Two days earlier…
It was a Friday. The crew and I assembled in the aft quarters to review the weather reports. They said there was a 10% chance of rain on Saturday and a 30% chance on Sunday. We decided to depart on Sunday.
One day earlier…
On one hand it was a good decision to delay because it gave us an extra day to perform dry runs. We ran equipment checks and drills. Our first trip had caught us unprepared. I’d be damned if that was going to happen on my watch.
We took some time on Saturday and got the rigging down to a science. That last portage had almost killed us.
While the canoe was out of the garage, we decided to go home improvement on this old house. For some strange reason we were tired of dry dock consisting of the canoe precariously balanced on the refrigerator and an old bookcase.
A one-hour construction project was about to go 500 percent past deadline.
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It’s been about eight months since we moved to the big, big city of Portland, Oregon. The snow storm was fun. Sure, it wasn’t the 50′ of being buried alive of my dreams, but it was cute. We spent seven cozy days “trapped” in our home.
Then came the wind.
Last night the wind mercilessly ravaged our house. As much as I’m loathe to consider any weather-related thought, it finally crossed my mind: Jeez, when is the wind going to die down?
Sure, I enjoy as much as the next person finding my garbage cans tossed about and the contents strewn about the neighborhood. Who doesn’t? But even that can eventually get old.
What gives? Is this typical for Rip City? Or is it something new, perhaps a harbinger of doom?
I’m betting on the latter. Take off your helmet, stay awhile and listen. Lend me your ears because I’ve got some of the indigenous lifeforms ready to help us bore down into the story.
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What does this mean to you? Not much. Hey, just like the local evening news! I think I’m onto something here.
Our top story tonight. Ominous fluffy clouds, pregnant with expectation (and moisture), have birthed innumerable litters of chubby drops that the WeatherTrac9000 computer calls “rain.” These drops are currently on a collision course with the place most of us live. The WeathTrac9000 calls that place the “ground.” We are currently projecting that these drops of mostly water will make the ground “wet.”
We start our exclusive News42 team coverage with Alex on remote location standing by a street. Alex?
…three seconds of awkward silence from Alex as he stares into the camera with a fake grin plastered on his face not realizing yet that he’s already on…
That’s right, Cassandra. Weather is coming to a street near you and it is pissed off. I’ll step aside to see if we can get a shot of this. You can clearly see drops of water hitting this street. And that is creating a dangerous situation that leaves some drivers out in the cold.
Earlier today this was the scene, with street surfaces wet. In one case, we found a car pulled over on the side of the road with its blinkers on. That driver was forced to sit and wait and hope that conditions would improve.
Even worse conditions may already be on the way. For that we go to Marko in the WeatherTrac9000 Weather Center. Marko?
That’s right, Alex. We are currently projecting alternating periods of light and dark at approx. 12 hour intervals until further notice. This means some rain may be less visible at certain times. Viewers are advised to remain on this channel for the latest updates as they become available.
For the intelligence-impaired here’s tonight’s Weather-Pick-Toe-Graph. This patented WeatherTrac9000 system helps those suffering from small brain syndrome to help prepare for the weather. Tonight’s picture: The Gorton’s Fishman in bright yellow slickers including full-frontal hoodie. We’re showing him holding a ship’s steering wheel but you don’t actually have to have one of your own.
For the rest of you I will now show lots of slides and animations and maps and use a lot meteorological words for eight full minutes of our 16-minute broadcast (not counting commercials).
Come what may.
This just in: The Earth’s tilt (or spin axis, if you will) is still 23.5 degrees. Ooooh, yikes. That’s a mite chilly, mate. 23 freaking degrees?!? Are we talking fahrenheit or celsius? Either way, that’s colder than [insert your own obscene colloquialism here] in a pickle jar!
That’s pretty damn cold.
Weather segments on the local news have always been a bit extreme, full of histrionics and hyperbole. ZOMG, tomorrow there’s going to be wet, sun, fog, humidity, wind, mist, hail, and, worst of all, clouds. No shit? Really? Ya think?
Tell you what? If you can successfully predict before it happens when lizards will fall out of the sky, wake me up. Okay? Until then? Shut your fucking omen hole.
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“I got a little cooked, but I’m all right!”
With those words today, Tom B. Taker let the world know he was still alive and well.
Wait. Scratch that. Well, one out of two ain’t bad. 🙂
And, to be quite honest, I think Luke Skywalker was the first to utter those words. But I feel confident that whatever Taker said was just as impressive.
No, your humble host wasn’t caught in an earthquake. Nor was it a tsunami, either, although those are both serious weather phenomenon to be sure.
No, the circumstances that affected Taker were far more mundane. You see, there was a bit of cloudy weather. And then came the raindrops. Then the wind kicked up and the rain fell a little harder.
There was a flash of white light.
“Holy mother of God,” the cry went out. “It’s lightning! Batten down the hatches!”
He sprinted across the house to power down the computer but it was too late. The power had already gone out. There would be no ordinary shut down of the computer this time.
You see, in his neck of the woods, a bit of rain, a skosh of wind and a lightning bolt or two is all that is required to knock out the power grid. Repeatedly. For hours.
Yes, this really is the year 2011, the most advanced year we’ve had to date, and astronauts drink Tang, too.
Ah, the weather. For all of humankind’s magnificence, we are still very much at the mercy of things like the weather.
Personally I could care less about the weather. I hardly ever check the weather reports. The weather will be what it will be, right? I tend to be fatalistic about it. And no news or media outlet warned me there might be a lightning storm today. I used the Mother Nature notification system instead. That’s also know as “looking out the window.”
When the power came back up long enough, I did briefly turn to the Weather Channel out of curiosity. They were glad to tell me that the temperature in my town was 54 degrees. Gee, thanks. That’s useful information. I’m sure my outside thermometer outside the kitchen window couldn’t have told me that.
Who thought the Weather Channel would be a good idea, anyway? Weather is to be tucked away on a corner of the newspaper or given a few minutes on the news broadcast. It is not “entertainment” or very useful information in and of itself.
“Hey, let’s invent a television network that no one will ever watch for more than five minutes at a time.” Great business model.
That might be why the Weather Channel decided to add a little excitement by showing movies. Yep. Movies. The Perfect Storm is a no brainer. And so is Twister. Those movies promeninetly feature weather phenomenon.
But what else is there? Just how many movie plots have been driven by the weather?
Singing in the Rain? Ha!
How about March of the Penguins? I thought that was more about penguins than the weather. And the weather is sort of monotonous. “Today’s forecast is snow and cold.”
Well, how about Misery starring Kathy Bates and James Caan. Didn’t she win an Oscar for that performance? Sure, but what’s the weather angle? Oh, wait. The Caan character crashed his car because of the weather. That’s a perfect tie in!
Not content to just run someone else’s movies, though, The Weather Channel decided to make their own content. Yeah, everybody knows that’s the only real way to have a seat at The Big Table.
Thus, When Weather Changed History was born. This informative television series answers the big questions like: “If it wasn’t for the weather did you know the Hindenberg would have crashed somewhere else?”
“Next up, how huge chunks of ice may affect your evening commute. More about that and other stories in three minutes after these messages by Dunkin Donuts, Burger King and Toyota.”
What other events from history make their list? Hurricane Katrina. Okay, that one is legit.
Oops. I have to cut this post short. I just looked out the window and the ground is still wet. We might be loosing power and I don’t want this post to be lost to humanity.
The weather today did change history when it turned off the power to my house. Unfortunately we’ll never know the “could have been” of that alternate unaltered historical timeline. We’ll never really know what might have been irrevocably lost.