Davis Family singing at Grace Harbor

On Christmas Eve we sang a special during the service and I asked a random dude in the chair across the isle from us to film us using my Point-n-shoot camera in HD.

Singing: John & Peggy; Betty & Cliff Richter; Jack, Jennifer, John, Joy, Joanna, & Jessica; Andy, Rhoda, Buddy, Carter, & Christiane; Matt, Holly Mark, Luke & John.

After the initial shaking of the video camera, it settles down to a steady picture—I did not have a tripod or even a monopod, so I think the video guy actually did amazingly well from the back of the sanctuary.

Here’s the Video:

 

The Davis Family sings at Grace Harbor Baptist Church

I’ve often thought it’d be fun to sings songs with my three sons, and seeing how fun it has always been to sing with my immediate family, and now with the extended family, I look forward to singing with Mark, Luke, and John, when they can sing harmony parts.

I do wish that Bob, Margaret & John had been there to sing with us.

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Lunar Eclipse: Photo by Ron Horn

On Monday night, all over the Americas, and in Alaska, specifically around 9:30 or so there was a Lunar Eclipse. Here in Sitka the skies were clear, the lake near Betty’s house is frozen with almost no snow at all, so the town is out there skating around all day. In the evening there was a whole crowd out there skating and watching the eclipse of the moon.

I tried to take a good picture of the moon using my cheap little point and shoot with no tripod, but it was no good.  I wish I’d had a tripod and my 100-400mm L f/5.6, but oh well…

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Here’s a shot that Ron Horn took: 700mm ISO 200, f/5.6, 1 second.

Be sure to tell Ron what a good job he did on this shot.

Delayed Trip to Sitka

P1020349We were bumbed that the Fairweather was cancelled for our trip to Juneau on Saturday, but had the Kennicott to look forward to on Sunday evening. Bob & Margaret arrived at 6:30 AM on Sunday and reported that the winds were at 67 knots at Eldred Rock.

At Church on Sunday the boys looked great in their new shirts, well as good as boys look when they’ve been playing all morning and having selected their pants without guidance. I guess I’ve always figured that boys in particular should be concentrating on playing and getting along rather than being fastidious about their appearance.

P1020341I’d cut their hair on that morning. it was bad enough fighting with John Caleb as I cut his hair with the Flowbee. But I was shocked and horrified when, as I was cutting his bangs, he jerked his head forward, nodding his head.

Bumber.

You can see the result in this picture to the right with the uneven bangs, especially right above the right eye. One wild thing about the whole hair-cutting fiasco is that he still looks really cute, perhaps especially because of the toddler looking hair-cut.

The Kennicott is a great passenger vessel and there were tons of Hainesites aboard. We had a great time. The movies were Toystory 3 and Santa Clause, Mark sneaked into the theater. Wow. P1020350I really liked the theater in the Kennicott as it has a sloped floor with regular theater seats in it—although a bit shorter in the back than I prefere, it makes me want to build a room with a theater in it, although we watch about 2 hours of screen time a week.

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The Cafeteria opened up at 6 PM and the best buy I found was the Frechetta Pizzas for $1 each. Wow. I’d like to have that for lunch every day.

P1020363As soon as we got to Juneau, we sent Holly ahead to check get on the stand-by list for the Fairweather the next day at 8 AM. We were bumbed that the Fairweather trip was athe next day in the mornign and we’d missed out on our Costco run and Juneau shopping, but the car was pretty much full anyway.

Getting up at 5 Am to leave a hotel for departure is never really fun, but it’s even less fun when on stand-by

P1020371We used Price-Line to secure a room in Juneau for $65 a night plus tax, but then we messed up and didn’t get the cancellation insurance for $5 per night so we paid for two nights.

One of the best things about leaving Haines is the sunsets. RARELY in Haines is there a decent sunrise or sunset, I took this picture from the back of the Kennicott with my little Panasonic DMC-Z7S, which is  fine for casual family shots and really nice for sunsets as it has a 12x power lens.

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The Fairweather really is a beautiful boat. I just wish they’d spent less money on the sunroof and wood floors, and the glossy paint, and more money on the thickness on the metal on the bulkheads on the bow so its runs wouldn’t be cancelled SO FREQUENTLY in the winter. I’d much rather have a stout plain looking boat that is dependable and consistent than a fancy boat that has so many cancelled runs.

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Holly brought along plenty of books to read to the boys for the 5-hour trip to Sitka, which really beats the  nine-hour length trip to Sitka on the the slow ferry. The movie playing in the kids room was How to Train Your Dragon, which is a great movie and gets my whole-hearted recommendation with not only great action, flight scenes, and cinematic beauty but a great message as well. The flight scenes are reminiscent of the flight scenes in Avatar. Wonderful. Exciting Flight scenes.

Lighting of the Fort!

We attended the lighting of the fort again this year. Holly has arranged the live nativity scene for the past five years or so. This year the weather was the worst in memory. Awful. Jim Green said it’s the fifth one he’s been to since they moved here.

