Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I love playing Rock Band with a group of people. It's just a blast.

I love it even more when an 11 year old is singing Slayer's Black Magic or Dio's Rainbow in the Dark.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Makeout point

As I had planned last spring, I purchased cross country skis this fall. Our snowfall was a little late this year, but as of the past 3 weeks the trails in town have been groomed with plenty of hard packed snow. Game on.

I've been getting out quite a bit these past few weeks and I just love it. Russian Jack park is about a 5 minute drive from my place (with stoplights) and has a lit, groomed trail. I've skied at 10 pm and the lights were still on. I honestly don't know when they turn off. On a given weeknight it is the easiest thing in the world to throw on some quick gear and ski for an hour. I'm also amazed at how quickly you build up a sweat. Even when skiing at -4 temps I only needed a nylon shell over my sweatshirt. It's just an amazing workout, a beautiful way to enjoy winter and the scenery, and excellent cross training for cycling.

Russian Jack has a large parking lot on DeBarr Ave that I never park in. I prefer the smaller one on Boniface, but both lots connect to the park and the trail. The smaller lot is simply closer to home and often empty. The first time I skied there it was -4 and I found 2 idling vehicles in the lot with their lights off. A small hatchback purred away with no occupant while a panel van next to it sat with its exhaust steaming away. As I sat on the gate of my truck frigidly trying to get my boots on as quickly as possible a middle aged woman exited the van, jumped in the hatchback, clicked on the lights, and zoomed away. The van followed moments later. It must really be amazing forbidden fruit at -4 on a weeknight. On another night I found 2 different vehicles in a similar set up, the van now replaced by a steamed up Silverado. At this point I'm averaging a 30% chance at running into a hook up.

Hot times in Anchorage.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You're a big winner tonight.

You're a big winner. I'm gonna ask you a simple question and I want you to listen to me: who's the big winner here tonight at the casino? Huh? Mikey, that's who. Mikey's the big winner. Mikey wins.

We had the only painted army, but I believe my models were painted such that they would have done just fine in any pool of painters. We played Warhammer all day, so everyone won.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


In 1995, soon after my birthday, my parents got on a big Edmund Fitzgerald kick because the newspapers were noting the 20th anniversary. They talked about how great the song was and how sad and big of a deal it was that the ship went down. I sat there with a blank face and knew not what they were discussing. For some reason, this sent them into extreme disbelief.

"C'mon! You remember it. It went down right after your birthday."

"The song was everywhere on the radio. Everywhere. Right near your birthday."

"How can you not remember? It was the only thing on the news or the tv."

I just knew nothing about it. I understand that kids in Michigan and Wisconsin learn about the ship in grade school, but the Chicago punks never did as far as I could tell. As much as it is a Great Lakes story and Chicago is a Great Lakes town, Chicago is big and broad shouldered enough to really not care too much about what happens up in that place where you go to drink Old Style and fish. Sure we care, but not enough to incorporate it into our schooling. I'd like to think we were studying some denser, more urban information, but that is probably not true. Suffice to say, St Nick's didn't preach the gospel of Big Fitz.

My parents frustration grew to such silly heights until I finally popped the balloon.

"What year did it go down?" I scanned the article. "Oh, I don't remember it because I was 6 days old."

"And the song was a big hit the next year, when I was 1."

So the tension lifted and we all ended up with a chuckle. I was alive and it was on the news, so why shouldn't I remember it?

"Well, you remember everything else that ever happened."

Over the years I have actually become quite fascinated by the story, even visiting the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in the UP (a place I cannot more highly recommend visiting).

So as today's headlines tell of the (now 35th) anniversary of the sinking, I chuckle at the frustration of my parents at our kitchen table in 1995 and listen to this killer track many, many times.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Ray Bradbury stories I've been reading have been zipping by at the rate of 2-3 every lunch hour. Some are terror tales, others science fiction, and many simply fiction. All are charmingly written and very palatable. Halloween always draws me to such things, though I also like to indulge in some straight up splatter flicks.

AMC always incessantly runs the Halloween movies during October and I always get sucked in. Now, the original Halloween has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can remember. We had it on VHS and I watched it as much as possible. Honestly, we may have had it on Beta as well. While I can certainly appreciate the weaknesses of each Halloween sequel, I'm a softy for them and find something to enjoy about each one.

It all got me thinking about other John Carpenter flicks that I hadn't seen in a while. I revisited The Thing earlier this year and it was excellent -- easily as good as I had remembered it. Prince of Darkness quickly rose to the top of my list of films to revisit. I don't believe I've sat through it since I saw the theatrical release at Ford City West in 1987. I remember enjoying it, but finding some of it confusing, ultimately having me conclude that the movie was a misfire. After watching Prince this weekend I found that I really enjoyed it and that what I disliked about it as a kid was that at times it was a bit chatty, though this time the verboseness worked very well. Most movies from my youth that I revisit are absolutely terrible (see Spaceballs, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Sleepwalkers, etc.), so it was great to find the reverse.

One of my favorite weekly rituals is to download the podcasts of Nick Digilio, place them on my jump drive, and then listen to them throughout the work week at my desk. Even when I lived in Chicago and had easy access to AM radio, it was difficult to make it through his shows as they were over night. Thankfully the podcasts have solved that problem. In particular, I loved his segment with finalgirl. It sent me happily to her site and fed even more fuel into my horror film appetite. Her site is well worth bookmarking.

Thanks to finalgirl and a few other recommendations I made an effort to catch up on The Descent. I was very underwhelmed. The spelunking was exciting and the jump scares were good, but it just never built to enough for me.

Monday, November 01, 2010

No more skateboarding essays for a while. I'm all theorized out.

We had 4 total trick or treaters yesterday -- a single and a group of 3. Across both groups we had two butterfly/princess combinations (with snowpants incorporated). Did I miss an animated film here? Last year we had a single group of 3 so we are moving forward. For a townhouse complex in 30 degree temps those are decent numbers.


