Saturday, October 9, 2010

Modern Brian on Classic Brian - WHOAH!

This is the “not so classic” Brian finishing up guest week here on Classic Brian. Brian McMahon is my name and I am honored to be blogging to all of you Classic Brian fans. Short background on me. I went to high school with Robert, Brendan,and Nick(sorta) and I run crazy miles. I run alot.That’s about it.

Let’s get to it. The reason I used “modern” and “classic” in the title is because I’m gonna talk about something that happened to me that is fairly modern and it deals with classic shit. About two or three days ago I was facebook chatting with my good friend Griffin Ludwig. He goes to Colorado College in Colorado Springs climbing mountains and doing hippy shit. Anyway, he tells

me he’s made a friend that reminds him exactly of me. I am offended. There is only one Brian McMahon. This is bullshit. I ask him. “Griff, how is this dude like me?” He says “He gets obsessed with random things very easily.” After a two hour bitch fit I eventually accepted my greatest fault.

Obsession. A problem I have had since I crawled out of the womb. It’s a curse. It’s a lifestyle. Anyone that knows me can tell you at least one thing I am obsessed with. Why? Because when I am around someone I won’t shut up about what I am currently obsessed with. Currently I am obsessed with Chocolate Milk and Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (Side note: Talking about Zelda usually doesn’t work out well with the ladies). Sometimes an obsession can last as little as a couple days to a couple weeks. But there are some cases of an obsession that have lasted years. That have lasted a lifetime. Let me show you those obsessions in a “kind of” chronological order.


Why am I obsessed with dinosaurs. Probably because they’re the shit that’s why. Let me take you back to when it started. Brian, three years old, hanging out just doing three year old things. Slanging coke making deals. Mom comes home with a movie called The Land Before Time. We have a sleepover/movie night in my brother’s room. Next thing I know. I have dinosaur wallpaper, bed sheets, dinosaur baby rocker and other dinosaur shit. I tell/scare potential friends that my name is Little Foot, I'm a long neck and I'm on a journey to the Great Valley. And if you didn't want join and be Petrie, Spike, or Cera you can fuck off. Literally. I knew I was a dinosaur and that’s all that mattered. Back then, friends were overrated.


Robert knows whatsup! Out of all of my brothers and a sister I can honestly Duke is hands down my favorite. Times a hundred. Duke showed up randomly in my life one day hen I came home from a friends house in the 3rd grade. Since then we’ve been best friends. Remember the beginning scene from where the wild things are when Max chases his dog around with a fork? Yeah, that dog hasn’t seen shit. Has your dog jumped off a two story building in an intense game of fetch? No? Thought so. Duke has been to half the little league baseball games at Rotary Park and excremented in the infield whenever he wants. Have you ever excremented (not a real word) in the infield in the middle of a little league game? That's what I thought. What a badass. I can go on and on why he’s the coolest, most badass dude in the world but by the time I’d be done 2012 would have already happened. By a million years.

3.Zelda/ Nick Dietrich

Freshman and Sophomore year there were no video games I cared about more that Zelda. I guess you can say I have a little final fantasy team squad myself. But it’s with Zelda. When Twilight Princess came out for the Wii my friends Max and Connor and I stayed in Max’s dark basement for an entire week until we beat it. Twice. We would name our main character (who is usually Link) BCM. Brian Connor Max. Or Brian Christopher McMahon. Coincidence? No. Fate. As for Nick Dietrich, he came to school one day dressed as Link. I’ve had a secret obsession with him since and I ‘m pretty sure he’s aware of this. Pretty


4. Flight of the Conchords

Need I say more? Flight of the Conchords is a show about New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo. The band is made up of two musicians, Bret and Jemaine. If I were to be one character from this show I’d be Dave because he’s badass. But I’m not Dave. I’m Mel. Mel is the character who follows the Conchords every where they go, has fan t-shirts, and creepy pictures of the band in her house. Yeahhh so I’m pretty much Mel. Sometimes when my hair is really long and I have grown beard people compare me to Bret. That is the ultimate compliment. Thank you sept-trillion times to all you guys who have told me this. I met a dude at colege who looks exactly like Jemaine and he SAYS ITS A CURSE! What a piece of shit. To sum up my love for the conchords watch this (start at 5:00) . . .I was there. They're the nicest dudes!

5. Lord of the FUCKING Rings

Damn straight. Heres just of list I’ve come up with in result of my obsession.

A. I’ve watched all the movies multiple times and read the book series twice. It’s not Harry Potter, the books take a bunch of your time to read.

B. Junior year 4th hour theology. Bridget McDonald and I exchanged soundtrack CD’s and would talk about a different character each day. Her fav was Aragorn mine was Sam. Ya bridget! That’s an obsession.

C. I’m saving the extended edition DVD’s for later in my life so when I finally watch them it will be like going to opening night all over again.

D. I cry every time I watch this scene

E. My password to pretty much every internet account I’ve had is a LOTR reference.

F. I have a poster of the second movie next to my bed. The second is my favorite btw

G. Every password I've ever had for an internet account is an LOTR reference

Z. I gave my 1994 geo prism (gizm) to the Katalinich family in exchange for the actual ring. I know it’s fake. Settle down. The real one was destroyed long ago. Let me fantasize.

