A public thank you to the LA Department of Public Works

ED. Another post from my Father.



FROM:           BILL GEHR


Chris:  You may remember that I have, in the past, sometimes been critical of the Department of Public Works.  Not this time!

I want to commend the administration for the attention they have given to this at risk area.  I know that there are other ares of the County that are as devastated as is La Canada, and I find it remarkable that your department has been able to protect all of them from the recent three-day storm as well as you have. 

As much as we are grateful to the administration, we are equally indebted to the dedicated workers who risked their lives to alleviate the flood danger.  They labored mightily to unplug the drain from the unexpected, intense November rain storm, and they were there in the latest freezing cold and pouring down rain, checking our Catch Basin and drain almost every one-half hour.  I am certain that our home was spared primarily because of their valiant efforts.

Thank you, and thanks to them.  We are eternally grateful.

Bill and Robin Gehr

Playing mud roulette in La Canada

ED. The following post is an e-mail from my father:

Well, the sheriff came around last night about 6:00 PM, and told us to
evacuate,  They said we didn't have to if we didn't want to, but if we
were going to stay, they wanted to know it so they could identify the
bodies the next day.  

Needless to say, we made like hockey players, and "got the puck out of

Stuck the dogs in a kennel, and checked into the Best Western Eagle Rock
Inn.  Woke up this morning to a bright sunshiny morning; packed up and
went home, where everything was just fine.  I have now taken the plywood
from in front of the sliding glass doors, unplugged the pool overflow
pump, and we are enjoying the sunshine. 

A couple of neighbors down the street were not so fortunate--mud in their
yard, but thank goodness, no mud in their house.  One of our other
neighbors on Wednesday had had a complicated hernia operation, oops, I
mean a "surgical procedure;" complicated because the hernia had wrapped
itself around the intestine.  They had to evacuate, and he was having
difficulty even walking.  They are elderly.  His wife called a limo
service, and told them that whoever they sent had to be able to handle
the luggage, and to assist a 180 lb man into the car and out of the car
at the hotel.  The limo service said not to worry, and sent a huge
weight-lifter guy who literally picked the man up and carried him into
the limo. 

I hope it gets a chance to completely dry out before we get the next

Bill & Robin

The geekiest birthday party EVAR!

What a fantastic birthday dinner and party!  Lauria cooked three different kinds of quiche for my birthday, from full-fat traditional quiche to a crustless non-fat healthy version, with a low-fat alternative quiche in the middle.  Unfortunately, I did not get pictures before we consumed them!  I tried each one, and they were all great.  We did kick around the idea of chopped jalapeños in the non-fat version next time.

The cake was great, a chocolate Ramone's Vellutini overdose.  It was so perfect to just use my @GregGehr on the cake too!  (1st and 2nd pic)

We were drinking a very pleasant California white wine, out of @Lauria's  new pre-chilled Fire and Light wine goblets, very nice (third pic).  

My presents were like mana from geek heaven.  I got the first two seasons of The Big Bang Theory, a bottle of some of the finest Nagori Sake, a R Crumb Blues calendar, tickets for an evening of Zappa plays Zappa with my daughter, and a coupon for an evening of babysitting that is worth it's weight in gold several times over. (4th pic)

We realized that every person at the party had an active twitter account.  However, we had no time to actually tweet during the party, we were too busy with Mario Kart and Katamari Forever on the big screen.  Still, I liked Joe's t-shirt, it was so appropriate (5th pic).

Thanks to @Lauria and @JoeEphemeral for the wonderful evening, and to @vurayav and @ifipaan for helping me have a great birthday!

Logan's Halloween

Here are a few shots from Logan's Halloween adventures.  Logan and I dropped Mom off at the HSU library to study, and then went to Arcata, and "trick or treated" the plaza merchants.  We had a very nice time.  It rained the hour before we went, and the hour after we left, but no rain the entire time we walked around!  After an hour or so of extorting candy under the threat of "tricks" from local businesses, we stopped at Mazzottis and each had a frosty beverage.  Logan had milk, I had Eye of the Hawk.  

