a blog so you can keep with him

Cultivating Voice – Written Reflections, Week 1

To help encourage conversation, and the habit of writing, my new course on tutoring in the Writing Center has weekly reflections to share every week. I realized that this might be something worth sharing on this blog: it relays my experiences and thoughts about events in my life, which I suppose is the focus of this blog currently.

This isn’t due until next Monday (we meet weekly for two hours), but I’ll try to get this up while the class is still fresh on my mind. A note: this is a draft for the course, and will be addressing its audience as such.

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Filed under: Evergreen

Portland Day 8 – Trip Home

Poor D had to wake up earlier than he had since we had to catch a train to get to Portland… Before leaving, C’s family saw us off with a trip to the New Deal cafe, for scrumptious oatmeal and fruit. It’s been a nice week in Portland, and C’s family is a blast.

The train went well! Not a whole lot to mention about the travel beyond that I got to read some more Infinite Jest; it’s a trip home. Another bus ride from the station to Olympia got D and I into town to run a few errands and have some food, which we found at a gourmet burger joint. The unfortunate part is, I can’t remember the name! So if anyone knows the name of the grill at 4th and Columbia in Olympia, please post it in the comments. Nice milkshakes, too.

The good ol’ 41 bus got us to Evergreen. It’s nice to be home.

This should wrap up my Portland trip, obviously. I don’t think I feel a need to do an overview post on the trip, the travel diary should more than suffice in terms of my egomaniacal self-reflection quota for quite a while. I’m not even sure what to do with this blog now! I’m sure the frequency of posts is going to drop, but I intend to keep it up – running essays by an audience, any audience, is usually better than myself. It helps me if I make things coherent enough for publication, essentially.

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Filed under: Photos,

Portland Day 7

Today has been very quiet. I got around at about 8, and did my usual shower/read/eat dance for a couple of hours. I’m going to try and keep ahead in my class reading by getting ahead, so I brought along a book that we need the introductory section read from by the end of next week. They Say/I Say is a book that suggests templates for laying out arguments in academic writing. It’s nice to read, in that affirms my views on writing as a conversational tool and the interconnectedness of contradictory modes of thought… but it’s a bit of a pat on the ass. I dunno if I’m the “active reader” they claim already understands some rules of engagement in intellectual writing, but this book currently seems downright basic. Maybe it’s because I’ve only finished the first portion which covers the use summarization and quotation to frame your own argument (as I’ve been trying to do here), but I hardly need templates to do this; it’s just how an argument works effectively.

Basically, I’m confused if this is slightly patronizing or not. It’s intended for “helping student writers actually ‘enter a conversation about ideas'”, but what do I do if I feel like I’m in the discussion already? I agree with the book’s major points, so there’s not much point to following the argument in it, and so I’m at a loss as to how to engage the book, beyond some minor quibbles about their own rhetorical uses and instructional methods. This is especially unfortunate if I truly do have to write passage journals.

After staying confused about this, I had lunch. Leftover chicken tetrazini is delicious!

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Filed under: Books,

Portland Day 6


Sculpture outside Portland Art Museum

I became a little more adventurous today. After the morning routine, C began to rise from slumber. She helped me look over a route to get to the museum (no one else was particularly interested), and off I went! Navigating alone in a city after approximately five days was interesting… I had a (text) chat with my friend J from Texas on the first bus. I was still a little foggy about which stop to get off at to transfer to the bus downtown; after realizing I had missed it, I got off deeper in the Hollywood district than I had planned.

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Filed under: Photos,

Portland Day 5

In a sequence of events that was easily foreseen, my mornings here have become routine. Wake up, read, check mail (find out about my friends’ spring breaks!), shower, breakfast, and Wii Fit fill up the hours before my friends arise. Today though it was thrown off, with the Wiimotes running out of batteries. I ended up reading more, and toying around a little on the Xbox B (C’s brother) brought with him. I also started in on the Orwell essay I posted this afternoon.

After C got around, we headed out to pick up another Xbox controller for some multiplayer fun later. We went over to the Hawthorne district; I was proud of myself for knowing the routes to it, I’m getting to know this town! C snagged a controller and some cheap games, we headed off for some bagels.

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Orwell’s Britain – Language and World

” He wondered, as he had many times wondered before, whether he himself was a lunatic. Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one. At one time it had been a sign of madness to believe that the earth goes round the sun; today, to believe the past is unalterable. He might be alone in holding that belief, and if alone, then a lunatic. But the thought of being a lunatic did not greatly trouble him; the horror was that he might also be wrong. ” – 1984 (I, vii, 82) George Orwell

Orwell’s final treatise on control and power in the realm of politics is certainly a powerful and intellectually (at some times viscerally) terrifying. The story is set in a dystopian future (supposedly the 1984 of the title) in which the world is segmented into three blocs of power, each of which maintains their status as a superpower through a bureacratized police state with “oligarchial collectivization” at the top. The story focuses on a bureacrat in Oceania (England and North America, the book suggests) named Winston Smith, a records department office worker who seeks to revolt against the system around him before ultimately being subsumed by it.

