Archive for September, 2009

Re: form/content + fire safety

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 | Katie Sadow

1. Re: form/content

At the risk of sounding petulant and obnoxiously contradictory, I’ll very briefly mention that although I agree with DJ Sweeney on most points about the Peter Great Fireplace, on one in particular I’ll have to disagree. That is “The fireplace itself—though great in size–actually loses its ability to become great in legacy because of the awkwardness of the physical design of its nameplate.”

I hope (and believe, to a certain extent) that the legacy of this fireplace, awkward though its nameplate may be, will be solidified and (if you’ll pardon the pun) greatened by that same silliness. The plaque is a conversation piece in itself, and I’d like to think that it will only add to the memorability of the entity it names. Okay, enough on that.

2. Fire Safety

Feast your eyes on this:
photo 2

Sweet, isn’t it? How would you feel if I told you that you could go see that masterpiece live and up close? I hope you’d feel wonderful, because it’s the truth! This fire hydrant and a slew of others like it are on display (and fully functional, I assume) right here in your city. Hop in/on your preferred mode of transportation and head over to Manchester (around the intersection with Vandeventer) and take a stroll. The streets are lined with these comical and cheerful hydrants, serving as a reminder that just because something is practical and functional doesn’t mean it needs to be dull and unappealing. I’d wager quite a lot that this splash of color on metal will stop a fire equally as well as its red or yellow relative, but it also makes passerby smile.

Plus, I’d be much less likely to park in front of this little guy than his monochrome cousins, which is great for the municipality, and will probably save me a ticket or two. Everybody wins!

Also, just in case you wondered who you were dealing with here, check out my co-blogger with our fire-stopping friend:

Big River Running Early Bird

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 | Johann Qua Hiansen

Saturday morning was cold, dark and rainy. Most students would have been in bed when the women’s four kilometer run started at 9:00 a.m or when the men’s six kilometer run began at 9:30 a.m.

Despite the early hour, Washington University athletes were up for a test against the elements and talented opponents. Conditions on the course were grueling at best. Rain slicked grass made for a slippery slope on portions of the course in Forest Park’s Central Field. Mud was bountiful with shoes submerging at least an inch for every step a runner took.

The Wash. U. women took first beating out Division I schools Xavier University and St. Louis University. The men took second in a field of 17 schools behind Xavier. Times weren’t that important in this meet given the tough conditions. Talking with the runners showed how though Wash. U. has both a men’s and women’s team, both are in the same family.

Throughout the meet, the men would cheer on the women while the women would do the same. No one left until everyone had finished. Numerous Wash. U. track & field athletes were also acting as guides and helped run the meet.

The three top men’s finishers: sophomore Michael Burnstein, freshman David Hamm, and sophomore Malik Nabulsi hadn’t even been running for Wash. U. last year. Senior Molly Schlamb, who finished first for the women, had to overcome injuries throughout most of last season.

From my observations, the team continued to cement their team bond through the difficulty of the meet. The experience will also help them if they encounter adverse conditions in other meets.


Saturday, September 5th, 2009 | Dennis Sweeney



Recognize this?


How about in context?

Though I hugely appreciate that the nameplate on this fireplace subverts the normative “name part of Wash. U. after you AND your wife so it doesn’t seem vain” and “name part of Wash. U. after someone less significant than you and say it’s donated for THEM” stuff-naming paradigms, the thing is also demonstrative of the fact that form can’t be separated from content (well known by most of the initiated) and the claim that most humans sans design training or an aesthetic mentality entirely miss this fact (a more novel claim).

I.e., whoever commissioned this nameplate—was it Peter himself? his adoring wife years after his death? a wealthy English professor commemorating a fictional character?—made the common mistake of thinking that everyone else knew what s/he was thinking. But they don’t. The question becomes, in the lack of indicative formatting: is this the “Peter Great Fireplace”? The “Great Fireplace” named in memory of Peter? Is the fireplace simply name “Peter” and captioned?

The fireplace itself—though great in size–actually loses its ability to become great in legacy because of the awkwardness of the physical design of its nameplate. People will hesitate to call it the “Great Fireplace” for fear of slighting Peter. But “Peter Great Fireplace” sounds so misguided. People therefore hesitate to name it in speech and in print, however consciously Wash. U. tries to give the investor his/her money’s worth. The “Great Fireplace” becomes a solely visual icon, and fails to establish for itself a succint and stable linguistic concept.

The secondary moral is that a design fault of which form/content mutual destruction is an example can have effects far beyond the merely aesthetic. The Wash. U. community loses a name for a primary structure in a primary building. Peter’s legacy is relegated to the musings of the lone kid who purposefully pays attention to deviant design. Barack Obama wins the presidency by way of superb branding (that’s how everyone else wins—why shouldn’t he?).

On a personal note, I like the ambiguity of the nameplate. It’s literary: no easy solutions. I like to believe that the dedicator meant it that way.

Friday Musings

Friday, September 4th, 2009 | Johann Qua Hiansen

Two more volleyball matches this Friday evening with Wash. U. sweeping Webster University and Millikin University in straight sets.

The Bears suffered a few scares taking one match with the Gorloks to  23-23 before prevailing 25-23. Webster has greatly improved this year and seemed to have much better communication on the court.

Erin Kasson and Kristen Thomas continue to pace the attack for Wash. U. Both have such tremendous force and have been working on minimizing their errors.

Erin Albers had a great second match against Millikin with a 10 kill, .643 percentage.

Kasson’s jump serve continues to confound opponents though she had a three errors in the second match. When Kasson and Tricia Brandt are serving, the Bears seem to go on a run and get back within the game.

