The Great Blur of Summer into Fall

Breathing some deep cool New England air, I think back over the last 2 weeks. In those 2 weeks, I had some of the best experiences of the summer and the invigorating blast of the fall Olin kickoff. I moved back to Boston from Maine, sang, danced, canoed, swam, ate (man did I eat), trained, went to 3 days of raucous Folk Festival, wrote, started to meet the fresh faces of Olin's 6th class, and renewed my hunger to study abroad. I saw a stunning full moon, felt day after day of perfect Maine weather, heard the dulcet tones of a Yale a capella group in the comfort of my own home, and tasted the unique deliciousness that only comes from food cooked and eaten with friends. I appeared in my second independent film, with a couple sore joints to show for the violence of the performance. As Olin explodes into a renewed life, I've been having the time of mine. Want to hear about it? Come for the writing, stay for the photos.

Happy clouds in the Maine sky.

If my head's in the clouds, it's as happy as these ones.

Photo credit: Casey Canfield '10

Two weeks ago today, I was welcoming a troop of friends into my Hampden, Maine homestead. With some 15 guests, I was close to my stated goal of filling my house to capacity (we have an uncommon propensity for bunk beds and pull-out couches). This righteous crew was rallied this weekend for the American Folk Festival taking place just a few miles up the road in Bangor. Easily the most happening time of the year in this town, the Folk Festival is 3 days of folk music from across the country and around the world. Acoustic solo blues, blazing electric blues, thumb-picked guitar, Tibetan monks' song and dance, merengue, contra... This was the first time I had hit the festival as hard as I could, arriving early and staying all three days. Something about the excellent company, wandering the festival's many stages always astride a friend, and the promise of a campfire and a meal around a full long table at home made it easy to get lost in the fun that weekend. See for yourself...

Costumed feet at the Folk Festival.

Feet at the American Folk Festival. Photo credit: Eric Munsing '08

Crowd Shot

A glimpse of the type of folk this festival attracts. Grungy college kids on the other side of the camera.

Photo cred: Eric Munsing '08

Tuba view

The festival seen from the sousaphone.

Photo cred: Eric Munsing '08


Man, I wish I could dance like those other Olin kids. Should have joined the Olin Dance Project.

Photo cred: Eric Munsing '08 (he's this good all the time.)


A Tibetan monk shreds a funky solo.

Photo cred: Eric Munsing '08

People say you make the best friends of your life in college. I think it makes a lot of sense- there's so much person in the people I've met in college. There's an unnamable but tangible difference between this stage of life and the one immediately prior- this college experience has been about being open, building up an immense array of knowledge sights experiences, wildly seeing and doing everything in reach. And I've found a lot of people who live the same way- who dare each other with things like "do something that scares you every week," who spend their vacations at work in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Uganda, Kenya, opening themselves up to insight unimaginable to a homebody. Who else would dream up an Adventure Alarm system to wire up their suite common area into a rallying point of improvisational exploits?

At the conclusion of the Festival, we had our own festival, combining our Folk with my friend's a capella singing group- one of those high-performing, familial organizations steeped in tradition only found @ such places of higher learning as Yale. The group which regaled us on that late lazy summer eve was none other than Redhot and Blue - and although it was a private event I must here give them a public thank you for taking the time out their busy preseason retreat schedule to relax a bit with some engineers in the eye of their own storm.

After a few other days of exploring Acadia National Park in entrancing full moon light, our crew eventually wandered south to Olin, where a flurry of reunions and meeting and moving boxes ran for the next several days. Labor day weekend is a particularly gorgeous time around here- new people excited to be here, upper class people excited either to be back or to meet new people (or to be a year closer to being finished). The long weekend saw a host of recreational activities- hiking in the White Mountains on the long-standing Olin Outing Club orientation hiking trip, a first soccer practice of the Olin Soccer club, the Man Hall naming party, a relaxing swim in Farm pond (see ukelele and djembe below), and generally getting settled in. What bits of these I have found in photograph, you will see below.

Mountain top

Some Oliners reclining atop Mt. Eisenhower.

Photo Credit: Michael Ducker '09


Joe Roskowski, '08, fearless and intrepid leader, organizer of the Fall 2007 Outing Club Orientation Hiking Trip. Last seen being approached by a man in a dark brimmed hat and sunglasses.

Photo Credit: Michael Ducker '09


CARL! '09 is swallowed by a mountain stream while onlookers look on.

Photo Credit: Boris Dieseldorff '09


CARL! and Jef (both '09) hurtling to a splashy demise aka splash, somewhere in "The Mountains."

Photo Credit: Someone With Boris's Camera, But Unlikely To Be Boris Since He Is In The Photo

Beach Bums

Impromptu jam session at the beach at Farm Pond. The 'burbs have something to offer after all- a pretty little beach with yacht club and eerily well-behaved youngsters. Desperate for action, we started the chicken-fighting trend which is now raging out of control in the greater Sherborn area.

Photo Credit: Michael Ducker '09 (I broke my camera, in case you're wondering)

As for myself, I slipped away to Connecticut for most of the weekend to be in a film. With performance begetting performance, this was the first acting opportunity directly created by my appearance in the indy feature Yellow Lights 2 years ago. This weekend's project was a short film, working title Affinity, in which I played a self-righteous kidnapper of sorts. My confused moral standing bids me duct-tape a less-than-virtuous young 20-something, played by actress Rachel Cuffe, in an effort to make her listen to my "reason." 2 days full of shooting in a dark, dusty barn threw me back into the delightful fray of the screen, seeking to make my character, the creepy Patrick, come convincingly alive. I can't wait to see what the writer/director/mastermind Dan Herzog of CT can make of our weekend's shoot. But I will say that it was a fun and challenging weekend, and I've got to be having some luck with my adventures in acting when I can spend a weekend shooting movies with people very obviously dedicated to the work they're doing. Props to the 6 who were a part of Affinity that weekend.

Now, as I straighten out the many course options still on my plate and set my sights on a semester of soccer and a spring studying away in France, I'll admit I'm glad to be back. Even as the choking taste of stress tingles across my palette in these early days, I'm still excited about the things I'll do, see, learn, try, botch, and achieve this semester. As Paul Farmer would say, "To the losing battle!" I find that "salad bar" syndrome isn't just for first years- I still want to do everything at once.

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