I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.
By: joealaska, 1:28 AM GMT on January 31, 2014
I miss Arizona. This weeks golf tournament is The Waste Management Phoenix Open, and I have been watching it this afternoon. Calm, mild, sunny. Perfect for golf. I went to a couple of those tournaments when I was living there.
It is a unique tournament for various reasons. First, it is highest in attendance for golf tournaments. By far. Normally a golf tournament attracts around 100,000 people over the course of the event. Last year on Saturday ALONE they had 180,000 there. They expect 500,000 to attend during the week.
Next is #16. A par 3 hole where a party has broken out. Starting about 15 years ago, the 16th hole became a gathering place for many Arizona State students who were keeping the beer tents busy. It became a tradition to be very quiet as the golfer was getting ready to hit. But as soon as the ball was hit everyone screamed or cheered. Especially if it was a good shot. Bad shots were followed by boos and groans. Normally this is bad form in golf, but has become the one exception on the golf tour. A couple stick-in-the-mud players did not like playing that hole in those conditions, but most accepted it and had fun with it.
Tiger Woods (back before THE debacle, when he was good) chose this exact stage to hit a shot that people still talk about. Like I said, a par 3 of about 157 yards. When Tiger came up to the tee, the place went crazy with all of his fans. But they all settled down to let him hit. No sound. As soon as he makes contact the place goes crazy. But then the ball hops in the hole and the sound goes off the scale. Tiger walks down the hole doing that fist pump of his. Its all on You Tube. TIGER WOODS HOLE IN ONE 16th HOLE WASTE MANAGEMENT.
Now #16 has grown into a monster. The entire hole is surrounded by hundreds of skyboxes that cost almost $50,000 (to charity). There is no other hole like that anywhere. The golfers say they like it. After they hit they run along the crowd throwing hats or shirts or other crap into the stands. So much for QUIET! Only on #16 in Phoenix.
Tiger was also involved in another controversy there a few years back. (Back when he played in Phoenix. Now he collects huge appearance money -just show up- and plays in DUBAI, where he is right now.) In this other event, he hit a ball that ended up behind a big boulder just off the fairway. In golf, you are allowed to move “loose impediments” that are near your ball and could affect your shot. These are usually twigs or leaves. But now this boulder that weighed a few hundred pounds was deemed a LOOSE IMPEDIMENT by someone. Probably Fluff Cowan, Tigers caddie. (Who I played golf with one time...). And suddenly there were volunteers coming out of the crowd to roll that boulder out of the way. It took a group effort. There is still debate as to whether it was breach of the rules, or a bending. But Tiger played on.
ALSO, The Phoenix Open ends on Super Sunday, just before the big game starts. Some years ago The Super Bowl was in Phoenix. Everything was planned out so that the players could be done and have enough time to get over to Glendale to watch the game if they wanted.
Finally, this was the tournament where Andrew Magee had a hole-in-one on #17, a par FOUR. This is the rarest of the birds. The ALBATROSS. Double Eagle. Three under on one hole. In this case, he hit while the group ahead of him was still on the green. Evidently he did not think he would get there, or he should not have hit. Bad etiquette hitting into people. People have been SHOT over this. But his ball rolled up and on the green. One of the guys on the green was standing near the hole with his putter resting on the ground as he held it up. The ball rolled up, hit the putter, and bounced into the hole. Miracle. That is probably on You Tube too. Hell, everything is on there.
Two nights ago I got an email from one of the boats in Dutch Harbor. The Enterprise. They were asking me a question about ordering food.. I gave my personal email to a few boats, so they had that and copied me while also sending a copy to the warehouse. I went ahead and answered it. First thing I told them was that I was no longer with the company, going on TEN MONTHS. But I also answered their question, which was pretty general, then told them to contact Jeff at the warehouse and make sure... It never ends!
