December 2008

winding down, eventually

Well, finals are around the corner and most people are a bit stressed. That being said, the next few days are designated “reading days,” which basically means they’re free days meant for studying, meeting with professors, finishing up class projects or papers, etc.  Some people treat them as free party-before-finals days, though, so I’m sure Thursday and Friday will be interesting.  It’s always an interesting situation, seeing some people having a great time all day and night, and then others with no choice but to study for 2 days straight.  Anyway, I hope everyone gets done whatever they need in order to have a successful semester.

I’m really looking forward to going home.  I definitely want a break from LC for awhile (I like Portland, but I miss my cats, family, and home friends).  I’m just ready to be done until January.  I’ve decided to stop being a CLA (RA) for the Spring, and I’ll be living in the apartments with my Computer Science/World of Warcraft buddy Seth.  I haven’t lived with a roommate since early November of 2006, so I’ll have to get used to some changes.  I’m  expecting it to be awesome, though.

There is a crazy amount of last-minute-of-the-semester events going on.  Tonight is when 24-hour quiet hours start in the dorms (and technically the whole campus), so there can’t really be any loud events after today.  Since that’s the case, there are Directing class final scenes, an a capella show, an improv show, a student concert, a metal show, and (I think) one or two other events all happening tonight at roughly the same time.  It is going to be hectic!

See you all in January!Dreadlock flyer

now playing in my ears: “Pennyroyal Tea” by Nirvana

10 December 2008

it’s finally cold enough that I’m comfortable.

I haven’t got a video ready for this week, mainly because “this week”  has only been 3 days so far.

Yesterday, there was a CLA-facilitated presentation of the Disney film Wall-E.  After the screening, LC Computer Science Professor Peter Drake spoke about Artificial Intelligence (which is his specific field of Computer Science study).  There was a pretty long discussion about what is possible with computers (and what is not), what we might be able to expect in the future (and how similar or different the technology might be from that represented in Wall-E). It took the better part of an hour and it was a really interesting talk, especially because there were so many interested people there, and most of them do not study computer science at all.

We also talked quite a bit about the Chinese game Go.  Due to the large number of possible moves each turn, Go is much harder to “solve” with a computer than a game like Checkers or even Chess, making it somewhat of a “holy grail” for some AI programmers. Professor Drake has been fascinated by the AI challenges of Go and has made it the subject of his personal research to attempt the development of a program that might eventually be capable of beating the current frontrunning Go algorithms (or even more ideally, the best humans).  This Summer he spent time with a few LC Computer Science students, as well as some computer scientists and Go experts from elsewhere in the US, collaborating in making his program more effective.  Drake’s project has been dubbed “Orego,” and is freely distributed on his website under the GNU General Public License.

Today I went to a student concert at the Co-Op in Forest.  Chill peeps Jonah Geil-Neufeld (’11) and Ariana Lenarsky (’09) played sets consisting of their own music and a few covers.  They’re both very talented musicians and I had a great time. Check out their respective websites for some awesome tunes (my personal favorites: “Carrot Song” by Jonah and “Sun and the Moon” by Ariana).

Class-wise, I’ve been messing around with the Google Web Toolkit (which we’re learning about in my Networks class)  I won’t bore you with the details, but it basically makes it way easier to design quality web applications and I like it.

Finals are coming way too quickly….

Now playing in my ears: “Speakers Push The Air” by Pretty Girls Make Graves

3 December 2008

Who else loves Fiona Apple’s version of “Across the Universe?”

“If you want to sing out, sing out! And if you want to be free, be free. Cause there’s a million things to be, you know that there are…” Cat Stevens always has a way of helping me stay optimistic about humanity in times when the stress of the world seems to emphasize the dimmest parts of the human condition. In other words, the finals-week-machine is approaching with metal jaws chomping!

 

It’s been a bit of a struggle getting my mind in the right place for the madness that is finals after having such a blissful Thanksgiving break. I braved the holiday sky traffic and ventured to Nashville, TN to visit my boyfriend, Casy. I hadn’t seen him since leaving home in August, so it was really great to spend some time with him and to see the south, a part of this country I was completely unfamiliar with. Because my flight departed at 6 a.m. on Thursday, I was not able to make use of the handy LC shuttles that go directly from campus to the airport the day before Thanksgiving. Unwilling to shell out for a cab, I decided to go the bohemian way and took the last bus downtown, and then took the MAX light rail to the airport. I arrived at about midnight, and sat in the arrival waiting area until check-in time at 4:30 a.m. Sleep was pretty impossible, so I stocked up on Newsweek, Spin, and coffee. Despite accidentally overhearing an extremely personal cell phone conversation in the dead stillness of PDX airport at 2:30 in the morning, stuffing all my necessities into one heavy backpack so as to avoid bag check fees, and the subsequent delirium from lack of sleep, I arrived safe and sound in Nashville on Thursday. And I felt almost proud of my self-sufficiency, though it did mean sore feet and greasy hair- we’re young, this is the time to rough it! casy and me casy and me again

 

Casy showed me the ins and outs of Nashville and the TN countryside. It’s amazing how different cities are from one to the next. Living in PDX is unlike living in any other metropolis, I’m realizing; it’s so clean and livable. We ate Thanksgiving dinner with some friends, and spent the rest of the weekend baking (I took full advantage of having a real kitchen and made vegan banana bread and Christmas cookies), banana bread! cookiesmore cookies cookie dough is fun to play withwatching “Seinfeld” episodes and Harold and Maude, double-dating, playing music on the porch, and dancing to Beach Boys records with friends at a cookie-decorating party we hosted. dancinIt was such a great time! It was definitely what I needed to tide me over until winter break when I finally get to see my beloved California, my darling friends and family whom I miss so much!

