Sunday, December 24, 2006

Pigeon!

Last night, my parents and Dad got in at 3am! We are sleepy and watching the Bears game. Before the game we walked up to the Daytona Pier and I got some bird target practice: Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Lighthouses have cool lenses

Ok, one more picture. Here is a view of the big lens at the lighthouse. The coolest thing about lighthouses are the lenses!
 Posted by Picasa

Alaskans in Heat

Florida is great! Frank appears to be handling the 60-degree change in temperature quite well :)

Today we went to St. Augustine after avoiding the timeshare vultures. St. Augustine has great Gelato and Lighthouses, like this one that Frank is standing on. There is no snow here, and there are dolphins.

More pictures to come! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"It's like listening to cats fall off a roof..."

Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage is wonderful in many ways. The South Terminal is spacious, inspiring, and full of trendy little restaurants and shops which keep you entertained.

On the other hand, except for the free wireless internet access, the North terminal is truly hands down the core of airport music hell. It's dirty, beige and full of dead animals. To make it worse, they are selecting the absolute worst music that the season has to offer. Some examples: The "Magic Bus" version of the first Noel, the "Some nice lady and the tone-deaf choir" sing "Silver Bells", "Stevie Wonder underwater singing some song that sounds like "I'm your lady" by Celine Dion", "Little Drummer Boy" by Ray Charles channeling our dog Galileo, and, my favorite, "It's a marshmallow world outside your window". GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

Even the stuffed caribou head is looking for earplugs. Every once in a while, we get a reprieve with the TSA announcements or the intercom system which keeps breaking up.

On the Frank and Lori vacation train, we are starting to feel a bit slappy. It's midnight, and we are having trouble holding it together, and are starting to talk back:
"The fire is slowly dying"...well, so are we!
"Noel, noel, noel, noel"...no-more! no-more! no-more!

Across from us is a guy who is suprised by his coughing. My guess is that "Ah-CHU?" will be seated right behind us for the zillion hour flight to Salt Lake City.

I am wide awake but slightly batty due to the multiple coffee beverages I have had today (6? 7?). Bad idea? Perhaps. Certainly my grammar tonight is suffering.

Anyhoo, here is a neat fact that I found in Make Magazine:
In 2003, 9 billion human hours were spent playing solitaire. 7 million (6.8 hours of solitaire) were all it took to build the Empire State Building. 20 million hours were needed to build the Panama canal.

Interesting, huh? Hope you all are having a great Thursday -- whoops-- Friday!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Teeth! Permanent ones!

Ta Da! Here are the new teeth...

Today it is snowing! A LOT! Isn't it just like Anchorage to create awesome skiing conditions right before we leave for vacation :). Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"You don't write about what you are doing anymore"

...I got that feedback the other day on my blog.

It's probably right -- I have been so busy thinking about all sorts of other things that I have not been writing much about what is happening to the "Alaska Moore's".

The fact is, right now we are busy preparing for Christmas vacation. OK, revise -- Frank is preparing for Christmas vacation while I catch up o n christmas cardsand make a general mess.

Some of the things I have been working on include:
1) Cleaning my office I have been avoiding this for years. However, when the cable people were flipping us over to digital phone lines the other day, the bins that hold all my leftover crud fell over on the cable guy's head. Inspection showed that the entire Ikea bin contraption was being held together by wishes and dreams, so I decided it would be a good idea to take all the junk out and reconfigure it. I came up with two big trash bags of junk to throw out, and stuffed the rest of the stuff, in a nice way, back into the bins.
2) Teeth! I spend a lot of time going to the dentist, dealing with my teeth, breaking my fake teeth, eating soft food, avoiding fudge, learning not to lisp, etc. Luckily, this whole ordeal should be over on Tuesday (TWO MORE DAYS!).
3) Skiing! We ski, a lot! We are exploring new ski trails, like double bubble, which is kind of like doing a roller coaster on foot, except that you can fall off a cliff at any moment. I spend most of my time envisioning myself as the "Agony of Defeat" guy.
4) Wii! We Wii a lot, maybe too much. The problem is, Frank and I have no mad video gaming skills, so I require either a lot of time to do what I want, or, as a proper project manager, outsourcing of the difficult pieces to those with hand-eye coordination. The only game I appear to have a knack for is Trauma Center, where I am learning to be a great doctor, except when I accidentally kill patients. The nice thing about the game is you can try again if the patient dies the first time -- apparently this is not quite true in real life.

