Caveat: Tree #262

Because of the raininess outside, I have been less inclined to pursue any of the outdoor projects I have in progress. I have been working more on computer-based projects, including messing with my programming environment (my largely unfulfilled fantasy of learning to program using Ruby/Rails), and adding some bells and whistles to a few of my server projects.

Meanwhile, on the equinox, I find attention-seeking behavior among trees. Hey! Quit goofing around!

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picture[daily log: walking, 3km]

Caveat: Tree #260

I had what felt like a somewhat productive day – though in fact it was mostly recuperating ground lost on prior days. I got my map server back working the way it should be. It turned out there was a minor syntax incompatibility between different versions of the database utility that’s used, so the script I was running wasn’t working as expected after a routine upgrade. Software is fun!

I took some steps on my application to UAS. I feel like the end is in sight. And then I can begin.

I failed to photograph a tree. I’m neglecting my blogular obligations…

Here is a tree from archives. It’s not a photograph, but rather a scan of an ink drawing. I made the ink drawing in 1992. It shows the front of the old “San Marino House” – the one where my grandfather grew up on California Boulevard in Pasadena. There are in fact at least two large trees and many shrubs in the picture – the house was quite overgrown with vegetation. So let’s select the tree in darker ink lines on the right, to be tree #260.

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picture[daily log: walking, 1.5km]

Caveat: Tree #259

I had a frustrating day, trying to repair my map server. I’m not sure if I’ve repaired it, now, but I got into one of those obsessive mindsets that made me recall that in fact, Arthur and I behave quite similarly around computers. Although I think I don’t cuss quite as much as he does. It seems to kind of work. Something amiss with the database.

In darkness, in rain, trees still lurk.

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picture[daily log: walking, 1km]

Caveat: Tree #258

I spend part of the day outside working on some more aspects of the well-head “doghouse” – specifically, the outgoing pipes/conduit to connect to what I’m calling the “greenhouse” – I want to build a small greenhouse on the new upper parking pad, hopefully to be able to use next Spring.

I spent another part of the day trying to build a Ruby on Rails development environment on my server. It’s slow going, but I feel I’m making progress. So far the vscode IDE is working much better than all those times I tried to use Eclipse, so the switch over was a smart move.

Lastly, I have been writing an essay for my UAS application for the teaching certification program. I’m sure what I have already is fine, but I’m being perfectionistic. So there’s that.

I failed to take a picture of a tree today. So here is a tree from my archives. This is Gobong Hill with its distinctive radio tower, in Ilsan, Korea, as seen from near the top of Jeongbal Hill, a few blocks from my apartment there. I took it in October, 2015 – just short of 4 years ago.

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picture[daily log: walking, 2.5km]

Caveat: Tree #257

It has been one of those rainy days that just demotivates a person. I have been spending some time installing some programming tools on my desktop and server, while I wait for my enrollment process to move forward for the University of Alaska Southeast Teacher Certification program. I suppose I’m more and more feeling that in the long run, I may end up doing computer work, and it would be smart to keep my skills up. Frustrated with the Eclipse IDE, I decided to try out VSCode, which is Microsoft’s entry to the Open Source IDE market. It’s a kind of weird reversal, running Microsoft software on a Linux machine. But so far it seems to work better than the buggy Eclipse.

A tree I saw the other day. Not very well focused.

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picture[daily log: walking, 1km]

Caveat: Tree #256

Today, the Ides of September, Arthur and I once again sought to catch a halibut, but alas, we returned to port having only hooked a number of ugly bottom fish of poor quality. Halibutless. The sea was flat and sunny, though. I saw some seagulls cruising on an improvised raft (hard to see, center of this picture, looking past the southern end of San Juan Island toward San Ignacio and Baker, in the distance).

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Meanwhile, trees continued their efforts to touch the sky.

