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December 31, 2003

return from the final frontier

so we arrived back this morning, mr springer was nice enough to pick us up from the airport, then i raced shannen home and drove straight to work to work a double. i'm on my break between shifts right now.
so after experiencing alaska during the winter, i must say that i prefer the summers. when it warmed up to the high 20s and low thirties, that was fine temperature wise, but 6 hours of sunlight a day made me feel lethargic and lazy. everyone there drinks like madmen all winter long, and i couldn't stop thinking of the reasonable weather we have done here in the lower 48.
highlites from AK:
snowboarding with shannen's brother and cousin
climbing at the rockgym in anchorage (not as good as rocksport, but superfun nonetheless)
the first day we drove into anchorage and the sun was breaking through the clouds while the hitchhiker in the backseat told us about his life
eating at the same thai restaurant aaron and i ate at, then drinking at the blue fox again.
not having to work.
now that i'm back, i have a list of stuff i must accomplish before i leave for israel on the 29th. we'll see how much i can get done.
tonight, maybe some atomiks, maybe some wandering the streets of reno as the year dies. everyone be well, be safe, but still be crazy.

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December 29, 2003

a balmy 19 degrees

so yesterday awoke around 8:30, sat and read some of nickle and dimed: on (not) getting by in america, by Barbara Ehrenreich, an excellent book that i found enlightening, inspiring, and depressing. the author spent several months living in various cities around america working the best low wage job should could get while not using her college degrees and experience, to examine how difficult it is to survive in america making slightly above the minimum wage. not that anyone listens to advice on what books to read when looking at blogs, but it's damn good and anyone living near me can borrow my copy. online there's even a .net with links and resources to issues related to the book. i personally envisioned myself doing a similar project living homeless in reno or checking out all the people living in motels in my city. we'll see what happens with that.
anyways, georgie, shannen's brother, arrived around 10, with his cousin eric in tow. they threw on their snowboard apparel and we drove the 2 minutes up the road to alyeska, one of the most popular resorts in this part of alaska. it was a sunday, and i vainly had hopes of hidden powder stashes, but that was not to be. the snow was drier then it is in the sierras, and the mountain very steep, so we had fun cruising from jump to jump, though i did a lot more butt-checking then landing. i blame it on the 5 times i've been snowboarding in the past 3 years. it'll come back soon enough though.
shannen picked me up and we drove out to wasilla to have dinner with her father and stepmom. they lived in a nice neighborhood, including a snow mobile (snow machine as they say up here), which we didn't get to ride, actually we chickened out cause it was freezing cold.
we had a nice dinner at an italian restaurant and chatted, then shannen and i drove back down to girdwood. i was impressed that folks still drove 70 mph on the highways what with ice and everything, and shannen even said she didn't hink i could have handled the last 30 minute stretch, driving over avalanched snow, but i think i would have made it.
today i relaxed and read all morning and played with the dog, now we're headed out to go climb at the rock gym and maybe eat at this chinese/thai restaurant that aaron and i ate at 2 summers ago. i remember thinking it was the best thing ever, maybe i was just starved for tofu.

