Tag Archives: tornadoes

Just in Time for Spring as it Rolls Around Again

The seasons change as they are wanton to do and in any season there are likes and dislikes prevalent throughout.

Take winter for instance, there are quite a few examples of places inundated with many feet of snow. I know what havoc a quarter inch of ice can wreak on an infrastructure. Imagine as much as ten inches of frozen water laying waste to parts of Canada. This actually happened in 1998  as a storm destroyed the large steel wire carriers mangling them into heaps of rubbish on the ground.

Summer shares its bountiful rainfall, many times beginning in the spring. Often times unimaginable amounts of water inundate settlements and cities alike as summer forces its way through.

Small but devastating vortexes, with winds up to three hundred MPH (known as tornadoes) rip man’s puny creations to the earth.

Finally, one of the most powerful weather systems waits until this time of the year to rear its ugly head- “The Hurricane.” This monster can be powered by winds well over one hundred fifty-seven MPH. It can produce a storm surge (i.e., a wall of water) better than twenty feet high and sized larger than three hundred miles in diameter that precedes the winds and often is more deadly than the hurricane force winds. Your safest bet caught within this behemoth, are five words… follow the yellow brick road.

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Have the Sense to Come in Out of the Rain Especially When Accompanied By Crackles of White Light and Big Booms

stormy-weatherHow does this grab ya? “It was a dark and stormy night”…Not your kettle of fish? How ‘bout this? “The sky exploded in a blinding light, while thunder shook the window panes to the near point of shattering”…Still not to your liking?

Try this. “The pounding rain soon turned to a river of mud devastating everything in its path”…Better but still not it, huh? Okay. I think this will do it for you. “The gentle rain concluded…yawn…and the clouds parted, allowing the sun to bring forth the first petunias of the year.

That does it for ya? So I gather from this idea exchange, you don’t care for thunderstorms.

Well, suck it up, Peaches, cause this post ain’t for you.

Have you ever noticed the beginning of some novels start with tempestuous weather such as, “It was a dark and stormy night?” It could be the first line sets a sense of foreboding for the entire novel. Or maybe the author just likes thunderstorms.

When you think about it, (and thinking is something I strongly attempt to avoid), what are the pros and cons of the everyday summertime thunderstorms, beginning with the pros.

1) It brings rain to sometimes parched crops.
2) It leaves a wonderful smell after the storm has passed.
3) When accompanied with a cold front, it tends to drop the temperature and humidity.
4) Provides a certain amount of excitement when the blast of thunder is so loud it causes your hairline to recede. (In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m really having to stretch for these.)
5) It waters the part of my lawn that doesn’t wash away.
6) It provides humor watching people escape the downpour and the soaking received by passing vehicles.
7) And last, but certainly not least, the calming effect of the rain bouncing off your roof and the distant thunder lulling you to sleep with Gods’ fireworks.

Now, for the cons.

1) Tornadoes.
2) Micro bursts and down drafts (straight line winds that can cause as much damage as number 1).
3) Flash floods.
4) Lightening: can cause power outages, fires and produce thunder that scares the bejeesus out of children and pets alike. (Not to mention many adults) At its’ absolute worse, lightening can kill trees and sadly enough, people.
5) Just the sight of a rotating storm (aka a mesocyclone) especially with a rotating wall cloud will send fear into the heart of the bravest man.
6) High winds can wreak havoc with outdoor furniture, plants and on a larger scale, most anything that’s not tied down.
7) Trailer park. Nuff said.
8) Increased accidents caused in part by individuals who haven’t the sense of a five pound bag of stupid to slow down.
9) And finally, and I say this with all my heart; please don’t stand under a tree, on a golf course, during a thunderstorm with a lightning rod in your hand.

If you happen to be walking along during a thunderstorm and feel your skin start to tingle, hit the ground immediately. If you’re still struck by lightning…well…sue me.

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Sometimes We Need That Off the Wall, Nonsensical, Silliness To Make It Through the Day and Sometimes…Nah, It’s an Everyday Need

What’s your favorite movie? What’s your favorite book? Do the two coincide with one another? Did you read a great book that turned into a lousy movie?shark twister Or, did the movie surprise you and turn out to be as good or better than the book?

