Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Address Change

July was a crazy month, so crazy that it's already August 4th and we don't live in Anchorage anymore. We had a great time with all of our visitors and shared some special memories with them all. We've had 11 visitors since my last post, and haven't had time to say much about the five or six weeks that went by. We made trips to Seward, Talkeetna, McCarthy/Kennecott, Cordova, Juneau, and Cooper Landing and had a blast at each one. Some were rainier than others and some had more furniture than others, but I think we all had a great time regardless. Thanks to Scott, Kadie, Tony, Katharine, Josh, Heather, Mom, Andy, Sally, Erik, and Julie for making the trek north in late June/July. We really appreciate you guys visiting us and hope you had as much fun as we did. Our friend Wally was up here as well (pilot for AK airlines who we got to see a few times) and had a very "easy" dinner with him too before we took off. Good times.

So as I eluded to earlier, we're moving on to Minnesota. We officially moved out of our apartment on July 30th and squeezed in one last trip to Seward which started rainy and ended sunny (better that way than the reverse). We're now in the Yukon, apparently camping with grizzly bears. The campground we were going to stay at tonight was closed due to bears in the area (we were a little surprised that they closed the whole campground) and the campground we're staying at up the road has a LOT of warning signs - which I think are just scare tactics to get you to keep a clean camp. We keep a clean camp regardless, so I'm not concerned.

Tomorrow we'll keep on truckin' and see how far we get. Right now we're about three hours from Whitehorse.

Here are some pictures from our last month in AK.

Sandhill Crane at Creamer's Dairy in Fairbanks

Mary on Root Galcier in Kennecott; Mt. Blackburn in background

Our view from camp at Reed Lakes

View from Seward coast

Group shot at top of Exit Glacier/Harding Icefield

Friday, June 19, 2009

And We're Off

I know it's been a while, but I have a good excuse. Our good friends Alex (my best man) and Nancy (first friend I made at UCLA) made a trip up to Alaska to visit us! We've been on the road since June 2nd and we definitely made the most of it. When Alex first got here, we were discussing our favorite hikes and camping places. Well, I can honestly say that the places we went with Alex and Nancy are now list toppers in all categories. The solitude and challenging hiking in McCarthy/Kennecott and the awesome (in the truest sense of the word) experience in Cordova at Childs Glacier are two of the richest experiences I've ever had.

Kennecott was an old copper mine in the early 1900's that was very productive and McCarthy was the town set up to cater to the miners. I could write tons of boring facts about the mines but will spare you. I do recommend you look into the place if the old ghost-mining-town thing interests you. We did a lot of hiking in the area, up to one of the old mines (Bonanza) and then we did a backpacking trip out to a spot called The Knoll, which is a 3,800ft bump that sticks out from the mountains surrounding the root glacier. We camped at the top of this thing and had a great view of the Stairway Icefall, which drops more than 5,000 ft into the valley that the root glacier travels over. Since it's moving faster down this drop than when it hits the valley, the glacier breaks apart along the way down - although we are taking glacial speeds here so the word icefall is a slight exaggeration in my book. It's still an amazing place to pitch a tent and somewhere I wouldn't mind returning to in the future (I'm generally not a big fan of doing duplicate hikes since there are just so many good ones out there). Here's a picture of our tent out on The Knoll with the root glacier in the background:

Nancy arrived after our trip to Kennecott and we grabbed a very scenic ferry ride out to Cordova, a small fishing town in Prince William Sound at the mouth of the Copper River. Upon arriving we headed out to Childs Glacier to camp and check out this "must see" in the guide books. Well, on this one the guide books hit the nail on the head. We turned off the dirt road we had been driving on for an hour into the campsite, and immediately spoke with the camp host about camping fees, wood, etc. While chatting, part of the glacier calved off into the river making a tremendous rumbling noise that literally shook the air. All of our eyes lit up in excitement and we could hardly contain our laughter. We stayed up past midnight on the river bank 1/4 mile from the glacier watching this thing calve huge chunks of ice and then got up and did the same thing the following morning over coffee and oatmeal. It's hard to explain just how exciting this was, but the glacier is 300ft in the center and we saw a couple 200ft sections of ice fall violently into the river, sending a small wave towards us that washed up on the river bank below. It was truly spectacular to witness and SO loud!

All in all, I wouldn't have changed the trip at all. We also went to Kodiak (another fishing town - where the Deadliest Catch boats are moored), Talkeetna and into Denali NP. If you're interested I have pictures of everything on the web. Links are below.

