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…


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.


Then UP, then The Mask


Trip to Whitehorse

We like to take a trip to Whitehorse around the time of my birthday each year. This year, mom and dad weren’t here to be with us. We went camping at the Robert Service Campground on the far side of WH with a borrowed tent.


It was quite warm for the whole trip, with the wind being flat calm. It was so warm in fact that the car had overheating problems going up Marinka’s Hill just on the inside of the Canadian Border: turns out the radiator fan fuses were both blown, so I swapped them out with some new ones. The boys quickly got hot and fell asleep in their chairs.

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I know this is a bad safety picture, with their seat belts all loose and floppy or missing, but the photo does capture the general feel of the trip, both directions for the boys. Oh, and remind me, if I ever get another car, get one with cruise control if at all possible.

We went to all our favorite places, the water park, the Canadian Super Store, Wal-Mart, the Fireweed Bookstore, the campground, Pizza Hut, the playground by the river, the music store.

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We were bummed out that the weather was so dry that there was an area-wide burn-ban in effect so we couldn’t have a campfire—we decided to have one when we got home instead. Another bummer is that the US dollar and the Canadian dollar where on par when we were there, so there was really not much of a discount on any of the items we saw in the stores—so we didn’t end up buying much at all. The book store was a disappointment too, if you’ve noticed any of the Canadian prices on books, you know what I mean.

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I did get new floaty suits for the two younger boys and a body suit for mark, that you can see in the photo above.

Overall, it was a very relaxing trip and a nice little getaway with the family.

I bought two trucks in two days. Weird.

I needed a truck to move my stuff around in the summers, and I didn’t want to spend too much on it, so I asked my brother Jack to find a truck for me.  Since he’s in Sitka, he found a truck for me there.


He originally found a really nice looking Chevy that his neighbor owned, but it turned out the frame under the pick-up bed was all rusted and rotted out.

Looking around, he found this truck for me: 1989 Ford F-150, 4×4 wheel drive with manual locking front axel hubs, with 112,000 miles, but a new engine was installed three years ago, originally from Arizona, so no rust to speak of.


The paint looks real sharp, the anti-rust coating along the bottom looks like it’s doing its job, there’s a bed-liner, a tool box in the back, and three tie-down fasteners on each side of the bed, it has a stick-shift transmission, has some sort of a lift kit, bug guard and window rain guards, and virtually brand new tires on aluminum rims.

IMG_3397 After I’d put the truck on my insurance policy and sent Jack the check for the truck, I started working out how to get the truck to Haines from Sitka.  After checking with the Ferry, it turned out that the next ferry that went from Sitka to Haines that had room for my truck was more than 60 days from now. Bummer. I didn’t want to go to Juneau to drive the truck onto a ferry.


Then I happened to see Alan Heinrich at the district office, and asked after the truck he had for sale, he said it was still for sale, I could take it for a test drive if I wanted to here it is: Davis Family 062

It is a 1991 Ford F-150 with 87,000 miles and a super-cab (extended cab with a bench seat for kids, but no back doors for them), 7 foot bed with bed-liner, , aluminum running boards & mud flaps, automatic transmission with overdrive, 4×4 wheel drive with auto-locking hubs on the front axel, the paint isn’t as good as the white truck primarily on the hood where the paint is wearing off down to the primer, the front tires are a bit worn, and unevenly at that, but on aluminum rims. I decided to buy it nonetheless after a brief test drive, as it’d be much better for hauling boys around town, should the need arise.

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Jack agreed to buy the white truck in Sitka from me (in other words, not cash my check). Turns out the more he shopped for trucks in Sitka the more he realized he wanted one and had been kind of not wanting to keep it to use to haul stuff to the house he is going to be building in Sitka anyway.

Davis Family 030To me, the odd thing is this is the first automobile that I’ve actually bought on my own, in all my years of driving cars.  My first car, I bought from my brother Andy, a 1983 Toyota Cressida 4-door luxury sedan, The next one was a 1991 Toyota stick-shift pick-up truck with a white topper (which I totaled when I hit a downed tree my second year in Haines), then Dad bought my black Toyota 4 Runner in Indiana off Ebay, then Jack bought the Subaru Legacy in Anchorage for us a few years ago.

In order to inaugurate the new truck, we thought it’d be good to haul some brush.

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So, now I have a vehicle to haul my gill nets around in (about the size of a 4x4x4 foot box and weighing about 550 pounds). The next step is to get my 5 1/4 inch sockeye net off the gillnetter and load up my 6” dog net for the coming gillnet opener.

As a footnote, liability insurance on this rig for six months costs $106: Can’t beat that.

Welcome Home!

Here’s a video shot by Nate Malone of the Boys State IIIA Basketball Champions returning home.

We Love our Glacier Bears!

Front row: Devin B., Kyle F., Austin H., Caullen T., Austin B., Chris O., Ann Fossman.

Back row: Easton H., Jessie P., Tyler S., Kyle Rush, Logan S., Erik K., Mark McNamara, Steve F., and Parker Schnabel.

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We took the whole HS out to the Ferry terminal and met the boys basketball team back to town after they won the State Championship.  The American Legion handed out flags and brought a truck with loud speakers to play, “We are the champions,” while the pep band was not playing.

I’m not sure who made the 32’ sign that hangs across main street, but Tom Morphet asked me to ride with the team to shoot the parade and get out to take a picture of the boys sitting on top of the HVFD Engine #1.  I was standing on the hood of the school bus behind the tire truck to take the picture. We can fit the whole HS into two buses.

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Mario Benassi took most of these pictures, as I was in the band.

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The band played the standard songs, the school song, Final Count down, the Hey song, etc.  I got stuck playing the Tuba.  The weather was so bad and the snow falling so fast I had to shake the snow off my music stand three times in order to see the bottom staff. We just left the trap set in the back of the truck so we could set-up and break down faster.

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Due to the weather, the ferry was late by about 1/2 hour it seemed. Many different people made signs and held them up


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The receiving line

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Patrick Henderson gets the spirit award for the day, braving the cold and snow painted green.

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Where’s the left-over Popcorn?

This morning we were going through our normal Sunday morning routine when Holly sang out from the kitchen, “Matt, Where’s the left over popcorn from last night? Did you put it in a zip-lock bag, or did you eat it all?

I said, “Actually I threw it all away after John Caleb threw up into the bowl.”

For the opening weekend of Spring Break, we’ve had two really boys really sick all week, it seems like, so we stayed home from the projected Whitehorse trip this weekend. Despite the wonderful bright warm sunny weather, it’s been pretty miserable in many respects.

I did wash the bowl and the rest of the dishes last night after they went to bed.

Goodbye Halloween!

 The lonely pumpkin on the handrail tells the story of yesterday.


We got a lot of snow last night.  I just barely got the bikes and other outdoor toys put under the house.  I’d say there’s 10 inches on the handrails.  The shovels are out and we’ve used them a few times already. 

We just haven’t found the winter gloves yet.


Yesterday at church, I wore myself out in a snowball fight in the ‘recess’ time between the church and Sunday school time.  Turns out, I’m not in shape for running, dodging, and bending down to scoop up snow like I used to be.