Monday, March 30, 2009

Mike Beas: Purdue in the Final Four, 2010

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Now that the Final Four is set — and lacking an Indiana program for the 20th time in 22 seasons - looking ahead to the 2010 version of March Madness isn't all that uncommon.

Some interesting findings, all right. For instance, whichever program wears the Big Ten crown in all likelihood plays its opening games at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. If fortunate enough to land a spot in the Sweet 16, it's St. Louis and the curtained-off confines of the Edward Jones Dome, which seats 47,000 for hoops.

The Final Four? Lucas Oil Stadium, which in case you haven't noticed, is now responsible for something like 43 percent of the Indianapolis skyline.

Are you hearing me, Purdue? With all five starters returning and depth assured in the form of incoming freshmen Patrick Bade, a left-handed 6-8 swingman, and D.J. Byrd, a granite-nosed 6-5 guard, joining veteran guard Keaton Grant off the bench, the Boilermakers should have the ingredients necessary to pull off the ultimate no-no:

No flights to Portland. No flights to Arizona.

Every city in the Milwaukee-St. Louis-Indy trifecta is close enough that it would allow Purdue to play in front of an actual cheering section as apposed to assorted specs of gold and black. But Matt Painter's players need to go out and earn that honor because no one, particularly Michigan State, is going to hand it to them.

Leading up to the 2009-10 season, Purdue will be hyped and back-patted in ways it hasn't witnessed in 22 years. Remember Troy Lewis, Todd Mitchell, Everette Stephens and that group? Best team in America, many thought. No way do the poised and seasoned Boilers not get at least to the Final Four.

Then late one March night in Detroit's Pontiac Silverdome, it happened. Purdue coughed up a purple hairball known better as Kansas State, losing 73-70. Season over. Just like that. Thanks for the memories. Some diehard Boiler fans old enough to remember that loss haven't forgotten it. Probably never will as research reveals it was the start of all of Gene Keady's hair issues.

Regardless, Purdue made strides from last season to this. There are more to take. A stronger JaJuan Johnson in the post is a start; same goes for having Robbie Hummel, E'twaun Moore and Grant become more consistent perimeter shooters. Chris Kramer needs to take the ball in among the trees more than he does and point guard Lewis Jackson proved erratically productive for a freshman.

In 2008 the Boilers were knocked out in the second round by a Xavier squad that was bigger, stronger and much older. Same could be said last week as Purdue lost to Connecticut in the Sweet 16.

No longer can the program lean on youth as a crutch. When it comes to Purdue, anything less than a Final Four berth would be considered a disappointment.

PARTING SHOT: Maybe it will be Billy Donovan. Or Tom Izzo. Or Travis Ford. But I'll tell you right now who isn't going to become the University of Kentucky's new men's basketball coach and that's Adolph Rupp.

No kidding, genius. That's what you're thinking, which makes sense considering the man died over 31 years ago and would be 107 if still recycling oxygen today.

Amazing, though, how Rupp, who led the Wildcats to four national titles, continues to cast an imposing, bluegrass-colored shadow. A shadow Joe B. Hall experienced, then Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino, then Tubby Smith and most recently Billy Gillispie.

Unless your mail has been forwarded recently to beneath some boulder, you know about Gillispie being fired by Kentucky following an uninspiring two-year courtship. Perhaps I'm part of the minority, but I think the guy got a raw deal. But that's the way Kentucky is. Its best coach is always the next coach and not the one currently conducting practice sessions.

UK ran off Tubby. Ran off Gillispie. As for Rupp, well, he's not coming back. Fat salary aside, a part of me feels sorry for the next coach of the Wildcats for it's a no-win situation regardless of how many victories he racks up.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Hoppe on the Arts: John Green

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 4:00 AM

The first time I laid eyes on John Green he was standing outside the auditorium at the Indianapolis Art Center, wearing a brightly-colored, wide-striped blazer of a sort that would have looked at home in an episode of The Prisoner or, maybe, among the holiday-makers in The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour.

"Nice jacket," I thought.

But the payoff came a few minutes later when, during a droning discussion about the state of theater in Indianapolis, John piped up to say that the kind of play he was looking for wasn't so much about anything, as it would be like a force of nature, full of action, light and people swinging from the rafters.

I'm not sure that many people in the room that night took John at his word. But I knew I'd found a friend.

