Saturday, January 22, 2011

Conor - To Infinity And Beyond

This time 2 weeks ago I was in a recording studio, shouting the lyrics to the Waltz of Debris, a song off of Band Practice's first release, and EP called Band Practice! The exclamation point is crucial. It was one of the best weekends of my life, the EP makes me immensely proud, and I want to talk about it very briefly.

I've already talked about Band Practice here on Classic Brian, and I'm sure if we know eachother very well you've either seen Band Practice play or I've forced our recordings upon you. It's a well documented fact that Band Practice started as a joke, but I hope we've proved ourselves by this point. I hope we've shown that we're something special. I would like to think we are, and I believe it more and more these days.

Everytime we meet and play together, Band Practice becomes more a collaboration, and we get better and better thanks to this. I used to think of these songs as mine, but they aren't any more. They're ours. Without Tynan's drumming in Keep It Down, that song doesn't pack the same punch. Without Rhett's ridiculously cool bass part in Evens & Odds I would have a much harder time forgiving myself for some of the lyrics in that song. Without Greg's guitar in Tunnel that song would've felt empty and unfinished. Beyond each of our individual parts, we all contribute ideas. It was Rhett's idea in the first place to switch styles halfway through Everything's Fine. Tynan came up with a lot of the ideas that totally make Tunnel, like the metronome like clicking and the empty space after the first chorus. Hell, Greg came up with the idea to start the band.

This recording time really fell into our lap. We did nothing to deserve it, but I'm trying to not feel guilty about that. Without Monday Nick, none of this would have happened. It was his uncle who gave us all this, and I cannot thank Nick enough for doing this. We would also like to thank his uncle Dan Dietrich and Wall To Wall recordings. They did so much for us, and for nothing in return. I don't know if they realize how much this meant to us, but it doesn't matter. They are solid, solid bros. Shout out to my main man Frank, who mixed and recorded most of it. Holla back, Frank.

These 6 songs we have prepared and ready for the wall show a lot about us. Like Eliot said, they mean more to the people closest to us, and they mean a whole lot to me. I'm proud of them. I'm extremely proud of them. A year ago I wouldn't have believed that I would be listening to recorded songs that I wrote on my iPod. Having these for myself is a dream come true. It's embarrassing how often I listen to this stuff. I'm extremely self-absorbed, it's okay, I know. I just still can't believe that this happened, how well everything worked out.

Here's the obligatory link. Band Practice.

I'll finish with this. Over the weekend, we were all making jokes like "oh yeah, we'll cut him some of the profits when we top the charts" and "we'll give him free tickets to our show at Madison Square Garden next week." These are all lighthearted jabs at ourselves, mocking our rockstar dreams and aspirations. But just listening to some of the music we managed to make together, we're so much closer than I thought we'd ever be. We're still daaaamn far away, but let's keep working. Let's keep playing. Let's keep getting better and better and closer and closer, because wouldn't it be wonderful? I think that'd be amazing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dead Poets' Society Blues

Not my English class

by Brendan Cavanagh

Well I'm in college now. Free to choose my own classes, and those that I have a particular interest in, mind you. I'm about to cast off the constricting shackles of an "Exploratory" major in favor of that of "English Education." This semester I've chosen to sign up for more classes that revolve around literature, language and teaching and fewer "core," or general, classes. For the first time since I've come to Butler, I'm genuinely excited to go to my classes because I take personal stock in most of them, and I rather enjoy the material, which consists of much lengthier reading assignments (Hot dog!). Finally I can stop slacking and instead heighten my attention and focus in class! Right?

Oh noes. I can't help but transfer my focus on the novel and discussion at hand to the multitudes of characters in my classes. Don't get me wrong- I'm still attentive of the discussed themes and of my homework, but today for instance, in my Introduction to English class, I set aside Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis and the class notes it had once inspired and instead began jotting down into my planner notes about the numerous eccentricities of people in my class.