Anyways, that is our weekend, hope you all are having a great Advent!

Anyways, that is what we are doing lately :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The dangers of eating Fudge with Temporary Teeth

Take a look at this:
 

"That's why you shouldn't eat fudge with your fake teeth", Frank informed me after the debacle. I found three of the teeth embedded in the fudge, but the fourth totally shattered into itty-bitty bits (that was some hard fudge!).

FIVE DAYS TO GO UNTIL I GET SOME REAL TEETH! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Big Day!

Today I finally made enough money in Shutterstock to actually receive a payout!

Considering those that have a shutterstock subscription have millions of photos to choose from, the fact that some of mine got chosen is pretty darn awesome. It has been a long learning curve for me to figure out how to take pictures that someone would want, keyword them so that they are easy to find, and also to learn what pictures are good technically.

Anyways, you can see "the winning collection" at the bottom of the page. Thanks!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Needless to say, do not try this at home...

Sign this boy up for Cirque du Soleil!

In other seemingly impossible news, I actually made a Candy cane cake for dinner yesterday. It was my first tube cake as well as my first attempt at angel food cake ever!

Some tips I learned:
1) Egg whites from the carton are not good for angel food cake. You have to actually separate the egg whites yourself if you'd like good angel food cake.
2) Whipped cream topping...melts. When you make the cake, either wait to put the frosting on or put the cake into the fridge.
3) Don't turn the cake into a regular plate and then put the whipped topping on it. If you put the whipped cream topping on, then it settles down into the plate and you get soggy angel food cake.
4) My Kitchen Aid stand mixer is a LIFE SAVER.

Regardless of that, the cake tasted quite good! I totally recommend trying it just to say you have done it (angel food cake is a good thing to know how to do).

Here's the pictures:

Friday, December 08, 2006

All, hold on to your Wiimotes!

Apparently, some people cannot handle their wiimotes and are accidentally throwing them into their screens.

The Moore family has had a great time with our Wii, and so far there has been no issue with incidental video game damage, other than some sore shoulders from the Boxing game and a wee bit of "weak-game skills" frustration.

Let's just say that if you have a problem holding onto your TV remote, maybe a Wii is not for you :)

Happy Weekend!

Lori

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

35 appointments in the last hour on the job

Apparently, our ex-governor went on an appointment spree in the last hour of his administration, appointing cronies and family members before leaving the country. How Conveenient!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We're Number One...

...in first month revenue for a Golden Corral. This follows our astounding revenue-gobbling Chili's last year. It seems that Anchorage folks like to eat out, and are grateful for box restaurants.

Soon Anchorage will look like every other place in the US if we don't watch out!

Monday, December 04, 2006

How do you say Merry Christmas in Wookie?

I am so glad that if I watched this holiday special, I was too young to remember it. Good Lord.

Really? Another Rocky Film?

Gosh, do we really need another Rocky film? During Christmas?

If you want to see something scary, check out the faith-based resources encouraging pastors to use the movie as a basis for their sermons. Ick!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why White Christmas?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the horror and/or awkwardness of Billy Idol singing "White Christmas". Somehow it comes off very very creepy to me.

Seriously, why are people so determined to get to the Christmas so darn soon? Is the music really so good that we need to hear it for more than a week on end? Do we really need to be constantly reminded as consumers to do our "patriotic" holiday shopping?

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I started to hear christmas tunes on the radio here in Anchorage. That's insane. And yes, call me a Grinch, but I see no need for a 24x7 holiday radio station. Bah, Humbug!!

Maybe what we need is to write some catchy Advent songs. Instead of "I'm dreaming of a white christmas", maybe "I'm anticipating an uneventful but satisfactory advent"?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"Toes are optional, Wiis are forever"

I COULD NOT HANDLE BEING WII-LESS ANYMORE!!!!!!!

This morning you could find me standing at the only Best Buy in Alaska. It was three below, so I was in full winter survival regalia, including my down "Russia Coat" and three shirts underneath.

Once I got in line, the first thing that happened was that my temporary teeth fell out. That was a problem -- luckily a dental hygenist was in line in front of me and helped me come up with a fix. But I knew that once my teeth fell out, I was going to get lucky on the Wii, because life tends to work like that for me :)

After about a half an hour, the "Ticket Master" came up to let us know we were definitely getting Wiis. However, we needed to wait in line for another 30 minutes in order to get a little piece of paper we could trade in for a Wii.