In the ten years since, John Green and I have been friends, collaborators and colleagues. As a character says in the play I wrote and that John directed, After Paul McCartney, we've traveled great distances and had many adventures.

I offer this as the grain of salt you may use to season what follows, which, I hope, might stand as a modest attempt to assess what John's presence in Indianapolis has meant to the arts scene here.

As has been reported, John is leaving his post as head of Butler's theatre department to take charge of the program at Columbia College in Chicago. This isn't just a transition for those of us he leaves behind, it's a loss.

The plays that John has directed here — the collections of short plays by Beckett, Hamlet, Caryl Chruchill's apocalyptic Mouthful of Birds, The Trojan Women, Kafka's Metamorphosis and two helpings of Phaedre at Butler; and his work for the IRT like The Turn of the Screw, Under the Lintel, or. most recently, Crime and Punishment, to name but a few, have been among the most adventurous offerings — if not THE most adventurous offerings available on local stages.

This track record was not an accident. It followed from John's insistence that his job was to explore and find the theater of the future; his recognition that theater was not simply a literary artform projected into three dimensions, but a shared experience that is, in fact, an art of performance.

John not only brought this awareness to his own work, but to the efforts of other artists in town, any number of whom are probably already missing having his eyes on what they do, not to mention the generosity of his enthusiasm.

For John, above all, has been an enthusiast — especially when it's come to trying something new in a town that, too often, is defined by its aversion to risk.

He's also been an optimist. A believer in the power of the creative act to actually somehow change things and make them better.

John, I think, has always believed that it's better to take a chance on not being understood than to give people what already know. How else can any of us discover what we're capable of? How else do we learn what art is for?

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

News: John Green resigns as Butler theatre chair

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Professor John Green, Chair of the Theatre Department at Butler University, sent an email to students earlier today breaking the news that he is leaving the university.

"I'm writing to tell you that after 11 wonderful years at Butler, this will be my last semester with you," Green says in his email. "I am leaving to become chair of the department of theatre at Columbia College in Chicago, the largest arts and media college in the country."

He also noted the difficulty of leaving and plans that already in place to ensure a smooth transition.

"There is never a good time to leave Butler, but in taking this step I know I am leaving behind a department that is truly at the height of its powers, led by the best team of faculty and staff it has ever been my pleasure to work with, and with a reputation for quality of education and artistry that is unsurpassed in the region.

"Over the next few weeks the faculty and I will be putting into place a transition plan that will take us through next fall and spring, as the department conducts a national search for a new chair."

Professor Green is a former recipient of a NUVO Cultural Vision award as the leader of the Butler Theatre Department, honoring the great work he and his students have done over the past decade in the realm of theatre in Indianapolis.

Though he's leaving town, Green is still on board to direct the Indianapolis debut of the play "After Paul McCartney" at the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre next Spring, written by NUVO's own David Hoppe.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hoppe on the Arts: Mitchell Douglas & Bonnie Maurer

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Two new books by Indianapolis poets have recently crossed my desk.

The first, Cooling Board, by Mitchell L. H. Douglas, is called "a long-playing poem." It's actually an epic in verse, posing as a series of recently discovered album tracks and outtakes by the late, great ‘70s soul and r&b artist Donny Hathaway.

Douglas' book represents a great leap of the poet's imagination, an attempt to lose himself in the life, times and work of another artist. At root, this feels like what any of us would wish for regarding those artists that have moved us and changed our lives. There is a shared intimacy, even though we are strangers — and a certain knowledge that reaches beyond scholarship.

Douglas assembles Hathaway's inner (or secret?) life through an extended series of brief, elliptical poems written in an elegantly spare, plain-spoken style. Here are a few lines from "What Stars Are For:'

My hand is an anchor

Linked to each slip of her finger,

A weight at her side, the heft

To keep her here. I grip tighter,

Gathering the links, no slack,

No room to run.

Since Hathaway is little more than a distant voice on a long gone greatest hits album to me, I have to admit that it's hard for me, as reader, to fill in the blanks, the connecting tissue, that Mitchell leaves as a kind of humming negative space between poems.

But it must also be said that the pieces that comprise Mitchell's imaginary reconstruction of Hathaway maintain their integrity as individual pieces to an admirable degree and that the whole of his project rewards repeated reading/listening.

