July 8th, 2010 | Uncategorized

I wish I were blogging about something highminded like today’s anti-DOMA decision in MA. But I really just wanted to show you this interesting photo I took three weeks ago. I had intended to take a photo of the cat, but I inadvertently got Holly and me in it too in an unposed triple portrait. I like Holly’s big halo. The really interesting thing is that even though this was taken on June 15th, I’m wearing a down vest, Holly’s got a fleece jacket on, and the cat is seeking out the heat of the laptop. Tonight it’s a different story. The cat’s splayed on the tile floor trying to cool down. Holly is wearing, I swear to god, a gauze india print dress. All the fans are on.
Photo on 2010-07-08 at 22.23 #2
I’m very annoyed because I just spent half an hour on the phone with the satellite tv people. Holly’s been obsessed with this LeBron James thing for weeks, and tonight was his big announcement but at 9pm the tv wouldn’t work. The technician at Dish Network was having trouble diagnosing my problem because he was so distracted watching LeBron James on tv deciding to go with the Miami Heat. Heat? What kind of a name is that for a team anyway?

54 Responses to “heat”

  1. Cheryl says:

    103 in Lock Haven today

  2. Ready2Agitate says:

    LeBron who?

    What we’ve been doing: -> shower, jump in bed wet, put fan on full blast, sleep, wake, repeat, until dawn.

    90 degrees at 9am is kinda harsh, but tonight it’s a mite cooler. Love the contrast provided in the photos!

  3. Kate L says:

    You guys need a distraction, and quick! Will Rachel Maddow’s high school graduation photo do? You’re welcome!

  4. Alex K says:

    Blonde Rachel? Yeah, I’d do her **reaches forward, grasps pearls, and draws RM into long, lingering, deep, passionate kiss**. Or is that just the heat talking?

    We’re back in the high sixties – low seventies today here in London. For a little while at the beginning of this week the thermometer was flirting with the low eighties. Grannies in picturesque villages were photographed as they sought relief sitting up to their necks in picturesque duckponds. Bans on garden-watering were imposed. Global warming was re-invoked. Train and Tube services sagged and failed as rails buckled (feathers tickled, geese cackled, beets pickled).

    Now that it’s cooled off again… well, with fewer people collapsing from heatstroke in the streets, the tabloid geese have had to find something else to cackle about, which is the High Court’s decision earlier this week that Teh Gayz will no longer be refused human-rights asylum. “Homosexuals must not be denied their opportunities to drink brightly coloured cocktails, attend Kylie Minogue concerts, and discuss young men with their best girlfriends,” wrote the Lord Justice in his opinion. You go, Your Lordship! Probably the Royal Courts of Justice, like most public buildings in London, aren’t air-conditioned — maybe heatstroke has subtler forms than we generally appreciate…

    At any rate, the queue for wannabe Brits is about to get longer and, one hopes, considerably more stylish. That is, if the weather here doesn’t convince potential refugees that they’d be better off at home.

  5. Ian says:

    @Alex K: You missed out, “sitting in saunas having furtive fumbles” as well. Apparently the Daily “We still can’t believe Diana is dead” Express had quite a controversial headline when it reported the story. Still, anything that causes the editorial team at the Daily Hate to go into conniptions can’t be all bad can it?

  6. Alex K says:

    @5 / Ian: Sauna-sitting furtive fumbles? Fie! Fumble forthrightly! Forsooth, flagrantly! Show society!

    Ginger and Samia in the restaurant. That’s MY idea of a good time. PDA is just the start.

    That said, I seem to have missed the GAY SHAME celebrations again this year. The heat, no doubt.

  7. Ian says:

    More mad news from Britain: the patriarchy have found another way to stifle women’s sexuality. According to the Daily Mail, masturbation can now kill:


  8. Renee S. says:

    @ Ian #7

    When it’s time for me to die, I can’t think of a better way to go.

  9. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ian (#7), Renee (#8)

    I’m with Renee on this. Although I’d probably prefer to go from the attentions of a lover than a sex toy, it’s better that a person is not traumatized by the death of a partner during sex. I also love how the cat was sitting on top of the poor deceased woman. Reminds me of lines from Margaret Atwood’s poem “February”:

    In the pewter mornings, the cat,
    a black fur sausage with yellow
    Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
    to get onto my head. It’s his
    way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
    If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
    he’ll think of something. He settles
    on my chest, breathing his breath
    of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
    purring like a washboard.

