Thursday, August 31, 2006


August Auroras

(just figured out there was the double post tonight... darned blogger...)

Well, I missed some earlier in the month but a couple days ago there was some decent aurora action. Here's a few pictures from Tuesday night. Hopefully it'll be an awesome winter, too...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


The Fair

Well, the Palmer fair was fun. Saw all kinds of odd things. Loda and I went down last weekend. Here's a bit of Anchorage humor for you:

Some deft touch out in the parking area:

Perhaps a little bitter?

All kinds of odd things down there. Here's a sampling of the booths. This one cracked me up, probably in the running for most eclectic ever, aluminum fusing and new age therapies in one convenient booth and really, it's about time isn't it:

NOAA had a slot, too, but what is this, their weather police boat?

Like I mentioned, lots of odd booths. Being so close to Eagler River / Wasilla etc. this one wasn't a total surprise but still marginally creepy. They're selling stuff, too.

I guess that's the one bad thing about the Palmer fair vs. the Fairbanks one, you have to watch out a bit more for satan down there. Just keep it in mind and try to have a good time anyway though.

More cross cultral fun:

You probably had to have been there for this to bring a smile to your face but this is a generator that was running at the alternative energy booth. They had a big chunk of real estate with a wind turbine and probably at least 1 KW of solar panels and yet... the generator was on:

Good people watching down there, too. Cowboy hats are huge this year in the Anchorage area. This guy cracked me up a bit. You know, I've seen this cheap leather jackets advertising TV shows and stuff but until now had never seen anyone actually not be completely embarassed about wearing one of these jackets. Took a while to get a shot though since he was right in front of at the elephant ears shack.

There were some funny exhibits, too. Like this decorative cake perhaps:

Pretty good advertising by my friend here for netflix. Complements the rock formation spelling 'fandango' I saw last year on the Glenn highway:

This lady struck me as not your typical rolling stones fan, a little young? But maybe I'm just not with the times. I guess they're still performing at the superbowl and all.

This lady was awesome. We watched her talk about having skunks as pets. Check out the sweet skunk shirt, too. She's had like six or seven skunks since college. This one looks albino but it's really apricot colored apparently.

Check out the mushroom. Do you think they grew it over winter? I thought mushrooms needed it dark to grow the best.

Big vegetables are the norm of course, like this zuchini:

Or this world record kohlrabi (the record was set and then rebroken at this year's fair, exciting times I tell you!):

An award winning bouqet, seriously (and a sign from the devil perhaps?):

And of course we had to stir it up a bit on the trip as well:

This security guard crashed the party at the geico gecko:

Back in Palmer where we had breakfast there was this sweet porch it's like the don't break your neck porch that they must have put in after ripping out the stairs or something.

By the way, here's one of the places the devil hangs out, at the coffee store. I wanted to get a picture here and this little kid ran up to get in the shot. That was pretty funny you can see he's just baaaaarely tall enough. So then we traded sides (that actually threw him for a loop since he was trying to ruin the picture you know) and took another but the dorky kid forgot to look at the camera so for the second picture he's looking at me. Oh well...

So, pretty fun time. Midge had fun, Loda had fun, everyone had fun.

We were even treated to a double rainbow and a black bear on the drive north Sunday:

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Catch this

Here's a great site but what makes it rise above the rest if first off is a great commercial which I encourage you to watch but then I just caught it today (yeah, watched the commercial more that once, I know...) but they also spell 'handling' wrong at the end. Love it, just love it:

Doggie Poop Catcher dot com

How in the world to come across that one right... I found it through the google ads in the gmail. Here's a couple other ads they've suggested for me. I specifically love the stuff that's gotten lumped together here. Quite the eclectic advertising selection.


The daily slog

So, lots of good reasons to walk in. One of my favorites is walking past this view every morning (pretty much every single morning it's still like this):

But you bump into other stuff like this, which I'm kind of waiting to take off in other parts of the country. If we can just figure out a way to properly market it I'm sure we can make loads of cash:

I ride the bus down to the main part of campus almost every day for lunch. The food is marginally better than up here but principally I go down because there's always something odd waiting to be discovered. Earlier this week somebody painted 'buy less' on three stairs and I'm waiting for someone else to graffitti in the response, it's got to be coming soon you know...

