Friday, February 23, 2007

The International Ice Patrol Classifies Iceberg Size; Some of the Smallest Icebergs are Classified as Either "Growlers" or "Bergy Bits"

Another week, and now Spring break is but two full weeks away! I can hardly believe it! Midterms are looming, and the second module of my English class will be starting up as my ten-page German translation will be needing to be turned in! The excitement never ends!
Stammtisch this week was outstanding! As promised, Herr Kremling was able to get in contact with the three German organ builders putting up the new organ in a local church, and they joined our little round tables at Stammtisch! Stephan, Michael, and Andreas (I do hope I’ve spelled their names correctly!) dined with us, sharing their expertise and experiences with organs the world over. Stammtisch numbers swelled to the largest that I have personally seen them, which was encouraging, and a good time was had by all. So enthusiastic was there reception, that they were offered a chance to see Ohio Wesleyan’s organ in Grey Chapel on Saturday morning before one of them had to head back to Germany. Suggestions for getting a true feel of America were offered, and several Delaware eateries had their names put forward, and we talked past the “normal” Stammtisch timing, but it was entirely worth the time. Andreas even suggested that I stop by the church sometime to say hello and see the organ, which I hope to find time for in the near future! The start of my week is looking a little crowded, but perhaps I can stop in later in the week!
Poet Laureate Ted Kooser made a stop at Ohio Wesleyan on Friday, and he brought his astounding poetry with him. At four he held a small question and answer session during which students and professors had the opportunity to ask him any questions at all, for he indeed said he’d answer them. His perspective was very interesting, and his earnest answers made him a great speaker. What got him interested in poetry, one might ask? Girls. He had the group mesmerized, and, later that night when he read several of his poems aloud, he easily received vehement reactions. The audience laughed, cried, waited with bated breath, and hung onto his every word. His poems, though seemingly simple in form and easy to understand, garnered this strong feedback almost effortlessly. My grandparents were able to come in and attend, and both raved about him afterwards; everyone did, though: Kooser held a book signing after speaking, and all of his books sold out while the line clumped happily before him, each awaiting his or her turn to step forward and have their books signed.
Below are some shots of Koosner as he read as well as one of University Hall at night and some art placed on the lawn in front of Slocum.

Rather than the usual German Word of the Day, the special feature space will be given over to a poem by Ted Kooser that Professor Olmstead sent around campus via e-mail to help get out word of the coming of Kooser, so to speak. Read, savor, and, most of all, enjoy.

By Ted Kooser

The green shell of his backpack makes him lean
into wave after wave of responsibility,
and he swings his stiff arms and cupped hands,

paddling ahead. He has extended his neck
to its full length, and his chin, hard as a beak,
breaks the cold surf. He's got his baseball cap on

backward as up he crawls, out of the froth
of a hangover and onto the sand of the future,
and lumbers, heavy with hope, into the library.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

St. Valentine Was A Bishop In The Late Third Century That Was Matyred When He Refused To Deny Christ And Was Therefore Beheaded

OWU actually CLOSED today! Afternoon and evening classes/events were cancelled yesterday, but no classes at all today! So yay, I finally have time to update! I think it’s a lovely Valentine’s gift for the university to give all the students~ a snow day. The snow is gorgeous here, and I have several pictures that I felt very tourist-esq taking. (Not many students try to get just the right angle of Grey Chapel while trying to keep moving with the flow of people and not drop anything!)
The sidewalks were pretty bad yesterday and this morning (for obvious reasons), but things are looking a lot nicer out on them now. It’s hard to get all of the sidewalks clear and safe for students, but usually they’ve been very clear and easy to traverse thanks to the groundskeepers. It’s still cold out though, so I’m staying in here to drink tea and get some reading done.
Later tonight a few of my friends are getting together to watch a film or two, so that should prove exciting. (I’m hoping for a comedy or action film or something other than the romantic comedies that most of them are so fond of… I’m doubting I could convince them to watch Schindler’s List or something like I Heart Huckabees today, but one can dream!)
Last Friday I was able to go to Professor Olmstead’s special reading of an exert from his upcoming novel Coal Black Horse. I’m glad a good amount of people showed up to listen; the reading was excellent and well worth the lunch hour sacrifice to attend it. I’m really looking forward to the Poet Laureate of the United States coming that Professor Olmstead keeps mentioning as well; that will be on the twenty-third for those interested!
I also got to go out for tea with my grandmother this weekend! We had a great time; the tea shop we went to, Aunt Ivy’s in Sunbury, is very good, and the white tea we had was excellent. (Not my favourite white tea, I must confess, but the smooth taste of Emperor’s White is hard to beat at all!)

German Word of the Day: der Schnee (think ‘dare sh-knee’) This one is fairly simple; it means snow. Snow is weiss (like ‘vice’), or white, and when it’s snowing, es schneit (along the lines of ‘es sh-knight’).

