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Archive for September, 2009 Line

I ventured into Boston, one of Jet Blue’s hubs with my All-You-Can-Jet-Pass. Luckily for me, friend of adventure, Aliya Caler lives there. Without here there would be no The Adventure School so it was a special treat to spend a few days exploring her new home. Ye olden olde-timeyness of one the oldest cities in the USA lends itself to an especially quirky brand of iPhonetography, so brace yourselves for some flicks ala my Camera Bag app. My first stop was the Massachusetts State House. Aliya works for Massacusetts State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, so I go to tour his offices and see what is up with the chair of the Massacusetts Joint Committe on Public Health. Aliya and her office mates help their boss consider “all matters concerning the public health of the Commonwealth and such other matters as may be referred”. Cool!

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Then it was time for me to hit ye olde dusty Freedom Trail! After several hours and 16 historical sites, the history I was so compelled by in the third grade was enlivened once again. Good on ya, Boston for keeping history brewing right alongside today’s workaday world.

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These were some crab traps filled with Christmas lights. I think this is a good party tip. The Barking Crab, home of aforementioned crab pot lamps was fun, near the ICA and served up UNLIMITED ARNOLD PALMERS. This is my dream, as my drink of 2009 has got to be the delicious combination of Lemonade and Iced Tea. Booyah.

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I became interested in taking a photo of this young kid wearing his Harvard tee in all his back to school glory on the Harvard campus but then I got shy, so here is his back. He looked very scholarly, ambitious and filled with autumnal hope/enthusiasm. I liked it. I also like the chairs.

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This store across from Harvard Yard, Leavitt and Peirce is apparently 126 years old and is very aesthectially akin to The Adventure School (in my mind), or I should say The Adventure School is very Leavitt and Peirce? Anyways, it is filled with real old timey implements for sport and beauty. Not to mention a motherlode of old footballs from important Harvard games. Maybe next time I am in Boston I will go to Cheers or at least buy some RedSox memorabilia. Thanks Aliya and Travis for being such incredible hosts! I will go candlepin bowling soon!

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Being a proud holder of the Jet Blue All-You-Can-Jet pass, it was only natural that I would give in to the urge to head to one of their more far-flung destinations. While I could not justify going with my original plan of heading to Bogota for three days, I thought, hey . . . Aruba? Since I chose to do no research and just head south equipped only with the Beach Boys ‘Kokomo’ as my mental soundtrack my experience was a little uncomf/adventure-y!

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Like, who knew (probably everyone but me?), the entire island is crawling with newlyweds, some of whom are carrying embroidered ‘Bride’ totes, and the rest of the gang on the island are basically people from the Eastern Seaboard who maybe, wanna gamble? Fun . . . but not what I expected. Having spent a month on the nearby island of Grenada, that post-independence experience was diametrically opposed to this Kingdom of the Netherlands Caribbean Isle which felt more like Pinocchio’s bizarro Pleasure Island. Not necessarily, my cup of tea. But, can I argue with heading to a place for two days that is just 21 miles long and just 17 miles north of Venezuela? Certainly not! Adventure on dudes! Sand, sun and sea? Holler at your girl!

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I spent 80 percent of my time immersed in the beautiful Southern Caribbean Sea. I swam, and snorkled. And generally, chilled. When coolin’ on the beach wasn’t in the cards, I ventured from the beach to the island’s capital, Oranjestad. Here I found bright colors, Dutch snacks and lots of languages.

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It is an election season in Aruba right now and people are SERIOUS about showing their colors. They are super down with car/flag and car/decal technology and I was more than impressed. American sports fans need to catch up. Arubans are choosing right now, and the two largest parties are the front runners, the AVP and MEP. MEP currently holds the most seats in Parliament and is led by prime minister Nelson Oduber. AVP is the challenger, and Mike Eman is their man.

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Oh, to be back in the sea!

