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October 27, 2010

coin, c.225-212; (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wien)
I am Janus

I have two faces

one in the past

and one in new places

I am in between, but looking at you!

I am change


transformational glue!

I am in between.

Can you see me there?

I wonder if really;

who,  what,  why,  and  where?

If you think you’ve coined me

you’re doing it wrong

flip that coin again

because I’ve moved on.

I am not a thing, I’m an action

I go

I see where you really had thought I was though

I’ve got eyes behind me.

Hello to you there!

You have caught a glimpse.

Well that isn’t fair.

If you go someplace new I am there with you.

I invite you to walk, run, jump, or skip through.

If you look at me, we will move forward

see where you’ve been and keep moving toward.

If I look at you, and you feel stuck

I understand you are in a rut.

You’re struggling there.

You want to stand still.

You are conflicted and caught in the mill.

But I say relax I will walk with thee.

We’ll move through together.

Your struggle

and me.

I Like Google Reader

December 18, 2009

The day starts before dawn with..

Coffee, oatmeal, and Google Reader.

Makali’i fundraiser 19 Sept. ’09 @ KTA!

September 19, 2009

Saturday (19th Sept.), there’s a fundraising event for the Makali’i Educational Program at the Puainako KTA in Hilo from 9 am to 3pm.  There will be canoes on display, some traditional Maori foods, Makali’i merchandise, lomi lomi massage, and  cultural demonstrations by the Marshalese community.  The proceeds for this event will benefit for the Makali’i educational program.  Come by to learn something about voayaging canoes, canoe culture, for some great fellowship, and a great cause!

Makali'i Fundraiser


July 13, 2009

Hula at Ulupo Heiau; Kailua, Hawaii

Hula at Ulupo Heiau; Kailua, Hawaii

I often reflect on the sense of alienation felt by many students as part of our school experience, particularly in our years of secondary school.  There always seemed to be a sense of disconnection between what was being taught during the hours of 8 am and 3:30 pm, and what was going on in the rest of our lives.  For many of us, school could at times feel like an internment.  However, there were the occasional opportunities to feel free and inspired.   It is interesting to me that these occasional experiences are the ones I recall with the most pride about my school.  I recall hula dancing in Waikiki and at community centers on O’ahu from as early as elementary.  Thankfully, in Hawaii we have a strong tradition of passing on knowledge through demonstration.  Our teachers taught us  to exhibit our knowledge with pride and perform with the public in mind.  I recall drama classes taught by Kati Kuroda, that today seem so far reaching in scope, I am amazed at what we had accomplished.  Our sixth grade class managed to produce an authentic style Chinese opera, complete with costumes, make up, instruments and musicians.  This production, as all our efforts with Mrs. Kuroda, was completely produced by fellow classmates.   Again, the whole point of the curriculum was to create something to exhibit to the public.  To Ho’ike.  I imagine that for most students that get involved with the arts, there  is an engagement to a larger community.  This may have offset the skull drudgery we have all felt from a typical classroom lecture and may have lead to greater understanding through a deeper more meaningful experience.  After all, we were proudly creating something of value, sharing it, and receiving feedback from those around us.   There truly is something joyful in the creative process when it is given freely to others!

Building a future at Onekahakaha

May 17, 2009

I spent the day with a great group of people yesterday working on the development of a place-based community education site in Hilo Hanakahi.  This area will be the site of the Hoea Ea Food Sovereignty Conference on June 10-14th.

John Gatto’s Book: Dumbing Us Down and Life in Hell

May 7, 2009

Dumbing Us DownDumbing Us Down:  The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schoolingby John Taylor Gatto is a heartfelt read.  It surely appears to have been a heartfelt write.  John writes with a tone of urgency, and revolution, as if calling soldiers to arms in the defense of their country.  He is calling us to bear witness to a national crisis:  The crisis of education, particularly the acute crisis in our schools.   In a larger sense he is writing about the dire condition of our communities as a whole.  His  message is no less pertinent today than it was seventeen years ago when he first published his essays.  He doesn’t mince words or present vague references.  John aims his crosshairs straight at the established monopoly of american education (which he ironically is a part of!) and fires a volley.  If the gun metaphor is too violent for you, consider him a bugler, sounding the clarion call for it’s destruction.  He could also be driving a crane with a wrecking ball though.  Consider the metaphor of urban renewal rather than violence, and  destruction, but do not take away his urging for revolution because that is what he is calling for.  While reading his book, I thought about a quote from Che Guevara“Do not try to kill your enemy rather, attempt to educate him.  For he is worth more alive to you than dead”.  For a revolutionary at war, those words come across as pretty holistic and nurturing to me, and this is how I perceive Mr. Gatto’s message. 

He begins in a rather self deprecating fashion by describing the seven tenants of his profession:

  1. Confusion
  2. Class Position
  3. Indifference 
  4. Emotional Dependency
  5. Intellectual Dependency
  6. Provisional Self-Esteem
  7. You Cannot Hide.  