It just so happens that two of my favorite movies began life as ink on paper. The first, and probably my favorite movie, was Jaws released in 1975. This movie affected an entire generation. People were actually afraid to venture into the water. Being an author it probably seems strange, but I never read the book. From what I’ve heard, the book was good, but unnecessarily cluttered with love affairs and such. To me, in a story like this, if you want to kiss something, kiss a shark. I was but a young buck when I ventured to the theater to view this thriller and returned four more times. Five times on the silver screen and well over fifty in the home venue, might make you think I was obsessed with this celluloid masterpiece. Nah, I just like the movie.

From the ocean to the Great Plains, we move from the “jaws of death” to the swirling winds known as “tornadoes,” “cyclones,” and “funnel clouds.” Twister is my next great book-to-movie, which I also did not read.

Now, as far as storm chasers actually operate, I think the movie was probably not as factual as it could have been. On the other hand, I didn’t go to the theater three times to see a fact-based movie. Twister came out in 1996, just three years after Jurassic Park, which was the first movie to use “go-motion.” This new technology pulled us away from the decades old stop-motion animation we were used to seeing ever since the first movie danced its way into our hearts.

CGI opened a whole new world of special effects and Twister was in on the ground floor. Aside from having a great story, the animation jerked you from your seat, spun you around, and then smacked you several times before depositing you head-first back into your chair.

I took my girlfriend (at the time) to see this wonder of technology. Half-way through the movie, the popcorn machine caught fire and we were escorted out the back of the theater. We received vouchers to see the movie at a later date (or when the smoke cleared), which we did, and that girlfriend, a year later, became my wife…pause for tear removal and nose blowage.

Thinking, as I occasionally do, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Jaws and the F5 in Twister were to meet?

The twister would have to become a water spout which would cause it to severely weaken. Even though the shark is not the brightest creature in the sea, it would hesitate to attack a column of water. And if I’ve brought you to the point that you would consider a confrontation between a swirling mass of water and a big fish, then I humbly apologize, not only to you, but the preceding paragraph and its five wasted lines.

All good things must come to an end which brings about a conundrum. Oblivious to good and bad, as far as this post goes, do I end it or (like that drum beating bunny) keep going, and going, and going, and going…….
I believe we all know the answer; this tale should be put to rest….

In case, you’re wondering where I locate material for my blog, I purchase it from a surly old Wiccan who resides in Haiti and vacations in Jackass Flats, Virginia (no joke, real place). She’s not much to look at, but makes a great conch (pronounced “konk”) chowder and the blog material’s dirt cheap. After a few shots of rum, it’s free because you can’t shut her up.

Until next week, when we once again mix a pinch of fact with a bucket of nonsense, I bid you a fond, “Ado!”

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The Arts: See Them In a Different Light As You Never Have Before or Ever Will Again…Probably…Maybe; but Maybe Not

Imagine the excitement an artist experiences when staring at a blank canvas. What to create; oh, what to create this time? Every color of the palette flashes through his mind. A landscape? A portrait? Something surreal, traditional or a young lady with two heads, four boobs, and three toes on all six feet? “Anything I wish,” he giddily, whisperers.carving stone

Then, there’s the sculptor. He inspects a large ball of rock (unfortunately, there’s no other way to say it) hard as stone staring back at him. Once the artisan decides upon the subject of his masterpiece, he knows all he must do is remove the material that does not look like the finished product. “Much easier said than done,” he muses.

Deciding upon his point of attack, a disastrous twist enters the recesses of his mind. In no way do I intend to detract from the painters unique skills: however, if the sculptor slips, his piece could be ruined after months of work. Whereas, the man of paint (I should think) would have much less trouble, initiating repair.

On the other hand… Wait a minute, I already used both hands… I’ll start over.

On the other foot, we have the author. Some spend a great deal of preliminary time forming the plot, developing characters, and outlining the entire book from beginning to end.

Others study diligently (forensics, espionage or military weapons and strategies) to ensure their novels are accurate and true to form for their readers.

I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I stare at the blank page with a vague idea and begin writing. I seldom know what lies ahead as I write in real-time. I’m like a parasite attached to my character’s brain, and wired into the nervous system. I see, hear, feel and make decisions in tandem as we move along. (My psychiatrist says I should be sporting no more than a dozen or so personalities by the first of the year.)

