Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Humpday Umpdate: Man...Who said the end was easy?

Well, officially 21 days till I'm outta here. With the internet gone, two full time house guests, a semi-surprise visit from my mentor teacher (thanks for the pizza!) and a scheduled visit from my special Education itinerant as well as dog to watch over the weekend and a student who comes over for an hour of tutoring after school, I have been running around like a complete nutbar. Things have settled down, the internet is back on, and I think I might have enough time to sneak in a proper Wednesday update...if only I had more to say.

Music Update: I just want to re suggest the band "My Morning Jacket" for consideration. They're stylish mix of heartfelt songs and straight out old fashioned rock music has been a major player in the salvation of this last week. Late at night when everyone goes to bed I put one of their spacey albums and follow it to the end of th galaxy.

Things I'm Loving: Our underdeveloped and utilized school library with treasure from the 70's a plenty. The lady who is staying with me (Mrs. Stillwell) cooking (she's a mom!). My $12 south American woolen booties (see ridiculous photo!) Bananas and Nutella for breakfast an Ethiopian delicacy. Checking off another day on any of the 6 calendars I am using to track the ending of the year. Tazo "Calm" tea. Lists of things not to forget when I go home. Reimbursment checks from SPED conference classes. A+ grades and praise from SPED class instructors.

Things I'm Hating: The no gum/hats/soda/ipods rules at school. The LKSD Phase System. Still not knowing who my principal for next year is. Holes in the snow where someone fell through that have since been covered over by a treacherous thin layer of snow causing said hole to act as a wicked knee breaking trap. Soar backs from roller blading in the gym. Internet Malfunctions. White board markers that nun out of marker.

Cool Podcast to Check out: WNYC's RadioLab. Thank for introducing me to this cool free podcast Katie. This program basically takes anything you can think of and goes into a deep exploration of every facet and angle of the topic. Whether its pop music, the fate of modern space exploration of what have you, they can make anything interesting and informative. Check it out.

Well I wish I had more exciting things to share with you all but to tell you the truth I'm absolutely exhausted from all the guests, all the no internet have to totally think on my feet and pull lessons out of ass, and all the stressin about leaving for the summer.

I'm going to do my very best to keep up the quality content you all seem to be enjoying (anonymously or openly) over the next few weeks. Lets all start to get used to the fact that the blog is going to go through a change in the next few weeks as we transition from a situation where I am in isolation on an island in the Bering Sea to a situation surrounded by friends, family and activity. I'm not saying Radiate Warmth will end, I'm saying that its going to change. And, we all know how people deal with change, we fear it, and often strike out in anger. So just chill and ride the wave of change ok?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Internet Issues

Well the internet has been pretty sporadic this week. I finally got on long enough to let you all know I probably won't get any solid posts in until its back to full strength. Hope all is well with everyone this week and keep chuggin' we're soooo close to summer!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekly Update

After a rough week last week I woke up today and realized April is almost over. Holy SHAT! What a speedy little bugger he was (is April a he, seems like a she oh well). Here's the update!

Musical Artist of the Week: The band's name is My Morning Jacket. They are an amazing indy turned psychedelic jam rock band that I have somehow decided not to get int until now. Now I have to push the live album "Okonokos" because it is like falling through space on a pillow of joy. But I have also heard a ton of tracks from their upcoming album "Evil Urges" and when it comes out on June 10th you must go out and get it! If you like Coldplay, Radiohead, The Flaming Lips or Beck and would like to see them rolled into one with a little something extra then you'll really enjoy this band.

Old School Phrase of the Week: Thanks to Gary the traveling drivers education and welding teacher and his wife Pam that are staying with me (from Texas) I have enough old school phrases written down to last me a long time. My favorite from this weekend has been "Knocked the Soup out of him." You can use this phrase when someone "Gets their Bell rung" or the "Clock Cleaned." Crap! I just used up three in one Update I better stop before I slip out any more!

Weather on Nunivak: I think you all have figured from the recent posts we had some spring weather and are now back in the deep freeze again. Today is a beautiful sunny Sunday and a beautifully crisp 19 degrees F. The wind is still whippin outta the dead North at 15 mph and that drops the windchill to 5 deg F. Spring My ASS! Kusko.net said things are gonna be getting nicer for a couple of days and we might break 40 by mid week...yipee.

WebLinks of the Week: I'm just totally amazed that with a few clicks of the mouse I can save one person's life (www.nothingbutnets.net, feed a person a meal (www.thehungersite.com) and save 11.4 square feet of rainforest (www.therainforestsite.com). Please take the time everyday or once in a while to click these banners in the toolbar to the right and do some good today!

ART UPDATE OF THE WEEK:
Well I've recorded two songs this week "Its Been a Long Time" and "Souls Will Find a Release" both about spring and both about so much more. I've also been doing quite a bit of writing on the blog. Please give these songs a listen and give me some feedback! I love to hear what people think about music and as I continue to zero into a sort of groove or genre or type of music I always appreciate criticism so I can improve. Thanks!

READERSHIP/ClustR map Update: After some big days we've settled back into our 20-30 people a day pattern, I think the steady nature of these numbers makes me happy to know that there about 25 people that check this blog everyday and some times 3 times as many! Side note: I have 4 songs in the top 100 of the Folk Rock Genre Charts on the IAC database!

Days till Washington:
Officially, I will be off this rock in 25 days! I can't believe life is so fast! I STILL HAVE SOOOOO LONG TO GO!

BIG UPS! This weeks big ups goes to Matt Senechal from Seattle Washington for turning me on to the band, My Morning Jacket. I have had such an epic space cookie of a weekend listening to these guys late at night contemplating the meaning of it all. If you hook me up with music you will get a big ups...unfortunately I don't even know if he reads this blog!

Song of the Weekend:

"Souls Will Find a Release" click HERE to listen.

Walkin’ through the opening in the center of town
And I can feel something comin’ on, comin’ on
It’s another day and I will find a place to rest my eyes
Its another day in paradise

Souls will find a release
Or at least a way to get away
Souls will find a release
Or at least a way to get away

Oh…

Clouds are rollin’ in I think its time
For spring to roll on by one more time
There’s nothing better than seeing something grow
Through the last remaining remnants of time

Souls will find a release
Or at least a way to get away
Souls will find a release
Or at least a way to get away

Last thoughts: Sorry for no pictures, the internet has been really bad this week!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sleepy Saturday's Eve

I'm enjoying a slow, sedated, sunsetting evening. I spent all day in school watching a new teacher inservice that had such a nominal effect on me intellectually and spiritually and rationally that I can't even muster a comment.

I sit here now in my little home listening to Neil Young, Loretta Lynn, Leo Kottke and the Louvin Brothers. Sleepy twanging tones of the fading elders of American music slowly lull me into a trance. I miss America. I miss the smell of cut grass and barbeque's. I miss the crack of a baseball bat and the twittering of continental song birds in the morning. The snow birds sound similar but foreign here to me. I miss fireworks and the Shriners weaving back an forth on skooters across the pavement during a parade on mainstreet in Anytown, USA. I miss the burn of ice cold Coca-Cola on a hot afternoon. I miss staring up at the stars through the tops of green needled trees in my parents yard, our land. I love so many things about this bizarre arctic Eskimo world, but this is not the America I've ever known. This is a different world, and it is not my own. This will never be my land.

I peeked my head into a town meeting in the gym today. The town corporation was having their annual meeting. I've never seen so many Mekoryuk residents in force intently concentrated on a serious matter. I was fascinated and blown away. A scraggily man that I've never seen on the island approached me, drew close into my personal space, and asked me very stearnly who I was. I said simply I was a teacher.

He returned "This is a shareholders meeting."

I immediately got an eerie felling that I wasn't welcome. Even though it was a meeting about money, my community and the grocery business that runs everything (that I have a random vast knowledge about and could be of use) I was totally and completely and outsider. It just hit home. I don't belong here. Ralph the maintenance man is marrying one of our white teachers this summer and commented that even after ten years of marriage she may never be a shareholder. This is not my land. I know that now and it shattered a great divide in my heart.

I just feel like so much has happened since August. Spring is supposed to be a time of change, and birth, and cleaning house and new fresh starts. But spring for an educator in the arctic, an outsider, is a time of reflection like that of the fall in the white man's world of the lower 48. I can't stop thinking about how many unknowns and possibilities and opportunities there were in August. Now after only one year, of intense reflection and desperation trying to comprehend this foreign world all I have to show is the simple, humble, modest realization that these people don't want or need me here. How do you come back to that? How do you return in the face of all that we've been through.

