Friday, May 30, 2008

Sasquatch Festival Band Performance Review

After an incredibly eventful first weekend back camping and grooving I got a chance to settle into some new activities. Before I go there, I should probably say something about the bands I saw at Sasquatch.

Saturday: The least powerful of the three days of the fest. Here were my highlights.

Modest Mouse:
They were happy (they normally fight a lot), excited, hard working and played songs from 4 albums back! I've seen them before and this was the best one yet and my favorite band of the weekend.

This little Brittish rapper and her dance crew and dj whipped the gorge into an epileptic dance frenzy faster than I've ever seen. I thought her performance was really good and she was the pleasant surprise of the day with original visuals and a really bizarre style.

I thought The New Pornographers were disappointing and I didn't stay for REM because I don't really like them and it was raining.
Sunday: This was by far the most well rounded day of consistent good performances.

Blue Scholars:
This MC/DJ team of Geologic and Sabsi (spelling) were incredible. They got the whole crowd involved in the hip hop, played some classics of theirs, and pumped people up about the NORTHWEST life and music scene. Geologic later came on and freestyled with Franti!

Tegan and Sara:
Surprisingly they put on a really solid show, they had some funny intersong banter, and they truly rocked out, I was impressed by these two peculiar women. I'm sorry I left to go watch Rogue Wave because they were awful.

The Presidents of the United States of America:
They freakin' kicked butt, I couldn't believe it. They played new stuff, old songs and said some funny crap, well done.

Michael Franti and Spearhead:
Even though I just saw him it was still good to hear the bass super lowdy on the big speakers. They were energetic, on point, and very very enthusiastic. Franti's crowd presence got every person in the entire Gorge up on their feet jumping up and down! I've never seen that before. His new songs are great too.

Death Cab for Cutie:
I have to apologize for talking so much crap about them leading up to their show. Not only did they not suck, they rocked really hard. They played a bunch of really old songs from my high school years, and gave a ton of shout outs to other bands. I wish they would have closed the night instead of the DISEASE...I mean the Cure.

The Cure:
I was so excited to see them. But, as each song they played was worse and worse than the one before it I realized music has a shelf life. They were old, unenthusiastic, freaky looking and every song sounded the same. They were the biggest disappointment of the weekend in my opinion and I think they need to reconsider how the do their shows.

Monday: This was the most powerful day of the festival, solid, surprising and full of good music.

The Hives:
Mega energy, good showmanship and a really really good set.

Built To Spill:
These guys are not an indi rock band in my head any more, after seeing them melt objects with their mind I can say that they are a Jam Band. They freaking destroyed shit. Amazing songs, amazingly fun to listen to, and despite their half assed appearance, I thought they were going to be tough to beat for the day.

Rodrigo y Gabriela:
This Latin American boy girl combo of major fury handed out a jumbo burrito sized ass whooping on the concert goers. Their exciting, unconventional guitar sounds blew peoples minds and redefined what could/should be done with an acoustic guitar.

Flight of the Conchords:
I have to admit that I was laughing so hard at this comedy duo at times, that I had to plug my ears so that I wouldn't hear them so that I could stop laughin long enough to breath. They played almost all their songs from the show and their on stage banter was comic gold. Although I never saw them later, I suspect they were in a suit dancing on stage with the Flaming Lips.

Jamie Lidell:
This guy was like a safe haven of sound after the Mars Volta chased us out of the mainstage with their death rock of hell. As we crested the top of the gorge hill the music changed from baby killing music to a funky doowop James Brown type thing. The closer we got to the Wookie Stage the more we realized that this soulful voice was coming from a tiny white Brittish guy. Not only that they were pumping out some technologic robot sounds and deep deep reggae bass lines. They were my biggest surprise of the weekend and I'm so grateful I got to see them kick ass.

It is my humble opinion that this band is out to destroy every other band on planet earth. Let me just say that they landed a freaking space ship on stage, and then the lead singer came out of the top in a bubble and walked out into the crowd! They blasted so much confetti that it reigned from the sky like a blizzard of glowing colors. The movable light up space ship of mirrors and lazers was incredible but the giant half circle tv behind them was amazing too. They put on the most incredible live musical/visual spectacle I've ever seen with giant costumed aliens, naked girls, a robot and something resembling the michelin man. Oh yeah, they rocked out too. The lead singer made some really great political points about why I should register to vote. I would do anything this guy says.

WHEW! Music reviewing a whole festival is hard. So there you go.

The rest of the week has been a lot of errand running, hanging with friends and family and getting used to life with out work. I still wake up every day at 7 without an alarm. I still think about my students. I still am glad I'm not in Nunivak but I'm also scared because this certainly feels like being homeless. I think I realize right now that after a couple years up north I really need to find a place I WANT to live and be with people I WANT to be with. Maybe all this hard work and saving up will pay off someday.

Tomorrow morning I go to Pullman, Washington to Washington State University to help my brother move and hang out in the sun/fish for a c0uple weeks. I should have a steady internet connection over there so hopefully I'll be able to write about what its like to go back to college for the first time in a long time.

Hope all is well my internet friends! Peace!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sasquatch Festival

At this point, there are no words in my vocabulary that will convey the deep amazement, joy and wonder I had this weekend at the 2008 Sasquatch Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater and Campground in George, Washington. It was such an incredible moment in my life that I'm going to wait till I can post all the amazing pictures to share it with you.

What I can say is that I am so grateful to be back in Washington in warm sunshine with my family and friends experiencing positive vibes together and loving our lives.

I am exhausted from too much fun, love, and happiness, it feels great, and I'm gonna just chill out for a couple days to get my energy back.

"With All Your Powers...What would you do?"

-The Flaming Lips

Thursday, May 22, 2008

For the record...I made it home

Yeah, it was great, smooth sailing all the way. I am pretty peeved at Alaska Airlines, they charged me another 75 bucks to change my ticket again and then lost on of my two bags, incredible.

I guess I made it though and thats nice. The family is good. I'll be setting up, packing up, gearing up and getting ready for Sasquatch Music Festival Summer 2008. We'll be leaving on Saturday morning so you might not hear from me for a while. I hope everyone is doing well and I'll keep you posted as soon as I get back to write all about it.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Arctic Home Supplement: Lets Get Real.

Its been another quiet day here on Nunivak, my island in the Bering Sea. Today was the much anticipated last day of school. I'm spending my last night in Mekoryuk for the year tonight. The soothing sound of rabid flailing village children jumping bikes over plywood ramps, beating wood against the play deck incessantly, crying, yelling and throwing objects at each other, four-wheeler exhaust, and swearing teenagers lulls me into such a peaceful serenity from outside my windows that I will miss OH SO MUCH, so much that I won't come back for a whole summer.

