Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's for Design Tonight?

     Avi Katz is an amazing animator. Although he's been working in Israel for much of the past few years, you may recognize one project he worked on: Blues Clues! Avi just wrapped up presenting a three-part workshop at Collins Living-Learning Center. And, I was lucky enough to be able to make the last two of the workshop events in this series.
     This workshop series—called "What's for Design Tonight?"—explored the psychology behind creating cartoon characters. Students who attended the workshops learned about how to represent qualities ranging from evil to cute in animations.
     In the last workshop of the series, student explored characteristics that inspired fear and how to depict them. The theme of the night was drawing dragons. At the end of the two-hour class, however, students were in for a surprise! Avi played a clip of an old movie called The Reluctant Dragon in which the image of the typical scary dragon stereotype was turned on its head. Check out the intro of the movie on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=71Lu9MsQ1yM.
     When students get busy with school, it’s often easy to forget about some of the really cool opportunities for fun activities and events that come our way, living on campus. In the end, though, I was so glad I made time to go to this event!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gilding the Lilly

View into the back room of the library from the main room.
     The Lilly Library is one of those places on campus that always makes it into IU brochures and that students never make it into. I have to admit that, as a sophomore on campus, this is the first year that I have visited the library. It's quickly become one of my favorite places on campus!

A brochure for the show.
     The library is currently showing an exhibit in honor of its 50th anniversary called "Gilding the Lilly: A Hundred Medieval and Illuminated Manuscripts at the Lilly Library." This show, which will run until December 18, features 100 of the library's "most important" medieval manuscripts. The library has no need to be gilded, though! It is always a beautiful, serene place. It definitely makes for some cool photography, if I do say so myself!

A beautifully illustrated item from the exhibit.
     You should definitely take a break from stressing about finals to visit the library before Christmas break. It will make you feel calm and oh-so cultured! And, be sure to check out the lectures the library features next semester. They're really interesting! You often get to actually touch and examine pieces from the library... and these lectures also often offer great food! Go to www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/index.php for a calendar of the library's events or more general information on Lilly Library.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Exploratory Students

     Why is it that when it really gets cold for the year, when you really need to be studying and gearing up for finals most, all you want to do is hibernate? I love this time of year, but when the cold sets in, all I want to do is read books, watch movies, and sleep. You know that point when studying isn't even about getting something done but about staying awake? Well, when I hit that point, a change in venue often helps make my study time more productive. Try getting out of your room to study! I've found that this favorably affects my ratio of time spent achieving my homework goals versus time spent sleeping on top of my keyboard.

A student gets to work.
     Go check out your center's library. I love the cozy atmosphere of the Collins library. I also recently explored Eigenmann Hall's library and found a similarly delightful atmosphere—with less steps to get there! If you're in the mood for some stark serenity, try the SoFA library. There's also a small library on the ground floor of the graduate student's side of the Business School that friends have recommended to me as one of the best-kept-secret study spots on campus.

Eigenmann's library offers lots of seating and study space.
     Wherever you end up, try exploring some new study spots on campus. You might be surprised at how helpful getting away from the distractions and sleep-inducing comfort of your room may be!

Studying at the library means that you can always pick up
something for fun to take home with you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Partying It Up

     Beware: This post may contain some intense material. It's no secret that IU is a party school. I, for one, love to party. At tea parties, that is!

Good stuff.
So graceful.
     I think that lots of people worry that IU is a party school and nothing else. I, however, am a firm believer that you make your own college experience what it is. If people want to party at IU, they obviously have lots of options for doing so. But, I think that it's important to note that the party scene is not all that Bloomington has to offer. There are lots of options for staying out or staying in in Bloomington. I think that it's most healthy to try to take in a balanced amount of both of these options.

"Is it cool enough yet?"
     Speaking of being healthy, many of my friends and I have recently become addicted to tea-drinking. It may be the cold weather, or it may be our desperate attempts to get and stay well in the wake of The Terrible Fall Cold. At any rate, we have been imbibing copious amounts of the liquid. Lately we've taken to midnight tea parties. Talk about an alternate form of partying! If nothing else, you should try getting down with some Earl Grey this weekend. Earl Grey and maybe some silly bands.

Silly bands add fun to every occasion!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lunch with an Old Friend

     I am generally a fan of the food at Collins's Edmondson Dining Hall, my source for most meals. However, variety is always nice, and part of the fun of living in Bloomington while at school is exploring the town. That is I what I did with an old friend last Friday; we went to lunch at Wee Willy's Incorporated, a bit of a dive restaurant on the south side of town.

     Willy's, located in a a small, squat brown building off Walnut Street, offers tasty and affordable breakfast food all day. I believe they also have a scrumptious selection of classic comfort food. (Think meatloaf and apple pie.)

     I had fun trying this place that seemed a bit off the beaten path for the typical IU student. (While we were there, I believe that we were the only people at Wee Willy's under the age of 65.)

Look at that enthusiasm.
     The plan is to try a new breakfast place every week! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seasonal Fun!

