Friday, February 6, 2009

Indie Wears Salomon Hiking Boots

Far away from any major civilization in Southeast Alaska, lies the small town of Skaguay. Skagway was a famous port town during the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush, which supposedly is quite well known (though I had never heard about it). Hundreds of thousands of men came up to this remote place to find the supposed gold that lay hidden 500 miles north in the deserted Yukon Territory. Only a few found wealth, the rest died on the treacherous trail, or came back empty handed.

That was then, this is now. Today, Skaguay is a bustling tourist town. Visited daily by cruise ships sailing around the better ports in Alaska, toting old fogies around who have saved all their lives on order to take this trip. Coming to Alaska is said to be the adventure of a lifetime. About 500,000 people come each season, and it is quite the unique place. Which brings me to my purpose.

One day, I was off work, hanging out, minding my own business when my friend Bethany tells me that apparently Harrison Ford was visiting the town. With him was longtime girlfriend Calista Flockheart and her son. I was a little intrigued. I'd heard about famous people coming to Skaguay to visit, for example Kevin Bacon, but I never thought I would be here when some random celeb showed up. Bethany however, wanted to search for Mr. Ford, and I agreed just out of curiosity to see if we could actually find him. All we knew was that he had flown his own plane into town, and was out and about. We found out that he had ridden the White Pass and Yukon Route train, but had since gone on his merry way. We hoped maybe he would pop into some of the shops, and since downtown Skaggs isn't that large (one street about 1
0 blocks long), it seemed we'd be able to find him easily. So we went up one side of the street, then down the other with no luck. Bethany had the idea that maybe he had stopped in the Skagway Brewing Company for a drink (or to try their famous Spruce Tip Ale), so we went in that direction. We arrived at the Brew Co. and got a drink, and looked around the room, but saw nothing. After about an hour of searching for the elusive man, we gave up and headed home. 

After arriving home, my other friend Donald said he wanted to buy some rock climbing gear, and so I decided to go with him. By now I'm pretty sure every person who lived in Skaguay had heard he was in town, and a few people had gotten pictures of him, but I doubted I would run into him. So Donnie and I went over to The Mountain Shop which sells more rugged camping and outdoor gear, including rock climbing harnesses and shoes. After looking at their selection, I was wandering around the store, when who should walk in, but Mr. Indiana Jones himself!! I couldn't believe it! It took me a second to realize it was him, he was sporting a beard and sunglasses as well as one of those hats with the big brim around it, one would wear in the sun or for water activities (see below):
Once I had gotten over the shock of seeing Harrison Ford in this little town, I immediately sent a message to Bethany to get her butt over to The Mountain Shop ASAP! Donnie and I continued to watch him covertly, and overheard he was in the store looking for socks. The ones he had on were giving him blisters or something. So we watched as he went into the dressing room at the store and started trying them on. The sales guy asked him what kind of boots he wore and Indie said they were Salomon. I was kinda surprised because I never thought Salomon's were all that good of a brand. But to each his own I guess. Bethany arrived and joined us. At one point, I was standing in line to purchase something and Mr. Indiana Jones himself was right in front of me making his purchase of socks. I really wanted his credit card receipt but couldn't get it of course. I never got the courage to talk to him, partially because I didn't want to annoy him, but I wish I had said something. After he left, everyone was just like "Um did Harrison Ford really just come in here?".

The next day, I had to work and we heard that Harrison was still in town, but that it was his last day. I didn't expect to see him again, but just as I was driving out of town with a tour group, who should I see walking on the sidewalk was Mr. Ford (with Calista) yet again! I really wanted to say something to my group, but by the time I realized it was him we had already gone past and it was too late. And then that was that. He flew out that evening to who knows where. And that my friends is my brush with a major celeb. 

Monday, February 2, 2009


So once every two years, I get the exciting opportunity to pick out a new cell phone. With all the abundance of new models, I often have a hard time choosing which one to get. Do I go for something more stylish? Something with more function? Blackberry? LG? Samsung? What to do?

