Author Archive

May

10

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Our home during this hellish week?

Bwogline: A NYC lawyer raced a subway train on foot, and won. He’s no stranger to kicking the MTA’s ass – he previously won the Guiness world record for fastest time to travel through every station in the city – but he claims to be “done with the subway things for a while” after this victory. (NY Daily News)

Study tip: Change locations! Sitting in the same spot in your dorm’s lounge or the same room in Butler for several hours at a time can cause you to stagnate in your studying as well. Even just moving floors can help revive your motivation.

Music: Remember Owl City? Ten million fireflies, songs about the dentist, and instrumentals that were always vaguely reminiscent of outer space? Well, Adam Young, the man behind Owl City, is still making music – last year, he decided to take a break from pop to create a series of instrumental soundtracks for inspirational moments in human history (including the Apollo 11 mission, the first successful climb of Mount Everest, Joe Kittinger’s 1960 parachute jump, and more). All twelve of these soundtracks are great study music, and they’re all free on YouTube, Spotify, and Adam Young’s website.

Procrastination Tip: Turn off your wifi and play the no internet connection/jumping dinosaur game on Google Chrome. Then, keep your wifi turned off to get cracking on that paper.

Overheard: Outside Butler: “She’s more hated than Bwog.” Aw, we love our fans  (´ ε ` )♡

Home sweet home via February Bwog

May

9

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Butler reacts only

If you’re an English major facing a literature exam, or a classics major facing an astronomy exam, or any other writing-heavy humanities major facing any other kind of exam, there’s a decent chance you’re currently panicking about it. This is pretty understandable – you’ve trained yourself to make arguments in Word documents at 2 am, not in little blue books, and test-taking is a skill best honed with practice. To help assuage your despair, resident science/humanities double major Betsy Ladyzhets has some studying advice.

1. Re-type all of your notes. By not only reading through your lecture (or seminar) notes, but also re-typing them, you’ll really engage with the material. If your notes are sparse (or if you tended to take a brief nap around forty minutes into every class), find a friend to share notes with.

2. Make flashcards. Tons of flashcards. Mounds of flashcards. Mountains of flashcards. Every class can be a flashcard class if you believe it can. You can use up all of the paper in Butler to do this, or, if you’d rather not cramp up your wrist, use Quizlet.

Other ways to study for tests.

May

3

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Shreya Sunderram (left) and Allison Emmet (right) celebrating the launch of their podcast

A group of Barnard Speaking Fellows hosted an event last night in honor of the launch of their new podcast, “The Speakeasy”. Betsy Ladyzhets, Bwog Editor and Writing Fellow, attended the event, and was both entranced and inspired by the podcast’s words.

Last night, a group of Barnard Speaking Fellows led by Allison Emmet (BC ’18) released the first season of their new podcast, “The Speakeasy.” The goal of the Speaking Center is to help Barnard students become more comfortable with their voices and with the act of public speaking, and to be more thoughtful in what they say; Speaking Fellows do this through workshops with students, both individually and in small groups. “The Speakeasy” is a less formal extension of the Center’s goal, as its episodes discuss the relationship of speech to other social issues affecting Barnard students. The first season, which went up on iTunes last night, includes four episodes on speaking anxiety, activism, gender, and professionalism.

To celebrate the podcast’s launch, the Speaking Fellows hosted an event in a small Altschul lecture room. I’ve had a class in that room all semester, but when I stepped inside, I almost didn’t recognize it – the space had been transformed with low lighting, string lights, couches, streamers, and even a rug. Blackboards were adorned with Speaking Center mottos and a written-out link to the Center’s website. One Speaking Fellow brought in a group of large silver balloons spelling out the word “SPEAK” a few minutes into the event, just in case attendees were still unclear on the identity of their hosts. A classroom in which I once took an organic chemistry exam now felt like a comfortable space for a study break, where I could forget my responsibilities for an hour or two.

Poems, music, etc.

Apr

29

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As You Like It’s musicians performing on Math Lawn

What better way to recover from V-123 than to go see even more student theater? That’s what Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets did last night, when she attended the King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe’s midnight show (a.k.a. “drunk show”) of As You Like It. The production has one more show, which starts tonight at 8 pm on Pupin Plaza and has free admission.

