Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring Soon! Playlist

13 hours + long days? Check. Temps waaay up into the 30s? Check. Full blown Manic Affective Disorder*? Check.

1. Ivanka, Imperial Teen
2. So Sweet, The Hands
3. It's You, PJ Harvey
4. My Little Brother, Art Brut
5. Non-Stop, Whitey
6. The Privileged Few, The Arm
7. Can You Feel It?, Apples in Stereo
8. Way Out, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
9. Howl, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
10. Not That Social, The Von Bondies
11. Hot, The Minds
12. Seventeen Devils, The Starlight Mints
13. Starting Five, Dios
14. The Warning, Hot Chip
15. End of Summer, Masonic
16. In the Fields of (Lonely Fences), Languis
17. Underwater (You and Me), Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
18. I.C.E., Antibalas featuring Afrobeat Orchestra
19. Rehab, Amy Winehouse

*I'm determined to get this one recognized. The opposite of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, well-publicized winter problem upon which many a light box sale has occurred. Turns out they sort of recognize MAD, and honestly, the signs and symptoms don't sound that bad.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Reeked Pigeon

Urban survival at its finest
OK - so admittedly, this technique may not have much applicability for Squarebanks (although we do have pigeons) - however you never know when a cabin dweller might find themselves hungry and low on cash in an urban jungle. I learned this ghetto tip living in a 5-story tenement in Spanish Harlem.

Reeked Pigeon
1 wire coat hanger, opened to its fullest, with one end fashioned into a narrow, long hook
2 adjoining tenement windows
1 bag bird seed or several cups of bread or cracker crumbs
1 stool or low chair, the more comfortable the better

Choose window in tenement. Open window and scatter bait on outside sill, close window. Open adjacent window about 10 to 12 inches and position stool so that one can see the other window sill. Snake coat hanger out of opened window, making sure it is long enough to reach bait on other sill and that it is tight against building side. Position hook to face outwards. Wait patiently. When pigeons land, allow them time to feed and relax. With smooth motion and without raising coat hanger, quickly jerk hook around legs of a feeding pigeon, and pull pigeon into adjoining window.

Dispatch using favorite method.

Wait about 10 to 15 minutes until pigeons calm down and return. Repeat as necessary to get required number of birds. May be substituted in any recipe calling for squab, Cornish game hens, ptarmigan, quail or other small game birds.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

If a Bad Bill Passes Out of Committee, But No One Writes About It,
Did it Really Happen?

Or, HJR9 moved out of committee, where is the media coverage?
So, still irate, incensed and what-have-you, I've been Googling away trying to find any news coverage of the damned thing, finally locating a mention on KTUU's website. What am I talking about, you ask? Oh, that's right, the ADN and News Minus haven't really mentioned it.

Go ahead, read the post at the Ester Republic.

When last we tuned in for this sad show, HJR 9 had been referred to the State Affairs Committee. It passed 5-2 on Tuesday the 27th and is now on to the Judiciary Committee.

Of course, when last I opined on this, I missed the point entirely. Which is not the first time I've written something and later wished that I had thought first and typed later. (Hence the new category of 'Duh.') Or that I had an editor. I yammered on about how Coghill & Co. had introduced it because they wanted insurance in case they lost the April 3rd vote.

Which just makes no sense at all. However, more politically savvy folks have pointed out that the reason Coghill and Company introduced the same proposed Constitutional amendment that failed to get out of committee last year when the vote is near is simple. They believe the advisory vote will give them the political mojo to get the proposed constitutional amendment through the Lege. According to the KTUU article, HJR9's sponsors know they lack the two-thirds votes necessary in the Senate.

It doesn't appear to have a hearing scheduled in Judiciary, yet, but perhaps they're waiting for the results on April 3rd.

The House Judiciary Committee is chaired by Fairbanks' own Jay Ramras and co-chaired by Rep. Dahlstom. Of the five other committee members, three (Coghill, Lynn and Dahlstrom) are sponsors of HJR9. So, no big surprise which way they are gonna vote.

