Dinning Out In Juneau Rant

Hello again world. How you been? Do you like dinning out? I know I do. I wonder if there is a way to improve the dinning experience?

[START RANT]

Dinning OutJuneau Alaska is a terrible city for dinning out in. Now that is not because the streets can be filled with wild bears at any given moment. No. If you’re new here, don’t let the cities mandatory bear proof trash cans scare you. They are actually common place here and significantly less messy then open lidded trash cans you would find anywhere else in America. (Now, if i could only figure out how to open the damn things). These midget size blue pillars are a constant reminder to everyone to watch your back so you don’t get malled by the angry bears that might not be so angry in the first place if they could figure out how to open the damn trash cans.

I have lived here for two years now and I have dinned out at every restaurant this capital city has to offer me. (Please, for the love of god, when will we finally get an Applebees?) I don’t remember what I originally expected from a city that is home to Senator Ted “The Internet Is A Bunch Of Tubes” Stevens. But I am petty sure I was hopping for something that resembled what normal people in this country consider to be GOOD FUCKING SERVICE.

I am constantly amazed at the lack of any kind of real services or attention span provided by the dinning staff of Juneau Alaska. It’s not to say I don’t have good meals here. As a matter-o-fact I do. (I have had some good steaks, mushroom burgers, and I can honestly say I have found a few salads here that will make anyone feel like a man because they garish it with steak.) But it’s bad enough that all of us who live here have to pay more for food in general because it all has to come over on a damn boat. That’s right, all the food in Juneau is imported in by ships from the lower 48 states. Aside form a few folks who own their own visitable gardens here and are to high and mighty to share out the fruits of their labors, we as citizens of Juneau all get our food from boat shipments.

But that’s not the point. The point here is bad service. My friends and I go into these restaurants that try to pass themselves off as fun, friendly, or even fine dinning, but you all too quickly become made very aware of the fact that you’re entire dinning experience tonight will be filled with nothing but constant interrupted conversations with friends or loved ones because the waiting staff can’t help but ask you if you would like a refill on your drink every FIVE – GOD – DAMN – MINUTES.

Seriously, If my glass is empty just refill it. You can see that it is empty. Why do you have to ask me if i want a refill? Does water cost so much these days that your forced to interrupt a blatantly obvious conversation with your patrons to ask “would you like me to refill your water?”. Fuck yes I want some more water. My glass is empty you moron. Who wants an empty glass? Don’t restaurants teach their waiting staff how to interact with customers anymore?

The next painful hurtle one gets the lovely misfortune to experience while eating out in Juneau, is being asked if your plate can be taken away while you still have food in your mouth. Can anyone give me a one single reason why I should not turn to my socially retarded waitress or waiter and spit out my half chewed man salad all over their uniform so I can answer that question with a loud and annoyed no?

What the fuck is wrong with these people. I get better service from the half stoned illegal Mexican working at the local Wal-Mart when checking out than I do dinning out in the city of Juneau.

Lastly, if you have managed to go through the night without killing any members of the waiting staff, you should be congratulated on the herculean level of patience you possess because it is about to be put to the ultimate test. Getting your fucking bill.

It’s true. Never in my life have I experienced a waiting staff so hell bent on interrupting conversations or asking inappropriate questions at inappropriate times, as I have since I moved to Juneau. But when it comes time to pay your bill the staff starts ignoring your table to a degree that can only be compared to the way a fat girl with zits must feel when waiting for her gay best friend to ask her to the prom. Can someone explain to me the logic in not giving your customers the bill after they are done eating? I swear they must have some kind of pool going on with each other to see who can piss off their customers more or who can make the least amount of tips in a single night.

If I did not have such a fear of being tossed out on the streets of Juneau (only to be eaten by a bear and shat out next to a dumpster that no one can open to put their trash in BECAUSE IT IS BEAR PROOF) I would go up to the managers of these pseudo-dinning establishments and give them a few tips about how services could be improved slightly so that I would want to eat out more and give a larger tip.

If, in the end, dinning out in Juneau is not enough to make you want to learn to start cooking your own dinners at home with a hand-me-down recipe book, all while hoping in the back of your mind you could be the next Julia Child, then I don’t know what will.

[END RANT]

The Power Of Google Maps

Google Maps Logo

The other day at work, I was preparing to meet with a new client here in Juneau. The client is located in downtown Juneau, but I did not know exactly where they where. So I loaded up Google Maps to help me figure out where their office was.

Now, Google Maps does a really great job of helping you find where your going and giving you directions to where you need to go. After I put in the companies address, Google Maps showed me where they where located. I still was not 100% sure of their location or how to get their.

steetview buttonNow normally when this happens I just have Google Maps generate directions for me from my office. But this time was different because I noticed for the first time a new button at the top of Google Maps,”Street View”.

With Street View, you are able to see a 360 degree view of any street in Juneau. I was so blown away by this. I mean, I knew Google has a small fleet of cars setup to take photos of cities like this but i did not think Juneau was going to be on the list anytime soon. With street view I was able to see the actual office of where my meeting was to take place and as a result of seeing the street view picture I realized that I knew where the office was located and I knew out to get there with out any directions.

