View Full Version : Emailer Has a SOH! True exchange..

February 26th, 2013, 01:29 PM
To Whom ItMay Concern:

I have been surfing aroundthe web and chanced upon your site which I am very excited about as it seems tofit the bill exactly with what I want.

Well, I say exactly but that is notactually true, what I seek is a modification of what you appear to be offering,and I write to you today to see whether this could be made possible – potentiallythe stuff of dreams in fact!!
I shouldexplain. I have a couple of odd friends, who like me, are ageing bodily butmentally young (some would argue we are actually regressing but that’s justtheir take..) and are in the process of fulfilling what is these dayscolloquially known as a “bucket list”. One of these subjects chosen has looselybeen written in as “mess about in a tornado” and, as this obviously seems to beyour forte and area of expertise, we dearly hope that you could help us achieveour ambitions.
I have to befrank here. The itinerary promised of just driving around for miles to locateand then just photograph and run away from a tornado seems to be lacking in acertain amount of enterprise, or sense of adventure or risk. Yes I am sure itsvery appealing and all that, but in truth, not all THAT terrifying is it?? Maybenot fulfilling its full market potential we thought? If you want to talk “terrifying” then ourrecent exploits in “Running with the Bulls” at Pamplona is the sort ofadrenalin surge we are looking for. Well, I say “running”- we were actually tryingto drive away in our electric Shoppa vehicles! Which we now discover do nothave the required velocity at all for the task. Just as well we had a set ofour own horns is all I can say!! But I digress, I am sure you do not wish to beregaled with the tales of misfortune for that day, sufficient to say that thecolostomy bags had a good workout that afternoon…..
Now what I amabout to say may come as a bit of a surprise in view its unorthodoxy, but Ireally must point out that in fulfilling the bucket list we really have takenan oath that it matters not should any venture end in disaster and death. Afterall, chosen Exit is a way of life in Switzerland now- its just that in our casewe would choose to do this in a rather swashbuckling way,with a bit pf styleand panache, a Grande Finale if you like! To depart this earth on ones ownterms exercises so much more control don’t you think? A sort of defiance ofNature, a grand Last Stand?
Whatever. I hope you can grasp where we arecoming from. Having said this we of course would sign whatever forms are necessaryto exclude the organisers of any blame for our demise?.. (We offered this disclaimerin the case of the Pamplona officials but oddly were refused- and whichinevitably resulted in us securing the services of 2 rather butch Argentinians tohoist us and our electric wheelchairs over the fence…all very undignified. )
Ok then. Ourtrip. Two options had occurred. One- in the event that you are unable tofacilitate our requests would you be prepared to affix some form of tracerbeacon to your stormchase vehicle so that we were able to follow you around andat least locate a tornado? In thisway we could then “mess about” with thetornado as we saw fit and without anyresponsibility falling on your own shoulders?

We have had a meeting in the Dog & Duck only the other night after thedominoes had finished, and talked over what we would actually like to do inthis scenario. You see, our conviction is that there are very few vids orprogrammes that actually get REALLY close to the action, and its alwaysdifficult to get a good grip of the distances involved. Just a few flashes aspower lines are taken down, then a shed being whisked away, a rooftop maybefloating away etc etc. Seen it allbefore haven’t we?
No, rather what we wanted to do is to getright into the action. And I mean INTO. Yes we want to be able to film atornado from the inside – and with any luck, like a surfer riding “the tube”get to film the sky above through the Eye.(or does that only exist with ahurricane- please clarify?)

I do hope at this point you are not laughing, we are intent on bringing thisphenomenon to the public- it will make a fortune on YouTube we figure. It willset the whole perspective of Tornado chasing on a massive new footing maybe? Itcould become a seasonal sport even. We have ideas. Oh yes, so many ideas. Sure-we are aware of the dangers of the odd bit of debris floating about in there-but as with everything, with just a little precaution surely its not too unreasonableto be able to protect oneself against these? Bit of hail? Same thing, just getthe right protection materials is all we say.

Right…going back to option 1: chasingyour car beacon to locate. We thought wecould actually double the achievement value here by also incorporating the“Ride a Harley in USA” entry at number 8on our list.
I would havethought these bikes to be rather exciting pursuit vehicles with which to chasearound following your cars? Yes, we realise that when the hail begins to fallthen maybe not so much so. So- in preparation for the hammering effects of thehail we thought we could cobble together a protective suit each with which wecould ride the assault? We are not sure exactly what material would be best,but old Jo has I think come up with the best compromise ration betweencost:effectiveness in suggesting we make then from recycling a couple of those old hardsuitcases- Hammerite, Armalite or something like that he thinks they arecalled? If they can survive the hammering and neglect of our airport workers atHeathrow then the hail would be a doddle- like knocking on a front door wethink.

