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By: joealaska , 6:31 AM GMT on August 03, 2012

The weather has been pretty nice here lately. Sure, we get a bit of rain once and awhile, but there are many awesome days. Calm and sunny. Birds everywhere, ground squirrels running in front of your car, eagles dominating, foxes absent- high in the hills happily unhungry.

There was a storm front that moved through yesterday midday. I saw growing clouds over the Bering Sea heading our way. They were preceded by 54 mph gusts at my location, but after an hour it was calm again.

Tuesday night I took a drive. Off work at 6 PM. I headed out to OSI Dock. We are selling to many of the Shell vessels, and it appears they are headed north at any moment. But even the boats I talk to
say the plans are constantly changing. Likely they will be leaving within 4 or 5 days.

It is AUGUST! Once they get up there the ice can start re-forming at any minute. At the least, it can start in a few weeks. A very short, and very expensive, window of time. It will be an interesting final chapter of the story.

KULLUK has been back at her custom dock at OSI for a few weeks, and I have not been out there since. Pretty rare. So I took a ride a couple nights ago.

Got some pictures of the new blue paint and the surrounding boats.

Then I headed up Mt.Ballyhoo. I went to my favorite spot near the far northern tip of Amaknak Island. Next stop Russia. On top of the cliffs. Instead of going to the bunker, I veered left and headed toward the SPINE OF DEADLY PROBABLE POSSIBILITIES. It is a ridge of rock that sticks straight out from the sheer cliffs above the Bering Sea. It extends about fifty feet further out than the rest of the land, is about 4 feet wide with a rounded top. The drop off left and right is extreme. A primitive path leads out to the end. There is a round area to sit or stand, maybe 5 feet in diameter. Further out, and a few feet down is one last spot to sit and relax as you try to stop shaking uncontrollably. All I could do is get within a foot or two of the first rest spot. It was pretty narrow where I stopped. Only scary when I thought about it. It is all in the head.

The path leading out indicated there were many people who felt brave enough to do so. Even I had gone out once before a couple years ago. I am fascinated yet scared of heights.

So I took some film and pictures from one of the most dramatic points on the island.

I wrote a long blog last night about what is going on with my crew at the warehouse. But I deleted it all as it sounded pretty negative. We are in house cleaning mode right now. A good thing. People are let go, quitting, and being hired. It is a rebuilding of our core employees. Very interesting stuff, but will only appear in BOOK #2.

Book #1 is very close to publish time.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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9. DHaupt
5:22 AM GMT on August 07, 2012
Welcome back Rotty. I'm glad that you haven't been through too much of a ringer, just life's little messes in more concentrated form.

I have a big adventure coming up tomorrow. I've got this nice plump something growing on the back of my left ear. I first noticed it a couple of months ago. Thought it was just a pimple. But it didn't go away and it has gotten to be about the size of a dime. I was seen by a head and neck surgeon who biopsied it. Various pathologist haven't been able to figure out what it is, so: "When in doubt, cut it out!" They will have to bite off another small chunk of me for a skin graft and, of course, the lump will now get sliced and diced and pondered by more pathologists. I'm not supposed to be alarmed, it is definitely not something super nasty like melanoma, but, as I said, so far, no one can really tell what it is. I'm hoping for fat!

At any rate, they plan to knock me out thoroughly so that they can play with me to their hearts content. I'm going to have to go about 24 hours without any solid food, not that that will do me any harm. But, I did go out for a nice decently sized (and rather tough) steak. Between Kaiser and Medicare, I haven't had so much fun for $50 since my last trip to Disney Land (which gives you some idea how long it's been since I went to Disney Land).

More later.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
8. Rotty3
11:25 PM GMT on August 05, 2012
Well, I'm back. Just a quick note, I posted some on my blog detailing my absence. Thank you for those who posted concerns and the WU mail I received asking if I was okay. I am... well, sort of (read the blog).

Been a roller coaster, no doubt, but I do come out on top usually.

Sorry I missed bdays, Happy (very belated) Bday wishes to Dotmom and Haupty (and anyone else I missed). Of course belated Mom's and Dad's Day, too.

Hopefully I'll be back more but no telling how much I'm able to get back in the game for the near future.

Time to go back and check out at least pictures while I'm still under mud. Doubt I get to read all the blog entries I missed though.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. insideuk
4:13 PM GMT on August 05, 2012
The most partisan guide to the Olympics in the world – EVER.

Part 7

Raining GOLD

The novelty of hosting the Olympics is being replaced by the even more astonishing novelty of being on the winning side. Usually TEAM GB is one of the 'also rans', in Atlanta 1996 we got a total of 15 medals, including a single solitary gold. We finished 36th in the table.

