Saturday, December 12, 2009

december 12

more from the neighborhood. this lights up at night (obv.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

december 1

the lights are going up in the neighborhood! this was the most dramatic display of my walk home (and may i suggest clicking to enlarge?)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wisconsin Pics

Like Illinois, the Wisconsin campus is dotted with massive exemplars of architecture in the "brutalist" style, including this, the Helen White Building, the seventh floor of which houses the English Department. The backside, pictured above, is where the conference room looks out on the lake. It is one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen from a university building, and as I was speaking, I was three times almost distracted into silence by a cluster of sailboats.

Below: this is the view from State Street, looking away from the university toward the state capitol building.

Somebody, along the lake, lost their thermal gloves, which a good Wisconsinite laid out on a picnic table to dry.

I was told that the two big holidays in Madison are August 14 (when the leases for the year end) and Halloween: below, some decorations on a frat house, between my hotel and the campus. No, the glass isn't a decoration (I think).
And right across the street: the Wisconsin Alumni Association, and their badger-mobile...
A jogger along the lake....
And some tables--abandoned, as it was about 38 degrees--next to the lake.
For the frats? No, for the Alumni Center....
A path through the woods, part of a nature preserve between the lake and the campus.
What I noticed here, as in Illinois, were lots of signs about the university's achievements, including this plaque on a boulder along the nature trail, for a Wisconsin Nobel prize winner.
And in the woods, this plaque to the first Wisconsin-born professor at the University of Wisconsin (from the late 19th century), and the first Norwegian-American to become a professor in an American university.

This newspaper stand has a special meaning too, in Madison, as the great Onion is published there.

On the porch of the Robert LaFolette building for Public Affairs--a preserved Wisconsin home, probably from 100 years ago--the treats were out for the local cats.

Some pictures from the beautiful College of Agriculture Building. The "short course" is a special 17-week program offered to accommodate people who need quick ag training.Another great plaque, capturing a lot of the greatness of UW.

Above: variants of brutalism; below, equally abundant illustrations of the campus's natural beauty (all from an experimental garden, where, admittedly, things were dying).

And the obligatory pictures of leaves.

Finally, some kayaks stacked along the lake.

Monday, October 12, 2009

on my walk yesterday... fall colors + the beginning of the laundry project.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Some scenes from Illinois, the big "I"....

I saw the campus in the early morning, and generally with a bit of rain. That kept down the soybean aphid swarms that I heard about, and gave everything a nice sheen.
There were a few controversies evident, including an on-going student discussion about changing the school mascot (treated in this great sign)...
The buildings had names from the Lincoln administration, in part because of Lincoln's Illinois connection, but because his administration put together the state university system. This is the old insignia over Lincoln Hall, currently under renovation.
The most beautiful feature of the campus is the presence of midwestern vegetation on the campus, like this wild prairie grass.
The student body, especially undergraduate, had a strong midwestern feel, but there was a big international student presence too, which partly accounted for this great umbrella, the best I saw.
I loved the classic big state school quad, and the feeling of natural space flanked by big institutional structures.
The big excitement was the resignation of the president (which seemed to elate most people), in part from the scandal over secret heritage admissions.
Another local touch: the tornado warning sign...

There were several corn plots in the middle of campus, including this one next to an old observatory.
I took this picture for the sign, and only afterward noticed the bug perched on the sign.
This was an intriguing building--the Art History building, also called the Old Farm House, situated in the middle of campus and currently empty for renovation.

Walking a little further, I came across a cemetary (also in the middle of campus), which had a Jewish plot, then a veterans area, then a German immigrant area, and so on. This is a picture looking into the window of the mausoleum; the Civil War monument is reflected in the window.
The names seemed really evocative.

This was the most decked out tombstone: an American flag, the Illinois mascot banner, and a tomato plant!

I was able to go into this great structure too: the cattle pavilion for showing livestock in the Ag School.This was some of the more modern, kind-of-ugly, kind-of-beautiful-in-a-stark-kind-of-way architecture.

The last morning I was there, several student groups were having a pancake benefit outside.