Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bama vs. Kentucky Second Half NOW!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Much Ado about Something

After a nine-month hiatus, I've decided to return to the world of blogging. It likely won't be updated very often, but I'll likely do it twice a week or so.

Much has happened since I last posted here. I moved to Birmingham in an attempt to get out of the god-awful town of Eufaula, but that effort soon proved to be futile. I was unable to find work and funding soon ran out, so I moved back to Eufaula.

During that time, the woman I've waited on for the past ten years finally came to me. She had been with a friend, but decided that their relationship wasn't what she wanted. We talked for a while after they were finished, and eventually we started dating. Most of you know have met her by now, but I cannot express the sheer joy that I feel every day when I wake up next to her. Not only are we finally together, but we have been blessed with an opportunity that I thought would never happen. She and I are going to be a mother and father.

I know as well as anyone that I am nowhere near prepared financially or, honestly, emotionally to have a child, but I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. The due date for the baby is July 30. We're using and OB/GYN in Dothan that my aunt used for her most recent pregnancy and they we wonderful for her.

On other notes, Alabama had a decent year. Somewhat disappointing, but still decent. We finished 10-3 with losses to South Carolina, LSU, and eventual national champions Auburn. Speaking of Auburn, I don't care about the Cam Newton controversy. The man is one HELL of a football player. If he indeed knew about money exchanging hands or the proposal from his father for a pay-for-play deal, then that's on his conscience. He's off to the NFL now and will likely have a long career. I'm actually happy for Auburn and all of their fans..... as long as they remember who the big brother is.

On the chasing side of things, I haven't chased since the May 1st High Risk day in Arkansas. I have a severe itch. I'm to the point that I'll chase random thunderstorms. I'm looking forward to this season, though. I'm afraid that it may be my last for a while due to the baby, but I'm hoping not. You can still find our chase team's blog at http://alabamastormtrackers.com and we also have a facebook can page found here. Those pages are updated regularly with in-depth analysis of future, current, and past weather events.

I suppose that's all I have for now. Exciting life I lead, huh? Take care folks and, as always....

Stay classy..


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Top 3 Thursday - Games

I must apologize to my faithful readers (pause for laughter), I was on vacation last week and the last thing on my mind was my blog. Actually, it was work, but you get my drift. Thus, I did not participate in last week's Top 3 Thursday. However, I'm not necessarily qualified to discuss apps for smartphones considering I've never owned one. Either way, this blog is still in its infancy, so I'm going to go ahead and make sure I try and update more often. Work has been crazy with the short weeks coming up, so they've had us on long shifts, but I digress.

Let's get to it. Top 3 Thursday topic this week is "Games". Whether it be board games, video games, outdoor games, etc. This should be interesting.

Monopoly You just can't beat a good old-fashioned game of Monopoly. This is the only game I know of outside of sports that takes hours upon hours to decide a winner. Also, this game has inspired numerous phrases that are used in every day conversation with perhaps the most common being "Get out of jail free card". If you're ever looking for something to do with 3-4 people, Monopoly is always a solid bet. Grab a 6-pack, divvy up the money, and roll the dice. It's never a bad choice.

Texas Hold 'Em While not necessarily a "sport", this is on ESPN, therefore I did not include it in the thought process of "games that aren't sports that take hours to decide a winner". Who doesn't like poker? I mean, really. Especially if you're of the male gender, you should at least know how to play one hand in Texas Hold 'Em. I've gotten better adrenaline rushes from this game that I have gotten from playing live music. There is something about having money on the line that makes this game outstanding in my opinion.

Rockband You knew it was coming. Don't like to yourself. How can you sit there and think that I, someone that has played drums since he was nine, could not like the game of Rockband. It basically puts you in the shoes of rock stars. There is skill involved, but at the same time, it can make someone that has never been able to play an instrument feel like they're Slash from Guns 'n Roses or Neal Peart from Rush. Whomever decided the "rhythm game" phenomenon should start now is a genius. Our generation has generally been shown that rock stars have the greatest life of all, and who wouldn't want to be a part of that? I must also, from a musician standpoint, applaud the creators of this game. The general accuracy in it is, top to bottom, excellent. I think this will be one of those games like "Mario Kart", "Mario Brothers", and "Sonic the Hedgehog" that will be a cult classic for decades.

There you have it. My 3 favorite games. Quite a diversified list, surprisingly. Look for another update sometime over the weekend. I have some frustration to vent. Til then...

Much love

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Grammar and Spelling Importance

First, I'll include this disclaimer: I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to making mistakes in spelling and grammar. It happens. We're human.

