Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend Update

Ironically my name "Kale" is actually a leafy stationary vegetable (edible and decorative woopie!). And realistically I lived up to my name this weekend, almost three days of being a hermit and I finally feel ready to face school again. I sat around, napped a lot, ate even more and watched a lot of football. Three weeks to go till freedom.

Musical Artist of the Week: I had forgotten I bought their album for about two weeks, and since I remembered I haven't forgot again. The band is Tea Leaf Green and they opened for my favorite band Flowmotion at Summer Meltdown this August. If I wasn't so fixated on the fact that I was about to see the greatest band of all time, Flowmotion, I would have noticed that hanging in there right with them was another epic band, Tea Leaf Green. There isn't any other way to explain them really, epic is the perfect band. They aren't really a dance band, but they definitely aren't a chill band either, each song builds toward a resounding crescendo of sparkley soundscapes. They are like Grateful Dead holding Roman Candle's in a Wind Tunnel. If you want to check this band out 2006's "Rock and Roll Band" is a great starter album and introduces you to some of the more classic Tea Leaf Green songs.

Old Person Phrase of the Week: "Darn Tootin" only really corny people say this, but say it thay do. I don't really know what it means but it can be used in place of "Damn Right" and if you add a "yeehaw" afterward you basically are the biggest hick ever.

Nunivak Weather: Do people even care? Anyways its absolutely frigid, I did make it out yesterday to the Post Office and the corner's of my eyes crystallized so yeah pretty cold, and dark too, and unseasonably high pressure and clear skies, lets just hope that it stays that way for my departure from this rock in three weeks.
Personal Art Update: I made a great song this weekend (I won't upload it to this blog post but it should be up on the IAC player to the right or you can visit my artist page).

I've got a new method. I just listen to a great artist and make up my own lyrics inspired by the feeling I get from that song. I used the Tea Leaf Green song "Faced with Love" to inspire this one:

Love Overgrown

It doesn't really matter in the end
What you said or what I said
What we'll or what we did
But those messages we sent
Oh those messages we send (X2)

And When you feel all alone
And the walls come crashing down
And there's trouble all around
Let love come overgrown (X3)

Let those roots run deep
And your dreams escape your sleep
Go ahead and say your piece
But what does that even mean?
What does that even mean? (X2)

And When you feel all alone
And the walls come crashing down
And there's trouble all around
Let love come overgrown (X3)

My next big goal is to write the words and chords down on final pieces of paper so that I can start practicing them for memorization. Someday, maybe if I move back to Washington, I would like to start a band. I have a few people in mind for it, or I might have to go it alone, but either way, I want to bring complete songs to the table.
Health/Yoga/Fitness Update: After eating like a fat lard all weekend, cutting out on yoga lately, and sitting on my ass watching tv its high time I get back in gear for the next three weeks so that I don't feel like Jabba the Hut for Christmas break. I brought my yoga stuff with me to school and as soon as I get done with this update and my school work I'm gonna have a personal yoga sesh.

Lastly But Not Leastly: This weekend I started compiling a sort of "State of the Delta" Address. Its basic intentions are to record what I have learned over my two years hear and what my suggestions are for change. I have a few people I intend to send it to at the end of the year but its major recipient is someone who has achieved a much greater degree of influence recently then when I met them about a year and a half ago. I'll let you all know when its complete. Its going really well so far

Also, Tomorrow is the first day of December. My birthday is on the 12th of the month. An eerie exciting, prophetic feeling came over me last week when I realized something. You know how the Aztec calendar ends in 2012 and people think the world will end/or a new level of human existence will take place? Well my birthday will be 12-12-12 that year. What this basically means is that I'm pretty much like some sort of chosen one right? Like NEO in the Matrix, or that chick in the Fifth Element. Like I've been marked by interdemensional powers as the key to unlocking some pyramid of eternal truth or something. HOW AWESOME IS THAT!!!! I knew it, I knew I was special. How cool is that, when armageddon is taking place and the world is crumbling in front of our eyes, just remember what I said today, 12-12-12 baby.

Thats right, the old Kaleskees called this one 4 years earlier all Nostrodamus style.

MuHahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahhaaaaaa.

But hey the end of existence as we know it is still 4 years away so live it up and have an exponentially satisfactory week my good homies!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Overalls Wednesday!

Tears! Tears of Joy! Oh sweet moses, mary, and joseph I am overcome with happiness. No students, 4 days, thank the lordy lordy lordy lord.

This Weekends Schedule:

Tomorrow:
AM- To church basement for community potluck.
PM- To Surrogate native family Peterson's house for dinner most likely involving Musk Ox, assorted wild and or endangered migratory birds, Reindeer, Adult or Baby seal (I heard one got clubbed upriver the other day), Walrus and don't forget the fixins.

Friday:
AM- Sleep In, Big Breakfast Good Coffee
Midday- Maybe do work if velcro on ass and couch doesn't hold tightly
PM- Sleep on Couch

Saturday
AM-Sleep In Big Breakfast Good Coffee
Midday- College Football with Ukulele/Art Breaks
PM College Football
Latenight- HBO Championship Boxing

Sunday:
AM- Sleep In
PM- Work at school on classes and blog

Its not the way I prefer to spend a break, vegging out but, I pinched a nerve in my shoulder somehow (from stress probably as sick as that is) and I'm just generally beat up and tired, the kind of tired that only a 4 day weekend can cure.

I would give it all up for one hour with my family though. Just to see everyone, in all their wonderful weirdness and infinite hilarity, just to play horseshoes with my brother, just drink some egg nog with my mom, just to play guitars with my dad, just to chit chat with my grandparents.

My lasting message as I go home for my "holiday" is to love those around you. Give them extra long hugs, listen to them, love them, because they are with you and that is truly something to be thankful for.

My phone number is in the side bar to the right if you want to say hello!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Climbing Down the Cliff

I wrote this after dealing with insurmountable piles of bullshit today and thinking about whether or not I want to come back next year.


So here I am clinging to the side of a cliff with a cup of burned Maxwell House coffee (powdered creamer) in hand. The dirt (or should I say will to continue) is giving way underneath my shoes and I'm perspiring underneath my parka trying not to tumble down the massive cliff below into a field of comfortable amenities and friends and family.

But, I used to stand on the top of this cold, foreign cliff, proudly, confidently, staring off into the icy sunset with satisfaction and purpose.

Now, as I cling to tiny shrubs with their little roots burrowed gingerly into the disintegrating hillside I wonder how I will ever survive the six more months I have to before a bush airplane comes to save me for good? And, how did the strong permafrost earth crumble so quickly beneath me?

I'm scrambling, and clawing every second for something, anything, to hold on to, or a sign that points towards the possibility of holding on but I can't find anything but crumbling snow, silence, and nobs of tundra moss.

Every time I climb back up to the cliff's edge there is always someone there in bunny boots stepping on my cold, bloody fingers and good intentions. Its like some supernatural force doesn't want me to get back on the cliff. Or even scarier, doesn't want me to "want" to get back on the cliff.

So after a year and a half of fighting against gravity, I'm going to go with it, slowly hopefully.

I realized I don't have to climb back up, I held on for a while, I tried and that was good, it was admirable. I tried real hard, yes I did. But I am strong enough to realize I picked this hill to climb and I don't deserve to cling to the sides of cliffs my whole life (at least if I was clinging with someone that would be comforting), SO I decided I can climb down too.

