Monday, March 30, 2009

Bethel's Final Gift

Please read the two previous posts to fully comprehend my bethel experience.

Today however has been a nice day. I am stuck in Grant Aviation Terminal. All day long I have been sitting upstairs drinking coffee and doing work.

I found a shelf full of old hippie cd's that they play in the store and they let me rip them into my computer.

So far I've got.

some Hot Tuna
Little Feat
Allman Brothers
3 Bela Fleck CD's
Ry Cooder and Manual Galban Mambo Album
Fleetwood Mac
4 Dave Matthews Albums
Jerry Garcia, Grisman and Rice
and about 5 more cd's I can't even remember

and last but not least....the greatest album I've ever found.

I present to you:


Moondog was a blind street performer from 1956 New York who made his own instruments and played all over town taking his inspirations from the street sounds of the city. He wore army blankets and a viking helmet and had elf shoes and a gigantic beard. He looks like a farking god on earth. Basically I might have a new idol.

His works were later played at the New York Symphony and he eventually moved to Germany where he lived until 1999 when he passed. I will certainly do more research but this might be the greatest musical find of my life.

So as I wait for the weather to improve, I've just heard that they aren't working on our runway in Mekoryuk which was completely over run by snow drifts, Murphy's Law in full effect.

I talked to my secretary who informed me that they had to crawl into school today due to a gargantuan snow drift in front of school. With our janitor out, our maintanence man with a broken arm, I wonder if I'll have to dig it out?

I have now inserted Moondog into the coffee shop stereo and am blowing the minds of all who venture into its musical radii.

What a day. Thanks Bethel, you've made up your discretions ten fold.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Taxi Cab Confessions: Bethel

I'm stuck in Bethel for Sunday. I'm not really in the mood to do the weekend update.

I'm sorry if you were looking forward to it. I offer you a smattering of disturbing true Bethel stories instead.

While watching the rather disappointing Sudanese Dancers at the Camai Native Arts and Dance Festival a horrific yet true event took place. The tale I am about to tell is not fictional, rather a sick sick reality.

Brian, Jamey, Wendy, Erin and I were watching the dance festival, trying to understand and get into the Sudanese dancers, which appeared to be brightly dressed Sudanese people simply playing sudanese music over the speakers and dancing randomly however they wished.

All of a sudden Brian got up and grabbed his stuff and walked away purposefully and speedily. Erin turned to me in disbelief.

"A little kid just threw up on Brian." She said.

Then she informed the parents that in fact their little 2 or 3 year old was still projectile vomitting all over the farking place. Then she chased after Brian. In the void where they were sitting was a pile of vomit. The smell wafted up immediately. We scattered as if a napalm bomb had gone off. All of our coats were hanging up on the railing so I went by them and watched them and what unfolded. The parents grabbed their little tyke, wiped off his mouth (he barely got any on him because the force of the blast spread the fluid everywhere but on him) and put his winter clothes on and walked away with out cleaning it up.

The area had a grapish smell which I can only interpret as neglectful parenting and over soda popping the little fella. I waited, panicking slightly for what seemed like 15 minutes for my friends to return. One person after another tried to come and sit in what they thought was a lucky open seat in the crowded gymnasium. For a while the people around tried to warn people of their fate if they came near. But as more and more people kept stepping in it and sitting in it, it slowly just washed away in the fibers of local Bethelonians.

Finally Erin returned and informed me that the unfortunate event caused Brian to go home. I can't say that I would have been different. I am already slightly uncomfortable sitting in a giant gym full of people who have travelled far and wide from their villages bringing in their very special breeds of colds and winter flus to breath into the moist and heated gym air, snaughty coughing unattended children wiping their slobbery hands all over everything. If it were me that, as Brian described later as, "All of a sudden my back felt hot" I would have flipped the frig out.

It was such a tramatic event that all we could really do was continue to talk about it and how ridiculously unbelievable it was. The entire affair mixed with the completely mediocre Sudanese experience, cut our drive and interest in the Camai a little short.

Then today.

In Bethel, we don't get our own cabs, you share with people who happen to pop up along your route to where ever you are going? Sometimes these characters can be rather interesting.

Today I rode in a cab today with a piss drunk native man who waited till he got into the cab to let out his last breath of cigarette smoke. He exhibited many of the signs of a meth amphetimine addict and was very talkitive without seemingly making any sense. He wanted to know where I was going and who lived there.

"Friends man, you don't know em." I said and did my best to ignore him.

He smelled like strong cleaning chemicals and cat piss and had Coors Light Tallboys poking out of his disgusting gooey Carhardt Jacket. He kept picking at his scabby hands.

Up front the whole time the Serbian cab driver and a white local service employee of an establishment that will remain nameless (pregnant and smoking to boot) talked about whether or not she should get an abortion from her accidental pregnancy to her manager.

"Vat are you goingk to do veeth it" asked the Serbian Cabby.

"I don't believe in abortion, I was the one laying there, I'll take care of the thing," said the girl nonchalantly.

It was pretty uncomfortable all together. Despite this very depressing little scene I went to AC (the mega grocery store) and bout some yarn and other crafty goods.

Then I walked home to Sadie, Angie and Erins.

What has unfolded before your today were two sobering tales of this little gem called Bethel.

I'm tired, soar from sleeping on floors and couches, and wishing I was home. But I am watching the Count of Monte Cristo with the gals and about to order some food. Which is good indeed. Thanks for a great weekend ladies!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bethel Successful

Its Friday! I finished 3 rounds of presentations to the ME school on practical and possible uses of Smartboards in the classroom. People seemed to really enjoy learning about a new technology tool that they may get to use in the near future.

On non work related issues. Bethel is nice. Sunny, crisp, covered in snow and ice. I am definitely gonna miss this little shit stain of a town. The people hear are fantastic. I will miss them. Hopefully we won't lose touch. The people are the source of this places charm.

Last night however, there was some very peculiar activity afoot. At about 1 am as I was struggling to fall asleep when from outside the apartment where I lay on the couch a thumping, drunkin, screaming and yelling penetrated the walls. Banging on doors, slamming walls, and jiggling handles of doors.

Simply put it was a rather drunk eskimo man trying to get in next door, the drunk man was not being allowed in and tried to come into our apartment. As Erin and Sadie and Angie started to wake up I was waiting inside the door.

"This ain't what your lookin for brother, you need to go home and quit trying to come in we don't know you" I said in as deep and scary of a voice as I could muster.

"Malflsdfhlsjhlk what whoo yu sdl;aslkdjf;ls" Mumbled the drunk guy.

So we called the cops. Big props to the 2 min response time, nicely done Bethel PD. The officer promptly went upstairs, questioned the man, who did not know his name or where he was, cuffed him nicely and gently, and took him down town to warm up and figure out what had happened to his life.

Oh Bethel, you charmer you, I love you.

Today I ate some restaurant food with real people my age. I do miss this simple activity of life.

Tonight I will simply do something I forgot people do. Its this thing, a novel concept really, its called "hangin out" or "chillin" as the kids say these days.

Tomorrow I have big day of shopping planned. Groceries and craft supplies, yarn, stuff to make poi, and some new headphones as mine took a shat yesterday.

Tomorrow night maybe some Camai native dance festival viewing and more "chillin" then I return home.

I was happy to hear that my kids were good in my absence today. They've come a long way, as have I.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Notes on Life

Turned in my official "Employee Resignation" today.

I also told my high school students. They were really quiet about it. Although they are sad, I think we will be ok. One of my students said after school, "It feels like you're leaving tomorrow..."

