February 2009

If I had words to make a day for you, I’d give you a morning golden and true

It’s that time again: midweek. Stress levels are high at the moment but the weekend is in sight, and boy, is that a relief. Last week, I mentioned that Brandy, a friend from home who is a senior interested in coming to Lewis & Clark, was coming to stay with me for the weekend. It was lovely to have her here, and fun to show off all my favorite parts of our campus and the city to someone. On Saturday we spent the day downtown, excavating vintage stores and admiring the sunshiny view from the bridges. I know that this is the time for seniors to be narrowing down their school choices, and I’ve seen many of you around campus in the past week. Please don’t hesitate to say hello to me if you recognize me- I’ll only be mildly creeped out and mostly really excited to answer any questions you have.

This week feels like it has been non-stop: between classes, papers, work (I have a work-study job in the ceramics studio), French conversation group, my radio show, writing for the Umbrella and spending time with friends, life is quite like a big colorful blur. However, I have managed to find the time to pour all the creative energy that builds up throughout my busy week into a new project. My friend Ben and I, along with our other friend Hanna, have started a band. We are called the Internet, and we performed at an on-campus show last weekend for the first time. Ben writes great songs: sort of folky, sort of Velvet Underground-esque, and Hanna and I craft vocal harmonies along with him. We use a guitar, a banjo, a floor tom, a tambourine, and various percussion instruments. We seemed to get a good reaction at our last show, and we’ve been practicing quite a bit since. It’s so much fun to be making music! I am honored to be playing amongst the many talented students at LC. I will keep you guys posted on this endeavor. Hopefully video soon?

Last night, I holed myself up in the library for a couple hours to write a paper, but when I emerged, I stumbled upon my friends having a lovely collaging party. They are so precious. Here’s a picture. n743660436_5958352_3166.jpg

The weather is lovely this weekend: cold and clear. I think I shall have to pay a visit to Tryon, the gorgeous state park located just down the street from campus. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful retreat from academia so nearby. Also, this weekend there are a couple of awesome house shows in the city, so I will try to post some pictures and report back on the local acts next week. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. As always, feel free to email about anarchist-veganism, mochi, or to discuss the unlikely amazingness of the Dirty Projectors. Oh yeah, or any questions about the school too. kkucera@lclark.edu n1047840031_30172317_6403.jpgn1047840031_30172320_7284.jpgn1047840031_30172328_9727.jpg

20 February 2009

Cough, cough, cough

It’s that time again for the campus to come down with every sickness known to mankind. There’s an obvious decline in class attendance, and Fred Meyer might have already run out of Kleenex. It seems that I have come down with a case of sleepitis (though this is mainly caused by my idiotic desire to work out in the morning) and my poor roommate has the early signs of the flu. So we’re all stocking up on Vitamin C and Nyquil, hoping to ride out this wave of the plague relatively unscathed.

On a much brighter note, this weekend brings with it some time off for the crew team. I’m taking the opportunity to train it on up to Seattle to visit my parents/sisters and friends who go to University of Washington (affectionately known as U-Dub). Though I do really enjoy Portland and L&C, it is necessary to sometimes change locations and see some new faces and places. For those searching for a larger city, Seattle is conveniently located 3 1/2 hours north by train or car (if you can hitch a ride). There are also lots of opportunities for students to get off campus in otherways through College Outdoors. I’ve never had the chance to go on one of these trips, but I have many friends who have and they absolutely loved it!! I highly recommend looking into one of these awesome outdoor adventures.

I know I promised some pictures, but all I did last weekend was see a movie and go out to dinner. Not the most exciting or picturesque photos to be sure, but once the weather warms up a bit I’ll be able to show off the beauty of this campus in the spring. Now I’m off to class, and then to choir where we’re learning some new songs for our April concert!

Until later,
Jess

19 February 2009

it almost didn’t snow this week

New video!  I finally gathered enough footage about the student art center to give it a little feature here.  It’s a really awesome space, and it is one of the many highlights of campus that prospective students see on their tours.  Here’s a more detailed look around than one might get on the typical campus tour…


(band featured playing at the Platteau is the awe-inspiring Metal Shakespeare Company, which is comprised of LC alums.  Catch them on tour and/or buy their CD!)

Had a statistics test, that was fun.  The cool thing about statistics test is that afterwards you can argue about how he curved it and why he should do it differently.