People often see the "cliche" last day of school clip with students running down the front steps of a brick and white pillared school to a sound byte of Alice Cooper's "Schools out for summer" as they rejoice and throw reems of old papers into the air and take off for summer adventure and fun. They never show the teachers of American Schools breathing a collective sigh of relief, laughing out loud, shaking their heads in trumph, and crying out, rejoicing to themselves in an empty classroom over the prospect that they won't have to be confronted with the outright stupidity of America's youth for at least two months. Sure there were good times, but as much hell as the teachers have reaped in the minds of the students, it has been returned tenfold on the teacher, after all there is one teacher, and many many many students. Essentially its an unbalanced situation from the beginning, until school is out and life evens things like it does so much in the end.

Some of the local high schoolers are out lazying around town, smoking cigs, chewing, hanging out at the game room chit chatting with the recent return arrivals from private schools and college back for the summer, laughing, bobbing heads to their iPods, posturing for the opposite sex like ungulates in rut, basking in the sudden rush of freedom and light heartedness that comes from the sudden massive release of responsibility that is "Summer," their squinty, glassy, sleepy eyes swing around and mischievous smiles creep across their faces as they say playfully from the game room steps, curiously, to me as I walk back from the store with a couple of goods...

"Yo Yo YO what up Mr. iVERson...what you doin? HAHAHA. HEY looks like you got the munchies yo...hahahahahaa?"

They're testing the waters already, and it hasn't even been a couple of hours yet. School's out lets try to be "REAL" with Mr. Iverson the local biology teacher, he's got a beard, and I think he's a hippie. The weird thing is that a beard (in my opinion a perfectly rational thing to have) is odd around these parts apparently, and their limited knowledge of American "hippies" is basically resting on my hair tossed shoulders. So they'refishing for information...

"No but you probably do smokey!"

I say back to them knowingly, pinpointed and in my own way being "REALLY REAL." A slightly shocked look comes across some of their faces, implicating themselves and as if to say, crap, he isn't as clueless as we thought...Oh man, Hopefully he won't tell our parents, wait, he doesn't know anything, wait maybe he already has, wait no...yeah and he can't prove anything anyways, We're just being paranoid for all he knows we're just standing here normal, we're cool, I look normal right? You look normal...We're normal its cool...besides he's Mr. Iverson, he's cool, he doesn't care...he hacky sacked with us yesterday.

Their sedated internal monologues are right, I got no proof (but the hacky sack is enough in my opinion). Not any I can use at least. But I know. AND I do care about there futures and well being, but I just don't care all that much about taking my last day before I leave this far away land to lecture recently freed students outside the game room on the dangers of mind altering drugs, alcohol, tobacco and sex. It won't do any good anyways. I care but I'm also a realist. Students, nay, teens, nay, people will do what they want to do in the end, no amount of "prevention" or "education" can stop a die hard. In the moment, right there staring temptation in the face, ultimately its a decision for the person to make based on their perception of the situation. And decisions have repercussions, sometimes immediate, sometimes far in the distance of time. Those consequences are the fodder for all the lessons that teach us about life and how to live it. Those lessons are needed to show us what to "choose" next time around. In nature "lessons" can be the meaning of life and death, but for a human, a species who's survival depends on defining our meaning in life, a lesson is far more abstract for our "happy" survival to utilize.

People do what they want. Period. And the funniest thing about "Education" is that we hide this big secret about ourselves that says: "You shouldn't DO THAT" when the cold stone reality is that many teachers across America do drink, smoke, chew, and have premarital sex, use drugs, have STD's, watch porn, hate their neighbor, smite their father, pollute, cheat, gamble, adulterate, don't vote and generally disobey traffic laws... or have in the past. Teachers had to learn lessons about the problems of these on their own, and instead of sharing the lessons learned from mistakes made, educators more commonly "Just say no," A ludicrous piece of advice if I've ever heard one on the principal that some people do what they're told not to do on principal alone (teens especially). A better piece of advice would be weigh the options if you're not too in love, angry, hurried, stoned, drunk, or high to do so, understand the risk if your brain isn't too clouded by emotions, chemicals or judgment, do what your heart says knowing that you'll think back someday and wonder "what was I thinking," and live with the consequences be they salty or sweet, because you made the choice pal and don't even think about blaming anyone because you're gonna live with it whether you own up to it or not.

I've always wondered what school would be like if educators shared their life mistakes openly when they felt the time was right and had a discussion about it if an opportunity arose. Often the things we know most about are the times when we've overcome adversity or resurrected ourselves from pain, anguish, failure and misery and the processes that enabled us to overcome them. But because of our pride, hypocrisy, and shame most of these valuable lessons will never be appropriate enough to share within the confines of American Schools. You know what I think, you can't teach people how to be a "good person" or a "good citizen" or a "good scholar" unless you are one yourself, and lots of people I've seen aren't some or most of the time, so why can't we just embrace our hypocrisy and mediocrity and all face the fact that we're just freakin people trying to get by, be happy and for god's sake have someone to love us. Lets be real folks.

People have to learn lessons on their own. Sometimes the lessons of life are hard, real hard. An unexpected child, a brush with the law, a death, an accident, an illness all things that seemingly end life as we know it but somehow end up defining us down the road for better or worse. And there is a certain truth that comes from a monumental screw up in life. A moment of clarity, when you realize you've just ruined everything, lost it all, destroyed all you'd worked for and all you ever had going for you through your own choices in life, and now nothing will be the same. A moment where you kind of have to say, my sweet moses, mary and joseph, what have I done and where do I go from here?

Whether you're poor, rich, strait, gay, sober, drunk, high, healthy, sick, religious, freethinking, woman or man, everyone faces something in life as a result of a decision they made. The scariest thing about judgment is how hypocritical it is, and how much it silences real opportunities for growth and sharing with others. Their are no mistakes in life, just different paths that have been left untravelled...for now.

Today is not a day for those sort of questions or thoughts. Today is the last day of school. Today is a day to be happy, to be free, however you so see fit (just don't be a moron...wait go be a moron you'll probably learn something just as valuable). Whether you believe in heaven or hell, good or evil, sin or holiness, karma, balance, equilibrium or witch craft, it can at least be said "What goes around comes around" or "It'll all work out in the end." After all, it has to one way or another.

Thats not so much the news but rather my opinion from Nunivak Island, where the fog rolls in, the teachers roll out, and the teens here like the rest of the world, live life full of anxiety and doubt.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Preemptive Summer Tunes

Inspired by a late night cleaning, sweeping and mopping session I decided to clue you into a couple of my cleaning favorites.

Note the two songs playing sweet nectar of the summer gods into your ears on the project playlist to the right:

Steely Dan: "Peg" nothing like a little Steely Dan to kick start summer early, feel that high pitched disco groove and bass line? I suggest standing up where ever you're at and getting your summer groove on.

