A bit wet out there.

The flower from today’s podcast that drives the Hummingbirds wild. It’s known as a Black and Blue.

A blooming Black & Blue flower in a garden

Storm Season is Here. Prepare Now.

Storm season is upon us, and many communities across the United States have been inundated with severe weather in this Spring. My local news stations have done a great job keeping us informed about developments, but in a recent outbreak of storms, I found myself unaware of a weather warning. We were almost too late.

The iPhone provides an option to receive government alerts, as I’m sure most other modern cells phones do. I trust that the emergency alerts will come through. Not just Amber Alerts, but Severe Weather alerts as well. I learned that it’s not enough to rely on that system alone. We were recently under a tornado warning, but neither my wife or I got an alert. The warning was issued 20 minutes before the storm was over our house, but we didn’t find out until we had less than five minutes to prepare. We did get an alert for a subsequent tornado warning, but that was after the storm had passed and for an area 10 miles away from us.

From our safe room, I tuned in to a local news live broadcast in Safari. That was great, and they gave us plenty of information. I was troubled, however, at how much they relied on social media for getting these warnings out. Many people are on social media, and we should use all available means to get the word out, but we need to do more for those who aren’t on Facebook and Twitter, like me. I checked several news stations, and their websites were not updated frequently enough to get the most critical information out to the public.

Based on that experience, I’ve circled back to do much of the storm prep that I should’ve done over the winter. Today’s updates to CARROT Weather, my weather app of choice, will certainly help. I signed up for the Tier 3 membership for those severe weather days. I use Feedbin for my RSS needs, and I found out that the National Weather Service has RSS feeds for their weather alerts, by state and by county. I subscribed to my county’s alert feed, and set up that feed in Feedbin Notifier to provide push notifications to my phone.

In terms of supplies, I bought a weather radio from Amazon, which my kids are fascinated with. I put together a go-bag filled with our essentials, and made preparation plans on severe weather days. When Alison is home, I’ve got backup to get us to safety. During the week, however, I may have 20 minutes or less to get the kids to the safe room with everything that we need.

As an aside, severe weather alerts really seems like an area where home assistants like Siri, Alexa, and others could help us proactively. If my phone can go off, why shouldn’t my HomePod?

It’s a mistake to not take the time to prepare for severe weather. It most likely won’t happen to us, but those close calls are a good reminder. Make sure you have a severe weather plan, have redundancies for severe weather alerts, gather the tools and supplies that you need, now. This upcoming long weekend is a great chance for you to check this important to-do off.

We’re entering storm season in the United States. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Episode 78: Birds

Our morning broadcast, featuring a rare appearance by Lucy, was interrupted by our first sighting of a hummingbird of the season!

I find the iOS Bedtime feature to be most useful when it makes an audible chime while going off. iOS 12.3 has not been kind to alarms on my phone.

Storm Prep

A few new items,

To keep my kiddos storm safe.

Radio a hit!

American Airlines Sues Mechanics Unions - WSJ

The world’s largest airline by traffic said in a court filing that the unions are coordinating action to slow repair work on its fleet of 950 planes in an effort to gain leverage in talks over a new contract that have dragged into their fourth year.

Looks like Southwest may have been on to something.

Judge Rejects Trump Request to Block Subpoena for Accounting Records - WSJ

“It is not unreasonable to think that the Mazars records might assist Congress in determining whether ethics statutes or regulations need updating to strengthen Executive Branch accountability, promote transparency, and protect against Executive Branch officials operating under conflicts of interest,” Judge Mehta wrote.

I hate that Congessional investigations are now solely political tools. This ruling with ensure that the fishing expeditions of the future will be more bold and outrageous.

Parents of dead West Point cadet can use his sperm, judge rules

Supreme Court Justice John Colangelo says in a decision dated Thursday the parents of Peter Zhu haven’t decided whether to attempt conception with a surrogate mother. But he ruled it’s their decision to make.

His parents must be in such pain. This plan is problematic, as is the ruling. There’s no way for Zhu to give, or withhold, his consent. And that’s just the first ethical issue.

I don’t trust ground meat packaged in a roll.

A delightful comic by my son (& Mo Willems)

The beginning of something beautiful.

Beef chuck roast in a skillet

When you fail to put $30 worth of products into your Walmart Grocery Pickup cart, you must go inside the store and do your own shopping.

Oh the humanity!

Tremendous Weekend

Play, travel, weather,

It was a great weekend! So,

Let’s do it again!

Currently reading: The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future by Joseph C. Sternberg 📚

Book Review: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

As the father to two little girls, this book made it on my reading list a few months back. Now that my eldest is moving beyond her toddler years, I thought it was a good time to read it.

The book is a challenging read. Every chapter is full of dozens of pieces of practical advice for the reader. Conversation topics, data, research, parenting ideas, and very specific ways in which to help your daughter grow into a mature, well-adjusted adult.

Repeated throughout is the idea that a daughter’s relationship with her father is the most important that she will have throughout her entire life. She will have many important relationships, but none will have a broader impact or shade her worldview.

This is a book that I will have to re-read several times in the coming years. It’ll be a great resource as my daughters and I navigate our relationship and their coming of age in the world.

Would I recommend: YES

ISBN: 9781621573302

Saturday Adventure


A Saturday family trip.

We should do more things!

Migrating Hosts

Time to move web hosts,

Not for me, for a client.

Hope I don’t break it!

Crowded with Kids

A trip to the zoo,

Overrun with school kids. Yikes!

Kept all of mine, tho.

Siblings Play

The end of nap time,

Oh no! I must have a break!

Oh, they’re playing. Nice!

Building Together

Girl destroys his things,

He doesn’t let her play now.

Let’s build together!

Laundry is Done

The day is now done.

Oh, look, I finished my work!

What to do this week?

Mother’s Day

So many mothers,

Thank you to them all. You’re great!

One day not enough.

Sleeping In

Should be up at five,

I got up at nine. Oh well.

Nice while it lasted.


Nice waiting room, staff.

Got a shot, not kid approved.

We got over it.

© 2019 Chet J. Collins