Bonnie Maurer's new collection, Reconfigured, takes a different tack. Rather than project herself across the life of another, Maurer uses her voice as an instrument for sounding the depths of her particular experience.

For Maurer, this means finding ways to come to terms with her own mortality, a process that underscores how finally alone each of us turns out to be.

Fortunately, we have poetry like Maurer's to also make it clear that while we may feel like islands, we have language and art to, if nothing else, share the profundity of our ultimate separateness. From "Swimming Alone:"

You pick up the soft piece

Of rotting wood, unloosening

Its layers of gold.

You cannot love enough

What is seen and unseen.

Calm wind at your shoulders,

Dust lifts into a swirl — the djinn

Offers a wish and disappears.

Maurer's tone throughout this collection is deeply affecting. She has looked down to the bottom of things and found a peace there. There is nothing in these poems that seems not to have been earned. Her collection is both humble and rigorous — a gift.

Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem

By Mitchell L.H. Douglas

Red Hen Press, $19.95

Reconfigured

By Bonnie Maurer

Finishing Line Press, $14.00

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Artists with disabilities workshops

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 4:00 AM

This just in from the Indiana Arts Commission...

Arts Commission announces career opportunities workshops for artists with disabilities

(Indianapolis, Indiana) — The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced today the remaining schedule of statewide workshops for careers in the arts for people with disabilities. The five free workshops will be held in Muncie, Indianapolis, Richmond, Columbus and Valparaiso.

The Creative Connections Workshop series, which began March 6 in New Albany, is a partnership between the Indiana Arts Commission and ArtsWORK Indiana, the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, and VSA arts of Indiana. The project is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Arts and Disability Center at UCLA.

"The Creative Connections Workshops will provide tips, tools and resources for pursuing a career in the arts, with a focus on disability issues," said Kristina Davis-Smith, IAC community development manager / accessibility coordinator. "All workshops are free and open to individuals with or without disabilities. Information will be geared toward those who work or are interested in working in arts-related fields."

Each workshop will be moderated by Chris Karson, chairperson of ArtsWORK Indiana. Karson, a founder and creative mind behind the multi-arts ensemble, The Wheelchair Monologues, will educate attendees on the free resources available at www.artsworkindiana.org. A local artist with a disability will provide insight on tips and resources from their personal experiences.

"We are especially pleased by the partnership support at the local level in each of the communities hosting workshops," Davis-Smith said. "A total of 16 organizations, including arts organizations, disability service providers, colleges, local government and community centers will be involved in the series demonstrating the commitment these partners have to career development in the arts."

Each workshop will offer special accommodations for people with disabilities. If services such as sign language interpretation or large print materials are required, please RSVP as soon as possible. See the following list for contact information for each workshop.

Muncie, April 7, 2009 12:30 — 1:30 p.m.

Location: Hillcroft Services, Employment Service Center, 4105 N. Walnut St., Muncie

Registration: RSVP by April 2 to Arts Place at 260-726-4809. RSVP as soon as possible for special needs

Speakers: Author, Jody Powers, ArtsWORK Indiana Chairperson Chris Karson

Partner organizations: Arts Place, Inc., Hillcroft Services

Indianapolis, April 8, 2009 1:00 — 2:00 p.m.

Location: Indianapolis Art Center, Ruth Lilly Library, 820 E. 67th St.

Registration: RSVP as soon as possible to Kristina Davis at 317-232-1279 or kdavis-smith@iac.in.gov. Sign language interpretation will be provided. Please advise of other special accommodations as soon as possible.

Speakers: Artist and gallery owner, Wug Laku, ArtsWORK Indiana Chairperson Chris Karson

Partner organizations: Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis Resource Center for Independent Living, Arts Council of Indianapolis

Richmond, April 9, 2009 12:30 — 1:30 p.m.

Location: Blind Ambition Gallery, 817 E. Main St., Richmond

Registration: RSVP by April 2 to Arts Place, Inc. at 260-726-4809. Please advise as soon as possible for special accommodations.

Speakers: Artist and gallery owner Joyce Wittenauer Acton, ArtsWORK Indiana Chairperson Chris Karson

Partner organizations: Arts Place, Inc., Richmond Art Museum

Columbus, April 17, 2009 10:00 — 11:00 a.m.

Location: Columbus City Hall, Cal Brand Room, 123 Washington St., Columbus

Registration: RSVP by April 10 to Columbus Area Arts Council, 812-376-2535. Please advise of special needs by April 2.

