Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review

     Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

     Tigana. I should despise this book. Its exposition borders on being info-dumps on a regular basis, the subtleties of “show, don’t tell” seem lost to the author, and the book has a dependency on fate that borders on causing deus ex machina. All three of those individually are more than capable of damning a book. The last one in particular is one of my pet peeves. If anything can make me abhor a book, it’s that.
     Tigana. I really, really like this book.

      This book is fantasy incarnate—down to the sentence structure and word choice. As I’ve already stated, it does a lot of things that a lot of people (for good reason) hate the entire fantasy genre for. However, it manages to pull off those things so wonderfully that the work borders on genius. This book has enough information and plot development for an entire series, and never suffers from condensing that amount of information into a single work.
   The characters alone are fantastic. It has the good old evil-overlord-with-super-nasty-magic-who-has-done-very-bad-things-and-must-die cliché. Except he’s not really evil and, no matter how much the narrator or other characters tell you he’s an evil man and should die, it’s almost impossible to not see that he’s a decent man. Frankly, I spend the entire book hoping that he would win—even if he didn’t have nearly as much time devoted to him as the rest of the cast and him coming out on top required most of them to die in the process. If that’s not impressive characterization, I don’t know what is.

      The plot takes a while to show up (nothing particularly interesting in terms of plot-based conflict happens until about 50 pages into the book). However, once it does it feels obligated (with a few noteworthy exceptions, one of which still annoys me because it had no plot relevance whatsoever) to continue increasing its pace. The climax of the book was perfect, and there was almost no need to wind things down afterwards because all of that got taken care of before the climax. Thus, the climax hits like a sledgehammer.

      And, when it comes down to it, the book works. It’s not perfect, but it’s  good.

      More than that, the quality of this book speaks volumes about the author. He embraced clichés and techniques that have a reputation for killing books. Instead, they make his book unlike anything I’ve ever read. The book is pure, straight fantasy as it should be done. Think Ursula Le Guin, but with the effort going towards stereotypical fantasy instead of folktales. If there’s much higher praise to give a fantasy novel (aside from comparing it to Tolkien in a positive light), I don’t know what it would be.

  - Patrick Johnson

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Consultant of the Week!

Congrats to last week's Consultant of the Week...

Greg Ponder!

(Pictured with his girlfriend Tai)

Greg is a history major from Leavenworth, Kansas.  

Q: Why did you decide to work in the writing center?
A:  I decided to work in the WC because of the people there, the opportunity to help students, and of course the coffee.

Q:  Would you rather have unicorns be real OR have mermaids be real?
A: Mermaids duh, I'd be able to make jokes all day long

Congrats Greg! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Moving On Out!

It's our last week in our current Writing Center! By the time we get back from spring break on the 11th, the Writing Center will be in Gage Annex. Our new space is changing quickly. Just three weeks ago, it looked like this:

The view from the back

The future kitchen!

Dr. Bob's future office

The future home of the front desk.

The view (of our own Kelci de Haas) from the front desk 


Want to learn more about moving? Here's WC Blogger Kevin Schiroo's report:

It may be time to put in into a historical perspective. The writing center has only been at its current location for about a decade. Prior to 2001 the Writing Center was located in the current location of Stewart's basement bathrooms. Once our current space became available a number of groups fought for it, but our very own Dr.Bob ended up on top. We moved in to small cave system that is the Writing Center and our old space was converted into faculty offices (Notice the rate of change: Writing Center to Offices to Bathrooms all in the course of ten years).

There was also a lot of resistance from the older consultants about this move. It did drastically change the atmosphere of the writing center. The cramped space provided by the Stewart Hall bathrooms served to create the ideal environment for group conferences. Everyone there could hear exactly what everyone else was talking about. The nooks and crannies that we currently have help to facilitate a more private conversation. In a few weeks we will be finding ourselves in a new Writing Center that will change the way we conference, but not our spirit.

Get excited, Writing Centaurs and friends! This will be awesome.

-Jane Lindeman

Weekly Wisdom!

“The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.” - Benjamin Disraeli

With midterms upon many of us, there is the assumption that we will all be studying. My wisdom for the week is this: study. This week, your opportunity is to pass your midterms and to be ready you need to study. This may seem very lame and parent-like, but I can attest that studying—even is just a little—will be for the better. If you don’t want to study because you think you already have the answers I would tell you this: at least be reassured that you have all the answers. If you don’t want to study because you know you don’t know any of the answers I would tell you this: at least know one answer. If you don’t want to study because you don’t care I would say: why are you in college? Start to care. I think that covers all the bases, and it all comes down to this: STUDY and you have better odds of being successful.

  - Margaret Gruhler 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Consultant of the Week!

This week's honored consultant is...

Hailley Fargo!

