cold in amsterdam

Our friend L from Holland sent us a pic of icicles at her deck. Her house is in an Amsterdam suburb and it’s been an extremely cold winter in Europe this year. The canal hasn’t frozen over because it’s windy but the lake nearby has frozen.


I took this of her house when we visited a few years ago in April. It was cold then but not icy. I love the house and the deck.

28 February was the coldest 28 February in history in Holland, breaking the record set in 1904. Below freezing temperatures worsened by heavy winds. Photographer Albert Dros took the opportunity to take pictures of canals so frozen people can ice-skate on them, crazy ice formations along the coast, and winter wonderland forests. Here’s before and after pics of a frozen canal. ©Albert Dros



I remember this location, I think I have a pic myself with bikes on a bridge in the foreground, looking towards the Westerkerk.

frozen niagara

Many pictures on social media and in the news about the Niagara Falls freezing over. Amazingly, some parts of the national park is still open, like the journey behind the falls attraction. Instead of the roaring noise of tons of water rushing down, and a thick veil of water, it’s now just a sheet of ice. The Indy reporter braved the conditions:

My fingers turn red and stiffen as I snap a few photos, rubbing shoulders with others wincing from the bitter wind chill. As we chat, our breath crystallises, as if forming cartoon conversation bubbles

It’s not unusual for the Falls to freeze over, as the area has harsh winters due to lake-effect snow of the Great Lakes. Such a long period of sub-freezing temperatures so early in the winter is not as frequent. The last time was during the polar vortex of 2014. Quite a lot of pics being circulated this round was actually from 2014, according to snopes. Other years that the Falls were frozen include 2007, 2011, and 2012.


Yep. I was there during one of those years when the Falls were frozen. This was from March 2007. Here’s the rest of the Toronto & Niagara set.

typhoon last night

We got a direct hit from typhoon Nida last night. It made landfall 40km away and there were winds at 150km/hr plus more than 60mm of rain. Many places were flooded. T8 was raised.



I heard some gusts of winds just before I went to bed but I slept through it all. When I woke up, there were winds and some rain but nothing out of the ordinary. There were bits of leaves over the windows but it was only when I looked outside that I realised it was a ferocious one. Branches all over the ground, the cover of our neighbour’s car had blown off and a couple of the papaya trees in the garden had fallen over.

getting ready, checking weather

I checked in as soon as the 48hr window opened up. The flight looks around 90% full already, but I got the seat I wanted. Since I’ll be travelling for almost 1 month, and into November, I figured I need to pack my coat and a couple of sweaters.


The forecast for race day is 15-23ºC, feeling like 25ºC. Ugh. Too hot, with no clouds. It’d be great if it’s 10 degrees cooler. The 2 days before and after are supposed to be cooler, so I’ll keep an eye out on the weather.


The weather in Ptown looks variable too. From 20ºC down to 10ºC. Add the windchill from the exposed position, definitely need my coat and fleece lining.

Packing is done. Taking enough clothes for 7-10 days. Hopefully we can find laundry facilities in Ptown, and I can handwash if necessary too.


hottest day in history, my fridge broke down


Today the observatory recorded the highest temperature since records began in 1885. Although 36.3ºC isn’t that hot compared with many other places (I remember driving in Provence during a 40ºC heatwave, and the car thermometer reached 100F/38C on the way back to Chicago), it was very uncomfortable with the triple whammy of extreme heat, over 90% humidity and horrible pollution. The forcast says 31-32ºC but in reality it will feel hotter because of the humidity.

The reason behind the weather is the monster typhoon Soudelor. We can see its size in the pic from the international space station.

So on the hottest day in recorded history, my fridge decides to stop working. I’ve had it repaired a couple of times already, the freezer coils frost up and the fridge compartment doesn’t get cold. The technicans say it’s either the thermostat or the timer. I got rid of the freezer coil frost and dismantled the back to see if I can reset the thermostat but I couldn’t get it working again.

I have 8 salmon filets and a bunch of frozen stuff I do not want to spoil, so I packed everything up into a suitcase and got a taxi to my parents’ place. Their fridges are usually pretty full and mum did grocery shopping today. My dad is so smart, he managed to find space for my stuff. Yay for parents!

three typhoons


I was texting mm about various stuff and she mentioned it’s typhoon signal #8. This means a typhoon is nearby and all schools and businesses are closed. Normally weather doesn’t get covered around the world but the fact that three typhoons are lined up to attack is covered in mashable and other places.

The first of the trio, typhoon linfa, has already made landfall. It’s the middle one, chan-hom, that is the biggest threat. It’s forecast to reach super typhoon status, with winds reaching 155km/hr, passing north of Taiwan to make landfall around Shanghai. That’s equivalent to a category 3 hurricane in the US.

