Friday, October 16, 2009

A future head

Lately I've been asked... what's in store for the future? What might we do to remedy the situation? And what are the alternatives and options? Of course, I'm referring to my fluent language (Lakota). To be honest, I don't know what's going to happen in the near future really. But still, we must continue our efforts to re-teach the language in schools and colleges as they're doing right now. Continually keep the young Lakota people inspired to learn it, speak it, and maybe one day understand it. I know that a friend of mine is trying his very best right now learning ways to structure sentences in Lakota. My friend even greets me with occasional "hello's," and "how are you doing?" in the Lakota language. To me, that is incredibly comforting hearing the language from a young individual like himself. Not that I'm implying old people are getting "old" to hear, but it is simply refreshing, so to speak. Of course, I reply back with a word and test him to see what he has learned. It's funny, sometimes when he doesn't know, he goes on replying, "Taku? Washicuya yo!" -> (What? English please!)

Still, thinking about it abroad makes me wonder aimlessly i.e. no real grounded idea really comes to my mind. All I've ever been thinking about are immersion camps, a separate school built on by a rewarded grant, but where can I get the help? This Lakota elder and I keep debating whether to build an immersion school, or an immersion camp. But first we've spoken on getting current fluent speakers together to start this process. The idea is still ongoing.

Now, in case you may have been wondering, how did the language situation come about in the first place?

To me, it was the impoverished conditions on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservation. My fellow Lakota people tend to neglect tradition and rely mostly on jobs keeping the household intact. Their were some Catholic religion influence in their as well, with missionaries presenting the religion to the Lakota people, somewhat a safe haven for the depressed communities. I guess the word of God was more comforting than Wakan takan's spiritual guidance. I've grown up in a catholic family, going to Sunday services, so it was sort of unfortunate for my family to have learned a whole new way of life and having to learn the Lakota ways again after realizing the imported religion wasn't for them. But no harm, no foul.

As for the alcohol problem - this problem is actually universal amongst tribes in the country unfortunately. It's just a lot worser here in the Pine Ridge reservation. Do I need to really mention it? Ugh, yes ...White Clay, Nebraska...

Through this, domestic violence occurs, suicides, and with people drowning themselves in alcohol to forget the impoverished lifestyle they live in because of how easy it is to get alcohol. Harsh, yes. In fact, VERY harsh to even be speaking about it, but the word must go out there. Like to know more? Visit the Facebook group to learn more about the White Clay initiative.

Also, sports. This may have been another cause for young individuals to overlook traditional ways and instead look upon the sport of Basketball to learn their true character. Basketball is raved about in our reservations, with aspirations to win state title. My friend, and also the founder of Indian Country Today (Tim Giago), also realized what the problem may be. Basketball. He wrote an article about it -> here. In it, he also speaks about "traditional districts" as well, meaning communities that are isolated from mainstream influence (it's all in the article). As for basketball, we hold a huge event for the sport every winter called the Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI). It grew into a more broad event later on - with other sports included, and even educational events, but still the main event is Basketball.

I hate to open my big mouth, but what the hell?

After all the shenanigans happen about whenever the huge pride deteriorates, those athletic individuals usually end up having no jobs after high school, nor do they end up going college. Why? Because that's all they've done, play basketball. It's REALLY harsh to say these things yes, but they're true nonetheless based on first hand experience. The question is when are they ever going to learn? Reason I'm emphasizing this problem is I've seen my friends end up in the gutter... and they were better leaders than me truthfully. Almost every week I try and inspire them to educate themselves, and I try and have them learn the importance of keeping tradition. Fortunately enough, many of the athletes I knew are doing their part, participating in ceremonies and singing at pow wow's. Now if only we get rid of White Clay, I say the future would look A LOT brighter than it is today for the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge reservation. Their are young native individuals who do go college of course, and I don't mean to neglect any of them.

