Monday, January 30, 2006

What a weekend

First off I have to deal with a Vocational School that is so unorganized that it doesn't really know at the first day of class whether or not it's classes are completely full or not. So, I find out that the industrial welding course is full, which is to be expected given the rumors of the natural gas pipeline going to be built and/or ANWAR.

I help my aunt customize a Dell laptop, the phone rep stayed online for 2 1/2 hours configuring the system and doing what he could to match the system she was going to order from Costco (west coast equivalent to Sam's Club). I should have asked him for a percentage of his commission, without my input on a lot of the items he wouldn't have made the sale. Anyways, it arrives sometimes this week, tomorrow hopefully and then I'm busy installing a wireless network to the aunt's cable modem.

Late Friday night I began to rehydrate, pushing water into my system at a fast rate. Looking back I'm not sure if I should have taken it slower or if it was inevitable that my left kidney would decide to push kidney stones through my system. I had an idea that it was going happen when the kidney remained sore more then a half hour after pushing water, so I took a couple of quick dissolving Excedrine and waited for the worst to happen.

And boy did it ever, not as intense as the first time I had a kidney stone thank goodness for the pain killers, but the pain was enough to have me praying to the porcelain god for a few hours. I'd managed to pass a couple on my own but after 2 1/2 hours of pain, I could no long keep any sort of fluid down to keep pushing the others, so I threw in the tower and went to the ER.

I must say, I'm rather liking the medical facilities in the private sector, having spent my whole life going to government doctors/dentists. The doc on duty actually listen to what I had to say about my symptoms and the path of the pain. After doing a quick check discovered blood in my urine, they went a head and started an IV and started me with some meds to control the nauseate.

That didn't work too well, the extra water just caused another to kick loose and soon I was back praying, this time to a stainless steel god. Deciding I had enough, I requested some pain killers, which I refused the first go around. Morphine, my first encounter with that one, I got demerol the last stone. After an hour and a full liter of water later, I still couldn't go, but I was no longer in intolerable pain so they discharge me saying there wasn't really anything else they could do, so I might as well go home and get comfortable as best I could. To help with any further pain once the morphine wore off they gave me some vicodin, which I promptly took before laying down and passing out from exhaustion.

I spent the rest of the day Saturday pushing fluids, but ended up feeling bloated since lots were going in but little was coming out. Sunday things started to kick loose and I felt like I wouldn't leave the bath room. The bloating left but my insides felt like I just got in a gang fight but forgot to bring my own gang. It hurt to breath deeply, cough, sneeze or laugh, I was miserable and refused to take any more meds since the pain wasn't bad just a nuisance.

Being still exhausted, I was fighting sleep all day long and decided to head to bed early about 7 pm. I awoke at 2 am, still in some pain and still sore but not enough to keep me from drifting back off to sleep.

Now here's the strange part. After crashing at 2 am, sometime in the middle of the night I dreamt I met up with one of my friends who asked me why I was in pain. After explaining what happened and what I was feeling he gave me this cream to massage into areas that I still felt pain. It was a light blue in color, with a faint hint of sun screen. I woke up this morning completely devoid of pain, not even any lingering soreness in my kidney.

I know sleep is when the body heals itself, I'm just wondering how much my decision not to be in pain anymore sped the process up.

So, now I have a few doses of vicoden that I'm going to have to keep close tabs on, I doubt I'll be running into any more circumstances where I'll be needing them. I should just flush 'em, but I'm one to keep stuff since I'll never know just when I might need it.

I'm just glad I remembered to mention to the kind of cute doc when she was doing a palpation on me that I am ticklish or she might have decided that by my reactions I might be worse off then a kidney stone.

Hopefully everyone else's weekend was more enjoyable.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Thoughts of an old friend

I check out LL's blogs from time to time and one of her posts not really struck a nerve but started my thought process.

Got me thinking a little bit, which isn't always a good thing. We had many discussions when we had to shut down operations while in Kuwait due to sand storms that would pick up almost like clock work from just before noon until dinner time. Which was fine for us, gave us down time during the hottest parts of the day, although being stuck in a tent without A/C in temperatures over 120 degrees, needless to say tempers flared rather quickly. Our choice of topics didn't help matters an either, all the subjects you should avoid when wanting polite discussions ie., politics, religion etc.