Beck "Debra" This sultry song about picking up a sexy woman (Jenny) at JCPenny and Wine and Dining her just so that he can get with her sister is a summer favorite to belt out at the top of my lungs with my friends in the waning summer sun (especially at a BBQ). This song is highly inappropriate and also highly infectious and contagious, once you know the words you'll be grabbing a mop and lip syncing with the best of us.

2/3 days to go MAN C'MON!

The Grades are in

I gave my kids an end of the year survey:

Their top two favorite memories were: The Eggsperiment Egg Laboratory and watching "Planet Earth" Movies, and walking to the beach, and labs.

Their least favorite activities were: Homework, notes, Reading, Bio Jeopardy, and not following through on the Egg Drop...

Things I could have done better: Be funnier, don't give too many notes, be even funnier, cut my hair, shave my beard, let us chew gum, take care of coffee breath, make students more interactive in the stuff we do, calm down, be more awesome

Mr. Iverson's grade as a teacher: B-, B, B+, A-, A-, A, A, A+, A+, , A+, A+, (Averages out to an A-) not so bad I think.

It wasn't a very formal feedback method I know but they are very shy to give criticism, I was hoping a couple of them would cut into me a little more. But, I think they were being nice.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Last Regular Weekly Update

This will the last regular Weekly Update for a while. I am definitely unsure as to the direction and participation of this blog over the summer. I will keep writing but as of yet this blog has only been about my severe social isolation as a teacher out in an Eskimo Island in the Bering Sea. This summer I will be surrounded with friends, family, camping, festivals, late nights and good times.

Luckily Life itself and its plethora of bountiful lessons have guided this blog thus far, so I have no doubts it will continue to provide insights a plenty.

I have decided to compile a list of all the artists of the week for you so that you can see the breadth and width of the music one would require to survive a winter alone:

Madeleine Peyroux
Etta James "The Essential Discs"
Blue Turtle Seduction "Deep Sea Rodeo"
James Brown
The Velvet Underground
J.J. Cale "Naturally"
Bob Marley "Songs of Freedom"
Santana "Lotus"
Tom Waits
Corinne Bailey Rae
Devendra Banhart "Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon"
ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) "Roses and Clover" or "Fly Between Falls"
Beach Boys "Pet Sounds"
Jill Scott "Experience Jill Scott 826+"
Arcade Fire "Neon Bible" and "Funeral"
Sigur Ros "Takk" or "( )"
Jack Johnson "Sleep Through the Static"
Belle and Sebastian "Tigermilk" and "If you're feeling sinister" and "Dear Catastrophe Waitress"
Robert Plant and Allison Krauss "Raising Sand"
Jon Butler Trio
Levon Helm "Dirt Farmer"
Hot Buttered Rum "Live at Wintergrass 2007"
Yonder Mountain String Band "Live at NWSS 2007"
Galactic "Coolin Off"
Umphrey's McGee "Anchor Drops" and "Safety in Numbers"
The "Velvet Goldmine" Soundtrack
The "Once" Soundtrack
Vampire Weekend
David Bowie "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust"
The Cure "Greatest Hits"
Paul Simon "Rhythm of the Saints"
Xavier Rudd "White Moth"
Kale Iverson
Eddie Vedder "Into the Wild" Soundtrack
Citizen Cope "The Clarence Greenwood Recordings"
Jimmy Buffet "A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean"

After looking at that list of musical heavyweights that cross all genres and styles I realized I only showed you about half of my musical preferences. That should be a good start for you to update your own personal life playlists though right?

OLD SCHOOL PHRASES OF THE YEAR: Same deal check out all this old American language we're working to save here on RW:

"Okey Dokey"
"Yes Siree Bob"
"Wise Acre"
"I'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail"
"Holy Crow"
"My Lucky Stars"
"You Betcha"
"Gee Willickers"
"Gets My Goat"
"My Moses, Mary and Joseph"
"Bull Pucky"
"Can I be Frank?"
"Horsing Around"
"Every Tom, Dick and Harry"
"You can betcher Bottom Dollar"
"Monkey Business"
"Cotton Picken"
"My Goodness Gracious"
"Cryin' Shame"
"Great Caesar's Ghost"
"Madder than a March hare"

WEATHER HERE ON NUNIVAK: The Locals are saying this is an incredibly late break up out here, we are still sitting in a circumference of ice in the ocean, although the river is starting to give. Its still a now comfortable 33 deg F and the wind still gives the air a bit of nip. We have been getting some fog here and there, some rain, and believe it or not, it is freaking snowing outside RIGHT NOW. Man, crazy... It gets light out around 5 and the sun sets after midnight. Tack on the pre/post sun and we're lookin at about 20 hours of light right now, sleep is a problem.

ART UPDATE: I'm not making excuses, but I haven't been very creative lately due to all the cleaning, packing, grading and finishing up the year...sorry.

CLUSTRMAP/Readership Update:
We are steady at about 20 readers a day and just hit 2800 site hits since halfway through February. NICE WORK FRIENDS...We'll see what happens with readership this summer, but lets keep this awesome online community going okey dokey?

Days Left Till Washington:
3...Oh hellz yeah.

Last Thoughts:
So much cleaning the last three days. My house is starting to shape up. My classroom is blank and desolate and my Alaskan belongings packages in reused grocery cardboard boxes. To think I came here with a backpacker pack, an army duffel bag, a school pack, and two mailed boxes. Wow now I have about 6 boxes of crap sitting in my living room.

I also can't believe how far this blog has come since August of last year. I didn't even know what I was doing or what it was all about but now my blog has a weather ticker, a music player, link lists, my personal music player, several charitable interactive links, sunrise ticker, a Jambase concert finder, and all my artwork for the year.

I feel so grateful to have all you new cyberspace friends and supporters. I am also grateful for discovering this blogging medium to help me work through my struggles and document my metamorphosis in life. Reflection is so important and now I have a whole year of my life intricately documented for the future.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

FINALLY! Those damn phases for my writing students are graded, filed, entered in the online gradebook and DONE! Whew, I'm so glad I only have 12 writing students, I can't imagine what a person with 30 would do.

Graduation of our two seniors is today in about an hour. I am proud of them. I can't imagine what it would be like to graduate in a class of two. We tacked on the "8th" grade and "Kindergarten" graduation to it so that we would have more to do. The gym looks nice and I'll post photos if I can.

