That birthday post

I’m 21 today!

I didn’t go crazy. Just went out to dinner with the roommate, got pizza and dessert and had my first ever legal beer in the restaurant. WOO PARTY HARD!

Here are objects and scenes from my life recently.

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A people post

So, guys, I actually got Sam! The guy I talked about in my previous post! Here he is!

Mi padre. He’s a workaholic and a bad ass.

La hermana.

Kristin and I hiked in the rain up Davis Gulch one morning. It was lovely!

A self portrait.

Meghan attempting to retain her tan. I admire her efforts.

I document my food and surroundings more than the people in them, usually. I am very fortunate to have amazing people in my life, and in the last two rolls of film I got back the photographs are more of people who matter than food or landscapes.

I like it.

So, here’s a post of just people.

If only you’d been there.

Montana weather is notoriously fickle. One moment the sun is shining, the next it’s raining, then it’s hailing, or sometimes Nature even skips the rain and hail and just blizzards out of nowhere.

Well, that’s what happened. I drove home Sunday afternoon into a clear Bozeman. I woke up to a good 8 inches of snow, and there were 4 more inches on top of that by noon. WHAT?!¬†Then, by 3, it got up to about 40 degrees and began melting. Tuesday and Wednesday were warm, about 50 and 60 degrees, respectively, and the snow created huge mud puddles and quagmires everywhere! By¬†Thursday Meghan and I went downtown and got warm enough to stop in the Chocolate Moose (pun, get it?) for a root beer float and a chocolate milkshake.

While we were sipping the refreshments, I was waving my camera around, and this guy who looks rather vagrant-y stops, stands, and says, “Hey, did you take my picture?”

I immediately tell him no, but then he repeats himself- “Hey, would you take my picture?”

Ohhhh, that’s what he was asking. He introduces himself as “Sam, the most produced songwriter in the world!”

I say, “Sure!”, set the focus, and tell him, “One, two…”

“ORGASM!” Sam says as the shutter clicks. Then, Sam the Most Produced Songwriter in the World walks off into the sunny Bozeman midday.

Sadly, his photograph didn’t turn out…it was the end of the roll. ūüė¶

Anyway, here are the photographs from this last week. Just living the dream- school, walks, sunshine, snow, blizzards, and surprises.

The calm before the storm.

After driving back from Seattle, life resumes in the Queen City. I frequent my favorite coffee shop and try to write a paper on dual consciousness, go out to breakfast with friends, enjoy amazing strawberries, have late-nite soup at diners, and sleep.

Now, I’m back at school, with presentations and papers leering at me. It has snowed almost 12 inches in the last few hours, I discovered a roll of film I forgot to develop, and life goes on, the way it does every day.

I hope you all are having a bearable Monday!

The Western Cafe, Bozeman


Yesterday morning Meghan, Alaine and I walked down Main Street, much like every weekend- walking to breakfast. Alaine suggested we go to the Western Cafe, a small, adobe fronted establishment that yielded so much goodness.

The Western Cafe is affordable, delicious, and loud. The waitresses are efficient, your coffee cup will be refilled quickly, and they have strawberry rhubarb pie- an added plus! (You can order it with ice cream at an early hour and not be judged, either.)

I ordered The Deuce- 2 slices of French toast, 2 strips of bacon, and two eggs. It was perfect. On a whim, I also ended up ordering apple pie. I was full for the rest of the day, so this is not a place to go for light portions!

They played 1950’s country music, and the requisite taxidermy and wildlife photographs lined the walls. Overall, it felt really homey, definitely a place I will go again!

Now, I am sitting in the co-op writing outlines for papers, studying for Art History exams galore, and generally gearing up for Spring Break, in which I will escape out of Montana for the first time since November. It has been far too long.

I am in love with the focus of the slight wide-angle lens I’m using here- a weird little Makinon 24mm f/2.8 that my friend’s family gave to me. Apparently they aren’t very highly thought of in the photography world, but it does a glorious job in my opinion!

I’ve been eating, exploring, and living.

