Tag Archives: winter

Life on Mars

25 degrees below zero.

That’s what the temperature was here at the Casa Del Sank-a-Ray this week. Fuck lake Wo-Be-Gone and that washed up old windbag Garrison Keiler, it was damned cold. How cold? Supposedly it was warmer on Mars than it was here in St. Paul.  Lame.

Journalistic hyperbole for gawds sake. First of all the average temps on Mars are around 50 degrees below zero, and that’s on a good day. Windchill is three times that. Second of all while it might have been warmer at the Martian equator, at least according to the NASA rover crawling around up there at cool million dollars a day, Minnesota is a full 45 degrees north of the equator so you can’t really compare apples to apples. Of course we’re colder, we’re further north.

Yeah so the red dirt on Mars was a tish warmer than the Minnesota for a bit, at only 25 below we were a balmy 25 degrees warmer than Mars on Monday. 25 degrees is a lot, it’s difference between long pants and shorts in Texas on any given January day.

Supposed to be 38 degrees here in Minnie on Saturday. I fully expect to see some shorts, hell days are getting longer now, it is practically spring.

But really, how cold was it? What’s 25 below feel like? For one thing your snot freezes when you go outside. For another there was ice on the front door knob. Looked like a good science fair project on conductivity.

My office on the four-season porch was 49 degrees on Monday morning. That’s uncomfy for sitting and typing. Not to mention the widows there were caked in ice. Inside the house mind you.

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I took advantage of some warmer temps on Saturday and broke down and shrink wrapped the windows on the porch. Spread the 3M plastic window wrap over them, taped it down and hit it with the hair dryer. Made a big difference except for the spot where I accidently burned through the plastic, the hole made a nice jet stream of cold air blowing in so hard the dog moved out to the living room. Duct tape fixed that. It’s bad enough that we’re going to be looking through windows that look the bubble boy’s chamber for the next few months, worse is that we have a piece of duct tape slapped on the window at eye level.

“Will I have to look at that all year” someone asked.

I see we’re starting the New Year off with some keen well considered inquiries. I didn’t bother to answer that one because I’m pretty sure that the questioner will figure out that particular answer on her own.

Dog doesn’t like the cold. Opened the back door for him to step out for a turd on Monday night. Dummy froze up- wouldn’t go out. Just stood there, sniffing the air, probably trying to figure out where a good spot to crap in the basement instead might be. He’d like a spot where he wouldn’t get busted right way. Sorry dog, standing in front of an open door at 25 below zero will get you a foot in your ass every time, this is no time to dilly dally. Gentle kick to encourage him to get outside. We have about three seconds of any open door before Mrs S starts screaming from the other room “I FEEL A DRAFT!!!” Jeez. Never mind that she’s three floors away and has her bedroom door closed.

Apparently when G- d bestowed bionic hearing and a built in lie detector on my bride he also included some sort of hypersensitive atmospheric sensing mechanism which can anticipate the mere possibility of cold air in a given space, much less real cold. Women really have it all don’t they, so many gifts. Until they have to pee that is, then we dudes have the trump. Although, at these temperatures, that advantage seems to have um, “diminished” too. This is climate where you have to check driver’s licenses to figure out one’s gender after all.

So the dog… typically he’d follow his little snow trail out to Mrs S’s flowerbeds, his favorite dumping ground, and enrich the soil far from the house. Not at 25 below apparently. At these temps he takes one step out, turns around and looks at me, hunches over, pops the tail skywards and proceeds to drop a Alpo steamer right on the deck, not 8” from the damned window. Then he barks to let me know he’s done and wants to come back in. Total elapsed time, 4 seconds.

No dummy that dog. Smarter than some kids I’ve raised.

Of course Mrs S picks that time to come downstairs to watch her stories, looks out on the deck, frowns up and says “Will I have to look at that all year?”

I guess since I didn’t answer her last time I decided it best to combine my responses this time.

“The tape or the turd?”

If you could bottle sarcasm this family would have a franchise in “looks” alone.

