Jun 29, 2005

Found while indexing

Posted by Mary |

Mortimer T. Clement ran for Alaska State House in 1974. What a great name. Why don't more people name their sons Mortimer these days? I mean besides the fact that it sounds like the name 4-year-olds give to their stuffed elephant.

Jun 28, 2005

Cabin update

Posted by Mary |

After returning from our weekend in Denali, Tom and I found a second floor on our cabin. Outside walls are going into place, and we've decided we'll paint the building green with brown trim.

However, it doesn't look like the cabin will be finished in time for the arrival of the Quakers in Residence. I had a meeting last night with Jim, June and Kathy, and it looks like I'll probably move into the upstairs addition until the cabin is ready. I'd rather not have to move at all, but I'll lose a battle to win the war. Plus, my presence up there will disrupt several groups, which may encourage those groups to actually help out with the cabin. Robert's a great builder, but he can't do it all by himself.

The biggest downside? Nibbles will have to live somewhere else for a while. Pobre gato....

Tom and I took off Saturday morning for a camping trip to Wonder Lake in Denali National Park and Preserve. With construction traffic, it took us about 2 1/2 rainy hours to reach the park - just enough time to catch the camper bus. Our driver was very nice and didn't make us stop constantly to look at caribou miles off the road. Unless it's really interesting, let's just skip it, OK?

The weather cleared for the drive in, which took about 5 hours. Wonder Lake is a 4-mile long lake with a stunning view of Denali, if the mountain chooses to show its face. After setting up the tent and stashing our food in the bear-proof locker, we wandered down to the lake and waded in, unwisely exposing our flesh to the mosquitoes. It rained later in the afternoon, so we retired to the tent for a bit of reading. After the rain cleared, Denali came out and we enjoyed dinner and a brief hike.

The next morning, we set out on a hike along the McKinley Bar Trail. Sadly, no bars were to be found anywhere along the trail. We had been warned about the mosquitoes, and were coated with 100% DEET, but they still kept swarming us. Although they didn't bite, they were rather annoying. It took us about an hour to reach the McKinley River. On the way back, the wind picked up and kept all but the strongest mosquitoes away.

After our return to camp, it began to rain again, so we opted for a nap and late lunch. In the evening, a NPS Ranger came out and gave a lecture on the history of attempts to summit Denali. As he finished, the mountain became visible once again.

On Monday, we woke up early to catch the 8 am bus, which took us out to Kantishna before starting the 5-hour journey back to the park entrance. This bus was pretty empty, and the driver let us get off during the Toklat River rest break so we could walk ahead for a while. She picked us up about 40 minutes later. After three days of coating ourselves with DEET, we wanted nothing more than to come home, shower and eat. Fortunately the weather was beautiful for our return trip, with many great views of Denali along the way. Despite some early rain and a lot of mosquitoes, we had a wonderful time.

Jun 24, 2005

And a cheer goes up from APR

Posted by Mary |

I received this long-awaited e-mail from Ron Inouye today:

The State Library has funded the continuation indexing of the "All Alaska Weekly"! In celebration I'm offering up a pair of tickets to each of you for a Sunday evening ride on the RiverboatDiscovery as part of the "Stone Soup" fundraiser. Folks board at 6:30p;the cruise is from 7:30 to 9:30. Bring a picnic or food can be purchased aboard according to the NM ads. Let me know if you're interested! I'm sorry for the late notification, but it's time to celebrate!
Ronald K. Inouye
Bibliography of Alaska & Polar Regions
UAFRasmuson Library
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6808

Now, it's not the cruise that I'm so excited about. It's that with the continued funding, I will be staying in my position at the UAF library for at least another year. Goodbye worries, hello job!!

It's good timing, as I had a job interview yesterday for a part-time graphic designer position at UAF University Relations. It went OK, but I was distracted by one of my interviewers. She probably thought I was thrown by her two-toned Goth haircut or the giant tattoo across her chest. Actually, she was the spitting image of an old friend, Amy Hannum. Same nose, eyes, eyebrows, facial shape, haircut, etc. It was freaky.

Now, on the off chance I should be offered that job, I will accept it. It's 20 hours a week with benefits, so I could theoretically work there, at the library and at Mushing. But if I don't get it, at least I know that by November-ish, the library will be forced to give me benefits, as I will have achieved 'extended temporary' status.

Jun 23, 2005

I'm floored

Posted by Mary |

Actually, it's my cabin that's floored. And getting walls, to boot. I will get the pictures developed and online soon.

The last few days have been hectic. Melissa and Ian rolled back into town on Monday evening. Unfortunately I had to get up at 2 a.m. on Tuesday to go downtown with Terri and Suzn for the live broadcast from Golden Heart Plaza. Not a good scene, especially when wearing cabaret bellydance outfits and full makeup. We had breakfast (in costume, no less), then I headed off to Mushing to work. I did a few hours, then dragged my weary self home for 4 hours of sleep. Then I was back up and fine-tuning a solo, and headed back downtown for a 3 p.m. performance at the Midnight Sun Street Festival. Yes, that meant more makeup and another bellydance costume. After changing back into my street clothes, I crashed the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner company picnic for some free food. Soon enough, I was back in costume, with makeup refreshed, for the 8 p.m. performance.