And to Alex and Nancy, thanks for the great trip! I'll never forget it.


Kodiak Pictures

McCarthy Pictures

Cordova Pictures

Denali Pictures

Monday, May 25, 2009

An Event For The Ages

I am honestly speechless. No words can describe how happy I was on Saturday. Just know that I wandered around the Anchorage Convention Center in a trance-like state of euphoria, donning a constant grin and wondering if I'll ever be able to grow a real mustache. My whole body was warm with the enveloping joy you often feel as a child, but rarely as an adult.

The World Beard and Mustache Championships was a complete success for me. Part fashion show, part facial hair competition, it consisted of everything from lengthy mustaches to jaw-dropping beards. My concept of facial hair has been completely ripped apart and rebuilt into what now stands as the Pantheon of Face Hair. Inside are the Gods that I was lucky enough to witness:

Jack Passion's Natural Full Beard 'Big Red' - it was the real deal after much promotion by the LA Times

A Seattle man who styled his 'freestyle' mustache after a spoon and fork

Gunter Rosin's glorious Hungarian/Wild West mustache

And, my personal favorite, the full bodied, ear-high Imperial Partial Beard of the German, Karl-Heinz Hille

Click Here For More Pictures

Friday, May 22, 2009

One More Day

Tomorrow is a special day for my blog. It marks the culmination of my travels with facial hair, all wrapped up in a tidy little event custom tailored for yours truly. In case you forgot, Saturday May 23rd is The World Beard and Mustache Championships, which coincidentally is being hosted in Anchorage, AK this year. What luck! It's a biennial event (usually hosted in Europe) that appears to be right up my alley. I mean look at this guy:

THIS GUY IS IN ANCHORAGE RIGHT NOW! It's like a dream come true for me.

So tomorrow is the big day. Not sure what it'll bring, but I know what I'm going to bring: my camera and most likely a case of the giddies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pigeon Woman

I’m in the process of renewing my passport which expires in July. Yesterday, I found a local photographer who does passport photos whom I will dub the pigeon woman from here on out. Her nickname is pigeon woman because she had a pet pigeon inside of her house/studio. Once we broached the subject of her pet pigeon, she informed me that it was a pigeon she'd rescued that had been attacked by an eagle and now had psychological problems making it fall to the ground like a rock whenever it tried to fly. She said that they [the pigeon’s problems] were improving, as evidenced by its ability to fly halfway across the room when I almost stepped on it accidentally.

We were chatting after she took my picture (she actually made me take three different ones: I wasn’t smiling enough in the first two. She brought up a good point that it’s always best to beam a smile in your passport photo so that you don’t look too shady to the border agents...not that I have anything to hide...not that I’m defensive about not having anything to hide) and when the pigeon came up she said, “Do you want to see him dance?” I said, confidently, yes.

What followed was an exchange between pigeon woman and pigeon that really needs some sort of audio capture, but I will attempt to transcribe. It went:

PW: Hmmm - gluck, gluck - Hmmm - gluck, gluck - Hmmm - gluck, gluck

P: (Quivering and moving around in little circles) Hmmm - gluck, gluck - Hmmm - gluck, gluck

PW: Hmmm - gluck, gluck - Hmmm - gluck, gluck - Hmmm - gluck, gluck

P: (Quivering and moving around in little circles) Hmmm - gluck, gluck - Hmmm - gluck, gluck

Then she looked up at me smiling. Apparently the Hmmm - gluck, gluck means the bird is happy. If it’s a gluck - Hmmm, then it’s angry. Don’t ask me how she knows that.

This experience may have cemented my preference for mom and pop businesses vs. your average box store. I could’ve gone to the UPS store to get my passport photo taken and saved 5 bucks, but I wouldn’t have seen the pigeon woman show.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Taxi Heaven!

Last week I was in Bethel, AK for work. For those of you unfamiliar with Bethel, it’s a smallish town (6,000+ people) at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River in Southwestern Alaska. The Kuskowkim is a large river that is a major transport route for the native villages that line its banks and Bethel is the largest of these towns. As such, it is the hub of transportation and government services in the area.

