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About Me:

My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Butler University. I spend most of my time in Lilly Hall as a BFA Dance Performance major. When not in rehearsal or ballet class, I write papers for my English Literature second major. In my super-abundant, never-lacking, this-is-highly-sarcastic spare time, I attempt to cook in my apartment kitchen, watch Youtube videos of ballet, knit sweaters that never seem to come to an end, and read books both silly and serious. If I could take any class at Butler just for kicks, I'd go for DiffyQ.

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Archive: October 2010

Student Choreography. Like mad.

Student Choreography is over! I breathe a humongous sigh of relief. Free time is mine! (Sortofnotreally.)

More time to explore Butler's campus! (Except this picture was taken a few weeks ago, and now it's freezing and I wore two coats today.)

What is Student Choreography? The annual Student Choreography Showcase is a forum for student-choreographed, student-danced, and student-run works. There is always a Senior Showcase for those senior dance majors in the Choreography 3 class, but that is only for people in a certain class, and they have a lot of faculty guidance. Student Choreography is a bit like the baby birds being pushed out of the nest, except no one’s doing any pushing. We all jump.

Basically, dance majors choreograph pieces on their fellow students and show their work to any who care to come. The largest dance studio is converted into a theater, complete with a light plot, wings, mini-bleachers for the audience… the whole deal. The audience always overflows onto the floor, there are so many people, and this year was even more crowded than usual, since the two nights of shows actually featured different programs.

This is unusual, since normally there is one show that runs for two nights instead of the other way around. However, this year brought an unprecedented number of choreographers–I think the final tally was fifteen. Thus the splitting into two programs.

How was I involved? Freshman year: Light board operator. Sophomore: Danced in one piece. Junior: Danced in two pieces and choreographed my own.

The shows all went really well, and I’m very glad I participated. But. I am also very glad I have a few more hours to do homework each week, since the choreography and rehearsal process was as time-consuming as I thought it’d be… which is to say, very.

More on Student Choreography over the next few days. I’ve been a somewhat sporadic blogger, I know. Having class two nights a week plus study tables for physics another night kind of eliminates Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from blogging-available time. Many apologies, but that’s the way it is.

New Additions to the Family

This summer, our beloved rabbit passed away. I still don’t like to talk about it much, but there is some new, exciting news on the lagomorph front:

BABY BUNNIES!!! OMGoodness to the ^n!!1!!!1!1!

Ramona and Beezus

After the Homecoming game on Saturday, I saw I had fifteen missed messages and two voicemails–all but one rabbit-related. We had been talking about getting another rabbit, and I asked my family to wait until November so I didn’t miss the cute baby, short-nosed stage (since I’ll go home for Thanksgiving). But they just could not hold out, and one can hardly blame them. Look at those faces.

Ramona is a blue-grey Netherlands Dwarf, and Beezus is the fluffy lionhead. They are named after the characters from the Beverly Cleary novels. Wonderful books. Wonderful bunnies.

Beezus

Incoming college students, I’ll telling you now: You will miss your pets. Horribly. It definitely helps to have a family willing to send you picture after picture (after picture…). I even have some video. It’s a bit crazy actually. And now I have even more reason to look forward to Thanksgiving break: There will be two new family members to love.

Homecoming 2010

This past week was Butler University’s Homecoming. As an busy, non-Greek, fairly-apathetic-in-the-spirit-department, college student, I did not alter my normal routine too drastically, but I still enjoyed the atmosphere on campus. Living so close to the Butler Bowl, I got to watch as the parking lot was cleared, the blue tents for tailgates went up, the trees sported blue ribbons… then BAM! It was Saturday morning, and I was trying to bike to rehearsal for Butler Ballet’s The Nutcracker (come see! come see!)–through the Bulldog beauty contest. I walked my bike through that crowd: I was too afraid I was going to get tangled in a leash and injure a canine contestant.

Other events during the week: Yell Like Hell, tailgating, Greek lawn decorations, Homecoming parade, various alumni receptions… The list goes on. I myself just went to the game.

Pre-game:

This afternoon after rehearsal, I changed out of my dance things, had a couple hot dogs with a friend, and went out to the Butler Bowl. Neither of us really knew much about football, but sitting in the crowd with all the other students, wincing as one or another player went down under a crush of bodies, was fun. Ain’t modern society the strangest? I suppose this is more ethical than, say, medieval bear-baiting, so perhaps that last sentence was not entirely accurate. Regardless.

Game:

Army of loyal fans

The halftime show

Just before we lost the football game...

It was a great afternoon, made even better by the fact that it’s near the end of October and still warm enough for short sleeves.

Tips for college living, #1

We call the campus and its immediate environs the Butler Bubble. (Not to be confused with the tennis facility of the same name.) Inside the Butler Bubble, life sometimes picks me up and carries me along into a whirlpool of academic and social events. When I leave the Butler Bubble after a long period of immersion, it’s like a splash of cold water in the face.

Do you like my aqua references?

