...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Sing the glory, Oregon...

...And to victory urged the heroes
Of our mighty Oregon!

This evening I went with Dad and Andy to the UO Ducks women's basketball game at Mac Court. What a game!!!! We were playing Stanford, the fifth-ranked team in the nation. They took an early lead--for the first 15 minutes or so, it seemed as though, as Duck coach Bev Smith said in her post-game interview, the Duck basket was covered in cellophane. We just could not get anything in. We were playing great defense, though, so we kept their score down. By the end of the first half, we were starting to claw our way back up, and by halftime we had narrowed their lead to five or so points. They pulled ahead at the start of the second half, then we went on a run and finally pulled ahead with about five minutes left. Dad and Andy and I disagreed about this on the walk home, but I thougth Stanford was playing dirty: they kept trying to foul Mizokawa, our point-guard, just because she's our weakest free-throw shooter and then they could regain possession. It's like purposely walking a batter in baseball, or bidding one dollar above someone else's guess on The Price is Right: it's legal, but it's a little dirty. And as strategy, it didn't even work for them: we won, 62 to 58!!!

Oh man, it was exciting! Mac Court was more full than I've ever seen it for a women's game: almost all the levels were packed. It was a sea of green and yellow; everyone was stomping their feet and screaming and cheering. It was just electric. And being there with Dad and Andy brought back memories of elementary school, when our whole family was really into Duck women's basketball. Andy and I were members of this Jr. Ducks club, and we got to do all of these meet-the-players activities and got trading cards and T-shirts and things. For at least a couple seasons, I think I went with them to almost all of the home games. I was even inspired to play basketball in fifth grade, my first and last forray into organized athletics. Dad and Andy kept going to the games, but I lost interest for some reason and stopped. I had forgotten how much fun it used to be.

On a different note: today, someone found my blog by searching "Out of the Whirlwind" on Google; apparently, because of this entry, I'm the second search result, even before Biblical references and religious pages!! (In last quarter or so of the Book of Job around, God speaks to Job "out of the whirlwind," and God's speeches are sometimes called the Whirlwind Discourses.) Someone also recently reached this site by searching mary ann spier, haircut. Sweet!

Monday, December 27, 2004

2004 in review, meme style!

Anyone remember the episode of King of the Hill in which Dale tries to seduce Nancy "Monkey-style!!" all jumping on the bed in his tighty-whiteys, hooting like a monkey? No? Well, it's very funny, and I considered titling this post "2004 in review, monkey-style!" but I thought that no one would get it and it would be weird.

I promise to never use the phrase "tighty-whiteys" again.

Anyways, this meme is from Gwen. I enjoyed filling it out; I hope you enjoy reading it! (Warning: this is long. Like, really long.)

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?

I voted in my first presidential election. I got drunk. I went to a hockey game. I co-founded a club. I got a job. Those are all memorable things that I can pin down to one moment in time, but there were tons of little things that I’d never done before: spoken up in situations when before, I would have held my tongue and later regretted it; taken the initiative to meet new people; gone to movies by myself without feeling weird about it; taken a trip all by myself. Actually, I feel as though I’ve grown up a lot over the past year.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any actual resolutions, just a half-assed “Well, I guess I’ll try to get in better shape.” (Hee! I said “half-assed.”) I did lose some weight, so I guess I’ll try to do that again this year. My biggest resolution this year is to become better informed about world events and more literate/better read. Like, I should actually read the front section of The New York Times when I pick it up every day, instead of just reading the Arts and Leisure and Dining and Circuits sections then letting the old papers lay around my room for weeks because I feel guilty for not having read them and then sneaking out in the dead of night to recycle them. Also, I’m going to try to be nicer and less judgmental.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Jennifer, one of my professors from last spring, gave birth over the summer and I baby-sit her daughter Little C a couple times a week.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank God.

5. What countries did you visit?

Canada—Vancouver, BC for spring break.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

A boy.

7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Hmm…I guess I’m not the date-etching type, because I can’t think of anything.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Probably working at the Migrant Summer School again. This year I felt like I was connecting with the kids in a way I never had before. That, combined with going down to Eugene to hear Gustavo Gutiérrez speak at the UO, cemented my desire to continue studying Latin American liberation theology, and recently I’ve begun to look at graduate programs in theology. That feels like a pretty big accomplishment, but I think my greatest achievements were individual relationships with incredible people. And ordinary people too, heh.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I didn’t do everything I could to preserve a troubled friendship, and now I’m not sure where the friend and I stand or whether we’re even friends any more.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had one horrendous period episode, conveniently on the morning of the first unit test for Biology 151, and I threw up a couple times from the Norwalk virus in the spring, but that was it. I had a few colds, but overall I’ve been pretty healthy.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Maybe my black wool peacoat that I got at the Buffalo Exchange in Eugene. I love it! In reality, though, the best things I bought were probably books.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

All the people who busted their asses working to get Kerry elected and to elect progressive politicians at all levels. Shout-out to LC Sarah, Matt, and Adam, my College Democrats/Students Against Bush/LC4Kerry compatriots!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Those who were apathetic about the election or did nothing to inform themselves about the candidates and the issues. People who voted for Measure 36. People who voted for Bush based on “moral values.” The friend I mentioned in question 9. My own behavior make me appalled and depressed sometimes.

14. Where did most of your money go?

God only knows.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Going back to school in late August (I know: geek). My birthday. Seeing school friends Ryan, Chris K, and Mattover the summer—four months is a long time! Taking tango lessons with Home Sarah and then going to the Oregon Country Fair with her. Seeing Gustavo Gutiérrez in November.

16. What song will always remind you of 2004?

Ask me again in five years, when 2004 is far enough in the past that I need to be reminded of it.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier in some ways and sadder in some ways. That’s a cop-out answer, but it’s the best one I can give.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner by about fifteen pounds.
c) richer or poorer? Probably richer, but I feel poorer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Dancing, going on roadtrips, watching movies, reading for fun, reading the newspaper, hanging out with friends.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

The Three Ws: wasting time, worrying, and wallowing in self-pity.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

I spent it in Eugene with my family: my mom, dad, and younger brother Andy. Christmas Eve we all went to the evening service at our church, watched A Christmas Carol at home (the George C. Scott version, not the Muppet one), then Mom and I went back for the 11pm service, and I performed with the bell choir. Christmas Day we spent at home, opening gifts, stuffing our faces, relaxing, watching DVDs, and playing games.

21. Did you fall in love in 2004?

Gwen’s answer is a good one: “I loved.” I didn’t fall in love romantically, but I nurtured relationships with those whom I love.

22. How many one-night stands?

None, ever.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Now and forever, The Amazing Race! Also, Freaks and Geeks, Joan of Arcadia, even though I don't get to watch it much, and King of the Hill. Also, um…America’s Next Top Model. There, I said it.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Hate is too strong a word. I dislike some people whom I didn’t hate at this time last year, but I try not to spend too much time actively disliking those people.

25. What was the best book you read?
Tough question. Actually, I’ve read more “best books” this year than any other year. An Interrupted Life by Etty Hillesum was the number one best book I read, just because of the depth of emotion, honesty, humanity, and spirituality contained within it. Other incredible books included The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (and everything else) by Milan Kundera, Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Maria Rilke, the poetry of Rilke, and Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics by Sasha Cagen. I’m reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig, right now, and I have a feeling that that’s going to be a great book as well.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The Velvet Underground.

27. What did you want and get?

An iPod! A nice haircut. Friends.

28. What did you want and not get?


29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Maybe The Motorcycle Diaries. I also loved Mean Girls. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned nineteen on February 18. Cloe and I skipped Self Defense for Women and went out to dinner with Angela and Alyssa (Cloe and Alyssa’s birthdays were right around mine, so we celebrated together). Afterwards we went back to the dorm for chocolate fondue with Laurel (whose birthday was also the nineteen; she turned twenty), Jeannie, and a whole mess of other people. I had a great day. My birthday was on a Wednesday, and on Sunday, Matt dropped me off in Eugene on his way to the Coast with Chris L, Chris K, and Angela P, so that I could surprise my family. The weekend after, I bought a bunch of tickets for movies at the Portland International Film Festival and spent the day downtown by myself, as my own birthday present.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Falling in love.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?

Despite the repeated allegations by family and friends that I’m a hipster (or, more realistically, a wanna-be hipster), I have no fashion concept. I buy clothes mostly at thrift stores and at your cheaper retail stores, with a healthy dose of shirts from Glarkware. I wouldn’t describe myself as fashionable, but I’m not aggressively unfashionable, either. I try to find things that I’ll be able to wear indefinitely, that won’t go out of style…clothes that exist in a kind of vacuum that fashion doesn’t bother to concern itself with. (I do, however, suspect that I may have been the one to bring argyle back into style.)

33. What kept you sane?

Solitude, friends, and faith.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Peter Saarsgard: I think he’s an incredible actor and not too bad-looking to boot. I loved Gael García Bernal in The Motorcycle Diaries. I really like Lindsey Lohan: she’s a talented actress, and I want to root for her, but she’s making it hard with her constant presence in the gossip magazines. Girl looks rough, is all I’m saying. Like, lay off the sunless tanner, Lindsey, because no one looks good as a pumpkin. As far as public figures go: Václav Havel, now and forever, amen.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election and all it encompassed. Issues facing migrant farmworkers.

