-Off we go on Week Three! I begin the week thrilled that my roommate and I can wash our now molding dishes in an industrial dishwasher, as we live in Asia House, home also to Pyle Co-op. Living two steps from your co-op's dining room might risk you turning into a hermit, but at least a very happy and well-fed hermit, whose dishes sparkle with co-operation.
-The library is becoming a problem. The first floor is (delightfully) social, and the second floor has the most comfortable chairs, which lead one down the road to Napland. The third and fourth floors involve too many stairs. What to do????
-My Renaissance Poetry professor is frighteningly cool. She is smart smart smart and also wears red lipstick and badass tights. She amazes me, in the most etymologically literal sense of the word.
-People wore scarves today! Fall is coming!
-My next door neighbor went on an apple-picking bike ride the other day, and now has a room filled with wonderful fresh apples. Ohio, you are so bounteous and sweet.
-Speaking of sweet, if you cannot imagine a life without boxes and boxes of produce, then OSCA, my friend, is the place for you. Pyle has the most delicious peppers right now. I ate three today. They are honestly perfect, and look like paintings. They are a platonic ideal, what all peppers should yearn to be.
-The plan tonight is to be in bed, lights out, computer off, by eleven. These mornings are far too lovely to sleep through.
-Irrelevant Plug of the day: The New Yorker Fiction Podcast. It is wonderful. Listen to it when you're doing anything, everything. Try Tobias Wolff reading Denis Johnson's "Emergency," or Louise Erdrich reading Lorrie Moore's "Dance in America." /everything else.
-Well, ObieFit, a month-ish period of fitness classes and workshops sponsored by the College, is almost over, and I made it to absolutely nothing. Oberlin might not be the most sports-centered school, but there is definitely a big community of fitness-valuing folk. Like my friend Sofia, who leads spontaneous Zumba classes in the basement! ObieFit will live on, at least in our hearts.
-Today applications were due for this year's NASCO (North American Students of Cooperation) Institute in November. The theme this year is Cooperative Cartography: Where People, Places, and Movements Intersect, which sounds very very cool. A whole weekend of mapping cooperative movements, skill-sets, and idea-sharing? Please oh please.
-African American Studies is the only course I have this semester that has much to do with relevant social issues, and I'm uncomfortable realizing that I find it daunting next to hours and hours of poetry by dead, misogynistic Roman men. Oberlin is so full of (and occasionally flaunting of) social conscience that sometimes it's overwhelming, and I wonder how much of it is sincere. But this is actually a bigger issue that deserves more than a couple sentences. Stay tuned.
-Also about AAST, but on a simpler note: today in class we recited sections from Sundiata, a story from ancient Mali. The point was to honor oral tradition, which is awesome, but ahhh it was so scary. My sandals were sweaty and I stumbled over every word, but actually it didn't really matter because the class had this wonderful, calm, supportive vibe going on. It's a big class (50 people) but it was so nice seeing everybody really listen to each other's sections and clap for each other, major screw-ups or not.
-I just came back from the new DJ orientation for WOBC, Oberlin's kickass community radio station. It was very exciting, especially the wild amount of music in the vaults...it was dream-like. My show, however, is unfortunately still a little up in the air. My co-DJ and I kinda screwed up with scheduling, and are left with an impossible time slot. The lesson: buy a planner, pay attention to it.
-Today was the first real day of the Storytelling Exco, which blew my mind last year and which is now being taught by my friends Sam and Victoria. This is exciting for two reasons: 1) it's way weird how quickly people go from being students in something to teaching it, and 2) well, storytelling is just exciting. I hope it stays strong at Oberlin for a long time, and kinda trust that it will. We are story-people. We like to talk about things.
-Overslept through breakfast today....damn. Breakfast is a really lovely time at Pyle--not too many people are there, and you all sit around a table happily eating oatmeal and eggs and scones that someone was kind enough to wake up at 7 to make. People, you realize, are good.
