Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Christmas Photo Bonanza!

Below are some of the good Christmas pictures. If there is not one of you, it's only because the picture did not come out well.

Also, as Mom pointed out, on the sidebar below the weatherpixie is my web shop. It's got ornaments and stuff that you can buy. Please check it out!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Mandy strikes a pose

Holly Rose will be extra-fast in here cheetah nightgown!

Frank enjoying his new blanket

Mom got a Kodak Easy Share camera!

Doug got new pants!

Sanae, Daniel and "johndeere"

Dad is well equipped for the Sun Bowl

Willie and Heather

Mom is suprised by how warm the Estonian poncho is!

No Christmas blogging would be complete without a picture of Puppy!

Merry Christmas from the Lohrmans!

Picture of Mandy mangled by editing :)

Dax appears to enjoy Christmas

Christmas Suction Toy

Nicely wrapped Christmas present

Mom caught Willie disguising himself as a Christmas present...

Monday, December 27, 2004

Sleep in Heavenly Peas...

Now that the holidays are almost over, I figure it's "safe" for me to post this note (didn't want anyone chuckling through christmas services!). For those of you who don't have enough reason to chuckly through the season, here are a ...multitude of mondegreens that you will not forget by Christmas Eve service...

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Indiana has great sunsets too...

On our way to Dayton on Monday, We were treated to a great sunset just north of Indianapolis.

Sunset Picture in Indiana.

The clouds were these fluffy dots, here is a picture from our moonroof:

Clouds Picture from the Moonroof

Late Sunset

Late Sunset 2

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Soybean Contamination

A by-product of the accident of the Selendang Ayu off of Unalaska is a massive amount of loose soybeans. It is now knee deep in soybeans on some beaches! Alaska has brought in Illinois soybean experts to help determine what the affect will be to wildlife.

So, Frank, Galileo and I are on our way to the "Outside". Wish us luck!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Where is Miss Beazley?

I admit, I love the BarneyCam. Barney's new video is out: Where in the White House is Miss Beazley?


Snapping out of Gingersnap Addiction
I am looking forward to the airplane ride to rid myself of my gingersnap addiction. It all started when "Nana's Sauerbraten" recipe required 17 gingersnaps for completion. I hesitated pulling the box down from midtown New Sagaya's aisle 8 (mexican food, cookies, chips). This is because I know that mass doesn't disappear in mass quantities, in this case translating to the first law of groceries: the food within boxes not used in the meal will ultimately require consumption by someone.

While the Sauerbraten was about a 6 on a normal scale (not one of our best recipes this week), I was reminded that gingersnaps were addictively tasty. Knowing that sugar is not my friend and already admitting I had a problem, after about 10 extra gingersnaps I hid the box at the very highest point in the "cabinet of junk food", which is where we hide things that we really like to eat but don't want to eat too much of. However, it was no use, like the sirens in greek plays, the gingersnaps call for me to eat them every time I pass the kitchen.

The worst part about this is that Frank does not like gingersnaps (he prefers Denali ice cream), so I can't depend on Frank to help me finish them before I hurt myself. The dog loves them, but I am not sure that gingersnaps are really good for him. So I am alone in my gingersnap torment.

So I hope to break the gingersnap's hold on me by flying 4000 miles to Chicago, where I hope to find a gingersnap-free zone.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I feel the Earth move...

At 9:30 we had an earthquake 39 miles from Anchorage, which gave me time to reevaluate my "they are not scary" comment earlier. It reminded me of 9/11 when a plane broke the sound barrier over Oxford, but I suppose it also feels like an explosion happening somewhere near. The ground shook suddenly -- if it had a noise it would be "pop" -- and the windows rattled a bit.

The big question, did I follow the guidelines to Drop, Cover and Hold on that FEMA asked me to do? No. I didn't feel it was necessary :).

Frank and I are very excited about our "Lower 48" tour coming up next week. I wanted to print up shirts like a concert tour, but thought that would be cheezy. Galileo is not so excited so far but that's because he is just a dog.

"Have you ever dreamed of being carried into the sky by a giant bouquet of colorful toy balloons?"

No. But John has and has made his dream come true!

This reminds me of another extreme sport that I probably will not try...mountain unicycling.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Weekend Pictures

Hi Everyone, pictures from this weekend:

These little birds were doing some sort of race around our house last week. Now they have been scared away by the Ravens (not the football team!) which hang out on house roofs and cackle all day long.

We took Galileo to Earthquake Park on Saturday. This is a park dedicated to the really awful '76 earthquake that leveled Anchorage. I've been trying to play with some of the automatic finishes that come with this camera, but in low-light conditions, I've found that my camera does not work very well, and the automatic adjustments are pretty bad. So bear with me :)

View over the arm. This shot I have also in edited form, but really this blue tint is more what it looked like than the computer-generated choice.

Another view over the arm. This also is more true to life than the "fixed" version, which adds a lot more white and red to this picture.

Frank and Puppy at Earthquake Park. Doesn't Frank look handsome in his hat? We bought them for our Scandanavia trip, but didn't really use it them until we got up here. You'll notice that this shot is a little grainy -- this is because it was too dark in its original format.

No, this is not a comet...it's a plane (we were by the airport).

Sky on Saturday (at 3pm mind you!).

Sunday Sunset. I got this shot through our west picture window looking out. It looked much different than what I could see from the ground...

See? Here is the same sunset from the back door.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Scared you, didn't I? I just thought you'd like to know that earthquakes happen here all the time, but they aren't scary. There were three today at various times -- I have only really felt one (on a sunday there was one that was almost a 4), the others really just feel like the ground is shaking because there's an airplane overhead. Oh wait, sometimes they are airplanes flying overhead. Either way, I've learned to sleep through both -- all that "training" in Oxford :). To check out the current seismic activity, look for earthquakes in the cook inlet region.

