Oberlin Blogs

Parrot dance stuff

April 7, 2012

Ruby Turok-Squire ’16

On those non-existent Oberlin days when you have more energy than you know what to do with, there's only one place to go: the dance conditioning room! Bring on fun times with bouncy balls and things that look like torture machines!

A student mid-jump while jumping rope

See that wooden thing in the back? You lie on it and it stretches you out - ouch! Unless you set it up wrong and then you just get a big old metal spring in your face. Basically, this whole room is OUCH.

It's so secretive - you have to get the key from the dance teacher and she leads you down all these corridors deep into the basement and there it is! Oberlin's answer to the room of requirement. Jane and Annie are in 'dance conditioning' class so we get in free and they get credit! How brill.

Three students embracing mid jump on a trampoline

OK, so the trampoline is a little small for three. By the way, there is no doubt that Annie and Jane diligently stayed for three hours after I visited doing a mega intensive Everest-preparation-style workout, to earn their credit for class...

This was our post-midterm reward. I am so happy exams are over, for a few weeks at least! Well, I was so happy when I wrote that. Now break's over and I'm back, and so are the exams. Poo! They always make me worry way more than I should. I mean, really, you'll either know the answer or you won't, and at a certain point there's not much more you can do about it! But if there's one thing you can count on, it's your professor coming up with some unbelievably strange question. For example, the last question on my multivariable calculus exam was a fill-in-the-blank sentence, the answer being:

"A lithotripter depends on the geometry of an ellipse. It solves problems with renal calculus. (kidney stones)"

Oh, of course, renal calculus! What a wonderful image that is. Damn, I must have forgotten to read the whole of Wikipedia as part of my revision for this test. Face palm. (woo I said an American slang phrase thing!!)

Annie and Jane also go to ballet classes in town here twice a week, so if you're a prima ballerina prospie, no worries! You can ballet to your heart's content pretty much every day of the week. I also know a first-year who's joined a professional ballet company in Cleveland part-time, so the sky's the limit. And then, once you've danced the Nutcracker, maybe you'll finish up that biology project on a rare animal...

The long-anticipated Rare Animal Featurette continues!

Episode 2: Kakapwho? Kakapo!

A green bird in green brush

Hello, my name is Sirocco! No really, I am actually called Sirocco. I'm a bit of a celebrity in these parts, being the only tame-ish kakapo in the world.

Kakapos are one of my favourite VIPs (Very Important Parrots) - tied with scarlet macaws, African greys and Sunshine - a parrot I made friends with when I was living in Bolivia last year:

A student poses for the photo with a parrot on their shoulder

Sorry, couldn't resist. I miss my Sunshine! The above parrot is not a kakapo - she's just cute. The above above parrot is a kakapo. Back on topic! The kakapo is flightless. There are no native predators in New Zealand, so really no need for wings. But when possums came over from Australia on the boats, kakapos had no idea what a predator even was, so as any good host would, they tried to walk up and say hi to their guests, with tragic consequences. Now there are only a hundred kakapos left in the world, and they all live on a tiny island at the bottom of South Island - it should be too far away for those sneaky possums to swim to, but some possums still make it over, so volunteers have to go around setting possum traps to protect the innocent, friendly kakapos. New Zealand is literally a possum-hating country. But it's not the possums' fault that they like eating kakapos, is it? Can't blame them for taking an easy meal. Tough moral problem here. I guess there is no shortage of possums. And we need a lot more kakapos in this world! But basically, as is true for the entire history of the world, the moral of the story is: humans screwed it all up.

Stephen Fry visited the kakapo island and made a documentary. This is him meeting Sirocco:

You'd have thought, if kakapos were that eager, there'd be more of them by now! Maybe the problem is in identifying what another kakapo actually is. Tiny evolutionary hiccup there. New life goal: meet a kakapo. But maybe not this particular bloke!

Rare animal Featurette 3 teaser: something very cute, medium sized, and very hairy - especially the nose. Guesses? So until next time, remember: never accept candy from possums.

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