My beard isn’t turning gray, that’s just the ice

Well, actually, it is getting rather gray. But I was just out on my daily walk on this very cold Minnesota day, and in addition the the usual coating of rime that accumulates on my face, I took off one of my gloves for just a minute to snap this picture.


Really, it was just a quick exposure of bare skin to the cold…and my hand is still burning. Ouch. I think the swiftness of the transition contributed, but you know what? Cold weather can be really dangerous.

You can die.

I’m warming up in the coffeeshop for a bit, and then I’m bundling up again and heading out. Don’t worry, it’s broad daylight, along well-trafficked roads, and it’s a short hike, but still — y’all be careful out there.


  1. says

    Ah yes, you know its a cold day when the moisture in your breath starts freezing in your facial hair. Alas I recently shaved my chin warmer off.

  2. Matt Penfold says

    A couple of winters ago a young man, only in his early 20s, died of hypothermia walking home from the pub. A journey of less than two miles. And this was in Southern England.

  3. unclefrogy says

    I have heard it said that the guy who said snow was beautiful was inside.
    that kind of cold is just a little too intense for me. days are getting longer spring will be coming.
    uncle frogy

  4. says

    While we native Californians swath ourselves in mufflers and hug ourselves against the winter cold, transplanted Minnesotans stroll about in shorts and flip-flops. “You call this cold?” they ask in apple-cheeked cheeriness. I’d make a snide remark at their expense, but my teeth are chattering. Heck, it’s cold enough for frost on the ground!

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    Jack London wrote a cautionary tale for those who would wander into the cold, alone.

    I lived in Edmonton for a few years, and grew to enjoy the winters. The cold was more tolerable than the damp eastern winters, but it was also deceptive. Like dry heat, I suppose. But it was kind of awesome coming back from a run with thoroughly frosted beard.

  6. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    I detest cold weather. Pensacola is finally entering winter and our temperatures are in the 30s and 40s–and I do not like that. I am poorly suited for northern climates.

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ll have to go out later and get lettuce so the Redhead can have her BLT sammich. But, it’s barely below freezing, and minimal snow this morning.

  8. raven says

    Every year somewhere around where I live one of the homeless people dies of hypothermia.

    It doesn’t even get that cold here, but cold enough to kill people who aren’t careful or who are debilitated.

  9. eyeroll says

    Cold? You guys don’t know from cold. Here it was -36 yesterday. (Thats in Canadian, I don’t know the American version). But today it is only -10. When I used to live up north, the coldest I felt was -54. Now, that was cold.

  10. Anthony K says

    I lived in Edmonton for a few years, and grew to enjoy the winters.

    Just curious: how many years does that take? I’ve survived nearly forty Edmonton winters, and I can’t even use the word ‘enjoy’ from November through February.

  11. Dick the Damned says

    Good for you, PZ, getting your walk in, despite the cold. Take care.

    I should make more of an effort myself, although shovelling the drive here, (near Ottawa), gives me a pretty good workout. But I should go for a walk on days when I’m not shovelling. Using the exercise bike just isn’t as enjoyable.

    But it looks like I’ll be getting the shovel out this afternoon.

  12. shouldbeworking says

    I live in Edmonton and learning to like winter is a lifelong task, but its a dry cold. Hey, it’s almost summer! Only minus 4 C.

  13. Rodney Nelson says

    We’re supposed to get snowstorms around here. Fortunately the temperature is 37ºF (that’s above freezing for Canadians and others using Professor Celsius’s scale as modified by Dr. Linnæus) so what we’re getting is cold rain. I don’t have to shovel rain.

  14. Randide, O che sciagὺra d'essere scenza coglioni! says

    and I can’t even use the word ‘enjoy’ from November through February.

    *Looks at calendar*

    and I can’t even use the word ‘enjoy’ from November through February.

    *Looks at different calendar*

    and I can’t even use the word ‘enjoy’ from November through February.

    *Looks at date on computer*

    and I can’t even use the word ‘enjoy’ from November through February.

    *Looks at date on phone*

    and I can’t even use the word ‘enjoy’ from November through February.

