Friday, October 22, 2010

Conor - I Pledge Allegiance To The Disc

Meet the Apes of Wrath, slash the people I've spent a ridiculous amount of time with here in Oklahoma thus far. This is our Ultimate Frisbee team, and this is what has made my college experience new and exciting.

BUT FIRST A DISCLAIMER. Dear anyone in this picture/affiliated with the Apes of Wrath. I recognize it's way weird that I just posted a picture of the team from last year up on my blog here, but, uh, I thought that was cooler than posting a picture of douche-with-no-name-bidding-for-a-disc. You guys are totally, 100% not the backround of my computer now, everybody calm down.

So when I was little I idolized my older brother Sean. I've totally grown out of that and surpassed him in every way imaginable except Mario Kart and being married, and I'm well on my way to besting him in both of those categories as well, but as a kid the 11 years between us translated to blind worship. One weekend Sean was back from college, he taught 7-year-old Conor how to throw a frisbee, and told lil' Conman about this wonderful sport called Ultimate Frisbee. If I remember correctly I was adept at frisbee from the moment I first picked up the disc. I usually remember correctly.

I played off and on as I grew up, and one of my high school pick up games was famously captured by a reporter's camera.
At the time this picture was a point of pride. Now I look at it and curse the error of my past ways. Let me highlight the mistakes featured in this picture.
1.) I am wearing jeans. I cannot be taken seriously if I show up in jeans. That's such a joke.
2.) I'm wearing a gray t-shirt. I don't know if 15-year-old Conor had noticed yet, but we sweat a lot, man. Wear clothing that doesn't highlight that. Black is good. White v-necks are possibly even worse, though. The V the V-Neck is so famous for deepens as it is weighed down by sweat, and more and more of your chest is revealed.
3.) My shoe's untied and I'm not wearing cleats. How will I make sharp, unrounded cuts without cleats? I laugh at my foolishness.
4.) That looks like a Wham-O disc. Not regulation. The council of elders would never stand for that.

As you can tell my criticism of stupid, less attractive past Conor, I am better now. I have improved. At the time of that picture, I wasn't aware of my deficiencies. I played with the class of '08 and '09 semi-frequently during the summers, and I was in like, the top fourth of players there. I was sitting pretty. I didn't realize you could actually be good at frisbee.

Turns out you can I guess.

My first day in Oklahoma, I ran into some guys throwing around a frisbee, all fellow freshmen. I started throwing around with them, and then we played a pickup game of ultimate. I was their king. They didn't really know how to play, and I dominated them. Ego Status = Normal. Unimpressed with my impressive skills, unwowed by the talent I was unable to contain.

The second day I spent in Oklahoma, I heard tell of some guys meeting at the intermural fields to the east of the dorms. I go out there and find a bunch of people throwing around. I introduce myself, and soon another pickup game of ultimate starts up. These guys know what they're doing. I have a hard time covering my guy and people other than me can throw. The game really takes it out of me, but I play pretty well. Ego Status = Optimistic. Maybe for once in my life, I will be pushed. Challenged. I rest easy with the knowledge that I will overcome this obstacle, like I have effortlessly obliterated all the obstacles in my life up to this point, but I appreciate it being there, all the same.

The very next day I am told of frisbee at the IM fields again. Confused, I head out there and what the fuck who are all these people. Turns out that the really good guys I had played with the day before were a church league. A church league. Here were the real players. I desperately look around, trying to find a player I am better than but there are none to be found. I play and I fail. After mercilessly beating me into the ground during the game, everyone smiles at me, asks me my name, encourages me to come out to the next practice on Tuesday. Ego Status =

It was actually strangely exciting. I went back on Tuesday, and got destroyed again, and walked back to the dorms tired, sweaty, and strangely excited. Everyday I went back and they did everything in their power to convince me that I was the worst player in the world, and everyday it didn't really bother me. I'm pretty insecure about a lot of things, and I no longer had to be insecure about my frisbee skills, because I had been taught the truth. I was pretty bad. So frisbee was not a struggle for power, I was not trying to impress anyone. I was trying to to get better at a sport I really really loved.

I'm going to stop writing in the past tense. I am trying to get better at a sport I really really love. And I am. I'm in better shape. I ran stadiums a week or two ago. Never thought I'd do that. I've gotten better. I can tell. I can tell because I'm hearing Con-Air screamed at me from the sidelines more often than my derogatory nickname, Ass Grenade, which apparently has no origin story. It was just assigned to me.


