You know it’s summertime when homework is nonexistent and you’re already wondering if seeing The Avengers for the third time would constitute crossing the line.
I’m not even a big Marvel fan, but since Joss Whedon and I go way back (i.e. I’m obsessed with Angel and Buffy), I thought the flick that’s taking box offices by (god-induced thunder)storm might be worth watching. Naturally, I fell in love–so much so that I’ve started to interpret everything through an Avengers lens. I spend each day fretting over which team member I most resemble, I mentally rewrote a gender-swapped version of the movie (featuring only one male: Black Widower), and I’ve decided that Cornell would be at least twenty percent cooler if the Avengers visited the campus. Just imagine catching a glimpse of Hawkeye shooting arrows straight across the gorge on your way to class or perusing the archives with Steve Rogers!
Unfortunately, since the gang of six is busy being fictional, this beautiful dream of mine might never come true.
Ah, but wait! Dear readers, that’s where this Official Guide to the Secret Avengers Personalities of Arts Quad+* Buildings comes in!
(Come on, I’m on vacation. Humor me, won’t you?)
*So a couple of these places aren’t technically on the Arts Quad. Well, Clint and Natasha weren’t technically part of the comics’ original Avengers team. Deal with it.
1. Thor: Goldwin Smith Hall
Okay, anyone who knows me very well might find this first connection a little suspicious. Since I’m an English major, it’s pretty obvious that Goldwin Smith is my Valhalla. It’s equally true that Thor is my absolute favorite avenger (which I swear has more to do with my interest in Norse mythology than Chris Hemsworth’s pretty-boy nature). But seriously, where else on campus are you more likely to find students capable of arguing for hours over whether or not the original Old Icelandic texts imply that Thor might, in fact, enjoy Pop Tarts?
I’m sure the coffee in Temple of Zeus would have Thor demanding “Another!” in no time.
2. Iron Man (Tony Stark): Physical Sciences Building
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Nothing says “genius billionaire playboy philanthropist” like the new Physical Sciences Building. It’s shiny, modern, and filled with smart people. Plus, according to the Cornell Chronicle, the PSB is LEED Gold certified, which means this flamboyant newcomer is on the road to becoming as sustainably friendly as Stark Tower.
3. Captain America (Steve Rogers): Baker Lab
Bromance or not, Stark and Steve swiftly become two peas in a superhuman pod over the course of the film. What’s right near the PSB? Why, Baker Lab! Like Cap, Baker is classy, old-fashioned, and built sometime in the pre-WWII era, and it’s not hard to imagine this old-timer getting into constant spats with that flashy Tony Stark of a building next door.
4. Hawkeye (Clint Barton): Johnson Museum of Art
It was painfully tempting to align Hawkeye with Barton Hall (yes, I know, I’m so clever), but, in the end, my Johnson Museum favoritism beats my desire to create terrible name puns. Hawkeye tells Fury that he can see things better from above, and that’s certainly possible at the Johnson. Clint would probably pass the time pacing the fifth floor and taking advantage of the incredible view, which would give him a chance to stare lovingly at…
5. Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff): White Hall
Though I had a hard time classifying Natasha, I promise that the White Hall/Black Widow match has some reasoning behind it. Of the trio of near-identical humanities buildings on the Arts Quad, White is closest to the Johnson, making it easier for Clint and Nat to have each other’s backs. Although its outside rather resembles those of Morrill and McGraw, White has a surprisingly fancy interior, and is as sneaky and strong as Black Widow herself.
6. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk: Rand Hall/Milstein Hall
Once upon a time, a desperate scientist named Dr. Banner decided to expose himself to a little gamma radiation. Suddenly, this ordinary man–who, like Rand Hall, was humble and mild-mannered–transformed into…
…a monstrous beast, filled with rage, fancy lights, and bizarre contemporary architecture! Now, the two are forced to live in harmony as Banner seeks peace with his inner Milstein Hall.
What do you think, Cornellians? Is there something on the Ag Quad that just screams Nick Fury? Are you reminded of Agent Coulson’s (warning: SPOILER ALERT) tragic fate every time you walk by Uris Library? Can you save me from my misery by finally telling me which Avenger I am? Feel free to assemble any comments and send them my way.
All images taken from Google searches and smashed together by the Hulk–I mean, Photoshopped poorly by me.
