Divas, Donuts and Drinking

The bar search continues. The Tip Tap Room is pretty solid, although they do have a substantial lip at the bar. They have a unique menu though, which is perfect for when I’m in a mood for something other than just standard bar food. Now I’m at Firebrand Saints. Location is perfect, it is right across the street from Sloan, they don’t have a lip at the bar and they have some nice outdoor seating. Downside? “Bad” drink options (which I totally understand is relative). By “bad” I mean they don’t have Bud Light -wtf- or Red Bull. How can I get my pre-class kick on without Red Bull?

In other news, I’m not doing a very good job managing my summer. I’ve gotten some good Ingress playing in, as well as other video games and TV shows (just started Covert Affairs, which I *love*). But that just feels like such a waste. I’d rather be putting my energy into writing and working on other small projects. Yet I have absolutely no discipline. During school or work this isn’t as much of a problem – I’m better at time management when I have a lot of things to do, including things with deadlines. So why am I so terrible with self-imposed deadlines or prioritizing my actual priorities? I’ve tried to schedule things, block out my day into “writing” and “exercise” chunks, but things end up getting in the way or I just plain decide not to do it.

I just work better under pressure but I’m having a difficult time creating the pressure.

Monday, I flew out to Pittsburgh for the Miley Cyrus concert. It was good. It wasn’t ticket + flight + hotel great, but I’m still glad I went. Row 1 seat 1 turned out to not be as awesome as it should be. She played all the good songs I wanted her to though, and she is a fun performer. At the end of the day, I’d rather see P!NK over and over because she is still the most amazing live performer I’ve ever seen.

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Also in Pittsburgh I stopped by an awesome little donut shop called Peace Love and Little Donuts. They did mini donuts with toppings and they were fantastic. The manager was pretty nice too and liked my book project. I need to get better at book layouts – how do people draft those up?

DSCN0186Anyway, I’m off to solicit sponsors for Girls in Tech, publicizing the Hacking Arts Hackathon I’m working on, and prepare for a pre-term class I’m taking/teaching. Oh, also going to start reaching out to agents with my book proposal. Toots!

 

The Hunt Begins

Where oh where will my new writing bar be? I’m heavily missing Crave right now and I desperately need to find a replacement. Joe and I have been to a few places nearby our place. One called The Hill Tavern was pretty chill and had a good start, but I wasn’t excited by the chicken fingers which in itself isn’t a deal breaker but the outdoor seating left a lot to be desired. As do the bartenders.

The next place we tried, Harvard Garden I think, had pretty good food and a good atmosphere. No outdoor seating though, and the bar had a big lip which makes typing on a macbook air… difficult. I can see it being a place we go for joint dinners but won’t be a place we go to nerd out…

The Tip Tap Room was pretty good both in food and location, and walking past it the other day I noticed they open up their entire front when it is nice out… I’m actually not sure why I’m not there now. Joe and I tried it when we were hear in April and it met all our needs.

Right now I’m at Harp, which is in a different part of town (north end vs. Beacon Hill I believe?). I wanted to wander to this neck of the woods because I think it may be closer. But the walk felt about the same, so now I’m confused about that. Anyway, Harp’s bar has a lip, which makes me a sad cat. Also, the two people I sat between seem… not my type of folk. But right as I checked in on FourSquare the “tip” was that the chicken strips here are the best in Boston and now I feel completely torn because sometimes you just need a good chicken strip (although I don’t think tonight is that night..). One redeeming quality is that there are high tops near their open walls, which could actually be a decent substitute for a good bar.

The people next to me just got the chicken and it looks pretty good. Better than what the Hill Tavern had for me. Also, that really good song from Matilda just started playing. [My google search of "pick me up when, going song from Matilda I would like to hold my little hand" tells me it is Send Me on My Way by Rusted Root.] So torn!

Not only will I keep you all updated on this important search, I will also take recommendations for places that are close to the West End apartments. Not that that’s where I live or anything.

