Sunday, February 27, 2011

Closing Out Winter.

Wow, just one day left in what is considered meteorological winter. I have to say it was pretty pain-less for me. Usually lack of thunder sends me into a borderline alcoholic frenzy...but winter 10-11 was consistently active and there were plenty of storms to mess around with including my new years eve chase, the big groundhogs day blizzard, and even as I type this...there is thundery freezing rain falling. My new job in snow removal kept me busy as Chicago had an above average snow season, we broke the 50 inch mark again making this the 4th year in a row now...the first time ever in recorded history to have 4 consecutive years with 50+ inches of snow.

I know I didn't type a big blog about chasercon like I did last year...just know that it blew last year out of the water. I had so much fun it was ridiculous. Already looking forward to next year. I don't really go there for the weather part of it...but to hang out with all the chasers I consider friends that I have met over the years. Although next year I will probably have a table for the Convective Addiction group, so there may be a little "work" involved but thats ok.

Speaking of CA - it is going great, the guys are finally getting motivated to get projects done. I felt like a bit of a nazi over winter always nagging to work on stuff and keep us in the spot light. Most people are busier with work than I am so I need to take that into more consideration, but I am always eager to take things to the next level and don't like to be slowed down.

Also CA related...myself along with Jesse and Skip ventured up to the MN storm chasing convention this weekend to give a presentation. The presentation itself was a soon as we plugged in Jesses laptop to start our talk it blue screened...we had to do a time swap with Dean Baron [thanks again!!] while we scrambled to get it running on laptop is simply too old and too much of a POS so that was not an option. Once we were running there was a problem with the projector and our video was showing up dark as hell, which prevented allot of the detail from being seen. I was a big heartbroken by this as the basis of my talk was ruined...but I was able to improvise and get most of my points across with just the slides. Of course after we were done they fixed the projector so everyone elses video showed up we look like the fools but oh well.

Despite that...the "fan" part of it went amazing. We received a ton of great followup about our talk. Our booth was crowded the entire time with compliments from the general public, NWS mets and warning coordinators, emergency management and even Tim Samaras, the leader of Twistex. We sold a high number of DVDs, and even had quite a few people request autographs which I thought was a bit silly considering I am just me [a nobody,] but it was fun to embrace and make people happy. We are definitely making a good impression out there. I would love to do another event like this and hope I get more opportunities to speak at other palces in the future.

It was great to finally meet Bill Doms. He was one of the first well established and experienced chasers to reach out to me in my early years and really one of the first chasers I ever interacted with online. So after all these years it was great to put a face and a handshake to the name.

As far as this season goes. I missed a low contrast, non fully condensed tornado along the OK/KS border that many bagged today. I am not too upset...but it has now slapped me in the face with a big reminder that the season is here...and it is time to chase.

I am a bit worried with the recent spike in gas prices, I am far from a rich man, but was always able to manage chasing on a limited income by carefully budgeting...but gas has really shot up in the last few weeks and if the trend continues it is going to be hard for me to overcome...but I will find a way.

I hope to go down to KY to get my hail guards built this weekend...but alas, snow is in the forecast just like every other time I try and get them built...which means Ill have to we will see!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Its Almost Go Time!

 Its February, and in less than a month March will be here! Now is when the thoughts of active chasing begin creeping into my mind. A time of the year friends and family hate because now every time they ask me to do something I have to say "weather pending" as I make ZERO commitments from March 1st through June 30th.

Although I have been locally chasing since I could drive in 1998 I consider 2007 to be my first full time chase season. So what were the dates of my first chase in the years since then.

2007: March 1st

2008: January 7th

2009: March 8th

2010: March 10th

So you can see why one gets excited once February rolls around. Winter 10-11 was a pretty amazing winter for SDS as I experienced none. Between the crazy thundersnow blizzard a few days ago and some whacky off season chases on Dec 31st and Nov 22nd coupled with more local storms I had enough to keep my sanity.

Big changes for 2011? None really. I still HOPE to get my hail guards built by driving down to KY and seeking assistance from my brother...but a constant snow threat around here has left me with little time to take a multi day trip down there...and now the second half of February is pretty booked with conventions so I am not sure when I can get down there. I will probably have to squeeze it in during March. Even though March is chase season there aren't typically too many chases to be had in the month itself, just a few random insane-o shear setups that have yet to yield me a tornado for the month.

My stream is up and running again. Last year in June it just turns out my theory was correct and my camera simply stopped outputting via USB because as soon as I plugged in my easyCAP through the A/V out everything fired right up.

I plan to focus less on taking pictures while filming. After watching some of my 2010 video I realize when I fumble with my still camera while filming that is often times when my video becomes the shakiest, and since I stand zero chance at making money off of still photography it will be much less a priority in 2011 as I focus more on video.

I took some major financial hits over the winter, so it is going to be a tougher year to fund than any in the past but where there is a will there is a way. Plus my 2 most common chase partners in the area either have started new jobs or are about to start a new job so I have a feeling I will be largely chasing solo this year. No worries though.

It is crunch time people...the 2011 chase season is almost here.

Mother Nature, BRING IT ON!!!!!