    **Head asplodes**

  15. evilDoug says

    I liked winter more before I moved to the city. Calgary winters are perpetually annoying – only moderate cold and not a lot of snow, but frequent warm spells (-25°C a few days ago; forecast for Thursday is +9°C – that’s a difference of about 65 Funny degrees) so side roads are either slippery and/or sloppy to drive on and remaining vertical while walking, unless I put on my spikey things, can be a major challenge (can anyone recommend a brand and model of shoe that is good on ice? – the last pair I bought, hoping they would be good because of Vibram soles, are marginally better than strapping heated metal plates to my feet)
    Any time it is below about -10°C I have to make sure I have a face mop or two in my pocket when I walk to the grocery store otherwise the frost on my facial fur melts and drips all over the merchandise.

  16. evilDoug says

    and I can’t even use the word ‘enjoy’ from November through February.

    What makes the 2 months of winter after February enjoyable?

  17. briane says

    -How did native Americans survive that? Or did they migrate south every autumn?
    -Eyeroll, -40c is -40f. So about -40 I’d say. Something I’ve only briefly experienced working in a deep freeze at an abattoir, which was made surreal because it was +30 c some days in the Australian summer. Quite a shock the up to 80 degree Celsius change on hot days.
    -Melbourne is considered a cold place because it frosts in July and August in the outer suburbs for brief periods. Snow is a once in a lifetime occurrence. It’s amazing to think that people willingly live in a place where the need for a word to describe an icy beard exists. I mean I can understand going to a place with snow for recreation, but you wouldn’t want to live there. Vive la difference!

  18. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I see my fellow Albertans have already chimed in. I hibernated as much as possible during this latest cold snap. It may be tolerable, but you won’t find me going out when its -20 unless its absolutely necessary. Only -2 today, and that feels almost balmy in comparison. Guess its time to dig out my car.

  19. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    evilDoug, the best I’ve found is construction boots, Mark’s has some good anti-slip footwear that’s not bad on ice. I even have a steel-toed, CSA approved shoe that looks like a running shoe, I wouldn’t recommend using it for jogging, but its comfortable enough for every day wear, and anti-slip to boot.

  20. Rob Grigjanis says

    @Anthony “Just curious: how many years does that take?”

    Took me one year. I’ve always enjoyed cross-country skiing, and the conditions in Edmonton were fantastic, with trails along (sometimes on) the North Saskatchewan. I was leery at first of running below -20C, but that turned out OK as well, if I bundled up and kept it under 30 minutes. Then I fell in with the wacky members of the Edmonton Rowing Club, who taught me the joys of playing outdoor soccer in -25C weather.

  21. says

    A lot of Edmonton in the comments today. I live here too, and I walk to and from work no matter the temperature, a journey that can take up to half an hour depending on the walking conditions.
    I’m actually warmer when it’s -30 than when it’s -20 (all temperatures in the modern scale, not the antiquated scale preferred by Americans) because I wear more layers and cover my face.
    The only problem is days like yesterday when it was -23 in the morning and rose to -5 in the afternoon. I had to take another coat with me because the one I wear at -23 makes me sweat if I have to wear it too much when it’s -5.

  22. 24fps says

    I’m in Saskatchewan, we don’t get the warm spells Albertans do. It has been colder than -20C every day for nearly two weeks, and a couple of those were below -30 as the high temperature for the day. Wind chill has been miserable, that’s what makes the risk of frostbite worse on your face and hands if they’re exposed. Today is tolerable, though, only -12 (about 8 or 9 degrees Fahrenheit), so I’ll have to take the dog out for a good run.

  23. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Ahh! I spent ages 1 – 5 in Busby, 50 miles north of Edmonton. We lived in a converted barn; no insulation, one layer of wood between us the cold. My mother remembers washing the wood floor, and my brother and sister and I playing on the frozen skim of ice, with little red hands. In the winters, the family all slept in one room, and on the windward side of the house, the ice on the inside of the windows was one inch thick.

    And we did not have plumbing. We had a well and an outhouse. One learns two things about bowel movements in the winter: 1) hold them as long as possible, and 2) when you do “go”, go FAST!