I arrived at Pupin Plaza around ten minutes to midnight yesterday to watch KCST’s production of As You Like It expecting two things: first, to enjoy an engaging performance of a Shakespearean comedy, and second, to be unable to hear or understand half of the scenes.  The first of these expectations was well met, and the second completely blown out of the water – even at a performance attended by around 150 people, many of whom were drunk.  KCST delivered a show that was expert in its acting, yet fully accessible to its audience, and that submersed anyone watching completely into a fictional world where sins are forgiven, mistakes repaired, and love the highest law.

As You Like It is a romantic drama under the guise of a political drama.  It follows two young nobles, Rosalind and Orlando, as they are banished from the courts of Duke Frederick (Rosalind’s uncle) and Oliver (Orlando’s brother), respectively, and find solace in the forest of Arden.  In this forest, between shenanigans with shepherds and nobles alike, Rosalind tests Orlando’s professed love her by disguising herself as a man and attempting to berate him out of his affections.  The play ends with not one, not two, but four weddings.

Four weddings? Are you serious?

Apr

22

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If you need to get signed into someone else’s dorm tonight, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll forget to pick up your ID on the way out, then panic a few minutes (or hours, or days) later. So, how do you go about asking for it back from the desk guard? Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets has put together a handy flowchart to help you figure that out, based on way too much personal experience.

Every possible ID-forgetting scenario?

Apr

15

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Are you at Barnard, or are you… somewhere else?

A few weeks ago, Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets argued that the basement of Teacher’s College is a liminal space, a place that exists between one conception of reality and the next. Now, she’s back to evaluate whether another space on Columbia’s campus fits in that same category.

I am sitting in the study room on the third floor of the Diana Center, studying for an organic chemistry final.

The red chair beneath me is stiff and unyielding, the lights above me just bright enough that I don’t feel as though I’m about to doze off. The coffee in my travel mug purchased from Liz’s Place before I started this session is lukewarm, and still needs more sugar. The 3D models of cyclic compounds cluttered around my desk cubicle mock my continued confusion with their sharp edges and incomplete bonds.

I have lost track of how long I’ve been sitting in this study room. It could have been one hour, it could have been three, it could have been ten. I covered the clock on my laptop when I hid my notifications panel with a flashcard, and I am determined not to peek until I have figured out chair-chair interconversion. I’m watching the same video of my professor explaining this process for the fifth time – or maybe it’s the twentieth time – or maybe I have watched twenty different videos all indistinguishable from each other.

Seriously, what’s going on here?

Apr

13

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So much text, so little Kate

Kate Gilmore, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke at the Law School yesterday afternoon on the transformative nature of human rights. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets, a human with rights, gives her take on the speech and the discussion that followed.

Few things make me feel cooler than successfully getting into the Law Library without attracting suspicion. Once I found my way downstairs and into a lecture room, however, I soon felt that any coolness I may had acquired paled in comparison to that of the speaker, Kate Gilmore, a UN Deputy High Commissioner and wearer of [stunning] pink pants. Her introduction extolled her past accomplishments, as Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director for Programmes with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Ms. Gilmore’s speech yesterday was a keynote address marking the end of a speaker series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her speech was a powerful rhetorical address challenging the nature of human rights discourse in the world right now, and calling the students in the room to action.

What did she say?

Apr

9

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The West Harlem Piers, from Betsy’s run this morning

Spring is here for good, if the scant outfits we saw around campus during yesterday’s concert were any indication. But there are more benefits to the warm weather than just wearing shorts and sundresses: you can finally set out on a run in Riverside Park without your butt cheeks threatening to go numb. For those of you who are a sudden health kick after Bacchanal degeneracy, have never ventured outside the Hamilton stairs for exercise before, or just get lost really easily, senior staffer (and frequent runner) Betsy Ladyzhets has compiled a list of her favorite routes to run in Riverside. These work for walking or biking, too!

1. Riverside Drive (easy): There’s a pathway at the very top of the park that goes from 120th street to 96th street. This is a good starting route if your endurance is terrible or if you’re nervous that you’ll get lost if you venture further into the park. Be careful of the cobblestones here, though – it’s very easy to trip. Distance: 1 to 1.5 miles one way, depending on where you start.

