Think before you run

I ventured out on a route this morning that, in hindsight, I should have thought out a little bit more. The massive amounts of wind that played with the trees outside of the apartment yesterday had me concerned about the roots holding. Windows rattled and the whole place rumbled. These are the types of weather systems that start here and end up dumping loads of winter goodness in the lands of the Midwest where I used to call home.

IMG_9296 The seawall was pretty clear, but there were bits of trees laying on the ground that I took care to step around and over. When I got to the part where I anticipated heading into the park, I only got about a hundred meters when I ran into the first tree on the path. Took some careful steps, but I got around it alright. A little further, I came to a Y-intersection. One way took me to Beaver Lake, and there was no way I could get around or through.

The tree covered access to both of these trails, but a slight amount of space let me crawl under it to the other trail option, just enough so that I was drenched by the water trapped in the pine needles. On the other side, I found another tree laying in the path. Luckily, this wasn’t of the same variety, so some careful dancing and ducking got me through to the other side. I got to the top of the path and took the road back out to the seawall.

The weatherman said a couple more systems are to come yet this week. Lots of rain, lots of wind. I’ll keep that in mind before I try running through the park anytime soon. Made for a longer route than I wanted today.

Anything for a shovel

Flickr: Snowy west endBeing ill for the past couple of days, I haven’t been able to enjoy the snow very much. My plan was to take more pictures, if not do some mobile recording for RadioZoom. The internet has been my only link to seeing what’s going on beyond the windows of the apartment. If it weren’t for the KatKam and Web Cam(you guys got to come up with a better name for that thing), I’m not sure I would have a good sense of what the world of Vancouver would be looking like right now.

Yeah, this is another post about the weather in Vancouver, but even I find some amazement in all the snow that has fallen recently. The short amount of exposure that I have gotten in it has been intriguing.

While on my way up and down Robson during my picture taking venture[flickr], I passed by the shoe dumping spot in front of Payless, as Rebecca often calls it. There’s so many times that we see a pair of shoes sitting on the corner there, always saying how odd it is. Do people actually dump their shoes there for what they just bought in the store? The answer is yes, and I passed by some chick who was trading in her runners for a pair of those annoying fuzzy boots, using the front windows for balance as she made the switch.

Alas, the one time in Vancouver in which horribly ugly, fuzzy boots actually make sense. Well, aside from the days when I was eight, but those were moon boots that were more robot like, not so much fuzzy and “cute”. I’m sure there are those who wouldn’t dare wear them out in this snow because they might ruin them. Or better yet, those fuzzy boots are for summer wear, not winter. Yes, you see them even on the hottest of days.

I mentioned how our building guys used a pole and dust pan contraption to clear the sidewalks before[post], but other folks have some slightly better tools at hand. Still, they’re not the best for removing snow. Garden spades, kitchen brooms, and even floor squeegees are some of the things I’ve seen. Those people tucker out pretty fast, too. At least they’re out there removing the snow. Some folks, and many shops on Robson, have not been very quick to this courtesy.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a mess

Flickr: Snowy Robson StreetEveryone and their cat is blogging away about it, but snow is rare in Vancouver. Compared to growing up in Iowa, whiteness is something that you learn to live with, but this “falling white death from the sky”, as my high school physics teacher from Florida liked to call it, has completely caught me by surprise.

I’m actually surprised to not hear more about accidents on the roads, but folks on the lower mainland might have opted to stay off them as much as possible. That hasn’t stopped me from spotting a few horrible drivers in the downtown area. One should understand that when snow falls, the roads get slick. When the roads are slick, you can’t drive like you usually do. You can’t do quick acceleration and stop quickly when coming to an intersection. The laws of common sense tell you that you’re stupid if you try. And just because you own a Jeep or Hummer, that does not make you invincible.

