Art Project Continuum IV

I’ve started the hat portion of my project. The hat is a piece of raised copper and though, ultimately, the hat should be a bowl, I’m thinking about leaving it half raised. My reasoning is because the hat, in its current condition, would make for a good incense burner or drinking vessel and I’m rather partial to the oriental look this little fellow has attained.

My raised copper hat is made from a circular-cut piece of copper about 4″ in diameter and raised without proper guide marks. The guide marks, which I neglected, were supposed to have been drawn using a compass to ensure that I struck each round of raising along the same perimeter. I have inadvertently taken an intuitive approach to the process, which does, I think, reflect the ash to whom the urn belongs. By this I mean that, in the course of living, I sometimes neglect little details which would have provided me with more guidance, and that guidance would have helped me find a truer, more consistent path, but, since I missed the mark, I had to forge my own way by invention and rely on my intuition.

May I ash you a question about your urnings?

This is my cinerary urn thus far. Notice the hat. The hat will be iconic.

Earnest... Urn-est. It's a pun :D

The hat may also be a little incense bowl, but apparently Earnest finds it curious.

March 21st, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Legally Homeless With Mo Amer

This year Rocktivities is trying something a little different by hosting an international week. The week has included dinners prepared in various styles such Irish, Swedish, Middle Eastern, Carribean and Asian; international games; and a comedian called Mo Amer.

I barely remembered that the comedian was coming to campus, let alone who he was. So when I found a small group of people around a vaguely Hispanic fellow with a pleasant air, I was intrigued to learn that this fellow, Mo, was that night’s comedian. I also learned that thinking he was Hispanic was wrong, but not entirely incorrect.

When he opened his show a few minutes later I learned that he was, in fact, an Arab-american who had grown up, partly, in Houston, Texas.  (For more information visit his website)

According to his stand-up stories, his education is quite diverse. He said that he was initially educated in a British private school, and developed fluency in English complete with a British accent. But, after a sudden change in family fortune, he moved to America where he was enrolled in a typical Texas high school. Somehow, says Mo, his uncle who had enrolled Mo into school had neglected to mention that Mo spoke fluent English, and this little oversight placed Mo in the English as a second language class.

“I didn’t learn English,” Mo said, “But I got really good at Spanish which helped me out later when those gun-crazy people asked “Are you one o’ dem A-rabs?” and I’d say “Nio, A’im Ho-say!”.

A mix of foreign affairs and emigrant history, Mo brought humor to a story which sounded like the plot to an inspirational film.

March 21st, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Library Puzzles I

Dear You,

You’ve told me before that you rather enjoy watching the progression of puzzles coming together, and since I’m uncertain whether you have any to watch “grow” where you are, I thought I’d trace the progression of our most recent library puzzle for you.

The puzzle 2

Here’s day one, the freshly opened puzzle

The puzzle 3 morning 5 march

The morning of the second day, by that afternoon the border was complete.

The Puzzle 4

This morning (March 6) the puzzle was complete. A 300 piece puzzle completed during 20 hours of library operation.

So there you have it. I’ll aim for more progressions for the next puzzle: a 500 piece puzzle called Noah’s Ark.

March 17th, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Shelf Reading

I’ve mentioned before that I work in the school library, but I haven’t mentioned that one of the tasks of this work study is a process called “shelf-reader”.

What this task entails is a close examination of every book in the library, spine-by-spine, to ensure that they are placed in the proper order. Fortunately, the task is divided amongst the dozen or so staff members, so I won’t be “reading” the tens of thousands of spines that make up the library collection.

I have, however, been assigned what I consider a rather interesting section ranging from HF5700 – KF5799. This means I start in the economics sections and work through social sciences and on to constitutional law.

So far I’ve encountered numerous books that, at a cover’s glance, looked intriguing, and I’ve read a few of the shorter ones which I will photograph and summarize for you here, as well as on my blog at

I hope you find these books as interesting as I do.

Until the next time,



March 15th, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

The Summit

I write, from time to time, for the developing school newspaper The Summit. The journey has been interesting, and as the year continues I’m certain that I will learn a great deal more about journalistic writing.

The process has been interesting this year, and has started in the wake of some re-vamping of our school constitution and solidifying the role our paper has on campus. Now the program has attained a new strength and will, I am sure, become a strong presence on campus despite our lack of a specific journalism academic program. Though, perhaps, that could be a new minor in the RMC lists.

I can just picture the headline “RMC now offers a minor in Journalism” and a lede saying “After months of careful deliberation the academic board has finalized plans to add journalism to the list of undergraduate minors.”

