So, life in Alaska continues. Tonight when I got home the power was out in half the house. It is hard to tell from this picture but the meter is crooked. As the ground melted the frost heaved the meter up disconnecting half the house, including the water power supply. As I type right now I am wearing a headlamp and the computer is powered by a series of extension cords. Lovely. We have no water and we are running the things we absolutely need with extension cords. It just adds to the frustration I have felt lately as I have repaired all the things broken by the ice and snow that covered our life for the last 8 months. F&^%. F&^%. Oh well, it is like we are camping. Nothing much else is new. The renters have not paid their rent and probably won't. The new truck I bought had some parts illegally stripped off it that I need to replace. The rototiller I borrowed shattered after a pass. I am borrowing money to buy milk at $3.99 a gallon. I am at my limit. I actually had chest pains today. That was fun. I had to sit on a stump for a while and let them pass before I could work in the yard tonight. A friend is thinking of moving to Phoenix. For fun we looked at prices. Milk is $1.57 a gallon ($3.99 here). Gas is $1.67 a gallon ($2.67 here). I can't explain it but Alaska has been really chafing on me lately. Thank God I get to go home in a few weeks. See the people that I grew up with. Sit in my old haunts and remember what it was like to be young. I want to sleep on the beach at Long Beach and drink Wiser's Rye whiskey and remember the times I drove up there in my old FJ-40. At least the pigs are happy. We finished their pen last night. They were getting squirrelly in the horse trailer, and I don't blame them. Grow little pigs. When it is -30 and dark, your flesh will nourish our bodies and buoy our spirits. What a f'ing day.


Anonymous said…
Here's some crazy advice that you will surely misinterpret:
Maybe instead of buying 40k dollar trucks and pigs, you should invest your money in milk for your family and save a dollar or two. How does a lawyer live paycheck to paycheck?
Well a couple of things. First, it is not misinterpreted. I was using some hyperbole, as you are, I assume. The truck was far less than $40K, in fact less than half that. Pigs are a capital expense up front but hopefully save money in the end. Have you bought meat in Alaska? I have not raised pigs in Alaska yet so I'm not sure if it will be economical. Even if not I feel strongly enough about factory farming to do it anyway. How does a lawyer live paycheck to paycheck? Easy. Have a few toys. Have a few kids. Have incredibly shitty medical benefits that means even with a healthy family you are always paying medical bills. Work as a public defender. Live in one of the most expensive places there is. Lose money (lots and lots of money) on the sale of a house in California. It's not hard. Hell I don't know anybody who doesn't live paycheck to paycheck, so it is not just my stupidity, although I can't discount that. But thank you for your comment. I am certain that you are savvy and never have major emergencies (like frost heave that destroy the entire electrical system in your house) that derail you. Gratis to you my wise friend.
josh said…
Just for fun Ben, you should look at PD wages in Phoneix . . . Start a private firm and hire me in three years and we'll get rich.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, 'cept for the temp work visa issue, eh?
Jeremy said…
I really enjoy your posts, they are both informative and interesting. I recently moved to Alaska and found your blog when doing research about Kotzebue.
Thank you. Ignore the anonymous jerks.
Anonymous said…
What is the duct tape tube doing? Has the ground been dug up or disturbed near the recent frost heave? My guess is the house and meter have been there for thirty odd why now? Any other frost heave locations in the yard? There are still ice lenses on the Kenai, left over from the ice age era. Global warming has struck your yard right after you boasted about the nicest weather in 20 months.
The pig pen looks good, and the pigs de-lish. Things will get better, it's summer!
The duct tape tube is the water supply out to the shop. The water line is still frozen. The power line is in the back of the house. I'm not sure of the tone of your comment. Are you being a snide little prick? Seems like it.
By the way, 'ice lenses on the Kenai'? What are you talking about? The Harding Ice Field? Are you seriously comparing my back yard to that? LOL! Let me guess I get around with a dog sled and eat seals for breakfast! Ha! Where are you writing from? Seriously Mr. Anonymous. What a clownshoe. Ice lenses on the Kenai. Good thing I carved a hole in the glacier for my little house! Oh my. What a maroon.
Anonymous said…
Yup, you got dem ice lenses. Could be worse and you would have a pingo.

Formation of ice lenses and frost heave
A. W. Rempel

Department of Geological Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA

I examine the morphology of ice growth in porous media. Intermolecular forces cause premelted fluid to migrate and supply segregated ice growth (e.g., lenses) and frost heave. I account for the net effect of these microscopic interactions in a homogenized model formulated in terms of fundamental physical properties and characteristics of the porous medium that can be measured; no ad hoc parameterizations are required. Force equilibrium constraints yield the rate of fluid migration toward the ice lens boundary and predict the conditions under which new lenses are initiated. By combining this analysis with considerations of the heat flow problem in a step-freezing (Stefan) configuration, I elucidate the boundaries between different regimes of freezing behavior. At higher overburden pressures and relatively warm surface temperatures, ice lenses cannot form, and freezing of the available liquid occurs within the pore space, with no accompanying deformation. When conditions allow a lens to form, water is drawn toward it. If the fluid supply is sufficiently rapid, the lens grows faster than the latent heat of fusion can be carried away, and its boundary temperature warms until it reaches a stable steady state configuration. At lower fluid supply rates, the lens boundary temperature cools until a new lens can form at a warmer temperature beneath. With subsequent freezing this lens grows until yet another lens forms and the process repeats. An approximate treatment leads to estimates of the evolving lens thickness and spacing, as well as the accumulated total heave.

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