    Now about the heat and fleece jackets… folks look at me strangely when they see me carrying a fleece jacket to work in July. Little do they know that I spend a considerable amount of time in overchilled computer rooms that could double as meat lockers. Typical temp is somewhere between 62 and 68 F (17 to 20 C). During this week’s heat wave in the US Northeast, commercial and industrial electric customers were under usage curtailment orders from the electric power grid authorities, meaning they had to make specified percentage cuts in power usage between certain hours.

    Typically, that means that building managers raise airconditioning setpoints to a higher temp, shutdown some elevator banks, shutoff some HVAC chillers and air handlers, reduce lighting levels, shutoff non-essential devices, etc.

    A genius building manager decided to shutdown one of the two very large airconditioning units for a computer room on the day NYC temp hit 103 F (39 C). It only took about an hour for the room temp to hit 107 F (42 C). As you can imagine, this was not good for the servers, some of which shutdown gracefully, and others which simply crashed.

    This, of course, is where I came in. The computer room was like a sauna, unbelievably hot. They tried to get the A/C unit started, and it wouldn’t run. No way I could restart banks of servers in that heat, and I was hoping that the servers that crashed didn’t corrupt Oracle databases in the process. Management panic ensued, along with a fair amount of blame avoidance (building manager now claimed the A/C unit failed, instead of the truth that they stupidly shut it off). They wheeled in their so-called contingency solution, a 2-ton portable A/C unit (commercial A/C are rated in tons of cooling, not BTU), and a bunch of fans. This was like spitting on a forest fire, the two A/C units for this room were 20 tons each, and only one was running, nowhere near enough capacity on a blisteringly hot day.

    After they finally got the second A/C running, it took a few hours to get the room temp down to the low 80s, where I could safely restart a few servers, and it wasn’t until 14 hours later that I could get everything running, even though temps were in the mid-70s, still too high (it takes a very long time for A/C to cool down all the objects in a room, they radiate heat and raise the air temp).

    Thirty hours later I finally went home, hit the shower, and hit the bed still wet. I dreamed of cool San Francisco summers, my absolute favorite place to spend time in the dog days of summer. Then I awoke to another bunch of steaming days in the Big Apple. I wished it would rain.

    (… goes back to another day of schvitzing and attempting to keep my electrolyte levels normal …)

  10. Fester Bestertester says:

    Renee(#8), HOH(#9):
    […] I can’t think of a better way to go.

    I’m mostly with you here…

    …except for the part about being found by my neighbor and my boss.

  11. Renee S. says:

    #10 Fester -I don’t care who finds me at that point. Makes an interesting eulogy.

    #9 HOH-love the appropriate Atwood poetry

    -please keep up your electrolyte levels!

    -your idiot managers see to always find a way to top their idiocy. (I’m imagining HOH’s managers running around screaming, “I’m an idiot!”… “No, I’m a bigger idiot!”…”No, me, me, I am the biggest idiot!”)

  12. Ruth in RI says:

    That is an awesome photo. At first I just saw your title, “Heat,” and I thought, “Is Holly out of her mind, wearing long sleeves?”

    (We’re wearing long sleeves in Colorado today. There’s snow on Pike’s Peak. But I’m staying awake nights worrying when we get back to Rhode Island we’ll find all our plants dead and all our possessions melted.)

  13. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Coming out of the gym yesterday after aerobics workout, like to melted on the blacktop! Talk about topping off the electrolytes!

    HOH, I hope people look at you strangely when you AREN’T carrying a fleece jacket!

  14. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee (#11)

    My management foodchain could be contestants in Monty Python’s “Twit of the Year.”


    (… goes back to watching her mesmerizing retirement calendar count down the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, waking hours, weekends, all while sipping orange juice and eating a banana …)

  15. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry (#13)

    Uhhh yeah, they look at me strangely no matter what.

    (… goes back to munching on the rest of her breakfast, a scrambled egg sandwich with lots of Tabasco …)

  16. Calico says:

    #9 – Man, it’s hot.
    Servers hate heat – what a brilliant thing the building mgr. did.
    I’ve even been running a fan on my stack PC for the last 4 days – it seems to appreciate it as it was whining and flipping out the other day, but it has pretty much returned to normal now.

  17. freyakat says:

    Yep, it’s quite something here on the Upper West Side in good old NYC….

