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Portland, Oregon, United States

Monday, December 31, 2007

The Graffiti Discussion continues

Since most people probably don't check back that far, I'm gonna copy and paste some comments on my older post about Ben's article in the CPJ.

Anonymous said...

It's the fault of the fucking system, the management, that the minimum wage workers have to clean the graffiti. Why can't they leave it?

And what makes it a "mockery"? You do, because you assign the word to it. I don't think it's a mockery, I think it's just someone expressing their feelings on wall, with a marker.

When people say it isn't art is what upsets me the most because I don't think it's anyone's job to criticize another person's art. It's totally dada and it's fine and shouldn't be removed by anyone.

What happened to free speech? anti-censorship?

December 18, 2007 2:27 PM

Ben Jammin said...

For my Anonymous poster.
I noticed you commented with some questions about my article. After reading your comments, I thought over my article and came up with a few things I wanted you to respond to.

I divided your comment into about 5 sections and I am going to go one at a time so I can keep my thoughts separated.

1.)“It's the fault of the fucking system, the management, that the minimum wage workers have to clean the graffiti. Why can't they leave it?”
I suspect that many building owners don’t want ideas represented on their buildings that were not discussed or agreed upon by the people who work or live in there. I imagine it is a bit like waking up with “balls” written on your face. You don’t want somebody else speaking for you on your buildings, any more than you want someone writing something you had no part in making and signing your name to it.

2.) “And what makes it a "mockery"? You do, because you assign the word to it. I don't think it's a mockery, I think it's just someone expressing their feelings on wall, with a marker.”
I decided the key things/questions here are:
“Why is graffiti a mockery of social change?” and “Is graffiti self expression?”

Graffiti mocks social change by presenting messages of change, in a form that undermines that purpose. “The violence, the crime, repetition of the old and worn-out, all of these things are outputs of our social system. Far from opposing the things wrong with our society this graffiti amplifies and glorifies the wrong by repackaging it as “rebellion”(or social change).” –I know it is dumb to quote yourself but it seemed like the correct thing to write.

There is also a chance that what you meant was that I personally have changed graffiti into a mockery and that I should knock it off. I would say that Is a very flattering thing to say but the damage is done. Now that I have seen the flaws in graffiti as social change I will not be able to shut my eyes to them. I will also say that since I have changed graffiti in to a mockery, the people doing it need to change their tactics so that they will no longer make a mockery of the things they want. I look forward to what they can create.

3.)“When people say it isn't art is what upsets me the most…
I think for this part I would need from you a definition of art. For me art is something that serves a social function. If a composition (drawing, music, etc…) does not propose something new it can very often serve to reinforce current climates. Those things I that do not propose something new would be closer to crafts then art. Using this definition, the graffiti is merely a craft displayed as a sad reflection of a struggling social system.

4.) “…because I don't think it's anyone's job to criticize another person's art. “
This is perhaps the key argument to your comment and for me it is, honestly, the most frightening.

Criticizing* is to look at what someone says, weigh its consequences, and respond. Thinking about what someone says is what gives thought and expression it’s power. If people are saying things, but no one is thinking about it, or criticizing it, and working to find the holes and fix them, speech might as well be white noise. It is criticism that gives art and thought its capacity to enact change.

When taught that questioning what someone believes is wrong or rude, we repress our ability to be skeptical. Ideas are left untested and unrefined because we are instructed to tolerate their flaws. Argument is all but completely devalued if we accept conflicting views instead of challenging them. All that is left after this kind of tolerance is comparison between alike and dislike. Conversation becomes a means of recording thought without examining its ramifications.
We become trapped in a sea of unrefined and thoughts because we are too afraid of seeming impolite or intolerant.

