Monday, August 31, 2009

What I Did Last Summer - The Summer Essay

(This blog post contains no images…for photos and video, please visit the following websites: and

It’s late August (the last day in fact) and while, in my opinion, we should all still all be out hitting up bodies of water, golf course, outdoor amphitheatres, race tracks, or rolling on two wheels, enjoying a round of catch in the front yard, enjoying an afternoon nap in front of a fan and/or all of the other fruits of summer, instead we’re all hustling back to the halls and walls that hold us over the cold, dry winter months. We’re back to the rooms that hold as much knowledge and learning as they do daydreams and germs, but it’s the obligatory rite of passage in our lives as we know it, yes, it’s back to school time.

For my elementary, middle and high school counterparts, you’ve most likely done your settling in and by now there’s a good chance that your desk is already a mess, your locker stinks and you and classmates have worn the fresh wax of those hard terrazzo floors. We collegiate types like to put the return to campus off a bit more, like it should be (and much like I did my blog to this summer); and so the Butler Bulldogs returned to campus for the first day of class, last Wednesday, Aug. 26th.

At Butler, like most college campuses I would assume, the return to school is less dreaded than say at the secondary level. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t go to high school as I was a bit of a prodigy…going straight to college and all. But my parents went and they usually just groan when it’s referenced. But college on the other hand, now that’s some of the best days of your life and so why wouldn’t 18-23 year-olds want to leave their parents behind each summer to start a new season of fraternization and studies?

Combine that anticipated return to campus with a faculty and staff at Butler that’s a-buzz with the news that we’ve moved up in the U.S. News & World Report rankings AND our freshman class looks to be one of the best to ever step foot on campus!

Butler received its highest ranking ever of second in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report America’s Best Colleges. It is also Butler’s 21st consecutive year being among the top 10 in this category. For all of the scoop, head here:

And as for the freshman, well, we welcomed 958 freshmen when school began last Wednesday with a class slightly larger than the enrollment target of 915. The students making up Butler’s class of 2013 boast strong high school academic achievements and an average GPA of 3.74 (on a 4.0 scale). Eight are National Merit Scholars (up from 4 last year); one student is a National Achievement Scholar. Fifty-six of them were valedictorians; 19 were salutatorians. Twenty-nine are Lilly Scholars. More stats here:

So anyway, about my blog…um, yeah, well, you see, once I found out this past spring that Butler’s president, Dr. Bobby Fong was taking something called a “sabbatical” for the next three months, which involved him not coming to campus, leaving the country and putting someone else in charge, I said to heck with it. I figured that while Dr. Fong may run the campus, I own this place so if he can take some time off, then I can too.

Unfortunately, the guy I come to work with everyday, my dad, yeah well he doesn’t get these so-called “sabbaticals,” (I called him a fool for not working that one out in his contract.) so we still had to report to campus every day. That being the case I had to find at least something I could take a sabbatical from and so I chose the blog (and the web cam and Facebook).

I still came to work every day, I still tweeted on my account regularly (@ButlerBlue2) and posted a couple videos to my BlueTube ( channel, but that was about it. Otherwise, I laid low when it came to the new media and self promotion. However, while I may have not been on the computer much (and neither should you have been…it’s summer after all!) it wasn’t like I was leading a completely sedentary lifestyle. In fact, I did some pretty cool things and so to tell you all about it, I’m going to write a little back to school summer essay. I’m sure you know what I’m referencing and maybe have even had to write one or two of them in your lifetime.

Yep, it’s the “Here’s What I Did Last Summer” essay, by Butler Blue II. Have fun grading, errr, reading it.


The month of June was rather uneventful, and perhaps the most noteworthy item of the month was settling in to an empty campus. Late May and June always bring the promise of a fun summer and the harsh reality that it’s going to be a lonely campus. I like the summertime and I also enjoy the peaceful collegiate atmosphere that only summer can bring to a college campus, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I preferred the hustle and bustle of the students shuffling to class.

Otherwise, my month of June was filled with appearances for the Office of Admission, photo opportunities with young campers on campus for everything from sports camps, music camps and even writing workshops. I also had a couple of extended stays at my grandparents’ houses which were pretty fun too.


The seventh month of the year might have been one of the best for me so far this year and most certainly marked the highlights of my summer.

I’ll start with the pinnacle of my summer which was a fine purchase by my parents known as the Tail Wagon by Burley. The best way to explain this thing is like having my own chariot to ride in which my parents can either hook up to their bicycles and tow or push like a stroller. And trust me, when you’re a heavy bulldog with little short legs and a general difficulty breathing, this is the best way to go for a “walk.”

In fact, there’s only two things wrong with the Burley Tail Wagon…1.) I don’t get to ride it near enough and; 2.) my parents didn’t buy it for me sooner. Now, I’m not sponsored by Burley or anything, but that’s a gig I wouldn’t mind either. Hint, hint. Hey Burley people, if you need a spokesdog or even just some happy pooch to grace your product packaging, then hit me up!

