Just Thinkin'

I am still not sure why I started this rant. So far it has been an great avenue to "put it out there"
Truthfully, my rants are cyclic. Every four years or so I start to look at our political process. lately that has been fueled by the shenanigans of our council members.
I appreciate this new and somewhat misplaced belief that I should step into the bigger arena. however; it was not my intent to fuel a drive to put me in any office or seat.
I only want to wake up my fellow Kodiakians! We do not need to seek office to enact change or force our current and future seat seekers do the right thing. We simply need to voice our opinions, vote our conscience, and demand accountability for the actions of the people we elect. The power of this country is not in the hands of congress, nor any local assembly. It is in our hands. This country was founded by farmers, and workers, not professional politicians. The mechanism for change is still in place. What we have lost is the belief that a private citizen has a voice and can enact the changes we desire.
That said, I will leave my response to Ishmael.
Way to early for a campaign anything! Maybe later but not now.
If I choose to step up later can I use that?
My real goal is to get more folks up off their apathetic butts and ask hard questions. More importantly expect and demand real representation followed by results that reflect what the majority wants.
If you believe you can make a difference, then you will.
Keep up the good work.


Just Ramblin'

I haven't heard any feedback on my last rant. I figure that I have either stepped into the usual political, anti-guv diatribe that plagues this community, or I am simply stating the obvious. I like to think that I am not just spouting obvious problems. I offer one solution over and over; ACT! Take ownership in the community in which you live. Step up and voice your concerns.
Whatever; some things need to be voiced, exorcising demons is is one bonus for having a blog.
In the big arena, our candidates are dropping like flies. They are either unable or unwilling to overcome the personal and financial costs of a run at the crown; or are simply able see the reality of their plight. I envision a small group of "also ran" politico's getting out early and hoping, like a bridesmaid at her sisters wedding, to be chosen next or for the V.P. seat.
Anyways, on the local front. The eagles are returning! Lets have a parade and give our local politicos a chance to voice their environmental and conservationist ideals.
Better yet, lets just return them home; quietly and with dignity. Granted they are victims of their natural urges and man's unawareness of the world that is immediately around him. Let's not turn this into another media debacle. Just set them free. The local rags can comment later. The birds do not need another stressful event, filled with do-gooders and well wishers.
Set them free and let them be; enough harm has already been done. Any large production concerning the release is for our benefit, not theirs.
One last thing,. Has anyone gone downtown and looked for the lawsuits pending against the borough lately? It may be enlightening.
Do a good thing tomorrow.


Been huntin'

Thanks to the readers of my little blog. I am starting to get some feedback. Even if I do not agree with all of it, I am happy to have it!
I left on my latest adventure to go hunting. Myself and a few colleagues went out Uganik way to put some meat in the freezer. It was a great weekend.
We cruised out and did a little hunting, told some stories, had some adventure, and returned home safe. What more could a person ask for?
I got to know some folks I knew better, and got to know a new friend. I also gained some more insight into the world and plight of our local fishermen and businessmen.
This strengthened my belief that, at some point soon, we have got to tell the feds to get out!
To often we have let the federal guv lead us down the path of believing what they say is what is good for our community. What has that led to? More boats sitting in the harbor, more deckhands looking for work or changing occupations altogether. What will happen in the long run?
Fishing is hard work, whether you are a commercial fisherman or a charter boat captain is irrelevant. Slowly the feds have imposed various regs and rationalizations that have squelched our American dream. Corporate vessels, home ported down south now control the majority of our fisheries. Every year it seems that a new segment of our local economy is held up to federal regulation and scrutiny.
Are we willing to let this go on? The legacy of proud Alaskan entrepreneurs will be watered down until Alaskans will be nothing but menial servants, grateful for what the guv and corporate America is willing to let us share in?
No! It should be the other way around. This state is full of natural resources. It is capable of supplying the entire country with food and energy. It is also capable of giving any person that is willing to take a chance and work hard, a chance to prosper and be independent.
Maybe that is what scares those professional politicians and corporate whores we have put in office. Imagine a state that was willing to say GET OFF!
Get off our back, we can manage our fisheries, our oil fields, our gas fields, our gosh darn fishing & hunting regulations.
That said.
We need to start here. Lets find the folks who will stand up and say what up? Folks who are not afraid to question; look behind the obvious, and hold our elected officials accountable for their actions and in-actions. We need to be a resounding voice that bellows until, unable to bear the din of our resolution, the government must hear and heed our wants.
If this sounds altruistic, think on this. Our founding fathers overcame an overbearing and dispassionate sovereign to build a nation that was based on a simple tenet.
By the people for the people. Simple, yet powerful. If this belief is not true, then why do so many other oppressed and small countries seek to emulate it?
Have we traded security for freedom? Have we sold our beliefs because it is easier to accept the belief that we are no longer able to enact change?
Reality: today.
There are several assembly members suing the borough because of various reasons and they want us to pay for their lawyers. Tell them to go home and do not invite them back. Professional deckhands have lost their livelihood and we supposedly,cannot get that back. Let's stem the tide that seeks to pull the independence of our way of life from under us. Our community needs to focus on what will sustain our community and if the feds or any other group seeks to alter that, then we should be asking hard questions and fighting hard battles, until exhausted, we either get we we need or get the answers we deserve. No aspect of this islands economic livelihood does not die without affecting several others. We are all held accountable in the long run.
Woosh, I am spent. Thanks for letting me vent.
Do one good thing today, but not for yourself.
Thanks to Mike, Doug, Fred, & Mike. I had Reel Fun.


