Baked Alaska

I am back from Alaska. All my digital photos up here:

Ah, brave new world of instant gratification. I took photos with my manual telephoto as well, but it’ll take a bit for me to get to those. Anyway, the Alaska photos went up right away just because paulcarp was making fun of me for not yet having the New Orleans photos up. I tried to explain, but really there was no explanation.

In some ways the trip was outstanding. A fun time with great people, and Alaska was beautiful. But, I don’t think I’ll be going on another cruise anytime soon. They seem like a great way to see things that are best seen from a boat — things like the glacier and most of the Alaska panhandle — but the whole cruise mentality was a little wearying.

I mean, every time we got off at a port there would be people trying to take your picture with a furry dressed up as an eagle or a dolphin or something. And then they would want to sell you these pictures. They called them “gangway pictures.” Because it was a gangway, you know. Paul in particular found these annoying, since the difference between “show us your official documents so that people with guns don’t shoot you” and “here, let us take your picture in a supposedly amusing manner so that we can charge you money for it later” wasn’t immediately obvious.

And then there was the constant soundtrack, which played on the boat information channel, in the hallways to the staterooms, and on the outside deck near the pool where we spent most of our boat time. It was a playlist which I think was best described as “your adult contemporary station has a party!” Just like the classic rock format, it was something that rendered even great songs tedious by association. Also, I don’t really need to hear “Love Shack” more than once in a week. I really don’t.

Write-a-thon success rate so far: 6 out of 7 days. One day on the boat I missed and didn’t even try until after midnight, but in my defense, the sun was still up until, like, 11 pm, so I had no idea how late it was getting.

The boat was not exactly designed for writers. You know how the Washington State ferries have lots of nice little desks with outlets and things? The boat did not. There were two desks with outlets, both of them in the Internet Cafe (no view and heinously overpriced wireless) and both of them rather horrid, with useless low drawers that I banged my knees into. The desk in the room was tiny but otherwise all right, but again, no view. The cocktail tables were a bit low, and were in areas that tended to have bands or bingo suddenly start up, and there were never any outlets, but otherwise they were all right for an hour or two.

I thought I would try writing in the chapel, which seemed like a decent quiet place when I was just there to drink coffee and stare thoughtfully out the window — nice view, pretty blue chairs — but when I went in there with my laptop there was a guy in the back with a Bible opened on his lap who kept smiling at me in what seemed like a vaguely hopeful manner. Maybe it was just a smile of greeting, but I got paranoid that it was a smile of wanting to talk to me about my personal walk with Jesus and left without opening the laptop.

The whole thing would have worked out better if my laptop could actually be used on a lap, but I get a black screen of doom if I use it on a soft surface.


  1. Given the title, I thought this was going to be about how you spent your whole trip to Alaska stoned…

    1. Author


      It came about this way: the title was “Back from Alaska” but the longer I stared at it the more I wanted to change “Back from” to “Baked.” It wasn’t until after I’d done it that the stoner connotations occurred to me, and then I just decided to leave it as-is.

      I like alcohol, not pot so much. According to Wikipedia “stoned” can actually refer to any type of intoxication, even though marijuana is most typical.

      So, if you are willing to accept “baked” definition 2, appropriate.

    1. Author

      Norwegian Cruise Lines. “Freestyle Cruising” which seems to mean that they don’t tell you when to eat and stuff. Which makes me think I would have a hard time dealing with other cruise lines, if that’s what they do.

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