FOW Archive: Of Dolphins and Downbursts

July 2, 2019

This article was originally published in The Dolphin Talk Newspaper in April of 2012.

Downburst:

If you were up early enough on the morning of April 2nd, you might have noticed that we had a thunderstorm that got a little out of control. That was especially true if you rode out the storm in Port Lavaca.

That was because Port Lavaca fell victim to a weather event called a ‘downburst’

The April 2nd downburst created winds up to 80 MPH along a ½ mile wide radius, causing damage to trees and windows in the area while also knocking down telephone poles and damaging the roof of a Port Lavaca business.

A downburst is created on the interior of a thunderstorm. A downburst can also create damage similar to a tornado, as some downbursts can contain winds over 150 MPH. Unlike a tornado, however, a downburst spreads out from the spot it touches the Earth, giving it a sort of ‘roll’ effect.
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Fow Archive: Explosions and Pranks

June 29, 2019

This article was originally published in The Dolphin Talk Newspaper in March of 2012.

Since 9/11 we have become a country that (rightly so) has become a bit more wary of some of the dirtier aspects of modern warfare, such as suicide bombings, booby-trapped explosives and what could be inside our daily mail, something we have sadly seen in action before with the Uni-Bomber and Anthrax attacks.

There is also another enemy we have to combat when keeping our local area safe, one that does not have the backing of a major foreign power or makes it to CNN.

Pranksters.

On March 13th, someone called in a bomb threat at the H-E-B store in Port Lavaca at the Calhoun Plaza. Although nothing incriminating was found at the store and no one was hurt, the bomb threat itself was most likely just a prank probably played by local youth, it does not take away from the seriousness of the matter.

How do I know?

I’ve done it before.

When I was around fifteen or so, myself and a couple of friends decided that the best way to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend was to run around with firecrackers and a few cherry bombs, causing mayhem and destruction about town.

One target for our mischievous ways was a local McDonalds where we had the bright idea of leaving a pack of firecrackers out on the floor of the men’s room, with a lit wooden match laying across the fuse so we could leave the restaurant with our ‘bomb’ primed and then run across the street outside to watch what might happen next.
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FOW Archive: Spotting Storms and Fighting Fears

June 28, 2019

This article was originally published in the Dolphin Talk Newspaper out of Seadrift, Texas in March of 2012. 

I’m not really too sure of exactly when I became phobic of severe weather, but I do know that it is something that has shaped my life deeply over the last two years. Imagine watching weather reports days in advance, letting the weather severely impact your daily activities and also being embarrassed that you hold this overwhelming fear of something that most people would find silly.

While the truth is that the problem is one that affects a far larger number of people than is reported; there are ways to fight it as well. Besides trying to raise awareness of the problem online and starting a support group, I have found that one of the best ways to fight the phobia is to learn as much as I can about severe weather and what causes it.

It was with that in mind that over the last year or so I endeavored to become a Skywarn spotter for the National Weather Service. I figured it was a chance to get information on severe weather as well as to help others impacted by severe weather events. I wanted to know even more about what I was looking for in the skies and on the radar, I wanted to be able to trust myself as a source for when the weather got too dangerous.
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FOW Archives: 419 Scams

June 12, 2019

I have written for the Dolphin Talk Newspaper out of Seadrift, Texas since 2012. These are the articles I have written in this time as it went from a bi-weekly publication to a monthly. This article is from the twenty-third of February 2012 and can also be found here

419 Scams:

Have you ever checked your email and found a letter from a poor refugee who is suffering in another country and needs assistance? Ever received a letter stating that an American soldier serving in the Middle East has a trunk stuffed with cash from a terrorist compound and he needs your help to get it into the United States? Or how about a letter stating that you have won the United Kingdom Lottery drawing, even though you never entered?

Chances are if you have a public email, such as a Gmail or Hotmail account, that the answer is most likely yes. These letters are called 419 scams, named after the part of Nigerian code that governs such criminal activity in that country and they have been around for over twenty years.
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Thin Skinned

April 14, 2019

“From an online debate on if grammar matters, and it does:”

I see you have pride, yes, but do you have those tools,
To take it like you love it, beaten down yes, granted,
But it is not your opponent but your ego that’s the fool,
When you have such ignorance to shun purposed rules.

A penny for naught is the same as the tired old game,
Conning yourself to declare the crown of the master,
I see the fire burning, but cannot decipher those flames,
You cannot design the interior in gold without the frame.

Grab that shield and armor, put down that weary old sword,
It was sharpened by a dream, one you never awaken from,
I cannot read you right, I get confused and really quite bored,
For in this arena it is not ‘proper’ but comprehension that is the lord.
Thomas Spychalski 


Thrown In My Path

February 13, 2019

I don’t sit here and imagine perfect vistas,
Places that don’t seem to exist outside my head.
Recalling all the times I bumped into fate unprepared,
Memories of tracks you can’t replay, the station is dead.

Don’t stumble in my path,
Don’t tell me your darkest fears,
Don’t you dare tumble my heart,
When endings and motives are so unclear.

I don’t go around asking you to save my life,
Because I know the tools are buried in myself, within,
I can help you and will, but then forget I exist.
To be without longing is to be without future sin.
Thomas Spychalski 


Circling The Drain

May 26, 2018

The guy had to be dealing some kind of drug, not sure what, but he stood there under the awning of the small liquor store, just barely out of the steady rain that had started in the morning and continued all afternoon.

All day long numerous people had stopped by his little nesting place, and even a moderately trained eye could see that there was some kind of exchange being made. What fascinated Roger most was that people from all races, cultures, and walks of life came by to buy his wares, and he seemed almost like a chameleon, blending in to fit each new person who approached him, joking and laughing or being tough and ‘all business,’ it was almost like watching a master painter at work, each new person was a sale, a way to earn a living and possibly more, he was well trained in the game he had chose to play.

Most would not see the small trickles of fear with every instance where he had to act tough or hard as nails, most would not see the impatience and annoyance with each joke or round of small talk he made. That, of course, was due to the pain behind the whole show being played out on this sad little corner of an impoverished area of the city.

Roger could free him from this pain, but what then, could he face what always came next?

Standing up from where he was crouching behind a dumpster across the street from the dealer’s spot, Roger could feel tears welling up from inside him. It was always like this, this gift, this intelligence, it hurt.

Once on the other side of the street, Roger began to walk faster, he was starting to have doubts. Each time he did this he was right there with his most horrible demons as well as the other persons, most of the time the knowledge he imparted to them he felt impotent or incompetent to use. It was the mysterious irony of the whole thing, once he gave them the key to the door, he was liable to make his own prison more secure later on.

Roger was there now next to him, past the point where he could appear like he was just walking past, maybe even pass off that approach as a way to use the awning the dealer was under to dodge the relentless drops of rain. The dealer was sizing him up, getting ready to use his own ‘gift.’

“What’s good?” The dealer said in a dead tone, all the better to adjust his camouflage once he could hear my reply and know which mode to go into.

“I don’t know, you tell me,” Roger said, or thought he said, at any rate, once the process got to this point, it became surreal, like a psychedelic drug. You could be sure what you were seeing and hearing was based on true external stimuli, but you could never be sure of what you were actually seeing at all, a confounding experience.

Roger reached out and touched the dealer’s chest. His mind was filled with flowing images and sounds, mixing at merging at times, but then there were very clear pictures, ones that showed Roger what he was after. The dealer’s name was Michael but he went by ‘Rock,’ and his history passed in a slightly jumbled puzzle.
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