-I went to office hours for one of my professors today, basically just to say hi and get to know her better. She asked how I was feeling about Oberlin, and I had to say that honestly sometimes I feel weird about being in school, when there are many people doing seemingly more "active" things, like fighting mountaintop removal in Virginia and planting farms in inner-city Detroit. She reminded me that one reason we work towards a better world is so that we can all be able to do things like make paintings or talk about Plato--that keeping art and intellectualism alive are also so important, and not static at all. Word. Go professors for being smart and wise.
-My poetry workshop class meets tonight, which is always a little/lot scary. There are many talented people in that room. They are kinda astounding. Sometimes I forget how cool that really is.
-Also tonight is Splitchers at the 'Sco, where some people are old enough to get cheap beer, and the rest of us yearn to be older. But there is no age-limit for being lazy and debauch on a Wednesday night, so it's all good.
-I got mail today! Real mail! A letter from my friend in France and a little package from my mom! There should really be a mail-sending revival, because it is so exciting to get. Mudd (the library) has a whole room of typewriters, some of which occasionally work. I want to start a mail initiative. Something big and typewritten. And handwritten. Or computer-written Just mail, good, real mail.
-Just learned that the College is letting students rent cars from the Student Union for $8/hr. This is thrilling, if a bit pricey. But cars! What worlds could open up.
-Tonight some other OSCA-folk and I went to Fairkid Co-op to help facilitate discussions on consensus, the magical OSCA decision-making process aimed at coming to an agreement that everyone is okay with, and general feelings, which is the bit in consensus when you express what your feelings on a given matter are. Things that came up: the secret language of co-op hand signals, the politics of chocolate, sustaining the personality of a co-op, and the fact that Fairkid once served meat. Whoa.
-Today was super hot. Awful hot. And then it was really really windy. And then it rained and got cold and then hot again. Is this actually interesting to anyone, though?
-Owen Pallet, of Beirut and the Arcade Fire and Final Fantasy and many other bands, played at the Cat in the Cream tonight. He made me want to bring my violin back to campus, kind of like how I brought my mom's accordion down in the hopes of learning it, too. That actually is going okay, though--my friend Phil is a badass player and is giving lessons this semester. I can now play oom-pah-pahs. What else could one ask for?
-I had to go to the OSCA board meeting tonight, and so missed my exco's trip to the beach. I also missed the trip to the lawnmower derby last weekend (complete with huge fried-food snack bar), which really sucks. The exco's called You Don't Know Where (The Fuck) You Live, and is basically about going to cool places outside of Oberlin...because a lot of us honestly don't know where the fuck we live. I have vowed not to miss any more classes, so that I can actually learn where I live, as that is the point.
-Graffiti seen today on the door of the bathroom in the basement of Hales Gymnasium: Progress Is Beautiful. I want to start collecting inspirational things written in bathroom stalls. Also good are "Grow Strong" on the 2nd floor of North, and "Yes" which is someplace in Wilder. I'm on the lookout.
-Went to the house meeting at Tank tonight with the other SOPAs (OSCA's Sexual Offense Policy Advocates--me, and two wonderful people named Dan and Sarah) to talk about consent and the sexual offense policy and what we do as SOPAs. Actually, all of this would make a pretty good blog entry. Consider this blurb a sneak peek.
-I just picked up my ticket to see Karl Rove next Tuesday. The campus is very jittery with excitement over this bizarre upcoming event. Do we protest? Do we listen? Do we throw rotten vegetables at him? We'll just have to wait and see...
-Too many activist meetings going on....agh. Prison Justice Project meets at the exact same time as the Feminists Collective. Someone should just relinquish Thursday night, this choice is too much.
-There's another rally this afternoon for OCOPE (Oberlin College Office of Professional Employees) and their struggle to get a fair deal in their contract negotiations with the college. Come on, College, pay your people well. It's great how much support OCOPE has gotten so far--I hope it keeps coming. We're all psyched about protests and searching for injustice and all that, but there's a fair amount of it right here.
-TGIF, the campus gathering that takes place every Friday afternoon in Wilder Bowl, was a little smaller today, which was nice. Usually I'm pretty overwhelmed by the multitude of people and music--it's a stimulation overdose--but today was quite pleasant. I could handle it. The only problem was the OCircus people, whose acrobatics made me super jealous.