We believe in playing clean and fair, and we spectators arrive with fairly low expectations – this country could well have coined the phrase 'it's the taking part that matters'. Hence we also ALWAYS will cheer the underdog to the rafters. We know how it feels to lose.

But we still hoped to improve. We pumped some new funding into sports thanks in large part to the national lottery. That brought in new coaching staff and paid for the equipment and venues for athletes of the future to train. Winning the bid to host the London Games brought in more funding opportunities for athletes to up their game. They responded.

It worked.

Indulge me a moment. Let me look at PER CAPITA FIGURES – as of RIGHT NOW, LONDON 2012

China = 1 gold per 50m people.
Russia = 1 gold per 47.6m people.
USA = 1 gold per 11.6m people.
Great Britain = 1 gold per 3.9m people...


Team GB had what has been dubbed a SUPER SATURDAY yesterday. The rowers brought in gold on the river at Eton, then the lady cyclists won team pursuit in the velodrome. In the evening the athletes in the main stadium powered through a single AMAZING hour with – ladies pentathlon GOLD, mens long jump GOLD then mens 10,000m GOLD.

I was screaming at my TV, jumping up and down and getting through boxes of tissues with tears streaming down my face.The whole country was watching. TEAM GB has 62m people in it.

WE are mad for it!

This afternoon crowds of people SCREAMED at Andy Murray in the mens singles (tennis) final at Wimbledon, normally it's all very reserved there, stiff upper lips and buttoned up shirts and all that. GB WON GOLD. Patriotic fervour battered the Swiss opponent, this years Grand Slam Champion Federer, into submission. He just didn't stand a chance playing against 30,000 people wearing Union Jacks. Later today Murray plays in the mixed doubles final – maybe a 2nd GOLD in the same day? We've already watched Ben Ainslie sail his little boat to victory this afternoon – there were tens of thousands of spectators sat on the distant shoreline to scream at him too. Even our gymnasts can win medals. UNHEARD OF!

As a nation we are losing our voices along with our heads as we sit in a COMFORTABLE 3rd in the medal table. Our normally strictly non partisan commentators, as per BBC rules, are literally falling off their seats with excitement, hugging each other and crying along with everyone else on live TV broadcasts. Even the American ones, like your incredible Michael Johnson – he was quite literally bouncing around the studio in his chair last night....

(Michael Johnson is in the pale grey jacket)

img src="">
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. Arbie
3:56 PM GMT on August 05, 2012
Losing multiple people at once, then having to train a bunch of new people all at the same time is not fun. I sympathize. Of course, you may decide to space the new people out.

I loved the new Ballyhoo video. I would be right up there too, scary or no. Good job.

I have to confess I am more excited about the Mars landing today than the Olympics. That is exciting about all the medals UK got in one day though. Things like that are what make it worth watching. I haven't checked out the ping pong serves yet, but I think I must do that.

Hot and humid here. Summer in SE Texas.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. osdianna
1:39 AM GMT on August 04, 2012
Ah, the spine footage is pretty awesome territory, looks well-traveled. Don't trip over your shoe-laces!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. cybersuze
10:07 PM GMT on August 03, 2012
Terrific video Joe -- great scenery! Sounds like a lot of changes going on for you! Same here!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. miyuki
9:56 PM GMT on August 03, 2012
OMG Joe, I just watched your video, talk about having your head in the clouds! I would have been on my hands and knees where you were just strolling around on the cliffs.
Thanks for sharing your world with us! And listen to your Momma! If not, then please be careful.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. insideuk
7:35 PM GMT on August 03, 2012
There really is no need for you to go out and make the 'most dramatic point' on the island headline news by slipping off it...

Send GNU instead.

Really – what's the point of being THE BOSS otherwise? Gotta be some fun in it. Maybe some cash too? Barely a day goes by when the world's media hasn't picked up on some poor unfortunate, caught on camera, in a near death experience. Entertainment for the masses designed with handy FOLLOW ME hash-tags...




#GNUwithdrewafterfallthroughoutoftheblueonBallyho odebut

#WanderingGNUsavedbycanoeafterforayintoPacificblu e

Tell @layintoGNU it's OK, we can cut his beneficiaries into the deal.

The Small Island guide to climbing medals tables

Part 6


France, Germany and Great Britain have spent the last 24 hours side swiping each other in the medals table – 4th, 5th and 6th. It's great fun but it could end up with us all being bailed out.

I'm resenting having to earn a living right now – it's cutting into my viewing time. Plus the temptation to click the office computer onto live coverage is almost irresistible - most especially when you spot a new sport event has begun that you never even realised was part of the games – LIKE TRAMPOLINE!! Oh WOW. I fell upon that whilst at work this afternoon and that was it – hooked in, bouncing along with the likes of DONG DONG (Chinas gold medal winner). He was in the roof space, changing light bulbs.