I may be dreaming, and I’m fairly certain that adding a new program is a lengthy process. Then again, it’s difficult to project the direction of education.

That being said, be sure to contact and look for the printed edition of our paper when you come to visit.

February 21st, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

From The Summit: Campus APP

Two seniors, Seth Livengood and Luke Duley, have started something that will likely alter student life forever: they’ve invented an app to stream-line campus information onto a convenient, hand-held location.

Okay, so they didn’t actually invent the app, rather they found a company from Tulsa, Okla. called Straxis Technologies that specializes in college apps, and researched the costs and benefits of the app for a proposal they had to create for professional writing.

But what started as a class project has turned into a program that will provide a tool encouraging students to be more involved with campus life.

During an interview with Duley and Livengood on Jan. 28, Livengood, a senior from Treynor, Iowa, explained how the project started:

“Robby Shipp, Jessica Raymond and Luke and myself- we had to come up with something to better the school environment and that’s what we did.”

Now, a few months after its conception, the project has entered the real-world under the direction of Duley and Livengood. What they hope to do is expand the number of students aware of events and activities.

“Rocky has this thing,” Said Luke Duley, a senior from Davenport Iowa, “where only certain select individuals know what’s going on because they’re a part of this circle of people at Rocky; they have their friend tell them and everything. This is kind of broadening that circle so everybody can be a part of it not just those select students who are on-campus and always active.”

During the interview they explained that they met with some resistance when they first brought up the idea to the Associated Students of Rocky Mountain College last December. And for good reason: they were asking for $13’000 annually.

ASRMC wanted to know the logistics of maintaining the program, as did many administrative parties and faculty members. Especially where the money to maintain the program would come from and who would be keeping the information up to date.

Fortunately, Livengood and Duley had it all worked out. Part of the service Straxis provides is the maintenance of information, and, as for the cost, it is a simple matter of relocating existing student fees for the purpose.

“We don’t want to raise student activity fees,” said Duley during the interview, “we want to just keep them the same and reallocate.”

The existing student activity fees are $245 per term per student, and these fees cover things such as the school newspaper, student activities and outdoor recreation. With a little over 900 students enrolled full time at RMC, no more than $10 per student per term would have to be reallocated to fund the app.

The innovative pair has spent the last few months working with the company Straxis Technologies, as well as the RMC administration and IT department to arrange and implement the app.

The APP is well underway, and during the interview with Duley and Livengood they said that the project was being finalized with Straxis during that last week of January. The app itself should be accessible by May and fully functional by the fall term.

“They said three to six months.” Livengood explained, “And, in six months, they project to have the app fully up and running.”

When the app is fully functional it will be available on smart phones, as well online through the RMC webpage. The app will centralize information such as calendars for sporting events, student activities and outdoor rec, as well as emergency contact information, and links to the Rocky webpage.

RMC’s graduating class, including Duley and Livengood, may not see the app emerge fully but the pair is confident that they’ve created a sustainable program.

“I think we’ve set it up where it will continue on.” said Duley, “And I think if it’s a great tool, which I expect it to be, as we use it more people will get more and more excited so more people will want to use it. I see it just expanding.”

February 21st, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Lessons, Learning, and Raisin Bran

I’ve mentioned before that Fortin Center’s front desk lady, Dodie, has taught me a basic method of crochet and I have, in the last month, completed a scarf. I’ve also learned how important it is to count stitches and knowing what adding or dropping a stitch can do.

This has just become a metaphor for college life (If you’re not careful metaphors will grow just about anywhere), and here’s why: in college we’re taught some basic methods to approach learning and, in theory, life. Our professors tell us how to hold the hook and yarn and how to use them in an efficient way, and by that I mean we’re given information with which we’re supposed to design a future.

The problem is, we don’t always know what we want to make. In fact, we don’t always know what color or quality of yarn we want, what size of hook we want, and other little “details” that some professors think we should have figured out before asking to learn crochet.

Fortunately, some professors are still figuring out what they want to make as well, and that’s part of the pleasure of learning and taking lessons; by exploring the different stitches and applications, a variety of creations enter the realm of creative possibility. Unfortunately, the range of creative potential can be overwhelming and make project selection a long and over-complicated task. (By this, of course, I mean selecting a course of study; especially when you realize that you could study virtually anything.)

What I hope to convey from this is that choosing a project takes time and that learning the stitches also takes time, but that learning the stitches makes more sense when applied to a smaller, short-term project. Practice your life-crochet with a project called “completing Gen-Ed requirements” and from that project you can develop ideas for a larger project, or a taste for yarn colors, or what have you.