Writing adventure, science fiction, fantasy and the like doesn’t require much preliminary study to ensure accuracy. What I don’t have, I concoct, and accuracy is what I deem it to be.

Of course, there are instances from the world we live in that coincide with the world I write in (a dimensional crossroad if you will) that require that I bounce down to the library to assure continuity in my book.

And what author wouldn’t be proud to have one of their readers quote a statement or incident from one of their novels using that same novel to back up their quote as fact?

All this talk about the arts has set my mind to wondering (like that’s some kind of revelation).

But you have to admit that slinging a brush full of pigment across a tight piece of canvas conjures images of Tom Sawyer suckering the neighborhood kids into slapping white wash against an old picket fence.

This in turn brings about thoughts of P. T. Barnum uttering that famous line, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

I immediately find myself sailing toward the Midwest during the spring in tornado alley. It was here during the 1996 movie, “Twister,” that Dusty coined the phrase, “the suck zone.”

So by my reasoning (something you should avoid) if you dabble in the fine art of painting you will inevitably end up hanging in a tree, stripped naked by an F5 tornado, somewhere in Oklahoma.

It seems perfectly logical to me that if one ponders an ashtray masterpiece being carved from a 50 ton granite boulder, their next thought would certainly gravitate toward the first carver of stone.

The picture begins to fade and blur then refocuses on a primeval setting. Strange animal grunts and growls, active volcanoes, and huge fern trees dot the landscape.

Amidst the noise a small sound cuts through unscathed. Tink, tink, tink…Tink, tink, tink…Tink, tink, tink, tink, tink. Why it’s none other than Grog fashioning the first wheel from (who would have thunk it) a 50 ton chunk of granite.

“Hold on there, Grog. It seems you left the bottom of your wheel flat… It won’t roll like that.”

Tink, tin… “What you mean, ‘no roll?’”

“It’s got to be round its entire circumference.”

“What you mean, ‘cumfense?’”

“Never mind, you big dumb ape, it just won’t roll.”

Thus, the first stone carver changed vocations becoming the first serial killer, something about instant gratification.

And now (I’ve said this before but evidently it bears repeating since I don’t seem to be listening to myself. Do not begin a sentence with ‘and’) we begin the ending of this storied tale.

I am working on my fifth book. One has been published. I decided to forgo dealing with the publisher myself and attempt to acquire an agent.

“How’s that coming?” you ask.

Well, I guess it depends on how you want to look at. Agents receive as many as 500 query’s each week. They accept less than 1%. I figure I have more of a chance being struck by lightning while riding in a plane. The jet continues on safely, as I am the only one ejected over the ocean, still smoldering when I take the plunge. I am plucked from the water by a sport fishing club who specializes in catching Great Whites. The one negative, they’re out of bait.

But that only strengthens (once again do not begin sentence with “but”) my resolve not to give up. Because you never know when that slightly quirky agent forgets their medication one day, picks up my query and realizes a bipolar Dr. Seuss is exactly what they’ve been looking for all these years.

When that day comes, they’ll call me, “eccentric.”

Until then, I’m just crazy Lynn.

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A Normal Week at the Beach

Disclaimer:  Due to content I am unable to include any reference to writing.

Last summer we vacationed for a week along the coast of North Carolina. tornado at beachAmong the list of attendees included myself and lovely wife, my father-in-law and lovely mother-in-law, my son and his new bride, my stepdaughter and son-in-law, and one VIP, my grandson, “Lil’ Ed,” hereby known as the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

This would be a very special vacation:

1.) The first time my in-laws came with us.

2.) The first time the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe saw the ocean and played in the waves.

3.) The first time my son and his wife (having been boyfriend/girlfriend on every other vacation trip) could bed down together.

Now, as usual on these trips I do my security check before allowing anyone to enter the home. After that I dole out the weekly assignments, I take care of cooking, all cleaning, including but not limited to: dishes, clothes, clogged toilets, loose deck boards, shingles, siding, window replacement and general beach erosion containment.

