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How Chasing (and ST) has changed

Just Amazing. Compare the discussions and topics found in the early decades of ST (the printed version) to where we have come now. It seems that Chasing is now is basically more about (only check those that apply to you):

* being closest
* getting the best video
* the most intense
* self promoting
* being on TV
* bickering
* competing
* lying
* forging
* stealing images
* driving insanely
* going for the extreme
* stormgasming
* upsetting locals and law enforecement
* did I mention bickering?
* setting bad examples
* tempting lawmakers
* not being courteous safe and responible
* "It's about them, not the storm"
* endangering others
* litigating
* did I mention being on TV?
* I could go on

When I got into this it was about the wonder of the atmosphere, forecasting, learning, and observing.

Maybe we need to get back to basics? How about making the old school attitudes of chasing "cool" again (and I would say that it is mostly the crappy documentaries and news stories that have pushed the style of chasing over to the extreme by glorifying certain elements over others - and WE let that happen)? The old ethos seemed to go a long way to self-police many of the issues facing Storm Observing today. Anyone remember the ideals originally set out by David Hoadley?

I am disgusted and shamed how Chasing has changed (though I refuse to let it change the way I chase), and I hope there will be some kind of movement to take chasing back from what is has become to (at least more) of what it used to be.
 
I think that's Yahoo-ing you are referring to. The chase community can't do diddly about that. I have a hard time believing anyone on this forum can take the blame for the above (leaving Billy's case aside.)

- Rob
 
Good luck with your movement, anyone who has a little money these days can go out and chase. That's the "problem" I suppose. You're never going to get chasing back to the so-called "glory days" so I think we need to embrace and educate rather than exclude.
 
I think that's Yahoo-ing you are referring to. The chase community can't do diddly about that. I have a hard time believing anyone on this forum can take the blame for the above (leaving Billy's case aside.)

- Rob

Well then I would posit that there seems to me to be a lot more Yahoo-ing going on these days! Just my opinion - everyone's mileage may vary!
 
heh

Chasing to me...

- Excitement beyond belief
- Tremendous storm structure
- Beautiful Scenery
- Dull, boring drives
- Busts
- Severe phenomena
- Road trips
- Good eatin at fine restaurants
- Awesome sunsets
- Sitting and waiting
- Enjoying life at its finest
- Watching turkey towers :D

Chasing is what you make it. You can let things that change bother you, or you cannot. You alone control your chase, no one else should. Chasing is independent. Theres no clock to punch in, theres no clock to punch out. It is you, the road, and the weather. Has chasing changed? not for me. Has stormtrack changed? maybe...but I dont revolve around a forum group. ST is here so I can communicate with other chasers... but it does not change my chasing. Chasing for me is the same as it was when I started, and when I can chase, I love each and every second of it.
 
Good luck with your movement, anyone who has a little money these days can go out and chase. That's the "problem" I suppose. You're never going to get chasing back to the so-called "glory days" so I think we need to embrace and educate rather than exclude.

Educating on and ecouraging the old ethos is EXACTLY what I am hoping for - I have no interest in excluding anyone. I think this is about changing attitudes - specifically attitudes about what matters in chasing as that seems to affect behaviour.

Hope that clarifies my point and motives a little more.
 
All good points....for me its:
1. pump first @$2.05 (not prepay @2.59 in CA)
2. always something to photograph
3. talking to some down to earth country people
4. never being tailgated
5. low cost ticket fines
6. seeing a cell explode on your radar screen and you are within reach
7. almost never being disapointed by a storm system
8. the absence (almost) of traffic lights
9. watching a golden weatfield at sunset with a storm lighting up the sky with orange mammitus hoovering

.......knowing that I discovered weather before I died......and trying to find foregiveness for someone who tried to be someone he really wasnt
 
"I think this is about changing attitudes"

How do you do that? How do you even find the audience? They certainly aren't here or on WX-Chase!
 