     Did you know that people in England sometimes make Jack-o'-lanterns out of things other than pumpkins? Well, it's true! I'm no pumpkin carving expert, but I recently carved my first Jack-o'-lantern, just in time for Halloween!

Scooping out pumpkin guts.
     My friend who hosted this carving fun time laid down some plastic bags on her floor before we got started. (These should be available on your floor. Look in the trash room!) Carving Jack-o'-lanterns is a messy process!

I love this stuff.
     After we scooped out all the pumpkins guts, we freehanded some faces directly onto our pumpkins. Then the real fun began: Carving!

Goofy expression.
Carving pumpkins takes a lot of focus.
     To finish all we had to do was wipe off our pumpkins and throw away the trash bags, now covered in orange goop.

Finished! Mine's the one in the middle.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Apple a Day

     When you live in a res hall, surrounded by dozens of other people, it often takes more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away. As some of you may have experienced intimately, cold and flu season is here. And, as they coincide with mid-terms, now is one of the worst times to get sick. Last week I wrote about having the mid-semester blues. Well, this week, those blues got to me. I've been sick for a few days.
Getting-better supplies.
     Walk-in visits to the health center are only $20, but there is little that a doctor can do about a virus, even if its symptoms are severe. So, I've been cozying up with some old movies, texting my Mom, eating junk food—soft junk food—and drinking lots of tea over the past few days. I also went to Target and bought a humidifier because the dry fall air has been exacerbating my sore throat terribly while I try to sleep. (They sell humidifiers ranging from about $20-$100.) These are not revolutionary cures, but they do make you feel somewhat better.
New humidifier. So cool.
     So, if you get sick or already are sick this season, try to take comfort in what you can. Remember that the same people on your floor who may have spread what you have to you are also there to make tea for you. Those of you who were so great to me this week, you know who you are. I appreciate all you guys so much! Trite though it sounds, remember the importance of getting well. It's not worth it to stay up and watch that last episode of Dexter!
I'll be honest. I really appreciated the company of my
stuffed koala, Albert, while sick.
     Good luck to everyone on beating the cold and flu season this year!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fighting Mid-Semester Blues

Working in the dye.
     It's that time of year. Unfortunately, I don't mean Thanksgiving or Christmas; it's the middle of the semester. While gearing up for mid-terms, many students have developed an unfortunate case of the mid-semester blues. I know I have them. 
     So, what do students do to combat scholarly slumps? Students are staying in more to study. But, staying in doesn't mean you have to study all weekend. I recently dyed my hair with streaks blue along with a few friends over a weekend!
The results of our labors. Look closely
and you can see our streaks!
     Soon what began as a simple dye job became a blue-themed girls night in. Nails were painted blue. We were joined by a blue Beta fish named Archie. Moral of the story? Instigate study break parties. Body modification such as hair dyeing is not necessary but dancing may be. Set aside games that only take a few minutes to play. Break out coloring books. Creativity is a great way to fight the blues.
     Pay people visits! Floor friends are often in need of a study break as badly as you are. And, if you're going to be taking such a break anyway, it will be far more enjoyable with a friend. Test stress can bring people together!

Drying nails painted blue with
light blue polka dots.

Archie was excited to be our mascot
for the evening.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Climbing Wall Debuts at Eigenmann Hall

Looking for a new hold.
     In a typical residence hall you'll find a dining hall, a library, and student lounges. Well, Eigenmann has just begun offering a bit more. This res hall, which houses IU Outdoor Adventures (IUOA), recently opened its own climbing wall! 
     IUOA is a program on campus that supports outdoor recreation by providing students access to HPER-credited skills courses, nature trips, and equipment to rent or buy. The program is currently offering day trips to a "local crag," weekend trips to Kentucky's Red River Gorge, or a two-hour, Thursday evening Introduction to Outdoor Photography. (Check here for general info on IUOA or info on these trips: www.imu.indiana.edu/iuoa/)
     IUOA's new bouldering wall in Eigenmann has been open to the public since September 20, but its grand opening was just last Wednesday. Bouldering is a dramatic form of climbing in which participants engage in difficult, dynamic moves for short periods of time, supporting themselves with no  rope or belaying clips. In other words, the climber moves from hold to hold—small holds are "chips" and large holds are "jugs," yes, really—supported by only his or her own bare hands!
Watching the winner in the men's
advanced category of the
dyno competition scale the wall.
     During the grand opening, IUOA held a dyno competition between the climbers who attended the event. (A dyno is a big movement from a climber, leaping and grabbing a high-placed jug from the ground, for example.) First- and second-place winners in the mens' and womens' amateur and advanced categories got their choice of tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks from IUOA's store for prizes. The grand opening also featured free food and activities and demonstrations such as "How to Pack a Sea Kayak." If attendants visited three of the six stations that were set up, they received either a free pack of socks or hat. Exciting stuff!
     I came away from this event looking forward to coming back to visit the bouldering wall for myself. Not to mention a brand-new vocabulary of climbing terms! The only problem: I think I may be allergic to climbing chalk!

