Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How well do you see color?

Bored? Check this out.
I scored a 12.

In a Vermont Minute

Last night, this was the view from my room. We had about eight hours of thunderstorms raging over the quad. Wifi was knocked out (thus why I couldn't blog) and the power was flickering all night. All  the dorms have generators, so if we do lose power it's never for long. Thunderstorms are rare for April, and this one was intense. 
Another thing that's rare for April is 80 degrees and humid, but that's what we have today! The air is still very heavy so we're expecting more storms- hopefully not as big as this one (I didn't get any lightning in the video, but we had a LOT).  The ground is really saturated, so everything should start getting green.... oh, probably around I'm freaking out over final exams and the three papers I need to write. I'm enjoying the weather while I can.

Well, now I'm off to interview for a spot on the core team of editors for next year's Onion River Review! Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

City of the Future, and of Cat Naps

In the spring of my junior year I am going to study abroad in Istanbul, Turkey- I want to not only study Islam, but also be immersed in this beautiful culture. Istanbul is a rich crossroad of intricacy and grandeur, ancient and modern, East and West. In this tumultuous political climate, it is important to cultivate an appreciation for that which is different from ourselves.

Read this article from National Geographic called Istanbul: City of the Future.

Photo by Dave Yoder, National Geographic

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A sampling of my poetry

I do not sing in the shower

I do not sing in the shower;
Instead, I compose poetry.
After the final rinse I scamper,
half dressed [half naked?]
back to this compartment,
flinging warm droplets on the walls,
my skin still steaming.
I am clinging to those verses
that only come to me in water.

This is what I remember.

Earlier this evening
In the cyclical, mechanical motion
there is my need to push you away
[farther or further?].
If it is geographic distance I seek,
my pedaling feet are moving me nowhere
and this precious sweat is wasted.
Perhaps these muscles I’m building
[tearing and healing, stronger now]
are in resistance to the memory
of your touch that lingers in my tendons.
My bones have no say in the matter.

More recently
After I have regained my breath,
I seek refuge under water, in a sheet of
shock that curls me back toward the curtain,
until my nerves recognize the heat.
[They are too impatient to pause and
appreciate the luxury of pipes].
I comb my hair with straight fingers,
just trimmed and soon to be polished.
The crevices of my hands that might
have still held follicles of you
are sliced off and filed down
to the very tips.

Just a moment ago
Finally I feel clean, and in this element
[where water penetrates air]
poetry seeps into my pores like lotion.
One last drenching, and I step out
to face the frosted window.
How much of my peach silhouette
is discernable from the other side?

I wrap my head in terry-cloth
[such a comforting texture]
to contain the damp verses
heavily coating my hair and
already dripping down my back,
and suddenly I find myself
stretched in these sheets
[cooling in the air that dries my ink],
pressed against the fibers that have
yet to be washed of you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not Soon Forgotten

Last night I saw Iron and Wine perform at Higher Ground (10 minutes down the road). The show was sold out and I was second row! I ordered my ticket months ago for about $30. They were incredible, plus one of my favorite singers, Marketa Irglova performed backup with them. If you've never heard of them, you should hear them.

I can't upload the video I took, but here's a better one.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A typical weekend

This is how it goes.

Class in the morning
Burlington for some shopping- I have to pick up a birthday present for my friend.
Possibly checking out some music on the library lawn?
Alliot for dinner
Downtown with my British Literature class to see Jane Eyre
Out or in with friends?

My best friend's birthday!
Accepted Student Day- Tour shadowing! and Honors Program panel?
Dubstep show in Eddie's Lounge (upstairs in Alliot)

Earthfest- free food and BAREFOOT TRUTH (great band)
Iron and Wine concert at Higher Ground!!!

It's over already?
That's okay, because next weekend is Easter,
and at Catholic school it's a four day break!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oh fine...

I suppose I'll post some photos from Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's.

That's right. You actually get a FREE ice cream cone (no toppings, one size for all). All you have to do is:
1. Get out of class
2. Take the CCTA bus (for free) to Burlington
3. Get off the bus
4. Get in line. When you get there, the line will be about two blocks away from B&J's, near Rite Aid. It's perfectly okay to get out of line and buy stickers in Rite Aid while waiting, although you may miss an opportunity to answer a trivia question and get a pass to the front.
5. Enter the store
6. Order ice cream
7. Eat ice cream
8. Pretend you are Ben & Jerry. Except don't think about all the profit you lost on Free Cone Day, because then it will be hard to smile.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some Tuesday night debate from the Durick Mezzanine

I was going to write my blog post today about Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's, and post some lovely pictures of my friends and I making goofy faces in line, but after my study session with a boy from my American National Politics Class, I've had a change of heart. The political environment in this country at present absolutely disgusts me, and I usually post my criticisms on my other blog, but I feel like this topic is relevant to prospective students just to give an idea of the intellectual atmosphere on campus. Saint Michael's is a Catholic college, but we are also a very accepting and politically diverse campus. It is this diversity which allows for discussion to arise between two students studying together for an exam the following morning. The discussion of which I speak has inspired in me a desire to present my case here.

