This is the story of our little group’s journeys in the areas surrounding Phandalin. Please be aware that spoilers lie behind the fold.
Worn and Bruised after defeating Klarg and his minions, the party collapses in the cavern and recovers with a long night’s rest. They search the cave for treasure and clues about the whereabouts of their dwarven patron Gundren to no avail, only the spoils of a recent raid are evident.
Spoilers below the fold.
I just finished BSG, the whole shebang. It was awesome. Here’s a tip if you’re viewing the final DVD of season 4.5: Daybreak extended is like the Director’s Cut of Daybreak episodes 1-3. I was unsure if it was all, or part of them, and spent some time searching the internets for that info (carefully avoiding spoilers). So watch whichever you prefer, you’ll get about the same content told differently.
‘”Change has come” and we can all work together for a better and united future for all in our country and worldwide.’
That was my mom in the comments tonite. We had a fun little election party, and for the first time in a long time, we ended up happy, not just wiser.
And we cheered. McCain’s speech was great. That McCain may have won the election. He was honest, sincere, honorable, clear, and inspiring. For the first time since this all began I saw McCain make an effort to unite people, not just ignite his base. The cycle could have been far more exciting and far less scary.
And Obama spoke. Pericles, a great orator, perhaps someday Obama will be read, thousands of years in the future, and his words will be seen as the ones that brought a civilization together. He is a man who has ideas and can lead the people. Unite us. Tonight he attacked that divide and Obama will continue to attack the divide.
I had hoped for the 60 senate seats. Not that I believe a supermajority is a great thing. I’m far too moderate. But because I believe that things have gotten so bad that only in the face of utter defeat can we reach across to humble Republicans and say that we’re in this together. We’re not in total lockstep (as the last so many years have witnessed), we’re in a discussion. We are all patriots. Without superior firepower, I fear that the war will continue.
But…back to what my mom said. I watched Barack Obama speak tonight. It was wonderful. I drew near tearful on a few occasions. But I saw the comment from my mom. So much hope. It was beautiful, and it brought tears to my dry eyes.
“Change has come” and we can all work together for a better and united future for all in our country and worldwide.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. Got my Universal Life Church ministry certificate because a couple friends had asked me to perform their wedding services. This past week was the week. The first was on Sunday, and the second on Friday. I’ve been just a wee bit busy with all of that…meeting families, drinking beer, BBQing, clamming, crabbing, camping, cooking, eating, driving, playing hookie, and petting my dog and smooching my lady.
Both weddings were super fun. The first was a bit more intimate at the Leach Botanical Gardens. That place is a hidden gem in deep southeast. Great people, great food, and a bit of an edge from it being my first time and all. Matt and Christine chose a hand fasting ceremony, which is pretty neat. It’s an ancient tradition, and pervasive through many cultures…basically family and friends came up and tied ribbons around their linked hands, each ribbon having a particular meaning.
|From Hilla-Mott Wedding|
The second was a bit bigger, held in the couple’s backyard. Friends and family pulled together to make it happen, from booze to catering to cleanup (in that order?). We danced and were merry, I tore the ass out of the pants of my new suit doing some silly maneuver. But it was at the end of the second wedding, so that’s how it goes. I did change into my kilt rather than exact further damage to my pants or pride.
|From Clutter-Jacobson Wedding|
Both had plenty of beer to drink too, and both began serving prior to the ceremony. But just barely in the case of the latter because we somehow ended up with an incompatible tap. Ouch!
If any of y’all are interested in checking out an interesting social phenomena or just partying along with soccer, head out to Delta Park this weekend during the daylight hours. Our little subculture called the Moist Coalition is gathering to play in the Classic tourney over Memorial Day. It’s ridiculous, great fun, and full-on immersion in something beautiful.
It’s really pretty amazing…so many people, often many have never met, and just good times. For the uninitiated, it all started 5 or 6 years ago as Gremio North under Sturtz. It was a blast, but Sturtz went civilian the next year, so Paul, Dave, and I took it over, renamed it to the Moist Coalition, and got a coupla teams together (FC Moist and Moist United). From there we grew, folks come and go, but almost everyone comes back for more. Last year we added a lady team, the Moistresses, now Real Moist, and they’re bursting at the seams.
Swing by, or have a fantastic weekend.
After leaving the Mendenhall Glacier, we drove immediately to a beerdrinker’s mecca, the Alaskan Brewing Company, home of the delicious Alaskan Amber and a number of other tasty beers. I was surprised that the Alaskan brewery had no brewpub. From the sound of conversations (though nothing explicit or even really implied), they’ve chosen to respect local pubs who supported them as they grew. It’s a sensible division of labor.
A simple storefront, if it weren’t for the huge vats in back, you’d never guess that this was the home of a producer of excellent beers. Inside, they have a number of taps for sampling the wares, a gift shop, and a windowed room to observe some parts of the brewing process.
Tony (Willie) Hand was good enough to give us a tour of the facility. Well, a limited tour. Upon entering, we were warmly welcomed and prompted to choose one of the ales on tap. I chose the smoked porter, which was a bonus for me, because they had the 2006 and 2007 on tap, so I of course needed both to compare and witness the aging.
The tour was more of a presentation on beermaking and a brief history of the brewery at hand, mostly in the form of entertaining anecdotes related by Tony (Willie). Occasionally, he would stop midsentence announcing in an alarmed voice, “Your beers are empty! Follow me!” and we’d do just that, winding back to the taps to pick another beer to drink.
I tried three porters (2006 and 2007 smoked porters, and the baltic), the barley wine, the winter, and the ESB. They were all excellent. I was particularly fond of the 9.9% Baltic Porter, as easy-drinking as a mirror pond, so very dangerous on those cold Alaskan nights. Sadly, it is a “secret” locals-only brew for now. I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to go back up to Alaska.
