Wednesday, October 28, 2009

California Runs Dry

That's the headline that'll run in this weekend's papers after the entire Irish-Italian family desends on Dixon, CA and cleans out every liquor store around. My grandpa, The Don, The Boss, El Jeffe, died last week seven years to the day that grandma died. Love you gramps, say hello to the rest of the family.

It's been a rough week, knowing the entire clan is gathering in California and I'm so far away. I'm missing one hell of a party, that's for sure. I don't regret moving here and never will but not being available to my friends and family doesn't feel good. Might as well be in a damn foreign country for the cost of getting home. And yeah, I'm breaking the no face pictures rule again but how could I not with this one?

If you go when the snowflakes storm

Driving home from Fairbanks, I got to see Denali on a clear, cloudless day. Apparently only something like 38% of people who come to see the mountain actually get to. Other times the cloud cover is so thick, you wouldn't even now it's there. That's exactly how it is on the Kenai. One day I was driving to work and there was a huge, gorgeous mountain in front of me that I hadn't seen before. It sounds funny to say "The mountains are out," but they really are like stars.

Alone at Denali State Park. That'll probably never happen again. Almost like the time I rode the 49 bus from California to Market St. on New Year's Day and no one else got on.

Dude looks like a lady...or something

I really liked what I could see of the town of Talkeetna the night I stayed there and decided to go back on my way home. I wanted to go to Denali Brewing Company since I've started a collection of pint glasses from all the breweries up here. So I rolled into town and noticed that the money I left for my campsite three days earlier was still there. Hello, refund! My 15 bucks, tacked to the board , reclaimed and spent at the brewery.

Another suprising find: I had the best falafel of my life in Talkeetna, Alaska. After explaining to my neighboring diners and new friends what it was (you know, since I'm so worldly), I got them to order it and they agreed. Delicious.
Someday, when I get a new battery for my laptop you all will get to see Denali too. In the meantime, who can guess the name and artist of the song where I've been getting my titles from for the last four posts? Not Little Sister, that's for sure.That's the way I remember her best...

Monday, October 26, 2009

When the rivers freeze and summer ends

I'll be frank, Fairbanks is freakin ugly. The downtown area shows promise but many of the buildings are empty. The rest of the city looks pretty industrial and since there are no zoning laws, you can find a strip joint in the middle of a neighborhood. Not that I was looking for a strip joint. The church below used to be on the other side of the river until one year it froze and locals pushed it across the ice.

Got a little homesick when I saw the this. The Elbo Room in SF is a fun bar in the Mission where I've seen some cool live music. I love the Mission. I do not love that my ticket home for Christmas cost me 1200 bucks.

The ALaskan Pipeline. I've been against posting photos of my face but I figure all 5 of you reading this already know what I look like. Here I am, pointing out my tiny Burrough, as compared to the entire gigantic state.

The Silver Gulch Brewery is pretty decent. The Angry Monkey Barley Wine and pumpkin beer ice cream were more than decent. At the Howling Dog, the divier place across the street, I learned the term "tundra wookie." Like the wildabeast of the North, apparently.

We took our ice glasses back to Mike and Kelly's after the ice museum. In a few weeks I want them to put the glasses out on the porch and see how long they last. I'm thinking March.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Please see she's wearing a coat so warm

The Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs is pretty damn cool (obviously). I was freezing, but impressed.

The fish is actually a vodka luge although they don't let you use it because of sanitation or body heat or something. Wasn't really listening after I heard the no part. The ice bar is awesome, the stools are covered with caribou hides and the 15 dollar drink was strong. The only problem was holding the glass carved out of ice. I swear it almost gave me frostbite because my wool gloves were just soaking up the melt-off. You can see the workshop where the offer ice carving classes there behind the Great Wall of Chena.

