Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cappy on vacation

Cappy went away for the thanksgiving holiday so our recent house guests had to pose by the Mendenhall Glacier instead of with the good Captain. Here's Claudia and her folks Connie and Frank from So. Cal, braving the elements for a quick pose. We actually had pretty decent weather while they were here - a little rain, a little blue sky and temps it the mid- to high-40s. We still don't have any snow so it was pretty easy to get around.

We did some shopping, sightseeing, exploring, driving, looking at real estate, eating, talking, laughing, and felting!

Before: The image on the left is Claudia with one of her unfelted slippers and…

After: The image on the right is one of her felted finished slipper!

Google Maps adds Terrain Feature

Claudia and I were just saying that wouldn't it be nice if you could get some terrain information from Google Maps and what do you, there really is a santa claus. They did it! Google added a terrain view on their maps. Now it isn't really that helpful and doesn't have the detail that we were all hoping but it sure is an improvement. It seems to look better in a less detailed view.

Anyway, after looking at the map I made with my Juneau hotspots, I see that I've mismarked some spots so I'll have to go back and fix them one of these days.

Useful ideas

Here's an idea for a bookshelf that looks pretty cool and functional and helps get things off the floor. I wouldn't suggest this for some folks (Jim and Naomi) but it would be pretty cute in a kids room or a kitchen for your cookbooks.

Too many leftovers? We seemed to have manage our leftovers pretty well this year. I think our theme was mini-meals. We didn't have a huge Thanksgiving meal mainly because we didn't bring a lot of dishes with us to Juneau so we had to eat a course, rinse dishes, rest a little, and eat another course, (repeat) in order to get it all in. I think it worked out pretty well because 1) I think we ate less food, 2) we enjoyed each of the courses more, 3) we didn't have a mound of dishes to wash at the end, 4) it wasn't a huge hectic mess trying to get everything to come out at the same time.

How about a Visual Dictionary to show (and listen) to the names of pieces and part of something. This site is limited to about 6,000 images but it could be a good resource. Sign up to have the Game of the Week sent to you by email. (They really should add an RSS).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Google Help Tips

You probably knew that you could use a Google search to look for street maps, phone numbers or as spell checker, but did you know you could also use it as a:

Calculator: type in your calculator in the search box and be amazed at the results. For example, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages like 20% of 100, or 5 km in miles, square roots, logarithms,

Currency Converter: 5 united states dollars in canadian money, 3.5 USD in GBP

Search by Number: search for UPS, FedEx, USPD tracking numbers, UPC codes, patent numbers

and much, much more!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Scary Image

So the folks at CDE have been having some fun with their large-format printer. As I mentioned in a previous post, we had an open house a couple weeks ago and I made myself available during the 4-hour party through skype and a video camera on their end. So it was nice to be able to see everyone as well as to have a conversation. They also felt the need to have me be seen...and printed a picture of me at full size. They actually made me a little taller which wasn't so bad but I'm sure that they made be a little fatter too! Or it just looks like it. Anyway - great fun and a lot of laughs, I'm sure.

So now that the open house is over, what to do with Heidi. She's made the rounds in various office spaces: hiding behind doors, taped to the floor-to-ceiling atrium staring down on the front door, laying on a table. I almost feel like flat-stan who gets mailed around the country - like a horizontal heidi - or something.

I've threatened to get pictures of different clothing so they can "dress" me up according to the weather. Maybe what they really need are different facial expressions so I can tell them how I'm feeling, "Please put on #1 face (happy), #2 face (irritated), #3 face (astounded)…"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I was introduced to this sight about a month ago and then reminded of it when Chris saved it as a delicious bookmark. Its called "What Should I Read Next?". It usually isn't a problem figuring out what I want to read next and its often a "get-in-line process" which goes astray and then circle's back around. There are books, though, that I've really enjoyed and are often written by one-book authors. I put this website to the test a month ago. Tim and I both read River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard a couple of years ago and it really stuck in my mind. So I ran this book title through the website and came up with this list:

Private Lives of Garden Birds: How to Understand the Everyday Behavior of the Birds in Your Backyard - Calvin Simonds - Interesting - but not same topic

Camera Man's Journey: Julian Dimock's South - Julian A. Dimock
Interesting - maybe get more info

Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder - Jack Mclaughlin

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee - Charles J. Shields

The Knife Man: The Extraordinary Life and Times of John Hunter, Father of Modern Surgery - Wendy Moore

Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark - Jane Geniesse
Interesting - maybe get more info

The Hab Theory: A Novel - Allan W. Eckert
Interesting - maybe get more info

Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency - James Bamford

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Revised and Updated: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It's Too Late - Thom Hartmann
Interesting - but not same topic

Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad - William Craig

So looking through this list I saw some that were not immediately not of interest to me. It wasn't actually the President or history that intrigued me about this book it was more about the adventure - and more importantly for me was where it took place. So I clicked on