“Tape’s gonna be there until March, 45 more days until I take down the plastic.” Or we get new windows which ever comes first, so it could be up there a couple years or so. (The shrink wrap by the way has made all the difference. Despite looking like a cheap trailer home, it is markedly warmer in my office, got up to a balmy 57 degrees by Monday, almost took my pants off)

“The turd on the other hand I will remove in a few short minutes, or just after it turns into a poopsicle”, when they’re frozen they’re easier to pick up and toss over the fence. I like snowbirds for neighbors. BTW in case you’re keeping track from this fall, the sun tea container, still out on the deck next door and now… a whole new meaning to ice tea.

“Well” she said “good to know you gotta plan” and with that she went back into hibernation.

And three days later, I just noticed, the poppsicle… is still there, waiting for the Spring Poop Harvest.

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No Time Like Snow Time

We’re on Winter Storm Watch here in Minnesota, the first snow fall of the season is eminent. Forecasters are all over themselves in a virtual orgy of forecasting prognostica.  

Prognostica is a new word that I just invented, thank you very much. Language being born, it’s a beautiful thing. It comes from the root “prognosticate” which means to forecast or predict and “euphoria” a feeling of great overwhelming joy. It describes the near blissful state that weather forecasters whip themselves into when the weather becomes actual news. 4 years of metrological sciences at St. Cloud State finally paying off when a weather dude gets to sit with the anchors at the top of the news and show concern. Prognistica- feel free to use it with attribution.

The weather dudes and dudettes are saying this evening we could see snow fall in excess of 4” in some parts of the metro.  In my house 4” is sometimes described as 8” depending on what we’re measuring.

Like Pergo flooring for example, you have to leave some space for expansion… 

They’re also say that since this is a very “skinny” storm the band of snow could be as little as 30miles wide, we could see as little as 0” in some parts of the Metro.  And since the roads are warmish, we could see snow that melts on contact which would be negative inches if you follow my logic.

So restated correctly this evening the Twin Cities is under a Winter Storm Suggestion, not sure it warrents a full on warning, meaning there is a chance that we could see anywhere from -2” to 4” of snow depending on where you live and what you’ve done to offend your God.

Personally I’ll either hunker down, fasting and repenting while watching TV or I’ll head out to my Lodge meeting. Depends on fury of the flakes.

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Thinking about Indian Summer after White Man Winter.

I love me a good Indian Summer. With all due respect to my native friends, or rather friend I think I only have one official Native American friend, official in that he’s an enrolled member of a tribe, I think he said I could still say Indian Summer. My definition of Indian Summer is a few weeks of gorgeous delightfully pleasant weather we get after the first nip of winter weather, usually in October. It’s a good thing, like the Indians are bringing us something nice before the cold sets in, aka the Thanksgiving Myth of happy Pilgrims free from the religious oppression of Europe, landed in America where they could now become the oppressors rather than the opressees enjoying a delightful meal of turkey, cornbread, garlic mash and green bean casserole with the benevolent and loving Wampanoag people who forgave them that enslavement deal for a couple days and brought them good things to eat and helped the survive the winter.

I digress. Indian Summer. Then I think about April 2013 in Minnesota. After three nice days in March we got an extra month of winter around here. Snow, and lots of it, cold temperatures, nothing thawed like it was supposed too… are there is there a name for that extra winter? Something about a people who gives promises of good times to come and then swipes them away? What COULD we call that? Hmmm.

What have we been through here in Minnesota? Local weather guy Paul Douglas pointed out that between Sunday morning and Tuesday afternoon there places in this state that experienced a 100 degree change in temperatures.

Paul Douglas is full of crap. There’s no way that it was more than 70 degrees. Childs play for the land of lakes where weather is a theatre controlled by the same unerring laws of natures that govern the movement of the planets in the orbits and rotation of our Earth around its axis, which is what really creates the unending progression of seasons which delight us so here in Minnesota, and fill our conversations with incessant whining while at the same time giving us pride and collective strength as we brag to friends and family less subject to Mother Nature’s inclemency’s that to live here takes guts and fortitude not found in more southerly climes.

