Archive for the ‘The Alaska Journals’ Category


AKA 7000 Penguins Die in Mystery Stampede – from the personal journal of The Thinking Viking during a summer in Alaska
What follows and in following posts in this category are excerpts from my hand written journal, cobbled together with hazy and sometimes crystal clear memories. It’s a view into life in 1990 from my own youthful pencil and my current mind commenting. 

You really should start from the beginning – no really, you should.

Summer, 1990 Petersburg, AK – Mitkof island

At this point, I’m not having much fun.  No regular work, broke, hanging with others in the same situation in Tent City. Bunch of 18-30 dudes hanging out in a camp in the muskeg. Handful of women, handful of Mexican migrants.  Bears. Bugs. Cheap beer and long days, Northern lights – the sun sets behind one side of the mountain across the strait and rises on the other side. Every morning a chorus of travel alarms starts up as those who have started work wake for their day’s labor.

“July 1 1990 – Sunday – beer and a valium last night, thus my dreams and late sleep. It rained all night, too. Not much else to report. Erica is dead (ed: Erica was this HUGE spider plant I had left with Mom to care for. Mom “kinda forgot” to water it. I had just heard the news)  I’m not in a very good mood. I have a sign on the tent saying “GO AWAY” and I mean it. Queensryche will have to do, Metallica got eaten (for my younger readers, cassette tapes would sometimes get fouled in the tape deck  and ruined hence “eaten”) . Watch the news. I am finally unhappy with my lot.

<skipping the rest of this day, except to note, I did fifty push-ups and Ted showed up with beer>

July 2 – Monday -Nothing to do. slept in.  Still at Day Labor. applied at Chatham Straights today w/Ted. Fuck it. Goodnight I’m very tired.  Dammit my tablet is wet. Why? (writing is very faint – pencils on wet paper don’t do well)

July 3 (skipping – two  pages of weird dreams, but I will point out that I was upset that my alarm interrupted dreamtime)

July 4 – Wednesday Good morning you bum!

7:00 PM dined on an apple, rice, two well baked potatoes. there will probably be some  big festivities tonight down at the beach – do I join or not? Knowing myself,  I probably will.”

That night we had a bonfire on the beach, northern lights for fireworks, fresh fish and clam bake, PBR and Raineer flowed freely. A chick with a shaved head drunkenly and very boldly propositioned me.  I won’t elaborate.

Anyhow, on to the next day….

“July 5 – restrained myself ..to some extent. Got a job today.  I’m washing dishes at the Homestead Cafe – not a bad place but…forget it, I need the money.

Ted says”Today I’m some, tomorrow I’ll be more, and the next day I’ll be richer than poor.” Say WHAT? Well, that’s Ted.

July 6th- 6:00 AM gotta work at 7:00 slept like shit

(later)

Got a $15 advance at work today bought food, glory be!  “Nothing is ever really gone, only absent for a while” – says Bruce. Once again, I’m in the Homestead Cafe, sitting down – finally with obviously bruce, Steph and Ted. Bruce says he just got God’s autograph and told me to fuck off.  Just found a cold, unopened “Lucky” in the john on the window ledge – 1st time I’ve really checked the beer up there for some possibly drug-induced reason…NO MECH BEFORE BED  Axyl has “found them” whatever that means.”

( sometimes my text trails off  into gibberish – I often finished entries in the tent as I fell asleep, pretty sure that happened here.)

July 7 Overslept and I am no longer working. Hell, still I’ve made $55 it should tide me over. Cooking rice on a campfire  promises to be time consuming process, but it should result in excellent rice.

Where’s the beef? It remains a vital part of the sacred choa, yet still the beefeaters consider it food for thought about the unreal halibut steaks. Steak? Did someone say steak? God, a fucking steak would rule of thumb  is ten minutes to hand-bail and I bailed those fuckers for almost twenty four hours in a day and has them one-thumb and that is the main, out of sight out of mind I always say when it gets dark and I can’t see, I have not brought my specs with me to Mars.

