The various Star Trek series like to have moments sprinkled through episodes where they get to say how "adaptive" humans are. While this is awfully self-congratulatory, we see it every day, if we look for it. Case-in-point, we have the "AQI" (Air Quality Index) that tells us how badly polluted the air is. I'm sure this measure has been around for decades, and folks who are much closer to air quality or environmental spaces have known about it and its importance for years. For the rest of us, this is a new number, like when we learned about Kelvin or Hg (vacuum measurement, not Mercury) in science class. 2 weeks ago, someone would say "it's, like, 90 in here" and we, Americans, would all know that they were saying it is hot. For my worldly readers, 90*F is about 32*C.
Plume Labs app. This thing shows a pollution forecast. While it isn't very good at projecting, or showing historical data, at least it tries. I can see that it will be getting worse, so if I have to go outside for something, I understand that waiting would be a worse idea than just going now... with a mask on. By the way, the picture on the side here is a T-selfie fighting the Obenchain fire in Southern Oregon.
Going back to talking to our friends and relatives, 2 weeks ago, we would talk about temperature and compare how much cooler it was on the west side versus downtown Portland. "It's 85 here". "Oh, it's over 90 there?". That was pre-LaborDay2020 thinking. Now, our conversation is like "it was 350 earlier today, but now it's 460". Or "overnight it looks like it dropped down below 100, but now it's over 250 again." The number itself is super important, but without context a 3-digit number could be super-bad (like over 130*F mid-day outside temp would be) or a 3-digit number could be virtually meaningless (like how many meters from my house my mailbox is). So, what do these numbers mean?
|0-20||Excellent||typical air in Oregon, perfect for any outside activity for everyone|
|20-50||Fair||generally good for most. Sensitive people might feel some minor to moderate symptoms from long term exposure. So... sensitive folks can take short walks, but no soccer|
|50-100||Poor||unhealthy for sensitive folks. non-sensitive people may feel some minor to moderate symptoms. Sensitive people should reduce time outside|
|100 - 150||Unhealthy||Health effects felt immediately by sensitive. Healthy folks may have difficulty breathing or feel a sore throat|
|150 - 150||Very Unhealthy||Health effects felt immediately by sensitive. Healthy folks will probably have difficulty breathing or feel a sore throat|
|250+||Dangerous||Health effects felt immediately by everyone. Any exposure, even for a few minutes, can have serious health effects|
So, when I tell you that it's 368 here, you understand just how bad that is.
I bring all this up because the smoke has been keeping me from my cars. Mostly. After a week of dangerous smoke, I heard that we were going to be getting rain. Before the rain was supposed to arrive, we were supposed to get fog blended in with the smoke. So, smog. Literally. The ash from the forest fires is not a big deal to your car while it is dry. Once it gets wet, however, it can start to damage your paint. So, before the rain was due, and shortly after the fog rolled in, I pulled on my old house-painting respirator and hosed down the herd. I was not looking for clean, I was looking for dust-free. The fog passed, and the rain did not arrive for another week. Instead, we got morning dew, in the smoke. Still, my preventative placement of a tarp on the stripped-to-metal Zed and a tarp on the convertible top of Oliver should help them from getting damaged even worse.
... there's FIRE (Political Rant warning)
Looking back, my first post of this year, or last post of last year, was on December 31, 2019 (See GenXplained). Looking at that post about a dystopian present seems almost prophetic. When I consider how much has gone down the tubes in this country since I wrote that post, it is staggering. If you told me then that I would have spent 6 months working from home followed by 2 weeks locked inside because of a pandemic and historically unprecedented fire season respectively, I would have thought you were a total doomsdayer. Let's not forget the police violence, protests, unmarked vans nabbing people off the Portland streets and protester-versus-protester violence. And yet, here we are.
I have spent my woulda-been-wrenching time watching how-to-paint-your-car videos. I hope I will learn enough to paint the Zed well enough that Boo will want to drive it, and proudly so. Time will tell.
Thanks, as always, for following along. This has been a hard few weeks/months for all of us. I sincerely hope this rough road is coming to an end. Better days lie ahead, I'm sure of it. I wish they would just arrive already. In the meantime, please wear a mask when in public and remember that a mask covers your mouth and nose. It is not a fabric chinstrap.