Monday, May 30, 2005
Just about the most perfect weather imaginable, a nice change from the clouds and chill we've had for weeks. I went downtown early, getting to UIC in about 10 minutes because there was NO traffic, and picked up my textbook and my plant collecting supplies (cooler, plant press, newsprint, tubes of silica gel). Then I drove out to the garden market at Garfield Park Conservatory. It's a really nice market, with an impressive selection of unusual plants and some of the nicest statuary and pots I've seen. I really want some of those ceramic mushrooms but I don't want to shell out the $$$ until I know I have a good place for them. My poor garden is already so full! I ended up spending a bit more than I'd planned, but got three really nice hanging pots that should keep for years, a bleeding heart that will stay nice and small, and some great annuals for one of the pots. Now that the front of our house is landscaped nicely, I can hang some colorful annuals as an accent, so I decided on a big pot for the center and small pots for either side of the stairs. In the big pot are Calibrachoa 'Superbells White' (tiny petunias), Artemisia 'Oriental Limelight', Ipomoea 'Ace of Spades', Helichrysum 'White Licorice', Begonia 'Nonstop Yellow', and Nicotiana 'Domino Red'. I have never liked begonias much but these big blowsy waxy flowers are gorgeous, and besides it's hard to find yellow annuals so you take what you can get. They have developed orange petunias now, but they're actually streaky red and yellow so when you stand back they look orange but from up close they're just ugly. I used to have a sweater like that, with red and yellow yarns woven together to make orange. I wore it buttoned around my head because I wanted long, straight, red hair.
I'm sure this is all very boring but I wanted to record what the plants were before I threw out the tags :)
Back to school tomorrow, and HAVE to get some stuff done to alleviate the panic I'm feeling. ARGH.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
You boys like to party?
We were coming home from Menard's (where we Saved Big Money) last night about 8:00 when we saw a black woman with a big smile waving exuberantly at someone across the road. She crossed the entrance ramp at Irving Park and the Kennedy, then waved and smiled some more from the other corner. As we turned the corner, we saw a delivery truck pull up next to her and stop. Further proof that even in the heart of of the middle class Northwest Side, prostitution is alive and well. But she seemed so friendly and cheery, I had a hard time being annoyed about it. There's nothing like a prostitute to brighten your evening. And for free, even!
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
20% of a PhD
So, my first year is over. Summer doesn't count; it's just a strange and busy break between the "real" semesters. I am taking a seminar this summer in population genetics, and doing some field collecting. The collecting has me all tied in knots. I know now pretty much which species I want to look for, but where to find them? No clue. I'm going to try to go to Kettle Moraine soon, and have found a guy there who might be able to tell me exactly where the plants are. It's a start. This is interesting: a person who was an administrator at Alma when I was there, and a bio professor before that, actually studied the same kinds of things I'm looking at. I found some of his articles from the 1970s. Makes me wonder too if the Alma field station has anything worthwhile for me to collect.
I have finally relandscaped the front of the house and I think it looks pretty nice! Still need to edge it with bricks, else we'll have a mudflow onto the sidewalk. We used a lilac and a Japanese maple 'Sango-Kaku' on either side of the porch, and then a row of spiraea, potentilla 'Gold Drop', another spiraea, and a white azalea. This fall I will plant lots of bulbs and the neighbors will ooh and ahh whenever they walk by. Speaking of the house, we also just got the garage sided in vinyl, and had the crumbling foundation shored up. Doing so really took a toll on the native garden, and I had some difficult moments when I surveyed the damage, but I managed to regrade the soil and save most of the plants. Yesterday I ordered some replacements and I think it'll be nice again by the end of the summer.
Headline in The Onion today: Millions Of Plants Sent From Nation's Garden Departments To Their Deaths.
Poor little juniors!
Star Wars III tomorrow morning at 9:15. I can't WAIT!
Friday, May 06, 2005
UIC is not usually what I would consider a photogenic campus. Somebody must think so, though, because the movie "Stranger Than Fiction" is being filmed on campus this month. I stopped on my way to the lab a few days ago and watched Dustin Hoffman (short!!) and Will Ferrell do a short scene of walking and talking over... and over... and OVER until I got bored and left. I'm sure that the moment I left, they moved on to filming the big chase scene with the explosions and such. Anyway, it was fun to watch, especially when the extras weren't positioned right and all ran into each other. They filmed at the UH coffeeshop earlier this week, and today were doing some indoor classroom stuff. However, I guess the gorgeous sunny day wasn't what they had in mind... so they brought in The Rainmaker. The Rainmaker is a company with a tanker truck full of water, and some hoses. Is there really enough demand for portable rainstorms that the company is profitable? In any case, here is what artificial rain looks like:
And just to be artsy, here is a shot of University Hall. Pictures of buildings that are wider at the top than the bottom really mess with the eyes. The perspective seems messed up, but really isn't.