We played garbage ball indoor soccer today in PE. I spread about 15 carboard boxes out across the gym as "in play" obstacles and a garbage can in the center worth 5 goals if the ball went inside. We lost 11 to 8. It was really fun.

Tomorrow I will fly into Bethel for Camai and to give a presentation at ME School on the use of Smartboards in the classroom. Apparently there will be some resistance as many teachers might be hostile towards technology! It will test my devastating charm and sharp wit for sure.

I will take lots of pictures and spend a lot of time with friends as this will most likely be the last time I see most of them for a very very long time.

Its funny, when I hadn't thought of coming home before, I despised going into Bethel. Not the people, I love the people, I just can't get over the skeezy feeling, the dirt, the crappy inservices. Now that this will be the last time I get to hang out in Bethel I wonder if I'll look at it differently. Maybe drunks outside of the AC will be cute and loveable instead of desperate and depressing, maybe the mudslung over charging cabs and taxi's will have gotten a new wash job and will drop me off where I want to go without stopping to pick up 5 other people first, maybe, the garbage will have magically gotten picked up in front of peoples yards, and maybe all the abandoned buildings will get fixed.

Or maybe I'll just miss this wonderful trashy little town with wonderfully untrashy friends.

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Its Official...sigh.

This is the first letter/email of resignation I have ever written. Because person receiving this letter also happens to be my neighbor and friend I kept it short and sweet as we will talk about it anyways.

Even though I have no job, no place to live, and no plan for the future (minus concert tickets), this is something I need to do right now.

What the letter didn't say was that I miss my parents and I think they need me more than they'll admit. My little brother is finally coming home for good and I want to be united with him (and be his big brother again). I want to spend what little time I have left with my remaining grandparents and be there for them . I need my friends back in my life (and maybe they need me?). And Lastly but certainly not least, I'm in love with a wonderful girl and want to be with her.

If this means I have to substitute teach, wait tables, and live in a shitty apartment in Tacoma than so be it. I'm ready. I could live anywhere as long as my family, friends, and baby are near by.

It doesn't mean I'm skipping out of bush Alaska happily. I have deep emotional swings of guilt and melancholy everyday, I look at my kids and how far they've come and how they still depend on me for lots of things and feel like I'm abandoning them. I love my students, each one , more than I ever thought I would. Having such a small number of kids, I've become really attached to them. Its going to be an emotional month.

I have a lo more to say about this, but I think I'll hold off for now knowing that many emotional moments will be coming as this experience draws to a close.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Update

Its that special day again. The weekend update that you've all been anxiously waited for!

Musical Artist of the Week:
I've taken a bit of a stand. I'm gonna keep pressing this band over and over again. Until everyone in the world knows it. They are the best band of all time. Period.


here is a free download of a semi recent song with some of their new material.

Old Person Phrase of the Week: Thanks to my friend Ken I have this amazing conglomerate of phrases for the week. He sent me this response to a letter to the editor of the Tacoma News Tribune. The person is responding to some nutbar who said the use of the phrase "The size of the fight in the dog" in and artical promotes animal cruelty. Here is the person's funny!!!

Here are all the old person phrases that are used:

A bone to pick
strike while the iron is hot
take this lying down
make no bones about it
tilting at windmills
not worth a hill of beans
making a mountain out of a molehill
keep your eyes peeled
bitten off more than you can chew
a long row to hoe
stiff upper lip
every dog has his day
mad as a hornet
tempest in a teapot
no skin off my nose
let sleeping dogs lie
sticking to my guns


Weather on Nunivak: Even though its freezing cold still, its sunny and beautiful and definitely looking forward to going out to the airport to pick up the SUPERINTENDENT at the airport. Taxiing him across the tundra on a snowmachine, a semi veteran alaskan, I've come a long way since I shook his hand and got hired in the Seattle Exhibition Center two and half years ago in a shirt and tie.

Art Update: Sadly, music news to report. Practice Practice Practice. I need to write some new songs though. I have about an hour of music I can perform, but I'd like an hour of just my songs instead of an hour of my songs and covers. I did check my IAC Artist Page account today and made 10$$ on people listening to my music online! Every time someone listens to my music for free I get a little pocket change! I've got a 36$ credit to my account now!

But I have been making lots of hats. I've been giving them away to a lot of people and can't wait to get to bethel this weekend to buy more yarn.

Travel Plans: This weekend I'll be going to Bethel to give an inservice at the ME school on the applications of smartboard use in the classroom. I get two days perdiem, a free flight into bethel on Camai weekend. Camai is a Native Dance festival where tribes from across the land come into showcase their native dances. Lots of awesome Eskimo arts and crafts are also sold. I might take a bunch of hats and try to trade. BUT I really just want to see all my friends one last time before I go home for good. So I'm calling out to you to round up the troops! I want to see you guys!

Lastly But Not Leastly: I am really happy today, the stress and strain of realizing my life is changing has let up for at least one day. I am committing myself to enjoying these last wonderful moments in the bush and also to not worry about the summer.

Oh and I am getting pretty good at cutting my hair again. Just look at this slick devil!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag...

Today I slept in till noon. Wild dreams and thoughts all night long.

I watched a movie with my neighbor and his wife, knitted her a beautiful hat made with alpaca yarn and double wrapped for warmth. It took longer than usual but turned out great.

The highlight of my day was my snowmachine mission. Because the town snowblower has been on the shits for about a month our road to the airport is completely gone. The town no longer has trucks circling around on errands, running passengers and supplies back and forth from the airport. Its all snowmachines. This also means no garbage service. Garbage bags have been piling up and I finally had enough, I loaded up the dog sled that is attached to the back of our school snowmachine, got all bundled up, grabbed my headphones and iPod and set out for the area on the tundra where we put our garbage to burn.

What I really want to talk about is the selection process I go through when choosing the perfect music for flying across the tundra on a snowmachine toting garbage. I ask myself, what is the most out of place music that would go with this exciting endeavor. Some rock music? Maybe some radiohead could really capture the vast expansiveness of the tundra. To serious though. Maybe some hip-hop, the Blue Scholars are always good for the soul, or maybe some Jurassic 5. It just didn't feel right. I just scroll up and down the artist list until I simply feel it. And there before lay the only possible option, it glowed on the screen, and I just knew it was right with the universe.

"I feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel Good, da na na na na na na, I knew that I would now da na na na na na na na" Jame mother effin Brown! Yeah Baby!

Before I knew it I was flying across the tundra on the SkiDoo 500 wide track, sled full of garbage bouncing behind me in the single side view mirror. Just imagine it.

"Papa's Got a brand new Bag."....of garbage! I was grinning underneath my face mask. At -13 with the windchill (plus the 35 miles per hour I was going) it was so cold that the two little triangles of skin on my cheeks almost got frostbite even though they were barely exposed.

I got a sick satisfaction as I buzzed passed the dinosaur sized ravens picking through the burning garbage pile, scattering them into the sky. I parked about 50 feet away uphill, untied the garbage, and hurled the garbage bags through the sky into the hole.

It was as if each bag I threw was also a bag of my troubles. Each hearken bag flew threw the air with worries on my heart crumple inside. I know this entire image is bizarre and possibly sick, but I felt good. Now even lighter without the garbage I whizzed and jumped up and down the tundra. I was going so fast that I got an icecream headache through my hat.

I love the feeling of puting one knee up on the seat and standing as you hit the throttle on a flat smooth surface. I'm so not a motorhead, but something about riding a death defying machine has the ability to help forget your troubles, even if only momentarily.

