Wednesday, February 25, 2009

come one, come all


The Coe Review will celebrating the publication of our annual Poetry Issue with a reading and reception tomorrow, Thursday, February 26th, from 4:30-6:00 pm, in the Perrine Gallery (located on the second floor of the library).

Here your fellow students and professors read their published poetry, including Nick Bertelson, John Thornburg, Joelle Ryu, Leta Keane, and Ezra Stewart-Silver. We will have delicious hors d'oeuvres, as well, so come schmooze with us.

What: Coe Review Release Party (poetry and free food)
When Thursday, 2/26 from 4:30-6:00 pm (tomorrow)
Where: The Perrine Gallery

See you there!

(above image: cover art from the 2008 fall issue, Take II, a viscosity print by Gary Webb)

Monday, February 23, 2009


Well, it seems that I mis-estimated the amount of time it would take to have dinner with the visiting poet, Philip Schultz, so I missed the meeting. Luckily, I found a replacement to take down the minutes. Unluckily, it turns out that the person I asked was also attending the dinner. So, Clarissa helpfully summarized the meeting for me:

-We are informed, once again, not to make two pots of caffeinated coffee at the same time. Use the WC Roast first, then move on to "the klatch." This sounds like a disease.
-Sign up for conferences and interviews with Sam, the UI guy writing his thesis on the CWC
-A form was filled out. Maybe ask Bob about this.
-Orgies were mentioned. Again. Something about the gangly people ratio?
-Next fall the retreat is in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Some people may be visiting Clarissa's family.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 23, at 7:00 pm (immediately after the WC meeting), you should all make your way over to Kesler Hall to hear this year's Paul Engle Poetry Reading, the Pulitzer-winning poet, Philip Schultz. The event is free, no tickets required, and you should all go bask in the literary culture.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Here's a sweet picture of Willie ('09) living the good life in Stockholm, Sweden this past fall:

While in Sweden, Willie hung out with a lot of awkward Germans, didn't attend much class, got ripped off by a Swedish stranger, went camping, and basically had an awesome time.

maybe she just wants free tea

Bob is absent, but Holly reads his words:

-Don’t make WC brew and the other coffee at the same time – it’s wasteful

-We need 20 people to sign up for conferences on Moodle before the end of the week. The University of Iowa student writing his thesis on the WC needs conferences to observe. edit: Every person on staff is to schedule, on Moodle, one writing conference during the next two weeks and to record that conference in the database. As of 8pm this evening, only two people have done this. That's a response rate of under 4%. Come on, people.

-If you must miss a shift or will be late, you need to call ahead of time (and preferably find a replacement). No exceptions.

We have two guest speakers at the meeting: Japanese exchange student from Waseda, Ikue, and ESL professor, Phyllis Rupert. Ikue is overwhelmed by our sheer numbers, but he tells a story about writing three papers for a marketing class: one was WC-conferenced and the others not. He did well on the WC-conferenced paper, not well on the others. That’s good, right?

Hm. Then she gave a nice presentation about what the ESL department does. They split intl. students into three unofficial categories: beginner, intermediate, advanced. As beginniners, they work on clauses and writing and speaking with specific details. Intermediate students focus on grammar and asking/responding to questions. Advanced work on paraphrasing, learning citation, and organizig arguments.

The goals of intl. students are twofold: to make friends and gain English fluency.

Our American-ish names all sound the same to the Japanese students.

A WC success story: after conferencing with Kevin, a Japanese girl named Aie asks Phyllis if she can come back to the WC every day. Then again, maybe she just wants free tea.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Mini Minutes, 2/9

No way could these minutes live up to the greatness that was last week, but here goes:

We started out with a whole bunch of shift shifting. People going to the conference in Chicago create scheduling problems.

Hilary advertizes the charms of her shift by saying, "It's a nice shift - no one ever comes in." Bob responds that no one coming in does not make for a nice shift, "unless, maybe, if we were an AIDS clinic."

Bob also suggests the purchase of a WC Harley to go with Jacquie's leather jacket.

It doesn't seem like there are that many people here.

