Sunday, March 29, 2009

ash has landed

Naps - Can't trust 'em. You eat a little mexican at Taco King (don't let the name fool you, this place is amazing), do a little shopping, come back to take a mid-afternoon snooze, and you wake up to Armageddon. Mt. Redoubt has been blowing its top once or twice a day for the past week, but the ash clouds have either been directed away from Anchorage, or when the clouds were over head, the winds kept the ash from falling, until today that is.

We awoke to other residents covering their cars with tarps outfitted with masks to protect the lungs from the glass-like shards of chaos that is volcanic ash. Although ash is very fine, it's very unhealthy; this pretty much ruined us going out for the night. Luckily most of the ash had fallen by the time we woke up, although you could still see the haze of it in the air. To try and stay on top of this problem, since we don't have tarps of our own, we took buckets of hot water to pour over our cars' air vents to try to minimize build up.

**Tip** Don't use a brush or broom to remove ash from a car - it can really damage the paint**

Tomorrow we'll try to find a brushless car wash, but for now, we're watching The Amazing Race online. We love us some internet.

Forcing our settlement

Curry and I spend a lot of time on our laptops. Thank God we brought them as carry-ons and didn't ship them, because the latter decision would mean that they would be sitting on the bottom of the ocean or in the hands of Russian gypsies being peddled on some shady street corner.

But I digress.

In anticipation of our belongings arriving, one of the pieces of furniture that I would be needing to buy is a desk chair. We went out looking two weekends back and turned into our own worst enemies. The first stop we went to was Bailey's, which I think may be the largest dealer in the state. We agreed before we left that we wouldn't let ourselves be talked into buying anything, but we failed to account that we may end up talking ourselves into the very thing we were trying to avoid. Upon arrival we found out that the store was having a 20% off sale. Great - cheap chairs! Right?

Turns out that the office chairs they did have were a bit disappointing, but we did stumble upon a 'breakfast nook' which went great with the stuff that we already own and created seating for about six around the table in a relatively small space (huge improvement from the table we shipped that is half the size with only 2 chairs). Bonus added: the seats lift up on the bench portions for storage!

We were pretty much instantly sold when we saw the table, and reasoning that with the sale going on, we should probably look at some sort of couch, sectional, etc, since the futon we shipped is nice, but may not last much longer. After placing our butts over and over again on our final decisions, and taking a break from it all at the Subway next door, we deciding on the plushy and voluptuous chair and a half with autaman (spelling?). Our pieces were shipped last week, and its wonderful to not have to chaff my ass on a metal chair.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

February Album

So I thought at the end of each moth, I'd post that month's album to the blog in slide show format, as kind of a wrap up in pictures.

Click to play!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Fur Rondy

A few weeks back, actually precisely on February 27th, I'm driving into work and what appears to me as an accident further up on the road, turned out to be something entirely different. As I near the barricades and police lights at the intersection in question, like a flash, a dog sled flew through the street. Ah, it all makes sense. What makes sense, you ask? The night before, while driving around for work, I saw dump trucks full of snow driving around downtown, and streets being barricaded.

Yes, they close streets downtown, and cover them with snow so they can hold sled dog races in the city!

So, the Fur Rondy (or in its full name the Fur Rendezvous) is a carnival held near the end of winter that commemorates two events. The carnival itself evolved from a 74 year old tradition of a gathering of fur traders. The second is to start off the Iditarod, which is seperate from the in-city sled dog races.

From February 2009

We didn't get to the carnival, but here's a picture of it while I was driving past.

And for anyone who is curious how the Iditarod got started:

The Iditarod Trail, now a National Historic Trail, had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps at Flat, Ophir, Ruby and beyond to the west coast communities of Unalakleet, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain and Nome. Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out. All via dog sled. Heroes were made, legends were born.

In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail became a life saving highway for epidemic-stricken Nome. Diphtheria threatened and serum had to be brought in; again by intrepid dog mushers and their faithful hard-driving dogs. (src:

So where was I?

Hard to keep my thoughts straight when I've been slacking! Shaaaame! So, I should probably get started...
...Follow me!

Ok, so the first thing I'll post is some pictures from when I went ice fishing a few weeks ago. I don't really have any good shots, but it adds to the story, so I'll throw them up here anyways.

From February 2009

The name of the frozen lake we were on more or less completely escapes me at the moment, but I think we turned on to 8 mile road, so maybe it's 8 mile lake. Or it could be that there was a road at the 8 mile point - can't really say. Anyways, it was pretty cool to be standing safely on a frozen lake. I remember as kids, playing in the snowy fields around our house and finding big frozen puddles to try to walk across, usually pretty unsuccessfully, mind you. It was a nice change to stay dry.

We began, or I should say Roger began by using a big red auger to drill through the ice.

From February 2009

After he had the holes drilled, he took some egg shells out of his coat and cracked them up into the fresh openings into the waters below. It's a clever way to illuminate the bottom. If you lay down and cover your head, you can see the bottom of the lake and all the fish swimming around from the light reflecting off the white of the shells. It was pretty neat.

We fished for about two hours with nothing more than some fishing line wrapped around a basic fishing rod. I should have gotten a picture of that, come to think of it. Actually I should be getting some really decent photos from this day, and I'll post them to my web album when I get them. One of Roger's friends who is an amateur photographer came along with us that day; a couple of the fish that were caught were thrown out near the tree line to try to lure in Bald Eagles, which is what the photo man was hoping to be able to snap some shots of. There was another family out on the ice with us though, and the dogs they had probably kept the eagles at bay.

I was out-fished [Roger: 5-6 | Me: 1].

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Matress Ranch

Among the many things I've been meaning to post for a while, here is a gem that I found within my first few days of being here. Local commercials always tend to be priceless no matter where you're from, but this one...this one caught my eye:

notice the spongebob tie

And for some competition from Pittsburgh, for those of you have not yet seen our rival bad commercial: