Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lots of light

I think all summer I'm going to be remarking on the amount of light we have up here. It's 11:30 and I can still see the light on the horizon out my window. Buck and I went on an eight mile or so walk yesterday and then had herding today. We both did well in herding class, but he definitely did a better job than I did. I might have a bit of video with the both of us later this week.

I got into a class I need for work at the last minute, so I'll be going to California from May 11th-16th, specifically Anaheim not far from Disneyland. I registered for the class, and booked the hotel, plane ticket and boarding for Buck all this afternoon before taking off for herding class. I'm glad I got into the class though. It's good timing to do it now since I'll need it for work I'll be doing this summer and the only other time it's offered is in July. It'd be in between people coming to visit, but just barely, and I need that week to get things ready and work a few extra hours so that I can skip out early a couple days. Being in Las Vegas would not be helpful.

Anyway, since I'm always talking about the sun being up for forever here, I thought I could offer some photographic explanation. Namely that the sun arcs so much that it doesn't really 'go down' as much as go across the sky. Heh! Here's proof using Mount Susitna as a reference point:

This is probably around 8 pm or so.

This is around 9:15-9:30 pm

Just before 10 pm

It's also super apparent if you are sitting on my couch and the sun is not in your eyes, then in your eyes, then goes from the far left of the wall of windows to the far right before setting. Heh!

The rest of the pictures from the walk are here. If you look for the Slideshow button at the upper right of that page, you can view them all in a larger window in original size. It even scrolls through for you.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Birthday fame

Buck and I went for a walk in the snow and met up with a dude that had a camera. I was taking pictures so it didn't seem too weird when he was taking pictures of us- Buck is pretty cute. He was doing it from a distance-not being creepy or intrusive. I went over to say 'hi' (because people do that here) and it turned out to be a video camera and he was from the Anchorage Daily News. He asked if I minded if he asked me some questions and filmed me. Not being much of a wall flower, I said, 'Sure, why not.'

Anyway, it's up on the Daily News' web site- the Spring Snowstorm video- I'm on in the last twenty seconds, so you won't have to suffer long. Snow pants and puffy, huge coat were being worn, so no judging! LOL!

Oh, and here's the full set of the snow pictures.

A few more snow pictures

Just because it's fun to be able to toss up pictures of a foot and a half of snow when everyone else is looking at flowers and mowing grass. :)

Action shot- the Incredible Bouncing Buck

Uh, can I just say that I'm really happy with my carport today?

Buck likes to dig under the snow to see what he can find.

I liked how weighted down the trees were.

I had to scrape some snow off this bench so Buck could sit on it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

April blizzards bring June flowers?

I'm guessing it's going to be something like that. LOL! It's 11pm and Buck and I just made our trip out before bed. It's still snowing, though not as hard as it has been. But it's already 18 inches deep in most places, so we'll see how much more we get by tomorrow morning. The snowplows haven't been around that I can tell, so the roads are officially a mess. Hopefully they are just waiting for it to stop and then they will be out. I may walk up to the grocery store near by to get a few things. I have enough food to last the weekend, but I'd like to make some strawberry shortcake and I don't have all the ingredients for the shortcake part.

We're at 18 inches and it's still coming down.

I took this one while level with Buck to try to show how high it was on him. It's nearly to his chin even when he's sitting. LOL! I carved him out a little spot and he helped me dig (he loves digging in the snow).

If April showers bring May flowers...

...what do April blizzards bring? 'Cause May is only five days away and we're up to ten inches. And it's still falling. Hard. They say it's going to keep coming until morning. They've also bumped up the projected amount to fifteen inches.

The snow is already up to Buck's armpit. LOL!

Edited to add- we're now under a *heavy* snow advisory and they are talking 18-25 inches by tomorrow morning. And then maybe more all weekend long. HAHAHAHA!

Here's a couple pictures I took- the view from my windows.

Spring was when again?

