Retro: Snowball fight 2.0

February 7, 2010

winter ’09
We finished up photo class early that day, due to the irresistible appeal of fresh powder. Unable to say NO to a second snowball fight, (a safe bet that word had already reached them of the previous fight) I agreed to battle on the girl’s side of a match between my photography students. While my girls never shy in class, they cowered once faced with throwing/hitting/chasing and an army of boys; in reality, they were all a bit unsure how to go about having a snowball fight with their teacher, being rather surprised that I agreed to play. Once again I demonstrated a few insidious techniques (sneaking up behind with TWO snowballs and the old Hail Mary Favorite) with the students watching uneasy and the boys whispering in a huddle. Sort of like the shot heard round the world, its unclear who threw the first icy missile, but soon the battle lines were drawn, and the center square of ISM became the setting for a no holds barred, blood sport, Mortal Kombat style flight between a group of 14-20 year old students. In context, the center square of ISM includes several new buildings and additions, such as the ever imposing HA Museum, Central Fountain (with colors and music during warmer months), Untitled Gov. building, Cultural House, Regional Library (my sometimes work place) and The Coke Place (the name we affectionately dubbed the café where girls can drink Coke) The whole deal is a cobble stoned paved open space, providing little to no shelter, allowing every worker,(in any of the previous mentioned buildings) who was likely suffering from a post lunch slump and happened to glance out his/her window to see what the yelling was about, the ability to observe 15 (or so) students and that crazy Ingllis Qiz yelling and lobbing huge chunks of snow about. This was remarkable enough to prompt said workers to emerge from their dens and into the bright light of a snow day, only to be greeted by yells and ill aimed missiles-usually thrown by the boys who, ironically threw ‘like girls’ which begs the question, ‘what did the girls throw like then?‘

The only cease fire was when an older woman, possessing the courage of Joan of Arc, walked into the middle of the fray and exited on the other side of the square, un-touched, dry, and generally unscathed by frozen water. About 40 min into the madness, not only were the city workers enthralled, but also a group of boys, standing around the fringes, mobiles in hand, too cool to join in, but just cool enough to make comments and laugh like prepubescent girls (it happens sadly enough). Finding it amusing that an ‘adult’ was participating and encouraging snow silliness (by this time the girls were, without question kicking major ass, simply because the boys were scared by the newly displayed boldness), they entered the battle zone hoping to snap a few sly mobile pictures of Ingills Qiz. This endeavor didn’t go as planned, as one of the girls, taking a moment from stuffing snow down a boys jacket, told the mobile wielders that if they took a picture of me, she would, single handedly and with out question kill them. Apparently, she was rather convincing, as they retreated, but, in the midst of their retreat, turned around at the last min to quickly get a picture of me. At the moment they snapped, I was A: running after a 15 year old, B: sliding, C: giving a double middle finger salute intended for them. I’m not sure if they actually got the picture, part of me hopes they did, while the other part of me is sick at the thought of that image being dissimilated to every snaggletooth boys’ mobile phone in ISM.

With the impending approach of night time, the snowball fight ended-hats were straightened, scarves shaken out, pants brushed off. The girls were irrefutably declared victors; with waves to our audience, (who was no doubt bemoaning their lives of void of snowball fights and over run with paper-pushing and chy sipping)-the group scattered from the square. Currier and Ives would have been proud-the dusk and cheers; the snow and smiles; the glowing faces and freezing fingers; the rubbish and mess that is covered by snow and play!

Retro: Kiev

February 6, 2010

No fuss. Back from the Amerikastan, rested, clean, in top fighting form, ready to take on another 9 months of adventures in the AZ-I’ve been writing a bit to ward off the freezing (literally) night. While the present tales of hot showers and holiday and cute boys are being cleaned up; rescued from the depths of my hard drive, a few retro stories from the past year or two.

Kiev Style ’08:
An entire day was devoted to underground goodness of the kind that gets Siolo all hot n bothered, makes me long for the Lab, and causes Qx to suddenly remember (and sing purposely off key) all the bad music from the last 50 years.
We donned ‘Himza’-the steroid pumped bruther of regular hip/thigh rubber, the smallest pair was big enough to engulf most of me up to the chest region and required a sling/beanier to stay up-swiftness/agility was reduced to negative numbers, Ds just laughed at my expense- on loan from the Kiev crew, which consisted of several guys and 2 amazing bad arse ladies, (who over the course of the day and into the night showed how the ladies roll style through the drains )and dropped through a manhole into our first Kiev drain. How fresh: my first time after a year of drain drought, the stank of mold with dead leaves, the echo of cars over grates, the rush of jumping blind into the dark, the odd acoustics of a group of people moving though RCP; being underground, and suddenly realizing that I had missed caving/draining/tunnels and all the good memories associated with it. Funny that a year can make you nostalgic for concrete tunnels and p00 laced water.

The Kiev crew bounded through the drain, leading us to a drop shaft where we signed the guest book, while taking hits of mysterious liquid that tasted of carrots/spices/rum/drain water; my contribution was ‘Bomba’! (One of the first Azeri slang words I learned) Heading towards the exit, Siolo may have taken it upon himself to explain the deep meaning of Sewerfresh, though in-between Qx singing, me falling, and Tatiana talking/laughing while she watched me fall, it was a bit difficult to decipher if he was talking drains or cars or women.

Making a good exit we had a few moments break before executing several ninja moves (dodging cars) across a busy highway,(with Qx and I providing the comic relief of running while holding up Himza and looking as though we were on audition for the Miss US Bottom Heavy Competition) and found ourselves in Stalin’s Tunnels. Wading through 3 km of tunnels (which seemed longer due to the hauling of 10 lbs of rubber around my arse) the boys managed to leave T in tears of laughter at their silly/dirty goofiness. Discovering what has been aptly named the ‘Loleller Coaster’ we indulged our immaturity and took turns careening wildly down the tunnel on a rickety wooden platform-which was surprisingly resilient given that it could hold 2 Ukrainians an Aussie and an American (all Himza’d up) with out breaking. Reaching the end of the tunnel, we were presented with a climber’s underground Holy Grail-a several story high ventilation shaft of rusty honeycomb walls, dripping water, haphazard platforms and moldy smell. The small beam of light at the top beckoned. We heeded its call; challenge intoxicating adrenalin pumping, and head torches beaming. Reaching the top we scrambled through a window and fell out the rabbit hole of a Soviet wonder into the late afternoon sun-this exit also ripped the seat of my pants, rendering a gleefully scandalizing perma-moon. Besides the endless jokes and a few pats from the Aussies, the perma-moon was unremarkable on the metro, where we wisely stood next to a man who was sporting leopard print hot pants-the idea being that his spandex nod to caveman couture would out-horrify any observers.

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