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self-propelled exploration

Campus Safety officers let me engrave my laptop with their tattoo-gun-like engraving tools in exchange for Sunday s’mores
It’s the Tenth Week. That’s college-speak for burnout time. The last sprint of the semester is just a week stretch, a Thanksgiving break hurdle, and another week stretch, and then we’ll catapult right through the Final Exams finish line.

this is Sirius, courtesy of Google images, not my camerathis is also Sirius and he also lives in Google Images, but will not appear in my Astronomy paperit took forever to cut this out this stencil that I invented and then it was a little too big for the screen I usedMy first final paper (on the red controversy of Sirius) is due on Thursday next week in Astronomy, so I barricaded myself in the library for a five-hour stint on Tuesday to gather and read my sources. I was initially experiencing research turbulence, so I booked an appointment with one of our super helpful reference librarians, and she set me up with about twice as many sources as my paper actually requires. I got thoroughly acquainted with the Periodicals section of the library, and then went on a date with the photocopier machine. This weekend, I’ll be distilling all that research into a five-to-seven page paper that presents the evidence for several competing explanations for why the ancients recorded Sirius as reddish when today it is distinctly bluish.

It somehow turned out to be Craft Week in Maishaworld. Observe:

another student screenprinting a tentacley creature while my shirt dries on the floorthe finished product! I had to touch up some spots with a paintbrush.1. On Sunday, I abandoned homework for a few hours to attend a screenprinting workshop in the Co-op on campus. I whipped up a tea-based design, taped it to a window to trace it onto freezer paper, painstakingly cut it out with a combination of x-acto knife and kid scissors, taped it to the largest screenprinting frame the Co-op could muster, and squeegeed purple paint onto the screen, which transferred my design to my t-shirt. It was awesome! If I had an extra few weeks without homework, I would just screenprint t-shirts for everyone for Christmas. Since that’s not gonna happen, I hope everyone likes receiving hugs as gifts. College makes you money and time deficient.

my scarf is so finished it even has tassels!2. I finally finished my first scarf! I’ve graduated from scarves and now I’m starting in on my first hat. My knitting teacher, Kris Tea, says I’m getting good enough to be worthy of quality yarn; the yarn I’m using now is blue and fuzzy, and it’s a lot nicer than the stuff I used for my scarf.

my three-footed plaidypus3. I hand-sewed a plaidypus shirt! I am immensely pleased with this visual pun. The platypus was cut from a secondhand pair of plaid pyjama pants I picked up at the Goodwill Bins for the express purpose of this kind of crafting. Not-so-secretly, I hope to begin making things like this in some degree of quantity and selling my creations at the Co-op. Or Etsy. Winter break project, perhaps?

my button collection is constantly updating itselfGerardo Calderón, music-making while Nelda Reyes told a genesis storyThe three-day Annual Ray Warren Multicultural Symposium was this week! I really, truly loved this year’s theme, Mixed: The Politics of Hybrid Identities, because I feel like almost everyone feels a little mixed, no matter what they look like on the outside. Attending the panel Remix: Identities and Artistic Expression encouraged me to reflect upon how I stir, stitch, and spin my various identities into my creative pursuits. Of the panelists, I particularly enjoyed Leyendas de México, a storytelling/music-playing bilingual performance by two artists who emigrated from Mexico to the US a number of years ago. They said that they chose to perform legends in order to reconnect to their indigenous roots. Click for a video of their performance.

before the Race Monologuers entered the roomthe Race Monologues were funny, moving, sad, jubilant, personal, political - and mixed.I also attended the Race Monologues, which had so many people in attendance that it probably violated fire code – people were perched all around the periphery of the room because all the seats were full. The Race Monologues were born at LC six years ago by a student who wanted to participate in the Vagina Monologues but was barred on account of his gender (the Womyn’s Center at the time was not as inclusive as it is today) – so he created his own space where students of other marginalised demographics could speak about their experiences. The Race Monologues, unlike the Vagina Monologues, are written and performed by the participating students every year, so it’s really a once-in-a-lifetime performance. Although anyone and everyone can participate, the Race Monologues have always drawn a high proportion of participants of colour. I think it’s great, since people who have been systemically marginalised because of their race by a society still struggling toward equality need to have a space where they not only have a voice, but listners too. I loved every single monologue even more than I loved the three cups of hot apple cider I quaffed during the mingle-style social following the performance.

Nani (my grandma) sent me this excellent teapot yesterday just becauseif you get the chance to see this documentary, DO ITTonight is the last night of Beckett(s)! I saw it last Saturday with Mel. The whole stage is a world, it turns out – the performance was all over the theatre building, even in the men’s shower and the costume loft. The first hour was a confusing self-propelled exploration of a handful of shorts being performed all over the building simultaneously (I managed to see most of most of them), while the second hour was the regular sit-down style performance of End Game. I’m glad I had to read Waiting for Godot in high school, because it somewhat prepared me for the off-kilter nihilism of Samuel Beckett’s playwriting. I’m friends with several of the theatre people, and they insist that this production is haunted by Samuel Beckett’s ghost – they’re convinced that something catastrophic will transpire tonight at the dénouement of the show, since several things have already gone horribly wrong at almost every performance thus far. The night I saw Beckett(s), though, it was immaculate. If you’re in the Portland area, I definitely recommend you drive, bus, scooter, bike, or walk on over to Fir Acres Theatre. Just be prepared for a strange night of macabre humour, hopeless nonsensicalness, and ennui. Samuel Beckett wasn’t exactly the most cheery of playwrights.

And with that, it’s time I turn to the army of articles on my floor that all insist different reasons for Sirius’s alleged colour shift. Here’s my email address, you know what to do with it:


14 November 2009