February 10th, 2009

facepalm

Groundhog Day Aftermath

You wouldn't think that the whole "obese rodent* sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter" thing would apply to California, would you?

After a brief warm spell right around Further Confusion at the end of January, we're back into 36F nights, 56F days, and rain two days out of three. In fact, we're getting more rain now than we had before GHD. Which is good; even if this keeps up until Spring really arrives, we'll still be well under our average rainfall. We need another flood year, dammit. We're due.

Yes, dagnabbit, 36F is cold enough to qualify as "winter", especially here, and especially three weeks after conversations about how "hot" temps in the mid-70s could feel in the middle of January.


*Not that obese rodent, this obese rodent. How did my LJ get to the point where I have to clarify the phrase "obese rodent", anyway?
big ideas

Fire and Cold?

That last post reminded me that we had an exceptionally long Fire season last year, lasting through most of the "Summer" and into early "Autumn". For months, the air in the Bay Area ranged from Unusually Smoggy to Choked With Smoke, and nearly everyone was coughing and dealing with sinus headaches -- even those who don't normally suffer allergies. Southern California, I understand, was as bad or worse.

Now, this "Winter", we've had both a stubborn strain of influenza and an exceptionally persistant strain of the common cold running around. The cold virus is one of those that hits, passes through the infectious sneezing-and-runny-nose phase fairly quickly... and then leaves you with lingering congestion and coughing up gobs of phlegm for weeks.

The 2007 strains were the classic "24-hour virus" -- sneeze sneeze sneeze, blow nose blow nose, wake up the next day fine. That was kind of a new experience for me.

It's tempting to draw a correlation between the constant respiratory irritation of the Fire season, and the continued, long-lasting respiratory irritation of this year's Cold season. Maybe weeks of smoke left our systems more sensitive to this year's virus.

The only hitch in that hypothesis is that, if the reports I'm hearing are correct, the Nasty Clingy Cold That Won't Go Away is spread across North America this year, not just the Golden State.


...smoke-induced viral mutation followed by transportation-mediated infection?