There will be more snow in town any day now which means we are a few weeks away from groomed ski trails in town. I'll be buying XC skis very soon as planned and hopefully cruising around Russian Jack most nights this winter. As excited as I am for a good snow base to arrive, I've now begun to excitedly plan for next summer. The small list at my desk turns into a dream set of goals for next summer. I may not accomplish half of them, but right now I honestly believe that backpacking to Symphony Lake, over Crow Pass, and then near Hope are all easy check marks for summer 2011. If I reach for a great deal and only achieve half, that will be pretty satisfying.


I've had really good luck with horror movies lately. Devil and The Last Exorcism were nice little flicks and well worth the budget theater price. I say this having spent plenty of time ranting about how my $3 was completely stolen from me after walking out of some terrible movies there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Regular Foot

Why are skateboarders today so much better at such a younger age with fewer years of practice than they were back in my skating youth (early 90's)?

It's not as if equipment quality has become so much better. Yes, shapes certainly changed, but the quality has always been excellent. I can rule out steroids as well. I don't think nutrition has ever been a factor and I don't believe any skaters engage in any gym work. Skaters still just skate and eat fast food while tearing around cities.

I believe that in that last 15 years skateboarding has lived within a series of defined walls. Tricks have not changed; they have only become smoother, faster, and bigger. Before 1995 you had to reevaluate your entire mindset every few years. Step hops and curb stalls gave way to ollies and rail slides. The emphasis changed. Those ollies expanded into nose slides and kickflips. Board shapes changed every few months without fail -- year old boards looked ancient and unrideable. Times changed again as people become obsessed with hyper technical flip tricks. Wheels become thinner and boards become exceedingly narrow as we fought for any advantage to get that board to flip a little easier. Around this same time everyone decided that every trick needed to be done with a switch stance. I am not complaining at all about this period. Skateboarding was amazingly creative, fresh, and in a seemingly endless sprint into the future. It was exciting.

However, it was schizophrenic for someone attempting to keep up with the latest tricks or trends. The walls and parameters kept moving. How much easier would switch tricks be if you started learning them within months of first getting on a board? What if you learned to switch ollie at the same time as learning to regular ollie? That seems to be the approach of people picking up the sport these days. They don't have to wipe clean a chalkboard of assumptions in their mind just to begin attempting the new stuff.

Decks are practically identical to the way they were shaped 10+ years ago. And most importantly, tricks in videos have not changed too much since then. Smoothness and style continually refines itself though, and that is the key. Watching Marc Johnson isn't about determining if he can pull the new switch trick du jour, it is about enjoying how he's taking the old bag of tricks and sliding them into his unique flow. It's about the rhythm, not checking boxes to make sure so and so can switch 360 flip. This is probably why I still prefer watching Kris Markovich over Mike Mo (yeah, I do love Mike Mo though).

I guess it is a natural progression. By 1995 the boundaries had been pushed and the lines had been painted. The future was in examining the fine grains inside that space. I don't believe this prohibits creativity or flies some flag asserting that the glory days will be forever gone. I liken it to a piano being designed and constructed. At some point we all agreed on the number of keys and then moved forward. The permutations and beauty that have come out of that are stunning and no one would doubt their creativity.

In 1989 I didn't know what a 360 flip was, but now everybody does and they can set in on the horizon and shoot for it. Maybe that is why kids get much better at a faster rate -- they know where to point there compass.

Regardless, session on in perpetuum.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Everything is on the internet somwehere and it all lives forever. At least that is what I believe. Perhaps that is just a cautionary axiom. It makes it all the more strange that I cannot find the random picture and accompanying information nugget that I am seeking.

Being a Boy Scout on the south side of Chicago meant you went winter camping in the cabins at Camp Sullivan or Falcon in the south suburban forest preserves. Aside from playing football and capture the flag in the snowy fields surrounding the cabins, the centerpiece of the weekend was a 10 mile hike through the forest preserves. It was an epic hike for us and it skipped across streets, powerlines, and chilled creeks. Looking back at that from my perch surrounded by all of Alaska, it was a fairly urban trek, though coming from the postage stamped Chicago bungalow neighborhoods it was plenty of nature. I always dug it and I'm sure my enjoyment of it augmented my eventual need to drive all the way up here.

As an 11 year old the point of my fixation of the hike was always the name and the map sign. It was called the Bigfoot hike and the large wooden sign sketching out the map stood near the hike's start, which was right next to the winter cabins. The weathered white and red piece of plywood had a dense crosshatching of streets, creeks, and trail markings. I didn't understand it in too much detail, but at that age your faith in the older scouts and adults hiking along is pure. They'll remember where we need to turn. The map had a large, imposing red foot on it, further echoing the name of the hike. It was the Bigfoot hike and I could not have read enough about UFO's, ghosts, and Bigfoot as a kid. One adult told me it was named as such because back in the early 70's mutilated animals were found in the area without explanation, save the large footprints nearby. How great is that, veracity happily unconfirmed? You can't plant a better seed for a kid's imagination. And we got to hike it every year, some times in October if the winter weekends were already booked. I'll further raise the ante -- the famously haunted Bachelor's Grove Cemetery was a stopping point on the hike.

The hike was always fun, though long for a kid's patience. I loved the possibility that something unexplained lurked in the suburban woods or the old cemetery. I'm sure we chatted about Transformers or GI Joe in our trudges, but I always kept a hidden eye out for more.

A few times in my late 20's I stopped in the parking lot near the cabins in hopes of glancing at that wicked, fertile, wooden map, only to find it long gone. It was ratty in the mid 80's, so finding it guarding the trailhead in 2000 was a slim chance. It looks like the trail may still exist in some form, though it has been renamed. This is the only relic on the web I can find, and it sadly does not have a photo. I'm sure if I look hard enough over time I'll track down my picture somewhere on the web.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

This photography project in Chicago seems pretty interesting. I do hope that they fill in the glaring south and southwest side holes in the map. Try 63rd and Kedzie. It has always been a particularly strange and busy intersection, though not as loopy as Wilson and Broadway.

And get over to the long forgotten steel graveyards on the south east side. I hope they put a full photo set up when all is said and done. A virtual art gallery might work perfectly for such a project.

Monday, October 04, 2010

October always becomes a scramble for me. I try to ride as much as possible and do anything else outside before the winter tumbles in. I wash the cars a few more times for good measure. I snag some anthologies from my bookshelf, dust them off, and then promise myself that I'll tackle some of those Poe and Bradbury tales in honor of Halloween. In between all of that is the goal of catching up on as many random horror flicks that cable can throw my way. Pepper in the Misfits and Samhain records and I end up with a busy month.