You might wonder what the emergency preparations are in an earthquake. FEMA says Drop, Cover, and Hold On, meaning don't run out of the house or try to find an appropriate doorway. Just get under something, like a table.

Anyways, happy thoughts for you today from Alaska!

Killer Tomatoes and more AK reflections

We are in a National Tomato Crisis! Hurricanes and bugs have wiped out enough of the tomato crop that prices have been skyrocketing. In AK, this is a big deal. I can confirm that not only are tomatoes expensive, but that places like Wendy's do not offer tomatoes any more due to the insane prices. When will it end???

AK reflections
Leaving the gym yesterday, I realized that I was not cold. It was 18 degrees outside. It's interesting how the body adapts.

As it's getting colder, I am seeing more wildlife -- the ravens fly through our backyard all day. They are HUGE birds! On the radio, I heard a story of a lady from the bush who was recounting the first time she had seen a plane. She saw it in the sky and did not understand what it was. Upon questioning the elder about it, the elder told her it was a giant raven that was trying to pick up children so she should run home as fast as possible! After seeing these ravens, I can see why people would think that.

I now have waxed nordic skis, shoes, poles, and bindings! I have no idea how to use them yet! Can't wait for our ski lessons in January!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Weekend and more on Aurora

CNN has another report on Aurora and J-1.

Anne McCue and Peter Mulvey

Frank and I saw Anne McCue and Peter Mulvey this weekend at the Snow Goose. Both are artists that you should check out.

Anne McCue is from Australia, and is one of Lucinda Williams' favorite songwriters. She plays guitar well, and her melodies are really great as well as the lyrics. We bought the album below at the concert, and it is really great. If you go to the link you can also hear some excerpts:

Peter Mulvey was the headliner, and I was quite suprised that I liked his music also. He is also a gifted songwriter and also an interpreter of other songwriter's music also. Steve, if you see this, most of these people tend to circle around Boston quite often, apparently because Chris Smither does a show every week from a club there so you HAVE to go! Just like above, the link will tak you to some excerpts:

Frank and I saw three moose in total on Sunday on our way to New Sagaya, lower down the hillside from our house. They were our first moose sightings since the first week we got here, partially due, I'm sure, to the fact that neither of us have much animal sighting experience. It was such a beautiful morning, with the birch trees covered in white snow, and all these huge ravens flying through the sky.

Every day I'm amazed at how different each day is here. Today, we have fluffy clouds that are grey passing by an ice blue sky. Since the sun is still finding its way out of the mountains, the horizon is kind of a peachy-white color. When the sun goes down in the afternoon, there's always something different also -- I've seen pink/peach sunsets, as well as different cloud patterns. My favorite time is just as the sun goes down, the mountains stand out as light blue against a dark blue sky.

I'll try to take more pictures so you know what I mean :).

Christmas plan
Ever wonder how all the exaggerations about Alaska come about? Apparently, there is a tradition up here to exaggerate stories when going "Outside". I thought Frank and I could work on this while we come home for Christmas. Frank has new big winter boots for his Christmas present, so if he would only grow a big bushy beard, wear a fur hat, flannel shirts, and talk funny, wouldn't that be cool? I could do my best impression of Mrs. Crabtree from South Park. We could talk about our pet moose and the igloo. The stories of our antics trapping our own food and mining for gold would be priceless. The clincher would be when we started talking to birds, like people here talk to ravens.

However, Frank for some reason does not think this is a good idea. Something about integrity, looking silly...yah yah. We'll see...I have 11 days to work on it before we leave :).

Also...everyone send good vibes to Anne, who debuts two more songs at the Jazz Factory in Louisville on Wednesday!

UPDATE: I've added the links to the CD's on the side of the page for posterity :)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Thursday, December 02, 2004

News Roundup

I thought another news roundup from the newly-frosty North was in order.

Don't throw the Bab(ies) out with the Dishwater...
Anchorage has been following the tragic romance of J-1 and Aurora at the Alaska Sealife center. J-1 the 5 and 1/2 year old giant octopus was living a lonely life in a big tank at the center when Aurora washed up in Resurrection bay this spring. Aurora, abandoned by her family, was nursed back to health and there was great hope that perhaps Aurora and J-1 would "hit it off" -- J-1 was quite old, and noone knew if he was even interested at this point. When Aurora was introduced into his tank, suddenly he sprang to life, impressing her by changing colors multiple times. They soon mated, and then J-1 died a few months later. Aurora though, laid some eggs, but most thought that nothing much would come of it. However, as they were siphoning off water in the tank to clean out the eggs, an astute biologist realized that they were actually growing little octopi!!!

The Anchorage Film Festival

The Anchorage Film Festival is this weekend. Where else can you see Christmas in Spenard, Christina Applegate, strubbery, and accordion players (not in the same film of course)?

'Tis the Season...
Anyone can remember their favorite christmas special, but how many can you name on this list of the 10 Least Successful Christmas Specials of All Time?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Carnival of the Vanities

This week's Carnival of the Vanities #115 is really good. These come out every week and represent the best (and sometimes worst) that the blogosphere has to offer. While I can't vouch for all the articles listed, I did find the few I read interesting. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bleak day for cycling and northtoak breaks 100!

Today, the Phonak cycling team has been rejected for a Pro Tour license for next year. While after seeing how the UCI has handled the Hamilton scandal and other issues lately, it does seem like it was inevitable.

While I can't for sure say that Tyler is innocent, I do believe that the UCI acted pretty immaturely in convicting Hamilton in the public arena and jerking around his team about licensing. UCI won't even disclose the official test results for review. The fact is, the team is serving as an example and the decision was made beforehand.

