Tag Archives: cold


I mentioned last week that -3 Fahrenheit doesn’t seem that cold to me anymore. Well, this week it got colder. The coldest it’s been in Wisconsin in more than two decades, the coldest temperatures I’ve ever experienced. When I walked home from the gym on Wednesday it was -22F. That, reader, is cold. You don’t notice it for the first few minutes because you still have residual heat in your body from being inside. But at -22F your fingers start to get cold and numb inside your gloves and your toes inside your boots. My walk was about ten minutes. I could have handled twenty. But probably not thirty.

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The future belongs to colds

Mrs. Q, CJ, and I are all battling a vicious cold, the champion of all the rhinoviri locked in Darwinian struggle at CJ’s daycare. We’ve all been sick for a week with no recovery in sight.

This made me think of a good conceit for a science-fiction movie. It’s easy to imagine evolutionary pressure producing a species of endemic, non-lethal, antibiotic-resistant bacteria that colonize the upper respiratory tract. In other words, in the future, everyone has a cold for their entire life.

It’s actually interesting to think about what the effects on society would be. Some would be trivial (boxes of tissue everywhere; increased popularity of very strong-smelling and spicy food, the only kind people can really taste; renaissance of instrumentals in pop music since singing has become essentially impossible) and some serious (increased infant mortality, easier spreading of more dangerous bugs with the whole population coughing all the time.)

Any more?

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I thought I’d learned how the weather works up here. But until yesterday I didn’t know there was such a thing as an icequake.

I missed it by about ten minutes — apparently the whole math building shook.

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So good to be back home again

It’s a great and simple pleasure to be back in our house, and our regular routine, after a period of extensive and hurriedly arranged travel — between Dec 26 and Jan 18 I slept away from home 14 out of 24 nights, split between London, Chicago, Columbus, and Stanford.

Even though it’s cold. Really cold. It was minus 10 yesterday when I took CJ to daycare — that’s the coldest weather I’ve been out in since I moved to Wisconsin. For my non-Wisconsin readers, minus 10 is a little like this. Your face starts to get stiff and you find yourself unconsciously rolling your jaw around in order to keep it limber. The knob on your car radio is hard to turn, and the tape player won’t run at constant speed. You don’t have to scrape your windshield, because what snow does fall is so dry it brushes right off. But all the moisture inside the car freezes hard onto the interior windows, so you get in, start the car running, turn the heater to full blast, and start chipping — I can now do the scrape/melt combo in about 10 minutes.

This weekend it’s getting up past 30, and I, for one, have some sunbathing planned.

And now, the Tourists, featuring Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart before they formed the Eurythmics, performing their 1980 single “So Good To Be Back Home Again.”

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