Archive for the ‘Life of Arlo’ Category

Visit the Galapagos with Us!

Posted by Arlo on May 5, 2010 under Life of Arlo, Postcard Valet, Travel

Our group from the Floreana, January 2010

Have you ever thought about going to the Galapagos Islands?  How ‘bout this fall?

Here’s the deal.  Oksana and I will very likely be passing through Ecuador around October or November and I can’t imagine not taking her out to that amazing archipelago.  Unfortunately, it’s going to be way outside our budget of $100/day.  The rest of Ecuador is quite inexpensive, so we might just settle down for awhile and save up for the trip, but I’m hoping we can find another way…

When I was there in January, our group paid for a seven-day tour of the islands.  For the entire week, our home was the 78’ motor yacht, Floreana.  There’s room for 16 passengers (8 rooms), and everything from an English-speaking naturalist guide to three meals a day was provided.  Our itinerary generally consisted of two land excursions and two snorkeling excursions every day, with a couple of nights out on the towns (Puerto Ayora and San Cristóbal.)  Although there were only five people in our group, we quickly bonded all the other tourists and had a fantastic time!

The Yate Floreana

Every time I bring up my trip to the Galapagos, someone says, “Oh, I’d love to go there someday.”  It gets me thinking.  How hard would it be to fill the Floreana with friends and family?

This is me, inviting you to join us on a Galapagos trip!

Let’s discuss the details a bit:

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STS-132 Tweetup

Posted by Arlo on Apr 28, 2010 under Life of Arlo, Postcard Valet, Travel

Arlo setting up camera at STS-131, Photo by Joseph Sears

When I first went to Machu Picchu, I tried to absorb as much of it as I could.  I figured it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Same thing with the Galapagos; while I was there, I slept as little as possible so that I wouldn’t miss a thing.  Funny thing is, I actually went back to the Galapagos a second time and (I still can’t get over this!) I’ve been to Machu Picchu three times now.

So when I planned to attend the Space Shuttle Discovery launch last month, even though they’re retiring the Shuttle program, and even though arranging a viewing six miles away is still crazy expensive, and even though I live almost 3,300 miles away in Alaska, I guess I really shouldn’t have counted on it being another once-in-a-lifetime thing.  Because you never know.

When I got back to Juneau after the STS-131 launch, my friend, Joe, ReTweeted a message from NASA on Twitter:

Chance to see launch! RT @NASA: registration for STS-132 launch will open Apr 19-20. You don’t have to be 1st!

I followed the link, read that registration for a NASA-sponsored “tweetup” would open at 6am Alaska time the following Monday, and set an appointment for it in my calendar.  When that morning rolled around, I filled out the sparse information they asked for and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

What was the harm?  I figured tons of people would be signing up, and if by some miracle I was selected, I’d figure it all out later.  Well, guess what.  A few days later I got the email; I’m in!
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A Trip to DC and NC

Posted by Arlo on Jul 9, 2009 under Life of Arlo, Travel

The laptop on my lap in this picture was never turned on

Oh, I had such productive plans for June!  Oksana and I were taking a trip back east to visit my grandparents and because this year we were staying with them in the country – as opposed to their cottage on the beach – I thought I would have all the time in the world to work on my website(s), edit videos, and so forth.  I should know by now that my vacations come with a particular mental state that isn’t conducive to work.

Am I disappointed?  Heck no.  Oksana remarked that just a few years ago, she wouldn’t have been able to appreciate a “boring” vacation, but this year, that’s just what we needed.  It was great to just get away from it all, read a book, and hang out with the grandparents… even if it did mean I had bury the nagging feeling that I wasn’t getting much done.

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Around the World in 365 Days

Posted by Arlo on Jun 3, 2009 under Life of Arlo, Postcard Valet, Travel

Arlo and Oksana on their first solo trip together, Costa Rica, 2003

This is an announcement I’ve been looking forward to making for a long time:

Oksana and I just quit our jobs!

Okay, not really. I just wanted to get your attention.

But actually, really! It’s just that our last day of work isn’t going to come around until next summer.  That’s right; we’ve put in our one year’s notice!  Next June, all our crap goes into storage and we set off on a long-planned, round-the-world trip.

This is something we’ve been talking about since before we married.  Before we could commit to such a bold move, we had to make sure we were in a position of security – with our finances, our education, our work experience, etc.

(Funny thing we learned about financial security: Once you’ve got it, it’s surprisingly hard to let go.)

