The Snow I Won’t Miss

New Year’s Night. 8:47 PM PST.

COD Meteorology    Numerical Model Data

There’s a storm on the way to New England. There are one or two major storms there during any snow season. This will be one.

I’ve been working the numbers. It’s fun to forecast. I like maps, graphs and numbers. I can do it sitting in my chair here in Orange County.

I don’t miss the anxiety of forecasting. I know my fellow meteorologists sweat these out too. No one wants to be wrong.

At this hour radar from the Northeast is showing snow over Connecticut. Bradley’s been reporting light snow for over an hour. Most of the state is still quiet. The center of the upcoming storm is over Arkansas!

Here’s the setup: The low moves from Arkansas to the Northeast. A Canadian high will block the low’s northerly progress, but also provide an ample supply of cold air.

New England’s geography takes over.

As the low moves over the relatively mild (compared to land) ocean it will explode! A low’s strength is measure by its central pressure. The pressure will drop like a rock!

The prediction shows a rapid fall from ~1016mb to ~985mb. That will enhance both precipitation and wind! More of each.

Don’t be fooled. This isn’t a linear storm. There will be a long period of light snow, then the main course.

Thursday will be cloudy with snow showers and flurries. A few inches will accumulate during the day. If you have to drive you probably will, though you shouldn’t. The wind will being picking up.

After dark, windblown snow becoming heavy at times. Strong northeasterly winds. You’ll want to be safely home before this bad boy gets going.

Some areas might see a foot. 5-8″ will probably be the average.

The snow ends Friday morning. It will be replaced by bitterly cold air with many spots dipping below zero Saturday morning.

You don’t want to know what it will be like here in SoCal tomorrow.

What Day Is It Again?

It’s tough to talk about the upcoming weekend, aka-tomorrow, when my brain is telling me it’s Monday.

It’s Friday. I know that on an intellectual level. There’s a clock/calendar staring at me on this computer screen just-in-case.

On an emotional level I’m not sure what day this is. It’s probably because I took New Year’s Eve off, only had the late newscasts on New Year’s Day and came to work in a mainly abandoned TV station today. It a rhythm thing I guess. No matter what the reason it’s disconcerting.

I’ll check with my folks later, but I’ll bet calendar confusion runs rampant at the condo.

It’s tough to talk about the upcoming weekend, aka-tomorrow, when my brain is telling me it’s Monday. With two consecutive days off I should be back to normal by the ‘real’ Monday… I hope.

Replacing Stef’s Lost License

I haven’t been in the DMV building in years. Its interior is still etched in my mind for the same reason I can still recall details of my tonsillectomy… from 1952. We remember pain.

“Are you OK?” Those were my first words after hello as I spoke to Helaine a few minutes ago. It was obvious something was up.

“We’ve been in line for an hour and twenty minutes,” she said. She sounded dejected. There was more waiting to come.

Somewhere, somehow, Stef lost her driver’s license. Though AAA is our secret shortcut to renewals, their website made it sound like they wouldn’t issue a replacement. There was no choice but to head to the drab, low slung, obviously government built and maintained office on State Street. A case can be made it’s functionally dysfunctional!

I haven’t been in the DMV building in years. Its interior is still etched in my mind for the same reason I still recall details of my tonsillectomy… from 1952. We remember terror and pain.

By any metric this has got to be the DMV’s worst week With Christmas and New Year’s only a week apart and the end of the month, and the year, one business day away people are crazed. There is no place left to put off the inevitable.

Stef will be much more protective of her license in the future.

Another New Year’s Eve

Helaine has headed to bed. Steffie’s upstairs, watching TV by herself. New Year’s Eve has ended at the Fox house.

We were together at the stroke of midnight. Helaine and I kissed. She always gets choked up at New Year’s. It’s actually very sweet.

The three of us sat together and grazed the TV dial as the new year approached. Everyone station seems to be doing something special tonight.

Tony Orlando was performing in Atlantic City and it was live on Fox News Channel. Good lord – he’s the size of two houses! He and the band looked like poster children for ‘going through the motions.’

In his defense, how many times could you sing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” before going postal?

On NBC, Carson Daly was holding down the fort. Years ago, he was very nice to Steffie. I, in turn, will be nice to Carson. He’s very thin and I’m jealous.

MTV looked like a community access channel, albeit with good lighting. I have no idea who their acts were. I have less idea who their hosts were, except Steffie pointed to one and said, “That’s Perez Hilton.”

Oh, that’s what he looks like.

On ABC, Dick Clark was supported by Ryan Seacrest. You can see Dick’s mind is sharp, and he looks good, but it’s still painful to hear him speak.

Approaching midnight, he had trouble keeping up with the countdown to the ball drop. He actually dropped a number to get back in sync.