Maybe its the fact that I know the futility of it all. It like a firefighter that runs into a burning building even though everyone else is running out. If you can only get in and find the helpless child hiding under their bed on the 34th floor and also make it out with out losing your life. I get so scared that this experience will change me too far, stretch me too much and leave me worn out like a Vietnam Veteran or a recovered heroine addict.

I have so much love to give, so much sharing and learning to do and no matter how much positivity I seem to put into the equation the only product I get is a sad picture of the last dying people of the old way. Sometimes at night the cold reality of the hopelessness of it all keeps me awake. I think its so dangerous to dip my toe in this water. But I need to test it so that I can feel the temperature of living a life defined by accepting the chaotic hopelessness of humanity. Its a real feeling. Its a moment I don't like to live. But possibly, its a moment I need. I need to feel the complete tragedy of it all so that I can once again, rise from the bottom, broken down to my elements to start the cycle again.

The cycle of Hope. The cycle of believing in good again. The cycle of faith in the minute possibility that life means something in spite of all my logical, rational observations and deductions about the pointlessness of life. Even though every sign, everything I have experienced seems to scientifically point to the fact that nothing we've done, are doing or will ever do means anything at all, I still, illogically press on believing in goodness, hope, meaning, dreams and love. This is what defines the darker sides of Radiating Warmth. People want to know where faith lies in a person who doesn't believe in God. Well, the faith basically boils down to the fact that despite and endless string of evidence pointing toward the nothingness void of life around us, I still choose to live and love and make everyday count for myself and for what I can do for others. I search for so that I can ignore the why to survive.

Please don't give up out there. Please don't let me give up. Please, please, please don't forget about your heart.

I love you all so much goodnight and have a restful, reflective Sunday with those you love. I know I will be thinking of those people tomorrow.

Friday, April 25, 2008

An Arctic Home Supplement: The News From Nunivak Island.

April 25, 2008: The Fear of Falling Through

Well its been a quiet day on Nunivak, my island in the Bering Sea. Spring is a strange time for the residents of Mekoryuk. Ruby and Duggan, two elementary school boys around town, have had a wonderful time enjoying the meteorological confusion that is break up season here in Alaska. The snow nearly completely melted last week on the island leaving massive deepened puddles of flooding runoff, but in the confusion of the season, the weather has reverted back to the cold grip of winter once again.

With temperatures plummeting and snow falling again, all of said puddles have become tiny opportunities for adolescent adventure. Ruby can be seen egging Duggan on all over town as they tromp around testing out the structural integrity of the ice puddles around the village. A small Indiana Jones climactic drama plays out over and over again. Ruby dares Duggan to test out the ice of doom, Duggan tells him to go first, a punch on the arm and a purple nurple follow until one of the boys tentatively ventures into the puddle. Due to a fairly accurately placed painful ear flick by Duggan, Ruby is forced to attempt the treacherous crossing in shame. As if life itself depends on a successful crossing, Ruby slowly inches across the cracking brown ice, the ultimate goal to reach the other side in safety. This frozen abyss is a particularly deep and nasty puddle and Ruby, with and almost paraperceptual understanding of the physics of ice cracking, senses that catastrophe is soon at hand and decides to make a sprint for the edge. The added sudden instant pressure and movement causes the entire puddle to crumble before him as he dashes for the other side, as if going faster would make the ice crack less quickly. He leaps for the edge and lands in the hard snow and panting and soaked from the waste down.

Ruby gets up and snaps ashamed at his friend, "Duggan, I dare you to cross the pit of doom now you buttface!"

Buttface has a sting to it. Luckily, the consequences of hurting those you love as a small child are usually forgotten by the next frozen puddle.

Duggan obviously wouldn't attempt a suicide mission and takes the complimentary charley-horse without protest. Bygons are left to be bygons.

I myself am watching these action sequences and an epic sunset tonight at 11pm or so out my window. It is 3 deg. F. outside with the windchill, everything has frozen back to solid ice, the new galoshes I bought yesterday are useless and have been shelved in lieu of the Sorel Caribou boots once again. I put my parka back on, winter is back here in Mekoryuk. With that a slight sigh of dismay, dissapointment and sometimes relief is collectively breathed by the kids at the teen game room across from the school house. They pace back and forth smoking cigarettes with a troubled look on their face in front of a game room that is almost maniacally placed directly across from the large barn red aluminum sided school house that taunts them day in and day out.

You see, some of the older students have subconsciously slipped back into their own internal winters at the Nuniwarmiut School. If nature can change its mind back why can't a teen ager? A good student who was once a trouble maker considers and possibly acts on returning to their winter of poor choices. A bad student who was once good, witnesses the see sawing of possibilities of meteorology and un-purposefully decides to leave the dark side once again. Teenagers live in an uncertain world and when the world is crumbling around them or at least having a hard time deciding what it is, a teen's decision to choose an image, personality, character or way of life is crucial. When every thing is changing possibly for the worse, or even more worse, possibly for the better, the fear of the cracking sound of the looming future beneath the feet of a teenager can cause panic and sudden movements and motions and outbursts of butt-faced anger.

And so it went this week at school, choices and decisions and erratic destructive behavior of students like panicked dashes and sprints for the safety and comfort of being their old "Bad" selves. Little did Ruby Icewalker, or the older Darth students know that if they would have remained calm, acted cautiously, and moved slowly they could have possibly made it to the other side dry and warm. The scary uncertainty of a soggy fall to the depths of happiness and success can be horrifying for teenager. To think that the cold, dark, depressing teen world of misguided choices, misunderstanding and unfairness, drama and tragedy might someday give way to a life where they will be responsible for their own happiness and well being is too horrifying to bare. Better make a leap for it I guess. Or, maybe get better at picking which puddles to walk across.

Well that's the news from my Island in the Bering Sea, where the sky gray, the snow is white (again) and the air and life usually have a bite.

Overalls Friday

I feel like I've been hit with a mac truck. I wore my overalls today...but I didn't really mean it. I got home and made brownies for some pot luck. David Bowie was not played. I didn't really mean it. I'm writing this post right now, and I am just too tired to really give up much in the way of spiritual or emotional or humorous insights on life. I think I'm totally wiped out. I'm going to go deliver these loveless brownies, choke down some odd colored stew, various salads, and some sort of wild game dish and sit with a bunch of people who won't really talk to me, then I'm going to come home and lie on the couch like a vegetable and fall asleep quickly if I'm lucky. I rented a awful movie in case I'm too tire to sleep. I really hope you all are having a fun and exciting Friday night...maybe I'll post later after a nap...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday From Hell Update

My students have dissapointed me greatly. I don't even know how to express my feelings right now. I hope they know how unbelievably immature and childish they are being. I can't believe the complete inability to see the forest from the trees. I guess I'm supposed to be understanding but maybe I just refuse to accept that this behavior lately is normal. I can't even go into it, but all I know is that if they don't watch it they are going to step in a pile of shit that they may never clean from their boots. Heed Warning you little buggers. That being said, Heres some positive updates.

Musical Artist Update: Neil Young's newish album "Prairie Wind" is really rather spectacular. I feel like I can hear the closing of a life in his every word and its not a sad thing. Each song carefully crafts a memory about "A Painter" or a dream or "This old Guitar." This album gives me hope that I can still turn out substantial music when I am nearing the sunset of life. I have been waking up to this wonderful album everyday with my coffee and classroom work before the devil freak babies arrive.

NEW BLOG FEATURES!!!!! So I added some new banners to the side bar. The www.nothingbutnets.net banner allows you to play a quick game and by doing so donates a malaria net to children in Africa. TheHungerSite.com A Click a Day donates food enough for one meal by simply clicking on it every day you could feed a lot of people in no time at all. The last one is a Kiva.org International loan website banner that shows third world people looking for loans that you can help sponsor to get out of poverty through honest hard work (they have 99% pay back rate). So check out all these cool visual links that really could do some good in no time at all!

Things I'm loving: My brand new galoshes! I just bought a pair of shiny black rainboots and they rule! Also, phone calls from best friends! So uplifting to hear from them. I'm also loving and embracing my "Native" accent. I can't help it, it just bubbles up constantly. Loving my bright white freaky sunglasses. I used to have a pair just like them and it is so damn bright here that I just love to put them on and hide behind them. I also love the Aminor chord in the Key of C. It has changed my world. I'm also loving my Ringing Cedars pendant! It makes me feel better for some reason knowing that its collecting all my cosmic goodness and giving it back to me in times of need. I'm also loving the blog love! 80 hits yesterday you hard core mother SHUT your mouth, you're all some bad mamma jammas. Also, I've renewed my love for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Ginger Ale.


