Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday Shmursday

With all this Readers Choice writing I haven't just spat out life in a while. Things are different at school these days. The glowing sheen of positivity that had built up on students and staff alike as a result of a restful Christmas Break has finally worn off. Everyone is starting to realize we are going to be stuck together for a while. Student minds wander a little more, student mouths run a little more, and teachers patience starts to run thin. I have a special problem as of late. My students cannot keep their hands to themselves. A fight was started in the cafeteria over this matter, and at least 20 times a day I have to ask students to put things down or leave things alone. Also, another rapidly growing pet peeve of mine is the complete and total inability for students to remember to bring the things to class that they have been asked to bring all year. Math journals, biology lab notebooks, homework, pencils. If someone shows up to work with out a report, or improper equipment or attire they will eventually get fired. Yet another problem at our school is that we don't have passing time. The time between classes is simply "known." There are no bells, students then have the ability to roam freely like musk oxen about the halls, taking extended bathroom breaks, not getting journals, going all the way to the gym to get a precious drink of water. Then as if I give a shat, they ask me if they can go do these activities after they finally show up to class. Next week I am starting a study of how much face to face time is lost every day to these activities, I'm going to use this evidence and data to write a report which I will present to my colleagues and to the students in proper scientific process steps.
Testable Question: How much student learning time is compromised daily because of time wasting activities.
Hypothesis: If these activities could be remedied then teachers could gain at least a half an hour more instruction time per day with their students.
Processes and Procedure: Using a stop watch as a time keeper, I will simply keep a running tally of all wasted time per day. Then I will record and compile the data for analysis.
Materials: Stop Watch, Paper, Pen
Data and Observations: next week
Results: next week
Conclusion next week

In other school related updates, the addition of three colorful new students has had significant affects on the chemistry of our roughly 16 student high school. Unrelated to these new students, other major non school mischief took place this last weekend that I can't talk about. Needless to say, one of the most perplexing phenomenons I've observed about this community/culture is the social taboo of talking about topics of controversy. Drinking, sexual abuse, suicide, violence and any other dark part of life is simply swept under the carpet never to be spoke of again. Therefore no one learns from the situations and they are never acknowledged by the collective community in a healthy way.

I have some major insomnia as well. When I returned to Alaska I was stricken with a wicked cold that required a nightly dose of TheraFlu, now that my cold is gone and my supply of cold induced sleep aids gone, I find myself still lying awake in bed at 2:00 am almost every night. This definitely affects my overall attitude towards life and my ability to shrug off otherwise crippling announces of adolescent stupidity.

Other fairly disturbing news. We have started a fox trapping course after school. We needed a certified teacher and I took the job. Now let me be perfectly clear about a couple of things before you go and call PETA. One, our island, because of the reindeer slaughter house, is completely over ran and over populated with fox. They carry rabies, fight with dogs, and are generally out and about when the kids come and go from school. A very sick one was recently shot because it was wildly thrashing about town. Two, I am in the middle of an Anatomy Physiology unit and I really need the eyes, brains, hearts and other parts for class. They will be killed regardless, but this way I can at least use them for learning. Three, the teacher Dennis has the utmost respect for animals and is teaching all of us the proper way to humanely take the animals, and respectfully preserve their furs. These furs will not be sent to Hollywood designers to be used in high priced clothing, they will be used to line parka's and winter wear for people across an arctic delta. If you have a problem with the fact that I am learning how to carefully and respectfully catch living creatures then put your cheeseburger down, and also, when Armageddon comes I will not supply you with a fur lined loincloth to keep you warm in the sunless ice fields of the post apocalypse. Lastly, we ventured out to the tundra today and from my best estimate there are at least 150 foxes on the island. We will only be taking about 20.

I have been enjoying the recent addition of skype to my life. My screen name is Kale Iverson and if you have skype, which is free, I'd love to talk. You can get a free download at www.lksd.org by clicking on the downloads link.

I just heard on the news that Bethel now has only 3 police officers. Sometimes when I talk to lower 48'rs I describe Alaska as the last great wild west frontier in America. 3 police officers, amazing huh? Of course the news report showed them arresting a drunk Eskimo man further propagating the stereotypes.

I don't have much else to report, oh wait, yet another semi regular installment of the epically disasterous Education 610 Cultural Class. I still have not made an Eskimo mask or made up a dance and I am still undecided as to whether or not I am going to wear a quspek to class, all three of which are my assignment. The best part is that the class is at 8 in the morning on Saturday!!! YAY!!!!!! I can't wait to sit in my classroom for 8 more hours this week.

Sorry for the gloomy post, but its been a rough week, no sleep, annoying kids, animal killing, and BS cultural class. Hope yours has been better.

It's You Who Waits

You’re gonna have to. How long?
It means me. How many?
So come back later. Sure enough.
It’s composted. It’s true.
It clings to me. A mirror show.
Break the needle off to pin it on me.
It’s you, It’s you, It’s you who waits.
The beginning kills me all night long.
Your proud heaving heaven,
I don’t have any.
Don’t speak upon it. We’re on fire.
It’s you, It’s you, It’s who waits.
It’s your way, It’s you.
Yes, explain the process of letting go.
You love me you say.
I’ve already gone on a trip today,
Totally afflicted.
I need to sit down.
Blue stars, autumn leaves,
Our stars swept the beginning.
It’ you, It’s you, Yes It’s you who waits.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hump Day Umpdate


I'm gonna do a mid week tune up from now on. I always post what music I'm feeling on Sunday night. Invariably my needs and tastes change as the week moves along. Why do I feel the need to constantly keep you updated with the music I'm obsessed with? Because, it is one of the only things I can give you from this far away. I can't give you a hug, or a kitten, or a shiny apple, but I can share music with you. Next time you get sick of the music in your life, or you wake up and realize you don't have enough, you can pop on any of the weekly and/or the Hump Day Umpdate and see a musician(s) who will change your life.

The Hump Day Band Umpdate: THE ARCADE FIRE from the "Neon Bible" and "Funeral" albums. On a week where every kid is starting to get on my nerves, being able to rock out to this band at lunch, planning period and while making dinner has saved my life. I hate angry hard, I'm depressed and I have died black hair that covers one eye, music. But after seeing this band this summer at Sasquatch Festival I might take it a little easier on you poor Indy Rock Kids. Normally I recommend happy music (Radiate Warmth) but if you ever need a little edge in your life this the band to go with.

In other news, in the event that the "Never Ending Story" wins viewers choice Topic 3 I'm going to ask any readers who haven't seen the movie to go the movie store and rent it...or buy it. Otherwise the resulting discussion will not make any sense.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

READERS CHOICE TOPIC 2: Gnomes, Triceratops and Kevin Costner

First of all, I hope you realize what a impossible chore this is going to be. Lets go.

Now first and foremost we need to establish some ground rules. I have to write about Gnomes and Triceratops. You can check the poll itself, either way the poll I gave used the plural of both of these creatures. That means gnomeS and triceratopS as in multiple. There is only one Kevin Costner, you should know that.

Secondly. Gnomes exist in the fairy tail world and fantasy realm of reality. Triceratops were avery awesome dinosaurs, natural enemies to T-Rex, that existed 65 million years ago during the late Maastrichtian Stage of the Cretaceous Period. Kevin Costner is a legend of film playing some of the greatest characters of all time. Since gnomes and triceratops are plural, I am going to make the judgment call that I can include all of Costner's characters in this discussion. I only think its fair.

Now to the task at hand. What is the topic? Well, I need to take you to the depths of time and space. Where the universe folds over upon itself. In this dimension, one where infinite fantasy , the deep prehistoric past and Hollywood plotlines overlap, I would like to explore and decide who would win in a fight to the death between gnomes, triceratops and Kevin Costner. Thats right its a forest reptile baseball player battle royal and heads are gonna roll.

We'll determine the winner in round robin tournament.

