salt bagels

Ferus Ferrum

It would be difficult to secure funding for a literary journal in a standard university - at Elsewhere, most professors wouldn’t dare. Going to the Dean to beg for money, it would be too much like a deal, a favor owed - even if the Dean wasn’t one of them, you didn’t make tenure at EU by taking unnecessary risks.

So it’s difficult, but not impossible - which is why everyone is slightly in awe of Professor Howell, when the petite, soft-spoken poetry professor announces to her classes that she’s looking for volunteer readers and editors.

They call the journal Ferus Ferrum, and their submissions come from across the country. The staff are all English or Creative Writing majors - they know the Rules, and Professor Howell trains them well. The editors learn how to create an email database, how to solicit submissions without “please” or “thank you”; they choose pen names and debate different weights of paper and call the printers to ask if their toner contains iron oxide.

When the first issue is printed they have a release party, with pizza and cake and a tray of vanilla pudding from the dining hall tucked into the corner. There is a palpable but unspoken amazement in the air that they made it, that the journal is sitting in front of them finished, and no one was mysteriously disappeared or even “borrowed,”, and everyone is filled with awe and pride and a fierce kind of victory over the particular entropy of Elsewhere.

So of course, at the end of the party Professor Howell makes an announcement to her staff: she’s leaving.

Not for good. They’ve never known a professor to leave EU, although they don’t think about it particularly hard. She’s pregnant, she tells them, and she’s going to take the next year off for maternity leave. She’s convinced a colleague to take over advising Ferus Ferrum, Professor Chapel, and he’s new.

As they walk back to dorms and parking lots, Howell takes her editors aside. He’s new, she tells them, and they nod, but they don’t understand. They’re writers and they learned the Rules quick, and they all secretly believe that the people who don’t realize the strangeness of Elsewhere are hiding something.

Professor Chapel walks into the first editorial meeting of the next year and the poetry editor looks to the nonfiction reader on her right and they both think, “Ah, he’s new.” Chapel grins freely and stammers and bleeds apologies. He has a tattoo that is a reference four-places removed from a Dickinson poem, and he gushes at length about an obscure short story he read in his first year of grad school. He’s a wonderful professor, and an excellent advisor, and he hasn’t the faintest clue about the Rules. The Ferus Ferrum staff, new and old, take one look at him and realize he’s a sitting duck.

With the steel resolve of their first issue backing them, the head copy editor immediately begins organizing the troops. Two fictions readers who work together at a cafe smuggle out salted bagels and a photo editor delivers them to Professor Chapel’s office every morning. Someone produces a fountain pen with a ring of iron below the grip and hands it over as a welcome present. In meetings they make sure to rib him when he missteps around the “school traditions,” and make an inside joke of talking to the crows. He is constantly puzzled by the salt packets that make their way into his bag, his coat pockets, the corners of his office.

It’s a massive undertaking, and requires almost as much coordination as putting the journal itself together. Which is why it’s so disappointing when “Professor Chapel” walks into a meeting late with sharp teeth and golden eyes.

(They give him back a couple days later, thankfully. At least he doesn’t complain about the salt packets anymore.)


I just spent two hours solid practicing Chopin, Villa Lobos, Sakamoto, Piazzolla really terribly – it’s been months since – but I decided to squeeze in some good old Hanon piano exercises (the first ten only) which felt AWESOME to my iPhone atrophied hands, especially the lefty. What confidence to play at full speed and full volume for a change! I try to be considerate to the neighbors but I didn’t care today, I needed this. I felt so good and warmed up that I finished it off with a surprisingly strong Debussy Prelude from Suite Bergamasque. Whoooo!!! I’ve been so starved of music living apart from my piano all year! Now I’m not as disciplined as I used to be - and I’ve got some tendon and joint issues tbh - but I’m hoping to make this a more regular thing. Not just playing when I’m frustrated. Otherwise how will I ever pluck out the piano version of My Ever Changing Moods? Honestly I can’t find a score for that anywhere, thanks a lot Paul Weller.

Also my gf treated me to an afternoon bagel and tea. Well I treated us cause she forgot her wallet but still she drove us in the rain just cause I’ve had a craving all week and I couldn’t stand it no more. Therefore I attribute today’s jamming piano session to the power of carbs.