As I walk into the classroom at 9:30 every Tuesday and Thursday, I engage in a well-rehearsed pastime of finding the prettiest, albeit approachable girl in the class and positioning myself beside her. Unfortunately, it appears that other English majors are more anxious than I am to arrive early to class, so my options for seating are limited. Both times I arrived this week, there remained a solitary seat in the front of the room, beside the Know-It-All of course. O, but how I yearn to someday get to class early enough to find an empty seat next to Cute Indie Girl. She always seems to be obscured at first or else out-of-reach, on a far side of the classroom with a barrier of boys and girls surrounding her. I met her during the first group activity of Welcome Week last semester. She seemed shy and exhibited sure traits of a hipster, so I casually (but entirely randomly) proclaimed that I would guess her musical tastes based on the shoes she wore at the time, a pair of small white Vans. And how about this? She liked all the same "indie" or "contemporary" or "alternative" or "hipster" music I like: MGMT, Phoenix, Black Keys, basically anyone who played at Lollapalooza 2010, which we both happened to attend. Today in class I made a sort of joke, thought it wasn't intended to be one, and she gave me a fleeting look and a smile, which I think either meant she thought I was funny (like a clown) or pathetic. Either way, my five-month goal of someday getting to know her again has not been discarded. Ooh, how I'd like to sit down and have a discussion about Faulkner with her sometime.

Yet I'm afraid my identity will only be melted and consolidated into the entity I can only describe as the Three-Headed Brendan. You see, in case I'm absent from class some day in the future, there are two other Brendans to fill in for me. It was bad enough in preschool when I was so callously referred to by my teachers and peers as Brendan C. (as opposed to Brendan P.), or in high school when there were two other Brendans in my grade, and a few others scattered about the grades above and below me. Thanks God one of the Brendans in my English class goes by Alex, but that leaves the goofy one in my three-person discussion group. He's cool, but I'm pretty sure he, like me, is unwilling to give himself a nickname and be relegated to an identity that is not distinctly his, which is going to cause some serious knee-slappers during roll call.

The three-person group today was made even more incredibly awkward because the girl of the group (the inevitable secretary) just so happens to look exactly like one of my friends from home. I'm not kidding. It's uncanny. I honestly think the only thing that distinguishes this girl from my friend is that she has slightly more pronounced incisors, and she favors Uggs over boots from, like, T.J. Maxx or something. All during the discussion I kept losing my train of thought and ending my points prematurely because I couldn't get past her appearance. I'm not one of those guys who will immediately tell someone that they look like some one else ("Dude! Dude! Has anyone ever told you you look exactly like Cormac McClaggen from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? The resemblance is riddikulus!"), but finally, I had to explain to her why I might suddenly or subconsciously throw her glowing looks of endearment. Fortunately, she was understanding and thought the whole thing was rather amusing, but I couldn't help but wear a pained smile every time we conversed thereafter, for fear that I might laugh more than I should or hug her when it came time to leave class.

As much as I love to be given a chance to contribute my humble opinions about the themes of Kafka's Metamorphosis to the class, thereby making a good impression upon my teacher and sounding somewhat intelligent in front of my peers, I would much rather be interrupted by the officious, self-indulgent, brown-nosing know-it-all in the center of the front row (incidentally right next to me). Clearly, whenever everyone in your vicinity smirks or chuckles after you nervously but loudly interject in the middle of a discussion to regurgitate what you read on Sparknotes last night, your frequent opinions are well-received. You're providing a double service- not only do you save the blow-offs in the back row from the pressure of answering a question they don't know how to answer because they didn't read the text, but also you save people like me, who really only want to prove they did their homework and contain a genuine passion for literature and novel-based discussion, from wasting precious breath which we could thankfully! instead use in order to exhale loudly so as to display discontent with your offerings. We all really believe you're smart because you spit out information faster than it probably took you to skim Google for .org- domain websites featuring study guides on the Metamorphosis. And I can't say I didn't breathe a sigh of relief when you jaunted into Spanish class late, telling the teacher, "Lo siento, Senora, pero..." That sigh of relief soon turned into an impressed exhalation at your Spanish-speaking skills. You are what aggravates me beyond belief in class, but if it wasn't for you I would never get heated enough to spark a much-needed, in-depth discussion about major themes of a story. Thanks?

And then there are those students that are apparently English majors, but don't seem to be book-readers at all. I admit, this is entirely a shallow judgment on my part, but I'm learning that there are different types of people in this world (who knew?) and that more specifically, there are different types of English majors at Butler. But this one guy in my class, who I know as "Jalapeño" Jack from Orientation last semester (he knows me as "Beatbox" Brendan, another blog post entirely), just doesn't immediately strike me as an English major right away, for no reason at all. It's probably because he's one of those guys that seems real shifty and nervous, but every once in a while makes a loud, awkward joke in class in order to be the intelligent, intuitive class clown who can humorously tie literature to pop culture, but mostly to keep people from thinking he's an introverted spaz. For example, today as we discussed Gregor Samsa's relationship with his father, Jalapeño explained to us that Herr Samsa, in a fit of fury, started "whipping apples at his son ... [wait an untimed beat-and-a-half] ... like Nolan Ryan."