Things I despise: Walking on the snow then amazingly breaking through down to my knees. Nothing frustrates me more than my inability to step 2 feet down into slush (thus boots). I also have major problem with the idiotic and ignorant language of my students i.e. "Fag" "Homo" "Retarded" and "Gay." I had one student call the internet connection "Lesbian" today. I was shocked and felt sorry for the lack of awareness that he had. I also despise thievery. I hate people who steal, it is farking deplorable. I also hate not knowing who my principal is going to be next year.
Music Update: Will Pearson's poem "Fragile Things" turned into song has gotten almost 2000 plays on my music website! Oh my god! It in the top 50 of the Folk Rock genre charts and in the top 1000 for the whole site thanks to everyone! Way to go y'all. I'm also soooo pleased with a new song I just wrote called "Its been a long time" all about the coming spring.

I don't have much else to update. I needed to blog to some good music and be centered because days like today have deeply saddened me about the progress that can be wiped out in education by student's self destructive and moronic choices. I will just try to go back tomorrow and start all over. I don't think students read this much anymore but if you are one right now, and you made some decisions lately that didn't feel good afterward, you need to know that you are out of control and you need to take some time to reflect on what you're doing to those around you. I hope the best for all my students, but even I have to draw the line at plain wrong sometimes, youth aside. Get it together already.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Humpday Umpdate put on hold.

I got some house guests today. Gary and Pam will be staying with me for a couple of weeks teaching welding and drivers education here in Mekoryuk. I've spent most of the night just chit chatting away with these warm hearted Texans. I love them! They are a cute and quirky couple and don't mind them a bit. We've been talkin' up a storm and they talk in the familiar old school language of my youth. I'll double up tomorrow hopefully and give everyone out there in Radiation World a quality post. Have a wonderful weeks close my friends. Do I say that I love you all ever? Well I think now might be the time. I do. I love each and every one of you out there. I'm filled with good feelings and I'm radiating them out your way!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Arctic Home Supplement: The News from Nunivak Island

April 22nd, 2008: "Spring Mud Love"

It was another quiet day here in Mekoryuk, my island in the Sea. I saw a small arctic song bird perched on a railing outside my window last night. His tiny sweet chirping calls officially announced the arrival of spring in my book. His neighbor the arctic fox has stripped down to his summer fur already and walks the morning dawn with the scraggle and scrap of a gnarly beach bum. Its not the beautiful flower filled fragrant spring of my youth but a clouded, muddy disaster of melting snow and tundra fudge. But the little guys keep chirping along happily and beachtown combing in the 11pm sun, at least the birds and foxes here seem to be optimists.

I've started shoveling the snowbank outside my home onto the path into our arctic entry to try and discourage large quantities of mischievous mud from creeping its way inside, freeloading a ride on the treads of my boots. Time to bust out the old rubber boots again. Nothing instills a sense of the oncoming spring mess in a Nunivak local like the smell of wet rubber in the morning.

April's almost over already, this baffles the locals over at the US Postal Service trailer. They speak of ice break up and early or late seal hunting. April. Always an oddly looking thing. Awkward, stuttering and stopping, unsure of its identity. Am I Winter? Am I Summer? Oh I can't make up my mind. Whoa is me the Spring.

Snow machine enthusiast are out getting their last heart pounding throttle junky rides of the year in, skipping and weaving through the last patches of decaying snow. Like wise, the snow has melted and sprung four-wheelers and trucks from their winter prison sentence and a few of those have been squirting and sliding around town. Their time to shine is only months away and Nunivak locals are out in the fading evening hours tinkering and tooling up their chariots of the tundra.

A Nunivak mud puddle is a marvelous thing. Half mud, one quarter puddle, and twenty-five percent tundra flavored slush puppy. Upon walking across a seemingly innocent mud patch an unsuspecting person could suddenly find themselves shin deep in a pool of frozen earthen Slurpee delight.

The kids in The Nuniwarmiut School have crawled to a standstill. The overwhelming burden of extra light and looming summer fun have occupied such major percentages of their brain space that several of the more rambunctious students have even conceded to a simple mulling about in mindless contemplation of freedom.

Spring is a time of change, and students know change better than most, although they deal with it as poorly as the rest of us. Every year around this time they have to say goodbye to another chapter of their lives. As adults it all seems to mesh together. But as students we had clear markers of our time on earth. 4th grade. 7th Grade. Sophomore. Senior. Every year a new title. A new position. A new challenge. A new song. A new fad. A new slang word. A new love.

The young spring love is a powerful thing. Spring is an important time for love. The rest of the animal kingdom is preparing to breed and young Nunivak teens are positioning and promenading for their summer romances. There is a sense of desperation in the air as the final month of the year comes to a close. One last chance to impress that potential summer love before the final bell sounds for the year.

Of course in the Nuniwarmiut School there are no bells, only the final slamming metal doors of another year spent trying to survive an encounter with the dangerous educators of American bullshit.

The locals are talking about it too. The amount of conversation at the Nima Corporation town General Store usually revolves around fish camp, berry picking, boat engine repair, bird hunting and halibut fishing. These activities hold meaning, this is where the Nunivak residents shine. Their natural habitat is the cool outdoor air of the sea. Their natural mindset is the earnest effort of survival and hard work doing worthwhile tasks. We should all be so lucky.

Thats the news from Nunivak Island, my village in the Bering Sea, where the snow is gray, the sky is white and the day is slowly winning over the night.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Chillage In the Village

I wrote a song today called "Its Been A Long Time." Instead of sharing my Normal Monday thoughts I'll just let you guess how it went from the lyrics. Click the hyperlinked titled above to listen.

There's spring around
And I don't feel the cold anymore (anymore)
I think I just heard
The chirp of a bird outside my window (my window)

And its been a long time
Since I felt alive
And its been a long way
Since I've felt this way
I'm gonna have a good day today

Time will tell
How long the ice will last (its going fast)
I might as well
Say goodbye to the past (Its kickin my ass)

And its been a long time
Since I felt alive
And its been a long way
Since I've felt this way
I'm gonna have a good day today
I'm gonna have a wonderful day today

I hope you all had a good day today. Much love and send me some poems quick I'm feeling creative!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekly Update 4/20

I made it back to the island today on a sideways flying plane. Winds were up to 70 knots at times today and I can admit the landing was awkward and nerve wracking. But I made it thank goodness (not a substitute for God) simply thank the goodness and skills of the daring pilot. Its a very special day for several reasons. My cousin Brianna and her Husband John had a baby boy today "Haywood Frances" in their home. Congratulations !

I will discuss other aspects of this unique day around the world after the update.

Musical Artist of the Week: I am bored with my music. I WANT YOU TO TELL ME WHO YOUR ARTIST OF THE WEEK IS. SO PLEEEEEEEEEAAAAASE comment and share about what you're diggin this week in the world of tunage so we can all get some of that action! Thanks...

Old Person Phrase of the Week: "Joshin Around" Now I'm not sure who the original Josh was that caused so much trouble to earn this phrase for goofin off but he must have put Dennis the Menace to shame. Make sure you turn around to your kids in the back seat and yell "QUIT JOSHIN AROUND BACK THERE!" or when someone says, "Whatcha doin there pardner?" You can reply "Just Joshin around" or "I'm just Joshin' you."

Weather On Nunivak: Its been a windy week here in Mekoryuk. Warm low pressure front has raised temperatures to a balmy 45 deg. F at times but we are currently right above freezing with a blustery snowfall. It might be enough to cover up the feet of snow that have melted and flooded the town of Bethel as well as my island. I think the big thaw is here, but I'm gonna give it a couple of more days before I really believe spring is on its way.

Weblinks of the Week: Every week I have to ask myself what have I been looking at on the web? Well this week I haven't done anything but look at peoples blogs. I said I read over twenty a day, this isn't as crazy as it sounds, many people don't update them often, so its a click and them move along if their is nothing new. I also have 12 student blogs, 5 partner teacher's student blogs and then all the ones I read on my own. You can link to all of these through my blog links to the right. I like to call it blog surfing. You just ride the blogs and their comments and go around surfing peoples blogs and its fun. You should try it!

Art Update for the Week: Obviously no one else has sent in a poem because you haven't heard any new songs playing when you log onto the blog. SEND ME POEMS PLEASE!!!! I don't want to abandon the project especially now that some of the song collaborations are now ranking in the top 1000 on the entire site (out of 25,000) and in the top fifty for the folk/acoustic/poet rock Genre! Other projects have slowed but I'm really looking forward to playing some live music this summer, so I'm always practicing!