D - Defense. Used as a noun and a verb. There are several subcategories of D, such as "skying" a fool (jumping up and catching a disc meant for him) or a layout d (diving in order to stop the disc from reaching the player it was meant for), but D is basically the most satisfying thing you can do in Ultimate. There's a great great tradition where if you D a guy super hard, you wipe the disc on him. It's basically the most humiliating way you can show him that he belongs to you short of peeing on him. When used as a verb, it's often extremely entertaining to imagine that D is short for dick. "Did you see me D that guy?" "I saw some good D back there, team. Keep it up."

Nasty - Good, worthy of praise. Usually preceded by an impressed "ooooh." Synonyms: Sick, Rad, Ballin'. "Oooooh, did you see that nasty d?" "Nasty."

Bid - Diving to catch a frisbee. Always encouraged, under any circumstances. When the opportunity for bidding presents itself, all bets are off. Fuck strategy. Fuck the horrible scrapes you will inevitably suffer if you unnecessarily bid all the time. Bid. Bid often and bid hard. I still need to work on my bidding. My bidding is more like a hesitant trip. I'm not dedicated enough. That's why I'm not in the big leagues, kids. "Yeah, I bid for this one point in the endzone and hurt it pretty bad. The doctor says a couple weeks if I'm lucky, 2 months if it heals badly."

The Worst - Pronounced "The woooooooorst." Used to describe anything that is undesirable. Extremely contagious. "Enjoy this blue shell, asshole." "The wooooorst." Oh yeah also I've been playing a lot of Mario Kart 64.

Chances are if you've talked to me in the past 2 months, I've mentioned frisbee, or something I did with the frisbee guys. That's because that's all I've been doing. Yeah. Where I was once a fully formed human being with multiple passions and interests, I have no devolved into someone who has based their whole life around one activity, and it's a SPORT. Who would've guessed. (not Eliot.) Sometimes I worry that I've fallen into a routine way too quickly, but sometimes I don't.

The frisbee guys are some of the friendliest, most welcoming people I've ever met, and certainly the one of most fun group of peeps I've had the pleasure of meeting here at OU. They've all welcomed me onto the team and many have welcomed me into their homes. They have given me their fried honey waffles they inexplicably made in the frier in one of their houses. They have driven me to concerts. They have tried and failed to beat me at Mario Kart. They have stuck me with baseless nicknames that I fear will never go away. They have mooched several meals off my meal plan. And I've had a great time.

I would write more, but I have to be at the IM fields tomorrow at 7:30 tomorrow to help set up for the frisbee tournament being played here in Norman this weekend. It's called Just Plain Nasty. I will be playing or watching frisbee for probably around 8 or 9 hours tomorrow. That's fine. That's what I want to be doing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sociology: Characters Welcome

by Brendan Cavanagh

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:35 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. I participate in an incredibly aggravating, albeit highly entertaining, sociological experiment: Sociology 200. Ha, what a coincidence- NOT IRONY.

Anyway, for several weeks I would spend the entire class period scribbling notes as quick as possible, always with at least one eye on the clock, counting down the minutes til: 1. My next class; 2. Lunch; 3. My third class; and 4. My nap. 'Cause everybody who knows me understands that I love a good nap. Sometimes it's the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning.

But I digress. A couple weeks ago, I became increasingly interested in the numerous characters in my class. Their traits that used to annoy me the most were now the subject of my intense focus and pleasure. Don't get me wrong, I'm still performing quite adequately in the class, but my sole concentration now belongs to my peers. I now relish the mere two and a half hours I have in Sociology each week. As a result of my gripping ethnographic studies, by which I have played myself off as just your average Butler student in your average sociology class, I have compiled a hefty collection of notes (mostly mental) on the teacher and the students, all of whom belong on the USA network ("Characters Welcome"). Here is a sample collection of the information I have amassed thus far:

Most prominent in the class is my professor, who happens to be African-American. This is noteworthy because I've never had a black teacher before, save for my friend's mom who used to stop by my Kindergarten class every now and then to show us a thick portfolio of copies of famous works of art. The Professor is pretty darn prolix in my opinion. For instance, he's always asking us to look at the tables in his Powerpoint presentations and see what we can "glean" from them. Or he'll unintentionally speak a long-winded and informative sentence that is practically bursting at the seams with alliteration or assonance, which blows my mind every time, being as interested in language as I am. He's also got this funny way of diverting answering a question that he has to think of the answer to for a minute- he will precede his answer with a highly-inflected "UUUUMMMMMMM" before he inevitably is able to reach a conclusion.