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It has been snowing and raining, cold and windy all day, but it was not cancelled. With five minutes to go, there was no one around, but after the canon fired off at 5 pm, about 30 people climbed out of their cars and trudged over to the back of Tresham’s shop to sing and spectate.

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The Haines Women’s Acapella Chorus sang a special number, along with a number of songs that Holly led. Luke was a ram with curly horn. Hunter was Joseph, Sasha was Mary, Jesus was a doll, and a bunch of others were sheep, shepherds, and wise-men.

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Bob and Margaret braved the freezing rain/snow and ankle deep water under 18 inches of snow.

IMG_3856After the nativity scene, the fort put on a wiener roast with hot cider, chilli, chips, cookies, salad, cold cider, and two warm fires.

It was pretty cute to see John Caleb’s interest in the fire, he saw everyone heading over to the fire with hot-dogs on sticks and he grabbed a stick with his thick mittens on headed straight for the fire himself, not really realizing that he did not have a hot dog on it  yet.

It was so wet out that I had to resort to a zip-lock bag over the flash, camera combo, IMG_3924

Who’s gonna’ play with me?

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We just got back from the Christmas Bazzar at the Gym. The weather is AWFUL. Simply horrid. The snow is coming down in thick heavy flakes that melt when they hit the ground, the snow is already a foot deep. All our out-door gear is soaked.

We just shoveled the drive. Holly came in and flopped down on the couch. Immediately, John Caleb wanted to play. He climbed up on her and said, “Mama, who’s gonna’ play with me? Nobody?”

Then he smiled, “Or Yesbody?” He laughed. We all laughed.

Holly got up and played with him.

NETFLIX Subscription Arrives!

Today, I got my First NETFLIX DVD in the mail I was wondering if I’d get a parcel slip and have to pick up the disc at the Post Office desk or if it would just come in the Box. Guess what movie it was…

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I remember our first video player, a Sony Betamax SL-6000. We got it in the late ‘70s and felt like we were on top of the world. Well were were at the top of the world, literally, because we lived in Barrow, AK, the most northern city in North America. betamaxWe bought the Sound of Music, The Ten Commandments, the African Queen. If memory serves, these movies cost around $70-$80, and I worked part-time at the sony store in Barrow.

The movies were so expensive that we rarely bought any movies. Mostly we recording things off the TV and watched them later. One of our favorite things to do was to record all of a series all on one tape—which took some skill, because you had to rewind and fast-forward the tape after each use, or use the counter-reset to mark things. Dad used to watch the farm-show, to get a clue on when to sell his grain or make somewhat informed decisions on commodities.

Of course there were no video rental places at the time, because no business one wanted to rent out tapes that cost $80 a piece for fear that they would not get them back. After a few years of course, we all know what happened. Sony lost the Betamax/VHS war, and Video rental places grew up in just about all neighborhoods across the country. Of course late-fees and the loss of rental privlideges made movie rental possible.

Last year, our only dedicated video place  Video 144 went under and scores of people switched over to NetFlix for Mail-In DVD rental. I can see the writing on the wall already—many friends are not even using the instant watch option and aren’t even getting DVDs in the mail any longer. Our connection in Haines is still not fast enough to stream movies, or I haven’t paid for a fast enough connection, so I opted for the DVD in the mail program for $8.99/month.

The day after I got my subscription, they raised the mail-in program price to $9.99 and are now pushing the instant download option at $7.99 or some such.

So what was the movie? 101 Dalmations. The Haines Library has the movie for free rental at a week at a time, but the disc is scratched and skips a lot and refuses to show about 3 minutes in the middle. I think it’s rather funny that the disc I got in the mail from Netflix was scratched in the same place, and also skipped a lot.

I’ve come to the conlusion, that the kid’s movies are all going to be scratched up because kids don’t know how to care for the discs. Oh, well.

Maybe the next one will play. Guess what’s next?

Iron Man 2.

BAM.

Then UP, then The Mask

He Turns Three!

Two birthdays today: John Caleb turned 3 and John Charles (the oldest of my sibling’s offspring, so the oldest 1st cousin of the boys) turned 13. John Charles was up in Anchorage at the ACS tournament wrestling at 130 pounds.

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We asked J.C. (Jaysee) who he wanted to have at his birthday party and he said, “I want to have Blackie, and Papa, and Mama, and Daddy, and Uncle John, and Mark, and Luke… But Uncle John is working in Norway… He is working, isn’t he?”

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We got him a sword and shield of his own (by Schylling, made of wood, and highly recommended), so he could fight with his brothers. Blackie made the pumpkin spice cake, which was pretty good, but not as good as carrot cake. JC LOVES his superman shirts, and you can see him here wearing what must be Luke’s shirt. Sadly, we rarely find Superman shirts when we go to stores, they usually have some other shirt like a CARS shirt, or some horrible creature that I think is cool, but Holly disapproves of.

I suppose that later on when JC is in school, he’ll insist on having parties with lots of kids so he can get more presents, but he was really happy just being with family.

If you look closely, you can see my pride and  joy—the ten foot (diagonal) 16×9 projector screen that pulls down right in front of the picture window. Of course I say that with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. PLUS–Still no projector. Haven’t used it yet. Stay tuned.