If you want to meet with Bob this week, you must do so before Wednesday; he'll be in Chicago Wednesday through Friday.

Then...we split into groups of five and do a writing exercise. Everyone gets a sheet of loose-leaf and the pages get passed around in a circle, with everyone contributing 5 paragraphs in a story: setting, character, conflict, crisis, and resolution. My group's stories involved a city in Eastern Chile, Ezra and Andrew Boone dropping microbe slides, residence hall yeti, and a "scrimshaw cooliba."

Stories finished, Bob brings out his whistle. Eek. Some reminders: your two weeks are up; it's time to clean up the Moodle.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lasagna and a Movie

You read that right--enterprising first years Ariel and Emily actually made meat and vegetarian (so good!) lasagna, garlic bread, and salad last night, and played "A Princess Bride." In my opinion, it was delicious. And it was all concocted in the Armstrong/Douglas kitchen--everyone was impressed. And then there were root beer floats! So heavenly.

I had the vegetarian recipe, then I lost it while trying to find Dr. Bob's camera (which I found, but had no batteries). Does that count as an ironic situation, or is it just something Alanis Morissete would think was ironic?

Good times and conversation were had by all. Later in the night, stimulated no doubt by the convos and food, three enterprising students (Katie Blanchard, Ben Kaplan, and myself) taking Contemporary Political Theory decided to have a read aloud of their dense theory textbook. To our surprise, this actually worked.

Conclusion: first years need to make food for me more often.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

una lista

Things I like about Costa Rica, by Malyssa:

1.Mannequins have asses
2. There’s a national holiday for everything and everyone.
3. Spanish guitar instrumentals of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak my Heart.”
4. The automatic bond formed between white people.
5. Getting my hair braided on the beach to experience something new. Being told flatly and in English, “Nice hair” by a local.
6. Spinning classes to Madonna music. Seeing my spinning instructor dancing on Ladies’ Night at Congo’s Bar.
7. Spotty translations, such as “Remember: Always love never fails.”
8. Trying to explain that Applebottom jeans song in Spanish and realizing that it is, in fact, worse than I’d thought previously.
9. Seeing lots of zeros on my ATM receipts and feeling rich.
10. Home remedies to everything.

Number 10 merits a story. I was having a hard time one night and trying to explain to my host mother what was bothering me. Since she didn’t speak much English and the program required that we spoke only Spanish at home, my efforts were lost in translation. After tiring of trying to understand me, my mom got up and grabbed a suspicious bottle of something from her cupboard, squeezed a few drops into my glass of water and told me to drink it.

I did, and then I passed out and slept through my alarm the next morning. When I asked her what had been in that bottle, she showed me the label, which said “Rescue.” I asked what “Rescue” was made of, and she simply replied, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Those were the only English words she ever spoke to me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

wc old skool

Chock Full O'Minutes

Oh, it was a content-rich meeting.

Bob handed out tickets to see Jared Diamond speak on Tuesday night. For those not in the know (ie: me until a few days ago), he’s a professor of geography and physiology and UCLA and won the Pulitzer for Guns, Germs and Steel, “a short history about everyone for the last 13,000 years.” Should be interesting at the very least.

It seems that the Peterson recycling system is now “sort of going.” It gets picked up Thursday morning and Tuesday afternoon.

There have recently been complaints about the quality of the WC non-home-roasted coffee (the stuff we get from the freezer, which are cheap beans from Sam’s Club). Some of the complaints may have come from me. We are now getting them from Coffee Klatch, a company in California – the blend is “Bourbon Supremo.” Ezra says the new coffee is actually pretty good.

In honor of this, we will, for the first time ever, be introducing three (3) coffee pots. Whoa. Prices have also gone up to 80 cents per cup. Bob reminds us that because these fancy beans are twice as expensive as the old variety, we might try to be reasonably conservative in our use.

An interesting thing: A student at the University of Iowa is doing his doctoral dissertation specifically on conferencing at the Coe Writing Center. His focus will be on what happens after the conference ends. You’ll be getting questionnaires in your mailbox, which you can fill out if you want.