And under the category of Near Fatal Irony, I offer you the invocation offered at the start of Lege business March 27 by Pastor Jesse Perry of the Northern Light United Church:
With thanksgiving for all the ways that God inhabits our lives, let us pray. God of infinite creativity, teach us respect for all that you have made in your world. Your delight in diversity has amazed us all this year; we delight in knowing that every snowflake that fell in the record snowfall you gave us was one-of-a-kind. We rejoice in knowing that each of us is also a unique sign of your compassion for the world. That we may acknowledge the diversity of your world, may we never succeed in ignoring the true value of everything and everyone you have made. May we never succeed in concealing your beloved diversity behind clever words; may we never succeed in substituting equality for justice; may a majority of us never succeed in oppressing a few; and may we never succeed in confusing ownership with access - for though you hold the deed to the entire universe, you have granted us your creation as a perpetual trust for the delight and life of us all. So this day, ever thankful for the diversity within us and around us, we pray in reverent joy. Amen.

The News Minus Does Investigative Reporting

Pinch me, I must be dreaming

This writer cannot remember the last time the News Minus did anything that could be remotely construed as investigative reporting - maybe that time a few years back when Rick Solie was pulled over by the Campus Gestapo for being a bit toasted, they did a couple of feeble FOIA attempts, but that is about all I can dredge up from my memories of years of unmemorable reporting (hilarious gaffes excepted).

But - whoa - a four part series on the Hayeses - who have "allegedly" misspent quite a lot of federal booty that they obtained through earmarks and federal grants? This is awesome. Sunday last when I saw Part One splashed across Page One, I feared the worst: a superficial whitewash highlighting the sterling qualities of the Mr. and Mrs., but Rod Boyce delivers. This is a rocking good read, and I recommend it to those that have given up on the News Minus in disgust.

So far my favorite aspects of this are:
  1. The Hayes' son worked as an aide to Ted Stevens, but nope, he didnt have a thing to do with the earmarks that went to Love Social Services, Inc.
  2. In the various federal grants that Love Social Services Inc. applied for (and received), they proposed purchasing enough computers and related equipment to man NASA's Mission Control (but that only about a dozen seem to actually have been purchased), and
  3. The timing of all these bountiful earmarks and grants occured about the same time that Jim Hayes was exiting his $75K/year job as City Mayor, creating a smooth transition for Mrs. Hayes to depart her lower-paying position at ACS to become Executive Director of Love Social Services, Inc. --- which according to records obtained by the News Minus, provided much enhanced compensation*.

I just can't wait til the trial!!!

* perhaps " fleecing" would be a more accurate term; of course at this point in time, its alleged "fleecing".

Sunday, March 25, 2007

"Those Girls Are Tough, They Eat All That Muktuk"

-- a former Nome-Beltz high school student, on her memories of playing against Barrow's high school girls basketball team, a perennial contender in 3A basketball until yesterday when they beat ACS.

Congratulations to the Barrow Lady Whalers!

Well, I survived a three day jaunt day to Los Anchorage to watch the high school basketball tournament. Sadly, the team I was rooting for had a rough tourney and finished out of the top three.

Anchorage was as I expected. I spent the majority of my waking hours sitting in a freaking car. I also tried unsuccessfully to have a Manhattan while out on the town.

How, you ask? Well, after my two companions ordered Long Island Iced Teas, I opted for a less dangerous beverage, the Manhattan, which for those of you who are under the age of 70, is mostly just bourbon whiskey with a little flavoring. How hard could it be?

Plenty difficult, it turns out, for the young himbo behind the bar. Having run into obstacles before when ordering the drink, I asked the young guy specifically, "Can you make me a Manhattan?" In hindsight, I suppose some responsibility for the ensuing failures must rest on my shoulders. You see, I neglected to ask if he could make an actual, not approximation of one.

I watched him make the first drink, wondering about his addition of club soda, and the dumping of equal parts of Maker's Mark and some other unknown liquor, but decided to turn this into an instructional moment and let him deliver it. He actually asked me (after I made a face that said, unquestionably, "ick") "How is it?"

At which point I asked him if he knew how to make one. He admitted no. So I explained, and in a nice, nonbitchy way, that it is typically 2 parts bourbon, 1 part sweet vermouth, a dash of bitters and a marashino cherry. But feeling generous. I said I would drink the bad drink anyway, and we would review the recipe when I ordered another one. I went back to playing pool.

So, I was much surprised to return to the bar to have a sip of the Not A Manhattan and find a new drink next to it. The bartender explained that he gave it another try in my absence. So, with renewed hope for the younger generation's work ethic and drink making potential, I took another sip.