I considered labeling this first picture something seemingly witty like “SnOWU”, but thought better of it due to the obvious cheesiness. Yet I still mentioned it… hm….

Slocum Hall is rather beauteous in the snow; I now regret not going in to take some pictures of the snow on the stained glass roof there; that’s one of my personal favourite pieces of architecture on campus.

Ham-Will looks impressive in any weather.

I see this every day from my window. I am glad that my view isn’t bad!

The tree branches one can see in the bottom left are from one of my favourite trees; it’s nestled next to the back part of Thomson, and I have several pictures of it that I will spare you from. On a random note, it had a pair of shorts in it for several years until my friends Shannon, Selby, and Amy took up an effort to remove them. Washed and free, Shannon plans to wear them as soon as the weather allows again.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Word 'Yeti' Comes From Tibetan, Meaning 'Bear-Man'

This past week has been moderately hectic with random fun-time thrown in for good taste and balance. I had a quiz Monday that I know I did well on, the normal two-chapters of German on Tuesday, a hunk of reading on Grimms faerie tales for Wednesday in addition to my work for global issues, and then a frankly outstanding Thursday.
German started my Thursday out in the best of ways; occasionally I could catch auditory glimpses of the organ downstairs, which is one of my favourite things about Grey Chapel as a whole, and then we got to listen to several pieces of music off of a CD as a connection to the Romantic period, which we had discussed on Tuesday as a part of the reading. All of the operas were quite enjoyable, but Erlkoenig definitely took the proverbial cake. My high school German teacher did a massive German poetry unit at the start of my senior year, and Elrkoenig, a very famous German poem by Goethe that I rather adored. (Think of Goethe as something like a German version of Shakespeare in terms of his fame.) Herr Wolber offered another interpretation compared to the one I was already familiar with, but now I believe the two combine nicely and work very well. The focus I had seen before with it had been on nature being an unconquerable force that man often tries to fight against, but ultimately can never overcome. Herr Wolber presented it as a battle between the Romantic and reason, with the Romantic period’s ideals winning out in the end, and nature clicks with the Romantic rather well. Highly enjoyable either way, and it was rather hard not to sit there grinning to myself as I recited the poem mentally along with the singer. Wer reitet so spaet, durch Nacht und Wind?/ Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind...
Later on I attended Stammtisch once again, and I believe I may be entirely sold on the concept. Granted, I don’t talk a whole lot, but I’m not always the talkative type. (I love to listen though, especially since the discussions are all/mostly in German!) Herr Kremling has been dropping in for the past two weeks while he’s back for roughly a month from his trip, and he did make a few valiant attempts at getting me to talk more. Perhaps I’ll bring along one of my German poetry books and read a favourite or two that we could then discuss. Most of us ended up staying until a half an hour after Stammtisch officially ends, and I had a great time.
I returned to the dorm, talked with my neighbor about her plants for a while, and then was whisked away by another friend to attend the so-dubbed ‘Crazy Night.’ Crazy Night entails a small group of friends from sword club hanging out, watching anime, and acting crazy to get off the week’s stress. Quite enjoyable, and proverbially chilling with one’s friends all night is great. (Not having to worry about getting my reading done for Friday also helped, since my class for the day was cancelled! Huzzah!) Crazy Night ended the day very well; I grabbed a cup of hot tea* and enjoyed some good music before calling it a night.
Friday is looking to be a great day for me as well; my grandmother is coming over to attend Professor Olmstead’s reading at noon with me, and we’re going to go out for tea together. Both of these events are guaranteed for a high degree of outstanding-ness, so the weekend will hopefully follow suit.

*Herr Kremling- I boiled double the needed water for my tea and tossed the second cup’s worth into the night, and it’s instantaneous turning to a burst of steam before drifting away is entirely worth the cold.

German Word of the Week: Fraktur (mostly pronounced as it appears, but be sure the “ur” is pronounced like ‘your’ minus the ‘y’)

Fraktur is the German calligraphy script that scores of old German texts are in, so it’s rather valuable to most German students. It can be tricky to read until one is actually used to the lettering, but it comes fairly easy with a little practice.
Here’s an example using an exert from a poem by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff:

Tina’s very pretty orchid she kept me updated on the blooming of:

Here’s a rose that Abigail got from Mr. Tom; the light was hitting it so nicely that afternoon that I had to take a picture, and my pictures are rather plant-themed today anyway:

My plants! I have aloe, bamboo, and lavender at the moment; before break I had several others, though. I’m so glad my plants are happy here; they’ve been growing like crazy. My aloe needs a new pot already!

And last in my little parade of plants is the set of pines in front of Thomson; their odd shape and canopy-like view from below endear them to me more than I can express. Or maybe I just like plants too much.