Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just had da Beans (Billicious, Mollie and Lil Bean) with us for a night here this past weekend at Dana. I absolutely love this family and yearn for more Bean-time.

Monday, May 29, 2006

She still does.

Who cares?

I've just spent a few hours trying to answer that one.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Wild And Wooly Weather Day In SW Ohio

It was pretty sweet....the best chasing day I've had in a while. Of course, the opportunities are few and far between here in these parts but the do happen once in a while. It isn't that we don't have our share of severe weather, it's just that I rarely get to be in the vicinity when it happens. Today was a bit different.

Started out with Paul giving me a heads up when the Storm Prediction Center issued Tornado Watch 395 for the rows of individual supercells lining up in Indiana.
Spen and I got home, made a quick forecast and did a quick plan of attack, trying to plot a path on these storms as they approached- one that would get us on the SW side of the storms that were warned. Luckily (for the chase, not people or property), there were Severe Thunderstorm warnings up for the adjacent counties in Indiana, so we didn't have to "chase" much at all....just get in position as you monitor the speed and course of the cells and wait to see what it did.

We managed to intercept a forming mesocyclone in Franklin County, Indiana from our position in Western Butler County, Ohio. The sequence of pictures that follow depict a small, low precipitation-type supercellular thunderstorm covering a span over about 20 minutes. We are about 8-10 miles away from the storm,which was in the beginning stages of trying to wind up into a fully rotating storm. It never really got there, but several organized structures appeared briefly in the life span of this storm, most of which are photographed.

This picture was taken looking due west toward Indiana at about 3:55 p.m. and had a severe thunderstorm warning with it at the time.

This was taken at 3:57 p.m., with zoom enabled.

Same storm, 4:00 p.m. Notice a better developed lower base and an inflow "tail" of warm air feeding into the updraft section all the way to the left.

You are looking at the SW portion of the storm from facing west. At A is the area called the rear flank downdraft (RFD) , which is a cold, dry shaft of air that plummets straight out the back end of the storm. These are believed to help the tornado actually get it's "spin." At B, is the actual wall cloud at it's most developed stage with this storm. This is the area that would produce the tornado. The arrow to the right of B is where the air flow into the storm is going vertically up. C along with the arrow, denotes low-level moist air flowing into the storm, indicated by the "beaver tail" cloud appendage at C. At D is the parent thunderstorm. F indicates the mesocyclone's connection to the parent thunderstorm, which would be rotating counterclockwise in a fully developed mesocyclone (which this is not). The area at G shows a flattened, almost block-shaped appearance to the meso. This is due in part to the effect of downward flowing dry air, possibly as a result of a meager RFD. H shows the mid level air flow coming in at a different direction and different speed than the flow at the lower level. This is called wind shear and helps the whole thunderstorm rotate. In the presence of wind shear, the appearance of pre-tornadic and tornadic thunderstorms appear to tilt with the direction of the prevailing mid-level winds.

This shot, taken at 4:05 p.m., shows the storm from a wider angle. The lowered base of the storm with a remnant, non-tornadic wall cloud is present at A. Notice the tilted orientation of the storm on its axis to the right as indicated by the arrow. At B is the fledgling meso. C shows the main precipitation core with the storm. D is the parent thunderstorm. At the upper left at E and portions above it is the underside of the anvil with mammatocumulus clouds (after the Latin, mamma for their udder-like shape). These clouds typically form on the underside of the crystallized moisture that is spreading out on the upper reaches of the troposphere, like smoke would flatten out as it floats up to and along the ceiling. They indicate the struggle between cold air on top with warm air trying to incur upward. These tops can sometimes reach up to 60,000 feet. G indicates where the RFD would be.

This shot was at 4:06. Note some of the structures previously described are rapidly fading.

The storm at 4:15 p.m. beginning to weaken, although there appears to be a small funnel cloud in the center, it was actually just a scud cloud (a detached, disorganized usually free-floating cloud in the vicinity of thunderstorms).

This thunderstorm was photographed about 2 miles east of Oxford, Ohio on state route 73, looking southeast. This thunderstorm had a tornado warning with it 12 minutes earlier for Franklin County, Indiana. There was some minor damage and trees down in that area but no confirmed tornado. There is still the remnant of a lowered base in the left center of the picture.

Not a bad day for SW Ohio, given that the SpenDoc got to see his first meso.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Matt Blinn and Kelli Shearron from the Landing Place spent this past Friday evening and Saturday with us here in Oxford at Dana Drive. I am desirous of much more hang-out time with these two. I am convinced of really great things to emerge from them both.

I am convinced also that they need to show us a great time in the Short North real soon! Heh, heh.

Monday, May 22, 2006


We sent off a fantastic guy from our community and one of the best friends a man could have in David Dotson for a six-week art residency in Germany. He'll return to us, but dang it's hard to see him go. He just completed his MFA here at Miami and has definitely a quintessentially unique artistic vision. Go here to see his work.

