Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm not Sad Anymore

Sorry for that depressing post, I'm feeling better, my friend Randy is back in town and we are chillin.

New Years Eve tomorrow, a small affair with Randy, Suzye, Syd, Bekah, Nick, Chris and a few others possibly, the theme being "Freaks and Geeks"

If appropriate pictures are available they will be shown for you all to laugh at.

Have a safe and fun new year and remember, drinking and driving is totally whack!

Friday, December 26, 2008

So Much To Say...

I don't know where to begin herding these swimming uncontrollable thoughts. Its been a day to remember. I'll remember today as the day I was home and also traveling through something I don't know anymore. The fantasy world I yearned for, and ached for all fall while I was in the far north lamenting on decisions and circumstances, couldn't be less of a reality. My family is great, my home is warm, my car runs great, and the speakers play Nick Drake clearly as I accelerate and brake through life around the lost city of Tacoma searching for fragments of a life I left behind, searching, surging, through the kicked up mist of transported people and the defrosted fog from my steady silent breathing.

The windshield wipers click back and forth and my feelings are marked by how bitten my fingernails are, like waterlines on the side a lake. Its been said that things change, I suppose they do, but maybe we're the ones who do. Its also been said that things stay the same, and maybe its everything else that only seems to. Both could be said about myself. I've always chewed my fingernails, ever since I was a boy, thats the same, and I do it without thinking usually if I'm driving or stressed out or thinking too hard, and when life is just to full of goodness I usually wake up one day and they are back to normal. Thats when I know that life is how it should be.

But now I look down at them, my poor fingernails, and they are just about gone, they are the ones that end up carrying the full burden of my heaviest of thoughts. Thoughts of an entire day spent driving around Tacoma alone, driving through old neighborhoods, weaving in and out of the endless consumers heading back to the stores to get what they really wanted or to change what they were given. I ended up buying nothing but coffee, endless coffee, and a gyro from my favorite desperate respite the Magical Sandwich Makers on 6th Ave, and thinking about all the cigarettes I used to smoke, wanting one, so badly, but holding off somehow. I looked for the few friends left in this town and realized, like college, the world I left behind had been swept along in the endless tide of time, and yet on the surface looked frighteningly like nothing had changed at all. Nothing can really describe the feeling of being home and also being just as alone as when I was in Alaska. People are gone for the holidays, people are working, people are simply being people and neither my presence or lack there of will change that. The loneliness feels just the same here as there.

I've always been lonely, its a horrible feeling, just wanting to be where you want to be and are wanted also. I've had moments where I didn't feel that way, but like sunrises on sundays these feelings of completeness always bring a shadow of melancholy knowing it will all start over and again.

It certainly makes things difficult, I just want something easy right now. I just want a sentiment out of an Eagles song, I want a peaceful, easy feeling. Instead I have rain, and cold, and dark, and so incredibly post Christmas Northwest cliche mindset. If you don't get it, move here, you will.

And Dammit I want my friends back. I want to call them, and hang out with them, and meet up with them and go shopping with them, and drink coffee with them, and lose to pool against them, and experience things with them, and just feel like for one fucking moment I am a normal person. I don't want to be normal, I just want to feel like it for a moment so that I know where I stand, because after one and a half years in the most unexplainable and completely unreal worlds I have changed so much inside that I don't know what the hell I'm supposed to be feeling anymore.

I know that I have this moment, with this computer, and this cup of coffee, and these thoughts and you the reader, and I have these suburbanite high schoolers swirling around me in this coffee shop with their words silent as the song "Shiver" drowns out their socializing in my headphones as they are preparing for future uber-plastique Nordstrom lives.

Whenever I come back to the Northwest I remember Nirvana, Pearl Jam, DeathCab For Cutie and Modest Mouse songs, this place, this area does things to you. I'm so used to battling the elements in Alaska, elements that can take a finger or a toe, elements that you plan for, I'm so used to those that I'm not really sure how to defend myself against the subtle mental battle moves of a this place against my mind, so subtle that the constant insignificant drizzle and just cold enough temperature here just plays with you.

But I'm meeting a friend soon, hopefully, and that should change things, a late encounter with the past, always makes for a new outlook. I have an old unopened pack of cigarettes from a long time ago that I used to keep in my car for emergencies, and now its in my flannel shirt pocket, and I'm not going to smoke them, but just keep them there to remind of me of when I did.

And the unstoppable time moves on, soon enough I will be back in the trenches in Alaska, back in a way of life that seems so completely ludicrous until you come back to contiguous America and see how ludicrous life can really be.

And if at all possible, go see the Mysterious Case of Benjamin Button, but do not listen to Nick Drake afterward, the introspection that will result may produce similar feelings of deep deep melancholy as were represented in this utterly depressing and pointless blog post.

Good night chaps.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

The family has come and gone,
The snow has come and stay,
I'm happy to be at home
On this completely beautiful
Fabricated Commercial holiday.

