Here we are at the conclusion of 2011. It’s been a pretty momentous year for me. It ended well. I’d rather not repeat it.
I was unemployed for a while. Possibly you heard?
To say my blog traffic responded is an understatement! 301,208 of you visited 688,809 times viewing 1,187,555 pages in 2011.
I got another job. I’m working in Hartford now for people who like me. The feeling is mutual.
I am a middle aged example of the power of social media. Debra Masulli Ducoff, a total stranger to me, started a support page on my behalf. It caught fire!
Between comments on this blog, Twitter and especially Facebook you established my worth in the market. Even if I live a million years I will never be able to properly express my gratitude to all of you.
Few people get to be eulogized while still alive, but that’s what happened to me. You made the most difficult part of my life bearable.
My significant 2011 takeaway was learning I am a significant piece of your life. I heard hundreds, maybe thousands, of individual stories where our paths crossed. It astounded me to learn how many of you vividly remember those moments.
Like I said, no repeats please. Still, 2011 sure ended a whole lot differently than it began… and that doesn’t even include the weather.
“I love this weather,” Helaine yelled as I ambled downstairs. Not really. She loves snow like Sully loves geese! Helaine was pre-frustrating, the new family fun game being played at the Fox house this weekend.
We are now in anguish mode. My last forecast has been made. People have already used (or not used) my forecast to make their plans. Now it has to come true or I become the goat!
Speaking of forecast, there’s an article (more like an interview with me) on the front page of today’s New Haven Register. It was written before I upped my totals. The facts are good, but the forecast now looks underdone.
CTCapitolReport, a Drudgereport lookalike, has also quoted me prominently on their homepage. In stark non-proportional Courier type, “Geoff Fox: Storms seldom live up to these massive forecasts.”
I did say that, but here’s the full quote:
Storms seldom live up to these massive forecasts. There are so many things that can change and nearly each of them will mean less snow. Still, 8-15″ on the shore (which is what I’ll say) seems reasonable right now. I’ll go for 5-10″ for most inland sections.
Was the ‘pull’ a little out-of-context? Yeah, I think so.
There’s nothing I can do to change the weather. However, I will still try and will it to conform. It’s like the uncontrollable way I move my legs during NFL football or Helaine steps on the imaginary brake while I’m driving.
My friend Farrell just sent a text from Palm Springs:
“Is the forecast living up to your expectations?
A little early for that. It certainly hasn’t disappointed down south. You actual mileage may vary.
So, what can I tell you now? I’m impressed by how dry the atmosphere is.
I’m looking at a skew-t plot from this morning. Skew-t displays temperature and dew point vertically through the atmosphere. As dry as it was at ground level it was crazily dry up to around 4-5,000 feet.
Until this dry air is saturated evaporation will pull the temperature down. That’s a confirming sign we will see the powdery/fluffy snow forecast.
The most obvious confirmation of the skew-t’s data are the echoes showing overhead on the radar. My friend Bob at FSU in Tallahassee said:
“Indeed this is the longest period of virga i can recall.”
The 12Z GFS model is in reasonable agreement with last night’s run. If I was forecasting now I’d probably leave my numbers intact. I guess that’s as good as it can be for me right now.
I got a mention in Jim Shay’s blog from the Connecticut Post¹. The entry is called, “Weathering the anti-snow people.”
I tried to respond there, but the website fired off an error message saying it couldn’t connect to its database.
“[A] promising period of snow and cold temperatures are in the forecast.
No you won’t get that from the snow haters on Connecticut television stations. At the top of the list is Geoff Fox on WTNH whose anti-snow bias is enough to turn off the channel as soon as you see him. Sorry, Geoff, I’m tired of hearing that B.S. of the time you spent in snowy Buffalo. Why don’t you just tell the forecast instead of your shaking your head and have that condensending smug on your face when there’s snow in the forecast.”
We’ve got to get Jim a spell checker. Actually, even if it was spelled right, what’s a condescending smug?
He’s mostly right though. I’m not exactly anti-snow (can one actually be anti-snow?), but I am a snow hater. Not Jim. His blog is named “Snow Zone.” Duh.
He’s unhappy with me. I suspect he thinks my admitted bias affects my forecast.
If it were only that simple.
He probably prefers those who predicted 100 of the last 25 inches of snow! To them hope springs eternal. All potential Nor’easters become Nor’easters. That’s not real life. That’s not me.
