January 30, 2010 - 7:18 PM
The Ducks men's basketball team in one word: streaky.
Against my better judgment of spending my Saturday studying at the Laundromat, I decided to get a ticket to the basketball game against the visiting USC Trojans. Now, I don't know what's going on in Ernie Kent's clubhouse, but our team seems to be having some problems with consistency this year. We'll beat Washington and Washington State on the road one weekend, and then well get stomped by Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State at Mac Court the following weekend. I doesn't really make too much sense, but then again college sports rarely do. Today's game surely did not disappoint, and it was one of the finest Ducks basketball game I've seen so far.
Our two Junior College recruits, Jeremy Jacob from Louisiana and Malcolm Armstead from Alabama led the charge with 19 and 18 points respectively, while senior guard Tajuan Porter gave his normal, veteran performance. In short, we had control of the game until the Trojans rallied from a nine-point deficit to tie the game at 47 points with five minutes left in the game, and then the Ducks went on a 20-10 run to close out the game.
The real story of the game came from the USC bench of all places though. USC Athletic Trainer (or whatever the heck his job is) was whistled for a technical foul late in the game after he had been barking to the referees throughout the course of the game. Porter hit both free throws, and the rest is history as they say.
Now, Oregon basketball fans, more fondly referred to as the Pit Crew, are known for being on the raucous side. So, we had a field day with this USC trainer. The chants began as a simple "Sit Down Coach!" to which everyone shared a good laugh. Then as we realized that he basically handed the game to us, we decided that cheering "Thank You Baldy!" would be appropriate. And finally, as we noticed him being chewed out by USC head coach during a time out and stealthily leaving the game promptly afterwards, we alternated between cheers of "You Got Fired" and "Where is Baldy?"
Life isn't easy being a visiting team at Mac Court, even for the seemingly meaningless coaches.
We're riding a two game win streak as we head off to Corvallis next Saturday. I hope Ernie figured out something that working, but then again, maybe it's just the Pink uniforms. Either way, the Duck put another one in the victory column.
Special thanks to goducks.com for the picture.
January 24, 2010 - 8:30 PM
Okay, I'm sitting at Cafe Roma, the coffee is kicking in and it's time for a study break. So, it's about time I formally and thoroughly address an issue that has been directly influencing my life for the past two months.
Yes, my picture is on the University of Oregon home page.
It's the first picture that scrolls through at the top, which means that anyone that logs on to the homepage at any point in time sees my face smiling as I'm walking down 13th Street with my friend, Lizzy.
Here's the background of the situation. Lizzy and I got out our Landscape Architecture class on Thursday afternoon and as always, we walked home together usually chatting about our mutual detest for the class. When we passed by Lillis, a nice gentleman with a fancy camera approached us and asked, "Would you mind if I took a photo of you for the University website?"
Obviously we obliged and asked if we needed to stop walking or strike a pose or anything like that. "No, just keep on walking. I'll take care of the rest." So, we literally never broke stride. Lizzy kept walking with her bike and we acted as normal as possible. Granted, trying to act normally in front of a camera is fairly difficult, at least for us amateurs.
Our discussion switched to "Well, this is slightly awkward. What do we do?" "I don't know, I guess we just keep on walking and smile." The photographer, who is backpedaling through the bushes to get a good angle of us, is saying "Good stuff. Love the smiling. Laughter is good! Keep it up." And seven seconds later it was all over. The photographer thanked us and we just kept on walking, laughing about how awkward and exposed we felt and wondering if we might become famous.
A week passed by and Wednesday morning, November 4th, 2009, I woke up to an email from the Senior Assistant Director in the UO Office of Admission, who I worked with as a UO tour guide last year, that read, "Look who's famous on the front page of UO's website!" Low and behold I logged onto my computer to find the picture.
Therein lies my first concern; they didn't even let me know the picture was being published. No email notification. No signature for approval. No nothing. Doesn't that seem a little bit odd? What if I was a convicted felon (don't worry I'm not) and needed to keep a low profile? My cover is blown!
Lizzy and I have been on the page every waking moment since that fateful day in November - expect for a few weeks around the end of January when the Rose Bowl hype was at its peak. And it has created nothing but drama every since.
