Many of the men of the Lansing Collective have beards. Khalid has a beard. I have a beard. And oh boy does Buckler have a beard.
John Buckler is one of the founders of an organization based here in Lansing called The Great American Fierce Beard Organization, or GAFBO. As people who know me and how much I love my beard may guess at this point, I am a proud GAFBO Member.
What is GAFBO? Well, we’re a beard club, but as John puts it:
[GAFBO] isn’t just for beards, but for lovers of facial hair. When I write for GAFBO, I generally use the terms facial hair and beard interchangeably. I have a beard, GAFBO has the word beard in it, but we aren’t just for beards. Which reminds me, we need to get some moustaches in our group. But not hipsters with ironic mustaches. Mustaches, yes. Hipsters, yes. Irony, yes. But hipsters with ironic mustaches…no.
But what does GAFBO do? Obviously it is having beards that ties us all together. Even simply loving facial hair is enough – just ask one of our female members. That said we try to have GAFBO be something more than just an excuse for us to celebrate our facial hair.
Throughout high school, and whenever we were visiting home from college, my friends and I would invariably end up at a coffee shop named Cup-a-cino’s. For our younger readers, you might not realize what a real coffee shop is, due to the fact that you grew up with Starbuck’s being the model coffee house. Well lit, free wi-fi, sandwiches available, and everyone tap tap tapping away on their laptops. That’s not what I fell in love with in my teen years. The place I fell in love with was a small dark shop full of misfits. It was a place with strange art on the walls. It had a book shelf where you were free to take a book, as long as you left a new one in its place. It was where I learned how to play Backgammon, taught by a group of Chaldeans from Iraq who spoke very little English. It was where I could go and smoke cigarettes while drinking some of the richest coffee imaginable (unless you are my mom, in which case it was where I could go and study while drinking some of the richest coffee imaginable).
Cup-a-cino’s is where I fell in love with coffee, in all its varieties. I love the fierce taste of an espresso, or the creamy desert-like taste of lattes. Most of all, I love a great cup of black coffee which is surprisingly hard to come by in this day and age. Gas station coffee is always burnt. Starbuck’s never gets it right, it’s as if they teach their baristas how to make a cappuccino, but not how to brew a simple pot of coffee. People who say that Dunkin’ Donuts makes the best coffee have clearly never had any other kind of coffee. Biggby’s comes closest, and they definitely have the most pleasant employees, but no coffee shop comes close the coffee I used to drink at Cup-a-cino’s. Except one.
Lately my favorite place to take the laptop and get some work done is Great Lakes Chocolate and Coffee. Heck, I go through their drive-through and get a cup when I don’t have time to make my own in the morning.
Its a nice relaxing place, usually busy, but not so much that you can’t get a seat, and their wireless internet is nice and quick (a HUGE deal for me).
Now, while they’re not strictly a Lansing company, they are a Michigan company, and there’s a lot to like about them.