A much more interesting fact is that Bethel is the nation’s taxi capital! I had heard this before my trip and was a little skeptical, but I must admit that I am now a firm believer in the Bethel taxi-hype. They are EVERYWHERE. Bethel is relatively small, landlocked, off the Alaska road system, and next to a large river so you can imagine that not many people need to have full-time vehicles. And, regardless of what the median income data suggests, Bethel in my experience was not exactly a booming town. It is EXPENSIVE, at least double Anchorage prices (housing excluded) which equates to $6 a gallon gas and $10 for a family size bag of Dorritos. I bought a cheap loaf of sandwich bread, a small jar of peanut butter, a small jar or jelly and a gallon of water and paid $20. So you can imagine that your dollar doesn’t stretch very far here and I’m sure for most people that means not owning a car. So people take cabs everywhere, cabs that honk a lot (although not aggressively, just to let their customers know they’re ready to be picked up). You hear so much honking around town that there is a specific clause in the Bethel Municipal Code outlawing taxi honking at night:


5.30.170 Vehicle horn honking.

It is unlawful to honk the horn of a taxicab from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and from 12:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., Friday and Saturday. [Ord. 01-02 § 3.]


They also have a section addressing the illegality of minors in possession of laser pointers. Great stuff! Gotta love how a small town can really get down to the nitty gritties of their municipal problems.

So besides the taxis and the pricey consumer goods, Bethel had a smidge of foreignness to it. Lots of loose dogs running around (mostly terriers which is preferential for a door-to-door guy like myself) and definitely some shack-ish homes. Not terribly run-down (good roofs, windows and insulation), just different than what you’d see in most US Cities, large or small. Also, being next to such a large river, sans dams, means flooding and large parts of the town (homes, sewer pipes, etc) are built up on 4-5 foot stilts to handle the “usual” flooding caused by annual ice jams (as the ice breaks up and flows down the river, it can get stuck and pile up forming a natural dam).

There also isn’t very much to do in Bethel, something that I was told before my trip by a coworker who resides there. Movie theater; uncheck. Bar; uncheck. Minigolf; uncheck. You get the point when minigolf isn't even available. Luckily for the women of Bethel they do have a Curves, so half of you can't say there's nothing to do.

Oh, Bethel is also a "damp" town meaning that they don't sell alcohol but you can import it for personal consumption from out of town. I don't think there are commercial importers, but I'm sure someone is doing some under the table bootlegging...I think history can at least tell us that.

I guess this answers that question

I have to go back next week to finish up work there and I'm interested to see what my second impression will be like. I can't say that I'm excited (I worked a LOT when I was there and was pretty tired from walking around all day for 8-9 hours straight and muttering the same line over and over again) but it will be an experience at least.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Currants - Debunking The Mystique

I like to think that I know a decent amount about all things kitchen for a man my age. However, I fell victim the other day to a classic marketing ploy: the currant. You may have seen these at your local boutique bakery on a scone or perhaps in the grocery store next to the raisins and dried cranberries. Currant! What a lovely name. So exotic and tangy sounding! Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret so you don’t make the same mistake I did if you ever find yourself being tempted by these little Sirens at the grocery store.

Currants = Cute, Little Raisins.

Seriously. No extra tang whatsoever.

My work is done here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

American Flyers - I Salute You

It's pretty well documented that I love the movie American Flyers. It encompasses everything I need in my life: love, sport, humor, Kevin Costner in spandex to name a few. Yes, the movie is dated a bit being produced over 20 years ago but many of the themes running throughout the plot are still valid today, such as USA vs. Russia and the adult male desire to wear shorts above the knee.

Seriously though, the movie is chock full of one-liners, quotable scenes and great overall moments. If you find yourself in the mood for an 80's movie then pick this up (it sells for around $5). I bought my two copies many years ago and can look back on my acquisition as one of my smartest investments to date. And in case you're wondering why I own two copies, I look at it like a game of tennis where you bring two rackets to the court at all times. In the event that you break a string on your first one you'll have an identical backup that will allow you to continue your match. I haven't had to use my second copy of American Flyers yet, but when the time comes I know that I'll be able to watch the film in its entirety with only a brief interruption.

Anyhow, to commemorate my love for this movie I've put together a couple thematic montages. The first (below) deals with the brotherly-love undercurrent that exists between Marcus and David and the overall feel-goodness of the movie. One, might not expect such a sensitive side to a high octane sports movie but it's there! See, it's even a great date movie!

Side note: there are a few words scattered in the videos that make them more suitable for home viewing...don't say I didn't warn you.

