Summer Paradox

The Paradox is a student run coffee shop on campus, and this is the first time in several years that it is open all summer. During the school year, the Paradox can be pretty crowded, but the summer crowd is sparse, making it a great time to get acquainted with the Paradox.

The Paradox photo 2 (4)

The Paradox is a pretty cool place to have on campus. Beyond the good prices (I have yet to find anywhere else in town where you can get a cup of Stumptown Coffee for $1.50), it is also a nice space to hang out and pass the time. I’ve found the Paradox to be a pretty relaxed place throughout the year, but the summer has a special kind of slow pace. You may find a small group of students holding a meeting, or some staff members taking a break and enjoying their caffeinated beverages. You can also find copies of many student publications, like the Reed College Creative Review, Homers Roamers, or The Quest.

If you’re ever on campus, drop in and check out this great spot!

 

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Going to the Coast: Beaches are different

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had the pleasure of going to the Oregon Coast. Packed into a small five-seater car, some friends and I made the two hour journey to Cannon Beach. I’d only been to the Oregon coast once before, and that was during a very stormy fall break- not ideal beach weather.

A picture of the beach, taken by a much better photographer than I

This time, the shore was pleasantly warm, and eerily foggy. Coming from a beach town-the town of Port Townsend, WA is located on a northern peninsula in the Puget Sound- I’m pretty well acclimated to the sights and sounds of the beach (or so I thought). At first I was surprised by the size of the shore, the waves, and the total lack of shells, beach glass and drift wood that I’ve come to closely associate with beaches in the past. This beach seemed large, empty, and intimidating.

Located on Cannon Beach is a huge rock- which I’ve now totally forgotten the name of. When we first got there, the tide was low enough to walk out, so we attempted a short hike down the beach to see it. Unfortunately, our meandering took too long, and so by the time we got there the tide had encroached and surrounded the big rock.

Rock

Once we had made it out to the nameless Rock, we had a small picnic, and played some

I've gotten pretty good at making these over the years

The rock towers (my masterpieces)

games involving the creation of fantastic rock towers- which cover the beaches back home. We also attempted to climb a log someone had buried upright in the ground. (Unfortunately, I was too short to give it a good go).

Although this beach was quite different from the beaches back home, I ended up having a lovely time at the beach, and can’t wait until I get a chance to go to the coast again!

Me and the very tall log

Me and the very tall log

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Wildflower Hikes

One of the best parts about living in Portland is the incredible nature that surrounds (and sometimes inhabits) the city. One perfect example of this is the Columbia River Gorge, the conservation area around it, and the historic highway that runs alongside it. Beginning 20 minutes away from Portland, the area includes waterfalls (such as Multnomah Falls, the third largest waterfall in the United States) and breathtaking vista points.

Last Saturday, however, I did not go to the gorge area for its breathtaking views of the Columbia River. I drove an hour and a half east for a little known hike called the Hood River Mountain Trail. It was amazing, and  a perfect example of the kind of treasures the Pacific North West holds.

Mt. Hood and Wildflowers

Mt. Hood and Wildflowers

Once the forest cleared the path my friends and I were hiking upon opened up onto fields of wildflowers. There were views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens, as well as dandelions to make wishes on the size of jawbreakers. It was absolutely remarkable. And the entire time it made me think, wow I am so grateful I get to go to college in such a beautiful corner of the world.

 

 

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Pride PDX

I snapped this photo when the parade passed by the Portland Oregon sign right by the Burnside Bridge.

I snapped this photo when the parade passed by the Portland Oregon sign right by the Burnside Bridge.

June is Pride month, and this was the first year in recent memory that Reed had a contingency at the parade. We had a pretty good turn out, roughly 40 students and staff members showed up, as well as Professor of History and Humanities David Garrett and a number of Reed dogs. The Doyle Owl even made an appearance and was dressed for the occasion!

Doyle Owl!