36. Who did you miss?

Everyone who was overseas this semester.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

There’s no way I can choose something like that. How about, if I met you in 2004 and you’re reading this page, you’re included in this answer. (If I met you before 2004 and you’re reading this, then you’re also awesome, because I only give out this website address to cool people. Or, alternatively, you are cool for seeking out this site.)

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.

It’s not very eloquent, but I guess I learned how to be more comfortable in my own skin and with myself.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“You’ve got to get yourself together / You’ve got stuck in a moment / And now you can’t get out of it / Don’t say that later will be better / Now you’re stuck in a moment / And you can’t get out of it.” And along the same U2 vein: “It’s a beautiful day / Sky falls you feel like / It’s a beautiful day / Don’t let it get away.”

Friday, December 24, 2004

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
Who mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!

O come, O Wisdom from on high
And order all things far and nigh.
To us the path of knowledge show
And help us in that way to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!

O come, O come, O Adonai
Who came to all on Sinai high.
And from its peak a single law
Proclaimed in majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!

O come, O Shoot of Jesse
Free your own from Satan's tyranny.
From depths of hell your people save
And give them victory o'er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!

O come, O Key of David, come
And open wide your heavenly home.
Make safe the path to endless day
To hell's destruction close the way.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!

O come, O Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by your advent here.
Love stir within the womb of night
And death's own shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!

O come, Desire of Nations, bind
All people in one heart and mind.
Make envy, strife, and quarrels cease
Fill the whole world with heaven's peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee O Israel!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

It's the miracle of Christmastime!

I got a shortish haircut...that I don't hate!! I was cautiously optimistic as I left the salon, but of course the hairdresser had gooped it up and flat-ironed it (something I never do), so I couldn't really tell how it would end up looking. The day-after is really the test for how a haircut will end up looking. And I like it! It's actually a little too short (just past my shoulders), but you know what? It'll grow. By the time school starts up again, it'll be an inch or so longer, which should be about the perfect length.

Not that it's all about me or anything.

Yesterday I went to Toys R Us with my mom to look for a certain game, and I fell in line behind this hippie couple. As they wandered the aisles, looking for the sports section, I overheard the guy saying to the woman who was with him, "Baby, you gotta relax. I can feel your chakras are all blocked up, even from back here....Man, this place is a feng shui disaster."

I love Eugene.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Lithuania! Latvia! Lebanon! Uh...Lisbon!

In my family, we can turn pretty much anything into a competetive game. (A perfect example of this is how we compete to see who can be the first to guess what a commercial is for.) Sometimes this can be annoying. Other times, it's awesome.

Tonight was one of the awesome times. Dad and Andy and I were lying around idly when Andy picked up the 2004 almanac. "I'll say the first letter of a country; you guys guess which one it is," he suggested to Dad and me. The game sounded pretty lame at first, but Dad and I really got into it. It was pretty fun. We should play it back at school after the break. I think the high light may have been when I called out "Byzantine Empire!" and Dad nearly fell on the floor laughing.

Other games we've played: someone reads out the definition of a word from the dictionary, and we try to guess the word; someone reads the synonyms for a given word out the thesaurus and we try to guess the original word; someone calls out a state and we try to guess the state nickname; someone reads the state motto and we try to guess the state.

We're pretty geeky over here, but we have fun! And by the way, in case it comes up in the future: Oregon's state motto is "She flies with her own wings."

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Apparently, there is life after finals

Ah, break: the time of year when my referral logs change from the ubiquitous lclark.edu to everyone's home internet providers. Because I'm a nerd, I like to try to figure out which domain name corresponds to which person: based on the times I know I've visited my own blog, I know that I'm dialsprint.net, for instance, and that Ryan is proxad.net, and I'm pretty sure Amanda P. is bc.ca or something like that.

Like I said: nerd.

My finals ended up going pretty well, for the most part. I studied like mad for my Old Testament final, but it ended up not helping very much for the identification and multiple choice portions of the test. I mean, I made 139 flashcards about different scriptural passages that proved certain scholarly perspectives and names and dates and battles and imperial powers and kings, but the questions just didn't pertain to things that I had studied. That was frustrating. The essay segment, though, went very well, I thought. It was essentially a document-based question about this passage from the Psalms of Solomon; since we hadn't studied the Psalms of Solomon (which are distinct from both the Psalms in the Bible and the Song of Solomon) in class, we just had to apply knowledge we did have to analyze about a dozen verses. My other finals--Religion in Modern America, Modern Mexico, International Affairs, and Spanish--all were fine. Old Testament was just a hard class for me. Kugler's a tough professor.

My last final, International Affairs, was Wednesday morning, so since I wasn't leaving until Thursday, I had the rest of the day to get my affairs in order and say goodbye to people and goof around. I ended up taking the 2:00 shuttle downtown to do some shopping, then I met Sarah and her roommates Hee-Sun, Kristin, Laurinda, and our friend Tim for dinner at Typhoon, then watched the finale of America's Next Top Model with Riana, Amy, Peggy, and others, which...okay, maybe Yaya was a little arrogant and pretentious, but she was way more gorgeous than Eva. Anyways, I'm totally hooked. Damn you, reality TV! Damn you, Tyra Banks!

The rest of Wednesday evening and early Thursday morning was spent hanging out and talking with Matt and Sarah and her roommates. It's pretty incredible and more than a little tragic that those who are going abroad next semester, I won't see for an entire year. Matt's going to be in Russia (by way of India, Korea, and China), Sarah'll be in the Dominican Republic, and J. Lee will be in Chile this spring, then I'll be in Chile next fall.

On the other hand, it's exciting that soon I'll see those who have been abroad this semester: Ryan from France, Chris from Japan, and J. Ho from the D.R. I can't wait to see you all and hear all about your experiences! This coming semester will be one of change--welcome change, I think. I'm looking forward to all of my classes--even Game Theory!--and I'm looking forward to reuniting with old friends and strengthening and developing new friendships.

That's enough for tonight, I think. I'll leave you all with some excellent quotes, and the promise of more later:

Kristin: "These people from Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado--they're all obsessed with fresh air. In Massachusetts, we're like, 'Yeah, open the window--let in some fresh smog.'"

Mom: "Wait a minute. P. Diddy and Snoop Dogg are different people?"

Monday, December 13, 2004

Say hello to your friends (Baby-Sitters Club!)

If you know me at all, chances are you know that I carry an Olympic-sized torch for the Baby-Sitters Club series. In a nutshell, the BSC books were about a group of middle-school girls who baby-sat for the kids in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, a small town of indeterminate size.** Oh, but they did so much more. They went on Caribbean cruises, solved mysteries, went to Europe and New York and Hawaii and Iowa, won the lottery, invented slang words like "dibble" (short for "incredible," you know) and "chilly" and "stale," saved the planet, obsessed over boys, fought, commited sartorial crimes, and fought some more, all while exerting a Mafia-like monopoly over the baby-sitting business in Stoneybrook. Here's a hint: if you aren't in the BSC, you should not be baby-sitting, and they will run you out of business.

Looking back on it, they were total bitches to each other, all Mean Girlsy with their descriptions of one another. For instance, in Dawn and the Disappearing Dogs, Dawn describes Mallory thusly: "No one would ever mistake Mallory for a ballerina." When Mary Anne dares to get her hair cut short in Mary Anne's Big Makeover, the other baby-sitters won't even talk to her. And in Stacey vs. the BSC, when Stacey throws a party without inviting all the members of the club, whom she's beginning to find a little embarassing, the shit really hits the fan, and she gets kicked out of the club. (She rejoins a few books later in Stacey and the Bad Girls after learning the Very Important Lesson that the club members are the most true friends she will ever have, and also all non-club members like to steal and drink at U4Me concerts.)

Hi, my name is Jessica, and I'm obsessed with the Baby-Sitters Club.

So you can imagine my glee at finding the BSC discussion thread on FameTracker. My people! Even better, the various people posting on the thread have begun a round-robin fan fiction BSC Super Special Viva Las BSC! in which the club members, some of their classmates, and Kristy's family go to Las Vegas! I spent far too long reading it and trying hard not to totally crack up in the library last night. Dawn's chapter, in particular, is spot-on. I never realized when I was reading the books for the first time how sanctimonius Dawn was with her vegetarianism. Girl has a serious superiority complex.

Also enjoyable: The BSC meets CSI! (Chapter two is here.) Oh my God (or, as Claudia would say, "Oh my Lord!"), it is perfect. I bet Kristy's the culprit...or Claudia. After all, job-hogging (taking a job without offering it to everyone else first) has a long and storied history in the BSC of creating violence and hostility, including the near disbanding of the club in #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day.

Oh, the BSC. How I love thee.