Deathmatch One: Gnomes vs. Triceratops.- Now if size alone determined the victor here, the triceratops wou win. The fossil record indicates that triceratops could grow 10 feet tall, 30 feet long and weighed up to 12 tonnes. They also had a fierce stare (I added that for effect) That is considerably larger than humans and dwarfs gnomes (hehe). The largest gnome (no fossil record) speculation is roughly 2 feet. Therefore it is obvious of the size disadvantage these little men of the woods are facing. Size and fierce looks are about the only advantage the triceratops would have in this fight. They might be able to sqaush a gnome under their massive foot or skewer one on their nose horn, but aside from that they are in a tight spot here. They also have tiny brains. Gnomes, on the other hand, are super intelligent. In the native habitat of their wooded areas, gnomes are widely known for their ability to speak to the animals. They love all creatures and often work with them. Gnomes probably don't speak triceratopserese. But, they do live for up to 400 years, giving them the ability to learn the language of a enemy triceratops. I think we can all safely assume, if forced with death, that a gnome or gnomes could use these animal speaking powers and their cunning knowledge and craftsmenship of tools to device a trap of some type to fall the massive beast or beasts. Deathmatch One: Victory Gnomes.

Deathmatch Two: Triceratops vs. Costner. Well the first question that comes to mind is would Costner kill an innocent triceratops? In most cases no, he's a loving man (Who can imagine The Dad in "A Field of Dreams" murduring?). He also learned respect for animals in "Dances With Wolves" as Lt. John Dunbar hunting the Tatanka. But in several roles such as the recent "Mr. Brooks" where he plays a serial killer and also as Thomas J. Murphy a gun waving murderer thug in "3000 miles to Graceland" we know that Costner can and will kill in cold blood. With that settled, he does not possess the skills of the gnome, and there is only one of him. Large predators have never been a problem for Costner though. In "Waterworld" Costner as "The Mariner" mutant hero uses himself as bait to catch a giant massive deep sea fish in the open ocean. Not only crazy heroic, but also very smart. Costner also has mastery of many weapons and survival situations. Multiple angry, blood thirsty, stampeding triceratops could present a challenge though. I have to imagine, as you should, if we're being honest with ourselves, that Costner could handle it though. After all, he defeated an entire tanker of "Smokers" henchmen in "Waterworld." He defeated an entire militia army of post apocalyptic thugs in "The Postman." He defeated the Sheriff of Nottingham and his goons in "Robin Hood Prince of Thieves." He defeated Al Capone as Elliot Ness in "The Untouchables" and lets face it, HE WAS Wyatt FARKING Earp. I can't in any of the scenarios of my imagination not think of Costner sweeping on to the back of a triceratops from a rope (in animal skins) and stabbing a spear into the undefensible soft area behind the shield of the triceratops skull. Can you? I didn't think so. Deathmatch Two: Victory goes to Costner.

Final Round Deathmatch Three: Costner vs. Gnomes
I'm going to be honest here, I want Costner to win because he's the underdog here. Multiple Gnomes are a formidable opponent. But, lets be fair. Maybe when he's wearing a cardigan pullover sweater and sending a sappy "Message In Bottle" a pack of evil gnomes could sneak up on him and end his romantic existence with many tiny crossbows. Maybe the gnomes could hold his kids hostage and get a surrender, he has played a doting father in "Field of Dreams" and "The War" as Elijah Woods vietnam vet out of work Dad, and he even showed mercy as escaped convict kidnapper Butch Haynes in "A Perfect World" for the kidnappee boy child Phillip. Unfortunately, Costner would never let this happen because he was a "Bodyguard" (with bad sideburns I might add) to Whitney Houston and recently saved Ashton Kutcher's life in "The Gaurdian" as a Coast Guard diver. So, that option is out.
Costner is no stranger to the woods either. The gnomes would lose homefield advantage due to his experience as Robin Hood. Gnomes are not only very old and wise, crafty with many trades, able to speak to animals, they are also very strong. What they lack in size they make up for in strength, agility, and low center of balance. Since there are possibly multiple gnomes we need to choose another battlefield to equalize the Deathmatch. To make it fair to Costner I say we should make the DeathMatch a 9 inning game of All American Rules Baseball, loser dies by voluntary sacrifice.

I will allow, fairly, there to be as many gnomes on the field of play as there are baseball playing characters Costner has portrayed. Pitching we have Billy Chapel from "For the Love of the Game" (Threw a perfect game at the age of 42 so look out). Catching is Crash Davis the all-time minor league homerun leader and witty catcher from "Bull Durham." Playing shortstop rover would have to be Ray Kinsella the farmer father in "Field of Dreams" although not a pro he had a good arm. The first baseman would be a little know role as Ed the big brother ball player in an early Costner film "Chasing Dreams." Outfield would be a combo of two players. Playing left field is Denny the Ex Baseball star in the chick flick "The Upside of Anger." Playing right field, you have to give me this one, Roy McAvoy the Golfer in "Tin Cup." Sorry I needed that one. So that makes five Costners versus five gnomes. Gnomes are strong, their skills with tools unparalleled, but their baseball skills, knowledge of the game, grit and triumphant ending ability levels are untested.
In this deathmatch of America's pastime I think we can all agree, happily and without incident or argument, that the five person Costner team would win, barely, with a diving catch in the bottom of the 9th inning or a grand slam of some type. As the gnomes systematically ended their shortened, bearded, felt hat wearing lives in front of a sell out Detroit crowd, the Costners would be carried off the field triumphantly, exhausted, on the shoulders of all the leading ladies of every Costner film. Stands With a Fist, Waterworld Girl Jeanne Tripplehorn, Jennifer Aniston from "Rumor Has It," Annette Benning (Open Range), Billy Chapel's wife Kelly Preston, Rene Russo, Whitney Houston and Susan Sarandon would all line up and give the Costner's steamy romantic kisses with the wind blowing through their hair.

The undisputed winner of this round robin tournament of blood, in my humble yet knowledgeable opinion, would be the greatest actor of all time Kevin Costner.

By the way, do not test me on multiple topics again or will be forced to unleash something like this synopsis once more. Whew!!! After writing this I feel like I just gave birth to a triceratops.

One day left to vote for Readers Choice topic 2

Well well well. Its all tied up, we have a phantom voting waffler. SOME person is flip flopping their vote in an attempt I think to make a three way tie between gnomes, triceratops and Kevin Costner. In the case this is the final poll I will be forced to somehow, impossibly, weave all three of these topics into a coherent thought. This frightens me. But, I will overcome. Keep sabotaging you heartless villain, I dare you.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Poetry "We Sigh Along"

You sat along the fire.
You saw the light.
I sat along the fire.
I saw the light.
I saw,
Your suffer alone.
You saw the light.
You saw,
My sigh alone.
You sighed along.
You’re so divine.
I sat along the fire.
I saw the light.
I saw,
Your sigh alone tonight.
You saw the light.
You saw,
My suffer alone.
You saw the light.
I saw,
Your sigh alone.
I sigh along.
You’re so…
You sat along my side.
We sat alone.
You fell over me.
I fell over you.
We sang alone.
We sigh along.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

WEEKLY UPDATE 1/28

We got a lot to talk about this week friends so lets get started.

MUSICAL ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Jill Scott "Experience: Jill Scott 826+" I first heard this half poet, half soul singing sista from the streets oddly enough when a friend introduced her to us at a dance party in Australia. Now, if you can't handle soul and in your face feeling that drips off in globs I wouldn't recommend Jill Scott. Then again, get over yourself, you could probably use some Jill Scott in you life to put a little soul in your step you pansy. This album is a live album and her band is incredible as well. I recommend the song "Slowly Surely." The lyrics can get explicit sometimes so this one is for, as she calls them, "Grown Folks."

OLD PERSON PHRASE OF THE WEEK: "Horsing Around" If you have ever been caught horsing around or been warned not to, you now that the delivery of this phrase is crucial to the severity the warning. "Now I'm gonna run inside and pay for the gas, AND I DON'T WANT ANY HORSIN' AROUND while I'm in there or else!" I didn't know horses were so misbehaved.
A close cousin to this saying is "Horseplay" which you should never do on the wet ground surrounding a pool.

WEATHER ON NUNIVAK ISLAND: Currently we are at just 'bout freezing. Winds have been gusting up to 30 knots. We have been getting snow in feet not inches this whole week with 12 more expected tonight. On a slightly more global warming warning note, the locals can't remember this little sea ice in recent memory. We should be way more frozen up by now they say. You can still see the ocean, which hasn't happened in a very long time. (for you Aunt Beth).

ART UPDATE: I have been drawing a lot, I just finished a new one and will post it a.s.a.p. I have also discovered the wonderful world of Modge-Podge. I have been using old newspapers, school magazines, music and art magazines to turn a cigar box into a thing of beauty. As soon as it is done I will post pictures as well. Music has slowed to a stop, I can't seem to make anything worthwhile lately.