Tomorrow we will wake up,
With sleepy in our eyes
And we will share our
Amazing Santa surprise
The biggest of Christmas Lies

He said "Ho Ho Ho merry Christmas"
I say "Merry Day"
You say what ever you want
As long as its what you want to say
and make this is a thankful day.

Oh and by the way, Have a good holiday my special wonderful goobers,

I love you all,

Merry Christmas to all And to all a good life.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Overalls Thursday

I'm wearing overalls a day early this week. Tomorrow I will be wearing regular pants covered with snow-pants as I hope to embark after school gets out (half day oh yeah!). Weather appears to be okay outside and we just got a plane a couple of minutes ago, if things stay the same I should be a go Ghostrider your pattern is clear for take off. Request for fly by approved.

I called the bush plane service and they forgot to put my reservation down when I called it in last month, so good thing I checked right, gotta love that Alaskan sense of a job done right. I will probably get stuck in Bethel tomorrow but thats ok, off the island is the goal. I have a floor to sleep on and friends to relax with so it should be just fine.

We had our Christmas program today also, I showed a slide show movie with music and all the photos from the JH and High School this year, it was funny and well received by all. As I sat in the gym, off to the side, just diggin the whole spectacle, I noticed how all the white teachers subconsciously gravitated toward one another while all the local teachers sat amongst each other and the community, and as the local Mekoryuk residents watched their beautiful children sing holiday songs, (concentrating so hard) dance and play out funny Christmas skits in Cup'ig I had a great flood of emotion about how separate I felt come over me. Instead of feeling connected and warm inside I just felt so separate and lonely. I can't really describe it, I was smiling from the sort of after school special feel of it all and I wasn't angry or depressed with the people here, I just had a moment in the middle of all the singing and dancing when I felt so far away and removed an inorganic. Even when they called my name out in Cup'ig "Massuucikili! Massuucikili! Come here!" it didn't feel real. I've tried so hard the last year to get the nice people here to accept me, trying to be this calm, peaceful, warm person all the time (even when I'm burning up with emotion inside ), that I don't really know who I am anymore.

Luckily I have a home for that. I get to go my home tomorrow, weather willing, where I can be with my people, sing my songs, and do my cultural thing, and I can't wait to just be myself.

I will report when I arrive safely, until then, have a merry merry merry christmas season and I hope to talk with you all real soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Radiate Warmth's True Beginning.

If you would like to laugh your ass off an hear some of the true story behind my first years on this earth please check out my mother's blog dedicated to my birthday.

Click here ==> EMPTY NESTER SURVIVAL

I guarantee this will be amusing to you.

Thanks mom I love you too.

The Sun Also Rises in Mekoryuk


I just finished reading Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises." I just sat down with a cup of tea and some incense and started reading, it took me about 2 hours but I finished it. Thank you Erin for recommending it, I will listen to you more often.

I was so completely wrapped up in the characters that I just had to know what would happen to them in the end, characters that I never thought I would care about in the beginning, I mean the book is essentially about post World War I ex patriots bumming and boozing around France and Spain. You have Jake Barnes (Hemingway) a sort of journalist of sorts who was wounded in the war so that it complicates his love for the beautiful promiscuous party girl Lady Brett Ashley. Jake is a connoisseur of fishing and bull fighting and is generally a very good person to most. He sort of takes care of this woman he'll never truly love, Lady Brett, who is supposed to marry a bankrupt drinking lush type named Mike who is far below her status. She had an affair with a Jewish Boxer/writer named Robert Cohn who laments after her continuously (totally obsessed with her) all the while trusty Bill holds the group together with his good will and intentions, a true chap.

This motley crew ventures to the Fiesta De San Fermin or running of the bulls in Pamplona for a week of intense wine boozing and partying, bull fights, human fights, and love, that all leads to a complicated alcoholic climax of complex relationships, romance, friendships and the truth between them all. Hemingway paints a clear no bullshit scene that feels real and makes me envious of the 20's while also making me excited for my trip to Europe.

The whole time I couldn't help but think how much the chapters were just like being in college. I mean the setting was different, the people talked different, but the interactions were so timeless. It was all so familiar for a book set somewhere I've never been in a time I've never seen. The drinking, the desperate loves, the down and outed-ness that can usually be solved by another party, another drink, another bar, its all was just so damn familiar.

This is only the second Hemingway I've read, the other being the "Old Man and the Sea" (which I loved but was too young to fully absorb I think). I want to read more of his books but only if they resemble this one right now. I'm not ready for an epic war drama, I just want more of this boozy ex patriot social scene. I want to read more of the old slang language like "What Rot" instead of bull shit, or "I'm awful tight" instead of drunk, or "Take a row at him" instead of picking on someone or talking shit and endless "Chaps" and "darlings." And they used to send telegrams back then, and they read just like our text messages these days, its just all so parallel to what is happening with the young and restless 20 to 30 somethings I know.