One topic that we started to discuss was about burning the U.S. flag as means of protest. Nearly everyone in the tent came to the conclusion that we didn't agree with it, but some like myself didn't think that it should be outlawed. In my heart I knew that in the past men have died to protect the flag, never mind that it's but a symbol. Our section's NCO came into the conversation late but brought up a very valid point, freedom of speech protects the view points that we don't like.

While we had to concede that what we were safe guarding was freedom of speech, even for those who's view points we disagreed with, or from people who had criticize anything the military did but would never dare to put on a uniform and serve their country. I've accepted the fact that I've put my life on the line to protect these people even though they probably won't ever appreciate it, I may not like it but I can't live their lives for them.

I don't know what it is about college's that seem to be the breeding grounds for those who feel the need to force their opinion on everybody. I'm a rather happy go lucky kind of guy or was, I could care less what you do as long as you don't try to force your views on me. Still I had to put up with people who constantly protesting about our military being in one place or another, yet would turn around and demand the military be sent to some place in Africa or the Balkans to deal with another country's civil war.

It would sicken me to learn of American servicemen and women's deaths due to the limited rules of engagement placed upon them by the politicians and interest groups while sending them into volatile environments. Rather amazing how much of a second class citizen someone in uniform becomes to those with financial means. Hell, we became second class citizens financially as well, a good many of families in the military are on welfare, they have to be unless you were an officer or fairly high ranking NCO, pay being little higher then if you worked minimum wage.

To hear the comments about what happened after the fiasco in Mogadishu in 1993, really sickened me. That place seems to be bad luck for any U.S. servicemen who go there. My best friend and class mate growing up joined the Marines right after high school and became a Combat Engineer, after the U.S. pulled out of Ethiopia for good, he was part of a task force that went around to the different facilities and blew up any equipment couldn't be pulled out.

After repeated ambushes while traveling from place to place and loosing several team mates, they decided to take a pro-active stance on the next convey journey to a different compound. In the ensuing ambush that followed, there were civilian casualties. Probably not something that made the news, he told me some years later after we both moved back to Alaska.

His Lt. Who wasn't with the convoy hung him out to dry so to speak, rather then back his troops he was covering his own ass and career, shifting blame to my friend who was one of the ranking NCO's with the convoy. He was summarily relieved of rank, spent time in the brig and was booted out of the Marine Corps for conduct unbecoming a Marine. I don't hold any blame on him, if I was in his shoes I would have done the same to protect my squad mates, I'll be damned if I'd let some third world national live at the cost of a fellow soldier. What was the line from Spy Games, "If it comes down to them or you, send flowers"

I've had to ask myself why I believe what my friend's told me, well, I trust him, completely. We've grown up together, we could almost start or finish each other's sentences and we've faced death together, walking away from a car wreck that by all accounts we shouldn't have. He's always been truthful with me no matter how painful it was to admit and for that he has my utmost respect no matter how much trouble he's been in. Probably the hardest day of his life was to face a felony sentencing by my mother, who felt like she was sentencing one of her own sons. Of the party that got drunk and went on a tire slashing spree, he was the only one to fully pay his restitution and serve out his time in jail. He told me of what happened as well, made no excuses and admitting that he knew what they were doing was wrong and didn't stop the ones in the group who were doing the actual slashing.

I find it amazing how much I can forgive of one who's been honest with me.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bright and Shiney.....ooooh

Music Video Codes by
Everytime I hear this song I think of that yahoo ad, it cracks me up. Ok, so I'm easily amused, just sit me in a room with a bright shiney object and I'll be kept entertained for a while ;)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Working on the Boats

When I moved back to Alaska in early 2001, my intention was to get a job as an Alaskan State Trooper, more specifically the "blue shirt" rather then the fish and game enforcement signified by a "brown shirt". Since I was in South Carolina just long enough to loose my Alaskan residency, I had to spend a year doing something worth while during my year's wait.

One of the advantages of having a large family is the amount of job references that I get when I decide to job hunt. This particular one came from an uncle who was an office manager for the company, and since I would fall under fleet operations I wouldn't have had to worry about cries of nepotism or favortisim. It wouldn't have mattered too much anyways, the company always had a hard time keeping a full time year round staff due to the odd hours we worked. We always said the hardest part of the job was getting up on time for the 4 am shift.

