Thursday, September 28

Things are going well. I think I am on the verge of a major Plan breakthrough... perhaps even a THESIS STATEMENT? I don't want to jinx it, but stay tuned.
Now, as requested, Moss Hollow Manor:

AND! I am absolutely dying with glee because look at what came in the Inter-Library Loan mail for ME today, from:

Sorry it's sideways, but if you tilt your head I SWEAR it will be worth it!!!

Tuesday, September 26

Today I had my first photography and the book critique, which went well. I am going to improve my book for Thursday, but I am generally happy with its reception, etc. I worked pretty hard on it but could have worked harder and that is what I will do for thursday. The assignment was to make a book using only one photograph. So what I did was to make pages with text that got progressively smaller so that by the end the whole picture was revealed. The picture was that one from a few weeks ago of the chicago theater. The cover of my book was just some pieces of the bike map of Chicago. I'm going to re-do it to a) reprint the picture because this one got a smudge on it, b) type and print instead of hand-writing the pages and c) make a cloth/cardboard cover with the maps as an inner lining. Voila. Fabulous.

Today was also Plan intro critique, which also went fine. Someone in the class said they "hated" the pictures I threw in (just snapshots that I had on my hard drive which were in no way formal or anything other than some stuff I had lying around, my feelings were not hurt) but people whose opinions I value more said they really liked the pictures. Everyone pretty much liked the writing though... their problems with it were the same as my problems with it. Like, I don't have a thesis. I keep waiting for the thesis to reveal itself and it's like just not. I'm worried.

Then Dan and I sort of wasted the afternoon playing scrabble at the tea lounge in town. I say sort of wasted because it was really nice and I feel like I sort of deserved it. Why? See the first two paragraphs. He beat me. At scrabble.

And I had my first social committee meeting tonight, which was very productive. I'm quite optimistic that we are going to be a really good social committee. Plus, we allocated funds for "senior cocktail hour" which is a tradition begun by last year's seniors, wherein once a week we and our Plan sponsors get to chill out and have a few on the school's dime. Again, we basically deserve that. I volunteered to do all the shopping for "apple days" next week, which is a pretty sweet marlboro tradition. It should really be called "apple hours," but it's a fun fall festival with fallish activities like apple bobbing, donuts on strings, cider from the old press, hard cider from the store, and an apple pie bake-off. It's next week on WEDNESDAY which is ALSO THE PREMIER OF LOST! That is going to be SUCH an awesome day!!

And, finally, now I am at work. I am monitoring the computer lab. Lab status: three or four phantom paper jams which I was able to clear basically just by touching the thing, and pretty much nothing else. It is shockingly quiet. AWESOME.

Sunday, September 24

Last night Dan and I saw "The Illusionist," which was an extremely decent movie. There were some annoying ladies sitting behind us who felt the need to have a loud verbal commentary on the action, but it was ok. I love going to movies in downtown Brattleboro. Bratt is a really nice town.

Before the movie i picked up some film I had dropped off at Wal Mart. It was pictures of danville that I made last summer, and then two rolls of Florence that I assume I shot because it's all really boring pictures of like streets and stuff, and one roll of dropping me off at Marlboro freshman year (Let me tell you something, I am way prettier now).

I am now in my office, I have written like 6 pages of my Plan. But, it's really just the sort of BS part of the introduction where I talk about myself and try to make my readers understand why I care about aesthetics and civic identity in Progressive-era Chicago, and I think I've succeeded at that, but I don't think I've succeeded at making them think that they should also care about this. Point is, it's really cold in my office and I am boiling water in my hot pot to try to heat it up. It's warmer outside than it is in here but the windows are painted shut and the office is down a sort of long and twisted corridor, so there's like no way to get the warm air in. Dang. But me and evan are going to get the dehumidifier now so that might warm things up. Hurrah for machinery.

Here's a picture of the swamp that is sort of near my house:

Friday, September 22

I had a pretty great week. On Monday it was warm enough that we went swimming in South Pond, Evan, Holly, Lydia, Sarah and I.

I'm busy, and happy. I have an office now in the basement of Dalrymple where I got to work on my Plan. Yesterday I figured out what my Plan is really about. It's about aesthetics and civic identity. In Chicago. These are my abstract, jumping-off-point questions: When we talk about the aesthetics of the city, what are we talking about? Architecture, the skyline, parks, general layout, etc?
What is civic identity and civic pride? What gives people these feelings?
What is the popular vision, again, the literal mental image which is brought to mind by the words “city” and specifically “Chicago?” In what way has that image been planted in our minds by photographs and other deliberate means?
Why is Chicago the place for this study? Because there's the lake and then the park and then you stand on Michigan avenue and look east, over the park and over the lake, and your back is to that sheer cliff of buildings, there at like 400 South, the just jut up, you stand with your back to that cliff you stand on the edge of America.
What is significant about the Progressive era in the history of city planning? In the history of Chicago?
What kind of place is the city? Is it a magical place where everything is possible or a world of depravity and sin in need of salvation?
What are the contested spaces?

I have my work cut out for me and I am delighted. Seriously, it's quarter to nine on a Friday and I'm happy just to sit here with my books and perfect those questions.

I got elected to the social committee. People must think I'm pretty fun and cool, huh? I think social committee is probably the hardest working of the town meeting committees. I also wrote my first citizen article, although I didnt really have to write that much since it was just interviews with the math and classics fellows. They are young, foreign and male and therefore interesting.

Friday, September 15

Hey, sorry for the long silence here. I have some pictures of the house for you!

Here's one angle on the living room. That's my desk on the left!

Here's the kitchen. Off the border to the left is the sink and washer and dryer, to the right it's the stove.

And finally, Dan's new 'do, and some shots of our so-mean-it's-funny neighborhood geese:

Monday, September 11

Ok, my computer is back which is pretty much the best thing happening today. I got a photo tutorial, which is great except that it's going to be on Tuesdays, which means I have three classes on Tuesdays which means I should really be working instead of doing this right now.
That sudden schedule revelation, combined with not getting the job in the school coffee shop has left me feeling a little glum. Nikki sent me a card but I only got the envelope. This is a bad day.

Friday, September 8

I'm settling in nicely. Classes start on Monday. I'm taking a class on Photography and its relation to the book, American Studies senior seminar, Chicago/Columbian Exposition tutorial, hopefully an urban photography tutorial, and MATH. Trig, Algebra and Pre-Calc for THE GRE. Hurrah!

Wednesday, September 6

Hello hello! I'm alive and happy at Marlboro. We are getting the internet at Moss Hollow Manor tomorrow and my computer should be back soon so I'll post pictures of the house and Dan's mohawk and whatnot. OK BYE.