Remember the cicadas a couple of years ago here in the Ohio Valley?

Here is a picture from a feature article on one of his pieces the Cincinnati Enquirer from May of 2004 of a cicada Dave made. There was a big contest for area children to name the cicada in honor of the insects' arrival.

I've been getting together with Dave on some level practically every week for the last 3 years either hanging out, caving, playing tennis, meeting with Spen and Jason or having some deep conversations. I guess I'm just in reflective mode and just ascertaining how much I appreciate him and what he contributes to all of our lives. I am not looking forward to the absence but it's a fantastic opportunity for him and we're behind him.

I'm so throroughly proud of my friend that I don't know what to do with myself.

May the road rise to meet you, David,
may the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall softly on your fields.
Until we meet again, may God hold you
in the hollow of His hand.

Would it not be a beautiful thing now,
if you were just coming instead of going?

-from Celtic Daily Prayer

Godspeed, my friend.

Monday, May 15, 2006

How 'Bout This?

Vega Obviously Has A New Best Friend

Chillin' On The Couch

Jason Gettin' What He Has Comin' To Him, Much To His Wife's Delight

Bowling, Micah-Style: Excellent Form On The Approach and Release

Bowling, Micah-Style: The End of the Follow-Through

It was a splendid time with Amy and Micah. Just a terrific lil' feller and one sharp, courageous and solid mom to boot. Some good food, deep conversation and perfect company shared with other Veritasians.

And, yes, I did fall to m'laydee in bowling Saturday night. I am not shaken because there is a first time for everything, for sure.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

In just a few short minutes, I will be off for my regular seasonal time to meet Cathy's students, which is always pretty cool to see her do her thing. It's also humorous to see their eyes get really big and wide when they see me walk in. As most of you know, I'm nothing spectacular to look at, but the kids hear her talk about me and their reaction is like, "It's true!! He does exist!!"

One time, I took Jason with me to meet them a few years ago and they were absolutely smitten. They had their year books with them and it wasn't enough to sign them....we were signing books and clothing. We were doggone celebrities.

I think I was the last one to leave the classroom that day.

It's hard to get it much better in SW Ohio than when Amy and little Micah pay your home and community a visit, as they shall this weekend, deo volente.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Well, A Job Update...

We had some Laidlaw corporation honchos (VP, HR Director and Regional Director) come and do their song and dance before us, telling us how good it's gonna be working for their company. We got questions....they ain't got all the answers- yet.

Like: Will we get paid the same? Will we keep our seniority? Will you hire the same dispatcher we had (she had a separate interview with them later)? Will we be on the same shift? Will you support us? Is there any flexibility with the schedule? Blah, blahblahblah, blah-blah and blahblah, and so on and so forth.

We gotta fill out a 12 page application and have another meeting with the VP the first week in June for the first part of a ten-hour training session. We are 'sposed to have the details we need with which to make our decision by then at some point as well.

Apparently, they are trying to keep as many of us drivers as they can, and they should. It's just way too much trouble trying to hire and train new drivers.

I imagine I'll go through the process in order to ensure some sort of employment by the fall, but my antennae are perked for something else. I am not consigning myself to driving a bus, new company or not. I have heard less than favorable comments about the company from different sources, but I have to give them a fresh leg to start on regardless of what I've heard. I think they are trying and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

This post will be helpful to none and news to the same, but I just had to. I'm sure you've seen it...sans the cow perhaps. But the verbiage on a billboard or most likely a church sign. I passed a church tonight, a church I know, a church I'm familiar with, composed of some people I care about and there it was on the marquis, in lights.

That's why emerging generations are suspicious of the Jesus by-products we dangle as meat before the masses. They intuitively sense the kitschy sloganism of our reductionist faith. Jesus is a commodity. Something to possess, consume....attain.

Got Jesus? Nope. He can't be "had." If we are in a battle the hearts, minds and souls of such and if this is our hook of choice, it only underscores the schism between establishment churchianity and the seeking populace- pagans and especially Christ-thirsty followers who'll not be quenched by posterized Jesuses.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

To be as forthright as possible, I've never resolved the struggle of the educational/personal/developmental investment that I sometimes feel I've traded away for this way of life- of which, I don't think I've fully delved into yet. And there are times wherein I feel nothing has been bartered (those places absent of the feeling is the realm of faith).

I don't suppose I'm supposed to resolve this thorniness. Additionally, I can't have seen it all thus far. Let's face it....this way of life is unglamorous, unkempt and almost no one recognizes what it took and takes to have arrived at the meager place in which you are. The vantage point is no pedestal and garners no accolades. And, no, this is not a call for lauds, honors and the like. This is more of an outward sloughing off of bindings, I guess.

