Thursday, October 14, 2004

You shall know them by their geekiness

As I stated in a previous post, I am a certified weather geek. I come by this honestly. My Dad was a private pilot and also a flight instructor. When I was a kid, he often taught "ground school" at our house, where several aspiring pilots would gather to watch educational film strips. These film strips seemed old THEN, and if I know my Dad, they were probably made in the 1950s, because according to him nothing manufactured after the 1960 Nash Rambler was ever worth a damn. The film strips came in little canisters like 35mm film does now, and were accompanied by LP records. You would stick the beginning of the film strip into a special projector that had a record player built in, and start the LP; "bleeps" on the record would tell you when to advance to the next slide. The projector was delighfully low tech and had a really cool, "3-in-1 Oil" smell.

Dad would often let me sit in on these ground school sessions and run the projector, as long as I kept my mouth shut. Thus, I was learning about occluded fronts while other boys my age were learning about RBIs (that's a baseball term for "runs batted in," Lisa). Personally, I loved the stuff and found it endlessly fascinating. I mean, how could you not? We're talking cumulonimbus here!

Weather is a big deal to pilots for obvious reasons. It's also a big deal in the agrarian Midwest. One of the few things I miss about the Midwest is the apocalyptic thunderstorms, when the lightning is strobe-like in its frequency, the rain comes down as if through God's own spigot and the huge cottonwood trees in our back yard would flap around in the tornadic wind like giant stalks of overripe celery.

Lisa, bless her, appreciates my weather geekery and for my birthday got me a weather station ( a Weathertech FX 6000....oooooooh.) It consists of two pieces placed outside the house (an anemometer and a temperature/humidity sensor) that communicate via radio waves with a base station in the house. The base station looks like this

As you can see, it also has a barometric pressure sensor and, for enhanced geekiness, a moon phase indicator and a clock that gets its time from the U.S. atomic clock! I have put the outside bits in a temporary location in front of the house; being new homeowners, we have yet to get a ladder so I can put the anemometer on the top of the house where it belongs. Maybe I can do that this weekend. Might as well clean the gutters while I'm at it, since every weathergeek Portlander knows that the monsoon is soon to arrive!


Anonymous said...

From: Devon (never could sign in with a user name and password

Man, this is so COOL! Getting a geeky gift is swell but an educational geeky gift is way over the top. Good job, Lisa. One of the nice things about living where you do (and where I do [Denver]) is that there's real weather to track.

P.S. I miss those apocalypic thunderstorms of the Midwest, too, Andrew. I've only seen about 2 of them in the 15 years I've lived here.

liz said...

I know that season is here, too, because we suddenly have a lot more clients at the clinic. Not even kidding!

Anonymous said...

It's Liz; I can't be bothered to sign in right now.

I often can't read the bar on the left side of your screen--or rather, can't read the bottom half, because there's no scroll function. The text just continues unreachably below the screen...