Was it worth it? Yeah, you know, it is a really fantastic piece of gaming equiptment. The absolute best part of it was seeing Frank pick up a remote and quickly being able to figure out how to play the games. The whole thing is really intuitive.

Anyways, I'm still looking out for one for you, Mom :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fake Teeth Tip for Today

When you get your new fake teeth glued on, the dentist will say something to the effect of "be careful of what you eat". This usually means not chomping on apples or jolly ranchers and popping off the tenuous glue that holds the new cap to your teeth together.

Another thing that I now know to avoid is turmeric. Apparently, it's just as difficult to get out of your fake teeth as it is to get out of your countertop. So now I not only have fake teeth, but fake teeth the color of canary feathers. Ick!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wii are not amused...

...that it's so darn hard to find a Wii. Wii are very impatient, and now, because I can't find one, Wii are brainlocked and fixated into finding one. It's like an itch I can't scratch. Argh!

One good thing that is happening tomorrow though is that I'm being slightly upgraded tomorrow. My dentist is installing my 4 temporary front teeth in the afternoon.

There will be things I will miss -- like toothpick tricks and being able to sing "All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth", whistle and all. On the other hand, I look forward to biting into hot pizza as well as not screwing up my my s's when I'm tired. On the other hand, when they were taking my pictures for the artists (yes there are people who sculpt teeth), I realized that I had no idea how to smile showing my teeth and not look like Dick Cheney.

So I think as far as upgrades go, it will be an improvement -- I mean, who wants to look like a gap-toothed Dick Cheney? If I could only get that Nintendo Wii though...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Seawolves Win! Seawolves Win!

Seawolves win! Against North Dakota! That is really amazing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tommy Tsunami!

Apparently loading airplanes really is Rocket Science.

In AK news, it's COLD AND DARK IN THIS PLACE! We are having very cold temperatures for this time of year. Today we are in a "mini heat wave", and it might just get up to 15 degrees (today the wind chill is -35 with wind gusts to 45 mph) for the few hours before the sun goes down again.

In related news, I woke up this morning to a tsunami warning. It was cancelled, but still a very exciting few hours. Wondering what to do in case of a tsunami? How about learning about tsunami preparedness along with Tommy Tsunami?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Alaskan to play for UK

Go Cats! Following Duke's recruiting success in Alaska (remember Carlos Boozer and Trajan Langdon?), UK signs Ramon Harris, last year's Alaska 4a player of the year.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Lance says Marathoning...

...is real hard. Of course, he ran a sub 3-hour marathon (barely). Think of how much harder it is to run another two hours after that?

Friday, November 03, 2006

What my problem is...

I should really stop taking self help tests, because each time I take one I learn about some other problem I have :). The Baron-Cohen test for Autism-Spectrum Quotient is online.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Indiana Jones Denied Tenure and....(suprise) Snow report

Here's a link to McSweeneys which is one of my favorite sites for quick and interesting literature. One of their stories looks at what Indiana Jones' tenure situation would really be like.

The rest of the report for today is about snow of course. It is incredibly beautiful outside -- our ground is covered in the whitest white, and the trees are covered in snow and hoarefrost. Alpenglow returned this week too -- which turns the sky all sorts of fantastic colors. I'll try to get a picture out soon.

Monday, October 30, 2006

1+6+2+2....

=SKI SEASON!!!!!!!!

Sunday, most of Anchorage got almost 6 inches of snow, causing lots of accidents. Strangely, here we got about two inches of snow, and a lot of freezing rain.

On the way to Yoga on the west side of town I felt very adventurous and "hearty". No, Anchorage does not stop moving when it snows six inches unexpectedly! As "Safety Girl", I had my entire snow ensemble on (hat, gloves, ski jacket, snow boots) just in case my car found the ditch. I drove very slowly, attempting to divine the tracks of other motorists by subtle variations in the snow white cover on the road, since the plows apparently had not gotten to these roads yet. As I wiped off the two inches that fell while I was in Yoga, it came to me how far I'd come since my winter accident in Ohio -- I was still nervous about driving, but, there I was, driving along in what the midwest would call treacherous conditions.

The other part of snow season in Anchorage that is important is the obsession with keeping the snow off the driveway. You can't let it go even one day! Last year, we started to be lazy, which made our driveway an ice rink. Because someone had to get at the snow Sunday before the freezing rain (we'll not have an ice rink again!), I hopped out to shovel the driveway. Scooting along, throwing snow as far as I could, I got to thinking how much I like snow shoveling. It's probably what other allergy-free people like about mowing the lawn. I like it because it's repetitive hard work, allows me to engage face to face with the snow, and I'm pretty good at it (good back + good "knee-bending" technique). I got the entire three-car driveway done in thirty minutes!

