Get cold.

Usually during the month of December, I find it pretty hard to get in the holiday spirit while I’m at school. At this time of year, instead of being around your family, you’re surrounded by finals, stress, and misery; no one is sleeping or eating well, and everyone is biting each other’s heads off. Trying to feel Christmasy at school nowadays is not easy.

For this reason I usually just try to power through to the end of the semester without focusing on the holidays at all. I lock myself up inside where it’s warm, study like crazy, and tell myself that when I get home, I can Christmas it up 100%. But this semester, since our finals are extraordinarily late in the month, and since my sister won’t be home to celebrate the holiday with my family… I haven’t been feeling like I’ll be able to get much Christmas in my Christmas this year. 

That is, I was feeling that way, until the beginning of reading period started.

On Wednesday night, on the spur of the moment, I decided to go ice skating with the Lighthouse Inter-Denominational Christian Fellowship, and had such a blast. I met some lovely people, and sang Christmas carols with friends while trying not to fall on my face on the ice; we all made a conga line and inevitably fell down while trying to skate in sync. If you haven’t been to the Polar Plaza downtown yet, and you can drop $10 on some ice skating fun, you should really try to squeeze it in before the end of the semester. It was so worth it.

Then on Thursday night, I went caroling with the rest of the Adelphian Concert Choir. I’d planned to get lots of recordings of us singing together, but the only video I got was us warming up our hot cocoa-clogged vocal chords with Ding Dong Merrily on High.

The highlight of our evening of caroling was when we met a gentleman out walking his dog, and after hearing us sing he directed us to his house so we could carol for his wife and daughter. They were so thrilled to hear us, and a couple neighbors even started coming out of nearby houses to listen as well. I had never been caroling before, but having done it with my fellow Adelphians, I can say there’s legitimately nothing more fun to do at Christmas.

So in conclusion, my tips for getting into the holiday spirit during finals season: grab some friends. Bundle up. Go outside. Get cold. Something awesome will happen, and that’s where the holidays are at.

And if that doesn’t work, blow off studying and go see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug twice in 24 hours. That’s another thing that worked on me.

Mystery Artist of the Vegan Station

One of my favorite writers has started a game of sorts on his twitter called #OfficeArt, where he and his followers share artwork that they or their coworkers create at the offices they work in. When this began, I was intrigued with the idea, but I was unable to contribute much, because 1) I don’t work in an office and 2) I can’t draw.

However, I have started to stumble across art of sorts in my workplace.

This might not be what you would expect, seeing as I work in the sub. This semester I work early mornings at the chef’s table and vegan station, usually cooking bacon and sausage or whipping up tofu scramble for breakfast burritos. And over the past few months at my vegan station shifts, I’ve started to find mysterious art, drawn on anything and everything. I have no idea who has been making it, or if it’s more than one person, but it is seriously cool.

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It started out simple enough – the star drawn into the center of the fan above, the addition of the word “prime” after “optimus” at the bottom.

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Then there was this box of saran wrap, clearly marked VEGAN in cool graffiti-type lettering. A little more artistic skill there.

Once I looked around the station I started finding more:

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Mostly done in sharpie, but a few in ballpoint pen, like this:

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And then there’s this awesome frog:

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I don’t know who you are, mysterious vegan station artist, but I dig your stuff. I’m keeping an eye out for more.

 

 

November Writing Madness

Holy cow, I didn’t even realize that more than two weeks have zipped by since I last wrote a blog or even checked in to read everybody else’s posts. It seems we’ve hit that point in the semester where everything happens at once, and suddenly you turn around and it’s almost Thanksgiving, and you’re still living on leftover Halloween candy that’s strewn around your bedroom and getting occasional urges to dress up as Bilbo Baggins. (No? Just me? Okay.)

I may not have been blogging much, but I have been writing a lot: I’m working on three different research papers right now (god help me), as well as taking part in National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is something I’ve done every year since I was in high school, and every year around this time I start to question my sanity. Why on earth did I think this is a good idea? I don’t have time to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month, who am I kidding? But, on the other hand, I did meet some of my best friends at this school through NaNoWriMo in my freshman year, so this November writing madness at Puget Sound sort of has a special place in my heart.

It’s weird to think about, because I’ve always loved creative writing, but before coming to this school–well, really, before this past year–I had sort of a phobia of showing anybody anything I’d written. This semester, though, I finally managed to get over a lot of that fear, and I know that a lot of that is due to the intro to poetry writing class I took last spring. I had been so reluctant to take a creative writing class, because I knew that I would have to share my work with my peers, and that terrified me. It wasn’t until my advisor really drilled it into my head, You NEED to take this course to fulfill your major, that I finally bit the bullet and just took the class, and I am so glad I did. That class forced me to get my feet wet, share my work with people, write about surprisingly personal things… and then helped me to realize that my peers have a lot of positive feedback as well as really helpful constructive criticism to give. My classmates and I were all in the same boat, all sharing our work with each other, and that definitely made the whole experience very supportive and welcoming rather than, you know… terrifying.

So anyway, it’s probably because of that class that I’m a lot more comfortable with my writing nowadays. In my previous years here, I’d always wanted to take part in Crosscurrents Review, or submit my own poetry or prose, but I was always too nervous when the deadline rolled around. This semester I managed to submit poetry to both Crosscurrents and Wetlands, and had a lot of fun being part of the poetry team on Crosscurrents Review.

