March Like a Penguin: Tips on dominating the unheated dorm

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The weather’s changing, folks. We’re transitioning from the season of waking up plastered to our sheets by sweat with five fans surrounding our beds to that awkward season where we’re still waking up plastered to our sheets, now paralyzed by frigid dorm rooms. It might seem petty to complain, especially since it’s going to get a lot worse in the coming months (brace yourselves, freshmen from California), but at least when hardcore winter hits we’ll all have reliably cozy refuges (a.k.a. heated rooms) from the cold.

If you’re like me and live in a currently unheated dorm, your room could be even colder than the great outdoors. A certain sequence of events might sound familiar to you: Your alarm goes off. You can’t get out of bed. No, you’re not tired. In fact, you’d really like to brush your teeth and eliminate your abominable morning breath, or make yourself a cup of coffee. But every time you extend a limb–nay, a finger–or lift your head out from underneath the blankets in which you’re hibernating, BOOM. Antarctica hits. Every few minutes you’ll try again, give up, withdraw back into your blankets like a crab into its shell. This could last for up to an hour before you muster the courage to face the chill.

cat in bed meme

Such a constant state of cold discomfort can make EVERYTHING more difficult, from taking a shower to studying. Especially compared to the phenomenal warmth of a comforter, the frigid walk to the bathroom can seem like an impossible task. And until Brown does turn on the heat in all buildings, here are some tips for marching like a penguin (a.k.a. continuing to perform basic daily tasks without hating life, Brown, and New England):

  1. Keep a sweater next to your bed. Now, you might not want to wear your warmest, fuzziest sweater to bed. That, added to your quilt, comforter, sheets, throw blanket, and insulating aluminum foil, might make you feel a little overheated. So, for the dreaded moment when you need to leave the bed, ALWAYS have a sweater an arm’s reach away. If that isn’t enough, you could put the next day’s change of clothes by your bed as well. That way you can change under the covers and never have to subject your poor body to the chill.
  1. Wear your best pair of socks. Always. It’s scientifically proven that keeping your feet warm helps keep the rest of your body warm as well. Alright, that may not be entirely true. But it IS true that your feet, on the periphery of your body, suffer prominently from the cold. That brings me to tip number two: always wear a nice thick pair of socks. If you only have flimsy athletic socks, wear two pairs at once. Worried about having to take them off to put on flip-flops when you have to walk to the bathroom? Don’t worry, socks and sandals are in. Or at the very least, whoever spots you between your room and the bathroom (suitemate, hallway go-er, etc.) probably won’t look anything like Ryan Gosling and, more importantly, won’t really care.
  1. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate. A hot cup of anything can be both a great motivator for braving the cold and an added protection against it. If you’re lucky enough to have a roommate, suitemate, housemate, or friend who is simply a better person than you and offers to bring you a cup of tea, definitely take advantage. With that kind of luck, you can even stay under the covers until you get your tea, then carry it around your room as your very own weapon against the cold.
  1. Changing: a systematic approach. It’s that unfortunate time of day when you have to change into your work clothes, or your gym clothes, or whatever. No, your boss said, PJ pants are not appropriate for when you’re sitting at your desk. Change your clothes systematically: leave your pants on while you change your shirt and vice versa. Keep as much of you as warm as possible for as long as possible.
  1. The hunger strategy. Ok, so you’ve been hiding under the covers, and you really need to leave them to study for the ten midterms you have this week. But studying isn’t exactly the most appealing activity. Eating, on the other hand, is a much better motivator. Think about the pizza you really want from Andrew’s, or that warm Blue Room muffin. It’s much easier to put off working than it is to put off eating. Then, when you go out to get food, bring study materials with you. Try to study in the Ratty, or head to the library after a meal. The SciLi may be drafty, but it’s definitely better than your dorm.
  1. Ripping off the Band-Aid. That whole cycle I talked about, when you venture a limb outside of the covers and immediately freak out? Try not to do it. In the mornings, leap out of your bed like you’re late for lunch with Taylor Swift. It’ll feel like jumping into a cold pool: over in a heartbeat.

Luckily, the heat is supposed to be turned on by this Friday (WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!), but for now, hopefully these tips will help you power through the next few days. Stay warm, Brunonia!

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Images via, via, and via.


FlogDailyHerald: Complaining about the heat is silly

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It’s too hot. Now it’s too humid. Uh-oh, now it’s raining. During the first few days back on College Hill, students have aired a laundry list of complaints about a whole range of meteorological conditions.

And I get it. Providence weather is fickle, and some people find that frustrating. Humidity that causes you to break a sweat just by thinking too hard isn’t fun. Neither is a surprise rainstorm that pounces on you as you leave class.

But it’s worth looking on the bright side of things. The days are warm, and even at night temperatures are barely dipping below sixty degrees. On top of that, until today we’ve had plenty of sun. Things certainly could be worse. In fact, they often have been worse.

  1. For those who are wont to complain about a brief afternoon shower, it’s worth remembering Superstorm Sandy, which turned Providence, and most of the Northeast, into a lake. And not a fun lake that you could waterski on or swim in, but an angry lake that flooded streets and would have happily ripped you out to sea.
  2. In 2013, Nor’easter Nemo pounded across New England, dumping enough snow to break the spirits of even the most optimistic Dory-like students on campus.
  3. And, of course, there’s the series of snowstorms that all but obliterated Providence last winter.  We got so much snow that even Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy Russell Carey couldn’t save us. But he did grant us two snow days. To show our gratitude, we nominated him for President of the United States of America.
Carey

Carey is drawing low numbers in recent polls, but his favorability is expected to skyrocket if he gives us another snow day.