Either way, things look good for XC skiing tonight!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Snow!

Galileo hopped into his first dark and snowy morning today. Looks like we have just about a half inch here. If the sun ever decides to come up, I'll get a picture up :)

Update:
Anchorage drivers were apparently suprised by the snow. One more reason it's good to telecommute!

From FallWinter Pictures

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"If I were them, I would hide the fact that I was from Fairbanks too"

UAF sheds their Fairbanks moniker and attempts to become THE University of Alaska, like THE Ohio State University or THE University of Michigan by renaming their sports teams. Considering University of Alaska Anchorage has twice the number of students and is located in the state's biggest city, it's a pretty sad marketing scheme.

I have nothing against Fairbanks or the University of Alaska (...Fairbanks), and certainly city and university extension rivalries are old stories. But I do think the changing of team names to promote your university while ignoring the community you are in is pretty dumb. Fairbanks should be proud to have a university, and wouldn't it be more positive to promote yourself instead of continuing a pointless town feud?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Aurora Forecasting

It's Aurora time again! Are you thinking about staying up late to see it?

UAF has revamped its' aurora site so that you can get pretty accurate daily forecasts, even for the midwest.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10 Dumbest on the Hill

Thought this was an interesting article on our congressmen.

And Ted Stevens didn't even make it onto the list with his "series of tubes" internet speech!

And Mom says listen to AK, a local show about life in Alaska. It was pulled off the air due to lack of funds, but luckily it's back on the air (due to Ted Stevens, by the way).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Earthquake!

So this morning, I had just sat down to my inbox to prepare for a meeting when the house started to shake for about 15 seconds. Although I know we've had more extensive earthquakes, I was really suprised at how much shaking there was this time and how long it took to quit. I had enough time to find a doorway and watch the stuff on the wall shake around.

Frank slept right through it :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Beautiful Things

I just passed by this website on an origami artist that's just incredible!

First Frost, First Win

While other towns in the North are dealing with unexpected snow, we woke up with our first real frost of the season here:There's something quite magical about frost on a sunny day, and in particular the pastel hues it brings out in nature.

Last night was also our first Seawolf Hockey game of the season versus the Merrimack Warriors. Our favorite mythical sea creatures that play hockey had a pretty awful season last year, dropping 15 straight games to end it, so we are all hopeful that they can only improve this season.

It all started with the general spectacle of the Sullivan Arena, which is my favorite part of going to a hockey game in the first place. While Frank was getting our cappucino and breve (our usual hockey-watching drinks), I snuck by and got myself a clapper--a plastic hand contraption that you wave in the air to make a very obnoxious sound.

It got much use during the pre-game spectacle where we learned that the Ford GT does not work very well on ice and that Spirit the Seawolf can be lowered down from the ceiling for dramatic effect. Then came the traditional American flag waving and the UAA flag waving for a while.

As for the team itself, a great omen was that exhibition uniforms look very snazzy this year with the accent color being a lovely army green color. This is certainly ten times better than the awful silver of last year (yuck). They looked very impressive doing their warmups, which is always important.

Then after the hoo-hah, we finally got to the game. We first had to get the obligatory "blocking in the back" penalty on UAA out of the way, which Kevin Clark helped us out on 11 seconds into the game. Talk about an enthusiasm killer!

At the point that Kevin Clark got thrown out, Jason the ugly fan was in full ugly swing, raging against the machine and the refs. We sat close to Jason the ugly fan (wears a hockey mask and yells nasty things at the players who can't see them), Sock Puppet Joe (taunts the other team's penalty box with sock puppets) and Elvis (mid-age guy who likes to drink, dance and always is looking to see if the camera is on him or not).

So, UAA starts the game with a 5 min penalty that they had to kill, which is nice because traditionally we are a bit better with less people on the ice. We wound up killing that penalty and getting two (!) goals in the first period.

The Seawolves were on fire, which was great to see. Merrimack made a weak attempt at getting back into it with a goal in period 2, but we answered with three additional goals (!) in the second period, despite getting pretty much all the penalties for the first and second period.

By the time we left, the score was 6-2 Seawolves, which was a great start to the season.

