Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Plea To Enlarge The Rock

Northwestern University is always casting about for icons and traditions. We keep building things and sticking things in the ground and telling people they’re historical, but we’re not fooling anybody. What do you think of when you think of Northwestern? What is the physical definition of this place? What object will act as our representative to the world? Every likely option has serious shortcomings. The Technological Institute is too functional, Lake Michigan is too impersonal, and University Hall is frankly unspectacular. We erected The Arch in the glorious and thoroughly historical 1970s and, while iconic enough for parents, photographers, and visiting dignitaries, it has proven to be too modern and disingenuous to truly capture the spirit of our beloved University in physical form.

Lacking a more magnificent option, we Wildcats resort to worshiping The Rock, that ragged, chintzy flake of granite awkwardly plopped at a random south campus crossroads. The dubious and unwelcome “gift” of the class of 1902, The Rock was originally a fountain; naturally, it failed very quickly at this purpose, then failed again as a drinking fountain before administrators decided to cut their losses and just let it be a solid piece of stone. Even this rather modest role proved too much in 1989, when to accommodate new landscaping, The Rock was stripped of its remaining dignity and moved some 20 feet (The Rock should move us, not the other way around.) and dropped along the way: it cracked and crumbled and had to be glued back together like a broken lamp in a poor home, or some soulless, overgrown Humpty Dumpty.

For all its many deficiencies in historical value, moral character, and aesthetic pleasantness, if we could only correct the most conspicuous of The Rock’s failings I believe it could finally fulfill its purpose as the symbol of our University and lead Northwestern into a brave new era of light and justice. I speak, of course, of The Rock’s inferior size.

I for one am sick and tired of The Rock being so small. Our college’s rock should be grand and imposing and monumental, as big as the combined power, potential, and hope of every student and scholar at Northwestern. A glimpse of The Rock should fill each student with the same warm spreading feeling of pride and belongingness associated with barn raisings, World Series victories, and The Star Spangled Banner set to fireworks.

Every time I see my university’s rock I should think, “This rock has shattered my conception of vastness.” I walk by our current Rock and think, “This rock is about the size of a large van.” This thing doesn’t even really deserve to be called The Rock. It is more of a Rock, or just a rock, as in “There is a rock in front of Kresge Hall” or “I have a rock in my shoe.”

I want it to be vast beyond reason. I want people to mention it in whispers, if at all.

Imagine The Rock as it could be, a creaking purple monolith towering over campus like the maggot-polished skull of some elder god. It emits a curious odor with a hint of prestige, like graveyard soil and mulled wine. People seem drawn to the Rock, and when they walk by they move like iron filings in a magnetic field. Alumni snap off involuntary salutes. Passing eagles are moved to tears.

This is The Rock Northwestern deserves. This is The Rock Northwestern needs.

Like every goal worth pursuing, the expansion of The Rock will require sacrifice. This need has arisen when times are thin, resources scant, circumstances straitened. Buildings, jobs, and even lives will have to be given up for the sake of a larger Rock.

But can you put a price on pride? On happiness? As goes The Rock, so goes Northwestern. Let’s keep our University relevant and thriving. Let’s bring honor and majesty back to campus. Let’s enlarge The Rock.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Damn it!Somebody needs to take care of this thing

And it might be me.
If I get enough comments (at least from some of the "writers" on this blog), I will continue making posts.


Actually, I might still write just for the heck of it.

For starters, here is something I will brag about(relevant details in bold:

http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/2009/feb/11/quiz-bowl-team-places-first-division/

Since I know a lot of you are not actually click on the link, I will post the article anyway:

"Down by 60 points in the final, tie-breaking round of the intercollegiate quiz bowl, UCLA answered four questions in a row on Saturday to rally for the win in a narrow 170-160 victory over Arizona State University.
The UCLA quiz bowl team’s win brought the end of a 15-round tournament that had lasted for nearly 11 hours, said Ravi Menghani, a medical student at UCLA who helped to direct the event.

The four undergraduate students on UCLA’s quiz bowl team answered hundreds of trivia questions to beat 10 other teams from colleges across the western United States including USC and Stanford University, Menghani said.Teams competed head-to-head in a Jeopardy-style tournament that consisted of toss-up questions worth 10 points for a correct answer or negative five points for an incorrect answer.
Quiz topics ranged from academic subjects like history and medicine to general trivia and pop culture, Menghani said.

“We really did not expect to win,” said Tirth Patel, a second-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student who led the UCLA team.

In fact, the tournament could not have begun any worse for UCLA, Patel said.
“Our first game of the morning was just horrible,” he said. “We lost against Cal Tech, the final score being something like 395-40 points.”
The team recovered to dominate over the rest of the tournament, finishing the day with a 13-2 record.

The quiz bowl, which was held in Bunche Hall, is the first stage in an annual contest organized by National Academic Quiz Tournaments, Menghani said.
UCLA will go on to compete at the national level against 31 undergraduate teams in the Intercollegiate Championship held April 3-4 in Dallas, Texas.

“We fought very hard for this, and a lot of the games were really close. At the end
it was like an unexpected but pleasant surprise to get first place,” Patel said.
The UCLA team consists of Patel, third-year biochemistry student Jeffrey Buenaflor, first-year mathematics student Ian Drayer and second-year biochemistry student Chris Ngoon.

All are members of the UCLA College Bowl Club, which meets twice a week for two hours at a time to prepare for upcoming events, Patel said.
On top of this, Patel said he intends to spend added time working with his team to train for the national tournament, which he said will be “on a whole different level” from any event his team has participated in so far.
Despite the time commitment involved, Patel said college bowl is easily worth doing.

“Being a science major, I usually don’t get to take that many literature or art
classes, so College Bowl allows me to learn about subjects that I otherwise would not have studied,” he said.“I also get to meet people from around the country with different majors and different backgrounds but who all have an interest in college bowl.”Menghani, who helped found the UCLA College Bowl Club in 1999 as an undergraduate student, said he agreed.
“This is a great way to have fun with your friends and to learn about trivia in a non-stressful setting,” he said.

He added, “And you don’t have to worry about getting a bad grade.”


A certain Mr. Rezac's training might have helped.

Cheers,

TKP