Friday, August 26, 2016

Casual Friday: Ep. 3

I read this story the other day, and all I have to say is good for them. I didn't watch their t.v. show, but Jim Gaffigan is one of our favorite comedians, and I have all the more respect for him and his wife for making the decision to put their family before fame.

+ I mentioned this on Twitter the other day, but it bears repeating: Why, oh why, do people give their pets their own Instagram accounts? I love animals just as much as the next person, but there's no way I'm ever going to subscribe to a feed full of photos of nothing but someone's pets. I don't even love my own cat enough to sit around all day taking photos of him, editing them, and posting them to social media. It just seems like a lot of work, and I'm not deluded enough to think that people actually care that much about my animal.

Did you know that Cary Elwes wrote a book about the making of The Princess Bride? My sister read and recommended it to me recently, and I'm thinking it may have to be the next addition to my Kindle library.

+ I was browsing yesterday and stumbled across this article, talking about how much it costs to do a thru-hike. One thing I'd really like to do someday is hike the Pacific Crest Trail - all 2,650 miles of it, from Mexico to Canada. Most people take between five and six months to hike the whole thing, and therein lies my beef with the aforementioned article, and many other articles I've read that basically say the same thing.

I have yet to see anybody talk in detail about not only the actual cost of hiking the trail, but the lack of income while you're doing it. Unless you're fortunate enough to be sponsored by some outdoorsy company who wants to pay you to blog about the hike, review gear, etc. then not only are you spending money on the hike itself but you're also not making any money in the meantime. The article does mention that it "depends where you're at in your career" and "unless you get your money through investments or a trust fund, you'll be missing out on at least a few months' worth of income while you're out hiking." Logically, I suppose you could spend a few years saving up the $8,000 or so it takes to do such a long backpacking trip, but I don't know of many careers where you can take half a year off and still have a job when you come back. 

I suppose it's possible that there are some employers that are just that cool - mine certainly isn't. Not to mention, it's not just the cost of the hike itself that you need money for while you're gone. What about your apartment rent/mortgage? Health insurance? Storage for your belongings if you don't have an apartment or house? Life is expensive and most adults can't just drop everything to go be one with nature for half a year.

Or maybe I'm just jealous of those who can...

+ I didn't watch a single second of the Olympics, but I am aware of what happened with Ryan Lochte (how could I not be aware when it's been on the news every second of every minute of every hour of every day?). My friend posted this meme on Facebook the other day and I lost it. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Spotify Sessions, Vol. 1: High School and College Jams

I'm not sure where this particular wild hair came from, but lately I've been in a serious flashback music mood. This is the stuff I listened to in high school and  early college and playing it now brings back all kinds of nostalgia. Long live the late 90's and early 2000's!

Feel free to poke fun at the fact that I was apparently a rather emo young person. But at the same time, I don't know anybody else that knows every single word to Savage Garden's "I Want You"...19 years after the song first dropped.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hiking Harbor Mountain

This weekend, the rain finally decided to take a break for a day or two, so Isaiah and I set off on a hike that neither of us had actually ever done before. We've hiked part of Harbor Mountain a couple of times, but never had time before to go as far as we went on Saturday. (I say "far", but it only ended up being about 5.8 miles out and back once all was said and done.)

Next weekend, we're hoping to actually do the entire Harbor Mountain/Gavan Hill hike from start to finish - we would have done that this weekend, but it's not a loop so you need a vehicle at both ends of the trail and we hadn't planned for that. Soon!

The hike starts at the top of Harbor Mountain Road, at about 2000 feet of elevation. Most people drive to the top, which is fun experience in and of itself...gravel switchbacks with a deep ditch on one side and the mountainside on the other, and barely enough room for two cars to pass each other. If you survive the drive, though, there are some amazing views to be seen on the way up!

Once you get to the top of the road, you hike the trail about 2.5 miles out to the alpine hut, a small wooden shelter built in the early 1990's for hikers to use. It's a great place to stop and look at the views of the surrounding mountains and Mosquito Cove below (which happens to be right next to our house!).

