What you missed at PFW

What you missed at PFW was, of course, Blacker Deconstruction.
At Deconstruction, all gather in the courtyard,
Feast on Liquid Nitrogen ice cream,


 And destroy pianos.
There are two pianos, one for the Moles, and one for the Prefrosh. Deconstruction is a contest between the two groups to see who can destroy their piano first. The catch is that while Prefrosh are allowed the use of sledge hammers and crowbars, the Moles can only use whatever they find in the courtyard – rocks, parts of the piano, pieces of wood lying around, ropes…
…and the tree.




Spoiler alert: While the Prefrosh give it their best go,
the Moles always finish first.

Frosh Project

Every year when there’s not a big Interhovse, the frosh get together and build something, with help and advice from the upperclassmen. The idea behind this is so that the frosh can learn how to use power tools and construct things, and also so that they can have fun and bond as a class.
Last year, the frosh built a palace for His Majesty Dhiraj, the King of the Lounge.
There were a few elements to the Palace – a throne room, an armory and dungeon, a moat, and a maze.


Working on supports for the maze.


The throne room coming together.
Preparing the dungeon.
Putting the final touches on everything before revealing the project to the hovse.
The finished maze.
King Dhiraj on his throne.
The finished dungeon (on the left) and armory (on the right).


One by one everyone in the hovse went to pay the King their respects. He sent his good subjects to the armory and those who displeased him to the dungeon.
The armory had some swords and shields.


The dungeon had a foam-bladed guillotine among other things.


Some got dumped in the dungeon.


Others faced the stocks.
Overall, Frosh Project was quite a success. The frosh had a great time building it and it seemed like everyone else had a great time enjoying it.


How to Build Your Interhovse

As you may or may not know, Little Interhouse is an party that each house builds and puts on once a year. Blacker’s Interhovse is always third term, and the hovse gets together to build something we deem awesome every time. This year’s theme was How to Train Your Dragon. We built our dance platform to be like the training arena in the movie, paper mached three large dragons, made two small houses, a giant mural, food worthy of the norse gods, and more. Here’s a collection of photos from Interhovse and its construction.

First night of construction, over a month before the party.
Building the dance platforms.


Safety Officer Yurko.
The important procedure of testing the strength of the wood through dueling.
Dance Platform Planning and Design 101 with Andre.
Catherine working on the support structure for one of the dragons.


Kit cloth macheing that dragon.
Both cloth and paper mache was used.


Mary painting it.
Kerry working her magic on the mural.
Moving the raised dance platforms.


Keegan working on another dragon.


Of course, the night we were due to paint the dance platforms, it rained, so we made Giant Fort the Interhovse.


The view from underneath. Almost the entire structure was painted under the fort.


Tots and Acid building a house.


Decorating the lounge.


Another paper mached dragon, hanging from the lounge ceiling.
The finished two-headed dragon in the courtyard.


Toothless! On the RA balcony.


The cutest sheep.


The food table (and finished mural).
The most delicious meatballs I have ever eaten. They took hours to make.
The finished Interhovse!




Another Courtyard Inventory

3 years after the last inventory; let’s see what’s changed.

1 bored frosh with a laptop
1 bored senior with a camera
1 Blacker House Ct. street sign, hanging from the north gate

8 wooden pallets
n pieces of wood scavenged from other pallets

Bored frosh is not bored enough to count all this.

1 quick release, hanging from a tree
2 ladders
2 wooden spools
3 carts
2 grills
1 ping pong cannon
1 PVC cannon
1 small semi-functional trebuchet, from Ditch Day

The grill actually works (who would’ve guessed?). Ping pong and PVC cannon are to the right.

4 pieces of the hot tub
1 large piece of black plastic (for the hot tub)

Hot tub pieces, and one of the couch swings.

2 couch swings
1 “normal” swing, hanging from the tree
2 hanging rings
1 hammock, currently on the ground
1 bench
1 hose
2 workbenches

1 rolley chair
1 table saw
2 miter saws
2 hand carts

One of the hand carts.

1 drill press
4 large red buckets
3 smallish green buckets
1 orange home depot bucket
1 metallic bucket
2 broken red work lights
2 functioning yellow work lights
1 table

1 thing of vegetable oil
1 roll of paper towels
1 part of a hard drive
2 extension cords
1 giant cardboard tube

You can also see 2 carts, 1 spool, and 1 grill.

2 lofts’ supplies
8 bags of corn starch
1 mysterious hat, which may or may not have been chucked out the library window

2 full bags of soil
2 open bags of soil
2 watering cans
8 plants each in their own bucket
1 partially deconstructed dome-ish thing

Plants! As well as other things. The dome-ish thing is in the corner.

4 bags of sand
2 face masks
1 pair of safety glasses
1 measuring tape
1 roll of duct tape
1 tennis ball (2 when this list started, but one was relocated to the library)

4 pieces of scrap wood
1 empty flower pot
6 filled flower pots
1 shovel
1 broom
1 bizarre piston thing

A really large paperweight.