The second montage (shown at bottom) focuses on the intense competition and fierce emotion that is really the glue binding this movie together. Much like the first stage of a rocket launch, it's the competition that takes this movie to the upper echelon of cinematic greatness. I mean, it really doesn't get much better than Cold War Cycling, does it?

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Ahhh, spring is in the air. Can you smell it? Can you hear it?! Birds chirping again; buds starting to take a peek outside and see if it’s safe to open up for the season. It’s wonderful!

Now before I get too deep into this whole spring-is-great emotional moment I must admit, spring hasn’t quite made it to Anchorage just yet. There’s still some lingering snow on the ground, albeit patchy snow, and the temperature is barely topping 40 at it’s highest of highs. But spring is just the image I need to make an exciting announcement!

See, spring is about new life. It’s about organic matter growing again after the dead of winter leaves us. It’s about making it through another year stronger and more experienced than the last...and growing because of it. Grow. Grow! GROW!!

So, the announcement. Do you sense a theme??

I’m growing a mustache again!!! Much to Mary’s chagrin, I’ve decided to see if 2009’s upper lip follicles can top last year’s class (not a tough feat by any means)!

As such, I will be adding a lip status indicator on the right hand side of my blog, which to the nay-sayers out there is aptly named again. There you will be able to see what my upper lip looks like, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I know, just what you needed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I've Discovered How To Time Travel!!

Not all of you know this, but I originally went to college as an engineer. Now I didn't graduate as an engineer, but I stuck it out for a year and a half before switching to a less physics-intensive area of study. Throughout this period of approximately 18 months, I went through more physics and chemistry courses than any human should ever be subjected to. If you're looking for a quick test to see if you've also been subjected to one too many physics lectures then ask yourself this question: "What do I associate with the words 'red rectangle'?" Go ahead, ask yourself...

If you thought of this, then you're OK! No need to worry about your mental well-being any longer:

Just to show you how to fail this test, this is what comes to my mind when I ask myself the same question:

Now some of you might be asking why this is relevant. Well, it just so happens that my physics background finally paid off. I've stumbled upon something that could revolutionize the way we contemplate the current space-time view of the universe. I've discovered how to time travel! The Carpvano household has managed to warp back in time approximately 15 years! It's truly amazing!!

And for the doubters out there who say that this just isn't possible given current technologies and theories of our physical world, I submit to you this picture:

Dial-up internet!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


We finally found an apartment that we both liked and only narrowly avoided slumming it in a shag carpet stink-fest had we not found this place. It's small, but brand new and nice. It has key appliances such as a stacked washer/dryer, dishwasher and garbage disposal which saves us the annoying trips to the laundromat. It also has radiant floor heating, so your feet are toasty warm when you step out of the shower in the morning (well, that's what the idea is but when you're feeling low on cash and the heat is not exactly cranked then your feet are just mildly warm when you get out of the shower in the morning. Okay, I'm just trying to save face here, they're pretty much cold still). BUT when we do get some sort of regular cash flow again THEN our feet will be toasty.

So we have an address. That's good because most employers like that.

Speaking of which, I have a job now...as a proud employee of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which just so happens to be the department housing the U.S. Census Bureau, which is constitutionally bound to perform a census in 2010 and was hiring for temporary positions in Anchorage, which just so happens to be where I'm actually working. US CENSUS 2010!! BE COUNTED!


Eric Carpenter
U.S. Census Bureau

Sunday, March 1, 2009

1/2 Way to Finding An Apartment

Sorry, I'm milking the whole "1/2 way" in the blog title thing for all it's worth. I almost guarantee that this will be my last uncreative title including "1/2" in it. (Almost guarantee was Mary's phrase made famous when we were in PA. I've taken a liking to it since it means I can't be held responsible when my guarantee isn't met - which, for those of you who know me, happens often. This is very similar to a "Sharp Guarantee", for those of you from Los Angeles).

Anyways, we landed a few days ago in Anchorage and are still swaying from being on a ship for 6 days. Apartment hunting has been so so thus far and our "We're in Anchorage!!" excitement has been seriously challenged by the lack of fun neighborhoods and reasonably priced apartments, aka we're still looking for a place. Luckily, Karate Kid was on ABC Family yesterday morning to lift our spirits and give us some much needed motivation to defeat our own abusive peer, relative homelessness.

