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2004 Hurricane Season

We wait just a little while while they try and sort out the sound system. NOT!

We are going to see some video clips from the Florida Keys. Tips for chasing Hurricanes. Not like chasing tornadoes. No kidding!

Speaker shows some great footage of water spouts. Video from Cessna of weather. Pretty cool. Check out for dark spots before see. Wind 20 miles an hour, spinning. See them spin different directions from same cumulus line. Video looks pretty cool.

Estimate get 4- 500 water spouts per season along the Florida Keys.

Busy season for hurricans in 2004. Stunning sat photo of 3 hurricanes - Charlie and his mates.

Track of Charlie. Odd avoided Jamaica.

Jim tells us about chasing Charlie. It must be difficult to chase something so large, and in urban areas. I know Florida - bad visibility for tornados, but hurricanes? Impressive chase vehicle with all the bells and whistles. Puts our Lizzie to shame!

Chase team now discuss possible path of Charlie. I like the chaps helmet. They then decide where they are going to go. Footage of Charlie moving in. Shooting on Highway 41.

Audience chuckles at video of twisted signposts being swept away by strong winds, and Jim talking about "getting out of here". I think it looks scary, and the strongest winds haven't even hit yet!

The camera is amazingly steady. Then winds pick up. I wonder how he manages to keep his camera so steady?

We watch a large sign (like a hotel sign) being demolished, and then the roof comes off. Super! And still the camera remains steady. One of the chasers films the footage lying down on the sidewalk. Crazy people.

Other footage shown from Charlie. They are measuring wind speed. One chap is filming from under an overpass. Didn't want to go into the City because of debris. Much excitement as the "eye" is supposed to approach. Running commentry from the cameramen is amusing.

Other video from Justice Center.

Then video of the devastation, and a looter caught on video.

Dangers in Hurricane Chasing: CAt IV and higher are dangerous. Watch out for wind shift (shifts of 180 degrees.) May not have enough time as Eye may pass quickly.

Footage of Jim being washed by enormous waves as he is filming. Watch out for surges - even when wind speeds are dropping.

Equipment: Fluid head tripod. For smooth shots of weather.

Demonstrates difference of hand hold versus on a tripod. Note to self: remember tripod.

See Jim Edds' website here

Please note: Jim Edds is a professional. Do not try this without adult supervision!

Convention Begins..

We are now being called to "order". Silence and a terrible feedback from the sound system. I hope they get that fixed soon.

Convention notices - please wear name tags since orange dot is our ticket to the banquet tonight. Lunch on your own. Afternoon snack will be provided.

Roger Hill introduces first speaker.

First Live Blog Post from National Stormchaser's Convention 2005

Kevin and I have just arrived at the Holiday Inn, on Chambers street for the 7th National Stormchaser's Convention. I have a muffin, some orange juice, and my lap top. Who could ask for anything more?

Turn out is excellent. It seems better than last year about 150 to 200 people. We could tell we were coming somewhere special - the parking lot had evidence of storm chase vehicles - vehicles bristling with antenna.

This year's agenda begins with Opening Comments from Roger Hill, then Jim Edds will give us updates from the 2004 Hurricane Season. Before the break we will hear from Dr Al Bedard on "Detecting Tornadoes with Atmospheric Infrasound" and from Bill Axelson about Technology of the Future.

My favorite Superbowl 39 Commercials

The NE Patriots have won their third Superbowl victory in 4 consecutive years, and the sports commentators are talking about "Dynasties". Oh Phuleeze! When I hear Dynasty I think Joan Collins Soap Opera.

I made some predictions prior to the game and I was sort of right. I predicted that the Eagles would be the first to score. They did with a touch down and not a field goal. (I thought they'd score with a field goal.)

I predicted that the game would be tied in the 4th quarter and it would go to overtime. WRONG. The Patriots scored another touch down, and had a field goal and the Eagles just seemed to come unravelled. This is probably an unfair statement. McNabb pulled himself together and threw a magnificant pass to score a touch down.

I predicted that the final score would be 20-14 to the Patriots. Final score 24-21 to Patriots.

But the reason why I watched the Superbowl was for the commercials and the half time show to see if there would be any controversy (refer 2004 Nipplegate.)

My personal favorite advert was the Californian cheese commercial. A group of cute black and white cows are lined up behind a split pole fence in snow and wind. One of their number has broken out and is headed for California. It is really the cutest and funniest ad. The cow expressions are just priceless.

Kevin's favorite advert was the Go Ad. A shapely and boobacious brunette is testifying before the FCC or something like that. She has a wardrobe malfunction and causes the crusty FCC members to start hyperventilating. Very cute, and cheeky too. If you want to see the advert as seen on TV and the full internet version check it out here.

