Saturday, October 31, 2009

This Is the End, My Friend

Today is Halloween, which traditionally marks the start of the Great Sucky Season in Bend. Say goodbye to those nice, sunny Indian summer days we've had once in a while for the past month and say hello to seven and a half months of relentless suckiness. As I'm writing this (10 a.m.) it's still bright and sunny, but clouds are rolling in from the south, southwest and west, and we'll be deep in the suck by the time the trick-or-treaters start making the rounds.

My colleague in bloggery, Jack Elliott, who pretends to actually enjoy Bend's sucky climate, has made a bet that I won't be able to keep doing the Daily Suck Index for a year and already is trying to wriggle out of it on a technicality, so I'd better catch up on the past week.

Tuesday was mostly cloudy with some drizzle in the morning and occasional "sunbreaks" in the afternoon, temperatures reaching the low 50s.

Daily Suck Index for Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009: 5

Wednesday was pretty much the same as Tuesday.

Daily Suck Index for Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009: 5

Things got considerably better on Thursday -- a lot more sun, high in the low 60s.

Daily Suck Index for Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009: 3

Friday was almost completely clear with a high in the low 60s. Unfortunately a blustery wind spoiled what would otherwise have been a 2 or even a 1 day. (Blackdog does not like wind.)

Daily Suck Index for Friday, Oct. 30, 2009: 3

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Wind Suck Factor

Bend has an amazing variety of weather. Unfortunately, almost all of it is bad.

Take the wind, for example. It blows a lot -- not like in Kansas or Wyoming, but a lot. And it has the unique ability (at least Blackdog has never encountered it anywhere else) to blow from all directions at once, so that in whatever direction you're walking, running or biking, it's blowing in your face. Blackdog knows this must be scientifically impossible ... but ... somehow it does.

Monday was a genuinely sucky day, with gloomy gray clouds, highs only in the low 50s and some pretty heavy rain off and on all day.

Daily Suck Index for Monday, Oct. 26, 2009: 6

After a little freezing rain overnight and in the early morning, Tuesday turned out to be a pretty nice day -- pretty nice for observing from inside a warm house, that is. There were occasional "sunbreaks," but the temperatures barely made it into the 40s and a biting wind (blowing from all directions at once) made it feel colder than the proverbial witch's tit.

Daily Suck Index for Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009: 6

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Suckiness of Fake 'Friendliness'

A lot of newcomers to Bend comment on how "friendly" the people here are. It's true, in a way. Restaurant servers are never (well, hardly ever) surly. People will chat you up in the Costco checkout line, in the line at the bank, in the movie ticket line -- almost anywhere.

People in the checkout lines at the supermarket, the coffee shop or wherever also will strike up long conversations with the clerk or barista about their children, their grandchildren, their latest vacation, their planned vacation, etc., etc. -- which Blackdog thinks is pretty damn rude to the people waiting behind them in line, but again, this is what passes for "friendliness."

But is making small talk with strangers really "friendliness"? How deep does such "friendliness" go? How sincere is it?

In Blackdog's experience, the "friendly" folks of Bend will stab you in the back just as quickly as people on the East Coast, or anywhere else. And I've never lived in a place where vicious rumors were spread so quickly and eagerly.

Blackdog would rather have a few real friends who I can trust and rely on than any number of smiles from waitresses or cheerful chats with strangers in front of the ATM. Fake friendliness sucks.

About yesterday's weather: It started out nice but turned overcast, windy and kinda chilly (low 50s) as the next sucky weather front started to move in.

Daily Suck Index for Sunday, Oct. 25: 5

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Little Morsel of Unsuckiness

Saturday was -- painful as it is to admit it -- a surprisingly pleasant day. It appears the weather gods are doling out tiny little tidbits of Indian summer this year -- a day here, a day there. Saturday was almost cloudless with very little wind and temperatures in the mid- to upper 50s. If it had been 10 degrees warmer I'd have been tempted to give it a 0. As it was ...

