Tag Archives: Starbucks

Say it with me: Two more weeks.

Spring Jam was actually mildly eventful. I liked it, but it definitely fell a little flat. It’s all cool though. Any weekend involving friends, several forms of ASC, and gyro pizza can’t really be that bad. It was really, really nice outside too. We had absolutely perfect weather – high 70s, strong sun, little humidity, and gentle breeze from the Mississippi. On Wednesday, however, it started snowing. Snowing. A-fucking-gain.

Yeah, he sucked. But it was fun.
This pretty accurately depicts the Saturday of Spring Jam in one picture.

Oh hey snowy campus. In April.
That is snow on my scarf. Snow. Yesterday.

Right now I am eating an apple and sitting in the special seat of the Starbucks on West Bank, and it feels glorious. I am, however, drinking an iced coffee rather than a special latte, because I have $0.08 left on my student account and I now must pay for my own caffeinated beverages. So I go with coffee.

I didn’t have to work yesterday because it was the deadline for confirming admission, so I went to a different yoga class. I had never had this instructor before, and I am actually ridiculously sore right now. The guy that was next to me was completely covered in tattoos from the knees up, and he had a red mohawk. I don’t know what it is about tattooed guys and yoga, but when you put them together, I find it curiously attractive in a very hipster sort of way. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why I’m so sore. Nothing drives us quite like trying to impress attractive strangers. Especially tattooed-yoga-doing ones. Maybe that’s why I pushed myself so hard yesterday. Hmm. Curious.

Although, I did get super dizzy and I started seeing spots while in this one position. BUT I DID NOT GIVE UP. I have to say, though, I am really proud of the progress I’ve made in terms of my strength and ability to control my body. The yoga instructor always walks around during class, and she helps the “advanced” people get into the more difficult poses. I can proudly say that last week, the instructor came over to help me. I had such a huge, dumb, sweaty smile on my face.

My beautiful yoga studio. Which was formerly a coffee shop where Bob Dylan frequently performed. True story.

I’m going to reveal a bit of my inner flower child here, but practicing yoga really is so underrated. I think what I find so impressive about it is that it encourages a mentality of building strength and physical awareness without someone screaming at me. Like, whenever I was rowing or running or anything, I would listen to super high-energy music that usually involved someone screaming to get “pumped up” and encourage myself to go HAM on dat erg (or dat road, whatever). But there’s something really cool about being like, “Nah, dude. Just chill and be strong. Calm down and just be cool.” I don’t know why I like it so much, but it’s like rather than getting all worked up and cray on the treadmill and beating yourself to death, it’s like finding strength and health and well-being in the effort and really focusing on your body and how it’s functioning. It also makes me think a lot more carefully about what I eat…like it makes me more aware of my body on all accounts. I like it. You should try it. The best part is that everyone can do it in one way or another, and if you can do it, then you can benefit from it.

Me, as I appear while writing this.

I am two papers, one essay, one problem set, and two exams away from summer. As excited as I am for the summer and to be free of exams for a little while, it will also be kind of sad. I’m going to be away from Minneapolis for over 3 months…That’s a very long time. No doubt, this summer is going to be amazing, and I will get my fix of the Hudson Valley. But this is very much my home now, and I will miss it.


Old Hipsters

Hipsters often adopt the “grandpa” look in an attempt to look hipster while trying to look like they’re not trying to look hipster. They’ll tell you how stoked they were to find that sweater for $.90 at the thrift store, when they actually bought it from Urban Outfitters for $75. This is all fine; I love me a dude in an expensive, stretched out cardigan. The problem, however, lies in what has become the OLD HIPSTER. WHAT?! I KNOW. CRAY.

Let’s rewind. We all know those 37+ guys who still shop at Abercrombie (or worse, American Eagle? Hollister? Ouch.) and maybe dye their hair and tan and can’t face the fact that they’re getting wrinkly now that they’re approaching 40 and will soon be considered “creepy old guys” when they go to a bar and try to hit on the freshly legal. A new species of this kind has evolved, and let me tell you folks, it’s not pretty.

It’s the old hipster.

I unfortunately spotted this specimen while I was at a concert the other night. It was literally the highest concentration of hipsters I have ever seen outside of an Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, or Hard Times. The problem was that the concert was not at some ironic coffee shop or a dive bar which is thriving because its patrons only drink shitty overpriced PBR, but it was at First Ave. (Which, for the non-Minnesotans, is a pretty awesome place.) Therefore, it attracted this obscure subset of near-midlife-crisis individuals who figured they should express whatever remnants of a youthful spark they have dwindling inside by dressing like all of the youngins that would be at the concert – the hipsters.