Scary stuff! John’s words induce me to reflect:  Is this what being a teacher is about?  Is our society sick?  What can I do to not be a part of this curriculum?  Thankfully, Mr. Gatto has some ideas.  He proposes the value and virtue of self-knowledge.  In fact, John states “only self-teaching has value”.   This is not to say that one cannot be taught by another but rather, for teaching and education to be real, it must be relevant to the individual.  To be relevant to the individual, it must be relevant to her or his community and not as an abstract lesson.  With relevancy, comes a personal conversation, and the dialectical process between people in which real learning occurs will come about.  This is inspiring for those of us who have struggled with schooling presented as mere concepts on a blackboard, protocols to complete, and hoops to jump through.  John’s book encourages us to re-engage with our communities and become active learners and teachers.  He promotes learning as an organic process with a broad scope and many roots.

Matt Groening’s Life in Hell series often reflects on compulsory schooling.  So funny, it hurts. 

Bongo has some questions....
Bongo has some questions….





U.H. Hilo’s Student Life Center

May 4, 2009

Wow, a great new gym right under my nose! The UH Hilo Student Life Center is a wonderful facility that consist of nearly 23,000 square-feet of indoor fitness/recreational rooms, a cardio and weight room, dance and aerobics rooms, a lounge with wireless internet, and indoor cafe, locker rooms, and an olympic-sized swimming pool.  Get a great workout in vog-free air conditioned comfort!  

What Edmund Husserl said…

April 30, 2009

“Intentionality is the hallmark of consciousness” –Husserl

Edmund Husserl

This statement jumps out at me like a specter.  Husserl’s remarks give me sense of personal responsibility, purpose, and focus.  He is reminding me to be attentive to what it is I express.  On one hand, in and of itself, the quote is amoral in that Husserl seems to say purpose and experience are what define my reality.  That purpose is left to me to resolve.  On the other hand, he seems to be approaching a tenet for a buddhist thesis of life.  He seems to be making a statement about mindfulness. I know Husserl was a European philosopher, but it is interesting to me that he is expressing the notion of purpose tied to every act I perform.  Am I aware of all that I do?  If I am not, is it possible to attempt to be attentive to all that I do?  Is it possible to be fully acquainted with myself and behave in a right-minded fashion in all that I do?

Here’s some great phenomenology in action from John Carpenter’s super cool movie Dark Star

If as Edmund Husserl believes, experience is the source of all knowledge, then it is our mandate as a species to teach others through an intimate practice.  It is time for us to get our hands dirty, and our feet wet again.  Developing knowledge and learning is an act of communion between people (and place!).  Learning is a result of a shared experience.  If we are to truly express our knowledge, then let us ho’ike.  Let’s do it.  Let us, as the kids say; represent!           

A Maori Quote…

April 24, 2009

He toi whakairo he mana tangata

Where there is artistic excellence there is human dignity

I thought it would be appropriate to begin this blog with a reflection on a Maori quote about learning, respect, pride, recognition, and freedom of expression.  I do not claim to know too much about Maori life, modern or otherwise, but I can imagine the parallels between Hawaii islanders and our fellow Polynesian culture to the south.  For the modern pacific islander, there are many political and socioeconomic issues that are expressed when we speak of the marginalization of island cultures.  Sovereignty, gathering rights, access to the land and sea, education, homelessness, cultural alienation, and, urbanization.   These are some of the themes of cultural survival.  Certainly these ideas are important.  Often, these topics have led us into camps and factions, where divided, we squabble over constructs and ideals that seem to make us smaller and diminish our dignity.   While they solicit passion, they can be incendiary, and divisive as well.  An urgent passionate voice can turn to frustration and fear when faced with poverty, racism, deception, and victimization.   I don’t believe we can forge creativity, respect, and honor from a place of fear.         

Step back from the flames a bit and pause to reflect on the most exemplary and uplifting aspects of Polynesian culture.  We cannot help but be unified by honor and self worth by doing this.  We will become larger, and dignity will be established through love, respect, and aloha.  One example of this has been the rediscovery of the voyaging tradition taught to us by Papa Mau Piailug.  This unpretentious man from the small and remote atoll of Satawal has done so much to restore pride and unity into modern pacific island culture.  I am hard pressed to come up with an example of a single person who has done more to instill pride, and dignity.  Ultimately his teaching reunified the cultures of Oceania and has become part of the lore of the rejuvenation of Polynesian culture.  Through his teachings, one can see how a people have become transformed.  The process of learning the traditional art of wayfinding has been a path to dignity for Polynesians.  In this way, dignity is in the initiation of wisdom.  Pwo, the master navigator ceremony that took place on Satawal for the Hawaiians has taken place again for New Zealander’s as well.  Polynesians are re-inheriting their culture through the teachings of a single man from a small atoll.   The words paradigm shift are often considered cliche, but I believe that through Papa Mau’s teaching of the art of wayfinding, a keystone has been placed back into Polynesian culture that was missing and thought to have been lost.


April 23, 2009

This is my first blog.  An epic event.  A ghost town now but more content soon I promise.  Please feel free to leave comments!