Monday, February 26, 2007

Buying stock in Band-Aids!

Self injury.

I can go weeks without a bruise.
Or cut.
Or near fatal injury.

And then I go weeks with nothing but.
This week alone I have:
-Acquired a large purplish and black bruise on my right thigh from a chance meeting between my thigh and the corner of a stray desk.
-Sliced my index finger open while cutting toasted tortillas.
-Burned a pretty little design on my arm with an oven rack during my only real cooking attempt of this semester.
-Stabbed my palm while absently playing tossing games with a pen knife.
-Received a series of paper cuts from a stack of origami sheets.
-And, of course, sliced my knee (not to mention my favorite jeans) on a particularly slippery and sharp patch of ice.

Oh, I forgot to mention the two raw hangnails and the scab on my calf that I had scratched off causing more bleeding than a person should have from a two-week old bug bite.

Then there is the matter of my eye. It’s swollen and gross looking. That, however, is a vastly different story.

Bring on the fun.
Bring on the pain.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


When it’s really cold outside. Like freeze your little toes off cold.
Sometimes the sun creates a fun effect in the sky.

Sundogs form as sunlight is refracted by hexagonal plate-like ice crystals with diameters larger than 30 micrometers and their flat faces horizontally oriented.

In non-crazy terms:
Ice in the sky gets all reflect-y and makes it looks like there are two extra suns up there.

It happened today.

Here is a picture.

Dancing Queen

Remember when you were very young and your mother imparted vast quantities of knowledge onto your little mind? Remember when she taught you things that you still think about?
Things like “fire is hot.”
And “don’t talk to strangers.”
And “eat your vegetables.”

These things are carried throughout life. You might not even acknowledge when they became part of your daily routine. You just know. It becomes old hat.
Simple habits.

One of these wonderful tidbits is the little hows and whys on the protocol for crossing streets.
You look left.
You look right.
You look left again.


Here in the arctic circle things take on a bit of a different process.
Don’t get me wrong, my town actually does have streets. We have cars that drive around. More dangerous are the snow-goes that drive fast and recklessly down every road.
And anywhere else with a bit of open earth.

When crossing the street, you still have to look both ways.
And there’s always a but.

There are certain accessories that make it more than difficult to do the simple discreet glance over each shoulder. Specific thing that we all wear.
Down to your knees, thick and heavy, winter gear.
Complete with tunnel vision hoods.

You can’t turn your head.
Well, you can, but then you are just turning your head into the warm and fuzzy interior of your downlined parka.
Too look both ways you are forced to do a full body twist.
Feet included.

There is a little dance that’s down before stepping foot across the street.
Turn your body to your left.
Shuffle of the feet.
Turn your body to the right.
Shuffle of the feet.
Turn your body to the left again.
Shuffle of the feet.

Then turn your body center again.
Shuffle of the feet.

Finally, cross the street.

The road crossing jig.

Microwave Only

Something wonderful happened!
It is spectacular!
It is a bushel of giddiness!

I may have mentioned here and there that I have a habit of not cooking. The only cooking that I actually do is the kind that requires no more preparation than opening a bag. Sometimes I go as far as punching buttons on a microwave.
That’s only when I’m feeling particularly adventurous.

Mostly I eat things like crackers.
Or salsa.
Or cookies.

It is a good life. My stove doubles as a shelf.

Somehow with this regiment of lazy eating I have actually lost a little something around the middle.

Today, after stopping to pull my pants from below the arse crack for the thousandth time, I took a closer look at my belt.
My shiny red star-adorned belt was on its tightest loophole. And it was still too lose!

One of numerous and trusty knives was used to drill an extra hole in my belt. Tightening it just a little farther.

If this weight loss thing continues I might just have to write a book about how the key to losing the poundage is laziness and apathy.
My two favorite things.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Holy Ninjas, Bat Man!

For the past few months I have dropped here and there hints about an upcoming trip. A trip to a distant far away land.
To south-east Asia.

For the past few months I have planned and mapped and daydreamed about pointy hats and elephants. I thought about the shiny things. Pretty color coded geopolitical maps filled my mind.

Now it is official. Moments ago I bought my plane tickets.
The tickets that will whisk me away from the cold and arctic to the tropical and rainforest-y.

