oh no you didn't

I was going to blog about this last night, right after I saw that Allison had received the fewest votes the night before. Instead I fell asleep on the couch watching some show about women serial killers on some channel included in our recently and mysteriously upgraded cable t.v. No good can come from this.

Anyway, I gasped when Cat read Allison's name, and then cried a little. She hasn't always been my top all-around (she's usually in the top three, though, with Donyelle and Heidi) but I agree with the judges that she is the most versatile dancer among the girls, possibly out of the entire group. And, as much as I like Natalie (she's an excellent dancer and I think it's sweet how she always cries when someone leaves) I think she should have been the one to go. I'm not worried about Allison - I'm sure she'll have a stellar career as a dancer (and in the near future at least there's the tour) but man, was I bummed. As far as the guys go, America made the right decision to send Ryan home. He's just not as tight as the other dancers.

Otherwise, my crazy month is quickly coming to an end. Today's my last day with the summer program I've blogged about a couple times. Before lunch I watched the four groups' performance pieces they'd worked on over the last five weeks. They were pretty great. I'm not a huge fan of performance art, so I'm not sure how qualified I am to offer up a critique, but they presented, quite possibly, the most enjoyable performances I've ever seen (not that art is necessarily about fun and enjoyment, but you get the idea). Maybe teenagers are natural performance artists. Anway, It's a little sad that the program is ending - the five weeks really flew by - and I hope that the students who have said they'll keep in touch really will.


you are beautiful

In addition to a lot more activity in the studios lately thanks to the summer program at the Museum School, there's been an increase in building-wide graffiti as well, much of it concentrated in bathrooms. What I like about summer graffiti over the stuff that shows up during the academic year is the more postive tone it tends to take. For example, in the downstairs bathroom of the main building you can follow an ongoing and heated, if largely misinformed, debate about PETA's various tactics and animal rights slogans. Lately, though, it's affirmations like the above that catch my attention. This one has shown up throughout the building, on walls next to mysterious candy-like remnants:

and on bathroom hand-dryers.

There are a couple of slightly different versions of this one, in the bathroom:

and outside the bathroom, down the hallway.

This next one's my favorite; I've only spotted it in one place, next to the paper towel dispenser in the third-floor bathroom:

It's a nice way to think about the rough patches in life, but by that same logic, if everything is okay, does that mean it's the end?


better than a fly, I guess

My how summer's flying by. It's hard to believe my second summer gig is nearly over (not to mention my first, but more about that later). In fact, I finished the teaching assisting on Friday. This week I'll have one final meeting with each of my mentees in addition to checking out a final exhibition of their work on Friday. The mentoring proved to be more rewarding than the teaching assistant component, and I'll miss seeing what the adolescents are up to each week, but I have to admit, I'm looking forward to a much more relaxing August.

Last weekend I worked, but this weekend Neal and I enjoyed a visit from my bro' and his family. Despite rainy weather yesterday (and some mighty thunderstorms through the night) we managed an afternoon at the Pope John Paul park (one of my local favorites that I've blogged about before), followed by candlepin bowling at Dorchester's own Boston Bowl, and a trip to the Franklin Park Zoo today.

It's no San Diego Wild Animal Park, but the zoo was quite enjoyable and the niece and nephew seemed to enjoy it. The park itself is incredibly lush and green from summer rain and several of the animal exhibits are fairly clever. For example, the lion exhibit includes a safari-style vehicle parked halfway through the glass. You can sit in the driver's seat and watch the sleeping lion from a vantage point ever so slightly closer than behind the glass wall.

I always like watching the big cats, usually napping, but found myself equally mesmerized by these red beaked hornbills. Frisky little critters with very fluffy, fur-like feathers underneath their wings. The Butterfly Landing was another highlight. I learned that butterflies live a short, short life, only about two months (Monarch butterflies can live up to a couple weeks longer) from larvae to caterpillar to butterfly. Better than a fly, I guess.