My spin

It seems that my last entry has sparked some commentary.
I misnomered a part of my commentary on the current legal frivolities of our assembly.
The other litigants are not co-plaintiffs in Mr. Stephens suite. They are also plaintiffs, but in separate suites. Hence the tense discussions at the last meeting.
Their law suites are separate, but equally inane. That tidbit on the table, lets magnify it by the fact that those assembly members suing also expect us to pick up the tab for their legal costs. Are you serious?
Commentators on my last blog entry have pointed out that the records are public knowledge. They are correct. My point is simply this. Most folks will not go through the hurdles involved in obtaining that information. This is magnified by the fact that most of us are not aware that such litigation exists.
Second point: why not publish this in the local paper? Surely any litigation against the borough is newsworthy. Again the local pulp avoids being controversial.
Nuff said on that.
In response to a few other comments. I have thrown my hat in the ring. I will not say that a run at an assembly seat is not on my agenda. However; I have been active in this community on several volunteer boards. It is my desire to understand the processes that drive this community before I try to step in and help manage it. Too often people run for an office with a personal agenda, or even with no agenda, and do not understand the procedures and work that is necessary to function as an asset to the community. Listen to the meetings; how many times do board members need direction on what is allowable and what is not?
That said. I will continue to work on various boards and committees until I feel that I understand how this convoluted borough / city government works. There are plenty of folks doing the same thing.
One last answer to another comment. Active duty military are restricted in what public service they may seek. It must be non-paying and usually non-voting seats. This no longer applies to me personally, but does apply to many people who live here.
So the answer to the challenge that some of you have thrown is this.
I am grateful that you are reading my rant. I am grateful for your confidence in my ability,(although it may be misplaced).
I will retreat to my original tenet. Give back!
There are numerous service boards, fire departments, and advisory boards that continually have vacant seats. Act! Get on one. You might not think that it matters, but the assembly listens to these boards regularly, as does the mayor. Perhaps you will come to understand the processes that are involved in governing our community. Then we can grow a group of citizens that can walk into an assembly meeting, or even step onto the board with a working knowledge of what needs to be done.
Seem like a commitment? It sure is. Maybe start smaller. Try being a youth coach for the numerous seasonal activities that are around. It is an intense but short term commitment.
My experience has shown me that a few folks step up, and in doing so, become the workhorse that pulls the buggy for the entire neighborhood. Wouldn't it be better if we had a team of workhorses that pulled the load? Too often I have seen members of this community trying to close the barn door after the cows have gone. We need to be informed and fore-warned so that we can act as a preventative rather than a band-aid.
I am spent, thanks for reading.
My last question.
What have you done lately, that made this world a better place?


My hat's in.

