It’s here: fall. The leaves have started throwing shades of orange, red and yellow across the Main Green. With the cold settling in, a flurry of sweaters, hot chocolate and warm boots has spread across campus. And, most tellingly, the Pumpkin Spice Latte has arrived in Starbucks.
Now that the cooler weather is finally starting to creep in, more people will find themselves spending time indoors. There can be a dearth of activities to occupy yourself with inside. But fret not because there’s always one reliable thing you can turn to when you have a few hours on a Sunday afternoon: a book.
The “I Can’t Cook Book” is the title of a never-opened cookbook that magically appeared in the living room of the apartment I share with my roommates. I assume that this book is meant for me because my roommates have no trouble cooking for themselves and getting all of their nutrients in. I, on the other hand, have been living solely on the classic college meals: eggs, pb&j, grilled cheese, Ramen, mac ‘n’ cheese and sautéed spinach (which my roommates just taught me to make). Sometimes I consume all of these things in one day, but if I’m lucky, my roommates will make extra food, and I can eat a real meal.
Coming to college, I was expecting this. My mom (whose Christmas present will be the “I Can’t Cook Book” from my apartment) cannot cook either, so my family orders out for pretty much every meal. I am close to doing this with the restaurants on Thayer. I’ve survived two weeks on my repertoire of recipes, but I don’t think I can last much longer. Everyone knows that on Thayer street, there are important rivalries to explore.
This Saturday, 119 students will finish their Brown careers. The “Midyear Completion Celebration” will honor those we colloquially call “.5ers” with a small ceremony taking place in Sayles. As is tradition for Spring Commencement, two soon-to-be-graduates were chosen to speak at the ceremony. BlogDH caught up with Bee Vang and Adrienne Tran on why they decided to .5 and what they plan on saying to their fellow graduates. You can watch a livestream of the ceremony on December 5 @ 4 p.m. here.
Adrienne Tran (right)
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Concentration: Independent Concentration in Computer Science and Development
Most likely to be found: in the CIT
Bee Vang (left)
Hometown: Twin Cities, MN
Concentration: Independent Concentration in Geopolitical Epistemologies
Most likely to be found in: a Starbucks
Why did you decide to .5? Both of you took three semesters off?
Adrienne: Yeah. I was studying Computer Science, and I felt like there is an element of it I was missing– how computer science could be applied to real world problems. I followed a professor to Australia who was doing work in modeling disaster evacuations and applying computer algorithms to how you could create this optimal plan. So I left because I wanted to do research with him.
Bee: I guess I just wanted real world experiences, and I wasn’t too satisfied at the time with what I was studying. I just needed time away from Brown. I worked for several NGOs, went overseas and did some research. I had a chance to professionally develop myself before going back to Brown, and graduating with a degree that I originally didn’t know what to do with it. That’s sort of why went on leave. I thought I was only going to take one semester, then I decided I would take another year off just to work in New York.
For those of you who don’t know, there is a major controversy right now among the coffee-drinking community over Starbucks’ iconic red holiday cups, which, for those of you following along at home, are the objects which contain the coffee. Cups. Nothing could matter less. And yet Starbucks is in the midst of a publicity shit-show because some of the more hyper-religious of its customers are disappointed by the lack of religious iconography on its holiday cups. Unfortunately, parties on all sides are missing the point.
The point is that the holidays are a month and a half away. It’s not even December. We can’t jump on the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza/New Years/Winter Solstice bandwagon until we celebrate Thanksgiving. Why is Christmas music playing in the mall at all? Why have we had like a gazillion presidential debates for an election that’s a year away? What the fuck is going on?
Au Bon Pain is doing it right. Their “holiday” cups are gray and have little stars on them. Look outside. That’s the spirit of the present moment. The weather sucks and is only going to get worse. Ho, ho, ho. Halloween just ended.
Recently trending on Facebook was the release of Dunkin’ Donuts new holiday cups, “amid the cup controversy.” Truly, no dumber words have ever been typed in the history of seasonal accouterments. And it’s not as if things are just slow for news outlets. In fact, the amount of vital stories happening right now — with extremely important AND tangible implications across the nation — is almost impossible to digest. News is what should be happening right now. Not people’s response to cups which fail to recognize events almost two months away.
I honestly don’t know what the fuck is going on anymore. I need a coffee. I guess I’ll just make it myself and put it in a bowl. Not trying to throw my hat in the ring like this guy.
Happy fall, everyone. Enjoy it while it lasts.
The third cup of coffee ever sold at the Underground.
It’s hardly surprising that a beverage with such a storied intellectual history–something something Enlightenment coffee shops exchange of ideas AP European history–should be so popular at Brown. Coffee, and with the businesses it fosters, is an integral part of College Hill, from the shops that dot Thayer and Wickenden to the syrupy coffee-milk that is a unique staple of the beautifully strange state of we live in.
And yet there’s much to suggest that the coffee scene here isn’t quite as unified as it could be; witness the trek necessary to get to Dave’s Coffee and/or Coffee Exchange, the lackluster options at Starbucks and Blue State, and the plainly mediocre stuff they serve at campus establishments (RIP Bear Buzz).
Most campus establishments, that is. The Underground, which opened Monday, appears to be the coffee shop that College Hill both deserves and needs. It combines the geographic centrality of the Blue Room, the expertise of Dave’s Coffee (which supplies the roasts themselves), and the enthusiasm of the Brown/RISD Coffee Society (who were consulted for proper brewing methods).
Last night, Students Against the Prison-Industrial Complex (SAPIC) held a teach-in in Leung Gallery to “discuss the history of these institutions [the prison system and the prison-industrial complex (PIC)], their modern manifestations, and potential futures.”
When Brown and its student body presents opportunities to further our education outside the classroom, in ways perhaps more important, we’ve gotta hop on them. Thus, the PIC teach-in was one of those opportunities, opening students’ eyes wider about injustice in the justice system, the patterns it presents and perpetuates, and, most shockingly, how Brown and its corporation plays into that.
If you couldn’t make the event, have no fear–we’ve got you covered with BlogDH’s Cliff’s Notes: an extensive yet abridged guide to what we all should and need to know.