Speakers: Artist Paul Neufelder, ArtsWORK Indiana Chairperson Chris Karson

Partner organizations: Columbus Area Arts Council, Stone Belt, Inc.

Valparaiso, April 24, 2009 2:00 — 3:00 p.m.

Location: Ivy Tech Community College, Valparaiso Campus (Community Room), 3100 Ivy Tech Dr., Valparaiso

Registration: RSVP by April 17 to Donna Catalano at 219-836-1839, ext. 104 or donna@SouthShoreOnline.org. Please advise of special needs by April 10.

Speakers: Artist Kevin Hanusin, ArtsWORK Indiana Chairperson Chris Karson

Partner organizations: South Shore Arts, Opportunity Enterprises, Inc.

For more information about the workshops, visit www.IN.gov/arts.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

MIke Beas: RCA vs. Lucas

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Drove by the RCA Dome the other day, or what's left of it. Recently reduced to an unsightly pile of bent steel beams and pieces of walls that shook when the hated New England Patriots were in town, the site was, for lack of a better description, depressing.

Immediately to the south stood Lucas Oil Stadium, a venue so incredibly massive that I swear one might actually be able to spot it on on a clear night from Cincinnati. For that matter, Charlotte. A facility we once labeled special and proudly called our own is now the teflon-covered corner of our sports memories, while the new kid, handsome and strong, is just getting started.

Shed no tears for the RCA Dome. Despite the grisly demise, no tear-jerking eulogy is required. It jam-packed an awful lot into its 23 years by hosting four Men's Final Fours, one Women's Final Four, 119 championship clashes in high school football, the summit of Damon-mania and somewhere in the neighborhood of 250-300 professional football games.

This is a sports column, so I shouldn't even get into how many band competitions were there. Too many to count, and I'm not going to count. Wasn't in band.

I'm not sure when that massive mountain of remember-whens is going to be removed and replaced with a large asphalt layer of parking lot, but the day can't come soon enough. It's sad to see the good ones leave us, especially at such a young age.

Can't say the RCA Dome was pretty compared to other NFL stadiums. Can say it was pretty good. Multi-purpose all the way and now it's gone.

TRULY A MOCK-ERY — Mock NFL Drafts are beginning to pop up on the Internet, so naturally the Indianapolis Colts fan in me goes straight to selection No. 27 to see . . .

Sen'Derrick Marks. OK, that sounds reasonable, though I do have one rather pertinent question. Who in the heck is Sen'Derrick Marks? Seems he's a 6-1, 290-pound defensive tackle out of Auburn. Guy recorded 10½ sacks during his college career, which lasted three seasons as he came out early.

Peria Jerry. Uh, who? Another defensive tackle, Perry, all 6-2, 300 pounds of him, is out of Ole Miss. Runs the 40 in 4.98 seconds, so that in itself gets your attention. Most of us run the 20 in 4.98 seconds.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, a 6-3, 210-pound wide receiver from Maryland. This pick I really like as Peyton Manning needs another quality target now that the Marvin Harrison era is officially over. One other mock draft I saw showed Heyward-Bey going 10th to San Francisco, so clearly this kid is a major talent.

Another DT. This one Evander Hood out of Missouri. Never heard of him, but if it's any consolation, I've heard of Missouri.

There are others. Some make sense, a few don't. Indy's glaring need for a defensive tackle seems pretty basic knowledge, however, so look for the Colts to go in that direction. The fun starts on April 25. In Mel Kiper Jr. terms, that's four cans of hairspray from now.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Pictures: Tattoo Run: Pentagrams, Ink and art

Posted By on Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Tattooing is an art form that has been very near and dear to me. A tattoo is one thing that can never be taken away. Transcending economy, politics, work, play, and everything else that goes on in your day to day life. This is why I was thrilled to spend the day riding around with Bill Levin as he made his runs from tattoo shop to tattoo shop. Passing thru shop to shop, in different parts of town, and you cannot hide the fact that every little place has its own little culture, and its own little niche.

This photo set is a glimpse into the day to day occurring of the folks that make the tattoo industry what it is today.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IMA announces summer films

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 4:00 AM

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has announced its summer schedule for feature film showings...

IMA announces films for its annual Summer Nights series

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced today the schedule for its 34th annual Summer Nights film series. From June 5 to August 28, 2009, movies will be shown every Friday in the IMA's amphitheater, located on the west side of the Museum.