Budweiser adverts were okay. I am getting a little tired of the beer commercials. But the car commercials are simply the most boring. In fact once I have seen them, I instantly forget about them. Instaforget! Boring! There should be an award for the most boring, uncreative commercials. Beer and car adverts would sweep the awards. It could be called the Wet Turkey Awards, or something like that.

I noted only one sexual performance enhancing commercial during Superbowl. Not that I care one way or the other. It's just that last year there was such an uproar about Janet Jackson's Nipple (whether it was about flesh being exposed, or the fact that a man ripped a woman's clothes) and not a single peep about the number of sexual performance enhancing commercials during the Superbowl. I thought that this was kinda strange- I mean this is family entertainment.

To see a summary of all the ads check it out here. Note: my cow/ California cheese ad does not appear in the list probably because it appeared slightly before the Superbowl started. But it still was good.

Paul McCartney did a great performance and managed to keep his clothes on. Just shows you what class is really about. He sang most of the favorites. But I am afraid I could not keep awake during it - I fell asleep. (I felt like I had fallen asleep on watch - I mean, what if something controversial had happened and there I was sleeping like a baby?)

Wood Duck surprise

I enjoy bird watching. I am not terribly good at it. (I admit to misidentifying birds and driving other more serious birders stark raving mad.) But there is something satisfying about watching wild life, learning about their habits and anticipating their next move. Birds are everywhere and a whole lot more accessible as wild life here in North America.

Here is a great link to a proper (or pukka) birder's website. From Rich Steven's we found out about the lake at Belmar which has a super collection of ducks. Last weekend Kevin and I trooped down there for me to walk, and Kevin to get down and dirty with the ducks.

The lake is a truly suburban lake. Surrounded by roads, a parking lot and residential homes. I did not give much hope to find anything else but mallards (they are everywhere) and Canadian geese (which have turned into pests since they refuse to fly back to Canada in the Summer.) Only in Nebraska of all places are Canadian Geese considered rare. But then I may have been reading an old sign post.

The paths around the lake are paved and the park was filled with walkers, runners and small children. The lake is not very large, which helps in getting access to the ducks. A number of attractive covered bridges, and viewing points have been built over the water. This gives one cover, and makes birds less nervous.

There were a stack of ducks. Mallards, Shovellers, Hooded Mergansers, a Redhead duck, Canadian Geese, Gadwells, and a delightful wood duck.

DRUMROLL!!!! I give you MR Wood Duck!

I have some great pictures of this little guy. He really seemed glad to see us, and let us photograph him. I think he was in such fine color he wanted to pose for us.

Wood_duck_img_3510 Look how he poses....

Then he came very close...

Wood_duck_2_img_3460 Look how brightly colored he is. He reminds me a lot of the Mandarin Duck. My brother had one in an aviary when we were growing up.

I also tried to take a picture of a gull flying. Here is my atmospheric shot of a flying gull. Note: not sharp at all!

Seagull_flight_img_3521 My very own "Jonathon Livingston Seagull" (although I think this Jonathon is a land gull!)

The real Jonathon can be found here.

No park visit can be complete without a little furry hyperactive rodent...



Cook Sister! is playing a musical theme chain letter game. I am tagged so here goes... (I am monitoring my nose hair growth)

1.  Total amount of music files on your computer?
Okay I do admit I do have music files on my computer. I have at the moment 296MB. Not that much I admit.

2.  Last CD you bought?
Can't remember. I have a stagnant CD collection. Besides who needs CD's when you can download songs you want? At itunes it costs 99cents per tune.

3.  What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Erm. Al Green's Tired of Being Alone.

4.  Five songs you often listen to or which mean a lot to you?
This is easy. I have an "undeveloped" taste in music...

Al Green - Tired of Being Alone

Kevin and I love dancing to this. Its one of those songs that make me want to kick back and be... mellow.

TOTO - Africa.

South African Breweries had a wonderful advert in SA a couple of years back and they used this song. It is a wonderful song to listen to if you are feeling nostalgic for Africa.

Bill Medley - He Aint heavy... He's my brother

This song was used by IBM when it reinvested in South Africa. Mmmm I am starting to see a pattern here.

Rocky Horror Picture Show - The Time Warp

Because I love to do the dorky dance moves and it makes me laugh.

Don Henley - Boys of Summer

I am playing this now as I type this.

Others that I just LOVE are Hotel California by Eagles - this is simply timeless.

5.  Who are you going to pass this on to and why?
Michael Totten - Because I am curious. But I don't think he'll have the time for anything this silly.

Ann Althouse - She has a new Audi Coupe after her Lil Green Bug was wrecked in an motor vehicle accident and who blogged about starting to love satellite radio.

Unsealed Room - I always enjoy reading this blog. Besides she refers to James Brown - I want to know more...