Monday, June 25, 2007

How dare you try and fill my head with this loathsome propaganda!

Sunday we had a tie-dye party out at Eric and Becky's. This was the third annual and, I dare say, the best yet. Good friends, good food, good beer and tie dying. What more got a wanna-be musher/hippy ask for? Not much. All the shirts, socks, gitch and blankets turned out really cool. Becky, Erin and I are having a mini dying party on Friday to use up the extra dye. I was thinking about doing some bandannas or some kiddie shirts for Leif and Laker in Whitehorse. Big truck!
Anyway, not much else new. Here are some pics from dying. Yes, we all died on Sunday. Then Eric, Becky and I rinsed (there's a lot of rinsing) all the clothes out yesterday before washing and drying and wearing. Woo hoo!

Messy, messy.

Becky's neice Gretta. Mouthy, but funny. I let her swear when her parents weren't around. All she said was ass. Two shoes.

Mixing colours and trying different combos is fun...except when you go too far and end up with poop brown/green.

My stained hands. It looks like I murdered Rainbow Brite.

Sam has a way with children. He's smiling big to show his teeth. I think he hurt himself taking this photo.

Me and may pal, Erin. Also known as Girl Erin...her husband's name is Aaron also.

Eric holding up the finished product. I did this shirt for him.

We did lots of baby clothes for Eli and Ella.

Piles o' tie dye.

Bully on the way home. He entertained the cars behind us. Becky and I were talking about tie dying some of my dog coats for the races next year.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Satan gave me taco and it made me really sick

Mary Beth!! Give me back my jacket!

Ruffles has started eating again. But only because I broke down and bought the crappiest crap that the grocery store had to offer. It's a coagulated blob in a can that smells like toe-jam wrapped in a dirty diaper. She loves, loves, loves it. And she actually has some energy. She almost runs and has started kicking rocks and dirt over her pee spots. Now remember, just a week or so ago, Ruffles was catatonic, so this is a big improvement. Maybe it's the funky additives in the canned Alpo that's making ol' Ruffles think she's younger or stronger than she is. Kind of like when people drink alcohol and think they're attractive. (Guilty)

Right now I'm listening to 'AK,' a statewide radio show on NPR. It's for Alaskans, reported by Alaskans and sometimes it's really hilarious.
This week the show is about fashion in Alaska. So far the terms 'rural-sexual' and 'deliberately disheveled' have spoken to me the most. My girls Libby, Theresa and Nicole had hilarious stories on about their experiences with Carhartts, paint stains and hairy legs. Good job, ladies!
The other night when I was shooting the Midnight Sun Game, I met a couple of Canadians from BC who had driven to Fairbanks for the game. The couple (Christina and Mike) and I ended up meeting up yesterday, so I could show them the cabin and some real sled dogs. They were super nice (of course they were, they're Canucks) and they loved Fairbanks. I think partly because it becomes glaringly apparent soon after arriving here that nobody gives a crap what you look like. Ok, some do, but they need not worry, because Carhartts, flannel, bandanas, tie-dye, jeans...well, anything goes at any event or occasion.
We went to the Marlin the other night to hear some live bluegrass and it was so fun. The Marlin is known as a danky, hippy bar that smells like body odor and beer. Ahhh, home sweet bar. I danced (bluegrass style) with random people and kept telling Adam, who came straight from work and was wearing a dress shirt, to embrace the experience. A couple of times during the night people would cram in to the ridiculously over-crowded establishment and would spin on a heel and walk out. There was however, a old tourist couple that managed to brave the stench and drunks for a set or two, but the dolled-up, make-up wearing, trying-to-look-like-they-live-in-a-real-city girls didn't even make it to the bar for their vodka and ice teas. Poor little dears...
For me, the dankier the bar the better. The Golden Eagle, the Midnight Mine, the Boatel, The Comet Club, the Howling Dog, Ivory Jacks...they're all local holes and I love them.
I must admit, however, that I still cling to the hope that I look mildly cool. Like Nicole said, trying to look like you don't care. I mean, I don't really care...who am I trying to impress? Sam loves me and my stench...the more stinky, the better. He likes the hairy legs and bandanas, so who else matters? But I look for vintage T-shirts that fit just so, and I can't handle tapered pants (Carhartts are the exception) or bad sunglasses. Also on this week's AK radio show, a few locals in Juneau were sitting in a bar critiquing the tourists' outfits as they walked by the window. Funny, funny stuff. So, if you even venture north, beware. We're watching. And laughing. If you feel you must try to fit in, in Fairbanks at least, think lumberjack meets lesbian.
There are a whole different set of rules for Anchorage.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fun and shuns under the Midnight Sun

