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About Austin Gerth

Senior

Austin Gerth

Writing & Philosophy

Connect with Austin Gerth

Twitter: @Austin_Gerth

Hello everyone! I’m Austin Gerth, class of 2016, from scenic Princeton, Minnesota. My hobbies include listening to and playing music, reading, watching movies, and thinking about things. I’m majoring in Writing. After college, I hope to be either some sort of writer or some sort of homeless (or both). I chose to come to Concordia mostly for the food, though it has a lot of other good qualities as well. Since coming to Concordia I’ve been to dorm room eggnog parties and late-night viral video productions; I’ve listened to a lot of Justin Timberlake and blindly taken a yoga class with no prior experience; I’ve participated in a heroically unproductive religion study group and fallen asleep in the campus center. On top of these things, I’ve also received a superlative education. If you like wind and pizza, you’ll like Fargo-Moorhead, and if you like corn-oriented humor, semi-gourmet cafeteria food, or late-night intellectual behavior, you’ll like Concordia. If you like all of the above, you’re probably already here and we’re probably already friends.

Austin Gerth

The Fargo Film Festival and the Cobber Movie Boom

Posted in Austin Gerth on March 27th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on The Fargo Film Festival and the Cobber Movie Boom
The theatre just before we watched Supermoto.

The theatre just before we watched Supermoto.

The annual Fargo Film Festival happened last week, and Concordia was pretty well represented both onscreen and off (and even behind the Fargo Theatre’s ticket counter, with the popcorn). The biggest deal, Cobber-wise, at the festival, was Supermoto, a full-length film shot about an hour outside Fargo-Moorhead, and featuring recent Cobber alum Amber Morgan as one of the principal characters, Concordia Theatre professor David Wintersteen as its main villain (and also its director of casting), and other current and former students in a few sundry minor roles. Supermoto was also produced by Matthew Myers, who happens to be the husband of Concordia Religion professor Jacqueline Bussie.

Indeed, though the closest thing Concordia offers to a degree in film is a minor in Film Studies, these are boom times for filmmaking in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Before Amber Morgan was in Supermoto, she directed a comedic short called Happy While She’s Gone for Dr. Dawn Duncan’s Film & Literature class last spring, for which I wrote the script, and which eventually got into the South Dakota Film Festival. Then in the fall, after shooting on Supermoto wrapped, Amber shot another short, one she wrote herself, in the cornfields that line the edge of Moorhead, with a cast and crew almost entirely composed of Concordia students and recent alums (including myself as a production assistant). Dr. Duncan also had a film in the festival, a short called A Heart Remembers, based on W. B. Yeats’ poem “When You Are Old,” which she wrote, directed, and edited herself over the summer, with a crew once again stacked with current Cobbers and recent grads. There’s been film stuff going on over at MSUM too, with a crowd-funded senior thesis film called Westall featuring (once again) Amber Morgan and Alicia Auch, a current Concordia senior. And the last name I’ll drop in this post is Dr. Greg Carlson, who teaches in the Communications and Film Studies departments at Concordia, works with the Fargo Theatre and the Fargo Film Festival, and makes films too; his most recent documentary, A Perfect Record, was shown at the Festival as well, and I think its crew included a student or a few as well.

So, if you’re looking to break into the film biz, Fargo-Moorhead’s really not the worst place to be.

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Literary March Madness

Posted in Austin Gerth on March 25th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on Literary March Madness
My bracket.

My bracket.

Lemme be forthright with you all for a moment here: I don’t really even know what March Madness is. Like I get that it’s a basketball tournament, and that people make brackets about it, but that’s basically all I know. Luckily, nerdy folks like myself have come up with their own reasons to make brackets for random stuff this month. I can think of two examples on campus: the library and the English Department, both of which have created book-themed March Madness tournaments for folks like me who have perhaps used the expression “nothin’ but net” in inappropriate contexts before but who otherwise know little about hoop-based sports.

The English Department’s March Madness thing has been going on for a little while. Last year it pitted authors against each other, this year it’s doing the same with their characters. First round match-ups included Hamlet vs. Hester Prynne of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice vs. Jay Gatsby. I ended up with two other characters from The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway and Jordan Baker, as my top two, with Baker winning because she’s just so cool. Winners in the match-ups are determined by English department faculty and students through largely arbitrary conditions. At this point the tournament is a few rounds deep, and my bracket has, unfortunately, not been successful.

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Monday Will Not Be Mundane

Posted in Austin Gerth on March 12th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on Monday Will Not Be Mundane
Pretend I drank these all at once and they're not just bottles I haven't recycled yet.

Pretend I drank these all at once and they’re not just bottles I haven’t recycled yet.

