Actually a Nurse

In the roughly gorillian days since I have last visited the interwebs, I managed to get hired, finish college, and then take my official nursey-nurse boards, in the exact order. So, from this point on, you can all refer to me as HipsterNurse BSN, RN. Thank you.

Ahem.

So, since I am a hipster nurse, it would only make sense that floor nursing would be “too mainstream”, so rather than doing regular patient care, I have joined an Operating Room team where we do surgeries you have never heard of before on people who have disease that are “pretty obscure. Like, there’s only a couple of these cases, like, ever.” I count down the minutes until my patients fall asleep and then proceed to ferociously defend them from any and all harm that the surgeons may unknowingly inflict upon them.

Instead of learning lab values, I learn the names of tools uses for cutting and tearing and hurting and fixing and patching. While others fear a code blue, I prepare myself for the terrifying Malignant Hyperthermia Crisis. The floor talks a good talk about teamwork, but real teamwork is groping around your attending’s butt trying to find the pager that they forgot to take off BEFORE they scrubbed in and gowned up, all the while thinking about how fast you’ll have to run to replace the tool they just threw on the floor. Again.

It’s a unique environment – we are the weird nurses among nurses who, as a collective whole, are a weird group of people. We have to be to actually enjoy being immersed in a world of all the disgusting bodily fluids and needy cranky people ever. It’s a pretty great, unique career. And for the record, Grey’s Anatomy is completely inaccurate as far as what surgery is like. For real. We aren’t nearly that glamorous, our hair never looks so fabulous after surgery, and there is not a single person that makes our scrubs look appealing.

Meanwhile, my time in my drywall-box of an apartment, decorated in shade of beige with accent of taupe in nearing an end, and as such, I will soon be posting about all the lovely hipster ways that I will make my apartment totally hip and ironic. Now if you pardon me, I have to go clean the grit out of my vinyl sso the analog sounds sounds better than you digital media garbage.

Just kidding. I don’t own any vinyls.

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Hipster Moments

Many moons ago my dear companion and I journeyed to the far-away land of Sterling Heights to attend the Mo-Pop festival, mostly to pay tribute to our very favorite musician, Andrew Bird, but also to see a couple of other great artists that were scheduled to make an appearance. We were too tired to stay for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but stayed for Capital Cities, a band that apparently everyone has heard of besides me (bad hipster! bad!). They were absolutely delightful, by the way, dancing all over the stage and encouraging the commoners who couldn’t afford fancy seats to storm the stage.

But are you ready for my greatest hipster moment of the day? There was a small band playing on the smallest of the small stages in between the largest acts at the point in the day where everyone is full and sleepy from lunch and too many beer tastings. I liked them, and proceeded to follow them on Instagram, and now listen to them on a regular basis – their upbeat indie rock falls in the same category as Imagine Dragons (actually, they are all bros). And then, just this morning I heard their best-known song playing on the radio – “This is gonna be the best day of my liiiiiife! My li-i-i-i-i-i-fe!”. Yep. I saw American Authors in concert and followed them BEFORE THEY WERE COOL. HA. Plus, they use banjo. Super-fly.

Let’s talk about Andrew Bird. In his photos, he always looks so severe and intimidating, but in actuality… he tripped a lot and bumped into things. He was really nice and talked like he was the lucky one to be at Mo-Pop(but we all know who the lucky ones really are). And his music was stunning – sometimes he has a buddy playing drums, but on this day, it was just him. Him and his violin,creating wistful and heartrending and upbeat and chill sounds that played to all of the emotions. All of the emotions EVER. He was great. Have any of you listened to him yet? Because you probably should.

I tried to explain how lovely this festival was, but I was unfortunately interrupted by a non-hipster, “So, basically, this was like, hipster central fest?”.

Sigh. Yeah. Oh yeah! I graduated! So I’m an actual nurse now and not a nursing student. Also, I will soon be making my new life in the midst of Ann Arbor. That’s about three steps away from being a complete hipster (because everyone knows that true hipsters live in Seattle or Portland. But I’ll get there eventually.)

