Wednesday, February 28, 2007

you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in…

If you only have five minutes to make decisions with lasting impact, you use the five minutes and move on.

That about summarizes my day.

My work continues to flood my waking hours. But in between, I have the time (measured in minutes if not seconds) to quickly, oh so quickly, create a future.

Working under pressure… I’m used to it. Manipulating time – a skill that has served me well. I think. Making changes, shifting perspectives – all doable.

Okay. Enough of this kind of writing. Tomorrow I get down to basics. I’m flying out east, snow and sleet permitting. Lots of travel ahead. Bear with me. It’ll be a month of movement in all ways.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


And now comes the movement, the sprint. I’m up for it, the move, the leap, I’m ready. Polish peasant stock. Mobile, adaptable. Taking on the Badger motto: forward!

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The snow is wet but firm. So is my resolve. White box, I’m going to go for it. Out of your rectangle, I will create a space that will be home. After a trip across the ocean, I’ll return to you. Here’s my address, my permanent address…

Whoa! I haven’t an accepted offer yet! One step at a time.

Monday, February 26, 2007

so what do you think?

This is it. The white box. Should I buy it? Say yes.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

the afterwards

So. The storms have passed. And what do you do afterwards? Well, it depends on what the day has tossed you.

Oh, the ups and downs of life.

The toil:

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The joy:

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And the reality of work. Tempered by music. Or a few words on the cell. I’d like to believe it’s with her mom, but probably it’s with a friend.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

it continues

Madison is under a weather siege. Attacked by winds, snow, ice and lightening. Enough to make you hide under the table.

I spend the earlier hours of the day rocking a car out of drifts (that were the result of yesterday’s opening act to this madness) and looking at bottom-of-the-heap for-sale houses. The ones that have been sitting on the market for twelve months, where the owners still don’t get it. Lower it, you fools! Someone with a small income and fix-it talents would do wonders here. Let them in!

Me - I am not such a person. I can unplug a toilet by using product. And I can fix gutters by climbing on the roof and attaching a dislocated piece with a hairpin. I have done these things, but not a lot beyond.

And so I return to the condo market, reluctantly admitting that I am pedantic and with a small budget. The worst combination.

I walk through units with mouth open and an internal calculator screaming get me out of here, get me out of here.

But I cannot leave.

A shell. I think I will buy a condo shell, a white box, they call it. A place with no interior, nothing but a rectangle with studs, posts and pipes sticking out. The interior will go in when and however issues of affordability will resolve themselves.

In the meantime, I am remembering that it is February, not a decision-making month and still, I am making decisions and moving forward ever so rapidly. It is the only way. Asking me to stand still and wait a spell is like telling a chef to hang up his or her apron and order out pizza from Rocky Rococo.

The storm is in full force. The snow is blinding, but not enough so as to make it impossible for me to see beyond the parking lot below.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

winter storms

So they say it will snow this weekend. I am attuned to the weather! My camera sits waiting.

A preshot: before the storm.

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But is it really before? I have been storming around Madison all week long, looking through voluminous listings of a glutted real estate market. Glutted with awful awful structures (yes, I am now broadening my span: condos and houses, but cheap. I’m into cheap. Bottom of the heap).

All these unsold houses: let’s make a deal and start all over. They were never meant to last, I’m sure. Antibiotics or fertilizers artificially kept them alive. Pufff! Out they go. Yes?

Or, if that is too costly a solution, let me suggest this: let’s get rid of the large ugly garages and let’s put in big windows into structures that seem to have way too few to allow for any sensible light. Weird in a cold state such as ours that we should keep the sun out.

Late in the evening I go to a Dar Williams concert. It will surprise no one that I cry right through half the songs.

At the end of one, she tells how she used to ask people to flash their lighters during the last bars. Gimmick? No, with Dar, it's not that. But she has been around for a decade or more and so lighters, she has come to realize, are not that everpresent. Instead, out come the cell phones – our concession to light in dark places. And so we wave our cell phones and sing Iowa and go home.

But that turns out to be not so easy. The blizzard that was supposed to come tomorrow is here. It is pouring down by the baleful! I’m giddy with the early pile up of wet wet snow. The drive home isn’t long. No, not long. I live downtown after all. This year, this month, I live downtown.