It is also the perfect book to have read right before Christmas, it puts all this nonsense into perspective for me. Why we do what we do in life, for love, for hope, for no other reason than because we don't know any better and we're tight. And in the end you can't make someone love you or love someone that can't be loved.

I really really really identified with this book, Jake's insights, his thoughts, the way he saw the world and usually took a middle ground between people and appreciated the purity of sport an other empirical qualities in people and things. For this reason I felt I must be a kindred spirit to Hemingway. I can't believe he committed suicide in the end. Thats not me though.

Either way, I want to read more of his work, but I want to to stay in chronological order so that I can follow his life, like I did with Jack Kerouac, I like doing that, following a writers life through their works over time. It makes me feel like I grew up with them, a sort of simulating the processes of life before I have to go through them myself.

If you get a chance read this very interesting book, it has a lot to offer people of any age, but especially those young or young at heart.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend Update

One week to go till I attempt to evacuate the island. Can you believe it? Christmas is here?
Musical Artist of the Week: I make one musical suggestion for you all every week. And I'm pretty sure that most of the time it doesn't challenge anyone enough to actually cause them to take the 30 seconds to go on to iTunes and buy it. But if you were ever going to listen to me, now is the time, because the album I'm about to recommend comes with a guarantee. If you buy it and don't like it, I guarantee that you have no taste in music.

Dennis Wilson's"Pacific Ocean Blue & Bambu (Deluxe Legacy Edition)" Dennis Wilson was the drummer and lesser known Wilson brother in the Beach Boys (Most people know Brian). Dennis also owned the studio where they recorded and when the Beach Boys weren't on tour or recording he was in the studio making these albums (Bambu named for the rolling papers, was never released till lately). Basically these two albums showcase all of the parts of the Beach Boys sound that I enjoy from albums like Pet Sounds but also have a distinctly Dr. Dog, My Morning Jacket and The Band feel the them. The songs flow up and down from rompous blues melodies to meditative ethereal chants to symphonic and epic soundscape harmonies and all orchestrated or played by Dennis himself. Please Please Please give it a try I promise it won't let you down, and worst case scenario you get a photo of what my little brother will look like when he's 45 (assuming he'll ever be able to grow a beard).

Old Person Phrase of the Week: Suckerin' Suckatash. Simply put, I have no idea what the f*** this means or why you would ever want to say it, but it is something an old fart would say so if you ever hear it, question the wrinkly grammar perp right then and there and report back to me immediately.

Weather on Nunivak: This week last year I learned more about weather than I ever thought I would as I anxiously checked all possible sites for updates as I tried to get home for the holidays. Some of the most helpful websites are kusko.net and the NOAA site for Mekoryuk. Between these two sites I can track wind patterns, pressure fronts, temp changes, and visibility forecasts. In order to get off the island I need less than 30 mph wind in both Mekoryuk and Bethel, I need +1 mile of visibility in both, and I need a complete absence of freezing fog/rain. Right now with 44mph gusts outside, dropping barometric pressure, and precipitation, this wouldn't be a day I would get a flight. I'm just hoping the Bering Sea blows itself out now and will be nice for friday/saturday. But as an old Eskimo woman once told me, the plane will only come if "God Wills It." As scientifically ridiculous as that sounds to me it has a sizable nugget of truth, no amount of checking the weather will actually have an effect on whether or not I get a plane, but since I don't pray this is what I can do, research and interpret data. We'll see how it goes...

Personal Art Update: Obviously the Art Show was a great success, I decided to keep my art out of the show and make it student centered. I have been practicing about 10 songs every day and should be all ready to perform at various gatherings of friends and family over break, which I'm very excited about.

Fitness Update: I played open gym basketball twice last week and did yoga twice, in other words I was a sore puppy come the end of the week. Unfortunately people keep sending and giving me candy and goodies and since I'm completely out of groceries I can't seem to stop eating them. The big test will be over break to see if I can avoid some habits I have quit since last time I was down south. Damn you holidays and your tricks.

Next to Lastly But Not Leastly: A special thank you to all the amazing people who sent me birthday gifts great and small, it made my birthday very very special. I got a hand made hat, and some socks and chocolate from Katie (thanks baby!), some birthday cards from Erin, Angie and Sadie in Bethel, The My Morning Jacket and Sufjan Stevens christmas albums from my brother, some various cookies and other yummynesses from my nunivakian friends, and an iPod from my parents.

The iPod is the second time my family has forced me into the modern age. I was officially the last person in the state of washington to get a cell phone (another gift from the fam), and once again with this gift I enter a new age of technology, the iPod world. Its not just an iPod though, its got my name on it and 120 gigs of memory making it a badass iPod. I put everything I own on it and only took up 11 gigs. Why do I resist giving into things that in the end will make my life better (in the short term, I may still get a brain tumor from both). Regardless having the iPod has made my sleeping a little more comfortable as I no longer have to truck my laptop into bed with me to listen to music on my headphones when I fall asleep. The only thing I don't like about cell phones and iPods is that they are one more thing to keep track of and worry about losing. Oh well...I love the gift, thanks mom and dad.

