The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Good #1 and #2

I send out a little E-mail to a bunch of people occasionally detailing things I like and don’t like. In the interest of putting more material on this little blog, I’ve decided to put the E-mail content here. So here we go, in daily installments:

1. When a line of thought coalesces

It isn’t often that I pursue a line of critical inquiry that actually resolves itself in something concrete. More often it ends up yielding hundreds of related but tangential questions that make it impossible not to feel that my final paper isn’t riddled with holes and intellectually poverty-stricken. THIS time, though, in working on the paper I’ll submit for my graduate school applications, I’m actually pleased with where it’s going. I look forward with an absurd level of excitement to working on it. A good paper is a little like musical improvisation: the joy of it is in trying to figure out how various ideas play off each other, then wording something just so, all with an eye towards creating something that flows together and has a tone, a feel to it that works. Huzzah for having a paper like that!

2. Better coffee at The Spot

For those not in the know, The Spot is a local coffee shop a lot of us frequent. In the past, my main reason for going there was always the comfortable surroundings and the cheap drinks. More the cheap drinks, really. If someone was serving 1 RMB coffee in a dumpster, I’d probably give it a shot. Low cost is no guarantee that the coffee’s going to be any good, though, and there were times at The Spot when it was so-so, others when it was a notch better than so-so, but still slumping into the “mediocre” category, and one memorable occasion, a month ago, when I had a cup of coffee that tasted like the barista had dropped a spoonful of Kiwi shoe polish into a mug full of old dishwater. Something’s happened recently, though, and every time I come in I get a GOOD cup of coffee. Still cheaper than any other place in town, too, and as I’m a poor student that’s as good as it gets.

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