Oberlin Blogs

Pranks, Pottery, and Hiding Places

December 24, 2009

Aries Indenbaum ’09

I love pranks. Especially at the year's end.

My first two years, a group called Oberlin Street Art executed pranks across campus. My favorite were the Mario Boxes. For me, old video games generate the nostalgia most people reserve for Legos, Rugrats, and home-made pancakes. Mario, Tetris, Myst, Street Fighter, Sam and Max, Crash Bandicoot, Parappa... that's childhood to me. And finals, through its mind-altering, sleep-depriving effects, can help increase one's appreciation and self-identification with childhood.

And during finals, some brave souls hung Mario boxes across trees on campus. Inside some of them were giant cut-outs of stars or mushrooms.

Giant Mario boxes with question marks stacked in the Science Center
Stacked in the Science Center! Photo Credit: Yoshi Schonborn.
A Mario box atop the memorial arch
At the top of the Memorial Arch! Photo Credit: Yoshi Schonborn.
A Mario box hang from a tree
By the Science Center! Photo Credit: Yoshi Schonborn.

This semester, something similar happened, with folks hanging a little pink bike from the big tree in Wilder. There was something sad, yet silly about it. Apparently, the bike's name is "Slumber Party", written all over her pastel pink and purple body.

A bike hangs from a tree


The first sight to see, crawling out of Mudd Library at terrifyingly late/early hours.


Another angle of the bicycle in the tree


I wish I had a flying bicycle.

There are more pranks than these, obviously, but these were the timely (read: finals-based) ones.



I also love secret places. Something about shadowy attics and abandoned amusement parks fills me with excitement. The most interesting ones are the ones you've heard about, but never seen. Hiding places. Rooms of requirement.

Oberlin satisfies that really well. There's plenty of places around here that I know about, but just haven't found. Thanks to my summer running club, I saw lots of trails around the southern half of campus (Joe probably knows all of them already).

One of them is the Pottery Co-op. Since freshman year, I've known we have one. I've seen the bowls; I've had tea in their mugs. I've mentioned it on tours. But if someone asked me to point it out, I'd have no idea. No clue.

This is where Kris comes in. Kris was in Storytelling Exco last semester. Much as I love the abstract joy of finding and sharing new narratives, I really love the exco (and all excos, really) because they let you connect to people you wouldn't ordinarily get to know. Storytelling exposes people's insides, their spiritual interiors. Kris's ur-brain holds soft guitar music, bright colors, rugby, falling down, and all the sunlight southern California can create. And even though we didn't get to hang out too often last semester, it was easily to tell that Kris is one of the most amazing people ever.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is: "You know those cool people you always wanted to get to know but never did because you never had spare time? YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE NOW."

(Said list also included such winners as: "Write like it's your job. Cause it is." and "Have adventures. Otherwise, you may as well be dead." and "Stay employed," with the addendum, "Do not make Ben angry. You won't like him when he's angry." and "Don't be a jerk. Don't be an idiot." and "Optimize. Love is not the only reason to do things, but it is the best reason.")

So, as well as other adventures, Kris took me to the pottery co-op, as, for some reason, she learned how to do pottery in high school. She gave me a complete tour and helped me find the place: a cottage, tucked away in plain sight.


A student hold a clay woman scupture


Kris's tiny lady, not yet glazed.


Glazed bowls on a shelf


Funky pots!


A student holds two sponges over their eyes


Testing the sponges...for... um... leaks.

For a small fee, you get unlimited clay, use of the facility, including kilns, glaze and lots of funky tools.

A student holds a drill
I have no idea what this funky tool does. Kris sees it as a ray gun.



And while we're here: Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Thanks for reading! I made a mix for my various Obies of bands that played here (Fall 05 - Spring 09). If you ask nicely, I'll send you a copy.

The Oberlin Mix
01 Blue School -- Blue Scholars
02 Moseyin' On Down -- Dos Mil Dias de Fuego *
03 Desert Eagle -- Ratatat
04 The Youth -- MGMT
05 God Only Knows -- The Oberlin Obertones *
06 Writing Again -- We're About 9
07 Ghostwriter -- RJD2
08 Sea Of Love -- Cat Power
09 Love Love Love -- Mountain Goats
10 All The World Is A Stage (Dive) -- World/Inferno Friendship Society
11 So Begins Our Alabee -- Of Montreal
12 Friday Night -- GirlTalk
13 Brian the Vampire -- Xiu Xiu
14 So Long, Lonesome -- Explosions in the Sky
15 No More Long Years -- Matt + Kim
16 Skin Tension -- Man Man
17 Anti-Aging Formula -- Bucket Kickers *
18 A Pallet -- Black River Belles *
19 Everything is Fine -- The Inevitables *

* indicates a (spicy) Oberlin band.

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