MJ’s Present – Our Names in Korean

By Mona Malacane

Did you receive a sheet of paper with some cool looking squiggly lines and letters in your mailbox recently? Those cards are your name in Korean, written by MinJi Kim (MJ) for Hanguel Day – Korean Alphabet Day – on October 9th. The day marks the anniversary of the creation of the Korean alphabet in 1443. MJ explained that the anniversary used to be celebrated as a holiday and students would get the day off, but in more recent years this hasn’t been the case. (If you’re interested in some of the history, MJ recommended this website and this website)bryants name in korean

Because she couldn’t celebrate with her Korean friends and family, MJ wanted to share some of her culture with us by writing our names in Korean. She wrote the names by syllable so that you can see the individual characters (or letters) that create the sounds. She explained that consonants were written such that they mimic the shape one’s mouth makes when pronouncing the sound. For example, in the picture below, the sound for “n” is created in the middle of your throat, in a semi-L shape and the character for “n” looks like an L. The same is true for the letter “m”, which looks like a box. The vowels are equally as cool. “The Korean alphabet system uses the ‘world.’ The king wanted to add the virtue of the world, so there is sun or heaven, and earth, and human,” she explained while pointing to the different lines (see picture below). The symbol for sun/heaven is a circle, a horizontal line for earth, and a vertical line for human.

My name in Korean.

My name in Korean!

There were some names that presented a challenge though … For example, the Korean alphabet doesn’t have a character for “th” sounds, so MJ had to improvise with Anthony and Keith’s names. Another issue is with the letter R, which shares the same consonant as L; so technically, Robby could be read as “Lobby” or “Robby.”

korean vowels

While writing friends’ names isn’t part of any particular tradition, MJ thought it would be an interesting way of sharing her culture, acquainting us to her language, and also just getting to know people. It took her an entire evening to work on all of the names. She very much wanted all of us to have them! Most of the graduate students received the cards in their mailboxes but MJ preferred to personally deliver cards she wrote for professors in person. So if you’re waiting for your name, she has probably been by your office but didn’t catch you!


Seriously how it feels trying to track down Professors sometimes.

Seriously how it feels trying to track down professors sometimes.

Why is the Grad Lounge so Empty and Sad?

By: Niki Fritz

On Wednesday I began my investigation into the silence that has befallen the grad lounge. I posted my research question on Facebook, asking my colleagues why the grad lab was suddenly so desolate. The next day I walked into the lab to see three lively grad students working. Clearly it wasn’t going to be easy to investigate this phenomenon without disturbing the natural habitat of the grad lab. I am, after all, not trained in ethnography.

And yet, it seems to me, my Thursday findings may have been an anomaly. It is hard to dismiss the clear trend over this semester towards a bare and energy-less grad lab. Last year I had to put on headphones in the grad lounge because of the lively discussion permeating through the walls from the adjoining lab and interrupting my concentrated search for cute cat gifs. But this year there is an almost eerie quiet in both the lab and the lounge.

I asked the crew gathered in the lab on Thursday why in their estimation fun in the grad lab had tapered off. Sean Connolly gave the pathetic excuse that his ID still doesn’t work on either door. Edo Steinberg said something lame about being super busy and not having breaks in his schedule. Edo also attempted to blame the beautiful collaborative Halloween mural, saying the drawing gave him nightmares.

Hogwash I say. There has to be something more behind the lack of Telecom energy in the lab besides personal grievances.

I started to look to more macro level reasons. Dustin suggested perhaps it all revolves around the microwave. “The microwave was forcibly removed to the other room,” Dustin explained. “Food is community.”

And yet if the microwave was the center of all Telecom energy, the lounge would be hoppin’ now instead of the lab, which it is not.

But the most thorough and detailed hypothesizing came from Ryland Sherman who provided a three pronged explanation.

First, Ryland says the lab needs some anchor tenants, some dedicated people who only hang out in the lab, welcome visitors and encourage fellow grads to stay a while and socialize. Ryland explains this will help us reach critical mass again. Edo even suggested this be included as a new GA position next year, an official M-School social butterfly.

Second, Ryland suggests the weather may be impacting the lab population. It’s fall in Indiana. The sun is shining and our windowless grad lab doesn’t really inspire.