This, the class found funny, only ensuring that my double and triple entendres during Shakespeare's Tempest will be met with silent pity.

On the topic of my infrequent contributions in class, I just want to point out how much I hate being cut off while I explain my interpretation of various themes in English class. This is a travesty that I have been a part of since early high school, when I discovered that it requires much explanation for me to accurately get my point across. Today our teacher asked us to point out and explain symbols in Gregor's bedroom. I had been itching for three days to offer my interpretation of the handmade, gilded frame containing a picture of a woman in furs on Gregor's wall, but I only got as far as, "The gilded frame-" before my teacher thanked me, agreed, and asked for more symbols. At this point, Miss Know-It-All chimed in with her fast-paced, extraordinarily vivid animalistic viewpoint of the fur-clad woman, which brought our discussion to industrialist and dehumanizing themes in the Metamophosis. All I wanted to say was that anytime something in literature is gilded, it usually represents something ugly being obscured by a superficial shine! Agghhhh. But I'm not mad at my teacher. I quite like her. She's chic and intelligent and funny and reminds me a lot of Helena Bonham-Carter (the last few Harry Potters, Sweeny Todd, Fight Club, etc.). I feel like we have this attachment because I visited her once last semester in order to inquire about the operations of the English department and its according majors. She had plenty of posters up in her office, one in particular featuring Bob Dylan, circa 1965 during the Highway 61 Revisited recordings. Despite this unspoken bond I feel is present, I get the feeling she doesn't remember me, so now I have to once again prove my worth by performing well on various essays throughout the semester, as there's no way she's going to extract much value from my classroom contributions.

It's amazing how pretentious some of these students are. All these students throwing out interpretations faster than I can come up with one. I know I frequently fall short of staying modest, and I'm sure this post was like a bad acid trip in a public library, but I feel slightly overwhelmed in class. I'm simultaneously thrilled to be in such a literature-based course and disgusted by my peers who all seem to be scrambling for attention and competing for appreciation, like pups vying for a first taste test of Mom's teats. How about that analogy? But maybe I'm learning that there are other people like me. Maybe there are (gasp!) smarter students than I in my English class who legitimately like literature like I do. Maybe- just maybe- I'm slowly sliding off my pedestal in the clouds, falling down to earth so that I don't hold myself in higher esteem than my classmates. I take this ominous threat only as a challenge. I'm stepping up my game this semester. Sure, I had fun last semester, taking core classes in order to get my most basic college credits, goofing off and doing the little homework assigned, knowing I could still pull off a good grade. But now I'm (almost) an English/Education major. The time has come to focus on my studies and excel, so that when I'm teaching English one day in the future, I can successfully tell the pretentious Know-It-All in my class to shut the hell up and get out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sports Post

Well, here we are again.

It's championship weekend in the NFL. After months of trench warfare and bomb passes and ground attacks and defense and blood, sweat, and tears, America's favorite sport prepares to reach a climax.

You will hear me moaning loudly around 5:30 this Sunday, either in destitute sadness or in orgasmic euphoria. That's how much I care about these Green Bay Packers. The same ones that I've watched be ladened with injuries and suffer a dangerous amount of frustrating defeats since September. We have persevered and earned our spot in the NFC championship game. Ahh, the anticipation is killing me.

Rooting interests aside, there are three other teams that have made it to this platform, all three of which have passionate fans that match my intensity and passion. The fact is, the four remaining teams are four of the NFL's upper-eschelon franchises, and serve as a testament that the NFL isn't as "evolved" as we all thought it was.

This season has been one of the more dynamic ones that I can remember, which isn't that crazy, because I can remember like seven seasons vividly. (Apparently the Browns made the playoffs in 2002. How did this happen? How do I not remember this landmark achievement?)

If you remember, we started this season with a very different outlook at who would be in the Super Bowl, and that has changed periodically.

Starting before the season, the Minnesota Vikings had "the look". "The look" is when you see a team and think, "damn, they are headed for the Super Bowl if they play like this." Before the year actually started, Minnesota had everything. Quarterback, running game, able receivers, defensive playmakers, scary special teams, you name it. The Vikings looked like a stout favorite. Then they actually started playing games.

