Sunday, June 29, 2008

Morning Recon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I got a chance to run up a little fire road to check out where we'll be dropping water today. The terrain doesn't look too conducive to ground unit firefighting. Also if there are engine problems, I don't see any good spots to put down.......

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Helibase tradition

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Last year on the Moonlight fire we got a direct order to fly our flag at half staff on 9/11. So, no wanting to disobey an order, we stripped a cedar tree that had fallen on its own to make a flagpole, bought a flag, and flew it at half staff. (The header for this blogsite shows the sillouette of that flag)
Anyway, it became the rally point for briefings and debriefs. Now I bring a flag to every helibase and as time allows have my crew improvise a pole and fly the flag. The cool thing today was, someone came looking for me, knowing I was here because he saw a flag up. (The crewmember with the helmet is going home because one of his molars split in two)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

North Mountain Fire

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ok....I'm just west of the edge of Yosemite National Park and this is a particularly messy fire. The terrain makes ground units impossible---steep granite cliffs. So, It's an airshow, but there aren't any Helicopters. There are just too many other fires around the state. We're using the Yosemite copter when we can and we have a 205, and the skycrane is on the way. Annamarie knows I'll be gone until mid-July unless God sends rain. Even with the fire this is beautiful country. Tioga pass must be the most beautiful drive in the state.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On to the next adventure

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Steve----we need you to go to Yosemite to manage helicopters right away" Ummm 'K. Does Chief Donnelly know I'm going? "He knows. He said to wait for the order from SouthOps but we name-requested you so get ready". My guess is I'll finish out my shift then go, probably for 14 days. I like going. I like staying. I just don't like being in a holding pattern not knowing.
The good----it's camping, with a purpose, on the clock from the time I get the call until after I'm home again. Also, you get to know the air ops folks from around the state.
The bad----Massive monstrous fires eating up timber faster than you can run. Now THAT's a carbon footprint. Very expensive operation, too... Order up another type I copter at $13,200/hour if needed, and no one bats an eye
The ugly----Rare showers. Box lunches. Left over box lunches for dinner. No coffee unless you drive to the firecamp. Can't even feel sorry for myself because there will be HUNDREDS of seasonal firefighters cutting fireline all day, day after day, just to sleep in a spike camp out on the fireline, eating nothing but MRE's. Those are the REAL firefighters.

Friday, June 20, 2008


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ OK so here's the update. All the reserved places are paid for. MF, B&P are in RV spaces near the log cabins, which are occupied by Keeka (Fri-Sun)in one, and V. Moore's family (Thurs-Sun)in another!!! Very glad Vince is coming. I didn't even recognize his voice. Shoo in a Duplex Fri-Sun, Suella and whoever else they've brought in tow in the other duplex, Fri-Mon. (I think there's a Legoland adventure in the works for Monday) RBG's clan in our rental cabin will be the first to arrive on Wednesday. Another addition is Maggie formerly Patterson's family, just fo rthe day though.
Celeste is working with Annamarie to figure out who needs to bring what. There will be various opportunities for general mischief but Saturday afternoon will be the big meet and eat at our house. Of course, a group photo will commence. No funny faces unless you were born with it.
Typical to mountain weather, it can range from 40 degrees to mid 90's in August. I'd predict comfortably warm. Sunscreen, bug spray, fishing stuff, hiking stuff, and old pictures of past things would all be good.
There is still one log cabin available, already paid for. RV sites and tent space too, but if anyone else is coming better let me know quick. Still working on Ronn and Father Joe.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Make your own Southpark character!

I'm stuck in a trailer waiting for something. I gave the order to my crew to make good use of their time, so I'm doing the same---- I made a Southpark character out of Lee. I did Shoo first but it was.......too realistic. if you want to try it.....

My favorite golfer at the US Open

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And he even let me get a picture with him. We weren't supposed to be fraternizing but I couldn't resist. It was so exciting----I even told him he could sleep with my sister! (OK I never said that for real but it's assumed since he's Terence, my brother in law) It's been a really long week so it was a welcomed break to run into him at Torrey Pines

Friday, June 13, 2008

Joint Hazard Assessment Team

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ J-HAT.....It's a concept we came up with when San Diego hosted Superbowl. The idea is, you form an inter-disciplinary team that moves inside a large venue, evaluating hazards, and mitigating them if possible. Your team members all get trained in each other's roles. You have a hazmat guy, a bomb tech, a SWAT officer, and a K-9 cop. The Bomb tech and/or the hazmat member needs to be a tactically trained paramedic too. You carry equipment and just sort of wander around, looking for stuff. We used J-HAT for Superbowl, Mardi-Gras, Street Scene, and some other big crowd things. This week (when I'm off shift away from the copter) I'm spending my between days at the US Open following the golfers around. Since I don't golf, I'm bored silly but it's still overtime, walking around outdoors, and some fairly challenging issues come up. (It would have been very bad JuJu to take pictures when we were right in there. The last thing I want is the PGA wanting me fired)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And the award goes to.....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ McKenna!! Our oldest is officially out of grade school and on to high school. She got awards for everything from the 'Principal's Award' (for academic excellence and community responsibility) to outstanding artist. Some local and state stuff too. She got the brains from her mom. She got her Mom and Nana's good looks and her Uncle Bob's artistic talents. All she got from me was her singing voice, which is unfortunate. What we're most proud of is, how she really does her part to keep our home a joyful place.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Really good teacher

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The school's fifth grade teacher, Scott Copeland, has always worked on and around boats. Every school year he leads his class in constructing a boat. Mckenna's year it was a kayak but this year they built an outrigger. Near the end of the school year the class has the official boat launch party at the bay. Very, very fun day.
We really should have performance pay for teachers that keep the kids interested in school and the subjects...Hey Byron----Scott knew of the Astor from his wooden boat mags, and wanted to know if 'Fife' was the builder? Next time Astor is in San Diego can we arrange a visit?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Revolting spinsters


Early in the 19th century, if you were an unmarried woman, your options for income were somewhat limited. A job anyone could get, though, was seamstress. In about a day, a woman could hand sew a shirt. Most people owned two shirts---a work shirt, and a church shirt.
Along came the sewing machine. This handy device could really make sewing easier. So how was this invention received? In France, tailors rioted and burned down the first sewing machine company. Stateside, seamstresses organized and tried to get the sewing machine banned out of fear of losing their only source of income. There was even a spinsters revolt.
Singer, Howe, and others were undeterred. Instead they came up with clever financing to make owning a sewing machine easier. The seamstresses that were wise enough to see the opportunity thrived; the ones that continued to fight for the low tech approach did not.
The end result was, instead of producing one shirt a day, a seamstress could produce 12 or more. They increased their income. Cotton producers suddenly enjoyed huge demand for raw materials. Entire towns were built around the production of sewing machines. Average person now owned a closet full of shirts instead of two; better quality, and cheaper, too. Probably smelled better.
Do I need a closet bursting with clothes, some of which I'll never wear again? Probably not. Spinsters, though no one calls them that now, don't have to sit in a room sewing shirts by hand. They can work at Gap, or become sewing machine repairpersons, or delivery truck drivers, or any of the other employment opportunities created by this, or other, technological advances.