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By: joealaska , 11:02 PM GMT on January 27, 2014

I bet there are some great last minute deals on tickets to the Russian winter Olympics. All the talk is regarding concern on security from terrorists and soon-to-be-widows. I would like to hear someone on that selection committee explain the thought process in choosing Russia. Afghanistan and Syria had already said no? It would be easy to say they should have come back to the USA, or somewhere a bit more safe, but then I remember Atlanta a few years back had some issues. Welcome to the world of today. Still, asking the American athletes to avoid wearing their uniforms when outside of any secured area seems to be going against the grain of what The Olympics stand for.

Speaking of the world today, I chose to watch the Grammys show on TV last night. Normally I hate that stuff, but I wanted to see Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Turns out I was right, I did hate it. It looks like the music mainstream has gotten a little too gangsta for me. I recognized only a few of the “stars”. They gave Ringo and Paul some type of Lifetime Achievement award. Ringo called it The Dinosaur Prize. I wonder if any of these young stars will be getting any tributes in 50 years...

Taking those walks at night, as well in the day lately. Couple nights ago it was 6 degrees. Yesterday it was almost 50. Could have golfed if there was not 4 inches of snow still unmelted. But that was yesterday. Today it is 16 here, 41 in Dutch. Cold for the next few days. Pipes broke in the laundry room here. Will not be fixed until Friday or so.

Walking a couple nights ago I felt slick ice where I was walking. I slowed down and headed toward dry ground. Very slowly, more like shuffling over. No matter. The feet went out from under me. It was like slow motion. As my feet rose above my head I was thinking NOT GOOD. I landed on my side, nothing broke. You can really hurt yourself getting a little exercise around here.

Have not felt cold like this since Fairbanks, when I was leaving Anaktuvuk Pass and heading to Anchorage for a few months. It was -40 one time, and -60 the last time I was there. -40 versus -60? Not a lot of difference at that point. The one time I flew in at night and had to walk a quarter mile to my car was memorable. Not really dressed for -40. Had trouble getting my keys out of my pocket when I needed to. No feeling in my hands and all. VERY lucky when that car finally turned over and kicked in, just when it seemed it wouldn’t.

Thinking about taking a quick trip to Long Island, New York to see my relatives. See the big city. I was there only one other time, and there was nobody available to show me around. Still, I saw some of the famous sights and would like to do it again.

Super Bowl? Should be a great game. Close. Denver holds off a late charge from Seattle and gets a critical interception. Final: Denver 30, Seattle 27.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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14. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
1:28 AM GMT on January 31, 2014
joealaska has created a new entry.
12. Rotty3
2:06 PM GMT on January 30, 2014
made it to work. Car doors were iced shut last night, but managed to get them open this morning (didn't get as cold as they predicted - pretty much just hovering below the freezing point, so the doors were easier to pry open).

osdianna: yea, Central and South FL are very different from North FL. Most folks in the C/S FL region will switch from AC to heat at about 60F (which makes no sense to me, honestly, b/c most keep their AC near 65F... alas...).

Cozy, settling in at work...
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11. osdianna
6:19 AM GMT on January 30, 2014
Rotty: Fl
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10. Rotty3
11:07 PM GMT on January 29, 2014
okay, I found it... http://www.hovding.com/en/

Finished coding (all three things validated, we'll see how well it works when I upload it tomorrow from work).

As for the weather, we are VERY rarely in for extremes here. I'm about 30 miles from the Gulf as the crow flies, with lots of trees between me and the waters. Yet, we are looking at the infamous black ice tonight. Not looking forward to going to work tomorrow. Wished I COULD stay home, but not going to happen.
At least, they closed for the whole day today.

The good thing is, we have power. I don't turn the heat on unless it gets really nippy. The Dom-E-Cile is really holding its inside temp well.
All day, the house temp did not go below 64F (17C), though I did have a small heater in my office while I was doing a bunch of code writing. 64F when moving isn't bad, but when sitting and typing, it gets chilly. But tonight I finally broke down and topped the temp off to 66F since it'll be another chilly night (21F/-6C).

