Cyclone Road


Sunday, January 30, 2005

It might be safe to say the momentum of winter has slowed, and our average daily temperature, according to the climatology, now begins an upward migration of about one degree Fahrenheit per day. The more it looks like early spring (even when it is still, distinctly, winter), the more chasers think about chasing, and all the preparations involved.

This year my 4Runner needs new brakes and new tires. The brakes I'll do this week. The tires, however, can wait until March, as the treads on the current set have about 5000 miles left at least. Also the tires I'm considering are designed specifically for water; the Michelin Cross Terrain SUVs don't perform so well in snow, allegedly.

After the brakes and tires, the remaining tasks are typical of any new season: change the oil, secure the radios and antennae, tighten the Jotto Desk, reset the electronic compass, and take the entire setup on a good, long test run, hopefully to a place where I might actually see something interesting, like Texas or Oklahoma.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I've suffered some hardware-related blue screens on my laptop recently and thought it might have been related to the GPS receiver. I bought Street Atlas 2005 and the new receiver hoping to fix the problem while also making a long-overdue upgrade to my mapping software. Turns out the computer problem remains and may be related to the new RAM I purchased several months ago (hope not).

But I discovered that Street Atlas 2005, while a very workable and intuitive program, failed to identify county names at any magnification, which really sucks for chasing. After some hunting I found a the ability to upgrade the software to something called Advanced File Management which opens the file system up for draw layers and other features.

One potential for draw layers is an overlay with county names, which luckily somebody (in the biking hobby) had already done, and those files are located here. The two files allow county names displayed either in all caps or in regular capitalization and can be disabled by simply unchecking the draw layer. It would be even better if they automatically shrunk or disappeared below a certain zoom level, but that's a feature saved for Street Atlas 2005 Plus, a $99 upgrade.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I've been reading the Robert Haas poetry collection Praise and this is the opening piece, a sort of epigram of his own making I suppose, as it appears without a title and on a page marking the first section.

We asked the captain what course
of action he proposed to take toward
a beast so large, terrifying, and
unpredictable. He hesitated to
answer, and then said judiciously:
"I think I shall praise it."

This stanza strikes me as a harmonic to all the explanations for stormchasing that many have labored to produce, myself included, but with far more elegance and drama. So I put it on the front page of my website, in the masthead even (with credit of course). I don't know why I was compelled to do that, but maybe it will draw a comment or two from others.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Here's the first post of 2005.

I enjoyed a cool trip to Texas with Jeff Doty and visited as many people as time allowed, though we returned early to sneak back north while the roads were passable and the weather warm. Don't know how much chasing I'll do in 2005, probably about the same as last year. Only one goal for 2005: selling my novel.

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