Maybe someone should institute a CFDG certificate program -- CFDG standing for Certified Funnel Designation Guardian. There's a bit of in-joke humor there....

Seriously, though, I think it's great that so many people are storm watching and storm chasing. The experience humbles, educates, and awes everyone -- even the most exalted, ignorant, and contemptful among us.

Sure I regret in a way having to share the landscape with others. What visitor to Grand Canyon doesn't secretly wish they had it all to themselves?

Like I often say, practicing religion is a good thing because you know that most likely people aren't killing each other while they're in church. The rest of the week is a whole other thing.
 
A couple of reasons that it has changed are: "Twister" do i need say more? Hollywoods unrealistic glorification of it.
And I think that its like being a little kid and pushing to see how far you can go without getting in trouble. Once you get in trouble you know to back down. Its the same in chasing. People will push the limits until they get into trouble or killed then and only then will they back off. That not the way to do it but its the way it is. Eventually somebody will try and drive right up to the edge of the tornado and get film of themselves getting out of their vehicle and trying to dodge debris. Look at whats happened with motorcycling, skateboarding etc. We would have never thought of doing anything close to that kind of stuff 20 years ago. I hate to see where chasing will be in 20 yrs.

Dennis
 
The problem in this thread is people thinking chasing has to have some type of universal meaning for everyone. This is the same mistake religion makes everyday.

Chasing is different to different people. I can't stand people posting stuff like this thread's lead-off post bitching about "people don't chase the way I want them to." This is all that post is really saying.

My advice is, if you don't like the fact other people chase with different agendas or ideologies/philosophies, get off the internet. Stop posting reports, stop reading reports.

Disappear.

While we're on the subject of "yahooing", I'd like to make an example of the gross misrepresenation of that term. In the recent book (that everyone hates) "Big Weather", I'm quoted as saying "I was definitely a yahoo." I did say that, but I'm not (by saying that) admitting I was an irrersponsible jackass who had no consideration for others. I'm saying I was young, had no experience, was over-excitable, and was out there trying to do something that I myself (even then) knew I had no idea how to do. My point in saying that was, despite the fact I had no clue how to chase (and knew it), my passion to chase superceded that lack of knowledge and I went out and did it anyway. The point of my "yahoo" statement was to show others that if you're passionate and dedicated enough, you don't need experience to get started.

I guess my definition of yahoo is different than most. IMO "yahoo" means inexperience, excitement, niavity - but certainly not disregard or disrespect to anything or anyone.

My word for that is a$$hole.
 
The point of my "yahoo" statement was to show others that if you're passionate and dedicated enough, you don't need experience to get started.

Experience no, but a basic knowledge would be helpful and safe. I won't get into what happened on my first chase because it is very embarrassing but I will say that my passion was stronger than my knowledge and that was a dangerous combination. My point here is although you don’t have to be a Mr. Marshall as far as chasing experience; a basic knowledge of storms would keep you a little safer imo.

We all start out somewhere and with regards to vast amount of data and forums such as ST you better bet we will see more chasers. It is becoming more and more easy for someone to chase as technology grows. I am sure Chase DVD’s and Documentaries do have a lot to do with the influx of new chasers. The fact is as much as I would love to have chased in the 70’s and 80’s with very little public emphasis on chasing and very few chasers on the road we must understand that those days are gone for good.

Mick
 
I don't know... I've been chasing since the '80's out of Fort Worth when Alan Moller used to get on live on the .94 repeater during the skywarn nets and give us live updates from the FW weather office. He used to run some awesome skywarn classes in the Fort Worth city council chambers.

Those days may be gone for good - but I must admit, having wireless internet in just about any city you stop at, access to all of the model data, the SPC updates and Baron ThreatNet beats it all!

I really don't mind having all of the other chasers around. With just a few exceptions, everyone is nice and is out there for the same reason - our love of severe weather. Hopefully some of our kids will enjoy our love and grow up to be meterologists and accept the woefully low pay that these guys get from our Govt.