March 21st, right? First day of Spring? Yeah, not so much:



*sigh* I'd love to see what that groundhog would do if he lived up here. Did I mention that I took the snow tires off my truck already? It's the law to take them off by April 30th. That's not working out well for a lot of people this year. Hopefully, they'll realize that most folks have taken them off and the roads will be kept pretty clear. Oh, well. At least Buck won't need to get the mud hosed off him every time we go outside this weekend.

Now, next week when it gets warm and it all melts again- that's another story.

I'm pretty sure that I didn't ask for snow for my birthday, so I'm not real sure what's going on. Heh!

Monday, April 21, 2008

License plate winner

And the winner was (between this blog's poll and my other geeks-only blog's poll)....

The blue mountains plate!

It'll look like this:

Apparently there are at least two other Auburn Tiger fans in Alaska because both 'AUTIGR' and 'AUT1GR' were taken.

In other news, I think I pushed myself too hard after having pneumonia and a cold and now the cold has come back in full force. Or who knows, maybe it's a new cold. Regardless, I hate it and wish it to die soon. Ugh.

Buck and I went out to the dog park on mini-hikes both days this weekend. The snow is melting quickly with our temps in the 40s and 50s and everything is a mix of slush and sludge, heavy on the sludge. Which means Buck got a bath two days in a row and will probably get another half bath (where I just wash the underside of him- though he hates it just as much) on Wednesday after herding class. Poor guy. He smells really nice though. Heh! I do use an oatmeal shampoo so that his skin doesn't get dried out. I may have to start using conditioner too if the ground doesn't dry up soon.

The sun sets at 9:30pm already and everything is melting enough that it creates a haze over everything. I haven't been able to see the mountains across the Inlet in about a week. Here's hoping break-up finishes up by May and we get some nice Spring weather.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Herding and hiking

Buck and I have had a busy week already. We drove out to Wasilla to his herding class on Wednesday. It went real well- the instructor worked with him the first time with him on a lead walking next to her. Then, the next time she let him in the ring, she let him move around on his own and showed him what she wanted. He's still getting used to it, but his instincts are good. Here are four real short clips (about 30 seconds each). My video camera wouldn't charge fast enough so I was stuck with my regular camera. I couldn't get too close to the fence because it distracts him from paying attention to what she's getting him to do.

Buck herding 1

Buck herding 2

Buck herding 3

Buck herding 4

Today we went on a hike in Chugach for about two hours. The snow was super deep in some places. I actually went into it all the way to my hip a couple times. It was kind of packed from other hikers and skiers, but not totally. It was our first hike in real powder and man, it was a heck of a work out-like hiking uphill on sand. We are both completely beat. Buck did a great job not going too far ahead and coming back right when I told him to. It's only about his third time off-leash, too. We went with a group I joined and a bunch of the other folks brought their dogs, too, but Buck stayed close to me except for a couple quick romps. He'd even walk behind me some of the time. Other times he'd whine at me- trying to get me to hurry up I think, though he was panting pretty hard. I think he'd go as fast as he could until he collapsed. He's not too great at setting a good pace. Heh! Anyway, here are a few pictures from that and there are more on the Flickr link to the right.

(Click the words to view them large)
This gives an idea of why it's called the Anchorage bowl.

This was at about 8:30 pm. Sunset wasn't until around 9:30.

Buck didn't want to hold still for a good pose in front of the mountains, so this is about the best shot I got.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Choosing a plate

So, I have Alaska plates, but I need to get a custom plate so that the 'Bama guy in town knows who to say 'Roll Tide!' to. I'm going to get AUTIGR or something along those lines (that stands for Auburn Tiger if you're a bit slow and haven't read the title of this blog). There are three styles of Alaska plates that I like (there are others that I'm not a fan of), so I leave it to others choose. Here are the pictures of them- you can vote on the poll to the right.

Blue Mountains:


Standard AK yellow:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hawai'ian Tiger??

