Saturday, May 27, 2006

Memorial Day Sailing

Yesterday, a group of us went out to the sea cliffs for some bouldering, rock climbing, and cliff diving. Seamus & Jack set up a new route that started off with a sharp overhang, and everyone had fun with that. I just went to soak in the warm sun and freezing ocean water. Sea lions, skiffs, and the seemingly endless summer sunsets.

Tomorrow, I'm leaving to go sailing for 3 days with "Captain Jim", Caro, Eve, and Eve's coworker.

I think it's technically a race, but Captain Jim's an easygoing fella.

Juneau Cup round 2
This is round has three races , we start with race one from Juneau to Taku Harbor on Saturday, a day race from Taku Harbor to Twin Points and back on Sunday and a return race from Taku Harbor to Juneau on Monday. A very important weekend for the Juneau Cup Challenge, if you race all the races and finish you only have to complete two more races in the season to qualify for the big prizes. Special prizes for the first race of the season will be given on the Saturday night party on the dock.

This is my first sailing trip ever, although my stepdad is a sailing enthusiast and often sails in Canada and the Gulf. I'm excited for the good life--a boat in water, books, & breathing room. I'm excited for the good weather and steak and camping out and loads of down time. I'm excited to meet other people sailing, Juneau's sub-community just hanging out along Taku Inlet.

Others have already left for Haines for a beer festival. It's a good weekend, and I'm happy. My first weekend after my decision to stay in Juneau for awhile. That's right. No rushing off to the Philippines. No hurried adventures in Puerto Rico. No dashing off to Europe. No escapes, for now.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Jeff's Going Away Party

Sunset on the Harbor

Site of last week's avalanche

Sandy Beach

Pictures from my Tracy Arm cruise


Monday, May 22, 2006

Grill Talk

We Vistas and our other transient friends are not used to nice, new things. Our furniture are all second-hand, mismatched pieces of questioningly clean condition. We have a large box labeled "Free Stuff" in which we dump unwanted (and for good reason most likely) things and score our friends' crap instead. So yesterday when we all chipped in to buy a brand spankin' new forest green grill from Fred Meyers, we embraced it with the sort of worshipping, unconditional love reserved for the fruit of your loins, or maybe God. The only domestic purchase I've ever made before was also a green grill--a George Foreman Junior Grill with bun warmer. Not an hour after its celebrated homecoming, the coals still smoldering, Hells Breath calls to borrow it. This girl is sorta like a living Juneau version of a People magazine--meaning, she'll sniff out news a) even if they're not true, but most importantly b) almost immediately. Jack handled her request by holding up the phone to our spirited protests. Our grill is innocent, unbiased. It's clean and perfect and still loves us all equally. We just wanted that moment for ourselves before we started lending it willy-nilly.

While grilling:
1) we expanded on the Moose Booth concept. It will no longer be a stationary booth but a portable one enlisting the grill and carrying around samples and sauces. This has nothing to do with improving profits. I think Jack just thought walking around with the grill would be funnier.
2) Caro discovered a new artistic niche for us--"Vagina Art". This idea was born from the night Eve, Caro, and I made body paint art on butcher paper, but taken to a whole other, vaginal league.
3) apt nicknames were created for everyone. Our parents would be jealous of our name-creating abilities. We've got Judgmental Jack, "Call-Me" Cristina, (secretly) Evil Eve, & Excess Eric. Caro wanted to be called "Cold-Hearted Caro", but seeing as she so isn't, the name couldn't stick. She came up with another that did stick, and that was for me, and it's "Vaginal Val". Awesome.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Moose Moose, he's eating lots of cous-cous

Jack Attack from Noatak, formerly "Jack, the fisherman", returned from adventures in the Arctic Circle and brought with him numerous anecdotes about being a basketball coach in the Far North--and also 50 lbs. of moose meat. For the past three days, my friends have been gorging on moose. Moose with BBQ sauce. Fried moose with onions and tomatoes. Teriyaki moose. Moose and beer. He and Seamus want to start a Moose Booth for the tourists so they can have an excuse for children to sit on their laps and to ask these kids, "How would you like your moose dipped?" Personally, I think it sounds very Lester the Molester. But these are the same guys who tried to sell the "Life Suit Experience" to tourists last season and stationed themselves at the wharf, offering unsuspecting vacationers the shot at donning a life suit and being dumped into the Channel for $5. They even came with a shady, unmarked white van to transport customers to this rotting dock out on Thane Road. And when no one bought it, they went around videotaping themselves wearing the life suit around downtown scaring patrons of tourist traps like The Red Dog Saloon. Don't even get me started on their "Sensei Safety" skit down at Cope Park with a fire extinguisher. That was even funnier than the Canadian-made Bear Safety video available at the public library.