Portland has donuts, in case you didn’t know

The first day Kylie and I were in Portland was hot and cloudy so we decided to just wander around rather than stop in and actually shoot any donuts. I wanted good sunlight to properly light them in my light box. As soon as we left though, Kylie realized she kind of wanted a donut. We passed a sign for “Delicious Donuts” and decided to try it out. It wasn’t on my radar as a place to checkout beforehand, but it was a quaint little shop worthy of a visit.

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Inside, I didn’t really want one because we had just woken up and I hadn’t finished my coffee yet. Kylie said how awesome they looked and said she was going to get one, so I got one myself. But then after I got it she was all like “oh never mind, I don’t want one” and basically she tricked me into a donut. Just sayin’. It was good, but nothing epic so I decided not to take official pictures and rather just enjoyed the dough.

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Later in the afternoon I saw Blue star and had to go. It wasn’t even the one I had mapped out, I didn’t realize they had two locations. Plus, it was raining, so basically fate pushed us in. We got one to split because we were on our way to dinner, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try Blackberry Basil. It was fantastic.

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A few hours later we were on our way back to the hotel when we stumbled on the Voodoo truck. This was just pure magic because we had just been wandering our way back – I knew the cross streets and we kind of just turned based on the lights. Again, fate, I tell ya.

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Kylie got the Oreo donut and I got one called “Marshall Mathers” and it was spectacular.

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Two days later the sun was finally shining bright. We set out for a day of pictures, complete with my fancy camera and other equipment. First stop: Blue Star. But the other Blue Star, not the one we went to on the first day. Everyone was super nice to us and they even gave me a little discount on the donuts because we were using them for the book. Here are the ones we shot (including the one in the back, with a shot):

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Voodoo Donuts was pretty close. Before we even saw it though, we saw the huge ass line of people waiting to get donuts. Seriously. I asked someone who was about half-way through and he had been standing for 45 minutes already. No thanks.

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Luckily, I knew of a place called “Voodoo 2″ and we went there instead. It took about 30 minutes to walk from one to the other (not counting the wait on the bridge for the lifts to raise…..) and the other one had only 4 people in line. We waited for 10 minutes (also, why does it take 10 minutes to get through only 4 parties?!) and got the goods. It was a neat looking shop and a fun experience, but I’m sad to say they didn’t completely live up to the expectations.

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All in all, we had a good time in donut land.

Boston Lady!

What a month. Seriously. So much has happened since the last time I wrote. Some how, some way, I managed to pack up all the material possessions in the condo Joe and I share. Except for a 6 pack of Angry Orchard (more on that later). I’m now in Boston and am here to stay (mostly).

Let’s see… Joe had just left the last time I wrote. I ended up missing him a lot more than I thought I would and it was not an enjoyable month. Yet, I made it my month of relaxation and watched more TV than I had anticipated. I also had some alcohol around to get rid of, which I did a valiant effort of consuming slash giving away.

I worked out a fair amount, probably not enough to successfully compete in a triathlon, but enough to keep me feeling active. I enjoyed every day outside that warm weather was present, but sadly I think that was 5 days total, max. The rest of the time, when I could bring myself to shower, I would just stand there wishing I had my shower wine glass rack. Soon my friends, soon.

Eventually it was time to pack up. I started about 5 days before the mover came because it’s so impossible to live in a home that is torn apart. Turns out, this wasn’t enough time. I scrambled the last few hours, ultimately making 4 separate trips to U-Haul for boxes and other packing supplies. Arg. And of course, once the day of moving finally arrived, I found a full cupboard of rubbermaids I missed – D’oh!

Having movers is extremely nice and is the only way I’ll ever move again. However, it’s also kind of awkward because all there is to do is sit and drink beer and watch Orange is the New Black which for some scenes is just like porn, while they are doing the moving. Four hours of this later, it turns out the apartment wouldn’t fit into 2 u-boxes (a fear I had initially but temporarily ignored when the u-haul-help lady said I could also increase my order after the 2nd box if I needed more space…).

This caused somewhat of a domino effect on the rest of our plans: I needed to get the movers back out, reserve another u-box, push out the date of arrival in Boston because of the delay in shipment, postpone the movers and elevator reservation in Boston, and blerg, so much. Now, stuff will arrive this Friday, when I will be back in Minneapolis for a wedding so Joe gets to do this part alone.