I am wearing a tie for the second day in a row now. Wow, that hasn't happened since the ASSEC Special Ed. Conference a couple of months ago. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. Ties suck.
But my sweet beard trumps any formal attire I could ever adorn though, notice the gentle curling of my mustache lately...I may be able to start curling it soon like Colonel Sanders or Rollie Fingers the famous pitcher from the Pirates. Hey, Iverson the Pirate, I like that. 4 days till departure, c'mon baby!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Last Overalls Friday of the Year

Well its official, the last full week of school is over! Thanks be to Allah. Just jokin but seriously today was my last day to wear overalls to school on Friday for the whole year, so I decided to sass it up a bit. I wore a collared shirt and tie underneath just to make it a special day. I'd say overall it was a good Friday and a good week. How did it go out there for y'all?

Last night I came home and passed out at like 8 pm or so, BIG MISTAKE, I woke up on the couch at like 3 or so in the morning and never really got back to sleep the rest of the night. I finally just gave up and laid there with my eyes closed, awake for a couple of hours thinking about all sorts of ridiculous crap. I was thinking about my students, this summer, past girlfriends, song lyrics, people I haven't seen in a while, Global Warming and all other sorts of nonsense, it was annoying.

I spent the hours of 2 pm to 5:30 pm after school today taking down all the artwork, posters, mobiles and DNA dragons from my classroom. Afterwards it looked vacant and depressing, just like my house. I did feel good that sooo much color and flair had built up in the classroom. And the kids made it all! Even though I'll have the same room next year I wanted a fresh start and the fact that our roof is being replaced gave me the excuse to clear the slate. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll paint my room some awesome color besides manila...sigh...I'm not that lucky.

In other non important news, I got to hacky sack on the playdeck today with some students. I was laughing inside as I realized full well the massive amount of stereotypes I was fullfilling as I popped the rainbow colored bean bag up into the cold spring air I thought "Stinkin' hippies, always lazin' around playin' hacky sack." For the record I sucked.

Nothing else worth noting has really happened lately, just clicking by the hours till I get the hell out of here. I'm out of good food, its too short of a time to buy more, and I'll actually give away all my perishables at school on Monday. I guess mac'n'cheese, chili, pancakes and stuff will have to suffice for now. Graduation potluck tomorrow...score.

Peace Easy Friends

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Notes on a generation of weaklings and my first free summer in a decade.

Well this week has been a blur of paperwork, packing boxes, stressful student deadlines, frustrations with car repairs and money/paycheck mixups.

I realized that they took the $700 bucks cash advancement out of of this paycheck that I got last August. Then I paid an unfathomable amount for car repairs on my Subaru back home in Washington. After student loans, car payment and plane ticket off the island I will be about $500 bucks in the hole this month before fun times, gas, and all back in Washington.

This bothers me. And, it bothers me even more that it even bothers me. I am doing just fine money wise, I've been saving like a little chipmunk for the winter (or in this case summer). But after a steady stream of months where the bank account was heading in the positive direction, the fact that I didn't even break even this month kind of ticks me off. Why? Why do I care about money? I don't really really really care. But each dollar in that account is one more amazing adventure I can go on with a friend or relative, every dollar in there is a Concert or Show ticket, every clamshell in there is another tank of gas or plane ticket to go see my friends somewhere far away, every shilling in there is one shilling closer to traveling full time for a year or hiking the Appalachian trail, every peso represents another square foot of my forest cabin land in the woods or beach property somewhere someday, every penny represents some good I could do for someone in need.

I don't like money because it gets its hooks in you. It expands your possibilities of entertainment. When I was a flat broke college student I didn't have to worry about what I was going to do, there weren't many options, just get by like the rest of us. You know there is a famous rap song "Mo Money Mo Problems." I believe it, I really do. So what can I do? What do you do with these freaking things, dollars. Bleh! Earthling Economy.

Last night I listened to NPR's Podcast of "This American Life" w/ Ira Glass (5/11/08). It was entitled "The Giant Pool of Money." It was all about the housing loan crisis taking place in America and all the back story on how we got to be so desperate as an economy that we are looking at a Jimmy Carter's in the 70's administration type recession soon to come. That may not be a big deal to most people my age because you know what? We've never lived in an economy that wasn't growing. We don't know what its like to save pennies like people have had to do in the past.

And by "we" I guess I have to lump myself into a category, middle class whitey to be precise.

In fact, we've never lived through a giant war/catastrophe either. Iraq 1, 9/11, Katrina and Iraq 2 are still important events and millions of lives have been effected and touched by our situation right now. But, no one has got drafted, 50,000 U.S. soldiers haven't died, its not Vietnam, its not Korea, its not WWII or WWI. To add to that we have a commercially flooded media entertainment system that desensitizes us and lullabies us to sleep from the cold realities of these things. My generation hasn't really faced anything face to face. We haven't faced any sort of obstacle of note.

That is why I see the things I do. You can pick any topic of our generation. I mean people 14 to maybe 30 right now. We have had it given to us. We spend hours a day on the internet doing myspace, facebook, blogging, and shopping. We live at home with our parents longer than any previous generation. We have the worst sleeping and eating habits of any generation in history. Parallel to that, we are the most unhealthy, obese, diabetic, depressed and medicated generation in history as well as the most frequent drug and alcohol users and abusers. Basically, we have it too easy, and we are bored into apathy, self medication and sadness.

Even our music reflects this. In the 90's the alternative music movement represented a paradigm shift in rock music and a whole generation of middle class white kids. Greenday, Sublime, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Pearl Jam were the first bands in history to just openly whine and complain and throw temper tantrums about how "sad" we were. Shortly out of that movement came the now ever popular genres of teen culture such as "indi" or "emo" or "goth" or "indi punk" or "goth punk" or what ever, its all a bunch of kids who have no idea about their roots or what it is like to truly struggle.

On the opposite end of music was the hip hop, rap, pop and dance movement where people who represented some of the poorest demographics in the US were flaunting and parading the money that they didn't have prior to their success. "Growin' up street" "Ghetto" and "in the hood" is still a marketing megalomaniac.

In either case, they were a product of a generation generally uninterested in anything going on in America. We are the me generation and we're gonna complain about it, not vote about it, party, flaunt our new found comfortable life or complain that it was meaningless. We don't have to worry about survival, we are simply upset by our lives not going as planned, myself included.

I think that time is passing. I think the reason I'm starting to feel bad about not saving money is because I can feel it coming. I can feel the tough times ahead. All we hear about these days is resources management, hybrids, electricity bills, gas prices, diseases, global warming, money market crashes, its all coming up man. Can you dig that kids? I think the scariest thing about my students here, or in Washington is how incapable they've become, screw that, how incapable I've become. How fragile we've become as a generation. We don't really know how to work hard, do anything, take care of ourselves, persevere through uncomfortable times, break our backs at work, make ends meet. Our happiness is not contingent on survival, its contingent on entertainment.