**Kristy Thomas, the club's president, had the Great Idea (viz. BSC #1 Kristy's Great Idea) to start the club and invited her best friend Mary Anne Spier, their neighbor and friend Claudia Kishi and Claudia's best friend, recent New York City transplant Stacey (don't call her Anastasia!) McGill to join. In Book #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day, Dawn Schafer moves from California to Connecticut and in #5 Dawn and the Terrible Three she joins the club. Mallory Pike and Jessi Ramsey, eleven-year-old sixth-graders, join as junior members in #15 Dawn and Little Miss Stoneybrooke. Aside from some minor change-ups (Stacey briefly moves back to New York, then returns; Dawn moves back to California; Kristy's former nemesis Shannon Kilbourne and Mary Anne's boyfriend Logan Bruno join as associate members; Mallory drops out for awhile after she gets mono and a girl named Wendy takes her place for one book; Abby Stevenson joins in the late #80s) the club remains fairly static until the BSC series ends after book #121 The Fire at Mary Anne's House; after that, Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey continue a scaled-back version in the Friends Forever Series.

By the way, bonus points if you know how to sing the title of this post. Yes, there was a song.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Jessica sings of cheese and Nico in times of stress

Five of my favorite things right now:

1. Those little cheese rounds that come wrapped in red wax. I love those things, and yesterday I treated myself to a mesh bag of them, which I'm now joyfully working my way through. My elementary-school best friend Ashley always had one with her lunch, and I was so jealous. I was jealous of Ashley a lot, actually. She also had two American Girl dolls! One day I begged and begged my mom to buy me the wax-covered cheese, which were only available at the Friendly Street Market in Eugene, so she had to make a special trip. Then I found out that I didn't actually like the cheese; I just wanted to play with the wax. I feel guilty about that now. Sorry, Mom! I do love the cheese now.

2. The Velvet Underground. I don't have any of their music, but throught the wonders of iTunes music sharing I can access other people's music libraries and I've come to love the album "The Velvet Underground with Nico" or whatever. It's funny: sometimes I develop these ideas about things I should like, things I really want to like, based on some image I have of myself or my identity. For instance, I really, really felt as though I should like Ken Kesey, since I'm from Eugene. Then I tried to read Sometimes a Great Notion, and...no. I got about 50 pages in and gave up. I'm going to try to read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest over winter break, so we'll see how that goes. But anyways, I really wanted to like the Velvet Underground because they were instrumental in Czech history--the Velvet Revolution is so called because Václav Havel really loved them, I've heard--and I was kind of afraid that I'd hate them. But I don't, so..hurray.

3. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It's such a good book. I read it for the first time over the summer, and then I just finished it for the second time this afternoon. It's pretty heartbreaking, especially if I apply it to my own life, because on the surface I kind of think the protagonist and I have a lot in common, and I identify with a lot of what she says. It's like...where do we diverge? What's the one factor that leads her to a downward spiral into insanity, while I continue living my life normally...you know? Is it because I have hope and plans for the future? Because women have more opportunities in 2004 than they did in 1954? Maybe. Maybe the most heartbreaking thing about the novel is that within it, her madness seems almost normal; her insanity seems inevitable.

4. Unexpected compliments. The other day I was trying on what I was planning on wearing to this semi-fancy thing at the Art Museum that I went to yesterday, so I was checking myself out in the full-length hall mirror. This friendly acquaintence down the hall was like, "You look great!" It meant a lot to me, because he normally does not seem particularly effusive. Great for the ol' self-confidence.

5. My plans for tomorrow. I'm going to the Art Museum and the Portland Classical Chinese Gardens and the Barnes & Noble that's in the Lloyd Center and maybe the Saturday Market. I just have to get through my Religion in Modern America first, but I don't think that'll be any real problem.

I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend--and to those of you at LC, stop reading this and go back to studying!!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Out of the whirlwind

Remember last week when I was all excited and relieved about having finished the three-final-papers-and-a-presentation-in-four-days death march? And how I said that I wasn't going to worry about my Old Testament paper until later?

Yeah, so...I probably should have started worrying about it a little earlier. It's in now, and I think it came together pretty well--it was just frustrating as hell to have to write it all last night and this morning and this afternoon, and to know that I had no one to blame but my own self. Damn you, self! Last night was the closest I've come to an all-nighter in my college career. I did sleep from about 1:30 to 4 or so, but aside from that...I was working all night. And then I took a break and read some recaps and listened to some music and took a shower and ate breakfast and went to class and fell asleep just a little bit in class then woke up then wrote some more then went to another class then another class then babysat for Little C. then wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and stuffed eight and a half pages under Kugler's office door at 5:07.

I'm really going to try super-hard to not fall into this pattern again next semester.

In case anyone's interested, my paper was about the mythological significance of Leviathan, the sea monster that God presents to Job in the Speeches out of the Whirlwind in Job 40 and 41 and that God destroys in Isaiah 27:1 and Psalm 74:14. It's pretty widely accepted by scholars that the Hebrew concept of Leviathan was based on the Canaanite Baal Cycle, in which Baal, the hero-god of the Canaanites, destroys Yamm, the god of the sea and chaos, who is personified by Lotan, a sea dragon. I argued that in writing about God's destruction of Leviathan, the ancient authors saw God as not just triumphing over the forces of chaos (or bringing order to the chaos, as in Job), but as triumphing over the Canaanite mythologies and the non-Hebrew nations. I initially chose the topic because of my interest in marine crypotzoology, as you know if you've read my little bio dealie over to the side--my first idea was to try to argue that Leviathan and Lotan are best identified as giant squid, just because I'm really fascinated by giant squid and I know a lot about them already. Kugler was not so enthused about that idea; I think his comments on my prospectus included the phrase "rather peculiar notion." And now...yeah, I agree. The only people who really care about finding a specific animal for Leviathan and Behemoth are the fundamentalists, and that's just because they want to prove that they're dinosaurs. Anyways, I think the paper turned out pretty well, especially considering how rushed it was. I wish I could have spent more time talking about the later development of Leviathan in apocalyptic and messianic Judaism and the rabbinic traditions surrounding it, but I was already over the page limit, and it was like 4:57 by that point.

But you know what? Today was the last day of classes! Now there's just two reading days, two weekend days, three week days, and I head home. I can't believe the semester's almost over.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I got ninety-nine problems but offensive music ain't one

When I went to the gym this evening, I was heartened to see a sign that had been posted by the attendant's desk: "Regarding Music at Pamplin Sports Center: The content and volume of music played at PSC is at the discretion the gym attendant. Music must be appropriate to PSC. If you can't play it on the radio, it shouldn't be playing at PSC!!!"

I hope this doesn't come across as all pearl-clutching FCC-ish, but the music they've been playing at the gym really has made me uncomfortable several times, but I've never been sure what to say. I mean, sometimes it's not so bad: I didn't love the Milkshake song, but it was never more than just mildly annoying; same with that gigolo one that played all last year. But some of them? The song that's on the radio now, with the refrain or hook or whatever it's called that goes "I got ninety-nine problems but a bitch ain't one?" That does offend me, as does a song that includes the N-word. What's worse is that often the music is playing so loudly that there's no escaping it: even unobjectionable songs become oppressive when they're playing so loudly that I can't clearly hear my own music coming out of my headphones which are right next to my own ears with the volume turned all the way up. I often take reading with me to the gym, as do a lot of other people, and it makes it so hard to concentrate when the speakers are about fall right off the walls.

Also, the desk where the attendant controls the radio station and the volume is all the way at the front of the gym; the weight machines and cardiovascular equipment that I use are at the back, so there's no way to go up to the desk and ask them to please turn down the music without losing all the calories and stuff that I've already done. I've thought about writing a letter to the gym staff addressing my concerns, but I always chickened out.

The point is, apparently someone else was uncomfortable as well, or the management realized that the situation was not ideal. I just hope it gets better, because if I have to listen to that "I got ninety-nine problems but a bitch ain't one" song again, at a volume that rivals a space-shuttle take-off? Well, I don't know what I'd do. But I wouldn't be happy, I can tell you that.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Study break!

The library is packed!

Kathleen and I are studying for the in-class part of our Modern Mexico final, which will be tomorrow. I'm pretty confident that it will go well, and then that class will be over--thank God. I mean, it wasn't bad, so much as it just seemed sort of...inessential. I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know or hadn't already learned in Modern Latin American History last fall or IB History of the Americas in high school. I'm glad I took the class, but I'm glad it's ending.

Plus, a little part of me died the other day when the professor called Vicente Fox "Vincent Fox."

I mean, Vincent Fox.

Kathleen lent me the handout that was...well...handed out the day I was gone. Next to Cuahtehmoc Cardenas' name she had written, "Mother-fuckin' bad ass."


Saturday, December 04, 2004

A branch will spring forth from the stump of Jesse...ca

Just kidding.

I just got back from the Holiday Gala service in the chapel. Kugler, my adviser and Old Testament professor, was the second reader during the service--he read Isaiah 9:2-7, which prophesizes the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah for Christian readers of the text, of course, is Jesus, although the evidence in the text isn't as strong as fundamentalists usually say it is. (You might remember this class discussion I wrote about in September.) When I saw his name in the order of service, I was curious what he would say, since in class he's all about the historical and textual criticism and how it's all ex eventu prophecy, in which one forecasts a prediction of something that's already happened onto the past, in order to establish legitimacy for prophesies of things that haven't happened yet.

