Thursday, October 30, 2008

"H" "A" double "L" "O" "W" Double "E" "N" Spells HALLOWEEN

Still Don't know what I'm going to be for halloween.

Need to make a cake for the cake walk, thinking pumpkin spice with vanilla frosting and candy corn decoration.

Got a care package from my mom: two bags of home made special mom recipe chex mix, more candy corn, milky ways and some other goodies.

Got my Anastasia Gardens replacement Siberian Cedar Pendant in the mail from my cousin Chris (Lost the original in a freak cliff jumping escapade at potholes this summer and haven't felt the same since).

Finally got my box of groceries today. All fruits and vegetable arrived safely 5 days late with one casualty a very smashed cucumber.

Yoga tonight, still encouraging as much male involvement as I can due to the fact that the ladies out number me 5 to 1.

Last but not least, my students will probably be cutting my hair at the Halloween carnival tomorrow. I have about six students who have passed phases already (don't know how much we'll add to this list) but I made a deal and I'll stick to it.
I certainly can't have just a weird shaggy cut so we'll probably just end up buzzing it. I think I'm ready, I've been wanting to do it for a while but now that the time is tomorrow I'm kind of nervous. I'd feel a lot better if there was a real hair cutter around.

So the next time you see me I should have short hair. Man, everyone will see how truly gigantic my ears are finally.

So say goodbye to the hair.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Winds of Woe a Kickin

(in a Jamaican voice) Yes me frens, da wins of woe be a kickin summen furce en da veelage.

With a NOAA weather station reported 52 mph wind whipping in yesterday morning at 8 am came something else, something indescribable, something that attached itself to our students like fungal spores, nay, a seed or a bore, on and into the fur of a passing ground dwelling mammal teenagers . Our students got something this week. They've got something bad.

Now I don't know if its the fact that all our snow just melted in about 16 hours, or if its getting darker, or if its because many parents have been out of town for weeks at the AFN (Alaska Federation of Natives) conference, or if its because of the rumored negative extra curricular activities that took place around town, but our kids are seriously starting to unravel. This week has been prone to student shut downs, sulking, sleeping, skipping, tardies, tantrums, explosions, sass, far above our normal offenders, and I'm pretty sure we've written more kids up in 3 days that the entire two first months put together.

So today I decided to try to start over. Even though I usually leave school a degraded and destroyed human being, I'm usually in a pretty good mood when I get to work. I'm the first one to arrive at school most days, I make the coffee for everyone, I write the days events on our school message board and always include a "Thought of the Day." I always write something postive, uplifting, or thoughtful, so that the first thing that people read when they come in is a nice thing. I also try to use quotes from major hippie propaganda like Ghandi, Bob Marley Lyrics, Michael Franti Lyrics, Hindu and Buddhist teachings, anything out of the ordinary to maybe break the spell of the horrifying world outside our walls (plus I pick things that apply to what is going on with our kids). On top of trying to help the school, its the one thing that helps me try to Radiate Warmth myself.

So today I wrote:

"The more I see, the less I know, but I know one thing, that I love you." -Michael Franti

And you know what, we had a pretty good day today (I had some mega happy Peter Tosh (see foto) reggae blasting into the hallway before school as a clear warning that no shitty attitudes would be tolerated). I mean all of my students were still off their rockers in every way, but I just tried to love them anyway, and we all kind of got a long. Actually the way our school operates reminds me of what couple are like after they just had a big fight. We're making up, starting over, trying again, and thats kind of novel.

Plus I drank Raven's Brew "Three Peckered Billy Goat" Coffee all day today thanks to my recent trip to town and I can't believe how much better it is than Maxwell House. I forgot how good coffee tasted since I've left the coffee mecca of the fertile Puget Sound region, with all of its fair trade organic worldly free internet cafe's and coffee roasters.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The worst Monday EVER!

After watching a thrilling episode of my new favorite show the HBO series "True Blood" and waking up rested I headed to school happy with my cinnamon raisen toast w/ cream cheese. Even though I was a little sleepy, I was in a good mood, ready for a good day.

What happened later turned out to be one of shittier days of the year, if not the shittiest, like demonic sculptors, my students and school chipped and chiseled away my good mood until the end of the day when all that remained was a broken rubble pile of cranky Kale. All I really wanted to do was march out into the tundra and scream profanity at the top of my lungs. Has that ever happened to you. I've been trying to be tough, trying to be positive, but today was absolutely awful. And whats even worse, I can't really explain why. Actually I could tell you exactly but I won't, its not going to make anything better.

So I'll just talk about the good things. I got to talk to Katie today, it was wonderful, I got to talk to my parents briefly but was cut short when a colleague came in to tell me about a sad family tragedy that would require his leave.

Now I'm not even done with all my schoolwork, after having to re-tool my lesson plans post Official Evaluation meeting today, I'm not even done grading the Lab Notebooks I couldn't get to due to the trip this weekend. Needless to say, I think weightlifting might be nicked off the agenda.

Lift. Grade Lab Notebooks. Eat something. Do Laundry. Take Shower. Calm Down.

Fitter, Happier, More Productive...anyone know that song?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Not your regular Weekend Update

Some of the elements normally found in the weekend update can be found in bold italics throughout this update, see if you can find them.

This weekend I flew to Bethel for 2nd year inservice at the District Office. Friday night had me arriving in good spirits, happy to be away from the island, and in the company of my awesome friend Alisha. The night turned out to be pleasant and relaxing filled with good conversation and comradery.

Saturday I attended the inservice itself at the DO. It was centered on little break out sessions for age and discipline specific discussions and sharing. As far as inservices go I can honestly say I've been to much worse. I thought some of the most valuable information came from sharing with other first and second year teachers, brainstorming and comparing ideas and experiences. I had some good epiphanies about holding debates in class. I especially appreciated Julie M's topic groups on science and health curriculum. Since my graduation from my master's degree at UPS I can honestly say I miss being able to talk about academics and learning with people in a collegian atmosphere. Being out here, not only can I go weeks with out holding a sustained conversation with anyone, but I can go months without talking about education in an open progressive forum. One of the major reasons I do enjoy coming into Bethel for inservices is so that I can communicate with other teachers, administrators and district employees in a setting where my opinions and thoughts might be appreciated and noted.

