Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Melt that Fat!

Wouldn't you like to think with a title like this it's a satirous diet book:
French Women Don't Get Fat

Yeah, I could be rich if I could just figure out how to complete a 200 page motivational book written around my proven weight-loss system: walking with 40 pounds of dumbbells in your backpack. You have to walk anyway so why not wreck your back in the process (plus let's not forget, lose weight). Then you don't even have to eat better. It's not seven minute abs but maybe it will capture the imagination of the nation. I'll market it to the conservative family man looking to drop a few LBs and yet appear rustic and old fashioned in the process. Yoga? Step? No, that's all for panzies and girly-men. If the good lord had wanted us to bend like that stretching mats would grow on trees people.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Coal Cr.

Chalk up another pretty fun weekend. Saturday Jessie and I were to meet up with Luke, Emily, and her sister who's up visiting down in the Tangle Lakes but it was just dumping down there and so by the time we got down to that neck of the woods they were headed back to a new camping spot. After passing each other we met up near Black Rapids Glacier and agreed to explore the Coal Creek area that Torsten had been raving about. Pretty much comes as advertised.

The drive down was fun though. Made our mandatory stop at the drive-up buffalo diner for malts and corn dogs (pretty much has become a must stop after Emily, Luke, and I swung by over the Memorial day weekend). It really tasted better than it looked:

Life is nice when you've got power windows and get cold at the drive-in diner. Watching the window go up and down was a treat, too:

So yeah, great spot. The weather was breaking just south of us so none of the rain that was dumping in the Alaska Range made it as far north as we were camped. Prettttty sweet. As you might expect, cool as it is, popular camp site with the rednecks. Some quality signage here:

But after a quality night of foil dinners (not nearly as gluttonous as recent outtings... but just as tasty) filled with ground moose, potatoes, onions, and garlic it was time to relax. Emily and Anika went off to catch up in the tent and the rest of us got the good times going, too:

And what night out isn't complete with out at least a couple burnt trees:

So, pretty fun night. Here's Jessie and Matilda kicking it. Matilda had fun being outside the car more and of course, she's getting better around the rest of the little ladies. All three spent a supervised few minutes in the back seat of Jessie's car together so they're on the path to progress...

But otherwise, just a nice night. Check out Luke's shelter of choice. It's selling point is being super light. That's great but I think I'd rather go just a bit heavier. He was in there in a bivy doing some prep work for another season of sheep hunting.

What camping trip isn't complete without a few gratuitous cute dog pictures? Well, here's Bergey proving that even she can have a few bad camera moments:

Otherwise she's happy and slowly dropping the winter lbs.

At trip conclusion though all the little ladies were wiped out. Well, my pair anyway:

Matilda would have been sleeping but she was to worked up waiting for Jessie to come back from the take-out place, poor little thing:

So, the only other excitement on the night was just before bed a porcupine came cruising through camp. I saw it before the dogs did so after leashing Midge up we soaked in a bit of wildlife:

This little guy eventually figured out there was a human a few feet in front after the shutter flopped several times and once he had enough it was off into the brush after getting a better look at me:

So, once again another fine, fine weekend. To bad it's Monday again. Oh well. Until next weekend...

Thursday, July 13, 2006


More Camera phone Fun

I love the attention to detail in the parking ticket division of campus. Maybe it's summer and there aren't as many tickets to write but check out what just started appearing on the campus parking meters:

Here's the true reason to have ye ol' camera phone. So, we're at the laundromat last night and with time to kill and while perusing the posted flyers came across this classic item:

Somebody's trying to get rid of chainmail.

