The Numbers Are In

Nielen ratings are in for last night’s debate

The Nielsen ratings are in for last night’s debate. I’m confused by the list of stations aggregated which doesn’t include Fox News and MSNBC, both of which would add significantly to the final total.

If these overnight numbers stand, the ratings are well below other recent debates.

OK–I’m a little surprised. I thought for sure there would be a lot more interest considering all the buzz.



DMA Rank Market RTG Rank RTG SHR (000) 21 St. Louis 1 52.1 82.0 649 48 Memphis 2 49.5 67.0 330 26 Baltimore 3 47.1 66.0 515 9 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn) 4 44.6 68.0 1030 29 Nashville 5 44.0 66.0 424 46 Greensboro-H.Point-W.Salem 6 42.2 61.0 285 32 Columbus, OH 7 41.5 63.0 377 43 Norfolk-Portsmth-Newpt Nws 8 41.4 59.0 298 58 Richmond-Petersburg 9 40.3 55.0 211 18 Denver 10 39.7 65.0 586 24 Charlotte 11 39.3 54.0 426 7 Boston (Manchester) 12 39.3 58.0 944 22 Portland, OR 13 39.0 74.0 450 31 Kansas City 14 37.7 61.0 350 16 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 15 37.2 52.0 573 38 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce 16 36.4 55.0 282 27 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetvlle) 17 36.2 54.0 377 51 Buffalo 18 36.1 54.0 230 25 Indianapolis 19 35.3 59.0 379 53 New Orleans 20 34.8 48 209 11 Detroit 21 34.3 55.0 661 59 Knoxville 22 34.3 51.0 185 61 Tulsa 23 34.1 55.0 178 45 Oklahoma City 24 34.0 55.0 231 40 Birmingham (Ann and Tusc) 25 33.5 48.0 245 52 Providence-New Bedford 26 33.5 50.0 211 15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 27 33.4 59.0 569 19 Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn 28 33.4 52.0 479 62 Ft. Myers-Naples 29 33.3 51.0 164 28 San Diego 30 33.0 59.0 349 50 Louisville 31 33.0 48.0 218 17 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) 32 32.9 55.0 505 37 San Antonio 33 32.9 48.0 261 20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto 34 32.7 55.0 454 4 Philadelphia 35 32.1 51.0 941 44 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 36 32.1 50.0 218 23 Pittsburgh 37 32.1 51.0 371 6 San Francisco-Oak-San Jose 38 32.0 62.0 779 13 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota) 39 31.7 49.0 569 49 Austin 40 31.6 52.0 201 36 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And 41 31.5 46.0 265 64 Dayton 42 31.4 50.0 161 1 New York 43 31.3 48.0 2317 8 Atlanta 44 30.9 52.0 714 3 Chicago 45 30.7 51.0 1067 14 Seattle-Tacoma 46 30.3 58.0 541 30 Hartford & New Haven 47 30.2 45.0 306 47 Jacksonville 48 30.0 47.0 196 33 Salt Lake City 49 29.9 63.0 261 35 Milwaukee 50 29.2 49.0 262 34 Cincinnati 51 28.3 49.0 256 42 Las Vegas 52 27.9 46.0 196 5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 53 27.7 46.0 671 2 Los Angeles 54 26.4 50.0 1484 12 Phoenix (Prescott) 55 24.8 47.0 448 10 Houston* 56 0.0 0.0 0 Weighted Avg. of 55 markets* 33.2

MTV At 25

Today is MTV’s 25th birthday. It has not been mentioned on MTV! More on that in a second. VH-1 Classic, a digital subchannel with vastly inferior reach, carried the flag with flashbacks to 1981.

By the time MTV came on, I was already in Buffalo, hosting PM Magazine. I was envious, to say the least. Alas, even by then, I was probably too old for MTV.

Today’s MTV isn’t anything like the MTV of 25 years ago. There’s little music on Music Television. Much of the day is spent in MTV’s version of reality.

