Friday, October 2, 2015

Gala of the Royal Horses (in other words...something completely different)

Last night I had the opportunity to take my daughter to the Gala of the Royal Horses at the Mullins Center at UMass. Neither of us had ever seen the show before and my daughter was really impressed.

It's not easy to get photos of moving animals and I didn't want to use my flash a lot, although I did occasionally. For better photos and more news you should check out their official website at

Friday, August 7, 2015

South College & Old Chapel renovations - Views from up high

I went up to the 23rd floor of the W.E.B. DuBois Library to get a better view of the construction sites the other day and took some photos of both the South College project and the Old Chapel project.

Here's the Old Chapel Work.
 In the photo below you can see how close the fence is to the edge of the library deck. There are offices below ground underneath that deck and when that yellow machine is moving dirt around the people down below feel the vibrations.

I like the tree protection area. Do you think it actually works?

Here's South College. It's rather amazing how BIG this thing is going to be. The construction zone goes all the way down to the new band building just about. You can see Thompson and Thompson Annex on the far right.

What a lot of people don't know is that the library and South College are connected underground. The library deck is just out of view here but when these machines are working we can hear and feel them in the library on the lower level. This is staff space so presumably the patrons have no idea.

Here's another view of the right side of the construction zone. The trailers are pushed into the area by Thompson.

This is the band building and Blaisdell (the white house). So you can see the new addition to South College is really going down what used to be a hill. We used to have office trailers in this area which got hauled away a couple of years ago when utility work was being done.

The blue is tarp on the roof of South College. Not sure if you can see that there are actually workers wearing hard hats in the section of roof furthest from the camera.

Another view to try to show the expanse of the whole thing. The white circles near the bottom of the photo are cement makers.

This is what the cement makers look like from the ground. Pardon the shadows. I took the photo at around 7am.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Renovation of South College

Renovations of both South College and the Old Chapel are continuing. South College changed a bit this week with the removal of a chunk of the roof so I thought it was time to update with some photos from there. This is what it looked like back when there was still snow on the ground:

And here's what it looked like this morning at 7am-

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Renovation of Old Chapel at UMass

I think the fundraising is still going, but the renovations have begun. Yesterday and today the workers were removing the windows at Old Chapel. Pretty soon the place is going to look like South College.

South College for the record is pretty much just a brick shell at the moment. I've posted photos before. I think maybe I should post a video sometime so you all can get the whole effect of these 2 construction projects since they are so close to each other. Hmm... a project for another day I suppose.

In the meantime here's a glimpse..

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sorry it's been so long....blah, blah, blah

It's another one of those "Sorry I haven't been updating...." posts. I've been writing reviews on Goodreads and TripAdvisor, but I haven't been posting the reviews here. I've been reading as much as I can, and still reading more children's books than I would like to admit as well. Of course my full-time day job and family occupy most of my time.

Camp Nano is kicking off another July camp in a couple of days and at first I said I would sit it out, and then I bought a notebook. So I think I'm going to try. I still need to edit the other 2 novels, but the lack of adult conversation in my life is driving me to write. So there is that.

Hope everyone is off to a good summer. Happy 4th of July to those of you in the U.S.A.

Feel free to drop me a line if you actually read this. I never know if anyone actually does.

Thanks, and be well.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Review "Why I don't write children's literature" by Gary Soto- originally posted on Goodreads

Why I Don't Write Children's LiteratureWhy I Don't Write Children's Literature by Gary Soto

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm torn between 4 stars and 5 stars so I'm going to give it the 5, but really the last bit about the myths of poets could have been left out. That said....

I finished Gary Soto's book a few days ago and I still have the rhythm of his voice in my head. I feel like I've gone for a long car ride and enjoyed a warm Corona beer or two with him listening to his stories. I'm not sure if we actually have much in common but he's an enjoyable companion who has paid his writing dues over the years. Since he did most of his writing of children's books when I was too old and my daughter was not yet born I will have to go and seek them out now.

In this book he writes about his experience of writing the American Girl "Marisol" which came out in 2005, the year before my girl was born. Just before reading "Why I Don't Write Children's Literature" I had just read "Grace", another American Girl book. "Grace" is from Massachusetts, bakes, and spends 5 weeks in Paris. I don't think she has much in common with "Marisol" aside from her age. And so it is with Gary and I. We don't have much in common and yet I feel like I know him.

Whether he is planting daffodils in the median near his church, attending a Rolling Stones tribute band concert, or going simply hanging out on the deck of a friend's house his imagery makes it real and I feel like I have been there with him. As Amazon promises he is indeed a "master essayist".

Fortunately I am blessed to work at a university that has many of his books from the 1980s and 1990s. If you need me at lunchtime, I'll be in the stacks tracking them down.

And Gary, if you happen to be in Massachusetts some day, stop by and I'll buy you a coffee.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 2, 2015

We are surrounded!- Construction activity around the W.E.B. DuBois Library

Noticed diggers around three sides of the building when I went out to get lunch. This is happening on the pond side of the library deck--

Oh, and this is the temporary library "loading dock"--

Around the back, closest to the student union,  they seem to be working on the alumni garden. These guys moved their equipment away before I came back to take pictures but you can see what they've been up to. There was a tree in the empty planter. They took that out. I imagine they are taking out all the trees, or at least the evergreens. Graduation is about a month away so Landscape Services is going to busy all over campus this month.--

And around the corner by South College of course work is continuing as well. I can only guess that they are digging for pipes or something utility related because the new part of the building is supposed to be exactly in this spot.