We are having more record cold weather. It hasn’t been this cold here in northern Illinois since 1996. Schools are closed and they’re advising people to stay inside. Right now it’s -17oF / -27oC with wind chills hovering as low as -35oF / -37oC. I haven’t felt this cold ever, it’s quite extraordinary. We just did a little experiment outside with boiling water. From a spray bottle the water instantly evaporates in the dry air and some of it shoots out as ice. Boiled water thrown out from a pan gives the same effect.
Two years ago we were in The Gambia where we stayed at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi. We were in this great country from 5 to 15 January 2007 and during this time we did a five-day birdwatching safari upriver to Georgetown under the expert birdwatching guidance of Ebrima Sidebe. We had a great time and saw over 175 different species of birds. After the 5-day excursion and on our last day in The Gambia we visited Abuko Nature Reserve.
Back in December, CafePress (CP) forum moderators and CafePress Voice (CPV) members formed a giving team at Kiva.org and challenged the CP community to a fund-off. A team of shopkeepers and a team of CP employees took up the challenge. Kiva is a truly wonderful organization, helping provide loans made by anyone in the world to entrepreneurs who might otherwise not be able to get a loan. This video explains the Kiva concept by showing what happens when a team of accountants in London makes a $25 loan to someone in Cambodia.
I came across this fun site called Poke My Name the other day. You can enter any name and see how popular it is in the United States. During my entire school career, even when I was in grade school classes of just 12 total students, there was always at least one other Amy in my class. And I never knew anyone named Arthur until I turned 26. So I was very surprised to find that Amy is less popular a name than Arthur! More »
In March 2006 we visited the beautiful Junagarh fort in Bikaner on our trip through Rajasthan. Somewhere in the large complex, which was built by Raja Rai Singh in 1588, we found a lone basil plant sitting on a small table in the middle of a large empty room. In India, holy basil, which is called Tulsi, has been known for thousands of years for its healing and medicinal values. It is therefore an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition, and obviously they don’t want passing tourists to touch or sniff this holy plant. Still, I thought that the sign with the plant was rather funny: “Please do not touch basilicum & don’t sniff”. First time I saw a sign telling me not to sniff something.
The movie Groundhog Day (1993) with Bill Murray is one of my favorite movies. It was filmed in the town of Woodstock IL, just a half hour from where we’re living. Groundhog Day is an annual holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada on February 2nd in which a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck or marmot, emerges from its burrow to predict the weather. If the groundhog sees its shadow it will retreat into its burrow and winter will continue for 6 more weeks. This traditional event takes place in several towns across the USA and Canada, but the most famous groundhog is of course Punxsutawney Phil. The movie takes place in the town of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania, but was actually filmed in Woodstock.
Banjo player Eddie Adcock recently underwent brain surgery to fix a tremor in his right hand that prevented him from playing his famous bluegrass music. During the procedure Eddie was awake and continued to play the banjo to help doctors navigate to the exact spot in his brain that would restore his talent. The surgeon poked different spots inside his brains and he would say if he could play the banjo better or worse. Reminds me of getting an eye exam, except the eye doctor doesn’t poke around in my brains to get my prescription!!
After the tests the surgeon implanted a remote-controlled electrode at the spot to stimulate the brain to improve his tremors. This clip from ABC’s Good Morning America shows Eddie Adcock trying to write and play the banjo with the electrode turned off and then on. The improvement is incredible. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!
We have another cold front coming in here in the next few days, with several snow showers. Also in my native country of the Netherlands they are having very low temperatures these days. There’s a great post on The Big Picture today of all things frozen around the world, which includes this nice picture of Dutch skaters:
I’ve watched Stargate Atlantis since it started in 2004 (big fan) and I also very much enjoyed the Stargate movie from 1994 with Kurt Russell … but somehow I never got into Stargate SG1. I’ve wanted to start watching SG1 for a while, but I’d have to start from the beginning and 10 seasons were very intimidating. Throughout December Amazon had some incredible deals, including (for one day only) all 10 seasons of SG1 for only $99 (marked down from $329). I couldn’t resist this awesome deal and ordered the set. Next week is Atlantis’ final episode (boo-hoo!), so this gives me a chance to catch up with SG1 until the third series starts this summer.
We are Arthur and Amy. We met online in 1997 and have lived together in Holland for 9 years and are currently living in the Orlando area in Florida.
On this blog we write about our life in the Netherlands
- Arthur's native country - and America - Amy's home land. Our
hobbies include traveling, birding and