I’m sitting here at the desk in my room, and it’s late, and I’m thinking about doing my homework. I have a lot of it. Specifically, I have a lot of work I need to do for Monday. Too much work. So much work that it’s sort of comical. My assignments for Monday are:

-Write an analysis paper for the Senior Writing Seminar, 2500 words.

-Write a think piece (read: short, relatively informal paper) about the film Michael Collins for Postcolonial Literatures.

-Read the first 50 pages of Winona LaDuke’s Last Standing Woman.

-Research and prepare a presentation providing in-depth analysis of a short section of said 50 pages of Last Standing Woman.

-Finish reading George Berkeley’s Three Dialogues for Modern Philosophy.

-My personal favorite: Come up with my personal explanation for why I still believe material things exist despite Berkeley’s argument, in his dialogues, that they do not. We’ve been asked to defend the existence of matter.

On the bright side, we might get to watch part of a film in Modern Philosophy. Dr. Connell keeps promising us we’re going to watch this film about Berkeley, but then he lets discussion of our assigned readings run through the whole class period. It’s happened the last three days the class has met. He can’t run away from it forever though — eventually we’ll have to leave Berkeley behind and move on to another philosopher, and if we don’t get to watch our promised movie during class, we students might start making gently passive aggressive remarks about our professor’s ability to stay on task.

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The Sounds of Spring

Posted in Austin Gerth on March 11th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on The Sounds of Spring

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The title I’ve given this blog post probably brings specific things to mind: birds, the whir of a frisbee cutting through newly warm air, or neighborhood dogs barking. But what I’ve got in mind myself when I say “sounds of spring” is actually just a couple of scrappy punk albums I’ve been listening to over and over since the weather started getting nice and the sun came out these last couple days. At spring’s first blush my Spotify account immediately gets sunnier and louder, in a total dry run for summer; Moorhead’s best under sunlight, and something about it just makes me wanna listen to “Santeria,” by Sublime, and others of its ilk. Here’s a little about a few albums that’ve been soundtracking my spring:

Higher Power, by The Dirty Nil (2016): Just very loud rock and roll from three guys from Ontario. Their main vocalist, Luke Bentham, possesses a voice that switches on a dime from a nasal croon to a raspy wail.

White Reaper Does It Again, by White Reaper (2015): Another energetic rock group, this one spikes their songs with circus-like organ and deceptively complex guitar solos.

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, by M83 (2011): Less summery than just really really big, the eighties-influenced sounds of this album filled a lot of movie trailers and car ads my last year of high school. I’m half a decade late to the party, but the minutes-long dramatic crescendo of its opener (appropriately titled “Intro”) feels more than appropriate for the breathless rush of the final weeks of my final academic year.

Sung Tongs, by Animal Collective (2004): Tonight my friend Nahaylem and I walked into downtown Fargo and went to a game shop and the local independent record store, Orange Records. While there I bought this album. Animal Collective are now about as big a band as weird as they are can hope to be (which still isn’t that big — they’re really weird), but on this album they’re pleasingly humble. The songs, which mix rich, chant-like vocal harmonies, acoustic instruments and found sounds, and loads of sound manipulation, sound like the serene folk music of some possible future.

 

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Omelette Bar

Posted in Austin Gerth on March 5th, 2016 by agerth – Comments Off on Omelette Bar
Here's an omelette I made the other day.

Here’s an omelette I made the other day.

This week an omelette bar made its debut in Anderson Commons, and hopefully it will come as no surprise to anybody that I’m a big fan. I’ve made myself four omelettes since it showed up on Monday or Tuesday; they’ve all been fantastic.

Making an omelette is pretty simple. There’s a selection of toppings arrayed in containers, and there are little four ounce cups to measure them in. Then there are pre-scrambled eggs in the same sort of pitcher things they keep the waffle batter in by the waffle makers, and there’s a pre-heated omelette maker, which basically works like a waffle iron, only it’s totally flat on the inside and not very deep. You spread your desired toppings around the bottom half of the pan, then you pour on egg, careful not to overflow the pan, and you close the lid and set the timer. An omelette takes three and a half minutes to make.

In my brief time as a DS omelette connoisseur, I’ve found that it’s very easy to tell apart the students who have and have not read the omelette maker’s relatively easy-to-follow instructions. The first step specifically says to wait until the omelette is cooked before putting cheese on it (so that there doesn’t end up being a bunch of cheese cooked onto the pan), but time and again I see people putting cheese in their little pre-measured cup of toppings. So far I haven’t been witness to any genuine cheese-disasters, but still, if you’re going to use our brand new communal omelette maker, it’d be cool if you maybe read the instructions. It’s ultimately just as effective to spread cheese on your finished omelette and then fold it over — the cheese melts practically instantaneously.

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