Tuesday, May 1, 2012


So Houghton has this big rock near Gillette that people can spray paint with messages or advertisements or just for fun.  Lots of people think it's ugly and don't like it.  But as of Sunday at midnight, it's looked like this.

Monica (who only took 6 credits this semester) made it, and on Sunday night Adam and I and some other people helped her put it on.  It was so much fun to see people react to it the next day; everyone who walked by was talking about it, some went up close to look at it, and some got their pictures taken with it.  When I got to Painting, people there were discussing it.  And it was all over Facebook, too.  I feel like I know someone famous now!

P. S.  Putting crocheted or knitted things like this in public places is called yarnbombing; it seems like it's pretty popular, although I'd never heard of it before Monica told me.  The Wikipedia article gives a good overview and has some photos, and yarnbombing.com has lots of cool examples.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring 2012 Lanthorn

One more post today...  This semester's Lanthorn came out this past week (making me sad Adam and I aren't the editors anymore!  But Steve and Zeke, this year's editors, did a good job), and I had two poems in it, which I thought I'd share here.  I also submitted a short prose piece, which didn't get in, but I was happy about the poems.

When I read the word “windmill”
I was instantly back in Brugge with you
walking in the sun along the river
coming upon it suddenly—
skeletal rather than picturesque
but we were excited anyway.

Coming Back to Pennsylvania from New Zealand in November
November never seemed this ugly before.
I haven’t seen the sun since I’ve been back (five days).
As if being overcast wasn’t enough
it poured yesterday, flooding the nearby covered bridge.
Even if it was sunny, the landscape would be the same—
all dull browns and grays

decaying leaves plastered to the ground
trees completely bare
fields of stubble stretching to either side of the road.
But by half past five it’s all been erased by darkness
leaving me in shock that night can fall so early.
And did I mention that it’s cold as?

Digital Imaging final project

Can you tell I don't have much left to do?  Two posts in one day!  I'm done with my final projects for Graphic Design and Digital Imaging, so I just have to finish my final painting and do a little studying for the Backpacking final (which is on Thursday, when the painting is due).  Today was the last day of classes, so tomorrow and Wednesday I'll pretty much just be painting... after getting up at noon, of course.

This is my final project for Digital Imaging, a series of two animated gifs that have some point/purpose and/or make people think.  The subject I chose is short-term missions, specifically what's wrong with them; not that I condemn short-term missions or think they're bad or unhelpful, I've just wondered before if they're the most effective means of helping people.  I had also recently read an article pointing out some of their flaws, so that was in my mind when we got assigned this project.

(click to view larger and with better quality)

Job interview!

Yup, I have one, on May 7th at 3pm.  My first ever real job interview!  Here's a condensed version of the job description:

"We seek to hire a Houghton graduate as a full time paralegal.  We mostly represent people in the Information Technology field who are entering the U.S. for temporary or permanent employment.  We are looking for someone with strong organizational skills who can take the information (often in highly technical language) provided by our clients and put it into a format that is understandable by the adjudicators making the decision. Your work will be the crucial factor in the adjudicator’s decision as to whether to grant the benefit or not.

You need to have solid creative writing ability. What you will be doing is taking a client’s background information and writing his or her story in a way that proves that our client is qualified.  Some cases are formulaic and do not require a great deal of thought, but others will require that you use your creative juices to make an argument as to why the benefit should be granted.

It will take us awhile to train you, so we are looking for someone who can commit to at least a couple of years, but we hope that you decide that you like the career and will stick around much longer.  We limit our search to Houghton graduates because we want someone who has met the rigorous educational challenge Houghton offers, and we want someone who will fit into our office with enough ego to accept a challenge, but not so much that it would upset the harmony of the office. We have worked very hard to make sure the office is a pleasant place to work with people who respect each other and like each other."

So yeah, not the kind of thing I would seek out at all, but my advisor sent it to me, and some of the other English and Writing majors, and I figured I might as well apply since it does sound like it could be a good fit for me and they're only looking for Houghton grads.  I'm nervous about the interview, though; I don't think I even have anything suitable to wear.  And it's in just a week!  But one of my housemates actually already interviewed for the job, so I can ask her for tips.  It's weird, when I think about it, that we're competing, but we haven't talked about that at all, just discussed the job itself and tried to help each other with the application and stuff.  And neither of us is certain we want to do it, either, it just made sense to both of us to apply.  Anyway... exciting!  (And scary...)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Backpacking trip

So this past weekend I went on an overnight trip for my Backpacking class.  I was pretty much dreading it beforehand: I had to get up early on a Saturday; Liz (my roommate, who is also in the class) wasn't going because she had a horse show that day, and I didn't really know anyone else; it was supposed to rain all day; and I just don't particularly like camping--you get dirty and smelly and there are no bathrooms.

But I had to go to get the credit, so I did.  I was late to the gym, where we were supposed to meet at 8:30, but that didn't end up mattering because by the time everyone was packed up and ready to go it was past 10.  Then we had a long van ride down to Susquehannock State Forest in PA (near Wellsboro), which I didn't mind because I got to read The Hunger Games and sleep.  After a picnic lunch and then driving to another spot, we finally started the hike, around 1:45.  It actually wasn't raining, and it was a perfect hiking temperature.  So that was nice, and I wasn't feeling too terrible about it, except that the trail immediately started going uphill.

