Southeast Asia Symposium: Batik-Making

Batik, a wax-dyeing technique originated from Java, Indonesia, to produce coloured designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax to the parts to be left undyed.

Step 1: Gather your materials


List of materials needed for Batik

Blocks of wax, that were melted to "paint" over the cloth.

Blocks of wax, that were melted to “paint” over the cloth.

Step 2: Outline your design on the cloth with a pencil

A Batik book with designs you can get inspiration from, or trace over.

A Batik book with designs you can get inspiration from, or trace over.

Step 3: Apply the wax onto your design by dipping the tjanting into the melted wax. Make sure the wax permeates onto the other side.

The tjanting - you scoop the melted wax, and it will come out of the spigot.

The tjanting – you scoop the melted wax, and it will come out of the spigot.


Step 4: Allow the wax too dry completely


Step 5: Dip your cloth into dye, wash in cold water to remove excess dye, and hang to dry overnight.


Step 6: Boil you cloth in water to remove the wax. Hang to dry.

Step 7: Finished product

My finished batik design, dyed in indigo.

My finished batik design, dyed in indigo.

It’s never too late to try new things

Some people go to college knowing what they want to major in, what career field they want to get into and they stick with it all the way through. There’s a pretty low number of those people though. Ironically I’m kinda one of them.

But the best part of college and a liberal arts college is the opportunity to try so many different disciplines and interdisciplinary programs that build connections upon all aspects of our learning and world as we know it. As a senior I thought, yeah I’ve stuck with biology since high school and I still really enjoy my upper-level biology electives immensely this is for me! But at the same time I had to take an upper level division course outside my major and falling upon the intro core electives I took there were a variety of options for me and I thought hey this politics & government class looks good let’s take that one!

Now I bet some of you are groaning like “taking a P&G class for fun? are you crazy?” and “that’s so different than biology, it’ll be a whole different challenge” and my response to both would be yes it is and I didn’t fully realize it at the time thankful because I absolutely LOVE it right now! The format of social sciences is discussion based instead of lecture based with a courseload of readings for critical analysis based on IR theories, strategic games and understanding of the various topics.

As an outgoing talkative person I guess it’s no surprise this is right up my alley except as an upper division course many of the other students are P&G majors specifically IR or comparative politics. Rather than intimidating me it encourages me to be more thorough and thoughtful in my contributions and taking time to fully complete the readings (I love my highlighter, maybe the readings are a little too colorful). I love the supportive atmosphere, despite believing in different theories and arguments all opinions are valued and equally challenged without personal malice but for the sake of learning and education-the very best part of college.

I’d tell you more about how I love it but I’m still getting used to my workload, remember my other post “How to Do Homework” well I better get back to my 100+ readings for this class!


I have PT and an exam tomorrow. Wait, did I do the homework? Yeah I did. Got most of the dance party posters put up today. Can’t forget to give the extra to the other houses when I visit their chapter meetings next Monday. Can’t forget to actually visit. FreakNight is this weekend! I can’t wait. But first I have work on Friday before I leave. And the exam tomorrow. Ugh. I need to find time to start figuring out my classes for next semester. I know I’m taking Geology and Physics, but what about my other classes? Classes. Wait. What classes do I have tomorrow? Crap. I need to get around to that IFC Application…

Life is hectic right now. It has been for the last few months. Greek Life, Rugby, Work and Academics all keep me busy and always overlap with one another. I’m stressed, tired and really lacking in sleep. I just want it all to stop sometimes.

But, I’m having the time of my life. I’m making friends. I’m making connections all over campus. I’m eating very SUBpar food. I’m gaining valuable leadership experience. I’m learning all these new things. I’m making memories. I’m having fun.

Sure, I’d rather being laying in bed watching Netflix, but where’s the fun in that?

Signs (Pt. 1)

I dreamed I was wading barefoot down a river that led to the sea. I walked through knee-high reeds on stones contoured to the arches of my feet while guppies orbited my legs. I walked through a valley shrouded in fog, as the trees around me loosed their pine needles. I waded through water that continued to rise until I was wading neck-deep. Then the water rose over my head, and I held my breath and swam. My vision blurred, and I closed my eyes. When I came up for air, I was in the ocean and could not see land. Floating around me were objects. I saw a Ziploc bag with chocolates inside. Tangles of uprooted grass knotted together. Empty shaved ice cones. A violin bow. A Simon and Garfunkel album. And a photograph of a boy I used to know tied to a lawn chair beside the pool. I thought, What is this? The refuse of my past?

And I saw a hard-covered book that I didn’t recognize. I swam over and opened it. Inside, flattened by the damp pages, was a moth. When I picked the moth up, its wings fell apart.

Microbial Masterpieces

When you think of bacteria, what comes to mind?