Julie (the Science and Health Curriculum District Office Guru) also talked about how in two years, after they redesign and tool up the science curriculum for the district, they'll be hiring two new teachers to travel around the district to villages training teachers on the new curriculum and how to use it. I thought to myself how I would be perfect for that job and that it would be the type of project I could really sink my teeth into, being able to be part of the LKSD science curriculum reset button, being able to use my passion for life and science with people who may or may not be comfortable teaching the important subject of science. Unfortunately landing that job would probably require a lot longer deployment out here on the Nuni-rock then I had imagined.

After a short shopping trip to Swanson's for produce and foreign food spices, I headed over to meet up with a bunch of friends at the Tundra Oasis. There Jim, Lee, Brian (thanks for the inversion), Erin, and a few other new acquaintances socialized, talked teacher shop, and enjoyed cheese burgers and french fries courtesy of Jimmy (thanks !) Lee told me during a conversation that I had made a small positive name for myself around the district office. He said that people knew my name and where I taught and that good things were being said. It was a peculiar to hear, I only share it here because I talk so much it seems this year of having my efforts falling on daft ears. Even though I often take a bit of a rebellious approach at my methods as a teacher, I always try to back it up with educated, well intentioned insights and concerns. I'm not afraid to talk to people much much much higher up the payscale about issues that really matter to us foot soldiers out here in the trenches of bush Alaska. If we don't communicate our challenges and needs to the people in central office, then the same top down decision making processes that have yielded problematic policies will continue to trickle down.
So I'm glad my name is swirling around office from time to time, they know where I am, and they know where I stand, if only they knew about Radiate Warmth.

Later that saturday night found me rocketing down a frozen but patchy and ultimately very bumpy back trail to Oscarville (smaller village 7 miles from Bethel even smaller than Nunivak) on the back of my friend Erin's one seater snow machine with her dog Macy sitting in her lap. In the dark, in the cold, with the stars twinkling through my watery eyes in a spotless sky, I almost felt an emotion for Alaska again. I don't know why but many of my deepest pleasures and serenities in Alaska this year have come at high speeds on personal motorized vehicles. It felt good to have cold burning cheeks, it felt good to smell the snow machine exhaust, it felt good to be somewhere uncertain and dangerous (although it wasn't really).

That night Erin, her roomate Christina and I relaxed watching tv, drinking soothing teas, laughing, and playing Nintendo Wii. We watched a semi funny Saturday Night Live and the season finale of a show I've never seen called Toughest Jobs. Warm conversation and sweet dreams gave way to the next morning where I slept in all the way till 9 am, the latest in about 3 weeks. After some coffee over the new Mike Gordon Album "Green Sparrow" (truly fantastic), Erin, with added daylight, shot up the river trail at even higher speeds and joined me for more coffee at VIP Restaurant while I waited for Alisha and Avery to arrive for breakfast. Erin had to return to Oscarville (thanks for the sweet trip to O-ville!) and after Avery talked a bunch of smack about how he was going to beat me at Madden Football on Gamecube we finished our breakfast (mexican omelette...more on that later), we went back to Alisha's to play videogames

I have to say, for the record, Avery (or Averonius my wizard apprentice in training), beat me at Madden Football on the GameCube fair and square. I publicly declare that he has bested me and that the student has become the teacher. Nicely done young mage, nicely done.

After I finished up some grocery shopping with Alisha at the AC shopping center, she dropped me off at Grant Aviation (thanks for everything Lish!). Despite the gaudy and ridiculously painted interior of Grant Aviation (like a bad jungle themed 80's dress shirt), it is normally a dull, drab and dreary place. I does have a nice coffee stand and wireless internet, but with the coffee stand closed for jesus and the wireless spotty at best my hopes for a latte and myspace (and my last chance at a metropolitan) moment were smashed. Oddly enough Grant exploded into a display of intense all be it concerning entertainment. Across the median a horrifying head on accident took place which drew smoke, injured passengers, firetrucks and many rubberneckers. After the commotion cleared, a young native boy erupted into a violent rage over not being bought an iPod destroying his headphones and slamming and cracking the door on his way out as he and his mother screamed at each other in some unintelligible language shoving back and forth.

On the flight back we saw 6 moose together in a mini herd. Andy the pilot (my favorite one) said that it was "Rare, not super rare, but rare enough." I barely saw them as my eyes were glued to "The Sun Also Rises" by Hemingway, a book Erin gave me (6 chapters in and loving it, I'll listen to her more often).

I got picked up at the airport by my principal Gary and woefully looked out the window at the barren tundra as we drove back to town. I couldn't tell whether it was the mexican omelette or the melancholy prospect of returning to work tomorrow that gave me the awful ache in my stomach and weight on my heart. It made me think of the oh so different butterflies I got when I rode down that road into town for the first time two Augusts ago.

Alisha said something to me this weekend that stuck with me even as I dreamed on the plane. It was something to the effect of how I've been more negative/down this year and that she just thought I was the type of person that could be happy anywhere. That really confused me because I don't think that way of myself sometimes.

I was happy here last year. I am happy at times still. But tonight, exhausted, lonely, with a stomach ache and no lesson plans, I can't say I really am. Hopefully the 7-Up and Pepto-Bismal concoction I'm sipping on will improve my situation.

Regardless, I do sincerely hope this doesn't start your week off with a furrowed brow or heavy heart, it is just simply a recap of what happened over the weekend in Bethel. While the time spent with my good friends was uplifting (and feeling thankful for such awesome people in my life) the fact that it was simply a temporary escape, a trip in every sense of the word, in the end was the lasting effect.