My forecast doesn’t make the snow come. As Dr. Mel says, “We’re in prediction, not production.” The snow is a passive observer. It does what it wants.
My job is to be as accurate as possible. Bias be damned. There’s no upside to being wrong. I’ve been wrong enough times over 25 years to know I want to avoid it (and to avoid humanity in general after I’ve been wrong).
Does seeing what he wrote upset me? Of course it does. No one wants to read along as the author tries to put you down (though, as hinted at earlier, it would be more effective if the Assistant Managing Editor of the Connecticut Post properly spelled his words and structured his sentences).
Stuff like this comes with the territory. I do a better job dealing with it than I once did. Anyway, the posting is not as bad as it looks because he wrote enough specifics to realize he does watch!
The blogger doth protest too much.
¹ – The Connecticut Post was the Bridgeport Post. Like many papers attached to a downtrodden urban center with wealthier suburbs (Newark Star-Ledger, Camden Courier-Post to name two) it changed its name. That might be good for the paper while simultaneously demoralizing for the formerly named city.
I spoke to a few people after yesterday’s posting about my town’s ballot. Some people saw my point–not everyone. No one felt it was as serious a problem as I did.
Still it’s eating at me. I sent a note to Connecticut’s Secretary of State, who I do not know personally.
Dear Secretary Bysiewicz,
I am writing to ask about yesterday’s ballot. I live in Hamden, but I suspect my concern is statewide.
In our vote for council-at-large and school board there were eight candidates for four positions. The demarcation of individual columns and numbering (9a, 9b, 10a, 10b not 9,10,11,12) imply you may not vote for a candidate directly above or below another candidate you’ve already voted for. Even though the ballot said “Vote for any four” the implication is otherwise and I suspect many people were confused as I originally was.
A simple statistical analysis of the ballots will show if I am correct. On ballots with split ticket voting in multiple candidate offices did the candidate above or below a candidate who received a vote get a statistically equal proportion of the vote? I suspect they did not. I’d be willing to bet they did not.
This is a non-partisan issue. I don’t believe either party benefited. However, a candidate running directly above or below someone with strong name recognition would be unfairly penalized. That would be wrong.
Thank you for your time in considering this. I hope to hear your thoughts.
I guessed at her email address. It hasn’t come bouncing back to me so I’ll hope it was received.
I got a note from Southwest Airlines this morning asking me to update my personal information. The TSA has requested mandated I make all future reservations under my name as it appears on my drivers license. Geoff Fox won’t be flying anymore. Geoffrey J. Fox will.
More interesting than the TSA’s new hassle program security procedure is the text on Southwest’s site.
Secure Flight was recently introduced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which now requires Customers to provide full name (including middle name as it appears on your government issued photo ID that will be presented at the airport), date of birth, and gender at time of booking. To ensure you receive credit for your flights automatically, Southwest Airlines is providing you with a one time update to your account.
Really–“gender at time of booking?” Is this really that common a problem? And shouldn’t it be gender at time of flight? It doesn’t seem to matter what you were as much as what you are.
Damn–now they’ve got me playing their silly game.
I went to make these changes as I was typing this entry.
This Southwest Airlines feature is unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
I always knew procrastination paid. I’ll try again… later.
There was no real purpose for me going to see Richard Nixon, a man I reviled, speak. I thought it might be fun, especially as a member of the working press.
OK, I was pretending to be a member of the press–but the ruse worked!
I packed up our Wollensak recorder, threw it in my Volkswagen and headed to the venue. As I remember the White House staff set up a ‘mult box’ which provided a clean podium feed to all who needed to record it. I plugged in a cable I’d brought and waited.
When Nixon finally came out to speak I pushed the play and record buttons simultaneously (that’s how you recorded) and watched the reels begin to turn.
A few seconds later there was noise–lots of noise. The Wolly had slipped a belt and was complaining loudly about its state. People were turning to see what was causing the ruckus.
Three tall men in suits with identical abstract buttons on their lapels walked toward me. Two turned their backs while standing between me and the podium. The third asked what was wrong?
“I think it’s a belt,” is what I remember saying as the whir grew louder.
He looked at me and my long hair. He was not happy.
