Monday, January 03, 2005

Things to Do That Are Not Write

A simply marvelous way to waste I mean spend I mean use your time is to stroll through the Main Gallery of Wunder Photos at

I think I first got hooked here during hurricane season. "wunderground" is short for "weather underground" which in this incarnation is not an guerilla political organization, but a weather site. It's my favorite weather site. I think of it as more scientific, more meteorlogical, than your more mainstream commercial sites like The Weather Channel or Yahoo Weather. They have cute graphics. Wunderground has stuff that unless you are a weather buff you won't even know what it is. Like the dew point, the heating degree days...other obscure things. The beauty of it is, they'll explain it to you if you care to learn about it. Or, you can just check your local highs and lows and chance of rain. It's got everything.

From a link on my local weather page, I could check up on the hurricanes that pounded the southeastern US this summer/fall. Seeing the graphics of the size of these storms ignited a relentless curiousity in me as to the power of weather like that. I searched the web for photos of Ivan and Frances, and dang if Google didn't end up directing me right back to

I'd seen the "Wunder Photos" link on the wunderground page before but never followed it because I just didn't find the idea of amatuer photos interesting. Same as blogs aren't interesting. Who wants to be subjected to some stranger's photo album/diary/whiney-list-of-grievances/you-name-it? Not me. But that's where I could go to find first-hand accounts of the experience of that much power from the sky.

Turns out that it is absolutely fascinating to me to see the weather all over the world through the eyes of average joes like myself. Think about The Weather. There is never a day without it. You can talk about it with anyone -- anyone! Even if it's just "small talk," it's still very real. It affects us all each and everyday. Although in modern american life it is too easy to become insulated from it, the reality of life is that the weather affects us deeply. It may just be a sunny blue sky day, but string too many of those together and it's going to affect crops, the snow pack, resevoirs...there is no immunity from it.

And of course the people who do the photography have their little bios and self-protraits. There's Lampy, the retired railroad engineer from Illinois who enjoys motorcyle riding and old radios, among many other things. He's submitted over 700 photographs, many of them scoring 9s on the wunderphotos viewer ratings. I love the one of the young eagle with the fish.

There's the beautiful blonde 20-somethinger from California who submits bucolic photos of birds and who gave her real name, it looks like. I hope she is not getting too much wundermail from lonely fellows around the world. Unless that was the point, perhaps. Even then, I hope she's not getting more than she bargained for.

There's the controversial GOD who submits manipulated images of flowers and birds in kaleidescope effects. I'm pro-god, just in case you wonder where I fall in the controversy.

Typically more than 400 photos are uploaded to the site everyday from all over the world, although Asia seems to be severely underrepresented.

The title of this post is a link to my own wunderphotos. That's the extra bonus aspect of wasting I mean spending I mean using time at the wunder photos site. You can also get hooked on taking pictures and uploading them. I'm not truly hooked because I'm too timid to hop out of the car and start shooting every cool thing I see. But I do when I can. And then there's the whole cylce of uploading and seeing what rating you get if any and seeing if anyone wundermails you about your pix....

We need another subculture, right?

No comments: