New Year, New Beginnings.

Who doesn’t love New Year? I always find it incredibly hopeful – the mere impression that we could wash away any negative and bad experience we had in the past, and start fresh again. This year has been really kind to me, a much better one that the previous, and for that, I’m superbly grateful. I feel like at last I can rest at somewhere constant. This is true in terms of job, family and friends.

In the upcoming year, I’m sure I’m going to find new challenges. As of now, I’m already thinking about getting a new job although hearing about all the plans my boss has for next year is actually pretty exciting, so we’ll see about that. Some of my friends are getting married and it seems like everyone’s moving ahead. Or at least, just moving. Although it has been a blissful year, but I know I have to get out of my comfort zone and try something different too.

My hope for the new year is to have the courage to do just that.

Sometimes I wish I could just fast-forward the time just to see if in the end it’s all worth it, but since such time machine has yet to be invented, all we can do is continue doing our best in everything.

Happy New Year, everyone!

'Hook, Line & Sisters'

Yet another reality TV show about Alaska commercial fishing is set to make its premiere.

Hook, Line & Sisters will focus on fisherman Dean Anderson and family.

Deckboss understands the one-hour opening episode will feature this year's Sitka herring fishery, with six more episodes taking in salmon seining at Chignik.

The series website describes Anderson as "a grizzled sea dog known for his aggressive fishing."

The series begins Thursday night and runs through Feb. 2 on TLC. Check your local listings for times.

A Wonder Woman Snuggie Xmas!

Well, I have been woefully lazy about blogging lately. However I am still here and will try to do better! With the weather change I just am not wandering around taking pics as much and i don't want the blog to be all about recording a new album which is pretty much what I have been doing, along with learning new songs and practicing a bunch. Someone is sending me their old uke they don't need is beautiful! They built it themselves in the Kay Kraft style so it's pretty unique..I'll be linking his site when I get it and showing it off..
I have gone to many an xmas event and party in the past week..waiting for New Years Eve to get super drunk and then I shall be very responsible and shall be working a lot and learning French and guitar and all..
Here are some oddly disturbing pics of people at a party at Under St marks theatre who agreed to don my Wonder Woman Snuggie® for a photo op!

A fine salmon season for Norton Sound

Among Alaska's salmon producing regions, Norton Sound is small potatoes. But local fishermen scored big this season.

The salmon harvest was worth nearly $1.27 million off the boat. That's not only a new record for the second season in a row, it's more than 200 percent above the recent 10-year average of $420,720.

A strong chum run highlighted the action in Norton Sound.

Lots more details here.

Merry Christmas and Holiday Greetings!

Best Wishes for the Holidays and the New Year to all of you from the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club! We had a great year for cycling in 2011 (although from a non-cycling perspective, I'm really looking forward to 2012)!
Coming up in January we will plan for our annual ride planning pizza party - stay tuned for details. I am also amenable for organizing another New Year's Day Ride - perhaps along the rail trail in Hallowell, if the weather remains rather mild - although I recovering from a (non-cycling) calf injury, and may not be able to ride by then. I certainly hope to be ready for my 6th quadrennial Leap Day Ride - which will be Wednesday, Feb. 29th - more details as we get nearer to the date. These winter rides are subject to weather, but we have had pretty good luck with them in the past.
And I'm sure that when we get into March, we'll all start to look forward for the spring rides to start up again in April! Perhaps we'll get to see each other before then!
Happy New Year!

Counsel, I have a few questions...

On Wednesday afternoon, a bunch of attorneys met in a federal courtroom in Anchorage to argue the lawsuit over fishing restrictions imposed in the Aleutians to protect endangered Steller sea lions.

Deckboss, somewhat thankfully, was unable to attend the hearing.

While the case involves mountains of scientific data and legal briefs, the essential conflict really is very simple. The state and the industry don't feel the costly fishing restrictions are justified. The National Marine Fisheries Service, which is being sued, feels otherwise.

Shortly before Wednesday's proceedings began, something unusual happened. Judge Timothy Burgess filed a list of questions for lawyers to address during the hearing.

