Sketch diary 1/16. Winter Exercise Don’ts

January 17th, 2007 | Sketch Diary

winter detail copy

That cartoon about the bugs in my bathroom was almost my last.

93 Responses to “Sketch diary 1/16. Winter Exercise Don’ts”

  1. Ellen says:

    At least you ended up with a cute EMT by your side. But, really, this is rather frightening. Build a fire and stay indoors for a couple of days. Okay?

  2. Norwegian Black Metal says:

    That’s what’s great about living up north. Wintertime fun can really turn around on you. What’s also fun is discovering a new ravine that you didn’t know about by taking the accelerated tour. Oh, and whistles don’t work in the deep woods, I found out. Yup. Life up north. I miss it. Lousy Manhattan. I imagine Vermont is even more fun than Central New York in terms of hills and stuff. Ooh, and coyotes! Ooh! and crazy weirdos in the woods! *sniff* I miss Ithaca.
    Oh well, we won’t have to worry about snow in 50 years anyways.

  3. Leslie says:

    Holy Mother of Maude, this is scary! I’m glad you’re ok. Now don’t do that again, mmmkay?

  4. Xanthe says:

    A cautionary tale indeed. Glad you’ve lived to tell the tale. But the last couple of sketches make me think you could perhaps do with a little more human company ?

  5. Ingrid says:

    it´s strange. I live in Munich close to the Alps, everybody does wintersports here normally. It seems that the Gods skip winter this year. Mild temperatures and no snow at all! Very scary. Never experienced this in my live.
    It´s strange that in other parts of the world poeple experience real winter with all its fun (and the dangers).
    I am glad that it didn´t end worse for you. Erhol dich gut (I don´t know how to say that in english, something like “get well soon”).

  6. Alex K says:

    Tja. How ever did you get from out in the middle of the Wild Wood, stoats and weasels and arrhythmias menacing you, and into the cozy den of Ms Badger, EMT? And why is she asking you that of all questions?

    Tja indeed. And tsk. Gute Besserung, mach keine Dummheiten! (Hallo Ingrid!)

  7. bronislava says:

    bloody hell, that does sound scary! still i imagine it’d be tops to go cross-country skiing at night. not that i’ve done anything remotely like skiing myself, but they say its fun. we don’t get too much snow in sydney – but then again, with this whole climate change business who knows what will happen? as ingrid points out… the weather has been really messed up lately. here at least people are (finally) acknowledging the impacts of climate change – though they still think building a desalination plant is a good idea (we have water problems too, but the desal plant is amazingly incredibly dodgy environmentally!)…

  8. Samia says:

    Dear me! That’s a very frightening experience. You must have been a pretty restless to have gone skiing at night all by yourself. How did the EMT find you?? Hope you are taking care of yourself. Stay warm now.

  9. Ian says:

    X-country skiing at night under a full moon sounds amazing, despite the unfortunate effects this time!!! I really hope you’re feeling better now? One consolation is that paramedic looks quite hot! I have this vivid image of Lois cruising her while she’s taking your pulse! This sketch diary really does bring back fond memories of Chloe B deSnail and Cleo Baldshein and their do’s and don’ts of Dyke etiquette.

    I’m jealous that you do have snow. It’s barely ever been below 10C or 50F so far this year – it feels like March, with a few gales. There are conflicting predictions on what’s due to happen in Britain. One has my coastal city of Liverpool as an island and the new capital city of Britain as London will be under 10 feet of water. The other forecasts the gulf stream slowing down and stopping so our weather turns to that of Newfoundland or Moscow. Maybe then I’ll get the chance to go Nordic skiing like I’ve always wanted to.

  10. VL says:

    Considering that skiing is a national sport around here, it is still not advisable in too cold conditions if you are not accustomed to it (thought locals are used to around -16 O C…)

  11. Eva says:

    Oy Gevault!

    Ditto to everyone wondering how you got from hail Marys to the EMT asking orientation question #1.

    How are you feeling today? Must be better or you wouldn’t have posted (never mind drawn) this cautionary tale.

    Grief is pretty weird sometimes, isn’t it?

    Back in mid December, after spending half the day looking at family photos (especially of my mother, who died a year ago) I decided I needed to do the laundry and go grocery shopping. I proceeded to back my car halfway down my driveway and (didn’t see it!) backed right into my neighbor’s mother’s parked car. Left a dent in her car and have yet to recover my dignity.

  12. little gator says:

    Speaking of losing one’s dignity in fron tof neighbors:

    I was being driven home after day surgery once, and was still vomitrocious from the anesthetic. They’d given me a tiny plastic puke tray to take with me which held about a tablespoon’s worth.

