Farewell, Morning Mail

We all know Morning Mail – most of us don’t manage to read the whole thing like 90% of the time, but, hey, someone needs to tell us it’s 1 am and roll out super long emails that I always flag and tell myself I’ll finish reading at a later time (spoiler: I don’t). The Brown community has a complicated relationship with Morning Mail; it may be largely unread, but it sure is meme-worthy.

(“guys, Morning Mail just came out” *collective groans/panicked exclamations as everyone tries to wrap up their work*)



Posted by Alex Hirsch on Wednesday, October 18, 2017


As much of a fan I am of the “only 90s kids remember” memes that have been circulating this year, I don’t know if I really want to say goodbye to Morning Mail – mostly because (according to the email we received on 10/18 from Cass Cliatt) Today@Brown is supposed to include “messages from the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Dean of the College, the Graduate School, Campus Life, the Registrar, and other University offices . . .” and a whole slew of other topics that make me pretty skeptical Today@Brown is gonna be able to fill such a tall order.

But I’m gonna go ahead and be tentatively optimistic about Today@Brown (I guess? Seeing as we have no other choice). The name is pretty lame (c’mon, is this a morning talk show?), but people are naturally resistant to change so we’ll probably get over it soon enough. And I am pretty tired of a lot of people missing out on information that could be super useful to them just because Morning Mail is so hard to get through.

Hopefully when Today@Brown gets all the kinks worked out, it’ll be worth all the fuss, but until then (and maybe after), we’ll just be pining after the Morning Mail we know and loved to meme.

Or maybe it won’t make that much of a difference, after all.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What Kanye West Song Best Describes Your Concentration?

In the words of Kanye West, “you may be talented, but you’re not Kanye West.” And he’s not wrong. If you’re like me, you likely feel that Kanye West is the voice of our generation. Or, at least a voice of a generation. He has a big personality, and he refuses to be ignored. I’m pretty sure that he’s actually the reason why Taylor Swift became famous, but you didn’t hear that from me. Even if you hate the dude, you have to admit that he has talent, style, and a major influence in today’s pop culture. Kanye’s music permeates all aspects of our lives, and I’m going to argue that his music even represents our concentrations here at Brown.

Economics or Applied Mathematics (or, even better, both): Gold Digger

If you’re concentrating in econ or APMA, you’re probably on the road to making the big bucks. I’m not (necessarily) saying you’re a gold digger, but you ain’t messin’ with no humanities concentrations… Let’s face it: you put the gold in Goldman Sachs.

Computer Science: Stronger
If you’re a CS concentrator, I salute you. If you can survive these four years, you can survive anything. Personally, the idea of coding until 2 am on a nightly basis sounds deadly, but in the wise words of Mr. West, “that that don’t kill me can only make me stronger.”

TAPS: Flashing Lights

Let’s face it: you love being in the spotlight. You’re probably a little quirky and also hate this post because you want to argue that you would be better defined by a song from Dear Evan Hanson.

History: I Love Kanye

I’m not saying you’re stuck in the past, but you probably “miss the old Kanye” (but I mean, who doesn’t?). It’s tempting to look to the past with nostalgia, but, hey, we gotta make the best of what we have now and try to learn from past mistakes – which is why I stopped watching horror films at night with the lights off (so many regrets).

Gender and Sexuality Studies: Power

Any feminist would agree that “no one man should have all that power,” and if you’re a Gender and Sexuality Studies concentrator, you’re definitely an advocate for women’s rights. In this song, Kanye West feels like a powerful man. I’d like to see my #GirlPower advocates knock him down a few pegs.

BEO: School Spirit
If you’re a BEO concentrator, you probably like to have fun. You never miss a Whiskey Wednesday, you dabble in darties, and you might even go to more than one football game a year (that is, if you’re not on the team). Regardless, you definitely embody the type of school spirit that Kanye references in this anthem.