2. Wide bike path in the upper level (easy): If you go down the pavement path at the 116th Street entrance, follow the path all the way down the hill, then turn left and follow the trail for a few minutes, you’ll find yourself at a wide, paved path stretching from about 110th Street to 96th street. This path is great for sprinting, as it’s completely flat and wide enough to allow for easy passing. The small dog park midway through is a great highlight. Distance: 1 to 1.5 miles one way.

Check out some more difficult routes after the jump

Mar

29

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There’s a pretty good chance your hookup will start (and end) here

We’ve explained frat rush. We’ve explained srat rush. Now, we’re explaining another painfully confusing and time-consuming process that forms part of the backbone of Columbia student life: the hookup culture. This post is a satirical explanation of that culture, as understood by a second-semester sophomore who is on the asexual spectrum, just got out of a serious long-distance relationship, and has yet to hook up with anyone at Columbia.

Barney Stinson once said that a relationship is like a freeway; once you get on, there are designated exits at carefully predetermined periodic intervals. This analogy seems a little simplistic and a little arbitrary for the real world – which means that it’s perfect for Columbia. Here, I present the seven exits of the Columbia hookup highway.

1. One night: You meet someone at a party, or match with them on Tinder, or have a moment of intensely romantic eye contact across Ferris during peak dinner hour (the first two options are much more likely). You engage in some kind of sexual intercourse (definitions depend on the person). You extricate yourself immediately afterwards and grab some halal, then casually start walking faster whenever you see them on campus. About 65% of potential couples – the vast majority – only survive this long.

2. Three days: After the party/Tinder/Ferris pasta experience, you stay the night and exchange phone numbers. You go out for coffee a couple of days later, then you or they decide that’s enough of a relationship for at least the next month. You never text each other again, then purposefully sit on opposite sides of the room when you unavoidably end up in a seminar together senior year. About 12% of potential couples survive this long.

But some relationships don’t end there…

Mar

10

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Midterms are over. Papers are done. You’re either getting as far from campus as possible, hankering down in your dorm room for an extended nap, or already wildly drunk. Whatever you’re doing this spring break, you need to get a ton of sleep – and we’ve created this handy quiz to help you figure out how much. This is our last post of the week, so catch some z’s, Columbia, and we’ll see you next Monday.

Mar

9

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Exercise is actually a means of procrastination?

Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets is not nearly as good at managing her life as she is at managing Bwog, but most of her casual acquaintances, classmates, and daily editors don’t know it. She shares some crucial tips for maintaining a veneer of respectability when, in truth, your life is collapsing faster than a biochem major’s ego after the return of an orgo midterm.

1. Make your bed every morning. This is one of the simplest ways to make yourself appear more on top of your schedule than you are, even if only your roommate sees the evidence. They’ll think, wow, what a motivated person, actually pulling the covers up. Plus, jumping on top of your bed to tuck in all the edges is a nice way to get your energy going.

2. Dress well. Or at least, dress in clothes that match. Or at least, don’t wear the same shirt two days in a row. (You could probably alternate between free Columbia shirts.) Nobody will be able to tell that you’ve been wearing the same pair of socks for half a week because you haven’t had time to do your laundry.

3. Get to class precisely thirty seconds before it starts. Your classmates will think you calculated the precise amount of time it takes to walk from Plimpton to Altschul. They’ll have no idea that you actually left ten minutes later than you planned, sprinted down 120th Street, and jaywalked three times.

Read on for Betsy’s other tips.

Mar

3

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Yeah, this is the whole library

In the last installment of our library review series, Bwog reviews Journalism Library, the smallest library on campus. This library might be considered a “hidden gem”, or it might be considered too small to bother with – you decide.

Location: Pulitzer Hall, first floor. Go inside the Student Center and turn left.

Hours: 10 am to 8 pm Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm on Fridays, closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Contact: (212) 854-0390; journalism@library.columbia.eduhttp://library.columbia.edu/locations/journalism.html.

Seats: Five total; four at a circular study table, and one a computer desk.

What amenities does this smallest library ever have?

Mar

2

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It’s taking more than seven meetings to get a printer in here…

Sidney Perkins, SEAS ’17, is the Engineering Student Council Vice President of Policy (or, as he puts it, the “leader of the policy juggernaut of ESC”). He’s been prominently featured in our ESC coverage recently because of a resolution he tried (and failed) to pass in order to put Legos in an engineering student center, as well as other resolutions related to mental health on campus. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets sat down with him to talk about these resolutions, his view of ESC, and the role of student government in general.