So anyway, I came home last night and was washing my hands in our bathroom/kitchen sink. Not only was it half-filled with old dirty water that never drained, but there was a large ziplock bag with moose blood in it just floating around. Ahh, 'home is where the moose meat'.*

*I'm copyrighting that for future Moose Booth, Inc. team t-shirts.


Monday, May 15, 2006

other people and places

Sometimes I feel like I need to have some sort of epiphany, semi-profound thought, or hilarious anecdote before I can publish a blog post. But you know what? The past week's confusion hasn't really given me any hard answers except maybe that small-town gossip cuts deeper because the people in your age demographic number like, 40, and you'll still end up accidentally sharing a car ride with them or running into them at the only bagel shop or something. I like having the deluge of tourists here. I can feel lost in the sea of strange faces. My anger is diluted in newness.

Last Friday, the girls who still have my back and I spent the night at The Shrine. NCADD had originally rented the main lodge for a smokers' cessation retreat, but lo and behold--no one signed up. Since my roommate and friend/neighbor work for them, they were apparently given permission to use it for a private slumber party. We saw whales and seals, and I had a lovely time away from the drama of civilization. We made polenta with spinach and feta, baked chocolate chip cookies, knitted, beaded, journaled, listened to awesome music, and remained ever vigilant for the presence of a kushtaka.

At a BBQ on Sandy Beach the next day, I saw my first avalanche. It boomed from across the Channel and rolled down Mt. Roberts like lava made of snow, rock, and water. We were all riveted, in safety, but some young boy was on his cell phone the whole time because his parents were sitting in a car on the street right underneath it. Luckily, the avalanche stopped before hitting the road.

Last night, I watched the sunset at Outer Point on Douglas Island, and the bald eagles were really active. They kept flying right above us, pretty low, and one was clutching a rodent (?) with its entrails dangling. I was staring up at it in awe with my eyes and mouth wide open so I'm really thankful that dead thing wasn't dripping.

One of my favorite things was just laying on my neighbor's roof, soaking up the sun, writing letters on quirky stationery, and reading a novel about the intrigue of other people and places. Tomorrow I go to Yakutat, and maybe this time I'll have time for beaches. I might go on a 3-day sailing trip during Memorial Day Weekend. I want to go to Sitka. I want to run to Whitehorse for the Klondike. I want to go on a cruise around Tracey Arm and take a floatplane to Gustavus. I'm excited to leave my usual routes. Coincidences and traps abound there, and I'm not sure which are meaningful and which are innocent. The usual routes also have the usual patterns. In particular, one that is shaped like a rubber band. People like to complicate their lives, as if life weren't complicated enough.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

closing the year, digging the past, and looking at stars

I love my high school kids for the most part, but I have to admit I'm glad for the school year to be winding down. Was I this argumentative, moody, and unappreciative in my younger years? A very sincere, albeit belated, apology to my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Rimer, and all my senior year teachers.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingDid I mention I'm stoked (ah, Southern California linguistic remnants) for this dig at Auke Lake?? My last dig was in Belize at ancient Mayan sites, and it was amazing. We were uncovering lithics, obsidian blades, ground stone tools, ceramic sherds, and even human remains. This one will be nothing like that, but it affords opportunities to learn more skills. It's more of a geo/ethno/archaeological survey--scoring trees, mapping out the bottom of the lake, and just doing cubic meter test pits. It's also a lot more respectful of native cultures in the area as the professor wants to say some native prayers beforehand, and there are 2 Native consultants on site with us every day in case we run across anything. I imagine Belize didn't have as many Native property federal regulations as the US does when it comes to archaeology.

