Olivia ’12 RSS feed

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: December 2010

Cars and cones

I am from Richmond, Virginia, out of state, and without transportation of the automobile variety. Actually, Butler University permits all students–including freshmen–to have a car on campus.  Steph made a great video about her favorite parking space a while back. For more information on Butler’s car and parking policies, visit these links links links!

This discussion of cars provides the perfect segue to tell you about my recent driving experience. I don’t have a car on campus, so I don’t get a chance to practice driving in all that lovely, lovely, terrible snow. Hence, the few inches of snow still in the driveway to my hairdresser’s proved to be my downfall.

When one drives over snow, it makes a horrid squelching sound. Well, it turns out that driving over a plastic traffic cone while backing a bit too sharply out of the driveway makes that same sound, which I naturally assumed to be more snow squelches. Thanks to multiple hills going every which way, an exceedingly narrow and slightly icy road with a drop on the other side, and bumpy snow in the driveway, I turned too sharply, went over the cone resting at the side of the driveway and didn’t notice when it became caught under my car.

Recessed Reflective Traffic Cone - 18"H

The two women who pulled up next to me at the next red light (after I drove out of the winding neighborhood and onto a main, 45 mph speed limit road) did notice, however, and after I rolled down my window, they said, “Do you know there’s a cone caught under your car?”

“No,” I said. Beat. Ardently: “Thank you.” I decided that instead of following my dad through the red light to the car repair place, I would take a quick right turn onto another neighborhood road. I stopped the car, got out, examined the evidence.

There is was, like a bright beacon of shame, a taunting face peering back at me from out of the dark, a lurid outline where none should have been, an orange-rimmed black square bottom of a traffic cone wedged behind the back right wheel, look at me, the friction and the embarrassment, a warning, a signal to the world, I cannot aim my vehicle and furthermore I do not notice when plastic drags under my car at relatively high velocities.

I couldn’t get it out. Also, I was parked in front of a house with excessive Christmas decorations that, in the light of a day several days past the holiday, seemed oppressive and, in my agitated state, almost menacing. I called my father and explained that no, I was not behind him on the way to the car repair place. He told me he pulled over and I should meet him.

When I merged onto the road on which my dad was stopped, the man who was on the ramp behind me merged one lane farther over. As he passed me, he made frantic gestures at me through the windows. “I know!” I tried to mouth at him through the glass while keeping an eye on the road. It is possible I gave him a thumbs up.

I saw my dad pulled over, hazard lights flashing at me like a lighthouse’s promise of safety. To make a story is middling length even shorter, he worked it out from under my car, it was not permanently damaged, and my pride recovered eventually.

Odd to be on holiday

After a semester of hard work, being on holiday is both odd and exhilarating. I feel like I should be writing papers, perhaps on the third floor of Jordan Hall, in one of my favorite study locations: the anthropology lounge. It’s a room with really cool windows, a microwave, and various tables and chairs. Some call it “the greenhouse.” Admire.

It is especially nice when the sun is out. I have, well not exactly fond memories, but memories nonetheless of writing papers on GraceLand, Romanticism, Translations and Irish identity, Irish dance and Irish identity, and various other topics. I’ve popped in many a time to use the microwave to heat up my lunch. I’ve done physics problems. I’ve worked on my dance department self-evaluation. I have composed music for last year’s Music Theory for Dance class. I’ve even eaten far too much ice cream in the anthro lounge. Good times.

Not to be working on something feels odd–and trust me, I DO have things to work on–but now I’ve started lazing around, I have a feeling it’s going to be veeery hard to stop. Oh well! Classes don’t start for the spring semester until January 18th, so I have a little while, I suppose.

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone is having a nice holiday. Here’s what my Christmas looked like when we gathered all the wrapping paper in a huge pile and set the baby rabbits loose to play. Distributing pictures of bunnies frolicking in holiday paper is a fairly good method of contributing more joy to the world, I would say. I only hope Butler’s mascot Blue II had as good time as my pet rabbits Beezus and Ramona this holiday.

The rabbits pose for their glamor shots.

The entire family gathered around and took pictures and pictures of the rabbits. Of course, I did not want to use my flash, and the bunnies kept jumping around, so out of the 244 pictures I took, I kept 33. Those thirty-three? Soooo cute.

Nadolig Llawen and Joyuex  Noël and Frohe Weihnachten and Maligayang Pasko and so on… Happy holidays!

