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By: joealaska , 7:19 AM GMT on September 05, 2012

I hope everyone had a nice mellow LABOR DAY. Cookouts, camping, boating, baseball, and road trips. It all sounds great.

Well, here in Dutch, boats don’t do holidays, so we don’t. Our crew gets 8 hours holiday pay, and the overtime starts when they do.

It looked like a light day, one delivery scheduled. I went in late, taking advantage of the slowdown.
But before I left the phone rang and I took a decent order to be delivered later that night. No big deal. When I got to the office another boat crew walked in to the warehouse and placed an order to also be delivered that evening, Then the phone rang and a big boat had arrived, and they wanted an order delivered ASAP. (That call could have been made the night before and we would have been readier). Now we had a busy evening going, then we got the bomb dropping around 4 PM. A BIG BOAT had some type of mix-up and did not get their food they ordered from Seattle. So it was US who came to the rescue, as always. Fill a BIG order ASAP.

It was a 14 hour day Labor Day. We left at 10 PM. Went home, tried to go to sleep at 11:30. REM had been attained barely when the phone rang at 1 AM. There was a bit of a problem on an order we had delivered that evening (when YOU were toasting those marshmallows). It was a glitch that was unable to be fixed. Tried to get back to sleep- not easy for me.

OH. A storm came through. Heavy rain and wind. 71 mph by my own gauge.

5:30 AM GNU is calling. I am on auto-pilot, talking for a couple minutes before I really wake up.

There is a problem. As usual. They did not get their entire order shipped from down south. They needed food, and we were the only option. And the captain wanted to leave NOW.

I picked up GNU and we made a very quiet ride to the warehouse where I wrote up the order from his chicken scratch as he pulled it, the we both finished pulling it. Then we delivered it by 6:45 AM.

Then we went home just in time to go to work.

I worked in a daze today, wanting to leave early. I did at 4:30.

Made a general plan for my upcoming trip tonight. I have never made these plans so far ahead. And it all could change. But I plan on driving through fire damaged land in New Mexico, seeing the CHOLLAS, house hunting, VEGAS, DAVE and his wife, Yosemite (never been there), Death Valley (LOVE IT), PGA WEST GOLF in Palm Springs (TOUGH COURSE), stay in JEROME, Arizona for the night (old mining town at the top of a mountain. GOOGLE IT. Really cool.) Then back to Albuquerque. With all of these plans, something will give.

Tonight another storm came through with 50 mph winds.

Today at work a nice lady came to my warehouse to meet JOEALASKA. It was pretty cool, something that was good right then. She had read the blog from the early days, a lurker. Never made a comment (just like I would). She was surprised I was there and we chatted. She worked in Dutch a couple times but lived elsewhere. But she liked my pictures and followed the blog since then.

Made me feel good, and I told her that. I really appreciate all you regular bloggers. But it is nice to hear from the those that comprise the underside of the iceberg. At least that is what I like to think.


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

Reader Comments

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20. preacherskidd
12:42 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
thank you.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
19. osdianna
3:49 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
The photo Dave placed in the above post is of the rumba-line of happy Shell'ers as they finally get to leave the Seattle area, headed for the open sea. I know we need new sources of energy, but I just can't get past a feeling of this is the wrong way to go about it...almost an impending sense of doom. The tar balls washing up on the southern beaches following Isaac, remnants of the BP blowout show the petroleum industry is not to be trusted in their assessment of how to take care of such a disaster. Did they REALLY think all that oil would just go away? Are we so eager to believe them? Old Scottish sound of disgust, near as I can spell it...."tschaw"!

On another note, Arbie, I have a good friend who is 80 and has a masters in history who greets me nearly every time with, "Howdy do, howdy do". I had no idea it was from Bleak House...good to know.

Hang in there Joe...maybe you too will get to enjoy an Indian Summer of sorts.