Good God! It was worse. I asked as to the nature of the vermouth, which clearly was not sweet vermouth. "I put extra dry in," he said proudly. With much patience I pointed out that that was not what I had asked for - and it turned out that the bar lacked sweet vermouth. He said he would try it with with triple sec, if I liked. Appalled at the suggestion and waste of perfectly good whiskey so far, I gave up and switched drinks.

Which was how ended up drinking shots of Patron chased by hefeweizen and spent the entire next day hungover, in traffic, cursing Anchorage.

Above: Muktuk! Photo pinched from the UAF website,
Manhattan: Pinched from

Overheard at a Local Watering Hole

"Those shoes are very avant-bourgeois." - in reference to the gold lame1 shoes worn by the bartender.

1I tried to find the little accent aigu thingey, or how to bring about its existence in html, but to no avail. Suggestions, anyone?

Bum Rushed Stuffed Goose w/ Cheap Grand Marnier

...Gourmet cooking on a budget

For those cooking on a greatly reduced budget, here are a couple of substitutions for that Silver Palate recipe a few posts back.

A friend of mine sent me this orange liqueur recipe that is a cheap (but just as tasty) substitute for Grand Marnier. It will produce about 2-3 bottles of Grand Marnier substitute for about 1/2 the cost. Her proviso is that if you use decent liquor (picked up on sale, natch) and let it age properly*, you will not be able to tell the difference at all between this and the top shelf stuff.

Orange Liqueur

1 fifth of brandy
1 fifth of orange Caracao
3/4 cup sugar
peel from one orange (avoid all white pith as that will make it bitter)

Combine everything in a one-gallon glass jar or wine bottle. Shake and stir and then store in a cool, dark place for a week, stirring occasionally. After a week, strain into glass bottles. Let age a minimum of a month before serving or using. The longer it ages the mellower and better it gets.

Grand Marnier cheap is also good as a substitute in any recipe that calls for orange juice, such as cranberry bread or cranberry sauce.


ADVISORY NOTE: The instructions below were NOT provided by my friend, whom I am quite sure has never bum-rushed a goose.

Bum-Rushed Goose

1 bag cracked corn, of sufficient amount to attract waterfowl
1 bottle rot gut booze
1 urbanized park area where Canada geese congregate (such as the greenbelt along the Chena), preferably with bushes, or bridge underpasses to provide cover.
large concealing bag

Thoroughly soak cracked corn with rot gut booze (the cheaper the better). Allow to sit in bag until corn has absorbed all liquor. Select open area that is attractive to geese (this presumes prior scoping to ascertain that there are indeed geese/ducks in area). Scatter corn, select hiding place, and wait. Allow sufficient time for geese to consume corn and to exhibit signs of serious intoxication. After making sure there are no cops or others that may get excited about poaching in vicinity, approach birds with stealth, grab goose, and dispatch (this takes some effort, as even an intoxicated goose may put up a fight). Promptly put in bag and retreat; clean and dress in a private, non-public place. Prepare and stuff as desired.

* this might be a problem for some who have trouble letting any liquor or beer or wine reach any age of significance in their house....

Monday, March 19, 2007

Deja Vu Diss: SJR 20 HJR 9

[Edited on March 21, because it's HJR 9, not SJR 9.]

Quick folks, get the torches and pitchforks! Time to whip the extreme right wing base into a froth about the very existence of gay people!

Time to spend $1.2 million on an advisory vote to decide whether to put a striking bit of anti-gay legislation on the ballot in November, but if Alaskans (a frequently Libertarian bunch) demur, get it onto the ballot in November anyway!

So, apparently, what with my subconscious moratorium on/break from state politics, I missed this one completely. Thanks to Deidre for posting on the newest bit of legislative poison cosponsored by Representatives John Coghill Jr., John Harris, Vic Kohring, Peggy Wilson, Bob Lynn, Carl Gatto, Nancy Dahlstrom, Mike Kelly, Mark Neuman, Bill Thomas Jr., and Bill Stoltze.
I'm referring, of course, to House Joint Resolution 9, introduced on March 12, which is yet another proposal to amend the Constitution thusly:

