It’s raining again

15 02 2014

Snowing, actually.

Which pleases me: snowing and winter go together.

(Unlike rain. Thursday it snowed—big, puffy, beautiful swirling flakes—and then it rained, melting those beautiful puffs into slush. February rain sucks.)

Anyway, I used to mock folks in southern climes who freaked out when they got an inch or two of snow–ha ha! Look at those fools spin out!—but I’ve mostly gotten over my weather superiority complex. I mean, I decompensate when the temp climbs hellward of 85 or 90, so who am I to lord it over those who shiver below 40 degrees?

And laughing at the Georgians or Carolinians who slide into barely-snowy ditches requires one to forget that everyone is an idiot during the first snowfall.

I didn’t truly appreciate this until after I moved to Minneapolis and got my first car (Plymouth Horizon hatchback, RIP: gave its life after a long road trip west). Yes, I drove when I lived in Wisconsin and of course learned to do doughnuts (easier on a rear- than front-wheeled car), and helped push more than one car out of snowbank. (I don’t remember if I ever drove into a snowbank; if not, that had more to do with luck than skill.)

Anyway, now that I was living in a city and driving my own car and paying my own insurance, I also paid more attention to those many other drivers as well as to my own driving. And I noticed that every November (or October: see Minneapolis) when the first snow fell, drivers acted as if they had never before had to deal with this outrageous phenomenon of icy dust billowing down from the clouds.

They drove too fast. They braked too late, and then stood on the brakes as their cars veered sideways down the street. They drove too closely to one another. And—my personal favorite—they’d only clear a portion of the front window and maybe, maybe, a bit in the back before hitting the road.

That’s some smart driving, right there.

After the first snowfall or two, however, most drivers would get the hang of it, as if some part of their brains awoke from their brief warm-weather comas to say “hey, dummy, watch out!”, and they remembered to clear off all of the window and the lights and drive as if snow and ice were, y’know, slippery.

Or just not drive at all. That was my preferred method for dealing with big snow: stay off the road until the plows came thru.

Of course, one could be cautious and still SOL. It might snow when you’re out, or you might have to drive, and in Minneapolis the side streets and sometimes even the main drags wouldn’t be plowed down to pavement, such that driving was sketchy long after a storm ended.

And sometimes you do everything right and it still goes wrong. I remember one night driving down a small hill on Franklin Avenue toward the intersection at Third Avenue, stepping on the brakes, and having the car completely ignore the instructions to stop. I pumped the brakes, steered the car straight, but no dice.

The light turned red, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

So I did the only thing I could do: I laid on the horn as a warning to drivers on Third and slid right on thru that intersection. Luckily no one was in front of me, so the drivers on Third simply watched my Plymouth ski on by before motoring forth.

No one got hurt, and nothing happened. Lucky.

Upshot: snow fucks everything up, and it takes experience (as well as snow plows and salt and sand trucks) to deal with that fucked-up-ness. Folks in the north get plenty of chances to learn, so it’s easy to feel smug about southerners who will get only one or two shots every couple of years to get it right.

We shouldn’t. Because everyone’s an idiot driving in the first snow, and even the experienced need luck sometimes.





Ice ice baby

5 07 2013

Made it through June, but the beginning of July and it all ends.

The a/c-free livin’, that is.

I don’t have any strict rules for when I put the box in the window, but when I can’t sit in my apartment without thinking how hot I am and I can’t sleep at night without heat interruptions,  it’s time.

Pre-a/c I used to just sweat and swear it out, waiting for the thunderstorm or front shift to blow through and restore me to sanity [oh hush, you]. I hated the steam bath, but ohhhh, the blow-through was divine.

Anyway, the other night the mugg couldn’t be budged by the fan and yesterday as the temp and dew point crawled skyward I said ‘Self, it’s time.’

The cats appreciate the cool, but as I’m the one paying the electric bill, I’m a bit grumpy about the whole thing.

Still, better grumpy than homicidal.





Here comes the rain again

15 06 2013

Such a rainy June—marvelous!

Yesterday after the rain as I rode through Prospect Park, the wind scattering the wet from the leaves above, mist rising from the roadway, all of the green laying back in deep contentment, and I thought, Oh, this is lovely!