This was a good day for spring cleaning.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Random Shit

I have no idea how to gather all my thoughts into some sort of themed post. I just need to express some things.

I started today off with tired bloodshot eyes, weary and tired of teaching and bush alaska, day dreaming and procrastinating for summer, not wanting to be in school at all, short timers syndrome, senioritis, apathy, spring fever and a case of the F**k its all wrapped up into one.

I started by waking up to sad Modest Mouse "Iiiiiiiiii'm not, the Dark Center of the Universe like you thought," then went into a deep Paul Simon (self titled 1972 remastered) self introspection periods 1-4 "Holes in my confidence, holes in the knees of my jeans..."

Lunch gave me incredible hope and happiness though, I got to talk to my brother on skype and due to some amazing help from Corinna with Greek travel options we actually got some things figured out.
We had so much to talk about and so little time to talk about it that we ran an agenda with items and everything (just like Bret Jemaine and Murray on Flight of the Conchords). I want to break that down item by item so you can see how much we talked about in like 35 minutes.
Hal? Present.
Kale? Present.
Blog Readers? psst. Thats you! Present

Item 1: Europe planning: Hal will get a much needed relaxing of responsibilities and start devoting more time to trip planning starting soon. Good leads on Greek islands have given the trip new shape and realistic features. But we are still not even 25% planned.

Item 2: High Sierra Music Festival has thrown complications into 4th of July at Mom and Dad's plans: John Butler, Tea Leaf Green, Umphrey's McGee, ALO and Disco Biscuits make for an impossibly amazing line up of our favorite bands that we simply can't miss (we loved High Sierra Too in 2007). It is two weeks after we get back from Europe with no jobs or place to live so that would make it also very irresponsible to to go. But...we both want to. We set a two week thinking period and reassessment meeting for April 1st.

Item 3: String Summit Confirmation (thanks for saving the Tickets mom). We are ticketed, scheduled and passed inspection ready for fun with Randy, Sydney and possibly Suzye for this amazing festival. Its a lock. Still need to work on my friend Jeff in sanfran to come up.

Item 4: Discussed the Pro's and Con's of 10,000 Lakes Festival in Minnesota the very next weekend. Pros include a good line up of bands, a new experience of a festival and fun road trip. Cons include expensive gas, lots of drive time, and slammed right between other festivals. We put a two week reassessment period on this to allow for contact with Matt.

Item 5: FLOWMO VS. PHISH: If Flowmotion keeps Summer Meltdown on the same weekend as Phish at the gorge my brother and I will be attending Meltdown. It is the right thing to do. Support your local musicians please.

Item 5.5:
We also discussed preliminary Camp Conco ideas (and hoping Meltdown didn't get moved to this weekend). No news yet on Meltdown reactions to Phish summer tour announcement. Camp Conco a go go. Get yer root down!

Item 6:
With the AMAZING news of Mason and Reese coming up for Dave Matthews Band I informed Hal that there would be some great friends there to hang with. FACTOR AND REESE WE CAN'T WAIT!!!

Item 7: Yes I am in love!

We then had to split. Lots of important things were discussed. lots to talk about and plan in the best summer of my life. We got a lot done using this "Item Method" plus it was funny and exciting.


Enter stressful rock and mineral identification laboratory activity with majorly ADHD post lunch High School Earth Science class to realign my grumplestiltskin attitude and desire for leaving this place for the warm sunshine of my home.

But Then the latter part of the day was filled with parent teacher conferences.The conferences were wrought with scheduling nightmares, parents gone, students gone, 15 minute increments from hell trying to fit in all the extremely important things into the group of people that need to meet about it. Luckily I used all the Self Determination stuff and each student presented a thoughtful, professional, informative powerpoint presentation on their progress this year and projections of the future. I realized how far some of them have come since I first met them. The presentations were very good compared to others from earlier in the year and I could tell parents and the principal were very impressed. Plus some things got out in the open that needed to be addressed.

Enter emotional regret/melancholy for leaving my little soldiers next year. They have so much life shit to deal with, a boring village, little opportunities, apathy, parent problems (or lack of parent problems), I feel like some of them have really come a long way in a year and a half. I don't want to leave them. They are the best thing about this place. Its the 6 hours of sheer isolation each night eating horrible expensive food alone and missing out on the lives of everything I know and love that outweighs it.

Brother, Parents, Grandparents, my friends, my baby, my students, my co workers, my legacy, my memories, my future, my life. Its all fucking swimming around constantly and it keeps me up at night. I'm so stressed out (and nearly out of T-Flu). I hate not know what the hell is going to happen. I hate not knowing where I'm gonna live, what I'm gonna do. I'm nervous because my life is such a routine up here, a solitary, lonely routine, will I be able to adjust to the life of my alter ego?

Then I remember...thats just Responsible Kale dominating the thought process. And responsible Kale is booooooooring and a total prude and worry wart. I keep forgetting about my alter ego and how he is. Up here Responsible Kale is always on, even at 11:00 at night I get a knock on the door from a student. I never let Free Kale out...ever. He's addictive and tenacious and he has a killer tan and cool sunglasses. He just waits inside of me...grinning, neon green shorts, funky hat, no shirt wearing mother shut yo mouth plotting and planning and getting all the necessities ready for his grand entrance. Free Kale is a scheming little asshole hell bent on one thing, loving life and infecting his friends and family with the love.

He's whispering in Responsible Kale's ear always "Take care of your shit buddy, cuz when I come around it better all be done, I don't got time for all this nonsense, you get to go around doing your teacher/career thing all year and I get to sneak out fo 3 months, that shit is unfair man, you better figure it all soon out cuz I wanna go fishin pardner!"

"Shut up already then, quit distracting me, don't you know how much pressure I'm under? There is tons of crap I have to do so just hold yer horses and I'll get it done ok?" Responsible Kale replies frustrated.

I've painted a menacing picture of Free Kale. Thats not the point. Its just that Responsible Kale and Free Kale don't get equal time. Responsible Kale spends all year long working his ass off to free up time for Free Kale to get 3 pure months of bliss. Free Kale gets his kicks where he can sneak in, trips to Anchorage, Christmas breaks and what not. And Responsible Kale gets his kicks out of being successful in overcoming goals and pursuing responsible interests. But why does he have to be in control so much? It is exhausting! Its not to say that Free Kale is amoral or evil, he's just undeniably, uncompromisingly himself and lives in the moment.

Ah, two peas in a pod those two though, they make the Kale world go down. Free Kale could never get a master's degree and Responsible Kale could never take a vacation.

In non-schizophrenic news both of my personalities are hungry so I'm gonna go home. I know that this post might not have quenched the thirst I have to share with you so here is a poem, off the top of my head, right now, ready?

Who thinks these things?
Clutter and insanity.
Packaged boxes ,
Passing faces,
We come and go
We come and go.

Who lives this life?
Loving and losing.
Slow Lies,
and new butterflies.
We hold on to let go.
We hold on to let go.

Who knows what is what?
electronic demons,
wires and words,
and fifths and burns,
Its just so typical.
Its just so typical.

Who wins it all?
Hearts or brains,
living the moment,
and trying to own it,
Always impossible.
Always impossible.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PHISH Versus FLOWMOTION: The Heart of Rock n Roll is in the Northwest

Be careful what you wish for...I asked for Phish to come to the west coast in my Weekend Update and here you go.

As if this summer needed any more excitement, the monolith mega jamband, and recently reunited PHISH has announced they are playing two nights at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington August 7th and 8th.

