Monday, September 20, 2010

Some Things About Bend That Don't Suck Too Hard

People are always coming up to me on the street, in Costco, in bars and other places and saying, "Blackdog, what's the matter with you? You're always writing about how much Bend sucks. Can't you find anything good to say about Bend?"

After a while I realized their question was valid. There must be some good things about living in Bend, and in the interest of fairness and open-mindedness I should give them some recognition.

So I sat down and pondered for seven or eight hours and came up with five good things to say about Bend:

1. Do you have a large collection of sweaters and love to wear them? In Bend, you can wear one almost every day. Likewise for sweatshirts, parkas and mackinaws.

2. Do you love to spend the evening in front of a crackling blaze in the fireplace? In Bend, you can do it year-round.

3. Do you aspire to pass as an intellectual? In Bend, if your IQ is higher than that of the average cantaloupe you'll be considered a genius.

4. Do you like being unemployed? Bend's the place for you.

5. You won't have to spend money on sunscreen and air conditioners.

That about does it for me, but maybe my readers can come up with more good things to say about Bend. If so, you're welcome to do it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Suckerrific Suckatudal Suckillation

Satellite image shows vast area of suckitudinaciousness (blue) lurking off Pacific Coast of the United States

I, Blackdog, hereby proclaim it as indisputable fact: Not only does Bend's climate suck, but it is getting increasingly sucky each year.

Bend boosters love to brag about our beautiful "Indian summers." Last year our "Indian summer" ended with a heavy snowfall on Oct. 4 -- almost a month ahead of schedule.

This year "Indian summer" never arrived at all. The cold, gray, dreary, drizzly weather started in early September.

As I write this it is 50 degrees and raining hard in Bend. For early September, this weather is WAAAAaaaaay beyond sucky. It is suckercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Why is Bend's sucky winter weather dragging on longer and starting sooner? The answer could be the PDO.

About 13 years agot the climatological gurus discovered a phenomenon called "the Pacific Decadal Oscillation." This is a cyclical weather pattern that affects the northeastern Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Coast of the United States.

During the PDO's cool phase, ocean and air temperatures are below average and precipitation is above average. During the warm phase, the converse is true. Each phase lasts from 10 to 30 years.

The cool phase is good news for irrigators (because there's plenty of winter rain and snow) and fishermen (because fish populations in the northeastern Pacific increase) but, weatherwise, it sucks big-time.

The climatological gurus have declared that the PDO entered a cool phase in 2008, which jibes pretty well with when Blackdog and others began observing an increasing degree of suckiness in Bend's weather.

If we have in fact entered a cool phase of the PDO, we can expect Bend's climate to be not merely sucky, but SUPER-SUCKY for anywhere from eight to 28 years.

Of course, the climatologists could be wrong and we could just be experiencing a couple of unusually cool and wet years. But even under the best of circumstances Bend's climate sucks, and I'm not going to stick around to see how much suckier it can get.

Addendum: It's 10:26 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 19. 52 degrees and raining hard in Bend, Oregon's sunshine paradise. The "Fall Festival" was held yesterday and today. Must be a pretty dismal scene downtown.

One infuriating thing about Bend is that you can never, never, NEVER count on good weather. You might luck out and get it once in a while, but you can't plan on it, even in the middle of what passes for "summer" here.

For that reason I've made it a policy never, never, NEVER to buy tickets in advance for an outdoor event in Bend.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good Clean Sucky "Fun"

Years ago, a natural gas company hereabouts used to run a TV commercial showing kids playing soccer in the pouring rain.

"This is the Pacific Northwest, where life doesn't stop for the weather," the voiceover said.

"Yeah," I would say to myself, "because the people are too dumb to come in out of the rain."

In all fairness, I don't think the people in Bend are THAT stupid -- but they sure as hell have a weird idea of what "fun" is.

To a real hard-core Bendite, virtually everything is "fun."

Cutting firewood in knee-deep snow and sub-zero temperatures? "It was fun!"

Driving to work through snow and ice? "It's fun!"

I really, truly believe that if you put a Bendite in a Nazi concentration camp for six months and then asked him what it was like, he'd say: "It was FUN! I lost 30 pounds! And I met some really interesting people! That Dr. Mengele is quite a character!"

Thus, when a cold front moved through Central Oregon on Aug. 30 and SNOW actually fell in locations to the south of us and in higher elevations to the west of us, one of the local TV news stations posted the headline on its Web site: "August Snow Brings Fun Taste of Winter."

Dude. When it snows on Aug. 30, that is not "fun." That is HORRIBLE. That SUCKS to the max.

Anyway ...

Although there were two suckerrific weekends in the latter part of August, with occasional rain and highs reaching barely into the 60s, the summer weather pattern basically continued through the month. Only two days legitimately earned a sucky rating, though several others were marginal.

August Totals

Days of Sun: 29
Days of Suck: 2

YTD Totals

Days of Sun: 140
Days of Suck: 103