ellestra: (lightning)
I know I left for a while. I came back tired from San Diego and then my parents gave me "wonderful" news about my brother (losing his job) and his wife (broken leg - can't move so also loosing her job) and I didn't feel like talking to the internet. An the weather didn't help. I go between being tired to being sleepy to being sick and back again. I barely manage to leave because of snowstorm and came back just as weather was changing back so it got very warm for a little while (just like San Diego 18-20oC which, as I was told was a very cold winter in San Diego). Then it got cold again so last week we had ice storm. The kind of that covers everything in a sheet of ice. It was slippery even in my winter boots and then it started raining on top of that. Then it got very warm last weekend again and then rainy so yesterday we had summer rainstorm - the kind with rain that's obscures the word and thunder and tornado warnings. But at least I saw a rainbow. And my brother has a new job that pays better and has some nice extras (including kid care). I feel positive about the world.

I just wish weather stop going between these on a weekly basis.

ellestra: (tiger)
It's still very warm and humid but since Wednesday all we had was the fog condensing into drizzle. There where even few moments of sunshine here and there. The Wednesday downpour was turning into fog every night then rose as clouds and drizzle down when the atmosphere just couldn't hold this much water. It was just above 20oC but the humidity made it feel hotter. Even in summer clothes we were all sweating like crazy (I took shower 4 times on Christmas Eve just to be presentable for supper). The rain is supposed to come back tomorrow and last for couple of days until the front behind it brings colder air again. So we go into the cycle of hot and cold. One week we have frost the other heat wave. I don't know which clothes to keep on hand and the plants are even more confused.

Here is a week ago (and week from now) - all frosty and cold - and now - with flowering quince flowering.

And all the other plants - forsythia, iris, first ornamental fruit trees etc.

Thanks El Niño!


Oct. 15th, 2015 08:23 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)
Today's date is the same in both directions - 15-10-15 - day-month-year or year-month-day (it obviously only works for two digit year and it doesn't work for American dates but what sane person writes dates inside out). Of course that happened every month this year (and for past few years and will continue for few more years) and is going to be even cooler next month but none of these are on my birthday so this one is special for me. Next cool one like this comes on 15-10-51.

For past few years I go on a trip the weekened before. We call it birthday trip because we both have birthday around that time. This year we went to New Orleans. Photos below.

Streets of New Orleans - French Quarter

Sunrise over Mississippi

Second line - for wedding (I also saw a funeral but I don't think I should be posting it on internet - it was in the news anyway)

LaLaurie house if anyone's interested

St. Louis Cathedral outside and inside


Garden District with the mansions - including Anne Rice house

ellestra: (tiger)
The Martian crew worked pretty closely with NASA (including the interface design) and NASA now compares the science in the movie to the real thing on their tumblr. Another, more detailed look, at he science in the movie is on io9. Mika McKinnon gives grades to the different parts of movie science. Of course the big thing is the storms as with the book but some of the problems came with the changes they made for the movie. And here's the Rich Parnell manoeuvre in detail. And just saved for last here are some real pictures of Mars - straight from Curiosity.

And if you have enough of Mars here are photos from the Apollo program. Right there with Earth rising over the horizon and footsteps in the dust. Makes you wish this was something that's still happening, doesn't it?
ellestra: (sunrise)
So the autumn is almost here and the temperatures dropped and the fall TV is slowly starting. I'm watching The Bastard Executioner and I feel like I'm an oracle as I know what will happen long before it does. Just like that witch. Or maybe it's just so full of clichés that one simply knows what will happen next. The whole thing with the evil baron, dead pregnant wife and revenge plot was so obvious I didn't even have strength to feel upset by the fridging (but he came to live on the land of the guy who schemed to get him killed in the war how could it end well). It surprised me for a moment when the soldier let her live but then he was obviously killed by that guy who was with the witch (the secret was so obvious they only kept it for one episode - at least they don't pretend it's a real mystery and we don't spend the season trying to figure it out). And that the witch did it to force him to his destiny. Even the future romance with the baroness is so obvious I knew it was going to happen before they ever met (and rolled my eyes when they looked at each other first time). Also the evil gay (bisexual? - he obviously wants the baroness for himself and is jealous already but it's probably because he wants to marry her for power) chamberlain who is so evil he even kills his brother (because he saw him fucking a servant? made gay jokes? I'm not sure). At least setting this in Wales is somewhat original for American production and gives us some different sounding names (Matthew Rhys can finally just be Welsh). I'm also trying to decide if I should qualify this as fantasy as it seems we are supposed to take the supernatural elements seriously but they were kind of cheesy.

