Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Michelin snow man

So this phone to blog thing worked pretty well the first time, but now it can take days to upload. I sent this on Sunday, and it is now finally posted on Wednesday. I know, it was really worth the wait. Since it did not go thru the first time, I sent it again. So it is up twice.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Blizzard of '07

People are digging out from the massive blizzard that dumped more than a foot of wet, slushy snow in the Madison area. Much like Seattle, the plows could not keep up and the roads were a mess. Buses stopped running, businesses shut down, and people blew their backs and hearts out while shoveling the heavy snow. It has continued to snow wet, warm snow all day today, and the bike ride to work was treacherous, but fun. Temps are supposed to be in the low 30s in the days, and mid 20s at night. They are calling for another big storm on Wednesday or Thursday, and they say that it will bring a lot of precipitation, but they're not sure if it will fall as rain or snow. Fun!! As an aside, this guy said his tractor goes 0-60 in 5.5 seconds in the summer. Also, he has the only tire chains in Madison.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Michelin snow man

What blew in with the storm

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Snow Tornadoes Imminent!!!

A Blizzard Warning is in effect for most of Wisconsin. From the National Weather Service: "This will be a very dangerous situation. If you leave the safety of indoors... you are putting your life at risk. Travel is not recommended tonight and Sunday" Wow. That is saying something. There were no warnings like that when it was -15F. This is serious. Deadly serious. Coming in with the snow will be deadly snow tornadoes, and penguins with bows and poison-tipped arrows, riding fire-breathing ice-horses. They will be hunting any humans foolish enough to step outside. There is a chance you will be sucked up in a giant snow tornado and swept away to either Saskatchewan, or the moon. If you look closely at the radar image, you can see the face of the devil himself...
I'm going to be hiding under the bed with a bike helmet and a stuffed polar bear.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Live Free or Die!

Ah, the motto of New Hampshire. I bet they don't have too many rules and regulations up there in the Granite State. Here in Wisconsin, it is a whole 'nother ball game.
Last night I noticed that I had a head light out. It was easy to notice, because I have an indicator on the dashboard to inform me of the problem. So this morning I went to my local auto parts store to procure a replacement. Last time I bought lights, I went with Sylvania's Cool Blue. I was pretty happy with them. They are more white than blue, and more white than the traditional "yellow" headlamps. I have been looking in auto magazines, and noticed that now they've come out with an even brighter white light. it is Sylvania's SilverStar Ultra. Here is a comparison between the different types. So I thought obtaining these lights would be about as easy as going to the local auto-parts-eria and picking some up. But when I got there all they had were the el-cheapo lights. (Also, the first place I went to smelled very much like the inside of the 1979 Toyota pickup my brother and I used to drive--old cigarette smoke covered up with vanilla.) I bought one and decided to go somewhere else. The next place had the same crap. When I told the guy behind the counter what I was looking for he told me, "Oh, they don't sell those in Wisconsin. They're illegal." Huh? Headlights are illegal? On the website they are advertised as "100% street legal in Canada and the USA." So i know how to beat that system: amazon.com.
I had a similar problem last summer when i tried to buy a recharge kit for my A/C system. I was in LaCrosse, WI and they told me to drive across the river to Minnesota. What do you know, they had it! So I think I have found another reason that helps to explain why so many people in Wisconsin drive crappy cars: There are laws against improving them. A/C goes out? you can't fix it yourself. Bad headlight? Keep putting in the dim off-brand ones. I think that Wisconsin also has some sort of embargo against fashionable clothing, so most people just default to wearing Badgers and/or Packers gear. I'll have to go to the mall and see what sort of clothing is not available...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Health and the Midwest

When I think of the typical midwesterner i think of somebody aged 50-60, overweight, high cholesterol, high plood pressure, waddling along main street USA ready to get in their rusted GM transport. But after living for barely more than a year in the Midwest, my perception has changed. Or at least my health has. I have determined that living in the midwest is bad for your health. Whether those old farmers eat cheese and sausage omelets or flax seed oatmeal makes no difference. They will have failing health. It is either in the air or the water, or maybe both, but even somebody seemingly healthy like me can come down with a whole medical dictionary full of problems upon arrival here. I've gone from being an elite athlete to having an enlarged heart, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I'm betting that it has something to do with the wind. It is always either blowing in Dust, fertilizer or ice melter. When it is not blowing (maybe 2 days/month) it smells like manure. That can't be good for anybody's health.
Now the doctor who always makes me wait (today was only 18 minutes in the lobby, a new record) wants me to go on Lipitor, a drug to lower cholesterol. I' think I'm way too young for it, but I have aged about 12 years since moving to Madison. Maybe I'll try something a little more natural.

When you say Wisconsin...

You've said it all

Monday, February 19, 2007

OMG! Finally Some Warm(er) Weather

Today we had a high temp of 43 degrees!! This is up form yesterday's high of 21. Quite an improvement. So I was wondering how long it had been since temps were above freezing. So I went to Weather Underground's calendar. I found out, that yeah, it has been cold for a while. The last day it was above freezing was January 26. Before that it was January 12th! That included 8 straight days where lows were below zero, and 14 nights total since January 12th were temps were below zero. Also, from mid-afternoon on Feb 3 until about 48 hours later on Feb 5, temps never got above zero, and got down to neg 16. So after all that, 43 feels pretty good! They are calling for about 40 and rainy this weekend, and I can't wait! I'd take that all winter long...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm no longer cool...

