March 2009

a function of more than two inputs is linearly separable if a hyperplane separates the true cases from the false cases.

Hello, internet.

It is finally Spring break!  It sure took its time getting here, though.  This last week, I spent *almost* every free moment I had studying for my Computer Science midterms on Friday.  I think I probably spent 15-20 hours forcing myself to understand, among other concepts, the likes of Sigmoid Units, Red-Black Trees, and the (worst, average, and best case) efficiencies of about 6 or 7 different sorting algorithms, plus how to implement them (upshot: use quick sort if you’re me, use merge sort if you’re smarter than me, avoid bubble sort unless you’re doing something trivial).  In the end, both tests were significantly less complicated than I had been preparing for.  I’ll take that, but it was actually a little frustrating because I spent so much time studying the harder concepts that I think I got tricked by some really easy questions that I just wasn’t expecting.  Oh well, I’m gonna just try not to think about it until I get the grades back.

Midterms weren’t the only thing we had to worry about finishing in the Computer Science classes this week, there was also a pretty cool assignment involving programming Lego robots.  My group pretty much rocked it and got some extra credit, so that’s about as good as it can get, I think; an A+ for playing with Legos… not bad.

This week I’m probably not gonna be great at letting you know what sort of stuff happened on campus recently; I spent almost no time doing fun things, just a lot of library-camping.

Yesterday, there was one cool event; at 9pm, a group of interested parties gathered in Council Chambers to watch the series finale of Battlestar Galactica on the huge screen.  We had a very good time, and it was great to watch the best show on televesion ever in the history of the world on what basically amounts to be a movie theater screen.  It was bittersweet and epic.  Oh well, nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy.

Wow there’s a lot of nerd in this post….

I’m gonna see Ratatat in a week and Defiance, Ohio in two… does that make up for anything?

Now playing in my ears: “Not Fair” by Lily Allen

22 March 2009

bonus entry!

Last night Kelsey and Owen performed a bunch of acoustic songs at the Co-Op on campus. The Co-Op hosts student music shows every month for Third Thursday. Kelsey is in my Utopias/Distopias class, and my shoes are currently in her room because Tea, one of our mutual friends, spirited off with them in the middle of the night on St. Patrick’s Day. This was the first time I’d heard Kelsey perform, and she has an incredible voice. The audio quality of the following videos just doesn’t do her justice.

Kelsey composed all three of these songs, and Owen accompanied her in the performance.

Matters of the Heart
Form
Corduroy

20 March 2009

hallelujah, she’s a rollin on home

Spring is coyly clutching Portland its lovely pink fingers, gradually pulling it into a full bloom embrace. And I am falling in love. Flowers, and- oh! – the smells! This is not to say, however, that I am sad to be leaving campus for spring break. Hallelujah! It is, in fact, that time, my friends and not a moment too soon. Midterms, papers, and stir-craziness galore results in an ungodly need to break free and blow off some steam, to regroup before facing the stress of the tail end of the semester when we return.

dscn0169-1.jpgdscn0175-1.jpgdscn0206-1.jpgOn Wednesday, inspired by Thoreau’s transcendental experiences described in “Walking”, which we just read this week for my Exploration and Discovery class,  I decided to channel all of my mid-midterm stress/energy into a trek through Tryon Creek State Park. Marvelous!

Tomorrow, I will be heading down the west coast on the Coastal Starlight Express, the Amtrak train with service from Portland to San Luis Obispo. I am going to be spending most of my break at home snuggling with my mom, going to the beach with my besties, and eating lots and lots of food from Trader Joe’s and local burrito joints. The voyage home is half the adventure for me, though, because the cost of the land-bound tour of the beautiful west coast is that it will take a complete TWENTY-FOUR HOURS for me to get from PDX to SLO. I’ll report on the experience, and whether it is one I would like to repeat. Either way, I am looking forward to the bragging rights. On the way back up the coast, I am planning to stop in northern California for a couple of days to visit my friend, Katie, who goes to CSU Chico. Then, once back in PDX, I am going to be SO happy to be reunited with my LC friends who will also have returned from their respective spring break adventures. (For example, several of my friends who are on the KLC board are currently representing KLC at SXSW; others are spending time at a grandparent’s cabin in the San Juan Islands in WA; others are venturing to the redwoods, Vancouver, and the Bay) I am hoping to make it back in time to go to a punk show at a house in northeast PDX that sounds like it will have an AMAZING line-up, including Portland’s own Tragedy.

