Monday, August 29, 2011

Enjoying That Healthy (Gasp! Wheeze!) Outdoor (Choke! Gasp!) Lifestyle (Hack! Cough!)

When Mrs. Blackdog and I returned to Bend Saturday from a week-long trip to Northern California, I was afraid for a moment we'd headed the wrong way on I-5 and ended up in Los Angeles.

A pall of heavy, reddish-brown, pungent smoke hung over everything, thanks to four major wildfires that had broken out on the Warm Springs Reservation to the northwest of Bend

I'm used to this phenomenon -- a predictable August occurrence here -- but I don't think I've ever seen it that bad. Not able to see the mountains? Hell, I could barely see across the street.

Incredibly, on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning I observed people out exercising in this vile-smelling, nauseous gunk, running and riding their bicycles (mountain and road) and inhaling great lusty lungfuls of carcinogens and toxins.*

One delicious irony here is that most of these idiots no doubt would have a seizure if they saw somebody light up a cigarette within 30 yards of them.

But that's Bend for ya. We're gonna enjoy our healthy outdoor lifestyle even if it kills us.

*"Although wood smoke conjures up fond memories of sitting by a cozy fire, it is important to know that the components of wood smoke and cigarette smoke are quite similar, and that many components of both are carcinogenic. Wood smoke contains fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. Wood smoke also contains chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin." More:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Sucky Aspects of "Dressing in Layers"

One of the many suckeriffic aspects of the Bend climate is the insane temperature variations we experience during the course of a typical day.

When you leave the house on a summer morning the thermometer might be in the low to mid-40s; by early afternoon it very well could be in the mid- to upper 80s, or even higher. And then as soon as the sun goes down it will dive into the 60s or 50s again. How is one supposed to deal with this craziness?

"It's easy," the loyal Bend chauvinists say. "You just dress in layers."

Hmm, okay. Dress in layers. That sounds simple enough ... until you think about the practical ramifications.

Such as: How many layers? What kind of layers?

And the big question: What are you supposed to do with the layers you progressively remove as the day goes on? Tie them around your neck? Throw them in the trunk of your car? Chuck them into a Dumpster?

One solution might be to push a wheelbarrow or drag some kind of small cart around with you all day to carry your superfluous layers, plus maybe a few spare sweaters and parkas in case one of our August blizzards unexpectedly swoops down.

The solution I prefer, however, is to move to someplace where I'll need to wear only two layers: a T-shirt and my skin.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Finally, The Suck Relents (and It Was About Time)

I am going to say something now that will shock my faithful readers (all three of them): In summer (both months of it) Bend's weather really is like paradise. Or as close as we're going to get to it in this vale of toil and sorrow.

After the dismalest, dreariest, wettest and chilliest spring and early summer in my memory, La Nina or the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or whatever it was finally relented and let us have a summer-like July.

The temperature rose above 60 every single day of the month. It rose above 70 on 30 days, and above 80 on 17 days. It even climbed into the 90s on four days. Aside from a chilly, wet two-day interval on the 18th and 19th, even I couldn't really find anything to complain about.

August is picking up where July left off, and I'm hoping we'll get at least two solid months of summer in. I'm even daring to hope that we'll have a nice long Indian summer to compensate for the totally suckalicious spring. But that's probably delusional.

Totals for July:

Comfortable Days: 30
Tolerable Days: 1
Cold Days: 0

Totals YTD:

Comfortable Days: 38
Tolerable Days: 33
Cold Days: 22

Note: I have decided to use the Weather Channel as my source for the daily highs because (a) it's turned into a pain in the ass to log them every day myself and (b) sometimes I'm not around to do it.