Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dead Week

At Purdue, the week before Final Exams is called "Dead Week". The professors call it that because we are technically not allowed to have any exams during this week in preparation for finals. The students, however, think this is an oxymoron. It is anything BUT dead. All our final presentations, papers, and homework are due this week and it's usually when the intense studying begins. And for some reason I always have a few professors who think they are exempt from the "no exams during Dead Week" rule. I think calling it Dead Week is only appropriate if you are referring to the collective physical and mental state of all students at the end of the week. By Friday afternoon, your average student (a.k.a. ME) will be lying on the floor gasping for breath, surrounded by worn textbooks, empty ink pens, and a few reams of looseleaf paper settling around the room like fallen snowflakes.

Honestly, I have come to dread this week more than Finals Week itself.

This semester, especially. I have my final oral exam and composition in French, two papers and an exam in Archaeology and World Prehistory, my last lab in Political Statistical Analysis, and various, assorted other gems in my other classes. Not to mention I have the last meeting of the semester for WRH Club AND a job interview tomorrow.

If that's not enough, B wants all the kids in meeting to come over for a crab leg dinner party on Friday. Some soiree that will surely last all evening. Trust me, I will be lucky if I get to scarf a peanut butter sandwhich. Friday evening is when I'll start mad cramming for my six exams the following week.
Besides, I hate seafood.

I also hate the bitter cold wind that slices to the bone and blows in heavy grey clouds that seem to perpetually hang over campus until Mid-April. And also how for such a great engineering school, we seem to have the most poorly planned sidewalks in the nation that are concave and fill with water that turns into ice even when it hasn't rained or snowed in weeks. And the fact that I can't seem to get enough sleep these days.

With these happy thoughts, the Grinch is going to sign off and study French with her roommate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Once upon a time

Once there was a beautiful princess who went to University in a land far far away from home.

She grew lonely in the vast country, with only her school books to keep her company on the windy nights. She whined on the phone constantly to her dear brother about her loneliness but he ignored her pleas until one day when his computer fell ill with the Bubonic Internet Virus Plague and he was left with nothing to do. He recruited his sister and off they went, into the bright Saturday morn, in their golden chariot made by Saturn (a legacy left to them by the Great Grandpa Carolus).

"Alas," they trumpeted triumphantly, "Fair Maiden we have arrived!" With unshed tears shining in her eyes, the princess ran down the stairs to meet them. Half an hour later, she reached the bottom and greeted them joyously.
"Let us make haste! The day awaits for no man," they shouted. The princess took them on a tour of her fair campus, making frequent stops so her guests could rest their weary bodies. (Hey, I told them they should probably stop after the giant waffles but they had to eat cookies AND try the cappucino machine too.) The tour took them to downtown West Lafayette because the princess forgot that Saturdays are Breakfast Club* days when there's a home game. A ghastly sight awaited all so the princess hurried them back to her tower for a nap. The rest of the day passed in a whirlwind of birthday present shopping for their father, getting lost in town, and general avoidance of the football crowd.
Weary after a long day, they returned home for an early night.

HA. yeah right. They caroused around like the hooligans they are well into the night.

Sadly, the trip must come to an end some time so Sunday afternoon after meeting, the royal siblings got back into the golden chariot and journeyed back to the Fort of Wayne. The princess tearfully waved goodbye and immediately started a count down to Thanksgiving.
The End.
What a good story.
I realize there are squillions of pictures of the Chicago trip left to post but I'm lazy and I'll just post a link to 'em later.
*Breakfast Club is a long-standing Purdue tailgating tradition for home football games where students aged 21 and above dress up in costumes and go to the bars when they open in the morning and get completely smashed before the game even starts. Some people are so gone, they actually forget to go to the game. Which is why there were some entirely drunk people in costume downtown in the middle of the day. It is the uncontested winner of the "The Stupidest Thing I Have Ever Seen A Large Group of My Peers Do Repeatedly and One of the Reasons Why I Am Convinced I Was Born in The Wrong Decade" award. Some consider it to be the best college tailgating tradition in the country. I consider it to be the only thing that makes me not proud to be a Boilermaker.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

"Chicago, Chicago, I'll show you around.."