Ever since I turned in approximately 30 pages of written work (divided into two essays, I should add) about various themes in Asian art, things have been pretty leisurely for me. Instead of racing my way through a pitiful breakfast at Appel while editing an essay, I’ve been waking up early to dine on homemade smoothies and toast with peanut butter. My dreams are no longer filled with the disapproving voices of every scholarly source I cited in my bibliography, and…
Provided I didn’t somehow totally fail my papers, of course, I’d say that I now officially qualify as a junior, or will once these 2012-ers move on so the rest of us can move up.
As much as I’d love to lose myself in the luxurious life of writing short stories, waiting for Spike to get resurrected on Angel, and reading as many novels by Pulitzer winners/nominees as I can get my hands on (recommendation of the week: Karen Russell’s anthology St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves), I have to take care of a few less academic sundries before I head back to my island home. Yes, I’m talking about every college student’s favorite task of the year: moving out.
I didn’t really mean that “favorite task” comment sarcastically, you know: I actually think that packing up would be fun for folks who live close by. Think about it–after a week of grueling exams and essays, your parents suddenly appear like Gandalf the White to pile the contents of your veritable Ariel’s Grotto of a room into the family car, and you all ride off into the sunset. (If you’re an East Coaster who’s experienced otherwise, please, don’t disrupt my rose-colored vision.)
Like a lonely Frodo, however, I must corral the detritus with which I’m currently co-habitating all by myself. And trust me, as much as I’m basically an expert on Buddhist art at this point, I’m no ascetic. I have tons of stuff. In order to complete my sophomore year, I have to transform this…
…into the original empty single I found waiting for me last August.
Because my family’s too far away to drive the getaway car, I’m also forced to explore the wonderful world of college storing. Although there are ten billion—I mean, several companies that provide shipping and storage services at Cornell, we happened to select the one that sends its boxes to you in a giant…well, box.
Oh, but it gets better! After you’ve lugged your Russian-nesting-doll-esque box of boxes from the postal office nearest to you, there’s more work to be done. Boxes just can’t be mailed in their natural form, you know. You must, as the Avengers would say, er, ASSEMBLE.
All my toil was, however, rewarded in the end. Check out this beautiful container! Exceptional box indeed, am I right?
Tune in next week (i.e. Thursday) to find out what happens when the burly folks from the storage company come to take all of my worldly possessions away from me!
Happy May, folks! With (the terrors of) Slope Day past and finals approaching quickly, I’d say that summer’s well on its way. In celebration of my new class-less state and the excellent weather, I spent several merry hours admiring the natural beauty down by the lake that’s not part of Cornell’s enormous campus.
I’m starting to sound like a college brochure now, so here! Have some pictures instead!
Although the weather was surprisingly cold for such a beautiful sunny day, no summery lunchtime picnic (a quick stop at Wegmans’ Mediterranean Bar provided such nom-essentials as kalamata olives, baba ghanoush, and roasted sun-dried tomates) is complete without ice cream.
Considering its fame, Ithaca’s Purity Ice Cream seemed the logical choice. My family stopped in at this adorable little parlour near the Sciencenter over the summer, and I’ve never run into a Cornellian who’s had anything less than complimentary to say about the place.
Right as I was deciding between Boomberry (a blackberry ice cream with various other fruit-filled treats) and one of many variations on Cookies and Cream, however, the “Allergy Information” sheet hanging near the ordering line revealed a hideous truth:
All Purity brand ice cream flavors contain egg and gelatin.
Now, I’m not a vegan (anymore). I wasn’t bothered by the first part: heck, I expected it! It was the second item in the list that inspired a sudden “I’m going to write an angry blog post about this!”
Maybe it’s just because I’m from Hawai’i (where people think “vegetarian” means “Meat is okay in this food as long as it’s really small and you can’t see it”) but I think Ithaca has a pretty big vegetarian population. That said, why would an ice cream parlour (such an innocent, delightful place, too!) use gelatin in everything?
Non-Purity raspberry sorbet satisfied my ice cream needs in the end, but it is a little unreasonable to make vegetarians choose between Soy Dream or Dreyer’s when their more omnivorous counterparts get to benefit from Purity’s actual flavors.
Okay, quick break from the crankiness. Check out how gorgeous my sorbet was anyway.
This alarming information ultimately sent me into an investigative tizzy. I decided that it was absolutely necessary for me to get the inside scoop on Cornell‘s ice cream.