To which I say, in the tenderest manner, bull<space>shit. My son, the Alabama guy, spit his McDonalds diet coke all over the front window of my car when he heard on the radio, on Sunday afternoon, a day when it didn’t get out of the 40′s, that by Tuesday we would be dealing with “extreme” heat, maybe even pushing…. 90 degrees.

We may be proud of the fact that there are times here when stepping outside in the wrong clothing could be fatal in a matter of minutes and that we survive it, but give us a little heat and we melt like fucking popsicle. Shee it.

I remember the one and only time I took by precious bride to visit my folks in Stockton California. It was August. Mid August, oven season in the Great Central Valley. We had started our journey (and this is the only appropriate use of the word friends. Your weight loss, professional development, childrearing years etc. are not Journeys, stop using that word for that stuff, it’s just gawd damned annoying.) in San Francisco, it was about 60 degrees. As we made our way over the Altamont Pass and descended into the valley, where on a clear day in winter you can easily see across the valley from the Altamont to the Sierra Nevada, a distance of about 100 miles, there was nothing but shimmering heat and haze. We pulled into Stockton the comfort of our car AC cranking away and passed the bank when Mrs S made the following comment, “It’s 1:15? I thought it was like 3:00.”

When we stopped and opened the door to the car, she realized her mistake. It was 3:00 and it was every bit of 115. Brutal. But not like I didn’t go out and do things back in the day, after all it’s a dry heat eh? We must not have invented dehydration before about 1980 because I can’t ever remember anyone ever worrying about it, or about us kids paying out side in the heat. Hell they MADE us play in the heat, and told us not to drink water to avoid cramping up.

Strange times we live in, why I hear nowadays parents’ chain smoking in cars with the widows closed is bad for the children in some way. That was a game even Granndma got into. Smoking that is.

So where in Minnesota we’ve passed the season where a can of beer in your gloved hand starts freezing in about 5 minutes and finally, FINALLY seems to have reached a point where the snow, at least sticking snow, is behind us for 4 or 5 months. Not saying we won’t have another frost yet, but snow is probably gone. Today I smelled my first cut lawn, neighbors are starting to get out there with their mowers and hacking away. The raking is in fill swing. Street sweepers came along today to harvest as much of the winters sand and gravel as they could, streets are clean, flowers are budding, things are looking up.

Ooo Morels will be here soon, now THAT is good news.

And then you realize the days get shorter in 4 short weeks. Happy Summer everyone.

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My Best Face Forward

Wisconsin fishing opener this weekend. Traditionally I’d be out on the lake, at least I’d consider it an option. But this year that won’t be happening,  I have another responsibility. Team Sank is  off to Houghton Michigan this instead. Yay us. Crazy to think that I’m old enough to have a college graduate. Crazier still, that on May 3rd I have to think about a gawd damned snow storm.

The snow that falleth in May, doth smite my hope in the promise of spring.

In otherwords I continue to grow weary of this fucking weather.

Here’s a picture of lake, taken this morning by the nice folks at Sherrard’s Resort who I’m sure would like to be open and running a resort the first weekend in May, fishing opener in Wisconsin and all, as opposed to whatever it is they are doing at the moment up there. Sure ain’t boating or fishing.

 

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See that white stuff out there? That’s ice. We’re still frozen.  We got 12 inches of snow at Blake Lake last night. Fairbault, just south of us, 18 inches. Previous record for the entire month of May… 3 inches.

Looking at the picture I can’t help but feel a little down. I’d like to be out there on the boat about now.

Hmm

Cold is a small price to pay to live in paradise.

Keeps down on the riff raff.

I don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, or doing any yard work.

No mosquito’s. I don’t have to worry about malaria or dengue.

I haven’t re-strung my fishing reels yet, have more time to do that.

I get to take my first annual May cross country skiing trip.

The local ski resort can reopen, for the 3rd time.

