Monday, February 28, 2011

fur rondy fun and games....

have been enjoying the fur rondy festivities. probably taking my mind off the fact that my work world will have changed dramatically next time i get there and i'm going to have to relearn how i do my job. the fur rondezvous is an annual event dating back 76 years. in the old days the miners and trappers would all come to the big city of anchorage (all of 3000 people back then) and sell thier goods. winter tends to make people a bit goofy after so many months and it seems everyone here loves to find any excuse to dress silly, act silly and get crazy. the rondy gives everyone the excuse they need.
there is now a wide variety of events scattered throughout the city. the world championship dog sprint race is a popular event, dating back to the 40's. the purse is over $80,000 and it goes on over the weekend. i went out to my sweet spot saturday to get these pictures. loved the first one, just thought it showed the athleticism of the dogs. it's always such a great spot to watch mushers come through. just me out there with the dogs. blossom and rio once again enjoyed the mushing as well. i'm sure one day my secret spot will be discovered and the dogs will no longer be welcome. for now, the mushers wave as they pass so i'm guessing i haven't pissed any of them off yet. i think they are just surprised to see someone out there. the dogs on the teams often look over at us, but thus far we haven't thrown off thier rhythm.
as you can see it was a beautiful day out there again, though when i got downtown the light breeze i'd felt out at north bivouac had turned into a bit of a wind storm. i'd say the gusts downtown were into the 50mph range. i tried to take the dogs out there as well, but i think they were nervous and miserable with all that wind. people were bustling about and snow was blowing everywhere. they were still doing helicopter tours of rondy...i would not want to have been in a helicopter in that wind. of course,i have no desire to ever be in one.
i stayed for a bit out there saturday and was quite chilled. the dogs were happy to get home and then i went back down town to meet friends for dinner at orso's. different dinner mates, i got king crab again. can't go wrong with that. it's actually a perfect meal for me. the fireworks were being lit as i drove back down there. looked cool.
tonight i watched the oscars. all the acceptance speeches tend to be dull and i'm not sure i was too keen on the hosts they'd selected. think i'd rather see a comedien do the bit, just more entertaining. i always like to see the outfits. haven't seen the kings speech yet, but have heard very good things. was good with the winners. portman totally deserved it for that black swan flick. i did see that and though it was bizarre and i could have skipped the lesbian and masturbation scenes, she rocked the crazy chick.
i'll have to check my netflix and add some of these to my list when they come out in dvd. there were a few i was looking forward to checking out.
egil ellis won the fur rondy today by the way. not sure which one he was. didn't have a list of numbers to match the mushers. they will post those for the iditarod for sure. i think they did for the rondy, but i think i tossed that sports page in the recycling bin. he lives in willow, where many mushers live and he's won this race 4 times before i believe. streeper had been the previous winner.
for how cold it was down town there were alot of people out there. the ferris wheel wasn't running when i passed by but it had been going, despite the wind. some of these alaskans are way tougher than me. i can do cold, but wind cold is so much more miserable. i never understood chilled to the bone til i met the wind. it can take you hours to warm back up. sometimes you have to crawl in bed or take a hot shower and still you feel chilled.
my swimming has been non-existent this weekend. hopefully, i can get in the pool tomorrow. too much going on this weekend. since i'm kinda a self imposed hermit i try to get out and socialize a bit when given the opportunity.
actually felt pretty warm sitting out there taking dog pictures. the sun was warm on me.
really had no idea how cold it was downtown.
okay, i love, love, love green. this may be a bit much green even for me, but i did appreciate the greenness of the sled and gear. surprised the dogs didn't have bright florescent green harnesses and boots. for the short race it didn't look like the dogs were bootied like the long distance racing dogs are.
i would like to try mushing one of these days. they have dog sledding at the rondy. it's just slow loop around the main park downtown. not sure what they charge for that, but thought i'd wait for a better opportunity. i bet the kids would have enjoy that though.
next week they do the running with the reindeers. that has to be better than spains running with bulls. that is a pretty popular event since it started just a few years ago. next weekend is also the trappers and miners ball. yet another opportunity to dress up and drink and get crazy. there is a theme to the madness.
i love that they have natives selling thier crafts at the dimond mall. i'll have to look and see when those days are. it's great because the actual crafters are there doing the work and selling their own stuff. cool to watch them make baskets, do scrimshaw. they all come in from the various villages. money is getting tight about this time and they are willing to sell thier crafts for a discount sometimes. costs alot for food and heat in those villages.