Here are some examples, and I paraphrase somewhat:

• Doesn't the plain language of the Endangered Species Act suggest that, if anything, NMFS has to err on the side of assuming a causal relationship exists between the fisheries and the sea lion population?

• Although it took five years for NMFS to determine the fisheries jeopardized sea lions in the Aleutians, the agency skirted the normal public notice and comment process and hurriedly imposed the fishing restrictions. What was the emergency? Why couldn't NMFS have taken another few months to collect comments given that it had already taken five years?

• Why didn't NMFS issue a full environmental impact statement, as it had done on past occasions? Was it just rushing to complete the process in order to protect itself against litigation from Oceana and Greenpeace?

Of course, one must be careful not to read too much into the judge's questions. But they are fascinating, no?

One Bristol Bay processor swallows another

At long last, we have official confirmation of a rumor that's been knocking around for months.

North Pacific Seafoods, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Marubeni, is buying Yardarm Knot's Red Salmon cannery at Bristol Bay.

Here's the press release.

Icicle energizes its 'calculated risk' at Adak

Regular visitors know Deckboss likes to keep track of happenings out on Adak, the remote Aleutian island with a rather tumultuous history as a commercial fishing port.

As previously reported, a subsidiary of Seattle-based Icicle Seafoods Inc. took over the Adak processing plant in the spring.

Now here's a little news: The Regulatory Commission of Alaska recently approved a special contract between Icicle and the local power company, TDX Adak Generating.

Under the contract, TDX will supply "interruptible" power to Icicle, with existing residential and commercial customers having priority.

Power supply had been a problem for previous operators of the Adak plant.

While commissioners said they initially were concerned about the potential for "rate subsidization" of Icicle, the RCA ultimately held that the special contract will be good for all local power customers.

Here is the agency's eight-page order. It has a few details about Icicle's work to refurbish the plant, which concentrates on Pacific cod.

Also, here is an Icicle letter from late August that discusses the company's "calculated risk" at Adak.

In Black and White for Deaf Ears

Should non-profit organizations and churches be counted as "new business" when reporting economic development? There is no tax revenue from them.  Should businesses that have been around for years, such as Acambaro and Well House Tavern be included in a list of new business for 2011?  Well, if you're Perry Webb reporting on all the great things he has done for the City of Springdale, you would.  He goes so far as to toot his own horn by listing every Red Box location as a new business. 

Reporter/Chamber of Commerce Cheerleader, Steve Caraway didn't give his readers a complete picture of what Kathy Jaycox actually said to the deaf ears and thick skulls of the Springdale City Council on December 13.  

If you don't want to suffer through an hour of listening to the city council meeting to find out what was said, you can read a transcript of Jaycox's statement.

Council provides 'policy guidance' on halibut

At its recent meeting in Anchorage, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council reaffirmed its support for the proposed catch sharing plan to allocate halibut between the rival commercial and charter boat fleets.

Here's the motion the council passed.

As you will see, it calls for quite a bit of additional work on the controversial plan, including assessment of the economic impacts of "the full range of allocations."

It took a while, but Chignik has a new harbor

Chignik, on the Alaska Peninsula, is moving up in the world. Here's a press release from the Lake and Peninsula Borough:

Dec. 16, 1011

Chignik boat harbor fully operational

KING SALMON — The Lake and Peninsula Borough is pleased to announce that the Chignik boat harbor is complete and open for business.

The $3.4 million project included installation of 40 slips, a harbormaster building, and full water and electrical support. The construction finished ahead of budget and schedule, allowing the Chignik fleet to begin using the harbor to prepare for the winter longlining and crab season.

"Everyone involved in this project is thrilled that our fishermen have a fully functional harbor," said borough Mayor Glen R. Alsworth Sr. "The idea of a boat harbor in Chignik dates all the way back to 1955 when Chignik's residents wrote to Delegate Bob Bartlett to ask for assistance. To be part of the group that has made it a reality is gratifying."

The city of Chignik, the Lake and Peninsula Borough and the Army Corps of Engineers have played roles in the project throughout its 55-year history.

