Aug 102011

It is hot once again in Jacksonville today. For the past couple of weeks the temperature as hovered between 93 degrees F and 96 degrees F. I was rebuked by an English friend for still talking in terms of Fahrenheit rather than the Celsius or Centigrade that has been adopted by Britain as part of its integration with the European Union.

America of course will have no truck with what the rest of the world does. It has to be different, often to the point of being contrary.

But for Europeans, the temperature has been between 33.8 degrees C and 35.5 degrees C for the past couple of weeks. Tomorrow it was supposed to hit 99 degrees F (37.2 degrees C) but the forecast has since been revised to 97 degrees F ( 36.1 degrees C).

When I lived in Texas and the temperature this time of year was at least 104 degrees F (40 degrees C) or higher, people used to ask me about the heat. I said that coming from Britain I was not going to complain. The heat in Texas was a dry heat and I could cope with it better. In Jacksonville it is the heat combined with the humidity that is the killer. It gets to the point where you don’t really want to step outside and consequently my photographic output has suffered of late.

The weather is really suited for lounging around in the sun, hence this image of sunloungers.

Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

And another one just for good measure.

Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

And after a session in the Florida sun, you need some of this to cool off.

Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

All these images used the high contrast B&W scenic mode on the GRD III and were taken at the Marriott World Center Resort, Orlando, Florida. I did a little bit of post-processing Photoshop CS3, essentially a bit of dodging and burning.

What does strike me in all this heat is that the tarmac on roads in both Florida and Texas does not melt. In Britain when temperatures rose above 80 degrees F (26 degrees C) the tar would melt. I remember as a kid using lolly sticks to dip into the liquid tar at the side of the road and write my initials on the kerbstone (curbstone for US readers). Such were the simple pleasures of my childhood in the late 1950s and early 1960s. But woe betide you if you brought tar into the house on your shoes. or got it on your clothes.

If anyone with a civil engineering background can explain why tar melts in Britain and doesn’t seem to melt in Texas and Florida, please let me know.

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May 272011

I have just spent a few days in Orlando, where my wife was attending the national conference of her professional organization at the Marriott World Center Resort.

Orlando, Florida. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

On these kind of trips we travel with a cooler bag filled with Diet Coke and those not consumed on the journey are then placed in the fridge of the hotel room.

I am then instructed to buy a 12-pack of Diet Coke to last the week and the cans are placed in the fridge when space becomes available.

Carrying out my orders, I happened to notice a sticker on the fridge that said it was not for personal use. The note went on to say that the fridge employed sensors that monitored what was used.

Now something about being monitored by sensors attached to a central computer did not sit easily with me, especially in a country that is supposed to be the Land of the Free and where one political party continually campaigns against big government. This fridge smacked of Big Brother.

I passed this information on to my wife and her colleagues; the general consensus of opinion was that the presence of sensors in the fridge was just BS.

Perhaps I took things a little too far by rearranging part of the contents of the fridge. The Bud Light went in the space previously occupied by the Pepsi and the Canada Dry Ginger Ale also found a new home courtesy of me.

The next morning, I came to get a Diet Coke and found that the door to the fridge was locked. Several strong tugs failed to force the door to open.

I called Guest Services and explained the situation.

“I am sorry about that,” the girl said. “We can unlock it from here.”

Sure enough, a few moments later when I tried the fridge door, it opened with ease. That got me thinking that the claims on the sticker were not so far-fetched as I had originally believed. But just for good measure, I rearranged a few more of the drinks in the fridge.

The sensors may be able to tell if a can is removed but it cannot determine whether the contents of that can have been consumed and therefore rightfully be charged to the room.

I told my wife about the fridge being locked and released from some remote point and said that we may face an interesting exchange when we came to pay the bill.

In the course of the next day, the fridge door became locked again and I once again called Guest Services to get it released.

The morning of departure and the bill pushed under the door of the room revealed a charge for one soft drink, which we had not consumed. But all my switching the cans around had not registered with the sensors. Damn!

At the desk, our protestation about the one soft drink was readily accepted and the amount deducted from the bill. My case for the defence was never used. Perhaps it was just as well. Look what happened to Winston Smith!

Orlando, Florida. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Have a good weekend, y’all!