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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