To finish this off I’ll give you a list of a variety of different things I’ve had obsessions with throughout my life (excluding Music (that’s in a whole ‘notha league)) : Simply Apple, Starfox, Whitsox, Hit Girl, burning shit (when I was little), climbing shit (now), It’s always sunny, Fable games, Hit Girl, snow, Harry Potter, enya, Hit Girl (Future Wife), (500) days of summer and The Lion King. And more stuff I can’t think of.

By the way, this post is definitely going to negatively affect my image!!! SWEETNESS!!

- brian mcmahon

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tynan - I talk about something for a while and you read it maybe

OK so I've got something very important to talk about with you. This is something I've been thinking about for many years. I'm gonna ask you a question. Who's the best comic book supervillain? No don't stop reading, for real. This is important shit. Think of the most badass supervillain you know right now.

Did you say The Joker?

Wow what a boring fucking answer. Hey by the way, you wanna go jack off to pictures of Christopher Nolan later?

The REAL greatest supervillain ever is GALACTUS, THE DEVOURER OF WORLDS!!!!!!!!!!!


Galactus is pretty much the coolest bad guy that anyone has ever thought of. Galactus is not from Earth, because Earth is too stupid and too dumb for Galactus. Galactus is from a planet called Taa, which sorta sounds like the sound I make when I stub my toe. Like, Taa! I stubbed my toe. Anyway.

He's got the power of a god and he's like a billion feet tall or something. Basically what he does all day is fly around the universe being an asshole because he doesn't give a fuck, and oh yeah, he eats planets.

Yeah that's right, this motherfucker eats planets. His last name The Devourer Of Worlds. Like, Meh, I'm hungry, I'm gonna eat Jupiter. NOM. I just ate Jupiter. It was fucking delicious. What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Raisin Bran? Oh that's cool, Galactus ate a celestial body that weighed 6 sextillion tons. See? He's already cooler than you.

They see me rollin

So basically in the comic books, Galactus will come down to Earth every once and a while and descend onto New York City. I feel like whenever there's some giant monstrosity coming to destroy Earth they always land in New York City. Then again, Cloverfield would have sucked if it took place in Wyoming and most of the action was just a couple people running across a field of grass. You know what movie I haven't seen in a long time? Cloverfield. I like that movie.

So Galactus comes down to Earth or whatever, and like all these storm clouds gather, and he's all like, "GREETINGS EARTH, I WILL EAT YOU" or whatever. He speaks English by the way, figure that one out. As soon as everyone sees Galactus, they shit their pants. Even the mighty Thor, the goddamn god of thunder. Because they know they are B'd in the B. Boned in the butt. Hard. I mean, what they gonna do? Usually superheroes just punch their problems (see here) but they can't really punch a dude who is the size of a really really big thing.

Pretty much the only way to beat Galactus is to somehow beg for mercy like a fucking pussy. Like one time Norrin Rad promised to become his bitch sidekick if he spared his planet. Galactus still wins even when he loses. What a supreme badass.

I haven't even mentioned what I like the most about Galactus though. Have you seen what this dude is wearing? Look at his outfit.


It's like some kind of...purple and blue...robotic...bunny armor? With a skirt? I don't know, but he looks ridiculous. He looks like he lost a bet.

Why is this my favorite part? Because he has unlimited power, he eats planets, he's probably punched God in the face, and he chooses to wear that. How embarrassing is it to have armageddon brought about by the Fabulous Mr. Fabulous up there? It's almost like he's daring you to make fun of him. Like, go ahead punk. Make fun of this outfit. You are my brunch. I will turn you and everything under your sun into shit. Woah.

I've never seen The Fantastic Four: The Rise Of The Silver Surfer for a multitude of reasons, the main one being I don't like to watch movies that are bad. Apparently Galactus is in that movie though. But they FUCKED UP. They scrapped his awesome purple suit and made him a giant cloud monster or something? And fire?

This is supposed to be Galactus I think

Wow, someone totally missed the point. That'd be like if somebody wanted to make a Superman movie, but he couldn't fly, he didn't wear his suit, and he fights a giant spider in the third act. OH WAIT THAT MOVIE WAS ALMOST MADE BACK IN 1997. FUCK ME.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This post definitely isn't going to negatively affect my image. -Allegra Larson

As a dedicated reader of Classic Brian (Well, semi-dedicated. Which is to say, not dedicated.), I’ve noticed certain themes that seem to get brought up again and again on this black wall of insecurity. Some examples?

-Improv- Understandable. Big part of your lives. Also, just keeeeep rubbing it in. Yeah, you know how I like it. Just like that.

-Video Games- Kind of understandable, but I don’t read those posts. So if you write one with a secret in it, just make the title something like “Call of Duty 3: Musings on a Third Parent.” You’re safe. (BONUS JOKES- World of Bore-craft, Gay-lo 3)

-Sports- Not understandable. I don’t understand.

and finally...

