Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Lost City, Pt. 2

Stepping disdainfully over the headless corpse of Conor, Lathandros forged onward. He hated distractions. He was in a hurry to get home and just wanted to get what they had come for. They wound their way through the ruins swiftly. They had not come to see the city, incredible as it was. What they had come for was on the other side.

After an hour or so of walking, they had almost made it through. They could see it now. The cave. Daunting and dark, it seemed to exude terror. Grywio let out a grumble of discomfort. He may be a dwarf, but even he feared to enter this place. Lanthandros, however, was not phased. He knew no fear. This was no silly sense of pride either. He was simply physically incapable of feeling that emotion.

As they left the outskirts of the city to approach the cave, Lathandros sensed something. Spinning around, his bow was out in a flash with an arrow notched. His sights were set on the shadowy figure that was emerging from one of the ruined structures. It was a centaur. Neither of the two had ever seen one of these mysterious beings before, only heard of them in legend. He truly was a sight to behold. His long flowing hair glimmered in the sunlight. His massive upper body was covered in scars, speaking of countless victorious battles. The elf lowered his bow. The centaur slowly moved toward them. As he stood before them, he opened his mouth to speak.

"Sup bros. The name's Chillas. What are you two muchachos doing in my hood?"

"Uhhh...we have come seeking something of great importance to us. It lies in the cave over yonder," replied Lathandros hesitantly.

"Oh right. You want the Treasure of Lolla, eh? I'll come with if that's cool with you bros."

"Yeah...yeah that's fine..."

The now trio made their way to the cave entrance. Not wanting to dwell on the fear that consumed him, the dwarf plunged forward, and the others followed.

"Well, this is homely..." said Gwyrio.

And indeed it was. A fire burned in a fireplace, illuminating a cozy den.

"What the..." began Lathandros, but was abruptly interrupted by a door on the other side of the room being thrown open. A huge minotaur burst in. He brandished an enormous battle axe, fire burning in his eyes. His long blonde hair was held back by a green bandana.

"What are you doing in my house?!?!" roared the minotaur.

"Uhh we came for the treasure...don't suppose you know where that is, do you? And if so, do you, uh, think we could have it...?"

"Oh yeah of course. It's right over there in that glowing suitcase. Fight me for it? Pick which one of you wants to accept the challenge."

"I got this, bros," said Chillas. "Toss me that sword."

The battle that ensued was epic. There was clashing of steel and bloodshed and yelling.

And then I ran out of dream.


CAST LISTING (as determined by me after waking up):
Gwyrio- Eliot
Lathandros- Me (of course)
Conor- Robert
Chillas- Conor
Minotaur-Nick

-Classic

Conor - Robert Langellier



This is Robert Langellier. You may know him as Sunday Robert. I know him as Robert Langellier.

But who exactly is he? What makes him who he is? How can we fix key elements of his personality to make him better? I will answer these questions and more throughout the body of this article, but not without a little help from my friends.

I texted several passerby's and asked for a short statement summarizing their thoughts on Robert, and I will be inserting what they have to say now and then throughout the article. Their thoughts will be written with italics. 


First, the facts. 5'11". He has brown eyes. He often wears hats. He has a weird thing for vests that may or may not be ironic? His birthday is September 2nd, but this date usually comes and goes without anyone really noticing. Robert is too bashful to make his birthday publicly known on facebook, and his own girlfriend had to go through her text messages in order to figure out the exact day. Speaking of his girlfriend and facts, I have totally kissed his girlfriend before. She has nothing but positive things to say about the multiple (more than once) times we kissed using our lips, but when asked about her current boyfriend, she expressed "indifference. Yeah, yeah I guess indifference is the best way to put it." Robert's cell phone number is 217-494-1823, and he loves texting.

But the facts paint a hollow, lifeless picture. Robert is arguably so much more than that. I think one friend described it best when they said that "Robert is the greatest... sometimes."

Yes, yes indeed.

