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.

Check us out on Facebook Follow us on Twitter! Butler's YouTube Channel Chat with a Student

Archive: July 2011

Up By the Chandelier

In an unprecedented move, the BBC World Service features an article with both Democrats and Republicans showing optimism over the debt deal.

Lately it’s been all doom and gloom. DOOM. As I heard Obama point out on the radio, it’s more our system of government which seems to lack a AAA rating.

YouTube Preview Image

Obama said, “The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government” (NPR). So true. I remember filibusters were the most frustrating part of my high school government class’s mock Senate. The process was arduous, and surely the real thing is far more complicated than the scene we enacted around my high school’s conference table.

Though the new word most used in conjunction with recent developments has been “cautious,” a more positive outlook is most welcome. This counts double for students like us: students entering college, students with government loans for education, and students graduating soon — especially those seeking jobs in the arts, which exist in large part thanks to the support of groups like the National Endowment for the Arts.

The plan doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to pass quickly.

Shopping for College Freshmen

This is NOT a sponsered post or any of that malarky, but I must tell you that TJ Maxx is the bee’s knees for college shopping. My sister will enter college this year as a freshman, and my mom did with her what she did with me: took her to TJ Maxx.

Actually, this trip became a family affair when my littlest sister and I tagged along. We needed hairbrushes (Fashionable Sister) and birthday gifts (me). My Vegetarian Sister, however, found the following college essentials:

  • A backpack. Not Northface. (In fact, she picked the same one I have, but in a different color!)
  • Extra long twin bedsheets. Ombré blue cotton. Quite tasteful.
  • Stationary, for writing her fond older sister.
  • An over-door hook for hanging towels. Actually, I might recommend you wait until you see your rooms for this one. My freshmen dorm room in Schwitzer had two bars for towels already, and some hooks may not fit over all doors.

The towel bars in my freshmen room in Schwitzer Hall.

  • Rainboots. Butler’s sidewalks turn into rivers when it rains, and in college, you walk everywhere. You will want rainboots.

I can’t think of anything else she got, though we did look unsuccessfully for a hamper (not huge, collapsible). What are other items you really shouldn’t forget to pack for college? And check out these student reviews of Schwitzer Hall!

Also… do you say “backpack” or “bookbag” or some other permutation of that sack that holds stuff?

BSI Wrap-Up

After BSI ended, my roommate and I moved out in the insufferable heat. Because we are living in the same apartment as last year, we paid a fee to store our belongings in the apartment during the summer; thus the journey from UT to AV was not that far. The heat stretched the distances, though, and I ended up leaving Butler an hour later than planned.

Also, I have now lived in every non-Greek Butler residence hall except for Ross.

After leaving Butler, I visited my boyfriend and his family in Chicago, and it was epic as usual: spending time with wonderful people, eating wonderful food, playing wonderful games of badminton, and learning the wonderfully addictive game of mahjong. I need to get a set so I can learn to tell the contents of a tile simply by feeling it with my fingers. I’ve seen it in action, and it is incredibly intimidating. We stayed up well past midnight and shouted Chinese and Spanish words and generally had a grand time.

Now I am home playing with my sisters and my parents and my rabbit, as well as studying for the GRE (taking it soon in August) and working on an independent study (for a Butler English class to attain my second major). It’s been busy, but it is wonderful to be home!

The bunnies say “hi.”

BSI Winds Down

A few highlights from the end of BSI:

I went to my first midnight premier of the Harry Potter movie with a group of students through the Butler summer residence halls. Here a BSI student wins my personal award for best costume of the night as a CleanSweep7 broomstick. I myself dressed in a red tank top and red skirt, tied a red scarf around my waist, and attached my red ballet skirt to my wrists and back — I was Fawkes, and I did not have feathers, and the costume was rather a flop. I enjoyed the movie, but the previews were too scary for me!!

Here we are at the BSI final dinner. I’m in the corner with other students and mentors, trying not to laugh out loud.

