Kathryn Kucera’s Exploring Portland+Music

The sun don’t shine, but the leaves are golden.

I’m alive! Hallelujah, praise be. Yes, the last time many of you checked, I was indeed alive and thriving here at Lewis & Clark. However, in the week between posts, I was struck by a most malicious sniper. Indeed, I got the flu.

Because of this, most of my weekend and the beginning of the week are a blur of fevered sleep, a trip to the health clinic, and more sleep, and less pleasant things to speak of. Today I am beginning to rise from the dead and dragging my decongestant/vitamin C tablet stuffed zombie of a self to classes. Living with lots of people who come from so many diverse places and backgrounds is one of my absolute favorite things about LC. Unfortunately, I am not used to the germs they bring with them and so my immunity system has taken quite the blow this semester!

Before the downfall, there was one fun thing that happened this weekend. “Once Upon a Weekend” is a show on campus comprised of short plays written by students that are then casted, directed, rehearsed, and performed all by students, all in one day! It’s quite an astounding process and the show was so great! The theme was “Revenge (Sweet, sweet)” and made for some very entertaining plots. My roommate, JJ, and many of our friends participated in the show as actors and playwrights. In between each play, the on-campus a cappella groups (Section Line Drive, Momo & the Coop, and the Merry Weathers) performed, which is always a treat. The highlight for me was Section Line Drive’s rendition of Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago”. It was breathtaking!

Sorry that there aren’t any pictures this week. It’s hard to snap a Kodak moment from the grave. But I did manage to keep it short, and I promise lots of pictures and gold stars next week! As always, feel free to email me about future flu remedies, the soothing affects of applying henna while watching a frustrating debate, or the uncanny similarities in the lives of the characters on “The Office” to people in your own.

kkucera@lclark.edu

22 October 2008

Je suis en retard!

Bonjour! You know some days feel more like “college” than others. Today is one of those days. This morning my alarm clock mysteriously didn’t sound, (though I distinctly remember setting it last night) and I woke up at 8:44. This would not have been an unreasonable time except that I have Exploration and Discovery at 9:10. Coincidentally, I also happened to have a midterm in that class today. Needless to say, I rushed through my daily routine and, thankfully, made it on time. I was double relieved when my heart rate slowed to a normal pace and I succeeded in writing a coherent essay. After lunch, I also had to meet with my French professor for an oral midterm exam, which went really well! I am going to a meeting on Friday to get some info on a potential double major in SOAN and French…

My bikeandrew & deannaLiam, Logan, and KedwardNow I am sitting in Maggie’s (the café on campus) listening to Andrew Bird and reflecting on my wonderful Fall Break. I finally had the chance to take my bike out on the town. Some friends and I biked down to Sellwood (a neighborhood in Portland). We hit up Sellwood Bikes, where I purchased yellow handle bar tape. My friends Logan and Deanna also have blue bikes with yellow tape, so we are in the process of creating a bike brigade. Any logo ideas? We also went to the Goodwill where you pay by the pound and loaded up on sweaters and boots for the cold season, which is fast approaching! Before heading back, we got bagels and hummus at a coffee shop called The Ugly Mug. The coffee was great but the light switch for the bathroom is located outside the bathroom, which was a great source of confusion and subsequent humiliation. Thus I am conflicted about saying it is a new favorite coffee shop. The Willamette River

The Show!That night we took the MAX to north Portland to go to a show. The venue was called The Coop, and it’s basically a communal-living house that the tenants open up as a venue for indie and punk rock shows. The inside is very eclectic: multi-colored walls, record players, funky art, mismatched furniture, a pool table, Chinese lanterns- it looked like a very lived-in art gallery. There were tons of people so it was pretty packed, but the show was so great! We were seeing Paul Baribeau, a folk-punk singer-songwriter (http://www.myspace.com/paulbaribeau), along with two local bands: Hey Tiger!, a trio featuring a saw-player, a guitar, and a glockenspiel (http://www.myspace.com/heytigerband); and Destroy Nate Allen, a punk-rock husband and wife who made everyone form a circle around them as they danced in the middle, playing a guitar and a tambourine and singing punk-rock songs about loving each other, being uncool, and social justice. (http://www.myspace.com/destroynateallen) It was a very intimate and interactive show, and I hope to return to the venue soon.Destroy Nate Allen

With two midterms under my belt, and yet another week of dry skies, I’m feeling good. I need to get to work on my Cultural Anthropology paper before my Self Defense for Women class tonight, so here is where we part, mes amis. Feel free to shoot me an email to ask about the joys of celebrating holidays at alternate dates, riding your bike without mittens, working your angles, or to share anecdotes about sleeping in the airport.