AND, when I get to the bottom, with its comforts, and acquaintances I won't be afraid, I won't be scared, I will simply accept happiness, even if it is pointy and uncomfortable at first. And if I need to, I will walk to a new hill and climb that one, maybe a steeper one, maybe a scarier one, but I've climbed up this one enough.

This hill is crumbling anyways and if people spent more time shoring up the foundations instead of stepping on the fingers of others then maybe I might hang on a little longer, but for now I'm gonna start climbing down.


And so that concludes my over dramatized metaphor for the day, regardless, it was a sufficiently bad enough day that I actually am relieved by it. It makes my decisions in life a little bit easier when things are so clearly defined. I'm not even upset about it anymore. I'm just simply, done.

I'm going to go home (happily) and make something beautiful, be it dinner, or a song, or a drawing. That shitty little apartment is the only cave of solace I have on this stupid cliff anyways.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back on My own


With Foster the Dog back safely with his owners, I resumed my solitary existence.

The first thing I did was take a short walk alone to stare at the setting sun. Breathtaking yes, freaking cold yes, lonely not so much.

The next thing I did was come home and re-buzzcut my head and trim my beard (at 3 weeks till Christmas, it will be the perfect length when I go home for Christmas for my meeting with the Tacoma School of the Arts or Math and Science People).

Then I swept and mopped the floor and vacuumed the house for dog hair (Foster was a long haired Australian Shepard and I miraculously got sick when I started watching him and feel fine now that he's gone). He was a nice dog, but I'm glad he's not mine, too high strung, if I ever get a dog it will be a Humane Society rescue of an ancient old ass dog that is lazy. I love dogs but high strung dogs are ridiculous, chill the Fudge out you little furry freaks.

Then I washed a semi large set of dirty dishes to Grateful Dead (did more singing than washing).

Of course with a clean house what would you do? Well I cook to 80's glam rock. And cookrock I did! Man oh man. Three Courses in fact to David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars":
(Pictures to Come tomorrow!!)

Long Sliced Cabbage, Red/Yellow/Orange Pepper, White Onion, water chestnut, bamboo shoots in Fresh Garlic Peanut Butter Thai Sauce over Cinnamon Rice and (with sesame seed garnish)

Red Potato and Tomato soup Simmered in Coconut Milk and Red Curry Paste over White Rice

Mongolian Style Broccoli tops, Long sliced broccoli stalks, Yellow Onion, Green Pepper and Fresh Garlic over white rice with Soy sauce and a touch of sesame oil.

Add chop stix and a hot glass of oolong tea and you are ready for good eatin! It was so good too, I felt pretty impressed with myself to tell you the truth.

With my belly full of good (veggies only did you notice?) food I was over come with the creative spirit, I ran over to school in my PJ's and snatched up some butcher paper and chalk pastels and an hour later I had a new giant piece of art. I don't really know why I drew it but it turned out great and I loved the dramatic feeling of the black pastels as the glided and blended over the pure white butcher paper... freaking cool man. (Pictures to come)

I think the only thing that is unfortunate is that I could have shared this awesome evening with someone! I do miss cooking fresh food with friends, making things together, going places together, I'm just so pathetically homesick sometimes that I occupy myself completely until I forget how unbelievably alone it gets out here. Thank goodness I have my eternal friends like Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and crew, as well as Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars to keep me company in these lonely times.

Oh oh oh, AND As if that wasn't enough I also wrote a "weekend update" for y'all, did my lesson plans for the week, and managed to watch "Darfur Now" which inspired an impromptu mini-unit on the connection between the Commercialism Cycle (extraction, production, consumption, disposal) and the Genocide crisis in Darfur, Africa for my Ecology Class this week.

Basically I kicked ass yesterday, I rocked...SO HARD. And all that without the company of a magical god who I'm supposed to rest for, or anyone else for that matter really...I pretty much hate Sundays (especially lonely ones) but this was a good day and I DID something...albeit alone.

Now Monday has come and gone, the kids are about as docile as Hindu cows lately, and even more apathetic knowing that its a 3 day week and there ain't nothing I can force them to do in three days.

Forgot to tell people about yoga tonight, wonder if they'll come?

Just to review:

Early wake up = watched "Across The Universe"
To School for Lesson Planning
and Blog Writing
Then a Nature Ride
and a Hair Cut
then a Clean apartment
to Grateful Dead
and a Vegetarian 3 course meal (Thai, Indian, and Chinese in one)
to David Bowie
which inspired a Large Pastel Art Work
fell asleep after I Watched Darfur Now till 1 am.
Taught High School in Eskimo Village
Ran Yoga class.

Um yeah, if thats not a hippie ass list (minus hair cut) then I don't know what is.

Peace mis amigos.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend Update COUGS WIN!!!!!


While most of you out there don't care, the WSU Cougars football team miraculously beat the UW Huskies in double Overtime in Pullman on Saturday. The Huskies fell victim to football self sabotage (missing three field goals) the likes of which is usually reserved for only the Cougs themselves, therefore I say the Huskies "couged it" big time.

The win means nothing really, both teams finish the season dead last in their division, but as I watched the destroyed Husky fans mourn the most devastating loss in recent memory I still didn't feel sorry for them. Maybe its because I've been spit at, maybe its because many of them are Bellevue yuppy elitists, maybe its because they get to drive their BMW's back to their waterfront property on Mercer Island, or maybe, just maybe, its because I am a friggin Cougar Baby!!!!!!!!!! You can have your latte, you can have your caviar, you can have your country club membership but you CAN NOT HAVE THE APPLE CUP THIS YEAR WAAAAAAHOOOOOO!!!! So in your face dawgs, now go back to your side of the state and don't come back, and I hope you get speeding tickets in Colfax, Othello AND Vantage, you can afford it so quit whining. Oh YEAAAH!

Excuse me, Ok, now thats out of the way, here's the weekend update:

Musical Artist of the Week:
The Grateful Dead. Yes I know I blasted your earholes with their most cliche song ever for weeks as the theme for the website, but this weekend while listening to Sirius Satellite Radio The Grateful Dead Station I heard a 13 min long version of "Ripple" and I just laid in bed wishing it would never end.

Old Person Phrase of the Week:
"Guaran God Damn tee " I can Gauren God Damn Tee Ya that if someone adds this into the middle of a sentence they mean business. (Special Thanks to a slightly inebriated little brother for uttering this precious phrase over the telephone post Apple Cup this weekend)

Weather On Nunivak:
Oh yeah its gettin there, -15 deg. F with the windchill isn't as bad as our inland neighbors in Bethel but its certainly cold enough to freeze the snot in your nose. We have had clear skies for a week and it has made for some pretty incredible landscapes.

Yoga/Health/Fitness Update:
After a week layoff from yoga due to massive sinus infiltration, we will be starting back up this week. I'm gonna make a big push for fitness the last couple of weeks before Christmas knowing full well that the holidays bring EggNog and Ham and cookies and tasty beverages and also a nice little holiday jolly belly. I'm feeling all better pretty much, breathing clearly, feeling good, weening off the TheraFlu, and should look to return to top form tomorrow for the short week of school.

Personal Art Update: Once again, sickness delayed some progress, although I did record a song with my sick voice, it is so horrible that only my nearest and dearest will ever probably hear it. I think I might snag up some big sheets of paper and some black chalk pastels for tonight, I'm feeling dramatic.