I took my hand, clenched it in a fist and hit the tape recorder hard a little left of center where the counter was. The bigger the problem the bigger the hammer, right?
Silence. All it needed was a zetz!
The Secret Service agents turned and without a word quickly faded into the crowd. I began to breath again.
I remember driving back to meet Helaine after seeing Mike Sechrist in the spring of 1984. “I didn’t get it,” I told her. “They want someone older.”
I’d seen Mike hoping to fill his weather opening in New Haven. It wasn’t destined to be. But, surprise, I did get it–the weather job at WTNH.
I began May 21, 1984. Thursday was my 25th anniversary.
I can’t remember what kind of day it was when I started, but I do know I sat with Al Terzi, Gerri Harris and Bob Picozzi in front of a blank blue wall. We had no real set. All the backgrounds and frames were inserted using chromakey.
I did my first tease before my first weathercast saying a few words and ending with, “Well, how am I doing so far?” It was a line I’d first used on my first day in radio–probably stolen from someone much more clever. Gerri looked at me as if I’d just parachuted in from Mars.
In my 25 years she was one of two anchors who obviously ‘didn’t get me.’ Al, on the other hand, laughed at every joke I told–funny or not. What Al did was like comedy kindling and it helped establish me.
I have survived four general managers (with a fifth soon-to-be hired), ten news directors and scores of producers. I have outlived all the other on-air people at Channel 8 that day in 1984. Considering I’d bounced around radio for 11 years before getting to Connecticut that’s quite a feat.
I don’t know how it came about… these 25 years. It’s nothing you aim for. I seem to remember thinking of WTNH as a good stepping stone, not a final resting place. And yet I stayed.
For a while I filled in for ABC on Good Morning America. Maybe I thought the network would come calling–but they didn’t. So I stayed and stayed and stayed.
I built a very good life first for Helaine and then Stefanie. My parents moved to the area and then moved away. We set down roots. I tried to give back, especially with charity work.
You don’t go to work on day one hoping to stay 25 years. I certainly didn’t. It’s all one day at-a-time and then, all of a sudden, those days begin to add up. Prospective employers look at people who change jobs a lot as having baggage. Once you’ve stayed too long you’re looked at the same way.
There will never be another Geoff Fox in Connecticut. Sure, there will be more talented people. There might even be people who will stay longer–though that seems doubtful. But no one will ever be seen by audiences as large as we had in the 80s and 90s. That tonnage is gone. It’s affect is cumulative over the years.
I have a great job. I enjoy coming to work nearly every day. Even after 25 years no one will ever accuse me of phoning it in. I am a well defined personality and though lots of people like me, there’s also a sizable contingent who don’t.
No gold watch today, I got a plaque. I’m taking off Friday but I’ll be back Monday.
Helaine and I were leaving the movie theater Saturday when I looked down at my phone and saw I’d gotten email from Geoff Fox. That’s not unusual. There are a number of warning services associated with this website and some weather data that comes with me as the return address.
When I came home and looked it was obviously not me–though it was from Geoff Fox!
Just found your web site, and thought I would say hello (from England)
This isn’t my first run-in with another Geoff Fox. There’s a writer in Brooklyn. The guy who started Fox Racing is also Geoff Fox. Then there are the professors who share my name (or maybe it’s the other way around).
In each case I feel a little inadequate. The Geoff’s I know of are all accomplished. The English Geoff is no different.
I run a renewable energy company called SolarUK. We design, manufacturer and install solar thermal collectors.
I used to run a software house in the City of London, but 10 years ago got fed up with London and started again.
We are currently building our second factory (which we have recycled) which will be a 17 sided R&D centre in Battle (near Hasting 1066 and all that)
In what little spare time I have, my wife (Sabine) and I have built a new house on our 50 acre farm near Ashdown Forest. The old house in the background has now been knocked down.
We have 1 dog (Joule), 2 cats, 7 horses and 1 helicopter. I have been flying my own helicopter for about 16 years, and never get enough time.
Yeah–he’s green, he’s tech and he flies a chopper he built himself!
Geoff suggested a Geoff Fox convention. Wouldn’t that be cool? I wonder if we have anything in common besides our name. Growing up I thought it was an unusual name and assumed I was the only one. How wrong I was.
On the other hand, I’m glad I bought geofffox.com while it was available and apologize for being the first Geoff Fox you get in Google. OK–maybe not.