He has to have worked hard to get back to where he is. The problem is with me. I need to be more understanding. This is my weakness.

New Year’s Eve is a bittersweet night for Helaine and me. Most years we stayed at home, quietly spending the time together. One year, just after arriving in Connecticut, we went to a party and a former co-worker began to hit on my wife!

Our first New Year’s Eve together, back in Buffalo, we went to a party at our friend Phil’s apartment. Who knows why, but we had a fight. Neither of us remember the specifics. It was twenty four years ago tonight, and it was the closest we ever came to splitting up.

I like New Year’s Eve at home better.

On Sickness and Health

A friend called me this morning. He’s a very good friend, a close friend. We don’t speak often enough.

The conversation hadn’t gone very far when he told me about another mutual friend with an awful form of cancer. Then he told me about another friend of his, someone I’ve met, with another awful form of cancer&#185. And, as the “coup de grace,” he told me about a small, inconsequential operation he had had.

Billy Crystal says we call them procedures, but they’re operations.

This evening another friend called. His son had suffered a seizure – not the first. Now he would be re-examined for the possibility of a rare disease from an overseas trip to a third world country.

Finally I spoke to my dad tonight. A close friend of his, someone I’ve known all my life… someone whose house I ran away to when I was 12 or 13… is in the hospital. He needs surgery but isn’t medically ready at the moment (whatever that means)&#178.

Where am I going with this?

As I faced into the new year, I realized I was approaching my 55th birthday. When I get there everyone will tell me it’s not as old as it seems or as old as it once was. C’mon. This is like putting lipstick on a pig.

Fifty five is old and I am now out of warranty.

No, I don’t feel like an old person and I try not to act like an old person. I have often said, “I’m 54, but I’m immature for my age.” I’m only middle aged if I’m living to 108! Those things that affect old people become inevitable.

Helaine says this is why you should live for the day. In the abstract that’s right. In reality it’s much more difficult to do.

Growing up, getting older, looked so much more promising from my viewpoint as a kid. From here, the view is not quite as sweet (nor as sharp without my glasses).

There is no moral here. I have no uplifting message to tag on the end. Life is a journey – a finite journey. You never know when or how it will end. In fact, you’re the one person who never finds out.

&#185 – I’m not sure why I am using the word awful as all forms of cancer pretty much suck.

&#178 – This guy, a lifelong smoker whose wife doesn’t know, told the doctors he doesn’t smoke. He might as well ask them to cure him by touching up the x-rays.

Who Came Here In 2004

Last year, on December 31, I posted a little summary of what happened on this website in the previous year. I just looked back and was amazed how things have changed. The number of people and unattended, researching, web crawling computers, has increased greatly.

The content hasn’t changed. It’s the same drivel I’ve posted here since day one. This blog is nothing but inconsequential, random, musings about what’s important to me. That’s why whenever anyone else buys into reading it, I am both astonished and flattered.

In 2003&#185 approximately 17,000 separate viewers came calling to this site. Collectively you visited 30,000 times, downloading 872,000 files. My page counter now sits just north of 60,000.

That was then, this is now. The page counter has moved from 60,000 to 355,554. This year you visited 256,409 times downloading about 5,000,000 files (each image within the blog, plus other insertions in a single page, counts as a file). My server, located in Chicago and maintained by has spit out 51.7 gb of data.

Though there was a huge spike after I wrote about Ashlee Simpson’s Saturday Night Live debacle a day before it hit the bigger websites, a smoothed traffic line shows my audience steadily building. I am averaging over 1,000 visits a day.

There are three ways I look at my traffic and all tell slightly different stories. On each web page is a counter which increments once any time someone reads a page. I don’t think it is triggered by web crawlers that sites like Google and Yahoo use, though I can’t be sure. There is also a control panel counter I can see in the web site’s “back office.” Finally there’s the counter from the company that I allow to place ads on the site.

They’re always different. Always.

Speaking of ads, since I added them as an unobtrusive experiment, they have paid for my web hosting. The aggregate total in $198.44, of which I’ve already received about $144. This site makes on average 89&#162 per day. As I write this, I have made 7&#162 today. Some days are better than others.

Before you poo poo that number, multiply it by 365. I was going to publish a blog anyway, why not put these few ads off in a corner?

The number one search term was “John Mayer,” though that’s misleading. Ashlee Simpson probably drew more traffic, but there were multiple search terms (and spellings) used. As with last year, I’m surprised that traffic has come here after searching for things like, “hot water pipe is frozen south korea” or “chuck woolery wives&#178” or the always popular “carrot top shirtless&#179.”