Bwog: How did you get involved with student government at Columbia?

Sidney Perkins: My sophomore year, I ran for class council, because I wanted to help plan events for my classmates, help get them in touch with prospective employers, and then my junior year I did that again because I really enjoyed it. And towards the end of last year, having spent a lot of time on the policy committee as a committee member, I felt a pretty big calling to work on the executive board in that capacity.

Read on for Sidney’s philosophy on student government.

Mar

1

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‘Where can I get a machine gun to shoot Putin?’

Yesterday evening, Russian graphic artist Victoria Lomasko spoke at the Harriman Institute about her new book, Other Russias, an anthology of her work documenting protesters and disenfranchised, “invisible” social groups in Moscow. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets was the youngest, the most inspired, and the most likely to take advantage of the fancy cheese person in attendance.

I go to IAB pretty frequently – by which I mean, I use its elevator to take a shortcut from EC back to Plimpton at least once a weekend. Last night became a nice change in this routine, as I took the elevator up rather than down; I ascended to the Harriman Institute on the twelfth floor, where a small reception room awaited the presentation of one Victoria Lomasko. That elevator ride would soon prove to be symbolic ascension as well as literal, as I heard Lomasko describe her work and became inspired to join her legacy.

Lomasko is a Russian graphic artist, and/or journalist, and/or activist. Her work draws on a traditional Russian style of graphic reporting, yet focuses on parts of Russian society that would never have been considered appropriate subject material in any older regime: protests, sex workers, children in juvenile detention centers, and other people occupying unconventional societies. Yesterday’s talk focused on her new book, Other Russias, and advertised a solo show of her work downtown, opening this Saturday. She spoke with the help of a translator, but easily commanded her audience – the majority of which appeared to be fluent in both Russian and English.

Other Russias has two major sections: “invisible,” which includes portraits Lomasko did before 2012, and “angry,” which includes sketches of the 2012 rallies in Moscow protesting Vladimir Putin’s reelection. Lomasko explained her motivation for beginning to go into the city and seek out interesting people to draw as one of widening her worldview. People from her circle did not know how people of other circles lived, she said. To this end, she sketched in public places, then began to write down what she heard people saying as well.

More about Russias after the jump

Feb

15

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A horn almost as majestic as the real thing (from the concert’s selfie station)

When Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets was picking a band instrument in fourth grade, she asked her mom if she could play the French horn, and her mom said no, it was too expensive. Now, after hearing the French horn quartet Genghis Barbie perform at the Miller Theater last night, she is deeply regretting not pushing her mom to let her pick that instrument anyway.

At a rehearsal of the CU Wind Ensemble last Monday, my friend Brent told our saxophone section that, at a particular point in the piece he had composed, they needed to express their love of saxophone in the way that they played the melody. It seemed like a ridiculous direction to me, as I laughed about it with my stand partner. But near the beginning of Genghis Barbie’s concert at the Miller Theater last night, I suddenly understood exactly what Brent was talking about.

Genghis Barbie describes itself as “the leading post post-feminist feminist all-female horn experience.” It is a group of four classically trained French horn players who play pretty much anything that can be arranged for four French horns – which is a more versatile collection of music than you might expect. The group consists of Rachel Drehmann (a.k.a. Attila the Horn), Danielle Kuhlmann (a.k.a. Velvet Barbie), Leelanee Sterrett (a.k.a. Cosmic Barbie), and Alana Vegter (a.k.a. Freedom Barbie). Not only do they excel at their instruments, they love their instruments  – and they demonstrate that love through their performance.

Last night, the group performed at the Miller Theater in the theater’s series of free pop-up concerts. Unlike most concerts, however, this one was dedicated to its theme: prom night. The theater had elaborate, romantic decorations of pink and red, all of the ushers and attendants wore “prom queen” sashes, and there was a selfie station with tiaras, flowers, and cardboard French horns for audience members to pose with. The event also boasted a free open bar. The theater was packed, with people sitting on the stage as well as in the theater itself; this event was more popular than the average Miller pop-up concert.

Did they play any Beyonce though?

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