Lastly But Most Importantly: A very proud congratulations must go out to my Little brother Hal for his staggering accomplishment of graduating from Washington State University in a clean and very dignified 4 years. If you've ever been to Pullman, known graduates, or seen the difficulties that go along with living in this Olympic quality drinking town you would know that graduating from there in 4 years is something to be very very proud of (most people stay 5 plus years for a 4 year degree). Also, he never got arrested which is also extremely difficult to do as well and I'm very very very proud of the man he is becoming. I'm so sorry Hal for missing your High School and College graduations, not very big brotherly I know, but every time you graduate I'm in a foreign country far away and who's fault is that?...oh yea mine...excuuuuuuuuse me. I'm also really excited that he is going to be a teacher too! This just ups the chances of one day being able to teach with my brother.

After Christmas break he will be doing his student teaching on for a Department of Defense base in England. We will be meeting up at the end of May and doing the Mediterranean Coast for a month or so before returning home to Washington for good!

Congratulations Hal! I love you brother, you are turning into an even great er person every day, I am so proud of you and I can't wait to see you for break!

Have a great week everybody and check out the art show below!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nuniwarmiut School Student Beginning Art Show 2008





Last Night the Nuniwarmiut School and the students of the Fall Beginning Fine Arts Class along with Mr. Kale Iverson held its first and possibly only public Art Show dispaying a semester's worth of work from 6 featured student-artists. Although real art supplies were limited to pastels, acrylic paint, butcher and construction paper, "borrowed" welding wire and charcoal pencil sets, skills were novice at best in the beginning, and space and lighting was less than desirable, the show was a resounding and impressive success that attracted upwards of 50 viewers and raised $45 for student art supplies.

The main goal of the class was to reintroduce beginning classic art class as an Elective to the school curriculum that generally hasn't had any electives other than their native Cup'ig language class in the last 4 years. In holding this show, the hope was to display the talented work of students and encourage more opportunities for student art in the future.

In the class itself, the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design were the main focus and had an accompanying project for each, as well as projects emulating the works of Georgia O'Keefe, M.C. Escher, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, and others although not all projects were displayed.

The students picked their best work from over the semester, finished and matted them, and signed them for veiwing of the completed work.

The star pieces of the night were the giant pastel drawings done in the Style of Georgia O'Keefe which included close ups of flowers, tiger eyes, parrot eyes, dragonfly heads and a snake being held.

Another eye catching project was the repetitive rhythm project done with sponge stamps/acrylics/butcher paper in the style of Andy Warhol (not pictured).


The student self portraits (free choice of medium) also gained attention for student skill as well as the class collaboration project on the "Marlboro Marine," which was a panel piece.



All in all, a majority of the students demonstrated an extremely high degree of skill in the projects that included reproducing real objects. Whether it was a small picture, a 3-d object, or a clip from a magazine, the entire class showed a preference for reproducing photo images to a very high degree of clarity in their art while tending to struggle more with projects that were more abstract in nature.

Although the intent of the show was for viewing only, over 7 pieces were sold by the end of the night with all proceeds going directly to the artist.

All students in the show were present and beaming with a quiet pride as community members, parents, siblings, and teachers walked from panel to panel enjoying sparking cider, home made cookies and snacks, observing, interpreting and enjoying all the hard work, individuality and creativity on display from their very own Nuniwarmiut School Herder students. Additionally, all of the music the students listened to over the course of the semester as they created the art was compiled onto a "Art Class Mix" playlist and was played over speakers during the art show as well.

The student's teacher Mr. Kale Iverson feels that in current education there is a unacceptable deficit for the teaching of the arts in schools that spend too much time preparing students for the "high stakes" testing that No Child Left Behind has brought about. Teens are desperately trying to find ways to express themselves and the arts are a safe, creative, and sometimes lucrative avenue for this expression that have been stripped away from most school curriculums. Students that are not naturally gifted or interested in the areas of academic Reading, Writing, and Mathematics may never get a chance to display how capable, creative, hardworking and intelligent they are unless opportunities in visual and performing arts are provided for them. Hopefully this small show is one step in the right direction for the Nuniwarmiut School and the Lower Kuskokwim School District.

Change doesn't happen from the top down, but rather from the roots up, and this art class showed what one little class, in one little school, on one little island, in one little district can do to influence others in how and what they choose to teach their students to become active members of society.

The major benefit of the class was not political or monetary though, rather, six students and one teacher gained a great love for creating their own personal art as well as formed friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime.


Mr. Iverson and the students would like to thank all those who attended, helped out, donated and enjoyed the art show.

Next semester there will be no room in the busy acedemic schedule for Art Class unfortunately. To fill this need for art Mr. Iverson will be restarting up the popular and successful after school club from last year called "S.A.S." or Student Art Society with a focus of holding a spring SAS art show for the community once again.

