24 October - 28 November 1999

All things must come to an end. The weather during October was superb. Years from now there will be talk of the severe winter of '87, the terrible floods of January '97 and someone will say "Yea, but remember October of '99, what a marvelous fall that was." Mt. Rose had a light covering of snow again on the morning of 31 October and my small patch from last year was secure once again. Then weak storms moved through with the regularity of waves at the beach; passing through every 7 days with little or no effect. That is until 17 November, the day winter came to the Reno area. There is a local saying of Renoites that spring has arrived and it is time to plant the summer garden when the snow melts off Peavine Mountain. I believe that the corollary to that is winter comes when there is snow on Peavine and that happened on the morning of the 17th. Since then the day time temperatures have dropped from 60s and 70sF to the 40s and 50sF with nights now in the teens or low twenties. The storm of the 17th also brought out the "chains required" signs if traveling over the Donner Summit to California.

The job situation also went the way of the weather - cold and gloomy. My last day on the Atlantis assignment was Nov 12th. I then had an interview, set up by Accountemps, for a temp-to-perm position with Microsoft Licensing on the 17th; this position was awarded to another candidate. The day that I found this out, the 19th, I interviewed with Supply One, a building supplies company. This position was also a temporary job through Accountemps that the company told me during the interview they wanted to become permanent. I was not selected for this job because they didn't think that I had committed to taking the job as a full time position. It seems that their idea of temp-to-perm is that the employer has the right to turn the position into a permanent position after some period of temp work. However, the employee must commit to full time employment at the time of the temp employment interview. During this time I also checked with the two supervisors at Harrah's that I used as supervisor references for the company in San Francisco. The company had contacted neither of them. However, I did receive a call from the company on 24 Nov asking me to come in for another interview. The guy that I originally interviewed with is no longer with the company! So I will go to San Francisco again on 3 Dec and try once again for the job. I got another assignment from Accountemps that starts 29 Nov, this one being with Washoe Health System, part of Washoe Medical and the same area that I interviewed with back on 13 September. The woman that I am working directly with on a daily basis is probably the person that was hired at that time.

I have some volcano news for those of you that don't keep up with such stuff. As you know I was in Ecuador during September of 1998 as part of my trip home. While there the volcano, Guagua Pichincha, some 6 miles to the west of Quito became active once again and emergency preparedness plans were published in the newspaper. It showed the anticipated lava flow routes and the expected gas flows if there were an eruption. Most of the killing gases and lava flows are expected to be to the west away from the city of Quito and there was no evacuation plan for the city but smaller villages to the west were scheduled for evacuation. I have recently read that that has now been implemented and the military was instructed to use force if necessary to keep residents from returning. The volcano triggered more that 2,000 tremors and 20 minor explosions of rock and ash during a single day. If the predictions are wrong there could be hundreds of thousands of people killed in Quito where evacuation was not planned and are impractical to say the least. They have suspended school for more than 400,000 students and the city is receiving blankets of ash fall. While I was in country I also spent a week in the resort town of Banos, 75 miles south of Quito. At that time there was no activity from the volcano, Tungurahua, which towers over the town. However, it also has now begun to erupt and 25,000 residents were evacuated on October 16th. Police were using tear gas to restrain the evacuated residents from returning to their homes. This town sits at the base of a cliff that was obviously formed from a VERY large landslide during previous quake and volcanic activity. It would be a shame for it to be destroyed; a very beautiful place in the world, but it could all be gone in a mater of minutes!

I have also been following our President's European Victory Tour and wonder what is going on. There are two things in particular that are troubling. First, there was a brief report that I heard that the State Department was pulling all staff from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova because of anticipated Y2K problems that will disrupt water, heat etc in those countries. What is this about? There are countries all over the world that have disruptions in public services as a matter of course. We don't pull staff from those countries. Then while in Turkey, with some 50 country leaders in attendance, William Jefferson Clinton shakes his index finger (you remember that gesture from his famous speech " I never ... ") in Yeltsin's face and gives him a dressing down about Chechnya. He then caps the Tour with a speech to the Albanian Kosovars, saying that they must not resort to revenge. It is a little late for that; because of his actions he has made possible the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo - the Serbs are gone. They have either left the country or been killed since NATO troops have replaced Serbs. If I was on the Russian Security Advisors Staff I would be warning that President William Jefferson Clinton is preparing to intervene in Chechnya and Russia is at risk of the same treatment as Serbia. A crisis would also serve the Democratic Party well in an election year and could also replace economic issues in the headlines, particularly if those economic issues become negative.