Lack of Political Update:
This morning I got up early to let Foster, the Dog I'm watching, out for a walk, and a morning walk in negative twenty is enough to get you up for the day, so I re-watched a movie called "Across the Universe" that I hated the first time I watched it. I mostly hated it because its a whole movie of pretty people singing Broadway style musical versions Beatles covers, and most people who really know me, know that I absolutely can NOT stand the Beatles, I literally cringe when I hear them. But something must have hit me just right, because I watched the whole movie, shed a single solitary tear at one part, and was deeply moved by the movie today. I don't know why. I think its because its all about the 60's and 70's and its all about a time when America was changing and people were inspired and SOMETHING was happening and as I watched the fictionalized, glamorized, Hollywood version of the counter culture revolution I found myself wishing I wasn't on an island in the Bering Sea, it made me wish I was somewhere where I could do something bigger and feel plugged in. I have been having fantasies lately of driving around the United States and discovering my own country, going to the deep south, going to the north east cities, going to the desert, going to the great rocky mountains and so on. I'm going to Europe in May to meet my brother and I know its going to be great but in all honesty I also wish I was just driving across America this summer too. We always think of "Traveling" as being to other countries, but I often realize how little I know my own gigantic country. Maybe next summer.

Lastly But Not Leastly:
19 days till my birthday, 27 till I'm home in the bosom of washington, 43 till I'm back in Mekoryuk for next semester. Is it possible to be bummed out about next semester already? God, life moves so fast when looked back upon from a moment, but moves so slow inside the moment looking forward.

Have a great week me friendos

Friday, November 21, 2008

Overalls Friday

I'm finally pulling out of my snot fiesta a little today. And with the end of every cold comes a sigh of relief as I finally am returning back to the usually normal and healthy self I am. But also there is a bit of tinge of sadness as it marks the end of my unending necessity for the Nectar of the Gods...TheraFlu Nightime. That moment right before the T-Flu grabs ahold of you and drops you into dead sleep is pure bliss. Oh well, I'd rather be snot free then all doped up on TheraFlu...

In school matters, with a couple of coworkers gone, 5 students (35% of my students) out for speech competition in Bethel (none of them did very well as they were very lazy in their preparation), and a shortened day due to "Culture Week" I had a sleepy and out of the routine week this week.

Culture week has seen a bit of a decline this year with the loss of a few key organizer staff members from budget cuts. Last year we berry picked, picked grass, collected firewood, combed musk ox fur for qiviut, did native dancing and helped elders. This year our school barely native dances, just had our first culture week (instead of a half day it was an hour), and all we really did was modern beading, grass weaving, and elder story telling for the boys.

Luckily, next week is a shorty for the gobble gobble day. I still haven't decided if I'm going to go into Bethsmell or not. Tickets are still $400+ roundtrip and I'm not particularly fond of spending that kind of money knowing that I have a trip to Europe coming up in May. I do want to see some people in Bethel but I don't really want to go TO Bethel. I have a lot of work I could get caught up on, or sleep to catch up on too. I'll make a last minute decision probably anyway.

Tomorrow is the Crapple Cup (Apple Cup). Washington State University will play the University of Washington in college football in what will prove to be the most unimportant game in the history of football. Unfortunately my team WSU is on our 18th string quarterback and we suck big time having only won a single game to Portland State which might as well have been a highschool team. Luckily the UW is equally awful and have already fired their coach for next season and have yet to win a game.. It will truly be a battle for what minuscule scraps of dignity and respect remain for either team. Either way, I still hate the UW Huskies, always have, always will, and I hope they die tomorrow (the only time you'll hear me talk like this is when I talk about Huskies, primarily because they are awful demon spawn that need to be banished to the underworld.)

SO...COUGS RULE, DAWGS DROOL, IF YOU GO TO U-Dub YOU'RE A HUGE TOOL.

Have a great weekend (unless you're a husky then go suck an egg). I'll see you all Sunday for the update.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Moments of Interest

Here are some silly/stupid/interesting/peculiar pictures from the last two weeks that left me disabled with a sinus flowage situation.

This first one is of a house fire raging a couple of weekends ago near Akula. The poor owner had just left by snowmachine to Bethsmell and returned to a horrible sight.


Here I am receiving my participants ribbon at the Akula NYO meet. (along with the compensitory 70 dollars for chaperoning I felt so appreciated). You can see that it was surely the highlight of my life.

The next week in Toksook Bay I was ever so puzzled by the Chevy Impala parked outside the school. This must be the most impractical automobile in Bush Alaska I have ever seen. But hey, those snow tires look really baller.

Here is me rejoicing to jehova as our plane flew over head of Toksook Bay. It meant that I would go home and not be stuck in Toksook another night.

And What Was My Grand Prize Favorite Part of going to NYO two weekends in a row you ask? Its was the sinus and head cold I picked up from being overworked, underslept and in constant contact with snivveling drooling farting grubby hands and saliva little kids! BAH HUMBUG!

Consequently, this is a rather peculiar and annoying strand of cold. Its not chest congestion, its not soar throat, its just constant and continual snot production, 24-7. And whats even weirder is that its only out of my right nostril, which makes me sneeze constantly and have a watery tear filled right eye. What is the point of a cold like that? Its not even debilitating, its just stupid and useless. I have already gone through 300 yards of sand paper school toilet paper and my nose is all red and my eye is all swelled up. I look like an ass, I feel like and ass kicked me in the face, and I sound so nasally that when I talked I can totally hear myself in my own head, and I sound like Ben Stein..."Bueler, Bueler, Bueler." When I blow my nose air flies out of my ears from over blowing and I sound like a trumpet. If I don't blow my nose then snot will actually drip out of my nose onto my shirt or the floor. When I get home I'm actually going to put toilet paper up my nose like I just got punched in the shnozz. Whats more last night I took my TheraFlu dose to early and fell asleep at like 8 pm only to wake up at 1 am unable to go back to sleep. So what did I do? I laid in bed and listened to three entire albums before falling asleep finally at around 4 am. I listened to The Doors "Strange Days" Neil Young "Prairie Wind" and Flowmotion "Live at Summer Meltdown 07"

Lesson learned, when someone asks me to do something I don't want to do because I know its a bad idea (NYO chaperone) I should just say no. Otherwise I get snot, lots of watery neverending snot.

AND THAT SNOT COOL MAN!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mayday Mayday I'm goin down!


I'm achy and sniffly and sore throaty and cranky pants mcgee big time. I'm gonna go home and suck on Theraflu popsicles I made myself and curl up and cease to exist for the rest of the night. I might not post again for a couple of days but luckily the blog from yesterday was epic enough that it should hold you all over for a while. If you didn't read it you should because I'm really proud of it, and if you already did thank you, now read it again and tell me what it makes you think about, favorite parts, most interesting line, what you think its about...ra ra ra :) Thanks for the feedback and support I'll talk to you all later in the week when hopefully I'm not feeling like a small gelatinous creature has crawled inside my face and shat down my throat. I hate getting sick and since it happens soooo rarely I'm a total baby when it does. So yes, waaaaaaa, waaaaaa, waaaaaaa, double waaaaa with a snivvle on top.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Within Grids and Gods

I wrote this last night in my journal while watching a movie about middle American people who lived by a train yard. The more I wrote the more it mattered that I finished it exactly how it deserved to be finished. After I was done I felt like I had made something that I wanted to make. So often I create things without vision or intention, but as soon as I started writing this I knew that it would be what I wanted it to be. And now that it is done I want to share it with you. Since no one really comments on my poems anymore I'll be simply happy knowing that it was shared at all. Enjoy yourselves no matter what.

