Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Everyone can relax, I'm still alive. Everything's fine, everyone's safe, nothing has happened yet. Despite the constant torment, the unceasing siege of monstrous devil winds over the past several days, neither me nor my home has been shorn of the fickle bonds of gravity and tossed forever, endlessly upward in the cruel grasp of the malevolent, cackling atmosphere. But it hasn't been for lack of trying.

I was going to say we've been "buffeted by winds" but really, I can't think of a less threatening word than "buffeted." It just looks wrong when you're trying to build a credible sense of menace. "Buffeted" isn't what roaring, earth-stripping winds do. It's the answer to the question: "What did you guys do in Vegas when you got hungry?"

With the seasonal Santa Anas, we get not only a string of days off from having to worry about our hair, we also get 0% humidity. This means lots and lots of news coverage about RED FLAG WARNINGS and RED FLAG CONDITIONS and how we're all one stray cigarette butt away from being engulfed in a fiery suburban inferno. It's all very ominous.

More dire from my point of view is that when it gets really dry, I get these little tiny cracks in the skin at the corner of my fingernails that really hurt. It sounds wimpy, but I thought you'd all be happy to know that typing causes me little contact-pressure shocks of excruciating pain. The things I do for you, honestly...

The good thing about the wind is that it blows the smog out temporarily. People complain about the air quality out here just because it happens to be the worst in the whole country, but they don't realize that we have up to 10 days per year of virtually no smog whatsoever. I would write more about it, but I'm sort of gassed from all this typing. I need a time-out.

OK, back.

The obvious solution to the pollution problem: more Santa Ana winds. But no, the fat-cats in Sacramento wouldn't let us have that, no. They're all in bed with the pollution makers and the medical industry lobby who just sit back and watch the money roll in when our lungs no longer function. I don't know how they do it, but I'm sure they're taxing my compromised breathing capacity somehow.

I took some pictures from a hillside yesterday while out driving around.

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Just to give non-Californians a context for the images, palm trees don't usually grow their fronds on top at a 90 degree angle. For Californians, that big shiny thing in the background is called a "lake."

Look how strong the winds were! They even slanted the WHOLE WORLD at a slight downward angle toward the bottom left of the frame! That's some strong wind.

And this one:
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This is Riverside (looking north-east-ish) and several other inland communities all the way to the edge of the horizon. Again, for you midwestern flatlanders out there, those bumpy/ridgey things in the distance are called "mountains." They are protuberances in the earth's crust sometimes measuring in the thousands of feet tall! Weird, huh?

The sad thing is that the reason I was so excited to take a picture was that 90% of the time, I can't see any mountains either. They're all hiding behind a layer of smog. Are you listening, Governor Schwarzenegger? You were in Riverside just yesterday when--what a coincidence!--it happened to be all windy and non-smoggy. We demand the same treatment! More wind!

Earlier thoughts on the same subject can be found in this old post. Unlike this pile of crap, that one was academically vetted, so you know it's good.

The last thing I will say is that I love Riverside. I (mostly) grew up here. I bought my first and second houses here. Two of my kids were born here. I was married here. And that was back in the days before we had million-dollar tract homes and fancy movie-star governors. We could afford a nice wedding among family and friends. Our means were still meager since we were just starting out together. I'm not ashamed to say that we couldn't afford the sit-down meal, so we buffeted. It was all we could do to keep the bridsemaids from blowing away.

I hope I will be here tomorrow. It's hard to say what with all the wind. If the siroccos get me, remember, I've loved you all in my way. By that I mean I've had awkward sex dreams about most of you. Sorry. Don't be all weird about it though, OK?

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7



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