January 2009

Adventures in Weirdtown ‘09!

It is only the second week of classes in the second semester of my freshman year here at LC, and already so much has happened. I spent break back home in California where it is lovely and warm, quite a contrast to the snow I had left behind in Portland in December. I was able to spend lots of time with family and friends, go camping, go to the beach, and leisure-read, a luxury I had nearly forgotten in the shell-shock that is post-finals.dsc00046.JPGn567882041_1216467_5018.jpg But, man, is it good to be back in Portland. After six months of developing a family of my own here at LC, a month is a long time to be away from all of my darling friends! Anyway, here are the happenings so far of spring semester 09:


1)    Still no rain! Upon returning, Portland was cold and sunshiny… until it decided to snow again at the beginning of this week. ckbu_25.jpg

2)    My roommate and I both got into PDX the day before the dorms opened, so we spent our first night in a hostel downtown on Hawthorne Boulevard. It was adorably eco-friendly, img_0486.JPGimg_0487.JPG and the staff and other hostelers were all very friendly and colorful. I highly recommend staying there to all you prospies if you would really like to get a taste of Portland culture.

That night I also met up with my friend Jono to see a band called Truckasaurus play at Backspace. Backspace is definitely a favorite location of mine in PDX. It has multiple functions as a café, venue, art gallery, pinball hotspot, and all-around interesting space to hang out amongst oodles of creative energy. Truckasauras hails from Seattle, WA and the show we went to was the first night of their west coast tour. They are a trio of electronic musicians, featuring a tricked out Gameboy to supply the beats. http://www.myspace.com/teapartiesgunsnvalor Opening for them was a Portland band called Atole, also worth checking out, who put on a really danceable, high-energy show. http://www.myspace.com/atole

3)    Amidst all the fun of reuniting with friends and starting classes, LC hosted the 5th annual concert in Watzek Library, “Watzek Rocks!” First of all, it is awesome to be really loud in a library. Also, the concert featured some fantastic local acts. The standout for me was YM, a rap group whose members included some LC students/alumni who could spit mad rhymes and, at one point, opened the flow up to the members of the audience.158.jpg

4)    Classes are awesome this semester. My reading/writing load is really heavy, but it’s all very interesting, especially my E&D. My prof is Stephen Beckham, who also teaches History of the Pacific Northwest at LC. The theme of my class is “In Search of Wild Places: American Perceptions of Wilderness”, and we are reading a lot of amazing literature about the brave souls who ventured out into the wild and discovered all kinds of things that have made the world what it is, and how the human appetite for adventure and mystery has affected the land, plants, animals, and peoples who came before.

5)    Over the weekend, I went and saw The Walkmen play with Beach House at the Wonder Ballroom. It was a super show! The Walkmen play sixties-esque rock’n’roll and the singer delivered a very charismatic performance. www.myspace.com/thewalkmen. I really loved Beach House, though. The best way I can think to describe their music is “sparkly”… Don’t take my word for it. Check them out, and feel the sweet melodic goodness for yourself! beachhouse.jpghttp://www.myspace.com/beachhousemusic

6)    Getting back together with hundreds of kids from all parts of the nation means… I got sick already! On the bright side, not only am I better (thanks to my superhero lymph nodes) but that is one more virus to knock off on my immunity list.


It’s simply marvelous to be back on Palatine Hill. I hope you’ll be joining me on my spring adventure! Also, visiting prospies: do not hesitate to shoot me some electronic mail if you need someone to give you a tour of the public transportation of PDX, advice on what to wear according to the weather for your visit, or if you also love the new Animal Collective album. Peace! kkucera@lclark.edu


29 January 2009

Switching my sandals to boots!!!

Trying to get back into the swing of things

It’s much harder to actually do it than just say it of course. Thankfully I’m enjoying my classes so far, which is a huge plus coming from such a difficult semester in the fall. I’m beginning to take those classes mandatory to complete my major and I can’t help but feel excited. I know I still have quite a long way to go, but I always get excited thinking about my future; and they’re so many thing I’d like to pursue after College it’s almost impossible to not feel the least bit antsy about it all.