Oh, and also, now I write blogs on here for random fellow students to read, so… there’s that. 🙂

‘Til next time… peace be in the galaxy, fools!

Halloween Festivities at UPS

So if you’ve ever had to interact with me during the month of October, you’ll probably know that I’m an absolute Halloween fanatic. I always try to go to as many Halloween-related campus activities as I can, and it just so happened that the majority of fun spooky activities this year all took place the day before Halloween. So of course, I tried to cram in as much Halloween festivity as I could into one evening. The first item on my list was Bat Night at the Slater Museum in Thompson Hall.

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There were thousands of bat specimens to study–plus some great bat costumes from both the student volunteers and the guests! There was even a live bat, a fifteen-year-old fruit bat named Indy. I couldn’t get very great pictures of him, but he was adorable:

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Next up was the English department’s Halloween themed open mic night! I couldn’t stay for the entire time, but while I was there I did get to hear some fantastic music and spooky poetry from some of my fellow English majors.

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Also Elvis was there, that was pretty exciting. IMG_1004

Next I went to see some friends perform in a Student Initiative Theatre production, Then Spoke the Thunder. 

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It was an original play written and directed by student Jake Rosendale–not specifically Halloween-related, true, but I thought the play was really quite spooky in intensity. Much of the play was a theatrical adaptation of the works of T.S. Eliot, who I’ve loved ever since studying him in my first English class at this school, so naturally I adored the play.

Afterward, my roommates and I went to the haunted house at Phi Delta Theta. I didn’t take any pictures in the haunted house because I was too busy being terrified, but I doubt that any cell phone camera could do justice to how fantastically spooky that haunted house actually was. Apparently one of the guys in there was taking pictures of people being scared, though, because I was just tagged in this beautiful photo on Facebook:

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It was so much fun, and very well put together. Plus all proceeds went to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA) to help find a cure for ALS, so that was extra awesome.

My actual Halloween has been pretty quiet compared with all the Halloween fun yesterday. I went to class in my Bilbo Baggins costume, because I will jump at literally any opportunity to wear my hobbit slippers; and I went to a meeting for Crosscurrents Review tonight. (Which reminds me: if you’re considering submitting to Crosscurrents, time is running out! Submit your art, poetry, or prose to ccr@pugetsound.edu by November 6.)

But other than that, I’ve just been hanging out with my roomies, giving out candy to adorable children, and carving jack-o-lanterns.

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Happy Halloween to all!

 

“The town crier spoke my lines…”

Greetings to readers, faculty, fellow loggers, time lords, parasitic life forms, etc. etc. I am coming to you from the chaotic madness that is midterm season—probably the least opportune time for me to take a break from schoolwork for something like a writing a blog post, I know. But I just can’t fight the urge to spew a little love on the Internet about this year’s Town Crier Speaks Festival. 

For those unfamiliar with Town Crier, TCSF is an annual theatre festival of six short original plays, and is entirely student-run: all the plays are written, directed, and acted in by UPS students—not to mention the student techies and producers, who I thought were beyond brilliant! Okay, maybe I’m a little biased because this year’s producers were my roommates Robyn Helwig and Shelby Isham, but seriously, the amount of dedication and skill that goes into producing a project like this is just incredible. Shelby and Robyn have been working on organizing and producing this year’s Town Crier for the past five months. (Which just blows me away, personally. Seriously, five months? I get distracted focusing on one project for more than a couple of hours. In a related story, there is definitely a midterm paper I should be working on right now.)

This year’s festival took place over this past weekend, and had a fantastic lineup of plays: GO. by Casey Oakes, A Toy for Juliet by Lindsey Salazar, Pendulum by Jordan Moeller, Encore by Andrew Lutfala, Human Resources by Daniel C. Smith, and A Case Worth Taking by Darrin Schultz. Whether it was slapstick-esque comedy, film noir parody, twisted time travel, or zombie apocalypse, the actors performed with such a genuine and intense energy that the audience was often either holding their breaths in anxiety or roaring with laughter. Even in some of the darker plays, I found myself laughing frequently at the perverse humor and at times shocking physical comedy; always keeping the audience on their toes and never knowing quite what to expect, in the best possible way.

If I had to pick, my favorite play of the evening would probably be Encore, which was written by Andrew Lutfala and directed by Ellie Freeman. Austen Harrison starred as a janitor in this one-man show, speaking to the audience directly as though he was an actual janitor cleaning up the theater in the middle of the play. As his monologue went on, the mild-mannered janitor divulged more and more about his lifelong desire to be a performer and his desperate need for an audience to affirm his existence, escalating in emotional intensity until he was screaming at the audience to speak to him. The tension in the audience was palpable: we’ve been taught all our lives that it’s not appropriate to speak during a performance in a theater, especially not to the actors, but Austen’s performance was so believable that it was hard not to feel a certain level of discomfort—Wait, is he actually asking us to speak? Should we say something, just to put this poor guy out of his agony? Even though it was later revealed that the janitor had been putting on an act, the intensity of that moment was definitely something that stayed with the audience through to the end of the show.

Congrats on a great show to everyone who took part in TCSF, from the brilliant writers and actors to the tireless directors, producers, and techies who dedicated their time to put together the show as a whole—I’d honestly love to go on rambling about how much I enjoyed the plays, but unfortunately I really should be getting back to that paper…

I’m looking forward to reading more posts from my fellow (b)loggers, and I hope everyone has a fantastic fall break!