Saturday, July 21, 2007

Annalee's Economical Polar Bear Ecotour

Polar Bear
Originally uploaded by Accent Alaska
I was wandering around Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris, reading about the ecotour called The Northern Lights, Polar Bears & Winter Wildlife that takes place in the Brooks Range and Kaktovik, Alaska in September 2008. They will charge you $5350, and though they warn "distances are large in Alaska and a significant amount* of time will be spent in vehicles searching for wildlife and driving to destinations", I am sure that they will provide a wonderful tour. But, not all of us can afford $6,000-plus for an ecotour. To take up the slack in this industry, I am considering opening a side business as an economical ecotourism operator.

Here is the rough draft of my polar bear tour on the as-of-yet-to-be-submitted-to-the-SBA business proposal for my ecotourism business.

The One-Weekend Economical Polar Bear
and Northern Lights Expedition

  • Friday Night: Arrive in Fairbanks. Drive to Chena Hot Springs. Spend the night at the lodge soaking in the hot springs while viewing Northern Lights.

  • Saturday: Spend a second night at Chena Hot Springs just in case there were no Northern Lights.

  • Sunday: Early morning flight to Kaktovik and visit "the dump". There will be plenty of polar bear activity. Fly back to Fairbanks and home.

* They aren't kidding that you'll spend significant time waiting for wildlife. Do you know how rare it is to find a bear in the wild? In my entire life I've seen about ten bears wandering around doing "what bears do". The other 100 I've found were at the dump, or raiding my trash can. Okay, so I've seen plenty crossing roads too but I'm hardly exaggerating that if you want to see a bear ... go to the dump.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Starry Night Covers

I found these covers wandering around, and was immediately drawn to the Vincent Van Gogh Starry Night feel. Denise Vitola's Ty Merrick series are futuristic, mystery and lycanthrope shapeshifter all rolled into one.

Book One

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Book Two

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Book Three

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

There are other novels in the series. But these are the three with the covers I enjoyed.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Carnival Dream

I had the strangest dream last night. Already some of the memories have started disappearing. That’s too bad. I’m sure there was some great imagery in there for stories. The images our minds come up with in dreams always amazes me. I’ve got a loved one in the hospital. I’ve been spending most of the last week visiting and worried and the dream was definitely an extension of my worry.

In the dream I was driving down the road with the woman that sits next to me at work. She was driving, and who knows why I was her passenger. She was wearing a tight little jacket. And she wanted it off. While she was taking it off, it morphed into a monkey vest. You know those tight little vests that monkeys wore? Like the little monkey in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Or the vests that mechanical clapping monkeys. Don’t the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz wear them too? I used to have an illustrated version and I think they did but I can’t remember (at least in conscious thought, maybe my subconscious mind does remember). This image shows up in part because I just finished a book called Fool’s Gold by Jennifer Skully last night before I fell asleep. In this Nevada-set romance, the heroine had a bumper sticker that read, “don’t make me bring out the flying monkeys”.

So this woman I work with was driving down the road trying to get this vest off. That means she isn’t driving, so I reach over and steer the car back toward the road each time it nearly goes flying off. She stops trying to take the vest off long enough to stop me from using the steering wheel each time. She insisted she knew what she was doing. I am of course crossing my heart and hoping not to die. We get into a fabulous car wreck and wind up next to a mountain lake from Idaho. It looked like something out of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. That movie was on while I was cooking dinner last night. I didn’t see much of it. But I got to see a few of the car chase scenes. And I also saw one scene were they drove along what I thought was a lake. Turns out it was the Snake River in Idaho. In my dream the image was what I first thought. A lake.

I crawl out of the car and on the shores of the lake I found a heart shaped rock floating. I went over there to figure it out. It was balancing perfectly on another rock because they were both split in three and the heart-shaped rock was sitting in the indentation at the epicenter of these cracks. As I started looking around, I could see that the three cracks were really fissures from some ancient earthquake. The imagery is strong here for showing why loved one is in the hospital. It is pretty serious and yet I’ve been trying to not worry, and be positive about the outcome. Good to see there was a peaceful, lovely scene when the heart first showed up.

But them the chaos came back. In the dream I leaned over to take close up pictures and I saw strange little spiders dancing around on this rock. They were colorful and changed shape as they danced. The setting morphed to the carnival where there were games to play. No rides. I think we were going to the circus, but the dream only happened around tends were there were games or other displays. I was literally running around taking pictures of my family like a crazed woman. Even though it was digital, I was able to hold up the “negatives” over light boxes. Looked just like x-ray film and light boxes in hospitals - only the images were portraits of my family and they were all smiling. After I determined I had plenty of good pictures of them, I crawled down into this pit were these plastic monkeys were on display and started taking pictures of the monkeys again.

I guess the circus carnival was showing up because I was pretty disappointed with the hospital yesterday when they brought spoiled milk for two meals in a row. That irritated the heck out of me that no one listened to the patients and got the problem fixed after lunch. Yesterday I was thinking of the hospital as having too many people running around doing their jobs without a clearly defined ring master that keeps it all flowing smoothly. So I guess the dream was about working out my worries. I really want to focus more on the calm reflections in a mountain lake so that is the attitude I bring with me when I visit the hospital.