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Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss


This is the third and latest short film that I’ve either written or co-written with Juan Carlos Hernandez for his production company, Popcorn Sky Productions. It’s a comedy about a politically-divided family in New York City during the Trump era.

As Denise Longrie says in her review:

This amusing and enjoyable short depicts the fireworks that erupt when the Ronderos’ son Jerry (Anthony James Hernandez) comes home from college for a visit. Mom Veronica (“Ronnie”), played by Adria K. Woomer-Hernandez, lays down the law to her husband Guillermo (Juan Carlos Hernandez): no talking, not even whispering, about politics.

Although Juan was gracious enough to give me the sole writing credit for Ronnie, the truth is that much of the finished film was based on on-the-spot rewrites by the cast and crew in New York. I was asked to go to the Big Apple to be on hand, but I couldn’t afford the cost of an airline ticket plus a long extended stay at a hotel. So even though I was consulted, Juan, Adria, and Anthony had to rework the story and script to make Ronnie work well as a comedy with some serious commentary about the divisiveness in Trump-era America.

The film is 22 minutes long, but it’s a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end. I think it’s both hilarious and relevant.

If you have not watched it yet, here it is, in all its YouTube glory.

Musings & Thoughts for Tuesday, October 4, 2022, or: Another Sleepless Night in Florida…and a Cornucopia from Amazon


Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s another feels-like-autumn-in-Florida day here in Lithia, Florida on Tuesday, October 4, 2022. It’s sunny, it’s cool (74°F/24°C), and the forecast high will be 83°F/29°C, so it’s not going to be one of those “why does it still feel like high summer” days that we had last month.

My best after-action report yet. Game elements in this and other screenshots are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games and MicroProse

This is going to be a brief entry in A Certain Point of View, Too. I stayed up too late last night; I started playing Regiments around 11 PM and, because I was so into it and also because I had to pause the game a few times so I could either take bathroom breaks or give orders to multiple units in a coherent way, the gaming session did not end till…2:45 AM.

The situation in mid-battle. My platoons in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment have captured Objective Zones Golf and Hotel, and a scout platoon is beginning the process of capturing Delta. Three other platoons are advancing and will soon occupy that OZ and accelerate its change of ownership. Later in the game, the Soviets would sally forth from Foxtrot, the OZ at far right, and also attempt to get past the blocking forces west and south of Alfa, but as you can see from the after-action report, the enemy Red Force failed to recapture any of the zones by the time the clock ran out and the game ended with a Blue Total Victory. (No “red wave” here, folks!)

I went to bed not long after that, but it took me a while to fall asleep, so I think I finally “went under” at 3 AM. Of course, I slept way past my usual wakeup time of between 6:30 and 7:30 AM; by the time I wandered blearily into the kitchenette to have my breakfast, my café con leche was cold. I still drank it without complaint, but I’ll have to supplement that with a bowl of Quaker Instant Oatmeal in a little while.

Photo by Deva Darshan on Pexels.com

Today I saw on my Amazon account that another of my pre-orders (the steelbook edition of Star Trek: Picard: Season Two)shipped out last night, along with the U.S. and the Holocaust and my Star Wars The Black Series Figrin D’an collectible figure. I was momentarily surprised; I had not forgotten that I’d ordered the Picard second season set, but I was under the impression that it wasn’t “dropping” this week.

Obviously, I was mistaken, and Amazon apparently had my Figrin D’an figure in stock at a Florida warehouse, because that order was originally scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. Luckily, I have the money to pay for all these orders this month rather than in November, but I need to take it easy with buying things online. Ugh. I paid my month’s rent and I still have enough money for an emergency, but shopping-as-therapy (cos, let’s be honest here, that’s what this is) is an expensive way to cope with depression.

Anyway, this Amazon cornucopia is due to arrive today, and if there’s a consolation to all this, the silver linings in all this are:

  • I’ll finally have at least one action figure based on one of the seven Bith musicians seen in the cantina scene of the original Star Wars
  • I’ll have one new Star Trek TV series season set to watch, enjoy, and review
  • I’ll see Ken Burns’ latest documentary on Blu-ray, complete with subtitles and a few extras not seen on the recent PBS broadcast of The U.S. and the Holocaust
The daily cheesecake photo….Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well, as you can imagine, I am tired and a bit annoyed with myself for buying so many things on Amazon, but mostly tired due to my poor choices of amusement last night. I suppose I’m trying too hard to find happiness in a situation mostly of my own making, and now I can only blame myself for being tired this morning.

I wish I felt as energetic and content as I was when this photo was taken in July.

I don’t know what I am going to do on this nice feels-like-fall-in-the-subtropics aside from posting this post on WordPress, taking a shower, getting into clean street clothes, and eating a bowl of instant oatmeal. I can’t promise that I will go for a walk, although I should. Nor can I swear that I will rest for the balance of this first Tuesday of October, although I need to. I do know that if I do decide to play Regiments soon, it will not be late at night!

In any event, I wish you, Dear Reader, all the best on this lovely autumn day – or what passes for autumn this far in the southern United States. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Musings & Thoughts for Monday, October 3, 2022, or: First Monday in October


Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s Monday, October 4, 2022, and it’s a lovely subtropical autumn day here in Lithia. It’s not too hot outside, it’s sunny, and there’s a nice breeze. In fact, if I can somehow muster some enthusiasm, I might even put on my shoes – I am already dressed and not in my PJs – and venture out, even if it’s for a few minutes. Right now, I’m not feeling that enthusiasm, but maybe later, depending on my mood.

An Unremarkable Sunday Night (What Else is New?)

(C) 2022 Paramount Home Media Distribution

Last night I did nothing of consequence. I took a break from playing Regiments, and I fell asleep watching 1951’s When Worlds Collide, one of the two movies included in my recently acquired Paramount Presents: The War of the Worlds (1953) and When Worlds Collide (1951) Limited Edition George Pal double feature set. Maybe I should have started watching the movie, which is only 82 minutes long, early in the evening, or perhaps I should not have consumed a bottle of Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy. Oh, well. I own the Blu-ray, so it’s not like I can’t try watching it again, right?

My Blu-ray Collection Expands (What is Else is New? Redux)

(C) 2022 PBS Media Distribution

And speaking of Blu-rays, another one of my pre-orders from Amazon is due to arrive tomorrow: Ken Burns’ newest documentary for PBS, The U.S. and the Holocaust.

Now, this three-part documentary aired recently on TV, and I might have watched it on the family room television set, which is the only one that is connected to Spectrum Cable and is the easiest conduit to WEDU, the Tampa Bay area PBS station. Why I did not is a mystery, since the Caregiver is hardly ever home now that she has a new love interest and therefore does not even watch The Bachelor, America’s Got Talent, or, the Force help me, nonstop viewing of shows about home renovation and house flipping on HGTV.

Even taking into account that S., The Caregiver’s youngest adult kid, likes to come home after her shift at a local Target store and watch Disney+ programming through the Roku gadget on the family room TV, she doesn’t monopolize that set the way that the Caregiver used to. Maybe I could have watched at least one episode of the “limited series” co-directed by Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein, but I made a conscious – if somewhat inexplicable – reason to wait till The U.S. and the Holocaust made its way to home media.[1]  

The ”street date” for The U.S. and the Holocaust is tomorrow, so Amazon will ship it to Lithia either late this afternoon or tonight, more likely than not from Amazon’s warehouse in Davenport.  

For those of you who have not seen The U.S. and the Holocaust, here is how PBS describes Ken Burns’ latest investigation of modern American history:

The U.S. and the Holocaust is a three-part series that tells the story of how the American people grappled with one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century, and how this struggle tested the ideals of our democracy. By examining events leading up to and during the Holocaust with fresh eyes, this film dispels the competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of what was happening to Jews in Europe, or that they merely looked on with callous indifference. The truth is much more nuanced and complicated, and the challenges that the American people confronted raise questions that remain essential to our society today: What is America’s role as a land of immigrants? What are the responsibilities of a nation to intervene in humanitarian crises? What should our leaders and the press do to shape public opinion? What can individuals do when governments fail to act?

And Finally, a New Star Wars Collectible Joins the Fold

Image Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2022 Hasbro & Lucasfilm Ltd.

On Wednesday, I also expect to be receiving another Star Wars The Black Series six-inch scale figure from this year’s new Hasbro offerings. This one will come in a regular Star Wars The Black Series package instead of the super-cool “Kenner” 1970s-style cardbacks because the character in question, Cantina Band leader  Figrin D’an, did not have a Kenner action figure made in his likeness when the Ohio-based toymaker produced the original Star Wars line of figures, vehicles, and “action playsets” between 1978 and 1985.

Image Credit: Hasbro.

While I did not make promises – either public or private – that I would not buy any more Star Wars The Black Series action figures in 2022 after my purchase of George Lucas (in Stormtrooper Disguise), I had hoped to not come across one that I would not be able to resist getting. After all, I could use the money that I spend on the figures on other stuff, such as the occasional pizza or delivered meal from Outback Steakhouse, and it’s not like I can magically enlarge my room so I could add more Ikea shelves to place my collectibles, books, movies, and CDs on.