Hailley is a sophomore from Mt. Horeb, WI.  She is majoring in English with minors in Writing and French.  

Q: What are three words that describe your time at Coe?
A:  Three words to describe my time at Coe: Adventures, academics, opportunities.  I've had a TON of fun at Coe the past year and a half and have learned a lot, both in and out of the classroom.  

Q: What is the most important quality a college can have?
A: Energy.  A good college will make you think and want to do everything you can possibly do.  I wake up everyday wanting to go to class and to participate in the numerous clubs I'm in.  It's a great feeling.

Q: Would you rather: Miss the first question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire OR win one penny on Deal or No Deal?
A: Win a penny on Deal or No Deal

Congratulations to Hailley!

  - Kelci de Haas

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Challenge

Hey guys!

We're throwing down the gauntlet.  We're issuing a competition like no other.  Will you step up and accept the challenge?

Here are the rules:

Send in a story of what you think might be consultant Ryan Rey's most shameful moment (pictured above, wearing antlers).  It can be real, it can be fictional, it doesn't matter.  Anything goes.  Send us your story through our formspring account:  Ryan will read all of the entries and a winner will be chosen.  The winning story will be posted on the blog and the winner will receive a personalized story or poem, written by our lovely blog team.  They may even get a writing center care package, full of baked goods, but that is still up for debate.  I promise though that if the winner lives on campus (or comes to campus) I will get them cookies.

Are you up for it?

Make it spicy!

  - Kelci de Haas

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baking Blog!

Thursdays shouldn’t be my favorite days. I have my first class at 9:30, unlike my Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, that doesn’t start until my first class at eleven, which means I’m usually up by eight. I’m not a morning person, so the process of waking up usually hitting the snooze button a few times, throwing my phone off the top of my bunk bed, and ingesting an unhealthy amount of flavored coffee with enough sugar to send a normal person into a diabetic coma.  But thanks to my afternoon writing center shift, Thursdays are definitely in the running for best weekday.
From one to two each week, I get paid to bake. And every week, it’s definitely an adventure. To understand, I have to explain what we’re working with.
The oven is about the size of an Easy-Bake oven, and although it can only bake one small cookie sheet or muffin tin at a time, it works just as well as any normal sized stove (it looks kind of like this):
There’s also a microwave, two bread making machines, a toaster, and a griddle at my disposal, though I’ve only been brave enough to test out the bread maker once.
Then there’s the challenge of the ingredients. I never know what’s going to be in the WC kitchen. Some weeks I’ll look in the fridge and be greeted with the pleasant surprise of a full gallon of milk, a carton of eggs, sticks of butter, and multiple packages of cream cheese, and the pantry will be stocked with jars of peanut butter and containers of sugar. If I’m really lucky there’ll be a bag of chocolate chips. Other weeks, I’ll find myself thinking of what to make with flour, one egg, and some instant oatmeal.
This week, as I entered the kitchen, the first thing I noticed was a full container of brown sugar. YES! In the fridge: enough milk to fill a couple cups and a pound of butter. No eggs, but cookies were still definitely doable.
Thirty minutes later, I managed to produce a couple dozen (hopefully edible) sugar cookies with a brown sugar and maple syrup glaze on top. I didn’t take a picture, but they looked something like this: (okay maybe not as good as these do, but you get the point.)

There have been days where the cooking gods frowned down at me…like that one time that some of the batter from the cupcakes I was making fell onto the bottom of the oven, caught on fire, and filled the writing center with smoke and a smell pretty similar to burning rubber. Or that other time when I tried to make a cake but no matter how long I left it in the oven, it didn’t cook through. So I was just happy that something turned out today, and that I didn’t have to worry about setting the writing center on fire.
So basically (since I’m rambling), it IS possible to make pretty much anything in the WC kitchen. I’ve seen cupcakes, pies, granola, cookies, and brownies coming out of that tiny oven. My advice: find out when the bakers are working (there’s at least eight of us on the schedule), show up right at the end of their shift, grab a cup of coffee, and a cookie/brownie/whatever, and I promise, your day will instantly be ten times better than it already was!

  - Rachel Epperly

Monday, February 13, 2012

Consultant of the Week

Congrats to the consultant of the week... Jane Lindemann!!

Jane is a freshman from Minneapolis, MN and she is majoring in political science (and of course, she is one of our bloggers).  She answered some questions for us about her time here at Coe.

Q: What is your favorite class at Coe?
A:  My favorite class this semester is Tap 1.  Need I say more?

Q:  What is your favorite thing about Coe?
A:  My favorite thing about Coe is all of the opportunities it throws at us: studying abroad, on-campus jobs, volunteering opportunities, internships, etc.

