...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

Friday, April 28, 2006

It's raining Clay!

I got back to the apartment around 11pm Thursday night. About fifteen minutes later, my roommates Clay and Chris burst in, along with Laurel, J.Ho, and Susanna. "Dance party!" Clay yelled. Woo!

An hour or so later, J.Ho and Clay were staging an elaborate version of "It's Raining Men." I was in the kitchen, mixing a drink, when I heard a loud THUD! Clay had fallen to the floor like a sack of potatoes. "What happened?!" I asked. "I rained," he responded.

I love my roommates.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Like a jaded, jaded, faded, jaded, jaded mandarin!"

Okay, so Amy and I were having a little Broadway singalong in the living room of the apartment, aided by iTunes. And by "little," I guess I really mean "hour-long, and loud." So it was understandable, after we finished Jesus' and Judas's argument after the Last Supper scene in Jesus Christ Superstar, which if you've heard it is long and loud and kind of tortuous, with Judas all, "Everytime I look at you I don't understand....WHYYYYYYYYYYYY you let the things you did get SOOOO-OOOO out of hand! You'd have managed better if you HAAA-AAAD it planned.....OH! Aughhh-oh-augh-eh-ogh-oh!" screaming at the end. And I guess we got a little loud, and neither of us is a fantastic singer, so I could understand it when one of my roommates (he was the only other person home) came out of his room and was like, "Uh, guys, it's getting a little hard to read." Perfectly understandable, and we'll be quieter or stop singing.

But then he added, "Umm...have you guys been drinking?"

That was just unnecessary.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Canadian Rhapsody

I just got back from Ryan's senior piano recital. He played excellently, although I have to admit I wasn't crazy about most of the music. The Chopin etudes were nice, but the only piece I recognized was Lizst's Hungarian Rhapsody. It was funny: there was a palpable sigh of recognition that went up in the auditorium when he hit that famous duh-duh-duh-DUH duh-duh-duh-DUH part in the second half--trust me, you'd recognize it if you heard it.

Yesterday I had an oral defense of my final paper for Kugler's Biblical Studies seminar. The focus of the class is the extent to which Jews living in Egypt under the Ptolemaic Empire (about 300 to 30 BCE, more or less) took on the characteristics of their Hellenistic environs, or conversely to what extent they held fast to their Jewish identity (necesitating the question of whether there even was a Jewish identity, and if so, how can we measure it). For the final project, each of us were to choose a literary text written by an Egyptian Jew of the time--I chose Artapanus,, who you've already heard a little about--and use that text as a means of understanding Egyptian Judaism and the Jewish identity of the time. For our last paper, we had to gather all the scholarship on our text's date, provenance, genre, authorial intent, etc, and come to some conclusion about when, where, and why it was written. For the final paper, we have to posit the text's "horizon of expectations" (yeah Gadamer!)--that is, what the text seems to be saying about its own intent, and what sort of society it presumes--as well as the horizon of expectations of the text's original recipients. Then, having developed those two horizons, we smoosh them together and predict what the result of the fusion of the two horizons would have been, and what it would have meant for our central questions about Jewish diasporic identity.

It's a pretty complex paper, and I'm nowhere near even starting to write. I'm not even completely sure I understand what Kugler means when he talks about the text's own horizon of expectations. Regardless, Katie C., a friend who's also working on Artapanus, and I had to present our research yesterday. I think it went pretty well, and Kugler said afterwards that I had a "strong argument" about why Artapanus, in his retelling of the Moses story from the Old Testament, leaves out any mention of the 10 Commandments. I'm no closer to starting to write the thing, but at least I don't have to worry about the presentation over the weekend.

Last night Amy, Peggy, Carla, Anna, Chris B., Eric, Riana, and Matt S. came over for drinks and to watch The Baby-Sitters Club. The brain! The brain! The center of the chain! A good time was had by all.

Next up on the docket: Foreign Policy essay about how the US' economic involvement in the 1973 Chilean coup was a turning point in US foreign policy (Monday); Gender Studies self-portrait presentation, project, and paper (Tuesday, more on that later); Buddhism paper on a comtemporary misunderstanding of Buddhism (Thursday). Whee!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ha!

Okay, so I'm reading the Portland "Men Seeking Women" craigslist personals (shut up!) and I come across this:

"I love how people try to make themselves seem like they’re a certain type of cool person by their choice of coffee shop to meet you at the first time (because it’s almost always coffee): Starbucks=”I’m suburbany/normal/trendy and I ran out of my own ideas during the Clinton Administration”; Coffee People=”I’m Portlandy, but I’m not earthy, and I don’t want you to think that I’m corporate”; the coffee shop at Powell’s=”I’m Portlandy AND I’m earthy. I can read and I might make fun of you for owning a television”; Fill-in-the-blank independent coffee shops on 23rd= “I’m so trendy that I could just die any second--you should really consider yourself lucky to be worth an hour of my time”; etc. Anyways, let’s not meet for coffee."

When I met a guy through craigslist, we went to the Portland Coffee House--my choice. I wonder what that says about me??

Monday, April 17, 2006

City of the Big Shoulders

Saturday, trying to avoid the inevitability of my two papers I had to write for Monday, I started researching graduate schools. My plan right now, if you held my feet to the fire and made me tell you, is to get a Masters either Religious Studies or Theological Studies, a PhD in something like Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, then teach. But I mean, I don't for sure. That's a whole other post. But Kugler told me the other day during an advising session that he thought I would flourish in academia, and man, I was over the moon.