    I could hardly move after my 1 1/2 hour-long yoga class this morning, a class to which I returned after a week-long absence due to the truly debilitating summer cold. Incipient electrolyte imbalance (nipped in the bid, I think), complete exhaustion, sweat-covered body, complete lassitude…

    Hey anyone, remember how fun it was when the subways were not air-conditioned?…..How did we do it back then?

  18. Kate L says:

    (Alex K #4) Yeah, I was thinking those same thoughts, when suddenly I saw that Dr. Rachel Maddow had graduated high school in 1990. I was already a doctoral candidate back then!!! Rachel Maddow is, quite literally, young enough to be my daughter!!!! I’m going to have go curl up in a dark corner and think about this…

    At least, I can still imagine freyakat in her yoga class (#17). Unless she’s a young one, too!!!!!!!!

    Oh, btw, back in the day I communted by un-air conditioned bus in the New Orleans summer heat and humidity. And, I had to walk a mile through snow to get to school. Just not at the same time. Or place!

  19. Kat says:

    “Hey anyone, remember how fun it was when the subways were not air-conditioned?…..How did we do it back then?”

    yeah, that’s called Paris, 2010. Even on the new trains on the lines that go out to the suburbs….don’t get it!

    I went to a really fun exhibition yesterday at the “Cité de l’architecture et de la patrimoine”(architecture) yesterday.
    It was “Architecture and the Comic Book”, and it looked at how cities and architecture figure into, and are treated by, comic books and their authors.

    It was really interesting, and I had a good time (and no, not just because it was air conditioned!), but I was sad when the “In the last decade, comics have moved out of the 48-page comic book format, and authors are increasingly writing ‘graphic novels'” section didn’t even mention Alison. Boo.

    Even though cities don’t seem to feature prominently into Alison’s work, I would think that Fun Home would be a fascinating work to look at for questions of architecture.

    Actually, the only woman mentioned in the whole damned exhibit was Marjane Satrapi (unless you count the french comic book character Adele Blancsel)……that was annoying.

    It was still interesting, and I liked the notion put forth by one author that each box on the page in a comic represents both a moment in time AND a physical space. It’s pretty obvious, but I’d never thought of it like that before.

  20. Kat says:

    Oh, and Alex K and any other Londoners:

    Interested in meeting up for realsies? I’ll be in London from the evening of the 18th till the morning of the 22nd. Pub? Lunch? Anyone?

  21. Ginjoint says:

    Yeah Kat, considering how Alison’s house figured into the telling of Fun Home, that’s an awful omission.

    And Holly as housefrau! {evil cackle}

  22. Ian says:

    @Kat(20): When you come to London, don’t miss the Rude Britannia: British Comic Art exhibition at Tate Britain. Wonderful low humour. Details here:


  23. Andrew B says:

    Alex K, Kat, I just responded to you in the previous thread, if you’re still interested.

  24. Anonymous says:

    #21: One can wear a dress w/o being a hausfrau. I’m wearing a cotton India print float dress I got from Vermont Country Store. Very comfortable.

  25. Kate L says:

    (Anonymous #24) Wow, it must be terrible hot in Vermont! Holly was wearing something just like that! (Kat #20; Ian #22, others). A friend of mine who used to work for Aramco in Britain always said that London was the most exciting city in the world. Or, did he say that about Croydon? I always get the two places mixed up…

  26. Kate L says:

    Newsweek has an article on the surprising decline in creativity in American school children since 1990, as measured by the Torrence Scale. The upshot of the story is that the skill of creativity can be taught to school-age children, and in such a way as to assist in meeting the federally-mandated knowledge skills. One way the Torrence Scale measures creativity is by encouraging the students to draw an original picture starting with a given shape. Check these entries out!

  27. Finsbury Parker says:

    @Kat(20), yep, I’m up for real life in London. May have cooled down by then. If it’s still baking when you’re here try not to use the Victoria line – a furnace would be cooler.

  28. Alex K says:

    @Kat – Finsbury Parker / 20 – 27: Sounds good, reallife yesplease!

    Caveat: I’m in Tube-deprived South London. (Yeahyeahyeah, swhat I can afford, innit, don’t judge me.) And I work 0730 – 1800 most days. No lunches in Mayfair / Camden Town, then. a.kniselyATnhs.net will find me. Where will you be staying?

