Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Boilers and the City

The purpose of this blogpost is to relate a beautiful pair of classic, stereotypical NYC experiences I had this evening:
a) seeing someone famous and  b) overhearing a revealing conversation on the subway train. If you don't care that Fashion's Night Out is Thursday, September 8th, you will probably not care about the next few paragraphs.
Please jump down to Boilers v. Lions where you will find the revealing conversation. 

First, I arrived at the Karl Lagerfeld capsule collection for Impulse at Macy's in time to see the designer leave. It was exciting (really)! Someone from events announced over the loud speaker,  "please, everyone,  continue shopping, as Karl has left the building!" Folks did not do so, but continued standing around with their phones ready to take more pictures or special celebrity guests. A saw a total of two other ladies try on the new outfits, and no one make a purchase. Recall Giuliani's words after 9-11 encouraging New Yorkers to continue going out to eat and enjoying Broadway shows. Reflect on why Karl Lagerfeld has clothing for sale at Macy's in the first place. These are not pleasant thoughts. 

I have nothing to say about the dresses (and I'm not interested in leather shorts or sheer blouses) other than they are all 60's style, A-line dresses that flatter pear or apple shapes quite well.

The best part was the DJ. My only experiences with DJs have been at other people's weddings and special shopping events. This DJ, was not just standing around bebopping with her headphones on. She played a great variety of music-not anything I own or am familiar with, but was happy to hear!- that both foreign and domestic shoppers danced along to; it was great to listen to while waiting in a congested and ridiculous area that was  impossible to shop in. Folks stood around watching other people being filmed; a large number of TV people interviewed random people about the event,  and other ladies, wearing elaborate TV makeup, interviewed each other…while standing in front of the racks of clothes. Macy's had a huge cohort of proactive salespeople who would get the clothes for you, if you were afraid to be in someone's camera shot. I think the few Labor Day tourists, still around at this event, got more than their money's worth of free entertainment and white wine. 

The dressing room was also exciting. The woman ahead of me in line had taken a great photo, of Karl Lagerfeld's face; her NYC souvenir didn't cost her anything! After a dressing room opened up for me, I asked the woman coming out of it, if she was done-I am polite!-since she  could be getting a different size from her friend, looking at herself in the mirror, etc, and she answered in Spanish, saying what I don't know, 'non totas.' I said, oh ok. Then, 7 more little old lady tourists came out of the dressing room(!) The woman behind me, started laughing at the clown car dressing room. I said to her, "I didn't' bring along that many folks when I shopped for my wedding dress." She laughed harder. I am intrigued by the 8-person posse of old ladies all in one tiny dressing room. They were apparently trying on piles of sweaters, which took the attendant two trips to remove. It was about 60 degrees that day, and probably a good sweater day for Macy's. As I discovered while trying on my dresses, the other woman couldn't speak any English, as she didn't understand the sales lady, when she said "Next in line, here is an open dressing room!" I wonder what she thought I had said to her. 

I tried on my dresses, while enjoying the music, and may return to get one later. 

Boilers v. Lions
About the conversation I overheard! It was not *me* talking to myself, about my favorite thing, but rather a young, Indian man who had started grad school at Columbia, in what field I couldn't tell-management, business, finance, database management, computing, etc-talking to an older Indian fellow. The younger one spoke like a dude from Columbus, Ohio which is important for imagining this conversation in your head, while his counterpart had a  colonial-influenced, Indian accent. I actually had to look up the name of this type of English; he said some British-y things when describing school, which linguists call "Indian English"-don't be mislead by this name, this variety of English does not at all sound like accented English, but like an educated gentleman from the colonies. 

Basically, the older guy asked the younger one about his class load at Columbia, how long his program is, was he on an accelerated program with 10 credit hours,  his plans, where he had gone to school, etc. The younger dude said, PURDUE!

"That's in Michigan?" 
"No, it's actually in Indiana." 
"They are an internationally renowned place. They are very well known." 
"Yes, that's true." 
"Very well known. Everyone in India has heard of them. Everyone-from around the world!-at Columbia, respects them. What is the program like at Purdue?" 
"We had to read books, we read literature to review-we did theory. We had a lot of reading, actually. We had practical experiences, you know, applied things that we had to do, experiences we had to go and do, on  site. But really, the piece missing from Columbia, -what bothers me here is- is the organization. I don't get the feeling they are organized here. At Purdue, we knew what was going on, and that someone was paying attention to us and our advisor- and that we had certain things to do."

Didya hear that? You cannot make this stuff up. For those of you who need your "big ideas" translated into Greek, "techne" and "phronesis" technical knowledge and applied knowledge are what we are talking about here. Oh yes, and geterdonitas, that hard to classify virtue involving organization, preparation and executing plans and checklists, thoughtfully.   Boiler Up!

Batmanning: Boilermaker Pantheon Worthy?

Finally, what is batmanning? Is it art? Is it an engineering feat? Watch the video and ask yourselves: do they deserve to be in the Boilermaker Pantheon?

Who is in the Boilermaker Pantheon you ask? Well, people who walk on the moon, people who land planes on rivers and me and my husband. So far, that is all. I will consider nominations for whom should be added to the Boilermaker Pantheon. All members of the Boilermaker Pantheon will receive an honorary well-wish from me, and I will work them into future rants I give on the topic of how awesome Purdue is as evidenced by the work of those in the Boilermaker Pantheon. My family tells me that this happens rather frequently. I feel that I need to integrate more persons and entities into this diatribe especially as we approach the holiday season. Therefore, I invite you to make your case to me about who should be included in this elite group. 

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