Unemployment has a way of catching you in the netherworld of the "what-could/should-be's." This current situation only exacerbates the issue. Like computer software on the glitch with grayed-out clickable options that you need, the right window just doens't seem to want to pop up. I tinker with feeling like an absconder extraordinaire in that there is something I have to offer of myself (and not just for myself) that is not yet existent. I don't seek public recognition, just the inner recognition of what it is I am to be doing in concert with an infectious outpouring of a real move of God as the central thread weaving every facet of my life together.

In many ways I have no doubt I am on that track and in the right place. This is not a question of physical location as it is one of emotional/maturational.

There are money questions inherent in this, but they are not bourne out of greed. Is it a sin to get paid for something you'd love to do and something about which you are passionate and with which you are skilled? Isn't that what most of us are after? But is it what we should be after? IF I were a real Christian, I'd abandon these things and vow away my relatively "affluent" lifestyle (compared to some) for one more simplistic and truly sacrificial with its attending poverties of self and stuff.....selling what I have, checking my ambitions/motivations 24/7 at the door of "Do You Really Love Jesus Or Not".....Right?

Part of my past that haunts with prickly barbs is the fact that I have this reality of having afforded myself the opportunity to become educated. I went through having two degrees conferred upon me. However, I am not convinced that that segment of my life is being fully utilized by cleaning up baby doo, food scraps and saddling a thirty-six foot-long, 36,000 lb. diesel donkey with a love-jones for twenty, ten-to-fifteen mile-per-hour circles for seven hours.

But I determined to go to college and then to seminary to better prepare myself for something into which I was called long before the actuality of college/seminary was before me (well, a few years at least).

The simplest way I can conceive of it is that God crashed my spiraling self-destruct course and invited me at the burly old age of 15 into his Kingdom and I accepted. In that place, I found Home. Rather, it found me and propelled me outward so that I was immediately thinking about what my life would mean thenceforth. I would vow, by myself- beside a juniper bush on the campus of a youth discipleship camp on the side of English Mountain in Tennessee- that whatever I would do with my life, I would do out of gratitude for what He did for me. I would avail myself of whatever I could to make that happen. It might have been easy for me to do so because I entered the Kingdom SOOOOO profoundly "lost" that I have never, to this day, forgotten what that lostness was existentially like.

In short, my educational pursuit was not one emanating from the bounds of some boomer parents' ideation of the American Scream that they felt they had lost out on (and one they could live through me vicariously). My educational route of choice was not just one of the acquisition of information, but also the formation of self and soul. My way was not one enforced and I had no predecessors to influence me. I chose that for myself and made it happen with the gifts and abilities and talents that I knew I had, most of which paid my way through.

Having my education has allowed me to get "here." Here is better than the "thereness" of my way back when, or even yesterday. I was intuitive enough to separate out real life from the foibles of academia that could breed a mule mentality and a slave syndrome. In that sense, I met more invitations of God the further I went along.

My wife told me today that I've just been kicked in the butt. I didn't think so upon hearing it. But maybe I have. I just hope God didn't lose his shoe in the accumulative lard of sloth he was sure to have found on my posterior.

CURRENT MUSIC: "Prismatic" by Oxana

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bye-Bye Bus Boy?

This spring, the small busing transportation company I work for had their contract up for bid with the university amongst several other companies. At stake was almost 15 years working alongside Miami University as the sole company to cart stoodints around this campus and town.

We found out this week that we did not get the contract. Another national company came in and sold the university on a different vision, one perhaps coinciding with the university's vision that includes a slew of physical and philosophical upgrades. Might as well wipe the slate clean with a new prez coming in and all, and the busing service was no exception.

Now, I'm sure as of this Friday, I am no longer employed by Hamilton Tours as I have been for the past three and one-half years. What I'm not sure is if the new company is going to do regarding current HT employees. Rumors abound and short of our last driver's meeting next week, there's nothing to bank on. I'll include my job in that as well.

Of course I work three jobs (well, one- refereeing- is more like an avocation, but it's moolah nonetheless), but the bus gig was my primary source of income. It was the best kind of fit for my church planting bent....extremely flexible schedule, good bosses, good people, summers off, open access to the town and the students. I don't know if you could say I've been passionate about driving a bus, but it was a God-send in time and has allowed venues into ministering to people that I would have never had. I've liked it and I've not liked it. I've practiced contentment with it and have gained it I think. Am I called to be a bus driver? Has my life prepared me for such? Am I to be one for the rest of my days? Is it an open avenue for my own actualization, talent, creativity, dream and passion? I don't think so. Have I been and am I thankful for this experience? You bet.

I had been recently mulling and musing over the issue of vocation and whether or not I've been arising to the point of actualizing myself, my calling, creativity, etc. into something gainful for the Kingdom of God and my physical and spiritually extended family. But that should be another post because, as you read THIS line, it is because I have written enough to fill dozens of papyrii on the subject and I need to downsize for later posts, not to mention thine own sanity.