Blog authors choose whether to mark items public or limit them to the Catlin Gabel community. Please log in to see more posts.
Today I got the unique experience of leading a group of second graders around the refuge during a field trip. One of our naturalists who was suppsoed to take them became ill, and the only other person available was not fully trained and supposed to be a shadpw. Having accompanied two field trips already, we partnered up and took on the kids.
I was very nervous, because, although I new enough about the animals and goal of the refuge to handle short encounters with visitors, I found quickly it was not enough for the enquisitive minds of grade schoolers. I leaned heavily on what I'd heard from my field trip mentor and deftly changed my plan of action upon relaizing how these children undertsood and processed information.
Watching someone else handle children and actually working with themyourself are two very different things. For one thing, they talk. A lot. And they talk over you and each other. Quickly, I had to learn how to ignore off topic questions and comments while still giving attention to every child so that they would not become disinterested. Focus on the question of a child who's off topic and suddenly all kids are unfocused and shouting. Ignore them completely and suddenly they've become little satalites being thrown out of the earths gravitational pull.
Keeping their focus proved difficult in multiple ways. When watching an older, retired man teach the kids, I could see they respected him and knew no to be too disobedient. With me, they saw a younger girl, and took that as an opprotunity to run and not listen, especially the little boys. I couldn't talk to them like my mentor. Instead, I ended up trying to be a cool kid, talking to them like they were older. My talks became more playful, such as when I was teaching them about what to do when faced with a predator. Guiding them through the actions I told them to scare me away and then screamed in terror when they yanked up their coats and growled, "GO AWAY MOUNTAIN LION! GO AWAY COYOTE!"
I was fun to work with them and become more playfull. Sort of like acting.
I’m just going to apologize in advance for the lack of variety in this weeks post, but two things stuck out to me this week as exceedingly blog-worthy. I want to build some suspense, so I want to start by talking about the first major catheter based surgery I was able to observe.
This was a fairly short week because of the zoo trip, but we still got a lot done. My favorite part was putting together my own recipe-- I put together a few different ganaches at home, and recreated my favorite one in the kitchen with Jeremy's help, as I mentioned in the previous post. The flavor of my truffles has changed over the course of the week, and I now realize it needs a little more work. Some other flavors we/I experimented with were spicy mango and basil truffles-- both delicious.
In addition to chocolate, I've learned a lot about how to cook everyday foods. Eggs, soups and stews this week, all of which will come in handy next year. i've been coming home and trying them out, which has been a lot of fun.
Because of a mix-up with a large order of chocolate that came in, we had to measure out ingredients for recipes containing white chocolate for nearly a whole day. Three large bags we recieved were close to their best-by dates, so we made several batches of recipes that need that kind of chocolate. To do this, we measured the ingredients (usually butter, cream, chocolate, invert sugar, and glucose, with some variation for flavors) into bags, then vaccum-sealed them and put them in the freezer to be melted and emulsified when they are needed in the future. A small side note- glucose is the biggest pain to work with. It comes in a large bucket, and is a clear substance (I can't think of a word to properly describe the texture of it, somewhere between honey and corn syrup, but much stickier and stringier) that seems to exist just to stick to things it shouldn't. It makes up a very small part of any recipe it's in, but measuring out exactly 17.5g of glucose is rather tricky.
I'm bummed that the project is nearly over, the past three weeks have gone by so fast!
This second week has been very similar to the first, although everything is going smoother now that I know what I’m doing (or at least more than I did). Thankfully, Jeremy is a very talkative person and we’ve amused ourselves while measuring out ingredients or running ganaches through the enrobing machine by talking about human nature, politics, Woody Allen movies, cooking techniques, and all topics in between. Today at lunch (Vietnamese sandwiches) we had an in-depth discussion about how to properly make a meat or vegetable stock with good deep flavor and how to properly sear meat. I have a feeling this all will really come in handy when I’m cooking for my section mates at Whitman next year. Jeremy is considering moving the business from a small kitchen with no storefront to a larger location downtown, with room to sell the chocolates to hungry/hedonistic passers-by. Earlier this week, we went downtown and spent an afternoon touring a potential location. It was really interesting to see how the space looks now (really trashed and with some very poor interior décor choices) and imagining how it could look in the future, with all of the awful ceiling tiles and linoleum removed and replaced with a cleaner kitchen, seating areas, and some color of paint on the walls that doesn’t make anyone who walks in want to walk right back out again. I also formulated my own recipe for a ganache this week: almonds, vanilla, and a little bit of honey in a milk chocolate ganache, enrobed in dark chocolate. I’ve attached a picture of this, along with some of the other slightly defective chocolates that I was forced to take home and give to friends. *sigh* Life is so difficult. Along with my chocolates (nothing on top) we have here the Portland Porter (three little grains on top), the Spicy Passion (white chocolate), Mint Tea (dried mint leaves on top), a water ganache (the round one by itself) and several kinds of tasty ganache left over when the ganaches were cut into squares for enrobing. My chocolate turned out fairly well, though I plan on tweaking the recipe a bit more. Maybe I’ll bring some of these in for my presentation. Sound good? This week has been just as great as last week! I’m learning more every day, and having fun to boot.
