Trivia Night Preparations!

Coming back from February break, a great Bates tradition looms over the weekend– one that, for me, has suddenly become incredibly important. I’m talking about TRIVIA NIGHT. WRBC holds a competition every year (this is the 31st annual!) that starts at 8pm and goes until 6 am, where teams of students tune in to 91.5 fm all night vying for points by answering trivia questions and performing ridiculous physical challenges.

This year’s Trivia Night is this Friday, February 26. This is the first big event that newly elected WRBC board members (myself DEFINITELY included) have to work on. I’ve been sending emails, making phone calls to local businesses for prize donations, and thinking up crazy trivia questions all week.

Trivia night is a well-loved campus event, and tons of people participate. I’m so excited to be in thick of it on Friday– staying up all night, answering phones, judging physical challenges… I just hope I can make it until the morning!


Digital Poetry and A Very Busy Thursday

Thursdays are always my busiest day. They start at 8 am, continue at 930, go on at 110, at 230 and beyond! Today was no different, except I had a meeting at 11 about a pending essay I’m writing for my Ancient Comedy and Satire class. However, my usually tough morning was jolted awake by an introduction to a whole branch of literature I’d never even heard of before: digital fiction.

Today’s class featured poet AND digital artist AND critic AND Assistant Professor of English at UCLA AND bascially all around really cool guy, Brian Kim Stefans. Stefans was on campus giving a reading for Language Arts Live, which is Bates’ series of literary presentations, organized by my professor (and ADVISOR! oh yeah, I DECLARED!) Eden Osucha, as well as professor Jonathan Skinner.

Our class is an examination of fiction in the US, beginning all the way back with Poe and Hawthorne, and ranging up through such works as Toni Morrison’s Beloved. While we have been discussing narrative structure lately, jumping to digital fiction from Crane short stories was quite a shock for most of the class.

Before today’s class, we were all required to “play” a work of digital litearture: Stuart Malthroup’s Pax, and react in an online class forum. Most reactions were very confused, and many felt that they didn’t “get” the work; certainly we seemed unable to form a cohesive narrative in the sense of we were used to. The concept of characters, setting, vocabulary, and especially narrative were all questioned; mostly we were just worried if our reaction to ‘Pax’ would hinder our appreciation of Stefans when he visited class.

I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when Stefans came in and just wanted to explain the genre to us. Or, how in digital literature, often when creating a new work, you’re actually creating an entirely new genre each time. WOW. While I definitely don’t think that I’m up on  that super contemporary level, with conceptual artistry, flash animations, and giant fish movies, I loved hearing Stefans lecture. Something about how he asked questions like “do you guys know Morrissey?” or trying explain the arc of a narrative using Radiohead as a counterexample– are you KIDDING ME? He’s so cool. SO COOL. And then wait, a moment later he’s making insightful comparisons to James’ Washington Square, the last novel that our class read?! So one second I think he’s Mr. Popular Culture Digital Poet Cutting Edge, and then he shows how old-school intelligent he is in terms of the reading material.

Honestly, I keep meeting adults and I can’t get over how intelligent they are. This question has started to live in the back of my mind, persistantly asking me, “are you going to be that smart someday? well rounded, and really cool, too!?” God, I hope so. I have a feeling I might end up there…I’ve got a lot of learning left to do, first.

BUT– Stefans was awesome. We unfortunately ran out of time (I so wish we hadn’t), but as I said, he was the kick-off of second semester’s Language Arts Live speakers. I totally disregarded the paper that was looming over the rest of my night, and I went to the reading.

Well, due to the unique nature of Stefans work (a combination of poetry, critical pieces, and of course electronic works) the reading was very interesting. When I’m not writing 5-10 pages about humor in homeric epics (as I am tonight), I definitely plan on exploring Stefans’ website,, more… But for now, I recommend checking it out. It’s a whole new side of literature, narrative, everything. I guess most of all, I find it very exciting. I just want to learn more!

Tyler Fish ’96 and the Journey to the North Pole

Saturday, January 30, I ate an early dinner and ran over to Chase Hall lounge where Tyler Fish, class of ’96, was giving a talk about his amazing journey: the first unsupported, unassisted American expedition to the North Pole. WOAH!

This year is the Bates Outing Club’s 90th anniversary, and Mr. Fish’s talk was our kickoff event in the year-long celebration that will bring current students together with BOC alums in trips and all other things B-O-C. The highly attended talk filled up fifteen minutes before it began, and despite moving in every chair we could get our hands in, people had to line the walls, sitting, leaning, doing anything to get a glimpse of Tyler talking in front of a projected slide show.

Okay, first thing’s first. That’s probably the coolest thing I’ve heard about in a while. And seeing the photos? And the videos? And hearing the first-hand commentary on all of them? FROM SOMEONE WHO WENT TO BATES AND WAS IN THE SAME CLUB THAT I WAS IN!?! Like I said, the coolest thing in a while.

Tyler’s talk was inspirational and really got to something that, because of the BOC, I totally understood. He talked about why he did it. Why he and his partner dragged 600 pounds of gear in two sleds each over unpredictable, icy territory for 55 days without showering and eating mostly bacon, butter, nuts and chocolate. At least what I got from him, is that it’s this feeling you get when you just get OUT THERE. The outdoors are such a gift, and through organizations like the Bates Outing Club, anyone can grab on and appreciate them!

The talk ran a little over an hour, and even President Hansen was there. I was so glad I went- but I was even more glad to be a part of the same club that Tyler had been in while he was at Bates. The BOC was what Tyler stuck with, throughout changing majors and friends, the BOC was always there for him. Clambakes, hiking trips, and forming relationships with other people who share the same passion for getting out there and having fun. What a great experience!

Check out Tyler’s website for more information and pictures! HERE!