athelind: (Default)

Fed Official Sees High Unemployment For Years

-- Associated Press, via NPR

You know, this actually makes me feel better about the job market in the near future.

Remember the Clinton Boom? (I know it's hard, but it really wasn't that long ago!)

Most "official government reports" of that period just foresaw the good times rollin' along. The few who saw the boom as part of a boom-and-bust cycle were dismissed as Chicken Littles. Same with the housing bubble that ranged through both the Clinton and Bush years.

In the same way, the government officials who currently insist that Recovery Is Just Around The Corner sound impossibly optimistic, seeing unicorns and rainbows in every little upward jig of an isolated economic indicator. Not only don't they convince us, they don't even sound like they've convinced themselves.

Official statements like this one sound so much more plausible. They're rooted in the "common sense" observations every one of us makes every day. They're logical extrapolations of the future from current conditions.

Just like those glorious predictions of the Infinite Boom.1

Because, you see, deep down, nobody really believes in change. They don't believe that things will ever be different. They find it hard to believe, in their hearts, that things ever were different, even if they experienced it themselves.2 My parenthetical comment above, about the Clinton Boom? 'Fess up: it's getting harder and harder to remember those times as genuinely prosperous, isn't it? Instead, it's just the top of a downward slope, not so much "better" as "where 'worse' started".

Don't read too much into this post, really. It's just an early-morning knee-jerk reaction to a headline article. Semantically, it boils down to, "hey, the government says this, so it must be wrong."

I suppose that's as good as any other method of economic prediction.


1Somewhere along the line, as Boom shifted into Decline and from there to Bust, the treatment of the "Technological Singularity" in speculative fiction shifted from "The Rapture of the Nerds" to the geek equivalent of Left Behind. See Accelerando, by Charlie Stross, for a good example of the latter.

2This is, of course, the root of Global Warming Denial.


athelind: (Default)
Note the First: Last week, all the weather sites were reporting that we'd get a single day of rain on Friday.

The rain started Thursday night. Since then, every weather site has been insisting that the rain will clear up "tomorrow". That one day of rain has almost turned into a week now.

It's not serious rain, or even significant rain -- just intermittent spitting and sprinkling, with only occasional, passing moments where it's worth your while to turn on the windshield wipers.

Its stubborn persistence is amusing, though.



Note the Second: Safeway has surprisingly good store brands.

Their pasta sauces are excellent (especially their Arrabiata sauce). Their frozen entrees are decent.

Their sodas, however, are good enough to warrant a journal entry. Almost any supermarket will slap their store label on adequate orange or black cherry soda. Safeway's "fruit" sodas are really quite good. Their Root Beer and Cream Soda (both sold as "Parker's") are excellent, the equal of most anything in a can.

They even manage a good store-brand cola.

I've never found a drinkable bargain-brand cola before. Cola is the hardest flavor to master -- hell, Coca-Cola hasn't managed to get it right since the mid-'80s -- but even my beloved [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia, a cola connoisseur, is replacing her RC addiction with Safeway's "Go2" Cherry Cola.

Of course, this discovery occurred as I was phasing sodas out of my diet again. One can a day isn't a lot, but it's more than I usually drink.

As with anything flavor-oriented, Your Mileage May Vary.


athelind: (Default)
...a man with two is never sure.

I have three online weather sources that I can check pretty much at a glance: ForecastFox, which hooks up to AccuWeather.com, my iGoogle homepage, which connects to Weather Underground, and the Ubuntu desktop thermometer, which just posts the National Weather Service release for its Forecast (not sure where it gets its Current Temperature data).

ForecastFox/Accuweather insists that it's gonna be 82 today. The other two are saying mid-90s.

It's 77 out there now, by their readings; our backyard thermometer reads 79.5. It's gone up 4 degrees in less than an hour, and it's still only 10 AM.

I'm thinkin' the 82 is puttin' the "liar" into "outlier".

(Oddly, ForecastFox has been stubbornly insisting that today would be 82 since around Saturday or Sunday. Usually, their predictions shift around as the day approaches and they get better data, but not this time.)

One thing that all the sources do agree on is that things are gonna drop drastically by Thursday and the weekend. iGoogle is saying 68 on Thursday, the NWS says "mid 60s", and ForecastFox says... 61. We'll see who the outlier is then. Pretty much everyone agrees that the weekend's gonna be mid-60s.


And, yes, most of the purpose of this post was for the "outliar" pun.
athelind: (Default)
That last post reminded me that we had an exceptionally long Fire season last year, lasting through most of the "Summer" and into early "Autumn". For months, the air in the Bay Area ranged from Unusually Smoggy to Choked With Smoke, and nearly everyone was coughing and dealing with sinus headaches -- even those who don't normally suffer allergies. Southern California, I understand, was as bad or worse.

Now, this "Winter", we've had both a stubborn strain of influenza and an exceptionally persistant strain of the common cold running around. The cold virus is one of those that hits, passes through the infectious sneezing-and-runny-nose phase fairly quickly... and then leaves you with lingering congestion and coughing up gobs of phlegm for weeks.

The 2007 strains were the classic "24-hour virus" -- sneeze sneeze sneeze, blow nose blow nose, wake up the next day fine. That was kind of a new experience for me.

It's tempting to draw a correlation between the constant respiratory irritation of the Fire season, and the continued, long-lasting respiratory irritation of this year's Cold season. Maybe weeks of smoke left our systems more sensitive to this year's virus.

The only hitch in that hypothesis is that, if the reports I'm hearing are correct, the Nasty Clingy Cold That Won't Go Away is spread across North America this year, not just the Golden State.


...smoke-induced viral mutation followed by transportation-mediated infection?
athelind: (Default)
You wouldn't think that the whole "obese rodent* sees his shadow, six more weeks of winter" thing would apply to California, would you?

After a brief warm spell right around Further Confusion at the end of January, we're back into 36F nights, 56F days, and rain two days out of three. In fact, we're getting more rain now than we had before GHD. Which is good; even if this keeps up until Spring really arrives, we'll still be well under our average rainfall. We need another flood year, dammit. We're due.

Yes, dagnabbit, 36F is cold enough to qualify as "winter", especially here, and especially three weeks after conversations about how "hot" temps in the mid-70s could feel in the middle of January.


*Not that obese rodent, this obese rodent. How did my LJ get to the point where I have to clarify the phrase "obese rodent", anyway?
athelind: (Default)
Easterners like to snark about how the Golden State "doesn't have seasons."

Of course it does. They're just different than East Coast seasons.

We have:


  • Air, when the hills are green, the flowers bloom, and the wind is a pleasant, offshore breeze.

  • Earth, when the hills have turned brown golden.

  • Fire, when the hot devil winds blow from the mountains, and the wildfires bloom.

  • Water, when the rains roll in.



The seasons may start earlier or later, and they may be more intense in one year than another, but, by golly, they're there.

March 2010

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