The dates are unfortunate for our friends in Flowmotion. Phish has selected to play the same weekend as the Annual Flowmotion sponsored event "Summer Meltdown" at the Darrington Amphiteature in northern Washington.

The Phish Summer tour announcement will probably force Flowmotion to move their festival to a new week or cancel it as the fan base will flock to see the bigger, reunited WALMART-esk Phish. Thats right, Flowmotion is the mom and pop general store, and Phish is the Walmart, they just wipe everything out in their path toward domination.

Although my friend Stephie said that they sent a letter of apology to Flowmotion, I still think this is an insensitive move on their part. The world was adjusting and getting along just fine after Phish broke up. New bands were making their mark, Phish's hiatus marked an explosion of new fans who flocked to bands like String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, Widespread Panic, Tea Leaf Green, Yonder Mountain String Band, Michael Franti, Railroad Earth and many many others to fill the void. I would say that the Phish break up was better for jamband and hippie music than other thing they could have done if they stayed together because if made people diversify their summer festival portfolios and bands of interest. Now they are back. And everyone will go back to the way things were. Except for us who never got it in the first place, we will be left in our little boats wondering what happened to our beautiful summer festival world in the wake of this giant cruise liner called PHISH.

I am particularly frustrated by their return. It means that everyone will bow down and lay prostrate once again before them. They do throw one hell of a party, but I don't think that they rule supreme.

I of course have never seen them. Phish has been touring since before I got into high school. I can't say that I'm even a big fan because of this lack of actually seeing the show (although I've watched "IT" about 20 times). I am hoping to god, allah, jesus, mohammed, the virgin mary, buddha, and all 3 million hindu gods that Flowmo moves Meltdown to a new date and doesn't cancel it over this.

Stephie said, "you are the only person I know that would choose Flowmotion over Phish."

I replied, "Flowmotion is my Phish, your Phish is Phish." Does that make sense? The band that I follow, the band that I love, the band that changed my life is Flowmotion, not PHISH. Even typing it making me mad that I even have to choose.

It like a little kid stuck in a divorce. The little kid really wants to stay with the nurturing loving father but the state gives custody to the whacked out drug abusing mother because she is the mother. The kids heart tells him different but you can't fight the system. Isn't it funny that Phish is the Man in some ways?

All that being said. Stephie got me to enter into the ticket lottery for four tickets both friday and saturday (two for me two for her if I win) night for Phish at the Gorge August 7th and 8th. I was 18 the last time they came to washington and will probably be 34 the next time they come. I have to go and see the show just to confirm what I already feel in my heart, they are an east coast band, with east coast fans, and Flowmotion is the true heart of the northwest and the true heart of everything I hold dear about music. I can always sell the tickets to friends if I don't go (not scalp, sell at price, I hate scalpers).

Its like going to a strip club when you already have a beautiful hot horny loving wonderful wife at home.

So add this complication to the already amazing summer calendar. The possibility of seeing Phish at the Gorge is rather intimidatingly exciting I have to admit.

But I must say that if it comes down to it, I may just choose Meltdown. It depends on what my brother, leslie, kali and the mad hatters want to do. Personally I believe that Flowmotion is the greatest band in the entire world and I will stand by that statement till I die.

Don't agree, go kiss a phish.

Why must planning out the greatest year of my life be so stressful?

Sunday, March 15, 2009


LinkAnother long weekend of not getting anything done. Oh well.

MUSICAL ARTISTS OF THE WEEK: This week is a double artist all about free internet downloads. I downloaded last years Yonder Mountain String Band Friday and Saturday night sets from the North West String Summit. Saturday night's set (7/20/2008) comes with an extra bonus as Leftover Salmon makes a surprise appearance and plays five songs. Now that I have bought my tickets for this year already I can't even wait to get my root down with some real good friends. You can look up these at so click HERE.

And the return of Phish into the lives of hippies, kids, stoners, and music officianados world wide took place in Hampton New York on the first weekend in march. I downloaded the shows before they started charging for them and it was pretty incredible to hear those guys back on the horse again, better than ever...although I've never seen them. I was really hoping that maybe they'll make it to the west coast this year. March 6.7.8 can be downloaded at or go and click HERE.

"Pardon My French" I don't really know why the french get credit for swearing. American swear almost as much as Aussie's. It should be "Pardon My American English"

WEATHER ON NUNIVAK: I walked out on to the sea ice with my mentor teacher sally. I was nervous a bit but she wasn't, and she's an alaska veteran, so we followed some snow machine tracks figuring if it didn't fall through we wouldn't. We got out a ways. Pretty cool! Right now its still blustery and blowing. They lowered the threat level on Mount Redoubt meaning that its probably not gonna blow...lucky for the residents, unlucky all the Earth Science teachers licking their chops at an awesome moment in geological mystery.

ART UPDATE: Hats Hats Hats and more hats. I'm knitting a lot because its a good activity when your on the phone and I am on the phone a lot these days with my baby! Also I am still practicing a lot of music and working tons of "showmanship" stuff...this may sound weird but I set up a mirror in my room because I realized I may look ridiculous when I play (being as how I'm usually alone in my room) but you know I don't look half as stupid as I thought when I play so maybe there is a shot for me after all.

Here is a rewording and re interpretation to the popular and over played song "Ice Ice Baby" By Vanilla Ice. I have renamed it "Nice Nice Babies"

Alright stop, collaborate and listen
I am back with a brand new intention
Something, grabs a hold of me tightly
Flows like a monsoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop? I don’t know
Turn off your lights, and we’ll glow
To the extreme live a life you can handle
Life is your stage and watch a chump..
Can you dance? I’m feelin’ this groove
Freeing your mind like a cubinsi mushroom
Heavily, when I play a dope melody,
Anything less than the best ain’t harmony
Love it or leave it you better make weight
Better hit the bullseye cuz we about to play
If there’s a problem We can solve it
Check out the hook while the planet revolves and
Be Nice Nice to the ladies
Ladies Be Nice to your babies
Babies the Earth is sayin save me
Save me Things are lookin hazy

Quick to the joint and the joint is taken
Drinkin martinis stirred not shaken
Runnin hope like you’re quick and nimble
I go crazy when I see ohm symbols,
And funk hat with a salsa tempo
I’m on a roll don’t have to be solo
Rollin in my subaru with the hatch wide open just for you
Girls are on stand by waiting just to stay high
Can you stop or will you go bye
to the tour stop
The Grateful Dead so I precede to be okay
Shakedown Avenue!
Girls were hot wearing their beanies
Rockin the dancefloor like balarinis
Jealous fellas come by
Bob Marley Said
"Every little thing is gonna be alright"
If there’s a problem We can solve it
Check out the hook while the planet revolves and
Be Nice Nice to the ladies
Ladies Be Nice to your babies
Babies the Earth is sayin save me
Save me Things are lookin hazy

BLOG OF THE WEEK: Empty Nester Survival, although I highlight this blog every now and then, I think my mom has great blog. You should check it out! Its got a cool theme, a cool outlook on life and cool lady behind it. Love you mom! Click HERE

Big Love: Oh my god, has anyone been watching this show! It is getting outrageous, murders, conspiracy, polygamy greatness at its finest.
The "L" Work: Who the Hell killed Jenny! I can't figure it out, these lesbians really have a crazy crazy world and I'm really upset that this is the first season I've ever watched, I may have to go back and start from the beginning.
Flight of the Conchords: After a bit of a slow start this show has really started to get funny, Bret (brit) and Jermaine (jimaine) are falling on hard times, learning about hair gel, and really really making some hilarious new zealand infused music.
United States of Tara: A new personality has surfaced and I think this show is shaping up to really be a new front runner favorite of mine. Lots of messed up social commentary in a backdoor suburban way.
East Bound and Down: Kenny Powers, ex baseball star, steroid and drug user, tries to make his way back to fame in suburban america as an atrocious midde school PE careful lots of swear words and definitely for the grown ups. I actually almost spit my soda out I was laughing so hard.
Jimmy Fallon Late night: YUCK! Where is conan already, I love Jimmy Fallon but his show is not good. I never thought I would say this but they should have given the job to Carson Daly.

