As the world keeps tilting and turning

  • 5 Comments

And there is nothing you or I can do about it.

Today heralds the incoming month of September.

Labor Day, the “official” end of summer, is nigh.

And, if you are perceptive, over the next days, you can sense a change in the atmosphere. The earth has moved in her orbit a tiny bit, and the angle of the rays from the sun are a little less direct, a bit less overhead, more muted.

The days get moment by moment shorter.

When the breeze blows by on a warm day, you catch the faintest bit of chill in the air. Almost imperceptible, but it is there.

And Fall starts to move in, unpack its red and gold and yellow hued bags, and set up residence.

September is the month of still summer warm days but cooler nights. Of State Fairs and rodeos and roasting chiles. In the Bay Area, the crab fishermen start patching nets and negotiating rates, getting ready for the Fall harvest.

An extra blanket may find its way onto my bed. The Feline will sleep a little closer to her humans.

There is talk of Halloween in the air. “What are you going to be” and bags of miniature chocolate bars for sale.

Soon pumpkins will be lit with candles and ghouls will rule the night.

But today, oh today. Today is still baseball and flip flops and cinnamon flavored churros. In small towns, talk of “will that steer take the blue ribbon this year” and kids are back in school and the public pools grow quieter.

The day is still warm and I still grip, and grip *hard*, to the last, butter slippery straws of summer.

My favorite time of the day…

  • 2 Comments

Growing up in the high desert, I learned a lot about the cycles of the day. Especially the cycles of a good and hot day.

Living at over a mile in elevation, you can expect some really spectacularly hot days. One hundred degrees plus. Burn your leg on a hot seatbelt, sweat out your body weight, run through the sprinklers kind of heat. But you are rewarded at the end of the day by the cool that comes with sundown.

Living in the desert, you can expect some really spectacularly windy days. The kind that knock you down, dump over your trashcan and send it a mile away, tip patio furniture and blows the shingles off the roof. But you are rewarded at the end of the day by the calm that comes with sundown.

And you are rewarded, at the end of the day, by the fantastic pink melon and deep blue and yellow and purple and red colors that come with sundown in a dusty climate.

Where I come from, sunset is a show. It’s cooling and it’s calming and it’s a fine time to pour a glass of sun tea over ice and sit in a lawn chair and slap at mosquitoes and smile and remember just how great the summertime really is.

Today was a pretty hot day in the Bay Area. Not New Mexico hot, only in the low 90’s. But add a dash of humidity and it was a bit of a broiler.

There was an kerfuffle at a factory near where I work, so we were instructed not to go into work. Today I got to sit in my little rental home and watch the cycle of this day.

The morning was nice, clear, warm, but pleasant. Birds chattered at each other as they stole figs from our tree.

Noontime brought the heat. And the birds and animals sought cover. The Feline laid flat on the floor, making sure no limb touched any other limb.

By 3:00, it was oppressive.

By the time The Good Man got home from work, it was really pretty disgusting. A haze hung in the air with a lingering shimmering heat.

But…now it’s just past seven, and the sun is setting. The day is cooling.

That nasty haze is converting the sky from gacky gray to a pinkish blue.

Sundown hasn’t let me down yet.

(Unless you live in Phoenix. That place never cools off.)

Image removed at the request of the photographer, Glenn Hohnstreiter. You can view it on his webpage. Go take a look. You’ll be glad you did.


It’s all downhill from here

  • 5 Comments

Happy Summer Solstice! Today, the longest day of the year.

Oh fine. The days start getting shorter. It gets colder. Winter is nigh.

Bah!

Oh, and Happy Father’s Day.

I’m not really cranky, honest!

Questionable fashion choices

  • No Comments

So. It’s expected to be about 90 degrees here today.

I know, I know. I hear my New Mexico peeps saying, “pish posh, 90 degrees is a walk in the park!” and you are right.

90 degrees in Albuquerque is a fine day for a walk/run/jog/picnic/bike ride/what have you.