Tips for college living, #2

Ah, the out of state student. How envious are you of your friends who can drive home with a basket full of dirty laundry, a bin of papers and textbooks, and as many sweatshirts/sweaters as will fit in the trunk of a car!

I feel for you, out of state students who take to the airport–not to the road–when holiday time rolls around. I therefore offer forth this list of travel tips.

Tips for college living, #2: The airport edition

1. If you wear your college gear, expect strangers to strike up conversations with you concerning your school, your major, and your hometown. If you are in the talkative mood, go for it! If your flight is exceptionally early in the morning or late at night, perhaps skip the Butler sweatshirt.

2. If you sit in an exit row, expect the flight attendant to ask your age. One must be over fifteen to sit in an exit row; I still get inquiries. Go figure. Aaaand… this is not really a tip. Next!

3. Bring an empty water bottle through the security checkpoint. This avoids going over the 3 ounce limit on liquids and still saves you the cost of buying overpriced drinks once in the gate area. You can fill the bottle at a water fountain. As a typically-money-strapped college student, I approve of all budget-friendly tricks.

4. Backpacks make excellent carry-on items. As a college student, I have several backpacks from which to chose. Also, you can pack dirty clothes to take home and wash and wear… you should simply be a bit more selective than your “I’m driving home this weekend” friends.

5. Obtain a luggage scale. Most airlines place a 50 pound limit on checked baggage. If you are checking a bag, weigh it ahead of time so you won’t have to shuffle items between bag and carry-on. If you see you have room, try to think of items you no longer need at school. For instance, I had extra space (by “space,” I mean “weight”) in my bag this trip home, so I brought back some books I no longer need at Butler.

Now if only I could find a spot for them on my overstuffed bookcase…

Right, I suppose those tips were not overly helpful. Some were more comments than tips, and other don’t apply just to college students. By all standards of goodness and light, I should delete this entire post and spare you the pain of reading it. Then again, if you are still reading this far, it is of your own volition.

Tip 6. Choose a seat near the front of the plane. It’s much faster when deplaning! The further up, the better, I say. Randall Munroe, creator of webcomic  XKCD, agrees with me. So it must be true.

On the merits of dawdling

I kind of like hanging out at Butler for a few days after I’m finished with my last exams. I am always anxious to see my family, but I like staying afterwards for several reasons. Which I shall list:

1. I have time to clean my room, my kitchen, my restroom, my living room… Towards the end of the semester, items tend to pile up. I know myself. I know I won’t suddenly become organized in the last days of cramming for finals. I know I won’t do laundry when my monster physics test makes menacing sounds from its corner. I know I won’t be packed and ready to go right after my last final. I definitely won’t have cleaned my refrigerator of items like milk and spinach.

2. I like spending time with my Butler friends. The people I have met at Butler are among my closest confidants (as dramatic as that surely sounds), and I often feel like I don’t have a chance to enjoy their company during the academic year. For example, I watched my roommate watch her croutons brown in the oven on Thursday. How often does that happen during the semester?

3. I have unintentionally developed a ritual at the end of each semester. For the third semester running, I ended up in the basement of Irwin library, reading Shaun Tan‘s magnificent Tales From Outer Suburbia. Obviously I budget time for this.

4. Living in the Apartment Village this semester, I first experienced the challenge of eating all perishables before leaving the campus. I like to think my roommate and I did a rather good job. All I had to throw out was some homemade whipped cream, half a stick of butter, and some carrots. We managed to eat a bag and a half of spinach in two days. I made a spinach-egg frittata on Thursday night, and this morning? Well, this was the epic morning of crepes.

A friend and I have had a long-standing date to make banana pancakes. However, I decided to admit that pancakes are not exactly my strong suit, so we made crepes instead.

The last time I had a pancake-breakfast party with a friend, this is what happened:

Looks good, right?


Very false!

Crepes, besides being in my grasp skill-wise, are excellent vehicles for using up ingredients like bananas and cheese and spinach. I would include “not all at once” in that statement, except my friend concocted–and ate–a banana, spinach, cheese, and Nutella crepe. I decided to give that one a pass.

All this said, I am excited to go home for the winter break! Richmond, here I come!