However, since I never acquired any figures of the seven-member (and all-Bith) cantina band seen in Star Wars (1977), Star Wars The Black Series Figrin D’an proved to be impossible to resist since the only other collectible I had with any representation of the Modal Nodes (besides the movie and the original soundtrack album) was Kenner’s 1979 Creature Cantina Action Playset, which came with a cardboard backdrop that bore an illustration of the band playing on stage while alien patrons looked on.

Photo Credit: Ron Salvatore, Star Wars Collectors Archive (SWCA)

My mom and I tried to store that playset in a cardboard box in the attic at our home in East Wind Lake Village, but rodents got into the box and chewed up many cardboard items, including the Sandcrawler backdrop for my Land of the Jawas action playset.  Result, I ended up not just without an intact Creature Cantina Action Playset (which was one of the hardest sets to find back then), but I also ended without any Star Wars figure-related representation of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, (aka the “Cantina Band”), period.

I think Hasbro sells all the Modal Nodes, but I can only afford/find space for just one, so I decided to get the band leader/kloo horn player, Figrin D’an. Again, I admit that it was a purely impulsive purchase, but I don’t have a sex life, don’t go out to the movies – or anywhere, really – and I lead an extremely dull life here, so I get my bits of happiness wherever I can.

Anyway, I’ll be receiving my new figure on Wednesday, so I’m looking forward to that.

Photo by Ekaterina Nt on Pexels.com

Well, it is now early afternoon, so I will close this post here and get on with – ha ha – the rest of my day. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.


[1] One of the best things about PBS is that, at least when it comes to Ken Burns’ documentaries, its PBS Distribution division produces Blu-rays (and, presumably, DVDs) ahead of the broadcast premiere dattes and releases the home media versions almost simultaneously with the airing of the second or third episode of the documentary in question. Of all the recent (2014-2022) docs Burns and his Florentine Films team have made for PBS, I have all except for Country Music, which is probably one of the few topics that Burns has covered since his monumental The Civil War was broadcast in 1990 that I have little to no interest in.

 (Re Country Music: Am I missing out on a great documentary? Probably, but Citizen Kane is also supposedly a great movie, and I simply can’t imagine sitting through it. And, as I’ve discovered from my recent attempt to get every Steven Spielberg-directed feature film on Blu-ray, not only is it an expensive project, but you also end up getting stuff you don’t really enjoy [I’m looking at you, Hook!] just for the sake of being a “completist.” If someone watches Country Music and gives me a compelling argument as to why I should get it, I’ll listen. Right now, though…it’s a “pass” from me.)

Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, October 2, 2022, or: Weekend Update, Part Two


Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood….

It’s late morning here in Lithia, Florida on Sunday, October 2, 2022. I went outside briefly to take an empty Pizza Hut box to the trash bin that’s parked in front of the garage, and it was somewhat nice out there. I did not linger on the driveway because I was still in pajamas and wasn’t wearing shoes, but aside from some fallen trees and broken fences, I would not have known that Hurricane Ian had paid our area a visit (more like a drive-by one).

On my block, and at the time I stepped outside, there weren’t any groups of neighbors staring disconsolately at the piles of debris in front of their houses or streets flooded ankle-deep with standing water left behind by the storm.[1] Nor did I hear the sound of gas-powered generators, chain saws, or leaf-blowers, partly because it was still relatively early in the morning, but mostly because we never lost electricity – although there were a few times when I thought we would – and most of the trees and fences on the block withstood the winds of Ian.

I used to go for long walks in my old neighborhood back in Miami.

I also noticed that the temperature is beginning to drop a bit, at least by the standards of the subtropical regions. As I write this (10:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time), the temperature outside is 80°F/25°C, and it’s sunny and clear. Only a few weeks ago, the temperature would be in the mid-80s/high 20s by 11 AM and in the low 90s/mid-30s by mid-afternoon. And even though we are still under a flood watch, there’s no rain in the forecast and the high-temperature today is expected to be 87°F/31°C.

If I wasn’t so freaking unmotivated, I’d take a shower now, get dressed, and go for a walk. That would be the sensible thing to do. I don’t do “sensible” stuff when I’m depressed, though, and since I tend to follow the path of least resistance, I’ll probably just stick to my “stay indoors all-day routine.” The most that I will do is take my shower since I do feel a bit better afterward.

About Last Night

Hinds in action. Game design elements in this and other screenshots are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games and MicroProse.

Last night was almost – but not quite – a repeat of Friday night. I – predictably – played a few Skirmish missions on Regiments, once as a commander of a Belgian armored unit, and, for the first time since I bought Regiments in August, once as a Soviet tank regiment commander.

I played as the Soviets first, and I ended up defeating a West German army unit in the Grasleben setting. I didn’t change my playing style; I don’t think I used Soviet tactical doctrine at all. If I did, it was purely by coincidence and not by choice. I merely selected two initial Objective Zones, distributed my forces as best I could, then attacked both as hard and often as possible.

Just as I do when I am in the role of a U.S. or West German commander, I used my helicopters quite a bit and tried to choose at least one task force that fielded the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter. The Hind fascinates me, even though I am not fond of either the former Soviet Union or the Russian Federation, so naturally, I wanted to see how I’d do if I had them as “arrows” in my quiver.

Since I first saw this Soviet helicopter in Bill Gunston’s The Encyclopedia of World Air Power in 1980, I have been oddly fascinated by the Mi-24 Hind. (Screen grab from the “Regipedia” reference page of MicroProse/Bird’s Eye Games’ “Regiments” game.

Although Hinds, like any of the attack helicopters I’ve used in Regiments and similar games, going as far back to the late 1980s/early 1990s when I played M1 Tank Platoon, are powerful and useful assets on the battlefield, they are not invincible, especially when the enemy has good air defense weapons. The West German unit I tangled with had those, and consequently I lost several Mi-24s, mostly to Gepard flakpanzers.

Casualties-wise, this was a fairly even battle, with just enough of an edge over the Blue Force to avoid it being a Pyrrhic victory. I did lose a lot of Hinds, though!

Still, the Hinds performed well in battle, as did my T-80 main battle tanks. And since I used the same tactics I use as a NATO commander, I won a Total Victory with my Red Force.

As for my experience with the Belgians in NATO, I won another Total Victory with my Blue Force, but it was a costly win. The Belgian unit I commanded had no helicopter support. It also did not have an adequate infantry fighting vehicle in the same category as the American Bradley or the Russian BMP, so even though I beat the Red Force decisively, it was a costly victory.

As you can see, I’d rather play as the Blue (NATO) countries. Belgium, though, needs to invest in better weapons…and in helicopters!

Overall, while I appreciate that many games that I own allow me to play as either a U.S./NATO commander or one for the “other side,” I prefer to play as a Western/American than a Warsaw Pact/Chinese commander. I will, of course, play as the Red Force leader in Regiments from time to time, but I will always feel a bit conflicted about it.

A George Pal Double Feature

(C) 2022 Paramount Home Media Distribution

In the evening, I received the first of several pre-orders I had made in July: Paramount Presents: The War of the Worlds (1953) and When Worlds Collide (1951) Limited Edition, which is a multi-format release of two 1950s science fiction films produced by George Pal. One, The War of the Worlds, is making its 4K UHD debut; When Worlds Collide, which was released in theaters in 1951, didn’t get a 4K release but it’s a remastered Blu-ray.

I have the ’53 The War of the Worlds in the Criterion Blu-ray, but I bought this set because I like the video and audio quality of 4K UHD better. Additionally, the subtitles are easier to access on the 4K by Paramount Presents than on the Criterion Blu-ray. Finally, I’ve never seen When Worlds Collide in any format, not even on late-night TV back in the 1970s and early ‘80s, so….

For those of you who are interested in learning a tad more, here’s the Paramount Presents blurb on the back cover of the Blu-ray packaging:

Two of the most iconic Science Fiction epics come to Paramount Presents in this out-of-this-world limited-edition double feature from producer George Pal. Making its 4K UHD debut, WAR OF THE WORLDS is an Oscar-winning adaptation of the chilling H.G. Wells novel. Then, get ready for impending disaster, when a runaway star signals the destruction of Earth in WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, included on Blu-ray remastered from the original film elements. Both are essential Technicolor masterpieces from the Golden Age of Hollywood, delivering eye-popping visual effects and unmatched sound design.

Because the package arrived so late yesterday – it was dropped off on our front porch at 7:23 PM – and I didn’t check my inbox and read the “Your package was delivered!” email till 8 or so, I didn’t start watching The War of the Worlds until I had finished playing Regiments, and that was after 10 PM or so. I was tired, though, so even though I was happy to see that this edition has easier-to-access subtitles, I still fell asleep and will have to rewatch the movie later today.

Two of the most iconic Science Fiction epics come to Paramount Presents in this out-of-this-world limited-edition double feature from producer George Pal. Making its 4K UHD debut, WAR OF THE WORLDS is an Oscar-winning adaptation of the chilling H.G. Wells novel. Then, get ready for impending disaster, when a runaway star signals the destruction of Earth in WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, included on Blu-ray remastered from the original film elements. Both are essential Technicolor masterpieces from the Golden Age of Hollywood, delivering eye-popping visual effects and unmatched sound design.

