Judging Java: Reflections 2021

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Coffee Columnist

Another semester for the books, if the book is on terrible periods of my life that I would like to never revisit. That’s not entirely true, but let’s be honest, is anyone satisfied with how their semester went? Everyone I talk to seems dissatisfied, overworked and burnt out. It’s a very negative period right now, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t sunk into that negativity (I mean read the first sentence of this article again). So now, as a way of combating said negativity, I’d like to reflect on all the good from this semester.

First off, and this is a big one, huge shout out to coffee. This is literally a coffee column, so this should come as no surprise. I drank a lot of Starbucks this semester, and that’s something that really surprised me. I wasn’t really a big Starbucks drinker before, but they won me over with their Pumpkin Spice Latte. Some other coffee shops this semester that I either frequented or loved are Gasoline Street, which is located downtown, La Prima Espresso, which is located in the Strip and was also the first coffee shop to get five stars from this column, and Cartel Coffee in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, continuing the spirit of reflection, let’s move past coffee and onto some of the other good things from this semester.

I was incredibly fortunate to see some of my favorite artists in concert this semester, so I’d like to give a huge shout out to the music of Bleachers, AJJ, Glass Beach and an extra special shout out to Jeff Rosenstock, who was kind enough to dedicate the song Blast Damage Days to me at his show in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago.

It wasn’t just live music, there are quite a few songs and albums that came out this year that I am incredibly grateful for. For the purposes of this column, this paragraph will serve as my official reveal of what my album of the year is, even though it is a few weeks early. A couple songs I loved from this year that I think everyone should check out, in no particular order: Bleacher’s Stop Making This Hurt, AJJ’s I Wanna Be Your Dog 2, Weezer’s All My Favorite Songs, and JPEGMAFIA’s Hazard Duty Pay. Some albums I think everyone should check out: Saint Vincent’s Daddy’s Home, Injury Reserve’s By The Time I Get To Phoenix, and most importantly, my album of the year, Bleacher’s Take The Sadness Out of Saturday Night.

This semester, I was fortunate enough to start doing live comedy shows for the first time since before the pandemic, so that was pretty cool. On that note, the biggest shout of this entire column goes to the COVID-19 vaccine. Pretty much every cool thing that I did this semester wouldn’t have been possible without it, and if you aren’t vaccinated you should get vaccinated. If you still don’t get vaccinated then and don’t have a valid reason not to, in my professional opinion, you are dumb, selfish and probably afraid of needles.

So that brings me to the end of this semester, another semester of reviewing coffee in the books. You might be thinking “I am upset that this column was not a coffee review this week, what gives?” In response to that I will point you in the direction of the previous two semester’s last column of said semesters, which followed this exact same format. Both of those also ended with some sort of meaningful quote, so I’ll leave you with something that my roommate Michael said the other night that I thought was profound: “sometimes you gotta get through the weird times to get to the good times.”