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December 27, 2003

greetings from 2 degrees

so it's nearing 9 oclock, and the sun is just now beginning to show some light above the horizon. the roof must have nearly 3 feet of snow piled on top, as do many of the buried cars stranded around girdwood, where we're staying, as well as in anchorage. i said i wouldn't complain about the temperature, and i'm not, but it's amazing how when you step outside, your first few breaths are so crisp as to startle and almost hurt.
in hindsight we should have spent the extra 40 bucks and got the more direct route, instead of flying through denver and having a 3 hour layover there, which made christmas day seem so much longer then it had to be. it was nice though, got some reading done, hung out with shannen and goofed around in airports, then finally we landed in anchorage and her folks were right there to meet us.
i told shannen as we were boarding the flight that you can tell alaskan people apart from the rest of the country. i guess i had it easy cause i could see who was getting on the plane, but in truth they all had a comfortable air to them, the going home feeling, plus they all had down jackets and pale pale faces. when the stewardess couldn't find my special vegetarian meal option, the lady seated across from us gave me a clif bar.
we were wiped out from flying all day and our faces hurt from laughing, so shortly after we got back to shannen's folks' house we turned in. the next day i awoke at my customary 8 oclock time, but was confused, as it was still pitch black out. shannen awoke next to me and i asked her the time, and she confirmed that i wasn't going so crazy. we whipped up some potatoes for breakfast and come 11 or so, it was mostly light out, though here in girdwood, which is 30 miles south of anchorage, you're situated in a valley, so it's cloudy and foggy quite often.
everything is recognizable, as i knew it would be, as long as you imagine it free from it's feet deep snow cover. driving down the alyeska highway, i remembered the girdwood forest fair, all the people dancing around in the sun. i viewed from the car window evergreens bent from the weight of snow, and icicles hanging from every manmade surface. it's good to be up here in the winter, all the good summer memories flood back, as will the winter ones next summer.
as we pulled onto the highway, there was a guy hitchhiking on the side of the road. of course we pulled over to pick him up, because in alaska everyone hitchhikes and most people stop to give rides. there isn't the fear you have in the lower 48, at least i don't have it, and the guy we gave the ride to turned out to be an affable, down home alaska sorta dude. he had just nearly died in an auto accident with a state snowplow, and was moving into a roominghouse in anchorage till his girlfriend got back from wisconsin, so that he could get to his job as a subaru mechanic (he said he was unsurprised that we had picked him up in a subaru). we dropped him off at fred meyers (fred meyers!), and then went looking for climbing shoes.
we spent the day, which consisted of sun from 10:30 or so until 4:30, buzzing around anchorage, looking in thrift and used clothing stores running errands (no climbing shoes yet, tomorrow gonna hunt some more). before driving back out here we grabbed a beer at the office bar, which is purported to have a bar that rotates but was broken when we went in. it had that sleazy vegas feel i love so well, though the right wing propaganda spewing from fox news turned me off a bit.
on arriving back out here, we walked to the chair 5 restaurant and grabbed dinner and a few pitchers of IPA. on the way there as well as the walk home there was much throwing of snowballs and i managed to hit the telephone line, which was encased in snow and ice, causing the cover to fall off for the entire length of that section and looking very cool indeed.
today we will go to the anchorage museum with shannen's brother, who just turned 21. then we will have dinner at the glacier brewhouse, which i haven't been to, though i'm assured that the food is as good as the beer, which is excellent.

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December 24, 2003

though i'm no christian

though i'm no christian, i have heard this song twice in the past two weeks, called merry christmas from the family, the lyrics are good but better is to actually hear it, i'm trying to find a link but can't seem to locate any to an audio stream.
tomorrow shannen and i leave for alaska, bringing my snowboard, my climbing gear to try out the indoor gym there, and a new how to speak hebrew book shannen got me. i received tons of cool gifts for the holidays, and i feel very fortunate to have spent a good bit of time with the families.
this will be the first time i'll have left reno since i went to mexico in september, wow that's a long ass time.

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December 23, 2003

damn addicting games

so shannen showed me addictinggames.com, and all morning i've been playing slime volleyball. made it to the second level, but can't beat the angry red slime. give it a try.

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jessica lynch captures hussein?

check out this funny story but a mr. palast, seems i need to be reading more of his stuff.
the last 3 years i have managed to be outside of the u.s. during holiday season, so this year it has hit me rather forcefully how much i dislike the wrath of stress and emotions that permeate the air. my father and i were talking, he finds that he worries a bunch about whether he as remembered to buy gifts for everyone, go to all the holiday parties, and bring food for all the people at several of the places he works at. seeing everyone stressed out makes me long for mexico, where people were more concerned with hanging out with their families and lighting firecrackers in the street.
i shouldn't moan about the u.s. though, i'm making a bunch of money serving and i get to leave in 2 days for alaska with shannen. i'm taking my snowboard, though the temperature is a balmy 15 degrees. also plan to check out their rock gym, been climbing a bunch here with mr. springer, also getting my buddy joey dahl back into the sport after a laziness hiatus.
so things are alright. going to israel sooner and sooner, will spend a few days with owen down in l.a. before i fly out, check out the scene.
alright, off to do some situps, trying to kill my holiday vegan weight gain.

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December 18, 2003

shannen's new addiction

so i helped get shannen's comp working again, and now she's gone and got herself addicted to this solitaire game. truth is, i'm rapidly becoming addicted myself.

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December 17, 2003

the ultimate in bad taste for the holidays

got off work early, waiting for shannen to give me a call, so i give the internet a little of my time. this is what it rewarded me with. (caution: in really bad taste, i.e. perhaps my folks wouldn't like it so well. also, must have speakers)

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December 16, 2003

culturjammers encyclopedia

came across this while researching a possible article about anti-consumerist sentiment about christmas. not sure i'm gonna be able to pull an article off, but this encyclopedia looks like it deserves further reading.

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December 09, 2003

ms mott's blog: eloquent

so ms. molly mott, minden debutante extraordinaire, has had a nice internerd journal going for some time now. thanks to the return of internet access at shannen's house (much love to the morton brothers for helping to facilitate this glorious development), i find myself sitting here at this very moment, basking in molly's wordiness. it's quite nice to read, and i like that i'm not the only one who writes about NPR. hehe.
what else.. oh yeah, confirmed to go to israel the 1st of february. this means that i will be missing my birthday in reno 3 years out of 4, it's worth it so much though. plus will be spending an additional 10 days in israel hanging out with my friend Ran Rimon, eating vast quantities of falafels and maybe doing some scuba diving. he always boasted that the sinai is way better then the carribean for seeing fishes, perhaps we shall see.

