Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some Videos...


I found a great video on youtube that someone posted with footage from Kotzebue and Noorvik from the 1950's! The video does not indicate where each segment has been filmed. It looks to me like just the first minute of the video and then a short part near the end with the kid riding the machine were filmed in Kotzebue. The rest of the video was supposedly filmed in Noorvik, but it kinda looks like Kiana to me especially at 3:23. Can anyone confirm that??

This second video has some interesting footage from around Point Hope. Remember that this is commercially produced and therefore a bit hokey (especially the sound effects) at times. Also, the person narrating it is so obviously NOT from Point Hope. She sounds more like Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle. I'm wondering if anyone knows who the people in this film are...especially the kids.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Photos From Around Town


We all have errands to run. Mine are not much different than yours...except mine all take place on a gravel spit that's about 1 mile long and a half mile wide. Here are some photos from this weeks errands around town. They are in no particular order.

3rd Avenue heading south towards the airport.

Shore Ave, aka "Front Street". This view will not be looking like this for much longer. There is a big project scheduled to begin this summer that will dramatically alter Shore Ave.

The old bell in front of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

3rd Ave looking north.

3rd and Bison.

King of the hill.

3rd and Bison looking down toward the AC Store.

2nd Ave.


Shore Ave. The post office is the yellow building on the right.

Shore Ave looking towards Crowley Marine.

Curb Appeal.

Jones Camp trail.

What are you looking at?


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You Can't Get There From Here, Revisited


I often get emails from people asking me questions about this and that. How long have I lived here? Where am I from? Things of that nature. I love getting emails and answering people's questions. It's fun to hear from people, to know who is reading the blog and where they came from and how they found me. The first year of this blog I did a post called "You Can't Get There From Here". It is basically about where I am from and how I ended up in Kotzebue. I like to repost this at least once a year so that people who are new to the blog and haven't way back to the original post can read it.

You Can't Get There From Here

One of the questions I get a lot, and I have been getting this question lately from people on the blog, is “How did you end up in Kotzebue???" I can understand why people would ask that. After all, Kotzebue is not exactly a place you just happen through. It’s not like driving down the highway, going through Pocatello Idaho and saying “Gee, what a nice place! I think I’ll stick around for a while”. If you’re in Kotzebue it’s because you meant to come here, you came on purpose. So it’s no surprise to me that people want to know how I went from this...
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to this........
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Kotzebue is predominantly an Alaska native community. Roughly 80% of the people who live here are some form of Alaska Native, mostly Inupiat Eskimo. The rest of us come from somewhere else. In my opinion (and remember opinions are like…well you know…) of the people from “Outside”, there are two kinds of people who come to Kotzebue….people looking for money, and people looking for adventure. Most of the people who come looking for money don’t stick around. They make their money and leave to spend it elsewhere. They can’t hack it. The people who come looking for adventure….many of them are still around.

I grew up in Peyton Place. No really, I did. I grew up in Gilmanton, a small town in central New Hampshire whose reluctant claim fame is being the hometown of Peyton Place Author Grace Metalious and the alleged source of material for her book. It’s a nice place as far as small towns go, lots of hills and trees, friendly neighbors, unlocked doors. Typical New England.

I had a relatively normal childhood. I wasn’t particularly fond of school. I usually found myself on the fringes. Not totally an outcast, but not “cool” either. High
school sucked. I hated that place. My graduating class had a 16th reunion last year (yeah weird time to have it). An old friend from high school was organizing it. She asked me if I was going to go and I think I said something like “No offense, but I would rather lick rusty razor blades than see those people again.” I can think of maybe 7 people I wouldn’t mind seeing out of a class of over 135 people.

So after high school I did pretty much nothing. I bummed around in odd jobs, did some college, had some bad relationships, wasted time. I can’t remember when I first started day dreaming about moving to Alaska, but I know I had been doing it for a long time. The idea of Alaska fascinated me. It seemed like such a big wild place, so different than anything I had ever known. I didn’t know much about Alaska, but I knew I wanted to live there. Fast forward to whenever, I happened to run into the sister of an old friend. We got to talking about what we had been doing and what we wanted to do in the future. I happened to mention that I had always wanted to move to Alaska. She said “Really? I have an old roommate that is from Alaska, I should give her your phone number”. I though sure, why not, I handed her my phone number and forgot all about it. A week later I got a phone call. “You should come to Kotzebue, we always like new people around here”. I said to them, “I don’t know if I would be able to find a Job. Where would I live?” They said “Don’t worry, we have a job for you and you could stay with us til you find your own place.” I left the next month with one way tickets.

10 years later I’m still here. This is my home now. I am tied to this land and these people. When I am gone from here it leaves an empty place in me. So while I love New England I don’t really miss it. I miss my family and it is nice to visit them when I can, but at the end of each visit I am relieved to return to Alaska. I like to say that Alaska isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pity Party


Well I got back from Anchorage on Friday evening. Been in a lot of pain and feeling sorry for myself most of the weekend, but then I guess everyone deserves a pity party every now and then.

I was trying to remember the dates of the knee surgeries I have had and came up with this time line. The dates are approximate. I didn't get into great detail because this post would end up being a book and the details are rather dry and technical.

I initially injured my knee in January of 2003. I slipped on some ice and tore my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), and my medial and lateral meniscus cartilage. They weren't little tears either. My ACL was completely severed and I had significant tears in the cartilage.

Surgery #1 February 2003- ACL reconstruction with cadaver allograft, medial meniscus repair, lateral partial mensisectomy.