Wonder what the backstory is on that item? Pretty sweet. How do you go about deciding that it's worth it to acquire the armor in the first place? So, if anybody has anything cool to trade it might be worth your while to email that guy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


BBQ Anonymous

Is it already Wednesday? The week is just flying. Had another small barbecue over the weekend. Pretty fun as per usual:

Kind of nice being a little quieter and all. On the menu: canteloupe & italian meat, fruit & vegetable salad, broccoli-slaw, chicken on the grill and some decent hamburgers. But after a good session of eating etc. we got down to the business of the stupid. These bug zapper deals turn up and it's just the funniest to zap people. Johnson took a few zaps before leaving but we didn't catch it on film. So, without further adieu, here's a quick impersonation of a mosquito. It's a shame the camera didn't catch the spark on my forehead because I totally saw it before crumpling. Are these things really only powered by two AA batteries??
The setup:

Zap attack:

The aftermath:

Total bummer we didn't have the cameras out for more of the evening. Maybe this weekend we'll be a bit more proactive with the pictures...

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Finishing up the 4th

So... after a bit of a delay (is the week over already?) here's a few more of the goings on from the 3rd and 4th. After taking poor little Matilda to the vet (she got fixed a couple weeks ago and now the poor thing is having an allergic reaction to the stitches) we set off for the Tangle Lakes and my secret camping spot (so secret and yet if you look on the website here you can find someplace it's coordinates...). Well, turns out it was already full of people but we didn't find out till we drove up the trail. So, off further into the tangle lakes looking for a reasonable spot. We ended up setting up shop at a pull out a few more miles down the road and dragging all our car camping junk off the road 100 yards or so. Not perfect but it was pretty nice just the same:

Rob L and Kim would be proud. Still kind of working on killing off all those leftovers from a couple weeks ago so Jessie reheated some chicken over the fire. The fire is quality, too. Scrounged wood up from Phelan Creek (near Rainbow Ridge) and then busted out the flint again. Cracked me up, didn't really think it would work but we got the fire going with the flint plus a part of a paper towel. Anyway, we ate the chickens and veggies in tortillas in homage to Rob L:

It was cool, our redneck neighbors, just hidden by a bit of a hill, were firing off fireworks all night long so we got to enjoy them, too. The downside was Midge. Matilda (chilling in the truck) and Bergey both being lab mixes were pretty oblivious to the fireworks but poor little midgey was petrified and shook the whole night.

So, on the fourth, after going to Delta hoping for a parade and getting skunked we went off to wander back to the Gulkana glacier. You may remember a previous trip there from a few years back... It was pretty fun. The road was bad as ever but the scenery back at the glacier was cool. The sky was partially overcast but that just meant it wasn't burning hot (no complaints).

All three dogs loved it back there. Sadly, Matilda got a little snappy as the day went on (she's now in unofficial doggy therapy now) but for the most part things went pretty cool:

Here's poor little Matilda during a calming down session:

Not much to the trail or anything but the scenery was nice as you'd expect:

So, just as before, one of the fun parts of the trip is the bridge crossing. To shuttle the dogs across the bridge meant carrying them. Other than being heavy not to big a deal for Bergey and Matilda:

But little Midgey isn't a clinger like that. She likes to ride with her feet out in front and see the sights which is way harder for the carrying since I kept dragging her tootsies through the cable. She did okay though and was very patient:

So... after all that... the dogs slept great on the trip back. This is also how you get three dogs and two people into my little truck. One for the lap:

... and two for the back seat:

So, all in all a pretty good fourth. We were all pretty worn out by the end of everything but still super fun.


Um, if I remember right, these colors don't run.

I'm always struck by the strange timing of stuff like this:

That's the scene at the dump on 7/3. Perhaps we can chalk it up to social commentary? But if not, first off, who buys an american flag sleeping bag? I know you can pretty much buy american flag anything these days but really... Klassy.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Angel Rocks

So, this weekend we headed out to Angel Rocks and Chena hot springs. My first trip to either. I've been out the road and done the Granite tors a couple times with Kim and Gary but never that extra few miles to the hot springs. Pretty fun trip. Nice views up there. Check it out:

I guess no surprise really, the local climbers head up there to hang out and climb a bit. Who knew the view would be so nice, too. Pretty short roundtripper of ~3 miles but it was enough to wear the chipper dogs out some. Check out a happy Matilda and then Midge and Bergey cracking me up, dorky dogs (more cameraphone goodness):

So, after that we headed out to the Hot springs. That was pretty fun, too. Got there just in time to catch a good old fashioned wedding in the ice hotel. We saw the happy couple later in the restaurant. At the time though they were pretty focused on not messing up the ol' ceremony.

