Walking to the NC Botanical Gardens from UNC

The official botanical gardens for the whole state of North Carolina are attached to UNC Chapel Hill. Isn’t that special?

These gardens are a cluster of flowers and woodlands, and the offices and gift shop are sustainably built, and everything is so aggressively progressive and fresh, that it makes me guilty to think of driving a car there.

Luckily, as long as it’s not the weekend, you can take several of the famous free Chapel Hill/Carrboro buses there.

Or, you can walk or bike! Now, if you go onto the Garden’s website, they suggest you hike the connecting path from the University through the Coker Pinetum. Now first, why did they ever call it a ‘Pinetum’. I’m sure I never heard that word before.

Second, I’ve been on the Coker Pinetum before. At least, I think I was on it. We were stumbling through some sort of scraggly, unromantic, dark, surly, sullen clump of trees near a raging highway, and after several consultations trying to figure out if we were lost or not, we finally were spit out sort of near the Gardens.

I suggest a much better pathway if you want to walk to the Gardens. Go on Laurel Hill Road.

Now watch out, because if you look for the route on google maps, the very first option they give you is the Coker Pinetum scrabble.

You know how they also try to fool you? They not only try to entice you with the Coker Pinetum, but then they also tell you that it runs right by the ‘Meeting of the waters’ creek (seen in the map above). Who doesn’t want to go to a creek called Meeting of the Waters? But I don’t even remember seeing any such creek on my one sojourn to the Coker Pinetum.

So ask Google Maps instead for the Laurel Hill Road option.

Actually, the version you see above is not what Google Maps will give you initially. I tweaked it a little. My version is a little longer than the Google Maps version — but my version will let you walk the entirety of Laurel Hill Road. And you don’t want to miss it 🙂 It’s like stepping into a fairytale — flowers everywhere, a woodsy path with lots of twists and bends you can’t see much beyond — and when you get to it, there’s more woods and flowers and slopes. It’s not a road that serves you by being straight. It’s a road that goes where it wants to go, and you go along with it.

Just before you turn on it, you see this fine sight:

Job rejection: “never got through”

(Back in February 2019)

I applied for a job in October at an environmental research center at UNC Chapel Hill. One of those jobs through a university application system where you get the feeling you’re tossing your information into a black hole.

But for a wonder, this black hole chucked something back out, because they actually did respond, within like a week, and wanted an interview. Now, I had to travel 2 hours to get there for the interview, and they were “unable” to provide compensation — and there’s nothing I hate so much as putting time and energy into other people, all at their whim, knowing by that same whim they can choose someone else.

However, I went for the interview, it went really well, and so I wasn’t as gloomy coming out as in.

Then they told me, it’s going to be a while until we get back to you.

I sent them a follow-up email thanks; they answered, okay, okay, but you know what, it’s going to be a while! But with an assurance I’d hear back.

The supposed start date for the job was December 1. But they implied during the interview that this was flexible, because they didn’t even except to have made the final decision by then. So December rolled around, and I didn’t worry I still hadn’t heard. Then it was Christmas soon enough, so I still didn’t worry. They had to do all these background checks on applicants.

But on the other side of the New Year, it suddenly seemed a lot less likely they would still be selecting their pick. I thought, maybe they they just canceled the job altogether? I mean, they told me multiple times in the interview that I’d hear back eventually, even with a delay, and then in an email they again reiterated: “We will be sure to let you know as soon as a final decision has been made.”

I emailed them today, finally, in February, and lo and behold: “it appears the reply we sent you never got through.”

Wait – are they serious? Or is that a straight-up lie? How does an email reply never go through, unless you just never wrote the email or never bothered to press send?

People are honestly so annoying. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

How does it make me feel? Like I don’t want to try to do anything.

 

 

My poster at Construct3D

There’s a “makerspace” conference that’s been around for 3 years now. It started first back in 2017. This year, it was held at Rice, and I got to go to it. I presented a poster at it. It’s called Construct3D.

The Makerspace is where you have cool things like laser cutters and 3D printers and paints and sewing machines, and a wood shop, and iron smelting (or some sort of metal work). I love it all!

Here was my poster: what do you think? I’m trying to develop a lesson for my work at Rice that involves laser-cut blocks.

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My poster at Construct3D

Of course, during the poster session, I was as usual left standing forlornly by my poster to which hardly anyone walked up, I was just all alone.

This was also the most intense poster session I was ever part of. Standing by your poster, and having little chats with passers-by, wasn’t the main feature. Instead, they had all of us poster-people go stand in the center of the big room; and then they had a guy with a microphone; and then we had to give a minute-long speech about our poster in front of everyone else at the conference. Each had our own turn. Well, I introduced my poster, and apparently I flunked the ordeal, cause no one wanted to come talk to me later.

But the conference was so cool! I learned and saw and heard and thought. The speakers were amazing. I’m going to write a post about three of them for my next pieces.

Here’s some pictures from my Makerspace times back in Chapel Hill:

Other stuff I made in the Makerspace:

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My first lesson in the Makerspace. We were on the sewing machines. We made a little pouch 🙂

 

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A lovely view from one of the science libraries in Chapel Hill. I’ll bet these were made in the Makerspace.

 

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An open house at the Makerspace. The kids were delighted. They’re looking down into the laser cutter, cutting away. I used that machine a lot!

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Some of the stickers I made with the vinyl cutter!

 

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A card I made from laser-cut shapes and words.

And finally, I don’t think have a picture of it, but I went to a Makerspace workshop in Chapel Hill where we soldered some metal and light bulbs and sticks, and we made a Harry Potter “lumos” wand! I didn’t even know what it meant to solder before that!

Need inspiration?

Today, I heard a speaker who had some soaring words for us. She said: Walk towards the things that makes time stop for you; that make you light up; that you can’t be pulled away from.

Well, I wanted to sit down and tell her all the times I’d tried to walk towards just exactly those things, and I couldn’t get there. It really is not just as easy as “walking towards”, because everything is in place to trip you up.

But I had to leave early on an errand and didn’t get the chance to probe further.

However, today back at UNC, the statue of Silent Sam came down! Now that’s something.

When Silent Sam was dedicated in 2013, supposedly in honor of soldiers who died during the Civil War, this was the speech given:

“One hundred yards from where we stand, I horse whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds because she had maligned and insulted a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison.”

But read news articles about Silent Sam; you’ll notice they rarely mention this. The news – all those journalists who protest when Trump calls them “fake news” and the enemy of the people – don’t ever mention the real offensiveness of the statue, hardly. They just say, “it’s a Confederate memorial.”

And then people say, “it’s heritage, not hate!”

But the statue is down now!