By the fifth week of the season, everybody had a loss on their resume, and the team that boasted the best look about them was Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, whose only loss was a narrow defeat at the hands of top division rival Baltimore, was 3-1 and scary without the help of their franchise quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger's return would usher in an era of dominance and they would run over opponents from October to the end of January, or so we thought...


The Steelers, who started hot without Ben Roethlisberger, will try to avenge a Week 15 loss to the Jets.

By week 9, the league had a new top dog. The Baltimore Ravens, who themselves boasted "the complete package," were tied for the league's top record. They boasted a blossoming quarterback and a burgeoning group of Pro-Bowl caliber receivers. The return of Ed Reed from injury assured that this team wouldn't lose steam for the rest of the season. But, well, they did.

Shortly after the Ravens reached the top of the dogpile that was the NFL, they were deterred by Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, in a personal dethroning where Ryan's team drove downfield in the last minute of the game, scoring a touchdown and spurning the Baltimore fans who finally thought it was their year. This validated Atlanta, and they did look like a winner, I saw them take us down in the last minute of a game and stab us in the heart (for which we would get sweet, sweet revenge). Hell, they even had that catchy commercial where they're all on a bus with the kids and bobbing their heads in sync to the music that all of them can inexplicably hear. This team looked like they were having a year to remember.

But they weren't. They faded down the stretch, and New England began dominating fools like it was nobody's business. They thrashed the Jets on national TV 45-3, which is downright embarrilarious. They were playing football the Patriots way, where they nickel and dime you and score every time because Tom Brady's great and they weren't letting you outscore them by causing you to throw on their talented secondary. They had a clear path to the Super Bowl, but the feeling was temporary, as they could not hold on to their dominance, just like everyone else before them.

And thus the Packers inherited the seat of "NFL's top dawg". Destroying the Giants and eeking out Chicago in back-to-back must win games. Then we beat down the NFL's most dangerous offense in Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles (who themselves had a week or two where they looked like the NFL's best team). The Packers then dominated the Atlanta Falcons, sending them off with a spank on the ass in the form of a 48-21 thrashing.

And now we're down to four teams.

A team that certainly has never had "the look," and along with that, much of any respect, is the Chicago Bears. They don't have injuries, they had an easyish schedule, they got a bye and have only beaten Seattle thus far in the playoffs, and so they get slighted as the team who is probably the fourth most worthy of a spot in Championship weekend. This may be true, but only because of the difficult paths the other teams have taken. The New York Jets beat Peyton Manning and Brady back to back, Pitt played a quarter of the season minus their franchise quarterback and beat bitter rival Baltimore to earn a shot at the Super Bowl, and Green Bay, need we go over this again? YES. WE'VE HAD SO MANY INJURIES. WE'VE PLAYED SO MANY GOOD TEAMS. WE ARE THE WORTHIEST.

Side tangent: to those who discredit the self-inclusive "we" of sports fans, go die. We, the fans, invest a ridiculous amount of time into following these teams and expend an inexcusable amount of emotional investment in their successes, we benefit from it not at all; unless we win the Super Bowl. The least you can give us is the privilege of pretending that our passion matters as much as an inclusive "we". I watch every Packers game every week all the time. I would absolutely suit up, were I seven times the athlete and seven inches and seventy pounds greater in mass. But I'm not. God gave me the power to be a fan. So a fan I shall be. And I will not take the shit you give me for caring about my team to the point of senselessly including myself when I talk about our gameplan for the week. Just let me have my "we", Shiffman.

But back to worthiness. Don't discredit the Bears. They're here for a reason. If they win this weekend then there's no doubt left to have, but they earned a first round bye, and they dominated the Seahawks like a superior team should. They've proven doubters wrong all season, and they set out to do it again on Sunday as the underdog against a team that: A-they finished with a better record than, B-they beat in the regular season, and C-are playing at home. The Bears will have a chip–and 65,000 rabid fans–on their shoulder.

