Tuesday, May 14, 2013
~2:10 P.M.

It is important to make the distinction between being dumb and stupid. Have you ever heard someone say “I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid”? Well, it turns out that this is not a dumb or stupid statement at all; being dumb and being stupid are two different things. Being dumb is to lack basic cognitive thinking skills, particularly in an academic setting.. Being stupid is to lack basic common sense. When it comes to physics, I’m dumb. When it comes to everything else, I’m just stupid.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve gotten more stupid as I’ve gotten older; I’ve simply just come to a better realization of how stupid I am. After the heavy burst of rain yesterday afternoon, I decided to go to the IMA at the UW to pump some iron. After squats/rows/pullups and all those other compound exercises, I was absolutely drenched in sweat, but as I hobbled back to the dorm, I dried off relatively quickly due to the wind speeding up the evaporation of sweat from my body and t-shirt. When I got back to the dorm, I went outside on our McMahon cluster balcony and slipped my t-shirt over a chair to see how quickly it would dry in the wind. I came back about twenty minutes later, and the shirt was completely dry. You could tell that there were a fair number of electrolytes embedded in the cotton, but the shirt still worked.

I was proud of my shirt-drying technique, and I wanted to test it out on some other fabrics. I went ahead and took a shower (and yes, I still take those “sailor showers” that I talk about in this post), and when I was done drying myself off, I loosely wrapped my towel around the same chair that I had used to wrap my shirt around. I was a little apprehensive about the possibility of the towel flying off because whereas I could fit the t-shirt snugly over the chair like a sock, I was only able to drape it over the chair. Still, I wanted to see how long it would take for this towel to dry, so I draped it across in the most strategic way I could think of to maximize evaporation while still keeping the risk of the towel flying off below a certain threshold, and went to grab some dinner.

When I came back up to my cluster after grabbing some grub, it became apparent that the unthinkable happened. My towel was nowhere to be seen. I rushed outside to see if I could locate it. The good news is that I was able to find it. The bad news? It’s stuck in a tree.

My towel is currently ~100 feet down, 30 feet west, and ~50 feet to the north of my cluster, snagged in the uppermost reaches of a maple tree. This towel has a lot of sentimental value to me, and I do not want to lose it. As of now, I see two primary options.

First, I could go to somebody else’s cluster that is closer to the towel and try and throw a rope with a weight attached or some sort of chain to knock the towel off the tree. The problem is that this is illegal. You aren’t allowed to throw anything off the balconies.

And for good reason too. Although the area under the towel’s location is not easily accessible, has lots of undergrowth, and is, as far as I know, not frequented by people, an object like the anvil above falling 50 feet to the ground could easily kill someone. I’m not going to risk my dining plan OR somebody’s life to get this towel. So this option is, as of now, not really an option.

Second, I could wait for a strong gust of wind to try to knock the towel off. The problem is that the strongest winds we’ll see for quite some time rolled through the area yesterday, and these winds didn’t knock the towel off. Is there any hope? Let’s look at the ole’ WRF-GFS model to find out!

Valid 05:00 pm PDT, Tue 14 May 2013 – 12hr Fcst: UW 12 WRF-GFS: 36km 500mb Absolute Vorticity, Heights

Our current flow pattern is pretty mundane. We’ve got weak zonal flow coming off the Pacific that is directing a few weak systems into our area. A setup like this is fairly typical for May and often gives us seasonably cool and showery conditions. Highs this time of year average in the mid 60s, and the highs that we will see with this setup will be a few degrees below that.

Valid 05:00 pm PDT, Wed 15 May 2013 – 36hr Fcst: UW 12z WRF-GFS: 36km 500mb Absolute Vorticity, Heights

This pattern will remain locked over us for Wednesday and beyond. If anything, the flow will become weaker and so will the systems coming into our area. The only thing that will really be producing rain is the upward diurnal convection caused by solar heating during the day, but because this air is flowing directly off the Pacific, it is pretty moderate with respect to temperature and there is not a large change in temperature with height. Without this large change in temperature in height, it is hard to get those strong showers like the ones we saw yesterday to form.

The National Weather Service forecast discussion from this afternoon is pretty pessimistic with regards to any convection causing the blustery conditions necessary to dethrone my towel from the tree. They said: “WEAK WESTERLY FLOW ALOFT WILL PREVAIL THURSDAY AND FRIDAY AS A COUPLE OF REALLY WEAK UPPER LEVEL SHORTWAVE TROUGHS MUSH ACROSS W WA.” “Mush?” I haven’t heard that one before. Makes me think of mashed potatoes, which aren’t exactly very intimidating.

So, it remains to be seen how I will get Towelie back. I could use a Nifty Nabber like the one above, but those only come in lengths of 48 inches, and I’m gonna need 48 feet to get this bad boy out of the tree.




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