On my right, down a couple seats sits the "Accomplished Woman." She happens to have a very pronounced opinion about everything because she's "been there," you know. Often, her "intelligence" and heated responses causes her to come off as a total bitch (side note: she actually is a total bitch). If I told her this, she would probably, predictably, reply, "Um...I DISAGREE." One day we were discussing Karl Marx's theory of socialization in the education system, and how school's, by "tracking" students in various difficulties of classes are effectively "ranking" students, thereby creating conflict between students. The Professor asked the class if this was common in anyone's schools in the past. Most kids raised their hands and proceeded to tell stories about how they were all in the "gifted" track because they were so bloody brilliant. However, no one so brazenly and irritatingly informed us of their superior, almost god-like intelligence and prodigious feats in school as the Accomplished Woman. "Um...I was in the GIFTED track because I was smarter than everyone else, and people in the lower tracks were jealous of my intelligence, and this created class conflict in school." Guess what, ? I DON'T CARE. Funnily enough, Accomplished Woman is currently hooking up frequently with my buddy across the hallway. The other night I was playing on the computer late at night in the hallway so as not to disturb my roommates, and this girl comes out of my buddy's room. We utilized the never-failing icebreaker ("Hey, you're in my [insert course, in this case Sociology] class!") before proceeding to formally introduce ourselves. She informed me that I was literally one of the FIVE people in the class she actually liked and believed to have intelligent comments. Fancy that! I played it off bashfully, making sure never to reciprocate the compliment so I don't have to be a liar. After she left, I let out a chuckle and filled in another friend of the humorous irony (not coincidence) of the situation.

Next to her is one of the few attractive girls in the class. She happens to be very good-looking, if you want to know the truth. As it happens, she too was practically deemed to be a prodigy as a young student so she's allowed to have an opinion about everything. Fortunately though, for once in my life, her attractiveness does not preclude my disagreement with anything she says. I just wanted to point that out.

Speaking of hot girls, on my left we have Specious Hot Girl. Specious Hot Girl seemed really nice and somewhat intelligent in my limited dealings with her before a couple of classes. As a result, when I saw her at a party a few weeks ago, I once again used my favorite icebreaker, "Hey! You're in my Sociology class!" three times before she finally heard me. Her response was, "Yeah." And then she walked away. Well that's okay, I didn't really have much self-confidence anyway.

Behind Accomplished Woman is the ringleader of the characters of our class, that guy who was pigeonholed as "That Guy" from Day One. That Guy not only acts ridiculously, but also his unkempt and jet-black, prominent, unshaven visage, thick glasses and unchanging outfit perfectly match his oddball comments.

Here is a picture I drew in class one day

On Day One, he decided to answer a number of questions with the fact that he went to Ivy Tech last year (down the road apiece), and was treated like an insignificant student and received no help from the teachers and faculty there. He was like a Vietnam veteran, telling us horror stories about being in The Shit and all. It was only by the saving grace that his girlfriend (who today he began referring to as his "partner" ?) came here this year that he was able to make a somewhat easy transition into our culture and academics. As a result of "being there," That Guy has the right to have the know-all, say-all answer to everything and to place himself in higher esteem than his inferior class mates. And yes, he was in the gifted track in the past, too. Incidentally, he's informed us that he is an Atheist, which we probably don't understand because we haven't received as much education as him. Oh yeah, and he had a crummy childhood, absent of "concerted cultivation," which means his parents didn't actively try to cultivate his identity and give him constructive things to learn and do, so he's pretty much a self-made man. Lastly, if the teacher hasn't come in, and the lights are off, leaving the classroom lit only by the faint sunlight gleaming in from the windows, the class likes to experience the calming effect of a dark room and leave the lights off. Not That Guy. He doesn't mind flipping the switch upon his arrival because once he's there, it's go time, folks.