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Luckily, Seattle is one heck of a town and everyone we know seems to be making magic all the time. This week is particularly hot in the magic production arena. So, people, the time is now, the power is you. Grab yer galoushes and see what the lovers and dreamers are up to. I know I will. Then I will see you and we can talk about stuff and possibly hug, if you’re into it. Okay, so, today is Tuesday. Drink a toddy.  Wednesday. Go to On The Boards Speak and Sing Contemporary Karaoke Practice with Eric Fredericksen. Eric Fredericksen (Western Bridge curator and karaoke expert) is a genius and he will host a karaoke party while delivering a lecture on karaoke, the culture industry, and communal popular culture. Show at 8pm. Karaoke and bar open at 7:30pm. Not to be missed. Look at this guy, he can definitely teach you a thing or two about a thing or two. Get your tickets right now, it’s a hot date.

Eric sings

That brings us to Thursday. EXPO 87! It’s FREE or by donation. Our friends Justine and Joel of Cairo and their pal Spencer Moody (former Murder City Devil) of the Anne Bonney are throwing down the gauntlet of awesome again with a three day music and art fest. 7 to 10 pm
Pacific Open: A shorts program comprised of miscellaneous musically driven films from around the northwest. Supervideografen. A series of short animated films.

We’ll hit the floor at 7pm as part of an all-weekend festival reminding us why we’re so lucky to live in a city with so many awesome musicians.

Playing with us on Friday are Spencer Moody, White Buffalo Black Madonna, Grant Olsen (Arthur & Yu), Tiny Light, Loyalty is Blue, Constant Lovers, and Flexions.

Expo 87expo 87 schedule

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Sleeping in a tipi is super fun. As Northwesterners, tipis are not something that are very available to us. But, as we were in Plains Indian territory we had some tipi luck! Our merry band traveled to the Lewis and Clark Caverns for a look-see at the stalagmatic glory and in a rewarding turn of events were able to bunk up in a park-owned tipi. During the night a mighty wind came and rattled the outer covering prompting Aviva to race outside, collect all of our hot-spring soaked garments and return them to the tipi. A great benefit of tipi living  . . . hanging stuff to dry inside on the poles. Wicked! A tipi feels essentially like a loft apartment. The “vaulted ceiling” makes a regular camp chic dwelling like a tent seem outrageously cramped. A tipi also looks absolutely gorgeous. They say the best designs are the simplest. In this case, it’s absolutely true! In terms of good design . . . just wait for the cave talk. But, another day, another wonder of mother nature. Now, some phots of the whole tipi-ification process.

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(infrared tipi)

(infrared tipi)

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After our time in Yellowstone we rented a US Forest Service fire lookout tower. It was a super excellent adventure! The Forest Service rents them out all across the west and what a rare opportunity to see the land from the top instead of ground level. I mean, “some” of us were a little bit scared during the 14 mile and many thousands of feet rise to the top. But what we saw when we arrived was worth it. OUR lookout was located in the two million acre Lolo National Forest. The expanse spread before our tower was tremendous. We were able to look upon the placid Thompson River and watch as a single ski boat left a two mile long wake. We saw the forest and the mountains from above and wondered what the bears were doing and wondering how it felt to be the people who walked up the mountain and made the building. We made a delicious smorgasboard of Montana cheeses and read the stories of the cabin logbooks dating back to the mid 1990′s. Our predecessors ranged from honeymooning newlyweds, and grad students to families and wizened old-timers. One had even been to the Cougar Peak Lookout in 1961!

We had a thrilling time and we will be back soon to a fire lookout somewhere! AND on the way back down from the peak were lucky enough to have our dreams come true. We encountered TWO BIGHORN SHEEP on the path! They looked otherworldly and they were mere yards from us. Between memories of their magnificent horns and piercing stares I will dream of encountering them once again.

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The Lookout!

The Lookout!

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the loo and view

the loo and view

the azimuth

the azimuth

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learning how to use the azimuth

learning how to find use the azimuth

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Note: The cabin’s foundation was built on slate that the Forest Service brought up to the tower. And so sat 50 years of names carved into the rocks. We left ours too! Now, it will be beat down with the elements for years to come like the stones of all the brothers, lovers and friends who came before us. Some were fancy, some simple, all led us to imagine the journeys of their authors.