Within Grids and Gods
11-17-2008
By Kale Iverson

I’m losing track of my America.
I went into the wild north and I want to come back,
To rail yards and symmetry and stones,
And plain and simple ignorant oblivion.
I want the roots of manufacture.
I want to walk amongst right angles.
I want to be swallowed up inside
The soft, moist underbelly of mediocrity.
Because, that is, in fact, where I belong.
That is where I can make a mark
Within grids and gods.

We the young, vibrant alive ones,
We the bohemian and organic children,
We want nature,
And we want the natural.
But only a rare few
Come from such ancient nobility.
The rest of us only venture there,
Periodically, wishing for such momentary pleasures.
We the electronic ones,
The Mario Brothers and Sisters,
We the Casio Kids,
We the ones who plug our Apples in,
When the truth is we want to bite into
The juicy bitter center of it all.

We feel a search inside
For something green and gold,
But we are from something we did not create.
We miss the great plains.
We have Buffalo Bill hearts.
We are adventure inside and eggshell dyed black.
We are iron skillets and chaw.
We are sending smoke signals
From the tops of strip malls.

Our nature is reproduced.
Our habitat is plastic recycled.
And we’re ready to move on
With what we were given.
We will make sashes and slings
From alley way refuse.
The future will make sure of that.
And only when we can play
In the asphalt fields
As if they were meadows of daisies
Will we be granted the freedom
Of those ancient mystics that walked before us.
The ancients that saw the earth as it was
And not as what they could make it.
The ancients that had only moments together before they left.

We are the ones who will inherit this stampede of folly
Trampling and cascading
And frothing at the mouth
As the saber toothed demons of history bear down.
We cannot scatter.
We cannot panic.
We cannot make like the impotence of our fathers
And balk at the truth
In all its naked and pure readiness.

We wish to unite along the next dimension.
We want to align the yellow lines across the highway
With the wormholes of the stars.
We want to believe
That amongst the paper bags and receipts
Of this marvelous distraction
A code for the lighted path exists.
We want to believe that we are different,
That for us it is not just another faded slide
Clicking and clacking by one button press at a time.

We want radiance.
We want love unlike the movies,
And more like our families,
More like our dreams,
More like our hallucinations
And not the ones our parents remember,
But our own melted feelings.
Our very own fried thoughts are beautiful
When we reminisce them.
When we put our sleeves into our own coat pockets
And find the holes we remember well.

The holes are all that matter.
The holes are what we have.
And when we let all of it trickle out
And spill on to the floor in front of us
We can see it
And pick it up again
Or leave it lying there
For someone else to carry around
And worry about losing.
Our holes are our strength.
Our lost objects are our lives.
And our lives are our own to lose.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend Update

I survived the NYO trip to Toksook Bay Meet this weekend with a nearly thrown out back, a sore throat, and a severe need to get some time alone in today. Some of the kids did really well placing in multiple events and showing class and sportsmanship too. We had some draw backs too. My kids were pretty snobby from the on set, this place is too dim, this place is dirty, the food tastes weird, when can we go to the store, waaaaaaaaa. Then there were a couple other incidents that pretty much sealed the deal on me never going on one of these things ever again. Overall I really could have done with out the whole weekend, at this point I just want the next 5 weeks to go as quickly as possible.

Musical Artist of the Week: When I saw them this summer at Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge in George for the second time in my life I was left with the impression that no other live musical act ever has a chance of coming close to holding a candle to the ridiculous spectacle they put on, with spaceships and lead Singer Wayne Coyne crowd surfing in a giant bubble, and a dancing aliens, and confetti, and naked dancing girls, and crazy crazy lights and laserbeams and overall insanity. So last week needing some sort of spiritual revival, some sort of deep soulful grace in fact, I went back to my past and bought an album I used to own that used to mean so much to me and I reintroduced it into my life.

The Flaming Lips "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" will go down as one of the greatest albums of all time. After a 3 year hiatus from listening to this album I almost openly wept as I listened to the songs again as if for the first time. Each song unfolds into a robot psychedelic space twinkle symphony and each lyric teeters on the edge of biblically epic and completely pointless in either case leaving you spell bound. I do this periodically in my life, I suspend a band. I put them on restriction for a period of time just so I can try later down the road to somehow match the magic I felt the first time I heard them, and this case I was close.

Old Person Phrase Of the Week: I heard a boxing analyst say this while I was watching the Roy Jones Jr. vs. Joe Calzaghe fight on repeat last night, "Make hay while the sun is shining." He meant it in the fact that as long as someone is giving you and opportunity (to knock em out) you have make haste and take it. In your case, just make sure you enjoy the good fortunes life has granted you !

Weather on Nunivak: Cold and shitty. Snow is falling, fog is forming, temp is dropping, wind is blowing, its dark, and when I get up my bones hurt like an elderly inpatient.

Fitness Update: I may be getting sick, although I refuse to believe that since our school would actually have to close if I were sick this week (two teachers are out of town our principal isn't back yet and an aid will be gone on weds). I have pretty much thrown my back out somehow from sleeping on the floor and playing basketball this weekend. I hope yoga tomorrow night will put me back together somehow, but I'm falling apart it seems.

Lack of Political Update: Hmm...now that the election is over, what major US political issue will I feel culturally disconnected from next? Gay Marriage, the War in Iraq, the Economy? eenie meenie minee mo, catch a western cultural issue by the toe, out here we can't here the lower 48 holler so my interests must be let go, eenie meenie miney mo...

Art Update: I tried to write a song last week...but got side tracked on...well...everything. Maybe tonight I'll try again if my back is feeling better. I do apologize for never getting "Standin Still" uploaded, our internet is complete shat for upload capabilities lately but in the IAC music player at the top of my side bar it is the 6th song down if you want to listen to it.

For My IAC Artist Page click Here

For RADIATE WARMTH RADIO click Here

Boob Tube Digs: Thats right, this year on the tundra I have TV, scoff if you will, but with no internet at home I need some glowing orb to suck my brain (I'm sorry Michael Franti if can't "Let go of remote control.") So here is what I have been absolutely loving on the old Television lately:

Showtime and HBO boxing/Mixed Martial Arts: oh the drama, oh the competition, oh the amazing battles and fighters leaving it all out there on the canvas doing what they love, we should all be so lucky. Violence sucks, but boxing is the first great sport.
HBO series: True Blood Vampires coming "out of the closet" or coffin if you will in present day deep south mixed with telepathy, shape shifting and acid tripping on Vampire Blood makes for pretty much the most entertaining show on television right now.
HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher: Most people can't stand this guy, but he always has awesome panel members, his show finale "New Rules" is about as heavy weight hard hitting as anything being said on television, and I usually laugh my ass off, thanks Bill for standing up for American atheism too.
Ricky Gervais Stand Up on HBO or Showtime or something. The original creator of the British 'The Office' is deadly inappropriate and equally funny in his stand up/mocklecture. Beware, it is extremely offensive and lude, but I almost wet my self from laughter.

Yes, not only do I watch tv I watch "special channel" tv. I'm not a saint, I'm a very bored person living out in the middle of nowhere and you would too.