And way over in the corner is G.I. Joe Schmoe. He's a little older than the rest of us because he served some time in the Army and has now returned to college to obtain his degree. He, too, has "been there" and likes to bring about some more thought-provoking questions that more often than not involve economics or politics. You know, so he can have a little adult conversation with The Professor while the rest of us sit silently and with blank stares. No big deal, he's just using our time and money, whatever. Also, he's over twenty one, so he can drink. That's cool. I like that whenever you give us examples to illustrate your inquisitive questions that persistently deal with a group of guys who spend money on beer. Neat. Not only did we just learn again that you can drink beer, but also you treated us to a little lesson in economics. I'm so glad I signed up for your class.

Thankfully, on my right, exposed to all of these characters is my buddy from another class. We've formed a friendship based on our short-lived Tuesday Starbucks trips, whereby we would discuss our mutual distaste for the more brazen and irritating class mates in both of our shared classes. It's nice to have someone to look at and share a knowing smirk with during Sociology who, too, is drowning in a pool of antipathy. However, it gets kind of old watching him text on his phone or surf Facebook for the entire duration of class, only to look up in order to copy someone's notes or look at me with an audible, exasperated sigh. Who can you be texting at 9:30 in the morning? What do you talk about? Incidentally, today in class as I was pondering the aforementioned queries, his laptop belted out, "You've got MAIL!" which made me smile. Sweet, sweet retribution. It's also interesting to watch as his self-grooming becomes increasingly spare, and his appearance becomes shaggier and more pajama-oriented. It seems like college is just a bore for him, and his interest in it appears to wane at the same rate as his interest in his appearance.

Similarly, my friend The Cross Country Runner, if he shows up, displays a distaste for classes in general. He sits a couple rows in front of Specious Hot Girl. Usually one can find him sleeping or agitatedly slumping over his desk with his face on his fist. You see, he has cross country practice at 6:00 in the morning, so by 9:35 he's pretty exhausted. He's a nice guy, but he's just so apathetic. On some of the days that he actually shows up to class, he's informed me that he'll fill his ever-present opaque Gatorade bottle with a mixture of hard liquor and beer- "Whatever gets me through class haha."

And then behind him we have Spoon River. I call this girl Spoon River because every single time she opens her mouth, it's like listening to a recitation of Spoon River Anthology. Whenever she answers a question, which is quite often because she, too, was in the "gifted" track in years past, she relates to us several detailed stories involving the lives of her parents, grandparents, cousins, store clerks, grain farmers, soda jerks, movie theater ushers and charismatic musically-inclined con men that have passed through her small town to illustrate her point. I don't mind her answering questions often-sometimes I need some time to think of what I'll say- but the countless stories of her small town bore me to death.

It's interesting what this type of class does to bring out the character in all of us. For instance, because it's a rather populated (populated for a Butler classroom, probably twenty five students) morning class, hardly anyone but the accomplished women have the courage or the warmed-up vocal cords to speak as naturally as the would in conversation outside of class, or at least in a class later in the day. Therefore, everyone sounds eerily similar to D-Day in Animal House when they muster up the gumption to shyly pose a decent answer to The Professor's question. I myself am guilty of this- I always have been for some inexplicable reason. But that's about the extent of my outstanding individuality in that class. No, I don't think I am just oblivious to my own distinct traits or simply self-righteous (to an extent). I mean, if it's especially interesting that I consistently offer somewhat insightful, fact-based answers, then yeah, I guess I'm a character, too. At the very least, I'm the only one in the class with a pair of low-top red cons.

Brain in a Blender

Today was a long day. I don't know how I'm not dead exhausted. I stayed up til 5 last night. It's good to know my summer disease of not being able to sleep before the sun rises still has potential to kick in at any given moment. At 4, after an hour of tossing and turning and whatnot, I decided there was no way I was getting up at 9 today. I showered. Went to bed at 5, woke up at 9:30, got to class on time. Bam. Time budgeted.

After the fourth or fifth consecutive day of failing to meet my own ultimatum of not having clean clothes, I suppose I should be doing my laundry right now. But alas. MORE IMPORTANT THINGS ARE AT HAND.

Well there are, as is becoming more usual, a few things I want to talk about.