"The boat harbor will be a tremendous boost to the Chignik fishery," said Chignik Mayor Richard Sharpe. "Now the fleet will be able to quickly and safely wait out storms and have a viable, year-round storage location for their boats."

Previously, fishermen had to store their boats in Kodiak or Sand Point, he noted.

The boat harbor completion follows the best salmon season in 40 years and the prospect of expanded winter fishery allocations for Chignik fishermen.

Where does fish stand in governor's budget?

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell yesterday rolled out his proposed budget for fiscal year 2013.

Naturally, Deckboss was eager to see how the Department of Fish and Game fared in the spending plan, which has some cutbacks compared to the current budget, the governor says.

Here are a few highlights:

• The proposed Fish and Game operating budget, including all state and federal funds, is $209.3 million, a 5.1 percent increase.

• The proposed operating budget for commercial fisheries, the department's most expensive unit, is $70.5 million, a 4.4 percent increase.

• The proposed operating budget for sport fisheries is $49.7 million, a 2.7 percent increase.

• The department is slated to trim 13 full-time positions, a 1.4 percent reduction, and 46 part-time positions, a 6.1 percent cut.

• Along with his budget, the governor also proposed a bond package that includes $10 million for the city of Seward's homeport project for the Community Development Quota fleet.

You can find much more information on the Fish and Game budget here, including complete details on a number of proposed capital projects.

The Alaska Legislature opens its 2012 session on Jan. 17.

State announces dazzling Sitka herring forecast

The state today announced the preliminary quota for the 2012 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery: 29,008 tons.

How big is that? In a word, biblical.


Plenty of fisheries enforcement news today on our companion blog, The Brig.

Keep Sprouse Out of the Real Estate Business

The City Council discussed another brilliant proposal by Mayor Doug Sprouse on Tuesday (12/13/11). Sprouse proposed selling the Criminal Investigation Division building and buying a different building, owned by Dave Chapman. Chapman has graciously agreed to sell the building at a price set by a new appraisal. An earlier appraisal valued the building at $530,000.
There is some concern that the city can’t recoup its investment if it sells the Blair Street building.
“We were told we had to have this building when we purchased it,” said Alderman Eric Ford. “Now we don’t need it and are trying to sell it.”
The city bought the Blair Street building in 2004 for $300,000 and has spent $175,000 on renovations.
“We won’t get what we’ve put into it,” said Alderman Mike Overton.
I personally would like to propose that Mayor Sprouse restrain himself from making any more real estate deals with his buddies. 
While pondering this, I have come up with a more cost-effective plan for the city's shortage on space.  
The city is currently considering revoking the business license for the downtown landmark  Sunrise InnThe Mayor could just kick out all the mini meth lab operations and...  ta-da!  New building, more space and all on the cheap. Everyone in the city could have their own office and the Mayor could oversee his little kingdom all in one spot without having to walk anywhere.
The only downside I can see is how to make this benefit Chapman. 

An update on the Carlson case

Deckboss doesn't have time right now to get into the particulars, but he can advise you of a little news with regard to the long-running Carlson case.

The Alaska Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in the matter starting at 10 a.m. today.

For background on the case and the stakes involved, here's a piece by yours truly from the June 2010 issue of Pacific Fishing magazine:

Carlson case grinds on

The Alaska Legislature in April appropriated nearly $75 million to repay nonresident commercial fishermen for overcharges on permit fees. Thousands of fishermen could receive a piece of the money. But don't start looking for a check just yet.

The potential refunds stem from the Carlson class-action lawsuit — litigation so lengthy and contorted it evokes the Dickens novel "Bleak House."

Outside fishermen sued the state in 1984, upset Alaska charged them triple what residents paid for fishing privileges.

The epic case has made four trips to the Alaska Supreme Court. The suit has succeeded in equalizing the annual "base fee" all fishermen pay to obtain or renew a permit — though nonresidents continue to pay a "surcharge" of $140.