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December 08, 2003

The return of get your war on

so i saw a review for the new book my new fighting technique is unstoppable, the same comic strip from the guy who does get your war on. I had stopped checking cause he got a deal with rolling stone magazine to write comics for them, and i tried twice but could never find the comics on their crappy website. anyways, i came home after climbing tonight (totally destroyed my hands, they're bleeding from 5 different spots. cool.) and fired get your war on up, and lo and behold, two new pages of comics. the first is longer, but the third comic down on the second page kicks ass.

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December 05, 2003

i'm a believer

so i was lucky enough to get an early hanukkah present of a pair of northwave mountain biking shoes from my pops, and then lucky as well that the good man casey clark gifted me with an extra pair of spd pedals he had hanging around, so now i'm officially locked the hell in to my road bike. after getting them set up correctly, i promptly fell over on my knee. fortunately i was moving at a scant 3 mph, so i didn't hurt myself so bad. hurt worse was my pride, as shannen was in attendance and mirthfully chuckled as i struggled briefly to get out of the damn things and back on my feet. i made a few more adjustments, and found myself tearing around the block, using both legs on every pedal, one to push down as before, but now one to pull up. i think after my first long ride i'll be feeling fatigue in leg muscles i've never used before. exciting! i'm kinda glad i'll be getting used to the pedals while riding my roadie, so that when i finally do strap the suckers onto my single speed mountain bike and go hauling down hills, i'll be better aquainted with getting out of them, or at the least, falling over more gracefully.

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will try and put more stuff up to look at

starting with these jack handy quotes.

