Off to Hubbard!

(I wrote this post yesterday, so we’ve been there already and never before has a piece of ice been so incredible!)

First Day at Sea

We’re just about to reach the Hubbard Glacier (which, I read, is surrounded by *insert ominous noise here* ICEBERGS) Just wanted to post a couple pictures from the last couple days. Yesterday, we took the Alaska railroad from Anchorage to Seward, and the 4 hour trip was GORGEOUS. We boarded our boat in Seward and were so tired we decided to just hang around the boat for the rest of the day.

Here’s a couple pics:


The Best Way to Get a Great Pic on the Alaskan Railroad is to Go Between Cars and Stick Your Head Out!


On Deck at the Cruise Ship

Oh, and we do get TV here on the boat - what is up with McCain choosing the Governor of Alaska?!?! That was totally out of nowhere. I hope they bring back Tina Fey on SNL to impersonate her - they look exactly alike!

Greetings from the 49th State!

So it’s pretty late, even for Alaska, and I need to get up at 5am tomorrow to catch a 6:45 train to Seward, which is 4 hours away. But I wanted to post a couple pictures before I leave Anchorage. We had a pretty busy day today - went on a trolley tour around the city, went to the zoo, and saw a sled dog show. Much happened during and inbetween those times. I’d like to say I’ll write about that later, but those words, as you may know already, are probably just lies!

Here’s a couple pics that I’ve chosen for your enjoyment:


We passed by the Alaska State Trooper Museum, and saw on the window that they had a rebuilt Hudson Hornet in there - it’s Ben’s favorite car from “Cars”!


My “real wildlife” quota of 1 animal has been filled on our first day - saw a couple moose grazing on people’s lawns as we drove by


Ben makes friends with a sled dog puppy


Ben really wants to do the Iditarod someday

We take off for our cruise tomorrow night. Yay!

Icebergs! How Could I Forget About Icebergs!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it already, but I’ll be going on a much needed vacation this week. We’re going on an Alaskan cruise, which has always been something I’ve wanted to do. Sure, it’s fun to go on cruises in tropical areas, going snorkeling and lounging on the beach, but I’ve always wanted to experience the beauty of our northernmost state, something I got a taste of when I visited there for work several years ago.

So of course, I’ve been doing research on things to do and places to see. I’m excited to see the glaciers and wildlife! But as I was going through people’s pictures in flickr, I realized there was something that I could have been suppressing, something that I will most likely have an encounter with during our cruise: ICEBERGS.

It’s something that I’ve mentioned in this blog, but never really gone into detail over…but I’m really scared of icebergs. I’d never seen one before in person (and really had thought that there was a likelihood that I’d never see one) but there’s something about them that rattles me. I think that part of it is the fact that you only see about 15% of it above water - the rest of it’s massive size lies hidden, waiting, under the water. The other thing is the sound that (I assume) they make underwater, this low frequency, ominous rumbling.

At first, I thought that maybe I was just making up this phobia, but in Wii Fit there’s a game where you have to balance on an iceberg to pick up fish, but if you go too far you fall off. I get all nervous and my heart starts beating heavy when I play it, so I know that this thing is legit, because I LOVE playing video games!

I just did a good search on “fear of icebergs” and I ran into an article that explains almost exactly how I feel:

Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words <-Link
It gives me the creeps.

Immense and unforgiving, icebergs show up where they are not supposed to be. They are cold and cruel-looking. More to the point, they often hide the worst of themselves.

I once came across a particularly vivid series of iceberg photographs.

Every shot showed different icebergs from two perspectives, photographed both above and below the surface of the sea. In one especially frightening shot, two jagged ice peaks reached innocently into the blue sky. Below the water, however, the thing spread into a monster, a craggy mass fully six times the size of the peaks in depth and width. It glittered with menace.

With an iceberg, it’s what you can’t see that is most terrifying.

So I leave you with this picture, as I try to get over my icebergophobia so I don’t totally freak out when I’m on the ship and I see an iceberg in the distance.

Iceberg Underwater

Greetings from Redpac’s Lair

Had a roadtrip to Detroit, MI with Ben, my dad and his dog Ewok. Dave’s got some board studying to do, so he passed on the trip. We’re currently at my sister and Redpac’s pad, and Ben is making sure he messes up the place real good. Claudine and Dan are having their annual 4th of July party, and since we have today off, we decided to come in for a visit.