Wash. U. was down 12-17 against Millikin when Kasson started serving. But the Bears started hitting back and Millikin took a time out with the score 20-19 in Wash. U.’s favor. Brandt took over serving after the sideout and brought the score to 24-20.

Freshman Meg Buker did a fine job as setter against Webster with 31 assists and sophomore Lauren Budde has deftly received serves all day. Budde was a perfect 30 for 30 Friday. Laura Brazeal went 34 for 35.

Despite the many good things to be seen, there’s work to do. The team needs to continue working on their on court communication. Several times, players would bunch up together leaving open a gaping hole for opponents to exploit.

Tomorrow’s games should be more of the same as Coach Luenemann experiments with different lineups. This upcoming match against Ohio Northern should prove to be interesting given last year’s loss in the Regional Final.

Project Runway, or as I like to call it, the ‘Where are Epperson and Qristyl?…Show’

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 | Steph Spera

8:22: Cadenza is back and live blogging Project Runway. So hurry up back from MOOD and if you still have homework to do, well, you have less than 40 minutes to ‘make it work.’

8:58: It’s starting soon, it’s starting soon!

9:00: Recap of last week’s show. Poor Malvin. Mitchell should have been sent home week 1.

9:02: This season wins for best contestant names, Ra’mon, Malvin, Epperson, Qristyl, Gordana, Althea, it goes on….

9:03: Beach day! Tim Gunn is looking fabulous in khaki’s and flip flops.

9:04: Surf ware was too easy, yay for throwing in team challenge. Shiz is gonna go down.

9:06: Qristyl and Epperson are a team!! Also, from this point on, Louise will be known as Diablo Cody.

9:12: Design a second look! Capital WTF!

9:13: Tyler Perry, stop making movies! Who keeps funding this, we need to have a long talk. Also, Schick Quattro, the commercial where you trim the triangular bush. Not okay. Not okay even a little bit.

9:16: Avante garde challenge, where are Christian and Chris March when we need them.

9:18: And Carol Hannah will be known as either Clarissa or Melissa Joan Heart (MJH).

9:19: Mitchell, how did you get on this show? I can sew better than you. Also, loving the lace ass-less chaps Nicolas.

9:21: Poor MJH. You’re model is now working for Arby’s.

9:25: ” I feel like I’m in a cartoon with a superhero and Greek goddess.” = If Mitchell doesn’t get kicked off today, I am going to stop watching this show. (Sort of).

9:27: The best parts about the previews for the Georgia O’Keefe Lifetime movie are the giant pictures of vaginas.

9:28: Also, Sandy Bullock, why must you keep making ridiculous movies. I want to like you!

9:30: Mitchell saw something shiny. And he’s distracted for 8 minutes.

9:32: Ra’mon, I am freaking out for you!!!

9:39: That was about 5 minutes of bad advertising.


I see some booty, Epperson.

Interesting hand dye job, Ra’mon.

Way to go MJH and girl I always confuse with other girl.

Diablo, your mad design skills were just bananas, homezskillet.

HOLY GOD, a mermaid-tranny-prostitue from the future just walked the runway!!!


Oh my god Mitchell, how in god’s name are you in the top two. Ra’mon, you made it work.

Kick his ass, Heidi, you kick Mitchell’s ass!

Can you send someone home even though you are in the top two? Mitchell. Mitchell. I hate your existence.

Oh no! Either Epperson or Qristyl is going home! They are why I watch that show.

These subtitles are sort of insulting.

9:50: </strong

Tuesday’s Tales

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 | Johann Qua Hiansen

Tuesdays are weird days to start a season. It’s a school night so many students are in their dorms finishing up homework. But three teams saw action tonight and I was able to catch various parts of their matches. These are my observations and opinions.

Women’s soccer– I started off the evening looking forward to an intense match against Illinois Wesleyan. I wasn’t disappointed as the Titans kept the ball on the Wash. U. side for the first 25 minutes. Despite that, the Bears came back and pressured the Titans. Wash. U. had an advantage of 8-4 in corner kicks.

Offensively, Wash. U. knows what to do. They just need to finish as there were several moments when a goal could have been scored. The Bears kept fighting and didn’t give up at the end.

Defensively, all the parts were there. But one lapse erases the previous shutout effort. Look to senior back Libby Held for some long range free kicks on goal. One shot from 50 yards out hit the top of the crossbar. One inch lower and it would have been a goal.  The defense also kept the pressure up so Illinois Wesleyan  didn’t have many quality shots on goal.

Volleyball– I missed the first match against Harris Stowe but I saw all of the Greenville match. There’s still some jitters to work out but the team looks good. Sophomores Kristen Thomas and Erin Kasson have really strong kills. Senior Vicki Blood seems comfortable at setter and the team in general is not giving up till the final whistle.

My first impressions of freshman Kelly Pang at libero are great. She’s everywhere, possesses great court awareness and I look forward to seeing what she and the freshmen class bring to the program.

Men’s Soccer– I caught the last ten minutes of regulation and both overtimes. Wash. U. fans voiced their outrage and felt robbed.

There was one moment in regulation where it appeared as if Wash. U. had scored to have the call overturned due to the head official failing to notice a protest by one of the linesmen.

This happened again in overtime on a beautiful play. From where I sat in the stands, it was impossible to tell if it was offsides but Wash. U.’s offense kept Illinois Wesleyan on their toes. John Smelcer did an amazing job in goal with a career tying high of 10 saves. Zach Hendrickson also has a great bicycle throw-in that sent fans to their feet. I also enjoyed seeing the WUSTL FC fans decked out in body paint and showing their pride.

Full stories will be in Friday’s issues. Again, please note these are my observations and opinions. Feel free to argue or agree. If you are visiting the site from outside the St. Louis area, take advantage of the streaming videos of various home games at