this guy is checking us out...
the lighting was great when i could catch the action just right. tough to stop action that is moving like that. i do put it in sports mode for the dogs, but sometimes i just catch tails or ropes.
not sure why this guy was sitting down on the sled. wind resistance perhaps.
a few of the teams were fairly close together. not sure where they can pass, they must have to plan for that a bit, know the trail and where they have opportunities on lakes or open streets. can be a tangled mess if not done properly.
another pup checking us out! maybe it was rio's red coat!

blossom is enjoying her rondy least at this point. like i said, she really didn't like the wind downtown and then there are the horses down there too. she does not like the horse carriages one bit. she just stops and will not budge.
rio was chilling as well. i put them on this coupler leash, which i don't think i''ll do again either. for them, it's better to just have separete leashes. i think rio pulled blossom and blossom pulled rio and i think they were kinda sore from it.
today we just walked gasline/powerline/tank. these were some impressive shadows though.
here are some downtown pictures. always strange to see the main street shut down for all the events.
these next group are from the outhouse races. usually very fun to watch, this day though the winds kept really kickin up and it wasn't much fun really. this guy looked pretty excited though. the duck farts are regulars out there...speaking of catalina!!! the various teams have thier decorated outhouses. these are placed on ski's usually and then raced down the street and back. it can get a bit crazy. i had a decent place to watch, but then the people from the non-racing outhouses started standing right in front of us. always kind of annoying as you have saved yourself a spot in the front row and then these people come in in front of the barrier and you can no longer see a dang thing. as windy as it was though, i just headed back to the car fairly quickly. i'd started back once, but the winds were so strong i thought i'd wait it out a bit and see if it improved. dont think it really did.
this was before the parade and races began.
these are from the parade of outhouses. someone is require to ride on the latrine in the outhouse.
this picture below actually shows the wind blowing a bit. you can see the hard bits of snow being drivin about.
some of these costumes didn't offer too much protection from the elements...those folks must have been cold! i was totally dressed and still i got chilled. i'm sure there were some cranky babies out there.

i left soon after the races began.
today i stopped by to watch this years newest event to the rondy. yukigassen...that is japanese for snowball fight. this is a organized snowball fight/tournament. they spent a great deal of time talking to some media about it all before an actual event started. finally it started and then ended fairly quickly. i'm sure it's fun for those involved. the pile of beer cans probably aided in the fun. there were several inebriates there to watch as well so this event just wasn't my thing. i left pretty quickly...haven't started to get a chill again from the cold wind.
the snow sculptures are one of my favorite events. saturday they were all still working on thiers so i stopped by today to see the finished projects. there are always some big blocks of snow that dont' get carved. there are always a few that look very cool though. this one below had amazing details and looked awesome.
the one behind it is pretty basic. there is some variety in what gets carved, but it's always worth a look.
this eagle was also very impressive. loved the details on the talons.
i'm always amazed at what people can do artistically. this takes some real thought to pull together. to think of them all carving this year in that crazy wind makes the whole task even more impressive.
if you wondered if bears shit in the woods...well apparently they do but some use an outhouse. wonder what a bear who uses an outhouse reads?
the mammoth was nice. probably much easier to cut out than the eagle, but still cool.
this one was also quite nice. a native design, seems typical of southeast alaska to me so i liked it. the raven eats the sun i think.
there were a few blocks that looked like an attempt had been made, but it didn't work out.
another shot of the coolest one i thought anyway.
if i were selecting it would be this or the eagle.
this one is from a kids movie i think. not sure which one. anyone know?
had a few baby quilts to make so tonight i got those made. sewing is not something i am at all gifted at. i do own a sewing machine. not sure if it's me or the machines, but seems like they are forever giving me fits. i mean i'm just trying to sew a straight line and still i don't seem capable. i did have a mini melt down. luckily i live alone. the dogs do look at me strangely as i scream out in frustration. i think it's tension and the type of thread or needles i use. who's very annoying anyway. once i get to the part i can just tie the quilt with yarn i 'm all relaxed again. that part is nice.
after my meltdown i put a fire in the fireplace and tied both quilts. will have to get boxes and ship them off to the nieces who are awaiting new babies. i only do one baby quilt per family. the dogs can't take me yelling much more than that.
liked the scene of the cat on his little blanket in front of the fire and the dog on the couch snoring away.
so no controversy to report today. i did hear there was an attack in florida over thin mints. apparently one roommate accused the other of taking her thin mints and an argument ensued. it progressed to the one roommate chasing the other with scissors and beating her with a sign of some sort. who knows. at work we decided it would have to be tagalogs not thin mints for us to get violent. i don't have any girl scout cookies in my house at this time...probably safer that way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

not my best day....