Going into my second week here at FAIS, I was looking forward to the chaos of week one coming to a close. Dealing with issues on the fly when everything is moving fast had me pulling at my hairs, so to speak, so I thought it would be nice to be able to take things relatively easy. What ended up happening, though, is that I swapped fast-paced but easily fixable problems with slow and incredibly tedious and frustrating problems. Filming is one thing, but editing the video together is a whole mess of issues in and of itself.
I got Mark's footage on Monday, which is fantastic considering how many technical difficulties I had with my setup/equipment/stuff last week when I was filming the performance. That's the good news. The bad news is that Adobe Premiere Pro, the editing software I've been using for the last year, doesn't want to ready the file format that Mark's camera filmed in. The file type, blahblahblah.MTS, is basically raw footage that hasn't been compressed or anything, and since the clips are roughly thirty minutes long, the files are huge. File size doesn't really matter, though, when you don't get audio when you import the file into the editing software, which is what happened to me (and according to google literally every other person who uses .MTS format and premiere pro). I spent about a day trying to figure out what was going wrong and if it was possible to fix, and after the IT office took a look and told me that they didn't know what was wrong or how to fix it (just needed to convert the file type to something actually usable unlike .MTS), I decided to use the school's computers to edit instead. However, the school uses Premiere Elements 10, which can use .MTS but is an incredibly diluted version of Premiere Pro. For the next two days, I tried to learn how to use the program and figure out where all the tools were and stuff. I did eventually figure it out, but all of that is useless if the video you've edited won't render (the video needs to render before you can export it as a finished video file), which is exactly what happened. Somehow, the "render" button was linked to the "play" button, so instead of rendering it would just start the video from the beginning. I realized this after I'd already edited a good deal of the video and wanted to finalize some of my progress up to that point, since rendering the whole video at once would take an insaneeeee amount of time (like 8 hours straight). My dad offered to help me out since he has a program that can convert video files, so I spend most of Thursday with him trying to wrestle with .MTS, and fortunately it worked out and I now have usable files that I can work with on my laptop. I then spent Friday trying to get back to the same spot I was at at the end of the day on Wednesday, and I'm making progress! It's slow going though, and tedious.
I feel like I've spent a lot of time talking/complaining about issues that I've been having and that it might be giving the wrong impression. I'm having a good time. I promise. All the kids say hi to me when they see me and it's actually super cool.
Also, Greg (the english teacher) is going to have me work with some of the less advanced kids in the next couple of weeks in one-on-one reading sessions, and I'm excited to have something real to do besides the editing. To be completely honest, the overriding impression I'm getting is that there's really not much for me to do, and I totally understand (I can't remember if I talked about this in the last post but whatevs). They've been doing this for the whole year and they've got an efficient system and together they've got the kids covered. I'm an inefficiency, and putting me into the machine, so to speak, isn't exactly easy to do. I also really don't want to put them in a position where they're inventing work for me to do. At the same time, though, I'd love to have something to do that didn't just involve sitting in front of a computer screen for hours at a time and feeling generally useless. I'm looking forward to the one-on-ones.
There are a couple things that I was going to talk about last week, too. First, it's a little weird being back in the same place I went to elementary and middle school. When I'm walking around, I'll run into people or see things that I haven't seen in ten or eleven years, sometimes more. It feels like how I'd imagine coming home after twenty years and finding that the things in your room haven't been moved in any way whatsoever would feel like. Things have changed at the school, definitely, but the feel of it all is very much the same. Sometimes the experience is legitimately surreal. For example, I was taking some papers to the English Office, which is in a hall with a couple bathrooms and a chemical closet, and as I was walking through the hall the smell of the bleach/cleaner that they use was floating around and it was almost an out-of-body-experience (the smells are what really get me, for whatever reason). I actually had to stop for a couple seconds and pull myself out of it.