01 Proposing an amendment to the section of the Constitution of the State of Alaska                                        
02 relating to marriage.
04 * Section 1. Article I, sec. 25, Constitution of the State of Alaska, is amended to read:
05 Section 25. Marriage and related limitations. To be valid or recognized in
06 this State, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman. No other
07 union is similarly situated to a marriage between a man and a woman and,
08 therefore, a marriage between a man and a woman is the only union that shall be
09 valid or recognized in this State and to which the rights, benefits, obligations,
10 qualities, or effects of marriage shall be extended or assigned.
11 * Sec. 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be placed before the voters of the
12 state at the next general election in conformity with art. XIII, sec. 1, Constitution of the State
13 of Alaska, and the election laws of the state.
If it looks familiar, that would be because they're trotting out the same proposed constitutional amendment that failed so miserably last year. In fact, it was one of the first things I posted about when paying attention to the world beyond my junky little cabin drove me to blogging in April of last year.

The bill has been referred to the State Affairs, Judiciary and Finance Committees.

How ironic that in the invocation that opened the day's business, the Reverend Dr. John Zimmerman of Chapel by the Lake Presbyterian Church led a prayer that began:
"In deepest respect for the religious beliefs of each person here, I invite you into a time of prayer and reflection. Let us pray. Eternal and Gracious God, grant that the members of this House, elected by the choice of the people of their districts, may do the people's work well this day. May they never lose sight of the concerns of all citizens, especially those hidden by distance or circumstance. May their work be marked by the standard of justice for all people."
How distinctly Christian-sounding, in a New Testament sense.

The cynic in me, after recovering from a nearly fatal bout of eyerolling, wonders whether Coghill and his cosponsors introduced this bit of crap again in anticipation of the April 3rd advisory vote failing - so they could still get the same nonsense on the ballot in November 3rd anyway, and have ample time to whip the most extreme right sheeple into a froth and therefore to the polls?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Recipe #2: Roast Turkey with Grand Marnier Apricot Stuffing

Recently, when faced with a growing number of dinner guests, I decided to make a turkey, even though it was the beginning of March, and there wasn’t really any traditional turkey days in the offing. Odd that – turkey is cheap, turkey is easy, and turkey is tasty, but I always fall into the Thanksgiving/Christmas trap of preparing turkey only then. But I grew bold and broke out of the mold, and roasted up a very fine turkey. The hit of the meal, though, was the stuffing.

Credit for this recipe goes to the Silver Palate, Good Times Cook Book. Contrary to a lot of the “gourmet” items in that cookbook line, this stuffing is a snap to make, and requires no hard-to-get ingredients. However, it does necessitate the purchase of a bottle of Grand Marnier, which at least at the local Freddy’s – comes quite dear. Thus, the $40/bottle expense for the Grand Marnier obliterated the cheap turkey, but as it also was very good in its typical role of an after-dinner drink, it was enjoyed by all that came to the turkey dinner. A worthy investment.

Grand Marnier Apricot Stuffing (enough for a 21 – 24 # turkey)


1 cup diced dried apricots
1 ½ cups Grand Marnier
Turkey liver and heart
1 cup (two sticks) butter
2 cups coarsely chopped celery
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 pound bulk pork sausage (reindeer would work too)
1 pound herb stuffing mix
1 cup slivered almonds
2 cups chicken stock
½ teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the apricots and 1 cup of the Grand Marnier in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling. Remove from the heat & set aside. Simmer the turkey heart and liver in water to cover in a small saucepan for 5 minutes; set aside to cool.

2. Melt ½ cup of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and sauté for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3. Cook the pork sausage in the same skillet, crumbling with a fork, until it is no longer pink. Remove from the heat & add to the celery mixture.

4. Add the stuffing mix, apricots with liquid, and almonds. Finely dice the turkey heart and liver and add to the stuffing mixture; stir to combine.

5. Heat the remaining ½ cup butter and the stock in a small saucepan just until the butter melts. Pour over the stuffing mixture, and add the remaining ½ cup Grand Marnier. Stir well to moisten the stuffing. Season with the thyme and add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe # 1: Beer Bread, or...

What to make when you really want to go to that pot luck but are too lazy/poor to make something fancy

Think back to all those times when there was that last minute pot luck invite, and you really wanted to go, but alas, the fridge was bare but for beer, beans and eggs (staples in cabin-dwelling land where money is short, but the chickens cooperative). If you have an hour and flour – in addition to the required beer – here is something that will bail you out of this particular cabin-dwelling dilemma. This bread is fast, easy and has a sweet, nutty taste.

