I hope that this update will be of some assistance to anyone who is stranded off the hill or concerned about loved ones up here on the hill.

The storms hit us pretty hard last night and numerous trees and power lines are down, including those in my yard. The power has been out for Pine Mountain Club and some of the surrounding mountain areas since late last night. I have not heard any estimates of when the power will be restored and I have not yet seen any SCE trucks come by to repair the downed power lines on our street. My personal guess, is that it could be a long time, especially with tonight's expected storm.  Avoid travel on or off the hill if at all possible.

I have activated the heater on my primary web camera; I have also updated the weather links on the ICA WeatherCam. There, you will find current links for the latest Winter Storm Warning and Hazardous Weather Outlook, for the Kern County Mountains.

20041228 - Snow Storm

Scott's Frazier Mountain weather update has not yet been posted for today, so I'll share the little that I can:  

We still have 10'-12" of wet packed snow at 5800 feet; expect to see more at the higher elevations. Earlier today, the snow started to melt a little on the south facing roads, however this will mean any roads that may get cleared today may have ice on them this evening, so drive carefully.  The weather service is reporting another storm for this evening with another 1-2 feet of snow. As the temperatures drop this evening, expect additional snow and ice.

Due to the downed power lines, the road crews have not yet plowed some of the streets. If you must go out, I do not recommend doing so without 4WD, Chains installed, and emergency provisions.

If you can avoid travel on or off the hill, I would recommend it. If you are already off the hill and heading home tonight, be sure to check Caltrans for conditions on the 5 freeway. Be sure to pack groceries, blankets, food and water.

If you live in the PMC area and have updated information or if you have travelled through the mountains today and would like to post an update on the weather/road conditions, please use the comments to do so. The ICA WeatherCam will remain operational.

Stay warm & safe!


UFO Spotted at 11 o’clock

Saturday, December 25th, 2004
My WeatherCam received an unusually high number of page hits last night as people repeatedly hit refresh throughout the night, hoping to catch a glimpse of the night sky.

Most of us saw only the darkness of night punctuated by the glow of Christmas lights on the homes on the valley floor below.

A few people sent me urgent messages to report that around 1:15 in the morning, they briefly observed a long object moving slowly across the night sky.  

This morning, I went through the directory of images captured last night and I think I have found what they were talking about...

Image:UFO Spotted at 11 o´clock

If you look very closely in the top left you can see something.

If you listen very closely, you might even hear the bells.

We do.

Whose birthday is it anyway?

Friday, December 24th, 2004
It's good to be home after spending a good part of this month in Ojai, working with clients. Since so much of the work that I do for my clients is done remotely, it is always a delight for me to connect on a personal level with the folks I serve professionally. While I had a great week -- and ate well -- it was hard to be away from my wife and children just before the holiday. I missed them a lot.

Tonight, our family lit the remaining candles in our Advent wreath as we read the story of the birth of Christ, as recorded in the Bible.  It is a beautiful story - a story of love, God's love, for all of humanity. The message of Christmas is really quite simple, it's all about a gift -- the birth of Christ.

Unfortunately, the beauty of the Christmas story and the music, song, festivities, accompanied by commercialism, politics, Santa, and even political correctness, can easily distract us from the simplicity of it all: the birth of the Savior, not in a palace but in a manger. (I'm not saying that any of these things are necessarily bad, but any of them can easily become a distraction from the true significance of this day - a day that is celebrated by so many.)

For me, as I quietly reflect on the meaning of Christmas tonight, I am grateful for the opportunity to personally celebrate.

There were many years in my life when beyond the commercial representation of Christmas, (trees, Santa, and gifts), I had no idea of what it was really about -- why did people set up trees? Why did they give gifts on this particular day? Why did St. Nicholas bring gifts?  You see, at the time, I did not know whose birthday it really was. It was a party to which I had been invited, but I did not personally know the guest of honor.

Fortunately, that changed and I came to understand the meaning of the party and who was being honored.

Image:Whose birthday is it anyway?

Tonight in church, the lights were turned off and the congregation lit candles and sang Silent Night, Holy Night. As we did this, I thought about the birthday we will celebrate tomorrow. It's not an ordinary birthday. (after all, it's the only one we still celebrate more than two thousand years later.) It is truly an event like no other. The pages of history tell us that it was an extraordinary event - one that both nations and kings have recognized as a special birth ever since. For more than two thousand years, this birth has been remembered, not only in the pages of history, but through the beautiful music, song, traditions, and celebrations that have become the mainstay of what we call Christmas.

It is my hope that tomorrow, with the celebration of Christmas upon us, that you will not be distracted from the reason for the celebration.

I know whose birthday it is and I plan to celebrate.

Wishing you Love, Joy, and Peace.

Merry Christmas!


Increasing frame rate

Friday, December 24th, 2004
Tonight, I will decrease the sample interval on my WeatherCam overlooking the valley. The moon should be bright tonight and it may be possible to catch some air traffic.  It gets dark around 5:30 so be sure to check back throughout the night. You never know what you might see.

Christmas surprise in Ojai

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004
For the past many week's I've been immersed in a large client project, one which has required several trips and which will culminate with a series of meetings this week in Ojai. I do not like to be away from my family, especially during the holidays, but sometimes I must travel at this time of year to accommodate my client's schedule. In addition to being tired from a string of very long days, I've been feeling a little melancholy as I return to the hotel room at the end of each day; no Lassie to bark hello, no kids to greet me, and no kiss from my sweetheart.

Image:Christmas surprise in Ojai

Tonight, I returned to my hotel room to find that something was very different; it was not as I had left it. Indeed, for a moment I thought I must have walked into the wrong room. While I was away, a live Christmas tree -- complete with lights tree-skirt, and ornaments -- had been placed in the room and home-made cards and decorations had been put up around the room. Wow!

Apparently, during the day, Kathy had contacted the hotel manager to work out the details before she drove the few hundred mile round-trip to carry out her mission to decorate my room and return home. You can imagine my surprise when I returned exhausted to find this cheery welcome. It's not a substitute for being with my family, but it is a delightful reminder to know that I am loved, and blessed.

Productivity in Motion, Part Three

Tuesday, December 7th, 2004
In part one I explained how I use robotics to teach productivity skills to children.  Well, this year, our all-girls Jr. Robotics team earned the top awards at not one, but two competitions! I'm very proud of them. I hope that you will take a moment to look at the pictures and read girl's own story of how they went from 39th to 1st place on their team blog site.

Many thanks to this year's our sponsors and partners:

Our sponsors for 2004:

The David Allen Company - Thank you, Mr. Allen, friend and team champion
ICA.COM, Inc. - Sponsorship, laptop computers, and robot kits

Our partners for 2004:

Microsoft OneNote Team - Our electronic team notebook
MindJet - for MindManager, a helpful tool to map our ideas
Gyronix - for ResultsManager, a visual project management tool
eProductivity.NET - team building tools and support
ProjectDX  and Tanny O'Haley - for your support with our first team blog

Our Visitors for 2004:

Channel Nine Guy - for cheering us on.

And the Parents and Mentors of team #1144, U.S. FIRST Jr., Robotics Team.