Initially I was cursing Joe for not be there. It sucked. But then I remembered that while I am basking in my funemployment he is working long-ass days at a new job (which he thankfully loves) to help me through grad school. That put it into perspective and I calmed down. The second day of the movers, I bought a 6 pack of Angry Orchard to kick back and praise the fact I was finally done. Except it only took them 30 minutes and I didn’t even have time to finish one before having to take off. Whoops!

After a few days with my cousins and then a weekend down in Dallas, I finally arrived in Boston on Sunday night. I was so excited to see Joe I was nearly in tears, which should make you throw up if my love for him hasn’t already.

I’m meeting more and more new classmates and getting so excited for classes to start in the fall. I was a little nervous it would be hard for me to break out of my funemployment phase but I think I’ll be so, so ready for it come August.

Today I’ve just been wandering around Boston. I came in with Joe on the commuter rail from Pembroke, where his friend lives that we are staying with. I hung out at Starbucks for a good portion of the morning and then Joe and I grabbed lunch. It has been really nice and relaxing and I’m happy to finally be getting close to the fun part of summer where I don’t have the stress of so much coming up. I’m traveling through July 1, and then I’m here, happy.

National Donut Day

I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite some time. First, I cleared out my entire schedule. Without any commitments, I was able to dedicate the entire day to moving from shop to shop. Some were offering freebies which is marrying my two most favorite things: donuts and free stuff. Those were my top priority. I also made a stop at the hot-new place in town; I had been dying to try it.

As soon as I woke up, I popped out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning. “Donut day!” I shouted to myself in my head and across Twitter. I rushed out of the door within minutes.

First I went to Yoyo Donuts. First, they were offering free donuts and I wanted to get there before they were all out, and also, I won a free dozen donuts from them via Twitter so I wanted to give them some pay-back love.

There were slim pickings, so I just got one of the last ones that looked like a raised donut and got out of there. I didn’t want to hold up the line at all on such a busy day. Bonus: It has Oreos on it.

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Next I went to Bogart’s Doughnut* Co and it may have been one of my best donut experiences ever. There was a long line, but I was expecting that. The shop has only been open for a few weeks and I think that business has been crazy ever since. I’m always seeing pictures on Twitter of people standing in line, rain or shine.

After standing in line for only 5 minutes, the owner, Anne, came out and was all like “omg, I’m so sorry, we are new and today is just crazy busy! Here, come back another day and use this coupon for a free donut” and I was all like “hellz yes this is awesome” but also felt it was extremely unnecessary because the wait at Yoyo was just as long. I felt bad that she felt so bad, I think they are doing a great job there!

Anyway, I got in and purchased my donut and happily I was able to get a raised donut. They were selling them just as fast as they could make them and they said soon they’d be switching to cake, which everyone knows is the evil step-sister of donuts… Not only was it brown butter flavored, but it was hot. Oh, my, god. If I could have video-taped the experience without being hella-creepy I would have. It was warm, fresh and perfect like a Krispy Kreme donut, but 100x better because it was real and made with love and ahhh it was amazing. I didn’t even get a picture of it because once I pulled it out of the bag the complete donut fell into my mouth and I was in a food coma for a little bit. I guess I’ll just have to go back!

Why I read Elliot Rodger’s Memoir

Tragic events always hit me hard. Whether it is the movie theater shooting or something as horrific as the Boston Marathon bombing, my mind is consumed by the terrible pain the families of all involved must be feeling [I just published this previously unreleased draft, written right after the Newtown shooting]. I question what brings a person to do such a thing, I ask how their life was so different from my own and others who live non-violent lives. I wonder how it could have been avoided in any way. Are there signs that people missed? The recent story of a boy in southern Minnesota is one such case in which a disaster was thwarted, which means people can see things and speak up. Yet terrible things continue to happen…

Trying to find answers to so many of these questions, I continue to read the articles and follow the updates. This University of California Santa Barbara shooting is like nothing we’ve seen in recent times (aka, my adult life). Not only is there video that gives us a peak into his mind but there is also a memoir of his life that may shed some light on how this tragedy came to be.

