Friday, November 14, 2008

November, 14 2008

I wish the 1st of Octember was real. :)

In Vermont, it seems that the significant snow always falls over night. Alaska will drop 4-5 inches on you when ever it feels like it. I went to my one o'clock class and the sidewalks were clear. After class campus is covered in 4 inches.

I've started picking classes for next semester. Unfortunately I have to wait until Tuesday to finish making selections. On the upside, the reason I have to wait is: I have to petition to have some of my credits, that transferred as electives, to count towards my English requirements. I might have a really tough semester but, I really could have my degree by the end of the summer at the latest.

I can't believe I lost my Fantasy Football match up last week. I made a roaring comeback, and losing by 2 points hurts. Oh well, I'm pretty sure I'll clean up this weekend.

Actually sports in general are pretty average. The Steelers lost a game they should have won, TCU lost to Utah ruining a chance for a BCS bid. On the upside, the Lakers are undefeated and the Penguins beat the Redwings in OT!

Swimming is coming to a close right before Thanksgiving. :( It'll start up again Jan. 13, but I'll miss my swimmers; especially those that graduate to the next level. (I know that Chloe will move up; which, while I'm so proud of her, it was really rewarding being her coach, and I'll miss her.)

Fairbanks round two is getting closer and closer. I can't wait to eventually be back in Vermont for Christmas. Shawn, get your skates ready, we'll play some hockey.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Sorry I haven’t been reporting in. It’s been pretty busy. I had multiple mid-terms last week and I was very happy when the week was finally over. I’m playing hockey every so often, and I skate regularly too. Everything is all set for me to go to Fairbanks this Thanksgiving. I had a great time the last time I went up, and I’m excited to spend much more time there.

This weekend I went to a swim meet. Only two of my swimmers were in attendance, but I was happy to be there to support them. Chloe(8),the swimmer whom, at the insistence of her mother, I have invested the most individual time with, had an amazing race. Everything we worked on, she executed, and when she got out of the water she was all smiles because she knew she did it. Totally worth my time.

School has been a little rough lately, but I just have to settle down and re focus. Communications is still my best class. English and linguistics are also going well.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fairbanks Weekend Picture Post

Over the weekend I took a trip to Fairbanks for the UAF festival known as Starvation Gulch. Large stacks of pallets were constructed to make various statues that were all set on fire. During the festival it started to snow. Fairbanks got about an inch and a half.

Fire 1

Fire 2

Fire 3


Here are some pictures that I took on the ride to and from Fairbanks.










Bridge View


Classes are good and swim coaching is awesome. I coach a little girl named Chloe, who always went last or second to last in her lane. She has great technique, she just moves her arms a little slower. However, we did breast stroke last week: I gave her a few instructions and she lead her lane the rest of practice. That was a pretty rewarding experience for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Hey it's been a while since my last blog and I apologize.

Here's a picture of 3 moose I saw on campus.

I took some more pictures of the Seward Highway, but they're on my phone and I can't send them to my Verizon account because I'm roaming in Alaska. Next time I'm on the Seward Highway during the day, I'll be sure to bring my camera. It's incredible.

Swim coaching is great. I love the group I'm in charge of. I have six 6-8 year-olds in my lane and we have a lot of fun.

Tomorrow I can finally actively pursue a front desk job.

And now, the shocker:

I joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity this weekend.

Firstly, nobody is more wary of fraternities than I am. I hate the frat stereotype, and until I got where I am, I wouldn't have given a thought to joining one. However, the group of guys I've met here are very different, and very in to being a real fraternity. In fact, our event this weekend was completely "dry" (no alcohol etc.).

Somewhat unintentionally I was friendly with everyone and friends with no one, and this is what came about. I'm happy to see and be a part of a real fraternity.

School is going just fine and my favorite class is still Interpersonal Communications. (Linguistics is a close second.)

Friday, September 5, 2008


First off, I think I'm just going to do a weekly blog. Every weekend I'll recap the weeks events.

Today I created a PSA (a UAA commercial about events around campus) for KRUA (the university radio station). I learned how to use the sound editing programs, created a write-up based on the information given me, and then I recorded the commercial and layered it over a musical loop.

