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.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Miss TV

I've never been one to be really into television. When I was in high school I watched a few of the dramas (ER, Rescue Me, Third Watch, NYPD Blue, etc.), but I've never been one that had night after night where there was a show that I had to watch. I must say I'm spoiled with the internet. When I'm home I'm at my computer, unless I'm sleeping, of course.

For the first two-and-a-half years of my employment with Alabama Inter-Forest, I worked on the day shift. Our hours have changed slightly over that time, but I was always up with the sun and home mid-afternoon. On March 1st, I was asked to move to 2nd shift. I agreed - after some monetary negotiations - and started working from 3pm to 1am. Not bad hours you say? Think again. By now - nearly 2 months later - my sleeping schedule is slightly askew. As you can see, I'm writing this at roughly 3 in the morning. I sleep until almost 1pm on most days, then I'm at work at 3, and don't leave until 1am. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but last I checked, there isn't much "good" tv on at those hours. I have yet to watch an Atlanta Braves baseball game this season. I have yet to watch an NBA Playoffs game. Scratch that. I watched the Hawks debauchery on Saturday night at a local sports bar. Lord knows that by the time I get home, shower, eat, get my internet fix, and get settled into bed, it is nearly 4am. The one good thing that has come of this, I suppose, is I now know of every gimmicky fitness machine that is on the market currently. Infomercials are getting old. Quickly.

I miss good tv. I miss Family Guy, Operation Repo, sports in general, and, yes, Jersey Shore. ......Guido.... The old saying "you don't know what you got til it's gone"? Yeah, I'm feeling the full effect of that one right now. Le sigh. Perhaps one day I won't be a vampire anymore....

Love, peace, chicken grease...


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Here comes the boom. Ready or not, here comes the boys from the South

This will likely be a haphazard, at best, initial blog entry, but let's give it a go, anyway. Having said that, I sometimes ramble. I know some people are vexed by this, so if I begin to do so, simply go to another site. Good? Good. Here we go...

I have been a weather junkie since I was 8 years old. I have studied this craft far more than I've ever studied any other craft in my 25 years on this earth. Music comes naturally to me. I've never had organized percussion lessons, but learning weather isn't something that just happens. It takes time, reasoning, and understanding. This past Thursday evening and Friday afternoon, I "sounded the horns" for a severe weather outbreak over Mississippi and Western/Northern Alabama as outlined here. The potential existed for this threat to easily push south, but my gut was telling me the areas mentioned above were going to be in the thick of the situation.

I woke up Saturday around noon and turned on my television, and, admittedly, went directly to The Weather Channel. I absolutely loathe that channel, but that's for another post. Anyway... Images of Yazoo City, MS were plastered all over the screen along with video of storm chasers that were hit by the outer edges of the tornado. Many people are criticizing Connor McCrorey and his team for being so close to a tornado. While I don't agree with their proximity to the "bear's cage", I digress.

The National Weather Service has servers for their radar network just as any other web site does. Due to the extremely heavy load they were placed under yesterday, at times the radars we getting behind, leaving you with old data. Also, the terrain in the southern United States is FAR from stellar for storm chasing. The rolling hills with dense vegetation allow for little-to-no visibility of a storm at times. These guys are used to chasing on the Great Plains where you can literally see for dozens of miles with no visual interference. Also, these storms were moving anywhere from 40 to sometimes 75 miles per hour. That's right. 75. That's how fast many people drive on the interstate. Take some old data, poor visibility, and a storm with an (at least) EF-4 tornado on the ground moving at 55 miles per hour (scroll down for warning text), and you're bound to have a close call.

Now the second part of what really frustrates me about Saturday. There are seemingly always people that will cry "We had no warning." Bullshit. I'm sorry. The NWS forecast offices in Jackson, MS, and Birmingham, AL were putting out advisories as early as Wednesday. Wednesday! By my calculations that's at least 3 days warning. The Storm Prediction Center had the area under a Moderate Risk on Friday. The likelihood of the SPC placing a Moderate Risk on their Day 2 Outlook is about as likely as seeing a car accident occur. It rarely happens. 90% of the time, these are the same people that will say "It won't happen to me. It always goes north or south of us. We'll never be hit." This is the kind of attitude that plagues weather forecasters, both professional and amateur, constantly. Public complacency has become so frivolous that when something does happen, we are immediately chastised for not being there. I can assure you that, while there are times that warnings will be missed, and times that warnings will not verify, at least 8 times out of 10, you had warning.

Now that this event is behind us, I hope some valuable lessons have been learned. We have beautiful weather for the week before another threat looms on the forecast models for next weekend. Oh, and that area I mentioned earlier that was going to be "in the thick of the situation"? Tell me if myself and the rest of the weather junkies were wrong for thinking just that. Risk. Verified. Enough said.

Much love.