Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Pre-Flight

So this morning is the beginning of my last full day here at Kasigluk-Akula. In a little while I will use the break in my daily-changing class schedule to start carefully packing delicate hi-tech gear in foam lined boxes so as to alleviate stresses from the shocks and vibrations that are part of the fun of being transported in small planes and the backs of pickup trucks. Like anything in life, this procedure begins with a good hot cup of black coffee. Beyond that, I thought I'd try something different this morning, and reflect a little on my on my time and place here, and in doing so, hopefully get "into" the dull ritual that lies ahead.

My plane is scheduled to arrive at 1:00 tomorrow. This means I need to be ready by noon, and not surprised if it shows up late or never. That doesn't mean I have to like it though. Regular readers might remember from last spring when I was leaving Donkey Kong, I waited for hours. The company I use is kind and friendly, so I stayed loyal. Screw me again and watch my business go next door though. But that's tomorrow's concern. What about Kasigluk?

I've had some pretty darned nice students this year, and the trend has held up here. Teaching has been pretty fun. One trouble, though, is that of sticking with a commitment. For example, I teach a driver's ed class in the evening. There were 18 on my roster the first day, 11 of which showed up. The next day we were down to 9. This remaining 1/2 has stuck it through, although a couple with not enough regularity to get school credit. Predictable is this scenario during the last week of class: I'm approached by somebody who signed up but never showed up, and later heard good things about the class from a friend. Now they want in. They'll approach me in the hall and ask, with a day or two remaining if it's too late to be in the class. I know what you're thinking, but the problem is, it's ILLEGAL to smack people upside the head. Opportunities sometimes knock. "When will you be back to do this again?" "Probably in about 2 years." Realities set in.

Glaringly missing from my stay here, as well as last month's in Kwigillingok, was a real social life. It happens that way once in a while, but usually not. Never had it twice in a row before. Just not many young, un-married people around who do things besides work or sleep. That, and all the night classes make it hard too, as in Kwig, where night classes thwarted hunting plans.

Well sheesh. This is really not the direction I had in mind for this post. It sounds pretty down and out, and it shouldn't. Ahead of me lies a 2 day-that's right-a TWO DAY weekend in Bethel. I don't know what exactly I'll do with it. Have some good meals, for sure. Pick up my snow machine. Sadly, rains ruined the snow we had, so riding will have to wait. Hopefully things freeze up good and solid by Thanksgiving, so I can set out on my chainsaw-with-a-seat in search of some game. There's some photo exhibit I'll go check out. Watch some Sunday NFL. By the way, it killed me to miss the Favre-Bowl, and I'm happy for the outcome. I hope Teddy the Rat is squirming and nervous. One last thing on sports: yankees win the world series and nobody cares. yankees fans, you don't count. Anybody who does not or has not lived in New York and is a yankee fan is a poseur.

This is getting off topic and rambling, so you know that cup of coffee is finished and my body is caffeinated. Breakfast of half a can of corned beef hash has been ingested. I'm ready for what's ahead, ready to move on. Time to go pack up the stuff and take it all down, the circus is leaving town.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Count Akula in the Spooky Bingo Parlor

Doesn't that sound like it would make a great title for one of the old Scooby Doo cartoons? I spent the 2009 All Hallow's Eve at the Akula Halloween Carnival here in Kasigluk. What a carnival it was.

My plan was to go as a character I thought up named Count Akula. (ha ha ain't that clever) But, I left my cape and fangs in Bethel, and besides, I think vampires are really pretty lame. Nevertheless, for the evening I decided to mentally be Count Akula. A Halloween costume is really a state of mind anyways.

Speaking of costumes, there were some good, non-mental costumes at the carnival. We had a parade where the contestants all walked laps in the gym to the rhythm of various tunes. My personal favorite came when some youngsters put on a costumed dance show to Alvin and the Chipmunks singing the Achy Breaky Heart song. It was one of those things of which few, and certainly not I, could have possibly dreamed.

After the parade there was some judging, and prizes awarded for different costumes. After that, a full blown CARNIVAL broke out in the Tundra Fox Gymnasium!! There was a cake walk, a slush-puppy machine, a free-throw shoot, skill crane, chuck a baseball at some metal bottles, balloon animals, face painting, eat an apple on a string (best deal of the night in my opinion), fishing for goodies over a wall, men's bingo and women's bingo.

I was busy teaching Saturday class when the carnival was organized, so I had no designated post. Therefore I assumed a roving helping and laughing role in the carnival. Count Akula was there to help should anyone need it. I sold some slushies. I tied some apples to strings. Then, the Count was beckoned to an emergency situation. I followed along, and was led smack dab into the middle of (do I really even need to say it or did you guess already?) women's bingo. They were shorthanded in there, with only a caller and a checker/ticket taker. But there needed to be a ticket seller. Enter Count Akula. But what the heck...I've never had so many women wave tens and twenties at me in my life. I didn't even have to dance, and the only clothing I took off was my flannel shirt because the room was so hot. The prizes for bingo were things like T-shirts, yarn, Gladware, coffee creamer and other assorted goodies. No huge prizes.

The prizes in the gym were even smaller. BUT, everybody had a nice time. I was really impressed by the maturity and cooperative effort put forth by the high school students here, who did most of the organization and work.

At the end of the evening, sleepy after having taught class all day, been to a carnival and worked at bingo, Count Akula retired to the dark Akula attic.