A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: Skies Over Milton

Skies over Milton poster

Studying all day in a carrel, time moves slowly, and often entire days pass without you catching a glimpse of the sun. The good news is that there are great events happening on campus even amidst all this drudgery. One such event is Skies over Milton which is a sound and video installation in Cohen Gallery (Granoff) that will be open from Saturday, December 13 to Wednesday, December 17 from 4-9p.m. The installation by  the theater company PearlDamour shows footage of the sky from five towns all named Milton (across the country) and examines what it means to be American. So if you are bogged down by all the work and just want to sit and relax, drop by the Granoff Center. The art will make you forget your finals (hopefully only temporarily) and allow you to lose yourself in the bigger questions.

Little Victories: Finals edition

Little Victories!

With the cold winds sweeping through campus and the specter of finals looming large, an end of semester pick-me-up felt appropriate. Presenting Little Victories: December Finals edition:

1) When the first question on the exam is from the textbook and you did it the previous night: Exams are tricky. You never know exactly what to prepare or what devious mind-warping questions the professor will come up with. Under such circumstances, seeing a previously solved question is like sighting a friend amidst a crowd strangers – a wonderful feeling and the sense that everything is going to be OK.

2) When you are the first person in line at the Ratty omelet bar: There are a few things that make as scrumptious a breakfast as a freshly made omelet. Consequently, there is always a line at the Ratty omelet bar. Sometimes, by the rarest of occurrences (i.e. by getting up early) you will find yourself at the head of this gathering. When that moment comes, savor it. Fill the order form with a bold flourish and remember to glance at the large overhead clock to rejoice in all the minutes you just saved.

3) The blast of warmth that greets you when you return from your outdoor adventures: Providence weather in December is miserable. It is frigid and the gusts of ice-cold winds can penetrate through the thickest armor of woollens. In such conditions, walking between classes seems like a miniature trek to the Antarctic. However, every long journey has its reward, and for the brave 9a.m. class goer there is the life-affirming warmth that comes when you finally stumble into a campus building.

4) When you get tickets for an event just before they get sold out: Getting tickets for certain extremely popular events (like the Nick Offerman talk) is slightly reminiscent of the Hunger Games: there are limited spots and no shortage of contestants. In situations like this, only the alacrity with which you click matters. Many times you’ll be too slow on the uptake, and the dreaded “sold out” notification will appear on the webpage. But sometimes you’ll time the click just right and get the ticket minutes before they run out.

5) When you wake up feeling well rested: The fact that college students are sleep-deprived is widely-known. However, many well intentioned adults believe this is by choice “Oh young blood,” they mutter indulgently, little knowing that burning the midnight oil is often a necessity, not a whim. However, there are some days, though a precious few, when you wake up feeling well rested having partaken heavily of “tired nature’s sweet restorer.”

Good luck on finals, everyone! And remember to stop and appreciate all of the little victories around you.

The Hat Manifesto

People often ask me, “Why do you wear that hat?” The hat (which I intend to wear throughout winter) has two large faux-fur ear flaps, a broad brow, lined with fake fur, and a strap (think: bike helmets) to firmly attach it to your head. And now that I’ve tried to describe it in prose I figured I’d include a photo and make this first paragraph useless:

Technically know as an Ushanka

Technically known as an Ushanka

While this hat is apparently the de facto headgear in colder parts of the globe, I’ve gotten some strange looks (and the occasional whispered jibes) sent my way in Providence. But I have also noted similarly attired students around campus. Earlier this month, I had an epiphany – a silent war is raging on campus between the hatters and the hatless, and it seems like the hatters are losing. This is probably all on in my head, but I simply cannot let this matter go unaddressed. Wearing a funny shaped hat is not just an aesthetic choice, it’s a way of life, a better way of life. What follows is a plea for the hatless masses to reconsider their ways. Presenting The Hat Manifesto.

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Little Victories: November Edition


Little Victories is a series about the ‘small, universal pleasures’ we find around campus that make us the happiest student body in the country.

“The sharks are coming,” my professor said as he wrote down the date of the second midterm. There were audible groans from the class. As I looked around the room, I saw row after row of yawning and bleary eyed students. The semester has clearly taken its toll on the populace, and a Little Victories post seemed to be the perfect remedy to counteract this widespread malaise.

1) When there are chocolate chip pancakes in the Ratty: There are few sights as welcome as the freckled brown Ratty chocolate chip pancakes. They are the sole reason many students wake up at all on Saturdays. After one bite of this succulent culinary masterpiece, you will immediately forget all of your academic travails and worries.