That was the first step towards getting my own radio show. Tonight I go in to present a show proposal.

Yesterday was my first day as a coach for NLSC. I had a great time with the kids and I'm definitely looking forward to more practices. The only downside is I'm really only looking at 3 hours a week. However, there is a possibility for advancement come summer time.

Right now I'm looking to get a desk job in one of the Residence Halls. It's a good opportunity to make a little spending money, and I can do my studying on the job.


From what I've observed Alaskans are very much behind Sarah Palin. I wouldn't be surprised if McCain grabbed Alaska's whopping 3 electoral votes.


I'm in the University Center right now, I will post pictures of my roommates to this blog sometime tomorrow.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


My room mates are gone for the extended weekend. I'll try to get pictures of them when they get back.

Everything is running pretty smoothly here. Classes are going well, I'm budgeting my time and I'm getting my work done.

I started swimming again on Thursday. Having not swam in a year and a half (probably longer), it was extremely hard to get back into it. I fared better on Friday but it was still tough. I hope to fully have my stroke back by next week and I hope to have swimming endurance in 3 weeks.

Speaking of swimming. I officially got a job coaching for the Northern Lights Swim Club. I'll be coaching the "Sabre" program. (Northern Light Sabres...get it) I start Thursday Sept. 4th at 4:00. It's not going to be much but at least it's spending money, so I can save what I already have.

I'm hanging out with some people, but I wouldn't say I have any friends just yet.

We've got a long weekend ahead of us, thanks to the holiday. I don't start again until Wednesday but I made sure to get all my assignments done yesterday.

I'm off to go swimming again. Hopefully it'll be better today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I've been to all my classes, and so far Interpersonal Communications is my favorite. The teacher is very outgoing and already I look forward to attending.

Linguistics has also turned out to be very interesting. We're discussing sound symbolism. Here's an example to give you an idea of what that's all about:
This is from T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men"

"This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper."

Contrast that with this option

"This is the way the world ends/Not with a bing but a whomper."

Obviously "bing" and "whomper" have aren't words, but you can see how the meaning changes.

In other news:

I placed third in a free poker tournament put on by Residence Life. I won a 50 dollar Best Buy gift card.

I've woken up early 3 days in a row, and I'm already noticing the positive effects. I'm able to get a work out before my first class, and I feel more productive. My suit and goggles came today so I'm going to hit the pool tomorrow at 6:30.

Speaking of the pool, I'm going in to talk to Cliff (of the Northern Lights Swim Club). Hopefully I'll be checking in with good news tomorrow night.

Until later...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Matt's Sunday + his Monday schedule

Yesterday: I took a look into the ice rink: Check out this picture of past Hockey Classic Champions. Recognize 2005's winner???

Today (Sunday) I made sure that I could make my longest walk from class to class, in under 15 minutes.

Success! I made it in 10.

At Campus Kickoff, I got some information about the bike club where I can go build my own bike (tall bikes, funny shapes, lots of welding etc.). That will also come in handy for traversing the farther distances. My idea is to build a bike with two front wheels, and see if that works better in the snow.

I also got information about the debate team and campus radio.

While in The Commons I saw an add on one of the message boards: The local swim club, The Northern Lights, is looking for a tues/thurs coach. I called and left a message. I really hope I get that job, it would be quite ideal.

Today, I also took the bus to Fred Meyer. I picked up some toilet paper, shaving cream and batteries.

Here's a picture of the BP building. It's big, but it's not downtown.

On my way back a group of guys were barbecuing in the parking lot and invited me over. Free food, a little pick up was a good time. I haven't really made any friends yet, but at least I'm meeting some people.

Two of my room mates have arrived, but the third is a no show. I'm not getting my hopes up, but an RA said there was a possibility I could end up having the room to myself. Can you say, "beds pushed together". :)

This is what my schedule for Monday looks like:

6:00 Wake - small bite to eat (fruit bar etc.) - walk to the gym
6:30-7:45 Gym: Chest, Back, :30 run
8:00 Breakfast
8:30-9:30 Me time
9:30-11:15 Walk to class (10:00-11:15: Western Civ 2)
11:30-12:00 Lunch
12:00-12:30 Get info about Outdoor Club
12:30 Catch shuttle to Linguistics Class
1:00-2:15 Linguistics
2:15 Hoof it about 3/4 mile
2:30-3:45 Interpersonal Communications
4:00-5:30 Organize Mon/Wed materials - Study (where applicable)
5:30 Dinner
6:00-10:00 Check out clubs/organizations - Study
10:00 Bed

Until next time...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Around Campus

Today I attempted to find my way around campus. (Remember, click every blue, underlined word for a picture.)