However, our basement apartment in UT (which was really much dirtier than I originally thought), soon suffered from an invasion of ants. I woke up in the morning with one crawling on my stomach. Though I emailed maintenance and they responded, they must have decided to wait until we moved out to deal with them, which was a bit icky. I know it’s summer and ants aren’t that threatening and pest control makes a room unlivable for a while… but come on, Butler. At least tell us you were going to wait until after the session. Mental preparation and all.

Funnily enough, most of the other students whose presentation photos were taken from this angle had more than just a head showing — I’m rather short. We finally presented the fruits of our BSI labors to all the BSI participants and whichever other students/faculty/mentors/staff/etc wanted to come.

I was nervous about my presentation at first; while I practiced I kept stumbling over my words so I finally had to type out a truncated script. Then I worried I would read from a piece of paper rather than make eye contact and all that. But something magical happened on Monday morning when I stood up in front of that room. Some combination of nerves and enthusiasm made all the words come out in the right order, in a short-enough timeframe, in an apparently coherent-enough way to merit detailed questions and positive responses. Hooray!

Congratulations to all BSI participants! You can view titles of projects and pictures from the program here. You can see the slideshow I made to accompany my presentation here.

Final BSI Dinner

Wow. BSI is over. Students have been presenting Friday through Wednesday (today) for two or three hours each morning. We had our final BSI lunch Tuesday night, and I spent a lovely evening with four other students, a history professor, a creative writing professor, and two chemistry professors. Since the students consisted of two international studies majors, two creative writing majors, and me (Dance performance and English Lit), I was glad we didn’t talk about super artsy things the entire night. Got to let the science people have their say. : )

I learned that “aromatic” means something different in chemistry than in the rest of the world. This means, “So someone told me ethers were like aromatic rabbits” does not make for quite the conversation starter I thought it might. Turns out “aromatic” isn’t quite the word, and I would have done better quoting my friend’s actual “smelly bunnies.” Instead, I discovered “aromatic” refers to the configuration of bonds. (Is that it? Is that even close?)

It also turns out, with some quick internet searching, that I might have confused “ether” and “ester,” since esters are definitely smelly, but ethers look more like rabbits. Well, I found a snazzy dimethyl ether on wikipedia…

It also, also turns out that chemists are people too and thus perfectly well qualified to speak on matters other than chemistry. Still, I do love some chemistry talk. This summer has been wonderful, getting to hear about all the science projects. After listening to an explanation of the G-protein receptors project about four times, I think I might sort of get it!

Watching the chemistry presentations was definitely harder than the others, since so much of the basic language tends to baffle the average liberal arts major. (I still don’t know the difference between a substrate and a reagent. I vaguely understand the function of primers.) I finally, finally got a grasp on “stereochemistry,” and line structures aren’t quite so mystifying. I think the chemistry presentations did a good job of catering to a mixed, partially non-science audience.

But dinner! Dinner was at Shanghi Lil’s in Indianapolis with all the BSI students and the large percentage of mentors who could make it. Dinner was served family-style, as all Chinese meals should be served, and it was absolutely delicious. Pineapple shrimp. Pineapple. Shrimp. Pineapple shrimp. Genius.

(I also just typed “pinaepple” every single time I attempted to write “pineapple.”)

I will have to update you on the ant infestation in our apartment and on final presentations… but now I simply must go make some toast and Skype with a friend.

Summer at Butler: What I Learned

  • The “so hard to say goodbye” in “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 can use a I V IV V I chord progression.
  • Fish tacos in Chicago make an excellent snack.
  • Welsh eisteddfodau: Grown men dress in bardic robes for the ceremony which declares the winner of the traditional-form, Welsh-language poetry competition. There is a sword involved, and the whole crowd shouts “Peace!” in Welsh.
  • Pianos are expensive.
  • BSI projects can be wicked cool: YouTube Preview Image
  • Both Howards End and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog are more entertaining than A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
  • If you leave your bike overnight at the IMA, the snack fairy leaves you a fruit bar.
  • Don’t use the recipe on the side of the cornmeal container to make cornbread, because it doesn’t taste very good. On the other hand, add a bit of coco powder to pancake batter, then some bananas to make chocolate banana pancakes. Heavenly.
  • Guerilla knitting happens.

