Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Attack of the Cicadas!"...coming to a movie theater near you!

I know I still owe a post about the trip down to Alabama after the tornadoes hit, but for now this is the hell us Nashvillians are currently going through.

Prepare to be grossed, for real.

So, back when I was trying to figure out where to move to and was asking everyone about Nashville, I'll have you know that NO ONE said a SINGLE WORD about the cicadas.  Oh My Freaking Gosh!

So a couple of weeks ago I started noticing these exoskeleton/cocoon type things on the leaves in the trees.  Um, okay.

Then I started hearing some of the locals talk about how they think they heard a cicada (uh ohhh). Ummmm....okkkaayyy...not really sure what a cicada is or what the big deal is, but, whatev.  And then, what seemed like overnight, I became very much aware of what had everyone talking.  Holy Cicadas, batman!  These suckers are over an inch long, have intense red bug eyes (the kind that are staring at you no matter where you're at), and are EVERYWHERE!  So glad I decided to move here just in time for this little piece of heaven! Fortunately I've only had one on me thus far - each day at work I hear more horror stories about them crawling on people.  You can't have your car windows down because they're always flying around (oh yes, these lovely creatures have wings) not to mention how loud they are.  The local news did a small bit on them - apparently their noise averaged out to about 80 db whereas city traffic is at about 85 db.  Absolutely ridiculous how these little things can make so much noise...oh wait, probably because there's like a bazillion of them all doing it constantly in unison!  Apparently they are most abundant in middle Tennessee - hence the influx in population in May in Nashville.  Awesome.  I was finally relieved to find out that the mass population of these creatures only happens once every 13 years.  <Huh?!> Bizarre, but thank goodness!  Apparently they burrow underground, go through some transformations and stay down there for 13 years, then come back up (I'm talking in the millions) to chill out in the plants for their final molt and emerge an annoying insect where the males hoot and holler at a ridiculous volume to mate for a month, then they all die.  Wow, what a life.

Unfortunately, my cube is just one office away from the window on the first floor so I have to listen to them all day.  Monday they started going in full-force so I went and looked out the breakroom window and "Ewww!!", they were covering the tree outside.  It may just look like the tree''s got crazy bark on it, but negatron - those are tons of cicadas covering it.

Thankfully, I will be leaving town for the next 3 weekends so I won't have to deal with these suckers much before they die out.  They are already starting to be on the decline (probably mainly because of all the cars they're flying into) so I think I can survive my first full cicada season!!

...but don't be surprised if you see them as the next stars in a cheap horror flick! Bleck!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Debris! We got debris!

So, one thing about Tennessee is that, unfortunately, it is located in the lovely Tornado Alley.  Apparently every March-May there is a large influx of storms that pass through, and something about the warm air mixing with incoming cold fronts, it is a breeding ground for tornadoes. (said from the girl with zero weather knowledge)  Awesome.  I hadn't even been at my new job a week and we already had to take refuge in our filing room because of a tornado warning.  And then a week later it happened again - another great time with my coworkers waiting out the tornado warning in the filing room.  At least I got smart that time and took my work in there with me.  Ridiculous!  As it turns out, JD loves living up here because he is one of those crazy stormchasers.  He got his degree in meteorology, so he knows what he's doing and how to tell where they're going to be, but still - those things are scary.  The idea of seeing a tornado in person really appeals to me (I'm a sucker for storm-wrecked devastation type movies and so forth) so naturally I'm intrigued and wanted to try it out.  I got to go with him one day last month, but we were about 5-10 minutes too late and missed the tornado that touched down near Watertown, TN.  He took me again a few days later, this time down near Birmingham, AL, in hopes of having more luck.  It's about 3 hours down there so I brought reading supplies.  For the most part, it's just like riding shotgun for any other road trip and therefore a bit on the boring side.  It finally got exciting when we were down there and we parked underneath a huge rotating which he later informed me that it was actually a bad idea for us to have stopped there since it could've dropped a funnel at any moment, but it was still cool to see.

The storm was moving pretty fast, so we quickly got back into the car and tried keeping up with it.
 Unfortunately, we were blocked by the world's longest train that was passing through town.  I thought JD was going to lose it as we waited, stuck by the train, while the storm trudged on in front of us.

As hard as he tried quickly navigating through the small towns, we never were able to catch up with it.  We had to give up once we reached a lake that would take too long to drive around.

I did not get to see a tornado (sad face), but it was exciting to get a little peek into what they do.  I will definitely be going again...and I WILL see a tornado!

Well, JD went down to Alabama last Wednesday to chase during the ridiculous tornado emergency.  Seeing as there were no less than a gazillion tornadoes during the outbreak, I wasn't surprised to hear that he encountered one.   He later found out it was an odds are it was doing some killer damage when he saw it.  Here's the video he took of the massive storm from I-65 outside of Huntsville. He just got a little bit of footage before having to high tail it out of there to get out of its path.

I think it's great and exciting that he does this (and has been for years and years) buuuuut as long as he stays safe!

Hopefully I will have a snazzy tornado video to post soon! :)

"Cow! ...  Another cow!"
"Actually I think that was the same one."

(I LOVE that movie!!)