It all started when I was about 14 years old. The cell phone was just starting to become mainstream, in that the normal person could get a cellular phone instead of just corporate big-wigs. A few of my friends had gotten them, and I wanted one soooooo bad!! I would search constantly on Amazon for cool phones I wanted. I knew my parents would never let me do one with a contract, and it was then I discovered the pay-as-you-go plans. I think it was AT&T who first cam up with the GO Phone, where you could pay as little as $10 for a card with 30 minutes of talk time. At 14, I knew I would never use a lot of minutes, I would mainly use the phone for emergencies or incase I needed to stay after school for some reason. So I saved my money and I began to prepare a list of the pros to having a cell phone to convince my parents. Then luck struck! Amazon was running a deal where I could get a prepaid phone for free with rebates!! It was a few weeks before my birthday, so that in addition with my "pros" list, my parents went ahead and ordered the phone for me as a present. I was so excited the day it arrived! I assembled everything and the next morning my mom called AT&T to get it activated! I was the proud new owner of a cell phone!

Then, a couple years later when my sister left for college, my parents decided to get cell phones for us all on a family plan on Verizon Wireless. I got the popular Motorola "bean" phone. It was so awesome. I discovered how to text and I didn't have to do the silly prepaid thing any more. After a year though I started to get bored with it, my sister having gotten a COLOR screen phone (that was the new technology then), and I decided I wanted to upgrade too. My sister had somehow convinced the Verizon guys to let her upgrade early. I wasn't so lucky and had to buy mine on Ebay (the LG VX6000) for a lot of money. But I was content to have one of the coolest phones on the market, and I loved it. Then a year after that I left for college and got to upgrade again. This time it was an Audiovox flip phone. I liked it for two weeks, then I hated it. It was super bulky and not really any better than my LG, so I got another new phone on Ebay which was also an Audiovox, but much more streamlined. It was a good phone. Even more technology advances were made over that time in phones like the addition of MP3 players, higher megapixel cameras, and improved internet. I was excellent at texting, people were always commenting on how fast my fingers flew around the key pad. I began researching the phones I would get to replace my Audiovox and I really wanted to stick with LG. LG had already served me well, their phones are good quality and hold up well. It was still a hard choice since most phones all had the same features. But I ended up with the LG VX8700 which I've kept the whole two years. I've never had any complaints with it, and never got bored which was a problem with phones I had before.

So now the time has arrived for me to get another new phone. Now the technology is focusing around touch screens. The hot phone of the moment was the Apple iPhone which was an iPod, phone and internet device rolled into one. I wouldn't mind getting and iPhone, but I hate AT&T so until Verizon carries it I won't get it. But I liked the idea of a touch screen, and was all set on trying out the LG Dare, which was definitely not at the same level as the iPhone, but seemed pretty cool anyway. I'd always wanted to get a Blackberry also, but didn't want to spend an extra $30 a month for the higher plan. But then news reached my ears about this new Blackberry coming out that was a touch screen phone, the Blackberry Storm. I was super excited to see it. The touch screen was different than any other phone. Instead of tapping the screen, you actually pushed down on it, which sounded really cool to me. It was said to be the iPhone killer, which while it competes there will always be those diehard loyal fanatics who will never let the iPhone die anyway. But after reading's review and user reviews I wasn't sure about the Storm. It was released to early in order to make the Christmas market and therefore had/has some bugs. But reading more and more reviews it seems like the bugs have been worked out. Apparently it has a slow accelerometer and the camera sucks. Fortunately, though Verizon has a 30 day policy to choose a phone, so if I don't like it I'll get the LG Dare. But I think it'll really be useful in Alaska with internet. I pay $60/month for limited megabyte, slow as molasses internet. With a Blackberry I'll pay $30 extra on my phone bill with almost full browsing capabilities. 

But the point of this blog isn't really a review of the Storm, just mainly a chronicle of people's enthusiasm for new technology. And if you think I'm bad, remember there are millions that are a million times worse! Those weird "techies" who constantly have to have the most current hot electronic toy. I remember when portable CD players were all the rage and when the iPod came out I thought it was stupid. I figured, what's the big deal about carrying around a folder of CD's? HA! How wrong I was! It's amazing to see my 100+ selection of CD's shrunk down into a pocket size device! I currently have 1,951 songs, which averages out to over 150 CD's! And now we have cell phones that take pictures, shoot video, play music, browse the internet, give us directions, look up nearby restaurants, and more. Amazing isn't it?