January 2007


Often throughout the day I’ll find myself saying (to myself) “I should put that on the blog.” However, 99% of the time these internal reminders do not come to fruition. This is probably good for you, the reader, as some pretty crazy things cross my mind as needing to be blogged about (as evidenced by past posts on dreams, exploding green beans, etc.)

Today I just have to let off a little frustration. The borough yesterday decided to do a thorough job of cleaning up the snow in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, in their zeal to get all the snow off the roads, a worker also managed to plow over our mailbox. We didn’t find out until this morning, when Kevin was on his way to work and had to unbury the mangled mail box and attempt to straighten it back out. Two things about this situation really irk me. The first is that I had posted several letters to be mailed, including letters to Kevin and my grandparents. These letters went flying into oblivion when the mailbox was nailed, and have yet to be recovered. Argh. You can’t replace a heartfelt letter. The second draft is never as good as the first because you just want to get it sent out. This is why I write emails – they can be automatically saved.

The second reason I am irked about this little incident is the possible lack of care that it shows by the grater (is that how you spell it?) driver. It’s possible he didn’t even notice he hit it (those trucks are huge, after all, but if he did, shame on him 😉

So, in finality, the bad part about snow? Careless drivers. The good part? Jimmy giggling while sledding.

Jimmy Sledding

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One of my favorite television programs, Frontline (on PBS) did a show tonight on the Methamphetamine epidemic. This is some pretty scary stuff. Over the last couple of years local newspapers devoted several articles to this problem, and its growing popularity in the Mat-Su Valley. Recently local voters chose to move forward with legislation that moved pseudoephedrine based drugs behind the counter of stores (following the lead of several states, including Oklahoma). Since this legislation has passed, there hasn’t been much (if any) report on whether or not the use of meth has decreased in the Valley. I would assume that meth use has been affected, but I’d be interested in getting some figures. Does anyone have this info?

The Valley has been dubbed by the Alaska State Troopers “The Meth Capital of Alaska”. This 2005 article from the Juneau Empire describes some of the saddest effects of this addiction; meth orphans. These children (often very young) are usually left to fend for themselves while their parents cook meth, or engage in drug use sessions that can last for days.

Children being abandonded and abused by their drug-addicted parents is not a new epidemic. This also occured with other forms of drug use. The difference now? The potency and effect of the drug. Where in the past the effects of a drug (marijauna, cocaine, speed) left the user in a daze for possibly a matter of hours, meth is so potent that a single puff on a pipe can easily cloud the mind of the user for an entire day.

The Frontline show tells that an estimated 1.5 million Americans currently use meth, and the number is rising. This number represents 0.5% of the overall population, and nearly 1% of male and female Americans aged 15-65.

Newsletter

So, in case you’ve been vacationing on the moon and haven’t heard, the president has laid out his plan to fix the craziness in Iraq. Part of this plan includes sending 21,500 additional troops into the country, primarily to Baghdad. I thought Dean Barnett’s blog at Townhall.com (no, don’t stop reading this just because it comes from Townhall.com) pointed out some interesting aspects regarding the opposition to this new plan. I like that Barnett is just as hard on many Republicans as he is on Democrats. Yes, I know that Barnett has his biases as well. Yes, I know that this is the maxwellhouse blog, and so I should be reporting my own review, but I don’t have the time to dig deeper into the specifics of military strategy (Barnett does). My favorite part:

On its face adding 20,000 troops to the 140,000 already there does admittedly seem to be, as my dear old Uncle Willie said this morning, a “band-aid.” The problem is most of our congressmen don’t look beyond the surface. So when a lightweight like Republican Gordon Smith of Oregon refers to the surge as a “Hail Mary pass,” I’m quite willing to believe that he says such things not out of malice but out of ignorance regarding the tactical sea-change that the surge represents.

 

15) Whoa! Really lashing out at the Republicans there. What’s the deal? Enforcing some kind of party loyalty or something?

 

Democrats can at least defend their antics as garden-variety partisan idiocy. Republicans saying the same sort of things can’t hide behind the curtain of serving their party. They’re just being idiots.”

iPhone

Apple just released a product that many of us have known was coming: the iPhone. Initial reactions are mostly positive, with reviewers saying that Apple’s jump into the cellular phone market is likely to cause a reaction similar to the sweep of the iPod in the MP3 player market. I would tend to agree (in the short run) – except for the price. The iPhone sports several useful features, but has a tag price of $499. Of course, this is the initial price, and several other cell manufacturers have been successful at moving their expensive products (although I doubt believe many, if any, have been as pricey as the iPhone).

Apple has teamed up with Cingular to offer this phone, so we’ll see how Cingular offers the iPhone as a part of their service plans over the next weeks and months. This all really shouldn’t even matter to me, though, as I live in the middle of nowhere, and large cellular providers will probably never enter such a small market as Alaska. Oh well. Maybe through a partnership ACS will bring me the iPhone. Doubtful.

With this offering, and the posotive reviews, Apple has shown that their corporate transformation is indeed paying off. People love their products. Is it just hype, or is the company truly developing products that make the world a better place for consumers? Probably a little of both.

While in Sitka I had the following dream:

I took Jimmy in for a visit at the Doctor. The doctor took him into a back room, examined him, and came out and told me that I had a “supply problem”. He then asked me if I had any cast iron at home (apparently cast iron was somehow a part of the cure). The doctor then went back to bring out Jimmy, but something wasn’t quite right. His face (Jimmy’s) looked as though he were morphing into a vampire. Not a complete transformation, but obviously the beginning of something.

Suddenly the Doctor’s office dissapeared and I found myself in a large sports center. There were several different sports areas within the center, including soccer, basketball courts, and an ice arena. Not only had Jimmy changed, but so had I. I could sense that there was something different about me. No longer was I a simple human, but I now had wings. I understood that a battle was coming; a battle between good and evil. I knew that the battle would take place in the sports center at midnight. Until then, it was my duty to search the overhead crawlspace of the center for devil-like creatures that were waiting for the battle to begin. In the back of my mind I knew that Jimmy’s life depended on my succeeding in my mission.

On the basketball courts in the sports center a junior high basketball tournament had begun. I found myself walking along the sidelines of a girls game, where I ran into Sarah Palin, who was cheering on her daughter.

The End.

Pieces of the Puzzle:

-Kevin’s folks got me some cast iron pans for christmas (which I have wanted for a long time and am very excited about)

-I recently read an Anchorage Daily News article about the construction of the Sports Center at ChangePoint, a giant new inflatable sports complex to be finished in April