Tonight though, the Seawolves will need all the help they can get in order to beat Nebraska-Omaha for the Classic championship! Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 09, 2006

October comes in like a lion, and out like a...?

Today, it is very windy. How windy was it? Well, the latest readings I saw had gusts up to 76mph on Upper Hillside. If that was continuous we would be in a hurricane!

To make it more confusing, it is up to 67(!) degrees outside. Yikes! My allergies are completely freaked out.

Seward is in much worse shape with six inches of rain a state of emergency.

CSKA beats LA Clippers

When I lived in Moscow, I got the chance to see CSKA (sometimes called Red Army) play twice, in hockey and basketball. I remember how excited they were to have a member from the University of Alabama ("He's like Michael Jordan!" our director gushed).

Well, CSKA has come a long way! CSKA actually beat the LA Clippers in Moscow this year. It appears that the NBA has a run for its' money in the race to be the premier league of basketball in the world now.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Cook Salmon in a Dishwasher

Hey, here's one way to do the dishes.

Random Saturday

--This guy totally has tenure.
--Cool Tips shows you how to recognize a stroke quickly. Need more good tips? Try Men's Health
--Videos! How about Let's Paint, Exercise, and Eat Pie!.

No snow yet, but we are working on it...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Termination Dust and the return of the Doctor

This morning, many people in the Anchorage bowl woke up to realize that winter was not far away. The first frost of the year for most of the Anchorage bowl happened overnight, coming rapidly on the heels of termination dust along the Chugach.

When do you think snow will really fall? I'm suspecting around October 15th with permanent snow down on the ground by October 24th, but that might just be wishful ski junkie thinking :) Here's some more pictures:

Kincaid Park Lekisch Loop
Sep 29, 2006 - 22 Photos


In other news, Doctor Who is back on the Sci-Fi Channel on Friday nights! If you are not watching, you are missing out. I'm still not sold on the new Doctor, but after watching the first two episodes, I'm starting to warm up to him a bit.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Video Thursday

For your Video Thursday, John Stewart interviews Musharraf.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Did you ever know that you're my Hero...

Did anyone watch or record Heroes? It was actually pretty good. If you're a fan of "The 4400" or "Lost" I think you just might find it to be pretty cool. If you missed it, I believe the pilot's being reaired tonight and also available on iTunes.

The lady with the mystic smile and other happenings

Apparently, they've figured out the story behind the Mona Lisa!

In Alaska election news, we had an exciting day. An election came down to a coin toss.

Don Young, our US Representative, held his own on an extremely lively Talk of Alaska this morning. Now I like to see politicians work under pressure, and I'm sure the guy is not all perfect, but seriously, folks, if one is going to attack a representative's record, let's put together a constructive fact-based argument! There was just too many people calling with skewed facts that they hadn't done the research to back up their claims, and I really hate that.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Great Moose Experiment

Picasa has created web albums, so I thought I would try it out with our Powerline photos from Wednesday. If you try it, drop me a line and let me know if you liked the new web album or not:

Powerline
Sep 20, 2006 - 46 Photos
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Video Thursday!

Suprisingly, I've been asked for "More Videos!" on my blog, so here's the first installment of Video Thursday.

Finland proves that, despite the awesome music of my favorite band in the world, Finnish pop music has had some very low points.

Of course, the Danish cannot be outdone!

And here's funny reality TV excerpt from Norway.

What would video thursday be without David Hasselhoff? Who could forget this one? And the infamous Hooked on a Feeling?

Weird Al's Latest is also pretty funny!

Happy Thursday!

Pop Music Milestones

PopWatch via Throwing Things reminds us that Nirvana's Nevermind is 15 years old and Paul Simon's Graceland is 20. Wow, I can't believe it's been that long!

The case for celebrating the Nirvana album is simple. While Pearl Jam introduced a lot of people to grunge, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" flipped the entire music world on its' head. Kids my age responded to it because it was so...angst! And of course, even the bubbly teens of us still had quite a bit of angsty-ness in us to share with the world. It literally changed our lives. In one week, it seemed, we angsty teens in Chicagoland went from curling our front bangs into nearly impossible hairspray sculptures to wearing deep dark eyeliner, pale lipstick and flannel shirts. I can think of a band, at least in my lifetime, that has had such an effect.