The reason this can absolutely never ever work for those poor late-30s and upward individuals is simple. They’re too close to the cusp of being considered “old” to dress like someone who is trying to dress like an old person to be ironic. When that 22-year-old guy with the James Franco face and perfect beard and the “I tried to look like I just rolled out of bed” hair and the neck tattoos and super tight skinny jeans that are too short but it’s okay because they show off his perfect ass that he spends hours at the rec perfecting wears an old man cardigan, glasses, and suspenders, it can totally work for him, because he’s still hot in a very youthful way. He’s still a “kid.” He can dress like an old guy and it is obviously all for the sake of the hipster image, because it looks like he’s playing dress up in his granddaddy’s clothes.

But when that older guy with the somewhat sagging features that blur his bone structure and the beard that is starting to grey by now and evidence of the too many PBRs he downs in an attempt to hang with the younger crowd wears grandpa sweaters, tucks in a button down which is buttoned a little too high, and wears old man glasses, he just makes himself look like an old dude. If you’re reading this, and you’re like, “shit, that is so me,” then I suggest you stop looking to RPats and JGL for fashion advice and consider more age-appropriate options. You can still be sexy, and instead of being that creepy old guy trying to hang with the young crowd, you can try to rock the hot, successful older guy thing (even if you’re not actually successful).

This is not finished but it’s been sitting around not getting finished for a week now, so I am just going to call it done.

Check out this website for the cool hipster charts.

Let’s Reminisce

One year and three days ago I was visiting the U for the first time with my dad. I was ill-prepared for the weather, I had an ugly cold, and I was not completely impressed with the U.
Now, I am here – living here. Being Minnesotan. Or at least trying…
I often forget to just take some time to look back, to think about where I was one year ago, two years ago, three years ago. The great thing about having this blog is that I can do that really easily. I just have to click around, and I have the perfect time capsule of my life. My life preserved in words.
When I think of my senior year of high school, the picture in my head is vastly different than that of every single one of my friends. I think of limbo…completely done with high school, but not yet in college, and trying to throw them at one another and find some way to stitch the seam together. I think of driving in the BMW, smelling the Bath & Body Works pod, listening to Tegan & Sara, Rufus Wainwright, Florence & The Machine, and Jack Johnson. I think of studying in the library and spending half of my teeny paycheck on over-priced coffee. I remember changing a lot.
I remember being a little scared of the fact that I could feel myself changing…and I remember trying to use everything within me to not let anyone see how scared I was. Of college in particular…I had no idea what I was going to do. I was terrified by my lack of ability to make a decision.
Anyway, it’s cool to think about how much has happened in this year, and how many things have not gone according to plan. One year from now, I hope things are going swimmingly. I like that word so much. Ugh.

The Why

There have been an unusual number of shootings in the news, the most tragic taking place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. If you haven’t heard about this, I suggest you reevaluate your priorities.
Everyone has their opinion about this, so I figured I would share mine if for no other reason than to just have a document of what I thought about this when I was 18. And then laugh at my ridiculously over-optimistic naïveté.
So, I don’t think it’s about guns. It’s not about guns. It’s not about guns.
It’s about you and me, and how much we all love seeing other people sink. When other people sink, we all of a sudden float a little closer to the light. Or we think we do, anyway. And we all encourage one another’s perception that we’re floating a little higher.
Guns do not kill people. People kill people. I’m not one of those guys running around trying to protect my precious guns, and I could not give a single shit about my right to bear arms. Maybe I should, but I don’t. I think I have a little too much faith in our government, and I really don’t think they would repeat the same mistakes made over and over again throughout history in terms of civilian access to certain weapons. I just want it to be clear that while I don’t think that guns are the problem, I also don’t actually care about my right to own them. That said, guns are definitely not the problem. That brings us to the infinitely frustrating question of, “What do we do?” I’m not telling everybody that I have all the answers, but I have the answer to this one. Are you ready?