Lately I’ve been exploring the culinary wonders of Bozeman, which are surprisingly numerous! Luckily, my roommate Meghan is quite the foodie, and she even pushed me to try a slightly spicy jambalaya at Cafe Zydeco. I trusted her, and the food was delicious.

The next day we took a walk to La Chatelaine Chocolat, a chocolate specialty shop that was started by a two foodies, one actually from Paris, I believe. We had small chocolates with sea salt and caramel. The prices for individual chocolates seemed high- a little over $2.00 per piece- but once trying them, we realized that they were clearly worth it.

In addition, they had amazing brownies and hot chocolate. Both were of a very rich chocolate nature, not light or fakely sweetened. It was definitely a place for those who KNOW they love chocolate!

Other than that, I’ve been writing the script for a podcast on synesthesia as part of an awesome group here on campus, the Corona Group. We get together, brainstorm podcasts, discuss literature and things we want to write about, and plan on how to introduce awesome topics to campus.

After next week, I am heading to Seattle to see the Seattle Art Museum’s exhibit on Paul Gauguin, and also to go shopping and eat some good food with my Mum and Kristin. It will be awesome! Plus, it’s a great opportunity to take photographs that aren’t of Montana.

 

It’s not a dirty word.

(This is how I felt tonight)

Tonight, I attended a “Gentleman’s Panel” in the lobby of my dorm building.¬†The pretense?¬†Three men, behind a screen, would answer questions anonymously about anything- sex, politics, dating, personalities, etc.¬†Multiple questions regarding physical appearances, preferences for physical appearance, and how they prefer women were asked by the girls in my hall.

I asked the question: “Are you a feminist?”

I didn’t know what to expect. Some small part of me hoped that they’d realize that feminism is essentially equality, and that they’d answer yes.

The three answers were as follows (spoiler: none of them were “yes”!):

First guy: No. Right off the bat, no qualms about it.

Second guy: Not really? If feminism is man-hating and anti-male, no.

Third: Sort of? But not really? Confused?

I was honestly horrified. I was also saddened. Clearly, my campus thinks that feminism is a dirty word, or that it’s entirely all about hating men. They were really unsure of what it is, and they also had some negative ideas about women in general.

Here’s a quote from tonight:

“There is always a hidden motive behind everything”, regarding what women say and do.

Then, their biggest problems with relationships were “communication” and “trust”. The two are definitely related if men think that women are constantly full of these ulterior motives with everything they say and do. The correlation is pretty clear to me. If I say I really like taking walks through a park, it means I like walking through the park. If my boyfriend says that he likes ice cream, I’m assuming that means that he enjoys ice cream. ¬†It goes both ways. (Note: this boyfriend is hypothetical. Although I would enjoy a boyfriend who does like ice cream.)

FEMINISM = EQUALITY.

It is not about hating men, being better than men, feeling superior, etc. Feminism is not about taking away masculinity, it’s about creating a world where parity is possible.

Feminism is about equality in voting, representation, reproductive rights, law, etc.- total equality. It’s about breaking gender roles and stereotypes.

It is not a a dirty word. 

I’m not sure what needs to happen here on my campus, but clearly there needs to be some de-mystifying as to what feminism actually is. It’s clearly seen as a noxious, tainted word that carries all sorts of threatening ideas, when in reality, it shouldn’t be threatening at all. I am not personally attacking these young men, but rather frustrated at the lack of clarity as to what feminism is in general here at Montana State University, for both men and women.

Nova Cafe, Bozeman, Montana

I finally got two rolls of film developed! YES! Seriously, film is like a present. You don’t always know what you’re going to get. I love not knowing if things are happening or if I angled or focused something correctly.

Some cool light leaks made their way into my film- I was clumsy and didn’t wind up the roll all the way, but I am only human!

Last weekend Emily, Rae and I found ourselves inevitably back at the Nova Cafe- I feel like at least twice a month we meander over there. The food is too good NOT to!

With these photographs I’m using a wide-angle lens that is not as wide-angle-y as the Tamron. I really like the focus on it, much easier to use. I also am getting back into the swing of black and white again!