    I almost made it home but had to stop about 5 houses up from mine. The neighbors who never talk to us stood in their doorway and watched me annoint the street in fromt of their house with you-know-what.

    After that I was kind of releived they didn’t talk to us. And if I vere have day surgery again I’m keeping a bucket in the car that day.

    Alison-get better and tell us more when you feel like it.

    My mother always treated going into the woods like swimming. We could do it all we wanted but we had to use the buddy system and never go alone.

  13. Elaine says:

    OMG!! Alison, enough playing in the snow for a while!:)

    Theres 2 things about this I cant figure out:

    1) Is that 2 degrees Farenheit or Celcius?!
    2) If the cell phone dies at 2 degrees, how’d you call out the EMT ?

    Take care of yourself now

  14. Susan Stinson says:

    That sounds so dangerous and so frightening. Hope that you’re okay.

  15. judybusy says:

    Whoa! Too much adventure! Glad you made it out of the woods all right, and now you have another tall tale to tell. Inquiring minds wanna know: did you get the EMT’s number? (And yeah, it’s occuring to me we are all creating this little hottie in our minds. It can be hard to tell with drawings. And the woman might not even be family. But what a delicious ending it would make!)

  16. --MC says:

    You’re still alive, good. The accolades for “FH” continue, as Bailey Coy (Seattle) has released their list of best-selling books for the year 2006, and “FH” is #4. Just behind Annie Proulx, just ahead of Amy Sedaris, and far ahead of Kazuo Ishiguro, Augusten Burroughs, and Ellen Forney and Dan Savage — the last two are even locals!

  17. AnnaP says:

    I am so happy that you are ok! But also jelous of the snow.
    We hardly have any here,so no skiing.
    Usually there is loads of snow at this time of the year but
    now it has mainly been raining.
    Meteorologist on TV said that this is what the winters are going to be from now on,thanks to the global warming.
    Some years back I had a job translating some scientific articles on the subject and that is why I find the recent weather conditions really worrying.

  18. NLC says:

    Folks asked about the EMT’s question “What day is it?”

    This is the sort of standard, simple question that
    emergency responders ask to get a quick, first impression
    of how “alert” or “aware” (i.e. “coherent”) the patient is.

    (A useful bit of information to establish quickly in, for
    example, cases of possible hypothermia or –god forbid–
    circulatory/coronary problems.)

  19. mamacate says:

    Yipes, girl, I’m glad you’re okay.

  20. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oh, Alison Bechdel you didn’t!!!
    Geez…you were never a Girl Scout were you?
    (too busy hoping the Boy Scouts would let you in?)
    I’m Fed Ex-ing some vegan chicken soup with knadlach and a crocheted afghan…
    you stop this nonsense and take better care of yourself…
    or next I’ll Fed Ex not an afghan but maybe a German Shepherd or an Alaskan Husky to keep you company and outta trouble.
    I mean it!
    Aunt Soozie

  21. Aunt Soozie says:

    and then there’s FROSTBITE!
    You could have LOST A FINGER…or TWO!
    Lesbian cartoonists should not take chances with their digits.
    Okay, now I’m finished.

  22. Juliegrrl20 says:

    OMG!!! ALISON!!! Please be more careful!! What would we do without you??

    Aunt Soozie-send her a St. Bernard…. She aparently needs one!


  23. Kat says:

    good god, Alison!!!
    I’m so glad that you appear to be ok (hence being able to post….right??), but that sounds scary and unpleasant.
    I hope you’ve recovered!

  24. meg says:

    nice scary update and a good reminder why my favorite place these days is indoors… yes, it was nice to *finally* get some snow up here, and I understand the desire to take full advantage whilst it lasts *BUT* (and it’s a BIG ‘but’) –

    discretion is the better part of valour.

    Sheesh. Next time just shovel out your drive, ok? Quite enough winter fun, iffin you ask me.

  25. Duffi says:

    ALISON! This is terrifying! Aunt Soozie, please, a Husky or a Malamute posthaste!! Dear girl, grief does do funny things..where is your partner??? Please, please, get some extra sleep….and quiet….oh, if we had lost you!

  26. sturdy grrl says:

    sheesh is right.
    You have so many people who care about you and your smart dyke digits. Aunt Soozie says it all.(I think everyone needs an Auntie Soozie.) Be well, Ms. Bechdel!