ENTERPRISE was interesting to work with. The cook on board at that time was Alex. Mexican guy. Good guy, good cook, but was a bit unorganized.. He placed his order over the phone, off the top of his head. Maybe a hundred items. He spoke very broken English and was hard to understand. He pronounced mayonnaise as MINUS. Even when I got used to him, I had trouble. PLUS, he was using a cell phone inside that steel boat, so reception was terrible. And finally, almost like he was testing me in general, he would sit near where the offload was going on. Where the boat is unloading 50 pound boxes of frozen fish. They lug the cases to a pallet and throw it on the pile. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! Plenty of noise nearby as I was trying to understand what this huy wanted. Everything had to be repeated over and over. At some point, I just had to take a deep breath and laugh at it all.
That boat would show up on Saturday, usually, while we were still busy unloading and shipping all the stuff we got on our Friday boat. They would call around 7 PM after a long day already, and give us a fat order to be delivered at 5 AM next morning. I remember one night we were all in the office and getting ready to leave when the phone rings. Everyone looks at each other, it can only be more stuff to get done. I say out loud, ENTERPRISE. Then I answered the phone and sure enough, Alex. Everyone went out to get some food, and we had to go back and get it done.
Eventually, we got the boat to start using email to send the order in. No interpreters needed.
Then I left Dutch.
By: joealaska, 11:02 PM GMT on January 27, 2014
I bet there are some great last minute deals on tickets to the Russian winter Olympics. All the talk is regarding concern on security from terrorists and soon-to-be-widows. I would like to hear someone on that selection committee explain the thought process in choosing Russia. Afghanistan and Syria had already said no? It would be easy to say they should have come back to the USA, or somewhere a bit more safe, but then I remember Atlanta a few years back had some issues. Welcome to the world of today. Still, asking the American athletes to avoid wearing their uniforms when outside of any secured area seems to be going against the grain of what The Olympics stand for.
Speaking of the world today, I chose to watch the Grammys show on TV last night. Normally I hate that stuff, but I wanted to see Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Turns out I was right, I did hate it. It looks like the music mainstream has gotten a little too gangsta for me. I recognized only a few of the “stars”. They gave Ringo and Paul some type of Lifetime Achievement award. Ringo called it The Dinosaur Prize. I wonder if any of these young stars will be getting any tributes in 50 years...
Taking those walks at night, as well in the day lately. Couple nights ago it was 6 degrees. Yesterday it was almost 50. Could have golfed if there was not 4 inches of snow still unmelted. But that was yesterday. Today it is 16 here, 41 in Dutch. Cold for the next few days. Pipes broke in the laundry room here. Will not be fixed until Friday or so.
Walking a couple nights ago I felt slick ice where I was walking. I slowed down and headed toward dry ground. Very slowly, more like shuffling over. No matter. The feet went out from under me. It was like slow motion. As my feet rose above my head I was thinking NOT GOOD. I landed on my side, nothing broke. You can really hurt yourself getting a little exercise around here.
Have not felt cold like this since Fairbanks, when I was leaving Anaktuvuk Pass and heading to Anchorage for a few months. It was -40 one time, and -60 the last time I was there. -40 versus -60? Not a lot of difference at that point. The one time I flew in at night and had to walk a quarter mile to my car was memorable. Not really dressed for -40. Had trouble getting my keys out of my pocket when I needed to. No feeling in my hands and all. VERY lucky when that car finally turned over and kicked in, just when it seemed it wouldn’t.
Thinking about taking a quick trip to Long Island, New York to see my relatives. See the big city. I was there only one other time, and there was nobody available to show me around. Still, I saw some of the famous sights and would like to do it again.
Super Bowl? Should be a great game. Close. Denver holds off a late charge from Seattle and gets a critical interception. Final: Denver 30, Seattle 27.
By: joealaska, 4:36 AM GMT on January 22, 2014
Yesterday it was 50 degrees, calm and sunny. Golf weather. But I did not play, and it does not look good for the near future.
35 degrees in Dutch, 19 degrees in Williston, North Dakota, 10 degrees in Louisville. Today we got 4-6 inches of snow, and there was a breeze. Took a walk around the apartment while it was happening. I noticed there were still special dumpsters here and there, used to load up the carpet and drywall that maintenance has been ripping out of those water-damaged apartments. When the water pipes froze and broke a few weeks ago? We have the same warnings now. Hope I remain lucky.
