n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Thursday, August 31, 2006

feckin fishin faq #2: eye care

Bez, are you always very careful to take care of your eyeballs? To protect them from flying fish scales, springing octopi, and slathering jellyfish liquid interiors? Are you well aware of the importance of maintaining your retinas as you enter the next decade?

Yes. "Love your eyeballs," as my gym teacher used to say.

30? Holy Crap!

One reason so far why turning 30 soon might not be so bad:

My mom went gift-crazy and got me what I was asking family, etc, to chip in towards, thinking I'd have to save up until Christmas but now... what I've wanted for over a year!

In a way, I told myself I've been avoiding entering into the iPod race to-fill-subways-with-uncommunicative-head-
nodders on purpose, but really, all music in ONE place, ohshit, I'm a stooge.

So feel free to music me, my friends...

Or tell me other reasons why entering the next decade is FABuLOUS... c'mon, you have nearly a month to cheer me up... and reminding me that euthanasia is still illegal isn't sufficient.

teaching superstar

Today was my first day teaching again. Observations other than the roughed-in idea that I'm a potential teaching superstar:
1. Three hours is a really long time to maintain a class; two hours was a breeze in comparison.

2. These kids are smart, and I'm gonna have to do way way more in terms of research in order to keep their savvy minds good on the topic of "personal to political." As in, more than assuming I know enough to just waltz. Ouch.

3. Three hours?
That's actually about it. Yeah. So, today, I intro'd my over-elongated syllabi and then we talked a bit about what I call "sensual description" -- all details accessible by the senses, maybe some metaphors: "That pocket of the subway smelled like a 20-year old barnacle-encrusted boat that hadn't ever been hauled out of the water and had yards of seaweed drifting around in lieu of a sail." Then we went outside and "described," which they will also do for homework.

Next week: I get them to ask questions about those sensual descriptions. But I think I might also do some memory (close your eyes) work to get them all concerned with the ethical stuff (how reliable were their descriptions via memory). Then we start the personal essay.

I've also started some group blogs for them, but they don't get up and running for a few weeks as a project. But here's the link to the prototypes, which will be added to a bit this weekend (directions & such). I am soooooo open to any suggestions or links folks might have.

yellow plums & parking tickets

I've been a little reluctant to hitch myself back up into the blogging world, partially due to a histrionic resentment of the genre, and partially because I haven't really known what to say. What can one say about Alaska? Too much. But I've been jealously guarding the experience as my own and something I don't have to share or put out there or explain away. I needed something like that very badly for a while.

Simply & Simplistically - arriving out there is having the contours of this body fit the landscape, just like that, a roughed-out version of skin and heart and jagged and brutishness that looms below, out of a thin fog-covered window with drips of rain wind-streaked down, and then closes in and takes the pressed outline of whatever has been denied or hasn't found its place or feels hopeless and pent. And there it fits, over the hills, mountains with snow, vastness, green salmonberry and rainsocked, a body with bones and muscles and just a teeny-tiny brain that doesn't have to account for so much because the brain goes into a new balanced polarity with the other things that count like: who's got your back? whose back do you got?

And sometimes I feel like no matter how many possibilities are out there, they all feel the same, and the wide world is a trap for everybody doing the same action, the same narrative, over and over, and no matter which direction I take, it's the same, and no matter which job I hate, it's the same, and no matter what I write or care about... But in Alaska, I feel like life opens up and there is nothing but what we can do, incredibly huge and possible. And each time, it will be grownupover with lush surprise and people really do got your back, and folks you don't know will see you.

And when I come back, all the radio waves of people's individual same desires and the press conferences of powwow-whatever, jam me up a little although I'm getting better at it, because things are clearer when you don't have so much goddamn data and you don't live just inside your head (with edits from emails and snips from blogs). And so I've been fighting these past two weeks to keep that image there: of all the doors open, and if they close, I open them, and if things seem to shutter up like a gigantic haunted mansion, then I open it, and if I feel lonely while surrounded by people, I open it... and it's just like the ocean, so much like it, completely stretched out and full of route.