Here is my old cool license plate, my lame new plate and that paper is my new license. Isn't the Wisco plate about the ugliest you've ever seen? It even says "Dairyland" Ugh. Made by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (Badger Industries). I feel like it shouldn't go on a Volvo. This license plate would dress up a Pontiac or Ford or Chevy. But it is detracting from the Volvo. Bringing it down. The plate should be on a 1986 Ford Tempo, driven by a 5'8" 317lb guy wearing a worn out 'Green Bay Packers' jacket and sweat pants.

And that piece of paper? Yeah, it is my new driver's license. If I get pulled over by one of Wisconsin's finest (most likely for driving a foreign car, or maybe for speeding) I'm supposed to show the cop that piece of paper! It is 1/3 of an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, signed very officially by the lady behind the counter at the Wisconsin DMV. Nobody'd every be able to forge a document like that!

While I was passing time yesterday at the DMV I looked at the vast selection of different plates available for my vehicle. "Ducks Unlimited", "Celebrate Children" "Protect Wildlife" "State Patrol" etc. Some were maybe $15-20 extra, some were maybe not available to the general public. I thought of getting one that said "Collector," since I collect all sorts of things, but that plate was only available for cars more than 20 years old. They also have an "antique" plate for cars pre 1945. Check out their very bureaucratic website at http://http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/plateguide/special.htm. I thought of the University plates, but that adds on an additional $20 every year, and personalized plates are an additional $15. I don't think that I really have anything to say to the world on my license plates anyway.

So now I have until the end of tomorrow to get the plates on the car. I suppose that the chances of getting nabbed this month are pretty slim (wile I am still displaying valid tabs from Washington), but I'd rather not try to explain why I'm running my car with invalid, out of state plates. So now I have to get motor vehicle insurance, since my current company only writes insurance in Washington.

What is in the glove box?

Uh oh. That looks like an open can of touch up paint... which will forever be touching up the interior of the glove box. :(

I found it while trying to find required registration documents to transfer to Wisconsin plates. I don't know if it opened up when it got too hot, or too cold, but the lid and canister came apart, and what was inside came outside and dried . Bummer.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Medical Testing

So since getting to the doctor here in Madison, I've had more testing done than most people should have to submit to. On my first office visit I had high blood pressure, so that, combined with family history sparked the interest of my 'primary care physician.' So the next day I had a fasting blood and urine test, then had an EKG. Based on the outcome of these, i had another blood test (again, fasting, doing a more detailed cholesterol screening) and then an ultrasound on my enlarged heart. Yes it is enlarged. This is because I was an athlete, and the heart is a muscle, and since I worked out the heart muscle extensively, it got bigger. They now feel that it is no big deal. Over Christmas break I was doing sporadic monitoring of my blood pressure, and it was low and high, up and down, so the PCP ordered more testing. Today I am doing an "Ambulatory Blood Pressure Test." This means I am wearing a BP cuff and a little computer thingy for 24 hours. It will check my BP every 20 minutes, and every 20 minutes i have to write in a log book what I am doing. When it goes off I have to stop what I'm doing and relax the arm. It is set so that from 9:00pm until 6:00am it will only go off every hour. I turn it back in tomorrow at 10:00 am. Then next week I have an endoscopy, to see how my esophagus looks after a few years of acid reflux. I remember not liking it too much last time, so this time I'm not expecting much better. And it is cold out. Still. Minus 2 this morning.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Arctic exploration

Here is the fault in the ice. It is maybe a mile or more of upheaval like this

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Uh oh

What does this look like on the under side of the filler cap?

Dang it!

Still? When will this end?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Yup, Still Cold

Okay, It is still cold, but it is surprising how warm 8 feels after -14. Eight degrees was the high temperature today. I'm really hoping for the double-digits here soon. By next Monday it is supposed to be more than 20!! I'm ready to get out the bathing suit and cut a hole in the ice to cool myself off with a dip in the lake!
Yesterday we got more snow. About an inch or so. I had been told by some idiot that it couldn't snow when it was really cold, but whoever told me that was full of it. It was -3 and snowing. At one point we heard a loud rumbling sound, and it felt like an earthquake down at the boathouse, but it turned out to be the ice buckling on the lake. When ice gets colder it expands, and it was cold and the ice was getting thicker, and when the snow was done falling you could see a big ridge aout 1000m from the boathouse that was probably a mile long where the ice had buckled. I walked out on the ice to investigate yesterday, but the ice makes a lot of noises-some far away, and some that sound like they are coming from right underneath your feet. There have been people in snowmobiles and ATVs cruising around on the ice, but I still felt like the ice was going to crack at any minute and leave me to freeze to death. I turned around after getting maybe 2/3 of the way to the big crack, and was sweating bullets by the time I got back to land (even though it was -5!). Maybe I'll go back out there tomorrow...

Monday, February 5, 2007

The internet is not big enough yet

So I'm going to keep adding to it. This blog will mostly feature pictures from my mobile phone, but will also feature quips, sarcasm and observations. Right now, it will be observations about how cold the weather is. But later you'll also find quips about the saablog, rants and rave about my new work phone (pretty much unable to send pics to the blog, which is too bad, since it has a free data plan...) Let me know what you'd like to see pics of, and I'll try to take them with the phone and send them to the blog.

Really cold

Ok this officially sucks