December 31, 2007

Halibut Burger And Anchorage Museum

On Saturday we went to a place called Captain Chuck's Fish & Chips and had some really good halibut sandwiches. After that we went to the Anchorage Museum of History and Art which was much better than I expected. After the museum we went to watch a cheesy tourist movie at the Alaska Wildberry Products. If you are new to Alaska you might like it. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 11:56 PM

December 29, 2007

Ice Fishing @ Question Lake

Today my brother took us up to Talkeetna to do some ice fishing at Question Lake. We went there instead of somewhere around Anchorage because the ice was thicker, they have bigger fish with less fishing pressure, and there are more places nearby to shoot guns. It was a fun trip. I caught 4 fish while my brother caught 1 and Timber also caught 1. It was a lot of work to get the sled with all the fishing gear out onto the lake, and once we were there we drilled a test hole and found that the ice was about 1.5 feet thick. Then we found a spot and drilled 3 holes (one for each of us). Then we set up my brothers ice fishing shelter and hung out while we watched the fish (mostly small salmon) swimming around and trying to eat our bait. Most of the fish were really small, so we had to change to smaller hooks. After our fishing expedition was over we tried to find a place to do some target practice with our guns but there were too many people riding snow machines (Alaskan term for snowmobiles) so it wasn't safe to discharge firearms anywhere. So we came back to Anchorage and called it a day. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 01:04 AM

December 28, 2007

Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum

Today Timber wanted to check out the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum which was, not surprisingly, near the airport. We went and spend a good couple of hours there checking out all the old restored Alaska bush planes and we spent a good amount of time talking to some guys that were working on restoring the very last Fairchild Pilgrim 100-A (N709Y) in the world. It was designed in 1929 but the one we saw was built in 1931. When you are working on the last one in the world you can't just order parts for it, so they have to be really good at woodworking, metalworking, and mechanics. The included picture is me with a 1943 Beechcraft UC45F (N104B). If you like small planes I definitely recommend checking out this museum.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:18 AM

December 27, 2007

Belated Merry Christmas!

My Christmas started out by waking up and going downstairs to help my mom work on making Christmas dinner. We got a 20 lb turkey and our calculations for how long it would take to cook came out to 5.5 - 6 hours which was a bit more than my mom had originally expected (which eventually impacted the time that we ate). We also had prime rib and other traditional Christmas fare (stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, homemade cranberry sauce, etc...). My mom even whipped up her traditional apple pie, which has to be the best pie ever. I even make it myself sometimes at home in California but I rarely share it. :-) After helping out in the kitchen for a little while Timber and I took the dogs for a walk around Baxter Bog. It snowed all day (we got roughly 6 inches of snow) and Iris, my parents' corgi, loves having snow kicked up on her. So our 40 minute walk around the bog turned into 1 hour. Luckily we didn't run into any moose, but we did see lots of other people and dogs on the trail. When we got back to the house it was time to open presents with the family. After that we got cleaned up and had dinner. Everything was very good. After dinner was over some family members had to go, and the rest of us relaxed and let our food digest. Overall it was a very nice Christmas and I've really enjoyed being up in Alaska for Christmas this year.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:09 AM

Alyeska & Double Musky

On the 23rd we went to Alyeska to take the tram to the top and check things out. In the weeks leading up to our trip to Alaska we saw that there was not enough snow for us to bring our snowboards. But that didn't mean that we didn't want to see Alyeska at all. To the contrary we went to Alyeska and took the tram from the hotel to the top. A lot of the valley was obscured in fog which periodically partially cleared. But we had a nice view from the top, and had some coffee at the 7 Glaciers restaurant at the top. It was a nice experience. After we were done we took the tram back down the hill and drove down the street to have dinner at the Double Musky Inn, one of Alaska's finest restaurants. Timber and I split the French peppered steak, which is what they are known for. We also had a few appetizers and split a few of the desserts. Overall everything was very good and I can see why people go out of their way to eat at the Double Musky Inn. If you are in Anchorage and have time to drive down to Girdwood (about an hour each way) I definitely recommend eating here.

Posted by troutm8 at 01:31 AM

December 26, 2007

Cookie Exchange And Santa Visit

On the 22nd my brother and his wife hosted a Christmas party that included a cookie exchange along with a visit by Santa Claus. Timber, my mom, and I made 5 different types of cookies and brought them along with some of the food dishes for the party. The kids at the party really had a good time when Santa showed up. He let them sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Overall it was a good party with lots of food and fun. The picture included with this posting is me holding my niece Isabella.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:36 PM

December 24, 2007

I Was Wondering About That Myself

Here's an interesting question - Would solar power be viable in Alaska? I've been wondering about that for a while now, and apparently so have some researchers in Fairbanks. According to this article they are setting off on an experiment to see how much energy solar panels can generate throughout a year in Fairbanks. I'm guessing you'll get very little right about now since they are only getting slightly less than 4 hours of daylight at the moment, but in the summer they will get nearly 24 hours of daylight. I'll be following the progress along the way, but some questions I have about the experiment are:
How will the snow, ice, and cold affect the performance of the solar panels over time?
Will the solar panels be equipped with motors and microcontrollers to track the sun as it moves across the sky?
How would you supplement the lack of solar power in the winter?
What can you do with the excess solar power in the summer (assuming there is any)?

