July 25, 2012 by Philip Basnight
I got my first turntable when I was 13 years old, but it’s only now dawning on me how the medium had avoided technological extinction. My turntable was a birthday present that I mostly used to play my mom’s old Beatles’ records on. Eventually, I started buying my own vinyl, usually used, just to say I had a record collection and occasionally hang the album art on the walls. Now, I will often re-buy my favorite albums on vinyl but for very different reasons.
I have been a paid subscriber to Rdio, an online music subscription service very similar to Spotify, for about two years now but the more I use it, the more I find myself wanting to switch entirely to a vinyl collection. Recently I found a video online that was part of the TED talk series by Barry Schwartz called, “The Paradox of Choice.” In this video, Schwartz details the way that having too many choices creates a sort of mental paralysis. The talk comes to a head as Schwartz argues, “the more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything at all that is disappointing about the option you chose.” The bad is amplified by comparison, while the good becomes more easily ignorable. It’s like eating while you’re still in the grocery store; of course you’re going to wonder whether the food on the shelves is better.
This video clicked with me immediately. I had been using Rdio to eat in the grocery store. Maybe this explained the romance of vinyl. Setting up a record is nothing like clicking “play,” or even finding the track on a CD. People often argue that turntables create a personal experience where they lack in efficiency. But the inconvenience of changing a record might just be the key to its appeal. When the choice is eliminated, the details start to come through. Once you relax and settle into a record, songs start to present something exciting and subtle. It was that inexplicable “better” that music snobs – myself included – always assign to vinyl. Not to say that something is better, or even worth listening to, just because it is on vinyl, but when choices are limited, those in motion start to come alive. I bet that finding those hidden melodies and building that personal relationship is the inspiration behind most music anyways.
I still use Rdio but I try to limit myself to exploring new bands and albums before I buy them and, since the service is low-cost, I’m trying to make the best of both worlds. Yeah, the Internet may have a world of music to chose from, but sometimes settling in (not just settling) is the key to enjoying your experience.
July 12, 2012 by Philip Basnight
My initial instinct when blogging is to write grandiose posts that encompass all of student life and each possible student concern, wrapping each up nicely with the writing-equivalent of a slow camera fade set to inspirational music. After several disparaging attempts, I’ve put epic on the shelf for more specific how-to’s and individual anecdotes from life in Williamsburg. Hopefully this will give you an idea of everyday life at William & Mary.
Today’s blog focuses on a concept that is both close to home and completely foreign to me … dieting. Specifically, living on a gluten free diet in Williamsburg. Reason being, my girlfriend has Celiac disease and cannot process gluten, or any traces of gluten products. At this point, I’m guessing you are either ecstatic that someone is blogging about a situation so similar to your own, to which I would also recommend http://glutenfreeryangosling.tumblr.com/, or you’re asking ‘what’s gluten?’ Gluten is basically a protein component that’s in everything you eat such as wheat, barley and rye.
For lent of this year I decided to try giving up gluten and all gluten-contaminated foods. Needless to say, a gluten free (aka GF) diet, whether by choice or by force, is not an easy task and it can seem particularly difficult in a small town like Williamsburg. There’s hope, though, because if I can do it so can you! Below I’ve listed restaurants close to campus where students tend to eat out with a breakdown of what they offer that is (completely) gluten free.
- Our Dining Halls!
- The W&M dining halls have a number of options in their buffet lines marked with red pen.
- The Marketplace does a GF wrap at the wrap station!
- WAWA (this one is a seminal establishment for William & Mary Students and luckily there are a lot of GF options)
- All UTZ and most Lays potato chips (for 99 cents!)
- Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream
- Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
- Much, much more that I couldn’t even start to list here.
- Pita Pit
- Lots of FroYo flavors, which are GF unless Wheat is marked on their label
- Everything!!!! (aside from the tortillas)
- Panera (ask for them to change their gloves)
- Black Bean Soup
- Chicken Caesar Salad
- Sweet Frog/Berry Body
- Most FroYo and many toppings (same situation as Pita Pit)
- The Cheese Shop (a William & Mary favorite that luckily has GF options)
- Gluten free bagels with Ham and chicken breast, as well as most cheeses
- Food For Thought
- They have an extensive GF menu and prepare everything separately.
- Carrabba’s Italian
- All Carrabba’s pasta can also be made GF!
- The Daily Grind
- Our on-campus coffee shop has GF bread to make delicious sandwiches with and their owner, Scott, is also GF so he knows how to prepare everything.
July 5, 2012 by Philip Basnight
Dear (Sir/ Madam),
Welcome to my first blog post! I’m pretty (excited / intimidated), but hopefully with this blog I can tell you all about the ways that William & Mary has helped shape my (long-term goals / everyday decisions), or how I’ve learned to (spread / focus) my time. It seems like I’m always (meeting with a club / studying / getting coffee with friends / sleeping) but, honestly, that’s what school is about, right? I love the routine but my favorite day of the year has to be (campus golf / charter day / yule log) because I love seeing huge groups of students celebrating together.
I feel like it’s (my last chance to be a kid / time to start growing up). At least now that I’ve finally settled on a (English / Classics / Religion / Philosophy / Business / German) major I can start to buckle down. I’ve enjoyed taking classes in a ton of different subjects though. The professors I’ve had so far were (easy to talk to / always available / brilliant) and I feel like I would have been fine in any department. What I have learned is that it would be (impossible / impossible) to pin my experience down to (one / two / three / four) categories. Except, I guess, as a (William & Mary Student).
Thanks for reading!