When I leave the housing complex I set off down a foot path.

At the end of the footpath is Providence Hospital. (<- this picture is only 1/5 of the total hospital, it's enormous) Turning left gave me this view.

Then I made my way to the Consortium Library (Pic 1, Pic 2, Pic 3)

There are lots of foot bridges (Pic 1, Pic 2). I guess that will come in handy when I'm faced with my first Alaskan winter.

Behind the library I found this sculpture.
Now check it out from this angle.

Then I walked past Rasmuson Hall. (Pic 1, Pic 2)

Here's a pic of the Chugach Mountains behind the bookstore.

More mountain pictures: One, Two.

Finally I made it back to my desk, where I am now.

I need to find out how I'm going to make it from one side of campus to the other in 15 minutes. I'm also looking into the Recreation and Activities club. I'm sure there'll be many more opportunities for pics.

That's all for now.

Finding My Way Around

Today I focused on finding my way around the city. Anchorage is very big and I didn't see near as much as I could have, but I did figure out what bus will take me from UAA to downtown, and what bus will take me from downtown to UAA. (Bus route 3). I also found a Walmart, and with some strategic packing, I was able to fit everything in my backpack and one plastic bag.

The route that I took didn't offer many photo opportunities. However, as I get accustomed to life here, I'm sure I will find some. I wanted to take a picture like this:

However, the bigger buildings are actually farther apart than they seem, and to get this picture you really need to be far away. Next time I go downtown I'll try to take pictures of the Cook Inlet (aka Nuti).

The Anchorage Wikipedia page, has some good pictures. Anchorage used to be a "tent city" before Alaska was recognized as a state. It now boasts a population of 282,813, with 359,180 within the "metro statistical area". The city constitutes more than 40 percent of the states total population.

Tomorrow, I take a tour of campus and try to find my classrooms. I will definitely be taking pictures around UAA, so stay tuned.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Greetings from Alaska!

I'm finally here!

After a $27 cab ride, I finally made it to my room at the


I'm the only one in my condo so far. School doesn't start until Monday and I'm guessing that my roommates are either locals; or they don't live too far, and they've been through this process before.

While I was making myself comfortable, a very dark cloud formation started to loom over the campus. The rain itself lasted about 90 seconds...

Then it turned into hail.

By the time I had finished my room, the hail had stopped and I made my way over to the "Commons" for a bite to eat. On the way I saw this rose garden.

After dinner, I decided to go for a walk. As I was taking pictures, a man walked out of one the University buildings and asked me what was so interesting. I told him I was just taking pictures of the mountains. He laughed.

"And those aren't even the big ones."

Blogger isn't very good for showing pictures, so click here to view them. (Click the thumbnails, then click the picture to view the full size (more impressive)).

Oh...and did I mention my condo has a fireplace?

That's all for now; the 4 hour time difference has started to catch up to me. Tomorrow, I try to find my way around campus...and to a Walmart.

Checking in from Chicago

I couldn't sleep last night, in fact I probably got a maximum of 1.5 hours. Now I'm tired but very excited. A year and a half ago, I thought this day would never come.

A big "thank you!" to everyone, especially my family, who helped me get where I am. I couldn't have made these strides without you, and that's the truth.

Checking in from Chicago:

Burlington to Chicago was a very uneventful experience, which I guess when it comes to flying, is a good thing. I just wish people would be more considerate in an airport. I can't walk 20 feet without listening to someone complain about something. (Most of the time, their problem is their own fault)

Chicago O'Hare is enormous, and the shuttle ride across the tarmac was pretty cool--many, many large aircraft. My flight to Anchorage will be on a Boeing 757.

I will be looking for photo opportunities as soon as possible. Believe it or not, there aren't many in or around the airport. Check back for updates to this entry, which are sure to include pictures.