I just became aware of this documentary La Porte, Indiana, and I can't wait to see it. We had a cottage in Fish Lake, IN for many years and we always had to drive through La Porte on the way. Since Fish Lake was only 10 miles down the road, we often ran into La Porte for dinner or groceries or whatever. It remains a nice town in my memory and I'm sure I would find it a nice town if I walked through it today.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It snowed yesterday. It did not accumulate and did melt once it hit the ground, but there were undeniable flakes in the air.

This is probably because I washed the cars on Saturday.

It's over, man. Here comes winter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The rides to Eagle River are getting chillier, the leaves are giving up the ghost, and in another 4 weeks or so there will be some snow. When things begin fading away I gravitate to appropriate music and llately I cannot get The Band's "The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down" out of my head. It's a great song, and perfectly sorrowful for the death of summer.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The moose has the right of way

I still have thankfully not been charged by a moose, but this is a little too close to that distinction for my taste. Riding down the bike path pre-dusk last night (9:30 pm), I made a 90 degree turn to head back to Muldoon Road. This is a narrow stretch of the path, bounded by a ridge to the Glenn Highway and a long chain link fence. It's a corridor or a shoot of sorts.

I realized quickly that there was a large Moose 10 yards ahead in the middle of the path. It started to trot away from me once it heard my brakes chirp. However, the group of kids 20 yards ahead quickly let out a cackle and started to run away from the moose. The moose, now finding its avenue closed, promptly turned back towards me and started running again (though thankfully not with its ears pulled back). As fast as I could I picked up my bike and hiked up the highway embankment, careful to keep the bike on the moose side of my body. He passed at a distance of 6-7 feet away and kept trotting down towards the large park. All in about 2 seconds.

Man, how do you try and get your brand new bike warrantied because of a moose conflict?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Great Things

Most of life is not lived on the extremes of emotion -- neither happiness nor sadness. Most of the time things cruise along and bob slightly into good or bad sides of an emotional bell curve. Occasionally they hover at the extremes, though usually for reasons relating to human relationships (ie. births, deaths, marriages). They key is that physical objects just don't have the strength to push us into the heights. At least they ought not.

Without violating that hypothesis, I came pretty close in the past few weeks to allowing objects to send me spinning to the far right of the bell curve.

Picturing Hemingway's Michigan just feels like a perfect book written just for me. It captures a plethora of photographs and anecdotes relating to Hemingway's time in the north woods. Having visited his Horton Bay stomping grounds last year, the images and smells of that place are fresh in my mind and also send me dove tailing into memories of the north woods I have known. It's a strong piece of Hemingway scholarship without a doubt, but more importantly it captures the mood of a very important time in a great writer's life.

I bought an aluminum and carbon Orbea in 2005 and due to bad luck on my part it had to have been warrantied on 2 occasions. Though I purchased an Orbea due to the brand's lifetime warranty, I did not relish the need to have it shipped and repaired at the US offices (Arkansas). After a creak developed this June I knew the doom that lay ahead -- weeks of no road bike while the Alaskan summer sprinted toward fall. I made a strong request to have a replacement frame sent as I no longer trusted the current one. As a side note, Orbea is a good brand and I seem to have simply drawn a lemon. They complied and some 2 weeks ago I became the owner of a brand new '09 full carbon Opal frame. This is a huge (FREE) upgrade and feels like I am now pedaling on a cloud. All hail Orbea!

I won this past 10 days without a doubt. Now to ride as much as possible past these changing leaves.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I plead guilty to slacking off here, though I have been extremely busy. We went to Wyoming for a week in July, my folks came up a few days later for a week long visit, and now we have another set of visitors for a week. It's good to be busy. Add in some fishing trips here and there and July just rapidly fades away.

The weather has been less than stellar, though I've steamed ahead in defiance with whatever activity I had planned. If I want to go for a jog through the bog behind our house, I go even though I'll come back soaked. The pouring rain didn't keep us from fishing Bird Creek for 3 hours. You just have to ignore the elements and squeeze in all the summer activities you can.

I'm slowly uploading pictures to flickr from the last few months. I wish I could find a suitable tool to mass shrink the jpegs from 1.5 MB down to 500k. I tend to do it manually.

I created a list throughout the winter of summer activity goals and I have been able to cross off at least half of them, which is not too shabby. I always reach for the moon when it comes to summer plans. Considering vacations, obligations, and visitors this summer, I have found a way to get out and fish, camp, and canoe fairly often. Of course the ubiquitous cycling is in play as well. Summer is not over yet, but it appears I've used my time wisely.

I'm getting to be such a grown up and am getting excited about the silliest things. Case in point: we're refinancing the house thanks to the rock bottom rates. It's a wise decision but not one that should be too exciting. But it is, because I that is how my brain works.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Salmon Ass

It was a marathon weekend and that was the way I approached it. I broke down each set of hours in front of me and decided on enjoying and completing those hours. Take bites not gulps and it will all get done with a smile, yet also maintain the tenacity of a cockroach.

We were up at 5 am on Saturday in Seward and found ourselves waiting for the Halibut charter at 6 am. The shuttle wasn't on time so we found ourselves waiting around and expecting the shuttle to arrive any minute, only to watch it finally pull up at 7 am. Standing next to the building where the breakfast buffet wafted outside made this really tough. If you know you have that time buffer, you'd jump on the buffet. Eh. We were on the boat around 7:15 and the diesel engine was roaring away by 7:20 -- 3 hours out to Montague Island.

After the first hour we poked out beyond Resurrection Bay and hit some nasty seas. The boat bounced up and down and waves crashed over the rear deck. It was nasty and I was glad I had taken Dramamine. The cabin had heat and was soon cooking at 70+ degrees, which really will start your stomach in the wrong direction. I walked out onto the deck and sat down, soon finding myself wet, yet cool and calm. Being wet is better than being sick. I understand that the other boat that left before us had almost all of their passengers puking inside the cabin, so since our boat only ended up with a few wet and tired people, we won that one. Also, our boat limited out on Halibut much quicker. Becky caught the bigger fish and I snagged a small rockfish.

