The finish line is in sight

Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Here I am at the tail end of my little Alaskan fiasco. I am writing this blog post on my laptop, in the tent, in the forest, up on a hill, overlooking Homer and the bay that frames it.  It's almost 1am and it is finally dark and the stars are out. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I have seen stars? Or full darkness for that matter?  Laugh if you must but it is just not natural to live in as much daylight as the northern latitudes get and I think that is why there are so many drunks and addicts up here.  Carpe nocturum.

Many many things have happened since I last wrote a blog but unfortunately not one of them is really all that interesting.  I began the summer with two cooking jobs across town from one another but just like every summer here in homer, there was a line cook shortage and my two places of employment began a bidding war over my full time services.  When it was finished, I ended up with $3 more an hour then what I started with which is nice.  So instead of two jobs, I ended up with one and with more money which is quite handy.

There are not words in the English language that can express how tired I am of line cooking and the bullshit that goes along with it.  I would have to create an entire new language that could accurately convey my loathing but I’m too tired to begin this undertaking.  To make matters worse, the other two cooks that I work with drive me up the fucking wall and I’m about ready to take a boning knife to the both of them if they don’t shut the hell up and stop jumping on my last fucking nerve every minute of the day.

Had a nice incident a few weeks ago where I cut my finger to the bone.  I have spent all summer slicing and dicing and chopping many ingredients which sometimes can take some skill and dexterity but what am I doing when I cut myself?  Chopping bacon into bacon bits.  I still have no idea how the hell it happened.  All I know is that it took about 9 band aids and a bit of gauze to staunch the flow of blood for a while before we could super glue the bastard shut.  Home health care brought to you by 7-11.  My aunt commented that it looked really bad and that I should see a doctor.  The problem with this is of course that I live in America and even though we are the wealthiest nation on earth and we are taught to believe in "American exceptionalism", but somehow we don’t have healthcare for our citizens.  Fucking amazing and infuriating all at the same time.

What else has happened here since I last talked to you folks. Summer solstice has come and gone obviously and like I said before, I don’t think people were meant to spend that much time living in the light.  July fourth came and went as usual and the town was fairly packed for that little shin dig.  No fireworks here in Alaska for the fourth because the god damn sun never goes down so what is the point of blowing a bunch of money on fireworks you will never see?  People still barbecued and got drunk though so some of our traditions live on.

The wildlife is quite wild this year despite me not being outside all that much.  Still have hundreds of sea otters off of the beach on the spit which is cool to see.  I have been attacked by a pheasant trying to protect its chicks and then I was rushed by a porcupine a few weeks later.  Not to be out done, I startled a baby moose I hadn’t seen on the side of a dirt road and as it ran back into the forest, mom came charging down the hill for a few seconds to scare me off (it worked).  I do love that these experiences are still possible up here and I really wish I had time to enjoy Alaska but in the end I’m a greedy bastard and I want to make as much money as I can while I’m up here.  One day I will learn my lesson I suppose.

It’s funny how things work.  I have been needing an iPod for quite a long time now because mine died on the dive boat around January.  Unfortunately I have been a cheap prick and putting off buying one longer and longer.  Well on my walk to work about a month ago, what do I find on the ground but a green iPod.  Another man’s loss is my gain I suppose and I finally have music to listen to as I walk my ass back and forth to work.  I am definitely a music person and to go that long without having my personal music to listen to really drove me bat shit.  Hopefully this one doesn’t fall and bounce down every stair on a ship rolling in 4 meter swells….my last one did not survive such shenanigans.

I don’t wear much jewelry ever.  Back in college I had quite the collection of hemp necklaces but really that’s about it.  I have recently obtained a little something called a wedding band and it took some getting used to because I had never really worn a ring before.  A few weeks ago I briefly lost the ring and it was very strange and amusing how naked I felt without it.  I was constantly rubbing my finger or looking down at where it should have been and wasn’t.  I know it’s a good thing to feel this and I’m not complaining. I was just surprised how fast it happened.  On a side note, it was not as if I took the ring off and lost it. I realized during my walk to work that it was not on my finger and I had no recollection of where it might have come off.  Turns out that it fell off in my tent when I was shaking out my   sleeping bag.  I had to wait all day to get back to the tent before I could look around and find it.

On sad news front, my grandmother passed away a few weeks ago.  It is obviously very sad that she has passed but it’s comforting to know that she lived until the age of 98 and had an amazingly full life.  She was the prototype for grandmothers, not a bad thing to say about anybody and always with a smile and a laugh.  I honestly don’t think that woman had a mean bone in her body and I will miss her.  I’m 37 years old and she has been one of the fixtures in my life for as long as I can remember.  One of the landmarks in which you navigate through your world so to speak.  I guess that none of these landmarks are permanent and that may be the most distressing of all.

I have lost 2 out of 3 of my grandmothers in the last 6 months which is tough.  The only grandparent I have left is the one that is a pain in my ass and is just full of acid and negativity which just magnifies my recent loss.

Im is doing well I suppose but she is definitely ready for me to get back to Thailand.  It’s been long enough and she wants to see me NOW.  I am really looking forward to going to bail with IM for two weeks in September.  She has never really been out of Thailand (except for a 2 day trip to Laos) so she was very worried about what she is going to be eating.  You have to understand that food is the most important thing to a Thai, then Buddha and then family lol.  Here is the conversation pretty much verbatim

IM: I worry we go Bali. What I eat.

ME: they have all kinds of food. We’ll find something

IM: do they have hamburger?

Me: Yes

IM: Do they have pizza?

Me: yes

IM: do they have spaghetti?

Me: yes

IM: ok I no more worry, we go bail

Some of these conversations are just so damn funny I wish people could listen in and get a good chuckle.  I’m hoping to do some cool things with IM while we’re there though like maybe rafting or bungee or something.  IM is a very down to earth home body who hasn’t done much and I want to show her some cool possibilities.  We’ll see what she is up for.  I asked her if she would mind if I went scuba diving a few times while we were there and she said “ok you go diving, I go shopping. No problem for me” funny how this is a multi-cultural thing……..girls and shopping.

Well the Alaska time is starting to wind down and I’m MORE than ready to go.  I had a very difficult time adjusting to America this time around and like I said before, I think it was my first case of home sickness and missing my wife.  I finally got into the swing of things and buckled down to work but now I’m just tired.  I have not had a day off since May 23rd and that’s just ridiculous. I want to go to the airport and bask in its glory.  Arriving in anchorage in May, I absolutely despise that airport but as the summer drags on, I day dream about walking its corridors and going through security to get on my plane back home. Home home home home home home home home home home home

ps some of the pictures are actually videos so go into the photo viewer so you can watch the clips :) 
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Maggie Burns on

neal neal neal, that is why work has workmans comp. its free and mandatory.

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