July 8 – slept – happily until after noon, is now near 8 PM, I’m having a peanut butter and jelly – did nothing all day. It’s fucking raining again.Ben’s sitting here making a hammer handle, he has used two quarts to wedge the hammer handle . Marilyn is also writing something in some sort of book, much like this one. Some stupid fuck who I have seen before is incompetently splitting word and fire building. Someone else just split a bunch of wood and did a muck better job. Joe’s smoking a cigarette. Ted’s babbling at another fire about his schizophrenia as usual – sex, drugs, D&D and schizophrenia is all he talks about. Fire’s seriously starting to burn. Joes smoking again “Whenever I feel like it” he says. ”

– end

The rest of the page is a truly insane dream I had. I still have this super-vivid dreams, but I no longer write them down.  I’ve since learned I am a “lucid” dreamer and that I am partially awake when they get weird like that – sleeping in broad daylight with activity around spawned most of it while I was in Alaska that summer.  I read a little ahead, things are going to get interesting – about to meet my girlfriend-for-the-summer.

MJ

Previous Journal

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AKA 7000 Penguins Die in Mystery Stampede – from the personal journal of The Thinking Viking during a summer in Alaska
What follows and in following posts in this category are excerpts from my hand written journal, cobbled together with hazy and sometimes crystal clear memories. It’s a view into life in 1990 from my own youthful pencil and my current mind commenting. 

You really should start from the beginning

Summer 1990 – on the pacific ocean, now off the coast of Alaska.

Things are about to get real. Three days on the ferry, sleeping in a tent on deck, eating trail mix and cafeteria food on the way to Petersburg, AK. On a freaking ISLAND.  Making friends. Already having people sign my journal with a phone and address – a thing I kept up all summer. I have $43.00 in my pocket, a French Foreign Legion surplus pocket knife, a backpack, a bunch of clothes (including the aforementioned trench coat), a d-cell dual cassette boom box and three friends. Good times. I have no idea where I’m spending my next night.

“June 24 – Sunday – at bout 4:00 AM the ferry stopped in Ketchikan and Eric and Wendy and about 200 others get off. I slept in late – awoke at  7:00 A.M. but fuck it- I don’t need to be.  Cough Cough.

June 25 – Monday. Petersburg is an interesting town. Got off the boat yesterday at 4:00. Got some “supplies” etc I’ve paid for a week here at Tent City. Went down this morning and applied for work and bought some food. I’m rather tired right now, but that isn’t dampening my optimism. There are a lot of people from Boulder here,  and the TV is piped from DENVER of all places. I think it’s going to be impossible to completely stop smoking. I was very drunk last night and had a cig. It seems I smoke when I drink a lot.

June 26 – Tuesday mailing letters today – four postcards, actually, also found Sinead O’Connor on the local radio. The radio stations – both of them – are pretty good  a few hours each day. I truly believe my handwriting is declining.

June 27 – Wednesday – WAKE  UP SHITHEAD!  IT’S 8:00 oclock in the morning! The sun fucking rizes here at nearly 4:00 so you get used to sleeping in daylight.  It’s hot in the tent. rather, it is very warm.

Had my PFI interview today – they ‘ll announce on Tuesday when the season opens up for us. Bought a new bandanna – Blue this time. Had a dream last night that I was camping in Quik-Mart and found a purple bandanna and fighting with steve Linerd (?? can’t read my own writing) . Finished Illuminatus last night….Cellophane flowers appear on the wall…

Christ I feel weird….

OK, that weird feeling is gone now, feeling normal yet out of sorts no…that’s wrong too.  Sitting in Tent City commons with people all around. gonna be OK…might there is a red-head here with very attractive legs. talking to Ted #2 and Ted #1 is splitting wood with a hand axe. People are eating shrimp.  Crab again tonite, shrimp also, just made a wooden knife. Wow. I’m so fucking thrilled.”

-(skipping two plus pages of strange dreams )

“I feel obligated to write something about today which has nothing to do with my fucked-up dreams. But what? To speak of the glories of Tent City is foolishly  hopeless, for they are few and far between. The tent is hot. I just washed my hair with a hose- that cooled me off a great deal. I also found my clicker pencil and refilled it with lead, which is why my handwriting is more fluid and dare I hope? easier to read. (yes, former me, it is easier to read)  Can I believe I will finish this book by the end of the summer?  Maybe, maybe not. If I keep writing a page and a half of bullshit like this I will..