Today’s tip for college living: Set your homepage to a news website. No, Access Hollywood doesn’t count. Neither does BUMail, the Butler email system, though I can tell you I check my email with embarrassing frequency.

I personally prefer the BBC front page because its scope tends to be more international, but CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post are also good choices. If you like podcasts and audio, NPR NPR NPR. But obviously, it’s up to you. It’s your homepage.

I think it’s important to remember that we–attending a liberal arts college–are preparing to add value to the world community. We cannot forget about life off the campus. It’s hard. There’s always, always something to do, and I often hear people wishing for a twenty-six hour day or an eight-day week so they have more time.

Setting your homepage to a news site is an easy way to keep somewhat abreast of the world beyond the quad and the dining hall, beyond the dorms and the classrooms. Even if you only have time to glance over the headlines, it’s a little reminder of the object of all your work… the real world.

(By the way. The BBC has a sense of humor, albeit a semi-creepy one.)

Notice the clown with death in his eyes? Notice the flames? Notice the TERROR?

Fall Break fun

Despite immersing myself in criticism of contemporary Irish theater and reader-theory, I managed to enjoy myself this Fall Break.

Adventures I had:

  1. Thursday–I tried to make sweet potato and acorn squash soup, but something went slightly wrong. It wasn’t bad. It was just exceedingly watery. I conclude that I much prefer hearty, lump soups to smooth ones.
  2. Friday–I bike to a nearby coffee shop. I actually went on Wednesday as well to meet my Irish Lit professor, although it was raining all day. My brakes tend not to work when wet, so my roommates were kind enough to drop me off/pick me up. But Friday I biked and blogged and read this and drank Earl Grey, which I just recently started to enjoy.
  3. Saturday–I baked bread in the morning and had dinner with my friend A–, who never, never fails to make me laugh. Even if the rice in my risotto was more al dente than creamy plump.

Another dinner, another night. Pretty darn good, too.

Thus we find it wasn’t all Irish literature and libraries. There were friends and various other essays and I still need to do my physics homework as well. And food. And other excitement I’m not blogging about because I like to maintain an aura of mystery about my private life. Cue dramatic music. Michael Nyman, anyone?

[Pretend this is actually an embedded video. I’m having trouble with video embedding, so go here instead.]

Viva la Sunday afternoon before classes restart and The Nutcracker engulfs us!

In which I convince myself a 20-page paper is a good idea

To continue the theme from my tales of Fall Breaks past, I shall outline Fall Break: Junior Year Edition.

I think I’ve mentioned my Irish Lit class. Here is the full situation in bullet-pointed, semi-logical, stream-of-consciousness style:

  • Senior English Lit majors at Butler must present a senior essay.
  • I am currently registered as having a secondary major in English literature.
  • I will almost certainly complete an English minor.

Following so far? Good.

  • I signed up for EN 493-51, Contemporary Irish Literature,
  • Which turned out to be a Senior Seminar,
  • Which is not to say there are only senior English majors (we have a healthy sprinkling of graduate students, senior education majors with a concentration in English, and junior English majors),
  • But which includes a long research essay that is mandatory for the senior English majors, since they need that long paper to graduate.

Still following? Okay, deep breath… in we plunge:

  • Those who aren’t senior English majors (i.e. the vast majority of the class) have the option not to write the long paper.
  • We can turn in two shorter essays, each about ten pages, instead.
  • The first essay is due when the long paper’s annotated bibliography and abstract are due.
  • (Which is this coming Monday).
  • The second essay is due when the long paper is due.
  • This means that one cannot decide at the last minute to write two shorter essays.
  • Past this Monday, we are Committed. Capitalization is fully intentional.

Thus we have the situation. What do I decide to do? Write the long paper. Why?

  • If I do miraculously finish the requirements for the English major, I will need that paper.
  • I am extremely verbose. Length is not so much an issue for me.
  • It might actually be more difficult to develop and research two separate ideas. (Except that happened unintentionally, but this is a different story.)
  • It would be good practice.
  • I want to see if I can do it.Does this line of reasoning make sense? I guess we will find out come Monday. I am staying on campus this Fall Break to research and start to write this behemoth of a project. Reader-theory, here I come! I’m currently reading this. Next to the dictionary my high school English department gave me.

    My Irish Lit professor was kind enough to lend this to me.

Procrastination tactics

I have so much to do. So instead of doing it, I shall proceed to complain about it. Even though I secretly love it all. (And I’d better, since I’m paying for it.)

But seriously, yo. It’s Fall Break. What have I read in the past three days?