Can’t. Contain. EXCITEMENT.

Guys. Guys. GUYS. PAY ATTENTION.

In four days, the greatest thing ever is going to happen, and you all need to be ready for it – Avicii is releasing his first studio album, “True”, and you need to listen to it.

And you all are saying, “Avicii? I think I heard of him once…” and that is because “Wake Me Up” is his song, and it is on the album. Along with other great stuff – just when you think there is nothing new, someone has the brilliant idea to mix bluegrass and country with EDM (electronic dance music, for those of you not in the loop with my hip, young, musical lingo). “Wake Me Up” was a delicious taste, hinting at the goodness to come with tracks like, “Hey Brother”, or “Addicted to You”. Remember that Flo-Rida song that had an old Etta James sample, “Oooooohhhhh, sometimes I get a good feelin’!”? Well, A. Avicii sampled that first in his song “Levels” which was the underlying music sample under Flo-Rida’s rapping anyway, and B. Audra Mae belts out some lyrics that are better than that sample and Adele stuck together. But better! Oh my gosh. Finally, a lot of these are colalborations. Aloe Blacc, the voice of “Wake Me Up” shows up again in “Liar, Liar”, AND He collaborates with Imagine Dragons! What?!?

Can you all see why I am so excited for this? This is the strangest mash-up of styles I’ve found on an album yet. If you are now excited and can’t bear to wait to hear these songs, go youtube them. It was released in Europe today, and they have been quick about getting them up. Phew. They’re so so so so SO AWESOME. K, bye. I gotta go listen to them.

Tales of Work.

I work in a strange place, that is to be sure. On the surface, it seems like a pretty normal job – I host a couple of days a week, pick up waitressing shifts, and sometimes play the part of the busser if our busser chooses not to show. Again. Sit the people down, stuff ’em with food, kick ’em out. Seems simple, right?

But these people I work with are outrageous. When you work in such a tiny space with the same people for so long, friction occurs, and squabbles happen. In fact, I think that some of the people even enjoy all the bickering.

Today’s story brings me to the newest source of contention – the iPod. Our music maker dies a horrible electronic death and was replaced by a new shiny iPod with access to pandora radio. Encased in it’s clear cellophane prison, it sets the mood of the restaurant and startles hapless victims that don’t realize the the door is NOT set on the hinges.

Tastes in music vary. You would assume that a Tex-Mex restaurant would play something spicy like salsa or latin, but no.    I stumbled into the kitchen with two armfuls of sour-cream-and-guacamole slathered dishes amidst Marius* and Szpilman.* arguing over what music was better. Szpilman argued for something “with a snappy beat”, while Marius insisted the he was sick of it listening to the same music every single day. Marius had the upper hand however – his youth enables him to effectively handle technology, while Szpilman still continues to delete every station on Pandora instead of just changing it (He’s not malicious, just technologically ignorant.) I took the opportunity to change it to an Imagine Dragons stations, and slipped out without them noticing.

They continued bickering and eventually Szpilman must have gotten his way, as ABBA flooded the restauran. Later that day, I had to explain to him what a hipster was. He still didn’t quite grasp the concept, instead being firmly convinced that I was just underhandedly calling him old. I may have been, a little…

Next day at lunch, however, we listened to Of Monsters and Men, The Shins, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Modest Mouse, Patrick Park, Sea Wolf, and other hipstery music that pairs well with burritos and margaritas.

The battle continues.

*Names have been changed to represent personalities.

 

Real Life Quotes.

“I am not a hipster!” “You wear a vest in public.

“I am not a hipster!” “Then why do you use that espresso-maker-thingy instead of a real coffee pot?”

“I am not a hipster!” “Okay cat-lady. Explain the cat key holder, the cat ice cube tray, and the cat wall ornaments. Hipsters love cats.”

“I am not a hipster!” “You’re drinking a sea salt cocoa latte. Who salts their coffee? Hipsters. Hipsters do.”