  27. Deb says:

    Excellent scolding Soozie! ALISON! Good goddess girl! X Country skiing is wonderful at night but you must take someone with you! Do you have someone to check on you, even though you are *ahem* taking care of yourself…now? I’m so glad to hear you are safe and received help quickly! Please don’t do that again…..

    *Picture Mo…… profile delivering the scolding, her mouth hanging opened and all sorts of sweat drops above her head along with her eyes very wide opened!*

  28. Duncan says:

    Hm… I think that Mo would be scolding Alison for going cross-country skiing when Bush is bombing Somalia, people are dying in the midwest from the major storms there (and still without electricity days later, etc. etc. That’s more her style. Harriet, now, would be more focused on the immediate picture. Sparrow would be encouraging her to see the white light and reading her aura… All in all, this sounds like something Miriam the Magnificent Midwife would do; so now we know who Alison *really* identifies with.

    I’m guessing, hoping, that Alison made it back to her house and called the EMT from there. (Geez — “Lesbo Cartoonist Found Frozen in VT” is not a headline I want to read.) And Elaine, I think it’s a safe bet that the temperature was 2 degree Fahrenheit, not Celsius. For us northerners, 2 C (about 34 or 35 F) is light-jacket weather, and the skiing probably wouldn’t have been good since it’s above freezing.

  29. Squeako says:

    Alison, top marks on the fresh air and exercise, not so good on the near-death experience….
    By the way, was that paramedic helpful to you at all? Little bit concerned she didn’t know what day it was…
    Please be careful!

  30. marachne says:

    I’m glad you were ok too Allison….and the cartoon reminds me of the holiday card you made for Sarah about learning to deal with winter (two Californians in Minnesota–huge learning curve).

    About that “do you know what day it is? My nurse brain says that the EMT was assessing for level of consciousness–being oriented to person (whats your full name?), place (where are we right now), and time (what is today’s date?). Shock messes with mental processes, don’t ya know.

  31. cybercita says:

    gosh, alison,

    is all this grief and media attention and stress getting to you?? perhaps we should take up another collection and send you to hawaii, or at least to a massage therapist.

    hope you’re feeling better.

  32. Louise says:

    Big hugs to you, Alison, babe. Be extra kind to yourself. You’ve had a hell of a year, so much of it good, but you’ve been working and traveling nonstop, and your life has changed drastically. That isn’t easy to cope with. On top of that, you are grieving.

    Indulge yourself in as much rest, sleep, bodywork/massage, good food and good friends as you can. We love your work, but you (as a human sharing this planet with the rest of us) are precious and priceless. Your well-being comes first.

  33. Pooka says:

    Thank you, Goddess, that Alison is safe and sound.

    Holy Mother, our lives are surrounded by darkness. Please shine your light and warmth into our hearts and help us to bring peace to the world and comfort to those who still suffer.

    Jaya Sita Rama Bolo.

  34. little gator says:

    Another common EMT question is “hhow old are you?” During one ambulance ride I was tempted to answer “2 minutes older than the last time you asked.”

    Another question USAn EMTs ask is who is President. A firend of my mother’s once replied: ” I cant’ stand him and didn’t vote for him.”

  35. Jana C.H. says:

    Aunt Soozie–

    I dunno, an Afghan? They have lots of mountains, but aren’t known for their skiing. I’d send her a Norwegian instead, but go light on the lutefisk.

    Jana C.H.
    “Ya, sure, ya betcha!”

  36. Deb says:

    Yeah, it’s called, ‘orientation X 3’. We do it as part of our mental health intake. It explores the question of does the person knows who they are, where they are and the day it is. It gives emergency workers a small window into how their brain is working…….if they don’t score X’s 3…….then there may be some serious problems.

  37. Cindy says:

    Yikes! So GLAD you survived! I love your adventurous impulse, but not alone, not alone! Was that the first time for your arryhthmia?

    The cell phone needs to be kept next to your skin to keep warm–an old trick some photographers use in the winter with the camera batteries.

  38. jen says:

    In the vein of “two minutes older than the last time:

    I used to ski patrol and so sometimes you could be sitting with injured skiers for a bit before other help arrives (tobaggan to the base, ambulance from there) If the injuries involve the head then you have to keep re-assessing the level of consciousness (from good to bad: conscious, responsive to verbal, response to pain, unresponsive) & orientation (bring on the jokes) to event, time, place, person (Interestingly, people lose those in that order too so people tend not to remember what happened even for minor head injuries, but if they can’t remember who they are–either from the start or it develops then you’ve got problems like bleeding causing pressure in the skull).

