The Week In Review

I fucking hate college.

I grew up in Illinois, about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. It was a wonderful place to grow up: We had fields and forests to explore, ponds and rivers to throw rocks in, trees to climb, hills to roll down, and the weather was glorious. Fall was brisk, with the scent of burning leaves in the air. Spring was a time of hope, promise, and wonder, as kids would venture outside in shorts when the thermometer hit a balmy 50 degrees. Summer… Well, summer was an endless golden haze, a dreamland. Winter in Chicago, on the other hand, can fucking blow me.

The last winter I spent in Illinois, I had to walk two miles across campus to take an exam from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM while the wind chill factor was 80 degrees below zero. Eighty degrees below zero. That’s Fahrenheit, in case you’re wondering. Converted to Celsius, the temperature was motherfucking COLD! There comes a point on any scale where it doesn’t matter if you go any lower, really. You can measure it, but what’s the point? It doesn’t matter if you have four cents or two, you still won’t be going to Jamaica any time soon. And the difference between, say, 70 below and 80 below may mean something to someone somewhere else in the world, but to me, that night in Illinois, the difference made no difference.

I knew all the buildings on that campus like the back of my hand, and I spent as much of that walk inside hallways to stay out of the cold, and when I got to the exam, I (and everyone else taking that test) could not hold a pencil. The professor gave us 10 minutes to go run our hands under the faucet to thaw them out. It took me the better part of three hours to take the test and I never did totally warm up (the old University buildings being drafty and cold in even moderately cool weather), and then I had to walk home and it had somehow gotten even colder.

I had called up the professor before that exam, incidentally. I asked him if the exam was still taking place. “Why wouldn’t the exam be taking place?” he asked. “Because on the radio they’re saying it’s so cold that it’s dangerous to go outside.” “Well,” he answered, “I’m already here, so the exam will start at 7:00 PM sharp.” I never forgave that professor, and I don’t think I ever really forgave Illinois, either. That winter was my last in the Midwest.

Winter makes a wonderful case in favor of Global Warming, doesn't it?

Winter makes a wonderful case in favor of Global Warming, doesn't it?

The following October, a good friend and I loaded our meager possessions into the back of his pickup truck. We moved 1,800 miles away, to Tucson, not knowing where we were going to live, what the job market was like, or in my case, even what kind of job I wanted. In order to travel all that distance, pay for gas, motels, find an apartment, get some food, and last to the first paycheck (assuming I could get a job), I had $900. I wasn’t worried at all. It was October and 85 degrees. Who cared what happened?

Now, twenty years later, I’ve lived through two decades worth of glorious winters, where temperatures are mostly in the 60’s, but often a lot nicer than that. This Thursday, February 23rd, the forecast is for sunny skies and 80 degrees. It’s nice. And you fucking pay for it. Living through two decades worth of glorious winters means you’ve also lived through two decades of ball-scorching summers. I don’t mean to be overly graphic there, but ‘ball-scorching’ is the best way to describe sitting down in a car with leather seats that has been baking in 117 degree heat all day.

And now we’re on the other end of the scale, where getting hotter just doesn’t make a bit of fucking difference. 117? Fuck, you might as well hope for a little more heat so you can tell people you know what it’s like to be outside when it’s 120. What difference does it make? Again, the difference makes no difference.

Looking to the long range forecast, we can see that next week we'll finally get some cooler temps, with highs only reaching "taint-singing", but next week we'll get back into "ball-scorching" temperatures again. And now over to Frank, with sports.

Looking to the long range forecast, we can see that next week we'll finally get some cooler temps, with highs only reaching "taint-singing", but next week we'll get back into "ball-scorching" temperatures again. And now over to Frank, with sports.

And so as my family and I (along with some good friends of ours) made our way to a cabin in the mountains north of town to celebrate my birthday this weekend, we looked forward to spending time with each other. There were meals to make, drinks to be had (quite a few of those), laughs to be shared, and memories to be made. It was fun beyond belief. But for all the fun I had this weekend, my favorite moment was when, at 11:00 AM this morning, it started to snow and I had the pleasure of watching my kids run around outside trying to catch snowflakes on their tongue. To my surprise, I found myself thinking, “Maybe I’ve forgiven Illinois after all…”

On to what you missed while you were making snow angels with your kids…

And now, a word from our sponsor who isn’t really our sponsor. It’s Involuntary Advertising:

Also, since the 2012 Bloggies voting is now officially over, I removed the shameless self-promotional sidebar I’d been running the last few weeks. While we’re waiting for the final tally, I’d like to wish good luck to all nominees, unless they happen to be running against me, in which case I hope you come down with dysentery. Hahaha, just kidding. Good luck to everyone, including the excellent blogs I’m up against. They deserve to win just as much as I do. More so, probably, since they tend do things that I don’t, like make sense, convey useful information to people, use verbs, etc.

And since I didn’t like how blank everything looked over there without the big Bloggies star, I added a new section: Poll of the Moment, which will tap into the zeitgeist to finally put to rest questions that have plagued us for so long, such as which sitcom character we’d most like to see bludgeoned with a hammer.

Ok, it’s Monday. If this isn’t going to be the best week ever, here’s hoping we at least catch a few snowflakes on our tongues.

