Winter Misery

The one person you never want to see in your hometown is Jim Cantore.

Not that he’s not cute as a bug and smart as a whip.

No, it’s because he always shows up when bad weather is on its way. Or has already arrived.

Tornadoes? Hurricanes? Blizzards? Yep, poor Jim gets ’em all.

If you’re lucky enough not to be where he is, you can watch him on The Weather Channel. Better for your nerves, you know.

Anyway, Jim’s probably wearing hip-high waders, standing in the middle of storm surge with floating debris circling like sharks, talking about uprooted palm trees and windows shattered out of buildings.

Or he’s in an L.L. Bean parka, stocking hat, and insulated gloves, pointing out downed limbs, frozen water pipes, and a coating of ice on streets and sidewalks.

Not something you want to endure in your lifetime.

Wonder what poor Jim did to deserve the difficult assignments (or are they plum assignments? I sure wouldn’t know). Perhaps it’s just his nature, to follow the bad weather, sympathize with its victims, and explain it so those of us not suffering through it will understand what happened and why.

But I think it must be depressing, having to listen to all those sad stories from residents affected by Mother Nature’s wrath.

Speaking of weather, have you noticed that suddenly, we’ve got named winter storms?

The first time I heard The Weather Channel talking about “Athena,” my interest piqued. But as they moved to “Brutus” and “Caesar,” it became just plain annoying.

We’ve been calling hurricanes by name since the 1940s, way before many of us were born, so we’re used to that. Besides, hurricanes don’t generally roll in one right on the heels of another.

Winter storms are different. As soon as one crosses the Rockies, another one forms to take its place. It’s nothing to see two or three of them dotting various locations on the map, with weather casters looking like jugglers trying to keep up with who’s who.

The idea of naming winter storms started with the 2012-13 winter season. Weather casters claim a name gives a storm personality, raises public awareness, and makes it easier to track.

What do you think? Do you prefer something descriptive like “Snowmageddon” or “Blizzard of 1980?” Or do you like giving winter storms a name like “Draco,” “Gandolf,” and “Khan”?

I’m not sure, but I think misery is misery, regardless of what you call it!

Planned obsolescence

Does anybody out there have the definitive answer to this one?

I’m wondering, is it better to:

a) leave your computer turned on and plugged in 24/7, or

b) turn it off and unplug.

I’m referring particularly to overnight, when you aren’t planning on using it for several hours and bad weather’s on the way.

The very night I posted my last blog, complete with photos of Spring foliage, we had a really wicked storm. Flashes of lightning, rain, and smacking thunderclaps — the whole ball of wax.

The weather forecasters had already predicted storms, so I turned off my computer and unplugged it, confident it would be safe from any jolt of electricity surging through the lines and wiping out my hard drive.

After all, something happened to my last computer’s motherboard, and I sure don’t want to go through that again!

Then I talked to one of my writer-friends, who said her computer-guru advised her to leave her machine on ALL the time.

Turning it on and off wears out the components, he said.

Huh?

How long will a computer last if you don’t wear out its components?

I might be wrong, but it seems to me that everything you buy these days comes with “planned obsolescence.”

Cell phone — 2 years, same as your contract.

Laptop — 3 years, maybe.

Car — 5 years, or the amount of time it takes you to pay off your note.

Even light bulbs.

My mom’s house, for example, was built 40-odd years ago, and the workers put in new light bulbs, some of which have never been changed! Try to say that about today’s light bulbs!

So who knows the answer to my question about computers — turn off and unplug, or leave on and plugged at all times?