WEB LINK OF THE WEEK: www.kiva.org Unfortunately Oprah Winfrey, who I generally dislike greatly, was the one responsible for turning me onto this website (don't ask me why on earth I would watch that hypocrite). Fortunately it is a really unbelievably cool website. Basically, these people find and aid third world business owners (everything from snack carts in Peru to rug makers in India). Then they post their picture a their business info, and you can pick from industry country or need who you want to give a loan to. You can loan the person $25 bucks to $10,000. The coolest thing is that they have like a 98% payback, and when you get paid back then you can re-loan your credit to another business. It is really cool to read the bio's and pick who you want to loan to. You get to control where your charity goes. Check it out and let me know what you think!

BOOK OF THE WEEK: "The Science of Self Realization" by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Have you ever gone to the airport and had those crazy middle eastern dudes (sometimes clanging bells and symbols) try to sell you a religious book for a "suggested" donation? Well out of uncomfortability and awkwardness I bought one in the Auckland New Zealand Airport many years ago for $10. In the theme that I think all religions are really just different wordings of the same thing, I like to keep my mind open. This book, although pretty out there, has a lot of really interesting comments on the cycle of life and man's role in it. Also it preaches a lot of peaceful approaches to our actions. I'm not saying become one of A.C's devoted bell clangers, but if you consider yourself an open minded person, buy one of these next time you see these strange fellows at the airport.


THOUGHTS:
By the time Wednesday rolls around, I'm feeling somebody totally different then who I said I was on the MUSICAL ARTIST of the week. So from now on I'm going to have a MidWeekly Update on several things, mostly music.

ALSO DON'T FORGET TO VOTE FOR THE TOPIC OF THE WEEK #2 Costner's got a sizable lead.

Check out the weather and sunlight features just added to the sidebar. (Thanks Alisha!)

Friday, January 25, 2008

READERS CHOICE TOPIC 1: Cheese

Before I start talking about cheese, let it be known that this is not a historical or encyclopedia type look at cheese, rather, a simple observation on my part.

Cheese, an important part of life. Cheese of course comes from milk which comes from the cow's teet. So like the divine sun and rain that feed the grass, we must acknowledge that the cow is also divine and therefore all products that are born forth from it divine in their own right. Therefore, I would argue, cheese is an extension of heaven itself. A simple thank you to the bacteria and fungal molds that ferment the cheese is also necessary.

Cheese comes in many forms. Its just a word to describe many things. There is cow cheese, goat cheese, bleu cheese, sharp cheese, mild cheese, cream cheese, moldy cheese and many other cheeses. I am not going to go into an analysis of how it's made or the varieties of cheese. I would rather like to canvass the many ways in which cheese affects our daily life.

Lets start with a personal experience. Cheese was solely responsible for my survival the last year of my college life. If you didn't know it, you can create many dishes as long as you have a block of cheese. Quasidillas are a simple application of cheese to a tortilla, fried or microwaved. Also in this category, nachos. Bread, butter, cheese and soup make a delicious toasted cheese sandwich and soup meal. Cheese can be added to the top of a bowl of chili to give it that extra oomph it needs to not be just another bowl of chili. Cheese, oh dear cheese, can be added to scrambled eggs to give them that stretchy cheesy appeal we all love so much.
Cheese can be put on french fries with gravy to make a popular Canadian dish Poutine. And last but not least, cheese on a couple slices of bread with some mayo and mustard isn't that bad either, would you turn down a cheese sandwich if you were broke? I didn't think so.

Cheese isn't just a food anymore. Its an image, a lifestyle and also a flavoring. Green Bay Packers fans are known as cheese heads. They actually wear slices of cheese on their heads and root on their favorite gladiators of the gridiron. I find no fault in this, but a simple admiration for a group of people that have recognized the sacred nature of our curdled milk originating friend.

I'm not sure where the term "cheesy" came from, but it can often be applied to a person's demeanor, clothing or overall impression. Everyone has a cheesy neighbor, cousin or uncle. Everyone knows a person at work who never really got the whole fashion thing and still thinks mock turtle necks are cool. I would say though, that these people did not earn the distinction of being cheese like because cheese is cool, delicious and hip, they, in fact, are not and are actually being given a compliment far beyond what their late 70's end tables and puke green rug should have received. I personally feel we should end the mistreatment of the word cheesy, so from now on replace it with 'tacky' in your vocabulary.

Sometimes people Cut the Cheese. You know what this means, Farts. Cheese does not smell like the methane gas that puffs out of your butt when you flatulate. I don't know why cheese got this distinction but its rude.

Cheese is the perfect word to say when you are posing for a picture. It aligns your face in a natural smile so that you look happy. "Say Cheese" didn't just appear, its a proven fact that saying this phrase produces top notch expressions in photographs.

If you are the head of a business, you could be the Big Cheese. If you get called the Big Cheese feel lucky, a big block of cheese is a wonderful thing.

In Baseball pitchers are often encouraged by fans and teammates to give the batter the "High Stinky Cheddar." This simply means that the pitcher should give him a high fastball that is irresistible to swing at and also impossible to hit. I often struck out as a child on the ol' High Stinky Cheddar pitch.

Cheese is a flavoring, not natural, but synthetic. Flavor scientists have slaved for months to perfect the synthetic equivalent of the satisfying flavor of cheese. "Cheese-Its" crackers, "Nacho Cheese" flavored chips, Cheese dusted popcorn, melted fake cheese, Velveeta, and American cheese, and let us not forget Cheetos all ride the immense and spacious coat tails and wake left behind by the legendary trail blazed by cheese.

Pizza is nothing without cheese. And, who eats just a plain hamburger anyway? Enough said on those topics.

Long have people admired and enjoyed the combination of Wine and Cheese. When these two natural companions get together, you know that some yuppies, French people, or someone with and accent are not far away. Wine and cheese isn't just enjoyed by the upper class, rather, the level of quality of said wine and said cheese simply reflects the level of economic standing in life. Therefore, cheese quality is actually a keystone marker of social status in the world. What kind of cheese do you eat?

One band has even named themselves after a type of cheese. The String Cheese Incident is a popular electro-bluegrass-jamband with a Phish or Grateful Dead like following. If I am not mistaken the name comes from the fact that everywhere they go (an incident) is like pulling another strand from a stick of string cheese. It is no surprise that I quite enjoy the music of SCI. Consequently, their fan base are called FOC otherwise known as Friends Of Cheese. I would argue that we all belong to that club.

Cheese has a medical effect. Sometimes, lets be honest, we eat food that results in, how can I put this delicately, a less than solid or pleasant exit from our bodies. My dad called this unfortunate condition the "Hershey Squirts" or the "Green Apple Splatters." Cheese is an awesome solution to diarrhea, a natural solidifier of life if you will. Beware, like alcohol or sun, too much cheese could back you up like the I-5 corridor during Friday Rush Hour. It is high in cholesterol as well, so practice your cheese enjoyment in moderation people, don't abuse the cheese.

I think that is why most of us in the know love cheese. Its solid. Its like the food Rock of Gibralter that we break ourselves upon. Only one group of people will never know the joys of cheese, the lactose intolerant. What creator would curse a human with such a scornful condition as to render their bodies unable to process dairy products. If I were lactose intolerant I would scream to the skies "You smited me oh mighty smiter!"

It has even been proven that cheese, a tryptophan rich food, aids and induces positive effects on sleep, not nightmares as the old wive's tale suggests. The British Cheese Board even found in a study in 2005 on 200 people that the type of cheese you eat affects the types of dreams you have! I think those old wives that made up those tales were just hoarding the cheese for themselves.

Apparently mice love cheese, but who wouldn't. I don't know if there is any scientific evidence to support whether or not mice prefer cheese to other foods but I wouldn't doubt it.

America produces the most cheese per year in the world (4125 metric tons), but does not export nearly any proving that Americans love their own cheese. The French rank highest in international cheese export, the value of which ranks in the several of millions of dollars. But surprisingly, above all nations, the Greek love their cheese the most, consuming 27.3 kilograms of cheese a year per person. Any Greek readers out there that can explain this phenomenon?


Cheese is part of the global community. I don't think I'm out of line in saying that Cheese is the tie that binds us together as humans. Cheese predates written history. It is part of our DNA. Cheese is holy. Next time you enjoy cheese maybe you'll think twice about it.

I hope you enjoyed the first READERS CHOICE TOPIC 1. I think I have proven the point that I can write about anything if you give me the chance so KEEP VOTING OKEY DOKEY?