The trip will involve landing in Bangkok, Thailand and backpacking my way on a counter-clockwise circle through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Northern Thailand.
I will be there for a hair over one month. The end of May to the end of June.

I keep looking at my itinerary. As if it is not yet really real.
But it is! It really is!

Dude, I’m going to bloody Asia!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Words to live by...

After a long and tedious detention with some of my favorite little angles. I found this written on one of my desks.

I couldn't agree more...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Weeks go by

It has been a particularly hectic week, full of teaching fun and extracurricular obligations.
Where to begin the filling in?

About a week and a half ago I was the official photographer for the high school Homecoming dance.
A little odd, due to the fact that Homecoming is traditionally a fall activity. But that tradition was made by those loving-in the football fun. And though we have a brand spankin’ new football team, we have not yet left behind the Alaskan obsession for basketball.
Therefore, Homecoming Dance lands during the high and mighty B-ball season.

It was fun; I came, I saw, I snapped some pictures.
They actually came out fairly well. Dare I say, very well.
All shiny and almost professional looking.
A shining photographic moment.

Later in that that happy week came the fun and trauma of Valentine’s Grams. The student council sold lollipops taped to pink cards to the student body.
This seems like an easy task.
Except for the fact that it required missing the entirety of both my planning periods and a few of my teaching periods to organize and maintain.
Plus, there was the enjoyable heartache of teary-eyed teens without a sweet from their crushes.

Moving on a day or two and we land on the Valentines Dance.
Nothing to report there except loud bad music and terrible messes.
Glitter all over my classroom from the posters, streamers running down half the hallways, and giddy children hanging about.
Good stuff.

There was a whole big weekend thing here as well. With Eskimo Dancing and the like. But I think that story and the pictures that go with it will have to wait until another day.

With that all being said, my all too busy week is now over, leaving me with a wonderfully empty immediate future.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Over One Billion Served

Fast food. The corner stone of the American diet.

Something that Barrow does not have.
We have no Wendy’s or McDonalds or Burger King.
We have no chain-like restaurants at all.

All we have are the strange and diversely similar family-run eateries.

The happy people here in the land of non-commercialism crave those cookie cutter grease burgers that make up the drive-thru world.

And when there is a want for something, there will always be someone out there ready to supply. In the fast food lacking world of the Arctic Circle, those suppliers are the band.

The high school band brought in $700 (including shipping) of Big Macs and Chicken Nuggets.
Which they sold for $10 a pop.

A table full of burgers and two microwaves made for an excellent fund-raiser.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


One of the most embarrassing moments in an adolescent male’s life are those terrorizing few minutes when he is caught by his parental units with his porn collection.

My school just toped that embarrassment.

A 13 year-old boy came to our tech department with a computer related issue. His computer was shutting down without warning on a regular basis.
He needed a fix.

The tech department took his shiny little computer into the dungeon O’ electronics and began to work the problem.

They played with the software.
They checked the updates.
They checked the recent downloads.

Do you think you know what they might find? Do you think there was some type of crazy pictures of naked women plastered across his hard drive?

Well, you’re a bit wrong.

On a completely unrelated mission, they ejected the DVD residing in the player.

Can you guess what the DVD might have been?
Was it Finding Nemo?
Or Sleeping Beauty?
Or even Striptease?

None of the above.

It was none other than, Gang Bang Party III.

Ah, teenagers and their funny little movies.

I feel one hell of a grounding coming on…

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

For the sake of everything chilly

This weekend I went up to the point. A few hours on the back of a snow machine in weather dipping below the zero mark.
It was a blast.

This is a picture of the sun rising over the tundra.
Pretty, huh?

Remember, way back at the start of the school year, when I posted a picture of whale bones.
AKA: Polar bear bait.

Well, here they are again... covered in something snow like and icy.

This is a shot of a little hunting hut. It is typically used for bird hunting and what not.
I just thought it looked cute.

The rope-y thing on the left is where you cut, treat, and dry your meat.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sparks Again

Not too long ago I told you about the incidence of static electricity in the frigid north.
I have bad news; there has been a causality of the sparks in my own household.

I touched the DVD player. What ensued was a shockingly bright shower of sparks.
Ok, maybe just one bright blue charge, but I prefer the exaggeration.

The shock stunned my finger, even my hand, for a several minutes.