Hearing him read the text, though, reminded me of something the pastors at my church always say when they introduce a Biblical story to the children: "I don't know if it happened exactly this way or not, but I know it to be true." When I heard Kugler read Isaiah 9:2-7, I sensed that even if, as a Biblical scholar, he doesn't believe Isaiah to have written specifically forecasting the birth of Jesus Christ, as a Lutheran pastor and as a Christian, he knows it to be true. And so do I.

On my way up to Portland to visit Chris over the summer, I sat next to this friendly strawberry-blond 14-year-old. We began talking, and before long the conversation turned to religion. He was a Biblical literalist and evangelical; I'm a liberal, non-evangelical Protestant. He asked how I can be a Christian without believing the Bible to be literally true--every story, every ancestral line, every prophecy. While trying to be respectful of his religion and faith, which are no less authentic or valid than mine, I explained that I believe that stories and teachings can and do have a metaphorical value that is even more meaningful than if they were literally true.

This evening's service was important for me. This Advent season, when I hear the Isaiah prophesies read, I'm going to remember Kugler, and keep that saying in my head: "I don't know if it happened exactly this way or not, but I know it to be true."

Thursday, December 02, 2004

J is for Jessica updating her blog

Don't Trip
You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little
anti-social, and may want to start gaining new
social skills by making prank phone calls.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

Perhaps now I can get more than two and a half hours of sleep at a stretch

Thank God, my Religion in Modern America paper is now in. I can't tell you all how relieved I am. You know how at the beginning of the semester, having large reading assignments seems so oppressive? And then paper season hits, and reading seems like an enjoyable break from writing. I've never felt so relaxed to have a hundred pages of reading due tomorrow.

I'm in the mood to lounge tonight. I was thinking of going downtown for First Thursday, but I think instead I'll stay in, read, do laundry, watch The Apprentice and The Daily Show, visit people, and get to bed before 1 so that I can get at least seven hours of sleep. Yes.

Thursday is just a good day in general, I find. It's the second-best day (after Friday) for The New York Times, section-wise: Circuits, House & Home, and the Arts section; I enjoy both my classes (well...I don't totally enjoy Modern Mexico, all the time, but it's all right); I've got a 4-hour break between classes during which I can take a nap, talk with people, make appointments, get work done, go to the gym...

A nap sounds good right about now.

But! Before I go, I want to wish a very happy twentieth birthday to Ryan! We're thinking of you over here and looking forward to seeing you in a month and half. Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Hundreds of thousands of books, all to myself!

Being the very last student out of the library gives me a perverse kind of pleasure. I remember Jeannie saying last year that when she'd spend the night at the library, every once in a while she'd get up on the tables and dance and sing and walk around and stuff. I haven't hit that point, yet.

I have, however, just hit my most dangerous sleep state: it's nearly five, but I'm not tired at all. I took a 45-minute nap from 1:30 to 2:15 (Kathleen and I were working on our IA papers, so she woke me up), and I got a lot of sleep last night. I need to be up in three hours anyways, so it's tempting to just stay up--but I know that if I do that, I'll totally crash tomorrow (Wednesday--technically today, I guess) and I've got a 4-6 page paper due Thursday, so I'm going to need to be able to work on that.

After Thursday, though? All my papers will be in! Except for the Old Testament paper on the 8th. But that doesn't count quite yet.

Monday, November 29, 2004

"It's not nefarious...It's Venezuela!"

Thus spake Prof. Cortell, describing the US's contingency plan if Saudi oil should run out or prove too costly. He described Venezuela as a "more stable" oil provider than Saudi Arabia, causing Nick and me in the back row to snark to each other, "When your more stable option is Venezuela, something might be wrong with your foreign policy." Cortell saw us smiling and said that we were right to be skeptical of the plan, given the 48-hour coup in 2000 and the fact that Hugo Chavez is not the biggest fan of the US. I love nearly everything I know about Chavez (how can you not love someone who has a national nightly talk show called 'Alo Presidente!but the US probably shouldn't base its foreign policy on his being amiable to US oil interests.

In other Latin American news: J.Lee and I gave our Spanish presentation today about Mario Benedetti's Andamios, the novel we're reading for class. It went pretty well, and actually ended up being much longer than we had expected--probably 15-20 minutes. And I turned in my final paper for Modern Mexico today! It was about the effects of liberation theology on the Zapatista movement in Chiapas. Aside from spending time with my family and relaxing a little, that was the major thing I accomplished over Thanksgiving break: all 11 pages of the paper were written Friday and Saturday afternoons.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, or if you're out of the country or don't observe Thanksgiving...a good Thursday, I guess. I'm sort of getting back into the swing of things here. This is a strange little chunk of time: there's just two weeks of classes left, then a week of finals, then we're off for a month. As Kugler said today in Old Testament, it's a little like being stuck in a revolving door, and I'm not sure how much I should or can settle back into the school routine before I leave again.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I love my family

Here's why:

Dad, quizzing Andy and me on old Disney movies: "What Silly Symphony cartoon was based on the story of King Midas?"
Andy: "Uh...'Pants Oh-So-Tight'as?'"

It's funny being home after being away at college for awhile. I have to reaccustom myself to all the silly/weird/annoying things my family does, like talk all at once (I know that annoys my mom, too), quote movie lines incessantly (which is not usually annoying, so much as awesome, and something I miss while I'm at school), talk with and for our cat Daxie (there's a very distinct "Daxie voice" which we use to express her thoughts) and the funny little games we play. Like, for instance, my brother Andy, who is sixteen, invented this game with his friends: when a commercial comes on, everyone tries to guess which one it is. The first person to shout out the company or product wins that commercial. That's it. Or when we watch King of the Hill, at the end of the final credits there's always a one-liner from the show, and during the episode we compete to see who can guess what the quote will be. Only because we've all seen all of the episodes that they run in sindication, we all know what the quote is going to be and eagerly await it, sitting on the edges of our seats until we can jump up and holler "QUOTE!" Stuff like that.

Dad made up a song for Daxie that he was singing earlier, to the tune of that "I believe in miracles...something something...you sexy thing!" song: "I believe in kitty-cats!" It was great.

I've been seeing my family kind of a lot this semester--this is the third weekend I've been down in Eugene, and they've come up to visit me in Portland a couple times. The more I think about it, the more I realize that that was a mistake I made last year. I was going to be all Ms. Independent College Student, so I didn't go home at all until Thanksgiving, by which point I was pretty homesick. So I'm glad to be home this weekend, even if I do have a slightly insane amount of work to get done--being with my family is important work, too.

Just so you know...

I'm feeling better now, although crazy-busy, and I'll write more later.

Quote of the Day:

Susannah, watching the square-dancing in the barn-raisin' scene in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: "Now that is the dance of love."

I love the signs Nordstroms has in the windows of their downtown store: "You won't find any holiday decorations in our stores until after Thanksgiving Day. Why? We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. Happy Thanksgiving." I love the concept behind it, but every time I pass by those windows, I can't help but think that what they're really saying is, "Suck it, Meyer & Frank!"

I'm really going to miss International Affairs when this semester ends. Cortell is great, and I've so enjoyed getting to know Nick and Kathleen, who are also in my Modern Mexico class. Nick is a Religious Studies major, so I'll probably run into him in the future, but Kathleen is going to Ecuador next semester. Plus, I don't know if we'd hang out outside of class. It reminds me of Cale and Sara, my lab partners for Biology 151 last semester--our two-hour art discussion still ranks right up there as one of my favorite discussions ever, but we three probably wouldn't have hung out if we hadn't been put in a lab group together. I don't know if Cale and Sara still get together, but aside from saying hi when we pass by each other, I haven't seen much of either of them. I guess that's just the way it goes sometimes, but I am really greatful that Sarah and I have maintained a friendship even without being in the same Spanish class.

Have a good Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Inner peace? I could use some of that right now

My senior year of high school, I was involved in this group, the Inner Peace Club, that my friend (well, she was more a friendly acquaintance) Mieka started. Mieka's mom is a New Age-y...I'm not sure, what, exactly, but she'd come and do visualizations and guided meditations with us. (Remember, this was Eugene.) Some of it was kind of hokey, of the stare-deep-into-your-partner's-eyes variety, but a few of the practices were really helpful and I've kept using them. Once, for instance, we were to sit across from someone and go back and forth, isolating the problems that kept us from contentment, no matter how small: "I would be completely at peace if it weren't for..." When I'm upset or anxious about something, I do this with myself until I get to what I think is the root of my anxiety at that particular moment.

This afternoon, I've been having a hell of a time concentrating and have a really sick, anxious, unsettled feeling in my stomach. And I'm pretty sure I've isolated the cause of my anxiety, but I don't know what to do about it. Or I know what I need to do about it but I'm too stubborn to do it. Or I'm afraid I'll hear something I don't want to hear.

I apologize for being vague. I want to talk with my counselor. The last time I saw her was the 4th of November; someone snagged my usual appointment time on the 11th and then I had to cancel on the 18th, since I would be in Eugene. We won't be able to meet again until next Tuesday. So boo for that.

