Posts Tagged ‘seasonalization’

We had brief, spotty rain showers yesterday.  When I got up at 0500 yesterday (the last official day of summer), the “feels like” temperature was 93 degrees.  That was the LOW temperature.  Today is the first day of fall and we are starting out at “feels like” 93 degrees again this morning.  This is NOT meant as a complaint.  Florida is forecasted to be cooler than normal this winter.  Is anyone out there interested in donation $100,000,000 so we can open a BSA High Adventure facility somewhere closer to the equator?  I guess I am going to have to bite the bullet and actually buy a new heater for the aft cabin before winter arrives.  I about froze by caboose trying to sleep back there last winter.

Invest 99L has dissipated and a new wave has rolled off the coast of Africa.  It has some potential, but for now we only have Tropical Storm Ophelia to monitor.  She is turning north faster than expected.  That is good news for everyone except Bermuda.

Click on image to enlarge.

I got up at 0500 yesterday and was on the road by 0540 for the drive to the mainland.  I was third in line at LabCorp for a series of blood tests.  I was stabbed six times and lost count of the vials of blood drawn, but I think it was 22 over a two hour period.  It seems that being a doctor is sometimes be like being a cop.  Eliminate as many suspects as possible and focus on whatever’s left over.  Two MRIs, a billion blood screens and an EMG on Tuesday.  I’m glad I’m not sick.

I returned to the Florida Sea Base (with both arms looking like they belonged to a junkie) around noon.  Shortly after 1300 Capt. Rich and I started on the seasonalization of our 2012 budget.  This is a very scientific process.  First we look at the seasonalization from 2 years ago as a template.  If our budget for a particular account has gone up 1.365847 times, we multiply each monthly amount by that factor.  Generally that works.  But sometimes it doesn’t.  Let’s say for example that we have an account that, after seasonalization, differs from our annual account total by $23,456.  We look in the monthly breakdown for a “seasonalized” amount of say $224,987.  Since there is a 2 in the ten-thousands column we change that to a zero.  Then we look in the monthly sub-totals for a month that has a 3 in the thousands column and change that to a zero and so forth until the monthly seasonalization equals the annual total.  Yes, it is as confusing at it sounds.  It is a tad more scientific than throwing darts (which we are not allowed to play with in the office).  But you can’t argue with success.

This morning I am on my way to Florida Keys Dive Center to start round 3 of the Instructor Development Course audits.  Class on Friday.  Class and pool on Saturday.  Class, pool and open water on Sunday, and more of the same through next Friday.  Busy, busy.

Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape 


Plan B

Plan A was for Captain Rich and I to get together yesterday to complete our budget seasonalization.  So we had a meeting with the seasonal staff at 0900 to assign them chores for the day.  At 1000 Captain Rich met with Captain Paul Beal and the Florida Sea Base team that is headed to Northern Tier for the 2011 Outdoor Program Seminar in a couple of weeks.  Following that, we moved into my office, set up the MicroSoft FRx Forecaster internet link on one computer screen and the 2012 budget summary on the second computer screen and started to attack our seasonalization.

Let me digress for a moment.  In my humble opinion (you can refer to yesterday’s post for some of my thoughts on this topic) the seasonalization should be performed by trained accountants at the National Office.  But they force us to do it for them.  So you would think the LEAST they could do, is have their software properly programed so we could meet our budget schedule.

Back to yesterday…..  Within a couple of minutes, Captain Rich and I realized that the software was set up incorrectly.  We are not allowed to change the set up.  So I called our General Manager, Captain Paul Beal and he came down to our lowly office to confirm my report.  He wasn’t able to input the data either, so he returned to his office to call our National Office.  It appears several of our cost centers’ programs are messed up.  Captain Beal estimates a one to two week delay for the set up to be corrected.  It sure would be easier if the bean counters would count the beans and let the Program Directors direct the programs.  So now we move to Plan B; wait.  (Step down from soap box now.)

Hurricane Katia is alive and well in the Atlantic.  She is still forecasted to reach cat 3 status Sunday.

Click to enlarge.

The system that formed a few days ago in the Caribbean is now in he middle of the Gulf of Mexico and has been designated Invest 93L.  The projected tracks are not in good agreement, but parts of the Gulf coast should get a decent rain and maybe worse.  The models have the system moving generally towards Louisiana, but all of the rain is currently off the Gulf side of Florida.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Dr. Jeff Masters had a great post yesterday regarding the forecasting of Hurricane Irene.  I would encourage you to read the full report.

