4 Days of Spazmas: Gifts

Christmas always has this way of sneaking up on me every single year. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but by the time I’m ready to do the Christmas, it’s tomorrow and CRAP. Nothing is getting done and nobody is getting love in the form of feasible gifts until February. And I’m sorry. Christmas never ends in Storm’s world. And hey, that’s not the worst thing is it?

I feel the pressure now more than I ever have. You know how as a kid, you aren’t expected to get gifts for people? Like what can you do? You have no job or money, or any sense that others matter. So you get a pass. Your family is just happy to spend time with you and be a part of your memories.

I am well beyond that point. My presence isn’t enough anymore. I have employment. I receive help from family on a much larger scale than I ever have. I need to…write cards, and get gifts…and wrap them and stuff. I need to appreciate people and show them that I care, I really do. Now I’m in Philadelphia, where I intend on staying for the foreseeable future. That means I will have friendships for the first time in life that I won’t move away from after a few years. I’m actually in the same place as family now. I have no excuse for not being more giving. And I have gone one more year failing to mentally and financially prepare myself for that. Again, sorry.

And as for receiving gifts, that’s even more difficult than getting them for other people. I don’t want anything. Really, I have a very limited amount of things that I would ever ask for.

Here’s my thing. If I can’t eat it or use it on a regular basis, I DO NOT WANT IT. I don’t know if that makes me easier or more difficult to buy for. But keep your knick knacks. Have you seen my room? It looks like I moved in last week, and I’ve been in that apartment for like half a year now. That’s because I have no storage space for the junk I already own. If you give me something that I have to find a place for, it’s not going to be a good time for me. Please don’t clutter my life. I don’t want a candle. I don’t want a plushie animal thing. What do they do for my life besides sit in the corner of my room and leave me paranoid at night because DAMMIT I SAW IT MOVE ITS ARM, I SWEAR TO YOU THAT JUST HAPPENED.

Some people think it’s an insensitive and/or lazy gesture, but trust me just give me money. I like saving money for my weird things that I would never ask anyone to buy me because they’re expensive. Like a SpiritHood or a OnePiece suit, or Black Milk leggings, or custom Storm headphones So you would contribute to one of the few material things I value highly, and I’d appreciate that much more than you wracking your minds trying to think of what to get me.

Or give me gift cards. But ask me what stores I like but never go to. Then you can force me to indulge in things I like but never enjoy.

Or buy me socks. Families start way too early gifting socks. Nobody wants socks as a kid. But oh my Lord am I so happy to get socks from people. I love socks. Weird socks. Knee highs. Thigh highs. All the crazy patterns or jokes or kittens shooting lasers out of their eyes. Y’kno, whatever. Socks are just the greatest. Get me socks, I’ll love you forever.

I also collect Tshirts. I really dig fruit snacks. And coffee is my life source.

Ultimately though, I value time over anything tangible. I don’t have the best memory of my childhood and stuff. It’s a little frustrating. I don’t know why I can’t remember much of anything. It’s left me kind of crazy about making memories with people I love and care about. So let’s go do something, together. Or let’s do nothing together, maybe. Those are some of my best stories, doing nothing with good company.

So yeah, that’s my deal with gifts and whatever. I’m all about presence over presents. Anyways, more Spazmas ranting coming tomorrow!

Square One Coffee

My favorite spot to blog hands down has got to be Square One Coffee. Their original location is in Lancaster, PA, but their Philly location, on S 13th St, just past Spruce, opened earlier this year.

I found Square One completely by accident. I was playing assistant for Pablo Batista, an amazing Latin percussionist who was rehearsing with his band The Mambo Syndicate for their jazz residency at the Kimmel Center. Pablo sent me on a coffee run, and I knew he hated Starbucks so I went around to look for a local shop. It was just nearing 8pm, so every shop I found had closed or was close to closing. Then I walked down 13th St, about to concede defeat and grab some Starbucks,

and that’s when I found Square One.

The two baristas were bringing in the outdoor seating and they were generous enough to make one last drink for me since they hadn’t turned off their cappuccino machine yet.

I guess you wouldn’t consider it new anymore, but back when I went, they were on their 3rd day of business. They hadn’t even had an official grand opening. The little hipster inside my head was rather pleased at our find. But I’m getting distracted.