Hey I'm back!
Apologies to the two readers of this blog for my hiatus. I've been wicked busy.
I would love to spend paragraphs catch'in ya'll up on my adventures, but good sense tells me to keep this reasonably short.
So let's talk about the paper; our beloved Mirror.
After a three day weekend our local rag is wafer thin. Hard to believe that there was so little going on on this community that all four pages, (subtract the comics and classifieds), had little to say about what is really going on.
I have wondered for some time about the escalating brevity in the "Letters To The Editor" section of the local pulp. There is so much happening in this community, why is this section getting so spartan in it's commentary?
I hesitate to believe that so many have so little to say. Perhaps the same machine that stifled Nick in his prime, has persevered and we have given up on the hope that we have something to say.
That said I need to address one thing.
The Borrough assembly is in the midst of legal and personal turmoil. Talking with some colleagues I learned that all is not well in Camelot.
I did not realize that "attendance gate" is far from over. Come to find out that Mr. Stephens lawsuit is far from over. Sure the judge ruled and our assembly members acquiesced. They did the right thing, given the circumstances. However; I come to find out that three of the current board members are co-plaintiffs in this law suite.
This is what spurred the heated discussion at the last meeting.
Fellow voters, I ask this. Why should we pay for extra attorneys when board members choose to seek private representation? Why would we allow standing members to sue our community and pay their costs to do so?
I think it is time for the details of this law suite to be made public. Not an unreasonable expectation; given the outcome and burden this community will have to pay.
There are a few members of this assembly who really want to enable change on our island. There are also a few that want to maintain the status quo. or who signed on with personal axes to grind. Can you say RECALL?
Look at this, get informed, make a decision!
If our elected officials are not informing the constituents, are not listening to the will of the people, then CUT THEM LOOSE!
That said;
Our local rag. Where is the impartial. non-partisan , information we desire? The majority of the drivel that is printed is available on the I-Net or any major national pub. If the local media is not shining light in the corners then who is?
I challenge the Daily Mirror to pick up that spotlight and shine it in the dark corners that drive the economy of this island. We must hold our elected officials accountable, otherwise we are sheep. KMXT; keep looking into those dark corners, but look deeper. Who cares if you lose a sponsor? If you pursue truth and shine that light into the real business of this community, more sponsors will appear.
To my fellow Flat's Rat's and other borough citizens.
What up? Ask those uncomfortable questions. Expect reasonable answers. Demand public accountability.
In closing: someone publish the details of this law suite, give us names and grievances. Let us decide what to fight for. What is right is right, but the government is not our parents. Rather it is the other way around. We give you the chance to sink or swim, and we should hold you accountable for your actions or in-actions.
Wow,; I am spent.
I have thrown my little hat into the ring. Disagree? Then step up, but put it in a public forum for all to see. Yep, that's my last challenge to the paper and our elected officials. Put your cards on the table. I welcome all rebuttal. If the blog-o-sphere daunts you, ask around, I am not hard to find.
The right thing is not always the easy thing, but is always right thing.


My heart

This week has been a roller coaster of emotional tides.
Now as I wind down,I have put my beloved on an airplane. She is off to be with her parents as they seek to persevere. My father-in-law will be undergoing cancer treatment and surgery.
Jack, I know you as a mentor, father-in-law, and I wish you well. I know, in my heart, that so many years ago you had misgivings about the new son-in-law you had acquired. I have done my best for 19 years now, and I hope I have not let you down.
K. has left on this journey, and she is still my heart and soul and is still my main concern. We understand how special she is and I know how lucky I am to have her and all that she has brought into my life.
That said; I must leave this for the world to see. Of all I have written, this is the best I will ever do. This daughter that you raised has been my boon. What more could a father ask; than that his daughter is so loved. Now as a father, I understand your worries and joys. Thank you for your wisdom and patience. Get well and stay strong.
Know in your heart, that my heart is hers. God bless you and keep you.

For K.
When I was younger I would compare our love,
to the sun with odes;
full of blazing and overwhelming tides of passion.
The years have come and passed us,
and I know.
You are not the sun, not the ocean crashing in,
filling my heart.
You are the moon, full of gentle light
softly invading the darkness of my soul,
bringing a soft luminescence that enlightens me.
Rather than the pounding and surging surf,
you are subtle lake water,
lapping, lapping,
at the shore.
Not the forceful gale to sweep clean the clutter
of my mind.
You are the cool winters breeze,
that brings new warmth to a dying fires embers,
and I glow,
waiting for passion to ignite,
at your touch.