    @23 / Andrew B: Thanks for that. We have a long way to go before “live and let live” is more than just words.

    A propos de bottes, did you know that “routine” male circumcision is not available on the NHS? No reason to make the public pick up the tab for religiously motivated child mutilation, as some discussants on a recent GUARDIAN thread summarise it. That said, because the consequences of amateur snippery in the local mosque (of mohelim work, not so much, it seems) can be very bad indeed, some trusts reportedly will cover the procedure rather than deal more expensively later with urinary tract infections and reconstructive surgeries.

  29. --MC says:

    Ian @ #22 — oh, to be in England now that they’ve got that show at the Tate. I’ve been a fan of Donald McGill’s saucy postcards since I got the Elfreda Buckland book about them ..
    Have I written about them here before? I’m looking in the book at an early card showing two women, in hats and evening wear, walking happily side by side and arm in arm, above the lines “You bet there’d be a ‘hot time in the old time tonight’ if I were with you!!”

  30. Ian says:

    @–MC(29): I can’t wait to go and see it. I love Donald McGill’s postcards as well. They are, well, unreconstructed shall we say, but very funny, and quite illustrative of attitudes to sex and gender.

  31. Ginjoint says:

    #24, as I was typing out my comment at #21, I was wearing of Lanz of Salzburg nightgown from Vermont Country Store and reflecting on the irony involved. I guess I should’ve put that in my comment. What’s not to love about that place? I just tried the Tangee lipstick (works, but wears off too fast), shampoo that’s supposed to make my hair grow faster, and I’m in love with my Buster Brown socks and plan to order more. Next up? A bottle of Vim n’ Vigor! Or perhaps a muumuu. Or an enema bag. Maybe a vibrator? Or the seersucker jammies…

  32. Vibrators, seersucker, and it must be presumed, maple syrup (grade B) ?!!! — one of my exes clearly works at the Vermont Country Store and has spilled the beans about my fantasies.

  33. Ginjoint says:

    Seersucker?! Really? A recommendation: if you order the maple syrup, be sure to order the Fels-Naptha laundry soap and 20 Mule Team Borax laundry booster as well. For the sheets.

  34. Thx for the tip, Ginjoint.

    The wand and egg vibrator is on sale, less than 10 bucks. You must select a color but there is only one color listed, hot pink. Why do they FORCE you to select when there is no selection? And I hate pink.

  35. Calico says:

    I just love the VT Country Store. It’s absolutely beautiful both inside and out.
    They also offer “Tired Old Ass Soak”, which makes me laugh every time I see it advertised (I am on their e-mailing list).
    I’ve been meaning to order the Garibaldi biscuits.

  36. Pam I. says:

    @ Kat, yes reality would be intiguing. If you’re doing galleries, I have a photo up at the National Portrait Gallery (pause for cheers) in an exhibition of the work of Format, the first and only women’s photo agency. The NPG has a great restaurant on the top floor way overhead, with views across miles of rooftops. They do two breakfasts – sinful and saintly – depending on whether you go for the Bucks Fizz and lox, or the more pure OJ and scrambled egg.

    I can do most of those dates. Email me via my sign-in. Others?

  37. Andrew B says:

    I’d have worn a gauze india print dress last week if it would have kept me cooler. I think I’d have looked just slightly less silly in in than Holly does — my long hair would have fit the image, otherwise it would have been a wash. Thinking seriously about that utilitkilt. But as Dr E said, they are so blinkin’ expensive.

    Pam I, the National Portrait Gallery, you get cheers from me.

    I don’t think Holly has a halo in the top photo. I think she has a headdress, an emblem of power, like a set of ram’s horns.

    Alison, truly, you are the Lee Friedlander of PhotoBooth.

  38. Kat says:

    Pam I, I’ll definitely head to the National Portrait Gallery to cheer for fellow DTWOF folks!

    And thanks for the tip, Ian. Other than my obligatory pilgrimage to the Tate Modern, and seeing all of the babies that my friends have had since grad school, I didn’t have any London plans yet.

  39. Pam I. says:

    @ Kat, so are we doing breakfast? Then I can sign a postcard for you.

  40. Kat says:

    Pam I, that would be fabulous! I’ll email you, (likely tomorrow evening, because I’m about to go out to Normandy for a couple days with no internet)

    Alex K, I did know that about the NHS, actually, because one of my American cousins married a brit and had her first couple of kids there. She was surprised, since in the states it’s no longer considered “religious” even. Tons of non-jewish/muslim babies are circumcised just because (“we want him to look like his father” is a common excuse). It’s almost as if hospitals are pushing it, and not being very accomodating if parents don’t want it. Strange, hey?