Readership/ClustR Map Update: Its true, we broke some records last week. 88 visitors in one day, and over 2000 since the beginning of February. Some red dots keep growing and others keep popping up in the most peculiar of countries. I just wish I could hear from this wonderful people from far away!

BiG UPs! This weeks BiG UPs goes to one of my best friends in the world, Randall Sloot. Yesterday was his birthday, I couldn't really call him, but I know today he's celebrating another personal holiday and having a good time. He also sent me a cool postcard a week or so ago that really got me pumped up for summer. So Randall, Big Ups yaself brodda, Mad Respect.

Last Thoughts: Today is April 20th, Otherwise known as 420 or FourTwenty. Several things have happened on this day in history.

In 1889 Hitler was born and Nazi's everywhere probably remember this and celebrate it like the psychos they are. Get over it you nutjobs.

In 1999 Two students went into Columbine High School and massacred a bunch of their peers and teachers and set a new precedent for youth violence in America.

And somewhere in the 70-80's a counter culture holiday was born. If you don't know about four twenty maybe its time you should know (I mean it might explain a lot tomorrow), because a very very very large part of the American population will be "Miraculously" stupider tomorrow than any other particular Monday for the rest of the year. You see 420 is basically the international day to smoke tons of Marijuana. Where it came from has many stoner stories and myths and legends (Grateful Dead tours, high school kids in California, 420 is the police code for marijuana possession). These are as diverse and fairly mindless as the character typed smokers themselves. I'm not saying I condone this Counter-Culture Holiday or Marijuana use, I'm more simply trying to point out that right now around the world more people are smoking pot than during any other time in the other 364 days of the year. Not only that, they are smoking more pot than they normally would just like your crazy uncle Larry eats too much on Thanksgiving or your wino Aunt Clarice drinks too much on Christmas. Stoners world wide will smoke themselves into a comatose like stupor tonight starting at the international time of day to smoke pot (4:20pm is the official time of day everyday) watching popular drug movies and participating in "Stoner" Activities like staring at "Magic Eye" books, and will also wake up tomorrow in a furry fuzzy slowmotion haze dreading the work week and the return back to the obligations of the reality they so humorously left behind the day before.

So tomorrow, when you come across a sleepy looking fellow, seemingly lost, or slightly off their game, don't hassle them or come down on them, they're sleeping off a lot of THC in their system. I'm not saying you should reward them, but yelling at a stoner isn't going to work, its best just to let them sort of wander through their day and they'll be better the next one. In fact, a far more humorous and fun activity is to mess with them in their vulnerable state. I suggest buying a bunch of Urine Analysis cups and setting them on your desk tomorrow. Watch the eyes dance and the hearts race as students and workers panic all around you. And, just because the person doesn't have dread locks or talk about reggae music doesn't mean they didn't participate in the holiday today. Tomorrow morning is the best time of the entire year to figure out who smokes pot at your work or in your immediate surroundings. Simply observe your students and colleagues, take note of any slow and confusing behavior and ask simple questions like "what did you last night?" or "what were we just talking about?" If they studder and stammer for an answer or are just plain stumped for an answer you can basically take a wild guess about what they got into the night before. Messing with stoners is a fun and often comedic workplace activity. So. teachers and workers of RW land, now you know tomorrow is gonna be off a bit. Don't say I didn't warn ya. You live in America with people of all types, you should at least know this about them tomorrow.

Well thats all from my town of Mekoryuk, Alaska, where the snow is white, the sky is gray and the wind blows all day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Anchorage, Franti, Love.

I'm glad I can type, because I've lost my voice from screaming and singing last night at the show. Franti and Spearhead were incredible. It wasn't just because I've been on an island in the Bering Sea all winter. They were tight, Franti is more controlled on guitar, they played new music, and the scene was homey and wholesome. I danced a ton! Ran into some festival kids I recognized and made a bunch of new friends in Anchorage. I even got to go out to breakfast with some of them. The night was amazing.

I HAD SO MUCH FUN. I got "White Lightning" as I'm calling her, her being a White Dodge Caravan. I made a special mix for the trip, its great to be on my own, driving, listening to tunes, oh yeah its a very tropical 45 degrees here too! Man this trip was just what I needed right now. I'm gonna go pick the kids up soon. I'll write more and add pictures as soon as I get a chance!

EVERYONE DESERVES MUSIC!!!!!

OK I JUST ADDED PHOTOS.

As you can see he had an amazing backdrop behind him on stage. It basically was a version of a multi handed Hindu god but instead of an elephant trunk it had a gas mask and in each hand there is a different American sin like cheeseburgers, guns, airplanes as well as smokestacks and puppetry stuff, in the middle there is a baby being born in a TV and the whole thing is being supported by the dead. He's saying something here. The Anchorage Daily News gave it a crappy review and I was kind of pissed off. The last time America was engaged in an over seas conflict that we should never have started, an entire counter cultural movement took place. Now something so similar is happening and only a few musicians like Franti, Xavier Rudd, John Butler Trio, Eddie Vedder, are speaking out against it in the name of peace. Where is the movement? Then some blowhard in the ADN has the nerve to bring him down. I just don't get it. I guess its not cool to stand up for a peaceful existence anymore. WHATEVER. YOU ROCK FRANTI YOU TOTALLY FREAKING ROCK.

The rest of the trip was awesome too. We took the kids to the mall and then cosmic bowling. They did super good for their first times. I bowled over 15o both games so I'm all sharpened up to kick my brothers ass this summer.

We went swimming this morning in the pool (I still smell like chlorine after the shower ech!) And now I'm chillin at the airport waiting for my plane at 1:30. I don't think I'm gonna make my connection in Bethel so it looks like another night in paradise. I'll fill in some other details when I get back into Mekoryuk just in time for the Weekly Update.

MUCH LOVE!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Humpday Umpdate: The Power Of Routine and Improvisation

Sometimes routine can save you. Like how my body woke up right on time even though I fell asleep on the couch in exhaustion last night.
Sometimes impulse and improvisation can fuel you...that will take more time to explain...
You see, I'm packing up and blowin' this popsicle stand. Weathers lookin' alright and after the longest three days in school I've had in a while I decided that this is a well deserved break from the rock. Going to see a political activist funk and reggae dance groove boogie down positive energy jedi yoga dojo master like Michael Franti and his merry band of ass kicking friends otherwise known as Spearhead might be just what I need to fill my heart with that summer beat of warmth necessary to propel me through 4 plus more weeks of what I have just experienced this week.

Musical Artist Update: Likewise, the Digable Planets from their early 90's albums "Blowout Comb" and "Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Spice)" have been makin' my days more bearable too. In the early 90's when gangster rap was making it big in California and Orange county rappin about drugs, killin, women, and the ghetto, a group of three jazzy classy funky boogie down kids from Brooklyn were starting a whole new style of words and beats. Digable Planets are two guys and a girl who basically lay down some very chilled out lyrical journeys over smoky jazz and funk beats from the New York streets. If you've never really been comfortable with RAP music, I would try these guys out, they are street hipness meets Beat Poetry meats black rights meets funky outerspace monologue.

Cool Book: Not sent by the Expander, rather Erin in O-ville, but I couldn't resist. Lamb by Christopher Moore, a book about "Biff" the best childhood friend of Jesus has sparked my interest. It is a total work of fiction, but oh what imaginative, blasphemous fiction it is. I caught myself laughing out loud as I read it during Silent Sustained Reading time in class today.

Consistency of Students: It never ceases to amaze me at how quickly my students can turn over a new leaf and then also immediately turn it back over. Constantly I have students that go from a break through of their mind and dreams then sabotage themselves directly afterwards. Or, students that have royally screwed up life that find a way to battle back to a sliver of hope only to shut the door again. Its been so long since I've had other students that I can't remember if this is all kids or just my own here.

Numbers: 1968, how many visits we've had here on RW in almost two months. 35, the amount of dollars I had to pay to see Michael Franti. 5, the amount of digits in my bank account. 30,000, the amount of dollars more than said savings digits that I owe on my student loan. 11, the time of night the sun sets. 36, the amount of days till I fly away from here. 28, the amount of blogs I look at a day. 3, the days till my friend Randall's Birthday. 3, also the amount of weeks I've gone without watching even one television program. 3, also the slices of pizza I just ate. 3, also the amount of times I've listened to the same Digable Planets album today. 2, the loads of laundry I have to do tonight, 2 the bags I have to pack tonight also. 2, the albums I've bought on iTunes this week alone. 1, thing that I think about most SUMMER.