I’m still trying to get used to being in Oregon once again….:( Simply because of the weather…. I do miss the sun a whole lot as I do my family and friends back home but I really have become too enthralled with my classes to even really notice. I’ve also been working on my application to go overseas in the spring of 09” to LONDON!!!! It took some convincing my mother since in her view I am already technically studying overseas and London is one of the most expensive cities to live in… but it also is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if I do get into the program (keep your fingers crossed) I will make it worth my parent’s worth. So a lot of my time has been spent trying to get back into the swing of things and prepare for my next move.

I realized the other day that most of my classes with the exception of French are all 300 hundred level classes, so much more focus is needed than I would previously give to my courses. There are a lot of events to look forward to this semester, my roommate is starring in the main stage play “The Blue Room” and I’m really excited to see her in action. The international fair is this semester as well as many other exciting events. So lots to do but not enough time to do it… I’ll catch up with you all next week…

Peace & Love


29 January 2009

getting back in the routine

So, I’m back at school.  We started classes last Tuesday (though I think most of us skipped our morning classes to watch the inauguration on the huge screen in Council Chambers).  This semester I’m taking quite a few computer-y courses, plus two others: Artificial Intelligence (CS 369), Algorithms (CS 383), Statistics (Math 255), Seminar: Biblical Studies–Jesus (RELS 450) and Bowling (PE 101-10).  So far they’ve all been really fun and interesting (though the Religious Studies one is going to be a lot of work, I can already tell).

I made a short video about the apartment where I’ll be living this semester:

I really like that I’m able to, as a Computer Science major, take high-level courses in other fields (like Religious Studies), without having to worry that it might affect my graduation date and such.  There are certainly advantages to studies more directed in one area, but, in my opinion, it’s nice to be able to dabble liberal arts style.Board games!

It’s been snowing a lot (for here) this winter.  Not only was our finals schedule all messed up because of snow closures, but we’ve had a fair amount of snow since returning from break. Tuesday, I was supposed to have my first Bowling class, but once I got to the bowling alley, we found out that the coach had called and canceled for the day (yeah, it would have been nice to know *before* I risked life and limb to get there, but it was okay–we bowled a few games since we were there anyway).Snow as seen from Manzanita

I’m sure I’ll have more to note when things pick up in the coming weeks.  Right now I’m just sort of settling and getting used to the changes that come with a new semester.

now playing in my ears: “Thank You For The Music” by ABBA

29 January 2009

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

Despite Mother Nature’s pathetic attempt yesterday to trap us all in for another snow day, things are up and running full steam ahead here on campus. We’re working through the second week of classes and already my professors have lovingly given me massive amounts of work. After much debate, I have made the executive decision to take only three academic classes this semester. For my major I’m taking Recent Continental Philosophy as well as a 400-level course on Skepticism. On top of this I snagged a spot in the popular “Rock and Roll Novel” class. When looking at my course load, the phrase “lots of reading” comes to mind, and already I can see that is an understatement. So far things have been really interesting, and I really enjoy all of my professors, including two I’ve never had before. Here is an unintentional brown nosing moment, but I highly recommend all of the philosophy professors to anybody who is interested in the subject. Unlike possible stereotypes, none of these people are boring and stuffy, but instead actively engage students with the materials. I’ve come to the conclusion that my practice of sometimes falling half asleep in class is not because of the class itself, but in fact a direct result of very little sleep and an exceptionally difficult crew workout in the morning.

Speaking of crew, today was our third official practice of the spring. Inclement weather prevented us from being on the water yesterday morning (forming into a giant icicle? no thanks!), so we’ve been tearing it up in the weight room and on the bikes and ergs. For those not well versed in rowing terminology, “erg” is the nickname for the ergometer. This “machine of death” as some affectionately have termed it, is the indoor rowing machine which is set for time/distance/etc which then gives you a number based upon a standardized system telling you how fast you would be going if in a boat. There are many more complexities to this system, and I could go into more depth, but it would take a while. Tomorrow is our first water practice, and I’m really looking forward to it! There is honestly nothing compared to being on the river in the morning, with the sun rising over the city, and feeling the calm intensity of an amazing workout.