I was watching Dana Carvey's newest stand up special on HBO and he had a rap on how sometimes he gets "A Case of the Fuck Its." I have to say I am currently get this myself. Its so hard to stay focused when your heart is somewhere else. I have so much to do and I just keep playing video games, watching tv, knitting and playing ukulele. Damn it get yourself together man!

ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Don't step on a crack or you'll break your momma's back!


But you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette

Crack Kills...

Hope this Cracked You Up...ok I'll stop.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Summer Update

Summer Tour Update:

Corinna gave me some good ideas for Greece. Looks like London, Greek Islands, Italy/Sardinia, Malta, France, Balaeric Islands, Spain, America.

Also, Sydney gets back from Hawaii the same day as me and hal get back from Europe how Serendipitous!

I purchased four tickets to Northwest String Summit July 17th, 18th, 19th. Bro Hal, Randy, Sydney (come on Suzye and Lindsey and Bekah you know you want to come get your root down!).

and after little brother confirmation I got two tickets to Dave Matthews Band, Yonder Mountain String Band and G. Love and the Special Sauce at the Gorge Amphitheater in September (Saturday night). I got the three day camping pass just in case we go Friday. DMB is great, but its all about the Yonder and G.Love baby.

The only down side is that by going it means I'll have to miss some of Bumbershoot (be back for sunday) and not go to Burning Man. I do want to go to Burning Man, but I just don't know if this is the right year with trying to find a new job.

Anyways. A little progress!

Friday, March 13, 2009

You Ate What!

Last night I took a page right out of the Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern or No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain play calling book and tried some of Mekoryuk's finest delicacies.

Nathan and Sandra (pastor and wife/co-worker) invited me over for dinner and we had some amazing battered trout, rice, homemade bread and left over musk ox steak. All delicious and very palatable and then...

"You want to try alkdfjlasgasjljks (I just type random letters to represent Cupig Eskimo language because it sounds like clearing a loogie from your throat)" What that unintelligible word meant was boiled Musk Ox Asshole in hot seal oil...

"You want some musk ox asshole?"

I replied "I'll try anything once."

I didn't want to offend anyone, I was a guest.

I didn't have my camera so I didn't take a picture. But I can try to explain it.
It was bloody, and veiny and looked like a pulsating steaming oyster type mass with an inside out eyeball crossed with a koosh ball feel. All the inner folds and of the colon were shiny and sparkling with seal oil. It came in a little dish with lots of speckles of particular matter and indiscriminate bloody parts inside a clear vitreous like gel...

"Slurp Slurp Gulp." Oddly enough it tasted like oysters too. Except with that unmistakable flavor element that comes from the primary function of the colon to remove the last particles of shit and expel it to the great beyond. Yes oysters + a slight twinge of large ungulate shitsmell. Yum...

Since I did such a good job with that they then gave me some trout eyeballs to see how far this would go.

"Shhhhhlurp mmmGulp." Down she went. Fishier, gooey, less chewy. And tasted just like you would imagine fish eyeballs tasting.

"That was actually pretty good." I said...and they weren't as bad as the previous dish.

Wash it down with a little tang to really give it that cultural authentic feel.

I've eaten guinea pig surprise in Peru, choral reef fish in fiji, but musk ox asshole and fish eyes takes the cake. What a dinner!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not a Lonely , TheraFlu Drinking, Cranky Pants McGee Anymore.

For a while now I have been leaving a very big part of my life out of this blog. I get so confused sometimes as to what I'm allowed to write about. Partly because the written word is so formal and can be interpreted so many ways, and partly because I'm not really sure who reads this blog and what it does for people. I know you're out there, approximately 35-50 of you a day, but what does this space actually affect in your lives? Is it like a form of reality tv? Is it ritual? Is it a first time visit? Why do we find so much fascination in other peoples lives? I'm an avid blog reader, going on like 15 now, and I am fascinated by other peoples outlooks on life. This is mine. But who really reads it?

Of course there are my closest family and friends. They also call me on the phone and send me care packages in the mail. We are in close contact. There are also some colleagues and professional acquaintances from around Alaska/US, and students/former students that read it too. Extended family perhaps, prospective employers maybe, former acquaintances possibly, and then there are the random readers that come from a google search for gnomes or bowl hair cuts or a musical artist, and I don't even really know these wonderful people. I don't know who the international readers are either. There are a few of you I've never met but I know you read all the time. But who are all these great folks reading my fumblings through life. I just don't know, and will never know, but the thing that I have to remind myself is that people are hear VOLUNTARILY and therefore what I write is for me and what people read is by their own choice and if this feels like something you shouldn't be reading you can stop whenever you like.

With that being said I still choose to leave a lot out of this blog. There are certain elements of my past that will never make it into this venue (juicy secrets really). There are certain opinions that I will never say because some people/relatives perhaps, or other people maybe, would take offense. And there are certain parts of my personal life that I have chosen to leave out.

But that all sounds elusive and secretive...the name of this blog is Radiate Warmth, not illuminate my history. I try to share my life through a lense of all the good things I see (and rough things too) in hopes to remind myself and others that kindness and positivity are important. I'm not perfect at all, I screw up life constantly but it doesn't feel right that everyday I am filled with so much joy and happiness (which helps me radiate even more) and never say anything about who or what may be behind it.

So here is a shout out to the fuel behind Radiate Warmth.

Parents: I talk to my mom and dad on the phone about once a week. Even though I consider myself and adult. I still need and seek the guidance from my family. Sometimes just to vent, sometimes to see how my grandparents are doing, sometimes just to have that connection to my home. My mom (with dad's ideas also) sends me awesome (albeit random) care packages, and my dad always has a dream of some fun thing to do in the future. My parents are still a big part of why I make it through each day. This morning I got an email from mom:

"It was so good to talk to you. I can't wait for you to make your way home and get on with your life in the lower 48. I want to be able to see you, hug you and share your life with you. I am so looking forward to this summer."

Its love and encouragement like this that keeps me going. After all, we are made from our parents, whether we know them or not, we are made of their stuff, its important to love them so that you can love yourself in turn.

Brother: My brother is my rock. He is my moral compass. Whenever I'm trying to figure out some really deep things about life I think about what my brother would do. He is the true epitome of all that I preach here on this blog. He actually lives it. I can't wait to travel the Mediterranean with him in just over two months! And we will return and finally be in the same place living in the same city (wherever that is) for the first time in over 4 years. Lately we've been having a hard time staying in contact because he's in England w/o a phone, but when we do talk it seems so much more important and I feel so good after I talk to him. Go BRO!

Family: I have an incredible extended family with cousins like Chris and Jen and their kids Alex and Maddy that read my blog, call me on the phone and send me love in the mail. Uncles and Aunts and cousins, although I don't talk to much up here, are out there listening and reading too, I know because when I come home they always want to know how its going and ask me about certain things I wrote about. I just wish I talked to them more, but I know the phone and email goes both ways.