Moving on... In lieu of "Top 3 Thursday", I'm going to make this post. This week's topic was "Top 3 Books". Let's face it, I don't read. Its never been my cup of tea.

I post regularly on a weather forum and sometime this past weekend a thread was started in our "General Discussion" forum about grammar and spelling and the different dialects that this country offers. Since taking part in said discussion, I have been labeled a "grammar nazi". I will say, when in a personal conversation (i.e.: instant message, face-to-face, etc.), that I will use dialect. Example: "Hey dude, you wanna come hang tonight?" "Sure, man. What time ya thinkin?" "Whenever you're ready, we're just chillin", but I digress.

There is a time and a place for everything. Using such dialect on a public forum, in my opinion, causes you to appear ignorant. The issue at hand stems mainly from only a few items.

  1. "There", "their", "they're". I could go on all day about this. Not only did the individual that started the thread use them incorrectly in the post that triggered it, but also claims that he knows the difference and simply doesn't care how he uses them when typing. Time out. Hold your horses, bud. I, along with most people, are far more likely to be swayed to your point of view if you at least appear to have a decent understanding of the English language. I have never heard the voice nor seen the face of 90% of those posters, but those that use at least close to proper English when typing get far greater respect than those who do not. If you want to be an idiot, do it on your own time. Don't waste my bandwith. Otherwise, their inbox will be flooded with messages and there will be nothing they can do about it until they're finished being lackadaisical with their grammar. See folks, it's not that difficult.
  2. "To" and "Too" Again, why do we have so much trouble with this? This is third grade English, people. Are you going too the store, or are you going to the store? I believe I may be going to the store, too. To buy you this book.
  3. Punctuation For the love of everything that is holy, please put a period at the end of your sentence. I can't stand reading sentences that seemingly ramble for an entire paragraph. This irks me most in text messages. It's already difficult enough to discern a tone of voice, but throw in a run-on and I'm likely to delete said message and not reply. Which is easier to read? Rhetorical, obviously, but here we go.... "Went to the beach today we saw flocks of seagulls and scantily clad females everywhere wish you would have been there", OR "Went to the beach today. We saw flocks of seagulls and scantily clad females everywhere. Wish you would have been there". I think the choice is obvious. Another thing that could be an addendum to this point is capitalizing the first word of your next sentence. Did you finish your previous statement, or did you accidentally place a period there?
  4. "Your" and "You're" You're going to be the death of me because you can't seem to get it through your head that "you're" is a contraction for "you are" and "your" is the possessive case of "you".
Heaven knows that some people simply are bad spellers. I understand that, but, really, if you're going to post something in a place that the entire world can read it, please open a Google tab. I won't even bother delving into the misspelling of common words, but I must ask this question: What in the world happened to proof-reading something? I will read this post three or four times before I officially click "Publish Post". Take a little time and make sure you've got everything straightened out. You never know who might be reading what you're posting.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Top 3 Thursday - Outdoor Activities

This week's rendition of "Top 3 Thursday" brings us our favorite outdoor activities. This is going to be a very tough list for me to narrow down. I've lived in a small town all my life where most of our activities growing up and even now involve being outside. I suppose I'll take a swing at it, though. Without further ado...

Baseball/"Old Man" Softball From the time I was strong enough to hold a bat, until I got too old to play little league, I was on one of the city's baseball teams. Before I started working nights, I was on any given team in our industrial softball league. Basically all the plants and mills in the area form teams and play against one another. I have no clue what my fascination with baseball is. All the men in my family before me played football, excluding my grandfather, who played both baseball and football. My father played running back for Long Beach Polytechnical High School in California when he was in school. My grandfather played for Carroll High School in Ozark. To me there is just something about strapping on cleats and putting on the glove that makes me feel at ease. I mean, the last year I was able to play "little league" I batted .346 with 29HR and 86 RBI. I still, to my knowledge, hold the single season city record for home runs (39) in any age group. Its one of those things that I've always been good at. I sometimes find myself watching collegiate games on television for the sole purpose of hearing the ping of the aluminum bats when they make contact. Maybe one day I can kick around that tell-tale orange dirt again, and hear my mother complain about me getting dirt and grass stains on my white pants.

