Monday, January 25, 2010

obligatory blog

For my "teaching creative writing and poetry" course, I have to have a separate blog. Here is the link to it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I try to eat breakfast every morning. If I don't, I can't take my pills (vitamins, etc) because I'll get a stomach ache. Sometimes, like today, I roll out of bed around 11am. What to have for breakfast....

Well...this morning I had Maple Nut Ice Cream. It's got some fat in it, and some dairy, some sugar, and some nuts. Oh, and maple...whatever that counts as...fruit maybe? Seems like a balanced breakfast to me.

Here's the problem. This morning, I had a regular sized bowl of Maple Nut. And then I took my pills. Now I feel sick. I didn't get enough food... and now, I'm not hungry, just sick.

I know a lot of people struggle to eat less... me, I am fortunate to not have that problem. My problem is making sure I get enough food to keep me healthy. And I know I'm unfairly complaining, but at the moment, I am not hungry, feeling nauseous, and there isn't much I can do about it....cuz if I eat more, I'll probably puke.

Life is rough, I tell ya. There are billions of people who do not get enough food to stay alive, and here I am, in the land of gluttony, unable to eat my fair share, because I have a stomach ache.

In other news... the vikings play the saints today. I am pulling for the Vikes, obviously, because I am a MN fan (year round, thank you). The vikings have been to the superbowl 4 times. They have lost it 4 times. The saints have never been to the superbowl, but as my friend Bonnie says... "what's one more year for them to wait"? Good point, my friend.

I love New Orleans, and think they deserve some good energy and positive things happening, however, I don't think it should be their football team. It could be their basketball team or something. Besides, they have good college teams they can cheer for. Our vikes need a win, Brett Favre needs a win, I need a win! Oh, and my mom is coming to the pub to watch the game with me and some friends. I'm hoping my uncle will come too. I better charge the battery for my camera. Woot!

taken from the facebook page of my friend Andy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I am wating for Kai to call me, so I can go into work. I am back, working part time with Books for the Future. So far, so good... I am enjoying my time working, and learning more about small businesses. I am still working at the group home, on Fridays, which is also good. It's fun seeing the consumers (and fellow coworkers) grow over time.

A week or two ago, I went out west (??) to Litchfield to visit Ardes Shea. I had seen her the week prior, with her family, but this time, I went out alone. We had a great visit together. We went to a small cafe in town for lunch (on a monday, I believe, monday the 12th of january). When we got to the cafe, there was a group of "retired school teachers" sitting at a table. They were all men. They seemed surprised to see me, which makes sense, as it is a small town.

A dude sat down with us, and didn't say much. He just wanted to say hi, and let his presence be know, I think. Anyhow, he said to Ardes (who is 87 years old), "I wish you would fall in love with me and we could run away together". Her response?

"I'd just assume join the army!!" It was hilarious! She is so "on point", for a woman of her age, and for just a human being in general.

We watched the news together, it was right after senator so and so said that Obama could get elected because he's light skinned and doesn't speak with a negro dialect or something like that. It was all over the news, and we soon got tired of it.

Ardes and I talked a lot about her experiences growing up. She's in a writers club, and it was awesome reading her stories. I shared stories with her about my grampa, and she encouraged me to write them down.

Speaking of writing...I am taking 2 classes this semester. One is with Tim Lensmire, and it's something about "Teaching Writing in the Classroom", with an emphasis on race (and how race/ethnicity plays a role in teaching writing). The other class is taught by Thom Swiss, and it's called "Teaching Creative Writing and Poetry" or something like that. I went to that class on Tuesday night. It seems cool....we will be doing a lot of our own writing and critiquing. That is good. The one thing I didn't like, is that of 18 kids in the class, 16 are White.

I'm not surprised by this...just disappointed. These are folks (myself included) who want to be teachers.... which is good, we need teachers, and good ones at that. The problem is, we (in the US) have a huge achievement gap between brown kids and white kids in terms of success in school. This starts at a young age, and can continue for a long time (even outside of school).