1. I don't want to talk about anything.

Things are overwhelming. There's so much shit to do. Asking me to do it all would be like asking me to not allow for spare time five days out of the seven we decided that God gave us in a week. (Side thought: what if there were eight days in a week? ponder that. holy shit. yeah. that's a longggg time in between football games) Classes are throwing pounds of work on me. Not that many, but it's a lot of work if you want to actually full-ass the classes. Reading books? Chapter of my textbook before every psychology lecture? Kiss my ass, I'll take the B. Add to that the fact that I work for the Daily Illini, our student-run newspaper, albeit not very much. My first story went in this week. A feature on the sport of underwater hockey that dominated two-thirds of the front page of the sports section. That felt good. Also I need to find a work-study job? Fuck, should've went to Lincoln Land.

Oh well, I am realizing that I bit off more than I can chew financially by going here, but I don't care. I have had an amazing time and learned so much about the craft of journalism. It's like training with King Kai. You have to be dead in order to do it, but hot damn you get so much stronger. I'm just waiting for someone else to collect the magic dragonballs and wish me back to life so I can apply this knowledge. Uhhh, oh boy. (That's called taking the analogy all the way, boys and girls) I have met some crazy awesome people. Although I didn't meet half of guest week at my school, I'm still enjoying exploring this sea of individuals that reside in the UC area. Meeting people and making friends is an important task at college. It takes time and (not very much) effort (...for a guy like me) to do this. And school. And extracurriculars. And work. And it takes money. I don't have everything, but I'll make do.

When I sit and think about the hole I'm digging, though I know how worth it is, I reallly just want to turn another cheek and play video games or something. I just don't wanna face it. At least definitely not at once. And definitely not unless you tell me to.

2. Man, some people be on some bullshit

You wanna know why I hate baseball? Because Pete Rose still hasn't gotten in the hall of fame. Gay people get married on the reg, a black dude is our President on the reg, and people buy pot in California legally on the reg. The common theme? Society is changing. Forgive the dude for betting on baseball. Who really cares? He wagered for his team. How much of a crime can it be to put financial interest into winning sporting events? Oh wait, we do that all the time anyway. Pete Rose violated baseball's "cardinal rule" and because of this he's S.O.L. for the rest of his life. That's like when I got in fights with my brothers and to piss them off and land an excruciating blow I would boldly claim "I am NEVER!! EVER!!!! TALKING TO YOU AGAIN!!!!!". Baseball has said this and, like an asshole, is actually following through on their promise. I can't WAIT until Pete Rose dies and baseball finally lets him into the Hall of Fame, out of honor and respect, because I will write a column ripping baseball into a thousand million pieces. I can totally see this happen because in society today, we tend to ignore death as something that's GOING to happen to everyone and that COULD occur between now and the next time you tie your shoe. He's going to die from some stupid alcohol related liver disease, and baseball will finally let him into the Hall of Fame and honor him for what he was when he played, meanwhile he will have died without ever receiving the one call he wanted to hear most in his entire bleeping life.

No that topic isn't relevant to modern society, but the origin of that thought entering my mind was the new hit rules that are sure to ram themselves into the heads of NFL fans as eyesores in the form of yellow flags come flying for new and creative reasons. We've seen new penalties created every year for the last forever years in football, and it's really unnecessary and needs to stop.

Have you ever made up a game? Have you ever started a club? Have you ever been a part of something's beginning? Well the longer that game is played or club exists or thing perpetuates itself, the more you realize that it isn't a flawless system.

The longer something exists, the more it sucks. People do stupid things, or make mistakes, whatever, and rules have to be put in place to prevent people from dying.

It's going on with football today. It's a violent game. They're trying to eliminate violence from the game. You can make the game safe, but it won't be the beautiful game it was before safety was put first. That's why I don't play football, and that's why those who do make millions. Because you play with guys like Ray Lewis and James Harrison, who have to have won every argument they've ever been in by using this face and this face, respectively.

It's going on with government today, as Nick pointed out on Monday. Rules suck. You remember the beginning of things as the hay-day. The first few years, ironing the groundrules out, you spend them editing the things you left out. And then you spend the next part editing in things that may "enhance" the experience. There are a lot of good ideas to improve player safety, but depriving football fans of the shear awesomeness that is caused by glorious destruction such as this. Or this. Why did he have to die so soon? Ahh, I love football. But anyway. You get it. It isn't safe. You aren't going to make it safe and keep the intensity and the beauty.