Does anyone know where I can get the full version of Giordano Bruno's "On the Infinite Universe and Worlds"? I'm having a hard time finding it but maybe somebody more internet shopping savvy can help.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


"Why didn't Dark marry Molly?"
"Because he doubted her. You should never doubt the one you love."
"But they might not be telling the truth."
"No matter. You tell your own truth."

"You can't be another person's honesty. You can only be your own."
"So what should I say?"
"When I love someone?"
"You tell them."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"hold your head now, it's over"

8 months. i wake up unsuspecting.

pebbles: i come home and gossip lovers with confetti-tossed rumors have levelled heavy accusations against me. in secret, like the inquisition. three weeks ago, one of them invited me to her wedding. two weeks ago, the other one just moved in. they are the kind of people who believe other people's business always needs their intervention.

the heaviest stone: i come home to realize that cracks had been there all along. their stories had served to throw open a curtain. i hadn't even realized there was a back room. it's piled with doubts and suspicions. i see this place for perhaps the first time with eyes wide open.

you untethered me with mistrust and chained me to charges.

i can't sleep. i hyperventilate. i have my head between my legs heaving a panic attack. i can't lay down because the weight of all the pressure feels crushing.

i wake up angry.

8 months yesterday, but today, zero.

I bought some cds yesterday afternoon. Maybe I was feeling prophetic.
The Get Up Kids - Something to Write Home About
Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
The Rushmore Soundtrack

if you're sorry why wage war?
i'm not fully convinced that there's something wrong with this
could another point of view, biased and untrue, tear me away from you?
will you be my valentine if i'm a world away?
apologies are breaking me
~Get Up Kids

Saturday, May 06, 2006

life changes in the ordinary instant

Starting on the 15th this month, I'll be junior staffing an ethnoarchaeological dig for UAS. It's for an interpretive trail at Auke Lake. Needless to say, I am stoked about it. There are two minor downsides, being a) ridiculous $3.40/gallon gas prices and b) making up the 72 hours of work during evenings and weekends. It will be a fulfilling, albeit exhausting, two weeks.

I also submitted a proposal to present at the Alaska History Conference in October. I probably won't even be in Juneau then, but the professor says I could still do something in absentia.

And there is a grant from the City Museum whose deadline is rapidly approaching and which I haven't yet begun writing. It's for projects that contribute to the history of Juneau, and my ethnography definitely fits perfectly under their guidelines. I really need to work on the letters of support.

It's May, and my city is wet, and the tourist season officially began last Wednesday. A Norwegian cruise liner with 1,750 passengers and 600+ crewmembers docked. I'm guessing about 20 of them actually got off their packaged vacation boat with its indoor pools and free buffet to roam around the reality of fog-enshrouded downpour in downtown Juneau.

Nostalgia: "Know that you don't have to suffer to write well, letting the pain of your life drip onto paper to create some masterpiece. Know you can be happy and still make something beautiful... I wonder if Africa will calm me down. I wonder when I will stop running. I wonder about my cardiac arrythmia. I wonder as I wander." -Email to J, 9/5/01

"i feel like i must have started life over when i boarded that plane in october. what did i think of up there, suspended between ground and heaven, flying between old and new? of kate, of jacob, of regret, of my father and his wreckage, of my mother and her denial, of my sister and her complacency, perhaps? and then i was completely absconced in white. purity. cleanliness. i had to have stepped into a realm of rebirth, like when the phoenix starts anew from herself-combustion and ashes." -Email to D, 12/23/01

Don't hold on
Go get strong
or don't you know
there's no modern romance
~Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs

Monday, May 01, 2006

"more than even one more day"

I want May to be a good month. Of course I want every month to be good in a general hopeful kind of way, but particularly May particularly now. January was a month of upheaval. February was a month of too many things to do and barely enough time. March was a month of paralysis, and then, death. April was a month of grief and needing my hand held tightly. May is going to be a month of reflection and big decisions.

There are things I have time for and things that I don't, or refuse to make time for.

I have time for: making up my mind about apr├ęs-Vista plans, sweetness, laughter, conversations where we really listen and not just wait impatiently to say our turn, delicious shared meals, exercising, finding everyday adventures, kisses, holding your hand, keeping my room clean, pursuing my ethnography again, writing, slowing down my internal metronome once in awhile, sleeping better, peaceful silence

I don't have time for: anything that looks at "the things I have time for" in the face and gives it the finger