And so we're here! Championship Sunday! Winners go to the big game, losers suffer a feeling of depression that they won't forget for years! And honestly, oftentimes the conference championships are more intriguing match-ups than the championships themselves. I don't just mean in football either. Think about it, this theory is proven year in and year out with baseball. Red Sox-Yankees is more exciting than Red Sox-Astros. Part of this is because baseball is stupid and allows, like, a three-week window where teams from different conferences (or in this case, "Leagues") play each other. The sooner they change that, the sooner baseball can become more interesting. There's legitimately no reason to restrict inter-league play. Traditionalists be damned, it's obvious the way you like your baseball is plain boring. In basketball, with the rare exception of Boston-LA in the finals, the conference finals are just more playoff-y. I remember when the Lakers and Pistons were dominating their respective conferences in the early 2000's, it was a rivalry between DET/LA and a player to be named later. For LA- Sacramento, Portland, T'Wolves, San Antonio. For DET- Indiana, Cleveland, Miami. In the NFL, you have the great Colts-Pats match-ups and it's just always a battle. The teams are usually bigger rivals, and that is the central point of this paragraph.

That rings true this season as well. But, in the AFC we had our rivalry games in the Divisional rounds, not that the Jets and Steelers are friends. Well, maybe they are. However, in the NFC, we have an amazing occurence: THE BEARS AND PACKERS. FOR ALL THE MARBLES IN THE NFC. What's more amazing? Is that this never freaking happens. Usually one of these teams is good and the other fades out early. Proof? These teams have never met in the NFC championship game (save for 1941, but that was wayyyy before the current system). This game is the biggest Bears-Packers game yet to date, and it's the rubber game for the two teams after they split the season series. Part of the reason why this is traditionally such a classy and respectful rivalry is because of the see-saw effect these two teams seem to have on each other. No reason to be mad as a Packers fan when you're going 4-12 and against a Bears team destined for 10-6 and they kick your ass. They're the better team and took care of business. And even if an upset occurs, it's still like "Ha! We beat you! We'll be rootin' for you in the playoffs..." because these teams just never make the playoffs at the same time. In my 18 years of life, only 3 times have both teams made the playoffs in the same year, despite the combined 19 playoff appearances by the two teams. This very time is the only time since I've been alive that the two teams PLAYED each other in the playoffs. We may as well be playing this game in hell. Oh wait we are.

The other game, in the AFC, is less enthralling. Jets-Steelers. Who do you want to win? The Steelers. Of course you do, nobody likes the Jets. We don't doubt you Bart Scott, we're sick of you. They have every aspect of unlikability on their side: Fat asshole coach, overpaid star-studded roster with a bunch of championship chasers, quarterback enviable for his celebrity and not his skills, trash talkers, from New York, they are cheaters, and what's worst, they're actually good. The Steelers can't make me hate them no matter how many Super Bowls they win, and I don't know why. They have great fans. James Harrison is a beast. Polamalu does funny hair commercials. Their quarterback may be a rapist. Uhh, erm, maybe that one's not so likable. Hines Ward is one of the most likable guys in the league, given that you aren't playing him on that particular Sunday. And frankly, we just want the Steelers in the Super Bowl to make it more interesting.


Life wishes it could be as important as the Super Bowl.

The possible Super Bowl match-ups have, to me, a distinct order of appeal.

Team with most championships versus team with most Super Bowls. Best fan bases in the NFL, playing for a title in the stadium of a team they both hate. Good quarterbacks. They had an unforgettable game last year that ended on a last second Steelers touchdown. An anguishing defeat for Green Bay, but one that stuck with them and I think has helped prepare them for big games like the one on Sunday. A rematch of that caliber will be sublime.

2. Steelers-Bears
This is intriguing because these teams don't have much of a history, but they should. Two of the oldest most historically significant franchises in the NFL, and they have yet to meet in a Super Bowl or a big game. A Bears or Steelers fan may be able to remember a great one, but it would be a great rivalry-establishing game for two of the most respected teams in the league.

3. Packers-Jets
I put this third, not because I'm a Packers fan, but because the teams match up really well. The Aaron Rodgers versus Jets secondary battle will be one to watch, and the Jets star-studded offense that's weak point is the QB would be interesting to see take on a streaky but burning hot Packers D.

4. Bears-Jets
These teams played two or three weeks ago in a high-scoring but mildly entertaining affair. The stakes would be higher and the game would benefit, but this is setting up for a defensive struggle. If it is one, the game will lose interest, if it isn't one, it will be disappointing to the football die-hards like myself. However, if it's a tough defensive game, I would enjoy it (LIES–if the Packers lose this weekend I will hate the Super Bowl.)


This is how the Bears spell sex appeal.