Now, you should understand the “Lessons, Learning” portion of this post, but I’m certain you’re wondering what raisin bran has to do with anything. The point is this: while you’re learning to crochet you will encounter other people who are learning and developing their skills, some will teach you more about the craft, and some will be taught by you. My own experience in this happened to occur over a bowl or raisin bran one Friday morning, and this illustrates two important things: first, be sure to take time to do things aside from crochet and spend time with people for conversation; and second, always say “thank you” for, and be ready to offer others, a simple bowl of raisin bran.

February 12th, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Art Project Continuum III

Our final day of shop was yesterday (Tues. February 4) and my vessel has taken a few interesting turns.

First was an aesthetic challenge from Professor Moak as he questioned my motives for an uneven rim and rather light lines around the neck and eyes of my urn. He told me, in effect, that imperfections of style should be made with a purpose to show that they are intentionally made instead of the product of laziness. It was good to know, because these are things that I, having never taken a clay class, simply don’t know.

The process is rather interesting; as I finished my work and refined my intent I started thinking more about what the piece is supposed to mean and convey.

Project 1Though I can’t speak for the Etruscans, my own urn is a caricature of myself and an ‘idealized’ figure. The head piece has a big nose (a family feature) and the body is made to be rounded and padded with little hands in the prayer position representing an interior focus. Now, I have to wonder why I chose the shapes I chose. The head is trapezoidal and angular, as is the nose while the body is rounded and egg-shaped.

It makes me think of heavy coats, as though this caricature is wearing many layers in a cold place, or perhaps it means that he’s wrapped himself in layers to protect himself (in the way we humans do).

This brings to me a different question of art: should art be formed with intent and purpose in order to convey a specific idea, or does ‘true art’ emerge from the genii of the universe as a form for the artist to interpret?

February 5th, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Art Project Continuum II

My art project for Topics in art history is coming along. I have only a few minor details to fit out and then I’ll be done with the clay portion.

I’ve found the process rather enjoyable; working with clay has, for me, a rather calming effect, and there’s something about the process of forming an ordered object out of a globular mass that is, simply, satisfying. Working with the clay I remind myself to breath and I’ve been working on making the process all about remembering the Etruscans (what little I remember) and forming the clay with a sense of momento mori. It’s interesting to try and imagine living in a time when working clay was a prominent part of life. Where most dishes and pots were hand made instead of cast by machines.

I suppose I could go on a reflective tangent, but I will refrain at this point. Instead, here is a picture of my project so far:

The base to my cinerary urn

The base to my cinerary urn

January 30th, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments

Reformation of the Procrastination

I’m taking a class on the History of the Reformation, Absolution, and Enlightenment Europe, which covers a period from 1500 – 1789. I have a paper due that is supposed to use 1000 – 1500 words to describe how the Martin Luther’s Reformation affected 16th century society and examine some of the central ideas of said Reformation. It’s been difficult to start writing about that, however, and so I’m thinking about the things I should be writing about while by writing this for your general information and guidance in the world of collegiate Lit-majors. Procrastination, then, is the main idea of this entry, but, in order to demonstrate my point, I will tie procrastination into ideas of the Reformation and present to you a new kind of reformation I’ll call: The Reformation of Procrastination. This new reformation operates under the edict, “make procrastination look useful” and will alter the world much in the same way Luther’s Reformation changed society if allowed to take root and influence the lives of students and corporate leaders alike (though, for the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to both collectively as ‘students’).

Instead of writing essays or doing assigned reading that carries a burden of grade and uncertain utility, students could volunteer in animal shelters, participate in Community Theater or cleaning projects, and organize their desks. Indeed, such a move from the standard organization of the modern world where teachers (used here to included corporate executives and other authorities) rule over these purgatorial pages of letters and learning, would allow students a more individualized approach to education. Remarkable as it seems this move would parallel Martin Luther’s Reformation of the 16th Century because the central idea of his thesis was empowerment of individuals.

(Here you may skip ahead to the final two paragraphs for the summary of what follows:)

Luther’s Reformation called into question the power of the Catholic Church over matters of faith and politics, as well as the spiritual hierarchy, and emphasized the equity of the individual in the body of Christ. Luther wrote in an address to the German Nobility of 1520 “All Christians are of the spiritual estate, and there is no difference among them, save of office alone”.