Fishing Its almost a given that this be on the list. I live less than a mile from one of the most renowned lakes in the world for bass fishing. The same grandfather that played football and baseball has also fished with BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society). For those that don't know, those guys are the best of the best. Those are the guys that get paid $10,000 for catching the highest weight total in a 3-day event. They get paid to fish. I gotta get in on that. I can't even recall the first fish I caught. I remember vividly the first time I hooked a largemouth. I was 7 years old and my grandfather had to help me reel it in. It weighed in at just over 4lbs. What got me hooked - pun intended - on largemouth was the fact that that fish jumped completely out of the water while I was fighting him. Its one of the best fights in all of fishing when you snag a big one. While I mainly fish for largemouth, I'll go for anything. Catfish, bream, crappie, you name it. I can catch it. If only time at work passed by as quickly as it does when you have a line in the water....

Riding 4-Wheelers Again, I live in a small town. In South Alabama. Don't judge me. I've been riding ATVs since I was big enough to climb up on one. Some people like to go out and act a fool by jumping dirt mounds and "crawling" over fallen timber and rocks. Me? No. I just like to crank up the Honda Rancher, find a dirt road, and ride. A few weekends ago I joined 2 friends of mine on a ride. If my memory serves me correctly we rode almost 60 miles - just riding. You can take in a bunch when you're cruising along at 30mph. *Note to self* Need to do that again soon. Anyway. Perhaps the best part of this is how cheap it is. I didn't even use a gallon of gas on the venture. And my entire Saturday consisted of me being in the outdoors on a sunny April weekend. Can't ask for much better than that.

Stay classy...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chase Day - May 1, 2010

I had the pleasure of being tapped as Brett Adair's accompaniment for the supposed high risk outlook/tornado outbreak in Arkansas this past Saturday.

08Z. The alarms are going off and I crawl out of bed. I pack the car and head to Talladega County to Brett's house. I arrive shortly after 12Z and we begin loading equipment into the truck and hooking up streaming cameras, GPS transmitters, and internet to the laptop. By 1315Z we were on the road with an initial target of Helena, Arkansas. After pit stops we get on US 278 in Tupelo, MS and head for Oxford around 1530Z. Cells are already popping along the River and trekking northeast. As we're passing through Oxford, a cell immediately to our west goes tornado warned. We accelerate and while trying to get there for an intercept, the cell to its south goes tornado warned. We backed off and waited for the second cell to meet the road, basically allowing the cell to intercept us. We can see rotation and a nicely formed wall cloud. We race westward to get a closer look and the storm takes somewhat of a "right" (east) turn and starts moving the rotation directly down US 278. Perfect. We're ready and in perfect position. The precipitation shield quickly wrapped around the Rear Flank Downdraft (in bold because herein it shall be referred to as "RFD"), and mostly obscured the main rotation. We parked in a median crossing and looked at the latest velocity scans. As I was looking, Brett looked out the windshield and said "FUNNEL!! Passing directly over us!!". That storm continued on and later produced damage in northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama. We weren't too worried with it as the "main show" was yet to come in Arkansas.

We continued west-bound on US278 until we reached US61 just northeast of Clarksdale where we proceeded north to cross the Mississippi River into Arkansas. We stopped in Helena, AR after crossing and met with ChaserTV storm chaser John Sibley. Several cells started popping to our southwest so we deployed for intercept. The towers would go up quickly and immediately start rotating in the great amount of low level shear then get sheared apart. Updrafts were having a hard time sustaining themselves. We witnessed two cells go through this cycle. Both produced very weak-looking, small funnels for a very brief time, and Sibley took a photo of a storm with a small debris cloud visible. We proceeded west on US49 then south on US79 toward Stuttgart. Chaser convergence became very apparent as there were at least fifteen markers on Spotter Network in the Stuttgart area. We got on US165 and headed west toward the small town of Humnoke, AR where we crossed paths with some meteorology students from The University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Randy "The Outlaw" Hicks. We were stationary for nearly an hour and a half doing analysis and talking with the other chasers, then we dove south on state road 13 back to US79 and headed toward Pine Bluff. During this time the radar lit up like a Christmas tree in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas. We intercepted our first storm on the southern edge of Pine Bluff around 00Z. We witnessed a well-defined wall cloud with this storm. We were proceeding to stop on an exit ramp and witnessed a funnel cloud and a very, very brief debris cloud under it. Then to the left just ahead of the RFD, a gustnado appeared for roughly 30 seconds.