Option2: You ride us/ we ride in your cars and then you help us to “interact”with the tornado. Clearly this is where you expertise in flight path comes intoplay as we would need a few moments to get set up before it hit us, butbasically have 2 proposed interractions we would like to have a go at.
The first- and most simplest- is simply to beanchored to the floor in our suitcase armoured suits on a short tether. Thiswould require not much more expense than a decent bit of cable and an anchorchain and hook thumping into the ground. It should be well exciting when the force tries to lift us off into theair! We speculated as to how high we wanted to go- but the descent bit might bea bit rapid if we chose too much height so we thought about 12 foot would do.We would secure headcams, and bodycams to our protective suite to film themayhem! Hopefully we could stay fairlyclose to each other so we could wave and make funny faces like they do in a skydive parachute?? Sounds so much fun.

If we are successful at Option 2 then the incoming funding potential forYouTube would enable us to fund and indulge our ultimate fantasy in option 3.
Now, I do notknow whether you are familiar with Zorbing that has so taken off over here inthe UK? Im sure you have, so I wont elaborate. Anyway, we would need a 3partition Zorb made from extra strong plastic. This we all 3 would then enter,having secured the Zorb to the ground as in Option 2. Except THIS time we areable to consider lengthier float line as the descent would be cushioned by theZorb were we to fall rapidly to the ground on the tornado`s passing. Maybe100ft is not too excessive or adventurous do you think? Filming from withinthis should be truly spectacular Im sure you will agree- assuming we can do itfor sake of our own laughter! What a fairground ride that would be! Spinninground and round in a cushioned plastic bubble inside one of Naturesmaelstroms..wow!

We could have many other ideas in development should you wish to expand yourbusiness to incorporate these novel and extreme forms of enjoying a tornado. Forthe moment though we will just take one step at a time and listen to youradvice and any modifications you could suggest.

Myself and my friends can hardly contain ourselves at the excitement of thisproposed venture- and we pray that you are able to help us fulfil the dreams ofa lifetime!!
Eddy halfHand, Dumb Will & Jo The Know.

