Monday, November 21, 2011

It Is Time for Us All to Give Thanks

Yes indeed, my friends, it really does suck that hard.

I am thankful for many things -- my wife and family, my friends, my (more or less) good health, my (more or less) sound mind -- but at this moment I am most of all thankful that this will be the LAST winter I spend in cold, gray, dreary, dismal, more-sucky-than-anyplace-has-any-right-to-be BEND Goddamn OREGON!

Happy Fucking Holidays!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Bitch Arrives, Bringing The Suck

Okay, I have to admit that October wasn't too bad -- especially compared to last October and the one before that, when we had about six inches of snow on Oct. 4.

According to data posted by The Weather Channel, there were six days on which the thermometer (just barely) rose into the 70s and 15 days on which it hit 60 or above, making a total of 21 days that ranked as either comfortable or tolerable. Although not warm enough to qualify as a true Indian summer, it was pretty damn nice.

However, all that changed on Nov. 1, when The Bitch (La Nina) brought us a chilling blast of winter. So far this month we've had only two days with a high above 50  -- 63 on Nov. 2 and 52 yesterday. The average high for the first eight days of the month was 48.13 degrees. That's almost a degree and a half below the average daily high for November -- and we haven't gotten to the really cold part of the month yet.

What will The Bitch do to us in future weeks? Three feet of snow on the ground by Thanksgiving? A "snowicane" for Christmas? Woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers in the downtown streets?

Nobody can say. But one thing's for sure: It's gonna suck.

Totals for November:

Comfortable Days: 6
Tolerable Days: 15
Cold Days: 10

Totals YTD:

Comfortable Days: 98
Tolerable Days: 55
Cold Days: 32

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Incredible Alaska 'Snowicane'" to Hit Northwest This Weekend

I don't think this requires any comment from me beyond ...

WHAT THE FUCK???!!!!????

Sunday, November 6, 2011

There's No Suck Like Home

A harpist in the plaza in Santa Fe

 We're back in cold, gray, dreary, sucky Bend again after a week-long exploration of the Albuquerque and Las Cruces areas in New Mexico. Some observations:

The desert landscapes of New Mexico are, in my opinion, far more beautiful than the desert landscapes of Eastern Oregon. The mountains loom up more boldly above the plains, shapes are more dramatic, colors are more varied and intense, and the sky is almost painfully blue. Above all, the light has a quality that makes everything stand out with crystal clarity -- no doubt a big reason why so many painters and photographers are attracted to the place.

Don't get me wrong; I love the high desert landscape of eastern Oregon. But the colors there run to muted shades of gray, gray-green and brown. It's a much more limited palette than Nature uses in New Mexico.

Cottonwood trees wearing their brilliant golden fall foliage are prettier than any trees I've seen in Bend.

The Hotel Parq Central in Albuquerque, originally built as a hospital back in the 1920s, is a delightful place to stay, and has a rooftop cocktail lounge that offers a great view and excellent Sazeracs. Highly recommended. Five stars.

Santa Fe is a pretty neat place. It's full of touristy shops, yes, but there seem to be relatively few of them selling kitschy junk (rubber tomahawks, plastic arrowheads) and relatively more selling expensive and/or tasteful wares, such as Pueblo Indian pottery and Ansel Adams prints. (You can pick up a nice one of the latter for only $40,000 or so.) They've done a good job of preserving the historic adobe buildings and making the new buildings harmonize with them architecturally. The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi alone is worth the 45-minute drive from Albuquerque.

Albuquerque is a pleasant, friendly city with many attractive residential neighborhoods. But it's a casualty of uncontrolled sprawl, and lacks a really cohesive and vital downtown core. Las Cruces, a three and a half hour drive south on I-25, is smaller, but even more sprawling and shapeless. They've attempted to revive the downtown by turning part of it into a pedestrian mall, with predictably pitiful results. I don't know of one American city where the pedestrian mall idea has worked, yet cities insist on trying it anyway.

The old Mexican settlement of Mesilla just outside Las Cruces is worth a short visit, and La Posta restaurant serves tasty Mexican food.

Bottom line: Las Cruces has been crossed off our list of possible retirement destinations because of remoteness, ugliness, and the 50-mile-per-hour winds that howl there from March to May. Albuquerque isn't officially off the list yet, but we can't seem to get really excited about the prospect of living there.

And so the search for a place to escape The Great Suck continues.