So the best thing I saw today was the collection of Scott Kelly's photos from space. Look how beautiful Earth looks. That I could watch it all day.
ellestra: (sunrise)
So the spring finally came - it's over 20 and is to be above 25 for the next two days. Nature is catching up on all that delayed blooming so now that the snow and cold is gone it seems like everyday something new is flowering. Even the broken branches are blooming. So while I'll go looking for capris and t-shirt to wear tomorrow you can watch this

And this was the sunset today:
ellestra: (lightning)
This is what I call winter. It got really white and everything was closed and the whole week was generally cancelled. The branches were snapping and falling under the wight of snow and even the whole trees were downed A lot of people lost power. I did too but it was back before I woke up. Only my heating resets to 62F so it was pretty cold in the morning (17C). But it looked so pretty. It's melting now but I have pictures.

And for the record the first time I saw the dress it looked white and gold but now I see light blue and gold brown which are actual colours on the photo (the real dress is blue and black). I'm proud of myself for seeing the reality but the colour change was weird. Whatever colour you see is completely convincing and you just don't understand how con it be anything else. It's not easy - the brain tries to autocorrect to either white and gold or blue and black - but it's the truth. Also xkcd explains it best as always.
ellestra: (lightning)
So I did manage to get to San Francisco this year. And I did escape the worst cold this year. It even get warmer as I got here as it was still below freezing when I landed on Saturday but it was finally warm enough on Sunday for most of that frozen snow from last Monday to melt. And then it snowed again today. It's snowed most of the day and this time it was real snow.

This time they didn't close everything as the forecast said there would be much less snow. They kept extending the time when it was supposed to stop snowing and it only happened in the afternoon. This of course caused horrible things on the roads but when I walked back home from that other far away bus stop it made mi smile. There is something about the fresh snow that always makes me giddy.

It's not as cold as it was last week but the temperature today was -6oC for most of the day which made this the coldest day I ever experience in NC. It got a little warmer at the end of the day but then it got dark and temperature started dropping again without ever even getting close to 0.

The winter is here to stay for the rest of the week. It can snow again on Wednesday night and we can get snow and/or freezing rain around Sunday. And of course the minus temperatures every night. Meanwhile my mum says the snowdrops started blooming in Poland and it felt very spring-like last weekend.
ellestra: (sunrise)
So I'm enjoying spring weather in San Francisco

Night - Port and Bay Bridge

and Day - Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and Golden Gate Bridge

And panorama of the city from Golden Bridge to Alcatraz Island

As Canadian near me said - it's 20oC and I'm wearing a t-shirt
ellestra: (lightning)
So after all those times when the north got all the snow and we got only rain and gusts of the cold air afterwards snow finally came to North Carolina. I say snow but it only snowed for a short moment. It was the powdery cold snow because it was also below freezing the whole day (-4oC at the warmest). It actually became warmer when it finally started to snow (as it often happens) and the wind subsided so it felt warmest in two days.

But as I said the snow didn't fall for long. It soon switched into ice. Not hail. It was ice needles, sometimes in clusters, falling from the sky. They hurt when the fell on exposed skin. It made that weird sound like falling sand. Like we were inside giant hourglass. It covered everything and it shifted like loose sand when I grabbed it:

It later turned into freezing rain so in the morning everything was covered by icing like crust. This made it dangerous to walk on and hard to drive as everything was closed - schools, most work places, public transport. This made cleaning up roads easier - almost no cars. I just wish they would clear sidewalks too. And then the sun came out and started melting the ice so it helped too but smaller roads still look like this:

And it's still cold. It was a little above freezing in the sun today but the temperature is to drop to -8oC tonight and than, after small snow fall tomorrow afternoon, it's getting really, really cold -15oC tomorrow night, -18oC (that's 0oF for Americans) on Thursday. So this ice is not going anywhere. I wonder if those will fuse and got hard enough to walk on?


Nov. 13th, 2014 11:41 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)
Last year it ended to fast but this year it's been warm and sunny so far so autumn looks pretty spectacular. The best season here. The temperatures are nice - it's middle of November and only now we are to have a longer period of below 10oC at day and regular below freezing at night. So far it's only been one or two cold nights in the row before getting really warm again. It was even 20-something still yesterday. I don't have the horrible allergies I have in spring. And the colours are spectacular. Just look at this:

ellestra: (sunrise)
A week ago it was still 28oC and it was hard to remember that October was ending. Then came the first cooling and the temperatures dropped to below 20o and then on Halloween night it got even colder and started to rain. In the mountains that rain fell as snow which is apparently shocking at the beginning of November (even if not unheard of) but here it was just cold drizzle. A real November weather in other words. It continued on and off through Saturday and the temperature was barely above 10o. On Sunday it was even colder but sunny again and the lack of clouds meant the night got really cold and the temperature dropped below 0o for the first time this autumn. So this morning, while I'm still not fully switched to winter time and it's easy to wake up at dawn, I went and took some photos of frost.

ellestra: (sunrise)
As always when I can I took some photos of the eclipse. It wasn't much - there was barely a bite before the sun set - but I only travel for total (and annular) eclipses and this one missed the Earth completely. But if you are north and/or west of here I hope you had good weather and nice viewing spot and saw the much bigger bite. I'm already planning to see another total one.