  41. Kat says:

    Oh, and Alex, at the moment I’m booked at a hotel near Edgware road and Hyde Park.

    (I might splurge and try to change, though, because it seems really, really crappy….)

  42. --MC says:

    I’m in mourning today; have just learned that Harvey Pekar has passed.

  43. hairball_of_hope says:

    Sad news… AP is reporting that Harvey Pekar was found dead in his home early this AM.


  44. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oh… our posts crossed. Sorry MC.

  45. Ginjoint says:

    Oh no…

  46. Dr. Empirical says:

    Breaking News:

    Multiple sources are confirming that Harvey Pekar has died.


  47. Dr. Empirical says:

    Harvey was a unique voice. He will be missed.

  48. Pam I. says:

    @ Alex + Kat, apparently circumcision was routine for all boys up to 1948 in the UK. Then the NHS came in and doctors could no longer charge 19/6 for doing it. Suddenly all the medical reasons disappeared. (But hasn’t it since been worked out that risks of cervical cancer are a lot less to partners of roundheads?) (Am I really discussing dicks on a dyke notice board?)

  49. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Pam (#48)

    Perhaps in some alternate universe, there’s a blog called DicksToWatchOutFor. Amazingly enough, a WHOIS search reveals that this domain name has not been snatched. Yet.

    I don’t know if English history is taught differently on this side of the pond, but we were told that Roundheads was a derisive nickname for the Puritans. Could the Cavaliers have been referring to something other than their shorn locks?

  50. Andrew B says:

    Like Pam I, I’m a little surprised to find myself discussing circumcision here. A couple points. I don’t know about cervical cancer, but there are health risks to an uncircumcised man if he doesn’t clean properly under the foreskin. A circumcised father wouldn’t know how to do that, or how to teach his son. That is a non-religious reason, not excuse, for circumcision in some cases.

    Second, circumcision has been the object of religious bigotry in the past. “Clipcock” has been a derisive term for Jewish men. It’s a safe bet that some of those high-minded objectors to religiously motivated mutilation are hiding anti-Muslim prejudice — perhaps anti-Jewish as well. Discussion of circumcision requires some care in that respect.

  51. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B (#50)

    Pam is correct, there is a correlation between sex with uncircumcised males and cervical cancer in females. I suspect that is related to human papillomavirus (HPV), a causative factor in many cases of cervical cancer.

    As any statistics professor will pound into the heads of students, correlation does not equal causation.

    It may be that the accumulation of smegma (the goopy stuff comprised of secretions, dead epithelial cells, and sebum) provides a breeding ground for HPV. It may be that poor hygiene habits/lack of adequate bathing/water/sanitation (endemic in the Third World) combined with the smega-rich environment under the foreskin exacerbates the infection rate of both men and women.

    I don’t know if studies have been done comparing cervical cancer rates between developed countries (with presumably better personal hygiene) and Third World countries for uncircumcised males.

    Note that HPV also causes penile, anal, vaginal, and oropharyngeal cancers, depending on how one chooses to practice sex.

    In any event, there are vaccines for HPV (Gardisil is one) that are recommended (and sometimes forced upon) young women in developed countries. There are ongoing studies evaluating the benefits of HPV vaccines for use in males. Seems to me you’d want to vaccinate the source of the HPV (males) first, it would protect males and females. Of course, that’s not how this played out.

    I agree with you that closeted anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiment may be a force behind the anti-circumcision folks.

    (… goes back to contemplating how we ended up in this alternate universe blog, the *other* DTWOF. Maybe we should call it DXTWOF to distinguish between them …)

  52. Acilius says:

    It’s interesting how headlines can frame stories. “Lesbians discuss penises,” there’s a headline that makes you think, “Hm, they must be trying to cure themselves of insomnia.” On the other hand, a headline like “People who love women discuss cervical cancer” doesn’t seem too strange.

  53. Pam I. says:

    A line from Myra Breckenridge, read about 40 years ago, is running through my head. ‘The very word smegma made Myron feel physically sick.’

  54. Acilius says:

    @Pam: I’d be glad to let you have the last word, I just wish it weren’t that particular word.