Since the series debuted in 1976, the IMA has hosted more than 250 screenings of films ranging from black-and-white classics to modern hits. This year, highlights include "Roman Holiday" on June 12; "Goonies" on July 3; and a return of the popular midnight showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on July 24.

For the second year, IMA patrons had the opportunity to vote for their favorite films in several categories in an online poll posted on the IMA blog during the month of February. The winning films will be shown as part of the 2009 Summer Nights series.

The 2009 Summer Nights Film Schedule

June 5: Bourne Identity (2002)

June 12: Roman Holiday (1953)

June 19: MUSIC POLL WINNER: High Fidelity (2000)

June 26: RAINOUTS POLL WINNER: Field of Dreams (1989)

July 3: Goonies (1985)

July 10: LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION FLICK POLL WINNER: Fight Club (1999)

July 17: TBD (in collaboration with Indianapolis International Film Festival)

July 24: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

(Midnight showing; gates open at 10 p.m.)

July 31: Gilda (1946)

August 7: Hustle & Flow (2005)

August 14: CULT CLASSICS POLL WINNER: Dazed & Confused (1993)

August 21: V for Vendetta (2005)

August 28: Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

*Film schedule subject to change.

Ticketing, Hours and Concessions

The gates open at 6 p.m. for picnicking; films begin at dusk (except on July 24; the gates on that day will open at 10 p.m. and the film will begin at midnight). Patrons are invited to bring their own picnics (non-alcoholic beverages only), blankets and lawn chairs. A variety of concessions, including alcoholic beverages, will be available for purchase on-site.

The IMA is open until 9 p.m. on Fridays. Patrons may visit the Museum's galleries, have a cocktail at the after-hours event AMP (Art, Music, People), held every Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., or visit Lilly House before attending the films.

Ticket prices are Members $5 / Adults $9 / Children 6 and under Free

Purchase tickets at www.imamuseum.org, by calling 317-955-2339, or at the door.

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Art & Recycling in Broad Ripple

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 4:00 AM

This just in about efforts to combine art and recycling in broad Ripple...

FIRST ROUND OF PEDESTRIAN RECYCLING BINS DESIGNED BY

LOCAL ARTISTS INSTALLED IN BROAD RIPPLE

Second Round of ReArtFormation Competition Open for Applications

INDIANAPOLIS -- Seven pedestrian recycling bins created by local artists as part of the Indianapolis ReArtFormation II competition are being installed today in Broad Ripple. The bins, designed to accept bottles and cans, are located along College Ave., Broad Ripple Ave., Westfield Blvd., and Guilford Ave.

"Providing opportunities for citizens to recycle plays an important role in our efforts toward citywide sustainability," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "These pedestrian recycling bins are functional works of art, and I am thrilled to see them being installed just as the weather is welcoming more pedestrian traffic in Broad Ripple."

Broad Ripple is the city's second cultural district to have recycling bins installed on its streets. The first, Massachusetts Ave., had bins installed in October 2008.

"The proximity to shops and restaurants and the Monon Trail makes these locations ideal for recycling bins," said Office of Sustainability Director Kären Haley. "Making recycling more abundant and convenient for citizens is part of the larger City-wide SustainIndy initiative, and these new pedestrian recycling bins are a step towards improving the quality of life in Indianapolis."

ReArtFormation I was a contest to create art from recycled materials. ReArtFormation II was a call for designs to create the recycling bins now being installed. The second phase of the recycled art competition developed out of a partnership between the Broad Ripple Village Association (BRVA), the City's Office of Sustainability, and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB). In an effort to make ReArtFormation II possible, BRVA applied for and received a grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and is continuing to raise money for matching funds.

Currently, a round of ReArtFormation applications for additional pedestrian recycling bin designs is open and has been extended to April 15, 2009. The competition provides a $1,000 stipend for gathering materials. The application and guidelines are available at www.sustainindy.org.

