Monday, December 31, 2007

Rainfall Report: December 2007
It's not going to rain today. So we'll finish with 8.61 inches of rain in December. That breaks down as:
-24 days with measurable precipitation
-15 days over a tenth of an inch
-5 days over half an inch
-2 days over an inch.

These figures are from my preferred station, in the middle of the city. The number you'll most often see quoted comes from PDX, but that's on the northeast edge of the city. There, the December total was 7.57, a total lower than at all but one of the 40 or so City of Portland HYDRA Rainfall Network gauges. "Normal" December value for the airport is 5.54 inches, but I'm not sure how valuable this figure is – it's the average for the period 1971-2000.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Curse You, Northwest Weather Gods
Man, the weather is chancier up here. I set out at noon with skies clearing and sure, yeah, the forecast was for showers on and off into the evening – I took that into account. I wore my sturdy rain pullover, though I really didn’t want to. Even when it’s 36 degrees and breezy, that thing’ll get you sweating. Anyway, the sun was shining. How bad could it get in two hours of early-season plodding?

So 20 minutes in, it starts sleeting, or snowing or raining, a little of everything, and blowing, and then it’s all dark and thundering, just throwing the icy shit down for, like, 45 minutes. Portland, your weather bites! I told myself I’d stick it out for 10 miles, and I did, arriving home ... just as the sun came out.

BUT! Three 10+ mile runs in one week. Woo-hoo. Laying down a good base.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I Wonder What the Record Is
The only surprise is that she was found passed out, not dead.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

White Christmas
All over town between noon and 1:30 mommies and daddies were shoving bundled-up kids out of doors to be models in their Portland Christmas Snow of 2007 photographs. I saw this throughout my ten-miler today. I heard one optimistic little guy shout, “When it gets really deep, we’ll make a snowman.”

First little white pellets then big wet gobs fell from the sky – first sporadically then in a frenzy – that slow-motion sort of frenzy that characterizes snow falling and, I don’t know, crashing on a bike. It was, yes, magical, even if it barely stuck, barely added up to a quarter-inch, barely will be recorded in meteorological history.

I had laced 'em up and gotten out at noon precisely, about 45 seconds into this little weather event. I was going to run no matter what but this, this was cool. It isn’t every day you get to run in the snow on Christmas Day. Even if this were, say, Buffalo, the odds would be slightly less than 1-in-365, right? I read somewhere that in here in Portland, there hadn’t been a trace on Christmas Day since ’90 and ’90 is further back in history than you or I want to think, my friend.

Tons of people were out, the parents and the kids, people and dogs, a guy in a T-shirt smoking a cigarette, woman runner in shorts, a bunch of runners in tights and wool hats ... me, in tights and my customary running cap. The temperature was around 33 or 34 and who knew how long the snow would last before the predicted changeover to rain? My house is between 50 and 100 feet above sea level, so after a jaunt around Laurelhurst I headed back toward and up Mount Tabor, 500 or so feet up. There the wind was swirling, blowing the big flakes around. They hurt when they hit an eyelash just so, refresh when they land in your mouth, and when one hit me on the nose I actually giggled.

Everyone was digging it, this Christmas snow. Where the trees didn’t catch the snow, it actually accumulated on the trails. It never stopped falling as I went around, down, up and down the mountain. It only turned to rain just as I rounded the corner onto my block, then it was snow again, then rain, all in the matter of a hundred yards. All rain since. Maybe more snow tonight, maybe enough to stick around into the morning. Maybe some on Thursday. Kind of a big deal in these parts. Nice around Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What Have I Done Now
How am I going to get to Boston for the marathon on April 21, then the Central Coast of California for Wildflower Long Course on May 3? I don't know. But I'm signed up for both. And actually, I've got the airplane tickets and hotel reservations for Boston already, so that's set. Wildflower? I need a tough triathlon to get me ready for Coeur d'Alene on June 22. Somehow, it's gotta happen.

