stories of adventures

2

March 26, 2017

“HISINGEN BLUES”

by Joe Iurato and Rubin415

Joe Iurato is a visual storyteller. He says his paintings are born out of his personal experiences and it’s clear that each is part of some narrative—and for this collaborative work on 30th Ave. in Queens for the Welling Court Mural Project, the story Iurato’s adventurous children tell provides those of us of a certain age a refreshing throwback to a different time and place. Rubin415, originally from Gothenburg, Sweden, did his first tag at age 9, but has since developed a remarkably complex abstract geometric style rooted in his graff background—but with clean Scandinavian lines. Inspired by the cover for Graveyard’s Hisingen Blues album (a band that also happens to come from Rubin’s hometown in Sweden) this collaboration makes no sense on some levels yet the contrast between disparate styles and settings ends up working brilliantly.  @rubin415  @joeiurato  @WellingCourtMuralProject  

MYSTERY STORY TIME

So there was a single, solitary kiwi on our counter in the kitchen.

And I decided to make fun of my roommate for it, because who buys one, single, solitary kiwi? So I asked her that.

Roommate: I didn’t buy a kiwi.

Me: This isn’t your kiwi?

Roommate: No?

Me: But this isn’t my kiwi.

Roommate: That kiwi was there when I got home.

Me: I don’t even eat kiwi!

As you can see, it’s a real kiwi. Here it is, on my counter, giving away nothing.

But I was still confused as to where it came from. Did one of us accidentally buy a kiwi at the store? 

So I looked up the Kiwiny company to figure out which stores it’s sold at, to see which one of us might have bought it, since we tend to use different grocery stores.

Kiwiny doesn’t have American retailers.

There is literally no reason for this kiwi to be in my kitchen.

UPDATE:

lots of people have been asking me if I ever figured out where the kiwi came from. So to provide an update on the magical kiwi … one day I took a nap and had a dream about those creepy spiders that hide in bananas and I thought like oh my god this kiwi is gonna be full of spiders. So I woke up and promptly put the kiwi in a ziploc bag. To contain the dream spiders.

The kiwi sat on the counter for a few days, then got moved to the top of the fridge to get it out of the way. It sat there for a couple weeks. It never appeared to go bad? I did eventually throw it out, just because I was confused about it and neither of us were ever going to eat the kiwi.

Never found out why the kiwi was in my kitchen. I guess we’ll never know.

UPDATE UPDATE:

Kiwiny is following me on twitter now.

I feel like I should post more funny teaching stories here

Because I definitely have them.

For example, I have come to learn over the course of holding this position that Japanese school culture festivals are, in many ways, just as filled with zany hijinks as they are in your average anime.

Some highlights from my recent experiences with the mysterious beast known as the culture festival:

-Class 1-B presented a statistical report on this season’s fishing hauls. Sounds boring, right? Nope - it was presented via interpretive dabbing, with all of the class officers in glow-in-the-dark squid masks

-3-A, for their presentation, composed and performed an enka ballad about why our town is NOT famous

-Not to be outdone, 3-C crafted a loving, emotional video tribute to their three years of junior high school…narrated by the disembodied head of former US president John F. Kennedy projected on the gymnasium wall

-2-B made a ping-pong table. Their presentation consisted of walking onstage, saying “We made a ping-pong table” and sitting down.

-Students were allowed to order special lunches from the set festival menu up to two weeks in advance. The vice-principal was meant to pass out notices explaining how many of each item students might order. He failed to do so. A student ordered 28 muffins. The faculty watched in horror as he ate every single one.

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Ride along with an Alaskan dog team

She was both an old soul and a free spirit. It was hard to understand her, but oh lord did you want to try.
—  Excerpt of a book I’ll never write #166
things that actually happened in my high school

1. in the middle of am homeroom (so like 9am in the morning) a kid just broke out a pint of ice cream and started eating it. and i guess it wouldnt have been that bad except once people noticed, everyone started whispering and pointing until half the class was surrounding the table literally BEGGING for some. the teacher actually had to stop reading the morning announcements and give a speech on how you shouldn’t give death threats over ice cream.

2. this kid i was sitting next to once went home bc he got a massive headache after staring straight into a lightbulb for 2 minutes bc he “was bored and wanted to see what would happen.” he ended up taking 3 advils after that, got paranoid and made the entire table search “how many pills of advil does it take to overdose” on a school computer.

3.  there was a HUGE ASS fly in the room and the teacher thought itd be a great idea to kill it by throwing a folder 4inches thick with papers in its general direction; it ended up going across the room and hitting a poor, innocent kid in the face so hard that the other kids at the table scrammed and started yelling “EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF”…and when i tell you that this fly was huge,,it was literally so MASSIVE that this one girl almost started crying when it flew near her, someone actually tried throwing a cup of coffee at it, and another person started screaming ZIKA VIRUSSSS and something about how they weren’t vaccinated. and mind you the majority of the students are dressed in fancy attire bc of the national honor society ceremony that was later in the afternoon. in the midst of all this chaos, this one kid stands up, doesnt say anything and literally just ninja slams his bare hand onto the table and kills the fly all in one fluid motion, all without saying a single word. the entire class just broke out in thunderous applause, including the teacher, and then class continued as normal as if the past 10 minutes didn’t even happen

