I recognize that "cost" means a lot more than just money. That includes
the time it takes to replace the batteries, resetting the devices after
power loss, and maybe even environmental concerns (power inefficiency,
I have a battery powered wire-wrap gun that I used to use to build
(electronic) prototypes. Not well designed, ergonomically. But,
handy to use cuz it was battery powered -- didn't have to deal
with a cord draped across your work surface.
But, when the (expensive!) batteries started failing (keep a spare
on hand so you don't have to stop working to wait for the battery
to recharge). Or, that the battery has come loose and you have
to stop to re-secure it (the battery forms the handle of the device).
I retired it in favor of a corded gun. Much smaller, lots of power
(that didn't fade as the battery faded). And, I learned how to
adjust my work style so the cord wasn't an issue.
I can take it out of it's storage container *now* and use it.
The battery powered one would SURELY have a DEAD (non-recoverable)
Until one of them stops taking a charge.
I have several cordless drills (B&D, Makita, Bosch, etc.) that folks have
given me, over the years -- when they decided they didn't want to keep
buying a "replacement" every time a battery died.
[I use the drills to make hand-crank generators so I don't need the
My keys are usually sitting on my dresser when I'm at home. When the power
goes off I'm usually on the other side of the house. A key ring light
would be of little use for me.
I have emergency lights plugged in various places around the house. When
the power goes out they come on automatically making it easy to navigate
through the house to get my other lights.
If you want to be helpless in the dark, that's fine. If
you want to leave your keys across the house, that's your
choice. If you want to list the various reasons why you
can't carry a flash light, that's your choice.
I find a flash light on keys, or in pocket (and then
in hand) far more useful.
As for me, I prefer to recognize a good idea and
find ways TO carry a flash light.
I'm not helpless in the dark, that's what the emergency lights are for.
They provide light for my wife and daughter too if I'm out of the house, or
sitting on the throne when the power goes out. :)
Power outages are a rare thing. I don't want a big ring of 15+ keys in my
pocket all day for that rare situation. When I get home, the keys, wallet,
watch, change, etc. all get unloaded. I'm not packing that stuff around any
longer than I have to.
These days it seems most people have grown a smart phone as another
appendage. These would make a serviceable flashlight in an emergency.
Clouds are a rarity, here. Especially after dark.
We have no street lights (in the neighborhoods) but there's usually
enough ambient light that you don't need a supplemental light source.
Anything you'd need to be wary of (larger wildlife) tend to be shy.
And, those that aren't (rabid, etc.) are usually big enough that you
can see them.
That reminds me of when I visited some people in Youngtown AZ (a suburb
of Phoenix). It would rain about once a year.
They also talk of "dry heat". That'd be much preferable to what we have
in Texas, where June has the worst weather of the year. Not the highest
temperature, but excessive humidity.
That's nice. I remember one night when I was walking around during a
full moon and a power outage. There was plenty of natural light.
We have reasonably spectacular storms during Monsoon. But, only a total
of about 10-11 inches annually.
But, they roll in, drop their moisture, then disappear. None of the
long drizzles that were common in other parts of the country.
And, we claim 360 days of sunshine -- which appears to be correct;
you *remember* the cloudy days as there are so few of them!
When folks say "but, it's a dry heat!", I counter with "Yeah, tell
that to the turkey on Thanksgiving!". The heat is actually tolerable
if you're not in the sun. You can stand in shadow, close your eyes
and stretch your arm out into the sunlight and tell EXACTLY where the
shadow line crosses your outstretched arm!
The worst aspect of the dry heat is that you don't perspire. Well, you
*do* perspire but you never feel "sweaty". As a result, you run the real
risk of dehydration and heat stroke. If you are active, outdoors, your
body loses huge quantities of moisture -- of which you are completely
unaware (because you aren't "sweaty"). Rule of thumb is to drink
16oz of water every 20 minutes -- that's almost 1/2G per hour!
And, while doing this, you have NO urge to go to the bathroom to shed
"excess" water! Kind of a scary feeling the first time you experience
it ("Where the hell is all this water that I'm drinking GOING??")
