Jump into this week’s issue of the Grail with long-time contributor, Alex Morgan, as he reviews the Cooley Gallery (1). Next, an in-depth look at the Reed College Science Outreach program by our editor, Guananí (2). Get your fill of creative prose with a short story by Claire Stevens (6), and a poem by Aidan Walker (7). Want to learn how you can improve your life by keeping it simple? Check out Dan Schultz’s Life Tweaks column (9). Finally, check out advice from the best love guru around, Miss Lonely Hearts (10).
Claire P., Claire S., Guananí, and Kelsey
News & Features
“I have too much to do. I just feel overwhelmed! What should I do?” When we ask for advice, we tend to ask for positive advice, not negative advice. What’s the difference? Positive advice tells you to do something; negative advice tells you not to do something. In the gym, people always ask what they should add to their workout. We want to make more money, instead of spending less. We want to know what healthy foods to add to our diet, not which bad foods we should subtract. We don’t want to disappoint anyone, so we agree to hang out with everyone, instead of focusing on a few friendships. We don’t want to be missing out on anything.
“[Science Outreach] has these two epic goals and is completing them together. It’s self-perpetuating awesomeness, basically,” explained Presence O’Neal, the newest staff coordinator of the science education program. Presence is the latest coordinator in the program’s 22 year history, and the first to not be a Reed alumnus. As for the two epic goals? “Reed students get teaching experience in the real world ... and simultaneously elementary students get mentors and exposure to science from people who look like them and care about their learning,” said Presence.
The first things I notice upon entering the Cooley Gallery are the balloons. There are about fifty of them clustered throughout the room, each one bearing a two-word phrase in stylized black script that stands out against the dark yellow rubber. I pick one up and peer at the lettering, which reads “Valiant Guardian.” Another is inscribed with the words “Urgent Fury.” Not until I find one labelled “Enduring Freedom” do I realize that each phrase is the name of a U.S. military operation carried out overseas. Near the back of the room, loud popping noises ring out as a television placed on the ground plays a video of a group of formally-dressed women puncturing yellow balloons. A glass case mounted at the side of the room displays a small vial of dark liquid; a card in the case informs viewers that the bottle contains “a new fragrance derived from ... materials described in the Book of Revelation.” On the wall opposite the door, an immense screen plays real-time webcam stills from locations as near as Idaho and as far as Thailand. The images from each place are organized into horizontal bars layered atop one another; the cumulative effect is of myriad landscapes seen simultaneously through the compound eye of an insect.
Fiction & Poetry
My girlfriend tells me we’re haunted by dead coyotes. In a blue room in a grey house in Milwaukie, we cut up t-shirts I can’t fit in anymore and M tells me she can hear the ghosts howling.
“That doesn’t really sound like a coyote,” I say when she makes the noise for me, an eee-eee-eee sort of noise that sounds more like a dolphin than a phantom coyote.
“I’m not doing it right—do you hear it now? It’s there,” and she stands on the stacked foam mattress toppers to see out the window.
The summer house is at the edge of Johnson Creek, a three bedroom rental two blocks from a TriMet station. We spend weekends in the sun, smoking joints and pulling the house from swelling vines of blackberry and clematis. They root into the grey frame and I’m worried one day the earth might swallow the house whole.
“It’s probably just the Gold Man,” I tell M when she won’t stop looking out the window.