Category: Trendspotting

Trendspotting: Winter Footwear

Maybe it’s just me, but this endless winter has taken a lot out of me, including my fashion sense. It seems every winter campus changes from a colorful array of various fashions and individual styles, to blobs of neutral grays and blacks, student marshmallows with furry boots poking out of past-knee length down jackets. These furry-footed staples do lots when walking to class, but add little to your cozy sweaters and leggings look once the coat comes off.

Myself, I hate winter boots. I would much rather trudge through the snow in my Doc Martens, and have, only to slip on layers of ice several times over (it’s gotten to the point I have to make sure I have a walking buddy everyday I wear them, to save me from myself). But with the never-ending blizzards, and the realization that although I’m moving in August (to Chicago, which is still in the Midwest), I was forced to buck up, grow up, and spend my money on a pair of Khombu waterproof boots instead of the tan combats that I truly longed for.

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The boots! (

What you’re gonna want from a good winter boot is, overall, durability. You want these boots to withstand the test of time, and last you through the season and into the next year, or more. Making sure the boots you’re looking at are waterproof is a MAJOR must. Not only does it snow in the beautiful Mitten State, but we also get sleet, freezing rain, hail, and that snow can turn to wet, brown slush in a matter of a couple hours, and the last thing you’ll want to deal with through your busy day is sopping cold socks. It also helps to have fur or extra material inside, for added protection and warmth! You’re also going to want to look at the bottom of the boots, and check the ridges there to make sure there’s enough grip that you won’t slip on the sidewalks, which can be coated in layers of ice built up over months. It helps, too, to go for boots that go up to at least mid-calf, so you won’t have to worry about snow sneaking it’s way in when walking through ~ten inches of fluffy white freeze. Lastly, find something that’s comfortable and makes you feel hot, even in the negative degrees weather! I chose a bright purple for my Khombus because it’s my favorite color, so every time I look down at my feet to shield my eyes from the oncoming snow flakes, I get a tiny dose of bright happiness, even in the gloominess and clouds of the winter day.

When I joined the pack with my clunky, furry boots, I began to notice others like mine, and others totally different. There’s a lot of variety out there that makes winter boots finally… fashionable. My purple Khombus, though they clash with some of the nicer things I’d like to wear, keep my precious toes warm, dry, and happy, and keep my butt where it should be instead of on the ground—and I still get compliments on them! It’s all about using the boots to enhance the snow-bunny sweater look you already have going in the winter. Especially since mine are so bright, I make sure whatever I wear on top doesn’t clash too hard, so I usually go for white, black, or something more plain and neutral on the days when I know I can’t make it to class without them. Whether you rock Ugg, Timberland, or Khombu like me, how do you use your boots to keep you warm and your look hot in the Snowpocalypse?

My comfortable, warm, wind-blown winter look, with my purple Khombus included.
My cozy, warm, wind-blown winter look, with my purple Khombus included.

Flappy Bird: A Critical Analysis

The last week has seen the meteoric rise and fall of Flappy Bird. I first heard of Flappy Bird on a Tuesday, and by Thursday the creator of the game announced that he was removing it from circulation. As far as simple and addicting flash games go, no game has ever inspired such joy and such rage as Flappy Bird. But how can one explain the tragic trajectory of Flappy Bird’s success and, ultimately, failure? What does our love and our hatred of Flappy Bird say about the human condition? What are the implications of Flappy Bird on reality itself? Brace yourselves, dear readers, as we embark on an exploration into the deep depths of this cruel and short-lived game.

Flappy Birds screenshot The player avatar and titular character of Flappy Bird, is, of course, the bird. However, this pixelated avian calls into question the very concept of “bird”. Indeed, the “bird” of Flappy Bird appears less like a bird, and more like a beach ball with fish lips. Moreover, this creature has no seeming birdlike traits or motivations. According to Michel Foucault, our system of language creates almost arbitrary categories, overemphasizing the similarities between objects and ignoring the differences. By presenting such a tenuous “bird”, is Flappy Bird urging us to abandon our current system of animal classification? Would the “bird” of Flappy Bird be better classified as a different organism? Should we classify organisms at all?

Moreover, Flappy Bird questions our concept of “the pipe”, through the endless stream of Mario-esque pipes that scroll onto the screen from the right. Unlike the universe of Mario, in which pipes have some meaning, due to Mario’s occupation as a plumber, the pipes of Flappy Bird are out of place and even bizarre. How did these pipes come to be hanging from the sky? Why do they enter ceaselessly onto the screen? Is there a purpose or a deeper meaning to the pipes? Through the use of Mario pipes, not only the character of Flappy Bird, but the setting is deconstructed and dismantled.

