Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lumberjack vs. Hipster

I've been wondering lately what the difference is between a male hipster and a lumberjack. I think this all started when I was contemplating what to buy my brother for Christmas, as he is a hipster who currently resides in Portland, OR. I'm not sure if it is ironically uncool to be referred to as a hipster, because hipster-ism has become mainstream (just walk into any Urban Outfitters) which is against the countercultural values of the hipster, but hopefully he will forgive me for the categorization for the purposes of this blog. As I began to think through the potential go-to presents, I soon realized that all the items I was listing were simultaneously all of the ingredients for a lumberjack. This got me thinking. What was the difference between a hipster and a lumberjack?

Just look at the things they have in common:
1. Both wear flannel shirts and woolen hats
2. Typically have thick facial hair or full beard. "Scruffy" may also be an appropriate adjective.
3. While we are on the subject of wardrobe, they tend to both wear heavy leather boots with deep treads, whether for climbing mountains or not slipping on rainy pavement.
4. Drink lots of coffee and/or ale out of mugs. May or may not swing mugs back and forth while singing a lively song--this is because their mugs are most likely filled with Christmas cheer.
5. Live in places with a lot of trees (a.k.a. Seattle and Portland).
6. May eat pancakes (though some hipsters may prefer vegan flapjacks, or perhaps they may forego the bacon if they are vegetarians)
7. Both MAY need showers. Lumberjacks after working in the forest all day, hipsters for various reasons (or am I confusing "hipster" with "hippie"? This is not representative of the entire hipster population, but I have met SOME hipsters who have smelled like a vintage shop, cigarettes, and/or a hallucinogenic plant known as "Mary Jane" It stings the nostrils.

For me, the difference really resides in the fact that lumberjacks cut down trees, while hipsters may be trying to save the trees (Again, perhaps I am confusing "hipster" with "hippie?" Though, there does seem to be some overlap between the subcultures. Hipsters might be apathetic, as this is their M.O., but if you live in Seattle or Portland, I anticipate that one's love for the environment is directly correlated to your location to the epicenter of the city, i.e. the closer you are the stronger the tree huggery, as these are big parts of the city's culture). Also a hipster is less likely to own a blue ox or an ax.

Of course we are operating out of stereotypes. Not sure what a "hipster" even is? Check out the definition here. Not sure what a lumberjack is? Read the story of Paul Bunyan, and also make sure not to discredit lumberjacking as a viable career option, as you may be told on a high school career test that this should be your career of choice (well, the more "professional" term is "logger") Yes. That is a real story that happened to yours truly. It's ok to be jealous.

On the left we have a picture of some "hipsters" (when typed into google images). On the right we have the lumberjack (also typed into google images). Differences!?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I Own a Flip Phone

Tai incessantly makes fun of me because I own a flip phone. Specifically, the AT&T Nokia (see left. But mine is a handsome and becoming crimson). She says that I am behind the technology curve ball, and that she is embarrassed to be seen with me, and she tells me that they don't even make flip phones anymore for a reason. It should also be moderately telling that when talking to a man at a local establishment, when I pulled out my phone for some reason he said, "Wait. Is that a flip phone? I haven't seen one of those in years." Yeah, that's right Mr. Bar Man. I'm THAT smooth. This just goes to show that neither of these people or the many others who have commented on said phone know the AWESOME perks of the flip phone. It doesn't matter that it randomly deleted half of my phone numbers one day! No! It does not! Because the benefits far outweigh the cons:

1. It is very durable. I have dropped my phone numerous times. Carpet. Cement. Wood floors. Tile. The surface is irrelevant, because it remains strong. Is the screen cracked? Is it broken in half? Nope. Sturdy as a brick. Sure, when dropped it may break into three pieces, but those three pieces still work when put back together. So. Yeah.
2. As my friend Frank March pointed out, you can more accurately express your anger to the person you are speaking with: "WHAT DID YOU SAY???!!! I AM HANGING UP ON YOU!!! **slam your flip phone shut (and because I angrily yell at people on the phone quite frequently in my day-to-day life. I'd say at LEAST once a year). Try this with an iphone as you angrily jab your finger at the screen. Yeah. Doesn't feel quite as cathartic does it? Does it?!
3. When you are bored you can make a small hut or lean-to-like structure out of the flip phone, perhaps for a small Lego man or woman to live in during the cold winter months.
4. No butt dialing on the flip phone! No siree! Nope, your ass will not accidentally sit on those keys and you will not accidentally call your ex boyfriend or text an accidental inappropriate word to your grandma (that is, if she texts)!
5. No pockets in your pants? No problem. Simply open the flip phone half way and slide it onto your belt or the top of your pants. You don't even need a cell phone holder or clip--it's built right into the phone.
6. You can say cool statements like, "Catch you on the FLIP side" or maybe, "If that person calls me ONE more time I'm going to FLIP out!" and that is actually accurate.
7. It was free. What more can I say? Money talks.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Vice Verses