My favourite photos from today - one looks like sun is an engine spewing fumes and the other like it's eating the tree top.
ellestra: (sunrise)
I spend last weekend travelling. It was a birthday trip for me and my friend - we are both from mid-October. We went to see Charleston and Savannah. Just as weather here got bad and it got cold and rainy we went South. This might be a strange concept since North Carolina is already far south from my point of view (I'm from 52o and here is 35). There doesn't seem to be much difference from Poland's perspective between here and Savannah (32) but there was this weekend.

Here the weather broke down - it was raining, it got colder (below 20 even during the day on Sunday). There I was swimming in ocean on Sunday and the water was warmer than 20 o, much warmer. It was still hot and humid even in mid October it was around 30 in both cities. With the humidity it was almost too much. I don't know if I could do it in summer. They also have palms and Spanish moss (or as we apparently call it in Polish - oplątwa brodaczkowa - lets see a foreigner who can say that).

I think the front that brought the cooler weather has reached them now too but it felt so weird when we came back to drizzle and leaves that suddenly seemed much more yellow. So here's my picspam to all of you in cold, autumn weather:

ellestra: (slingers)
Now that there are 12 Doctors the obvious choice is to make a Doctor clock so every hour there is another Doctor on your desktop.

And if Doctor is not your thing you can scare yourself (and maybe your laptop thief) with the Weeping Angel coming at you (you don't blink when you are staring at your scree anyway, right?).

And if neither desktop art nor Doctor Who are your thing woot has two Groot t-shirt designs that with all the cuteness of baby!Groot and Rocket with Baby!Groot you'll ever need. I have to repeat to myself I already have way too many black t-shirts.
ellestra: (lightning)
The last few days were very warm and it turned into full blown spring in less then a week. Everything is blooming and what isn't is green with new leaves. The weather is perfect - 25-28oC during the day and cool nights. It's just makes you wish you could stay outside and do something. But if you me that's really hard to do. Pollen is everywhere. Both the one that makes life annoying to everyone and the one that makes allergies make my life miserable.

Everything is covered by yellow pine pollen it changed the colour of streets, cars and creates a little dust storms with every gust of wind. It sticks to every surface. Even though the nights are perfect for sleeping with open windows you cannot as it will get everywhere and on everything. When they finally painted my walls last week the smell was so horrible it made me nauseous and I had to keep everything open for couple of days and then vacuumed on Saturday and the bin was all yellow inside. And that was before it got really bad. Now you get all dusty just by walking outside.

But even worse is the stuff that can't be seen. The one that makes my lungs contract, my nasal tracts swell and my eyes water. The ones that Makes it hard to breathe even though I'm so full of drugs my muscles get all stiff and contracted. The funny thing about all of this - if I don't take drugs my muscles hurt from oxygen deprivation lactate build-up but if I take the drugs it makes them prone to cramps and leads to my back and neck feeling permanently stiff. Yay, spring.

Luckily it's raining now - washing away the pine pollen and removing it and all the other stuff from air. We can even have thunderstorms too tonight and I would be very happy but I wanted to see the lunar eclipse and there is no chance for that now. Not with that cloud cover.

This is how pretty it looks now - look at the redbuds and cherry trees. Even wisteria started blooming in just last 2 days.

And this is what I blame for the state of my asthma right now - it's almost like birch and I'm sure similarly allergenic.
ellestra: (sunrise)
I just spent a weekend by the ocean. Saturday was nice and sunny and pretty warm despite strong winds and I have sunburns too prove it. Then the wind got stronger and stronger and Sunday was storm level wind levels. It got cold - I think officially it was something like 12o but with the wind chill it seemed even colder. We had to avoid beaches because wind threw sand in our faces and it hurt. But it was sunny for most of the day so we saw the lighthouses and the Wright Brothers Museum built where they did their famous flight (it used to be Kitty Hawk but now it's Kill Devil Hills - if I wasn't there I wouldn't have quite believe the names).