Why are there so many bugs? There are so many bugs to keep the skins of humans red and irritated. They are here to keep our human ears busy with the sound of them. They are here to keep human hands busy brushing them off and swatting them to a flat death. To keep human eyes alert for small quick things that bite. to keep humans minds annoyed and stave off boredom.

Ted says “I’m starved! mmm What time is it?”

– end quotes

The days before the salmon season opened after I got to the island were long, but not hard. Plenty of food, just no money, very little work.  You could sign up for “day labor” and the first come, first served got some work and a bit of cash for it.  But fresh fish kept showing up, wild blueberries, good times.  Learned how to poach salmon on a campfire.  More coming soon.

MJ


AKA 7000 Penguins Die in Mystery Stampede – from the personal journal of The Thinking Viking during a summer in Alaska
What follows and in following posts in this category are excerpts from my hand written journal, cobbled together with hazy and sometimes crystal clear memories. It’s a view into life in 1990 from my own youthful pencil and my current mind commenting. 

You really should start from the beginning

June 1990

Bellingham, Washington. We had been driven to the ferry station in a 1964 Chevrolet Apache 10 – wooden bed, had grass growing in it..top speed 60 MPH.  Classic, full of camping gear, cab stuffed with three adults.  I’m outside, out of choice. Yeah, I know. Anyhow, we were dropped at the terminal, unload, get oriented, and wait.  And the ferry is late. Hours late.

“June 22 – 1: PM  waiting for the fucking ferry. Thought I’d lost our bouncing bozos Bruce and Steph at the same time I thought we were about to board. this resulted in a mad dash into town and back – thank god I no longer smoke.

Just got the tent anchored on the Solarium Deck.  Lots of women, some next door! Some little kid’s doll outside the door (of the tent) is  anatomically correct..

Now playing D&D w/ “Eric” and “Wendy” in the ferry cafeteria. pretty cool people. more later.

just took a couple of Benedryl. night night,”

I found it quite restful to sleep in a tent of the deck of a decently huge ship, the Columbia, flag-ship of the line.
 This ship.  From : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MV_Columbia_Alaska_Ferry_Evening_2048px.jpg
The Solarium Deck  is the uncovered large deck aft – um, in the back.  The left in this picture.

My narrative continues…

” June 23rd – Saturday. missing AM cartoons. crap. Had cool/ok/fun last night….Water is condensing inside my pencil..and it’s too hard to reload lead also the ship keeps rocking all over fucking up my handwriting.

I’m sitting in the snack bar with four others. Bruce, ted, and Eric- he’s 21ish and pretty cool dude, and an attractive blonde named Wendy. Eric just took my book of Richard Scary Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes  away and said “Eat me!”

We hung in the cafeteria most of the night, long past closing. no one cared, just a bunch of kids. The ferry was due to stop at our first Alskan port, Ketchikan at 4:AM the next day- I could hardly wait.

Fade to black…

MJ

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First episode


AKA 7000 Penguins Die in Mystery Stampede – from the personal journal of The Thinking Viking during a summer in Alaska
What follows and in following posts in this category are excerpts from my hand written journal, cobbled together with hazy and sometimes crystal clear memories. It’s a view into life in 1990 from my own youthful pencil and my current mind commenting. 

You really should start from the beginning

Spring 1990 – north of Seattle, WA

The next few days we’re among the best  – Seattle area, early summer, beautiful weather on a semi rural ranch with three good friends and a “mom”.   Sometime in this period we walked down to the river and jumped in with a rope spring – just like those old Mountain Dew commercials; then, we picked blackberries. For some reason I didn’t write that down.

“June 15 – morning

Ted and Company arrived last night – we plan on ferrying out today at 6:30 or so. NO SMOKING!

2nd nice day in a row in Seattle – miraculously.