4. during first period a teacher who lost a ton of weight over a 2 year period was giving serious advice about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle while this kid right in front of the teacher’s desk breaks out a FULL mcdonalds breakfast meal and distributes it among the table

5. kids that were in apush and ap spanish held a joint prayer vigil the day before ap exams began, so that ap students could literally hold hands and pray to survive exam season as well as mourn our high grades. everyone who went was required to bring in fake candles and food, while someone else conducted a prayer service. a special invitation was sent using our school emails, you had to rsvp in order to attend, and it was suggested that you wear black. our ap teachers knew about this, and they agreed it was a good idea somehow

YA Was Better In The Old Days

There are times when I really feel that modern girls are being ripped off in their YA. I grew up reading old WWII era Stories for Girls inherited from my grandmother and mother and let me tell you, restrictive gender roles and all, they let girls do more stuff than most of the current crop. And a lot of them were written around Girls Finding Their Calling rather than Girls Finding Their True Love.

For example:

In ‘A Friend for Frances’, Frances has to deal with the realities of being from a poor farming family and convince her parents to spend extra money on letting her go to a good school. She succeeds! She finds a best friend, learns about working hard to achieve your dreams, and ends the book a) all set to pursue her dream of gardening as a career and b) going to Holland to see the tulips because flowers are kind of her life. The only dudes involved in the story are her father, her brother, her best friend’s semi-present father and the Curmudgeon With A Heart Of Gold who gives her an after-school job.

In ‘Nancy Calls The Tune’, Nancy is a gifted musician and trained organist who takes a job in a church to free up the male organist to enlist and Do His Duty. Nancy and her housemate get jobs, work hard, Nancy helps maintain morale for the whole village and meets a nice man who respects her work-ethic and the housemate coerces a pilot into taking her over the channel to rescue her sister who is trapped Behind Enemy Lines. Some of the Patriotic Yay War Boo Cowardice stuff is pretty on the nose, but it still had a lot of Girls Doing Things.

In the entirety of the Swallows and Amazons series the girls were absolutely as competent as the boys when it came to sailing, exploring, and Making Up Cool Shit, and significantly more competent in the areas of cooking, supervising younger siblings, and making fires that wouldn’t go right out. It’s stated repeatedly in text that Susan, the ‘domestic one’, is the only reason they’re allowed to do most of it because she’s the one the parents can count on to make sure that Meals, Bedtime And Basic First Aid are applied at appropriate times. The assorted parents make it very clear to all the kids that John and Nancy may be the ships’ captains but SUSAN IS IN CHARGE IF YOU DISOBEY HER YOU WILL NEVER CAMP AGAIN.

‘The Daring Of Daryl’ features Daryl who is just SO EXCITED TO GO TO BOARDING SCHOOL THAT SHE RIDES A TRAINED BULL TO THE STATION RATHER THAN MISS THE TRAIN. An actual bull. Usual school story hijinks ensue, but I remember the book fondly to this day for Daryl’s almost Australian eagerness to embrace personal danger and sports. Again, very few dudes. 

It’s a bit older, but ‘Rilla of Ingleside’ is to this day one of the only WWI novels not only centered around almost exclusively female characters, but about girls who were at home, trying to cope with rationing and fundraising and answering the phone when any call might be to inform them of a death in the family. Rilla, a slightly spoiled teenager when the story opens, pulls her socks up and grimly soldiers on throughout. She raises money, knits socks, tries to keep her parents spirits up as their sons enlist one after another, somehow holds the family together when one of her brothers dies, and - with nobody blinking an eye - at fifteen adopts a war baby whose mother has died and whose father is overseas and takes care of it until the father comes back. There is a romance, but given that he’s also at war most of the time you don’t see much of him.

‘Dragon Island’ featured three girls who were shipwrecked (if I remember right) on an island with a significant komodo dragon population. They survived and didn’t get eaten and were generally plucky and good at problem-solving. They fished, scavenged, built shelters, all the good stuff. No romance unless you shipped the girls and let me tell you I did.

And there were innumerable Girl’s Own Stories and Girl’s Annuals and Girls Own Adventures in which girls scaled cliffs, captured spies, raised money for charities, thwarted evil capitalists trying to take the family farm, rode horses, saved injured animals, learned instruments, bested bullies, befriended strangers, went to sea, hiked up mountains, found treasure, put on shows, won scholarships, helped old people, won academic prizes, put out fires, and generally MADE FRIENDS WITH GIRLS AND DID ALL THE THINGS.

And every time I pick up a modern YA there’s at least one boy mentioned on the cover and Is It True Love and I just really miss the days when plucky, independent girls named Kate or Debbie or Susan or Abigail or Samantha were allowed to wear sensible shoes and pursue wildly varying hobbies and careers and solve their own problems that did not center around boys. Boys frequently did not even intrude on the narrative except as Annoying Brothers or Helpful Stable Hands.

I grew up reading stories in which heroines were expected to be plucky, tough, resourceful, independent, good at problem solving, unafraid of hard work and good human beings. My daughter is growing up reading stories about girls who fall in love and maybe, like, do some other stuff. I do not like this trend.

TLDR: I am old people and stories for girls were better in my day because there weren’t so many dang boys in them and also girls were allowed to do more things.

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Panorama over the active crater rim, Mt. Bromo, Indonesia