Yesterday late afternoon, the webcams at the Alaska Volcano Observatory website were showing some unexpectedly clear views of volcanos I have not seen before, as they are usually socked in with clouds. One of the exceptions to the clear day was Makushin; unfortunately, Dutch was in the clouds. I could even see steam rising from the summit of Augustine. Interested? http://www.avo.alaska.edu/webcam/
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
18. insideuk
1:18 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
However much I read about the progress of the Shell plans I never wind up feeling any more positive about it all.

Whilst they are not YET allowed to start DEEP drilling they can apparently start a small hole to 1400 feet. This means they have to stop drilling about three-fourths of a mile short of oil rich zones.

They think. Nothing is certain.

Because they actually started out in a very reassuring manner by sending down a remotely operated vehicle to check below the sea floor for any UNEXPECTED HAZARDS.

Only then, when they didn't discover a hitherto unmapped stray crab pot or fluky Starbucks outlet, did they drill a pilot hole to check for any UNEXPECTED natural gas pockets or oil that might occur within the preparatory drill zone.

If that happens they will cap it off with drilling mud. Maybe some odd socks and coffee grinds...

That's the plan for a pilot hole. When it goes deeper and wider they fit the now very familiarly named piece of equipment known as a 'blowout preventer'. That gets cemented in, just to be sure. Though the cement isn't known to help much if the preventer fails to PREVENT.


Or the buck fifty switch doesn't work.

If that fails the next line of defence is the capping stack. This time they have one ready made and it is sat on the Fennica (an icebreaker that is part of the Shell fleet). This highly engineered safety device has been fully tested, in the Puget Sound, during good weather and for a total of 15 minutes.

Retired University of Alaska professor Rick Steiner, an expert in oil response and on the board of a group that sued to get the testing data, said that a simple emissions test on his car is far more rigorous than that which was produced for Shell's capping stack. The first test proved they could dangle it in 200 feet of water without dropping it, the second showed it could hold up under lab conditions for 15 minutes without crumpling.

A crumply cap should be avoided if at all possible.

If the cap fails the next step is the infamous but as yet unfinished VACUUM BARGE, the Arctic Challenger. This is still having its fuel tanks welded together in Washington, after which it needs to be given sea trials, pass a fire safety certificate and go through some crew drills. It will then take about 19 days to travel north to the drilling grounds. Unless they have some UNEXPECTED weather to slow it further.

Or push it backwards from whence it came.

That's if it leaves at all. Reports have had it at the same level of unpreparedness for weeks now.

The Kulluk drill rig/ Christmas tree is waiting out WHATEVER time it takes for the local bowhead whale hunt season to come to an end in the Beaufort Sea. There is no definite time line on that, it's an open ended permit. Something Shell don't have. That must really piss them off. They have until 24 September to drill in the Chukchi Sea and a month longer for the Beaufort Sea.

But they can't start doing anything much, beyond tightening their moorings, without that 4TH LINE OF DEFENCE VACUUM BARGE.

Still, you can be filled with the confidence expressed by Shell's VP for Alaska, Pete Slaiby. He's a happy chap in interviews, talking about “opening up a potentially new chapter in Alaska's oil and gas story...”.

Shell is aware it is under scrutiny and is moving cautiously “You build confidence by the spoonful,” he said.


That'll be the fifth and final line of defence presumably.

Long live the whales.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
17. DHaupt
8:28 AM GMT on September 10, 2012
Here are our jolly ships in warmer climes. I guess they are about to start drilling.

Here's the link to a CNN.com article: Shell starts preperatory drilling

We've had another beautiful mild day here in Livermore. Got up to about 82F.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
16. Arbie
8:51 PM GMT on September 08, 2012
Sounds like the Welsh make lots of popcorn in their microwaves.

What a miserable Labor Day Joe had!

