Monday, December 21, 2009

S-S-S-S-Solstice

The Winter Solstice occurred today at exactly 12:47pm.

This is extremely essential information…especially if you live 66.5 degrees north of the equator in the Arctic Circle. They will be having 24 hours of darkness today, my friends. Actually, they haven’t been seeing much in the way of sunlight for a while now, according to my exhaustive research with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration…or, more specifically my bud Mr. SnootyProfessorMeteorologyFussyPants at the NOAA.

Take it away, Snoot:

“Well. Hello? Is this on? I’m…a little nervous…you’ve got a big crowd here…”

Kathryn: (Smiles) “Aw. Don’t sweat it, big guy. They’re just regular people like you…pants one leg at a time…yada, yada. Well, most of ‘em anyway…we’ve got a couple of rebels out there, too. (Smiles wider) They know who they are.”

Snoot: “Oh. Um. Ahem. The darkest time of the year at the North Pole is the Winter Solstice on December 21st. But there has been no sunlight or even twilight since early October. The darkness lasts until the beginning of dawn in early March.”

(Author’s note: Can you imagine what their electric bill must be? Meanwhile, Santa's been walking around in the dark all this time.)

Kathryn: “Boy, you guys must have a lot of people on Prozac with all that Sunshiney Affectational Dysfunctional Dopiness going on.”

Snoot: (Sniffs) “I do believe you mean ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ or ‘SAD’, a form of depression that occurs in relation to the seasons, most commonly beginning in winter.”

Kathryn: “Whatever. I’ll bet the liquor stores do really well in that neck of the woods…and bars…and CASINOS…oh, and psychiatrists…”

Snoot: “Actually, the sun rises on the Spring Equinox…around March 21st. Then they stay in full sunlight all day long throughout the entire summer. The suicide rates actually increase in summer…peaking in June. We speculate that insomnia caused by incessant daylight may be to blame.”

Kathryn: “Huh. So, no-one ever thought to…ya know, close the blinds…maybe get some blackout curtains? Oh! Couldn’t they just take a pill? Wait. I guess that’s a lot of pills…”

Snoot: “I have no idea. I am a scientist…not a physician. And yes…I do believe that would mean a lot of pills. Do you take a lot of pills, miss?”

Kathryn: (Frowns) “I do not have to answer that, Snoot. Thanks for the info…but now you’re just annoying me. I’ve got it from here…and no, we don’t validate parking…so kindly put that thing away.”

Today, we will have a whopping 9 hours and 10 minutes of daylight. It shall not get any shorter. The “Night Arthritis Index” for today is HIGH. The “Mosquito Index” is LOW. This translates to a painful evening for some…but not an itchy one.

By January 31st, the sun will set 6 minutes later than now…but it will also rise 4 minutes later…resulting in….(carry the 4, divide by pi) an actual gain of a whole entire 2 minutes of daylight.

Of course, all this information only pertains to New York…your own personal results may vary.

Did I mention that??


Oy. Now I've got Fiddler on the Roof stuck in my head.

Sunrise, sunset~
Sunrise, sunset~
Swiftly fly the years....
One season following another~
Laden with happiness and tears....

Gigi said...

Kathryn - thanks for this very vital information. Do you know what I took away from today's lesson? That from here on out it will be staying light later!! Whooo-hoooo! Because, yeah, I suffer from that Sunshiney Affectational Dysfunctional Dopiness thing-y! So thank you for brightening my evening (and the ones to come!)

Kimberly said...

Thanks for your extensive research into this matter. :) So we've officially hit bottom? Nowhere to go but UP from here! Happy first official day of winter!

Gavin said...

This was all very..uhm...interesting I suppose. I could never figure out why people thought observing such things was important. I mean what's a few less or more hours of sunlight or not to a day? XD

WannabeVirginia W. said...

That is exactly where I am going to establish my shrink practice. hehe. Let me just jot down the coordinates and we are good to go...

Love the arthritis and itch highs and lows.

Christiejolu said...

Thanks for the info. It is almost always sunny here in AZ winter solstice or not. Believe it or not it can also drive you nuts. LOL!