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Go to Crawl Space Gallery for a totally excellent gallery experience. Makes a great date!

NO CHASM, NO CLEFT

12 September – 11 October 2009

OPENING RECEPTION Saturday 12 September, 6-9pm

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The opening will be the first solo show by new-ish artist member Brendan Jansen, see his video works and chalk drawings.

“For his solo at Crawl Space, Jansen explores the space between pre-mediated experience and the choices that presuppose modes of depiction. As his title alludes—referring by way of negation to the location where ancient Greek oracles tapped into the unseen, mysterious, and infinite—Jansen is searching for new ways of conceiving or understanding the world by breaking down the photograph, the most prevalent archetype of representation in the present day.

Although the work in the show makes use of several photographic processes such as recording, scanning, slicing, editing and projecting, combined together in several unique techniques, Jansen captures not only the flat appearances of the picture plane but also structural information from multiple and fixed viewpoints. The work is also premised on the notion that how we choose to represent what engages us in the world is inextricably linked to how we understand our place in reference to it, conscious of the limitations of our points of view.

Brendan Jansen was born in the Los Angeles area and grew up in the suburbs outside of Seattle. He studied art at the University of Washington and received an MFA in painting at Indiana University.

Crawl Space is a nonprofit artist-run exhibition space dedicated to cultivating innovative artwork by early career artists. Since opening our doors in 2003, Crawl Space has presented new works by more than 150 artists, at no charge to a public audience of over 5,000″.

Booyah! AND as always . . . it’s FREE!

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We took a field trip with our best friends Ken and Joe out to Yellowstone National Park. We were just there last fall but feel it’s important to take every opportunity to go there because it rules so hard. So, after our intrepid foursome drove several thousand miles hitting up Sun Valley, Idaho on the way, we made it to Big Sky Country and the wonders of Yellowstone intact and ready to camp in the wilderness and hunt bison (with our cameras). We saw elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, a HUGE eagle, enough bison to fill an ocean, foxes, coyote, birds galore, old people and paint pots from another planet. Admiring the foresight of Teddy Roosevelt and the early pioneers of the National Park idea we truly fell in love all over again with this national treasure.

Sun Valley sky

Sun Valley sky

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Old Faithful Lodge

Old Faithful Lodge

hogs and elks at Mammoth Hot Springs

hogs and elks at Mammoth Hot Springs

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fisheye bison

fisheye bison

intrepid adventurer Joe Overland sighting some wolves (?) in the distance

intrepid adventurer Joe Overland

polaroid bison

polaroid bison

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lost on Mars?

lost on Mars?

our planet?

our planet?

Welcome to OLD FAITHFUL, LOL.

Welcome to OLD FAITHFUL, LOL.

our neighbors camp

our neighbors camp

Tower Falls (where we camped)

Tower Falls (where we camped)

I LOVE these guys! (buns of steel)

I LOVE these guys! (buns of steel)

Gardiner

Gardiner

Roosevelt's Arch

Roosevelt's Arch

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This is hilarious. Reading Aaron Cruz is like reading the ramblings of a more dirtier, less neurotic David Sedaris chronicling his misadventures across Europe. In the past, some International Adventurer Profiles have painted world travel as all lofty ideals and breathtaking encounters with the colorful Other and his foodstuffs. Aaron Cruz will to disabuse you of all that. Here’s the truth about travel. Happy reading.

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I have a really hard time travelling without a goal. I don’t like to go on walks unless I am walking to a bar. I ended up in Austria because I wanted to be a better cook. If you are thinking “Austrian food? WTF?” first of all, the food here is pretty good, second, I was actually headed to Italy. Home of the Slow Food Movement. I’ve always wanted to eat a BigMac on the steps to the famous restaurant in Bra(the town name still makes me giggle) where the famous foodie movement started.

