Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crust Stations

This bad ass weather data collection station/monument to science and technology is located on the Mesa/Delta County lines on Highway 50 in Western Colorado. I stopped the Flipmobile right in the sight line of the middle camera angle . . .

for a good 14 minutes hoping that my image would appear on cotrip.org, which is, all in all, one heck of a fine website. Not only that, but friend/consultant to FKS Sammy Soda was on standby to capture the image permanently via the "print screen" button on his keyboard. Alas, it was not to be.

It's my fault. I was anxious to get back on the road as I had to meet with my chief mountain weather spotter (which is what I'd want my Native American chief name to be) in Vail for beers and intensive discussion regarding the chances of various football teams around the country . . . as well as the snow conditions on Vail mountain (which I'm told are marginal). But as I drove off I thought about how weird it was that this weather station sits at the top of a hill in an otherwise barren and dusty landscape in what many call The Stinking Desert. I'm amazed that it even works given the climate. I am fascinated by its very existence. But I'm glad it's there. I give a tip of the cap to CDOT for keeping an eye on oft-forgotten Western Colorado.

But then I also thought that not so long ago, there were probably people wandering around the very same spot trying to figure out what to kill for their next meal. People who lived off the land and were in tune with nature . . . because they had to be. Those folks would have made killer meteorologists. Experience, familiarity and true necessity beats a computer model like a rented mule any day of the week in my opinion. Sabine wouldn't have lasted a night.

So the dream to have my image captured on a Department of Transportation traffic camera and also get a screen shot of said picture remains just that. But after seeing the work of FKS reader and roving weather spotter Johnny Gnomez, I think you'll agree that nothing is impossible . . . if you try. You'll recall that a month and a half ago, I issued a challenge and promised booze or Mexican food or both if one of you got a photo of lascivious behavior involving the city's new official weather monitoring station. Well, we've got our first entry. Whoa, whoa, whoa . . . don't get too excited and just scroll down the page to look at the photos . . . they are (sadly) safe for work. But that definitely doesn't diminish their sheer excellence. Have a look:

Presumably before his first full body scan at airport security

Mr. Gnomez describes this photo as the spot where the official Denver weather station stood for the past 15 years (much to my chagrin). And I think I should disclose that he sent this picture to me well before that fellow tried to activate his testicle bomb on the plane from Amsterdam to Detroit the other day. I'm fairly certain that if you go out to DIA tomorrow and snap photos of a garden gnome (who is raising his glass and sitting on a barrel of what I presume is whiskey) with the mighty blue mustang, you're going to quickly find yourself on the wrong end of some strenuous questioning by serious people wearing mostly black. Timing is everything.

Here she is . . . in all her glory. *Sniffs air* Smells like new weather station! This beauty, says Mr. Gnomez, is in the middle of City Park Golf Course near hole number 12 - just south of Adams & 26th. Wait a second. They spend all this dough on a fancy new official weather monitoring station and then stick it smack dab in the middle of a municipal golf course? That is a recipe for disaster. Some serious drinking followed by the desire to destroy things is generally what occurs on muni courses. I should know. I think it stems from the frustration of the slow pace of play, but I always like to blame my poor golf game, temper and alcoholism on outside factors and not myself.

That's neither here nor there. People are definitely going to hit golf balls at the weather station and I find that both worrisome and amusing. I'm also wondering if I'm going to be able to resist the urge to dent this beautiful piece of machinery the next time I'm out there. I'll let you know how it goes when the snow clears.

And here is the coup de grace. Go ahead and check out the last of those bulleted points . . . just to the right of the boozing garden gnome's left shin. That's right, it's Mike "The Tornado Dance" Nelson. He is the sole meteorologist being thanked for his support of this new weather station. This means the ban of Channel 7 (aka denverchannel.com) is officially off. Mike cares about us, dammit, and he's the only one. Apparently Kathy, whom I'm pretty sure took the chief meteorologist job from Mr. Nelson at 9News, didn't really care about having an official weather station closer to town. For shame.

But let's not dwell on the negative. Let's congratulate Mike for his incredible foresight and passion . . . and for his magical "Tornado Dance":

Mike Nelson's Torndao Dance

Char | MySpace Video

And I would also like to take a moment to thank Johnny Gnomez for an incredible effort. You went above, beyond and to DIA to capture the entire weather station saga. I am completely stunned by your dedication to the cause. You're carrying a lot of good karma with you into 2010, and that's never a bad thing. Bravo, sir.

Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2010 takes you into her bosom and nurtures you completely. I also hope that there are a lot of big storms.