My company sent me to training in Virginia and then to Hawai'i to meet with my team out there. I got in on a truly red eye flight at 5:30 am Hawai'i time. I had been awake since 7 am Eastern time, so that was a lot of time without sleep, but since I only had a couple days to enjoy the island, I thought I'd better get on it. I took a quick hour long power nap, had the best pineapple of my life and got out to the beach.

I vegged around a bit, but with my pale Alaskan skin, I wasn't planning on getting a tan, so I slathered on some more sunblock and went down the beach to get some surfing lessons. Now, as I like to put it, I can swim to save my life, but I've never been a huge fan of the water. Going surfing has always been something I wanted to try but I was pretty nervous. The guy showed us how to do things like stand up on the board and how if you are about to get run over, you go under water so that you don't get hurt. Not a real inspiring start. Heh! In case anyone wants to know how to get up on a surfboard, you do a push up (you are laying on it paddling), then you put both knees on it, then you put your front foot forward and your back foot back and flat on the board. Then, you just bend your knees and keep your balance. Piece of cake.

Actually, it was pretty easy- more so than I thought it would be. It helps that Waikiki has 'mellow waves' that stay the same speed and my instructor would tell me which ones were good and then would give me a good shove to start. My first wave I only got up to my knees because I wanted to see how hard it was. Wasn't bad at all, so I just started going after that. You had to dodge around a whole lot of other newbies, so it was tough to avoid them all and still stay up. One of the times I had to jump off because of someone else I bumped my knee and it gimped me up for Sunday and Monday. It was totally worth it though. Here's just one picture of that- you can click on the link at the bottom of this post for all the pictures.

After surfing, I went back to the hotel for a shower and a nap, then headed down to the bar for a few drinks. The Mai Tais were delicious, but after the fourth one and no supper I was done for the night and went up to my room and, uh, went to sleep (aka passed out).

Sunday I got up at 5 am (my sense of time was all messed up) and called my buddy, who had tried to call me the night before but I didn't hear it. We set up a time to meet and went over to Duke's for brunch. It was really good. Duke was the guy who got surfing well known and in the Olympics and such. I'd attempt to spell his last name but it's a whole lot of vowels and I can't remember the order of them. After that, he drove me around the island in his wife's new red convertible Porsche (she turns 40 this year so he bought it for her to cheer her up- heh!). It was great- he knew all the best places to stop to take pictures. He took me to Magnum PI's house! Other than the surfing that was definitely the highlight of my time in Hawai'i. Hee! Not everyone knows where the house is and you can only see it when you go up the beach a ways- then you can see it from the back. It's not nearly as big as it looks on TV, and it's really rundown for some reason. I think it's weird because it's on a prime piece of beach front, so you think someone would be living in it. Anyway, here's a picture of Magnum's cottage. This is mainly his balcony that you're looking at.

As we were driving back to his place, we saw a boar that someone had killed on the interior of the island. I thought that was cool, so here's a picture of that. If you look close you can see the big dog under it that must have helped take it down.

We chilled on the beach near his place until the rain came back (it rained off and on all day) and we went back to his place. We didn't see Mathew Fox (the main character from Lost) but they've seen him out there a few times with his wife and kids. He lives up the road from them.

Monday and Tuesday I worked and was all sunburnt from the car ride (the dumb clouds tricked me- and I know better!) so that's pretty much all I did. I did see them feed the penguins that were in one of the gardens in my hotel's complex. Don't worry, they're African penguins, so they like the heat. Here's a picture of them:

Here's a link to the rest of the pictures so that this doesn't get too crazy. I pared it down to only 39 pictures, not counting the surfing ones, so it's not too crazy.If you click this link and then hit 'View as slideshow' on the right, it will scroll through all the pictures in a big size.

I have to say that I thought it was really pretty, but with how much housing and a lot of things cost and not having more than one season, I'd never want to live there. I'll take the 49th state over the 50th any day of the week. :)