Daily Suck Index for Saturday, Oct. 24: 1

But fear not: On Halloween, six days from now, winter REALLY slams down.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Catchin' Up With the Suck

Blackdog has been goofing off for a couple of days, so we have to play a little catch-up.

Wednesday was a somewhat sucky day: temps in the low 60s (although the wind made it seem colder) and mostly cloudy skies, with occasional "sunbreaks."

Daily Suck Index for Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009: 3

Thursday was an almost perfect fall day -- temps in the low 60s, not much wind, almost cloudless. If it had been a little warmer Blackdog would have given it the coveted (and rare) 0 rating. As it was ...

Daily Suck Index for Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009: 1

Suck-free and almost suck-free weather doesn't last long in Bend, and sure enough, suckiness returned today. Heavy clouds, no sun, occasional drizzle, temps in the mid-50s.

Daily Suck Index for Friday, Oct. 23, 2009: 4

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moderately Sucky, With Increasing Suckiness

Well, it wasn't TOO sucky in Bend today -- a fair amount of sunshine, temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s (although the wind made it feel a lot colder). But that wind means more suckiness on the way, and sure enough the forecast calls for rain and a high in the 50s tomorrow.

Blackdog rates a day for suckiness on how pleasant (or unpleasant) it is to be outdoors without a coat or sweater and/or rain gear. On that basis, today was a little below the midpoint on the sucky scale. Therefore ...

Daily Suck Index for Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009: 3

Just Another Sucky Monday

Today was more like a typical Bend mid-October day -- gray and dreary, with heavy clouds and temperatures in the mid-50s. There was no rain, snow or sleet, fortunately, but all in all it wasn't the kind of day for a picnic in the park.

Daily Suck Index for Monday, Oct. 19, 2009: 4

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Surprisingly Unsucky

The forecast called for a far more sucky day than today turned out to be -- pretty sunny, no precip, not much wind, temps in the mid-60s. If it had been just a tad warmer Blackdog would be forced to give it a 0. But since 0 is reserved for absolutely flawless, totally suck-free days (just as 10 is reserved for the most sucktacular possible days, e.g. blizzards) Blackdog can't hand out the 0 rating like candy at Halloween. Therefore ...

Daily Suck Index for Saturday, Oct. 18, 2009: 1

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Return of the Suck

As predicted by Blackdog, Bend weather has begun reverting to suckiness. Today started out beautifully -- sunny and almost as warm as yesterday. But a strong south wind was blowing, and that is an infallible sign that things are about to get sucky pronto. Sure enough, the heavy clouds began piling in from the southeast in the afternoon. Look for significant suckiness for the rest of the week.

Daily Suck Index for Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009: 3

Friday, October 16, 2009

Whaddaya Know, a Suck-Free Day

Even here amidst the suckitude of Bend, Oregon, the weather gods throw us a consolatory bone once in a while.

They did it today, serving up a perfect gem of an Indian summer day: virtually cloudless, light breeze, temperatures in the mid- to upper 70s. Try as I might (and believe me, I did try) I could not think of a single sucky attribute. Therefore ...

Daily Suck Index for Friday, Oct. 16, 2009: 0

But don't worry -- less than two weeks ago we had seven inches of snow on the ground, and we'll be back into the suckiness before long.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Only a Mildly Sucky Winter Ahead?

Source blogger Bob Woodward, who's been in Oregon forever (I think he came with the Lewis & Clark expedition), writes that our remarkably sucky weather in October -- we had seven inches of snow on Oct. 4, and a couple of days ago the temperature was in the 30s with sleet and freezing rain -- presages a mild winter.

"It's my humble opinion that we'll have a mild winter," he writes. "This is based on my thirty-two years in Central Oregon. During that period, every time we've had lousy weather in October the ensuing winter months were mild. ... I'm betting on a mild winter which will be a comfort to those who moved here recently expecting Bend to have mild temperate (read no snow) winters and those fabled '300 days of sunshine a year.'"

