This one’s an oldie, but a goodie. Back in 1994, two forecasters wrote the state forecast discussion for Colorado in verse. Thanks to a submission from Tanja Fransen, it has now been added to the Forecast Discussion Hall of Fame.
On Sunday, I was sitting down with the newspaper. The crossword puzzle was proving to be more of a challenge than I particularly cared to tackle. My eyes wandered to the horoscopes. I started redacting words and realized that they became funny. Channeling my inner Yossarian, I ran my pen through the rest.
The horoscopes were short enough to tweet, so I did. They got a good reception, and I decided this should be A Thing [tm]. Thus, a new Twitter account (@RedactedHoros) and finally some content in the fun & games section. Redacted Horoscopes
will update most Sundays and also on the occasional weekday.
The weather humor page hasn’t seen much love in a long time. It’s not that the weather stopped being funny (although this past winter stopped being funny in mid-January), I just haven’t added to it. Fortunately, my friend Scott noticed that the forecast office in Hastings, NE seems to have resumed its bad habit of canceling things it ought not cancel. Sure, it’s silly to pick on a poorly-worded product issued in the middle of a severe weather event, but silly is what I do.
You have probably already seen an early-morning AFD from Juneau making the rounds on the Internet. The forecaster compares selecting a model to speed dating. Although the bulk of the humor is in the first paragraph, the theme persists through the rest. Certainly this is a cultural touchstone worthy of enshrining in the Forecast Discussion Hall of Fame.
Ten years ago, I was sitting in my apartment on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. My last class of the day ended around 1:30 and I was settled in to get some work done on the forecast game that I ran for the University. WFO Lincoln had issued a few tornado warnings and there were reports of cold air funnels, so my friend Mike Kruze and I decided to spend the afternoon driving around getting rained on. Instead, we saw one of the most photogenic tornadoes ever recorded in Indiana. And then another one. And then a third (though this one is unofficial, since we could not see the ground from our position and no damage was observed in the empty field).
This was only two days after Mike and I had returned from a marathon drive to northern Iowa, where the most we saw was vivid lightning and large hail after sunset. By this point, I had been chasing for a year and a half. Chase attempts evolved from some undergrad doofuses piling in the car and driving around to a fairly mature venture with thoughtful forecasts, data stops, and real efforts to be in position. Of course, as luck would have it, April 20 ended up being somewhat of a doofus day. Mike had a data plan on his Sprint PCS phone, and it was just enough for us to pull up the occasional radar image. Without that, we’d never have found ourselves standing in rural Boone County with a tornado directly to our west.
At the time of the Jamestown tornado, FunnelFiasco.com wasn’t even a gleam in my eye. I was planning on making a career in the National Weather Service. I figured chasing would be a thing I did with regularity. Ten years on, I’ve earned my meteorology degree, but I’ve never worked as a professional in the field. I have one chase day in the last five years, and I’m less than a year from a decade-long tornado drought. I’ve still only chased west of the Mississippi twice. With a toddler and home and another baby due early summer, I’m not likely to get out this year. But I still feel the gentle tug of the storm, pulling me to go out and seek it. I know I will at some point. I just don’t know when.
A while ago, I wrote some weather-themed song parodies. I’ve finally dug them up and posted them to the Funnel Fiasco weather page. Sadly, I can’t seem to find the song “Your Progs” that I co-wrote with my friend Joe. If I can ever find a copy of it somewhere, I’ll add that, too.
This has been a good week for the National Weather Service. Two new discussions have been added to the Hall of Fame.
It’s that time again. The tropical storm Chantal forecast game has been opened. Be sure to get your forecast submitted by 8 PM EDT on Wednesday. As a new feature this year, I’ll include an approximated version of the National Hurricane Center’s forecast for comparison. You may also note that yet another year has passed without any significant updates to the game code. I swear one of these days I’ll make the improvements I keep promising.
There’s big news in Fiasco Land. I don’t just mean Mario Marathon 6 (raising money for Child’s Play Charity) which starts next week. Beginning July 1, I will be a Senior Support Engineer at Cycle Computing. That’s right, after nearly seven years of professional employment at my alma mater, I’m leaving the public sector.
I won’t be leaving Purdue entirely, though. Because my new position is telecommutable, I’ll be able to finish my last semester of classes for my masters degree (which just got a lot more expensive). I wasn’t particularly looking to get away, but this opportunity seems to come at the right time for me.
So what does this mean for this blog? Well, I’ll either be writing more or less, depending on how much work I have on my plate. Expect to see high throughput computing become more prevalent, to the degree I am allowed to talk about what I’m working on. Other than that, it’s business as usual (for now).