Sadly, I personally never experienced the joy of real Cornell Dairy ice cream: the dairy itself has been under construction since right before I was a freshman. Cornell’s recent partnership with Perry’s means that, although their flavors are yummy, it’s not quite Big Red authentic.
Of all the quirky Perry’s flavors, though, I’m most obsessed with Berry-Go-Round (blackberry ice cream with a chocolate cookie crumble swirl). My friend and I literally cackle with glee whenever we see one of those tubs of purple ice cream in a dining hall. Could my days of blissfully ignorant Berry-Go-Roundin’ be over?
A little quick internet snooping proved that B-G-R is completely vegetarian. Thank goodness! Purity, shame on you–surely you can find a less weird way of manufacturing your equally delicious flavors. Please?
I thought this quarter (and this semester, and this year–heck, all of my college life) would go by much more slowly.
As of 3:47 PM, when my Material Worlds: Trade and the Art of Asia class finally concluded our hour of enjoying chilled mung bean and jackfruit soup in the Johnson’s Morgan Japanese Garden, I am officially done with all of my sophomore classes. Forever.
It’s not like high school: the comforting thought of being able to enjoy all this sophomoronic bliss once more (with feeling) is now completely out of reach. Even if I choose to grad school (fingers crossed for those Creative Writing M.F.A. programs!), I’ll remain a “first-year” or some variation thereof for the rest of my academic career as a student.
Since I switched schools between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I never got to really live through that lovely returning-student experience before: instead, I was essentially faced with another “freshman” year as I struggled to understand the new school and its social structures (hey, classes were a breeze compared with that).
Being a real sophomore at Cornell, then, was great for me. I’ve really focused on my interests both academically and extracurricularly, and my fields of study (Art History & English), which seemed so uncertain last year at this time, are now official. (I still don’t know which major I’m going to write my honors thesis in, but it’ll probably be Art History so that I can focus more on my writing than literary analysis. #stuffaboutkeelyslifeyoudontneedtoknow)
Speaking of creative writing, here’s a fun fact for any potential English majors (or, for that matter, any student): beware the inevitable dessert overload of the last week of classes. Like the Very Hungry Caterpillar, I’ve munched my way through a disturbingly large selection of “last-class-ever” treats. Trust me, the mung bean soup was just the beginning.
The last poetry class featured Wegmans shortbread, while peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies made a guest appearance yesterday during my Shadowplay seminar (we also watched a relevant part of the most recent Harry Potter flick, but that’s another story). To top it all off, this morning my beloved Narrative Writing professor (who’s retiring!) said she originally intended to bring us cookies, too, but then somehow Ithaca Bakery raspberry-filled cupcakes happened instead.
At 10:30 in the morning.
Fortunately, I have no finals for which to study (instead, I have “only” two 10+ page papers to write) and therefore had sufficient time today to attend not one but two sessions of zumba (that’s one hundred and twenty minutes-ish of crazy dancing, guys!) to burn off all my indulgences.
I’ll miss my sophomore semester a lot, I think–taking two creative writing classes and two art history classes was kind of a dream come true for me, and I’m not sure if it’ll ever happen again (mostly because it’d be awkward if I just kept taking the same 3000-level writing classes, and I can’t jump up to the next level until I’m a senior).
Now, most Cornellians will officially celebrate their freedom from classes tomorrow with wild antics and the disturbing sounds of Taio Cruz. Not me: I’m absolutely terrified of Slope Day. My celebration will probably involve hiding in my room and researching for one of my final papers (about the transmission of dragon iconography along the Silk Road and the Spice Routes, if you must know), eating chocolate (my dear friend surprised me with a massive bag of treats from Manndible Cafe last night when I was in need of it), and taking advantage of my newly fixed printer to make more Buffy-themed posters for my walls–I mean, uh, cleaning my room. Right.
To clarify, my title isn’t supposed to have a double meaning: the compound “geekend” does not, in fact, refer to the time when geeks and nerds no longer rule this Earth. Rather, it describes this past Friday, when <3′s celebration of nerdiness (in other words, our concert) temporarily took over part of Risley (and my life–that’s why it’s been a bit since I posted).
If you asked a guidance counselor to describe college in a word or two, he or she would probably say something about academics, while I’ll bet the media would make a snarky comment about binge drinking. In my opinion, college is, on the most trivial level, defined by bubble tea and a cappella music.