for over 30 years of driving i've never been in an accident that caused any damage. always could just smile and walk away. today as i drove down patterson and prepared to turn right a fender bender occured where there was a small amount of damage to both cars. the kid my car ran into was a college student. he bought a used car less than 2 months ago. one of the first things he said when he got out of his car was that his car keeps stalling out.
we were both preparing to turn right. the street was clear and i watched his car pull out for his right turn. i then pulled forward, did a california stop and turned once again to see that the road was still clear for my turn. as i turned and pushed the gas, i now saw that he had stopped. with snow and ice, no way to stop. the damage is small, but the kid was pretty freaked out. he just sat there in his car, i was still on patterson, but he was out on tudor road, just sitting there. usually, people pull to a safe spot. he finally got out on the passenger side of his car and came towards my car. i got him to move his car into the parking lot so we could talk, we were both fine, it was just a bumper car bump. the bumpers did thier job.
i suspect the kid is still learning to drive stick shift. i never excelled at stick, so i have automatic engines. the kid called his parents, who obviously live close. within a minute his parents show up and he's on the phone with his insurance. part of me feared he was going to make a bigger deal of this than was necessary. the police came out to write a report. haven't seen the report, but i ended up getting a ticket. written up for careless driving. have been debating if i should argue that in court. seems pretty bogus. there are no accidents in our nation anymore. someone must be fined. the rear car is the one that is fined.
i was so not careless. i presumed when his car left patterson it would keep driving. i would have accepted a ticket for being presumptive, but careless. no, wasn't careless. this accident was out of my control. there were no pedestrians, cars or moose around to prevent his car from moving forward. his car stalling out and his inexperience with a stick shift are things beyond my control. not sure if i'll fight the ticket or not. i've never attempted to fight a ticket before. i get the impression that this is the city's charge for coming out to the scene of an accident. select the one with the better insurance and hand them a ticket. totally annoying.
they were all nice people, the kid and his folks. i could tell his parents felt bad that i ended up with a ticket. the dad was just telling a story where he was in the rear car and sounds like the car in front of him had turned and then it suddenly stopped for no reason and he crashed into it.
we'll see what the cost to repair is. if it's cheap i'll just try to avoid insurance. my insurance person told me i get one accident free. considering all the money one spends on insurance over the years that seems real generous. haha. insurance has become such a scam in this country. if you could just put the money you spent on insurance into a savings account you could have paid for several cars over the years.
i was headed to the hospital gift shop to buy a cute baby hat i'd seen as a few of my neices will be having new babies in thier homes soon. the gift shop was closed when i saw it coming out of work and so i thought i'd stop by and pick it up after i'd slept. someone had already purchased the dang thing so the whole trip seemed pointless now that i had a ticket in my hands. should have just stayed home. the poor dogs, no walk in the end.
the above pictures are from prospect heights trail system from the other day. there was a bit of a sun dog out there. hard to get pictures.
we did run into this fun doodle so the dogs played a bit. rio stayed home that day so we took a bit longer route out there.
as i was headed to work this moose popped out and crossed the street....good thing i'm such a careful driver as i saw him in time to stop and let him safely pass. work was fine, busy at times, got an early morning admit. everything is getting set up for go live. the hospital goes live on the computer system tonight some time. may be crazy there for a few days. i'm off. didn't plan it that way, my days just fell this way.
yesterday i took a walk in the bog. no incidences with dog hating joggers so that was nice.
below you can see the damage to my car. bummer. hopefully, it turns out to not be too bad. nobody was injured and the hit wasn't even hard enough for the dogs to fly around much. really should get a seat belt for blossom in the front seat. rio would flip out if confined. hopefuly, i have no accidents again for another 30 years. i would have been happy to have said we both have equal damage to our cars, it was an accident lets just take care of our own cars and move on. no such luck. that stuff is all about who you have the accident with. kid only has liability....