Plus with the "tornado attack vechicles" we get some humor along the way

:D

David Douglas
Austin, TX
 
"I think this is about changing attitudes"

How do you do that? How do you even find the audience? They certainly aren't here or on WX-Chase!

You present young chasers with different options for the attitude chasers have. In the early days the predominant attitude was different from what it is now - but even back then there were people who chased agressively and that was fine, but the overall attitude (motives. approach, demeanor, and thus behavior) was different than what the image of chasing has become now.

I would be much happier if there was more of a focus on the aspects of chasing that Bill and Jeffery mentioned - a lot of new people don't even get exposed to those aspects of chasing. Maybe the movement I am talking about is an active attempt to promote more of the boring and sublime aspects of chasing.

Again you change attitudes by presenting different viewpoints - and I would suggest that the media has been emphasising only one aspect of chasing over the last decade - the extreme, the up close, etc. and thus it draws mostly people who are drawn to those elements when chasing is much more than that (and NOT that for many chasers).
 
I have to agree with Shane's post. People are into chasing for many reasons and unless they are doing something illegal or extremely dangerous we need to be more tolerant.

The problem I see with ST is the moderators need to apply a shorter fuse when it comes to personal attacks. I personally became too involved with defending someone who was attacked a few weeks ago. By the end of the thread, we had moved away from the original meaning and reduced ourselves to childish personal attacks. The moderators should have locked those worthless discussions right away. When readers (especially new ones) see "these threads of poison" they think this is the way ST is conducted so it goes on and on. I also think the moderators need to avoid all personal opinions when making those "locked" decisions. I've noticed an uncomfortable tendency: When those who moderator(s) favor have been attacked in the past, the moderators step in fast. But if its someone the specific moderator does not like or know - the thread continues.

If nothing changes soon, ST will lose all respect and another site will pop up promising more respectful conversation. This is the same thing that happened to WX-Chase.

Otherwise, I think ST is the best chase discussion forum ever.

Mike
 
With all due respect, Mike, most of the MODS and the forum admin haven't been around much in the past couple weeks as we were chasing (or other personal matters), so forgive our lack of attention to the forum during the height of chase season.

And I will also second Shane's comments... chasing is what you make of it and I guess by his definition, I could be classified as a Yahoo when I first started out as well! While ST has obviously changed, and chasing has, too, its what you make of it that really counts.
 
These issues aren't unique to chasing. You'll find them in any hobby, sport, business, etc.

The main thing to remember is that you can't judge the whole of a group by the actions or philosophies of a few. The problem with all of the negative publicity and bad reputations we've been seeing is due to just that.
 
my 2c worth:

1. 99% of all forums and/or lists will have silly little battles (and they ARE silly, stand back from the situation for a moment and you'll see) Some are worse than others, but it's a fact of net life. Moderators are there for a reason.

2. We should do our best to help the beginners. Yahoo or not, we all started out not knowing very much. Some percentage of them will drop out or loose interest. Some will go on and be students in Norman, Texas A&M, or some other university with a met school in a few years.

3. Things will change and that's OK. Chasing, forums, lists, people, etc.

4. Learn from others. There will always be a chaser that is better than you are and there will always be a chaser that is not as good as you are. Figure out what the better chasers are doing and learn from them.

<soapbox off>

David Douglas
Austin, TX
 
The problem in this thread is people thinking chasing has to have some type of universal meaning for everyone. This is the same mistake religion makes everyday.

Chasing is different to different people. I can't stand people posting stuff like this thread's lead-off post bitching about "people don't chase the way I want them to." This is all that post is really saying.

My advice is, if you don't like the fact other people chase with different agendas or ideologies/philosophies, get off the internet. Stop posting reports, stop reading reports.

Disappear.