Though I’m a big fan of those chunky straws myself, I’ll personally never understand the bubble tea obsession here at Big Red. I do, however, have a few theories about why collegiate a cappella is such a big deal. The popularity of TV’s Glee certainly hasn’t hurt the popularity of covering songs and dancing around onstage, but this trend was alive and kicking way before a bunch of middling auto-tuned performers started rehashing pop hits on Fox.
Honestly, I think a cappella’s appeal among the 20-ish set is based mostly on recognition. It’s always awkward when you go to a concert and your favorite band plays some silly song that you’ve never heard before (I’m looking at you, Jonathan Coulton!). What could be better, then, than attending a performance where it’s almost guaranteed that you’re at least somewhat familiar with all the selections ? Plus, you get to see that reserved dude from your bio class and that chick you always see drinking lattes at Libe Cafe belting out the power chords instead of Adele or Bruno Mars.
Now, <3 never tries to emulate any of the current Top 40 superstars, but we’re still fundamentally aiming for recognition, too. It’s delightful when we do more obscure things, of course, (e.g. one of our staples, the YouTube classic “They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard,” certainly wasn’t played on any radio recently), but our best performances occur when people get what we’re doing.
And, based on the huge number of fans who stormed the doors of Risley Hall like orcs attacking Helm’s Deep to see our show, Cornellians do understand us. By the time the girls and I took the stage, we had a line of folks standing in the back because all of the seats were taken!
One final note before this post just turns into a pointless rant of <3 love: our concert would have never been such a success without the support of our advisor. While it’s true that no advisor is required to play a particularly active role in his or her organization’s activities, I was surprised by our faculty ally’s enthusiasm.
When our advisor and his wife attended our dress rehearsal, they were cheerful, kind, and full of great suggestions for last-minute improvements. (They also proudly mentioned their love for Joss Whedon’s work, and even recognized the picture of Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Spike that I currently have as my desktop wallpaper, so, you know, that helped too). I’ve never met professors at Cornell–or anywhere–more actively interested in their students’ lives!
This coming Saturday represents another special milestone for <3 as well. We’re having our first real open auditions! Though I’ve attended billions (that’s a very precise number, I’ll have you know) of auditions in my life, I haven’t ever been on the decision-making side (except when I directed and wrote a dorky musical in tenth grade, but we won’t talk about that). Incidentally, if you’re coming here next year as a freshman and want to try out in the fall, send me an email!
I may have abandoned my dreams of becoming an anthropology major several semesters ago, but I still know a little something about the origins of mythology. From what I’ve read, it seems that many cultures’ first myths served to explain mysteries such as creation, death, space, and the weather.
Here’s a special Keelyian origin tale for you, then. Floating high up in the Ithaca skies is a chimera of a weather-god: a beast with the wings of a gryphon, the body of an overweight serpent, and the decision-making skills of an inebriated frat boy. This critter is responsible for all the precipitation in Tompkins County, but he’s just not that great at it. Take today, for instance. After last week’s high 80s party times, I woke up to a courtyard filled with several inches of snow. It’s April, Ithaca. What’s your problem?
Unfortunately, that’s not the only type of cold with which I’ve had to deal recently. It’s good to have gallons of tea and soup during such nasty weather, but so far, it seems the most effective medicine for my little sickness is something almost as chilly as the weather outside.
Over the summer, I was lucky enough to inherit a mixing contraption called “The BlendMaster (Junior).” Admittedly, this 90s stick blender got some laughs from my friends, but I’m happy to say that Junior has now officially proved his worth in the realm of dorm-room cuisine!
I started with the raw materials: frozen mangoes, raspberries, and strawberries, layered on top of plain Chobani yogurt. (Fun fact: all trendy college students these days are obsessed with Chobani’s Greek yogurt. It’s sold all over campus! I used to be a member of the Chobani cult, too (gotta love that lemon flavor) until I realized how many grams of sugar are in a single serving. If you eat yogurt on a regular basis, I recommend trying plain with different fun mix-ins instead. Alternatively, Target’s new grocery section now sells skyr, a special Icelandic yogurt that’s literally nothing more than yogurt and fruit. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it.)
The BlendMaster sputtered for a few minutes, and I wondered if I wouldn’t have anything better than a parfait…and then the parfait turned into sorbet…and, finally, perfection!