    Anyways, people get sick of the usual “who are you”, “what day is it”, “who is the prime minister” questions and so we’d sometimes throw in “Is Mickey mouse a cat or a dog?” for variety. Which sadly doesn;t measure any of the factors but sure tested logic and reasoning and distracted from the routine stuff.

    By the way re: safety, as a (former) ski patroller I have to say…

    I’m totally reckless and probably would’ve been out on the trail solo at the same time. Risks are good, they help you determine (or redetermine) your boundaries and and the rush really lets you feel alive. That said, I’m glad you figured your way back to safety and asked for help. Feel better, Jen

  39. jen says:

    Oh yeah! there is a great book “Solo: On her own adventure” that is all travel stories of women travelling solo. I backpacked solo through Europe and it was great. Camping by yourself is so serene, as is skiing like you did. That said, there are things I won’t do, e.g.: trail running in the mountains around Canmore AB (cougars) or camping in spring near Lake Louise resort (bears). Only you can decide where the lines are. Did this experience push the envelope for you, probably (but you knew that before anyone here weighed in). Don’t let one close encounter stop you adventuring! Jen

  40. Xanthe says:

    Re what Jen was saying, I think it’s called the Glasgow Coma Scale (not sure if that’s a Brit or worldwide name for it)

  41. Jaibe says:

    She’s on a couch in the last frame, maybe she made it home & then used the land line. I personally have my cell phone on vibrate & always have it close too my body, but I haven’t tried this in 2F for an extended period.

    Watch the caffeine too — but I’m sure the nice doctor told you!

    I’ve had arrythmias before when I was out of shape, but the doctor assured me I’d be OK if I exercised and it wouldn’t happen. That would be so scary to have one while your heart is actually working hard! Thankfully I haven’t had one for years, I thought it was ’cause I exercise more reliably now.

    Tony Blair got hospitalized with one recently — electrodes in the heart, whole thing — at some summit where he drank too much coffee after working out I think.

  42. R says:

    mmh…i am going to say this and regret doing so the second i post it…re aunt soozie’s comment…’why are fingers/digits more valuable to LESBIAN artists…answers on a post 😉

    glad your safely back home

  43. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to alarm everyone. Or maybe I did…but in any case, I’m sorry. Since I couldn’t fit all the details into that cartoon and so many of you wondered how the EMTs got there, here’s the text version.

    When my heart thing (which I’ve had for years and is not life-threatening unless it happens in a remote area at near-zero temperatures) kicked in, I stopped skiing and waited for it to subside. But it was taking too long, and I started getting really cold. The lodge was a mile away, uphill. I tried to call the ski area but I couldn’t remember the number, and the low batter indicator was flashing on my phone. I tried directory assistance but they couldn’t find it. Then I got really nervous, and just dialed 911. I got as far as telling them the name of the ski area, and the phone went dead. At that point I knew I’d just have to go for it. So I put my skis back on and shuffled uphill, fast enough to keep my digits from freezing, but slow enough that I didn’t make my racing pulse worse. I wasn’t really saying Hail Marys, I was doing some kinda meditation breathing. It took me half an hour but I made it back to the lodge. My heart wouldn’t stop racing and I was pretty lightheaded and freaked out, so I told the guy at the desk and he called the ski patrol. It turned out that the 911 lady had somehow gotten my name from my cell phone and alerted the ski area—but they had no idea where to find me and weren’t looking. So the ski patrol called the ambulance. Sometimes I can disrupt the arrythmia with a shock, like throwing snow or water on my face. That hadn’t worked yesterday, but when I saw 5 EMTs coming at me with a gurney, it scared the shit out of me and my heart promptly went back to normal.

    And no, I will never do that again.

  44. meg says:

    “And no, I will never do that again.”

    Thank Peep!

  45. Elisablue says:

    I certainly do hope you will never do that again !!!

    * stern look *

    * sourire *

    take care

  46. Red Genie says:

    Asking what day it is?… that can be part of the EMT evaluation on a person’s panic level… the next question is usually who’s the president of the U.S. but that would really make your heart race. Glad this is not your last comic either…

  47. Deb says:

    Alison! Thank the goddess you are fine. Glad to hear you will behave, at least in that area. We don’t want you behaving in any other area though……………..*smiles and hugs to you*

  48. Duncan says:

    I suppose the proper response now would be a photo of all us, doing our stern schoolmarm look. But great relief that you’re okay, Alison. That relief often produces the stern schoolmarm look to cover the hysteria.

