• Life

    Yeah, It’s Cold

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    It’s the 22nd of January, 2019

    And it’s cold.

    In fact, it’s been cold for days. The night-time and early morning lows have been well under -20 with, I think, this morning has been the coldest yet at about -26. My car is not enjoying it. And not enjoying it to the point where it actually completely refused to start yesterday, and required no less than four attempts at jumpstarting, before we elected to take it to the garage and have the battery checked. That battery had not given me a lot of issues, or really any, so far this winter, but it has not been nearly this cold.

    The battery that came out is probably about six years old, which is probably about how old the first one was. Talking to Paul, the guy who runs the garage, Honda batteries typically tend to be on the rather small side and not really built for winter as Canada understands it. Most of southern Asia doesn’t really have winter per se, and Japanese winter, even the extreme north of the main island, is actually quite tame compared to what we’re used to here.

    But that means we put a battery in both cars in the last week. The Pathfinder, which is a Nissan and therefore also a Japanese car, was purchased by us at the very end of 2013. So that battery lasted on five years and a couple of weeks, plus however long it sat on the lot for test drives. Apparently, most the time, five years is that what you can expect a battery. Less if all of your driving is extremely short distance, and more if it’s all highway. My driving is mostly highway, so I’ll get a little more, but although I didn’t remember having the battery done, I certainly didn’t get 12 years in. It wasn’t a Honda battery people that. It’s not a Honda battery that came out of the car. And, at -26, even with a fresh battery, my little old car that’s done so well still needed three attempts to start and stay running for more than a minute as I tried to warm it up this morning.

    What’s that you say? Climate change, global warming? Yep, that’s still a thing. And it will continue to be a thing. More energy in the system means that the extremes get more extreme. We will continue to have cold snaps like this, and when they happen, they will be brutal. Sometimes, they’ll go on for a long time. This one I think is going to lift within the next couple of days and we’ll be back to what we consider a normal winter in recent decades. Which doesn’t mean it won’t get cold again.

    And it’s pretty damn cold the last few days.

    Be well, everyone.

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  • Poetry

    Thank You, Robert Service

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherOn mornings like this, when my commute is marked by temperatures under -20 C (-4 F for those using the imperial system), and a wind chill, and it’s at least a handful of degrees warmer than when I got up, I somehow always find myself reciting an old Robert Service poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. Specifically, the third stanza.

    On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.

    Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.

    If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;

    It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

    And it’s really that one line I’m thinking of: “Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.” Because it’s really cold. Really cold.

    But then I remember that I’m sitting in my wife’s Pathfinder, which isn’t much more than a year old, with heated seats and hot air pouring out of every vent, my high tech winter coat unzipped, hat and gloves lying on the passenger’s seat. I compare that to Yukon Gold Rush era cold weather gear and being pulled through northern forests on a sled by a team of hungry dogs, and I realize that we’ve got things pretty good.

    Either way, it’s a great poem. Possibly Mr. Service’s best, but certainly my favourite. I wonder if I still know the whole thing.

    There are strange things done in the midnight sun…

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