From time to time I fill in as lifeguard making sure the beaches are safe, assisting in rescues, and demonstrating lifesaving techniques. I , also, use the lull to play with the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

On this particular day (I believe it was midweek one sultry afternoon) I had been a bit apprehensive due to the weather, but dared not let on, not wanting to alarm anyone. Around 3 p.m., everyone but myself was sound asleep after an arduous day of frolicking in the surf.

Feeling a sudden drop in the barometric pressure, I quickly stepped onto the back deck. My senses were tingling, every muscle in my body rigid, ready to jump into action. I watched as my dread became reality.

What had begun as a small cone soon twisted its way down to the ocean as a water spout. I could tell it was beginning to strengthen as it moved on shore, becoming a solid F4 possibly F5 tornado. I sprang into action.

I began waking my family members. Those that wouldn’t awaken immediately, I carried to the safest part of the house even the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe …the bathroom. After I had everyone comfortably positioned in the bathtub, I began to remove mattresses from each bedroom and packed them around my anxious clan. I assured them that everything would be alright and even took time to sing several soothing tunes to calm their fears.

I found a large tree limb that the twister had pushed into the house and stood in front of the bathroom batting any debris away from the room occupied by the most important people in my life.
After the deluge, the only thing that remained was the single bathroom that contained my loved ones safe and sound with not even a scratch, even the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe.

I often think of that day and the horror it could have wrought. I honestly say this with all the humility I can muster:  Boy, it sure is a good thing I was there, for I shudder to think the outcome had I not been.

Now, I’ve talked enough about me, why don’t you talk about me?

And then we’ll talk about the mostest cutest little boy in the entire universe!

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What Do Mail Trucks and Tornadoes Have in Common?…Right Off Hand; I Can’t Think of a Thing

Mail

(Photo credit: Pacdog)

I have a resilient character who against all odds receives redemption in the face of certain annihilation.  Had the same scenario occurred in a real life situation, our hero would certainly have died and this blog would be over.  However, being that there is a fine line between my creative genius and inept ramblings, we shall continue.

This character brought about thoughts of services we depend on daily but are convinced will not work to our satisfaction. In fact, they have acquired, and undeservedly so, a negative stigma.

Case in point:  The United States Postal Service

We tend to complain about the cost of stamps, lost mail, late and damaged packages; when, in reality, it’s amazing we manage to receive any mail at all. The USPS processes 554 million pieces of mail each day.  That equates to 6,400 pieces a second.  Postal workers drive 1.2 billion miles a year to deliver our mail and they do it all with zero tax dollars.  Their operating income stems solely from the sale of stamps. Thankfully, the postal service is not run by the government or I’d be expecting to pick someone else’s mail out of my gutters. The way I see it they do an unbelievable job, delivering so many pieces of mail to millions of customers and I salute their achievements.

And next in line is…the dastardly weatherman

What other human being on the face of the earth has caught more flack for trying to be helpful than our friend the weatherman?  It’s almost as if we blame him personally for rain, heat waves, snow, sleet, hail, thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami’s and all  other natural disasters.  In fact, if you think about the vast troposphere that a meteorologist has to work with, I am astounded and amazed that they are able to say anything other than “duh.”  Look at what they must deal with just preparing a single daily forecast?  Humidity, barometric pressure, wind velocities from the ground to the cloud tops, warm fronts, cold fronts, stationery and occluded fronts, dew points, heat and/or cold, dry lines, wind shear and I’m surely leaving out many more variables since what I know about meteorology wouldn’t fill my right ear canal.  Then there are times they are called in to save lives predicting catastrophic events such as hurricanes and tornadoes.  I shudder to think what we would do without them.  Yet we gripe when they miss a forecast and our picnic gets rained out.  The irony in that is that we’ll tune in for the next day’s forecast.  Once again I salute their efforts to inform and keep us safe.

The next time you’re disgruntled with a late package or a rainy day that wasn’t supposed to be, think about how difficult these jobs are to perform and be thankful that we have them working for us even if they do make an occasional mistake…because that merely makes them human just like us!

I’m starting a grassroots campaign to bring attention to my novel, “Rising Tide.” It’s available everywhere online including on Kindle and Nook. So pick up a couple hundred copies and spread the word!

This has been a public service announcement from the “Lynn Boy Foundation.”

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