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Howdy.  I have many hobbies and post what I can, when I can, here and on sometimes on YouTube.  Below are some quick links if you want to quickly tune into a certain hobby.

** Throughout the site you can click on images to enlarge them. **

STORM CHASING: Click Here    Lightning

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MUSIC PRODUCTION / DJ: Click Here  or these external sites:

2015 Chaco Canyon camp trip

Gallo campground is nice with trash, flush toilet bathrooms and non-potable water. Potable water is available at the visitor's center.

Gallo campground is nice with trash, flush toilet bathrooms and non-potable water. Potable water is available at the visitor’s center.

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Fajada Butte as seen from Gallo campground. Home of the sun dagger (top center).

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A closeup of the sun dagger atop Fajada Butte.

If you haven’t seen this video on Chaco Canyon, it is *amazing* and details the archeoastronomy that occurred here!

The Mystery of Chaco Canyon from AlTur on Vimeo.

Click to enlarge. Chaco map from the brochure you get at the visitor’s center.

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These long straight walls are on all of the valley’s great houses and mark astral events.

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These elk were around the canyon most of the days we were there.

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Interesting camping–a couple of rooftop tents from California at the campground.

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This didn’t look very comfortable, there was a large bed in this trailer. Black sides would make it hot I would think?

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The trail/road to Wijiji site. A short hike from the campground with amazing pictograms and great house. About 3 miles roundtrip.

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Pueblo Bonito

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Wijiji

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Wijiji

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Pictograms near Wijiji

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Pictograms near Wijiji

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Excavated kiva.

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Kin Kletso as seen from the trail heading to the rim of the canyon.

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The birds sang to us each morning, very loudly I might add!

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Casa Chiquita

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Collared lizard protecting the great house Casa Chiquita

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Ball pin hammer art?

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My personal favorite, boom box pictogram. Definitely “retro”, but not by the Anasazi!

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Supernova pictograph along the Penasco Blanco trail.  If you want to just see this, it is a 4 mile round trip hike.  They are now theorizing that the pinky on the hand pointed to the exploding supernova.

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Along the Petroglyphs trail on the way to Penasco Blanco.

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A neat layer of iron-based fossiles in this part of the canyon.

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The amazing view at Penasco Blanco.

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Along the Petroglyphs trail on the way to Penasco Blanco.

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Along the Petroglyphs trail on the way to Penasco Blanco. Obviously not Anasazi, but who knows how old…

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Along the Petroglyphs trail on the way to Penasco Blanco. Obviously not Anasazi, but who knows how old…

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Group shot at the Nebula Pictogram.

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Penasco Blanco, unexcavated. Heck of a hike but worth it!  7.2 miles round trip.  Take plenty of water!!!

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Awesome masonry throughout the canyon!

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Penasco Blanco masonry!

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Jim at Penasco Blanco!

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Someone left a display of shards and old workings.

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Lots of coral fossils on the trail up the canyon to Penasco Blanco.

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Interesting mushroom on the trail. We saw several.

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Multicast album pre-release available

Carpe Sonum Records out of Colorado is digitally releasing for the first time our album Bahian Coastal Hwy. by Multicast.  It will contain two bonus tracks that didn’t make it on the vinyl release and will be remastered by my favorite engineer Lupo @ Calyx (ex Dubplates & Mastering).

Been waiting for this day for a while.

I remember the day our original master came back from D+M, we were just floored on how wonderful these world-class mastering engineers could make us sound!  Now, 10 years later, the technology has folded many times and I anxiously await the magic that Andreas will do.

Check out the preview, and enjoy!  Thanks for your support!

June 6 Chase :: Severe Storms over Eastern Colorado

For the forth day in row the atmosphere was primed for severe storms over eastern Colorado.  I got an early start and did the standard thing it seems…catch the first storm that popped up on the Palmer Divide.  That was a storm that went just north of Elizabeth following the same patterns as many previous days.  This storm would prove to be the storm of the day, tornado warned, and surrounded by chasers all the way into Kansas.

SW Bennett storm

SW of Bennett as this storm was getting organized

The temps were in the low 60s and the clouds were pretty high based.  Looking at the surface map further out on the plains was 75/55 and in some places 80/55, so I opted to split the difference between Last Chance and Brush to hit whatever storms seems to be using the more unstable air.

Baby Elephant cloud.

My mind always plays tricks on me. This looked like a baby elephant cloud.