Dear Eddy,

Firstly, let me thank you for your interest in StormTours.com. I must say, it sounds like I'm missing somegood times in the Dog & Duck! Itmust be hell of exciting to contemplate chasing nature's most extreme forces onEarth after a good ol' exciting game of dominos! I'm sure that lots of Fuller's Pride wasinvolved, no doubt. That said mate, letme get right to the good stuff...
You'll be excited to know that we have recently partnered with GravesFuneral Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma so that we could offer you exactly thepackage I think you're looking for! Theproblem for most people with dying overseas is the burden of expense to havethe excessively torn apart bodies of the deceased flown back home. But, this is no longer a problem with thisexciting new death package option. Allthat is required is that the three of you would need to purchase a twenty-yearCD with a local bank, and make Graves Funeral Home the beneficiary. As such, once that is done the funeraldirector will see to it that everything is taken cared of after your death tofly your ripped remains (should any exist) back to your loving family, or theperson/address of your choice. We caneven have them flown straight to the pub in a nice display case if you sodesired! So, that you know that'scovered, let me dive right into the details of the "not all thatterrifying" act of storm chasing.
As heart stopping as a good game of dominos and pub quiz usuallyis, I have to admit, in comparison storm chasing can be a bit dull attimes. There are many long hours ofwaiting, often in the middle of nowhere for atmospheric convection to initiateon any given day. But rest assured, tomake sure that you have plenty of action to keep your adrenaline pumping, Idon't mind if you bring along the dominos to kill time! However, please notethat alcohol can only be consumed at the end of the day whilst at the hotel,I'm truly sorry but it's federal law that we can't have any open containers ofalcohol in the vehicles whilst in the business of transporting persons acrossstate lines.
I must however clarify one thing: there is no such thing as an "odd bit of debris" when dealingwith Great Plains tornadoes! It may bemore of a reality to have the "odd train" fly at you, or perhaps eventhe "odd farm truck", but rest assured a tornado typically hasthousands upon thousands of bits of debris flying through the air at speeds ofup to 300 miles per hour. At this speed,a straw of hay would literally penetrate right through your skull like abullet! And if the hay isn't excitingenough, there are rocks of various sizes to consider, as well as 2x4s and otherhome building materials such as barbed wire fencing, fence posts, farmimplements, tools, tree limbs and often whole trees. But it seems like you have already consideredthis and came up with a great solution of wearing a suitcase...
That said, I recommend before you start with the development phaseof your "tornado proof luggage suit" that you contact the windengineering department at Texas Tech. They will be able to assist you in testing your new clothing line toensure the ultimate protection of tornado propelled debris by allowing you towear it in front of a massive air-powered "tornado canon" whereasthey'll literally fire 2x4s and other large objects at you with speeds up to300 miles per hour to ensure the durability of your product. I would also recommend of course that you usesome sort of "crash test dummy" at first in the early trials of thetesting phase and if successful, you may want to then perform a "livetest", perhaps getting Dumb Will to stand in front of the tornado canon!
When your tornado proof luggage armor is proven to be successful,then I think we can continue the discussion of your other ideas, such asanchoring your bodies to the ground to be lifted up by the rotationalwinds. However, let me give you a bitmore of my thoughts for you to consider.
As for wanting to film inside a tornado, let me start by sayingthat it's really not as exciting to look at as what most people imagine it tobe. A tornado is just "air",it's air that is spinning around quite quickly which extends from the cloudbase and in contact with the ground. Once this rotating column of air fills with condensation and debris, itmakes up the visual reference allowing one to see the rotating column of air,but from a distance. At extremely closerange all you see is "air" and perhaps the debris within it flying byat extremely accelerated rates. I waslucky enough (or misfortunate enough, depending on how you look at it) to havea tornado form in a rather unique part of a supercell thunderstorm in2005.
Instead of this tornado forming near the updraft base of asupercell (where 99.9% of tornadoes form) this odd tornado formed in thedowndraft area of the supercell while we were experiencing large hail hittingthe tour vans. As a result, it touchdownliterally just a few meters from the highway at our present location then"hit" the tour vans - luckily it was a very small tornado with arating of F0 and there were no injuries. Despite this being a tornado of the smallest magnitude, the debris thatit instantly picked up broke every piece of glass in both vans and the windfield pushed one van (aptly called a "mini bus" by most Englishpersons) back about 30 meters despite the driver having his foot on thebrake.
Yes, tornadoes are extremely powerful, including the weakest of theso-called "weak". As such, Ithink you should probably nix the Harley Davidson idea immediately as you wouldnever even get close, even with a tornado proof luggage suit! But, the point of me telling you this is thatour group was able to film from the inside of the tornado and the resultingfootage was extremely "boring" as filming a rotating column of airfrom the inside doesn't really show much of anything at all - in fact, it'ssort of like watching hurricane footage.
If you've ever watched hurricane footage, you'll note that it's notall that exciting if you remove the flying debris (as it's still impossible tosee air or wind with the naked eye). Thebest photographic views (the kind that actually sale or make money on youtube)are from a far enough distance that actually allow the viewer to see thetornado and condensation funnel itself. Therefore, I regret to inform you that the idea of funding your option 3by filming the inside of a tornado has a zero percent chance of beingfulfilled.
Please discuss the above considerations with Jo the Know, as hesounds like the brainy one in the group. Perhaps he will also be able to work out how to keep the colostomy bagsin-tact during the actual tornado impact should everything else survive as I amsure you will be needing them! Once youhave all these details worked out, and have tested the luggage suits (pleaseuse an air powered canon and not an airport worker to appropriately test them),then I'll await further contact so that we might work out the details if theworst should happen out there and get you setup for an exciting game of dominosat a Kansas truck-stop while waiting 8 hours on thunderstorm development tooccur! Please give my best regards to everyoneat the Dog & Duck!

My best,
Brian Barnes

Dear Brian!!

Firstof all I would offer our sincere vote of thanks for your considered response toour enquiry! Such a lengthy and spirited reply was beyond our expectations, andwe are considerably humbled by the extent of your advice and views regardingour proposed ventures.

Shortly after receiving your mail I burst into the Dog andDuck waving excitedly the printout of your email and demanding an immediatemeeting with my fellow decrepits. Dumb Will reluctantly dragged his one goodleg off the dance area where he had been treating all and sundry to hisrendition and gyrations to the Jukebox throb of Elvis` “ Blue Suede Shoes”.Will The Know slammed shut his Pub Quizzes For Dummies with a resigned sigh.They were however soon animatedly enthralled by the content of your mail andhow this new information affected Number 3 and Number 8 of our Bucket List.