 

fly golden eagleSince being back in Portland, I have not been able to see any shows. However while in Nashville, Casy introduced me to his friend, Ben who has a great one-man project called Fly Golden Eagle. He loops beats and writes and plays all the rest of the instruments and vocals himself. It’s really fun dancerock music whose songs cover subject matter from the development of technology since the 1970’s to wearing dapper suits. He performs in costume- this means a head-to-toe golden unitard, golden specs, and even a gold beak and wings. Give it a listen! He is quite the charming and talented young Nashvillain, and has been my jam for the past week. www.myspace.com/flygoldeneagle

 

Tonight I am going to go to French Film Club to watch “A Very Long Engagement.” Oh yeah, I also finally found a work-study job! You are reading the words of the newest Lewis & Clark Ceramics Studio assistant! It’s hard work, and so fun. It’s basically a lot of cleaning the studio, organizing the tools, getting everything ready for the artists to use, and mixing batches of clay for which I get to wear a gas mask. Cool? Chyeah!

 

Really, y’all, I mean it. Send me emails! I would love to hear your views on the ethicality of dumpster diving, Audrey Tautou’s adorable dimples, or the spiritual medicine being with those you love provides for the soul.  kkucera@lclark.edu

3 December 2008

Final Stretch

One of the greatest things about Thanksgiving this year is that it came at the perfect time. As of today I only have two more weeks on campus until I leave to go back home! Unfortunately it’s also the last two weeks I have with my roomie because she is heading off on the L&C London trip this spring. There is also much to do between now and then. We’re starting to wrap things up in most of my classes; final reading assignments given, term papers starting to be due, etc. Tonight there is a student-athlete mentor/mentee “study break”. We are going to all gather together and give study pointers to our overwhelmed little freshmen mentees, as well as enjoy some fabulous root beer floats! Lewis & Clark does an especially excellent job of providing resources for students who need help academically. There are various centers and groups to help tutor or give advice, along with all of the profs (at least all of mine) available to help with one-on-one issues. I feel like this idea gets promoted quite a bit, but it really is true that you’re not just a number in a system when you go to a small liberal arts school. You can choose to not reach out if you don’t feel you need it, but having all these resources available is immensely helpful either way.

Since I don’t like to dwell on my impending and very nearly mountainous schoolwork, I will recap my lovely Thanksgiving break. On Wednesday after class my roommate, two friends and I left school for our trip home to Seattle. An hour and twenty minutes later, we crossed the border into Washington. Rush hour is not so great, but we had some good mixes of music to listen to in order to kill time. Pictures from the drive: DrivingI-5 North; Portland168 miles; My little sister was spending the holiday in NYC, so my friend (adopted for the weekend) and I had the lovely task of driving her to the airport Thursday morning at 4:30am. Needless to say, there was much napping once we go back to my house. Mostly all of the extended family was packed into our house for the holiday (including an adorable new baby!!) and it was such a fun day! I am a fan of almost all foods Thanksgiving, so I especially enjoyed the whole eating part. It was sad to leave everyone and come back to school, but with such little time between now and the end of the semester I think it will be easy enough to handle.

Until later,
Jess

3 December 2008

Thanksgiving…. Finals… Winter Break… Jamaica

As a sophomore I don’t think I appreciate the whole going home for break process like I did when I was a freshmen. I am excited of course… I literally cannot wait to be back in my WARM bed and spend time with all those oh so special people. But at the same time, I guess when I came back in the fall I wasn’t as eager to go back home. I think it has a lot to do with the friendships I’ve developed here as well, it is hard to leave my friends here too, since in fact they’ve become my family away from home. At least I won’t be seeing them for only a month whereas I separated from my family for 8 months out of the entire year. I don’t know why I always start off my posts with little notes like these =).. I guess it’s always what comes to mind first. However I do have details about my very quiet Thanksgiving break to tell…5.jpg

This year I opted not to my friend Kaitlin’s to experience all of the festivities, instead my Jamaican counterparts =) were having a Jamaican Thanksgiving dinnner. Ok first just to let you know, Jamaicans do not celebrate Thanksgiving it is indeed an American Holiday well I think Canada does as well but a bit earlier on in the year. Anywho… My friends decided to cook for the day and instead of having the traditional turkey, potatoes, pumpkin pie, cidar, stuffing and cranberry dinner (which is really really good), we decided to have a little taste of home. They cooked up a storm, which included fried chicken, fritters, rice and peas (that I made), jerked chicken, potato salad, fried dumplings, plantains, curried shrimp and of course a salad on the side and believe me when I say it was absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS!!!!! It definitely reminded me a lot of the food I was missing from home… but soon enough.. soon enough… While cooking we listened to a lot of dancehall and reggae songs that I haven’t heard in so long. Songs that I forgot existed, thanks to Rhea’s IPOD. All in all it was a nice small little gathering and although it made me partially homesick it made me happy at the same time.1.jpg

The rest of my break was spent watching abc shows (I’m addicted) and spending a lot of time in my friends Mari and Rainer’s apartment. I have become a real low key person, this year, not that that’s a bad thing, I mean I’m still the loud Talitha, but I’m more laid back I think (maybe others would disagree)…Unfortunately I was unable to go Black Friday shopping, which really had me down… But I will get my revenge right before I leave for break.2.jpg

As for finals… I’m not thinking about them… Ok I am every single second of the day and I am sooooo good at procrastinating. Honestly, if I had one wish as it relates to my school work, I wish I was unable to procrastinate.4.jpg I really am too good at it, so with that thought I shall prepare for one of my last classes in COMM 260.. Thank God for that!!! 3.jpg

P.S I put only food pics up purposely.. Hope you like =)

Peace & Love boys and girls =)

Tali= tfm@lclark.edu

2 December 2008