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:

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