Monthly Archives: October 2011

Happy Halloween —

—Go Out & Hug a Pagan

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever flushing round a summer sky.

Floyd Stays in Minnesota

After a very rough start in the Big Ten, congrats to the Golden Gopher football program on the huge victory vs. Iowa. Nice win!

Damn good hockey game vs. Anchorage last night as well.


“Write drunk; edit sober.” — Hemingway

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.” — Mark Twain

A Sad Day for College Hockey

It comes as no surprise to hockey fans following the turmoil at UAH that Interim President Malcolm “Hackjob” Portera has decided to eliminate the Charger Division 1 program. From where I sit in judgement, it looks like the most frustrating thing about this for the supporters of the team, is that the decision was made long before Portera arrived in Huntsville, and everything that has gone on was simply a case of going through the motions.

It’s unfortunate, and I would love to rag on Portera for his dishonest statements. I’d love to rail against the CCHA and the schools who denied UAH entry into the conference two years ago. Oddly enough, the schools who voted against UAH, are also the same schools who abondoned the CCHA this year. I’d also love to know which elitist D-1 coach said that “the only reason to vote for UAH was for feeling sorry for them.”

All I can do is wish nothing but the best for the athletes who are now without a program. Hopefully, they’ll find other opportunities to continue to play the game.

As for Doc Portera… I wish him the very best of karma.

I’m going to pretend it was a compliment.

I had lunch today with a good friend, and somewhere along the conversational line, the subject of retro came up. Then she looks at me over her bowl of Thai soup and replies, “Oh! You’re way beyond retro.”

Now what exactly is that suppose to mean?

That was rhetorical, by the way…


“In Spanish there is a word for which I can’t find a counterword in English. It is the verb vacilar, present participle vacilando. It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere, but does not greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.”
—John Steinbeck “Travels With Charlie”

Methane On The Loose

With the melting of the permafrost up here, the captured methane is now being released in rather large doses.
The recent fresh snow has made a mess of the ice on The Pond, but it allows one to see where the methane is being released. Every little dark circle on the ice has a methane pocket underneath. For holiday events, usually egged on by scotch, we’ve been known to venture out onto The Pond armed with an ice chisel and propane torch. The ice is weakened by the methane gas, so a few strikes with the chisel gives an escape route for the captured bubble of methane, and the torch can produce a rather tall pillar of flame. I think our record is around 10-12 feet. The University grad students that have been out there studying the issue have outdone our work with flaming towers of easily 20 feet.
Education is worth something.

It’s actually an incredibly cool study, although the end result of the melting permafrost has caused some difficulties with buildings. During the peak summer months The Pond is releasing almost 18,000 liters per day, with a yearly average of 8 – 10,000. That’s a few liters.

I had pictures of our “lighting of the pond”, but I seem to have misplaced them. The video, which also involves a rocket, I am not going to share.

The Slick Return of The White

The snow came.

I had a job up in the hills yesterday. Plumbing. I’ve never known a plumbing job yet to be done without multiple trips, and this one was no exception. The truck made it up the hill without a problem. I was to replace a faucet, but the brand-spanking-shiney-new faucet made the old sink look like hell wrapped in granite ware. I went back to get the proper tools for this new job and new set of sink traps; the home owner went off to buy a sink. I arrived back first, and once again, the truck, with summer/Lower-48 tires, made it up the hill without issue.

I had everything removed & sat waiting for a sink. Then the home owner called from the ditch at the bottom of the hill. I said I’d drive down to get him, but all I really wanted was the damn sink. When I made it down the hill, there were now five cars off the road in a little less than 25 yards, all on a curve. I passed my client and had to keep going until I was at the bottom, then walked back up to him. That was a lot easier typed than done. The road was a skating rink; if you stopped on the road, gravity slid you down the hill.

I reached a Toyota pickup that was on the shoulder, but pointed the wrong direction. Three of us got together, one in the cab driving, and two of us simply pushed on the fender and the truck spun around on the ice like a top. When the truck was pointed downhill, we told the girl to drive and she then slid downwards with me yelling at her from the ditch, “Don’t you hit my truck!”

She didn’t.

We did the same act to the next car up the hill. It spun so fast, that we almost had it do a 360. If the car had been on flat ground, we could have kept the thing spinning around in a circle with barely any effort at all. Once again I shouted “Don’t hit my truck”, then we went up to the home owner who had the misfortune of going into the ditch. We had him call AAA, as we watched another car come sliding out of control down the hill.

“Don’t hit my truck!”

Happy Alaska Day

Alaska Day celebrates the transfer of the Alaskan Territory from Russia to the United States on 18 October 1867. It’s a state holiday, but the big party is in Sitka.

A quirk: I have many Canadian friends, and for some reason they all insist that the U.S. bought Alaska from Canada. No matter how much I argue, or how much evidence I produce, they dismiss me out of hand. What do they teach over there in the Yukon?

And don’t fret… William Seward gets his own day in March.