We've never had a depression. We've never had a BIG war. We've never had a shortage. I hate to be negative but I think we will soon. Everything I do, every person I meet, every book I read, seems to continually affirm that we are up for tough times. I just feel like we're in for something big. I don't know if its gonna be "Global Warming" or a shift in global power of economy or a divide in our country's politics. But something is happening.

Now up to here this all seems pretty grim I think. The only redeeming thing about my outlook on our existence as human beings is that I also sense something happening to the spirituality of the world. I don't want to rip off the "Celestine Prophecy" "The Secret" or any of the new age philosophies that are also proclaiming the change for a more positive global spiritual uniting, but seriously, amongst the wasteland of apathy and compassionless people the positive people are quietly sitting, waiting, watching, listening, and preparing for the moment when being sound in the heart and actions of life will come to fruition. People are starting to eat well again, natural foods, sustainable foods. People are conserving. People are providing aid. People are educating. People advocating.

I am a product of this me generation. I have been and still am very selfish about my plight here on earth. I still want my experience of life to be good. But I have also learned that I feel better when I'm helping people, eating well, and staying in shape. I still have a lot of work to do, always will. I still need to help more, I still need to eat better, I still need to be more involved, I still need to conserve more, but I'm finally on the track towards this type of life. It just took a long time. I had to go through all that self loathing, and self centeredness that I see in my students, peers, and friends.

I think my generation is hitting rock bottom soon. And from the bottom, there are only two options, death or resurrection, as frightening and sad as that is. Either you figure it out (positivity, well being, spiritual centeredness) or you perish. That is the way it goes. The real goal of education, in my opinion, should be to facilitate this change of perspective towards the new world we will all be participating in soon.

Maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm blabbering, maybe I'm totally off base, but maybe, just maybe, I'm on to something. This summer is very important to me. Its a vacation of sorts, but its also a school of sorts. I'm going to be with the people I love, doing things that make me happy, and dammit, I'm gonna spend all this stupid freaking money making every second worth while for my life and especially for the ones who are in it. Partly because I need to make absolutely certain of what direction I'm going to go in next and partly because I to see there is any redeeming qualities in being 100% selfish in my pursuit of pleasure. For the record this is the first summer in 9 years I won't be working. In fact I'll be doing the opposite of working, I will be getting paid to not work. Wrap your head around that one.

This is the most important summer for me in over a decade. Will you be part of it?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hey Hey Tuesday

Yesterday I went on a walk with the Pam and Gary around town, down to the rock harbor point or "Number 2" as its called around here, and then crossed the melting snow out the now exposed sand dunes.

There was again, really really cool lichen all over, but the sun has brought it out even stronger.

The old Department of the Interior service truck out in dunes was emerging from the snowpack and I took this photo of an old mechanical dinosaur still clinging to the last remaining notions of a structure. Its official use is now only to rust.

Pam and Gary are leaving tomorrow and I'm really sad, I found such a big part of my heart for them. I know we'll meet again and I want to go to Texas for the sole reason of visiting with my new friends.

Monday, May 12, 2008


WOW, ZAMMO, ZIP, KABOOM! That was a hell of a Monday. My Anthropogenic Global Warming Movies "The Inconvenient Truth" the "11th Hour" still haven't come in NetFlix mail yet. AAAARG, I like making things up as I go along to a point but this is ridiculous. The mail has foiled my plans before but why this? The end of the year, all I want to do is talk about global warming in a medium that they enjoy. Sheeesh.

Other than that my monday was fine. I'll post later if I'm feeling up to it but at the moment all I want is some food and some rest and to listen to to the peculiar and unusual sound of rain outside.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekly Update

Musical Artist of the Week: Citizen Cope "The Clarence Greenwood Recordings" I'm having flashbacks of summer festivals lately and Citizen Cope is one of the only people I can think of that has that plodding slow soulful hip hop and acoustic southern bass buzz that seems to agree with my life right now. You probably know some of his songs from commercials on television. I've seen him three times once at WSU, once at Bumpershoot where I got heatstroke, and once at last years Sasquatch festival. I think he a lot better at night at a smaller venue than in the heat of the day. Check it out if you get a chance.

Old School Phrase of the Week: Well this was a new one on me. Pam called someone "Madder than a March Hare." I guess it means crazy but I've never heard that one before. Has anyone ever heard out there either?

Weather on Nunivak Island: Right now its around 35 degrees which feels tropical even with the 15 mph wind. On top of that we've been fighting off intense fog for about 2 weeks now. The roads are infested with coffee and milk covered puddles and the tundra now comprises almost as much cover as the snow.

Art Update: I haven't been doing much visual art lately I did draw this odd sketch today though, I haven't been recording songs much either, just working a lot on instrumentation before I head home, I want to my skills to be rippin' this summer, I have been writing some but nothin' too interesting I guess.

ClustRMap/Readership: Just over 2600 readers since this time 4 months ago. Daily numbers have been way down, I think this is either because I'm not writing very well lately or because all the teachers that read this blog are extra busy. Regardless of the reasons, I have notice a drastic drop in commenting, hopefully I haven't driven away readers for some reason.

Days left till Washington: 10...thank jehova.

Last thoughts: I have none really. Sorry, this isn't very interesting. I think that this blog needs a change. Have a good week.

Oh and by the way, Lichen is really cool. Check this out.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Desolation Alaska

I'm just lazing around Saturday putting things away, packing, pondering the next phase of life. And I needed to write, I mean really needed to write, so settle in and open up cuz this is gonna be a long one.

I used to have a fantasy sort of ethereal feeling about my dreamy summer coming up. Like how spectacular it was going to be finally getting off the island for a while and being in the sun with friends and family. But right now, in this moment, with my house all destroyed and my life on the pinnacle of yet another change, I find myself yet again worrying about how things are going to turn out. I hate worrying but it is something that defines who I am.

You see, I used to use the thought of this summer as my rock, my safe haven of thought, no matter what was happening here in the thick of all the efforts and trials and lessons and mistakes, I always had summer to keep me grounded and firm. Now as the lines between the trials of now have meshed with the dream of the future, I realize once again the dual necessity and danger of plans and dreams and hopes.

I am a firm believer of trying to be happy now (because its hard and if you can do it then the rest will work out). And, right now, I am anxious, nervous and stressed. I don't even know if its like a bad stress, its a good one too. There is just so much sensation, and people, and moments, and time unraveling right before my eyes. We wait for these keystone moments all our lives and when they happen we wonder why it doesn't feel like we thought it would, we want something different than what we dreamt.

The grass is always greener on the other side, or at least it is in your mind, and then when you're skipping through the other sides grass basking in the greeness of it all you think "I don't even know if this green thing is what I was looking for." And you look to another other side of grass seeing a new shade of green, a new inflection of a hue you never noticed, and that grass isn't greener its just a different green, and you want it. The grass isn't greener on the other side, its just grass, but its not the grass you're standing on and that is important for some tragic reason.