You sure?
The only way to prevent such tragedies as these from occurring is for all of us to stop being heartless douchebags to one another. That’s it. Stop raising our kids to be little manipulative brats, and stop thinking that we’re innocent. The blood of those 28 victims of Newtown is on all of our hands. That’s right…all 28 of them. Including Adam Lanza himself. A gun is not what killed those children. Adam Lanza is what killed those children. That gun is not the reason that 6 adults in the school, Lanza’s mother, and Lanza himself are dead. Adam Lanza is the reason they are dead.
We all have to stop acting so innocent. We, as people, suck. We suck. We love it when other people fail, because it gives us a chance. We hate to admit it to ourselves, but deep down, when we hear about that guy that spends his days in his basement playing video games and building computers and lacking any substantial form of human interaction, we love it. That means that there is one less person out there against whom we have to compete. To us, he is just another loser. “It’s his decision. He’s the one who chose that life for himself.”
Ok. Now why did he choose that life for himself?
When I was in 10th grade, I took AP European History with the one and only Mr. Kirsch. That guy was awesome. After class one day, Kirsch pulled me aside and told me to stop asking “why.” He told me that it was really actually a good thing that I was always asking “why,” because it showed that I actually cared about understanding rather than simply memorizing information. It showed that I understood the importance of the “why,” and it’s applicability to the future. But that in terms of my exams, I had to stop with the “why” and focus on the “who, what, where, and when.” The “why” was irrelevant as far as the AP was concerned, although it was critically relevant to our understanding of human nature, and how to prevent the recurrence of any mistake that has made history.
That made sense to me, but I still kept asking why. The why always matters, and I knew that. In terms of AP scores it doesn’t matter, but the AP itself is a terrible system that doesn’t matter either. In reality, the “why” is actually all that matters.
The why is all that matters.
If you can put the brakes on the why, then you can stop the ball before it starts rolling because there won’t even be a ball. Guns have nothing to do with it. Guns are the how. Lanza could have walked into that school with a machete and done just as much damage. With the amount of emotion and rage required to murder 20 children, he could have probably done just as much damage with a paring knife. The why comes before the how. The why is the ball, the how is the direction it will keep rolling.
In the days following the shooting, all forms of social media were exploding with people asking questions like “What kind of psycho could do that?” and referring to Lanza as a “sick bastard” who they distance themselves from so much. In our minds, we are absolutely nothing like Adam Lanza. We would never, ever kill anyone. Especially a child. Especially 20 of them.
Lots of people aren’t going to like this, but that’s too bad: Adam Lanza was just like us. Adam Lanza was us. He had red blood pumping through his veins. He was a human. He was a person, and people don’t actually just wake up and decide to kill 28 people. There is a why. There is always a why, and it’s all that matters.
The why is all that matters.
Now…defining said why is obviously quite a challenge when we know close to nothing about Lanza himself. Everything I can find, at least, is pretty much speculation that he could have had Asperger’s syndrome, and that he really didn’t know anyone. He was that guy who spends his time playing video games and reading books in his room, and his recent human interaction consisted of online communities and the woman who cut his hair. Obviously there is always more to the story than anyone can really ever know, especially someone whose only access to Lanza’s life is whatever articles I can find online, but the fact that there’s nothing out there kind of speaks for itself.
The why behind that kind of an existence is probably not too far from the why behind his drive to kill 28 people. There can only be so many whys in someone’s life. At least that’s how I see it.
I don’t know how the rest of the world thinks about these things, but for me, why can almost always be answered by who. I am driven by people. Not just the individuals in my life, but by people in general. I feel anger, sadness, happiness, love, frustration, a sense of responsibility, hope, and despair, all because of people. Adam Lanza may have had a who. A who may have been his why. Unfortunately, though, I think that maybe in his case, the why was the lack of a who. There was no who for him…and that was his why.
Of course, one can blame everything on him having some form of mental illness. Many do, because we will never know for sure, and that gives us an out. “He was crazy. It isn’t anyone’s fault.” Sure. Ok. But if that was the case, someone should have been close enough to him, and cared enough about him to notice, and to help him. To love him enough to realize that something was wrong, and to find some way to help him. Someone should have been a who to him.
I think the reason that so few people want to accept this is not because it’s invalid, but because it means that we would be accepting blame. We would be taking some responsibility, and we cannot accept that there is any blood on our hands. Adam Lanza could have been any number of unstable human beings who we do not acknowledge as being in need of our love and acceptance. If we want to get selfish about this, then think about it this way: We’ll be protecting ourselves by expressing love for everyone. I’m not saying to plaster on a fake smile and tell everyone to have a nice day, but I’m saying to pay more attention. To actively love people. To teach our children to actively love everyone. To accept everyone. To be that person that someone can come to, and to stop pushing other people down to make ourselves feel better.
I am done with high school. I am done with middle school. That part of my life is over, and I have my final collection of the stories which constitute “my childhood” and “my high school experience.” They’re quite different from most people’s, but I still have the horror stories. I know exactly what it feels like to be that person that they are pushing down, to be the extremely self-conscious twelve-year-old girl, sitting in the middle of the classroom at lunch time, alone. Everyone else who I had at one time considered my friends, sitting together at the edges of the room, and to be sitting alone at my desk in the very center of the classroom. To feel their eyes on me, to hear a burst of laughter and turn my head, only to see them all looking at me as they laugh. I know what that feels like. To be alone. To not want to finish my applesauce because a tear fell into it. I wanted to be home schooled, I wanted my parents to take me out of school so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. My teachers didn’t do anything about it. Those girls were laughing, and the teacher who was our lunch monitor came up to me while I was sitting in the center of the classroom, eating my lunch with Harry Potter, and asked me if I was ok. Did I look ok? Really? Would she describe what she saw happening as “ok?” Tears welled in my eyes, I choked up and pressure built in the back of my throat, and I told her I was fine and I just kept reading.
We can’t let those things happen. I had a who to blame for getting choked up during lunch time in my classroom, but I was one of the lucky few that had another who at home to get me through it. To call my school and get things worked out. To tell me that it wasn’t my fault, it was them. They were wrong and stupid, and I was right, and I would be ok in the end.
What if I didn’t have a who at home? What if my parents just told me to suck it up, or if they told me nothing at all. What if I had parents who wouldn’t invest as much time as mine in learning the details of my life, and playing an active role in my development?
I would have crumbled. I may have ended up in my parents’ basement, seeking a sense of community among my gaming friends, because I would be too terrified of real human relationships. I may not have been able to deal with the reality of the cruelty of people anymore because I was so hurt, humiliated, and afraid of going through it again. And I’m really a normal person. I look like everyone else, I’m pretty smart, I am pretty good with your day-to-day social interactions, but what if I wasn’t? What if those girls had a legitimate reason to push me under the water and watch me drown? What if they had actual ammunition to use against me, and they knew to hit where it hurt the most? What if I was also missing the love at home that got me through?
I would have drowned. I could have felt enough rejection, and like enough of an outcast at such a vulnerable time in a young girl’s life that I would have just thrown in the towel and given up on any form of a successful relationship. I could have lost hope in my fellow human beings…the concept of feeling loved and accepted could have seemed just foreign enough that I started to doubt its existence. I would stop making an effort to connect. I would have turned out much differently, and I’m not saying I would have killed 28 people, and I’m certainly not saying that Adam Lanza is completely excused from doing what he did, but I am saying that I don’t think it can ever be 100% his responsibility.
So, what do we do? We look at our kids. We look at ourselves. We don’t worry about tightening up gun control, because it’s a waste of time and effort. Guns are the how. There can always be another how. When there is a will, there is a way. It’s not the how that we need to be worrying about, it’s the why. We stop the why. We stop pushing other people down. We stop letting our kids “just be kids” and we start being the adults, the example of how to live a life of loving others. We start teaching our kids that for their own good, they must be good.
Please be good to everyone. Teach everyone how to love by loving. Please.

