Thursday, January 22, 2004
The cold will be the death of me
As of an hour ago it was -8 degrees (no, not celsius!) here in Minneapolis. The windchill was -29 degrees. I can only imagine it's gotten just slightly colder since then if that's imagineable. The windchills are supposed to stay in the 25 to 35 degree below zero range through midday tomorrow.
The Dew Point is -19 degrees and the humidity is 52%...
Now there's a strange thing to think about. The point at which the moisture that is in the air will condense out is 19 degrees below zero. At 51 degrees below the freezing point of water, we would hit the dew point. If the weather channel website says so...
It's been a very odd January so far, but I guess that should make sense. And today is the Chinese New Year's Day for the year of the Golden Monkey. I was born in the year of the monkey so hopefully this is a good thing for me. If it continues the way January has started, it will probably be very odd in a sort of politico-philosophical and social kind of way.
It's a very strange thing living in Minnesota if you're from Indiana. Suddenly you find yourself being the person who doesn't seem to think about things in the same way as everyone else. Sure, there's no language barrier, but then again there might be.
Even the way people phrase things seems peculiar. If you want to invite someone along when you go somewhere, you don't say "would you like to go" or "would you like to come", but rather "want to come with" or even just "come with?"
There are a lot of things like that. And the things that people feel comfortable talking about, versus the ones that are private are a good bit different. There are a lot fewer of those in Indiana. People's privacy is apparently a really big deal here. On the other hand, every neighbor I've got has huge picture windows on the fronts of their houses, and never draw the blinds closed. Contradiction?
Where I grew up you left the blinds open during the day to let the light in but at night (particularly if you had close neighbors who also had windows aimed at yours) you closed the blinds. Not here...
And then there are the local varieties of road rage... Minnesotans who tend toward that sort of thing don't seem to hesitate (when it's not 10 below zero) to get out of their car and walk up to another car at a stop light just to pick a fight. Or just about run someone off the road... or successfully run someone off the road. (Or possibly even kill somebody.)
In parts of Indiana that sort of behavior would get you shot or killed yourself. Of course Indiana seems to have a lot more armed motorists, to judge by the numbers of Indiana State Policemen killed in the line of duty while making Interstate traffic stops. Unfortunately that happens a little too frequently.
Maybe it's the cold winters that force people indoors for big chunks of the year or something. I know I'll be glad when it's spring.
Oh, and I should also mention that Minnesotans tend to get a little defensive about their peculiarities too... None too fond of that there Fargo movie, dontcha know. (Of course Fargo's actually in North Dakota, but...)
Posted at 03:04 am by gothicpoet
Saturday, January 10, 2004
As I sit here pondering my wife's lava lamp (shaped like a ketchup bottle - in-joke Christmas gift from one of her friends), I suddenly realize how long it's been since I've done some things... like exercise (a week) or write anything significant in my blog (before Christmas!)
We went to Indiana for the holidays and I didn't have time to write or do much else between working and seeing friends and family. Unfortunately we didn't get to see all of our family, or spend as much time as we'd like with all of our friends. I did get to see two people whom I hadn't seen in years though and am very glad that I did. I just wish I lived closer to both of them. One of them was a friend through high school and the other was quite a bit more than a friend about a decade later.
It's just amazing how much of an impact seeing someone again after a long time can have. Particularly if they were someone that you were close to or even had a relationship with. You may not expect it, but suddenly you're hit by a freight train of sensations and emotions.
And then you have to get in your car and drive home - 600 miles. And a piece of you is thinking that each hour is another hour you'd have to drive to see all of these people again. Each hour further to where you live translates to just a little bit longer until you'll be able to take the time to make the drive back again.
I also found out that a good friend of mine and his wife are expecting their third child this year. I at least got to congratulate him over lunch, but I wish we'd had time to to drop by their home and see his wife and boys too.
It was nice to walk in the door to our house but I wish I could have brought a few people back with me in something more than a figurative sense.
Posted at 10:30 pm by gothicpoet
Sunday, January 04, 2004
The Mars rover has successfully landed and sent back photos.
Here's a nice panoramic shot: picture
Posted at 11:12 am by gothicpoet
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Well, the rush is on... and it's only been a week and I'm already missing my comfy house and own yard.
Posted at 08:05 am by gothicpoet
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Is it possible to have the flu but not be sniffling or coughing? I've been achy as hell for the past two days, and pretty tired to boot.
Posted at 09:39 pm by gothicpoet
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Isn't it amazing how sometimes in your life you can care so much about someone that you'll blame yourself no matter how they treat you? I think everyone I know has lived through something like that. Some people clue in and move on sooner than others, of course.
Sooner or later (hopefully) we all realize that it wasn't our fault that things went sour. We sacrificed our hearts on gilded platters and someone else just didn't really care. Or they didn't care enough. Or maybe they were just too self-involved to clue in.