Santaland in North Pole, Alaska. Seriously, that's the name of the town. It's cute but kinda screams "BUY SOMETHING!" At least they have the true spirit of Christmas.
Donner or Blitzen or Sparky or whatever.
My favorite Santa letter of the hundreds tacked to the walls from all over the world. Apparently whnever a kid sends a leter to Santa at the North Pole, it comes here. Tomorrow, the not so fair city of Fairbanks.
*Update: My charging cord took a dive, not sure when I can get it replaced. I can't exactly drive to Office Max and pick up another one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To keep her from the howlin wind

Tuesday is Sons of Anarchy night so this will be quick. Drove to Fairbanks this weekend to see friends from SF. It's an 8-9 hour drive. Got to Talkeetna the first night after about 5 hours and camped out in my car. It was around 20 degrees. Cute town, famous for the Moose Dropping Festival. Yeah, that's a festival for moose poo.
When I got up the nerve to climb out from under the blankets, I was rewarded with the clearest, most awesome star-filled sky I've ever seen. You haven't seen stars until you've seen them in the North.
Kelly and Mike and I did a lot of fun stuff, mostly laugh at ourselves for being in Alaska. Who woulda thought, all those nights sitting at the Bucc in SF that we'd soon be freezing our asses off and eligible to be in a lottery for moose roadkill in Alaska.

Sunrise just south of Healy. You know, the "town" where the kid hitch-hiked to before treking off into the wilderness to die in a bus.
Alright, I've lost interest. I'll post more tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I've Got Dreams

dreams to remember. Ok, I am obsessed with Otis Redding right now. How could you not be?

Happy birthdays Sisters, here's what I got you (in my dreams). A fouplex for the Fantastic Four! Big Sister and her herd can have Unit 1. Little Sister, OC, and their Halfricans can have Unit 2 (sorry, no clever Jamaican terms yet). Brother and I, the smartest of the bunch , and by that I mean no damn kids, can have the upstairs units where nieces and nephews will come when they need a bad influence. Someday it'll happen.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Alaska Flavor

My new to me, heavy duty coat -waterproof, fireproof, and good to temperatures waaaayy below zero. It's Navy issue to people stationed on the "North Slope," As far as I can gather that's north of Fairbanks, where all the oil people go.

Went to a Celtic themed Rotary dinner to raise funds for literacy programs on Saturday night. Is that someone's Pinot Grigio next to my Guinness? Nope, it's city water. My glasses at home are green and I guess I've never really seen it before. Time to get a Brita.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Heart...

Left home at 6:45. Black on black on black. I can not believe how freakin' dark it is out here. If there's a moose, I won't know until I'm on him and then you can't slam on the brakes so I guess you drive into the woods? Got home at 8. Paperwork and evals nagging me like a jewish mother.
Talked to my favorite Filipino tonight. He asked if I'm homesick yet and I said no. Then I heard it's Fleet Week in SF and all I can think about is the sun on the bay and the Blue Angels screaming over that gorgeous bridge.
...San Francisco

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Housesitter for Rent

I just posted an ad on Craigslist to be a winter house sitter. Apparently when all the rich summer folks leave town, they sometimes ask responsible locals to live in their places for the winter. The catch is that I need a place that's easily accessible and requires no chopping of wood or shoveling of snow. So I'm not getting my hopes up but if I could put my rent allowance towards my student loan repayment, that would be awesome.
Today I made an elaborate dinner for myself and my neighbor. The one who works for the same company, not Kooky Hooch Guzzler. I was at the store and saw coconuts and plantains and had to have them. The cashier had never seen either of them. She didn't know what they were. The battle with the coconut was epic. I should have taken a picture of the coconut shrapnel all over the place. But, like the duct tape wrapped, confetti filled package I got from the ex 3 months post breakup, some things are instant insanity indicators and should be hidden from the public. And yes, I am that bored.
Anyway, dinner. Sauteed bellpeppers and onions with chicken cooked in a coconut, garlic, lime and cilantro sauce over a bed of jasmine rice. Serve with coconut crusted shrimp, green salad and an Alaskan Summer Ale. When you all get tired of lanscape shots and moose sighting stories, I'm going to turn this into a food blog. Maybe then I'll get some interaction.
Tomorrow: plaintains, spanish rice, black beans and homemade salsa. Gotta pack on that winter blubber.
I missed the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this weekend. Three days of free music in GG park. Here's John COUGAR Mellencamp, I think it was 2 years ago. Last year I got to see Robert Plant and Alison Kraus. Amazing.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Live Here

Went for a beach walk after work today. Here are some of the views.
This morning was 21 degrees. Driving to work I had a coffee cup in one hand (lost my travel mug) and was changing the crappy radio station with the other when a giant moose crossed the highway ahead of me. Don't worry, I'm a fantastic knee driver and I always keep one eye on the road.