Heating water now for the horses and then tucking everyone in. The pups didn't like this weather too much. They were stuck inside all day... but when I turned them out, they all wanted to come back in within moments. Hmm... maybe they're related to your aunt (GNV FL or GNV GA?). :)
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9. osdianna
5:08 PM GMT on January 29, 2014
Rotty...it's OK. I really don't need it. I don't foresee needing anything like that, because I stay put when it gets dangerous outside for walking and driving. And unless something REALLY weird happens, we just don't have those kinds of weather issues.

I had only lived in the PNW for two months when we had a hard freeze after a light (2") snow. Although I was driving very carefully and slowly, I slid off the road onto the grassy shoulder...at about 7 mph! If I know ahead of time we are due for "bad" weather, I stock up on things my furry family or I might need, make a big pot of soup I can reheat on top of the woodstove, and share it with friends and neighbors.

Living so close to the Pacific Ocean (about 1/4 mile), we just don't get the really dangerous stuff; I am SO grateful! The overnight snowfall on the east side of the Cascade Mtns. in Leavenworth was 7". But even there it is practically balmy (27 deg.) compared to much of the country.

Now my aunt in Gainesville turns on the heat when it hits 60 deg...so she is probably having a hissy-fit!
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8. Rotty3
3:27 PM GMT on January 29, 2014
osdianna: look for inflatable bike helmet (it's a company from Sweden, I can't remember the name off hand).

Heading on to do some coding. Weather closed work for the day (initially was to be reporting back at noon today... now they say, winter weather continues - my vehicles were covered in layers of clear iced over rain. Ice pellets / mini-hail fell a while back, not much improvement for the rest of the day. So I better get that homework done, sigh). If I get time, I'll dig around for the info on the helmet. May take me a few days though...
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7. Arbie
11:59 AM GMT on January 29, 2014
My thought is that these olympics will be more lightly attended. NPR was interviewing the families of athletes and even many of them have decided not to go. For one thing the cost of attending is several times other winter olympics. So some of them simply can't afford it. Getting through the russian bureaucracy and getting visas is apparently quite a process. One family said they made all their arrangements months in advance only to find out their hotel had double booked and they don't actually have any rooms. Other people commented that they don't think they'll be sightseeing and doing touristy things like they normally do at the olympics.
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6. osdianna
4:37 PM GMT on January 28, 2014
Rotty: My vision of the right airbag would inflate on impact to form a protective bubble wrap-type bubble to encase the head, limbs and butt...just to be sure. It would definitely make some interesting YouTube videos!

UK: Your take on the Russian Olympic preparations is about what I feared. Putin still seems to have the old school of thought; throw enough fear into people, and bribes at others, and no one will notice the crushing debt, environmental damage, and further destabilization of the region that it all causes. I feel for all the athletes who spent their lives preparing for this moment, and of course all the focus will be on the events surrounding the games.

What was the Olympic committee thinking agreeing to allow them to be held there? Summer Olympics maybe...but as you said it is a summer resort. Is it too late to move them to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Toronto, or Michigan?

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5. Rotty3
1:29 PM GMT on January 28, 2014
osdianna: they make "airbag" vests for eventing riders. You put them on, tie a trigger string to your saddle. If you crash off your equine partner, it deploys and at impact, you are somewhat padded.
Since the higher end ones use CO2 cartridges, unlike vehicle airbags, these can be reused.

Price tag isn't too bad - about $350 for the lower quality.

Also, a Swedish design firm has come up with a "bike helmet" that inflates around ones head just before impact. Reminds me of the old covering that women wore in beauty salons in years long gone.

I'm sure full body (or rear end coverage?) is not too far behind with those devices already on the market lol.
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4. insideuk
1:20 PM GMT on January 28, 2014
Those tickets for the WINTER Olympics may appear more tempting once you realise you would be jetting out to a tropical, palm tree lined seaside resort currently basking in near 60f temperatures…

Which was obviously the IDEAL location for ice-centric sporting eventages.