I had some restaurant lined up where I would work for a couple months for free and they would feed me and bed me. My travel agent said that I didn’t have to fly directly to Italy so I decided to fly first to Madrid, where I falsly believed that a friend of mine lived, and ride my bicycle from there to Granada. I don’t know if I would call it spontinaety or stupidity but I usually don’t do a lot of planning when I go somewhere far away and unknown and it usually works out for me. This time was different. It was 110 degrees. I took the advice of a deaf Japanese cyclist and rode on the Autovia. It was like riding on an Interstate. It was riding on an Interstate. I was alone in central Spain in 110 degree heat riding on I-5. I had the lamest burn line on my legs from the bike shorts. I was really sad.

So when I was a few days away from getting to Italy, I called the restaurant and they informed me that they were closed for the first month that I was supposed to work there. Oops. I had really planned this. I have a friend that had worked there and he had made everything golden. So after camping for a couple weeks I decided to volunteer on a farm.

This place was fucking nuts. It was in Piemonte in Italy and it was run by a Swiss woman. It wasn’t really a production farm, she just picked fruit and made ghetto cheese and had some ferrel sheep. Her ex-husband lived in a house a half a mile away with his new wife who was super pregnant. I arrived there a day after another American, who also arrived on a bicycle. We milked goats, learned how to make cheese by leaving milk in the sun, hence ghetto cheese, and we picked a shit ton of plums. She showed us how to make juice and jam with this crazy steaming contraption. Then she left. It was amazing. She went to meet a family in Switzerland to try to convince them to come to her farm and live with them. We had the whole place to ourselves. The way she had made money was by teaching piano classes, so she had a piano, and it just happened that Daniel, my new companion was an amazing piano player. He would play Chopin and I would make fresh pasta rolled out with a wine bottle. It would have been the most romantic time of my life if I was into the dick. So everything was wünderbar until she came back. She was back with a vengence. Unbelievable. She was having us do things like pick rotting plums off the ground so trees wouldn’t sprout and raking the forest. So Daniel decided to escape. I didn’t want to explain it to her so I fled with him. We woke up at 5:30, hopped on our bikes and rode as fast as we could, as far as we could. He rode off to the French Alps and I rode to the restaurant.

No work, no place to sleep. Really? Are you fucking kidding me? So I went to another farm in Tuscany. I go there every winter to slaughter the pigs, grind them up and stuff them back into their own intestines. We also make proscuitto and head cheese and other goodies. Everytime I go back there I get kinda gaga over the pointy trees and the windy roads and the guys out sweeping with witches brooms. I love it there. It is brown but beautiful. Once you go Montepulciano you never go back. I was a shepherd. I learned how to make the some of the best cheese I have ever tasted. I chased sheep through the woods. I chased half-wild pigs through the garden. I used a drill jackhammer thing to break boulders. I met my wife, who was the goatherd. My friend Marco, a Swiss guy, often says, “the sheep are assholes.” I hate sheep. Really. They are assholes. I accidentally taught one of the family’s sons the word “motherfucker” after I herded the flock into a vineyard.

So I followed my wife home to Vienna where I live now. Vienna is Wien in German and being someone who lives in Wien, I am called a Wiener. And my wife, Helene, is a Wienerin! I love it. You can also order a childrens portion of sausage and it is called Kinder Wiener, which sounds to me like kid penis! I love it. The language is hard, the pig knuckle is soft, the beer is warm. My favorite restaurant in the world is near Salzburg in Scharfling. It is called Holzinger and it is the model of what I would like to someday open. They have an apple, pear, cherry and plum orchard and their own pigs. They cure and smoke their own ham that is like proscuitto only smoked. They make their own juice. They still their own schapps. And schapps is different here. It is clear and it has a stong flavor of the fruit that it is made from and it is not sweet at all. You can get Steltson, or in Germany Schweinhaxen(one of my favorite words), is pig shank that is cooked in a low oven for a long time. You get a plate of meat, cheese, spreads, fresh grated horseradish, a big basket of amazing dark Austrian bread(best bread in the world here) and pitchers of fresh pressed apple and pear juice and alcoholic cider. Your stomach almost explodes and it costs like €12 per person with schnapps and dessert. Amazing.