To be honest, I'm a little disappointed in Anchorage at first glance. I mean, you're so far away from the lower 48 and all of it's homogeny that you'd hope for some more character...something other than the chain stores and sprawl that characterize most American cities. And yet, that's precisely what you find in the majority of Anchorage. Costco, Safeway (under the Carrs brand), Lowe's, Fred Meyer, Play it Again Sports, REI...I could go on. I'm not sure why I expected it to be different, I just did. I just expected people up here to have more local pride, being that Alaskans so far tend to love all things Alaskan. It's like I was expecting to land in San Francisco and I ended up in Oakland, or substitute Seattle -> Bellevue...you get the point.

So what's the solution to my expectations bubble being popped? A moose on the loose!

Picture taken from our car while apartment hunting. It had just crossed through a main intersection...people just sat around waiting for it to meander on by and then went on with their lives while Mary laughed hysterically.

At least Anchorage has that going for it. Mountains are pretty too :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

1/2 Way to Anchorage

We've successfully landed in Juneau and I'm happy to report that we made it through the first leg of the ferry with excellent weather. We were able to enjoy every inch of coastline with sunny, mid-30's weather...all from the top deck of the ship. Each day, the mountains would rise higher and higher out of the ocean on all sides of us and each day I'd continue to be awed by the miles of them that passed by.

While it was a tad windy to pitch a tent, there were dozens of lounge chairs (the kind you'd see at a hotel pool) available for us which kept us off the ground and fully reclined. We slept under a covered portion of the deck along with about 10 other brave souls of varied age and background. They helped inspire a sense of camaraderie that got us through the three chilly, windy evenings from Bellingham to Juneau.

Here are our beds:

And a picture of the deck:

Realizing that we are facing some hefty up-front apartment costs and a brief period until we find jobs, we decided to skimp on meals until we get on our feet. Our answer: good ol' PB&J. I managed to enjoy five straight meals before we had a five hour layover in Ketchikan in the early morning...the egg breakfast temptation was just too strong to pass up, but I did pass on the bacon which saved a few bucks. Fearing that we hadn't worked enough variety into our diet, we picked up a box of Cup O' Noodles to substitute here and there for a sandwich. I had one for lunch that day and was back on to PB&J for dinner. So far so good!

In Juneau we spent our day hiking up to the Mendenhall Glacier, which was very easy in the winter since the lake that it calves into is frozen over. We just walked directly across the lake and, walla, glacier. It was mesmorizing.

Here's a picture of the glacier from its base (the jagged triangles clustered near the bottom of the picture above):

Tomorrow we board for Whittier (closest stop to Anchorage)...we should land there on the 26th. This leg doesn't have the islands of the inside passage to calm the waters so I suppose I'll be sea sick this time tomorrow. At least the first half was fun!



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1/2 Way Point

I'd like to record in the chronicles of time that we've reach the official 1/2 way point of our trip. Sound the horns and send the messenger to alert the townspeople. We're moving to Alaska.

On Friday we board a ferry in Bellingham, WA. We'll be on this ferry for 6 days, one of the six being a layover and boat-switch in Juneau, and after the 6th day we'll have landed in Anchorage. I have mixed emotions about this leg of the journey, the only mixed part, aka negative emotion, being that I intend to get sea-sick if we hit poor weather and the Gulf of Alaska could dish it out if it so chooses. Other than that I'm more than excited to cruise up the rest of the Pacific Coast with all it's natural goodies.

Back in August, Mary and I anticipated this day and packed three boxes of belongings strictly for Alaska. Yesterday we did a little switcharoo in the storage unit, pulling out those three and replacing them with about eight new ones that we'd been storing with our friend Bethany. Just keep in mind that replacing three boxes with eight isn't that easy when your storage unit is already comfortably full. Well, yesterday we went and made our storage unit uncomfortably full, to the point where we were just throwing things up to the top of the heap without worrying about how we're actually going to get them down. Hopefully we don't make the Darwin Awards when we unload this beast. At least we're getting our money's worth.

One other thing. We (also known as I) waiting a tad too long to get our reservations for the ferry so for the first half of the trip, pre-Juneau, we'll be sleeping in the common areas, aka sans-room. Oh well, at least it saves us some cash and if anything, the last five plus months have prepared us for it.

Wish us luck, we'll need it. We don't have an apartment or jobs and we need both in Alaska. Quickly.