Along with my three classes and crew, I’ve also joined the Women’s Ensemble. We had our first sectional practice last night, and it was alot of fun! I’m still really rusty on my sight reading, but I’ll get the hang of it eventually; it’s going to be a nice change of pace from my usual schedule of classes and sports.

That’s it for this post! I’m off to read and most likely snuggle in for a nap. As always, if there is anybody who wants to discuss “the L&C experience”, I’m available via email: asbridge@lclark.edu

Until later,

28 January 2009

this machine runs purely on ideas

I’m barely back to life on campus, and already things are crazybusy. Maybe it’s because I’m taking five classes, or maybe it’s because the weather did a backflip yesterday and slapped snow on us after two weeks of clear winter skies, or maybe it’s because I’ve reinserted myself into my usual pattern of committing to way too many extracurricular activities. Whatever the culprit, it means we’re barely a week into school and already sleep has been relegated to my back burner. Also, it’s pretty weird to be sitting in actual classrooms (even if I usually reject the desks in favour of the floor), since last semester in East Africa we held class in all manner of bizarre places – treehouses, mountaintops, coral reefs, fifteen feet from a herd of zebras – you know,  your standard study abroad lecture halls.

It seems like everyone has twice as much homework as usual this semester. I’m taking Gender in a Cross-Cultural Perspective because I am truly a gender theory geek; Intro to Judaism because Islamic Mysticism/Sufism was at the same time as Gender; Qualitative Research Methods because I need it for my major; and Utopias/Distopias in Lit because I miss reading actual novels.

The fifth class I’m taking is a two-credit independent study course entitled “Critical Thinking: Racism and Privilege in American Society.” It’s the thesis project brainchild of a senior Anthropology student who decided that students would get more out of a Socratic Seminar-style class than they would out of a regular ol’ thesis essay. In the first informative blurb, Alex said she needed at least five students to register for the class for it to be a go – within a day she had received emails from about 35 interested students. And it’s scheduled right over the lunch hour. I think that says quite a bit about Lewis & Clark students. Yesterday (the third time the class has met) we banged out a tentative syllabus – this machine runs purely on ideas, and there is seldom a professor in the room to operate it, so it’s up to us to choose what we’re gonna learn. Cheers for dismantling pedagogy.

On Saturday night, some friends and I convened in the United Sexualities office, which has a comfy couch and a dvd system that is both functional and usually available. We watched three excellent chick flicks in a row. I detest most chick flicks, so watching three in a row and proclaiming them “excellent” actually means something. Also, I ate my weight in rainbow-coloured goldfish crackers. Oh, and we played Scrabble. My weekends are filled with debauchery and excitement.

Aside from homework and movie marathons, I’m keeping myself zipping around with clubs. I’m one of the leaders of United Sexualities (hereafter “Unisex”), and we are working on assembling our big annual April AIDS Summit. At the meeting for Apocalips Slam Poetry Club on Monday, I found out that the Spilljoy Ensemble (including one of my favourite performance poets, Shira Erlichman) is coming to campus in a month, right before we send our own team of performance poets to Nationals. If I can get it together, I’m hoping to compete at the Qualifiers. I’ve gotta pump out one more polished poem in just over a week, though!

Last night, between reading about the historical Judaic sectarianism and reading about the asymmetrical construction of gender across all cultures, I took a study break to pop over to Copeland hall. Momo and the Coop, one of L&C’s fabulous a cappella groups, performed four songs. My favourite one was an arrangement of Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” – when I was in Germany over winter break I met the girl who arranged it. Man, I wish I could sing. On key, I mean. Next time I go to an a cappella performance, I’ll have a camera. I will record it. I will post it. You will marvel. (Photos coming as soon as I pick up my camera, too.)

That’s all I’ve got time for. If you like what you’ve read, or if you’ve got any questions, exclamations, or semicolons, give me a shout at maisha@lclark.edu. I would be thrilled to pieces to hear from you. Pieces, I tell you.

28 January 2009