So here are some takeaways. The people who founded the Alaskan Brewing Company couldn’t get financed (because brewing beer in Alaska is kind of crazy…pretty much the only ingredient you don’t have to import is water) so went door-to-door selling interests in the idea, got enough to start, and have kicked some ass. Yay! Their winter ale is brewed with spruce tips collected by area children, a cycle which helps to inject a small amount of capital into some depressed communities. And the Alaskan winter ale is really really tasty, totally lacking that sticky sweetness of so many overstrong winters.
My only regret is that I didn’t pickup the belt buckle while we were there. Thanks Tony and Nancy!
We arrived in Juneau after a long flight on the milk run, stopping in Wrangell and Petersburg on the way to deliver supplies and mail to these smaller outposts. The flights lasted 15-20 minutes each, but the wait at each airport was much longer. I asked if I could get off and take some photos on the tarmac (it was beautiful) and they told me “sure. If you want to be arrested.” So I have some nice pictures of the airplane wing.
Our plan for Juneau was Mendenhall Glacier, Alaskan Brewing Co., hotel, no plan. Since we were making it up as we went, we went and got a cab. While others waited for the cab, Jay and I went to look at maps and see what was up with the Alaskan Brewery, and if we could tour it. Overhearing our mention of tours, the dude maintaining the airport phones hastily bit down on his allen wrench and commented ominously, “There are no tours here.” He sounded oddly like a Scooby Doo villain. Clarifying that we just wanted to checkout the brewery, not to catch a helicopter, he helped us out with directions. Actually, he helped us out a lot, helping us to avoid construction and to find landmarks and better routes as he gnawed on his allen wrench, occasionally waving it it around..
Daylight burning, we eventually got our rental car and headed out in search of food. Lowballing, we’d gotten directions from the lady at the rental agency, which paled in comparison to those received from allen wrench-guy. We ended up eating a sandwich as the enormous Fred Meyer outside of Juneau, which actually was pretty satisfying. Then we went to the Mendenhall Glacier.
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most awe-inspiring sites I’ve ever seen. An immense ice flow running down the mountain, feeding Lake Mendenhall, skirted by a waterfall and frozen features, it glowed the most amazing blue.
We hiked out by the lake and got fairly close to the glacier, clowning around and having fun. In the lake there were a number of icebergs, which were pieces of the glacier that had calved fairly recently. There were not many others out there, and nearly everyone was local. At the visitor center, we watched a movie about the glacier and how it is satisfying to the eyes (interesting but odd movie), and talked to the rangers, who seemed very happy to have human contact during the off-season.
We started hiking out around 3pm, as it was beginning to be dusk.
“Hey dude, what’re you doing next weekend?” Jay asked me.
“Uh, just getting ready to move. Why?”
“We were wondering if y’all wanted to go to Alaska or Denver.”
“Totally. Which one?”
“We’re taking a vote.”
No doubt. So we got hooked-up with buddy passes to Alaska. Standby flights, no carry-ons. A lot of airport time. Portland to Seattle to Ketchikan, overnight in Ketchikan, to Wrangell to Petersburg to Juneau. Twenty-eight hours in Juneau, twenty-eight to get there. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything, we had a blast.
Our small band of travelers waited happily in the small airport bar waiting for the next flight north to come in. A few pitchers of beer and a lot of laughs later, it arrived. Despite having ample open seats, we were not permitted to board the flight to Juneau. Inclement weather had forced the plane to take on extra fuel and they were concerned about weight and balance. So we were left to our devices in Ketchikan.
Ketchikan is Alaska’s fourth-largest city (behind Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau). When you arrive in Ketchikan, you’re on the wrong side of a body of water, crossable by ferry (3 bucks each way, 5 same-day round trip). If you arrive at night as we did, I’d recommend not missing it. Just a tip. We weren’t expecting to stay in Ketchikan, but we were ready for anything, so we got on the horn with an inexpensive hotel (the Narrows Inn a bit outside of downtown. And they were great. They shuttled us to the hotel from the ferry, and they shuttled us to downtown. They kept the restaurant and bar open late for us (we wanted to go downtown, so asked that they close it).
Downtown Ketchikan is pretty nice. We settled on Annabelle’s for dinner and decompression. The food was pretty good, but what was most striking was how they server the (halibut) fish and chips. Instead of vinegar, Scott (out gold bow-tie clad waiter) brought a bowl of Frank’s. And it was amazing…tangy and spicy.
Researching local bars, as I’ve been known to do, I’d received raving recommendations for The Sourdough. Conveniently, it’s located right across the street from Annabelle’s (Causation of correlation?). The Sourdough appeared dead. Friday night. Not a car in front or in the lot. With the liquor store ‘facade’ being closed, the place hardly looked open. Road-weary, we persevered, and walked the short hall to the bar. Turning into the place, its popularity had already been broadcast audibly. The Sourdough was packed. A friendly drunk fella leaning against the wall high-fived each of us as we squeezed our way in. I found my way to the bar and picked up a round for my exhausted friends…commendably, the bartender found me almost immediately, and provided very quickly. Libations in hand, we worked our way to the main room and found a place to huddle near the ancient Golden Tee machine. Lively does not begin to describe The Sourdough. This place buzzed and boomed. It was loud, with reunions and laughter, arguments (nearly going to fights), games, it was a different scene then our more sedate Portland bars provide.
We were ready after one drink, and caught a taxi-van back to our hotel. It appears that the entire city travels by cab, as there were very few cars on the road other than service vehicles. And there were several taxis parked on the curb waiting for us. The next morning we woke up early to catch the ferry back to the airport, and got our names back on the standby list. The weather had subsided, so we were allowed onto the plane.