This is why we haven’t settled down.  It’s why we were so anxious to stay out of debt, why we haven’t bought a house, and most definitely one of the reasons why we haven’t yet entertained the idea of having kids.

So, as excited as we are to shoulder a backpack and set off for the ends of the earth, we’re also a little bit freaked out.  Will our jobs be waiting for us when we get back? (Magic 8-Ball says: Outlook Good.)  Will the economy implode while we’re gone?  Do any of the big security questions even matter if we’re off having the experience of a lifetime?


Where are we going?  No idea.  We don’t have (and probably won’t ever have) an itinerary.

Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.
Wanderer, there is no path; the path is made by walking.

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The Washington-Portland Excursion

Posted by Arlo on Nov 8, 2008 under Life of Arlo

Kiteboarders on the Columbia

Oksana wanted to know if I would accompany her to Portland for the weekend. She was bound for her first business conference – a thrilling adventure shared by all Toyota comptrollers of the Pacific Northwest – all I could look forward to was a couple days alone in the hotel room. You know what they say: A boring day sitting in a hotel room is better than a great day at work. I told her I’d be happy to make a long weekend out of it as long as she handled the details.

Our Wednesday departure date came along in late October; we put in half a day at the office and then hit the airport. Oksana scored some first class upgrades, so our Seattle to Juneau leg was a little more comfortable than usual.

We arrived late in the evening, grabbed our rental car (which was upgraded to a Dodge Avenger because all the compacts were taken) and started driving along the Columbia River towards Stevenson, Washington. Oksana, unused to big city night driving, was forced into the driver seat on account of my outstanding warrant in Oregon. [1] Fortunately, traffic was light (although the wind was strong) and we pulled into Stevenson about forty-five minutes after leaving the airport.
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Halloween 2007: They're Taking the Hobbits to Isengard

Posted by Arlo on Nov 1, 2008 under Life of Arlo, Videos

The Hobbits of UAS

Last year for Halloween, the UAS IT department decided to dress up as hobbits and decorate the office as the Shire. Big floppy feet were slipped on over their shoes, typically hairy faces were shaved, and a giant inner tube was iced with gallons of Crisco.

As always, I followed my coworkers around with a camera that day. They didn’t put on much of a show, just sort of stumbled around campus with their thumbs tucked into their lapels, and yet they still managed to win “Most Unique Department or Costumes.”

I usually try to start editing the previous year’s Halloween music video in September, but I was dreading this one. I couldn’t remember anything memorable caught on tape, and I worried that no theme would ever crystallize. With this year’s Halloween rapidly approaching, I finally sat down to capture the HDV footage in mid-October .

Watching it again for the first time in almost twelve months confirmed what I already knew: I had nothing. From almost an hour of tape, I pulled aside just nine or ten clips that seemed usable. What was I going to do with so little? I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do. I procrastinated more.

I had a fallback plan, but I didn’t really want to go with it. They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard was an Internet meme that was passed around sometime after the Lord of the Rings movies were released on DVD. Footage from the movies is edited to a devilish earworm of a song, repetitive in the extreme, which proves that excessive repetition is indeed funny in its own right. The Rule of Seven by way of Tolkien. On Monday, with a self-imposed deadline rapidly approaching, I decided that They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard was the best I could do.

I was surprised – blown away, really – by how quickly it all came together.

You can watch it below, but I warn you: If you haven’t seen the original, it’s not going to make a lick of sense…

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For Sale: 1989 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer

Posted by Arlo on Oct 9, 2008 under Life of Arlo

Pioneer logo

For Sale:
Jeep Cherokee Pioneer, 1989.  Automatic, 6-Cyl. 4-liter, 4×4, CD player, 135k miles.  Juneau body, but starts every time.  KBB at “fair” value $1200.  Asking $1000.  Comes with FULL DISCLOSURE.


So, yeah, I upgraded.  Jeep 2.0…04.  I don’t need to be paying insurance for two Jeeps when the old one is just sitting there, so I guess it’s time to sell it. 

Below you’ll find everything there is to know about my old Jeep.  Part disclosure, part memorial; this was written mostly for me.  This is how I’ll remember a car that treated me well for 10 years.

This isn’t a glamorous Jeep.  It’s a 20-year-old Jeep Cherokee Pioneer that didn’t have a ton of options to begin with.  I figure it’s in “poor” condition by Kelly Blue Book standards, but I’m not the kind of guy that’ll try to hide the problems to make some extra cash.  I think this Jeep is probably worth $1000.  If you agree, and you want to buy it for that, it’s yours.  Contact information is at the very end of this entry.

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