Beer Bread

Heat oven to 375, grease one regular size bread pan


3 ½ cups flour (white, whole wheat or mixture thereof*)
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbs. herbs of choice (dill, marjoram, thyme, etc.)
1 egg
1 bottle (12 oz) beer, preferably dark

1. Combine all dry ingredients.
2. Make a well in center, and crack egg into it. Beat egg in well.
3. Add bottle of beer, enjoy the foaming action.
4. Stir until all dry ingredients are moist.
5. Plop into bread pan, NO KNEADING OR RISING
6. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until done.

This bread smells wonderful when it bakes, so it could also be an ace in the hole for those cabin dwellers looking to impress new friends with home-cooked meals or home-made bread.

* Unless you are a huge fan of colon-blow type breads, I do not recommend using all whole wheat in this recipe.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bearanoia At Least Halved...

Having heard this one (and gotten into arguments on the topic) not a few times here in Alaska, let me just say that I agree with Redneck Mother, and this was the best title for a post. Ever.

"Ten Out of Ten Bears Prefer Beef Fat to Menstrual Blood."

And, I might add, whew.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Score in 2007: Bering Sea: 3; Adventurers: 0

In the category of Nature kicking human butt in Alaska, we have many fine examples. I admit to having my ass kicked many a time, on occasion merely by a few thousand mosquitos.

There is the now infamous trucks stuck out on the tundra story. (Which by last news coverage, are still stuck.) That was when the hunters from the base here ignored the rules and drove a truck four miles into an area where they weren't supposed to, got stuck, and then drove another truck a mile or so out, and got stuck again. Their efforts thus far to free the vehicles have been unsuccessful and just a wee bit entertaining in a serialized drama kind of way.

But better than that is the perennial story out on the Coast, where people-with-a-lot-of-time-and-money-to-waste adventurers decide to walk/ski/drive across the Bering Strait. Why? Well, I confess to not understanding the motivation, though I think it is related to the "man vs. nature", "being the first to do something" and "manufactured ordeal to prove something" themes.

"Man vs. Nature" always gave me a problem because, let's face it, we have better and better equipment all the time and nature is still playing with the same equipment from thousands of years ago. Everest without oxygen bottles (and sherpas carrying your stuff) is a whole different situation.

"Being the first to do something" also falls a bit flat in the Bering Strait, because, well, Alaskan Natives managed to cross back and forth a good bit years ago without GPS, goretex, and satellite phones. They just didn't have corporate sponsors, websites, and film crews following them documenting it all. You know who ought to be recognized? Not some tourist with thousands of dollars of gear and free time, but the elders who used to walk out onto the moving ice daily to hunt and support their families and it was just normal life.

But I digress.

And why the Bering Strait? Numerous adventurers have attempted it and most have failed1. Why? There are very strong currents in Bering Strait. This means the ice is always moving, it is extremely rare for it to be frozen over completely2. Huge pressure ridges are thrown up; leads open and close. And of course, there are polar bears. On the Alaska side, at the closest point between continents, lies the village of Wales. Over the years, many adventurers have shown up, been told by the locals about the weather and currents, and gone ahead anyway.

The attempts usually fail, ending with said adventurers being plucked off an ice floe by National Guard helicopters at great expense to the taxpayers. Which is what happened this week, as noted in the ADN:
ANCHORAGE -- Army National Guard members plucked three Korean backpackers from sea ice Thursday after they were stranded in the Bering Strait. Park Yough Seok, 43, Oh Hee Joon, 36, and Lee Hyeong Mo, 38, were picked up from an ice floe 17 miles southwest of Tin City on Alaska's west coast, said McHugh Pierre, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. There were no injuries. The backpackers were trying to walk across the ice pack from Russia to Alaska but became stranded, he said. Pierre said the backpackers carried a satellite phone and had made emergency arrangements with a private service, but that company's helicopter had mechanical problems Thursday.
1Shparo made it on skis. Others have driven. Far more have failed than succeeded thus far.
2And let's face it, it's going to be even rarer given global climate change.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Prozac Nation

About noon today it became clear that today was a mental health day. After a lunch time run with the new little pal, I just didn’t get back into work mode, and found myself ensconced on the sofa with the fire roaring and lots of dogs snoozing and reading Prozac Nation. This was a whim buy from Barnes & Noble executed while ghosting the self-help section trying to hunt down yet another book on relationships in the aftermath of abuse and neglect that himself had recommended I read for insight into why our relationship had gone south.