What a weekend.
I got off the ferry and stepped back into my world. Fund raisers for Scott. fires in the Flats, and the memorial for Robin.
I am bone weary and heart filled.
The fund raiser for my buddy went well, although I had to miss the majority of it due to a fire out here. Huge kudos to my brothers at Womans Bay fire Dept. for responding as fast as they did. The majority of us were in town for various reasons,but they all dropped what they were doing and responded. It was a long night, but no one got hurt and the abandoned building did not spread to cause further harm.
Today's memorial for Robin Starrett was a fitting tribute to a life lived. The high school auditorium was filled. No, really , it was standing room only. The ceremony was beautiful and sincere. What amazed me most was the travelers that came to speak of their memories of Robin. Every village was represented, my fellow former colleagues flew in from all over the state to memorialize a great man. They read letters from numerous others who could not come to our beloved isle.
Later, at the reception I greeted so many old friends; come together to remember this one man, that I realized how much Robin would have smiled and thought how great it was to see us all catching up with hugs and handshakes. Later at the airport , when the heaviness of our grief was spent, we caught up again, traded stories and addresses. I like to think that; maybe, we will stay closer now.

I wrote this short sometime ago. It was my attempt to verbalize a fathers loss. I feel that it also has meaning to the loss suffered by so many in the past week.
Not Returned

A ball thrown
not returned,
hits the ground
makes a sound
as does earth
hits a grave.

Remember to treat every conversation as it is the last time you would talk to that person.


The road home

Interesting trip.
Last minute call from the guy I was buying my new old truck from. Really, I was getting ready to leave for for A-town and he called because the water pump went just as he was ready to drive in from Willow to meet me. Talk about a leap of faith. I was committed to going over there to pick up the pick-up. I decided to go anyway. Worst case scenario I would catch the Aces game, catch up with my bud and fly home.
Sticking to my tenet of everything happens for a reason I decided to press on. As I pulled into the airport Jess called me to let me know he got a tow and the shop could get it fixed that day. No problem; back on track.
He met me at the airport and we proceeded to Wasilla. The mechanics at the shop were very cool. I talked with them; ya know one wrench to another. I told them I had two goals, to make it to the game that night and drive on to Homer in the morning. They hooked me up. They gave the truck a good look over and we fixed a few small things. Instead of running around A-town shopping for all that stuff I couldn't find on the rock, I spent the day in Wasilla getting to know a new friend and chillin' while they got the truck ready for my trip. Great day!
I finally got to A-town, met my buddy at O'Rielly's for a glass or two of half n' half's' then on to the game. Life was good.
The drive to Homer was full of challenges thanks to my misdirection and the weather. Needless to say I ended up in Seward for a cup of coffee and the humbling experience of seeking directions to the turn I missed. No big, turns out I missed the majority of the storm that hit the peninsula on my little detour. I only dealt with about 50 miles of whiteouts while others fared far worse.
It was a small crowd on the Tusty but what a group! I had a great trip. I met several great fellow Alaskans, had a great breakfast and incredible conversations.
This entry is already to long so I will thank, Paul, Brad, Wyatt, Jason, and Dan for helping me pass the time. I had fun and learned a lot. Where else would I ever meet fellow firefighters and duck hunters, a colleague in my professional world, and lastly a man who moved to Kodiak the year I was born. We talked hunting, fishing, politics, and history. We also just BS'd.
My darling bride had misgivings when I boarded that plane Wednesday, I smiled and put my faith in the greater good. She in turn trusted my judgment and wished me well.
Maybe after all the events of last weekend, I needed confirmation of my beliefs. Everything happens for a reason; if you trust in the inherent good of man, then you will experience the best in people.
This is true.
Thanks to the folks I met on this trip, I have confirmed my belief that all of man is inherently good, trustworthy, and honest. I will not let the exceptions to that rule discount all the good that is out here. Because really, those that follow the good path seldom make the news. It is the exceptions to our common sense of good and bad that do.
They do not deserve the notoriety they get. It is the folks that just get the job done; overcoming the day to day challenge that life. friends, family, and faith bring, that deserve the notice. Maybe they do not want it, (I know I don't), but it serves us all as proof that we can fight the good fight, and remain unwavering, and resolute in knowing one thing.
The right thing is not always the easiest thing to do, it is not always the popular thing to do; but it is always the right thing to do.
I have ranted long enough.
Good Night
Thanks to Ishmael & Chris for reading.