If only Seattle weather were to settle permanently in New York. . . !

Too much to ask for, I know.





All things weird and wonderful, 32

14 05 2013

Not weird, definitely wonderful:

Photograph by Gunjan Sinha, National Geographic Photo of the Day

You should really pop over to the Nat Geo site to see this in full form. Gorgeous.

I’ve mentioned my tornado dreams in the past; this isn’t a tornado, but this is the kind of cloud that if you see it you know something’s brewing.

I miss that, being able to see the weather brewing.

 





A big hard sun

9 04 2013

April 9 in New York: 84 degrees.

God help me.

Could I hope for some kind of cataclysmic event which doesn’t kill or hurt anyone, doesn’t pollute the air, and otherwise does not interfere with air travel, transportation, or agriculture—and which just happens to cloud up the sky all summer long?

Too much?

Shit.





Red rain is pouring down: FrankenStormMageddonLypse!!! (Mayan campaign mashup 2012/We might as well try combo edition)

29 10 2012

That headline may not be long enough.

Anyway, I was going to lead with snark—I snapped a coupla’ pics yesterday that showed precisely nothing happening, weather-wise—but since the air pressure has dropped so much I can feel the blood pulsing in my face, my snark has dissipated  right out the window.

The bite, however, the bite remains, so of course I’ll chew on Mitt Romney’s ass for suggesting that the federal government get out of the emergency management business:

First Romney says: “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. [emph added] Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?”

“Including disaster relief, though?” debate moderator John King asked Romney.

His response:

We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

Makes perfect sense to worry about the well-being of those in the future, because using the federal government to keep people safe now certainly is craaaazy.

Two further thoughts: One, such sentiments indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of business, which is to make money. How will business make money from people who have none? Who is going to hire these private actors to clear trees and debris and search for survivors and bodies and repair roads and bridges and homes? If the feds don’t step in to pay these folks, who is going to do it?

Which leads to the second thought. Romney and his ilk may want to send this responsibility back to the states, but how many states can afford to take on this responsibility?

(And a third, stray, thought: weather tends to stray across state boundaries, so some kind of supra-state entity—like, say, FEMA—to coordinate responses might just make sense.)

If a President Romney (may these two words never be joined) were to get his way, it probably wouldn’t affect me all that much. I live in a wealthy city in a reasonably wealthy state, so if any place could take care its own, it would be New York.

But Louisiana? Misssissippi? Alabama? Screwed.

That ain’t right. No, I like neither the weather nor the politics of these places, but they are a part of the United States and the people who live in those states deserve both security and dignity. And if their states can’t or won’t provide it for them—if those same people vote for politicians who don’t care about their security and dignity—well, then, goddammit, the rest of us, via the federal government, should.

Let me be as explicit as possible: Not only do I not mind that my tax dollars would go to states and localities which may want to have nothing to do with my kind, I think my tax dollars should go to those places, if that’s where the need is.

And no, I don’t expect them to be particularly grateful, if only because citizens of this nation should expect that their fellow citizens will take care of them.

Because that’s what it means to be a citizen: To take care of one another, to take care of where and how we all live with one another.





Fruit of sweating golden inca

8 08 2012

Yes, it’s August. Yes, it’s muggy. Yes, I got my hair cut.

Yes, I hate everything.

HOWEVER: my heart is not in the hate. I’m working this summer (unlike last. . .) and am thus ensconced in an environment in which someone else is paying to (over)cool the air, and, given that I am working, I can afford to put on the a/c if the weather is still filthy when I get home.

It’s no-drama time. Good for me, certainly, but it does take the oomph out of the hate.





Oh, the weather outside is frightful

1 07 2012

I don’t like air conditioning.

Silly, I know, given my antipathy to summer, and it must be admitted that this dislike does not get in the way of my using my own a.c. (purchased for me by T. and P. some summers ago) or my gratitude for it on the train or at work.

Yes, I’m a hypocrite—sue me.

My friend J., who grew up in Arizona and went to school in Minnesota, didn’t like central heat, something which I, the as-yet-had-never-lived-anywhere-outside-of-the-midwest, found unfathomable. Don’t like indoor heat? Why it’s the greatest: You come in from a snowy day and peel off your jacket and mittens and hat and scarf, kick off your boots, and you feel the warmth seep into you.