The southern storm just didn’t look good to me, and it was forming in the cooler air, so I opted to head to the cell popping up SW of Fort Morgan.  As I arrived it was tornado warned, of course about 10 minutes after the southern storm was also TVS warned.  The Fort Morgan storm was very high based and appeared to line out rather quickly.  I left it and tried to catch up with the southern storm that was along I-70 approaching Seibert.

Fort Morgan Tornado Warned Storm

Tornado Warned storm over Fort Morgan. Trained Spotters saw a funnel.

The southern cell appeared to be hitting the cap and was dissipating quickly, and the convection looked like mush which I’ve never had much luck with approaching Kansas (I like to see rock-hard popcorn type convection in the towers).  I still had a ways to catch up to it so I opted to head for the new storm that was forming SE of Limon.

Genoa storm forming

This storm was heading east of Limon when the larger cell started to loose its convection.

I headed south out of Cope and nearing Seibert I pulled over to check out some of the structure of the approaching storm.  The radar showed this complex as a line of storms so I knew it probably wasn’t going to do anything severe (perhaps hail or wind), so I just decided to absorb the structure as it approached.

Genoa Colorado cell

Looking SW from near Cope, Colorado.

Arcus Roll cloud

This storm was lined out making an Arcus roll cloud

Some nice striations in the clouds

Some nice striations in the clouds

Just north of Seibert I stopped to check out this arcus roll cloud which was really neat.  These clouds are similar to shelf clouds but are detached from the cloud base.

Arcus Roll Cloud

Arcus Roll Cloud

Heading back home I got to see some neat rainbows and dying cell structure while passing the Limon wind farm, which I always love to drive past/through.  All-in-all a fun chase day!

Limon Rainbow

Bright double rainbow in Limon

Limon storm at sunset

Limon storm at sunset

Seibert Roll cloud

Arcus Roll cloud north of Seibert.

June 5th Chase

Today was the third day in a row that the Colorado Front Range had a tornado watch issued.  I left a little late due to a work meeting (who schedules meetings in the afternoons during storm season, how rude! :) ) and headed up to follow the second cell that was tornado warned near Parker.  Caught some great storm structure and had a fun time with this storm as it went in and out of tornado warned status.  Once again, more Palmer Divide magic!

double tail clouds

Double tail clouds!

Tail Cloud

Cell east of Byers as it got going again. Awesome watching the tail clouds form and pass overhead!

Tornado warned at this time.

Tornado warned at this time.

outflow structure from the storm

This was cool as the outflow was getting sucked up into the cloud.

On the way home I caught the cells that were forming off of the Rampart Range west of Castle Rock to get some lightning shots.  Unfortunately it was raining anywhere near the storm, so I shot some distant photos near Castlewood Canyon, still caught some great lightning.  It produces much better photos closer to the strikes, however; but there are still months of storms to catch great lightning shots.

Possible shear funnel

This appears to be a small shear funnel on the right side of this storm looking north from Castle Rock

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Lightning over the Pinery

Been a fun June chasing so far!  Look forward to more days this spring!

June 4 Tornadic Supercells

Today had another round of severe weather for the Colorado Front Range including Tornadic Supercells.  I left work a bit late today due to a pending deadline so I was behind the 8-ball all day, but still was able to see some really neat storm structure.

Storms had already gone severe warned by the time I left work so I had a good idea which one to jump on.  I was targeting the storm just west of Limon as I was heading east on I-70 and then the cell near Leader was just too impressive and I had to check it out.  This is common with me when chasing as my favorite part is the storm structure and not strictly tornadoes which is the focus for many chasers.

Leader Supercell

Here is the supercell as I was passing it on the interstate as it was near Leader

Leader Tornado Warned Supercell

Awesome storm structure as this cell was tornado warned.

As I approached this storm is was obvious it was getting smaller, both on radar and visibly to my eye.  It didn’t matter though, the inflow band and what I could see of the updraft were spectacular!  Within 30 minutes this storm went from Tornado warned to non-existent!

Dying storm near Hoyt

Awesome structure just east of Byers, however the storm is dying

Hoyt supercell dead

Watching this supercell dwindle into nothing in less than 30 minutes!

So back onto my originally targeted strom.  I made a few tactical mistakes that cost some time today–miss my chase partner Adam who was excellent at it–and ended up taking a few roads I have not done before.  Due to the amount of rain the dirt roads were mud and somewhat slick so it was slow going.  Sometime the shortest route is not the best route! :)  Meanwhile this supercell was putting down beautiful tornadoes with amazing structure.  Here is what it looked like from the back (north) side (it was moving south) which is a typical view as you are approaching a storm from this perspective!