Indeed, Flappy Bird seems to call into question the idea of “the game” itself. There is no progression in Flappy Bird. There is no winning, only losing. There is no success, only failure. One could argue that Flappy Bird is not truly a game, but an endless exercise in futility. In this way, Flappy Bird mimics the cruelty of life. In the world of Flappy Bird, as in the world of the human, there is no “winning”, only an endless series of obstacles that will one day cause failure. It is almost comforting to know that Flappy Bird contains nothing unexpected. The first pipe is the same as the last pipe. Is Flappy Bird the only predictable thing in this cruel and inconstant world? Continue reading “Flappy Bird: A Critical Analysis”

Trendspotting – Finals Week Playlist

Trendspotting with Alyson GinesOne great thing about the Trendspotting series is that it gives us a glimpse into the variety of people who come here, and the experiences they’ve had. Each week taught us a little bit more; who were Tigers fans, who were crafty and knitted their own hats, who were the ones that show the most Spartan pride, etc. It’s this diversity, and these differences, that make The Writing Center what it is today. With this in mind, I devised this playlist with music from a variety of different genres and eras, to represent the many people and backgrounds that we’ve been lucky enough to learn about this semester.

Trendspotting: Snacks

Trendspotting with Alyson GinesFinals are almost upon us! The library is packed, caffeine is flowing, and sleep suddenly becomes non-existent. With it being crunch time, the accessory we’ve seen the most here at The Writing Center has been snacks. Everyone is looking for that extra energy boost to help make it through these final days of the semester. Some of the most popular amongst consultants are cookies, granola bars, and (of course) chocolate.

What’s your finals snack of choice?

Containers of chocolate chip cookies with apple in front.

Trendspotting: Warm Winter Boots

Trendspotting with Alyson GinesCan you believe we’re already in our second-to-last week of classes? Per usual, this semester has managed to fly by. The trend for one of these final weeks is undoubtedly warm, comfortable boots. Temperatures, in classic Michigan style, have dropped rapidly, leaving many students and consultants alike breaking out their winter boots to stay warm as they travel across campus. What’s your favorite accessory to stay warm in these chilly winter months?

Trendspotting: Grad School Applications

Trendspotting with Alyson GinesHappy Thanksgiving, everyone! Even though this has been a shorter week than most, the one thing seen the most at The Writing Center was definitely grad school statements. Application deadlines are approaching this December, and there are only a few short weeks left in this semester to make appointments. There are still some open spots to come meet with consultants, whether it’s to work on that grad application or a paper for a final.

Have a good break!

Trendspotting: Winter Hats

Trendspotting with Alyson Gines logoHiya, folks. Another week come and gone in this semester, and with only about a month left before break, seeing the first snow of the season was only natural. With that in mind, this week’s trend has definitely been awesome knit hats. Students are bundling up to combat the cold, and we’ve been seeing a lot of interesting caps here at The Writing Center. From neon hunting hats, to handmade knit headbands, to knitted caps with whale patterns, students are well prepared for winter. And, if you’re looking to be fully prepared for finals, stop on by one of our many locations to consult about that paper or project you’re creating.

Trendspotting: Voting Stickers

Trendspotting with Alyson Gines logoHey everybody, it comes as no great surprise that this week’s trend was a proudly worn “I Voted” sticker. Here at The Writing Center, we work hard to be active members in our community, and to make our voices heard. And, if politics aren’t your thing, odds are we still have you covered: our student consultants are studying everything from Philosophy, to Arabic, to Psychology, to Dance, to Professional Writing, and more. We host workshops on making videos, open mic nights where people throw down some killer slam poetry, and regularly have incredibly talented guest speakers. The Writing Center is proud to be a part of a community that cares so much about such a wide variety of things, and we would love if you stopped by sometime.

Trendspotting: Rain Jackets

Trendspotting with Alyson Gines logoHey there, everyone. This week’s trend has DEFINITELY been rain jackets and coats! With a bit of Hurricane Sandy rolling our way, temperatures have dropped rapidly and a mix of snow and sleet have hit the air. Students everywhere are adding a second layer to protect them from this unfortunate combination of wind and cold. Similarly, if you need to watch out for some deadlines coming your way, bring your paper into The Writing Center for a second pair of eyes to help you out!


Trendspotting: Go Tigers!

By Alyson GinesHi folks, it has been pretty clear what this week’s trend is: Detroit Tigers! Consultants and students alike have been proudly representing our team as the excitement towards the World Series has been mounting. We love seeing people passionate about something, and sharing in their enthusiasm. Are you writing a short story you’re psyched about? Working on a paper about your favorite book? Writing a personal statement to get into your top grad school? Bring it into The Writing Center; we would love to collaborate with you. And Go Tigers!

Two people wear Detroit Tigers sports wear