Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Alaska: Interior by (virtual) road, rail and air...and also a bit of the Flora & Fauna

First off...Alaska is HUGE. 663,300 Square miles. Two times as large as Texas
(which in itself, when crossed mid-state, takes 3 days to drive across) Next, not all areas can be accessed by road and not all roads are open year-round.  Quite a few towns are linked by railroad or require the use of a small bush plane. Reaching some areas require the use of all three. Lastly, NOTHING is nearby anything else. The train can take from 4 to 7 hours depending on where you are headed.

The Dalton Highway


By Bush Plane


By Train


Some of the Flora and Fauna



The interior is rugged and beautiful.

 I have chose this particular shot for my Alaskan Painting and will be starting it tonight!

Along with the Whales and Brown Bears are curious Porcupines.

Polar Bears

Several species of Salmon


Bald Eagles


Musk Oxen






And much much more...

Novel The Plan: Thoughts- Steve Drossinger: The Shel Team Leader

As the head of The Shel Program I am quite apprehensive releasing Mark at this time.

That, and a few dollars,  will get you a cup of coffee, I suppose. 

The Project seems to have spiralled entirely out of my hands. The General is calling the shots, and whatever he says, the shrink backs him all the way.

Since the Conference, the book and movie deal even the rest of the team seems starry eyed. They have lost focus of what is important here. Mark, and his adjustment. Survival beyond the controlled environment of the VA Hospital or this program.

The Exo-shel has undoubtedly made an enormous difference in his quality of life and allowed him to regain a level of independence. I have no doubt that his accommodations at General Davises will be outstanding and we have trained Mr. Gentry to take care of his day to day needs.  My concerns are not so much based on what he says...but instead what he doesn't say.

He is so close to release, and yet I am seeing a reluctance in his day to day performance. He drags along on simple tasks with which he had previously excelled. The Occupational Therapist validates my concerns. He changes the subject rapidly when one of the team even mentions the fact that next week he will be home. Then reminds the team that he won't be going home, he will, in fact, be living at The General's home.

 There is a flicker of fear that lets me know that inside he is not as stable. Not as okay as everyone insists.

The past week he has been obsessively talking about winning his ex-wife over. Getting his family back together.

When I attempted to discuss my concerns with Doctor Troy they were soundly dismissed.

The General walked out of the room the moment I mentioned it.

It seems they all have their own agenda. Even with the rest of my team. Mark, himself, seems to not be the priority any more. 

I find that disquieting.

Doctor Troy went so far as to suggest that maybe I was trying to delay Mark's release for my own egotistical reasons. I found his assessment both unfair and outrageous. I have spent a number of years of my life trying to give this unfortunate man back his life. Nothing will make me happier when he can be home. I just believe this rush to release is not in Mark's best interest.

Another unsettling observation I have made is that Doctor Troy seems to be following The General's lead now...and for some reason the doctor is very anxious and uncomfortable with him.

I find that very odd.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Oscars

A star-studded night on the Red Carpet.

The Best Picture of 2016


Which, along with the gay black kid coming of age story...also tackled several other social issues. The growing drug problem. The missing male black role model father. The crack mother.

Although my second choice would have definitely been Fences...this was the superior film.

I was glad to see Viola Davis get Best Supporting Actress for Fences.

And the Best Dress of the Night in black velvet (hands down)

And (in my opinion) The Worst

And although the men all looked pretty uniform in either blue, black or white tuxes...the dresses this year for the most part were ranging from simply bad

(several gold sheaths whose wearers were poured into something several sizes too small and frankly looked like bulging sausages in gilt casings)

to OMG...who told you this was a Good Look...???

Including all the Marie Antoinette Enormous Bottom of the Dress.  One actually looked a lot like a tent.  I've camped in pop-ups smaller than this. 

 I loved that Suicide Squad got the Oscar for Best Make-Up and Hair. They certainly earned it!

Most of all, I loved seeing all the blue ribbons to remind us on the importance of Freedom of the Press.

One thing is for sure...we had a lot of incredible films in 2016!  And I appreciate the talent and the vision of these flim-makers and script writers,  actors/actresses, directors and so forth...for working hard to entertain all of us...and (personally) for enriching the quality of my life through cinema.

More Anon... 


Sunday, February 26, 2017

This Week

It's raining...it's chilly...it is 70...nope back to 33...omg, it is snowing...back to 60's later this week.

Don't believe in climate change?

Stick around.

You will.

It has been a busy week. Brunches, Birthday Celebrations, Company, Planning (The Boys, Tina, Nicki and I) a Summer Getaway to Warren Dunes with Emma,Brenden and Aiden, oh... and a Trip to Avon.

Gearing up for tonight's Oscars.

Slow to mail...yes...Lennon...the GSC will be mailed in the morning. Really. I did NOT eat them.

Chris and Tina and I enjoyed Greek in Avon and plundering Michael's Crafts together

"Stampede of wind up hopping chicks in aisle 5, Bob."

Tina's 28th Birthday is Monday!

Nicki posted these pictures from James and Hannah's Daddy-Daughter Date

 Complete with corsage.

My old friend and I, who celebrate seasonally now, enjoyed sitting by the pond...pondering WTH Trump thinks he is doing...and a wonderful brunch at Almost Home for our Still Winter visit.
Spring is right around the corner.