I do want to talk about seeing Gustavo Gutiérrez, but I can't do it while I'm in this mood.

I'm okay. Just feeling kind of anxious and dumb and time-wasteful.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I am the Queen of the Theater. Bow before me!

Hey! Want to go see a clever show, brilliantly conceived, directed, and acted, with a great sound system and crackerjack cast? Then whatever you do, don't go see City of Angels (or, as the South newsletter called it, City of Angles--it really is pointy down there in LA), South Eugene High School's latest theater-department offering.

The reviewer in The Register-Guard raved, so Mom and I went to see it tonight. We left during intermission, it was so bad. It seemed like the show was well-written enough, and they staged it cleverly, with the film noir half on one revolving platform and the real life story on another, but it was just beyond the abilities of most of the actors. The orchestra was so goddamn loud that it was nearly impossible to follow the plot or understand half the dialogue, and the "songs" could have used a little more work, because it sounded as though the actors were singing (or, rather, shouting out unrhymed words) to one tune, while the orchestra played another. And can we please, please, please either mic the kids sufficiently, or tell them to speak the hell up? To be fair, some of the actors were pretty good: The kid who played Stone, the film noir private eye, was great--he reminded me a ton of a young John Cusack, and he had a pretty strong singing voice, and the girl who played Alaura looked, as my mom commented, like a young Katherine Hepburn. But some of them...

Persuant to that, the quote of the day has to come from the biography of one of the actors, as published in the playbill (it's [sic] throughout). Read it dramatically and as poncily as possible to get the full effect. (You might have to switch into a "gansta" accent for part. Oh, you'll see):

This is A's 4th and final South Musical. His previous 3 were Anything Goes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and 42nd Street. He has also appeared in a number of...Oh, what the deuce do you call them?....Ah, yes! Plays! Among these, The Nerd, Hamlet, Sylvia, and Talley's Folly stand out in his memory. He would like to thank L for her wifedom (not to be confused with fifedom), A for always being (in the whitest way possible) all about the money, dollar-dollar-bill-ya'll, C for his body, A for her yurtly goodness, S for the Nanny and the Principal, A for that wonderful weekend in Reno, L for being a you-know-what, and P for guiding this crazy Acid Test through bat country (without ever stopping). Finally, ALex would like to say that, in concern to his legacy here at South, he doesn't want anyone to thank him or anything. All he hopes is that, someday in the future, he will be walking down the street and someone will sa, "Hey, that's A. H......I should thank him.

Seriously. That's what it says. In the playbill. I mean, dollar-dollar-bill-ya'll? YURTLY GOODNESS?

As if all that wasn't bad enough (and it was), the people behind us talked. Through. The entire. Goddamn. First half. I don't know if they kept talking, because we left during intermission. But I got to thinking, things would be a lot simpler if I were just appointed Queen of the Theater. I could stand outside and grant admission to the worthy, casting out the nuisances: "You! Stop cracking your gum. You with the fifteen-inch Mohawk [seriously, folks]! Get a haircut or sit in the back. AND STOP TALKING OR THE WRATH OF QUEEN JESSICA WILL BE SWIFT AND MIGHTY." And you'd better believe I'd be doling out these and these like so much candy. Sweet, sweet candy.

Don't fret: I will be writing more about Gustavo Gutiérrez and...Oh, what the deuce do you call it?...Ah, yes! Liberation theology! later. But if you'll excuse me, right now I have to go guide a crazy Acid Test through bat country. Whatever that means.

And this

"To do theology is to write a love letter to my God, my faith, and my people. I cannot always phrase my letter in the same way, but the love is always there."

"Some people--some theologians, too--speak as if they were taking breakfast with God everyday. I think it's a question of humility. I prefer to say, 'I don't know.' Innocent suffering--it's a big problem for me. Maybe someday I will know, but for now I just say, 'I am in solidarity with you, I suffer with you, and God loves you even though you suffer.""

-Gustavo Gutiérrez

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Only this for now

"The best language to speak about God is poetry...because poetry is the best language to speak about love, and God is love."

-Gustavo Gutiérrez

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

An exciting turn of events!

I just had my overseas interview with Juan Carlos. I was nervous, because I still find him a little intimidating, and I wasn't sure what he was going to ask me. It turned out to be totally anticlimactic. A few questions about why I want to go to Chile instead of the Dominican Republic, why I want to go to Valparaíso instead of Santiago, and whether I'm going to try to transfer Religious Studies credits over, and ya. It took less than ten minutes. Guys, I'm going to Chile!!!

Remember how I told you about Gustavo Gutierrez coming to the U of O? I couldn't find a ride, so I started looking at the Greyhound bus schedules. I was talking with my mom last night, and she told me that in addition to the lecture he's giving on Thursday, there's going to be a public forum with him on Friday with a reception afterwards. I was all, "Oh man, too bad I have to take the bus back to school Thursday evening...OR DO I?" I'm already missing Religion in Modern America and History of Modern Mexico on Thursday, but both professors are encouraging me to go hear Gutierrez, since he and liberation theology have a lot to do with both classes. If I stayed in Eugene through Friday, I'd miss International Affairs, which I think I can afford to do despite this incident, and Spanish. But again, Mónica Flori would be totally okay with me missing Major Periods of South American Literature to go hear a Major South American. Kugler's already cancelled Old Testament, since he'll be at a conference, and I generally don't have to babysit Little C on Fridays.

Guys, it's looking good!

So the plan is, I'm taking the bus down to Eugene on Wednesday afternoon and coming back up Saturday evening. To say I'm looking forward to it would be an understatement. The further I get into this year the more I realize that liberation theology is really my passion within Religious Studies--or really, my passion, full stop. I love it and I want to keep studying it. Going to hear Gutierrez's lecture and hopefully speaking with him at the reception will be an awesome first step.

(On an unrelated note, The Amazing Race starts again tonight!! If you're at Lewis & Clark, I expect to see you in the Akin lounge at 9pm SHARP!)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

"Canada" and "fanaticism" don't usually go together, do they?

Remember the story of the "Canadian five-cent coin" from last year? Basically I got a Canadian nickel in my change, and I wanted to show Ryan, who is Canadian. The catch was, I didn't know if Canadians called their five-cent coins "nickels" or not, and I didn't want to assume that they would automatically follow the American model, blah blah blah cultural relativism. So I came up all excited, "I have a...[dramatic pause]....Canadian five-cent coin!!" Ryan: "Yes, we call them nickels."

Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, when Cloe and Angela and I went to Vancouver for spring break last year, we bought a map of Canada and put it up in the dorm hallway, outside my room. I taped a Canadian nickel to it and wrote a little sign pointing to it: "This is a...Canadian five-cent coin!" This year, I put the map up again in the hall outside my room, since most people living around me know the joke behind it or just don't pay attention to it at all.

A few minutes ago, though, I noticed a kid that I've never seen before standing outside the room (the door was open, so I could see what was going on in the hallway), looking at the stuff I've posted outside the door. "Uh...who's Canadian?" I heard him ask someone down the hall. The person didn't know. The rest of the conversation went down something like this:

Kid: Uh...Jessica?
I: Yeah?
Kid: Um...Are you Canadian?
I: No, a friend of mine is. And I got the map in Vancouver over spring break last year. There's sort of a story behind it--
Kid, interrupting: I was just wondering, because you seemed kind of fanatical about it. About Canada.
I: [baffled] Well...not really.

[awkward pause]

I: Um...are you Canadian?
Kid: No. I have a friend who lives in Canada.

With that, he sauntered off down the hallway.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Sleigh bells ring, are ya listenin'? No.

I'm fascinated by the huge discrepencies between Ebert and the New York Times's reviews of The Polar Express. Ebert gave it four stars and raved, while Dargis seemed to be offended by it on a deep level.

See, the movie looks terrible to me. I could not believe it when I first saw the trailer a few months ago, because I liked the children's book, but the animation? Thank you, Manohla Dargis, for not being afraid to speak the truth: the characters look dead. They look like zombie robots. The trailer made the movie look so unappealing to me (and granted, I'm probably not in the target demographic, but still) that I kind of wanted to see it just to see how bad it was.

I don't love Ebert, but I generally agree with his reviews or can at least see where he's coming from. But he writes: "The Polar Express is a movie for more than one season; it will become a perennial, shared by the generations. It has a haunting, magical quality because it has imagined its world freshly and played true to it, sidestepping all the tiresome Christmas cliches that children have inflicted on them this time of year."

Dargis, on the other hand, writes: "It's likely, I imagine, that most moviegoers will be more concerned by the eerie listlessness of those characters' faces and the grim vision of Santa Claus's North Pole compound, with interiors that look like a munitions factory and facades that seem conceived along the same oppressive lines as Coketown, the red-brick town of "machinery and tall chimneys" in Dickens's "Hard Times." Tots surely won't recognize that Santa's big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler's Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will." But their parents may marvel that when Santa's big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum."

HA! Take that, Polar Express!

I'm going to see the movie over winter break, assuming it's either out on DVD then or in the second-run theater, and if it's any good, then I'll cheerfully take it all back. But I guarantee it will be bad. I mean, airborne scrotum?