The story of the staging of the Sochi Olympics has been something I’ve been following with interest for well over a year now. It had trubba scribbled all over it from the day it was ‘awarded’ to Mr Putin. For it is his baby to be sure. He sees Russia staging mahoosive world sporting tournaments as a path to restoring pride in his country. And boy is his pride costing some money.

The original projected cost for these games was $12 billion. Now that was a BIG sum for a winter Olympics right from the get-go, and the high costs could in part be attributed to the ridiculously warm climate, the warmest possible Russian venue available during the winter months. Sure, they have a dual location, with skiing in the mountain resort and arena venues to be built alongside the palm trees on the Black Sea beaches. They spent $8 billion linking the two locations with a smashing new road and railway. The contract for that job was awarded to 2 childhood friends of Mr Putins. Who else could be trusted to line their pockets so outrageously?

And not pay the actual workers on the project any wages for months on end.

The actual costs for these games have now run to $50 billion.

To put that into perspective Sochi is costing 25 times what was spent in Vancouver for the last winter Olympics. Or approximately 3 times the cost of holding the (much larger) 2012 Olympics in London.

The story goes that at least $25 billion has been wasted on corrupt ‘kick-backs’ – payments given under duress by the contractors to people who have it within their power to disrupt their business. These are without doubt the most corrupt games in Olympic history. Even the agency set up to organise the event, Olympstroy, has lost 4 bosses, 3 through rumours of corruption. Though the official line now goes that they had ‘underestimated the effects that taking such a job would have on their health’. In much the same way that the 25 Russian investigative journalists who have been found murdered during Putins reign must have underestimated their ability to hide from his henchmen?

Security is a huge issue.

There are the much publicised problems with terrorists, widows seeking revenge and otherwise, who wish to disrupt Mr Putins pet project. Having the protagonists in Chechnya and Dagestan so geographically close by has resulted in FSB (the new KGB) check points being set up everywhere to check the credentials of anyone who is passing by.

Everyone needs to be careful when faced with the FSB, not least those visitors to the games that might happen to follow a now outlawed ‘non-traditional sexuality’. The Mayor of Sochi insists there are no gay people in his town. And, after last nights BBC Panorama program was aired, I suspect several gay bars in the town have been flattened into a hillside for the duration.

Madonna will still be singing – regardless.

Of course the investigative journalists of the BBC and the rest of the western world want to get the WHOLE story of these games, not just the shiny ‘Russian pride restorative’ version. So they run into roadblocks at every turn. Yet still some have managed to report on the environmental harm that has been wreaked upon the inhabitants of what was a beautiful, tree covered, national park.

A huge quarry was dug into a mountainside to extract the stone required to build all the facilities – arenas, roads, railways, hotels, restaurants etc. The ski slopes provided some issues because of land slides, caused by building works, which reshaped entire areas in ways they weren’t expecting. Small villages were swamped with heavy trucks moving materials from A to B, 24 hours a day (projects overran by years). The well water on which the locals had survived for years became contaminated. The contractors built water pumps which never worked, and now the villagers have to rely on tankers bringing water to them, also by road. Much of the old infrastructure in Sochi was ripped out and dumped on the hillsides, which in turn has destabilised many of the dirt poor local homes, which now sit at crazy angles, making the inhabitants feel constant nausea akin to seasickness. The small scale mountain ski resorts have been built up into cities, the landscape was never designed to accommodate so many hundreds of thousands of visitors at one time. It will surely never be required to do so again.

The new facilities built in Sochi look absolutely stunning. But they have come at a cost far greater than that $50 billion price tag is letting on.

I always enjoy the spectacle of the Olympics, wherever they be held, I still marvel at the achievements of the athletes. To know that they have laboured day in and day out for years, for it all to come down to that one performance, that one shot at gold.

Or that one slip onto your arse.

I hope these games pass off peacefully.


Not one single leader from the western world will be attending the Sochi games.

That fact alone does not exactly fill me with confidence.

All the world needs now is for a belligerent Justin Bieber to fly in and rent a fast car….