    To this day, unless I am ill, a bowel movement rarely takes me longer than 60 seconds, and most often less.

    The cold in Alberta led me to do at least one worthwhile thing in my life. When I was fifteen, I delivered the early-morning Calgary Herald. I would rise about 3am to fold the papers and do my route; I was a bad sleeper and I needed a long time to return to slumber, so I did my route as early as possible. At about -30 F, tramping along the empty streets, I come across a parked car, its motor running. I look inside. There are two men, transients, clearly, stopping to sleep and running their car to stay warm. Unfortunately, this leads quickly to the permanent dirt nap — carbon monoxide accumulating inside the vehicle leads to a quick death, and several people die this way every year in Alberta.

    The driver’s face is squashed against the driver’s-side window; he is very pale. I knock on the window and get no response. I start to beat the window with my fists, striking it harder and harder as my heart sinks. I don’t want to have discovered two dead men. After nearly a minute, or an eternity, the driver blearily opens his eyes. I motion him to roll down the window. I engage him in conversation for nearly a minute while the air in the car, stinking of sweat and exhaust rises out and is exchanged with the frigid outer air. I get him to wake up his companion. He curses me. I warn him that he will die if he doesn’t turn off his engine. Finally, he does this. After another moment, he rolls up the window and makes himself comfortable again, closing his eyes. I walk a few steps away, then turn and wait. I watch the car to make sure that he doesn’t turn the engine on again. He does not. I turn away and complete my route, running hard, as standing for 2 – 3 minutes in the cold has begun to freeze my hands, feet, and face.

    The next day there is no report of two dead bodies being discovered in a car. Whatever else happens in my life, I did save those two guys.

    Of course, now I am a softie living in Vancouver, BC.

  24. kate_waters says

    I lived in Winnipeg, MB, Canada for a few years. It’s not uncommon for the temp to dip to -40 (That’s the same, either in American or regular) and that’s not even taking the windchill into account. When it gets to or below -40 they issue “Freezing Skin” warnings. No shit. Exposed skin FREEZES in just a few minutes.

    Mid-winter it’s not uncommon to hear almost daily of homeless people dying because they had no shelter and it’s not uncommon for drunk-off-their-butt idiots to freeze to death on the way home from the bar.


  25. left0ver1under says

    Cold weather can be really dangerous. You can die.

    PZ Myers was prepared for the weather and he wasn’t drunk. That’s not always the case.

    The RCMP in Saskatchewan are infamous for their “starlight tours”. Men who have been involved in fights are driven out of town and forced to walk home. And in winter, the “police” took their jackets away in temperatures as low as -30C. Several people have died (murdered, really) yet no one has ever been charged or held accountable.

  26. says

    I’m always prepared for the weather. I’m not stupid.

    I’m never drunk — I know my limits and do not drink to excess.

    So actually, it is always the case.

  27. digibud says

    It’s been -40F for a few weeks but now it’s up to +10F so my wife and I will be going out for some bike riding. Today there was a reference to Tshirt weather… :).

  28. says

    Man, this topic really drew out the Canadians. Are you people trying to live up to the stereotype, or what? Next I should start a thread asking for your favorite poutine recipes.

  29. says

    Well you started a post on the snow and cold in the end of December and you didn’t expect the Canadians who’ve had to shovel several feet of the stuff already to pipe up? ;p

  30. 24fps says

    Poutine? No, no, that’s Quebcois! Out here on the prairies it’s Saskatoon berry pie. And mine is unparalleled, but the secret ingredient must remain secret.

  31. says


    Well you started a post on the snow and cold in the end of December and you didn’t expect the Canadians who’ve had to shovel several feet of the stuff already to pipe up?

    Pfffft, we have deep snow here in ND*, it’s been snowing since late October. Bah.

    *Yeah, yeah, I know, to all effect, we’re in Canada anyway.

  32. Amphiox says

    One cannot have a *favorite* poutine recipe.

    There is only poutine, and not-poutine.

    Poutine is unity. But only in Quebec, and only in non-separation-referendum years.