In other words, to see myself in the pages of this book. I declined; deciding that really what I didn’t need was another self help book, but rather the muster to just admit that loving someone isn’t enough to keep them from treating one very badly, and that it was time to let it go and exorcise himself from my life.

So, here I was this afternoon reading about a screwed up, upper middle class Jewish girl whining about her hard times at the Manhattan School and Harvard, and found it to be utterly refreshing to read about neglect constituting a daddy ignoring her birthday parties instead of engaging in really heinous and evil abuse activities. It was like slipping back into an old, familiar world.

But man, that book is tedious…just how many pages can one fill about feeling like crap and wishing they were dead… after about 100 pages, I was wishing she would just go ahead and do it, so I wouldn’t have to keep reading endless sentences about how she just wanted to end it all. Of course, I could stop reading, but the sensation of peeking over her shoulder into her diary exerts a pressure on me to read it to the end.

It is my wholly biased and completely unscientific thesis that, by and large, we as a modern American culture just have too much time on our hands. If we were back being busy finding food or trying to scratch a meager agricultural living out of Mother Nature who rarely cooperates, and we had to provide for all our own needs, such as shelter and clothing, we just wouldn’t have time to sit around and ponder whether or not we were clinically depressed or in need of the palliatives that Big Pharma keeps producing.

As I dribbled my way through the dreary reading of Prozac Nation, I could find snippets of myself and similar difficulties with relationships, with the all-consuming nature of need when you really fall for someone, when it all becomes so super-critical that they just look your way – but cannot find within that or other moments of ennui and despair really the justification that it is all so terrible that it is worthy of medical or psychiatric intervention. That is not to say that true mental illness does not exist, but what Elizabeth Wurzel catalogued in such excruciating detail and which I have to a somewhat more limited extent experienced is just the fallout of human existence. If we had to deal with providing the basics for ourselves we just wouldn’t have the time or the energy to wallow in these moods. I suspect we also wouldn’t fall prey so often to the sensations that there isn’t much meaning in what we do.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Iditarod Nitpick: What's With the ADN?

Malcontent's note: I started this post several days ago, but decided it was overly bitchy and held it. Then I read this morning's Iditarod coverage and rolled my eyes nearly to the point of injury.

What's with the reporters on the Iditarod trail putting less than shocking temperatures in the lead? Three examples of stories incorporating pretty normal weather in the first sentence like it is some kind of big deal.
"ANVIK -- Eight hours to the minute after finishing the seven-course meal that greets the first musher to reach the Yukon River during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, race leader Martin Buser was headed into the cold again with his dogs, battling north into zero-degree temperatures and a bitter headwind toward a tiny outpost called Eagle Island." - Kevin Klott, the Anchorage Daily Snooze
"The leaders in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race were charging through minus-10-degree cold toward the halfway point in the ghost town of Iditarod on Wednesday as some of the key contenders in The Last Great Race appeared to be settling in for their mandatory 24-hour breaks." - Craig Medred, the Anchorage Daily Snooze
"PUNTILLA LAKE -- As the wind chill dipped to minus 37 and a ground storm pounded dogs resting on straw beds here, rookie musher Andy Angstman emerged from the direction of Rainy Pass in a cloud of blowing snow." Kevin Klott, the Anchorage Daily Snooze
Don't get me wrong, it's not like I want to be spending an entire day outside with a windchill like that. Not fun. One of the reasons Interior cold is not so bad, really, even if it is -45, is because we rarely have wind. Wind makes takes a situation from cold to miserable pretty quick. But -10? Zero? That's perfect mushing weather. For some dogs, it's a little warm.

Granted, later on in Klott's story, he mentions the grounds storms and wind chills the mushers were enduring which definitely qualify as miserable. You want to tell readers about what a tough experience the race is, tell them about ground storms and wind chills; you can have a pretty decent temperature, but add a little wind and you're looking at a totally different experience.

On a final note, if the front runners remain close, I think the musher with dogs that are used to wind will have the edge on the final push up the coast. I don't remember if Mackey had to deal with wind (though he dealt with some major cold) in the Quest - but if his dogs have only trained her in the Interior, that will be a factor.