We enjoyed a late lunch at local chain Bertucci's so we'll probably share a bowl of popcorn later and, if we can't come up with anything better, possibly tune in to Big Brother. I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to watch, and I'm not going out of my way to do so, but I'll admit I have caught a couple of episodes. So You Think You Can Dance is still my favorite summer reality t.v. fix. I was so pleased that America sent Dmitry home. So long to his freakishly hairless torso. I was a little sad to see Martha go - she's a great dancer, but, in the end, no match for the other four girls in the top ten. I was surprised Natalie was in the bottom two. It must be mostly girls doing the voting. At any rate, the top eight dancers are sick with a ph. Each week, it'll get more and more difficult to vote for my top guy and gal. I think Donyelle's my favorie all-around girl, although Allison's awfully good. As far as the guys go, Benji wins top all-around, for now at least, but I like Travis a lot, too. I guess we'll just have to see how long America and I agree.


sweet sixteen

I have officially entered adulthood. On the one hand, the summer before my senior year in high school doesn't seem like it happened all that long ago (eleven years to be exact, in case you were wondering). I worked at my first "real" job that summer and, shortly after the school year began, travelled back to the States for my big brother's wedding. I wore a fancy dress and developed a mild crush on my future sister-in-law's brother who taught me how to salsa dance. That seems fairly grown-up, typical sixteen/seventeen-ish young woman stuff ("not a girl, not yet a woman"). And yet, I'm having a hard time remembering that around the teenagers that make up this year's summer studio program. Having previously worked with either really little kids or undergrads, this in-between age is proving to be a challenge. Don't get me wrong - most of the students are pretty great, motivated, dedicated, all that good stuff, and, most importantly, having fun. But I think a lot of the kids have a definite too-old-for-summer-camp/"this blows" attitude. And you can't exactly treat them like a gaggle of six-year-olds, reminding them to look both ways before they cross the street to install their public art projects on the riverbank next to the school building. I guess I was expecting a little more enthusiasm, but maybe I watch a little too much reality t.v. One too many generations of go-getter contestants only slightly older than these kids on shows like American Idol, America's Next Top Model, and So You Think You Can Dance have given me the impression that young adults who specialize early (i.e. attending a college prep summer studio program) are driven and, well, willing to do just about anything to "win." Maybe we should start some sort of elimination by vote procedure with a panel of judges. And televise it all.

Hmmm....Anyway, speaking of reality television, I've had little time for much else, putting in a good fifty or so hours this week between my two jobs. I get home in the evening and collapse in front of the t.v. for a couple of hours before I can keep my eyes open no longer and slither into bed at the wee hour of 10 p.m. SYTYCD gave me a real shocker this week when they sent Musa home. Granted, Natalie and Musa were not one of the couples I voted for the previous night. In fact, the three couples I voted for - Heidi & Ryan, Allison & Ivan, and Donyelle & Benji - were in the top three this week. And I think Ashleigh was the right gal to get the boot. But between the three guys, Dmitry should've been the one to go. He is not "special," no matter what the judges say. He's the "one-trick pony" (as Mary Murphy initially described Ivan, who she later compared to Seabiscuit in keeping with the horse metaphors) and he shaves his armpits. How is that sexy? I was pissed and might have almost cried. We'll see what happens next week when the producers shake up the couples a bit and we start voting for individual dancers.


funky little white girl

That's more or less how SYTYCD judges have been describing Heidi the last few weeks, as she continues to surprise and impress with her "nasty" and "sick" moves. I gotta agree, but I liked her before she got funky, and was utterly shocked that she was in the bottom three couples this week. I thought the routine she and Ryan danced was the best (I love Shane Sparks' choreography). She is a little bit like a chihuahua on speed in her solo, I'll give the judges that (in their words, it was more like "going overboard," but you get my meaning), but still one of my favorite dancers. I'm consistently liking the Donyelle-Benji duo a whole lot too, although this past week's routine wasn't their best, in my opinion. Allison's great, as well, but I just don't think Ivan is versatile enough. Natalie and Musa are super hot, but good chemistry will only get you so far. I find that the judges contradict themselves, amazed that someone like Musa - with no professional training - can pull off a ballroom performance, while splitting hairs over other dancers' lack of technique, even if the overall performance was entertaining.

Almost competing for my reality t.v. attention span this week was the premier of "Big Brother 7: All-Stars" on Thursday night. When I saw that Danielle - who should've won season three - would be in the house again, I felt fairly committed to watching. But about a half-hour into the show I decided to take my nail polish off instead. BB has managed to take one of the most annoying aspects of recurring reality television shows - each generation of contestants having watched more of the show - and make it the central focus of an entire season. On "America's Next Top Model" this usually just translates into a little less airtime for Miss J's runway training - most of the girls on the show at this point have been practicing their runway walk since season one. But BB requires very little actual skill of any kind to play - just a lot of human drama and back-stabbing - and all the show's contestants, more than in previous seasons, think they've got the best strategy, particularly since they know, for example, Danielle's strengths and weaknesses as a player. And that's just boring. Needless to say, I won't be watching this season. When Danielle was nominated for eviction I was tempted - just to see if she stays in or gets voted off first - but I feel strongly that I must resist that temptation. It's just not worth another season of Howie, Janelle, and Jase.