Lastly But Not Leastly: I officially have 27 days till my 26th birthday and 36 days till I'll be home for Christmas. We have 23 days actually in school till break. Basically I'm already home in my mind. I can see the people, I can smell the food, I can taste the egg nog. Only one thing stands in my way...the arctic weather. I will be home, I will beg, barrow, cheat, steal and lie to get home. Hell, I'll hijack a walrus and surf the son of a bitch if I have too. And with that mental image, I'd like you all to have a wonderful week...I know I will...

Friday, November 14, 2008

One of my students just informed me that he drank 4 Wired energy drinks and 3 Pepsi's in the last two hours. It looks like its gonna be a long long long night full of bullshit and shenanigans (its now 11 pm). I can't believe I took this job. On top of that the other chaperone watchin the other 7 kids in the room "Went for a steam bath." What the hell is that crap.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Turdsday...NYO again tomorrow...double bleh.

Well I get the distinguished honor of chaperoning our students on their second NYO trip of the year across the water to Nelson Island's Toksook Bay. Its so distinguished that they only let white 25 year old guys who's only wish in life is to lay on the couch and watch college football all saturday take the prestigious job. In fact you have to have chaperoned the week before, and you have to have been going on almost a month straight with out one extended weekend in order to go. In addition, one of the criteria for being allowed to go and watch the teenagers strut their stuff for the other flightless birds is that you also must be completely bat shit crazy to accept the job. Lucky for me I fit all these specifications I get to go and stay up all hours of the night sleeping on the floor with flatulent teenage men and the ever present ominous death gray clouds hanging in the sky outside taunting you saying "You're gonna get stuck and have to stay there for days muhahaha."

I wish I could say that I enjoy Native Youth Olympics. I'm sure at higher levels its much more exciting. But if you've never been to one or are from a different part of the world and have no idea what NYO is then let me break it down.

There a bunch of events that loosely mirror, or at least represent, a traditional skill from the old way of native life. There are various forms of feats of strength, flexibility and endurance not that unlike track and field events. Many of the events involve jumping and/or touching small leather balls hanging from strings. Other events include ripping sticks from you opponents hands or hanging from moving poles.

The annoying part is that you're supposed to stay quiet the whole time. Talking is generally taboo until a person gets knocked out of a round at which time whether you know the athlete or not you are supposed to clap for them. What makes this so frustrating is that there is usually like 15 rounds of every event so the amount of waiting and meaningless applause is unbelievable. I know that people would probably say its because I am white, and white people talk too much about stupid shit that I should learn to appreciate silence and enjoy the event. But everyone I know day in and day out on my island is either under 18 or over 40 so excuse me for wanting to talk to people my age (other teachers), when in a rare blue moon I get the chance to see them.

Anyways, Often NYO meets start at 1:30 pm on Friday and go till noon the next day, only stopping to eat and go to bed after midnight. The rest of the time people just sit in silence watching the athletes, while local townies and kids come in and out constantly ramming candy and soda pop down their throats as if it was the last time they would taste the sweet nectar of sugar. Its like watching a cricket match (which last 3 days sometimes) but with out the australian beer or enjoyable outdoor weather.

Socioculturally its a people watching fiesta. Large packs of girls constantly file in and out of the bathroom checking and rechecking themselves now that boys from different villages are around. Boys stand stone solid with their "Hip Hop" "G-Funk" "Gangster" looks trying to look buff and tough in their baggy jeans, pierced lips and straight brimmed baseball hat underhood for the new ladies in town. (on a sidenote, I find it utterly fascinating that native Eskimo teenage boys emulate the inner city look and culture as their own yet if you were to put one of these kids in a "hood" in real life they would crap themselves).

Meanwhile the "native" youth Olympics are often run by and large by "white" people, not to say that locals don't help out, they definitely do, but its less then you would imagine. Wait, lets try that, So imagine the scene, After teaching an entire week of 5 different classes a day, you're in a village in the middle of a frozen tundra packed in a less than regulation size gym with sugar crazy eskimo people sitting in silence watching teenagers fly through the air as white people record the results and tell everyone shhhh and nomadic herds of teen age native girls flutter by packs of statue like teen eskimo boys dressed like Eminem. All the while you clutch to your styrofoam cup of overly roasted Maxwell House coffee that tastes like tar and gives you added gut rot on top of what you already had from the mystery "stew" the night before so lovingly prepared by the lunch ladies. And all this anticipation builds until the amazing moment where someone announces the winners over an archaic intelligible P.A. system at lighting speed and half in Yupik language only to usher everyone out as quickly as possible afterward so that you can frantically gather up your team of students and make it to a frozen snow laiden airstrip in time to fly your single engine plane back across the Bering Sea in time to hopefully catch a football game or two.

And then you get one day off and do it all over again. So do please excuse the sarcasm, but no, I'm not that into NYO.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Tropical Quest for the Infinite Light Inside Golden Crocadiles...or... The Escape from the Lying Wrestler Barber

Last night I watched a Sundance Film Channel Japanese anime cartoon called "Gunslinger Girls" about cybernetically engineered little girls that assassinate people. After that I watched Bryan Gumble's "Real Sports" on HBO where he interviewed the Olympic 100m and 200m sprint Gold medalist from Jamaica on the island and toured around the tropical scenery. As I fell asleep listening to Dhivan's talk from Cambridge earlier this year on "What Do We Really Know About the Buddha?" on podcast I entered deep into a drawn out dream full of bizarre plot lines and even more incredible settings.

For the most part the dream took place in a tropical world much like a mixture of where I lived in Australia and my trip to Hawaii this summer with parts of the Bryan Gumbel show thrown in with aqua marine water and overgrown vegetation. I was on a quest for these seemingly unimportant objects that could unlock the next phase of my journey. I had a sidekick that traveled with me that reminds me now of the young Michael Douglas in "Romancing the Stone." I don't remember all of the objects that I had to find but one was a small anchor I found in a dead choral reef. I was swimming in the dream and the uncomfortable feelings I had when snorkeling this summer weren't there, it was effortless and focused. When I pulled the anchor out of the water it disintegrated into my hands and out of it shot small microfibres of light that penetrated into my forehead and warmed my body with yellow heat. Each time I found another object it became easier to see where the next one could be located. A stair rail, a pineapple, a porch swing, a lily pad. After obtaining several objects and absorbing their bright light I was able to foresee small glimpses into the future, a very helpful skill as I pulled my sidekick out of a swamp nearly missing the jaws of a golden crocodile. The crocodile itself then started to glow and as I grabbed its snout forcefully it too dissolved into light and entered me. I don't know why but I also remember an intense sense of urgency of the mission. I just had to get these objects or something major would happen.

I don't remember all of the dream just the over all parts, and I remember the more objects I absorbed the faster everything became an absorbable object around me until everything I looked at started to disintegrate around me and then into me until I was the light and everything was gone. I just hovered and spun in the middle of open yellow space.

My alarm went off this morning at 6:15. Usually I frequently hit the snooze button and pass in and out of subconscious states and dreams often mixing the two a result I suspect coming from the fact that I stay up late and am probably just hitting a REM cycle just about the time I need to get up. This little bizarre drama gets acted out every morning and I often wake turn off my alarm and reenter my dreams exactly where I left off. But this morning while hopscotching through conscious states my dream morphed out of the light world into the top floor of a tropical barber shop (Watched Sweeney Todd the day before). The barber reminded me of someone I knew but I couldn't tell exactly (kind of like the guys I watched fight on UFC earlier that day). All I remember is that as a result of my mission for objects I was left with a ridiculous hair cut much like ones I used to get when I first entered high school and that I had grown 10 years younger.