It’s been a while since we’ve done a road trip - here are a couple observations:

  • Having a speed limit of 70 is awesome - it’s a mere 55 in Illinois
  • Do NOT go speed limit in the left lane if the right lane is free. It’s annoying and everyone behind you will hate you. That’s a passing lane!
  • We passed by Climax, Michigan. I giggled like a ten year old boy.
  • Unfortunately, there is NOT a Sonic near Detroit, though they are often reminded of it by the Sonic commercials that show on cable. I guess we’re not the only ones tortured by them!
  • Dog farts smell just as bad, if not worse, than people farts.
  • I packed a million things for Ben to do in the car during the 5 1/2 hour trip - crayons, cars, snacks, games, DVD player, etc. He sang along with his favorite Cars tunes on my iPod, ate some chips, and fell asleep an hour into our trip. Didn’t wake up til we pulled into Claudine’s driveway. Oh well, you can never be too prepared!
  • The McDonald’s chicken BLT is one massive sandwich. Must fast before ordering it.
  • The radio signal for the Chicago station 105.9 can be reached all the way in Michigan
  • That’s all for now. Hope you all have a safe 4th of July tomorrow!

    Something About Airports I Don’t Hate

    I don’t travel as much, which is a great thing, especially since it looks like more airlines are going to adopt the habit of charging passengers for luggage. When I traveled, it was really stressing, and I hated being away from home, especially since my son was born. My life was going from airport to airport, trying to remember what my hotel room number was.

    However, there was one thing about traveling that really warmed my heart. Whenever a group of soldiers would be coming back (or leaving from duty), people in the airport would stand up and clap. The whole airport would be standing and applauding these men and women for risking our lives for the war. The soldiers would smile and wave, sometimes with tears in their eyes. It definitely is a sight to see! I may not agree with this war, but I do support the men and women who are fighting it.

    Luckily, Budweiser created a commercial that conveys a little bit of how powerful that recognition can be.

    Happy Memorial Day!

    Drinks in Columbus

    It seems that I have a lot of pictures of liquor from my trip to Columbus (I’m still here, but leaving tomorrow). It only looks like I’ve been drinking a lot, but really, I haven’t. Well, not compared to other times that the ex X-Systems crew has gotten together in situations like this. Anyway, here’s a run-through of some of the delicious libations we’ve had this week:


    Beer Samplers from BJ’s


    Car Bombs


    An Electric Lemonade, held by Monkey and Volcano Juice in the back

    Redpac later found a drive through liquor store. “What’s that?!?!” you ask? It’s like a car wash, but instead of big brushes and water being squirted around, you’re surrounded by alcohol and a man comes to your window to take your order. Crazytown, I tell ya!


    Our “server” completes the transaction before us


    The view outside the window

    Can’t wait to go home - I miss my baby boy!

    Also, please don’t forget to sponsor me!

    Heading to Buckeye Country

    I’m off to Columbus, OH this week. This is the first time in a while that I’ve traveled for work, so it’s a little weird to be at O’Hare again. They’ve changed a lot of rules since I was here last year, like charging an extra $25 for a second piece of luggage - which luckily I don’t have. I still have my security line skillz - getting all my items together in their respective bins with the agility and speed of a ninja.

    Anyway, chances are I’ll be updating this blog MORE this week since I don’t have a certain little two year old climbing all over me and hitting the laptop keyboard as I type. And of course, I’ll be missing him the whole time.

    Later!

    Adventures in Georgia

    This story isn’t for the faint of heart. If you are easily grossed out, you should stop reading now. Don’t blame me if you throw up after reading this post.

    Anyway, last year I was in Georgia, right near the Florida border. As I was leaving my client’s site, I had noticed some bugs flying about. It was something I hadn’t noticed the days before that. I just waved them aside, got into my car, and started heading toward the airport. That’s when the attack happened. It seemed like there were millions on the bugs flying about. In just a span of five or ten minutes driving, my windshield was covered with bug carcasses. I kept on driving, but it was getting a little hard to see. Then, to make it worse, it started raining. Not a downpour, which i think would have helped me, but an on/off drizzle, one that required me to use my windshield wipers but didn’t give me enough rain to actually clean the windshield. So after a bit, my windshield was this gross mess of smeared bug guts.

    Of course, I had to take a picture:

    That ain’t it, folks…

    Since I had to re-fuel my car anyway, I stopped by a gas station to clean off my windshield. As I was filling up my rental car tank, I got the gas station squeegee that you can usually find in the island where the gas pump is. I don’t know if you’ve ever used one, but they’re usually kept in an area right under the garbage in a well of water or cleaning stuff or whatever so you can soak your windshield first, then squeegee the water and dirt off your windows.

