Categories
Holidays

Frosty the Snowman’s route to North Pole

Since it is near Christmas we’ve been watching a lot of Christmas specials.  As almost everyone in the USA knows, the main Christmas specials are the 60s versions of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Frosty the Snowman 1969

In Frosty the Snowman, Karen and Frosty try to buy a ticket to the North Pole so Frosty won’t melt.  The clerk being suddenly awakened proceeds to put together a very long route for them to take with a number of transfers involved.

This past Halloween I got the idea of routing Snoopy’s path behind German lines after he was shot down by the Red Baron resulting in this post.  Well, I thought it would be fun to do the same thing for Frosty’s route and perhaps I might also learn a thing or two.  However, Charles Schultz consulted a map and some history on World War One for Snoopy’s path; it appears the creators of this Frosty movie did no such thing although there is a surprising question that comes up here shortly.

The first problem we encounter is that we have no idea where Karen’s hometown is, or where we’re starting from.  They make no mention so we can only guess.  It is around Christmas and the snow is falling.  The clerk has a slight accent which to my ear would be in areas bordering Lake Michigan (Chicago, all of Wisconsin.)  I then checked the cast and see that the voice of the clerk was Paul Frees.  Paul was born in Chicago but although the clerk’s accent isn’t a heavy Chicagoan accent, I would pinpoint this accent as from “up North” (I’m originally from Ohio.)  So, my educated guess is that Karen is from Wisconsin.  The other kids at the playground seem to fit the image in my head when I think of people from Wisconsin: friendly, innocent, happy and everyone is white (Nordic country heritage – Sweden primarily).

*Side note:  The policeman’s accent was most certainly Irish.  This was also done by Paul Frees and in making the policeman Irish was historically accurate: many Irish immigrants to the USA did find work in police departments and Irish used to be the dominant heritage in them.  *See The Irish Coppers

Map of Route

Map Link:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=16ups23JlMz4O93lVrNOyAVm3VSM

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Saskatchawan
  3. Hudson Bay (Town or the actual Bay?)
  4. Nome, Alaska
  5. The Klondike, Yukon (and Aurora Borealis)
  6. Nanuk of the North “Gotta make a change at Nanuk of the North though” (chuckles)

The second question is if the clerk means the town Hudson Bay or the actual Hudson Bay itself.  The solid line from Saskatchewan goes to the town while the dotted line goes to the bay.

Everything but Nanuk of the North was easy to find, so what did our clerk mean?  Well, doing a search there is no place called “Nanuk of the North” but there is a very famous historical silent documentary made in 1922 by that very same name.  The film “captured the struggles of an Inuk man named Nanook and his family in the Canadian Arctic.”

So I’m guessing the animators are referencing this documentary and make the clerk laugh because it is not really a place but rather a film that takes place somewhere up near the Hudson Bay.  But that wouldn’t make sense anyway because as we see from the map above the Klondike is much farther north than Hudson Bay so Frosty would be backtracking.

And so where is the true North Pole?  Well, simply put it is where all directions go South in the middle of the Arctic Sea where nobody, not even Santa could live!

But as we know from the movie Frosty and Karen couldn’t afford the ticket anyway because they didn’t have any money let alone  $3,000.04.

Instead, they just got on a refrigerated box car “headed north.”  Karen soon got cold and Frosty knew they had to get out of that box car.  Their opportunity came when the train pulled off to let an “express full of happy Christmas travelers pass.”  Therefore, I’m guessing they didn’t even make it to Minneapolis since there aren’t many major population centers up there and I cannot imagine a bunch of traffic coming from further north, such as from Fargo, North Dakota and Winnipeg, Canada down towards Wisconsin.

 

Categories
Holidays

Christmas Tree 2016

Categories
Holidays Journal

December 20th, 2015

It is 7:13 AM on December 30th.  I awoke at 5 AM and had planned on getting this post done quickly but my oldest got up at 5:30 so I had to put him back to sleep.

