Winter Breaks

November 30th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

So you are finally done with all your papers and want a cheap way to reward yourself before heading home, or you planned your winter travel badly and have a week to kill before you go home. Either way, it is a great opportunity to bundle up and see some of Chicago’s winter sights.

Ice skating

Ice Skating in Millennium Park

See the full list after the jump. . . » Read the rest of this entry «

Nap Map

September 28th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

But I am lez tiredzz…or maybe dead.  I can’t really tell, and I’m really sorry if this turns out to be a picture of a dead cat.

You’re on campus, you’ve got a huge block of time between classes, and you’re done with the reading for class.  Oh, and maybe you got, say, ten minutes of sleep last night.

But where oh where to catch some ZzzZzz’s?  Here are some great places for a power nap or productivity-ending/existential crisis-inducing/hair messing 3-hour REM sesh:

1) Harper Library: *Winner: most likely to wake up drooling on yourself not that that ever actually happened to me category*  Duh.  Pull up a big cozy chair in the Harry Potter Reading Room, and you’re out for two hours, easy.  Pull over two ottomans and you can lay down like it’s a Singapore Airlines flight in First Class.  Without the champagne.  Usually.

2) The Oriental Institute, Coffin of Meresamum: *Winner, best place to desecrate an already desecrated sacred artifact / get cursed category*  Free admission with your student ID, and there are hardly ever any guards around the Coffin.  I say, if Winter is already going to make you feel like the walking dead, embrace it.

3) The Social Sciences Tea Room: *Winner: Room that most feels like your grandmother’s house category* Off the beaten path a bit, and sometimes in use by various groups.  But this room is lit with golden sunlight and is usually heated to a coma-inducing 74 degrees in winter.  There are little bay windows that you can curl up in.  Best part is, it’s just upstairs from Core Lectures.  Just don’t pass out for too long.  You will almost definitely be kicked out by a Creative Writing department event.

More places to visit the Sandman after the jump… » Read the rest of this entry «

To Swim or Not To Swim (But Really….Go Swim).

August 20th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

MAPH Beach

The View from Above MAPH Beach

Hilary makes an excellent point about swimming in the Lake.  Namely, go swim in the freaking Lake.  As I mentioned in a previous post, unlike the Great Cities of the Eastern Megalopolis, it is extremely unlikely that you will find a dead body when you swim in Lake Michigan.  The unofficial “MAPH Beach”–so dubbed by last year’s coach of the unofficial-but-very-radical MAPH Swimming, Diving, and Sunbathing Team, Chris Burwell–is located on the north side of  Promontory Point, down along the rocks.  There are several very easy entrances into the water, but if you have tough feet and are, I dunno, trying to impress people you’ve just met, you can just jump in anywhere.  I hate to sound like your mom-grandma-older auntie-or whatever but DON’T dive.  At least not the first time.  On calm days, you can wade out for about 50-75 yards from the shore in waist or chest-deep water.  Very nice!

MAPH beach is not, strictly speaking, a beach, and if you crave sand for some strange reason, there are the 57th Street and 63rd Street Beaches.  The upside to MAPH Beach is that it is almost always uncrowded (except for, like, Sunday afternoons).  There is no lifeguard, but again, unless you’re afraid of drowning while standing up, you should be, probably, good to go.  As for more “scenester” beaches, check out the North Ave Beach.  There’s a bar shaped like a boat (Castaways), 800 trillion intense volleyball courts, and lots of bros.  So if you’re into that kind of thing, do it.  It’s very crowded on weekends, but you might say that just makes for “good people watching.” (The Lake, e. coli, and you….after the jump) » Read the rest of this entry «

Wild Monk Parrots!