College indeed! Welcome!

Let’s just jump right in. The writers of Classic Brian (henceforth known as “Children,” “Kiddos,” “Tykes,” or “You People”) are college freshmen. This means that I hold several titles when it comes to this blog. I am the oldest contributor, I am the oldest female contributor, I am the oldest participant in Guest Week, and I am the oldest female participant in Guest Week. As such, I am electing to help you. I will not be offering advice, wisdom, or insight on the college experience. I am going to give you something much better than that. I am going to tell you a series of personal anecdotes that will make you walk away from this post thinking “Hey, maybe it’s not so bad. I think I’ll go to class tomorrow!”

A word of warning: these are very, very sad, and very, very true.

October 14th, 2008. I create the single most awkward moment I have ever gotten to be a part of. My roommate and I are getting ready for bed. We'd been doing homework for a couple hours in silence, but we finished sort of at the same time. We each brush our teeth and put on pajamas and do our final facebook checking. We turn off the light and get in bed. We lie in the dark for a few minutes. Then I say it.

"Today was my birthday."

I want you to imagine the silence that followed. Can you? Try.
Next story.

Things work a little differently at community college. For instance, when you have classes an hour or two apart, you don’t go back to your dorm or hang out on the quad. Think having an hour or two to kill between classes at a high school where all the students have a gun and a story. I was in this situation, and it was lunchtime. So I hopped in my Beemer (nbd) and went to grab food. I ended up getting a Lunchable at the supermarket because they’re delicious and cost-effective. So I head back over to the school and turn on some music and start preparing the first of three mini pizzas.

That’s when it happened.

I looked around, and I saw my life.

My friends were at universities, exploring their passions, meeting their future best friends and doing something frightening and exciting every day, while I was sitting alone in my car in the parking lot of a community college delicately spreading pizza sauce on its crust with a red plastic stick.

Was that rock bottom? The answer to that non-rhetorical question is no, because that’s when I noticed that my Capri Sun didn’t come with a straw. It didn't. Come. With a straw. YOU USE THE STRAW TO OPEN THE POUCH. AND THEN AGAIN TO DRINK IT. AND THEN AGAIN TO FILL THE POUCH WITH AIR SO THAT IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S FULL AND THEN SUCK IT BACK OUT AGAIN. It’s a miracle I made it to the other side of that day.

A little while into freshmen year a salesman approached me on the street with a cosmetics catalog. He was one of those people unfazed by the obvious discomfort of strangers. His technique was aggressive to the point that he stroked my head when he told me my hair looked “healthy.”

I realized later that it was the first time I had been touched, by anyone, in three weeks.


Throw one of these stories into your back pocket and pull it on out next time college is trying to bring you down. Gotten a high five in the past three weeks? You're doing better than I was. But it gets better. And just so you know, my life post-high school has not been just a series of depressing events. I had and have a social life, and since I left Lincoln Land I don't have to write "college" in quotation marks anymore. If these weren't some of the worst moments, I wouldn't remember them. I'm not the kid you see sitting alone in the dining hall pretending to do homework. Not anymore.

Not anymore.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


--Garrett Richie

I guess a short introduction would be appropriate since it’s guest week. My name’s Garrett, and I’m a friend of Robert’s from Mizzou. I started reading Classic Brian because of him, and it basically fit the concept of a “write what you want” blog that’s only sense of direction seemed to be to write about life, which I loved. But anyway, that’s a little about me (name + connection = adequate background). On to drank.

Until yesterday I wasn’t too sure about what I wanted to write for this blog, but a series of recent events (and drinks) made it easier to come up with something. I’ve always had an odd affinity for drinks because I feel that they can sort of capture the essence of a moment, event, memory, etc. Everything from those plastic Kool-Aid bursts that every kid looked forward to after tee ball games to hot chocolate after sledding or apple cider in the fall and eggnog at Christmas, there always seems to be a drink for significant moments. This post is going to be somewhat anecdotal, as I managed to have the best of 3 drinks of my life in their respective categories during the past week or so, 2 of which I had while doing chill fall activities with Robert (here’s to Autumn).

This whole drink affinity thing was rejuvenated with something a little less appetizing than the 3 drinks I’ve had in the past week. Coming down to college I brought a coffee mug that my girlfriend’s mom gave me as a going-away gift. It’s got a picture of my girlfriend Molly and me that was taken at her graduation party. It’s currently sitting by the computer half-full of double strength, black-death, cheap Folgers coffee. Hooray for college quality. As weird as this may be, I wake up every morning and look at that mug sitting on top of the economy, apocalypse-ready sized canister of Folgers before flipping the switch on a cup of Folgers that I brew double strength with no sugar, cream, etc. Ever since I was a little kid I remembered watching my Dad drink black coffee like it was nothing, and I would always go to try it and like it but could barely stand a single sip. Every time I’d go out with him, whether it was a hunting trip, some weekend errands, or what have you, I’d try to drink it but always ended up cringing and pouring it out. For some reason it was engrained in my mind that my Dad was the ultimate badass for downing it without a thought, and I was determined to learn to like it or vomit trying. Overdramatic? Of course, but I was a young kid who idolized his father, which I consider extremely normal. So now I find myself triumphant over vomiting, although sometimes my stomach screams at me for violating all laws regarding ratios of scoops of coffee-to-water. Every cup that goes down reminds me that everyday I’m working toward growing into the hardworking man that my Dad is, and am getting closer and closer to finally holding my world in my arms come Thanksgiving break. Wow, a little long-winded there. Moving on to the 3.