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Toward th end, Dar sings “February" and so I think of house keys (handing house keys is an idea much tossed around in that song; the keys are tossed around as well. I believe a set lands in a pond which freezes over -- such a WIsconsin story) – who holds the keys to my house?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

where the grass is greener

It struck me last week that I should move. That I am spending much and benefiting little from lining the pockets of my (quite nice actually) landlord. That I should worry about things like equity. That I should look forward to spring by imagining pots filled with flowers out on my nonexistent deck. That I should create a space where (frequent) visitors can disappear at the end of the day and not be on top of each other (lofts are so… open). That Madison’s condo boom has passed me by and I should jump back into the fray and be a part of the hip set.

My winter weeks have been extremely packed with work commitments, but finally, late this afternoon, I set out to look at what’s out there.

I am still reeling from that effort. Updates will follow. In the meantime, let me just say this: in the twenty years that I have been less than even marginally interested in acquiring space (looking for an apartment rental does not count) the real estate world has turned up side down. That is one crazy marketplace out there! I may shut my door to it all and never leave the loft again. Or, by season’s end, I may be downsizing and stacking boxes once more.

It cannot be said that I am not open to the idea of change.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


When you embark on the road to hatching great plans, you get easily distracted. At every indentation, every momentary pause, you revert back to hatching plans. They may not be great in the scheme of things, but there is no denying, they are substantial plans.

And so you study the possibilities, you get back on the Net, or to the drawing board, or both and you forget about the world.

Were you to remember the world, you would have remembered to take the camera and take a photo of the warmth outside. So warm that I biked to work and did not suffer. Amazing.

You especially want to remember this warm-ish week because by week’s end, it will all be over and winter will return again.

So remember. Today, it was a warm thirties plus. And I biked. Got that?

Otherwise, nothing else counts. I hatch plans and give a little boost to others who are hatching their own.

Monday, February 19, 2007

a quiet finish

If I promise a brilliant March, a month full of insightful, splendid, voluminous words and images, will you forive me as I phase out of February meekly, spiritedlessly?

Thank you.

Statement of the day: I so appreciate the thermometer inching up beyond freezing. It did not go by unnoticed. Movements in fine directions are always welcome.

Is there a photo for today? Of course. A new visitor on my eating table:

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

yes, it's Mineral Point, Wisconsin: the southwest of the Midwest.

Mineral Point. That’s right. A town, a village really. Fifty miles southwest of Madison. With great pommes frites at the Brewery Creek and very very nice people up and down High Street who want you to come visit. Are there many (any?) places where you feel like your appearance is a gift to others?

I buy my morning espresso at the Spotted Dog and I watch two Chicagoans come up to get their coffee. Cold people, both of them. The week-end did not fix their relationship. Too bad. Cheer up. Back in the city, you can work on it again.

A man with soiled hands picks up his fair trade coffee and says – I need to go open my gallery. Funny town, this is. People start the day at the café and go open galleries on a Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, Ed is eating two eggs over easy next door, at the Red Rooster. This is the kind of place I used to stop at in my days of hitchhiking! Why do men like to relive days of hitchkiking for you? Is it because there is a certain freedom inherent in that act, something that is gone, wiped out now that they’re no longer…hitchhiking? I watch him wipe the plate with buttered toast. A classic American diner breakfast. Mineral Point has both – the classic and, right next door, the café with the fair trade stuff. And jewelry.

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We drive off to do a two hour (meaning short, compared to yesterday) spin on skiis, around the trails of Indian Lake. Lots of climbing up and shooshing down. I hate the climbing up, Ed hates the shooshing down. I am so terrified, my eyeballs freeze from the horror of it; I force myself not to look at the tree I am likely to crash into, he says.

He does not crash, but he does look terrified.

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Me, I have the demeanor of the confident one. You can say this about me: there walks (skis) the person who does not fret about small dangers.

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People are so quick to form impressions.

It’s 19 degrees outside and climbing. Tomorrow the snow may start to melt. The end of the cross country skiing season in southwestern Wisconsin?

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I come back to the loft, the Wireless service crashes, I dash out to get a new router, it takes three hours to set it up, I eat late, I post late… welcome back.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

notes from M.P. (Mystery Place)

Late yesterday, Ed, my fitful traveling companion, packed a backpack, I packed a whole little suitcase and we headed south. (Southwest, if you want to be precise.)

I have been working hard on convincing him to break away with me sometime this winter and this is as close as we got to an agreement. In March and April, we’re traveling in quite opposite directions, but this February week-end, we are both turned southwards! (Southwest. Have to be precise here.)

