Democracy alive in Fairbanks, Alaska

A rally for Governor Palin took place tonight at the airport in Fairbanks, as she returned to Alaska for the first time since becoming the GOP’s vice presidential nominee. While CNN and the Daily News Miner focused mainly on the republican welcomers gathered on the tarmac, there were many Alaskans outside the rally who shared a very different sentiment.

September 10, 2008 at 9:19 pm 3 comments

Pincher bug admission

To the very tall man who operates the kettle corn machine at the Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market and last Wednesday paid a kid in popcorn to assassinate at least thirty-three of the seemingly unaware wood-boring beetles as they attempted to fly into his large hot black kettle: I was wrong. They have been known to bite.

July 7, 2008 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

A rare June frost

blue gel ice packHow often do you hear of someone catching a frostbite in Fairbanks in June? I am here to tell you that, while rare, this situation is not uncommon. As a matter of fact, I happen to know someone who just this past Sunday encountered a heavy frost in downtown Fairbanks. Though it was about 70 degrees outside, it was oh so chilly on the inside.

By all accounts, this person was recovering from the Two-way Torture Test. Thanks to miles of uphill on pavement then downhill on pavement the previous weekend, they were icing their knee at a rapid pace. And the fancy blue gel ice pack, fresh from the freezer, plopped skin to plastic (NOTE: when icing a knee with a plastic blue ice pack, put a towel between flesh and plastic) helped the knee to numb right up. In fact, it was so numb and this person was so busy on Facebook, blogging, talking on the phone, reading, or just dreaming off in space contemplating their belly button, that they left the 40 below ice pack on their knee for, well, about one hour. According to this runner, there were some burning sensations emanating from the knee area at various moments, but that only made them readjust the pack to a slightly different angle on the knee. And when the burning returned, more readjusting.

Maybe it was the endorphins from all that running. Maybe reduced brain cells due to lack of oxygen on the uphill. Whatever the reason, it just didn’t sink in for them that the burning sensation was the freezing of their flesh. It wasn’t until Monday at work when they were sitting on their ball, minding their own business, they happened to look down and couldn’t help notice the half dollar-sized purple blotch on their kneecap, surrounded by smaller blueberry-looking patches. At first their mind raced to possible leprosy or a strange flesh-eating fungus. Then it all came together. The burning sensation that felt like a tongue sticking to a frozen chain link fence pole in the middle of January was actually the bite of cold.

Luckily this person survived that heavy June frost and lived to blog about it.

June 10, 2008 at 10:55 pm 3 comments

Can-can holiday in the sunflower bed

baby chiantisTonight, after the lawn was mowed and the dahlias transplanted, those little chianti sunflowers that I planted as seeds back on Tax Day finally landed in the ground. They’re in good company with a few strawberry blondes, two valentines, several mammoths and one moulin rouge. Sounds like a fun group. Makes me wish for a millisecond that I was a sunflower. But I bet that if they do actually know the significance of their names they’re probably too busy growing roots and photosynthesizing to go on a hot date or have any parties. Soon their bright faces will be shielding my living room window from the rest of the world and gracing me every morning with sunshiny petals of happiness. Grow speed racers! Grow!

June 2, 2008 at 11:15 pm Leave a comment

Passed the test

Photoby Eric Engman, Fairbanks Daily News minerPhoto by
Eric Engman, Fairbanks Daily News Miner

Of course, the fact that at mile two, prior to peeing in the woods, I accidentally jumped into a spruce bog and immediately soaked both of my feet didn’t help to contribute positively in any way to my Two-Way Torture experience. And the continuous hill from mile three to mile six didn’t really help either. Nor did the fact that there were only two water stations during the entire 13.1 mile run. Or that the direction I was going around the Chena Ridge meant running on the sunny and hot side of the road most of the the time.

But what did help is the hill work I’d done prior to the race. It made the three-mile hill very feasible and I motored up with focus and a steady pace. I also brought my own water with me so I stayed hydrated. And I started slow, like a tortoise, so that by mile eleven I was basically on fire. And at the end, since he finished 15 minutes before me, my partner joined me for the last 1/2 mile of my race. That really helped. Of course, the best part was when it was done!

So I have earned the right to tell everyone that I passed the Two-Way Torture Test. And now that it’s over I can say that I would definitely do that again, minus the spruce bog. And while I accomplished my goal of finishing in under two hours, I can still walk today. That’s always a plus.

June 1, 2008 at 11:21 pm 1 comment

Two-way torture in Fairbanks

The Two-Way Torture Test. Why would anyone want to put themselves through the pain of running a total of 13.1 miles, beginning with a huge uphill climb followed by a bumpy ridge line trek with more hills, then culminating in a lengthy downhill section on pavement? I’m about to find out.

May 31, 2008 at 8:16 am Leave a comment

Fairbanks’ Pigeon Place

Pigeon PlaceThese days when I’m working in my yard or sometimes just sitting in the living room letting the breeze float in, overhead I can often hear the sound of cooing pigeons. Occasionally they take flight or land, but most of the time this Garden Island (scroll to bottom) flock of eighty spends its days waiting on an electric wire that is located just outside my yard. And every afternoon my neighbor from across the street walks outside, scoops feed from a synthetic burlap bag into a bowl, and sprinkles its contents under the large spruce tree located in his front yard. Last month I documented this ritual in a Soundslides project called Pigeon Place.

May 24, 2008 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

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