I realize wasted days
Knowing it was never my fault
That you cast me out
Didn't really give me a chance
Was it pride or was it doubt
Were you trying to protect
Or was it just to much for you
Not to get what you wanted
In the moment you
I'll never know
Or know if I should
The world must have turned
In that split second
When I didn't react
Or was I there too
And just too hurt to believe
That something so good could be
But that you couldn't see
So in a flash
You were gone
No loyalty at all
Just claws and fangs
In the face of my obvious
No doubt in your course
To my tears
And yet somehow I
Managed to blame myself
Because you'd take no blame at all.
On a telephone call
Generated only your stony
So quickly belied
What you'd said the day before
Put the proof
To your heart
And found the lie
And somehow I could
What a fool I've been
For All the time I spent
Trying to find a way
For what was never my fault
Trying to wrestle with
That you scorned
What really happened
Is that you ran away
And just to be sure
I wouldn't follow
You kicked me while I was
And looked down on me
For feeling any pain.
You twisted your heel
In my breaking heart.
And so I have to wonder
If you ever meant
The thing you said.
Posted at 12:15 pm by gothicpoet
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Isn't Christmas shopping just insane? You know, 'tis the season' and all of that... but by the time you've been in the mall for a couple of hours it easily turns into "damn... when the hell did board games for my nephews get to cost so much... I think I'm going to have to sell my second car!"
And after leaving the mall, weary and haggard, the feeling of 'thank god that's sort of over' is only broken by at least a little of the warm glow of knowing that you might have at least gotten a couple of things that people on your Christmas list will really like. Christmas can be a lot of fun, but I'm really glad it's only once a year.
When you live out of state from everyone you're gifting, it becomes a bit more of a tribulation because you have to carry anything that you've purchased with you. So size is an added issue. "Oh, that's just perfect for my brother... errr... I wonder if I can actually *buy* it after we get there (at the last minute...)"
The other fun part is of course figuring out when you're going to get to see people. How long do you stay, where do you stay, when will your old friends be in town (or will they be out of state somewhere else?)
It's hectic... but, hey... It's Christmas. You get to see your family, have some nice dinners, and hopefully take some time off of work. It's definitely a break from the winter monotony. The pagans whose winter solstice festivals were later swallowed up by Christianity had the right idea whether they knew it or not.
Imagine passing the whole winter without something to look forward to until Spring... Doesn't sound like much fun, does it? Thanksgiving (can you say native american harvest festival) to Easter (spring fertility festival -- ever wonder about those eggs and bunnies?) would be an awfully long haul to get through without some people getting a little bit -too- edgy.
Posted at 06:22 pm by gothicpoet
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
It's finally winter in Minnesota now. Ten inches of snow fell here yesterday and last night. I shovelled our drive and sidewalks at 5 pm, again at 9:30 pm and today I had to do it all over again. It's currently about 10 degrees outside but by noon tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be only 0 degrees. (No -- I don't mean windchill. The Windchill will be well below zero.)
After I shoveled our walks tonight I was going to treat myself to a nice hot butterburger deluxe from Culvers... of course my car (which is garaged) won't start. It hardly tried, which probably means I need to buy a new battery for it. I've had the car for a year and a half and the battery was not new when I bought the car so this isn't a terrible surprise. The timing could have been better though... no butterburger for me.
So I'm sitting at home, baking fish sticks in the oven, and watching the Discovery Channel. The program on the Discover Channel right now is about the Nubian empire which rivaled and was contemporaneous with Egypt but located further inland to the south. It's interesting but it brought a somewhat unrelated line of thought to mind.
So, here's the thought (and I'll admit it's probably not remotely original)... if you lived in a place like Nubia one or two thousand years ago, you would not only have never seen ice, but would you even have a concept what it was? It's interesting to think about. Try to imagine not knowing what ice is. Imagine if someone was magically able to put a block of ice in your hand... wouldn't it be amazing? Imagine trying to explain ice to someone who lives somewhere that it never gets to be what we North Americans consider "jacket weather", let alone actually cold.
How would you explain to someone the idea of something that is so cold that it can actually hurt you if you hold it too long in your hand? How could you fathom it if someone tried to explain it to you?
Posted at 07:32 pm by gothicpoet
Sunday, December 07, 2003
It's funny the things that you sometimes remember really enjoying as a kid. My wife was flipping channels and started watching a Christmas cartoon. It was one of the old Rankin-Bass claymation shows so I guess that's not exactly a cartoon, but you get the idea. I mentioned that my favorite when I was a kid was the one with the heat miser and his brother the snow miser.
Well, what should come on next but The Year Without A Christmas, complete with the Heat Miser. My wife had never seen it (hard to believe) or at least didn't remember it. When the Heat Miser first showed up with his light up hair, she laughed more than I did. "I'm Mr. Green-Christmas..."
One of the cable channels was showing a marathon of those old shows. We watched two or three and made waffles. It was a fun evening.
Posted at 02:15 pm by gothicpoet
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
My lesson for the day: using rubbing alcohol as an accelerator for the fire in your fireplace insert is not a good idea. Even if you're having a *lot* of trouble getting it lit.
Posted at 09:25 pm by gothicpoet