Because I know the words to Hallelujah

Pizza Order: Buffalo Chicken. Or maybe a burger or taco slice.
Favorite Ice Cream: Chunky Monkey. Honestly though I’ve been about that Cream Ice life. Ralph is my best pal.
Top 3 Fruits: grapes and strawberries and maybe mango
Favorite Cuisine: Indian
Buffalo Wild Wings Order: cheese curd and boneless hot wings
Favorite Breakfast Order: Candy. I don’t live for eggs so maybe a French toast bagel with raisin walnut cream cheese. Or a salt bagel with cream cheese and Taylor Ham.

Obnoxiously quick and dirty college recipes:

toasted bagel+butter+salt+jarred queso dip (heated) tastes uncannily like a salted pretzel with cheese dip and doesn’t cost $6 at your local baseball stadium

a packet of flavored instant oatmeal (maple and brown sugar is my favorite)+a spoonful of peanut butter+the tiniest splash of water/milk = I don’t even know the fuck what this is but it’s delicious. also good and filling for breakfast if you’re not a fan of instant oatmeal mush.

Just get yourself a fuck ton of otter pops okay every time you’re craving something sweet just pop one of those puppers in your mouth they are aprox. 5 cents a piece when you buy them in bulk and will give you nostalgic flashbacks to parental-obligated junior soccer leagues of childhood summers past on top of being fucking delicious

If you need something warm and homecooked just learn how to make a cheapass quesadilla ok it’s just butter on a frying pan + tortilla (flour or corn). throw some discount shredded cheese on the center and flip the side over until you have a nice little pocket. after a while flip the whole thing a few times until it looks cooked above lukewarm and the cheese is melted. done. (Note: if you have a spanish mom the first time you eat this you will cry because it doesn’t taste even close hers and overall isn’t made with love OR quality ingredients but don’t worry after that you’ll be in the clear and will be downing these 3 minute miracles by the barrel just like everyone else.)

When in doubt microwave mac and cheese is there for you.

When in complete doubt instant rice and instant ramen are your friends.

How to Survive a Salt Bagel

A: They’re just like pretzels, right?

B: Bro, they are nothing like pretzels. Shit’ll tear up your tongue if you aren’t careful. You need some skills to navigate this jungle. 

A: I…I don’t think a jungle is an apt metaphor for something like a salt bagel. Maybe a more barren landsc– 

B: ‘Apt?’ The fuck is an 'apt?’ Stop talking like a fuckin’ Rennaisance poet, 'cause that’ll only get you killed faster. Look, just shut up and slice it, toast it, give it some butter… and I WILL LEAD YOU THROUGH THE ZONE. 

1. Take a small bite of the top half. Savor. 

2. Take a slightly larger bite of the bottom half. Allow the salty abrasion to melt away. 

3. Sip coffee. 

4. Repeat. 

5. Tongue should feel somewhat tingly after bagel has been conquered.


After many painstaking half hours of comparisons, we are proud to publish the latest data on which donut store menu items each Block B member are most like: 

Ahn Jaehyo: A cake donut that looks perfect in every way while it’s behind the glass, but is a little soggy on the bottom once you get it in your hands. Its still good, either way. You have no real reason to complain.

Lee Minhyuk: A salted bagel. It’s a little too chewy for your tastes but it’s not bad. 

Woo Jiho: A cruller that sat out on a counter for too long and isn’t crisp anymore. Someone, at some point, took a bite out of it and set it back down and forgot. You don’t know who did that and you don’t want to know.

Lee Taeil: A single mini muffin with blueberries inside and bran flakes outside.

Kim Yukwon: A breakfast sandwich with the only crisp bacon in the store and cheese. It’s perfect. You don’t know why you want to cry.

Park Kyung: One nearly empty box of glazed chocolate donut holes you find in the backseat of your best friend’s car a month later. The donut is stale but the outside is still sticky. 

Pyo Jihoon: A seasonal funny shaped donut to represent the happy memories of the holidays. It is so covered in different icings and various sprinkles you aren’t sure if there’s even a donut in there.