slubs in the city

Slub (adj): Maverick; unorthodox; independent in behavior or thought.


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slubs save the twins

On Tuesday, September 27th of 2011, the slubs were singlehandedly responsible for leading the Minnesota Twins to victory over the Kansas City Royals.

This feat was particularly important because the Twins were in serious danger of hitting a record, and not a good one: 100 losses in a season. Ouch. As the extremely nice man sitting next to slub Kat noted, however, apparently Twins fans don’t seem to care so much about their team sucking that they refuse to come out and see a game. The stadium wasn’t exactly packed but it wasn’t a ghost town either. That probably has as much to do with the newness of the Stadium as anything – I doubt many fans would have come to see their team lose its 100th game in the Metrodome. (That’s probably why people are much more critical of the Vikings…if I had to sit in the Dome and watch my team consistently lose in the clutch, I’d personally refuse to attend a game until they started improving. Look at me, pretending to be all sports knowledge-y! I’ve fooled you all!)

So what I’m trying to say is the reason the Twins won last night was obviously because it was the slubs’ second game of the season. They won at the game we watched in May, and they won last night, but they really didn’t do much winning in between then…so it was up to us to help them.

And we did our level slub best.

  • First, Laura spilled pasta on her pants at dinner.
  • Then, we got totally awesome seats that weren’t in the nose bleeds, thank you very much – for FREE. Slubs will take nearly anything if it’s free. Donations will be accepted at the Dupont house.

    Slubs get great seats, obvi

  • Next, we scoffed at the raucous and drunk boys with beer bellies who had decided to sit in our seats. (One boy actually moved next to Laura when his friend left to get more beer so “she wouldn’t take his seat”. Which was, of course, our seat in the first place. Towards the end of the game they got busted for sneaking a flask into the stadium and openly drinking from it in public. Ah, sweet revenge…)
  • Later, we ate stadium food. Shannon got twist ice cream in a kiddie cone, which was actually just the size of a regular cake cone, but the cashier questioned her decision because she didn’t want a waffle cone. He didn’t know that slubs always make the best decision on the first try. Laura, slub queen for the night, got chocolate soft serve with strawberry sauce in a mini Twins helmet. I’m sure the helmet will henceforth appear in random and possibly inappropriate places throughout the Dupont house. Both Shannon and Laura had a very hard time choosing between consuming ice cream, a hot dog, Kettle Korn, nachos, fries, and/or a Mike’s Hard. In the end, however, both realized that all these items could be eaten at a later date. Praise the slubby Lord!

    Slubs get sustenance. Note the helmet cup

  • Sometime before the eating but after scoffing at the boys, Anna revealed that she felt simultaneously like attending a Pause dance and sleeping. Luckily she got a chance to shake her groove thang to one of the many pop gems played throughout the night, in particular “Fishing in the Dark”. That was a particularly bumpin tune, as I’m sure you can all imagine. The song was briefly confused with that one about fried chicken, but all was quickly corrected.
  • Finally, we took the bus home. Slubs love the environment and are all for sustainability. Slubs felt triumphant when they arrived safely at the corner of 26th and Lyndale. Slubs have officially conquered public transportation.

Invigorated by our unyielding commitment to the slubby way, the Twins likewise committed to not failing miserably and beat the Royals. The fireworks that appeared over the Stadium after the game ended were to honor the slubs for braving a Tuesday night out in jeans and scarves instead of sweatshirts and stretchy pants.

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Hide your pizza belly! We’re going out.

Devoted readers,

Being a slub, when Friday afternoon rolls around each week you basically have your weekend planned. Your stretchy pants are exactly where you left them last night waiting for you to spend a whole weekend in them; there is a 6 pound bag of mozzarella cheese in your fridge waiting to be dumped on your homemade pizza; the box of wine you bought last week has aged beautifully for this much-anticipated, glorious weekend of slubbing around.

But this weekend, the Slub House defied our deeply ingrained, slubby identities and did the unthinkable: we went out. That’s right. Out. Dear readers, you would be so proud. We certainly are.