More results:

A Sorrow in Our Heart: The Life of Tecumseh - Allan W. Eckert Interesting - but not same topic

A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton - John McPhee

Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the Story of the New China - John Pomfret

Earth Is Enough: Growing Up in a World of Trout and Old Men - Harry Middleton
Interesting - but not same topic

Winter : Notes from Montana - Rick Bass, Elizabeth Hughes
Interesting - but not same topic

Bush Pilot With a Briefcase: The Happy-Go-Lucky Story of Grant McConachie - Ronald A. Keith
Interesting - maybe get more info

I Shot an Elephant in My Pajamas/the Morrie Ryskind Story - Morrie Ryskind, John H. M. Roberts
Interesting - maybe get more info

The Thirtymile Fire: A Chronicle of Bravery and Betrayal - John N. Maclean
Interesting - maybe get more info

Satan's Circus: Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New York's Trial of the Century - Mike Dash

That Dark and Bloody River - Allan Eckert
Interesting - maybe get more info

This last entry got me thinking that maybe this Allan Eckert might be a possibility so when I went to the library I looked for his books. I found That Dark and Bloody River so checked it out. It is a story about a 14-year old girl who gets lost in the Rain Forest and spends a lot of time on Amazon tributaries. It was very enjoyable. I won't tell you how it ends and spoil the ending for you in case you want want to read it!

I didn't mean to go on and on about this...sorry if I've talked your ear off! I just wanted to give you an example. Now I've added several more titles and several more authors to my wish list.

More Thai - Can't go Wrong

There's a new Thai restaurant in Fairbanks (this must be the 8th or 9th place) and Sheri Keil and I enjoyed a great dinner tuesday night. Its a small place out by Ann's Greenhouse right as you turn up to go to Ester Dome. I think it's called On's Eggroll House. They have a small dining room - maybe 10 tables and a much larger deck for summer eating. I'm told that they do a pretty good take out business. Its in a perfect location for all those out Sheep Creek Road and Murphy dome area. Sheri had chicken, broccoli, spinach in a peanut sauce and it was delicious. The veggies were layered with the chicken on top. I had a red pork and vegtables on raman noodles in a spicy chili, like sauce - also delicious but a little hard to eat because the noodles were all clumped together. As I looked around the room other patrons were enjoying soups, salads, and other dishes. One little boy came and before he sat down announced, I'm having beef and baby corn - that's my favorite. I had already ordered so I'll have to keep that in mind next time!

Highest High Bush

On a hike a couple weeks ago, when most of the leaves were blown off the trees, we spotted a lot of high bush cranberry bushes. In the interior the stalks are 3-5 feet tall but down here we saw some stalks that were well over 8 feet.

Check back with me on Feb 5

I met Tim for lunch downtown at KENNY'S WOK & TERIYAKI the other day. Its located on Front Street a couple of blocks from Tim's office. There's also one in the Mendenhall Mall and a couple of places in Sitka. The restaurant setting is very nice with really great looking retro chairs. There's a sushi bar set up on one side and a guy behind it welding a knife. Didn't see anyone getting sushi for lunch.

The menu was varied and your typical chinese/japanese-americanized food. We each ordered a lunch special - I had General Taos' Chicken and Tim had Kung Pao Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork. We both enjoyed our chicken but the pork wasn't very good. This is one of those places that if you want a really tasty meal I think you have to be really careful about picking from the menu. The food was ok and the price was not too bad. The service was really good and I think it might be a really good take-out place. I wonder if they would bring some chairs too? I'll have to take my camera next time to get a pic for you!

So here was my stay tuned - I'll let you know what happens in February!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Puzzle Game

I've added a new widget at the bottom of this blog just in case you were bored and needed a diversion. At this time of year our family started brining out the jigsaw puzzles and set up a card table in the den so it was out of the way but available when anyone wanted to work on it. We would work through them throughout the holidays. So with this puzzle maker you can pick your own picture and determine how many pieces you want to have.

You can enter your own picture if you have one somewhere stored on the internet. I don't believe you can select one that is on your own computer - it has to have a web address.

The picture I chose if from our CDE Open House last week. I was a virtual participant which means I was connected by skype and could talk to people who came by. Since they had a web camera I could also see them! I don't have one who I was just a voice - freaked some people out! Anyway, in this picture I'm talking to Tina and the UAF mascot Nanook stopped by to say hello! I talked to a lot of people and it was nice to be included.

Have fun with the puzzle!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Hardware

I have new knitting needles! I saw them in Knit Pics catalog and decided I deserved a new set of needles so I splurged on myself! I got a set of size 4 to 11 interchangeable wood needles made from laminated birch wood. I really like to knit with wood needles. One thing that I really like about this set is that the cables are so flexible. I just got them and haven't used them yet but it won't be long! There are also larger sized needles and if I like them I might order some larger sizes. My current set (metal interchangeable needles) only goes up to size 14.