I don’t have to overload my refrigerator, nature is providing a free one.

I get one last snow cocktail- root beer schnapps and snow.

Summer sledding party.

Don’t need to buy sunscreen yet.

The more I think the more I can enjoy this weather.

Yay me.

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Has G-d forsaken his people the Minnesotans?

April 17, 2013- St. Paul Minnesota, state of Narnia.

I have dudes in my backyard with goat hooves now. Looking for a bunch of kids in a wardrobe somewhere.

4 more inches of snow tonight. More snow tomorrow. More snow Friday. Windchills in the teens, highs in the 30’s… blah blah blah.

I’ve lost rational thought about the winter that will not end.

Seriously.

I swear to G-d, I may take Punxsutawney Phil to court and sue him for, for um.. hell I’m going to find something. Breech of freaking trust. Stupid woodchuck said early spring. You know, even if the little rat had seen his gawddamned shadow and even if we had six more weeks of winter it still would have ended on March 16, that’s 6 freaking weeks ago.

Fucking rat is dead next time I see’m. Jus say’n.

In conversation with a highly regarded consultant, a fellow who knows all there is to know about everything explained the weather issues to me this way:

G-d has forsaken us.

Not sure there are any other explanations for this, we’ve tried everything else.

I’m thinking that I’m going to go on a fast until this weather breaks. Actually, pretty brilliant idea if I don’t say so myself. If summer ever does come, I’ll be in thong form.

Question is why? I think it’s because we re-elected Michelle Bachmann. She’s about as anti-God as they come. This is a little dire people. It means, and this is going to be hard to accept, but until Michelle steps down, winter will continue.

Hope you like sledding in July.

 

This morning I was reading local meteorologist Paul Douglas’s column in the Star Tribune. He’s worried that when summer does come, and he still thinks it will, I’m skeptical, ti will come fast and furious, like in one afternoon. Temps will go from 20’s overnight to 108 in the afternoon.

According to Douglas, that means we’re going to be due for a particularly violent tornado season. Something about gradients and temperature variances.

Sheez, Endless snow, followed by cataclysmic storms… I think then its frogs, boils, blood and death of the first born.

Quit Michelle, for the benefit of all of us. 

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Carnage and Paradise in 4 Bullets or less.

1) I have to write an outline for project at NamelessFaceless next week.

A)I love outlines.

B) I think in outlines.

Oh the humanity of it all. 14 March- Broken Bone Day in Minnesota.

The Cities were hit with a wintery mix of ice and snow overnight Wednesday. In that order, which makes a difference because.. the snow covered the ice, which resulted in people flying in all directions and not of their own accord:

-          Your favorite old fat ass fell on said ass not once, but twice on the ice. Twice in the same morning I made contact with the sidewalk in a way that I’m loathe to repeat.

Aside here- you know, I’ve lived here in the Great Del Norte Blanco for 18 years and in that time have actually never slipped on wild ice. Meaning ice that wasn’t where it was supposed to be. I have slipped on lake ice, but that’s kinda of expected. But on the street never. Twice in one morning.

Neither fall was particularly devastating.

The first one was one was a face plant where the feet went south whilst the head went north. I broke my fall with right hand, my left successfully hanging on to a cup of coffee that I’m proud to say, leaked not.
The second fall, that was more of a death spiral where the plant foot begins to rotate in a clockwise direction and, being unable to stop it, one attempts to mitigate the fall by sort of rolling to the ground in the same direction. The bad news on that kind of fall, more of my um, expansive shall we say, surface area came in contact with the street resulting in wet pants.
Wet dress pants. Which in the words of George Orwell is Doubleplusungood.
But I wasn’t alone

-          Friend of mine broke his leg falling yesterday. While he was in the emergency room his wife counted no less than 10 others in assorted arms, legs plus a couple hips for good measure.

-          Several people in my cube farm reported difficulties with traction and gravity. And these aren’t oldsters like me.