Google also sent a lot of traffic my way because of an entry I had which debunked a popular picture of a tanker sailing into a hurricane. If you search Google for “hurricane photo” my enticing picture is on the bottom right. This one link was clicked 55,599 times by Google’s users.

I have tried to write something every day. Sometimes that meant scraping the bottom of the barrel. My apologies. Other times my life was centered around things I couldn’t or wouldn’t write about publicly. Those days were the most difficult for blog writing.

There are now over 900 individual entries in this blog. There are also thousands of photos in my photo gallery. If you ask Google what they have archived on this site, the response is 11,400 pages!

Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting and sending grammatical and spelling corrections. It’s all really appreciated.

My daughter says whenever I put something in a text box, that’s an immediate sign that’s it’s really boring.

Happy New Year Steffie

And Happy New Year to you too.

&#185 – This blog began in early July 2003, so last year’s numbers represent approximately half a year.

&#178 – After Jo Anne Pflug I am lost.

&#179 – This particular term was searched for 399 times. Some people need to get a life.

Rapid Dentistry

Yesterday, while brushing my teeth, a small piece of a filling fell out. It makes you question brushing, doesn’t it?

There was no pain, but I knew it wasn’t good. I called my dentist’s office only to find he was on vacation into the new year. His associate was covering and she could see me today.

I went today for a 12:15 appointment. She was quick and thorough and I was temporarily patched with no pain. I can’t begin to thank her enough for seeing me on such short notice.

Here’s my only problem with going to the dentist (and in this case it was the assistant, not the dentist who was the bearer of the problem). I don’t want to be made to feel guilty by what I did (or didn’t do) when I was young and foolish.

I want to make sure my teeth survive, but I don’t want to shy away from the dentist because I’m worried about what I’ll hear.

Too Much Winter

There comes a time when winter’s grasp just gets too much. You can say, “enough already,” but it does no good.

So, when the sun begins to shine, even with chilly temperatures, it’s a thing of beauty. Today was the kind of day defined by that last sentence.

There is a difference between February sunshine and New Year’s sunshine. As the sun gets higher in the sky, the shade of blue produced by sunlight (I think the official term would be color temperature), actually changes. I’ve been noticing that a lot as I drive to work in the afternoon.

Some signs of winter persist. The lawn that surrounds my house is covered in snow, with one small exception. There’s a patch, in front of my garage, which is bare. The heat of my septic tank is enough to warm the ground and melt the snow. During the coldest parts of the winter, that doesn’t happen, or at least doesn’t happen as rapidly.

As much as I’d like to think Spring is around the corner, I know good weather in February is illusory. In fact, it’s with dread that I’ve been looking at the weather maps, tracking the next storm. A period of snow, followed by sleet and/or freezing rain, and then plain old rain, will please no one… especially me.

Did adults always feel this way about winter? We have so much more ability to ‘control’ the weather by going where it’s not. That’s a luxury of the late 20th century that never existed before. Maybe we’re just spoiled.

Fine. I still hate winter.

Happy New Year Dick Clark

It’s a family tradition that we don’t go out on New Year’s Eve. There are a few really simple reasons for this. First, I usually work. Second, we don’t drink.

Years ago, the last time we really went out for New Year’s, a drunk guy started making a pass at my wife. In fact (though we laugh about it now) we almost broke up on our first pre-marriage New Year’s Eve together.

This year, we stayed home with Steffie and watched some of the goings on in Times Square. Helaine said she wasn’t, but I was very worried that some masterstroke terrorist act would take place in Times Square while the World watched.

Though we moved back and forth between Fox, MTV and ABC, we mostly stayed with ABC. Sure, I work for an affiliate, but there is also a tradition with Dick Clark. Again this year, for at least the second year in a row, Dick was inside a warm studio above Times Square. I’m sorry. He needs to be outside. And last night, the weather wasn’t all that bad.

I was also upset at the use of Steve Doocey – who represents Fox News Channel’s morning show – as ‘talent.’ This is not to say Steve isn’t good… he is. But, this is another case of cutting your nose to spite your face. Why would ABC want to shine such a bright spotlight on someone who is trying to eat their lunch? Doesn’t anyone in the company realize that using talent from other networks is the equivalent of dumping the Disneyland live shots for Six Flags or Universal?

There was a pretty tough article on Dick Clark in Newsday recently. I’ve attached it to this link.

Maybe because I knew most of this before, or maybe just because it’s becoming more obvious now, I have trouble finding Dick warm and likable. His interaction with others, especially on ‘tosses’ from live shots, or look live taped pieces, is forced and a little too staged.

On the other hand, I’m not ready to cede New Year’s Eve to Ryan Seacrest or the stable of hosts on MTV (none of whom stick out in my mind).

Happy 2004

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