Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Barista Swagger -- September, 2012

Dear Management,

There is a girl named Alexis who works at your fine establishment, the Claire de Lune, whom I now have a not-so-secret-crush on. My friends gave her a silly note earlier today, of which I was the impetus. If you could relay this message to her along with my email and number, that would be stellar.
Thank you.

Jared Robbins
President of the Slovakian Bee Keeping Club


Dear Jared,

We do not have an Alexis that works at the Claire de Lune.
Are you sure you have the right coffee shop?



Dear Management,

I realize now I have been the subject of a cruel and unusual (but creative) prank. My friends went to great lengths in fabricating an exchange of notes with the Asian looking girl working today around noon (whose name isn't actually Alexis). Apologies for the confusion. I still think the barista in question has serious swagger, whatever her name may be. Feel free to still pass my info along. I was the spectacled boy who repeatedly came up for water refills.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May, 2012 -- UC-Riverside Crime Alerts

Several times a week I receive alerts from the UC Police Department. Just got this one:

To: UCR Community
Re: Suspicious Subject at HUB C-Store

On 5-22-12 at about 7:00pm, a subject entered the HUB C-store. C-Store staff saw as he walked to the register, he walked closely behind a female customer and had one hand in his pants pocket and appeared to be touching his groin area. 

On 5-24-12 at about 3:50pm the same subject entered the store and purchased an item. After leaving and standing outside, he had one hand in his pant pocket and appeared to be touching groin area. He was not looking at staff or anyone specific while doing this.

The subject has been in the store before; once yelling at staff when the line was too long and left the store, another time when he spat on the floor and another when he grabbed a bag of chips and threw it on the floor. 

Friday, April 06, 2012

Six Months in Pictures

 view from my department building
 daily walk
 standard breakfast
 wind farms on way to palm springs/joshua tree
 brother's birthday gift to me
 new year's eve in ann arbor
painting in the garage

Missed Scholarship Opportunity - April, 2012

There was a scholarship opportunity that came across my desk. It was intended for married persons, but sorta/kinda open to everyone. While I considered applying, I ultimately did not. Below is my un-submitted essay:

My name is Jared Robbins and I am an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at UCR. I am not married, but not by choice. It's just that I haven't found a mate yet who fits the bill. And not by any lack of effort on my part -- Lord knows, I've been looking. In malls, bars, under seats; on airplanes, dating websites, and the lot. But one knows that you can't force these things.
That said, I still believe the Neumann scholarship would prove of great benefit to me. I am a writer; writers are poor; and single writers are people too. I walk through family housing every day on my way to school. It is the most serene part of my day -- that is, when it's not raining. There are always half-clothed little kids running around and laundry blowing on the line; I see the mountains in the distance and imagine I'm in a bucolic faraway land.
My work is interdisciplinary: I write drama, short fiction, and poetry. Regular motifs include, but are not limited to, loss of innocence, brotherly bonds, unrequited love, eccentric characters, and thick spectacles. It is informed by a diverse background that includes a bachelors degree in political-science, a grandpa who lived to the age of 97, and a year spent teaching in Asia.
The Neumann scholarship would enable me to focus more on my writing and less on determining which Subway sandwiches are still on special for five dollars.
Thank you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Riverside Life - Jan. 2012

-A buttermilk biscuit with blackberry jam and a glass of chocolate milk makes for a nice snack.

-Too much time on my hands to think, and now that reading and writing have become my area of study, they no longer fit as well as hobbies.

-Riverside works on a lot of levels (the university is swell, there's a Trader Joe's, I live in a spacious house with a pool and pay reasonable rent), but not so much on others (it has the worst reputation on the planet; and there's a severe dearth of college-educated cosmopolitan twentysomethings painting the town on a Friday night).

-One space after a period.

-Fish Tank was a good movie.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Beijing Images - June 2011

Beijing Highlights - June 2011

Sat next to two silly Thai girls on the plane ride over. They wrote me love notes in Thai that I still need translated.
Thomas met me at the airport and we grabbed cheap good food just around the corner from his apartment - one of those storefront restaurants which could double for someone's home kitchen.  There was a table of chinese guys next to us who kept getting up to pee on the wall across the street.  This in turn made me feel comfortable shooting food debris off my tongue whenever I felt so inclined.
The apartment we're living in is posh.  Might even cost over a million dollars.  I should carry around photos of it in my wallet like people do with their children.

note: The correct pronunciation of Beijing is "Bay-jing."  The way American newscasters say it and popular perception is a bastardized attempt at sounding foreign.  Blame the French.