Friends: Although I don't talk to them as much as I wish I could. I have always enjoyed lots of amazing friends in my life. I am truly a social person, why I ever moved to a lonely place like this is beyond me (I think I believed I could make friends I believe I can make friends almost anywhere). Maybe its so that I could gain the deep understanding of how much I need these awesome people in my life and human contact. My friends like Randy and Suzye and Brett and Stephie and Katie and Jeff and Mason and Reed and Frampton and Koop and Brian and Colby and Katie and Tyson and so many other people (if I left you out I'm sorry!) that I never get to talk to enough but wish I could everyday like we used to when we were together in the sunshine. I always have little check ups with these people to see how they are doing and remind myself of past times in my life when things were great and how far we all have come in life.

Also, I have a great community of new friends I've made up here in Alaska (that will hopefully be my friends for a long time regardless), Erin, Alisha, Brian and Julian and Lee and Joel and Dirk and my coworkers and confidant principal Gary, these people check in and see how I'm doing and we knock heads about our crazy arctic adventures and the realities of life out here.

And not to forget all the awesome people I've met through this blog and all the new contacts I've shared with people I've never even met before, all through the use of words. It always excites me when I get a comment or an email (or even a phone call) from a random reader of my blog. I love that!

My Girl: The what and who of my recent big smiles and tummy butterflies and summer day dreams is an amazing girl named Sydney. Each email, each package, each phone call she sends me makes my day (and seems to come just in the nick of time too), and she rocks my world with her insights and interests and triumphs everyday. She seems to know me better than I know myself and it feels so good to have someone who can't wait to talk to you each day. She sends me so much love and positivity that I can't help but be in a good mood. Although our coming together is pretty recent we have known each other for a long time and it seems that all that waiting must have been for some cosmic reason. I can't lie, if you see me smiling during the day, there is a good chance I'm thinking about her. It feels electric to be in love! Some people go their whole lives without ever falling for someone and I feel so lucky.

With summer close on the horizon so many thoughts seem to steer towards home. My family and friends and budding relationship give me so many reasons to smile throughout the day (there are regrets too). When life seems to keep doling out the shit tickets and cranky pants mcgee's of the world I simply smile and remember that soon enough I will be back in the arms of the people I LOVE! I love my people so much, why did I ever leave you! Maybe it was fear, maybe it was a young man's adventurous spirit, maybe it was plain stupidity, I don't really know. But after two years in utter isolation I know what lesson I was sent here to learn (besides to pick more berries). Never undervalue the people in your life that keep you going, because without them you are nothing but a lonely, theraflu drinking cranky pants mcgee.

I believe that this could possibly be the best year of my life (not without its challenges and heartaches and trials), and its the people that are making it so great.

You guys are my world, and you never let me down (even if I am a self absorbed selfish thoughtless bastard sometimes). I will never be able to thank you enough (or apologize enough), but I sure as hell will try (do you take re-payments in hugs, subaru rides, concert tickets and hammock time?) I hope so.

Hope your week went well too.

Love kale-poo

Monday, March 9, 2009

SNOW My GOD and March Photos

So its been a snowy March here on Nunivak Island. This photo to the right was only a couple of weeks ago. Mind you we are elevated about 7 feet in the air already. I was really proud of these nice snow steps I carved.

I mean just look at the poor school truck all boxed in by the snow. If you Can believe it it would only get worse.

Then only a couple of days later we got hit with some snow and had to dig a little corridor out to sneak up the stairs(to the left). This little passageway served us very very well for a whole week...until...

Until this last weekend and Kablammo sucka! A weird wind blew all this new snow up and filled our entire porch with a sizable snowdrift. Nothing like waking up sunday morning and realizing you got a lot of digging to do before you make it anywhere for the day. Here is a picture of my mud room entrance before we started digging out.

The Problem then became that there wasn't any hard ground underneath the snow, we ended up having use the frozen run off area of the roof too walk down. You can see our little trail to the right against the outer wall of the house.

And what do you do after a hard day of snow digging? You go and have some musk ox soup, reindeer ribs, and musk ox pot roast at the church funraiser with good friends like mr. arty here. Add some corn, bread, and rice and you pretty much got enough to stuff yourself sick. I love musk ox. I'm not as fond of reindeer. And I love soups and stews!

Upon returning you remember that there used to be a school truck, and now their isn't one...or is there! Look Closely and You can make our the front fender and the sideview mirror!

Well its definitely March Snow Showers on the rock. Will it ever stop?

I can feel spring coming but its up against some competition from a cranky old man winter!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weekend Update

New Blog Features This Week:
No Project Playlist Music anymore: Because of our firewall I can't access it anymore. I might have a friend go on and get me a code for it so that its still there but not auto starting. But for now its gone.

Auto starting random playlist of my music: The little gray fella to the right is the one pumping out those All Kale jams. You can press stop to make me go away. It should be a different song everytime you sign on so hopefully it won't get too annoying.

Kale Summer Tour Schedule: I've started posting some dates of events and things I'll be doing this summer. Please PLEASE Please email me or comment good ideas and I'll add them if I can make it. This also gives people an idea of where I'll be and what I'll be doing this summer. I'll be posting more information here as it comes along.

Amazing Panoramic Mekoryuk Banner: That picture on the top is looking back at our little village from the harbor. How cool!

Little Photo Nuggets: I've put a few little photos and personal touches into the blog. I'll be looking for new ways to change this blog to accommodate my transitioning life. Spring is in the air and change is all around.

Musical Artist of the Week: First off This artist isn't for everyone (but should be). It wasn't even for me at first. But something happened to me this week. I needed something a little bit more industrial than your average artist of the week. Then like a premonition I had one word come into my brain randomly

This meant only one thing, I needed my nectar bass-ed. The first time I saw this larger than life DJ (with crazy effing long hair) he had like 50 people dancing and freaking going nuts on stage with him and I was already worn out from dancing to a subpar Flowmotion show. I wasn't really in the right mood for getting my Bass Nectared and didn't really seem to get it then.

But I have also seen him all alone. No One wanted to go see him at High Sierra Music Festival late night (2007). I went all alone into a giant tent, dark lights and laser beams, and what I saw was nothing short of spectacular. One man, two hands, and random joy exploding out across the faces of everyone as he stopped and started our hearts. I danced so hard that night. He mixes in so many different sounds so quickly, old school hip hop beats, ragtime piano, swing trumpets and big band, jazzy synths, movie quotes and thought provoking phrases, sixties psychedelia and chorus hooks, (nothing is off the table) all with nasty electronic breaks and expert bass riffs and changes. He is not everyone's kind of music but given the right mood I think, in fact, he is. I recommend his podcast on itunes (if you wanna check it our for free) and any of his albums also available there. You won't be disappointed.

Old Person Phrase of the Week: "Absa-Friggin-lutely" Are you gonna start saying this? Absafrigginlutely.

Weather on Nunivak:
God, we had one beautiful day, on bright shining day, so sunny it almost blinded you. I walked around town in a hooded sweatshirt dancing my shadow across the sun to Bassnectar, so warm inside, and felt like spring was truly coming finally. But no, today, blizzard all up in our shit like a motha shutyourmouth. Now its snowing and blowing and generally just as nasty as December outside.

Personal Art Update: Eh, couple new songs in the works, might go back and rerecord some things, we'll see. I'm also pumpin out the sweet funky yarn hats still.