Learning to pack a sea kayak.
Picking a free pair of socks.
Watching the dyno competition.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Morning at the Market

Checking out a table that featured
honey and beeswax candles.
     The source of many a vase of flowers, loaf of fresh bread, and plastic bear-shaped bottle of honey in students' rooms, the Farmers' Market is held in front of City Hall every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. and Tuesday evening from 4 − 7 p.m.  (Are you wondering where the heck City Hall is? Here's the Google map: http://tiny.cc/0lw7y And, while I'm at it, here's an informational link about the Farmers' Market: http://tiny.cc/247ez5uple )
     A recent trip to the Farmers' Market reminded me of just how great it is. Visiting it makes me excited about living a clean and healthy, crunchy-granola-sort of lifestyle. And, a trip to the Farmers' Market is
Perusing a stand with
cozy knitted goods.
not just a grocery expedition, it's a fun social experience. The Farmers' Market is a great place to take friends or even family if they are visiting. Surrounded by the vibrant flowers, produce, and people, you can meander around, chatting, tasting samples, and often checking out local artisans' work. With the appearance of this beautiful fall weather, a trip to the Farmers' Market would make for a lovely Saturday morning. But, if you're interested in going, make sure to go soon! Tonight is the last Tuesday evening market, and the Saturday market only runs through October.

Some beautiful Helenium for sale.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lotus World Music Festival

An artist paints and displays his work for sale.
North Star members do their thing.

     Every year, the Lotus Festival comes to town. And, Bloomington with its thriving downtown, full of street art and small shops and restaurants, serves as the perfect background for this world music festival. As the sun went down on the first day of the festival, Bloomington artists and vendors took to the streets. North Star Capoeira Angola performed a great free show in front of the Sample Gates. (In capoeira artist perform a combination of dance and martial arts to music.)
     As darkness fully set, the frenetic energy that is characteristic of Lotus took over downtown. Belly-dancers and fire-dancers drew crowds. Some restaurants and shops stayed open late, and people buzzed around, strolling, eating, seeing the sights, and having a good time.
North Star mestre (master)
Iuri Santos greets the crowd.
     Tents were set up; churches and the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre opened their doors to performers. Of all the paid performers that played in these venues, my favorites were CimarrĂ³n, a Colombian group, and Emeline Michel, a Haitian singer. For more info on the festival and a full list of Lotus acts—who played music traditional to contemporary, Armenian to Ugandan, and everything that is inventive and collaborative between these genres—visit http://lotusfest.org/.

Belly-dancers swirl.

The Lotus logo is projected
on a downtown building.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Making a Hall a Home

Sampling the fruit of Abby's labor.

     As a college student, homemade food is usually a luxury reserved for when you're, well, home from school. But, more and more, inventive students are discovering ways to find and prepare tasty food for themselves in their rooms. A friend of mine, Abby, who is actually in a class about edible plants, recently experimented with something she'd heard about in class. She collected some acorns from around campus, brought them home, shelled them, boiled them and ate them! (Apparently they are toxic when raw. Who knew?) So, while I can't really say that I recommend the recipe, boiling acorns makes for some fun times.
Making a tasty treat!
     Going with something a bit more traditional, smoothies are a fun option for a homemade snack. All you need is a blending device and a quick trip to the Hoosier Cafe and Store (also known as the c-store) for some yogurt and bananas to get started making them in your room! You can either try freezing the yogurt, the bananas, or both, or there should be an ice machine in your building somewhere for adding the frozen component to your smoothies. If you're really dying for a smoothie, make friends with your janitor (Which, I must interject, you really should have done by now anyway. It's common courtesy!) and ask him or her where your ice machine is located. Making a meal in your room is not only a snack, it's an adventure!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Movers and Shakers

The Collins veranda gets a face-lift.
Like so many places on campus, Collins is experiencing some growing pains. Students will be waking up to the alarm clock of a stone grinder or a cement truck every day at 8 a.m. until construction on our courtyard is complete. Luckily, though, students managed to work around the construction with relative ease, as Welcome Week activities commenced.

The city of Bloomington turns the blocks of Woodlawn Avenue and Park Avenue that border
the Collins main quad into one-way streets for the duration of move-in day to help with the flow of traffic.
All told, move-in day went as scheduled! With some blood, sweat, and tears (on the sides of both parents and children), students moved into their homes for the year. Welcome Week assistants floated around the courtyard all day, providing students help with trucking their belongings up Collins' many, many stairs.

Welcome Week assistants lend students help with moving.

A father hefts a trunk down Woodlawn Avenue.

Students continued to use the courtyard for events throughout Welcome Week. The morning after move-in day, students from Collins' many student government councils set up an Activities Fair at which they made themselves available to describe opportunities for involvement within these groups. Among other events that took place in the courtyard this week were also the traditional Saturday afternoon "recess time" during which students enjoyed chalking, Hillbilly Golf, croquet, and frisbee. Several RAs also decided to hold their beginning-of-the-year floor meetings in the courtyard, giving students some basic guidelines of res hall life for this year. 

Students leaders give other residents info about
getting involved in student government.
A student gets artsy with chalk during "recess."

Students gather for an outdoor floor meeting.