Edited to add a link to the FameTracker discussion of the movie. Oh, FameTracker, how I love thee! Also, I forgot to mention that part of the reason I don't like the movie is that Tom Hanks is in it. I don't love Tom Hanks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

This almost makes Modern Mexico a worthwhile class. Almost.

Oh my gosh, the irony and intrigue in this historical fact are just delicious.

You know Lázaro Cárdenas, the populist president of Mexico between 1934-1940. He was the one who nationalized Mexican oil (PEMEX) and finally started to implement the land and labor reforms of the 1917 Constitution, like, a little late there, Mexico. Cárdenas founded the PRM (Partido Revolucionario Mexicano), which in 1946 was changed to the PRI (Partido Instituti...azado, or something. It's the Institutionalized Revolutionary Party). Because it was so powerful and also was not adverse to a little opponent-assassination, the PRI had a stranglehold on Mexican politics until only a few years ago, when Vicente Fox, of the PAN (Partido Autónoma Nacional) was elected president. In 2000, the PAN finally wrested control from the PRI. The PAN was founded in the late 1980s/early 1990s by...wait for it, wait for it...Cuahtehmoc Cárdenas, Lázaro's son!!

It's even more delicious when you know the significance of the historical Cuahtehmoc, Cárdenas's namesake. He was the nephew of the Aztec emperor Moctezuma, and after his uncle's death, he drove the Spanish conquistadores out of Tenochitlán, the Aztec capital and present-day Mexico City. The Spanish returned a few years later and imprisoned Cuahtehmoc, eventually torturing and killing him. In the early 1900s the Mexican elite began claiming Cuahtehmoc as a national hero, but in a very sanitized, domesticated way: his statue on Paseo de la Reforma depicts him in a Roman toga with anglicized features. They probably didn't realize how perfect their identification with Cuahtehmoc actually was: like the warring, imperialistic Aztecs, the Mexican elite conquered and subjected the smaller Indian tribes.

Talk about sedimented history!!

On the Latin-American Studies tangent: GUSTAVO GUTIERREZ IS COMING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON IN ONE WEEK!!! He's the founder of liberation theology, which is exactly what I want to study in graduate school and beyond!! I have to get down to Eugene to see him on the 18th. I was so excited when I got the email. Now I just have to quickly read his A Theology of Liberation so I know what he's talking about. Oh man. This is like...for Ryan, if Chopin were to come to Lewis & Clark. That's how excited I am.

I also have an excellent quote of the day, which I'll leave off with:

Peggy: Do you ever have those moments when you forget you're wearing pants?

Monday, November 08, 2004

In which I get what was coming to me

School's been kicking my ass.

Last week I had something due for every class: on Wednesday, a Spanish paper about an aspect of Tosca, by Isabel Allende; on Thursday, a paper for my Religion in Modern America class about the modernist vs. fundamentalist controversy and a response paper about The Cosmic Race by José Vasconcelos for Modern Mexico; and on Friday, an International Affairs unit exam and a prospectus for my final Old Testament paper. All of this was in addition to the election: I was canvassing all day Sunday then had a College Democrats meeting and more canvassing on Monday. Tuesday I spent all evening watching the election; by the time we got back to the dorm it was only midnight or so, but I was in no state to get any meaningful work done.

Why do I create these situations for myself? I seem to remember an analogy from a conversation over the summer about seeing how far I can lean over a cliff without falling.

I think I leaned a little too far this time. I dropped the ball on the Spanish essay. Prof. Flori handed it back today and I actually did pretty well and can revise it for a better grade, but it felt pretty crappy and totally last-minute to me. But aside from that, by Friday afternoon, when I slid my Old Testament prospectus under Kugler's office door and high-tailed it the hell out of there, I felt pretty good. I was ready to chalk up the week's score the way Clay did for his finals last semester: Jessica 4, Lewis & Clark 1.

Except, not quite. Today after IA, Cortell asked if he could talk with me.

"How did you feel about Friday's exam?" he asked as we walked from Miller to his office in the Albany Quadrangle.

"Oh, I thought I did pretty well," I said.



"Did I do poorly?" I asked.


It turns out that I got about a B minus, which is not horrible but definitely not great. It's not an acceptable standard of work if I'm going to, you know, keep my scholarship and prevent all hell from breaking loose. Cortell was concerned that since it was such a drop from my midterm grade, something may have been wrong. He's a great professor, and the only thing that was wrong was that I didn't study as much as I should have. I kind of felt like crying just a little bit.

In conclusion: college is hard. I need to study more, work more swiftly, and procrastinate less.

In happier news, today in Old Testament Kugler called Naomi, Ruth's mother-in-law in the Book of Ruth, a "poophead." I love that man.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Not to beat a dead horse or anything...

I want to explain the isolation I talked about in my last post. Thomas Friedman (who seems like an interesting character--liberal, but he supported the Iraq war) had a wonderful editorial in yesterday's New York Times titled "Two Nations Under God" that speaks to the isolation I was talking about yesterday. He writes:

...whatever differences I felt with the elder Bush were over what was the right policy. There was much he ultimately did that I ended up admiring. And when George W. Bush was elected four years ago on a platform of compassionate conservatism, after running from the middle, I assumed the same would be true with him. (Wrong.) But what troubled me yesterday was my feeling that this election was tipped because of an outpouring of support for George Bush by people who don't just favor different policies than I do - they favor a whole different kind of America. We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is.

And that's really it. I really thought that I was more in line with the majority of Americans. It's so scary to me that the majority of Oregonians and probably the majority of Americans favor a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and preemptive war, and the war in Iraq. It makes me wonder, who are we as a people? And what's my place in that?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Oh, man.

Well. By now, you all know what happened.

Last night after watching the Daily Show with about 75 people in the Rusty Nail, Clay, Sarah, Riana and I went over to Landon's house to watch the returns come in. If you watched it, you know the Daily Show ended on a pretty depressing note, with Jon Stewart's description of a map of the electoral college: "There's...a lot of red. And some blue up in the corner, where I imagine we'll all be hiding out for the next four years...huddled in a circle...probably weeping." The 45 minutes it took us to find Landon's house (seriously. We all got some good exercise, at least) was kind of a nice respite, and I can't tell you how much I was hoping that we'd get there and Kerry would have jumped way ahead. But you all know how that turned out.

I think the saddest part of last night was late in the evening, when it was pretty clear that Bush was going to take it. Some guys brought out a bottle of champagne--purchased to celebrate Kerry's victory, no doubt--and we all drunkenly toasted four more years of Bush, and tax cuts for the wealthy, and the invasion of Iran, and the conservative takeover of the Supreme Court and the reversal of Roe v. Wade. It was a bittersweet moment. Actually, just bitter.

I've been crying off and on all day. I don't know. I really, really believed that Kerry was going to win, to an extent that I never realized until now. It's just...at least in 2000 we could say that the majority of the American people voted for Gore, and that Bush only won because of the antiquated electoral college. But now...over half of the people in the country who voted actually believe that Bush was the better candidate. I've never felt so isolated as an American, and especially as a young, non-rich American woman. I keep thinking about "my" migrant kids at the summer school, and what this will mean for them. You all know that I consider myself to be pretty patriotic, but with over half of the country voting for a candidate who will roll back gay and women's rights, and immigrant's rights, and progressive taxation, and will continue to pursue a foreign policy that isolates the country from the rest of the world...I don't know. I don't feel like I belong to this country anymore.

Some things I've been reading today: everything on Hissyfit, Universal Donor, Gwen's post, and the last letter in today's Vine on Tomato Nation. Because it's not over.

The one comfort through this has been, as Clay reminded me last night and Ryan reminded me today, I did everything I could. We registered at least 300 people on this campus, dozens for the first time. Multnomah county led the state in voter turnout, and it usually trails. And, you know, Oregon did go Kerry. At least I can say that I did everything I could.

It's just so fucking depressing that that wasn't enough.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Knock knock! Trick or Vote!

Trick or Vote was fun and inspiring. Matt (the president of LC4Kerry) and I led a team of seven canvassers (aside from us, there were two other LC students, two girls from Mt. Hood Community College, and three middle-aged men) around downtown south west Portland. We had a walk list of about seven apartment buildings, so we split into three groups of three, divvied up the list, and got going. Rock the Vote! Wooooo!!!

The two men I was canvassing with were about my dad's age; one was a professional cellist and the other was a construction safety worker. I think one of my favorite things about being so (relatively) involved in this campaign has been meeting new people, from all different backgrounds, with all different stories--all united for a common purpose, corny as that may sound. Although we were kicked out of every apartment building we entered (luckily, it was always after we had or had almost finished canvassing the building), and about 85% of the people on our lists weren't home, when we were able to make contact with someone it was a genuine, beautiful moment of human connection. One elderly man laughed when I told him about Trick or Vote, then told me that he was so glad to see young people being politically active. One thirtysomething woman with a toddler told us that she mailed in her ballot the very first day she was able, so important to her was it to exercise her right to vote. And then, at the very last apartment in the very last building that Matt and I canvassed together, an elderly woman answered the door, and when we asked her if she had turned in her ballot, she got teary and started talking about how important the election is--the most important of her life, she said--and how hopeless she feels when she reads the newspapers and sees the direction the country is going. She hugged us and told Matt and me that we gave her hope. That, right there, made up for all of the grouches and the getting kicked out of buildings and the frustration.