I told them I needed something strong but pretty sweet, large, and make it two. Mac (she’s the best), made me caramel lattes and I sipped mine and it was flipping great. Back then I had only really used Starbucks as my office, and I didn’t even know of the wonderful world of local coffee shops. As you can see I haven’t been the same since. Square One was the true descent into my deep espresso addiction. It’s the gateway. I of course didn’t stay for long because I had to get back to the Kimmel, and when I gave Pablo his coffee, he flipped out too. Square One then became the fuel behind the whole Kimmel production. I went four days in a row.

That was a longer story than I had planned it to be. Anyways! On to my reviewing bit.

Coffee
As I already described, their coffee is fan-freaking-tastic. I live on their caramel lattes, but their vanilla lattes are great too and they let me try a glass of their cold brew one day and it was actually pretty good. From someone who likes all the creamy and all the sweet, I actually enjoyed it. I’d still prefer all the creamy and all the sweet, though. Also, during the summer they had affogattos, and that was pretty amazing and I wish I didn’t have to wait for next summer to have another one.

Service

The Square One baristas are my good friends now, having spent so much time in there. We follow each other on Instagram, so you know it’s legit. They’re all great, super helpful and friendly, and open to random conversation. There is no pretentious air in there, everyone is of the utmost chill. If you sit down before they finish making your coffee, they’re happy to bring your drink over to the table if they don’t have other guests to take care of. They’d probably even give you a hug if you asked. My friend who works there even let me film behind the counter for my media project (that’s where I filmed my coffee piece in my video), none of which I ended up using. For SHAME. But it was still pretty cool she let me film.

Variety

You know, I haven’t even paid that much attention to what else they have on the menu besides my beloved caramel latte. Oh wait, they have assorted pastries! Yeahhh I’ve eaten baked goods there. The brownie is ridiculously good, and their cupcakes are great too. I think my friend had a chocolate croissant once and she liked it. I actually don’t even know if they have meal-ish food like sandwiches. They…might. But!  Square One is surrounded by food stuffs, and they don’t have any rules against outside food. Or at least if they do, nobody has yelled at me yet. There’s a little deli right on the corner of the block and I’ve had good stuff from there. There’s also some pizza and sushi spots around. So yeah, you can easily chill in Square One all day like it’s your job. And I do, all the time.

Atmosphere

I love Square One’s layout. It’s a really big space, and instead of crowding it with sitting space, they kept it really open. All the seating is along the walls, and the counter is right in the center of the shop. There’s a glass storefront, so there’s tons of natural light.

square one instapic

Look at how BRIGHT! Also, those flowers are REAL!

Yellow is their theme color, which makes me happy. Because yellow is my favorite color. And sometimes yellow can be overwhelming and so happy that it’s offensive, but they utilize it perfectly in my humble opinion. Also, they had their espresso machine custom painted yellow, and it looks fantastic. They play decent music in there too. Well, it varies. Some days it’s all these awesome old tunes that force you to sing along and then quickly remember that you’re in a coffee shop and people are trying to get work done. Like True by Spandau Ballet, and You Get What You Give by the New Radicals. I get nothing accomplished on those days. And I’m not even mad about it, because unsolicited karaoke is too much fun. And then other days it’s like indie coffee shop playlist. Which is iight. But they don’t play it very loud, which is appreciated, and I usually play my own music from my laptop.

Bathroom

Square One’s bathroom is definitely one of my favorite coffee shop bathrooms. Actually, it seems like Philly coffee shops take great pride in having fabulous restrooms. Rivals’ is nice, Elixr’s is really cool, Chestnut Hill Coffee Co makes me wish I had to go more often…Is that weird to say? Eh, whatever, you just have to see it. Anyways, Square One’s bathroom! It’s a decent sized bathroom. Like I could have a one person dance party in there. And that’s saying something when you just picture five feet and twelve inches of limbs flailing all over the place. That could be dangerous in small quarters. But I could have a dance party in there. So you have so much space while using the facilities. And there’s a yellow chandelier in there! It’s cute. It’s always clean and looks clean in there. And they have that industrial, blow-the-skin-right-off-your-hand dryer! I love those things. Their toilet is weird though. It’s like this environmentally friendly commode, and you can kick it up or down depending on how much water you need. I have no clue if I’ve ever flushed it correctly. I can at least say I’ve tried to use less water. It’s entirely possible that I’ve been flushing down extra water by accident. Oh well, if anyone more competent than me figures it out, which you probably will, please tell me how it works. Thanks friends.

So anyway, that’s Square One, my favorite shop to date.