This was all presaged. I’m sure this wasn’t the first time it was uttered, but Bob Pittman is on the record five years ago, on CNN, saying:

We made a decision not to grow old with our audience. It’s the Peter Pan network.

So, to today’s audience, the MTV of 25 years ago doesn’t exist… or if it does, it’s too closely related to their (unhip) parents to be mentioned. A 25th anniversary of anything isn’t very important when you’re 16.

I remember sitting home with Helaine, in Buffalo, waiting for the premiere of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. It was a simpler time.

Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly uneasy with the lifestyle portrayals on MTV’s reality shows. I’ve called it soft core porn for teens. Maybe that’s an exaggeration – though not much of one. Certainly I was uneasy when my daughter watched them through high school.

I’d say more, but I don’t want to sound like an old guy railing at youth.

There are no more VJs – no more Martha Quinn or Mark Goodman. I suspect MTV’s still a major incubator of talent. It always has been. It is amazing to look at who’s gone far after leaving MTV.

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering about the originals, here’s a quick rundown from NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

Martha Quinn

After leaving MTV in 1990, Quinn stayed in television, working as both actor and anchor. In 2005, she joined Sirius Satellite Radio, where she hosts a weekly show, Martha Quinn Presents: Gods of the Big ’80s.

J.J. Jackson

Jackson returned to radio in Los Angeles after his stint on MTV. He was host for a number of successful radio programs before he suffered a fatal heart attack in March 2004. He was 62.

Alan Hunter

Since his 1987 departure from MTV, Hunter formed a production company, Hunter Films, with his brother Hugh and co-founded the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in Birmingham. He is currently a host on Sirius Satellite Radio’s 80s music channel.

Nina Blackwood

Blackwood

I Am A Meteorologist

After all the classes and the trip to Birmingham, there was one more task I had to complete before ‘officially’[1]. becoming a meteorologist. It was a comprehensive, 100 question, two hour test covering all 17 subjects from Mississippi State!

I had been led to believe it was a piece of cake. The test ‘opened’ yesterday morning, but I wouldn’t have the two hours necessary until after work was done. Last night, with time on my side, I still did everything I could to put off taking it.

I finally began at 3:00 AM. By 3:01, I was breaking out in a sweat. There were very specific questions about little bits of minutiae from the first semester.

What was the K&#246ppen classification for a part of Europe? And the answer was in K&#246ppen’s two letter abbreviations. Oh my God!

Any time you’re quizzed on something, and the words used have umlauts, like “&#246”, you know you’re in trouble.

I finished the test in 1:45 and spent the next 15 minutes, right up until there were 30 seconds left, checking my answers. I went to sleep not knowing if I got my 80% necessary to pass.

I passed with an 89%. I am told 90% of the students pass this on the first try, but I have my doubts. It was really hard and very wide ranging. There was no way to study for it – other than taking three years of school over again.

So, I’m now 100% finished. I am a meteorologist. My next task is to apply for the AMS Broadcast Seal of Approval. That journey starts later this week.

[1] – There is actually no official criteria. I could have called myself a meteorologist years ago. Commonly, the term refers to people who have passed a concentrated course of study. I respect that and have waited. The dictionary is much more forgiving. It says, ” One who studies meteorology. One who reports and forecasts weather conditions.”

Delta Skymiles Credit

I flew to Birmingham on Delta and, of course, I put in for the miles. I am a mileage whore – we’ve established that.

Of course, the miles were not on my current statement. I went to the Delta site and filled out a form, only to get this email back:

Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with us. We appreciate every opportunity to listen to our customers and act upon what we hear. Our response to your e-mail may take a little longer than usual due to the high number of customers who have contacted us recently. In the meantime, thanks for your patience.

As this is an automatically generated message, please do not reply.

Here’s the part that jumps out at me. “Our response to your e-mail may take a little longer than usual due to the high number of customers who have contacted us recently.”

Perhaps an unusually high number of compliments? I didn’t think so either.