We dove southward even further on US63 and intercepted the storm to its south that had much better presentation on both base reflectivity and velocity scans. This storm was completely rain-wrapped at this point, but we were able to view another very well-defined wall cloud and funnel cloud with it. The mesocyclone began occluding and reformed to our northeast. We shot back northward on US63 then on I-530 to the east and northeast of Pine Bluff. Nice structure and a huge mesocyclone were visible from here. We followed the storm back up US63. Things got interesting as the RFD would occasionally catch us and provide some gusty winds. Daylight was waning by this point, but as we were driving, we witnessed some trash fly across the road from right-to-left immediately followed by trash from left-to-right. Yeah, we were under some sort of circulation. We pulled over and by this time a Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy and a chaser from KARK in Little Rock had joined the caravan. We all jumped out of the vehicles and were immediately met to our backs by a gust of inflow into the storm that was estimated to be at 60mph. Brett looked directly above us and saw a large cone-shaped funnel with rapid, strong rotation forming less than a half mile away from us. Another gust of inflow and the funnel started condensing toward the surface, but never could make it. The storm then started shrinking on radar and velocity signatures became broad and less impressive. So we shot eastward.

We traveled down SR152/US165 toward De Witt, where we were set to core-punch a supercell that had numerous chasers on it. From the back side of the storm we could see a large, well-defined wall cloud and at times a large funnel being back-lit by the continuous cloud-to-ground lightning. The Weather Channel called Brett while we were en route, and, somewhat due to being distracted, we missed a turn, and got too far behind the storm to catch up as it was moving northeast at 55mph. We ended the chase with a trip to Sonic before heading back to Birmingham.

We later realized how lucky we were as a strong tornado crossed US78 in Mississippi not long after we went through. We were too tired to pay attention to the radar at that point. It was 04Z when we left Tunica and both of us had been going since Friday morning. We arrived at Brett's house at roughly 930Z where we both got some much needed sleep before I headed home this afternoon.

All in all, it was a very successful chase from many standpoints, even though we didn't "bag the big one". There will be more, and we will be there. Til next time....

Much love...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Top 3 Thursday - Bucket List Edition

In my small circle of companions that blog on here, there is somewhat of a tradition of Thursday being the day that you post about your "Top 3" in whatever given category. I'm not quite sure who actually decides on said category, but that's not the point. This week's edition is "Your Top 3 Bucket List Items". An outstanding movie, by the way. Anyway, without further ado, I present to you my Top 3 Items.

One sec. FYI, as my good friend Tyler did, I decided that the "normal" things such as "repay my family for all they've done", "show my friends what they mean to me", etc. should be left off. K? And here... we.... go.

1) Storm Chase during a High Risk on the Great Plains "Why?", you ask. Well, that is only the holy grail of storm chasing, and since weather has become my number one passion in life, what better way to experience mother nature's full fury than chasing down a mile-wide EF-5?? Poor example. The last two that occurred to those sort of specifications nearly wiped the town of Greensburg, KS, and Parkersburg, IA, off the face of the planet, respectively. I can honestly say that if this were to come to fruition, I could die a happy man. I've seen my share of severe weather in Alabama and Tennessee, with numerous tornadoes. But there is some kind of magic that happens when watching one rip across the flat, barren landscape of the Plains, and I can only imagine the smile that would have to be pried from my face while doing so.

2) Attend a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park Most everyone that knows me also knows that I am a sports fanatic. I mean, really, its borderline not healthy. While my "home team" is the Atlanta Braves, I have dreamed many times of sitting in the outfield of Fenway. An added bonus is now they have installed seats on TOP of the "Green Monster" in left field. I'm a full believer in tradition. There HAS to be tradition once you step through those gates. You're looking at the same field that Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, and the like played on in their day, let alone the fact today's superstars play there now. My only chagrin is that Aaron "Bleepin" Boone is now a commentator on Baseball Tonight and I won't be able to curse him in person. It should be noted that #2 is EASILY interchangeable with watching the Green Bay Packers play at Lambeau Field.

3) Play with the headlining band at a sold out show I'm never one to be cocky or chauvinistic, but if there is one thing on this earth that I know I am truly blessed and naturally gifted at, its playing drums. I've played with bands from time to time. I've played in front of almost 100,000 people with the University of Alabama Million Dollar Band, but I want nothing more out of my musical career, than to hear however many fans in the audience screaming every single word of a song that I've helped write back in my face. I literally get chills thinking about it. When I go to concerts and the lead singer stops singing and lets the fans sing, I belt every word at the top of my lungs, because I can only imagine the joy he's getting out of hearing it. Take a moment and listen to this, and tell me its not amazing. Whether you're a fan of that type of music or not, that has to touch you. I mean, this man poured hours of his life into writing this song. You can hear in HIS voice how emotional it is for him to hear them sing. I just want to know that I have touched someone I suppose.

There you have it, folks. I hope you have somewhat of a better understanding of me. If not, my apologies. Til next time, much love.