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Sans Meal Plan: Spiced red lentil, tomato, and kale soup

You may be thinking to yourself, “A soup recipe? But that’s so wintery and it’s already March 2nd!” And to that I say, “Same.” But the fact of that matter is, the weather is still heinous, and soup – especially this yummy, filling one – can make us feel at least a bit better about the cold temps and mountains of snow.

This spiced red lentil, tomato, and kale soup, adapted from Oh She Glows, can be made in under 40 minutes and yields about 5-6 cups. It’s satisfying as a standalone dish, but would also pair nicely with salad or roasted veggies.

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6 ways to freshen up your winter boots

I’m sick of the snow. I’m sick of the slush. I’m sick of having to take turns on the sidewalk when someone is coming in the opposite direction. But most of all, I’m sick of wearing my fugly snow boots.

It would be one thing if I was restricted to wearing my Converse — at least they’re passably cute and match with everything! Instead, I’m forced to trudge around campus with sheepskin-lined weights on my feet that would make a lumberjack cringe. Okay, they’re not terrible — I’ve seen worse — but everything is good in moderation, as they say, and I surpassed moderation about 2.5 weeks ago.

I know that I’m not the only one in this predicament, so I’ve created a fun list of DYI tips for sprucing up your feet prisons!!!

1) Bedazzled Boots

Buy some plastic jewels from your local craft store and glue, glue, glue! Use hot glue for a long-lasting masterpiece. Bonus: if you burn yourself badly enough, you’ll have a great excuse for missing class, and won’t have to go outside / wear your boots in the first place!  

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2) Cute Cut-outs

First decide what pattern you want — edgy triangles? Playful circles? Your roommate’s silhouette? Next, grab a pair of hardware scissors and start hacking. Really go at it! In fact, don’t stop until there’s not even a boot left to cut anymore!

3) Charming Char

Rustic is timeless. An easy and cheap way to achieve this look is charring the lining of your boots for a smoky finish that screams vintage. To begin, run a lit match or lighter along the top rim of your boots. Then, go to the kitchen for a snack. “Accidentally forget” about your DIY project. Come back to a smoldering pile of ashes.

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Hipster How-To: Being “over” snow

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Supposing you’re one of the hip young people, you need to be able to act like you’re an old pro at everything. In the icy grip of February, long after winter break has ended and the holidays are a distant memory, you need the ability to be casually dismissive of snow. Perhaps it’s your first winter in the northeast, and you grew up in Texas. Perhaps snow is familiar to you, but not quite familiar enough for snide condescension. Not to worry, you’ll be intolerable in no time.

Step 1: Deny the beauty of snow

This past Tuesday, I was walking back from work through a shower of large snow flakes, the type you see depicted on unsigned paintings in your grandma’s house. I looked up, and beheld the SciLi, crusted with fallen snow. I caught myself thinking, “You know, that doesn’t look half bad at the moment,” so the snowfall was aesthetically miraculous. However, if you want to be over the snow, you have to envision the weeks ahead, in which the once beautiful precipitation transforms into piles of concentrated grey misery on the sides of the roads. T.S. Eliot was off by one; back in Buffalo, where I come from, March is the cruelest month by far. It’s a monument to a hideous winter that has overstayed its welcome. Once this month is upon us, the idea of a winter wonderland will connote all the grace and beauty of a stubbed toe.

(c) Glasgow Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

That lucky bastard Caesar got to duck out on the 15th.

Step 2: Think about the time invested in travel

I don’t know about you, but I find walking to be my favorite method of travel in Providence. Unfortunately, the recent storms have made traveling on foot through Providence untenable. Want to walk to Stop & Shop to get some groceries? Fuck you, go to Whole Foods and double your bill. After a few days of trying to navigate all the narrow old roads of the surrounding town only to find that, whoops, this sidewalk is also not clear, looks like you’ll be turning around again, you’ll be hating winter like a 10-year veteran.

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A conversation with campus celebrity Russell C. Carey

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Russell C. Carey might be running for president.

Russell C. Carey, Executive Vice President of Planning and Policy, doesn’t cancel school for a bit of snow, even if it comes with an 800-signature petition. This winter, though, a pair of blizzards have forced Carey to call two snow days, catapulting him into the spotlight and making him one of the most popular administrators on campus. I sat down with Carey to talk snow days and the possibility of a 2016 Presidential campaign.

BlogDH: What exactly is the job of the Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy?

Carey: I have responsibility for campus safety and chair the Core Crisis Tea. For example, public safety reports to me. I oversee the team that really manages and responds to major crises, including winter weather. And certainly the blizzard at the beginning of January was in that category.

BlogDH: How do you decide when to call a snow day?

Carey: We gather a lot of information. We subscribe to a weather service that gives us very accurate weather information. Even several days out from a storm people are watching those forecasts. A key priority is: Is it safe? The January blizzard was clearly a life-threatening situation, but it can vary a lot depending on timing and accumulation. There’s just basic set of considerations. Is it possible to operate? Is the weather such that people that have to commute to campus can do so? Is there a parking ban? What’s the ability of the staff to clear the campus before classes begin? It’s very weather and day specific.

BlogDH: Would say that student petitions, for example, have negligible impact on your decision to call a snow day?

Carey: [Laughs] Negligible. Less than negligible.

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