Flickr: Snowy west endI did witness a pretty bad fender bender on Saturday night. I was walking along Georgia and caught a minivan-taxi run into the back of a fellow car-taxi. It all happened in my peripheral vision, but I caught all the plastic pieces falling to the ground after the initial crunch. This is what happens when the light turns red and you don’t give yourself enough space for the car ahead of you to stop. I was in a hurry to meet Rebecca at the SkyTrain station but made sure everyone was alright before I went on my way.

The lack of snow removal really shows how unusual this weather is to this area. Earlier today, I watched one of the maintenance guys from our building clear the sidewalk. He was using a dust pan that was duct taped to a pole. It didn’t look pretty, but all that matters is that it worked.

Flickr: Snowy Robson StreetRunning an errand today, I wandered around the west end and Robson with my camera for a bit[flickr]. Snow removal on the sidewalks was spotty. That’s a little unheard of back in my home state, and Rebecca noted that during her time in Boston, sidewalks were cleared of snow on a constant basis. Like I said, snow is unusual here, especially in the downtown core. However, this stuff is going to stick around for a few days. It’s only going to get colder before it warms up enough to melt it all away.

Truthfully, I’m not complaining. I love snow. I love to throw snowballs and go sledding. Sadly, there’s not too many places to do that nearby. It’s only been in the last hour that the snow has really stopped. My hope is to do a bit of running tomorrow. Jogging through the snow is tricky. It is more of a workout and requires a little more concentration. It’s fun, too.

Going to beat this until it’s good and dead

This boil water advisory has gotten old, fast. This goes beyond whining. I’d consider this a matter of concern for every person in the GVRD. If a bad weather system can leave us fighting for bottled water, think what an earthquake can do.

Posted AT 12:17 PM EST ON 20/11/06

B.C. water warning could last weeks: official

Globe and Mail Update

Stark water warnings forcing almost a million B.C. residents to boil their tap water could be in place for weeks to come, the Greater Vancouver Regional District has warned.

Weekend storms and continuing rainfall added even more sediment to the already-turbid water supplies for Vancouver and Burnaby.

District spokesman Bill Morrell said Monday that, without a prolonged stretch of clear weather, the water supply had little chance of clearing.

“The sediment is very, very fine, and it will stay suspended in the water for some time,” Mr. Morrell said.

“It’s very difficult to speculate when it will be within acceptable limits. Our operations folks are of the opinion it may be weeks before this is settled out.” [globeandmail]

In a pinch, I could fashion together a setup to distill our own water, a la MacGyver. Amazing that high school chemistry taught me something and I remember it. Kinda. Thank you, Mr. Nelson.

Washing dishes during boil water advisory

As I mentioned in my last post, we don’t have a dishwasher. During this boil water advisory that we’ve been under since Thursday, the recommendation is to not use the water for drinking, rinsing fruit and vegetables, or washing dishes. If you have a dishwasher with a “hot setting”, then you can use it.

Doing some quick searching, I found this page from the Ontario Ministry of Health regarding How to Use Water Safely During a “Boil Water Advisory”. It’s all worth a read, but here’s the info I was most interested in.

I wash dishes by hand. How do I disinfect them?

You could use boiled water for washing dishes. Dishes washed in soap and hot water can also be rinsed in boiled water or disinfected with the following bleach solution. Mix 1 ounce (about 30 ml) bleach in to three gallons (13.5 litres) of water at room temperature for at least one minute. Let dishes air dry.

We had a bit of rain and wind this morning, but the skies have been partly sunny since about noon. My hope is that’s all from the storm that was supposed to take hold today. I would think that this whole boil water thing would be lifted somewhat soon.

It’s like being in Mexico again

You can have you water and drink your coffee tooThat’s what I’ve told Rebecca more than a few times, but I recall the water being much more clear. It’s deceiving that way. Right now, when you take a shower, the water has a slight tint of a grayish, brownish color. I think part of that depends if you are using hot or cold water, and you can certainly smell a slight difference when you take a shower.