What about intensity forecasting?
Progress in making better intensity forecasts of hurricanes, though, has lagged. Over the past twenty years, there has been virtually no improvement in forecasting how strong or weak a hurricane will grow. NHC predicted Irene would hit North Carolina as a Category 3 storm, but it hit at Category 1 strength. Had the intensity forecast been better, many evacuations that were done for Irene could have been avoided. The failure of the intensity forecast led to many accusations that the storm was over-hyped, and an unnecessary amount of expensive preparations and evacuations were done. While I did see some over-hype by the media, I did not think it was more excessive than what has been the case for previous hurricanes. Nate Silver of the New York Times makes some interesting comparisons of the media attention given to Irene versus previous storms, and finds that Irene had about the same amount of media attention as hurricanes Ike and Gustav of 2008. Given in inexperience of the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts with hurricanes, our lack of skill in making intensity forecasts, and the potential for high storm surge damage due to the size of Irene and its landfall during the highest tides of the month, I thought that the overly cautious approach to evacuations along the coast was warranted.

Teri Wells sold about a dozen sets of used scuba gear yesterday.  Click draft-11-scuba-ad version 1 to view the 2011 Used Scuba Equipment sales flyer.  I think the flyer says the regulator does not include a compass.  That is not correct.  The gauge console includes depth, tank pressure and compass.

Keep those devastated by Hurricane Irene in your prayers.

Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape 

The traffic will be easing past the Florida Sea Base enroute to Key West later today for the start of the Labor Day weekend and the end of summer.  Capt. Rich and Capt. Carol have friends visiting and will likewise be west bound tomorrow.

Capt. Rich was a huge help today with the seasonalization of the 2011 budget.  It really is much easier to do with two (or more) people instead of doing it alone.  Lloyd King of the National Office was also a big help in getting me started.  It’s hard to remember how to use this software when you only do it once a year.  Mr. King is the BSA’s Microsoft Forecaster® guru.

It looks like Hurricane Earl is starting to fizzle.  That is great news for the northern US Atlantic coast states.  Hurricane Fiona is going to stay well east of the US.  TD Gaston apparently floundered yesterday but the National Hurricane Center says this the storm may regenerate.  We’re not out of the woods yet.  The wave that I mentioned yesterday should become more notable in about 2 days and another wave will spill off Africa 2 to 3 days after that.  Busy, busy.

Locally the weather is gorgeous.  Except for the tiny but potent cell that hit us at about 02:10.  I poked my up to see if everything was okay topside.  A couple of night fisherman had found temporary refuge at our fuel dock.  As soon as conditions allowed I saw them heading back out, soaked but in good spirits.

Lindsay Kuc sold two sets of scuba gear and one regulator yesterday.  She was born for retail sales.  She also painted in the Thomas Building for much of the day.  Dave Rumbaugh slaved away working on scuba tanks all day.  He is a hard worker.

I’m headed in early today but to the Galley, not the office.  We are without a cook currently so I went to the store yesterday and plan on helping the staff prepare some bacon, eggs and potatoes this morning.  It will be a nice change from bagels and cereal.  I’m hoping for hamburgers for lunch, but we’ll see what happens.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape

At 03:38:59 I was in a deep sleep.  At 03:39:00 I was rudely jolted into full awakeness by a noise I recognized in that split second between sleep and consciousness; the swim ladder on Escape was rubbing against the dock.  We are having a crazy high tide right now and the forward spring lines needed to be shortened about 6″.  On the rare occasion that this happens (no, it’s not the first time) it makes a horrible, grinding, metallic sound about 4′ from my sleeping head.  In reality it is a very heavy duty aluminum ladder gently rubbing against a soft pine 2″x4″ wooden board.  Regardless, it is a rude way to be awakened.

The good news is there was no damage and the problem was very easily fixed.  And while I was on deck a dolphin visited with me for a few minutes.  By the time she left I was pretty awake.  So here I am.  Good morning from the Florida Sea Base!!!