As for the Middle School part of campus, I've managed to avoid it entirely. That's not somewhere I'm very interested in going back to at all. I might go and visit at the end of the project, but to be honest I've spent enought time putting it behind me that it almost feels like it would be a disservice to myself to revisit it. Maybe that's not the way I should look at it, but so far I haven't been able to see it any other way. (I'm also terrified of running into Mme. Jourdan, my 8th grade math teacher, who is actually the most intimidating person I've ever met and ever will meet, but that's neither here nor there and will happen eventually no matter what).
On my way back to my car at the end of the day on one of the days during the first week, I ran into a pair of middle schoolers (I want to say 8th graders?), a small middle-eastern kid who is the brother of a girl who was in my class, and this tall blond kid with a bowl cut. As I was passing by, the small kid is trying to ask me "did you know that nothing was the same??" (like the drake song) and I'm playing along or whatever and then he throws leaves at my face, which I kind of expected because he had his hands behind his back. I was like "dude, what are you doing" and he was like "ha ha got you" and I was like "what" and then the blond kid with the bowl cut cuts in and says "hey, are you JEWISH?" and at this point I'm thoroughly weirded out so I say "What?" and then the small kid, who is jewish, also says "what?" The blond kid with the bowl cut, who clearly thinks he's super tight or clever or funny or all of the above, says "HEY is it true that all jewish people know eachother????!?!?!?!?!?! ahahahahaha." I'm rolling my eyes 'cause the whole thing is beyond ridiculous, and ask him where he got the idea that I was jewish, to which he replies "well you have a big nose!" Like it's supposed to HURT me. I then did the only acceptable thing that anyone could do in such a situation, which was to put my sunglasses on, turn around, walk away, and say "thank you" like the whole thing was a compliment. Why waste my time on someone whose opinion is beyond meaningless to me and is clearly a bad person?
I forgot to take a picture, but honestly there wasn't anything to take a picture of, so I'll try to make up for it next week.
This week I was able to branch out a bit more in my work projects. I’m still working on the spreadsheet of faculty contacts for PICA. This week I focused on branching out to California schools like UC Berkeley and Mills and appending addresses to the faculties. Pretty much every school has a different way of managing postage. Some campuses are small enough that you can address it to the main address. Other schools require that you add department or office. The project has proved pretty challenging in this way. The list is getting pretty comprehensive at this point with 169 contacts, all including focuses, email addresses, departments, and schools.
This week I also got to help sort out merchandise! PICA ran a kickstarter recently and sold tshirts, tote bags and hoodies as part of it. We realized pretty recently that we had run out of tote bags so it was a good time to check what we had left. Jamie the graphic designer, Noelle the marketing and communications manager and I pulled out all of the shirts, hoodies and tote bags from the supply closet and counted them all. I got a pretty interesting history of PICA merchandise in the process and a little bit of retail experience. Oh and I scored a PICA hoodie out of the deal.
Funny enough, we found two recent tote bags in the process of reorganizing and cataloging. Later that day a man came in with a tote bag coupon. He got the choice of a solid black pica bag and a beige pica bag with larger lettering. After consulting his wife he ran with the black bag. Lots of smiles all around.
After digging through multiple databases (JSTOR, EBSCOHOST, and this one cool site full of New York Times scans) I finished the artist visa project with enough print sources! Thank you to PSU for library access. The foreign artists are going to be incredible for TBA this year.
I’m also working my way into the graphic design part of PICA! I opened up Adobe InDesign CS5 for the first time at work to make some well formatted labels for press archives. The routine was pretty straightforward but I got to use the official PICA fonts and practice their style.
Later in the week Jamie showed me the PICA redesign style guide. The whole thing is contained in a gorgeous 30+ page pdf including detailed descriptions of logo usage and reasoning and process to changes from the old style. Seeing design so well thought out was incredibly inspiring. If you’re interested in new PICA look you should totally check out the website. Definitely a high point in my week.
I missed Friday of this week to fly out to Space X and TieCon but I made it up on Sunday.