Anyway, government lawyers have battled with considerable success through the years to whittle down the state's liability under Carlson. Out of a class that once numbered 95,000 members, only 4,705 now stand to receive any money. These are limited entry permit holders; crew license holders no longer qualify for refunds.

Under the latest ruling from state Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski, the state owes about $12.4 million in refunds plus $62.4 million in interest.

While the Legislature has appropriated these sums, that doesn't mean the state is yet prepared to pay out the money. No, this 26-year court fight is not over.

On March 24, the state attorney general appealed the Carlson case again to the Alaska Supreme Court, asking the justices to either toss the $62.4 million in interest or apply a lower interest rate.

What does it all mean?

"We're not about to cut checks," said Bill McAllister, spokesman for the attorney general.

Please nobody say "HOLIDAZE" or you are dead.

So this is my holiday post! People better stop saying "happy holidaze" on facebook or I will kill them all. Not funny. Not funny. Not funny. But i have this pic of Jewels on Avenue A during Santa Con wearing a wig! That night was so annoying. It is like a big frat party every year and my friends who bartend hate it..No one is tipping and they are so drunk the santas are puking all over the streets. and they are very touchy feely as in groping and grabbing me and every girl on the street.
The second pic is my dumb cat staring at the shadow of a bird while the actual bird is right in front of him which he does not see. That pagan pic got me a warning for posting it on facebook for nudity. heh. And I uploaded a short video of drunk santas massing with me on St Marks..Happy Holi-Duh!

The Corruption Will Continue

We have known for quite some time that there is only one member of the Springdale City Council that has enough nerve to question the good ol' boys' status quo in this town.  

This is not the first time the Springdale Chamber of Commerce has been questioned about not providing adequate documentation to the city for how they spend taxpayer money. 

On Tuesday night (12/13/11), Alderwoman Kathy Jaycox proposed establishing a committee to see that the Chamber provides the invoices for their expenditures as they have promised - and failed - to do for years.
“The city paid the chamber $227,000 this year,” Jaycox said. “I doubt the accuracy of the numbers presented by the chamber. We need more accountability and transparency from them.”
What does Perry Webb have to say about being questioned again?  Not much, of course.  He claims to receive all figures from the city clerk's office. What he fails to mention is that he is the one telling the city clerk who and what to pay. 

Webb isn't worried, he has the mayor and the remaining council members willing to look the other way.  Webb seemed more concerned with which committee he is going to get Mayor Sprouse to increase next and it won't matter anyway, Webb controls all three.
“The A and P contract has not been raised since 1996 and the public facilities contract hasn’t been raised since 1998,” Webb said.
And just like the last time Mrs. Jaycox requested invoices from the Chamber of Commerce, no other member of the City Council said a word.  They're perfectly content giving our money to Webb to do whatever he pleases.

Watch the video of the 12/13/11 council meeting HERE (When/if they decide to publicize it)

Council bumps up Gulf of Alaska pollock quota

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has set the 2012 total allowable catch (TAC) for Gulf of Alaska groundfish.

Here are the TACs for key species and the percent change from 2011.

Pollock, 116,444 tons, up 21 percent
Pacific cod, 65,700 tons, up 0.9 percent
Pacific Ocean perch, 16,918 tons, down 0.5 percent
Sablefish, 12,960 tons, up 14.8 percent

The TACs are subject to U.S. commerce secretary approval.

Council trims Bering Sea pollock quota

Great for salads and sandwiches. NMFS photo

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has set the 2012 total allowable catch (TAC) for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands groundfish.

Here are the TACs for key species and the percent change from 2011.

Eastern Bering Sea pollock, 1,200,000 tons, down 4.2 percent
Pacific cod, 261,000 tons, up 14.5 percent
Yellowfin sole, 202,000 tons, up 3.1 percent
Atka mackerel, 50,763 tons, down 4.4 percent
Pacific Ocean perch, 24,700 tons, no change
Sablefish, 4,280 tons, down 9.9 percent

The TACs are subject to U.S. commerce secretary approval.

