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the problem of unlively Fridays

I have been weaning myself off of poetry and relearning how to do homework. Midterms are hiding just round the next bend, so it’s about time to reacquaint myself with the library and my professors’ offices. Accordingly, this entry is academics-heavy.

ceiling art in the Co-OpBut as a last thorough dose of poetry, I went to the Daniel Beaty one-man show in the Chapel last week. BSU (Black Student Union) hosted Daniel Beaty as part of Black History Month. It was a genius performance. I also went to the Co-Op for Third Thursday and negotiated crowded seating with other students to hear Jonah perform his musical excellence. Boys who can play instruments and sing make me all sorts of happy.

In Utopias and Distopias on Thursday our professor kicked off the class with this verbatim gem: “So, I was thinking we could bump the reading schedule back by a day. I would like you all to watch a distopic film and come to class on Thursday prepared to discuss it. It’s a fairly recent film, some of you may have heard of it – it’s actually a kids’ movie, produced by Pixar… it’s called Wall-E…?” So yes. I get to watch Wall-E for class.

making onigiricutesy Japanese stuffFollowing our discussion on Japanese mothers and obento in class on Friday, our Gender professor cooked rice and we made onigiri with ume boshi – it was an unexpected and delicious lunch. For a Gender Studies professor, Linda is hilariously domestic. She brought in lots of cutesy Japanese things too.

roadtripping to Mt VernonAsk Not film screeningrainbow cakeThis weekend I roadtripped to Mt. Vernon, Washington, (an hour north of Seattle). As representatives from Lewis & Clark College’s United Sexualities club, five of us (Ian, Claire, Kenna, Allison and I) tabled at Mt. Vernon High School’s Over the Rainbow Festival. Ian had started the Gay-Straight Alliance as a student at Mt. Vernon, and last year’s Over the Rainbow Festival was his baby; this year’s Festival was its sequel. We didn’t end up spending much time sitting behind our designated table – the panels and workshops were far too fascinating. I sat in on “Families Under the Rainbow,” “Safer Sex,” and “Coming Out Stories.” We also got to meet the filmmaker – he flew in from Oakland, California – of the documentary Ask Not, which was the featured event of Friday night. And at the cakewalk, we won two cakes! (We gave one of them away to a group of middle schoolers who hadn’t won any.) We arrived back on campus late Saturday night after a lot of singing along and dancing in the backseat of Ian’s car. (Paul Simon is surprisingly danceable!)

On Sunday, my mom drove to campus and I interviewed her at a nearby coffee shop for a Gender class project. The assignment is to elucidate the nature of stereotypical household gender roles in our own families: who cooks, who is responsible for car maintenance, who buys birthday cards.

Last week I met with Linda, my Qual Methods professor (who is also my Gender professor), to discuss my final project proposition. Proposal approved! I plan to collect Coming Out stories from students who identify as non-heterosexual. I will be examining patterns in the language students use to disclose their sexual orientation to different people. It’s pretty cool that something I would do out of curiosity – collecting Coming Out stories – counts as a legit ethnography in a Sociology/Anthropology class.

I also met with Sylvia, my Judaism professor, last week. In keeping with my favoured gender lens, I am planning to write my final research paper about the role women have had in writing midrash about female figures in Jewish literature. Sylvia has already started emailing me sources – she is practically compiling my bibliography for me. When I met with Sylvia, we also discussed the problem of unlively Fridays. I suggested that we start doing a discussion-based format where students bring in a question from the reading to lubricate the conversation a bit. She liked the idea, and now Fridays have been reformatted accordingly.

dinosaur sculptureMonday was Maisha’s Social Obligations Day. First, I finally got my webcam properly configured and I spent two hours in the middle of the day skyping my friend Emily, who is living in Germany as part of the LC year-long Munich program. Second, my buddy Kowalski (he just graduated and was on the East Africa trip with me last semester) was visiting Portland from DC, so a bunch of the East Africa kids and I got together and swapped stories over cups of chai. Third, I took the Raz downtown and met up with my friend Celia, who goes to PSU. We grabbed dinner at the Pita Pit and then raided Ross for new shoes – we walked in the door 15 minutes before closing and walked out ten minutes later with three pairs of shoes between the two of us.

I just received notification that I got accepted to the LC Alternative Spring Break programme to San Francisco! That means I’ll be volunteering with HIV/AIDS organisations and communities in SF for a week instead of kicking around campus or home. I’m stoked.

Email me your love and confusion!

25 February 2009