“What happened to free speech? Anti-censorship?”
Tolerance is what has happened to free speech. It is a censor that operates by allowing thoughts to be spoken and then immediately sinking them into irrelevance, devaluing what someone has to say by allowing it to exist, and at the same time, depriving it of meaning and all capacity to enact change.
More deadly still, tolerance can be applied to ones self. There is little point in discovering new and better ideas when we are too afraid to implement them. Tolerating flaws in your own thinking put a hold on your ability to progress into better things. Tolerance hides beneath something seemingly polite and turns it into a graveyard for progress in yourself and others.
I fear I am being unclear. Please take this example. -The discussion that ends with the polite agreement to disagree.-
To agree that you will both remain set and stubborn in your thinking until the end of time. It is an ending to let you leave a conversation without coming to a conclusion and both parties having ideas with flaws unchallenged.
If I have found fault in the graffiti and the creator continues to use it, the creator is no better than the system he is a part of.
If you are anti-censorship I would ask you to please try and respond and criticize all the things you see that are wrong in life and in art. This repressive and “benign” tolerance is frightening when it is unseen. Please fight to find problems and push until they have been repaired. Don’t settle for “at least they are trying”.

Please write back, I would like, and need to be criticized. ; )

*(according to the Merriam- Webster online dictionary)
To Criticize: 1 : to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly
2 : to find fault with : point out the faults of

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fainting goats are too cute

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Sorry I haven't been blogging much. Not a lot has been going on. I've still been baking but got tired of posting the recipes, and figured you felt the same. I made a custardy apple pie from Witch in the Kitchen and it was tasty. Made another soup. Discovered that a clove of garlic does wonders for a grilled cheese sandwich. Last night I cleaned most of the apartment.
Ben left for Spokane last night. I am visiting him from Wednesday the 19th through Monday the 24th and am excited and nervous. I am going to Aloha today, my dad's picking me up in a couple of hours. After visiting Ben, I'll be in the Tron at least through New Year's, so that should be cool You should hella hang out with me. That's about it! <3 Star

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

This recipe comes from the book Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson. I just made it tonight and it tastes amazing :-D

- 3 tablespoons butter, margarine, or olive oil (I used butter)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small to medium carrot, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
- 1/2 cup well-scrubbed sweet potato, cut into chunks
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (or 1 cup chopped raw pumpkin) (I couldn't obtain a pumpkin, so I used canned pumpkin)
- 1 slice oat bread, torn into pieces (this adds body and oaty nourishment. If oat bread is unavailable, substitute whole wheat and add 1 tablespoon rolled oats)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
- 1/2 cup light cream or half-and-half (vegans may substitute soy milk or 2 tablespoons cashew or almond butter for a creamy texture) (I used half-and-half)
- 1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese, grated (this is what gives the soup its delightfully smoky flavor; vegans may use a few drops of natural smoke flavoring instead)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Suggested toppings (optional):
-Dollop of sour cream, whipped cream, or creme fraiche
-Small mound of grated smoked gouda
-Grating of fresh nutmeg or a pinch of dried sage or thyme
-Sprinkling of cayenne, for those who love heat
- Spoonful of pumpkin seeds, raw or toasted.

In a large soup pot, heat the butter on medium. When the butter is melted, add the onion, garlic, carrot, and sweet potato. Saute the vegetables, stirring to coat with butter, for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, oat bread, thyme, and sage. Stir to mix thoroughly, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the sweet potato is tender, about 30 minutes.
Add the light cream/half-and-half, cheese, and parsley. Stir to mix and continue to simmer (do not boil) until the cheese is melted.
Puree in batches in your blender or food processor, adding more cream to thin, if needed.
Serve warm in individual bowls with a combination of any of the suggested toppings.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Double Chocolate Mint Cookies

I am continuing to bake, and the other day I made Double Chocolate Mint Cookies, again from allrecipes.com http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Double-Chocolate-Mint-Cookies/Detail.aspx
I modified the recipe based on suggestions in the reviews. They turned out deliciously and I didn't take any pictures and now they're all et up. Oh well. So here's the recipe I used, and that you should use too because they are delicious:


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream together, butter, sugar and eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Blend well.
  3. Drop by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8-9 minutes. Cookies will be soft. Cool about 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ginger Snaps

Today I made ginger snaps which turned out BEAUTIFULLY!