That pain went away. What didn’t disappear was the lasting effect on my slowly dieing machine.

The “eject” button is officially dead.

The one time I shuffled across the living room carpet in my brand new Valentine socks.
The one time I did not reach for the lamp or any of the metal objects littering my coffee table.
The one time I did not consider the annoyingly unique area in which I live.

Luckily the remote survived the blast.

The spark halted my ability to eject discs on command.
It halted my ability to switch movies without the pre-requisite all-out search for the remote control.

It halted my lazy life.

I hate electricity.


Do you remember the child that stuck a pencil up his nose?
And sucked on the plugged in power cord?

Well, he has once again brightened my day with another of those crazy antics.

You see, he is very easily distracted. Often he is forced off task by giggling girls.
Or plotting boys.
Or loud noises.
Or prolonged quiet noises.
Or someone walking in the hallway

Or a passing cloud.

The longest running time for him to stay on one task is 2 minutes 27 seconds.
It was a great day.

So, this little Butterfly tends to end up at the front table to work.

The front table often sidelines as my desk. It is covered with the various different things that I need every so few mooments. Things like markers, pens, homework textbooks, tape, and staplers.

I walked around the room.
Like I always do. I walk around to check on the progress of students. To make sure they are working diligently and not drawing rude pictures of bunnies.

So I walked.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard shriek of pain.
Coming from the front table.

There was Butterfly, grimacing. Holding a stapler and staring at him palm in shock.
There was a growing pair of blood drops forming on his hand.

Protruding from the red was a staple.

He had intentionally stapled his hand.
Just to see what would happen.

I know, in my heart, that he was the kid that would eat the elmer’s glue.
Maybe even stick his tongue to a cold pole once.
Or twice.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Turn the key

Barrow is an interesting place. It is a place of isolation, snow, and high shipping prices.
A gallon of milk can cost over 8 dollars, and that’s only when they have it in stock. Sometimes we have no mold-less bread or fresh veggies.

Sometimes we have no gasoline.

Yesterday I was in the high school. Scouring the nooks and crannies for lights. (I have been roped into taking pictures at the homecoming dance and am in need of a few extra front lighting fixtures.)

One of these nooks contained something that made me leap for joy. And want to weep.

There was a dark room. A beautiful fully stocked dark room.
With multiple enlargers, several wash basins, and cabinets.
Cabinets full of shiny happy things.
There were a plethora of SLR cameras, piles of film, filters aplenty, and chemicals for every type of artsy need.

There was little in the name of photography could not be done in that hidden room.

I giggled and frolicked, rummaging through this treasure chest of goodies, thoughts of projects and pictures running through my mind. The things I could do with that equipment!

Then realization struck.

There was a fine layer of dust coating just about everything. I left streaky fingerprints on everything I touched. This place hasn’t been used in years.

The photography classes offered by the school were closed a few years ago, the move away from art had taken yet another causality. Instead of cleaning out the room or even boxing up and stowing away every supply, they simply locked the door.

A town with no connecting roads has a room of locked potential.

Maybe I should start a Photography club…

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Where is my bikini!

Today I was talking to a friend in Ohio. He told me about the weather all you lower 48-ers are having.

He said that it was shockingly cold. He said that he, in fact, may die of frost bit tomorrow on his way to work.
He even told me that he hasn’t felt air this cold in a number of years. Maybe ever.

Then he told me the numerical temperature.
14 degrees.

At first I wanted to laugh. I mean, that is above zero and therefore significantly better than anything I have experienced in quite awhile. But, I have had several years of acclimation to this subzero climate, so I didn’t laugh. I didn’t even giggle.


I checked the temperature in Barrow.
It’s currently 28 degrees here.

I laugh at all of you! I am in a tropical heat wave!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Where is my lucky charm?

I feel asleep last night with visions of blizzards dancing in my head.

This morning I awoke with my fingers crossed even before my eyes opened.
The alarm radio was blaring. Rousing me from dreams of bunnies and shiny things.

Suddenly, I was awake.
The weather report was about to play! What would it say? Could there be a snow day? Was there snow swirling about the sky? Would I be able to take a nap under my desk for most of the afternoon?

I waited for the into music so stop. Listening eagerly for good news.

8 degrees ABOVE zero.
5 miles an hour wind.
Not a cloud in the sky.

A beautiful day.


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