March 2009

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

pop

Hangin’ at OHSUComputer in the ICUFirst Meal in 2.5 daysSo, I haven’t posted in a little while, but I have a pretty good reason.  Two weeks ago, my spleen ruptured (pitiful hospital cellphone-photos to the right)!  I woke up on Tuesday morning (March 3rd), with some pretty significant pain in my side, so after passing out, I went to the LC Health Center.  They looked me over and told me to get to the hospital.  LC generally sends its students to OHSU, which is the closest hospital to campus (and is one of the best in the area, anyway).  My roommate Seth drove me and after waiting zero minutes in the ER waiting room (yeah, I guess there aren’t many emergencies at 8AM on a Tuesday?), I was seen.  After a number of cool medical tests and another episode of passing out, the CT Scan confirmed that I had a very large, very ruptured spleen.  I was checked into the ICU in the afternoon and my parents showed up that evening, having driven down from Tacoma.  I spent the next 3 days in bed, getting my vital signs monitored and having blood tests every few hours.  Once it was apparent that I was healing and not hemmorhaging, I was moved to the less-strict trauma ward, where I spent 3 more days in bed, but with bathroom and shower privileges.  I was released last Sunday, and ever since then I have been basically doing homework in all of my free time, trying to catch up.  I didn’t do much work in the hospital, both because I didn’t have my textbooks and because many of my assignments were group projects. Anyway, I’m generally recovered, though I have some cool restrictions, for example, I am forbidden from lifting things heavier than a textbook for 6 weeks.  So that’s kinda sweet, until I realized that one generally lifts a lot of things throughout the day.  Oh well, it turned out significantly better than it could have; I healed on my own and I still have my spleen (even though it’s apparently angry at me for something).

Since (or because of) that whole ordeal, I’ve come to realize a few things:

-OHSU is a really great hospital, and it’s nice to have a great hospital 10 minutes from your college.  It also has fast wifi.

-Lots of people like me.  Well, not just me, I think this would have been the case for everyone, which means that LC has a pretty good support network for incidents like this: Not only did my friends constantly visit me during my week in the hospital, but some of the CLCs showed up, and I got periodic phone calls from the Health and Counseling Centers, as well as supportive e-mails from my professors, on-campus employers, and Student Support Services.

-Professors are generally very accommodating in times of a student’s illness, especially if the student maintains contact with the professor and keeps them in the loop and have an open dialogue about what length of time should be a realistic expectation to get late work in.

So, like I said before, I’ve been pretty much constantly working on school stuff since getting back from the hospital.  I’m almost caught up, but there are still 2 computer science programs I’m not quite done writing.  Hopefully by the end of the week!

In non-splenic news, there are some pretty significant changes coming to LC next year.  Some are good, some are bad, but I’m relatively convinced that they’re all necessary given the financial situation of the institution (and everything else).

Still, for full disclosure, because I don’t know what all the cool LC literature says right now:

-Our free shuttle to the Sellwood neighborhood will not exist next year (this affects Freshmen hardly at all. Sellwood’s cool, but there are other ways to get there, and most people never take that shuttle).
-Our free shuttle to downtown will still run during the mornings, evenings, and on weekends , but will not run during mid-day (this one is slightly inconvenient; In the time I’ve been a student here, I’ve used the shuttle 3 times during those hours.  There is always the #39 metro bus, though).
-More money for financial aid (financial aid is actually going up, not down)!
-No pay increases for administrators (sucky for them, but certainly a sign of solidarity).
-Staff/faculty computer replacement now on 5-year cycle instead of 4-year (doesn’t really affect students at all, just means that some staff might get stuck with an old computer for a year longer than before).

Our new Student Government Constitution was voted in, so that’s also cool.  Hopefully the student government we have next year will be a lot more effective and transparent than it has recently (though, to be honest, we’ve done a pretty okay job this year, if I do say so myself).

I promise that a cool video is incoming… I just need to get a handle on my backed-up schoolwork and upcoming midterms first.

12 March 2009

I just love a good documentary.

Something rather incredible happened tonight.  I had my radio show, as usual on Wednesday nights from 6-7 at klcradio.net. This week is the Gender Studies Symposium, and on the way into the station, I walked past a room in which all the featured speakers were having dinner. I happened to zero in on Andrea Gibson, a spoken word artist I have seen perform a few times and love. While doing my show, I decided to honor her presence on our campus by playing one of her pieces. My friend and co-host, Logan, decided to go upstairs and see if she could catch Andrea just to tell her for the both of us how much we love her poems and to thank her for coming to the symposium. Meanwhile, I played some Mirah, some Tender Forever, and the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs single, waiting for Logan to return with the scoop for the talk section of our show. When Logan returned, however, she did not return alone. No no no- she had brought Andrea and her crew of other slam poets- dubbed Salt Line- with her! There in the KLC studio, the bad@$$ gals delivered an impromptu in-studio performance, followed by a performance of an original song by fellow student Kelsey Morris. The Salt Line ladies are on tour and are performing at Reed tomorrow night. They were so down-to-earth and really encouraging. BEST RADIO SHOW EVER! I called my sister to tune in, and she so sweetly informed me afterward that she could tell how excited I was based on my exponential frequency of my use of the word “awesome” throughout the show…

The rest of the week holds some interesting prospects: I am planning to attend a few of the Gender Studies Symposium events including a panel titled “Targets of Police Violence: Women and Transgendered Individual” and a workshop facilitated by one of my classmates called “Consent is Sexy! Creating a Culture of Consent in Your Community.” The event I am most excited for, though, is a performance by Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu on Friday night! I will be sure to take pictures to post next week.

