Well, I have a lot of fun news to pass along, so I will begin with...
UNCLE BRIAN AGAIN
I would like to welcome a new reader to the email list, though she is still a bit young to use the computer. Thursday, July 19th, the world was given another wondrous gift in the form of Piper Maia Roggenkamp, born at 4:11 PM CDT. Mom (my sister Karen), Dad (Jay) and older brother (Simon) are all doing well, and we have pictures, thanks to the wonderful digital technology. You can see them here: www.roggenkamp.com/piper.html
This is No.8 for me. John, Angela, Will, Katie, Simon, Annabel, Parker, and now, Piper. Welcome! I look forward to extending my contractually-obligated "mad-cap, goofy" uncle duties to the ever-growing circle of tykes.
Well, I am going to bring everybody up to speed on how my work
is going. Contrary to the image that these emails portrays, my
life is not just one fun adventure after another...well, ok, so
it is. But there is a little bit of the good ol' regular work
day type of stuff. I am working with Jan on the manuscript of
my first paper, which includes the work that I did last summer,
as well as subsequent study done by Jan, and new research that
I have been working on. My new work concerns study of the temperature
inversions over Barrow. We have a few theories regarding the decrease
in precipitation, and how it may be
related to the temperature inversions. I have also started doing some investigative research into severe wind storms at Barrow, and the effect that they have on the sea-ice of the Beaufort Sea.
Now, I can hear you saying "Brian! What effect could wind
POSSIBLY have on a huge sheet of ice???" Well, check this
http://www.gi.alaska.edu/~eicken/he_proj/BRWICE/icepush1.htm Pretty impressive, eh?
The ACRC has grown once again with the hiring of Dr. Martin Stuefer, a post-doctoral researcher from Austria. I met him yesterday, and he is a very nice gentleman, and I look forward to working with him.
Well, we got the new post-doc at about the same time that we got news that Jan Curtis, the guy I am replacing, was offered and has accepted the position as the new State Climatologist of Wyoming, a very important position. I have already warned him to look out for those Nebraskans...he is being dropped into the middle of the Platte River Cooperative Agreement.
THE FLYING NORTH
In his collection of essays, "Eiger Dreams", Jon Krakaur refers to Alaskans as the "flyingest people in the world." It is true, largely out of necessity. Aircraft is just about the only way to get to over 85% of the state. For a fan of aeronautics, Alaska is a feast of flying fun. Here is a list of just a few of the aircraft that I have seen this week.
747 and MD-11 cargo planes flown over the North Pole by Lufthansa
and Air France
USAF A-10s and F-16s from Eilson AFB
flights of C-130s in formation
countless float planes
the usual stream of passenger airliners
and my favorite, the old DC-6 and WWII-era C-46 cargo planes.
They fly these old birds like aerobatic biplanes: low and fast. It is fun to watch a 50 year old plane come roaring in over the ridge on its way to the airport. You can always tell that they aren't carrying any passengers because of how steep they bank the planes on a turn. No paying passenger would tolerate the manner in which they fly those old bucket of bolts.
THING I AM GLAD THAT I DID THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS
I went hiking up on Ester Dome with a few other members of the Fairbanks Area Hiking Club. It was a very nice day on a Sunday , and clear enough to see Mt. McKinley once we got up above the smoke and haze. This is definitely a treat, especially this month. Fairbanks is a very nice place from 7 miles and 2250 feet.
I went to see the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre production of Love's Labour's Lost. It was a modern interpretation set in the 1950s, complete with poodle skirts, a Fonzi-esque character, a moose, and a lusty Spaniard. It was the one of the funniest things I have ever seen. It was very well written.
I took the 4:45 Blue Line Bus on Thursday, instead of the 5:15. By doing this, I had the chance to meet a lady who was waiting at the bus stop. She and her husband live on a small farm outside of Ellensberg, Washington. After I got to talking to her, I mentioned that I had actually heard of Ellensberg.
When my family was visiting Seattle in May 1995, we were able to make a side trip to Roslyn, Washington, which is better known as Cicely, Alaska...the home of the TV show, "Northern Exposure". There we got to visit Ruth Ann's General Store, Holling's Bar, and all of that. You know the shot in the opening credits where the moose walks by a wall that says "Roslyn's Cafe...an oasis." with the picture of the camel and palm tree? We ate at that cafe.
Well, it was there amongst all of the other touristy type of stuff that I found a neat t-shirt for a group called the "Rodeo Grandmas" Some of you might remember this t-shirt, featuring 4 elderly ladies on horses. I thought it was a joke at first, but it turns out that they were put together as a fun ad campaign by a Washington bank.
Anyway, these grandmas were from Ellensburg, and when I mentioned that I had this t-shirt, she knew exactly what I was talking about. She is a good friend of several members of the Rodeo Grandmas. It is kind of cool to meet interesting people from interesting places who know other interesting people who do interesting things that, surprise, you have heard of.
THING THAT I WAS GLAD I DID UNTIL I GOT DONE AND FELT MY LEGS
I went hiking with a few other hearty souls this past weekend down at Denali Park. It was raining all day, but we didn't mind, especially as soon as we got above the clouds. The hike itself was murderous, at least for my lousy-out-of-shape kiester. It was just over 2.5 miles up and 2.5 back, but there was over 2500 feet of vertical, most of it in about 1.75 miles. The views, when the clouds thinned out, were spectacular! I am so glad to be here. I was probably for the best that it was cloudy and misty as there were quite a few ridges and drop-offs that would have made me nervous. Still, I was very surprised at my lack of concern over the altitude. I have certainly progressed very far from my extreme fear of heights. I am a changed man...
The only bad (it is actually good, but you know how much of a wimp I am) part is the fact that my legs are really sore. I didn't stretch enough, and my pace was a little silly. So, my leg muscles are paying the price, but it will pay off when I go back to the park in 2 weeks to do the Triple Lakes Trail, an 8 mile hike, which is quite a bit more moderate, except for the decent off of the ridge, which is steep, and without switchbacks.
I also now have a digital camera, and will be able to post neat pictures featuring neat things I see and do up here, which segues quite nicely into...
Well, I just wanted to give everybody the heads up that my new website will be going online soon. I have been hacking away at its construction for the past few weeks, a little bit at a time. I will let everybody know when it is online.
People who know me well know that I do enjoy a bit o' sport once in a while, mainly hockey and my primary weakness...college football. Well, I was walking through the cubicle farm today and I noticed that somebody had drawn a Miami Hurricane symbol on one of the dry erase boards. Now, no self-respecting Nebraskan could let that slide. I wrote a little note saying "Uh oh! We have a Hurricane fan in our midst. Husker fans must rally!" followed by a big "N". I don't know who the perpetraitor of bad taste is, I suspect one of the summer interns, but I will ferret him/her out and set him/her straight. That of course means that I will get him to cheer for Michigan...
Here is a fun website to visit: www.twinkiesproject.com
And, lest we forget, the email wouldn't be complete without:
Why don't the office workers take coffee breaks in Iowa? Because it takes too long to re-train them. ...and another?
A homeless man approaches a man in the street and says "Do
you have any money to spare?"
The man replies "If I give you money, are you going to use it to buy liquor?"
"No." says the homeless man.
"Are you going to use it for gambling?"
Again, the homeless man says "No."
"Listen, would you mind coming home with me so I can show my wife what happens to a man who doesn't drink or gamble?"
Well, enough of that.
Write me and let me know how you are doing...I mean it...all of you.
Brian "The Weather Guy" Hartmann