After my meeting was over and I was done with work for the day I got back on Google Maps to see if I could find my house. I did!

Home On Google Mpas

That’s my truck in the drive way!

Glacier on Google Maps

You can also see the Glacier

Airport on Google Maps
Our Little AirPort.

Govs on Google Maps
Governors Mansion

In using Street View and looking all around Juneau I can tell that all these pictures where taken just over a year a go. This is a pretty cool new feature they have added and I know I will be using it quite a bit. Not every city in the world has street view just yet, but I am sure they are working on it.

The Presidents Of The United States Of America

PUSAWho would have thought that I would have had to move to Juneau Alaska and live here for two years before I would ever see The Presidents Of The United States Of America in concert? I think I stood a better chance of seeing them while I still lived in Washington State. Oh how little I know.

So this last Saturday The Presidents Of The United States Of America played a show at a local club here in town. I got tickets for myself and Hannah as a surprise thing to do this weekend together. We went out to dinner and then went to the second story club to watch the show.

It was pretty great. It’s not everyday that we get a band like this to come to town. The band’s stage presents was very professional and they were all very funny. All their popular songs were played with a sprinkling of new ones. The crowed was involved in quite the mosh-pit. But when The Presidents Of The United States Of America played “Lump” everyone one in the place went nuts and started jumping up and down to the beat of the song with their hands in the air. It was a whole lot of fun and I am really glad we went.

It’s Cold Outside

Action Figure In The SnowThe last few days have been very cold around here. At the moment with the wind chill the temperature is 0 °F / -18 ° C and it’s been colder then that lately.

The roads are so frozen that you are quite literally driving on one long sheet of ice. You have to teach yourself to drive differently. Like having to slow down very gradually. You can’t go to fast on turns and you can’t drive to fast in general because one gust of wind is all it would take to put you in the ditch. Their have been a few times where I feel like I’m one of the truck drivers from “Ice Road Truckers” on T.V.

The lakes around here have frozen over and more often then not I see people playing ice hockey on them. Winter around here is very beautiful despite the freezing cold. It’s like everything has gone black and white.

Now however, I am ready for spring to come with a vengeance.

“Its cold outside,
There’s no kind of atmosphere,
I’m all alone,
More or less.
Let me fly,
Far away from here,
Fun, fun, fun,
In the sun, sun, sun.”

M&M’s Art

M&M’sRecently, my fiancée Hannah had her M&M art written about on CandyAddict.com.

Mendelsohn, a 21-year-old medical assistant, separates M&Ms by color and arranges them in intricate patterns on any flat surface she can find. The result is a surface completely covered with M&Ms, no space between them. Mendelsohn arranges the colors in bright geometric patterns. She said this hobby first took root when she developed a love for chocolate.

I think this is pretty exiting. I wanted to share the link with everyone. So Check out her art and the article written about her “Alaska coffee table serves as canvas for M&M art” over at Candy Addict.

Vacation Over

Well, our vacation is over now and both Hannah and myself are back in Juneau. Back to work, Back to Normality for a little while as we try to pick up and put away the contents of our suitcases. We had such a good time though. I wish it was not over. Vacations are never long enough. We are already talking about our next one.

Tanha ChristmasWe spent our first week in Chicago at my brother’s house and had our early little Christmas there. It was really nice and I am so happy I got to see most of my family. It was so cool that we all were able to get together in Chicago like that. I hope we will be able to do something like this every year together.

A MendelsohnAfter our week in Chicago, Hannah and I flew to Seattle and stayed with her family in Oak Harbor Washington. We both had a really good time. We had our little early Christmas with her family. Her sister and husband even came up to visit with us while we were their which was great. Actually it was Legendary!

Hidden WaveWhile in Washington State we went and saw some friends. We saw our friend Adam at the Hidden Wave Board Shop while we were in Burlington. I have known Adam since high school. He is a really good friend of mine and I am glad we got to stop in and say hi. He and his shop are doing really well. I don’t ever remember seeing his store so full of merch before in my life!

FriendsWe also got to see our friends Melanie and Scott for dinner one night. It’s amazing how entertaining Melanie can be with a plate of nachos.

PackingHannah and I also did some shopping while we were on our vacation. We picked up some new cloths and some new toys. We were saving up to do this because things in Juneau can be pricer then things in the lower 48 states.

But now we are back home. Our suitcases have exploded all over the apartment and we are slowly working to get everything put away in it’s place.

Netflix

Netflix

When I first moved to Juneau Alaska I spent a lot of money on DVDs. It’s kind of crazy when you look at my DVD collection how big it is. I am sure other people have bigger collections then mine, but still. I think mine is pretty impressive.

After the first year of living here, and buying one to many DVDs that I know I will never watch again, I decided to get a Netflix account and have not looked back since. Having a Netflix account has saved me a lot of money by not buying, rather renting the movies I would normally buy. If I get a movie in the mail that I really end up enjoying then I will go out and buy it.

I also feel that having a Netflix account has exposed me to a lot of movie titles I would not normally see. Like indy films and just random goodness that you don’t find when walking into a store or a brick-and-morter movie rental place.