Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012....May You Rot In Hell

Since I won't be chasing again until 2013 I may as well do my year in review blog; as the title notes this year from a personal prospective was one of the most shittiest I've dealt with.


Stats for 2012:

Chases- 4
States Chased In- TN, AL, MS, KS
Tornadoes- 5
Tornado days- 1

Milestones for the year- First Kansas tornado and first night time tornado.

January 22nd, February 29th and March 2nd were the only good severe weather events in the South; we blue sky busted on the 22nd setup, couldn't chase the 29th, and I was limited to a VERY local chase on the 2nd. April 14th like for many other chasers was the lone saving grace for my season; yet that chase almost ended in disaster when a few weeks later I had a falling out with my chase partners over my attitude towards them during our chase. That would be my last meaningful chase until Labor Day weekend when Ashley and I went down to Huntsville to chase the remnants of Hurricane Issac; the chase in general was a bust yet successful at the same time as I nailed my first target area as a brief tornado was reported near Madison, AL about 13 miles southwest of Huntsville.

My Life In General

I topped my tornado total from last year; under normal circumstances I should be happy with that but the mistakes I made in neglecting my financial responsibilities that ultimately ended my season prematurely and cost me seeing more tornadoes (5/25 in particular) along with the overbearing stress I had to deal with at work and the personal animosity I had towards a friend made any positive moment for this year an after thought.  My personal life from March all the way toward July was a train wreck as I was in fear of losing my job. I also fell behind on my payments to my old apartment, and as a result I had 25% of my weekly pay check garnished in order to pay it off which ended up costing me my chasecation because I didn't have the money to go after that. I sat at my computer the night of May 25th heart broken and angry at myself as I was hearing about the tornadoes in Central Kansas including the LaCrosse tornadoes that Ashley got (I fucked up...I hated myself for a long time after this day I can't even watch video of that night).

Things got better for me though; I was bringing in extra money which helped knock out all of my debt and I was finally able to get away for week of RnR in Texas with two of the most coolest people I ever had the privilege of meeting. No chasing during the trip but I did get to see Rob Zombie perform on Halloween.

That pretty much sums up 2012 for me; I'm not going to say 2013 will be a rebound year for me because I have no fucking clue what the new year will bring. All I can say is if I miss out on a decent chase opportunity being broke won't be a reason why. I already made plans on taking my chasecation next year (May 17-27) and all of my money will be devoted on that trip to the Plains and any chases beforehand (even if it means my social life taking a hit, but like I fucking care about that). Everything else at this point is up in the air; I'm just hoping 2013 will not be carbon copy of 2012 (except for seeing tornadoes of course).

Monday, September 17, 2012

iMap Weather Radio App For The Android Phone Review

Greetings from the Boro;

As the title states this is a review of the iMap Weather Radio app that I have waited over a year to purchase for my Android phone after it was finally release one week ago today.

Here's a little background on the was created by Weather Decision Technologies (same company responsible for RadarScope after their acquisition of Base Velocity); this app is pretty much like having a NOAA Weather Radio on your smartphone. The following are some of the features available on this app:


It has a computerized voice that alerts you of threatening weather conditions in your current location or in 5 separate areas you can program into the app. Even if your phone is in sleep mode it will activate if an alert is issued for the area or areas you programmed into the app (Note: you have to have your notification sound turned on in order to receive the audio alert).

This is how I have my app is setup; my Current Location is Murfreesboro (although that will change while traveling)...I also have three areas surrounding Murfreesboro programmed in (Franklin to the west; Columbia and Lewisburg to the southwest). I also have two cities programmed to where I can monitor the weather for my friends and family and if say a tornado warning gets issued even if I'm away from my computer I will be alerted to the warning and I can give love ones back home a heads up.


You can customize what type of alerts you want to be notified of and ignore any other hazard that will not affect you in any way (I live in Tennessee....don't need to worry about any hurricane, tropical, coastal, or marine hazards).

iMap Radar

Using iMap you can view radar or satellite imagery with animation while also viewing graphical overlays of various hazards (Storms/Tornadoes. Floods, Winter, Snow, Ice, Freezing, Fog, Wind, Hurricane and Tropical, and Hurricane Tracks). You can also pinpoint your current location using the arrow on the bottom left corner of the screen which can be useful if you are on a road trip and you're approaching inclement weather.