Other stuff around the area killed me a bit, too. How hard is it to pick up a good barbecuing stick? These people have a couple of decidely ordinary ones. I think Rob L and I recylced one that was still at our campground but none of this carrying them across the state business:

Saw some cool stuff on Kenji's groundwater project out there. Pretty rough, he and Rob do work out there and then hit the hot spring before returning to Fairbanks. One highlight from the gift shop, this video from the GI:

Just plain old quality, neither good nor bad from UAF. Sweet. Well, more I'm sure after the fourth...

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Nome Return

Well, took a few days to get something up but, back from that quick visit to Nome. It was another pretty good one. The original plan was to fly out early in the AM on Alaska Air and return on the late flight but Larry thought I was shaving it a bit close (9.2 hours of work 9.6 hours of ground time) so, it turned into an overnighter. That was sweet. Much like how alllllll of the cars are still rented out for the next couple weeks the first three hotels I called were full. So, settled for the Polaris. Sweet. More on that later...
So, the work went well. This guy Tim from the hatchery shuttled me around. That actually ended up being pretty fun since he took me to his hatchery among other places. The hatchery's on a year-round flowing stream that's mainly groundwater fed so that's pretty neat. Here's a picture of the creek:

The hatchery is pretty small but they have high hopes. This winter was their best yet since GW helped them get up and running with radio telemetry and then Ken and I maintain the data link and download data for him. Pretty much they just grow fry but they have a cool system, check it out:

The other cool part about the hatchery is that it's located pretty close to where Jessie and I saw the momma and three cubs back on the helicopter trip. You can also see one of the channels used to bring water from the interior of the peninsula to the coast during the gold rush.

So, that was pretty cool. Here's been another trip when I'm kicking myself for not bringing along a telephoto. I was thinking I'd be all business out there, no time for animals... figures. Here's a heard of 25 - 40 musk ox that were just chilling out off the Kougarok road *sigh*. We tried getting close anyway but they were a little jumpy.

Tim the hatchery guy played a big role in the early 70s getting the musk ox moved to the Seward Peninsula from Nunivak island. That was pretty cool. From 51 or 71 animals there's now several thousand.

So, that was pretty fun but the day didn't really start until rolling back into town around 10:30. I was staying at the Polaris, one of the more notorious hotels in the state. My first three choices were all booked up. I guess if I was thinking I would have gone the bed and breakfast route... oh well. Yeah, so the Polaris is pretty sweet. Has a large permanent tenant contingency plus other folks generally of the drunken variety floating through. The people I met there were all very nice. The lobby attendant took pity on my large load of gear (despite the overnighter I still had 150+ pounds of gear) so put me at the top of the stairs. Very nice I thought. The catch it turns out is living above the lobby. So, the door crashed on a regular basis. Up until 12:30 I thought it was my neighbors down the hall partying it up but sometime after midnight till 4ish the crashing was pretty active with the return of the bar patrons... So, the hotel doesn't actually look that bad. Here it is from the outside:

And really, I came away happy. It's pretty funny, I came away happy despite this list of oddities:

The plush interior:

Finally, the million dollar view out the window:

And of course, what trip to Nome would be complete without a bit more uniquely Nome features. Check out this classic typo in the Frontier office. Can you believe they misspelled their own website?!

More bush rules:

And really, why the quotes on cake? Like it's secret code for something else.

So, I finished the trip reviewing a paper for Molly in our storage unit since the library didn't open until Noon. Nice chilly and rainy day for hanging out and doing nothing...

Well, more to come.

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