mallwalking: the trend that should be sweeping the nation

by Hammie Fay

Is Nick Jonas the new Usher? All white everything the new black? Nigella the new chia? Is two the new one? The year is 2015 and the future is now. Mallwalking is the workout you need in your life.

Imagine hiking indoors without any incline or bugs and surrounded by the sweet scent of soft salted pretzels. I dare you to find something wrong with that sentence.

I contacted a mall walker I found on the world wide web for her take on the workout trend that is not quite sweeping the nation.

ME: So how did you get involved in the mall walk movement?

MALLWALKER: Well it was kind of on accident really. I went out to a shopping mall one day and slowly started to realize, I didn’t actually need anything. I don’t enjoy giving the appearance that I am doing something without purpose, so instead of turning around empty handed…I just…kept…walking.

ME: Wow, interesting. How often would you say you go mall walking?

MALLWALKER: I try to go at least every other day. On Fridays I reward myself with an Orange Julius.

ME: What’s your routine like?

MALLWALKER
: Well, I never go mall walking without my skechers shapeups. I know I’ve heard some lies about them being ineffective but it is my goal in life to look like the coolest Demi Lovato fan in all of America.

ME: Do you mall walk alone or with a group?

MALLWALKER: Mostly alone. I have a great group of internet friends though and sometimes I chat with them online while I walk the mall.

ME
: Are your internet friends also mall walkers?


MALLWALKER
: OH HELL YA. I met them on a Facebook group called “mall walk america,” I even met my fiancé in the group!

After learning that mall walking was also a great way to meet a spouse I charged to my local mall and IMMEDIATELY got to walking.

I wore my freshest skechers and my most secure fanny pack so all the other mall walk buffs knew I meant business. The rest of the morning was a blur partly due to excitement but mostly due to xanax. However, I did leave with the phone number to the cutest employee at Auntie Anne’s and a newfound appreciation for the human body and all of its wonders.

Learn more about the art of Mallwalking from the folks with their finger on the pulse at Mallwalk America

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Insolence

by Brittany de Carona

     Once, when I was younger, I touched a butterfly. I watched it float for almost an
hour, around and around my head like a lovely little halo. Its wings, thin and delicate,
beat to the rhythm of my steady thump-thump heart. I thought I was alone in the world,
just my butterfly and me, sitting beneath a tree in the backyard of my grandmother’s
house. I was trying to read a book, but kept splattering the pages with my tears instead.
For that hour, with my butterfly, I couldn’t stop thinking about how lonely I was.

     I was nothing like my family. They didn’t understand my constant need to escape
the world we lived in through books. They laughed at me, made jokes at my expense (I
was referred to as Mother Thesaurus, for my love of peace and words), or they simply
ignored me, failing to notice when I disappeared from the house for hours. I was not there
and they were none the wiser and I grew to accept my displacement of our collective
genetic dilemmas.

     I was nothing like my friends. I was wondering if they were even my friends,
because “friends” typically knew what was going on in each other’s lives. They had no
idea that I was technically homeless, again sleeping on my grandmother’s floor because
I had nowhere else to go, or that I hadn’t slept in a bed for years. No friends, no family,
nothing but nothingness. That was how I felt and so I sat there, crying into the yellowing
pages of Lord of the Flies with the butterfly floating around my quivering shoulders.

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Five Best Albums of 2013

by Keenan Schott

So 2013's over. You may have heard about it on Reddit or Twitter or MySpace or Fox News or 

maybe from one of your coworkers who you don't like all that much. Anyway, what that means for music

fans is that  it's time to read the best-of-2013 lists put out by major publications and then bitch on the

internet about how much those lists suck. As a music fan, I've enjoyed complaining about how Rolling

Stone, Pitchfork, and Spin completely missed the mark with their lists this year. Like others, I've had

fun speculating that those publications must've fucked up their iTunes libraries' id3 tags or put CD's in the 

wrong cases or something because no way could they be heaping accolades upon the same shit that I've

been listening to. Now, to be fair, 2013 probably won't go down as the best year in the history of music (if

you disagree with me I'm sure you have perfectly valid reasons, but you're stupid so I don't care [enjoy the

ad hominem, dumb shits]), but that doesn't excuse putting Vampire Weekend anywhere near your best-of

list, much less at the top like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork did. Vampire Weekend make music that should

be in advertisements for things that preteen girls like, not music that should be topping best-of lists. And

what's with putting a mediocre Kanye album at number 1, Spin? Are your Kanye boners so big that you'd 

rather listen to his sub par shit over someone else's dopest shit. (Obviously, because you ranked Chance

the Rapper lower.) And how can anyone anywhere enjoy the new Arcade Fire album? Trite lyrics, diet 

Talking Heads grooves, and a lack of memorable hooks doesn't make an instant classic... unless you're

Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, or Spin, I guess.