His statement, referred to a Biblical idea of the “body of Christ” which compared different people to different parts of the body, emphasizing the utility of having hands and feet, eyes and nose, and condemned what I’ll call “part-ism”: where, say, ‘eye people’ will accept only other ‘eye people’ and create a body composed of eyes. You can see that such a body would be useless as a body, though eye jelly would certainly become a possibility. More applicable to Luther’s cause, and my own, is the sense of a hierarchy in the body. For the Catholic Church of Luther’s time, and our own, the Pope (call him the ‘head’ though I’ll not specify of what) was the primary leader and authority of the Church, and as the head the Pope was held in a higher position nearer to their God. The authorities of the time were on a similar hierarchical level because they were thought to be divinely ordained to rule.

Now, these heads of society were held over the mouths, and eyes, and nose etc. of the social body while the feet, and toes, and toenails (peasantry), were kept on the lower rungs of social serfdom. These lower members were purely for the use or satisfaction of the upper members, and the heads enforced their supremacy by reminding the feet that to be a head was certainly much better than being a foot, and the feet were often abused by the head. My metaphor is getting a bit out of hand at this point, so I’d like to simplify and summarize my meaning: the head was abusing the other members needlessly. Luther, then, considered the bodily function of each individual as their ‘office’ but held that there was no difference in rank because a head without feet is unbalanced. The idea, then, was that the head (which protects the brain which guides the hands) should strive to ensure the entire body is well cared for. Let the head wash the feet and provide rest when rest is needed by acknowledging the inter-reliance of the various body parts.

The educational hierarchy is comparable to the body, where students and teachers are hands and mouths where, without hands, the mouth has difficulty eating and without the mouth the hands cannot receive energy from the entrails. The entrails, then, are the intermediaries between student and teacher which ‘digest’ the economic food of the students’ enrollment to process and produce a form of energy to better equip the teachers and students to feed one another. Their efforts, in turn, feed a larger social body with energies that go to some unspecified head. In theory our digestive efforts benefit ourselves and society, though, all in all, the utility of our efforts cannot be proved. My procrastination proclamation embraces the uncertain utility of our educational digestion in order to better allow hands to be hands and mouths to be mouths. A hand, instead of feeding the mouth with rice paper sweets decorated with chocolate poems as the head ordains, could engage in other activities with other body parts, or take up a new hobby like crochet.

The results of this reformation of procrastination, similar to the results of Luther’s Reformation, would create a new way for the bodily members to interact. The hands, after making some crocheted object (say: a scarf) could send that object to the neck to keep the neck warm. The warmed neck would then better serve the brain because the jugular veins and spine would be warm and toasty and comfortable, sending signals of contentment to the brain and head which, in turn, increases levels of dopamine and improves the overall health of the entire body. Essentially, by putting off taking up the rice papers to feed the mouth, as ordained by that unspecified head from before, the hands actually better serve the body. However, the head from some unknown region still maintains power over the body and even though the hand would prefer to crochet or mingle with other body parts, the head has issued command that the hand feed the mouth, and so the body aims to keep the hand in line with that programming.

During Luther’s Reformation, that Pope-ish head recognized Luther as some hand knitting without permission, and though the head sent signals to remove that hand it was too late: the hand had taught the feet to knit. Suddenly, the entire order of being was called into question. No foot was supposed to knit, that was a job for hands only; and only then by permission of the head. The feet are, of course, the lay people and the knitting is biblical interpretation in Luther’s case. The hands were the clergy, and Luther was a rouge hand. I’m starting to over extend my metaphor again; I’ll explain, no, too much, I’ll sum up:

Luther’s Reformation challenged the established social order because he said people of all classes were capable of personally seeking God without having to ask permission of the church, go to confession, or even bother with the clergy. The clergy and other authorities did not like this, because they wanted to be ‘higher up’ than the peasantry and lay folk, and their perceived nearness to God and wealth were signifiers of their superiority. Luther’s reformation upset the social order by allowing communication to flow more freely between classes, but even today the general practice is that the rich rule the poor.

Luther’s Reformation is still applicable, and it is a nice foundation for my own Reformation of Procrastination, where procrastinators strive to put off doing assigned tasks by doing other socially beneficial tasks like community service, reading books, and writing essays designed to initiate a new movement in the world of procrastination (These essays should be disguised as informative essays on the Reformation or other educational things). I’m sure, by this point, I’ve reached the limit of readers’ attention (I know I’d be leery of an entry longer than a paragraph) now I’d like to finish by saying this: Strive to make your procrastination look useful.

January 29th, 2014  |  Category: Uncategorized  |  No Comments