March 13th, 2015


My Home Is Gone!

Somehow I managed to live in the same dorm for four years at Northwestern. This wasn't easy, given that one had to survive a housing lottery. And being the social animal I've always been -- I wanted a single room and wanted nothing to do with sharing a room with a roommate. (grin) So I managed to get into Foster House, 2253 Sheridan Road, my freshman year. Room 108, right in the SW corner, with windows on two sides and across the hall from Room 101, Tim the RHC/RA, Resident Adviser for Foster House and Resident Hall Coordinator for Small Houses North. Alas, I lost the lottery the first year, and Gary Murakami, who had the ha-ha room on the first floor, was able to move into the much more spacious Room 108. Eventually, I got off the waiting list and got Room 308, which because of the first floor lounge, was NOT two floors above 108, but in the NW corner of the dorm, at the end of the hall. Next to me was the fire escape, whose landing was shared with CCS next door. If you went up the fire escape, there was a sort of patio up there, built onto the arched bridge between Foster and CCS.

I survived the lottery two more times and stayed in Room 308.

Way back on 26 August 2011 we drove around the campus and released a monarch butterfly in front of Foster House (DW). Who knew this would be the last year of Foster House? Oh, the building is still there, but it has been absorbed into CCS -- the College of Cultural and Community Studies -- the first Residential College at NU, established in 1971 -- five years before I started college.
In summer 2012, CCS underwent major renovations. Foster House, which was an all-male dorm since its construction, was combined with CCS through the addition of a central bridge and staircase and consolidation of mechanical rooms and facilities. Because of the university’s decision to relocated three fraternities into what was once university housing, GREEN house was moved into the new combined 2303 Sheridan. CCS members live in the second and third floors of the combined building, and GREEN house members live on the third, fourth, and fifth floors.
I found all this out because Book 2 of my YA trilogy takes place partly at Northwestern as the princesses go to college in America. And I've been using a lot of resources to track the changes from those idyllic years in the dorm, 1976-80, and the years working at NU and living in Wilmette 1980-84.

So there I was tonight, checking out the fraternities in the north quads, because there's been some movement. 2251 Sheridan used to be Kappa Sigma -- now it's ZBT -- for example. But when I hovered over the interactive NU campus map at my old home, it just said College of Cultural and Community Studies.

Say it ain't so? I mean, the "Foster Home for Single Men Who Couldn't Get Dates" was an institution since 1903. And who could forget the confusion between Foster House north of Tech and Foster-Walker Complex several blocks south, which was a giant coed dorm of single rooms literally furnished by Playskool? The kids these days call Foster-Walker "Plex" now. Who knew?

Actually, CCS was squeezed between Foster and Goodrich -- they really needed room and by conquering Foster House, they share their enlarged territory with GREEN House, which itself was displace by moving frats around. Goodrich looks like it's Pi Kappa Alpha now.

So it's more of a surprise than anything. I'm not going to stop giving to NU because they took away my dorm. (absurd-grin) Hell, Allison hasn't been an all-women's dorm in years, for example. Back in the 70s it was called the Virgin Vault. College students are such asses. The last all-women's dorm is Hobart House -- and THEY call it affectionately Ho House. No, really, it's on their web page. And it, too, is a residential college.

And what's this air conditioning business I keep seeing in campus housing? I bet they changed the sidewalks along Sheridan Road so you don't walk uphill both ways any more. (cranky-old-grin)

Meanwhile, I shall shed a tear for Foster House, which is no longer just Foster House.


Dr. Phil
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And Now We Are Three

Ah, non leap years. We had a Friday the 13th in February and it was so much fun, we decided to do it again in March.

On Thursday, the YA trilogy project hit not one, but TWO milestones: (1) we passed the 275,000 word mark and (2) the main file exceeded 1000 pages. Now, as I've said before, the page count really doesn't mean anything, except that it was getting a bit unwieldy. I'd already offloaded the Research notes to a separate file and I've been debating dividing the main file into three files, for Books 1, 2 and 3. By itself, it makes things a little more complicated, having to balance three files instead of one. But there's a bigger reason: I now have enough story that I can reasonably contemplate spending time editing Book 1. My tentative timetable suggested having some sort of Book 1 worked up in April, so I guess I am sort of right on schedule.

For the actual five volumes -- Books 1 Part A/B, Book 2 Parts A/B and Book 3 -- I am running about 20 chapters a volume, 125 chapters total for the big file. For simplicity's sake, I am doing continuous chapter numbering, rather than have multiple Chapter 1s. Which makes me wonder WHY Microsoft Word has never let you set the starting number for AutoNum fields. Oh, I have a kluge using a page of nothing but Chapter XX fields, where XX goes from 1 to (N-1) so the new file starts with Chapter N. But come on... NO ONE has ever wanted to start numbering from something other than 1? You can change where page numbers start. You can start fields anew if you're doing outlining. Why is this so weird?

Also, Book 1 has some of the oldest writing from when I started Plan D of the YA novel, and every time I go poking around in there, I sometimes go Ugh..., because as the story has matured and I began to figure out where I was going with this, there has been some change in tone. Not to worry, this always happens to me. (grin)

Hammer and tongs. Fire up the forges. Get the quenching pools ready. It is time to start beating this into a novel.