2603_141437190436_743660436_6267625_4731152_n.jpgToday my class was cancelled and it was beautiful and balmy outside. My friends Hanna, Hayley and I ventured downtown because I had scheduled to interview the owners of Food Fight! Vegan Grocery as part of the research for my ethnographic project for Qualitative Methods of Research. We turned the task into a day on the town, pit-stopping at Stumptown, Portland’s famed independent coffee company, for espresso and croissants.n567882041_1469669_688926.jpg Then we used the buses to cross the bridge into southeast and strolled about the cute Victorian homes in the neighborhood near Food Fight! to snap photos of the birth of spring. It was a lovely day spent with friends, and the folks at Food Fight! were so down to earth and funny. Of course, we took advantage of the impressive snackage they offer and picked up some chips and root beer for the voyage back to campus.2603_141437175436_743660436_6267623_4679319_n.jpg

2603_141437185436_743660436_6267624_2670892_n.jpgI know you are all starting to receive your letters from the college, and I want to wish you guys the best of luck! Remember to listen to your gut when making your final decisions and please visit us! Or just feel free to write me any ol’ time about how funny the “see food” joke is, how nearly sexual the experience of achieving beautiful three-part harmonies with your dear friends can be, or how my taking the train home for break is one more uncanny thing to add to list of similarities between Hogwarts and LC! kkucera@lclark.edu

20 March 2009

2 days…

…and counting! The days are just flying by as we finish up our last week before spring break. It has been a flurry of tests and papers, and though I’m not quite done with it all I can still feel things wrapping up. The only items left on my “To Do” list are a presentation on Friday and a paper that I will finish on the train ride home. Soon I get to spend a relaxing weekend at home and in Seattle before I head back down to sunny Portland and crew practice over the break. Sadly, our bad weather luck ended up cancelling our dual race against Willamette University, so our first official race will take place in Tacoma, WA on the last Saturday of the break. Though there is alot to be done in the next couple of days/week, the sunshine was out today and it always puts me in a more positive frame of mind about things.

Because of schoolwork piling up, I’ve been keeping my free time relatively low key this past week or so. Every minute that’s not scheduled is time for me to take a deep breath and relax. Though the work has increased, my classes are still as enjoyable as always. I’ve gotten more comfortable with the atmosphere of my Rock and Roll Novel class and find myself speaking my opinion more often. I had a really positive meeting with the professor today as well, so things are going well. I now wish I had time to add an English minor onto my philosophy major, but with only one semester left on campus that’s basically impossible. That to me is a perfect example as to why the whole liberal arts education can be a fantastic idea. In scheduling yourself with a wide scope of different classes, there is bound to be one department or professor that surprises you. It’s also nice to find that my academic interests aren’t as narrow as I was beginning to believe they were.

The Women’s Ensemble is learning four songs by Brahms, and with that comes some interesting language lessons. German is not a language that I have any particular adoration for, yet I’ve decided that it’s fun to learn it in a musical context. Our concert is coming toward the end of April and the pieces are really beginning to fit together in our rehearsals. From what we’ve got so far, I can tell that with a bit more polish these songs are going to be somewhat epic.

I’m now off to bed so that I am rested for my 5:30am wake up and practice. As always, don’t hesitate to send any questions or comments my way at: asbridge@lclark.edu

Until next time,
Jess

18 March 2009

buck up and take on some democracy

my desk spaceI’m in full-on School Mode. This is the week right before Spring Break, so I’ve got midterms, last-minute papers, like eight interviews to conduct, and just generally a lot to do before that last push through April. The AIDS Summit, which is my baby, is fast approaching, and I’m increasingly spending my dinnertime meeting with other students to bang out the details. Gabe and I are also working with David, the Forest Complex RD and Unisex Advisor, to restructure Unisex for next year so that it’ll be more manageable. Unisex has had its teenage anarchy phase, but it’s time for it to buck up and take on some democracy.

rainbow!The remainder of the Gender Studies Symposium was excellent, and I’ve already got some ideas for next year’s GSS. I’m also applying to be a Co-Chair, which is so much work that the school awards a full four credits for it. Kim Brodkin, the head of the GSS and one of my favourite professors, has assured me that it’s quite possible to Co-Chair, be an RA, work two jobs on campus, and still pull decent grades in classes. However, if I end up Co-Chairing, I will probably cut my classload down to three academic classes next year, at least for spring semester.

emergeYesterday, I met with Administration folks and student representatives from all three campuses to discuss the transgender health care initiative. You can read the piece I wrote for the PioLog, our student newspaper, here. In general, I have received a lot of positive response from students in regards to adding trans care to the student health care plan. The Administration hasn’t reached a decision yet (we thought they would by the end of yesterday’s meeting), so we’re on tenterhooks waiting to hear the outcome. I am pretty optimistic, though!

it’s what I do during classToday Lewis & Clark is hosting a “reverse strike” on the Portland Public Transportation system (TriMet). The College is dispensing free TriMet passes to students and staff so that we can overwhelm the TriMet system. The Raz (the free student shuttle) is not running today, so if we want to get off campus, we have to use TriMet. The point of the reverse strike is to convince TriMet to run a line from campus directly to downtown. It would replace our costly and environmentally inefficient Raz, and provide much-needed funds for TriMet because the College plans to purchase passes for every single student, staff, and faculty member.

I have a midterm exam in an hour and a half, I’m doing a frantic load of laundry because I woke up this morning to discover zero pairs of underwear in my drawers, and I’m leaving for the Alternative Spring Break HIV/AIDS Volunteerwork trip to San Francisco early Saturday morning!

In two weeks, we’ll be back to your regularly scheduled Wednesday interesting blog entries riddled with too many photographs. In the meantime, launch all those hot questions to maisha@lclark.edu

18 March 2009