Montana State University’s 3rd Annual Condom Fashion Show

Last night Kristin, Renee, and I lined up two hours before the doors opened at the Condom Fashion Show, “Latex and Lace”.

It’s exactly what it sounds like- people,¬†sponsored¬†by health clinics and local businesses, create costumes out of¬†prophylactics. The point isn’t just to strut around in latex- it’s to raise awareness of STI’s, safe sex, and the real cost of NOT being safe when engaging in sex. So, we combine all of this information with a dash of creativity and a lot of personality!

The show was such a success. It was my first time going, and we got third row seats. I raised my camera above my head and took a lot of guesstimation shots, so sorry about the bad angles and such. One couple were gangsters, complete with basketball jerseys, grills, and tattoos. Big Bird, from the iconic show Sesame Street, strutted down covered in neon yellow condoms, carrying sign reading “C is for Condom”. Sailor Moon came out, sponsered by the anime club, in an ornate costume of woven condoms- seriously amazing! Somebody dressed like Marilyn Monroe in her white dress- the skirt was made from hundreds of carefully cut condoms, and it looked like it was actually made of real fringe, not latex! There were many many more costumes that were fantastic.

Afterwards, we drove downtown and went to Plonk, Bozeman’s classy wine bar. It’s hard to find a table, and Plonk is known for catering to the Bozeman¬†bourgeois. None of us were yet 21, so it was hard to NOT get laughed at by the waiters when we ordered coffees and such, which felt a little ridiculous. Ageism, I say! The desserts we got were worth it, though.

We seated ourselves in a corner surrounded by felt hats, belt buckles, long cardigans, and lots of iPhones- the Bozemanites have all got them, and the old people love taking photographs. A cheese platter, a flourless torte, and two strawberry crepes later, we left the dark, delicious interior of Plonk to each head to bed.

I kind of want a skirt made of condoms now. They bounced and twirled so well!

In all seriousness, though, this was a fantastic way to spread awareness in a colorful, fun, and comfortable environment. The truth is, education is key to sexual health and awareness. The more comfortable we as a society are with sex, too, the easier it will be to channel important information.

At first, I did not know it was your diary. I thought it was a very sad handwritten book.

Fall continues to creep forward, sending cooler temperatures and misty rain our way. I’ve been coping with wool sweaters and warm duvets, along with hot applesauce. Everything is going well- I’ve been acing most of my exams, including a suprise 95% on a History of the Gilded Age essay I thought I had structured incorrectly and wouldn’t translate very well! It feels good to be able to tackle school work and still get to bed by 10:30 at night. (My roommate and I try and get at least 9 hours of sleep a night, and I’m a fan.)

Also, I have begun watching Breaking Bad. It does not bode well for my school work! I find myself watching an episode or two a night, at least!

The Frost has come and killed most of it, my dear.

Fall is officially here: chilly mornings, gusty winds, beautiful sunshine that glints through slowly changing leaves. Our studies are in full swing. I’ve been writing proposal papers, studying for exams, and learning more Spanish than my brain can handle. I’ve been making friends and meeting new people, and with colorful tights and sweaters, fall couldn’t be more beautiful.

I’m starting an internship at a local art museum/cultural center here in Bozeman- I’ll be assisting with ceramics classes and along the way learn how to give tours and how to be a good, proper docent. I believe I even get a manual- all the more to justify this 2-credit internship!

All of this has almost gone to the wayside in my mind- I’ve been devouring the news lately, and I’m fascinated and in admiration of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I’ve also been concerned with Europe and the Euro, Greece and it’s issues, America and it’s upcoming Presidential election and the always wonderful campaign…just, so much is going on outside the collegiate bubble, how does one pop the bubble while still keeping track of homework? I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve whiled away watching campaign videos (ahem, Rick Perry, anybody? Bullshit hilarity?) and catching up on opinion pieces and watching Rachel Maddow (a Rhodes Scholar with razor sharp wit and Moments of Geek to boot? She’s basically a goddess.)

With all of these chaotic thoughts I leave you with more memorable things: chaotic images. I double exposed them on purpose and I couldn’t be happier.

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?

 

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!