First, if you are wondering whether or not I get recognized or anyone comments on the photo, the answer is yes. I kid you not, at least one person has asked me about the photo or commented on it every day since its appearance. I would say the average is well over one mentioning per day-including winter break and the Rose Bowl period. My roommates, friends, family friends, coworkers, classmates and high school acquaintances that happened to be applying to the UO have taken turns calling me out. The list has reached new levels recently to include the Dough Co delivery guy, my roommate's cousin's girlfriend (who goes to Oregon State) and just last week one of my professors logged onto the webpage, projected it on the big screen and pointed me out to the rest of the class. I'm never sitting in the front row of class again!
It's not that I am angry with the University, because I'm not. There are a number of perks to being the electronic poster child of the U of O. It's a conversation starter if any cute girl happens to recognize me. My parents have spread the news throughout the family network so even my grandmother in Colorado can see her grandson, if she can figure out how to log in with her dial-up Internet connection, that is. I can tell my kids about it in the future. And I can bring it up or joke around about it whenever I'm feeling narcissistic.
My real issue is that I'm going to be remembered for be "That guy on the website." The fame part of it is really fun, but I'd like to be famous for doing something; not just awkwardly smiling in a black Oregon sweatshirt. So, I've made a resolution to get back onto the webpage for doing something important like becoming a Rhodes' Scholar or curing cancer - you know, something that takes actual talent or intelligence.
January 24, 2010 - 5:14 PM
Four weeks into the term and things are starting to heat up inside the classroom and out.
My first midterm is tomorrow in Natural Resource Policy and to be completely honest, I'm nervous. I've been brushing up on national Air Quality policies and standards all week, but I don't feel quit ready yet. Our professor handed back our Carbon Cap & Trade memos this week, and I discovered that he's strict when it comes to grading. I pulled off a B on the assignment, but the grading rubric was scattered with "Excellent" and "Very Good," so I apparently need to shoot for perfection if I want to survive the class. So, like I said, I've been sweating this exam all weekend, just ask my friends that I spent Friday night studying with in the Education Building. I also logged in a few hours at Knight Library on Saturday night, and, let me tell you, there is nothing more depressing than seeing the faces of fellow students burning the midnight oil in the library on a Saturday.
Thankfully the weather has been an unexpected distraction for my friends and me. I woke up all too early Saturday morning to attend the Eugene Bicycle & Pedestrian Summit as a semi-mandatory field trip with two of my ELP team., Claire and Samantha. Aside from the sleep deprivation induced grouchiness and that our GTF showed up a few hours late, I had a really good time. Mayor Kitty Piercy spoke to congratulate the city of Eugene on our achievement of Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community with the League of American Cyclists and a few transportation planners gave updates and oversee brainstorming sessions for the new Eugene Bike/Ped Master Plan.
The Eugene bicycling community is relatively zany, one might say, but they have a slew of innovative ideas that have the possibilities for dramatically reworking the city's transportation system to allow for more active transportation on a daily basis. My teammates and I signed up for just about every newsletter, and talked with a whole bunch of community organization members, which I hope will come in handy while looking for summer internships. As the idea of entering the transportation planning business world is becoming more and more enticing for me, so I guess I have to get used to these crazy people sooner or later.
After the conference, Sam invited us over to her house to hang out for some team building relaxation time on her back patio. There weren't too many things that could pull me out from our sunshine indulgence session, but then I received a call from my roommates telling me to get to the lawn behind Knight Library for whiffleball as soon as possible.
I feel like I should briefly explain the place that whiffleball holds in my heart so that everyone fully grasps the excitement I received from that phone call. I've loved the game of baseball every since my glory days of Kindergarten tee-ball, so I never pass up an opportunity to share that joy with friends. Also, whiffleball on the lawn outside of the dorms is one of the more memorable experiences from freshman year for our group of friends. So, without hesitation I went home to grab my Mark McGwire slugger bat (which I've had since the 5th grade) and headed out. I even dug up an old pair of baseball cleats and duct taped up the holes in the sides. My roommates laughed at me, but it turned out that the sunshine didn't imply dry grass, so I was the one with the last laugh.