Tonight the sun was down and it was almost dark at 6 PM. But there was a bit of light to see still. I was at the computer and the cats were looking outside, as they often do. Dutchie has been scared inside with the cold. She still goes out, but is wanting back in after a few minutes.
Then I noticed they were not looking. They were STARING bug eyed. If just one was staring, it could have just been a bug on the patio. But when they both were transfixed, now I had to see what was going on. I looked in the same direction and saw nothing, yet they seemed to get a bit more excited than before. They were staring into the trees, across the creek. Finally I saw, three deer coming through the trees. They were hard to see clearly, only as they moved slowly through did that motion give them away. And they were out of sight pretty quickly.
I tried to get a photo, waited until one was at least a bit visible. It is not very good.
That is the second time I saw deer back there. It is a bit surprising with the freeway nearby, as well as some other busy roads. But obviously they are using the creek as a pathway.
Throwing out bread to birds recently. Chow porch II? Getting all sorts of birds, but at times I get a dozen or so red Louisville Cardinals at a time. As soon as I try to get a picture they are GONE. So I just sit back and watch. They walk right up to Dutchie sitting on the other side of the patio door. Just a pane of glass between them.
She HATES that.
Updated: 2:14 AM GMT on January 25, 2014
By: joealaska, 2:49 AM GMT on January 16, 2014
Dateline 5:30 PM Las Vegas, Nevada. Not on the strip, but close enough.
OK. Flew out Wednesday. The highlight was flying past LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES in far western Kentucky. That Ohio River is very nonchalant in the route it takes. Many bends. Many
tugboats and barges dealing with that.
First stop Houston. I hit a BBQ place there, just OK. Texas knows BBQ, but kinda forgot there.
The next leg from Houston to Vegas was bad. I had a window seat, but still had to sit sideways with a big guy next to me. My back hurt , my knees hurt, my feet hurt. I could not move.
Got to Vegas and had to walk forever to the rental shuttle. There I discovered that shuttle would take me to the REAL shuttle, a secondary shuttle, to FOX renal cars. The FOX sucked. AVOID!
It was well after dark I took off and tried to eat up a little of the next day trip. I got to Boulder City, Nevada and got a room. I had been thru there many time in the past. I also knew there was no more hotels after that until Kingman, 100 miles south.
I never sleep late. The reason is, if I know THAT will be a problem, I do not sleep more than an hour or so. But I had to get up early and drive two hours or more to the interview. So I went to bed around 11 PM, and woke up 4 or 5 times before I wanted to.
I left at 6:45 AM for a 2 hour + ride. When I plugged in the GPS, it told me I would arrive 45 minutes late. Trouble. It suddenly hit me Arizona has their own rules with TIME, and as I crossed the state line into Arizona I was late. When I got a signal I called the main office and told them, and they were not very concerned. Then there was construction on the last few miles of road. The dirt and gravel section was being paved. At one point just a couple miles away I was stopped for about 15 minutes where they let two way traffic use one lane.
Eventually I arrived. I was given a tour of HUALAPAI RANCH, where I would be working if hired. Originally I was told Grand Canyon Ranch, WRONG. Not sure how that happened, I just write down what they tell me. Grand Canyon Ranch is owned by Nigel somebody, not an American. The Indians hate the guy. He owns a sliver of the road to the Hualapai Reservation. Not that long ago he set up a road block and started charging 500 bucks to get a tour bus thru. And he gave no receipts. The Hualapais got around it for a while by shuttling from a different direction. Even the individual employees were asked to pay 50 bucks toll. This all lasted just a few days, but it established how neighbors would treat each other in a remote area. The tolls have ended, but NIGEL is not welcomed at The Grand Canyon West.