In the first picture, below, you see my favorite Marxist dressed as a Marx brother (too too funny), holding Logan.  The second pic is Groucho's wife (in mask), with our friend Dot behind her.  The third and fourth pics are pretty self-explanatory, just us circling the Plaza looking for new businesses to extort.   Logan is stuffing his face with a Brio sugar cookie in the last pic.

Logan ended up with quite the Elmo bucket full of candy.  After well over a half dozen pieces of candy consumed, then birthday cake and cookies at my party later, Logan was on a sugar high the likes of which we had not seen in quite a while.  At one point, he repeated an old family joke, by looking at me and saying "Daddy, I'm vibrating" (and he was too!).

Mad River Brewery, Blue Lake, CA. Anniversary Celebration

Had a great time with @nate_downey - we went to the Mad River Brewery's new tasting room in Blue Lake (stopping on the way for a plate of chicken strips and an opening pint at the Waterfront in Eureka).

Mad River is celebrating their anniversary (which one, I dunno) and tonight they were tapping their Bourbon Barrel Stout.  This dark nectar is 7%ABV and 36 IBU (No, I did not try the Barley Wine on the menu, below, I think that is what they will feature tomorrow night).  This may be my favorite local stout yet.  It is not "mixed", it is 100% bourbon barrel aged, which means it will be a very limited production run. The flavor is dark, and smooth, with shades of chocolate and bourbon, and a complexity that keeps on coming. Yum!

The last time I was in the Mad River Brewery "tasting room," it was only slightly larger than a walk-in closet (and that was only a little more than a year ago).  Now they have built the beautiful venue that is poorly captured by my iPhone pictures, below.  There was a band playing and the acoustics of the new tasting room were fantastic.  I asked when they would start serving food, and was only slightly surprised by the response that, due to the many permits and changes required, that would be a year or more away.  Wow, a full service Brewery of that caliber in Blue Lake, in a year or so, food and all. I cannot wait!

(updated on 10/30/09: via @MadRiverBrewCo "It's our 20th anniversary, and today we will be tapping a cask conditioned DIPA and Rorschach One wheat wine.")

HSU Alumni Association Brick Program

My daughter, Lauria, graduated this year from HSU, and one of her graduation presents was an engraved brick, installed on campus with whatever she wanted on it. Although my son, Logan, is only 3yrs old, he has already finished a semester at the HSU Music Academy for Children, and is enrolled in the Discovery Classroom at the HSU Child Care Center, so his sister thought it would be a kick in the pants to have a brick that had both her name and her little brothers name on it, along with the year that they both went to HSU. Cool!

When my Daughter's Grandmother, Elizabeth Stuart, heard about the bricks she ordered one in her family name too. Lauria's mom, (who is also my "Ex" and good friend) Mary, also graduated from HSU with both a BA and an MBA, and currently is engaged by Xian International University in China as Dean of Humboldt College, a transfer program that connects HSU with Xian and facilitates exchange students between the two entities. You can see the Lawrence and Elizabeth Stuart Family Brick, adjacent to the Gehr brick.

During Homecoming this month, the Humboldt State University Alumni Association, and the HSU Athletics Program installed their first round of these bricks. The bricks are given to those that donate $250 (or more) to either the Alumni Association or the Athletics Program scholarship endowments. Donations are 100% tax deductible. You can have up to three lines of text on your brick, with up to 24 characters per line.

I took this photo (above) and video (below) of the bricks with my iPhone. Yup, that is right, I took them with my cell phone. It was just something my son and I shot on the spur of the moment while we were up checking out the brick with his and his sister's names on it. There is nothing professional about the video at all, but it is fun, and does give you an idea of what the bricks look like.

Learn more about the scholarship fund, and the Alumni Association, and consider getting a brick for yourself or a loved one. It is for a good cause!

Video of first Brick Installation by HSU Alumni Association and HSU Athletics:  http://gallery.me.com/kachakaach#100036

Disclaimer:  This is my personal blog, and these are my personal photos and videos.  They are not intended to be, and in fact ARE NOT an official representation or statement by anybody at HSU other than me as an Alum. and community member.  Park and lock it.  Not responsible. (complete disclaimer can be found here)