I am also expecting the arrival of two closely related items: Peter Bergen’s Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad and the DVD edition of the HBO documentary Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden, which was executive produced by Bergen and originally released in 2013. Both items are now Out for Delivery, so I should have them here later this afternoon.

Speaking of the afternoon, it’s now 1:30 PM and I still must take my shower and change out of my jammies. I could, of course, choose not to do that, but I’m a creature of habit. So, I’ll close this post here and wish you a placid, restful Sunday.

Photo by Victoria Akvarel on Pexels.com

[1] These were sights that were common in East Wind Lake Village, the gated community that was my home in South Florida from February 1978 to April of 2016, after every storm that struck the Miami area from 1992 to 2015, which was the last full year that I spent there. The ankle-deep water in the roads also happened a few times when we had long-lasting thunderstorms and the drains got clogged by fallen leaves.

Musings & Thoughts for Saturday, October 1, 2022, or: Weekend Update, Part One


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hi again, Dear Reader. It’s midday on Saturday, October 1, 2022, and here in Lithia, Florida it is a mildly warm autumn day (78°F/26°C). It’s a lovely sunny day outside; it’s hard to believe that on Thursday night a hurricane passed through this region of my home state, destroyed lots of property, left thousands without electricity, and killed at least 27 people before heading out to the Atlantic and hitting the Carolinas. And yet, it did.

A screengrab from my computer’s Microsoft Weather app shows Hurricane Ian moving ashore on Wednesday evening (September 28, 2022).

As I have stated in previous posts about Hurricane Ian, we here in the Tampa Bay area were lucky. Yes, some areas of Hillsborough County lost electricity, and even in my neighborhood, some trees and wooden fences were blown down during the storm’s passage from Ft. Myers and Sanibel Island to our southwest and out onto the Atlantic. A few plants by the side of the house were uprooted and the power “flickered” on and off a few times during the night, but other than that, the only negative impact was stress.

About Last Night….

My initial attack against Objective Zone (OZ) Alfa gets underway. (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games and MicroProse

As for me, I’m off to a late start – yet again – with my blogging activities thanks to another near-miss with insomnia. I went to sleep sometime before 4 AM and woke up around 7:45 AM, and I didn’t finish eating breakfast until 11:30 AM, so I’m tired, cranky, and wanting to “sloth,” which isn’t exactly conducive to a writer’s productivity.

Technically, I already did my day’s blogging, at least on WordPress. At 3:43 AM Eastern, I published my previous post, Old Gamers Never Die: Getting Better at Playing the ‘Attack’ Skirmish Mission in Regiments.

This Soviet tank (I think it’s a T-72) and its crew did not fare well in my last session of “Regiments.” (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games and MicroProse

I started writing that post – uncharacteristically for me – on WordPress itself rather than on Word (which is my preferred MO when it comes to writing) sometime after midnight, not too long after I’d finished playing a session of Regiments. And even though it is a concise post compared to most of the ones I compose on Word, it took me longer to write because:

  • I usually do not write anything beyond brief social media posts on Facebook or Twitter late at night
  • I was tired
  • I had to look up quotes by Gen. George Patton and add screen grabs from Regiments
  • I had to find a good GIF of Patton to add as an illustration

Also, I tend to edit stuff even as I am composing a draft of anything; add that bit of technical idiosyncrasy to my deliberate style of typing, and voila! Even a short blog post takes me a while to write.

So, even though I did not plan on staying up until almost 4 AM today…I did.

Lazy Saturday?

Photo by Del Adams on Pexels.com

As usual, I don’t have any plans – exciting or otherwise – today. I have no one here to make any plans with, for one thing, And, as you can well imagine, I am too tired to do much today, even if I did have a Significant Other or even a group of friends to make plans with.

So, yep. Today will be yet another dull, “lazy” Saturday in which I’ll have to muster enough willpower to take a shower, get into clothes that are not sleepwear, and maybe even step outside our front door. I am, after all, free to come and go if I wish; the reason that I don’t is that, unlike East Wind Lake Village, every place that I’d venture to, whether it’s a mall, a movie theater, or even a fast-food restaurant, is way beyond my walking range.

(Please, don’t suggest that I use Uber or Lyft. I am already financially stressed since I must pay rent, as well as my own bills for Disney+, Amazon Music, and other personal expenses, such as meals I order from either Outback Steakhouse or Pizza Hut. I don’t want to pay some stranger – who might or may not be trustworthy – to take me to the nearest theater to see a movie.)

I will, of course, take that shower I mentioned earlier, even though I am “not feeling it.” It’s part of my routine, after all, and it will make me feel better, at least in the short term.

A screengrab of the 4K UHD Blu-ray page of My Collection in my Blu-ray.com account. It’s fairly recent; the Star Trek 6-movie collection box set seen in the Ordered section arrived a month after I screen-capped this image, so it’s a bit out of date, though.

Beyond that, assuming I’m a bit more energetic, I might go out into the family room and read for a while, or I’ll watch one of the over 400 films that I own on either 2K high-def Blu-ray or 4K ultra-high-def Blu-ray discs. I’ve already listened to some music out there, but I always feel like I’m annoying the other folks I live with my musical choices, which include classical music and film scores, so I only listened to two-thirds of Across the Stars: The Deluxe Edition before sheepishly turning off the Amazon Music app that I linked to the family room TV via Roku and skedaddled back into my room.

But before I can do any of those things, I should go take that shower…..

Photo by u0412u043bu0430u0434u0438u043cu0438u0440 u0412u0430u0441u0438u043bu044cu0435u0432 on Pexels.com

Old Gamers Never Die: Getting Better at Playing the ‘Attack’ Skirmish Mission in ‘Regiments’


The Battle Begins! A Soviet unit literally disintegrates under intense automatic weapons fire and anti-tank guided missiles from American units near Objective Zone Alfa early in a Skirmish in Regiments. (All game design elements in this and other screengrabs from Regiments are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games and MicroProse.)

“In case of doubt, attack.”Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. USA

I’m getting better at playing Regiments.

I’m not yet as good a commander of armored forces as George Patton, one of America’s best-known generals from the World War II era and the namesake of the U.S, Army’s Patton series of main battle tanks. I am, after all, not a professional military man, and I have never taken so much as one Military Science class. Most of what I know about strategy, tactics, and weapons comes from decades of reading books, watching movies and documentaries, or playing wargames along the lines of NATO Commander, Crusade in Europe, Steel Division, and MicroProse’s new Cold War-turns-hot game, Regiments.

Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles and M1 Abrams tanks move carefully toward the enemy.

“Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.”Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., USA

To be honest, even though I’ve been playing Regiments regularly since August 16, I can’t say I’ve mastered all three variants of the Skirmish (single battle mode) or Operations (the game’s “grand campaign.”

I am only proficient at the Attack type of Skirmish, and then only with NATO forces under my command. I’m not a big fan of the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact, though at some point I will try my hand at commanding Russian and other Pact forces.

A Soviet tank burns after being hit by a TOW anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).

One sign that I am improving: I am suffering fewer ground force casualties than I did when I started playing Regiments six weeks ago.

Moreover, I figured out how to capture all eight of the enemy’s Objective Zones (OZs) before the game clock runs out. It took me a while to get the hang of choosing which OZ to take (and hold) first, then select the proper task forces needed to keep attacking – and then defending – the others. It’s not easy, either, because the game only lets you deploy three task forces, so it’s not like you have limitless amounts of men and materiel.

My helicopter crews seem to suffer the highest casualties in battle.

The hardest thing to do, of course, was to learn how to minimize my losses while inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy force.

In my most recent engagement, my Blue Force lost:

  • 30 Killed in Action (KIA)
  • 84 Wounded
  • 5 Missing; total casualties: 119

The Soviet/East German Red Force lost:

  • 113 KIA
  • 257 Wounded
  • 10 Missing; total casualties: 380

In Vehicles (tanks, armored fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, etc.), the figures favored the Blue Force as well; the Americans only lost 17 vehicles, and the Warsaw Pact forces lost 58.

“In case of doubt, attack.” – Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., USA

The enemy’s air defenses, though, took a toll on my air assets, especially my AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters. I lost 7 in this skirmish. The enemy did not deploy his attack helicopters, but he did call in Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes several times. I shot one Frogfoot down; the Soviets shot down one of my A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets.

Nevertheless, I defeated the Red Force soundly, even though my aerial losses were significant. I held all eight OZs, and the enemy had far more losses than I.

So, yep. I’m getting better at Regiments.

Musings & Thoughts for Friday, September 30, 2022, or: Better a Late Post than None at All…


The weather picture when I started writing this post in the mid-afternoon of 30 September 2022.

Hi there, Dear Reader.

