Posted by scissortailed , Saturday, July 3, 2010 10:34 AM

This past week I was at Waterfront Wednesday standing in the beer line with a new friend, when I saw a blast from the past. Robert joked "You know when someone has moved back, because you start seeing them around."

Yup. I'm back.

We spoke for a few minutes, with the conversation culminating on the fact that I am on the cusp of real adulthood. That job I interviewed for? I got it. Granted, I don't have a mortgage to go with my car payment, but it's a start. And a real salary! I'm lucky, and I'll be the first to admit it. Jobs aren't exactly being tossed out like free peanuts on an airplane. And the bonus? I didn't have to settle. I got the job I wanted.

If this what adulthood is all about, I'm game.

Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain...

Posted by scissortailed , Thursday, May 13, 2010 12:32 AM

As you know, May 10th was quite the day here in Norman, Oklahoma, as well as the rest of the state. But  things become more real for me when I learned a friend lost their home.

Late on May 10th, I received an email confirming what I already suspected was true: Michael and Debby Kaspari lost their home to a tornado that spawned in south eastern Norman.  Michael is a community ecologist and Presidential Professor in the Zoology Department at the University of Oklahoma (where I did my Masters work) and Debby is an extraordinarily talented artist, specializing in tropical sketch work and illustrations.

Debby's studio was in the house's loft, where she could look out over their property while blogging or composing artwork. All of her artist's tools -- paper, watercolors, pastels, and pencils -- as well as original artwork and sketchbooks, were blown away in an EF-2 tornado, as they huddled in the storm shelter with their kitty, Gizmo.
Realizing the significance of her loss is what hit me the hardest as I tried to contemplate the severity of damage they likely endured.

To show her how much we appreciate her art, and that we know how important it is to her, I have organized a studio rebuilding campaign with Norman residents, artist and non-artist friends of mine from Louisville Kentucky, and anyone else around the world wanting to show support. 

Debby mostly draws and sketches, and here is a list of some supplies she uses in her work:
  • Favorite paper: Rives BFK. Other favorite papers include Fabriano Ingres toned paper, Arches cold press 140 lb, and Somerset paper
  • Favorite sketchbook: Moleskine notebooks
  • Favorite pencil: Kohinoor's Triograph 6B
  • Pastels (not sure what brand of pastel -- I'm assuming chalk pastels, but maybe she uses both oil and chalk)
  • Watercolor (not sure of brand)
  • Pen and Ink (These are generally black etchings... maybe with Pigma Micron pens? I think I have seen them laying around the house.)
  • Acrylic paint
For those interested in sending art supplies or monetary donations directly to Norman, you may do so by mailing them to the following address:

Debby Kaspari
c/o Rosemary Knapp
535 S Flood Ave.
Norman, OK 73069

For those interested in donating financially, email me directly at dkasparistudiofund (at) gmail (dot) com for more information.

Any new information about the fundraiser I will post either here or on my Facebook events page.
Thank you for any love and support shown to these amazing people!

Earlier today (May 12), Debby and Mike were at the house searching through the rubble. They were fortunate to find her banjo and Mike's guitar intact, as well as some artwork. Hopefully there'll be some more good news in the future.

I am going to stop donations via the PayPal account on May 22nd to coincide with us mailing any items collected from Louisville, Ky, but if anyone would still like to make a contribution send me a message at dkasparistudiofund (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll tell you where to send it. Thanks for *everyone's* help! ~Lauren

Beware. The sky is falling.

Posted by scissortailed , Tuesday, May 11, 2010 6:21 PM

When the Storm Prediction Center here in Norman issued a Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) Tornado Watch for most of Oklahoma May 10th, they weren't joking. Emergency managers are still assessing damage, while meteorologists weed through storm reports to better understand the outbreak and it's severity.

When the watch was issued, there were very few storms in the Oklahoma/Kansas area. Those that formed, developed fast and roared E to NE at speeds of 50+ mph. Vortex 2 parked near Perry, OK early to decide where to go.

Picture from George Davis from the fourth floor of  Richards Hall looking towards the OU Stadium. 

Around 5:30 pm I saw a tornado form basically over my head in Norman and it rapidly intensified as it plowed east towards Seminole, where it demolished the house (at 0:58 of this News9 broadcast) of a Zoology faculty member and friend. Had the storms formed just a tad further west, University of Oklahoma’s campus would likely have been hit (where I was).

On the right you can see the velocity associated with this storm, with reflectivity shown on the right. On the velocity image, red indicates wind moving away from the radar, while blue indicates wind moving towards the radar. The blue/red signature shown is a Tornado Vortex Signature (TVS).

A second storm formed in the wake of the Cleveland County storm (shown in the labeled image). Again, had the dryline been further west, my house (30 minutes south of campus) may have been hit by that second storm Instead, the southern storm hit east of me in Purcell proper (the city I live outside of) and continued east to hit Tecumseh pretty hard.

This image depicts the storm that went through Moore/OKC, the Norman storm, and the storm leaving Purcell. This time velocities are shown on the right, with the storm initially from Norman still producing a large tornado.

We are not out of the clear today. There is was a mesoscale discussion for western and central Oklahoma earlier discussing the potential for more strong to severe storms this afternoon, and now a tornado watch has been issued. Hopefully the cap will hold.

Large hail that fell in Moore, Oklahoma (courtesy of George Davis and Teresa Jones Davis).


Posted by scissortailed , Sunday, May 9, 2010 7:29 PM

Changes come in many forms.

Days growing longer as spring turns to summer. The metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. Ice melting to water.

Changes are coming for me, and change is good.

The Interview

Posted by scissortailed , Tuesday, May 4, 2010 6:18 PM

So today was the big interview for my first real job.

Up to this point, my life has been littered with part-time jobs. The closest to a "real job" I have ever come was as a graduate teaching assistant turned instructor at the University of Oklahoma; but I got that position by proxy since I was a graduate student. The last time I interviewed for a job where I actually competed with other applicants was in 2000 when I began working for Information Technology at OU. That was a long time ago now, and it most definitely was not a "real job."

Needless to say, I felt the pressure today. I was exceedingly nervous for no reason at all, since I knew I would be able to answer all questions they may fire at me with confidence and poise.

The interview went as I predicted: A panel of high school science teachers asked me questions (via Skype) about my teaching style, how I would deal with hypothetical classroom situations, how I would help all students excel in the classroom, etc. They all appeared content with my answers, and even let some questions slide since I answered them when elaborating on a different point. No one question truly stumped me, although several made me step outside of my comfortable college box, and revert back to what it was like being in high school. I have a lot to learn.

This time next week I will know whether or not I will have a normal salary for the first time in my life, and the prognosis is good.

You Tell Me

Posted by scissortailed , Monday, March 1, 2010 2:08 AM

So what are blogs anyway? An online journal? A place to be anonymous and voice your innermost fears? Maybe a place to just ramble? Whatever they are, here’s mine.