Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Surfing the net

The temperatures have dropped below the smiling face of the zero on my thermometer the last few days and the flatlanders are seeing -30F and perhaps a -40F in a faraway tundra pit somewhere, but I live in the hills now and such discomfort is below me.  Literally.  The coldest we have seen here on Moose Mt. is about -20F.  I still chop wood in my flip flops in -20F.  Taint nuthin'.  But cold weather means more time inside for a lot of folks which means more internet and that's what I'm installing lately and business is picking up while my fingers are falling off.

I install for Hughesnet and Alasconnect as a private contractor and most of the time folks are pretty happy to see me.  They either have no internet and can't wait to finally return to civilization, or they have been worked over bad by the local big name providers and are tired of high prices and terrible service.  ACS seems to get the most four letter words, so thanks for the business lads.  Because I'm on the fringe of Fairbanks I do see my share of NO TRESPASSING signs, so far no shotguns.
Today I installed Hughesnet at a straw bale house off Cripple Creek Rd.  Gorgeous house, beautiful view and lots of chickadees to keep me company.  The owner invited me in for pork sandwiches and coffee at lunch time which was much appreciated.

Take care of your installer and he will take care of you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stolen Truck Alert

This blog is about Fairbanks and my view of Fairbanks so I have no choice but to re-post this from the list of Craig:

Sat. Nov. 20th at approx 9-9:30 pm my 04 Dodge Ram lic # XCUZME was stolen from Lathrop st. I'm offering a $500 rerward for truck or contents. Truck had storage drive with photos of deseased loved one on it. If you have any info please call Christie at 322-1396 or if you see my truck please call
Fairbanks Police Department at 450-6500.


And to whoever stole this truck I know the Karma Fairy is coming at you like a sniper round.  Stealing photos of the deceased or diseased is pure evil.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Allstate done me wrong

This week in the world of me I am launching an "expose the bad guys" campaign against Allstate for insurance shenanigans.  I try not to call shenanigans unless it's truly necessary, and alas, in this case it is.  Read my rant for the whole story here.
I also played some rec hockey this week for the first time in a very long time.  When I went to get my hockey bag two hornets nests and about a pound of squirrel food fell out of my neglected gear.  It seemed to smell a little less terrible though and my skates sharpened up just fine.  The aforementioned squirrels had eaten the blade off my stick and destroyed my laces so I had to purchase some new gear but that led me to Sport King.
Sport King is a tiny shack of a store hidden behind Safeway near the Klondike Hotel.  It is owned by Roger McKinnon and has been there for as long as I can remember.  It is the last of the traditional owner operated sports stores in Fairbanks.  I would drive across town in a blizzard to patronize this store because Roger has done so much for the Fairbanks hockey community.  These days every time I pull up here I fear the dreaded "Out of Business" sign, and yet, despite Walmart and Sports Authority and legions of discount crap, Roger soldiers on.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Remember, remember the 5th of November

 Celebrated Guy Fawkes Day on Friday with a bonfire at a friend's house whereupon we burned an effigy of Guy Fawkes.  This is a strange tradition but it involves fire and alcohol which have been dear friends of mine since childhood.

Jim heaves our newspaper-filled friend into the fire.
Guy Fawkes was originally hanged for his efforts, we decided to save our noose for next year.

Last night a fog rolled into the hills around Fairbanks and frosted all the trees, when the sun returns it will be stunning.  This is a beautiful time of year here because we still have light and everyone knows it's on the way out.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Ok, I'm back, really

After much shenanigans I'm back in the blogosphere.  Prepare to have your mind blown, your socks darned, and your optic nerves caressed with grand visions from the north.  In the meantime I suggest you all take time out to thank the little people in your life, for sanity is a delicate flower that must be watered.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The other America

Antigua, Guatemala
I'm currently dodging mudslides in Central America, if you want to follow along, otherwise I'll be back to post the middle of October!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Aurora of the Year!

Yeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!! Bring on the snow!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Iniakuk Lake Weather 10:30am, Brooks Range, Alaska

Clear and calm in all directions today with a high overcast layer at 8 or 9,000 feet. Not much sunshine but the weather looks stable and dry, for today at least.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Solstice

Happy Solstice Friends! The sun will not set in these parts until July 11. Good times.