As for Paul Simon, gosh, I still own that Graceland album. It came out when I was in third grade, or at least that's when I remember first getting a cassette at Dad's company picnic. I remember thinking I was so adult and sophisticated as I performed my little ventriloquism act to "You can call me Al" during my third grade gifted class field trip to Detroit. And yes, looking back my act went over exactly as you'd think and it was even funnier in real life then you imagine.

Even now I can remember the entire album by heart, including the non-english lyrics.

So two pretty awesome albums to celebrate today, happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Har! Tuesday Happenings

Arrgh! Don't forget that it's Talk Like A Pirate Day!

In Anchorage, it's getting to feel fall-ish. There's a tiny bit of termination dust that is sticking on the otherwise red-hued Chugach range that surrounds Anchorage, and the birch trees are turning a beautiful yellow color.

Mother Nature's also putting on a special fall show for us. We've also got another set of volcanic action in the form of a steam plumes on the edge of Katmai National Park -- if I'm not mistaken, we went pretty close to this on our Kodiak trip a few weekends ago.

Fall also brings football, and unfortunately the Steelers lost yesterday to the Jaguars and Ben's fellow MAC alumni, Byron Leftwich. Despite the loss, the game was great except for the lack of scoring and the idiotic garbage coming out of the announcer's mouths ("Jacksonville is a "unknown team from an unknown city""--only to geographically-challenged and underprepared sports announcers). Geesh!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Flattop '06 or..."Let's go the stupid way!"

Although there are thousands of stunning trails in the Chugach mountains, the North to AK clan always manages to find ourselves on the trail to Flattop, the most popular trail in the Anchorage bowl.

There are as many reasons I suppose to avoid Flattop as there are to hike it. One of the major cons of the trail is the huge amount of people that hike it, especially on a weekend.


The nicely laid steps that spoil erosion also probably upset die-hard hikers who would like their scenery unspoiled by man. The spray-painted dots that helpfully point out the "trail" through the rock climb to the top takes some of the danger out of the mad scramble. On the other hand, here's a hike that's hard because it's steep, easily followed, and is so darn accessible it's impossible to pass up on a beautiful autumn day.
Many families will take beautiful autumn days like this and go pick blueberries, which is one of the reasons the parking lot was so full. Although I saw some really great-looking blueberries, it seemed to me that the ones I tried yesterday were pretty watery.
So, while lots of people spent their time hunched down harvesting, looked at the scenery.

We spent a lot of time up at the top, playing around. Galileo was looking for vermin and also had a huge romp with a sled dog all over the mountaintop. After a half hour or so, the clouds rolled in. If you've never actually had a cloud roll over you, it's quite an experience:


About that time, we decided to go back down the mountain. This is where the dangerous/interesting part of the day started.

It all started with a innocent "Hey, let's go down the OTHER way this time". Remembering seeing people come down the "other" way last time, I mentioned that the other trail was a sheer rock face full of scree and gravel. The disappointment was beginning to show in my wonderful husband's face. Safety girl was again spoiling the adventure. "Don't worry", he said, "we had gone down this way before, it was easy".

We hadn't. Look at below and guess how many things are wrong with this picture:There are a few problems with the unmaintained old flattop trail, beginning with the fact that there is no trail. That gap of gravel between the scree and grass is just slightly less loose gravel. This is why people built the lovely trail with the nice stairs that everyone in their right mind was taking down to the parking lot. While Frank and Galileo skeedaddled ahead on the trail, I tenderly held my camera while scooting down a scree chute on my rear thinking about how I needed to keep my lens pointed upward in case I plummeted down the mountain so I didn't break the camera. Frank was shouting word of encouragement like "You look cute!", I was shouting very unpleasant things back that I will not mention.

Despite our collective brush with death, there were three good things about taking that trail:
1) The colors were more vibrant on that side of the mountain:

2) I got this picture of Frank finding out the trail was not so easy:

3) We went by the "I love Alaska" tree, coming as a Christmas card near you in a few months:

So looking back after making it to civilization with all arms, legs, shins, and cameras accounted for, in classic "Cash Peters" style...would I go the stupid way again? Absolutely not! Am I glad Frank coaxed me into doing it? Well...I'm glad we made it down...once :)

Galileo loves the Meerkats

Galileo is very particular about the TV shows he watches. He sometimes will watch birding or hunting, but we've found the only show that Galileo consistently watches on TV is Meerkat Manor.

Today he sat through two consecutive hours of the meerkats. Although I am sure that the continuing saga of Flower and the Whiskers clan (and that pesky Carlos) entertains him, he seems more obsessed with little rodents of all sizes. Yesterday, when we went to Flattop the dog was seriously on a hunt for the little guys as you can see from the picture above. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 08, 2006

"I never lend books to coal miners"

Last month, I wrote here about one of my favorite movies, Office Space. It's a great movie, but it's still not my favorite movie of all time.

Oh, and despite what you think of me, it's not "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" or even "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" ;).

In fact, the movie is not even a comedy. It did poorly in the box office in 1984, and is the infamous movie that was made in a trade for Bill Murray to make "Ghostbusters".

This fantastic movie is called The Razor's Edge. Based on the Somerset Maugham novel of the same name, the story follows Larry Darrell (Bill Murray), a rich kid from Lake Forest Illinois, who wants more than a stockbroker's life after coming back from WWI. To tell you more, as much as I'd like to, about the movie really gives too much away.

The first time I watched the movie, I was in Asian Philosophy, one of these "silly general ed" classes that University of Kentucky forced science majors to take. I think that class, including this movie, had as much to do with who I am today than probably all the physics classes I took put together (sorry Mom and Dad!). For example, it's easy to sit in a classroom and feel good about what happens in a perfect world to inanimate objects skidding down inclines, but that class forced me to really think about why us humans find ourselves stumbling through life like we do. That's the type of thing that you don't really get to ponder in optics.

One of the interesting things about getting -- let's just say, wiser -- is that you can review a great movie while remembering your first reactions years ago. The gap between those two moviegoers can be as fantastically small as it is broad.

Anyways, if you have a chance, please go ahead and watch it -- I promise it will be worth the two hours of your time.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Anchorage is #19!

Check it out...apparently Anchorage made the top 25 list of "smartest cities", which was measured by the percentage of bachelor's degrees amone residents 25 and older.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trump News

Trump fires Carolyn and replaces her with Ivanka!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Homer Recap!

Sorry it's taken...geesh, two weeks to get together a Homer recap. Homer is a fishing/art community at the end of the Kenai Peninsula, about 200 miles from Anchorage.

The first thing that happened when we got into our room at Land's End was a call from Captain Scott, kindly confirming the details of our fishing charter the next morning.




That's right -- fishing. Personally, I don't like the idea of killing things, then eating them. In fact, I've been known to be grossed out by the cracking sound of crustacean legs or anything with eyes googling up at me from a plate. In my world, fish filets come in beautifully shaped squares and my crab is imitation. So fishing has never really risen to the top of the list of things to do.

However, I do really, really, like to eat halibut, and the idea of being on a boat in the open water, like a really lame version of "Deadliest Catch", really appeals to me.

So we wound up at dock 4 at 6:00 am, with our newly acquired fishing licenses in hand, ready to catch some fish. As "safety girl" I had brought two extra pairs of hats/mittens and an extra woolly in addition to my blue rain slicker and "Van de Camp" orange fishing hat.


The water started out pretty smooth, then, well, not so smooth. In fact, it made everyone sick, including Frank. I, on the other hand, was having a lot of fun because I am motion-sickness immune. Once we stopped, though, we all had trouble negotiating the deck while handling fishing poles. Oh, and did I tell you it was raining and cold? It was.



To fish for halibut, you use a lot of poles, and the lines have weights on them to help the bait (herring) get to the sea floor where the halibut live. In our case, Captain Scott chose to go along the kelp beds where very big halibut live but also where the water was shallower (which is helpful for us rookies).

Fishing is not nonstop excitement -- there is a lot of waiting involved while you wait for something to catch the line. In our case, we waited quite a while before we caught our first halibut.


As you can see, halibut are pretty ugly fish. They are flat, and their eyes are on the right side of their heads. In some ways, it's hard to not feel sorry for them, kind of like the little bottomfeeder in your childhood aquarium. I mean, they already have so many things going wrong for them, do you really need to taunt them with a herring?

I only caught one halibut. I was fiddling with a pole (called "jigging") and all of the sudden something was on the other side of the line pulling in the opposite direction. Balancing on a boat while alternating pulling up and reeling is not as easy as it looks. I kept falling down and the reel kept sliding all over the place. However, in just a few minutes, with the help of the Captain, the halibut did find its' way onto the boat. It was very exciting!



Here's Frank demonstrating jigging:


Here's the fish:
Mine was the one furthest to the left here:

Frank and his mom can't believe how big the fish we caught were! Honestly, although we did wind up with 54.5 lbs of halibut, Homer itself really stole the show. Homer is an incredible little town, situated in one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sunny Day!