Unfortunately I really didn’t have time to reflect and get into the holiday mood this year.  With two kids one is constantly on the go and personal time is at a premium.  Also, two of my colleagues at work recently resigned so I have to cover their accounts which means I actually have work at a time of year when things are extremely quiet if not completely dead.

It is not as though I haven’t tried to get in the holiday mood.  We have plenty of decorations, watched the Christmas movies, put on the music, had parties and bought plenty of presents.  I guess what I’m searching for is the feeling I had when I was a boy sitting on the heating register at 4 AM by the tree with a million dazzling lights which reflected off a seemingly endless sea of presents.  It was also extremely cold outside although I cannot remember if there were snow or not.  That was perhaps the most magical moment of my life and perhaps this magic fades away never to return no matter how hard we try as we get older.

Moon over the Pacific Ocean - Linda Mar, CA
Moon over the Pacific Ocean – Linda Mar, CA

I did have one moment on Christmas morning where I did feel a bit of the magic.  I looked outside and to my delight saw a full moon over the ocean.  I also read that this was the first time for a full moon on Christmas morning since 1977 – the year of my birth.  Perhaps this was a way for the universe to let me know that the magic I felt as a child still exists; we just have to pay attention to our surroundings and let it come.

My oldest awoke on Christmas morning and was very patient as we waited for Mom and the youngest to awake then have breakfast.  The oldest received many new toys yet his favorite “toy” remains the smartphone and not any of the other stuff he received at Christmas.  I also just ordered a Samsung Gear VR which I’m getting basically for free since there was an offer of $100 for installing Samsung Pay on the phone.  I received the confirmation yesterday and placed the order.  I’ll let the oldest try it out and imagine that may become a favorite toy.  He is going to make the leap from old Genesis games – Tom and Jerry currently being his favorite game – to virtual reality which is the new wave and should become more popular than Xbox once more apps are developed and it becomes mainstream.

In other news I’ve been highly productive rearranging rooms and organizing them very efficiently in the house.  The first room was used for storage but has become a place to put the new wine cellar and will also be used as a pantry once the shelving arrives.  It is cool, dark and the wine cooler maintains a perfect 55 degrees without much effort.  We’ll finally be able to get the excess food items out of the garage and the pantry will also be used for Earthquake preparation food so we can easily consume and replace so it won’t become expired.

The second “room” was the garage.  I had the idea to take the wheels off a mobile tool box my neighbor had left on the curb for free.  It fits perfectly under the desk in the garage and now houses all my tools.  I also set up the old fish tank out in the garage – because “why not,” it is a shame to let a perfectly good fish tank just sit there collecting dust.  I’ll put a hearty goldfish in it which will add a little splendor to something drab like a garage.

I also rearranged the computer closet which houses the modem, server etc. The shelf just above where they were previously was perfect and makes the closet seem much more organized as well as providing better ventilation for all those electronics.  I also set up an old computer in there, installed Linux and will use it to surf the deep web – just out of curiosity since surfing the deep web is painfully slow due to the required use of Tor.  For me, the deep web is a curious place and seems like there may be some hidden gems there much like the early days of the internet without all the sales pitches and crap that is 95% of the internet these days.

The only room left is the upstairs walk through closet which will take a day or two to clean up and organize.  It is a great feeling for me to have everything organized – except for where the kids play as I prefer they have toys all over the house so toys get a pass.

Finally, now that we have a new wine cellar which holds about 76 bottles we need to fill it up!  We recently watched the Japanese version of Sideways and thought it might be a great idea to go to the same wineries.  I’d like to go asap but with the kids a day trip to Napa might not be so fun due to the time in the car but then again it might be a nice day trip if the car ride goes well.  I’m very eager to buy up a lot of wine as well as some nice Cabernets with the same year as the birth of my kids to be drunk on their 21st birthdays – or perhaps a few extra bottles to be sampled a little sooner (at 18 years old perhaps?)