Enjoy a ride down the river with me...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Green Grass and High Times Again in the Brooks Range

Herro dear readers. Yet again I have left you all dismissively behind as I dance with the Alaskan Summer. She is gorgeous and she doesn't stay for long so you'll please excuse me as I take her for a spin.
Forget-M-Nots, the Alaska State Flower on a recent hike.

I'm currently up in the Brooks Range, 200 miles north of Fairbanks, and enjoying the fresh air and freedom that comes with making do on one's own. That is to say we bought 3 months worth of groceries before we left and now have them packed into 4 chest freezers. Not exactly living OFF the land, but certainly living IN the land.This year I cheated a bit and brought my newfound Hughesnet knowledge with me. Now a small satellite dish sits in the front yard, on a piece of plywood for now, and I have intergalactic internet. Amazing. The next step is to drive a pipe into the ground, drop some cement around the bottom and mount the system for real. So far, Hughesnet appears to be the best quality satellite internet available. It's not super fast, but it's reliable and relatively cheap at $80/month. You have a 24 hour limit on downloads, that is, every 24 hours you may only exchange a certain amount of data, but there is a free period after 10 pm when you can do what you want. A meter shows you in real time how much you have used and so far I haven't come anywhere near my daily usage.
Enough blah, blah, blah. Here are some pretty pictures:
First hike of the season overlooking the Iniakuk Valley, a bit of rain and a lot of bugs.

Bluebells crying in the rain.

I don't know my mushrooms but I think this is a truffle of some kind. I did not eat it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If I were a carpenter, and you were spring in Fairbanks

Summer arrived today as it hit 70F in Fairbanks. The wind was warm and I sneezed my damn head off, pollen counts are off the charts this spring and it's killing me. Hopefully it will subside soon and the eyes will stop itching. Here are some shots from the past 2 weeks.

First kill of the season. Big, slow, and surprisingly satisfying to destroy. Bloodsuckers.

Second kill of the season; growlers of 'Foxanator' from Silver Gulch Brewing. A very tasty, near amber beer. The nice thing about growlers is they force you to drink a gallon at a time.

Satellite internet by Hughesnet. I became a certified installer last week, bought a system and set it up as a test. Of course the neighbor had to come check it out. This will go into the Brooks Range 200 miles north of Fairbanks so I can surf in the middle of nowhere. Technology doesn't sleep. If you want a system installed, send me a message. I charge on a sliding scale- the cooler and more remote- the cheaper. Hughesnet is also having a deal this month, complete system with 2 yr. contract: $199 after rebates. Such a deal.

M _ _ S _
would you like to buy a vowel?
I'm working for a buddy right now who is finishing up his dream house. This is about as modern as Fairbanks gets with great, sunny views of Murphy Dome road. This will soon get a big deck between the first and second floor. Sweet.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Clean Coal Propaganda in Fairbanks

It's just about summer here in the Interior and daytime temps are pushing the 60F mark which feels nice. It means I've been outside cutting trees and finishing stuff on the cabin that ice and snow and below zero temps don't allow. While I work I often wear ear protection with a built in radio. This is not always good. You see the radio in my truck died about 5 years ago so I hardly ever listen to the radio and when I'm at home I rock Pandora or my iTunes. So I've been listening to Fairbanks radio and all their damn commercials. One of the ones that caught my attention is a Clean Coal commercial. I haven't paid enough attention to know who is putting it out (probably the the non-verbal retards at GVEA) but it starts off saying, "Remember when you could use energy in your house and not worry about the cost? Well times are changing and we need an affordable alternative."


Energy has NEVER been cheap in Alaska. It has been cheaper, but never cheap. If you heat with electricity in the Interior you spend great wheelbarrows of cash. It has always been that way.

So why does Clean Coal make this crap up? Because there is no solution in Clean Coal and there is no such thing as Clean Coal. I would like to build a row of coal firing slingshots and place it in an alley and if people think Clean Coal is the answer they would have to walk down that alley while I fired coal chunks at them.

Good day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Manuel Noriega gets Rick Rolled

My lady and I saw Ira Glass at the Herring Auditorium last night and it was delightful. I don't mean we bumped into Ira as he took in a concert, he was in fact "the concert." He started off with the lights down in the theatre and then his distinctive voice came on and he talked for 3-4 minutes in the dark and then the lights came up and he talked for nearly 2 hours about his stories, career and the pathetic excuse for journalism that crawls towards us from local newspaper and television sources across the nation. He was great. He got me thinking about NPR and PRI and so I'm listening to it this morning on the computer as I design a house to build on Google Sketchup 7. (a very cool program once you get the hang of it)
Public Radio often catches the news that falls through the cracks or is reported by other organizations but passed over. This morning was no different but even NPR missed this little tidbit that I am reporting to you now:

Manuel Noriega was Rick Rolled by the United States Military in 1989.