Hope to see you all there in person or in spirit, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Escape from the gaggle of heinous freak mutant former high school female classmate dream terrorists

I don't know whats up lately, I've been falling asleep earlier and earlier. Last night I laid down to rest at about 9 and totally fell asleep. The upside is that I get more sleep supposedly, the down side is that I've been functioning on about 6 hours of sleep for almost 5 months now so at about 3 am I have been waking up right around the middle of my REM cycle. This creates for some very bizarre encounters in the night.

Obviousely the elderly braces make out attack dream two nights ago started it. But again last I awoke in the same semi-lucid asleep/awake dream state trying to figure out what was going on.

The DREAM (don't judge me on my subconscious) started as I hung out with my high school best friend Sean and some person unknown in downtown Tacoma somewhere unrecognizable (I assume he was in the dream because we recently started emailing again). We were sitting around drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and sharing art work. I was reading some amazing poem that I don't now remember writing but in the dream I remember knowing that it was amazing, and as I read the unknown guy started playing guitar and after I said the words he started singing them perfectly to the music, then Sean started to play a set of drums in the corner of the room and I took over singing once I got the tune. It sounded amazing and we were all beaming from that feeling you get when you know you're on the verge of something gigantic. Right then and there we started a band. In this case a "dream" band if you will.

From that point the dream gets a little muddled. I do know we went to the Swiss Bar in Tacoma to watch a band play and promote our newly formed dream band and afterward it spilled out toward a loft type place that resembled a bohemian/hipster version of a boat dock. We were sitting around and all of a sudden a bunch of really shallow girls from Peninsula high school (where I went back in the day day day) showed up and they had all morphed into older, more pimply and unfit versions of the ones I remember going to school with. I won't say who was in the group, it doesn't matter, what does is that they wanted to have a dance party to terrible 90's RnB music (this detail was probably in the dream from looking up just such music lyrics yesterday on the net) and I got stuck in the middle of a circle and couldn't get out. I was getting so angry that it finally woke me up out of the dep sleep just after I saw Sean and another high school friend escape out the porch door.

The difference between last night and the night before was that after I woke up at 3 am the dream was so putrid and vile that I actually contemplated staying awake for fear of re-entering it if I were to enter dream again.

Unfortunately my fear was validated upon reclosing my eyes. I woke up and went back to sleep 4 times last night in a desperate flurry of trying to escape this gaggle of heinous freak mutant former high school female classmate dream terrorists. If you can imagine a herd of charging bison in ill fitting Nordstrom and Aberchrombie and Fitch Apparel loudly talking on cell phones and sipping lattes heading right for you then you can imagine what kind of a nightmare it was. Finally I did give up at 5 am and woke up for good, made myself breakfast, bewildered and a little scared, and came into work confused and gun shy.

I felt the need to share this experience with you because beside the horrific events that took place later in the dream the beginning was awesome. If you didn't know someday I would really like to start a band, a real one, with music that we make.

I have been in two bands in my life.

One was a brief summer gig playing ukulele in a obscure but utterly fantastic Tacoma band Johnny Walker and the Hitchhikers. It was my first band experience and it was fun but not really something I would consider a mutual creative experience. I just played what I was told and that was fine by me. But I did get put in my place musically which was good for me to see how far I had yet to go.

The second band is the one I played in for 4 practices and one show, the local all Eskimo pop country band WD-40 last year (which incidentally just informed me that practice is starting back up on Saturday night yes!). This band was about the same experience to tell you the truth. I was given a song book that had about 55 laminated pages of popular country standards with chords and I just played ukulele and guitar and sang back up. Not really the most creative experience but still fun in an unorthodox sort of way.

But I have never started a band. And the prospect of having a dream where I did is really exciting because maybe that means I really will someday (What Will We Be Called?). Unfortunately it also means that I may or may not be stalked and or killed by aging former female high school classmates.

Either way its rather exciting isn't it?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuuuuuuuuuuuesdaaaaaaaaaay Aaaaaaafternooooooooon

I'm just beginning to see, now I'm on my waaaaaaaaay.
- Moody Blues from "Tuesday Afternoon"

Sorry I don't mean to start off a blog with a Moody Blues song Lyric because that most certainly is a rather pathetic start but how often is it tuesday afternoon?

Then to follow it up with the fact that there is absolutely no pertinent nor interesting news to report really is just pathetic.

oh, I did break down and devour the 8 chocolates necessary to close my debt with the advent calendar. They were sub-par as I suspected but I didn't feel like calling the dinosaurs afterward thanks to the choco overload from the night before on mom's almond roca. The hair of the dog that bit ya is how I think they say it?

One thing of note I guess, my songs "Standin Still" and "I Love You" have cracked the top 100 charts on the IAC website for Soft Rock/Easy Listening. So if you get a chance check out my songs and give them a listen, each time you do it helps me make a little money to help pay for the site service fee as well as climb the charts yee haw!

