Regrets

Joey Ketcham

Ever do things in your life that you regret and wish you could go back and change?

Man am I ever feeling that now. Last year I had one hell of a setup for storm chasing. I had a laptop with GPS, I had the WX Worx system, a laptop stand for my car.

It was awesome having such information all right there at the tip of my fingers.

Of course in hopes of getting out of debt I sold everything. Now as the storm season approaches I regret selling everything and not being able to have my laptop, GPS, or radar (Wx Worx) while on the road.

I'm figuring out ways to cope with this.. any suggests? :?:
 
I think you're to be commended for making a sacrifice in order to get out of debt. Most people would rather complain about their bills than do something about them. Were you successful?
 
Exactly, and now that I'm out of debt I want it all back... lol. It's good to be out though, I will find ways of coping without all of it - heck I did for 6+ years before I ever had a laptop.

I'll someday get a standalone GPS unit from Best Buy, I can use libraries to obtain current data and such. So I should be able to survive.
 
Joey,

My family and I have worked hard to keep out of debt. It's certainly a very nice feeling when you don't have the big bills hanging over your head. Don't worry, the opportunity will arise and you will be able to gain things back.

The only "real" debt we have is our house (Payments less than most rent prices) and my wife's car (Dang near done with those payments too!). Everything else is incidental expenses (medical is the primary gimme).

Keep it up! You'll be glad you did.
 
You could get a smaller laptop and USB Delorme GPS to start out with. Don't charge them on the credit cards though. Just something to get you started again.
 
Joey,

I agree with everyone else in the fact that you certainly did the right thing. It's easy to get caught up in the equipment that seem to make things easier, but that equipment is costly for sure.

I've thought about getting some GPS software, WX Works, and something to pull data to my laptop for this year, but I think I'm going to wing it with paper maps and eyeballs. I have a few other hobbies that are in need of equipment now too, and I can work this year with what I have as far as chasing goes. I am DEFINITELY NOT putting down the efforts of those with equipment when I say this, but it can be a more rewarding challenge when you get down to the bare bones. Look at it that way.

We can have a "shootout" with our cell phones, paper maps, and cameras :wink:

Tim
 
I'll someday get a standalone GPS unit from Best Buy

Joey, before I bought the pocket PC from you, I bought a standalone GPS unit from Best Buy and it was terrible. It had a small screen and the road detail was terrible. It was the Garmin Quest model. By the way, it also cost 550 big ones! Just thought you might want to know.
 
I'll someday get a standalone GPS unit from Best Buy

Joey, before I bought the pocket PC from you, I bought a standalone GPS unit from Best Buy and it was terrible. It had a small screen and the road detail was terrible. It was the Garmin Quest model. By the way, it also cost 550 big ones! Just thought you might want to know.

Thanks Jason, forget that then. I think I'll just grab a cheap laptop and use it.
 
Ever do things in your life that you regret and wish you could go back and change?

Man am I ever feeling that now. Last year I had one hell of a setup for storm chasing. I had a laptop with GPS, I had the WX Worx system, a laptop stand for my car.

It was awesome having such information all right there at the tip of my fingers.

Of course in hopes of getting out of debt I sold everything. Now as the storm season approaches I regret selling everything and not being able to have my laptop, GPS, or radar (Wx Worx) while on the road.

I'm figuring out ways to cope with this.. any suggests? :?:

My suggestion is to quit worrying about the toys, and get out there and chase some storms. I am truly amazed at how crippling the gadget effect is becoming on many chasers; there's a lot of people out there who'd be lost without it all. I've chased my entire career without a laptop, mapping software, or live info. The most I've ever used is a scanner and a nowcaster, and I don't always have a nowcaster. I've seen tornadoes with nothing but AM/FM radio. It's harder, granted, but it's possible.

Toys are more of a luxury than a neccesity IMO, and being so down about not having the gadgets is a very bad thing IMO. Thinking you need technology to chase storms is a seriously debilitating issue. Then again, I've never been able to afford toys, so I had no choice but to learn how to chase without them.

I don't regret that at all.
 
My suggestion is to quit worrying about the toys, and get out there and chase some storms. .

I'm a serious gadget head but I agree with everything my friend Shane has said. Lacking all the various bells and whistles will only make you a better chaser and sharpen your sky-reading skills and environmental instincts. You'll see more stuff, weather-related and otherwise (think of how much time you used to spend staring at the monitor) and probably have a more relaxed chase for not worrying about what data you've forgotten to examine.