Finally Ryland relies on nostalgia to explain the phenomenon. “Back in the day (’09-’10), there were some students that really made an effort to create Tcom grad student big shindigs that were semi-regular things … This dept. was TIGHT then,” Ryland mused. This last theory made me a) realize just how long Ryland has been in the department and b) made me wonder if maybe the Tcom energy has just shifted elsewhere.

The lab may not be bumpin’ on a Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. but anyone who has gone to Karaoke on Wednesday night knows that there is no lack of love and fun in our Tcom department. Like all organic things, our department is changing and adapting. The lounge may no longer be the heart of the department but that just means our heart may have moved. Clearly I’ll have to do some more investigation to get at the root of this phenomenon. My first stop: $2 Tuesdays.





Drawing of the Month: Halloween Edition

The Drawing of the Month is starting to lag a little bit. This week the only addition was that of the Battlestar Galactica ship, which was admitting done by Niki and clearly a ploy to try to get other people to add their costume ideas to the board. (Clearly her ploy failed.) There have been some excuses such as a lack of other colored markers and the fact that the board seemed so filled already. But the grad team thinks there is still plenty of room for some creativity. With two weeks til Halloween, we want to see your best scary stuff!.

Oct drawing 3

The Secret of Tamera’s Mystique: A Combination of Smoke, Mirrors and Magic

By: Niki Fritz

Last semester, I walked into the departmental office and before I could even do one of those faux cubicle knocks, Tamera turned around to greet me, knowingly handing me the “change of committee” form I needed. In awe, I thought to myself, “Tamera is magic.”

I know it is an experience we Telecom grad students share. We have all witnessed Tamera’s magic.

Although I don’t want to crush everyone’s secret fantasy that Tamera actually is some sort of kindhearted sorcerer or benevolent witch, it is my grad-blog responsibility to reveal the secret behind Tamera’s knowing ways. There is actually a mirror in the upper left corner of the office that shows Tamera who is entering the office. (To be fair, the mirror is no secret. It is actually a fairly large, obvious mirror that I have just always been too distracted or self-absorbed to notice.)

The story behind the mirror though illuminates just how Tamera’s apparent sorcery works. Yes it is a story about smoke and mirrors, but mostly it is a story about team work and how the right people fitting together can make magic happen.

The front office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day. This is important to Department Chair Walt Gantz who notes that students are just starting to wake up by the time front office secretary, new Telecom staff addition Taylor Conrad, is ready to take lunch around noon. Some departments close the office for lunch but to make Telecom more accessible, the front office stays open while Taylor takes her break. This means it falls to Tamera or Reed to greet any lost students or guests.

A lot of people come through the office door, and while most know where they are going, it often fell to Tamera to turn and look behind her, whenever the office door opened. This led to some frustration and a sore neck.

Then about a year and a half ago, the team started to joke about getting a mirror. Walt decided that a mirror was actually a great idea. “I said yes, let’s get a mirror. I don’t care what it costs. Buy it.”

The infamous mirror

The special mirror.

Tamera jokes that Walt actually notices that each turn to check the door was knocking 1.3 seconds of productivity off of Tamera’s work. But Walt insists it was just for the health and benefit of the team; something relatively simple that would ease the strain on Tamera’s neck and making Tamera appear magical was just a welcomed side effect.

Still I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something mysterious about Tamera’s powers. After all she always seems to know what forms grad students need and she can get a room reserved in Woodburn with lightning fast speed. I was pondering this as Walt and I walked over to Tamera’s desk. Before we rounded the corner, Tamera turned to greet us without the powers of the mirrors.

Tamera says knowing these things just comes with the territory. She’s gotten good at sensing where people are and what they need.

Walt notes though that it isn’t just the mirror. There is still some mysticism working in the office, magic that can be seen through the dynamic of having the right team members in the right position.

“Tamera is magic anyhow. And Reed is magic. They both are. The mirror just discloses one of their sources of power,” Walt explains. “There are many others we have pledged not to divulge.”

Barb Cherry’s Love of Horses

By Mona Malacane

“Humans tend to get stuck in their heads. It’s a human thing, but then particularly if you’re a scholar who works alone a lot and in your head. One of the reasons I like dressage and Livingston so much is that he gets me out of just being in my head. I cannot ride well unless I’m fully integrated; mind, body, emotions, everything has to be in sync in the moment. I can’t be worried about yesterday, I can’t be worried about tomorrow, because if I am then the flow is not going to be there … He has taught me about how to exist in the moment … and what I have learned from him, I cannot learn from people.”

