The TeleGraham

Bates College through the eyes of a junior returning from abroad

Working at the Clam Bake

I know a bunch of the other bloggers have written about the Clam Bake that happened last week. But enough really can’t be said about how much fun it is and how it really does make Bates a special place. The Clam Bake happens twice a year and is open to the whole campus and is organized ENTIRELY by the vice president of the BOC (Bates Outing Club). The event is entirely student run and though eating lobster on the beach is fun, its also fun to take part in the planning, cooking, and serving. And even though it is “student run”, Bates faculty still shows their support. For instance, last year I played bocce ball on the beach with one of the Deans.

This year I volunteered to help cook/boil the lobsters (“clam bake” is a bit of a misnomer, we actually just eat boiled red lobsters and only a few clams). We cooked just less than 300 lobsters, grilled 200 beef patties, and consumed countless gallons of cowslaw. It was a feast and everyone was happy. Some people played soccer on the beach, others read in the sun, some chatted happily in the shade, and the most ambitious went surfing.

As a rule, every time I go to the ocean I have to get in. This years clam bake was no exception. Though my buddies and I knew that the water on the Maine coast can be the coldest in May, we went in with out hesitation. Was it freezing? Yes. Do I regret it? No…… it’s Short Term…. there are no regrets.

The pictures tell the whole story…..

-Graham

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May 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Working at the Clam Bake

Vegan Food = Good Food

Let’s be honest, nobody likes vegan food except vegans… right? Not in the new Bates dining super-plex of goodness (fully equipped with Thomas Edison’s personal lumber). People got excited when it opened back in February about the brick oven that created toasted master pieces, but nothing has proved to be more exciting over the last few months than the vegan bar. I’m not even vegan, or a vegetarian, or into health/organic foods. The chef at the vegan bar is just incredibly creative and the food is delicious. In the last few months he (or she) has started making these tangy salads with sun dried tomatoes that everyone has gone crazy for. Also, he (or she… but I think it’s a guy because I believe I’ve seen him making the food) has started making these vegan cutlets. Sometimes they are cajun themed, sometimes they are covered in this wild mushroom dressing, but they always taste really peppery, and to be honest, better than real meat (no joke!). My favorite thing to do at the vegan bar is to fill a plate or bowl with goodies and then take them and mix it with non-vegan things like (dare I say?) CHEESE, and eggs, and chicken.

Even if you don’t like everything they are serving at the vegan bar, it’s worth looking at because there presentation is always prettier than any of the other stations in Commons.

Come join us at the vegan bar! It’s worth checking out!

-Graham

May 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Vegan Food = Good Food

Weekend Vacation

With the final AESOP brochure finished, I decided that I owed myself a little vacation. My original plan was to go home (Kentucky), and then when that proved to be too expensive, I decided I was going to Haverford College to visit one of my friends from my study abroad program. And then it became clear that driving 16hrs alone could be dangerous and, more likely, boring. Then, at the last minute, I was invited to tag along with one of my friends and visit her grandmother in Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend. For a Kentucky-boy, this is quite the exotic destination. Katie and I then headed south to Boston with a friend who was going home to visit her parents for the weekend, caught a bus and then a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and were picked up by her grandmother in a red drop-top Mercedes.

Not only did I get to spend a relaxing weekend in a vacation spot that I never imagined visiting, but Grandma Bette (as she insisted I call her) allowed Katie and I to take her Mercedes on a joy ride all over the island during the weekend. It was a relaxing get away, and something I needed after putting up with all the brouhaha  that surrounds the process of getting AESOP up and on its feet.

-Graham

Here’s some silly pics of me on the Vineyard and me with Grandma Bette’s car:

May 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Weekend Vacation

Breaking the Ice

Last week, Short Term began with a warm and sunny start. While most of my friends were still in class, four of us decided over breakfast to take an outing to Lake Auburn. We strapped some of the Outing Club’s canoes to the top of our car and headed down the road to take a dip. Yet one thing stood in our way… the lake was still frozen over.

Improvising is part of the fun of both Short Term and student-run clubs.  After a few stabs with a trusty paddle, any ice would crack around us and allow for a short paddle. Then again, a few more stabs with a paddle and the ice would break again and we would paddle some more.