  33. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    So real poutine is only found in Canada?
    I can’t have any in Florida?
    ::sniff, sniff…runs off pouting::

  34. Rob Grigjanis says

    @Tony “I can’t have any in Florida?”

    You should be able to – that’s where Quebeckers go for the winter. They’re called Floribécois, and there is even a relevant poutine.

  35. mnb0 says

    Btw – where I live it’s about 90 F in July and August as well. In October it maybe 100 F; at night temperature drops to 70 sometimes.

  36. slowdjinn says

    Matt Penfold #2

    Yep, it doesn’t have to be ridiculously cold to kill you, especially if you get wet.

  37. johnmarley says

    I looked at the thermometer this afternoon and saw that it was 11°F outside. My first thought: “Wow, it really warmed up today.”

  38. patterson says

    Poutine recipes? We don’t need no stinkin recipes! We go to James BBQ shack in Gooderham and ask for pulled pork poutine. Anyone who makes their own poutine is just doing it wrong.

  39. Dick the Damned says

    We’ve taken PZ’s lead – we went for a walk, down to Beaver Pond. With my five year-old grandson, it did get a bit frustrating. He kept throwing himself into the snow, & generally dawdled along. Next time I’ll go by myself, to get a worthwhile work-out.

    It’s still snowing here: i’ll dig the car out tomorrow.

  40. dnorrism says

    My friend meandered home from the pub, but couldn’t get his door open, so he figured he’d relax in the porch chair. (Hours go by…..) His hands were bandaged for weeks, and when the bandages were removed, his hands were puffy, black, and nearly worthless for holding a beer. And it was only 5 F!

  41. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says


    They are The Dominion after all, right?

  42. says

    So really its no so much assimilation as it is an economic and military take over? I think we’re still working on infiltrating Canadians disguised as Americans into your local governments and institutions phase of the plan. O.O

  43. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    I grew up in Vancouver and moved to Edmonton when I was 21. The first few winters there were a shock to say the least. I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive this climate of cold and snow. I was especially annoyed because I’d been a dedicated utilitarian cyclist in Vancouver and hated that for much of the year that appeared to be impossible in Edmonton.

    But then I started to notice things. For one, there were people riding their bikes in winter. They were few and far between in 1988, but they did exist. And then I noticed that when it dropped down below zero in fall everyone rugged up in their minus thirty clothes. But come spring when the temp came back up to just below zero those same people were strutting around in shorts and t-shirts. People were adapting to the weather.

    So I decided to force that adaptation. As the temperatures dropped I would only put on a little more clothes, not my full on gear, and I kept riding. If I went outside and I wasn’t just a little chilly I would shed a layer. I also kept the inside temperature at my home at around 18 and turned it down to 16 when I went to bed. For me at least this worked. I found that by letting myself be a little cold in fall the deep freeze of the dead of winter was much more bearable. It’s an amazing thing the human body, it can adapt to just about anything, so long as you let it.

    Now I live in Australia. And I’ve been forcing myself to adapt the other direction. Without much success I have to admit. For some reason I find it harder to keep my jumper and long pants on when the weather warms up, but I am getting there. It might also have to do with being in my forties rather than my twenties.

    TLDR: For me the key to enjoying Edmonton winters was to be in that winter. To go out and do things in the weather despite the cold and to consciously make an effort to adapt to that cold. To allow myself to feel a little discomfort in order to mitigate a greater discomfort later on in the season.

  44. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    We are Canada: Resistance would be improper, ey

  45. azportsider says

    I don’t believe it, michaeld. No self-respecting Canadian would want any part of our Arizona politics.

  46. viajera says

    Um , wow. Seeing as I’m moving to Saskatoon next week – and from a balmy southern US locale at that! – this is timely. And kinda scary. *reconsiders whether my new wardrobe of wool, down, and fleece will suffice, or whether I need more thermals*

  47. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Lots of light layers are best viajera. That way you can adjust by taking layers off. It’s not good to get sweaty under your clothes when it’s really cold out. Also make sure that the layer next to your skin is a wicking fabric like wool or one of the various synthetics. Cotton next to the skin is the worst as it will hold any moisture there and make you colder.