So, Saturday I was researching the University of Chicago Divinity School, which is one of the most highly competitive and well-regarded (and demanding) programs in the country. Both Susanna and Paul, two Religious Studies faculty here at LC, got there MAs and PhDs there, which I guess is what put it into my head. I don't know. I love Religious Studies, but I wonder sometimes whether I have enough self-discipline to be a scholar.

I have no idea what graduate school will be like. I was pretty terrified, actually, listening to Kugler describe his graduate seminars with John Collins back at Notre Dame when he (Kugler) was working on his PhD in Biblical Studies: like three people in Collins' office, and they would each have a little snippet of biblical text and would be responsible for gathering all the scholarly work and exegetical material and rabbinical writings on that snippet and synthesizing it and knowing all of it, like, by heart. And these classes would go on for about five hours or something like that. Yikes. But then, I'm not too interested in Biblical Studies. If I get a PhD, it's defnitely going to be in something like SO/AN of Religion or History of American Religion or something like. Something more people-based.

It's funny, because when I was sure I wanted to go to Weston Jesuit Theological Seminar (which was based on one recommendation, once, from Kugler, and the fact that I'm pretty sure I could get a great scholarship), every fantasy I had about my future life, I cast on the backdrop of Boston. Before I bought clothes, I thought to myself, "Is this something I'll be able to wear when I live in Boston?" Anytime I'd read something in the news about Boston, I'd think, "That's where I'll live in a few years." And now, even though I haven't even requested information from the University of Chicago Divinity School or talked with Kugler about it or taken the GREs and I don't even know if I could get it...I find myself doing the same thing. It was cold today, okay, like practically freezing, and I thought, "Man, I'm probably going to freeze to death when I live in Chicago."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Where, O Death, is now your sting? Alleluia!

Going to church on Easter Sunday is a little like going to a baseball game on the 4th of July. It's packed, and the majority of the people there don't normally attend, so they don't know exactly how to do things, all standing up at the top of the seventh inning to stretch instead of waiting, whispering questions about what the little lights on the scoreboard mean, standing to sing the hymn after the sermon instead of remaining seated. During the Children's Moment at today's service, there were so many babies, toddlers and grade-schoolers that they were spilling off the Chancel and out into the aisles; I whispered to Jim, who I was sitting next to, that I wish we had that problem every Sunday. It was a beautiful service, and my bell choir played for the last time for the semester. We'll start back up again in the fall, but we've got to do a membership drive or something because for various reasons we've been pared down to just two octaves of bells. Everyone tells me after we play how much they love the bell choir, but so few people are actually willing to commit to come to practice every week. It's frustrating.

I didn't achieve everything I wanted to yesterday. I didn't email Ronald, start my Gender Studies paper, finish my New Testament paper, or go to the Chinese Gardens. The papers, at least, will have to get done tonight, since they're both due tomorrow around noon. I predict a late night/early morning at the library, but on the plus side, I don't have class until 11:30, so I can afford to stay up until 5 or 6 or so with no real problem. I did type out the Foreign Policy vocabulary and babysit, which was wonderful. I love babysitting for families around here--it's such an interesting look into the lifestyles of the Portland intelligensia. Plus, the kids are adorable.

Anyways, back to work, I suppose. I hope everyone had a fulfilling weekend and a good holiday, whether Easter or Passover.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Every time I look at you I don't understand why you let the things you did get so out of hand

Amy, Carla,, Eric, and Chris just left. They came over at about ten for a rousing viewing of, and sing-a-long to, Jesus Christ Superstar the mid-1990s homoerotic leather version. It was spectacular. Then brownies and good conversation and lots of laughter and a reading discussion of We're Going on Safari...yes, I had a very nice evening indeed. Things started out a little shaky this evening--there was some interpersonal tension blah blah in the apartment, then I left for church with Ellen (she was taking me to the Good Friday service at her church in Portland, since I couldn't make it to my regular church's service) and broke down sobbing in her car--about the roommate situation, the residual weirdness of being back in the US and at Lewis & Clark, the sorrow of Holy Week and Good Friday, and other stuff I've been feeling sad about all semester. God bless Ellen for not freaking out, but holding my hand and encouraging me to let it all out.

Tomorrow I'm going to finish my New Testament paper, get started on my Gender Studies paper, type out the Foreign Policy key terms for Monday's chapter of the text, have tea at the Portland Classical Chinese Gardens, email Ronald, babysit, and work more on my Gender Studies paper. It should be an agreeable Saturday.

Those of you who happened to check my blog earlier this afternoon may have read a kind of muddled and confused reaction to some Gender Studies stuff we've been studying, about voyeurism, the obsessional gaze, and blogging. I want to put that on hold for right now (I saved the entry as a draft) until I get my thoughts clearer.

Until then, Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Just don't! Say I'm! Daaaaaaaaaaamned fo-oor, all-llll, tiiiime.

I came because I had to; I'm the one who saw! Jesus can't control it like he could before! And furthermore I know that Jesus thinks so too! Jesus wouldn't mind that I was here with you.

Woo, looks like it's another all-nighter to finish my Kugler paper. Yeah! All-nighter! I have to stop by Maggie's to stock up on provisions.

"Flavor of Love" is taking over more and more of my brain.