I hoped that reading the story would help show how some people end up so damn fucked up. Sadly, it didn’t.

At the beginning, I found many ways that I connected with the younger Elliot. He was never popular in school, he wanted to be liked, etc., and how many other people feel this same way? Having a similar experience in school, how did I turn out differently? At the same time though, he always blamed others for his misfortunes. Even in school when he got in trouble he would blame it on the other kid, thinking it was their doing. In effect, I think he truly believed that everything was happening *to* him, rather than him having an active role in his own life.

At age four, he blamed his inability to swing on physical limitation, and this along with his shortness are things he believed always stifled him. Even at a young age, everything was just handed to him and this caused him to take everything for granted, and actually caused him to believe that these things were needs rather than just desires. His NEED for Pokemon cards was only fair, he NEEDED cool clothes and instantly they were delivered.

Another example of the world being utterly unfair to him, and therefore deserving of retribution, was his inability to become a professional skateboarder. He practiced for an entire year!

While I understand his feelings of loneliness, I truly believe he has no ability to feel empathy. He saw himself as an all-deserving man, tortured by women and anyone else that had things he could not.

Another curious element was that he was extremely revolted by sex. At age fourteen, he caught a glimpse at porn and the fact that humans did this was horrific to him. Even as he aged into his early twenties, the idea of sex was “vile.” But then what drove him to believe that sex was his right and something that women “owed him?” Why was it something he desired more than anything else? He repeatedly claimed that no women would give him a chance, but because he was unable to have any conversation with someone new, let alone a girl, I find it hard to believe anything would escalate to sex on the timeline he desired… by the end of the first day.

As I got to the end of the book, I became completely shocked by his beliefs. “Women are incapable of reason or thinking rationally,” and “women are the main instigators of sex.” He truly felt that women should be abolished, and spoke of having a concentration camp filled with women and from his tower he would watch them all starve to death because if he couldn’t have them, no one could…

From a young age, he sought therapy. He had psychiatrists and counselors that he saw on a regular basis. He had caring parents and friends that knew his true feelings – it is shocking that everything came to this.

In the end, reading this didn’t make me feel any better and it was naive to think it would. Not only am I now more scared to face the world because of a deeper understanding of the kinds of people out there, I don’t see a solution to a problem such as this when therapy and medication didn’t work. Should he have been hospitalized? And to what end?

How did he come to have these beliefs and what could be changed so that they don’t continue on in society? He described very little of his relationship with his mother, other than that they were close. He has a deep hatred for her though, because she wouldn’t marry rich so that he could have everything he desired because money = sex with blondes. I have so many questions about how to tackle this, because at some point we need to accept that what we are doing is not enough.

Women portrayed in media

This article/video perfectly articulates the way the I feel about women in media. I truly believe that changing the way entertainment and media portray women will do wonders for empowering women and girls to be confident, proud, and encouraged. Take a look and watch the video – how can we continue to push this trend forward?

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27475423

Mother’s Day Reflections

The cloudy weather and non-stop rain really does a number on me. As does Mother’s Day because I kind of hate the holiday. Not because I hate my mother, I don’t, I love her dearly, but I also don’t have the relationship with her that I want. I’m not blaming anyone else for this but me. At 25 years old I still haven’t accepted my mother for the woman she is and even though I’ve come a long way I haven’t come all the way.

I look on Facebook and I see everyone posting pictures of their mother’s and it makes me wonder what a normal mother/daughter relationship looks like, if one even exists. What is it that I’m missing from my relationship with my mother and is there anything I can do to take steps towards that? What is it that I am expecting?

As I’m currently watching The Wire, I can safely say my mom is Jimmy McNulty. He does things all the time that are destructive and make you just want to shake your head and say “fucking McNulty” but even though he isn’t a favorite character you still have to love him because he is a main character. And yet, I find myself more accepting of Jimmy than my own mother maybe because its just a TV show and not real life.

Then Eminem went and posted this video so it is Tuesday morning and I’m teary eyed wishing the sun would shine.

Homeownership: Growth on the east side!