No, it wasn’t the best day on the lake but we were the only ones. I like how even on unsuccessful trips my friends at Bates always seem to have a good time.

-Graham

Here are some pics of me in the front of a canoe (You can see the icey water behind us) and one of us just messing around posing for fun.

canoe

canoe2

May 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Breaking the Ice

The Guy in Coram Library

Three times now, I have been working at the Imaging and Computing Center in Coram Library and have had this stranger come by my computer and lend me his invaluable assistance. His name is Will, he is part of the staff here at Bates, and his help in never too little. Outside of class, he has taught me how to competently run Adobe InDesign CS3, the software I used to make both my Mt. David Summit poster and this years AESOP brochure. Mind you, both of these were extracurricular activities. And he spent long hours sitting next to me and waking me through the complex software.

Just today, I was was scanning photos, all he heard was the sound of the scanner, and without a word he hopped up and out of his office, and came over to make sure I was doing everything correctly. Of course, I was doing it all wrong. He sat down, and with out picking up my mouse, pointed at the screen and for the next hour tutored me on software imaging.

Slowly but surely my skills with InDesign will improve. And I already feel more competent with it than I did when I started out in March. But it’s amazing how much I have learned outside of the classroom with the kindness of the Bates staff.

-Graham

coram

You can find more information about the Imaging Center by following the link on the right hand column of my blog.

May 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Guy in Coram Library

Porches, Beaches, and Farms: A Day in the Life

The semester was coming to an end and I hadn’t yet found housing to stay in Maine for the summer. This was a problem since my home is in Kentucky and I needed to be close to campus to finish working on last minute preparations for this fall’s AESOP. So, I went to a dean’s office and begged for help. Only at a school like Bates is something like this at all possible. The dean heard my plea and hired me as a research assistant for Short Term which gave me the luxury of keeping my on campus room and let me stay on the meal plan. These days I am making my own hours and finishing up all the reservations, liability forms, and brochures for AESOP.

But when I am not doing that I spread my time between three places: porches, beaches, and The Farm.

All up and down Frye St there are small campus owned houses for students. Most of them are populated by the artsy-outdoorsy-activist kids. But the baseball team also lives in one of the houses, and last year the lax boys had a house on Frye St too. Over Short Term, kids put their couches out on the porch and enjoy the warm weather. It feels like almost every night one of the houses is putting out a grill and cooking up some food supplied by Commons.

Other than that, I am officially taking up surfing as a past time. All my buddies are really into it and this past week the swells have been amazing. Good surfing is at most a 45 minute drive away. And even on cold flat days, it can be fun to go for a swim in your wet suit.

But if you are not interested in a rowdy day trying to catch a wave, a lazy after noon at “The Farm” (ie Nezinscot Farm). At Nezinscot, you can catch a tastey breakfast or just stroll the place soaking in the feel of rural Maine.

-Graham

Here are some of my friends off the Maine coast about to find out that there might not be any good waves today.
surf

Here are some Bates girls up at The Farm enjoying a lazy Saturday.

farm

May 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Porches, Beaches, and Farms: A Day in the Life

What it’s like to present at the Mount David Summit

This past weekend was the much anticipated Mount David Summit. From a student’s perspective, the Summit is simply a time when senior natural science majors present their research that they completed in their senior thesis (a requirement for graduation). Along with that, some other non-senior present various kinds of research that they have done either abroad, over the summer, or for a class. Usually, the chosen medium is a poster. These posters are all made by the students on a software called Adobe InDesign and print in large format by the school. Some honors candidates present their research in a lecture given via Power Point.

As neither a senior or a natural science major, some found it odd that I was asked to present research. But really it was no random pick. I was asked to present the research that I had done this past summer as part of a research-study grant I had received from Bates College. The Asian Studies Department had chosen, in the spring of my sophomore year, to sponsor a research proposal that I had created. This enabled me to spend all of last summer in India studying Buddhist and Hindu meditative practices in monasteries and retreat centers from the Himalayas to the flowing Ganges. It was a once in a life time experience. I felt not only obligated to share my findings, but excited to talk about all that I had learned.

All of my friends who also presented their research agree with me. Presenting at the Mount David Summit is a blast. You get to talk about all the things you have learned to love at Bates, and share that experience with a large audience. You also get to make a really cool poster which is a refreshing final product if you have only ever seen research in the form of essays and papers.