From there, you can either hike back down the way you came or continue on to the Gavan Hill portion of the trail. Next time, we want to keep going on Gavan Hill all the way into town, but due to lack of time (and a vehicle at the other end), we chose to just go another quarter of a mile or so, just so we could hit the first part of the Gavan Hill summit and check out the surrounding views. It was beautiful! It was sort of a foggy/cloudy day and really made us feel like we were hiking straight up into the sky.

Thankfully, there were no bear sightings this trip - just a gigantic pile of scat (bear poo) smack dab in the middle of the trail that was at least a week or two old. I didn't take a picture of that - you're welcome. The only wildlife this time around was an eagle and a couple of ravens, and I was fine with that! Although, every time we go out hiking we hope to spot a mountain goat. They do exist around these parts, but we have yet to see one in person!

Stay tuned for a review of the day pack I'm using!

In the end, it was a little disappointing to not be able to hike Mt. Edgecumbe on Saturday, but it was a beautiful day and a really great consolation hike up Harbor Mountain, and it was nice to finally get outside and into some fresh air without getting rained on. And who can complain about this kind of exercise?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Casual Friday: Ep. 2

Well, good grief. I didn't plan on going an entire week without blogging, but I haven't really had anything to talk about that justified an entire one-subject blog post so here we are.

+ At Kristin's suggestion, I bought this vegetable spiralizer on Amazon, and it has quickly become one of my favorite cheap kitchen gadgets, even though I've only used it once so far. I spiralized some zucchini to serve with chicken the other night; all I did was saute it in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and it was delicious.

+ This video had me absolutely rolling the other day. If you aren't familiar with Christian music over the last decade or so, it might not make a whole lot of sense. If you are, it will make so much sense. I almost choked on my coffee when he got to the bit about John Mark McMillan and the sloppy wet kiss.

+ After weeks on end (literally) of constant rain, I finally broke down and wore one of my flannel shirts yesterday. I guess I figured if southeast Alaska is going to act like summer is not a thing that even exists, I might as well just pull the trigger and start wearing my full autumn wardrobe. It's close enough to September, I guess.

P.S. If you live somewhere with temperatures over 60 and you remember what the sun looks like, I kind of hate you a little bit.

+ Related to the point above, we were supposed to hike (and summit) Mt. Edgecumbe, our local volcano, this last Saturday. A local nonprofit called Sitka Trail Works sponsors two annual group hikes up the mountain, and we would just do the hike solo, but you need a boat to get out to that island. Long story short, the weather was crummy and the seas too choppy so the hike was postponed, and then the weather never got any better so we were just informed that the hike has been completely cancelled, better luck next year. I'm so tired of having our plans ruined by the weather all the time.

Someday I will conquer you.

+ On a lighter note, season 6 of Blue Bloods is on Netflix and season 3 of Hannibal is on Amazon Prime. When life hands you lemons, binge watch Netflix.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Casual Friday: Ep. 1

After much deliberation, I've decided that Friday is going to be my new brain-dump day. It just seems appropriate.

+ I saw an article yesterday called "How to Make Ice Cream Sandwiches." I didn't know one could actually write an entire post about something like that. Here's my abridged version:

Scoop ice cream onto a cookie. Smash down with another cookie. Roll sides in sprinkles, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, etc. Re-freeze. If you couldn't figure that out on your own...let's chat.

+ Have you heard the rumor that the new iPhone 7 might not have a headphone jack; that you'll either have to use Bluetooth headphones or possibly buy an adapter that fits into the power port? I'm not sure how I feel about this.

+ I don't understand the Boomerang app that people are using to post to it even an app? Does anyone really find it enjoyable to watch the same jerky movement over and over?

+ I need a new laptop sometime in the semi-near future. I'm tempted to return to the world of Windows because Macs can just be a huge pain in the butt. The main concern at the moment is that I'd have to repurchase Photoshop and Illustrator, or keep my Macbook just so I can use those two programs.

+ Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas? I'm gonna go with no. Only 134 days, people!