Lakey Lens: A-Typical Week

“The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world.”-Allen Ginsberg 

I’ve always been drawn to quotes similar to these, not for my own benefit, but as a reminder that I need to be aware that there are other people around me who have stories that I may only know a few chapters of. For some, it may be as little as a few paragraphs.

Sometimes I catch myself drifting off into my own little world of isolation and I tune out society. I’ll find music to listen to, photos to edit or stories to read and write and ignore everything else.

We’ve all driven home before without realizing how we got there (essentially finding ourselves running in autopilot).

But occasionally something pulls me from this self-imposed solitary confinement and I notice little details that I probably would have overlooked were it not for this introspection.

Ultimately when I started writing this blog it was for me to learn from my daily actions and reflect on how my life is going right now. Looking back, I’ve realized that I haven’t necessarily followed that formula, but I have learned a lot about my life in this moment.

I’ve learned that I have incredible friends, that I enjoy my work more than I initially realized and at the same time I’m more stressed about work and school than I’d care to admit. However, I’ve also realized that I tend to prepare for the future more than I live in the present.

This is the moment that I’d like to shift that way of thinking–at least every now and then.

On Sunday night of this week, I put aside my last internship application and cover letter and told myself that I was going to focus on the moment I was living in.

I captured a few photos each day that ultimately summarized how that day looked for me or what was the most memorable moment that stuck out. So here’s a snapshot of my week, a few abstract and atypically-typical photos at a time:


In all fairness, when I first started this week’s post I had just finished a round of homework and was  blowing off steam with a couple episodes of “The Office.” I have learned that I am essentially Jim Halpert. (Lily also agrees)


Monday was a rough one as Lily had to encounter our neighbor dog for the first time-via window. After a tense exchange, the heated conversation was resolved when he re-entered his home. (She’s a little territorial.)



Production nights consume my afternoons, evenings, early mornings (and occasionally my nightmares). Tuesday was a long evening filled with a hefty amount of copy edits and design changes, but in the end the paper was produced and amazingly the sun rose again the next day.



My favorite afternoon of the week (because work isn’t on the agenda after 11:30 a.m.), I spend the majority of my time skimming through new musicians and trying to pin down the next artist I want to see live. Okay, well I do this in-between homework stretches, but still…



I can’t lie, the most memorable part of this day was also my least favorite part–the fact that it began at 4 a.m. However, as the Observer staff took off to San Francisco for another journalism conference, it improved dramatically. The best part so far? The hotel’s art in the lobby and the rows of rooms that remind me of the Galactic Senate in Star Wars.


It’s the end of the week! Even though this isn’t technically a full week, especially since Saturday will hopefully be filled with a lot of great information and city exploration, Friday has been a decent end-cap. The highlight was by far an early session in the morning with the photo editor of Mother Jones (a magazine) and going out into the town and visiting the City Lights Bookstore. The photographic and historical aspects were both inspirational and thought-provoking.

Allen Ginsberg has been an incredible influence in my writing career, and visiting the bookstore in which he first read “Howl”–a poem that challenged the norm and censorship laws simultaneously-has created a highlight of this journey that will be challenging to top through the remainder of the week.

Granted, this week has been more adventurous than my typical week, but looking back I have realized that even the littlest moments can be memorable and exciting. It hasn’t been exciting because I’m in a new city or exploring late-night Chinatown on a Friday night. I’ve found excitement this week in the small rifts between my cat and the neighbor dog, and joy in the small bookstore that I have a deeply personal connection with thanks to a once unknown beat poet who shaped the world of literature.

I truly believe that awareness of the world around you, including your own world and all of the little moments that make up your days, will help you realize that life is important. It’s also crucial to have moments of introspection every now and then to ensure that you are aware of what makes you happy.

So whether the highlights of your day include finding a new musical artist that you fall in love with or reconnecting with an inspirational poem that has shaped the world, find those moments and hold on to them. Learn to live in the present, because all too soon it will be the past.


Lakey Lens: Daily Dose of Friendship at CWU

“Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said ‘I’m here for you’ and proved it.”-Unknown

They’re goofballs. They’re hard working. They’re thoughtful, insightful and curious.

They’re even willing to jump a car multiple times a day when you forget to turn your headlights off…

They’re the friends that frequent my life and brighten even some of the darkest corners–no matter how hard I might try to keep them hidden.


When it comes to relationships, I never think about them being a short-term run that begins with a school year and ends when the summer sunshine finally breaks through. I always manage to round up a group of people that I believe will stick around for the long-haul.