Friday, March 02, 2007

When the man acts like a dog, get a dog that acts like a man

So – fueled by the POW collection, and goaded by CabinDweller threatening to begin quoting chapter and verse from the Compendium (I), I focused my energies away from pining for a certain someone, and instead, found a cutie pie at the local shelter. This is not the first time, nor is it likely to be the last, that I have found canines to be really good replacements for relationships that went paws up, despite both parties’ best intentions to avoid the train wreck. In my case, as CabinDweller would concur, I had taken up residence in the tunnel and was regularly getting run over by the Metroliner.

It was time to make a change – so I picked up the handsome fella a few days back. He’s a loyal boy, always comes back, doesn’t cat around, likes to cuddle, and have his ears scratched. He’s an easy keeper compared to some, and will likely stay the course for a lot longer than his human counterparts.

To the POW list I would also add “Coin-Operated Boy” by the Dresden Dolls; although its not technically a break-up song, it does offer a viable alternative to those who have found the real-live thing to be at times troublesome and for all of those who after a very long and tiring day, just wished they came with an on/off switch…sort of like a Data. Data always was my favorite on Next Generation….hmmmmm, that’s probably telling.

TreeHugging Events This Weekend

Okay, so the nights are still a wee bit chilly, and you're still kind of hibernatory and eating entirely too much of that 'stick to the ribs' food and quaffing that good dark beer that we homebrewers like to make.

Well. That's what's going on in my life at least. So you won't see a Lege rant from me until next week at least. In the meantime, as a public service effort, I call your attention to two local events.
  • March 3 - The Alaska Ocean Film Festival is happening at the Blue Loon on Saturday night @ 8 p.m. Last year, the Loon was packed with treehuggers, so the event marks an opportunity to see those friends you haven't seen while hibernating the last few months, meet likeminded individuals in our rednecky little town, and of course, enjoy some short films about the ocean. Admission is $8.
  • March 4 - The Chena Flats Greenbelt Project is kicking things off with fundraising auction and brunch at Pike's Waterfront Lodge from noon to 3 p.m..Per their press release, because this treehugger had a long week and doesn't feel like coming up with a snappy synopsis:
"The Chena Flats Greenbelt Project is a coalition of local residents, property owners, and non-government organizations seeking to conserve a multi-purpose corridor of open space at the base of Chena Ridge and Chena Pump Road in west Fairbanks. This area, crossed by popular mushing, dog walking, and skiing trails, will be conerved for all to enjoy. Tickets are $25; available for at the door or in advance at Hoitts and Gulliver's. Auction items include a tour for two of the normally off-limits downstairs area of the musuem, a beautiful quilt in fall colors by Judy Regan, movie passes to the Loon, a bird walk by biologist Frank Keim, several hand-knitted hats, massages, some delicious cakes, and much, much more. Bob Henszey will also give a short presentation of the Chena Flats Greenbelt Project. Plus, there will be great brunch food to munch on!"
And on a sidenote, Googling 'treehugger' gets a ridiculous number of hits of people hugging trees. Literally. Ah, the wonder of the Internets, that system of tubes that allows the environmentally-minded to post pictures of themselves hugging trees.

Pictured above: a tree, yet unhugged, in my yard.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Playlist for POW

Zut alors, my peoples, it's been a busy week or so, so much that I'm scarcely keeping up with state politics. But that must wait for someone with an attention span - which is not me at the moment.

Instead, I offer the most recent playlist gracing my ITunes collection, custom-made for the pissed off woman in your life:
  1. Long Shot, Aimee Mann
  2. That's Just What You Are, Aimee Mann
  3. Goodbye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye), Van Morrison
  4. Heard it All Before, Sunshine Anderson
  5. You'll Never Change, Bettye Lavette
  6. Superhero, Ani Difranco
  7. So Much for the Afterflow, Everclear
  8. Santa Monica, Everclear
  9. My Favorite Mistake, Sheryl Crow
  10. Call and Answer, Barenaked Ladies
  11. I Need You, the Eurythmics
  12. I Will Survive, Cake
  13. Haze of Love, Cake
  14. Me-Jane, PJ Harvey
  15. F--- and Run, Liz Phair
  16. In State, Kathleen Edwards
  17. Tyrone, Erykah Badu
  18. Think (About It), Lyn Collins
  19. You Were the Dog, Irma Thomas
  20. Chain of Fools, Aretha Franklin