Archive for norman

“Another Time, Another Place”

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2010 by Jessica Lada

U2, arguably the most famous band in the world, is in the middle of its 360 Tour and after buying three sets of tickets, my fiance Will has yet to see the band perform.  Let me catch you up.

Last April I learned they had booked a concert date on Owen Field (Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium) in Norman, Oklahoma.  This is a stadium where I performed a dozen times during my two seasons in the Pride of Oklahoma marching band.  I immediately bought four tickets (the maximum allowed for a preorder).  I called Will, who was living in Brooklyn, NY, at the time, and asked if he liked U2.  He said, “hell yes” and told me a story.  Years before we met, before he discovered opera, Will sang in rock bands.   Someone turned him on to opera and Will decided he could have a much longer career as an opera singer than he could by destroying his vocal chords singing rock.  His last rock gig, he sang Sunday Bloody Sunday (even though it’s a little high for him) and blew out his voice.  That was his last rock performance.

Jump forward to the week of the U2 concert.  Will was singing the lead role in “A View from the Bridge” in Brooklyn.  The production was scheduled for September but got pushed back and the powers that be wouldn’t let Will out of a day of rehearsal to see the concert.  (That’s another story entirely.)
I still got to see the concert with my brother, but that wasn’t the whole point.  So when I heard that U2 would be doing a SECOND North American leg of the tour, I immediately joined the fan club and as soon as the presales opened, I bought two tickets for the Denver concert and two for the performance in NY/NJ.

It seemed like things were going to work out finally.  We found out a way for Will’s work schedule to let us get to Colorado for the weekend and I put the flight tickets on Will’s credit card.  “Do you want to get the flight insurance for an extra $50?” I called to ask.  “Nah, the tickets are already expensive.  I can’t see why we’d need it.”

Famous last words.

The next day news stations reported that Bono had undergone back surgery and the entire North American leg of the tour was going to be rescheduled/postponed until 2011.

Only Nixon could go to China and only Bono can wear lasers and swing by a microphone cable.

The good news is that our concert tickets are still good whenever the dates are rescheduled, so we still have two more chances to see what might be the best concert tour ever.  The bad news is that we had $550 worth of non-refundable flight tickets to a city we no longer needed to visit.  Seriously, couldn’t Bono have given me a little heads up?  That guy is such a jerk.

We decided to make the most of it and have a weekend getaway to Denver and now that the weekend is past, I think it all worked out for the best anyway.  Sure, we didn’t get to see U2, but we still have our tickets.  And the entire weekend was about fifty degrees and rainy.  It wouldn’t have been great concert weather, and if it’d started lightning they probably would have cancelled.  Then we really would have been screwed.  We probably wouldn’t have gotten a refund and the concert probably wouldn’t have been rescheduled.  And in addition we had a great little vacation!   We were only there for a day and a half, but it’s too much for just one post.  Stay tuned for our U2-free Denver Antics.

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*I don’t think Bono’s a jerk at all.  He’s actually kind of my hero and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Okay, here’s a slightly longer tornado story…

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by Jessica Lada

Yesterday, May 10th, 2010, the storms were developing so quickly, there often wasn’t much warning about where the tornados would pop up.  Usually when you look at a radar of thunderstorms, there are lots of storms and only a few rotations. This was different.  Every spot that popped up on the radar had MULTIPLE rotations.  It was crazy.  So when they said “storm heading toward Norman,” I wasn’t paying much attention.  The weather men warned about a storm heading toward Norman, but they indicated one between Norman and Moore also.  I didn’t realize they were separate rotations.  It was hard to keep track.

I also blew off the warning because nothing ever hits Norman.  Seriously.  There’s ancient Indian protection from bad weather, the tornados are scared of Barry Switzer, we’re on top of a hill that diverts tornados around us, and the National Weather Center is here, so that means we’ll never have any interesting weather ever.  (If you aren’t from Norman, Oklahoma, you probably think I’m kidding.  I’m not.  I’ve actually heard each of those things as explanations for why we don’t get severe weather here.)

Gale-force winds hit my house suddenly, buffeting the trees in my yard.  We’re the first line of houses in this area, so we got the wind before it was turned into full-fledged tornado.  You might think I would have taken cover or rushed to the window to see what was going on.  Instead, I decided it might be a good time to put on some shoes and real pants in case it actually turned into an emergency.  Not that I have a storm shelter anyway.  The lights flickered and the power went out.

The wind passed quickly (because all of the storms were moving fast today) and my favorite mocking bird, Pat, returned to the yard looking for food.  I figured Pat wouldn’t be out flying around if severe weather was still headed my way.  My brother and I decided to head to a local bar so we could keep an eye on the radar and grab some dinner.  When we left the house we realized things were a lot worse off than they were at our house.  HW-9 was barricaded and a phone pole was broken and leaning over.  Police were diverting all the cars and detouring them off the highway.

One of many power poles broken near Classen and HW-9 in Norman, OK.

When we arrived at the bar and started watching helicopter footage of the tornado damage.  It wasn’t until they mentioned an intersection a mile from our house that we realized the destruction was caused by the same wind we’d experienced, only since then it had turned into an actual funnel.  It was surreal to see landmarks we recognized blown over.  We had no idea until we saw it on the news, and it was within spitting distance of our house.

Sometimes the big tornadoes touch down in areas where there’s nothing but trees and fields and we don’t notice them.  Sometimes the little tornadoes touch down in the middle of towns and neighborhoods and families.  This is the closest I’ve ever been to a tornado, and I’m incredibly glad it wasn’t bigger or closer than it was.  My power’s back on, but there is massive cleanup going on still.

TORNADO APOCALYPSE 2010!

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by Jessica Lada

Today has been a very interesting day to live in Oklahoma.  It’ s a strange thing to look at the radar and see 1/3 of the state covered in tornado warnings.  Not tornado watches–tornado WARNINGS.

A tornado touched down about a quarter of a mile from my house and flattened fences, houses, and telephone poles.  I could tell a long, drawn-out, exciting story about it…but I’ve already told the story several times.   Everyone wants to know if I’m okay.  YES, I’M OKAY.  Our house is fine and we are fine, but we have no power.  OG&E is saying it may take several days to get power back up and after seeing footage of the demolished power poles and towers, I’m not surprised.  We had 100 mph straight-line winds, but we were the lucky ones.  The tornado grew after it buzzed our house.  It leveled brick homes, smashed sheds, and blew vehicles off HW-9.

A Love’s truck stop in Choctaw was basically leveled.

This photo was posted on KFOR.com earlier with the caption "Choctaw Loves tornado damage." No I'm not kidding.

A puny tornado isn't enough to stop a determined cashier from doing her job. Photo posted on KFOR.com

All this during “TORNADO WEEK” as every news station in Oklahoma takes the time to simultaneously remember the May 3rd, 1999 tornado that wiped out most of Moore, OK and also scare the crap out of viewers by showing out of context tornado warnings.  But today the hook echoes were real and so was the damage.  Here’s hoping everyone out there is safe tonight.