It was agreed unanimously ( Trade unionism dies hard thisfar North..) that I write back and address each area raised in your missive.First of all Bri (can I call youthat?...we already feel to be on quite affable terms??) we were impressed thatas an American ( we assume) you appear to be familiar not only with the delightsof the great British Pub- but in particular specifically that you have evenhave heard of that great beer Fullers Pride! We are in awe of you Sir- and canonly surmise that you are either expat of UK, have visited UK, or have done agreat job of some background homework. Either way, it makes it feel so mucheasier to speak to you on level terms knowing that you are in some wayacquainted with our English ways, idiosynchracies and eccentricities…

What a stroke of entreprenurial genius that was to affiliatewith Graves Funeral Services! Now THAT sounds right up our street I tell you.It is in fact rather incredible that there is a wider appetite for this sort ofthing than we had expected. I say this as in one of our late night “lock-ins”we 3 had speculated the very opening of a funeral business with this veryforward thinking approach! We had evendesigned a motto for the shop front- “Putting The Fun Back In Funerals”- which we were quite proud of andthought a winner from day one if ever it got off the ground.

We had such “next generation” ideas such as the filming offunerals (much in the same way as a wedding), themed funerals, fancy dressfunerals..the list and possibilities were endless once we started storming ourideas….Sadly, as often happens in these situations, not all seemed to embracewholeheartedly the full potential of such a visionary enterprise. As financingbecame less and less likely (usually with the departing words of “get out of myoffice”) we turned to attempting existing businesses to adjust theirmethods….sigh…the English can be SO stubborn and lacking the will to Changedon’t you agree? Whatever, good luck to Mssrs Graves & Co. We can furnishthem with our revolutionary ideas if they so wish if you would like to pass onour compliments?

I an afraid to say that with a single stroke of a pen youhave annihilated a huge portion of enthusiasm we had for this venture!! In short- the prohibition of alcohol! OMG -asthe young ones would say whatever that means. This seemed to be a stickingpoint with my 2 other cohorts here. Myself I thought we would be able to getround it with medical certificates and the intravenous drip to maintain ourblood levels. This being a central issue I wonder if you could clarify whethersuch circumnavigation of such strict rules would be possible? The idea of going to meet Our Maker totallysober is somewhat against our pledged ethic. Even from a daily entertainmentpoint of view this alcohol ban seems a little irrational and extreme- the needfor constant roadside comfort stops would be reduced, there wouldn’t be thecustomary singing of old pub tunes the whole day long, and the deepphilosophical debate on the Meaning Of Life would be so inhibited…the list islengthy. A glum face icon is called for :0(

Right..onto the serious stuff. So- you reckon this tornadothing is maybe a little more of a force than we had reckoned with then? This isdisappointing in the extreme I must say. All that training may have gone towaste is what you are saying? Did I mention we had been in training these last3 months? Stood on the seats with our heads out of the windows of theCrewe-Stoke express forcing ourselves to face into the wind instead of turnaway? 3 months of picking flies from the teeth, bug splattered specs, and the hairloss? (actually that was my wig that went) All to no avail you say in thatthese winds are a little stronger than that? Phew. That bit of news didn’t godown well I tell you.

Your positive appraisal of our Samsonite (that’s what itscalled- he remembers now) protective suits is appreciated. How reassuring tonote that a “tornado canon” even exists to crash test the worthiness of suchinnovations! You Americans think of everything- how eminently sensible- obviouseven! I look forward to standing to face said machine fully clad in Jo TheKnows Mk11 version of the suitcase protective suit.

After duly considering your description of the inner forcesof a tornado, we deliberated that we should take a MUCH more sensible approachto our personal protection.

And have come up with the idea now of “Double-Layering” theSamsonite suit.

Hence the Mark 11 model. JTK has come up with a few designproblems now that 2 layers involved-primarily in that he seems to have lots oflittle trolley wheels sticking out at many angles and in unusual placesthroughout the whole suit. Whilst this is certainly detrimental to its currentintended purpose, it has had the beneficial side issue of inspiring a whole newidea- and possibly number 15 on the Bucket List!! JTK has figured that if he can arrange thesuit so that all the wheels are arranged to protrude from the REAR of the suit(along the legs, back and arms ) then we have a suitable “Extreme Descent”suit! The vision of plummeting down the steep sides of the North descent ofMount Kilimanjaro has huge appeal. I fear I cannot disclose too much of thedetail of this yet as its still very much at R&R stage…..

One thing that has come out of this however is that,respecting your views as we do, we need to beef up our original protectivesuit. Dumb Will came out with his annual gem of a suggestion and said we shouldapproach Samsonite then to see if they can help…Brilliant! What an idea! Ifanyone can beef it up they can – AND of course they may well be happy tosponsor the whole event –and even design a bespoke suit specially designed forpurpose. I am onto this and will approach them immediately. I will of course doyou the courtesy of supplying you with copies of my communication to them – andof any response we may receive.