Comeback Story

This is really messy, so in an effort to organize it a little more, I split it into parts. It really didn’t change the fact that none of this makes sense in the same post, but whatever.
Part I
I have returned to the land of the passive-aggressive, and it feels so good. I had my first class this morning, and I am actually really looking forward to puttin it to the grind stone and banging out an amazing semester. I am going balls to the wall and trying make this semester academically perfect and trying to stay healthy while doing so – that means a lot more sleep and working out and a lot less bullshit. Three cheers for less bullshit. On all accounts.
I am currently sitting in the Starbucks on West Bank. It’s a really cool place – two of the walls are glass and it’s on the top floor of a building, so it has a cool view and tons of natural sunlight, which is something I crave (especially when it feels like -29F outside (I’m not kidding)). There are these three seats in this Starbucks to the left of the door, and literally every single time I have come in here they have been taken. While waiting for my tall soy vanilla spice, I would stare longingly at those three golden seats, imagining how it must feel to have the cozy chair that everyone desires. And today, ladies and gentlemen, I scored one of those seats. And it feels glorious.
I sat down and sunk my teeth into a tomato and mozzarella panini, and the chick next to me was eating an apple. She took a bite, and I am not exaggerating when I say that the juice from her apple sprayed my ear. It literally travelled like 4 feet through the air and squirted the side of my head. It was an incredibly strange experience and reminded me of this.

