January 2010 Storms and Parental Unit Update

Mom and Dad are safe, and in their Arrowhead house. There was a bad scare yesterday as they got snowed in at Arrowhead big time, followed shortly by the power going out, and the heat with it. I finally got a call from Mom and Dad, and they told me that their neighbor had a generator and threw them an extension cord for their heater, and then finally late that evening, the power in Arrowhead came back on. I feel better knowing that there is a neighbor that will at least keep their heater on in an emergency short term, and Dad has agreed that some sort of electric start generator and/or propane heat source is required for the Arrowhead house in the near future.

The La Canada house is doing as well as can be expected. The basketball court is a mud/water river, flowing out onto the street. The huge LA County storm drain in the back of the property is totally plugged, and all the water is coming down on the surface, and going down thru the basketball court and onto the street. The good news is that the water is fairly clear, not a lot of debris flowing right now, and no mud or water has breached the emergency wall that my sister, Elaine, started for Dad, in between the basketball court, and the pool & house. That wall continues to grow in height and reinforcement, and after this series of storms, if the La Canada house survives, it may grow some more.

There is still at least one more storm front coming in, there are heavy downpours expected in the early AM today in La Canada. Probably also means more snow for Arrowhead. Just what the Doctor ordered...NOT! Evacuations in La Crescenta/La Canada and surrounding communities has topped 1000 homes., and it may get worse. They say that another series of storms appears to be loading up in the Pacific, right on the same track as this one.

Mom and Dad only have cell phones up in Arrowhead, no internet, no landline, not even any TV (cable is out, and the old VCR is broken). Texting them does not work, they don't know how to read or send txt messages. Calling them is also an adventure, they don't know how to turn on the ringer, so one of the cell phones only vibrates, and the reception in the Arrowhead house is spotty at best, half the time they turn off one of the the phones if they are not making an outgoing call to save the battery, in case the power goes out again.

Are we having fun yet? More as it develops...

January 2010 SoCal Storms and Mud

The "Storm of January 2010" has hit California like a freight train. My folks, just recovering from the trauma of the Station Fire in La Canada, are "on the road" again, evacuating their home due to the danger of mudslides.

Once again, I find myself wanting much more information about the situation up here in the Redwoods of Northern California than is easily available. Similar to the info source I set up and referenced in my blog post(s) about the Station Fire, I have setup a new "TweetGrid" with three columns to help provide information to all those interested in the #LaCanada #MudSlides.

TweetGrid #LaCanada #MudSlides: http://is.gd/6xXpk

The first column of my TweetGrid is a twitter list which currently has four informative twitter accounts on it, I shall keep adding accounts to this list as I identify informative twitter accounts, and the tweetgrid should automatically update. The second TweetGrid column uses the following search string: "La Canada" OR #lacanada OR mudslide OR #mudslides OR "Station Fire" OR #stationfire. The third column is "La Crescenta" OR Sunland OR Tujunga OR Moorpark OR "Ocean View" OR Briggs OR "Angeles Crest" OR "Angeles National Forest" AND -chiropratic

NOTE: the "-chiropratic eliminates any tweet containing the word, "chiropratic." If you are bugged by non-relevant search results in your TweetGrid setup, find a unique relevant word that will eliminate that from the search, add a minus sign, and put it in the search string just like I did with "-chiropratic AND"

Hang on tight folks, the storm and mudslides are going to end up a worse disaster than the Station Fire itself. Lets keep an eye out for each other, whether we are in the middle of the mud, or a thousand miles away. We cannot stop the rain or the mud, but we can prove we are not going anywhere, and, to quote Jerry, "we will survive."

Kyoto's and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Had a wonderful evening out last night. Lauria and Joe watched Ifipaan, and we went out to Kyoto's for dinner.

We had excellent food and service. Jenny and Eric at Kyoto maintain the highest standards and have crafted the restaurant into something truly unique and wonderful. Our waitress, Megan was fantastic. My daughter, Lauria, had talked Eric into making Okonomiyaki for her the night before, it had Unagi and Avocado on top, and multiple sauces on the side, and when we asked, they make it for us too! Spicy Crab roll, Fried Oyster handroll, Miso, Raw Albacore Roll, lots of other goodies too. But the dessert, ah the dessert. Ice cream with maple, berries and fruit, and chocolate covered bacon. That's right, CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!

From there it was on to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band show at HSU. What a great show. I know I seem to say that about each show we have been to this year, but it is just simply true! They played a 14 minute set of one of my favorite tunes, "St. James Infirmary". They also played their classic "When the Saints Go Marching In" finale complete with a Bourbon Street-style parade around the theatre and up onto stage where we got to watch for quite a while. Here is a iPhone photo and a video clip with a little taste of what our view was like from on-stage.

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!

Ifipaan's Halloween

Here are a few shots from Ifipaan's Halloween adventures.  Ifipaan 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.  Ifipaan 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 Ifipaan.  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.   Ifipaan is stuffing their face with a Brio sugar cookie in the last pic.

Ifipaan 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, Ifipaan was on a sugar high the likes of which we had not seen in quite a while.  At one point, they repeated an old family joke, by looking at me and saying "Daddy, I'm vibrating" (and Ifipaan 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.")