It was "Operation Just Cause" and the U.S. was trying to get General Noriega out of Panama so they directed loud speakers at the palace he had holed up in and played the following list of music:
I know it's tough to read, the original link is here. But you will see that "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley is on the list. For those of you that don't know, if someone gets you to listen to this song it is know as getting "Rick Rolled." It's a hellish experience and my faith in the U.S. Military is restored knowing they have been using the most brutal torture tactics available to protect us. If you're wondering why General Noriega is in the news once again your guess is as good as mine.
I also see "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath and "Paradise City" by Guns and Roses on this list. That rocks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring is just around the Corner

All is well at the homestead, the snow is melting, the birds are chirping and the sun is getting stronger. Breakup is easy this year since there wasn't much snow and there have been some cool days interspersed with the hot so most the water is evaporating instead of flooding the outhouse. Although the outhouse is starting to lean a bit and will need leveling, like everything else in Sphagnum Estates. Aw well, still like it better than a real house.
Speaking of which, this is my buddy Brent's cabin out in Eureka, I dig the woodpile action he has created this spring, if it's not carried off by carpenter ants this summer it will be a warm winter for Brent and the dogs.

And in another chapter of good living I went to Silver Gulch Brewery with Steve and his daughter Clarity yesterday. We sampled some fine ales and she got her first taste of root beer. Good stuff, came home with a growler of Foxanator, Lowbush Cranberry, and AK IPA which we shall devour tonight with kabobs and corn on the cob.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Last Northern Lights of the Year

The northern lights came out in force the last 3 nights for a great sendoff to end winter, I think.

I was out on the deck today putting in a cable railing and it was cold and windy with a few flurries. Not the best weather to work in. But the railing is nearly completed and looks decent. Hopefully it will hold up in the years to come. It's way too late to be up now so I'm off,

Monday, April 05, 2010

March is over and I miss it terribly. It is the best month in Alaska if you love sun, snow and winter travel, which I do. There are ways to pretend March lasts more than a month and staying in the Brooks Range through April is one of them. Alas, I could not swing that this year. I think I will plan a trip out to the Hoodoo Mountains instead and kick around a bit. I'm trying to rally a few slednecks for the last gasp of interior winter.
March Madness
Here in Fairbanks the ski trails have less than a week left. They are icy and fast right now and you can ski in a t-shirt which is nice. The biggest drawback to melting snow is that it exposes Fairbanks' dark underbelly of trash. It is everywhere right now and does not look pleasant. My neighbor appears to be cleaning his junkyard but I'm not getting my hopes up. The other night I heard his air compressor at 2am, that's not cleaning, that's building, so who knows what kind of monstrosity will crawl into view next.
Ah well, there are better things to obsess about... The northern lights put on a ripping Easter Eve display Saturday night around 11pm and it was great to watch them from the deck just before bed. It is light until almost 10pm now with sunrise just after 6am so the days are plenty long. Summers a'comin'!
Before I go I would like to give a quick shout out to my buddy Greg Pacetti, owner of Pacetti Instruments. You can view his blog here. He is a luthier which means he builds amazing instruments out of wood by hand. Works of art really, so check him out.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Brooks Range Drifting

Well I'm back in Alaska and off to the frozen North, Brooks Range that is. I spent the last 2 weeks putting in a trail and now I'm off to enjoy it. It feels good to be back in AK even though it's -35F at the cabin this morning. Yesterday I was driving down the Dalton Highway after picking up my trailer which had blown both tires and had to be left behind until I could get more tires (long story). Anyway, I see a hitchhiker in the middle of nowhere holding 2 black trash bags with a cat on his head. So I picked him up. The cat on his head turned out to be a lynx, and it was dead, and the guy threw his trash bags in the back of my truck and introduced himself as Jeremy and off we went. Turns out he traps on the Yukon River, just north of the bridge. So I was happy to prove that just because one may look like a psychotic killer on the edge of the highway in the middle of nowhere, one might just be an Alaskan trapper who needs a ride. Of course I never did see what was inside the trash bags...