It’s rare, to see three typhoons coming in so close to each other. The whole of June was ridiculously hot, looks like July is going to be wet over in that part of the world.

black rain

festivalwalkblackrain01 festivalwalkblackrain02

So I’m at parents’ and just getting settled for the night after an early dinner. All of a sudden, it started pelting down with rain. We couldn’t get our windows closed quickly enough. Rain was quickly followed by thunder and what sounded like hail. It was completely dark outside with the rain like a ominous curtain. The thunderstorm and rain warning went from amber to red to black in just one hour.

So glad we were all indoors, mm pinged me that she was safely home, having gone gravesweeping with her family. She also told me about how the rooftop windows of a shopping centre nearby (my nearest apple store) got hit by either a column of rain or hail and there was water everywhere. Thanks to the power of social media, pictures are already all over twitter, instagram and facebook. Wow it looks like an indoor waterfall. When it rains here, it’s serious about rain. Welcome to the start of spring, finally!

piddly storm


A lot of anticipation as the biggest storm of the year, the super typhoon usagi, approached. It did terrible damage to the Philippines and Taiwan, but when it arrived (an almost direct hit, passing only 100km from here) it was a giant let down. Waited the whole day for #8 storm signal to be raised, finally it got hoisted at 7pm. A little windier than usual but not much rain at all. I suppose I should be grateful but I was looking forward to a bout of heavy rain and bad weather. I’m strange that way.

thunderstorm, baskets, swimming


Woke up to a horrendous thunderstorm, heavy rain and very dark all around. When it started easing off in the afternoon I went off to the supermarket. Seemed like the whole neighbourhood had the same idea, the store started to fill up very quickly and there were long lines at the checkouts. So much so that they started running out of shopping baskets!

It even got nice enough for me to go swimming for half an hour.

spring showers


Spring is well and truly here. It’s been cloudy and showery all week. Too much pollution for the sun to come out for more than a few minutes at the time. I try to open the windows for a bit of circulation but there’s hardly any wind. The showers can get heavy, it’s awfully humid inside the flat and I have the dehumidifier working hard rotating between rooms. And I’m this close to turning the airconditioner on at night—I’ve had the living room one on for about half an hour when it got too hot and humid. The aircons in both rooms are new, so it’ll be breaking in new appliances.

humidity start

image from flickr user PhilCLogo

It’s officially spring, and it means it’s getting warmer and it’ll soon be humid as hell. The laundry is already taking far too long to dry. Time to run the dehumidifier for a few hours. It’s amazing to read how it works. Ah, just like the smell of freshly mowed grass, the sound equivalent is droplets of water dripping into the container as the dampness gets sucked inside the machine.



Had dinner at mm’s brother’s place, so he can show me his new home’s renovation and give me his contractor’s number. By the time we left, it was raining very heavily. I didn’t have an umbrella, so I got off at a near-enough station and changed to taxi. As we were getting close to the gates, Mum was already out there with an umbrella. The taxi driver said, “the greatest unconditional love.”



I was right, it snowed last night. Yes, it’s still piddly, and when I went to bed the chair on the balcony had about 2 inches of accumulation. Some of that melted overnight, and throughout the day, it seemed to turn slushy. I’m very relieved I didn’t have to go out. Now the snow has turned to ice, will have to be careful tomorrow.

the official chicago marathon weather obsession post


The obsession began a week or so ago, but every Chicagoan knows that it’s pointless to try to predict the weather here. But less then 36hrs from the start, I think I can officially start obsessing.

It’s been hot the past week, so it’s no surprise that the forecast is warm but not extreme. Probably better early in the day than last year, and then it will get hot towards the end. Another reason to work on speed next year rather than marathon distance races. The article, and the people on the rw forum say,

this is nothing drastically different than what they’ve been running in all summer and what they’ve been training in

Sigh. Except that some of us have been training during a


summer that is coldest in 13 years.

air conditioning on the tube


In this unusually hot weather it was nice to ride on one of those air conditioned Metropolitan line trains. I’d forgotten that the tube, or for that matter almost all the UK, isn’t air-conditioned. It is gratifying to read that by 2016 40% of the tube will use the air-conditioned trains. Can’t come soon enough for me.

I was thinking last night how I can get my fan shipped over. Of course the cost of shipping is greater than buying a new one here. I can’t remember summers being this hot when I was growing up, I’ll wait and see if I can survive this summer without any cooling electrical appliances.



Everyone’s talking about the supermoon tonight. For some reason I keep reading superMOM instead of moon, sigh. Didn’t feel like setting up the tripod and getting the big camera out, so I just snapped this on the s90 from my balcony. It was taken just after 3pm EST, when the moon is a mere 221,565 miles (356,575 kilometers) from earth. Looks like a big streetlight on this picture.

rain away | hardcore

The weather has gotten steadily worse since afternoon. Very windy. Heavy rain. Thunderstorm brewing. Gonna be cold too. Grrr, I’m hoping the rain and wind goes away overnight.