Favorite word of the week: FUNKANAUT- noun, half funky half astronaut.

My America: Parades, County Fairs, Rodeos, Fireworks, Baseball, grass, riding bikes, the park, sprinklers, BBQ's, horse shoes, beach volleyball, bluegrass, picnics, tents, bonfires, freshwater lakes, coca cola classic, mountains and high fives.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday...The Power Of Community

Today school got out at 1:30pm for a funeral service for two of our teacher's youngest son. He died in the company of his family before the age of one. The church was packed to mourn the loss of the affectionately nicknamed "Lil Guy." The service was very nice and upbeat throughout. Pastor Hanna said some good words. Regardless I don't particularly like days where I attend a baby funeral and view the body of an infant. I've never dealt with death well. I don't usually cry. Its not that I fear it, its actually something that has always bothered me because I usually seem to feel numb about it. I had never seen a body until I came here to Mekoryuk. Now I've seen three in eight months and each time it makes me uncomfortable. Death is so definite and universal. I think its the stillness that affects me the most. The family was strong and seemed very grateful for all the community support.

After the tiny casket was buried on the hill overlooking the ocean, there was a large potluck in the school gymnasium. Everyone ate themselves to capacity and it was a very joyful time. Musk Ox, Reindeer, salmon, cake, pasta, soda, meatloaf, ham, turkey, salads, gamy soups, I can't remember the last time I ate so much. There were children playing, elders laughing, teen agers trying to be cool. I think that its one of the semi comforting truths about the loss of life, even in great pain life will continue. I think it is the simple fact that this life is definite that makes the necessity for hope so powerful. I'm getting better at adapting church teachings to my life. One of the things that was said at the service was how when you love children, sick children, helpless children, or needy people in general, you are really loving and helping Jesus/God and you will be rewarded in the end. I kind of interpreted it as the act of loving and helping the sick, poor, unfortunate or in need, your really are loving the goodness of humanity and in turn helping yourself better reflect and live out your meaning and that is your reward. Small children, babies, the mentally disabled are really just the only true innocent free souls on earth and the older we get the more we try to get back to that feeling. By watching the little ones, the simple ones, the laughing and playing ones and even the sick ones we are really learning little gifts of how to get back to that important blissful state of youth. I think that is what the power of a community is, how, against all odds, children are cared for. Some communities are powerful. Some are weak. Either way the children play, and laugh and smile until they can no longer. The power of community is the happiness of the children.

Despite the confronting of the death of a baby today, it was an alright day. The sunshine was spectacular and the air is bitter cold. Thankfully loss seems to bring out the good and civility in all of us for at least one day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday...The Power of Apathy

Ok. I'm gonna take a cue. Complaining isn't my forte. The only times I've received negative comments on this blog is when I complain. So I'm just gonna spit what I see and feel and hopefully it makes you chuckle and think and dammit disagree, just identify yourself, stand up with your nametag and say bullshit. It won't be organized, pointed or even coherent. This is a ramble, dig?

Its just another quiet day here the town of Mekoryuk. Except its Monday. Except its spring is here. Except the days are ending at 11pm. Except...At the Nuniwarmiut School its a very special Monday. Its the first regular Monday we've had in almost a month. It wasn't even normal, it started as a half day because of a funeral in the works but was turned into a full day after second period after it was postponed to tomorrow. By regular, I mean seven periods. You see with state testing, culture weeks, NYO events, Urban exchange students, Washington D.C. Trips, and Senior Trips we've been running about a month of half days, partial days and large percentages of our student population missing and today our students emerged from an apathetic haze of winter into the dissatisfaction of another spring spent indoors listening to blow hards who don't get them. It makes for an odd schedule and an odd way of education her in Mekoryuk. It makes the goal of the day different. Instead of teachers and students mentally preparing for the gauntlet of seven periods of a pointless charade, one only must properly mentally armor themselves till lunch. With the realization of four painful weeks left of fairly lowered expectations, creativity and attendance I have a couple students that have "Given Up" (a rightful response I might argue later) and a few students who have realized they can use this time to cheat the system to their advantage (yet another equally noble course). Giving up is a strong lesson too. Watching others accelerate their lives while you nod away your life is a lesson. Screw the notes, the grades, the expectations the system and its framework. Failure is lesson, it just takes a longer time to deliver the grade. And if I could I would give grades for self destruction, apathy, and sadness, they at least are real lessons. How to write an "Expository Essay" doesn't really mean anything to me.

The best/worst part of teaching is how closely it mirrors characters of life outside of school. The parallels constantly astound me. Asleep in class, asleep on the job. Driven to pass a class, driven to get a promotion. Daydreaming off in to space......daydreaming off into space. Happy go lucky, baby mama drama, relationship wars, bipolar behavior, smugness, sass, depression, hope its all the same whether you're in a classroom or a cubicle. So this kind of brought me to a lot of realizations. When you have a class of four and one is out with a broken foot another with a passing of a lost baby brother, how do you teach probability in math and expect the students to stay on the same level? Differentiate that lesson muchacho. Those who show up rule the world I guess, or at least the ones who drink coffee. When you have students who have no possible chance of passing a class, why are they still required to come? Couldn't they be learning sleeping in and sitting on their ass? What is the point of school. Is it just about checking email and getting lunch...maybe. We can stand at the front of the class, and spout forth the thoughts of those who have come before us in a desperate attempt to somehow catch students up to our reality or the realities of the blunt force trauma of life, or the realities that we desperately tried to avoid then were forced to live. But unless we are showing them to feel and think for themselves and figure out how they participate in life then we really aren't doing anything. And that was exactly how I felt today, barfing and farting forth pointless knowledge to students that need more than that. They didn't seem to care regardless so we're even in my book.

Class isn't about the topic. Its about the game, its about the attitude, its about the social interaction of life. Whether you're in middle school, high school in a Eskimo village, or a Harvard lecture, or cubicle or a factory line its all about people and what they ask you to do and how you respond. What students need to learn is that teachers don't know much about anything. They just know what they think they know about a topic, they know what they have to get across to cover their ass, and they know what they had to go through that they will somehow expect you to go through...well...because its all they know. They want students to succeed in life, but with that genuine concern comes an expectation of what their success is. And that can be even more depressing and hopeless than any content. Then they ask their students to do things. Its not about content. Its about doing what is asked of them...pointed or pointless...or figuring out how to safely get around doing what is asked of you. So what I really mean is that I feel like it should be the job of teachers, bosses, and people to show people how to do what needs to be done quickly and definitively so that the mind is free to pursue more meaningful endeavors. So what should I do, teach them biology, math, writing, or should I teach them how to rock at the endless journey of finding the meaning of life, our evolutionary curse and advantage as humans, the illusion that things matter. I don't seem to care about content anymore...it actually is becoming more and more pointless to even me. Thats a problem. I don't care about "What" I am teaching. I care about attitude, I care about how people treat each other, I care about the now, I care that my students let go of last night, relax about tomorrow and focus on a positive current moment of now. Only by stringing a bunch of those seemingly impossible buggers together might you have a shot at something to hang your hat on.

I mean the most confusing and dangerous part of life, in my opinion, comes when someone knows something for certain. It is those thoughts that will be destroyed perpetually or propagated into solidification by fear. Life is change. I will look back on this diatribe with disgust or compassionate understanding and affection someday, maybe tomorrow. Knowing is momentary. And these students are being drug through a cylindrical wash of thought garbage until one day if they get the spin down well enough we deposit them battered and bruised in an SAT/ACT/GPA packaged cube of shit held together by a masking tape of theological war wounds into an early adulthood where we pretend they have the skills to survive and oh how proud we are that we helped them get there. Even worse, we say go to college, the place where you might have a shot at a chance to think for yourself for the first time (and only those who do will be successful...whatever). But, oh yea, you've been denied the adult pleasures of life so now you can have them until you gorge yourself, and binge and become an addict to the things that will plague you for the greater part of your life. Only then, after surviving and relapsing and spurting and starting and stopping your life will you get a shot at learning from your mistakes. Waking up one day and only after an immense failure or letdown are you free to start over again with nothing to lose. Its success that hinders us. Its out of control.