Our fish was filleted and packaged by 6 pm and we were off for Anchorage. By 9pm we were scrubbed down and relaxing. However, I was preparing for round 2, which began at 3 am on Sunday. Becky wisely slept in, but I was up and waiting for my 3:30 am pickup.

Off we were for the Kasilof River, where we ended up in the water at 7:15. Our boat had a goal of 145 red salmon on Sunday and come 4 pm we hit it. It's a slog of blood, slime, and brutality. And so worth it. I occupied the rear of the boat and used a flat surface near the motor to cut the gills on each sockeye before dumping them in the coolers (can't have the blood spoiling the meat). Within a few hours there was a growing pile of coagulating, darkening, and slippery blood. It's the price of filling the freezer. Around 2 pm I slipped on the floor and sat perfectly in the blood with some authority, giving me a wet salmon blood ass. There is no way to describe it another way. So I sat on a tarp for the 3 hour ride home and dumped a stain stick all over those beasts when I got home.

After about 7 hours of filleting, sealing, and cleaning 105 salmon on Monday my freezer is full, the pants are clean, and there is no shortage of fish awaiting our next visitor from the lower 48.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black Coach

I've been noodling with this model and base for a long while, perhaps a bit too long. I'd pick at it a bit, adjust a few highlights, and then scratch my head with more basing ideas. It was time to call it done and move on.

I am very pleased with a great deal of it, and satisfied with the rest. I had ideas for a more elaborate base, but decided to stay within the dimensions that would be legal on the playing table. If I had to do it all again, I'm sure I'd do a much better job, which is fine. I'll take that knowledge and confidence into my next model.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alaskan Commuting

Once the snow melts, I am quickly back on commuting by bike here in Anchorage (winter commuting is a little tough as the trails are constantly groomed for Nordic skiing). It takes me about 25-30 minutes to cover the 6 miles, though I like to leave a fair amount of buffer time these days. I have a daily meeting with my east coast team scheduled for 7 am, so being late is really not an option. I leave at 6 am, arrive at 6:30, and find myself dressed and ready by 6:45. Easy. I allot buffer time in there for fixing flats, and also keep the phone numbers for my meeting on hand so if need be I can have my conference call on the bike trail. Adapt and overcome they say.

I have a healthy fear of the untimely, commuting flat. When I picture Archer Ave. in Chicago, aside from the wondrous litany of late night burrito joints, I see the littered line of locations where I sat in the early morning or late night fixing flats on a curb as people speaking English, Polish or Spanish drifted by me.

... 35th Street, California, Damen, Austin, Narraganset, Ashland, Throop, Lock ...

But those were my UIC days when there existed flexibility in being 10 minutes late for work. I'm in the real world now, and showing up on time for work and meetings is a given. So I have 20 minutes of fixing a flat time budgeted in to the ride.

But this is Alaska, and glass and other road debris is not as common as it is in Chicago. However, the large moose in the middle of the trail this morning is common. It wouldn't move even though several people less than 10 yards away were heckling it. It just stood there and chewed leaves as moose only have 2 gears: park and full speed ahead. This cow was in park, probably for 30 minutes at least. So I doubled backed, jumped onto a busy street, and hustled down a more congested alternate route. I made it here at 6:45 am, taking advantage of the moose detour time budgeted in.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There was a recent bear attack at the park closest to my place. I usually commute to work by bike at 6 am, though not through that specific park. I do travel along a stream that will have salmon in it fairly soon. Carpe Diem.


I really still cannot believe the Blackhawks have won the cup. Perhaps if I still lived in Chicago I could be more thoroughly convinced. I just never thought this day would come. I attended so many games over the last 10 years and watched a weak team plod around against much better teams (often the Pronger captained Blues) and always thought that after Bill Wirtz eventually passed on we would still have a generation of slog until a winner could emerge. I never expected it to happen so soon, in a such a dominating fashion, and with such an inspiring sense of team unity. The whole team is just a joy to observe.

I don't put too much stock in mystical sports rituals like wearing a certain type of sock on game day or putting a specific leg in your baseball pants first, though I know many pros do care about such things. I believe Michael Jordan always had to have North Carolina shorts under his Bulls uniform. But I'm watching at home, so who cares if I have that extra ounce of confidence when the game starts. However, once your team is in the finals, out comes the chanting and shaking of chicken bones.

While the White Sox were getting torn up by the Orioles in 1983 , I sat nervously in our bungalow's front room and rooted along. My father told me I should wear my White Sox cap since we were watching the game. The whole family and city were nuts for the Winning Ugly Sox. For whatever reason, I couldn't stand having that cap tight on my head for the duration of the game so I fidgeted with it and removed it. I remember distinctly watching Julio Cruz get moved over to third base with no outs, only to be stranded. I swear this happened twice. Each time my father told me to keep my cap on, only to have to keep reminding me to put it back on as I fidgeted it off as the inning dragged on. They never were able to just get Julio home. Frustrating. Each time the inning ended my father burned another brand upon my brain, "You should have kept your cap on. Julio would have scored." We joked about it, but here I am blogging about it 27 years later.

I have a Blackhawks sweater with Probert on the back above the towering "24". I wear it when skating around in the winter, largely because it's incredibly comfortable and fits perfectly with hockey gloves. I also dug him as a player, so I skate around like a nerd with his jersey. You would think I would have been wearing that sucker all over Anchorage for the last 2 months. Incorrect. I wore it the day of the first game against Vancouver, only to watch the Hawks get torn up like a minor league team. Was this the end of the cup run? Is it my fault? I'm not taking any chances. In Chicago most potential sporting victories are snatched away cruelly and forever -- Cubs 1984, Sox 1983, Bears 1984, Bears post 1985, etc. (I'm sure Cub fans could sing a dirge about all the pain they've dealt with, and to that I say good for them. ) So I sat and watched nervously as the Hawks slowly thundered to the finals, yet I still only murmured that they might win the cup while keenly hiding away my jersey. They won on Wednesday, and out came the jersey on Thursday night. I can exhale now and plan on wearing it often.

It is just so wonderful to watch Pronger lose and get rocked into the boards after witnessing his Blues teams tear up the Hawks all those years.

