A tribute to an old friend, Mr. Cloudman

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MOVING ON : A Parade of Clouds Witnessing Life as It Is… (Courtesy of www.cloudman.com)

I spent a lot of my weekends during my UIAM days in front of my “Unca Dell” PC. Running on an Intel Pentium III (I can’t remember the speed), 512 mb RAM and roomy (those days!) 40 Gig of hardisk real estate, it ran Windows 2000 with SP4 like a dream, often I leave it humming the night flawlessly. I actually left the PC on for a whopping 6 months without a single crash! Cool na! Of course it was quite a waste of electricity but hey, I slept in front of it most of the time whilst Y!M running in the foreground, catching the odd friend requests or messages during the night, so it was quite ummm… used somehow hehehe…

So on one of those days, I stumbled upon a gem of a website; www.cloudman.com. It was all about clouds and more. I quickly felt in love with it. There were dozens of pictures of clouds taken majestically from different times of the day as well as heights. It was simply gorgeous! I don’t know about others but clouds and I have that special thing going on as early as 10. I used to play King’s Quest (the first and original instalment!) With greeninsh black, pixelated & choppy graphics and not to mentioned cheesy 2 bit midi soundtrack, I came to love that adventure game. I used to go to a part of the game where the hero stares at the distant clouds with the King’s castle on the horizon. To make the character do something, you just type in “look at clouds” for example and the game will come up with this beautiful response “You look up the clouds and wonder what might be up in those clouds”. It caught my imagination that maybe these spectacular and heavenly objects may harbour some imaginary fantasy kingdom.

Anyway, going back to cloudman.com, you can get a handful of information and nifty trivia regarding clouds. The tagline “THE GREATEST FREE SHOW ABOVE THE EARTH” simply labeled it right. Just imagine, after slaving the days for a whole week, getting up in the morning for a quick jog or simply gaze at the yellowish gold clouds as the sun rises is certainly a show worth waking early to. What’s more it’s free and extremely breath taking. For those who believe that a breakfast of worms for those who wake up early is utterly gross and prefer a cup of hot kopi ‘o’ with nasi lemak later in the morning, fret not! The show is still there. The only prerequisite is that, apart from it must not be a rainy day, you really have to freeze time around you and gaze up the heavens. From something that is probably taken for granted by most for centuries, a few minutes worth of gazing is priceless. Just imagine, the carefree and seemingly calm whittish cotton candies float steadily in the blue canvas of the heavens; parade after parade.

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TWO OF THE OPPOSITE : Greenish but baren land against a whittish and bountiful clouds (Courtesy of www.cloudman.com)

What could have these beautiful white stuff witnessed through the decades of human civilization is good as anyone’s guess. What joy and laughter or tears and fears of men might have these clouds seen as they continue on their never ending journey passing through skyscrappers to the far corners of the earth? Could they also share a smile or two with the triumphs of men? Or shed drops of tears as to console a poor lonely soul in some distant land? Such mysteries play in my mind as I gaze upon one of Allah’s Greatest Gifts to mankind. Of course, the question of whether I will see another display of rays of the sun shining through the clouds whilst flights of birds roam afar to a destination yet unknown, continue to pop up every now and then? After all these years ( I think it has been at least 2 years since I surfed cloudman.com), tonight I suddenly remembered cloudman.com.

As soon as my IE7 browser hits cloudman.com, I still can see the same layout and site navigations; something I don’t really mind. Nevertheless, it really hit me hard when I read the following words in the frontpage of the site :

 “On June 21, 2008, Cloudman peacefully passed away at his home in McMinnville, Oregon. He was 95 years old and working on his latest book, “The Peterson’s Field Guide to Weather”. He was much beloved by family, friends, and people around the world, some who never knew him personally. A memorial service was held at Linfield College on June 29th, 2008 with over 300 people attending. He will be greatly missed, but remembered by many as they “Look UP and SEE”.

  Wow! I felt like a piece of my memory was gone forever. I was taken aback for awhile. I never did knew him personally or gotten in touch with Dr. John A. Day aka Mr. Cloudman, but since he was an expert of clouds which I am interested and can occassionally go goo goo gaa gaa just by looking at them, losing him is a great lost for me personally. I searched for a comparable site to cloudman.com but there seem to exist a void especially when he made the subject of clouds such an interesting one without being too spartan in information. Truly I would missed him very much. The picture of the clouds at the beginning of this entry still ranks as my favourite. If you can see at the bottom left of the picture, there are several rooftops shown with television aerials pointing upwards . I could have sworn it was taken over the rooftops of one of the mahallahs at IIUM… could it be???

I guess he left us his legacy through the famous quote “JUST LOOK UP AND SEE”. Similar to clouds, one would be carried away by God when the time comes. I just hope like the clouds coming back from another trip around the earth would another passionate person like Mr. Cloudman would come and fill the sky of knowledge with volumous clouds of insight and wisdom. 

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MR. CLOUDMAN, THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME LOOK UP TO SOMETHING THAT IS FREE AND OFTEN DISREGARDED YET UNDENIABLY WONDERFUL AND SOOTHING FOR THE ACHING SOUL.

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