  49. Tera says:

    okay the text version of the story was even more frightening. It must have been so scary being all alone with a medical condition and no working phone. I am so glad you are okay. Please take care of yourself!!!

  50. mysticriver says:

    Hoo boy – glad you’re okay! Take care!

  51. Maggie Jochild says:

    Alison, thanks for the text version, and for remaining level-headed once you’d realized you’d made a mistake. Far more important than never making a mistake.

    Re the tests of cognition and awareness — two years ago I had a work-up by a wonderful leftie neurologist, whose politics slowly emerged during our consultation. She told me that as a test of “current events knowledge” a few years ago, she tried asking patients “What country did we declare war on to find the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks?” She had to abandon this question, however, when EVERYBODY began answering “Iraq” instead of “Afganistan”. Our national delusion, fostered by the Madness of George. (By the way, we should all read Jane Smiley’s essay this week on the exact nature of W’s mental illness.)

    In the mid 1980s, a butch friend of mine got into an altercation at the Bay Bridge toll plaza when a guy in the truck behind her freaked out because she wasn’t moving her motorcycle ahead fast enough in stalled traffic. When he began laying on his horn, she calmly got off her bike, took off her helmet, and walked back to talk with him — grinning, as she always did. He, however, no doubt took in her butchness, got out of his truck and cold-cocked her, then managed to escape despite the stalled traffic. Nobody helped her until EMS arrived, called by the toll booth operator. She had a concussion and the hospital wouldn’t release her until I showed up and signed her out. They told me I had to keep her awake a certain number of hours, then wake her up every hour during the night and ask her three questions: Her name, the date, and the name of the President. She was headachy and would not take anything besides aspirin because she was a recovering addict, so by the time I let her go to sleep, she was fairly cranky. I set my Casio watch and tried to sleep in fits. But the third time I shook her awake, she sat bolt upright and screamed at me “Ronald Fucking Reagan!” After that, I let her sleep. She survived.

  52. Maggie Jochild says:

    Whoa, Susan Stinson reads this blog! Susan, you RULE. I’ve LOVED your work ever since Fat Girl Dances With Rocks. Plus the photo of you at your website is seriously hot.

  53. sunicarus says:

    Susan Stinson. Cool. I just read “Venus of Chalk”. I have a good friend who moved to Beaumont, TX about 4 months ago. She is a DTWOF. I sent her on her way with your book and Molly Ivins in tow. On “Venus of Chalk”~especially liked the Willendorf soap! Looking forward to checking out your other work.

  54. shadocat says:

    I’m glad you’re okay-and no need to apologize:we just care about you, you big nut! BTW, the foot is just fine (mostly). It was over 30 years ago, and unlike you, I was a in a bit of a “comprimised” condition, so I probabaly had it coming…

    Sray warm.

  55. shadocat says:

    Geez Maggie-you know everybody! I thought I read a lot, but you must read in your sleep! When else would you have the time?

  56. AnnaP says:

    Only reading your detailed posting on what happened made me realise that you really were in actual danger.
    Please take good care of yourself and your heart.

  57. C.C. says:

    OMG!!! Thank heavens you are ok.

  58. shadocat says:

    good lawd-I meant “stay warm” not “sray warm”! I wouldn’t have the first idea how to “sray warm”, (maybe I was in a “comprimised condition ” last night too?) Guess white wine and blogging just don’t mix well…

  59. Elaine says:

    Blood.Y. Hell.

    That still sounds like a pretty close shave Alison!

    & thanks Duncan,for putting me right on the Farenheit thing- in Britain we’re not familiar with Farenheit, or have any concept of how cold that must be!! 😉

  60. blessoblige says:

    Holy cow! This sketch scared the daylights out of me! My heart was pounding at the thought of losing my favorite artist and favorite writer, to carelessness and lonliness, no less.

    I may be wrong, but wouldn’t putting your cell phone against your warm skin have improved the battery life? I know it would be extremely uncomfortable, but once the phone warmed up, I think it would have worked better.

    And (I’m embarrassed to ask this in front of Alison) doesn’t AB have a lover? I thought I remembered a post ages ago with a link to her partner’s explanation of why they weren’t going to get married. I’ve searched and can’t find it, given that the index of archives is rather subjective. But when Julia died, there was no mention of a grieving partner. And now she’s looking for companionship with a bug and a spider. Then she’s out in the cold all alone in the middle of the night. Did they break up and I missed that post? Is this too personal to ask?

