Oberlin Blogs

Busy, Busy, Busy--Now with Working Pictures! :)

November 6, 2009

Tess Yanisch ’13


Barnard Halloween party! I went as Miss Wilhelmina (Mina) Murray from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It was a wonderful costume to design out of my own clothing and I have wonderful friends who lent me gloves and a hat to complete the ensemble. (I've discovered that I think clothes are a lot more fun when I view them as costumes. I have a long brown coat that I wore in this costume that makes me think of several different genres, all of them seriously badass in their own ways.)

However, my costume was not the most awesome at the party. I think that honor must go to whoever dressed up as the Witch-King of Angmar (the Nazgul Eowyn kills), or to Maya, who had a perfect Max costume (Where the Wild Things Are), or Emma, the knitting superhero, or Jamie, the cat, or the pair who dressed up as Calvin and Hobbes, or whoever was that one silent guy from Spirited Away. . .

Thanks to Emma, the knitting and computer-science superhero, I now have pictures for you all!

Note the trademark red scarf (covering up vampire scars).

--The superhero who made these photos possible!

(a not-so-subtle commentary on Twilight.)


There was barbecue chicken pizza. And an extra hour in the day. And nice weather. Pretty much perfect.


1. My half-birthday!

2. I've been trying to go meatless on Mondays, and eat beef only once or twice a week, since methane (read: cow farts) is a greenhouse gas. However, they had beef stroganoff, my favorite food. And it was my half-birthday.

3. I was one of only six people who actually showed up to Superheroes. The class eventually turned into a discussion of people's dreams in which they had some kind of super power. I think my favorite was Superman shopping at Gap, or else Napoleonic navies fighting the Borg. (See, this is why I love my fellow geeks.) Why don't I have dreams like that?


This is my sleep-in day. Woke up at 9:30-ish. Was busy for entire rest of day.

1. First-Year Seminar class ended early, as only three of us had actually done the reading yet. This gave me time to meet with my teacher, who is also my adviser, to discuss next semester's schedule and my Winter Term project (an analysis of bathroom graffiti on college campuses). She told me to contact a folklorist, because folklore is the intersection of English and Sociology and it covers graffiti. I always considered folklore to be more about Paul Bunyan and leprechauns than which types of student are most likely to write the lyrics to "Still Alive" on the bathroom wall. Folklore suddenly seems a lot more exciting...

2. Grab quick lunch. The mock chicken here actually tastes and feels like chicken but is more flexible (you can fold it over on itself with a fork).

3. Lifeguard--grand total of three swimmers in 90 minutes.

4. Time to vote, for the first time in my life! I'd gotten a packet from the League of Women Voters ages ago and last week had sat down with it and gone through, reading candidates' statements and issue descriptions, marking the ones I wanted to vote for. I was not going to be some apathetic young voter, hell no, not me! I was going to be prepared!

I came into the gym with my utility bill as ID and proof of residence, double-checked my precinct, signed off that I was voting, took my little swipey-card, went to the portable machines, and stuck the card into the slot.

Then I realized I'd left my cheat-sheet in my room.

I couldn't leave--I was already signed in and everything, my card was inserted, if I left I would forfeit anything. My warm, happy, satisfied, efficient, patriotic feelings of voter efficacy plummeted and I muttered a word I'd first uttered aloud when Bush got re-elected. Actually, I said something even stronger first. But I was not happy with myself.

I ended up just voting for the people whose names I was sure I remembered underlining and skipping those for whom I wasn't entirely confident. I did know how I was going to vote on all of the yes/no issues, however, so I managed to salvage some bit of confidence from that. It was worrying, however--how many people simply vote like this all the time? How many show up and, through accident or apathy, just pick names at random? I felt awkward. But I didn't have long to feel that way, because I had a little bit of time to do homework and then--

4. Interviewed Wendy Levy, class of 1982, for the Oberlin Review. She was giving a presentation on documentaries, interactive media, and social justice. I thought she was amazing--full of energy and clearly passionate about what she does. She loved Oberlin and said it was what kick-started pretty much everything she works on now. It's hard to sum up...the article should be in the next issue, which you can read here on Saturday.

5. More homework, dinner, more homework.

6. Go to Wendy Levy's presentation. Get mind blown. Leave feeling inspired and energized. See a small group of students standing under a streetlight in the cold night air and hear one of them saying, "But what does it mean to not know?" Quintessential Oberlin moment.

7. Fully intend to do homework but end up spending an hour reading silly Halloween stories on MLIA.com (My Life Is Average--the happy cousin of FML).

8. Sunshine Scouts practice.

9. Consider how wonderfully soft and cozy flannel sheets are.

10. Sleep.


This is normally my most hectic day, but considering how Tuesday went this week, it wasn't.

1. Normal classes in the morning, followed by a Bonus Optional Extra Session of my First-Year Seminar. We've got a paper due next week and we workshopped each other's over lunch--pizzas that our teacher/my adviser had ordered. I like that class. :)

2. French speaking practice, complete with a trivia quiz about France! Somehow we got to talking about Harry Potter. Apparently, over there, they pronounce the main characters' names as "Arry," "Er-me-own," and "Ro'." I like Ro'. It's cuuuute. It works. Ron would hate it, Hermione would giggle, Fred and George would give him hell.

3. Econ class, homework, wrote article for the Review and sent it in.

4. "We Are America: Uninsured," a panel on health care. My Sociology professor was on it, as were representatives of the Economics and Politics department, a pediatrician, and someone who I think was from the philosophy department. His observations were somewhat depressing--socialized medicine just lowers incentive for medical innovation, but what we've got now doesn't work very well either, and it's all a giant mess. Obviously a two-hour-long panel discussion wasn't going to solve America's health care problems, but I found it interesting and fairly educational. I'm still not sure how single-payer health care would work, or how it could lead to government monopolization of health care if we require everyone to get coverage...but that's what Google is for, and now I know lots of comparative systems in other countries, which is always a good thing to have.


Blessedly slow: nothing but one class, one lifeguard shift, a lecture on the predictability of problem behavior in children based on family environment, and Sunshine Scouts practice.

Today, Friday

An Econ test, some lifeguarding, and a Sunshine Scouts performance! Exciting! And tomorrow we're going to Chicago for an invitational competition. That might be the subject of next week's blog...

A little goody for all those of you who have seen my chaotic week through to its end. PS238 is recommended reading for the Superheroes ExCo, and it's about a school for kids with superpowers. It's funny, cute, and has been eating up what free time I have. Enjoy.


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