August 2nd, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Hey there, MAPHers,

I suspect that many of you are in various stages of planning, packing, or settling in to your places in Chicago.  In the midst of the stressful and exhausting process of moving, here’s a fun fact to get you excited about your new home: for the past 22 years, a fairly stable population of feral monk parrots (also known as quaker parrots) has thrived in Hyde Park.  Apparently, a number of these birds were shipped to the Chicago area from their native Argentina in the ’60s and ’70s to be sold as pets.  By the late ’70s, small groups of the escaped parrots could be seen nesting in local parks and on telephone poles.  Populations of wild monk parrots live in other regions of the U.S., but Hyde Park monk parrots are notable for their ability to weather the harsh Chicago winters.  The birds do not migrate, but instead, hunker down in their nests which serve as permanent dwellings over the course of the birds’ lives.  Those who study the birds (including University of Chicago Professor Stephen Pruett-Jones) have suggested that their survival through the winter months is due in large part to backyard bird feeders–in other words, the kindness of strangers.  I learned all of this (and more fascinating monk parrot info–including the fact that monk parrots have 11 distinguishable vocalizations here.

I have to say, I had heard about these adept creatures before my move to Hyde Park, but as I have recently discovered, it is a whole different experience to stumble upon them “in the wild”.  I came upon a rather large group of them yesterday while walking Sally, our MAPHscot (see earlier post!) at Florence Stout Park (55th and Greenwood).  It was an overwhelming and altogether unique experience.  This particular group of monks was obviously stirred up by the presence of the dog–they were incredibly vocal and active, flying ceaselessly from tree to tree and announcing our presence to the whole group.  I hope that all of you will be pleasantly surprised by such an encounter at some point during the year.

Keep your eyes and ears peeled for these guys as you trip around Hyde Park.  And remember, if these guys can survive the winter, then so can we, gosh darnit!

And in case you’re thirsty…

July 28th, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

Phil here, the mentor in the purple shirt in that photo of the three of us; I’m the one in the middle.

I’m just popping into let anyone who’s already here know about the best place to drink in Hyde Park if you’re new in town and not yet equipped with a Student ID, namely, Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap at 1172 E 55th Street (and Woodlawn Ave).  Jimmy’s is the perfect mix of a student and a local bar: comfortable environment, friendly people, $2.50 pints of Miller Light, cheap bar food until midnight, and the music isn’t too loud to have a conversation.

There’s also The Pub if you’re willing to pay 3 big ones at the door.  The Pub is the official student bar for the U of C, located on campus in Ida Noyes Hall, at 1212 E. 59th Street, on the Lower Level.  When you get your Student ID you can pay $10 for the year and never worry about the cover again.

Finally, AJ wouldn’t let me get away with failing to mention The Cove, located at 1750 E 55th St (between Everett Ave & South Shore Dr).  The Cove, AJ’s favorite bar in Hyde Park, is a well lit establishment frequented by locals and stocked with two electronic dart boards.  It’s fairly cheap, fairly friendly, and a great place to watch any sport that happens to be on at the moment given its several TV screens.

Looking to drink-in?  Check out Hyde Park Liquors located in the Kimbark Plaza at 1214 E 53rd St (between Woodlawn Ave & Kimbark Ave).  This place is cheap and huge.  That’s basically all there is to say about it.

Please drink responsibly!


You’re in Hyde Park!…now what?

July 27th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Winter?  Please.  Right now, it seems a thousand years away.  Hyde Park in summer is about as sweet as neighborhoods in Chicago get.  During the day, there’s plenty to keep you busy, and at night either check out one of the few local restaurants and hangouts, or hop the Metra or #6 Bus up north (it will get a bit harder to justify escaping for the evening as work heats up and the temperatures plummet this fall).

Here are some basics to keep you busy in Hyde Park as you rest up before the year starts.  And set a bookmark for Hyde Park Progress to get info on cool festivals and events in HP that you won’t have time to attend.

The Point, as viewed from the MAPH Helicopter

1) Promontory Point: The 57th Street Beach can get a little crowded, so head over to the north side of “The Point” to check out MAPH Beach–unofficial meeting place of the unofficial “MAPH Swimming, Diving, and Sunbathing Team” (Season: May-June, tryouts in December). New Yorkers, get ready for a shock: you can swim in the water in Chicago.  The Lake will be at its warmest between mid-August and mid-September, so jump in before Core starts.

There will be a post on vegan options soon….