It’s early afternoon here in Lithia, Florida, on a sunny and mildly warm fall afternoon on Friday, September 30, 2022. If it weren’t for all the patio furniture that neither the Caregiver nor the three young adult children have not bothered to take back outside, you’d never know that only two days have passed since Hurricane Ian passed through Central Florida on its way to the Atlantic Ocean and the southeast coast of the United States.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

We here in Fish Hawk Ranch – the sprawling development that makes South Florida’s Fountainbleau Park (where I lived from February 1978 to April 2016) look tiny in comparison – got off lightly, compared to Sanibel Island, Ft. Myers, and other communities on the Gulf Coast that were hit by the storm during its Category Four stage. Ian made landfall to the south of us, and even though its winds did cause some damage and power outages in other parts of Hillsborough County, our neighborhood was spared both from Hurricane Andrew-level devastation and weeks-long power outages.

I am still tired from the stress that comes even from a near-miss by a powerful tropical system; I had a hard time falling asleep last night, and for a while there I feared that I’d have to deal with yet another bout of insomnia. I didn’t; I finally got drowsy sometime after 1 in the morning and slept until 8 AM. Still, I was restless, and now, several hours later after I reluctantly got up to make coffee and figure out what to eat for breakfast, I’m still tired, irritated, and trying to cheer myself up.

Photo by Matti on Pexels.com

I wish I had the energy and/or the motivation to write about a more interesting topic, like Vladimir Putin’s Hitlerian and illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions occupied by the army of the Russian Federation or the intractability of Ginni Thomas, the Trump-supporting wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who insisted yesterday in an interview with the January 6 committee that she still believes the 2020 Presidential election was “stolen.”

Alas, I don’t have either the energy or the motivation to write about the war in Ukraine or Ginni Thomas’s stubborn desire to push conservative conspiracy theories.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m also not in the mood to write any reviews, which are some of my favorite types of posts to write for my blogs. Again, my mind and body are tired, and it’s already almost midafternoon. Writing a review that I have planned for usually takes me between two and three hours to write and edit; producing one “out of the blue” would take up more time, since I must choose something to review, then do some research into the item’s background, then spend two to three hours writing the damn thing.

It’s not like I have a busy social agenda that would be rudely interrupted if I chose to go with the “write a review” option; I don’t go out on my own here, and I don’t have friends in the area that I can call and invite over to visit. But as much as I love writing – let’s face it, it’s the one thing I am good at – I do get tired of being at my desk all day, every day, without a change of scenery or even a friend to talk to in person.

So, if I write a review, I’ll probably write one this weekend or early next week.

I do need to take a shower and change into clean street clothes; I hate lounging about in my pajamas all day, even though I have no real reason to get dressed as if company was coming or I were to step out for a quick walk outside. Besides, I like the way I feel when I take a hot shower and put on a fresh outfit, even if it’s just for me. So, I think I’ll go do that as soon as I put this on WordPress.

And on that note, Dear Reader, I will say “So long.” Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Photo by Ekaterina Nt on Pexels.com

Musings & Thoughts for Thursday, September 29, 2022, or: The Day After Ian….


The latest screengrab from my computer’s Microsoft Weather app. Tropical Storm Ian is out on the Atlantic side of the Florida peninsula, looking far less organized than it did as a hurricane yesterday.

Goodbye, Ian: Thoughts on the “Day After”

Hi there, Dear Reader. As I begin this post, it’s just past 11 AM here in Lithia, Florida, on Thursday, September 29, 2022. It’s a cool – 68°F/20°C – fall day; it is cloudy, a bit blustery, and the high today is expected to reach 77°F/25°C, and even though Hillsborough County is still under a flooding advisory due to the presence of Tropical Storm Ian’s outer bands overhead, it seems that we here in Lithia came through the storm’s passage relatively unscathed.

Since I am posting this on the “day after” Ian’s trek across the state of Florida, you can see that my housemates – I live with one of my high school classmates and her young adult kids, plus a miniature schnauzer named Sandy – and I are okay and that:

Ian as a Category Four hurricane on September 28, 2022. Image taken from my PC’s Microsoft Weather app.
  • Except for a few plants by the side of the house which were uprooted by Ian’s winds, the house itself was undamaged. None of the cars suffered as much as a broken window
  • We had electricity throughout the entire “Ian experience,” although for a while it looked like Fish Hawk Ranch would lose power. We had three short “flickers” where the power went out briefly, but came back, the longest one lasted around one minute or two, but it felt like an eternity
  • Even though some houses in our section of Fish Hawk Ranch (Osprey) fared worse – fallen trees, knocked-down fences, etc. – we were lucky because Ian made landfall earlier and further to the south than forecasters predicted. Had Ian stayed over the Gulf a bit longer, it would have arrived late last night or early this morning, and closer to us, to boot
Another view of Ian on September 28, 2022, based on radar observations in the state of Florida. Image taken from my PC’s Microsoft Weather app.

Although it rained throughout the night and the Weather app on both my desktop and laptop computers reported winds of over 30 MPH here, we did not experience any thunderstorms or hear the “freight train-mixed-with-banshees” sound of a hurricane in full fury. I’m sure that folks in the harder-hit areas where Hurricane Ian came ashore as a Category Four storm heard that sound, and I know that Ft. Myers and other communities suffered major damage; one headline I saw in my email queue informed me that the causeway that links Sanibel Island with the mainland collapsed, and on the TV news last night I saw a report that a shark was spotted in a flooded Ft. Myers street due to the strong storm surge caused by Hurricane Ian’s passage from sea to shore.

About Last Night

Photo by Burak K on Pexels.com

If it had not been for the fact that there was a hurricane outside for a while and that there’s patio furniture inside the house, last night was a typical night for me, with only the storm-related stress to make things a bit different. Since the power did not go out, I spent Wednesday night pretty much the same way I spend most of my nights – playing computer games, watching movies or documentaries on my TV in my room, or thinking about sex – either great sex that I’ve had in the past or sex that I would love to have with women at some point in the future.

My best score ever on a Regiments Skirmish. Lowest casualty count for the Blue (U.S.) Force since I started playing the game in mid-August. (Game design elements (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse)

I played – of course – Regiments again last night, but this time around I played it on my laptop rather than on my desktop. I figured that even though the former is smaller and a bit harder to play games on due to its smaller screen and tinier keyboard, it works on battery power, so if the power had gone out for a while, I still might have been able to finish the Skirmish using the stored charge in the laptop’s battery.

(C) 2014 Entertainment One, Hamilton Film Partnership, Wark Clements & Channel 4 (UK)

After that, I watched – or tried to watch, anyway – an episode from the 2003 documentary series The First World War. I managed to get past the halfway point of the episode before I started falling asleep and had enough presence of mind to turn off the TV and Blu-ray player before I went under completely.

I slept relatively well, although I did wake up at 5:12 AM Eastern to – you guessed it – go to the bathroom, which is across the hall from my bedroom/study. I tried to go back to sleep after I did my business, but, alas, I still had “hurricane anxiety” and therefore was restless and, unfortunately, wide awake.

“Thursday…I Could Never Get the Hang of Thursdays….”

An older photo of our backyard….the sky looks like this today, though. (Photo by the author)

I’m tired. I have a headache. I don’t feel like doing much of anything once I publish this on WordPress.

See, this is why I hate it when I wake up early – even if it’s for the good reason of not wanting to pee in my pajamas and on my bedsheets – and then can’t even sleep for one or two additional hours. I know I did not go to bed exceptionally late – the last time I checked the time it was around 10:30 PM, and I was already well into my episode of The First World War, so I estimate that I was asleep by 11:15 or so. I slept soundly until my full bladder gave me that unwelcome wake-up call at 5:12 AM.

Now I feel as if I had not slept a wink – even though I know I did.

Ugh. Stress at my age…it’s not as easy to deal with as it used to be.

Or…I could look at some of my Star Wars collectibles and remember how much fun I had when I started collecting their smaller precursors from Kenner in the late 1970s.

I don’t know how I will spend the rest of this grey-tinged, unexpectedly cool, but otherwise peaceful post-hurricane day. I should finish watching that episode of The First World War, or at the very least eject the DVD from my Blu-ray player and put it back in its case.

Or maybe I should keep reading The Only Plane in the Sky, even though I might not be in the mood to read about the 9/11 attacks today.

I’m not in the mood to do anything today. As I said a few paragraphs ago, I’m tired, my head hurts, and I don’t even want to change out of my pajamas and into street clothes. Lethargic would be a good adjective to pin on me, cos “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” I am not.

So, on this note, I will close this out; I’ve been writing for two hours now, and I feel drained. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

Photo by Ekaterina Nt on Pexels.com

Musings & Thoughts for Wednesday, September 28, 2022, or: Wait! Is That a Hurricane I See Approaching? (Unfortunately, It Is!)


Looks like Ian is coming ashore further south than previously thought. Note the location of the clearly defined eye and the yellow-white dot that pinpoints my location. We are getting rain, but so far the winds are “only” at 25 MPH in Lithia. They’ll get worse as Ian moves closer, though!

Hurricane Ian Update

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s a gray, gloomy, and rainy Wednesday here in Lithia, Florida on September 28, 2022. As Hurricane Ian gets closer to the Gulf coast of Florida, the weather deteriorated considerably.

