Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Taking a Break in Virginia

We are visiting my wife's brother and his family in Virginia just outside of Washington D.C. before heading up to PA for the memorial service. The traffic here is really crazy. I don't see how people could find their way around pre-gps. Lots of small, windy roads with lots of people in a hurry to get somewhere. This afternoon, I drove around looking for sushi ingredients but found pickings to be pretty slim. The fish monger at the Whole Foods grocery store couldn't recommend the ahi for sashimi. I was looking for unagi (broiled eel) but couldn't find any. There is a large Asian food store in Fairfax maybe I'll stop by there tomorrow. I'll probably just make California rolls or something like that.

Update - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 This afternoon, I went to a large asian grocery called "Super H" in Fairfax and they had frozen unagi which is much better than the canned version. It was a huge store almost the same size as the asian store we went to last summer in Huntington Beach. They didn't have as many restaurants as the one in California. We also picked up some green tea mochi ice cream (delicious!). I also stopped at an Apple store in the Fair Oaks Mall to pick up a new Nike+ sensor. Too late to try and finish some of my end of the year challenges but I didn't want to go walking much without it. I know that seems somewhat childish but I can't help it. This is the Christmas display that was in the mall. At least I got a little bit of walking in today.

Today, there was a wind advisory for the area with predicted winds of 35 mph with gusts to 48 mph. Near here, there was a snapped power pole with the top half of pole hanging by the power lines. No pictures. I thought about running out and taking a picture but ran out of time.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Last night, I had a hard time getting to sleep. Probably too much Diet Coke before bedtime. Anyway, I started re-reading some of my old posts to this blog. It started out by trying to remember what the other meeting was that I attended early last year in Tempe, AZ. I remembered the Northern Tier winter meeting but couldn't remember the other. I guess that being able to look things up like that is one of the benefits of this blog. I noticed that I have been trying to get my mind (and body) used to the idea of jogging for over a year now. I don't seem to have progressed very far. Last year, I was annoyed at myself for not keeping up with the walking goals that I had previously set and annoyed with myself for gaining back some of the weight that I had lost. I guess things haven't changed much for me. It seems that I've had the treadmill now for over two years now and still regularly do the same customized workout that I had set up way back. I guess the difference is that it was a real stretch back then and now I will occasionally augment it with a mile or two of jogging after finishing the 45 minute workout. Still, I'm not to the point that I had wanted to be by now. I am still overweight, still get winded if I try running uphill, still annoyed with myself for not meeting my goals. The WIN goals that I've set as part of the individualized counseling sessions seem rather "lame" and readily achievable.

My goal for the next year is to lose an additional 20 lbs. It seems like a reasonable goal given the fact that I've gained back 10 lbs from a year ago (after swearing to myself that I wouldn't gain it back!) so it is only an additional 10 lbs. Still not where I want to get but definitely better than now. For the first year, I was benefiting from the 10 mcg Byetta that I was taking. It had a fairly strong appetite suppression side effect at least for me. Now I am on a 5 mcg dose that doesn't have the same side effect. Some of the other side effects were pretty disruptive and that is why I'm on a lower dose. Well, that's my resolution. Lose 20 lbs. I still haven't taken advantage of the one month pass to the Alaska Club. Two years ago, that is what got me started on the treadmill.

My Nike+ sensor died again. Hopefully I'll be able to find an Apple store in PA or VA. We are heading there for a memorial service for my mother in-law near the end of the week. Doesn't feel like a fun trip but it's not -40°F there. It is miserably cold here today and I think it's supposed to last all week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It feels like a down-sized Christmas this year. I think that's because some of us are heading to PA after Christmas for a memorial service. The tree wasn't up until last Sunday and just lights, no ornaments. No lights on the house (or on any others in the neighborhood) Add to that a couple of trips out of town for me and the month passed pretty quickly. I usually enjoy shopping but this year, I didn't get to do much. Too little exercise and long days when I'm in Barrow really has me feeling run down. My WIN goal is just walking three times per week and eat more vegetables. No problem with either of those goals but I feel depressed since I've gained weight since last April. Very slowly but 10 lbs is significant and it will be hard to get rid of.