Since we typically spend our Friday nights lounging on our futon watching episodes of Arrested Development or The Office until way past when we all agreed we would go to sleep, we, the Slubs, do not know many bars in Minneapolis. A friend asked me the other week to name some of the great bars I had explored in my super trendy neighborhood and the only place I could name was Common Roots. This is a cafe. Not a bar. No one is dancing on tables and having margaritas made in their mouths (I imagine most bar activity like that “party” scene from Ten Things I Hate About You when Kat gets way trashed at that party and hits her head on a chandelier after breaking it down on the dining room table. My perception may be slightly skewed.) The look I received suggested I should get out more. Note taken. Which explains my desire to attend the 0-4 year St. Olaf Homecoming party at the 508 Bar. And for the record, it’s a real bar. Not a cafe.

After Nora, Laura, and I agonized over what we could wear to look semi-appropriate and dressed-up, we sat down to enjoy our personal, homemade pizzas with Kat, the diehard Slub who decided to stay home. Desperate to hype ourselves up for all the socializing and inevitable “Adult” Pause dancing, we cranked up the Beyonce and Shakira and prepared for our evening out. Seduced by the glamour of a night out, Kat changed her mind and decided to join us!

Hide your pizza belly, ladies! We’re going out!

Readers and fellow slubs in practice or at heart, you would be so proud. We stayed out until almost 11 pm. Consequently, the next night Kat, Laura, and I slubbed it up and donned our sweatshirts to see Bridesmaids at the Riverview Theater. Nora, our inspiration, went out for another night of fun in Northeast. You’ll have to ask her for all the non-slubby details.

So you see, dear reader, at times even we Slubs enjoy a night out. However, don’t think that I won’t be putting on my stretchy pants real soon because I will.

Slub love,

Anna


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ode to snow patrol

Dear Snow Patrol,

I’d like to offer you a deeply personal truth:

You are my favorite band.

This isn’t an easy statement for me to make. I may not be directly involved with the musical world at the moment, but I’ve always had a deep-seated admiration for music. Actually, I don’t think that’s an entirely accurate description – I don’t just have an admiration for it, I need music in my life. Listening to music helps me sort out my emotions in a way that very few other activities could. It moves me, like it moves billions of people in untold ways around the world.

So when I say that you, Snow Patrol, are my favorite band, please don’t take it lightly.

I first discovered you when I heard “Chocolate” on the radio. After letting that song sink in for a few days, I bought Final Straw and the rest is history.

Like a 6th sense, your music has the power to transport me into past memories.

(When I was 16 I worked at a bakery at Camp Snoopy in the Mall of America, and I listened to Final Straw every day during that summer. Whenever I hear a song from that album I think of lunches in the break room and the quiet enormity of the mall after closing, of my first paycheck and my first date.)

(Once upon a time there was a billboard advertising the imminent release of Eyes Open in London, and listening to “Open Your Eyes” helps me remember the feel of the city I so deeply desire to see again.)

(Sophomore year of college I listened to A Hundred Million Suns like it was my lifeline. I was also taking Astronomy at the time, one of the best college courses I had the pleasure of experiencing, and it was so beautifully fitting that a cosmological theme wove itself through nearly every part of the album.)

(I bought songs from Up to Now sitting in a classroom in Egypt, and I remember how intensely homesick I was during those few weeks when I hear the acoustic melodies.)

More so than almost any other band – including my perennial lyrical favorites Angles & Airwaves and Tegan and Sara – I have an intense connection with the lyrics of nearly every song you have performed. As much as I appreciate the melodic composition of a song, let it be known that I’m an advocate of compelling and relevant lyrics. “You say you love me like the silence of the turning earth,” states Gary Lightbody in “Engines”. That image alone captures the power of your music — it conveys a metaphor which is beatifully simplistic in essence yet staggeringly immense in scope.

Your work has defined and given harmony to an entire chapter of my life. Snow Patrol: you are a true, deserving and genuine talent.