Surgery #2 (about approximately May 2003) The repaired meniscus did not heal and the knee started locking. They went in and removed the piece that was making it lock.

Surgery #3 (about November 2003) my knee started locking again. they went in and removed another piece of cartilage.

Surgery #4 (Around October 2004) My knee joint started feeling loose and unstable over time. My knee was beginning to hyper extend and uneven ground was scary to walk on. I went in and had the doc test the stability of the knee...there was none. So they went in and did another ACL reconstruction with cadaver allograft again, but this time also did a lateral reconstruction which adds a ligament to the side of the knee for extra stability.

Surgery #5 I start noticing over time my knee getting loose and clunky again. It's not feeling stable anymore which is causing my knee to buckle on uneven ground. Then at the end of august 2008 I had a total failure of the ACL and lateral side reconstruction. In September 2008 they went in and reconstructed the whole thing again with another cadaver allograft.

Surgery #6 I got cellulitis and an abscess over the site of bio-absorbable screws
that are in my knee.I spent 5 days in the hospital and they went in and removed the abscess.

Surgery #7 1/21/10 My knee had been locking, almost daily. Started in December and just got progressively worse. The locking is very painful. I had a 3D spiral CT scan done. Doc wanted to remove one of the screws and scope the joint and check things out. When hey scoped the knee they saw that my ACL is almost gone. Looks like transplant rejection. So now it looks like I am looking at at least one last surgery. They want to replace my ACL one more time, but use my own tissue harvested from my hamstring or patella tendon. I'm not sure when we will do this, maybe the second week in March. That way I will have a few months recovery before summertime. This surgery was a bummer because instead of going in and fixing things they went in and found more problems that need to be fixed later. It was very depressing. I have always tried to be good natured about my bad knee but this time I was really bummed. I have spent most of the weekend moping and feeling sorry for myself.

I have decided that tomorrow I will be better. That it is time to cheer up and head back to work. So I'll charge up the camera battery and start taking photos again...even if I just gimp around town taking photos of ordinary things. This is the longest I have gone without posting in the blog and it feels funny and it's time to snap out of it.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Knee Surgery Tomorrow.


Well, I am still in Anchorage. I had the CT scan on my knee monday and they told me that I will have to have my knee scoped to try and see what is causing it to lock up. It will lock up two or three times a day and when it happens it feels like someone is driving a spike into my knee. I will be having surgery tomorrow morning. This will be my seventh surgery on this knee in seven years. I'm not impressed. I should be back in Kotzebue friday evening.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cold Snap


Here in Kotzebue we are having the first cold snap of the winter.

It is going to stay cold for the next few days.

I am headed to Anchorage tomorrow where I get to enjoy relatively balmy weather. It should be in the 20's. I have to go get a 3D spiral CT scan of my knee so they can try to figure out what is causing all the troublesome problems I have been having lately. I'll be in ANC til Tuesday.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Minute by Minute

The days are getting longer minute by minute.


Sunday, January 10, 2010


If you think the movie Avatar seems familiar there's a reason. Avatar is kinda like Pocahontas meets Fern Gully.

In New Hampshire, where I grew up, Unobtanium is not an unknown substance. The Wolfeman at Clark's Trading Post has been mining for it for decades. I wonder if James Cameron ever went there?


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Checkin' In

I had some photos to post but it seems I have forgotten my camera cord at work. I will have to swing by there tomorrow and pick it up.

So in the meantime you can amuse yourself wit this short film made by made by an amateur film maker who came up for a visit a few years ago. It's cute.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010



What's the deal with Twitter?? Honestly I cannot figure it out. I have a Myspace (that I rarely visit), and a Facebook (that I spend entirely too much time on)....but I just can't get into twitter. And really, do I need ANOTHER social networking thinger? I do have a twitter account but to tell the truth I haven't actually tweeted. I have read other people's tweets and just don't see the allure. To me it seems that it is like Facebook, only without the photos and general fun of it. I have some followers on twitter but poor things have nothing to follow.

So tell me, do you use twitter?? What's so great about it??


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

KDMA Preliminary #1


New Years day was the Kotzebue Dog Mushers Association Preliminary #1 race.

It is an open race, meaning there is no dog limit.

It was a beautiful day.

The skies were mostly clear with a temp of about -4F and calm winds.

A perfect day for a dog race.

There were 7 teams entered.

I'm not sure how long the course was, maybe 16 miles.

Each team takes off one minute apart. Whoever comes in with the fastest time wins.

1st place was Budoo Gallahorn with a time of 36 minutes and 7 seconds.

2nd place was Paul Hansen with a time of 36 minutes and 29 seconds.

3rd place was Joanne Harris with a time of 38 minutes and 36 seconds.

4th place was cyrus Harris with a time of 38 minutes and 38 seconds.

5th place was Hans Hansen with a time of 39 minutes and 34 seconds.

6th place was Raymond Woods with a time of 42 minutes and 13 seconds.

7th place was Carl Foster Jr. with a time of 50 minutes and 45 seconds.

Here is some video.

The Noatak 120 was held on New Years eve. The teams took off at 9am ran to Noatak where they had a 4 hour layover before heading back to Kotzebue. They first team arrived back in Kotzebue around 11pm. I think there were 7 teams. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of this race but Darin Nelson gave the results as....
"Quinn Iten 10:42:32 pm, John Baker 10:42:34pm, Robert Nelson (some 30 mins later), John's 2nd team (4th place). Not sure when the rest finished."

So that's it for mushing for a while. There will be more races next month (I think).