That made sense: You bundled up for outside, and when the bundle was no longer enough, you escaped back into cozy warmth.  How could that not be good?

But J., I think, looked at winter much as I look at summer: That was a season when you were supposed to be able to roam free, and not be trapped indoors. Arizona in July was like Minnesota in January—brutal—so when the opposite (winter for her, summer for me) doesn’t bring relief, you go after the proxy, that which makes the brutal bearable.

Hm, that wasn’t clear. J. doesn’t hate summer and I don’t hate winter. Neither of us likes our respective brutalities, but we’ve each found a way to deal with them; what we have not found a way to deal with are the seasons which are supposed to be “better”. (Yes, I still think winter is easier to deal with than summer, what with the possibilities of bundling-up versus the limits to stripping down, but that’s another argument.)  Summer for me and winter for her is supposed to be a time of weather-liberation, and when it is not, well, we hate the things that keep us penned up, trapped indoors by the sun or the snow. Thus: I hate a/c, she hates central heat.

J. is long back in Arizona, so I hope she’s got her winter mojo back; regardless, she’s likely as calm facing summer as I am facing winter.

I just wish Brooklyn summers were as mild as those Arizona winters.





Because she cut off all my clothes

20 06 2012

Ninety-something degrees today, near a hundred tomorrow.

I hate hot weather.

I hate summer.

Summer of love? Fuck that. By July I’ll be cutting off my hair in despair, and by August, I’ll hate. . . everything.

That’s how it is.





Don’t walk away Irene

26 08 2011

Hurricane Irene is bearing down on New York and I’m. . . thinking of hitting the beach.

C. and I are, in fact, if we can manage it.

No, we don’t plan to be fools—we’d hit Brighton Beach Saturday afternoon, at the latest—but hey, if we can safely bike down and check out the waves, why not? We both like the ocean, we like waves, so here’s a rare chance to see big waves in the ocean!

There were a coupla’ nasty storms in the Boston area when I lived there, but I never made it to the beach (the one on the north side, with the famous lobster roll joint) at the sweet spot of any oncoming storms: close enough to see that, in fact, a storm was coming, but not so close that the water crashing over the breaks on the highway would wash away your car.

No, my only real experience with ocean weather occurred years before, when L. and I road-tripped to Alabama to check out a master’s program for her. After looking at the school in Daphne and poking around Mobile, we set up camp at Gulf Shores State Park in advance of what turned out to be a tropical storm. (Being the good Midwesterners that we both were, we had no clue what that meant.) I don’t recall any rangers telling us it might not be the best time for a couple of small women in a (water-resistant!) nylon tent to kick back on the gulf. We did at least plunk down the tent on the highest ground on the site, joking that the preferred site under the tree could “turn into a big puddle”.

Ha ha.

Anyway, that day was gorgeous. While the campground seemed pretty full (plenty o’ RVs, at which we shook our heads), there weren’t many people at the beach. The sand was white, the beach wide, and the water warm. At one point a water spout formed and we had a good laugh at the panicked look on a woman’s face as she rushed her kids out of the water.

Ha ha.

That night we broke out a bottle of vodka and poured some into our lemonade, then strolled down to the beach to look at the stars and watch all the clouds and thunder way out there across the water. What a show!

We crawled into our tent, looking forward to another day or two at this lovely, lovely park.

You know what happens, of course: That water spout was likely an auger of the storm, that nifty show moved ashore, and yes, it was a very lucky thing that we hadn’t pitched the tent in what was now a pond which waters reached my knees. We had managed to stay relatively dry in the tent, but that highest point was at the far end of the campsite, some distance from the car. We broke down the tent and ran our gear to the car, tossing it in without packing and peeling the hell out of there. There was a nice, solid bathroom nearby, so we took our gear in there and managed to impose some order on our belongings. (There may have been hand-dryers, and we may have tried to dry our gear/ourselves, but I don’t quite remember.)

Then away from the Gulf coast, away from the park, and an early departure for Wisconsin.

Yeah, we were safe and we didn’t lose our gear and it all turned out blah blah, but damn, we coulda used those extra few days at the beach. . . .








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