At the beginning of the game, our friend Kelsey hit a slow roller down the 3rd base line. Winston, our pitcher, took one step before his back foot slipped out from under him. Then Sarah, our 3rd baseman, tried her best but barely lasted longer than Winston and ended up on the grass within a few steps. Needless to say, Kelsey ended up on 1st base, with everyone else cackling at the sight of Sarah and Winston simultaneous lack of grace.
The best moment came after the game ended, actually, when two pit bulls came bursting onto the field. They were pretty rowdy, and started chasing each other without no regard to anyone else, so they eventually made it to our side of the field. Sarah, who keep in mind is about 5'3" and most likely weighs less than the two dogs combined, called the dogs over. But instead of a friendly pet, Sarah was instead completely run over by the dogs. I'm saying they completely took her legs out from under her as she flipped head over heels to the ground. All fifty or so kids on the lawn feel down with laughter and I'm sure that everyone in the library fortunate enough to be looking at the right place at the right found it equally hilarious.
Just for good measure, some kid was playing the trumpet while wearing suspenders and no shirt on the top of the Lorax as we were walking back. If that doesn't scream Eugene, then I don't know what does.
All in all, it's been a successful, albeit jam packed weekend and with that said, I need to head out to a meeting with my ELP team and I'll likely head straight to the library after. Work hard, play hard. ‘Nuf said.
January 18, 2010 - 10:22 PM
There is only word to describe my weekend.
MLK should have his birthday more often, because I love celebrating it. This weekend my friends and I traveled just about everywhere within a sixty mile radius of Eugene to take advantage of Oregon's ample outdoor adventures. Not to mention, I checked three places off of my "places to see before I graduate list."
West Eugene Wetlands. Friday afternoon, I hopped on the EmX - Eugene bus rapid transit. - with my Environmental Leadership class and headed down W 11th Street to the West Eugene Wetlands to meet with Jules Abbott, Environmental Ed Specialist for the Willamette Resources and Educational Network (WREN). To give some background, just like my Climate Equity ELP team is working with Partnership for Sustainable Schools, the Wetlands ELP team is working with WREN to educate local schools about the delicate and bio-diverse wetlands ecosystem. So, our field trip was to, first, familiarize ourselves with the wetland area and, second, to start gaining some experience in environmental education.
In essence, the six or seven ELP students present acted as if we were a middle school class on a field trip to the wetlands, while Jules and Carrie (Environmental Ed Assistant at WREN) lead us through a normal day's worth of lessons. We talked about the unique biotic and abiotic factors of all wetlands, and that wetlands act as carbon sinks. And then Jules and Carrie told us the special educator tricks that they were using to encourage participation and make the experience more memorable for the student. That was probably my favorite part. Except I was pretty jealous of Carrie's handkerchief with a real size guide to animal "scat." I might have to get my hands on one of those. The handkerchief, not the scat.
Terwilliger Hot Springs at Cougar Reservoir. The next stop on the weekend wilderness parade was the hot springs about an hour and a half east of Eugene. Kind of a trek, but definitely worth it. Cougar Reservoir is an absolutely stunning valley, and aside from the miscellaneous machinery and buoys around the water, it couldn't have looked more perfect that day. Check out the picture of my roommate, Cam, in the gray hoody to see for yourselves. Again, epic.
A quarter mile walk through the woods brought us to the main attraction, which was the four manmade yet, very rustic looking sulfur pools. When I was thinking hot springs, I was thinking a few muddy holes in the ground that we may or may not be able to get our entire bodies in, but boy was I mistaken. These were superb, albeit slightly over filled, especially considering that in the wintertime only the top two pools stay comfortably warm.
I would share pictures with you but I obviously couldn't bring the camera near the water, and well, let's just say there we several people that took to the "Clothing Optional" rule very liberally. We found out from George, whom everyone referred to as "The Mayor" of the hot springs, that these were the finest and most well known hot springs in the Pacific Northwest. Not too shabby. So with that said, I highly recommend visiting sometime in your life, but fair warning about the usual crowd.