Yes, as for me, I feel very fortunate (and lucky) to have been taught the language and be able to speak and understand it. Not very many young individuals have the native tongue, and some days I find that rather sad. But as always, I use my sadness as a way of inspiring my ideas to re-teach it; to either children, teenagers, even adults. I wouldn't mind teaching children first though. To me, they're still learning the English language as it is, why not teach them another language while they're at it? :)

Overall, this situation is a huge challenge, but I don't care. I want to see my Lakota people speak it like they use to during the traditional days. Sure, I get the argument that "its written down." Yeah? What're you implying? That non-fluent speakers are able to re-teach it? Their are some ancient words only fluent speakers know. Without them, the language is going to sound off key.

So to conclude this rather harsh and ranted blog (LOL), every delicate situation like this is never pretty. You just simply have to pull your trousers up, look fate in the eye, and remain diligent and strong.

Oh... and thanks for reading. ^_^

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Random Listeners

Sometimes I don't get what people really mean when they say they listen to whatever that's on their library. Or, whatever mood they're in determines what they listen to. To me, it's almost as if these "random-shuffle" listeners aren't really in control of their music tastes, counting on what's in store. Like a surprise!

That's cool and junk, but I don't dig randomness in my headphones. I HAVE to know what I'm going to play. As my friend said one day while on our drive to Wal-Mart, "if you want shuffle, you're going to get a random ass playlist... punk here, electronic there, some hip hop... you gotta have some control duder." So we ended up choosing Electronic and Dance.

But that's for us broad music listeners, having over 10 different genre's in our iPod. You strictly Rock and Metal? Shuffle might just work for you, but as said before, I don't go with the random approach to my music. I get so cranky if the genre and sound changes so suddenly, and believe me, I tried getting use to shuffle. Going from Funk to World music? WTF (even if it is my own music, quick transitions really does change the mood)

Current favorites? Zuco 103! (2 of my favorite songs)

LOVE'n this live performance. ^_^

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fable 2

Since I've been talking about this game quite a bit recently, and occasionally bombarded with choice and love in accordance with this game (lol), maybe I could blog about my thoughts on here and give it a quick review. It's a very long game actually, so I'm going to try my best to keep this review short.

Firstly, the gameplay is so intriguing. The minute you play from the start, you're compelled to play on even though you start off with this random child along with his/her sister. The first Fable had a fully grown character if you will, knowing what he/she came from, what family they were in. Part 2 was more in a sense of a continuation.

The intro is still to this day... kind of odd. A bird flying amongst the towns and cities of Albion, all to show it shitting on you? Whatever the intention was, it made me a little more curious of the story.

I won't phrase the story piece by piece, since as said before, it is a long game (and I won't spoil for anybody). I'll just note what the features I enjoyed while playing. They done away with teleportation! The first Fable made it much easier to travel about Albion, but removing it in part 2? I guess it deals with the storyline how the Heroes Guild was destroyed by the citizens of Albion, but dammit I missed teleportation. I also assumed it meant more exploration was encouraged since the environments were 2x larger in Fable 2.

As for the prostitution, marrying, committing crimes, doing odd jobs, it was the same in Fable 2, but a little more detailed thanks to the Xbox 360 engine. I rarely did anything to be noted of to make use of the new features, although I do occasionally travel to this city and start a party with patrons. Being drunk is so funny in that game, and once you finish you could buy Hobbe clothes and dress up as one.
Being evil and good hero are also the same, getting a halo over you when your 100% Pure, and horns for 100% Corruption. I really tried getting the horns, but all I get is pale skin. Bleh.

Maybe it takes time, and it looks crazy awesome!

Also, for the music, where did the creepy classical music go? And the creepy beetle and Hobbe noises? One of many reasons why I wanted Fable 2, the intensity of battle and haunting experience that it suppose to give you. Still I worked with what Peter Molyneux gave us RPG fans in one of his creative installments.

BUT, with all criticism aside, having a dog as your companion? I'm a dog lover to be honest, and having a virtual pet along side you while you fight in your quests? That was something unique. No other video game incorporated an interactive travel companion with you in your endeavors. And when some bandit hurts my dog, he's a dead man. (lol) Also, the dog's coat color and friskyness reminded me of my dog (passed away - RIP buddy) Another reason why I loved to play the game.