Simla Supercell

Getting back onto my primary target, it has been producing tornadoes by this time.

But perseverance pays off!  I finally got on this storm a little before sunset.  It had already stopped producing tornadoes although I thought there was one more left in it…but it didn’t have quite enough energy even though the mesocyclone was spinning like a top!  The structure was jaw dropping, with a visibly rotating barberpole updraft.  And there were no other chasers in this location when I arrived (a treat from days like yesterday where there were 100’s of chasers converged in the same area).  Ended up being 4 chaser teams in my area, and we all got an amazing display from mother nature!!!

Kutch supercell

Finally caught up with this supercell. Amazing structure near Kutch.

Kutch supercell

Lucky daytime lightning caught.

Barberpole structure

As the sun started to set, the energy dwindled and the inflow started to fizzle out.  The tail cloud that formed made me thing it was going to produce another tornado in front of me, but it was just a little too late for that to happen.

Helix barberpole inflow

Nice helix barberpole inflow just before its death.

Colorado sunset

Amazing, colorful sunset

Mammatus Sunset

Nice display of Mammatus Clouds at sunset

On the way home Denver had a large severe warned cell stalled over it.  On the radio they were talking about the mass amounts of hail and continuous lightning.  The storm stretched the entire metro area so I jumped up to a spot I’ve been wanting to photograph lightning from near Parker and took a few shots.  The lightning was incredible but it was 98% cloud-cloud and only small spikes were coming out of the cloud in this one location.  Great to watch for about 20 minutes before I ended up heading home.

All-in-all, an amazing chase day, the structure of the Kutch supercell is one I will never forget!

SW Denver lightning, continuous lightning!!

SW Denver lightning, continuous lightning!!

Denver Lightning

Awesome lightning display over Denver

June 3, 2015. Douglas / Elbert County Colorado Supercells

Today the National Weather Service issued an enhanced risk of severe storms for Central and Northern Colorado, likely having Colorado Supercells on the menu!  My original thought was to wait near Prospect Valley and either hit the storms coming off of the Palmer Divide, or head into Northeast Colorado if the cells fired there.  A tried and tested strategy, and it worked once again today.

Larkspur supercell

Larkspur supercell as seen north of Kiowa.

Castle Rock and Franktown supercell

Larkspur supercell as it went through Castle Rock and Franktown.

I was in Bennett at about 2:30pm when the first cell fired up.  Because I was nowhere near home, the cell was over Larkspur put down quarter sized hail.  But this storm was the only play thus far in a good atmospheric environment and given the cap was strong I decided to head south towards Elizabeth and cut off this slow moving storm.  I ended up finding a nice location a couple miles south of Elizabeth and set up the camera for a time lapse.  The Larkspur storm slowly moved NE but it wasn’t tightening up and was obvious that it probably would only produce hail. It ended up completely vanishing within about 30 minutes near Kiowa.

Elizabeth supercell

Elizabeth supercell showing some interesting formations

Elizabeth supercell

Second supercell as it entered Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, the cells behind this supercell merged and took a right turn.  This was an amazing looking cell and I watched it from Elizabeth, then Kiowa.  But like its earlier friend it couldn’t withstand the cap and environment east of Kiowa and quickly died.  The good news is that for my second chase of the season I was home by 9pm, a rare occasion on chase day!

Kiowa supercell

Kiowa supercell as seen east of town.

Kiowa supercell

Kiowa supercell showing some interesting scud formations

Aurora supercell as seen from Hwy 86 near Elizabeth as I was heading home.

Aurora supercell as seen from Hwy 86 near Elizabeth as I was heading home.

Castle Rock clouds

Castle Rock clouds as seen from Hwy 86 near Elizabeth as I was heading home.

Chase: SE Colorado, May 23 2015

Did some storm chasing today.  Setup was marginal but I had the day open and been wanting to chase all year, so I committed to SE Colorado.  Left the house about noon and already storms were starting to fire.  The best storms were three cells near La Junta, one which put down a brief tornado.  These are the storms I wanted to be on, but to get there I needed to core punch the top of the line of storms, then once in front of the line head south to get the southern part of the linear cluster coming right at me.

Ended up succeeding in the plan, catching some good structure, but not great.  Nice to see the chase come together and implement the plan successfully.  I left the storm about 5pm and headed home, getting back about 7:30.  An early evening for being so far in SE Colorado.

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Castle Rock looking NW on my drive home

Quick timelapse of the storm approaching me near Eads.  6 shots a minute for 15 minutes.