I can't wait until spring gets here. Do some skiing, get the bike ready, plan some camping trips, weekend and evening walks. Maybe I'm just getting old but it feels too cold to do much of anything outdoors. Very nice walk to church this evening. Not too cold, light snowfall, and just enough light bouncing from the clouds to see the road. Too slippery to jog (yeah, I tried believe it or not) but very quiet and peacefull. Perfect for Christmas Eve.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Solstice Sunrise

Facing towards that Alaska Range just before sunrise from West Ridge at the University. I think it was around 11:00 or so, and incredibly clear. I just had to take a picture even though I knew that the cell phone camera wouldn't do a very good job. I don't remember the day but I think it was last week before heading to Barrow. While in Barrow, I would completely loose track of the time so I wasn't able to get any pictures. It was incredibly quiet up there so I managed to get a ton of stuff done. I'm still debugging the "dial by name" feature as well as trying to figure out call forwarding. This has been a real challenge debugging these VoIP issues especially remotely. I looked at the CDR for the last couple of days and I must have made hundreds of calls (mostly to myself) testing and retesting. Actually fun and challenging.

Unfortunately, no exercise since the college is shut down and walking/jogging is really discouraged due to all the wildlife running around the area. I saw an arctic fox that I think is living under the NARL Hotel. There have been a lot of polar bear sightings but I didn't see any on this trip. I stayed in the same hut as the last two visits. No complaints at all.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I went skiing again this evening on the west ridge trails at the university. We had gotten quite a bit of fresh snow and, more importantly, it warmed up into the teens. I went to the T-field, which was past the lit trails. Because of the cloud cover, there was plenty of light reflecting from town to see the tracks so I went a couple of times around the field. I was tempted to go down the Baseline Winter Trail but reports of moose in the area convinced me otherwise. I did see two moose, a mother and a calf, in the middle of the Potato Field which is next to Smith Lake. It wasn't as warm as predicted by the weather guessers so I called it quits after about 8 miles. Maybe I should try skiing during daylight. Not that it's any warmer but at least you would be able to see the moose on the trails and more people are around. I do like the solitude but worry a bit about possibly injuring myself. The waxless skis were much slower in the fresh snow than my old pair but it was much less hassle. That's worth something. Tomorrow, I head back to Barrow for a couple more days to finish up some loose ends on the VoIP system. I think I've been spending about 90% of my work time on the Barrow project. Definitely not complaining. I really need to get the secondary sip proxy configured the same as the primary server. I made so many changes at one time on the primary that it is difficult to remember them all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Barrow

I'm back in Barrow again but this time I got to spend some time out away from the facility. This photo was taken on my phone all the way at the end of Cake Eater Rd about 10 mile SE of NARL. It was taken at near the brightest time of day facing to the south so you can see that no sunlight and only a little daylight can be found up here. It was also really cold with about a 25 knot wind. Cold enough that two pictures with the camera phone was enough to drive me back into the truck cab.

If you haven't eaten at Pepe's North of the Border in Barrow, you are missing out on an interior Christmas display without rival. There are a lot of lights here as well as a variety of other decorations. The restaurant serves primarily Mexican food and has been around for over 25 years. Pretty unique.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I went XC-skiing for the first time this winter. The West Ridge trails are in good condition and the little bit of fresh snow that fell this morning was great. I used a pair of waxless skiis for the first time and they felt slower than the waxable ones but in my case, slower is good. I went on all of the lit trails a couple of times around and I'm guessing, covered at least 8 miles. I didn't have the gps with me so I'm guessing that I was averaging at least 4 mph for two hours. I know that I was going faster than I usually walk which is about 3.5 mph. Effort was pretty constant for the entire two hours which felt pretty good. I'm pretty sore now especially my right shoulder.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


A little chilly this morning on my walk down to the bus stop. I barely made it today as the bus arrived at about the same time that I did at the bottom of the hill. I had gotten so used to it being late that I didn't expect it for several more minutes. I was playing with a new reflective armband that I picked up at Fred Meyer yesterday. The battery looks like it is about dead even though this is the first time i used it. I guess someone was probably playing with it and turned it on through the package. A replacement battery is almost as much as the armband was to begin with...