So… any money left?

Nearly two weeks of online poker is now behind us, with Helaine and me playing a few times a day (I originally had I but I think it should be me).

Tonight, I played 3 – $11- 2 table tournaments. Two losses, including one incredibly quick flameout, and one third place. That’s $36 minus $33 for a $3 net tonight!

All right… Amarillo Slim.

All together, we’re down a bit over $50.

It continues to be fascinating. However, tonight I was chatting with my friend Bob, who was watching me play from Florida, and I realized how easily you could cheat. Except for the really huge tournaments (and we’ve never placed in the money in any of those) you pretty much select your own table.

But, these $11 tournaments take so long for someone to take home $72… would anyone find that worthwhile?

My frustration with this site

I am desperately trying to enable some good weather info on this site. I have Hamweather installed, and it works. But, I can’t integrate it to my look.

I have tried NOAHweather, but am having no luck. Looking at some of the code makes it seem like there are hard coded paths that don’t apply on my system.

I will try again, but it’s driving me a little crazy.

In better computer news, I installed a wireless router and pci card for my friend Steve. Now, no more wires between rooms.

Though it didn’t go 100% smoothly, it was pretty good. Belkin did an excellent job on the software and manual, making them nearly foolproof.

Phony Northeast Blackout Image?

Right after 9/11, a photo circulated on the Internet showing a man on the observation deck of the World Trade Center, facing a camera. Behind him, a plane flew directly toward the building. It, of course, was a fake.

In fact, tools like PhotoShop make it incredibly easy to turn the unreal…real. Such is the case with a satellite image making its way across the world, mostly through email. It has been resized and had the levels tweaked a bit, but it’s the same image.

So far, I have gotten this from my father, my friend Howard, loads of viewers and other well meaning people. If it were true, it would be a pretty spectacular shot.

The real photo is actually a montage of a number of satellite images from a Defense Department Weather Satellite (DMSP). In order to get a fully clear view, and cover the whole country, the actual time frame of the image is Oct. 1, 1994, to March 31, 1995.

Few people look at visible satellite imagery at night, because all you can see are city lights… and normally that’s not very helpful.

If you really take a good look at the phony image, it’s done in a ham fisted way. The areas of removed light shouldn’t resemble a black hole, but should be shades of dark gray. After all, there was some illumination from the moon. Also, there were pockets of lights still working, even within the blackout area. And, though wire reports implied otherwise, most of Connecticut was powered up and good to go.

When I first saw the photo, I knew it was wrong because I know the original very well. It’s a classic. But, I also knew this satellite doesn’t see the whole country at once, nor is the whole country ever cloud free.

There are before and after images from the blackout, and they are pretty amazing. Unfortunately, fact isn’t quite as glamorous as fiction.

Left hand, meet right hand

It was clear, early on, that Friday had a significant chance for severe weather. I was concerned that the computer models downplayed it somewhat. But Thursday, within a few hours of being run, they had already blown the forecast in Michigan… so the computers weren’t to be totally trusted.

A little activity started on Central New York State toward early afternoon and the Storm Prediction Center threw up a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for the entire state, effective until 8:00 PM.

That was the right call.

A little background. I forecast the weather. The folks I work with forecast the weather. My competitors forecast the weather. But, we all leave watches and warnings to the Weather Service. The idea is to present a coordinated front, so as not to be confusing. In my 20+ years in weather I have heard few dissent from this concept.

After a watch is posted, it is the job of the Taunton, MA National Weather Service Office to put out a ‘redefining’ statement for all of Connecticut (even though they normally only forecast for 3 of the 4 northern counties and none of the shoreline). These are needed because watches are parallelograms and they don’t evenly fit within state or county borders. Without the redefinition, a watch area might include a small sliver of a state or something else equally confusing.

Taunton’s original statement only included their counties.

WWUS61 KBOX 221719

SLSMA

WATCH COUNTY NOTIFICATION FOR WATCH #880

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA

120 PM EDT FRI AUG 22 2003

CTC003-013-015-MAC005-009-011-013-015-017-021-023-025-027-NHC005-011-

RIC001-003-005-007-009-230000-

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH

#880 UNTIL 800 PM EDT FRIDAY EVENING FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS:

IN CONNECTICUT THIS WATCH INCLUDES 3 COUNTIES…

IN NORTHERN CONNECTICUT:

HARTFORD TOLLAND WINDHAM

Then a correction to include the whole state.

WWUS61 KBOX 221744 CCA

SLSMA

BULLETIN – IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED

AREAL OUTLINE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 880

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA …CORRECTION

143 PM EDT FRI AUG 22 2003

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 880 IN EFFECT UNTIL 800 PM EDT.

