The First Tropical Depression Of The Season

This path, taking a tropical system to Cape Hatteras then paralleling the east coast offshore, is fairly common. It’s usually well predicted.

al012014

TD 1 has formed off the coast of Florida. I posted something about it on Facebook a few days ago. At that time the computers were stumped. Each model took the storm a different way.

Things have changed!

The spaghetti in this spaghetti plot is tightly clustered. Even the projected waypoint times closely align. This is what a spaghetti plot is best used for. The closer the alignment the more likely the forecast is good.

This path, taking a tropical system to Cape Hatteras then paralleling the east coast offshore, is fairly common and normally well predicted.

Tropical Depression 1 should become Tropical Storm Arthur. Graduation to hurricane is less likely.

About My Mom

It was not a happy move. They were leaving a place of comfort (and warmth) and moving to a strange land with winter!

Sometimes there are no good choices.

IMG_1372_8926

I spoke to my folks this afternoon. Speaking to them (and my sister) is a nearly daily occurrence. My mom sounded great.

For the past few years my mom’s health has deteriorated. Not only was she physically infirm, she began to check out mentally.

At her lowest point she was down to single word answers. She had retreated into her own shell.

“I love you mommy,” I’d say to end conversations. No response.

That was tough.

We are an emotional family. She’d lost all emotion. It was as if my mom had been hollowed out.

Last fall, just as the cold was settling into Milwaukee and South Florida’s humidity began to retreat, my parents moved north. My sister and her family live there. She found them an assisted living facility nearby.

It was not a happy move. They were leaving a place of comfort (and warmth) and moving to a strange land with winter!

Sometimes there are no good choices.

Moving to Milwaukee and assisted living meant they’d have to go downstairs a few times a day for meals. In Florida they seldom left their condo. That might have been the catalyst.

My mom began to communicate more. Not much, but you take what you can get.

IMG_1404_8961At this weekend’s wedding my mom was as sharp and happy as I’d seen her in a very long time–maybe a few years. She smiled and laughed. She had extended conversations. I got her a glass of wine with a straw.

Today my niece Jessie stopped by to visit. She brought Judah and Gabby, their great-grandchildren.

When I called that was all my folks could talk about. The visit was short. The impact is great. Jessie understands that. She made a mitzvah&#185.

On the phone my mom was stronger and happier than even this weekend! It usually doesn’t move in that direction in your mid-80s.

Don’t get me wrong, my mom is in a wheelchair. She is taking physical therapy and using her walker within the apartment–sometimes. I think she sees positive results from the PT and wants more, but she’s a long way from being mobile.

My mom is not as sharp as she once was. Sometimes she forgets things. But year-to-year the improvement is nothing less than miraculous.

None of us expected this turn. Our family is very happy. We never gave up.

This is our reward.

&#185 in Hebrew, “mitzvah” means a commandment of the Jewish law or meritorious or charitable act. It’s commonly used when someone selflessly does a good deed.

Disney Does Fireworks

disney fireworks

Even before I woke up today, Helaine was plotting. She was on the phone with Cousin Melissa planning our evening.

“Would you be interested in dinner at Disney, then fireworks,” H asked as I degroggied myself.

Disneyland is in the neighborhood. It’s only 25 minutes away.

Dinner was very nice. The fireworks, even nicer!

I don’t want to take anything away from Disneyland, but if you’ve been to Disneyworld you’ll wonder who shrunk the castle! It’s much smaller here than in Florida.

The fireworks, however, are another story. They are big and perfectly choreographed. We were centered in front of the castle. It was the perfect vantage point.

Here’s the last 45 seconds of tonight’s show. It was shot on my cellphone, handheld. You’ll get a very good idea what the show’s like. It’s Disney. You expect a certain level of ‘special.’

Computers Make Life Easier And Scarier

google-now-screenI’m very confused. Computers looking over my shoulder have made life easier and scarier. This isn’t a new subject from me, but it hit home last week as we prepared to leave for the weekend.

My phone and tablet both run the Android operating system. That means they both have Google Now, which claims:

“Just the right information at the right time.”

I opened Google Now and saw my flight times listed. I didn’t tell Google I was flying. It figured that out from reading my email.

It figures a lot out from what I do.

There are currently offers to track packages heading my way and links to articles about Comet Ison. It knows about the packages from my email and the comet from my browsing history.

Google Location historyMy weather is there too. While in Milwaukee, Google Now posted the local forecast plus a link to the weather at home.

It knows where home is.

Because I often use my cellphone’s GPS there are maps tracking my every move! Actually, I’m tracked when I’m not using the GPS too. The readings just aren’t taken as often.