I am also very aware of some new things that are happening as a result of this big change. People have come into my life, or just started to appear again. With more people brings more interactions and also the eerie realization that not only have they been a part of my dreams but that I may be a part of theirs. And, if this is causing my nervousness, anxiety and stress (good or bad) then they must be experiencing it too in some form or fashion.

Alaska. Man, what a trip. I know what it is about this place. This is a state of separation. An almost alternate dimension or reality where everything is separate from the past or future. Its possible to forget about those things, and lull yourself into a new sort of sedated experience of life that doesn't always include your real life from before or after. Alaska is a lost world of now. And, everyone I meet here is part of it. They're either just beginning to walk through the timefield of Alaska from "somewhere else," or they're leaving it for "down there" or "somewhere else" and then there are the people who are totally here born into it, or completely in it, with no concept of leaving for somewhere else or coming back from there, and when new comer people come from in these other dimensions and point out differences it stirs that cold dark realization that this place is a separate world. In my opinion, this is truly why outsiders are often met with caution. People don't like to be reminded that they are not truly a part of the global experience by a person meandering through, or in opposition that they have chosen to leave the global experience and someone is bringing it to their door. The only true way to integrate in Alaska, with people of Alaska, is to kind of forget about other time and other worlds.

This is something I just can't do. Fortunately, wait I'm not sure, or unfortunately maybe, I'm always connected to the global experiences I've had, the ultimate infinite possibility of life. The concept of being local is something I've sadly forgotten. I don' t feel local anymore. I just feel like a wanderer. And I remember being local at times in my life and seeing a wanderer cruise through, almost leaving contrails of something incomprehensible in their wake, and being interested and scared of them and their movements simultaneously. Fundamentally, outsiders move different, look different, smell different, talk different and if they stay long enough melt into everything around, locals equally absorb the difference that the wanderer brings into their own world in a small undetectable way and the wanderer too absorbs quantities of the local essence into his/her vast library of collections of other locals and their ways.

The ultimate truth though is that a wanderer will always move on. I have so many parts of me in different locals around the world, I have small inflections from all the small places I've been. The words I speak, the clothes I wear, they all come from somewhere, the music of my internal soundtrack comes from all the parts of my life, little things and it blows my mind. And the thing is that I think the truth about wanderers is that they are in search of something incomprehensible. A place to call home, their home, their local place on earth, where they can call it their time. And its a blessing and a curse. Wanderers get to pace the world looking and taking in all the amazing things about everything in different places of the life, while also being cursed to realize that it is, once again, not their home. If a wanderer is lucky enough to find a place where they fit well enough to stop then they miss out on all the wonders of places yet to wander.

What do we do? I look so hard sometimes I can't see the obvious. And then it hits me, this driving force, this genetic need to move along is what has propagated the human race across the globe. Some of us need to stay put and some of us need to move on in search of a non existent home so that we can spread ourselves into every corner and orifice of this earth. And that mechanism frightens me.

And so I leave it, Alaska, again, to return apparently in August, and I don't know how I feel about that. I've never returned to a place treaded before like this. I've never been back to somewhere far away. I just move on because I want to find a location that is me. And I don't also because I want to keep pokin around this big world there is out there. Either way I'll still be looking at this big ass field of mega ultra green grass on some other side that is definitely greener than the one I'm in.

Jack Kerouac writes this as he leaves camp at the end of "Dharma Bums" after spending a whole summer completely alone in a fire watch tower on Desolation Peak in the North Cascades of Washington going crazy:

"I don't know when we'll meet again or what'll happen in the future, but Desolation, Desolation, I owe so much to Desolation, thank you forever for guiding me to the place where I learned it all. Now comes the sadness of coming back to cities and I've grown two months older and there's all that humanity of bars and burlesque shows and gritty love, all upsidedown in the void God bless them, but Japhy you and me forever we know, O ever youthful, O ever weeping."

I would like to rewrite this for myself:

"I don't know why we'll meet again or what will happen in the future, but Alaska, Kuskokwim, Nunivak, Mekoryuk, the bush, I owe so much to you, thank you forever for guiding me to the state of mind where I learned all about myself. Now comes the reality of coming back to the cities and people and I've grown almost a year older and there's all that humanity of bars and concerts and shows and reckless love, all inside out and in chaos, I hope for them, but bush wanderers you and me forever we know, O ever adventurous, O ever apart."

Like ol' port drinkin' Jack, I too say "Thank You" gratefully and "Blah" with a sly grin as I also head down my trail back to this world.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Science...Iverson Style.

As part of our ongoing discussion of AGW or Anthropogenic Global Warming (Human Caused) we started doing some research into vegetable oils and biodiesel as alternatives to burning fossil fuels. To illustrate the immense combustible powers of plants and their derivatives and to just plain have some safe fun blowing stuff up and burning stuff we learned about grain silo explosions which prompted a demonstration of how explosive grain dust can be. The students couldn't believe that I could blow fire by simply puffing flour out of a tube and funnel contraption I invented before school. A little open space in the gym and a hand blow torch and you can be regular Rambo. We also spent some time in class burning different types of nuts comparing their burn lengths and flame sizes to observe different plant oils in action. Here are the photos from this wonderful day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday Update will be replaced by AHS Today.

An Arctic Home Supplement: The News from Nunivak Island- Fishin' Meltin' and Killin'

Well its been another quiet day here on Nunivak Island, my island in the Bering Sea. After waiting and waiting for spring to come, the locals here are finally immersed in everything spring has to offer in bush Alaska. The weather changed just as suddenly as the demeanor of many of the townsfolk, drastically and with out warning. After a steady string of below freezing days the fog rolled in and was burned away by the long May sun. Temperatures soared, sunglasses came out of hiding along with the rainboots and the ever popular sport of creative puddle jumping and soft snow navigation.

Down on the Mekoryuk River folks are getting their last rounds of Tom Cod fishing in. The river is a popular hangout for many of the people of the village who seek escape and reprieve from their daily frustrations. Other locals are at home pacing the floor waiting for the birds to arrive. Agnes the secretary at school sits chuckling and flinging hundreds of unlucky bottom feeders from the depths into a scattered pile around a hole in the river. Its an unusual way to socialize to an outsider of the island considering most of the fishing holes are located just outside of earshot from each other and most of the social interaction revolves around silently fishing and yelling remarks back and forth followed by laughter. Patty, another local teacher, was so happy to find solace in the monotonous gutting and slicing of tiny fish that she gladly accepted an extra bucket to clean.

Trevor, a local twenty something, down at the local store bought a bunch of shotgun shells today. Francine the lip pierced check out girl at the store asked him what birds he was going out to hunt and he replied, "Anything that flies above me."

