Sunday, September 24, 2006

You're my Rushmore.

Upon the invocation of the t-shirt muse, I created a new piece of art yesterday with a $1.39 Jerzees cotton tee and a black Sharpie. I don't have much time to write about this'n because I have a paper to write which is exponentially more important than this, but I thought I'd post anyway.

Why, yes! It's Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer in Wes Anderson's brilliant comedy, "Rushmore!" Thanks for knowing! Go, Yankee Racers.

A simple stencil-style design traced (I don't usually trace but I had the luxury of being able to do so since it's a thinner/lighter fabric) with a black Sharpie.

"The secret, I don't know... I guess you've just gotta find something you love to do and then... do it for the rest of your life. For me, it's going to Rushmore."

Here I mimicked Wes Anderson's handwriting to capture the youthful precociousness of Max. I wanted something that looked somewhat childish to make a striking contrast with the actual phrase.

Alright. Off to write about the Iliad. Wish me luck, lovers!

Friday, September 8, 2006

You been out ridin'....bicycles.

When I was a wee little girl, I was very close with the four boys next door. We would play together almost every day and during the summer we spend hours riding our bikes up and down their long driveway, playing "garage" and "drive thru" and other such games. Anyway, one afternoon their father unveiled to them the bike that he rode before he got his first car. It was a 1982 Huffy Desperado, tan with a dark brown banana seat painted with an orange and yellow desert landscape. The handlebars curved and tilted back so when you leaned all your weight against the back of the seat, it felt like you were riding on a chopper.

Soon after the boys received this bike, its novelty wore off. They were distracted by cooler, newer models and Desperado started gathering dust and rust in the back of their barn. It stayed there until a fateful garage sale one summer day when I was in my third year of high school. I saw Desperado, marked with a price of five dollars, and vowed to save him from his life of celibacy. I took him home and gave him new tires. I oiled the chain, I put new bolts in the bar holding the seat in place, I took steel wool to the chrome and rubbed all of the rust away. I weather-treated every inch of Desperado. When I was done, the bike looked quasi-new. It looked so good, in fact, that the boys next door found a renewed interest in Old Desperado and soon I found that they had taken him from my back porch and had begun to ride him again. I was proud that I had made Desperado desirable once again, so I hardly protested.

It wasn't until this summer that I was reminded of Desperado when I began to take leisurely bike rides around the park. It would be nice to have a bike at school but I wouldn't want to bring my good bike there. It's cumbersome and worth too much money to just leaved chained in the basement of my building. Besides--most of my walking is confined to a very small area. A bike isn't completely necessary--it would just be fun. And then I thought, "what's more fun than Desperado?"

And so, dear friends, yesterday I ventured to my neighbor's house and spoke with one of the twins who is quite savvy with mechanical things. I asked if he remembered Desperado, and slowly, he recalled the splendor of this rusty relic. We ventured to the attic of the barn and found Desperado, now looking like Frankenbike, with the seat of another bicycle transfixed where the banana seat used to rest, and with a few of the wrong parts attached to his handlebars. After a good hour of labor, however, Desperado was back in business, and I pedaled him up to my car (with a bit of a running start actually--without the gears and all, it's hard to get going on that little cuss.)

Today for the first time I rode a bicycle to class. He waited loyally outside for me whilst I engaged myself in lectures on philosophy and world literature. And then we went for a jaunt around Coe Lake and through downtown Berea. My friends all seem to "get" Desperado. They appreciate him for his kitsch and for his good rattly nature. But I think other students at my school are still skeptical. I watched as one young man chained his mountain bike next to mine on the rack outside of Marting Hall. He looked quite perplexed, indeed.

I may need to get a helmet. Desperado's tires rattle a little bit because they have these weird plastic mudflap things over them and they shift when I go over bumps. Today I almost faceplanted in front of a construction worker sitting outside of Pizza King. I think I might want to get a Vespa helmet and some oversized goggles so I can look even more alien to today's modern college students. Actually, I think the next step is designing a new picture for Desperado's long and lean banana seat (which I'm confident can fit at least two people, provided their legs are short like mine.) At first I thought that a photograph of Kenny Rogers would be delightful, but now I'm considering that Hank Williams might be a little more badass.

With or without the handsome mug of an outlaw country singer gracing his seat, Desperado is my little buddy and I look forward to riding him off into many more sunsets this schoolyear.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I am the Charter!

The Maelstrom is making great strides this year and the community of Baldwin-Wallace College would be wise to don their water wings, lest they drown in our massive and beastly wake.

Five years ago, a humble little group of hyperintelligent and progressive students at Baldwin-Wallace got together and felt dissatisfied with the available campus media. Back then, we were a one-paper college. We had the Exponent, a by-the-book campus newspaper with little to say. The Exponent was bad back then. It's changed since, but more about this later.

So these like-minded kids decided that it would be cool to start an underground newspaper. And just like that, it happened. Using only Microsoft Word and some pilfered office supplies, a renegade group of would-be journalists began to serve up a subversive and satirical bi-weekly magazine that kept students laughing and thinking in ways that no other campus newspaper had. This was a different sort of magazine. It was edgy but it hated being called edgy. It was different but it prided itself on uniting all of the college's bizarre subcultures.

When I was a freshman, I joined up with the Maelstrom. After nervously submitting two writing samples to the editor-in-chief, I was embraced as the youngest staff writer in their history (brief as that history was, I was proud of this feat.) My first story made it onto the front page of the year's debut issue. Ever since, I've been devoted to this publication.

Last year as a sophomore I stepped up as co-editor-in-chief with a very capable partner. I didn't want to see this thing die but it was clear that the dynamics would soon be changing drastically. Four of our strongest staff writers were seniors and they were all set to graduate. And without funding, the only way to recruit new writers would be to beg around campus. It slowly became apparent that we might need to reconsider our place on campus. Can the underground sustain us forever? Will we have to sell out? Will our demographics change? Do any of us know how to manage a budget?

For the Maelstrom to live, we need to become legitimate. And so, today I say with no hesitation, that the Maelstrom is now an official club at Baldwin-Wallace College. I'm proud of this. I'm proud because I was able to sustain something that was created by people who came before me and now it has a chance of becoming a legacy. Even after I graduate, the Maelstrom will rave on if all goes well.

I hung my first club poster in the student Union yesterday with a fellow Maelstromite. He's my friend. Everyone who writes for Maelstrom is my friend. Everyone who reads Maelstrom is my friend.

I'm not afraid of being a sell-out anymore. It's more important to me that as many people as possible are able to get in touch with the Maelstrom and become a part of it. Our ideals aren't changing. We're still a little elitist. We're still going to be irreverent. We're still going to print really offensive advice columns and declare "victory in Iraq!" on April Fool's Day. That's who we are.

I think as an officially sanctioned club we get to nominate people from our group for homecoming court. So the minute I get to ride around downtown Berea in a tiara on the back of a float, you can talk to me about selling out. Until then, I have new business to attend to.