On the bright side, the crowds were very appreciative of our efforts, and cheered throughout our shows. However, macaroni salad, hamburgers, giant cups of ice cream, gyros and soft pretzels do not make for a happy stomach. I was still feeling ill yesterday.

Today I'm just working at the university library, and I've got an interview for some part-time graphic design work this afternoon. Fingers crossed!

Jun 20, 2005

If I had a hammer

Posted by Mary |

Well, actually, I did have a hammer yesterday. And I used it to work on the cabin. We now have the cement pads set in place, and the timbers for the frame are in, too. We started nailing in boards for the base yesterday, but that's where things went a little bit awry. Somehow the boards didn't all get cut, which we only realized halfway through the nailing process. We stopped, but by then our square little cabin had become a bit of a parallelogram. Robert and Tom are going to fix that this afternoon.

In other news, Melissa and Ian will be back in town today!!! Hooray!!! They'll bring with them Harley, the rockingest dog in the history of rocking dogs, and Julianna, who was only traveling with them and will return to the East Coast shortly.

Also, tomorrow I will be performing at the Midnight Sun Solstice Street Festival in downtown Fairbanks with my troupe Tundra Caravan. I'll be doing a 3 pm show with Chandani and Souzana (better known as Teresa and Susan), and an 8 pm show with Zara Noor, Chandani, Myriah and Barbara (better known as Terri, Teresa, Suzn and Barbara). It should be a busy day, so I'd better go figure out how to cut the floor work from my solo. No need to do floor work on the pavement!

Jun 16, 2005

Brace yourself

Posted by Mary |

I expect to catch shit for this opinion, but here I go anyway.

Yesterday was the big BRAC hearing in Fairbanks. And I understand that keeping the Air Force base open is very important to some people. I grew up near a Navy base, and I'm familiar with the military. But I don't appreciate them. To me, military people are like blind animals, mindlessly obeying any order they are given. Have we not learned from the mistakes of the past?

Anyway, the hippies managed to get out and protest the BRAC hearing, and News-Miner photographer Eric Engman captured the scene.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And here's the worst part: according to the caption on the photograph, the woman in red (whose clutched cigarette and lighter shall remain unmentioned. Oops.) apparently told the other person that WalMart wouldn't have opened a store here if the bases weren't here. Oh my. I think she just managed to make my argument against the military for me.

Sometimes, and this is just my opinion, the United States is fucked up. Like when one person can make a town pay 3 employees to work 13 hours each, just so he can vote to approve the issue. Which, as far as I can tell, would not have been an issue if he hadn't called a referendum.

"I hate to see them incur cost but it's probably worth the cost," he said. "It all worked out and I think it will be of mutual benefit."


Some thoughts on newspapers

Posted by Mary |

First of all, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is going overboard with their BRAC and Save Eielson coverage. I mean, I understand that the possible closing of the base would affect the local economy, but we haven't had this much overkill since Reagan died. On Sunday, they had a special double-truck (think centerfold, but without the nudity) poster. Today is the meeting and they put an opinion on the front page, above the masthead. Cut it out.

Second, can we talk about the Anchorage Daily News? Oh ADN, you used to have a nice Web site, if a tad difficult to load on a slow connection. But now? Oh, now you fugged up your site something bad. Seriously.

OK, I'll stop bitching. For now.

Jun 14, 2005

Foster dog

Posted by Mary |

I'm thinking of being a foster owner. This dog is available through the end of 2006, and will be subsidized by his owner while she's in Japan.

His owner says he's kind of ... dim. Which actually makes me want him more.

I found another lovely gem, courtesy of the Associated Press. And if the beer had been PBR, the bear might've started dancing on picnic tables in a suggestive manner.

Bear Guzzles Campers' Beer, Eats Food

Dunbar, W. Va.- Larry Gaynor and his brother had to cut their latest fishing trip short after a black bear ate their food and guzzled their beer. Gaynor, 67, and his brother, Billy Bob Gaynor, 53, were camping at Summit Lake near Richwood on Friday when the bear wandered into their campsite at about 9 p.m.
Hearing a noise, they looked outside their tent and saw the bear with its mouth clamped on their cooler. Larry Gaynor said the bear dragged the cooler 30 yards into the woods and flung it against a tree, scattering a case of Coors Light.
"He only drank three cans," Larry he said. "He would've drank all of them if it would've been Budweiser."
Billy Bob Gaynor said the bear ate all of their food so they returned to Dunbar the next day.
"Either relocate them or let me eat them," he said.

Jun 13, 2005

People are strange....

Posted by Mary |

I found this gem a little while ago and couldn't help but smile.

It reminds me of the time I grabbed a Storm Trooper's white, plastic ass in a bar, but that's another story. And I hope he looked better than this under that helmet.

