Monthly Archives: March 2012

It’s Like a Drug…


Photo courtesy of Land Rover USA

Art by Jamie Smith

Alaska Snowfall

We’ve had a little bit of snow up here in Alaska this season. I would expect it takes a fair amount of snow-weight to drop an A10 on its tail. I’m still thrilled that my deck boards were exposed in today’s 44 degree air; I’m not sure when I last saw my deck. I’m thinking it may have been back in November.

Anchorage is 3.3″ short of the 60 year snowfall record of 132.6″. Valdez is having one helluva good time with 429.7 inches of snow this year. That’s over 130 inches above normal! Eleven feet worth.

40 degrees in The ‘Banks…

Artwork by Jamie Smith.

48 Years Ago

On 27 March 1964 at 5:36pm a 9.2 magnitude earthquake hit Prince William Sound. 115 Alaskans were killed from the quake and the tsunamis that followed. 16 people also died in Oregon and California.

The Good Friday Earthquake was a megathrust quake that shook Alaska for over 4 minutes straight. It released 50 times as much energy as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; fishing boats in Lousiana sank, well water in South Africa rose, Sheep Creek in Anchorage stopped flowing for 18 hours, and the intervals of eruptions of Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone shortened. It is the largest earthquake to hit North America and the second largest to ever be recorded. There were thousands of aftershocks in the weeks following. The next day alone had 11 shocks registering over 6.0.

100,000 square miles of Alaska twisted, broke, dropped and rose. The coastal community of Portage dropped ten feet causing flooding from Turnagain Arm. The town of Seward moved 47 feet south, Cordova 46 feet southeast, and parts of Montague Island rose 30 feet.

The tsunamis caused the most damage and loss of life. The waves that hit Shoup Bay reached 100 feet above sea level, and 60 feet above sea level at Kodiak. Some remote areas show evidence of waves 220 feet above sea level.

I decided the weekend began today at 3:30pm ADT

“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher “standard of living” is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free.
For us of in the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech.”

–Aldo Leopold

I’m feeling particularly anti-establishment today as I look over blueprints and work on bids for customers that keep flip-flopping on whether to “color, or not to color”… “We’re thinking about doing this… oh wait, no we better do that… well, we can order it right? won’t that just look lovely in our kitchen… blah, blah, f****** blah…” The cabin dwellers are so much easier to work for and they don’t own dogs that ‘yap’, but sadly they can’t pay as well, and these days one has to sell his soul for a tank of gasoline.
Over the past two days, I’ve been asked to do another roof job & another siding job this summer, and I, in a Fit of Greed with eyes set firmly on the trail, agreed to do the jobs. Does anyone know when Excedrin will be back on store shelves?

It was -32 here Wednesday & Thursday morning, then warmed up to a balmy -28 this morning. Unfortunately, I left one of the two dampers open on the new woodstove last night, so it was 48 degrees in the cabin this morning, which was disappointing.

I regret not meeting up with friends in St Paul this weekend for the regionals going on at the X. I could have & probably should have gone down for them prior to the Frozen Four, but I honestly figured it would have warmed up to at least normal temps by now in Alaska, and didn’t see the hurry until it was too late to change my flight.

I did finally watch the Leopold documentary “Green Fire” last night. My bear biologist friend loaned it to me, and I figured I better watch it before I leave town, because he’s the type of guy who’d send a grizzly after me if I didn’t. It was well done, but I’m feeling too cynical about mankind today to give it a proper review. I wrote out a nice, long paragraph just now on the film, but then realized that sometimes the delete key is there for a reason.

I am definitely looking forward to this vacation.

“He’d say, ‘Your mother and I are going to The Shack for the weekend, anybody want to come?’ And of course, we all wanted to come, and now I look at it as kind of a metaphor of how one can find absolute happiness, with the least amount of stuff.”
–Nina Leopold Bradley

Saints Offer September Bounties

This Just in From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

The St Paul Saints will host “Bounty Night” on September 1st at Midway Stadium when the hometown Saints take on the Wingnuts of Wichita.
“The team will donate $100, $200, $300 and $400 to researchers studying the long-term effects of sports concussions for every Saints player who respectively singles, doubles, triples or homers.”

Leave it to Mike Veeck, the owner of the Saints, who once promoted a bobblehead with two feet under a bathroom stall in honor of former Idado Senator Larry Craig.

So get out to Midway on 1 September for a good cause. I’d be there but that’s moose opener.

Photo courtesy of


It’s still dropping below zero at night here in Alaska’s mid-section.

In the “Why Can’t People Make up Their Minds?” Department:
I found out late last night that my entire plans for work this summer (not to mention future travel plans) have been thrown out the window, blown about by the wind, reshuffled, stomped on, and come out WTF? Somehow, I have to figure out how to compact more work than I normally get in a year into 5-6 months. I have no idea how I am going to pull this off. The plus side, is that I now see a path to a clear schedule once I get to autumn and with enough money to run away. Of course, it would be nice to be in physical condition to actually enjoy that clear schedule once I stumble & limp my way to it.

The honest definition of entropy: “The more time one spends on planning out life’s schedule, the less time it takes for someone else to throw it into complete dissaray.” —MTP

Mounting Activity

Mount Iliamna is showing more seismic activity and gas emissions than normal. Iliamna isn’t one of our more active volcanoes: There was similar heightened activity in 1996, which AVO calls a “failed eruption”, and it’s last actual eruption was over 300 years ago. With that information in hand, I expect an eruption just prior to my flight out of Alaska.

Image courtesy of AVO/USGS/McGimsey, Game