Last weekend Robert and I kicked off a chill fall season with the Roots n Blues Festival in downtown Columbia, which is apparently a must-attend for any Mizzou student/CoMo resident. As we walked around sampling the barbeque, homemade potato chips, and music venues, I stumbled across a barbeque stand that was selling homemade sweet tea. OH MY. Talk about something that blows away anything you’ve ever thought about sweet tea. I doubt I’ll be able to enjoy another Arizona, McDonald’s Sweet Tea, or anything else ever again after downing those 20 oz. of home-bottled glory. Robert, who doesn’t even like sweet tea, was in absolute awe. It was good when you drank it, but there was this aftertaste that completely paralyzed your mouth with pleasure. I won’t bore you with any more descriptions, but gosh. If I were ever to spend $100 on one drink, that would’ve been the one. It seemed to fit the night perfectly, which was actually rounded off with one more drink: a fountain coke with vanilla and cherry syrup that Robert and I semi-shared (insert “awww” here) sitting on the curb of a gas station during a late night Columbia bike ride. Something about Styrofoam cups (I liked them before Lil’ Wayne, just saying) and no lids makes life seem clearer to me, and there wasn’t much about life that I would’ve changed during that moment. Sitting under the gas station lights and staring out into the night with little-to-no conversation was exactly what I needed that weekend. It was proof that life can slow down after a chaotic week, even if the next one is going to be just as busy as the last. Drinking the $3 sweet tea and a $.99 coke made my night so much better than any other purchase under $4 would have. In fact, looking back on Roots n Blues, my clearest memories are those where one of those drinks was in hand. So that’s 1.5 drinks…on to the cider.

The day after Roots n Blues was a very quiet, autumn Saturday. Fall took Columbia by storm that weekend, and Robert, his roommate Dylan, and I found ourselves wearing quarter-zips and jackets while on our way to a corn maze. 15 minutes away from campus, we escaped the campus atmosphere to chase each other through dried up corn stalks in the dark, which was obviously fantastic. Being able to smell something slightly more natural than dormitory was literally a breath of fresh air. But for me the night came down to sitting 3 across on a bench drinking hot cider and watching a small bonfire. Sure, we were at a cheesy little farm/corn maze with a public fire pit that could’ve boasted a better fire, but sitting there drinking the best apple cider of my life with Robert and Dylan made my entire life stop for a much-needed few minutes. Little did I know I was about a day or so away from one of my most stressful moments in college, and that breather proved invaluable to me at the time. Yet again, here’s to fall, and the glorious apple-flavored seasonal beverage.

As the following Monday slowly destroyed the tranquility of that past weekend, I found myself more stressed out than I had been in a long time. All of the pressure of college seemed to be piling up all at once as my immune system was again failing due to extended levels of high stress that were threatening to send me to the health center again the following day with a bad cold that currently has me on some miraculous antibiotics (that’s even a stressfully long run-on). As classes finally ended, I went to the student center to eat for the first time that day, and on the way out I stopped at the little beverage place for some sort of juice to help with my cold (side note: I’ve been obsessed with orange juice for years). So walking up to the stand, I spotted what seemed to be a scaled-down mass execution machine for citrus fruits sitting behind the counter. A quick scan of the menu revealed that this death device produced 100% orange juice, which is a term no one trusts anymore because you can even find it on from concentrate orange juice, which I’ve been reduced to drinking ever since I got to Mizzou. But as soon as I swiped my Mizzou ID to buy that 16 oz cup of absolute oral ecstasy, half a dozen oranges met their death to produce the purest, orangiest orange juice that I’ve ever seen. As I walked out of the student center with the death of 6 oranges on my hands, I drank what would go down as the best fruit beverage EVER. I finished it just as I stumbled across Robert laying in the sun writing, which is one of the chillest things I’ve seen anyone on campus do this year.

At that moment, I realized that the sun was still shining, the juice in my cup still tasted good, Robert was mad-chilling in the sun, and life was going to go on. Yeah, I was stressed beyond belief at the moment, but life was going to continue. I was going to wake up the next morning feeling much better, and the sun was STILL going to be shining. The love of my life on my coffee mug was still going to be in love with me and waiting for me to come home to her at Thanksgiving after 96 days growing, learning, working, and living here at Mizzou. Robert would still be my chill friend, and that orange juice would still be in the student center to drink before writing this. Life was still going to be there staring me in the face.

And yes, I was ready to drink deeply of that too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Police Ride Along

-Matt Mckinney

The following is a true story from a police ride-along I did for my journalism class. I bleeped out the names for confidentiality purposes.