One of the issues I somehow hadn't anticipated was that I was not used to walking while carrying a giant, full backpack on my back.  It was heavy.  And my poor body was not ready for that.  Especially going uphill.  So I fell behind the group right away, but my professor very nicely stayed with me and chatted with me as we walked.  But after a while, when I kept being slow, I felt bad and told her she could go ahead of me, so she did and I was all alone at the back.  I was so relieved whenever I caught up to the group when they had stopped to rest, because that meant that I could rest too.  Once when I stopped my heart was just pounding, so hard it was kind of scary.  It was around 50 degrees, but I was sweating.

Eventually, though, the ground leveled out, and I got a good steady pace going, actually walking in the middle of the group instead of straggling behind them.  The scenery around us was beautiful--lots of green, a pretty stream, cool plants that the prof. pointed out--and I actually didn't mind the hike too much then.  We had to cross the stream several times, which was sometimes tricky, but never a problem.

But then . . . it started to rain.  And because I had concluded before that since it wasn't raining it wasn't ever going to, that was kind of depressing.  It didn't stop, either, it just kept up, not pouring but still steady, slowly getting everyone wetter and wetter until most of our rain coats had soaked right through.  I was also getting tired and slowing down again, which wasn't fun.  And by that time my body was hurting in so many places--shoulder, back, and hips from the backpack, legs and feet from walking, ankles from the hiking boots I'd never worn before.

The trail had merged with a gravel road for a little while, and around 6 we came upon a campsite with a nice flat area for tents and a fire ring.  But better than that was the cabin right across the road, which had a covered porch.  Our prof. said we hadn't gone quite as far as she'd hoped, but she was okay with stopping there for the night, and everyone agreed.  We all sheltered on the porch, hanging up wet coats to dry on the nails so conveniently located around the edge.  Someone got out the stove and got water boiling right there so we could get warmed up with hot drinks.

We were hoping the rain would stop so we could set up our tents, but we ate dinner and it was still raining, so finally we just went over to the campsite and set up our tents as quickly as we could.  And then, because it was getting dark and there wasn't really anything else to do, we basically went to bed.  It was only 8:00.  I laid in my (actually Liz's; I ended up borrowing a lot of stuff from her because she's way more outdoorsy than me) sleeping bag and chatted with the other girls a little and read more Hunger Games, then, around 9:45, turned off my (again, actually Liz's) flashlight and went to sleep.
I fell asleep okay, but in the night I kept waking up, uncomfortable on the hard ground, or feeling squished between the two girls I was next to.  The prof. woke us up at 6:30 (when I was finally actually sleeping) and we ate breakfast bars and packed up.  It had, fortunately, stopped raining in the night.  Putting my backpack back on was painful (and every time I moved something hurt), but I did it, and then we started.

That day I was pretty much behind the whole day.  It got hilly again towards the end, and there were times when I thought I might just collapse on the trail, or at least I wanted to.  I walked super slowly sometimes, too tired to take any steps but tiny ones.  It was really steep, and some of the other people had definitely slowed down, too.  But then, finally, I reached the top--and we were done.  The hike was over.

It was such a relief.  And I felt really accomplished too--I had just hiked 10 miles carrying a huge weight (or what felt like one to me) on my back, and not collapsed, not given up, not even complained.  We drove to a pavilion for brunch and a church service, and then there was the long ride home and we were back at Houghton.  It was so awesome to get in my car and drive back to my house and be in civilization again.  Toilets, sinks, and showers are great.

So overall, it wasn't exactly fun.  But it wasn't awful either.  It was hard, it was exhausting, it was painful, it was cold and wet, but it was also an achievement, and definitely a memorable experience.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Animated Joyce

We're creating animated gifs in Digital Imaging (.gif is a file format for simple animations), and I made this one today for fun.  It's really quick and easy; you can do it right in photoshop.  It basically works like a stop motion film.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A good week to have a car at Houghton

So Houghton wanted as many seniors as possible to do this senior assessment, and as an incentive they had a prize drawing for everyone who participated.  I did it, and I won a prize--parking for a week in the president's spot!  It was great to be able to drive up for class in the morning, especially on the days when I had class at 8:15.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My house

These are photos Jaela took at the beginning of the year, so they're not very current (it's a little more decorated now), but you get the idea. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I made a chair

I started with a blank page in Adobe Illustrator, and ended up with this.  It's really basic and could be better, but I'm still pretty proud.  It was just so satisfying to figure out how to use the program to create something that actually looks like what it was supposed to.  This was for a Graphic Design assignment; we drew illustrations to go along with a poem.  I intend to put the entire finished thing on Facebook, if I can figure out how to convert the file to a format I can upload.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A poem

I'm back at Houghton and recently had two of my poems published in The Candle, a short, monthly publication the current editors of The Lanthorn have started.  I thought I'd share one of them...

Geological Thoughts
When I decided that my thoughts were a braided stream,
flowing in a network of interconnected rivulets
around numerous bars,
I immediately realized
I’d been studying geology too long.