I’m taking the week off from posting my weekly blog entry. It’s not for a lack of material, mind you – I always have a couple bits of backup drivel ready to go just in case I develop a case of blogger’s block. No, my decision to forgo this week’s offering is weather related.
After 3 months of broken Spring weather that saw a total of 5 days of sun in April, May and June, and temperatures that were 5-10 degrees below average with more rain that we needed, we Pacific Northwesterners have finally climbed out of our rut. The 4th of July was cloudy and cool and ended on a sour, rainy note. As is so often the case, summer seemed to finally arrive on July 5th, and after that it was official: we were headed toward a “heat wave” of sorts. The hottest day of the week is supposed to be Thursday July 8th, when the Seattle area should see temperatures in the MID NINETIES!!!
While that may not sound hot to those of you currently sweltering in other parts of the country, please realize that we here in the Puget Sound region are admittedly weather wimps. We bitch when the temperature gets below freezing, and we bellyache when it gets above 85. But it’s not really our fault – we’re simply victims of environmental circumstance. One reason for our complaining is simply the physical inability to tolerate it. We’ve become acclimated to fairly mild weather here; everything seems to be in moderation so when that happy medium is violated things go horribly awry (one such manifestation of this weather-induced chaos is that we seem to lose all common sense and the ability to drive our vehicles).
Another reason for our inability to tolerate more-or-less-than-average weather can be blamed on the local television stations. The newscasters turn any unusual weather into front page news, and we the people simply have no choice but to follow suit. The result is that people talk of nothing but weather, and most often it takes the form of complaining.
It’s actually quite amusing the way the local network affiliates assign pet names for our weather events around here. Snow storms become something much more daunting when named “Winter Blast” or “Artic Freeze”. Wind storms, while they may not warrant first names like those given to Hurricanes, take on a certain persona when labeled ” The Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm of 2006″ or the “Inauguration Day Storm” (1993). Similarly, an unusually spell of warm weather, even if only 2-3 days in duration (like this one), begs to be named. The local Fox affiliate (Q13) actually had a reader contest to name this latest “heat wave” (which they admit does not actually constitute an actual heat wave). People submitted names, the powers that be voted, and it has been declared “Quick Fry in July”. I admit, it’s kinda catchy although I would have preferred simply “The July Fry” which was conceived of by a friend of a friend on Facebook. I would have submitted “Seattle Sizzler” but there’s more to the Northwest than just Seattle (although it sure seems as though Seattle controls politics around here). But I digress.
So yes, it’s going to get a little warm for our pale gray, moss-covered maritime hides. But you won’t find me complaining. Au contraire, I actually look forward to extreme weather events because it’s more interesting than the bland weather we have most of the time. When our barometer either plunges or skyrockets, we can rest assured that we are in for some of the finest news-based entertainment available. And some of that entertainment comes in the form of Jim Forman, reporter for the local NBC affiliate, KING 5. “Danger Jim” as he is affectionately known in some circles, is the go-to guy when every other reporter is cowering under their desk in the newsroom. It would appear that Mr. Forman is the last bastion of bravery – the one reporter whom the news director can count on in a weather crisis. You’ll find Danger Jim in the eye of the hurricane, directly in the path of an avalanche, standing toe-to-toe with a PMSing Mother Nature as she gets her rage on. I always feel a little better knowing that Danger Jim is on duty, and with the mercury headed north, I can rest easy knowing he’ll be on location (probably at an asphalt plant wearing a black sweater and asbestos trousers) risking his own safety for that of others. I just hope he’s got his Smartshield sunscreen. Be safe, Jim.
In all seriousness (because I realize severe weather can be detrimental to one’s health and well being), I hope all 7 of my loyal readers are staying relatively comfortable in this sweltering onslaught of summer. I’ve decided that the best way for me to endure the hottest day of the year thus far is to go fishing. The Yakima River showed her cold shoulder last time, so I hope she’s warmed up a little. It could reach 100 degrees in the Yakima Canyon tomorrow, but that’s OK – it’s a dry heat.
So there you have it – my blog this week is giving way to the heat. I just wouldn’t be fair of me to expect any of you to sit in front of your heat-generating computer monitors reading things you can certainly do without. In fact, I recommend you power-down your laptops and desktops completely. With all the fans and AC units working overtime to keep the peace we don’t want to have to contend with a power brown out, although it would be fun to see what name the news stations would assign to that.
A while ago I was approached by the manufacturers of Smartshield® oil free sunscreen to perform a field test and review of their sunscreen. This is the first time I’ve been tasked with reviewing a product, and I’ll admit – it made me feel kinda like a big shot. I was given no compensation for my review, other than a free tube of the product. If there was something about the product I did not like, I would be honest and declare the shortcomings herein. However, I found nothing not to like about Smartshield, which is an all natural, eco-friendly sunscreen.
Admittedly I haven’t had much opportunity to test the product because the Pacific Northwest has been shrouded under a dark cloud of despair and cooler/wetter than normal weather for the past 3 months. When finally a warm, sunny day presented itself, I grabbed my fly rod and tube of Smartshield (30 spf) and set off for the Yakima River in hopes of catching some trout and a good case of sunburn to bake away the pasty white skin courteous of our northwest Spring weather. Neither happened. Unfortunately the fishing was unproductive, and the Smartshield proved worthy of it’s name.
The first point of inspection was the smell test. Some sunscreens have a less than savory scent that resembles gin, cigarette smoke and body odor. Others have a medicated aroma to them, while others yet smell too sweet and perfumy. Not so with Smartshield’s clean, fresh scent.
It goes on smoothly without an oily feel, and absorbs instantly into the skin. My hands had none of that greasy residue that many sunscreens leave behind. When you’re handling fishing gear with the skill that I do, there’s no room for slippery hands. The aloe vera content leaves the skin feeling smooth as a trout’s skin, though fortunately without the protective slime coating.
After 8 hours on the water, with the sun beating down from above and reflecting from below, the verdict was that Smartshield is a worthy product. To quote my fishing companion for the day (Derek Young, owner of Emerging Rivers Guide Services) “I don’t have that ‘I’ve been wearing sunscreen all day’ feeling.” Well said.
I would have to agree, and give Smartshield two non-greasy thumbs-up.
The first person to respond to this review by posting a comment (and then sending me your mailing address) will receive a complimentary tube of Smartshield. For others, the following coupon code is good for $2.00 off any online order at Smartshield.com: Sun2
As noted, this is my first solicited product review. I enjoyed it and I’m open to reviewing other fly fishing related products. I would welcome inquiries from other manufacturers such as Simms, Sage, Ross Reels, Clackacraft Drift Boats, etc.