Despite the title, these pixels are anything but lazy. This is a site of my own photos, my own art, my own written text and more. There are no memes. This is not a portal to someone else’s brain. It is an outlet for my own creative soul. I plan to post words and pictures about things that interest me and all the projects I'm exploring in multiple formats: long, short, deep, and shallow. Share and enjoy.

Long Slog Up the Alaskan Coast

Posted
7 months 1 week ago
Anchorage Flight
Departure
PAYA (Yakutat)
Arrival
PANC (Anchorage Alaska)
Flight Time
3 hours 24 minutes

Saturday. I had considering making two trips instead of this giant leap towards Anchorage from the small coastal airport where I’d last landed, but there seemed to me something epic about burning an entire long-weekend morning with some zen-like cruising.

Scattered clouds over the Alaska coast.

It is possible, by the way, to do other things while I fly. After settling into a steady altitude I spent most of the 350 NM flight tweaking my course but also writing, watching some videos, reading some news, and straightening up my office. In fact, I’ve still got nearly 100 NM to go as I write these words, typing then glancing over every couple minutes to nudge the flight stick and bring myself back to “generally in the right direction.”

Leg 10 of this trip around the world left from a landing strip in a small town called Yakutat in Alaska. When I landed there on Wednesday it was cloudy with some low fog and a hazy sky.

Sunshine and mountains on the North Pacific Coast of Alaska

Today it was clear and bright, the epic mountains were worthy of a few dozen screenshots, and I found myself babbling through the video capture just to make sure the flyover of the scenery was not passed by too quickly.

Not another soul made an appearance in the simulator until I came withing 100 NM of Anchorage, however. The skies on this flight were lonely and clear of clouds and other traffic. It was likely a factor of both the remoteness of where I found myself and the fact others might have better things to do on a Saturday morning. I mean, I can’t imagine what...

On final approach into Anchorage, Alaska.

With about 30 minutes left in my flight the “flight hours” gauge in the Cessna 172 rolled over to 25 hours, the first of (hopefully) many milestones. Given my strict rules about using that particular plane for only recorded flight legs on the Pilot Project, this means that including my handful of short jumps around the province in practice flights, my trip has added up to 25 hours so far. For some reason that feels light, but I’m not quite ready to go back and add it all up.

https://youtu.be/9C2owGI6BGs

I descended in Anchorage, cruised in low under some emergent clouds, and dropped gently onto a generous international airport runway — with neither clearance (never asked nor received) nor the the usual chiding from ATC that usually follows uncleared landings. I guess up North they do things a little different.

Flight Number
L109

Glaciers & Fog... Again

Posted
7 months 1 week ago
Fog Alaska
Departure
PASI (Sitka, AK)
Arrival
PAYA (Yakutat, AK)
Flight Time
2 hours 27 minutes

I Google'd "Yakutat Alaska" before I locked it into my flight plan and discovered that it is yet another small Northern town. What was interesting, however, was that about half way between Sitka, Alaska where I was, and Yakutat, Alaska where I was considering going, was a US National Park called Glacier Bay.

Google "Glacier Bay" and you'll be met with a collection of epic photos of chunks of glaciers cracking off into the ocean while cruise ships watch from a distance.

Oh... now you've heard of it.

Glacier Bay with a low cloud mystery to be explored.

Unfortunately the weather was a bit uncooperative.

There was some rain and low cloud. Lots of fog. I hugged the ground, flying at a low altitude and swooping off course to track around the island mountains, dodging into the Bay to glide along the varied coast looking for some sign of simulated glacial activity. There were hints, but no cruise ships and no tumbling chunks of ice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjVlyEAnGB4

I admit, I cheated a bit and adjusted the weather to get some better views of the scenery. Flying through thick fog is challenging and all, but it seems like a waste of the advanced ground-breaking simulation software I had at my disposal as I pretended to fly over a natural wonder.

Following an uneventful remainder of the flight I practised an unassisted landing for the first time on the trip, having turned off the guidance markers. On the plus side, I didn't crash. On the "oops!" side, if you watch the video right to the end you'll see what was almost my first blooper of a landing.

Either way, I'm now firmly in Alaska, and very much on my way to see the world.

Flight Number
L108

Garden Update, Part 8

Posted
7 months ago
apples

September rolled in and on the second day of the month it was as if someone flipped a switch and made it autumn. Hopefully we'll get an encore of the nice weather, but given the course of this year so far it is not something I'd put money on.