Finals week: another look

If I were an international studies and French double major also participating in the honors program… I would be my troublesome roommate. And my finals schedule would look like this:

The week before finals week:

1. Honors class about Doctor Zhivago: a poetry anthology which explicated several poems by Russian writers and included original works

Doctor Zhivago [Book]

2. International studies class on the United Nations (IS 390): a paper on–you guessed it!–the United Nations

3. Anthropology class titled “Gender and Sexuality through Globalization” (AN 320): a paper on Fight Club exploring the film’s connections between masculinity and violence

Fight Club Poster

Finals week:

1. 18th Century French literature (FR 435): a paper comparing literature from the beginning and the end of 18th century France

2. Doctor Zhivago honors class: a written final

3. Cultural Geography (GE 109): a written final on Asia and the Pacific Islands

After all that madness, one does not quite know what to do with oneself. So one attempts to use the last of the bread, garlic, and butter in the refrigerator before leaving campus and ends up watching croutons bake.

Clearly, Butler students don’t know what to do with themselves without schoolwork. But those croutons were reeeeally good.


“Final”-ly? Get it? Get it?

I’m done with finals!

After I finished dance finals on Friday, I went straight into academic final week, which is when most of the rest of campus freaks out.

The finals week schedule of a dance/English major

Saturday: I attended the Butler School of Music’s Rejoice! holiday concert with a friend and saw Blue II ride across the stage during a rendition of Blue Christmas. I had never been to Rejoice! before, and this was the 25th anniversary of the show, which is offered every year, free to the Indianapolis community. Students from the University’s various faculty- and student-led choral groups performed with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and two students from Butler’s Dance Department.

At the end of the show, there was a live auction for a special conductor’s baton and the chance to led the choir in the Hallelujah Chorus. The show was terribly exciting, and it should probably merit its own post, but I’m feeling lazy.

Sunday: I failed to get groceries due to the snow.

Monday: I sat my dance history final and wrote about Imperial Russian ballet and Romanticism until my fingers went numb.

Tuesday: I submitted my final copy (final for the class at least… I’m about to revise part of it yet again as soon as I finish this blog post) of my Irish literature paper. The final title? An Argument for Cosmopolitanism: Creating National Identity in Brian Friel’s Translations.

Also, I completed the science lab I had missed due to a Nutcracker dress rehearsal. And studied like mad for physics.

Wednesday: In the morning, we presented our dance for the Choreography I final. In the afternoon, I sat the physics exam. I don’t really want to talk about it. In the end physics might have come out on top in this semester-long smackdown. I was not doing too badly, but then I rather abruptly ran out of time. I thought the professor told us we had four hours, and I was doing a solid 25 problems an hour, just barely. Twenty-five times four is one hundred. Perfect.

However, at 3 hours, 15 minutes, he announced, “Fifteen minutes left.” Panic! Let’s just say physics won this round, hands-down. It was not the best way to go out after a semester of hard work, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. Oh well.

After I frolicked with a friend through the halls of Lilly (which means we played with the piano in one of the practice rooms and I showed off my awesome C minor scale, of which I quite proud), I checked more books out of the library to read for my proposal for a summer project through the Butler Summer Institute. If anything progresses past this planning stage, I shall inform you.

Thursday: I woke up with the realization that I was done, done, done with this fall semester of my junior year! I had a lunch date with the on-campus Catholic priest, Fr. Jeff. I’m going to be president of the Butler Catholic Community next semester… wish me luck! Our last president was extremely organized, so I have large shoes to fill.

Now I’m just finishing up little things before I fly home. For example:

1. Scrubbing the kitchen floor to rid it of the salt that gets tracked in from the snowy, slushy, disgusting sidewalks.

2. Organizing the massive heaps of school papers that congregated on my desk during the last third of the semester.

3. Pestering my one remaining roommate, who–I must add–is exceedingly tolerant. When she is not being troublesome.

4. Drinking massive amounts of tea. Necessary.

5. Finishing one book (remember McCall Smith?) and starting another (which I got way back in September for my birthday and which turned out to be the second of a trilogy… I have a winter project!).

6. Organizing and consigning to the “deshank later” pile about ten pairs of pointe shoes. Okay, perhaps there were only eight pairs. I despise going through pointe shoes. I never want to admit they are dead, because that means sewing more. However, when one cannot stand en pointe without the box collapsing forward, it is time to bid the offending shoe adieu.

7. Taking a Playdough break with a friend. I found Playdough while organizing a hideously untidy drawer and promptly decided to distract my friend, who probably really needed to finish the due-the-next-day computer science project. Hanging out with friends who still have finals when one is finished for the semester? Probably not the best idea. However, I created a Playdough rabbit in anticipation of seeing our two baby rabbits when I go home for break in a few days. Admire.

My friend made a person. Sadly, the arm did not want to stay. I managed to capture the Playdough limb mid-fall in one photo, a fact about which I am extremely proud.