  61. Nora says:

    Another ‘orientation question’ story: when my grandmother had her stroke (just a few years ago), the nurse at the hospital asked her to name the president. My granmother, the sweetest sort of southern belle you can imagine, who never speaks I’ll of *anyone*, lay back on her pillow and sniffed, “I know who he is, and I choose not to speak his name.”

    Yup, she was fine. And she has many times since delclared that she is not leaving this earth until George W is out of office. Which almost makes me wish for a Jenna presidency, so that I could have my grandmama around forever.

    Anyway, glad you’re alright Alison. Take care of yourself, out there in the vast wilderness (someone needs to invent a cell phone cozy that keeps the batteries warm!).

  62. Duncan says:

    You’re welcome, Elaine. But didn’t England go metric relatively recently? (I’m showing my age here, of course; if it was in the 60s, I’d call that “recently.” 9-)

  63. shadocat says:

    Ummm-blessoblige; just a short FYI-Alison is single now.

  64. R says:…resistance to change!!! Still trying to get over the fact we no longer have an Empire, must PM the Queen about Canada & you Americans might say i think she needs ‘closure’!

  65. Rohmie says:

    Off topic, the actress who plays Fran in “Black Books” looks just a *tad* bit like Alison. Alas, none of the characters are gay, despite the impression left by this episode:×01

    But then, there’s always subtext.

    You can view all three seasons on-line here:

  66. louise says:

    well, Star and US Weekly have seriously disappointed me in their deficit of juicy coverage of the Bechdel-Rubin breakup. They don’t know the market share they’re missing out on by not flying some paparazzi up to Vermont to cover the issues that matter in my world.
    There was an interview posted on this blog in which the issue in question was actually mentioned but I can’t seem to find it anymore.

    Gossip has its benefits and drawbacks… I’m shy and if I’m in a group situation where people don’t know me yet, I tend to come out to the biggest loudmouth first in the hope that they’ll kind of take care of the tedium of outing for me. This never works.
    If only this blog was less lovely and open and inclusive, there might be a market for a sensationalist, unauthorized official fan website full of awesome unsubstantiated rumors like one-night stands with hot EMTs and answers to intrusive burning questions such as what Alison’s next graphic novel will be about. That seems like it would be more tactful than discussing her personal life here under her nose. At any rate, when she chooses to, she certainly opens up on her own terms. We care about how she’s doing and at the same time want to respect her boundaries. But I think if she is going to go skiing alone, after dark, in life threatening temperatures anymore, we maybe should arrange for some paparazzi to trail her. 😉

  67. Duffi says:

    Ah, all my questions answered. The text version was more terrifying because of all the detail. I join with the group here in giving you the stern schoolmarm look, Alison, which covers my panicked and slightly weepy relief. I am so grateful you are OK. Many blessings, much quiet recovery time, and a smooth trip to France for you.

  68. Ovidia says:

    So you were actually saved (from cardiac arrythmia episode) by the sight of 5 EMTs coming at you with a gurney?!

    So glad you are all right! Please feel free to alarm/ terrify us in future as long as the final panel has a happy ending… much better than reading headlines ‘Religious Fundamentalists claim God struck down LesBio Cartoonist to express His Displeasure over Time Magazine Choice’

    Though you’re never going night ski-ing alone in near-zero temperatures ever again, if you do, would you consider a GPS locator watch? I know–Big Brother meets Big Mother… but if you only wear them on solo night ski trips…

  69. RES says:

    Alison – Very glad that you’re safe and that the scary experience has now joined many others as fodder for your art. Trust us though: your prose narrative did not make us worry less . Although a great relief to learn that the Hail Mary bit was fictionalized. As for 911 ‘finding’ you even though your phone’s battery kicked the bucket mid-call…well, I guess there’s an upside to our general loss of privacy in this country.

  70. Julia says:

    Look Alison, I don’t mean to be bossy or overstep my bounds…but could you please NEVER DO THAT AGAIN? I would be very sad if something bad happened to you.

  71. Amy in Madison says:

    Alison, I think you did awesomely with the meditation breathing and the decision to go for it and get back to the lodge instead of waiting! I used to do winter search and rescue (northern New Mexico) and have been in some tight scrapes myself. For sure you have a survivor’s mentality and when the shit hit the fan you got yourself out of there safely!

    It’s interesting how in the wilderness, risks we take every day in the city that typically have no major ramifications can rapidly turn into scary situations, especially when we’re alone. I’m so glad you are safe and you converted your arrhythmia when you saw the EMTs.


  72. Suzanonymous says:

    I went online, in Great Hopes of a New DTWOF, only to find out that we almost lost the cartoonist! OMG! Very very glad you are okay!