And Nicole saved Tucker this week with a leftover bottle of Amoxicillin (the pink stuff). My poor fuzzy buddy whose simple cold and allergies morphed into a one sided sinus infection earning his the disgusting nickname of


The first couple of syringe doses went about the way you would have expected...but it has gotten much less traumatic for both of us now, and after several days of antibiotic therapy he is feeling much better and I am spending much less time cleaning up...well...cat snot.

And the Marmalade Marauder? 

Deliberately excluding journalists from a White House Press Briefing...refusing to attend the Correspondant’s Dinner...trying to work his way around the rules to reinstate The Travel Ban.


Through it all, I am impressed at all the people Dems/GOP and Independents who are standing up and reminding this Giant Babyman with the teensy hands that this is NOT what this nation is about and the Constitution is still relevant and the law of the land.

Stay strong, people.

Off to watch the Oscars! 

                                                 Mediterranean Gothic

                                                           Nailed it!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Brown & Kodiak Bears

When I think Alaskan Mammals this is the first guy to come to mind.

Brown bears (Kodiak) are indigenous and plentiful to this State. They are one of the two largest land carnivores. The other being a close cousin...the Polar Bear. Brown Bears are referred to as Grizzly Bears in the Western United States (i.e. California) These bears diverged from the Cave Bear lineage about 1.5 million years ago and have a vast number of subspecies.  With claws up to four inches and the largest having a standing height of 10-12 feet these are not a bear to be trifled with, no matter how cute, friendly or clumsy they may seem. Every year, it seems, there are reports of hikers (usually solo) being attacked and/or eaten by these bears. 

Now (February) they are deep into Hibernation, here. They will rouse in May with the beginning of Spring in Alaska.

A live cam from Brooks Falls is set up for filming in Spring. For now  if you visit you can see footage from last season...in May it will be a live feed again. Definitely going to check it back out then.


Fishing for Salmon



These bears must be the gulls and other shoreline birds best friend and providers.

Tonight the climate here seems to have shifted back to the Arctic, as well. Enjoying an evening with hot tea and honey and a novel set in Alaska I am reading along with this virtual journey.

The Author is Sue Henry

And the book is an Alaskan Mystery Novel called

Termination Dust

(Termination Dust is the name given to the first light snowfall of the Alaskan Winter...thereby signifying the end of the Gold Mining Season)

This book is a story within a story, when modern day Jim Hampton finds the bones, a weathered tin and 1897 hand-written journal of  Prospector Addison Harley Risner while canoeing in Alaska.

Although I have barely started the book it is very interesting, appears to be well written and hard to put down. 

Something to enjoy on a cold still-winter night!

More anon...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Glacier Terminology

Before we delve into Alaska's Flora and Fauna...I found this fascinating.

It seems Alaska's Rivers of Ice have a language (terminology) all their own.
Who knew, right?

Arete:  Sharp narrow ridges formed on a mountain by a glacier.

Bergschrund: The crevasse that separates the stagnant headwall ice from the flowing ice of the glacier.

Calving:  When an iceberg breaks away from the glacier.

Crevasse: An open crack in the glacier's surface.

Erratic:  A boulder swept down a glacier and deposited elsewhere. Some erratics can weigh tons.

Firn or Neve:  The area of a glacier covered with snow throughout the entire year.

Ice Fall:  The Jumbled and broken ice which occurs when the glacier flows over a steep drop-off.

Kettle: A huge block of ice left behind as a glacier receded. Filling an area with water it sometimes becomes a lake. Mirror Lake in Alaska is what remains of an enormous Kettle.

                                                         Mirror Lake

and an example of a smaller Kettle.

Nunatak: Mountain  tops or ridges poking through the glacier and forming small islands.

Seracs:  jutting blocks of ice from the surface of the glacier...sometimes hundreds of feet tall.

                              The areas between the seracs are also crevasses.

Outburst Flood or Joklhlaup:  A tremendous release or flood of water that was trapped beneath or behind a glacier.

 Glacial Flour and Glacial Silt: The finely ground rock that is left behind where a glacier has passed over an area.

                                                      Glacial Flour

                           The coloration of this lake due to Glacial Silt.

Ice Geyster or Bubbling Pond: Glacial meltwater that comes up through the surface of the glacier. Usually liquid. Some refreezes like this example.

Ice Quake: The sound of muted thunder. Sounds like it is miles away. Ice shifting and grumbling within the glacier itself.


The Sounds of an Ice Quake.
(yeah...my ass would be outta there)

And another Interesting Ice Sound


Ice Sizzle:  As an iceberg melts there is a sizzling or popping sound like Rice Krispies. This is caused by the release of the trapped gasses inside.



Ice Worm:  3 mm long and brownish-black. These are the only worms known to inhabit ice. They feed off the red algae that grows on glaciers.

Moulin (or Glacial Mill):  Channels of water that plunge through channels and down holes deep into the middle of the glacial ice. Known for their sound.


Glacial slide: A short period when meltwater causes a glaicer to move 100x faster than it normally would. Results in Calving at the edge.

Example with Sound


Sun Cup:  The short textured cupping on the surface of the glacial from sun and wind erosion.

                                                         Sun Cups.

A nice side adventure...and proof that you can learn something new every day!

More Anon...