I know that there's a meaning to it all
A little resurrection every time I fall
You got your babies, I got my hearses
Every blessing comes with a set of curses
I got my vices, I got my vice verses
I got my vice verses
Where is God in the night sky?
Where is God in the city light?
Where is God in the earthquake?
Where is God in the genocide?

Where are you in my broken heart?
Everything seems to fall apart
Everything feels rusted over
Tell me that you're there

"Vice Verses" by Switchfoot

Love...Or Something Like It

For many a century, men and women have poised their pens to write their significant others beautiful words professing their deepest affections to them. Soldiers wrote their sweethearts love letters, sent from all around the globe, Lord Byron wrote such lovely lines like "She walks in beauty, like the night." I imagine the recipients of these messages maybe sighed a little "Awww," and got the butterflies in their stomach regions. Apparently, these sorts of things have made people swoon or something like that (or at least, we seem to think they are romantic in the movies and such), but fast forward to the 21st century, and the translation seems to have been lost, especially when using facebook as a means of communication.

Take for example my friend who just received a facebook message from a young gentleman she met a few years ago. The message professed his deepest love for her--and by the sounds of it, he is head over heels, I'm talking like depths-of-the-ocean deep. While I'm sure there are many people who might appreciate the romance and passion, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to us. Do we have hearts of stone?! Have we been so jaded that we cannot appreciate the "old fashioned" ways of communicating romance any more? Nope. The message was terrible really, and dare I say EXTREMELY cheesy. Now mind you, she has not seen this person in two years, so it seemed to come out of nowhere, and was perhaps a "bit much"--you really do have to keep context in mind with these sorts of things--but at least there's no guessing about how he feels, which is a rarity these days I suppose. God bless him, he tried, but he really should have consulted with a friend prior to sending this sucker (in my opinion)! I hope it does not appear that I am making fun, as I acknowledge it takes a lot of guts to put your heart out there, was too grand of a blog-writing opportunity to pass up, so you'll have to forgive me. These are some ACTUAL lines from said poem:

"You eyes are as bright as the star." I am not sure if this was supposed to "the star" like "the sun" or "the star(s)" as in plural, and proof reading apparently did not occur
"Your skin is as soft as a cotton sweater."
"Your eyes are as bright as diamonds." We decided this might be acceptable if this line came attached to a box with a diamond IN it.
"I want to serve you like a king serves his queen." No comment.
"I wanted to make love to you but I had severe lower back pain." Again, no comment. The downside was I actually DID have lower back pain yesterday, causing me to want to giggle and pop pills all at the same time--it was a very paradoxical range of emotions.

While it was agreed that some young woman somewhere might greatly appreciate this gesture, or I imagine if it had been written 100 years ago or so, but we established that this was fairly "gag-worthy." However, we seized this opportunity to write some great lines of our own. Feel free to use on your significant other, you don't even need to give us credit:

"Your mind is as sharp as my best cutlery."
"Your teeth are as white as my most bleached undergarment."
"You smell so good you could replace my febreeze."
"Your eyes are as shiny as an egg yolk and your spirit is just as delicious."
"Your joy is as bright as a bouquet of buttercups on a fresh spring day. With butterflies swirling around them."
"My heart bursts for you like the bubble I am currently blowing with my gum."
"Your smile is as bright as the hamburgler and you steal my heart."
"My love for you shines so bright it can outshine any Nor'Easter blackout."
"My love for you is like a 40--it's always a party!"
"You are the pearl I want in my oyster."

