Saturday, July 29, 2006

First Day in Barrow

This will be a short post.
I have not the time for a long story of traveling pain or the humor or lost baggage.

Instead, I am going to show you a few pictures of the place I now call home.

This is the building I live in. I am on the second floor.
My apartment is like a wet dream.

Where the last place I lived was small and cramped, and cell-like.
This one is like a real place to live. With doors on the bedroom and bathroom, and closets, and nightlights that don't double as oven clocks.

When I walked into my apartment building yesterday, the first thing I did is comment on the heat.
It was sweltering in there.
They simply said, "The heats not on. These places are just built to stay warm."
I am going to be grateful for that in a few months.

Two blocks from my house is a beach. The Arctic Ocean.
Those are icebergs.

This is the grocery store. It has milk and veggies that are not past their expiration date.
It is so bloody cool.

Ok, that all for now. Once I get phone and internet in my home I will post all those fun stories that have happened thus far and those that are soon to occur.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Have you seen snow up there?

In two more days I will hop a plane and head out to the frozen abyss that is northern Alaska.
In two more days I once again pick up and skip town.
In two more days I am expected to have everything done.

I have barely started packing.

All around me, littering the living room floor, are piles of my worldly belongings.
And empty suitcases.

But, to avoid the inevitable packing fun, I wish to take a moment to reflect on a few aspects of this summer.

Namely, stupid questions.

Now, I realize all too well that moving to the middle of nowhere to teach in tiny villages is not a road well traveled.
However, the oddity of my life is no excuse to asking the type of questions that make my ears bleed.

Those questions are as follows:

1. Is it cold in Alaska? (asked 247 times)

No, in fact it is rather warm. A veritable tropical heat wonderland. Those silly rumors of, snow, low temps, proximity to the arctic circle, and frost-bite are just ways that the locals keep all you tourists away.
Think of the Vikings and the naming of Iceland.
While little school children learn about the incidence of cooler temperatures as you move farther north, we all know that that is simply propaganda set by the Russians.

2. Do you teach in an Igloo? (asked 182 times)

Yes, yes I do.

3. Do you teach them how to catch seal or make hats? (asked 102 times)

Little known fact. A degree in Middle school education from Northern Kentucky University gives me the authority and know-how to teach native Alaskans how to do something that have been doing long before my Scottish ancestors figured out that trick with the sheep.
Plus, you know me and fish. I just love to gut things.

4. I have a friend in Big City, Billy Bob, do you know him? or Have you ever been to Such and Such Bar? or I went on a cruise to Thatplace, do you know about the Small Random Resturant? (asked 87 times)

That silly educational system is at it again. They have been letting people believe that Alaska is a big place. Really it is about the size of Rhode Island. I have met everyone there and have been just about everywhere. When I tell you that I live 400 miles from the nearest small town I am really just joking. Hoping you’ll be impressed.

5. Isn’t it, like, night all the time? (asked 399 times)

Actually not entirely a stupid question. Though it’s dumb that most people ignore the fact that it’s daylight for three months too. What actually bothers me about this one is the sheer number of times I have been asked it.

6. Do you have a lot of boyfriends up there? (asked 254 times)

First of all, this question always comes after I have described the town I lived in and how few people there really are in it. So, by asking me if I have A LOT of boyfriends they are either implying that I am involved in some sort of crazy swinging village or that I am exaggerating about the size and scope of my position. Neither of which is true, by the way.

7. Why did you go up there? (aksed 1069 times)

I like the fuzzy hats.

There is quite a lot about the job I do and the place that I do it in that most people don’t understand and want to know more about. I just hate how cliché and scripted it all becomes.

For the record, I have officially wasted nearly an hour writing this list of pet peeves. Now it’s time to once again stare at my packing.
I still maintain that if I just stared at it hard enough it will just finish on its own.

I just haven’t tried hard enough yet…

Friday, July 21, 2006

My hero

I found the following article. And with it I found my new heros.
My new reasons for going on each day.
My reason to look at this big scary world with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

I know that the planet is having a bit of a bad few days at the moment. And the tensions overseas are reminiscent of Armageddon.

But, if these two girls can make it work, the rest of us have no reason to disagree.

(This article was written by Paul Bustamente for the some news organization)
(I did basterdize it for my own selfish purposes. Some of the more pointless content was omitted in favor of a more poignant and touching story.)

“Peace reigns at least at the Miss Universe 2006 contest, where beauties Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel are the "best of friends" despite the bloody fighting between the two countries back home, their companions said.

"The fact that Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel can be friends ... people can see that it sets a wonderful example," said Miss Canada, Alice Panikian.

