Yeah, You're Not Seeing Things...

Hurricane Jeanne has just done a loop-de-loop in the Atlantic Ocean, tracking north, then east, then south, and now possibly west again, opening up Florida to a possible strike. I have never, in all my days, seen a hurricane do that.

On the other hand, I’m reminded of Hurricane Irene who, in 1998, snuck up on Florida. The state had battened down the hatches for Hurricane Floyd, only to have the category 5 storm swing north and hit the Carolinas. Irene, which was a small category 1 storm sitting in the Gulf, turned east, crossed the Everglades, and hit Fort Lauderdale from behind with less than eight hours notice.

Erin had gone to work that day not knowing a thing about it. So had most people living in Fort Lauderdale at the time. Some started to leave early as the conditions got worse and worse. Erin herself decided to go when the Venetian blinds in the windows of her workplace (near the top floor of a thirty-storey skyscraper) started to go click! click! click! as the building swayed back and forth. One of her bosses actually wanted Erin to stay and finish her work, but Erin was temping, and wasn’t being paid enough to stay by her desk.

The trip back to her mother’s apartment was interesting. Some roads were flooded out.

Just goes to show: hurricanes are unpredictable things.

Okay, just after I wrote the above, I read on the People’s Republic of Seabrook that Hurricane Ivan has re-formed in the Gulf. Um, excuse me, but what?!

How does a hurricane do that?! The last I heard, tropical depression Ivan was off in Virginia, making things very, very wet down there. Did it do a loop-de-loop as well and pull itself back into the gulf? The National Hurricane Centre don’t illustrate what’s happened (since the maps clock only tropical storm winds and higher). But what the— what— huh?

This is the weirdest hurricane season. Ever.

Other Hurricane Stories

Did children’s letters cause Hurricane Ivan to deviate around Jamaica? - (well, doubtful, but…)

Ivan and Jeanne are Back! - (like the couple that wouldn’t go away). This article, which is well worth reading, also has an explanation of why Ivan’s back in the Gulf. Apparently the storm split in two and what we’re seeing is the bottom half. Also apparently, hurricane scientists debated whether this was enough of old Ivan to call it Ivan, or if it should be called Michael. They decided on Wednesday to call it Ivan, but the controversy rages. Perhaps they should call it “Son of Ivan”.

When Doctor Who Comes Back…

…It will be different. It will be big. Have you been reading the reports on the filming? It’s enough to make one salivate.

Watching the newly released DVD of the Tom Baker classic The Pyramids of Mars, we are struck both by how good the show is, and how much of an accomplishment it was to put the show together. As the documentary notes, from 1963-1989, Doctor Who was filmed at the pace of a soap opera, sometimes with as little as two weeks lead time between filming and debut. In that period, the show had to put together far more cuts and scene changes than any soap opera, and visual effects. That the program had visual effects at all (much less “cheesy” ones) was a miracle. And yet some of the best moments in television can be found in Doctor Who.

Science fiction shows such as Deep Space Nine and Enterprise have far more lead time. Each has about eight days of filming, plus three weeks of pre-production and three weeks of post-production in order to get the edits right and the special effects just perfect. Now that Doctor Who is coming back, guess which schedule they’ll be following now.

Moreover, the show is being written by fans, produced by fans and directed by fans, most of whom happen to be at the upper echelon of television writers, producers and directors in the United Kingdom. The new Doctor Who just had its first read-through a few weeks ago; an event attended by the controller of BBC1, BBC Wales, the Head of Serials, the Head of Drama, and so many other BBC officials, they had to do the read-through in a large suite in the Millennium Dome.

In the early-to-mid 1970s, Doctor Who was a flagship program of the BBC. All indications are that the BBC intends this version of Doctor Who to be the flagship once again.

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