90 degrees here is intolerable. Because of one thing…

Humidity.

See, the human body was made to be an evaporative cooling device. Just like a swamp cooler, really.

From the Wikipedia entry: “Evaporative cooling is a physical phenomenon in which evaporation of a liquid, typically into surrounding air, cools an object or a liquid in contact with it.”

Right. I sweat. The dry air evaporates it. I feel fresh as a daisy. A sweaty daisy, but a daisy, nonetheless.

In the Bay Area, due to this large body of water, the uh, you know, Bay, we have a bit of humidity. Not much, mind you. Not Georgia on a hot summer night or Singapore all year round. But enough.

Enough that my finely tuned machine, calibrated to the New Mexico climate, can’t properly obtain “fresh as a sweaty daisy” and I just obtain sweaty.

But that’s not the point of my discussion.

The point is…it’s due to be pretty hot today. “Pretty hot” is something of a rarity around here. We get maybe two weeks, when all totaled up each year, of “good lord it’s hot” days.

The rest of the time, the weather is temperate and mild.

Because of this, few homes and businesses have any sort of air conditioning. I know, right? I almost passed out when I first moved here. “You want to rent me an apartment WITHOUT air conditioning? Do you want me to *die*?!?!?”

So in order to stay cool, people go to their drawers and the back of their closets to withdraw their “warm weather” clothes.

Herein lies the problem. In New Mexico, it gets hot a lot. Everyone has at least ONE pair of serviceable shorts, usually two or more. Something that people wouldn’t be upset at being seen in public with you while you were wearing them.

Not so in the area where it doesn’t often get that hot.

Yes, the first “damn it’s hot” day of the year means seeing shorts that are a bit tight and frightfully short.

I don’t mean on a cute girl, I mean on the overweight middle aged dad-man whose legs haven’t seen the outside of pants legs in decades wearing the shorts he bought for Spring Break back in college, thirty years ago.

This morning I saw a woman walking down the street in a purple bathing suit with the elastic about shot, thus hardly supporting her ample upper parts. This was paired with some lycra bike shorts, scarcely concealing her ample lower parts. She also carried a pack of Kools and smoked profusely. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Unless you are actually ON a bike, I’d like not to see the bike shorts, please.

Look, not all of my stuff is great to look at, but I have the decency toward my fellow mankind to wear a pair of shorts that don’t crawl up my heiney as I walk. My skin is pale from too many days under office florescent lights, but I make an effort to keep cool and keep my dignity at the same time.

For the good of all mankind.

Stay cool out there, ya’ll.

Seriously old school

  • No Comments

Technologically speaking, I seem to be regressing.

Been using my high end Canon camera with all the whizz bang features and fancy lenses for a while.

And then I go and buy some cheapie plastic cameras and start having fun with 35mm film again.

This weekend I went one step farther back to luddite-ville. I went to Cyanotype. Known to the real world as Sunlight Prints.

Billed as a toy for kids, I’m having a heck of a lot of fun. I bought a kit off a sale table at Barnes & Noble a while back and used up (and ruined most of) the paper. Then I bought a paper refill at a toy store and kept trying. My technique is improving.

The whole thing is a chemical process kicked off by ultraviolet light from the sun.

So you get this light blue piece of paper with the right stuff chemical on it, compose your arrangement of items (in the shade), expose to the sun, then rinse it off with water and voila!

This is the same stuff that original blueprints were made from.

I guess Cyanotype isn’t so out of style, though, because in one of the buildings where I work, they have a huge art installation of sunlight prints on slabs of wood showing a variety of ferns. It’s gorgeous! Maybe I should peddle my prints for a buck to the powers that be at work, eh? *grin*

Anyhow, here I am, rocking it 1842 style! With a little help from a blooming rose bush in my front yard and a sunny April Saturday afternoon.

(These scans don’t do the Prussian blue any sort of justice. Also, where you see a double image, that’s because the wind was blowing my compositions around….)