I'm always surprised at the phrases we and the UK share, now and in the past. I am reading Bleak House (Dickens) right now. This is because I was reading Black House (Stephen King), and he kept bringing up Bleak House in Black House. Anyway, one of the characters greets people with "Howdy do! Howdy do!" Who'd a thought! He uses lots of other phrases which I had no idea were in use in the 1800s. I think it totally passed over my head when I read this sort of stuff for school and college when I was much younger.

Our weather is a-bit-not-as-hot as typical September in SE Texas. For one day anyway. 80sF instead of 90sF, and it isn't even raining.

I'm endeavoring to make it through my twins senior year of high school and get them into college. Most days I can't decide whether to bring out the hankie or the party hat.

I think I like GNU-R, because it leaves room for GNU-EST.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
15. insideuk
6:27 PM GMT on September 08, 2012
I head to Scotland on 22 September Osdianna, in fact 2 weeks from right NOW I should be just about arriving at my destination, fingers crossed and Tropical Storm Leslie/ Hurricane Michael permitting...

Ex Tropical Fish storm Kirk jostled past the northern most parts of Scotland the last few days depositing quite a bit of moisture, presumably sideways on in 60-70mph winds. This stuff is as common there as it is in Dutch, but it would make my 500 mile drive rather unpleasant. Having said that, if the wind is behind Betti it could save me a fortune in fuel.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
14. osdianna
4:07 PM GMT on September 08, 2012
A "popty ping"...you're right, genius. Thanks for the stroll through late summer verbiage, UK; very much enjoyed....especially the bit about St. Martin. I am not a bit religious, but the idea of flowers bursting into bloom as his body passed by on the river is a very summer-ish thought. Leave it to the French....
Aren't you going on vacation soon...Scotland? Or did you already do that and not mention it?

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
13. insideuk
2:56 PM GMT on September 08, 2012
Most of the UK is experiencing a spell of lovely warm weather, right now this weekend I have clear blue skies and 75f, no humidity and very little breeze (OK, so it was foggy first thing – the nights are getting chilly). Since this is pretty much the first extended spell of dry and warm weather we have had since springtime it’s a welcome sight. In the UK weather such as this, coming as it does after a cool and wet summer, is often referred to as an ’Indian Summer’.

Which begs the question – what do they call it in India?

I looked it up.

India just calls it ‘summer’. Makes sense really. After all, I call English muffins ‘muffins’, and The British Open ‘The Open’, UK ‘me’…

But different places in the world have different phrases that mean the same thing – In France it is a ‘Saint Martins Summer’. The story goes that the body of Saint Martin, who died November 8 397AD, was taken by boat down the river Loire and legend has it the riverbanks flowered as his body passed by on November 11.

Which is a really nice story until you learn that he was only taken by river to his burial place because some folks from a neighbouring province pilfered his corpse.

Apparently in England we used the term ‘St Martins Summer’ until we heard you lot in the US using the phrase Indian Summer and decided to scratch the STIFF French botanical etymology.

I very much doubt that most people here realise the phrase may have been born in the US from periods of milder weather enabling Native American raids on European settlers and vice versa. Could have been worse, at least they weren’t body snatching saints.

In Slavic countries the phrase they use means ‘Old Ladies Summer’ – which is rather nice, assuming they mean it as a summer of the type old ladies enjoy as opposed to one that’s been hanging around a bit too long?

In Welsh it is known as ‘Haf Bach Mihangel’ – after an offensive guy named Michael who plays American football…

OK, I made that last translation up, just for fun. Which is completely unnecessary with some of the newer Welsh words – they verge on GENIUS without any help from me.

What do they call a ‘microwave oven’ in Welsh?

A ‘Popty Ping’.

Like I said, GENIUS.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
12. osdianna
5:44 AM GMT on September 08, 2012
We hit 89 deg today, so of course it is now mid-50's windy and we're covered with marine air, so thick it's dripping off the trees and sounds like rain on the roof. Since it is still very warm inland, I expect a lot of people will head to the beach, only to find it overcast and pretty darn cool...not complaining you understand, but that means it will be too wet to run the electric lawnmower...oh, darn.