About SustainIndy:

SustainIndy is Mayor Ballard's bold and innovative enterprise for making Indianapolis more sustainable. Its aim is to deliver long-term cost savings to tax payers and improve our local environment, while improving the quality of life for citizens and building our local economy. Its efforts are designed to aggressively move Indianapolis toward becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the Midwest. SustainIndy is driven by the City's Office of Sustainability and takes a public-private partnership approach to making Indianapolis a great place to live for generations to come.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wendy Gould: Korean whirlwind update

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 4:00 AM

I apologize for the month long hiatus. Korea is still Korea and I am still me. Somedays I still wake up in the mornings and think, "Holy crap! I live in Korea," but most of the time it's just a simple, "Oh yeah, I live in Korea..." :)

This entry serves one purpose: to catch readers up (all two of you) on my life abroad. Let's see, where should I start...I'll start at the very beginning - it's a very good place to staaaart - when you read you begin with a b c.... ahem.

I left you yearning for more when I updated with some pictures from my Korean office and classroom. I'll pick up at a point shortly after those photos were taken:

At the end of February, David and I tickets to see 63 City, the largest building in Korea (and 63 stories high). It's fully equipped with an IMAX, indoor aquarium, and skyart center, shops, restauraunts and cute little bistros. We went with a friend and spent most of our time in the aquarium. Looksee:

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

Oh hello, sea princess!

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

These fish didn't move and they look just like leaves!

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

I love these colors!

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

I said to David, "Oh look! Lion Fish!" And he said, "It's you!"

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

Lobster

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

These fish eat your dead skin right off! They have manicure/pedicure places in Seoul where they use these fish -- totally going.

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

Jellyfish are so ethereal.

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

Pretty!

63 City in Seoul, South Korea

I love sea otters!

Where did I find time to visit such a wonderful place? Well, I was on a 2 week-long vacation which was mega appreciated. I must confide in you, dear readers, that it felt awfully strange to have no obligations or personal projects that were demanding my full attention. As a result, I did a bunch of nothing and I regret that in no way.

Anything I did it was because I felt like it (including the dishes) and no alarm clocks were forcing me to abide by their shrill beeps. There was no guilt that accompanied my time spent doing nill, which is only a second or a third, if not a first, for me. The glossy pages of my $8 USA magazines were lazily paged through (and I didn't even take notes), destination-less strolls were had and lots of flirting went down with my handsome prince. Bliss.

With that said, I did look forward to teaching again and I ushered in the change of pace with a cup of hot coffee, bread with jam and a giddy smile my first day back. I don't know if it was because of my much needed - and deserved - vacay or the fact that I'm just warmed up to the new job, but things seem to be going very well. And I'd like to say that I'm excited for what the semester will bring. Am I making you gag yet?

Anyway, a cute story to share with you. The other day I taught 3rd graders and since it's the new semester, these are fresh 3rd graders who just graduated from the esteemed 2nd grade. As a result, it's their first year studying English with the foreign teacher (that would be moi). I pranced into the classroom right as the bell was ringing and all the students got quiet because, well, I'm like an airplane to them (rare to come by and very cool). All of a sudden, a wee little girl with the jolliest grin and pink-rimmed glasses shouted, "HELLO MY NAME IS SOPHIA!"

I said, "Hello, Sophia!" right back to her, of course!

Tis all for now. Anyeonhikeesayo! (goodbye) ^^*

Wendy Rose

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Indiana's Natural Heritage Conference

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 4:00 AM

This just in from the Indiana State Museum and WFYI...

"Indiana's Natural Heritage: A Public Conversation" will be March 20-21, 2009 at the Indiana State Museum. The conference is part of a multi-year project that has resulted in the WFYI award-winning four-part documentary The Natural Heritage of Indiana. More about the project, the conference, and conference registration is available at www.naturalheritageofindiana.org.

The conference begins Friday evening, March 20 at 5:30 with a reception in the new "Footprints" exhibit gallery. It will be followed by presentations by Joe Palca, science correspondent for National Public Radio, and Samuel Orr, producer/cinematographer of The Natural Heritage of Indiana documentary produced by WFYI Indianapolis.

On Saturday, March 21 the program starts at 8:30. Presenters include Judy O'Bannon, host of Communities Building Community and Judy O'Bannon's Foreign Exchange on WFYI, speaking about historic preservation and the green movement; and John Janssen, former Mayor of Greensburg, Kansas, speaking about the rebuilding of his town as a ‘green' community following its destruction by a tornado. Other presentations will address the birth of Monroe Reservoir, environmental justice, restoration of abandoned Indiana lands, conservation farming, the Marion College Ecolab and more. Exhibits will be available throughout the day. The conference will provide information and resources for educators and other interested citizens.

