This snow fort sits on the corner of the mall, in front of the Raymond H. Fogler library. The University of Maine Screaming Black Bears Pep Band discovered it after returning from a performance for a basketball game at the Cross Insurance Center one Sunday afternoon. Who took the time to build it? No one knew. Someone took advantage of the heavy snowfall in the past week to build a fortress against the elements, with the elements. // The structure appeared to begin as the remnants of the plowing effort. The resulting pile needed to be hollowed out. The doorway was small and low to the ground, and the floor had turned to ice. Entering and exiting the fort without hurting yourself requires squatting low and propping your elbows against either side of the cramped tunnel while walking. The fort itself was small, and the opening in the top provided a 360° view of the mall, from the library to the gym. Layered snow bricks travel up the side walls of the structure. Whoever built this, individual or group, put plenty of effort into its creation. The pep band took the time to appreciate the craftsmanship of the structure, a childlike snow fort with adult handiwork, before walking their separate ways. // The following Wednesday, students pass by the fort on their way to class, treating it as nothing more than part of the background. Any novelty this snow fort had has worn away. With the snow slowly melting, the bricks begin to lose their definition, and become a single mass of snow and dirt. Any traction in the tunnel floor is lost as the ground becomes nothing but a solid sheet of ice. Snow melting as winter becomes spring is inevitable, but spring is not the only time where a reminder to "stop and smell the roses" would be welcome.
26 minutes and 13 seconds before the game begins. We all stand at the back of the Alfond arena waiting for the 23 minute mark. The stands are full of people were here because they love hockey, they love the sport, they follow the season and tournament standings, everything. Good on them for enjoying what they love. So why are you here? Because you're with the band. // you don't find out who were playing until you see the northeastern team outside the locker room set aside for the band, kicking a soccer ball between them. Their chairs are loud enough to make you grateful for the walls keeping them out. // At the 23 minute mark, the Screaming Black Bears Pep Band play For Maine, Before circling the ice and marching up the concrete steps to the student section. // Squeeze in, shoulder to shoulder, taking up only as much space as we need to. Try to keep your arms in, or you'll elbow a flute player in the face. Watch where you swing your clarinet, or you'll slam the bell right on the drummer's head. Don't lean too far back, or your spine will get a little too well acquainted with a tenor saxophone. // Wait for the music playing on the speakers to die down before opening with Gimme Some Lovin'. It's hard trying to do choreographed movements and play at the same time without hitting your neighbors, but the fans love it, so it's worth it. Fill the time with other staples until the team gets on the ice, then play the Stein Song, immediately followed by You Said It All. // once the game starts, it's a matter of keeping an eye on your director. A timeout can happen at any time, and you need to have the sheet music for the next short song and long song at the ready. // behind the net, in the DD section of the balcony, with the students showing their support, we easily have the best seats in the house. It's not without its problems, though. One: we don't sit. Unless we're playing no. 5, where you get to sit back and lean back and forth for eight measures before getting back up and playing again. Two: no one can see the scoreboard behind the Jumbotron. // stand through three 20 minute periods, playing anytime the team isn't. Wait for the final buzzer. Pack up and head home.
Stomp, stomp. Thump thump thump. Creeeeeak. Every night, the sounds of feet shuffling across the floor rattle the ceiling of my apartment, accompanied by classic rock from the speakers. // My upstairs neighbor's name is Frank. His friends call him Sunny. I thought it would have been odd for him, a 58-year-old man, hearing a college student pound on his door at one in the morning, asking him to turn his music down. It was certainly odd for me; a perfect stranger being invited in to fiddle with the volume control on his music player. Sunny is hard of hearing, and plays his music loud to compensate. // One month later, curiosity brings me to his door again. Sunny prefers to ask questions than answer them, and would likely rather chat with a drinking buddy than sit down for a formal interview. He gave me the only chair in the room, and sat down on a blue plastic cooler. He didn't want to have his picture taken. "People always take pictures of me when I'm drunk", he said, drinking beer out of a large glass measuring cup. // Sunny's apartment is covered wall to wall with recorded memories. The shelves are lined with VHS tapes of rock bands live in concert, Steely Dan, The Police, J. Geils, Rolling Stones. He put on a cassette tape of The Dictators from 1977, before handing me a handful of photos of his family and his time in Massachusetts. // He used to live in Bangor, but he had a few too many noise complaints. No wonder he wasn't phased when we first met. "My old landlord was a nice guy, he didn't evict me, he just said 'we're not renewing your contract… Getting evicted is like having to file for bankruptcy." // It's his left ear that doesn't work anymore. He went to a Megadeth concert in Bangor, and was right next to the speakers. "The next morning I woke up and *pop*, there it went." That's rough. "That's rock."
"It had the most shocking opening I've ever seen." "Don't say any more, don't!" "No, no, no, I won't give anything away. But it's this opening, let me just tell you, with these extremely fat naked women dancing." (Laughter) "That must be online somewhere by now, but I'll tell you, I've never been one for fat tits." (More laughter) "It's part of Amy Adam's art exhibit she's putting on at a gallery. But it's all just a bit gimmicky. It's gimmicky. Not the best film. But you know the structure of it–" "STOP! Don't tell me. Don't say any more. Don't say any more." "Okay, okay, I won't. All I'll say is that it's one of those films that lacks a hero. And when you get old, you've seen everything already anyway." "Yeah…Well, that's crap because everyone, no matter what age, is looking for a fucking hero." #profoundlunchconversation #nocturnalanimals #tomford #films #eavesdroppings #lol #coffeeshop #banter
Every Tuesday at 6 p.m., the General Student Senate (GSS) convenes in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union to discuss the state of student organizations and issues pertaining to the University of Maine System as a whole.
Considering that topics discussed this year alone included potential tuition increases, responses to the changes in the campus’ political climate, and the possible absorption of UMaine Machias as a regional campus of UMaine Orono, the information at these meetings matter to both students and teachers on campus; The Bangor Room would be packed full of concerned individuals and groups demanding to have their opinion heard.
Despite this, GSS meetings have been relatively barebones for the past academic year. Plenty of empty chairs sit around the tables, and the guest seats are only used by student organization representatives as the final step in acquiring funds from the UMaine Student Government.
“My biggest goal this year is to push boundaries for Student Government, and make us a visible group on campus”, said President Kevin Bois in an interview last October. “I know in years past, we’ve sort of transitioned into a place where people view us as a place to get money and have their events supported, but I know it’s more than that. Moving forward, we’re trying to do more on campus than ever, helping groups with on-campus events, but also doing events ourselves to try and make our student body more active and engaged.”
Can’t attend the next meeting yourself? The Maine Campus publishes a weekly report, available both in print and at their website, mainecampus.com. For those curious about what took place during this meeting on Feb. 7, the report can be found here.
This is a test for the future photojournalism project.