Then there was Eve Amundsen. I first met her at fine arts camp up in Fairbanks in the summer between my junior and senior year, right in the middle of my punk rock period. There were no girls in the punk scene where I lived, in Kenai. Just skater guys and me. There were a bunch of punk rock girls up in Fairbanks at fine arts camp, but not many that were smoking hot like Eve was. She had a bitching dyed black mohawk, wore gothic makeup, leather jacket, pointy boots, lots of piercings, including a nose pierce, which in 1987 was a daring thing to have. She was the whole package. However, she was also intense and catty, so I hardly said more than two words to her. Anyway, this was right after Nina so I was still kind of bugged out about girls in general.

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Where I have lived.

If you have lived in one of these places and I tell you that there was a guy, or a shop, or a tsunami there that you know for a fact never existed, please remember that this is just a memoir – I’m writing from memory – intentionally doing little research. I may have to embellish to fill in some gaps. Hopefully my slight fictionalizing will make for a better read.

Letter to myself as a young man, aged 20

Dear Mark,

Dude. It’s me/you! Told you I would write you again. I have to say though, I’m a little disappointed. It looks like you didn’t take any of my advice from before. You got that letter right? Just in case you didn’t, I’m enclosing it here. Some of that stuff will still be useful. I’ll wait for you to read it if you haven’t already.Read More »

Next life to-do list

There are a few things I’ve been meaning to do through the years that I just haven’t gotten around to doing, and now time is running out and it looks like I won’t get to do them. And anyway, I would need to ascend to quite a lofty position of power to get them done, say dictator of America for example, and that in itself would take more time than I have left. I’m hoping that reincarnation is a real thing, so I can get cracking on this to do list when I come back as a despot next time around.

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Mr. Yamazaki

Mr. Yamazaki was a mystery wrapped in an enigma and smothered in wabi-sabi. We knew a little about him from the way he looked and behaved, but most of what we knew about him came from rumors and stories passed down from our older brothers and sisters. One of those rumors was that he had previously taught at Sorbonne University in Paris, France. However, finding that not suitably challenging, he decided to make the move to Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. It seemed plausible enough at the time.
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In fall, 1982, I was sitting in Mr. Runkle’s seventh grade Social Studies class and this gawky looking new kid came in and sat down right in front of me. Mr. Runkle continued the lesson, which was his standard mumbled textbook reading, and after a while the new kid half turned to me and said, This sucks, huh?

This seems like a pretty tame thing to say now, but at the time it was unexpected and rebellious and held the suggestion of interesting alternatives.Read More »