Still, it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of living in paradise. I have a rather narrow definition of paradise but it looks something like this (as long as I’m in the list making mode.)

“List making mode” you ask, “wtf is that?” Thanks for asking, it’s that thing where you lack the creativity and impetus to string more than two sentences together so you hit the “Bullet” button on your word processor and then you get a list of stuff that people mistake for coherent thoughts but really were just lazy drivel. Drivel BTW is the old English term for “blog”. You can use them interchangeably sayeth I. See what I did there? Old English, sayeth, clever eh?  

If anyone has gotten down this far, personally would have hit next on my Flipboard reader about three paragraphs ago, my definition of Paradise is a place with the following attributes:

  1. Comfortable shoes
  2. Interesting weather.
  3. Free Wifi.
  4. Warm place to shit.

Other than that I’m not sure what else you need. The Baseball package would be nice too.

So would a lake.

But that’s it.

Oh, add good coffee. What’s good coffee you ask?

  1. Dark roasted Arabica beans.
  2. Ground seconds before brewing.
  3. Made strong, like I like my women. And  my opinions.
  4. Made by someone else and brought to me.

Quiet would be nice too. No talking in Paradise. Well, no conversation anyway. I find conversation in my house to be really really difficult because everyone else won’t stop talking. F’n exhausting.

Maybe a conversation with some interesting folks. Hmm.. that would be cool for short periods of time.

As you can see Paradise is unattainable, at least in my current existence, but three out of four on these two lists ain’t bad. Notice what Paradise isn’t:

  1. Beaches and palm trees. I find beaches interesting only when storms are coming in or when cool dead things are washing up on shore. Other than that I get bored after a few nanoseconds. Palm trees BTW, dirty trees that drop things on you like coconuts and palm fronds, which in my experience can seriously kill you. Gimmie a pine tree. Looks nice and kills the grass under it. Call that “self-maintaining”.
  2. Swimsuit models at my beck and call. Unless they’re bringing me coffee I really have no use for a bunch of scantly clad babes. At some point they’re going to want to strike up a conversation with me and conversations.. this is my paradise, no talking. BTW just one reason why I’ve never embraced radical Islamic terrorism, the promise of 100 virgins to me sounds like spending eternity locked in a house with 100 teenage girls. I would seriously put that on a list with a different title if you know what I’m saying.
  3. Free Golf. Not even going to bother with that one.
  4. Bottomless glasses of 25 year old single malt.. Boy that’s a toughie but you know, but I certainly don’t to spend half my time in Paradise hung.

There you have it..

But Sank, this makes no sense whatsoever, what’s this drivel blog about? Fact is I’ve spent the last several weeks spending much of my waking hours in PowerPoint. 4 bullet point lists are the backbone of American business these days. I remember when a “deck” was something you stood on when you walked out your back window. Now it’s a way for Business Folks to measure accomplishments. The bigger the deck the more accomplished you are.

I, want to be accomplished. Four lists which are only slightly connected. I might have earned an MBA.

Now, you have it.

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Weekend Update- Blake Lake Edition

Maple Tree in Winter

Another weekend at the Summer Palace, as it currently sits encased in ice.

The plan was to spend the entire weekend up there; fishing, reading, watching movies… big fun in the months before I hit 50. Was not to be however, I forgot the hated CPAP machine. I’ve become so dependent on it that I was dreading sleeping on Friday night. Dreading it enough that I thought perhaps some self-medicating would be in order. Not a bad idea really. This was the first time since I got the machine back in November that I’ve attempted to sleep without one.

Bad old days revisited. Aside from tossing and turning, I woke several times to gagging and choking. Finally after fighting long enough I got up about 5:15, made some coffee and tried to doze on the sofa. Won’t make that stupid mistake again. A mistake made even more stupid when I tell you that I had the thing packed and ready to go on at the door. Just didn’t pick it up for some reason.

Some lame reason.

I am a moron.

Despite being sleepless in Wisconsin I did manage a great day on the lake. The weather on Saturday was perfect with a capital “P”. Sunny, about 27 degrees.