By the way I used the word cheese 83 times in this piece.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Snow Knee High and A Pink Moonrise

I love the fact that I get to wear goggles everyday now. Its no longer a ski thing. I am standing...foolishly I might add...in one of the smaller snowdrifts nearby.

I can honestly say I've never seen a pink moonrise before. This looks more orange in the photo. What's really crazy is that the moon rises twice a day I think. (Tipping of the earth I guess). We are picking up daylight super fast now and we are over 7 hours of daylight a day already! can you believe by the end of February we will be at 10 hours of sunlight.

Unless some last minute voting takes place, I'll be writing about cheese for my exciting Friday night activity tomorrow. I already wore my overalls today, tomorrow we have off because of "Chief's Day" I guess that is payback for working on MLK.

I've been modge podging for about 3 hours now. When the cigar box is done (its awesome already) I'll post photos.

I'm sleeping way in tomorrow, walking to the ocean, and doing my EDU610 homework. I have to make a native mask, make up a native dance, and wear a quspak. I can't stand this class. I pretty much want to scream at the teacher. Unfortunately I'm trying to be a cool on this and just let it go. I just think that when "teachers" teach other "teachers" they should use good teaching practice. Knowing your students (me and other first years) , knowing what motivates them (not making up a farking dance), and including their strengths and interests in your instruction. It also doesn't help that the class is over the Polycom video confrencing system which makes the already traditional, ineffective delivery and disconnected lecture seem even more distant and clueless. I might be harsh, but I feel like someone needs to say it. If they want teachers to 'learn' about the local culture then let us 'learn' on our own, don't force us to do a bunch of crap that may or may not ever apply to our situations. Instead of taking all these classes on a tv they should save the money and send each teacher to another village, or bring us in to Bethel for crying out loud. Don't make me read old ass articles that stereotype white people either.
If you want teachers to come back to bush Alaska stop bludgeoning them to death with a giant hickory wood club of half schemed assignments. I don't have the willpower or time to make a mask, a dance and to wear a qaspuk (which no men wear in my village...EVER). (I'm too busy modge podging!) Then I have to sit through Yu'Pik instruction all day and my village isn't even Yu'Pik.

There is a saying that I like to tell my students. Don't let school get in the way of your learning, make sure that the real learning begins after you leave the classroom.

Remember folks, don't let the man get you down, just smile and know that you know better.

Exactly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Drawings, Music, and New Features

Here is a drawing called "Nature Simplified"
I'm not super happy with the new calligraphy pens I've been forced to switch to now that my Vis-A-Vis black overhead thin marker has been worn down to the nubs. I'm also not crazy about this drawing. I feel like it looks like a little kid drew it, but then again I was trying to simplify the complexity of a natural scene, so that was accomplished.

I'm pleased to see 6 votes already on the "Pick a topic for me to write about" Poll in the sidebar. I want to get writing so I'm going to change the voting time to 4 days from now on. I also can't add suggestions till the next poll. Lastly, IN THE EVENT OF A TIE, I WILL BE FORCED TO SOMEHOW WEAVE A SYNERGETIC UNION OF THE TWO WINNING TOPIC INTO ONE ALL ENCOMPASSING POST...no easy feat considering the topics. I mean just imagine, triceratops and cheese.

I have been constantly editing the music player feature on Radiate Warmth as well. So be sure to check out the new "Tasty" cuts. I'm pretty proud of the selections.

Lastly, I have been thinking about the direction of this blog. I have come to a realization that many of the things that I think are cool, important, amazing and wonderful I only know about because someone took the time to show them to me or I stumbled upon them through my nomadic searching of wandering the abyss and Yonder of life. Since I value happy, peaceful, joyful, energy and nature filled things of kindness and love I think that the point of this blog is two fold: I feel the need to share realizations about my life with you so that we can stay connected and share a positive connection and TWO: I feel the need to also pass on the love that I have been shown and that I have discovered in this life to others. I hope you appreciate both.

NEW FEATURE TO THE BLOG

I've decided to give you some of the power. To the right of this blog you will notice a poll. It is entitled, "Pick A Topic For Me To Write About." I will leave the voting up for a week or so, at the end of the week I will write a post about the winning topic in the poll. I will then replace the topic with a new one and start the voting over. Right now the topics are Amphibians, Cheese, Gnomes, Triceratops and Moss. I will delve deeply into the ultimate inner workings and understandings of the chosen topic as I know it. You may also suggest a topic in any of the blog posts you comment on and I will add it to the list of votable options.

Six Days Left to VOTE!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rhythms of the Heart

I was thinking today, as I was talking about the muscles inside your heart in biology class, that music must have come from the heart beat. I then started to think about it further. I mean imagine an early human, squatting by some tools, building a fire. As they rhythmically pounded flint sparks onto moss, or used that bow and arrow fire stick thing on a piece of bark, or simply spun a special twig in their hands to catch some tinder on fire, it must have made a rhythm. It must have raised their heart beat. They must have been able to synchronize their actions with the rhythms of their own heart. Could this have been the first beat? I can also imagine a prehistoric human stretching a skin over some wood and accidentally hitting it with their hand. Oh how that first drum beat must have sounded! I wonder what the first drum looked like?
What did the first lyrics sound like? Were they deep guttural grunts and moans, were they high and sorrowful canine howls at the moon, were they screams of wailing sadness from the loss of a cave baby to a sabertooth tiger? Around the fire at night, the steady primitive beat of a skin drum, the chanting of a tribe, the dancing around barefoot in animal skins or nothing at all, the sound of the rhythm of their souls and the genetic code of creativity materializing underneath the stars. Music is in our DNA, its part of us.
Now we have complicated it with centuries of instruments, languages and fashions. But it wasn't always this way. There was a time when music must have stumbled out of humanity, visceral, like vomit. Uncontrollable waves of rolling incomprehensible thoughts that came out of their limbs and shattered the silence of the night. They must not have known why they needed to make these sounds, but the sounds kept coming, over and over, driving like the stampede of the buffalo.
Now everyone has music. We don't make it as much as we used to. We don't sing, we don't drum, we don't dance. If you heard these ancient rhythms would you feel them in your genes? If that steady heartbeat drum lub dupped and thump thumped nearby would you migrate toward it in a spell? Would you join in? Would you cry out? Would you dance, your arms flailing about, you legs kicking the dirt into a cloud? Its not on a radio, its pounding there in front of you.
We listen to music for unknown reasons. Bob Marley said that when it hits you, you feel no pain. Is it possible that when music is playing, you don't have to think, rather just feel, act and move? If everyone could see that part of the human condition is that we all need music, or as Michael Franti says "Everyone deserves Music, sweet music" then aren't we all the same?
When I speak of Radiating Warmth I don't just mean in your actions, I mean in your rhythms too, let the rhythms of your heart beat loudly into the area around you. Send out the sound of your soul, bum bump, bum bump, and let it be a beat of love.

Radiate Warmth and help the Massive Global Awakening through Glimpses of Light and the Rhythms of Your Heart.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

WEEKLY UPDATE

That's right kiddies, its Sunday, time for the weekly update, lets get it!

MUSICAL ARTISTS OF THE WEEK: Beach Boy "Pet Sounds" In my humble opinion, I think that this album was one of the most important rock albums of all time. Pet Sounds embodies everything good about the beach boys with out all the bubble gum extras. It is heartfelt, deep, drippy and full of all the sunshine you'll ever need to get you through these long months of winter. I recommend 'Sloop John B' You can find it on the music feature to the right.

OLD PERSON PHRASE OF THE WEEK: "Can I be Frank" This phrase sounds best right after you hike up your pants over your beer belly while negotiating the price of brake pads at a auto supply store but can be used by anyone also. Can I be Frank with you here friends? You kind of have to pretend like you're from a plumber's convention when you say this one. Enjoy

WEATHER ON NUNIVAK ISLAND: After a bizarre sudden rise in temperature, 55 knot winds and rain! our temperature is up to 33 deg. F and all the beautiful snow has turned to a disgusting slushy, flavor: Mudd. Apparently the wind is still pretty bad out at the airport, but I can't imagine how because we have a nice fog thats settled in.

ART UPDATE: I've been recording some music, although its slow going, I seem to have hit a sort of skill level plateau. I've pretty much made the most out of my capabilities, everything I record is starting to sound amateurish and the same. I have been writing some crazy letters. I am working on some hemp jewelry, I still draw a bit, and I'm starting to think this blog is an art form? Maybe.