  • Jonathan Culler, On Deconstruction, preface, introduction, and section 1, omitting only pages 43-64. Next to a dictionary.
  • Ronald Gene Roland, Divided Ireland: Bifocal Vision in Modern Irish Drama, preface, and chapter six prelude “The Beginning of the End of Gaelic Language and Culture” and the article “Friel’s Translations: the Ritual of Naming.”
  • Josephine Lee, “Linguistic Imperialism, the Early Abbey Theatre, and the Translations of Brian Friel” in Imperialism and Theatre (antho. ed. J. Ellen Gainor)
  • Melissa Sihra and Paul Murphy, “The Dreaming Body,” intro in The Dreaming Body: Contemporary Irish Theatre (anth. ed. Sihra and Murphy)
  • also from that anthology, Eamonn Jordan, “Urban Drama: Will Any Myth Do?”
  • also from that anthology, Paul Murphy, “Brian Friel’s Wonderful Tennessee, or What was Lost in Translations
  • Intro, chapter I “Theories of Reading: An End to Interpretation?” and chapter II “Response, Intention, and Motives for Interpretation” in Stories of Reading: Subjectivity and Literary Understanding by Michael Steig

Still with me? And because I had to have some down time, I read,

  • John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines

Booook....

Well, that was boring. My reasons for (inflicting) typing my book list for you:

  1. It makes me feel accomplished.
  2. I wanted to brag about said accomplishments.
  3. I need an annotated bibliography, so that was the first step of me getting some of the text out of my notebook and into my MacBook.
  4. If you ever want to write a paper about Brian Friel’s 1980 play Translations, about the subjectivity of text and/or standards of nationalism, or about Irish theater, I’ve just given you a nice little list of sources.
  5. SO OVERWHELMED, CAN THINK OF AUGHT ELSE… gurgle

But it’s all okay. I have my power song to keep me going.

The power of K'naan, that is...

Hmmm. Perhaps another list (you can’t escape!) is in order… a studying/pape-writing/watery-lentil-soup-making/being-on-Fall-Break playlist?

I broke Fall Break

When I was a freshman, I referred to Fall Break as “Reading Break.” That’s what it’s listed as in Butler’s academic calendar, after all. (Actually, it’s Fall Reading Break, but whatevs.) Naturally, I assumed students stayed on campus and used the Thursday and Friday without classes to catch up on their schoolwork.

Yeah, right.

I spent the long weekend in the extremely quiet girls’ dorm, Schwitzer, most of my classmates having driven–or even flown–home to see their families. My weekend was not completely unproductive, however. I reorganized my side of the dorm room. I painted my fingernails and started to read the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (part of a collection of Middle-Welsh myths… in translation, obviously.). When everyone returned to campus Sunday afternoon, I was one of the few who wasn’t scrabbling to finish homework.

Still, the dining service hours were greatly reduced, and I’d never lived away from home for so long before, and I was very glad my parents were coming to see me during Parents’ Weekend. Except Parents’ Weekend was filled with rehearsals for The Nutcracker. You can see that my freshman year breaks were not very well coordinated.

When I was a sophomore, I went home for Fall Break, and my parents gave Parents’ Weekend a pass. This was a much better arrangement for an out-of-state dance major.

This year presented a unique situation, however. I use “unique” as euphemistically as I can, by the way. Stay tuned for updates. Sneak peak:

Studying on a bench!

Assimilation

The freshman class this year is enormous. Huge–958, in fact. This also extends to the incoming dance majors–there are approximately one gazillion of them this year, and I am having a devil of a time trying to keep all the names and faces straight.

This is why Sigma Rho Delta’s Freshman Progressive Dinner was so helpful. Three of the apartment blocks in the Apartment Village house Sigma Rho officers, so they hosted the dinner. One apartment had appetizers, one had pizza, and my apartment had dessert.

The head chef. She makes a mean pot of vegetarian chili

My roommate (who is president of Sigma Rho*) baked for about twelve hours straight. I’m only slightly joking. She was baking when I went to sleep on Friday night, and she was in front of the stove again when I returned from snow rehearsal the next morning. The spread was impressive:

Adjusting to a new school can be difficult at times. Being in so many of the same classes day after day means the dancers generally band together pretty quickly, but it can still be awkward. I know I didn’t really get to know many of the dance majors in my own class until second semester of my freshman year. But I made other friends, and we’re all one big, happy family, etcetera and so on.

Still, this gave the freshman an opportunity to get to together in a non-dance setting and to meet some more of the upperclassmen. I say the evening was a grand success. Look at those smiling faces.

*Sigma Rho Delta is the dance service fraternity. We provide service to the department (help in the costume shop, publicity, newsletters, working the boutique during shows…) and go see performances and things like that together. Last year, I was the pledge trainer.

Pictures of birthdays past

Or “birthday” past, to be precise. I gave my camera to a friend last night so he could continue to terrorize everyone with threats of pictures. (His camera had run out of battery.) When I was flipping through the photos he took this morning–most of them extremely awkward–I found these:

Eat me...

Aren't they beautiful?

Yes. This is indeed as it appears to be. Evidence that my troublesome roommate is still up to her old tricks.

For my birthday (way back in September–see how old these photos are?), she made me almond cupcakes with salted buttercream icing garnished with heart-shaped strawberry slices. That’s right. She cut strawberries into hearts. I was powerless to resist.

Choose your roommates wisely.

  1. Choose your roommates wisely. Hooray skilled bakers!
  2. Having a kitchen rocks. Hooray Apartment Village!