Sunday, January 11, 2009

I am back in Alaska!

I made it back. It was wonderful being in Minnesota/Wisconsin over the holidays. I saw a lot of friends and family but I also missed the opportunity to see some great people as well (like the Roadfeldts)...so I hope to make it back sometime this summer.


So...I wrote this VERY long story below about my trip back to Alaska...but I also have another circuit bending video I want to share. I decided to come back to the top of this post and put up the video first...in case you get bored of the story and do not feel like scrolling all the way down to watch the clip. At the end of this video, my new toy stops working. That is because I still need to add a reset button/kill switch. Every now and then I overload the circuits or create a never ending loop and things stop working. A simple push button that connects the positive and negative battery polls together will fix that issue. Once I find a ride to Radio Shack, I will install the kill switch and have a quick fix...as of right now I need to take the whole thing apart and use a wire to connect the + and -.

Here it is...the "Bent" Vtech Alphabet Apple:
video


The inside of "The Apple"
Photobucket


While I was in MN, I was enjoying the warm weather. Fifteen degrees ABOVE zero!?! That's unheard of! I was walking around in just a sweater...I loved it! However, I came home to a nice slap in the face...let me tell you about it:

As some of you know, The Supertonics, my 1980's acoustic rock cover band, had a gig the night before I left for home (it is a little odd for me to call Fairbanks home...but it actually feels more like home than MN now. While I was back in the lower 48, I fell like a visitor. I don't think that is a bad thing...it is just a little strange.) I got bock to my Dad's place from the show that Friday at about 2:30am. The show was a ton of fun, but I was a little bummed because I had to wake up pretty early to catch my flight....and I am not good at sleeping on airplanes. Anyways, I was picked up, arrived at the airport with plenty of time, and flew to Anchorage. The flight was actually quite nice. The flight to MN from Anchorage was AWFUL! I was exhausted because I stayed up the whole night before, expecting to pass out on the plane (which never happened) and I sat in an isle seat, so anytime I did start to feel myself drifting off into slumber, the flight attendance's cart would come by and smack my knees or shoulder...I was not a happy camper. The flight back to anchorage however, was surprisingly pleasant. I had about 6 hours of sleep that night, which is more than enough for me to function, I sat next to some pretty nice guys from the North Star traveling hockey team, and I had enough music for my disc-man to keep me entertained (that's right, I have a disc-man...no ipod for Bobbo.)
The flight lands in Anchorage and I am feeling pretty hungry so I went to the Chili's in the airport. I figured I had tons of time for some wings and a beer so I sat down at the table at ordered. Luckily, the Chili's was right across from the gate my plane was at. As I looked across the hall to the computer at the gate, I realized I only had about 15 minutes until I was suppose to board...and I had JUST gotten my beer. Ooops...I miss calculated the amount of time I had. My miscellaneous dippable fried chicken things arrived with only 5 mins until they were going to call me up. You would think they would have called up first class passengers first...then VIP gold members...passengers with small children...but that didn't happen. I finished my food just in time. I ate my last crunchy chicken thing and took my last sip of 'o' beer. The moment I set my glass down they called all passengers to board the plane. I hurried across the hall and stepped in line. I handed the gentleman at the desk my boarding pass and he said, "It's the last plane." I was a little confused. The closed in walkway always let me to the door of only one plane in the past...I never had to choose which plane to board...then I figured out what he was talking about. I followed the crowd down a narrow hallway that lead to a door. On the other side of this door was the frigid Alaskan air...not the inside of a plane. We had to walk across the tarmac to get to our very small jet. That was not too bad since Anchorage's climate is very similar to MN's...it was about 10 degrees. I boarded the plane, ate my crispy snacks, drank my OJ, had a wonderful conversation with the guy next to me, and arrived in Fairbanks.
The step out to the tarmac was a LOT different from Anchorage. It was currently -46 degrees and the city was covered with heavy ice fog. I walk to the airport, find my bags, and try to call a cab. No one would answer. I don't know if you all knew this or not, but cars do not like to function in -46 degree weather, so EVERYONE was calling cabs that evening. I had no idea what I was going to do. I really do not know anyone to pick me up. I could have asked a fellow teacher, but I left my faculty phone number list in my other pants ;-)

Luckily I saw a cab just sitting by the door, I stepped out and asked if he was waiting for anyone. He was available so I was happy =) The cab dropped me off at my apartment and I went inside to put away my stuff. I then went out to make sure my car would start. I get to "The Swamp Donkey" and discovered that, while I was gone, someone had stolen the extension cord I use to plug in my car!! I tried to start the car anyways...but it was no use. The next day, I was picked up by a fellow teacher to go to the store. I bought some food and a new extension cord, plugged in Mr. Donkey, and tried it after it sat for several hours...and still not luck. That was a week ago today and I still do not have a mode of transportation.

My vice principal has been giving me rides so I have not missed any school. There was, however, one night that I did not have a ride home, so I walked about two miles in -45 degree temps...I do not recommend doing that. My ears, toes, and fingers were fine. I made sure the little body parts susceptible to frostbite were well covered. I had good socks, gloves, and a wonderful new scarf...but my legs were not very well insulated and they HURT!!! It felt like I had razor blades circulating through the veins in my thighs...ouch.

Anyways...I have no car, but I am still happy. I have been fortunate enough to have friendly coworkers help me out...and if push comes to shove, I know that I could walk to and from school in -45 if I had better leg insulation, and that can easily be arranged. It is suppose to be ridiculously warm on Tuesday (the forecast says 18 above!!!!!) so I think I am just going to find a ride and buy a new battery, put it in on Tuesday, and hope to get "The Swamp Donkey" up and running.

I realize this is a VERY long rambling story. I hope it made sense =) Have a wonderful week and I will try to post more often!

Rock on,
~Mr. Lockwood