Tag Archives: keep wesleyan weird


Welcome to the seventh installment of Ask Wesleying, an advice column about any and all things Wes! Have a question about life at Wes? Submit it to get it answered in Ask Wesleying! You can find all of the Ask Wesleying columns here.

It’s been a loooooong hiatus, what with thesis, winter break, thesis, spring break, more thesis (you get the point). But fear not, I haven’t forgotten about all you questioning souls haunting campus, awaiting answers to put your spirits to rest.

This week’s question is about one of those things that gets mentioned on your admissions tour and then never arises again, nudity:

Dear Wesleying,

I’ve been trying to find information about how to apply as a nude model for art classes next semester, but have emerged unsuccessful. Do you have any info about who to contact, any requirements, etc? Also, any tips on how to locate the nude scene at Wes (if there is one?) would be greatly appreciated!


Nude in the NESCAC

You can read the answer to this week’s question below the jump!

“The Funniest Prank Ever,” Part Two: An Interview With the Guy Who Put a Mummy in his Hallmate’s Bed

Last year I interviewed a guy who found a mummy in his bed. Meet the guy who put it there.

A little more than a year ago, I posted an interview with a guy who returned to his Nics dorm room one night in early 1990 to find a rotting, 3,000-year-old mummy occupying his bed. Both the victim, Tim Abel ’93, and the perpetrator went on to champion the incident as the “funniest prank ever.” But what happened after the prank unexpectedly revealed quite a bit about Wesleyan in the early 1990s, the interconnected campus community, disciplinary confusion, mass media, the stranger side of alumni gift-giving, and perhaps even Egyptology. (Okay, maybe not that.)

For months I’ve wanted to talk with the perpetrators of the prank, who remain unnamed in news accounts and faceless in a TV interview. When one of them posted a comment (since deleted) on the post, I managed to get in touch. Let’s call him Craig Smith ’93. Smith (not his real name) is now a professional musician and a dad. But he’s not sure he’ll ever top the prank he pulled in the Nics 23 years ago this month.

As I wrote in 2012, the Middletown Mummy Mystery was more than just a good prank. I was an intergenerational legend that has “solidified its place in the lore of early 1990s Wesleyan history, providing some semblance of levity during a turbulent academic year characterized by generally unprecedented campus unrest, including a firebombing, a week-long hunger strike, racist graffiti in Malcolm X House, and the fatal shooting of Nicholas Haddad ’92.”

And here’s the other side of it. 

An Interview with the Guy Who Sleeps in a Different Place on Campus Every Night

“My lifestyle dissolves fake smiles. It can be heartbreaking if you aren’t ready for it.”

Riel, the wandering vagabond, surveys his options at the Usdan grill. Photo by Rachel Pincus '13.

Riel ’14, the wandering vagabond, surveys his options at the Usdan grill. Photo by Rachel Pincus ’13.

Two or three weeks ago, I entered my apartment around midnight to find the couch occupied by a bearded stranger. He was asleep, sprawled sideways and snoring loudly, and none of my housemates appeared within eyesight. As I reached over his torso to adjust the thermostat, I briefly considered dialing Public Safety. Instead, I located one of my housemates, Carey Gilchrist ’13, and whispered my demand: “Who’s that dude on our couch?”

“Oh, that’s Lina’s friend Riel,” Carey explained. “He sleeps in different places every night or something. So she offered him our couch.” “Oh,” I said. “Wait, that’s pretty awesome. Would he be up for an interview?”

Riel ’14, a junior majoring in Film and Computer Science, was gone from the couch by the time I awoke the next morning, but later in the week I ran into him in Weshop, where he was stocking up on eggs (“I gotta eat at least six a day, need the protein”) and canned beans. He explained that he had adopted something of a vagabond lifestyle at the beginning of the semester, crashing at friends’ places and refusing to make use of his assigned room in 1 Vine. “I’m trying to be the change I need to see,” Riel told me. On most days, he carries around a camping backpack and a sleeping bag. His lifestyle is controversial, but his reasoning has an oddly circuitous logic to it: If he’s already paying all this money for room and board, shouldn’t he be free not to use it?

I asked Riel if he would like to be interviewed for this blog. Sure, he said, just so long as I didn’t publish his last name or a picture of his face. And could he boil some eggs in my stove while we did the interview? I consented to his demands, as he did to mine. This is the conversation that took place.

“The Funniest Prank Ever”: The Middletown Mummy Mystery, 22 Years Later

 “I looked at my bed and there were all these skin chips and little chips in it. It was pretty disgusting.”

Twenty-two years ago next month, a good-humored, mullet-haired Wesleyan student returned to his Nics dorm room late on a Saturday night and found his bed already occupied by a rotting, fleshy stranger. The student was Tim Abel ’93, a freshman from Wilmington, Delaware. The uninvited guest in question was a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy. And the bizarre incident, which Abel has happily proclaimed “the funniest prank ever,” has since solidified its place in the lore of early ’90s Wesleyan history, providing some semblance of levity during a turbulent academic year characterized by generally unprecedented campus unrest, including a firebombing, a week-long hunger strike, racist graffiti in Malcolm X House, and the fatal shooting of Nicholas Haddad ’92.

It’s also just a damn good story, with or without its retroactive Keep Wes Weird significance. It’s a story about President Chace and P-Safe and loyalty among campus pranksters, about MoCon and O’Rourke’s and frosh life and pretty much every Wesleyan institution of the ’90s, about how campus news spread before cell phones and Twitter and this here blog, about how some kid transformed literally overnight from a random freshman into a minor celebrity of sorts. The mummy incident received local press coverage in 1990 (much to Abel’s delight), and it remains a subject of conversation and folklore among his friends and strangers two decades later.