Background Tracking

This allows iMWR to alert you of threatening weather conditions down to the street you live at; the one downfall to this feature is that like any other app that uses GPS tracking it will drain your battery. You can adjust the accuracy of the background tracking to help minimize the lost of battery.

Media Partner

If any of your local news stations uses iMap radar this app also provides additional content such as live streaming video coverage of severe weather events (my media partner above is WSMV Ch. 4 in Nashville). When you first download the app you are asked to put in your zip code in order to have access to the local content if it is available in your market (if you move out of your current TV market and want to change media partners you will have to uninstall the app and then reinstall it in order to make the change).

This is only one man's opinion but all in all it is a great app. I've only noticed one bug in the app; when I select one of my programmed cities and go to the radio part of the app to play the 5-day forecast I on occasion receive an error log message in which the audio won't play. It normally happens one time....second try it'll play (as with any app released there may be some minor bugs in the app and normally an update fixes the problem).

Currently the app is on sale for $4.99 for a VERY limited time; after the sale ends it'll be $9.99 at the Google Play Store, but even at full price $10 for an app that could save your or your family's life is a valuable invest. And I'm gonna be brutally honest if you can afford a smartphone and put all sorts of paid apps on your phone....this should be one of the pay apps put on your phone even if you already own a NOAA weather radio. If power goes out and you don't have batteries in your NWR or if the transmitter needed to relay warnings gets taken out having this app can be the difference between getting the warning and seeking timely shelter and having a tragic consequence for not getting the warning.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

End Of A Nightmare/A New Beginning

Greetings from the Boro;

I'm not going to lie my mood in the past month or so has been terrible; a combination of work related stress, stupidity, heartbreak, and the depression that followed the heartbreaking moment has made me one miserable motherfucker.

I was off the emotional high of our successful April 14th chase looking forward to what could have been a breakout year in chasing when things fell apart for me in a span of two weeks. Financial problems which were my doing creeped up on me at the worst possible time....2 weeks before my vacation. I had to stay behind while Ashley got to go and have a memorable chasecation. While she got to see a solar eclipse and 5 tornadoes on May 25th I had to deal with a pay cut and an angry owner of the company I work for over bad business and an investigation over his labor practices. I was at one of the lowest moods I felt in years; I wanted to have NOTHING to do with almost anyone during that period and I even took aggressive measures to keep people away from me (it resulted in hurt feelings which to this day I regret doing).

Fast forward to today which was an uneventful day for the most part until 3:00 PM when my boss called me in. As I made the walk to meet up with him my heart was racing faster than Usain Bolt on cocaine (thinking more bad news); he gave me a message and some paper work to fill out. That investigation from the state labor department yielded some wrong doings on the owner's part; he owed me back pay for skipping out on paying me over time (I work over 40 hours a week and was paid per day instead of per hour which is illegal in this state). I'm owed over $1,700 in back pay it may not seem a lot but for me, it was the miracle I was hoping for. My financial nightmare is over; within a month my debt will be wiped clean and I can focus on the future which of course involves chasing.

I've been having to stick to a tight budget just to make ends meet and even though I will be bringing in more money over the next month I have no plans to get off that budget because I have goals that cannot be accomplished without putting as much money as I can back.

This is a short list of what I want to accomplish in the next year or two:

Vacation- I still have plans on taking a vacation at some point this year (I'm targeting the week of the Weather Fest in Norman to go see some friends at that event and hopefully if possible get in a chase gambling on some secondary season magic).

Solo Chasing- This isn't an indictment on my chase partners they make chases more enjoyable even on a bust. Thing is they might not be around long (Jesse wants desperately to go home in Nebraska while Ashley may move to Norman); I have to be ready for that because I will likely be the last one leaving and until then I want to chase every chance I can get, but that's impossible to do without a car of my own. I also need a confidence booster and a feel of accomplishment and what better way for a young chaser like myself to have that than to do it on my own.