While we're on the subject of "yahooing", I'd like to make an example of the gross misrepresenation of that term. In the recent book (that everyone hates) "Big Weather", I'm quoted as saying "I was definitely a yahoo." I did say that, but I'm not (by saying that) admitting I was an irrersponsible jackass who had no consideration for others. I'm saying I was young, had no experience, was over-excitable, and was out there trying to do something that I myself (even then) knew I had no idea how to do. My point in saying that was, despite the fact I had no clue how to chase (and knew it), my passion to chase superceded that lack of knowledge and I went out and did it anyway. The point of my "yahoo" statement was to show others that if you're passionate and dedicated enough, you don't need experience to get started.

I guess my definition of yahoo is different than most. IMO "yahoo" means inexperience, excitement, niavity - but certainly not disregard or disrespect to anything or anyone.

My word for that is a$$hole.


LOL Shane! I never knew you described yourself as a Yahoo!

Yes I thought your attitude was somewhat misguided when you first started but you have the passion, stuck with it, learned, and I guess you could say even mellowed in your years. I have come to enjoy most of your chase accounts as you have the same passion and dedication of many of the veterans!

I DO NOT want you or anyone else to chase the way I choose to chase - but I also don't want the kind of chasing I describe in my list (and I don't think you are like that) to define what chasing is (and maybe that is the CRUX of the issue). And chasing being defined by the "extreme" is what happens if those who have a different approach to chasing just "disappear".

BTW, a lot of the veteran chase crowd disappeared becuase discussions like this devolved into things that were far from the point of the original post and a lot of the discussions of the past got downright nasty (and ignorant) and people retreated from that. Hopefully that won't happen with this thread as I still think it is a vaid discussion if everyone keeps perspective.

I also totally disagree with your definition of Yahoo - that it is "inexperience, excitement, niavity" (and many verterans have tried to point this out over the years). That is just being a novice (and I do think people should not try and go do it alone without experience - they now have the tour group option as a way to learn from those with experience). What you call an @sshole is more of what I call a Yahoo. Semantics, eh?

AGAIN, I am really talking about a way (a movement?) that empahsises that there ARE differing approaches to chasing and some of the more sedate styles are vust as valid and maybe need more attention so that chasing is NOT defined by only the "extreme" approach. AGAIN what is emphasized provides people choices on how they may want to chase if they decide to (I would also say it influences them ) - and how chasing is portrayed determines what type of chaser mix you get in each new generation. I would like to see a fighting chance remain to also bring in those who might enjoy an "old-school" approach and appreciation but we may never get them if they don't know that is even an option. All we will get is the myopic thrill seekers - and the envelope will get pushed even harder.
 
Stormchasing will never again be like it was in the 70's and 80's. Anyone wishing for that return is in for a disappointment. It just isn't going to happen. In those days, you had what was probably 50-100 dedicated people. By the end of the 80's and start if the 90's, the number of dedicated chasers had likely grown to several hundred. Then by the mid/late 90's, after all the tv exposure in documentaries and the movie Twister, the number grew to nearly a thousand. Now, it's untelling just how many people are involved. I would guess the number of people who do chase on a frequent basis is around 1000, but there are far more of the locals who go out these days. So the number of people who may chase in a given year may be as high as 2,000 to 3,000. There's really no way of knowing.

The point is, with the growth of chasing, there is far more chances for bad stuff to happen. When you increase the number of chasers out there x10 or x20, naturally there are going to be more things get noticed. There will be more roads blocked, more cases of bad driving, more close calls and run in's of various types. That would be true of any activity really. The more people you have, the more problems you'll have. That's why a city with a population of 500,000 will have more robberies and murders per year than a town of 20,000. It's just basic math.

I think a good comparison of how growth and popularity has changed things is NASCAR. NASCAR has followed a very similar path to chasing. Even the timeframe is similar.

-NASCAR was likely at it's best in the 1970's. At the time it was still mainly a southern sport with southern fans. So it was a regional thing. Chasing was much the same. Both had a much smaller following, but a dedicated one.

-In the 70's, neither got much media coverage. So the secret was still somewhat there. Both chasing and NASCAR were great at the time. But the lack of media coverage meant that only those truly dedicated with connections to each thing really were heavily involved with it.