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picture[daily log: walking, 1.5km]

Caveat: Tree #252

The past few days I’ve been busy with my somewhat unsuccessful effort to remodel the plumbing in the well-head shed (“doghouse”). I’m not very good at eliminating all the leaks – I’m too inexperienced a plumber.

Today, with sporadic rain, I decided to work indoors instead, and have been doing “academic stuff” related to my efforts to enroll in the University of Alaska Southeast’s teacher certification program – a much more overwhelming and bureaucratic process than I had hoped for. Sigh. Life goes on.

Here is a tree over on lot 73.

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picture[daily log: walking, 3km]

Caveat: Tree #249

Our friend and neighbor Joe from down the road joined us and we went out on a singularly unsuccessful fishing trip today. We went seeking halibut at Roller Bay, then “Shipwreck” (off San Fernando Island), then the northwest side of Balandra Island. We caught exactly one smallish lingcod. Then we tried for salmon along Cemetery Island and the Coronados, trolling into the south entrance of Port Saint Nicholas. Nothing – a few black bass that were smaller than some of the bait.

Here is a tree, also struggling.

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picture[daily log: walking, 2km]

Caveat: My Artistic License

As many of you already know, I have acquired an RV. It is known as “the GDC,” per its previous owners Mark and Amy.

I installed its new Alaska license plates today. I now have a legal license to practice my art, whereas up until now my artwork was unlicensed. This artistic license was included for free as part of my vehicle license plates:

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In case the above is unclear, it is a joke based on the slogan on the new license plates.

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Art and I dropped my friend Peter off at the ferry this morning. It’s back to just us chickens, now.

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Caveat: Tree #246

Peter and I went on a hike in the morning, up the trail that runs up the side of Sunnahae mountain – but we didn’t intend to go to the top, which would have been an all-day hike. We went about 2 miles up and turned around a came back down.

Here is a tree we saw along the trail.

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Here is me looking like a sinister Korean right-wing ajeossi of the sort you’d meet on a mountainside in Korea.

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I’m wearing a hat that Peter gave to me that says “외국인” [oegugin = “alien, foreigner”]. This is funny.

picture[daily log: walking, 6km]

Caveat: Tree #245

Arthur and I took Peter out fishing. From a fishing standpoint, it was somewhat disappointing – we caught no salmon, and when trying for halibut we only caught ugly bottomfish. But I think Peter enjoyed himself, and anyway he got to see an aspect of life here that many don’t.

Here is a tree seen on an island.

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picture[daily log: walking, 6km]

Caveat: 辛라면

One reason I enjoy my friend Peter’s company is that we both have a rather geeky, quasi-philological approach to the Korean language. This is not necessarily the best approach to language learning, but it is what it is.

Our neighbor Jeri brought by some home-made kimchi that had been given to her by another friend of hers. Just imagine: Alaska-made kimchi – such is globalization. To taste-test the kimchi, I broke out my stash of Korean style spicy ramen, of the famous brand 신라면 [sinramyeon]. As Peter and I ate kimchi with spicy instant ramen for lunch, we ended up speculating on the Chinese character, 辛, prominently displayed as the brand mark for the product, as in this picture below.

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We both assumed it meant “new” – the most common stand-alone meaning for the Korean syllable 신 [sin]. I also speculated it might be a family name. But neither of those are the case. After a bit of searching on the online naver.com dictionary (the best online Korean dictionary) we found that in fact the definition is given as follows:

1. 맵다 2. 독하다(毒–) 3. 괴롭다, 고생하다 4. 슬프다 5. 살생하다(殺生–) 6. 매운 맛 7. 여덟째 천간(天干) 8. 허물, 큰 죄(罪) 9. 새, 새 것(=新)

That definition #1? “Spicy.”

So in fact sinramyeon means exactly what the English label says: “spicy ramen.”

The kimchi, by the way, was quite acceptable.


Later, Peter and I drove down to Hydaburg, to look at totems and witness the isolated, mostly-native Haida village. We saw bilingual street signs.

