Thursday, April 21, 2011

Was surfin' Live Leak today and ran across this.

You might be thinkin', "What kind of a shut-in nut job would waste his time makin' a mini crossbow?" Er uh, well...

The little fucker works too. Can't find any of the darts any more. They were filed down match sticks with sewing needles glued to the ends. Made it back in the '80s, from match sticks and a bit of frame plastic from a model kit. Hours of time pissed away with a cardboard nail file. Aaaaah, those were the days (he says sarcastically, now realizing all the other stuff he should have been doing back then).

Lookin' at it now, I'm also struck by the realization... I had a lot more patience, and better eyes back then. Cheers.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Skills Aide again' today,

With a different school and kids though. At one point the teacher read the kids a story about a caterpillar eating it's way through a pile of food, and then turning into a beautiful butterfly. Then they watched a little video of the same story displayed for them on a computer. Sitting there, listening to the story, I flashed back to England, about 1968, when I used to sit at home on rainy days (they have a shit load of those in Britain) and watch a cool TV show for kids called Jackanory. British TV, stage and movie stars would read kids stories. It was awesome. Here's a sample.

Anyway, that was a cool show. I used to love British TV back then. Doctor Who, The Prisoner, The Avengers, etc. But just about everything else on British TV back then that interesting to me was really an American show. Stuff like High Chaparral, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Lost In Space, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, etc. Man, those were cool shows. No doubt about it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Had another good day.

Was a skills aide again at an elementary school I worked at last week. That means I spent the day with a teacher, another aide, and about ten little kids with various learning disabilities or handicaps. Last time I was there it was only a half day assignment. This time it was 7AM to 3PM. There were times when I had a hard time keeping my eyes open, but then there were other moments I'll never forget.

There was one wheelchair bound kid with some sort of issue that keeps him from being able to use his limbs the way he needs to. He can use his hands, for the most part, but can't really use his legs or speak clearly. Thing is, he's a tough little boy, and you can see the drive in him, in his eyes and expressions, to get deep into everything the rest of the kids are doing.

We went out to recess this morning, and I was pushing this kid, with him saying "Faster, faster," all the time. I'd pop him up in a wheelie and go as fast as I thought was safe, and he'd always be bummed out when I had to stop.

When we got to the playground, he said he wanted to be put on the swing set. I hesitated at first, but then I saw that one swing was set up with a huge plastic seat with support that comes down over the riders shoulders and locks in place, like on a roller coaster. That allows handicapped kids like this one to swing like the rest of the kids.

So, the teacher and I loaded the kid into the seat and I started pushin' him. He's gigglin' and yellin' "Faster, faster," so I grabed him by the swing seat, pulled him as high up as I could and let go, keeping him going by pushing on his back as he swung up in front of me. You should have heard him squeal and giggle. He was lovin' it, and so was I. Next thing I know the other kids are all yellin' for me to push them. Never fails. They all know a good thing when they see it.

Later on, during PE, they brought these handicapped kids into the gym with a few classes of other kids, set some soft rubber balls down in the middle of the floor and played what looked like a modern twist on Dodge Ball. In stead of throwing the balls at one another, the kids ran around the gym and tagged one another with the balls. Once tagged, the kids had to hand the ball over to someone else on their team.

Of course, the kid in the wheelchair was desperate to play. So, I unhooked him from his chair, hoisted him up, face down, in my arms (he couldn't have weighed more than 40 or 50 pounds). His chest was in one arm and his legs in another, the ball extended out in his hands. We ran around with the other kids, lettin' him tag a few, gigglin' his head off. When he was tagged, I took him back and put him in his chair. Next time it was his turn I just rolled him around fast in the chair. Hell, I was beat by then. I think I got a better workout than the kids. At least, a better workout than I'm used to. It was a blast.

By the end of the day I was ready to go home. I took the boy out to his bus and watched as the driver lowered the lift so he could roll himself on. Then it was my turn to head home. Fer sure, teachin' college never wore me out like that.