One hundred years ago today, the federal government auctioned off the first lots of a new townsite that would become the modern city of Anchorage. As an interesting article in the local paper notes, while this is generally considered the founding of the city, making today its centennial, the official centennial celebrations don’t include any special event today, and overall they have a rather subdued tone and include a lot of annual events that would have happened anyway. I’m not sure if this is because of the generally transient nature of the Anchorage population, most of which lacks deep roots here, but it’s interesting to note. Anyway, I figured I might as well mark the occasion. Happy birthday, Anchorage! You’re a pretty nice place to live.
July 10, 2015
June 30, 2015
Today was the last day of the state fiscal year, so I had a bunch of stuff I had to take care of for work over the past couple of weeks. It was looking a little questionable at points, and I was pretty stressed out over the weekend, but as it turned out I did manage to complete everything I was responsible for on time. That’s a relief.
May 26, 2015
So I had a date a couple weeks ago. Like most of my dates recently, it started when a girl messaged me on OkCupid out of the blue, and we ended up getting drinks at a bar in the neighborhood where we both live. It went okay, and she did say at the end that she’d like to see me again, but it was kind of frustrating in a familiar way.
Shortly into the date, she asked me what I do in my spare time. This question drives me crazy, as does the fact that it’s very common on first dates. I guess a lot of people really like to talk about their hobbies or something, because this keeps coming up in small-talk situations (not just first dates). For me, though, this is problematic, because what I do with my spare time is probably the least interesting aspect of my life. I mostly just screw around on the internet, which is what I said on this date after “nothing, really” wasn’t a sufficient answer for her. She immediately translated that to “videogames and porn,” to which I responded with “no comment” (which made her laugh), because there is some truth to that, although “Facebook and blogs” would be a more accurate characterization of how I spend most of my time. Regardless of the details, though, it frustrates me that I keep having to talk about this on dates when there are so many other things that I could talk about that would be more interesting to both of us.
I’m particularly frustrated that work isn’t considered more of a standard conversation topic on dates, because in addition to taking up a lot of my time and most of my emotional energy, which leaves little energy left for hobbies, my job is really interesting and unusual. I’ve been to lots of interesting places! My work involves a lot of interesting topics that regularly make the news! Ask me about that!
Now, of course I realize that I could just bring up these topics myself if I think they’re so much more interesting. And, fair enough, I probably should make more of an effort to direct the conversation in contexts like this. I’m sufficiently shy and awkward to make that sort of effort seem very intimidating, though, especially in a first-date context.
Anyway, I’m mostly just venting here. The date did go fairly well overall, and while I haven’t yet followed up on it I probably should. I do like her quite a bit, and I think there is still some potential despite the awkwardness of the first date.
April 30, 2015
I’ve been traveling an awful lot lately. This week is the seventh in a row in which I’ve flown at least once. Almost all of those trips have been for work (I did take a couple days off to go to Philadelphia for the seder). They generally aren’t long flights, but it’s still tiring. On the other hand, I’ve had the opportunity to see some really interesting places. The next few weeks are looking about the same, so this is just my life for now I think. I have already qualified for elite status on Alaska Airlines for next year, so that’s nice.
One way in which this sort of lifestyle is easier for me than for a lot of people is that I don’t have a family or any particular obligations at home that would make it difficult for me to travel this much. I’m getting to the age where a lot of my friends are getting married and having kids, so I’m no longer the kind of young person who could be expected to do this sort of thing as a matter of course, but as it happens I’m not at that point in my own life so it still works. It’s not a bad life, really, and I’m gaining a lot of valuable experience. The projects that are the reason for most of this travel are mostly going well, too, which is encouraging. Anyway, things are good, even though I don’t have much time and energy left for blogging.