WEB LINK OF THE WEEK: www.thehungersite.com Otherwise known as Cultivate Peace, this website basically hooks you up with the resources to make a difference in any possible way you can think of. There is info on Darfur, Hunger, Rainforests, Literacy, Children's Medicine, Breast Cancer and even the Crisis in Burma.

The Problems we face today, violent conflict, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger...can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a brotherhood and sisterhood.
- 14th Dalai Lama

BOOK OF THE WEEK: "Still Life With A Woodpecker" By Tom Robbins. They say you always love your first Tom Robbins book the most. I couldn't agree more. I read this one first and it has always been my favorite. Some said, this whole book is kind about a pack of Camel Cigarettes. I was like, "yeah right, thats ridiculous." But then it is. This book clarifies many things about the cosmos, life, love, and the problem with red heads. It also taught me two major lessons: 1) Everything is part of IT. and 2.) It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

Well I can honestly say I can't believe that two weeks have already flown by. If time keeps ripping along like this, it will be summer before you know it. We have Friday off for Chief's Day. We will also get a visit from the army national guard this week on a recruiting trip, I guess they are going to land a blackhawk helicopter near the school for the kids. It should be pretty exciting for them. In other uncategorical news, I might take a two week long fox trapping class, I don't really want to kill any foxes, but I do want to see how it is done. Our island is overpopulated with rabies infected foxes that eat garbage, bite dogs and are out and about when the children walk to school, I don't want to kill the little guys but they can be pretty nasty. I think I'll do as much watching as possible.

I also got to talk on the phone with some old college friends lately, its good to keep in touch with people from the past. Well, I'm not sure if my mentor teacher will make it in tonight due to the weather but I think I'm going to get back to watching this dinosaur Brett Favre try to win the NFC championship. He's like the Billy Chapel (Costner) in "For the Love of the Game" of Pro Football. I think I'll make some Moroccan Pomegranate Tea, burn some Nag Champa, and read some music magazines. Have a great week my fellow friends!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cleaning House Rocking Out

I had to clean my house today, thats what a nice person does when they are about to have a house guest over. I mean I had to sweep and mop and clean the toilet and vacuum. I keep things pretty clean normally but there is that little extra you need to do when you have a guest. The problem is that I am listening to this Flowmotion Show from New Years 06/07, and every time I get cleaning I just start rocking out with what ever object I'm holding (broom, mop, spatula, fork and spoon drumming). I was actually at this show and when I listen to it I rock out like I did when I was there. I'll tell you all about the band of the week tomorrow, but I still can't stress enough how unbelievably good Flowmotion is, please support them and get any of their albums.

Gather Light to feel the life of all creation,
Morning stars are shining so bright give you such a sensation,
We are the children of the light, it's our generation
Come together feel so right, with your love and vibration

-Flowmotion Lyrics from "Gather Light"

This is yet another way to explain my philosophy of life, this is a religious text to me.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday


What I'd like to talk about this Friday is a serious matter. Its a hard, sad, sobering moment in a person's life when you finally realize in your bones that you are a freaking stone cold nerd. You see, this week the screw that holds the right part of my glasses in place bent and got stripped. I am actually more blind than I used to be and I really need my glasses now. I would have got them fixed when I was home but they weren't broken then. So what does a person do in bush Alaska when their glasses break. WELL I'll tell you, you get some Manila masking tape and wrap it around the broken part of your glasses until it holds true. As I was carefully and seriously taping my glasses back together I had a cold shiver come across me. I knew right then and there that I had stepped over a threshold. At that precise moment I metamorphosized out of my chrysalis cocoon of simple science dorkitude into a hole new level of social awkwardness. I emerged and spread my wings a beautiful nerd butterfly. At that moment I put on a new coat, the coat of nerd. I am a nerd now, there is no turning back.

After a few days with my taped glasses I can say that they fit me. You really have to see me with my overalls, beard, long hair and taped glasses. I mean, luckily most the people in this state put their personal appearance on the back burner. Its not a Dis to say that Alaskan people are slightly less well kept than in the lower 48. Its just not important to look dapper or chic when its - 30 deg. F outside. Its not that important that I look like a nerd because I'd rather see. I think this phenomenon holds true and could even become a stereotype. I even see it in the newscasters on television. Some of the newscasters would never be on tv in California or New York because they looked like a donkey may or may not have kicked them in the face. Its just not important. I don't care what people look like up here.

Here are some Alaska observations about appearance:

In general, People are scraggly.
Velcro shoes are in.
Sweatpants are acceptable day wear.
Carhart rules supreme.
Hooded sweatshirt=collared shirt
White bunny boots=the newest nikes
Its okay to wear whole animal carcasses
Crocs will never see the light of day.
Layers are in again, as if it was early 90's grunge era all over
If a shirt has a wild animal printed on it then you are looking good
Don't worry about that mustard stain, no one else does.

A line from a Jimmy Buffet song always pops into my mind, "The weather is here, I wish you were beautiful." Well you know what Alaska? You are beautiful, and you rock those snow pants like you were in Paris on a runway.

Happy Friday

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday...more like shmursday

Yeah, shmursday would be the exact sentiment I would give to today. The kids were a little off, there were a lot of them gone, and no one came to Student Art Society. We have some seniors that are starting to feel the pressure. We have some other students that are starting to come into their own. Today we got two new students, further increasing the already staggering difference between girls outnumbering boys.

I had planned on writing more tonight but now that I am actually typing I realize that I am not really into it. Even I'm off today. I went to a birthday party for a co-teacher's wife's mother. There was all kinds of crazy native foods that I was planning on writing about, including walrus skin, reindeer, goose soup, seal oil soup and moose stew. I just can't bring myself to sit in front of this machine any longer. I'm pooped, I'm putting sweats on, watching tv and finally giving into the ultimate opiate of American culture, the boob tube. I don't even care whats on. I'm not sad, I'm not depressed, I'm not angry, I'm just plain tired. I'm taking the night off y'all. Hope thats ok with you.

Tomorows is "OVERALL FRIDAY" and that always puts a skip in my step.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh my sweet Mary, Moses and Joseph I got music!

My blog is nearing the complete. The last and most important part of my life can now be included in this blog. Thanks to one of my students, Jon, I have found out how to put music on my blog. I can't believe it finally happened. Now, as you read the blog you can hear the music that most likely inspired it. I have put up some initial flavors for your musical pallets to enjoy and I'm not even sure how I'm going to manage this. I do know that I am so happy. Let me know if it dramatically slows the upload time of the page and I will only put on one or two songs.

By a similar twist of fate, the son of a colleague, (In town from Missouri State doing some linguistic studies on the local language) was kind enough to gift me about 600 new songs. I am like a child on Christmas morning! Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, Daft Punk, Jurassic 5, Miles Davis, The Roots, and the WuTang Clan oh my! I am really happy to get a little hip hop back in my life. Not nearly as positive of music that I normally listen to but man, it is good to get a lit of that beat from the street back in my brain. I forget sometimes that I lived in Tacoma, Washington. Its not always a world of trees and sunshine, there's a concrete jungle out there, and if you watch Baraka you'll know what I mean.

Let me know what you think...you can choose any song from the playlist to listen to, you don't have to listen in order. Does the music auto start annoy you when you log onto the page?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Glimpses of Light

The wrath of Netflix. I got three Netflix movies in the mail yesterday. I watched two of them. I don't usually talk about movies but I went through some emotional times last night.

Reign Over Me- Some people might not be able to look past Adam Sandler as Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison, but I was. Along with Don Cheadle, Reign Over Me had me in the in the soft, pink, and cushiony inner folds of an emotional wreck last night. For some reason this movie got to me. It might be all the great music (the boss mostly), it might be that Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler and Adam Sandler make a wicked combo, but I was destroyed by this movie. I even cried when the Charley broke down and told his post 9/11 family dying story. The movie made me think about my family and how I would feel if I lost them. It made me think about how even though those close to us might get on or nerves in seemingly unimportant ways they actually are the things that we remember about people when they are gone. My family is still alive, and those the things I remember. Give this movie a chance.