Ferry is sold out – we leave in one week.  Bellingham – a micro Boulder, looks like a tourist trap

June 15th –evening ”

<redacted 17 lines of terrible prose.  Really, it’s for your own good >

Still haven’t had a cigarette! First 24 hours down…

June 17 – sourdough pancakes for breakfast. sleeping well on a good bed. Fresh crab last night, no longer so lonely feeling – 3rd day off cigarette’s….Sun-burn from the Res is finally peeling a little.  Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes.

PM Erik the Viking, Rainier and Rum!

June 18 – warm day. Saw the “Mission”. Strange lack of motivation. Uncomfortably bored. Much too quiet. But noise/music would bug me. &^$%*&$^%$

8:45pm  – Ted’s fucking sleeping AGAIN. Called “Aunt Pat” (she was just my mom’s best friend when I was 5- haven’t seen her since I was that age and she lives in Seattle)  – I’ll see her Wednesday weird funky shit going down in the city…

June 19th – cloudy, slept late, burritos for breakfast. Still bored. Camping out with Bruce and Steph, as we are doing now – writing by firelight. Drinking beer.

June 20th Wednesday. Going to see Aunt Pat…getting in the car now….Seeing Pat was interesting. The age difference was a barrier and she just kept talking….

June 21st – slept late, got shit to do cleaning and yard work. Whee!  Gonna record some of Jenn’s music tonight – leave tomorrow early morning.  Recording Thomas Dolby and Blondie tonite.”

– end

The next day I would board the ferry north, wouldn’t set foot on land until I was  in Alaska.

But that’s episode One.2

MJ

To the pilot episode 

Next Episode


from the personal journal of The Thinking Viking during a summer in Alaska
What follows and in following posts in this category are excerpts from my hand written journal, cobbled together with hazy and sometimes crystal clear memories. It’s a view into life in 1990 from my own youthful pencil and my current mind commenting. 

Spring 1990

I was nineteen, things weren’t so great.  Moved out of mom’s soon as I graduated High School.  Rented a house in Boulder, CO with three friends, after nearly getting killed in a house fire . For that little story please see “How I Accidentally Confused a Police Officer“.

Anyhow, working multiple jobs, not getting hours, struggling to pay rent- it kinda sucked.  One fine day one of my friends says “Lets go to Alaska!”

If that seems rather odd, it isn’t. Over several years previous many of my older friends had spent summers in Alaska, working with salmon or crab, in canneries or on boats, working  long hours, nowhere to spend money – great way for an untrained kid to come home with a few grand. But, that was just too much.  Too far from home. Scary. “No way in hell.” was my response

A week later I changed my mind.  Why? A maybe 14-year-old kid approached me, was looking to buy drugs.  I wasn’t a dealer, but I kinda LOOKED like one  – the Mohawk, trench coat and safety-pin in my ear might have given the wrong impression. Turned the kid away.  But I realized I was going nowhere on this path, it just dawned on me, and the next thing I know, I have a plane ticket to Seattle, will meet my friends – let’s call him “Ted” – they guy with the bright idea- at Ted’s Mom’s place north of Seattle (call her “Jenn” ), and a couple I knew well, Bruce and Stephanie. (none are real names, or will they be), we’ll board the ferry and Alaska ho!

And as luck would have it, two days before I leave I find out this girl I went crazy for the summer before is back in town, returned from California.  Let’s call her “Red” for her then-red-hair. My mom and she are my escorts to the airport.  I have just quit smoking.  What follows and in following posts in this category will be excerpts from my hand written journal, cobbled together with hazy and sometimes crystal clear memories. It’s a view into life in 1990 from my own youthful pencil.

Hope you enjoy the trip.

“June 14, 1990 12:00 pm

I have said goodbye to Red and Mom. she’s still beautiful, smart independent and I am once again completely in love with her. Damn and blast the swirling tides of Fates.

2:00 PM  Los Angeles no time to call Jenn – had to smoke, very addictive. So’s she – the scent of her is still with me.

8:00 pm Jenn’s house! very cool. I like it here, about one full cigarette today” – end quote

Jenn had picked me up at the airport. Ted and crew are due tomorrow by car.

I fell asleep that night with my head spinning.

MJ

Don’t worry – I’ll explain the headline at some point, honest.

The next page – Episode One.1 is ready!