This sign appeared this week and I just love it. Who expects to get $30 for a new tarp second hand? Good luck with that one poor starving college student...

This little bugger was hanging around the bus stop, too. Digging through the trash... the usual.

Came across this the other day, too. Pretty unfrogettable scene:

That's from right in my driveway. No idea how it got there though. Well, guess that's enough for now, more dog pictures later I'm sure...


Dogs and more dogs...

Well, if you've been keeping up with Jill's blog (and you should be, it's good stuff) you know I've got a couple rescue dogs at the moment I'm trying to pawn off on other loving homes. Kind of a sad scene, some junior iditarod/yukon quest musher (16 years old) abandoned her team and left them to starve or some such thing. Well, several of the dogs were Midge's sisters. So, I took them in temporarily because it's pretty sad and Daphney was little Midgey's favorite sister. They're all pretty cute though and I almost have homes lined up!! Yeah, pretty excited about that. Here's a few cute dog photos:
Marais and Daphney, Midge's sisters:

Aren't they sweet. Just as sensitive and nice as Midge, too. They get a little healthier everyday whether self esteem and mental or their coats. Marais is still dreadfully skinny but their fur is quickly turning nice and shiny and they're finally wagging their tail (this morning's good development). The two Ms and Bergey are getting along pretty cool, too. Check out these ones from this week. So huggable.

That last one was from this morning. Cracked me up!


Back From Ivotuk!

Yay, made it back! The weather broke just in the nick of time Saturday and we got back to Fairbanks around 10pm got to love these long summer nights even as fall comes quickly. You can see from these pictures taken in the late morning we flew home that the weather was pretty spotty up until the plane arrived. So happy to have made it out though.

Testing out the tent of course and a nice touch on my tent, using the active layer thaw probes for additional rain fly support:

Here's the bridge across Otuk Creek. Looks like it's seen some better days.

Complements this sign which is now a little dated. But check out how go big or go home the road construction dudes were. Have you seen a bigger post for a road sign?

So, we're back, more in a bit...

Friday, August 18, 2006


Freezing and hoping for a plane.

Apparently the weather man didn't get the memo that Jessie and I are to meet up in Fairbanks before she leaves for England Sunday. It's miserably cold out here today. Brrr! Yeah, I don't know what Plan B is but we have at least a little food to get us through tomorrow.

Yeah, freezing. We awoke to snow and it's been down hill ever since. Made a trip out to one of the sites today with 100 pounds on the back. New record (I think but not sure, may have hit that several years ago with Mike on a GW misadventure). Still live to tell the tale though.

oh well. I'm tired and it's bed time. Hopefully you'll not receive any further posts from Ivotuk.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Ivotuk Slog

Well, the snow and mist are upon us. We got off to a lazy start but probed the thaw grid, a 1km x 1km grid with measurement spots every 100 meters doing the whole thing is like walking seven miles across the tussocks but we split it up. I got the far half of course but it did have it's perks like hanging out close to the Ivotuk mountains:

So, what the heck is the thaw grid right? It's a square shape like I said and we stick a steel probe into the tundra and see how long it is before it hits ice. Go to the next spot and repeat. Pretty monotonous but it's nice getting out across the tundra like that. Today saw some neat dewwy plants and Dimitry and I alternated chasing caribou back and forth between us so that was cool. Wrapping things up later tonight and then hopefully have a free day tomorrow and a plane coming in Saturday. I sure hope the weather improves...
The fall colors are upon us though and we through away the ice in the cooler today. Who needs it when it's no warmer than a fridge during the daytime anyway.

Here's another little weird plant I noticed today:

Well, perhaps more later if anything cool happens...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006



Yeah, back up here at Ivotuk. Loving life despite the tent that could hold out water better and the rain. Fall colors just started today so hopefully we'll be here for some cool changes. I'm pretty beat but check out the flight in and stuff:

The weather has been semi cooperative. We pulled our two stations today and yesterday so now we're just packing stuff out and tying up odds and ends. Here I'm balancing that tripod on my head didn't have quite enough hands. The tripod would have been easier to move if I was just an inch or two taller but oh well... half a mile later and it was in its new home. We're leaving it out here so someone else can get snow depth data. Pretty sweet deal for them and for us, too. Less stuff to find a place for back in Fairbanks.