Well, it is now 7:44 AM and the wife and my youngest should awake soon which will certainly interrupt any further writing.  I’m glad I was able to take some time to at least get a post up to mark this very special time of year.

Speaking of which I do really need to write a few e-mails to my very good long term friends.  Thomas – who lives in Leipzig – never fails to be the only one to write me an e-mail this time of year.  I’ll start with him then move on to my other international friends.  It’s interesting that none of my friends from BIT (before international travel – moved to Japan in 2001) write me e-mails or otherwise keep in touch other than Facebook.  It is the international friends that write, are always willing to meet when I come into town and generally keep the friendship alive.  It is a true saying that if you only have 3 or so good friends in life then you’re lucky.  I do have more than 3 but the ones where distance divides us are my international friends who have become the best.

Time marches on and speeds up as we get older.  As 2015 comes to a close I’m very thankful that I’ve kept a journal for almost three decades and have left a record of my existence for my descendants to explore.  The technology will be astounding and something we cannot even fathom in the next couple of hundred years.  I wonder how they will use this very content and hope that they will be interested in my life and know me.

I think I’ll start commenting on current events – not because I care what others think of my opinions – but I think it would be neat for my descendants in the future.  I would surely like to read what my ancestors thought of events in their time and read details that aren’t available even in the history books.  I think the internet needs to become a more personal experience for all of us instead of the content geared toward the masses – in order to make money – as it is now.  Perhaps in the future there will be very little difference between a personal avatar which resides in cyberspace and the person living in this realm what we call “real life.”  Perhaps we are already in a very advanced cyberspace run by what we fathom to be an alien civilization?  Science still hasn’t given us the answers and the answers religion has given us is entirely made up by humanity.  Life, our very existence and our consciousness is a profound mystery when truly contemplated and we haven’t scratched the surface as to what is really going on.

Well, on that note, it is time to start the day.

Categories
Holidays Journal

Christmas Eve 2015

It is 9:07 PM on Christmas Eve.  We had some great friends over for a nice feast which included pot roast and a Honeybaked Ham as well as wonderful wine (Zinfandel and another from Beringer but will have to check the viretal – I’ve forgotten but was delicious).  I’m now watching the Norad Santa Tracker and caught him just over Belize.  Unfortunately the music they just put on is country so I’ll have to close the browser and put on some soft, easy listening Christmas music.  It looks like Santa has delivered five billion and a half presents so far.

Santa Tracker 2015

Unfortunately, I still do not feel the Christmas magic.  This could be due to lack of snow or more probably the fact that I’m 38 years old and have a wine buzz.  I am glad however that the kids are finally asleep and gauging by the drooping of  my eyelids I too shall be asleep soon.  We still need to put out the presents so I’ll have to last at least another hour.

But before I do fall asleep I really wanted to at least get a Christmas Eve post up as this is something I’ll look back on five to ten years from now with very fond memories.  I have to say I’m pretty exhausted as I was up at 4 AM and with two young boys have had a very active day to say the least.  Tomorrow promises to be just as active with all our new toys Santa is going to bring us.

Christmas Eve is such a magical time and I only wish I could feel the magic I did as a young child.  As an adult we lose this magic and it will never be fully regained.  I think if I won the lottery the euphoria still would not come close to that which I felt on Christmas Eve as a child.  I think this magic is something we as adults always try to regain no matter how old we become.

The cookies and milk are out, Santa’s secret key is outside our back door (since we do not have a chimney Santa could come down) and the house is so quiet we could definitely hear a mouse – although I sincerely hope we do not have any rodents.  I’m listening to the Flower Waltz on Spotify and about to do a face plant on my keyboard.

Therefore I think this will do for a Christmas Eve post – next up and weather permitting, a New Years sunset.

Goodnight.