— A devoted fan

p.s. In case you’re wondering, my top five favorite Snow Patrol songs (in random order because I can’t distinguish them that much) are:

  1. Tiny Little Fractures(Final Straw)
  2. It’s Beginning To Get To Me(Eyes Open)
  3. Open Your Eyes(Eyes Open)
  4. Engines(A Hundred Million Suns)
  5.  “You Are My Joy” (Up to Now. Okay, this was actually done by The Reindeer Section, but there are three members of Snow Patrol who contribute to that band and Gary Lightbody definitely sings this song)

HONORARY MENTION: Snow Patrol’s cover of Bright Eyes’ “You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will.”


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whaddup portland

Top 5 awesome things I did today:

  • I got to see Portland for the first time in the light. It seemed really beautiful when we drove to our hotel last night – winding back and forth over the river on the highway made me feel vaguely like I was back in Istanbul – but the downtown area was definitely more delightful this morning. When I have more personal time I’d love to come back here and explore.

    Portland

  • I went into a frozen yogurt shop. The guy behind the counter asked: “How did work go today?” I answered: “Really well. I’m actually here on business.” Badass. This means I am officially an adult.

Inside the frozen yogurt shop — TartBerry

  • I’m staying in a super swank hotel and loving every minute of it. I was told traveling for business isn’t normally this nice, so I’m really trying to appreciate my fancy room while I have it. Every time we enter the hotel, the doors are opened for us by the doormen. New mission: get the slub house a doorman.

The Paramount Hotel

  • I talked about my future and networked with a local Financial Representative. Further proof that I am officially an adult. Cross your fingers that this particular networking effort pays off…

The Bridgeport Brewpub, witness to my networking win

  • I wandered around the largest independent used and new book store in the world. It’s called Powell’s Books. According to their website,
    1. The building covers 68,000 ft2
    2. 3,000 used books are bought over the counter each day
    3. 3,000 customers walk in to the store and purchase something each day
    4. 3,000 people walk in to the store simply to browse and drink coffee
    5. There are 122 major subject areas and 3,500 subsections to shift through
    6. The store has over 1,000,000 volumes on its shelves

The Rose Room, one of many color-themed rooms in Powell’s Books

You guys. This place was seriously epic. They had room after room and floor after floor of shelf after shelf of books. There were a ton of people just sitting around and reading for fun. It was the definition of yuppie, but I could see myself walking in to the store, grabbing some coffee and a good book, and nerding out. Next time…

con amor,

shan


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pointless? maybe.

On this day two years ago, I was in Istanbul. My study abroad group and I were preparing to go on our excursion through Anatolia, the beautiful, Asiatic side of Turkey. We would have been saying our goodbyes to the city at this point: wandering in and out of familiar and unfamiliar shops, sipping on elma chai or chowing down at Simit Sarayı, snapping photos, braving Istiklal caddesi, fervently cementing our memories of the sights and smells and sounds of Istanbul. And then, at 7 am on September 18th, we would have been on our way to Edirne.

You may be surprised at the detail in that description, especially since I’m the kind of person that forgets where my keys are on a daily basis (even though I always put them in the same place). In response, let me tell you something entertaining: today I stumbled upon the pathetic blog I attempted to update while I was in the Middle East.

I’ve never been good at keeping a journal. When I was a kid, my mom bought me a Pocahontas diary. It was purple and had a plush cover with leaves on it. I wrote in approximately 10 pages of that diary over a span of roughly 6 years. On rare occasions I would be self-satisfied enough to think that my life was interesting and, in a fit of inspiration, would write down my poetic and moving thoughts. And then I would get bored with the entire process and throw the diary away, to be rediscovered again next year when I felt the urge to document that I thought Timmy from 1st grade was gross.

So why I assumed I’d be any better at blogging during Term in the Middle East is a complete mystery.

I was in the Middle East for a total of 113 days, and I wrote a staggering 11 posts in that entire time. One of those posts doesn’t even count because it simply said, “I did that wrong. Don’t read the following post first. Read the one after it. That’s where the story starts.” I titled that particularly inspirational post ‘um.’ Genius.