I want to create warriors. Thought warriors for themselves and their meaningful dreams of bolgna and cheese. I'm sick of pretending like disagreeing is wrong and amoral. No my students can not call each other fags (gay people rule). No I will not shut up about the dangers of religion (its not the only way). No I will not let men rule the world (women are amazing). No I will not pretend like this subject crap matters (because it really doesn't). The only way I can remain in the education field is because of the back door lessons that you can sneak in through the system of class. I am an undercover spy. And now I guess the secret is out. You gotta get the system, so you can change the system by showing the systematic robots how you're gonna do it, so you can break free from the system, so that you can make your own system, so that others can break your system so that you can finally learn the ultimate lesson that you don't know squat and thats okay. Or, if you like the system, work it good, don't like the system because its sameness and safety.

Days like today where I have to play the part, deep undercover of a responsible educator teaching meaningful blabber are the days that I come home and write things like this. I don't have a problem with sleeping students. Its effective. Its a point. Its a statement that says your mumble doesn't interest me (why should it?). What I have a problem with is that when I sit down and try to teach a student how to start telling the world to "blow off I'm doing it my way" they can't even raise an eyebrow to that. That right there is some awesome apathy. That is something truer than I'll ever know. It takes a mighty force to create something like that, pressure and time and heat like granite or a diamond. I don't know whats more powerful, a student who stands up and screams and hollers and throws you through a window, or a student that, with out falter, with out fail, like the sun and moon and tides, simply finds no interest in anything you have to say ever. If that is happening to you, as it is sometimes me, You and I need to listen real hard to that silent student who says nothing, because you know what, apparently neither we.

I don't want to leave on a depressing note but those notes have valor too. These things just have to be said. Not for you. But for me. I need to vent, its part of the human condition, this "complaining" as my anonymous critic calls it. You know what I call it, identifying my own hypocrisy out in the open so that I can gander at it with open eyes for a while, shifting my weight back and forth till I can make sense of it. Complaining, no, reflection of my own failures. When my complaints hit paper I see them clearer.

Today, in the true words of my students, "sucked." I encourage this word by the way simply because I like to go against the grain (I also got caught with a hat on chewing gum so how adult am I?). Today sucked because I in fact sucked as well. I wasn't prepared, I didn't care all that much and I made today this shitty all on my own. Tomorrow will not be a repeat.

Toast those complaint marshmallows on an open fire, get some perspective crackers and some Hershey's who gives a rats ass and make yourself a delicious S'more sandwich of whats new. Either way its something to digest and crap out. Peace.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Songs For Poet Collaboration Album

I finished two new songs today. Click on the hyperlinks below to hear them or enjoy them when they come around on the IAC player to the right.

Chrissy Engstrom's Poem "Baby I've been Bad"
has been made into a song and I'm really happy how it turned out.

And Due to the fact that I couldn't stand how bad my voice was I have recut a song:

Will Pearson's poem "Fragile Things"
I feel this song is much better than the previous version.

Now Read the Weekly Update Below.

Weekly Update "I Still Gotta Long Way to Go"

Its Sunday my friends, religious or not, this is a day of rest, reflection, food, peaceful afternoons and good times. I just returned from a students birthday party, with my tail tucked between my legs having lost a NCAA Football 2007 match against the birthday boy in Playstation 2. Even though it was a total blow out, I'll get him yet.

So now I'm sitting hear writing the weekly update, and I have a warm happiness in my heart, and I can't really explain why.

Musical Recommendation of the Week: Run, don't walk, to get Railroad Earth's album "Elko." I had heard good things and a couple of songs of theirs but little did I know that this band would scorch to the top of my favorites ALL TIME list. This live album sounds like a studio record and 4-5 of the songs are 12 min plus jams. Blending Bluegrass, rock, folk and amazing songwriting, this band just takes you to that dreamy part of a song overlooking a bluff of flowers and lets you wander around. Since no one ever responds to my music suggestions I will just say that you are a fool if you don't get this band in your life, it would be like living without eating utensils, they are that important for a basic happy life.

Old Person Phrase of the Week: "Jeepers Creepers" This one comes right out of the Grampa Wicks handbook. He used to go around singing, "Jeepers Creepers, what about them peepers" I have no idea what it means but it always made me laugh. You can say it in astonishment or disapproval or surprise.

Weather on Nunivak: Well the locals are talking, looks like its gonna be a late spring. I heard some people talking about not seal hunting till May, which apparently is really late. Although we had a nasty storm come in, its now super warm outside. Thats right, the NOAA weather station at our airport is reporting a BALMY 35 deg. F at the moment with a bluster 30-40 mph wind comin right outta the West. All the snow we got has quickly melted away and muddy patches of Tundra are starting to poke through.

Weblink of the Week: The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. Ever wonder where all your crap comes from? Ever wonder where it all goes? This story/narrated video is a great resource for any teacher to show kids from 4th grade up that teaches us about all our consumerism and material possessions and where they come from and go when we dispose of them. Its very appropriate for those end of the year classes that seem to need something out of the ordinary to keep the attention of wandering minds.

Art Update of the Week: I'm still accepting poems and album title ideas for the poetry song collaboration album I'm working on. Three poems have been submitted, two songs made, and I'm going to work on the next one this evening. Other than that I haven't been doin much, although I feel a great creative force welling up inside of me. I can't wait to see what a change of scenery this summer will do to my playing style.

ClustRmap Update: After some big readership days at the end of this week, RW had the lowest day in a long time yesterday, 16 readers...which is still AWESOME! We keep picking up international readers in the Middle East, Africa, and South America. I'm so curious to hear these people thoughts and contributions to the blog. So if you're an international reader let us meet you! Speak up and spread some global love our way!

BIG UPS: Ever wonder how I get all those dots in Europe and Africa on my map? Well one woman is to thank for most of them. Stephie! This weeks big ups goes to my eternal festival dance partner and her dedication to spreading some global RW. Every country she goes to, if possible, she reads the blog gets me a dot. She also sends me post cards from all over the world which is always exciting up here on Nuniwarmiut. As she finishes up her amazing adventure in Europe I wish her safe travels on her flight home to America. Thanks Safiatu!

Movies to see or NOT: I watched two musical movies this weekend. One I thought I would love and one I didn't think would be very good. I was wrong, oppositely wrong. "Across the Universe" a very fictional movie about the 60's and 70's as seen through the eyes of several stylized youths constantly breaking into Broadway Musical style renditions of Beatles songs was so intolerable at times that I had to bring a garbage can near to me in case of a revulsion response of vomit. The graphics were very creative at times but the highlight of crappiness was when BONOR...I mean BONO from U2 (worst band ever) made a mockery of the Ken Kesey character and then miraculously broke into a very BONO rendition of some crappy Beatles song and then magically went back into character afterwards. I almost threw my Computer out the window. Be sure to enjoy the horrible impersonations of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin as well. I felt embarrassed to consider myself a hippie after watching this movie.

The only savior of the weekend was "A Prairie Home Companion." Another fictional musical about the popular weekend live music comedy show radio show created by Garrison Keillor. An all star cast of Meryl Streep, Lilly Tomlin, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Kevin Klein and GK himself made this movie a delight to watch. My grandparents used to make tapes of "Lake Wobegon" for us to listen to as kids and we would always laugh our butts off. This movie was amazing and made me feel more American.

PODCAST OF THE WEEK: APM's A Prarie Home Companion "The News from Lake Wobegon" by Garrison Keillor. I downloaded like 15 podcasts right after watching PHC and have been listening to them nonstop reliving my child hood. I recommend the March 8, 2008 episode all about Flatulence.

Last Thoughts: I'm still waiting on word from my mom and brother as to how the Elton John concert they attended last night in podunk Pullman Washington was. I'm sad I had to miss the always notorious Mom's Weekend at WSU. I'm sure it was really fun.

Some other things have been dawning on me lately. Music. Music. Music. I just feel like I have found something religious in music. Its something I can't imagine my life without it. I can't wait to see how much more I'll learn by the time I'm older.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mystery of the Books Continued.

I got another book today from a blog reader I assume, and the book is amazing. I don't know who it is that is sending these books, but I'm going to call you "The Expander" because these books that I'm being sent seem to know more about my life and interests than I could imagine someone could get from my blog. So I can say I'm deeply perplexed and intrigued by these random and appreciated books from The Expander.

Todays postal morsel of joy is possibly called "Remember, Be Here Now" by Richard Alpert, Ph.D who later turned into Baba Ram Dass. I can't really be sure on the title because it never really says. The first quarter of the book is printed in regular words and is about this guy's transformation through various substances to a spiritual life and yoga (I will read it and describe it better Expander so please don't think less of me for this brief explanation) and then the rest of the book is printed on Grocery Brown Bag type paper that appear to be printings of collages and screen prints of amazing pictures, words and thoughts. The end contains some additional text called "The Cook Book for a Sacred Life" which seems to outline how to live life.