Lighthouses - Ocracoke, Hatteras, Bodie

Houses and trees of Outer Banks

Wright Brothers Museum - replica of the flier and the distance of the first 3 flights (37-61m) (the big rock is where they got off ground and the 3 small ones mark 3 landing sites). The 4th one was a little more decent - 279m. This is how it all started a 111 years ago and now I can go home in 15 hours with just a little of leg cramps and backpain.

ellestra: (sunrise)
So it snowed on Wednesday. Then cam the freezing rain and covered everything in a sheet of ice so the next day everything was crunchy and hard to walk on but also pretty.

Then on Thursday first came rain mixed with hail. Then it turned into more snow and since this time it was above freezing and it just rained the snow was sticking to everything. At least for a little while.

After that everything started melting. I mean it was on the minus during the night so everything frozen solid and I observed with amusement as a moving truck was sliding down the hill on our apartment place tiny, full of very frozen ice street. And I got scared by the snow plough when it skidded to my side of the road while trying to push the ice and frozen snow off the road when I was taking photos of winter lake. But I liked how the snow it pushed off the road looked on the ice:

Then it got very warm very fast. It was above 20 oC in the sun and water streamed down the hill making me glad I live on it. At least I don't have to worry about flooding now.

Luckily for the people who live lower it got colder. It was raining in the morning and that melted even more snow but with the ice protecting a lot of it this wasn't enough and the air today was much, much colder then yesterday and temperatures tonight are going into minus again (tomorrow too) so it will be couple more days before it's all gone. It's already the longest staying snow I've seen here but there was quite a lot of it. However, we are supposed to hit over 20 oC (in the shade) later next week so it won't be that long. So here a memory keepsake - one true winter sunset I got (in HDR):

I finally managed to get through to the airline yesterday. When a human finally answered (I started using skype to call and just let it stay on hold for hours) I was so surprised I almost didn't know what to do. I almost lost hope of ever getting through. But then it went quickly as the only question they asked was reschedule or refund and, of course, in my case it was the latter. Lets see what the accounting will say about all the other things.
ellestra: (lightning)
I was supposed to fly to a conference today but my flight was cancelled. At least the first part of it as most flights here were cancelled. My boss was also supposed to fly out to a (different) conference and his flight was also cancelled. The sad part is that it only started snowing around 1 pm. It was only bitterly cold before that (as usually felt much colder then it really was). All the planes got stuck at other airports and that lead to all this mass transit disaster. I can't even get to the airline as their lines are permanently blocked by too many calls (most of the time I'm not even on hold - they just kick me out). They did this to themselves by sending emails saying one can only change the reservation by calling. Not that I'm planning to fly anywhere now - it's too late anyway as I'm not going to make it to any of the talks (I was just going for one symposium) - but I need this to get my refunds.

So when I finally gave up on any chance of flying out today I decided to go shopping as I had no food in the fridge because I was to be in San Francisco for the next couple of days. When I was leaving my apartment it was just starting to snow. When I was coming back half an hour later everything was already white. Few hours later there was about 20 cm of snow and then the snow turned into hail. Tiny ice balls were falling from the sky and it sounded like somebody was throwing sand at things.
See the begining and the end:

This time it was cold for two nights and a day before it started snowing so the snow didn't melt so much. It still caused that weird phenomenon that makes it feel warmer when the snow is falling then just before it does and it still melted a little bit by the ground but most of it was sticking. Because it was soft on the asphalt it clumped under tires and because the temperature was below freezing the whole day today it wasn't readily melting under the tires of cars. So all the roads are white and people abandoned their cars all over the place. Mostly on the sides of the roads but there was some genius who left his/hers in the middle of the street.

The forecast says more freezing rain, snow rain mix and then more snow again tomorrow. But, at least it's to be above 0, tomorrow and on Friday we are to start a big melt. At least I don't need to worry about floods.

And now, for a nice ending - birds in snow:

ellestra: (lightning)
So I waited for this to happen through all the days with minus temperatures and it finally did. It snowed yesterday.

There is only couple of centimetres of it but the ground was still warm and the air was well below freezing so it melted on the bottom and the turned into ice covered by snow. Or that tightly packed snow that as, or maybe even more, slippery then ice. So I don't blame most of my labmates for not coming to work today. I saw what happen to a car when I was walking back home after taking those pictures and I'm happy the guy gave up before I had to pass him because his car was sliding randomly when he tried to go up.

Still the buses where running on time and I did all the things I had planned for today before I knew the snow was coming (plus photo session for winter). And I also finally did the shopping because after 2 days of panic shopping today people stayed home and I had nice empty store to myself (and couple of other people).

I know the poor Southerners don't agree but all the other Northern transplants like me agreed - snows makes everything better. So I try to enjoy it before it melts tomorrow. It's going to be +18 on Sunday.

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