Airport Screening – Proposed Rule Changes

Last week, while waiting in line to depart Birmingham, I was reminded how futile and bothersome airline screening is. I wouldn’t feel so bad if it made me feel safer. It does not.

Now the TSA has announced they’re thinking of changing the screening procedures. Pocket knives – OK. Throwing stars – OK. As a favor to me, can’t you just put your throwing star in checked luggage?

Ice picks become OK as well. So will bows and arrows.

None of these seem to be high impact.

There are also modifications to the shoe removal policy. Good – I hate taking my shoes off. Right now there’s a Catch-22 saying you don’t have to remove your shoes, though not removing them is grounds for further inspection during which time you’ll be asked to remove your shoes!

Here’s the only part that really upsets me:

From the Washington Post:

The TSA memo proposes to minimize the number of passengers who must be patted down at checkpoints. It also recommends that certain categories of passengers be exempt from airport security screening, such as members of Congress, airline pilots, Cabinet members, state governors, federal judges, high-ranking military officers and people with top-secret security clearances.

When governmental officials… or anyone for that matter… is given a pass around a problem, they are immunized from its bother and less likely to continue seeing it as a problem. I want them to go to the airport and feel my pain.

I sense that someone with a lot more schlep than my little blog carries will really publicize this and it will disappear under the scowl of public disapproval.

No Credit Where Credit Is Due – Southwest VISA Again

Yesterday I got a call from a woman at Chase Bank. They’re the folks who provide my one and only credit card. She was calling because my complaint to the Comptroller of the Currency hit their doorstep.

She didn’t call to offer a solution or explain what was going on. She just called to say they had gotten the complaint and would respond in 7-14 days.

This is probably a legal requirement. No extra points for customer service here.

My Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa has been the topic of many posts here, because it has been such a frustrating experience. Here’s a link to my last screed.

Like I said, I got so upset I wrote the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal agency that controls banks with “NA” at the end of their name.

So, yesterday I get their call and tonight… tonight they turn down the credit card again!

What a suspicious purchase. I was buying gas at a gas station I go to three or four times a month. I was using a Mobil Speedpass which is tied to the card.

I called the number on the back of the credit card and listened as an automated voice asked me if I recognized purchases, some going back two months, without giving me the name of the merchant… only the type of store in “credit cardese.”

Among the purchases they queried was Steffie’s Ipod. Whoa! That’s another purchase they turned down and had me call on in June. Good going. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

And, if there was a question about a June purchase, why not ask me in… June? The fact that I’ve already paid for that purchase without question never entered into their equation.

Oh, the gas station I was at – they had previously declined my card there too!

My account is perfect. My reputation is soiled.

As I walked into the gas station, the clerk addressed me by my first name and then told me they had refused the charge. Will he go home and tell people about Geoff Fox the deadbeat? I hope not, but it’s possible.

What if this would have happened in Birmingham last week?

Earlier this evening I wrote about Southwest Airlines’ policy change for frequent flier miles. I really don’t want to change my airline/credit card allegiance. I know tonight’s problem is 100% the bank and not Southwest. Still, it’s very frustrating.

My sense is, no one at the bank really cares. The sad truth is, in 2005 it’s too expensive to worry about customers on an individual basis. I’m much less of a problem when viewed in the aggregate.

How Time Slips Away

This past week in Birmingham, I told a few people about how I used to fill-in on Good Morning America. It’s been a while. What I didn’t realize was how long ago it really was.

I was searching for a tape tonight (never found it) and stumbled across an aircheck of my first GMA appearance. It was June 1, 1993. Good grief.

For a few years I was their go to guy and then… well, who knows why, I just fell out of favor.

Actually, it’s a weird story. I had just finished a full week of filling in on the weekday show (while also working nights in New Haven) and was back, on New Years morning, doing the ‘old’ Sunday show.

I finished a live shot in Times Square (across the street from where the studio is now located) and made my way back uptown to TV-2. I walked into the control room. The executive producer was sitting there in the back row. He turned to me and said, “You did a really good job this week. We’ll be seeing a lot more of you this year.”