I got the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Moms-Ginger-Snaps/Detail.aspx


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup white sugar for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Roll each ball in white sugar before placing 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven, or until center is firm. Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jessica the Hippo

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hungry Kitty

Myspace deleted this video for some reason but I found it on YouTube to repost. So cute.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another one spotted...

Entryway to N dorm! Please send me any other pictures or locations that I could take pictures! I want to document this madness.

Sorry about the bad quality, I didn't have my camera with me, so I had to take this with my phone.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More cupcakes

Bonnie Butter Cake
1-3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups milk

Heat oven to 350º. Mix sugar, margarine/butter, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 5 minutes. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt alternately with milk on low speed. Pour into pan(for cupcakes, into paper-lined cups, 2/3 full).
Bake until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes for cupcakes.

Chocolate Butter Frosting
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 ounces unsweetened melted chocolate (cool)
2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
About 2 tablespoons milk

Mix margarine/butter and chocolate. Stir in powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla and milk until frosting is of spreading consistency.

I dunno. They turned out alright, but seem kind of bland to me. And just something about them seems off. Jessie likes them though. I'm going to try to the chocolate chip ones next, and hopefully pick up a new cookbook in Portland. This one just isn't doing it for me.

Damn you, Ben Michaelis

The graffiti continues and intensifies! Corbin blames Ben. I kinda do too.

This is in the entryway to R dorm.

This is on the side of S dorm.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sad Star

I am in Olympia.

Ben is in Spokane.

This is a long way away.
Google Maps says 327 miles.

Ben left this morning. He should be returning on Sunday the 25th. Today is the 15th. That is ten days.

Star is a very sad little panda.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ben's article in the CPJ (UPDATE!)

The Anarchist's response to Ben's article:

Notice how he painted over his previous work(Read page 11 of this week's CPJ!), highlighting the original article by Nicky Tiso, that Ben responded to, and replaced it with "FUCK COPS!", seemingly to echo part of Ben's article:

This makes Ben sad.

So there's a lot of vandalism on campus lately. Most of it is just Anarchy symbols and things like "fuck cops." A guy wrote an opinion piece in the CPJ saying it's your own fault for misinterpreting what the graffiti "artist" is trying to say with these things. Ben could not keep quiet after that and wrote this lovely response. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Last night Ben, Erik, and I took the bus to west Olympia and did some shopping. I got some baking chocolate and made brownies from scratch. I haven't tried them yet, they're still cooling. The recipe is from the package of Ghirardelli chocolate.

4 oz Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar (1 bar)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup & 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chips (I used Nestle Milk Chocolate Chips!)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour an 8" X 8" pan. In a heavy 1-1/2 qt saucepan melt chocolate bar and butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove pan from heat; let cool to room temperature. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, mix well. In bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold in flour mixture; mix well. Stir in chips. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Edit: The brownies were a hit! Everyone loved them. Only problem is I forgot I'm the only person I know who doesn't like Ghirardelli chocolate, so I didn't enjoy them as much. Still ate a few and liked the chocolate chips a lot and could tell they were good.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Strawberry Muffins!

I love baking after midnight. It makes me very calm and content and gets me in a sleepy frame of mind. I decided to try making muffins from scratch for the first time ever. They turned out beautifully. I modified the blueberry muffin recipe in Jessie's ancient Betty Crocker cookbook for strawberries since I still have a bunch from my garden in my freezer.

Here's the recipe:

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 400º. Grease bottoms only of about 12 medium muffin cups, 2 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches. Beat egg; stir in milk and oil. Stir in remaining ingredients all at once just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from pan. Makes about 1 dozen muffins.

Blueberry Muffins (Strawberry in my case.)
Stir in 1 cup fresh or 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (thawed and well drained) with the milk.

I should also note that Corbin STRONGLY recommends replacing the milk with yogurt so the muffins are moister. These ones were a little dry. I'm also considering replacing the sugar with a combination of brown sugar and honey. 