Do you know who Mitch Albom is? I didn't. Not before today. He's a writer. And he's a damn good one. In 2005, he did something that was hilariously dumb and completely embarrassing. He lead a column of his with a beautiful moment that occurred at a basketball game. Two alumni coming from different corners of the NBA universe brought together to celebrate and rekindle their friendship while watching their team make its first triumphant return to the Final Four. The game was one he never went to. The moment was one that never happened. He was told by two players that they would attend a basketball game together. He made a cutesie lead for a story out of it. They changed plans. He didn't check. He lead his column. He was wrong. He had to apologize. He broke journalism's own "cardinal rule" by telling the public something he didn't know. He won a prestigious award this year for his writing and some asshole wrote a column claiming the guy didn't deserve an award for his work because of something he did five years ago.

Seriously? View a body of work for itself. Not for related bullshit.

Anyway, I'm done talking about that. Haha, even I got kinda bored... uhmm...

Improv.... improv.... improv....... drawin a blank guys, sorry.

VIDEO GAMES. NBA 2k10 is IN at room 112 in Blaisdell Hall.
Classic Brian is no match for my mad Iguodala skills.

I really think sports games get a bad rep. And deservedly so. They're a suckers fettish.

Never have I bought a Madden and said "I bet this will be very good and I will never be mad while playing this!" or "I bet this version will never be improved upon!" or "the replay value of this game will last longer than one year!"

Supposedly NBA 2k11 is a great game. "Sports game of the generation", as IGN calls it. Well I bet 2k12 will be better. I just wish Madden would stop dominating the Players Association so some competition can arise and light a fire under their asses. People have tried to work around this agreement, making games with players that don't actually exist. Each one had an angle that they thought would succeed. None have. But all have come close and had their moment in the sun. All-Pro Football 2k8 (used old "legends" of the game) Blitz (the badass hitting, you know) and Backbreaker (an actual physics engine to alleviate the problem of annoying redundant animations). SOMEONE MAKE A GAME WITH ALL THREE OF THOSE AND COMBINE IT WITH THE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION'S SIGNATURE AND BEAT OUT MADDEN. I WANT A BETTER FOOTBALL GAME. AND OH YEAH MAKE IT SO I DON'T BUY A NEW COPY EVERY YEAR FOR UPDATED ROSTERS AND PLEASE SOMEONE TURN THE CAPS LOCK OFF.


Gosh. I was gassed today guys. Sorry for the lateness and the topical sluttiness.

If you enjoyed it anyway? Then good. That means you like me for who I AM. Not what I write.


--Eliot Sill

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Song that are good.

By Mada!

My friend Jake and I recently decided to attempt to make a list of our top 10 songs. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done and I'm still not sure it's quite right but I thought I'd share with you all what I came up with.

(in no particular order)

1. Fans- Kings of Leon
This song was introduced to me via a mix from the one and only Carrie McMenamin. I really love this song's bluesy country rock feel. It just makes you feel at home.

2. Miami 2017- Billy Joel
Fuck you guys Billy Joel is fantastic. It starts out with a perfect piano melody and it's chorus is the kind of beautifully catchy melody that you absolutely never get tired of. It makes you feel like you're really there, looking at the city lights and listening to Billy play his piano at some underground club.

3. Run Away With Me- the Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown
This song is from a very new and very obscure musical. It is all about love, the open road, freedom and escape. These being my biggest weakness when it comes to literature and music make it no surprise that I am obsessed with this song. It is also one of the prettiest melodies and most romantic ideas out there.

4. Purple Haze- Jimi Hendrix
Well yeah. I mean this is the most famous Hendrix song for a reason. It's fucking good. I could listen to this everyday in whatever mood and it would be just right. It has so much soul and so much rock and musically quite intricate. Not to mention badass.

5. Times They Are A'Changin- Bob Dylan
Again I realize I probably seem really predictable with this choice but this is a damn good song. I used to have iffy feelings about Bob Dylan but this song really pushed me over the edge. I love the folk feel, the lamenting harmonica and the lyrics that really sum up the feeling of a generations.

6. We Run- Sugarland
This is a country song. It is by a popluar country band that is still popular on country radio. I know these facts might turn away many of my music snob friends point blank but that's fine with me. This is another example of a freedom, open road, love type of song. It is optimistic and has that idea that with young love you can go absolutely anywhere and be whatever you want to be.

