February 2009

board games, concerts, computers, and dr. horrible

Quick update this week; I’ll have a video post next week for sure.  I’ve been studying and such.  It was my 21st birthday on Monday.  I felt pretty sick (from actual sickness, not what you think) so I didn’t go to class, but I did some low-key visiting with a few friends in the evening.  My friends Lillie Mae and Dith baked me a 3-layer rainbow funfetti cake, which was delicious and way too big.  In the evening, I went to the bar/arcade (”barcade,” if you will) Ground Kontrol with my pals Nick and Amy.  Since I don’t drink (actually the truth, not just for the sake of the admissions blog), turning 21 basically just means that I can finally go to cool places and watch good concerts without having to worry about age/time restrictions.  So, we had a fun time at the arcade for a few hours, playing plenty of classics (classics for me, anyway) like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz and Dance Dance Revolution.

This week on campus, the Slam Poetry club is hosting three events; on Tuesday and Thursday there are student slam competitions, and on Wednesday Lewis and Clark is host to the Spilljoy Ensemble Tour, which promises to be an exciting and well-attended event.  It’s been getting a lot of positive buzz around campus this week.

I’ve been working on planning Casino Night.  Traditionally, Lewis and Clark has an evening during which professors deal and operate casino games for the students.  We gamble with fake money and at the end of the night we can spend the money for raffle tickets for some cool prizes (I think last year the prize was a Playstation with Rock Band).  A few years ago, the event would have a dance attached as well, and was a relatively large draw for students.  Two years ago, the dance was axed, and last year the event was scaled down even further for a number of reasons that are no longer relevant.  This year, we’ve basically tried to undo all that and go back to having a really awesome evening.  We’ve hired the DJ who did our Homecoming dance (by most accounts, including my own, he’s pretty solid) and have got a bunch of cool prizes lined up to be dispersed at the end of the night.  The only hangup I can see right now is that we’ve scheduled it for Valentine’s Day (don’t ask me).  So, assuming the date doesn’t ruin us, we should have a really fun party where we can interact with the faculty on a level that isn’t normally available for students.

Speaking of which, last weekend was Chinese Food and German Board Games night at my Computer Science professor’s house.  I think I’ve blogged about this before a bit, but he hosts a board game party for all of his students (and really, the entire math department) once a semester.  I attended with some of my computer science buddies and was pleasantly entertained by the likes of Galaxy Trucker, Settlers of Catan and 24/7.  One recommendation I have for you, regardless where you attend (or will attend) college: go to your professors’ social gatherings if you’re invited.  Not only is it usually a really fun time, it really strengthens the student-teacher relationship, plus I’m sure it doesn’t hurt for recommendations and such for a professor to know you in a capacity that’s not just as a student in the classroom.

I’m pretty excited about a plethora of good Portland concerts coming up: MDC, Defiance Ohio, Cave Singers, Boy Eats Drum Machine, Four Tet, and plenty more.  Being 21 means I can now get into venues like the Doug Fir, Holocene, Berbati’s Pan and Someday Lounge.  There are plenty of good all-ages venues in Portland, but, to be honest, there are a lot of 21+ shows here, and sometimes that can be frustrating for the younger LC students.

Now playing in my ears: “Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

11 February 2009

hot pink long johns, oh yeah!

img_0520.JPGLife at LC has been like living in a snow globe lately. Where a couple of days ago, I was basking in the sunshine on our little hill, this morning I awoke to fat white flakes descending on the unsuspecting forest outside my window; by the afternoon, however, nature had shaken things up in Portland and the snow morphed into icy rain. The decision of what shoes to wear in the morning isn’t any easy one, and I sit here now in the student run Co-Op with wet socks and hot tea, studying with some friends. img_0526.JPGimg_0527.JPGimg_0528.JPGimg_0529.JPG


Starting this Wednesday, lovers of music and puns may tune in to the new radio show- ironically dubbed “Quiet Hours”- I have with my friend, Logan, at KLC. Several of my friends have had radio shows and I have had the pleasure of subbing from time to time, but now I am excited to join their ranks on the airwaves. KLC is LC’s student-run radio station that streams online, which means complete freedom of speech and music and lots of fun. The kids at the station often put on in-studio shows and other functions, the main one being the annual music fest, Sunburn, in April for which we’ve already booked the funky D.I.Y. act Ponytail. I’ve also gotten involved with KLC’s publication- centering on music and the haps in the greater PDX community- called the Umbrella. I am looking forward to writing show reviews, editorials on topics ranging from vegetarians eats to roller-skating hotspots, and perhaps some art here and there. Be sure to stop by the station and pick up a copy when you visit campus. design_02.gif


On Thursday my friend Brandy is coming to stay with me through the weekend. She is a senior at the high school I went to and planning on coming to Lewis & Clark next year. I can’t wait to show her around the school and the city! Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon, which may or may not be good news for all, but I am choosing to look on the bright side this year. Today the kids of S.U.R.F. (Students United for Real Food) and I got together to make some valentines with romantic messages about the importance of healthy, natural, toxin-free food and caring for the environment! (i.e. “Your butt looks like two ripe tomatoes from my garden”, “Yerba hotté”, “I love you too much to put poisonous toxins in your produce,” and “More trees mean more tree-house sex”) These will be sold along with fair trade organic chocolate bars from a chocolate company based out of Portland.


