Work and coffee

I’m in the process of getting my creative/professional portfolio updated. I just finished posting/tagging/categorizing all of my Spring 2009 opinions columns for the Daily Illini, and I’ll be correcting old pages in the next few days. Check it out here if you’re interested.

I still have Summer ’09 and Fall ’09 to go. This of course doesn’t include downloading all of the .pdfs of the papers I was published in so that I can provide professional writing samples for job and internship applications if necessary. In addition, I’ll likely be posting my academic work soon (essays about various English-related topics). I’m considering limiting access to that stuff just to discourage plagiarism, but I’d like to figure out a way to share access with genuinely interested parties (if you like reading stuff about critical theory and books). Let me know, and I’ll keep you posted.

On top of that, I’ll post up the short story I wrote that was published in Fall ’09’s edition of Montage (U of I’s student-run undergraduate literary arts journal), as well as the new creative stuff I’m working on as it happens. While I’d love to hear your feedback on my columns, the creative stuff is constantly being revised, so I’d appreciate comments on that stuff much more.

Finally, I’d like to talk about the coffee I’m drinking right now courtesy of my best friend, who recently relocated to Portland, Oregon. Portland boasts a seemingly lovely business (I say seemingly because I have never actually been there, only drunk their coffee) called Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Stumptown, like Chicago’s Intelligentsia, purchases and sells direct trade coffee, which is a cut above fair trade. Coffee growers receive greater pay than they would through Fair Trade-certified business, primarily because the middleman is cut out–coffee roasters like Intelligentsia (who trademarked the practice) and Stumptown go directly to co-ops and farms abroad and purchase coffee. In addition, roasters often seek out growers involved in socially- and environmentally-conscious farming practices, so not only are you getting better coffee, but you’re achieving more–and better–with your money.

Anyway, my friend sent me two bags of coffee from Stumptown, and I had the Ethiopia Mordecofe Natural ground up to try in my new french press (if you’ve never used a french press before, this is a great place to get some tips–I love Cooks Illustrated). Let me just say, this coffee is delicious. You don’t have to be some crazy social justice guru or gastronome/gourmand/epicure to taste the difference between this and vacuum-sealed instant bullshit. You don’t even have to have some expensive, one-touch coffee maker–in fact, it’s better if you don’t.

Try some of this stuff if you get the chance. Both Stumptown and Intelligentsia sell their coffees online, if you’re in Champaign-Urbana, bags of Intellgentsia coffee can be purchased at Caffe Paradiso (right behind Allen, where Jimmy John’s is located) and Art Mart (in Lincoln Square Mall in downtown Urbana, which usually has the better selection of the two). Trust me, the taste alone is worth it, but it’s the other stuff that makes the coffee really satisfying.

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About Chelsea
I'm currently pursuing my MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My ideal career path involves using writing, publication, and writing education to enact progressive social change.

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