AAAAND Student Semester End Art show is coming up on Friday (nervous!). The students portfolio's are almost complete, we talked about how to set up the gallery, refreshments and advertising as well as how to dress and act (dress cool act like yourself). I just really hope people come and check it out because I don't think anything like this has ever been done here in Mekoryuk and the kids worked so hard and we never praise them enough and some of the work is really spectacular and they deserve a good word you know? The thought of people walking through a totally bare bones "art showing" experience really blows my mind.

I'll of course take pictures and let you know how it goes.

Do you ever write a blog post and know its pointless and unrefreshing from the start? Because I do, but if I've ever learned anything from Conan O'Brian it is to point out your pathetic attempts at comedy to at least salvage a sympathy laugh. So you know it, I know it, this post was piss poor. But it was either this or writing nothing and sometimes I need to write about how nothing is happening to remind myself that it is ok to not happen and stuff or before when talking things places persons and ok but sure no wait there lost it coming back into the groove under control got it !!! Whoa what just happened there I lost it for a moment there, I think its because late last night I woke up looked at my wrist watch and it read 3 am but in some sort of dyslexic haze I interpreted the hands on the clock as 9 am and freaked out. I jumped out of bed and started my morning routine for about 10 seconds in a hysterical panic until I realized that it was really only 3 am when I promptly flopped back into bed and went back to sleep in about 10 seconds only after feeling incredibly ashamed of my own bizarre stupidity. What a boner move huh? But I woke up because I was having a dream that I was being attacked by an elderly lady with braces (food stuck in them) in a strawberry patch and she was trying to kiss me, I escaped but barely as I leaped over a barbed wire fence

So yeah how was your day?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent Calendar Meltdown, Manila Gold and Roca-ecstasy

So my mom sent me an advent calendar, the problem is that I forgot to open it up for about 7 days. And now each day I just stare at it and it taunts me. I don't want to suddenly start opening all the cardboard doors and force myself to eat 8 semi palpable low grade chocolates. Then I think "what am I supposed to do, put myself on some sort of plan?" Like two a day till I'm all caught up? I can't throw them away, that would offend even the most ebenezer of scrooges. Or should I just wait till the day before I come back for Christmas break and eat them all in one sitting, melted chocolate fingers and beard, dripping with melted morsels as I sit, bloated against a wall crying with a mouth full of chocolate alone. I'm damned if I do damned if I don't.

TO THE HELL WITH YOU ADVENT CALENDAR! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH its too much pressure with your dates and record keeping and all the building excitement of working toward revealing the slightly larger 24th day santa chocolate what are you trying to do give me a heart palpitation anyway?!

In other rather drastically important news, thanks to pastor Nathan's recent trip to mainland, I now have acquired one quart of manila gold or "Egg Nog" as some have called it. This has single handedly transformed my attitude on life as it has become a coffee staple additive in my upwards of 5 cups a day and is responsible for transforming the normally shat tasting school brew into something nearing nirvana.

Still more fantastic news to report as I opened part of my Birthday package from mom and revealed three quart bags full of home made almond roca. After I cleaned up the mess I made when I crapped myself out of joy, I enjoyed me some of that roca-ecstasy. Almond roca is great because after you enjoy it initially you also get about 10 minutes of secondary enjoyment as the toffee stays stuck in your molars.

I hope that was as hilarious to you as it was to me. Have a good week.

Kaleskees.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend Update tis the season...I guess

I think I'm almost done sulking for the weekend. I watched some good end of the year college football, slept in and relaxed.

Musical Artist of the Week: One of the reason I usually scrooge out during the holidays is because the entire spectacle is so corny and embarrassing. But now that I have Jack Johnson's record label's christmas album -"This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday Vol. 1" featuring Jack Johnson, Matt Costa, ALO, Zach Gill, G. Love and Mason Jennings, Christmas just went from Dorky in the Harry Connick way to cool in the Jack Johnson way. This collection of cool, relaxed and funky christmas songs almost, ALMOST, makes me get into the spirit of the holiday season...almost.

Old Geezer Phrase of the Week:
"Christ Alive" Since its the holiday season is around the corner, the term "Christ Alive" is a good one to bust out as you open up your pre-packaged and wrapped presents on the supposed day of his birth. When you unveil those wool socks from the bon marche box, or that new set of bath towels you were hoping for you can exclaim "Christ Alive!"

Nunivak Weather: Its not very Christmassy around here. After the warm streak last week that almost melted all our snow away and definitely unearthed some long forgotten debris and garbage that the nice people of Mekoryuk have thought would disappear as they tossed it on the side of the road to be concealed by the snow. Now the cold temperatures have returned with no new snow for the top layer, freezing all this untidy melted mess in place rock hard.

Health and Fitness Update:
Two yoga classes last week turned out to have a couple possible new recruits for next year.