Last year, we were more ambitious. Far, far into the northeastern provinces of Canada, right into the frosty climate of Quebec we went. Splendid!

This year, we are more tame. We’re staying in a cottage – here, this is it:

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…right at the edge of this town:

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They say it’s almost European. Sort of. M.P. (Mystery Place) has the markings of a small English village – the stone houses, places once inhabited by miners who came here in droves many many decades ago…

And here: this café with very excellent coffee… it’s quite European, isn’t it?

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Possibly not. European cafes give you choice. You want something spirited? Fine. You want a warm soup? Cheeses? Pastries? It’s here for you, daily. Fresh and honest. Our coffee shops in the States tend to sell, well, coffee. This one also has nice jewelry. A dead giveaway that I did not travel beyond the borders of this country.

And the High Street is quiet. It needs a bakery or two, a grocer maybe? Commerce that will breathe life into the blocks of stone houses. No, no more gift shops, no more antique places, no, please no. Give us a reason to stroll here, tempt us, lure us with something credible.

Idle thoughts. Fact is, this is one of the region’s nicest – a town with a deep history (and you can feel it, right here on High Street), with a great bed and breakfast, a fine brewery (actually, the bed and breakfast and the brewery are one and the same), and don’t forget the landscape – hills and vales. Snow-covered now. As I said yesterday, not south enough. Not beach weather here. No, we’re out and about, spending the most beautiful week-end of the winter doing this:

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Amidst these scenes:

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Down these trails:

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Splendid cross country skiing terrain. And sunshine. A real southern getaway to M.P.

Friday, February 16, 2007

a February redirect

Don’t you think that on a cold February day reading about the icy air outside is boring? I agree.

I'm south now, but obviously not south enough. A photo of the snow-topped, icycled chairs outside:

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More on this later. Right now I recommend that you head for Ocean View and click on the Armchair Roaming tab, where I confront the issue of summer crowds of tourists at popular destinations. Bottom line … no, why should I give you the bottom line here? Ocean View has the story ("Walking the Beaten Path"). Go there.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


A post explaining a no post is not a post at all, but it is all I can give tonight. After a long, long work day, I am spent. But I promise double vigilance in the days ahead and, to compensate for my low energy levels tonight, I am determined to deliver many notes and photos from the week-end. Even if I did just drop my camera and lose a whole back portion of it as a result. So what. It’s just a camera, I’ve done it before, it’s not the end of the world. Cameras are made to be cracked, bruised, dropped and mistreated, right? Right?

Until tomorrow then. I am finally heading south. Surprised? Tune in to read about the where and why. You'll be surprised on at least one count.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

the heart side of love

Images from the day, ending with a bunch of blooms from me to… well, me.

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be my State Street Valentine

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please, be my State Street Valentine

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dude, how many roses do I need to get her?

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what should we get for mommy? wine and cheese?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

the art of bitterness

I never was much of a fan of potent bitterness, in chocolate or elsewhere. I applauded this month's Gourmet Magazine's review of the much underrated milk chocolate. Smooth and easy to get along with. Like days without enmity or grudges.

Not that there aren't moments out there to be savored with ...true loathing and disgust. It's much like your attitude toward the weather: you go out on what is supposed to be a decent day and it’s cold as anything. The skies are dimly gray, the snow hasn’t the appeal it once did, man, it is freezing out there! Madison, how could you?

But wait a few weeks and it's April in Madison and you don’t even care that you’re not in Paris, and it’s that perfect! To me, right then and there -- all is forgotten. I love a place, a person, a book by its last page. I mean, you’re not going to hold labor against your child, are you? Especially when they're telling you you're their dream mommy and thanks so much for the yummy cake?

I find it bewildering that so many out there do not share this perspective and so I’m pushing it here, on Ocean, with the hope that it’ll catch on.

Maybe it will be the one positive legacy of a friendship gone awry. Say, what? Do tell!

OK. I was sitting at a table today sketching plans for a busy summer and even busier ones (not travel-wise!) in years ahead and I ended with a question to the friend opposite me. Input? I asked.

Can’t be done, friend said. Don't you remember what happened the last time we talked about plans and prospects? And the time before? Nah-ah, won't go there.

