Now for anybody who knows me well, they'll know I'm generally not an outdoorsy person. I blame this on the fact that I came from a family of 7 and camping made for some cheap vacations. Most of things we did together as a family were outdoors, camping, rafting and hiking. Most of these were also less than enjoyable. I am always cold and I much prefer the Ramada to a tent with no air pad. At the age of 12 I would have much rather been left home and allowed to just read all weekend than be dragged out of doors. Before we moved to Alaska I was actually quite outdoorsy, but from the moment I walked off the plane that fall of 1990 it has been a chore to get me outside to do more than walk to the car. It's just too cold, buggy and not fun. Hubby says that we were camping wrong and has made it his mission to show me fun camping. I'm trying to keep an open mind.
So, back to the Spring Migration Paddle. Every year in Alaska the birds come back in the Spring by the thousands. This year I guess they are being lazy birds because we barely saw any. On our 5 hours of canoing we did see 5 moose, a zillion fish, little baby Salmon which were less than 3 inches long and other assorted wildlife. The moose were particularly impressive. 3 of them were wading in the river as we canoed by. They were just out there munching on a branch that was stuck in the river. When we went by they scurried off to shore, but for awhile there they were very VERY close. Scary close. I took a bunch of pictures and I'll have to see how good they are. If I got any good shots I'll post them.
All in all it was a great trip. We got out in the outdoors on Earth Day and it was beautiful. I blogged about going to the Ice Art Competition March 28th which was less than a month ago. We have gone from -40F to 60F, a difference of 100 degrees in less than a month. Wow! We are now inspired to do more things together and develop some more active hobbies. We are looking at buying bikes so that we can commute to work in a more environmentally friendly way and so we can do trips on the weekends.
Bikes are expensive. The last time I bought a bike the big decision was wether I should get the one with a basket or the one with pom-poms on the handles. Now we have disc brakes, shocks, hard tails vs. soft tails and a myriad of other options. Bikes range from $99.99 Walmart specials, which are unrepairable to $700.00 mountain bikes and up and up and up. I am not going to grow again so I don't mind spending a little more on a bike that will last me a long time. And if it is uncomfortable I know I won't use it as much. I am tempted to spend a bit more on something that I will enjoy using because I know that I will use it more. Anybody have a recommendation for a good bike path and trail bike? It needs to work on both gravel and pavement and preferably have a step through frame. I'm still a little girly in my bike needs.
So, I'm thinking of changing it to be more unique and so as not to offend those who chose the moniker first. I am a law geek, but I am not the Law Geek apparently. Suggestions anyone?
- Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin dies aged 76, Kremlin confirms
- Russian news agencies report Yeltsin died of heart failure Monday afternoon
- National day of mourning, funeral to take place on Wednesday
- Former Soviet leader Gorbachev says Yeltsin suffered a "tragic fate"
As a Russian Studies major, I'll have more to say on this later. I have studied Yeltsin extensively so his death is actually a major piece of news to me. All I can say right now is that he will be remembered by many by the following photograph.
Ted Nugent: Gun-free zones are recipe for disaster
Despite where I personally come down on this issue, I think that Plate presents a better argument. His style is better and he doesn't resort to making personal insults or off-color remarks. Nugent seems to be more emotional and less concerned with making a cohesive argument.
If you know anybody at George Mason you can tell them that I am awesome and that I'd love to go their school. I didn't apply earlier because the silly LSAC webpage didn't return George Mason when I searched for DC area schools. Yeah, yeah, I know it's in Virginia, but you would think LSAC would know that it was close enough to count. The more I find out about their school the more I want to go there. New building, not insanely liberal, great IP program and job placement rate and they are willing to change to make things better for their students as evidenced by their astonding changes in the USNWR ratings. Plus, they are accessible by metro. Plus, they are so nice to contact via e-mail and they were the only ones to offer to let me sit in on a class. Oh, and if any George Mason admissions staff read this, I'm probably the only Alaskan who hasn't received a decision yet, so just send the acceptance letter to zip code 99709. I'll be there to visit on April 30th.