On day one, I hooked up with 11 other people (I'm a slut, I know), some friends of friends, and we bused it to a village 1.5 hours outside the city nestled along sections of the Great Wall that haven't been refurbished.
We stayed at an incredible house. Went hiking. Ate elaborate meals. Drank plentifully at night.

Can't use Facebook, which is a massive inconvenience considering that’s how I conduct most of my correspondence.


Return from countryside retreat.  Eat dinner at a Korean bbq place where they cook the meat on a mini-grill in front of you.  It’s like having an uninvited guest at your table.  All the girls in this particular establishment have tattoos.  Thomas is automatically impressed by Chinese girls with tattoos. 
As for the bbq, I’m less than thrilled only getting to eat one piece of meat or onion every five minutes - the amount of time it takes for them to cook something and divide it up amongst the three of us.
At night, one of Thomas’ Chinese prospects comes over.  She looks cartoonish with her big eyes and small frame, but definitely pixie cute.  There is a tattoo on her wrist, so after Thomas confesses attraction for her and she responds that “It had never crossed her mind,” Thomas does not believe her.


Spend loads of time in the apartment reading and editing short videos compiled from pictures and vids of my trip so far.  Reading The Sheltering Sky, which is quick and easy prose that hints at greater heaviness.  Three Americans wandering around North African desert in the aftermath of WWII.  There is a love triangle and resonant theme of Americans in foreign land.  Talk of the Sahara makes Beijing feel not-so-remote.


Been eating loads of baozi and gong bao ji ding.  
Thomas' bike was stolen yesterday, even though it was locked up.  Somebody just picked it up and walked off.  So we buy him a new bike.  This time he gets two locks.  We ride the new bike down a ways, me sitting side-saddle on the back, to a market that sells dumbbells.  It is a massively arduous process getting them home.
I learn about “Beijing Air-Conditioning” - the phenomenon where Chinese men pull their shirt fronts above their nipples to cool off.   


Bike ride around town in the afternoon.  Thomas harasses me for not going fast enough on my rickety rental bike.  Wend through Hutongs, past Forbidden City and along Tianemen.  Feels great to be out and about.
Join Seb for Shabbat dinner at Chabad House.  Seb was on the group retreat to the Great Wall that first day.  Catch the tail end of services.  Can’t understand anything.  I only came for the free dinner and booze.  There are an assortment of different looking Jews - Arabs, Brooklyn Black Hats, Russians, nerds, etc. They all know their prayers better than me.  My kippah refuses to stay on my head.  A man behind me points out I’m in fact wearing two stuck together.  Even with just one, it keeps falling off.
There must be 100 people at dinner.  I’m seated with guys around my own age.  Wash hands for chamotzi.  There are loads of other prayers I don’t know throughout the multi-course meal.  The Rabbi continuously comes around to fill up our disposable medicine cups with nice scotch.
“They know how to party,” Seb tells me.  
The Rabbi makes some spiel about nepotism corrupting the world.  I am confused.  I thought the Jews were all about nepotism.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I had/I have

I had a cousin who was big and masculine and forced to flee the country.  After which he became a woman and died in a fire.

I had a conversation with a girl in which I relayed the cool things I had done.  I could see her face get all twisted up with excitement, then melancholy, at the prospect these things were unattainable to her. 
I feel that way a lot, when people tell me about all the cool things they've done.  It's like a drug - you get real high hearing about travels and nights out and accomplishments, and then you get real depressed thinking these things are out of reach; that they require all sorts of impossible hoop jumping.

I have a plane ticket to China for June 16th.  Now don't go twisting your face.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Notes from Kansas City

Dear Jared,

A couple of the guys from Small Black ended up coming to my apartment after their show in Kansas City and _____ made out with my friend on top of my washer and dryer.. And I'll have you know we had a cheers on your behalf earlier at the bar.