Now I have four solid weeks of class till the next break. It will be a long cold dark haul as temperatures are skating closely towards 0 degrees F and the sun becomes less and less interested in showing its face round these parts.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Sunrise

Crazy sweet mega awesome sunrise today. Minutes later the clouds swept in and blanketed us with yet more snow, then it cleared up and should stay that way for my flight in about an hour.
As far as I can tell, it sound like I'll be on the move constantly this weekend, I didn't think it would be all that relaxing but I also realized its been almost a month since I've slept in. Oh well, just wanted to share this nice photo with you all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Overalls Friday and Bethel Bound

Tomorrow, weather pending, I'll be flying into Bethel for Second Year Teacher Inservice. The inservice is on area specific curriculum and while that may be very helpful the real reason I'm going in is because I need a freaking break from this frozen rock. Although I don't consider Bethell to be the height of society it is the closest thing resembling any semblance of civilization for hundeds of miles. Luckily, I also have some amazing friends to visit also.

I need to see cool western people my age, converse with them and feel semi normal for a weekend (hanging out with Eskimo teenagers and people twice my age is cool and all but it messes with your social skills over time).

I need to go grocery shopping badly, I have been neglecting this for a couple of weeks and things are looking bare around the old gally.

I need to get away from my school web proxy so that I can check my myspace (as completely sick as that sounds I get emails all the time telling me about messages and such that I would really like to respond to but can't)

I need to simply be somewhere else, for perspective if nothing else, although the fact that I have to miss all the college football on Saturday is slightly irritating.

I also have an overwhelming need to buy an insane Halloween costume, I was thinking something completely amazing like a ballerina tutu or a mighty morphin' power rangers. Any suggestions?

I may or may not be bored out of my proverbial gourd on Saturday (Inservices are really hit or miss) so I'll give you a play by play or at least a recap on Sunday of how the trip to pseudo-modern society went. Wish me safe travels, see you soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Name Is Kale, I'm this many (26 fingers) and I'm a big helper now.

So besides running the whole high school wing last Thursday and Friday, I have been pretty helpful around town for other things.

Take Sunday for instance, I picked up Kenji and Akio from UAF Permafrost Outreach program at the airport and helped them locate and install two permafrost data collection devices.

Kenji found out I play ukulele and wants me to record a song for his website episodes on Permafrost for his environmental superhero alter ego "Tunnel Man."

Then Gabe our computer technician came in today and wanted to drive out on the 4 wheeler to the truck, 4 wheeler and sno-go graveyard and find a specific snowmachine part (a clutch) for a rare 1993 snomachine. Sure enough on we found one, the chances of this happening were incredibly rare.

We also have parent teacher conferences tomorrow. I called all the parents, got all the kids to make power point presentations to lead their own STUDENT Parent Teacher conferences.

Tonight I'll be doing TWO yoga classes! Beginner and intermediate classes. In total it will be about an hour and a half of yoga, whew! In fact I gotta run right now. Until I get back you can look at this non flattering picture of me sitting in the back of a junkyard brokedown pick up with a weird look on my face for no reason.

Ok, now that yoga is over, I feel amazing! The Michael Franti Yoga DVD "Power To the Peaceful Yoga" was super fun, really challenging, and had a lot of good messages. In total there were SEVEN (last week we had 4) people there for the beginner class and two stayed for the intermediate advanced one. We even had a little toddler come and he stretched right along with us! It was so funny because at the end we were supposed to relax and let go and he was running around like a little kid does and we all just had to laugh and let go and let our little buddy be part of it all. It was great! Man I keep using exclamation points but thats because it was so much fun. It sounds dumb but I actually feel like a better person after doing yoga with those nice people. I'm hoping that I can get so many people that we can do multiple nights, beginner nights, advanced nights, and so on. Hopefully we'll get more and more people into it and build a revolution of sorts.

Go Team!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting In Shape

Oddly enough I have to go back to a non related event to explain myself. When I was in high school I used to lift weights a lot for all the sports I played and also because narcicistically I wanted to be big and buff. That aside, when ever you start doing a strenuous activity after you've taken a break from it (lifting, running, skiing, or a sport) you get sore, really sore. You hobble around, complain a lot, seek sympathy, rub your aching bones and muscle and wonder why you ever did that and why you ever stopped.

Eventually, after a couple of weeks, you either give up or become numb to the pain, or you begin to like it in a weird way. Well I don't know if which one it is but I think I'm getting into some sort of teacher shape.

I mean after a summer of amazing fun, I have returned back to teaching, and I was sore about it, really sore for a while. I couldn't do anything without aggravating a pulled mental muscle or attitude. I complained a lot. And rubbed my head constantly at all the bafflingly idiotic things going on around me.

I was being a wuss. A teaching wuss. I'm sorry I put you all through that (but you sick puppies seem to like this unedited confessional sort of thing so I'll keep it up :). What I really needed was to toughin up, get a thicker skin (teachers got tough ones anyways) but thicker again. I needed to push through the pain and keep on keepin on. No pain no gain, (teaching in bush alaska, no gain...oh burn).

Well I'm not sore anymore, I'm an in shape teacher. I'm a hardened field general. I'm well conditioned outside linebacker. And I know this because today pretty much sucked big time but I was just able to kind of schuck it off like a drop of rain.

Here are some of the key elements: One, I'm actually getting in physical shape (lots of energy, positive self image, self esteem, health) Two, I listen to superb trans formative music that picks me up when ever I need it (DR DOG...SO GOOD!). Three, I have great friends that keep in touch with me as much as possible (blogs, skype, email, phone you guys rock!)! and Four, I've started realizing I'll never get recognition for my efforts around here which is the true definition of charity and generosity, so every time someone doesn't realize I just made their life a whole lot better and they don't thank me or anything then thats actually a good thing because that means I'm giving without expecting anything in return, which is a good thing and kind of zen in a twisted way.

Don't get me wrong, life is less than ideal right now for sure, but it has its bizarre little comforts. Being a strong, good music listening, awesome friend having, charitable person.

Basically, I'm feeling like a bad ass right now, true nothing has gone any better really, but nothing has gotten too much worse either, and that right there, that my friends is something.

So now...I'm going to go lift weights and do my Michael Franti "Power to the Peaceful Yoga" DVD I got in the mail today and then I'm gonna eat some enchiladas cuz that's how I roll homie (thanks Sally...just finishing the second pan now). Then I'm gonna try to make another sweet song to drop on y'all.