7. Road To Joy- Bright Eyes
For one there's nothing like an indie song based off of a famous Beethoven theme. Beethoven is probably my favorite classical composer so this song automatically had a leg up. It is also hard to resist it's driving beat and it's rather nonsensical stressed out pessimistic theme. Plus once Conor Oberst yells "let's fuck it up boys, make some noise" it's pretty damn hard to not scream along with them. (when in public...)

8. Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
I would like to start out by saying that I know this song was originally by Lenard Cohen but to be honest I hate Lenard Cohen's voice so much that his version just about ruins the song for me. This is possibly the prettiest song ever written. Which is a real hefty statement, but damn. It is sad and depressing and pleading and praising all at the same time. Oh and the sigh at the beginning. Classic (Just like Brian).

9. Sympathy For The Devil- The Rolling Stones
I think it's probably clear that I'm a sucker for 60's and 70's rock. Whatever. This song is catchy and badass and makes you feel better than everyone else but not too heavy. That's all I want in a song. As much as I love beautiful songs and cool indie music if I don't have something to blast and rock out to in my car I die. So.

10. I Guess I'll Forget The Sound, I Guess, I Guess- Bodies of Water
This song was introduced to me by the aforementioned Jake via another mix. This song is epic. It blows my mind every time I listen to it and I find it almost impossible to not listen to it all the way through. It's got layers and echos and background choruses. It's message is also a bit confusing and it takes a few listens to really get an interpretation of it. This just makes it even more intriguing.

So yeah, look that shit up. Or don't . It won't really affect my life.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nick - Media Accountability and the Silver Tsunami

Right now I have a Politico tab open in my browser and I have a feeling I'm going to be referring back to that a lot over the course of this blog. You can go check it out if you want but it's a pretty dismal list of headlines.

First of all, let me say that Politico is my least favorite website that I visit every day. It gives me a perspective on what's going on in politics by skimming a few stories and looking over their list of headlines. It is also totally, pathetically inane most of the time, and in that way it resembles any other politics news you would find on TV.

Right now there are two stories on Politico's homepage. There are actually upwards of twenty, but they're really only two stories. Story number one: "Uh oh! Democrats Are In Trouble!"

Let me start by saying that I have no problem with analysis of polls and things; this could be a legitimate story. But when you start to mouse through, you get the sense that this isn't politics reporting; there's no policy there. Quick detour:

Politics. Policy. Politics. Policy.

Do those words look similar to you? There's probably a good reason for that. Politics is just a process of reviewing and implementing policies. That article I linked to up there, and the hundreds of similar ones being published and reported for hundreds of different news sites? Those aren't politics articles. They're sports commentaries.

Go team! Looks like the Democrats are having a bad season this year! Looks like there might be a surprise upset! The Republicans score a goal in Nevada! Can they keep going strong during the playoffs this November?

This is what we're looking at here. Reporters aren't reporting anymore; policy doesn't sell. And speaking of selling, let me use that as a segway into our next topic: money.

If you haven't been following politics avidly, you probably aren't aware that the supreme court ruled awhile ago that companies can pay politicians however much money they want. In fact, they don't even have to have the permission of the owners of the company; if the CEO wants to give away money to politicians in exchange for favors, well, guess what, he can. And it can be totally anonymous.

That's the other kind of article on Politico right now: "Republicans Have Lots Of Money!"

And the worst part is that the story I linked to doesn't even mention the cause of this phenomenon; corporations now have the same rights as individuals to finance politicians.

It doesn't take much insight to see that this is horrible for everyone. Corporations can totally buy out politicians, and it's perfectly legal. This has an effect like a dam bursting; corporations have enough funds to flush out any politicians they don't like and make any individual contributions irrelevant. I'm not sure what's worse; that supreme court ruling, or the fact that the media isn't reporting it.

So look forward to a November of being outfunded and outvoted by corporations who now have no limit to their political power. Not a very upbeat note to end on, but I couldn't find an upbeat note in this story at all.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Messes of Men

--Robert Langellier

I do not exist

The sooner people accept that I am a joke, the sooner they will love me. People keep having these expectations of me as if I was a regular, emoting person, and I don't know how they expect me to fulfill them. Talk to my girlfriend, and you'll learn that I am mean and unsuccessfully desperate to be funny. Talk to Wednesday Eliot, and you will learn that everything I do is out of spite. Talk to my roommate Dylan and you'll learn that he's sort of fat (he's not, ladies). Talk to Monday Nick, and you might learn that I'm sort of pathetic.