Francine's husband Larry or "Nunivak Shaq," a local pick up basketball hero because of his gargantuan stature , can be scene rocketing up and down the river on his suped up snowmachine chasing and shooting foxes for the five dollar pelt tag that has been enforced lately. With the absence of two white trapper teachers a few years back and the reindeer slaughterhouse up by the airport supplying an endless smorgasbord of animal scraps, the population has gotten out of hand. He shoots about 3 a day and drives out more if possible because, as a new father, he feels its his parental duty to rid the town of the rabies infested mongrels. If he's lucky he'll break even on the gasoline bill now that prices have soared to 7 dollars a gallon at times. He proudly stops by Agnes and Paddy to confirm that the he got the fox he was chasing over the hill.

Here in the land of cold and survival the locals can be found most at peace when they're killing. The most desired and enjoyed activities around our little town usually involve the ending of a life. Its not a sad animals rights issue. Its life here. You kill to eat or to protect the ones you love. Most people can't understand that, but here in Mekoryuk killing is good, as long as it is an animal. Fish, birds, ungulates and ocean mammals better watch out, its spring on the tundra and the guns, hooks, and nets are coming.

Well thats about it for the news here on Nunivak, where the snow is melting, the sun is still up and there is nothing wrong with clubbin a seal pup.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


arg, still so freeeeeaaaaaaking light out. I can't sleep and I'm bored out of my mind.

Spring Weather: Upside Downside.

The Upside:Well It Finally happened, spring baby! Sunshine like a blast of love and temps in the 40's holy cow!

The downside: The kids were as apathetic, unfocused and plain bad today as they were good yesterday.

The Upside: The weather was as amazing today as it was crap yesterday.

The downside: The snow melted exposing all of my neighbor's dog "Sweet Journey's" Shat piles.

The Upside: I had an excuse to get out the bad ass shovel and practice modeling for a Sears catalog.

The Downside: I had to shovel a whole bunch of snow into the newly forming river crossing to make a frozen snowbridge dam that would enable me to get to my porch.

The Upside: I love shoveling. It was beautiful. I like wearing sunglasses. I like rubber boots. And the modeling agent for Sears called, I got an audition in June when I get back to Washington.

The Downside: No matter how much shoveling I did the snow is still gonna melt and more piles of "Sweet" crap will appear.

The Upside: I get to take out the frustrations of a flawed rural education system overtaking the native culture of Alaska on piles of Beagle shat and snowmelt rivers (an acceptable way of letting anger go in my opinion).

The downside: There is no snow pile large enough to quench my deep deep frustrations.

The Upside: There are some pretty big ones and they are great for ice sculpting.

The Downside: They melt on their own.

The Upside: Melting is kinda of getting a new block of marble or clay

The Downside: Kids knock over my sculptures.

The Upside: Some kids think "Man what is that" before they do and that is the point of art in my opinion.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Tom Cod Fishin' Monday

After a lightning bolt of a Monday (every time I blinked my eyes another period went by) I got a chance to run down to the river outside of town real quick for some tom cod fishing. I was the worst fisherman between Josh, Melissa, Alice, and Peggy and I still caught like 25 fish.

Tom cod aren't very big, they're kind of like perch back in Washington, and the locals gut em and string em up to dry to eat later with seal oil or use as bait. I caught a nasty bullhead too, it was disgusting looking. My hands got cold like a wuss but I had a really good time (got to drive a snogo which I always love).

So now I'm back home, pretty tired actually, and thinking about home. I called the Subaru Dealership in Tacoma today and it looks like its gonna cost me just under a grand to get the Sarge up and running to maximum capacity for summer adventure. I figure since I'll be living out of my car its a sound investment right?

So in biology class we're studying "Global Warming" and to make sure I give a balanced perspective I have been doing some research on evidence against the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW which means human caused). I never knew there was so much information and evidence against it out there and available. I was also unaware of many of the political and economic benefits and players in the new "Green Revolution." As I become more and more informed I'll start relaying some information. Don't get me wrong, I think we mistreat the environment enough and our atrocities are boundless as a race, but if "Global Warming" was just some thing cooked up by liberals to give a boost to their bank accounts (like Al Gore investing heavily in ethanol a competitor to gas in the alternative fuel markets) then technically they are no better than Bush leading us into Iraq for oil. In fact I try not to trust any old white guys in suits these days. But thats a horse of a whole different color. It seems like not so long ago I was complaining about some right wing parent whacko's getting a poor Federal Way teacher fired for showing "An Inconvenient Truth" in biology class this time last year. Now I'm starting to wonder if there wasn't some merit.

So things are going to be changing on this blog very soon. Summer is fast approaching, my activities, internet access and alternative forms of entertainment will as well. I am taking suggestions as to what people want Radiate Warmth to do this summer. Do people still want Weekly Updates? Do people want updates from the road, coffee shops and different locals. I don't want to simply be bragging about my awesome life the whole time so help me make the most of it.

Love love love, and hope you monday went well, peace!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Spontaneous Collaborative Poem

All Together Better All Together

By Katie Cugno and Kale Iverson

pterodactyl matter of factual
actual lactaid fatter than
a mattress meter man
with a feather in his hand
reprimanding outstanding patterns
never patronizing or recognizing flattery
but loving and leaving a regular lady chadderly
lively lifting and shifting to sift through
who do? we do? no you do.
that's true and you know, I knew
oh did you?
ooo touché? or the other way
supersonic ultrasound
flabbergasting all around backhanding through walls and underground
catacombs pharaohs in stone tombs
combing through tunnels weaving through muddled mysteries looming on a shelf in your room
heart beat, lub dub lub dub, a mother, a child, a womb
bada bing bada boom rattatatt tatt now we're through.
we're through again well then just press send, no in fact pop a stamp on it and give it to the mail man
in the end finishing the beginning is all we're really doing
in this melting pot your a turnip and i'm an eggplant, its okay though we're stewing at least we're together
brewing, chewing, or being chewed whatever the weather
its all together better
it's better altogether
what falls faster the stone or the feather?
depending on what the goose or the duck?
neither how about a stone or a truck?
uh oh good luck
close but no. they were flying straight down looking for the muck

Now read the weekly update below...

Weekly Update

I have almost completely checked out out of the Mekoryuk Hotel In my brain...this is, in my opinion, a very dangerous attitude considering there are still 2 weeks left. Hopefully it won't bite me in the ass. The Primary reason is the massive influx of warm sunny Washington thoughts that dive bomb my psyche like pleasure mad magpies protecting their nest.