Sorry, Julio. At least I learned from my 27 year old mistake.

Friday, May 14, 2010

One thing I often wrestle with is how much the biography of an artist matters when it comes to appreciating their work. In most cases it doesn't matter at all. The words on the page are what they are and nothing more. In many cases, the story behind the creation of those words is fascinating (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and very much Kerouac).

I saw a very good movie about Joe Strummer a few years ago and one of the new facts I absorbed is that Joe was a bit of a hippy/bohemian before he ended up in the Clash. He had a tight group of friends and everyone was pretty mellow and communal. He ended up taking a very aggressive turn in personality when he got involved in punk , even somewhat shunning former close friends that were still flying that bohemian flag. It's screams scene jumper, though I'm sure a more passionate Strummer fan could explain it away as an personal evolution, a need to finally express what he always felt, or the fire of his politics burning brighter. There may be truth in those arguments, but in the end he seems clearly a scene jumper, and one that made an effort to turn his back on old friends, which is the real rub for me. I have a real hard time with people that refuse to at least acknowledge that all the things they chose and did not choose in life have aggregated to the person they are today. Everyone wants to remember the cool stuff they got into before everyone else knew it was cool, yet they are reluctant to admit that they took some boring turns into mediocrity or pop culture. It's a pet peeve for me.

I still love the Clash and Joe Strummer will always be the man. Some of the optimistic leftist politics on their records are woefully dated, but I still love those records. Adding in the Strummer biography blemishes won't change that conclusion either.

But perhaps this largely rests on how well you know the artist. Maybe if I was a long lost bohemian buddy of Joe's I'd never be able to stomach a Clash record.

I went to Brother Rice High School, a very good school without a doubt, though people beyond the south side of Chicago probably have never heard of it (unless you count John C. Reilly). It and the surrounding neighborhood are not looked at as artistic incubators, which is perfectly fine. Few places are. I honestly don't think any place in Chicago really fits the bill either. Maybe time is too much of a component (ie. Paris in the 1920's, Harlem in the 20's and 30's, New York hardcore in '88, etc.). I do know a bit about the Rice neck of the woods though, so I take any art that emerges from it seriously.

There is a bit of a hot potato writer out there these days that is a year older than me that went to Rice that is weaving a biographical tale of high school punk rock identity and all the exclusion, frustration, and angst that goes along with it. I knew who he was back then and had a class with him, though that is as deep as it went. I was into sxe hardcore, metal, and skateboarded as much as possible (swap out biking for skating and you're pretty close to where I'm at today). This is a precise cross pollination of subcultures. At that time, even one of these subcultures would place you in a minority, so much so that you always had a sense of the other dozen guys in the entire school that shared that interest. There weren't that many of us so you could always smell your own. There is nothing morally superior about these subculture cocktails, but suffice to say he was not in any of these little buckets. I'm assuming he got into punk after high school, which is great. It just drives me up a wall when he spins these stories of outlaw days in Mt Greenwood. Maybe he was a punk rocker in his walkman, but he kept it well hidden in his IOU sweaters and preppy friends. Eh, I digress. Many people find him a very good writer, so perhaps he is. I'm too close to the whole deal, so I will endlessly cry bullshit. I am well aware that the finger here really just needs to turn around to me and I need to write some good books. Fair enough.

So who is the bard of Mt. Greenwood and Brother Rice? I'd vote for John Powers. I had never read any of his books, but I recently barreled through The Last Catholic in America, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, and The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God. They are amazing and charming snapshots of Catholicism and Chicago in the 60's. It's not Hemingway, but it is not trying to be. They were very satisfying and poignant. The Unoriginal Sinner is the gem by far, capturing perfectly the confusion and desire of college life in a blue collar world. Powers was always referenced here and there at Rice as a local boy done good, but I never made the effort to track down the actual texts. Silly of me. I have now and am all the better for it.

Here's to artists proudly standing for their backgrounds, however boring or bland they may seem through lens of our current mind's eye.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm always fascinated by all of the little things that make cities and regions the specific and interesting places they are.

Bubblers, Culver's, fried Cheese Curds, shooting prairie dogs, what a hoosier is, a gaper's block, beef sandwiches, publics, etc. It all makes life unique and helps hang some decoration on memories of times and places.


I was at the bank the other day opening a new account which had a $50 minimum deposit.

"Are you going to just deposit the minimum, sir?"

"Yeah, that's fine. I didn't get to the cash station so take it out of my checking account."

She glazed over at 'cash station.' Ah, I forgot that is a Chicago thing.

"Just take the $50 out of my checking."


Lost was starting soon and dinner remained a question mark, so we opted for the quick escape hatch of grilled cheese and soup. I remarked that as a kid we always had Mrs. Grass' chicken soup with our grilled cheese meals. I can't think of another soup we ever paired with it, which might explain why I have no affection for tomato soup and sandwich combos. Becky had never heard of the soup, the company that made it, or anything. I was a bit incredulous and remarked further that my parents still eat it like clockwork today. Is this a Chicago thing? I believe so, though it is available everywhere. I'll be buying some soon.


In some ways, I was spoiled in West Lawn and never knew it. I mentioned to Becky that Dove's was right down the street and she asked if it was the same Dove's name that is plastered across all those lovely chocolates and ice cream bars in the stores across America? Yep, that one. And the original was 3 blocks from our house.

And we went to it about once a year. I'm guessing it was because it would always be there and so would we so we'll go again next week/month. It's the same logic that kept me from ducking my head into the Field Museum or Art Institute more often. Dove's on Pulaski is long gone and we don't live next to Springfield Ave. anymore. But the Dover bars live on.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

It's kind of a bi-weekly present, but with an ebay flavor. You know what is technically coming and you know the quantities, but you don't really know what it will all look like. It's exciting.

Last week was our first delivery from Full Circle Farms in Carnation, WA. We signed up for a small box of fruits and vegetables to be delivered bi-weekly and specified the certain types of produce we wanted to permanently exclude (mushrooms of course!, beets, etc.). You get an email midweek with your list of produce and you then have 4 days to make substitutions before it gets thrown on the plane the following week where it will be stacked in the lobby of the local Powerhouse Gym.