Today is “seasonalization” day at the Florida Sea Base.  Spell check does not recognize “seasonalization” as a word.  But it is the next step in our BSA budget process.  The 2011 budget is set.  As with most budgets projected income and expenses are broken down into several accounts.  Seasonalization is the act of taking each account, whether it is income or expense, and forecast how much of the income or expense in each given account will be received or spent in each calendar month.  This means, for example, that we have to foresee during which month in 2011 a boat will break down and how much it will cost to repair it.  Not only are we expected to foresee when this will happen, we have to foresee when a bookkeeper in Dallas will actually pay the invoice.  What are the chances of “The Amazin Kreskin” pulling that off?  We also have to foresee when Troop 666 from Podunk, USA is going to submit their payment for their adventure.  Sure, we have deadlines, but some people don’t always pay their bills on time.  The nice folks in Dallas do not understand when we guess incorrectly.  I have sharpened my darts, hung the board on the office wall and will record the results in an accurate and professional manner.  One of my best days EVER at the Florida Sea Base involved Capt. Rich, Coach Carl G. Boyles (now of Northern Tier fame) and me setting in the office making wild guesses and laughing our tails off while seasonalizing the budget.  The sad thing is that was the most accurate seasonalization I have ever submitted.

Megan BROYLE.  Ha!! I remembered to ask.  Our new Administrative Intern is Megan Broyle.  [I couldn’t remember her last name yesterday morning.]  Megan is getting settled in.  She reported to Rob and Nancy for her first day of work yesterday morning.

Capt. Rich celebrated his birthday yesterday by moving furniture into Annex Rooms 9 and 10.  He let me help a little.

Tropical Storm Gaston is of concern for the Florida Sea Base.  Paul Beal, General Manager, has called a meeting for tomorrow morning to discuss battle plans.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  I spent a little time last night making a list for preparing S/V Escape and my other personal interests.

And at the 02:00 update the National Hurricane Center identified another tropical wave of concern near the Cape Verde Islands.

SSTs (Sea Surface Temperatures) play a big role in hurricane development and intensity.  Here’s a great image from Weather Underground showing the current SSTs off the US east coast.  When you’re hot, you’re hot!

Water surface temperatures from AVHRR satellite data for the 6-day period ending August 31, 2010. Ocean temperatures of 26.5°C, capable of supporting a hurricane, stretched almost to Long Island, New York. Image credit: Ocean Remote Sensing Group, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Interest in the Divemaster Academy continues to grow.  I have received 8 applications and received three phone calls yesterday from interested persons.  The maximum capacity for the DMA is 16.  Acceptance is competitive based.  Eagle Scouts, Gold Award recipients, Rangers and Quartermasters earn extra points.  The number of dives and QUALITY of dives is another major factor.  For example, 35 dives of 20 minutes each to a maximum depth of 60′ is not very impressive.  Hour long dives to 50′, 90 minute dives to 40′ , 15 minutes dives to 90′ are better quality.  Not just deeper dives, but dives showing significant bottom time.  These longer dives show good air consumption, comfort in the water, and simply more dive time.  A lot of time at 30′ generally beats a little time at 100′.  But some deep experience is needed as well.  Once you complete the Florida Sea Base Divemaster Academy you are a certified PADI Divemaster.  You could leave here and go to work anywhere in the world.  We can’t just train you for our needs.  We have to teach how to be a Divemaster.  There is more information about the DMA on my LINKS page.

Speaking of anywhere in the world, former FSB DMA graduate, Divemaster and Scuba Instructor Megan Ware is in Germany.  She wrote:

Hi Capt Steve-
I hope you’re feeling better. I found your blog a few months ago and have enjoyed keeping
up with the life and times of Sea Base. I’ve been living in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a small
Bavarian town in southern Germany. I’ve been working for the Department of Defense Morale
Welfare and Recreation property Edelweiss Lodge and Resort as a civilian contractor.
Justin Wernecke is here working as well. I am planning a trip to Egypt next month and plan
to do atleast one dive in the Red Sea while I’m there.
I’m working to find a job for when I leave here so there is the chance that you might see my
name on an application again. Glad to hear that you had such a great summer season! I miss
Sea Base and the Keys!
Hope all is well for you.
Talk to you later,

Happy fahrvergnügen Megan.  (That’s one of the very few German words I know.)  I’ll be watching for your application.

Okay.  I’m headed back to bed for a couple of hours.

Capt. Steve
Aboard S/V Escape