I've lived in areas with high humidity. You can't take enough showers
in a day to ever feel "clean"!
Despite being dry -- most of the year -- our Monsoon is probably worse
(in terms of THI) than in many other parts of the country as temperatures
hover around 100 (down from the HOT times of Summer) while the RH is
But, the timing of the storms that accompany the humidity often gives
some relief as the rain cools things down. (if it rains early in the
morning, the afternoon can be very oppressive as you have all of that
moisture in the air and the temperature is INcreasing).
I never saw a meteor shower until I moved here -- the skies were always
too overcast. But, here, I make a point of climbing on the roof to
watch them (lie on your back so you're not having to twist your head/neck
We get about 40 inches of rain per year on average. Around here that tends
to be distributed over several months. Very few heavy downpours, just
relentless showers and drizzle.
Oh, I remember the cloudy days...
Starts in December and lasts till April. :)
We watch the perseids in August, but we only get a narrow view of the sky
through the opening in the trees.
A few years ago we camped in Arches National Park and had an amazing view
of the meteor showers.
Chicago was like that (and roughly the same annual precip total).
Ditto for beantown.
Florida had the intense storms -- that seemed to have the rainwater
going back *up* into the clouds as soon as the rain had ended!
Our winter rains tend to be gentle, but not much water. Monsoon
is where we see our biggest (and most "exciting") storms.
Yeah, that's what it was like in the midwest: "And the forecast
for today is GREY..."
I prefer the winter showers: Leonids and Geminids. Though it pushes
the bounds of comfort to lie on a cold roof in the wee hours of the
We can see horizon to horizon (except to the north which is blocked by the
mountains). So, if you are lucky, you can catch a meteor(ite) traveling
a long arc clear *across* the sky (instead of the little ones that
burn up quickly).
Get rid of the cloud cover and the city lights and its amazing how
much "stuff" is in the night sky!
When I climb on the roof, I have to discipline myself not to glance towards
the neighbor's house as he leaves a porch light on overnight. Your eyes
hunt for it and then you have to wait to reacquire your night vision.
A few years ago, I was visiting some people in west Texas and nowhere
near a big city. I was surprised at how many stars I could see in the
sky. It looked like hundreds or thousands, rather than the half dozen or
so I can see in town.
Exactly. I took my "evening constitutional" around 11P last night (had to
wait for it to drop down below 90F). Waxing crescent so the sky was pretty
black. Walking in the middle of the road (no risk of tripping over any
portion of the sidewalk that may have "buckled" from the day's heat)
eliminates any buildings or foliage that would otherwise be alongside me
while walking (i.e., on the sidewalk).
So, clear view of the sky from horizon to horizon ahead of me.
"Inky black" instead of that "grey soup" that's common in many
The aurora has been on our bucket list for many years. So, this April my
wife and I made a trip to Fairbanks to see the northern lights.
The aurora occurs year round, but your odds of seeing it go down at certain
times of the year. During the winter you have to contend with clouds and
very frigid temperatures. During the summer it doesn't get dark enough to
see the lights anymore.
March seemed like a good compromise, but I planned late so April was the
best we could do. Even in early April it was staying light out till well
We were in Fairbanks for five nights, but the weather and the aurora only
cooperated one night during our stay.
We drove up to the top of Murphy Dome after midnight to get away from the
city lights and have a clear view of the night sky. The aurora wasn't
particularly strong that night (a four rating I believe) but it was still
an amazing sight. I tried to get pictures of it, but despite long exposures
and clear photographs, it just doesn't capture the scale of the real thing.
The lights extend almost from horizon to horizon, dancing slowly in the sky
all around you. Even though they are far above, it felt like we could reach
out and touch them. Beautiful and mesmerizing.
We tried to condition ourselves to staying up late, but at 3am it was
getting very cold and windy on the top of that mountain. We reluctantly
decided to pack it in and make the long drive down the snow covered
It was truly an amazing sight. I wish we had been able to see it more than
just the one night, but I'm thankful we were able to see it at least once
in our lives.
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