"Something similar happens between Miss Greece and Miss Turkey, whose countries also do not get along," she pointed out.

Rached, 20, is a 1.8 meter (five feet nine inches) tall brunette with dark Arab looks born in Beirut. She is studying for a masters degree in language interpretation, hoping to work for the United Nations one day.

Her blonde Israeli counterpart Entin, 21, originally came from Ukraine and emigrated to Israel when she was 13. She plans to enter university next year and is interested in psychology.

"They are so lovely, and they don't have any problem," said one of the early favorites for the Miss Universe crown, Miss Australia Erin McNaught.”

Thursday, July 13, 2006

How to lose your mind without even trying

This past week I have been doing what is necessary to get everything that needs to be done, done. I have made a vast number of calls that needed to be called, reserved things that need reserving, and bought things that I really don’t need at all, but I just love shopping.

In the hustle and bustle of doing these many things, a few things may not have been properly documented.
For example: the name of the hotel I will be staying in when I reach Anchorage.

As I lay here doing the necessarily pointless after-midnight internet surfing I made the realization that I had no clue which hotel it was that has my credit card reservation.


Advice from a friend led me to check my credit purchases. Good idea in theory, unfortunately I haven’t stayed there yet, therefore they haven’t charged me yet.


Now what?

I did the only logical next step.
I pulled up Orbitz, typed in the day I wanted to stay and proceeded to call every bloody hotel with high-speed internet (my one requirement in lodgings).

“I have a stupid question. Last week I made a hotel reservation… I just can’t remember which hotel. I am listed with you?”

You cannot imagine how many times I was laughed at.

“Don’t forget this time!”

But, on the upside, I now know, and I doubt that I will be able to forget a second time.

This all goes with the day I have been having.

I had a girly doctor’s appointment today. I drove up to the office, prided myself on the fact that I had arrived 15 minuets early, and sauntered coolly up to the door.
Problem, my doctor’s name was not on the door.
It read, “Jackson and Jackson, attorneys at law”


I found a phone (having left mine back at the apartment) and called the proper office.
They moved a beautiful 3 years ago.
I have actually been to the new office.


I sped to the new building, scurried into the office, and was sweaty and gross by the time I made it into the back room.
To get felt up by a stranger.

All in all I would say it has been a successfully forgetful and hopefully forgettable day (except the bit about the hotel, that needs to stay with me).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

When Summer Goes On

The summer started with a rush.
Here there and everywhere.

I ran around, from state to state, place to place, like it was my job.
Like a chicken with a missing head.

Now, I have moved into the slow and pointless part of the summer.
There is no more impending trips and I am forced to actually buckle down and do the “work” stuff.
Like, think about moving.
Like, packing.
Like, consider lesson plans.

I haven’t done anything all that exciting recently. I have been living the easy life, shopping, sleeping, shopping.

We went to the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean. Dressed as pirates, of course.
Though, I did look more like a biker than a pirate, but I think the message still got across.

Today I went with my uncle to the gun range.
My hand is still a bit sore from the more powerful recoils, but it was a good time.

Early next week my mother and sister arrive in town.
Maybe something fun or interesting or mildly write-worthy will occur.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Not Avain Flu

I must be the bearer of very sad news.
There has been a death. Someone very near and dear to my nether regions has passed away.

Stoner, the bird with a grudge on my right eye-ball, has moved on to the big open skies up above.

It seems that the wiggly puppy, Timmy, felt threatened by the tiny winged demon.
Or maybe he just wanted to play.

The eye eating bird was found dangling from the mouth of my hero, I mean, not my hero, the silly puppy.

I will miss my feathered foe. He brought excitement to my life. He also made for good story stock.

My ass crack will never be the same again.

Fly away little birdy! Fly away!

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Hello All,
I have receive more than one phone call or email asking me when the next post will come. I am sorry. I have been in the land without internet for the past week.

Mark Twain once said, "when the world ends, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything happens there ten years late."

The great Mark Twain was wrong.

The place to be is Cleveland. I was amazed at the way it hasn't changed since I lived there in my youth.

I asked my friend if she knew where I could find WiFi.
She asked me what that was.

I asked the clerk at a hotel if they had WiFi.
Her eyes glazed in confusion. "What's WiFi?"

So I have been lacking the net. Painful, I know.

Currently, I am in the house of a good friend, having a few too many drinks, and attempting to write.

My fingers, loose from the bottle, are making it difficult to type. So here I will end.

Soon there will be true posts, with actual stories and possibly a laugh or two.

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