bigger pond

Archive for January, 2007

This Life I Live

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

This Friday offers a dazzling but admittedly incongruous array of social opportunities. Vote for your most outrageous combination of three.

Options include but are not limited to:

  1. meeting with my adviser about my thesis project
  2. attending the art history department’s grad student “happy hour,” complete with departmentally-funded booze
  3. attending WashU’s first annual drag show, featuring one of my fellow Feminist Art and Criticism from 1970 to the Present classmates; she’s a drag king
  4. attending my church’s ladies’ open house; there will be cheese
  5. attending the opening of an Andy Warhol show

Good thing we’re Presbyterians now.

Hippie vs. Art Museum Guard

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Overheard while wandering around the St. Louis Art Museum yesterday…

Dreadlocked Hippie Dude: So, you know, I’m like an artist and stuff and I could just bring some of my stuff over here.

Frightened Looking Museum Guard: Um…

DHD: Like, could I just bring it and they could hang it up?

FLMG: Um…

DHD: I mean, like, how does it work? Do they like, buy stuff or do people just give it to them? Like, paintings and stuff.

FLMG: Well, it’s a museum, so they do have a lot of artworks given to them and they buy some, too, but I don’t know if…

DHD: Because, you know, I’m getting, like, so much inspiration here and I think some of my stuff would fit right in here.

Stop Achieving, Dammit

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Excuse me while I whittle at the sushi-shaped chip on my shoulder.

The New York Times ran an article this past Sunday considering the preponderance of Asian students on elite university campuses. It seems that the bounty of Asian students with strong high school records are posing something of a problem for admission departments.

Asian-Americans make up less than 5 percent of the population but typically make up 10 to 30 percent of students at the nation’s best colleges:in 2005, the last year with across-the-board numbers, Asians made up 24 percent of the undergraduate population at Carnegie Mellon and at Stanford, 27 percent at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14 percent at Yale and 13 percent at Princeton.

Troubled, some schools have reaffirmed a commitment to making their campus demographics closely mirror national demographics, a feat apparently achieved through a kind of selective racial preferencing: (more…)

Elissa’s Great Northern Adventures, part ii, or, “What If Your Great Grandmother Thinks You Married a Pagan?”

Monday, January 8th, 2007

I thought the visit was going so well. G-grandma and I seemed to have bonded; once I located a voice pitch which agreed with her hearing aid, we played gin, discussed Ukranian egg painting, and hashed out assorted family ethnic backgrounds.

And then, then came Christmas Eve.

On Sunday evening we all sat down to a traditional, Ukranian Christmas Eve dinner. Following Russian Orthodox tradition, the multi-course affair was meatless, consisting mostly of soups, perogies, and breads. There was hay under the tablecloth to remind us of the stable, a braided ring of bread to remind us of the Trinity, and a raw clove of garlic chased with honey to remind us of sin’s sting and redemption’s sweetness. G-grandma and I were on opposite ends of the table, but as dinner wound down she called down to me, “So, do the Japanese have any Christmas traditions?”

(more…)

Elissa’s Great Northern Adventures, part 1.5

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Someday, children, when you visit the upper peninsula of Michigan and go to your husband’s great-grandmother’s old lakeside resort, you may find that the new owner, in a lapse of taste, has installed an oversized wooden lounge chair on the front lawn.

Memories Gone Tacky  Part Two

If, at this time, you happen to be wearing a large, furry hat from Mongolia and borrowing your sister-in-law’s baby blue Uggs, it is imperative that you take a picture of the cumulative ridiculousness. Posterity will be grateful.

Finding Joy on Hwy 24

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Behold, an attempt to match the outstandingly cheesy mottos of small Illinois and Indiana towns with an equally cheesy blog post title.

Noel and I spent Christmas with his family in the northern reaches of the country, Cedarville, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. Instead of sticking to interstates on our drive up, we temporarily ventured onto a string a state highways, rolling through a sweep of modest hamlets with ambitious shibboleths emblazoned on their welcome signs.

In Piper City, Illinois, red cartoon letters above a cheerful drawing of a farmhouse announced, “Piper City. A great place to raise a family.” We’re in. Our other choice is currently the most dangerous city in America anyway. When we entered Iroquois County, Illinois, we were welcomed to the “Buckle of the Corn Belt.” Hitherto being unaware that there was a “corn belt,” we wondered if this was a new, religion-neutral fight for supremacy in mid-America. Kentland, Indiana proudly declared themselves to be “Where agriculture and industry meet.” Morocco, Indiana (town symbol, a cowboy boot) refused to capitalize on the exoticism of their borrowed name and instead billed themselves as “the home of Hoosier Hospitality.”

And then, we entered Michigan. “Great Lakes, Great Times.” Ohhhh, yeah. And fun times, indeed, were promised by the subsequent towns. St. Joseph, Michigan, “the most romantic city in Michigan.” Downtown Holland, Michigan, “where trend meets tradition.” And, finally, Munson in Traverse City, “your home, your Munson.” (Don’t ask, we have no idea.)

I wonder if Stamats moonlights as a town slogan creator.