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beautiful monstrosity

I call my mom even when I’m camping just to let her know I’m alivewe make great blurry faces in bright sunlightThis semester is roaring by. Like a lion on rollerskates. Or something.

Coming Out Week flierMomo and the Coop dressed as a rainbowThe Merry Weathers dressed as hairyfaced menfolkFor the first time since starting college two years ago, I actually have the perfect ratio of obligations to available time. I’m taking three academic classes: Spanish 201 to finish up my foreign language requirement, Astronomy to take care of one of my science/math requirements, and Anthropology of the Body as one of my Gender Studies major electives. I’m also taking Women’s Self-Defense, which is half ridiculous and half totally liberating. It turns out little pacifist me loves whacking the heck out of pads while perfecting the stinkeye. When those 14 credits of classes are added to the two credits I get for being a Gender Studies Symposium student co-chair, the semester clocks in at the standard 16 credits.

we separated the batter into six bowls and then added food dyeEmdowd pouring batter into the pangreen batter tastes best when licked off of heart-adorned spatulastry not to think about the contents of the frostingAstronomy is surprisingly enjoyable. Before the semester started I was steeling myself for a grueling wrestling match with the physics of light and advanced mathematics, but our professor, Ethan – who, as bonus points, wears a UtiliKilt to class almost every day – wants our Astronomy course to be less about mastering astrophysics and more about inspiring us to pursue cosmology in future. So far, all the math we’ve done for the class has been limited to the comfortable realm of proportions and trigonometry. Fun fact: Ethan has promised that the student who writes the best research paper will get to dictate the sculpting of his (currently nonexistent) facial hair. My friend Matt has decided he is going to win. He’ll be competing against approximately 70 papers – Astronomy is one of the largest classes LC offers – so he’s gonna have to really rock his topic.

Even though I’m taking four classes, co-chairing the GSS, leading Unisex, and working as an RA, I still have a decent amount of free time. It’s lovely.

We doubled the recipe to have enough batter for two layers.Emdowd is a precision machine.I’m frosting the cake — the whole thing is vegan just for funEveryone decorating the cake with four bags of M&MsLast week was my first big Unisex event of the year: Coming Out Week. You can read Lee’s feature article about it in the Piolog, our weekly student newspaper. Tuesday we hosted a game of Guess the Het, which is a tradition here at LC: we invite several Reed students or other Portlanders to serve on a panel, and the LC audience members ask general interest questions in hopes of narrowing down which panelist identifies as a heterosexual (and there’s only one, so the odds are against you!). Wednesday was a small Speak Out Poetry Slam, a sort of teaser for the impending first big Slam of the year. Thursday paraded a lot of crossdressing through the Trail Room – three of our a capella groups performed, and all of them interpreted the title Out Loud differently. Section Line Drive dressed in drag, Momo and the Coop dressed in a rainbow, and the all-girls Merry Weathers filed onto the stage looking like a manly moustache brigade. We rounded off Coming Out Week with a performance by singer-songwriter Chris Pureka, who opened for Ani DiFranco this summer and for Dar Williams last week in Portland.

I got my footie pyjamas at the Goodwill Bins and I wear them excessivelyeveryone helped light the candles 25 feet from the neartest buildingSo much delicious!My birthday was on Tuesday! I’m finally 21, which mostly means that I can get into all those poetry and music shows I was previously barred from on account of my age.

isn’t it beautiful?showers are particularly unnecessary while campingwe toasted bagels for breakfastsuccessful bubbles!our hardwon teaOn my birthday, I practically knocked my PE professor over when it was my turn to practice my disarming strikes. (That’s a good thing. It means I’m doing them right.)

When I went into the Dovecote on campus to get Kris Tea to fix my latest knitting goof-up, she led the whole café in a rendition of happy birthday, then snuck me a chocolate-filled pastry. Awww.

After classes, my friend Emdowd and I made my birthday cake! Emdowd, who just returned to LC after spending a year studying abroad in Munich, lives in the German language apartment on campus. The only thing I know how to say in German is “whatever” (schnickschnack), so it’s a good thing Em and her flatmates all speak to me in English when I visit. Accompanied by a string quartet version of Beatles classics, Em and I adapted two or three recipes trawled from the internet to concoct a magnificent vegan rainbow cake. We didn’t use enough baking soda, so the resultant beautiful monstrosity was a bit too dense – it looked just like playdoh, for reals – but other than that it tasted pretty good, thanks to the seven cups of powdered sugar in the frosting.

Mel and me at the beginning of our hikeMel informs me that the tree consentedFollowing cake-baking, I had dinner with Jon Sands, one of my favourite Slam poets who happened to be visiting Portland from New York City. October 6 was the first LC Poetry Slam of the year, so Apocalips, our Slam team, was hosting Jon as a guest performer. I pulled the birthday card and asked Jon to perform my favourite poem of his, “Being Human Being,” and he agreed, even though he hadn’t originally planned it into his set. Halfway through the Slam, Jon roused the whole audience into a riotous rendition of Happy Birthday, but rather than dedicating it to me, he told people to dedicate the song to whatever they loved most at that moment. It was perfect. I spit one of my poems, and some of my favourite people (like Christabel, Mel, Kelly, and Anna) rocked their poems, too.

the view toward shore at the capethe view from the capeAfter the Slam, I called up seven of my best friends on campus and invited everyone over to my room for cake decorating and consuming, pyjama attire recommended. We lit the squiggly candles (there were 12 of them, which we rationalised as 21 backwards) out in the parking lot, and since it was after quiet hours by this point, everyone sang happy birthday to me in whispers. It was splendid. When four of the people in attendance at your birthday party are RAs, everyone follows the rules.

Mel, looking epic and rulebreaking behind the guardrail on the capeThe very next day, Mel and I headed for the coast to kick off Fall Break shortly after she got off work. Our late start (we had to stop for supplies at her house, my house, and the grocery store before leaving Portland) meant that we didn’t arrive at Cape Lookout until close to midnight, but that wasn’t going to stop us from lighting a fire and roasting s’mores! The next morning, we slept in until almost noon, then spent another two and a half hours trying to boil water over our fire, which needed a couple of jumpstarts in the process, so that we could make our tea. We are tea fiends, both of us. The day couldn’t start until we’d had our ashy, rapidly-cooling tea.

We packed up and went for a five mile hike out onto the cape. At the very tip of it, we could see the shore waaaay behind us, and the ocean, curving convex at the edges of the horizon, out in front of us. It was beautiful. We were so leisurely about our day that we actually ran out of time to go to the beach itself. Oh well – it just means we’ll have to go back really soon, so we can get our wavejumping and sandcastle-building fix.

I’m going to spend the remainder of Fall Break mostly doing homework. I’m reading this really fascinating book for my Anthro of the Body class called Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word) – it’s a memoir, so I’m calling it ethnographic fieldwork for my Anthro final research project.

I have more stories, and you can hear about them if you email me at maisha@lclark.edu. See you next week for a more reasonably lengthed blog entry!

10 October 2009