Your views and observation regarding the actual sight withina tornado left us speechless! We naturally assumed it would like be wellexciting in there with all manner of fireworks going on! (discounting the odderrant flying coach, tractor, train or other sizeable unit that is) We aresuitably deflated to learn that it is merely “passing air”- albeit at severalhundred miles per hour. To learn that a tornado is best viewed further away sothat you can appreciate its vertical rotation is just something we nevercontemplated. Wills comment that we should watch it from our own shores thenwith a high powered telescope earned him a slap around his shiny pate. Whilstthe advice is much appreciated I am afraid it has not deterred myself or mycolleagues from wanting to experience the inner sanctum of this wonder ofnature. Your comments on the F0 you were caught up in however served to offersome compromise of our ambitions maybe?

We were wondering whether there existed tornadoes with maybea minus factor?- like a F -1, or F -2?? We don’t exactly want to come down to dust devil size obviously- buttaking on board your solicitous views then perhaps we ought to build ourselvesup to the Big One by gradients? Maybeyou could tell us where these lesser tornadoes are more likely to be arranged?We wouldn’t mind travelling around a bit either- distance is no object for usboys, we live in Staffordshire and Cheshire and have been known to travel up to90 miles in a single day! Such are the expansive Borders of our shires- it canliterally take up to an hour to cross from one side to the other!

Bri- your words havegiven us much food for thought. Inspiring and sensible, grounding yetencouraging- the whole email laid out a whole new world for us. So much so thatwe are going to have an extra-licensing hours meeting this Saturday in the Snugof the Dog & Duck. The seriousness of the potential of this imminentmeeting was sounded by Jo The Knows pronouncement that “This Shit Just GotSerious”. We are in awe of this man. Don’t fully understand his intellecttotally, and Im sure there is some meaning behind those words although me andWill just looked impressed and clapped even though we had no idea what hemeant.

But sometimes some people can be just a little too cleverfor their own good don’t you think? We had a classic example with Number 9 onthe List: To Learn to Juggle. Thisstarted in good humour and after a few months of broken eggs, fingers,furniture etc, we each had an impressive grip of the basics and could crash anyparty at a circus. Until the day SmartWill- later to be assigned Dumb Will, raised the essential issue that Number 9didn’t say WHAT we should juggle….He wasn’t satisfied with inanimate safeobjects apparently as he didn’t think they were in line with sufficientachievement value…and so it was that he suggested then that we juggle runningchain-saws…. The final inevitable result is reflected as you can see from myown title….

I will close at this point Bri- I will cogitate more overthe weekend no doubt. I will certainly pass on my comms to Samsonite as I said.Oh- and just for fun I copy below agenuine response I received from a different firm to yourselves and in responseto the very same missive I sent to you (which I confess I also sent to otherChaser companys). They have not it seems the same visionary aptitude ofyourself.

One last comment Bri…your name! WOWWW! Did you do it by DeedPoll to suit the business need? You not telling me that you are named that bycoincidence? Even more so that you haven’t capitalised on it by using it in yourcompany title or address??
Barnes……Storms…… BarneStorming Adventures… I soooo love that word Barnstorming! Itconjures up mental images only usually inspired by the Biggles Books…ahhhhh thegood old Biggles books eh? How we miss them..my favourite of all time being ofcourse Biggles Flies Undone.

Regards, Half handEddy

In response to this, I will have to reply with a firm no. The tours arepretty thrilling for most as it is. You're asking us for permission to allowyou to engage in suicidal behavior. Not only would that violate every part ofour insurance policy, it would be terribly irresponsible, it would result in usbeing ostracized by the weather community, it would almost certainly end ourcareers, and would probably land us in jail.

I'm not sure exactly what your concept of tornadoes entails, but severalgroups of chasers have already filmed tornadoes from inside the funnel. To doso, they constructed heavily armored vehicles made to anchor to the ground andwithstand extreme tornadic winds and flying debris. "Playing withtornadoes as you see fit" will almost certainly get you killed.

If you would like to book conventional tours with us, and safely experienceclose-up severe weather, then we can talk. Otherwise, while I appreciate yourenthusiasm for thrill seeking, I will have to respectfully decline.

(I have hidden his name so youcannot ridicule the poor man for his myopia!)

March 20th, 2013, 11:02 PM
I started to read this piece, but then I had to stop after the first paragraph. I scrolled down a bit and realized how long it was, and I was discouraged:( I suggest you post snippets of it that you like, and also fix the cluttered words so your readers can at least read it. I hope to see your final edit soon.