Monday, March 30, 2009


Those wishing to stay at the Everhart Hostel in Chapel Hill should book and complete their stays in the next month or so. Clients may make bookings for the Everhart Bed and Breakfast on Ellsworth Terrace in Pittsburgh starting around May 6, 2009.

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Choir wire

I've been singing in The Chapel of the Cross' compline choir since mid-November. It's a neat small group with mostly low-key repertoire, doing many pieces often enough to be semi-memorized. Which came in handy last night when the power went out last night. (The nave is darkened, but we have lights clipped to our music stands to help us see the music.) But, in a commendable-if-I-do-say-so-myself turn of events, we keep singing through the blackout, turning, resourcefully, to the LCD goodness of our various cell phones. It helped that we were able to keep going on autopilot for a few notes, having (a) looked ahead as we read and (b) gotten to know the piece (a Nunc Dimittis by Healy Willan) over the course of several months, or years for some of us. We continued for the balance of compline by cell-phone light, and the source of the blackout remains unknown to me.

Also, in the "senior choir," one guy was passing notes during evensong of the score of the UNC basketball game. Seems he was checking on his Blackberry for the final minutes of an NCAA tournament game (inconveniently scheduled to overlap our Lenten choral evensong) and getting the word out to other fans in the choir. Happily, the game was over by the time we started singing our Bach cantata and everyone was able to devote his or her energies to the task at hand.

Not for nothing do they call it March madness.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Young 'uns

Many things have changed at Rice since 2006. This should not be a surprise, but it always feels like one. The freshmen are now astoundingly young, among other things. The Thresher is different and I recognize hardly any of the names. They've taken the Aca-barrier concept to a new, surprisingly effective and astoundingly creative new level.

More later, including pictures.


So in 2004, I want to say, 2003, some of us stayed up late and put up the first-ever Aca-barrier, inconveniencing Wiessmen who ordinarily pass between the Hanszen Commons and New Section to get to Wiess. There are other ways there, but from most of the campus, this is the fastest way. We put up a plywood structure, and, predictably, Wiess tore it down soon enough. Housing and Dining staff may have helped.

The next night, after they tore it down, we took one of the panels and put it up along the Beer-Bike parade route by the Baker Institute's section of the Berlin Wall. I'm not sure it's the most flattering comparison, but we thought it would be clever to put one wall section next to another, especially where it would be seen by the whole university the next day.

In 2006 we did the same thing:

And when I came back to visit in 2007, the tradition had been carried on:

This year I heard talk of a moat, medieval castle-style. "Yeah right," I thought. "That's going to work." Well, sure enough, it did. Behold:

They built the frame using plywood and wire fence, and then lined it with plastic and sandbags, and put the hose in. Soon enough, they had a bona fide moat/wading pool, complete with an inflatable alligator.

But in an even more astonishing turn, rather than trashing it, some guys from Wiess, I'm told, came over, took some measurements, and returned later with lumber to construct a bridge over it. From start to finish, they put together the bridge in about a half hour.

They added some steps and voilà! Ready to accomodate any passers-by, in this case a group of beer golfers.
Shortly afterwards, they made up signs, inaugurating the Hanszen-Wiess Unity Bridge, rated to carry "2 peeps" at any given time.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


  • I'm at Rice for Beer-Bike.
  • Katharine Jefferts Schori was on my flight from Atlanta to Houston. I said hello as we both waited for our gate-checked bags.
  • I've got Twitter forwarding to Facebook, which wasn't at first obvious, but easily enough done. See¬†
  • I had a headache that has mostly disappeared.
To all of these, I say: awesome.