Saturday, June 26, 2010

Conor - I am destruction

Everything I touch breaks.

This has become somewhat of a running joke amongst my friends and I, but it's completely true. Earlier tonight I was riding my bike to steak n shake from Centennial Park when my left pedal just up and fell off my bike. Minutes later I discovered that a couple buttons on my cell phone were acting weird, and in my recent efforts to fix the small problem I seem to have completely stopped my phone from working.

Everything I touch breaks.

I'm trying to pinpoint exactly what it is about me that makes this true. Is it my fault? In the case of my bike, no. It's an old bike, and I've treated it fairly well. I have a trusty repairman in Mada's dad, and I've taken it in for touch ups recently. I feel like it's about time for the bike to start falling apart. It's about 30 years old. The cell phone? Yes. Yes that was my fault. I avoided the obvious pitfalls earlier in the day, by putting it in a safe place WHILE going down the slip and slide at Centennial Park. It was not harmed during my stay at Centennial Park, but why did it seem okay to me to put it back in my pocket almost immediately afterwards? To be fair, my pants seemed really dry and I'm extremely surprised by how much damage my phone suffered from just sitting in my pocket, but still. I should've seen this coming. And then I made things worse by trying to fix it. Shit. Damnit. Sorry Dad.

So if you look at the score tonight, it's 1 - 1. But let me try to list the things I've destroyed/slash have inexplicably just been destroyed while I just happened to be there

My Car (the ladykiller) - Blameless. Not my fault not my fault not my fault. It blew up, we don't know why, let's all accept I had nothing to do with that.

My last iPod - Seeeee, I feel like this one isn't REALLY my fault, but I'm going to put it as a point for me destroying it. I was quickly moving from place to place with it in my pocket, and then next thing I know I have a broken LCD screen. I wish I could split these points 50 50 but I'm just going to say that was my fault.

Bridget McDonald's basement door - Boys will be boys. My fault.

Nick Dietrich's iPod home - I'm going to go out on a limb here and say not my fault. Every single time I touched it it would shock me, and I tried to reason with it, but eventually I touched it, it shocked me, and then wouldn't turn on. This is debatable. But my votes for totally not my bad.

Mada Larson's heart - Not my fault. Sorry baby, but when you play love games, someone's gonna end up hurtin.

Springfield High School's ceiling - $716.52 worth of my fault.

Andrew Harless' foot - I ran over that once with my car, yeah. My fault. SPEAKING OF ANDREW HARLESS

The glass case infront of the auditorium at SHS - NOT MY FAULT. I threw a tennis ball, Harless ran for and hit the case. NOT MY FAULT.

Thousands of records - Loud and proud.

I'm forgetting things. If anyone would like to inform me of other things I have missed, go for it. After a while it all just blends into one.

What hurts here is that I feel like I'm a reasonably intelligent person. I put thought into things, but shit still happens. I've broken other people's stuff, and as mad or annoyed as they must be, I'm just as frustrated. I feel like no one trusts me with any nice things. I can have nice things. Give me nice things. Give me the nicest of the nice. Give me a chance.

What I've decided to do is have a kid and then raise him and see how that goes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fuck next week. I'm doing this now.

So, if you found my post (which strangely was published in the timeline like a week ago), you read it and noticed my promise to write about sports next week. Well, now read the title of this post.


Okay. So today is a grand day in sports. Across the world. Usually a good day in sports will consist of something like a no-hitter coupled with a double overtime football/basketball game with a "Play of the Year" candidate in either the NBA MLB or NFL. Well today nations across the globe marveled at the gift given to them by the sweet organized practice of competition. Also it's not even 4 pm as of yet. What will tonight's events bring?

Likely nothing exciting, but there's a possibility. The thing is, I inexplicably woke up at 10:40 this morning. I passed out last night at like 3 or 4 am. Today's my day off. I should have slept until like 3 pm. But I woke up. The only explanation I can think of is that my sports sonar was going bonkers. I walk downstairs to check the soccer game I was undoubtedly missing, to see if it was over. I come down in the 86th minute. Yeah, 86th, so I missed ALL the bullshit. And I gave a leaping hurrah when we scored the clinching goal in extra time. Yeah, I'll admit it, I'm rooting for the U.S. soccer team. And after the World Cup's over, I will go back to having no respect for soccer. And four years later, I'll find this feeling again. It's a shame soccer isn't more exciting. I want to love it, but it's just hard to love a sport that you can watch for 90 minutes without anyone scoring.