Raising my glass of cheap champagne,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Peek Over Them Hills

I've always enjoyed the line in Jimmy Buffett's song "Incommunicado" that goes: On the day that John Wayne died/I found myself on the Continental Divide . . . Tell me where do I go from here/Guess I'll ride into Leadville and have a few beers. I have been hoping for many years now that a celebrity I respect dies on a day when I happen to be traversing America's rugged divider and that I could head in to Leadville and have a few beers in their honor. Alas, I've had no such luck.

Today was no exception . . . at least that I'm aware of. I guess I could've gone into Leadville and reflected on all that Brittany Murphy gave to us, but that probably wouldn't have taken longer than a shot of Jagermeister.

But Kim Peek is a completely different story. That's a fellow whom one could probably sit at a bar and reflect upon until one could no longer operate a motor vehicle. The dude knew every zip code in the country yet couldn't even dress himself. If you told him the date you were born, he could tell you what day of the week it was and possibly the last meal your mom ate before she delivered you into this wacky, spinning ball we call earth. They say there is no one like him in recorded history. That means Jesus didn't even have his skills. Think about that come Friday.

Anyway . . . supposedly there is a snow storm rolling it's way into Denver at this moment. I wouldn't know as I am 280 miles away. Where I am it is foggy and cold . . . like a good stein of beer. But from the looks of things, some inclement weather is indeed hitting the Mile High:

I'm not going to do a full throttle rundown of all the predictions, because they seem to be all over the place. Last I saw 9News was only committing to 1-3 inches by Wednesday afternoon and 4-8 total. Channel 4 was a little more optimistic with a 5-10 inch forecast by the time things are all said and done . . . which should be about the time Wapner comes on Thursday.

Travel safe you crazy bastards.

Love Always,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Negative 565 Degrees (Fahrenheit I Assume)

So . . . just how cold was it over the past couple of days? Well, according to 9News, as cold as the surface of Mars. Negative 565 degrees as of Wednesday morning (click the image for a better view):

Monday, December 7, 2009

Backstreet's Back

Where are your fucking gloves, Libby? But yes, the ring is very nice.

My weather blogging is coming under fire from critics far and wide . . . and rightly so. Somehow I failed to notice that local meteorological icon Nick "The Occluded Front" Carter ended up moving over to Fox. This happened in June! If you recall, Captain Carter was unceremoniously dropped, like hot puke off a rest stop toilet (*plagiarizing Jeff Johnson*), from 9News back in January for monetary reasons. I thought then, and still do now, that Altieri had something to do with it. But I can't prove that . . . yet. Regardless, Carter is a seasoned veteran and and a good pick-up for Fox . . . at least according to the comments left on a story announcing his switch:

Nice to hear that Nick Carter is back – pilots are great weather forecasters. Nick’s sense of humor has been missed since Channel 9 made the big mistake of letting him go!

Comment by Jen J

So glad to see more of Nick Carter on Fox31 weather. He’s one of the best Denver has ever had. Channel 9 made a big mistake letting him go. I hope he stays in Denver the rest of his career.

Comment by Evergreen Grandma

In Scottsbluff, NE we get two Denver channels on our cable. I watch #2 because of Nick Carter. He is the best weatherman and I like his calmness in bad weather situations.

Comment by E J

Hey what happened between Nick Carter and the anchor on last nights broadcast, he didnt know that camera’s were back on and he told Nick Carter he didnt have a future??????

Comment by Ted S

I think it's clear that Nick is well regarded amongst the elderly, Nebraskans and pilots. And if you stop and think about it for a second, you'll realize that these are the folks most respected in the meteorological community. Why? Because pilots have to understand the weather so they don't kill themselves; Nebraskans who are up at 5:30AM probably farm and greatly depend on weather forecasts; and old people have been around long enough to know who's full of shit and who knows their weather. If I was Nick, I'd be pumped. I'll admit I have a soft spot in my otherwise cold, black heart for Nick. He seems earnest and steady, like the music of Ryan Bingham. And I think his fat man's hat is good shit.

But what about his forecast? Well, like everybody else, he said it's going to be as frosty as Tiger's marriage today. He also said to expect some heavier snow between 1 and 4 in the morning. I just had a look (1:30AM) and can confirm that is snowing, albeit lightly. It's also eight degrees, breezy and painful out there.

I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment and give a Mile High Salute to the Barrel Man (aka Tim McKernan), who sadly passed on to the great unknown Saturday. He was the president de facto of Broncos Country and will be sorely missed. He was awesome in so many ways . . . this being one of them:

And if you're going to the Broncos game on Sunday the 20th, see if you can't get yourself a barrel to wear in tribute.

