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one big storm of crazy

As predicted, this past week has been one big storm of crazy. Even the weather has been throwing tantrums. The sky produced everything from brilliant rainbows to springy sunshine to multiple angry downpourings of a hail-snow hybrid. Oh, Portland. You are so meteorologically schizophrenic this time of year.

fancy foodbleaching Kelly’s hairIn a less celestial vein, campus was flooded with events last weekend. It was Parents’ Weekend, so everything was on its best behaviour. My parents drove to campus on Friday and brought my dogs with them, so while they went to a fancy schmooze session with professors in Howard Acadamia, I dispensed doggy fixes to all passersby. Kenna and I snuck into the parent-professor social (Kelly dog-watched) and nicked little plates mountained with the kind of incredible food that Bon Appétit only serves at functions designed to impress important people. Like parents. Because they pay our tuition.

Kelly’s hair is a lionI bleached Kelly’s hair in the Odell Hall bathroom. The intent was to bleach it for the purpose of dying it purple, but she decided she liked the funky lionish result so much that she’s delaying the purple indefinitely.

Chinese accouterments tableJapanese calligraphy tableMiddle East tableJapanSaturday morning was the International Fair. The annual International Fair is four hours of cultural wonderfulness. Sample-size servings of incredible food descended upon the Bon and booted out our regular brunch eggs and muffins. There were also tables scattered all over the place devoted to lessons in everything from Japanese calligraphy to Muslim hijab-tying. The second half of the International Fair was performances in the Chapel. I especially liked the Peacock Dance from China and the Yosakoi Traditional Fisher’s Dance from Japan, which my roommate was in.

Milk flierOn Saturday night, we went to the mainstage play, The Blue Room. It was extremely well done – I still can’t figure out how the set folks reconfigured the space to make the stage central to two banks of chairs. I am consistently impressed by the quality of our theatre productions – not just in the acting (which is phenomenal), but all the nuts-and-bolts stuff like lighting, sound, costumes, and set design. The Blue Room ended just in time for me to change into pyjamas and grab a blanket before settling into a chair in Council Chamber to watch Milk on the bigscreen.

On Sunday, I sequestered myself away and forced myself to do homework. I was deep in Productive Mode, and just before midnight I made a Maggie’s run for a cup of caffeine to perpetuate my focus kick. Sometimes weird whims attack me, and just such a whim seized my head as soon as I returned to my room with cup in hand. You’ve heard of Mexican hot chocolate, right? How it has chili powder in it? Well, it occurred to me that it would be a great idea to add Sriracha Hot Sauce to my cup. Fueled by coffee that kicked my butt, I finished reading Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed for Utopias class, got caught up on my neglected Gender readings, studied for my Monday Judaism midterm, and created a Fieldwork Binder Thingy (official title) for Qual Methods.

GSS buttonsThis week is the Annual Gender Studies Symposium. Because I am on the GSS committee planning meeting, I’ve been all bound up in obligations and excitement – which is why this entry is a day and a half late. My professors are all being totally cool about the fact that I’m skipping all my classes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. They understand how much work is involved in helping run the GSS.

Christabel opening for Salt LinesSalt LinesAndrea Gibson performing a poemThe night before the GSS really got underway, a dozen students (myself included) rented a Suburban from the College and fieldtripped over to In Other Words, which is the last independent feminist bookstore in the whole US, to watch Salt Lines perform. Salt Lines is a quartet of lady poets – Tara Hardy, Sonya Renee, Andrea Gibson (here is a video I shot of Andrea performing; warning: it is not appropriate for all viewers, so click with caution!), and Denise Jolly – touring the US for National Women’s History Month. These four phenomenal performers came to campus the next day for a writing workshop as part of the GSS. Andrea Gibson is my poetic hero, so it was unbelievable to meet her and the other Salt Lines women, and to interact with them in both a performance context (where I was an audience member) and in a workshop context (where I was a writer). After the workshop, I had the privilege to eat dinner with Salt Lines at the GSS Banquet (yet again, Bon Appétit produced fancy food), and we had an unexpectedly deep conversation about how we perceive and discuss war. I bought CDs and chapbooks from the poets, and when I calculated it later I realised that I’ve spent over $80 on poetry in the last month. I have an addiction. It is a problem. A wonderful, wonderful problem.

Toying with Gender workshopToying with Gender doll action figuresPostSecret displayThe first event of the GSS that I attended was a workshop called Toying with Gender. It was run by a senior art major who made plaster casts of miniature body parts and set up a table strewn with fabric, buttons, wires, feathers, paint, newspaper, and hot coloured wax. In two hours, we all assembled our own lumpy, awkward, wax-covered action figure dolls. Mine is laying naked and unfinished on my bookshelf, but the students who finished their dolls now have them displayed in the GSS Art Gallery. The GSS also did a PostSecret display this year.

This is terrifying: I am in the process of officially declaring as a SOAN (Sociology/Anthropology) major and Gender Studies minor. While tabling for the GSS this morning, I discussed my future plans with my minor Advisor. I only have two more gen ed requirements to bulldoze through (Spanish 201 and a category B science). If I chair the Gender Studies Symposium next year that will count as the last Gender elective I need to minor. Convenient, since I hoped to do that anyway. And I can likely get some elective SOAN credits by volunteering in a Spanish-speaking country next summer. The summer volunteering thing is very hypothetical at this point, but it would be wicked to go play with kids in an orphanage in Costa Rica for three months and get college credit for it.

Wow, that was disgustingly long. As always, spit me your thinkings and inquiries at maisha@lclark.edu

12 March 2009