Oh, yeah, also on the agenda: mud.
Not Wearing Well
Ignoring his politics, Huckabee can at first glance seem refreshing, a little different, not your usual politician. Then it becomes clear what he really is: a televangelist. Smarmy and fake. Ugh. Check it out:

Contest Time
OK, start with this premise, as reported last Saturday in the New York Times:

The increase in incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans from 2003 to 2005 exceeded the total income of the poorest 20 percent of Americans, data in a new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows.

So the contest is to get the American people to understand that WE ARE GETTING SCREWED.

Prize for the person who can do this: The Presidency.
All Weather Is Local
Dan Berger writes about one of the possible curious effects of climate change -- that in the coastal wine-producing valleys of California, it's getting cooler.

Early studies show that Napa, Sonoma, and to a lesser degree Mendocino and Lake counties, may actually be cooler for a number of years as the interior valleys grow warmer.

I'm eager to see the data. However, anecdotally, I'm kind of on board with this analysis. I lived in Napa from January 2000 until June 2007, and except for occasional heat spikes, was struck by how generally moderate the summers were. Day after day in the high 70s and low 80s. And though my recollection is a little blurry, at least five of the seven vintages were considered "cool." Meanwhile, the world was obviously getting warmer, especially Europe.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seasonal Warning
Don't. I mean, just do not climb high into the tree that has electrical wires running near or through it and toss a string of Christmas lights into the tree. Don't.

Fire crews arrived to find the man hanging about 60 feet from the ground, apparently fused to the tree by electricity, and smoking from his feet, Schapelhouman said. -San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 16, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

'One of the Great Natural Disasters in the Pacific Northwest'

See the full report on the storm from the Office of the Washington State Climatologist, which created this graphic.

Friday, December 14, 2007

En Route
At the Sac airport heading back to Portland. These smaller-market airports, competing for traffic with the big boys, are great for the free WiFi. None of that at LAX or SFO. But PDX and SMF? You bet.

Hmm. Woman to my right meditating, somehow, amid the chatter and whoops of the Central Catholic Raiders of Modesto football team, on their way to Southern California to play in the state Division III championship game against the St. Boneventure Seraphs of Ventura. Letter jackets and much youthful testosterone on display here. These boys need no 'roids and I hope they aren’t taking them.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Worst Person in the World
Olbermann ought to check out this John Davies. From all appearances, he's had nothing to do with the success of Schramsberg Vineyards, built by his parents, Jack and Jamie, and maintained by one of his brothers, Hugh. Jack died in 1998. Jamie is still with us. Yet this character John is apparently nervous that he's not going to get a big piece of the Schramsberg pie when Mom kicks. So he's suing for a third of the estate--now. Just in case. "If there is no provision for inheritance in the trust [for John Davies], there should be," his attorney tells the Wine Spectator.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Property Taxes in Oregon
Thinking about moving to Oregon and wondering how we do property taxes? Here's how: "Outside experts call it a perfect example of how not to design a tax code, because it’s fundamentally inequitable." Read more.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Rain Report
We had 15 days with measureable precipitation in November – nine days over a tenth of an inch, three days over half an inch. How many days over an inch? Zippo. In fact, at the station I like to use, Portland hadn’t topped an inch in a day since March 2 -- until today. As of 10 p.m., we’re at 1.50 inches and it's still coming down. In the land of a million drips, today the spigots have been open.

Yeah, I ran in it. I waited all morning and into the afternoon for the break in the weather that would never come. When I finally gave up hope and got out around 2, the rain was light but charging into gusts and sloshing through puddles, I was pretty wet after an hour going up, down and around the trails on Mount Tabor. At least this is tropical moisture, so not too cold. After mid-40s high today, it's heading up another 10 degrees tomorrow, with more rain and big winds in the forecast.

UPDATE: Make it two days in a row over an inch. As of 9 a.m. Monday, we're already measuring 1.09 inches of rain and it continues to fall steadily. For the storm that started late Saturday, we're now talking 3.05 inches. That's impressive, but realize that Portland is in something of a rain shadow, with the coast range getting multiples of what we get. Flooding becoming a real concern in some areas.
Speaking of Missed Deliveries
I guess the cake I ordered sent down to Jeff Tedford on the sidelines yesterday didn't make it.