-I've been hanging out a lot at Tank (another co-op), where tonight, instead of the traditional Friday night pizza, spaghetti was blasphemously served. HOW AND WHY?????
-Tonight is also the first Alternative Shabbat down at Johnson House, the Jewish heritage program house. It should be cool--queer folk, feminists, trans folk, allies, everybody celebrating the week together. Good energy and people and food. Still no pizza, though.
-There was a wonderful concert at the Slow Train Cafe that a lot of my friends were in. Songs performed include "Baby Beluga" in 3-part harmony and a selection of college odes written by people their freshman years. Kinda cool, because a lot of them are seniors now, still singing about those days when Harkness was scary and the walk to Old Barrows felt far. Which, actually, are both still true for many today.
-I found some cool boots in a box of free stuff! Boxes of free stuff are awesome and so abundant, particularly here. In fact, I became so used to free stuff last year that when I went to the Salvation Army (Sal's Boutique) over the summer, I was aghast at the prices.
-So many people are going away this weekend! There's a big protest in DC about Appalachia Rising, the OSCA board retreat, and a mini-venture to Ann Arbor my roomie and some friends are taking. Who will be in Oberlin?? Well, everybody else I guess...
-This afternoon there's a work-day in the community garden behind Johnson House, which got started up over the summer and is now full full full of beautiful vegetables!
-Went on a very nice run this morning out on a sort of make-shift track around some soybean fields. My roommate and I been running there a lot lately, and it's been very beautiful watching the fields turn from green to yellow and brown. You remember you live in a real state, not a bubble!
-Josh Ritter ('99) came and played tonight...but I forgot to get tickets. Apparently he opened with "Idaho," maybe the most beautiful song there is. Ahhhhhh, Oberlin, the songwriters you produce!
-I met a guy with a pet sheep today in Tappan Square. He also has two goats, which live in his backyard. He also has been planting vegetables in exciting surprise places around town. I want to be him.
-Discovered the bead store in town, finally. It was really weird to be in a store for the first time in months (seriously), but quite cool to remember that stores exist.
-My friend Sophia and I are considering starting a band. So far we have Sophia's soon-to-be-hit "I Faked It Every Time," and my big number, "Scarf Song." Watch out, Josh Ritter.
-You know you go to Oberlin when the phrase "genre-bending" comes up in a music review, and you read "gender-bending." And are then disappointed that it didn't actually say that.
-Rolled out of bed at 12:30 and slumped down the hall to Pyle, where there were trays and trays of warm bread. I probably ate a loaf and a half, as well ten fresh figs. Good.
-So, these days the hot thing around here seems to be taking a bike ride to Kipton, an even smaller town with a ghost-like general store and lots of farmy things. I told my friend at NYU about this, and was kinda excited that while she and her friends climb stairs in skyscrapers, here at Oberlin we climb silos.
-I've spent most of this afternoon in Slow Train, kinda working, mostly talking to people. My friend Tom just came in with this wonderful book of translated prose poems from the Oberlin College Press, which we read from. Then we talked about going to the art museum in Cleveland some weekend soon. Culture culture culture!
-Last night I went to a party for the first time all semester (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). It was loud, and there were a lot of people. Then I got lost on my way home, which is just weird because it's Oberlin. Next weekend I will stick to Scrabble.
-Procrastinated tonight by wandering the library, where there are shelves and shelves of books about the body, and about salt, and about kings and how to grow ivy. Libraries rule.
-When not procrastinating, my day has been filled with Ovid. Which is actually an ideal thing to fill a day with. Then my friend Zoe and I had a big discussion about translation and how much is packed into Greek and Latin, and I started reconsidering double-majoring again. But what to choose? Classics? Psych? Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist studies? Aghhghghhghghghghgdafsfasdfas
-The Student Senate race is coming to a close, with the elections ending on Tuesday. Word is that Student Senate used to be really powerful here, but like many other things, has slipped some in its radicalism. I think we need people to bring it back. There are some hopeful looking candidates, but everybody needs to put their voice in to make change. Let's kill apathy.
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