    I saw this tree when I visited Downer's Grove during my epic trip to Chicago.

  • English publications generally don’t like papers over twenty-five pages.
  • Some species of sour cherries are self-compatible.
  • The GRE is a) necessary for grad school; b) expensive; c) changing and half price if taken this August or September; or d) all of the above.
  • Biking up hills is much easier when one’s bike is not stuck on the lowest gear.
  • Jude the Obscure is the most depressing book in the English language, and, as Jasper Fforde recommends, one should read it backwards if there is to be any chance of a happy ending.
  • G-protein receptors. They exist. You have them almost everywhere in your body.
  • ISIS stands for “Image subtraction, image subtraction.”
  • Straws aren’t so bad after all.
  • Euchre isn’t so complicated after all.
  • Don’t put potato peels down the kitchen garbage disposal. You’ll only clog the sink and render the dishwasher unusable for almost a week.

Words so many words aaah

After pasting the text of my BSI paper into the handy app at Wordle, I got a picture featuring a word cloud of the most-used words in my paper. It looks a little something like this:

While writing this, I kept entertaining the thought that I was actually composing two separate papers. I have one section about Thomas and Joyce’s reaction to religious and pagan models of the bard, and I have another about their interactions with the Welsh and Irish languages in their stories. When I received the comments on my first full draft from my advisor, she also noticed the break.

It is too late to split the papers in two now, since I’m giving a presentation for the BSI students, mentors, and some other people on Monday. This will be a more informal presentation in that I am not reading my paper/papers, so whether or not I have one or two papers doesn’t matter so much.

Still, it’s funny the way things work out. I’ve written loads of 5-12 page papers, but only a few longer ones, and there is definitely a learning curve. Organization becomes my main battle once the paper passes about sixteen pages, and the one I have for BSI currently clocks in at twenty-seven. (Which means the last few pages are an organizational nightmare.)

Ah well, one can’t expect to grasp every skill at first (or even fourth) try.

If only…

magicmagic();

Art scholarship is cool

Art scholarship is cool. I had never really given it much thought, though I always enjoyed my trips to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The IMA is quite close to Butler’s campus, and I rode my bike there for the BSI event I attended last Thursday afternoon. Close proximity to a free art museum is one of the many perks of attending Butler University… (nudgenudge, I’m winking at you, prospective students whom I saw touring today in the Atherton basement. I was the one in the flowered dress smiling at you when the guide mentioned the ATM I was using.)

Anyway, for the IMA program a guide / art scholar gave a short talk; we then split into groups of threes and fours to make our way through a selection of six contemporary works of art. At each work, we wrote our initial impressions, research questions, technology connections, and queries for the artist. Afterward we regrouped, discussed, and were given ticket vouchers to attend some of the special exhibits.

Art scholarship can be cool. I never really felt engaged with artwork before, but the simple exercises we did have me raring to return and think more carefully about the work displayed. Thank you, BSI/IMA, for helping unravel the mystery of visual art.

When we reemerged after the program, the rain hurled itself to the earth not in drops but in bucket-sized sections. Biking home via the canal path? Even if my brakes worked while wet, the rain would reduce visibility too much. A fellow Butler student was kind enough to give me a ride home. We were soaked even from the short run from IMA lobby to door.

The rain abated, and the next day my roommate dropped me off at the IMA. (One can walk, though it takes a bit longer.) I biked back, though not before puzzling over the gift someone left for me.

(I just spent 45 minutes figuring out how to transfer this picture from my phone to my computer. Appreciate it.)

I found a fruit bar, apple, unopened, and squished from my bungee cord attached to the back of my bike. I poked it, and nothing exploded. Someone must have left it there overnight. But why?