BARAKA- Then as if I was trying to beat myself up even more I watched Baraka. If you've never watched this hypnotic, spiritual, life changing epic documentary then you have missed out on one of the greatest joys/tragedies of humanity that has ever been created on film. This movie is essentially in a constant alternation between natural/tribal/religious images and scenes super imposed and paired with equal and similar scenes from industrial/commercial/modern scenes of humanity. There is a lot of time lapse photography and amazingly hypotic music from most of the regions of the world. Almost every religion is depicted in absolute intimacy. As I watched it I become more keenly aware of how undefined my spirituality is. I saw Muslims, Catholic Priests, Hindus at the River, Buddhist Monks in the Sacred City, Aboriginies dancing, and the famous Kekak tribe doing their crazy hypno-chanting dance. I have no rituals. I have no meditation state. I have no devout belief in anything that even comes close to paralleling these people's religious devotion. I am religionless (I know that is not a word but eh).

I've been wondering when the right opportunity would come up to talk about religion. Tonight might be the night. When I say I am religionless, I don't mean I don't believe things or don't have a connection to a spiritual level of life, I mean that I don't belong to a specific one. Sometimes I envy people who do. They have a set of rules, or guidelines, or rituals, or values for which to strive. They have a place to go. They have others who get it. The closest I've ever felt to religion is when I am hugging my brother, watching a sunset/sunrise, spending time in a natural habitat, swimming in a natural body of water, or listening to live music (preferably doing all of them simultaneously). That simultaneous intersection of these things is my sacred city, my temple, my mecca, my heaven and nirvana. Family, friends, the sun, water, nature, music and kindness are all I can really say I aspire to.

I am not sure what it feels like to believe in "God." I never have even from what I can remember as a child. I just know there are these moments in life, these brief overwhelming glimpses of joy and light, that happen when I am involved in these activities, thoughts and times. It is specifically these moments of glowing joy and wonder that drive me. They influence my musical pallet, my choice of activities, my choices in the company I keep, and what it is I seek in life. These glimpses of heat and light and energy are essentially beauty overcoming your heart and soul. The reason I love sunrises are because they are the only way I can define and show others what I'm talking about. That specific, exact moment when the sun finally cracks the horizon and send a sharp white light across the land, in your eyes almost blinding you, into your heart for just a fraction of a moment. It heals you, it warms you, it fixes you. It's the same way I feel when I jump into a lake, or a river, or the sea. Its the same feeling I get when I hug my brother after not seeing him for a while. Its the same feeling I get when I hear certain lyrics, notes and parts of songs of my favorite bands and musicians. It is that glimpse moment of light that I want to bask in. It is that first peak of the morning sun across your heart that I want to share. AND IT IS SO HARD TO DO. It is that type of warmth that I want to harness and radiate continually to everyone so that they can feel it too.

Some of you know this story. Before I left for Christmas break, I was walking to the mouth of the river here on the island to see the sunrise. At that time it was rising at the same time as the beginning of church service. I was happy to be outside and walking in the freezing air. I was walking next to a person from town (not important who), we were both a little sleepy still and didn't say much, rather, communicated with smiles. Where I was heading was on the way to church and we walked side by side for a little while, our boots squeaking in the snow. When we got to the end of the road the person headed for the church and I headed towards the sea. The person turned back and said, "Are you going to church?" I kind of paused for a moment and smiled and said, "Yes, but its over there." I pointed to the horizon that was beginning to glow and then walked away.

I just wish I wasn't the only one.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday

Since it is Monday here is a couple lyric snippits from the song "Monday" by ALO.

"Go back to sleep and dream, tip down your pink sombrero, today is a timemachine that is broken down in tomorrow"

"We get lost all the way, by the things that we do and we say, things things we don't even mean, but we say anyway and pretend to believe."

"Monday, Monday, see whats become of my Sunday"

I like that I'm running with the weekly update, Maybe I can add some "On the Road" Quotes as well...that's what most people call 'TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL...BABY!" So I'll do that for you.

It was a good Monday. My kids were a little groggy so I layed a learning smack down on them and they were rendered helpless to my magical entrancement of knowledge yet again. School was delayed till ten due to wicked snow blizzard activity this morning. The late start was nice because it gave me time to write two Cultural Education610 papers I've been putting off. Man I can't stand those assignments. I even got pretty snippy in one just to do my part in sticking it to the man. People need to know that if you are an educator trying to teach educators you better practice good teaching or it will come back to bite your out of date traditional butt.

Anatomy/Physiology is going well. We just learned about skin and are moving on to the skeletal system. I have a skeleton in my room! Apparently he/she has a name already but I want to give him/her a new one. Something old school like Bernice or Chester.

Writing is going well also. I think the students are starting to understand that writing can be self satisfying as well as something you have to do so that you can graduate. Trying to blend the two with the damn phase system is pretty tough.

JH Science has switched to a more Chemistry focused curriculum. We just started learning about matter, elements and atoms. I always forget how abstract it is to teach about things that no one can really see...is their faith in science? I leave that one up for comment.

Health is actually a good class now that it's everyday. The boys understand that it's not just a goof off time in between PE classes. We learned all about the NEW food pyramid on the USDA website. Apparently the old one is out of date (it is) and the new one is actually pretty cool, it includes physical activityno so check out your personal pyramid at www.mypyramid.gov

I got Netflix in the mail today so you know my night is pretty much booked solid. Have a good week y'all.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

WEEKLY UPDATE

Gather round boys and girls, children of all ages, ladies and gentleman, mens and gentleladies, young and old, black and white, green and purple, its that special time of the week when I update the devoted semipublic readers of this here shindig as to what is going down in the world of awesomeness. Sit down, strap up, and hold on cuz it's gonna be a bumpy landing.

MUSICAL ARTIST OF THE WEEK: ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) from "Roses and Clover" or "Fly Between Falls." If you didn't pick it up from earlier posts, I am utterly obsessed, lustful and engrossed in this band at the moment. They make me yearn for summer. I listen to their music and I can feel the lake water between my toes. I can smell the BBQ. I can taste the otter pops. I can feel the cold caress of the iron horseshoe in my hands. I can feel the slip and slide beneath my buttocks. I can see my skin turning a healthy tannish glow unlike the pasty semi see through white color it is now. If you want summer now, listen to ALO.

OLD PERSON PHRASE OF THE WEEK: "Bull Pucky" If you don't feel like using this phrase then I think you are full of "Bull Pucky" and so do all the old farts who made this odd phrase up some indiscriminate years ago.

CURRENT WEATHER ON NUNIVAK: Today is another beautiful arctic hell. 1 Deg. F with a wind chill of -20 due to 20 MPH winds. Good news though, thanks to Alisha, apparently we are picking up 4 minutes of daylight a day. This means that in only two weeks our days will be about an hour longer. Isn't that CRAZY!?

ART UPDATE: Obviously you can see I've been doing some drawing. I'll let that speak for itself. Musically I've hit a nasty little slump. I wrote a good song first thing upon my return and have produced straight shat since. I was able to acquire a capo from our school board president and that has given me countless hours of fun on the guitar but no new songs. I can't seem to find anything to sing about. I'm trying to make a summertime happy album in the dead of arctic winter, that is pretty friggin hard if you ask me.

WEBLINK OF THE WEEK: My friend Sean's Gallery in Tacoma, Wa. The Helm Gallery at http://www.thehelmgallery.com/ This website showcases what someone can accomplish with hardley any money or business training. It features pictures, show updates, a blog of its own, and various other features that are quite interesting. Even if you are not from Washington, it is a really cool website to see what Northwest popular current young people art looks like these days.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK: "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac. I am tentative to attempt to even describe what an important part of my life, philosophy, and perspective on reality this book is and has had on me. This book gives the first intimate portrait of the adventures across the post WWII nation of the two absolute fathers of everything that we now consider Bohemian, Hippie, Alternative, or Counter Culture. Jack K has a supernatural ability to write about things that happened to him in the past as if he were still in the moment writing it as it were happening. A skill I'll never master even if I devoted my life to trying. To be able to dig the vast expanse of the USA with ol Jack and a young Neal Cassady rapping along in a spiraling vortex of free verse thought is truly a gift that every American should enjoy someday.