To be honest there is a big part of me that is just waiting for the BSO moment in all these POTENTIALLY dangerous sports. My sister and I have had an ongoing competition, ever since the invention of text messaging, to be the first one to alert the other to what we call a 'bones sticking out' TV event. I was the first to alert her to news of the South Korean weightlifter who dislocated his elbow whilst (ill advisedly) lifting over twice his own weight above his head yesterday. You may have seen the footage – he was left with a back to front arm. Little wonder he was screaming.

Makes good telly.

My sister is currently in London, so she missed it. She has, however, spent this morning inside the Olympic stadium on DAY 1 of the athletics eventages, so I can at this juncture give you a thoroughly unauthorised and distinctly second hand brief account of that experience....

There's a lot of steps.

She stopped a couple of times to text me about it – she said she burst a lung as she climbed UP to the cheap seats. It was as if she was directing me to the BBC's athletics coverage for her very own Oscar winning BSO moment. Once installed in her allotted nest she decided there was no way she was going to need to pee in the next 5 hours.

They had a terrific view across the entire arena, situated approximately 25 foot short of HEAVEN, directly over the long jump area. Every seat was filled. Nobody was using the expensive rest room facilities I've paid for...

They all enjoyed the experience of being there, and they can say they were track side when GB's Jessica Ennis ran the fastest ever 100m hurdles in the heptathlon.

Well, track side'ish. Looked more like she was hurdling matchsticks...

Their tickets allow them to stay within the Olympic park all day – so my sister is currently dragging her 2 tired, moaning and deeply ungrateful teenagers around to take in the atmosphere and do some celebrity spotting. The boys had to get out of bed this morning at the same time they normally settle down for the night so they are struggling slightly.

Kids. Who'd have 'em?

Indoorsy cycling
Now that MY Bradley Wiggins has proven his world domination on two wheels in the outdoorsy world of cycling WE have – as a nation – moved onto the indoorsy version in which they eschew brakes and gears in favour of sharply banked floorboards.

Frankly it beggars belief that anyone can ride a bike round those curves, it looks like the left over bit of the mould from which they cast the Pringle shaped aquatics centre roof. Waste not, want not.

They have some strange 'sprint races' – there is a thing called the Keirin, in which they cycle around the Pringle curve for several laps really quite SLOWLY, following a man of mature years who is riding a 'derny' – a motorized bicycle – at a fixed speed. This isn't warm up time, this is all part of the race, the derny rider leaves the track allowing the riders to sprint round only the last 2 and a half laps at breakneck speeds to the finish line.

I have visions of a similar type 'race' going on in London today, where my sister is the one taking the slow lead right up until my nephews spot the worlds largest branch of McDonalds coming into view, at which point they make a sprint for the line.

Team GB is winning lots of GOLD on two wheels. As I type this small island is standing in THIRD PLACE on that medal table!!!! Bloody hell! (We can't hold that place long but it's a nice screenshot...)

Table Tennis
Have you seen how they serve?
It's even more bizarre than getting a little old man to ride up to the table on a motorized bike and chuck a ball...

Well, almost.

The server taps the ball on the end of the table to the height of about 1 inch several times, then she holds the ball briefly in her palm to display it to the opponent. After that she steps back from the table and throws the ball up to head height, dropping it precisely down her forehead, along her nose, off her chin and down her cleavage until it hits the bat. At precisely a teeny tiny fraction of a micro second BEFORE it hits the bat she bangs her foot on the floor to disguise the sound of the ACTUAL exact time the ball hits the bat. All to put her opponent off their return shot.

You'd have thought the fact the ball can move at 150mph would suffice.

The speed and aggression of the game at this high level is astonishing, it is incredibly intense. I watched the two Chinese ladies battle it out against each other – Li X X and Ding Ning. There was controversy – Ding Ning was shown a penalty card for not serving the ball high enough, when she questioned why she was getting it she was immediately given another card for asking the question. She played on through her tears. It was all so dramatic. It's exhausting just watching. I had to have a lie down in a cool room.

They appear to have shrunk table tennis furniture since my school youth club days. We had 4 tables in the space behind the disco dance floor. Traditionally the boys played ping pong whilst the girls boogied on down. Sometimes the naughty boys would try to retrieve their balls from beneath our skirts. Mostly we just stamped on them until they popped.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. dotmom
12:31 PM GMT on August 03, 2012
Stay away from those perilous cliffs. I know you don't have a lot of adventuresome excitement up there, but it makes me dizzy just reading about it. Good to talk to you last night JoeA. I know that you are in transition with your crew and that is not fun. I know you will get it resolved. We miss you and send a big hug. xxo
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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About joealaska

I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.

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