You may remember from her orientation introduction that Barb Cherry loves horses and has one of her own. This week I sat down with Barb to talk about just what it is about riding that makes it so special to her.

She has loved horses since she was young and attended summer camps to learn how to ride, but it wasn’t until she got her first horse after graduating from Harvard Law School in the 80s that she became involved in horseback riding as a sport. He was a thoroughbred named Garfield and the two of them started competing at Eventing, which has three parts: a dressage test, cross country jumping, and stadium jumping. Since then, Barb has owned a mare named Mystic and a Polish Trakehner named Dzieciol (pronounced Jen-tjo) and now focuses on dressage, where a rider and horse perform a series of athletic and dance-like movements from memory. It is sometimes referred to as horse ballet and has an interesting history .

Barb's horse, Livingston.

Barb’s horse, Livingston.

She has owned her current horse, Livingston, since 2002 and he is definitely the most beloved of all the horses she has owned so far. Their coupling was something like serendipity, “I had just lost my mare and the only reason Livingston was for sale was because his owner had just died from cancer … The widow was in the process of moving back to France and the last thing she was going to do before she left the States was to sell [Livingston]. So it was perfect timing. It was almost like it was meant to be, I had lost my horse to death and he had lost his owner, I felt like we were mutual orphans who found each other.”

Livingston is a “papered” (meaning, he is registered as a purebred) German Hanoverian, a horse that is bred to be light and refined – perfect for dressage. He also happens to have a rather impressive family tree, something Barb was not aware of until after buying him. “I didn’t find out until I owned him … that his sire [his male parent] was the number one improvement sire for the Hanoverian breed in Germany … So [Livingston] has tremendous bloodlines. I knew he was a papered Hanoverian but I didn’t discover how exquisite his bloodlines were until I moved to Virginia and started training with a dressage trainer there who is also an international judge. When she found out who my horse’s sire was her jaw nearly hit the floor.” His sire, Lauries Crusador, has a history that I feel woefully undereducated to recount here, but he is famous enough to Google or YouTube if you’re interested!

Barb 3Barb only trains Livingston with the very best. In fact, the pair has spent quite a few summers down in Florida because the state has become a hub for high-level international trainers who travel to the warmer climate during the cold European winters. But while training with the best can improve both the rider and horse’s technical skills, there are some parts unique to horseback riding, and dressage in particular, that just can’t be taught. “My view of dressage is that it’s a sport, it’s an art form at the same time, but most importantly it’s a partnership,” Barb explained. “It’s an interspecies partnership because you are performing and communicating through your bodies. And the way I communicate with Livingston is a way that I cannot communicate with a human. I have learned more about myself and my own body and how to integrate my mind and my body from him. He’s my biggest teacher.”

Aside from being the offspring of an eminent stallion and inheriting excellent genes along with it, Livingston also has a wonderful personality that Barb loves. The two of them, as you may have felt from the quote at the beginning of this post, are a perfect match together, especially for dressage. “He has an exquisite temperament, exquisite talent, everything you could ask for,” Barb said while smiling. He even gives kisses! [insert pic] She can’t imagine owning another horse as perfect as Livingston because he is “one in a million.”

Livingston sneaking kisses.

Livingston sneaking kisses.

First Telecom Playlist: Tunes to Grade to

Thanks to a collaborative effort from all the music aficionados in the department, we now have the first in a series of Telecom playlists. This week we release for your listening pleasure: IU Telecom Grading Playlist. (Note: We weren’t feeling very creative when we were naming the playlists. If you have other names, we are open to suggestions!) Feel free to enjoy this selection of 10 grad student approved songs while grading some of those brilliant midterms or papers.

If you would like to contribute feel free to email Niki or contribute in the poll below!

Drawing of the Month: Updated Halloween!

There are just three short little spooky weeks standing between us and the famous Telecom Halloween Party! Now that we have an official host (you rock Glenna!), it is time to start adding some detail to the Halloween mural. This week, Glenna the Good Witch of Telecom was added as well as the head of last year’s roasted pig! There is also some sort of strange vampire dog hanging out in the clouds, which is very creative! Also thanks to whoever reserved a spot on the mural for a GIF. Let’s add some more detail to the mural people, like maybe some creepy things in the tree or a hint as to what your Halloween costume this year is going to be.

oct drawing


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