To highlight, coming home, the first thing I did was stuff myself with 10 yellow plums off my mom's tree. Yeah, and then I was really sick the next day, but who could resist fruit after the innocence of Alaska? Even though it made me sick, there's something devilishly tempting and beautiful about bursting-ripe plums waiting coiled on bark. Yeah. And then I went downtown (before getting sick) and got myself a parking ticket, and I still think that parking tickets represent 10% of what is wrong in this world... no parking tickets in Alaska, let me tell you. Park anywhere, man: in the ditch, tilted on a cliffside, ontop of bushes, in someone's yard, etc. So, within a day of coming back and passing through Bville, I had some sense of what I was coming towards and what I was going away from.

feckin fishin faq #1: the igloo

So, um, do you live on a boat, or do you come home to an igloo at night?

Well, you wonderful curious... I practice (and I do mean "practice," because our site really begs the question: if you fish badly, do you really get to call yourself a fisherman?) the type of fishing known as set-netting, which I'm sure you'll have questions about later. In set-netting, we go out 3x a day and get all the fish, and then we come back in a live, sleep, and cook in our Igloo. Below is a picture of our Igloo:

So, as you can see, The Igloo is in this case a massive uninsulated pink cabin with two floors and a basement. It is only "sorta pink" right now, but it used to be so pink that all the fisherman and bush pilots referred to it as "The Pink Palace." Unfortunately, it underwent some color augmentation a few years ago and now is more of a barn color.

Anyhow, the Igloo was built to such an austentacious degree due to a Florida housewife who gave her husband the ultimatum: running water and electricity or fuck you. Well, she was really super-religious, so I don't think she actually said "fuck you," but I'm sure it was implied or would we have had the Pink Igloo? These were the people who worked this site before my family, and so we reeped the benefit of the housewife's picky and certainly unChristian behavior.

Yes, the Pink Igloo is fully wired and has running water. We only have electricity about every other day since we have to run our generator to get things going; instead we usually have to make do with hand-whipping the cream & sugar. The water, on the other hand, gets pumped up to the tower you can see in the above picture, from a pond in our backyard, which you can't see in the above picture.

We used to pump the water about every other day, depending on how many people needed to wash themselves after rolling around in fish guts all day. But now the tower leaks badly, needs replacement, and is still so frighteningly high up there that it will probably rot away into nothing before my 68-year old boss climbs up there or pays (gasp) someone to go up there for her. So, we pump it a couple times a day and chuckle fondly over the constant stream of pond water we have spewing from near our roof.

Other than that, the Pink Igloo is pretty spiff, and I'm especially fond of the completely-pointless nails that the boss pounded up onto the walls after we had a bear break-in about 7 years ago. It's always fun to come back and count how many of the nails have bent over sportingly under the 1/2-ton weight of the Kodiak bears that nose around the Igloo looking for tofu and 5-star bedding.

Anyhow, we use the Pink Igloo instead of roughing it out on the boat because as set-netters, we use a small skiff, which in this case is a 28-foot aluminum open-boat without a cabin. Skiff pretty much means anything that has no cabin and uses a motor on the back, and the noun is also a verb meaning "to use a little boat to come on over," i.e... "Yeah, we skiffed to town yesterday and it went well until we hit the 20-foot swells coming out of Whale Pass and capsized, losing everything but heck that's life." Below is a picture of our beloved skiff, which not only is my personal baby and the love of my life, but is fairly big as far as picking-skiffs go, but not big enough to save us from The Igloo.

Monday, August 21, 2006

intrepid & stoic fisherperson

has swaggered on back from the boondocks...

and seems to be feelin pretty cheeky goddammit fish yeah.

"feckin fishin faq's" to come "when I feel like it, so neiner neiner."