So I applaud the UCI for finding their example. I'm sure that Floyd Landis and the rest of the distraught Phonak team really appreciates it.

On a more positive note...

Today, the number of unique viewers of this log since 11/10 has been 100 people! How cool is that?

Monday, November 29, 2004

Weekend Thoughts

Some thoughts from this weekend:

Lori's Official Saturation Point for Basketball is...
..about four days, or ten games. At that point, all the games seem to look the same. You know, some guys running back and forth, every once in a while this is broken up by a foul of some sort or various media time outs. Saturation does not seem to be alleviated by eating different vendor foods, nor by sitting in another area of the arena. I think if we hadn't left before the Alabama/Minnesota game on Friday I would have combusted during the final "Are you ready to RUM-BULLL?" on Saturday night. By the way, the Huskies won over Alabama, and UAA miraculously beat High Point to take 7th out of 8th, which is a positive.

A few cool things that I hope I will remember:
- My favorite players, including Nate Robinson (short guy on Washington), Double-0 (big Honduran center for High Point), Bogut (7 footer at Utah State), and Severson-Severson (UAA guy who got his first shot at playing, his fan club shouted "severson-severson" every time he went across the field).
- After completely missing every shot possible for multiple prizes, Vito's auto sales gave the contestant another shot to win an antique Ford Mustang, which he made. I thought that was really nice.
- How the high schools gave up practice space, cheerleaders, entertainment, and pep bands to perform during the Shootout. What a great gesture of hospitality!

Next time though, we will probably only get a few session seats instead of the entire thing.

Do we REALLY need an apple that tastes like a grape? I guess someone thinks so. I for one, don't get it.

Is it Winter yet?
Despite all the winter storms in the lower 48, the weather here has been terribly warm. This weekend, we had highs in the 50s, melting practically all the snow. Then, on Sunday morning, we did get snow, but it was too warm. This makes a huge mushy mess in every parking lot. Our nordic ski lessons were cancelled today because here, in late Nov, there is not enough snow to ski on. What gives?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

For those of you looking for something challenging this Holiday Season...

Why not try to cook a Turducken?. That's a Chicken in a Duck in a Turkey.

In another stuffing nightmare, there is also a whole stuffed camel recipe.

Thanksgiving Pictures

For Thanksgiving, Frank and I celebrated by going to Mick's at the Inlet downtown. I'd heard that the restaurant was really good but not well known, and both of us were suprised at how good the meal was. We certainly will be going there again!

Afterwards, we decided to spend some time "sightseeing" since it was such a pretty day. Here are some of the pictures:

Anchorage from Westchester Lagoon

Frank at Westchester Lagoon

Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

O'Malley and Seward Intersection shot

We eventually drove up to Glen Alps trailhead, which was quite busy with nordic skiers and other outdoors folks:

Glen Aps Sky Shot

Glen Alps overlooking the arm

We were up so high that it was snowing below us in this "Peachy" cloud:

Peachy Snow Storm

Another shot of the Peachy snow storm

Anchorage Shot

Sky shot over the arm

There were a few people hiking blueberry hill:

"Not Us"

I got to help a couple making a picture for their Christmas card overlooking this mountain:

Sliver of sunlight

Shadow of a mountain

As we drove home, I noticed a strange rainbow type thing on our right hand side. Frank and I pulled over into the police parking lot to get a shot of it:



For Thanksgiving, I am writing a postitive entry, since the last entry was a little "curmudgeonly". In the spirit of the day, here is a list of 3 things I am thankful for today:

1) Family and Friends: Certainly on top of any list of thankful things, people are number one. It has been a pretty stressful and "game-changing" year for Frank and I, and I for one am very grateful for the support that we have received from everyone this year. Also, perhaps it is living far away that does it, but everytime we get a chance to talk to our loved ones is so much more appreciated, I think.

2) The beauty of Alaska: I am grateful to be living here. Sure, it is far away during holidays, but the beauty that surrounds us is magical. Yesterday, we had a beautiful peachy-to-hot pink sunset followed by an almost full moon up over the mountains, making the moonrise almost as dramatic as the sunset. The moon when we came back to the house last night was shining so bright it was casting moonshadows through the back door. This morning, I am thankful for the dusting of snow that we got, which covers the icy roads and gives me hope that we can take our ski lessons next week. I am thankful for the relatively mild weather here -- tornadoes are nonexistent, and lightning is so rare that it makes headlines in the newspaper.

3) I'm thankful for community: Despite my silly attempts at humor, Anchorage is a pretty cool town to live in. It's a funky mix between an Alaskan Lake Wobegon and a large city. To see the entire borough come out to not only see the Great Alaskan Shootout but to actively participate by hosting schools, supplying pep bands, cheerleaders, and halftime entertainment is huge.

Anyways, Happy Thanksgiving to our far-flung Friends and Family! I hear that the weather is rather unpleasant in the midwest in some areas, so take care!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Great Alaska Shootout, Day 1 Report

This weekend, Anchorage hosts the Great Alaska Shootout, consisting of 16 games of basketball in 5 days.

Before I get to that, I heard that Purdue was perhaps beaten by a fairly good Miami team! Ha!

Yesterday, we had two women's preliminary games, neither was particularly spectacular (of course what can one expect from early season?). ADN has excellent coverage for those of you who want to know the technical details, but I've added some "supplemental coverage" of my own.

Game 1: University of AK-Anchorage (hometown school) Seawolves vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

I think we got to the arena about 5 minutes into the first game. The Seawolves were already behind I believe at that point. I was suprised to see a smiley mouth in on the new basketball floor under the basketball hoops. Frank explained that this was some new line to help with calling charges and things. I thought perhaps they were trying to make the floor more pleasant :).

