Monday, December 29, 2008

Xmas Break So Far (in Varying Poetic Forms)

Travel (McWhirtle)

The airplanes and jetways
are never the problem,
it's just getting airborne
in spite of the fog.

And so as I shouted
while sprinting the tarmac,
"Just screw my blue luggage
and load the damn dog!"

First week Back (Haiku)

Beer and cigarettes
Nights at Joe's Bar on the Square
Like I never left

Weather (Fib)

More snow.
Roads are bad,
But the plows aren't out:
Waiting to make holiday pay.

Christmas (Limerick)

As the holiday season inspired us
To be social and festive and pius,
Clan Mac drove up North,
Where we all waddled forth,
To the can with a mean norovirus.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rougher in Alaska!

So being the giant nerds that we are, Sara and I listen to a lot of Public Radio. Mind you, this is the only radio station we get, and even if it wasn't, our radio dial is broken, stuck on 640am, so it wouldn't matter. But even so, we both listened to a lot of Public Radio before we were up here, so it's fine by us. Anyways, for those of you back in the lower 48, let me explain a little about our ...eclectic...local station. It's a mix of the following:

1. Standard NPR programs we all know and love (Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Cartalk/WWDT/Prairie Home Companion/whatever else on the weekends)

2. Local programming like area news/events/weather, along with some very regional "traditional" stuff (like the Birthday Call-In show at 3:30 every day, where people can just call in and wish friends and family a happy birthday, and which, considering local phone etiquette, can be quite humorous). Not to mention locally-programmed music shows that are as crazy and varied as the folks who live here...Reggae one night, Techo the next. Kinda like large scale college radio, now that I think of it. The Thirsty Thursday Show was EPIC in its coolness (where else do you hear Kris-Kross, David Allen Coe, and G'n'R played back to back on Public Radio, with the swear words usually "accidentally" not bleeped?) but alas, is no more, as the hosts moved away from Bethel this fall.

3. Alaska Public Radio programs, including state news reports and all the regular stuff you'd expect from state public radio stations, but one show in particular has really grown on me. It's a show called simply AK, and every week is a treat. This past week's episode had a little comedy bit thrown in at the end making fun of all the Alaska-based reality shows that have popped up on cable in the last few years, and Sara and I enjoyed it so much I had to download, clip, and find a way to post it on here for you to enjoy. I ended up just using the audio in front of a picture and uploading as a video, so watch for a special (and apropos) cameo by our own favorite 2nd grade teacher ;-)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Time to get a Blackberry?

Cell phone coverage has made it to the village!

Tundra Drums: Cell phones the latest rage in Bush Alaska

So far, we can get a signal on Sara's pre-paid phone she bought in Anchorage last spring while she was there waiting for Isaac to arrive, but we can't actually use it as we're not on the same plan. We get 3 bars of signal, but the display reads "emergency use only". Still, it's good to know that it works in an emergency. As for my phone, it's on the Sprint network, so it's still useless 'til I get down to the lower 48.

But if GCI has brought a cell signal to Nunap, might internet be close behind? We can only hope...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Like a furry, grey marshmallow

So I rarely post pictures of myself here, not because I'm shy or anything, but because I'm usually the one taking the pictures...but here I am last night.

The weather shifted earlier this week, with the temp climbing 50 degrees (from -15F to 35F), and winds gusting to 40 mph bringing moist air and snow. Of course, as I watched the wind whip the wet snow into soggy drifts around our house...all while losing sight of all but the nearest neighbors' houses...I decided it would be a good idea to cover up our snowmachine, which I had stupidly left uncovered after returning from Bethel. Unfortunately, I had to wait until Sara got home (it was a little too stormy out to bring Isaac out to play in the snow), so by the time I got out there, the machine was pretty well drifted in. I swept it off, covered it, and bungeed the cover down (considering snow seems to sneak under the cover when it's windy), and Sara was kind enough to snap a picture as I came in the door.

Had it been a few degrees colder my face would have been solid ice, but luckily it was just covered in slush...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Trails

You know, it's amazing how much of a difference a little less drifting can make.

I took advantage of the long Thanksgiving weekend to take a ride into Bethel on Saturday to pick up some groceries and a new mattress for Isaac (he's gotten too good at climbing to be just in the co-sleeper at night). The plan worked out well, as a few of our neighbors flew in early to visit the craft fair, and the husband of one of the fliers wanted to ride along, as he had never been into Bethel by snowmachine, so I didn't have to ride alone.

Last year, the trail was so rough from the light snow and windy weather that the 26.3 miles from my front door to the AC store was anywhere from a 2 to 3 hour ride, most trips. The best we did all last year was to run a pace that would have gotten us there in around an hour in the early spring when the weather was warm and the trail was flat and slick, but unfortunately the warm weather and our...aggressive pace...caused my co-traveler's machine to give out (to the tune of a couple new pistons and cylinders :-/ )

This year so far, knock on wood, the trail is much better. I don't know if it was the early freeze or how much snow we've had so far, but the trail was better Saturday than it was at any point last year. We made it in only an hour and fifteen minutes, which is pretty darn fast considering it was Jim's first time on the trail. Even heading back pulling a mattress and boxspring on the school sled, we got back in less than an hour and a half. That is, minus a tail light (from sled impact) and a chain clip pulled apart like a paper clip (from the weight of the sled), of course.

Unfortunately, it's been snowing and crazy windy for the past few days, so the trail could be wrecked by now. I guess I'll find out next time I go riding :-P

Sounds like someone was going "Into the Wild"

Fairbanks News-Miner: Brooks Range hiker rebuked for rescue