The List, I was hearing The List. Of times when I had responded emphatically, of times when I had laughed, cried and sulked at reactions to my sketchy plans and quickly, sometimes way way too quickly spun out ideas. And such a list it was! Like labor revisited over and over, a list of words spoken, of attitudes put forth, list with an s, lists -- until I could listen no more.

And I thought to myself – wow. Even my own list of knocks and jabs conferred by my very own highly vocal mother is shorter. And it would be wiped clean if only she told me once that she actually liked me just fine, that this was just her way of making life fun for the both of us.

And so I have to wonder: why would anyone create lists? Why would you not look to the last best day and hold that as a model? Why do good marriages end, why do good friendships shut down, why?

As for Madison’s weather – I’m sure it’ll be spring someday. Right now, it is not.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

from St. Paul. and Minneapolis. and finally Madison.

Students ask me for advice all the time. It’s in the nature of things. I get questions about everything, down to where to hold the wedding ceremony when the time comes.

I am not shy about giving it either. You asked for advice, now listen!

But about this Law School interlude – when you’re lost to the world for three years chasing a dream. Or the big bucks. Or both. Have we talked about how you should also be chasing friends? Now’s the time, L’s of all levels! Your chance at future happiness -- the people you meet and greet, the people you'll keep forever, far longer than the one whose wedding ceremony you fretted over.

I know I was to get up early today, to embrace the cold, or St Paul, or St Paul enveloped in the cold as well as in my embrace, but instead I stayed up late and got up late and before you know it, I was back on the runway, speeding up and over the city, no, sorry, Twin Cities, that I have come to recognize – meandering cities that can’t make up their minds which side of the river is theirs. So long Twin Cities! I love ‘em as one loves one’s honeymoon destination – the place where good things happen, the place where you are well cared for and loved.

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Hey there, Madison, what do you have going for you? Prove your worth! I’m back home. Show me how good that can be. Please?

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

from St. Paul. and Minneapolis: dancing with dragons

So, I appear to be stuck on this very unoriginal observation: it is winter here. And so what? It’s winter in more places than not. More of the earth’s land surfaces tilt back from the sun than toward it at this time of the year.

Still, this is indeed what I think of when I wake up in St. Paul on a February morning: we have gained a few more minutes of winter daylight. And by now, the novelty of this season has worn off. One is tired of the stubbornness of the thermometer. Climb out of the ditch already and move on! Preferably in an upwards direction.

Am I imagining it, or am I also detecting a tiredness in those who navigate this climate all day long? Stay warm, they say to me when I leave a store. Stay warm. Well yes, I’d like to.

My friends tell me that I am especially intolerant of the cold because I, too, must navigate it daily back in Madison (I walk most everywhere except to the distant Whole Foods). I think it’s that I do not have Nordic patience in the same way that I do not have save-for-retirement patience. Spring is the next season. I like the next season. Has anyone asked me if I’m ready for it? So ask me. Yes, I am ready for it.

I am hoping my host here is amused with me. The Twin Cities have such great virtues! Why must I speak of the cold as if it defines a Minnesota encounter?

But doesn’t it? Here, we eat hungrily and we eat well. Food is good here. I think to myself: it’s because you need to warm your insides. The raw food diet is not a Minnesota thing. Food cooked over a warm stove – there you go, that’s eating!

Last night’s fare: ravioli with Indian potato and squash in a Thai curry and coconut broth.

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Brunch fare: a crustacean frittata, nice and solid. No trimmings needed, hit the core of the dish, eat it while it’s hot.

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We walk the Skyways – paths of steel and enclosed glass connecting stores and office spaces downtown. An illusion of a hospitable climate, of a fairytale city where the temperature is always 68 degrees. Minneapolis, the Singapore of the northern hemisphere. But without the fresh air on my face, I am not fooled. I am in one big bubbleof stores and office spaces, held tightly together by a leak-proof wrap. They say there is a real world beyond this, yet no one wants to be a part of it. At least for now.

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And at the end of the day, you find your car - so cold and unwelcoming. You left me out here! Go ahead, ride my chilly interior! I’m giving it back to you now. And when you step out on your driveway, you’ll get it in your face again. So there.

I remember being in Quebec last winter and thinking – full force, let me embrace this terrifically cold air fully, totaly. Let me skate in it, hike in it, stand and face the river winds, then sit by a fire and melt. (Only a hot shower would eventually take the freeze out of me.)