Part II
For Christmas, my dad bought me framed pictured of Bannerman’s Island, the Hudson River, and the Clearwater, as well as a glass Clearwater and a glass bird from Hudson Beach Glass. I hung them all yesterday, and it makes my room feel so much nicer. I hung the bird and the Clearwater from a chain of paper clips because I couldn’t find a string thick enough to support them, and it actually looks really cool because they are hanging from the Christmas lights above my bed. I also have this green Swarovski crystal that Yulia gave me a few years ago that I hung on our window, and the way it casts light around the room is beautiful.
Part III
After having spent so much time with people that truly understand me and mean the world to me over break, I realized what a high standard I put on the relationships in my life. I don’t have room for friends of convenience or anyone who causes me problems. I can be such a bitch. Really. I can be unbearable. And while I do have control over myself and I try to not be a psycho bitch most of the time, the people who make a mark on my heart are the ones around whom I don’t have to try to control myself because I feel nothing but love for them. The people who make me feel so thankful for their existence that I never have the desire to be anything but the best version of myself around them. Those are the people who make it into my book of “Yeah I’d take a bullet for you.”
My great grandfather said (well, my father says he said) to only befriend people who are better than you in some way (I am assuming there is a substantial amount of paraphrasing here), and I have to say that those words are pure gold. I look at the people who have stuck around – the ones whose friendship has lasted the test of time, distance, or disagreement, and they are the ones who I can learn from. I have to say though, that this advice can only be used by a specific kind of person. The kind of person who has not only the ability to teach someone a thing or two about how to better their existence, but the kind of person who is still humble enough to be able to accept that they themselves have a thing or two to learn from others, and can work toward becoming that better version of themselves. I’d like to think I fit the bill, as do any of the people that I have the honor to call a friend.
Part IV
Yulia travelled 9 hours from Rhode Island by bus, train, foot, and car, to spend 18 hours in NY. I met her on 85th and Lex, and I saw her fountain of blondness from a block and a half away. We went to Mike’s basketball game, and it was weird to think that my little brother goes to school there. He commutes, every day, to go to high school, when he could have very easily gone to Lourdes or even Arlington. Then I thought about my academic track record, and I think it’s cool that we kind of seek these opportunities. I think it says a lot about us. Granted, none of it would be possible without my parents’ help (financial and otherwise), and they never hesitate to remind us of that, but we are still the ones who seize these opportunities, and I’m really proud of that. After his game, Yulia and I went to dinner at this restaurant near Gramercy. 

We were standing in front of the theater with two hours to spare, so we Yelped the best restaurant in a 10 block radius and found this place called Maialino. We had risotto croquettes and tonnarelli a caccio e peppe from the bar menu, and it was fabulous. In that moment, sitting in a restaurant in NYC with my best friend in a ridiculously sparkly red dress, glass of wine in one hand and iPhone in the other, I thought about how lucky I am and how good life has been to me. I thought about how happy I am that I basically cracked at 16 and had no problem getting up in the middle of morality class and playing the crazy card to get out of class, and that I decided to move to Minnesota, of all places, just to try something new without the direct access of my parents, and that I understand exactly how dumb and irrational I am sometimes, and that I can admit when I am wrong and that I am capable of changing. In that moment I felt privileged and like I didn’t deserve to have such a magical existence, but then I pulled myself from the depths of my mind because that’s a bad neighborhood.

Yulia came for the Augustana concert at Gramercy, and ohmygod. I don’t know what combination of Dan Layus, live music, NYC, sparkly dresses, alcohol, Yulia, and an accordion made that concert feel so magical, but it was an experience like no other. Sometimes I get this feeling during a song that I can’t explain. It makes me feel like something beneath my skin is moving. Like something is shifting. We’ll call it a songasm. I have never seen anyone else try to explain this so I don’t know if it’s a normal thing, but it has happened a few times before, most notably during Rufus Wainwright’s live performance of Hallelujah. Anyway, most of this concert created that kind of a feeling. When Dan started talking to the audience, he apologized for going on and on about his life and other things, but I had to use every ounce of restraint within me to not beg him to keep talking, because his voice is just so mesmerizing. Well done, Augustana. Well done.
I could not have had a better last day in New York. Alas, I am now back to negative temps, dorm living, and lots of work, so the fun from that last night in New York will have to last me a little while. Until next time.