After all these days of rain, today is a good day to be outside!

Here are a few things taht were interesting today:
1) I think what our house needs is a pirate ship playouse.
2) As predicted, the "Hairy Buffalo" of illegal airport liquids can potentially cause strange chemical reactions.
3) Chena Hot Springs in Fairbanks is moving off of diesel power which is really great.
4) Strange choice: The new season of survivor is going to split people into tribes based on ethnicity.

Have a good day!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Doing the Can-Can

In the NorthtoAK house, we are in full garden harvest mode. Because of the rain and relatively cold season, our usually monstrous garden is not so impressive this year. The raspberries barely covered 32 oz, our zucchini, usually hugely impressive, barely eeked out one little fruit. In fact, the only things that are doing really well are the lavender, mint, and currants.

Yesterday, we spent most of our day canning with bright hopes that they would wind up like our rasberry-almond jam from last year. Canning is always a bit fun because it's a grown-up chemistry experiment laced with quite a bit of danger. This year, we raised the stakes by making mint-jalapeno jelly, mint and rosemary wine jelly, and raspberry-rhubarb jam.

The jam looks pretty good -- maybe not totally solid but certainly jam-ish. However, the mint jellies are liquid, which is a bummer. We might have to do some mint jelly troubleshooting later on today. Otherwise, we will just rename them "sauces" and be done with it.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back to Katmai


Katmai National Park is an incredible place. Even if you have never heard of it, you've seen the pictures of bears catching salmon at a set of falls. That scene is why most people come to Katmai.

It's a spectacular place that, like a lot of Alaska, you can't get to by road. We took a plane from Anchorage to King Salmon on Pen Air, then onto Katmai by floatplane.

Honestly, the flights are incredible. I'm always stunned by how colorful Alaska can be -- from the Caribbean blue of a volcanic-fed lake to the vivid green of the muskeg. On this flight, you get to see both of those as well as fly over some of the most dramatic mountain ranges you will ever see in your life.

We eventually landed on a misty beach in Katmai National Park, gateway to the "Land of 10,000 Smokes". The first thing that we all needed to do was to listen to a bear orientation video. It was pretty basic -- don't feed the bears, don't get close to the bears, don't run away from the bears, etc.

I'll tell you, though, I'm very glad we had that orientation, because we saw a LOT of bears, up close!

Some of my favorite parts of the trip:
1) Imagine walking out of the bathroom like Frank's mom and seeing a bear walking across your path about 10 feet away!
2) Watching the bears for the first time at the falls. A mom (pictured above) was teaching her younger cub how to fish.


3) The Land of 10,000 Smokes Tour was incredible! If you don't know, the land of 10,000 Smokes is named after an botanist viewed the aftermath of the Novarupta eruption. Just a huge amount of ash has built a strange "Grand Canyon"-like scene in this unlikely place:





It's Normal

ADN and the Weather Service says 9 days of straight rain in the forecast for Anchorage in August is normal. The problem is that we didn't have a hot summer like the last few summers so we are all feeling a little bummed.

Did you get the Memo?

I couldn't resist. At the Fred Meyer checkout line the other day, I spied something I could not live without. My guilty secret -- I LOVE the movie Office Space, from Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead.

Have you ever watched "Office Space"? It came out the year I started working in the IT industry, and it has been dear to my heart ever since.

The beauty of the movie is that it has something that resonates for everyone that has ever worked in an office. From Milton, the creepy, unappealing coke-bottle glassed dweeb in the office to "printer rage", it reminds everyone of the pieces of flair that the demoralizing post-boom corporate culture forced us to deal with in the late 90s.

Sigh. I wonder whether they will make a movie ever about the virtual teams of today? If so, I demand to be played by Nicole Kidman. I'll keep a hold of my Red Swingline Stapler, too, just in case :)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Here comes the rain again...

Jeepers! Will it ever stop raining in this place? You'd think we were in the midwest if it wasn't for the mountains and the lack of thunderstorms. It reminds me of the great flood of August '04. I've even pulled out my "Happy Lamp" prematurely and am secretly hoping for snow.

The only good thing about the weather change is that it's the perfect time to go see
Snakes on a Plane. It's got Samuel L. Jackson in it so it should be good right?

I'll try to catch up on the blogging too this weekend. Have a good weekend!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Bear with me..

..as I get all my pictures up from Katmai NP.

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