Frankly I see some gems for Valentine's Day. Let me be clear: if you are out there, young suitor, and would like to write me a song, HANDWRITE a letter professing your love for me, the things you appreciate about me, I would certainly love that a lot. But please make sure that it does not come through any social networking sites, and does not create various analogies about parts of me to inanimate objects, and should not be cheesy lines like, "Can I see your tag? Because you MUST have been "Made in Heaven." No, I was not, I was made on earth, and we both know this. Perhaps, "Hi, I am ___________. You seem really hilarious and delightful. Would you like to talk?" My response will most likely be very positive, I can assure you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adventures in Mystic

I had all the intentions in the world of writing all about my perfect fall activities as of late. I was going to post some delightful pictures of the orange leaves adorning campus, the Pumpkin Fest, me in a warm woolen hat and mittens, a soccer game I went to...I even had some funny lines in my head like I've "fall-en" for autumn. Okay, that was terrible and no one should be so subject to such horrible pun-nery, and I should have higher standards for myself as a writer. But the point was that, according to my calculations I had a solid four to six weeks left to write about my love of fall. And then Mother Nature decided to dump six to ten inches of snow all over my plans, my autumn, and virtually the entire state of Connecticut.

wasn't overly concerned when I had heard that we were going to get snow. In my opinion, the Connecticut weather team hasn't exactly had the best track record when it comes to meteorology prediction. But everyone has to start somewhere. And they decided go start by being extremely accurate. To quote one of the RA's, "I went to sleep on October 29 and woke up on December 24." Now I want some presents. And unfortunately this particular snow storm, because it came so early, wreaked havoc. To quote one student in particular, the town looked like, "there had been a battle and we lost.". And then the power went out. Awesome.

To make a very long story short (we had to evacuate the campus), I am not writing this blog from West Hartford, but from Mystic, Connecticut. My friend lives here and so graciously let me stay here and use things like electricity. Mystic is the perfect town to be in for Halloween. I feel like it is straight out of the Halloween classic "Hocus Pocus," though without the wizardry. Beautiful quaint New England homes, tiny bookstores, COFFEE SHOPS (and you know how I feel about that!). And I get to watch Glee at its regularly scheduled time, which is awesome because i don't normally get to because of class. Its the little things. And guess what-it's still fall here!

I've been in Mystic with my coworker/friends with three small children, so needless to say we have had some great adventures, though they are still holding out for Chuck E. Cheese. I got to go trick or treating for the first time in oh, I don't know seven years, maybe eight, which made me feel oddly old and young at the same time. I also got to dress up as a pepperoni pizza slice which was ironic because I do not eat meat. Today, I made chocolate chip pancakes for the kiddies, and I got to go to the Mystic Seaport (picture to come) where the kids made banjos while Mom was concerned about them playing the banjos non stop later on. Mystic Seaport is this little historical place where they have boats and horses and know like maybe like it was back in the 1800's when they didn't have power. It felt oddly familiar, especially since I had walked to my car holding a candle the night prior. Additionally, at the Mystic Seaport we had the opportunity to go into an old school Blacksmith shop where members of the Coast Guard were learning how to do whatever Blacksmith-y type things. Lets just say it was hot in that room for a number of reasons, and made me seriously re-evaluate living in a land locked town. All in all we've had a great time, though admittedly this has solidified my commitment to not bringing children into the world, but conversely has strengthened my commitment to being the best aunt ever (Henry Porter, I'm talking to you).

If there's anything that I have learned since being in Mystic it is that this is a reminder to how essential it is to slow down. It's of course been busy, which tends to happen when you work full time and are getting your Master's. But you begin to see what you can go without, what is essential, and to really stop and savor the moment. This morning I went for a jog without my I pod...and I don't know the last time I did that, if ever. I often wondered if it was possible for me to run without it, maybe I'd get bored or focus too much on the pain. But I listened to my feet hitting the pavement, my breath going in and out, and felt my muscles working. And I felt so at peace when I came back. When everything you typically use is gone (ok yes, I'm getting Thoreau on you, and yes, I realize I haven't been completely desolate because I'm writing this from an I pad but for the most part I have three days of clothes and that's about it, so just go with it), it makes you slow down, and you really have to be reminded of these things every once in awhile, you know, a wake up call. But I still want fall back.