I admit an addiction to the various data streams, partly because I think technology is cool and mostly because I love forecasting, and so if I can haul the forecasting gear around with me all the time, I do. But I'm trying to wean myself off various products and displays and radio waves this year.

I think it's legitimate to consider if all the toys actually blunt your instinct, or at least 'interfere' with your reception of the various data coming from all around you in the air and sky. I'm not being metaphysical here---imagine the broadband pipe that would be necessary to transmit all the information contained in your sensory exam of the atmosphere while standing outside. Is it smart to ignore that in favor of a 56k connection? I have begun to think it is very unwise, personally.

I'm hoping XM will eliminate the urge to constantly reconnect to the internet or find a library or that sort of thing. I figure if I can get away from the WiFi access point or the cell tower or library, and find some dusty forgotten intersection, then I'm moving in the right direction in terms of what chasing should feel like.

Don't worry about not having those things. You don't need them. Shane and others are proof that they are not necessary for success. Dust off the maps, make sure your car radio antenna is screwed in tight, maybe grab a little NOAA reciever, and follow the inflow.
 
Chasing without all the stuff can be more rewarding. The only truly most important gadget to take with you is a camera, and other than that there are many other ways of gathering information. If a person truly learns to chase from visual signs first, then they will always be able to get great storms later, gadgets or not. My biggest thing when it comes to the use of all the toys is that they can be nice at times, but should never become a crutch for a person.
 
I've got to second, third, and forth those comments. I, too, am a toy junkie, and how many people can incorporate so many of the things they love into one hobby! While I'm still closer to the middle of the pack in terms of gadgets, I do enjoy the mix I have when chasing. This year, my most advanced piece of equipment would probably be my GPS. Outside of that, I have only a laptop and various radios. Libraries, WiFi, and cell phone are still on my list, and quite honestly, have added to my chasing experience! But as mentioned, you equipment (or lack thereof) should not be a crutch! If you enjoy your toys, then enjoy them, but don't forget, you're out there to catch a storm, not just play with your toys. If something happens, the sky still sings and as long as you can listen, you should still be able to enjoy everything about the weather minus all the electric radiation! So basically, no regrets! :D
 
This is all so true. I have some gadgets, but actually rarely use them. Of course - life doesn't allow me to chase every event that comes up. But, I'd say when the lack of gadgets gets you down, occupy your time by finding directions to libraries across the parts of the country that you often chase. Libraries are an invaluable resource - and are free - for getting weather updates when you are uncertain where to be. A good nowcaster can put you in the right place - but learning to put yourself there on your own through careful map analysis is more rewarding and keeps your nowcaster from blocking your phone number. If you haven't already done so, go through Tim's chase cases - and you'll probably surprise yourself when you get through them all how well you really can do in picking a target region without using any technology as a crutch.

http://www.weathergraphics.com/edu/chase1/index.htm

Further, now when you go out chasing - you'll get to enjoy the view out the window instead of staring at a computer screen. You may actually find chasing more enjoyable without the gadgets.

Glen
 
I have always been a bare bones chaser. I have chased hard for 5 years now and all I have ever used are cameras, paper maps, a NOAA radio, and updates from the meteorologist from the station I chase for. This year I will be going solo 90% of the time. Instead of flipping through maps while trying to drive, I now have a pocket pc with Delorme GPS street atlas on it. This little "toy" was pretty much a must have item for this year. It will make my navigation much easier so I can focus my attention on other things. Other than that, I don't need the laptop or the high priced weather software that some chasers are carrying these days. Like Shane, I couldn't afford these high-tech toys even if I wanted them!
 
well

I work as a sales representative for a major computer company, but I don't chase with a laptop.. our equipment is a cell phone to keep in contact with a reputable, radar-knowledgable nowcaster when one is around, a NOAA weather radio, my car radio, and a good atlas. We may not have caught 30+ tornadoes in one season as some of the chasers with gadgets have (and I SINCERELY applaud those who have scored 30+ tornadoes without gadgetry, thats true weather instinct in the blood there), but I find it is so much more rewarding to chase without gadgetry. Ive been tempted to get into the fancy stuff, but then, as others posted above, Ive missed the show. Some of our most rewarding chases (example: May 16, 2004) were done without laptops, just choosing the target (in that case, O Neill), and sticking with it and getting there at the right time. That day netted a tornado, a gustnado, several wall clouds, breathtaking storm structure, among other things. Other chases (May 7, 2003 and June 9, 2003 in particular) stand out from the rest. Its just more rewarding to go at it with just the basics. Just my two cents :)
 
If one has a nowcaster I wouldn't think they'd consider themselves very gadget free and such sky readers. At least with the gadgets and no nowcaster you are figuring the things out on your own(with the info the nowcaster would have).