Going back over my blog –named ‘Shannon on TIME’, which makes it sound like I was taking a hallucinogen – made me feel strangely disappointed. Reading over the few posts I had written, I was effectively transported back into Turkey and Morocco. And while those posts were incredibly amusing, I now desperately wish I could have encouraged myself to take more time to document, to reflect, and to describe.

Before I get all philosophical and serious, let’s a look at a few of 20 year old Shannon’s literary gems:

Post: more turkish time

Quote: “Our professor is so energetic and genuinely funny, but she gets really confused by our questions. Often. And might possibly be deaf, because she talks over us a lot.”

Post: let me show you…

Quote: “Turkish peanut butter is better than American peanut butter. Heresy! You may shout. However, it is the truth.”

Post: a little bit of spice, a little bit of nudity…

Quote: “Surprisingly enough, I had a conversation with a local merchant in Spanish. He tried to tell me that his Spanish wasn’t great considering he had only been taking classes for six months. Not only was his grammar better than mine but his accent was better too. I declined to tell him that I’ve been taking Spanish classes for a cumulative 7 years.”

Post: hello, i am embarrassing american [Here I display my inimitable command over the English language.]

Quote: “Basically that means that Orthodox Christians worship relics of the church, pictures, symbols, etc…They kissed pretty much everything, and crossed themselves after each kiss. Extremely different from my Baptist upbringing. We don’t kiss. We shake hands.”

Post: i suck at this.

Quote: “Our tour guide wanted us on the bus by 7 in the morning, which was not funny. However, the fact that she completely color coordinates her outfits is funny. She was wearing a purple shirt, purple pants, purple socks, and purple jewelry. Today she was in all grey. And she absolutely adores yogurt. Whenever we stop for food she points out all the places with yogurt. Turkish yogurt is disgusting.”

Post: seriously. i can’t eat any more.

Quote: We eat until we’re full, and then Grandma grabs my thigh (because I inevitably sit next to her) and says “Kul! Kul!” which means, “Eat! Eat!” and pushes more food towards me. This goes on until I absolutely refuse. By then I’m so full it’s obscene.”

Post: i rode in a horse cart. what? i rode in a horse cart.

Quote: “It was nice to have a male presence there, just in case. It was not so nice that he felt the need to pull the back of both mine and Kirsten’s shirts down, like we were showing off too much flesh (of which there was none visible) or were being too skanky (a label which realistically cannot be applied to either of us). We thanked him awkwardly, and he nodded gravely like he had done us some vital service.”

These snippets of blog are only a few of many which make up my TIME experience. I failed to detail even a single element of Egypt, which I deeply regret.

So what is this post actually about?

Maybe I’m writing it because I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. My Pocahontas diary didn’t work out because I had nothing altogether thrilling to make a note of, and I couldn’t have done it justice anyway. But my study abroad experience did deserve to be documented. My life was incredibly exciting every day for nearly four months, and although the imprint of that time will remain with me until I die, the memories won’t. I’m already beginning to lose the recollection of sensations and ideas that I couldn’t have imagined would fade away so fast. My slub life may not be 100% captivating – please see the post with the old lady for reference – but I’m knee deep in the process of transition right now, and that in and of itself is something I want to look back on.

Maybe it’s about the power of words. Who knows why I chose to remember the details in those 11 posts, but didn’t give in to the urgency to describe others? How could I explain the need to write about Mexican food and the Cannon River Winery but not feel compelled to write poetry, or a short story, or a critique of my favorite book? I feel remorse for the hole in my TIME blog where I should have used words to capture every day I was abroad. But more importantly, I’ll always be able to re-experience the emotions of the events I do write about, and that ability is one of the most precious I can claim.

Maybe I’m writing today because I miss the Middle East, and I wanted the excuse to reminisce about Turkey for a while. The two year anniversary of the beginning of my adventure has come and gone, but I think about TIME every day. I really do miss being there.

Whatever the point of this post, ultimately it’s an important piece of the larger mosaic that I’m attempting to draw this year. In the future I know I’ll be happy that I took the time to write down my thoughts, even if they’re not particularly interesting. Readers, listen up: everybody has a story to tell, and it’s important enough to write down because it would be a shame to forget.

con amor,

shan

slub of the week: Cannon River Winery

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Our slub love for a good bottle of wine knows no bounds.