Officer **** ****** was driving fast, really fast. He soared over a particularly ominous looking set of railroad tracks at nearly 70mph, making the tires on his Crown Victoria look all but invincible. As a 12-year veteran of the force and a lifelong resident of Galesburg, ****** has become an expert at traveling over the railroad tracks at rapid speeds.

It was Saturday, October 2, and he was responding to his second call of the evening, this one dispatching him to the housing projects on the 1500 block of McKnight Street. A black male in his early to mid-30s had fallen unconscious in the home of his girlfriend of three years.

In Galesburg, despite a lack of medical training, firefighters and police officers are often expected to arrive at the scenes of medical crises such as this.

****** worked quickly, but with care. He was the first one on the scene.

“What’s this? His grill?” he asked, as he crouched inches from the man’s foaming mouth. “Does it come out?”

“How the hell should I know? I don’t think it does, but I can’t say for sure,” the man’s girlfriend said frantically, breathing heavily as she removed a crumpled pile of cash from the side pocket in his jeans.

There is an unequivocal distrust of the police department in some pockets of Galesburg, backed by repeated instances of wrongdoing within the force.

In November of 2008, a former lieutenant, David W. Hendricks, pleaded guilty to misconduct, after it was discovered he had stolen drugs from the evidence locker. In March of this year, former lieutenant and third-shift manager, Anthony Reilly, was also placed under arrest for alleged theft while on the job. Even Officer ****** has dealt with his share of scrutiny. He was placed on administrative leave in August of 2009, while the Illinois State Police investigated a potential “domestic dispute.”

“There’s this two-year old girl over on Pine Street (another low-income area) who yells ‘Run, Po-Lice!’ every time we drive by,” said Officer Jason Paulsgrove. “I think firefighters tend to have a much better reputation.”

A suspicious public certainly doesn’t make ******’s job any easier. In a situation like this, obtaining precise details are crucial to the man’s survival. Without accurate information, proving the best treatment could prove difficult.

****** asked the man’s girlfriend if he had been taking any drugs. She threw her arms in the air with disgust.

“No, [he] don’t take any drugs. Only cigarettes and alcohol,” the girlfriend said. “He’s real sickly, though.”

The man had arrived in Galesburg by train only a few hours earlier and began sweating and slurring his speech. He was traveling from his home in Waukegan, IL. His mother --also a Chicago-land resident—who was reached by telephone, said the he was on medication for diabetes, but had also suffered heart problems since he was a youth. The man had several abdominal scars from apparent gunshot wounds.

Many lower-income Chicagoans relocate to Galesburg because of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. The program stipulates that individuals with a voucher are able to select an approved property and pay only a portion of the cost, based on their income. ****** attributed much of the crime to this.

Within minutes, paramedics arrived on the scene. By then, the man was still unresponsive, while his breathing had become even fainter. He was placed on oxygen and intravenous fluids. His girlfriend’s lit cigarette hung from her mouth above the flowing oxygen, as the emergency workers seemed not to notice.

The man’s blood pressure was at 300/140 mmHg, which was by far the highest reading the paramedics had ever seen.

“Our instruments only go up to 300. And his blood pressure was still rising pretty fast,” one paramedic said. “It was remarkable he still had a pulse.”

The man arrived at the emergency room of the OSF St. Mary’s Medical Center shortly after 8:30pm, still unconscious. The attending physician performed a standard examination and diagnosed the man with a probable cocaine overdose.

“That guy probably isn’t going to make it,” the same paramedic said.

It is unclear whether or not the man survived, but that’s the nature of ******’s job. Many times he leaves unsure whether victims survive. It was clear that the nature of the job had left the attending Physician, paramedics and ****** calloused toward the entire process. After leaving the hospital, ****** explained how after spending more than a decade on the force, his attitudes toward people had changed.

“I used to have this theory that this kind of stuff was based on how you were raised. You could take people from whatever area and you could put them somewhere else and educate them and so on,” ****** said. “I’ve since given that idea up.”

But maybe that’s what makes them good at it. The cruel, unforgiving nature of the emergency work requires swiftness and stoicism. The vision of a nearly lifeless body fading on the floor of a housing project is enough to make even the most emotionally durable person crack. For **** ******, it’s just another day at the office.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcoming myself to classic brian

Hi. I'm Zane.

Not gonna lie I've only ever read two classic Brian posts and they were both by eliot. I've known him the longest and still consider him the closest friend I have out of that "other group"(Shout out to Springfield's Finest...). His writing is probably better than you guys' anyway. So here goes and if you don't like it fuck you. Except Conor because your my hero.

Hey Mada remember the time in the fifth grade when you really pissed me off so I kicked you from under the desk. Except I kicked you waaay to hard and your shin started bleeding and looked really icky. Mrs. Smith sent us down to the office and you lied to the secretary and said that it had all been an accident. Thanks.