Then came the 1980's. The first live race to air on TV was the 1979 Daytona 500. Then during the 80's, CBS and especially ESPN started bringing NASCAR into the homes of people all around the country and world. People who had no prior exposure to it were now able to witness the greatness. Chasing saw it's first documentary in the mid 80's also, with the Nova production. That for the first time brought chasing into homes all across America.

By the late 80's and early 90's, the secret was pretty much out of the bag. NASCAR had a fanbase that was no longer made up of southerners, but people everywhere. With the increased exposure, the growth continued. With the number of chasing documentaries and the movie Twister of the 90's, the same thing happened to chasing. Prior to all of these tv specials, it probably never occurred to most people that they could go out and drive around witnessing these storms. But seeing others do so set off the lightbulb in their brain.

That leads us to the present time. Both NASCAR and chasing have undergone amazing transformations since the 70's. All races today are televised. Pretty much all tornadoes are televised too. I mean a tornado can't touch down anywhere in the Plains without video being aired on TWC or CNN. With the added growth, there has also been a big increase in the money generated by the interest it has created. Both have become much more business oriented activities for many. That's just a natural evolution. And both have more people involved today than ever before. The media that has helped build chasing into what it is also is part of the problem when it comes to certain issues that are frequently mentioned these days. The media also built NASCAR into what it is today, but many of the older fans are not sure they like what has become of it, with such things as losing races at tracks like North Wilkesboro and Darlington to take them elsewhere to greater populations. That's just a part of growth and it effects both chasing and racing.

Today, NASCAR drivers are from all over the nation. Chasers are from all around the world.We have people who come here to chase from Australia, Japan, Europe, etc.

I actually in many ways miss the old NASCAR and would love to see it return to it's roots. But that isn't going to happen. Growth fueled by exposure has forever changed the landscape. So either you find a way to adapt to the changes or you move on. The same is true of chasing. The growth fueled by the books, the documentaries, the news coverage, etc has been tremendous. There's simply no way to change that. The only way chasing will ever be like it was in the 70's again with so few problems is to have a similar size group of people chasing with no interest being generated by the media. Again, that just isn't going to happen. The cat is out of the bag.

-George
 
Shane - right on!

I chase because I have a passion for severe weather. Nothing makes me happier than watching and experiencing storms.

Things change, some for the better, some worse. I will not let any of that affect how/why I chase. And I won't let a forum change how I chase either. This is a great place to exchange info with other chasers, but ST does not "define" chasing.

Everybody has a reason for being out there. I am not one to define what is right or wrong. In all aspects of life there are always a few who can make you look bad. People will focus and talk about bad behavior more than they will good behavior. To use George's analogy of NASCAR. I am a big NASCAR fan. In the past there have been fans that have gotten angry and thrown beer cans on the track while the cars are still out there. They are idiots and I would like to kick their a$$, but for these kind of people there is nothing I could do or say that would make them act any different.

I experience more reckless driving everyday when I commute to work. Does it make me mad, heck yes. But I can't change how those people drive either. Will I call a chaser out if they do something stupid that risks others lives? You bet I will. I will also confront Joe Blow interstate driver who risks others lives (people have to stop for gas sometime).

The new chasers that are seriously passionate about the weather will take the time to learn from more experienced chasers. You won't have to tell them to. The ones that don't really care about learning anything and their main goal is to get closer to a tornado than anyone are not going to be receptive to any type of "movement" anyway.

The biggest thrill of my life would be to be on a storm, have it all to myself watching a big stovepipe tornado form, then have Roger Jensen pull up and watch the storm with me. But that's not going to happen.
 
Beings a lot of this is focusing on some of the newer chasers, I figured I would try and get a word in from a new chaser. :wink: Sorry ahead of time if it is not well thought out, as I'm going with passion here...