Today is the longest day of the year. It's light for 24 hours although technically the sun does rise and set. It rose at around 3 this morning and will set at 12:48 but it won't get dark.
Alaskans, well, actually, northerners have a different way of looking at June 21. For most down south it's the first official day of summer. For us, it's the longest day and we know that tomorrow we'll start losing light again, which means the long winter is on the way. Tonight is the annual Midnight Sun Baseball Classic. The game starts at 10:30 p.m. and ends around 2 a.m. No lights are turned on, or have ever been turned on, for the 101-year-old game.
I shot some photos for Yahoo! Sports of a practice yesterday ( and will shoot the actual game tonight. It's bloody hot here. Upwards of 35 degrees Celsius. The forecast is calling for thunderstorms later in the day but I'm hoping not. These Yahoo! yahoos are banking on some sunny-night shots of the game.
Anyway, here's some info from the weather station.
Happy Solstice.

JUNE 21 2007..........SUNRISE 259 AM ADT SUNSET 1248 AM ADT
JUNE 22 2007..........SUNRISE 259 AM ADT SUNSET 1248 AM ADT

GAIN SINCE YESTERDAY........................0 MINUTES

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A vote for Adam is a vote for insane mosquito orgies

In the past three days I've seen the Gulkana Glacier, gawked at more moose than I can shake a stick at, been caught in a crazy storm miles away from shelter, crossed the Arctic Circle, been nearly sucked dry by mosquitoes (not in a good way), watched Adam spray Deet right in his face (on purpose), driven a Polish backpacker 60 miles, eaten my weight in trail mix, crossed a river via a suspension bridge, drank my weight in beer, kicked ass in euchre (on the Arctic Monday-night card session ever!), been in the truck as a passenger for seven hours and driven for 12, seen Beaver Slide, climbed what-turned-out-to-not-be-Finger-Mountain, said 'take a piss' 100 times, peed in the woods 12 times...all this and I still haven't showered, hooray!
On Sunday, Sam and I and his friends, the Bird family, drove down the Richardson Highway to the Gulkana Glacier near Paxson. We hiked in, crossing the Gulkana River via suspension bridge and almost made it to the Glacier before the skies opened up and we were soaked (yes, we were wearing rain gear, that's how hard it rained.) At one point it was raining sideways. We drove back home that same day, pointing out wildlife to the Bird Family, who were following in a van behind us. At one point we pulled into a campground and I thought I saw a brown bear in the creek along the road. I gasped my 'holy-crap-there's-a-bear' gasp and Sam started looking around.

'Baby? What is it? What do you see?'
I looked closer.
It wasn't a brown bear. It was a rusty barrel.
'I see a brown...barrel.'
'A brown bear?'
'No, a brown barrel.'
'Yeah. Let's go.'
The next morning, Richard, Rachel, Adam and myself headed North to the Arctic Circle. Our goal? To have euchre night on the Arctic Circle. The Dalton Highway was BRUTAL. It took us six hours to go less than 300 kilometres...and half of it was paved! We didn't see any wildlife except for the occasional dead rabbit. Oh and there were mosquitoes as big as my head and flies the size of large cats. We picked up a Polish dude at Yukon River Camp and brought him to the Arctic Circle, he kept going North, though. I love car camping because you can bring so much crap! For us, it was mostly food and beer, some of which we ended up given to a traveler from Arizona who was passing through...we gave him some food, not beer (come on).
We played cards until the wee hours of the morning (admittedly, I was the first in bed around 1:30, because we had run out of good beer and the others started drinking Bud. I draw the line at Budweiser.) And of course, since we were at the Arctic Circle the sun didn't set. We drove back today stopping on the way home to take some pictures.
The next adventure? Paddling the Chatanika River on my birthday weekend. The summer of Jill and Sam is here and the living is easy...except when we have to work... I got a call today from Yahoo! Sports asking if I would photograph the annual Midnight Sun Baseball Game on Thursday (solstice). The game starts at 10 p.m. and is insanely popular with locals, tourists and media outlets from Outside. Yahoo even sent a reporter up for it. Crazy. The editor asked if I could file photos to them from the game. You know, from the press box, he said. I snorted. Yes, there is a press box at Growden Park, but no internet access. I might have to run over the News-Miner to file during the game but parking will be a nightmare, so I'm not sure if that's going to happen either. They might have to do as we Alaskans do and wait.

Our destination: Gulkana Glacier.

It had been sprinkling on and off all day, which made for some nice photos.

Funky moss on a rock.