Fortunately in my life I’ve been lucky enough to see multiple friendships form that have survived both peaks and valleys along the way.

While I’ve only recently begun to really annoy the ones that I love to be surrounded by with my camera, I think I’ve managed to capture some of the expressions that somewhat display their true sense of character.

So while this is only a fraction of the beautiful faces that I get to see day in and day out, I’m grateful and thankful for every single person that has helped shape my days at Central–and ultimately my life.

Whether you know it or not, your goofy smiles and wisecracks can flip a day from ‘Meh’ to ‘F-Yeah’ in about two-seconds flat.

Here’s to you, friends. *Cheers*

‘Bring the Payne’
‘Jump Man’-Kailan (middle) has jumped my car more times than I can count. True hero right there.
‘Lost in thought’-Ryan most likely contemplating the meaning of life while sitting somewhere in a park in downtown D.C.
Dramatic lighting is attracted to Jakob.
Allie out here posing at work.
‘The Curious Kurisu’
Whoops, caught Aubrey off-guard…
‘Wazzzzzzup Face Pt. II’-Feat. Hunter Ventoza
‘The Man Behind the Fancy Camera’-Just don’t call him a hipster. 

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”-Helen Keller

Lakey Lens: Adventure Time

Author’s Note: This article contains explicit amounts of sarcasm, satire and dry humor. You have been forewarned. 

Here at CWU we like to live life on the edge. You could probably even go as far as calling us adrenaline junkies.

In recent weeks we’ve had bitterly freezing temperatures, warm and sunny days, and intense flooding that has hindered my typical route to work and class.

But as my arrival to any location on time became more of a challenge with each new naturally disastrous event, the adventure turned into a situation much more extreme than we could have ever imagined.

With that I decided to document the daily conditions that so many other CWU students face as the battle against nature continues.

These are their [my] stories: *cue dramatic music*

Last Friday, just hours after my last blog post went live, I hydroplaned my vehicle into a parking spot and prepared to embark on an educational experience. After stepping out of my vehicle and nearly falling to my death due to the high elevation that my vehicle found itself to be at (thank you compact snow and ice), I managed to maneuver my way off the steep cliff.

It’s only fair to point out that I am not the tallest individual around, so what may only seem like Mt. Rainier to you, is really like Mt. Everest to me, so withhold your judgment.

This experience was then followed by a river crossing that nearly required the use of a life-raft to survive. I mean, just look at that flooding. I almost got my shoes all wet…dsc_0973

I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief after my narrow escape from the river crossing, but I was wrong. Not much farther ahead and I found myself face-to-face with a much larger and more daunting task: The Climb.

If I was worried about my shoes before, I was absolutely in pure fear for them now.


After two failed attempts, one soaked shoe and the creation of a trailblazing path for dozens (if not hundreds) of other students, I reached the summit of the mountain and found myself in a bit of a time crunch.

With no more than four minutes left until I would fail my task and arrive late to my  destination, I speed-walked (at one point I almost had to jog) across a frozen and unforgiving tundra.

A brief slip left me kneeling to the weather, but I pulled myself up and carried on.

Before long, I linked up with a handful of my fellow adventurists as our journeys to explore a world of education overlapped. It was only through the strength of our determination and collective efforts that we passed through the gateway of Black Hall with just a few moments to spare.img_0247

However you’d like to describe the traits that allowed us to carry through these winter weather disasters–brave, determined, intelligent, your choice really–we’re really just regular students out here trying to get out of Ellensburg one icy step at a time.

I’d like to dedicate this blog to all of the CWU students who push against the odds every single day and live life on the edge just to pursue an education. To those adrenaline seekers and knowledge junkies who brave the elements when administrators refuse to cancel classes–this one’s for you.


Lakey Lens: Hype Life

Here. We. Go.

I figured going into this week that I would touch base a little more on who I am and what a typical day for me can look like in one of the most energetic offices that I have the joy of being a part of.

While I work for two different departments on CWU’s campus, the Publicity Center was the first place where I found not only a job that checked so many boxes on where I wanted to be professionally, but also where I developed my first true friendships at CWU.

This office is more than a workplace for me, it is a little haven filled with creative energy and incredibly talented individuals.

So without further ado, here’s a tiny slice of the “Hype Life.”

Hype Life

Although we don’t technically have assigned work stations at Hype, we tend to have our typical seating arrangements based on nothing but pure routine. However, on a typical Friday the office can get pretty crowded, so I stole a window seat that I normally wouldn’t have. Lucky for me Allie, our Wildcat Access Manager, was ready for a photoshoot at work.