As you might imagine, that was very good news. It didn’t take me long to call Helaine and tell her. I was juiced!

That was the last I heard from him!

Before long he was gone too. As new staff moved in I was no longer, “You did a really good job this week,” but just some guy from New Haven.

I still think about the fun I had and how I know I’d still be great for them. I’m afraid that train has left the station. That saddens me.

Of course I haven’t totally given up. If you’re friends with Ben Sherwood (GMA’s executive producer), put in a good word, won’t you?

Blogger’s addendum: The attached photo shows me with Joan Lunden and Charlie Gibson. Click here for a larger view. Don’t let the window fool you, we’re on the West Side of Manhattan.

I am holding a miniature helicopter and explaining Bernoulli’s principle. On the table are two plastic copter blades meant to fly when you spin them between your hands.

It’s All Over In Birmingham

I’m sitting in a corner of the lobby of the Radisson Hotel in Birmingham typing this blog entry. Most of my classmates have gone home or gone to lunch. As a chronic snacker, I’ve already had my fill.

We spent all day Friday seeing presentations and lectures. There were a few given by Weather Service personnel from here in the south. What they said was fine, but it was really about types of weather I just don’t deal with… and never expect to deal with.

Later, one of the Mississippi State instructors presented a case study for us to analyze. Again, it was interesting, but it dealt with a type of storm we never see in the east.

Finally, as the afternoon was ending (it was actually evening by then), we began another session of tape watching.

While it was going on, I thought I was the only one dreading this. Later I found nearly everyone was self conscious and petrified of what their classmates would think.

Isn’t strange how we can go on the air, in front of thousands (sometimes millions) of viewers without a second thought. But, to show our work in front of a room full of our peers is a weak kneed moment!

My tape was pulled. I stood up to say a few words before it played. I attempted to crack a small joke at my own expense. Silence. Tough room.

The tape played and I was really squirming. I think it was OK and, of course, the polite comments were very nice. Who can really tell?

What impressed me more than anything were the few people who had no background in broadcasting or weather, adults who had decided to begin a new midlife career and registered for the MSU program. A few of them were the program’s best students.

The session ended around 7:30 and I headed to the room. I was fully intending to stay there for the rest of the evening until I called Helaine. She accused me of acting like an old person. I was in Birmingham. Have a good time.

I changed my shirt and headed to the lobby.

A few groups were organizing, deciding where to go. I joined a group of 14, and we headed to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s no way to say this restaurant chain’s name without sounding like you’re mispronouncing it.

We entered the restaurant and were escorted to a small, private room. That was perfect, because we didn’t want to disturb the other diners, and we certainly didn’t want them to disturb us!

I had lamb chops and broiled tomatoes. The chops were beautifully seasoned, thick and very tasty. I started to explain to the waiter how I wanted them cooked. He just looked at me and said, “Pittsburgh?”

Exactly, Pittsburgh. Some burn on the outside, but more medium in the center.

We left the restaurant and headed back to the hotel. On the way, some decided to go to Danny’s, a local bar. This time I took a pass and continued to the Radisson. There was, after all, another morning of class to come.

I have been getting up very early (for me) on this trip. Even though my commute was by elevator, I was still out of bed by 7:30 AM. That’s just wrong.

Today was the final session. A practice test&#185

Hold on… cell phone. Uh oh! Words I never want to hear.

“Hello, Mr. Fox. It’s Mary from Delta Airlines calling.” This is not a social call. “Unfortunately, your flight from Birmingham to Cincinnati has been canceled.”

This blog entry will be picked up when I get back to Connecticut.

pause

Where were we?

In order to successfully finish the course, you need an 80 on a two hour, 100 question comprehensive test. It covers all three years. How could you possibly study?

On the other hand, the instructors have told us 90% of those taking this test pass on the first try. People with A’s and B’s always pass the first time.

I took the sample test. The benchmark was 55 answers correct on this shortened test, to pass. I got 54 right! Better luck next time.