Minneapolis is gentler than that. Much gentler. And yet I run from the cold as if it had the power to knock me down flat.

Here’s a thought: tomorrow morning, I will do as the Quebecois and the Minnesotans do. I will step out, without reservation and face the cold. I will run, I will walk, I will dance up and down the streets of St. Paul. And she frolicked in the winter mist, in a land called minnehaha... I will celebrate its beauty, its crispness, its blues skies and pale winter light. Like this single character, dancing with the magic dragon:

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It’s nice to hatch grand plans. Particularly for a morning that (luckily) is still many hours away.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

from St. Paul. Or Minneapolis. (I can’t always tell)

It is remarkable that the four of us would choose a northern spot for our annual February reunion (we are of the same law school vintage), but we did. You had to be there at the time the location was discussed (it was when we were having that warm spell over winter break, remember? When we described it as a balmy spring-like winter?). The only thing I can now say is that it’s good we tossed away the idea of being further north. It could have happened. North seems fun when the temperatures are south-like.

The New York Times recently published an article on how Minneapolis is the du jour week-end destination. I feel hip and on the spot! I am convinced I booked my flight before the NYT corresponded ever submitted his story. I am in the right place! And I do like this place. These places. (Twin cities. Plural.)

(I think I would hugely dislike Minneapolis weather in April. I already have misgivings about April in Madison – one of those Aprils when it refuses to be anything but cold and brown. Minneapolis makes up its mind even later about moving into spring.)

The focus today was on architecture, yoga, memento acquisition and food (and drink, but that is a story for another post). If you have been curious about what's west of the Mississippi, you’ll (perhaps) appreciate these photos of a day of crossings – not of an ocean but of a river. Back and forth. To see what's on the other side.

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an original Gehry:

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...the new Guthrie theater, outside:

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But the real delight comes from being inside the Guthrie, looking out through windows with reflecting ledges (third image = reflection of Ocean author):

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...and finally -- the Walker sculpture garden, the last spoonful:

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Friday, February 09, 2007

from St. Paul, Minnesota

Chasing even colder temperatures, I flew up north for the week-end. A bit hard to post from here, but never mind. Just think of me sitting around warm spaces indoors and sipping lattes and talking. Reunions with great friends are like that.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

did you ever wonder why Daniel Fahreheit placed the freezing point at 32, giving much space and consideration to all those temps between zero and 32?

It's because he was Polish. There, now you know. And so, on this once again colder than a polar bear's natural habitat day, I give you the story of why it is that we must call it "only" a "zero" kind of day.

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A student came to me after class and recounted this story: the UW School of Pharmacology was recruiting students this week. To the admitted students who were to come up for a look-see it sent the following message: bring your coats! It’s going to be zero in Madison (or something to that effect). A southern type glanced at the message and threw her light jacket into the overnight. Zero. Wow. That’s when ice starts to form. That’s, like, when it no longer rains.

She came to Madison and discovered that the zero was a Fahrenheit zero. She never left her hotel room.

My student has kinfolk in the science world and so he knows stuff about physics that only the scientifically inclined would know. He told me that Mr. Fahrenheit placed the zero where he did because that is where he felt utter cold should begin. That seemed like a fishy urban legend and so I said good-bye to my student and dashed to the trusty Internet to find out the answer to this puzzling query: why did good old Fahrenheit give us the odd scale that we have now?

It's because Mr. Fahrenheit was Polish.

You don't believe me? Ocean readers are such skeptics! Read about it here, in an article by Maddox ("Blinded by Science" on I know, most people do not follow links. Okay, here are the relevant paragraphs (emphases added). Read them. They're oddly funny. At least to this Pole they are.

Rømer was the man who in 1676 had first measured the speed of light, and his temperature scale, when he unveiled it in 1701, was a predictably abstract affair, of use principally to scientists. Water, Rømer declared, would henceforth be said to boil at 60 degrees and to freeze at . . . at . . . well, at 7.5 degrees. Yes, that's right: Seven and a half.(…)

To a young German physicist named Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, the cold-blooded Rømer scale seemed to cry out for a sister scale, if not an outright replacement, usable by the general public. His alternative, published in 1724, was a masterpiece of populism, a temperature scale for the masses. Rather than worrying about what temperatures made various substances do what under laboratory conditions, Fahrenheit simply used 100 degrees to denote the highest temperature reached with any kind of regularity in Western Europe, and 0 degrees for the lowest. The scale was an instant hit, and for good reason. For the first time in history, a generation was able to know the thrill of watching temperatures climb toward 100 degrees over the course of a sweltering summer.

