Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope everyone out there in "Blogging-Land" had a great Turkey Day! I had a blast hanging out with a few teachers and their families. Great food and some wonderful outdoor fun. It was a little chilly (-10) but we dressed warm. Today is much warmer (about 10 above) and I hope to get out and take some pictures. I am house-sitting this weekend, so I have a couple of girls to hang out with (Molly and Su-Su...the pets) I have been having a blast watching Marx Brother movies on a huge flat screen TV with NICE speakers.

Well, my first concert is in five I have some work to do =) I'll try to post again on Sunday...but I may be pre-occupied with concert preparations.

Enjoy the rest of the Holiday weekend!

Rock on,
~Mr. Lockwood.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Murphy's Law holds true in Alaska!!!

Funny story. Today, I took the day off from school to get things done around town that can only be done during business hours, like: get an Alaskan Drivers License, get measured for a tux, get an oil change, look into emission testing for my car, and possibly get a bock heater put in The Swamp Donkey. I got out to the car at about 9:30, opened my door, turned the key...and nothing happened. My car wouldn't start. It got ridiculously cold last night (about -30) and my car did NOT enjoy it. I think it is funny that the day I wanted to go out and winterize my car was the very day that winter messed it up. After a few phone calls, I came to the conclusion that a tow was the only way I was getting anywhere, so I called up my assistant principal for suggestion on a good auto shop. he has been very knowledgeable and helpful in many situations...and this one is no different. I called to tell him my problem, and instead of suggesting a good shop, he tells me he is on his way to my apartment to help. We hook up "The Swamp Donkey" to some jumper cables and wait a few minutes for the frozen battery to take a charge. I get the car started up and I am off to run my errands. My assistant principal ROCKS!!!

I didn't get everything done I wanted to, but I did most of it. I was fitted for the tux I will be wearing on New Years Eve for Satan's wedding, I got an oil change, and I now have an Alaska State Driver's License. It is kinda funny...I get a good picture taken of me once every five years...and that is my DL pic. I hate every picture of me unless it is on a small piece of plastic that I keep in my wallet.

(I blurred out the information that people might be able to use for identity theft. I trust my readers, but not the other people who might swing by)

Well, I think I am going to go and take a nap before I have community band rehearsal.
Have a great week!
~Mr. Lockwood

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Alaska never ceases to amaze me!

Tonight I saw something in the sky that was amazing. I have been told of lights that shoot straight up. I believe this is a type of Aurora, but I am not sure. I have been told that when it gets to a certain temperature, something happens where beams of light may be seen. I wish I was outside of city limits so I could have seen it better. I did have my camera this time, so you can see what I am talking about. If anyone out there knows what this is....I would love some more info.

(Edit: I asked around at school, and it turns out that these light pillars are just street lights reflecting off of ice crystals in the air...who knew that our industrialized lifestyle and mother nature herself could form a symbiotic relationship to create this inspiring nocturnal spectacle)



I hope people still read this blog so they can experience this phenomenon as well.

Have a great week!
~Mr. Lockwood

Monday, November 17, 2008

Alaska is a Winter Wonderland

The snow up here is beautiful!!! I'll just cut right to the chase and post the pictures =) It has been a while since I have been out shooting.

This is a view about 6 miles from my apartment. Fairbanks is somewhere under that fog:

The lack of wind allows everything to stay covered in snow. Everything is white and beautiful!!!:




I was actually pretty scared walking away from the car to take some of these shots for one very specific reason:
These moose tracks were right next to where I was shooting and I had no idea how fresh they were. Moose do actually kill people here in Fairbanks, so you always need to be careful. The advice I have been told is that if you are ever charged at by a moose, you should run to the nearest tree, stand behind it, and keep VERY still. Moose, apparently, have very bad eyes and are quite if you hide behind a tree I guess they can't see you and then they forget what they were charging at.