    Hands and feet are often a problem, mitts are better than gloves and boots with a good air space in the toe really helps. Putting on an extra layer of socks can sometimes make it worse because unless you’ve got oversized boots the squeeze of getting your foot in with the extra layer compresses the blood vessels reducing circulation.

  48. chigau (違う) says

    Well, you have learned to say ‘jumper’ when you mean ‘sweater’.

  49. Rob Grigjanis says

    Viajera, I have it from an unreliable authority that “Saskatchewan” comes from a Cree phrase meaning “Abandon hope and sandals all ye who enter”.

    On the other hand, you’ll be able to visit Rouleau, where Corner Gas was shot.

  50. Louis says

    PZ Myers, #26,

    I’m never drunk — I know my limits and do not drink to excess.

    I have never read anything so disgusting in all my days.

    I mean, destroying crackers, fine; being a feminist, lovely; being an atheist, wonderful; but not drinking to excess…? Outrageous!

    Heroes with feet of clay.

    I demand you a) change your blog (which I will no longer be reading, obviously) to reflect my booze addled interests, b) start drinking heavily, c) admit that actually you were drunk once and loved it, d) stop creating all this fussing and feuding with your no drinking to excess foolishness, e) accommodate drunks. and f) sundry other demands I will think up after I have a kebab.



  51. David Wilford says

    I was outside for four hours today with the dogs in the balmy 20F temps in northwestern Wisconsin and enjoyed it, but tomorrow it starts getting colder. My rule is that if my feet are cold, put on a hat or hood. I’m looking forward to cross-country skiing on New Year’s Day, hope you all keep safe and warm if you live in northern climes.

  52. FossilFishy (Νεοπτόλεμος's spellchecker) says

    Heh. I’ve adapted to the point that boot, bonnet, jumper, torch and aluminIum are all part of my regular vocabulary. But I’ve drawn a line, a dire and baleful line that must never be crossed, it’s going to be a toMAYtoe until my dying day.

  53. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    “You’ve also lost your hat and a glove.
    As you sink back into the snow, shaken, your heat begins to drain away at an alarming rate, your head alone accounting for 50 percent of the loss.”

    There’s a common myth about losing nearly 50 percent through the head, advising hats.
    Actually, this scenario could be the exception where it’s valid, but I’ll link anyhow…
    Article: Guardian – Scientists debunk the myth that you lose most heat through your head

    “The myth is thought to have arisen through a flawed interpretation of a vaguely scientific experiment by the US military in the 1950s. In those studies, volunteers were dressed in Arctic survival suits and exposed to bitterly cold conditions. Because it was the only part of their bodies left uncovered, most of their heat was lost through their heads.”

  54. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    @ Caine

    I have to ask, do you live there voluntarily? When I was still married we spent late December to August in Minot before my ex got out of active duty military on hardship due to family issues. It was a “mild winter” that year with only -40 windchill and snow just above my knees. Then came summer with the humidity and kamikaze mosquitoes that viewed DEET as simply a minor annoyance. Never again.

    Of course now I live in the desert of WA, with 100+ degree stretches in the summertime and some snow in the winter, but that feels relatively sane…

  55. Dick the Damned says

    Caine, we can’t assimilate you, not even just you North Dakotans, We just don’t have have enough Tims to go around. Sorry.

    Chigau, when FossilFishy talks about getting on a woolly jumper, that just might have sinister connotations, (i mean, what visual image comes to mind), bearing in mind that he’s now Australian. (I apologize if FossilFishy is a woman.)

  56. says

    Winter has finally arrived in upstate NY. It hasn’t gotten warmer than 25°F or so for the past couple of days and we’ll have an additional 6 inches of snow by tomorrow morning. A week ago, it was 50° and raining.
    During our first snow storm of the season (you know, the one on Thursday), I bundled up the Darkling and took her for a walk around the neighborhood. She seemed to enjoy herself. Well, she fell asleep in the carrier, which is basically the same thing.

