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Showing posts from February, 2008
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So, I hate to do it. I really do. Not only because it gives support to the misconception that all public defenders are "liberal", but mainly because of his anti-gun position. But I hope that Barack Obama becomes the next President of the United States. While I was in Kotzebue I had the chance to read his book "Audacity to Hope". I found it large on ideas but small on details. I must admit though, I found myself in agreement with many of his ideas. Funny enough, it was when I saw a speech by his wife that I decided that I hoped he would be the next President. She is one smart lady. It doesn't help that Senator McCain has apparently sold his soul to he far right and has changed his position on the things that matter to me (like global warming, torture, etc.). Even though I can't vote, or even contribute money to his campaign, I can see the world holding it's breath. I have never concealed my contempt for Bush. Nor has the rest of the world, or any…
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So, I'm back from Vegas. And glad of it, in a way. The trip was amazing....Jeremy was more than generous. But I can only take Vegas for a few days. We ate incredible food. I drank incredible liquor. We gambled, took in the sights and I enjoyed the sunshine. Oh, and I finally decided to show my patriotism. Forever. Back to work and family.


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So, my great arctic adventure is nearly over. Early tomorrow I fly home for a few hours before heading to Vegas. I have enjoyed my time here and I have enjoyed the practice of law here. Being away for almost two weeks has been hard. I have been almost brought to tears by my daughter's voice on the phone. But it has had its benefits too. Some are intensely personal. Some are professional. I appreciate being in an office that runs as smoothly as mine..or it seems that way to me, being used to it! I just got back from my last court appearance here in Kotzebue. There is nothing like riding a quad to court in -20!


I am looking forward to getting back to my files and a place where I know all the players. I hope I have left this office a little better. I will post again when I return next week from Las Vegas.
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So, what else does one do in the evening in Kotzebue? Well for me, it is all about the sauna. Trying to get my body ready for Las Vegas. But more importantly I enjoy how after 30 minutes in a sauna, it doesn't seem cold outside for a while. I stepped out into -20 but I felt too warm to even close my parka. It is neat to walk around outside without any gear on and be perfectly comfortable. My time here is almost up. Although I've enjoyed it here I'm looking forward to getting home. Seeing those I've missed. Spending less than $8 for a bottle of orange juice. You know, the basics. I'll try and write one last time, especially if I get a shotgun and go after birds.
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So, I just took an hour ride by myself into the tundra. -27 degrees, without the wind. Saw ptarmigan by the dozens. And that's about it. God I love Alaska.
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So, here is the village of Kotzebue. Felt like I was dying from the cold to get these pictures. I have determined that my cold weather gear is woefully inadequate for this climate. It is okay in Kenai but in -20, -30, or even -40, it really sucks. Once again, the lack of fur is hampering me. I have finally figured out a way to more or less keep my face warm without the glasses fogging up. But riding on the quad is still damn cold.....if I lived here I would need to upgrade my gear pretty dramatically. Last night my gloves froze into claws when I was out....damn it is cold.
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So, people keep asking me what I do at night. I seem to keep busy. I must admit I have been enjoying riding the quad around Kotzebue. I am watching this dog and we go for little rides. The only problem is he gets too cold....when I ride at night it is at least -20. I have met people and had dinners over at their house. I have butchered caribou. Last night it was all about laundry: there is no laundromat in town so I borrowed a co-workers machine. The point is that I don't feel bored. A little lonely maybe, but not bored. I also come into the office and do work. I drink. That is an activity all in itself! Except for my family time, life here is not that different than anywhere else. I mean really. What do you do? Work. Go home. Cook dinner. Have a glass of wine. Watch some tv. Do some housework. Read a book. Get ready to work again. I bet that for most of you your life is some variation of the above. Well, here in Kotzebue, me too.
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So, when you live up here, fur is the way to go. The hat is polar bear and the jacket is wolf and wolverine. I am one of the few people here who don't wear fur (mainly because I don't own much). It is not a fashion accessory but a way to stay alive. Here are some pics of the town...off to get more.