The barber was bald and muscular and forced me down in the chair and even though he said he knew what to do to fix my problem, he shaved my beard off with an old school shaving razor. I thought he might kill me if I tried to stop him. Afterwards I realized that I had to go and teach a college class but a terrible wave of fear came over me as I looked in the mirror and saw a man who was not me. How could I show up at work not as myself? I freaked out and paced around the barber shop yelling at the large bald barber mixed martial arts wrestler guy and I was so distraught that it caused me to wake up just before my 6:45 am back up alarm. I usually wake up from my dreams when they start to get shitty like this and don't usually go back to them when I realize I'm no longer asleep.

Now awake fully, I felt my face and hair and realized I was still me, then I also realized that I wasn't in the tropics which was kind of disappointing. Although the entire experience was vivid and bizarre, these are just like the dreams I always have. Set in lush or colorful or vivid locations always with some sort of ludicrous plot line that I must overcome and solve. I never dream about happy peaceful things, or fun times or flying, always just missions, tasks, journeys with seemingly no point other than to end with me waking up because they piss me off.

The creepy thing is that the dreams seem to be a conglomerate of things I watch, hear, see and have done in the past. The other startling part of this is that I also have deja vu's A LOT, and I always have (weekly usually). And, when these said deja vu's are happening, I often remember the exact dream where I had already lived that exact moment. So having dreams where I save people from crocadiles, absorb light from pineapples, and have my beard shaved off by a wrestler make me realize that my future is going to be one hell of an adventure and that I might possibly have to save the world.

That'd be a helluva mission now wouldn't it?

If you enjoyed this very honest synopsis of my dream last night let me know and I can share them as they happen, if it was boring and you'd rather I stick to my usual lamenting about the woes of teaching in bush Alaska I can do that too but I think that logging my dreams might be of some interest. I sleep with my computer right next to me as it holds my music (no iPod) and they say that if you are going to record your dreams you have to do it as soon as you wake, the more you move, the more parts of the dream you forget. So let me know if you want to hear more of these little adventures of my brain and I'll do it again real soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Teenagers, Entropy, and 26 days to go...

When you spend as much time in the same room with the same teenagers as I do some pet peeves are bound to pop up. They vary from year to year, but this year I have some new special ones.

Here is a list of teaching pet peeves (and things that make me an old crunchy teacher not a young mid twenties cool guy):

1.) Students in my teacher desk area touching my things without permission (I have put up a line of tape delineating my space and theirs since things have been going missing lately)

2.) Students touching the smartboard and the computer that runs it (a student pressed the F7 button and ruined an entire lesson as I tried to figure out how to fix it)

3.) Water/Bathroom breaks 5 minutes after break or before class ends

4.) My students say "Sooooooooo" but then nothing after. They say this all the time. Not "This is so stupid" or "This so lame" just a long drawn out "Sooooooooo" which is a fragment of a thought and is "Soooooooooo annoying"

5.) Students who jump up and hang on the basketball rim even though they've been asked not to about 300 times. In fact students who go to the gym and play with the balls during their passing time even though they've been asked 400 times not to.

6.) Students who stream music off of the internet and slow our server down to a snails pace.

7.) Students that randomly lay on the floor for no apparent reason and completely pointless times in very irrational locations like the hallway.

8.) Top 40 music...what is wrong with America? I wonder if we will look back on Akon and Linkin Park in 15 years and think, "man, they were really talented, that was the golden years of expression and art"

9.) The Macintosh Program "Photobooth" who knew that a simple program that allows you to take your own picture would eventually be the educational downfall of Eskimo teens. Countless hours are lost everyday to students taking their own pictures, many capable of 40 to 50 photos per 55 minute period.

10.) School lunch. Not only is it rubbery in texture, metallic in taste, devoid of any semblance of nutritional value, it also causes explosive foul reeking flatulence and gas for all my students right after lunch when all 16 of them pack into my tiny room for ecology class. May God have mercy on bush alaska teachers on Chili and Rice day. Not to mention these kids have their very own special brand of native farts that smell awful, not worse than lower 48 kids farts, but distinctly different that is for sure.

11.) Heads down on desks. I just want to dump a bucket of freezing water on them.

12.) Students taking all the caps off of my white board markers and mixing them up so that I never know what color they are when I use them.


These observations and irritations lead me to come to one conclusion. There must be something about the developmental processes of teenagers that force them towards creating disorder in their environment. My most common complaint is that they constantly are touching things, messing with stuff, taking things apart and putting things all over the place. I organize my room every Sunday and by Thursday it looks like a cyclone has hit it. I'm not talking about obsessive compulsive disorder where one book is out of line in a row, I'm talking about calculators sitting in a bucket of pastels, scissors in the fish tank, rulers rammed into cracks in the wall. Its insanity. No its entropy.

Teenagers, if left alone, will randomly disperse towards chaos unless some force acts on them. They must want to learn about life, I mean its that time in human experience where they are figuring out what it is they are going to do with themselves. You have two major growth spurts in your brain's anatomical development, the first being around the age of two when your brain grows rapidly (the consequence bringing the behavior usually referred to as the "terrible two's"). The second major brain growth stage is in teen age years when the frontal lobes of the brain increase in size and mass (this area of the brain controls, among other things, reasoning and decision making). So teen agers are thinking something, I know this to be true, but why must it be to not finish things, to not put things away, to not stop doing things when asked, what is it about the human condition that makes teenagers so FREAKING annoying to adults? Why are teenagers so incredibly lacking in common sense or as my father us to say "the sense you were born with." Its like it is coded into our genomic sequence that at around the age of 14 we need to start doing the stupidest of all possible things repeatedly until we either get arrested or receive blunt force trauma to our heads.

I've often wondered what would happen if I taught a class called "Nothing Class." Where my only function was to take role and intervene if violence should occur. I wonder what would happen if you gave kids an entire semester of freedom and as a teacher you just try to become a wallflower, simply observing, keeping peace, and taking notes. I bet we could learn volumes of valuable information if students were left to their own devices.

Would the students ask you questions, would they leave, would they figure out that they were being experimented on, would they actually use the time for something, would they just "hang out" as they say? Of course then you could start changing variables on them. One week you place only information of one subject area in the room. After a couple of weeks, on a weekend, you change out all the material and put new stuff in. Just manipulate the room and see what they do with it. Or you could repaint the room over the weekend different colors to mess with them. Or you could play an artist or song over and over again. If you want to see a teen ager squirm play jazz with out vocals.

All I know is that who ever scheduled us to go 7 weeks in the fall without any extended breaks is an extremely evil person. Even for a bearded hippie teacher guy full of peace and love and rainbows and lolly-pops, yes even I'm starting to get pissed off and awnry. Teenagers have so much potential and so many moments of intelligence, but why do they have to be so incredibly stupid the rest of the time? I love the little guys but christ alive their wearing me down.

26 days actually in school till Christmas break.
5 and a half weeks till sweet release.
1 more period to go till I go home.

Grey hairs in my beard...priceless.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend Update

What a weekend (or lack there of). I made the NYO trip was pretty good, more on that later, but lets get to the update.