On my mind lately is the work I’ve been doing as part of the student government; we’ve been meeting to hash out the details of a new Senate-based constitution.  Our current student government is organized in a way that many of us feel lacks transparency, accountability, and a logical, businesslike open venue for discussion.  Our new draft, if revised and approved by the student body later this Spring, hopes to address a lot of issues that we’ve had in recent years with budgeting for student groups and maintaining student interest in and support for the student government.  We believe that a group of students in charge of allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars and making decisions that literally affect the entire student body should be run as smoothly and honestly as possible.  I just hope enough people will care enough to take the time and effort to care about the changes we’re proposing.

Today I took a trip to the Bins.  For those of you not from Portland, I shall tell you what the bins are.  They are a giant warehouse of items that were too broken, weird, unorganized, or overlooked to make it to the shelves of the Goodwill retail locations.  Yes, the Bins is Goodwill’s outlet store.  It gets its nickname from the giant green bins full of disused items that are wheeled around from mob to anxious mob.  While I concede that 99% of the stuff there is probably not something I (or anyone?) would want to take home, there are always a few gems.  Once I found a relatively pristine vinyl copy of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” in one of the many book bins.  Today did not pass without a treasure’s discovery.  I bought a framed painting of a polar bear for $3 (yes it’s a painting, not a print).  This place is often where LC students go to buy furniture for dorm rooms or recently rented houses (though we also check craigslist’s “free” section); one can generally find armchairs ranging from $3-10 and couches from $5-20.  Many of them still work. Mostly.  Since the bins full of items are largely unorganized, most things are priced by the pound.  Yes, you can buy clothes in bulk like candy at the supermarket.  The treasure-hunting aspect, as well as the rummaging and competition to find something cooler than everyone else makes this a great hangout for hipsters, of which we have many in Portland.  It’s also cool for us regular folks, too, though.  At LC, you’ll quickly learn that before you make any major purchase, it’s wise to first check and see if the Bins has it at 1/20 the cost of retail.

Final tidbit, although probably not interesting to the general population, the LC Gaming Society’s World of Warcraft guild grouped up to beat the mean scary dragon at the end of the game (Malygos).  We stole his loot and now we are bored.

That’s about all for now.

Now playing in my ears: “Rise & Shine: The Mixtape” by Ghetto Sunrise

19 February 2009

foaming up along the walls

Poetry devoured my week so completely that I forgot to keep up with basic daily obligations like homework, eating, and sleeping. Monday and Tuesday was a haze of pacing whatever empty, windowless rooms I could commandeer, rehearsing the first piece I would perform at the Poetry Slam National Qualifiers. About an hour before taking the stage on Tuesday, I performed my piece for Marielle, my RA, since she had too much homework to go to the whole Slam – and it’s a good thing I did! Marielle is a Spanish major, and she caught my Spanish goof-up: in my piece I was using the verb espirar when I really meant esperar.

I competed in the Slamwich against 14 other Lewis & Clark poets. It was phenomenal! It would be impossible to convey in blog form how much supportive, enthusiastic energy the audience and poets ping-ponged back and forth at each other. I believe everyone in attendance swallowed a big dose of inspiration. After Olivia tallied up all the scores, she announced the top eight scorers – and I made the cut! Round 2, here I come!

Spilljoy Ensemble membersThe meaty goodness of the Slamwich was Wednesday’s performance by The Spilljoy Ensemble. Students started arriving for Spilljoy over an hour early, foaming up along the walls outside Council Chamber. When the doors finally opened, we all flooded in, filling up most of the 250 chairs in a matter of minutes. The excitement was unbelievable, and the four Spilljoy poets – Shira Erlichman, Jon Sands, Ken Arkind, and Danny Sherrard – soaked it up and spit a stellar performance. Portland performance poet and LC favourite Anis Mojgani made an appearance too, and performed two of his pieces as an opener.

After the show, I got hugs from all five poets – two from Jon – and I bought a chapbook (with requisite autographs), a t-shirt, and a CD. Danny wished me luck in Nat Quals Round 2, and Ken sent me an email a few days later asking about the results. Poets are such friendly people.

Apocalips donation boxThursday was the third and final day of the Slamwich. We purposefully chose judges from the audience who had never scored before, and that ended up backfiring a bit, because there was definitely a schism between audience reaction and judges’ scores. I am super excited for Anna, Chris, Molly, and Christabel – our final four poets on their way to Nationals – but I am surprised that Aukeem and Lauren didn’t make the team, because I thought they would be picked for sure. (As awesome as it would’ve been to go to Nationals, I’m a little bit relieved that I will be at Lewis & Clark that week, since it’s the Gender Studies Symposium and I’m on the planning committee.) Apocalips, our Slam team, still has to dig up about $200 for the trip to Nationals. Christabel made a donations box that she and Aukeem paraded around at all three nights of poetry; I’m convinced the box’s ethereal beauty is what inspired a small rivulet of quarters to roll out of students’ pockets.