The latest forecast track of Ian. Image Credit: National Hurricane Center/NWS/NOAA

As I write this, it is raining. It’s not yet the dramatic tropical deluge you see in footage of hurricanes on the Weather Channel; it’s more like a longer-than-usual rain shower unaccompanied by lightning or thunder. At least, that’s been our experience here in Fish Hawk Ranch, the huge – and by that I mean sprawling – development near Lithia that makes my former neighborhood in Fountainbleau Park in Miami look insignificant by comparison.

However, even as Hurricane Ian – now a Category 4 storm – makes its turn to the north-northeast and on a course that will bring it to landfall just to the south of the Tampa Bay area, its forward movement has slowed. This will delay its arrival somewhat, but it also means that the weather will be lousy for a longer period. Flooding is guaranteed to occur, especially near rivers and canals, and while – of course – I hope our area is spared, we can also expect power outages throughout the west central part of the state, including Tampa Bay and its environs.

Advisory No. 24

Geez. Ian is close….but look at how the wind stretches the clouds from one side all the way to Canada’s Maritime provinces!

Here is the latest public advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami:

BULLETIN

Hurricane Ian Advisory Number  24

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL092022

1100 AM EDT Wed Sep 28 2022

…EXTREMELY DANGEROUS EYEWALL OF IAN MOVING ONSHORE…

…IAN WILL CAUSE CATASTROPHIC STORM SURGE, WINDS, AND FLOODING IN

THE FLORIDA PENINSULA SOON…

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION

———————————————–

LOCATION…26.3N 82.5W

ABOUT 45 MI…75 KM WNW OF NAPLES FLORIDA

ABOUT 50 MI…80 KM SSW OF PUNTA GORDA FLORIDA

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…155 MPH…250 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 9 MPH…15 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…937 MB…27.67 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

——————–

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

A Storm Surge Warning has been issued from the mouth of the St.

Mary’s River to the mouth of the South Santee River, South Carolina.

A Hurricane Warning has been issued from Sebastian Inlet, Florida

northward to the Flagler/Volusia County Line, Florida.

A Hurricane Watch has been issued from the Flagler/Volusia County

Line to the South Santee River.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been extended northward to Little

River Inlet, South Carolina.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…

* Chokoloskee to Anclote River, including Tampa Bay

* Dry Tortugas

* Sebastian Inlet to Flagler/Volusia County Line

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…

* Suwannee River southward to Flamingo

* Tampa Bay

* Lower Florida Keys from Big Pine Key westward to Key West

* Dry Tortugas

* Flagler/Volusia Line to the mouth of the South Santee River

* St. Johns River

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Cuban provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas

* Indian Pass to the Anclote River

* All of the Florida Keys

* Flamingo to Sebastian Inlet

* Flagler/Volusia County Line to Little River Inlet

* Flamingo to Chokoloskee

* Lake Okeechobee

* Florida Bay

* Bimini and Grand Bahama Islands

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…

* Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge westward to east of Big

Pine Key

* Florida Bay

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…

* Flagler/Volusia County Line to the South Santee River

* Lake Okeechobee

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening

inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in

the indicated locations. For a depiction of areas at risk, please

see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic,

available at hurricanes.gov.  This is a life-threatening situation.

Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions

to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for

other dangerous conditions.  Promptly follow evacuation and other

instructions from local officials.

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected

somewhere within the warning area.  Preparations to protect life and

property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-

threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the

coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor

products issued by your national meteorological service.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK

———————-

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Ian was located

near latitude 26.3 North, longitude 82.5 West. Ian is moving toward

the north-northeast near 9 mph (15 km/h). This general motion with a

reduction in forward speed is forecast today, followed by a turn

toward the northeast on Thursday. On the forecast track, the center

of Ian is expected to move onshore within the hurricane warning area

in a few hours, move over central Florida tonight and Thursday

morning and emerge over the western Atlantic by late Thursday.  Ian

is forecast to turn northward on Friday and approach the

northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts late

Friday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 155 mph (250 km/h) with higher

gusts.  Ian is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson

Hurricane Wind Scale.  Ian is forecast to make landfall on the west

coast of Florida as a catastrophic hurricane.  Weakening is expected

after landfall, but Ian could be near hurricane strength when it

moves over the Florida East coast tomorrow, and when it approaches

the northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts late

Friday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the

center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles

(280 km).  A Weatherflow station on Sanibel Island recently reported

sustained winds of 58 mph (93 km/h) with a gust to 75 mph

(121 km/h).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 937 mb (27.67 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

———————-

Key messages for Ian can be found in the Tropical Cyclone Discussion

under AWIPS header MIATCDAT4 and WMO header WTNT44 KNHC and on the

web at hurricanes.gov/text/MIATCDAT4.shtml.

STORM SURGE:  The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause

normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters

moving inland from the shoreline.  The water could reach the

following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if

the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

* Englewood to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor…12-18 ft

* Middle of Longboat Key to Englewood…6-10 ft

* Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee…8-12 ft

* Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable…5-8 ft

* Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key, including Tampa Bay…4-6

ft

* Suwannee River to Anclote River…3-5 ft

* Lower Keys from Key West to Big Pine Key, including the

Dry Tortugas…3-5 ft

* Flagler/Volusia County Line to South Santee River including St.

Johns River…3-5 ft

* St. Johns River south of Julington…2-4 ft

* East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge…2-4 ft

* Florida Keys east of Big Pine Key…2-4 ft

* Patrick Air Force Base to Flagler/Volusia County Line…1-3 ft

* North of South Santee River to Surf City NC…1-3 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to

the right of the center, where the surge will be accompanied by

large waves.  Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing

of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short

distances.  For information specific to your area, please see

products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast

office.

WIND:  Catastrophic wind damage is likely where the core of Ian

moves onshore.  Hurricane conditions will begin along the west

coast of Florida within the Hurricane Warning area shortly, with

tropical storm conditions ongoing.

Hurricane conditions are expected to begin along the east coast of

Florida in the Hurricane Warning area starting overnight.  Hurricane

conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area on Thursday

through late Friday.

Tropical storm conditions are occurring in the warning area in the

Florida Keys, and will continue this morning.  Tropical storm

conditions are occuring in parts of the warning area on the east

coast currently, and should spread up northward through the Georgia

and South Carolina coasts tonight and Thursday.  Tropical storm

conditions are expected within the warning area in Cuba for the next

few hours.

RAINFALL: Ian is expected to produce the following storm total

rainfall:

* Florida Keys and South Florida: 6 to 8 inches, with local maxima

up to 12 inches.

* Central and Northeast Florida: 12 to 18 inches, with local

maxima up to 24 inches.

* Eastern Georgia and Coastal South Carolina: 4 to 8 inches, with

local maxima of 12 inches.

Widespread, life-threatening catastrophic flash, urban, and river

flooding is expected across central Florida.  Widespread

considerable flash, urban, and river flooding is expected across

portions of southern Florida through Wednesday, and northeast

Florida, southeastern Georgia, and coastal South Carolina later this

week through the weekend.  Limited flash, urban, and river flooding

is possible over portions of the Southeast and southern Mid-Atlantic

U.S. later this week through the weekend.

TORNADOES: Tornadoes are possible today and tonight, especially

across east central Florida.

SURF:  Swells generated by Ian are affecting the northern coast

of Cuba, the northeastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula and

west coast of Florida. Swells will increase along the east coast of

Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina tonight and Thursday.  These

swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current

conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.

NEXT ADVISORY

————-

Next intermediate advisory at 200 PM EDT.

Next complete advisory at 500 PM EDT.

$$

Forecaster Blake

The Wait…

Looks like Ian will come ashore south of the Tampa Bay area.

Here, we are about as ready for Ian’s passage as we can be. The Caregiver – belatedly, I might add – bought hurricane supplies, and with her boyfriend and her three young adult kids, she brought in everything that could be turned into a potential missile from both the front and back yards. The house was built in 2012, and I’ve been assured that the windows are hurricane resistant, so there’s none of that “put tape on the glass so it won’t shatter into tiny pieces” nonsense or even the more sensible “put plywood boards on the windows as makeshift storm shutters” thing here. I would feel safer if the lady that owns the house installed real hurricane shutters, but that’s not my call.

Been there, done that. This is what a tropical storm looked like from my previous home a decade or so ago. Photo by the author.

Even though by now I have been through quite a few tropical storms and hurricanes since 1992 – Hurricane Betsy of 1965 does not count because I was only two then and I have no memory of the event – I still get stressed out whenever one of these storms passes through an area where I live. Partly, of course, because I am not quite ready to die, my current circumstances notwithstanding. Mostly, though, I hate the aftermath of hurricanes and tropical cyclones, especially the power outages. It’s still hot and humid in Florida at this time of year, and – at least twice so far – I have endured life in a house without electricity, cable TV, and Internet for long periodsL, and that was one time too many.

So, until Ian arrives onshore tomorrow, my goal is to try to keep distracted as much as possible for as long as possible. That means:

Photo by Ekaterina Belousova on Pexels.com
  • Avoiding the fixation on news about Hurricane Ian
  • Sticking to my routine – blogging, hanging out online, gaming, writing, watching movies, reading, listening to music, etc. – as best I can
  • Staying sober (easy to do, even though I do have a case of Seagram’s Escapes on hand)
  • Trying to think about things that make me happy, whether it’s great sex that I’ve had (or would like to have) or Star Wars action figures
  • Preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best

The Inevitable Regiments Update

The aftermath of an air attack on a Warsaw Pact unit during a recent Skirmish. (All game design elements in this and other screenshots are (C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games and MicroProse.)