A major goal of the conference is to raise Hoosiers' awareness of Indiana's natural resources and environment. The conference plenary and concurrent sessions will have three major focuses: The Power of Place and Stewardship, Human Interaction with the Natural World, and Where Do We Go from Here?

"Where Do We Go from Here?" picks up on the challenge of Marion Jackson, General Editor, of the groundbreaking 1997 publication, The Natural Heritage of Indiana, which has provided the impetus for the documentary and this conference. In the Preface of that book, Jackson describes the book as "a celebration of Indiana's natural heritage - its natural and human history, its landscape and its life - what it once was, what it is now, and what it promises to be." He emphasizes the importance of understanding the past to prepare "us better to mold Indiana's future." He closes the Preface with a challenge: "if you feel moved to help protect what remains of Indiana's natural heritage, our objective will have been fulfilled."

"Indiana's Natural Heritage: A Public Conversation" is an opportunity to discuss how Jackson's challenge has been answered up to this point and how we may continue to mold Indiana's future.

The conference is funded in part by a grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

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Mike Beas: NCAA Tourney predictions

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Your place of employment is having an NCAA Tournament pool. Or maybe your family because, well, it's March in Indiana and these are just two of the ways we roll. Your eyes are locked on the prize be it cash or $100 of stuffing your face at some local restaurant because few things are more delicious than bragging rights.

So you look at the brackets. Then you look at them again and again until bracket paranoia hatches the idea that East Tennessee State can knock off Pitt if the 16th-seeded and miles-out-of-their-league Buccaneers are hitting their '3's. Confusion runs rampant and you haven't even touched the dreaded 8 vs. 9 matchups.

For the past 11 months you've anxiously awaited the outset of another March Madness. Now it's here and you feel like someone who has spent the past hour renting out your forehead as a catcher's mitt.

Let's go through this region by region, shall we? And, please, put the pen down and use a pencil.

EAST — Pitt is everyone's darling. Not mine. Duke has flown as far beneath the radar this season as a Mike Krzyzewski ballclub possibly can, which makes them extremely dangerous. The Blue Devils, who can light it up from behind the 3-point stripe as well as anyone in the country, take out Pitt in the Elite Eight and advance to their 2,143rd Final Four.

SOUTH — North Carolina. The players and system are just too special in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels eliminate Syracuse in the Elite Eight.

MIDWEST — Louisville scares me. If the Cardinals are college basketball's premier team right now then there are about 20 programs that could win this sucker. Sure, Louisville scates through the opening two rounds to Lucas Oil Stadium for the Sweet 16, but gets knocked off by Wake Forest, my choice to land in the Final Four.

WEST — Connecticut is a stretch of a No. 1 seed, but Memphis is the one playing in Detroit's Ford Field the first weekend of April. Locally, if Purdue stays hot it could be among the final 16 standing, but probably not the final eight. Next year.

My Final Four features three Atlantic Coast Conference squads: Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest with the Memphis Tigers being the outcast of sorts. That means bitter rivals Duke and North Carolina in one Final Four semifinal with Wake Forest and Memphis being the other.

In the end, Memphis atones for last year's close call, beating North Carolina, 76-69, in the title game.

BE PROUD HOOSIERS, BOILERS: Had the opportunity to talk to Indiana men's basketball coach Tom Crean and watch Purdue recruit Patrick Bade at Saturday night's Hinkle Regional championship game.

Wow! and Wow!

Brainwashed at a young age to put a gold/black twist on life in general, I nontheless exited Hinkle genuinely liking and respecting an IU coach for the first time since … since … um, for the first time. Unwilling to put himself on a higher plateau than the rest of us, Crean is courteous and approachable, traits which surely make him a natural in the living rooms of sought-after recruits.

The Hoosiers are going to be fine. In two or three years, possibly downright frightening.

Bad news for Crean is that he'll have to face Bade, the 6-8 forward from Franklin Central, the next four seasons. Think Robbie Hummel, only left-handed and slightly physically more imposing, and that's Bade, who scored 25 points in the Flashes' 49-36 defeat of Lawrence North in the title matchup.

Tough and surprisingly quick along the baseline, Bade also can step out and drain the perimeter jump shot. At Purdue, though, it's how Bade performs defensively that will determine his minutes.

The Boilers reeled in a gem. IU, too.

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