Musical Artist of the Week:
Brazilian Girls from their new album "New York City" I first saw this band at Bumbershoot in Seattle and they were incredible, the lead singer is an eclectic raving beauty who dresses to the tilt when on stage (her eyes are always covered with something), along with a keyboard/tech wiz, a live drummer and a bass player they make for a real dance a thon live. The lead singer often sings in spanish, french, portuguese, german and english (her voice is exotic and sexy) and they have a house, electronic, funky, jazzy circus feel to most of their songs that makes you bop your head and move your booty. This new album is their second full length effort since coming together playing improvisational jams in New York Clubs and it is a very sound. Its not everyone's cup of tea (but who is this everyone anyway?) But its upbeat mostly, with some great slower tracks. The single "Good Time" is by far the highlight of the album and completely exemplifies the feeling they have live. Give em a shot if you want to expand your world a little.
Old Person Phrase of the Week: "Well I'll Be.." You can add whatever you want to the end of this "I'll be a monkey's uncle" or "I'll be tarred and feathered" or "I'll be damned" but in my opinion the best way to use it is just to say it reeeeeeal slow like "Weeeeeell Iiiiiiiii'll Beeeee"

Weather On Nunivak: Now this is what I call winter, 30 mph winds 8 degrees F after windchill, sideway blowing snow, deep deep gray skies and a nasty lil' chill than run up under ya e'er time you step out there. Thats right, Fall is done and over, we are froze up good and solid and its f***ing cold.

Yoga Fitness Update: I Tried to spread the news of Yoga around the island. Unfortunately "Adult Open Gym" Basketball started and just so happens to want to do it at the same exact time as yoga club. So for our little club to compete for health and fitness affections I will have to move our time to a more enticing time and days of the week. Thanks to Erin from O'ville I now have 4 different yoga DVD classes to offer which can service a wide range of interests and skill levels. It dawned on me this weekend at Native Youth Olympics that almost all of the events that they compete in are directly in line with many of the yoga poses we do and I have a lead on possibly getting a couple of males to come yoga. One of the adults who regularly attends ditched our group for open gym basketball. I said, "Don't you want to come get your body, mind and soul right?" The person said, "Thats what Jesus is for..." I thought in my mind, "Can jesus do the splits?"

Personal Art Update: As promised my newest song, "Standin' Still" is ready for upload, but the internet is really slow so I'll try again tomorrow.
I tried a higher pitch to my voice and also tried to embrace my natural singing which is much more nasally then I'd like. I think the song works though and I threw in some hair cut pictures at the beginning for you all to laugh at (but please don't forget to listen to the song).

Lack of Political Update: I seem to remember a time in America where we experienced something similar to what has been happening right now. Economic woes, a bullshit overseas war, a cultural youth movement, a youthful charismatic progressive president elect. I have talked to a lot of people about the election of Obama this week and the same topic keeps coming up, "God I hope nobody tries to assassinate that man" or "Every time I turn on the TV I just hope he's still alive." or "I just hope he survives the attempts" I really truly hope (If I prayed I'd pray) that America makes the right decision and lets this man try to do what is right for America without any violent attempts on his life. He made it this far, just let him be to do his thing you psycho redneck freaks.

This Weekend: I went to Akula for NYO (Native Youth Olympics). I wish I could report on the experience more, but it really wasn't that eventful (minus a tragic house fire raging nearby in town). Some of our students put their best footies forward and competed in many events with determination, some of our students only competed in 2 out of 12 events (and due to "tummy aches" some not in any events at all) and instead competed for the affections of the opposite sex, not impressed. I was, however, impressed with Akula's town store with its fruits, breads and cash machine, the school's full sized gym, and the staff's complete disregard for NYO travel rules as they sold cotton candy, soda, candy bars, and slush puppies well into the late evening making sleeping with the little sugar cracked out monsters a real peach of time. I tried to buy a bottle of water and one of the teacher's working there said, "That sounds healthy, we don't do healthy here, just sugar, pure sugar's all we got, how about a diet Coke?" I did however get some time bond with some of my students a lot and really appreciated the laughs and inside jokes that were made. I will post pictures after I ask the students for their permission.

Lasting Impression of the week:

"I used to think it was the bad things that you do,
that you pay for in the end.
More than that it is the good you could have done,
but you did something else instead"

-from "I Finally Saw the Light" written by Ben Kauffman from Yonder Mountain String Band.

Do the good that you can. -Kale

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ugg...NYO trip.

I got roped into Chaperoning two 17 year old boys on a Native Youth Olympics (NYO) trip to Akula tomorrow. This means no sleeping in eating pancakes and sitting on my ass watching college football-a-thon on on Saturday, this means one late night guarding doors from mischievous boys, this means sleeping on the floor, this means waiting in airports, this means stress. If you've never seen what happens when teen age boys get around a bunch of new girls they've never met, its a rather interesting sociological moment to observe. The alpha male preening around, the posturing, the

I also get to see another village, something that is always interesting for perspective. It also offers a little break from the norm, but carries the heavy possibility of being weathered out somewhere.

I'll be sure to take some pictures and share the experience.

Today I got a lot of commentary on the new hairdo. Here are some of the more memorable ones:

- "You look so nice, like a normal boy." -Carol Coworker
- "You look like a little kid with a beard" -Harvey Student
- "Dude your ears are freaking huge!" -Ted student
- "Mr. Iverson, was your head cold today?" Sandra Coworker
- "AAAAH, I keep forgetting its you." Dawn student

Tomorrow is Overalls Friday...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The New Nation...A New Kale

Not only did we get a new prezzy last night, we got a new Kale today. Its fitting that on the first day of what will prove to be a very historic transition in our country, I experienced a dramatic turn of events as well.

Well I must say, having my 12 inches of hair cut off in front of about 50 eskimo people certainly ranks up there as possibly the most bizarre thing I've ever done. Yes skinny dipping in crocodile infested waters in Australia was dangerous, yes eating guinea pig in Peru was zany, yes playing in an all native country western band was fun, but becoming a public spectacle all in the name of student learning and progress was by far the oddest thing I've ever done.

3 months ago when I agreed to this deal I didn't really think it would happen. But in one quarter 9 students rose to the challenge and got a semester's worth of work done. Instead of waiting till right before Christmas I had to push judgement day forward by a lot.

So as we all gathered round in the gym to celebrate all of the student achievement so far, I became a public spectacle.

Eunice cut off my pony tail, Harvey got the first pass of the clippers, Corretta and Jason and so on and so fort until my whole head was buzzed down to 3/4 of an inch. Even the littlest of little munchkins got in on the barber fun. Whoa nelly. My head feels like 4 lbs lighter.

Its been 2 years since the last time I had short hair. In all honesty it looks okaaay. I'm gonna keep the beard but it needs a trim too.

It always reminds me when I do this how much hair can define someone. I mean its not supposed to but it does. Have you ever talked to someone with huge dreadlocks? At some point you always ask, "how long have you been growing your dreadies" or have you ever seen someone with a mohawk and thought "someone needs attention..." I mean its just this stuff that grows out of us but it has the power to change how people think about you.

My long hair isn't me, its just dead cells, and I cut em off, and I feel fine about it.

So after a hot shower and a clean up job, here I am, the new kale. I don't think its too bad, I actually kind of like it. I definitely feel like I look younger which is kind of nice since I'm about to get a year older.


In all reality I feel incredibly narcissistic even talking about myself in the shadow of the monumental national news taking place. Its been so crazy watching the blogosphere react to the news. Its very intriguing watching my internet comrades comment on the topic.