That lad is minutes away from a Lifetime Achievement award for SOMETHING.

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3. osdianna
6:53 AM GMT on January 28, 2014
After a nice long dry spell, including sunshine (and 60 degrees on a few of those sunny days) we are back to normal 40's with rain beginning around 4pm today. I am driving some ladies to Sea-Tac airport Tuesday; they are off to Senegal. They should get a bit sweaty over there! Anyway, rain is forecast for the whole 5 hour trip there and back. Rain I can deal with; it's the accidents I hate. Luckily we are not on a time push; they don't fly until Wednesday morning, but they have a stop in Washington, D.C. I hope their flight isn't cancelled or delayed due to weather.

You have my sympathies, Joe. I really fear falling now; seems like I reach the ground a helluva lot faster than I used to! Next to dementia or Alzheimer's, I think falling is the greatest fear for those of us over 50. I'm waiting for the invention of airbags for our bodies!

I hope the Seahawks get to demonstrate their superior playing abilities in this coming superbowl. I know the Broncos are favored, but that has never been the issue for the Hawks. They just go out there and "Git er done"! GO HAWKS!!!!

Meanwhile, everybody stay safe and warm. Sleep with your cats, your dogs, your honey...whatever.
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2. DHaupt
4:43 AM GMT on January 28, 2014
When I lived in Laramie, Wyoming in the early 70s, I could always tell when the temperature had gotten down to around -10F because when I exhaled, frost would freeze on my nose hairs and produce an annoying little tug.

Laramie had the potential to get down around -40F on clear cold nights. At an elevation of 7000 feet, there wasn't a lot of insulation overhead. It was also a damned windy place. One of the saloons had a weather station on its roof that displayed temperature, wind velocity and wind chill factor in a crude blue digital display. It was probably intended to discourage you from leaving. I recall one very cold night when the wind chill got down to around -70F. We had all worn our parkas on the trek downtown. I had a Gerry Makalu with nearly three pounds of down plus a down hood, and heavy fur lined mittens, thermal underwear, rock boots with double wool socks. The others were dressed similarly. Of course, we had to peal off a lot while in the bar.

We were all prepared for the adventure of trudging home drunk and disorderly, but Kenney the bartender insisted on calling us a cab. Kenney, who probably never darkened the door of a 7th grade classroom was smarter than 4 tipsy graduate students.

My most memorable ice experience was learning to ice skate on the municipal pond which the fire department kept flat and level during the winter months by hosing it down weekly. I had finally managed to prance my way out onto the ice about 50 feet from shore and stopped to rest. Suddenly, I found myself horizontal about four feet above the ice. I came down in a vey slight tuck and took the crash on my rear end. I felt something inside me yield. For the next several days, I would describe my condition as delicate. Parts of me have never worked quite right ever since.

I persisted with learning to skate and finally got to the point where I could sail around on the ice pretty well with only the occasional fall -- I made sure that I had forward momentum so that I could come down on my side or at least a lower leg and slide. No more dead drops!

Rain is coming.
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1. iaotter
2:50 AM GMT on January 28, 2014
Joe, be careful. Maybe a flashlight so you can see what you are walking on?
It is -6 here and supposed to get colder toward morning. -9 on the east side of the state where my brother is.

We missed out on all the nasty weather they were predicting for Sunday night and today. Supposedly 65 mph winds and several inches of snow. We got about 65 flakes of snow and about 30 mph winds. Everybody was freaking out all afternoon waiting for the big one. I swear those weather folks ramp up the dire predictions so they get better ratings on their shows. They cry wolf so often that when the weather really does get bad we don't believe them.

At least with this site I can look at the radar and make some sort of educated guess about when the weather will hit and the color coding gives some idea of how intense it will be. I don't have to depend on someone else to interpret it.

Stay warm and safe. Wonder what the groundhog will have to say about the next 6 weeks.

Enjoy the Super Bowl. I am not a sports fan, but I do love the Super Bowl commercials. Have been checking out the previews on the internet already.

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