Maddie Bird on the bridge. She was the first across despite some near-freak-outs the night before at just the talk of having to cross it. Guess who the biggest chicken was? Not her, that's for sure.

Chicken Jill crossing the bridge. I recorded myself with my new audio gear. You can hear the river roaring underneath and me going 'You got it. You got it. Holy f**kin' s**t, you got it.' Yes, I was the most scared. It was wobbly and it moved, ok?!

My feet on the bridge.

Sam and I. You can see the storm behind us. The bridge is over my right shoulder. We thought we might make it to the Glacier and back before the storm hit, but no, we did not.

A moose munching in a pond just off the Richardson Highway.

The monstrosity that is the Trans Alaska Pipeline.

We made it! Friends at the Arctic Circle, where the sun doesn't set and the bugs will drive you insane.

I loves me some car campin'. Richard did the cooking...I haven't died yet.

We couldn't actually see the Beaver Slide, which was rather disappointing. We had some great fun with the sign, however.

Richard on top of what-turned-out-to-not-be-Finger-Mountain.

The view from what-turned-out-to-not-be-Finger-Mountain.

Sign at Yukon River Camp.

Sign at Yukon River Camp.

The aftermath...driving the Dalton is really, really hard on cars.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A sad day at Spitfire Kennels

Raven 2002-2007
Born of Oreo (1997)and Ruffles(1993) at Windy Creek Kennel.
Raven raced in the Wyoming Stage Stop as a three-year-old and was also on Ken's spring sprint teams for a couple years. Her brother Strider (who I have) also did some stage and sprint racing, while her other brother Turtle (who is still at Windy Creek) has done the Iditarod. Raven came to me about a year ago although I have known her for several years. She was always one of more friendly dogs. My first summer at Windy Creek, I was out in the yard with dogs and she jumped up and poked me in the eye with her nose. My contact came out and just as I noticed it on the tip of her nose, out came her tongue and my contact was gone.
Raven ran with me when I won the Chena Passenger Race. She was bit of a pacer, but fun to have around and when Ken and Gwen offered her to me, I quickly agreed. Not long after I purchased her, she had a freak spinal episode and became paralysed from the waist down. After weeks of different vets, X-rays and meds, she was able to walk but was still wobbly and would never run in harness again. I kept her though, because she was a nice dog. That's also the reason I got Ruffles, her mother. I knew the two were so close that I didn't want to separate them, even though Ruffles is old and cranky and obviously doesn't run with the team anymore. A few weeks ago, Raven stopped eating. Since then she has slowly gotten weaker. I noticed she had a high temperature and her gums were very pale. I took her in to the vet earlier this week and they did blood work and an X-ray. Her platelet count was at 11 when it should be around 400. Her liver enzymes were abnormally high which got us thinking there was some kind of tumor. The X-ray showed that whatever spine disease had caused her paralysis, had spread. We tried some steroids in hopes of getting her red blood-cell count up but it hasn't worked and this morning she was barely able to stand. The vet was slated to come at 3p.m. to put her to sleep but called to say she'd be late. I was sitting with Raven trying to help her breath when Sam came home from work. We sat there petting her until she lifted her head back and died. The vet arrived and took her body to get cremated. Ruffles didn't understand what was happening and mustered the strength to nearly jump into the back of the vet's car. I thought about putting Ruffles down with her because Ruffles is having trouble getting around these days and because she and Raven were so close, but I just can't do it. I guess we'll see how she copes. She's been pacing since Raven left. Ruffles has taken a liking to Sister and Sister lets her be mothery, so we'll see. She has also started mothering Bull a little and he tolerates her. It's a sad day here, but it's for the best.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Alaska says 'Hi Gran!'

Hi Gran. I just wanted you to know that Fairbanks says 'hi.'I went around town today before, during and after work to take pictures of people, some of whom I know and some I don't, to say hi to my gran. Here are the results. Don't be lonely, we're all thinking about you.




Coffee-shop girl!

Lori! (Local radio personality.)

Libby! (Reporter at KUAC public radio)



Julie! (My boss)

Receptionists at the News-Miner!

Jason! (Press guy at the News-Miner...not a criminal)

Flower-shop ladies!

Random Dude!

Brian! (IT guy at the paper.)

Kelly! (Managing editor of the paper)

Adam! (Sports guy at the paper)

Richard! (Fellow copy editor and my BFF)

Gary! (Fellow copy editor)

Waitress at Ivory Jacks!


Bob! (Sports editor)

Tim! (Outdoors editor)

Danny! (Sports reporter)

Jesse and Eric! (Dog mushers)

Alec! (Amanda's baby daddy)



Random Alaska dudes!