This is a mystery I fear we shall never solve. The fruit bar is still on my desk, a week later. I somehow don’t want to eat it, but since it’s unopened I haven’t the heart to throw it out.

BSI Roundup

This summer, I read and I wrote, then I read a bit more, got distracted, regathered my focus, and wrote again. Let’s compare the stats, shall we?

As of  the morning of July 14, 2011,

Number of Word documents associated with BSI project: was 43, now 85

Number of paper drafts: was 2, now 17

Words written in current paper draft: was 3907, now 7488

Number of sources read in whole or in part: was 11, now 22

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Anglo-Celtic”: was 4, now 10

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Welsh”: was 35, now 116

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Irish”: was 46, now 70

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Wales”: was 23, now 43

Times the current paper draft uses the word “Ireland”: was 21, now 49

Times the current paper draft uses the word “tradition” or “traditional”: no previous statistic, now 104

Times the current paper draft uses the word “bard”: no previous statistic, now 146

Times the current paper draft uses the word “bardic”: no previous statistic, now 49

Cups of tea consumed: was ??, now ????

Websites most visited: was Butler email, BBC News, RSS reader, Facebook, and Pandora, now Butler email, BBC News, Youtube, this blog page, and the Welsh National Eisteddfod page

Outside of BSI research, I did all this stuff:

BSI Events: First FridaysKeep Indianapolis Beautiful, many lunches with mentors, GRE explaining, IMA exploring, Indians baseball game (Whoops, I didn’t post pictures for that one. Mostly because it was the longest game ever and we spent most of the time bandying about science jokes: see below), discussions about ethics, discussions about presentations…

Other activities: raspberry sale at the grocery store, piano lessons with my friend, breakfast in Broad Ripple, breakfast downtown, ballet classes, Chicago trip, Bananagrams, biking to church, biking to the coffee shop, CD making, picture drawing, GRE practice test taking, knitting, Wii night, bingo night, trip to Richmond to see my sister graduate…

A lot has happened this summer!

Does anyone else have fun statistics from their summer break to share? Visits to the pool, popsicles consumed, ballet classes attended, books read?

I hate straws

WARNING: I am about to be completely and utterly irrational in my tirade against straws. If you or your straw feel offended, please read no further. This is meant to be mildly amusing.

I cannot stand straws. I refuse mine in restaurants; I’m not going to use it and it will just sit there to be thrown away. It drives me absolutely NUTS when students get water at the campus Starbucks and sit there sipping away. Why? why? Why waste the whole plastic container, and why a straw? You can never get all the liquid with a straw and invariable end sucking up air and making obnoxious sounds. Why is it cool to hold a clear piece of plastic with a green cylinder sticking up out of it?

Oh, there she/he goes with her/his straw again. Gaaaah.

I received a free tote bag when I moved into Butler’s Apartment Village. I also got a complimentary plastic cup with a straw. Like this:

I gave it to my family. Why, straws, why? It was bad enough when all the students got the flimsy plastic cups with straws from Starbucks and carried them around everywhere. Now companies are manufacturing the objects — and Butler puts its Apartment Village logo on it! I suppose the cups being reusable makes them slightly less detestable. But they still have straws — THICK plastic straws which are much harder to grind into the dirt under one’s heel.

Imagine my consternation when Butler gave me another plastic cup with a straw. I am very grateful Butler gives its employees end-of-the-semester gifts. Don’t get me wrong. But a plastic cup with a straw? Really?

This summer I am living in UT, and I did not bring over many cups. And I am ashamed to say I use my clear plastic cup with a straw every day. Here is how I justify this:

  • It’s a gift. I have to use it.
  • I have very few other water bottle type containers, so I have no choice.
  • This one has a Butler logo, not a Starbucks one.
  • It’s convenient and doesn’t spill.
  • ….
  • ….
  • ….
  • I kind of like it.

Thank you, Butler, for my cups-with-straws.