Stikine River king salmon bounce back

Looks like Southeast Alaska commercial fishermen next spring will get a crack at those gorgeous Stikine River king salmon.

For the first time since 2008, the state is forecasting a run large enough to support a fishery.

The U.S. allowable catch under the forecast is 5,890 large Stikine kings.

Bloggity Blog Blog Blog!

These are just some random pics that I find simply hilarious! Plus, they have been sitting on my desktop and driving me crazy. That big bag of popcorn is the best present you can get a loved one this month..I, myself, plan on getting that Obama chia pet. In bulk. You can NEVER have too many Obama Chia Pets now, can you? N. O.
That lady was at an Occupy WS artist benefit at Theatre For the New City a month ago..that's how far behind I am with this blog lately! However, I will do better from now on. I have accepted that it is now winter and even bought a pink fuzzy winter coat with a corset and bustle on the back. Yup! I'm crazy! But my new coat is awesome. I don't mind the winter so far..lots of stuff going on and I am working and making dough a lot more lately which means I am getting myself the most amazing, circus-like wardrobe in the world. Also, saving up for summer in Europe! I hate cold weather but I am having a pretty awesome winter(all) so far..and thus it was good..

Want to save on fuel costs?

Check out this new publication from Alaska Sea Grant.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): What It Is, & What To Do About It

"The Color Of Springtime Is In The Flowers, The Color Of Winter Is In The Imagination." ~Terri Guillemets

SAD. Just reading the word makes you, well, sad. As a health care provider in the state of Oregon, I'm all too familiar with this seasonal disorder. It rivets many of my patients, and can send them reeling backwards in both mood, activity level, anxiety and sleep.

The onset of the dark, winter months in Oregon can be brutal. My father, raised in Alaska, often remarked how the winters in Oregon "are tropical compared to where I grew up." Living on the coast in Oregon (one of the wettest, darkest parts of the Pacific N.W.) is nothing short of relief for him.

I grew up there, in Newport, OR., nestled 1/2 way between San Francisco and Seattle, Newport is a bustling fishing town. Its cold, stormy winter waters have produced some of the most prominent American artists, awe-struck with the powerful coastline and old growth forests that line it.

Newport, OR. Where I Was Born & Raised. Home To Some Of The Most Spectacular Coastal Storms Around.

While the scenery is stunning, the familiar sound of the seagulls soothing, the winters there are made only for the hardy at heart. As I would watch the fishermen navigate their boats during thunderous coastal storms, I could only wonder what type of person could brave that darkness and the roaring, cold seas day after day. The very dampness that hangs in the overcast, foggy air during the winters is enough to chill one to the bone. Your only retreat is a fire, family and the warmth of home.

There are a few that thrive in winters such as Newport's. My grandma, Jo Ellen Barton, gained her greatest inspiration from the harsh environment. She would run 10 miles along "Coos Bay" everyday, come home make thistle soup (My thoughts as a child? Bleh!), and shut off the world during the wet, winter months. After her winter hibernation, she would showcase her most stunning paintings at the top art galleries all over the world. She became one of Oregon's best known coastline landscape painters. She reveled in the darkness the weather provided, and used it to fuel her artistic creativity.

She was accustomed, however, to raising three rambunctious boys and a young daughter in the harsh wilderness of Alaska. She lived on a meager houseboat, with her family, hunting grouse for dinner at night. Her husband, a bush pilot and logger, frequently went missing for days on end in deadly arctic storms. No where to be found until one day, he would stagger in, disheveled and worn, asking for "a beer and a bed." This became Grandma Barton's way of life. "Taking the bull by the horns," (as she often told me to do) she decided that to leave fate up to her husband, and his outdated airplane radio, was to live in a state of constant worry. She promptly went down and got her bush pilot license, so that she could look for her husband amongst the frozen tundra, should the need arise.

Alaska, My Father's Family's Home. Long Nights...Short Days...

Grandma Barton's constitution was one of survival. It was hardy. It was practical. It was no nonsense. It served her well, as she finished out her life along the dark coastline of Oregon, painting and running in the pelting rain.

