Desierto norte de Chile

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chapter Four

Yesterday I completed a draft of chapter four!!! 78 pages, including figures (about half of those are text). Now I'm writing ch. 3, and I have to complete chapter 1 and write chapter 5. To use horse race terms, I am making the final turn and heading for the back stretch!

This weekend I'm going to Colorado for 3 days and will attempt to scale Mt. Elbert. Stay tuned for some photos!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Saga of a writing man

So yea, I am writing my dissertation. I think it's going okay, but probably a lot slower than I would want. The total is up to about 45 (new) pages, but because the topic changed so much from the last 110 pages I wrote in 2006, I estimate that I can only use about 50% of the old stuff. Today I didn't leave my apartment until 7:15 p.m., and that was to go jogging. Other than 2 short telephone conversations and a few words of invitation (& declination) from the guys playing soccer as I jogged past, I haven't even spoken to anyone today. How's that for exciting?! Tomorrow I'm going to force myself back to my "office", which turns out to be one of the brown booths in the "schooner room" of the student union. Yes, my office at the cushy Nat'l Weather Center has far too many distractions and not enough 'white noise'. So despite the large numbers of people who pass by my booth at the Union, I'm pretty much distraction free and can focus. Of those 45 new pages I have written, about 30 of them have come from the union. Here are a few other thoughts on my mind tonight:

- I am getting nostalgic. Even before leaving. I've had people over to my apartment for dinner 4 of the last 7 nights, and 2 of the other nights I was either at a party (Celia's on Saturday) or at Wildwood 6:11 (on Sunday). Tonight I flew solo.

- Even though this period of time is my favorite (the weeks bookending [or "couching", that one's for you Anneliese!] the start of fall semester classes), primarily because of the opportunities to meet new people, I think God has asked me to continue investment in the relationships I've already been blessed with, instead of actively seeking out new ones. Of course befriending the Uni Reading "6" was a blast, and I enjoyed my chats with the Uni-Hamburg students on Saturday. But as I have perhaps two more months in Norman, I really do want to pour into the already-established relationships, strengthening them before I go. Is this normal?

- I am, however, very excited about joining up with Mr. Nathan Crain and Mr. Bob Pillow - and others - for a bible study over heroes of faith. It should be pretty much nothing short of awesome, since I really enjoy those guys, and I enjoy studying the word of God. Can you get a better combination? :-)

- Writing gets to be a chore. When I awoke today I read an email from a NOAA colleague describing one of his methods of quantifying TC activity. And I really like his method -- it is not used as often -- so I spent most of the day recalculating my statistics using his method. I didn't get much anything new, which verifies the robustness of each of the activity quantifications: count, ACE, PDI, and sTCd. It was a nice result. My personal goal is to have the chapter on the MJO basically complete by early next week --- we'll see how that goes since I have yet to create any of the figures (can we use Google Earth in a dissertation??! Is that scientifically acceptable?) or tables.

- I should really take (and then upload) photos. I don't like reading all-text posts, and yet this is what I give you guys. Thanks for slogging through!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to school; Dean landfall

Greetings from the School of Meteorology "Back to School" seminar! This week is my favorite, as everything gets back going, people are in a good mood and eager to make new friends, and the campus and city come back to life after a slumbering summer. I'm busy writing my dissertation and enjoying the back-to-school festivities. I hosted 6 Univ of Reading (in the U.K.) students for dinner last Friday night, and we had a great time chatting it up and laughing at some of the US-UK humor! Celia also hosted her annual back to school party on Saturday, and even though it rained the whole time (I think it rained a ton last year, too, as I remember getting soaked after dropping off the Univ. Hamburg exchg. students at Celia's door and going to find a parking spot.) I also enjoyed new-student move-in last Thursday, Wildwood map distribution in the dorms on Saturday, and the first 6:11 service on Sunday.