For one of my friends (and probably most people), he immediately thinks of “bad.” But for me I think of them as a creative outlet. In microbiology course, our professor has something he likes to call the “LuxArt Competition” (#LuxArt). In this competition, we are tasked with creating microbial artwork on agar plates (a growth medium used to culture microorganisms), with bioluminescent bacteria culture (Photobacterium leiognathi). And as a result, if we look at these plates in the dark, we are given these beautiful, brightly glowing pieces of art like this.


Someone’s rendition of the Logger Axe.


A recreation of Ruth’s microbe rocket.

Creating these art pieces is actually a lot simpler than it looks; to get these designs all you have to do is dip a brush of q-tip swab into the bacteria culture and draw onto the agar, just as if it was a canvas. And if you’re not that artistic of a person, you can place the plate over an image and trace the outline. Since I was afraid of messing up and making I mistake, I used that same trick to outline my design.

For this competition, I made two pieces, Homer Simpon’s infamous “D’OH” face and a failed attempt at painting a thinking cartoon bacteria (hence the light bulb).


I Must Not Draw with Microbes.


The Microbial Thinker.

The prizes awarded for this competition are microbial plushies, each varying in size depending on your place.


Some microbial plushies that Giantmicrobes, Inc has to offer.

Since entering college, I never once thought that I would have the opportunity to make artwork in any of my courses, like those solar system models and dioramas we did back then in elementary/middle school (aside from enrolling in actual art courses).  And by being able to compete in this LuxArt competition, it was such a nice refresher to be able to take a step back from academic learning for a little while, and allow for students to express their creative sides. It was nice to see the creativity and individuality of my peers.

If you’re interested in looking at more microbial art, you can look up #Bio350 or #LuxArt on Instagram and/or twitter.

Images courtesy of Professor Martin aka Doc Martin and Google



I’m going to try something new this semester. I’m going to write a series of scenes throughout the year, which will be–or should be–thematically, if not narratively, continuous. I’ve decided to call it “Signs” for no good reason. The series will start with the next post.


I just gave the Educational Testing Service (ETS) about $750 to take three tests and to send 10 score reports.

I’ll be going to a conference in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in about two weeks. Takeaway: My friends and I have compiled an 11-hour playlist to listen to on the drive there and back.

Also: The National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing is coming to the University of Puget Sound the same weekend.

There are rumors about a new writing handbook called Sound Writing going around. I don’t know much about it, but I hear it’s free and has super cool graphics.

I recently read some good books. Alexander Chee’s Edinburgh, Percival Everett’s Erasure, Avishai Margalit’s The Ethics of Memory, and Jean-Pierre Dupuy’s A Short Treatise on the Metaphysics of Tsunamis come to mind first. Up next: Colson Whitehead, Michael Ondaatje, and Suzan Lori-Parks.

Bruce Hornsby’s Halcyon Days gets me through the week. Also, Little River Band. And I recently rediscovered this amazing duet between George Michael and Elton John.

I’m always tired but never seem to do anything about it. Love my bed more than most things right now. Sleeping with two blankets now. And still with the fan.

Getting sick of burritos. Will reconsider.

You Know You Go/Went to the University of Puget Sound when…

.. you say the Puge, not UPS or Puget Sound

… you have chacos and not just a single pair but warm weather and cold weather chacos chacos

… you have a bunch of different water bottles with different stickers for your various moods and you can hook it to your backpack

… you go to the new gym because duh new gym but mostly to get that post-workout smoothie!!

… you’ve counted the number of times Ron Thom said home in his Convocation speech, especially his last one

… you know one of the things people from UPS are most proud of is our campus, the grass, the trees, the flowers are always on point!

… you’ve sat in Div or Opp for a couple of house to “study” and basically see everyone who goes to college here

… you’ve done (or plan to) do the Polar Plunge into the Sound at Ruston Way with friends!

… you’ve gone on a late-night Memo’s study break run!

… as long as the sun is out and the weather seems warm everyone is outside laying on the grass, tossing a frisbee, lounging in a hammock OUTSIDE!

… you’ve eaten more than you thought you could with Trapper’s all-you-can-eat sushi buffet

… you absolutely have LOVED the COOKIE from the Met


& these a just a few of the things I know I’ll miss when I graduate the Puge

The School Gym: A Non-Regular’s Perspective


As you may have heard, the University has a big shiny beefed up Athletics and Aquatics center, unveiled in all it’s renovated glory just this year. Whether it’s truly an improvement, I cannot say, as I never had the opportunity to see what stood there before.

That’s not to say that I would be the best witness anyway. It took me two entire weeks after school started before I actually checked the place out. I would blame the fact that it’s at the opposite end of the campus from where I live, but that would imply that I’m too lazy to walk for five minutes before working out. Actually I only showed up in the gym today because I was already in the building for something else, so maybe I really am that lazy.

