Saturday, July 31, 2010


Electric eels aren't actually eels. They're a type of fish called knifefish.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

News Bulletin

Please read, my children (or...the seven people who may choose to ignore all of these odd posts I author...). Important and fun stuff ahead!

Bulletin One: Great news! The Madre, Denise "Mom" Hinson, has successfully contacted Laura Bliss Spaan. Spaan directed a documentary in 1995 called More Than Words... about Chief Marie Smith Jones and her quest to preserve Eyak as a language and a culture. Facebook has made all of the difference: Ms. Spaan has an account and responded to let us know that she will reply with more details next week. This is exciting news! There's no guarantee that this will pan out into something, but I have faith. Woot woot!

Bulletin Two: Moving ahead, I am working on a jacket for Darfur. It's a blazer. Medium blue shade. Once it's finished, it will be up for sale, so please, ask about purchasing it. All money will go to Save Darfur. Though the t-shirts are out (no capital- and we can get more art out of a blazer than a t-shirt: blazers with decorations stand out more than t-shirts with messages), but I will also be making stationary, posters, and a song, which I'm rather excited about. The song will be without genre or set lyrics- everything is subject to change. The purpose is to play the song, then have anyone play it- play it at your house, to your students, add your own lyrics about Darfur and hopefully the song can spread to a few people. Music does wonders, especially music that we all contribute to. I think the base of the song, which I'll start and pass on, will be either jazz or more dream-pop or international folk. Hip hip hooray!

Bulletin Three: There are fewer props than I realized for my show. An ungodly amount of costumes and a freakish about of sets...but six props. I went over my list twice, was nonplussed, too. Herman was surprised as much as I was. Herman, below:

Bulletin Four: Jet and Atticus finally have appointments to see the vet. They'll be thrilled. Atticus will, no, seriously, be thrilled as long as food is involved. Jet will wear the Cone of Shame. He will not be pleased.

Bulletin Five: I still like lists.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eyak Exhortation


I am in need of help, cherubs. I have scouted the murky edges of the internet. I have researched, shoveled through countless empty results on Google, and have not found a guide to studying Eyak.

Thus far, I have received a few gems, but not the gold I was hoping for. Here are said not-gold gems:

Eyak Language Restoration Group*
Eyak Language Project
Review: More Than Words...**

According to Redzone, there is a set of materials for those who wish to learn Eyak. However, I can't get any information on them. I can't find where to study this language anywhere. Do you have any suggestions? I'm running out of options, I think. Please help, cherubs. This is incredibly important.

Everyone should learn an endangered language. There are one hundred forty-one languages with fewer than five speakers- last time that I checked. But a language goes extinct in this world every two weeks. About eighty of these languages are based in Australia, where Aboriginal languages are facing a massive decline. Eyak's last native speaker passed on in 2008, sadly, though I'm not sure how many speakers remain. Evidently, in Alaska there are workshops and the tribe is trying to revive its culture: there are roughly one hundred seventy-two members in the tribe, which is native to Alaska (the village is today called Cordova, on the Copper River- this is where much of the workshops are located, apparently- plane tickets anyone?). In 1995, the first potlatch in over eighty years was held- that's the most recent potlatch that I've heard of. The Eyak tribe is, as of 2001 (my information is a little dated...), the smallest tribe in Alaska.

Please help find resources on this culture and on this language! Or please learn this language yourself. Or study an endangered culture and language from another part of the globe.

I'll continue gathering information and do a series of posts on this topic, starting with Eyak. Please do read, cherubs. It means everything.


*Thanks, Facebook
**A documentary about the fight to preserve Eyak

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Writing assignment #4 - Poetry


My world reclines at the mouth of the Chihuahua desert

in the shade of Franklin mountain

sustained by the russet ribbon of the Rio Grande.

Just below that dirty hem

like the ragged stockings of worn out charwomen

shanties crawl up the hillside

pushing against each other in

circuitous anxious support

casting out children

barefoot into the ferocity.

They shake their tiny boxes of despair

like maracas keeping frantic rhythm

as mothers howl

in voices without echoes

disappearing in the heat

rising from the desert floor.


Not One More