Needless to say, a moose did not charge me down =)

School is going well. We are in the late stages of concert preparation. Dec. 3rd is right around the corner!! I hope everyone out there in blogging land is doing well.
Only 34 days, 21 hrs, 09 mins, 13 secs from this very moment until I am back in MN =)

Rock on,
~Mr. Lockwood

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bobb's Awesome Alaskan Halibut Chowder.

Ok, so I made myself some "get better soup" this evening because I am feeling a cold coming on, and the soup was AMAZING!!! I do not mean to sound egotistical, but I make great soup (as I found out tonight.) I was given about a pound of halibut a while ago and had no idea how I was going to cook it. When I started feeling a cold coming on, I though chowder sounded great. I looked around for some halibut chowder recipes, but they all had things in them I didn't like and left out the things I do I took the basics of a chowder and made it my own. I thought I would share the recipe with you all. This is a perfect soup to warm you up on a cold winter night!
(warning...this is NOT a low fat/low cal soup.)

Alaskan Halibut Chowder:
  • About 1 lb. bacon
  • 3-4 medium sized potatoes, chopped
  • *2 jalapeƱo peppers, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can evaporated milk (I used 2%)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 lb Halibut, skin and bones removed and cut up
  • Instant Mashed Potato Flakes, to thicken
  • Sour Cream and chopped chives, to garnish

Cook bacon in a large pot; place on paper towels, crumble, and put off to the side. Save about 1/4 cup of the good stuff left in the pot to cook the veggies in. Saute vegetables in reserved drippings (I put in the potatoes first, then the onion, and finally the peppers so things wouldn't burn.) Add water and evaporated milk; let simmer for 20 minutes. Add cream and halibut let simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Add potato flakes to thicken, about 1/2 cup. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add crumbled bacon and serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives.

*I find the best way to de-seed jalapeƱos is to cut the top off (where the stem is) and then, over a trash can or garbage disposal, roll the pepper between your if you were making play-dough snakes. Go ahead and be kinda rough with them so you can loosen all of the stuff inside. Give the peppers a little slap and most of the seeds should just fall out...a few seeds are not bad. The majority of the heat in peppers comes from the seeds and those little rib things inside the pepper...removing most of them still adds great flavor and a little heat to the dish without over-powering it with spice.

Like I said, this soup was very tasty! I have the advantage of wonderful Alaskan Halibut caught in the wild, but I am sure any Halibut from your local fishmonger/grocery meat section will work great. Try to get it as fresh as you can. I thought of trying this with cod, but I am afraid that cod is too flaky. I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as I did. The best part is, it makes a LOT of soup, so I have leftovers to last me a week!!

Take care everyone!
Rock on,
~Mr. Lockwood

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Love Halloween!!

Hello everyone!! I hope you all had a great Halloween. Before I post some pictures of my epic costume, here is a quick shot the Alaskan snow:

This shot was taken about 30 miles up the Eliot Hwy. There is snow and hoarfrost on everything. Since there is little to no wind in this area, the snow accumulates on everything. Even the smallest tree branches stay white since the snow is not blown off by gusting winds. It is beautiful!

So now about Halloween:
On Wednesday, Randy Smith Middle School celebrated Halloween. Thursday and Friday were Parent-Teacher conferences, so we had to celebrate a few days early. A few weeks ago, I showed a video in class of The Blue Man Group and the kids LOVED it!! I decided that it would be fun to dress up as a member if the Blue Man Group and go the whole day without talking. It was a challenge but it was also a ton of fun.



(This picture was taken on my school computer, so the quality is not as good)

It was very difficult teaching five classes without saying a single word, but it was great. I conducted rehearsals with nothing more than a pre-written class agenda on the white board and non-verbal cues. It took me about an hour and a half to put on all of my makeup, but it was worth it. The kids and staff thought the costume was amazing!

One more thing. I have a webcam, so if anyone has a camera for their computer and Windows Live Messenger, look me up and we video chat. I have been talking to some friends back home and my sister and niece via the internet and it has been great not only talking to them, but seeing them! Modern technology never ceases to amaze me.

I hope you all have a great week!!!!
Rock on
~Mr. Lockwood