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So, the hardest part of being here is the food. Or the lack of food more precisely. There are only two restaurants in town and for some reason both are basically Chinese. There used to be a KFC and a Dairy Queen before the bars were voted out of town. The pizza place closed for supposedly bootlegging liquor. There are two "grocery" stores. Food is horribly expensive, such as the gallon of milk costing $9.49. The picture of the fruits and vegetables appears to be it. The apples and potatoes are okay but the tomatoes and such are pretty scary. I can see why the hunting and fishing are so important. I actually negotiated a deal for a client so he could get out of jail and go whaling. I have mixed feelings about that but after seeing what food is available here I find it hard to be critical. If you didn't like to cook you had better learn to like Chinese in a hurry. And bless them, I know they are trying, but the restaurant food here is hardly world class. It i…
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So, it warmed up to -20. Good riding weather. I'm not bragging. I'm serious. When it warms up from -40 to -20, you sure feel it. But I am goofy about the cold anyways: it makes me giddy. The only frustrating part is the fogged glasses. But I wanted to take some pictures of Kotzebue.
I am watching this cabin for a few days and have access to a quad so expect a sickening amount of pictures. Life above the Arctic Circle is great. But I sure miss my family. Kadee I love you more than lines can say.
P.S forgive the frozen lens cap. Why can't they make electronics that like this great weather. Check out the thermometer. I got a haircut today. There is no barber in this town. A local Native woman had me take off my shirt and kneel on some cardboard. Zoom! All gone.
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So, I'll have to post pics later. This is the worst possible time for my camera to break. I have already seen a lot of neat stuff. G was good enough to go get me a new one in Fairbanks but it hasn't arrived yet. I am having a grand adventure. Last night I drive a quad around at -36. Not too bad really except for my face. In Kotzebue people drive their quads and snowmachines like cars. The town is so small you can easily get around that way. Taking a cab cost $5 anywhere. At work, I am doing the usual stuff with one addition. I am, for the first time in my career, doing bootlegging cases. In Alaska, some places are dry (meaning no booze) and some places are "damp" (like Kotzebue). Damp means you can bring in a certain amount of booze for yourself each month but it cannot be sold. The profits are huge for those willing to risk a C felony however. A bottle of bad whiskey such as Rich and Rare, which goes for $10 or $12 in Anchorage sells for $150 or more in the bush. Of…
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So, greeting from Kotzebue! Wow. It is a different world up here. I was told to be careful of the polar bears around town. I'm not kidding. There are snowmachines going down the sea ice and all over the roads. Tonight I am going over a new friends house to help her butcher two caribou that she got all by herself yesterday. I arrived last night in 26 below weather. The little room I was supposed to stay in turned out to be a nightmare. I am here for an adventure but that was nuts. The door had been pushed in and the place was full of snow. The toilet had frozen over and there was 2 inches of ice on the floor. I couldn't get the door shut and I couldn't feel my hands after trying to clean up. I had to admit defeat and call a cab to go the Hotel. This is the only hotel I have ever seen with a "check your guns" sign! The hotel is where the Public Defender office so it is nice to get up and walk down the hall to work! I am not admitting defeat though: I plan on going …
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So, tomorrow I head out for three weeks. First to Kotzebue. Look at this map on the western edge. Way up, above the Arctic circle. I have never been away from home for this long and I must admit that I am nervous. Kotzebue can be described as a Native village of just over 3000 people. See http://kotzpdweb.tripod.com/city/index.html for more info. It is "damp" so there is no place to drink or o go I am told. It will be cold. I will be living at the back of a trailer in a room that is 125 square feet. Hell, it should be the adventure of a lifetime. What is best about it is that I come back from Kotz and almost immediately head to Las Vegas to see Jeremy, whom I miss intensely. The last six months of my life have been filled with incredibly intense emotions. Thankfully, my depression is now in full retreat and I am actively hunting down stragglers. Even so, I can only wonder what it will be like to sit in 10x12 room in a tiny village where I know no one. I am exc…