    So I grab the squeegee, avoid the trail of water that follows it and start washing off my windshield, scrubbing with the wet sponge part of the hard to remove carcasses on my window. After I finished one side, and started the other, my brain started digesting something that had been bothering me when I first started cleaning my windows. There was a weird smell. What was it? Something was NOT right.

    Then I realized it.

    …and I was horrified.

    …and I wanted to throw up, right then and there.

    But before throwing up (which I never did, but let me tell you, I had the feeling for the rest of the day) I ran to the island and put the squeegee back in…carefully. Why? What was the weird smell to make me freak out?

    URINE.

    Someone had peed into the well where the squeegee was stored. That pee was now on my car windshield.

    I put the gas pump back in, ran back to my car, got inside and started driving away, while making sure to turn on my windshield wipers and pumping a LOT of fluid out there to flush out the icky stuff on the window. But no amount of windshield wiper fluid could stop me from smelling it. It could be that the smell was no longer there, but my mind just couldn’t get rid of it. Did I step in it? Did it get inside the car? Was it on my hands? My clothes? I was going crazy.

    I returned the pee-covered car to the rental place, and my first stop at the airport was the bathroom, to scrub my hands and arms, yet it still didn’t get rid of my dirty memories or that smell inside my head.

    So let this be a lesson to you, dear readers, take a whiff of that squeegee BEFORE using it!

    Home Alone!

    A little late, buy Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone!

    As I said before, I’ll be out for the next couple days for work. Because he’s been planning it for a while now, Dave took Ben on vacation without me. I’d have gone with them, but this project I’m on is pretty high profile, and this is one of the very few times that I’ll be traveling this year. It just sucks that it happens to land on one of weeks that Dave has vacation - the last one he’ll have for a while since he has some exams later this year.

    So as Dave is conquering the powder in Lake Tahoe and Ben is running around the casinos with his grandparents, I’ll be in Milwaukee working. At least I won’t be rushing to go home since Ben isn’t there, but I’ll still miss my little boogerman. *cries*

    Ben’s First Time at the Beach

    Remember long long ago, when I went away on vacation for 2 weeks and said I’d post up my pictures “real soon”? Well, that day is today - 4 months later. Though this is only some of the pictures - I think I have about 200 more to post in the next couple weeks.

    During our stay in Los Angeles, we were going to meet up with Dave’s uncle. While we were waiting for him to finish up with work, we decided to head out to Santa Monica beach. I’d been there a couple times when we lived out there, but usually we were at the 3rd St. Promenade. We took Ben out to the promenade for some shopping (and dancing - he loved the street musicians), then later to the Santa Monica pier. He had a ball at the pier, first at the arcade that had a bunch of kid-rides. He had so much fun we didn’t even have to stick a quarter in to turn them on. A little bit down the pier we went to the Pacific Park. Since it was the middle of October, there weren’t too many people there, so Ben pretty much ran around the whole place on his own. We took a ride on the Ferris Wheel, and although I was nervous that Ben would freak, he actually loved it.

    Since we had some time left over, we decided to let Ben hit the beach for the first time. At first, he was a little freaked by the feel of sand on his feet, but as you can see from the pictures, after a couple minutes the kid was having a ball! He was running around the beach as far as he could run, picking up sand and throwing it around, trying to bury his papa in it, and even tried eating it - which he soon found out was NOT a good idea.

    That hour or so we spent at Santa Monica beach as a family was one of the highlights of my trip. When I think of Benjamin as a baby, I will always remember that day, my little boy running barefoot on the beach, not having a care in the world.

    Here’s some of my pictures - more can be seen here.

    On the Promenade Palm Trees Dave and Ben Speed Racer Good Times!
    Driving Around His Homies Too Small to Play Ferris Wheel Lonely Waves Pacific Park
    Ben's Favorite Area Yet Another Steering Wheel Shot Poser Sand, for the First Time Ten Little Piggies In Sand
    Sepia Ben I'm Ready for My Closeup Big Feet and Little Feet It's Gonna Take Some Time Sand Tastes Gross!
    Yuck! The Setting Sun On Lifeguard Duty Having a Ball Last Picture Before Leaving

    For some reason, the photogallery has made my formatting all whack - i’m working on it!