Q: Would you rather: Drink a bottle of Purell OR drink a bottle of perfume?
A:  Hmmm... I guess I would rather drink a bottle of perfume because it's probably smaller? But either way, gross. :P

Congrats Jane!  

  - Kelci de Haas

Happy Birthday Kevin!

Happy Birthday to Kevin Schiroo!

Thanks for being an awesome part of the blog team!

  - The Blog Team

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Hey everyone!!

We have some exciting news here at the writing center.  As you know, we are moving locations later this semester.  As we prepare to leave Peterson Tunnel and our current home for the writing center, we wanted to both give you a tour and say goodbye.  Originally, we were going to have a photo tour posted, but this week I came up with a new idea.  We're going to make a music video, but it's going to be much more exciting than your typical, run of the mill pop videos.  I'm not going to ruin the surprise and tell you anything more though.  However, we would love some input as to the choice of song.  I'll list some options below, and we would love suggestions as well!

Firework - Katy Perry
Don't Stop Believing - Journey
Sexy and I Know It - LMFAO
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
Closing Time - Semisonic

Let us know what you think!

Also - look forward to another Consultant of the Week, another Weekly Wisdom, stories about Pres Ball, romantic Valentine's Day poems, book reviews from me and Patrick, and possibly a sampling of interesting questions we've received on our Formspring!

  - Kelci de Haas

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekly Wisdom

     “If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” - Jim Rohn

     To me, this quote is all about individuality. Falling into someone else’s plan reminds me of the movie 13 Going on 30. In the movie, all Jenna Rink wanted was to fit in with the popular girls. She did everything to be what she wasn’t. Becoming part of the “in group”, she fell into Lucy’s plan. She did everything Lucy wanted, and as she found out, in the end she was a cold-hearted person just like Lucy. In the movie Jenna was able to go back and stick with who she was, but in real life, we don’t have very many second chances. You need to decide for yourself who you are going to be. You need to plan your own future, and only you can get there. So my weekly wisdom for this week—be yourself.

  - Margaret Gruhler 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Consultant of the Week!

We wanted to try something new this week, and I am so glad to say that our consultant of the week was a great sport and offered to let us record his interview!  Ethan was a champ in the interview, even though it got a little off track at the end.  Thanks to everyone who helped us out and laughed at us, you can probably hear them in the background.

So here it is!  Congratulations again to Ethan Wykert!

  - Kelci de Haas

Monday, February 6, 2012

News Update

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to talk a little bit about what's been going on in the Writing Center and our new blog team meetings.  We would LOVE to hear more from you guys.  Feel free to comment, tell us stories, call us names, talk about your day, or ask random questions. There are lots of ways to get in contact with us!

1) The Blog

Pretty self explanatory.  Leave us a comment, even if it's just to say what's going on in your life.  Ask a question... it doesn't have to be related to the post or even the blog in general!

2) Facebook

The Writing Center has a page.  Coe College has a page.  I have a page!  I can only guarantee that I will respond to you, but feel free to creep on these lovely pages.

3) Formspring

Formspring is a site where you can ask questions and have complete anonymity if you want.  We very recently set up an account, and the link is on the right side of your page where all the other handy links are.  Check the rest of them out too, if you haven't already, and then you can head over to formspring and ask us  random things!  If you are super clever or witty, you'll get to be featured on the blog.

Later today I'll be posting our very first video interview with our consultant of the week... so keep your eyes peeled!

  - Kelci de Haas

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Move Update

Hey guys - 

We're moving out of Peterson Tunnel!  Due to the renovations to Peterson Hall the CWC is relocating to the newly redone Gage Annex.  We have a committee working very hard to ensure that the new writing center is everything we want and need it to be.  This week we have an update from them, and next week we'll hopefully have a picture.  

Gage Annex Transition Committee Report!

Things are moving along very quickly--all of the construction (and tearing down of walls in Gage Annex) should be done within the next couple of months. So our team has been busy trying to figure out how to make best use of the open space we'll be left with.
We want to add a counter to one of the walls in the main room so people can plug in their lap tops, conference, or chill with their favorite drinks like they're in a fancy coffee shop.
We also decided to add a memo board--and maybe a small shelf--to get some items off the front desk.
We want to buy a nice sectional couch so many people can chill on it, or break it apart to sit in groups.
Also, we're considering getting booths for conferences and conversations, and making room dividers to create nooks and crannies for studying and chatting.

I also want to add the exciting new features that are being created:
Nice new green carpet, which will appear everywhere except for in the kitchen. The kitchen will have tile floors!
More on the kitchen: A full oven, sink, and plenty of counter space, plus the dining room table we've all grown to love!
A projector and two full white boards for use during staff meetings and other gatherings.

...It's all very exciting! Until next week,

The Gage Annex Transitions Committee

  - Jane Lindemann