Race tomorrow at 8am. Any cancellation will be on the day, not in advance. Unless there’s a tornado, I’m determined to participate. Just a little planning with gear and i’ll should be okay. Feeling a little hardcore here, heehee.

commute contrast

Yeah, I’m still obsessed with the driving through snow thing. Overnight there was enough snow that I had to spend a good 10-15mins getting the car ready, and boy am I glad I shovelled the bit of the road around my car so I could get out. The drive took a little less time than yesterday, it was sunny so visibility was better.

When I got to the vendor site, I deliberately parked out in the open so I’d get the sun for as long as possible. When I left after 5, the snow on top had gone. There were huge chunks of ice where mud flaps would be and I kicked them off.

My parking space was completely covered. I had to totally dig a space big enough for the little car. The problem was that there was nowhere to put the snow, so I ended up piling it all in our backyard. It was kinda hairy, reversing back in, but I managed at the end.

i hate driving in the snow

I was supposed to be in Pleasanton CA this week for 3 days of training, but it got moved to Chicago. Or to be precise, a western suburb of Chicago. Instead of sunny weather, I woke up to 3-4” of snow, had to shovel my way out of my space and drive 1.5hrs to get to the training. Coming back was worse, still snowing, poor visibility and people driving without lights. I had to park on the street cos otherwise I’d have to dig my way into my space and dig myself out tomorrow morning. And now I’m looking outside and the snow is doing crazy brownian dancing it’s so windy outside.

I hate driving in the snow. I’m not used to it and I don’t have the right car for the conditions.

running outside


This is the house this morning. I’d wanted to take a picture with the snow for the last 3 days, but I leave too early and come back too late for there to be any decent light. It doesn’t look too bad, because people have been diligently shovelling.

It was also a nice sunny day, so I took the chance to run outside. It was too cold for the ice to be slippery, and most of the pavement was clear. The only bit was at the end of Foster before reaching the lake that was still full of snow. Had to walk through that. I was slower and more careful, so 6.53min/km is not a good pace.


I shovelled the back and the front of the house before I left this morning. And all around my car, it was all surrounded by snow and ice. Driving was okay, visibility wasn’t too good and other drivers were driving way too fast for the conditions. When I got home I had to shovel the snow out of my parking space. Then for good measure I shovelled and salted the back so there’s a path from the back door to my car; and then i did the same for the front so I won’t slip tomorrow. No wonder I don’t feel like playing on the wii fit or doing strength training tonight.

star wars weather


This fun star wars weather tool shows the weather around the world in terms of star wars places. So like it’s cold here in Chicago, but it’s much more fun to say it’s like Hoth. The description goes, “cold, ice, freezing desolation. you may have to climb inside a tauntaun for warmth.”

A little view page source tells me there are 9 places:

  • tatooine — hot, dry, occasional sarlacc — utinni!
  • dagobah — hot and wet and not in a good way — Yoda might be hiding somewhere
  • yavin 4 — hot and cloudy — bits of the Death Star might fall on your head
  • endor — temperate, grey and cloudy — stick around and you may get your own animated series
  • bespin — fog, mist, cloud, can’t see a thing — Lando is going to betray you.
  • kamino — wet — there’s also a significant chance of unconvincing CGI aliens
  • naboo — temperate, dry and pleasant — meesa like-a the weather these days
  • hoth — cold, ice, freezing desolation — you may have to climb inside a tauntaun for warmth
  • alderaan — huh? does not exist

So Hoth isn’t good, we should aim at Endor or Naboo.

[via giz]

radio, sweets, rain

I left work early today to drive down to the dealership to get my radio installed. Finally. When I bought the car they couldn’t find the faceplate but for some silly reason they could only order the whole unit and that had to be replaced. Ah well, whatever, as long as I get some form of radio.

Then Car and I went to Walmart to buy sweets and stuff for our trip. While I was at it, I bought laundry stuff and shampoo and heavy stuff.

On the way home it started pissing with rain. Some people were still driving like maniacs, sigh. There’s recent talk about banning texting while driving, oh man these laws can’t come soon enough for me.

hot day

Woke up at 1am, 5am and then finally 8am. Bummer. But it meant I could go get my hair cut earlier, before the place gets busy. My hairdresser always gels my hair and styles it. He says my hair looks good when gelled cos it’s short and thick. The problem is as soon as I’m out of the door I run my fingers through it and flattens whatever style he put in. Hee.

Had to go to the supermarket. The delivery yesterday missed all the fruit and veg items. Just as well cos I bought more than I wanted, including my favourite rocket.

Slept all afternoon again. Crawled onto the sofa at 1-ish and woke up just before 5pm. Had rocket, yellow pepper, tomato and pear salad. Sprinkled a few dried tart cherries I got in Chicago last time, they’re not that tart, fit the salad perfectly.

I’m sitting here alternating between playing Jewel Quest and reading a book with the aircon on. I’m still hot and need to rub the sweat off periodically. Sigh.