The leaves are beginning to show color; I drove up to Arlington, Wa. on Thursday...4 hrs north; definite signs of fall up there, especially the vine maples.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
11. dotmom
4:47 PM GMT on September 07, 2012
I've been to Jerome - compliments of JoA some years ago. It is an old mining town with some hippie overtones. As I recall, the roads are interesting as it is on the side of the mountain. I think the car was doing some sort of double twist contortion to maneuver the turns. We only drove through and kept on going. Of course, our destination was a golf course - and nothing can keep us from that. :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. bearpaints
12:52 PM GMT on September 07, 2012
Jerome has a great mineing history which I love. Awesome feeling for me there. Story of hard working men and women. Now just a tourest trap with alot of drinking, crystals, motorcycles and there are surposed to be ghosts if you believe that stuff. Best part of town is a self guided tour of the gold mine. It's like a outside museum with old cars, trucks, everything. The old house was interesting too, way before it's time. I didn't feel any ghosts just history of people living there and what it was like. Beautiful sceanery (sp). Nice lake up there for fishing that is stocked every year.

Best part is the back roads. 4 wheel drive. These roads were used way back one to bring people and mineing equiment back and forth. Also one of the best Indian ruins is way back there and it's well preserved. Except the more people hear of it the more it gets ruined. Before the big change in my husband's and my life we exported the back roads and have seen alot of Indian ruins and old mines. My husband likes the arrowheads he finds and any gold or silver he finds. Me I love the feel of real people and the way they lived way back then and it brings me back to earth of how easy I have it now.
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9. DHaupt
6:16 PM GMT on September 06, 2012
I recall reading in a biography of Jennie, (Jerome) Churchill, Winston's mother, that Jerome, AZ was named for her father, Leonard Jerome because he was a major stockholder in one or more of the mines. Wikipedia claims the place was named for a cousin of Jennie. No matter, the name certainly traces to her family.

I just drove through the town back in the late 60s taking photographs. I was working at the time in nearby Prescott. It was pretty run down in those days. Now, I'm sure in abounds with Shoppes and Snooteries.

The only personal association I can think of to the place is that a former friend of ours left her husband and two teen age boys to go there and find herself at some crystal gazing, pyramid squatting, sun worshipping ashram. It was no huge surprise as nearly everyone always thought she was slightly nutty to begin with.

We awoke early this morning to the sound of thunder. Sniffles the cat burrowed into a freshly dug cave underneath my wife. Thunder is not part of his natural world; we only hear it a couple of times each year. We failed to receive any more than a few rain drops, just enough to make spots on the windshield. But, it is the first sign that Autumn is close. We may still have some hot weather into early October, but I think the worst of it is over and we will have very pleasant mild weather for the next month.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
8. osdianna
4:36 PM GMT on September 06, 2012
Jerome is one of those old "wild west" towns...where drinking and what usually accompanies drinking was the major past-time when out of the mine. I remember visiting when about 13 and came away with a chunk of what was called "peacock ore" from one of the tourist traps. It went into my stash of treasures in an old Sucrets tin, buried in a small opening at the base of a favorite tree in my backyard, Red Bluff, Ca,

I forgot the treasure box when I moved...the tree is now gone and it is a parking lot...of course.

If I remember correctly, the wind blows a lot in Jerome...I didn't like it there...too many "bad vibes".
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. insideuk
12:42 PM GMT on September 06, 2012
I had a peek at Jerome, Arizona on Google. The ‘Wickedest Town in the West’. I can see why it appeals to our Joseph. It looks like the kind of place you’d need breathing equipment for, it being just a couple of thousand feet short of altitude sickness territory. Great views though.

Assuming you are brave enough to open your eyelids.