The plan was to bypass my shitty little lake and head over to Big Round Lake, a lake that the guide books refer to as a “Tier 1″ fishery. I’ve certainly done well out there in the past.

The not so recent past mind you.

Big Round a massive body of water compared to lil’ole Blake Lake. It’s about 1000 acres or so, and as it’s name describes, quite round. Structure wise there’s really only a few places on the lake to fish. Most of it is a big shallow basin. Here and there are some decent rock piles. I found one of those rock piles years ago and entered into my GPS. I replaced my GPS and with that move lost the coordinates. That lake is so big that without it, and with 5 years since I was out there last, it’s difficult to triangulate with shore line references, and I’m not good with a sextant. Used to be a grass island out in the middle of the lake that I could use to find the rocks, they were about 1000 meters east and south of the reeds. For some reason the reeds are gone now and I was totally lost. Could just drive out to where everyone else was I guess, and there were a ton of people out there.

Note, as I write this I realize that the old GPS is in fact sitting on the counter at the lake, I showed to my friend. I’m quite certain that the coordinates are there, and had I had a decent nights sleep and 5 less bourbons the night before I might have thought this through. 

Well, I tried finding the magic spot and paid a price. Got the Durango stuck out there on the lake. That has never happened before. Usually that tank can get through anything. There was only about 10″ of snow on the lake, but some how the perfect combination of snowpack and ice had me dropping through the snow right on to lake ice and the result was spinning tires. Lots of spinning. Lucky I had a shovel and a good friend with experience in these matters, Californians don’t have a tremendous amount of experience digging cars out of frozen lakes. After a 1/2 hour of digging, pushing, rocking and so forth we got the truck rolling again and I was able to drive, at some speed mind you, to the hardpacked snow and we were safe. My friend has happy to report that he burned off a piece of bacon he’d eaten for breakfast. We are both doing weight watchers. I didn’t mention that we’d each eaten about 4 pieces of pork belly not to mention two cinnamon rolls  a piece. So, we could stand to dig for a couple and hours and still skip lunch, dinner and the following days breakfast to make up for it.

Food sucks.

With that experience behind me I declared, with some conviction, “Fuck this I’m going to where I know”. Which in this case is Big Blake Lake. And we did. Drove on the lake at the far northern access and proceeded to drive straight down the lake, observing the “No Wake” zone in the narrows, just like I do in the summer. I had a spot in mind, a spot I don’t fish much in the summer but seemed to me that it should be good in the winter, bottom is boulders mixed with some weeds.

This was the last weekend for tip-up fishing in Wisconsin, game fish closed Sunday, and I’m still in pursuit of some pike.

Didn’t get any pike but I did slay the sunfish. My guess is I caught about 25ish over the course of 3 hours. My buddy pulled up another 10 or 15.. great day. So good that at one point I stopped baiting the hook in a “catching avoidance” mode so I could warm up a cold index finger.

The Dog seemed to enjoy himself. He likes ice fishing. Chance to run around all over the lake. He also likes that hole, that amazing hole in the ground that fish come out of. Spends a lot of time watching it, that is until his feet get cold, then he climbs up in my lap. Dumbshit. Won’t sit in the car however, has to be on the lake and in my lap.

All in all it was a great day out there. Warm, fish biting, sunny weather.. chatted with some neighbors I’d never met, very nice day on the lake. Along the way caught some intel on Balsam Lake, big crappies coming out of that lake. Give me something to do next time I get up there, in two weeks.

Saturday night I got back in town in time to watch Auburn/Vanderbilt basketball with the Mrs. Good news is we saw our son in the crowd a couple times. The boy lives. Good news, and he looked good so they’re feeding him down in Alabama.

Sunday was reserved for work, home work like cooking and shopping and work work. Seems that since 2013 started I’ve not had a weekend that I didn’t spend at least half a day working. I don’t mind too much, just gets to be much when I try to fit in a play day and don’t make it to the store.

Househubandry is a pain in arse sometimes.

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