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It rained all day.

After that, on the way back home, we stopped and saw the totems in Klawock, too. Peter gave a stump speech in the Klawock city park.

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Caveat: Comings and Goings

At 6 this morning, I drove my friends Mark and Amy to catch the ferry. They left their RV here (per the plan) – so now I have another project.

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During the day, I worked on finally finishing the move of the storage tent – which I jokingly call my “studio” – to it’s new spot on the western lot.  Here it is.

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Then I drove back to the ferry terminal and met my friend Peter, coming in. Here he comes…

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Caveat: Tree #241

Believe it or not, after all of last night, we decided to go out fishing today. Mark wanted to go again, and is only here for two more days.

Tired as we were, we boated all the way out to Ulitka (“Tree”), at the north end of Noyes Island. We caught a rather humongous lingcod, but only one pink salmon and no coho or halibut, which are Arthur’s preferred catches.

Here is a daily tree, from last night – taken by Amy.

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picture[daily log: walking, 3km; catching, 1 lingcod, 1 salmon]

Caveat: Alaska Burning

The neighbor’s house burned down last night. It’s still smoldering, at 6 AM.

It was scary. A bit after midnight, Dean (the neighbor, not the same Dean as recently mentioned who is Arthur’s friend) knocks on our door and says, “Call 911, my house is on fire.” The next 5 hours are a blur. Here is a picture of the house, at about 1 AM:

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This house was here before Arthur moved here – it’s one of the oldest houses on all of the Port Saint Nicholas Road.

We put our hoses on and tried to prevent the fire from burning into the trees west of the house – because our house (where Arthur and I are) is only 50 feet away, through some trees, to the west. And the trees closest to Dean’s house were burning. Here’s a picture from Arthur’s dock, at around 3 AM, looking back toward shore. You can see how close Dean’s house is to ours. That speck of light in the dark on the right side of the photo is someone with a flashlight at the eastern wall of Arthur’s house.

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The power was out for a while, because Dean’s house’s electrical connection shorted out the system, as it burned. APT (the power company) actually got here before the fire department, and were working on fixing the situation. A fire truck came from the Craig Volunteer Fire Department, but they only had 800 gallons in their tank – they sprayed down at the trees and when the power came back on we resumed spraying with our garden hoses. I estimate we used about 2500 gallons from Arthur’s 3000 gallon cistern. Fortunately, we have a well, now, and the cistern is now re-filling.

As of dawn, we seemed to have suppressed the spread of the fire. It’s just there smoldering now. Here it is at 6 AM.

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What a very intense night. My friends Mark and Amy, still here, were helpful throughout the night. I think they will now have a very amazing memory of their visit here.

We had some panic when it was spreading into the trees, because it seemed like nothing could stop it from catching our house, as the power was out. At around 2 AM, we evacuated our house, got out our computers and important documents, drove vehicles over to the western lot. That was pretty scary.

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Caveat: Tree #237

I was walking down the road, and saw a foot-high cedar tree growing in the gravel of the road. “Well, this tree will not last long, here,” I thought.

I yanked it out of the ground and carried it back to Lot 73. I chose a spot down near the water at the northwest corner, where Richard had thrown fresh raw fill (mud and rocks) down behind the new septic tank. I put the tree in the ground there. I wonder if it will grow?

Here is the young tree, lying there, roots exposed.

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Here is the same tree, with its root buried.

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I’ve done a few other experiments with moving seedlings around, here. They don’t seem to have a very good survival rate, under my amateurish supervision.

My friends Mark and Amy from Minnesota arrived here. That’s pretty cool! We will do touristy stuff with them for their visit (about 6 days). Mark has actually met Arthur once before – in 1985! Mark remembers Arthur well – he made a big impression on him at the time, but Arthur doesn’t remember Mark.

picture[daily log: walking, 3.5km]