My personal appreciation of wine has taken a little while to mature. It’s an acquired taste for some and certainly was for me. The first time I tasted a red wine, I was sure something had gone terribly, terribly wrong for someone to have wanted to do that to a grape. The first time I had a heaping plate of pasta and a nice, cool glass of Pinot Grigio, though, was an entirely different story. This is why wine has been around for roughly 10,000 years (according to my bestie Wikipedia, wine is estimated to have been first produced around 8,000 BC): a good glass of wine is incredibly appealing to experience.

A slub fav.

Yesterday, the slub house – which is now complete because NORA MOVED IN – and friends, aka Maddie Hansen and Kirsten Petersen, shared their immense appreciation for all things vino by volunteering to harvest grapes at the Cannon River Winery vineyard in Cannon Falls, MN. We had a wonderful, slubby time. The sun was out, blocked occasionally by the few wispy clouds that floated across the blue sky. It was a warm day, in the mid-80s, but a light breeze helped cool us down as we wandered through the rows of vines and harvested bunches of green and red grapes. The conversation amongst the volunteers was amiable. The grapes were ripe and sweet, and we sampled as we picked (which was definitely allowed). The clusters were easy to cut, although some grew around the wire that supported the vines in impossible ways.

Obviously this is not us. These people are beautiful and fashionable. In reality, the slubs looked very slubby whilst grape picking

We harvested three types of grapes – Prairie Star, Somerset (a table grape), and a new, experimental grape that has yet to be tested as a wine: Shannon. I kid you not. The grape was called Shannon, and I am going to fervently lobby for the wine to be called Shannon as well. The vineyard owner referred to Shannon as a “unique, special, flavorful grape”. I can only assume he meant to compliment me personally.

Having my own grape is reason enough to honor Cannon River Winery with the Slub of the Week award, but of course, there’s the little matter of the wine itself.

After grape harvesting we went to the Winery to purchase a couple bottles of wine for ourselves. Fortunately, the slubs have already had the distinct pleasure of tasting Cannon River Winery’s selection: in May, before graduation, we spent a day during Senior Week at the Winery tasting, learning, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. We were given a rundown of the history of the Winery and allowed to smell a barrel of wine that was in production. The vintner himself (who is adorable and named one of the wines after his mother) explained to us the process of creating a new wine, including adding a certain amount of sugar to taste. He let us try a Riesling that was absolutely perfect, and when he mentioned that he might sweeten it a bit we all unanimously protested against it. After having ranked my wines from most to least enjoyable, and thoroughly cataloging my description of each wine on the provided menu, I purchased one bottle that day (the Graciela, which comes highly recommended by the slubs). Yesterday I made off with a Sogn Blanc and a Sogn Blush, both of which were a big hit at the tasting. Rest assured: the next few weeks of dinner at the slub house will be thoroughly palatable and classy events.

Inside the Winery

Outside the Cannon Rivery Winery, almost too cute to handle

So here’s to you, Cannon River Winery, for being the most enjoyable slub hub of the week. Your vineyard is idyllic and makes me proud to be Minnesotan. Your wine is beautiful – you’ve even converted me to your Mill Street Red, a feat which clearly deserves some sort of trophy of accomplishment. Always know that you have a very dear and special place in the slubs’ hearts.

For important information on visiting this honorary slub location yourself, go to: http://cannonriverwinery.com/

con amor,

shan


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i wikipedia-ed it. wikipedia’d? wikipediaed? wikipediad?

Over the past week, I’ve been feeling really behind on work.

For those of you who don’t know much about me, in May I was hired on as a Social Entrepreneurship Fellow at Thrivent Financial – which basically means I’m an intern for a contracted year. I graduated with a Political Science and Spanish double major and a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies, so how I ended up interning for a financial institution is anyone’s best guess. I had worked for Thrivent the summer before my senior year at Olaf, though, so I figured it would be easy enough to jump back into the corporate world. And for a few months, it was. I started work on June 13th, and up until about one week ago things were coming along fine. And then, for some reason, I got majorly stressed out.