My Favorite Painting Of Grandma Barton's...Hanging In My Home Office :)

Many of us do not relish the darkness as my family from Alaska does. Oregon can seem almost inhospitable to many in the winter. SAD, or "Seasonal Affective Disorder," can affect people's quality of life here.

Let us take a closer look at SAD. What is it? Who is affected? What can we do about it?

“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a variation of depression that plagues normally healthy people with depressive symptoms during the winter. These symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, loss of interest in hobbies, carbohydrate cravings, weight gain, and difficulty concentrating and processing information. Approximately 6 percent of Americans experience SAD, and another 14 percent experience sub-syndromal Seasonal Affective Disorder, a milder form of SAD.”

The above statement seems a bit dismal. Yet, there are things within our control that we can do to help mitigate the effects of SAD. I do find it interesting to note that 3 out of 4 SAD sufferers are women.

Across the board experts agree that there are fundamental things that should be done to work with a SAD patient. There is now an acronym, widely agreed upon by health care providers, to be shared with their patients: S.E.L.F. (serenity, exercise, love, and food). Let me explain these, as they sound a bit simplistic.

SERENITY: Admit you have a problem. That tends to be the biggest hurdle, yet the most important one to confront. Many of my patients have stated that "I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me for years. I just kept trying to pretend I was happy, when I wasn't. It always came on with the onset of shorter days." I hear this a lot. As soon as a label or diagnosis was given, there was a sense of relief for them. The old black-and-white Dracula flicks admonish "If you can name the demon, you can get rid of it." That's really how it is with depression, addiction or dis-ease. First, we need to acknowledge there is something to treat and be pro-active about. With this step comes a deep sense of serenity. A peace in confirming that there is something "off" we need to come to grips with. Once we come to that realization, we can move forward with treatment and lifestyle changes.

EXERCISE: As a certified fitness trainer, I can't give enough reasons why regular exercise is of benefit. From sleep, to mood, to overall body strength and wellness, it can't be beat. Exercise has been termed "Nature's Great Anti-Depressant." I would venture to say that's accurate. It gives a person a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, particularly when the dark winter months tell you to do anything but go outside. When one uses will-power to push through the lethargy of winter's short days to go for a run (yes, even in -12 degrees for me last year), whether the foe is ice, rain, sleet or snow, the reward is a cascade of "feel good" endorphins that permeate your body and psyche all day long. Is this important year round? Absolutely. Is this particularly important for people experiencing the depression of SAD? Its more crucial during winter for these folks than any other time of the year. In addition, exercise can off-set any winter-holiday eating choices that are outside of our norm.

My father used to tell me stories as a child of the dog-sled mushers who would run the "Iditarod" race, braving the coldest Alaskan storms over a distance of 1,150 miles. For the top mushers that takes almost 24 hrs. a day over 9 days. For the "average" musher, it takes approximately 12 days. Can you imagine? The mushers that train for that race train in the darkest of night, under the coldest conditions. It takes some "hutzpah!" to do that. If they can do that, you CAN get to a heated gym, with jacuzzi and sauna available for you after your workout. Those mushers don't have any special advantage over you. Its pure will power and determination to not let the elements get to them, and affect their spirit. Just remember: there is ALWAYS someone training in more challenging conditions than you. This helps me put things into perspective when I have 2 Malamutes pawing the front door to go outside, when the day is dark, the ice is thick and the snow is knee-deep.

My Sweet Girl, Sierra (R.I.P.), After We Dog-Sledded In Snoqualmie, WA., 2002

I moved to Bend 3 years ago. I'm not a skier or snowboarder. I've been on skis one time, when I was in high school, for about 1/2 hr. (so I don't really count it). Snowboarding? I never say never, but I do have a weird "thing" about being strapped into a contraption (bizarre, I know...I guess everyone has their "thing"). I like board sports, but I don't like being strapped to one. Is it time to conquer my dislike of this? Perhaps. I wouldn't mind trying snowboarding.

