It was a good New Year here at the top of the world. It began at about Texas-Midnight when Maria Falvey posted one of my old Blackberry pictures to her blog. She cropped the picture perfectly and just generally made it much better. So, I was pretty psyched as I headed out at 11;30 to watch the fireworks. Course I didn’t realize the fireworks actually start before midnight, so I could see them going off as I walked down to the lagoon where the whole event took place. Luckily, there was plenty of bang to be had last night, so I still made it in time to see plenty of cool pyrotechnics.
I tried to get some videos of the fireworks, but my camera kept freezing up. It wasn’t working at all during the grand finale. Still, it was pretty cool standing just about directly under some of the blasts, but I have to admit the Aurora may have pwned the whole display shortly thereafter. Conditions (which include a bad photographer and a camera that wanted to hide in my pocket) were less than ideal, but I finally got some pics of the Northern Lights worth showing.
So, I walked over to the elementary school to watch the last night of the Winter games. This is an annual event here in Barrow, the community spends a week on a variety of odd contests late at night, all of it ending with the New Year. Tonight, the contest was between singles men and married men, and the same for women. The women were neck-a-neck, but the single men were getting their asses kicked. If only I had the courage to go down there and join in, …then I guess I would have to say that WE got our asses kicked.
…and I guess we did anyway.
Suffice to say, I stayed in the stands last night, but I had fun just the same, as did most everyone I could see.
Things got started a little after 1:00am in the morning and they were still going strong when I wimped out at about 4:00am. Anyhow, the photo-gallery is just below, and I’ve included a few videos afterwards. You may click on a picture to embiggen it. I don’t know everyone featured below, so if anyone from Barrow sees themselves and prefers not to be featured here, speak up and I will be happy to take your picture down. In any event, it was a great evening, and I really enjoyed all the activities.
Happy New Year everybody!
A brief clip of fireworks.
Both the men and the women have moved on to new games.
If you’re curious about the counting in this one, it’s because no-one had stepped up to challenge the singles-guy on the neck-pull. A ten-count is essentially a way of saying step-up or it’s over.
I don’t recall what this men’s game is called, but the women’s challenge in this one looks especially tough.
Ship Creek Trail near downtown Anchorage is always good for a nice walk, even in the winter. It’s at least a little odd, because there are always factories and warehouses just beyond the trees, and of course downtown is never far away, but the trees and the water work their magic quite wonderfully.
In the summer a small shack sells fishing gear near the bottom of the trail, and a good day will see plenty of people hoping to catch something, or perhaps to just pass a little time with a rod in hand. Alongside the shack, one finds an upscale restaurant on a low bridge, all of this under an overpass. The end result is an oddly rustic (almost rural) scene nestled snug into a concrete frame. The restaurant is only open for 3-months of the year
I’ve wandered down this route a time or three now and managed to get a few decent pictures. So, let’s see…
(If you click it, it will grow!)
Ship Creek in August
Ship Creek in December
Just how hot was Vegas this June? Well, just ask the pigeons.
Seriously, ask the pigeons.
My Vegas vacation this year wasn’t entirely a story of hyper-heatitation (it’s a word now, dammit!). My Vegas Vegation was also a story of big-ass moons, …which I failed to capture, of my friend’s Pathfinder campaign, and my Sister’s new truck. Before that it was a story of her grand-daughter, and of course it was also a story of street-performers and odd museums. It was definitely a story of Mongolian grills, Korean BBQ, and of the Komol Kitchen, …which makes the best Tom Yum Ghai Soup in the fricking Milky Way. It was also a few stories best left untold.
Okay, the untold stories aren’t that exciting. No slot machines were hassled and no hangovers were harmed in the preparations for this post.
But, more to the point, it was also a story of street art. Of course, I had already covered much of the street art in Vegas here and here. I did manage to find a few pieces I hadn’t covered before, including a wonderful historical piece in Henderson by an artist named Giuseppe Abriu. Some of them even appear to be new. So, without further mumbly -gumbo…
I’m busy flying about with a small cadre of students (got to catch up on some comments from earlier posts), but I thought I’d share a couple photos with a nice bit of contrast. Okay, so this many jelly-fish isn’t a common sight on our beach, but then again neither is my friend Lauri.