“I am not a hipster!” “Explain the high-waisted shorts”

“I am not a hipster!” “Then why do you bike everywhere?” “Because I’m poor.” (I have to explain this one constantly.)

“I don’t like Channing Tatum.” “Oh right, you’re only into those twerpy little hipster guys. You hipster.”

Sigh. See the abuse I have to put up with? But on a funnier note, my friend is definitely a hipster – He’s a graphic designer with a fixie bike, coral colored skinny jeans and the most excellent beard. It’s a work of art, especially when paired with his thick black rimmed glasses that he actually needs. We were arguing over why each other was a hipster as out mainstream friends watched. When they attempted to weigh in, we teamed up and turned on them. And then went back to arguing. No wonder everyone hates hipsters.

Also, what’s wrong with vests?

Detroit.

I love Chicago. I love New York. I love Seattle. I especially love Ann Arbor. But I do not love Detroit. It seems to be a dark, corrupted place full of thugs and the hopeless, a place that shows no chance of ever coming back to it’s former glory. It reeks of desperation and defeat. Or so I believed. My roommate, who is decidedly NOT a hipster, decided that I needed an education about the Motor City, and boy, did I get it.

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What does Detroit have to do with hipsters? Well, a lot of hipsters are newly out of college and looking to settle down, and what better place than a city that they can rebuild? Housing is cheap and unique, it has the urban feel, there is plenty to explore, and plenty opportunity to expand and create art.

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Which brings me to the main topic: The Heidelberg Project. In 1986, a man named Tyree Guyton began creating art on Heidelberg as a response to the deterioration  and destruction of his childhood neighborhood. Using salvaged materials, he and his neighbors began to transform broken down, abandoned houses into works of art that held emotional, artistic, political, and symbolic value to the people of Detroit.

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At first, the street seems playful and childish, even. It’s rather delightful to see cars trapped in the ground, and bright polka dots painted on the buildings and sidewalks. Piles of vacuum cleaners adorn the lawns, and cinder black faces warily watch you wander by, daring you to make fun of their telephone hats.

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I’m really not much of an intellectual artist. I can’t look at a square painted entirely red and derive meaning from it. I don’t find deep connection by reading jumbled poetry, and I usually see insanity where others find brilliance, but I could understand the desire to do something, anything to make things better.

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One house in particular had been subjected to a fire that burnt more than half of it. This house, named the “Obstruction of Justice” house, was a charred shell of a once proud building. The grounds still smelled faintly of smoke, and the now visible basement was slowly filling from the effects of the weather. Was it arson? Was it an accident? Regardless, does it still manage to channel the spirit of Detroit? That we will rebuild and not be stopped by setbacks?

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On the surface, the Heidelberg Project seems like the project of a deranged mind, but it goes beyond that. And this happens to be coming from someone who doesn’t take any kind of art too seriously. If, my fellow hipsters, any of you happen to be in the Detroit area, swing by this place, and give it a look. Give it a thought. Give it a small corner of your mind, and some acknowledgement.

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After visiting Detroit and seeing the baby steps of progress, I’m starting to believe that Detroit may come back. And I think that hipsters are exactly the people to facilitate it. Why? We are young and optimistic and haven’t had the idealism beaten out of us quite yet. Where pop culture says stay away from the danger and blight of The City, counter-culture thinking says, “Go! Photograph the ruin (with film, of course) and then rebuild!”. If a true hipster has the grit to put up with the constant rebuff and mocking of the mainstream culture and still do what they do and love what they love, then they have what it takes to breathe new life into the Motor City.

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Rise, Detroit.

Rise, Detroit

Commuting.

Lemme clear something up for you all – I am poor. And that is why I make a great hipster.

Nonfuctional brakes

See, a lot of hipsters shop at places like Urban Outfitters, ride expensive custom built fixie bikes, spend a lot of money pursuing their film camera addiction, and so on and so forth. Not me. I look like a hipster because I do shop at thrift stores, and the only reason I would drink PBR beer is because it’s cheap. (But guys, don’t do that. It’s cheap and nasty and will make you all farty-bloaty. Trust me, my family loves the stuff.)

