Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's August in Florida

There are many places in this nation where folks look forward to summer; it's time to go outside - maybe for the first time in months, enjoy warm, glorious days; garden, bike, picnic; maybe enjoy a book while lounging on the beach.  Nat King Cole's classic "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer" comes to mind.

That's not here.

When we first got an HDTV a few years ago, Mrs. Graybeard and I naturally spent most of our TV time searching out HD programming.  One of the first movies we watched was "The Chronicles of Riddick".  You have to understand this is not even particularly good scifi.  It's a fun movie to watch, it's a visual treat, it's a fantastic display of special effects perfect for HD, but don't pay too much attention to the story.  To quote a review, "Furyans, Necromongers, Elementals, The Underverse, the Threshold...it so clearly wants to be epic that it forgets to tie all of these disparate worlds, universes and civilizations into a coherent story. (Director) Twohy clearly makes the mistake of not realizing that there is a huge difference between being grand and being simply confusing and the more ideas that are introduced, the more lumbering it becomes…"  

A large portion of the movie, and one of the longest action sequences, takes place on the planet Crematoria (yes, all the names in the movie are that cheesy) .  Crematoria is a planet that has a tremendous temperature variation (probably an impossible amount) with daytime temperatures of 700C and night time temperatures far below zero.  When the sunrise terminator sweeps through, the force of the heat gales that come with it is literally enough to blow you apart, disintegrating flesh and blowing pieces off until you die.  There's a scene where a character (Purifier) destroys himself by walking into the sunrise terminator and self-immolating.  That's him trying to stand up to the gales while being set afire and having pieces of burning flesh blown off him. 
The first time I saw that scene, I said, "I've been out on days like that".  Mrs. Graybeard said, "Oh, yeah.  We've been out on our bikes when it's like that". 

And that's what life here in Central Florida is like in the summer, for August plus or minus a week or two.  Stay out of the sun.  Do your outdoor activities near sunrise or sunset.  Don't expose bare skin to the sun for longer than necessary - and even then, use sunscreen if you need to be out for any length of time (SPF 3 million is adequate).  Without air conditioning and mosquito control, a technological civilization could not exist here. 

2 comments:

LeverAction said...

I hear you, brother!

Stillwater, Oklahoma (where I live) is perhaps the hottest place in the country right now. Usually it gets hot in July and then becomes an oven in August, but this year June started in the upper 90's and we've seen maybe 2 or 3 days below 100° since the middle of June. We've already had 35 days over 100° and a 112° day earlier in the month, and next week's forecast shows 3 days of 110° or better. Its been hotter here than in Austin, Phoenix, or even Death Valley! (verifiable on weather.com) A lot of the time it stays in the 90's until well after midnight and the overnight lows are in the mid 80's - HOT!

Interestingly enough, this is the same type of weather pattern that settled in during the dust bowl years of the 30's (when most of the records we're breaking were set).

Why in the world did we ever settle in such places? (And I've often wondered how in the world anyone managed to live here before electricity and air conditioning - and it wasn't all that long ago for Oklahoma)

Stay cool!

Graybeard said...

To be honest, we've had it good here so far this year.

While the rest of the country has had the 100+ temps, I'm pretty sure we haven't had a single day over 100. I'm on the east coast, and we get a sea breeze virtually every day, so that it's usually pleasant by 7PM. Yeah, it's mid-80s, but it's nice weather for being outdoors.

I think the first settlers were hardy people. Around here, the areas along the beaches and waterways were settled first, and houses were built with a lot of easterly exposure for the sea breeze, with flow through ventilation.

When the air conditioner age started, it became a good idea to minimize window area to keep solar heat out, and housing developments put in a lot of houses with North/South orientation. That's the way mine is, and you get northerly breezes maybe two solid weeks out of the year. It has to be really cool and breezy for opening windows to work.