I REALLY look forward to doing the weekly update every Sunday night. I hope you look forward to reading it. As I type this with ol Jack and Neal staring at me I can't help but think that time is moving so quickly. A week has passed so quickly. Only 19 more weeks to go and I will become a nomad of the western sun. I will wander the northwest in search of friendship, romance, fellowship, music, nature, wonder, inspiration, energy, love and peace and the beautiful sun. Unlike ol Jack who hitchhiked his way back and forth across this awe inspiring country of ours, I will drive my trusty Subaru Outback, "The Sarge," I will have my ukulele, a tent, a backpack, a camp stove, a fishing pole, a hatchet, a journal and friends. I can't wait.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New 2008 Drawings

Here are some sketches I've been working on. I'm pretty excited about the direction I'm going. I think my drawing is a result of almost a decade of looking in to textbooks. They come completely from my imagination but are based on real living creatures.
The drawing above is called "Amoeba Baby? Maybe"
The picture above is called "Coral Hallelujah"
This one is called "Fresca Can Inspired Severed Earthworm"

Saturday Morning...Afternoon



As a result of the cocktail of enjoyable cold and flu medicines that I ingested last night, I slept for 13 hours. Benedryl, TheraFlu Nightime Cold, and a Melatonin natural sleep aid. The funnies part was that I tried to pop popcorn and watch a rented movie. What a joke! After looking at the scene index today, I made it 3 scenes into the movie. Instead I slept on the couch till 6 am when I awoke (still in my overalls) and stumbled to bed for 6 more hours.
It was during this round of chemical induced sleep that I had an epic dream.

I had been transported into orbit onto a sort of orbital space eco/bio-dome. I was a co-captain of this ship. More than any other aspect of the dream I remember that the pilots cabin and the living quarters were inverted, that is to say that when I looked above me in the pilot cabin (really looking down) there were people walking upside down (or actually right side up). That might seem confusing but just imagine looking up at your ceiling and seeing someones sitting on it looking at you.
It was also in this weird space dream that a military takeover happened. I was forcefully removed from my ship and transported to a desert like island where I was placed in prison. It was space jail. I could go into space jail further, but it resembled my High School but in a eastern Washington like desert with beefed up security features. Regardless, I made some friends in jail. There were frequent riots. The thing that kept most people from escaping was that the nearest establishment was 20 miles away through deadly desert. During one of the riots our prison chamber door was blasted open when a large steel table crashed into it. We escaped, took the running shoes off of some dead guards and started collecting water bottles. After we collected enough water bottles, we ran out the front gate. This wasn't unusual because no one in their right mind would try to escape from such a desolate location. We gathered outside. I had a mustache and so did my friend. He resembled someone I used to play little little league baseball with (but older...with a mustache), and we put on our new shoes, slung the water bottles to our backs and started running. We crossed the desert by sundown, we seemed like we were in amazing physical shape, and we reached a small shanty town. Everyone there was Mexican even though we were on a desolate desert prison planet. I understood them amazingly well. Breaking out of space prison was so much fun that we had an old Mexican man drive us back in a jalopy pick up truck so that we could do it again.

The point of the dream isn't really known to me. But I think it does explain what happens if you mix cold medication in your sleep.

In other news, another cold snap has foiled my ice fishing plans today, which is sad because the epic 13 hours of sleep has resulted in me feeling great today. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot but I think I might have beaten this bug.

So now I'm drinking coffee, thinking about making apple pancakes, and watching the Seahawks try to beat the Packers in a snowy Green Bay. I kind of giggle when I think that most of America considers that cold. Its midday, sunny, and -16 deg F. Nuff Said.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday is now the official day of the week to wear over alls

If you haven't noticed already, I live and die in my Carhart overalls. I love them so much that I declare that every Friday (my favorite day of the week) from hence for shall be know as overall day. Plus when you wear over alls you can go around saying "Over All, I think today was a good(or bad) day" and the only one who will get your joke is probably you, but then again you are a dork (talking about myself) and no one gets your jokes anyways. You'll slap your knee and the person will stare at you like you're a mutant freak. Then you will scamper off to your dark cave of a classroom to sulk about the fact that no one thinks you're funny and that you also had a gnome come into your room in the middle of the night and professionally pack both of your nasal passages to capacity with snot. Then in dismay you will write a blog about the incident. As you do you will pause to wrap your thumbs around your overall suspenders and realize that life isn't so bad because you still can wear over alls to work, thank Jehova for that, and everything is going to be ok. Plus you got 5 days until your TheraFlu supply runs out and hopefully the cold will have run its course by then. You didn't know your life was so interesting did you? Maybe you should start wearing over alls on Fridays and you could be like me...wait that isn't much of an incentive is it?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two days in a row!



Man, I'm on a streak this week. Today I decided to go all progressive on my biology class. We are starting a big anatomy/physiology unit and today I let them explore tissues. I set up three stations in the class. One was just microscopes with slides of different human tissues. Another was computers with an interactive website about tissues (an awesome site I might add). The last was textbooks opened up to the introductory section of the anatomy chapter in their biology books. They spent 15 minutes at each station. I wish I would have counted all the "WHOA's and WOW's and EWWW's" They were all asking for my help, and asking questions and acting like real students! It was great. I asked them to answer three questions in their lab notebooks: What is/are tissue(s)? What types of tissues are there? What do tissues look like? I told them they could use each station however they wanted as long as they figured those three things out. They naturally drew what they saw in the microscopes, looked up the answers in the textbook, and simply enjoyed all the cool interactive features of the website. Talk about differentiated instruction (you should be able to hear the sound of me tooting my own horn faintly in the distance). I'm so happy with their performance today that I'm rewarding them with a day of watching "Planet Earth" tomorrow.

In other school news, I canceled Student Art Society for today, parent teacher conferences up and bit me in the ace (I thought they are next week...crap). Also, I still generally feel like poop. My nose has become a free dripping faucet, my chest has a 100 lb. weight on it, and my head feels so big that I may tip over. Last night I got all quacked out on TheraFlu Severe Cold and Flu and watched KNIGHT RIDER first season on DVD. Hasslehoff is a joke now a days, but I tell you what, that homeboy used to be one wicked action star. Who else could pull off driving a computer enhanced car in the eighties! I mean computers were still so big in the eighties that they could take up whole rooms. Also, I realize now in retrospect that many of the feature of K.I.T.T. (the talking car) were simply made up. I could digress into a well thought out and expert analysis of the show Knight Rider and the Knight Industry's K.I.T.T. car but unfortunately I don't believe many of you had the blessing of watching this show in its natural time of the eighties.

Quote of the Day

Every bit of land is a holy land
Every drop of water is holy water
Every single child is a son or a daughter
of the one earth papa and the one earth mother

-Michael Franti from the song "Hello Bonjour"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kids will be kids...

My students aren't any different than other kids around the nation.
They like to check their emails. They will stay at school forever if it is on their terms but as soon as they are forced to stay they will make up any excuse to leave. They are shy and afraid to be dorky in front of each other. They fart. They laugh at silly pictures. They don't like school lunch either. They listen to music that adults (myself included) think is infernal racket. They hate homework. They have boyfriends and girlfriends. They like to drive (here it is snogo's and 4 wheelers). Like The Breakfast Club, there are athletes, dweebs, brains, princesses, rebels, and flakes. They have family problems. They have best friends. They stay up too late. They live and die by their iPods. They procrastinate like nobody's business. They get bloody noses. They day dream. They don't know their potential. They like junk food. They are smarter than we give them credit for.

Maybe its because its the first week and they are all still behaving, but I really love my kids this week, for all of their faults and follies, success and failures, bloody noses and farts, and their laughter. Is it possible they are slowly becoming happy? Don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

When the music hits you, you feel no pain

I'm a couple days into the week now. Life is starting to chug right along again. I know something is wrong with me. I'm not exactly sick, I don't have a cough, my nose is slightly runny, and I'm always feeling kind of groggy in the head. I wish I would just be normal or get sick and get it over with, this Cold Sample Pack of symptoms isn't cool. Luckily I have a brand new drug on the market. Its called ALO. You might be wondering what is that? Well, it is short for Animal Liberation Orchestra. ALO is a band, and I used my iTunes gift card to get both of their albums. I have been rocking them so freaking hard the last two days that I only feel good when they are on a stereo near by. I can't believe I pulled such a blunder as to not spend more time watching them at High Sierra last summer. My brother stayed, he was wise. I have to see them this summer, I will see them this summer.

In other Alaska bush related news, I am almost out of food and am starting to get rather creative with my reserves. Ah, canned/frozen foods, nothing makes you feel more proud or more sickly than to eat out of a tin can or a reheated iceblock night after night. I get paid next week, then LOOK OUT BABY the vegetable will rain from the skies.

