There is no need for me to say that it has been incredibly hot and humid here in northern Virginia. It’s the same pretty much everywhere in the U.S. right now. So I’m saying it for my non-U.S. readers so that they have the context for the post. Hot. And humid. For some reason, news outlets feel the need to report weather events like these in great detail. It’s something that really needs no reporting since we can all experience it by walking out the front door. But they do it anywhere. Temperature is never good enough. The fact that it is 95°F (35°C for the rest of the world) is just not newsworthy. Instead they use “heat index” which factors in humidity to result in a “feels like” temperature. Yesterday, it “felt like” 110°F (43°C). “Heat index” is the opposite of “wind chill.”
I think both of these are ridiculous measurements. If you take a thermometer outdoors, it registers the temperature. Why do we need to exaggerate it with something that a scientific instrument doesn’t even register?
I digress. One side effect of hot, humid weather is convection. The heat provides energy for the atmosphere and that energy is what generates thunderstorms, which typically popup almost out of nowhere in the evenings. We’ve had several of these this week. Lots of thunder, lightning, and some brief but powerful wind and rain. These tend do happen early in the evening, and once the storm blows over, the sun returns, which sometimes results in something beautiful. Take, for example, the image above, which I captured after our evening walk (after the storms had passed).
Rainbows are much more worthy of a news report (or a blog post) than heat index or wind chill, if you ask me.
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This past Sunday, I headed out for my evening walk and just happened to catch a lucky shot of the sun setting at our nearby park. I think the Internet is full of sunsets, but I couldn’t help sharing this one here.
We had perfect weather for Independence Day, after a weekend filled mostly with rain. So we piled all of the kids into our cars yesterday and drove to a state park north of New York City in order to spend some time outdoors. There are certain landscape scenes that I find calming, and I managed to capture several yesterday while walking through the state park. Here are a few that I thought people might enjoy for the final day of this holiday weekend.
It’s funny, but each time I see a scene like these, I have the urge to settle down where I am with a book, and sit quietly reading with the sound of birds, and the buzz of insects making a kinds of white noise in the background. Hikes like these are very relaxing for me. It is also nice to get away from the crowds and be in open spaces, letting go of the usual worries of the day for a little while, and enjoying the company and scenery.
After the hike, we took the kids for ice cream. It wasn’t even lunch time yet, but it is nice to shake things up now and then.
The snow began falling sometime around 2 or 3 am. By the time we woke up to start the day, schools had been closed, which made the kids happy. My office is open, but the roads are treacherous, and besides, the kids are home and they require our attention, so it is another snow day for everyone. On tap for today:
Finish reading the current issue of Wired.
Start on the current issue of Smithsonian.
Get through more of ‘Salem’s Lot.
Final touches to the new story based on beta-reader feedback.
Possibly start another new story.
All of this, of course, in between keeping the kids entertained. Remember those days when it was possible to do just one thing at a time? Did those days ever really exist?
This photo has been staring at me most of the day today, and I was hesitant to post it, given that today also happens to be the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. But I realized that while I still have trouble looking at photos from the day of the attack, photos like this one, which I took in 1995 or 1996, remind me of just how awed I was at the view from the top of the World Trade Center, and how I remembered thinking that it took an enormous amount of varied talents and skills to design and build a structure that reached for the sky in such a blatant way. When I think of the World Trade Center, this is the picture I try to keep in mind.
On Tuesday, the Little Miss turned three years old. So for Throwback Thursday this week, I thought I’d give everyone something to smile about. Here is the adorable Little Miss about three years ago, one week after she was born.
I posted a similar picture on Twitter a little while ago, but I figured I’d share it here as well. This is another view of my makeshift writing space for this week. When you look at this picture, keep in mind that rumor that the writer’s life is a lonely, angst-ridden one where every word on the page is difficult, and finding inspiration is nearly impossible. We cultivate these myths carefully, and so far as you are concerned, they are absolutely true. You never heard any different from me.
I thought I’d go international for Throwback Thursday today, and take you to the ruins of the ancient theater in Miletus, Turkey, where I took a selfie in the 105 ºF heat, in the days before selfies were called selfies.
Summer might have started off gloomily here, but it made for great panda viewing weather early this morning at the National Zoo. I snapped this photo of one of those cute looking creatures, and I really like how it came out.