So in conclusion (and before I tear up a little), I enjoyed what Mr. Molyneux gave to the world, and cannot wait for his game on the upcoming Project Natal console. MILO! (now that's interactiveness worth loving!!!) ;)

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Only One in the Midwest

Sometimes I have this very outlandish thought during the late hours. Just a simple thought with a bit of paranoia, something like - am I the only person (native particularly) to have gained this much music diversity? To ever have listened to unique styles only a crate digger, a rare vinyl monger would only know? It's as if I discovered a bit too much for the sake of midwesterner's out here.

Reason I come to this paranoia is... it feels as though I'm in my own little world, wondering about on the web reading what other fans 1000 miles away from me are thinking of the same artist I listen to. As if I need to move to the far east coast, or west, where I originally found and grounded my tastes... and finally talk good music.

Simple - just talk about good music.

Instead, I come to meet people ranting how worse the music industry has become, or people with totally opposite tastes i.e. pop music, rock, punk, etc. I am fully aware of the unfortunate circumstances - how bad it has gotten. Seems as though we lost hope for the future of music and have a loss for words about it, but I sometimes digress and remain patient. The popular music industry is simply about making money, not art. Common folk are starting to realize that, which is great. Hopefully more and more people come to this realization and start supporting independent musicians.

Sure, I could give someone my whole library and make him/her a conversation partner. Sure, I could also maybe grow into the midwest craze for alternative rock, the punk and relate to others, but still... it feels as if good music listeners are rare nowadays. I'm probably being a bit narrow in my reflection, searching only for these "good music listeners," but it would be a heck of a convenience to have met someone with similar tastes. Just like how old timers talk Jazz with other groovy players in the past... haha, old timers. Maybe I need to look towards them in the near future?

This one great experience I had talking about music was during my time in DC. I visited a record shop in a busy community, digging through old records, remembering how each of them went and sounded, pondering how this record would sound, I decided to purchase an old reggae record. To my surprise, the store clerk knew the record and was really pleased about my choice, talking about who sampled it, who covered it, how the lo-fi sound was a bit better. We've spoken around 30 min over it, and other music as well. Another surprising thing he brought about in little our conversation was that Eric Hilton, one of the members for Thievery Corporation, loved to listen to the record I was buying. It was one of his top favorites, since Hilton LOVES reggae. I said give me the record already if that's the case!

I miss moments like those. You feel like a kid in a candy store, just enthralled and excited about the things you want, in this case about music.

To me, if you were ever wondering what my tastes were (lol), I listen to a lot of spiritual music, along with mysterious, romantic, space-opera galactic, something with rare sounds, and I mean RARE sounds.

Such example of rare would be a song by Radio Citizen.

First time I heard this, I couldn't believe how soulful and funky it was. Seriously, I was like - "HOT DAMN!" And I don't do my "hot damn" moments that often... unfortunately.

Other example's of rare and spiritual would be these two ESL production's -> Thievery Corporation, and Natalia Clavier. Two very beautiful songs. It's songs like these that stimulates my spiritual sense, hopefully it does for you.

Fat Jon - what an incredible muse and creativity this guy has. I worship his instrumental beats. It's like this guy is from another galaxy, reigning his spacey creativeness in this dull world we live in (or at least dull country). His beats makes me believe how beautiful the universe really is, and even more so when he released an album entitled, "Hundred Eight Stars." It's like paying homage to the lone stars out there, and interpreting them into something incredibly unique.

One example off the album would be Atria. If you'd like info on the star and constellation -- > ATRIA

Great feelings indeed.

So, to conclude this entry properly, I realize I could simply keep my music to myself and impress other people through radio shows with my music knowledge (or annoy, whichever), yet it gets to me sometimes how people aren't inspired to dig; crate dig, CD dig, or nowadays, mp3 dig. Or even worse, I've known people to overlook the song they've so "loved" a month ago and label it "old school." It's as if they know what good music is.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Hopefully I made some enlightening remarks. Until next time...