Yesterday I baked cookies again. Blogger hates me still and doesn't want to upload my pictures. It pretty much sucks. But I managed to get it to upload one picture of the finished product. Here's the recipe I used, from the Quaker Oats container(best cookies ever):

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened (I use butter!)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup raisins (I substitute chocolate chips!)

1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
2. Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy.
3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well.
5. Stir in oats and raisins/chocolate chips; mix well.
6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


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Sunday, November 4, 2007


Also I ordered this shirt from Threadless recently and am waiting for it to be shipped to me!

And my mom bought me this vacuum which works amazingly!
Happy days!

Loud Sex

Apparently someone was having VERY loud sex last night at about 4 in the morning. Loud enough it woke Jessie up and kept her awake. Speculation: who was it? It wasn't me, I was sleeping alone and had taken a bunch of melatonin to make myself sleep(which is why I didn't wake up). Was it Corbin's roommate? Was it Corbin hooking up with his roommate? Was it the woman who lives next door and works with EF students? (Ben thinks this sounds like I'm implying she is hooking up with a foreign student, ala "Let me teach you some English...first word, 'touch'.") Why does whoever the girl is feel the need to scream? 

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Halloween Party 2007

Last night(Friday) there was a Halloween party at Katherine, Evan, and Paul's place(future home of Hannah). It was lovely, dancing, snacks, etc. Here's some lovely pictures.

Ben likes candy.
Peter was some sort of gay sailor? The point of this picture is really for the little face Ben is making.

I went as myself. Spooky!

This picture is glorious (Corbin, Ben, me, and Paul)

Steve went as a crazy guy? I thought jester, but crazy guy was what I was told. 

Harmony, Ben, Sean, and Joel tickle poor James.

Jessie is something, possibly winter, and Frannie is a purple unicorn.
Ben is a saucy doctor and Alex is Albert Einstein.
Frannie the unicorn.
Katherine is an old maid.
Corbin rapes Ben as usual.

Corbin went to the party as a homosexual. Because they look like everybody else.
Paul dances with his girlfriend, Ami.
Hollis was a cowboy and Maddie was a saloon girl.
Ashe and Freddy as raccoons?
Evan as Ivan.
Jessie and Joel's friend, Margaret was a fairy princess. Brian in the background is a hippie.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I love Hannah. This is my current desktop background. Stolen from her blog.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Corbin Cleans Up His Roommate's Mess

Corbin's cleaning the kitchen.

He's a nice guy.

Wait, what's that in the sink...?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Zoo Trip

Yesterday I went to the Woodland Park Zoo with my class(Evolving Communication). My favorite part was discovering a little creature called an Anoa. Here's the Woodland Park Zoo's page about them: Lowland Anoa. As is mentioned on the previously mentioned page, the Anoa did wander right up to the fence. I was walking past the raptors when I noticed the sign for the Anoa and looked around the enclosure for it, finally spotting it way down in the back corner, laying by the chainlink fence. So I went down and told it how cute it was and it looked back at me with its big cow eyes and then stood up and tilted its head at me like, "pet me." So I scratched its head and it liked that very much. We bonded. I sat there petting it for a good ten minutes. It was lovely. Zoos are petting zoos, don't listen to Ben. It's not a baby tiger, it's a tiny water buffalo. 

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm sorry I've been so neglectful, Hannah. 