English: Bound 2

As an English concentrator myself, I chose this song not only because the lyrics are pure poetry (and because Kim looks like an absolute goddess in the music video), but because we English majors are definitely “bound to fall in love.” Whether you’re googly-eyed over your Love Stories professor, or simply inspired by the many(!) books you’ve read about love, you’re undoubtedly a hopeless romantic. Maybe one day, if you’re as lucky as Kimye, you’ll find your perfect match.

Undecided: All Falls Down

If you haven’t decided on your concentration, this song says it all. The woman that Kanye describes in this song “has no idea what she’s doin’ in college.” The concentration she thought she wanted to focus on apparently “makes no money,” so she really can’t decide what to study. But if you’re still undecided, don’t fret! It might take some time, but you’ll eventually figure it out. And if you don’t, you could always stay at Brown and maintain all those huge tents the administration loves to put on the quads so much.

Yan’s Cuisine

As we entered, the first thing we noticed about Yan’s Cuisine was the wonderfully familiar smell that wafted through our noses. We were instantly comforted by the aroma that almost all Chinese restaurants share – the hot and sticky scent of garlic, ginger, and sesame oil was reminiscent of family dinners at large, round tables with countless steaming-hot dishes scattered upon a Lazy Susan turntable. While the atmosphere at Yan’s is definitely more modern (they even have their own personalized plates!), due to its college-town setting and young clientele, the environment still gave me a sense of nostalgia, and I knew immediately that we were in for a treat.

My friends and I made the decision to go to Yan’s the day before as part of our quest to add some variety to our diets – and we really needed variety, since we’d been surviving on Andrews poké bowls and Ratty entreés for far too long. While we had originally intended to try their hot pot, we eventually decided to go for their regular menu, promising ourselves that we would return sometime to try the hot pot. (If you’re itching to try it out, it’s located on the restaurant’s upstairs floor and has its own separate menu.)

Hearing glowing accounts of Yan’s Americanized dishes left us more than a little cautious, but we soon learned that their menu is vast and can suit almost any taste. If you usually go for General Tso’s chicken or crab rangoons, I am in no way qualified to judge your decisions, but I encourage you to branch out a bit and try something else, because there are so many enticing dishes on the menu. A special shoutout goes to the China Tongue section of the menu, which features more authentic Chinese dishes for experienced diners and adventurous novices alike.

Chinese style dry green beans ($9.95) and eggplant in garlic sauce ($10.95)

The hardest part of the experience was choosing what to order – but, honestly, when you put four indecisive people at a table with a menu as extensive as Yan’s, what can you expect? After much deliberation, we opted for several classics: scallion pancakes, eggplant in garlic sauce, double cooked pork, Chinese style dry string beans, and (of course) a large bowl of white rice to share.

Scallion Pancake ($5.25)

While these were all delicious and satisfying, a clear favorite (the eggplant) emerged among us. We were all especially fond of its thick, sweet sauce, which had just a hint of spice, and noted how tasty it was over white rice. The Chinese style dry string beans were also a hit. While this is usually cooked with shredded pork, beef, or chicken, we chose to go meatless, and the dish was wonderfully flavorful even without the meat. These dishes were all served in sizable portions, and we left feeling content – and so very full.

Double-cooked pork ($11.25)

If you go to Yan’s, or any Chinese restaurant really, I recommend that you go with friends or family. In my opinion, while eating Chinese food from a takeout box in your own dorm room is nothing to be ashamed of (we all need some alone time, right?), eating Chinese food with others is so much better. After all, dim sum, hot pot, and Chinese set dinners are fundamentally group activities, and why should your weekend dinner at Yan’s be any different?

Debating with your friends about the differences in Chinese restaurant rice containers on the East and West Coasts over bites of scallion pancake is an experience not to be missed out on (side note: clearly the red plastic rice container is superior). Thanks for a great dinner, Yan’s – we’ll be sure to come back soon!


5 Types of Freshmen

In life, there are usually two types of people (if you ask me). However, when it comes to freshmen, I’m going to make a case that there are five types I’d like to highlight.

You may not be one of these people, but you’ve definitely met one of them. Here’s a rough guide to these freshmen archetypes (with added quotes, when possible).