The Seawolves, which the program lists as a mascot based on a mythical sea creature that was lucky if you could see it (tm), are having a rebuilding year. They lost nine out of twelve players last year. Some of the interesting players include a slow-footed center and another "black hole of basketball". A "black hole" is a person who once they get the ball, never gives it back up even under serious pressure. This and the fact that they could not transition very well had to be the biggest problems of the team.

The Cajuns, on the other hand, played an uninspired but less-sucky game of basketball to win the game. Once it was obvious they were going to win, their second string went in. They had an enthusiastic second string center, who was sprinting down the court, running even her own players down. I thought she did a great job.

Anyways, so ho-hum, the Cajuns won by a lot.

So, enough about the game, what else was going on??

As someone who drifts during long basketball games, I always find time to critique the courtside entertainment. For the Great Alaska Shootout, teams do not send their cheerleaders, so Anchorage High schools sponsor a team and provide cheerleaders and entertainment. This makes things interesting, as squads must create uniforms for themselves and create cheers for their teams that they don't really have a connection to. This makes for a kind of self-absorbed cheering section, who seems more interested in what the next cheer is and being self-conscious than actually cheering for the teams. What really made me sad though is that these girls put so much effort into their floor routines and "spirit finger" expressions, and the spectators were just not going along. There is very little sadder to me than silence after a "when I say red, you say white, -- RED!" shout. To make it more dramatic, they were doing really great basket tosses (things that can't be done in many states at a high school level anymore), flips, and all sorts of stuff. So I had to at least clap and pay attention to them, because they were cheering their hearts out.

Other than that, we had a dance team from one of the high schools come on. Frank's comment sums it up "a nice compilation of bad music from every generation". Other than the music, I did think though that they were very synchronized, and I doubt many spectators could do any of those moves. They even had the "cocked-wrist", stylted dance style down that is so popular in college dance groups.

We also had the pep band from Grace Christian there, which was very typical of a small-school pep band. We had a very loud and enthusiastic drummer combined with a brass section with at least one horn that was playing their own tune. They played your normal band songs like "James Bond" as well as interesting choices like "Malaguena" and the theme from Super Mario. I don't know what is scarier -- that I recognized the tune of an old Nintendo game or that they were playing it! What's next, "Legend of Zelda"?

All in all, good entertainment, and I mean even the pep band. I look forward to seeing the kids tonight when ESPN2 is covering them!

Game 2: Stanford vs. Eastern Washington

I was conflicted about this game, since Stanford has an Anchorage-grown star while Eastern is at least in our conference. I decided not to decide, since I would probably root for whomever was losing anyways.

Soon it was pretty apparent that Stanford was going to win, so I started watching for interesting players. On Eastern Washington, there was an overly enthusiastic guard that liked to try to organize things. However, gesturing to teammates on where one is going to pass the ball is perhaps a bad idea, as well as charging into the lane when everyone else is hanging out there also. Stanford had a center who is really good but her knee bends back funny so I was worried for her.

Anyways, we watched the cheerleaders do another participatory cheer, then left relatively early with the other folks.

Tonight, we have the champ game for the women's tourney, plus UAA vs Alabama (remember, the mythical sea creatures lost to Grand Canyon State a week ago, so perhaps this will not be a good game). The other men's game will be Furman and Minnessota.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Hockey Game, Seawolves vs. Badgers

The UAA/Wisconsin hockey game last night was not as exciting as it could have been. Wisconsin and UAA have a rivalry, but since UAA has lost so many of its players, the game was very one-sided.

Once again, I had the joy of sitting next to another quite annoying person -- a student with an overenthusiastic cowbell. I had to put napkin pieces in my right ear to keep sane. It did not help that everyone also had "thunder sticks", which are big round sticks filled with air that they bang together. I always laugh when they all try to "thunder" in time with the music.

As far as the game went, we had four brand new people out there for UAA, and while they were capable of killing power plays for Wisconsin, they were also quite good at killing their own power plays as well.

The biggest excitement came when one of the players flicked a puck into the section beside ours. Unfortunately, it hit the head of a guy who was not paying attention, and it looks like it drew blood. He was walking alright and things, so I'm hoping he is OK.

When we left, the Seawolves were losing 4-1. Go here to hear the catchy Seawolf Fight Song.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Fourty-one, Alone, No Gerbil

Garrison Keillor read this poem on Writer's Almanac today. It reminds me of the late great Badwater Jackson, mauled to death by the late great Peaches the cat after being set free by a strong wind toppling over the empty aquarium we left him in.

My only question is, what does the "faint powerful call" of a gerbil sound like?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Sunset picture, looking east over the construction site by our house.

Traviata and other stuff

La Traviata in Anchorage

Frank and I saw La Traviata on Sunday at the Anchorage Performing Arts Center. We were cautiously optimistic after the Philip Glass debacle.

La Traviata is typical Italian opera -- very dramatic. Here is a synopsis:

Lead female is a party girl, has consumption, meets a great guy at a party. Moves in with great guy, but dad of great guy tells her that the only way another great guy (#2) will marry his own daughter is if party girl high-tails it out of great guy's (#1) life. As usual, in opera there is always no other way to resolve the situation, and lead female returns to Paris to continue her party days, very sad of course due to the fact that she misses Alfredo, the great guy. Great guy finds her, gets mad that she is hanging out with another guy and insults her in public. She passes out (consumption) and great guy is challenged to a duel. In a very Greek play sort of way, the duel takes place off stage, and great guy retreats to another country (after victory of course). Party girl gets really sick and somehow at the same time, Dad of great guy feels bad and tells the truth to great guy. When party girl (in bed coughing, kind of like when I get my winter cough episodes, although I did not see enough cough drops) has only a few hours left, great guy and dad come by to make amends. Everything is happy, party girl stands up, says "I feel great" then dies.