My days of complaining about Ithaca’s weird lack of smoothie places (is this really just a Hawai’i thing?) are over. You won’t find me paying seven bucks for one of CTB’s pitiful concoctions either–in fact, maybe I can make some quick cash by opening up an underground smoothie business…
It started out, like most college gossip does, with a Facebook status: in this case, a simple post written by someone I knew from an organization I’ve since left. This quick line of text, however, made me more shocked than when I realized that James Marsters, my current celebrity crush (i.e. obsession), is older than my mother.
“Justin Bieber is coming to Cornell…? Seriously?”*
(*The actual text has been modified to protect the original poster.)
As Usher would say in Bieber’s hit “Baby,” this “had me goin’ crazy,” so much so that I sat in front of the computer screen with my mouth hanging open for a few moments. Wasn’t April Fool’s Day weeks ago? Was this bizarrely popular dude really going to become part of the class of 2016? Had he been to any Cornell Days? Did he read my blog?
Time to turn to the Internet. With a hunger for the truth rivaling Fox Mulder’s, I searched desperately through Google News (horribly misspelling JB’s name every time), and my frantic research turned up…nothing.
Well, okay, King Lear would chidingly tell me that nothing comes of nothing, so I’ll edit my dramatic exaggeration just this once for his sake. The one source I could find for this rumor was a poorly written interview conducted by the very mysterious “Froobop Media.”
Now, readers, I’m sure most of you have received chain letters during your Internet lifetimes: you know, the sort that says fun stuff like “Emily is three years old and dying of brain cancer/pneumonia/her disturbingly lycanthropic tendencies. Each time you send this email to someone else, Emily will earn 5 cents towards her cure. IF U DONT FORWARD THIS U DONT HAVE A HARTTT!!11.” See, I’m the sort of girl who used to enjoy writing skeptic’s tirades in response to those who apparently had hearts (sorry, “HARTTTTs”) enough to forward me such touching material. Therefore, I determined that the Bieber incident was nothing more than a similar attempt at gaining attention, and I forgot about it.
When I logged onto Facebook this morning, though, I was told by my CreeperFeed–I mean, NewsFeed–that ten more of my “friends” had posted about Justin Bieber’s imminent matriculation, and, unsurprisingly, not one of these statuses seemed particularly excited about it.
Justin Bieber tends to polarize the public–I wonder how such a celebrity could even survive college. There’s really no middle ground in the Bieb-Debate: you’re either a member of the “Justin Bieber is so [bleep]in’ ugly and can’t sing and what is wrong with today’s music?” crowd or the clan of teenie-boppers (and not-so-teeny boppers) who will happily threaten anyone (e.g. Selena Gomez) close to “their” man.
Such polarization is, in my opinion, unique to the modern fan-omenon. Take the Twilight series: while many people think that Bella, Edward, and Jacob’s awkward paranormal love triangle is one of the greatest stories of all time, there’s also a sizable group of folks who’ve made their own anti-fandom out of viciously hating everything fanged and sparkly. (Trust me, I used to be one of them.)
Though pop idol worship has been around since Lisztomania, I feel that such hatefulness amongst different factions of fans is a product of the Internet Age. The anonymity of public forums often brings out the worst in people. For instance, one of my good friends told me that she’d recently posted a tweet observing that Nathan Fillion (of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, Firefly and Castle fame) looks like a llama. Moments later, some random girl halfway across the world sent my friend a hateful response ordering her to stop saying such cruel things about “her” beloved actor and threatening to “kill” the next person who did so.
My friend’s reply was, allegedly, something along the lines of “You’re right; I take it back. He doesn’t look like a llama–he’s way more of an alpaca.”
Have you heard the Big Red Bieber rumor? Even though it’s false, how would you feel about sharing the Hill with good ol’ Justin? Waiting in the soft serve line with him at Appel? Hearing him hum “Baby” under his breath in Libe Cafe?
Do you, dear readers, have a beloved memory–perhaps even in photographic form–of yourself atop the lap of jolly ol’ St. Nick or the Easter Bunny at your local mall during the holiday season? Or a Disneyland snapshot in which you and that dude you dated in high school are high-fiving Donald Duck? Personally, I despise costumed characters. Several members of my family suffer from a rare affliction known as malloclausophobia which leaves us shuddering whenever those elves set up camp in front of Jamba Juice.
Cornell, on the other hand, feels differently. Even though our school has no official mascot other than “Big Red,” a terrifying beast known as “Touchdown” seems to think he runs the place.