Relocation- I'm a fucking realist, and the reality is I won't be working at my job for two more years in fact I did pretty good being with that company for three years. I'm eventually going to have to move on and my heart is no longer in Tennessee no matter how much I love this state. My heart belongs in the Plains in Tornado Alley; my top two choices on where to move are Wichita and Fort Worth of course that's subject to change (sorry Norman you're a great town but you're not my idea of where I want to live).

There you have it for anyone wondering what I've been up to the past two months or so and what I hope to be doing in the future.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chase Log: 4/14/2012

Outlook: High Risk

Target Area: Southern/Central Kansas

Chase Partners: Jesse Hines, Ashley Poling, Jessica Chelewski

Chasers Encountered: Ben Holcomb, Cory Watkins, Adam Lucio, Lorraine Mahoney, Bob Hartig, Bill Oosterbaan, Robert Forry, Rocky Watson

Travel Time: 17 Hours for the chase

Miles Traveled: In all about 2,500 miles

Result: 5 tornadoes, multiple funnel clouds, golfball to tennis ball size hail

This was the first major outbreak of the year across Tornado Alley; only the second time has the SPC gone High Risk on the Day 2 Outlook and the first time they did it on the initial outlook. I've never seen a 60% hatch area for severe weather before in my life so we knew there was going to be a wedgefest somewhere on the Plains that Saturday.

We arrived in Norman shortly around 1:30 AM having no clue where our target area will be; Jesse and I wanted to head up to Nebraska to play the triple point while Ashley was thinking Northern Oklahoma along the dryline. In the end we decided to head up to Southern Kansas tagging along with Ben, Cory, Adam, and his crew.

We arrived in Kansas just in time for storms to fire along the dryline to our south; first storm of the day we went after was near Greensburg. Spotters had already reported a tornado with it south of town yet when we got to it the theme for that day began....FRUSTRATION!!!!!

Every storm we intercepted in Southern Kansas while showed promise did nothing more than funnel clouds and the occasional brief touchdowns (bird fart tornadoes as some chasers call it). Also to add to the frustration was hearing about the first tornadic cell we went after that day while struggled to do shit in SW Kansas moved further NE and produced an EF4 in Salina (I appreciated that kick in the nuts Mother Nature). It wasn't until we got on a storm near Kingman around 7:00 PM that our luck slowly changed; we watched the storm as it was SW of town and moved northeast towards Pretty Prairie when Jesse spotted a tornado right behind us on the road we were on (tornado #1 for us). Wasn't able to get film of it as it dissipated when we stopped, but shortly afterwards another one touched down a couple hundred yards away.
After that close but brief encounter with that tornado we tracked the storm to the NE for about an hour as it was cycling. Then shortly after 8:00 PM outside of Hesston the funnel cloud we've been watching for about 10 minutes or so touched down. 
It was on the ground for about 15 minutes or so before it lifted north of town only to have another one touchdown.

After this tornado there was one more touchdown that occurred from this supercell in the Lincolnville/Lost Springs area.

Our chase finally ended around 10:00 PM and we made a mad dash north to escape a tornadic cell that was heading toward Salina stopping in Nebraska to rest up before our trip back to Tennessee. This was just a warm up to my chase vacation next month when I get to be out for a week of chasing and hopefully add a few more tornadoes to the 5 I got from this outbreak.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Confessions Of A Broken Down Sasquatch

Greetings from the Boro,

I got a lot of stuff I need to clear off my chest; the combination of lack of severe weather and policy changes at my place of employment that has for all intensive purposes wiped out my chase season until May 19th when I hit the Plains among other things has made me feel the most awful I've felt in years. Most of the time I live a "life is too short to be mad" type mentality, but that was because I had no worries in the world. That has changed over the past couple of weeks.

