Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Announcing our First, and Possibly Last, Poll Ever

Now, take a moment and tell me where this picture was taken.

Anchorage? Wasilla? Suburban Insert-Name-of-Major-City-Here?

Nope, nope, and nope. This, my peoples, is a shot taken this morning at Squarebank's own bit of big box store/chain store Hell sprawl out by the Steese Highway. Note the Carl's Jr.1 in the background, which accompanies the Chili's (blag!) and the most recent addition to culinary excellence, yet another McDonald's.

It is also the subject of our first ever poll! What is the best epithet nickname for our shiny new homage to conspicuous consumption? Your choices are at right - and if you have a better one, by which I mean a funnier or nastier one, please share in the comments section.

1Photo taken while driving the Soob in that neck of the (former) woods. Had I more time and the stomach to remain in the area doing laps for better pictures, I would've definitely captured what is to me a new phenomenon: two lane drive-thrus. Seriously, at any given moment of the day, cars are lined up in side by side drive-thrus? When did this become normal?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful: An Alaskan Post T-Day List

Happy T-Day my peoples. And not to go all fluffy bunny on ya, but we have many reasons to be thankful, or at the least, much less cranky:

On the personal level, we didn't run out of propane while cooking yesterday's meal. When I ran out to Goldstream Store, I took along a spare bottle because I'd checked the bottle in use and it was rather light. Scary. But getting propane there is dicey; only one employee is on shift at a time, so you have to hit the store at the exact time that no one other than you and said employee are present so the employee can lock up the store, walk out to the big tank, and fill yours. There was no way that was gonna happen yesterday. So, I went home having purchased some mayonnaise (the original reason for the trip) and we broke out the trusty Coleman to conserve the propane for the bird.

A few weeks ago, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed a victory of sorts to the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council which had been fighting to prevent Coeur Alaska from dumping several million tons of mine tailings into Lower Slate Lake. When was the last time Alaskan environmentalists had a victory? I say of 'victory of sorts' because Coeur could go ahead and appeal the decision to the Supreme Court and we all know how long a deep-pocketed resource extraction corporation can keep things in court. [Cough.] Exxon bastards.

Palin. Okay, I admit it, I like her. (But not in that way, pervy dudes out there.) But as a voter who refuses to declare a party but tends to vote for the Dems, I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you. Who, who on earth would have imagined back in the days of Frank the Bank that we'd have a Republican governor who would take on Big Oil and get the PPT raised to 25 percent? Oh sure, she had a unique opportunity because of the Corrupt Bastards trials - but she led on this one. At this point, Alaska Democrats ought to just write off the office of governor for a while.

Palin is so universally popular, she could get caught on video taking a bong hit while wearing a PETA t-shirt at a dinner of farm-raised salmon served at a same-sex couple's commitment ceremony and she'd still get elected. [Ed. note: this sentence became its own paragraph on Nov. 27. Chalk it up to a case of amusing oneself.]

Shishmaref did not get washed out to sea, thanks to the timely arrival of some slush ice. Which is a good thing for everyone except that news crew that went out there to cover the storm's arrival in the fashion of disaster weather journalism down south.

Only 423 days left in G. Dubyah's presidency!

Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, we have muktuk!
Above: Taters boiling on the trusty $10 Coleman which is sitting on a cable reel, outhouse in the background, Christmas tree lights above. Was there ever a more typical Squarebanks scene? I think not. At least 15 CabinDwelling points.

At right: Muktuk! Served yesterday with soy sauce and wasabi. Quyana!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tagged: Seven Weird Things About Me

The following are brought to you courtesy of Theresa, who tagged me as part of the 'Seven Weird Things About Me' thing. It was difficult to limit myself to only seven:
  1. My second toes are longer than my big toes.
  2. As a kid in the suburbs practicing karate at a pretty traditional Japanese school, they actually taught me the sword kata to assist someone committing seppuku (suicide.) I remember practicing it (the kata) before a belt test.
  3. Not only am I a music addict, I get completely infatuated with songs/albums on occasion and play them repeatedly until I drive everyone around me crazy.
  4. I find women who play bass hot.
  5. I'm convinced that one could have a kicking bluegrass band that adapted classic ska and punk songs. And I plan to take up mandolin before I turn 40.
  6. When brushing my teeth, I also brush my tongue, having being brought up to do so because supposedly it helps keep bad breath at bay.
  7. I'm 25 percent Greek, 25 percent hillbilly (of probable Scots Irish or English extraction) and 50 percent Belgian. The practical consequences of this are olive skin, a certain degree of hirsuteness, and a fondness for bourbon. Flic believes it also brings a certain knack for making biscuits.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Refurbishing underway

With a year and change into this whole blog thing, it's time for a few renovations. So expect to see some weird formatting stuff on occasion - the look is going to change, some of the links are going to change... and sometimes it might look totally FUBARed. Actually, that might occur frequently.

Am proceeding with no exact plan in mind, other than wanting to change the look.

Am not necessarily happy with the readability of the text in the header, but please see above.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Prohibiting Dumpster Diving: can we just toss this lousy idea?

Wow, if you've been following this in the FDNM, or over at the Ester Republic, or wherever else this one has drawn the hue and cry of greater Squarebanksia -- people get really irate when you entertain the notion to stop them from scavenging at the transfer sites.

