A little over a month ago I took a pre-employment drug test. I went through my steps, emptying my pockets and providing a sample. I initial my vials and then stepped into the main office. At this point, the nurse looked at the paperwork and saw what the pre-employment test was for.
“Alaska? It’s too cold outside here now.” It was probably mid-fifties in Florida, about twenty to thirty degrees warmer than I’ve been getting.
It wasn’t just the weather that stopped her, of course living in Florida she was definitely used to warmth. But Alaska was far. I realized then that if people were surprised by what you were doing, you were probably doing something pretty interesting.
I’m certain it’s not too interesting for Alaskans who work in Alaska. Mark Adams, in Tip of the Iceberg, writes, “Three basic types of people live in Alaska… There are Native Alaskans, who’ve been there since time immemorial. There are people who have come north running toward something, usually a chance to do something unpleasant to make a lot of money quickly… And there are those who are running away from something.”
But if you’re hardy enough to make a living up here, you’re accepted in Alaska. it’s a different brand of the American Dream, though offered from the same manufacturer. And to many who reside in the lower 48, it’s just anomalous enough to be an interesting way of life.
Reading: Tip of the Iceberg by Mark Adams. Revisiting the book, pulling some ideas out regarding my summer.
Enjoying: A new hip flask, from Two Paddles Axe & Leatherwork. Sipping a honey bourbon on a cold day is tres-enjoyable.
Hearing: The new Little Shop of Horrors, off-broadway cast recording. Really nice!
The week that passed was a long one, I’m not going to lie. The fourteen-hour car ride back to Florida was a bit exhausting, and the trip itself wasn’t as restful as I would have liked. Nonetheless, here’s some things that I spent some time with this week.
What I’m reading: Tip of the Iceberg by Mark Adams. Just cozying up to this book as the weather is getting cold. Thinking about this past summer in Alaska, and what the future may hold.
What I’m listening to: Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9. Also known as the New World Symphony, this makes me feel like it’s Thanksgiving. I enjoy this recording from the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra.
What I’m spending time on: Dog training.
My 60 lb. boxer is nearly seven years old, partially blind and deaf from an invitro stroke, and ultra-hyper. Breaking him of some bad habits will take a good deal of time, but I’m certain that he and I are up to the challenge.
Other things of interest:
- Knives Out, written and directed by Rian Johnson. Wow, I loved this movie. I thought it was well-written, well-directed, and well-acted. With names like Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Christopher Plummer, it was an excellent ensemble movie. The premise – wealthy suspense novelist dead by apparent suicide following birthday party with suspicious family members – may seem trope, but it leaves you guessing until the end.
- Where to buy books online from a website that isn’t Amazon. From Anya Zhukova, here are seven recommendations that include B&N and BAM. I also like AbeBooks and Easton Press for more obscure or special edition volumes. And I go to eBay as well. As I was linking Tip of the Iceberg, it occurred to me that I didn’t want to recommend Amazon for every book I like. So I went with GoodReads, though it is owned by Amazon. Its positives include that it links to retailers other than Amazon, and is enhanced by its users and readers.
- Why can’t every workweek be four days? I mean, seriously?
- Nat Geo story on the death of the male white rhino, and the species’ coming extinction… An extinction brought about by man’s overhunting of the animal.
“Watching a creature die—one who is the last of its kind—is something I hope never to experience again. It felt like watching our own demise.” – Ami Vitale