Saturday, December 16, 2017

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown 2017 - Day 2

Looking to watch a holiday movie or special this week but can't decide on one? With today's video you can see bits from 71 different films and tv shows.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Tizzel's Christmas Countdown 2017 - Day 1

Ten days left until Christmas! Tizzel is ready to entertain you with this year's collection of holiday related videos. Each day he'll be posting something fun he found on YouTube.

Today we start with the video to Hanson's new song Finally it's Christmas. We first featured this song in a countdown two years ago when the band debuted it on a webcast. Dave's screen capture of the song became the most-viewed video on our YouTube Channel (and yes we are depressed by that fact). Now that the song has been released our old video was yanked and we have strike one in YouTube's copyright policy violation. Thanks boys! Enjoy their retro-filled official video:


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Charity of the Month: Toys for Tots

Charity of the Month is a way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

In October we supported Helping Heroes of America by donating funds to buy a military unit stationed overseas a care package.

December's Charity:

Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots will always be our December charity for one simple reason: kids deserve presents at Christmas. The Marines do a great job organizing the massive task of collecting toys and funds, wrapping gifts, and distributing everythin within a short window. Last weekend we enjoyed shopping for toys at a local big box store to drop into the donation box at our local brewery (win-win). We are also going to make a cash donation to help with the logistics.

We received this email from the organization. Corporate donations are down and they need more private donations to keep this program successful:

Only 3 weeks until Christmas and many families are in need of support!

Our Corporate Donations are Falling Behind Last Year's Levels and we could use your help!

Dear David,

For Marines who have stormed the beaches at Iwo Jima, liberated Kuwait, and recently served in Afghanistan, sorting toys and books may seem trivial by comparison. But with just three weeks left until Christmas, I assure you these Marines and volunteers face a tremendous challenge as they struggle to raise enough gifts for the 15 million children in this country living in poverty. Their mission is to make sure no child is forgotten this Christmas...

...especially since there are more children in need than donations coming in right now.

Please help if you have the means to do so!

I have received numerous reports from our Marines and volunteers across the nation describing the situation:

  • Some say: "The warehouse is nearly empty. We have many requests, but we can't fill them."
  • Some say: "There are so many families that can barely put food on the table and won’t have a Christmas unless donations pick up..."

And on the national level, I can report that we are unfortunately running behind the corporate donation level from where we were a year ago at this time.

Every year, it's a massive effort to bring the joy and hope of Christmas to less fortunate boys and girls — and one we couldn't even attempt without the generosity of caring friends like you.

This year is tougher than most — but we are the United States Marine Corps. We're used to taking on the toughest of challenges ... and winning!

But time is running short and we need your support.

Help us give ALL children a chance to believe in Santa and the goodness of this special season. Pease click the “Donate Now” button and make your contribution today.

If you'd like to help follow this link to donate.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Alaska: Juneau Whales, Ice, and Legs

Alaska Post Link

We arrived in Juneau very early in the morning after a short trip from Skagway. Early enough that Dave was only on his second cup of coffee and had a meltdown when security would not let him leave the ship with his just-poured cup. The rationale was coffee may have dairy (he didn’t) and since the ship itself originated in Canada before our sailing agricultural products could not leave the boat. UGH!

It’s very strange that Alaska’s capital of Juneau can only be accessed by plane or boat. Over 30% of the city’s population works for the government in some capacity. The ship docks are conveniently located in the heart of downtown making touring very easy.

All six of us signed up for the Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari through the cruise line. Our tour was operated by Gastineau Guiding and they did a terrific job educating us the entire trip. One of the first things we noticed while taking our bus over to the boat docks was that bald eagles here are crows or pigeons back home. They seemed to be ever-present and very helpful for taking pictures. At the dock our group of 12 was led to a big boat with a comfortable enclosed cabin. The windows opened easily to allow for shooting. On our way into the bay we learned about the area in-general and certain cues to look for when watching the whales surface. Along the way we saw a few more eagles, seals, and a few ferries (a main source of transportation up here) along the way.

It didn't take too long to find our first whale. The typical pattern we looked for was 1) signs of an exhale spout 2) a few displays of dorsal fin while swimming 3) a larger display of the back followed by 4) display of the tail (fluke). Once we saw the tail we knew that whale would be out of sight for several minutes. Our small boat tour was great because we could maneuver around easily without dealing with a bunch of people. Our guide was an expert photographer/videographer and helped guests with varying equipment.

We had an overcast day so our photos weren't full of much contrast. The guide and captain did a nice job helping us get some great shots, including the fluke raise with a glacier in the background.

When we left the boat we took a short drive over to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, part of the Tongass National Forest. Our guide took us on a nice walk along the forest path giving us a lesson in forest development from moss, to alder, to sitka.... and told us about how the salmon spawning process. As we walked toward the glacier we passed markers indicating where the edge was over the last 100 years. We also spent some time working on photography techniques to capture soft waterfalls and water droplets that looked like diamonds.

Our tour didn't bring us too close to the glacier nor the waterfall, but we did have a pretty nice view of the entire area.

On the way back to the bus we lucked into seeing a porcupine up-close climbing a tree. Boy was it ugly.

We split up when we arrived back in town so we could go to Tracy's King Crab Shack for lunch. Order at the counter, find a seat, and wait for the food to be brought to you. The crab legs were humongous and delicious.

We did not have too much time in town given our early cast-off time. We spent our remaining hours visiting the Alaskan Brewing Co. store, picking up glacier soap, and deciding that we didn't have enough time to walk to the distillery. We did have a beer in the Red Dog Saloon while listening to the dirty old man piano entertainer.

Before we waited on the long line to board the ship we saw the crowd-pleasing memorial to Patsy Ann, a dog that used to welcome incoming ships. Every native we talked to told us it was a must-see.

Once we weighed anchor we were on our way to Ketchikan. We were treated to some great views and a humpback whale giving us a goodbye wave.

We have a short video from our whale watching trip:


Alaska Post Link