I'll report more on both of the Expanders first books when I investigate them further. The reason I think I'm so receptive to these books are that this person doesn't seem to want to be recognized for giving them to me. Which is partly why I am frustrated with religion at times, the books, words and things seem like a person is pressing their reality on you when they give them to you. Like, this is my thing you think it now, Like a little part of their consciousness is being pushed on you. The Expander is Radiating Warmth my way, because I can't know who they are, so they're removing there "self" from the exchange of reality alteration. This messes with me because my name is plastered all over this damn blog and I subject you all to my changing and evolving thoughts on reality and the meaning of life constantly. But, I also don't force it on you, you're here reading it on your own ticket, and that changes the dynamic I hope.

This whole thing has caused me to want to start sending people stuff anonymously. Like here is a big life changing thing right in your mailbox. Who sent it isn't important. You just get it whether you were expecting it or not.

Well, I have a pretty expansively busy Sunday ahead of me tomorrow. I got invited to a student's birthday party at noon after church.

There were some other things that happened today in village life that were very sad. I think out of respect for the family's mourning process, I'll wait to comment on till later this week. Needless to say I'll be attending Church at least once this week, something I haven't done for months now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Overalls Friday

YEAH BABY! We made it, whew! I feel like this week was super chill here at school with a sneakily exhausting undertone. The Anchorage girls visiting our school for urban school exchange left today, I'm sure they had a fantastic time learning about village life. They had amazing weather and got to participate in culture week at school, so lucky. I had a fantastic time enjoying a quiet school again today. When they attended my biology class it soared the roster to almost 20 students in one room. I forgot what it was like to teach that many kids. The boys started showing off, the girls grouped up and got chatty. It was like watching a flock of birds or a herd of antelope.

Its so amazing to me that when more girls are around, the boys started calling each other "Fag" "Queer" and "Homo" and also hitting each other. This further supports the theory that a man's sexual prowess, power and prestige come from their masculinity. Teen age boys undermine each other's masculinity in order to impress the female (which is horrible). If you want to make me go ape shit as a teacher just call someone one of those names. I LOSE IT! Girls go about undermining each others desirability in different ways, they play complex social games that undermine each other's appearance and physical desirability. That is why I heard so many "What is she wearing?" "Her hair is ugly" and things like that under the breaths of my female students this week. I wonder if my students know that I often look at them like biological specimens in a social laboratory? Well just because I understand what is going on doesn't mean I accept it. My classroom will be free gender, racial, and sexual discrimination. Period.

In lighter news, I hosted open gym today. I made a roller rink mix on the iTunes and busted out our as of yet unused rollerblades! It was hilarious and they seemed to have a blast. Do you remember the roller rink? I do. I loved the roller rink. "Downtown" and all the other crappy music, the smell of feat, slushies, holding hands and skating, video games, nachos, falling. To bad the gym floor is soft and prevents and sort of preferable speed.

It looks like I have some community activities this weekend. I'm gonna go help some people with their computer tomorrow, and I got invited to one of my students birthday parties on Sunday. I also have to finish my Special Education "Teaching Self Determination" Class assignments for UAF. I'm almost done. But then there is planning 7 periods of educational instruction for next week.

Tonight I'm gonna curl up and watch "Across the Universe." It looks amazing and maybe I'll find the Beatles songs more tolerable when other people sing them. I'm really nervous about seeing one of my most despised musicians play one of my all time idols. BONO (baaaaaaaarf) play counterculture father/hero Ken Kesey. Trust me, I'll have something to say about it afterwards.

Due to my wishing and hoping, and a convenient ticketing error, I will be flying to Anchorage next Thursday to chaperon one boy on his way to Washington D.C. for one night with our "Close Up" History class. It also happens to just be the same weekend that Michael Franti and Spearhead are playing in Anchorage. It also just so happens that the only tickets left are for the free night I have and as long as I cover rental car and hotel the plane tickets will be free! Thats like 700 bucks! So if you don't believe in positive thought rethink your thinking of those thoughts!

Lastly, I got a book in the mail today. I have not idea who sent it to me. Its called "The Natural Mind" by Andrew Weil M.D. and I started reading it already. Its good so far. If you want me to read a book, (since I subconsciously poo poo suggestions for some reason) then you need to secretly and mysteriously send me a book, the mystery alone is enough to perk my interest. So now, FESS UP whoever you are because you're cool and I want to thank you. The coolest part was that it was addressed to "Gather Light Radiate Warmth Power to the Peaceful P.O. Box 102" yada yada yada. How cool.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Poem Inspired Songs


Song Collaboration with Will Pearson's poem "Fragile Things"

and

Song Collaboration with Katie Cugno's poem "Content"

(Click links for song info and lyrics!)

are playing on the IAC player top right at the moment. They are the first of many on this collaborative poem and music album as of yet to be given a title, taking suggestions on that as well.

Thanks to the poets, Chrissy's poem is next on the to do list, but keep sending them in!

Enjoy!

Sweet Journey, Snoring, Crapping, Lovable Beagle


I'm watching my neighbors dog, while they are in Anchorage. Her real name is "Sweet Journey." She's been very good so far. She snores though, and then has the dog audacity (dogdacity) to get up at the asscrack of dawn wanting a potty walk. Her breath smells bad too. She loves looking out the windows. I've set a chair up at each window in the house for her so she can watch the world while I'm at work. Well I need to go take her for her evening shat. Nothing says "Tough" in Alaska like walking a crapping beagle with protective booties in the evening. Overalls, are washed, school is tomorrow. Damn, I need this Friday.

I've got Poem submissions for the collaborative album from two poets (Thanks Chrissy and Will and Katie for letting me just plain HiJack yours)!!!!! I turned one into song, and will start the other as soon as possible. Keep em coming folks!!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Humpdate Update...the abbreviated version.

Well I had planned on doing a full fledged update today. Then I got summoned to help take the 5 kassak girls from West High in Anchorage and their German teacher Lady Dagmar out to manuk (fish) on the far river after school. This meant I got to drive a snogo so I was in. With Dagmar snuggly planted behind me in her turquise, pink and fo fur parka, our caravan of 4 snogos, 10 people, and a diesel ice drill headed out to the river. It was beautiful, the fishing was fun, the girls were, well, chatty high school girls. I forgot what high school girls from the city sounded like, I don't miss that so much. They had a blast though and that was good for them. Some big fish were caught, some small ones too. I didn't catch any, I was helping a lot though. The river was so shallow under the ice you could see all the fish swimming up to your bait if you laid down and looked in the whole while you jigged, and that was awesome!

It got super cold on the ride back and I'm still waiting for my fingers, toes and nose to regain feeling. So I got home, stinking like gasoline, starving for food, and frozen and physically strained from the very unusually long Wednesday (a secret fave of mine of the weekdays). Instead of making a normal dinner I decided to eat how I felt, cold and smoky. I had a cold leftover musk ox steak half and 6 smoked salmon strips. I ate with my curled and stiff fingers and just tore at it like I was in a cave. Afterwards, I was stuffed from all the fats and oils, I smelled like all sorts of smoked and gamey delights, but it made me feel strong. I almost feel like I belong here.

I had such a good day today. The post office trip was a doozie too! I got three Netflix movies, a post card from my best friend Randall outlining the summer activities I can look forward to with him, and my Cedar Medallion Pendent from The Ringing Cedars Website. I put it to my heart with my left hand as instructed by the old men in the Anastasia book and I'll be damned if I didn't feel a tingling, warm sensation come over me right away. Today I feel amazing, just living and breathing, strong, alive, tough and hearty and full of energy even after all my arctic adventure.

Since this isn't going to be a normal Wednesday update I'll just leave it as this. I think its been entertaining enough!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Going Steady with Alaska

Man, I don't really know how to explain it, something is happening in Alaska. Today I barely had to teach because we are on half day regular classes, half day cultural week. So after lunch I have been tutoring a senior in math while the rest of the school learns Cupig arts and crafts, and does various subsistence activities.

After school it was out warm enough, and sunny enough to go outside and play my guitar on the porch! I can't tell you how much I miss this activity from living in Tacoma. I used to have an awesome front steps that I could just jam out for the people walking by. It was still pretty cold and I had to warm my hands in between jams, but it marked a turning point. It was the first day of spring/summer for me.