Speaking of defensive battles, this post-season has been a testament to the dirtbags who proclaim "defense wins championships" because they sure as hell have gotten teams to the conference title games. The Jets have a swarming defense. So do the Steelers. So do the Bears. So do the Packers. These teams are equipped with ample offenses, but the teams that boast their offense (Eagles, Falcons, Patriots, Colts) fell short. You need both facets to win in the playoffs. The Bears, this weekend will try to prove that you need all three, because their special teams is vastly superior to ours and if it has its way, the Pack are in deep doo-doo.

Additionally, the offenses can't be pass-happy either. They can be pass oriented, but they need balance. Each game this post-season, the team that has ran the ball more times has won the contest. Now this is also true because you run when you are winning, but still, it shouldn't be ignored. The Packers, whose run game is the most questionable, found their guy (or so it seems) at the right time in rookie James Starks. His performance has allowed the team to outlast Philly and choke out Atlanta.


The emergence of James Starks has fans and teammates alike jumping for joy and dancing.

This game has me sweating through showers and unable to sleep. I'm dazing off in class and unable to watch Dragonball Z with the full attention that I prefer. There is nothing like the conference championships. And as I sit in my oasis of room 112 in a sea of Bears fans here in Champaign, it's so strange to grasp the fact that in the Super Bowl, it's either us or them. If it's not us, it's them. If it's not them, it's us.

Now I won't make picks, because they don't mean shit. But I hope we win. 2007 we got here and lost. If we got here and win I will be guaranteed 2 weeks of prideful euphoria, and if we lose I will be drained of so much. So much. The thing is, it is a game. You can't plan for everything. Especially with the Bears. But if we go out there and wallop them I will be Super Saiyan 3 shooting out Kamehamehas of love and happiness, because we've been here since August. Everything has built up to this. It's time to take the big stage, hold your breath, and go do it. My roommates a Steelers fan, but he has the Super Bowl he won 2 years ago to fall back on if his team goes to shame. Bears and Packers, everything's at stake. All or nothing. I can't stop imagining glorious/disastrous scenarios in my head, but I have all the confidence in the world. It's all about Sunday. At 2 P.M. on that frozen field. Making the biggest plays. Scoring the most points. Winning the game. Earning the right to go to the Super Bowl.

Breathe it in. And bring on the weekend.

--Eliot Sill

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mada- Five Tens

Ten Male Celebrities That I Wish Were Gay

1. Seth Rogen
2. Jason Segel
3. David Beckham
4. Daniel Tosh
5. Daniel Radcliffe
6. Robert Pattinson
7. Robert DeNiro
8. James Franco
9. Forrest Whittaker
10. Robin Williams

Top Ten Favorite Office Supplies
1. Stapler
2. Staple remover
3. Tape
4. Paper clip holder
5. Sharpie
6. Post its
7. White out
8. Sticky tack
9. Label maker
10. Rubber band balls

Top Ten Days of The Year
1. My birthday
2. D Day
3. Christmas
4. New Year's Day
5. December 7th
6. Winter Solstice
7. Leif Ericson Day
8. Boxing Day
9. Talk Like A Pirate Day
10. Mardi Gras

Top Ten Words On Books On The Shelf Above My Head
1. Enchanted
2. Gay
3. Sensibility
4. White
5. Develop
6. Stranger
7. Dragon
8. Rainbow
9. 4
10. Warehouse

Top Ten U of I Jobs
1. Hospitality at Canopy Club
2. Espresso Royale
3. Dining Services
4. Bread Co.
5. Mia Za's
6. Urban Outfitters
7. RA
8. Cafe Paradiso
9. The Library
10. Krannert Student Association

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nick - Physicality Is Holding Me Back

As I sit here writing and snacking on mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I can't help but think that our bodies are really, really dumb. If my body was at all smart, it would be saying, "Nick, you should eat some steamed broccoli, or some protein-rich yogurt!"

But no. It's urging me to continue eating peanut butter cups. And that don't make no kind o' sense.

Sugar is bad for you. Lots of things are bad for you, and if you're anything like me you would far rather eat those things than a bowl of carrots or a sandwich or something. Seriously, what is soda? It's sugary goop. It is, in everything except taste, pretty gross. And yet it's delicious. When evolution was designing our taste buds, it done screwed up.

And here's another thing: anytime I do anything physically tiring, my body is telling me to stop and conserve energy. Well, stupid body, if you weren't so opposed to getting a good workout once in a while I think we'd all be a lot better off, don't you? It's like you're hardwired to try and make me fat and have heart problems.