2) Cafe Valois: Chicago is a breakfast town, and Hyde Park has its very own breakfast gem in “Val-OYS” (Francophones beware, say Val-WAH and you’re likely to get some angry looks as you eat your delicious pancakes).  Keep the line moving: Valois is an old-school cafeteria-style restaurant.  A bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with coffee will set you back no more than $4.00.  Bypass surgery charge covered by your University of Chicago Student Health Plan. » Read the rest of this entry «

Special Collections!

February 24th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Hey Everyone!


Do you know about Special Collections? It is the area of the Regenstein Library that holds rare books, manuscripts, documents, and archives. We have a spectacular collection here at the University of Chicago- be sure to check it out!

Here is a link to the Special Collections blog, where they let us know about all kinds of events, new acquisitions and more:

Human nature, broken, 8

September 29th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

The answer to a question we have all been wondering about: Where does the stairwell writing come from at the U of C?

Helen Mirra’s indexing of the texts of Addams and Dewey and the display of those indexes as painted signs throughout the interior spaces of the University of Chicago must be understood, I think, as a subtle appropriation of the medium and discipline of the textual index, one that remediates and relocates it in several different senses. First, the choice of Addams and Dewey as exemplary cases treats them as indices of something crucial about this particular university: its foundational commitment to a dialectic between an external and internal sense of the mission of the university, exemplified by education, on the one hand, and social work, on the other. “Outreach” and “inreach” might be the unfortunate bureaucratic labels for this double mission, which is also exemplified by the constitution of the university as a structure held together by the tension between professions and research, teaching and publication (the press was, of course, among the founding departments of the university).

Earlier, I compared the index as an empty structure or frame to an architecture awaiting inhabitants or a haunting. The buildings of the University of Chicago are abundantly inhabited, as anyone who fights for office space is well aware, but they are also haunted by the thoughts of those who have taught and learned here and never more profoundly than by the thoughts of two of its founding intellects, its foremother and forefather as it were. Between them, Addams and Dewey articulated the explicit, conscious dialectic of the university’s constitution. But Mirra, in reinscribing them as ghostly presences, traces the vanished voices that still echo in the hallways, invites us to learn from the unconscious of the university. This, I think, is the secret to her whimsical and rather personal indexing of their texts, an indexing that obeys all the impersonal alphanumeric rules of the standard index but then doubly rearticulates those rules. Mirra locates a kind of found poetry waiting to be indexed in their texts, from “Abstract, in a bad sense, 6” to “World, as fearful and awful, 42.” She simultaneously gathers and scatters this poem, as if planting seeds and gathering the harvest at the same time. The Franke Institute for the Humanities is the site of gathering, where the indexes in their totality are displayed. The scattering is done, starting from the Classics building, clockwise around the quad. The result of this scattering or distribution is sometimes enigmatic, sometimes ironic or uncannily appropriate; on the central stairs of the Classics building we find “Human nature, broken, 8”; near the computer science department in the Ryerson Physical Laboratory we are greeted by “Geometry, beginning as agricultural art, 129”; in the former Walker Museum, ex‐business school, and current center of the humanities division and the English department, we discover “Generalities, glittering, 139.”

Anyone who thinks that the University of Chicago is a place for the orderly structuring of the disciplines or of interdisciplinary systems as opposed to the anarchistic play of the indisciplinary will be cured of this misapprehension by Mirra’s lovely, playful work. I hope we, as well, when pondering the fate of our several disciplines, will not be led into a defensive conservatism about what constitutes authentic disciplines or professionalism. We must insist on the right of the arts and the humanities to be just as experimental and rigorous as the sciences, just as open to the shifting character of archives of human history as the scientists are to new evidence and new methods of producing evidence (since evidence is always produced, not simply found). While we must of course insist on the production of knowledge about culture and society, we must not resign the claim to wisdom or consign it to the uplift function of undergraduate education. The humanities has a higher mission with respect to that deeply contested entity known as the human species, namely, to find out what it is, has been, and can become.

taken from: Case Studies II The Disciplines and the Arts

Art, Fate, and the Disciplines: Some Indicators

W. J. T. Mitchell

Critical Inquiry Volume 35, Number 4, Summer 2009

Sick, Scared, or Upset? Know who to call.