On the weekend I dug up the carrots. The mouse I thwarted did not seem to have any pals, so the damage to the crop was limited to what was done a month ago. Still, tossing half the carrots because they had been chewed, gnawed, or otherwise contaminated was heartbreaking. The five to ten pounds that I did harvest were delicious, however, and the night of our harvest we cooked a delicious carrot soup -- a soup that's only really good with fresh garden carrots, and a soup that used up about half the crop. Well spent.

I also dug a couple hills of potatoes, and the results were sliced thinly and fried into crispy chips. I always plant potatoes, but they're not my favourite. But I will say both myself and the family adored the chips that were made and the Kid cut more taters half way through cooking because her sampling of the final results made her insist that we should not skimp.

The cucumbers have been a regular addition to our meals as well, though the smaller pickle-sized cukes have a sweeter taste and a thinner more palatable skin. I'll eat them no matter what, but the consensus around the dinner table has been to sneak them off their vines earlier than later. I suspect we have a couple more weeks of trickling harvest on that crop.

The biggest success by far however has been weed management. The extra time granted by working from home all summer has been to keep the weeds in check and while usually by this time of year we're hacking through weeds to find the actual crops, this year it's a small effort to keep the occasional invasive plant from taking over. Next year will benefit from this effort, without a doubt.

Seven Dozens

Posted
7 months ago
Bread

On day one hundred and seventy of my temporary working from home I attended a meeting where I was told to think about how I was going to transition to a permanent working from home scenario. That's corporate-speak for things just got real, so maybe buy a comfortable chair and clean up your home office because you're going to be there for a while.

We started making pandemic sourdough on the same afternoon I came home from the office. I'd stopped at the grocery store and there was literally no flour to buy and the shelves were half-bare. It was a reaction to the reality that we had enough supplies to bake a few dozen loaves of bread if... y'know... nothing else was available.

Things have settled.

We wear a mask to the store, limit our visits to once per week, and the shelves are nearly fully stocked if with some weird items sometimes being limited or quietly missing. Groceries are 99% normal even if the experience of getting them is not.

But I still like my sourdough, and we've bought barely enough store bread to fill a reusable shopping bag in the nearly six months of pandemic-mode living. When last night I pulled loaves 83 and 84 from the oven it was just another evening baking exercise, so routine now that I was fitting it in between other things.

The Kid has requested softer crusts, so I bake at a lower, longer temperature.

The proofs are a little more casual, and my rises need some work and better timing.

The loaf pans could use some TLC, but have become a permanent fixture on the counter because they're rarely cool long enough to both putting into a cupboard.

And bread, and bread, and more bread.

Eighty four loaves of pandemic sourdough, and where I once thought a hundred seemed far fetched, it now seems inevitable -- and not even the final milestone on the "Achievement Unlocked!" badge for covid-themed cooking.

...I really should have been more serious about making jam.

Over the Clouds and Into Alaska

Posted
7 months ago
Alaska
Departure
CZST (Stewart, BC)
Arrival
PASI (Sitka, AK)
Flight Time
2 hours 7 minutes

It’s no small thing crossing an international border these days.

I set out on a virtual trip around the world nearly two weeks ago, and the whole point (well, some of the point... a big part of the point) was to do something I couldn’t do in real life: go somewhere. With the pandemic lockdown, sure we can travel to the supermarket (in a mask) or for a weekend hiking (socially distancing from everything and everyone) but to get on a plane and go somewhere far away is a literal impossibility.

Not a virtual one, however.

Swooping into the Alaskan Fog

It was a little disappointing that I crossed from British Columbia in to Alaska at 12,000 ft and with a thick layer of clouds between me and the rolling mountain scenery below. When you’re playing in real time, live weather, in a simulation of the planet then you get what reality throws at you... or simulates at you ... I still haven’t figured out a good way to phrase that.

https://youtu.be/BKaZ5yq4fMQ

Two hours in the air and as I descended into those clouds I dodged mountains and swooped through a foggy fjord as I approached the seaside Alaskan town.

Sitka, Alaska, according to Wikipedia has a population of nearly 9,000 and is (surprise!) largely dependent on the fishing and seafood industry. As I took a second flight touring over the town in the fog, there seemed to be a large number of houses and other buildings strung like beads along the coastline, making the community a kind of partial ring around the mountain that is the foundation of the island upon which it sits.

My continuing trip into Alaska will take multiple more legs, mostly following the south coast as I leapfrog the chain of islands extending like an arm towards Russia and Asia. Of course, the virtual beauty that I've seen so far is just making me long to visit some of these places in real life.

Flight Number
L107