This icy/snowy day was spend most cozily with dear friends, snuggled up in bed together listening to episodes of This American Life… these times are the ones so dear to me.

I’m sure this is quite enough for this week, although there is always more to tell! Have no fear, my friends. You can always send me an email to discuss ideas for phrases to put on your valentines, the joys of belting “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight” with friends, or the unpleasant lip-chapping that comes with catching snowflakes on your tongue. kkucera@lclark.edu

11 February 2009

it’s my Focus Hat

comic-ingMy schedule this semester is full of awkwardly-sized snatches of time. I can’t effectively do homework in those gaps, so I’ve taken to inking my comic in spare moments. As soon as Celia (my programming genius friend) has defeated her midterms at Portland State University, we will get the website up and running and I’ll actually begin posting strips on a semi-regular basis. This is my excited face!

button-makingI’ve also been collaging. Once Annika orders more button-making materials, I will magically turn my little collages into wearable buttons! This is the messiest our dorm room ever gets – when I’m in the midst of a sprawling round of button collaging. Other than our desks, which are post-apocalyptic, Yukiko and I keep things pretty orderly.

Maisha & familySaturday was my mom’s birthday, so I invited her out to dinner to celebrate. My mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and I ate at Old Wives Tales downtown. The place has an overwhelming menu and tons of alternative food options: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, whole grains… I had an Indian Burrito (it was filled with dhal!) and Almond Raspberry Crepes, but my highest recommendation is the Hungarian Mushroom Soup because it is pretty much religion in a bowl. Yeah, that good. I brought my family to my dorm room after dinner to meet my roommate.

Alex facilitating termsI might be coming down with a minor cold, so I’m warding it off by overdosing on Echinacea and Emergen-C. I do believe in placebos, I do, I do! So far, it’s working pretty well. Although staying up until 4:30am on Saturday night wrestling with Racism & Privilege journal entries was probably not the wisest move. But I was behind, and when better to catch up on homework than the weekend? Last class, Alex facilitated our discussion about terms and definitions. In light of our discussion, I need to tack a Take Two to my journal entry that responds to the question “Am I a racist?”

I have discovered a new technique for forcing myself to finish essays: bribing myself with mango sorbet. On Sunday night I was sitting on Gabe’s floor with my laptop balanced on my knees, poddling around the internet instead of composing my essay for Judaism, when Riya suggested a Maggie’s Café run in an hour. “The only condition,” she informed me, “is that you have to be finished with your essay by ten.” So I disabled wireless, donned one of Gabe’s beanies (”It’s my Focus Hat,” I explained, “and it’s too tight for me.”), planted earphones in my ears, and knocked out that last page and a half in 45 minutes. Mango sorbet for the win! Incidentally, I am most productive when a combination of Celtic jigs and vaguely French instrumental music pours directly into my ears loudly enough to white out the noises of people talking nearby.

On Sunday, Claire and I caught the Raz to downtown and went and saw Apollo, a three-and-a-half-hour play at Portland Center Stage. I heard about it initially from one of my professors, who emailed the whole class to recommend seeing it. It was a really good production. Very cathartic, as Claire remarked. It had a lot of really crazy lighting and sound effects, and everything was drenched in historical and psychological symbolism. Very avant-garde. We both enjoyed it a lot. Afterward, we walked down to the waterfront and Claire guinea pigged for me so that I could practice performing one of my poems to an audience before Nat Quals (which begin tomorrow! Eep!). It would be so wicked to make the team.

My inbox is lonely without your emails! Fire one my direction, maisha@lclark.edu. All inquiries and thoughts happily received.

9 February 2009

Oh technology…

Not much new to report since my last post. I soaked my phone in water on accident, making my broken phone count up to two in the past couple of months. It’s an unfortunate event, and it made me realize how dependent I am upon my cell phone. I have also begun to reconsider whether the convenience factor is worth all the trouble they cause.

On the rowing front, things are going quite well. We’re finally out on the water…oh the joy! Unfortunately the cost of this is some frozen limbs post-row, but it’s worth it to finally get back into a boat. Also, because of new class schedules our coach was able to schedule a new practice routine for us, including a later wake up time and the entire practice being well lit, which is a plus for everyone involved. Though I am currently in a war with most of my personal pieces of technology, there is one piece of equipment that I have recently accepted with open arms. The crew team is now in possession of an HD video camera, which we previewed the results of after practice on Monday. The quality of our video is infinitely better, leading to better on land analysis and translating into better technique on the water. All in all, I’m very happy it’s now the spring crew season and things are looking very promising in the months to come.

