There’s nothing particularly outstanding about Ithaca City Hall. In fact, I don’t think I have anything interesting to say about it. But it was a beautifully sunny morning, and the building was nicely lit, so I decided to snap this shot. In retrospect, light from this direction would also be perfect for a church a few blocks away — a building I actually want to photograph.
The dissertation writing is taking a break this week while I write some software that I need to compute some results. I despise programming. (Geez. I sound more like a theoretician every day.) The software was a more significant undertaking than I had hoped, but it is nearly complete, and seems to be working pretty well. So, I’m going to go for double output next week to try to make up for lost time. The best thing about the software is that now I’ll be producing some figures. Two figures equals one page. Easy as pie.
I got lost on my way home. Well, not exactly lost. To add variety to my life, I rarely take the same route home twice in a week. And on this particular day, I was coming home from the fitness center on north campus because the fitness center near my office was closed for Spring Break. As a result, I was wandering through unfamiliar territory, although I knew what direction I wanted to go. So, I tried to come down the hill on a street that doesn’t go all the way through. I was left with a choice – go back uphill or cut through a field which appeared to be someone’s yard. I chose the yard.
My choice was rewarded with this lovely view of Llenroc, a home originally built for Ezra Cornell which sits just West of the main campus. Llenroc is now a fraternity house. And in past attempts to photograph it, I’ve always ended up with pictures showing the ugly couch which the fraternity brothers have thoughtfully placed on the front porch. By sneaking through the back yard, though, I was able to get a rather lovely shot. In fact, I think it’s better than any of the pictures on the fraternity website. Go me.
Fun fact: Llenroc is Cornell spelled backward.
Dragon day is an old Cornell tradition. Each year, the freshmen architecture students spend months building a dragon. On “Dragon Day” the architecture students parade their dragon through the Cornell campus. The exact date of Dragon Day is a closely guarded secret, although my own experience suggests that the Thursday before Spring Break is a good date to bet. Their parade ends in the arts quad, where the dragon is destroyed by fire while its creators dance around the bonfire. Sounds positively midieval, doesn’t it?
In addition, there is a long standing Dragon Day tradition of conflict between the architects and the engineers. As the dragon approaches the engineering quad, the engineers display a creature of their own to frighten the dragon away. This creature is built by the mysterious “Phoenix Society,” although the creature is not always a phoenix. (This also explains the people in riot gear surrounding the dragon. In years past, people – especially engineers – have developped a bad habit of throwing snowballs and other hard things at the dragon. This year, they used water soaked sponge balls, which seemed significantly more civilized. Besides, there were no snowballs to throw.)
For more information on the history of dragon day, see here.
The top picture above shows this year’s dragon, which was the best I’ve seen in my three years of Cornell Dragon Days. This one had a head which moved smoothly up and down as well as flapping wings.
The bottom picture above shows this year’s phoenix, which, in my opinion, was a spectacular improvement over the phoenix of two years ago and last year’s cobra. The engineers this year made use of the huge crane which is currently constructing Duffield Hall to fly their creation menacingly over the dragon. It was excellent.
One day I should write an essay about the metaphorical meaning of dragon day and the “conflict” between architects and engineers (which is itself really a metaphor for the conflict between analytical and asthetic design). Yeah, right. Like I’ll ever have time for that.
I’ve been taking plenty of pictures lately, but I haven’t been very happy with them. Nevertheless, I thought I should post something new this weekend, so I went out yesterday and snapped pictures of random things for a while. As you can see, I didn’t come up with much.
I don’t even like this store, so I’m not sure why I’m giving them free advertising in this space. Every time I need a little something (a stick of butter or some eggs, for instance), I try going to “The Common’s Market.” About 80% of the time I leave disappointed. They never seem to have exactly what I’m looking for. I even have better luck at the Sunoco! In any case, I thought it was pretty typical of the cluttered storefronts of downtown Ithaca, so I snapped a picture.
When writing the second sentence of the previous paragraph, I also noticed what is probably a gramatical error in the name of the store. Presumably, since the store is located near The Ithaca Commons, they mean “The Commons’ Market” or perhaps “The Commons’s Market” (depending on which grammer book you believe). I suppose it’s possible that they mean “The Common’s Market” as in “the common person’s market,” but I doubt it.
On the plus side, I am happy to note the upward progress of the dissertation graph. I am also thinking of starting a weblog. I’ve been somewhat opposed to the idea in the past, but I have been finding good stuff on the web and am inclined to share.