Posted by troutm8 at 01:00 AM

December 22, 2007

Mother Moose

Most of our day today consisted of going to downtown Anchorage to have lunch with my mom, then going on a walk around Baxter Bog (near my parents' house and seeing a mother moose and a calf, and making lots of holiday cookies in the evening. Being on vacation is really nice thus far. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 02:16 AM

December 20, 2007

Another Day In Anchorage

Yesterday Timber and I ran around town checking things out. We went over to the airport to take some pictures of the float planes that have been put away for the winter. We also got to try Qdoba for the first time. It is just like Chipotle except not as good. The temperature so far has been right around 0 F which is pretty cold for Anchorage.

Posted by troutm8 at 02:22 PM

December 19, 2007

Subprime Bailout Plan

Timber sent me this link which explains a few of the details of the Federal Government's bailout plan for the subprime mortgage mess. Overall it looks like the plan won't do too much, which I think is a good thing. If the government jumps in too much it could cause all sorts of problems with the economy.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:34 AM

December 18, 2007

Darkness Engulfs Us

Everything went fairly smoothly on our flight from San Jose to Anchorage yesterday. We got in around 3 PM and by 4 PM we were engulfed in darkness. Ah, back home in the ice and snow. I can't say that I miss driving in it. We had a few bad omens for our "try to keep our weight the same over the holidays" initiative. First, my mom brought us to the chocolate fountain at Alaska Wild Berry Products and for dinner we had pizza and beer from the Moose's Tooth.

Posted by troutm8 at 12:05 PM

December 16, 2007

Back From The Valley Of Death

I made it back from Death Valley Yesterday evening. It was a fun trip. I'm going to put together a trip page and post photos and do all that rah rah stuff in the next few days, but to summarize we camped outside (no tent) at the Stovepipe Wells campground where it got to below freezing at night (goose down is the best discovery ever!). We also did 4 hikes, 1 valley hike and 3 canyon hikes. I think Death Valley is a place that I've always envisioned as a hot desert wasteland when in reality it is not a wasteland at all and it is certainly not hot in mid-December. I will definitely go back because there are a lot of interesting areas to explore and good hiking to do.

Posted by troutm8 at 11:46 PM

December 13, 2007

All Systems Go For Death Valley

Wow, I'm finally getting to go do some camping and hiking in Death Valley. I've been close to going to Death Valley for the past year or so, but for various reasons I have never been able to go. Hopefully that will all change today. I'm going with two coworkers (one of whom really likes desert hiking and camping) this afternoon and we will return home on Saturday night. While we are there we are going to do 4 hikes and I plan to experiment with some night photography. I ended up buying a Canon TC80N3 Timer Remote Control for doing time lapse photography. I've experimented with it and tested it, so now I'm ready to get out and take some night time shots away from the light pollution of the city. Some of the shots that I'll be looking to take while in Death Valley include star trails in the background with dunes in the foreground (near Stovepipe Wells) and possibly the same thing with a Joshua Tree if I can find one. Other than that I'll be doing experiments by keeping the shutter open for various times and I'll play around with the aperture settings too. The TC80N3 will also come in handy when we go to Alaska next week since Anchorage is only getting about 5 hours of daylight right now.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:08 AM

December 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Bro!

Today is my brother's birthday. Happy Birthday Bob! In this old picture he's on the left, our mom is behind the halibut, and I'm on the right. And for the record our mom caught this monster. :-)

Posted by troutm8 at 02:09 PM

December 10, 2007


Check out this video. Absolutely hilarious.

Posted by troutm8 at 08:37 PM

$12 Christmas In The Park

A couple of weekends ago we went to Los Gatos to do some shopping and have a burger at Main Street Burgers, which was pretty good. After we were done we decided to wait in line to check out "Christmas In The Park". It was quite popular and we waited for roughly 30 minutes before we got in. It also cost $12. Once we got in we drove around the park (in line with lots of other cars) to see all the lights. Overall the light displays were pretty good and they even had a dinosaur den. I'm not sure how that goes with Christmas lights, but the sound effects were great! So if you're interested in paying $12 for a decent Christmas light display go check it out!

Posted by troutm8 at 08:19 PM

They Must Know I'm Coming

Both my mom and my brother told me yesterday that they are just now starting to sell the iPhone in Anchorage. That means that when I'm up there in about a week I'll have full iPhone functionality and I shouldn't be hit with any large roaming fees. Thanks AT&T, you must have known I would be visiting for Christmas this year. :-) Here is the article in the Anchorage Daily News. I like one of the comments about them always getting things last, and the fact that they have no Target or Krispy Kreme. Are they really missing out by not having Target and Krispy Kreme? I think not...

Posted by troutm8 at 10:55 AM

December 06, 2007

Check Out the LG Voyager

The iPhone killer has finally arrived! Just kidding of course! I saw an ad for the LG Voyager yesterday and had to find out more when it looked to me like they ripped off every detail they could from the iPhone. Apple lawyers, are you reading this? Attack LG. Get 'em... Anyway, you can check out the official LG Voyager page here along with a review by someone at Gizmodo here. Overall it sounds like the LG Voyager will do pretty much everything the iPhone will do, but it doesn't do them as well and the features are not integrated together well.

Posted by troutm8 at 09:28 PM