Yet further incidents of note: My pipes froze up for a couple of days and I finally got a shower today for the first time in a while. My friend and maintenance worker Ralph spent the last two days under our teacher housing unit like a bad ace worrier in -20 deg. F weather, with his blowtorch and wit he eventually freed the ice trapped inside the pipes. My hat is off to you Ralph, What a hard core mother SHUT YOUR MOUTH he is.

My Moroccan tea is keeping me sane at the moment. I'm trying to cut back on soda pop these days. The sugar addiction is a hard one to break. I'm also pushing the fluids at the moment. I really don't want to get sick. Out here Bronchitis, Strep Throat or Pneumonia kills people. I guess like 10 people from my village got MEDIvacked (sp?) for this bug that was going around over break. I really don't want to get it but these little buggers just keep coughing and spitting and wiping their grubby little hands all over everything. My awesome library bank of antibodies powered me through some family sicknesses over break without catching them. I fear that the colds out here on this island have never been had by my body therefore I'm susceptible.

Well I got a RELIX a SPIN and a PASTE magazine to snuggle up and read. I also have been reading the Curtis Creek Manifesto: A Fully Illustrated Guide to the Strategy, Finesse, Tactics and Paraphernalia of Fly Fishing that my parents got me for Christmas. I also brought home a Stranger and a Seattle Weekly that I'll bust out next week when I start to really feel out of the civilized loop again. You take such simple delights as these for granted.

Well time to put another pot of tea on, see if I can use my sexy "Sick" voice to strike recording gold. Remember be good to eachother out there, if the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Monday Back to School

The first day back was great. It was so good to see the kids. They behaved pretty well. My biology class is now later in the day and what a difference that makes. They are actually awake! They even answered questions and participated. I have two writing classes now. They are already blogging! I'm feeling really optimistic about the semester. Unfortunately these friggin Phase systems are going to rule my life. I just have to find seams in the system to actually teach the students something worthwhile.
The worst class I have to deal with is all boys health. It is at the end of the day, you try keeping 4 high school boys interested and occupied at 3 o'clock in the afternoon with their shiny snowmachines parked outside.
I'll try and write more later tonight but I have a lot of work to do.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

WEEKLY UPDATE IS BACK

Thats right boys and girls the weekly update has returned. Radiate warmth will feature some new additions to the weekly update. Here are they are:

MUSICAL ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Devendra Banhart "Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon" This is the newest album from the person who may be hailed as the next most important songwriter of all time. This album is a fusion of Victor Jara and Latin infused bepop and guitar music. Quite frankly it is impossible to explain how prolific this album is. I hope you take these suggestions seriously because I highly recommend this album. I got it for my brother for Christmas, that is how much I love it.

OLD PHRASE OF THE WEEK: "My Moses, Mary and Joseph." This can be used when something is shocking, upsetting or inappropriate. Next time someone farts simply convey your dismay by saying "My Moses, Mary and Joseph that smells bad"

CURRENT WEATHER ON NUNIVAK: The is 25 mph wind causing a -27 deg. F temp w/ the windchill. We also got some snow over break and there are significant snow drifts piling up.

ART UPDATE: With three albums finished, "I Need Life" and"A Whisper Wind" and "Tundroptica" I have already started work on the next set of songs. I will try to make this the most musically tight, summer friendly music to date. I've already completed one song called "Conducive to Good Times" I will continue to send music to those who inquire by email so don't be bashful!"

WEB LINK EXPLANATION (NEW FEATURE!!!): You'll notice 19 links and growing on my page. I always wonder if anyone uses them so each week I'll explain them to you so that you might be interested in visiting them.
This weeks link is: http://www.alexgrey.com/ You've probably noticed some odd pictures up on my website lately. They are by this amazing artist. He has all of his paintings archived on his site and I hope you check them out. His work is anatomically psychedelic and political in the good way.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION (NEW FEATURE!!!): You'll also notice a list of books on my blog, each I will give a short thought on one of these books to try and spark some interest in you goof balls.
This weeks Book: "The Beach" by Alex Garland This amazing book was made into a motion picture of same title. The book has a better ending and really dives deeply into the phenomenon of what is happening to "Backpackers" 'Travellers" "Hippies" and "Bohemians." It is also a love story. Even if you have seen the movie I would recommend reading this book, especially now that the weather is crappy. It will take you to that tropical place for a while.

I HOPE You are all as glad that I am back blogging as I am. I had no idea it would be this important of an avenue of expression. NOW show me that you are still out there. Is anyone still reading? Say hello.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

And I return

As I busted into my building, hands frozen and curled, toes like ice blocks, thankful to be alive, I dropped my snow covered bags in my cluttered living room happy to be out of the dark - 20 deg. F arctic death wind. I immediately had to get all my cold clothes off. I turned the heat up and put on a teapot of water. I put on all new warm clothes, hooked up my laptop to my speakers, only one man for the job, ol' Tom Waites. When you warm someone up from hypothermia you got to do it slowly, same as when you warm up a heart and Tom got a sound that is just slightly warmer than frozen. Best not rush back into things.
With my tea, warm clothes and newly bought incense burning I finally sit down at this oval kitchen table to write to you my friends. I may have lost you for a while. I was lost myself. You crazy civilized people really gave me a run for my money.

So I learned a lot about life on this trip home to Washington. Unfortunately a lot of the things I learned involve people near and dear to me, people who read this blog, people who do not, but in general I will have to share my lessons carefully.

I have been calling this blog "Radiate Warmth" since it began. When I left for Washington only a couple of short weeks ago I was so excited to take my new way of existing back to the "Real World" and test it out like a brand new remote control race car. I thought all the positivity and clarity and centeredness (not a word) that I had gained would be enough to propel me through the holiday stress, the drama, the old habits and ways, and the endless bombardment of time lost. Not only that, I thought that I had built up so much positivity and energy that I would be able to freely share it with everyone. I was so naive to think that I might even be able to help people. Sadly, I was sorely mistaken. It took less than a couple of days to slide uncomfortably into the old way of doing things, the frantic desperation of trying too hard to make memories, the old way of reacting and thinking and feeling.

The trip wasn't a complete failure. I made intense connections with several important people. I realized there are a lot of people I love in Washington. Christmas, in all its colorful commercial glory, was a beautiful two day affair. Seeing family and relatives has a way of reminding you that you come from somewhere. I was lucky enough to spend time with my grandparents on Christmas day as I have for 19 of the last 20 years of my life. They center me.

I got to see friends. I got to talk! I mean talk like a normal person. After getting the customary impossible explanation of this experience out of the way, I was able to converse with people. This is by far the one thing I miss the most about Washington people, talking. Here there is so little talking.

I danced. I danced so hard. I saw Flowmotion on New Years Eve and they were incredible. The group of friends that I went with was amazing. New Years Eve was the highlight of the trip. It was free, flawless, hilarious and possibly the happiest moment of the experience. I need music in my life more than I ever realized.

As time wound down so did my frantic search for meaning. Several people helped me see the way. I miss my brother, he is growing up so fast. I miss my friends, they are on their own paths now. I want to thank so many people by name but I won't. All I can say is that I was loved and it saved me (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).

I gained new material for music. There are only so many songs you can sing about being alone in an Eskimo village on an island in the Bering Sea. After I gain feeling back in my toes I will start writing new music right away.

I thought about teaching too much. My mom said my face lights up when I talk about my students which reminds me how much I care about them. I have a mission to complete here. I will probably write a lot this week so I hope you have been missing it cuz I feel like I can think clearly again. Just a simple bush plane brush with death, some frozen fingers and toes and some tea have restored me to sanity.

Here is a list of people I would like to thank:
My Mom: Making a house a home and all the fried egg sandwiches
My brother: I will beat you at bowling someday (Loud inappropriate sigh during backswing)
My Dad: Enduring the near death brush with the flu
Katie: Simply being your beautiful self.
Will and Kary(sp?): Letting me sleep on your floor twice
Brett Ortgeisen: Being my life nemesis and companion
Randall: Your facial expressions saved my life, Olympia will be ours.
Suzye: Standing up the whole Flomo show nice work.
Sydney: Reminding me of the wonder of youth
Lindsey, Naomi, James and even Zachy: for an awesome birthday party
Uncle Barry: The coolest journal I ever got.
The BU Crew: You guys are nuts
Leslie: Sweet hat!! but it broke already, do you do repairs?
Ryan: You are an awesome personal secretary

I'll write the weekly update tomorrow. I'm back safe and sound, goodnight sweet dreams.
to view my other blog OUT OF THE CLOSET ATHEIST click HERE