...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

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.

Higher.

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.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Happiness

Yesterday was great. Here's why:

1. Tabling for College Democrats with Matt during lunch. Basically, we just sat outside the Bon with all the Kerry paraphernalia (pins, stickers, lawn signs, info sheets, junk like that) spread around and waited for people to come to us. We gave out a lot of stuff, sold several pins and lawn signs, and registered at least half a dozen people to vote. Whee! Registering people is so satisfying and gratifying. It's very concrete and makes me feel as though I'm really doing something important for the campaign. (Matt is the kid who visited last spring and stayed with Chris and Ryan--remember? We went to the Jane Brown lecture then came back to the room and ordered pizza; everyone hung out for awhile chatting and Matt and I got into a spirited discussion about religion and The Onion, my two favorite subjects.)

(Edit: when I first posted this this afternoon, I accidentally wrote that we were selling "spins," instead of "pins." Freudian slip? You decide! At least I didn't write that we were selling "sins.")

2. My Modern Mexico class was a little boring, so I'll skip that, but afterwards Becky and I chatted for a few minutes; I think we're both putting out the friendship feelers, so to speak. I might watch a movie with her and her friends on Saturday, since I'm not going to homecoming. We walked over to the Overseas Office so I could pick up my Chile application. Unfortunately the office was closed, so I just picked up a general information brochure, which brings me to point 3...

3. As I was reading the brochure, I got so excited for Chile next fall. The current bunch of people studying there left in mid-July and won't be back until mid-December--that's five solid months, and I fully intend to travel around South American after the program officially ends and then fly back to Portland just a week before school starts in mid-January. Seriously, I am so looking forward to it, especially after seeing the trailer for The Motorcycle Diaries. It's not that I expect to be the next Che Guevara or that I have any interest in riding a motorcycle, but the idea of traveling around such a beautiful continent...love! I only worry that it might not be safe for me to travel alone as a young American woman. Perhaps I'll tell everyone that I'm canadiense.

4. At dinner, I mentioned that DeAnn had lent me the Freaks and Geeks DVDS, and Amy immediately responded, "I love Freaks and Geeks!" We're going to have a mini-marathon within the next two weeks, I hope; I bet if I publicize it in Stewart we can get a good crowd. (That's not intended as an insult to any Stewart denizens. I just think that they're most likely to have seen the show.)

5. The debate! I thought Kerry did a great job and that Bush did a very poor job. This connects with my first point, actually; as most of you know, Sarah and I founded a College Democrats chapter and are collaborating with Students Against Bush and LC 4 Kerry in bringing political events to campus, showing a documentary series, registering voters, etc. We reserved Council Chambers for the debates last night, but weren't expecting too many people to show.

The place was packed. How many people fit in Council Chambers? 300? 500? People were sitting in the aisles and standing in the entranceway. It was awesome. Snarky comments abounded.

The rest of they day's happiness stemmed from the debates and all things political: The Daily Show, talking afterwards with Amy and Clay, then with Alex for about an hour and a half. I also called my family; they all though that Kerry clearly won. My dad and brother are actually doing door-to-door canvassing for the campaign. If you know my dad, you know how big of a deal that is: he's very shy. When I expressed my surprise that he would do such a thing, he kind of shrugged and said, "Well, I've got to do whatever I can do." I'm so proud of him.

Overall, it was just a good day. I actually felt genuinely optimistic about the election for the first time in awhile; to paraphrase my hero Václav Havel, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the most important thing is to not give up hope and faith in life itself, nor in humanity.