First off with work; we're losing business (we averaged $13K/day in profit last year compared to $2K/day on good days this year) and my bosses' over staffing the store I work at has got the owner of the company on a warpath. We got 10 people on staff  while the other stores only have 2 (see why we're hemorrhaging money) so the owner brought it upon himself to enforce some changes in an effort to run some of the employees off. This consist of dress code changes, image changes (I had to cut my beard off and keep my long hair hidden in a beanie because he wants his employees have a  clean cut image), and new protocol on taking time off in which I now have to give a two weeks notice in order to take a day off (hard to be able to chase when you have to roll the dice on a setup that's not even shown on models two weeks out). Even with these new changes there is still no guarantee that the company will be able to avoid having to make cutbacks to stop the bleeding. My boss warned me that day could be in the near future where my pay gets cut, my hours get reduced, and yes if things don't improve layoffs are in the picture.

This is the first time in the almost 3 years I worked for the company I'm scared about my future, and my attitude has been seriously affected by the frightening reality I might not last the summer at my job. I've began to grow resentment towards some of the people who mean so much to me; I'm the type of person who cannot under any circumstances stomach anyone else's happiness when times are tough for me (it's not a knock on them, it's just I could care less about their happiness when I got a ton of shit to deal with). My chase partners were among those I had some resentment and even some jealously toward. They're both in relationships while I'm still single mainly because of my severe anxiety issues I'm too scared most of the time to go up to a lady and ask her out on a date or even do a little chit chatting and that right there tied in to their happiness which to be brutally honest made me sick especially when one of my chase partners made a joke directed at me I seriously took offense to.

Even after the apologies I wanted to severe ties with them (it would have been a decision I'd regret if I went through with it); they've been there for me through the tough times and they've been true friends to me and to do away with all that out of spite I wouldn't be able to live with myself :-(. There you have what I've gone through and I'm still struggling through it yet I refuse to allow it to overtake me. If that light at the end of the tunnel is there for anyone else that has gone through struggles I'm sure this Sasquatch of a man can find it ;-).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chaser Con 2012 Recap

Greetings from the Boro,

This was my first Chaser Con and all I gotta say is I'm glad people twisted my arm into going because I had a great time got to meet some great people in the process. I'm not going into details about everything that went on outside the conference other than I got to hang out with some great chasers I've known for over a year on Spotter Chat and got to do some awesome things with some of them (from bowling with Matt and Jenn Sellers to going to a very expensive steakhouse with the core group I see in the chatroom).

Now I will admit that I only saw one presentation while I was at the convention Tim Marshall's and I did receive some minor static for not spending my entire Saturday in the conference room where the presentations were being held; while I do regret not being able to attend Jon Davies' forcasting class (had to pre-register) or the Andy G. tribute they did Saturday morning, my whole purpose in going was to meet the chasers I've gotten to know in the chatrooms in person and hang out, down a few beers, shoot the shit about whatever was on our minds, and listen to some stories of some past chases. In other words HAVE FUN!!!! As much as possible because chances are this was the only chance I would have at seeing everyone this year barring a meet up during or after a chase.

I've also heard excuses out the ass from people about not going; I'm not talking about those who want to save their money on chasing they get a pass because the convention isn't by any means cheap. Now for those who skipped out in order to simply "avoid drama" it's your lost and quite frankly a stupid lost because from my own end there was no drama. No cliques, no he said she said type horseshit, no my dick is bigger than your dick type deal just chasers having a blast with each other having a few drinks and a party type atmosphere. Hell I even got to mingle with someone from that show on Discovery that no longer exists except in syndication, we smoked a cigarette and shot the shit about April 27th.

It was a fun weekend, definitely one I'm looking forward into doing again next year and beyond.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Messin' With Sasquatch: The Preempting Of Shows for Severe Weather Coverage On Local TV

Greetings from the Boro;

In case you're intrigue by the title of this blog here's a disclaimer; you're gonna see it every time I do a blog where I'm on a rant.

I was at work today listening to The Midday 180 on WGFX-FM 104.5 one of at least two sports talk radio stations in Nashville; they do a weekly segment on Wednesdays called Primary Complaint in which the hosts (Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton, and Paul Kuharsky) air whatever grievances they have whether it's sports related or anything else that's on their mind. They also invite listeners to call in or tweet their primary complaints practically to kill 30 minutes of the final hour of the show.