As I checked around the room I realized, I wasn’t alone. This test might have been a little harder, and it certainly wasn’t an open book test, as the real one will be. On a test like this, where I’ll probably know 75% of the answers immediately, open book will be the difference.

There were also awards handed out. I did very well at MSU and was thrilled to receive, along with six others, an award for academic excellence.

You may have noticed, as the photographer, I’m not in many pictures. Well, for this award I handed the camera to another student and walked to the front. At least this one achievement should be documented.

That is how the photo came out of the camera!

Even more impressive, a few of the awards were captured by people who had never been on the air! This course was their first meteorological experience and they scored all A’s. That’s astounding.

We finished off our sessions with a talk about the qualifications for the American Meteorological Society Broadcast Seal. The AMS is transitioning to some new criteria for the seal. In fact, though I’ll be grandfathered in, it’s obvious the AMS is trying to diminish the Mississippi State program in favor of four year, calculus based degree programs.

It’s ridiculous, because the MSU program is more than sufficient for an on-the-air forecaster. It seems to me, this is only a way for the ‘traditional’ on-campus meteorology programs to avoid competition.

The AMS is also starting a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist program, which I will not qualified for! I didn’t have meteorology classes that were calculus based. Of course, no one in operational meteorology ever uses any calculus to produce a forecast!

Angry? Me? Sure – a little bit. I knew all of this going into the AMS program. It’s the meteorological equivalent of a protective tariff.

So, that’s it. The program’s over. I have not yet taken the comprehensive test, but my instructor instructed me to begin referring to myself as a meteorologist… and I will.

And then, that phone call from Mary at Delta!

We spoke for a few seconds, and things didn’t sound promising. Then, I said I’d be willing to fly to Hartford and have Helaine drive me to New Haven to pick up my car.

Perfect.

Delta would move me to an earlier Birmingham to Cincinnati flight and then take me to Hartford. I’d be over 50 miles from my car, but I’d be in Connecticut three hours earlier than previously scheduled.

I packed up my gear and hopped into the hotel’s airport van. Three guys in airline uniforms joined me. As it turned out, they were my crew to Cincinnati.

We got to talking and before long I was asking them, then telling them about meteorology. The pilot, a kite surfer, was looking for a better way to predict ocean winds. I made a recommendation.

Later, during the flight, he congratulated me on passing my course on the plane’s PA system. How embarrassing.

So, now I’m home. I’m really tired, but I’ll be better tomorrow. Going to Birmingham turned out to be a better, more valuable trip than I anticipated (not that I had any choice in going)

&#185 – Even though I have totally completed the course of study, there is a comprehensive test of 100 questions in two hours that I’ll have to take within the next few weeks.

Another Day in Birmingham

I didn’t know what to expect. I’m in Birmingham, AL for the conference that concludes my Mississippi State University education.

I’ll go over this in more detail later, but much of what I’ve heard has been interesting. I’m not totally sure it wasn’t covered in my classes for the most part.

We heard from a local meteorologist, Air Force Reserve “Hurricane Hunter” meteorologist and one of the MSU professors today.

He was actually the surprise of the bunch. His case study on a severe weather outbreak in the Southern Plains was interesting to follow and predict (even though it’s already happened).

The meetings start early (for me) at 8:30 and continues to 7:00 PM or later. That’s a long day.

Each session ends with a tape swap. Everyone brought an aircheck of their work and we all watch together.

I brought a broadcast from Monday. It was an evening with thunderstorms passing through the state and a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Northwest Connecticut.

It’s funny. I’m on TV every day, yet I’m spooked by the idea of my fellow students seeing my presentation.

I’ve dodged that bullet the last two afternoons, but tomorrow’s the last chance and I’m certain it will be shown.

Not that it will get me an easier audience, but I’m here with a bunch of mostly nice people. There are a few spectacular looking women.

Birmingham As A Tease

Last night I looked out my hotel window and… Holy Mackeral… it’s the New York Bagel Cafe!

