Friday, June 28, 2013

Phoenix Heat

Phoenix, Arizona, USA:

  • Mostly Cloudy
    Currently: 116°F
    Mostly Cloudy
    116°F | 93°F
  • sunny
    119°F | 93°F
  • sunny
    116°F | 91°F

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Prague, Czech Republic:  
  • Fair
    Currently: 54°F
    65°F | 48°F
  • pm showers
    PM Showers
    67°F | 49°F
  • am showers
    AM Showers
    66°F | 51°F

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Need I say more?  Actually, I probably do, since I just heard on the radio in Phoenix:  "I hope you're enjoying this wonderful weekend weather."  WHAT?  Seriously, how can ANYONE call 119 degrees "wonderful?"  "Not as bad as it could be," maybe, or "a bit toasty," or "a good time to be thankful for air conditioning," but "wonderful?"  Of course, that weather in Prague right now sounds wonderful to me, but many of people here would say it looks cold and miserable.      

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Literature Tropes #3: Red Shirts

This is one of my favorite tropes to mock:  the poor doomed Red Shirts.  Originally from Star Trek (the original series), this refers to the hapless extra crew members (usually wearing red) who were invited on dangerous away missions for the express purpose of becoming cannon fodder, because somebody has to die, and it can't be any of the main characters.

Now, I love Star Trek in most all of its reincarnations, but the Red Shirt trope is so bad that whenever someone we don't know gets involved in anything, we all go "uh-oh.  He's toast."  You see it a lot in other science fiction and in fantasy, thrillers, action movies, horror, etc.  It's also cleverly spoofed in many good parodies.  

I have to admit, though, that I prefer the "Red Shirt" problem to the "Everyone's a Red Shirt" phenomena in grim works like Game of Thrones or Shakespeare tragedies, where no one's safe and anyone can die.  Readers and viewers grow attached to their favorite characters.  They don't want them dying all over the place, even if it's more realistic.      

Click on to see their classic photo of a Red Shirt in its natural state.  And as this great website warns in its entry on Mauve Shirts (those Red Shirts who have had good lines or enough personality for us to get slightly attached), whatever you do, if you're a Red Shirt, don't show anyone a picture of your baby.  You'll die for sure then.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Why on Earth do I live in Phoenix?

I hate the heat.

I love wearing scarves and gloves and walking to work through the snow.  I like having to carry my jacket with me on summer evenings.  I love rainstorms.  

So why on Earth--with its many places that aren't as hot as Phoenix--do I live here?  

It was 96 degrees Fahrenheit this morning at 9:00AM.  June 2.  Pretty soon we'll begin our 93 so so consecutive days of 100-118 degree temps, where it never gets anywhere near cool even in the middle of the night.  I have a friend in Colorado--the Rocky Mountain part--and it snowed there last week.  In late May.  Oklahoma's been terrorized by deadly destructive tornadoes lately.  I remember weeks on end in Poland where the daytime highs never rose above freezing. 

Everywhere has its pros and cons, and everyone has different tolerances.  I have friends here in Phoenix who are like, "yeah, it's a little hot" while I'm struggling to even breathe through the blast-furnace heat, and would literally die if I had to work outside in it for 8 hours at my job.  These same people think they're going to die when it dips to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while I'm skipping around happy as a lark, walking around in short sleeves.  When it rains for two days in a row here, the newscaster are like, "When will this EVER END?"  They should spend a few months in Ketchikan or Seattle.  

I think the trick is to try to find a place where the bad things about the weather are the things you personally don't mind so much.  Give me five months of sub-freezing temperatures over 5 months of 100 plus temperature any day.

I need to move.