One listener called in complaining about his show being interrupted due to severe weather coverage on one of the local TV stations in Nashville (he even went as far as saying hurricane force winds is not going to harm a house), Kuharsky during this call complained about how TV stations scroll weather warnings over the box score of a game he's watching.

Here's my beef; this insensitive prick complaining about not seeing HIS show made it all about him and he feels that HIS show should not be interrupted for a tornado warning that isn't in HIS area. Reality check dude, WSMV, WKRN, WTVF, and WZTV (Nashville's TV markets) cover over 1,000,000 people living in the Nashville Metropolitan Area and some of the people in that area were under the gun with tornado warnings and the news coverage may have been their only way of receiving the warning......IT"S NOT ABOUT YOU GROW THE FUCK UP!!!!

As much of an issue I have with the caller, I have an even bigger issue with Kuharsky's comments during the phone in. Besides co-hosting The Midday 180 he also covers the AFC South for ESPN, he's a former columnist for The Tennessean, and he covered the Raiders while they were still in Los Angeles. He has a following and for him to complain about a severe weather warning scrolling across the bottom of the screen covering up the score of a game he's watching, I have a problem with that because he's saying that the warning being scrolled isn't as important as a score to fucking football game IMO. I'm a huge sports fan, but sports was the farthest from my mind days after the Good Friday Tornado and I'm positive it was even further from the victims' minds as they were too busy picking up the pieces of their destroyed homes and mourning the lost of love ones and I can GUARAN-DAMN-TEE you they wouldn't give a shit about the score of a Texans/Titans game if they were in the path of a tornado warned storm one county away from them.

Chase Log: 1/22/2012

Outlook: Moderate Risk

Target Area: Northwest Mississippi

Partners: Jesse Hines and Ashley Poling

Chasers Encountered: None

Travel Time: 16.5 hours

Miles Traveled: 800

Result: BUST

Long story short we gambled on a setup and lost; this became a night time event when some of the models the day before suggested mid to late afternoon initiation. I never look at a chase as disappointing because I'm out giving it a go, and this chase in particular was a great dry run for future chases.

This was only our second chase together (Jess, Ash, and me as this was my third chase with Jesse) and our first out of state adventure and it went almost as perfect as I could ever ask for. We had up to the minute data and we picked the right target area, but the cold front slowed down to a snail's pace over Western Arkansas and initiation did not occur until after sunset.. Again a pretty good dry run for a chase down the road.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Recap of 2011, What 2012 Has In Store

Greetings from the Boro,

A quick recap of 2011; it's was a memorable year for me as I got to chase two big outbreaks (4/27 and 5/24) and got to meet some chasers along the way that have not only helped me out along the way but allowed me to be in my comfort zone as far as interaction goes. My 2011 Chase Season was as follows:

Chases: Approximately 10 or 11
Tornadoes: 4
Tornado Days: 2
States Chased: TN, AL, MS, KY, TX, OK

Now out with the old and in to the now and what 2012 could have in store; I have a good feeling about 2012 and that I'll continue my growth as a chaser. Having new chase partners in the fold is going to help me out big time in accomplishing this task, but I'm still new as are my partners which is going allow us the opportunity to grow together as a unit (I've already talked to a chaser about them and I told her I wouldn't trade my them for anything in the world including an increase in my tornado count by 20).

Exactly what are my goals for 2012? One goal is to film a photogenic tornado from start to finish (got to see an epic rope out but have yet to film a touchdown), my chase partners have yet to see a tornado so that's an absolute given (trust me when I say seeing a tornado in person is a far cry from seeing one on TV for those who've never seen one), an opportunity to visit and chase in different areas (I'll get to add CO to the list of states visited next month when I'll be attending the National Storm Chaser Convention aka Chaser Con), and meet more chaser out and about (again a goal that gets accomplished next month in Denver).

Being a one day at a time type individual I have no fucking clue what 2012 will bring, one thing is for damn sure I'm going to enjoy the ride no matter how bumpy it gets ;-).