Friday, January 31, 2014

I bought myself a model steam engine because HELL YEAH!!!

It's beautiful, isn't it?

That solid fuel it comes with burns super hot! I'm going to see if I can get it to run on wood shavings.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Thank you, mysterious Fairbanks produce pricing structures! I got these gorgeous artichokes last night for $2.50 each!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Partying like it's 1899

Coal delivery at the UAF power plant:

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Miss Arvay goes to school

The other day, I went to the UAF convenience store and purchased the following fancy-pants items for my new professorial office:
Proper German-made pencil sharpener
Proper German-made eraser
A pad of geek paper

The clerk, a pleasant young fellow who had just shaved for the first time, looked at these items, looked at me, and said, "Good luck this semester! I'm sure you'll be a great engineer!"

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ice is not nice

Today, our world looks like this:

This, my friends, is why I do not appreciate this "wonderful" warm weather. You Lower 48ers can have it back, and give us back our winter!

It's slick as heck:

The UAF safety department provides its employees with light-duty ice cleats that slip over our shoes. I have my own at home so had put off picking mine up until MC up and did it for all of us one day. MC is awesome like that.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"Hello, world!"

In the predawn hours of America's Jan 20th, the Rosetta Spacecraft woke up from a 2.5-year slumber, over 500 million miles away and at the end of a 10-year-journey, and tweeted home, "Hello, world". From here, it is going to continue on to rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, orbiting it, studying it, and eventually sending a probe to its surface to help suss out what the solar system was like before the planets were formed. In other words, what our mom was like in her hard-partying days before she had us.

My hometown rag, which has won numerous Pulitzers in its heyday, did not headline the momentous event. However, their headlines tend more toward the profane rather than the sublime. Today, for example, the front page looks like this:

And now I need to go lie down.

Edited to add: The gifted columnist Jon Carroll paid tribute. At least we got that.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Warm again

Welcome to Fairbanks! If you don't like the weather, just wait ten minutes!

Monday, January 20, 2014


A quick sampling of news headlines reminds us that Martin Luther King's message still needs to be heard. My dogs are a great antidote to racism--they are black AND white AND brown AND European AND Athabascan AND Chinese, and EVERYONE loves them!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


I thought I'd expand my horizons today by skiing down some new trails I'd never skied before. I put the girls in their harnesses and packed my skijor belt and lines, just in case I got lost and needed them to take me home, or I ran into a trap line and needed them to be hooked up.

The sun is rising higher nowadays, high enough to ignite and burn yellow instead of remaining pink/orange:

Happy little goober:

Lovely Miss 'Tumn:

We were the first to make tracks on this trail since the last snow dump:

The end! Some trails just peter out:

There were some burned trees and some very young ones. This was a recent burn area:

Our next exploration involved lots of hills:

I am getting more confident on them. Autumn and Linden sprint to the bottom and then dance encouragement for me to come down.

A pretty spot on the trail:

Happy girls!

Three hours later, sunset:

Fresh littlebunny tracks, and old bigbunny tracks:

"littlebunny" and "bigbunny" are technical biological Alaskan terms!

And of course, when we get home, we cuddle:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Three! Three pairs of pants! Ah, ah ah!

Last night, before I went to bed, I observed this:

The girls were all, "Yeah? And? We'll be ready for our run tomorrow at the regular time!"

It was a few degrees warmer this morning, but I still wore this:

Fleece pants under wool pants under polyester pants, a wool undershirt under a light fleece shirt under a wool vest under a heavy fleece shirt, a neck gaiter, a hat, mittens, and the usual assortment of reflective and blinky lights, and we're good to go!

Although I still wear the same light shoes:

A post-run cuddle tops it off!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Working through lunch sucks, but I do make a darned fine sammich.

While I was cropping and editing this photo, DL walked by. "Was that a sandwich on your screen?"

Yes, it was, my friend. It sure was. A fine sammich is a thing of beauty.

Monday, January 6, 2014

I have an announcement

So five minutes ago, I signed this piece of paper. With that, I'm a tenure-track faculty, 50% teaching Mechanical Engineering department courses and 50% continuing awesome renewable energy research at The Alaska Center for Energy and Power. New year, new job!

I don't feel half so dignified as my new letters and title suggest. I'm still thinking, "Holy crap! I got a PhD!" and now I have to add, "Holy crappola! I'm a professor!" and "Am I now going to have to quit wearing a hot pink jacket and moose mittens?" and "Am I going to magically stop dripping peanut butter on my scarf?" And I'm thinking, no. No to both of those last questions. But that's okay! Everyone has their own path, and I have moose mittens and peanut butter on mine!


Here is Mount Hayes, looking particularly lovely as she puts on her evening attire:

And here are the girls on the couch.

"You may hug moi."

"You may cuddle moi, aussi."