As part of my “keeping my wits about me in the face of potential catastrophe” project, last night I played Regiments not once but twice.

I stuck to playing Skirmishes, the campaign is too much of a time-suck, for one thing, and I am not doing too well in the second Operation as it is (I need to figure out what I’m doing wrong and try to correct my tactical approach in that one). So I played the familiar Runway scenario twice – once as the West Germans, once as the Americans.

I am getting better at keeping casualties among my ground units low and inflicting more casualties on the enemy.

As you can see, the Blue force “kicked ass and took names, but I still lost 10 helicopters. That’s a lot of choppers!

In my second Skirmish from last night’s gaming session, I lost:

  • 48 dead
  • 149 wounded
  • 6 missing

The Red force (elements of a Soviet motor rifle regiment and an East German panzer regiment) lost:

  • 117 dead
  • 331 wounded
  • 26 missing

My Blue force also lost fewer vehicles (tanks, infantry/cavalry fighting vehicles, self-propelled mortars, etc.) than the Red force: 25 to 69. Most of the losses were Bradley M2/M3 IFV/CFVs, although I also lost some M1 Abrams (of various models) to enemy anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).

I only lost 1 A-10A Thunderbolt to Red force anti-aircraft fire, while the Red force lost 3 SU-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft to my anti-aircraft defenses, mostly my Vulcan DIVAD and my Chaparral surface-to-air missile battery.

I believe those are East German soldiers and BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles. (I also love how Regiments gives you different time-of-day/weather conditions rather than just night/day ones.

Where I did lose heavily, though, was in attack helicopters – 10 in all. In this Skirmish, the Soviets/East Germans did not deploy attack helicopters, so of course, they lost none. Again I reiterate: AH-1F Cobras and AH-64A Apache choppers are cool, deadly, and useful, but they are astonishingly easy to shoot down if you deploy them willy-nilly or if the enemy’s AAA is skillfully sited and holds its fire until you send a flight of two choppers too close to where the ZSU-23-4s and Strelas are lurking.

On balance, though, I am getting better at Regiments, at least with NATO forces in general and with U.S. units specifically.

Well, Dear Reader, since I am a slow typist, two hours have passed since I started this post, so I better wrap this up and publish this. I have no idea if I will be able to write tomorrow (unless I end up staying up all night and posting something in the predawn hours); I hope that I will, partly because my blog is part of my daily routine, and partly because I don’t want to end my “streak” of consecutive days of posting on WordPress – today marks my 811th day of uninterrupted blogging here. So, until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay away from hurricanes!  

Musings & Thoughts for Tuesday, September 27, 2022, or: Keeping a Wary, World-Weary, and Bleary Eye on Hurricane Ian


The most recent screenshot is from my computer’s Weather app.

Storm Front Comin’…..

Photo by Deane Bayas on Pexels.com

It’s late morning on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 here in Lithia, Florida, and as Hurricane Ian moves closer to the Florida peninsula, the weather picture is, literally, gray and gloomy.

As I write this, things are relatively quiet. It is not raining; the skies are mostly cloudy, and the temperature is a mild 78°F/25°C outside (although, this being Florida, it feels a bit warmer than that cos of humidity). However, one of Ian’s massive outer bands is making its way towards west-central Florida in a counterclockwise direction, so by the time I finish this post it’s possible that we’ll see rain showers and thunderstorms overhead.

Late in the afternoon yesterday, one of Ian’s outer bands made its way this far north, and wow, it was quite a “dark and stormy” evening. I can’t recall the exact time because I did not take a screenshot from my Weather app, but I think it was around 4:30 PM when, all of a sudden, the light levels in my room (which are already low because I keep my venetian blinds and curtains closed; I leave a gap open with the curtains to allow some light from my window to filter through) dropped dramatically and I had to turn on my bedroom lamp so I could at least see my keyboard while I typed.

Soon after that, the rain started to fall, and not gradually going from drizzle to downpour but rather as a deluge from the start. There were also plenty of lightning strikes, and they were coming so close and frequently that I logged off from my computer and stayed off for about 90 minutes.

Eventually, that outer band left the area, and the night was relatively normal. We brought in all the patio furniture and my mom’s small portable BBQ from the backyard, as well as the chairs and table that the lady that owns the house has on the front porch. Anything that could potentially become a missile that could break a neighbor’s window in a hurricane-force windstorm is now inside, mostly in the garage.  

The 11 AM Advisory

As for where Ian is now and where it might be tomorrow – which is the day I am most worried about – I will just share the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami:

BULLETIN

Hurricane Ian Advisory Number 18

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL092022

1100 AM EDT Tue Sep 27 2022

…POWERFUL HURRICANE IAN EMERGES INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF

MEXICO…

…NEW WATCHES AND WARNINGS ISSUED FOR FLORIDA, GEORGIA AND SOUTH

CAROLINA…

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION

———————————————–

Image Credit: National Hurricane Center/NWS/NOAA

LOCATION…23.0N 83.5W

ABOUT 305 MI…490 KM SSW OF SARASOTA FLORIDA

ABOUT 125 MI…200 KM SSW OF THE DRY TORTUGAS

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…115 MPH…185 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT…N OR 5 DEGREES AT 10 MPH…17 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…963 MB…28.44 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

——————–

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

A Storm Surge Warning has been issued for the U.S. east coast from

Marineland Florida to the mouth of St. Mary’s River including the

St. Johns River, and the Dry Tortugas.  Along the Florida west

coast, a Storm Surge Warning has been issued from Suwanee River to

Anclote River.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the west coast of Florida from

south of Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee.

A Storm Surge Watch has been issued from the mouth of the St.

Mary’s River to South Santee River South Carolina.

The Tropical Storm Warning along the U.S. east coast has been

extended north to Altamaha Sound Georgia and south to Boca Raton

Florida.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from south of Boca Raton to east

of Flamingo Florida, for the upper Florida Keys and Florida Bay.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from north of Altamaha Sound to

South Santee River South Carolina.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…

* Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa

* Bonita Beach to Anclote River, including Tampa Bay

* Dry Tortugas

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…

* Suwanee River southward to Flamingo

* Tampa Bay

* Dry Tortugas

* Marineland to the mouth of the St. Mary’s River

* St. Johns River

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Cuban provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas

* Suwannee River to the Anclote River

* Flamingo to Bonita Beach

* Lower and Middle Florida Keys

* Boca Raton to Altamaha Sound

* Lake Okeechobee

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…

* Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge westward to Key West

* Florida Bay

* Aucilla River to Suwanee River

* Mouth of St. Mary’s River to South Santee River

* South of Marineland to the Volusia/Flagler county line

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…

* North of Anclote River to Suwannee River

* South of Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

* North of Suwannee River to Indian Pass

* North of Altamaha Sound to South Santee River

* South of Boca Raton to east of Flamingo

* Upper Florida Keys

* Florida Bay

A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening

inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in

the indicated locations. For a depiction of areas at risk, please

see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic,

available at hurricanes.gov.  This is a life-threatening situation.

Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions

to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for

other dangerous conditions.  Promptly follow evacuation and other

instructions from local officials.

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected

somewhere within the warning area.  Preparations to protect life and

property should be rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-

threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the

coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible

within the watch area.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are

possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor

products issued by your national meteorological service.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK

———————-

As you can see, the outer bands are large, and you can see the effect of upper air currents stretching one band clear across the width of the southern tip of Florida. Miami is not having a nice day…but neither will we.

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Ian was located

near latitude 23.0 North, longitude 83.5 West. Ian is moving toward

the north near 10 mph (17 km/h), and this motion is expected to

continue today.  A turn toward the north-northeast with a reduction

in forward speed is forecast tonight and Wednesday.  On the

forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to move over the

southeastern Gulf of Mexico in a couple of hours, pass west of the

Florida Keys later today, and approach the west coast of Florida

within the hurricane warning area on Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher

gusts.  Ian is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson

Hurricane Wind Scale.  Re-strengthening is expected later today

through Wednesday. Ian is forecast to approach the west coast of

Florida as an extremely dangerous major hurricane.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the

center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles

(220 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 963 mb (28.44 inches)

based on Air Force Hurricane Hunter data.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

———————-

Key messages for Ian can be found in the Tropical Cyclone Discussion

under AWIPS header MIATCDAT4 and WMO header WTNT44 KNHC and on the

web at hurricanes.gov/text/MIATCDAT4.shtml.

STORM SURGE:  The combination of storm surge and the tide will cause

normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters

moving inland from the shoreline.  The water could reach the

following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if

the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

* Middle of Longboat Key to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte

Harbor…8-12 ft

* Bonita Beach to Chokoloskee…5-8 ft

* Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key, including Tampa

Bay…5-8 ft

* Suwannee River to Anclote River…4-6 ft

* Mouth of the St. Mary’s River to Altamaha Sound…4-6 ft

* Chokoloskee to East Cape Sable…4-6 ft

* Dry Tortugas…3-5 ft

* Marineland to Mouth of the St. Mary’s River, including St.

