A City On Diesel: The First Weekend

Life styles for both Hannah and Myself (as well as most of Juneau Alaska) has take a big change this weekend. We are running as few electric devices as we can. The lights in our apartment are rarely on. We have candles to light the way for the most part. Everything we own that could be plugged into a surge protector has been plugged into one. We did this because when where not using anything we can just flip the off switch to ensure nothing is drawing any electrical power. We have unplugged everything else. Lights, gaming consoles, computers, and even the microwave.

The two of us went out shopping this weekend for groceries only to find that almost every store in town has at least half of their lights turned off. I am sure there are safety concerns that prevent them from turning off more then that.

At night the town is darker then I have ever seen it. Most building lights are turned off. It’s just dark and spooky almost.

I have been trying to keep on top of the local news paper website (Juneau Empire) to keep informed on what is going on. I feel like it might be a slow week for action. But will see.

A City On Diesel. The Story Continues

The City of Juneau has asked the state of Alaska for $25 million in relief funds.

The Juneau city government shifted into response gear Thursday by declaring the loss of its hydroelectricity a “disaster,” then asking the state for aid to cover a nearly instantaneous 500 percent rate hike.

At a special meeting, the Juneau Assembly unanimously approved the disaster resolution, asking the state for $25 million in relief funds to offset electricity rates for 90 days.

This just gets better and better. Hannah and I have been been living int he dark at our place. The heat has been turned down ten degrees. We are using candles to see our way around most of the time at home. I hope that the city gets this state aid we can go back to living like normal again.

The towers, built in known avalanche terrain by the Army Corps of Engineers, had no specialized structural engineering to reduce avalanche damage, AEL&P Engineer Scott Willis said.

“We’ll probably have to rebuild five towers,” he said. The last tower AEL&P replaced on that line cost about $1.1 million.

Avalanches Are A Pain

Avalanche AreaAccording to the local paper, our power rates are likely to quintuple next month as a result of the avalanche that knocked out Juneau’s supply of hydro power. The whole city is currently running off of diesel generators and will most likely continue to run off of them for the next 3 to 4 months. 

The transmission line to Juneau from the Snettisham Power House, about 40 miles south of town, went down at 3:54 a.m., Wood said. The avalanche started three miles from the power house. It was 1.5 miles across.

Utility Diesel GeneratorsA helicopter was used by Alaska Electric Light and Power Co (AEL&P) to assess the damage. One of the transmission towers was down completely and four others were damaged. The bad weather at the time prevented AEL&P from making a complete assessment of the damage. To add insult to injury, shortly after the the helicopter left another avalanche took out additional towers.

It’s just a terrible place to have a transmission line,” AEL&P General Manager Tim McLeod said. “Those are straight-up-and-down cliffs.


We Are Running On Diesel Generators

Looks like this morning the city of Juneau lost power from Juneau’s Hydro Power due to an avalanche.

Juneau’s electricity rates are likely to triple on May bills as the result of an avalanche early this morning that cut all hydroelectric power to the area, according to an Alaska Electric Light & Power spokeswoman.

Juneau is running on diesel generators at Auke Bay and Lemon Creek, said Gayle Wood, director of consumer affairs.

One transmission tower is down and four damaged on the Snettisham line, which connects hydro power to the service area.

Outages were limited to the Thane area this morning, because the power load transferred to the diesel generators that were already running.

Wood said it would be two to three weeks before workers could safely begin repairing the line and that hydro power wouldn’t be restored for at least three months.

Well, this is going to make for a very expensive next few months.


According to the KINY radio website, a rep from Alaska Electric Light and Power says that they are working to try and figure out how to secure enough diesel to handle 3 to 4 months of usage. They are stressing the importance of power conservation.

Alaska Electric Light and Power said that they have been trying to assess the damage from the air

…a massive avalanche about three miles from the Snettisham power house that took out about a mile and a hour of transmission line. That includes damage to four to five towers…

The website continues with:

The electric utility official says customers can expect to see some very high bills. 

Residential rates were at 11 cents per kilowatt hour.

Alaska Electric Light and Powe initially estimated it would go to 30 to 35 cents, but has since revised that figure to 50 cents and adds that’s a conservative figure.

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?


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.


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.