This had been a topic of some discussion before I left Connecticut. I’d go to Birmingham, ask for a bagel and get laughed at.

It looks like the joke’s on me. Doesn’t it?

A closer look at the New York Bagel Cafe shows I was insightful after all. Someone thought it would be a good idea. It was not!

What I couldn’t see late at night, but can see now, is the LEASE sign on the window. The New York Bagel Cafe is out of business.

Let the grits begin!

Greetings From Birmingham, Alabama… Y’all

I was planning on leaving for Birmingham a little before 4:00 PM. Helaine had a suggestion – leave earlier.

How do you react to that? You really have no choice, because if you leave ‘on time’ and miss the flight&#185 it’s incredibly embarrassing. On the other hand, what’s a little time in the terminal?

I left early and the trip was even quicker than I had anticipated. It took 20 minutes door-to-door.

This is not LAX or JFK I was going to. This is Tweed/New Haven Airport. This little field is a gem. All it’s missing is frequent service! Right now, you can fly to Philadelphia via USAir (prop) and Cincinnati on Delta (jet) and no place else.

I’ve attached two pictures to give you a feel for the place. The first, a residential street scene is actually the last street you drive on before you get to the airport.

Tweed is in a neighborhood.

The second shot is the ticket counter. This is not a cropped shot. This is everything. The whole shooting match. USAir’s on the left. Delta’s on the right.

What’s good about the airport is that it is so easy to get around in. Everything is close. Everyone is friendly.

I hear about people driving to New York or Hartford and say, “why?” Yes, sometimes these bigger airports are appropriate, but Tweed has so much going for it and too few people use it.

I cleared security and headed upstairs to my gate. Though there is a jetway, these little jets (mine was a Canadair CRJ40) board from the tarmack.

In the gate area, a TV suspended from the ceiling was showing Fox News. I looked up. The picture was an Air France passenger jet on fire at Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto.

Oh my God!

The dozen or so of us watched attentively. What kind of omen was this?

The flight was called and we all walked back downstairs and onto the field. I had brought both my bags as carry-ons. The bigger didn’t fit in the overhead.

The one advantage smaller jets and prop planes have is the ability to check something at the plane. You get a little ticket, watch it get put into the belly of the jet and then pick it up at as you deplane. No waiting for checked baggage. It’s sweet.

As we took off, fully nine minutes early, the plane accelerated like a little sports car. Other than my ride in a Navy F/A-18, I can’t ever remember a takeoff with this much ‘push you into your seat’ kick. The climb was swift and smooth.

I’d liike to say the flight to Cincinnati was smooth. Instead, we bumped our way up to 32,000 feet.

The CRJ40 is a very nice plane. It is about the right size for a single aisle regional jet. There are 40 seats and a crew of three.

I didn’t have a tpae measure, but it seems like the distance between rows is substantial. The width of the seats is not. I’m 5′ 9″ and I was too tall for the bathroom!

We landed in Cincinnati (actually, Northern Kentucky) about 7:15. We were sent to C72 with my connecting flight at C12. It’s as far as it sounds.

As I walked through the terminal, I looked at the TV screen to see my flight and an earlier flight to Birmingham, leaving in ten minutes. Was it possible?

I got to the ticket counter and explained how I had just flown in, was scheduled to leave later, but would gladly take a seat on this flight. No problem!

I walked onto the CRJ 700 and settled into the aisle seat in row 17. The man sitting at the window was speaking to someone on his cellphone. Swedish possible? It had that ring to it.

Whereas the 40 seater is sized right, this 70 seat jet is all wrong. It is cramped and much too long for a very narrow single aisle.

For takeoff and landing, one of the two flight attendants sits in a jump seat centered on the rear bulkhead. I turned to her and asked if this was punishment for something she had done wrong?

We were in Birmingham by 7:30 CDT. That meant it took three and a half hours to fly from New Haven to Birmingham. Unreal. That’s more than I could have ever asked for.