So what I'm saying is, if you're sore about something in life, tough cookies, cuz this rap game ain't gettin' any easier. Peace I'm out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Update

Hup Hup, yup yup, its another edition of the Weekend Update.

Musical Artist of the Week:
Dr Dog from the Album "Fate" see post below for full review.

Old Person Phrase of the week:
"Right as Rain" yeah, its something your pediatrician would say to you after putting your cast on "In 4 weeks your wrist'll be right as rain."

Weather on Nunivak:
Well everybody said it'll melt one more time, and nobody listened to the ol' bearded kid when he said No way Jose` Well neener neener neener, its cold, real cold, so cold that its cold enough to make ice cubes in yer undies. Currently its 30 degrees with a stiff wind comin outta the north that makes the windchill around 14 deg. So I think winter is here for good.

Personal Art Update:
Well I have hit a bit of a creative spurt. I currently have 6 completed songs for about 18 minutes of an album done. It could be an LP but I want to keep pushing to see if I can get enough songs for a whole album by Christmas. When I say album what I really mean is an album in my mind, no one has signed me, I'm not making any money, but when some future hippies find all my songs on cd's in a dusty box in someones attic they will pop them into some archaic cd player and then I will be famous. Probably long after I'm dead.

The album is probably going to be called "Open Air"
The song names are listed below. All songs feature my new weapon of choice the Lanakai tenor ukulele and post sound production.

1. I Won't Be the Reason
2. Pick It Up
3. I Love You
4. Open Air
5. Depending On
6. Clean Fresh Brand New Start

I just finished the best song yet and it is called "Clean Fresh Brand New Start" Have a listen and the lyrics are below the video. (also you have to pause the music player in the sidebar first!)

Sittin' Watchin' Wondering' waitin'
keep on truckin keep on celebratin'
Thinking bout all the things that we've been through
Steppin' slow into the mornin'
Wishin' love came with a warnin'
Knowin' that the good times were what helped us grow

All that I ever wanted
All that I ever needed
Is a life that feels halfway completed
Not just a curtain call
Not just a brick wall
Not just a cloud of smoke
Not just an imaginary show but

You are me and I am you
And you are here and I am too
And you're are so beautiful and so brand new

And all that I have is a little bit of ache in my heart
All I ever wanted was a brand new clean fresh start
And a feeling of somthing bigger and a feeling I was part
Of Everything else that was around me from the start

You are me and I am You
You are here and I am too
Its so beautiful and so brand new
Don't you ever go go go
I believe you if you tell me so so so

And all that I have is a little bit of ache in my heart
All I ever wanted was a clean fresh brand new start
And thinkin that I was into something bigger I was just a little part
Of a feeling that is growing from the start

Lack of Political Update:
Did anyone see the incredible amazing rap on Saturday Night Live last night which feature Stacy Pollar rapping unbelievable crazy lyrics about Palin as she sat right there bobbing her head. It was soooo borderline. You gotta check that out, man, messed up.

Fitness Update:
Still lifting on the bowlflex, still doing Yoga twice a week, still waiting for my Michael Franti "Power to the Peaceful Yoga" DVD.

Lastly but not Leastly: I helped two Japanese scientists, Kenji and Akio, set up a frost sensor and a temp sensor outside of our school in the depths of the tundra. I picked them up at the airport, took them to what they said was a very valuable spot, helped them with their gear and watched them drill 10 foot holes into the tundra where they discovered we have way more permafrost than most places they'd been which was really good. As our communication and partnership improves I'll include all the information on this exciting scientific endeavor which includes over 90 schools in a statewide scientific experiment that should provide the first permafrost baseline for future studies. So cool.

Hopefully all my staff makes it home tonight so that I don't have to pull another superman shift tomorrow. I'll keep you all up to date with my goings ons, what have yous and what nots. Have a great week friends.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Album Review: Dr. Dog "Fate"

First of all thanks to my brother, I have a great album in my life. Secondly, I'm probably gonna do a lot of musician name dropping in this album review so if you can't keep up don't worry, all you need to do is know this album is incredible and you should buy it right now.

Dr. Dog "Fate"

Most importantly, this album grows on you, like an innocent fungus. You might hear it and say "Eh, its alright." Then you listen again and you start tapping your foot. By the third time you start singing the awkward and shaky lyrics as if they are coming out of your own heart. This band dances across several genres of music tip toeing the line of a Beatles, Bright Eyes, Black Crows, Steve Miller, and several novelty sounds such as ragtime and television themes. They transition so well from the delicate comments on life right into open heartfelt confessional exclamations.
Here's a break down of this earhole adventure song by song.

The first song, "The Breeze" is a peculiar pop ballad with crazy "Ooh Bop Bops" and doo wop bassline that sounds like Bright Eyes (a band of sorts) on a happy planet. You kind of wonder where you're in for next.

The second track "Hang On" is driving southern slide guitar rock wailing confession that breaks into a Queen like solo "Why you think we need Amazing Grace just to tell it like it is" is my favorite lyric, and I definitely rear my head back when I sing it.

The next song "The Old Days" starts of with an ancient piano jumpstart, and then goes into some sort of medieval rock sprawling controlled mess that tumbles down a hill into a spastic river and comes up out of the water sounding like a frantic saloon wild western ragtime freakout. Yeah, its that good.

"Army of Ancients" (track 4)is a crazy soulful R n B style sort crooner ballad with trumpets abounding and all. Its one of those songs you want to stand up and sing while stamping one foot and raising one hand in a hallelujah.

"The Rabbit, The Bat, & The Reindeer." (Track 5)This is my favorite song on the album. I can't explain it much, but it has a crazy tv sitcom catchy quality that reminds me of Steve Miller Band at times. I feel like if you could mix the Full House theme song with "Keep on Rockn Me Baby" you would get this song.

"The Ark" (Track 6) Has a very The Beautiful Girls (a band) feel to it and also reeks of the Dark Side of the Moon. I think the bass player earns his bacon on this one, while the harmonizing lends a very 70's psychedelic feel. Watch out for this sleeper it'll getcha!