Anyway, why this is cool: America will never like soccer. It's like an illegitimate brother sport to football. However, Saturday at 1 pm, America will plant its collective ass in its collective lazy boy and watch its lovable team of underachievers attempt to conquer the odds and start an unlikely run at an unappreciated World Cup title. We would wave that cup in the air and act like it meant the world to us. But we wouldn't appreciate it like Ghana would. It's little more to our country than a national title is to a college basketball fan.

Something you need to understand if you don't already: the world doesn't care whether the Saints or the Colts win the Super Bowl. EVERY SPORTS FAN ATTACHED TO THIS PLANET is vying for a World Cup title. Even denizens of nations that aren't in it have teams they root for. So the fact that our country is one of the sixteen remaining teams in the tournament is something we are obligated to care about.

And the sad thing is, lots of us do view it as an obligation to some degree. We just don't get it. What makes soccer good? Beats me.

The fact that the whole world competes and everybody is competitive, it's beautiful really. Watching the World Cup is real proof that all people are created equal, but different. We have different styles and methods to the game, but the scoreboard ties it all together. We have different ways to achieve the same goals. Goals. Get it? Good. But that's why the World Cup is cooler than the NBA playoffs. I could dig a whole through the world, come out the other side, and talk about the World Cup. You can't say that about a lot of things.

Meanwhile, and this definitely deserves a mention, tennis rearing its head of relevance again. Rarely do I care about tennis. But dude, the longest match ever is going on right now. In the fifth SET of a tennis MATCH, the final GAME must be decided by two points. (Classic win-by-two rule, right?) In a classic "this COULD happen but shit, what are the odds that it ever will?" scenario, the tiebreak is currently deadlocked at FIFTY FUCKING NINE. 59-59. That means no one ever got a two GAME lead. That's immaculate. They have played for 10 hours. And you can bet your ass this isn't even CLOSE to the final round. Whoever wins this has to saddle up and take on someone better the next day. Sucks for them. Wimbledon tennis tournament is also an international event. Today is all about the world and sports being happy together forever. And in this lull in American sports that is the in-between period where there's no basketball and no football, I really appreciate a day like today.

And the good news about the World Cup: it gets better and it's going on until JULY 11. SWEET. The good news about Wimbledon: the match between Mahut and Isner may or may not be over before then. We never know. And that's one of the many beauties of sports.


--Eliot Sill

Monday, June 21, 2010

Nick - Oh Great, Another Post About College

Last week, I went over to the University of Illinois in Champaign for summer registration. And despite being extremely sleep deprived due to some poor decisions, I had a blast. And registration isn't something you generally have a blast doing; there's nothing fun about registering for courses or long power point presentations. But what's thrilling for me is all of the new experiences I'm going to have in college. The impact of all the change is just hitting me right now.

Usually when I bring up going away to college in conversation (or on this blog, for that matter) it's out of sadness. The thought of leaving all of my friends behind and starting fresh isn't a happy thought most of the time. But that's because I get hung up on the first part.

The "starting fresh" part is what's hitting me just now. During my registration I made a lot of new friends. "Friends" isn't really even the right word. But I struck up conversation with a lot of new people even though I didn't know anything about them. And I did this because I wanted to be the friendly, outgoing guy instead of the shy person who doesn't talk to anybody. I feel like it was a good decision.

Going into high school, I wouldn't talk to anybody I didn't already know. I probably wouldn't have known what to do if somebody I didn't know started talking to me. But I feel that I've grown a lot in these past four years, and I'm happy to report that the changes have been mostly positive. Not being shy means that I can strike up more fun and random conversations with people, and hopefully make more friends. And I think that makes for a brighter future.

Last week I talked about all the ways I felt I have failed to make friends here in my hometown, so it's great to get out to Champaign and see that I can do it. And it's great to know that when I get past the sadness of leaving the people I know, there's something to look forward to and enjoy.