No matter what happens on Tuesday evening (and in the ensuing weeks, as the outcome is debated and challenged in the courts), I'm going to try to remember that woman. If Bush does win, I'll be mad, and frustrated, and I will probably (and by probably, I mean "definitely") cry, but it won't mean that Matt and I and all the people coming together to fight for change have failed. That energy will still be out there. We'll just have to wait another four years, and do it again.

That being said, today's electoral vote predictions have Kerry at 283 and Bush at 246. I really, really hope that it stays that way!!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

My D.I.Y costume

For the first time in at least five years, I'm dressing up for Halloween. I mean, my costume is kind of half-assed, but I'm still excited. I'm training canvassers for Trick or Vote; we're canvassing at 2pm and then going back to the Crystal Ballroom for the big Halloween party there. When I found out I had to be in costume for the party, I was both nervous and happy: nervous, because I thought I'd be self-conscious in whatever I wore, and excited because I had actually wanted to dress up and just needed someone to give me a reason. I decided to go as Hermione, from the Harry Potter books. I figure it's appropriate: as I've said before, I recognize in myself a ton of both Hermione's good and bad traits. I pretty much am Hermione, minus the, you know, magical powers. I'm Muggle Hermione!

I didn't get moving early enough to buy a scarf or tie in the Gryffindor colors like she wears, but I think it'll be okay. I'm wearing a blue and gray argyle sweater, knee-length black skirt with tights, and a black cape that I got on sale at Fred Meyer's. I cut out an oval of cardboard, taped it to a pin, and drew the Hogwarts crest on it; I'm using the pin like a brooch to connect the cape to the sweater. Total cost: $6.99.

I freely admit that I based the entire costume off the dress of this doll, which Sarah and Becca should recognize: she's currently sitting on top of my printer, riding on the back of Cade's motorcycle.

As the French say, have a 'appy 'alloween! And if you're in Portland, come to Trick or Vote!!

Happy birthday to me! Not.

There's a girl here at LC whose name is very similar to mine: We're both Jessica Jo-----s, although her last name is very common, while mine--well, pretty much anyone outside of the Czech Republic who shares my last name is going to be a close relative of mine. I first met this girl last semester at Maggie's, one of the cafés on campus. Our conversation went something like this:

She (looking at my ID card): Oh, you're Jessica Job----! I'm Jessica Joh----.
I: Oh, hi!
She: I always wondered who you were. We're right next to each other alphabetically.
I: Yeah, cool.
She: In fact, sometimes when I don't want someone to call me, I tell them I'm you.

I...kind of don't think she was kidding, either.

On Wednesday, when I checked my mail, there was a big ol' envelope in my box. The fancy kind. I ripped it open and I saw several bills of different denominations sticking out. I was all, "Hmmm, curious. Why is someone sending me money? Ah, screw it. Woo hoo!" Then I turned the card over and saw that it said "Happy 21st Birthday!"

Oh. Oh. Boo.

I ran into Jessica Joh---- on my way to class and gave her the card. She said that she gets my mail, too, sometimes. She also thanked me for not stealing her birthday money. I figured it was the least I could do.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Major Major

Today, I officially declared my double major in Religious Studies and Hispanic Studies. This feels like a tremendous accomplishment--even though I've been sure of that particular combination since early last fall, when people have asked me what I'm studying, for some reason I always qualifty my answer with "...But I haven't actually declared it yet." But honestly. I love what I'm studying, and I'm glad to now be studying it "offically."

I'm feeling pleasurably overwhelmed about next semester--I think any over-achiever will understand that feeling! If the registration gods smile upon me, I'll be taking Introduction to Judaism, Women in American Religious History, and Seminar in Early American Religion, all for my major. Kugler (my religious studies advisor) wants me to take Qualitative Research Methods through the Sociology-Anthropology department, to help me with writing my thesis, so I talked with that professor this afternoon to see about getting the SOAN prerequisite waived. At my advising appointment a couple weeks ago, Kugler and I were going through the course catalogue, looking for classes that would satisfy those goddamn gen. ed. quantitative requirements, and he really got into the idea of me taking Game Theory through the Economics department. I haven't taken Econ 100, but I did do IB Economics in high school, so I went and talked with Cliff Bekar about taking the class.

Me: So...do you need to sign a form or something to waive the pre-req?
Dr. Bekar: I don't know, because I've never waived a pre-req for any student before.

That makes five classes and twenty credits, once again. I'm perfectly fine with overloading every semester of my college career (except the semester senior year when I'm writing my thesis), and, more importantly, Kugler has reconciled himself to the fact. I'm not taking Spanish next semester--Wendy Woodrich, my Hispanic Studies consejera, gave me the stink-eye when she heard that--but I'm probably going to get an internship with the ESL program at Roosevelt High School. Plus there's my job at the church (I'll have to tell all of you about that sometime soon), and the school bell choir, and College Democrats (vastly scaled back, for obvious reasons), and baby-sitting Little C. So I'll be busy, but in a happy way, I think.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

A game

Guess how many messages I have in my school inbox. Go ahead, guess.

No, higher.



Give up?

I have 1502 messages in my mail box. I'm not saying I'm proud of it or anything, but damn.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

I am an Indie-Academic-Progressive Girl

I try to avoid labelling myself and others, but I really enjoyed the quiz that Brooke linked to the other day: What Kind of Girl are You? (You can also take What Kind of Girl is She?) (Whoa! I'm taking the latter quiz right now, and is the fourth response on the fourth page a shout-out to me or what?!) (Also, Dear Quiz: He's no longer president, and you forgot the diacritical marks on his name. Therefore, I am smarter than you. Love, J.) (Four parenthetical comments in a row!)

The quiz tagged me as a hybrid between an Academic and a Progressive Girl, but when I read through the rest of the options I thought that the Indie Girl one really fit as well, especially the second paragraph, which reads as though it were written especially for me: "You can boil the Indie Girl down to two words: cultural literacy. Or how about these two: media consumption. As the Gourmet Girl loves food and all that goes with it, the Indie Girl loves media: books, movies, music, and art. The good news is you don't have to be rich, good-looking, or famous to win this girl's heart. The bad news is she will judge you based on your music choices, the books you read, and the films you watch." And then number 3 under "She might be an Indie Girl if...:" She begins her sentences with: "It's like that Simpsons episode..." Replace "Simpons episode" with "Onion article," and that phrase accounts for about 90% of my conversations.

What kind of a girl are you? What kind of a girl is your friend or girlfriend? Take the quiz and post the results!

Friday, October 22, 2004

A quick one while he's away

Don't try to analyze the title of the post--there is no particular "he" that I'm thinking of. It's the title of an awesome WHO song from the Rushmore soundtrack, and is meant just to convey that this will be a quick post, comprised of recent memorable quotes, rather than an actual update; that will come later (by Saturday, I hope. It's actually Saturday now, but I'm post-dating this entry. Shhh!). In the interim, thanks a lot to those of you who left comments on my last entry or have stopped by to talk with me, either in person or over Messenger--I really, really appreciate your kindness and support as I try to work through this.

But! Quotes. People are quotable.

Prof. Cortell, in International Affairs: "So, should I give you guys a reading over the weekend?"
Kathleen: "No, it's the weekend, man. You gotta relax! [to me in a horrified whisper] I just called Cortell man!"

Prof. de Farías, explaining the possibility of students taking two weeks off in February to work on a Habitat for Humanity project in Portugal: "I don't think it would be a problem, because it's for something worthwhile. I mean, it's not like your visiting your grandma or something."

de Farías again: "There's an interesting book--I mean, it's old, but that doesn't mean it's not interesting."

Sam, describing the laid-back no pasa nada structure of History 347: Modern Mexico: "Anyone ever get the feeling that this isn't a real class? It's like we're all just hanging out...It's like...Mexico Club."

Me, returning to the dorm from the library at 4am: "Well, I didn't make it back by 2..."
Hillary (my roommate): "No, not quite..."
Me: "Well, four is a multiple of two."

On a related note, today I made a resolution: I'm going to be out of the library every night by 3am at the latest. No more sleeping on the couch in the Pamplin room, because it's not even that restful. You know you're in trouble when you start bringing a travel alarm clock with you to the library.

Also, Amy, a freshmen this year who lives down the hall from me, just started a blog. Read it! That's all for now.

Monday, October 18, 2004

I'll get by with a little help from my friends

Hi. Sorry for the delay.

Since my monkey and I have nothing to hide (except for that, and that, and, oh yeah, that), I think it's important for you all to know that I'm back in counseling. It has a lot to do with this sense of sadness that kind of seems to wash over me sometimes, but is never totally absent, and the loneliness, and the crying jags--the same stupid stuff that I've been dealing with in some form or another since elementary school, and I really wish that I were exaggerating when I say that.