The 7th track "From" Starts off sounding like a diary entry by a 16 year old boy, but as the song unfolds it starts to sound more and more like the Beatles, and most everyone knows I hate the Beatles, but this song is like they took all the qualities of a band I despise and extracted only the good ones, so in other words, if the Beatles didn't suck, this song is what they would sound like., and it sounds good!

"100 Years" (Number 8) is a dark thumping melody that reminds me of something so familiar, I can't figure it out though, it just feels like an old hooded sweatshirt.

"Uncovering the Old" (9) Just when you thought this album was settling in and might be hitting a pattern, this whacky song comes surfing in on a Partridge family wave holding Marcia Brady in one arm and a tambourine in the other.

"The Beach" (song 10) Sounds like a Hitchcock soundtrack and a Route 66 Roadhouse Bar jam had a baby. If you drink whiskey, drink whiskey to this song, thats all I have to say.

The last track "My Friend" starts off teasing you with the promise of something epic and all I can really say is that it has all the qualities of every song on the album in one, it really finishes the experience of the album off perfectly and leaves you with a feeling of completeness. It really two separate songs in one.

Now we'll just have to wait for what my brother thinks (email your comments to me Hal and I'll post them right in here ok?)

I put a lot of time into this review so hopefully it will encourage some of you to buy the album and experience it for yourself!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday and I'm Overall Exhausted, Frustrated and Feeling Devalued

I have too little energy left to be endearing or prophetic, the kids were pretty dang bad today. They were defiant, exploitive, and rude and with no other teachers or a principals around the entire school for support I was simply out numbered. I was kind enough to show a movie with popcorn and m&m's and they even complained about that.

The saddest part is that they're not all deserving of this frustration. I need to make more of an effort to tell those students that work hard, are kind, and help others what a great job they are doing and how much I appreciate them. Unfortunately the squeaky (or in this case lazy, negative, depressed, misbehaved, wheel) seems to always get the grease.

I just wish that I had more days that left me happy, energized and feeling appreciated instead of exhausted, frustrated, and devalued.

I'll just file these last two days away in my bulging mental file of crappy days right next to my scanty good days file for review when bigger life decisions come knocking on the door, and, sadly, that will be that, and not for lack of effort or understanding.

I'll be at work ALL DAY tomorrow too for inservice so feel free to shoot me a note, I could use some words of encouragement.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still Alive...barely

Yeah, they almost killed me, but we made it through one day, I think we can make it through tomorrow.

I wear overalls every friday, does anyone else have a friday ritual?

I am that, you are that, all is that, and that is all there is.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Full Boat and Postal Success

Tomorrow I will be the only one in the high school wing. My principal is in Anchorage at a conference, my co-teacher is in Kenai for the weekend. I am on an island, wait, I mean a teaching island. I will have all the high schoolers all together (minus the HSGQE students who are being martyred in the name of standards based education as we speak), all day, just like back in elementary school. It will be Mr. Iverson, all day, one room schoolhouse style, total mind control, muhahaha. I'm scared and a little excited because I get to kind of experience what this school will be like when the population drops to such a low number that they can only fund one high school teacher. (Just like you Erin in Oscarville!). I have thoughts sometimes that remind me how in my wildest dreams I never could have imagined teaching would be like this. I'm going to market tomorrow as ass kicking day with the goal being getting two days worth of work done so that Friday can be a bit of a free day. We'll still have activities but they will be fun ones as a reward for making it halfway through the semester.

I had another good day at the post office too! I got a application packet from Jackson Hole and My brother's package of amazing music arrived also. I must say, someone taught this kid good taste in music. I do take credit for steering him in the right direction back in the day but now he has grown and evolved and developed his own tastes that he pays back to me more than I could have ever given him. I love my brother for the simple reason that no matter what happens in life he always loves me and looks up to me and makes me feel important and real.

Here is what he sent:

Jackie Green "Giving Up the Ghost"
Easy Star Allstars "Radiodread" (all reggae Radiohead covers!)
Brazilian Girls "New York City"
Xavier Rudd "Dark Shades of Blue"
Dr. Dog "Fate"
Peter Tosh "Legalize It" and "Honorary Citizen"

I plan on doing a music review blog of all of these selections since they are all completely new to me. I hope my brother will consider co-authoring it with me.

Which brings me to another point/idea. I desperately want to start or join a group blog. I just think it would be cool to start a blog where anyone involved could author and contribute. This blog is mine, it has evolved into a very important therapeutic part of my life and also a record of everything that happens to me. But its all about me most of the time (have you noticed...hehe) and sometimes I want to write about other stuff.

Well, wish me luck with the lot of em tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm off, back to school, to lift ze vates und bilt ze moosels, ya, ine going to pump

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Favorite things

These are some of my favorite things:

Students that were great today, so great that I thought it was creepy. I'm so used to having to fight for every inch with these kids that when it comes easy I'm a little baffled by it.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate: M&M's, Reeses Cups, or if I'm desperate a Hershey bar and a spoon of Adams.

Students with good attitudes and hope in their eyes as they start the three grueling days of HSGQE high stakes graduation state testing.

My new hat from katie! All the way from New Zealand and made of wool. (Yes Katie it does fit my "giant melon" perfectly so no worries mate).
Getting Mail


Diet Pepsi (Don't ask why I just crave it from time to time).

My mentor teacher (She rules! Thanks Sally for the enchiladas)

Depak Chopra's Spiritual Law of the Day. As dorky as it sounds it friggin really good to read at the beginning of the day to give yourself a focus for how you operate your life.

Competent Caring and Intelligent Teacher Aides! My teacher aide is incredible and I don't know what I would do with out her.

My new (old) Pentax K-1000 that I found lying around school. This 1971 manufactured beauty is still working perfectly, I used one just like this in 7th grade Photography at Harbor Ridge Middle School. You know whats funny, they smell the same...weird. I already cleaned it, got film and downloaded the owners manual from the net...SOOOOOOO COOL.

These are some of the good things that have been going on this week (I chose to write about these instead of highlighting the spirit and soul crushing power of the HSGQE test on students lives).

