Blogging, C&I, and heat

It’s about time to get going on the “irrelevant” August issue of Cites and Insights that I’d been planning to do (in light of diminished “serious” reading in general during mid-summer). You know, the one where I “discuss and illustrate the typography and design of C&I (both the PDF and HTML forms)”–or at least that’s how I put it in the current issue.

But I haven’t started, and unless there’s a sharp break I’m probably not going to. The “sharp break” isn’t work related or even site related. It’s the weather.

I know, I know, it’s ghastly hot everywhere in the U.S., and living in paradise, I have no reason to complain. Heck, it’s only 94 degrees outside at the moment, or maybe 96 (except that we’re usually a couple of degrees warmer than the official measuring point in town); I’ve been through a lot hotter than that, particularly growing up.

There’s a little problem with living in paradise, where we very rarely get a string of 90-plus days (this is the sixth, I think): Houses around here typically don’t have air conditioning. Ours certainly doesn’t. So, right now, at 1:30 in the afternoon, it’s 83 degrees inside–and likely to keep moving up to at least 86 or 87, maybe higher before it’s cool enough outside to get any relief. (The outside temperature’s supposed to drop below 90 around 6 or 7 p.m.–but the roof and walls soak up heat, and what there is of an attic is too full of insulation to have an attic fan.)

Every morning this past week, the first thing I did on waking up at 5:30 was to open all the windows and doors, start the ceiling fans, and start the column fan. That typically helped to get the temperature down from 75 to 72, or 76 to 73, or…well, this morning it was 79 when I got up, and we never got the house below 78. At 9 a.m. It’s been 80 or above since 10:30. Sure, it’s not as bad as it is lots of other places–and I’m glad I’m here, not there.

The net effect of several days of unusually hot weather is much as it was just before ALA New Orleans (when we had a string of hot days, but not this hot): I get worn out. More specifically, I find concentrated mental effort difficult.

Oh, I suppose the return to full-time work has something to do with it as well: I was getting used to the extra (unpaid) ten hours a week for writing and relaxing.

But I think the major factor is the heat. I can make progress on the blog metrics: That requires very little mental effort, just lots of time. Of course, I’m looking at four times as many blogs this time around, which means a little more effort…but I can do a few, rest, do a few more, and move forward piecemeal.

Geez, I’m blathering here. Another effect of the heat (hey, it’s an excuse…)

Anyway: unless there’s a big break in the heat by Tuesday, there just won’t be an August issue.

Of course, even if there is such a break, I might skip the issue. The blog metrics process is really interesting–but also time consuming. I won’t link back to the three posts so far about that process; you can find them. I will say that the final set of blogs will definitely be “a bunch of librarian blogs from the great middle,” not an exhaustive survey or anything claiming great social significance. I’m now losing candidate blogs as I go along–some because they’re defunct, some because they’re too new, a couple because I can’t reach them in three tries over two days, one because the blogger didn’t write anything from March through May.

But I’m also dropping a few because I can’t run the metrics–either because the archives store each post in abbreviated form, or because you have to retrieve each post individually from a list of titles, or because the blog somehow resists efforts to highlight-and-copy more than one post at a time. Unfortunately, that includes one or two blogs I’d like to include. But since this is clearly “a couple of hundred liblogs” with no claim to exhaustiveness. it’s not worth the efforts.

I am, still, including non-English blogs. I may issue a call for help in translating a few key phrases (the blog’s motto, the name in some cases, and either one or two post titles) at some point, particularly for the Swedish, Danish, and other blogs where free machine translations are proving to be utterly useless. Stay tuned.

Oh good. Now it’s up to 84. Inside. At 1:50 p.m.

