Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Total Chaos

Thought this was a good way of expressing myself today. In the Northwest the spring just refuses to show itself. I still have to use the fireplace everyday to keep the chill off. Farmers cannot get the crops in the ground. Gas prices are out of this world and going higher. There is no question that weather patterns are changing but, global warming?


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Another shot of frost art. This was taken a short time after the one titled "Birds." This window is located at the BOC on the North Slope.

Animal Moments

Animal Moments

By Randy J. Cole

Ah, our furry friends who entertain us and keep us company on days when no one else likes us. My children often take refuge with our little dog, Peter Parker, when sent to their rooms. He could care less if they just did something wrong. Unconditional love is what you will receive if you treat them with respect and surprisingly, even if you don’t. I am compelled to write this short story, I suppose, because of the attention that has been given to the animals displaced by Mother Nature’s furry in the south. I am also compelled to write this story because I am fifty three and may soon start to forget the moments I shared with the members of the animal kingdom, who sometimes show their unappreciated sense of humor.
In 1975, while I was stationed in South Dakota with the Air Force, I met and married a young lady who owned several horses. Now being from Montana, you would think that I would have experienced the thrill of riding off into the sunset on a trusty stead. Unfortunately, I was from a logging town in the northwest corner of the state and lived in town where there were no horses, sheep or cows. I did own a dirt bike, however, but that’s another story. I did watch Gunsmoke and Bonanza which, as I found out, did not qualify me as a cowboy.
When my wife offered me the chance to ride a big, white horse named Powder, it would have been unthinkable for me to say no. I managed to get myself up and onto the horse, which had no saddle and no mercy. With a tap of the heels, we were off to a nice trot which turned into a not so nice gallop and without instruction from me, a terrifying run at what felt like the speed of sound. We were headed directly towards the barbed wire fence that only days before I had repaired. In all fairness, I really didn’t get thrown off, it was more like a leap of faith, which was a mistake. I should never have put my faith into the idea that I could land gracefully onto the hard pasture ground that Powder knew so well.I really can’t describe the landing because I am not sure I was there at the time. Perhaps I decided to take leave of my earthly body and travel to a safe place, like under my childhood bed, curled into the fetal position. Or maybe I just lost conciseness for a moment after striking the ground with the force of a bunker buster projectile. When I was once again aware of my surroundings, I heard the distinct sound of my wife laughing. As my eyes opened one at a time, I realized that I had come to rest in an area not ten feet from the fence line. This fence ran parallel to the main highway which took visitors to Mt. Rushmore Monument. Oh joy! Concerned tourists from around the world stopped to point, laugh and even take pictures before I was able to move. I am sure they would have asked if I needed medical attention if they hadn’t been distracted by my wife’s infectious little laugh.
As feeling returned to my limbs and life-giving breath could once again flow freely into my lungs, I slowly turned my head away from the tourists. My friend Powder had returned to the scene of the crime, but was unable to look me in the eye, standing, instead, five feet away with her big, white backside facing me.
Thirty some years later, I wonder if there isn’t a grandson asking his Grandpa about the photo he found with the words, “On way to Mt. Rushmore 1975” scribbled on the back. “Who’s the horse’s ass grandpa?” A clever grandpa would answer, “I don’t know Billy, just some guy who thought he could ride a horse!”

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tinkerbell in Prudhoe

Ahhhh, spring in Prudhoe Bay brings many changes. This photo was taken by BJ Wood who is also a sloper, (one who works on the North Slope of Alaska.) Many of our flights are chartered from Alaska Airlines to fly workers to the slope from Anchorage. This one is a bit over the top! Believe me the slope is not a Magic Kingdom.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Siranee's Last Song