Musical Artist of the Week:
The Lyrics from the Chorus of the song The Great Filling Station Hold Up by Jimmy Buffet on the 1973 epic album "A White Sport Coat and A Pink Crustacean" has been a major contributor to my lack of focus here in the moment. It Goes as follows:

(Chorus Now)
And now I wish I was somewhere other than here
Down in some honky tonk, sippin' on a beer
Yes I wish I was somewhere other than here
Because that great fillin' station holdup
Cost me two good years

I would rewrite this:
And now I wish I was somewhere other than here
Down on some back porch, sippin' on a beer
Yes I wish I was somewhere other than here
Because that teaching in Bush Alaska
Cost me one good year.

My dad used to play this album all the time as a kid, I hadn't listened to it for maybe 10 years and I still remembered all the lyrics even now, can you believe it! I love Buffet but this will always be my favorite album.

Old School/Person Phrase of Week: "HUMDINGER!" Well long ago someone made this up and ever since people have been calling fastballs, puzzles and predicaments "A Real Humdinger." This one is just fun to say.

Weather On Nunivak Island: Well the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association weather station at the airport is reporting overcast skies with 33 deg. F temps and a calm 9 mph wind coming from the north. Things are melting, fog is still slinkin around and the puddles are creepin back up.

Weblinks of the Week: Hearing that Jimmy Buffet album got me thinking about my roots. So I googled the town where I was born and found these two websites. The Town of and both have amazing resources for visiting this 190 person town in north central Washington. Make sure to check out the outhouse races and the various links so you can see all the amazing things about this real place that I was actually born into. My parents rule.

Art Update: Minus a small watercolor the other day, I haven't been putting much artwork out. Actually, with the big migration back to Warshintun in a few weeks I've been taking down and packing up all the work I've done this year and it dawned on me that I've been really productive. That makes me happy. "Fragile Things" the poet collaboration song with Will Pearson has over 5000 listens on my IAC website.

ClustRmap Readership Report:
At Just Under 2500 hundred site hits since February 9th, we are on track to break 3000 here soon. It puts us at just about 30 readers a day on mathematical average.

Days Left till Washington:
18 Yes!

Big Ups: THIS WEEK's Big Ups goes to the love and support of Pam and Gary Stillwell my end of the year roomates teaching driver's ed and simulated welding. Not only are they amazingly open-minded, they are full of big hearts and easy temperament. If they ever read this thank you!

Last Thoughts: When you live in Alaska these are the type of notes your neighbors leave you:

Kale- We went fishing, Ralph, His Brother, His Mother, and me, we are going up Mekoryuk River- We'll be back by 6 pm. If we're not back by 8 pm send someone to find us!
Annie :)

Have a good work week, peace to you all.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Cool Down

Today is Friday, I wore my overalls and meant it, and the kids were amazing today too, positive, loving and appreciative. At the Ratball tournament (villages come for a type of scrambled pick up basketball) we served ice cream, two of my students were told to bring Pam and Gary the drivers ed teachers some, Gary told them he was lactose intolerant and to give it to Mr. Iverson. Pam watched as the boys went back and filled the ice cream up double full for me and then insisted on giving it to me themselves. Its things like extra ice cream that let me know they love me too.

But I made it home finally. I got a little Grateful Dead Live circa 1968 simmering on the jukebox, I just finished a water color of imaginary leaf beetles, and Pam, Gary and I are simply enjoying a night home from the craziness that is education and politics.

Over at school ratball is in full swing, but I didn't feel like helping all that much at school after class today. It felt tired and thats okay to tell you the truth. I am one of the only people coming back next year and I can let other people volunteer at the school for the next couple weeks......

...3 hours later I finished this post:

Gary and Pam and I just watched the DVD Grateful Dead Live at Radio City Music Hall New York 1980. It was awesome to see two people who had never enjoyed there music come to not only enjoy it but really like the band. And what an epic show too, I've never watched it all the way through.

Dead DvD $26.00, converting two awesome Texans into Deadheads, Priceless.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"Che" Guevara and "Massu" Iverson

I'm staring out the window at a May Day blizzard. The ground is a ice disaster mine field. The snowmachines are running strong and fast. My parka is in constant use along with my Sorel Boots. Winter is the ruler here, spring is a puny pathetic after thought.

(Parts of this blog post have been removed, as the should have been, and my deepest apologies to anyone who was hurt by my remarks, they were immature and in frustration and should never have been voiced in this public forum)

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN AMERICA. I keep wondering why I am all the way out here. I think I found the answer. I had to come out here to see this. I had to come out to this island so that I could witness a metaphor and a microcosm of American education. Everything that happens here is concentrated. All the problems, all the challenges, they are identical to everywhere else, the only difference is that there is no hiding it in a class of 33. It is right here, in my face one student to one teacher.

There is a scene (excuse me if I'm using this again) in the movie Motorcycle Diaries movie where a young Ernesto "Che" Guevara is standing at the airport watching his friend fly back to a comfortable life after they just spent time traveling the length and breadth of south America on a motorcycle witnessing on a local individual level the civil and human injustices imposed on people by their governments and as the camera pans back to the once naive and boyish Ernesto Guevara you can see the anger and action in his eyes, I interpreted that as the moment he turned into "Che" the militant, no holds barred activist.

I feel like that moment right now. I feel this burning anger growing in me. Not hatred or evil or amorality, but compassion, understanding and responsibility. I feel like I am morphing into something that can no longer stand for this. I feel like I am becoming an activist. I feel like I am becoming "Massuucikili" or "The One Who Goes Up." Maybe that means more than I thought. Its all been leading to this, its all been building, and everything that has ever happened to me, is continuing to happen and will happen in the future continues to reveal my purpose here on earth.

So now I think about home. Not only am I "Che" right now standing on my tiny dying Eskimo Island in the Bering Sea looking around this mosaic of crumbling stilted tin government housing burning with rage as "Massu" I am also longing for the comfort and ease and familiarity of my home where love and family and joy seem to lie in my heart as white middle class "Kale" from Washington. I am both simultaneously. So much of me wants to adorn camouflage fatigues, put on black face paint and go full force into a life of staunch activism, and so much of me wants to be home in the arms of those I love soaking up the simple pleasures of an even simpler life. The only difference is that look in Che's eyes. I know that I can go back, but that scene and the look in his eyes tells you that there is no decision, he'd seen too much and there was no turning back. That is what I am worried about. If I keep going around this land of the last human beings witnessing these atrocities of the mind then eventually I will no longer be able to go back.

In other words, summer is coming at a very peculiar time in my life. It comes at a time that tells me I need to go back to Washington. I need to see that way again. I need that perspective. I need that love. I need to know if I can go back. And dear holy mother of all creation what if I can't?

What if I forget this feeling? Its painful dammit, but at least I feel something, I feel alive and it is the fire that has changed everything.

So today I am not Radiating Warmth, I can't, there is too much fuel, today I am RADIATING FIRE.
to view my other blog OUT OF THE CLOSET ATHEIST click HERE