Here's the view from the 10 meter tower soon before we pushed it over. Pretty nice up there but that's pretty much how all the towers work it.

My helper dude has been rocking so we're like a day and a half ahead of my conservative schedule already. Looks like we'll get in a little hiking Friday and maybe even sleep in Saturday before the plane gets here. Woo hoo!!

Not much wildlife up here yet. Some straggler caribou and I've seen bundles of mice. I chased this little bugger around for a bit today between grass clumps and stuff. Pretty good time.

Okay well, maybe you'll hear from me again in a day or two. Last night the internet was down due to rain but seems to be working cool tonight.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Hello Slippery Slope

Off to Ivotuk early in the AM but in the meantime I *gulp* picked up two rescue dogs. They're Midge's sisters and hopefully it's not for more than a month or so but the shock has yet to wear off. One's her favorite sister and they got pulled from a musher who was neglecting and starving them all. So, once I get back on Saturday the family expands a bit more for a little while. I may have internet access up in Ivotuk, too... perhaps a posting or two from there. That might be cool we'll see. In the meantime, Rob L's just put something up that looks like it's got great potential:
Rob's Website

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Turn back the clock: Denali

Yeah, seems like forever ago now Jessie, her mom, and I went to Denali. It was pretty fun having her in town, all kinds of things to see like this thorough tape job done out at Chena Hot springs:

The guy was working on the bathroom all through dinner. Pretty noisy since he was cutting stuff with a circular saw and stuff. Once he was done he taped it up so nobody could even think about using the unfinished bathroom. The attention to detail on the tape job was what really caught my eye though.

Anyway, the night before was pretty and so we had high hopes for nice weather down at the park. It was overcast but still managed to be pretty neat. Here's the sunset the night before:

What trip wouldn't be complete without the odd picture or two? Check out this sign from the park entrance... There's not much to it but a quality misspelling not caught by the spell checker. If not for the cabin life I'm not sure that I would properly value water and flushing myself.

One of the trip highlights was a bus ride through Denali. It was my first trip on a bus but that was cool since we were all going together. Got off to a funny start. This guy totally caught our eye. First off he polished his and several other windows (camera phone strikes again):

Then, just when the bus was leaving asked to run in to the bathroom one more time and did the duck-the-head-down move to run faster than normal in to the bathroom. Quite the funny guy and were fortunate enough to meet up with him again later. Here he is taking self-portraits up at Polychrome. Cracked us up!

Jessie and I got off the bus at Polychrome to wander around rather than take the bus trip the few more miles to Toklat. Ended up being super cool. Even though it was overcast the weather was nice and there were all kinds of cool things to see like the mountains of course:

But then there was also cool stuff like the ever cute ground squirrel (no matter what Emily says):

... and this family of bears, a momma and 3 cubs (you can't see them all but they're in center of the picture).

They were pretty funny. We were out hiking a bit and heard people talking and pointing in our direction. Couldn't figure out what made us so special. Turns out the bear famiy was just coming over the hill in our direction. The other bus people form our group totally missed out. As did most folks because everybody else got back on the bus. We hung out and watched the bears come down towards us, walk across the road and then meander all the way down to the valley floor. Pretty cool and we totally got our moneys worth.

The tourists that followed were funny, too. The busses got nutty of course:

But the tourists then tracked the bears across the valley floor from the bathroom stop where from our vantage point they were teeny little specks, even with binoculars.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Wedding Fest

Shoot, a whole week ago now (time's been aflying!) was wedding fest. Pretty fun, Sam, Hagen's boss has a ribfest annually that's a kick in the pants with all sorts of shenanigans and ribs and stuff. Well, last year since he and Jill got married this year had to be something different.

So, all the relatives and friends showed up for weddingfest. Pretty fun. Take note Mary Ellen, I put in a vote for a white wedding cake and Sam's mom did up a totally awesome one! I didn't get the memo that it was at their old cabin rather than the new place so Abby, Miriam, Jessie, and I walked to the new place and then back to Jessie's house. Nice walk but way cooler to be digging into the food so off we headed to ribfest. It was pretty hopping of course by the time we got there.