Jack Handy Quotes

If they ever come up with a swashbuckling School, I think one of the courses should be Laughing, Then Jumping Off Something.
When you're riding in a time machine way far into the future, don't stick your elbow out the window, or it'll turn into a fossil.
It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.
One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.
A good way to threaten somebody is to light a stick of dynamite. Then you call the guy and hold the burning fuse up to the phone. "Hear that?" you say. "That's dynamite, baby."
Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out.
I wish I had a Kryptonite cross, because then you could keep both Dracula AND Superman away.
I don't think I'm alone when I say I'd like to see more and more planets fall under the ruthless domination of our solar system.
Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.
Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.
I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.
I guess we were all guilty, in a way. We all shot him, we all skinned him, and we all got a complimentary bumper sticker that said, "I helped skin Bob."
I bet the main reason the police keep people away from a plane crash is they don't want anybody walking in and lying down in the crash stuff, then, when somebody comes up, act like they just woke up and go, "What was THAT?!"
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I'm a coward.
I bet one legend that keeps recurring throughout history, in every culture, is the story of Popeye.
When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.
To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.
What is it that makes a complete stranger dive into an icy river to save a solid gold baby? Maybe we'll never know.
Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.
I think someone should have had the decency to tell me the luncheon was free. To make someone run out with potato salad in his hand, pretending he's throwing up, is not what I call hospitality.
To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kind of scary. I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad.
Most people don't realize that large pieces of coral, which have been painted brown and attached to the skull by common wood screws, can make a child look like a deer.
If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you're coming home his face might burn up.
You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who made people happy, but inside he's real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.
Sometimes when I feel like killing someone, I do a little trick to calm myself down. I'll go over to the persons house and ring the doorbell. When the person comes to the door, I'm gone, but you know what I've left on the porch? A jack-o-lantern with a knife stuck in the side of it's head with a note that says "You."
If you ever teach a yodeling class, probably the hardest thing is to keep the students from just trying to yodel right off. You see, we build to that.
Anytime I see something screech across a room and latch onto someone's neck, and the guy screams and tries to get it off, I have to laugh, because what is that thing?
If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did." 12-Jack Handy Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant. It's a shark riding on an elephant's back, just trampling and eating everything they see.
If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I'd say Flippy, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong, though. It's Hambone.
Laurie got offended that I used the word "puke." But to me, that's what her dinner tasted like.
I wish a robot would get elected president. That way, when he came to town, we could all take a shot at him and not feel too bad.
Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant, and she fell on me. Then it wouldn't seem quite so funny.
If you go parachuting, and your parachute doesn't open, and you friends are all watching you fall, I think a funny gag would be to pretend you were swimming.
When I was a kid my favorite relative was Uncle Caveman. After school we'd all go play in his cave, and every once in a while he would eat one of us. It wasn't until later that I found out that Uncle Caveman was a bear.
I wonder if Dracula ever has ticks.
I bet it's hard to break farmers of the old superstitions like "Tornado got Old Yeller, stay in the cellar."
Blow ye winds, Like the trumpet blows; But without that noise.
To me, it's always a good idea to always carry two sacks of something when you walk around. That way, if anybody says, "Hey, can you give me a hand?," you can say, "Sorry, got these sacks."
I think a good gift for the president would be a chocolate revolver. And since he's so busy, you'd probably have to run up to him and hand it to him.
If I had a mine shaft, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way.
I think man invented the car by instinct.
I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire.
I think there should be something in science called the "reindeer effect." I don't know what it would be, but I think it'd be good to hear someone say, "Gentlemen, what we have here is a terrifying example of the reindeer effect."
I saw on this nature show how the male elk douses himself with urine to smell sweeter to the opposite sex. What a coincidence!
I think it's high time we started questioning the old cliches like "Grunt big for Daddy."
Anybody who has an identity problem had better wise up and get with the program!
Folks still remember the day ole Bob Riley came bouncing down that dirt road in his pickup. Pretty soon, it was bouncing higher and higher. The tires popped, and the shocks broke, but that truck kept bouncing. Some say it bounced clean over the moon, but whoever says that is a goddamn liar.
Laugh, clown, laugh. This is what I tell myself whenever I dress up like Bozo.
Any man, in the right situation, is capable of murder. But not any man is capable of being a good camper. So, murder and camping are not as similar as you might think.
The prince decided he would learn anger. So he gathered his subjects together outside his balcony. "Who would teach me anger?" he said. "Fuck you!" somebody yelled. "Okay, how about algebra?" said the prince.
I read that when the archaeologists dug down into the ancient cemetary, they found fragments of *human bones*! What kind of barbarians were these people, anyway?
I'll be the first to admit that my idea of God is pretty different. I believe in a God with a long white beard, a gold crown, and a long robe with lots of shiny jewels on it. He sits on a big throne in the clouds, and He's about five hundred feet tall. He talks in a real deep voice like "I...AM...GOD!" He can blow up stuff just by looking at it. This is my own, personal idea of God. Marta says the interesting thing about fly-fishing is that it's two lives connected by a thin strand. Come on, Marta. Grow up.
Here's a good trick: Get a job as a judge at the Olympics. Then, if some guy sets a world record, pretend that you didn't see it and go, "Okay, is everybody ready to start now?"
I hope, when they die, cartoon characters have to answer for their sins.
If you're a cowboy and you're dragging a guy behind your horse, I bet it would really make you mad if you looked back and the guy was reading a magazine.
One thing vampire children have to be taught early on is, don't run with a wooden stake.
The tired and thirsty prospector threw himself down at the edge of the watering hole and started to drink. But then he looked around and saw skulls and bones everywhere. "Uh-oh," he thought. "This watering hole is reserved for skeletons."
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
If you ever catch on fire, try to avoid seeing yourself in the mirror, because I bet that's what REALLY throws you into a panic
If you ever reach total enlightenment while you're drinking a beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose
As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it
I hope some animal never bores a hole in my head and lays its eggs in my brain, because later you might think you're having a good idea, but it's just eggs hatching
Whenever you read a good book, it's like the author is right there, in the room talking to you, which is why I don't like to read good books
During the Middle Ages, probably one of the biggest mistakes was not putting on your armor because you were "just going down to the corner."
When I found the skull in the woods, the first thing I did was call the police. But then I got curious about it. I picked it up, and started wondering who this person was, and why he had deer horns
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don't know what your rights are, or who the person is you're talking to. Then on the way out, slam the door
Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
Consider the daffodil. And while you're doing that, I'll be over here, looking through your stuff
For mad scientists who keep brains in jars, here's a tip: Why not add a slice of lemon to each jar, for freshness?
I hope that after I die, people will say of me: "That guy sure owed me a lot of money."

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December 01, 2003

too busy to read

i realized i was too busy when i noticed i wasn't reading as much. Since finishing university, i have been tearing through whatever books i want. while travelling, i actually felt sort of uncomfortable if i didn't have something good to read. one time i was stuck on a peninsula in western costa rica with nothing but oprah book club books, and combine that with long bus and ferry rides, and you'll find one antsy dan.
i'm working on camus, starting with the stranger. truth is, it's great, but a little down to be reading in the fall. can't remember who it was i was talking with one time, but it was decided that some books are only meant to be read in the winter. the lord of the rings for instance, i tried to reread the first of the series when i was lounging on a beach in greece, and it didn't work at all. seems like that would be the perfect book to read in alaska.

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