Survival Kit: November 2023

Mr. Olsen on songwriting, running shoes, and frozen veggie potstickers

Survival Kit: November 2023
Illustration by Kaiden Chandler. Image via Mr. Olsen.

By Scarlett Colbath

Staff Writer. Class of 2026

Mr. Olsen, a math teacher at MSMHS, spoke with Current reporter Scarlett Colbath on the seven things he can't live without. Here are edited excerpts from their conversation.

1.) Music and Journaling

Mr. Olsen: Ok, my first thing is my songwriting journal. I write songs in it, but it’s also a doodling journal and a gratitude journal, and (once in a while) a therapy journal; it’s just my all-in-one journal diary.

Scarlett: That’s really cool! What kind of music do you like to write?

Mr. Olsen: I like to write folk music; I do a little producing, but I’m not that good. I wish I could play piano better, but I can’t really.

2). Frozen Veggie Potstickers

Mr. Olsen: Number two is frozen veggie potstickers, because that’s what I eat a lot, frozen veggie potstickers.

Scarlett: Those are so good! Do you just like the vegetable ones?

Mr. Olsen: Yeah, because I eat fish, but usually not other meat. I’m a flexitarian. If someone's serving chicken at a cookout, I’ll eat it, but I don’t go out of my way to buy chicken and beef and stuff.

3). Running Shoes

Mr. Olsen: Number three is running shoes.

Scarlett: Nice, do you like to run?

Mr. Olsen: Yeah, so I ran competitively in high school for Lyman Memorial in Lebanon. And then I ran in college too, at Colby College. I did cross country and track and field for all four years of both high school and college. And I ran my first marathon this past spring.

Scarlett: Congratulations, that’s awesome! Alright, moving on to number four.

4). The Stranger

Mr. Olsen: Ok, my books. Currently, I’m re-reading The Stranger by Albert Camus, which is a book about being sad. That’s basically what it is.

Scarlett: Do you have a favorite genre?

Mr. Olsen: My favorite genre is non-fiction actually. I like researching about the world and the things around us. The book review I did for The Current is about a non-fiction book.

Around the school: The Photography Club is holding a photo contest. Submit your photo to be featured on a special bulletin board around the school!

5). A Silk Pillowcase

Scarlett: Okay, what’s number five?

Mr. Olsen: Number five is my silk pillowcase. Because, guess what? Acne doesn’t go away after school and even after college, so a silk pillowcase helps my face.

6). Cereal

Mr. Olsen: Cereal, because I hate mornings, so I don’t have energy to cook.

Scarlett: Do you have a favorite kind of cereal?

Mr. Olsen: Yes. Shredded wheat squares, I think they’re called. Every morning, I just sit in silence in the dark with a big bowl of cereal and eat my breakfast.

7). Princess Mononoke

Mr. Olsen: The last one is a movie. It’s called Princess Mononoke.

Scarlett: Oh, I love that movie!

Mr. Olsen: It’s my favorite movie of all time. So you know what it’s about, but it’s like a Japanese animated film made in the 90s. It has themes of environmentalism, ability and disability, and ethical ambiguity; it’s awesome. I’ve watched it so many times.

Thanks for reading Survival Kit, a publication of The Current. Join us next Thursday for news, opinion, science and more in The Current: Monthly Edition!

-Scarlett Colbath, Writer of Survival Kit

The Current