Jos in Alaska, 1994 (the DVD video)

Parents visit Jos Claerbout in Alaska, 1994

This is a DVD video of Jos Claerbout in Alaska in 1994 entertaining us, his parents. I used Apple's iMovie application to edit down 75 minutes of home video to this 31 minute recounting of the joys of Jos's first summer in Alaska, as he told us that September. Some of the video is a little jittery, but Jos is Jos, always gives us smiles.

VHS video tapes are being replaced by DVD with its better picture, sound, and compact size. Unfortunately the DVD-R format is not accepted by all DVD players. We've had good luck but little experience viewing this DVD with various DVD players. See If you have difficulty with this DVD, I can make a VHS tape for you. Please don't be shy of telling us how it works out for you. Enjoy!
--Popster (Jon Claerbout)
claerbout @ stanford . edu

Jos in Alaska, 1994 (some transcripts with Quicktime video)

We arrive at the Girdwood ski resort.

[Dad says to Jos] Mr. Claerbout, where are we? What's that behind you?

It's a moutain I believe, with some cables going up it.

We're going to go up there?

Well, what we're going to do is-- we are going to jump, onto the cables and then swing, arm over arm, till we get to the top.

Will your mother be able to do this, or you will be helping her?

I will actually have a rope fixed to my waist; it will then be running to her to carry her all the way up.

Uh huh.

Of course, if she does fall, she will swing, from this rope fixed to my waist.

OK, and what's the name of the place where we're at?

Monkey Swing Lodge, I believe.
See this in 2 Mbytes streaming Quicktime video.

On the Seward docks we pass a boat named "The Dawn".

[Jos says] "The Dawn" makes me think of the secret Alaskan method of subterfuge, which I will explain to you...
.."the magic of Joy Soap".

Joy Soap?

You have to understand that on a boat... Boats are always spilling oil, in one sense or another. You happen to be pumping it out of your bilge by mistake or anything like this... There's a $5000 fine for putting oil on the water such that it produces an oily sheen or sticky mess.

So when you already see an oily sheen, your captain will scream,

Get me Joy Soap!

Get me Joy Soap!

whereupon you will pour Joy Soap into a bucket and toss it overboard. What this does is it weighs down the oil, something really amazing.

You can do this experiment at home by putting some oil, motor oil [laughs] in some water, and then pour Joy Soap on it and it will make the motor oil disappear.

So, it is proposed that if Captain Hazelwood [of the infamous tanker, Exxon Valdez] had enough Joy Soap on board, Exxon would be five billion dollars richer.

Jos tells this story on quicktime video. Choose either 2.5 Mbyte streaming or 1.7 Mbyte.

Is anybody seasick over there?

We arrive at the base of Mount Marathon.
[Jos says to Diane] See this sign that says, "Unmaintained Trail"? We're going to head up that trail.

It looks like Hansel and Gretel here! Wait a minute!

Exactly. Now the most important thing to remember is that whenever the trail splits to the left, you go to the right.

If you go to the left... Pfftt!!  You drop right off. You don't want that. So...

It's dark!

The second thing to remember..

Holy cow! It doesn't look like Cow Hill! We're not in Kansas any more!

You hear a hissing sound... A sand pit's going to open up underneath you!

So it is important that when you hear a hissing sound, you jump up into the tree canopy above you.

The third thing is, never ever feed the bears....

See this in 1.5 Mbytes of streaming video.

That's The Spit!
The spit of Homer, that's where I lived.

We arrive at the Homer docks.

There's my boat! There it is. That evil one. Right there! That evil white boat called the "Anna Maria"! The pernicious boat. I will secretly sink it right now!

It's actually a nice boat, but an evil captain.

Oh dear!

So... Good bye.

Other Jos Alaska Links: Fishing diary. Big fish. Audio tape diary. Election campaign. American Country Magazine. Mine guiding.

to the Life of Jos