As for me, I didn't vote, couldn't due to a weather/postal snaffu with my ballot request form, and since I didn't have a say (Didn't want to vote for either all that badly...still waiting for a non christian candidate...someday), I didn't really watch the election, instead I went to the school and played 3 games of Prison Rules pick up basketball with some hard core eskimo ballers. I had to run back to my house since I had forgotten my shoes and as I popped my head in I heard CNN declare Obama the weeeener. I shrugged my shoulders, smiled a small smile (secretly a little relieved that whether it is going to be a bad change or a good one at least it will be something new) and grabbed my shoes and trotted back out the door and back to school.

As I was putting my shoes on I said, "so Obama is gonna be the next president, they just announced it on CNN," to everybody. Maybe this will surprise you, maybe it won't, but no one really gave a shat. It was surreal, people barely reacted or stopped dribbling and shooting around. There were a couple of "oh yeahs" and "really's" but over all it wasn't really that effectual on anybody. I didn't want to be the odd duck and keep talking about it, so I just joined in.

Then we held our own elections, for teams though, first 5 to make a free throw were one team one if you didn't make a shot your were on the other team. Kind of a survival of the fittest ballot. Make the shot get on the predator team, miss it, become the prey.

I of course didn't make a free throw. I was on the team that didn't make the shots. We then lost 3 games to 21 (by ones) in a row. I sucked big time as usual but it was still fun. Man, I have no game at all (and I'm so friggin sore today). Luckily the fate of the free world doesn't rest on my jump shot.

More Luckily I'm just a little fury teacher guy in the middle of nowhere and thats just fine with me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

You know you're lonely when...

You know you're lonely when...

Student: Mr. Iverson, sometimes I think about how lonely you are in that little apartment. You just watch tv by yourself. You probably have made up friends you talk to...
Me: Sometimes I talk to inanimate objects
Student: Like when you watch football "Hey Bob, who you think is gonna win the game?"
(whole class laughs)
Me: I'm glad you can laugh about my complete lack of friends.
Student: You probably have more than one made up friend, theres Bob, Jeff, Larry
(whole class laughs)

Needless to say even my students notice that I don't have any friends (between 16 and 60 that is).


In other rather timely and pecLinkuliarly synchronized news, I got an email from an old professor today informing me that my name has been tossed around as a possible fit for the new Tacoma School of Math and Science set to open next fall. I don't want to get my hopes up too much but when I did my student teaching at the Tacoma School of the Arts my mentor teacher said that in a "couple" of years they would possibly open another concept school based on math and science and that I should keep my schedule open (thinking it was a pipe dreamjob back then). I just can't believe there is even a chance of me getting this job. Cross your fingers. The school will built on a refurbished boat landing next to the Ferry Docks in Point Defiance/Ruston/Tacoma Washington, and will work in conjunction with the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium as well as be led by the same minds that thought up the wildly successful SOTA. Being on the team to start a brand new school from scratch, Talk about opportunity of a lifetime.

Tonight I should be working on all kinds of stuff. I could plan better classes tomorrow, I could do some work for my class for my AK certification. I could keep looking for new teaching opportunities on the internet and uploading resumes and such. I could be doing lots of things I'm supposed to do. But what I will be doing is going and putting up some Yoga fliers around town, calling some old teaching colleagues, working on perfecting my peanut curry sauce, and listening to some NPR "This American Life" podcasts because thats what I do when I'm all alone. (and I'm not even sad about it, I'm kind of looking forward to it). I'm also really enjoying Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and may curl up with that.

Also, I wrote and recorded a new song last night called "Standin Still" here are the lyrics...song to be posted soon hopefully.

Gotta get up
Gotta move on
Gotta keep going
Gotta stay strong
Gotta bear down
Gotta stay back
Are you gonna stick around
Are you gonna hold fast

The world is turning
But I'm still standin still
Probably Should be movin on
Probably never will

After a hard day
And a lonely night
I'll take it anyway
There is no wrong, no right

The world is turning
But I'm still standin still
Probably Should be movin on
Probably never will

Looks like I need to change some of those lyrics maybe.!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend Update


Well we survived the Halloween carnival. My hair survived too. Until tomorrow that is. Word around the igloo is that they're gonna have a special afternoon assembly for it. Pictures are sure to follow. This is my classroom skeletom lovingly named "Nancy" by the kids getting into the spirit of all Hallow's Eve.

Musical Artist of the Week: Jack Johnson "Brushfire Fairytales" Every so often I just plum forget about an album for a couple-three years. As I was scrolling through my massive jack catalog I realized I didn't have his first album, the one that made me love his music so long ago, the songs I sang arm in arm with my freshman college roomates as we saw him in front of 150 people at Beasely Coliseum in podunk Pullman waRshintun at WSU. With hits like "bubble toes" and "flake" this is an obviously good album, but upon a half a decade later reexamination I still find it to be one of those really important albums that changed my life.

Old Person Phrase of the Week: Our wonderful cook said this peculiar phrase to me this weekend. We were talking about how fast the fall has gone already. She said "The Bible says time will go fast in the end for those with jesus in their hearts." I don't know what that means exactly but it was certainly quaint and made me smile.

Nunivakian Weather Report: After a short melt down and a slushy muddy mess last week we seem to have frozen back up after a nice little dusting last night. I'll tell you what, if it stayed warm like it was last week I mighta made it back up to the trout pond one more time. Now we're hovering around freezing with clear skies and no wind.

Yoga/Fitness Clubdate: With a steady attendance of 3 ladies (having lost the principals wife to going back to her home) I have decided to expand my advertisement efforts. I will be posting fliers around town and may start announcing on VHF radio waves. While I enjoy the company of my yoga team mates, I would like to see more involvement from all walks of life, I won't be happy till I have an old eskimo woman, a toddler, some male and female students, and somebodys dad there.

Lack of a Political Update:
I won't be voting this year, not because I don't want to, but because my request form was held up in a 4 day fog storm and failed to make the deadline. The only thing I can do to make up my civic debt is to share this website that I stole from Erin who stole it from Mentor Pat. Click Here and prepare to wet your undergarments.

Personal Art Update: Ummmm...nothing really to report. I've been busy sadly, although Halloween was pretty comedic. I was a robot. I used a large grocery box and turned it into a giant robot head and then taped robo buttons onto my black tights and played Daft Punk and did the robot on a slow moving treadmill. I thought it was funny, but it freaked the little kids out and I made multiple children burst into tears. Needless to say I had failed to consider that to a small toddler in an Eskimo village of 170 in the middle of the Bering Sea a giant headed Robot dancing to techno might be just about the most foreign and frightening of all conceivable thoughts. I felt awful and took the costume off after 15 minutes and changed into my back up a ninja which caused far less tears.

Lastly But Not Leastly: I have a really busy Sunday lined up today. I have to clean and reorganize my room after the last week of Halloween madness. I still have to grade all my lab notebooks. I need to write my lesson plans for the week, and I need to get a private yoga sesh in for myself. I've stopped lifting and I think I might go to a 4 days a week yoga schedule.

ALSO!!! SWEET JESUS check out my mother's blog Empty Nester Survival for some absolutely embarrassing photos of myself from Haloween's Past.


And, There are only 3 and a half weeks till Thanksgiving, 6 weeks till my birthday, and 7 weeks till I'm home for Christmas.
to view my other blog OUT OF THE CLOSET ATHEIST click HERE