Here's an approximation of the ferry route in case you're curious:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Survival Skills

There's a lot to learn about living in the extreme cold...especially when you're from a corner of the nation where the only people with 4-wheel drive vehicles are flatbillers with west coast chopper tattoos or anyone who feels like wasting a couple thousand bucks on something they'll never use. In other words, if you're from San Diego chances are you don't know what to do when things start to freeze, unless of course they're freezing because you put them in the freezer to preserve freshness, shelf life or so that you don't have to throw your leftovers...then you'll probably know what to do with it, like throw it out when you don't eat it after 4 years and your ground beef now looks like a gallon zip-lock filled with brown snow cone, except that it has "Ground Beef Jan '05" scribbled in black sharpie on the label.

But, I digress...

Back to the original topic. Living in the extreme cold.

So far in MN I've learned:
  • How to keep water from freezing in my gas tank/fuel line
  • How to ignore 'Service Engine Soon' lights in the winter. Soon is a relative term after all.
  • How to gain weight "just in case" I need it later
  • How to not freak out when my truck slides into the snow-filled ditch in the middle of the interstate
  • How to avoid going outside when it's just too cold and to eat rhubarb pie and ice cream in the safety of a heated home instead.
My most recent lesson focused on ice fishing. If I could conquer this simple exercise, my source of food would be secured in the event of an emergency and I'd be able to live another day.

Well, I must be doing something wrong because I've been out ice fishing three times now and haven't even had a fish sniff my bait. The kid at the bait shop said that the fish just aren't biting right now, but I think that's crap. I think ice fishing is a joke that Minnesotans like to play on Californians...a pretty funny joke too I might add. It's right up there with the ol' Coot freezing in the lake bit, which I'm proud to say that I didn't fall for. Ha, I'm not that gullible...I'm not going to believe EVERYTHING you tell me about the cold.

Congratulations on the ice fishing one though. You sure got me good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Challenge

My good friend Jeremiah in LA decided to throw an email challenge my way the other day.

From Jeremiah:

"hey Eric. Could you go take a picture of yourself doing a snow angel in your boxers and send it to us? I think that would be fun to see."

Please keep in mind that the mercury was hovering around 0 degrees F during the time of the request. As such, a concession was made that I was allowed to wear some vital clothing: my Umbros and a sleeveless t-shirt.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Top 5 List

I have no problem admitting that this blog sucks. How am I supposed to be on the cutting edge and a premier source of entertainment for my three readers (myself included...Mary gave up a long time ago) when I don't write anything for months at a time??

I'll tell you how. A top five list! And away we go...

Top five reasons this blog sucks (in reverse order):

5. The so-obvious-it's-not-even-funny obvious: November 9th was my last post...that's over 2 MONTHS ago. Sucky.

4. The of-course-,-that's-plainly-obvious obvious: We stopped hiking two months ago and our adventures have slowed considerably. Granted, living with my mom is always an adventure (just kidding mom) but I've done run out of things to write about. In other words, my blog sucks now (relatively speaking of course, so if you thought it sucked before than it really sucks now).

3. The obvious: The frigid cold in MN has switched my body into survival mode. This means my body has opted to prioritize things like breathing and weight gain over things like showering and blogging. It's a glamorous life we're living, let me tell you.

2. The not-so-obvious-but-makes-sense obvious: my diet has switched from lean proteins and quick-burning carbs to carne asada burritos and jalapenos to pickled herring and cheeseballs. In other words, my body has been terribly confused lately and as such was in no state to write blog entries. Luckily, it seems to be adapting quite well to the herring and cheeseball state, which is why I've decided to resume my writing...that and it's -20 outside right now and I can't do anything other than write to you. Write suckily that is. (Side note: oddly enough, suckily didn't trigger the automatic spellchecker...Way to go Google!) (Side note II: automatic spellchecker was triggered on suckily with considerable delay. Suckily is not a word, per Google. Something tells me they have some algorithm to continually scan blogs for criticisms and bugs in their products which was able to read my previous side note and automatically update their dictionary. I'm on to you Google! And you thought suckily was a word! Ha.)

1. The it's-totally-not-your-fault-you-didn't-realize-because-it's-absolutely-not-obvious obvious: I shaved my mustache off...about a month and a half ago and should've told you. The shame I feel is overpowering and I haven't been able to face the aforementioned three of you (myself included) until now. I mean, how am I supposed to maintain a blog titled "Have Mustache - Will Travel" without a mustache! I struggled with this mightily until recently, where I was able to reason that since we're not technically traveling anymore I don't need to have a mustache. That got me through the moral crux I was in and I've emerged ready to write once again.

Here is a picture of my current lip status:

That's right, it sucks.