Guess What!

And the big question - will it stick?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Herbert Glacier Trail

We had an awesome bike ride to the Herbert Glacier on the Herbert Glacier Trail (map - see Herbert Glacier). This was a 4.6 mile pathway, graveled and well packed for bikes. It looks like the weather was pretty gloomy but it was actually quite nice with partly cloudy skies that broke up when we got to the end of the trail and then came back in on our way out. I don't really know what the temperature was maybe in the mid-40s.

We averaged 8 mph going in and about 10 mph on the way out. I think the elevation gain was about 300 feet. The pathway ran along the Herbert River for maybe a mile and there were several spots where you could have gotten to the sandbars and beach along the edge. We found a couple interesting places that might be good fishing spots for next spring. As with most of the trails around here this one followed an old tramway bed that carried supplies out to a mining camp so there was lots of interesting stuff to look at on the way.

After about 4 miles the trail became a little more challenging and a lot more fun!

This was cool - walking the bikes through a stream along some stepping stones - it took us awhile to find just the right boulders - they had to be tall enough to allow their tops to stick out of the water and flat enough to provide safe footings. No, really, someone else did all the labor and we just reaped the benefits! I've been reading a book about survival in the Amazon and I was watching out for anaconda and caymen as I crossed this stream. Didn't see any.

This looked a lot steeper in person than this picture shows - we opted to walk our bikes around this cliff. The dropoff was only about 8-10 feet down but it went right into the river and we don't know how deep the cut was!

At about the 5-mile marker we came to a spot where you could really see the glacier. As it happens this is probably the best viewpoint to see it - as you got closer to the glacier there's a rocky hill that divides the glacier and you can only see half of it at a time.

It was at this point that we decided to ditch our bikes and continue on foot so we could get closer to the glacier. We walked over and then realized that there were two drainages so we picked one. We walked up this little valley created by the glacier stream. This little valley was truly my best and greatest experience with boulder scrambling. It was all the same rock - one gigantic rock! There were fissures and crevices but very few pebbles or shill that sometimes makes getting over the boulders harder because you slide. This trek was awesome!

The headwaters of the Herbert River was a blue-silty stream that flowed through the huge rock with quite a force. You could see areas where it had been higher - probably in the early fall when there was lots of melting and some additional rain. There were several pools that looked pretty safe for wading but I image that its pretty cold! There were also some shoots that looked like they might be fun in a kayak if you had any experience.

Rocks, lotsa Rocks J!

Cool rocks with quartz veins running though it. It was interesting to see where the lines were and how they extended from one side of the gorge to the other.

It was a great day and it was so much fun to have one last bike ride this late in the year. This trail makes it on our top five trails in the area and would be a perfect walk for just about anyone!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

New birds from the Deck

This weekend we saw a couple of birds for the first time off our deck. Tim saw about 24 swan's flying in their "we're-getting-out-of-here-don't-know-about-you" V this morning. He wasn't positive but they were probably Trumpter Swans. We also saw a flock of Pine Siskin swarming one of the alder trees along the street feasting on the alter cones. They are pretty little birds who will hang upside down to eat the cones.

Poached Eggs in Oven

This is a great way to poach eggs without having the egg whites get all over your pan. Plus you can make alot of them at the same time in case you need to. All it takes is a muffin tin, eggs, and your oven!

Spray muffin tins with a little cooking spray. Heat oven to 400°. While you're waiting for the oven to get to temperature, boil water - about 2-3 Tablespoons for each egg. When the oven is heated and the water is about boiling, add about 2 Tablespoons of the water to each of the muffin cups you'll be using. Then break your egg into the cup. Bake for about 7-9 minutes depending on how hard you like them. When they are done to your taste, lift the egg out of the cup with a slotted spoon or edge of a knife, making sure the egg is free from the edge of the muffin cup and spoon out. You may need to drain the extra water off on a paper towel before putting on your toasted english muffin or bread.

Preparing your eggs in the oven is quick and easy, plus you get a round egg that fits perfectly on an english muffin! (Sorry no pictures - there wasn't time because we were hungry!)

More Fall Colors

Temperatures continue to hover around the mid-40s and despite the forecast for snow down to about the 400-foot level we haven't seen it yet. We have had quite a bit of rain until this weekend where we're enjoyed partly cloudy, and even blue skies. Through the morning fog this one deciduous tree across the channel from us caught my eye and it was lit up very bright in contrast to the dark green of the spruce trees. By the time I got my camera out the sun had already moved past it. Most of the trees around here are Sitka Spruce and Hemlock - both conifers. The leaf-bearing trees are mostly alder and cottonwood.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Garbage in, Garbage out

Well, you never know what you'll see around here! Actually this barge was bringing in an enormous load of boulders for some road construction going on out the road by the airport. The junk on the back must have been counter-weight for the boulders. We've seen this same barge going back and forth at least a half-dozen times carrying more rocks.