From large groups of trees, to snow-capped mountains, to the ground
under those mountains and trees, it's fairly safe to say that Alaska
has got it all. It's a land of wonder, excitement, and adventure, where
anything can, and will happen! Well...I'm being a bit generous. It's
probably more like a land of quiet bemusement, snowstorms, and mild
anticipation. Hmm. Still seems kind of dishonest. OK: At the very
least, Alaska is a land which, I would assume, is not entirely without
it's charms. There. That sounds about right.
I would, however, like to apologize in advance for the lack of actual
tourism-based content in this article. I sincerely did try to find some
interesting and original things that people could do visiting Alaska,
but I mostly came up emptyhanded. the way I see it, this could be taken
to mean one of two things: 1. There actually is nothing interesting
going on in Alaska, or 2. I am just sort of lazy.
I'm thinking it's probably a little of both.
There's an old traveler's saying that goes "It's not the destination
which is important, but the journey." This does not bode well for
Alaskan cruises, as the "destination" is invariably Alaska (not cool)
and the "journey" consists of either seeing the same second-rate
magician for the fourth time or vomiting bile over a railing for nine
days. Hows that sound for 4000 dollars?
But hey, so as not to seem dismissive of cruises, I went ahead and did
some quick research on them ( meaning: I searched for "what to do on a
cruise ship" and glanced over the first few results). Here's what I
came up with.
According to one article I saw "Many cruise lines offer on-board talks
and lectures"! Huzzah! What could be lovelier than an evening spent in
a belowdecks cabin of a ship listening to a talk on "The Civil War and
Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877" while combatting a bone-shaking bout of
seasickness? Nothing, as far as I'm concerned.
2. The Arcade
Many cruise ships have arcades, but let me tell you: If the arcades on
Alaskan ships are as shitty as mainland US arcades (and I have no
reason to assume otherwise) it's probably not a good idea to get your
hopes up. Unless of course your idea of a good time is paying $1.50 to
play a 12-year-old cabinet of Time Crisis II with a broken pedal or
disinterestedly hammering on the stained buttons of Marvel vs Capcom in
a halfhearted attempt to break it out of it's perpetual boot cycle, in
which case I'm certain you'll be thrilled with the cruise ship arcade.
I've never understood what people do when they swim. Do they mostly
just mill around? Chat with other swimmers? Dive? I honestly haven't
got a clue. I haven't been swimming in 16 years. So seriously, what the
hell am I gonna do in a pool on a cruise ship? Doing laps is out,
because this is supposed to be a relaxing vacation. Can I splash? Are
adult men still allowed to splash in a public pool? Not that splashing
is a goldmine of enjoyment or anything. I mean, you'd get maybe what,
maybe ten twenty seconds of enjoyment out of a good splash session? If
that. I suppose one could frolic. I have to tell you though: I've never
been much of a frolicker. It doesn't suit me. I can pull off a romp or
maybe even cavort a little (if pressed), but frolicking? Not a chance.
In any event, I'm not sold on the idea of a cruise line pool.
4. The Bar
I've always been of the (controversial) opinion that an activity is not
worthwhile if you have to get drunk to enjoy it. Obviously I am in the
minority, seeing the United States is a nation of functioning
alcoholics, pissing themselves as they down shot after shot in a
desperate attempt to fit in with their equally uninteresting peers
while simultaneously attempting to drown the gnawing sadness that has
become a constant in their meaningless corporatized lives with sweet,
Mostly though, these drunks are just unimaginative. Getting drunk "for
fun" is best left to lightweights and mental cowards. I can think of
about 10 easily obtainable (and safer) drugs that would make for a far
more interesting (and intellectually stimulating) night than alcohol.
What, are you gonna try and tell me that a night of drinking at some
dim bar surrounded by pathetic and angry drunks is more interesting
than stumbling wide-eyed around a cruise ship after dropping 4 tabs of
high-grade acid? Why, the absurdity of such a claim would border on the
Lest my evil anticapitalist roots show through, I will avoid giving a
lecture on how appalled I am at the idea of people on vacation going
"shopping" as an activity. But I suppose if you're dropping 4000-plus
dollars on some piece of crap Alaskan cruise, your inability to resist
purchasing a DVD copy of Avatar you'll never even unwrap or a
unnessecary set of overpriced bath towels is the least of your worries.
