Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Toto, I've Got a Feeling We're Not in Bend Anymore

Mrs. Blackdog and I returned yesterday from a much-too-brief vacation in Cabo San Lucas and, let me tell you, it isn't easy to make the transition from The Land of Perpetual Summer to The Land of (Almost) Perpetual Winter. One day we were relaxing on the beach under cloudless blue skies with temperatures in the mid-80s; the next we were in chilly, drizzly Portland, and the next we were back in even chillier, drizzly, grisly Bend.

It's just as well that we left when we did, however. If we had stayed a week longer we might have lost the fish-belly-white coloration so admired here in the "Oregon Sunbelt."

Friday, April 16, 2010

We Made It! 66 Days of Suck!

Just as old Blackdog predicted, the Bend "springtime" weather reverted to its usual sucky pattern in April. To date I have logged a total of 12 sucky days this month, which brings the year-to-date sucky total to 66, which means ...

(Drum roll, please ...)

... it is now MATHEMATICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for Bend to have "300 days of sunshine" in 2010.

Fortunately for Jack Elliott, who bet that the 66-days-of-suck total would not be reached before April 16, yesterday was brilliantly sunny and he won his bet by the slimmest of margins. (I already have paid off.)

We've already demolished the "300 days of sunshine" claim, and the year isn't one-quarter over yet. Based on my long and painful experience I anticipate that the weather will stay sucky through April, through May and through the first half of June, which is when Bend finally begins to get consistently pleasant, sunny weather. In fact I will go out on a limb and predict that Bend will not log more than 160 legitimate days of sunshine all year.

Elliott, are you game?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep, But Suckiness Goes Clear Down to the Bone

I've pretty much concentrated on the suckiness of the Bend climate, which is unfortunate because there are SO many, many other ways in which Bend truly, deeply and profoundly sucks. So today I'm going to focus on one of them: Bend's ugliness.

I know, I know -- all the tourist brochures and the Chamber of Commerce Web site brag about how beautiful it is. But take it from ol' Blackdog: The tales of Bend's beauty are almost as full of horsepuckey as the myth of "300 days of sunshine."

There's a lot of natural beauty in the mountains and the high desert around Bend, true. And there are a few pretty residential neighborhoods in town, such as the one near Mirror Pond, which is the place you always see pictured in the ads and brochures. (Incidentally, Mirror Pond is filling up with silt so fast that in a couple of years they'll have to rename it "Mirror Mud Flats," and the city doesn't have money to get it dredged.)

But much of the man-made environment in and around Bend, let's face it, is just plain butt-ugly. In fact, I can't remember another place I've seen that combines so much natural beauty with so much human-made ugliness.

Take 3rd Street, an unbroken string of strip malls, lube shops and franchise fast-food joints running right smack through the middle of Bend from its southern edge to its northern border.

Or take "the Costco District," a concentration of big-box retail stores and hideously ugly apartment buildings on Bend's northeast side.

Or take pretty much all of the east side of town, which offers scenic vistas of corrugated metal industrial buildings, car dealerships and rental storage places.

Or for that matter, as far as I'm concerned you can take all of Bend. Damn, it really sucks.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In Like a Lamb, Out Like a T-Rex

March in Bend got off to a deceptively non-sucky start, with bright sunny days and temperatures in the upper 50s. Blackdog recorded 14 days of sunshine, most of them in the first half of the month, including one stretch from March 13 through 20 when seven out of eight days were sunny.

Inevitably, however, the weather pattern resumed its normal suckiness at the end of March and the beginning of April, as storms blowing in off the Pacific brought high winds, heavy rain and snow and sub-freezing temperatures.

We can expect the suck to stick around for eight to 10 more weeks, if Bend runs true to its sucktacular form. One thing Blackdog has learned from 25 years of living amid Bend's suckiness is that if we don't get enough winter in January, February and March we'll make up for it in April, May and June.

March Totals

Days of Sun: 14
Days of Suck: 17

YTD Totals

Days of Sun: 36
Days of Suck: 54

(NOTE: I need to record only 12 more days of suck to demolish Bend's absurd "300 Days of Sunshine" claim. I'm betting I'll do it by mid-April.)