Honeyman Memorial State Park. Last but not least, Sunday night we drove over to Florence to camp in yurts on the Oregon coast, another place I am kicking myself for never having visited. Arriving in the afternoon to bounce around town for a bit, checking out the antique stores and taking in the sea breeze, and then dropping our things off at the yurts before eating at Mo's Seafood for dinner. I'm a sucker for a good plate of fish and chips, so as you can imagine I was in heaven.
There were a lot memorable moments had inside the yurt last night, and I'll try to paint a picture for you. There was dancing and playing American Pie on the guitar while stuggling to remember the words outside of the chorus. There were campfire games like Zumi-Zumi and Big Booty and a thunderstorm that left us without lights for part of the evening.
We were a total of about twenty people in two yurts made to sleep five comfortably according to the website. We found out quickly why they included ‘comfortably' in the description. We all fit in there, but very few of us enjoyed a full night's rest. However, that may have something to do with the fifteen ATVs that started revving their engines at 7AM. Ironically, those engines became white noise for me after a while, but the kid with his toy RC monster truck ticked me off the most. We didn't really consider how close our campsite was to the dunes, so our crummy sleep was outdone by quite possibly the rudest awakening I've ever experienced.
Now, it's back to the books. And having enjoyed my weekend to the fullest, I have quite a bit of catching up to do. Lucky for me, long weekends lead into short weeks so I should be in good shape. This weekend was pretty much the calm before the storm, as far as coursework goes. My first midterm is one week from today. Yikes! O well. Work hard, play hard. That's my motto and it hasn't let down yet.
January 14, 2010 - 1:00 PM
Dang! This was a great week.
I'm going to take in the past week for all that its worth because I know the work load is only going to pick up in the next two months, but right now I'm sitting in the EMU skylight lounge and I'm all smiles.
I just finished giving blood with Lane Memorial Blood Bank; they usually come on campus once or twice a term. Last time I donated I was at the Civil War blood drive. Donating apparently enters me into a raffled to win free books or tickets or Ducks gear, but three years running I have yet to win anything. Truth be told, I do it for the free pizza, cookies and Capri-sun. I won't go into detail about today's events for fear of turning off the squeamish readers. Let's just say the volunteer that was helping me just got finished with two "fainters," so we had a few good laughs and she made me promise to not give her any trouble.
Yesterday, I had another great class with my ELP team. It looks like the last of the ice is broken, and we have a field trip to the West Eugene Wetlands tomorrow afternoon, which I'm pretty excited for. Also, I turned in an assignment for my Natural Resource Policy class; our professor had us write a memo to State Rep. Peter Defazio (D-Springfield) about the pros and cons to adopting a cap and trade program for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. It was a little tedious browsing through all of the legislative documents, not to mention the millions of political critiques on the Internet, but it was still interesting. Will Defazio read it in the end? Probably not. But if you need to know about past cap and trade successes in the US, I'd be happy to tell you more.
Tuesday was pretty standard. We visited the MAP Library on campus for my Urban GIS class, which I actually found really interesting. I'll admit it. I'm guilty of being someone of a cartography nerd. For example, I knew beforehand that the MAP stands for Maps and Aerial Photography. Little known fact that only a map geek or a campus tour guide would know. Unfortunately for me, I am both of those. I did get a really good run during a rare gap of sunshine in the afternoon.
Monday was, Monday. Spent mostly reading and preparing that memo.
I think my favorite part of this week (and every following week of the term) is that my weekend starts in two hours. This is the first term that I do not have Friday classes, and it is glorious. The funny thing is that I usually have only class on Fridays, but just knowing that still made my weekend one day shorter. Now, I have nothing to worry about Fridays except working in the mornings and finding a place to camp at during the weekend
Being MLK Jr. Day next Monday, my friends and I booked a few yurts near Florence for Sunday night, and hopefully we'll find time to visit the hot springs too. I'll keep you posted.
Now, I have to head off to Urban GIS - yes, my last class of the week. I could be celebrating the coming of the weekend with a Ducks basketball game at Mac Court, but after attending that atrocious Civil War game on Sunday night I'm rethinking my options.