What I'm getting at is that I live about 25 mins. from "Mt. Bachelor," and yes, I admittedly don't ski or snowboard. This is completely weird for a "Bend-ite" to say. Most of my friends here don't just snowboard, they X-C ski, skate ski, tele-ski, you name it.

Last year, I thought "I better make friends with this snow thing. After all, I moved to Bend to get away from the rain." I do tend to "up" my "CrossFit" in the winter, and head to the rock gym more in the winter also, but mind you, I have 2 VERY "chatty" dogs, who don't care if I just went to the gym or not. They want out, and I'm not talking about a mere walk around the block. They want to run, pull and drag things in the snow, and they don't care at all if I would rather be in my slippers or in a hot bath.

Last year I was already on a roll with trail-running, so sought out an easy way to continue my running, with minimal equipment, and not a lot of hassle. Voila! Snowshoe-running! Thanks to my pal, ultra-runner, Laura Kantor, I got hooked. I found a way to exercise in the dead of winter, outside in the elements, that was a win-win for both me and the pups. I even ended up liking it so much that I placed 2nd in my age division for the 10k "Mt. Hood Snowshoe Scramble" (thanks for encouraging me to do that, Laura :)

"Mt. Hood 10k Snowshoe Scramble," 2nd Place In Age Division, Jan. 2010

Point? There is ALWAYS a way to exercise, even in the winter outside. Believe me, once you get on a roll with snowshoe-running, X-C skiing, etc. you'll be warm in no time...and its fun! :)

I Also Discovered This Past Year That I *LOVE* Climbing Waterfall Ice, Ouray, CO. (a.k.a. "Little Switzerland," or "The Ice Climbing Capitol Of The U.S."), Jan. 2010

Building Ice Anchors With My Girlfriends At The "Ouray Ice Park," Ouray, CO., Jan. 2010

I had a girlfriend say to me, "I just need something to motivate me to get outside when its cold." My suggestion? Get a cold-hardy pup! She took my advice, and is now logging more miles than me with her pup in the winter. She is a single woman who lives and runs alone, and is now relishing having a companion who not only gives her a sense of security, but motivates her to make that first step out the door when the snow is blowing sideways. A win-win. She rescued her dog from the same Malamute rescue I did mine ( She's so happy to have a winter-loving friend now. :)

My Winter "Motivators," (R to L) Tallon (a.k.a. "Fatty Pajamas) & Anok. The coldest recorded temperature an Alaskan Malamute has spent over 1 month in? -80 F in Antarctica. Watch the movie "Eight Below" for the story :)

LOVE: Who doesn't need love? We all need to give it, and receive it. Its important that folks who suffer with SAD communicate to their friends and family that they're experiencing SAD, and could use some extra support during the winter months. This may cross-over with the "exercise" category, and create opportunities for a "buddy system," so that they go and workout with friends and family. Maybe it means taking more time for self-love and doing some counseling, therapy work, journaling or other nurturing activities. Receiving acupuncture and/or massage is a very nourishing, nurturing way to treat oneself in the winter. There are specific acupuncture protocols and needling-depth techniques that are more employed in the winter. Write down some words (don't judge them, just write) that come to your mind when you hear the word "Love." Pursue those. Maybe it means taking yourself out on a date (yes, it IS *fun*). Or perhaps treating yourself to a vacation, a play, concert, or a poetry reading. Whatever it is, make sure it nourishes you from the inside out.

The holidays can be rough for some people. Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa...whatever you celebrate, if you suffer from SAD, don't celebrate alone. Surround yourself with community, friends and family that you experience joy with. Being afflicted with SAD can be hard enough. Doing it alone makes it more difficult.