This weekend WRH Club and Cary Residence Hall cosponsored a day trip to Chicago to see the Broadway musical Wicked for their residents. Naturally, Catherine and I were the first to sign up, along with Catherine's best friends who live next door to us, Lauren and Shannon. I love love love the city and was beyond excited to go. For the low low price of $30, you get a bus ride to and from the city and a ticket to see the musical.
College is awesome.
We began our day by rising at the foreign hour of 6:30. We packed our bags, buttoned our coats, and were on the bus by 7:30. It's only about a 2.5 hour drive there and we commissioned the Purdue tour bus so it was a pretty comfortable ride. Shannon ended up not being able to go so I sat by myself...for about 5 minutes. Girl in Houndstooth Coat scanned the bus and decided, out of all the empty rows surrounding us, she wanted to sit by me. Let me be the first to say I am all for meeting new people and I am fine sitting next to strangers as long as their thigh is not pressed up to mine. awkward. I kept shifting towards the window and the thigh kept moving. This sad little game of cat and mouse continued until my cheek was smooshed against the cold glass window. Finally, when I could feel my face no more, I decided to end the madness. I grabbed my bag from the floor and plunked it down between us. Since my bag could be mistaken for an ocean barge, it worked. She had to move the offending appendage. Victory was mine.

We got to the Windy City at 9 their time and were off the bus and into the brisk morning air. We didn't have to go to the show until 2 so we were free to roam at will. First stop? Coffee shop. Catherine and Lauren gratefully chugged their Seattle's Best while I stood nearby, hoping to inhale some caffeine in the steam. Of course I could have purchased my own but let it be known that I loathe the taste of coffee.
  • Side note: part of my life's philosophy is that if you have to acquire a
    taste for something, why taste it in the first place? And yes, this means I
    place coffee-flavored things under the same umbrella as alcohol, cigarettes, and sushi.
  • Side note disclaimer for all you concerned adults: fear not,
    the only one of those things I have actually ever tasted is coffee.
  • Side note tangent: Did you know that in the Andes Mountains, the main meat
    source is cuŃ—? That is all well and good until that I found out in English
    that means guinea pig. Talk about acquired taste.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch called Chicago, we went to Millenium Park to take pictures and hang out until stores opened.

Millenium Park is full of fantastic art and sculpture, some of it amazing and moving and some of it incomprehensible.

This is the ampitheather. Fantastic architecture, ridiculous art. It featured "Arctic Soundscape". A soundscape is an environment created by sound. Let me put it layman's terms: it sounds like someone put in a CD that recorded sounds in nature and blasted it out over the huge soundsystem in this ampitheater. This soundscape featured sounds entirely of the moaning wind and what sounded like seals being murdered. At jet engine decibel level. I was not impressed. Art, in my opinion, is a quiet entity. I do not consider soundscapes to be art.

This is is my favorite piece. It is called Cloud Gate. We called it the Magic Bean. Many pictures ensued.

Catherine reflected in the bean. A rather cool image, if I do say so myself. and I do.

At ten, we left the park to experience the pricey side of Chicago: the shopping. We went into Macy's which has nine floors and an FAO Schwartz inside. We went to a few other stores, but not many because Catherine hates shopping and Lauren and I had to nearly exchange purses so we wouldn't buy everything in sight. I made them go into H&M before we had lunch though, because that is my favorite clothing store in the whole world. They were beautifully patient while I tried on squillions of things and ended up only purchasing a scarf. It was more than I would usually pay for a scarf but it's gorgeous and my neck was cold.

We lunched at Jimmy John's, a sandwhich chain found here in West Lafayette but we promised ourselves we would have authentic Chicago cuisine at dinner. Afterwards, we wandered into the Chicago Cultural Center and saw this display of coral reefs that had been entirely crocheted. It was amazing. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside but it was astoudning. The array of yarn was a riot of color. They had a section that had been crocheted entirely using plastic bags, displaying the terrible destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. Did you know that 10% of the world's plastic produced every year ends up in the ocean?

It's the reason why we have to see coral reefs made of yarn in a museum, as opposed to the real thing.
Well I am tired of messing around with the formatting of pictures on this blog so I think I'll end here tonight. I'll post the rest of the pictures and story tomorrow. Or sometime.

Kiss Hug. Bonne nuit.

Friday, October 26, 2007

All you ever didn't care to know about moi...

Well since the premise of this is me at college, I should probably talk about it....