It’s also fun to get lost in the chaos of the Summit. It was lots of fun to learn about what my friends have been doing during all those long after noons when they were in the Carnegie Science building, or Dana Lab doing their research.

-Graham

Here are some pictures I found on the Bates website:

Me

This is a picture they took of me presenting my poster. The brown necklace is a gift that a monk gave me after I lived with him for two weeks.

Friends

These are two of my buddies presenting. The guy on the left is presenting on the Palestinian elections, and the guy on the right is presenting on the melting snows of Kilimanjaro.

If you click on this link you can view a PDF version of the poster I presented:
Poster

April 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on What it’s like to present at the Mount David Summit

AESOP

Interviews started this week to become a leader for AESOP. This is a big deal around here. If you are an AESOP leader than you get to come back to Bates early, move in, have fun meeting old friends during leadership training, and then take out a bunch of freshmen on a camping trip.

Every year a lot of people apply to become an AESOP leader. Everyone has great memories from freshman year and their AESOP experience, and everyone knows that some of the best times to be at Bates is during those first few days of leaderhsip training. Becoming an AESOP leader is competative but filling out all the applications is worth it.

One of my favorite memories from college was during freshman orientation during my sophomore year. All the AESOP leaders had a few days of nothing to do after they had finished their camping trips. One beautiful day, some of my friends took me to the beach and taught me how to surf. We were all really bad but the waves were fantastic. At the end of the day we were just body surfing and dunking each other and when it was all over we picked up some burritos from our favorite Mexican joint.

August is a great time to be in Maine, there is an amazing atmosphere on campus, and everything feels right with the world.

-Graham

March 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on AESOP

Better than Christmas

After staying up all night, I walked into Commons, ate a bowl of Coco-Puffs with a cup of coffee, and then crawled over to the library and began writing a paper. That’s the kind of dedication that it takes to survive WRBC’s Trivia Night. It’s a student run event that goes all night, starting with over twenty teams, and by the dawn of the next day only around 6 are left standing.

Freshman year I played Trivia Night with a bunch of kids I had never met and still to this day they are some of my best friends at Bates. Sophomore year, and now junior year, I worked in the radio station answering phones and acting as a judge. Personally, I think the people in the station might be having the most fun of anyone.

I wont explain how the whole game works. But simply, trivia questions are asked over the radio station airwaves and teams have to call in answers. There are also other more physical challenges thrown in and things quickly get out of hand and the whole night usually ends up a mess. Last year, I saw someone attempt to eat a can of mayo. This year I saw two half-naked Ted Kennedy look alikes fight each other in the snow.

Since freshman year, my buddies and I have always said, “Trivia Night… it’s better than Christmas.”

-Graham


Me in the station

Here’s us in the station, playing tunes on the air, asking questions, and drinking lots of Red Bull.

WRBC

WRBC

Yup, that’s me at 6am in the radio station taking a nap before the big finale at 7am in Commons.

March 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Better than Christmas

How the Outing Club REALLY Works

Since the Bates Outing Club is one of (maybe THE) oldest student-run outing club in the country, everything that is decided upon is done through us, by us, for us. For instance, two weeks ago my buddies and I decided that we wanted to spend our February break camping up on Lake Richardson in an old school canvas tent with a stove inside of it for heating. It was noted that none of us had this tent and the BOC didn’t exactly have what we needed for this kind of expedition. Suspiciously, 3 of the 7 people going on the trip were officers (including myself) of the Bates Outing Club.

No strings needed to be pulled, no begging need to happen, and no rules were broken. We simply brought up at a weekly meeting that we wanted buy this new tent for the Outing Club, and everyone thought it was a great idea. So, we bought it. Now that’s an egalitarian club!

In the end, we had a great four days of travel all on the Outing Clubs bill. And that’s the best part about the BOC. We can plan and execute the trips we want to have and have them be financially backed by the club.

-Graham

Here’s one of five of us on a hike back at the end of the trip. That’s me on the far left.

Camping
This a silly on of me messing around for a funny picture on a beautiful, trying to keep my hands warm

More

This was the tent we bought and the camp we set up.

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And this just happens to be a beautiful shot of Lake Richardson.

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February 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on How the Outing Club REALLY Works