Galaga Cocktail Lives Again

I grew up in a small town, Johnstown Colorado, along the Front Range in Northern Colorado.  We had one of those classic 2-block downtowns that you see on road trips!  On the far end of the downtown was an arcade.  If you ventured two blocks to the other side of downtown, there was another arcade.

I lived all the way on the other side of town; but every summer day I remember walking downtown and hitting the arcades!  So did many other kids my age and older.  This is the way we spent our summers that I’ll never forget!

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Fast forward about 15-20 years.  I end up with a Galaga cocktail of my own.  Procured from a closed mall arcade in southern Kansas.  Having it via MAME is cool and all, but nothing beats this Galaga!  I have hot-rodded it in the following ways:

  1. Rapid Fire
  2. High Score
  3. Ship Clock Tripler
Here are all the mod chips in my Galaga.  Notice the Z80s...multi-Z80 machine.  Awesome computing power!

Here are all the mod chips in my Galaga. Notice the Z80s…multi-Z80 machine. Awesome computing power!

This machine is amazing.  As fast as you can pound the button, it will fire.  The Clock Tripler makes the joystick control three times faster.  You can dodge enemy bullets and kamakazee with ease.  Challenging Levels are pretty simple to defeat.  The game gets really difficult still, and once in the high-20 level and above it is a showdown (at least with my skill; some could do it on the un-modified machines).

About 4 years ago my Galaga went bezerk (not Bezerker).  It was left on overnight and there was a lightning storm and in the morning it was dead.  Looked at the PSU and it had several components visibly fried.  I bought a Galaga replacement power supply PCB several years ago and it just showed the machine booting and then freezing.  No dice.  So assumed the worst; something on the Motherboard also got fried…

Here is the Galaga after the replacement CPU.  It was frozen; many of the colors were "twitching" so not completely frozen i guess.

Here is the Galaga after the replacement Power Supply board. It was frozen; many of the colors were “twitching” so not completely frozen I guess.

I bought a working PCB set including PSU recently and installed into the machine. Immediately I was playing Galaga again, but just the normal version, which is boring compared to my ultra-hyped out machine.  Knowing that the PSU was rock solid, I then put my original modded motherboard set back in and was playing my hot-rodded Galaga again.  I’ve been waiting for this day for a while.

Here are the Motherboards.  Notice the three connectors.

Here are the Motherboards. Notice the three connectors…very simple to change the PCBs out!  Ensure you note the polarity of these connectors; they are keyed on the PCB but not in the connector themselves so you can put it on backwards.  The power connectors (both) are keyed so no worries there…

Power Supply PCB.  Just two connectors on this one.

Power Supply PCB. Just two connectors on this one.

This is the funnest version of Galaga available that I’ve seen.  I forgot how tired my firing wrist becomes within just a single game.  There is a physical aspect of playing this game; part of the challenge of success over these lethal aliens!

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I now have my Galaga functioning again, which is worthy of me getting off of the computer blogging and playing again.  Cheers!

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Early Season Palmer Divide Lightning

Was sitting down at the computer after the kids were tucked in expecting to do some armchair chasing action with the upper air trough and severe weather digging into the plains states tonight, and started hearing some pellets hit the windows of the house–it was graupel coming down. Graupel is pellets of snow/ice that is much smaller than hail which is not unusual for this time of year. About ten minutes later the first bolt of lightning lit up the house!

Larkspur Colorado Lightning

One of the first bolts I caught, only about 8 or so bolts left in the storm before it was over…

I wasn’t prepared for this like I usually am during the monsoonal flow in late July/early August, so I jumped into high gear and grabbed the tripod and camera and got everything ready. Focus is always a problem with the DSLR but I pointed it at a neighbor’s houselight (I usually curse this light because it is on all night, every night of the year, and makes watching meteorite showers frustrating) but tonight it seemed to have a purpose to get me a good focus as I changed the lens to manual focus mode. As you may know focusing lightning can be very difficult!

I then jumped out on the porch hoping for some visible bolts not obstructed by the clouds and immediately the bolts were flying over head. Being on a porch with lightning this close is extremely dangerous (by definition overhead is very close) so I quickly put the camera on autopilot and headed back to the safety inside.

Larkspur Colorado Lightning

Mother Nature’s show lasted no more than 15 minutes and was very localized; as luck would have it many of the bolts were in the least obstructed view from my porch! Nice! Captured several good shots making me even more excited for this upcoming chase season!

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