Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leverage This

Those pesky Credit Default Swaps (CDS), which have turned a housing boom/bust cycle into a full blown global financial meltdown, are even worse than I thought.

It was 2 years ago, upon reading a lot about Wall Street's and insurance company's invention of CDS's, derivatives, their connection to the housing boom/mortgages, and their potential disastrous consequences, that I decided to move pretty much out of stocks. I was a year early, and missed out on some big gains, but also some big losses. It was one of my luckier market timing moves, and it almost makes up for all my typically terrible stock market timing moves earlier in life. I am VERY SLOWLY moving a little cash back into equities, but today I read this:

Unbelievably, CDS's were also set up to insure the debt of ENTIRE NATIONS.

This is not good. Not good at all. Talk about a domino effect... Goodbye to some insurance companies, goodbye to some sovereign nations' finances. Goodbye totally leveraged global financial house of cards. It was fun while it lasted.

The weather in Hood River, however, continues to be fantastic, fun, and lasting. Perfect for leveraging these warm days, cool nights, and great Fall colors into some great outdoor activities!

Monday, October 13, 2008

September Revisited

Better late than never. I've been a little distracted lately by the impending collapse of the entire global economic system. Now that world governments have stepped in to nationalize the financial system and somehow back the 50+ TRILLION dollars of Credit Default Swaps and the absolutely insane amounts of leverage in the system, all is well again. What was I thinking? I'll try to stay more focused on happy thoughts in the future.

Compared to historical averages, September in Hood River was warmer, less windy, and drier.

The average temperature was 2.2 degrees warmer than long term averages, but 0.2 degrees cooler than more recent averages (2000-2007). Wind speeds were considerably lower than average, with SSW winds predominating.

There were no official temperature or rainfall records set in September.

High Low Average Historical Average
Temperature (F) 91

Wind (mph) 30


Rainfall (in) 0.21

0.27 (total)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Poll? What Poll?

Sometime yesterday morning the weekly poll on the Hood River Weather site disappeared. Just up and vanished. And it was getting interesting, with Jeff Merkley slightly ahead of Gordon Smith in the Oregon senatorial race, which pretty much reflects the results of other polls.

To create the weekly poll, I've been using a paid poll hosting service. It's pretty inexpensive, and up until now has been quite reliable. Hopefully this is just a short term problem. If the hosting service doesn't re-surface in the next few days, I'll start using a free service (PollDaddy), which is a lot more versatile anyway. It allows multiple choices, comments, and conditional branching, all of which makes for a better polling experience. I haven't switched yet because I still have some months left on the paid service, but this might force the issue earlier.

10/12/08 12:50 Update: Nevermind. The poll is back, 30 minutes after I posted the above rant. Now I just have to come up with a new poll topic...

Busy garden day today... planting garlic, mowing the lawn, harvesting and roasting peppers and pumpkin seeds:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

First Frost

This morning's low of 30 degrees at our weather station and 29 degrees at AGRIMET marked the first official below freezing temperature at the Hood River city elevation this Fall. It's a little earlier than average (Oct 20); once again global warming has failed miserably in extending the growing season here. Maybe next year.

It looks like I was able to temporarily save our very abundant pepper crop last night by covering it with Reemay fabric (from Good News Gardening), which can protect down to 30 degrees. The peppers do appear slightly stunned this morning but not melted, unlike the cucumber and squash plants which were unprotected. The tomatoes were barely nipped, since they are more protected by being up against the south side of the house.

One more cold night tonight, and then temperatures should moderate. The forecasts indicate no rain at least through next weekend.

Mt Adams has a bright shiny new coat of snow, as seen from our house:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Record Rain?

Maybe, maybe not. The previous record rainfall on any October 4th was 0.42 inches (1939).
We received 0.56 inches at our weather station yesterday. At the official Hood River AGRIMET station, the provisional rainfall data shows 0.41 inches. So take your pick (along with all the other weather stations around here).

In any event, it was a good soaking, and lawns that were allowed to go dormant over the summer should be perking up dramatically. Now the trick will be to catch an afternoon when the lawns are dry enough to mow. Especially if you've just fertilized the lawn, like me. It's always something.

This water year is starting off impressively. So far, 5 days into it, we've received 1.10 inches of rain, 0.89 inches above normal.

Speaking of possible records, we can add another record low arctic sea ice to the rapidly growing list of things that just don't seem to be heading in a good direction whatsoever. For mankind, that is. I suspect that the Earth (and especially the Universe) could really care less one way or another. Stay tuned...

This week's Hood River Weather poll wonders whether you will vote for Smith or Merkley for Oregon senator. If nothing else, that race has provided some entertaining negative ads.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's A Wrap

September 30th marked the end of the 2008 "water year", which means we're now in the 2009 water year. And, right on schedule, rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days after a fantastic stretch of warm and dry September weather.

So why does the water year begin October 1 instead of Sept, or Nov, or January? Oddly enough, I haven't been able to find a published official reason why, but one obvious reason would be that snowpack is now at its minimum and will start to build from here on out. So, I guess the southern hemisphere would start its water year April 1? Any site visitors from down under that can confirm that?

And I also haven't been able to find out whether if it's an international standard or just up to each locality.

But, at this point, I'm very quickly losing interest in the whole water year subject and just looking forward to some interesting and varied Fall stormy weather.

The 2008 water year was wetter than average in Hood River. The long term yearly average is 30.03 inches. At our weather station, we received 31.51 inches. The official Hood River station at MCAREC recorded 34.98 inches.