And I have to insist that you go back and read the last 5 or 6 posts. Seriously the one about Freedom and Being Free was really good, as was Oops False Start Monday, and then there was the epic Snow Day and Free Thoughts.

Pain In My Ass This Week:
The Post Office. I hate it when packages take for ever to get delivered! Damn you Lydia and Dominik.

Triple Bonus Life Score of the Week: I finally got to talk to my brother on skype today. Man it felt so good. We didn't get ANYTHING accomplished for our trip to Europe this summer, but it felt good to just check in. He seems to be doing good, and seems to be just as busy I am.

Lastly But Not Leastly: Also, I came over to school to get a bunch of work done, but I didn't get anything done really. I just goofed off and rearranged my teacher desk (allowing me to watch the little bastards like a hawk). I did a little room house cleaning and I'm on the hunt for materials to start my Earth Science "express" Unit. Even though I've been teaching Earth Science since January we had to go over the basics of Chemistry and Physics because none of the kids knew that stuff (kind of important). Finally we are getting to Earth Science. I'm gonna go fast because we only have two months left and I have a lot to get in. Lots of online interactives, lots of labs hopefully, lots of activity in the room to try and beat those cabin fever like behaviors that are starting to pop up about this time of year. But at this level of education I think a lot of teachers go way to deep into things. You have to stick, jab, and move, hit em with the jab, little quick exciting moments, and wait till they bite and knock em out with something cool if you can. But if you try to wrestle em for every inch, everyone is going to get frustrated and bored.

Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I have been a pretty productive little fella yesterday and today.

I cleaned my apartment and Trimmed my beard and hair.
A clean new Kale and clean fresh apartment, check!
I cleaned my email out of all my old unnecessary emails

I uploaded a lot of important documents to various school district sites in Washington.
Looked up all the necessary information for my Alaska Alive Certification Class and am ready to get started on my assignments.
Filled out some transcript request forms.
Spiced up this here blog a bit.

It sure feels good to get things taken care of. Still have a lot to do though!

I would write more, but I've been blasting you with writing a lot. So please, please, please take the time to catch up, the last 4 blog posts have been especially tasty and I think you'll really enjoy them.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Freedom and being free

Some words about the concept of freedom and being free...but first a definition.

Freedom: (noun)-
• the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint
• the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved
• the state of being physically unrestricted and able to move easily
• the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.

Think about what you feel like when you are experiencing true freedom. The concept of freedom sometimes confuses me because I think that it is implied that to truly be experiencing the true essence of freedom you have to be unfree first. Life wouldn't be so sweet without the bitter.

In this case I'm talking about, its freedom of your heart, not the romantic heart, but your heart as in your sort of soul and essence and being. With each day, each event, each extra minute of daylight, every degree of warmer temperature, every day checked off the calendar, Every inane task completed, I feel a little bit more freedom. I can feel myself becoming free and I love that feeling.

Free: (adjective)-
• not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes
• no longer confined or imprisoned
• not bound by the laws of physics or obligation

Free energy, free soul, free love, free dinner, free service, free to dance and play and climb and swim and jump and laugh, free to tan your belly with the rays of the sun, but most importantly...


I try to do this everyday, but in the teaching profession (and lets face it, in life and love sometimes too), but teaching by its own definition, requires you to be a "someone" or "something" and to put on a bit of a appearance, it requires your time, and effort and work, and to subject yourself to doctrine and bureaucracy and judgment and morals and beliefs that may not be your own. And being a "teacher" is a big part of who I am. But I am also a free person in other ways.

And I can feel that free and easy feeling and that freedom coming. I can feel the other Kale coming on. He truly is a different person, I hope you get to meet him someday, he Radiate's Warmth all day long.

The free Kale lives out of his subaru. The free Kale dances playfully in crocs to bluegrass in the woods, the Free Kale runs full speed and leaps into the ocean, the free Kale plays ukulele till dusk on the front steps for the whole neighborhood to hear, the free kale that hates wearing shirts and prefers short shorts or fisherman pants and always has a funky hat, thee Free Kale that forgets to shave or cut his hair, that is the Free Kale that I love so much, I miss him.

Some of you have only met Kale the teacher. Some of you have only met the Free Kale. (There is a stressed out monster Kale that comes out sometimes too, but lets save that for another post) A very rare few have met both. I'm not saying I'm bipolar, I'm saying that inside of me exists two very different purposes.

TO TEACH and make a difference, and facilitate/affect change in education and the world around me


TO BE FREE and dance and love and laugh and be open to the moment whatever may come next

Ultimately, the two will meet someday in the middle. But for now, I live a double life. That sounds exciting, like a double agent...but its tragic too.

But I do get a kick out of the thought of Teacher Kale walking down the street with his computer bag, well groomed hair and beard, hell even a collared shirt and a tie, sipping a coffee and walking with purpose, looking down his glasses reading some sort of teacher documents accidentally bumping into Free Kale who is still awake and alive from the previous nights Flowmotion Show, getting breakfast in neon green short shorts, crocs, a tank top and a floppy yarn hat, big ol scraggly beard and floppy hair, stopping frequently to look around and enjoy the morning sun glinting off the glory of buildings and all creation breathing and alive.

Teacher Kale would say "Oops! Excuse me there pardner, didn't see ya there I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."
Free Kale would reply, "Hey there big fella, thats okay, I was walking a zig zag pattern myself. Take er easy there."
Teacher Kale would then say "Will do buddy, get out there and enjoy life for all us working stiffs will ya?"
Free Kale would reply with a sly smile, "You know I will brother."
And off they would go, Teacher Kale yearning to be like that guy, Free Kale reminded that he should start getting his life back together to do something important.

I'm neither Kale forever, I go back and forth and like Fall and Spring transition between the two. I love winter and Teacher Kale, but I also am overjoyed when Free Kale and summer comes around.

But you know what, it takes both to make the world go round right?

What are your different versions of yourself? When do you feel truly free? What is the perfect moment of freedom to you? Please, comment and share it with all of us we'd love to here it!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Unusual Teaching Moment

If you read my previous post then you would understand why this is so humorous:

Today over 5 of my 12 high school students were unavailable to come to school because the weather was nice and they needed to go out and shoot musk ox. While I support this whole heartedly and our school was very accepting and accommodating of the cultural need, I'm sure glad I didn't "PLAN" something really important out for today, otherwise they would have missed it or wouldn't have been able to do it.

In fact I'm happy that they are out providing for their families, my point is that improvisational teaching is a real thing with a real place in schools like ours. Here is just one example of how a "planned" lesson would have failed the needs of the students. Thank goodness I'm an improvising bad ass and I was able to think of something.

Last note, at no point in my $44,000 private school master in teaching program did they cover how deal with loss of 50% student population to musk ox hunting.

Hope the week is going well, peace my homies!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oops! False Start Monday

Once a year I sleep through my alarm. Once every year. It happened once during my student teaching after a late late night, it happened once at the beginning of last year when the power went out, and today it happened. I fell asleep listening to "A Prairie Home Companion" well I have like 35 of them so it played all night and was still going this morning thus eliminating the "alarm" function of the iHome unit. Secondarily I set my back up alarm for 6:30 PM instead of AM. I woke up to a phone call 5 minutes before school started. Last year when this happened it was a knock at the door and I answered it shirtless with my wild long hair going "Oh shit oh shit! I'll be there in 5 min." This morning I casually woke up looked at the clock realized what was happening scratched my ass strolled over to the phone, answered it, "Yes...My alarm didn't go off, I'll be there in five minutes." I changed my clothes and walked straight to school into my room, the girls were checking our weather site like normal, my principal was contently watching the trained to be responsible girls take care of themselves, I immediately picked up my smartboard marker and began teaching about sound and light waves right away only 5 minutes late. I had a great day of teaching completely without the formality of all the preplanning that seems to "exemplify" the teaching profession.