Since there were absolutely zero spaces to sit prior to our weekly meeting, Jakob, my fellow Street Team Coordinator, improvised and took to the floor. Together, him and Aubrey (also a Street Team member) put together Valentine’s Day cards for our “Hype-y Valentine’s Day” event on Tuesday.


Gio, Street Team Coordinator, either just realized how many GoPlan tasks he has left to complete before he could begin his weekend, or the sunshine from the wall of windows became too much for him. Either way, he recovered quickly and went on to kick-butt on the weekly radio clip that the Street Team records for 88.1 The ‘Burg. dsc_0624

When Jakob and Aubrey weren’t looking, Kaitlyn (a graphic designer for Hype), thought it was necessary to steal a little bit of brainfood from the Valentine’s Day pile…dsc_0627

She also borrowed my camera and took this picture of Allie…dsc_0613

Even though this is only a fraction of the people that I get the pleasure or working with every day (and an even smaller fraction of the joy we share while working together), I feel as though this is an accurate slice of my office life.

We work hard, we rely on one another for support and guidance, and most importantly we have fun. Jokingly we call ourselves the “Hype Squad,” but I believe that we are more than that–we’re a family. And I wouldn’t trade any of it.  img_3806img_8645

Here’s to my Hype Squad, a constant in not only my daily work routine, but my daily life as well.

Photo Series: Through The Lakey Lens


“Why am I here?” you’re probably wondering. 

“Because I have nothing better to do,” you answer back to yourself. (You should probably quit doing that, the Kermit meme is getting a little old).

In all seriousness, let me start off with a quote that might help us all get down to the main purpose of this piece that you’re reading:

“When professors give you assignments, make them fun.”-M. Lakey

That’s the motto I’m going to try to maintain throughout this photo essay that I have decided to create as my blog for the remainder of this quarter. Bear with me.

Homework isn’t always fun, and it’s not necessarily supposed to be–it’s a multitude of complex formulas and ideas woven together that we have to decipher and somehow figure out how to apply to our lives.

[Most of us have been doing homework for over the last 15 years, so that’s not really news.]

But taking that idea and using this as not only a creative outlet, but also as something that I can look back on and use as an opportunity to learn about myself and grow as a person, is my primary goal.

So, welcome to the “Journey through Mac’s life” photo/essay/blog.

For the next five or six weeks I’ll be posting a new photo series that might give everyone some sort of insight into my life and the daily struggles and victories I experience.

They will probably look similar to how you see life through your own lenses, but by capturing something in the moment without staging it or using a filter on it I hope to catch some of the more raw moments of my life and use them as learning tools.

But we can’t move forward without first looking at what built the foundation of today, so let’s rewind to last fall when this school year started:


In October I had the honor and pleasure of being able to travel with some of the best digital journalism majors at CWU. I might be slightly biased (since they’re not only my staff but also my friends), but they have proven time and again that they are deserving of recognition.

While in Washington D.C. for the ACP National College Media Convention, we not only explored a part of the nation that I never believed I’d see so soon in my life, but we brought home hardware for “Best of Show.” This trip started off my first quarter as “Boss” in a fashion that I would have never expected.


The next month wasn’t any less exciting, as we dove into the paper more and began coverage of more events. I finally got the chance to photograph two of my fellow Wildcats and friends doing what they love most–perform.

Photographing the CWU Theatre Ensemble for the Broadway Red Curtain Revue was by far a highlight of the month.

Thanksgiving break was up there as well in terms of excitement, and it’s only fair to introduce Lily, my fur child, early on in this series (hence the last photo).


Winter finally decided to go into full-effect and dump snow on Snoqualmie Pass within the first week of break. An impromptu trip to Seattle led to a couple scary drives over the pass, a handful of great photographs and dozens of lasting memories.

Christmas approached all too quickly after that and I found myself thrust back into my hometown and wayward routine of struggling to find ways to entertain myself. All of which led to a few walks around town in the bitter temperatures and ended with spending the majority of my time with my favorite little ones.


A new year, a new president and new opportunities have all presented themselves in just the past four weeks. Not only have I entirely submerged myself in covering theatre events, but I’ve also started to carve out time to get to know my camera better–and have fun while doing it.


Although each of these photos is only a small slice of the life and enjoyment that I have had the pleasure of experiencing in the past few months, I’m excited for the challenges that lie ahead.

So welcome, and I hope you enjoy what you see over the next few weeks.

Winter quarter, here we go.