Better still, the Fahrenheit scale made it possible at last to generalize about temperature in a way that resonated with the human experience. It's difficult for us future dwellers to imagine, but prior to 1724, statements like "It'll stay in the 60s through the end of the week, and on Saturday? Dust off that barbecue, people, we're headed into the 70s. Chuck? Yolanda?" were simply unknown. You could say it was hot. You could say it was cold. You could even say it was 13.75 degrees Rømer, but the romantic and beautifully intuitive concept of a heat wave in the 90s was futurespeak.

Indeed, Fahrenheit's gift to the world was so liberating and transformative that people were willing to overlook its glaring flaw. At lower temperatures—those one might encounter during, say, winter—the intuitive poetry of the Fahrenheit scale disappears. You don't need to be a hydrologist to appreciate that there's a qualitative difference between the world at 34 F and the world at 31 F and that the Fahrenheit scale does nothing to reflect that. Glance at Fahrenheit's biography, and the reason for this jumps out. Although he lived and worked in Germany, Fahrenheit was born in Danzig, Poland, later named Gdan´ sk, the icy harbor on the shores of the Baltic whose weather would provide such a poignantly bleak backdrop to the Solidarity protests of the 1980s. To a native Danzigian, the temperature at which water froze was a thing of no consequence, certainly not when compared with the majestic, definitive coldness of his boyhood winters, and so Fahrenheit assigned it the not otherwise distinguished number of 32.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

full plate

I do not mind busy. But I mind BUSY! I mind having no hours to sleep, fewer yet to write. Or to make amends where I need to make amends.

February is a challenge in Madison in the best of times. When work fills your plate and temps continue to fall, there really isn’t a lot you can do. The day is not yours, it belongs to others.

Outside, the shadows grow longer. And bluer.

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I sat in the car this evening, motor running, then not running and I counted minutes (waiting to see how long before the cold would force me back out again?).

Someone asked me – do you often sit still in odd places and count minutes [tip: to count minutes, you have to count seconds]? Yes, I do. When time passes slowly, when I am waitng to move to the next stage (or to cross the street with an odiously long light), I sit still and count minutes.

Isn't it magnificent that at the end of an office day, you don't have to return home? That you can go to Borders and continue where you left off? With a latte.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

then came the snow…

Why keep it just cold, when you could have cold and wet and windy all in one fell swoop?

And if you think it’s easy manipulating a camera in thick gloves, mindful of the lens and gusts of snow, think again.

There will be those who will argue it’s pretty out there, on Bascom Hill, in a post-card-New-England sort of way.

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Sure, I’ll grant that. But walking home is tough. I shout out a greeting to a colleague – trying to keep myself covered! He answers – it wont help.

At least I left my bike at home today. And so I did not look like him, zigzagging across the road with a ta-hell-with-it attitude and a pile of snow on his shoulders.

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Instead, I stopped at my local flower shop for a pick-me-up. On the second coldest day of the year, you have to look at what’s ahead – a season of these, at the market, soon. No, not next week or even next month, but soon.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

documenting cold

Schools are closed today. Hmmm. That’s a rare one. Madison keeps its public schools warm and running even in threatening weather. But the cold, it’s the cold. Double digit negative numbers again and those wind-chills! Subtract another twenty or thirty degrees for the winds.

I need to head out. A twenty-five minute walk each way if I’m brisk about it. I’ll be brisk about it.

Outside, it’s bright. The illusion is of the Arctic, or at least Alaska (not that I have been to either). Train tracks weaving through a snow-touched terrain, empty spaces, a bike shop and that exapnsive northern sky. Seems right, no?

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Eyes, all you see are the eyes, looking down, averting the wind. Hide the skin, cover up, watch out. But eyes get cold too!

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It could not be! Some will opt for The Look over warmth. I would not be in her (bootless) shoes for anything. Her scarf looks full and protective. But a bare head? Today? Insane.

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We’re a hardy campus lot though. Look, we fill the Library Mall as if it were spring! Open up, food carts, bring out the sushi and the gumbo (I rarely eat lunch from the carts, can you tell?), it’s lunch hour and we’re all out and about, enjoying the… Arctic blast. We have no choice.

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