I go to Purdue University. I double major in Political Science and History with a minor in Classical Studies. I live on campus in the dorm-excuse me, residence halls. For some reason, saying "dorm" is taboo now. Apparently the word dorm is associated with negative things so we have been hounded to NOT SAY dorm when we talk about where we live. I say hounded because I am a tour guide for my residence hall and also the President of Freshman Governing Board, which is a subset of Windsor Residence Hall Club (basically a student council type thing). I'm a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Liberal Arts Honors Program, Dammon Dean Scholar's Program Alumnus, and I'm on the email list for Purdue Camera Club even though I stopped going to the meetings last Christmas.

Whew. That felt like a scholarship application. Boring. Anyway, I have the coolest roommate. Her name is Catherine but I call her C-Fizzle because of a joke we started in junior year of high school when we met. She was the valedictorian of our class. And she's total awesome.

we pretend to be normal.

But mostly we're not. We have a lot in common. We're book nerds and have the same sense of humor. We're both way too interested in foreign policy theory (we're taking a class together) and it's not uncommon to see us walking down the street together animatedly discussing nuclear proliferation.
^^True story.
She's obsessed with football, I'm obsessed with music. She quizzes me on the "Football Position of the Week" and I play "Name the Band" with her. Sometimes we converse entirely in French to feel cosmopolitan. Hopefully, someday we'll be able to do it without passing a language dictionary between us.

Honestly, I don't know how anyone can stand us.

Anyway, this weekend is/was Homecoming. (Depending on when I actually post this.) We're playing Northwestern. Editor's note: at press time, we learned that we crushed them. BOILER UP! There's a lot of hype around here for this event. His Holiness The Dalai Lama came and spoke on Friday, and security was nuts because apparently China is trying to do him in. Especially now that our dear leaders had to go and hand him a Congressional Gold Medal Thursday last. China's pretty steamed about the honor so I wasn't too jazzed about having one of their top enemies here on campus but no one asked me. Ah well, with a campus of nigh unto 40,000 students, they can't reach everyone.

So there was a parade last night and I went with C-Fiz and some of our floormates and didn't make the connection that pouring rain would ruin my faux silk shoes but I had a grand time and got free stuff even though I DID ruin the shoes whilst I tried to ford the raging river between the street and the curb. That was a ridiculously long sentence. Then I went back to the room and laid on the floor in the dark and painted stars on the ceiling with my complimentary glow sticks.

Today was the game and since I am ticketless and not willing to fork over 25 american pesos for one, I stayed behind and studied for my History Exam. When Catherine got back, we ordered pizza and then went to Walmart to get stuff for her Halloween costume. Then I was supposed to go over to someone's house but those plans feel through.

But it's cool. I helped Catherine get ready for a party and got a little more studying done for History. We have an understanding that she goes partying sans moi and I hold down the fort and make sure the carpet is free of large obstacles before I go to bed. There was a nasty incident with a box a few weeks back....
It's a good arrangement. She doesn't pressure me to do anything I've put my foot down about and I don't leave anything on the floor that she can put her foot in.

Well, I should turn in. I leave, fully realizing I have painted myself as the biggest nerd on the planet. All I'm missing is a pocket protector. Lucky for the world, I will never have one because I do not own a shirt that has pockets. Hellooo, tacky! For the record I will also never, ever wear or own the following: Crocs, Uggs, or anything that contains velvet. Also, I will never wear any pants or shorts that have words written across the seat. They might as well say "I don't get enough attention at home". Yes, Mom, I have renounced the Ft. Walton Beach sweatpants. Even for sleeping. But my beef with popular fashion is a story for another time.

Good night.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


what a stupid name. "The Ellievator at College"?

Well, it's better than the first draft, which was "A Ride on the Ellievator". Which has a vaguely negative connotation....
well who knows what eyes will wander across this blog. Got to keep it safe for the masses!

Ha. Masses. I'm so conceited. Masses of internet tumbleweeds, maybe.

Anyway, back to the original thought. Ellievator, or elevators, rather. It's slightly ironic because there's hardly any working elevators on this campus. There's only one in my residence hall and only service staff are allowed to use it. "Whiny teenager..." Well you try walking up six flights of stairs after spending all day in class or 45 minutes in the gym. It becomes an epic journey. The last gasping breath you take before you reach the summit and pull open the heavy wooden door to the hallway; it causes you to reflect on your life and say a few prayers in case you don't reach your room. Sometimes I carry a small pillow so I have aught to lay my head on while I regain my strength in the vast wasteland that is the landing between floors 2 and 3.

I am so dramatic. And terribly out of shape.

So this has been a thrill but I must retire. It is an hour of the night not meant for human conciousness. Plus I have class in the morning.
Good day.

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