    What I assumed from the cartoon was you passed out, someone found you, carried you to some couch somewhere and called 911, and you were barely conscious as the EMT arrived. Yes, I can see it’s hard to convey all the details in a sketch, thanks for clearing it up. I noticed, in my alarm, that a look seemed to be frozen on my face. This was going on long enough I actually went to look in the mirror: I seemed kinda schoolmarmish I guess, one of those “WHAT are you DOING?!” looks. (But I must admit I am often doing risky things alone, so I would not actually be saying that.)

    I’m impressed with your level-headed approach to the emergency. Take Care.

  73. Revcat says:

    Thank Godde you are okay, Alison! Wow! I send warm and light and blessings.

    On another note, another orientation story. Several years ago, after surgery, my (now 76 year old) father, a life-long active democrat who is starting to have some memory problems, was asked the standard questions. When they got to who is president he said “I don’t remember his name, but I know he is a shit!” They called his girlfriend to make sure he was okay, and she said “yeah, he’s fine!”

  74. Matt says:

    OK, please don’t die. I have so few fun comics to read as it is. Glad you’re OK.

  75. shadocat says:

    Alison, I hope didn’t lecture before-I really think you handled the situation quite well.

    Here’s my own near human popsicle story:

    I was 19 years old. I was not always the gal I am today. Now, when I get the urge to exercise, I usually lie down until it goes away. But back then, I biked, hiked, swam–I was invincible! (or so I thought).

    Went to a party one January night with a buddy about a mile from home. She hooked up with someone there; could I find a ride home? I said no problemo, go ahead, have fun.

    When I wanted to go home, I decided to hike it-I’d done it a dozen times before. However, I had neglected to consider the negative aspects to this decision, They were:

    1) It was 1 a.m.

    2) The temperature was in the single digits

    3) I have asthma, and there was a stiff wind blowing (aggravates it)

    4) At the party we had been drinking a berverage called “Skippin’ Buck Nekkid” It’s 2 main ingredients are pink lemonade and grain alcohol. Need I say more?

    5) My right hiking boot had a crack in the sole.

    6) Cell phones had not been invented yet.

    Halfway home, I had to change my route to avoid some creepy looking guys I saw down the road. I cut across a field, which took twice as long. I finally found a neighbor’s house, knocked on the window and asked “Could you call my mom for me?”, before I blacked out.

    End result? Some frostbitten toes, which still tingle at times,due to nerve damage.

    What did I learn–I don’t hike alone after midnight-especially if I’m cold or snockered.

    I never drink any brew mixed in a plastic trash can.

    Frostbite and hypothermia really, really suck, and can make you walk funny for a long time.

  76. Maggie Jochild says:

    I know I shouldn’t be laughing, Shadocat, but my god, you tell it so well. And here’s the tip I liked the best: Never drink any brew mixed in a plastic trash can.

    Reminds me of a lesson I somehow had to learn as a teenager: Never challenge the local track star to a foot race while (a) drunk on homemade wine and (b) wearing high-heeled snakeskin go-go boots.

    I don’t drink at all now, or wear girl shoes. But the learning curve never stops all the same.

  77. AnnaP says:

    I wish the entire world would use good old metric system, I have experience on baking using American recipes and it seem really unlogical.
    And mister celcius had the common sense to mark the freezing point of water as 0 C and boiling point as +100 C unlike his foreign colleagues who used things like ultimate freezing point that is something strange to common people like me.
    How cold is 2 degrees anyway?

  78. Pam I says:

    AnnaP – simple: Tc = (5/9)x(Tf-32); Tc = temperature in degrees Celsius, Tf = temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.
    So 2degrees F = minus 16.7 degrees C.
    No idea where that 32 to 212 F scale came from. I still think in F and only know 68F=20C as that’s what you process film at. Unless you’re in a hurry…
    At 2F my nose would fall off. We don’t do winter here any more.

  79. Larissa says:

    Anna, 2 degrees farenheit (i dont know why we insist on using farenheit – i could go off about american cultural imperialism but i’ll stick to the point) is -17 degrees celsius.

    butt cold, as we say here in california, where we utterly freeze when it gets to 0 celsius… which it is now… brr.

  80. Ginjoint says:

    Alison, after I read this sketch, I immediately scrolled down, down, skipping past other comments and looking for your pumpkin-colored name, hoping for more of an explanation. Thanks for giving one. This REALLY scared me…I thought you had maybe passed out in the snow. Alone. {Ginjoint dives under her blanket}

  81. Aeolus says:

    This is pretty far off-topic, but:

    If you don’t want to do the all math, but only want
    to get a rough notion of what the temperature-report
    means, just remember the following (approximate) numbers
    and use them to make reasonable estimates.