Derailers

So then, when I talk about riding my bike everywhere, it’s not because I’m some hipster fixie-pixie, but because I am too poor for a car and sometimes too poor for the bus, and I LOVE IT. It’s pretty hip to use public transportation and ride bikes everywhere, especially, since, like, cars are gonna kill us all, man….. ahem.

Derailers

But for real. Look at people on bicycles, and what do you see? The token old person trying to be healthy, the racers trying to make everything smaller and tighter and more streamlined… although with the helmets and sunglasses it’s hard to tell any of them apart .You’ll see young families on walk with little people on bikes, and college students trying to get to class faster. Faster! FASTER! And of course, hipsters on their salvaged and vintage fixed-gear bikes.

Duct-taped Together

For those of you who are looking to be a hipster, a “fixie” is a fixed gear bike – there is one gear and no brakes, although pedaling backwards can help to slow the bike. The pedals turn with the wheels, so coasting is never an option. Because they are simple and relatively fast, they are excellent for urban travel – the habitat of most hipsters. Since I have to commute 20 miles a day, I choose something that can go fast and brake hard instead.

Tire Treads

P.s., my fellow bike people, have you ever read the Yehuda Moon comics? He makes a pretty excellent point about hipsters and fixed gear bikes.

I try not be pretentious about commuting, but it’s hard because a. I am a hipster and we are all pretentious, b. I’m right and you should listen to me, and c. it’s hard to stay off your soapbox when it is something that you truly care about. But c’mon! You could spend 30 minutes driving and 30 minutes at the gym like you are supposed to, or you could bike for an hour and get both done at the same time. I’m lucky enough to live in an area that values anything that may save the environment and has created miles of bike trails that make commuting pretty darn easy.

In Motion

So, a call to, um, bikes, my brethren! Take back the road! Take back the commute! Bike for your lives, the environment, and the good of your soul! And feel free to ride a fixie, if that’s your thing.

P.s. Why shouldn’t you ever bet on a hipster in a bike race? Because it’s sure to be fixed.

Foodie 1.0

Hipsters and food go together like wine and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly, or stracchino cheese and socca wraps. We like to eat, and we like to experience, and we are often the driving force behind small restaurants that focus on quality and good taste. We like to know where our food comes from, and we like exciting new combinations that, “you’ve probably never heard of before”. You’ll find us packed in the holes in the wall where artistanal beers and delightfully pickled vegetables abound.

Needless to say, I love food. My original dreams, fueled by too many late night sessions of Iron Chef (the original Japanese version, folks. It was awesome.), were to go to culinary school and bring the love of good food back to people! All people! All people, ever! However, my love of medicine and my desire of job security won out. I’m a sell-out. I know. Ahem.

But as Julia Child once so eloquently warbled, “People who love to eat are always the best people”, and by golly she was right. The other night I had a dinner party where we listened to indie music and and pushed to furniture out of the way to practice ballroom dance while our food simmered. We are a motley crew to say the least, covering nearly every part of the spectrum of religion, work interest, and hair color, but bound by our love of food and our generally interesting walks of life.

I know at one point I promised to detail the different kinds of foodies running all willy-nilly about this planet, but then I found this great link that did it for me. So, go look at that and pick which one you are. And then deny it because you refuse to be categorized in the manner of the hipster that you ARE NOT. I’M NOT A HIPSTER.

Ahem. I am a DIYer. I don’t really have the money for food because I am poor and in college, which is actually pretty redundant if you think about it….

Beet cake Noodles Lovely DessertThat cake is made with pureed beets, and those noodles were messily born on my kitchen table. They were later eaten with chicken paprikash made by my half-Japanese, half-Hungarian friend (I’m a terribly jealous of his culinary birthright.). That elephant teapot was actually filled with custard which we gleefully consumed over chocolate cake, macerated strawberries, and pistachio pudding. So, hate on the hipster all you want but… I’m eating better than you, haha! Take that, mainstream!