Despite the cheezy plot, it was really good. We were almost in the orchestra pit, so we could see extremely well. I can't wait for the next one...The Flying Dutchman (not Italian).

Thursday Weather Report
Yesterday it snowed (maybe an inch accumulation). If it had not been cloudy, we might have been able to see the aurora, which was active. Today, the clouds started to part in a zig-zag, and just like the weathermen tell you, when the warm air and cold air collide it gets windy. The pine tree outside my window bent at about a 10 degree angle in the winds so far. But it is sunny, so that's a positive.

The long awaited Christmas List...
I have commandeered Frank's Christmas list. Here are the items for Frank:
1) New Electric Shaver
2) Sweaters (Large)
3) Sweatpants
4) Soft undershirts
5) Soft cotton turtlenecks: charcoal, black, brown. Frank does not like itchy things, seamless shirts are preferable.
6) Waterproof Hiking Boots
7) Chef's Knife
8) Two Pr 33/32 Levis

Strangely, Frank has also put down these things for me. Apparently I will be cooking next year:
1) Food Processor
2) Blender
3) Rice cooker/holder
4) Canon Digital Rebel SLR

Other things I need are listed on REI still. This includes things like knee socks and long underwear that is not cotton.

About the concern about space in suitcases...we will be bringing a suitcase with presents ourselves and therefore should have space. Things that are rather big, you can either ship up here and just tell us, or we can ship up ourselves.

Although Thanksgiving is not upon us yet, we are certainly excited to see everyone.

And what about you???

Using the "power of blog", feel free to add in a comment what you want for Christmas. I figure many people who are reading would be interested :).

This weekend...
...Frank and I will be going to the Wisconsin/UAA hockey game on Friday. We have lost another UAA hockey player to rough practices, who was slammed into the boards "at a funny angle" and separated his shoulder. Shea Hamilton, one of the stars of the Nye Classic, is out with a broken wrist. At this point, the Seawolves have 10 injured players (one for every game played this season). Can anyone say karma? Perhaps letting "Captain Jawbreaker" back on the team did not do a lot for the team, eh?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

China Joe

This is a fascinating story about China Joe in Juneau, the only Chinese person who was not kicked out of Juneau in 1886.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

News of the North Thursday Roundup

Bazaar Roundup or "Clash of the Titans"

I've noticed that there is a high number of Bazaars up here. They started somewhere in early October, and it appears every community group has one. I am always interested in seeing who is having these bazaars, and which groups they are up against.

The challengers for this week are especially interesting.

We have the the Annual Noel Bazaar at the Anchorage Senior Center, Nora and Sandy's Home Craft Bazaar (at their house), the St. Anthony Holiday Bazaar at St. Anthony Catholic Church, the Annual Christmas Courtyard by United Alaskan Artists and the Village at Ship Creek Mall.

Travelling this week are the Bad Girls of the North (Evangelo's Restaurant, Wasilla) and the I-Dit-a-Bazaar by the Iditarod PTA. Bad Girls of the North will be at the 4th Avenue Theatre here in Anchorage next week.

There are 3 Presbyterian Bazaars this week -- The Immanuel Presbyterian Holiday Craft Bazaar, the Presbyterian Women of the First Presbyterian Church, and also the Presbyterian Women Fall Bazaar. I can only guess why all three decided on the same weekend. Apparently the women of the First Presbyterian Chirch faction are willing to take on all the women as a whole this year. The Presbyterian men, however, are out of luck unless they are from Immanuel, which is not gender biased.

The largest this week is the Holiday Food and Gift Festival, which will be held somehow at Sullivan Arena. There will be 300 Exhibitors at this one, and the food vendors will offer samples!

Rabbits on the Run

Apparently rabbits allowed to roam free in Palmer irk the neighbors. Now they are taking over the neighborhood. From the article:
By letting them loose, Anna Calton says, at least they have a chance of escaping the terror of predators".

Now see, the dogs and bears are terrorists along with the Geraniums!


A 2.5 Earthquake struck in central Alaska on Sunday. We actually did feel it in Anchorage, but I didn't think much of it.

Global GIS Day!

Today is Veterans day, but did you know that tomorrow we are celebrating globally GIS day? Well, it looks like it's not, but for some reason Anchorage is celebrating early (maybe not to conflict with a bazaar of some sort?)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Challenging the Intellect

As I expected, the Anchorage Daily News says that the reason I did not like Philip Glass is because I wasn't smart enough.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Weekend Adventures

Flashback Folk Music

On Friday, Frank and I traveled out to the Snow Goose Restaurant/Brewery/Theatre downtown to watch Willy Porter. The UK reader contingent might recognize the name -- he opened for Tori Amos on campus (I can't remember when that was and who was there, sorry!). I remember him being good and even have one of his earlier albums.

Just as I remembered, he was really good. Excellent guitar playing, great singing and -- finally -- an artist who has upbeat songs! He did do quite a few songs that he made up on the spot and also told some excellent stories about how his songs came about. My favorite is the story of him and a fellow violinist in junior high blowing up the first chair's mailbox in order to get closer to the cello girls ("who were hot").

Anyways, I believe he's traveling next down the east coast -- if you get the chance, he's definitely worth checking out.

UAA Volleyball

UAA had their final volleyball game of the season against UAF on Saturday. It was suprisingly well-attended, considering the dismal season that UAA has had so far this year (4-11). Although as usual sometimes there were problems especially with spike coverage (both on offense and defense), the Seawolves won against the Nanooks in straight matches.