    37dg C = 98.6dg F [body temperature]
    0dg C = 32dg F [freezing point of water]
    -18dg C = 0dg F [pretty darn cold]

    So, AB’s “2dg F” means that it’s
    “a little bit above -18dg C”.

    Or, if you hear that it’s “65dg F”, another way of
    saying that is “it’s about half-way between the
    freezing-point of water and body temperature”.
    Or it’s “about 18dg C”.

    Again, this isn’t exact, but it’s good enough
    to give you a pretty good gut-feeling of what the
    temperature means.

    (P.S. Extra credit: -40dg C = -40dg F.)

  82. Angi says:

    Alison, please don’t ever do that again. I can’t imagine life without you, DTWOF, Fun Home and anything else that you might produce in the next 75 years.

  83. Greta Christina says:

    So very, very glad you’re okay. Whew. What a fright.

    Back in the ’90s, I got kicked in the head at dance practice, and my nurse practitioner girlfriend came over to wake me every two hours and ask me weird questions. I did fine with “Spell ‘world’ backwards” and “count backwards from 100 by sevens,” but when she asked who the President was, I messed up and said it was George Clinton.

    The President of Funk-land!

  84. shadocat says:

    Greta- I loved that! (still laughing…)

  85. Jana C.H. says:

    As I understand it, Herr Farenheit intended 100 degrees to equal human body temperature. He got pretty close.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  86. shadocat says:

    Maggie , I have been giggling all evening imagining you in those snakeskin go-go boots…

    I for one, had a pair in the classic white–during my “mod” period.

    Ya know, all those girlie shoes did more damage to my feet than the frosbite did–I blame Nancy Sinatra.

  87. Ellen Orleans says:

    When I was traveling in Australia, I received this advice:
    Double the Celsius amount, then add 30. Works pretty well, as long as you steer clear of the higher and lower ranges.

    During a summer class at Harvard, the professor gave this opinion:
    The English system of measurement is all about dividing quantities easily among people. Metric is about multiplying.

    Hence, you can easily a gallon of milk into 4 quarts, 8 pints or 16 cups. A liter, you soon fall into 2.5’s and 1.25’s. Not as elegant.

    Similarly, you can divide a dozen eggs among 2, 3, 4, or 6 individuals. You can evenly split 10 eggs with just 2 or 5 people.

    Or, you can whip up scrambled eggs and make everyone happy.

  88. Gwen says:

    I would scold you, but back when I had a jogging habit, I once managed to jog in the August heat until I passed out. Learned a lesson from that one. Hope you do the same from your experience.

  89. katt says:

    shoot! damn! i am GLAD you are o-kay!! I had some friends who climbed a rocky mountain in a lightening storm once, too! oy! well, no worries, i won’t be trying it! take good care o’yrself now. . ..

  90. pkintheuk says:

    Thanks for the Black books link! I also find that woman (whose name I can neither pronounce nor spell) quite cute and have developed a TV-crush on her. Also, great to have the link so I can share the show with my GF back in the states. I thought of her immediately when i saw the first episode (because of the little book of calm thing, not because of Tamzin(sp?)).

  91. paracelsus says:

    I’m coming in late on this Fahrenheit/Celsius thing, but I’ll drop this in for anyone still reading this thread:

    Fahrenheit chose 0 degrees as the freezing point of seawater (or water with salinity close to seawater) and then made 32 degrees the freezing point of fresh water.

    So why 32? Why not 10, or 20, or some other multiple of 10? Because he kept reducing the amount of salt by half: 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, and finally 1/32, by which time the water was darn close to fresh.

    Useless information courtesy of your friendly neighborhood high school teacher.

  92. wilka says:

    Oh man! I was told something completely different: that 0 degrees F was selected as the coldest temperature that they could get in the lab at the time, and 100 deg was blood temperature, on that basis if you divide the intervening space into 100 points, freezing level just happens to be at 32.
    Tho’ celsius seems to be far more rational in its important landmark temperatures, with water melting at 0 deg and freezing at 100.
    Just to add to debate.

  93. Tim T. says:

    One quick way I sometimes transpose Farenheit to Celsius (or “centigrade” as I learned it about 50 years ago and still tend to think of it) is to remember that 82 Farenheit approximately equals 28 Celsius (digits reversed), and 61 Farenheit just about equals 16 Celsius. Hope this is useful…