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18 April 2011 @ 10:37 am
But you can see it from here  
So here I am at Buena Vista University (which, by the way, they pronounce "byoona" rather than "bwayna"... apparently this has something to do with the Spanish-American War) in Storm Lake, Iowa. BVU is small and in the middle of nowhere but very well endowed; the campus is saturated with wifi and every student gets a laptop and, this year, an iPad as well. Walking past students' screens at breakfast, I see: Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, Microsoft Word, Facebook. The school also makes up for its location with an extensive travel program. Most students travel somewhere like New York each year, and my host Inez is going to Korea. And, of course, they paid to bring me out here to speak.

Nonetheless, it is the middle of Iowa. The coffee I got this morning was so pale and weak I literally thought I'd gotten tea by accident. I mean, if there were text on the bottom of the cup you would have had no difficulty reading it. Inez took me out for Mexican last night; it was actually quite good, but as we were preparing to leave the gal at the next table asked me what I'd had. "Arroz con pollo," I said. She blinked and asked me what that was in English.

The school mascot is the beaver, which apparently most of the visiting lecturers find hilarious. As I'm from Oregon, the Beaver State, it's not funny but it is a bit distracting.

I got a lot of writing done on the plane yesterday: 1684 words for the day, total of 5363. Just the siege and aftermath to go. Unfortunately, the editor asked for 3000-5000 words, so once I'm done I'll have some cutting to do. More writing this morning, as I don't have any obligations today until lunchtime.

And that's the news from Storm Lake, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the students are jesus christ, was I ever that young?

 
 
 
threeoutsidethreeoutside on April 18th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, what passes for coffee in northern Iowa is...pathetic. I lived in that vicinity for 6 or 7 years and - speaking in terms of coffee, note - I was never so glad to get out of a place in my life.

...speaking in other realms, too, now that I think of it.

Can you get someone to bring you some instant coffee to sprinkle in the pale tan water? I know, horrible; but better than Iowa coffee, at that.
dd-bdd_b on April 18th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
I have to wonder just a little about a place that names their "substance-free" residence Liberty Hall, though!
Billwhl on April 18th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
Possibly you have to spit on the mat, in order to pass the drug test? Just don't insult the cat! There are limits to speech, after all.
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on April 18th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
I once went to a Mexican restaurant and ordered what the menu listed as "pollo", and I pronounced it in my best approximation of the Spanish. The waitress blinked, and then repeated it as "polo", pronounced as in the game played on horseback.

This restaurant, unfortunately, was in Ashland, Oregon.
the laughing leaping waterminnehaha on April 18th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC)
We have some friends with a daughter attending that school now. Her first name is Analisa. If you should happen to meet her, give her our best.

K.
et in Arcadia egoboo: Chicago (from Adler)apostle_of_eris on April 18th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
not "byu-enna"?
David D. Levinedavidlevine on April 18th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
No, I'm told it's BYOO-na. Haven't heard it from any Iowa natives, though.