The Return of The Office.

The Office was  game changer when it began way back when. Steve Carell was fatter, and he was balding. The staff of The Office changed after it took a “break” (cancelled) and everybody came back with more money thanks to Steve Carell’s hit The 40 Year Old Virgin. Everybody got more attractive as the seasons went on, but it remained the quirky, weird show with awkward, cringe-worthy humor, and a documentary style that endeared audiences. We have all seen shows that use the same awkward humor now to highlight human emotions and situations…but The Office is the original, and it is the best.

I started watching The Office when I was in 7th grade…I remember specifically being booted out of the room during the 2nd episode of the second season when Dwight asks Toby about clitorises and female sex organs; the rents weren’t having my young (and already tarnished) ears hearing this. Last year a small group of die-hard Office fans and myself began The Finer Things Club at my school- we watched The Office, ate food, and discussed the show and had Christmas events. It even got school government approval. So, we were OFFICIALLY that Weird Club for Weird Things.

Last season, Steve Carell announced he was leaving after seven seasons on the best show to hit television since Friends. Tonight Season Eight begins without Michael Scott. It’s uncertain and nail-biting. I am in mourning for Michael Gary Scott and I’m also extremely nervous for tonight.

Books, Libros, Libri.

Normally I devour books ceaselessly, with an enthusiasm I can only compare to when I am in a museum I love, but this last year I’ve taken to re-reading old favorites and lazily reading un-challenging historical biographies (One exception: I was enthralled by a biography of Ernest Shackleton, who is now my Favorite Historical Badass- formerly Piet Mondrian occupied that title.) Feeling like a literate failure, it is time to start actually reading, dammit!  Thusly, I have begun a list of books that I need to somehow get my hands on and read! Or, I want to read more by selected authors, such as Jules Verne, the original sci-fi master.

Here goes.

Berlin Poplars – Anne B. Ragde

Siddharta – Herman Hesse ( I mean, hell, I lived only a short ways away from his house in Montagnola!)

The Extraordinary Voyages – Jules Verne

Moby Dick – Herman Melville (read it once when I was far too young to comphrehend anything other than how awesome it would be to see a white whale)

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men – David Foster Wallace

Lipstick Traces- Greil Marcus

A recent book by Slavoj Žižek (I can’t remember the title!) a Slovenian author that I find intruguing- his book had an exceptional review by The New Yorker this summer.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

Right now I’m reading Harpo Speaks by Harpo Marx, and Chuck Klosterman’s Downtown Owl- one for a History class and another for pleasure. I’ve also been making my way through Hemingway’s short stories, which have been captivating and timeless. Klosterman has been making small town life seem wonderful- all the simmering, waiting, and watching, while Harpo is all doing, living, breathing.

So many books! So little time! This list is paltry, but I hope it grows. (If you have any literary suggestions, I would more than appreciate it!)

Nächster halt: Bozeman!

And life continues in this idyllic college town. Going to eat at Garage, hiking the “M”, admiring the patterns and buildings around town. I hope everybody’s fall has been beautiful!

It’s starting to get cold, so I’ve invested in a few men’s sweaters and have been wearing them as dresses with tights and leather loafers. The locals seemed confused but to wear boring clothes is to live a boring life; I think that by stretching the normal limits of a wardrobe you keep sharp and stay creative. Thrifting enormous soft sweaters for $2.00 a piece also is much easier on my wallet than trying to find something in any of the stores in the mall for less than $40.00, ja?

 

That One Time We Were In Florence and Tuscany: Nostalgia 2009

The gang. Lexi, Allyse, Hillary, Exa, Kalli- these people make living better. Miss you all!

A group photo on the Ponte Vecchio at night (touristy, ja?)

(last photo by Lexi). Typical activity in Florence involves running through alleyways and streets.

I have a confession to make: I had extremely short hair for a long time. I also thought it looked good in a mullet-y, alternative sort of way. It was fun. We had fun. Plus, it was easy to find me- I was the short haired ginger girl with the loud laugh.

For two weeks a group of classmates, led by a fearless professor, ventured to Florence and Tuscany to soak up the delights of Italy (i.e. food, mostly). I roomed with Lexi, a photographic genius, admitted addict to being pale, and all over badass. I made lifelong friends in these two weeks- even though I ate so much that most adult men couldn’t keep up. Lately, I have been feeling wanderlust so deep that it aches, and by doing these sort of nostalgic posts, it eases my pain. Bear with me!

In Florence, we stayed in a nice hotel about one block from the Duomo. We went to the Uffizi, ate Nutella covered waffles, heard pick up lines galore, shopped and bought leather journals and bags. In Tuscany we went to Perugia in time for a chocolate festival and to look at some hybrid Renaissance-Byzantine art that was truly remarkable. In Lucca and Siena we dined at eateries ad sat in piazzas soaking up the late-fall sunshine. We also ate candy, watched other people ride bikes, and bought trinkets for loved ones back home. Along with this were guided trips to churches, museums, and historic areas. It was windy in some places, cold in others, but we all bonded. It was one of the greatest trips of my life- I learned so much, and those two weeks have mattered so much for my life.

Thusly, here is Florence through the eyes of a first-timer, armed with a flimsy Nikon digital camera and a heavy use of contrast! WOO!

Vintage Toblerone Ads: Das ist gut, ja?

Toblerone ad, 1904

1957 ad

1974 ad

There is nothing better than opening up the oddly triangular shaped, yellow cardboard boxes that contain Toblerone chocolate. I myself have been in a long term relationship with Toblerone chocolate for over a decade now, with no end in sight.