Before this weekend, Touchdown and I got along perfectly well (that is, as well as a anthropomorphized bear wearing a sports jersey and a costume-hating blogger can). However, everything changed when my a cappella group and I decided to attend a concert on Saturday: Hearsay’s delightfully-named Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake. It was a lovely event–instead of the over-played pop songs for which a cappella is famous, Hearsay covered numbers like Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and (my beloved) Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son,” and, best of all, the intermission featured an array of complimentary spring-themed treats!
During the second half of the performance, however, things became…well, unbearable.
For whatever reason, everyone’s favorite Big Red Ursus arctos made a surprise appearance. I’m not sure if he was even affiliated with Hearsay–since Cornell Minds Matter co-sponsored the event, I suspect they were to blame–but, in any case, during the girls’ final song, Touchdown jumped in with a spontaneous, bear-rear-shakin’ dance number, and let me tell you: I sure was shaking as that monstrous beast grooved his way closer and closer to my seat.
Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe Hearsay went up to Touchdown and personally requested his ursine assistance. See, if they didn’t, though, that bear was one heck of a big red annoyance. Even my friends (who are somewhat less terrified of all things large and furry with eye-holes) admitted that it was hard to concentrate on the music with a giant bear shuffling down by the stage.
Touchdown, let me give you a suggestion. Try to learn something from Lord Voldemort.
Risley Hall’s A Night at Hogwarts features costumed characters by necessity: because the dining event is so popular, people inevitably wait in line for long periods of time and therefore require entertainment. Now, some of the muggles who traded in their Cornell sweatshirts for wizard robes last Friday weren’t particularly committed–I’ve never heard so many middling British accents in one place before–but others were absolutely phenomenal. And by “others,” I mean “Here’s to you, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
My sources tell me that this year’s Voldy was actually an alum who returned to campus to reprise his role and, honestly, this guy was one of the most dedicated actors I’ve ever seen: not only was he great at pretending he wanted to destroy Harry Potter but he also knew what was appropriate to do in costume. Whenever little tykes crossed the Dark Lord’s path, Voldy read their moods–he would only be insanely terrifying if the child seemed ready for it (and, I’ll tell you, some of those mini-Gryffindors really were!)
Touchdown, man, that’s how it’s done. Don’t try to steal the thunder of an event that’s already performing: use your entertainment skills when the audience has nothing else to do. Also, please “bear” in mind my fears the next time you’re running around looking for high-fives. Some of us would rather see you keep your growly distance.
Dear Cornell Class of 2016,
Let me start off by mentioning that I am not actually going to call you by the dorky moniker that is “pre-frosh.” Same goes for “prospies.” In fact, considering that I’ve spent some of my free time recently finishing up Season 7 of Buffy, I think “potentials” will suffice.
Anyway, unless you’re too busy saving the world, I’m assuming some of you potentials will find yourselves on the road to Ithaca over the next two weeks. And, although I never attended Cornell Days myself (living in the middle of the Pacific can do that to you), I’m going to share some good ol’ upperclassman wisdom.
In short, then, here are some suggestions for Cornell Days that you won’t find in your “Welcome to Cornell” packet. Allons-y!
1. Attend a museum tour! (i.e. my museum tour.)
It’s hard to find a single post on here that’s not a shameless plug for my own activities, and this one’s no different. If you’ve checked the Cornell Days schedule, you might have noticed that there are tours of the Johnson offered both weekends (fun fact: attend the one next week, and odds are you’ll get me as your guide!)
However, at 1PM this coming Saturday, I’m giving a very special “Off-the-Label” tour called “Performance” Art: The Drama of Objects. We’ll start in the Shadowlands exhibit I helped to curate and then move on to other “theatrical” objects in the collection. Come on, guys, I really need an audience: because Cornellians tend to forget that we have this awesome on-campus museum, my previous tours were attended only by my BFFs and random foreign families who happened to be there at the right time. That said, bring your parents, bring your siblings–heck, bring your nemeses too (though keep in mind that no epic nemesis battles are allowed in the museum)!
2. Finish your Cornell Days with Hogwarts Nights.
Unpopular opinion: I’m not a Harry Potter fan. Since I’ve been a hipster since the day I was born, I didn’t really see why that “mainstream” book series had such appeal over other equally entertaining juvenile fantasy novels (e.g. Charlie Bone, Susan Cooper’s stuff, etc). The fact, then, that I’m participating in both of Risley Hall’s Night at Hogwarts events, says something about the quality of these shindigs.