Sometimes it is hard to see those surface boundaries with your eyes from 100+ miles away(pre-convection). Go gadgets! Paper maps would also take up more of your "sky time" than if you had been running GPS.

Some of our most rewarding chases (example: May 16, 2004) were done without laptops, just choosing the target (in that case, O Neill), and sticking with it and getting there at the right time.

Do you wonder if you had info if you'd of been there sooner and further sw to see the first torandoes though? Seeing the cool things period is very rewarding and having info on stuff you can't see will always help you to that. Being very annoyed you missed stuff because of a lack of data while on the road I think would take away from any of the "reward" feeling of doing it with "no data".
 
If one has a nowcaster I wouldn't think they'd consider themselves very gadget free and such sky readers. At least with the gadgets and no nowcaster you are figuring the things out on your own(with the info the nowcaster would have).

Sometimes it is hard to see those surface boundaries with your eyes from 100+ miles away(pre-convection). Go gadgets! Paper maps would also take up more of your "sky time" than if you had been running GPS.

Some of our most rewarding chases (example: May 16, 2004) were done without laptops, just choosing the target (in that case, O Neill), and sticking with it and getting there at the right time.

Do you wonder if you had info if you'd of been there sooner and further sw to see the first torandoes though? Seeing the cool things period is very rewarding and having info on stuff you can't see will always help you to that. Being very annoyed you missed stuff because of a lack of data while on the road I think would take away from any of the "reward" feeling of doing it with "no data".

Mike, I know what you are saying, I just never considered a cell phone a major piece of "gadgetry". Although you make a very good point about the nowcaster taking away from "true sky reading". I guess on your scale you might call us "quasi-gadgeted" :lol:

Yes, I have wondered that....but I still am not dissapointed at our catches over the past 3 years on the Plains. If I miss things, I miss things, theres no sense in stewing over spilt milk (ya, tell that to me when it happens LOL (i.e. June 23 ;) ) I'm assuming you are saying that the grand events I did have would have been much grander if I had all the gadgetry?

Regards,
Jeff :)
 
If I miss things, I miss things, theres no sense in stewing over spilt milk (ya, tell that to me when it happens LOL (i.e. June 23 ) I'm assuming you are saying that the grand events I did have would have been much grander if I had all the gadgetry?

Well, I'm just trying to say we all use it to some degree, wether we just get online in the morning and look at stuff or if we have the perfect setup in our rides. I don't see info hurting. I don't have the attitude if I miss things I miss things. I want to see things very very badly and I do stir over the things I miss. Some cases it was because of lack of info(a number of them). The majority however didn't come down to info. It came down to either not going out at all or leaving too late. THAT is the key imo. Being out and being out early is as important as having info on the road. So I can't say if your events would of been even "grander", but the one I mentioned I just assumed it could of....but perhaps that was not being out early enough(I do that alllllll the time and it drives me insane until I get around to the next season). So if you were out early and missed the first part of that event then you either wanted to or didn't have the info. I'm just trying to point out gadgetry isn't so evil or so perfect. It is a very useful tool that can help you see things not many others on the planet ever get to witness.

I chalk that spefic day up to LUCK for me. When I look at getting data like xm or something I don't just look at the days I could of done better if I had data, I look at those LUCKY days. The days I did it "the hard way" and scored. I don't want to rely on luck(or my morning target always working out) when I put so much time into all this. Often those days "sky readers only" nail tubes on were a lot of luck, if you think about it all. It isn't the hardest thing in the world to "read the sky". It is however hard to read the sky you cannot see. Your target can verify later that day and you could score a tube at it. Great. The days that get you are the ones your target doesn't verify and you needed to change that target say after a storm furhter south went up. As the day goes along a lot of things can mess up your morning target, things you won't always be able to note with no data. I'd rather have all the info I can get all the time during the day than doing it the "pure" or hard way. I see no reason to think it is more rewarding to do it with no data other than pride. Pride can be cool, but I myself would rather just see all I can see, screw pride.
 
I totally agree with you, Mike on leaving and not leaving at certain times. If we HAD of left 1 hour earlier we would have caught a lot more than we did. I think you had some great opinion there, Im glad you shared.

I guess I have to take the "if I miss things i miss things" attitude after the fact because if I didnt I would STILL be beating myself over the head for missing all those tornadoes in SD for getting stuck in mud. Im naturally hard on myself for screwing up, so thats more of a personal thing I guess :)

Regardless, excellent thoughts and enjoy the cantor :)
 
Back
Top