What are some of your favorite things?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend Update

I've been at school working on planning this week of school for about 6 hours today. Once again, the heathen, toiling away the sabbath for the benefit of the little darling children.

Musical Artist of the Week: Luckily I have the amazing band/dj tandem/technologic madmaster mixer robot heros DAFT PUNK! slamming bass heavy beats in my brain all day, keeping me moving, keeping me going, helping me keep on keepin on. I have all three of there studio albums "Homework," "Discovery," and "Human After All," and after I get paid on Wednesday I'm going to buy the live album "Alive" that my friend Randy showed me this summer as we slopped asphalt sealer together with suzye and lindsey. We rocked out then doing a menial job, and I rock out now as I seem to still be doing the same alone in Alaska.

Old Person Phrase of the Week: "Tickled Pink" I find this oldy but perverty phrase to be rather peculiar. I imagine some raspy old lady at a diner telling some story from the fifties over a peach cobbler and how when Bobby McSoandSo asked her to the sock hop she was just "Tickled Pink." I've always got the willies whenever someone says this and I just did right there as I typed it.

Weather on Nunivak: Nunivak Shmoonivak. It should be renamed Moonivak or Frozenivak because it is friggin cold here. Its like December cold. I went back and counted, our first morning frost was 9 days before our ground froze solid. This means, officially, our fall season lasted 9 days. But hey, things are looking up! Today is a balmy 28 degrees with the windchill so I'll be out suntanning after school tomorrow.

Personal Fitness Update: Thats right, I did it. I worked out on the Bowflex TWICE last week! And I had two Yoga clubs after school. Tonight, if I ever get any work done, I'm gonna run on the treadmill for a while. The only problem is that my mom sent me three 12 oz bags of m&m's, reeses peanut butter cups, TimTams, and German Chocolate. Looks like I'll be running a bit longer than I'd planned tonight..eck.

Lack of Political Update: Well, even if I wanted to vote (which I didn't really want to), now I'm pretty sure I can't. When I sent out my registration we had 4 days without a plane and I'm pretty sure it won't be in time. Call it lazy, call it whatever, maybe I should have registered in Alaska instead of Washington...its just that I wanted my vote to count. We'll just wait and see.

Possibilities Board Update: Well I've been in contact with some HR departments in San Fran, Olympia, Jackson Hole, and Portland. Everything is so automated and on the web these days, one of the reasons I took the job in Alaska was because of the personal touch the district had. I feel better when I can talk to people instead of web pages. Just the way I am, grandson to Lindley Wicks, talker of talkers, I like talking with folks bout simple thangs, knee slappin, shootin the breeze. All this damnfangled teckmology and world wide intraweb horse pucky really ruffles my feathers if you catch my drift (how many old person phrases did I just use there?).

Personal Art Update: Didn't make much music this week on account my 3rd (G) string on Gertrude broke. I just fixed it yesterday so I should be back in business. I wrote a little ditty the other day while listening to Daft Punk on headphones. It will probably be accompanied by a electronic type beat, heavily filtered vocals and a dirty bassline with a tropical melody...I know its cheesy but you'll just have to hear it I guess (its about staying up all night and dancing).

You're all that I wanted,
You're all that I needed,
Now that we're on it,
Now that we're completed.

I'm Here,
So are you,
Its so beautiful,
Its so brand new.

The Temperature's rising
So is the feeling coming on
Its so surprising
Running from the coming dawn
Running from the dawn (x3)

Can you feel it?
Its comin on so strong.
Do you need it?
Have you been waiting for long

I'm Here,
So are you,
Its so beautiful,
Its so brand new

The Temperature's rising
So is the feeling coming on
Its so surprising
Running from the coming dawn
Running from the dawn (x3)

Lastly but not Leastly: Here is a quote that might just sum up everything you will do this week.

Buy it, use it, break it, fix it,
Trash it, change it, mail - upgrade it,
Charge it, point it, zoom it, press it,
Snap it, work it, quick - erase it,
Write it, cut it, paste it, save it,
Load it, check it, quick - rewrite it,
Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,
Drag and drop it, zip - unzip it,
Lock it, fill it, call it, find it,
View it, code it, jam - unlock it,
Surf it, scroll it, pause it, click it,
Cross it, crack it, switch - update it,
Name it, rate it, tune it, print it,
Scan it, send it, fax - rename it,
Touch it, bring it, Pay it, watch it,
Turn it, leave it, start - format it.

-Daft Punk "Technologic"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finally Overalls god.

Jeeeesus this was a long week. I mean really long for being only 4 days in the Educational Gladiator pit with these wild beast teen monsters. I wish I had more to say or something insightful to offer but I just finished running one hell of a gauntlet and I got nuttin. With the wild weather out there its needless to say that I'll be indoors all weekend all snuggled up with some tea and TimTams (thanks MOM for the care package!) watching college football, working on my possibilities board, and pretending like my life isn't this lame.

Since I don't have internet at home you'll just have to wait till Sunday for the weekly update or call my lonely ass.

I love you knuckleheads out there.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Man, Seriously messed up weather.

This was yesterday. Beautiful skies of crystal coolness and serenity. After a long day of tough kids I zipped the quad up to the airport and down to the water. It was bone chilling cold, but I was all bundled up and got some nice pics of myself by way of the delayed photo snapshot function on my digital camera. Don't I look like I'm about to talk to you like a small tundra creature? Like in a soft Bob Ross/John Denver style voice, "hello there little buddy, how are you today?" Man, I'm freaking bored and lonely.

But today, like I'm magically on a different continent, its really really really nuts outside, I mean its totally bananas. First off, its like 28 degrees out. Next the wind is reported as gusting to 50 mph bringing the wind chill to 12 degrees. Then if you add in the completely horizontal sideways razor blade ice rain you have yourself one hell of an afternoon.

The whole building has literally been rocking and shivering all day. Just looking at the crazy frenzy of white insanity outside has really discouraged me from walking the wopping 30 yards to my house. I went to the post office about half an hour ago and whooooo doggy, I should have not attempted that in faux fur lined crocs and khaki pants. Thank goodness I had my Canadian Goose Heli-Arctic Parka with coyote fur lined hood to act as a moving fortress as I blindly stumbled the 100 yards nearly being knocked over. Alas, no mail, again.