Jun 12, 2005

Stay away from the computer

Posted by Mary |

I'm not sure what happened, but two of my programs are no longer working. Of course these are the two vital programs required to make backup copies of DVDs, so I'm upset.

When I say they're not working, I mean the free trial versions have stopped, and I keep having to uninstall them, remove old files from the computer, reinstall them and run cracks. It's not that this makes it impossible, but it does take up some of my time. But then again, the programs are free this way, so I guess it's worth it.

Secretly, I blame Tom, who actually owns the computer. He had a problem with the programs shortly after I installed them, so he removed them and tried to reinstall them without asking me first. Now there's something hidden somewhere in the bowels of this machine that knows I haven't paid for the programs yet.

Jun 10, 2005

To work or not to work....

Posted by Mary |

I just realized that I never posted my job updates. So here goes:

Current jobs
Mushing magazine: Heading for freelance status. Greg has not yet finalized the purchase. I hinted that he may want me to edit both magazines. We haven't discussed my pay rate yet.

UAF library: No word on a new grant. Current grant expires June 30. Working as many extra hours as I can before then.

Possible jobs
Alaska Sea Grant publications coordinator: Nope. They hired the other candidate.

Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau advertising and PR: 1 1/2 hour interview on Monday. Went well, but they're interviewing many people. In wait-and-see mode.

Arctic Region Supercomputing Center science writer: No word. Probably didn't get an interview.

Golden Valley Electric Association public relations: No word. Sincerely doubting I got an interview.

UAF University Relations graphic designer: Dropped an application and portfolio off today. I'm still irked they went to external recruitment immediately. Now I have to compete with everyone in town.

Quit your whining

Posted by Mary |

Last night as I was preparing to head over to Tamarac Knoll (the splinter commune behind Hidden Hill) for dinner, I heard a strange noise coming from the driveway. It was Robert, with his friend Maurice, starting to cut some wood. I do believe this means that construction is under way.

On a sadder note, it seems that friends Melissa and Ian have become stranded somewhere outside of Alberta as they attempt to move to Fairbanks again. The garbled message on my cell phone said their car died and it was awaiting an official diagnosis, and they were holed up in a hotel in the meantime. I hope the car is fixed soon and is cheap, because those hourly hotel rates will kill you. In the meantime, enjoy the Magic Fingers!

Jun 9, 2005

The aimless future

Posted by Mary |

It occurs to me that I started this blog to chronicle my attempts to get a cabin. And now I going to get one. What am I supposed to write about now?

All right, I guess I'll have to start investigating some modern technology and start posting pictures. Keep your eyes peeled for those.

Tom and I walked down to the cabin site a few days ago and Robert has laid out the stakes for the cabin. Of course, first the Quakers had to hold a clearness meeting about the site. See, Robert didn't want to build it on the tent platform site, which makes sense since the chosen site was William's old cabin site, which was already cleared. William, however, didn't like the idea of just plopping the cabin on the old cabin site. See, years ago William built a new cabin on that site. Then, during a dispute with the Quakers over who owned the cabin, he moved it off the site and onto the neighboring property. Hence, a new cabin would be visible to him, because there are no trees in the way.

So, the new cabin will be going on the old site (is this getting confusing yet?), but will be angled. Actually, it will be angled partly across the path, but let's not get into that.

On the bright side, it will have a lovely view of Ester Dome. On the downside, the old outhouse at the site needs a bit of work....

Jun 6, 2005

The mission is complete

Posted by Mary |

I can't quite believe it, but it worked. It freaking WORKED!!!! Yesterday the Meeting for Business basically rubber-stamped the cabin plan. Somehow I never quite pictured Hidden Hill actually expanding, but there will be a brand-new cabin shortly, all for little ol' me.

This all happened in record time, too. The idea was first bounced around at the March Meeting for Business, and it was approved in June. For anyone familiar with Quaker process, this is rather amazing. I mean, we spent 45 minutes yesterday debating 'hopes' vs. 'envisions' vs. 'desires' for one sentence in the handbook. 45 minutes for one word, but 3 months for a new building? Unbelievable.

I don't know what else to say. I'm kind of giddy.

Jun 3, 2005

I'm screwed

Posted by Mary |

I just found out TJ Maxx has a shopping Web site. I can hear people now, telling me I don't NEED to buy anything. And all I have to say is "But I WANNA!!!!"

Jun 1, 2005

T-minus 10, 9, 8....

Posted by Mary |

We're getting closer to lift-off. Cabin lift-off, that is. At last night's meeting, the Hidden Hill board voted to move the cabin proposal forward to business meeting, setting aside a budget of $15,000. The vote was six people in favor, one person standing aside (which means he still has some misgivings, but does not want to stop the process).

I, of course, will be at the business meeting on Sunday to put a face on the whole project. But it's really looking positive.

Tonight I'm having the new owner of my old house over for dinner. Just in case I still need to move. But maybe Melissa and Ian, two friends moving back to Fairbanks, could move in there. Of course, Jen still says she'll be moving out of Hidden Hill at the end of the summer, and if that happens I will try like hell to get Melissa and Ian over to HH. Commune coup!