Happy Holidays to you!

carissajaded said...

Well I'm glad to know that the days will be getting longer from here on out. I have a bad case of SAD... and I don't even think we get it very bad here in Texas... Bring on the DAY LIGHT!

Alicia said...

Kathryn,
I enjoy your posts so much, but truly...sometimes I worry about you. All those voices living in your head. Are you ever really alone?

You simply must come to my blog and comment on one thing that I've been asking over and over again...what is Cloudy? Please, do tell!!!

I think that may be what makes you such a brilliant blogger! :-)

Lily Johnson said...

Well, thanks for the information Kat. It must be wierd out there.

Chrissy said...

No way I could handle all that darkness. I get depressed enough when it's cloudy here all winter.

Collette said...

Here in Michigan, we are the same time zone & pretty much same weather pattern (SUCKY!). All nighttime for a couple of days might be nice, but not months. I can't take how early it gets dark as it is. But all sunlight, I think that would drive me crazy as well. I would have to block out the sun.

Lauren said...

That is important info! Totally believe the summer suicide thing. The sun comes up near my birfday! I am glad that the mosquito index is low. You must admit, it's a plus to winter. Maybe I should move further north... hmmm... I like darkness and winter and I hate mosquitos (you were thinking it... admit it.)

Gillian said...

If i were a rich man..la dee da dee da dee da! If I were a wealthy man!

Lou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lou said...

We got 14 hours and 41 minutes of daylight today here in Auckland (36°52'S) as it's our longest day here in the southern hemisphere. In the south of NZ (46°42'S) they get nearly 16 hours today

Gropius said...

Oh how lucky you are to know Snoot. I would have him on speed dial, desperately calling for answers to all of my nerdy Artic questions after watching National Geographic specials. Some friends from Sweden are always telling me about the special light machine time some require during the winter to keep the depression away. We have one here all year in sunny Florida.

Smileyfreak said...

Your post alwys makes me laugh :) thanks for the blogging!

Kathryn said...

Gigi: I'm glad I was able to brighten your (otherwise) dark, non-sunny evening. Well, I must suffer from something similar, because I'm always in a crappy mood from the middle of Autumn till the beginning of spring!

Kimberly: YES! You've worded it PERFECTLY, my dear! Semi-Happy first official day of winter to you too!

Gavin: Because it's toooooo darrrk. (She whined.) It represents the bleak, cold "insanity" that is winter...and I'll celebrate anything that'll bring me one step closer to sipping an ice-cold beer on a hot, still summer day.

WannabeVirginiaW: HA! I'll open up a black-out curtain business next door and we'll have coffee every morning and reminisce about how we met.....

Christiejolu: ACK! Sunny, sunny, sunny. You ppl make me SICK! (JK) In winter (here) it's overcast all day, then the sky clears and the sun breaks out...just in time for it to set at 4pm. woo. hoo.

carissajaded: Well, I'm SAD from about the beginning of November until the middle of March. I'm OVER everything being dead and seeing in black & white!

Alicia: Yes, it's the Cloudy that makes me who I am! And thinking about it now: If someone had thought to teach me boring old facts in this "conversational manner", maybe I would have paid more attention!

Lily Johnson: I cannot imagine living there. Evidently, many others can't, either. (Ouch! BAD Pun! Sorry.)

Chrissy: I hear you...I feel the same way. I've got one of those "daylight lamps" here in the office...it'd be perfect if it would throw some heat. Maybe I need to hit the tanning beds again...

Collette: I would think it would be easier to block out the sun than to pretend it's sunny out...when it's pitch black- wouldn't you? I agree we need a mix of both, but c'mon! Sunset at 4? Give me a break!

Lauren: Yes, Lauren...I was totally thinking of YOU! Or, you could put on some "OFF!", and stay where you are! You get darkness and winter there,right? Or, buy a bug-zapper! (zzziip!!)

Kathryn said...

Gillian: THAT'S THE ONE! (You're the only one that's mentioned it, sweetie!) HA! (Wouldn't have to work hard.....deedadeedadeeda...)