Sure, in theory you'll get those folks rummaging in the actual trash bins to stop doing so, [insert requisite public health message here], but you'll put a stop to that fine tradition of building a cabin or adding on to your existing one with materials entirely scavenged from the transfer site.

It will also quash my dreams of somehow building a sauna that way. You can't steal a woman's dream like that. What's next? Kicking puppies?

As someone who is now only an occasional, opportunistic (as opposed to a habitual) recycler of unwanted goods, I must add that this one is such a no-brainer that I can't believe anyone is taking the suggestion seriously. But then again, I thought much the same thing before we elected1 G. Dubyah Bush the first time.

As well as the second. The civics lesson here is never assume that an idea is so bad it won't advance to actual implementation. (Hmmm. Iran, anyone?)

For the record, last weekend, we found this nice collection of household wares perfect for the S.O.'s UAF-attending sister. Someone had thoughtfully placed said wares in an empty Miller Lite box in the reuse area.

The sad thing is, the reuse area at the transfer site is the closest thing we have to a proper recycling effort around here. We're keeping perfectly usable stuff out of the landfill, a landfill, I might add, where we now send formerly recycled items from our now sadly minimal recycling program like paper, cardboard and glass. The borough was supposedly working on this, but that effort seems to have withered away.

1Yes, I know, technically we didn't elect him.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

To be played over the next Big Oil commercial

Tired, incensed, ready to shoot the teevee the next time one of Big Oil's cinematographically exquisite bits of propaganda comes on?1 Turn down the volume and cue up this tune on your computer, or iPod, or if you are something of a Luddite like me, your CD player.

Play it very loudly. It really makes the experience quite tolerable.

Propaganda, by The Slackers:
So, tell me more about my situation
and evil men, who are coming for my nation
and evil forces, who are coming for my freedom
secret Congress, nobody ever see them from propaganda

Now, it's everywhere I look,
it's propaganda (propaganda)
it's just like history books,
propaganda (propaganda),
everywhere I go

Hey, mister, (mister, please)...
would you tell me what you know?
hey, mister,
c'mon tell me what you know?

Since somebody wants to make a confrontation
they won't get no play on your radio station
and they will get no time on the television,
word's been sent down from the owner corporation

Propaganda (propaganda)
now, it's everywhere I go,
it's propaganda (propaganda)
it's on my TV shows,
propaganda (propaganda),
everywhere I go

Hey, mister, (mister please)
c'mon tell me what you know?
Hey, mister,
can tell me what you know?

I'll tell you what I know:

When your Congressmen to your President,
are all businessmen just scheming
and telling who's your enemy and who's your friend
well, I'm not sure that I believe them.

The streetside posters are encouraging me peeping
to report my local terrorists and the company they're keeping

It's propaganda (propaganda)
now, it's everywhere I look,
it's propaganda (propaganda)
man, it's just like in history books,
propaganda (propaganda),
it's everywhere I go.

Well, hey, mister, (mister please)
c'mon tell me what you know?

Now who are they, in Guantanamo Bay, sir?
'cause there ain't no names and no crimes written in my paper
the racial prisioner, who is wondering what his charge is
secret meetings, in taxi cab garages

Propaganda (propaganda)
now, it's everywhere I go,
you know, the propaganda (propaganda)
man, it's on my radio,
propaganda (Propaganda),
everywhere I go.

Hey, mister, (mister please)
c'mon tell me what you know?
hey, mister,
can tell me what you know?
This would also make a fine background to the next State of the Union address. Or progress on the war briefing.

Actually, it would be fine for any number of occasions.

1A la Elvis. I figure this is a real possibility up here. Once, explaining the differences between progressives in Alaska and those from the Lower 48 (and it's not just that many of us eat meat) I summarized saying, "Up here, even the liberals have guns."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

APRN tackles blogs in Alaska, sort of

I tuned into APRN's Talk of Alaska, one of my favorite shows, this morning hoping to hear some interesting discussion on the topics of blogs with Steve "Primal" Heimel.

My hopes, and I'm fully willing to admit that that my reaction may be colored by the onset of seasonal bitchiness disorder, were dashed. The converstation began with a "wow, check out these new things called blogs" tack, followed by a brief stay at the mainstream media v. unchecked amateurs (that would be us) theme, and ended up settling into "are the bloggers being too mean to Vic Kohring?" and staying there.

No, we're not being too mean to Kohring, or any of the other Corrupt Bastards, for that matter. Most of what I have read about the topic hasn't come across as personal attacks, or the 'piling on' phenomena common to those crazy right-wing talk radio types -- it's been pure outrage. And as much as I hate bumper sticker slogans, if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

TOA had on Alaskan bloggers Phil Munger and Steve Aufrecht (who have covered the Vic Kohring trial extensively in a way that makes me jealous.) Munger has started a new "Progressive Alaska" blog - welcome, by the way - which I'm looking forward to adding to my daily reading. If anything, perhaps it will mitigate extreme disdain for Wasilla.

I've promised Flic that I will host a Corrupt Bastards party if and when either Uncled Ted or Ben Stevens gets convicted of something. I confess that I'm a little scared at the idea of the possibility that Uncle Ted might get got. Or, as Flic might say, "Kott."

Because yes, he is rather a cranky, old (possibly Corrupt) bastard. But he is our cranky, old, (possibly Corrupt) earmark-bringing bastard. Perhaps the FBI could just settle for Jim Clark? Or according to local rumor, TCC?