Followup Sunday 11:30: It did reach at least 100 yesterday (that’s the official number, but the weather location’s usually a couple of degrees cooler than we are). It peaked at 90 inside. This morning, it was 83 inside when I got up–and we never got it down below 81. It’s 84 now, inside, at 11:30 a.m. But it’s supposed to peak a few degrees cooler today, and we do see wisps of clouds in the distance. Of course, portions of the Bay Area hit 110 and above (it wasn’t too pleasant in Pleasanton at 113!)–but most people in those areas do have air conditioning. Now, if the power doesn’t go out…

Additional followup Monday 7:30: And here I was complaining about only getting the house down to 78 on Saturday! “A few degrees cooler” turned out to be one degree–at the somewhat-cooler spot where temps are measured, it “only” hit 99 yesterday–and the house got up to 91 inside. Which meant it was a lazy Sunday, but not a comfortably lazy Sunday… On the other hand, some clouds did creep in last night. Between that and getting up earlier to open everything up and the like, it was down to 79 (from 82 at 5:30) when I left for work at 6:45. Suddenly, that doesn’t seem so bad…

And today’s weather page provides an official definition for “heat wave,” at least around these parts: At least five days in a row of temperatures at least 10 degrees above normal in inland areas of the Bay Area. By that definition, we’re now in the 11th day–as, to be sure, is much of the rest of the country. I think it’s a bit cooler this morning, but that could be wishful thinking.

Current chances of C&I 6.10 coming out as an August issue: about 10%.

8 Responses to “Blogging, C&I, and heat”

  1. I can’t help with Swedish or Danish, but if you need help with any Spanish-language blogs and want something better than machine translation, I’d be happy to help.

  2. walt says:

    Thanks. I may take you up on that. At least one Spanish-language blog (from Chile) is part of the candidate pool… I’ll be in touch.

  3. CW says:

    Hi Walt, does it help to know that we in Western Australia swelter with the sorts of high temperatures you’ve been experiencing EVERY summer? And I don’t have air conditioning at home, so I know how it feels… I hope a cool front blows in for you soon!

    I’m looking forward to reading your survey once it’s done, though. If you need any help with any Chinese language, or Malay or Indonesian blogs (hoping that you’ve turned up librarians’ blogs in the last couple of languages in particular, because I certainly haven’t!), let me know!

  4. walt says:

    Hi CW,

    I guess I would assume that houses there are designed for sweltering temperatures, even without AC, although that may not be a safe assumption. The problem here is that they\’re not–e.g., we would have installed the more expensive double-pane windows with the special low-transmission rating if there was any reason to expect more than a handful of over-90 days, much less a big handful of 100+ days.

    [Addendum: Not Western  Australia–which we do need to visit some year–but I remember three days we spent on the East coast eight years ago, in Cairns, when the combination of heat and humidity was enough to start rotting sandals even inside the semi-air-conditioned hotel…but it was worth it for the Kuranda center and the Great Barrier Reef. Other than that visit, which we added at the end of a glorious two-week cruise starting in Auckland, I\’ve only been to Melbourne and Sydney in Australia. I know, I know, typical ignorant tourist–or in the case of the two earlier visits, typical busy speaker.] 

    Fortunately, the fog seems to be returning to the coast, and a cooling trend is starting. Got it down to 77 degrees this morning, and it never broke 90 inside yesterday and was at 85, not 90, at 10 p.m.: That\’s a big improvement, the difference between warm and sweltering. 77 is, of course, quite comfortable–pretty much ideal.

    I\’m just about halfway through the detailed \”research\” phase, losing some blogs along the way (for various reasons)(and I\’ll probably do a separate post about that). There weren\’t any blogs with nonroman titles in any of the directories, so I don\’t expect any Chinese language, and I don\’t believe there are any Malay. You have access to the same resources I used; I\’d guess that such blogs just aren\’t well known outside their local areas. (Actually, you can look at my Bloglines subscriptions to see whether there might be any Malay or Indonesian blogs in the candidates.)

    If I do, I\’ll certainly take you up on your offer. (But I\’m not adding new candidates at this point!)

  5. Darci Hanning says:

    Being married to a native Swede I can volunteer to help with translation of Swedish and Norwegian blogs; Danish might be a challenge though 😉

  6. walt says:

    Great! I’ll take you up on that, probably in two weeks or so… And thanks for offering.

  7. CW says:

    Walt, you’d be surprised how many houses here are NOT designed for heat and sunshine, and unfortunately mine isn’t. Still, we survive…

    Next time you come down to Australia PLEASE visit Perth! 🙂

  8. walt says:

    If and when we do get back to Australia, Perth is on the list, if it’s workable.