Oh, I suppose that Thursday had a third milestone: (3) I haven't really spent any money on this project since September 2014, other than buying more flash drives for backups. So I was waiting for something to finish yesterday, I was glancing around the room and spied my research pile of Lonely Planet books on the bookshelf. Sure, I've made excellent use of web resources, but there are times when leafing through a book is a good thing. So I hopped onto Amazon and ordered the Lonely Planet books for Denmark and Norway. Naturally, they're 2011-2012 editions and both of them have 2015 editions -- coming out in June and July. Sigh. Nope, I need them now, so at the risk of updating them later this year, let's go for it. The web still awaits. And since the total was over $25, I was able to use some Amazon Add-ons to buy a couple of bags of Dentene Arctic Chill gum for really cheap. Amazon is surely laughing their collective corporate head over us.

Speaking of Amazon, I got a notice about something called Amazon Matchbook, whereby if you buy certain titles from Amazon itself, you can be eligible to buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 "or less". ($9.99 for textbooks.) When I clicked on the link, it listed all the eligible books -- some stretching back to around 2005 purchases. Don't need that, but it's sort of like buying the music CD and having Amazon Prime make the MP3s available to you for free. And you don't have to buy the digital book copy at full price, which makes it a bit of an improvement.

And as I noted yesterday (DW), my researches have uncovered the sad tale of Foster House, the dorm I spent four years of my life in at Northwestern 1976-1980, which was apparently swallowed up into the residential college CCS next door, and exists as an all men's mostly singles dorm no more. The fire escape door outside Room 308 I guess is now an enclosed stairwell. Progress. Sigh. After some 109 years. And people say nothing ever changes...

New Researches: The custom of clinking glasses and meeting a drinking partner's gaze when you ‘skål’ them, is rooted in the Viking warrior tradition of ensuring that no one had poisoned their drink. Skål means bowl in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic. In the British Royal Navy, the officers' noon mess typically began with the loyal toast, followed by a toast distinctive for the day of the week. In Sweden, the Loyal Toast is "Hans Majestät Konungens skål". French Gauloises began in 1910, later adding an American-style lighter, filtered tip cigarette: Gauloises Blondes. How to get hens to lay eggs in the winter. Ducks do better. Chicago Bulls, White Sox and Blackhawks. (I already know plenty about the Cubs and Bears -- grin) The United Center. Oh, there still IS a Carmen's Pizza in Evanston IL -- it just moved. And there's a Lou Malnati's nearby -- their store west of the Loop operates a shuttle bus to Chicago Bulls games at the United Center. Bandholm is a small port town and parish on the coast of northern Lolland, Region Zealand, Denmark. East Sealand Railway Company (Østbanen). Current running 1878 steam locomotive ØSJS 2 bears the name KJØGE, although that was the name of ØSJS 1, which was scrapped in 1914. The Farøbroerne are two road bridges that connect the islands of Falster and Zealand in Denmark by way of the small island of Farø which is approximately mid-way across the Storstrømmen sound. Oslo's Alex Sushi opened a Copenhagen edition in 2011, right near Kongens Nytorv, previously in play. CTA #22 Clark bus south of the Howard Street El station. Hobart House, also known as Northwestern University’s Women’s Residential College, is the only all-female dorm located on the campus. Residents like to refer to the house fondly as the Ho House. (This is from their website -- I can't make this stuff up.) B&W GRAND BALLROOM is a new event venue, and located at the old historical Burmeister & Wain shipyard in Copenhagen. The 1960s SAS hotel -- think Pan Am building in Copenhagen -- Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, designed by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen (The Egg and Swan chairs). Room 606 has been restored to its original Jacobsen furnishings. Royal Suite on 19th floor. Alberto K restaurant on 20th floor. Copenhagen and suburbs: Albertslund Municipality. Saltholm (Salt Islet) is a Danish island in the Øresund. Its neighboring island to the south is the artificial island Peberholm (Pepper Islet), which is a part of the Øresund Bridge and was named to complement Saltholm. And I couldn't resist last night namechecking in the story, Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, OBE (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015).

Sometimes it is amazing where research -- and maps -- take you. Microsoft Bing, for once, actually had a satellite view map with a better angle from space that Google Maps. Well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day... (evil-grin)

The shiny counters, just before going to Version 1.10, stand at:

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.09 (03-13-15 Fr, 1002 pages)

Book 1 Part A (79,682 words, starts page 39) / Part B (46,741 words, starts page 302)

Book 2 Part A (68,620. words, starts page 473) / Part B (45,119 words, starts page 722.)

Book 3 (starts page 888)

The Lost Kingdom Fourth-Fifth Novels Version 1.07 (3-13-2015 Fr, 50 pages)
Book 4 (1846 words) / Book 5 (10,561 words)

The new files have version numbers 1.10, 2.10, 3.10 and 4.10, with R.10 for research. Not that you care, but these blog entries are as much a journal for me as letting you know what's going on.

And I am still having a whole lotta fun.

Dr. Phil
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