Monday, January 30, 2012

How Bend Drivers Suck, Chapter LXVIII

Driving back from Whole Foods this morning, I came to a four-way stop. After stopping, I proceeded straight ahead through the intersection. A man stopped in the opposite lane of traffic had his turn signal on to make a left across the intersection.

When I didn't yield the right of way to him he frowned and shook his head. I've encountered a similar response m
any times, with drivers giving me the finger, blowing their horns, etc.

For your information, my fellow Bend drivers, THE CAR GOING STRAIGHT HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY over the car making a left turn across the intersection. I quote the Oregon Driver's Manual, Section 2:42: "When you make a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road, driveway, or any other place, you must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic until it is safe to turn."

Instead of flipping people off, I suggest you try to learn the basic rules of driving in your own state. Thank you for your attention.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When Bend Darkles, It Really Suckles

One of my Facebook friends came up with a terrific word this morning: "darkle," a verb meaning "to grow dark, gloomy, etc."

According to, the verb is a "back formation" from "darkling," an adjective or adverb that dates back to the 15th Century. "Darkling" is probably most famously used in Matthew Arnold's 1867 poem "Dover Beach":

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

"Darkle" is "a fantastic word to describe our weather," the Facebook friend said. It is indeed, with the skies gray and gloomy, the wind roaring and the rain (at times) coming down in torrents.

I liked "darkle" so much that it inspired me to coin another verb: "suckle," meaning "to grow incredibly and almost unendurably sucky, like Bend, Oregon in winter."

Based on my long experience, Bend's weather is likely to remain suckling into the middle of June.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Here's a Blog That Doesn't Suck

My friend and erstwhile colleague at the Source Weekly, Aaron Switzer, told me about a new (well, fairly new) and very entertaining blog called "Bound for Bend," described as "the true story of one east coast couple who rode off into the sunset, hoping for a better life in Central Oregon."

Shelby Little, the young woman who writes the blog, apparently comes from the South and is finding some aspects of life here a little hard to adapt to. In her most recent post, she writes about arriving in Redmond and discovering that the place smells like a giant litter box:

"We couldn’t figure out if the neighborhood had a stray cat problem or if they were breeding cougars in the open field behind our house. It was a thick, glandular smell, and I struggled to identify where it was coming from. Could I hose down the front yard and get rid of it? Did we run over something between here and Boise? Oh my god, my life can’t smell like this."

The locals eventually inform Shelby that what she's smelling is the scent of juniper, a hideous, scraggly tree that blankets the Central Oregon landscape: "Those incursive evergreens are everywhere; centuries old with their twisted trucks and scabby branches. They look as awful as they smell, and according to the Oregon Department of Forestry, they are reproducing like rabbits."

Even more fun, I think, is her take on how Central Oregonians dress -- or, more accurately, don't dress:

"Forget the advice my southern college education gave me on dressing up for job interviews, 'Always wear a suit. Always dress better than you have to.' When I plan an outfit for an interview in Central Oregon, I start with my most professional look, tone it down three notches, add something that clashes and remove all accessories except my wedding ring."

The dress code for Central Oregon males is even simpler: Wear jeans and a T-shirt. In winter, throw a hoodie on over the T-shirt.

The typical Central Oregon male only wears a coat and tie on two occasions in his life. One is his funeral, and I forget what the other one is.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yes, It's Cold and It Sucks

A few years ago, on another (now defunct) blog, somebody told me that I was "not Bend material." After thanking him for the compliment, I told him he was absolutely right; I'd need to shave off about 80 IQ points to qualify as "Bend material."

But there's another way in which I don't make the cut: I fucking hate the cold. I don't find it bracing, invigorating, refreshing or any other absurd adjective that the idiots who claim they "love winter" apply. I just find it painful and miserable.

My friend and comrade in bloggery, Jack Elliott, tells me that one can compensate for the cold by bundling up in sweaters and coats. That's true -- but one's hands and feet and nose and ears are still out there in the open and freezing. Unless I'm going to spend all day curled up inside a Snuggie with mittens on my hands and a Balaclava on my head, cold weather means suffering.

Which is why I'm not real happy about seeing real cold weather finally arrive in Bend. Our incredible string of sunny days continues, but it's finally feeling, if not looking, like winter -- 23 degrees as I'm writing this.

The preceding month was unseasonably warm -- the thermometer hit 50 or above on 13 days -- but it looks like we've seen the last of the "comfortable" or "tolerable" days, temperature-wise, until the middle of May, if not later. And that sucks.

Monthly Totals:

Comfortable Days: 0
Tolerable Days: 0
Cold Days: 31

YTD Totals:

Comfortable Days: 98
Tolerable Days: 59
Cold Days: 89

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

BOO-yah! Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38!

Oregon's DeAnthony Thomas, "The Black Mamba," reels off a 91-yard touchdown run in yesterday's Rose Bowl.
 I may think Bend Sux, but I LOVES my University of Oregon Ducks!