Johns River…3-5 ft

* Altamaha Sound to Savannah River…3-5 ft

* St. Johns River south of Julington…2-4 ft

* Savannah River to South Santee River…2-4 ft

* Flagler/Volusia County Line to Marineland…2-4 ft

* East Cape Sable to Card Sound Bridge…2-4 ft

* Aucilla River to Suwannee River…2-4 ft

* Patrick Air Force Base to Flagler/Volusia County Line…1-3 ft

* Indian Pass to Aucilla River…1-3

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to

the right of the center, where the surge will be accompanied by

large waves.  Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing

of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short

distances.  For information specific to your area, please see

products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast

office.

Storm surge could raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet

above normal tide levels along the coast of western Cuba in areas of

onshore winds in the hurricane warning area early today.

WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area in

Cuba through early afternoon, with destructive winds likely for a

few more hours.  Tropical storm conditions are expected within the

tropical storm warning area in Cuba today.

Hurricane conditions are expected along the west coast of Florida

within the Hurricane Warning area on Wednesday morning, with

tropical storm conditions possibly beginning by late today. Tropical

storm conditions are expected in the Tropical Storm Warning area

along the southwest coast of the Florida peninsula by this evening,

and along the west coast north of the Tampa Bay area and along

portions of the east coast of Florida on Wednesday. Hurricane

conditions are possible in the watch area beginning on Wednesday.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area in the

lower and middle Florida Keys beginning later today, and are

possible in southeastern Florida in the Tropical Storm Watch area

beginning this evening. Tropical storm conditions are expected in

the Tropical Storm Warning area on the east coast of Florida

beginning early Wednesday, spreading up to Georgia and South

Carolina on Thursday.  Tropical storm conditions are possible in

the Tropical Storm Watch area in the Florida Big Bend area on

Wednesday into early Thursday.

RAINFALL: Ian is expected to produce the following rainfall through

Thursday night:

* Western Cuba: 6 to 12 inches, with isolated totals up to 16

inches. These rains may produce flash flooding and mudslides in

areas of higher terrain over western Cuba.

* Florida Keys and South Florida: 4 to 6 inches, with isolated

totals up to 8 inches.

* Central West Florida: 12 to 16 inches, with isolated totals up to

24 inches.

* Northeast Florida and the remainder of the Central Florida

Peninsula: 5 to 10 inches, with isolated totals up to 12 inches.

* Heavy rainfall is expected to affect the southeastern United

States Friday and Saturday.

Widespread considerable flash and urban flooding are expected

mid-to-late week across central and northern Florida, southern

Georgia, and coastal South Carolina, with significant, prolonged

river flooding expected across central to northern Florida. Flash

and urban flooding are also expected with rainfall across southern

Florida through mid week. Limited flash and river flooding is

expected over portions of the southeastern United States into the

Mid-Atlantic mid-to-late week.

TORNADOES: Tornadoes are possible today through Wednesday across

the Florida Keys and the southern and central Florida Peninsula.

SURF:  Swells generated by Ian are affecting the western Caribbean,

and the Florida Keys, and will spread northward throughout the

eastern Gulf of Mexico tonight and Wednesday. These swells are

likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Please consult products from your local weather office.

NEXT ADVISORY

————-

Next intermediate advisory at 200 PM EDT.

Next complete advisory at 500 PM EDT.

$$

Forecaster Blake

Where Will We Be on Wednesday? (Hint: No One Knows For Sure)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Because the movement of tropical cyclones is never 100% predictable, I don’t think anyone at the National Hurricane Center knows precisely where Ian will make landfall. From my perspective, the longer it stays in a northerly course, the better our chances of not getting a direct hit by the storm’s core – the eye wall – get. So if Ian makes its “turn to the right” on a northeasterly direction in the Big Bend area, it will suck for the residents of that part of Florida, but we in Lithia – and the greater Tampa area – will be spared from the worst effects of the hurricane.

Obviously, Hurricane Ian is a huge system and even if that “best case scenario” goes as I have described, we are still going to have to deal with the outer bands. Those will still have tropical storm or hurricane force winds, and we will experience nasty weather for a prolonged period. As of the 11 AM advisory, Ian is moving north at 10 MPH, which is not exactly fast as far as forward movement goes. (Hurricane Andrew, which hit Miami-Dade County 30 years ago, was a fast-moving hurricane; it barreled to the west at 18 mph, which means it did not linger longer over South Florida.) As it moves further north, the Coriolis effect and the prevailing wind currents will probably make the storm move faster, but right now the 10-mph speed means we won’t see the worst of Hurricane Ian until tomorrow.

I don’t know what I will do for the rest of the day after I post this. I tend to get stressed out whenever a hurricane is in the area, so I will probably seek ways to keep my mind off the damned storm for a while. I will take a shower and change into street clothes; the hot shower itself will relax me for a while, and who knows what will happen with Ian. Past storms that have made either direct impacts on the Tampa Bay area or have made close approaches did not knock out the power, but this time we may not be so lucky. If the power goes out for a while in our neighborhood, who knows when I’ll take another shower again?  

(C) 2022 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment & Amblin Entertainment

I might watch a few of my movies on Blu-ray while I still can, or maybe I will play some of my computer games or listen to music…again, while I still can.

(C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse
(C) 2022 Bird’s Eye Games & MicroProse
(C) 2017 Killerfish Games

When – not if – the outer bands whizz through the Central Florida/Gulf Coast and there is lightning around, of course, I can’t do any of that, so I will read books. I have plenty of them, and I am forever grateful to my maternal grandmother, “Tata,” for teaching me how to read when I was but a toddler. At least I will have a way to pass the time if the power is out.

And, of course, I will hope that Ian stays offshore and heads north till it reaches the Florida panhandle. Wishful thinking, and maybe a bit too selfish of me to want a tropical storm to affect other people who are not in my area, but hey. I have been through too many hurricanes and tropical storms to feel otherwise.

I should go and take that shower now before the outer bands bring thunderstorms and lightning strikes, so I will close for now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the not-so-stormy side.

I hope you won’t begrudge me my little bit of fantasy….Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Musings & Thoughts for September 26, 2022, or: Keeping a Weather Eye on Hurricane Ian


Hurricane Blanca Strengthens by NASA Goddard Photo and Video is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

One of the things that I hate the most about living in Florida – any part of Florida, at that – is that its geographic location makes it a frequent target for tropical cyclones.

Just look at a map of North America and you’ll see why the Sunshine State – also known as “America’s Droopy Dick” or “America’s Wang” – is one of the most frequently visited places in the United States by hurricanes. It is a peninsula that juts 447 miles southward from the rest of the Lower 48 states and is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the west, and separated from the island of Cuba by the body of water that links them – the Florida Straits.

A look at “Hurricane Alley.” The “heart” symbol indicates my hometown, where I lived for most of my life.

And because Florida is so far south, and because it is in the subtropical zone, we who live here are bound to get hit by tropical storms that form either off the west coast of Africa or down in the western edges of the Caribbean Sea. Meteorologists call the region that encompasses the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and most of the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. “Hurricane Alley.” Tropical systems are more likely to develop in this region because of the interaction between the heat of the summer sun, ocean waters, the steering currents in the atmosphere, and the Coriolis effect.[1]

As I write this, I am keeping a wary eye on the latest threat from the tropics – Hurricane Ian. It formed in the western Caribbean late last week and is now, thanks to those steering currents, high ocean temperatures, and the Coriolis effect, making a beeline toward west central Florida, which is where I have lived since the spring of 2016.

And, as I suspected ever since I heard about then-Tropical Storm Ian on Saturday, we in the Tampa Bay area are now under a hurricane watch, which will more than likely be upgraded to a hurricane warning by the end of the day or tomorrow morning, depending on the hurricane’s trajectory.

The latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (Image Credit: NHC/National Weather Service/NOAA

Here is the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami, which is located not too far from the neighborhood where I lived prior to my move to Lithia six years ago:

BULLETIN

Hurricane Ian Advisory Number  14

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL       AL092022

1100 AM EDT Mon Sep 26 2022

…IAN FORECAST TO CONTINUE RAPIDLY STRENGTHENING…

…CONDITIONS IN WESTERN CUBA TO DETERIORATE THIS EVENING AND

TONIGHT WITH SIGNIFICANT WIND AND STORM SURGE IMPACTS EXPECTED…

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT…1500 UTC…INFORMATION

———————————————–

LOCATION…19.1N 82.7W

ABOUT 100 MI…160 KM W OF GRAND CAYMAN

ABOUT 240 MI…385 KM SE OF THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…80 MPH…130 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT…NW OR 325 DEGREES AT 13 MPH…20 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…980 MB…28.94 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

——————–

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

The Tropical Storm Watch for the west coast of Florida has been

extended from Chokoloskee southward to Flamingo.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the Florida Keys from

Seven Mile Bridge eastward to the Channel 5 Bridge in the Middle

Keys.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Lake Okeechobee.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…

* Grand Cayman

* Cuban provinces of Isla de Juventud, Pinar del Rio, and Artemisa

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…

* Cuban provinces of La Habana, Mayabeque, and Matanzas

* Lower Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge westward to Key West

* Dry Tortugas

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…

* Florida Keys from the Card Sound Bridge westward to Key West

* Dry Tortugas

* Florida Bay

* Anclote River southward to the Card Sound Bridge

* Tampa Bay

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…

* Englewood to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

* Little Cayman and Cayman Brac

* Englewood southward to Flamingo

* Florida Keys from Seven Mile Bridge to the Channel 5 Bridge

* Lake Okeechobee

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected

somewhere within the warning area, in this case within 24 to

36 hours.  Preparations to protect life and property should be

rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-

threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the

coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather

Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at

hurricanes.gov.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible

within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours

before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force

winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or

dangerous.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are

possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Interests in central Cuba, the remainder of the Florida Keys, and

the Florida peninsula should monitor the progress of Ian. Additional

watches may be need later today farther north along the west coast

of Florida.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor

products issued by your national meteorological service.

DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK

We sure are going to get a lot of rain. Image Credit: NHC/National Weather Service/NOAA

———————-

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Ian was located

near latitude 19.1 North, longitude 82.7 West. Ian is moving toward

the northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h). A north-northwestward motion is

expected to begin later today, followed by a northward motion on

Tuesday with a slightly slower forward speed. A turn toward the

north-northeast with a further reduction in forward speed is

forecast on Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Ian is

expected to pass near or west of the Cayman Islands today, and near

or over western Cuba tonight and early Tuesday. Ian will then emerge

over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, pass west of the

Florida Keys late Tuesday, and approach the west coast of Florida on

Wednesday into Thursday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 80 mph (130 km/h)

with higher gusts.  Rapid strengthening is expected during the next

day or so, and Ian is forecast to become a major hurricane tonight

or early Tuesday when it is near western Cuba and remain a major

hurricane over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the

center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles

(185 km).

The minimum central pressure based on Air Force and NOAA Hurricane

Hunter aircraft data is 980 mb (28.94 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

———————-

Key messages for Ian can be found in the Tropical Cyclone Discussion

under AWIPS header MIATCDAT4 and WMO header WTNT44 KNHC and on the

web at hurricanes.gov/text/MIATCDAT4.shtml.

STORM SURGE:  The combination of storm surge and the tide will

cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising

waters moving inland from the shoreline.  The water could reach the

following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if

the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

*Anclote River to Middle of Longboat Key, FL including Tampa

Bay…5-10 ft

*Middle of Longboat Key, FL to Englewood, FL…5-8 ft

*Englewood, FL to Bonita Beach, FL including Charlotte Harbor…

4-7 ft

*Bonita Beach, FL to East Cape Sable, FL…3-5 ft

*East Cape Sable, FL to Card Sound Bridge, FL including Florida

Bay…2-4 ft

*Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas…2-4 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to

the right of the center, where the surge will be accompanied by

large waves.  Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing

of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short

distances.  For information specific to your area, please see

products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast

office.

Storm surge could raise water levels by as much as 9 to 14 feet

above normal tide levels along the coast of western Cuba in areas of

onshore winds in the hurricane warning area tonight and early

Tuesday.

Storm surge could raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above

normal tide levels along the immediate coast in areas of onshore

winds in the Cayman Islands today.

WIND:  Tropical storm and hurricane conditions are expected on Grand

Cayman today. Hurricane conditions are expected within the warning

area in Cuba tonight, with tropical storm conditions expected

by late today. Destructive winds are possible where the core of Ida

moves across western Cuba.

Tropical storm conditions are expected within the tropical storm

warning area in Cuba tonight and Tuesday. Tropical storm conditions

are possible on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac today.

Hurricane conditions are possible along the west coast of Florida

within the Hurricane Watch area on Wednesday, with tropical

storm conditions possibly beginning by Tuesday night.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area in the

lower Florida Keys and are possible in the watch area in the middle

Florida Keys on Tuesday. Tropical storm conditions are possible

within the watch area along the Florida west coast by Tuesday

evening.

RAINFALL:  Ian is expected to produce the following rainfall through

Thursday:

Jamaica: An additional 1 to 3 inches, with local maximum of 5

inches, especially along the south coastal region.

Cayman Islands: 3 to 6 inches, with local maxima up to 8 inches.

Western Cuba: 6 to 10 inches, with local maxima up to 16 inches.

These rains may produce flash flooding and mudslides in areas of

higher terrain over western Cuba.

Florida Keys: 4 to 6 inches.

Central West Florida: 8 to 10 inches, with local maxima up to 15

inches.

Remainder of the Florida Peninsula: 3 to 8 inches.

Heavy rainfall is expected to affect North Florida, eastern portions

of the Florida Panhandle, and portions of the Southeastern U.S.

Friday and Saturday.

Widespread considerable flash and urban flooding and prolonged

significant river flooding impacts are likely mid-to-late week in

central Florida given already saturated conditions. Flash and urban

flooding impacts are also possible with rainfall across the Florida

Keys and the Florida peninsula through mid-week. Limited flooding

impacts and rises on area streams and rivers are also possible over

northern Florida and portions of the Southeast mid-to-late week.

TORNADOES: A few tornadoes are possible late tonight and Tuesday

across the Florida Keys and the southern and central Florida

Peninsula.

SURF:  Swells generated by Ian are affecting Jamaica and the Cayman

Islands. Swells will spread northwestward to the southwestern coast

of Cuba and the coasts of Honduras, Belize, and the Yucatan

Peninsula of Mexico today and tonight. Swells are expected to begin

affecting the Florida Keys Tuesday and spread northward along the

west coast of Florida through Wednesday.  These swells are

likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Please consult products from your local weather office.

NEXT ADVISORY

————-

Next intermediate advisory at 200 PM EDT.

Next complete advisory at 500 PM EDT.

$$

Forecaster Reinhart

A visit from a tropical storm in my former home turf, circa 2012. Photo by the author.

I have already gone through at least three hurricanes or tropical storms since I first moved to Tampa eight months after my mother’s death in July of 2015. Before that, I lived through Hurricanes Andrew, Irene, the early stages of Katrina, and Wilma, plus a few others, so I’m not as terrified about Hurricane Ian as I would be if I was a new transplant to Florida and had never experienced a tropical cyclone.

Nevertheless, I am still nervous about it, and not just because it’s a major hurricane with the potential to destroy or seriously damage our house, but because even if we come out of Ian without so much as a broken window or damaged roof, we could lose power for days, even weeks, at a time when the temperatures in the Tampa Bay area are still too summer-like. It’s hot, sunny, and humid now, and the only thing that makes living this far south bearable is the existence of air conditioning.

In 2005 – the year that Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma struck Miami – we had a mixed experience with power outages. I don’t remember being without power after the former; I distinctly recall feeling a sense of relief that though Katrina had caused some flooding in our neighborhood, we did not lose electricity either during the storm’s passage or in the aftermath.

With Wilma, which hit South Florida late in the season and did far more damage than was expected, my mom and I were without electricity for over a month; weirdly, the gated community where we lived in 2005 had a bifurcated power grid, so half of the units had electricity, while the other half did not. We were fortunate to have friends in the section of East Wind Lake Village that had power, so for the duration of the outage, we schlepped over to two of our neighbors’ townhouses, with our travel bags stuffed with towels and a change of clothes, to shower and change into clean outfits, as well as to eat hot meals.

Wilma hit South Florida on October 24, 2005, one week after my mother’s 77th birthday, and Florida Power & Light restored our power a day or so before Thanksgiving, which is the longest time that I’ve ever lived without electricity, cable TV, or Internet service. I survived, of course, but it was an unpleasant and unnerving time, full of boredom, bad moods – on my part – and a desire to get back to “normal.”

So, if I seem a bit more fretful than usual over the next few days, I hope you’ll understand why I am apprehensive about Hurricane Ian. Right now, I am hoping that the eye stays out to sea and does not make landfall anywhere near the Tampa Bay area, and that we don’t lose power. Not just because I don’t want to die in a hurricane – although of course that is a concern – but because I often become irritable and difficult to live with if I am under a lot of stress or can’t stick to my established routine. (Add to this the awkwardness of having an ex-girlfriend as a “caregiver,” and all the emotional baggage that this entails, and you’ll understand why I worry.)

I will continue to post on my blog if the weather permits. Today we should not see any bad Ian-related weather issues, but as the hurricane moves closer to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, that will change, and drastically. I try to be an optimist, but I also must accept that we are likely going to be without power for a minimum of one week, and if the damage to the Tampa Bay area is bad, maybe as long as three weeks or even a month. I don’t like that, and I hope that it doesn’t come to pass, but it’s certainly a possibility.

I need to go take my shower and change into street clothes, so I will close this post here. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the less stormy side of things.


[1] And people say a college education is worthless! I learned all of this in Professor “Mac” McWorther’s Energy and Natural Environment class in the Fall Term of the 1985-1986 academic year at what was then the South Campus of Miami-Dade Community College. (Go, Jaguars!)

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