Ok so what I really want to talk about today is music, and specifically rap music with a special emphasis on what I like to call the New Era. I love rap/hip-hop. I need to hear this music all the time. Now I'm not the typical rap listener that only listens to rap, and I find the ignorance present in my fellow rap aficianados when it comes to other genres is embarrassing. But to be honest us rap fans are so proud and closed off because of how often the music that we love is attacked. People rap music IS ART and I will defend that fact until the end. Rap music is no different from any other genre. We have our radio artists that make the rest of the industry look bad (Waka Flaka Flame, Gucci, Mike Jones). We have our crossover stars who are able to maintain art while also becoming household names(Eminem, Jay-Z, T.I., Lil' Wayne) and we have underground names with cult like followings(Tech N9ne, Charles Hamilton, Big Sean, J. Cole).

First of all I want to defend the group that gets the most criticism from others, and that is the crossover stars. People Lil' Wayne is gay. Literally homosexual in my opinion. Just throwing that out there. I am not a Weezy dickrider. However, in my critical opinion his CARTER III was one of the greatest CD's ever made. Quite simply I love every minute of it. Can I relate to the lyrics related to growing up in the ghetto and the gunplay and all of that. No, but the way I can feel Lil' Wayne's every feeling and emotion on the third verse of Playing With Fire, just close my eyes and get chills, is nothing short of nirvana for me. That's the hardest part when trying to create a piece of art is it not? Trying to make others FEEL and UNDERSTAND things how you feel and understand things. Sure Lil' Wayne makes bad songs. Everyone I'm defending has made songs that are bad. It's our jobs as a music critic to discard the bad songs and embrace the good ones, and even more importantly to never express a good or bad opinion about an artist without having listened to an acceptable amount of said artists' music. I can't stand when I hear someone diss an artist, only to find out they've only heard two songs by that artist. These people are almost always purely radio listeners, and let's be honest 95% percent of radio music is white noise. But before you judge Lil' Wayne because you heard Lollipop on the radio, you should go listen to his Dedication 2 mixtape. Before you discard Drake as some poppy sensation, go listen to his debut mixtape SO FAR GONE. I dare someone to take this challenge seriously and then come back and tell me that either of those mixtapes have bad music. (It might help if you smoke a j first, not necessary if you're not a smoker by any means). The best rap music typically can't be bought in stores or heard on the radio. I have three websites that I am on daily to get the latest rap music, both singles and mixtapes.,, and A lot of people don't know about these resources. Now if one of you were to go to one of these websites you would be overwhelmed by the amounts of mixtapes. I maybe download one mixtape a week out of the thousands that are uploaded daily. I know what artists to look for and also others that are worth a listen.

So now back to two things I promised to talk about earlier but due to certain reasons I drifted off to other things. Those two things are: rart(aka the existentce of rap in art) and the New Era. These two go very well together so it's fitting to talk about them at the same time. Ahh the New Era(sorry neither I nor anyone else has come up with a better name for this group. Have you heard of Kid Cudi, B.o.B, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, Wale, Drake(who by the way is the best rap artist doing it right now)? If so, then your familiar with the new era. The difficulty is trying to explain what makes the genre of music of this group so different and how to truly define it. The answer is that there is no way to do this so I just have to try to the best of my abilities. The lyrics are on a whole better than most other rap, but it's not a requirement to be a part of this genre(see Wiz Khalifa). I guess one point I should throw out there is that most of these artists have resorted to using live bands for their shows, a very cool upgrade. I would go gay for Dee Brown. As I feel is always true with really any genre of music, it is impossible to find one song that can truly define a genre. Albums and mixtapes help round out a style, so it is easier to examine from that viewpoint. The first time that I ever really noticed a specific "new" style was when I listened to A Kid Named Cudi mixtape by Kid Cudi. But that is in no way saying that Cudi was the originator of the style. Look at Lupe Fiasco. Food and Liquor and The Cool are very new era albums. Did Lupe start the movement? I don't know that either, but I do know that Kanye West has become the symbol of it. I mean does anyone really understand the guy anymore. He is just the quintessential artist. Arrogant, poor with people, vulnerable. But that arrogance is what makes his music so great. Also, he produces a lot of songs. Much like Dr. Dre, Kanye's true mark may be left in his beats. Now to my next STRONG belief, and that is that beat making is a talent and a craft, the same as playing any instrument. Yeah this will probably be the most controversial statement of this post, but just like Kanye West can't play the guitar like Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton can't make beats like Kanye West. I choose to see no difference. The new age beats for the most part are slower and are becoming more and more unique. If anyone wants to hear a mixtape where the beats and the lyrics/flow truly mesh into one then listen to Kush and OJ by Wiz Khalifa. Flow is key to the new movement. Artists are now riding the beat, using the beat to create unique and correlating flows. Listen to any Wiz or Gorilla Zoe and you will hear this.

Kid Cudi, who by all my beliefs is God, will not occupy the paragraph I was going to give him due to the realization that I wouldn't be able to stop writing about him for days(no homo). But with that being said, why has his crazy coked up ass stopped even attempting to rhyme in any of his songs lol.