 

It is now 10:03 PM.  I have caught a second wind since I had to eat all the cookies left out for Santa, drink the milk and put out the presents.  In doing so I found a bit of the magic I was missing when I posted just under an hour ago.

Christmas Eve

I was reminded of my own childhood and thought we didn’t buy enough presents.  In my memory I remember the entire room being filled with presents – so much so that I could barely walk through the room.  But I imagine my sons at five and one year old shall not be too disappointed and I’m very excited to see their faces – especially the five year old – when they see that Santa did indeed arrive and left them such wonderful gifts.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Categories
Journal

T'was the night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
 
It is now 10:33pm on Christmas Eve and as the poem states, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse, except for me.  As I’ve mentioned, with two children free time completely evaporates.  I have been meaning to write a series of posts about the holidays but have only managed one since Halloween!  And at the end of that post I promised one about the most magical Christmas of my life and wouldn’t you know it, here I am with only two and a half hours to go trying to hit the deadline with only a few hours to spare!  
 
Santa Oklahoma
 
Looking at the NORAD Santa tracker I also still have time before Santa is to arrive.  He is currently over Oklahoma so I figure I’ve got three hours at least which should be plenty of time for a post.  
 
To be honest, I’ve had a hard time finding the magic of Christmas this year.  It could be to work stress, or being very busy with the recent birth of another child, or that I’m just getting older.  Or it could be that I’ve had a cold these past two weeks and just feel pretty blahhhh on the overall.  
 
But being me, I cannot simply let Christmas pass without feeling the magic.  I will make the magic come if it kills me.  
 
And so, as I write this blog post, and the house is finally quiet, and I have a Budweiser, I can bring forth a flicker of that old childhood memory and joy.  And it was a moment like this, alone at night, without the Budweiser of course that I felt the most magical moment of my life on Christmas.  
 
I must have been about 7 or 8 years old.  I lived in a town called Grandview, in Ohio which in the past decade or so has become quite trendy.  Back then it was just another suburb but one with a strong sense of community.  My room was comprised of the entire top floor since the second floor was only one room!  Being extremely excited that Santa was paying a visit I awoke at 3:30 AM.  Now, when a child awakes on Christmas morning at 3:30AM there is nothing that can be done to make them go back to sleep.  There was nothing left for me to do but creep downstairs without waking the parents who surely would have told me to go back to bed.  I crept down those stairs as quietly as a phantom opening my bedroom door carefully and should the highest octet of a creak should occur I would wait at least 5 minutes before opening some more.  The door being sufficiently opened for my young frame to slip through, I glided into the dark living room.  
 
As it was my own house I knew the placement of the furniture and could feel my way quickly through the room.  I found the plug for the tree and put it into the outlet.  
 
As the tree lit a thousand sparkles of  the Christmas tree lights reflecting off of the presents filled my eyes.  To my young mind there were hundreds of presents spilling over themselves across the room as though the Christmas tree has suddenly erupted in an avalanche of Christmas ecstasy.  
 
When one witnesses something so awe inspiring, something so beautiful that it brings a tear to the eye, the only thing to be done is to sit and admire it. 
 
So I sat down on the square grate where the hot air from our heater emanated from.  The moment of pure Christmas ecstasy came when the heater clicked on and I could feel both the heat coming from below and the absolutely frigid temperatures outside while gazing upon the Christmas tree and presents which afforded an absolutely glorious array of colors, sparkles and decorated boxes.  
 
There are moments in life which register so deeply on the soul that they shall never be forgotten.  This was one of those moments.  The intensity of this moment will transcend my life and its vibrations will be felt for eternity.
 
And so I sit, on this Christmas even trying to bring forth the magic.  The type of magic I have just described is so far lost to me and only to be recovered in trying to recreate the magic for my children.  My four year old is sound asleep but come tomorrow morning I hope to capture a flicker of the magic in his eyes as he sees the presents Santa has left, and make it my own.  
 
Merry Christmas!