Roll out the barrels . . . we'll have a barrel of fun,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scary Cold

Kath feigns amazement in her snow attracting outfit

Wow . . . my video capture equipment is down so this is all I can share from tonight's forecast by the Matron Saint. It was bizarre to say the least. Not so much the actual forecast - she's pretty robotic when it comes to reading teleprompters and pointing at maps - it was the playful banter with the anchors that was creepy. The photo above was taken right after she said, "Hey, it's still fall." Then she held that odd grin for a few seconds while Adele Arakawa made mention of looking forward to the 20s. Then Kath started giggling and saying something about how weird it was that Adele would say that before blurting out, "Fall in Colorado!"

I'm not doing a good job of describing the interaction, but believe me, it was strange. It reminded me of a party I attended a few weeks ago. This gal was virtually passed out in the host's bed due to, apparently, too many shots. All of the sudden, she sprung to life and ran into the living room where she performed an incredibly detailed (and sexy) dance routine involving a chair and the late Michael Jackson's music. To the complete shock of everyone in the room, she absolutely nailed it. When the song ended, she bowed and then staggered back into the bedroom and passed out (and yes, I left her alone . . . get your minds out of the gutter). That's essentially what this forecast was like.

Anyway, Sabine said there's going to be a dusting to an inch of snow in the early morning hours which should make for another awesome commute. I can't wait. Also, the temperature should top out in the mid teens. Be thankful you're not homeless.

Early AM Report

It's rough out there. I just made an in-person weather observation from the spotter's tower on the grounds of temporary FKS headquarters and can confirm that it is indeed wicked . . . strong winds, stinging snow and some awfully cold air. Is it as cold as a witch's tit? I don't think so. Not yet. But we're definitely headed in that direction. Be prepared, Old Man Winter's going to try and kick you in the teeth when you walk out that door tomorrow. Take the necessary precautions. Or don't. I really don't care either way. But good luck to you.

- Flip

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Cold Blast For Dat Ass

Here's 124-pound Ashton Altieri doing his best to hold up the "E" in Denver

What's up, chuckleheads? Have you been enjoying this run of sensuous sunshine and air temperatures that are consistently warmer than an Orangutan's armpit? I hope you made the most of it, because Old Man Winter's making a run down from Canada in a rusty 1974 Chevy C10 and should be arriving any minute. He'll be wearing head-to-toe denim and he's got a payload full of ball-shrinking and nipple-erecting cold air. He's also drunk and smells like your underwear after a three day camping trip. Get him inside quick . . . before the neighbors see.

Altieri said last night to expect three inches (of snow) here in Denver. Coniglio has tweaked that slightly today saying 1-3 tonight and then perhaps 1-2 during the day tomorrow.

Stacey Donaldson, whom I'm falling deeply in love with, is a little more pessimistic, claiming that we're only going to see a couple of inches, tops. It's like she made that forecast by looking down my pants.

Dave Fraser, like Tiger Woods, is not getting into specifics and is saying 2-4 inches across "The Foothills, Front Range and Eastern Plains." That sounds like a country song. Cheetahtoes . . . get on it.

Weather.com says 1-3 inches tonight and then perhaps 1-2 during the day tomorrow . . . which is exactly what Coniglio said. Plagiarism is all the rage these days I guess. But who ripped off whom?

Tony Laubach over at Channel 7, whose title says he's a weather producer/storm chaser, pens a pretty decent forecast. For the most part, it's detailed yet concise. However, he uses exclamation points at the same rate as a 16-year-old girl, which is kind of weird. He also has a pretty bad ass weather blog. But before we get too smitten with this fellow, I should note that not only is he a Redskins fan, but he's quite obviously a Broncos hater. To wit, here's what he said after attending the Broncos/Redskins game a few weeks ago: "But the best part of the win was to return home to Denver and enjoy the happiness in everyone’s misery AND to watch a bunch of over-confident Broncos fans eat a ton of crow."

Well, I'm all for supporting your team and talking a little shit, but this is too much. This asshole presumably lives and works in our fine town and is just way too enthusiastic about the misery of its citizens caused by a team owned by a fascist dickweed. His vitriol will not stand, man. I encourage all seven of my readers to hereby boycott Channel 7 (aka thedenverchannel.com) and tell everyone you know to do the same. And if you see this guy out on the streets, go ahead and fart on him. Here's what he looks like (warning: it's not pretty):

Get out of Broncos Country, sir - your kind is not wanted here.