  57. says


    We will get to your arizona in time once our agents in the northern states are farther along. Best not to rush these plans. Remember Canadians look just like everyone else without their flannel shirt, toque or bowl of poutine. O.O

  58. evilDoug says

    for Louis

    Get drunk

    One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters;
    that’s our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time’s
    horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows
    you down, you must get drunk without cease.

    But with what?
    With wine, poetry, or virtue
    as you choose.
    But get drunk.

    And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
    in the green grass of a ditch,
    in the bleak solitude of your room,
    you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
    ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
    all that which flees,
    all that which groans,
    all that which rolls,
    all that which sings,
    all that which speaks,
    ask them, what time it is;
    and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
    they will all reply:

    “It is time to get drunk!

    So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
    get drunk, get drunk,
    and never pause for rest!
    With wine, poetry, or virtue,
    as you choose!”

    Charles Baudelaire
    in translation, original in französische Sprache, of course

  59. says


    I have to ask, do you live there voluntarily?

    Yes. I like it here, I just don’t like winter. I wouldn’t like winter anywhere. I’m a native Southern Californian and spent most of my life there. I find snow distinctly unimpressive, always have done. (One set of great-grandparents had a house in Crestline back in the day. I didn’t even like going there in winter, because of snow.)

  60. evilDoug says

    Oops! HTML fail. The whole body of the poem should have been italic, not just the title and last stanza (lest you think I was trying to emphasize the latter for some obtuse reason). Looked OK in preview.

  61. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Lies! We’ve got Timmys drifting down into New York. Just admit it, you’re trying to assimilate us first. ;)

    Shhh…Don’t notice, just stand in line politely doing the Timmy Shuffle, saying “what der hey”.

  62. Holms says

    This inquiring Australian would like to know what all that white stuff on the ground is.

    Anyway, sometimes it gets so cold here that I have to wear a blanket over my t-shirt and shorts while sitting at my computer. Yes, a blanket!

  63. Rodney Nelson says

    We had three inches of heavy, wet snow (the type that falls when the temperature is right around freezing (273K)). I just spent an hour shoveling out the driveway. I’m having an Irish coffee and enjoying it very much while my muscles remind me I’m not 23 any more.

  64. viajera says

    @Caine: Viajera, you forgot the most important thing – booze.

    So THAT’S why my friends gave me a flask as a going-away gift. Awesome! Any excuse for a midday snort of rum, or – more appropriately, I ‘spose – schnapps.

    @evilDoug: -15 is pretty good, eh? :|
    (Actually, I know, I’ve been hearing about those -40 and -50 days!)

    @Rob: Lololol! Well, I’m sneaking at least one pair of sandals in. You know, for all those hot summer days! Here’s hoping those mounties don’t confiscate them

  65. Dick the Damned says


    This inquiring Australian would like to know what all that white stuff on the ground is.

    Let me tell you, poor benighted dweller in hot, desert lands. It’s snow, which is better than sand, which i guess you’re used to.
    It coats more than the ground, making leafless trees look quite beautiful.
    It helps insulate your roof from the cold.
    It very light, & is easy to shovel; so easy, it’s an absolute joy shovelling the stuff.
    It also gives a darn good excuse to stay off work, or avoid going shopping.
    There are more sporting opportunities with snow than with sand, without the distraction of those sporting uniforms as worn by young ladies playing beach volleyball, for instance.
    One can see where the dog’s been.
    But most of all, it doesn’t get into places it shouldn’t, causing friction-induced irritation, because it conveniently melts.

  66. 24fps says

    Viajera, good luck with your move. Saskatoon is a lovely city.

    I was involved in Corner Gas’s production on the web side – also played a bit part twice. Fun times.

  67. poose says

    I can relate-and it wasn’t even freezing weather. It was still in the mid-40’s

    I took a long ride (a walkabout) and found myself about a hundred miles from home. I was on my motorcycle, was wearing full gear appropriate for the temperature, and the bike was running well.

    Then I got lost. I forgot in central Indiana/Illinois that the grid system of roads occasionally takes a detour around a feature (a hill, a river, whatever) and in the light of dusk it can be difficult to determine direction.