I went ahead and caved into the cravings for a good cup of coffee yesterday. Reportedly, no one has suffered any serious effects from consuming any water. Even more so, Laura drank water straight from the fountain during the whole day of Thursday. Keep in mind, she lives and works downtown where this advisory is still in effect.

That tells me a whole hell of a lot. If she can handle that and not get any symptoms of illness, then we should all be okay. It’s not like she did this knowingly. She’s very lucky that what she didn’t know, didn’t hurt her.

I boiled the water in the tea kettle yesterday for beyond the recommended minute, tossed some grounds into our French press, and didn’t notice too much of a difference. I thought it might taste funky, but there might have been some over compensation in the grounds department. Hardly an accident.

Dirty dishes, dirty waterThe dishes are stacking up. Around here, and being that I’m the one without the full time gig right now, this falls under my duty. I never thought I would be happy to be able to do dishes again though. With no dishwasher to speak of, we have to consider the risk even though everything seems alright this far. The water coming out of the tap smells funky and has a strange color to it.

I think tomorrow, if this thing has yet to be lifted, we’re going to bite the bullet. We’re low on silverware. Wash the dishes like normal, boil a pot of water, and then dump the utensils into the water.

It’s that typical story of not knowing what you got until what you’ve got is gone. It’s nothing to really bitch about. There’s just a few extra things that you have to do. A little annoying, but nothing we can’t handle. Buying water is getting a little old though.

Oh yeah, and there is supposed to be another weather system moving through starting tomorrow.

Storms of a different kind

A view from the good ol’ KatKam, but this is nearly a carbon copy of what you see when you look out the windows of the apartment. The wind is amazing once it starts going. Round about 40 MPH winds through most of the day, but I’ve heard reports of up to 60. You can bet that those will be more sustained on the coast. If it’s not the wind, then it’s sheets of rain.

I plan on hitting record for a six song of RadioZoom in just a little while, but the brown outs make me a little worried about getting it completed. I’ve already noticed some problems getting into various sites, but I can’t be sure that it’s storm related.

As saturated as the ground is already, I look at these trees out the window and pray that the roots hold. It’s a departure from the storms I grew up with in the midwest. This stuff just keeps coming and coming. It’s not too horrible from where I am, but areas around here will be telling a different story tonight on the news.

All You Need is a F2

I’m still getting reports trickling in from the homefront.

I’m going to give all the credit for these photos to the Iowa City Press Citizen. In fact, I still have some pals back there that took some of these shots. This is amazing stuff. I used to live right near some of these places.


The Dairy Queen! It’s completely gone! It was probably one of the most ghetto, little ice cream stands in Iowa City, but when you wanted to get a frosty blizzard on the way back to the radio station, you didn’t care. The bugs would chew at your skin while you waited in line, but you waited until those folks inside peered at you through the window screen to ask you what you wanted. Continue reading “All You Need is a F2”

Life Back In the Rolling Prairie

Got an IM from my brother tonight while watching the game.

Major storm damage in the Iowa City area. Anamosa got hit bad, as well, where they have called out the Red Cross… someone must have lost their home.

Iowa City Menards had a roof collapse. University Heights homes damaged. I’m sure more stories will come out by tomorrow morning.

Probably about four confirmed tornados since about 7:30ish.

It’s spring time in the midwest. A far cry from the constant rain that we’ve had in Vancouver all day long.

To tell you the truth, it’s kind of a rush. Big, rolling storms in the Iowa countryside. I kinda miss it.

Update: The Iowa City Press Citizen has a story about the big storm. Also check out their site for photos. You can also check out the Cedar Rapids Gazette Online for their coverage.

Can You Predict the Weather In Vancouver?

For the past few days, the forecast has been bleak and drab. The reality has been the exact opposite. Lots of sunshine and fairly warm temperatures. I’m not going to be wearing shorts and flip flops anytime soon. I’m not going to complain either.

I’ve basically come to not trust the forecasts anymore. Things can change in an instant, but that change usually sticks around for the period of a day. At least that’s what I’m starting to understand.