I spent 3 years in Chicago. I well remember how miserable that first few months happened to be. I had plenty of cause to gripe, but truth be told that didn’t quite explain my mood. I learned a thing when I stepped off the plane in Corpus Christi, Texas, and suddenly felt better. I remember just standing there, trying to figure out what was different. Then I saw it. I could see for miles. In Chicago my view of the skies had been blocked by sky-scrappers, and dense cloud-cover had blocked what little was left of the skies. I hadn’t seen much of the sun in close to a month, but there it was, right where I had grown accustomed to seeing it, along with all that space. And that alone seemed quite sufficient to lift a load off my back.
It was a lesson well learned, though it certainly surprised to me at the time. Place mattered to me, and open skies seemed to be a big part of what gave a place it’s worth in my estimation.
I had forgotten how much I miss the Southwestern skies. The clouds always seem so much further up in the sky than they do in Alaska. Now that I am down here, I remember just how beautiful the sunsets can be in these parts. Whether the day went well or worse, they can certainly put a warm finish on it.
(Simon says “Click to embiggen!”)
Of course now that I am down here I also miss the arctic skies. The clouds always seem so near the ground, it feels like you could just reach out and touch them. Time and again, I have taken pictures of something else, only to find the Alaskan sky has stolen the show. I will see these skies again soon.
I can’t wait.
As I’m away from the North Slope at the moment, I find myself looking at photos and such. This afternoon, I am looking at pictures of pictures of the village of Wainwright. I have been there a couple times, in the late summers of 2011 and 2012.
Wainwright is located on the coast (of course). It has a population of a little over 500, but the first time I visited the place I could have sworn it was a ghost town. I literally couldn’t see anyone on the streets. I learned later that folks were probably out hunting, and in any event people began to show up on the streets that afternoon.
I always think it’s fun to just zoom out from these little maps one click at a time. If it doesn’t show, then hit refresh.
You may of course click on a pic to embiggen it.
…and of course the flight out (not the best video, but it’s kinda neat to see the tundra from above).
As it happens Denver becomes Vegas and my mind is still on a few things. One of them was an angry squirrel (evidently I was supposed to donate peanuts or something). I really miss the mild temperatures, because Vegas has grown more cruel since I moved to Alaska. Denver was perfect; Vegas is sweltering. Seriously, could someone please turn down the sun?
In any event, I am not well away from the Rocky Mountains and looking over my cache of photos. I thought I’d post a few fun ones, mostly street art. The parks and the mountains were gorgeous. It’s also funny how fascinating trees become when you don’t see them for half the year, but I’ll spare the bulk of these photos. Mostly, you get the art.
Never did get a chance to order from Sexy Pizza.
Here we go… (Click to embiggen!)
The last couple weeks have been a bit of a blur, what with the end of the semester, several work-related projects, and plenty of random events.
The ocean has been unusually interesting this Spring. By ‘unusually interesting’ I mean ‘rather disturbing’. As mentioned in a previous post, the ice pack had shorn off rather early this year and very close to the shore. That isn’t entirely unheard of, but it is very unusual. It’s particularly problematic for the whaling crews as they hunt from the ice in the Spring. It didn’t take too long for the ice to flow back in and begin bonding with the shore-fast. It even piled up a bit at the meeting point, but the overall effect was a little thin. And by ‘thin’ I mean ‘dangerous’. I understand the ice was still fairly solid out North toward the point, but all-in-all folks seemed a little hesitant this year. As I left Barrow, the whaling crews had begun the hunt, and people were out on the ice.I can only hope they stay safe.
…and bring home the muktuk.
One day, I saw the most amazing ice-bow. It lasted only a minute or so, and I didn’t have my camera or my phone, …cause I suck. But I took my camera the next day when a sun halo came out, complete with a pair of perfect sun dogs. I caught those pics from the school van.
So, here I sit on the 14th floor of an apartment complex in Denver. I’ve finally slept off the jet lag, and I’m starting to think about stuff to do for the day. My head is still in Barrow, not the least of reasons being that I brought unfinished work with me. I miss my cats, but I’m waiting for someone wonderful.
Civilization is beginning to seep into my thick skull, and I’m taking in the new setting. I’ve seen more people in the last day than I have all winter. Plus a fly! I saw a fly. It flew right past me, as if to say; “yes Dan, we still exist.” I don’t miss bugs, really I don’t.
On the other, hand last night’s chicken satay was amazing.