I walked into the terminal and, seeing the courtesy phones used, called the Radisson on my cellphone. Ten minutes later a van driven by a very nice man with a very bad hairpiece drove up.

We started to the hotel, but before we could get off airport property, his cellphone rang. There were more. Would I mind?

The hotel is fine, though nothing special. It could have been a Holiday Inn or Sheraton or any of a zillion moderately priced business hotels. It does have a floor mounted air conditioner in this room which is noisy.

It also has something I’ve never seen in any building before – a 13th floor!

More later today from Birmingham. Registration for my conference is at noon and I’m bushed.

&#185 – I have been flying commercially since 1967. I have never missed a flight – never. I have stated this fact to Helaine enough times that she is entitled to slug me if I ever say it again… which I will.

Flight Times Are Flighty

Next week at this time I’ll be flying down to Birmingham, Alabama. I know – Birmingham in August! What could be finer?

I found a very good fare back in February and made my reservations then. Flying from here in New Haven is a bonus. It is the world’s simplest airport. Easy in. Easy out. Easy parking.

Delta’s website had my flights, no problem. But looking closer, I found they have an interesting feature. As flights change, or are rescheduled, the prior itinerary stays. That allowed me to see how Delta shifts its schedules… or more to the point how often!

My New Haven – Cincinnati leg is now on its third different schedule. The Cincinnati – Birmingham trip is on its fourth!

Sometimes the departure time moved a minute, sometimes as much as ten minutes. Once the departure time shifted by a minute with the arrival time moving up by almost 15. They must have found a shortcut.

I have no idea why these little nuances are being made. They won’t change my trip in any appreciable way. They certainly do force me to use a lot more paper for printing these!

Midterms

Here it is 12:34 on Saturday morning and I’m about to take my midterm for Weather Prediction II. What is wrong with this picture?

Tomorrow I take my Oceanography midterm.

In about a month, I’m done! Nine semesters finished. Once I do my time in Birmingham and then take a comprehensive test, I’ll be a certified meteorologist.

I can kvetch all I want, but it’s my most successful educational foray ever.

Finals Finished

I took my finals in Thermodynamics and Weather Prediction I early this morning. During the spring and fall semesters there’s a quiz due at noon every Wednesday, an extra homework test every third Wednesday and the midterm and final right after weeks six and twelve respectively.

I wasn’t worried about these tests, though I’m always interested in doing well – accomplishing for accomplishment’s sake.

I continue to surprise myself by the very strong, built-in desire I have to put the tests off as long as I can. They became available to take this weekend, but I waited. Then, last night when I cam home from work, I waited some more. I didn’t begin the first test until almost 2:00 AM.

The power to procrastinate, push it back more-and-more, sometimes seems more powerful than my conscious will. I’m not quite sure why. I wasn’t scared of these tests. Even in the courses I’ve been most confident in, I’ve still been motivated to be non-motivated on test night.

Before the test in Weather Prediction I actually calculated what I’d need to get an “A”. All I needed was a 73%. Even that knowledge, that I didn’t have to do well to do well, didn’t speed me along.

There’s not a lot about my college or high school days I remember, but I’m sure this little character quirk didn’t just spring up in time for Mississippi State. Back then I just didn’t fight it as well – much to my detriment.

With these two finals, my MSU career is now 8/9s complete. All I need are two course this summer (May 16 through the end of July), a three day trip to Alabama&#185 for some in-class seminars, and I’m done.

I will ‘officially’ become a meteorologist. That doesn’t mean I’ll be doing anything markedly different than I had in the past, I’ll just have the title.

Going to school has been more trying because of the discipline needed to complete everything on time rather than the difficulty of the course work. Maybe just as important, I’ve learned a lot about the procrastinator in me. He is persistent, but can be overcome.

I never knew that until now.

&#185 – For some reason MSU makes its students trek to Birmingham, Alabama at the end of their three years. I really wish we could have gone to Starkville, MS so I could have seen the school at least once.