Come visit. This country is beautiful. I think that Austria borders seven countries so it’s close to everything. Let me see Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Germany. Ha! Eight. And really, the best bread in the world.

Happy Travels,
Aaron

And now, some pictures to illustrate Aaron’s story. In chronological order.

Toledo, Spain my bicycle parked at bench I had to sleep on

Toledo, Spain my bicycle parked at bench I had to sleep on

Toledo, Spain. Pool at hostel that is a big fucking castle, across from another castle!!!

Toledo, Spain. Pool at hostel that is a big fucking castle, across from another castle!!!

Interstate in ??? Spain with tumbleweed.  I was soooo sad

Interstate in ??? Spain with tumbleweed. I was soooo sad

Me and my Spanish friends eating sandwiches at the beach.  And we're naked!!!!!!!

Me and my Spanish friends eating sandwiches at the beach. And we're naked!!!!!!!

Me bareback drunkenly riding the donkey bareback into a ditch at night

Me bareback drunkenly riding the donkey bareback into a ditch at night

Dog on farm in Tuscany with blood on it's head

Dog on farm in Tuscany with blood on it's head

Me fake humping sheep. (I have a bunch of these)

Me fake humping sheep. (I have a bunch of these)

Me and farm boy Rino cooking fresh potato gnocchi (The only recipe I learned in Piemonte)

me and farm boy Rino cooking fresh potato gnocchi (The only recipe I learned in Piemonte)

Cat with lamb foot. Pienza, Italy

Cat with lamb foot. Pienza, Italy

Me being fed largest wiener schnizle in the world.  Vienna, Austria

Me being fed largest wiener schnizle in the world. Vienna, Austria

Me and my wife.  Niederösterreich, Austria

Me and my wife. Niederösterreich, Austria

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As promised, today’s post will broach that question I’m sure all of you have been dying to hear the answer to:

What have I, Allie Wollner, really learned from my summer internship with The Adventure School? 

Having already made this speech once to my father, I find myself in a favorable position to say it again, articulately, but with a little more flair this time.

First things first:

As one might expect, working at The Adventure School unfailingly presented me with new adventures all the time. Whether it meant showing foreigners from all over the world the crème de la crème of Seattle, attending art openings where I mixed with the hip and infamous, or riding the adventure bike (aka the spin art bike) all the way from south Seattle to Laurelhurst with some exciting hi-jinks ensuing en route, I was never ever bored. And get this- they never made me fetch coffee for them. Not even once. 

I also felt truly thrilled to have this opportunity to pursue my own passion by working with The Adventure School. This internship allowed me to write, all summer and in my own slightly irreverent voice, about a wide array of interesting people, ideas, and occurrences I would have never discovered on my own.

And the parties I saw! So thrilling, so super-cool Seattle, and so FUN. I has a blast working the smorgasbord of Adventure School summer events. In the process, I also met a throng of captivating individuals. And speaking of said individuals…

Here’s thing that struck me the most about my experience this summer:

The number of people I met who were turning up their talents full blast to engage with their passions, and in the process making fulfilling lives for themselves. Having always been an adamant (read: stubborn) person who knows my mind (read: insists on doing it my way), encountering a critical mass of people blazing their own trails and dancing to the beats of their own drums inspired me endlessly.

From where I stand, choosing path of one’s own making looks like damn hard work and a considerable number of uphill battles. But all of the people I met seemed so excited to be pouring themselves in to their respective projects that I’m not scared. I feel certain all of the blood, sweat, and tears must be worth it. This is unquestionably the life that I want for myself- one in which I feel feel so thrilled and engaged by whatever I’m doing that I’m loathe to stop working at the end of the day. 

So, after three months with The Adventure School, here I go. Inspired, invigorated, enthusiastic, and more adventurous than ever, about to embark on my last year of college.

And after that?

Look for me in the blogosphere. Or The Stranger. Or The New Yorker. Or something entirely different. Semper ad Extremum foeva! 

Who knows!

So Long, Farewell, Aufiderzein, Goodnight!

xo,
allie

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