Overall, Pride was a fun weekend. Even though we caught a bout of Junuary weather and a little bit of rain on the parade, spirits were still high. This was the first time I had been to a Pride event anywhere, so I definitely enjoyed myself. Just one of the many events Portland has to offer over the summer!

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Reunions: ReedFayre

Just a short while ago, Reed hosted Reunions– it’s a little unlike a reunion at any other college, if only because any and every Reedie is invited. Alumni from classes ranging from the 2010′s to the 1960′s came to campus for a weekend to celebrate the Reed community. Even current students were invited– so myself and a whole bunch of friends came to campus one night to check it out.

photo 3We showed up just in time for a spectacular fireworks display (excuse the blurry photo), which took place over the Great Lawn. Then, a giant glowing statue of the Griffin led a procession to a barbecue spot with free food.

photo 5

Afterwards, we checked out a performance by a student band, and popped into the alumni talent show. But the real fun came when we all went to Stop Making Sense– it’s a dance that happens annually for current Reedies, where the Talking Heads concert film of the same title gets projected on the Student Union walls. It’s always fun during the year, but was particularly awesome to see Reedies of all generations getting down to the Talking Heads. It certainly makes you feel less goofy for shouting the lyrics to Psycho Killer when someone next to you, thirty years your senior, is doing it too.

 

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I’ll be a Monkey’s Puzzle!

Monkey puzzle tree on the front lawn

Monkey puzzle tree on the front lawn

Reed College, like much of Portland, is filled with evergreen trees. But one tree in particular stands out among the firs: The Monkey Puzzle tree! These trees, native to the central and southern Andean regions of Chile and Argentina, are an ancient species of tree and considered a “living fossil.” The national tree of Chile, Monkey Puzzles have long swooping branches and a trunk covered with hard, spiky leaves and which give the tree its name (it was noted that “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that”).

Branch of the monkey puzzle on campus

Branch of the monkey puzzle on campus

Spiky trunk of the monkey puzzle

Spiky trunk of the monkey puzzle

The Pacific Northwest has a fairly similar climate to central Chile, making Portland a great place for Monkey Puzzles to thrive. The majority of Monkey Puzzles in Portland are around the same age and size, thanks to the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition held in Portland in 1905. At the Expo, many seedlings were given away and planted in yards all around the city, a handful of which have been named heritage trees by the city of Portland.

If you are planning on visiting campus, I highly suggest looking for our Monkey Puzzle. (Hint: It’s on the front lawn just past the softball field)

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Summer Bucket List, Part 1

Since I have the pleasure of staying in Portland this summer break, I’ve decided to take advantage of all the city has to offer (and my extended availability, now that I don’t have any classes to go to or homework to finish). I’m hoping to explore the city, and get to do all the fun things I’ve heard about but have yet to get to. So far, my summer bucket list consists of:

  1. Going to the Lan Su Chinese Garden- located downtown in Old Chinatown. 
  2. Attending some of the Portland Pride Festival events- The official events run from June 5th to August 2nd, so I don’t think I’ll be able to go to everything, but I hope to at least go the big parade.
  3. Go bouldering at the local bouldering gym- I’ve gone rock climbing indoors before, but I’ve never done pure bouldering (no ropes), which sounds extra fun.
  4. Visit the Portland Art Museum- The PAM has free admission every fourth Friday of the month, and I’m hoping to take advantage of the opportunity again.
  5. Visit Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)- I went to OMSI once before to see Body worlds, but have yet to visit again. OMSI just opened their Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit, and who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Not me, for sure!
  6. Visit the Coast- I lived right next to a beach for most of my life, and I miss the seaside, so I’m hoping to have some fun visiting the Coast this summer.
  7. Check out some more of the fantastic vegan eats- Portland has great food, and lots of vegan-friendly restaurants, and I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting a fraction of them. Some of the fine institutions gracing my list are: Sweet Hereafter, Natural Selection, the Blossoming Lotus, and the Farm Cafe.
  8. Go Kayaking on the Willamette-  I’m from a town with a lot of boating and kayaking, but I’ve yet to actually ever go kayaking myself. Hopefully I can try it out and have some fun on the river! 