I took a tour of Hualapai Ranch. It sets an old west ambience with various activities. Horseback rides, cowboys, lassoing, quick draws with a gun loaded with blanks, wagon rides, stagecoach rides, etc. There is an old west town set up. I heard most of the guests are Asian. If you want a helicopter ride, you have to take a shuttle a mile further down the road to Grand Canyon West. That is where the Sky Bridge / Sky Walk is located. There were 5 or 6 helicopters buzzing around all the time.
The interview went well. At the end they asked me if I had met the Deadliest Catch guys. But I am not real happy with the living quarters. There are none, at least nothing special. I could have a bunkhouse room where I share a bathroom with 6 people or so. Or I could buy an RV an park it there. OR, I could arrange housing elsewhere and make a long commute. I do not see it happening.
Tonight I am just off the Vegas Strip. Thinking about playing a little poker across the street at The Hard Rock. Back late Thursday via Cleveland.
When I was packing up for the trip Tuesday I was stunned to hear one of my old best friends had passed away. Everyone knew he was sick. It started out as the flu, but turned into double pneumonia. They even put him on life support. Then we heard the doctors thought he was over the hump and doing better. Next day he was dead. He was a great guy. Family guy. I mentioned him some time ago in this blog. He was the guy who was in our band during our YOUNGER days. Now he was playing solo here and there. He had a group of fans. My sister and I were going to go see him a couple months ago, but I was getting sick and weather was coming in. So I passed, thinking I could see him next time. There was no next time. On the day he died there was an announcement on facebook about him playing somewhere that day.
It has been three days and I still am getting choked up as I write.
RIP STEVE DECKER.
I fly tomorrow as he has a funeral.
By: joealaska, 1:57 AM GMT on January 09, 2014
Stuff has happened since my last write 5 hours ago. I hesitate to tell everyone, as it is WAY too early. But there is an exciting option presenting itself to me. Right now, it sounds interesting. If it is what it could be, I may have found my last position I need.
Arizona to Alaska. Alaska to Kentucky. And back to Arizona? The Grand Loop.
I applied for a position at least eight weeks ago that sounded cool. The GRAND CANYON. But this is the only part of the Grand Canyon I have not visited. Meadview. The South Rim, far west end. It is called The Grand Canyon Ranch, or Hualapai Ranch. I checked it out. Maybe a bit primitive, but it IS a ranch. They have buffalo there. Horseback rides. Helicopter rides and plane rides. I checked out the internet site, there were bad and good reviews. What a surprise!
I would be General Manager. Bottom line, keep the tourists happy.
I checked out a few photos. I see teepees and mountains. Helicopters. Bonfires. Buffalo (versus Dutchie?)
So I fly to Vegas next Tuesday. Drive the rental two hours to the ranch. Past Hoover Dam, and cut across via Dolan Springs. I will actually drive some Arizona roads I have not driven.
I am excited, but hesitant. I really sold them on my application. I told them about the ranch I worked on in Colorado. I told them about Anaktuvuk Pass, where I worked with Native Americans.
I told them about my customer service attitude. I got on my knees and begged, saying I loved Arizona, the WEST, and The Grand Canyon. I told them about my indirect experience with the Grand Canyon as my sister worked there.
I felt I would never hear back.
Still arranging travel, but it looks like I would return late Wednesday. I would stay there Tuesday night, so I would get a feel of the place. Looks like a great venue for photos.
The next chapter?
By: joealaska, 8:34 PM GMT on January 08, 2014
30 degrees makes a big difference. Late last night it was still very cold, low teens, when I took a walk. The apartment complex I live in is huge, not sure how many apartments. But I walk around it when I need some fresh air and exercise. I make it a power walk, as it is not very long. Maybe 15 minutes, so some days I go for two. It gives me a chance to drop off the garbage and check the mail.
As I walked I noticed signs that had been put up recently, talking about a FREEZE WARNING. It asked us to keep our thermostats above 60 degrees. Do they really need a sign for this? It also asked us to open our cabinet doors. Are they counting on us to heat the pipes from the inside, because they are not insulated? Earlier in the day, I got an email blast from the property managers saying that 4 apartment buildings had pipes break. There was water damage in some units. They made it clear that repairs were being done, and that we should not be calling to see what the status of repairs are. These calls would just slow down the process. I certainly would not want to cause trouble!