Google Location history 2I assume Google can figure out who my doctor is and where we shop for groceries. It knew I was at Fenway Park June 24th. It can tell when I’ve spent the day at home.

Remember, it’s not just my location they know. Google also knows what’s at those locations.

I can turn most of this off. I don’t. There are two main reasons.

First, if I turn it off I’m the only one deprived of the info. Google and their pals will still know.

Second, it’s valuable to me.

Having my flight information, or weather in a strange city, or sports scores from just the teams I follow are more valuable when easily found.

Having Google Now is like having my own personal assistant. Does it know any less than a flesh and blood personal assistant would?

The downside is this information will be used in ways we can hardly imagine. And it will be used without your knowledge even when it’s wrong!

While we were in Milwaukee my GPS readout briefly shows me at my parents old condo in Florida. Who do I see to correct that glitch?

When the government pushes back against fears of surveillance it’s often stated the information is anonymized. Red herring. My actual name is the least important part of this equation.

I’m truly conflicted about all this. So much power to do good. So much potential to be evil.

The Advantage Of Not Forecasting On-The-Air

I’m watching the Pats/Broncos and remembering winter. They’re not pleasant memories.

If I was still forecasting in Connecticut, I’d have been talking about Wednesday’s potential storm for days already. Fellow forecasters, I feel your pain. The forecast has vacillated like a bride-to-be on “Say Yes To The Dress.”

Even today no one knows for sure. I certainly don’t.

However, the models have begun to stabilize. The forecast solution has become more consistent run-to-run.

Wednesday looks like rain all across the East Coast. In fact, it looks like rain most of the way from Canada to Florida! Early Thursday the rain turns to snow, but by that time the storm’s moisture should be mostly spent.

In New York City the potential is there for enough wind to keep the balloons grounded Thanksgiving Day. No one wants that.

Here in SoCal it’s temps near 70&#176 and a slight chance for rain Thursday and Friday. Slight.

Back Home In Connecticut

I believe I can be arrested for the photo at the top of this entry, snapped as we climbed out out from DCA. It was too good a photo not to take. The White House is hidden just under the wing, but the Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Mall, Ellipse and most everything else you can think of for Washington is visible!

I am home. My mom is now in rehab. My dad is supervising my mother’s care.

I usually kvetch about travel days. Not today.

Because of my mom’s condition the reservation wasn’t made until late yesterday. Helaine booked USAirway’s noon flight from West Palm Beach to Washington National then a second flight to Bradley.

Spoiler alert: Everything was on-time!

I fell asleep as we rolled down the runway, woke up 45 minutes later and read Rachel Maddow’s “Drift” until Sully asked me (and everyone else) to turn off my electronic gear. People reading actual books should be compelled to close them too. It’s only fair.

I was in the window seat, 13F. The guy in 13D was reading a book on a tablet too!

We flew the IRONS4 arrival to DCA. This is a standard approach to Runway 4. My right side window was going to have good views today.

It’s a straight shot from Richmond to National flying over the spectacular Virginia countryside. From time-to-time we also flew over interesting off-the-road parcels with huge satellite dishes and radomes. I suspect these are not facilities you can drive up to just to take a peek.

Arrival spectacular, but uneventful.

As I was checking my connecting gate a woman fifteen feet away tripped and fell to the floor. I ran over and helped her to her feet. Still a Boy Scout.

I needed to take the bus connecting the terminals at DCA . As I was walking to the curb the woman ahead of me tripped and fell to the pavement. I helped her up too. I’m a Boy Scout and obviously a bad luck charm!

My second flight was an Embraer 175, an 80 seat jet designed and built in Brazil. Think New York City studio apartment with wings! It does, however, have a huge bathroom for a little plane. Impressive!

I was in my seat kibbitzing with the flight attendant (anyone who doesn’t know how a seatbelt works in 2012 deserves whatever befalls them!) when a voice rang out from the seat behind me.

“Geoff?”

Helaine tells me I have a distinctive voice. It was certainly distinctive enough for Milford Deputy Police Chief Tracy Mooney to recognize me today!

Once the plane was airborne she asked me to pose for a photo with “Flat Stanley!” There is a story. Don’t ask.

Speaking of photos, I believe I can be arrested for the photo at the top of this entry, snapped as we climbed out out from DCA. It was too good a photo not to take. The White House is hidden just under the wing, but the Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Mall, Ellipse and most everything else you can think of for Washington is visible!

Anyway, I’m home and back-to-work tomorrow. Glad I went. Glad I’m back.