In my defense, I feel profoundly out of place in a gym. My athletics background is mainly distance running, a pursuit that takes me to a great and wonderful range of places that look nothing like gyms. The one here is nice and open, but it’s very grey. Worse, the dizzying array of machines is readily intimidating. I had no idea where to begin.

After about twenty minutes of playing smartphone games while doing a StairMaster workout, I decided that maybe I should make a serious attempt at figuring out what some of the other machines did. So I walked up to this contraption that claimed to be a “Hammer Strength Bicep Curl” machine, and decided to give it a go. So I slipped my arms where I thought they were supposed to go and calmly looked stupid. After a couple minutes of failing to figure out the proper operation, I moved on.

Fortunately, it turned out that the other machines were a bit more intuitive. Granted, I would rather pretend that some of the higher weight settings were designed for the edge case of a figure from one of the old pantheons descending from Olympus or Norway or wherever to test them out than admit that I’m not actually all that strong, but I was still able to exercise parts of my body without too much trouble. I even figured out the bicep curl machine eventually. I’m not sure that what I ended up doing was a truly effective workout, but I did manage to walk away feeling kind of satisfied.

I’ll admit that’s hardly the most positive spin I could give the experience, but I do think I’m going to give it another try. If you’re a student reading this and you haven’t, I’d suggest testing it for yourself.

The Vamp and Tramp Show at the Library



On Wednesday, October 12 there was an event that garnered the rare O designation for “other” category in the Arts and Weekly Lectures email sent out to students (ie something that wasn’t either a E = exhibit, F for film, L for lecture, M for music, T for theater, or W for workshop). The event was a small gathering that took place in the McCormick Room in the Collins Memorial Library. Dubbed the Vamp and Tramp Show, the event was full of various rare books that were available for the public to read, assuming your hands were clean.

Unclear why it’s called the Vamp and Tramp Show? So was I! But upon internet research I found that it was because the event was put on by Bill and Vicky Stewart from Vamp and Tramp Booksellers (more info can be found here: who travel around displaying rare books for the general public to see.


One of the books that stuck out to me was Transforming Hate by Clarissa Sligh (I really recommend checking out this website with info on the project: ) which was a fascinating grouping of different forms of art ranging from fantastic origami to other narratives that ranged from Emmett Till to the recent shooting at  Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. It was powerful to see the book that crossed so many different genres that served to convey important narratives in such a beautifully made book.


Another book that stood out was Shock and Awe by Ethan Rafal ( which was centered around photographs that captured the impacts of war. Creating an interesting parallel between the devastation abroad that was mirrored at home, there were many portions that were focused on letters of personal narratives. These unique snapshots of peoples’ lives were effective in making a point of showing the fleeting glimpse we get of the human impact of war today.

All in all, the event was a very interesting and unique experience that was a nice study break during midterms week for those looking for it. Be sure to look out for the next event held by the library!

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How to do Homework

You’d think after four years of college and four years of high school I’d learn the best way to do homework but you’d be wrong. I think every student ever can tell you we know procrastination all too well. I may not be the BEST study/homework doing person but I think most of my friends can say it too, we’re still learning how to do homework.

In high school,  I don’t remember much about homework except them telling us “in college there is very little homework, heavy on the exams and papers with NO make-ups”. Well, from personal experience I can confidently say it differs everywhere. The different departments and professors all have their own philosophies about how much homework, review sessions, group work, presentations, paper drafts and dropped homework/exams or revisions to work you can make. The profs at UPS are great at communicating these expectations but be warned you shouldn’t EXPECT for the homework to be easy, for the professors to give you the answers when you ask for help or for revisions and opportunities to “bump up your grade”. The professors are willing to work WITH you to make sure YOU understand, really encouraging you to put in the work.

As a senior I have a better grasp of hwo to read between the lines and write out all my assignments to see what times are going to be busy but even when I do that I’m still in a dilemma about  how and when to do my work. As a science major a majority of my classes are lecture-based with note-taking and problems to solve and understand the connectiosn to be evaluated on the exams and actual lab work. I’m completely used to this style of learning, however this year with more freedom I’m taking courses leaning towards social sciences and upper level biology with discussions, readings and papers. It’s in these situations I’m unsure: should I keep doing work when I have free time and plan ahead on the weekend or a day or two before and potentially not fully remember everything recently in class or bunch up my work after my long days of class, work and meetings? I don’t have an answer for you, and I don’t know what answer you would give but I think it differs for everyone. A P&G or psychology major might be more comfortable with the readings heavy workload and know how to better balance it (And their print green) but I’m still getting used to it.

I think the lesson learned and lesson to stick to is: do your homework, however you feel most comfortable and prepared for class and learning the material.