I don't do this often, in fact once a year is a lot better than many of the educators out there that do it daily (I always plan my week out like a real responsible teacher). But the fact remains that planning is great, BUT knowing your own skills, your kids, and the endless expanse of interactive material on the internet, you really should be able to map out where you want to go for the unit/semester/year and let the journey of getting there be up to creativity and improvisation of your own mind and the collective mind of the kids. I think its so idiotic to spend all that time making "lesson plans" because they are shot by day 2 or 3 anyways. I mean in a small school that is. Seriously, on any one day half of my class is gone, not speaking to each other, or needing to go the clinic or something. Its ridiculous to think that because someone makes a "lesson plan" that life will continue on a magical path of normalcy despite all the realities of life. In fact even when all my kids are here physically, they might be so whacked out from staying up all night, smoking doobies, or whatever that I'm teaching to a bunch of zombies mentally. SO if I was a regular teacher who had it all "planned" out and I'm trying to do an awesome activity on zombie day I just wasted a perfectly good activity on a bunch sleepy brain eating monstors. On the other had if you had kept these amazing learning moments saved up in your brain ready to go and waited like a jungle panther to pounce on those semi rare moments where the kids actually want to learn then you can blast em when it counts and like a counter puncher in boxer win the war although seemingly appearing to lose the fight.

I really want to explore this idea of improvisational teaching. I mean its a pretty backwards idea. Like Hunter S. Thompson was to Journalism, going into a situation with no plans and purposefully covering everything but the sporting event, Kale Iverson could be to basic teaching practice "Gonzo Teaching." You just make sure that you are well trained in the practice of improvisational teaching, being ready and equipped for anything, as well as having an attitude where you don't feel guilted by common teaching practice into think you have to plan every detail of life out for you class. Instead you teach your kids about attitudes, conversation, exploring things they are interested in within a given topic, sharing experiences and stories, and letting the pace and attitude of the class dictate direction.

The problem is that everyone wants a program, everyone wants sameness, everyone wants a formula to produce the next great workers of america. "WE HAVE STANDARDS." Who's standards though? Who decides what is "important?" Our kids aren't literate!!! They say. Well smarty Mc Oldy-Stein, have you ever watched a kid use a computer? They are literate in ways that no test will ever ask them. To say they are as illiterate is the same as saying a 70 year old trying to design a webpage is illiterate. The skills don't match the task man.

Dig this, I have an idea for a type of school. Lets call this school "Radiate Warmth University." Basically really amazingly normal people would be the teachers based on their skills and abilities as well as their positive attitudes and willingness to share what the know. Instead of taking "English" you take a class from a certified expert who knows a ton about one thing that they are passionate about like a specific author or a period or a style they are knowledgeable in. Instead of taking "shop" you take "muffler repair" or "Tile Countertops." Instead of taking "Science" you take "Observing Human Evolution in Action" or "Intermediate Nature For Appreciation" or "Novice Dog Training" or "Advanced Beach Clean Up" or "Lessening Your Carbon Footprint for Beginners." You take classes from people who are knowledgeable on a specific topic and passionate to share. And you shuck off this prescribed bologna that the Government says you need to know how to do and say all these "Benchmarks" so that you can officially be part of the society that speaks Upper Middle Class English at a white suburban 10th grade level (which middle class white kids can't even speak). Instead you are knowledgeable in different things you learned how to do from real people who showed you how. I mean you could take a two week class on "Keeping your bank account Balanced" or "Doing Your Taxes" or "Your First Car Loan" instead of "Algebra" or "Calculus." Hell you could even have a class called "Beating High Stakes State Tests."
Regular high school is all just socialization anyway, we have to go through the same bullshit our parents went through so that we can experience the same reality that they did and that they won't feel so bad for living in a screwed up world.

But by offering all these short concentrated life skills and lessons you could give the kids the choices to pick what they want to know about and break the spell.

But wait Kale, they're teenagers, they don't know whats best for themselves, we are adults, we know better.

Screw that, seriously, when did YOU decide to take care of yourself? When did you start figuring things out for yourself. Probably around the same time I did after you graduated high school or college and realizing how messed up the world is and that I would have to take things into my own hands. Or some people don't start controlling their lives till after they had a kid or got kicked out of their home or had to go to rehab or dropped out of school. Some people still live at home at the age of 35. Some people never take care of themselves for one day, instead marrying someone to do it for them. Point is that just because you are old doesn't make you immediately qualified to say that teen agers don't know any better, they know, oh christ they know. You know how I know that? Because I know just as many adults that have complete wrecks for life and are gigantic hypocrites (especially myself and teachers in general).

The reason teenagers are so abrasive is because adults are freaking annoying. Period. You can call me immature but its true. You know what adults aren't annoying? The ones with young hearts that listen to kids still. A kid can tell a phony a mile away, and people are freaking phony man. Maybe if every adult that they come into contact with wasn't asking them to do some pointless activity then they wouldn't be so tuned out.

But old people are wise. They are trying to pass on their knowledge.

But how did they learn all that wiseness? Oh yeah, they were young too and they made a bunch of mistakes too and they screwed up their lives too and thats how they got so wise.

I didn't mean to turn this into a rant but I just lose so much faith in the institution of traditional education sometimes. Everything I learned that is near and dear to my heart came from regular people teaching me things I was interested in outside of school. If you could some how make a school that simulates that then you might actually teach kids helpful interesting things.

The problem is cyclical because young vibrant teachers come into the profession. Then the system and the kids reaction to it burn them out (faster and faster it seems), but hell now they're tenured and close to retirement (maybe) so why not just stick with it withering away their lives. If that ever happens to me I will just quit. We all had those teachers. The ones who burned out, gave up, or lost hope and became bitter. I'd rather dig a ditch. You know why? Because if I was digging a ditch I would probably work with young whipper snappers where I could actually teach them something.

I learned more about the fundementals of Crystal Meth (all you could know without ever doing it yuck!) the history of late 70's early 80's amphetamines Gang trade of Tri-Cities/Yakima from an old guy named Russ working a summer job listening to his experiences, than anyone will ever know. I couldn't have learned that in school. That man was a true teacher, but it wasn't about something important or socially acceptable...not important until, oh yeah, until everyone in america is doped up on the stuff, now that comes in pretty handy knowing the history of how it became so popular, how its made, and what it does from a first hand expert. Instead of it just being "meth," I know a whole bunch of back information and history on the stuff and I understand the global problem.

Its all perspective man. Perspective and People. But we say that specific "people" are teachers. In fact, some teachers are the opposite of teachers, they're so bad at what they do that discourage people from learning the rest of their lives. Yet we pay them and call them teachers, and when I say this I am specifically talking about ones I had, ones I saw in Washington, and all around the world (I'm not talking about anyone here).

Additionally, if you lost your will to learn, or maybe its been a while since you tried to open yourself up to new things and people, you gotta listen to everyone, like the beat poets did, you gotta dig cats man, I'm just trying to tell you, just listen to people, ordinary people, they have so much to give.

Consequently I started with a simple update of my day and now we are here. And now I've become happily distracted by an amazing conversation with a special person in my life and I'll have to continue this later some time.

But seriously, dig people, please.
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