September 17th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Around the MAPH office, we all know the feeling of panic that’s likely to set in after your first less-than-stellar grade. And we’ll do our best to answer your questions about how MAPH works, from course scheduling to academic challenges to living in Hyde Park, but the truth is that we don’t know everything. We can give you a band-aid or an aspirin, but more serious illnesses are beyond our diagnostic skills. Lucky for you, the University has a whole hospital. Furthermore, the University of Chicago is big enough that they have people on hand to answer questions and handle all kinds of situations that we can’t (like, say, how to quit smoking or decode the rules and stipulations of your health insurance — though in either case, we’re happy to commiserate).

So when you need help, and you’ve got a problem that you suspect is beyond the scope of our capabilities, or if we’re closed, or even if you just don’t quite feel ready to tell us about what’s going on, resources are available to you. And you can find a clear, organized list of resouces at TN_8-3-07_4ga3We hope you won’t need them, but why not bookmark the site, just in case?


September 15th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

The University of Chicago's first Coffee Shop

The University of Chicago’s first Coffee Shop

We’ve got you covered for coffee in the MAPH office, and the food at social hour is always plentiful, but it can be tricky to find out where to get a good lunch on or near the University of Chicago campus. If you bring your own food, you can always heat it up in the office microwave, but chances are there will be at least a few days where you look in your fridge and spy absolutely nothing worth carting to campus.

The University has created a helpful page listing all of the on-campus coffee shops, dining halls, and restaurants, but while helpful, it’s a bit overwhelming. Here’s a condensed version that doesn’t include things like the cafés in the hospital and the undergrad dining halls (though I know a few people who did eat there periodically, I never found their food to be particularly worthwhile). I’m also listing a few options that are just barely off campus, for those of you who don’t mind a bit of a walk.

Classics Cafe: Just upstairs from the MAPH office, the Classics Cafe is extremely convenient, offering coffee, tea, panini sandwiches, cookies, and a few refrigerated sandwich and salad options. If you like the selection here, but want a quieter area where you won’t run into your MAPH buddies all the time, try the coffee shop in the basement of Stuart, which has similar food, but is slightly harder to find.

Cobb & Swift: I’m grouping these two together, because for me, the stand out thing about them is the same. Both cafés bring in lunch options from many Hyde Park restaurants, so you can choose from a wide variety of warm lunch options, ranging from hot soups and pizza to delicious Thai, Mediterranean, or Indian food. These two cafés are in the basements of their respective buildings, and have excellent coffee in addition to a wide range of lunch options.

Ex Libris: Coffee, tea, refrigerated sandwiches and the like. The key here is that it’s in the basement of the Regenstein, so it’s ideal for a quick study break. You have to exit the part of the library where the books live, so you may need to disassemble your study area and check out your books, but it’s still much faster to duck down here than to go anywhere else.

The Law School & The Business School: Though both of these options are a bit out of the way (across the Midway for the Law School, across University Ave for the Business School), and full of people wearing much posher clothes than the average humanities grad student, they can be great lunch spots, if you want something a bit different. The Business School has a worthwhile salad bar, and the sandwiches at the Law School are excellent.

University Market, Medici, and The Medici Bakery: The Medici family owns this block of restaurants and markets, all Hyde Park classics. Medici is a sit-down place, with pizza, pasta, salads, burgers, milkshakes, and desserts. The Medici Bakery is their take-out option, with a wide array of breads and other baked goods as well as fantastic chili and ice cream. University Market is more of a convenience store, but serves excellent made-to-order sandwiches in the back, all on Medici-made bread, of course. These can all be found on 57th St., just a few blocks east of campus.

Noodles Etc: Just a little beyond the Medici complex lies Noodles Etc., a sit-down restaurant where you’ll find an assortment of Asian dishes, including delicious fried tofu appetizers, lots of noodle dishes, and rich, sweet Thai iced coffee. They do also offer take-out.

There are, of course, plenty of other places to eat in Hyde Park, but many of them aren’t quite close enough to campus to be convenient for lunch, or are the Starbucks at Barnes and Noble, which is only worthwhile because they have ice cream sandwiches and take credit cards. Their non-ice-cream sandwiches? Totally not worth it.