July 30, 2009

Slow Writing This Week

My hometown of Portland, Oregon, temporarily has the climate of Baghdad because cool marine air stopped blowing in from over the ocean. It has been well over 100 degrees all week, and it's almost 90 degrees in my house. My kitchen was 95 degrees at midnight last night. Most of us who live in the Pacific Northwest have feeble air conditioning because it's rarely this hot for so long. I'm exhausted, and it's hard to concentrate and write. Please bear with me while our weather slowly becomes a bit more civilized.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 30, 2009 10:55 AM
Comments

I presently live in the northern tip of the worst drought zone in the country: Central Texas. We've had weeks of 100+ degrees, more or less, which is a reminder of how relatively harsh the place is. Going out in the country with all the dead brush is like entering a wasteland.

This is not to say that the puny Portlander shouldn't complain. On the contrary, Texas is a high energy and heavily air conditioned place. So for those of us who have it (and unfortunately there are people who don't have it and can't afford it), things move by alright. My air conditioning went bust over Independence Day weekend, which was actually like entering a kind of hell. I had this burden to not do anything except collapsing like a slug with a science fiction novel.

But I'm also a hobby writer and a college student, so I can't complain too much -- there are folks out there working a lot harder in this heat, a few ranchers who are having to sell their cattle because there's nothing to eat, the cattle will die. That's suffering.

Posted by: Robert Kelly Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 11:45 AM

How about those elections in ... Kurdistan?!!! The Change party.

See the Economist. Maybe the US is about to betray the Kurds again.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 12:30 PM

Oh come on Michael, just slip into your Army/CIA issue air conditioning vest. You KNOW you have one. :-}

Posted by: Lindsey Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 1:31 PM

The west coast and the east have switched weathers this summer.
Toronto weather has been more like Vancouver, cool and wet; whereas Vancouver has been hot and humid.
Must be global warming, cooling or maybe a convenient truther :-)

Posted by: JB Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 2:33 PM

Hate to hear that Michael. My time would be spent finding and installing a window A/C unit, strategically placing a couch in front of it, setting up multiple fans to surround myself, and parking myself there with cold rags on my head until the heat died down. I'm miserable and sweating beyond, oh, about 68 degrees F. But great in cold weather.

Hope it cools down for you.

Posted by: Herschel Smith Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 3:11 PM

Come to think of it, besides this twisted weather nonsense, I'd love to have a cheap place in Portland for the summer and a winter place in Austin.

That would be very nice. The two cities remind me of each other, but the climate is so radically different.

Posted by: Robert Kelly Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 3:31 PM

One of the more memorable (for me) articles you've written was about a trip into Iraq when you were half way to wherever you were going and couldn't get transport right away to the next stop. You were stuck outside for hours in 130 degree heat with a couple of private contractors who ended up helping you out quite a bit as I recall. I don't remember when this was but I'm sure you do.

Embrace the suck, right? That's what you wrote. Surely a man who could survive that can tough it out now.

Posted by: Bennett Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 7:41 PM

Obviously, there's the scent of lurking conspiracy wafting about in that rising, sulphurous air. Portents abound.
Meanwhile, here in deepest Central Maryland, we're steeped and drooping in our traditional steam.
Bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble.

Posted by: Morningside Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 8:15 PM

Bennett: Embrace the suck, right? That's what you wrote. Surely a man who could survive that can tough it out now.

Ah yes, thanks for the reminder. This is better than that. It was "only" 95 degrees today, so it's less hideous. My house is down to 82 degrees inside. I might be able to actually cool it off tonight.

What I hate most about extreme heat is that it takes twice as much effort to get half as much work done.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 8:22 PM

Lets go back to Alaska!

Posted by: John Wenning Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 9:19 PM

When coastal northern California heats up in September and early October, in an area where Nature provides our air conditioning, I get surly until the fog returns. It reminds me too much of Boston and Syracuse in August, back when the only AC was at the movie theater.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at July 30, 2009 9:56 PM

"I'd love to have a cheap place in Portland for the summer"

Good luck with that! Unless your idea of cheap is much different than mine. ;-}

I have been working outside through all of this. I hid out from the worst of it in my house (with AC)on Tuesday, but it was 104 on Wednesday when I quit for the day to come home. Straw hat and 85 SPF sunscreen save the day.
Lets just be grateful that the humidity is relatively low. THAT would be awful.

Posted by: Lindsey Author Profile Page at July 31, 2009 11:55 AM

It cannot possibly be as hot as the Foggy Bottom Metro station in DC. I swear they leave the heat on all summer. Blue line delays might hinder your trip, but you will not freeze to death while waiting. It is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Any day now, some elderly passenger is going to pass out and die from the heat.

Posted by: Schmedlap Author Profile Page at July 31, 2009 8:55 PM

Ahem... It hit 109 at my house a couple times this last week, a high of 111 -- and reportedly going there again after a few pleasant days around 104. Of course, the AC is cranked up indoors, but most people do outside work pretty much as usual, and don't really get out of sorts until it goes over 112. (A friend visiting a few years ago left his car parked in the driveway for a couple days and the steering wheel melted, but it hit around 118 then.)

My kid in Seattle went to the university library to do some research for me, and enjoyed the AC there. That's an option, MJT.

Posted by: AZZenny Author Profile Page at August 1, 2009 6:52 AM

Here in Jersey, we've had rain, torrential rain, hail and tornadoes on a near-regular basis, which makes for a pretty depressing summer. The only thing to do here is stay inside and follow the latest government/bribery/black-market-organ-selling scandals.

I remember summer days in Northern California that were so hot the steering wheel would melt, but that kind of heat would never last more than a few days. Very strange...

Posted by: maryatexitzero Author Profile Page at August 1, 2009 7:13 AM

We really need a Nobel Laureate's wizened opinion on this cumulus climate conspiracy.

Posted by: Morningside Author Profile Page at August 1, 2009 7:50 AM

As some suggested in-window A/C unit is an idea, but it may not be possible if either window design does not allow or there is no electrical outlet powerful enough for that.
I used to live in small one bedroom apartment and at times like this I used to open cold shower and used small fan on a tall leg to push cold air out of the bathroom and into the room.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at August 1, 2009 9:15 AM

As California's scooped out central valley heats up and that warm air rises, Nature, not liking vacuums (in the Earth's atmosphere), pulls in that cool ocean fog. Or, as we say at the coast, the valley sucks---a phrase that's sometimes...misinterpreted. (e.g., currently: Fresno 95, Monterey 63.)

If you like to watch the night sky though, forget coming here.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at August 1, 2009 2:25 PM

Get your ass back to work! Slacker. :-)

Posted by: Graham Author Profile Page at August 4, 2009 6:31 PM

Are you kidding?! For true Oregonian furnace conditions try lovely Eugene, or god forbid, Corvalis. I was in both Friday and I am VERY glad to be back in San Diego.
During you heat induced "down time" you can get back to work on your screenplay, "Sean & Mike's Excellent Adventure in Kurdistan" Every time I bang on the tip jar I remind you that a good treatment for that road trip could get you $$$$$. Try contacting some folks @ Big Holleywood dot com if you think I'm off-base on this one.

Posted by: Mike Author Profile Page at August 5, 2009 4:57 PM
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