I tried to explain what was going on to my coworker, Lane, who is now a hired full time employee but last year was a Fellow like me. He listened to my rambling like a champ and then explained that he definitely experienced a steep learning curve during the first few months of his fellowship, and that he had struggled to understand how all of the smaller pieces fit together into one big story.

I’ll be honest with you (because apparently for me this blog is all about confessions): I’ve never understood the meaning of the phrase “steep learning curve”. That hasn’t stopped me from using it occasionally, because I’m a poser who thinks she understands the English language. But beyond a vague sense that it implies fighting an uphill battle, I’m clueless about the roots of the phrase. So naturally I hit up Wikipedia.

“Steep learning curve”

The familiar expression “steep learning curve” may refer to either of two aspects of a pattern in which the marginal rate of required resource investment is initially low, perhaps even decreasing at the very first stages, but eventually increases without bound.

Early use of the metaphor focused on the pattern’s positive aspect, namely the potential for quick progress in learning (as measured by, e.g., memory accuracy or the number of trials required to obtain a desired result) at the introductory or elementary stage. Over time, however, the metaphor has become more commonly used to focus on the pattern’s negative aspect, namely the difficulty of learning once one gets beyond the basics of a subject.

Right now, I think the connotation of “steep learning curve” as I understand it is more negative.

I didn’t anticipate that going into the working world would necessarily be hard, although I did expect it to be challenging. I wasn’t the valedictorian of my graduating class and I didn’t leave with any top honors, but my time at St. Olaf helped me to grow in self-confidence and personal pride. I had professors, friends and employers who thankfully noticed the skills I do possess, and inspired me to reach for higher goals and to test out new ways of thinking. Because of that blessing I had expected to dive headfirst into Thrivent with Ole innovation to burn. There’s something about being on the Hill that makes you believe you can be a social activist superhero the minute you wave goodbye to the wind turbine.

There came a time last week, though, where I found myself staring from my To-Do list to my computer without the ability to process where the two were supposed to meet. I had answered so many emails, scheduled so many meetings for other people, and jumped between so many tasks, that I hadn’t really advanced any of my projects to a stage I felt comfortable with.  Simple things that were only supposed to last a few days – at least in my mind – were consuming more than a week. And I realized: because I’ve spent the majority of my developmental years in school, I have no idea how to feasibly measure the time it takes to complete a task outside of the classroom. Following a major initiative through from point A to point Z, and dealing with points J, O and X in the process, can take much more energy and commitment than even the most horrific of Spanish papers. And maybe I don’t know as much about working at Thrivent as I thought I did.

The learning curve is steep.

So when Lane told me that it had taken him a few months to get used to life in the corporate office, I was relieved. Right now it feels like I’ve taken two giant steps back from where I was on June 13th. But I suppose the point of the learning curve isn’t to intimidate, or to make you feel like you’re faced with an impossible climb. It’s to encourage you to embrace the upward momentum…even if it sometimes feels like you have to claw your way to the top.

After taking some time to reflect I’m beginning to reconcile myself to the reality that, in the end at least, the curve is all about the process – it’s about what it takes to learn. I’m sure I can speak for the other slubs when I say that post-graduation has been all about the learning curve. We’ve struggled with our property management company. We’ve had to figure out how to pay bills and cook meals. We’ve had good days in the office, but we’ve had just as many days where we left wondering how we were going to accomplish everything we had set out to do. But if St. Olaf has taught us anything, it’s how to love learning.

So I guess today I’ll make a list of the small things I have yet to do, and find satisfaction in checking them off. I won’t be too critical of the time it takes me to make those check marks, but I will be sure to strive to make them. I’ll block off time specifically to check and respond to emails, and then I’ll try to go about my day.

To all of you fighting your way up the learning curve: I’m right there with you. We’re definitely in this together. And if we make a few slides back down towards the bottom of the curve along the way, well…so be it.

con amor,

shan