The month of July was cool too. And by cool, I mean as in temperature. In fact, it was something like the second coolest July on record in Indianapolis and while that didn’t sit well with some, it was certainly quite welcome by me. Think about it, I’m stuck wearing this fur coat no matter the weather conditions!

So with the cool weather and a new toy in the Burley Tail Wagon, you would have thought that would have been beating the pavement at every opportunity. Well, I did get out quite bit, but only when I could pull my dad away from watching Lance Armstrong peddle the Tour de France on VERSUS-TV or put down a book he picked up called “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” by Garth Stein. It’s a book about dogs, and auto racing, two of my dad’s favorite things, and top that off with the fact that the book is written from a dog’s perspective, much like my blog, and he was hooked on every word.

On top of that, July 20 marked the 40th anniversary that famed astronaut Neil Armstrong and colleagues Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins crewed the first mission (Apollo 11) involving a lunar landing. My dad is a big space geek as well, so of course he was all about commemorating that event by watching and reading the media coverage.

So I spent a lot of time on the couch with my dad watching rockets, bicycles and reading about racecars which was all just fuel on my own burning fire of desire to test the limits of my Burley Tail Wagon.

I suppose that with all of the good that July brought there’s bound to be a little bad as well. The bad came in the form of broken glass. Long story short, my mom was driving our family’s new Honda Ridgeline and I was on the backseats, chilling out in my seat cover/hammock. And by “chilling out,” I mean I was fast asleep. While cruising along the highway, suddenly, and with no warning, our sunroof just exploded. No, it did not crack, we did not hit a bump, it just exploded. Shards of glass were everywhere as it covered me, my mom, and both the interior and exterior of the truck. Thankfully everyone was fine and after I was able to get vacuumed off later that evening, I was good to go. Unfortunately the folks at American Honda did not deem the failure of the glass to be a warrantable occurrence (I find that to be leaning on the side of unethical.) so they didn’t pick up the tab for the damage. The didn’t even spilt the bill, so my parents were truckless and a little lighter in the pocketbook for much of July, but that’s life I suppose.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Honda makes a wonderful product, but I pinned them as one to stand by their product just a bit more than they actually did. After all, while there are known cases of sunroofs exploding in their vehicles, it does appear to be rare and often times caused by a manufacturer defect. But I’m just a dog, so what do I know?

July also saw a couple of our Butler Bulldog student athletes bring home some new hardware in the form of gold medals! Yep, our own men’s basketball players, Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack won gold medals on behalf of the USA in the FIBA U19 World Championship in July. Not only that, but the pair were the talk of the team and represented Butler quite well. Read all about it:


I was worried that with all the highlights brought about by July would leave August an absolute bore. But the “dog days of summer” did not disappoint either. In fact, August got started with a bang as 2003 Butler University grad and Vision Racing driver Ed Carpenter put on an impressive display of driving in the IndyCar Series’ race at Kentucky Speedway on August 1st.

Ed put on the drive of his young career by charging from a 14th starting spot all the way up to lead the race for 34 laps and eventually battle with Ryan Briscoe of Team Penske in an exciting ten lap duel which ended in Ed taking second by just 0.0162 of a second! It was Ed’s best finish and most laps led in an IndyCar event. Of course, my dad works part-time for the team so I have a vested interest in all of it, even outside of Ed being a Butler Bulldog. I was proud of all involved.

Summer Etcetera

The promise of another academic year and the students returning to campus is definitely something that I look forward to in August. The return of the students brings a buzz back to campus that even I can sense and pick up on; adding a pep to my step. My social calendar picks up immediately and my desire and need for attention is met by students who adore me, and/or miss their own doggie that they left at home.

Of course, there were other noteworthy summer highlights as well and include the usual activities like swimming in my kiddie pool, trips to my grandparents’ houses, frequent visits to local ice cream shops and outdoor dining facilities like Boogie Burger, Greek’s Pizzeria and Yats, which are all in the Broadripple area.

Summertime is also the anniversary of my annual health checkup and vaccinations. So I went to visit my pal and Butler grad, Dr. Kurt Phillips of Woodland Animal Hospital in Carmel, Ind. Dr. Phillips gave me a clean bill of health, but was a bit concerned about my propensity to walk gingerly from time to time, specially as I tend to stiffen up after a hard play or romp. While I’m only five years old, I am now considered to be middle-aged and VERY active for a bulldog, so he thought it might be wise to put me on some arthritis medication as a preventative measure.

Not only do I like taking the arthritis medication each day as my parents cover it with peanut butter to get me to swallow it, but it actually works too. A month or so after taking the stuff, I’m feeling like a young pup again! So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

So that was my summer, or at least that was my summer as summarized in essay form. I hope you enjoyed it.

Stay tuned to the blog as now that school is back in session, I’ll be more diligent about updating it early and often. Also, don’t forget to follow my Twitter feed as well: as I’m updating that on a regular basis and including photos as well.

Here’s to summer days gone by and now a great 2009-10 academic and athletic year on the campus of Butler University. So far so good!

Blue II

P.S. For pictures and video of my summer adventures, head to and Sorry, this post was already long enough without the imagery, so I just decided you can go check it out on your own.