The sun has been shining, I'm flying around on snow machines/mobiles/go's, I'm playing guitar outside, and when I finally do go inside I have an awesome cyberspace friendship circle to keep me company. Whether its reading through peoples blogs, or emails, or skype, or even phone calls, I am starting toLink feel the love so much. I'm starting to make some solid friends, and as other white people come and go, I'm starting to become part of my community. I just got a call today to go help a mid-elder with their computer, I don't know what I'm doing, but I got asked, so I'm gonna help.

I'm staring straight into a 10 pm sunset, eating mac n cheese (an addiction of my own) listening to my new Railroad Earth folk/rock/bluegrass album I just bought (fantastic, utterly fantastic), contemplating whether or not to go to High Sierra this summer to see them, looking at my online receipts for my newly purchased tree hugger double hammock and Marmot Never Winter sleeping bag thanks to my massive tax return (Mom expect some packages soon), and trying to decide on a tent to buy. I'm not much for material possessions, but in the book Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac idolizes a character named "Jaffy Rider," a zen mountain climbing Buddhist interpreter poet (Real last name of Snyder I think) who impresses upon jack the utmost importance of adequate, sturdy, durable, out door gear. This includes jackets, boots, bags, packs, tents, sleeping bags, and the like. I don't buy many fancy things, but if and when I do its usually for out door stuff like this. I don't skrimp or scrape, I get the best if I can afford it while I also shop for deals if I can.

And even as I day dream about summer and the wretched winter we seem to be slowly leaving behind, I can't deny that the fall, spring and summers here in Alaska are spectacular. I can also say that with all the happy endorphins firing off in my body from this new stimulus of radiant heat and light that I almost forgot about, the sun, I can feel a creeping joy and love for this recently morose arctic state. Thats right, I realized today, I kind of like Alaska again. We had a falling out there for 4 or 5 months but I think we just made up. Thats right, me and Alaska are going steady again, we're "going out", we're an item, maybe its just puppy love, or maybe its a firey passion that will last, who can say but old man winter and some musk ox.

I drew and painted a self portrait today. Its my first one in about half a year. I had my hair in braids after school today while wearing a flannel and resembled the stereotypical look of Latino Gangsters from California. But put it up in a hat for the drawing.

Last but not least, I put a Call To Artists out for poem, song, and thought ideas on a concept album where I turn your poem into a song. I haven't gotten a single response. It kind of made me sad because I am soooo excited to get started on this project. I don't care who you are, just go out on a limb and try ok, don't be scared! Ok.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday, Daniels Mountain, and Complete Silence.

Today, it was simply incredible. The weather was amazing, foggy in the morning, but clear with some feathery alto stratus haze in the evening, making for a pink fantasy world sky. I got to drive a snow machine for the first time in my life. It was a blast, Ralph and Annie let me follow them up to Daniel's Mountain about 8 miles outside of town. With the snow rocket sled firmly planted between my legs, I felt a guilty pleasure shoot adrenaline through my body. It was like skiing, you had to pick your line ahead a bit, also like BMX bike jumping, you had rollers and times when you had to accelerate and wheelie, and like what I imagine riding a motorcycle is like . It was a blast. I only got up to about 50 mph but it was still a rush. We covered ground so fast. I got to see parts of Nunivak I've never seen. From the top of Daniel's Mountain (a 200 foot hill) you could almost see the edges of the island. It really is a huge Island. Mekoryuk and the airstrip seemed like tiny flecks in the white expanse. We laughed and joked and then we all just went silent. It was the first time I've heard silence in a long time. My house creaks and pops, the generators run, snow machines always running, dogs barking. But out there on top of that mole hill it was completely silent.

Ralph pointed out all the hills and bumps and harbors. He is a really knowledgeable guy. Annie took tons of pictures. As soon as I get them I'll post them on the blog, unfortunately my internet is suuuper slow tonight so everyone will have to wait. I totally want people to come visit me next year around this time just for that simple adventure. It was amazing. Unfortunately I didn't get to participate in cultural week today because I was helping a senior finish up some work. I'll keep everyone posted though. Have a good week!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekly Update April 6

Well its been a very humorous and lazy weekend, as well as interesting. I have some great warmth to radiate your way today.

Musical Artist of the Week: Eddie Vedder "Into The Wild" soundtrack. I know I babble a lot of nonsense, but hear me now if you hear me ever, this album is a necessary addition to your life. Eddie Vedder of Washington's own Pearl Jam crafts a one of a kind experience as distinctive as the incredible movie itself. I haven't listened to anything else for four days straight. There are some great songs about things going on today that we all should be aware of. "Society" and if you buy the whole album you can get some live tracks of "No More (war)" and "Here's to the State." I have officially added Eddie Vedder to a prestegeous list in my mindof musicians and artists I believe are singing about things that I believe in my heart. Xavier Rudd, Michael Franti, Jon Butler Trio, Flowmotion, and Eddie Vedder, damn thats a fine list of individuals.

Old Person Phrase of the Week:
This one is short and simple, one word in fact, "Pal." You see "pal" is supposed to be a nice word. "We were just pallin' around" "We're pals" but if you say it directly and sternly, "Look PAL" then it can be a major tour de force of authority. Either way, old people have pals, and I wish I had more myself.

Weather on Nunivak: Well, the dang pressure is droppin again, temps are up to a balmy 21 deg F and the snow is back, will winter never end? That bastard Jack Frost tempted me with melting snow and sunshine, but took it away like the heartless villain he is. Needless to say its blustery outside and cold, yet still light out till 10:15. Ridiculous.

Weblink of the Week: I can't begin to explain this. (Thanks Carey) You'll have to check it out for yourself and make your own decisions. I'm researching it right now and its actually very interesting and Its pretty cool so far though. The Law Of Time Website.

ART UPDATE: NEW PROJECT!!!!!!!!!!!! CALLING ALL POETS, ARTISTS, SONG WRITERS, EVERYDAY PEOPLE. I got this idea after turning my friend Katie's poem "Content" into a song (with her permission). I thought how cool would it be to make a whole album of other peoples poems with their collaboration and input. So basically, if you want to participate, anyone (this means you) can send me your poetry, short stories, thoughts, ramblings, song lyrics, or anything (even just a phrase) and I'll try and turn it into a song and then we'll work together through the various technological channels to get it just right. Maybe if we ever did make any money off of it we could donate it to a common charity or something. Thats not the point, the point is Radiate Warmth in action. You and me, mixing your thoughts and mine into something we all can share. What do you think? Don't be afraid, just post you poem on the blog, or email me in person: kaleiverson@hotmail.com and we'll get started. I don't care how many entries come in, it could be a small album, a double disc or a series! But lets do it. Let me know what you think!!!!!!

ClustRMap Update: Our community grows. 20-49 visitors a day and 1538 since Feb. 9, 2008. I say community because everyone is starting to connect through new pathways of this blog and all the other that we all read together. You can read like minded blogs by clicking on commentor profiles, links, blogs and working your way around the net through connected people. Way to go everybody. Lets build a revolution of positivity!

BIG UPS: This weeks big ups is a community BIG UPS. I'm throwing this one out to all you readers who are putting in so much love and energy into making connections with people, sharing your intelligent and important insights of life, and spreading so much good throughout the world. I'm so thankful to be part of an online community of bloggers and readers that share a common vision of good thoughts and hopes for better things. I love you guys and girls! Do you know how to big ups your self? You say "Big Ups ________(your name)...Mad Respect" then its done.

Blog Features update: After a week of blasting your earholes with my own music for the exciting launch of my Independent Artist Company Music Website, I'm going to make that player optional. I will put the auto start back on the music player below so that you can enjoy a range of artists radiating warmth other than my nasally, untrained self. Make sure to enjoy the Eddie Vedder Tracks this week. And if you want to check out the music page (please do) then go ahead and link to it HERE or through the player or the link to the right.

Last Thoughts:
Tonight I talked to my grandparents on skype video conferencing. It was a surreal experience for all of us. My Grandma and Grandpa kind of got what was happening but I don't think they can even really grasp what the internet is or how we connect through it. To think how far they've come in their lives. From small radios, horses, and trains to now. Look at us, talking in person on screens, flying around the world, high definition televisions, cell phones, its amazing. I can't say its better, but it is motion and movement and change. I can't help but think what we will see in our lives. Holograms, teleportation, telepathy, who knows, I just know that we can't imagine it. I asked my grandma if she ever dreamed of something like this when she was a girl, and she said she never would have dreamed up something like this in a million years. I think they were having what I like to call a "Holy S**t" moment. Where in your life you simply can't believe that its real or that its really happening. I have them from time to time and I always love it. It would be cool if people shared their Holy S**t moments with us. I always love hearing about them.
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