I miss rain in summer so very very much.

This weekend was miserably hot, so we ended up seeing a few movies just to be exposed to an air conditioned environment. I’m having a hard time even remembering what they were, since it took a couple of hours in the coolth just for my brain to coagulate enough for thinking.

Oh yeah… A Scanner Darkly (at the recommendation of The Peripatetic Enthymeme) and My Super Ex-Girlfriend. I quite liked “A Scanner Darkly”, though I found it physically hard to watch. The animation… overlay, I guess you could call it, constantly slides the foreground around with respect to the background, which I am sure is an artsy decision to heighten the tension and surreality but which in my case also heightens the motion sickness. I want to read the original short story now. Dick’s stories make good movies.

“My Super Ex-Girlfriend” was about what I expected, light and unengaging* but it had sufficient laughs, didn’t annoy me at any point, and did I mention the air conditioning?

I was hoping we could get a swamp cooler for the house, since they’re cheap to buy, cheap to run, and you don’t close all the windows for them to work** Unhappily, it looks like it’s too humid here for a swamp cooler to be effective.

So lacking any cooling technology more sophisticated than a fan and a bowl of ice, we have not been sleeping well, not been eating right, and have been generally cranky. And last night just put the icing on the metaphorical cake. I went to bed, not even bothering to turn on the light (lightbulbs produce heat!) and tried to get comfortable, but couldn’t. My skin felt itchy. Crawly, even. Really, really crawly. I think I spent about thirty seconds in denial, then turned on the light and looked down.

My old friends the ants were back, in the bedroom this time. All over the bed, and especially between the mattress and the boxspring.

Sweet dreams!

* I use that phrase so much, Ferlak… thanks for it!

** The only window in our bedroom, which is where we desperately want the cooler air, is a patio door. So to install a regular air conditioner unit, we’d have to build a big wooden filler thing to block the doorway, with holes cut in it to stick the air conditioner through.


  1. Drang said...


    Eew, yukky, eeew!  

  2. cenobyte said...

    We don't have ants.

    Here in Saskatchewan, I mean.

    They passed an ordinance. No ants allowed. Particularly in bedrooms. Aunts are okay, but not ants.

    And those little thingies that look like beetles but aren't; they're okay, but again, not in beds.  

  3. Paul said...

    These are great, quiet, lightweight, don't require rebuilding windows etc. and cost about $1000 equivalent over here. Sample is from Panasonic USA, so probably orderable.  

  4. Terry said...

    I remember reading Dick's stuff in high school and being deeply affected...

    But not getting your point at all, Paul. Even the unit you linked to need to move the head to the external unit somehow, in this case it looks like some long pipes. Now, how do you put those pipes outside without opening a window? Or are you suggesting they drill a hole in the wall?  

  5. Terry said...

    Where it says 'head', please replace that with 'heat'.  

  6. Christopher said...

    Ants: What Drang said.


    You're welcome!

    I'm planning on seeing "A Scanner Darkly" next week, I'll let you know what I think. Thankfully years of videogaming has inured me to strange motions in video.  

  7. Carl Norum said...

    Ants come inside for water when it's this hot out, I hear. They're all over my apartment.

    I hope the traps kill 'em.  

  8. Paul said...

    Terry: the flexible pipe bundle is about 5cm diameter, insulated & taped. It goes outside either through a small vent window or drilling through the wall, like a dryer vent. On wood-frame houses this is an easy DIY project with a rented hole saw. Finishing pipe & flanges are at any home center. The power unit is often mounted up under the eaves if it's the shady side of the house so it's completely out of the way.  

  9. neuba said...

    Our ant problem was so bad we had to get an exterminator in. They were crawling all over the basement - both black and red ants. And I didn't want them getting upstairs , especially into the kitchen.

    The poison the exterminator used prevented me from vacuuming, so there was a field of ant carcasses all over the carpet.

    It was pretty disgusting.  

  10. Carl Norum said...

    Ant traps rule. It's 95% better today. There are still a bunch around, but not nearly as many.

    I'll buy some more traps and really get them in every corner of the apartment... thats should do a good job.  

  11. sixoffour said...

    We don't seem to get ants in the house, which is odd because there are *hordes* of the things outside. I'd ordinarily assume that the cats were eating them, but they only seem to be interested in flying insects. I have to kill any spiders that break the Harper / Arthropod accord myself. (Being more kindhearted, S. picks them up on a tissue and puts them outside.)

    As far as heat issues - do you have ceiling fans? I've heard that hanging a basket of ice under a ceiling fan will cool a room fairly effectively, although I've never tried it myself. I like being on the hot side of what most people consider comfortable, or even bearable in some cases.  

  12. Amy said...

    Paul: We're renting, so anything that involves us spending $1000 and cutting a hole in the house is probably not going to happen. The heat wave is over, anyway, and by all accounts was not typical.

    Carl: Make sure you pick up all the traps after the ants are gone. They can actually *attract* ants into your house.

    Neuba: Eeew.

    Sixoffour: Ceiling fans are very rare here, as are double paned windows, attic insulation, storm doors, and basements. The basements I can understand because of the high water table and earthquake risk, but the other things I can only attribute to chintzy building practices. For a state that wants to practice energy efficiency, I think California could do better.  

  13. geekchick said...

    I have a swamp cooler in my new house, and it does an OK job. It's in a weird spot, so the cool air doesn't get to all of the rooms (clever placement of fans mostly fixes the problem).

    You might have some success with a combination of a cooler plus a de-humidifier. I do get some humidity in my place, but it's nothing close to what you'd see in NY this time of year...

    As for those ants - EW! Try these suckers - they're like crack to the little buggers!  

  14. Amanda said...

    Why don't you get a window air conditioner thingy? They are easy to install and cost $200. Canadian.

    Or were the reasons against mentioned already and I totally missed them?  

  15. Amanda said...

    Ok, oops, I see the patio door comment. So, my "out of the box" way of thinking would suggest you do the following:

    1) Buy an air conditioner
    2) Install it in the living room
    3) Sleep in the living room.

    I see lots of news items re: heat related deaths SWEEPING YOUR NATION. Don't become a statistic!  

  16. Amy said...

    Amanda: Yeah, the headlines here have all been either about Lebanon or the heat wave death toll. Luckily we're back to normal temps now.

    The trouble with our 80's-built house is that *none* of the windows will easily accomodate an air conditioner. All the windows are large and sill-less, and they all open half-way sideways (like miniature, raised French doors, if that makes sense).

    Not to mention that there is *no* insulation in the house and the outside walls are hollow and about 10 cm thick (no joke; I feel like one good push would collapse the house). So for what our power bill would be, we could probably just stay in a hotel for the next heat wave.

    Mickey: I will have to talk with you about your swamp cooler experience...  

  17. Amanda said...

    But you're an engineer, you could totally rig something up to make your windows hold an AC.

    The power bill would be more of an issue I guess. But you could only run it at night, that might not be too bad.

    Ok, I will stop obsessing over your air conditioner situation now.  


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