Well, the "300 days of sunshine a year" line is bullshit, as anybody with an IQ higher than his shoe size should know. And what makes Bend winters truly sucktacular is not that they're extremely cold and snowy (they're not, usually) but that they're gray, dreary and dismal -- and they go on FOREVER.

Speaking of gray, dreary and dismal, we had a pretty gray and dreary day in Bend today -- no rain, but less sunshine than yesterday and temperatures in the mid-50s.

Daily Suck Index for Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009: 5

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Semi-Sucky, Portland Sort of Day

Today was a Portland sort of day in Bend -- temperatures in the mid-50s, broken cloud cover, rain showers of varying intensity interspersed with dry periods and even some sunbreaks.

For the benefit of non-Oregonians, a "sunbreak" is when the clouds part and the sun peeks through momentarily. Oregonians, especially Portlanders, get orgasmic over "sunbreaks" -- presumably because seeing even a little bit of sunshine is such a rare treat for them.

All in all, a much less sucky day than yesterday, which felt more like mid-winter than fall. Mid-50s and rain is a lot easier to take than low 30s and sleet.

Daily Suck Index for Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009: 5

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Introducing the Daily Suck Index

Today Bend Sux is proud to introduce a new feature: The Daily Suck Index.

The index will rate each day on the basis of its suck factor on a scale of 0 (no suckiness) to 10 (extreme suckiness). Suckiness will be determined by various factors including temperature, precipitation (if any), persistence of precipitation, nature of precipitation (rain? snow? sleet? hail? all four?) and amount of sunshine (if any).

At the end of each month a Monthly Suck Index will be compiled and posted based on the average of the Daily Suck Indexes, and at the end of a year the Grand Annual Suck Index will be announced, based on the average of all the Monthly Suck Indexes.

On days when Blackdog is not present in Bend to observe conditions personally, the Daily Suck Index will be compiled on the basis of official National Weather Service data.

So without further palaver, let's get down to it.

Today's conditions: Temperatures in the 20s to low 30s, heavy overcast with sleet and freezing rain.

Today's Daily Suck Index: 7

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mostly Sucky, With a Chance of Increasing Suckiness

One thing I've noticed about the little weather blurb that appears at the top right-hand corner of the front page of our local daily rag is that it never quite tells the full, sucky weather story.

For example, a day that's going to be in the 20s with the wind blowing 50 miles per hour will be described as "cool and breezy."

Or a day of almost continuous rain will be listed as having a "chance of showers."

A mostly cloudy day becomes "partly sunny." A completely cloudy day is "partly cloudy." And so on.

Once -- just once -- I'd like to see the weather blurb say something like: "Sucky today, sucky tomorrow, sucky all week, and sucky every damn day until the middle of June. That's what you get for moving to Bend, suckers."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sucky Season Arrives Early

September is barely over, but Bend already has given us a taste of the spectacular suckiness to come: Four to seven inches of snow dumped on our little "paradise" yesterday, knocking branches off trees that haven't lost their leaves (or in many cases even turned color) yet, knocking out power to 8,500 homes and pretty much killing the second day of the Bend "Fall Festival" (not that the first day's weather was that much better).

Of course, as they always do, the people I call Bend "lifers" -- born here, never left here, will die here -- were insisting they enjoyed the wintry suckiness. Bend lifers are the queens and kings of denial; they will always claim that they had a good time no matter how sucky the situation. (I've even heard them claim to enjoy cutting and splitting firewood.) Put a Bend lifer in a Nazi concentration camp for six months, ask him later what it was like and he'll say something like: "It was FUN! I made a lot of new friends, met a lot of really unusual, interesting people -- that Dr. Mengele is a fascinating character -- and I lost 55 pounds!"

OTOH there's my brother-in-bloggery, Jack Elliot, who moved here from Southern California about a year ago and still maintains he likes our climate. He's in denial, I think. But he seems like a smart guy and I bet he'll wise up eventually.

But enough carping about the weather. There are so many other sucky things about Bend -- our corrupt real estate industry, for instance -- that I've decided I should devote more attention to them as well. So starting with the next post, I will.