We usually eat fairly well, but this past week we have eaten better than ever -- delicious and extremely healthy. I also like that way it is already stretching our palates. For example, it looks like next week we will be receiving purple potatoes. They will certainly be new to me.

It does reify our living in Alaska, albeit in a small, charming way. We need to arrange to have our produce flown in.


It may be in the 50's during the day, but at 6am on my bike commute it's usually 32-34 degrees. It's bright and clear and I'm pedaling trough the quiet trails snatching a glance at a moose most mornings, so you'll hear no complaints from me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I've been rereading portions of the 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide and it is more of a remarkable text than I had remembered. It's fascinating, rich, and well worth revisiting. This was always one of my favorite little images from it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

And, here comes some slushy snow again.

The plan is to take more pictures of Eagle River on my bike rides as it melts and document the emerging happiness. The plan is on hold.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

44 degrees is plenty comfortable for a bike ride. The roads and bike paths are full of melting snow and sloppy gravel from the road, but I'm out there riding again. No complaints. I went on my standard 30 mile round trip to Eagle River, a place that needs a little more melt. We'll get there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I should have photographed it, though I know there will be other opportunities. It was just so beautiful. The Kalua pork was shredded into a pile of tender meat and juices that looked identical to what we had seen and copiously consumed in Kauai. It looked right. And after smelling it in the crock pot for 18 hours, it smelled right. In the end, it tasted completely right. It's a cheap and delicious way to grasp the islands. We'll be making this often, very often.


Spring is coming.

I dreamt of fishing along a beautiful river here in Alaska with some old Chicago friends. They were catching King Salmon and I remained casting away. I then hooked into a huge Musky and successfully landed him after a long fight. I held him up for a picture before releasing him. He was completely tattered and torn up from being in the river with the aggressive, spawning salmon. There are no Musky here in Alaska, but when thoughts of summer fishing populate the near future of my life it's hard to keep the Midwestern good times from shoehorning back in.

There is still plenty of snow on the ground. I rode my bike to Stuckagain heights yesterday, which is a neighborhood up the hillside in East Anchorage. It was drizzling at our place when I left, but snowing at the top of the climb.

Spring is coming slowly.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The roads have been dry and dusty and it appeared that we were in a full scale melt of the remaining snow. This is probably still true, but not for the first half of today. I woke up to 33 degree temps and about 2 inches of wet snow everywhere. That snow will probably be gone by the end of the day, but it stands as an extended palm to Anchorage's burgeoning spring excitement. There is still 4-5 weeks left of high snow probability.


Driving down the Seward highway toward the bike shop on Saturday, I felt a piece of gravel ping off my shield. That is an Alaskan winter tradition to be sure. I had a few small chips in my windshield already, but no cracks. I chalked this up largely to avoiding the Glenn Highway on my daily commutes. Well, on my drive to work Monday morning my defroster found the little Saturday gravel ping and spawned a 10 inch crack across the bottom of my windshield.

I'm getting more Alaskan by the minute.

Friday, April 02, 2010

I really want to see this, though I have a feeling even the Bear Tooth theater may not get it. That's what dvd is for.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Alaska is a pretty clean place. The air is almost always excellent here in south central Alaska(though Fairbanks has large amounts of particulates in winter -- though not for the reasons most people would guess) and when you head off to fish, ride, hike, or camp you will mostly likely find beautiful, clean wilderness. Sadly, there is sometimes a random piece of litter to let you know that humanity made it to this little piece of heaven before you did. It stinks, but that's life. In general, Alaska is very clean. A great deal cleaner than Chicago, and a fair amount cleaner than Wisconsin (and Wisconsin is a pretty clean place). I'm beginning to split hairs here, but suffice to say -- Alaska is just about as clean and beautiful as you would expect.

However, as the snow melts each April we are confronted with our annual, dirty task -- cleaning up the trash. All along the roads a brutal amount of trash collects, waiting for volunteers to attack it within a few weeks in preparation for summer and the visitors it brings. It's kind of nasty to glance at, but it does make a cruel bit of sense. Think about it. All winter long random pieces of little trash find their way onto the roads, only to be plowed into the snow back . Our winter has no freeze/thaw cycles -- it only all melts once, and that is after about 5-6 months of snow. So you find a plethora of junk neatly assembled on the sides of the road, all ready for picking. It's kind of like getting the majority of the city's annual litter in a 2 week window.

Everyone is now starting to get in good mood as the snow melts a little more each day. The parking lots everywhere are turning into gravel and the trash is preening itself for the light of day. Soon trucks will come around and pick up all of the gravel and we'll get that litter taken care of. It's the annual eyesore before life explodes into green and seemingly endless daylight and we are all reminded yet again of why we all live here. Just a few more weeks...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

This is the kind of thing that made the girls fawn in high school.

Great game.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Warhammer Fantasy Battle tournament on Sunday was a blast. Honestly, as long as the sportsmanship is good, any game is fun. I missed the first game but played the last two, which is plenty. 2250 point WHFB games take a few hours just to get going.

I played the empire first and our artillery just pounded each other as we ever so slowly inched towards close combat. I got lucky as his cannon misfired and the crew was killed in the first round. In the end I won by a few hundred points and ended up with a draw. If we had another hour to play I suspect the game would have broke much stronger in a given direction -- a direction I am unsure of.

The second game was my umpteenth match against Andrew. Always fun and always good gameplay. His wood elves zipped left and right across the board and were always out of line of sight of my dwarfs and out of a flank shot from my bolt thrower. I made a few tactical mistakes early, but my Hammerers caused some Glade Guard to panic and I found some breathing room. After 2.5 hours he had taken 1800 points off my side of the table, but our differential was only 500 points, giving him a Marginal Victory. That's a lot of spilled blood just to get a MV.

So much fun.


After visiting Pearl Harbor I really want to build a USS Arizona plastic model kit. Revell makes one for around 20 bucks. I've built plenty of model cars and planes (and am building a Revell Fighting Falcon right now), but never a ship. Sign me up.