I worked my way up the ladder, the vessel is large enough that you get sea time on a fairly high tonnage and it was always a "promote from within" policy. One thing I eventually learned was the two captains of the M/V Admiralty Wind were always on the lookout for their own skins and job first and foremost, and who were the biggest opponents of the crew getting wheel time after we'd earned our Master's Licenses.

A third captain, who only worked the off season for fishing, would let mself and AL get behind the wheel, which let him wander about the bridge and just socialize with the miners on the upper deck. He'd depart and dock the vessel, we'd make the 35 minute run between the docks. It's a fairly "canned" operation with exact departure times and run times and routes that are nearly constant, the miners could almost set their watches to us.

Whenever I was behind the wheel during the run, he'd always ask if I had a hot date or something, I could almost always be counted on to knock about 5 minutes off each leg of the run. I figured that the fuel I saved per run when I was at the wheel paid for at least my salary.

Looking at our speed over ground as described by one of the GPS systems on board, every piece of equipment had a redundant back up, he'd always tell me to kick back the RPM which he figured I had running higher then norms. He would always look at the GPS before the guages, so he always figured I had the engines running a little hotter, since we usually had to power against wind and current when departing from the far dock.

I can't really explain it, but I could feel the boat's movement through the water and knew just what the course I needed to steer in order to minimize the wind and tide working against us, called set and drift. I wouldn't mind working for that company again, not like the people were bad, just the hours, especially if you wanted a social life.

Working here is where I was able to take the majority of the pictures I've posted so far. So, I thought I'd post a few more intresting things we'd see from the decks of the A/W as we called her. Animal right's activites would have a fit seeing these, but we were operating well within the specified guidelines, not our fault the Dall's Porpose decided to come over and ride our bow wave. When something like this would happen we'd have to maintain same course/speed. These pictures aren't quite as high quality, they are scans of 35mm pictures.

Cold and Bored

Ok, so north is a bit colder then home, I knew that but how much colder I didn't know. There is better chances to see the Northern Lights the further north you go, but it's been minimal activity since I arrived. Although I did miss a good shot of a near full moon rising over these mountains across the sound, I do wish my snazzy digitial camera were more portable, one of the trade offs of a digital SLR.

Anyways here some more photos I've just gotten downloaded from my father's camera so I figured I'd share some more.

Not sure where this is, probably Inian Pass, looks like an old native chief over watching the fisherman who pass by the area.

Another great sunset facing the Fairweather Range.

From the path of the shadows I would say this is a snowy sunrise over looking View Cove.

Gotta put up with the rain if you want a Rainbow, and Southeast Alaska recieves a lot of rainfall.

One of the hazards of life in Alaska.

I'll probably throw up some more photos, I'm in a picture posting kind of mood.

Random Thoughts

Am I being too picky in expecting websites to operate the way they should?
Just spent the last half hour trying to submit my application to the State for my Stafford Loan for a program that I might not be able to get into, at least a 40-60 person wait list for this up coming class. Now I get to start the application process over from 1/2 through it the next time I try, hopefully what ever bug they have going will be fixed by then.

I was letting my mind wander the other day, still unsure if it came back, and started to ponder the reasons for my extremely short term memory. My long term memory is great, with the right sensory triggers I can remember stuff back 27 years. The flip side is I have a hard time keeping track of what I do day to day. I keep a note book in my pocket for my to do lists every day or I'll loose track of what I have done or what I need to do.

This sounds to me a little bit like dementia, a side effect linked to mercury exposure. This really got me to wondering about the fillings I was given growing up, they may be silver but they aren't pure silver, there's usually a % of mercury in them. What really sparked this train of thought was a memory of a cleaning I had done in the Army, they had just switched to private contractors for this type of work and the dentist upon looking at my teeth commented something like 'I didn't think they still did work like this.' They ended up removing two silver fillings and replacing them with porcelain kinds.

I hate dentists, always have and probably always will, although I can thank them for my extremely high tolerance for pain. My body's always been a quick healer, so novacaine passes through my system quickly. Not to mention we had Government paid dentists growing up, couldn't afford anything beyond BIA health/dental clinics. Very often novacaine would be wearing off by the time the dentist got around to doing a filling or pulling a tooth. Lord help the next dentist who decides to work on me, if it's a male dentist he better keep the "boys" out of reach or whatever pain I feel he will feel the same.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thoughts of a romantic at heart

Haven' t had too much time to think of things to say, been rather busy making arrangements for schooling/training, have just enough time left to use up my GI Bill before I loose it. So here's a little insight into my head. The thoughts are honest, i was typing as fast as I could to capture what I was wanting to say. It is unedited so it's got gaps in trains of thought etc. This occured a week or so before christmas when RR messaged me and was feeling low. We'd chatted for a bit before she had to leave to prepare for work, but my mind kept churning so I sat down and composed this email to her.