2) When your meal adds up to exactly one meal credit: The current value of a meal credit is $7.05. Several fiendish mathematicians were employed in choosing this number. As any student on meal plan will attest, it is nearly impossible to utilize your points completely. Students always end up having to use additional flex points or underselling their meal credit. But once in a while, a rare and powerful analytical mind (most probably an APMA concentrator) will send the Blue Room cashiers into a frenzy by making all their purchases add up to that elusive magic number — $7.05.

3) Arch sings: It doesn’t take an audiophile to appreciate the raw talent of the multitude of Brown’s a cappella groups. And when several of these vocal powerhouses assemble under one roof arch, there’s no choice but to stop, listen and be transported to a happier place.

4.) When it stops raining as soon as you step out of class: Providence rains are chilly and miserable, a stern reminder from the heavens above that ‘winter is coming’. However, occasionally these torrential downpours abate. And sometimes the rain will stop just as you tentatively step outside of the classroom. You are expecting to be drenched but instead escape with just a few residual raindrops falling from the trees and the sun slowly coming out of hiding from behind the clouds.

5) When you’re the first person in line for TA hours: Asking for help when you’re stuck on an assignment is almost always a good idea. That’s what TAs are for – more experienced students who are ready, willing, and able to help their peers. However, other students follow the same strategy and sometimes the TA lines seem to stretch even longer than queues at the VDub on Chicken Finger Fridays. But occasionally, by some fortunate combination of fate and location, you find yourself at the head of this serpentine line. The TA gets to you almost immediately, and as you look around and see the milling crowds, you feel relieved and slightly triumphant at your unbelievable luck.

So about the Apple Watch…

Unless you’ve been living under a Rock you’ve probably heard about Apple’s latest product — the Apple Watch. To save you the trouble of having to watch the entire keynote, this post highlights the most salient features of the watch.

The Apple Watch is not just a glorified time keeper; it is essentially a wearable personal computer. Through some rather innovative design, Apple has provided its watch with a complete suite of apps: ranging from the humble stopwatch app to the intelligent Activity app that automatically tracks your daily physical activity.

Along with a touch surface, Apple has provided a ‘Digital Crown’ somewhat reminiscent of the iPod click-wheel to help users interact with the watch. The watch also responds to voice commands.

The Apple Watch — a computer on your wrist

Despite these input features, it would still be cumbersome to use the watch for writing long messages/content. However, viewing pictures, messages and your calendar with a slight turn of your wrist is certainly convenient.

The most useful feature of the watch is probably its (hopefully) seamless integration with your iPhone. You will be able to receive calls and notifications without having to pull your phone out of your pocket (oh! the amount of physical labor saved).

Needless to say, the Apple Watch, which comes in stainless steel, aluminum or 18K gold, isn’t exactly affordable ($349).

Lastly, as Apple repeatedly mentioned on its website: this is their most personal device yet. After all, you will be wearing it all day long. While this might seem great news for all the tech lovers out there, it is also somewhat scary. Gadgets and technology occupy so much of our time that the addition of a watch to the device arsenal might seem to some a bit excessive.

But, like all things technology, the final decision is yours. Just consider: do you really want to talk to Siri while in the shower?

For more info, check out this very detailed video.

Image via.

I brake for the Rock – Happy 50th Anniversary!

Cake in Rock

This article is written in honor of the Rock’s 50th anniversary. You can submit your own Rock memories here.

Thinking back on freshman year, I realized the most important events are now stored in my head in cinematic snippets. My first trek up College Hill and the sudden glimpse of Carrie Tower. The slow walk through Faunce and the unexpected breathtaking beauty of the Main Green. Parading through the Van Wickle Gates with the bell tolling in the distance and people cheering. These moments are firmly entrenched in my mind, and will probably become even more cherished as time goes by. However, there is another equally important memory from my freshman year that I had almost forgotten, until now: the first time that I saw the Rock.

The small, gray building seemed quite friendly and welcoming compared to its fellow libraries. As a nervous first year, I was quite intimidated by the looming, concrete SciLi with its Brutalist architecture. I was also secretly afraid that if I got locked in one of the higher floors at night, no one would hear my cries. The John Carter Brown and John Hay libraries were far too majestic for my uncouth freshman self; I couldn’t even imagine crossing their sacrosanct thresholds. The Rock, however, seemed to practically beckon to me. So on a whim, the very day I first laid eyes on it, I decided to give it a visit. I climbed up the steps, taking two at a time, pushed through the revolving doors and found myself standing in the lobby. As I looked around, a big smile spread over my face. Seeing the large comfy armchairs, the polished tables, and the air of calm and quiet, I knew I had found my refuge from the noise and turbulence of college.

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