P.S. Did you hear about the hipster ice cube? He was water before it was cool.

C Clef Notes: Noah & the Whale

I try to listen to an entire spectrum of music, barring pop culture poppy-fluff crap fluff with no soul and women-degrading rap and hip-hop, but my true love is all things folk and acoustic, having grown up on a steady diet of bluegrass and The New Christy Minstrels. On vinyl folks. As in, “You need to not jump up and down as much when you dance, Little HipsterNurse because you are making the track skip”, vinyl. Ah, those were the good old days, yeah?Print Layout 1

Noah and the Whale consists of four dapper young men, a violin, and entire spectrum of guitars, Tom Hobden’s hair, which should be consider its own magnificent entity, the occasional use of an philharmonics orchestra, and a masterful conduction of chords and musicality that will tug at your chordae tendineae and bring leakage to your lacrimal ducts.

Noah and the Whale is not a typical band that strives through fame with generic chord progression and empty catchy lyrics. Their first album was rather upbeat and charming, with a folky-indie vibe that made it easy to listen to, and regrettably, rather easy to forget among the flush of other charming, quirky folky-indie pop bands out there.

But their sophmore album, The First Days of Spring, is what I want each and everyone of you to go listen to. This album is the outpouring of lead singer Charlie Fink’s heart and soul after a crushing break-up with Laura Marling. This album demands to be listened to cover to cover if the entire story is to be captured. You would expect a young band of young men to write an album full of hate and rage and threats of revenge or being better without them, right? I mean that really works for some people… but this isn’t even kind of the case.

The lyrics are rather frank, which poses a nice contrast to the elegantly woven mix of soft fiddle and melancholy chords progressions. With the exception of “Love of an Orchestra”, a bouncy tune that embodies his great love of music, the entire album is downbeat and quiet, creating a very relatable atmosphere for anyone who know the heartbreak that goes with losing someone dear to you. It’s hard to explain the excellence of this album, because it is more than just simultaneous noise making. Please, just listen to it. I picked my favorite lyrics from each song below, so you can have  glimpse of how the album transitions from pure grief to potential healing. Now go! Listen! Love! And then be prepared to order their new album that is coming out!

1. “It’s the first day of spring, and my life is starting over again… I’m still here hoping that one day you may come back.”

2.  “We both know that it’s over, but we are both not ready.And you’re talking like a stranger, and I don’t know what to do.”

3. “I have nothing… so come back to me, my darling.”

4. “I didn’t marry the girl I loved, I saw my world cave in, felt like giving up…. but I’ll be laughing again.”

5. “I know I’ll never be lonely, I’ve got songs in my blood….Give me the love of an orchestra!”

6. “Last night I slept with a stranger for the first time since you’ve gone. Regretfully lying naked, I reflect on what I’ve done… You know in a year, I’m going to be better. You know in a year, I’m gonna be happy.”

7. “This is the last song I write while still in love with you. This is the last song that I write while you’re even on my mind. Cos blue skies are coming.”

8. “I never tried to change you, honey, I’m your biggest fan. I loved you back then, but I don’t recognize you now.”

9. “Now I’m free from all your pain… I love with my heart and I hold it in my hands, but you know, my heart is not yours.”

Urban Hipster.

The Urban Hipster as defined by Barbie-doll media.

Urban Hipster

I don’t know where they were observing Urban Hipsters. Late 1800s African Royal Dynasties, maybe? Don’t get me wrong, she’s fabulous, but that purse is not even kind of a worn canvas satchel that was loved by a long ago generation,and I bet those sandals aren’t real Birkenstocks. I love the natural look of her hair. It’s totally deck.

I’m sorry I said ‘deck’. You can find her here if you have an overwhelming desire to add her to your collection today -> http://www.barbiecollector.com/shop/doll/nichelle174-urban-hipster