Though I play mostly table top wargames, I have a soft spot for old Dungeons and Dragons. I've played plenty of it throughout my life and have a pretty sizeable collection of the stuff. Lately I've had the bug to reread some of the older modules and rulebooks and have been having a lot of fun with Hackmaster stuff. I've been noodling through the Ghost of Lion Castle lately and then found myself standing in a games store in Honolulu, looking down on pile of Hackmaster stuff at 40% off. Done deal. I just get so much enjoyment out of reading older styled modules. It's such a cultural touchstone for me.


Facebook is nothing if not a grade school reunion generator, and good for that. While I have connected with a fair amount of St Nick's '89 Tigers over the last year or so, the reunion has only been mentioned as a good idea someday. It looks like an '88 reunion happened in Mt. Greenwood the other day. I recognized a lot of the people in those pictures. An '89 reunion would be a blast, and I mean that beyond the initial bald/fat checklist it would secretly be. I'd win the travel distance award for sure.


I took my cross bike into the shop for a new handbuilt rear wheel and a tune up. It needs some love after being shoved into a dirty corner soon after Cyclocross racing season ended. Spring is just around the corner!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Random Kauai

We had a condo, so our first day was a trip to Costco to load up for a handful of breakfasts and lunches cooked in our condo. It's a good approach to save money and time. We stocked up on snacks as well -- plenty of macadamian nuts, a locally grown pineapple, and oranges. I like oranges a lot and the warm, tropical atmosphere had me in the mood to eat a pile of them. So I quickly grabbed the 10 lb box, slid it in the cart, and watched Becky blink and smile, "That's all you. I don't really like them."

"No problem. I love them."

Well, it turns out 10lbs is a lot of oranges. We lost one to mold, and Becky ate a few. Otherwise, I at many oranges each day. Many.

At the airport we were told that any produce whatsoever cannot head back to lower 48, so there I sat slamming down 3 oranges before heading to our gate. There was nothing else was in my stomach.

Do the math. Even in the 30 minutes before boarding you can't go to the bathroom enough to diffuse those oranges. I inconvenienced the guy seated next to me more than a few times during the first half of that flight.

I will be hard pressed to not think of oranges when I think of Kauai. I still love oranges and need to buy some soon.


There are chickens everywhere on Kauai. I cannot overstate this. They have no predators and along with the wild pigs number around 300,000. There are 60,000 people on the island and as you can imagine these chickens start screaming every morning around 5 am. After a few days it became kind of charming in the way a unique quirk about a foreign place is to the visitor. I suspect the moose have this effect on Alaskan visitors.


Kalua Pork is ridiculously delicious. I think I ate it at least 4 times. We purchased some of the red Hawaiin sea salt and will be trying to make it at home very soon. It seems easy enough.


I don't remember exactly what my expectations were regarding the perceived high points of the trip, but after leaving I cannot forget the Na Pali coast. It was beautiful and unique almost beyond words. Our dinner cruise brought us close to the shoreline and it was magnificent. I still think cruising down Turnagain arm is prettier, but this was stellar.


Hawaiian prices are pretty close to Alaskan prices, so we missed out on the sticker shock most people feel when they visit the islands. You do get hit with sales tax though, which is always an annoyance to us tax free Alaskans.


The USS Arizona memorial is extremely impressive. While waiting for our time to shuttle over to the memorial itself we watched the 15 minute film setting the stage for December 7th. Halfway through that flick I was ready to bomb Japan again, today. Within a few minutes the context and history of things crept back in and I was fine, but for a 20 second window I was ready to go.


It is now light to almost 9 pm here! It's time to get my bike to the shop for a tune up and get ready for the snow to melt next month. With any luck we won't get an early May snow dump.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And the trip to Kauai ends in the Anchorage parking lot on Monday night. I'll have more to chat about later, but for now I am left to readjust to snow and mountains. It is nice to be home, but maybe a little nicer to still be in Hawaii.

Loads of pictures here.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Iditarod starts on Sunday and we'll be in Willow tailgating on a frozen lake at the official start. It's a beautiful event. You stand around a fire, whistle down a few reindeer dogs, glance at Denali (it was out last year), and listen to the state song of Alaska as mushers zip by every 5 - 10 minutes. Aside from hoping Lance Mackey pulls it off again (even though he won't smoking weed this time), I've tried to pick out a few underdogs to cheer for. They won't be winning the race, but they certainly can make a good run. I'm a fan of Zoya thanks to her interesting journey from Madison, WI to Alaska. Also, how can I not be a fan of the first Jamaican musher? Awesome. This has Cool Runnings 2 written all over it.


It's really hard to think of anything but Kauai. We leave on Monday.


As I get older I have to embrace being an adult more and more, which means getting excited about purchases that are not exciting. A Colnago road bike is exciting. So is a new Warhammer army. A new front loading washer and dryer should not be, though it is. Our dryer went the way of the dodo a few weeks ago and since it was part of a stacked washer and dryer combo, it was time to shop for both. We settled on independent units that stack quite nicely, sing songs when they are finished, and have controls more akin to a cd player than a churning old machine. It's all very exciting and we still get a big kick out of using it. We're silly about it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What to give up for Lent? Religious implications aside, it's a good exercise to put yourself through. I'm not sure. It really crept up on me this year.


There is a Mordheim tournament in a few weeks. Man, I love that game, though I have historically been pretty bad/unlucky at it. From the beginning I played the Sisters of Sigmar largely because I liked the models a great deal and really enjoyed their back story. But man, I could never paint them to any degree of personal satisfaction. I just hated any paint job I gave them. At the time I was painting a lot of Vampire Counts, skeletons, Eldar ships for Battlefleet Gothic, and maybe a few Warhammer Quest models. Looking back I am moderately pleased with much of that painting, and some of it still garners compliments when they hit the table today. But in that time period those Sisters models were puzzles I just could not solve. Just a conundrum. I must have sprayed them primer white 3 times just to cover up my painting attempts and start anew. So here I stand today -- a much better painter staring down a Mordheim tournament in a few weeks. It's reasonable to paint the Sisters in a few weeks given that the color scheme will be very similar on each model. It's like a showdown with a high school bully from 1o years ago. I'm halfway through the bulk of the models and they are looking great. I feel like my time away from them was well spent, and my skills have much increased. 10 years ago I painted in a typical high light driven approach, whereas now I push towards blending with solid layering as my back stop.