Speaking of performances and taking pictures for next week,  I will be playing a show tomorrow night with my band, The Internet, at the Co-op with three other on-campus bands. I’ve been sick for the past week, so hopefully I don’t destroy my voice or the reputation of my band. Shows like these happen pretty frequently amongst the very active music-loving community of LC and they are almost always a lot of fun. As I said- hopefully someone will help me document it for next week’s post!

Stay well, folks. And email me any old time about how you gender-identify, the genius of putting nutella on banana bread,  or the uncensored fun that radio that streams on the internet allows. kkucera@lclark.edu

11 March 2009

BUBBLY!!!!!!!

It’s SUNNY today… yayyy.. Still a bit chilly but sunny nonetheless and it’s been the bright spark to my day; especially since earlier this week we were experiencing really weird Portland weather. A friend of mine from Eugene always says “if you don’t like the weather in Portland, just wait 20 minutes.” And trust me we definitely got a taste of everything. dscn5662.JPGdscn5665.JPG

Last week was without a doubt one of my more challenging weeks this spring. Two midterms, 2 papers and I was SICK…. I know may seem like I’m always sick… well I’m not haha.. I just have a really sucky immune system. However, I am feeling much better this week, I only have a slight cough and Spring Break is almost here. Extremely excited for that!!! dscn5668.JPG

On top of my busy academic schedule I had to somehow fit my roommates play into my week and I’m glad I did. “The Blue Room” is probably one of my favourite productions that I’ve had the chance to go see at LC so far. No it is my favourite… Kemi  (my roommate) played the role of the “Politician’s wife” and she did an EXCELLENT job. This was my first time seeing her perform and I felt like a proud mama. I wanted to scream that’s MY FRIEND!!! Overall the play was fantastic the actors did a great job at maintaining the story line and projecting it to the audience. Unfortunately I was unable to take photos of the show but if by any chance you’re in Portland, and in the LC area it will still be showing until Saturday. dscn5672.JPG

Another event that I attended this past week was the International Fair. This is an annual event hosted by ISLC (International Students of Lewis & Clark), where the different regions of the world that are represented at LC get to I really enjoy the concert part of the international fair the most, since it showcases so much hidden talent within LC and you learn so much more about one person’s culture through an activity as minute as a dance. I have pictures up for you to see… enjoy… dscn5695.JPG

I have an 8 page paper to write..dscn5696.JPG

 

Peace & Love

Tali email me -tfm@lclark.edu

11 March 2009

It’s laundry day!

Beautiful sunny skies in Portland today, but unfortunately a bit breezy and chilly. Mt. Hood is an epic sight on days like these. It’s been awkwardly snowing off and on this last week, but I’m holding out for March 20th. I think it should be a natural law that once we hit the first day of spring it’s not allowed to snow anymore. Ok ok, I know it’s unrealistic with living in the Pacific NW and all, but I can always have hope right?

I didn’t post last week because I literally had nothing to say. Sometimes everything in life aligns just right so that you have the most boring week of monotony ever, and that seems to be the case for me recently. But to make up for that, I did have a fabulous end of the week/weekend! It was Parents Weekend, and though my family didn’t come down, it was still fun to see everyone with their parents. Some people look so much like their mom or dad it’s shocking. I also saw quite a few grandparents!! One of the events of the weekend was an a cappella concert featuring The Merry Weathers and Section Line Drive. I’m always very impressed by the talents in our singing groups, and by the talent at our school as a whole! I haven’t made it to one yet, but last year I attended quite a few Open Mic Nights and was blown away with what I saw and heard.

Also this weekend, I had some quality friend time. On Saturday night I found myself in the Forest complex having a dance party with friends. I have to admit that it was one of the best nights I’ve had with them in a while, and we all discovered my roommate’s insane knowledge of 90’s pop music to be the highlight of the evening. It was definitely a nice way to relax as papers are beginning to pile up again. I’ve always found “midterms” to be an odd concept in that they happen at different times for different people, and everyone tends to have more than one round of them. Apparently the term “test” isn’t foreboding enough these days.

Crew practice has been going really well (albeit quite cold), and despite an intense fog on Friday our time on the water is feeling very solid. Things are really coming together nicely, but I can tell people are getting antsy for racing to start. This Saturday will be our first competitive test of the season as we dual Willamette University at our home racecourse of Vancouver Lake. If anyone is in the area that morning, they should come check us out!

Spring break is coming soon and I think everyone on campus is looking forward to this. The crew team has the first three days off as a mini-break before we come back and have two-a-days and another race on the 28th in Tacoma. While I’m planning on heading back up to Seattle for the first weekend, our men’s crew team is planning a three day canoe trip down the Willamette River from Eugene to Portland. Should be an exciting adventure…talk about some team bonding!

That’s all for now! Like my subject says, it’s laundry day today and I have to go get my clean sheets out of the dryer…

Until later,
Jess

11 March 2009