I feel like a lot of you, and myself included, are probably are still trying to comprehend the thought of leaving. But I'm just now getting around to looking at arriving, and that softens the blow somewhat for me. I'm going to be able to come back to all my friends during summer; but I'll have a whole new set of friends that I get to look forward too returning to as well.

So I guess the point I want to make is this: leaving is sad, but don't let the leaving ruin the arrival. And don't let my third consecutive college-related post ruin your opinion of me. Next week I'll bring you something totally unrelated to college. And also I will try to whine about myself less. Seriously.


PS: Make it a priority to go see Toy Story 3 if you're leaving for college this year. You'll really enjoy it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Asceticism, or something like it

--Robert Langellier

If you know me fairly well, then there's a good chance you know that I walk a lot. Like a lot. Not that I'm independent from cars; I still drive probably at least half the places I go. But if it's somewhere I've been wise enough to allot enough time for and the distance is reachable, I'm probably going to walk there.

Me dominating the sidewalk.

But this often leads to awkward moments when it's time to go home and social niceties clash with reality. Everyone feels bad for that poor kid who couldn't afford the $0.70 of gas it takes to get wherever they are. So then everyone offers me rides and subsequently looks confused and unwanted when I turn them down, because apparently I'd rather hoof it than spend 5 minutes alone in a car with them. Which is probably true anyway, because I surround myself only with the best and most attractive. Nevertheless, I feel like I need to justify my rejection of a world of high speeds and air conditioners. So I'm listing all the reasons why Robert walking > Robert driving.

1. I walk because I'm better than you.
2. It's therapeutic for me, kind of like running is for some and Final Fantasy is for others. It makes me feel good and fights away the Stress Monster.
3. It's healthy. That's how I get the brilliant figure you see above.
4. You have the opportunity either to make crucial life decisions or to be a wandering nothing (and everything in between) for an hour or so.
5. It slows shit down. As womany as it sounds, it's quite lovely to breathe deeply and enjoy the fine details of the scenery as compared to the green-ish blur of a roadside at 40 mph.
6. It saves a little money. Not the most significant reason, but a little icing on the cake I guess.
7. Walking is environmentally friendly. There, I said it. Douche point.
8. I have kind of a warped sense of time, so the only prominent downside of walking doesn't play into my situation that much. The way I see it, once I get where I'm going, the whole time it took to get there is nothing more than an abstract memory that no longer has any real affect.
9. You will appreciate the shit out of 3 things: wherever you go, whoever you're with, and the amazing speeds of cars.

((Negatives to walking everywhere:
1. Time.
2. People think I'm weird.
3. People think I see myself as better than them without realizing I actually am.
4. Shoe budget increase.
5. The weather.))

Now, the one reason that is considerably more important to me than the others is the last one, number 9. Life in the modern world is all about taking things for granted. We have planes and cars to take us across the world before bedtime. We have internets to unveil any information we so desire. We have environments where we can stare at a screen for an entire day in our pajamas without ever braving the sun. What we don't have is the ability to understand what it's all worth.

I don't pretend like walking places is going to reveal some great truth to me, but it has shown me how to appreciate things like I never have before. On a nice summer day in a car, I'll drive to every corner of town throughout the day, juggling friends and hangouts like obligations or appointments. Days become a sort of race to squeeze out as many thrills as possible until I'm too tired to continue. On a day on foot I'll leave the house at about 4, decide I want Headwest, get there at 7:15, and I promise you that will be the best Italian sub sandwich ever. Then I can go from there to Caitlin Sutcliffe's house and arrive at 9 to watch a movie with friends, and I promise you that will be the best movie ever, and you'll be happier to see your friends than you've ever been, provided that they're not your stupid lame friends.

That coupled with the therapeutic effect of walking makes me happier at the end of the day than on most busy days, despite having accomplished so much less socially. I'm not trying to change people's lifestyles or argue that it's for everyone, but I am trying to argue that I like it so that some of you stop taking pity on me.

So the next time you see me walking on the side of the road somewhere weird, please don't call my parents and tell them you've found their child. I'm doing it on purpose.