Why We Live Here

It’s the weather, really. Well, okay, the jobs are nice, too, but the climate is the reason the Bay Area is so attractive to so many people. Sure, people come and go depending on the economy, but over time there are just so many people who want to live in a place with nice weather almost year-round, rather than deal with snow or six months or rain or tornadoes or humidity or mosquitoes or whatever.

Subrata called it the “eternal summer” the first year I moved here: Sunny days from April through October. The usual morning forecast is “cloudy in the morning, burning off around midday, high around seventy-something.” No, really: I hear this on the radio around 200 days a year. (Most of the rest of the days differ in that they’re either “high in the eighties”, or “chance of showers”.)

(In San Francisco itself, adjust for more fog and lower temperatures, except in September and October when it’s usually warmer.)

Last night I walked out of my building at work. It was still warm (we’re at the trailing end of a heat wave), but the smell in the air and the cooling breeze made me think that I need to get biking to work again.

This morning after breakfast I took Blackjack out on the back patio. I watched him carefully so he wouldn’t spot a squirrel and take off up a tree, but mostly he just wanted to sniff plants.

Several times this month I’ve remarked around 8 pm what a perfect evening it was. I’m sure we’ll have many more.

I don’t take full advantage of the weather the way some of my more outdoorsy friends do, but it’s relaxing just to experience it.

Until September, when I’m sick of it and ready for it to rain.

But even then, it beats humidity and mosquitoes.

Rampant Traffic Problems

The big news around here is the tanker truck which destroyed a ramp connector in the Macarthur Maze Sunday morning. Amazingly, no one was killed (although the driver was badly hurt). But the accident caused part of a ramp to collapse onto another connector, which is snarling traffic in the east bay (in the Oakland/Berkeley area). It sounds like traffic hasn’t been as bad as people had feared, but it may be only a matter of time.

Here’s a nifty PDF showing the vicinity of the ramp collapse.

Mom, Debbi and I drove along the lower ramp (from I-80 to I-880) last weekend when we went up to Berkeley – an unusually close experience, since I only go to Berkeley a few times per year. And of course Scalzi was up there on his book tour last week (I’m pretty sure he’s innocent, though).

I’m glad I don’t have to commute over any of the bridges. Modern bridges are a boon compared to the olden days (when ferries were the main way to cross the bay to and from San Francisco), but there are so many people in the area that the traffic grid is getting more and more bogged down. And there’s very little redundancy to deal with even partial outages like this one.

We need to do something, but what can we do?

And what happens when the next major earthquake hits?


I was sitting at the computer tonight when I felt like I was bouncing around a little. Nothing else in the room was moving, but I still wondered, “Huh, are we having an earthquake?”

Yep, we were. A 4.2 magnitude quake based on the other side of the bay. People out that way felt it pretty strongly. Ceej and Bill felt it too. A lot of people did, actually.

Although not as strong, the first earthquake I felt was more memorable. But Jon Miller on the Giants broadcast will do that.

An unusual way to mark my 8th anniversary working at Apple.

Rainy Morning

We’ve been having a shortage of rain this winter – not quite a drought, but enough that the papers have started writing about it.

Well, after showers yesterday, it rained in earnest last night. Which is pretty much how I think of California: Nice during the day, rain at night. At least, that was the pattern back when I first moved here: The rain was tailing off when my alarm went off, and it was sunny by noon.

Hopefully we’ll get plenty of rain in February and March. It will help stave off the cold temperatures, if nothing else!

Cold Front

Brrr… damn it’s cold! Apparently the Bay Area has had an Alaskan cold front sitting over it for the last week, which has meant overnight lows around freezing, conditions we usually don’t see except for a few days in late January. It’s totally killed my enthusiasm for going on morning bike rides, after five consecutive days of exercise in relatively balmy weather during my time off last week.

Despite this, Subrata and I decided to go play ultimate frisbee last night, even though it’s our team’s bye week. Turnout was better than I’d expected given the conditions – usually we field 4 teams a night, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if we had fewer than the 28 people necessary for that. But we 35-40 people showed up during the night.

We joined another team scheduled to play that night, but more people from our regular team kept trickling in, either to play pickup, or because they didn’t realize it was our bye week and figure since we didn’t play Tuesday we must play Thursday! Eventually we had 6 of our regular team show up, and I think we outnumbered the team we joined!

One good thing about the cold weather is that my endurance – always pretty crappy – is much better when the temperature goes below about 55. I can run longer, and I recover faster. So that made the evening more enjoyable. I managed to score a couple of points, and get involved in a few other good points. We ended up staying for the whole session – we’d thought beforehand that we’d probably only stay for half of it – and had a lot of fun.

I wouldn’t mind it being a little warmer for the next few weeks, though.