Adventures in Experimental Classical Music, aka It all goes back to Gamelan

On Sunday, Frank and I attended "Bang on a Can All-Stars featuring Philip Glass". Bang on a Can is a group out of NYC that plays experimental classical music. Bang on a Can was up first, starting off with a forgettable piece by one of the founders of the group. The second piece was composed by the clarinetist, inspired by Balinese puppetry (Here ). The first, third, and fourth pieces were really great, so much to the dismay of Frank (who said "maybe with some hard work, the clarinetist could be come a good composer"). The last piece, by Julia Wolfe, was interesting because it was "big, beautiful, scary and wonderful". The best part about the first act was that it was only 40 minutes long (I don't like really long concerts).

After intermission, Philip Glass came on. Now, I proudly own "Kronos Quartet plays Philip Glass" and a few other Philip Glass CD, so I was eager to hear him play live. The first song, Mad Rush, is immediately recognizable as a piece used in commercials, although I'm not sure which ones. Apparently it was first played at the cathedral in NYC for the Dali Lama. It was very pretty, but it was way, way too long. It kept getting slower and softer so that you would think it was stopping, but then Philip would trick us by starting up again.

This started me thinking -- are people clapping because the piece was good, or out of relief that it actually stopped?

Then it got worse. The second piece and third piece sounded very similar, with these mathematical time changes that are supposed to be interesting. I could not help but think, what if the musicians have gotten lost, and can't find their way out of the piece? After like 30 minutes they stopped playing. Again, big (relief?) applause. Frank and I grab our coats as Philip Glass and the Bang on a Can people came out for their encore. I don't think either Frank or I could have made it through another piece.

So, why the Gamelan reference above? I like gamelan music, and experimental music is very similar. It's simple, light, and irreverent. It has a beat, and I can work to it, if you want to think of it that way. I like how it changes throughout piece but doesn't a whole bunch of things going on to distract your mind in too many directions. Does this make me simple-minded? I'm not sure -- perhaps in music I am.

Frank, on the other hand, finds both gamelan and experimental music the musical equivalent to water torture. I have to agree that the second half was perhaps as close to water torture as I have been since the sad and off-tune "Porgy and Bess" rendition at Miami two years ago. If you ever get a chance to see Philip Glass, I suggest you don't take it.

Exploring Alaska
This is a really good show, if you get it in your area on your local ABC affiliate. This week it revolved around Soldotna and the pioneers (who are still living) that founded this little town on the Kenai Peninsula. It was fascinating, and gives such a great perspective on how recent and living Alaska history is.

Congratulations to Calla!
I heard that Calla had a super report card this week! Great work!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Snow, Snow, more Snow

For those of you who have been wondering what the weather is like up here today...SURPRISE! It is snowy and cold today!

I say cold, I will preface that. Today, we have a warm streak and weather might get above freezing today.

This morning we had about an inch of snow, but the weather guys (whom I have found are unreliable) are predicting 8-16 inches of snow. You can watch the predictions for the next few days or just revel in snowness watching the AnchorageCam .

Some interesting notes today...
1) Snow really does have different textures. This snow is wetter than the snow from Sunday.
2) They don't plow the neighborhood roads here, although they do plow the main roads (except for the turn lanes which are icy).
3) The Anchorage Airport has never closed due to weather.
4) Only some of the children here take the bus to school. The others are biking down the sidewalks to school today. There are no such things as snow days here, and kids go outside for recess no matter what the weather.
5) The big entertainment news this week in the paper is that Gary V. is coming for a concert this Friday. It's sold out. So is the press meeting at the Chrysler-Dodge down the road on Thursday. This weekend, we also have Willie Porter (started for Tori Amos at UK years ago) and Philip Glass coming this weekend. So you see, there is culture up here in Anchorage, since we tend to be the stopping point between Asia and North American tours for many groups.
6) I am trying welcome the snow, but it will take me some time. Frank and I are planning on becoming nordic ski bums this year, which will help.

Quote for Today: Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ~John Ruskin

Monday, November 01, 2004

Halloween in AK

Halloween is always a weird holiday for those of us without children, because it can be a toss up as to when it happens. For example, Oxford's trick-or-treat is scheduled for a convenient 5-7 timeslot on a weekday. This is always on a different day of the week every year, so the only way to know when to be ready is (1) ask a kid and (2) keep a bowl of candy ready a week beforehand for the onslaught.

On our street, we have many children, but the only ones I see outside lately are our dear "Children of the Corn" -- boys here appear to have been shipped directly from the early 70s with long messy hair. They skateboard on a makeshift ramp in the middle of the street, and have recently moved down the street in order to be closer to the girls, who hang around at various houses on Alderwood.

On Sunday, since we had no trick or treaters yet, I thought we had probably missed the night. To add to the drama, we got about two inches of cold, "not going anywhere", snow and the weather was a bit cold (19 degress or so). Yet, all the sudden we started to get trick or treaters of all sizes -- all bundled in these big coats (my favorite was the princess in the pink 150$ North Face Denali jacket), with parents driving them down the street. SUV's and AWD Minivans were bumper to bumper along our snow-covered cul-de-sac. It was pretty funny.

So, yes, even in AK, Halloween occurs -- and it appears here to actually happen on the day of the holiday ;).

P.S. Today I shoveled three inches of snow off of our three-car garage by myself. Granted, it was really fluffy snow, but empowering nonetheless. We are supposed to expect a few more inches tomorrow!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that this is Galileo's favorite holiday. Everyone is coming to the door to visit him, and saying things about TREATS! He would wait patiently on the stairs for the trick or treaters, then sit waiting for his treat at the door. Even today, when the "get out the vote" people came by, Galileo sat patiently by the door waiting for a treat :)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

New Script Popping up

You'll see when you leave my site that a popup asks you to rate a picture. Please let me know if this is annoying and I will take it out :)

Friday, October 29, 2004

Snow Games

Yesterday, we got about 2 inches of snow, so Galileo and I went outside to play ball. Ball play with Galileo consists of throwing him the ball, and watching him run around in circles for ten minutes with it. Every once in a while he would stop and look for me to take the ball away from him.