In weather news, Oklahoma had a very interesting event on Saturday and Sunday: the remnants of tropical storm Erin, that came ashore in south Texas earlier in the week, moved across Oklahoma and gave many areas 5-10" of rain. Norman had 6.1" of rain in 24 hrs, which has to be close to a record!! Hurricane Dean passed through the West Indies early in the week, damaging Dominica and Martinique before passing south of Jamaica on Saturday and coming ashore in the Yucatan as a Category 5 storm -- the first Cat 5 landfall in the Atlantic since Andrew 1992. Right now Dean is churning the Bay of Campeche on its way to the Mexican coast again. Hopefully all who were affected by Dean will emerge safely and begin reconstructing their lives and homes.

Radar image of Erin as it intensified, perhaps developing an "eye."

Rainfall totals from the Oklahoma mesonet as Erin remnants moved across Oklahoma.
Dean as it made landfall in the Yucatan with central pressure of 906 mb and maximum winds of 145 kt.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


After reading this well-written article in the NY Times about Medellin, once the "most dangerous place on earth", my heart is gushing with fond memories of my time there. In Dec./Jan. 2005/2006, the city was alive with celebration, energy, and people. And I was treated like a king by Freddy & Diana and families. If anyone has the chance to visit Colombia, I give a wholehearted recommendation to do it. VIVA MEDELLIN!

A few photos:

The view of Medellin from one of the many modern shopping malls up in the hillside.

A chiva bus (for our party in Montenegro!)

Freddy & Diana (& me) having coffee in city center of Medellin.

FELIZ ANO NUEVO! Diana's family knows how to party, and they kindly let me join!

A street vendor chilling with us at a park at 11:30 p.m. Freddy bought him an orange soda and he stayed with us for about an hour. His eyes got really huge when I told him I was from Los Estados Unidos. :-)

Can you guess how we rang in the New Year 2006? Yup, dancing for hours and then having a drink. 'Twas amazing.

Mmmm... soup, ensalada, arepa (of course!), fish, coconut rice --- yuuuuum! Courtesy of Felipe Gallego and his wonderfully hospitible family!

More good times on the chiva bus. I think the kid's nickname was "Beto" -- and he might be Felipe's younger brother (or maybe a cousin?)

The classic food of Medellin -- whose residents are "Paisas". This food is Bandeja Paisa, which includes fried plantain, avacado, beans, egg, arepa, rice, chinchulla, and "intestine filled with rice cooked in blood" (forget the name). Mmmm!

Friday, August 10, 2007

¡Yo voy a Chile!

Last week I officially accepted a post-doc research appointment with the University of Chile! I will go there in December and work with the Department of Geophysics for two years. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragements! I'll keep the blog postings coming, but will probably have to make a name change since the Chilean plains - while perhaps alive - are not really existent.

Chile's location, along the west coast of South America. I will be living in Santiago, the capital, population 5 million.

The main administration building on the campus. The Department of Geophysics is located in a different regional campus a few metro stops away.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Life update

Hey guys, I'm alive, just haven't posted in a few days. Since I arrived back in Norman on Monday, I've been pretty busy and staying active. Tue I met with Lance, went to Walmart to restock my fridge, saw Chris and Jon B at the Library, went to the dentist, and played ultimate frisbee. Yesterday I spent 8 hours in research, continuing to calculate the relationships between EPAC and NATL TC activity. Below is a figure that relates TC activity to several major planetary-scale climate indicies. Now I have to interpret those results (along with 10 other figures showing similar things), and also run a wavelet analysis on my time series. Then write and defend. Woah! Lance says 6 to 8 weeks if I push hard. So I'm doing just that! After research, I went jogging and then hung out with Cuong. Today after I finish this post I have a few hours of research scattered between my 10:00 meeting with a prospective student, 12:00 lunch meeting with Lin Goldston of Int'l Student Services, a 3:00 appt at Goddard health center to begin my immunizations for Chile, and then dinner with Trey. I'll try to upload some beach pics soon. Cheers.

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