You’ll find that you may feel a little more grumpier than usual. Watch that you’re not picking fights with other members of your family; avoid using them as chew sticks when you’re feeling frustrated. Really this is a good time for personal change. If work stresses you out, learn to take naps or get out and get some physical exercise in order to burn off steam. This is also a wonderful time to renovate your house or do some spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning sounds good and will hopefully destress me! I have also started exercising now that the sun is coming back. Now if only I can convince my boss that naps are important.
The Comics & Graphic Novels must come from shopping for hubby. I don't know what Fonda, Henry or Polyglot are about. Come to think of it I don't even know what Polyglot means. Apparently pol·y·glot is:
1. able to speak or write several languages; multilingual.
2. containing, composed of, or written in several languages: a polyglot Bible. –noun
3. a mixture or confusion of languages.
4. a person who speaks, writes, or reads a number of languages.
5. a book, esp. a Bible, containing the same text in several languages.
Well, I guess it's appropriate after all. I have bought Russian, Latin, and French study materials off of their website and probably will continue to do so. So, what are your Amazon words? Or does it not know you as well because you shop at actual stores.
I attended the arraignment court at the State Court in Fairbanks as part of an assignment for my Intro to Justice class. Most of the defendants were there on DUI charges, most were male and over 50% of the defendants were military. We have two large bases, one Army and one Airforce nearby. One of the interesting things that I noted was the difference in bail given to military and non-military defendants on DUI charges. Basically, the magistrate recognized that the military has the ability to restrict the defendants far more than bail ever could so he released the military DUI defendants on recognizance with the understanding that they would have worse repercussions in store for them as a result of their military status.
The military DUI defendants ranged from simple DUIs, to those who refused breathalyzers, those with combined DUI and speeding or street racing charges, and those who cursed at the arresting officers. In each of the cases, the magistrate released the defendants on recognizance. Additionally he recommended that the defendant who cursed at his arresting officer send the officer a thank you note thanking the officer for doing his duty and apologizing. One of the people who had military personal present on their behalf was not a member of the military, but rather a dependent. Her husband is currently deployed in Iraq. It was interesting to me that even though she is not a service member, the military thought it was their responsibility to send someone to vouch for her and assure the magistrate that she would be confined to base.
My impressions of the overall process are mixed. On one hand the system was efficient. It went quickly and was for the most part quite scripted and repetitive. On the other hand, this efficiency often left defendants and their families confused. When one of the defendants was asked, “Do you want to talk to a lawyer?” he responded “I don’t know.” This was followed by the magistrate saying “Well I’m not in a position to give you legal advice, do you want a lawyer or not?” The magistrate basically ramrodded the defendant into making a decision. Were it not for the fact that the soldier’s Lieutenant was there to advise the soldier to retain counsel, he might have decided to enter a plea of guilty or make another split second decision.
This rushed feeling was also very clear in another case where the defendant’s mother had come to the hearing. She had all sorts of questions and the magistrate basically told her, “I don’t have time for this.” They were relevant questions too. Her son works for a company that delivers alcohol and with his DUI arrest and bail conditions he is not allowed to drive or be in bars or liquor stores. She wanted to know if he could ride along and make deliveries to places like Safeway who sell liquor, but aren’t strictly liquor stores. The way she said this was in a lot more roundabout manner and she basically frustrated the magistrate into shutting her up. If he had been a bit more patient and heard her out, he probably would have realized what her question was and been able to help her out by answering it. Instead she left disenfranchised with the process and frustrated. She didn’t even know where to get a copy of her son’s charges. I did find it funny that the magistrate imposed the bail condition that her son live with her and follow her house rules until the time of his hearing despite the fact that he is a grown man with his own place.
The system overall gave me the impression that it tried to be fair. Those who entered guilty pleas were given detailed descriptions about what type of rights they were giving up as a result. Those who were there on felony charges and who were not there to make a plea were instructed that they could remain silent if they wished as anything they said could be used against them. This reminder was not required, but was definitely nice. One of things that I found unfair about the hearings was the lack of consistency between military and non-military defendants in the bail conditions. Non-military defendants with similar charges were given monetary fines and in several cases were ordered to have an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicles. Wouldn’t an ignition interlock device be helpful at ensuring that all of those convicted of DUI charges do not offend again during their probationary periods? Why should these devices be ordered only for non-military defendants? This inconsistency bothered me even though I understood the reasoning behind it.