We started off this weekend with a great date night to an awful movie, Pacific Rim. Possibly the worst movie I have watched all the way until the end. Luckily, we were at the Blue Loon and therefore had enough beer to make watching this movie bearable. Also, the bartender was hysterical. As soon as we walked in, she started calling Travis,"Michael Cera." (He also often is told he looks like Jesse Eisenberg or "that facebook movie guy" or "that Zombieland guy.") She was impressed with his ability to eat our entire pizza (minus the slice I had) in about ten minutes. I think Travis and my brother could go into a competitive speed eating contest. But back to the story, when I came out of the movie to grab a couple beers, she gave us a free round just because I brought Michael Cera to the movies. I very patiently waited for the movie to get better but at some point, I realized it just wasn't going to happen. About halfway through, I became that disruptive movie going patron, giggling and whispering jokes about the movie to Travis.
If you haven't seen Pacific Rim, I wouldn't recommend it. The basic story is that aliens appeared out of the pacific rim from an interdimensional crack. And that is as far as that is ever explained. We were also confused about a previous failed invasion that is briefly mentioned. I am under the impression that the aliens first tried to invade and killed off the dinosaurs. Travis thinks the dinosaurs were actually the aliens. But I guess we will never know the truth. These aliens characters are giant creatures with tron like light stripes on them. They do have a dinosaur like quality to them though. While the movie is only set in 2020, humans have somehow managed to technologically advance to the point of inventing and building giant metal ironman type robots run by pairs of people that mind link by a process called "drifting" to fight the aliens. The best part wasn't the character that Travis called "white Morpheus" because he was a weird and white version of the Matrix character. The best part wasn't even the character I called "Igor" because he was a creeping little assistant guy with a funny voice. A close contender for best moment was when one of the giant machine people decided to beat an alien with a tanker ship. Not surprisingly, the alien was not phased by the pathetic tanker ship weapon. But don't worry, turns out the giant metal human had a sword the whole time. The very best part of the movie was the fact that the giant metal human controlled robots are called "Jaegers." I absolutely could not deal with the heroes of the movie having the same name as an alcohol that caused me to not make it to my kinetics final. Another character that I disliked immensely was really irritating science man. You know how some movies manage to construct a scientific explanation for make-believe things that sounds mildly plausible if you let yourself appreciate the movie? That's why I really liked World War Z. Spoiler alert, the moive "cure" for the zombies in the movie was that they didn't attack terminally ill individuals because they are predators who want healthy prey and have developed senses to ignore healthy individuals. Thus allowing curable deadly diseases to be injected into healthy people who can then kill all the zombies without fear of attack before injecting a cure to aforementioned deadly disease. In the book, the zombies freeze solid in winter so whereever it is cold, people can go around bashing in the heads of zombie popsicles. That all sounds unique and mildly plausible if you don't think too hard. I appreciate that kind of illusion in a movie or book. This was not the kind of faux science used in Pacific Rim. Travis and I both tried to listen for information that would make all this nonsense tie together in some sort of plausible way. But sadly, the other science we got was really irritating scientist man screaming element names interspersed with incoherent mumbling. "The carbon!...mumble mumble....interacts with oxygen structure and therefore...mumble mumble...aliens...NITROGEN!" The interdimensional portal was eventually closed by Igor and really irritating scientist man. This was only after they shared a special bonding experience together while they"drifted" with one of (almost dead? Half dead? I'm not really clear on the mechanics...) alien brains. An alien brain they got a hold of from a baby alien jumped out of a dead alien that really irritating scientist man was trying to study. But luckily baby alien strangled itself on it's own umbilical cord so they could use it's fresh brain to connect to. Or something. Oh and somewhere in that mess, white Morpheus was eaten rather unceremoniously, leaving behind a single shiny metal shoe.
After that grand adventure to start off the weekend, we headed to a cabin where we spent the bulk of the weekend. Roxi had a blast. While we stopped and had sushi for lunch before leaving, she took advantage of being left alone in the car and ate an entire box of treats she found stashed in the door pocket. So no more treats for her for a while. She was sooooo excited to go exploring in the woods. It worried me slightly when she showed no fear standing at a drop off above a fast part of the river despite the dirt begging to crumble underneath her while Travis and I frantically tried calling her back. She spent lots of time muddying her paws, for a bit it looked like she was wearing boots. She is small enough and fast enough to loose track of easily. Usually we just listened for the characteristic Roxi snort and the white tip of her tail wagging above the tall grass and bushes she was exploring, a tail that has earned her the nickname, Beacon. In addition to her treat feast, she also feasted on our trail mix. We had left her alone in the cabin while we went to the hot springs for an evening. Upon our return, just as we were unlocking the door to come back inside, we heard a weird screeching noise that sounded like furniture moving. Travis' immediate response was, "Sounds like Roxi is climbing on something that she shouldn't be climbing on." And in fact she was leaping off the table where she was chowing on trail mix. Luckily she is a hearty dog and doesn't seem to have had trouble digesting the raisins and chocolate (and who knows what other awful things dogs shouldn't eat) that were in the trail mix. In typical Roxi fashion, she spent a lot of time standing perfectly still, staring at the woodpile, convinced it was the origin of the strange crackling noises that were actually just normal noises from the fire. And a final Roxi update, she is deathly afraid of smoke detectors. The cabin we stayed in had a working smoke detector that we accidentally set off while cooking. Ferocious Roxi hid in a corner under some shelves and quivered uncontrollably for ten minutes.
Since it was fall, we had lots of daylight and wonderful weather. We actually were far too warm the first night and slept the second night with a fire that we just let die completely. The first night we had dinner in a little lodge near burned areas from one of the forest fires this year. It was crazy to see how everything around the lodge burned but somehow just skipped right around the actual lodge building. I'm sure the owners were very nervous watching the fire progress. On the way in to dinner we passed a sled dog team pulling a four-wheeler. On the way back we saw them headed home, headlights on and everything. Likely just someone with a team out for a fall ride but we did pass a sled dog tour sign and happen to know that Ally Zirkle (2nd in the Iditarod the past two years) and her husband, Allen Moore (who won the Yukon quest last year with the team that Ally raced in the Iditarod a few weeks later) live in the area. So I'd like to believe it was them I saw because that would be so cool. The second evening we made a stop at the Chena hot springs. We have been to a couple times but this is the first time we have been in the daylight when temperatures were not well into the negative region. It was nice to not instantly freeze to the handrails or accidentally freeze your eyelids shut. After the hot springs, we decided to stick around, be exciting, and have dessert and drinks before dinner. We eventually got out cheesecake and hot coffee dessert drinks but were held up a bit by several power outages, during which we were entertained by several amusing slightly drunk patrons at the bar. The rest of our time camping was spent drinking beer or hot whiskey with cider and playing board games, all ideal fall activities in my opinion. I am desperately hoping fall hangs around for at least a few more weeks as I am headed back to a wintery north slope tomorrow morning. But I get at least one more fall afternoon picking cranberries.