After such a great day with a tornado in Wyoming, we made our way out of North Platte, NE on June 1st, and headed south to the small town of Oberlin, KS and waited for initiation, and just about every other storm chaser out for the day also had the same plan. After eating at a packed Subway, I got my equipment ready and storms started to blow up just to the west. We figured we had set up at the exact right place, and dropped just south of Oberlin watching a beautiful cell blow up. And then it died. That quickly.
After looking at the options, we had a cell to the south near Oakley nearly and hour away, but it was about the only thing worth going after. After about an hour of driving we made it to the storm and watched it quickly turn into a squall line that lost all tornadic potential. I got a few photos from this chase but not many, but here is what I caught:
We've all seen them online. In fact, we see them everyday. Constantly. By strangers, friends and even family. They seem innocent enough in the beginning, but take off like wildfire and next thing you know they are everywhere. Time to take a look at five of these trends and kick them to the curb as soon as possible.
1. The Selfie. - Maybe one of the most obvious and abused trends alive today. The selfie has taken over the internet from celebrities to your next door neighbor to your 8 year old. It has somehow become cool to take a million photos of yourself and plaster them to your nearest social media wall for all to see.
But what it really looks like (especially in great numbers) is a grab at attention. "Look at me!". Humility has been thrown out the window at the chance someone might "like" this selfie and provide a small boost of self esteem juice. And if this one doesn't work there will be another chance, very soon, and then another. We get it you are a big fan of yourself, and we are too, but step away from the smart phone and have someone else take it.
2. Online Quizzes Telling You What You Are. - "I just took this quiz and I'm a cat! What member of the feline species are you?" These are everywhere on Facebook these days, and people just keep taking them. It's a pretty clever way for a blog to get visitors. Create a bunch of random questions, have some set list of answers and create a simple algorithm in the background and voila! These quizzes tell you what member of Gilligan's Island you are, what Civil War General you would be, or even what kind of kitchen appliance you are. It's obvious people like to be told they are a Ford Focus (What kind of car are you?!!) based on a set list of questions. I'm just not sure why.
3. Using the Phrase "Wow, Just Wow!" - I'm sure the first time this was used it was very effective in expressing outrage, or disbelief, or both at the same time. The second time, and every time after that, not so much. Now it just looks like a tired, recycled and uncreative way to express outrage and disbelief. If you are using this phrase, please make it stop, just stop.
4. Loosely Using "Prayers" - Online culture has helped make things more compact, from transactions to expressing one's feelings. Something that has gotten a little more convenient but probably shouldn't, is expressing thoughtfulness with the word prayers in it. This can come in several different forms, including "Prayers going up!", "Praying for you", and even the simple term "Prayers". Now, there is nothing wrong with this as long as you are, or will actually pray for them. But, if you are using this term in passing and simply using it to express thoughtfulness and not spending the extra time actually praying for them you are inherently lessening the impact of what you are telling them. I have actually done this before and I feel a little disingenuous when I say it, so I don't say it anymore unless I will actually think or say it in the act of praying. More appropriate may be "thinking of you", or "thoughts are with you" if the extra time is not intended to be spent.
I just finished watching the Belmont Stakes and I knew that everyone's favorite horse faced an uphill battle in winning the Triple Crown. After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, California Chrome only needed one more victory at the Belmont to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978.
Only it didn't happen. She didn't even finish in the top three, and just like many of the other horses who have won the first two legs she came up very short and it wasn't even close. The Belmont is just a different race since it's one and a half miles long, and honestly it will take a very special horse to close the deal.
After the race, California Chrome's owner Steve Coburn let loose a rant about other horses getting to race in the Belmont only, creating an advantage for other horses who would be "fresher" than those who ran in the prior two legs. He believes that only horses that have run in the first two legs be available to run in the Belmont.
I can see his point, but there are serious holes in it. First, the Triple Crown is not a tournament, it is a series of horse races. Much like a pro golf tournament, players qualify and play or don't play depending on the circumstances of the week. That doesn't mean Tiger Woods and those who play in the British Open can only play in the Masters. Your horse is trying to win the Triple Crown, and whoever wins the Kentucky Derby is the only after that who can win it so it opens the field to everyone.
Second, if only the horses running in the Kentucky Derby are eligible, how many horses would be left to run the Belmont? What is the motivation for any horse to run the Belmont if they finished last in the Kentucky Derby?
Like I said, I can understand his frustration....but, ultimately if you're going to win all three your horse has to be amazing. Just ask Secretariat, or Affirmed. There is a reason their names are legendary well outside of horse racing circles.
There's something about chasing the northern plains that is really special, even on the most marginal days. You can go into it expecting little or next to nothing from a storm, but walk away with one of the best days of the year. I traveled to Wyoming on Saturday, May 31st with low expectations. SPC had released a 2% chance for tornadoes on that day and usually that means you aren't seeing much of anything. I was super excited about being able to return to Wyoming to chase because I love the scenery, not just of the mountains but the sagebrush covered plains as well and I think I got my money's worth. We watched storms go up and down on radar, starting to grow then just as quickly die off. After sticking with one storm for a little bit it finally died and we moved north towards a more robust storm. We found a place to pull over and watch it, and it slowly moved east not in any hurry to do much of anything. The storm wasn't even severe warned when suddenly a small base dropped down from the storm and produced a gorgeous funnel. It was the equivalent of finding the needle in the haystack and was cause for much celebration. Here are the photos from Saturday's chase:
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