Today (Sunday) I got to help put together a Field Guide event. Field guide is an exploration of performance work from an insider view. Instead of simply viewing a performance then leaving, in a Field Guide event participants engage with the artist, the work and each other. In this case, I got to FLOCK, a dance space in the same building as Disjecta and helped set up then participated in CONTEMPORARY CHOREOGRAPHY & CREATIVE PROCESS Tonya Lockyer on Tahni Holt.
I got to FLOCK around 6 and helped Roya lay out chairs, tables and helped sign people in for the event. As a Field Guide group we discussed what dance could be, what lenses we bring to dance and examined the medium as a whole. We then developed our own dances based off a series of images, similar to the work of Tahni Holt, and performed them in different spaces around the building for one another. Afterwards we watched pieces from Tahni’s work in progress, then engaged in a Q/A session. Afterwards we all ate together and talked about the work and made other chat. As someone who doesn’t use dance as a medium the whole experience was an eye opener to process and the culture of dance.
For my senior project I'm working at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)! It's a non-proft organization based near Powells in downtown Portland. (here!) They run year round exhibitions, have a stellar resource room full of rare art books, and are best known for a festival they run in September: the Time Based Arts Festival (TBA).
I landed at PICA just as things were starting to really heat up for the Time Based Arts Festival. When I got to work on Monday, Beth Hutchins showed me bike parking and I got to sit in on a lengthy meeting regarding prep for the event. Everyone at the meeting placed post it notes of ToDos for the next six months. Each month was more filled than the last in a sea of sticky paper. The meeting ran a couple hours. It was perfect preparation for jumping into the organization.
After the meeting Kristan Kennedy, the visual arts currator, showed me how to set up the current installation at PICA. Right now PICA is exhibiting the priemere installation of Andrea Geyer's "Three Chants Modern": a video piece exploring women's role in institutions for modernist art like MOMA which was founded by a group of women who credited themselves by last name. The ~20 minute video loops throughout the work day and can be heard all around the office. It's very powerful.
Afterwards, Roya: my off campus mentor and the community engagement manager at PICA, showed me my desk at PICA and introduced me to my first project.
PICA runs a grant giving system called the Precipice Fund. The Precipice Fund gives money to up and coming artists, art galleries, and collectives. Recipients include 12128 Microresidencies a contemporary exhibition space on a boat docked in Portland, the Experimental Film Festival in Portland, Container Corps, an art publication studio and many many others.
My first project at PICA had me turning Precipice fund updates from grantees into blog posts in Wordpress. I learned quite a bit about navigating Wordpress as a tool and formatting text for blogging. The work should be surfacing over the next few months!
Since PICA requires a lot of community outreach, my second project had me researching local visual, performance, and liberal arts teachers in the Portland area and compiling their contact information into a spreadsheet. I dug through multiple college sites to find professor focuses and emails to pull together a more complete image.
My third and most recent project has been centered around pooling together evidence for out of country performance visas. To get into the USA and perform you need a specific performance visa. To get such a visa you basically need to be able to prove that you're well enough known nationally to cross the border. The system is fairly old fashioned so internet articles are less convincing than print sources. I've been pooling together articles proving that artists are well known internationally by digging through online databases for articles and googling for reviews.
I also came in at an interesting time because someone had stolen thousands of dollars worth of books from the resource room the week before I got there. The books were taken out and sold to Powells. Powells is now returning the books as they pull them off their shelves. Part of my work has also been helping to clean resources up. That means I've been tallying some expenses and helping to figure out what's around and what's not.
It's been a very productive week and I'm looking forward to whatever comes up next!