So I walked through the chill around 11 PM.. I noticed a few piles of carpeting piled outside here and there. One tree had pieces of carpet high in the branches. Carpet was being stripped out of units with water damage. That tree was below a third story unit where carpet was thrown off the balcony. I also noticed a sheet of thick ice coming out of one apartment where the water had drained outside and turned into a horizontal icicle. It was hazardous footing as I walked across it. Hard not to think about those people needing to have their apartments torn up and repaired.
When I got home I went to the sink and turned on the faucet...nothing. I never thought I would be in trouble myself. No water, but no flood. Could have been worse. I really hated to slow things down, but I gave them a call. I just got the answering machine, so I left a message.
Today it is 3:30 and no change. I did get a new email blast and saw that a few more buildings made the trubba list, and mine was now on it.
I wanted to cooking my first turkey in a while today. May have to wait to have some water to wash it off...
32 degrees right now. 50 this weekend, and rain.
Are the floods receding UK?
Updated: 1:53 AM GMT on January 09, 2014
By: joealaska, 8:17 PM GMT on January 01, 2014
Happy New Year!
2013 was a good year. It was good for me, and I hope it was good for you
2014 begins sunny and cool here in Kentucky. 41 here, only 38 in Dutch. Last week I got in the last golf of the year. The day after Christmas I played Cherokee here in Louisville where it was sunny, calm, and 43 degrees. Perfect! Then on Saturday I played Glen Oaks where my folks live, playing with a couple old friends. I had some terrible shots, but also some good ones. I even snuck in a birdie on a tough hole.
2013 was my all-time best year for road trips. I did a lot of cruising, saw a lot of the USA. Loved it. I played a lot of golf. It was spread over 16 states this year. And I got 29 new courses added to my ongoing and growing list of COURSES PLAYED... 679 at the moment. Looking out the window right now, it looks like a great day to play a round. Too much good football to watch, though.
Dutchie continues to offer free entertainment here. She has officially relinquished her crown as Queen of the Tundra. But it did get a bit ugly there... She left Dutch with that crown still intact, and she had no desire to give it back. Of course there was an immediate uproar back in Dutch. Eventually the town council got involved, rules were changed, and her title was removed. Another election was held and a golden fox won it.
Meanwhile, Dutchie has gone full reverse. Now that she is gone from the treeless tundra, she is focusing on the tundraless trees. When I open the door and whistle for her in the morning, I have seen her coming down from a couple different trees. Maybe 12 feet up. But there is one tree with a huge branch that starts low and extends out at an angle that appears easy for a cat to use. She watches those squirrels a lot.
Still working on joealaska.net. Search Engine Optimization. SEO. All new to me, but there is a program that helps me out. But us asking me to use phrases like “joealaska joealaska photos” in order to attract people searching the web. They explain this is how someone searching the internet (I TOLD YOU it would catch on...) would phrase their search. Meanwhile I get a site that looks like I cannot speak English. Trying to work it out, meanwhile I am unexposed.
A few months ago I told then folks about Breaking Bad, that TV show that I got hooked on about a year ago, then went back and watched all 5.5 seasons to catch up. Loved it. But the folks just shook their heads in disgust at what I found entertaining. Eventually I showed one of the episodes to my sisters over Thanksgiving. My dad got interested and sat down fairly quickly. Mom tried to ignore it, but caught a few minutes here and there. But that did it. They are now hooked.
I showed them several episodes, including the finale. Then AMC just had another marathon where they showed all 61 episodes in a row. It ended just yesterday. They all watched a lot of that, but still have missed chunks of the episodes. Netflix has been notified.
Thanks to everyone for the site participation. The site is in flux. I know you were attracted to the Alaska angle, and here we are in Kentucky. 2014 is wide open. This story is ongoing. I see a few new names coming through recently. Welcome to all. Thanks to the regulars. You know who you are.