Archive for October, 2004

Flying to Fairbanks

Posted by Arlo on Oct 27, 2004 under Travel

Surprising snacks on Alaska AirlinesWhen your family is from the East Coast and you’ve decided to make a life for yourself in Alaska, most of your traveling ends up taking more than twelve hours. It’s hard to get excited about a 3000 mile journey while it requires you to get up at 4:30am just so you can make it to the airport in time for the humiliating dissection of your luggage. Then, if you’re really lucky, you’ll have middle seats between two strangers for the next half-day, not to mention long layovers in airports with chairs intentionally designed to be uncomfortable.

I love flying, but somewhere along the way, I lost the excitement for it.

It’s precisely because most of my travel is extremely tedious that I wasn’t looking forward to flying to Fairbanks last Sunday. I suppose it didn’t help matters much that my trip was work related – three days of training on a new web portal isn’t exactly my idea of fun. The only good thing about traveling for business is that the University foots the bill, so there’s that. But hey, I wouldn’t want to get dooced, so enough about work.

I woke up Sunday morning with a lot to do before my plane was scheduled to leave at 1pm. I don’t know what it is about me, but despite my best intentions, I never seem to pack before the last minute. After going to bed rather late the night before (Curse you, World of Warcraft!), I awoke at 8:30am with my mind already creating a to-do list.

Before tackling the list, though, I started the day like most every other day that I manage to get up before Oksana. I stretched my arm into the partially closed refrigerator and cracked open a Diet Coke as quietly as I could. While ingesting my much-needed caffeine, I sat down at my desk and read some of my daily web sites. When my eyes could stay open without conscious effort, I started in on the first task on my list – backing up and transferring the files I’ll need on my laptop.

The rest of the morning was filled with all the things I should have done the day before: Laundry, shaving, packing, finding contact info for the hotel and printing out Internet maps of Fairbanks and the UAF campus. Somewhere during all that, Oksana came out of the bedroom and went back to sleep on the couch. Envy.
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Friday (August 16, 2002)

Posted by Arlo on Oct 19, 2004 under Life of Arlo

Rafting the Mendenhall RiverThis is long (5000 words!)… and long overdue. Other than myself, I only know of one other person out there that would really love to have my wedding writings finished. Thanks for the reminder, Anya.

August 16, 2002

Another early morning. Luckily for Oksana, she could sleep in just a little bit longer than I could today. I got up at 7 and was out of the house by 7:45. First stop, Joe’s house – to pick up Noah and Rob.

Noah and Rob were ready to go and, because I needed to pick up some family members, we didn’t spend much idle time at Joe’s. Joe was interested in hiking the glacier with us, but he needed to go to work first to see if they could spare him for the morning. The plane was that if he could swing it, he would meet up with us at the trailhead. With Rob and Noah in two, I headed off to the dorms to pick up some rafters.

One of my college roommates, Mike, has been rafting the Mendenhall River as a summer job for the last few years. I had asked him this spring if he thought we could wrangle a free trip down the river for anyone that came up for the wedding. Not a problem – a date, time, and enough able-bodied rowers was all he’d need.

At the dorms we picked up my Mom, Don, and Mariah. Oksana, having roused herself from her slumber, showed up to escort her brother and nephew for the same trip. Everyone was ready to go except my brother, Kegan, who was nowhere to be found. He was supposed to meet us at 8am, but we couldn’t find him at the dorms. Hmmm. Maybe he thought we were to meet at the university, instead. Our train of cars drove down to the campus looking for my grandparent’s rental car – or any other sign of Kegan.

No luck. Eventually I was forced to run home and get my PDA so that we could call Kegan’s cell phone. We rang him up and found out that he was… waiting for us at the dorms! He must have shown up moments after we drove off. We returned to the dorm parking lot, added their car to our train, and made it to the head of the river just a little later than I’d hoped.

Mike was there and all ready to get everyone suited up and in the boat. While they were getting their feet sized for boots, their legs sized for rain pants, and their chests sized for life jackets, those of us not going took plenty of pictures and made plans to pick them up at the pull-out. Soon enough they grabbed their paddles, hopped into the boat, and floated up the lake towards the glacier.

Rob, Noah, and I took a few pictures of their departure and then heading off to Safeway to get some breakfast and some hiking food. While there, Noah gave Joe a call at work – no luck. There were too many important things for him to do at work.

We grabbed a breakfast of donuts (and coffee for Noah) and some food and drinks for our backpack before driving back to the same parking lot where we’d dropped off the rafters earlier. Once there I loaned out a couple pairs of shoes to Noah and Rob, we filled Noah’s pack with our supplies, and dressed in layers because the morning was a bit chilly. That was a mistake – 15 minutes into the hike and we were shedding them fast.
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Photoblog — Stats for September '04

Posted by Arlo on Oct 5, 2004 under Website

Photoblog web stats for October ‘04It took me until October 4th to remember to check my photoblog stats. Guess I’ve got a lot more going on than normal. Anyway, the numbers are a little difficult to interpret this time around.

Aug: 113 uniques, 1428 visits, 2726 pages, 4841 hits, 29.76MB bandwidth
Sept: 121 uniques, 1875 visits, 2496 pages, 3640 hits, 19.26MB bandwidth

What’s going on here? At first glance, it appears that I’ve had slightly more unique viewers to the site, but some of the other numbers don’t back that up. Visits are up, but numbers of pages loaded are down (as is the number of hits). Does this mean that the visitors I got in September weren’t sticking around to look at other photos? That might explain it, I suppose.

Last month was the month that I decided to submit the site to the major search engines. I’d been hesitating to do that because I was worried that my stats would be spammed by the ‘bots and random search inquiries. Shouldn’t have worried. Try as I might, I can’t find solid evidence that my submissions correlated to an any increase in traffic. In fact, only two search strings brought people to the site all last month (isabela de sagua and trinidad sunset).

Also, I finally think I tracked down some of the weirder referrer links to my sites. For instance, this site supposedly sent 35 visitors my way, but looking it over, it’s obvious that they didn’t. I’m 99% sure I’m the victim of someone spamming my referrer logs. Why someone would want to mask hits coming into website puzzles me. Do all the webmasters checking their stats really result in that much click-thru business? Seems doubtful.

My photoblog officially hit the halfway point this month – week 26 in a 52-week experiment. I don’t have any plans for increasing site traffic this month, but… well, that’s not exactly true. I still want to post each photo on and I’ve found another site that seems a good match, too: A Picture’s Worth. But I’m feeling lazy, so October is likely to be another one of those changeless months.

I did have one other thought about the site, though. Ofoto and Sony’s Imagestation both offer vinyl and linen photo books. After a year’s up, I hope to be able to convince myself that it would be worth my time to create a physical archive of all this work. I’m thinking a photo on one side and the micro-essay on the opposite page. Wouldn’t that be cool?