My french lover, my down duvet


When it is cold and dreary, I find spiritual, emotional and physical contentment within the embrace of my beloved Henri. Henri is my French lover, my down duvet. If you think I’m weird for naming my comforter and attaching contentment and pleasure from him to an almost sexual degree, bugger off I’m from SoCal. Henri is basically a giant, poofy cloud of warmth with a velvet cover. Whenever I invite my friends to cuddle with him so that they can see why I love him so, they collapse on the floor, rolling around and moaning. The best thing about him is that I can take him anywhere! But mostly I like it when we stay in. He never disappoints me or pisses me off. He is the perfect winter companion and always welcomes a good snuggle.

Livy on the beach


After I purchased my first inadequate coat freshman year, I realized how crucial it was to stay warm. So I tried a number of tactics. 1. Whales have a shit ton of blubber. Ipso facto, I should put on blubber. Thank you magic bars. 2. To work off the blubber (so not worth the warmth), run outside. Black ice is invisible. Slip. Fall. Get up. Repeat. 3. Find someone else to warm your bed. Twin beds (albeit extra-long) are just too small. 4. Become a klepto and steal as many sweaters as possible. Wear them all at once. 5. Grow hair out as long as possible. Animals are hairy and they seem warm. Yeah, the reason I haven’t shaved my legs is “to conserve heat,” not because I can’t find a razor blade. But the secret to warmth is a more-than-adequate coat. Throw out — no, donate! — that old coat, and find one that covers your ass and has a hood. If there’s some fancy word for the synthetic stuffing inside the coat, just go for it, no questions asked.

Even if you’re warm, the New Haven winter will dry your skin out real bad. Watch out for your eyelids! Those puppies dry up overnight. When that drugstore brand lotion soaks in so fast you feel like your skin is in some sort of drought akin to the Dust Bowl, you have to invest in a tub of vaseline. As the label says, “Pure Petroleum Jelly protects your baby’s skin against happy rash.” wtf is happy rash? I wanted to write to this company to thank them for all they’ve done for me, but I could only find addresses for Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, and Addis Ababa. Strangely, my “petrolatum” seems to be from Africa. And then I got so depressed I wasn’t in Africa where it’s hot and sunny, I just couldn’t bring myself to write that thank you note.

It’s taken me three years of winter to come up with the basic information that you have to stay warm and moisturized. It’s not much, but I’ll let you know when that SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder — it really shouldn’t be called a disorder. Anyone who is happy in the winter is disordered) lamp comes to my PO Box. Hopefully I’ll be able to truck in some sand to my room, play some wave-sound music, turn that light on, and just pretend that I am reading Livy on the beach.

SAD, meet SAD


How do you fix SAD? With SAD!

Sorry, let me clarify. Ah, yes — seasonal affective disorder. What is it again, exactly? For some, a (medically?) justified excuse to be depressed and mopey in winter, for others, genuine homesickness for sunnier states. I’m from Massachusetts, so snow and slush are my jam! I guess I can’t really relate so much to the Californians and Floridians, but I expect if I were accustomed to lush, balmy winters then New Haven would come across as a miserable, cold and barren pit of despair. Yuck. But I have a solution: don’t have SAD, do SAD! What am I going on about, you ask? The Standard American Diet, that’s what! Right when the weather starts getting frightful and there are no fires to keep us delightful, I tend to recede into biological hibernation mode and think that I need to put on lots of extra blubber to keep me warm through these blistery months. The development of clothing and central heating has actually proven this unnecessary, so my extra blubber proves, well, extra. And then where am I? Even SADder (the first kind), because not only is it still winter, but I am fat. So, this winter, fix SAD with SAD! Do the diet, then lose the weight, and have something cheerful and morale boosting to celebrate during these otherwise dreary months. Now if you don’t want to look outside, you can at least look in the mirror.

Just me and my Vibrams


So I decided I was going to do something zany before I got to Yale — that I wouldn’t be just another average white guy. I happened to be a reader of health news, and when I saw an ad for Vibram Fivefinger shoes, I fell in love. You’ve seen them — they have toes and remind people of gecko feet. They cost me a pretty penny, but from August ’til December, it was totally worth it. Student reviews are mixed, but every dining hall worker who sees my feet wants to know more and I can finally run as nature intended (covered by expensive pieces of space-age material).

I loved my Vibrams. They kept me through thick and thin — even when I took them to Toad’s for the foam party (I didn’t need to wash them for weeks!). But then, one afternoon I walked out of WLH to find something white falling from the sky.

“WHAT?” I cried to the heavens. “What is this? Is it WINTER? Why was I not informed?” But arguing with the weather hasn’t worked for years now, and the snow was only getting deeper. Finally, I gritted my teeth and sped into the slush.

Turns out, that when it comes to snow protection, Vibrams are actually the equivalent of your bare feet. I shivered for the rest of the night and woke the next morning to find the world one of those lovely blank pages of white that makes you want to find a flamethrower and melt the world. After a week of sneakers and three-pound boots, everything below my knee hurt. I still take the boys out for a treadmill session now and then, but I know they’ll never really forgive me.

Why, in the 21st century, must we suffer the ignominy of the seasons?

Bear the winter


Hearty, thick soups; warm, fresh bread: these offer salvation in the desolation of winter. The dry cold and razor winds of these months justify heavy fare, food presented and eaten before the chill can leave your cheeks plump. Salad? I spit on your greens, grown in laboratories or flown in from locales who do not know the splendor of spring because they do not know the sadness of winter. Give me stew, or a creamy chowder, or a turkey leg covered in gravy, whose combined juices seep through mashed potatoes already saturated with butter. I grow, becoming thicker and more mysterious under the form-hiding effects of my layers. A jacket, a sweater, a flannel, a thermal, two t-shirts, and a padding of fats and starch. I understand the reasoning of the Grizzlies, who, rather than attempting to bear the ice, spend these weeks in the tropics of a dream. But why sleep this season away? Why not, instead, watch the flakes float by your window and imagine that your mashed potatoes have somehow sublimated to become the weather?

Rise Above It


When winter’s getting me down, I take action. I choose not to let the dismal season dominate me: I strip naked, encase myself in ice, and have a friend place me on a high rooftop. There I pass the days and weeks in a semi-conscious state as my muscles atrophy and I slowly succumb to frostbite. After all, winter can really get you down. Watching the sun set at four in the afternoon; feeling the snow creep into your boot. I choose to literally rise above it, letting wind and storm buffet my exposed form. When possible I like to scream. Ever been walking around campus late at night and heard a ghostly howl riding the bitter breeze? That’s me, screaming away. And it’s easy to tell when winter’s over. As soon as the ice melts and I collapse to my knees, fall off the roof, and am taken to the hospital to be stitched back together and resuscitated, I know it’s spring! Hurrah!