Puppy blinking

Galileo's got the ball!


Taking a breather

Quick turn

Another Breather

I'm in a Photo Contest!

Hi Everyone --

One of my pictures got chosen for a photo contest! It's here. Please take a look, and if you'd like to vote for me and the other picutres (they do have controls against continuous voting), please go ahead.

This is the first time I've ever entered a photo contest, so I'm very excited :).

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Don't Miss the Lunar Eclipse tonight!

Supposedly the moon will be red during the eclipse. To find when it will happen in your timezone, use the Lunar Eclipse Computer.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Blog Primer

Last week, Mom and I had an interesting conversation. We talked about blogs and their future impact on news delivery. It's my opinion that blogs will transform how we get news, much like how the internet transformed how we receive other forms of information. She asked me for blog "hand grips", or blogs that I regulary frequent for information.

Here are a few places that I visit often for news stories:
1) Instapundit is a good starting point for anyone. Glenn Reynolds is a law professor at University of Tennessee, and is a very popular blog for anyone who wants to know what is happening in the political world.
2) Ann Althouse also has a good website and is in Wisconsin.
3) Venturpreneur is also a good site, once again from Wisconsin.
4) Technorati sums up blogs on different subjects.
5) Sometimes I just check out this old debate blog page and look for something new to read.

Some other interesting blogs:
1) Anne has a blog also, and shares the same birthday as I do (too bad she lives "Outside" -- HA!)
2) Madeleine Kane specializes in political humor.
3) Cooking for Engineers tells you everything you need know about analytical coooking!
4) The Daily Meme has blogging games -- think of them as writing skill puzzles -- for your blog.

So, when you get a chance, get out there and read!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Wednesday Concert

After going to see Natalie MacMaster last month, Frank and I became season members to the Whistling Swan Concert Series. This Wednesday we saw Chris Whitley and Jeff Lang in the Marston Theatre.

Suprisingly, the Marston Theatre is in the Loussac Public Library. It's a beautiful, round, some would say "archi-cool" building with nice little touches like mountain ash that extends through two stories of patio. The theatre is on the bottom floor.

Our MC for the night was a exuberant Red Sox fan with a heavy Boston accent. He was very excited about the game and also with being the MC, which I guess is good for a concert. At the same time, this really creepy-looking skinny guy in a white tank top kept fiddling with the instruments on stage -- I thought he was a stagehand at first. That was Chris Whitley, the first act.

Just so everyone knows, I totally realize that appearances are not everything -- Chris Whitley cannot really help being really skinny and a little creepy looking. I'm just observing that it might have been helpful for him to have at least dressed up a bit -- it was 30 degrees outside.

Chris Whitley plays these metal acoustic guitars -- Frank says they were probably vintage. They were very difficult to keep in tune, and Chris had to fiddle with them quite a bit -- sometimes in the middle of a song. But the sounds coming out of them were interesting and nicely paired with his voice. Whitley's played around the world apparently, and kept telling us where the songs were written but not what they meant ("I wrote this song in Belgium" and it was a song about prison?).

Dave Matthews says that he is more passionate about Chris Whitley's music than he is his own, and you can tell that Dave has been influenced greatly by Whitley's vocal stylings. Many of the songs were abstract, and when paired with the vocals, it was difficult to keep track sometimes. I could, though, see that if you pulled Whitley into a studio with a band, you could have a very good and interesting album. I especially liked "Local Girl" and "Assassin Song" -- both were a bit more simplistic than the others, and not as dour (a lot of the songs were kind of depressing).

Jeff Lang is a guy from Australia, and was a little more dressed up. He had three guitars, one was a guitar that you play on your lap. Jeff's songs, also depressing, were a little more straightforward and his mastery of the guitar was just incredible. I thought he did a great job, although sometimes he would go into the "impressive but irrelevant guitar playing zone" where many great guitarists go. He was very fond of completely deconstructing the song into incomprehensible (but impressive) screeches and funny sounds, then going back into the structure of the song. I like that once or twice, but too many times loses effect in my opinion. One of these moments also included a fingerpick being launched into the first row, so the deconstructing thing is also dangerous!

All in all, I really did enjoy the concert, and thought both artists did a good job. If you ever get the chance to see either of these guys, it's certainly worth your time to go see them!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Weather Report and Wish List

I realized around 9am (when the sun came up) that everything was covered in silver frost. The weather doesn't look great for the rest of the week either, with ice warnings on Thursday.

I believe we have finally turned the corner from "winter preparation/fall" to all out winter weather. Today, the high was 36. However, it's not the 36 that I anticipated during my run -- maybe I'm getting used to it ;).

I have been asked also to publish my wishlist for my upcoming birthday. It's always awkward to do this, but here are a few places to look:
This is my dream camera...hey, one can dream, can't they?? Cannon Digital Rebel

Also in anticipation of the colder season, here is my REI wish list:
Wish List. The nice thing about REI is that they will ship anything to the REI store in town for free.

Congratulations to Anne!

Last weekend was race weekend for my good friend Anne. Anne Achico successfully completed the Toronto Marathon in 5 hours! Here's the Results.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Seawolves win Nye Classic Title!

Against the odds, UAA won against Minnessota in the championship game yesterday. In an expansion of the traditional fish throwing at the first UAA goal, many yahoos decided also to throw frisbees and other trinkets onto the ice. The second time this happened (the second UAA goal), the referees applied a two minute penalty on the Seawolves and the people who threw stuff got ejected. This allowed Minnessota to tie up the game during the subsequent power play. I don't understand why people act the way they do sometimes.

