My Fake Sun

Sweet Go Lite

So, winter has been dragging along here, and as I’ve been without Passport, leaving for sunnier places hasn’t been an option.

To indulge a sun-deprived tangent…
I think a lot of people think that a UK winter is sunless because it is constantly raining here, but this is untrue! The culprit is latitude.

For example, today, 22 February:
London 51°30′N
Day length: 10h27m 3s Sunrise/ Set: 7:01, 17:28

New York 40°47′N
Day length: 10h58m41s Sunrise/Set: 6:40, 17:39

Now, I know what all you New Yorkers are thinking… it’s just as dark in NYC!

Today, yes, but what about two months ago?
Let’s look at 21 December, the shortest day of the year:
London: 7h 49m 41s with sunset at 15:53
New York: 9h 15m 04s with sunset at 16:31

Now do you feel a shred of pity?
Lights out before four is rough, especially when it’s colder than rainier than usual.

Enter My Fake Sun, aka Philips goLITE, which I purchased 2 weeks ago, in a desperate moment. I decided it was far less expensive than the holidays I wasn’t taking, and the reviews it received on Amazon were extremely good.

My blue lit breakfast

Does it work?

I think it does. I wouldn’t say I feel happier, but getting out of bed in the morning is much less challenging. I noticed a difference within 5 days of use. Whether it works or not, I definitely like sitting near it.

The GoLite/FakeSun also works as an alarm clock, so rather than waking up to the cruel song my Blackberry plays (Calypso, if you wanted to know), I can wake up to the eerie blue glow of My Fake Sun and an audible alert.

I often eat my breakfast with it on, and I’ve found that the twigs I eat for breakfast look even less appealing in blue light. I suppose I can only expect so much.

**Day Length, Sunrise, & Sunset sourced from


Premier League…

!I don’t know what’s worse:

  • That we saw “Live Premier League…” in the Sky TV Guide, thought football (soccer) was on, selected the program, and learned that the program was, much to our horror, “Premier League Darts” (Burn!)
  • That a repeat of Premier League Darts is shown in HD on Sky Sports while there’s plenty of Vancouver Olympics to be shown. Surely, somewhere in Vancouver, there’s Luge in progress?

FYI: Drinking during competition was banned by the British Darts Organization in the late 80s.

The BBC Weather Ball

The glorious forecast

I’m generally very quick to correct friends who envisage London as a place of frequent and torrential rain, perpetually gray skies, and a national umbrella- toting hobby. When a visiting friend asked if rain boots would be a wise thing to pack, I actually laughed.

London is all about drizzle. It’s not constant, and it’s generally just enough to turn my hair (in the absence of chemical processing) into a frizz so massive that it would be the envy of any 80’s hair band.

That said, I believe that Wednesday’s sunny forecast is really just a trick to enliven the national spirit. Planting a seed of hope of just a few sunny intervals could restore my faith that spring may someday come.

This sort of bold fibbing would be unaceptable in the US, where the weather forecast is considered a reliable indicator of the climate during the day ahead.

Such is not so in the UK, where it seems to be generally accepted that the weather forecast, much like a newspaper horoscope or the wisdom of the Psychic Friends Network is for entertainment purposes only. People dress for all possible weather outcomes. Umbrellas are carried daily, as are sunglasses, just in case.

The Ball Knows All

In fact, I’ve found that the single most indicative feature in a BBC weather report isn’t the weather map, the sunny and rainy icons, or even what the newscaster is wearing during an outdoor broadcast.

It’s the BBC weather ball!

That sphere behind the broadcaster may look like a giant bowling ball, or perhaps Earth as viewed from space, but it is neither. That ball contains the most accurate weather forecast available on BBC.

One can see that while London is clearly promised sun in the BBC five day forecast, the weather ball offers only rain and clouds.

I’ll be dressing per weather ball tomorrow, a photo supporting my hypothesis will follow.


Warning: this might end up turning into an entire thread as I embrace the local hobby of weather obsession.
Wednesday outcome: (photo on right)
Sunny through the afternoon– The Weather Ball disappoints!

I believe I may have documented the “current state” weather ball, displayed at the start of the weather report, rather than the “future state” ball, displayed at the end of the forecast.

Further analysis to follow… something about stubborness….