As a lot of new chaser's say, they have always been interested in weather and now are able to drive or get to go along with other people. No different with me, always being fascinated by it and what it can do in just minutes. I even have a book from 2nd grade when I recorded the weather for a week... I believe that the problem that most of the new chasers have is that they don't want to see the storm structure, turkey towers like Jeff mentioned and especially things like sunsets, etc. They want to see that mile wide tornado with tons upon tons of CG flashes all around them. They want to feel the wind from the tornado themselves. Sure, I wouldn't mind being close to a tornado, but by no means am I going to get dangerously close...

I've talked to a few new chasers or people who want to chase in the upcoming years. And they just don't get it, in my point of view. They are interested in going when the storms fire and driving 80 mph to get there... They do not want to be pacient, drive out into the country to see wide open fields and wait for those first towers to go up. Sure, I've only been on a couple of small chases, but some of the best times were driving back home and the wait for storms to finally initiate.

The next thing is once you actually get to the storm, you need to plan ahead.. Get in position for the storm, stay out of the core, etc.. Several new chasers and even semi-experienced chasers will not to do this. They will go right after it and have to bail out in the end. They will purposely go for the hail and into the rain core. This is becuase they don't have the knowledge behind themselves to know better, who knows what could come out of the sky when you get past the core... But, most newbies are going by themselves into unfamilar territory without the proper education, techniques and especially equipment. I for one am always wanting a partner, I believe it is always best that way. You need to have more than one person, be able to look around to be sure you aren't about to get hammered by a different storm. Plus, if they are more educated/experienced you can always learn a lot more. The problem of course wether it bothers you or not is that several people go out by themselves without knowing exactly what they are doing. And that is what is going to give chasers bad names. I want to be able to go out and say I like to chase storms and not have people just say "wow, how close have you been to a tornado" or "how many tornadoes have you seen?" To me it is much more then just that simple weather phenomena. SO many more things to weather than just that tornado... That is what everybody is loosing site of. I know many other have said things similar to this, but they are all experienced chasers. I just felt that you guys should know that there is some hope in the upcoming chasers. Edit: I have noticed even over the past 3 years that I have went to spotter classes how the formats' have changed. Most people that are there are in fact "older" so to say. You do not see many people 15-30 that are in attednance. Why is that? I know I have felt strange going to these when everybody else is at least 10 years older then me... Younger chasers aren't going to classes, not talking to wiser people. Sure, I may be bothersome sometimes trying to ask questions. But, I jsut want to learn more! And I'm sure it may seem that I have butted in, (maybe in this occasion as well) about things and some of you wonder, who the heck is this??!... But, I want to be known out there, and eventually be recognized like David Drummond, Tim Vasquez, Mike Hollingshead, Tim Samaras and this list could go on and on of people that I look up to. I don't want younger inexperienced people ruining the vision that I have out here for storm chasing. I want to make it my own! And that is what my plan is...

I hope to someday, hopefully this summer yet to meet up with some of you guys... Knowing that I will learn a lot and come away with a positive experience wether I see storms or not... I'm not going to let new chasers such as myself, or even experienced chasers ruin what is supposed to be storm chasing and what I have looked forward to for several years now. I'm going to go out on the road, enjoy the scene of the countryside as well as the weather... Enjoy all of the things that I want to enjoy and not what all other chasers enjoy...

All the newbie has to say on the subject... 8) Sorry for any interuption...
 
The online world of chasing vs. the real world of chasing are two totally different things. I think a lot of us probably assume we know each other from our posts in here, but the truth is that we really don't have much much of a clue about what we are each like in day-to-day life. In the past there have been several chasers who I have formed ideas of what they are like by reading posts everyday, but then when I actually meet them I'm surprised that they weren't anything like the preconceived notion I had of them. Causes me to try not to put people in a box according to what I've read on an Internet site. The fact is still very true of chasing that everyone who does it just loves to be out there. One thing that you will see over and over when looking down a line of cars parked to watch a supercell is the same look of excitement on each of the faces behind the cameras and binoculars, etc. that has always been there. I don't think that aspect of chasing has changed much at all.
 
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