    I was seriously lost, and although I had geared up-not for the time period I was approaching. Two-to-three hours, sure. Four plus and the temp is dropping fast-that’s the thing that death is made of.

    Bikers have a motto in cold weather-“Get cold and stay cold”. It’s more of a comfort thing than anything else. It means that to stay functional (and comfortable) to induce the early stages of hypothermia can, and does work…

    Unless you overstay your welcome-and begin to actually freeze to death. I obviously made it home-crawled into a blisteringly-hot shower and didn’t get out of bed for about a day. When I finally “landed” (put the kickstand down in the garage) I tried to stand-it didn’t work. I tried again-ditto. I had to remember an other old trick-to flex my muscles to encourage circulation. I was eventually able to rise without assistance. I can only think how this could have ended badly if I had crashed in the woods, or just succumbed to the desire to “just nip off for a quick nod” by the side of the road (yeah, I wanted to).

    But what floors me more than anything else-I was riding Skunk-mi compadre. Bloody thing weighs 630 lbs, and can quarter-mile in the 12’s. I was not only able to hold it up and ride it-that when I finally was home I could barely stand.

    I hate the cold.

  68. Crudely Wrott says

    I got a free trip to Hawaii back in 2002 to help set up lighting for an HBO Janet Jackson show. When I arrived it was raining and the temps were in the low 60s F. It rained the whole time I was there which was unusual for local weather there, so I was told.
    The show was in the Hula Bowl and I got the night shift. Seven PM to seven AM. Temperatures in the mid fifties to low sixties. Since I was busting ass picking things up and putting things down I was generating heat so I worked with just a tee and a cotton shirt. Plenty comfortable even if damp most of the time. I kept a water proof wind breaker handy for meal times when I was sitting and not generating heat.
    All around me, though, were people dressed like they were in Buffalo, New York during a blizzard. I kid you not; parkas, stocking caps, scarves and gloves. Muck lucks even! I assumed they were locals.
    Just goes to show, people get used to certain conditions and anything else seems extreme even though it is not. During the time I lived in Wyoming and New Hampshire it was not unusual to experience a temperature swing of over one hundred degrees during a single year’s seasons. During my years south of the Mason Dixon line it was unusual to see much more that half of that swing.
    I’m very glad I’ve had the opportunity to live in varying climate zones. I’m very versatile and know how to stay reasonably comfortable in spite of any weather.
    Adapt and survive! And thanks to my ancestors for the useful traits. I really appreciate them.

  69. says

    Interesting article, but I couldn’t read more than a couple of paragraphs. All those weird Fahrenheit numbers just jam up my brain. I just don’t feel like keeping a conversion table open just to understand every other sentence this morning, sorry.

  70. Oenotrian says

    Here in Puget Sound, we hovered just above 40F/5C today. The typical drizzly mist was falling.

    My husband and I played an enjoyable nine holes of golf, and finished just before sunset around 4:30.

  71. says

    as a transplanted New Yorker i think the Minnesota cold is sort of exciting.i have a kit in the car to keep warm if i have a break down or “ditch it”. a North Slope down jacket and all that sort of gear for sub zero walks.when i was at Bemidji U in the 70’s my roommate did a 101 speech class that involved taking the class out to Pine Point Park for a show and tell of winter survival and the guys in the dorm warned me that i should not drink that bottle of Vodka i kept in my car or i would freeze my throat.
    the only down side is when you have no choice but to go out in the cold and snow for some sort of nasty chore otherwise the sub zero stuff is sort of an adventure.

  72. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I thought Minnesotan Ice didn’t get in your face, just sort of went about things passive-aggressively.

  73. azgeo says

    This is the time of year I love Arizona weather! It’s 46F out, at 1:33AM! I do not even own a pair of pants. (That’s trousers for you British people. I have plenty of underwear.)

  74. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Well, -27 F is -32.77777777777 C, and 77 F is 25 C. You can just go from there, right?

  75. Rob Grigjanis says

    How could I forget this great song by Quebec artist Gilles Vigneault: Mon Pays

    Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver (My country is not a country, it is winter).