March 30, 2015
I’ve been using WordPress for this and my other blogs since I started them, but I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to use for the style of blogging I do. They keep changing the posting interface, I guess to move in a direction more like social media, so that you have less control and fewer options, which drives me crazy. For a while they at least offered an option to go back to the old interface, but that seems to be gone now, or at least I can’t find it. I guess this is all symptomatic of the way the internet has moved on from the kind of blogging I’m used to, but it seems like there should be some options for people who want to write at greater length with more control over formatting and so forth than is typical of Tumblr or whatever. It’s frustrating.
Edit: And now that I’ve complained about that, it appears that the old interface is available when editing posts, at least, so that’s something. Still, annoying.
February 28, 2015
So I did some travel for work this week, which was originally going to entail a quick day trip to one of the rural hub communities for a regional meeting on Monday. Then a couple of visits to communities in another region got added on, since the flights worked out well to go to that region’s hub, to overnight there Monday night. Then we were going to go to one of the communities Tuesday, overnight there, then fly to the second community Wednesday morning and back to Anchorage that evening. A bit complicated, but combining the trips seemed to make the most sense.
The first part of the trip went fine; I went to the first regional meeting, which went well, then to the other regional hub where I spent the night. The visit to the first community the next day also went well, and we overnighted in the school there in the expectation of continuing with our itinerary the next morning.
Well, morning came, and with it heavy snow and the intensely strong winds for which that area is famous. We ended up staying three more days, each day waiting to see if the weather would clear up enough for planes to get in, and each day being disappointed, until today, when the storm finally broke and it was beautifully cold and clear. The flights today worked out fine, and I just made it back to my apartment in Anchorage. It’s awfully nice to be home.
It’s obviously not pleasant to be stuck somewhere for much longer than intended, but the experience this time was actually not that bad. The school was very hospitable, so we always had a warm place to sleep and plenty of food to eat, and there is a store in the community where we could get any additional food or supplies we wanted. The school also had internet access, so I could get some work done and keep track of how things were going in the office. It was interesting to see what it’s really like to wait out a storm like this, and the community itself was very welcoming and friendly, so it was a pretty pleasant time given the circumstances.
January 31, 2015
Man, it’s been a weird few weeks, but in ways that are hard to explain. Nothing bad, really, but work continues to be super-busy and stressful at times. I’m doing fine overall, though. I haven’t devoted much time to blogging, obviously, but that’s not really for lack of time. It’s just hard to think of things to say, especially for this blog which hardly anyone reads anymore.
December 31, 2014
Once again a year has gone by, and it’s time for my annual list of cities I’ve visited this year. As in previous years, this only includes cities where I spent at least one night, and each city is only listed once, in the order that I first visited it. “City” is defined broadly to include some very small communities, but not actually rural areas. With that in mind, here we go:
- Anchorage, AK
- Juneau, AK
- Fairbanks, AK
- Noorvik, AK
- Nome, AK
- Philadelphia, PA
- Bethel, AK
- Aniak, AK
- Glennallen, AK
- McCarthy, AK
- Albuquerque, NM
- Sitka, AK
- Phoenix, AZ
- Unalakleet, AK
- Flagstaff, AZ
As in past years, the exclusion of day trips makes this list slightly incomplete, but less so this year since I did fewer day trips and many were to places where I spent the night on other trips. Overall it’s a pretty good picture of my life these days.
November 30, 2014
I’ve visited my mom’s family pretty regularly in the past few years, but I’ve fallen somewhat out of touch with my dad’s family. This year, however, I decided to go have Thanksgiving with my dad’s cousins. They’re scattered all around the Southwest, so they tend to rotate holidays around different locations, but this year Thanksgiving was in Phoenix so that’s where I went. It was very nice to see everyone, and they were all very happy to see me, so I think I’ll go back for Christmas (also in Phoenix this year) and probably other holidays in the future as well.
October 31, 2014
This week I went to Sitka for work. I’ve been wanting to go there ever since I read The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon, which takes place in an alternate-reality Sitka inhabited by Jews displaced from all over the world. I liked the book but had some reservations about it, due partly to its implicit political message and partly to the fact that I’m just not that into gritty detective stories. Anyway, as I had expected, the real Sitka is a very pleasant little town and not gritty at all.