As I sat with the male in question, our discussion of interest groups such as Planned Parenthood developed into a friendly debate over women's rights to healthcare, particularly those to prevent and alleviate unwanted pregnancy. I feel very strongly about this topic, as I once was a naive high school girl and remember clearly the pressures placed on me by society and my personal relationships. What infuriates me is that the people making decisions for teenage girls like myself are affluent politicians, dominantly male, who have never and will never understand what it's like to be a fifteen year old girl. The pressures are immense, and the support systems are inconsistent.
One of the arguments that my counterpart made was that as a taxpayer he should not have to pay for a girl who made a poor decision to receive a treatment that he believes to be unethical (I believe here he referenced a vacuum and made the coinciding sound effect- charming). I had a similar discussion with my mom this weekend, who (less graphically) argued that decisions should be made in concordance with the family or support system. I see her point, and agree that for some girls this is an option.
To a demographic of upper class politicians, it may be hard to conceive that these support systems are lacking. If Sarah Palin had her way, our public schools wouldn't educate young women about safe, self-respecting decisions. Instead, society would leave it up to the parents, who often (not always) don't have these important discussions with their daughters. To a girl who doesn't have access to this information at home or school, options like Planned Parenthood are the only places to go. Associating this organization with abortion as the only method of birth control is not accurate or fair. Centers like these work to educate the public about safe sex and provide the necessary resources.
You may not ethically agree with your tax dollars funding an abortion for a fourteen year old girl who was manipulated into an emotionally abusive relationship by her older boyfriend, but would you rather have those tax dollars funding the protection of that girl when she's kicked out of her house, and supporting her and her child when her baby's father won't pay child support and she has to rely on welfare because she never graduated high school? How many lives could have been saved, socially, if that girl had received the education and support that her situation couldn't provide for her after one simple mistake?
My study buddy stated that avoiding those kind of mistakes is common sense, and if a girl falls victim to such folly then she is clearly stupid. I argued passionately that teenage girls are not stupid, merely naive and often insecure, and apt to fall into difficult situations in an attempt to feel loved; He condescendingly referenced Taylor Swift as one of these malleable teenage girls, and he's exactly right. One of the reasons her music is so wildly popular is because young women can relate to her struggles and desires and tragedies, however trivial. To them, these pressures are not as easily resisted as a twenty year old male might imagine.

This topic is obviously much more heated than Free Cone Day, but its an important discussion that needs to, and does, take place here. If I were to write about how much fun I'm having here, I would be telling the truth- but that's not all I do. I'm engaging every day in intellectual discussions with people who have different beliefs, and at the end of the night I can still say that I respect my counterpart (and I apologize for making him the antagonist of this post- let me instead label him the inspiration). Is St. Mike's a fun place to go to school? Absolutely. It's also a brilliant place to pursue an education, contribute to the community, and learn how to be a student of life.

Good night reader.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Five items you might underestimate

The purpose of this post is to identify some items in my dorm room that are small and non-essential, but really nice to have. Might be useful in August...


First, my thermos. It's insulated for hot liquids and super stylish! One of the great things about St. Mike's is that we have unlimited meal plans (except for seniors who live in townhouses with kitchens). That means you can go to Alliot seventeen times a day -if you want- but no one really does. I eat three meals a day there, but I also run in quickly sometimes to fill this mug with coffee before a meeting or grab a sandwich on the way to skiing. Quick options like this save me time and money, and the caffeine keeps me going.
*Fun fact: The necklaces in the background are hand made from recycled trash. Once a month I volunteer with MOVE at a men's independent living shelter- we go to a grocery store, cook dinner, and just chill with the guys. They're so appreciative, and one of the men makes these for us every time we go. I have a collection.

Next: Vitamins (in bottles and lotion). Vermont winter is nasty and really sucks the life out of my skin. A pump bottle of lotion is easily accessible and more affordable.  I also take the vitamins every morning at breakfast. I need them especially because I don't always eat a balanced diet in the dining hall, plus- I gave up meat for lent, which means I'm not getting any iron. Last week we had a blood drive on campus and these iron supplements saved me.
*Fun fact: Yes, that is my window screen behind this stuff. I took it out because my neighbors and I like to communicate by sticking our heads out the window. My room faces into the quad so there are always exciting people to shout at below.

My Brita Pitcher is the best (my fridge, not so much). Vermont tap water is probably some of the best stuff out there, but it's nice to have cold filtered water in my room when I'm thirsty instead of buying bottled water.
*Note to the future fridge purchaser: Don't buy this fridge. It's from Target, by Emerson- it has a whiteboard on the front and costs about $80. It runs perfectly fine but the setup is terrible. The door shelving is awkward, and it's so short that I had to take the middle rack out as well as the lid off of my pitcher off just to fit it inside. It can only fit on the middle shelf because if I put it on the bottom the door won't close. Terrible design!

This picture was intended to be of my reed diffuser, but my nightlight snuck in there too. I can't really complain because my room is awesome, but dorms can get a little stuffy in the winter when we can't open our windows. The diffuser isn't too strong but keeps things fresh.
*Another suggestion to keep your room fresh is to buy a standing fan rather than a window fan- in the winter you can prop open your door and turn on the fan, which helps with ventilation (and visitors!).

My whiteboard = my life. I'm really really organized but also really busy. I need to see what I'm doing or I get overwhelmed. My whiteboard lets me visualize the week and keeps me from stressing. This one is a calendar board (from Target). I also have a second whiteboard on my door for messages.
*Fun fact: The item with the star next to it says "Study Arabic." The IT department set me up with network access to the Rosetta Stone program to learn Arabic on my Macbook, which we get for FREE through the Language Learning Resource Center. It's something worth taking advantage of and is a nice break from homework (just like blogging)!