21 Responses to “The Week In Review”

  1. LA Juice says:

    SNAP OUT OF IT DOG!!!!!!!!!! Snow is fun to see- that is it. You can always go visit it. Or go to a Hockey game! THAT IS ALL.

    Weather was the reason I ultimately left the Midwest- WINTER: 9 months of grey sunless skies,with 4-5 months of those spent in the negative windchill temps, shoveling several feet of snow, repetitively, followed by;

    Spring: one faulking week of 70 degree sunny weather, months of grey chilly rain, usually featuring a sneaky later season nor’easters from Canada through memorial day only to transition into;

    Summer: oppressive 90 degree 100% humidity temps peppered by swarming mosquitoes and fish flies for 2-3 months, most of which you spend inside with the air conditioning cranked, or in the neighbors unheated pool where all the kids pee, or trolling “art” fairs and Church carnivals where you closely mix with the unwashed, revel in the stench of sweaty BO mixed with the greasy smell of fried butter patties only to come home with dirty ankles.

    Sure that first or second week of October is absolutely gorgeous in the Midwest- but anyone who tells themselves they like the changes of season- fooling themselves.

    70 sunny with an ocean breeze. It NEVER GETS OLD.

    • Greg says:

      Sure, but sprinkle in FIVE MONTHS of 110 degrees, and it’s a different story. Besides, the really bad months in Illinois are January and February. Two months I can handle.

  2. Pish Posh says:

    I live in a part of the country where it is 30 degrees below 0 (that’s sixty below freezing) sometimes in the winter, which by the way lasts 6 months of the year – but it is ALSO 115 degrees in the summer, which lasts 4 months of the year. For TWO MONTHS of the year the temperature is reasonable (but the state is still uglier than Lindsay Lohan’s asshole). For 10 solid months of the year its either dangerous to go outside or dangerous to go outside.

    By the way I used to live in Indiana so I know all about “lake effect wind” hitting your face like a steel plate every time you go outside.

    I am from, on the other hand, a part of the country where it is between 60-80 degrees 12 months out of the year. My parents, like total assholes, complain when the “cold nights” get down to 40 degrees.

    No offense to Juice or anyone else who is from or likes the midwest but I HATE THE MIDWEST MORE THAN I HATE TALKING TO MY BROTHER ABOUT ANCIENT ALIENS. And that is QUITE A BIT, let me assure you. I hate it so bad I would punch it in the face and kick it into next week if I could.

  3. Pish Posh says:

    Oh and ps I HATE THE MIDWEST. I don’t know if I made that clear.

  4. Vesta Vayne says:

    Oh man, weather is SO important. I’m from Texas, and I love, love, love my home state. But it’s triple digits for months at a time, and humid. It reaches triple digits in Pasadena too, but only a for a short time, and it is nothing like the Texas heat. I miss home, but you can’t beat Southern California weather.

    Snow? I cannot imagine. I’ve never even visited somewhere with a real winter.

    • Greg says:

      Snow is a fucking blast when you’re a kid, a drunken young adult, or a parent with kids. Beyond that, it’s a pain in the ass.

  5. Heather says:

    Oh man. I KNOW about this! I lived dowtown Chicago for a few years which was nice because I didnt have to drive a car and the buses are heated (and even if they weren’t, it’s always warm when you’re smashed on a bus with 47 million other people). But then we moved out to Wheaton! Arg! I had to drive to Geneva for work and man that was a chore. Getting up at 5 to scrape ice off the windshield and shovel 500 feet of ice-wall snow put of the driveway.
    Still, I love Chicagoland…..

    • Greg says:

      Yeah, there are things you forget about that come back quickly once you’re back in a Midwest winter: Scraping ice off the windshield is one of them. So was pumping gas when it’s 40 below, and deciding, “Fuck it. $5 worth will get me home.”

      Ooh! How about walking backwards to keep the freezing wind off of your face?

  6. Yellowstone is my backyard. I’ve learned to make peace with the snow and arctic temperatures because in exchange I get to make fun of tourists who pay good money to come here and get eaten by grizzly bears. 🙂

  7. Brett Minor says:

    I still live in Illinois and I despise winter. I have written about it on my blog several times. I lived in San Juan for a while and had 80 degree weather every day. Heat can be miserable too, I spent a summer in Puerto Rico and Texas, but I will take hot over cold any day. Stay where you are. It hasn’t gotten any better here.

    • Greg says:

      But if I don’t move the family back to the Midwest, what are my kids going to tell their grandkids? “When I was your age, I walked 2 miles to school every day, in 80 degree weather, mildly shaded!” That’s not gonna work.

  8. Rusty says:

    I wish there was an option in your poll for “all of the above”

    I did a stint at a mine site in the great middle of fucking nowhere in South Australia. It is near Cooper Pedy, where they live underground because it is too fucking hot above. This should have been a hint to people. These are not ideal conditions for humans to live.

    For a whole two months, it was over 50 deg C every single day. I spent most days hiding in switch rooms because they had to be air-conditioned. It got to 40 where I grew up often, but at least that was on the coast!

  9. Tonya says:

    At least in cold weather you can put on more clothes. In hot weather there’s only so many things you can take off before the cops arrest you for public indecency. Fucking cops.

    • Greg says:

      Yes, but if you’re hot, you can cool down instantly by jumping in a pool. If you’re cold, it takes a while to warm up.

      But, yeah, fucking cops and their insistence that you put on clothes and not lurk in the bushes…

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