2 strands of rope
1 pot on a stick
3 bikes
2 long boards
1 air compressor
1 planter with plants that occasionally disappear

This used to be filled with plants, then one day, was randomly and completely empty. Housing didn’t even know why.


That’s all that I came across, but by the time you’re reading this, there’s probably another set of things in the courtyard. And so it goes…


We even cleaned it recently and everything.

Continuing the tradition of welcoming a new RA in style.

     We had heard that Lucas, the new Blacker RA, was moving in on Friday, and many conversations were held on the topic of pranking him. The ultimate decision was made to remove the door inside the Womb RA apartment that led to the bedroom and bathroom and replace it with a wall. A group of us sprung into action Thursday night to make this happen. A Home Depot trip in the evening provided the necessary drywall and tools, and we got to work around 10pm. Everything in the bedroom was moved into the living room, save a set of drawers and the bedroom door (taken off its hinges and laid against a wall). The living room was to become the bedroom.
Moving things to the living room.
Everything in place to begin.
     The doorway was filled with drywall, which was plastered into place and then painted to match the walls. We moved the couch that was already in the living room in front of the new wall to hide the lack of trim at the bottom. The final effect, after on and off work until 6am, was a nice smooth wall. A final touch was a banner (reading “Welcome to Blacker Hovse”) and a cake in the bedroom, to be discovered by the RA once the wall had been demolished


2×4 frames were used to hold the drywall in place, and plaster was used to cover its edges.



The master of plaster puts some finishing touches in place before it was time to paint. Going to IHOP is the recommended way to kill time while plaster dries.


The couch was blocking the lack of trim.


What the other side of the wall looked like.
This awaited Lucas in the bedroom.

When Lucas first arrived, he took a look at the room and thought that Housing had screwed him over and put the wall there themselves. He went straight to the housing office to complain and returned with two employees. While he was finding Housing, we left two sledgehammers and a face mask near the apartment. After a brief discussion in the hallway, both Lucas and Housing realized it was a prank (overheard near the end of the conversation: “Well there are sledgehammers outside this door…”). After talking to a few Moles, Lucas took the sledgehammer and went at the wall. It turned out to be a good thing that we’d put two sledgehammers outside the door, because the first one ended up going through the wall (I quote: “You guys came prepared”). He went from angry at Housing to thoroughly enjoying the prank, and was also happy to find the banner and cake awaiting him in his bedroom. The resulting mess was cleaned up that night.


What are these doing there?
Not even moved in and already tearing the place down!
Success! (For the RA. For us, it was time to clean up.)

Welcoming a new RA…

As of this summer, we have a new RA named Adam. He is a pretty awesome guy, and he’ll be covering both Blacker and Ricketts.

We have a history of welcoming our incoming RAs in interesting ways. We do small scale pranks often, but it’s particularly special when we get to use them to introduce new people to our way of life. The summer before my frosh year the RA apartment was filled floor to ceiling entirely with balloons the week before the new RA moved in. Two years ago when our current RAs, Dustin and Katya, moved in, we hung their front door two stories up in the courtyard.

This summer, we may have gone a wee bit overboard. Here are a few of the slight modifications we made to Adam’s new apartment…

The handles on the fridge may be a bit counter intuitive.

The door between the living room/kitchen area and bedroom is locked, but has a specialty passageway just for Adam.

All the taps in the apartment were switched so hot goes to cold and cold goes to hot. In addition, we did something particularly devilish to the bathtub. Usually the handle for the tap faces down when the water is off, and you move the handle up counter-clockwise through cold to hot. In our modified system, the handle starts out facing up when the water is off, and you can turn the knob one way to get hot water, and the other way to get cold. Those are the only two temperatures available… the cold and hot streams cannot be mixed, as the water turns off in between. A bit subtle perhaps, but probably makes for a very confusing bathing experience.

The bathroom was also specially fitted with this personal surveillance device…

…and a special friend, reading the LA Express.

Finally, what may well be the most annoying prank involved the doors to the apartment. Doors in the South Hovses have small interior latches which you need access to in order to open the door from inside. Adam’s apartment has one door that opens to Blacker and one that opens to Ricketts. For the Blacker door, we built a small, very irritating aluminum box that blocked off the locking mechanism on the inside. So if the door is shut, it cannot be opened from within unless you can remove the box. For the Ricketts door, we changed the combination, so it cannot be opened from outside unless you know the new combo. From the outside, it takes quite a bit of time to get from the Ricketts side of the apartment to the Blacker side, involving going down, then up a flight of stairs. Hence, an irritating unidirectional apartment!

Adam has moved in now, and I think had quite a bit of fun discovering our modifications.

Quite a lot of work for a few good laughs, but I think it was well worth it, and I hope Adam did too 🙂