CTC001-003-005-007-009-011-013-015-230000-

IN CONNECTICUT THIS WATCH INCLUDES 8 COUNTIES

FAIRFIELD HARTFORD LITCHFIELD MIDDLESEX

NEW HAVEN NEW LONDON TOLLAND WINDHAM

ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS

But, by then the damage had been done. At the TV station our Weather Warn II computer was confused. It put up a Thunderstorm Watch and then alternated text for a “defined area” and mentioned the three original counties. If we would have aired it, it would have looked like the watch was only for three counties.

As I drove in, Kirk Varner, our news director (who reads this, I can’t blast him here), saw what was going on and basically shifted to manual. This system is supposed to work on its own, without intervention. At the moment, it can’t be trusted. But, thankfully, we had the right info on the screen.

Throughout the afternoon we saw scattered thunderstorms. They probably didn’t get to the ‘official’ severe limit, but were close enough to justify the watch box.

Thursday night, this same system had quieted down and then, with the watches expired, fired up. It even spawned tornadoes in Michigan on the ‘rebound.’

Tonight, the system again died down. And then a series of awful human judgment errors.

At 7:10 PM:

CTZ002>004-MAZ002>021-026-NHZ011-012-015-RIZ001>008-230000-

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA

710 PM EDT FRI AUG 22 2003

…PART OF THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT…

THE WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT FOR SOUTHWEST NEW HAMPSHIRE…

WESTERN…CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST MASSACHUSETTS…OR NORTHERN

CONNECTICUT. THUNDERSTORMS HAVE MOVED EAST OF THESE AREAS AND THE

THREAT OF SEVERE WEATHER HAS ENDED.

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH CONTINUES UNTIL 8 PM FOR RHODE ISLAND.

IT ALSO CONTINUES FOR SUFFOLK…NORFOLK…BRISTOL AND PLYMOUTH

COUNTIES IN EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS.

But, the threat hadn’t ended. All of a sudden, in Southern Windham County, the storms fired up rapidly and ferociously.

CTC015-RIC003-230015-

BULLETIN – EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAUNTON MA

751 PM EDT FRI AUG 22 2003

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TAUNTON HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR…

WESTERN KENT COUNTY IN RHODE ISLAND

SOUTHEASTERN WINDHAM COUNTY IN NORTHERN CONNECTICUT

INCLUDING PLAINFIELD

* UNTIL 815 PM.

* AT 747 PM…NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM OVER PLAINFIELD…MOVING EAST AT 25 MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL BE NEAR…

COVENTRY AROUND 810 PM

WEST GREENWICH AROUND 815 PM.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCE LARGE HAIL AND/OR WIND STRONG ENOUGH TO

KNOCK DOWN TREES AND POWER LINES. MOVE INDOORS AND STAY AWAY FROM

WINDOWS.

But, in Connecticut, these storms weren’t just over Windham County. They had crossed the border to New London County. In fact, by the time the warning went up, Northern New London County was seeing more action than Windham.

Windham County gets its warnings from Taunton, MA. New London County gets them from Upton, NY. No warning went up for New London County.

If there was reason for warning Windham County, there was reason for a warning to be issued for New London. This lack of coordination is a problem we face a few times a year, at the least.

At 7:51 PM, the watch and warning configuration in Connecticut was out of whack with what was actually happening. This system is supposed prepare and inform. It was confusing.

Thunderstorms continued, though weaker, until sometime past 10:00. Saturday will be a totally different weather animal – cooler and fresher.

I am not happy with what went on Friday. In many ways, I am powerless to change things unless I start ‘buying out’ of the unified watch and warning scenario.

I don’t think I’m ready for that… but I’m close.

——-

By the way, at 4:21 PM the dew point a Meriden, CT (KMMK) reached an unbelievable 79°! I can’t ever remember seeing a dew point that high in Connecticut.

New London Day

Continue reading “New London Day”

Poker, the good and the bad

Both Helaine and I have been playing on Pokerstars.com. Obviously, our inability to win consistently means it must be fixed. It couldn’t have anything to do with skill… could it?

Mostly, we stay in low stakes tournaments. Pokerstars runs a bunch of tournaments. Maybe too many!

With all the tournaments, you often have to wait for a table to fill up. So, you’ll see 3 of 9 seats filled here and 2 of 9 there or 4 of 18 somewhere else. If there were less choices, there would be more filled tables at any given time.

Tonight, Helaine made 3rd place in a single table, fixed limit Hold’em tournament. Entry fee, $5.50. Payoff for 3rd, $9.00.

We can retire!

After walking Ivy the dog, I tried my luck at a 2 table, no limit Hold’em tournament. Entry fee, $11.00

PokerStars Tournament #259015, No Limit Hold’em

Buy-In: $10.00/$1.00

18 players

Total Prize Pool: $180.00

Tournament started – 2003/08/22 – 00:33:24 (EST)

Dear ctwxman,

You finished the tournament in 1st place.

A $72.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Congratulations!

Thank you for participating.

We’re still down $42 since we started around a week and a half ago. Quite honestly, it’s exciting, cheap entertainment. But, it would be more fun if we were currently winning.