Now that I’m a homeowner I’ve definitely noticed a shift in my thought processes. Previously I may have been a little irritated that there is so much construction between me and my favorite Caribou, but now that I own, I’m excited for all that is changing. Right now there are just a lot of holes in the ground and broken buildings, but I wonder if in two years Joe and I will even recognize our own neighborhood.

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We bought with the expectation that the area would ultimately grow. Currently, we are on the outskirts of downtown with the nearest bar being a solid three block walk. Nothing like the good ole’ days of living above Crave, but we knew what we were getting ourselves into.

Recently, I’ve heard talk about the Minneapolis Armory being turned into a music venue. My initial reaction was skepticism, we already have a lot of music venues here. Ignoring my frustrations of having to go to St.Paul for anyone playing at the Xcel Center, I don’t know if there is really a lack of space for touring artists. At the same time, it feels weird to use a beautiful old building as a parking garage…

Source: Tim Kiser via Wikipedia

Source: Tim Kiser via Wikipedia

Walking to Caribou this morning though, it dawned on me where it is – three blocks away from our condo. Now I’m totally excited about it. This, in addition to the new stadium and the nice park planned, will bring more life to this side of town. Maybe the restaurant space on the ground floor of our condo will finally be turned into something, like a Buffalo Wild Wings #dreaming.

Unemployment rocks

This whole being “unemployed” thing is fantastic. Yesterday was technically my first day off. My last day was Friday, but the weekend still felt like any other weekend. Monday morning though, when Joe woke up and went to work and I got to sleep in… that’s when the feeling kicked in.

I tried to start the morning off with coffee, reading a book in my sun chair. However, I ran out of the nummy-good-mocha coffee I’d been using in my Keurig and once I realized it had milk in it, I cut myself off. But it turns out milk is really good and I can’t do without and I’ll have to find some alternative. For the day it was Caribou for me.

I didn’t get a high top. Which is disappointing but I made do. I got myself a soy-mocha, sat down, and began to write. It was the first time I had legitimately revisited my book in quite a few months. I started from the beginning, revising and adding more as it felt right. I had a lot of notes from when Joe reviewed it, calling out elements that needing more context or further depth. I probably only added 250 words, but it was nice to sit down with my coffee, no internet, a beautiful sun, to just write.

After that, I headed over to do my first workout in training for the triathlon. It was painful. The swim started out really nicely, but after just 6 laps I was dead. I couldn’t get my stroke rhythm going and it dawned on me that I didn’t have my nose plugger. I made do with what I had, completed my 15 laps, and only swallowed one mouthful of water. Next time it will be better.

Next it was time for a shopping run. Joe and I haven’t been shopping for food in a while because who needs to when you can subsist on Buffalo Wild Wings. After my invigorating swim though I wanted something that would nourish the soul, not set it on fire. While at Target, I quickly remembered to pick up more contacts and went to the optical center only to be turned down. My prescription was too old. My sadness was met with “we can get you in right now!” when I didn’t even realize they did that stuff there. I should have, but I just never thought of it. I zipped in quickly for the eye exam, and put in my order for contacts while still using my employee discount – high five.

After having goulash, aka: funeral hot-dish for lunch, I went for a run. I should have given myself more time for my stomach to settle but I’m new here. After lasting nearly a solid mile, my body had enough and walked the rest of the three miles. Except I ended up going about 3.4 miles, and maybe ran a total of 1. It’s kind of fun to think about where I will be in a few weeks though, this is the probably the worst I’ll do.

After some stretching, I began session 1 of Python on code academy. I was surprised both by how easy it was and how quickly I got through it. Knowing Matlab, Mathematica, R, etc., really makes it easy to pick up something new. I’m excited to learn more.

No “perfect day” would be complete without donuts, so I made a stop by Glam Doll on the way to drop off my bike for a tune up. The “Scream Queen” (chocolate cake donut with chocolate frosting and candied bacon) was all I needed to spike my energy for my last yMac meeting for life. (That may be a little extreme, but who knows!). I got a nice goodbye, enjoyed seeing some friends, and got home just in time for some Harry Potter before falling asleep. Perfection is the only word that describes my Monday.

Any then this happened #loveMKA met-gala-2014-mary-kate-olsen-ashley-olsen-red-carpet__oPt