Valentine’s Day Vocal ConcertThe Poetry Slam wrapped up just in time to make it to the Valentine’s Day Vocal Concert on Thursday. The vocally-inclined LC students sang the gamut: lovey mushy songs as well as hilarious, cynical songs. Momo and the Coop, one of our a cappella groups, performed Palisades, which melted me. My friend Jon is the soloist and also the one who wrote the arrangement. I am going to marry his voice.

ScoreboardThe last two home basketball games were on Friday. Some friends and I attended the girls’ basketball game in Pamplin Sports Center after dinner. Pio, our stand-in mascot (he’s a huge, drooly, poofy Newfoundland) sat in the row right in front of me, and I spent almost as much time petting him as watching the game. At halftime, the kids in ASLC (our student government) played a hilarious game against the administrative staff – and totally schooled them, of course. The second half of the girls’ game had all of us clinging to the edges of our seats – Linfield called two time-outs with less than a minute on the clock. But we won – by a narrow three point margin!

Afterward, Kenna, Tea, Anna, and I bounded through the library making loud, terrible dinosaur sounds and wild, terrible dinosaur movements. Sometimes I channel my inner four-year-old. Usually I try to restrict it to locations that are not sound-sensitive, but Friday nights exist to be exceptions.

Valentine’s DaySaturday was for homework and pretending like St. Valentine never died and never got weirdly commemorated as a consumerist holiday. I did go to a tea party in Platt Hall in the evening, but mostly I aimed for antisocialism all day. In class on Friday, my Gender in a Cross-Cultural Perspective professor had a dissonant fit of domesticity and passed out candy, Bratz valentines cards, and lick-on tattoos. I adhered the tattoo to my bicep. That pretty much filled my Valentine’s Day celebration quota.

tie-dyingtie-dyed teesOn Sunday, Megan, Maddie, and I tie-dyed t-shirts in the Womyn’s Center. I think Megan forgot to mention to her roommates that the tubs she borrowed for dye tanks would be returned a different colour than their original blue, but hopefully no-one will be upset. The Womyn’s Center will be screenprinting the tees in the on-campus Print Shop and then selling them at this weekend’s Vagina Monologues. The profits will be donated to the Portland Women’s Crisis Line. I had funky-coloured hands for the rest of the day because we forgot to buy gloves.

Maybe next week’s post will be a little more academic. I’m sure you’re all pining for thrilling descriptions of class discussions focusing on Bernard Mandeville’s obsession with terrorising small children, and whole paragraphs dedicated to detailing how I’m meeting with two of my professors tomorrow to figure out what the heck I’m doing for final projects and papers.

Feed my inbox! Send all your delicious questions and comments to maisha@lclark.edu.

18 February 2009

Hit It, Maestro!

I just got back from the Valentine’s Vocal Concert, and now I have to gush over how awesome it was! I performed three songs with the Women’s Ensemble: Stepsister’s Lament, Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier, and Niška Banja. It was a good mix of fun, morose and scandalous. The a cappella groups, choral ensembles and duets were also all beautifully performed. I never realized that there was this whole little niche at L&C. I also can’t say enough great things about our conductor Kathy FitzGibbon. She is one of the most positive and encouraging people I’ve met here at L&C, and her energy is so contagious. The more I branch out in my activities, the more I’ve noticed that this school is full of some wonderful people.

Crew is in full swing at this point; braving the icy waters of the Willamette by the light of the rising sun. Today I rowed with a girl who was trying out crew for the first time. Though I almost froze to my seat, I was so incredibly impressed by her progress at the end of the practice. She seemed to really enjoy it and I’m so excited to see some new people joining the team! This is going to give us alot of depth, as well as just be a blast.

As a side note, I just have to mention that people who plan on cooking in college should learn how to do so properly before arriving. Tonight we had our third fire alarm due to food being burned to a crisp. Now, I do admit that I have been the culprit once myself (hair straightener incident), but cooking popcorn just seems like a life skill that is to be mastered before the age of 18. It should be a requirement - pop a bag without nuking it and you get into college.

My classes are going well. It’s about time to start turning in the first round of papers, so I’ve been working on some of those in between reading. My favorite assignment so far has been from my Rock and Roll Novel class. We had to make a list of the top 10 best and top 10 worst songs of all time. It turned out to be quite a challenge. Other than that, schoolwork is feeling routine again and like always I’m looking forward to the weekend.

I will attempt to get some pictures of my weekend activities and post them next time. Send me any thoughts or questions!

Until later,
Jess

12 February 2009