Well I think that's that for now, I could go on forever but I have to cut this off at some point. This all goes along with the theory I have created that if a person let me show them the ways of the force of rap for a mere couple hours I can turn lifelong non rap fans into at least interested and more informed listeners. With this being said I'm going to leave the names of some mixtapes that if anybody is truly interested in following up on what I just wrote about I would suggest to listen to as a starter. I have already mentioned the websites they can be found and suggest even stronger listening to the previously written mixtapes and albums in my post.

Mac Miller-K.I.D.S.
J.Cole- The Warm Up
B.O.B.-May 25th, Who the Fuck is B.o.B., B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray
Big Sean-UKNOWBIGSEAN, Finally Famous 3
Charles Hamilton-Anything you can find by this man he has too many mixtapes to name...he is a genius.
Chip tha Ripper-The Cleveland Show
XV-Vizzy Zone
Tyga-Black Thoughts, The Potential

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In Which I Ramble On and On Before Finally Making a Coherent Statement About The Social Network

--Dylan Chapman

You will never encounter a person more film-obsessed than me. And if you do, though I tend to doubt it, please introduce me, because I need friends. Half of my Chrome's home page's eight saved most-visited websites are film blogs. I get NetFlix movies in the mail more often than I get phone calls from my mother. I dissect movies like med students do cadavers and like literary literati do Proust. If I were given a chance to meet either Thai indie-director Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul or President Barack Obama, well our fine Commander in Chief would miss the opportunity to hear my thoughts on his policies in person. Poor guy. But hey, it's not like HE made a five-minute shot of a pipe inhaling steam in a room full of discarded-damaged prosthetic limbs the most enigmatically powerful and affecting cinematic moment of 2006. All he did was, what, win an election or something?

The Oscars are like a second birthday for me, with their faux-mosest-faux-gracious-faux-religious accptance speeches and the looks on the four losers' faces as they come to the grim realization that they will be forever looked upon in history as also-rans and the DRESSES. My god, the dresses. I live for that shit. I follow the Oscars year-round--scouting possible award-worthy performances and films, making predictions, engaging in heated online debates about shifting Hollywood politics and trends--with much of the zeal and maniacal obsessiveness as a broker carefully tracking the undulations of the stock market or a fantasy football enthusiast following the every moves of his possible future team roster.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be a review of The Social Network, and I will be getting to that eventually, I promise. The point that my previous paragraphs were meandering around is that I follow the film industry like a fiend. I search and prod and poke and sniff around the internet like a basset hound for new nuggets (kibble, if you want to keep the metaphor going) of information and opinions about movies--retrospectives on old classics, casting news, previews, reviews, Oscar predictions, year-end top-ten lists, trailers, scene-by-scene analyses. If you hear about a film, you can bet that I've been following it since it was only the vague outline of the beginning of an idea in the screenwriter's head.

This is not necessarily a good thing. This is not how normal, healthy people should watch movies. See, there are certain movies that once it comes out in theaters I've been building anticipation steadily for about two years. I know the cast from the big Hollywood star all the way down to policeman #4. I've read sneak previews of the screenplay online. I've watched the trailer six times. I've read every review I can get my grubby hands on. All the while the anticipation builds and bubbles and rises within me like alka seltzer'd club soda with every new clip, every new announcement, every news snippet. And I impatiently count down the days on the calendar until the move releases, and I imagine to myself now amazing the movie is going to be, and I imagine myself sitting in the dark of the movie theater, my life being forever changed by the images on the screen and the sounds emanating from the speakers. And then the day finally comes, and I buy my ticket, and I find my place in the theater, and all that that anticipation amounts to is a helluva lot of disappointment. There is no way for any movie to possibly live up to my Mt. Everest expectations. Yet I still do what I do, time after time, movie after movie. Maybe it's because I still cling to a vague hope that one day a movie will meet my expectation, and not just meet them, but surpass them. A movie that will change my life. A movie that will rend my soul and split me up and put the pieces of me back together again a more complete and enlightened version of my former self. I'm Monty Python's King Arthur and the one perfect movie is my Holy Grail.

I thought The Social Network was going to be my Holy Grail. It had all the makings and all the signs and the stars were perfectly aligned. Since conception this was a prestige project. It was director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, two masters of their respective crafts, working on an interesting and timely and relevant project with wildly talented if underused or underappreciated up-and-coming actors. It was Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross doing the score. It was to be the movie of a generation. And at this point already I'm pumped, I'm there, I'm ready, I'm excited. Then come the whispers. Whispers from on set, whispers from those who had read the script, whispers from early-secret-private-hush-hush screenings, whispers from the caterer, whispers from the cameraman's girlfriend. "Hey...this movie...this movie is something special." And the whispers got louder as more and more people saw the movie and the whispers turned into chatter--excited, ecstatic, blissful quick conversations between those in the know. "Did you hear? Did you hear? It's something special. It's got it. It. It's the movie. The one we've all been waiting for." And the reviews started pouring in, rave after rave, perfect 100 after perfect 100. "Masterpiece." "Perfection." "The new Citizen Kane." And the chatter which had been whispers had now become a deafening roar. And here I was sitting at my computer taking in all the praise like a sponge, letting it fill me with hopes and ideas and optimism and anticipation. Is this it? The one? Could it be? So the release date approaced and I got a gift from heaven: an opportunity to see a free advanced screening more than a week before its official release when all the muggles get to see it. The day finally came. I got to the theater and stood in line for an hour, then finally--finally!--I sat sown and the move started and what I saw in those next two hours was... excellent, well-acted, profound, funny, and perfectly executed movie. And that was the problem. It was still the movie; it wasn't an experience. I left the theater the same person who had entered it. I had been seduced by the hype and I had let it consume me and convince me that this would be the movie. I really thought it would be the one. So, even though the movie was excellent, even though I loved basically everything about it, I left the theater disappointed and a little heartbroken.