If you’re coming with your parents and want a family-friendly activity, you might want to check out the original A Night at Hogwarts dinner: join us at the Castle and interact with costumed character impersonators (I’m playing Harry’s mum, incidentally) while enjoying an authentically British feast! Keep in mind, though, that this event is extremely popular, and it’s hard to get tickets at the door. Still, even if you can’t swing an invite, walk by Risley’s front lawn sometime from 5-7 on Friday and you might see some magic anyway!
The bolder and more dance-party-inclined should consider the Yule Ball, which will take place at Risley from 9pm on Saturday and feature a special guest performance by Harry and the Potters as well as everyone’s favorite nerdy a cappella group! (Okay, so I guess that means that this is yet another shameless plug for something in which I’m involved. Dang.)
3. Be like Anna from The King and I…
…which is to say, don’t make snap judgments. “Getting To Know You” is more than one of my favorite Rodgers & Hammerstein tunes–it’s also a useful philosophy for college visits.
Also, don’t dismiss the entire student body because of that one annoying/disturbing/ignorant person you happen to meet. When I visited Yale, for example, our host bragged about how Yale had recently been visited by a famous bug scientist, a man whom she called “the Indiana Jones of endocrinology” by accident. Yeesh. (Actually, come to think of it, this is a terrible example because I’m obviously not at Yale…I think I should probably stop talking now.)
In any case, do enjoy your stay on campus. Hey, I’m looking forward to it too–the dining hall desserts are never quite as good as when the administration wants to impress prospective students.
Charitable organizations at Cornell have it all worked out. While the average college student certainly doesn’t have an awful lot of money to give away, it’s equally the case that there seems to be nothing the average college student loves more than eating. Therefore, an easy formula for earning a lot of cash for a good cause can be written as
ever-hungry young adults + offer of food = ALL THE DONATIONS.
Naturally, I enjoy contributing to worthy charities as much as the next guy (I mean, as long as the next guy isn’t Ebeneezer Scrooge), but, as a vegetarian, I have to pick and choose my benefit events carefully. This may seem a little silly, but if I’m attending with the expectation of a full meal and end up only able to devour salad and bread, I’d rather just have given the cash as a donation.
It was the critical inclusion of “all vegetarian Indian cuisine” on the poster for Asha Cornell’s recent fundraising meal, then, that convinced me it was worthwhile to trek all the way down to the Commons to attend a $12 dinner. After spending Saturday afternoon playing piano duets with my mentee, I caught the #70 TCAT and rode to the Women’s Community Building on Seneca Street. Though I walked by the WCB every day last year on my way to work, I’d never been inside: unsurprisingly, it’s rather reminiscent of the stereotypical high school gym, albeit cleaner, better lit, and free of pubescent jocks playing dodgeball.
The meal was served buffet-style: diners selected from an almost medievally long table of appealing options. I was a little surprised by the distinct lack of naan bread, but all the other staples of the Indian cuisine I love were present: dal, lassi, better-than-jasmine rice (technically called, in this case, vegetable pulav)…
While I’m still passionately loyal to Honolulu’s Cafe Maharani, of course, the food was rather delicious (on the other hand, I also consider instant lentils fine dining, so take my ratings with the proverbial grain of salt).
As my friend and I finished stuffing ourselves, I leafed through an issue of Compassion, Asha Cornell’s newsletter. Though hearing about recent scandals by supposed “philanthropists” or “activists” like the founder of Invisible Children (and proponent of the rightfully controversial Kony 2012 initiative) or the embezzlin’ Three Cups of Tea guy has made me a little cynical towards charities, Asha Cornell, which describes itself as “a volunteer organization which dedicatedly supports basic educational efforts for underprivileged children in India,” seems fairly legitimate. Cornell’s chapter is under the wider umbrella of the NYC-based Asha program, which also appears to be one of the good guys out there. Check out this chart from Charity Navigator showing where Asha’s money goes if you’re a little wary (consider also that Asha for Education’s leader is apparently not compensated for his work, whereas Invisible Children’s three head honchos are making an epic amount of money every year…and I’ll stop letting my own political opinions color my Cornell blog, sorry!)
If you’d like more information about Asha for Education at Cornell, please visit their website, and I’d also encourage keeping an eye out for any future dinners! I know I will be.
I’ll close with a final equation:
reputable charitable organization + good vegetarian food = one happy, well-fed blogger.