This was spring break reading for my upcoming course “Language and Power”, a sociolinguistics course that is interested in how “power” is given and maintained through our uses of language. In the interests of the course (and my own preparation for it), I’m trying to orient this discussion more towards what about Oceania’s totalitarian system is maintained through language. Fortunately, many of the topics discussed in the book fall under my umbrella! Let’s begin.

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Filed under: Books, Evergreen

Portland Day 4

Another relaxing morning, and 1984 “done” (I’m considering writing a small reflection on this blog about it so that I can gather some thoughts to refer to on the day of discussion in class, which is more than a week away still), and I was able to invest some reading time in Infinite Jest, my current pleasure/literature read. It’s very enjoyable, I’m about 275 pages in… and I’m not gonna describe the plot, because there’s too many! My bright reading future sank a little when I found a new update to my new class’s website about note-taking related to reading. The day after I finish the book, I find out that I’m to have what’s tantamount to a passage journal on it to “discover a way to interact with the text as you are reading it“, in order to critically read a text. I understand the intent behind this, but… I just finished the book! Darnit.

There was also more Wii Fit to be had (my exercise routine while here/time-killer as D slumbers in the mornin’), which held less surprises and laid out no new academic challenges (admittedly, I’ve done passage journals since freshman year of high school, so they’re hardly new and are rather inundated with my “critical” reading already(what reading shouldn’t be critical? (I suspect McCallum’s English Department is feeling oddly satisfied as I’m writing this))).

But! The tourism of the day hasn’t begun yet, and so I’ll nudge this into a travel narrative now.

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Filed under: Photos,

Portland Day 3

A quieter day, overall.


E in Holladay Park. The photo’s misleading, it was rainy, wet and cold!

I awoke in the morning to face the daunting task I had put off from an overextended night of donuts and friends the night before – summarizing the busier half of a busy day for you, my blog audience (blaudience?)! Nevertheless, I think I succeeded in being succint, and it led well into a breakfast of Raisin Bran, showering, and a round of quiet Wii Fit. If you’ve never had to mute a video game to do yoga exercises without waking a friend in the same room… well, I suppose that’s not exactly normal on my part!

We met C after her personal morning activities at Holladay Park in front of the Lloyd Center mall. I had some time, while freezing (though bundled up) and waiting, so I took some photos of a set of three sculptures by Ted Savinar.


The three pieces are collectively titled “Constellation”

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Filed under: Photos,

Portland Day 2 Continued

We left our erstwhile hero in the afternoon at Powell’s. Fortunately, I’m very happy there, so it’s no bother to stay on the subject a little longer. Our group reconvened at the cafe in Powell’s. While waiting for others, I sat and began reading the opening section of Cumming’s biography. I’ve known his basic life story for several years now, but Norman’s bio gives an interesting intellectual background, along with being a well used paperback priced under $10.

“Okay, I need to prepare everyone. We’re entering the most hipster district in Portland… the Pearl District!” my peripatetic tour guide exclaimed to us as we emerged from the social dances of books and capitalism. It was a short walk over to The Tea House.


Tea House, home of the most extensive tea menu I’ve ever seen. Also, a bar.

It was late afternoon, and our style of pedestrian tourism required a chance to sit down, drink, and take in another of C (our tour guide)’s favorite locales. Tea House is a small, darkened cafe that was pleasant, and known for their bubble tea!

bubble tea

A chocolate base, banana flavored bubble tea with a mix of coconut shreds and tapioca balls. Or, as D puts it, “You never order anything good, do you Trevor?” I liked it!

Bubble tea is a very modern drink, and is, in my mind, akin to some sort of Eastern milkshake. The “bubble”, or boba, comes from a description of the brewing and bubbling of the tea, rather than the tapioca balls inside, as scrumptious as they are. It’s also seems like a spitballer’s dream drink, though I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve felt it appropriate to test this. Shall we move onward?


The Mission Theatre & Pub, an example for my coming rant

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Filed under: Photos,

Portland Day 2 – Powell’s Books


The Gold Room, I believe? Home of sci-fi, mystery, and my brother’s fav – manga


Display of music books in the Pearl Room


An autographed Ingmar Bergman collection in the Rare Books (Pearl Room)

Powell’s is the most fascinating store, bar none, I have ever been to. To start with, the size of the place is staggering. We arrived around 1:45; I spent a half hour in a room that certainly was of respectable size and subject for a bookstore (the Blue Room, for Powell’s attendees), littered with literature, poetry and classics. What I didn’t gather until I had left the room was that there were 9 other rooms demanding just as much attention and care as I had given to the Blue Room. This, on top of the fact that I had barely scratched the surface of that room.


I ended up looking in-depth (ranging from a few minutes’ contemplation to a 20 minute reading session) at the following and more –

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Filed under: Books, Photos,

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