Bob Scheer's Lumberjack Sports International
I can only assume that this is the Alaskan approximation of a
professional lumberjack competition. For those who are unfamiliar:
Lumberjack Sporting Events are competitions which seek to cash in on
the general public's INTENSE fascination with lumber processing by
hosting events in which burly contestants attempt to saw through large
pieces of wood. If this sounds exciting to you, hold on to your hats,
because we're just getting started! Here are some of the other popular
90-Foot Speed Climb
Contestants make their way up a large 90 foot tall wooden pole. Upon
reaching the top they are instructed to release the catch on their
safety harness and fall to their deaths. Failure to execute the latter
maneuver may result in a warning or (in rare instances) a deduction of
up to four points from their score.
Participant places a small block of wood on his right shoulder and
states, boldly, "Any sonofabitch who knocks this block off my shoulder
will have to answer to me." The block will invariably be knocked off by
another (substantially more brawny) participant, at which point the
original participant should profess his unwillingness to fight, fanning
his face and citing the sudden onset of "the vapors" as grounds for his
Participant will stand on a stump (he diameter of which is not to
exceed 36 inches) with his arms crossed defiantly until further notice.
Let's All Eat Those Pancakes
A bell will ring and 8-10 participants will begin to eat pancakes
a large platter while vocalizing onomonopia such as "um num num num",
"gobble smack snarf" and "garaumph" with each bite. Upon the conclusion
of the exercise, points will be distributed amongst participants at
random, compelling a participant to ask, "What was even the point of
all this anyway?" This participants points will then be revoked, and he
will be issued a grievance citation.
The participant will plant his feet shoulder-width apart and begin to
heave small hand axes into a nearby forest. When participant is
invariably approached by a spectator and asked what he is doing,
participant should pause for a moment with a far off look in his eye,
shrug, and reply, "Just throwin axes." The spectator should shake his
head, getting a screwed-up look on his face, and the participant should
then resume throwing axes.
Certainly there are other events, but I don't have time to go into all
of them here. And in any case, while the events may sound intriguing,
it's no secret that the popularity of spectator lumberjacking is due
mostly in part to the white-hot sexual fury which the lumberjack is
said to invoke in women. And indeed, research has shown that observing
an unbathed, taciturn man in suspenders cutting through a length of
stump can get even the staunchest lesbian feminist's blood and
secretions flowing (much to her dismay!).
It is not enough for one to simply observe mother nature. To truly
appreciate her in all her glory, one must become an active participant
in her circle of life. To this end, one who wishes to commune with
nature should seek to hunt and fish as much as possible, for these are
the true pursuits of the environmentalist. To pull a fish from the
water is not enough. Allow it to lie shivering on the deck, and smile
as slowly suffocates in the humid summer air. Enjoy this feeling of
power, for you are man, and the lives of earth's creatures belong to
Where hunting is concerned, do not limit yourself to tradition.
Birdwatching has it's place, as surely there is some small measure of
satisfaction in viewing a mountain bluebird through a pair of
binoculars on a dewy spring morn. But imagine how much more
satisfaction one might achieve by firing a 0.22 caliber bullet into the
tiny breast of this beautiful creature. You have ended a life
forever, and in doing so have gained a greater appreciation of these
The same holds true for larger game. But do not sully nature's
reputation by firing a gun (or even a bow) within her kingdom. To do so
would be tantamount to earthrape. A true hunter uses only his hands and
his wits. Injure the creature, and place your hands around it's neck.
There is no sound quite so satisfying as the ragged cough of a dying
fawn whose windpipe you have cracked with your very own hands. Once the
final shiver of death has passed through he creature's frail body, you
shall gaze into the fog of the creatures lifeless eyes, pressing your
lips to his. In doing so, you will have discovered the true meaning of
The hunt. In thrusting your tongue down his throat, you will have
thrust your tongue down the throat of God.
Although it has caused both physical and mental damage to my body on
occasion, I still hold a great deal of love in my heart for the
gorgeous state of Alaska. Like an abused child, I find myself returning
to suckle at her rocky teat in my darkest hours. That this these glands
secrete naught but crude oil and processed blubber makes no difference
to me, for I am in love.
the most wonderful countries in the world."