Willie took one of my five remaining Lucky Charms marshmallows, but makes up for the theft with another interesting fact: she says that both Lucky Charms and Cap’n’Crunch cereals are illegal in the E.U. because they contain some sort of sinister substance. Well.

You can now win prizes. Prizes! There are many varieties of prizes being given out, to both consultants and writers, and the trick to winning them is…do a lot of conferences. Prizes are bookstore gift certificates and dinner coupons to the Lighthouse Inn, which is supposedly the oldest restaurant in CR, and the place where Al Capone ate when he was in town. Bob says they make the best ribs he’s ever eaten. It’s my birthday next week: anyone want to take me out for dinner?

Um, there’s a new remote for the non-functioning tv. You can use it to watch DVDs if you can decode the elaborate system of button-pressing involved in operating the remote. Ask Melissa for more details.

Then we came to the main portion of the evening. You read that right. We haven’t even gotten to the main part of the meeting: the Study Abroad Panel. Here’s a brief(ish) rundown of the conversation:

Willie: Sweden. Classes about movies. Her town is called “Dragon City” because it burnt down three times. Mountains. Baltic Sea. Baltic Sea! She has sweet boots on. Went Xtreme camping with Germans in a forest. Ate noodles by a lake. Jumped in a melted glacier. “That was so cool.” Literally. Ha.

Katie: Pune, India. Class in film. Sensing a trend here. Rode an elephant. Had some girl power time.

Malyssa: San Jose, Costa Rica. Read a great list which will be posted here soon. Took $2 out of the ATM on her first day because she’s not used to being a millionaire. Was drugged by her host mom.

Jackie: Bangor, Wales. 30k town/10k university enrollment. Took a class in scriptwriting. What? Involved with BBC-Wales. Drove through World’s End. Got knocked to the ground by some beastly wind on a Welsh mountain.

Nathan: Ghana. His university had 75-90,000 students enrolled. Took classes in theater. What is this? Drummed, danced, traveled. Went to Burkina Faso. “Mali-wood” movies. Rode a camel, slept with goats. Bob says, “That sounds very kinky.”

Kevin: Sweden. Lived in a cottage in the woods. Shovelled many “metres” of snow. Got robbed in Spain. Hung out with nice English-speaking Dutch people who had a car. Sweden sounds exciting.

And that, my friends, is it.

oh, yes

This year's freshman class: je vous adorez. Or whatever the Italian for that is. The point is that Ariel, Emily and Ann are hosting a Writing Center dinner and movie night. Not just any dinner, oh no. Not pizza, not Zio's, not even chili (although chili is very nice, indeed). They are making homemade lasagne (carnivorous and vegitarious), with salad, bread and root beer floats.

Let me repeat: homemade lasagna. root beer floats.

Plus, a showing of the Princess Bride. It will be like having a romantic date with the whole WC. Be there or be sad and alone. Come on, don't pretend you've got better things to do.

This Wednesday, the 4th, at 6pm in the Writing Center.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Little Lonely

When you're alone in the Writing Center (which rarely happens) you discover wonderful things. This yellow chair is a prime example. Take note of the amazing zebra print pillow and the lovely little...redheaded table. Glorious.

I can't wait until next year's retreat. And my next conference. Whenever that may be.

Yours most truly,

wcers are so exotic

Kevin Dyrland spent fall semester in Ă–stersund, Sweden, Ryanairing it across the continent and studying silly things like economic policy. But...he clearly took a little bit of WC spirit with him on his travels, as evidenced by this excerpt from his travel blog:

I also read some Hemingway while over here, in a craving for good English. My first encounter with the man–and I think Hemingway had dementia by the time he wrote it, because his ‘oldman’ which is probably intrepreted as a personification of himself at that age, repeats himself in a delirious state. Anyways, it was good. I’d also recommend Billy Joel’s ‘Downeaster Alexa’ if you want a shorter version of what the sea is about, without the whole ‘death’ thing.

Welcome back. Read more of Kevin's Scandinavian adventures here.