Take The Time To Have A Sit-Down Dinner With Friends & Loved Ones Over The Holidays

FOOD: We all eat. Hopefully, three times a day at least. Food is a big topic. One I'm constantly addressing via social media, through public speaking venues, magazine articles, my blog and with my patients. It can feed our souls, or feed our fears and darkest emotions. It is very important, particularly in the darkest of winter to determine your motivation for eating. Cravings don't always mean your hungry. They can mean you're tired, thirsty, depressed, etc. Be a "food detective," if you're experiencing SAD and having ongoing cravings. Journal where you think they're REALLY coming from. Are there un-dealt with emotions that need to be processed and let go of? If so, I promise a bowl of macaroni and cheese, will not help you. The feeling will just come back. With that being said, food can also be a delicious, decadent part of life. I truly learned to enjoy food in Paris. The French and Italians relish every last bit of their food. It is edible art to them, as it should be. Take time to eat communal meals, meals in silence, meals with laughter, and meals by candlelight. Experience every nuance of delicacy and nutrition your food offers you. There is an old saying "Let thy food by thy medicine, and medicine thy food." (Paracelsus) It is true. Your food can be your medicine. Take time to lovingly prepare it, or take yourself out to a beautiful meal prepared with attention by top chefs. It is a real treat when viewed this way.

I think its also very powerful to turn one's grief or SADness into joy for others. It takes us out of ourselves and our own anguish. Consider offering food to those less fortunate than you around the holidays. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Donate food to a local shelter. Bake something nourishing for an elderly neighbor. In this way too, we are nourished by food. It is as much joy to share it as to
receive it.

Ammachi, Recipient of The United Nations "Gandhi Peace King Award," Humanitarian From Kerala, India. Feeding The Poor In The Slums Of Bangalore, India

"Let Us Love Winter, For It Is The Spring Of Genius." ~Pietro Aretino

The season for lucrative council business

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council begins a seven-day meeting tomorrow at the Hilton hotel in downtown Anchorage.

The Christmas meeting is always a big one for the council, the time when catch limits are set for the coming year.

Looking over the packed agenda, three items stand out:

Halibut — The council will receive a report from the National Marine Fisheries Service that explains how the embattled halibut catch sharing plan might be saved — or simply killed.

Crab — The council has blocked out a full day to talk about lingering issues with "crab rationalization," including the theory — will Deckboss get in trouble for using that word? — that crewmen have taken a pay cut under the new management regime.

Groundfish — As already mentioned, the council will set the "total allowable catch" for important species in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. I'd be surprised to see much excitement here. Government scientists seem to have blessed a Bering Sea pollock TAC well in excess of 1 million metric tons, similar to what the industry enjoyed this past season. Another important Bering Sea target, cod, could see a decent increase.

Council actions are subject to U.S. commerce secretary approval.

Almost there.

I know what I'm most grateful for this year.


More on halibut

Here is the official press release from last week's International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting in Seattle, where the scientific staff recommended catch limits for the 2012 season.

Evidently, at least one prominent Alaskan, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, was none too pleased with the proceedings and issued this statement:

"It is disappointing to hear further reductions are likely, and that the IPHC is suggesting potentially drastic model changes may be needed that would cause steeper reductions. Whether the changes are incorporated this year or in future years, the discussion creates more uncertainty for the commercial fishing industry, sport charter businesses, and Alaska's fishing communities that have already taken a serious economic hit from reduced harvest levels and changing management measures.

"I'm also concerned at the manner the commission staff presented its findings and data. Conflicting information, lack of clear recommendations, topped off by an abrupt end to the public portion of the meeting combined to leave important questions unanswered about the crucial steps needed to ensure the health of our halibut resource and fisheries."

Cooper Union starting to charge tuition?

Okay, so these pics and interview are from..damn..almost a month ago?! I am waaay behind blogging and have not even been to any OWS demos for a few weeks..recording new album and trying to make some comedy skits with John and get them on Funny or Die this month. Plus, I am working more and it's cold out dammit! But I will be running around having adventures soon.
East River was not chosen to be in the top 5 Grammy nominations this year(or last year!), but if we were i'd have gone into shock. Eddie Veder has a ukuleke album out and was in the Folk categoy. WTF!? I think he will win. Even Dylan did not make the cut this year.
Anyway, good news with St Marks Bookshop being saved and also Cafe Vivaldi..but I have not read anything or heard anything about whether Cooper Union will start charging students to attend. Here are some pics from a protest some students had and a short interview I did with one of them.