kkucera@lclark.edu

15 October 2008

Hot Yam! The first blog of the year…

The first blog. Sigh. Where to begin? Though it is only a month and half into the semester, I feel that in order for you to join me on this journey, I must bring you up to date. And with my artistically disheveled mind, lists, often scrawled on multicolored Post-It notes and slapped all over my desk, save my life. So here is a list for you:

The 5 Most Memorable Moments of My First Month of My First Semester of My First Year of College:

 1)  Bicycle Love.
My lovely blue bicycle!The bike culture in Portland is fascinating. Everywhere you turn on campus and downtown you see a two-wheeled beauty whizzing past. I have an adorable little vintage beach cruiser back home in California, but it wouldn’t stand a chance on the hills and gravelly paths around LC. The bus system here is very efficient, and can take you pretty much anywhere off-campus. However, once you are downtown, making your way around Portland on foot can be rather time-consuming. As soon as I got here, finding a bike was essential. Finally I found a man on Craigslist who restores vintage bikes and he had a 1975 Huffy road bike just my size! My friend Karl and I took a bus out to Beaverton to pick it up and I am completely smitten. We cleaned off the rust with a bit of steel wool and replaced the brakes, and that sky blue baby is as good as new. I have already enjoyed getting to sleep in five minutes later since I don’t have to walk to class in the morning!

2)  Exploring Hawthorne

Hawthorne SunsetA couple of weekends ago, a group of friends and I took a Trimet bus out to the Hawthorne district of Portland. This is one of my favorite parts of Portland just to go and hang out or to shop.  I have found the best vintage here and a record store at which I found a great Leo Kottke album. Photo by Logan Fields.We ate at a delicious Thai restaurant called Vege Thai. Everything on the menu was vegetarian, including soy shrimp and soy chicken! My friend Logan and I split pumpkin curry with brown rice. And squash-darn*, that was the best pumpkin curry I ever did have! On the way back to the bus stop, we popped into a local produce market and bought some fruit and honey sticks. Dinosaur Eggs

3)  Open Mic Night

Singing at Open Mic in the Platteau!In the basement of Platt-West lies the Platteau, the student-run art center on campus. It is equipped with a dark room, a ceramics studio and dance room, as well as a piano and a small stage. Open mic nights are held here pretty frequently. I went to the first one as an audience member but I was too chicken to sign up to play. However, I was so inspired by the talent and acceptance of my fellow LC students that when the second open mic rolled around, I worked up the courage to play a song. I played “Born” by Over the Rhine. It was really scary, but I was glad I had done it in the end. Gareth!

4)  Dorm Life

Our door at the moment.Living in a building with hundreds of other people your age is an adventure in and of itself. One such adventure that sticks out so far is the dance party in the Ponderosa basement (in Forest). My friend Dick is a talented amateur DJ and he manned the computer/iPod while kids created a makeshift rave by wearing headlamps and dancing furiously about to MGMT and M.I.A. The result was a very sweaty basement and an unprecedented amount of dance-induced delirium.Girls’ Night! Life in the dorms isn’t always crazy, however. Last night was the first night of Fall Break and some girlfriends and I spent it sitting on the floor of my room, listening to Joni Mitchell and Hot Chip records while drinking tea, talking, and painting our toenails. Girls’ Night IIMysteriously, this evening did end with a dance party to A-ha’s “Take On Me”…

5)  Poetry Slam!

The slam poetry club at LC, “Apocalips,” arranged for the Junkyard Ghost Revival tour to make their first stop at LC. The Junkyard Ghost Revival is a spoken word group consisting of Derrick Brown, Buddy Wakefield, Anis Mojhani, and my favorite contemporary poet, the amazing Andrea Gibson! The amazing Andrea Gibson!The poets switched off performing their pieces, accompanied by Timmy Straw, a local musician whose music was beautiful, challenging and moving. Timmy Straw.We were front and center, and our minds were thoroughly blown by the entire show! My favorite, of course, was Andrea’s performance of “For Eli.” Check it out!

So… sorry this was so long. But look at the bright side: I have posted lots of pictures, and now you are all up to date. Posts from here on out will be shorter and more detailed. Stay tuned! And, as always, feel free to email me and exchange curry recipes, wax poetic, or ask about why calling someone a ferret as a term of affection can easily be misconstrued.  kkucera@lclark.edu

*a pun, relating to the inclusion of pumpkins in the squash family

9 October 2008