Anyways, it was a very exciting game. Our goalie was really great compared to the guy last night. UAA managed to hold on to a single goal lead to win the title! A much more descriptive recap is

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Friday Night Hockey Roundup

Part 1 of our great hockey experiment concluded yesterday. Game 1 was between the two "U of M's" -- Minnessota and UMass. You could call this game a defensive struggle although I would better describe it as boring. The passing was really bad, and there were no goals until 1:30 left in the entire game! Minnessota finally got one goal, and I think everyone in the stands was cheering.

During the 1 hour intermission between games, Frank and I enjoyed our fine coffee beverages (cappuccino and breve respectively), while watching the Zamboni machines. Other people had brought papers, books, etc. to entertain themselves during this long time between games.

The second game was played by UAA and Canisius (Buffalo, NY school).

Aside: Right before the game, I was blessed by a pair of tweener girls with megaphones who decided to sit next to me, and a 7 year old boy sitting behind me to kick my chair. Of course, the parents sat as far away from the girls as possible, knowing what was coming next. For some reason, the likelihood of tweener girls sitting next to me at any event seems to be high -- I believe this is a karmic punishment for being a tweener girl myself long ago. So, the entire game involved listening to the girls hoot silly things/sing bad songs through megaphones in my ear, while I get kicked in the back by a young boy. Lovely.

Back to the game. As the home school, UAA has many rituals for game preparation. Some of these are pretty normal, like the cheezy bulls music with the dimming of the lights thing. Some are not, like the limo that was driven onto the ice surrounded by "secret service agents" (I suspected that the president was not going to hop out of a car at center ice, even in AK). The mascot, Spirit the Seawolf, hopped out of the car to much applause, waving a US flag, and the crowd went nuts. The other odd ritual is the fish thrown on the rink for the first Seawolf goal. Only in AK :).

UAA has already had a particularly eventful season. One of the star forwards was hit in a biking accident in the Czech Republic and waking up from a coma only days before training started, but he is "OK" now apparently. We also lost one star defensemen, whose jaw was broken by the captain of the team, who was put in jail during training. Apparently, the defensemen's absence during a 5am run was "causing too much trouble" on the team, warranting a fist in the teeth? But that as well is OK now, and the captain has been reinstated, although he was punished "severely" by having to give up his captainship. The defensemen, of course, is not back yet because his jaw has been wired shut.

So, back to the game :). The game was between the UAA Seawolves and the Canisius Universitiy's Golden Griffins (this is a flying lion, not a flying monkey as I thought from looking at the picture on the uniforms). UAA's particularly violent team showed it's enthusiasm early by getting a penalty for checking in the back in the first minute of the game. This set the stage for most of the game, which was riddled with fights, hard checking, and other penalties. Both teams passed much better, but UAA's goalie was the weak link, letting easy shots through while blocking much harder shots. The game wound up tied 3-3 (NCAA Rules), but a shootout was required for Tournament play. We were all really worried, because our goalie had been particularly flakey throughout the game, but he hung on and we won by one shot!

So tonight, we have Canisius vs. UMass for the consolation game, and Minnessota vs. UAA for the title. If the 'wolves play like they did yesterday (and perhaps switch the goalie), I think we might win!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Nye Classic: A hockey experiement

Frank and I are going to see the ENTIRE
Nye Classic Hockey Tournament this weekend. That's four hockey games in two days. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Singletrack, Sand Dunes, Trees, and Water: Tuesday Night Race Report

This week, the Tuesday Night Race was at Kincaid Park off of West Dimond (pronounced diamond). We started out in a clearing with birches all around us, but soon I noticed that the ground not it's usual mud, but sand. That's about when I tripped on a branch and gracefully launched myself into a set of long grasses.

When I got myself together, a 30m mountain of sand was waiting for me to trudge up it. Have you ever tried to run up a sand dune? It's very difficult, especially if you are not very quick footed. I kept sinking down the dune while I tried to follow the advice of the guy behind me shouting to his son "Quick, light strides!!!". He was still shouting as he passed me, kicking dirt in my face (thanks!). When I made it up to the top, we started a treacherous singletrack along a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

To make it more difficult, there were many trees crossing the path that you had to negotiate. Being short, I was able to successfully maneuver across many of them...but I still managed to run right into a tree with my forehead, just like a cartoon character. During this whole section, people were running around me without letting me know (whatever happened to "on your right"?). When I made it back off of the cliff, I was behind this kid that had to be about waist-high. I "blasted" past him when we got onto the access roads, although I came in right behind a guy pushing a stroller. By the time we finished, it was already quite dark.

All in all, I did pretty well -- 61st out of 107, which is "almost halfway". Results are here.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Frank and Lori do Home Repair

Our confidence bolstered by our recent successful TV equiptment cabling, Frank and I (five college degrees combined) set out today to attack one of the most annoying issues in our house -- the door to the garage. This particular door would bounce open when shut hard, which is annoying when you are carrying things in and out of the garage. We had a repairman come out to fix our doors the other day, and he had suggested we buy a spring-loaded door closer to help resolve the issue.

So today, we bought a spectacular door closer from Lowes', with the intention of assembling it ourselves using a drill and various screwdrivers. We started out confidently this afternoon, carefully reading the poor directions. After a few misses, we did finally install a very nice door closer:

Door Closer

You would think such a spectacular door closer would solve the issue, but suprisingly it did not. We were very upset at that.

Using our great analytical skills, Frank and I went about searching online as well as studying the delicate ins and outs of doorknobs in our house that did work. We started adjusting the strikeplate -- at first moving it forward (didn't work), then we finally moved the strikeplate down about 1/4 inch. It worked!

Strike Plate Adjustment

So, no matter what happens for the rest of the day, I feel like today has been a success. I've never realized how repairing stuff can be so rewarding -- I will probably always close that door with a bit more pride :). Frank and I got to use our rarely-used handyman abilities, and did not completely destroy anything.