Lou: Well, now you're just showing off. Do you automatically know your longitude and latitude,honey? I'm afraid I'd have to Google mine!

Angelina said...

Kathryn,

This post was too hilarious! Thank you for the laughs on the darkest day of the year. If I lived north of 60 I would hibernate until Spring...if I could. Although darkness or not, I would wake up after Santa came to my house. But I wonder, does he bring gifts all day long under the cover of darkness? Does he get "SAD"?

Happy Holidays to you and your family.

ValleyWriter said...

Wow - you certainly have a plethora of facts to share today! Though my joints were complaining enough last night that I could've guessed the Arthritis Index thing (I have rheumatoid arthritis - fun times).
Nonetheless, I think I'm going to focus on the extra few seconds of sunlight we'll be getting every day now. Woo hoo - summer here we come! (Well, right after the temperature warms up about 70 degrees!)

JD at I Do Things said...

What is the winter solstice equivalent of that whole egg thing . . . you know, that egg thing I think you mentioned that happens . . . oh, wait. That was the longest day of the year, maybe. Well, dangit, I've started this comment, I'm going to see it through.

If you can stand an egg on its top and balance it on the longest day of the year, what can you do with an egg on the shortest day (ie, Winter Solstice)?

Tinkerschnitzel said...

I believe that the suicide rate is highest during the summer up there. My aunt lives in Fairbanks, and last summer she did nothing but complain about the fact that NOTHING would keep the sunlight out. i think they ended up sleeping in the basement or something. :0

Fierce said...

Poor North Polians!!! Wait, that kinda affects me too doesn't it? I was wondering why I was so tired at 4 and wide awake at midnight!
:D
xoxo

Christiejolu said...

Hi Kathryn! Yeah I remember that. I used to live in NY. I miss it believe it or not.

Wendy Blum said...

Love the part about the mosquitoes!
Good thing we have 4 distinct seasons here in Ohio and for you in New York. Otherwise, I'd fear you'd go loopier than you already are LOL You are so entertaining here it makes me wonder what you'd be like in person. Bet your a riot =)

Jen said...

I'm solar-powered, so I am very happy the days will be getting longer. I'd take the days of no moon over the days of no sun anytime.

Ron said...

Howdy Kathryn!

Ok...I know this may sound strange, but I could handle the darkness just fine. It's the constant sunshine that would make me insane. Remember...I'm a vampire.

The suicide rates actually increase in summer…peaking in June.

Yup...that would be ME.

I’ll bet the liquor stores do really well in that neck of the woods

Bwhahahahahahahaha!

Yup...that would be ME.

Hope you had a grrrrrrreat day, my wild and crazy NY friend!

Great post!

xoxoxo

Heather said...

Just the thought of having all dark or all light ALL the time, would be a great cause for depression!

thelocalsloveit said...

This is very valuable information. I'd surely kill myself.

Mark Price said...

Kathryn, Merry Christmas!

book*addict said...

why would you do this to me and try to educate me during break? ugh, great! not i have more useless info stuck in my head. like i didn't already know enough useless info. anyways...thanks for sticking that song in my head too.
guess what? tomorrow's xmas eve. are happy about santa coming because i am!

Lou said...

Yes I do Kathrun, I'm a nerd like that.

Gingerella said...

What....you didn't do the research for all 50 states? Slacker. ;)

Kathryn said...

Gropius: HA! "Snoot" on speed-dial! I love it! Yeah...the light machines...you Floridians must be a very HAPPY bunch...no??

Smileyfreak: No, thank YOU! The feeling is mutual, sweetie!

Angelina: HA! That's what I was thinking! How come it's never come to light (pun intended) that it's DARK at the North Pole from October to March??

ValleyWriter: Oh, wow...rheumatoid arthritis? That sucks....I'm sorry, sweetie. Yes...every second brings us one step closer to summer! Whee!

JD at I Do Things: You can find a nice, quiet corner and sit on that there egg...and maybe it'll hatch and maybe it won't. Someone reminded me that the egg-balancing thing is evidently fall & spring. Ya wanna be my new fact-checker??

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