I tracked down Abel over break (he’s now a facial plastic surgeon in Delaware) and ended up speaking to him at length about the mummy, the unnamed perpetrators, and just what made Wesleyan so batshit nuts in the early ’90s (and an alumnus perspective on how it has changed since). Scroll on for the full interview; click here for original 1990 news coverage of the so-called Middletown Mummy.

No Shave November!

??? ‘?? has a reminder for you:

Don’t forget, just because we’re a week into November it doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to participate in No Shave November!

  • Date: All of November
  • Time: Always
  • Cost: Think of all the money/time you’ll save!
  • What: Why not?

PR: Wes No Longer Weird

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here.  The new 2012 Princeton Review College Rankings are out!  So wipe away those tears of joy, and actually take a look at the ratings.  You’re probably wondering what we ranked as this year.  Maybe #15 Reefer Madness and #11 Least Religious Students like we did in 2009? How about #13 Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians and #16 Least Religious Students like in 2010?  At least #10 Best College Library and #19 Best College Theater like in 2011, right?

Wrong.  We’re not reefer-mad, politically active liberal vegetarians with awesome acting skills in a luxurious library anymore.  We’re not any one of those things.   Wesleyan did not rank in the top 20 in any of these categories we performed so well in previously, but we do have a new honor.  We can thank Middletown for this one, because Wesleyan is now…

Princeton Review Rankings 2011

Because they are the standards by which everyone should choose their college, here is how we ranked in the 2011 edition of the Princeton Review Best Colleges:

Wesleyan 2011 Princeton Review Rankings
Now, here are our rankings from last year:

2010 Princeton Review WesleyanWe essentially did worse in every category we were ranked in last year.  The only improvement comes in “Best College Theater,” where we squeezed in this year after not being ranked at all among the top 20 last year.

To be honest, the Princeton Review is insulting us.  They’re calling us mainstream.  

What are we talking about again?

Wesleying Tag Cloud 2010-05-12Ever stare endlessly into the Wesleying tag cloud and think, “wow, the positioning of these tags make it seem like Wesleying focuses on a lot of weird concepts?”

Hopefully for your sake, you haven’t.  Truth be told, we do talk about a lot of weird things but this tag cloud might make it look even weirder if you can’t tell that some of these things are separate tags.  Party police?  Stage Sex? Queer ResLife?  I don’t even know when the last time eclectic had an election was.

I really had to resist “facebook film” and there are some others if you look closely.

Now stop procrastinating.  Finals are calling.

Back From High-atus: Giant Joint for WSA

Roll Out The Old, Roll Up The Joint, Write In The Name

Write-in “Giant Joint” in this year’s WSA Presidential elections. Your vote counts!

Despite an overwhelmingly successful campaign last December, Giant Joint was denied hir rightfully elected seat on the WSA. However, the political influence of Giant Joint has proliferated at Wesleyan throughout the semester, culminating in public demonstrations and peaceful protests this Tuesday, April 20. Thanks to overwhelming student support, personal allocations of the Green Fund, and many nimble fingers and minds, Giant Joint is proud to announce that ze has officially completed the enrollment process.

That’s right. Deep down, Giant Joint really is a regular student just like you.

No other candidate fits so well with every party… every weekend, every time.
However, ze is no keg-hound. From the earth and down-to-earth, Giant Joint is always there for deep and meaningful conversations. Not to mention, your music will sound better and your food will taste better.
Keeping a sticky finger on the pulse of America, ze even engages with the sprawling landscape of political discourse on Twitter.

Fellow Wesleyan students, it is now up to you to become a part of hirstory. Remember, you don’t have to light up to lighten up. Polls close at midnight tomorrow; don’t space out on this one. It’s Time For Change: Vote Giant Joint!

Mocon Gets a Flash Party

Last night the student body kicked off some pre-midterms stress with an awesome flash party at Mocon.  It was very short-lived – Psafe quickly busted the party – but definitely the event of the weekend.  The party brought to mind other spontaneous celebrations like last year’s Exley flash party.  From my (possibly incorrect) perspective, members of the senior class received texts to arrive at Mocon at 11:30, and the word spread to the rest of the student body.  It was one of the those rare nights (recalling maybe Fountain’s golden days? or Election 2008?) where it felt like felt like the campus was united somehow – with the illicit nature of a tomb party but without the exclusivity.

Arriving in Mocon last night reminded me of what a treasure we are losing.  Since I had only been to Mocon as a prefrosh and it was out of view in the back of Foss Hill, I had a tendency to forget about Mocon except for the yearly, crowded Waste Not sales.  I think a lot of the exuberance of the event was from the site itself – which converted nicely into a dancing space. The event was also an example of that ambiguous “Keep Wesleyan Weird” sentiment – an awesome event that would only happen at Wesleyan (and is less controversial and silly than chalking.)

So good job seniors – Mocon has had at least one worthy send-off.  If you haven’t already, join the Save Mocon facebook group.  Alums, trustees, someone – please save Mocon!  Last night showed that the student body does have a connection to the buildingcall it sentimentality, if you will – and the building has too many memories and architectural beauty to just demolish.

Speculate and share your thoughts in the comments.  Dear readers, if any of you have PHOTOS of the event, please email them to staff@wesleying.org.