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A Paragraph

by Joshua Greschner

 

Two thousand seven ¶ “I got a hammer for you” said Dad, at the bottom of the stairs. He started hacking into the wall before I joined him, eschewing any ceremony to mark the beginning of renovations. Dad wore rubber flip-flops and flower print shorts. During the summer, he only put on a shirt when he went to work and to coach us at soccer. His chest hair wasn’t grey yet. ¶ I mimicked his stance, his swing into the plaster, his scrunched face as white dust burst out. ¶ “Wanna pop?” he asked, after we worked a while. ¶ “Yup.” ¶ He went to the garage. I admired the large holes he made compared to my small, hesitant ones. On the wall beside the doorframe I noticed pencil marks I used to measure my height when I was smaller. I had forgotten they were there. ¶ “You almost tore through that,” I said after he came back down the steps. ¶ “What?” ¶ “Where I put my height.” ¶ “You wanna keep it?” ¶ “Duh,” I snarled. ¶ He cut out the section of wall with a skill saw. ¶ Twenty fourteen ¶ The piece of dry wall now rests under my bed. The pencil slowly fades. I marked my height not only for the temporary thrill of seeing how I tall I grew; I did it for some higher purpose I couldn’t understand as a child. Dates beside the ticks disappear after a certain height. I can’t tell how tall I was off the floor because Dad only cut out the piece of wall with pencil marks. ¶ Seven years later, renovations still aren’t complete. My room is on the top floor. There are paper, posters and a large map tacked to the walls. Books lounge in a haphazard heap. At the moment, the carpets are being replaced on the landing so I only have a slim path of yellow foam to walk on to get to the bathroom or downstairs. Power tools lie scattered; a circular saw bares its steel teeth. Contractors work while I’m at school. ¶ Our suburban bungalow is being transformed into a fortress. My parents are extending rooms beyond conceivable purpose; they’ll have to buy more cars to fill garage space. ¶ When friends come over, Dad holds a can of beer in his hand as he mimes and explains what everything will look like. He doesn’t try to conceal his proud smile when cross-armed men in golf shirts look up to the high ceiling from the bottom floor, gape and flash the black insides of their nostrils in a moment of pure incredulity. Dad waits for their gaze to shift back to his eye level and says “Yup. Remember when we lived in that duplex?” Two thousand five ¶ “I’ll tell you when I’ll need you,” Dad said to me. ¶ We stamped our boots on the mat and went into my grandmother’s living room. ¶ “How are you, Mom?” said Dad. ¶ “Good, how are you?” Dad went into her junk room. White paper spilled everywhere as if the soul of an avalanche had abandoned its body the moment we opened the door. I filled a bowl full of pretzels in her kitchen and sat on the couch beside her. She stared at me. ¶ “How are you?” I said. ¶ “Good, how are you?” ¶ “Do you want some pretzels?” I said. ¶ “No, they’re for you.” ¶ It was winter. Black branches stretched everywhere, as if someone had been shaking a pen to get it to write while ink splayed out behind them. She picked a string off her sweatshirt and kept it in a clenched fist. ¶ “Let me get you some pretzels,” she said, heaving herself off the couch and into the kitchen. I said nothing. ¶ “Come to the junk room, I need you,” called Dad. ¶ I passed by the kitchen. Grandma was hunched over an old birthday card like the brown cane she kept in a closet. Her kitchen was also extremely cluttered. ¶ In the junk room, Dad was stuffing armfuls of paper into black bags. The paper was all scrawled on with a frantic hand. ¶ “Hold the bag open for me,” he said and dumped in paper. He tied the bag and left mud prints as he trundled through layers of paper on the floor. I did nothing. “Hurry up or we’ll be here ‘til July,” he said. We carried the bags out into the van. “We’ll be back,” Dad told grandma. She was on the couch, staring out the window. She didn’t hear. ¶ In the van, the backseats were crowded with bags. Dad let me drive out to the junkyard. I was twelve. The enormous garbage pile belched smoke into the sky. We threw the black bags onto the smoldering pile. I drove back home. ¶ Much later, grandma’s paragraph-long obituary in the newspaper said she wrote poetry throughout her life. ¶ Twenty fourteen ¶ The constant replacing of old objects with new erases the physical material from which we experience and understand our lives. At our present rate, this attitude will be almost certainly be passed on to future generations. 10’s and 20s replace 70’s and 80’s, which will be replaced by 50’s, and 60’s, which will be replaced by 00’s. We have initiated a cycle in which the structures and objects that presently define our lives will be eradicated as we age. As we lose objects and spaces in which we’ve lived, all that we’ll have left to remember our passed life will be fading memories. ¶ Some work their entire lives to live in a home they have been dreaming about every day for decades as they process forms and scan applications in a sweaty, doleful office. After their home is built, they’ll sell it for the best price and new families will renovate away all trace of the previous owners. In the coming years, new home-owners will receive my parents’ mail once or twice. They’ll chastise their children for touching stranger’s mail. It’s just the same as mommy and daddy’s. ¶ Unless fame gives you a reason to be in the consciousness of future generations, an individual’s time on this earth is about 150 years from the moment of being conceived of in parent’s minds to fading in grandchildren’s memory. In due time, I will lose all memory of my grandmother because I am genetically destined to deteriorate into an Alzheimer’s patient. For my jaw to hang open beneath the skin of my sagging face, as if being pulled toward a fat belly by threads of drool. I am destined to stare silently out the window. ¶ I write to root my feet in the sand during the tidal wave. I want to stay where I am for just a little longer than everybody else. I want to leave a body of work to show someone I existed, how I thought, what I accomplished with the beautiful gift of life I have received while my culture’s objects and attitudes have been long forgotten, recovered then dismissed as primitive. I write so when I die, I’ll live on as more than a paragraph.

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