This post comes during a particularly rough patch of Toblerone craving. Bear with me, readers; my food cravings may more than once make cameos on the blog.

Images courtesy of the Toblerone Facebook page. 

Admiration & Inspiration

For about two years now I’ve been following an amazing blogger, Maja Casablancas. She writes about her life in Oslo, Norway, and takes amazing photographs. She’s incredibly honest, sometimes blunt, and always inspiring. Perhaps the thing I admire about her most is that although she’s honest, she reminds all her readers that they still don’t know her, or anything about her, and that forming judgement is irrational and foolish. Her photographs are always nostalgic and throwback feeling, and they possess emotions without forcing them on you.

All photographs via http://www.majacasablancas.com or http://www.polkadots-vodkashots.blogspot.com

Always the Padawan, never the Jedi.

Thusly, the school year begins! (Have I already said that?) Regardless of repetition, it’s the beginning of a new school year. Instead of waking up in an old brothel-turned-dormitory, I wake up in what must be a prison-turned-dormitory, which is complete with girls that insist Ke$ha is the greatest musician since Frank Sinatra. It’s quite the change from the German who lived next door blasting Die Atzen (Germany’s version of LMFAO).

Right now I’m sitting in a Co-op, sipping weak black coffee (the label said strong) and enjoying the perks of free Wifi! This week I hiked with Kristin, went to the gym a couple of times, and mostly just spent my time soaking up just how this new school environment works. I’ve also been trying to understand this new place by photographing it- Julia’s dad gifted me with a couple of lenses, including a wide-angle lens, and most of the above photos are products of it! I love the bent sun flare, and the warped perspective it gives everything!

Funnily enough, many people assume that I am a freshman- I’m not sure if it’s because of my hesitant, unknowing behavior, or because of my face (I hope the first one). In actuality, I feel that I have lived many lives in this one as a result of spending so much time abroad living in a completely different culture. I’ve started from Square One more than once in my life, and this has made me both ready to accept challenges and more hesitant. My experience at Franklin was such a positive one that I almost want to go into this year feeling doomed- there is no way that going to a school 90 minutes from home can compare!

In reality, it can’t. It’s going to be different in almost every way. It can’t exceed my expectations because it has an entirely different rubric altogether. While I would have been at a wine festival and learning German from a High German speaking Bavarian looking over the Alps, instead I am learning Spanish from a woman with a German last name and enjoying the joys of being reunited with my car and the independence it affords. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments when I won’t pang for the other life I would have been living. If one just wallows in the past though, no awareness of the present can go on. I won’t be able to appreciate the good things about this new environment. Let’s just say it’s a work in progress.

Montana State University Campus: A brief, biased tour.

I finally got a Costco card (a bloodless coup was involved; I had to take my father’s. Subsequently, as some sort of punishment from the universe, the photo ID looks more gremlin than human)…ahem, back on track. Thusly, the Costco card gives me the cheapest film processing in town, and the gents I usually go to do a fine job!

So, here in glorious black and white, is Montana State University in all it’s honor and prestige.

Thus far going to school here has been more culture shock than anything! My courses are exhausting- I have about 250 pages of reading per week total, and that’s on average- sometimes it will come to about400. Spanish is kicking my Italian-minded brain into the dust, and my pronunciation is horrendous. A class focusing on Dutch Baroque art seems to be promising- the teacher has a dry sort of humor that is morbid and yet hilarious. History of the Gilded Age is male dominated, and my female voice hasn’t been heard much over the din of an especially Viking-esque appearing genius with an impeccable vocabulary and succinct summaries of the course material. Damn him.  My Museum Studies course might be the favorite this semester; the teacher holds a high standing in the museum community, is lively with conversation, and has connections all over the place. We get to evaluate exhibits and research, and find out how museums work; the politics portion is especially interesting. How does one keep the wealthy patrons/sponsors of museums happy while still pushing the envelope?

Other than that, I’ve been spending my time reading The Shining by Stephen King, one of my all time favorite books, while eating bland dining hall food (Mmmm! Weak gumbo!) and bowls of raw spinach, which I’ve recently acquired a taste for. My roommate, although I have no pictures of her, is lively and outdoorsy, a Photography major with a wicked sense of humor, and oddly shares my glasses prescription! Whodathunkit?

This week will definitely be more intense. However, Julia’s father recently gave me five professional grade Olympus compatible  Tamron/Vivitar/Zuiko lenses for my 35mm SLR OM-20, which I’m so excited to try! There is a “shift” lens, which is quite fun, along with a wide angle lens- already having a blast experimenting! I shall do my best to spend some time playing around with them and show you all the results!

You chose fruit. You live with fruit.

Last weekend, before university officially began, Julia and I decided to indulge in acting like hard core middle aged garage sale fiends. We took the paper, got bagels and coffee, and wrote about five or six garage sales going on around town.

We stumbled upon a massive, two generation estate sale. I bought a green floppy felt hat, Julia a magenta beret, and then we ended up playing on a playground before school began and homework swamps us both. There is nothing better than swinging with a view of the entire town after perusing through amazing art, artifacts and kitschy things in a moldy warehouse.

 

Deal breaker.

Discovered some old photographs from the Seattle Aquarium back  in early August! This place was so great- petting anemones could never be overrated. Ever. In fact, I am quite certain that if you didn’t like petting anemones we couldn’t get along or be friends/acquaintances/workmates/anything.