My issue/concern is that we need more teachers of color. We need more teachers who look like, or who have had similar experiences of their students. You can read all you want to about "Urban/Inner City Youth", or "Urban Education" or whatever the fuck.... but unless you actually dive in, meet kids, chill with kids, learn from kids.... all you're getting is a skewed perspective.

It's frustrating to me, because once again, I feel like I stick out, and if I want to speak up (in class), it will be difficult not to speak for "poor and brown people everywhere". I don't want that role. I am not that role. I mean, yes, I am poor, and I am brown.... but there should be more poor people and more brown people getting into education and teaching.

The problem is.... education fails poor and brown folks from the get go. It's a catch 22 I guess... we need more diverse/unique teachers to help "close the gap" and be role models for their students.... but the system is working against them almost immediately.

Time to go to work...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the picky begger?

I'm getting ready for Keith Grauman's "1st Annual Chili Cook-Off" today. I woke up at 8am, and got out of bed around 10. I checked the temperature. -9 F. (F as in Fahrenheit, or Fucking Freezing). I put on as many layers as possible, and walked to Mississippi Market.

Lentils...Check. Serrano Peppers....Check. Mustard Seeds....Check. Green Juice for breakfast....Check.

I left the Co-op with 31 dollars less than I came in with. Oh well. I picked up some staples while I was there too.... (i.e. canola oil, dried red chillies, etc...). I got to the end of the (short) block and this Asian dude comes running towards me, waving his hands.

"Sir, Sir", he asked, trying to get my attention. Usually, when someone calls me "Sir", I am annoyed and just ignore them...but when it's winter, and I'm wearing 2 hats, 3 pairs of pants, 3 shirts and 2 jackets....I take on a pretty androgynous look, I guess. Anyhow, I stop for the dude...knowing he's gonna ask for money (you can see it in his eyes).

"Sir....Oh, Mamm, Mamm, can you give me a couple dollars, I want to buy some noodles, some ramen noodles", and he pointed to the co-op. "Sure", I said, and suggested we walk into the market together. "Oh, I don't think they have them here", he said. "Let's find out", I replied, and started walking towards store.

We get inside, and walk down the "ethnic" aisle. "How bout these", I ask, pointing to the rice vermicelli noodles? He said no. "How bout these", I ask, pointing to the ramen noodles. Nope, those wont work either (even though it's specifically what he asked for).

He said the noodles he wants are at "Sun Foods" on University and Dale (which is about 6 blocks from where we are). "Too bad", I wanted to say, but instead I said "Well, you said Ramen Noodles, which are right here, and I'll get them for you if you want". He declined. I said "Sorry then, I can't help you", and walked (with him) out of the store and home.

Now...I am a picky eater...those who have raised me, lived with me, or dated me can attest to this. But here's the thing....if I am hungry, and someone offers me food, you damn well better believe I will eat it, and I will be grateful for it.

This dude was obviously just interested in my money. When people ask me for money (usually in my neighborhood, coming home from the bar or coffee shop), I often say I don't have any. There's one lady who always asks me for bus money, and I never have any....perhaps because she switches from needing bus money to money for gas for her sisters car a few blocks away.

When people ask me for money for food...I usually don't give money. If I have food with me (either just purchased, or leftovers) I will offer what I have. Sometimes folks will take it. Other times they wont. It kind of separates those who actually want food, and those who just want money.

If someone came up to me and said "Can I get a few dollars for a beer", I would just go to the Pub with them and sit for a beer. Chances are, they have an interesting story....and I'd be willing to bet, not many people who take the time to listen.

Out of curiosity....what do you do when you see someone asking for food/work/money?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Up North (In/Near Lutsen)

I went up to Lutsen a few days ago (returning home today) with a couple of friends. Here are a few pictures.

some park. judge something or other, i forgot.

outside of our cabin at solbakken.

me and kai. (photo by koby)

me and koby. (photo by kai).

it was really nice to get out of town for a couple of days. i had never been "up north" during the winter, except for hockey tournaments/games. it was good, i hope to head back soon.