Choir is also becoming one of my favorite activities. We met for our sectional last night and I feel that I’m getting so much better each time we meet. Our first concert is going to be next Thursday! I haven’t performed (musically) in front of an audience since piano recitals in elementary school, so this will be an exciting experience. We’re performing three pieces, one of which is in Serbian, so I’ve also been trying to memorize some new words this week. I think I’ve got it down though, so I’m really looking forward to our performance.

My roommate’s family is coming to visit this weekend. It will be fun to see them again, as well as meet her sister who lives in Austria. Doesn’t look like it will be too hectic the next week or so; looking happily to just work through my regular routine. As always, send me any questions or ponderings you may have: asbridge@lclark.edu. I’m really good at responding to emails!

Until next time,

4 February 2009

befuddled with clouds

My weekend schedule was busting at the seams, so on Friday night, I resigned myself to a thrilling evening of studying in hopes of freeing up my Saturday and Sunday. And then Abe had a pack of cards at dinner. Alas! All my studious plans, dashed on the 52 rocks of four suits! When the Bon booted us out at closing, we migrated to the Manzi lounge, which is currently dominated by a tent someone pitched and never took down. Everything’s more fun in a tent! Even card games where the first rule is you can’t talk about the rules.

fortune tellerMy roommate and I were both up at crazy o’clock on Saturday morning – Yukiko was riding the Ski Bus up to Mt Hood for her Snowboarding class; I was attending campus tour guide training. I bailed ten minutes before the end to catch the Raz (the free student shuttle) into the city. Last year I volunteered at Cascade AIDS Project as a youth peer educator; via CAP, I was invited to feature in an international major motion-picture length documentary called Let’s Talk About Sex, which is scheduled to hit theatres early next year. With cameras and mics flickering around us, four other Portland youth and I led one of our typical outreach activities in Pioneer Square. Armed with paper fortune-tellers, we approached unsuspecting Portlanders and asked if they would play our game for the camera. The fortune tellers contained questions like “What is one thing you wish people knew about HIV/AIDS?” and “What’s your favorite body part and why?” – each designed to spark dialogue about health and communication. After five hours rattling around the cold of Pioneer Square, our filmmaker (a dude from Australia) bought us all coffees just so we could unfreeze our fingers.

Evidence that Saturday was the straw on the back of a busy week that broke us: my roommate and I were in bed before midnight. On a Saturday. But at 2am, we both bolted upright to the tune of the fire alarm. Sleepy-brained and pajamaed, we shuffled into the parking lot, then joined the crowd of students glomming together in Templeton Student Center. Turns out some joker broke a fire extinguisher in a hallway, and we weren’t allowed back in the building until all the fire extinguisher goo was cleaned up. At least fire alarms are a rare occurrence – we were evacuated from my residence hall a grand total of once last year – because someone had burned toast.

Oregon Nikkei Legacy CenterBack in the days of gigapets and Your Oxen Died Trying to Ford the River, school ended around 3pm on Friday. Turns out, college is not the fourth grade. On Sunday, my Qualitative Research Methods class field tripped to the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in downtown Portland. It’s a pretty neat little museum/heritage center located in what used to be Japantown. The project we’re doing for class is to track down certain Japanese Americans, now in their tottery eighties and nineties, and interview them about their experiences in the WWII interment camps for official historical records.

new piercingAfter our informational session at the Nikkei Legacy Center concluded, I met up with my friend Rachel, who had been studying at Tea Chai Té on 23rd. It’s a personal quest of mine to investigate a spectrum of piercing shops in Portland. This time, Rachel and I one upped our earring claims at Straight to the Point, located on 3rd and Oak. It was a decent place, if rather acetic. The piercer dude was really nice. The new stud doesn’t match the others.

postermakingLast night, Apocalips Slam Poetry Club pumped out a bundle of hand-sharpied posters advertising our upcoming “Slamwich”. The Slamwich is three days of poetry goodness. Day one is round one of our National Qualifier Competition, where LC students are invited to perform their poetry for a chance at a seat on the plane to Nationals; day two is the Spilljoy Ensemble, a quartet of phenomenal Slam masters touring the country; and day three is round two of our own Nat Quals. I love poster-making, but I love performance poetry more! If I want to compete at Nat Quals, I need to shine one more poem.

the mountain is outThe mountain was out today! In Portland, skies are befuddled with clouds so much of the time that there’s an unscientific average of five days per school year where Mt Hood is actually visible. Today was one of those days.

Spoon me some feedback! All questions, comments, and disembodied introductions can be directed to maisha@lclark.edu.


4 February 2009