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What Your Dirty Dishes (Would) Think of You

Day one:

“Wow, that was a great meal, wasn’t it?” The bowl rejoices, “We did an incredible job holding food for the human.”

The cutlery [telekinetically, I guess] hum their agreement.

“She sorta scratched me with the fork . . .” The non-stick pan mutters, gloomy as ever. The non-stick pan is useful, but also kinda too ornery for everyone else’s taste.

“Hey, I’m just an extension of the human’s righteous arm, it’s not my fault.”

Per usual, the non-stick pan doesn’t stick around very long after the meal is over. Once the human carries it away to The Cleaning Place, everyone agrees that it’s not the fork’s fault the non-stick pan is a little scratched.

Day two:

The coffee mug is getting restless, “I wonder what the human’s up to right now. Usually she needs me in the mornings? Is she OK?”

“Don’t worry about her,” Bowl says reassuringly. Bowl has known human for two years, “I’m sure she just went with the travel thermos this morning. She’s a busy girl.”

Day three:

The dishes begin to feel uncomfortable in their dish-skin. Tempers wear thin as sticky residue develops on each and every one of them. Every sighting of the human is both a cause for hope and an opening for disappointment.

Bowl has known the human longer than the rest and knows her habits. The bowl knows better than to expect relief quickly. If anything, it’s best to keep your hopes low.

“What is she even doing right now??” Fork rages, once-silver twines straining under a coating of long-dried meat sauce. “It’s fine if she ignores us when she’s sleeping, but she’s just staring at her typing device!”

“And not even typing!” Spoon chimes in.

“It’s Buzzfeed!” Water bottle reports from beside Human. Water bottle is her constant companion. The other dishes envy the water bottle and the travel mug. They’ve never seen the outside world, only the confines of Human’s bedrooms and various Cleaning Places. The newest dishes, the cutlery, have only seen this room. They hunger for a change of pace – or at least to be washed.

“Not Buzzfeed again!” The dishes groan in unison, save the Bowl, who knows Human all too well.

Bowl sighs, addressing its compatriots calmly, “It is best not to expect mercy from Human. She knows not what she does.”


The Search (for Parties)

The speculations begin to gain traction on Thursday. “Will there be a good party going on tomorrow?”. If Freshmen combined all their desire to party into organizing parties, there would be no stopping them. However, it is their Freshman condition that makes this hypothetical scenario impossible.

On Friday, social-thirsty Freshmen roam the halls and dark streets seeking stroboscopic lights and deafening beats. The search seems to be the lengthiest part of the night. What could make the actual discovery all the much better doesn’t, as it is usually accompanied by an awful sense of timing.

Countless times, three actually, my friends and I have made the strenuous trek to Perkins searching for a party that did not exist. Or we half-sprinted to Keeney, only to be outrun by DPS. Or, most unfortunately, EMS.

Like forensics analysts, we seem to only find the aftermath of a night (or, more likely, two hours) of booze and loud music. Red solo cups litter the ground and laughter echoes not so shyly into the night, but we never seem to find their birthplace.

“Oh, well. We should probably try again next weekend” becomes the unanimous motto until we finally come across a couple of giggly girls with still active solo cups and follow their trail. Em-Wool’s basement.

As soon as we get in, our senses are flooded by the sounds of hip hop and screamed reactions to beer pong.

“Luana” someone says. The two hours of aimless roaming are suddenly worth it. Someone is pronouncing my name correctly! (Small daily victories of an international student.)

“Bonjour!” continues a fellow Freshman from my French class. “Bonjour!” I answer, laughing at the absurdity of it all and feeling like a modern American parody of Beauty and the Beast. For a moment, I could swear I saw villagers waving their handkerchiefs at me.

“I’ll go get something and will be right back” my classmate concludes drunkenly. Well, I will go too, but probably won’t be right back.

After a night of failed attempts (such as coordinating with the shuttle routes, not to mention all our party woes) but uncountable laughs, my friends and I drag our feet back to our dorms.