The common factor is façade. As of this year, I've unwittingly carried out the frightening task of serious joke dedication. When I was little, I played with stuffed animals, crayons, and Play-Doh to feed my creativity. Now I adopt fun new personalities to show off to my friends. I maintain them seasonally. Boy, are they great. They allow for endless possibilities for hilarity fit for the mature 9-year-old that I act like. The problem is that it's so dang irritating to turn my Joke Button off, so I usually just leave it on 23/7. (DON'T ACT LIKE YOU AREN'T THE SAME CONOR AND ELIOT YOU'RE NO BETTER THAN ME.) Difficulties arise. But usually it's great fun. Let me introduce you to Summer Robert and Autumn Robert.

The Asshole

Many in Springfield, Illinois know Summer Robert. Summer Robert was created in great part by Friday Conor. Almost exclusively by Conor, actually. Ignore the fact that I talk about how much I love my façades and accept the fact that I hate him for doing this to me. He knows this. Asshole Robert is cocky. Asshole Robert is cocky, because Asshole Robert is the greatest. I am the greatest. Need proof? Look at any of my blog posts, and try to describe how good my writing is (I often do). Challenge me in ping pong, Super Smash Bros 64, or any athletic sport. Compare your friends to mine. Compare our iTunes libraries, and our tastes in music as a whole. Try looking as good as I do when I come out of the shower with just a towel on. I will treat you like dirt, because you are dirt by comparison.

The Douchebag

Autumn Robert will treat you like dirt because you are a woman. Just kidding, I don't use that word anymore. "Bitch" and "slam piece" are far more satisfying. Life is much simpler as Autumn Robert. The many complexities of modern life are reduced to a mere few simple pleasures, such as fist bumping, lacrosse, laxing, shotgunning Nattys, chilling, not showing emotion, sandwiches, and dome. Autumn Robert, better understood as Bro Robert, was birthed by a collective of friends from Mizzou, together spreading brohood throughout the residence hall like an epidemic. I spend the majority of my time reversing lax pinnies and reading, often while casually receiving dome from one of my bitches. I do not think my friends from home understand or accept Autumn Robert. My girlfriend does not like Autumn Robert. I do not understand.

Sarcasm gone wrong

Façades are games. They make the world a more entertaining place. More specifically, they make social interactions more potentially explosive. Maybe I'll be a hit at the party; maybe I'll harshly offend mostly everyone. Who knows? That all depends on how I check my sarcasm.

If you have had the experience of meeting me, you'll hopefully recognize that I depend on sarcasm more than Garrett on Molly. This allows me to disguise my fake personalities as real personalities, and my dead indifference to giving emotion away allows me to accidentally make people not know it's a joke. Apparently you have to set a standard of noncomedy for people to expect in order to make real life comedy funny. I have no time for noncomedy. I have too many biting jokes waiting to hurt you.

Sometimes my jokes hurt people. This is accidental and regretful. Sarcasm painted too well is often perceived by the weak as noncomedy. Sometimes utter lack of tact mixes with misdirected sarcasm, which results disastrously in my bid for heaven. Sometimes my jokes are contrived and depraved enough to make people think I think awful things about Conor O'Brien on Nick Dietrich's Facebook wall even though Conor was reciprocating the joke in full by taking just as many joke shots at me, just like we had planned together beforehand WHAT THE FUCK HOW DID I LOSE FACE IN THAT SERIOUSLY FUCK. These are when my jokes aren't funny.

Twist: I actually do exist

Last week I introduced Autumn Robert to Wednesday Eliot and Monday Nick via Skype, and they treated him like a novelty, laughing at all of his explanations of terms like "pounding" and "chilling" as if they were nothing to be taken seriously. I did not understand. It was like they expected me to be the same general person I was two months ago when they had last seen me. "Do you have to make up a character to enjoy life?" Monday Nick asked me. He was sort of kidding. Well, no, I don't, although it makes most situations more fun. With most people I ditch my current character when I'm with them one on one. But when it comes to hanging out with a group, who really wants to see who you really are anyway?