Personal Art and Music Update:
I have been practicing some songs everyday so that I remember them perfectly so that I can play them from memory. Most of you who have heard me play know that I can't really re-play most of the songs I recorded/made up myself and I also make up a bunch of crap on the spot, when I do play covers I don't always remember the lyrics, this year I've set out to change that, at least for what I've written lately. I also wanted to learn 5-10 covers by heart so that in total I might be able to play a good 45 min show someday. Here is what I have so far

My Songs:
Clean Fresh Brand New Start
Standin' Still
Depending On
Love Overgrown
My Little Life (New)

Covers I know:
Matt Costa "Yellow Taxi Cab"
Sublime "Santeria/What I Got/Caress Me Down" Medley
Beautiful Girls "Long Way Home"
Vanilla Ice "Ice Ice Baby"
Montell Jordan "This is How We Do it"

Covers I'm Practicing:
Kings of Convenience "I don't know what I can save you from"
Death Cab For Cutie "Photobooth"

Covers I want to learn:
Usher "Nice and Slow"
LFO "Summertime Girls"
TQ "Westide Till I Die"

My ultimate plan being that if I ever were to play a show it would be intermixing my own songs with cheezy 90's RNB songs that we all could sing along too to create an overall feeling of wellbeing and comedy. I think it would be great. Maybe if you hang out with me over christmas you'll get to hear some!

Lastly But Not Leastly:
My Fine Arts Class will be having their art show at 7pm on friday (by having it on my birthday I'm hoping that people will forget it). The Show will display my 6 student's complete work from the entire semester finished as possible for the public in the school gym to enjoy. We will have music, refreshments, and we will be dressed like "artists." I am extremely excited to provide this experience for my kids and for the community. Wish us luck!!!

I got another long week, then one more, and then I can go home. I hope everyone is making the best of the darkness, and cold, and christmas-ness of it all and isn't getting to freaked out.

Peace

Friday, December 5, 2008

Overalls Friday Is here...sigh.

With the unseasonably bizarre warm weather moments of this week, the reduced class sizes and students oh so sedate, packages finally arrived and brightened my day...for a while. I also learned some other news that left me melancholy as well, but its all for the best. The combination of this enter weeks progression has left me feeling something strong inside, I just wish I knew what it was.

Its a feeling I get every christmas season. Its an anxiety of sorts knowing that family and obligation and love will collide in a often tragic and grandious flurry of haphazard exchanges of sentiment and love. Even though my families christmas' will undoubtedly be a meltdown as it usually is, I can say that in all honesty when I look back on my memories of christmas' come and gone I can't remember any of the train wrecks, blowups, or fights, or arguments, all I really remember is all the Christmas mornings we had, when we would gather around the christmas tree, me my bro mom dad and grandpa and grandma every year except for the Chile/Peru one, the tree dripping with tradition and collected artifactual ornements, to open up the stockings and gifts we so carefully searched for and selected for each other, not expensive gifts, but important ones that had to mirror our deep understanding and love for each other and had to maybe make up for all the things that went unsaid that year. Thats what I remember, the good things, thank goodness for that.

Its also a feeling of deep reflection as my birthday nears and I am reminded yet again that I have grown a year older, which bothers a lot for some reason, god, it always bothers me, mostly because life is so incredible and I love people so much I just can't imagine it all ending someday, I want to be immortal. But the end is what they say makes the rest of it "the sauce."

This year mixed in with my normal December jumbalaya of emotion I get to also add in the hopes of prospects and new opportunities in my goals and career. With a major location change in the future, this christmas brings a little added pressure, a little test if you will, to see if I really could move back to Washington. Last year when I went home for Christmas I was a little worn out by the time I had to come home to Alaska and I was looking forward to getting back to my teaching routine and my adventure in the bush with no conceivable end in sight. Now with the end of this experience on the horizon I wonder how I will feel as I am forced to return for the spring semester. I just hope its not as heartbreaking as my last days before coming up here this summer. I simply didn't want to come, I wanted summer to last forever.

I don't know what it is but the holiday season isn't an easy time for me, its a stressful time. Its a lot of emotions swirling around everywhere, it all builds to a crescendo of the best and worst of people, and then the new year, when you are supposed to reflect and try to yet again pull yourself up by the bootstraps and do it right this year.

You say, "Dammit this will be my year, I'm gonna change, for the better, I'm really gonna do it this year, I'm gonna (insert desire for improvement here)." But you know what, we rarely do, we rarely really change much at all. One thing that I have learned about myself in all of the extensive and exhausting solitude here is inexplicably who I am:

I'm self centered...still.
I'm an exaggerater and a storyteller.
I am an entertainer.
I'm a lover and a dreamer.
I'm a damn good teacher.
I believe in myself.
I need to be appreciated.
I'm a big brother to a lot of people.
I care about people I hardly know regardless of logic.
I am my fathers son and my mothers son simultaneously.
I am a good person that deserves good things.
I am loved, a lot (you guys ruuuuuuule!!!!!!).

Being alone all the time, culturally, age group wise, living alone with no companion to lie next to, you get to know the bizarre and sometimes frightening corners of every mental frontier of yourself. I needed to come to Alaska, I needed to do this, I needed to learn these things about myself.