There's a lot I can say, but in the end, it still won't alleviate the fact that you are hurting. I wish there was something I could say to make it ease, but there isn't is there. I can empathize with what you're going through, everyone you know and tying you to a spot are leaving. If you believe that to be a sign, then it must be, it sure was for me when I left South Carolina, I went through the same thing. I know things must feel pretty low for you right now, hell of a time for all this to be happening, but this time of year really brings out the best and worst in people. If this must be a low spot for you, then remember it can only be up from here on out.

There is a lot I'd like to share with you, I've learned a lot in the time we've been on this earth, but that comes from studying people, watching their behaviors or their actions. While I've seen and learned a great deal, there are times when I feel lost, that while I'm a spectator, life is a participation event. I know a lot of what I can say is rational and probably good advice, I am reluctant to share it, rather hypocritical of me to be dispensing advice on subjects that I really haven't experienced myself.

Part of that is why I will only share with you that which we could be on a similar level, having gone through a similar situation myself. I know nothing is impossible for those who don't have to do it, why I felt bad sharing with you the 'there is no good bye in Tlingit'. It's true, but it's also a part of a coping mechanism for myself and others who have gone through many losses, most of them permanent.

I know you must be feeling like your heart's going to explode or your lungs going to collapse under the tightening feeling going on in your chest, I know, I've felt it myself. While my relationship with angel may have been mostly for show, doesn't mean there weren't feelings there. Each and every time I would visit her on leave and have to return to base, I would go through the same thing. I never knew exactly when I'd see her again, sure we had leave time in the army but it was never locked in place or subject to change depending on what was going on. Those were times when I seriously thought about going AWOL, despite my feeling of dedication to the army. The only words of comfort I can offer now is simply I will be there for you if you ever need me, now or in the future.

The heart is a remarkable organ, no matter how many times it breaks it will rebuild itself, and in those pieces it will be stronger then the whole. I know you have a good heart, a strong heart, a kind heart, it will eventually show in what all we do, and I've had the brief opportunity to glimpse at the person you really are. I know in the past you've had to wonder if I wasn't saying these things for a reason and the reason you suspected was to get in your pants. I can't honestly say no it wasn't the reason, I'm a guy after all, no matter how much I try to defy stereotype.
However, beyond a guy, I’m an intellectual, I like to see what goes on between the ears, behind those lovely eyes and deep down in your heart. To me, that is where the real magic happens. To care only about what's between your legs, well that's just crude, and I would say if that's all a guy ever cared about he would be missing out on a lot and the best parts of you.

I've also figured out that the confusion that exists between what I say and how you interoperate it is the differences between how we were raised and the culture we were raised within. To me giving is a natural part of life, the Tlingit culture is steeped in tradition of giving, which is the stand point I’m coming from. I have an idea that you view that there is no gift given without some sort of expectation in return. To me that defies the definition of a gift, that which is given freely without expectation of return.

Why I do it you must be asking yourself, well it's both complicated and easy to explain. I know the person you are underneath, but I also know that you've had a rough go of life and that you must be feeling that it is becoming futile to hope and dream. Disappointment is a strong emotion, one that can lead us down many a dangerous path.

You know, just once I'd really enjoy seeing one of your dreams come to fruition, once it does things will click and you will realize it is ok to hope, to believe and once that happens things will really change. What I do is like a farmer, I plant a seed and tend to the plant as it grows, so that once it blossoms the whole world may enjoy the beauty. That inner beauty I see in you, once that blossoms, it will be a gift upon the world, that is why I do what I do.

I know you must think I'm crazy to love this ideal that I hope to see you become, but part of life is risks, and to risk love is to risk not being loved in return. But it's something I feel I must do. You may wear your heart on your sleeve, well mine is locked up in a vault under heavy control. There are times I'm glad it's there, but others well, I get the feeling that if I don't really feel anything, how can I be sure I'm still alive? I've been hurt before yes, it's effected me deeply that's true, but doesn't mean I should give up entirely. I guess ultimately what I'm wanting is a chance to prove that not all guys are as bad you feared, just as you've helped renew my faith that not all women are like those I've encounters with.