So now I sit here, uploading photos, waiting for my new (old) Devendra Banhart Album to download. iTunes stiffed me half the album on the download, and that is just BS, the one vice I get is new music, and now the MAN has taken that away from me.

Yoga is at 7 tonight, but the weather is ludicrous, so I don't even know if anyone is gonna come.

I wouldn't be heartbroken if they didn't. I'm pretty tired, pretty cranky, and really sore from all the lifting I've been doing.

I had one of those teacher days where even though I planned something I thought was kind of cool, the kids were totally bored. And I have this little sensor in the back of my head that says in a robotic voice,"DANGER KALE IVERSON, DANGER, YOU ARE BOOOOOOOOORING, ABORT MISSION AND STOP SUCKING A BIG ONE OR TERMINAL DAMAGE WILL FOLLOW." Then I usually switch it up on the fly, right there. Some of the greatest lessons I've ever taught have come straight from boredom induced improv and impulse.


Enough said internal robot, enough said. Bye friends.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Neutron Days and Gnome Life Calculators

In an atom there are positively charged protons in the nucleus, there are equally charged negative electrons flying around the nucleus, and sitting like a fat lard in the middle not doing much of anything are the neutrons, neutral in charge, just heavy and lazy (probably from trying to teach other particles all day).

Well today was one of those neutron days where all the positive things that happened combined with exactly the same amount of negative things came together to leave me feeling exhausted, neutral and confused.

You see, I have this little voice in the back of my head, nay, on my shoulder. I like to think of it as a rational voice, a voice of reason, mathematics, and logic. This little voice (think of a little kale in a felt gnome suit sitting on my shoulder whispering into my ear through the use of a tiny little mega phone) asks me the same question:

Was today a good enough day to want to stay?

Every day I answer my little voice. "Today was a _________ day, I think I should _________ back next year."

Sometimes its a good day and I want to come back and in fact couldn't imagine a different life because I love it here. And some days its a bad day and I don't want to come back ever and I can't imagine another painstaking year of this BS.
And some days are like today, neutron days, where all I can really say is:

"Today was simply, A DAY, with this pounding inter cranial head death ache I can't even think (especially with the steady beat of the native drumming in the next class over), let alone think about the future."

The little gnome on my shoulder also keeps tallies of how many good ones there are, and how many bad ones, the little gnome also cross references those numbers with past experiences in teaching, makes predictions about possible outcomes of this answer in other locations with other students and communities and then makes a momentary and simple decision (he's a gnome on my shoulder in a accountant suit with a desk and a phone and a computer). With his decision he places a single stone on either side of a balance sitting on his desk. One side is clearly marked GO and the other is STAY. Every day a stone is placed, every day the balance receives another piece of data. Every day the results become clearer, more tilted. I'm glad I have a little gnome life calculator to sort this ludicrous world out for me.

"But Its the adventure of a life time!" They say.
"I would give anything to be in your shoes." Others say.
"Stop complaining man! You're free." Someone once said.

Well if YOU were ME then I'd be YOU! or at least someone else, and YOU'd be sitting in an uncomfortable chair at a messy desk in a cold florescent lit room in a shrinking school on an island in the Bering Sea with non rhythmic drumming and indiscernible lyrics pounding into your inner cerebrum from the next room over as you contemplate the meaning behind it all. If YOU were smart you'd go far a 4-wheeler ride, get the puppy up to about 50 mph so that way when your eyes start watering from the cold air rushing passed them it will effectively hide the all the tears...awww.

Just joking, but seriously, what a day.

Yoga went well, 3 people came, a student, a graduated sister, and the wife of a colleague. What a spread of people it was great. We are meeting again tomorrow night. I'm gonna lift weights again tonight, make a good dinner, try to write and record some music, and or work on some homework or my Possibilities Board.

Here are some clues for the Possibility Board.

Some of them are more blatant that others.

Can you guess what these might possibly mean?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yoga Club

I just finished making posters for "Yoga Club." I'm going to start offering my time and room and yoga video up for use in an effort to provide a different kind of fitness opportunity to our community that is not tied to Christianity like Youth Group Basketball time is, not tied to competition like sports are, and not tied to our gym use which is expensive for the school ($100 bucks to flip on the lights!).

I did yoga last night (alone), and I feel amazing today. Even though I've been at school for 12 plus hours today and now its 9 pm and I'm just finishing my lesson plans, I'm now going to lift weights on the Bowflex machine. Fitness, finally, I got to do it.

I think with a little internet savvy I could even tie it to SKYPE! Which means if you would like to participate out there in cyberspace all you need to do is have the skype program and a camera for your computer and you can join us!!!! I don't know if anyone on the island is going to participate but it would be soooooo cool if people did.

So here is the info:

Yoga Club
Meets in the evening in Mr. Iverson's Room at School (or by internet connection)
All Students, Staff, Parents, Siblings and Friends welcome
Come improve flexibility, fitness, breathing and circulation, and stress relief
Beginners Welcome
Come have fun with us for peace and wellness of body and mind!
I only have one yoga DVD but plan on getting more soon!

Hope you all are having a good week so far. I love you friends and family.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Update

Well I don't really feel like its the end of the weekend, tomorrow I have a day long inservice and technically have to work. But, in comparison to dealing with the daunting task of caring for the flailing personalities and futures of my diverse little students a day spent with my colleagues isn't nearly considered hard work.

Musical Artist of the week: Me! Here is a new song I just wrote called "I Love You" its a sort of tropical jam freestyle and its really short but I like it and I hope you all will give it a listen!

Old Person Phrase of the Week: Dontcha Know? No, I mean the phrase of the week is "dontcha know" in honor of its recent frequent use by Governor Palin in the Vice Prez debate.

Weather Update: Snow, snow, more snow, then sun, then snow and now its snowing. Its 35 degrees with a windchill of 26 and the dewpoint is 28 so that means snow. We still have 6 miles of visibility today although I can barely see my house from the school window.

