry at all back from the Bay Area. I managed almost eight hours sleep (thus probably four hours with the CPAP running), and took my time about getting going in the morning before setting forth. I also stopped and had a relatively leisurely breakfast in Tracy, and as usual refueled at Lodi Junction, then make an electronics stop at Fry's to make sure I have a VGA cable and an audio cable for (I hope) connecting my computer to SpikeCon's AV equipment for the Tonopah bid presentation that will happen on the first day of the convention. (And if you all vote for us, for our winning presentation!) Then it was on to the nursing home where I spent an hour or so sitting with my sister and discussing plans for my mother's remembrance gathering, which is now scheduled for Saturday, June 22 in Brownsville, California.

Up the Hill... and a Wildlife EncounterCollapse )

After my wildlife encounter, I made only one more stop, where the snow was still high.

KingvaleCollapse )

Lisa helped me unload the Rolling Stone, after which she then wanted to immediately look into the electrical issue with the hotel power on the RV. In one of those "it figures" moments, the lights were back on in back, but moving stuff around on the RV caused the lights to flicker. Lisa latest theory is that it might be a loose ground connection. She congratulated me on having done all of the things she would have done, as I did them over the phone by her direction.

We did fix at least for now the problem with opening the hood. After unlatching it together, she suggested that maybe it was the latch rather than the spring and sprayed silicone lubricant liberally into the mechanism. It works properly again and you can open the hood without assistance. That's a very good thing, as I've been in a situation (when the Astro's alternator seized up) where I was on my own and if I hadn't been able to open the hood and douse the fire, the whole vehicle could have gone up in flames.

It will be a while before I need to use the RV again, so we'll have some time to work on isolating and repairing the electrical wiring fault. I was certainly glad to get home.

Current Mood: tired
Sunday, May 5th, 2019
8:35 pm
BASFA and Baseball
Saturday evening, I joined a bunch of the members of BASFA at Star Wars Night at the San Jose Giants (A-league affiliate of the San Francisco team), where Ken Patterson had once again organized a section of the Martinelli's VIP deck for us.

The Forth Was With Us, but Not With the GiantsCollapse )

A splendid time was had by all BASFAn, but unfortunately not by the Giants. The Quakes pitchers had a combined no-hitter through seven innings until the Giants' bats finally came to life in the eighth. With the bases loaded and the Giants trailing 7-2, the Quakes pitcher hit the batter, forcing in another run and bringing the tying run to the plate. The batter hit a soaring fly ball that unfortunately didn't quite have the legs to find the fence and thus the game-tying grand slam didn't happen. The Quakes went on the win 7-3.

I invited any curious BASFAns willing to make the trip out to the back corner of the parking lot (where I carefully had triple-checked that the headlights were out before I parked there) who wanted to see where I live when I'm doing these extended stints in the Bay Area, and three took me up on it. After giving them the Cook's tour of the Rolling Stone, they headed off shivering (after sundown, the overcast moved in and it got chilly) and I set off for my usual overnight layup spot. I was very tired and it was not difficult to get to sleep.

One thing that still puzzles me, though, is why so many people I meet in the Bay Area think I live so close. I tell people I live 30 miles east of Reno, and they say, "That's a four hour drive, right." I tell them, "You can drive 300 miles in four hours? Remind me not to ever ride with you!" While if you could average 75 miles an hour, you could do it, I don't see how one could ever do that. While I was passed by a few people out on I-5 this afternoon who seemed to trying to do that, not only do I generally not drive that much over the speed limit, but the RV isn't even capable of going that fast, save downhill with a tailwind.

Current Mood: tired
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