Just remember, no matter where you go in life, you'll have a friend in me that will always support you no matter what you've chosen to do as long as you feel you're following your heart.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thoughts for a long day

Well, it's approaching 21 hours that I've been up already and we just departed Hoonah on board the M/V Le Conte bound for Juneau, a 3 ½ hour boat ride.. I will have enough time with a little to spare to get from the AMHS ferry terminal to the airport and checked in with Alaska Airlines. Heading north to Anchorage today and on down to Seward come Sunday.

I’m looking to continue the training I wasn’t able to finish up the past year in regards to my maritime license and endorsements as well as possibly picking up an industrial welding qualification. I know, for as varied as the subjects of my training, if I would have focused them on a single discipline I would have a PHD by now. It’s almost a scramble now to use up the remaining money in my GI Bill, almost $28k over the next 3 years before I loose it, I need to be a full time student for the next 28 months to use it all and with in my time frame. My where has the past seven years gone?

I took some useful college tips I got in a recent issue of Dartmouth Alumni Magazine up to my old high school mentor and probably one of the few remaining teachers in the high school that I know. I now wonder how many will actually put them to use since it seems less and less kids want to go off to college. It’s sad really, many don’t really realize that there is life beyond the small town and even Alaska. Hopefully someone will learn from other’s experiences, no sense in constantly re inventing the wheel.

I guess in many ways I was lucky, at a very early age I began traveling, not quite as abroad as I wished, but as of last count I’ve been through 38 of the 50 states, spent brief times in 5 other countries. Sounds impressive, but 2 of the stops, Paris and Rome they wouldn’t let us off the plane, and I don’t blame them, they wouldn’t have gotten us back on and don’t think the Gendarme’s want a bunch of armed troops running around town who have had little contact with women in months.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve been a disappointment to the school, considering I was one of their "golden kids", very heavily recruited by a good deal of the nation’s top academic institutions. One girl that was a year behind me once asked me why I we never dated, I couldn’t think of a good reason and didn’t want to admit I was pursuing another. I brought her up simply because at the beginning of the recent summer she completed her doctoral thesis.

I’ve never wanted to specialize that highly in a single area, if that industry collapses, where do you go from there? Plus my interests are varied and practical. At the current rates of my training, I’ll soon be qualified to operate nearly any piece of machinery in the world, be it plane, boat or vehicle, pull high or low voltage wiring and be able to weld my own stuff. With that many qualifications, I may end having to be the professional student, no one would want to hire anyone with that much training, but would suite me just fine, I enjoy learning anything and everything I can.

I was taught to think and reason for myself, which gets dangerous if I start thinking. I had an epiphany barely into my high school career that a degree, like money is an abstract concept, it only has as much value as you place in it.

What really got this line of thought dangerous was my senior year, I was visiting my step father on a construction job site and just happened to take a glance through the blue prints. I was taking drafting that year as a way to kill time and use up a time frame, the school demanded I take the full class load of seven classes even though I only needed three to fulfill my graduate requirements.

I’d taken a ride around the job site prior so I had a good idea what the area the place looked like as far as terrain and geology of the area. There was a foreman meeting in the trailer, so I got out the way and sat down to look at the blue prints that had be delivered from the project engineers.

After a brief period of analyzing them, I was talking out load to myself and asked why it was designed that way and it would have made sense to move a water lift station to a different location so you’re using gravity instead of fighting it in addition to placing a water storage tank in a spot where the bed rock would be better suited to handle the weight without a great deal of excavation.

You could have heard a pin drop in that trailer, a sixteen year old kid still in high school had found significant flaws in a project design that came from an engineer that already has a master’s degree. I also figured out at the same time was, the people who design stuff are very often not the same ones who have to build it, that’s been reflective in nearly every job I’ve worked.

Here we are at 36,000 feet, with the sun setting towards the west faster as we continue our journey northward, the Coastal Mountain Range looks like it’s covered in bright pink cotton candy. I can also feel a steady decrease in temperature with each mile we fly northward, expected at least a 13 degree drop in day time temps from Juneau to Anchorage. I forget that Anchorage does get cold, it’s been 11 years since I was last here, right about this time of year actually when I finished my processing at the MEP. station and headed to Ft. Benning, GA for Basic Training.

