Saturday, February 19, 2011

Is Dumping Big Snow in Truckee-Tahoe, California Winter Storm 2011

author Jason Matthews big snow Truckee California
Big snow in California? Excuse me, you did say California; that's the sunshine state known for growing every food imaginable and having such pleasant weather, right? Hey, isn't it also known for palm trees, Hollywood tans, surfing in Malibu, sweltering in Death Valley, rocking to the Beach Boys while cruising convertibles and turning heads in bikinis down the Venice Beach Boardwalk?

home of author Jason Matthews Truckee CaliforniaYeah, it's all that too, but in the Sierra Nevada mountain range around Lake Tahoe and Truckee there's another side of California and it's a Northern thing. Up North in the winter when the weather comes a-callin' you might hear an unfamiliar Cali saying; "Is dumping!"
downtown Truckee with big snow in streetsYou mean, it's dumping, right? It's would be grammatically correct. Nope, the saying is; "Is dumping!" There's no need for grammar when the snow piles up so fast one finishes snow-blowing the driveway and has to turn around and do it again.
The above is a picture of my house which hasn't had snow for well over a month as an early spring had settled in. Just a few days ago there was nothing but shingles on the roof and grass spots popping up in the yard. Look at it now. Look at it! That white stuff just arrived since Wednesday.
What kind of snow are we talking about? Ski areas like Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows report 87 inches (221 cm) at base area and 126 inches (320 cm) at mid-mountain over the last 4 days.
author Jason Matthews standing on huge pile of snow Truckee CaliforniaIn the town of Truckee, it's business as usual. Well, sort of. Sometimes they have trouble finding new places to store the snow from the streets, so the plows just make great big piles of it in...well, the street, why not? Yeah, that's different. Before you know it with a storm like this, the whole town is one monstrous pile of snow after another. Going out to lunch at Panda turns into going out to lunch at Panda next to a humungous pile of snow! This was the scene at Panda restaurant in Truckee. That little building on the right is Panda and that crazy-ass pile of plowed snow I'm standing on arrived in the previous 3 days. Reservation for party of one! I'll have the mandarin chicken.
stop sign buried in snowDidn't they say it snowed, for like, 40 days or something before Noah finally decided to build the arc? Wow, I don't know how I'd perform under that kind of  pressure. After just a few days of dealing with this, I'm not sure how much more I can take.
USPS mail truck covered in four feet of snowI know this Stop sign can't take much more. Since this photo was taken it might already be buried, no longer warning anyone of the present need to stop before proceeding. Seems kinda dangerous in a driver-safety sorta way.
This is the feeling when you just want the weather to chill and give you a chance to catch up. Then you realize, this has just been for a few days. That's all? What if it snowed like this for a week or a month or the whole winter? Anna, this is God getting back to you, sorry about the delay but for your own sake please don't ask such questions.
You know the US postal service? They've got a little slogan that goes something like this; "And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged, will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds. Ever." Wow, pretty sure of themselves. In this case it might be changed to, "What the heck, today the mail might make it there, maybe not. Ever."

Devan Matthews jumps off roof into big pile of snow We don't always know what to do with ourselves when the kids have a snow day off from school... or two... or three and ultimately get kinda bored. Shoveling the back deck seems to drive them bonkers, especially after the fourth time. They also tire of the board games from the closet, even the ones that haven't been used in years: Parcheesi and Yahtzee, all the games that end in the "zee" sound. With so much pent-up energy compounded by the low pressure system, a parent might lose better judgment momentarily telling their kid to go jump off the roof, and the kid might reply, "There could be a need to test Newton's law of gravity and the actual snow density from these storms." Truckee translation; perfect time for the old family tradition of launching oneself off the roof.
Devan Matthews big snow Truckee CaliforniaHere's my 12 year old daughter, Devan Matthews, performing an acrobatic assault from the second story into the front yard. Normally, this would be a twelve foot plunge into a very painful landing. In this case, we're guessing the 5 feet of fresh powder might possibly cushion her buttocks. Okay, Devan, go ahead and jump, as if she needs me to tell her. Poof.
Yep, looks like she's doing okay on this 3rd straight no-school-Truckee-snow-day if you ask me.
"Anyone seen the weather forecast? Dumping? Okay, thanks."

Want to add a comment?
Home Page of author Jason Matthews.

Jason Matthews on Google Plus

add me to your Google Plus circles

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Larry Drew Withdrew, UNC Tar Heel Blues

Larry Drew II UNC Tar Heel Basketball point guard
Larry Drew withdrew from UNC basketball? In February? Really??

I'm a Tar Heel, was born in Chapel Hill and graduated from UNC. Basketball is in our blood whether we play or just root for our team. This decision has got to be the wackiest decision I've ever seen regarding sports, and yet my heart goes out to a 20 year old kid who seemingly made a really bad mistake.

What an insane trip Roy Williams has had in Chapel Hill. In his 8 years at Carolina, the head coach has seen high times and low, plus a bizarre parade of events. He's had players sign letters of intent and go pro instead (J.R. Smith), leave an NCAA contender early for the NBA (Brandan Wright, Ed Davis), season-ending injuries to multiple key players (Zeller, Ginyard, Davis), the Wear twins surprisingly decide in May not to return, and the only starting senior (Will Graves) cut from the team. But when Larry Drew II decided to up and leave Carolina on Feb. 4th, just before the most intense part of the season and March Madness looming... wow, that's just something Roy Williams and the rest of us didn't see coming.

I'm not going to speculate too much as to the whys and hows. Growing up the son of an NBA player and now head coach for the Atlanta Hawks, obviously is a different situation than most. The pressures of being a starting Carolina point guard through incredibly tough seasons can't be easy either. Also coming to the Southeast for college from California isn't without the culture shock.

Right now all I can think of is how much this hurts everyone involved. It hurts Larry himself, of course probably the most, for he will have to live with this bizarre decision and the scrutiny that will come for a long time. It hurts his team, as Larry was a huge contributor to the Tar Heels despite the critics (myself included) constantly panning him. But in truth Larry was a tremendous defensive player and, at times, a hell of an offensive player as his coach always pointed out in his defense. The team played better in the last four games than they have in the past two seasons, and that is lost momentum that may be hard to replace. It hurts his teammates, for when people that close to you up and leave without any discourse it can be a hard thing to deal with. I mostly think of Tyler Zeller, another junior, and hope he handles it as well as possible. It hurts coach Williams, who undoubtedly will over-analyze his own actions and relations with Larry to the point of driving himself a bit crazier during a time when he needs every ounce of brain faculty. It hurts his family, the Drews, as Larry senior is an NBA head coach in relatively nearby Atlanta and will not hear the end of this "family decision" for a long time either. It also hurts the fans, the Tar Heel nation, because some of us were real supporters of this kid and believed the best place for him currently was coming off the bench as a back-up point guard and actually having a chance to do something no other Tar Heel has ever done (or maybe will ever do)... and that's the chance to win two NCAA National Championships.

I know, you think that sounds crazy but it's not. This team has that potential now and possibly next year if they just play to their potential. Without Larry Drew, though, it will definitely be that much harder.

All I can say is it's a bummer. I don't know what else to say. My heart goes out to you, Larry. You're still a kid and (I believe) just made a bad decision. I made lots of them at your age; I just didn't have the entire nation watching me when it happened.

Want to share a comment?
Click here for the home page of author Jason Matthews.

add me to your Google Plus circles.