I had my first appointment last Thursday. Right before, I was almost overwhelmed with the urge to call and cancel the appointment. Like, ha ha! Just kidding! But that's what I did last February, and then I never went back to schedule another appointment, and I really don't want to fall back into that trap. So I went, and I'm glad I did. The counselor helped me look at a particular issue in a new way that makes a lot of sense, and she gave me some suggestions about how I can reach out to some people around here. It's just--I don't know. I'm having trouble connecting with and relating to some of the people with whom I live, and it's making things difficult; besides saying hi in the halls, we're drifting further and further apart, and I don't know how to fix that, exactly.

I told the counselor about Rilke and the effect that reading Letters to a Young Poet had on me over the summer, but she hadn't heard of either the book or Rilke. I think I'm going to bring in some of his letters to my next appointment, as well as Etty Hillesum's diary. We meet again on Thursday; until then, I'd really appreciate it if you all could toss a couple good thoughts my way.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Where were you? Where will you be?

This will be long. I'm just saying.

I do a lot of thinking on the bus. I mean, I'm constantly thinking, of course--we all are--but it seems a lot of my Deep Thinking takes place on the bus. I've stopped bringing stuff to read when I go downtown alone; instead, I try to savor the twenty-five minutes of peace and solitude between campus and the outside world.

Today as I rode the MAX from the Lloyd Center to work, I started thinking about where I was four years ago. The election is at the forefront of my world right now; most of my spare time is taken up by College Democrats stuff, but how did I get here? Why is this so important to me? What was I doing at this time of year eight years ago? Twelve? Sixteen?

I don't remember the 1988 Presidential election on account of being, you know, three. I do have vivid memories of 1992, though. I was in second grade at Crazy Hippy Elementary School, at that age where you're just starting to become aware of a world outside of your own narrow view. I knew the names Clinton and Bush, and that Clinton was good and Bush was bad, but that was about it. I remember asking...Alicia? Amanda? Alyssa? the director of my after-school care program who she was going to vote for. When she said Bush, I told her that my parents wouldn't let me talk to anyone who wasn't voting for Clinton. (Not true, by the way.) She was not amused. I wouldn't be either, if some seven-year-old smart-ass said that to me.

The day after the election, my teacher Julie gathered the class in a circle and told us how Clinton was going to bring a new hope to the world. She lit a sparkler, and as we passed it around the circle, we each had to say one hope or dream for the world. I wish I could remember what I said.

I remember our middle school mock-election in 1996 (the hallways were plastered with signs saying stuff like "Dole is bananas!" which I thought was so clever), but I don't remember anything substantial about the election itself. Mostly, I wish I could go back and slap my sixth-grade self.

As you'd expect, I have very vivid memories of the 2000 election. I was fifteen then, and a sophomore in high school back in Eugene. I remember watching the results come in the night of the election--that guy with the freaking white board, and Ashleigh What's-her-face's glasses--random things pop out as I recall that night. I went online periodically to check in with my Yahoo! Chat friends (I was really into chat rooms at that time, and spent a couple hours a day in a certain room. Upping the dork factor even further, it was a Broadway themed chat room, so we would have long, heated debates over things like whether Frances Ruffelle or Lea Salonga made a better Eponine in Les Misérables.**) I think I went to bed that night around midnight, awhile after doubts were first cast on Florida. I remember sneaking downstairs around 4 or 5 in the morning to see how it turned out; two anchors were proclaiming a Bush victory and sure enough, there was a full-screen shot of the outline of Florida, lit up like a traffic light. Dad woke me up a few hours later, excitedly yelling that there was still hope. That morning was one of the few times I was ontime to my 9:25 Values & Beliefs class. Everyone was arguing, pooling misinformation, loudly proclaiming imminent departures for Canada; naturally, I was doing all three. For a few days I went around with that sinky, roller-coaster feeling in my stomach, the one that's half way between pleasurable and nauseating. I know it well, because it's the same feeling I get whenever I think seriously about this coming election.

So I wonder where I'll be this year when November 3rd rolls around. I can pretty much guarantee that I won't be sleeping the night of the election--I'm sure that, at least, Sarah and Adam and Matt and I will keep an all-night vigil. I pray to God that when the results are in, we'll be celebrating. I pray. To. God.

**It's totally Frances Ruffelle, by a long shot. Ask if you'd like an explanation.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Back in Portland and feeling grand!

That rhymes, but only if you really emphasize the LAND and kind of trip over the syllables a little. Oh well. The point is, I had a wonderful fall break in Seattle! Getting off campus was really the right thing to do--I spent a lot of time with my little cousins A, D, and K, and saw my Grandma for the first time in over a year. Wow! I didn't realize it had been that long until I got up there. Today was Little K's 4th birthday! I demonstrated my mad face-painting skillz at the party...I wish. Let's just say that there were several kids running around who, with a lot of imagination, sort of looked like tigers. D and A, who are six-year-old twins, have both lost several teeth and took great joy in wiggling their loose teeth for me. You know, loose, wiggling, hanging-on-by-just-the-root and capable-of-complete-rotation teeth are really pretty gross.

The quote of the day comes from my cousins:

D: Me first!
K: No, I'm first!
D: No, me!
A: Well, I'd rather be last, because the first will be last and the last will be first.

I laughed pretty hard at that. Oh, kids! They say the darndest things.:-P Expect a longer post tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Well, fuck.

Coming out of my IA midterm (and I kicked that test's ass all the way back to 1648), I saw a good friend who has grown more distant recently. I made what was intended as a lighthearted comment, but I think it came across as kind of mean and bitchy. Now he's probably pissed at me, which will not help the situation. Hey, if you're reading this, let's talk sometime, okay?

I need to get off this campus and out of this dorm for awhile. Which brings me to my next point: I'm leaving tomorrow (Thursday) for Seattle to spend fall break with my uncle and his family, and I won't be back until Sunday evening, so there will probably be no new posts until then. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

It's 2am. Do you know where Jessica is?

It's funny, but I never really appreciated having a 24-hour library until these past two weeks. Right now, I'm downstairs, taking a break from studying for my international affairs midterm...which is in approximately 7 hours. It will go well, I think.

How can it possibly be time for midterms already?

I want to be in bed by three, which means I should leave here no later than 2:40 to get back to the dorm and brush my teeth and junk like that. The plan is to wake up at 7:30, eat breakfast for once, and arrive in class bright and chipper at nine. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 04, 2004

You say it's your birthday

Well, it's my birthday too, yeah!

Actually, it's not. But it is the birthday of one Mr. Christopher James I. Leong, Esq., so make sure you go over and wish him a happy birthday if you haven't already!

Speaking of birthdays, I am not, contrary to popular belief, a Pisces. February 18th is the last day in the Aquarius...cycle, or whatever it's called; I don't know what in tarnation is up with that "Year of the Rat" Pisces shit Blogger is trying to pull on me. I mean, my "sign" has never really mattered to me, but I think the record needs to be set straight. Aquarius, Year of the Ox, you can send birthday presents on February 18th. May I suggest this shirt?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Bookstores are dangerous places for me

Just today, I bought:

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath. I read it over the summer and I already have a copy, but I figure it's worth keeping another one around just in case. Plus, it was only a buck and is old and cool-looking.

The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty. For a dollar, why not?

Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy. Actually, a family friend gave me an old copy today. Fo' free! Woo! I'm not sure if I'll actually read it, but I never turn down free stuff.

Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #7: Snowbound, Ann M. Martin (or one of her stable of ghostwriters). Um, I'm not kidding in the sidebar "About Me" section when I say that I love the Baby-Sitters Club. It's a bit of shameful secret. Rest assured that I'm cringing right now. Along those lines, I also bought BSC #4 Mary Anne Saves the Day, #12 Claudia and the New Girl, and #27 Jessi and the Superbrat.

Rosanna of the Amish, Joseph W. Yoder. From the description on the back cover, it's about an Irish orphan who's adopted into an Amish community; I was browsing the Amish/Mennonite section at Powell's, since I'm mildly interested in Amish culture, and it caught my eye. It's a true story, too, and I think the author must be Amish or from an Amish background with a last name like Yoder.

The Revolution of the Latin American Church, Hugo Latorre Cabal. A few days ago, I was talking with Professor Morrill at the meeting for Religious Studies majors. She teaches my Religion in Modern America class. She asked me what areas I was particularly interested in and I mentioned my idea of doing my thesis on the applications of liberation theology within the migrant farmworker community. She asked me what liberation theology works I've been reading and I was all, "Uh..." Although I talk about it a lot, I've never studied liberation theology formally. I think this book will be a good introduction. Prof. Morrill also recommended Gustavo Gutiérrez's A Theology of Liberation as the ground-breaking book on the subject, but I couldn't find a used copy at Powell's.

The People's Church: Bishop Samuel Ruiz of Mexico and Why He Matters, Gary MacEoin. I was so excited to find this book, because it addresses exactly what I'm writing my History of Modern Mexico term paper on: the use of liberation theology among the Zapatistas in Chiapas. Plus, the book is signed by both Ruiz and MacEoin!

I also bought an awesome calendar at a garage sale, but that's a topic for another post. I'll just tell you that calendar? Is the 1984 Teddy Bear Calendar.