I'm getting to the point where I am not pleased with sloppily painted models, so I just can't rush things. I'm not an amazing painter, but I know when I am painting at my best and when I am cutting corners. My dwarf army will not be painted within the next month to any degree of quality, but the Mordheim models could be. I'll target the achievable goal.

Now if I can just get better at the game itself!


I usually attend spin class at least twice a week on Elmendorf AFB. The class is usually taught by active or retired military. It's a good class and the music is always whatever the teacher wants it to be. One guy is techno, the other 80's cock rock, and another loves 70's soul and early Michael Jackson. That class always ends with Thriller. Cool. However, this past Saturday we found ourselves sprinting to The Village People's "In the Navy." And I thought it was odd pedaling last month to Def Leppard. Maybe it's a snide jab to a different branch of the armed forces? I know good natured sniping is common.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

So that's it. I finally finished all of the Homicide:Life on the Street dvds. I don't even want to count the number of discs/episodes/hours, but there were 7 seasons (5 of which were full seasons) and a tv movie. I had spread this task over several years, but it still feels exhausting to be done. And extremely satisfying. What an amazing show, and what a moving coda. The movie finale was just perfection. I'm not physically ready to start watching the Wire yet, but mentally I am prepared. I'm ready for more Baltimore. It looks like a strange permutation of Chicago's Canaryville smashed into old Bronzeville, with an occasional trip to Hyde Park.


In all my years of fishing I have never run into a game warden. Before moving up here I assumed that Alaskan game enforcement was certainly less than in Wisconsin. It's a bigger country, game is more plentiful, etc. Wrong, very wrong. Upon settling in here I immediately heard many tales of strict enforcement and commando tactics.

Case in point, a friend was fishing with people for King Salmon on a river after having been flown in. There was no one around for miles.

As a side note, once you catch a King Salmon in Alaska you cannot fish for King Salmon again that day. You cannot fish for fun in the same water. Your line is now dry so just drink your beer and watch your friends fish. Those are the rules.

One of the friends caught his King and was bored watching his friends fish. He figured that being in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness after being flown in made it reasonable to keep fishing. Maybe he has the hot pole and he can help his friends limit out? Makes sense. Out of the trees comes 2 wardens, "Why are you still fishing when you caught your King 10 minutes ago?" Bang. $250.

I obey the rules anyway, but still don't expect to get checked. Saturday we were ice fishing in Wasilla and out of the snow storm drifted a solo figure in all black with a definable gun belt bobbing along. We ended up chatting with the State Trooper for about 20 minutes, received some tips as to hot fishing on other lakes, and produced our licenses. The natural resources up here are a big deal, and their strict enforcement is fine with me.

Monday, February 01, 2010

This demonic moose was in our condo parking lot on and off last weekend. There are plenty of tracks near the trees just outside of our door so it seems that we're just missing this moose on our walks to the car or trash. I'll have another moose on my doorstep sooner or later.

I took a handful of pictures in Juneau as well last week. Our new camera is getting a workout.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

All condolences to the family at the news of J.D. Salinger's passing.

Is it wrong that an almost immediate impulse in my mind was to wonder how soon we would finally see a handful of finished, yet unreleased works?

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's 36 in Juneau at 10:30 pm, which is a lot warmer than Anchorage was at noon earlier today (It was about 10 degrees in the blaring sun). Everything is dark here, but I'm told it will be very picturesque when the sun comes out tomorrow.


I never could stand Leno. I believe I tuned in once or twice a year if the guest was somebody I couldn't say no to, though all it did in the end was remind me how vanilla and unfunny he is. I can't stand him even more now and hope nobody tunes into the Tonight Show in March, though I'm sure enough people will.

I've always been much more fond of Letterman, even though in the last few years he's gotten a little too cranky. Still, he makes me laugh and he is the king of late night tv. So what of Conan? I figure the best plan is to find a place for him to do his show for 3-5 years before taking Letterman's spot. He deserves it and they certainly have a similar style of humor. That's how I'll lay it out when I'm king.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looks like I'll be heading to Juneau for work the first part of next week. I've never been there so I'm very interested to check it out, although most of my time will be taken up chatting about J2EE, Flex, and LiveCycle.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Attack From a Forgotten World

I didn't see any of this, but we do live in the Muldoon area, which means we are the front lines of the Chugach alien assault.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Having grown up in Chicago, it seems I can always realize anew that I was plugged into yet another shared cultural experience. I love rambling on about the minutiae that fueled growing up in the midwest, Chicago, the south side, west lawn, marquette park, Brother Rice, etc. It's the charming cultural glue that transcends politics and jobs and responsibilities and all the other things that distract us endlessly into our own homes and lives. We need stories of the 63rd street Indian to crack a smile and forget the looming question marks of our future. Let's drift into the past.

When I think back to birthdays, I always hear either my grandmother or mother teasing that "Pretty soon you'll get to have Dressel's cake!" I had a whipped chocolate one every year, as did my mother, father, and grandmother for that matter. I just thought they were good cakes and hey, we like tasty chocolate cakes in my house. They were not terribly expensive or hard to find, so why didn't we just buy one every month or so for a treat? I wasn't smart enough to ask that question back then. They were Dressel's cakes and there would always be Dressel's cakes -- available and tasty. Well, sadly that is not true. I don't remember when they stopped appearing in our home, but I know they did stop. Here is the story.

The more I dwell on these Chicago experiences and institutions, the more I wonder if all of us little Chicago southsiders were just wooden soldiers marching along to beef sandwiches and vienna red hots.


Cross off another step on my path to true Alaskan status. No cabin or food cache yet, but I did sign up to receive my first (2009) PFD. Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


We booked our 7 day trip for Kauai last week and we will on the plane the Monday after the Iditarod (March 8th) and home the following Monday.

The Warhammer Tournament at Brimfrost will be the weekend after we return and there will actually be some degree of points for a painted army. My strength is in painting rather than being a good general, so I now have my goal. 2 months, 2K worth of dwarfs. It's doable. Sprint through painting an army in the next 8 weeks and then run off to a tropical honeymoon. Go!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I'm getting a little more local everyday, thanks to buying some Bunny Boots on Saturday. They had my feet sweating at -16 while ice fishing.