Showing posts from June, 2011

Alaska: Another 48 Years

Just two years ago, Alaska celebrated 50 years of statehood. Just recently, I realized how amazing it would be for me to witness the celebration of Alaska statehood at 100 years - and chances are, I will. I'd only have to make 67 years old, and if my parents live to 98 and 100 (through some amazing future medical breakthroughs?) they could see it too.

Alaska has an incredibly interesting history, one perpetually characterized by a great deal of diversity, something that might well be seen to stem from this land's extreme physical size and geographic variation. In the future, however, I believe the state will see increasing amounts of integration and unity between its peoples and regions. As much as I feel strongly connected to my own unique experience of Alaska, trends of movement and greater connectivity will likely lead to a falling away of such parochial attachments as mine. (I love Southeast Alaska, but not really the rest of the state.)

Accompanying this, it should be con…

Why I Won't Vote Obama 2012

Well, it's still well over a year until the next U.S. presidential election, but Republican primary candidates are already butting heads and I've already seen an "Obama 2012" bumper sticker. Unfortunately, I can't look at that sticker without feeling a great deal of disgust, and on thinking about it, I am sure I will not be voting for Barack Obama in the next election - my first official vote for president.

How can I say this? After all, I am a rather left-wing, redistributionist character, as can be seen with simple browsing through this blog. If right-wing hype was correct about Obama's extreme socialist nature, by this point I would have to be worshipping the guy. Instead, I am entirely disappointed with our president, and the one question I have to ask is this: What has Barack Obama done for our lives? As far as I can tell, it's pretty much nothing.

I've really only seen two concrete changes take place in my life because of the Obama administration…

Use the Brush!

Here's my "protip" for people taking care of animals: Most pets (not including fish or birds) usually just love to be brushed! - and it's really a great way to endear them to you.

For about the first 36-48 hours I was in charge of my aunt and uncle's house, I couldn't find their cat Taffy anywhere. It was quite a mystery, considering that most rooms in the house had the doors closed and there were only so many places she could possibly be, but I contented myself with putting food in her dish and seeing its gradual disappearance as proof of the cat's continued yet invisible existence.

Then one day I actually found her, lying in her bed. At first I petted her carefully, but then turned to brushing the cat's long hair, and soon Taffy was purring like an engine from the little deuce coupe of Beach Boys fame. By now, Taffy is entirely comfortable with me around, and I can from the several times I've brushed her that she'd probably let me go on for ho…

Summer Scenes

Tonight will be my 3rd night at my aunt and uncle's house, as they and my cousin are all out of town for the next few weeks and I need to take care of their dog and cat. Here are a few nice pictures I've taken in the last few days:
On Friday night I was driving back to my aunt and uncle's from my girlfriend's house, going along the highway in the direction people in Ketchikan refer to as "north," although it's just as much going west. When I turned a corner, I suddenly saw a beautiful red sunset right in front of me. People out on the water had their boats going slowly as they stood out on their bows and enjoyed the view. Several cars were parked along the road, with people stepping out to stand and take it in. I parked as well, and then took several pictures. It was a wonderful moment, and it felt great.
Later that same night, I took my aunt's dog Emma for a walk. (She's actually my dog's sister; our families got the dogs at the same time from …

Recent Favorite Song - Bulla Ki Jaana

Just as something light-hearted and short to share, here's a song I've been listening to a lot lately. It's from India, a poem of the 18th century Sufi saint Bulleh Shah, sung and set to the wonderful music of Rabbi Shergill. I saw it recommended from one of my Facebook friends to another, listened to it on YouTube, and then downloaded it for myself. Enjoy!

Ketchikan Drivers

Well, they say it's official once it's on Facebook, and I have now posted a "Question" (i.e. a Facebook-based poll) asking "Are people in Ketchikan relatively bad drivers?" The overwhelming answer - at least so far - has been yes.

This is not a question that I would have thought much about in years past. For one thing, I've only had my driver's license since last summer, and I have only ever driven in Ketchikan, making comparisons with drivers elsewhere difficult and asymmetrical for me. However, I really do agree with my poll respondents that Ketchikan drivers are relatively bad, and the reasons may surprise you. Here are some causes I can think of:
Ketchikan is isolated. After all, we're on an island, surrounded by other islands, surrounded by roadless, unpopulated wilderness. Drivers here don't tend to experience very much driving elsewhere - and I of course am example number one. By itself, this factor doesn't automatically lead to ba…

Yankee Doodle on a Google Doodle

Well, it took me a little while to figure it out, but I just played the verse melody of "Yankee Doodle" on Google's most recent "doodle" - a musical commemoration of guitar innovator Les Paul.

Here's the link to my little recording. Perhaps more interesting than my actual playing is how long that link will continue functioning.

As with last summer, it seems that most all my thoughts, attentions and labors are turned toward activities I don't necessarily have much to write about on the blog. I do continue to have some blogworthy notions, however, and I'll be sure to try to fill you in whenever I have them. Mostly, I think the Publisher should simply tread water this summer, and I should try to get by on a few posts a month. Then, this fall, I should have tons of crazy things to share.

Heat Wave

Ketchikan was hit by a bit of a heat wave on the last day of May, and it stayed over a bit yesterday as well. Unfortunately, one thing I learned trying to find out what temperature it hit is that weather websites never live in the past; it seems like I can't find anywhere that would say what the weather was two days before. Nevertheless, I would guess that the high in Ketchikan for May 31, 2011 went well into the 80s, and was probably an all-time record for that day. (Today, for example, the record high is apparently 75 degrees.)

(Image: I took this picture of the town about a week ago on a fishing trip. I actually got a bit sunburned, but it was definitely not as hot as two days ago.)

I'm pretty sure the highest recorded temperature in Ketchikan was in the low 90s - and to a lot of people, maybe most people, that probably doesn't seem very hot for a record high. Still, everything is relative, and while I may stomach 90-degree heat in DC while I'm at school, dealing w…