Siranee’s Last Song

The power of song can blissfully persuade us to sleep, dance, and sing along, lifting our hearts, as well as our spirits to inspired levels. This can be found in every nation, no matter the language or culture of that nation.
May 1st. will mark what would have been the 21st birthday of a young lady by the name of Siranee Thongniyhom, whose given Thai nickname was, Nahm. Nahm was gifted with a beautiful voice which was surrounded by a beautiful physical appearance as well. Nahm was also blessed with a strong sense of responsibility, and love for her family. Her family life has been described as strong, with two little brothers, a father, and a mother. Like so many families, hers was having a hard time making ends meet and she left middle school to take a job in an effort to help provide for them. This could not have been an easy decision as education is so very important in Thailand, more so than in the States. A few years later, Nahm’s mother was arrested for possession of illegal drugs and imprisoned with a two and half year sentence. Many would have fallen down at this point but Nahm stood taller.
Opportunity comes to us and if we are lucky and talented enough, we grasp it, and let it carry us to places which once seemed unreachable. Nahm’s opportunity came when she started to audition for a Thai television program Called, “The Star.” A show, not unlike, “American Idol.” Nahm’s voice and her abilities as a singer took her farther than most. She was one of the favorites and one of eight finalist. She had an underlying drive surrounded by sincerity. The thoughts of one day being on stage and being able to support her family and making those who heard her music feel good, must have been at the forefront of her thoughts. With everything seemingly going so well for Nahm, it is inconceivable to me that this beautiful young human being was struggling with yet another contest. Nahm had been diagnosed with Leukemia. The strength that Nahm displayed continuing to compete is of the best example of inner strength and conviction. Striving to make life easier for her siblings than it had been for her. Cancer has no concern for its victims. It can take you no matter how hard you pray, and it cares not to which God you pray. Concern grew for Nahm’s well being and she made the decision to make a stand against the cancer through aggressive treatment. Her last performance on “The Star,” took place at the end of March. She had already announced that she would not be able to continue in the competition but producers of the show allowed her to perform anyway out of respect for what she had already accomplished. The performance full of emotion, was well received and the song, “Mai Yom Mhod Whang,” Is all about never giving up your hopes and dreams. Shortly after this performance, Nahm entered a medical facility to begin chemotherapy treatment. On March 31st it was announced, that due to complications from the chemotherapy, Siranee Thongniyhom (Nahm), had unexpectedly passed away. The news stunned and saddened millions of Thai’s who had come to know her and respect her talent and her outstanding courage. She had grasped that opportunity when it was in front of her and it was for the right reasons. My new hero stood just over five feet tall, but what a beautiful and huge shadow she cast. Her name was Nahm.

The video below is all in Thai but it bridges the cultural gap with it’s emotional message. Please listen and enjoy Siranee’s last song.

Randy and Chaniya Cole

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Corridor

(Place of Hope and Peace)

In 1923 when Thailand was known as Siam and ruled by King Vajiravudh Rama the VI, it was decided that because of the Kings poor health that a new palace be built for his rest and relaxation. King Rama decided to design the palace himself and did in fact complete a rough design. The palace was constructed out of golden teak wood. The entire structure was erected on top of 1080 pillars as shown in the photo. At the base of each pillar is a small mote. Each mote was filled with water to keep ants and other unwanted insects from gaining access into the palace. After the construction was complete, King Rama only enjoyed the structure as a summer getaway for two years before dying. The palace and grounds over the past several years have been renovated and is a favorite destination for tourist and locals alike.

This photo was the motivation for the words. Created in 2006 for my company. I hope they mean something to you.

Randy J. Cole

To those who feel a bit down.

I love music and I am always looking for music that you won't hear on as a rule in this country. Every once and awhile I find a music video that is so good that I play it over and over. The music I choose usually has one thing in common. It is relaxing and can make you feel peace and can resurrect a desire to be creative. It can also take you away from a place you do not want to be if even for a moment. This song is to me one of those songs. I post it here for a Friend of mine that I met while doing this blogging thing. David is about to undergo surgery and I thought I would share this with him and anyone else that may want to have a listen. The colors you will find pleasing as well. Enjoy!