Breaking news!

Excuse the pun… I couldn’t resist. The water main in Holcomb/Gallahue burst (or something equally dramatic) today, and all students had to evacuate the building. The excitement was such that I almost wished I had decided to hang around in the Gallahue physics lounge a bit longer, but I’ve been finished with my physics problem set since Wednesday night’s study tables and I had things to do in the adjoining academic building Jordan.

So I missed the “Everybody out! ” moments. I did, however, take pictures.

This might have been the scene of the crime: It seemed to be the source of all the water. Below, you see all the people standing around and a close up of the gushing torrents of liquid making a waterfall out of the steps between Holcomb and Gallahue.









The next sequence of pictures follows the water down the hill all the way to the old entrance to the pharmacy building. Water, water everywhere indeed.

Between this and the fire alarm, Butler seems to having a lot of maintenance problems. I guess the cold is to blame for issues with heating systems (the source of last night’s smoke in the apartment down the hall) and water pipes. What a debacle. I hope it’s as easy a fix as may be expected.

[UPDATE: This was sent as an email message to all students: “This afternoon, around 2:15 p.m., a water main adjacent to Gallahue Hall and the Holcomb Building broke causing flooding in the lower levels of both buildings and power outages in Gallahue, Holcomb, Robertson and the older portion of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences building. We anticipate that all buildings, except Gallahue, will be open tomorrow.”]

Concerning fire alarms

I returned to my apartment last night after finishing my self evaluation for my ballet final this afternoon. Each year, dance majors fill out a survey with their opinions concerning their own progress in areas like placement, musicality, flexibility, dynamics, and professionalism. (There are a lot more categories, but there’s a sampling for you.) We turn in this evaluation when we take our juried class that comprises our ballet technique final.

Finishing this evaluation was necessary, and I did it during the on-campus Starbucks‘ last Jazz Combos performance of the semester. I am sad to report I only got to see the last combo group and half of the last tune from the second set–since my class, which ends an hour after combos begin on Thursday nights, ran over by ten minutes–but what I saw I enjoyed. The last group did a mash-up of “A Child is Born” and “What Child is This?” that was really cool. As my jazz musician friends might both say (or not), they got chops.

Ahem, anyway. The class that ran over was Irish Lit, and I have more or less successfully presented my paper. Before I leave, I still have some citation issues. But dance finals are my first concern.

I was lying in bed, sleeping the peaceful sleep of one who has a ballet final the following afternoon when what do I hear? Sirens and a man’s voice telling me this is an emergency situation and I should exit the building. Panic! I flail around a bit until I find my glasses, phone, and room key. The next task is grabbing pajama pants and my jacket.

It was only when I was standing outside with the rest of the residents of my building that I realized wearing no socks made it like wearing no pants at all, since the arctic wind of Indianapolis goes right up one’s pajamas at the exposed ankle.

I froze my tooshie off, and when they finally let us back in thirty minutes later (past two in the morning), it took me another thirty minutes to thaw and fall back to sleep.

Point being? I’m writing this  at 8:40. My next class is at 9 am. I’m still wearing said PJs, so I should probably get moving, but I’m sooo tired. Darn fire alarms.

At we know we’ll be safe, right?

Speaking of safety, here's one of the emergency "help me" poles that dot the campus. You can call for police assistance from these.

[UPDATE: So due to computer issues and that fact that I did have class at nine, this post is actually going up at 10:40. But you should note that it was written the morning after a fire alarm, which makes any nonsense it might contain excusable. I think.]

Nutcracker, finals, and more finals

I apologize for my recent absence, and I’m here to tell you I’m about to disappear again. Nutcracker is over now, but we have plunged head-first into dance finals. I have taken half my pointe final (the other half is today), my pas final (the week before break, actually), and my modern final (yesterday). I have the rest of pointe and ballet technique still to go.

What else do I have to do? The quality of this post will be rather poor, I’m afraid, and the rest will consist of a list of the finals a dance major might be expected to finish. You have been warned.

After I finish dance finals, academic finals begin. I have written exams in dance history and analytic physics. I have to present my long Irish paper tonight, and the final draft is due next Tuesday. I also have to present a dance I choreographed with two other junior dance majors next week for my Choreography I class’ final.

And at some point, I really need to do my laundry. Cooking is generally a good idea as well. A very long time ago, I made this magnificent frittata. Today all I have is barley vegetable soup. Good, but it’s not going to last.

Frittata time!