Physical Fitness Update: I'm going to try and do some Stress Relief Yoga tonight, and I'm going to go organize the weight room tonight in preparation for starting lifting next week after school. I'm gonna try to lift twice a week (backs/bi's and Chest/tri's like my dad taught me). I'll let you know how it goes. I've been waiting for the snow so I can start Rocky Balboa style training running too.

Personal Art Update: I have made 3 songs in the last couple of weeks. I have been really into sort of space tropical jam type stuff. We'll see if it continues and be sure to check out the song in this post "I Love You." Also, Don't forget I still have my IAC Page of all my music.

Lack of Political Update: While reading the sequel to the "Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams "The Restaurant At the End of the Universe" I came across this quote in Chapter 28:

"The major problem--one of the major problems, for there are several--one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: it is a a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
An so this is the situation we find: a succession of Galactic Presidents who so much enjoy the fun and palaver of being in power that they very rarely notice that they're not.
An somewhere in the shadows behind them--who?
Who can possibly rule if no one who wants to do it can be allowed to?"

I thought that this explains exactly what I think about presidents. Exactly.

Possibilities Board Update: I have started doing internet research on several things. Some recent searches on google have included information on San Francisco, Portland, and Olympia, Jackson Hole and Hilo. I have been setting up accounts through various services as well. Also, Europe looks more like a go and if anyone has any suggestions about places I "JUST HAVE TO SEE" I would gladly accept any stories, places, or insider information.

Well its been a long Update, so I apologize for that, and I hope you all find something to sink your teeth into this week.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm Back! and so is the Snow

I woke up very early this morning for a Saturday. I had a really upset stomach and laid on the couch. When I turned the TV on Forrest Gump was playing about halfway through. I love that movie, always have, it spans so many exciting years in American history. After I felt better I made some coffee and had some Raisin Bran with tundra berries for breakfast. I pulled up the blinds and what do you know? a good solid inch of snow lay on the ground. It has begun.

On my last post Alisha commented "Kale's back!" I think I am, in fact, back. Right now as I'm typing this I can hear the "Eye of the Tiger" theme playing in the back of my mind.

"Its the eye of the tiger
its the thrill of the fight
rising up
to the challenge of our rivals
and the last known survivor
stalks his prey in the night
and he's watching us with the eye ...
of the tiger."

But what am I fighting for? I guess its the eternal search for the next best thing to do. I kind of gave up there for a bit, but I think I'm back on the trail...SO Here we go!

So to help with the challenge of making big big big decisions in the nearing future I'm going to make a "Possibilities" board in my apartment. It will be like a big poster with all the possible things I could do. I'm gonna research each one, each possible future. From going all over the world, to staying here, to jobs and friends and relationships and family and careers. And I'm gonna cut out pictures from magazines, and put up internet info, and map locations and all sorts of crap. That way I can see it all out in front of me instead of letting it all build up inside of me to the point where I just feel overwhelmed and depressed.

I'll try to post pictures as it comes long as it isn't too personal. I have a lot of football to watch today, a lot of papers to grade this weekend, and a lot of work to do on myself in the coming weeks and months. My only regret really is that I want to truly share this process with all of you. But, for the health of my students, my school and my community it probably wouldn't be the best decision to include everything in this forum so you'll have to read between the lines.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Overalls Friday...And Big Big Big News

Overall it was a pretty good week. We had some student issues that are pretty common about this time of the year. We are also seeing some student success stories which is really inspiring as well. Also, Happy 18th Birthday Harvey! Yeah boy!

Due to a much needed school-wide all staff-development inservice on Monday, we will have a short week with the students Tues-Fri (less planning is always nice).

Now the tiny news: I bet my students that for every Math Phase they pass, they can personally cut one inch of my hair off. I have 8 math students with about 12 possible Phase passes coming up before Christmas so there is a distinct possibility I will have a very short hair do for Christmas break.

So for the pretty big news: Just announced, Phish, the mega jam band powerhouse that filled the shoes of the LinkGrateful Dead and then some touring the nation, changing peoples lives and goals for life, and redefining what live music is all about, split about 4+ years ago and has finally reunited ripping the summer festival season wide open for everyone. They announced their first show for March 6th, 7th, and 8th with more to follow. What this does is basically take any festival goers normal summer festival schedule and throw it out the window. Phis has got back together and now anything is possible. I'm not going to even pose like a mega fan here, I'm not. I've never even seen them, just watched DVD's and listened to their music. Amongst festies (festival goers) there is a serious divide, People who've seen the Dead, people who've seen Phish, and the rest of us. I'll never be able to join one of the two former groups but I want to see them for myself (even as a poser). So the summer is all up the air now baby! Especially following what comes next...

SO now for the mega big ultra huge humungo seriously gargantuan news. I just talked to my brother a couple of days ago on the phone. He was considering doing his student teaching abroad next year (I already knew this). He had expected a placement at an Army base in Germany or possibly Latin America but the agency called and delivered the stunner that he had been placed in England! Point being I have been desperately trying to figure out what will happen next in my life and it depended on friend's plans, family input, and my brothers teaching plans. If he ends up taking the gig in England (for what I'm guessing would only be a couple of months starting in Jan of 09) that would put him being done right around the time I am done here in early May. What I'm saying is that the much anticipated "Iverson brother's do Europe" may be happening much sooner than I ever expected (as opposed to an optimistic tentative plan for when we were rich and in our thirties). Plans arn't made or set in stone but it sure is exciting to think about right! I mean we'll never get a chance to be this young (and I'll actually have some good savings by then). There is a good possibility we would work our way toward Africa as well. All I know is that no matter what happens this summer, its going to be even crazier than this year's for sure.

With this combined news, I feel like a huge bomb of possibility has been placed in my lap. Like anything is possible now, and life is, once again, ripe for the pickin. It was just the boost of the future that I needed to start figuring out what I am going to do with my life. It certainly changes a lot of things. I'm still waiting on a couple key people's inputs on the matter and with out giving too much away I will simply say

" wily, tricky little bastard, you've thrown me quite another curveball yet again, and I won't know till years later whether to thank you for it or curse you till I'm old and gray."

Awesome, friggin' Awesome.
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