This isn’t anywhere near a complete list, I’ve still got some thinking  (and planning) to do. Portland has so many awesome opportunities, I’m sure I’m going to have a blast trying to do everything on my summer bucket list.

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Unfocused, Soft

“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.”

-Aldo Leopold

At the beginning of each summer, when the school year is over and I begin to transition from one type of weekly tempo to another, I feel unsure where to place my mental focus: asking myself questions about how to structure my days, and how I want to personally develop this summer.

Lately, however, I feel even more unsure where to place my physical f0cus; With so much blooming and all the coming-to-be-more-alive, June in Portland is less than a stone’s throw from Aldo’s description. From the Portland Rose Garden, to the local flora on Reed’s campus, it is hard to look anywhere without seeing much life.

Aforementioned flora:

photo 1 (3)

photo 5

With all the new stages of life around me, I realize that an important part of my time at Reed is letting in all of the newness and energy, and to glimpse what I can in a softer, more unfocused way.

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Summer Time Stir-Fry

In preparation for my move off-campus for the summer, I was faced with one omnipresent question which demanded an answer: now that Commons is closed, what sort of food will I cook for myself? With utmost fervor, I set myself to Pinterest, Tumblr, and whatever DIY blog I could find on the internet so that I could begin to amass recipes. After having gone through a few chicken piccata, crusted tilapia, and summer salad recipes, it dawned me that, after my inaugural Trader Joes trip, I had not bought any of the ingredients I needed.

So, I looked into the bag of the newly acquired, ‘staple’ foods that I bought, and decided to put it all together and cook it up in a stir-fry.

The end product looked something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 1.18.00 PM

 

I had extra sauce from agedashi tofu that I had ordered the other night, which I let reduce with some vegetables that I fried. With the addition of some soy sauce, salt, and pepper, the dish was complete.

It was delicious.

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Reading Wish List: A Preview of Book Reviews to Come

In the summer, I like to sleep. A lot. But after about a week of marathoning both Netflix and sleeping, I begin to feel a little bit ancy and a lotta-bit bored. That’s why I always try and make a summer bucket list, much like Kai did. I wanted to share part of my list with all of you, so I wrote down my top five books I want to read.

In no particular order:

1. The Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed

From the title, this book should be about a series of back room conversations about the entire fate of nations. In reality, it is probably dramatic. This book was recommended to me by a professor of mine and it provides a history of certain periods of time of economic interest and actions that monetary authorities made during them. This is my attempt to stay connected to my academic discipline this summer.

2.  One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Since Marquez’ passing earlier this year, various friends and family members of mine have encouraged me to read what many view as his seminal work. Blending surreal, fantastical phenomenon with the very real, observable, and inextricably human events, Marquez creates an entire world –and genre– of fiction which finds no equal (or so I have been told!). I am excited to experience the work of such a master writer.

3. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

This one was a special request to my mother. I wanted she and I to try and read a book together this summer. We somehow decided to pick the provocative, complex author Salman Rushdie. My hope is that I can finish before I see my mother in late June.

4. Collected Poems by T.S. Eliot

I felt remiss not including some poetry in my summer reading list. I am never quite sure of the proper way to read poetry, or even if such a method exists, but I have loved Eliot since high school and I enjoy each foray into his work.

5. My Antonia by Willa Cather

This is sort of an annual pilgrimage for me. I first read My Antonia when I was in 9th grade. Each time I read it, I have a somewhat different opinion of the characters in it, and it has become, in many ways, an annual chance for me to re-evaluate myself through reading it.

Hopefully I make it through my whole list and maybe I’ll share some of my thoughts once I finish one of the books on my list.

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