Time to go

I appreciate the positive feed back I am receiving about my fledgling blog.
I am leaving in the morning to pick up my new old pick-up in Wasilla.
Hopefully this will be an uneventful journey filled with time visiting old friends while I am town.
After I wrap up the business part of the trip, I intend to catch up with my old friend in the big city of A-Town.
The Aces are in town and we will probably spend the night there, catching up, whooping it up, and putting the ghosts to bed.
Events as of late lend promise to a road trip. Let the highway clear my brain and exercise the demons. Because for me, the loss of a brother is painful enough, but it always raises the ghosts of the brothers gone ahead; sort of like salt in the wound, I guess. But that is my problem, my journey. Too many gone too soon. We all have our demons.
I will hold to the good memories, and tomorrow night I will celebrate the lives that were lived, rather than the loss.
The next morning the long drive to Homer will give me time to clean my soul, one more time. A quiet ferry ride will allow me to compose and contemplate. Refreshed, I will return to this beloved island and greet the day.
Vikings we were then, and vikings the remainder will be.
Good night Robin, Dave, Tim, Debbie, Kim , Corey, Dwayne, Ken, James, and Floyd.


Winter is a time of dying

At least that is what grandmother always told me.
Today I understand once again what she meant. Shortly after my last post, as I was getting ready for my adventure, fate and the good Lord intervened.
My darling bride whipped open the garage door to tell me the beeper had gone off and they were requesting the WBVFD to report to the C.G. firehouse for the crash. Dropping everything I ran to the fire hall to grab gear, colleagues , and the engine.
But enough of my adventure. I can tell you all about the workings of emergency response later, (if you want).
A friend of mine was driving that plane. A former professional colleague, fellow retired Coastie, and a brother who chose to stay on our beloved island to pursue his dream.
Robin was one of the best sticks I knew. He devoted a major part of his life to answering the bell and pulling people out of the water. I had the pleasure of being on the back-up c-130 crew that watched over his helo as he went out into the goo more than a few times. Ironic; after all the years of doing the heroic work he did, it was a milk run that took him from us.
I would go on, but I cannot. Suffice to say, I will miss our conversations in the various parking lots about town. You know the ones; how ya been, whats new, did ya hear about?; and finally lets get together when things slow down.
Well things never seem to slow down, do they?
Peace and love to the families of those that did not make it. Peace and love to the survivors and their families.
Peace and love to you Judy.
Our former colleagues have started the email trail already. He will be missed and mourned. Another of my former brothers-in-arms has beaten me to the gates of heaven.
Another thing Grandmother taught us.
Every time you see or talk to your friends, treat them as if it is the last time you will see them.
Too true.
God hold and keep you.
Good night Robin


Winter Wonderland

Do you love this weather or what ? Whoever says the flats ain't pretty in the winter hasn't been out here after a fresh snow. I am going to strap on the snow shoes, grab a dog or two and venture out for adventure. I hope a bunch of folks are doing the same thing.
I am hoping more folks are starting to check out my little blog, if you are leave me a comment! I love feedback.
Thought for today is GET OUTSIDE!!!!!
For my bud Daytona Karl,
Don't worry, I am fine just more of who I always was.
We have laid the last of the #10 cans of peaches in the basement and my perimeter is mostly secure, but I need to finish it in the spring. Keep an eye on CNN, ya never know what you might see.......


Happy New Year ?

Well; it's the second of January.
What have you done ? The gyms are full and weight watchers is experiencing it's usual new new membership boon, But really, what have we done?
Do you have a plan to make a positive impact on the neighborhood in which you live?
I love the community in which I am fortunate to live, but it has it's problems. I know that I cannot fix everything, but maybe I can help fix one thing.I cannot sit idle while a thing needs fixin'.
So I encourage everyone of you, (I think I am up to 2 readers now, so please spread this message).
Take the wheel! Empower yourself and enable change. It might seem altruistic, but I believe that there are very few things that we. as citizens of this great community,and country cannot solve if we put our efforts into actions.
New thought:
My buddy is home safe from his adventures in Antarctica. Kenny; God bless and fair winds on your last trip to Asia and the fulfillment of your quest. I am blessed for knowing you. I know that soon we will get together, kill some fish, and relax by the barbecue while you tell me more of your trips.
Ishmael, thank you for reading. I enjoy your blog immensely. What's up with Sandinyourface? I have appreciated Nick's diatribes for several years, but when I tried to respond to his blog, I was unable.
Fair enough to spout your opinions and observations, but ya gotta leave an avenue for response.
I am close to rambling, so I will say good night and leave ya'll with one question. Is this place any better because I woke up today and did one thing ?
Remember; it does not need to be monumental, even helping someone at the airport with their luggage makes a difference.