I realized that in order for me to get an accurate sense and idea of the movie, I would have to see it again, for in a second movie I wouldn't be blinded by expectation. So yesterday I braved the crisp autumn weather (where did summer go?) for a second go at The Social Network. I'm glad I did.

As you probably know, but is my obligation as the reviewer to inform you, The Social Network is the story of the creation of Facebook and the subsequent two legal battles concerning the site's original conception and ownership. It opens in a crowded, chattering bar and we meet a young, collegiate couple. Their conversation is fast, zipping from topic to topic as the girlfriend and the audience struggle to keep up. Such is the beauty of Aaron Sorkin's dialogue that it seems to be operating at two simultaneous levels. They are talking about rowing crew and SAT scores and getting into final clubs, but they are also talking about class struggles and intellectual superiority and personal dependence and self-image and countless other overreaching themes, and they don't realize this, and neither does the audience, not quite, but the audience can sense it. Not only is Sorkin's dialogue as smart as a whip, but it's also as fast as one and the sting is just as strong. The young couple talks for about five minutes as the hostility slowly builds and builds until the girl has had enough. She informs the man that they are no longer dating and leaves in a huff. The man, bewildered, alone, and dejected walks back to his Harvard dorm in the cold as the opening credits roll along to Trent Reznor's popping, humming techno-brilliant score. This is Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, world's youngest billionaire, and this is his story.

Mark is not your usual protagonist for a simple reason: he's not entirely likable and many people will consider him an asshole. He's emotionally frigid, intellectually condescending, and has no patience for stupidity or ignorance. He's played by Jesse Eisenberg with a dead-eyed-steely gaze in the the actor's best performance to date. Jesse's construct of Zuckerberg is not an imitation of the real life figure as much as it is the actor's personification of Sorkin's words. People whose first introduction to Zuckerberg is this movie might be surprised to find in interviews that the real Mark Zuckerberg does not talk at all like the man in the movie. Still, though he is a bit distant and callous (the closest he comes to a smile is a post fellatial smirk), the Mark Zuckerberg of The Social Network is a sympathetic character. His ideas and struggles are real and pure and timeless, universal, and though he is a bit of a prick, he's not malicious or devious, nor is he greedy or power-hungry. As a character puts it towards the end of the movie, "Every creation myth needs a devil," and that's Zuckerberg, thrust into that position of of necessity, not out of truth.

The supporting cast also shines most notably singer-turned-actor Justin Timberlake and on-the-rise British heartthrob Andrew Garfield. JT plays Sean parker, co-founder of Napster, who seduces Zuckerberg into the glitzy promise of sunny Northern California tech start-up wonderland. His is the showiest role, and Timberlake tackles it ably with devilish zeal and finely tuned comic timing. If Parker is the devil whispering in Zuckerberg's right ear, then Andrew Garfield's Eduardo Saverin is the angel whispering in his left. Mark's only (and then his last) friend, Eduardo is the beating heart of The Social Network. He's honest, hardworking, generous, innocent. The audience roots for him from the beginning, and his downfall comprises the largest emotional punch of the movie. Rounding out the cast are Armie Hammer as the Winklevoss twins, who claim they are the creators of Facebook, Rashida Jones as a legal counsel, Rooney Mara as Zuckerberg's ex-girlfriend, and Douglas Urbanski as the dean of Harvard in the film's funniest scene.

However, and this is no discredit to the actors, the characters in this movie are not nearly as important or as impressive as the words coming out of their mouths. Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is a work of art, at times witty, profound, hilarious, shocking or all of the above, and his dialogue is delicious. He manages to turn a somewhat simple story of the creation of a website into Greek tragedy. For herein are the classic themes--deception, friendship, power, frailty, duplicity--whose courses run through centuries and whose roots run through our souls, yet told through the lens of modernity and youth. This is very much a story of now, of our time, yet is is also timeless in its inarguable humanity. In one hundred years people could watch this movie to get a glimpse of a bygone era and bygone people, but they would also doubtless see a reflection of themselves.

Every aspect of The Social Network is exemplary, and though it did not change my life, it made for a very entertaining and affecting two hours that for a very long time. So I implore you, please don't let its subject matter turn you off from such an engaging, powerful, fun ride of a movie. The Social Network is a must watch.

A -

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