The photos show some unusual looking brick built architecture CLINGING for dear life onto sandy hillsides. Having read up a bit about the history of the place I learnt that they stopped underground mining when fires raged out of control in the mine shafts (one burning for 20 years). In the 1930’s one ‘controlled explosion’ blast shook the land so hard the city jail slid one block down the hill, INTACT.

It does look a fascinating place to visit.

Assuming you have all the appropriate safety equipment and training. I hope you make it…


The police blotter has been full of reports of people complaining about the road traffic trubba in Dutch whilst the flaggers WILFULLY delayed all and sundry. They kept people STOPPED for well in excess of 20 minutes at a time. That was the rule they were supposed to stick to, 20 minutes, even that seems like far too long for a small town like Dutch. People are not just passing through, they are going short trips A to B and back to A again, often multiple times a day, along the same unavoidable route, delivering emergency celery salt and the like.

Little wonder people got upset with the lengthy delays.

Such a shame these same locals called police the other week to deal with that ‘suspiciously’ nice man who was handing out free drinks and cookies to all in the street.

Maybe he was too busy to help out again anyway.

I heard he got himself a new job as a road crew flagger…

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. hanfyh
6:35 AM GMT on September 06, 2012
Hi all,
We do Labour day on the 1st October. Its not far away.
Last Sunday was Fathers Day. We do some of our holidays at different times to you guys. We hardly do Halloween at all. I miss that here. We put up a Halloween flag and stuff. A few kids around here do trick or Treat (The wife has taught them). I’ve had a couple of Halloweens in the States. I enjoyed that.

Christmas falls in the middle of summer so its usually a seafood lunch and salads. Too hot for a cooked dinner. We are big on Christmas in July. We do the hot dinner then.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. calpoppy
2:25 AM GMT on September 06, 2012
Did you go through Titus Canyon when you were at Death Valley, a must see if you haven't!!! Though maybe not a great idea with a rental car :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. Bogon
8:36 PM GMT on September 05, 2012
Good luck with all those vacations plans, Joe.

May the planes be on schedule, may all your reservations be confirmed, and may the whole excursion take place on time and under budget.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. yellafella
12:27 PM GMT on September 05, 2012
readier? I may try that in a scrabble game.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. cholla
10:54 AM GMT on September 05, 2012
Or, how about this nom-de-plume for New Gnu Guy:


or maybe


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1. insideuk
10:17 AM GMT on September 05, 2012
Hard Labor Day then...


It would be much easier for you to turn the calendar's face to the wall and ignore what it says about US public holidays.

Ditto the clocks. Those hands just swing around its face for exercise, not to demarcate days end, lunch break or playtime for Pudden Head.

In fact your sun and moon seem remarkably interchangeable, night is day, day is night. They flip round like an anemometer in a storm so bad your personal gauge gets twisted.

So let me get some FACTS straightened out for you right now Joseph, JUST SO YOU KNOW WHERE WE ARE ALL AT....

Today is Wednesday the 5th of September, 2012.

That is known as 9/5/12 in all backwardly counting places such as the US of A...or A of SU.

The correct time of day for you is now being displayed just above your blog heading. The time is also available down in the far right corner of your computer screen, and quite possibly at the far end of your left arm just before where your hand starts (unless you are still naked in which case please move away from the window you have attracted the attention of several law enforcement officers and a mean looking hungry eagle).

You are located on a windswept hillside above the town of Dutch Harbor on a remote Alaskan island that goes by the name of Unalaska, so named to be deliberately confusing and misleading all at the same time. Little wonder the planes sometimes turn around and go home before landing there. It REALLY is ALASKA – the prefix is used as a negative or opposing force that serves to prevent the local volcano erupting.

And one last FACT.

Vegas is coming OFF the TO DO list with immediate effect.

Nice to finally see the new Gnu Guy. Now that he has formally posed for his WU/Joealaska portrait in the usual manner (lounging about in fishnets) I feel it is time to organise his OFFICIAL WU NOM DE PLUME.

It's obvious really.

Welcome to GNOATEE GUY
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