Monday, June 28, 2010

Dead Antennae and Terrible Weather

Since I spend my time these days back and forth between the city and the lake, I can't help but notice that we've been having... less than ideal weather conditions so far this summer.

You know how Environment Canada, and similar weather forecast agencies, maintain a standard set of visual icons to help the viewer quickly identify the conditions outside? A sun represents "sunny", clouds represent "cloudy", snowflakes represent "snowy" -- you know, pretty straightforward indicators. So with that said, I can't say that I've seen this icon very often --

-- but Environment Canada knows how to get your attention, if nothing else. (BRB, tornado.)

Seeing that report pop up last week was something of an anomaly, of course. Funnel clouds don't just fall out of the sky -- or, okay, they kind of do, but you get what I'm getting at -- so I was willing to dismiss the whole thing as a temporary blip on the way to the clear skies and warm temperatures that characterize another great summer in our fair province.

And sure enough, the very next day, the city celebrated as--

--wait, what? No, no, wait. Hang on.

This is my fault, really, for even being surprised; I was just kind of expecting more along the lines of "partly cloudy", not "shit on fire".

But, hey, stuff can only burn for so long, right? So as we headed into the weekend, conditions improved to--, uh... wow, that's nearly a day and a half of lighting stuff on fire. Did they sneak the G20 summit into Winnipeg, and I just missed the memo about it?

Fortunately, this was still an improvement from the previous report, as it had the courtesy to chill off somewhat. You hear newcomers and visitors complaining about Winnipeg being on fire all the time, but it's really more of a cool fire. Trust me, once you get used to it, it's actually quite invigorating.

And hey! Once the fire is extinguished and we go into the weekend proper, with countless Manitobans packing up the car for a getaway to their favourite cottage countries, it's time for sunny beaches galore and the relaxing enjoyment of a mild Manitoba June.

Well, screw you too, then. Fine! Let's all stay inside for the rest of the summer and read things on our computers instead. (Segue!)

I ran a column in the most recent edition of Uptown Magazine -- normally I'd mirror the cover here, but the image is busted -- and you can read it here. To lay the credit where credit is due, I was partially motivated to write this column by this recent post at Kevin McDougald's The View From Seven; the other part of the motivation stems from my current setup, even as we speak, holed up in the Interlake watching the World Cup via a fuzzy analog antenna feed.

I know we technologically advanced, high-minded internet types don't tend to think about such things, but those numbers I mention in the article are correct: there are still one out of every ten households in Canada watching television through the ol' rabbit-ears, and when the mandatory digital switchover hits fourteen months from now those one out of ten households are going to be quite righteously grumpy. And, yes, perhaps under normal circumstances one out of ten doesn't sound that impressive -- but when you've got a minority-government deadlock on the federal stage, believe me, that ten percent starts to loom pretty large.

Don't be surprised if (or, if my suspicions are correct, when) this story begins to draw disproportionately high airplay within the year. And hope for everybody's sakes that our fair region is less rainy, smoky and swirly next year; when this debate starts to dominate, you're going to want to spend more time outside just to get away from it. I'm calling it now!


Anonymous said...

Your alt tags are killing me!

C. Beresford Tipton said...

You'll notice the weekends in Manitoba are at least...consistent.

Clouds, rain, showers every GD time.

Forget the nuclear bomb option for the BP oil leak...use it to disrupt the 7 day weather pattern here.

Shaun M. Wheeler said...

The funnel cloud warning on the 22nd wasn't a blip... we saw it happen!

It was an interesting sight to watch that funnel cloud start to form, then dissipate almost as quickly as it had began.

Still didn't get to leave work early...

Ben Century said...

I suppose when my bunny ears become dedicated clothes lines, I'll up my internet connection and download the 6:00 news.

Vanessa said...

How can it be raining every second day here? Seriously. Not cool.

The View from Seven said...

Some interesting stats today from Canwest, showing that 7.8 percent of Winnipeg viewers still get their signals over-the-air.

Oddly, the CRTC didn't receive a single intervention in response to Canwest's application to cut Portage, Morden, Winkler, etc. out of their over-the-air coverage area. I would have thought at least one politician would have taken a valiant stand in favour of constituents' right to watch "Big Brother" in rural Manitoba without having to pay Shaw or Bell.