And you know when you're lying on the couch and your body won't let you get up? What's that about, body? You should let me get up to go do something productive, for both of our sakes.

And, while I'm addressing you, body, let's talk about that time I broke my arm. As soon as I broke it, you started releasing some kind of something that made me super happy and outgoing. Why can't you do that more? That was kind of cool. I would think you'd give me incentive to not break the arm again by making hurt or something.

And yet, while you make me feel good after breaking an arm, you flip out every time I have to get a shot. What's that all about? It's just a little needle, you shouldn't make that big a deal about it.

It's like no matter what I tell my body to do, it's stubborn and set in its ways. Sure, I can ignore the pain and take it like a man, but my body won't stop producing it. And I can pretend that I don't have to pee really badly but my body will still make it feel really uncomfortable until I am able to go to the bathroom.

The conclusion is that our bodies are dumb. Although my body also happens to be gorgeous and adequate in every way.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Robert - Squirrels

The universe validated my decision to write about squirrels this morning by immediately presenting me with two of them making sweet, sweet forced love. It is important to make a continual visual comparison between squirrels and humans as you read about squirrel sex.

First off, as a side note, let's establish that squirrels might be the most underrated common animal on the planet. They're everywhere, they're eccentric, they're untouchable, and they're endlessly adorable. Yes they're kind of like rats. I know. But if rats acted like squirrels I would replace all of my floors with cheese. Okay, let's get to the dirty action.

A rustling in the leaves

I was minding the business of a little squirrel chewing on a nut by an oak tree this morning, thinking about a time when I watched one destroy a nut on the quad recently. Shortly, my gaze wandered about ten feet to my right, to the trunk of the oak, where I saw another squirrel trying to bust one on a third squirrel in the early afternoon daylight. Sorry, original squirrel. You're suddenly less interesting. A tiny cluster of spectators was also noticing, oogling like little girls over the scene, apparently star-struck, maybe taking notes? I chose to watch stoically, with a deep respect for nature and a determination to avoid nut jokes,* and took illustrated notes.

Vertical Radical

They were doing it on a tree trunk. Holy crap, because tree trunks are vertical. I completely understand that squirrels have claws, but that does little to negate the fact that they were having sex on the wall. Maybe he didn't finish. Maybe she was unimpressed by his performance. Doesn't matter, they still have something write home about. I assume Original Squirrel has been to some wild squirrel parties; he remained unfazed by a) sex happening right by him and b) wall sex happening period.

How to court, defeat, and rape your partner

It was an adorable and fuzzy potential rape. I couldn't really tell if it was or not, but I was too cutesied to notify squirrel authorities anyway. They grappled, fought, submitted, and dominated. They did their business on all levels of trunk and limb. That's the equivalent of having sex in every room of your house at once. Or chasing a girl around your house and then raping her. I noted that it kind of sucks to not have real vocal cords, because playful foreplay and desperate struggling kind of look the same if you're a squirrel. Maybe the man squirrel didn't even know he was raping her. That would be hilarious. I still wish I was a squirrel.

Things got a little weird when they started making direct eye contact with me. I decided to go with my animal instinct, so I did not back down. I cleansed all weakness from my system and played the impossible-to-win staring game that you play with your pets, except your pets aren't having sex. This is my favorite part of the squirrel->human comparison. If this ever happens with people, I'm determined to maintain the same course of action.

The Gender Question

This does come into play. I reference "man squirrel" only as the victor and "girl squirrel" as second place in the sex battle. What! you're saying to yourself right now. Manimals have sex with the females, not the other way around! I will paint the scene a little more clearly to illuminate why this is an issue.


This may just be a display of animal dominance, or territorialism, or foreplay, but I prefer to think of them as gay squirrels. Most of the animal kingdom seems pretty pigeonholed in a standard, straight-edge, Circle of Life sex mentality. It would be nice to see some squirrels out there brave enough to stop hiding behind evolution's expectations for once.

A happy ending I'm pretty sure

After a long morning of tantric, public sex or rape, it's nice to be able to relax at the end. High on an upper bough, the two lovebirds perched, victor on top of girl squirrel, cuddling, reflecting on the day to come and their plans for the future. At this point my interest in voyeurism had come to a close. I waved goodbye to my ten-minute friends and with a wink apologized for my blatant intrusion on the most intimate moment of their animal lives.

The moral

Even rape can be made okay with a little atmosphere. Just add fur.

*Oh my god I already made one in this post