After arriving the fun continued. The yellow jackets were out in force since there was so much meat to be had. They've been everywhere this summer (the outdoor dude at the paper has a lame article about them today) but made for a pretty good show:

That's Jill's mom and Greg doing battle with the forces of darkness. The kids scampering around with swatters were funny, too.

Greg and his wife have the coolest poodle. It was totally standing up to all the other big dogs all night long just running around as the littlest king.

He had a good night scoring scraps from everyone, too. I can't imagine what Sunday was like at that house.

But, pretty much a family affair. Here's Eric, the other photographer and his cool worldly baby making the rounds:

Since it was a bit more than ribfest there was a band and stuff. They were pretty neat and I always enjoy a good chance for some clapping.

Later, after things were quieting down Jill's sister and some other folks got in on the act and did a couple songs. It was pretty neat, too.

This one cracked me up, a bit of syncronized gaping going on here:

So yeah, another pretty fun night as you might expect with so much food and merry making.

Oh yeah, Abby's the coolest by a mile. She's awesome anyway but check out her handiwork here, it's a beer cozy. Pretty sweet.

Well, more to come in a bit... finally almost caught up...



Last Sunday we went canoeing with Abby and Miriam (Jessie's cool friends from down south). Pretty fun times afloat even though we were just cruising past the Fairbanks residential areas. It was a first canoe trip for Matilda, too. She dug it like crazy:

Having another opportunity to be out on the water after the near misadventure back in June gave time to go over a few more strokes. That was pretty fun.

But really, we all had a blast except for when we tried to go up Noyes Slough which looks like a pretty nasty part of the river. Glad not to have to worry about living up that channel. But in any case, everybody had fun. Here's Miriam and Abby in the other canoe:

Towards the end it was pretty much the Matilda show. After being totally wound up most of the trip she went to a sleep for a bit and then followed up with chasing a duck.

Pretty exciting time. We got close enough to the duck that she dove in to swim after it, loving every minute. I was loving that handle on the back of her little lifejacket. Pulled her out of the water like I was picking up a small carry-on bag at the airport. So, she ended the day on top and was totally working it once we got back to shore.


The Fair

Well, as it turns out seem to be approaching these things from most recent to oldest. Continuing on, went to the fair Wednesday. Pretty fun. The animals were looking plump and cute as ever:

Plus this little bugger was born at the fair a few days ago. How cool is that:

Food, great as always. So good in fact that at least Loda and I are going down to Palmer to catch the next version of the fair. Same booths but new locale. Yay. We kicked the day off with Cheese Curds:

... before moving on to lemonade, milkshakes, deep fried apple rings, deep fried sweet potato fries, deep fried potato chips, and corn fritters. Yum.

More new age spelling on display out there, too:

So of course there was the usual hijinks:

...(honestly I was trying to ride the bear but it was taller than I realized when seen from outside the fencing).

These dudes were everywhere encouraging responsible recyling, too:

And finally, for a while we were pushing for a Vespa to get between upper campus and lower campus here (way faster than bus or fighting for a parking space down there) and one proposal was this one here now that I have an example I can go back to the powers that be and push for it again. Top speed- 30mph:

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Stories to tell

Along the lines of the several posts of stories waiting to be told in Nome comes this one:

Saw it while doing a test run of the rivercat with Anna today. Way to cool. Or something. So, if you've got a hankering for a new bike I'm pretty sure it's within wading distance of shore and the current isn't to swift there...

Monday, August 07, 2006



Okay, lots to catch up on. Maybe I'll start things off here with some random stuff. First up, the dogs are getting along finally:


Last night after the fair (perhaps tomorrow some stuff on that and other things I've fallen way behind on...) we went to Julies cabin warmer where she wanted us to paint a painting for her. Turned out decent as you can see:

But not before my little kid accomplice, the landlord's son managed to improve some flowers:

My compliments to Loda who started painting the dog, too:

So, that was pretty fun. Along the lines of other weird stuff check out this ad:

We made anchovy salad a couple weeks back which led to this discovery:

Do people really eat so many of the little fishes that Freddy's needs to keep that much inventory?!

So, more to come tomorrow hopefully, I'm trying to catch up before the weekend and have some decent ones...

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