Apparently Hannah is quite out of the loop. She didn't even know Peter and Katherine hooked up at that party and have been dating ever since :-O. 
Other things that have happened are Jessie gave Katherine a super-cute hair-cut. Yesterday I went to a pumpkin patch that had disappointing pumpkins, but I still had fun. I also got Katherine, Peter, Brian, Joel, and Ben to come along. Ben found two funny little pumpkins to bring home. On Saturday Frannie and her roommate(another Hannah) hosted a potluck at their apartment. I went, as well as Ben and Brian and two of Hannah's friends and one of Frannie's friends who we didn't know. We ate some and played some cards and talked, rather mellow. 
Tomorrow I'm going to the Woodland Park Zoo for a field trip with my class. I have to be at C-lot at 8:15 :-(. Today I had class from 9-11, then went to Ben's where I found him in a little puddle on his bed, having just fallen asleep two hours before. He was mysteriously wearing a robe, which I asked him about. "Why are you wearing a robe?" "I dunno." Then he proceeded to mishear everything I said until I finally figured out I should stop trying to talk to him. I crawled in bed and fell asleep and ended up sleeping through the second half of my class, oops. Woke up at like, 1:30, but kept laying in bed and ended up taking a second nap with Ben from like, 5:30-7:30. Basically, I am completely fucked for sleep tonight. Ben made me some mac and cheese and now I'm home with Jessie and we are both on our computers being awesome. She's taking a myspace survey and I'm trying to be a good friend by updating my blog. 
What else...last night Steve, Ben, and Corbin were all over here hanging out and Corbin fucked with my mind by showing me "Tub Girl". But meatspin.com was pretty funny. He was good and only made one post as me on myspace, and it was just to Ben. Oh, and Jessie baked banana bread. And this weekend she went to Seattle to go to a pumpkin patch with her family. 
i'm behind on some homework because it's not due until the end of the quarter but you're supposed to be writing these short essays every week and they're piling up in a bad way. I want to bake, so I might make some cupcakes. I really want to make cookies but we've run out of flour. Which I almost spelled "flower". There's my boring life, Hannah Banana. *kisses*
I almost forgot, there was also a party at U-308 that Alex tried to throw which ended up being just like, 8 of us, lemme see if I can remember...me, Ben, Jessie, Steve, Alex, Brian, Evan, Paul, Alex's brother, Ryan, Alex's friend Alisha, Erik, Erik's girlfriend Alli...I think that was it. Paul and Brian had left to visit Julian by the time I got there. Alex had made this big bucket thing of punch with alcohol in it and it was disgusting by my and James's standards, but everyone else thought it was pretty good. We ended up playing this drinking game called "moose" where you take an ice cube tray and two quarters and try to bounce the quarters off the table and into the ice cube tray. If it lands on the right side, you count how many squares it is away from you and that's how many drinks/sips you have to take. If it lands on the left side, you count those and that's how many drinks/sips you get to hand out(e.g.: James takes 3, Ben 1, Alex 2). If it lands in either of the last two squares you have to go "moose!" and put your hands up by your head like you're making moose-antlers and everyone else has to do this as well. The last person to do it has to drink the "moose cup" of alcohol. Alex and Erik and Ryan were quite drunk, Jessie and Steve had disappeared into Steve's room without drinking, Alisha and Evan didn't participate, and James and Ben got a bit tipsy. Ok, James was drunk, and it was hilarious, because he didn't think he was drunk, probably because he thinks it should feel different. He was talking really slow and played drunk chess with Ben(who was sober pretty quickly, after wrestling with sleepiness for about an hour) and at the end of the game he said "I didn't look at the board once." I drank some but mostly just got a headache from the interaction with my meds and the enormous sugar content of this goddamn punch. Everyone was sick from that sugar. The entire bucket was gone, drank mostly by Alex, Ryan, Erik, Ben, me, Brian, Alli, and James. It was ridiculous. 
That's my partying story. Probably for the whole year. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Joel's Birthday

I don't have any pictures, because I haven't gotten my camera back from Katherine yet, but tonight we had a small birthday party for Joel at Old School Pizza. Joel turned 20 today! 

Happy birthday, Joel!
It was a good party: Me, Joel, Jessie, Katherine, Peter, Freddy, Steve, James, and Paul. Good times!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Glen

I'm all moved in, I'll post pictures once Jessie and I are done decorating. It's coming along pretty steadily but a bit slowly, so you'll have to be patient.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Ahhhhhhhhh! I'm going home tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Why is no one voting on my poll?? It's very important research!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mom and I made ANOTHER Ikea trip today to find my phone and we had success! It must have been turned in to lost and found today because yesterday it was still in the lost category. Then we did some shoppin' and I got:
I basically just need sheets now and I'm done!