Friday, August 15, 2008

do you have air?

is the first question people ask around here when it gets hot which I could see being a reasonable question if this was Phoenix.. but it's not. It's Portland where mostly the summers have that Camelot like quality of warm dry days and cooler breezy nights. We get a few times a year of hot days that stay that way all night long and then I don't cope too well.

Last night I'd intended to visit my favorite blogs and perhaps do a post but the laptop was hot. Once I'd answered those kind enough to leave comments I just had to shut it down.

How comfortable we've become in our climate controlled environments, eh? Even though we knew thirty years ago the dangers of huge parking lots, sealed buildings and giant gas guzzling cars you just have to look around wherever you live to see that nothing was done.

They could very easily have built all the mall parking lots underground. They could have used the extra land for trees, ponds, play areas or just left it as wilderness for crying out loud. There could have been windows that open, fans in the ceilings, indoor recirculating waterfalls and fountains or maybe just buckets of ice cubes for shoppers to stick their feet in. I don't just mean malls either since a paradigm shift in our thoughts about climate then would have changed everything.

I don't know anything but that the temperature's going up to 103 again for the next few days and no, I don't have air. I don't want air. I think part of the reason it's so unusually hot is because we're keeping every indoor environment at 68-72 degrees no matter what's going on outside and that's likely not good for us and certainly isn't good for the planet.

Sorry, I'm grumpy because I can't wear my usual urban black camoflage gear right now. A couple of years ago I bought some white linen clothes just in case I got to take that trip to see the pyramids but when I put them on yesterday morning I felt like I was wearing pj's and had to change.

Ah well, this too shall pass. I'll be at work and since it's a hospital it's very cool there but I'd rather be outside under a tree near a babbling brook. Wouldn't we all?

(artwork by Virgil Finlay)


Randal Graves said...

Wilderness? Why do you hate progress, thereby the free market, thereby America? Oh, that's right, you're Canadian!

When it gets hot, we don't turn on the AC, just plop in front of the fans. Granted, it's probably more out of selfishness in that I just don't feel like paying obscene electric bills that I can't afford - man, does the AC suck the voltage - but it's environmentally better.

And 100° or not, nearly my entire wardrobe is black, so I'm kind of stuck. ;-)

I'm with you on that last image, especially given that it's a tolerable 75° today!

Mary Ellen said...

I think we got your summer weather in Chicago and you got ours. It's been absolutely beautiful in the last week or so. Of course, that could change quickly, but I'm going to enjoy every minute of it while it's here.

Gary said...

Wear the linens anyhow and pretend you're in Egypt. Maybe get a pith helmet too (I love saying that... "pith helmet" "pith helmet" "pith helmet"

It's hot here too and I've been jumping in the lake and swimming pretty much every day. Because it's in the mountains, it always cools down at night.

Anonymous said...

People Suck.

susan said...

randal - We do the same even as we did in Toronto and New England where you get high humidity added to the mix - windows, fans and lying low. Our bodies adjust.

Of note, modern Canadian cities were designed and built by the same architects and engineers responsible for the American ones. There are no hi-rise yurts, teepees or igloos that I know of.

me - I shouldn't complain understanding the temps will be back to the 70's by tomorrow but it's the idiots who were suggesting we go to a hotel who annoy me. Not everyone can do that nor should they have to. It's ignorant and presumptuous.

gary - Pith helmet - Yeah, I like that too. I want to go to Egypt 100 years ago at the earliest. Can we do that?

It's funny how the heat out here in the PNW is desert-like, eh?

pt - Yes, a lot of us/them do :-)

Ingrid said...

Great artwork and not yours this You are a great artist so I can't wait to see the next drawing you post.
As for the heat, I can sympathize; we had over 45 days of triple digits here and rained! AND it cooled off..AND it looks like next week is going to be more of the same so a word of advice for the cool-deprived; stay inside, play 'rain cd's', hunker down and only get out if REALLY necessary, keep the blinds down and watch movies!! If there's a pool nearby, only go at night time or very late afternoon like after 5..

however, I cannot imagine Portland having that kind of weather for more than a week so you are allowed to stay grumpy for only a short time.. I thought myself I was going to loose my mind...pffff.. heat heat heat..blech!! but I'm better now [g]*



Seraphine said...

lol, i'm NOT sticking my feet in any buckets of ice cubes. especially not at a mall. with other people. nope nope nope.

i'll be staying in the city the next couple of days. love san francisco in the summertime. there's a nice marine layer that acts like natural air conditioning. see you tuesday. hope you don't melt.

i do like to chew on ice, btw. not feet ice, i mean regular ice. it probably means i have an iron deficiency, that's what i heard about people who chew ice.

Anonymous said...

Susan, right now here on Long Island the weather is gorgeous...72 degrees, sunny and low humidity. But had I gotten to this post on Friday, I'd of told you staying indoors was not so bad. We had some batten-down-the hatches, where's-Dorothy thunderstorms move through here. There was even a tornado warning issued for Manhattan.

Sorry, I'm grumpy because I can't wear my usual urban black camoflage gear right now....Just remember what you wrote me...let yourself feel it... ;^)

susan said...

ingrid - I was in Texas only once and that was because my July flight back to Portland from Toronto connected in Houston of all places. I felt the heat and humidity only briefly between the plane and the gate but that was enough for me. I know Austin is supposed to be a wonderful place for music and art especially but I wouldn't last a year in the Texan climate. You have kudos from me.. and another picture story coming soon.

sera - I'm not either. Please file this post under the heat prostrated delusional variety.

I only visited SF once and loved it the few days we were there - including the fog. We went across the Golden Gate and drove back north as far as we could on Rte 1. Amazing trip.

I used to chew ice too - at least until my teeth sensitized to cold. Now I drink tea whatever the weather.

spartacus - We lived in Providence for 16 years and our son is still there so I check the weather daily out of long habit. I've noticed the Boston-Providence locality has had daily thunderstorm warnings for months even without big temperature differentials. He's told us about a few of them too. I guess we all know what's going on but that makes it no less scary.

and apologies for the advice that's always easier to give than to take to one's own heart :-)

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Susan
I agree with you. Its technology that has gotten us into this mess, but technology can also get us out of it. Our Melbourne city Council has constructed their city building as a good case study.

It consumes 15% of the energy of a regular building and only 30% of the water. To stay cool it has much smaller windows are at the top where there is more sunlight and progressively bigger further down, where there’s less light. Copper piping runs chilled water cooled down to 15 degrees Celsius as it circulates around to suck heat out of the rooms. The other part of the cooling system is concrete slabs which are curved to maximise surface area. They’re cooled at night so they also absorb the room’s heat. Tubes are used to help cool water for the air conditioning. The water is sprayed from the top and by the time it reaches the bottom the evaporation affect cools it several more degrees. The system used to chill the water for the air conditioning is from three giant tanks filled with 10,000 stainless steel balls.

Inside the balls is a special substance, a salt mixture that freezes at 15 degrees Celsius not zero like water ice, which means these balls are very easy to freeze and require a very small amount of energy. So, on a hot day water is flushed through the tanks, as the balls melt.

I hope that makes you feel cool!!

Best wishes

susan said...

lindsay - It sounds like a concept made manifest in the real world. Since Melbourne is bound to have hot weather similar to some American cities it's an engineering idea that could definitely be used in new construction here. Of course, I'm not so sure US executives in their upper storey offices would be easily convinced about the small windows but maybe they would get some work done.

I do feel cooler now but of course it helps that the temperature dropped about 35*F since yesterday.