And As I have been seeing more of my grandparents in my parents lately I see more of my parents in myself lately too, I miss my brother more each day we spend apart, I fantasize about how life could be someday, I don't want to miss a minute of it.

Life will inevitably always probably turn out in yet another set of pointless circumstances that leave me forced to deal with more of the bullshits of life, because in the end their are two types of people, those who cause bullshit, and those who fix bullshit, I am usually one of that latter. But at least I know who I want to be around when those bullshits and bullshitters come rolling down the hill.

I swing back and forth between two things most of my life, one a meaningful existence, and the other being a life that really has no meaning at all. Luckily if there is a meaning to this fucking miracle I'm certainly looking for it, and if there isn't, well, hell, I'm sure enjoying the shit out of the ride anyway.

I just couldn't go home to my internetless cave of a tiny apartment before I spilled some of this out. Its a been such a quiet week that I just needed to get it all out. One of the reasons this blog has been so fruitful over the last year is the same reason I'm typing all of this sappy self reflective crap right now, up here no one ever asks me how I'm doing, ever. Up here no one really gives a damn, and since I have no one to talk to about such things, I just talk to myself and this happens to be the place where I do my self talking, the awesome thing is that you all get to watch in horror and joy as I tumble through life, and I'm happy you've come along as unexpected as it always is to have such an audience.

Radiate Warmth is more than just a motto to me, or a credo, or a bunch of beatnik propaganda, it is my daily spiritual reminder that I need to cultivate love in my heart. When I log on, when I see that banner at the top it reminds me that I'm a good person, and only because I'm trying to be so hard. If I didn't I would just be another asshole like a lot of people, I have a great potential for asshole-itude as do many of us out there, I've been an asshole before, its a miserable existence believe me. But it wasn't until I started taking steps to try and be a better person that it all turned around, I haven't changed a bit over the years, I just found things about myself that I liked more than other things and put those first.

So this year, as it all starts up again, the stupid music, the decorations, the dumbass seasonal movies, the obligatory annual materialistic onslaught of commerce, the biggest lie ever told to children, remember that I said this...

The original idea of Radiate Warmth came from the feeling I got from the fireplace that my family has always had regardless of where we lived, and nothing is more warm and embracing than a fireplace, if I can make my love for people feel like that then I am being the person that I'm supposed to be.

So feel the love I'm sending it to you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday

This week was a racing snail, slow and steady to an outside observer, but in the mind of the snail a frantic struggle for forward progress.

One week down, two to go.

Crazy weather outside is baffling me, a tropical 34 degrees in December and raining (how unreal). They closed school in Bethel for rain had rendered the roads undrivable.

With an average of 4+ students missing per day out of my 16 student population, this week has been sedated, calm, productive and kids have been as docile as hindu cows. Although we are experiencing a couple nasty cases of what I call the "holidaze" the end of the year is wrapping up nicely.

Overalls Friday is tomorrow, if the next two weeks can saunter by like this one, I'll be a happy boy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Messy Deskspace

My Teacher Desk Space from my perspective:

Awful Holt Environmental Science Textbooks circa 1994 stacked up from jump starting my brain in the mornings, files of math phases completed and stacked up that should be put into permanent files, my gradebook with sticky notes shooting out the sides like fluorescent flags, pens and markers overflowing my cup from my daily collection of left behind writing utensils, un-important mail that I've been too lazy to read or throw away strewn about, a coffee cup that needs washing with last weeks remnants still crystallized in the air hole, a random plastic spoon, crumbs from the cake I was forced to eat when I didn't have enough time to go home for lunch, coffee stained jumbo calendar sitting underneath my dirty white computer, my weeks lesson plans with notes, a mag-lite flash light with a bunch of fruit stickers, student write ups for misbehavior/lack of behavior, Neal Cassady's first and only book "The First Third" that I read at SSR, a Jimi Hendrix Biography I got for Teddie, a 1972 Pentax K1000 35mm Camera, white board marker colored "lime green" my favorite but fading fast, power chords for my speakers and two computers, un hung christmas lights, microscope slides, box of paper clips, stopwatch, envelope full of sand intended to be sent to some arenophile in California, Yoga DVDs, a spool of manila colored thread, an empty film canister, Planet Earth/BluePlanet Box Set, Lysol Disenfecting wipes with bleach, A spray can of Matte Acrylic Sealer, a water color painting of an imaginary tropical fish, a photo of my family from 1988 that is hilarious, Three Bausch and Lomb Microscopes, a cheap knock of Nalgene that I covered up the LKSD emblem up with a "Keep Cool" sticker from one of my grocery boxest, a copy of the LKNEA message board thread, a small porcelain figurine of a rabbit out of a box of Red Rose Tea, and of course a large plastic jar of Grade A jumbo eggs in vinegar dissolving their shells off for an experiment this week.

And to think I just cleaned it all up on Sunday, what a mess teaching can be.
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