I couldn’t help but look around the Le Conte for a while and seemed to be a lot of young mothers on board, most of them Native. I have to wonder what goes through their minds, is this all they see themselves fit for, a baby making machine? Or has babies become the new fashion accessory?

I feel not quite so grumpy, but a quick 30 minute nap during take off helped take the edge off the 30 hours of being awake. I’ve had people ask why I do that to myself, push the edge of basically sanity and the limits of the human body, only thing I can say is, I do it to myself because I can’t very well do it to them.

On the ferry as well, I ran into the parents of the girl I’d mentioned earlier, the one who asked why we never dated. I really didn’t speak that much to them, I wanted to though, but there’s been a strife between the families ever since my step father was mayor and my mother was magistrate. There’s a lot of petty politics that goes on in so small of town and it tends to get real dirty, if you have no faults people will invent them. I think it was part her decision to stop talking with me going on seven years now, almost to the day. It’s sad the lengths some people will go for power, including using their kids’ friendships to their own ends.

I’ve thrown a picture of us together at the prom, I missed going with her by a day. She did ask me too why I waited so long to ask her out, I could only say that I’d just found out the evening before that AT couldn’t make it up from Oklahoma to go with me.

If there’s some general characteristics I see in the women I’ve been interested in, then and now, is that they are smart and strong willed. JB and Denise both graduated Valedictorian, AT was National Honor Society. As for myself, I only graduated Salutatorian and if I really applied myself I’m sure I could have gotten myself into MENSA.

Speaking of applying myself, one of the more common remarks make to me is that it’s known that as successful as I am it’s noticeable that I’m not really applying myself. Most recently it was RR who asked me why I wasn’t working at my full potential. I don’t think I’ve ever worked at my full potential, I’ve held myself back to a level a little above par of everyone else. Why? It would make people afraid for their jobs to see what I’m truly capable doing. My physics teacher commented about how he wondered just what I would be capable of doing if I really committed to something.

Anyways just random thoughts that have been gong through my head today, at least Sky can breath a sigh of relief that I’m not sharing what ever strange and off the wall concept I’ve got my head wrapped around at the moment.

Ok, I've been up for 36 hours now with just that 30 minute nap, I really should get to bed, but I've drank enough coffee to keep me up for a while longer yet, so might as well do something productive.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ok, so I've been slacking a little

Well, not really slacking, been sorta busy doing the holiday bit with friends and family. Was a laid back Christmas this year, no real stresses nor hurries to get stuff done. Although I wouldn't have minded a little snow on the ground.

As per request of EE , I thought I'd post a bit about the weather here. The common misconception of Alaska is that we're operating under conditions of total darkness in the winter and buried under yards of snow. It all depends on what part of Alaska you live in really, the state is so huge that even born/raised here I can't fathom the vastness of the area. If you've ever looked at the state super imposed over a map of the contiguous US you'll see that it's great distances.

Here in SouthEast Alaska where I'm from, our weather pattern is very similar to that of Seattle, albeit a few degrees cooler due to being further north. In the winter time it's not so cold as most people think right here on the coast, we get the warm currents from the South Pacific that flow right up next to the outer shores of the Alexander Archipelago called the Kuroshio current I think, it's been 19 years since I studied Alaska history/geography.

So, at winter Solstice we had a sun rise of 08:13 and a sunset of 15:37 officially, with a high temperature reading of 41 degrees and an over night low of 37. We're gaining seconds every day which seems so painfully slow considering when we start loosing daylight come summer solstice it's measures in minutes per day.

I was talking with a friend I grew up with the other night about the winter temperatures and snow fall. Both of us remembered higher snow falls in the winter when we were younger, and discussed if it was relative us being considerably shorter but the amount of snow remained the same over the years. But doing some research we saw that it is true, we have less and less snow fall now then we did as kids growing up.

January and February 1995 was the last real major snow that I've heard about falling in the winter season, times when it'd fall at a rate of over 1"/hour. Since then it's gotten cold during the winters, but not much snow. Ok, let me define cold for Southeast Alaska, anything that falls below the 20's is cold, I think 0 is the coldest I've ever seen it around here. A far cry warmer then the -30 or so temps I experienced winter term in New Hampshere going to Dartmouth College.

Anyways, just a thought I was able to solidify before it blew off in the wind, I have to look closely at my grey hairs and make sure they aren't blonde.