For all who don't know my senior project involves working at EQ, a small swimwear manufacturer based in Portland. The reason why I chose this project was to experience the process in which clothes are made and help me better understand it. Next year I am attending the University of Oregon and pursuing a major in product design so I thought this experience would benefit me later on. Because of EQ's small size I can easily view every step of the process, which goes into creating a finished product unlike large companies such as Nike or Adidas. On my first day, I arrived at the address my mentor Ellen had sent me not truly knowing what to expect. The building, pictured below, was surrounded by barbed wire and coated in a crumbling brown paint. As I approached the door I realized the building was covered by signs for the an animal charity know as PAW, so I figured I must of gone to the wrong address. I got back in my car and drove around in circle for twenty minutes until I came to the conclusion I had already reached the correct destination. When I finally entered the building I was greeted by Ellen who later revealed they shared the building with the animal charity advertised on the front of the building. Following Ellen through two sets of doors I came to my second surprise, a room stacked to the ceiling with lamps of all shapes and sizes. What appeared an old decaying building, actually turned out to be the home of a swim wear manufacturer, animal charity, and lamp warehouse. The entire building is owned by the lamp dealership but because the owner is a swimmer he was more than happy to allow Ellen to use his space. He additionally uses the fabric scraps from the swimsuits for transporting his lamps. After these strange occurrences, the day was quite peaceful. Through the course of the day I spent my time learning numerous techniques involved in the process of manufacturing finished pieces. Overall I have cut fabric, performed heat transfers, tagged, and thread, burned and tied draw cords. My first task while on the job was to burn and tie about fifty draw cords for bikini bottoms purchased by a group of lifeguards out on the east coast. EQ manufactures bikinis, one pieces, and speedos. Ellen’s main idea for the company was to create comfortable swimwear that was protective and well made. Being relatively small the company receives individuals orders from its website but most pieces are sold through swim outlet. The timing of this project was perfect because spring is Ellen’s busiest season as most people buy new suits for summer. Most orders are from individuals, swim teams, or lifeguard groups but EQ also created the suits for the US national under water hockey team, a sport I had never heard of before working for Ellen. Its played much like hockey but underwater inside a pool, players wear snorkels and fins while hitting a puck with small sticks. Overall this first week has been great and I’ve already learned more than I initial expected.
Wow, I don't even know where to start with this week. I guess I will break down how I have been spending my time, before moving into a specific experience I had this week, then I will end off by looking forward at the weeks to come and what my senior project has in store. Unfortunately, this week included a lot of time away from my senior project courtesy of the AP Chemistry and AP BC Calculus tests, however that did not deter me from spending as much time possible by Dr. Gupta's (my mentor) side. While with Dr. Gupta, my days were evenly divided this week between Marquam Hill and the Center for Health and Healing on the waterfront.
The first week has been really fun, I am starting to learn the ropes and learn what is done on the job. The very first thing I did after getting set up at my desk in the picture below is we went to a sales call. We meet with a client and discussed what she wanted. She was looking for her living and dining room to be reorgsnised and possibly partly refurnashed. Since then I have gone to many sales calls and in construction sites that Jason is working on. I have also spent much of my time on a program called sketchup making 3D renderings. So far I have made my college doorm room to learn how to use the program. I then made a few diffrent options for a wall that is being added into one of Jason's clients bed room.I have also been using a program called AutoCAD which is used from everything from making blue prints to designing engins. I have been using AutoCAD to make blue print esque floor plans for several of Jasons clients.
Ultimate regret: I never did purchase a pantsuit or a briefcase. (Sorry Hillary!)
I'll see if I can swing a pitcure of the office staff on Monday.
In addition to working with an internal medic, I am also following a physical therapist. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, I work with Dr. Mir at the internal medicine clinic, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I follow physical therapist Jim at Westside Physical Therapy. By interning in both internal medicine and physical therapy, I am able to observe how different areas in health care collaborate. Dr. Mir refers many of his patients to Westside Physical Therapy, most commonly sending patients with cases of diabetes or back and knee pain.
However, unlike my time at Dr. Mir’s clinic, I do not commonly see diabetic patients trekking through a weight loss program at Westside Physical Therapy. The most common case I see at physical therapy is recovery from joint or muscle pain. Many of the patients I have been seeing these past several weeks were sent to PT because, for example, they were in a motorized vehicle accident, had torn a muscle while playing basketball, or had to do knee replacement surgery.
Although the patients are referred to PT for a diverse number of reasons, most everybody has a somewhat similar plan for recovery based exercises. Patients will do both cardio and strength training workouts at PT. A PT patient during a strength building session would first start off with biking for 5 to 10 minutes. They would then warm up a specific portion of the body in order to prepare for the specific muscle training that fits the patient’s case. Then, the patient would enter a muscle workout, where the PT will guide the patient through various exercises that will help strengthen specific muscles in need of recovery. During cardio, the PT will help a patient keep fit without damaging any of the tissues that are related to the patient’s case. They would start out with a bike session of about 5 to 10 minutes, and then enter into various cardio exercises.
That is the basic gist of what I have been observing at Westside Physical Therapy, and what I have been doing other than internal medicine these past several weeks.