Robert IS the greatest, sometimes. Truly he's one of my best friends, in a weird way. I've known him for the past 2 years or so, and we always liked eachother (RIGHT ROBERT? WE ALWAYS LIKED EACHOTHER, RIGHT, MAN? RIGHT?!) but we only became good/the best of friends towards the beginning of this past summer. So like, our true friendship anniversary is still a few months away.

"Robert is like Yoshi. He's super cool and you can ride off his jokes and its super fun, but when you get hit by a bad guy (spite), he cries and runs like a bitch and spits up some bullshit."

That's pretty weird to say, whoever said that!

Robert is a good friend. He is funny. He has a quick wit about him. He takes jokes in directions you don't see coming, and he sells them. The rhythm of his speech is almost identical to mine, and it's weird. He does this thing where he makes this like "pffff" sound right before shouting "What?!" if something ridiculous is said, and I find it hilarious. It almost annoys me how funny I find it. He tells the truth, but he does not claim to be any kind of authority on matters. He makes an honest effort to be fair and give everything and everyone the chance it/they deserve. He does not always succeed, but he tries. He is sometimes brutally honest. He doesn't do well with confrontations and seems to avoid most conflict. This is not because he is weak. He's just a nice guy. "A scholar and a gentlemen," claims one source. "[He] is a cool guy," says another.

"He is a dumb friend," says one indignant Robert protester. He certainly does seem dumb sometimes. Once, he dropped his phone into a pitcher of water at a Denny's. He was not drunk. It was not an accident. Robert was completely aware of what would happen. Robert was basically double dog dared into doing it, and he did it rather than ever back down from a joke. Admirable, and really really dumb.

Someone told me today that Robert "looks like Jon Wurster."



Yeah I can see that.

Robert is like a cactus, in that he doesn't take much to maintain. Like, in a metaphorical way involving friendship. See I don't really talk to him that much now that we live far apart from one another, but not a lot has changed. I feel like, metaphorically, if I were to leave Robert in a windowsill for several weeks I could come back and he would be fine. As in, when I run into Robert next, we'll immediately find ourselves doing things we don't want to in order to prove that we are funny and clever.

Also like a cactus, I feel like I have this mistaken belief that Robert, slash the cactus, needs me, when it really doesn't. This sounds sad and pathetic, but I do not intend it in that way. It actually reveals one of his best qualities. Robert will be happy in pretty much any situation you put him in, with anybody you put him around. Robert's a cool dude, and he gets along with most everyone. He was happy in Springfield (RIGHT ROBERT?!?!?!!) and he's happy at Mizzou and he'll be happy wherever he ends up after that. That's good. That's great. I just hope that, like that cactus I got in 2nd grade and promptly forgot about, I happen upon Robert from time to time, and we can chat/infuriate one another. That would be nice.

I'm going to end with another quote I got from someone.

"Robert captures the essence of attractive. He brings you in with his curiously warm eyes, keeps you there with his stable flowing charm, and lets you go at just the right time so you're sure to not want, but need, to come back for more."


Yeah, cool, awesome, whatever.  I think this quote shows Robert in a much more interesting light when creatively edited.

"Robert captures... you in his... stable.... and lets you go..."


Now there's the Robert I know and love.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Many Faces of Brendan Cavanagh


 by Brendan Cavanagh, of all people, believe it or not

Leave it to college to cause one to question one's constantly transforming identity, or one's role in a new environment.  The situation seems nigh hopeless enough when I don't know who exactly I should be, but proves  even worse when I begin to identify with musicians or cinematic and literary characters.  That being said, let us take a glance at the many characters that have found elements of their personalities portrayed in my demeanor over the last six months:

One. Stephen Dedalus

The protagonist of James Joyce's signature novella, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as well as certain passages from his masterpiece of an Irish odyssey, Ulysses, struggles to ascertain just exactly who he is.  Over the course of his childhood, adolescence and young adulthood he engages in a number of highly significant and influential experiences that allow him to cultivate his worldview and feelings about love, life, heritage and religion.  Stephen often feels constrained by the limitations that arise from his experiences, and his metaphoric asphyxiation causes him to emerge from each experience all the wiser.

"When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets."

He feels that his true vocation is to be ordained into the priesthood, but upon much self-contemplation he is illuminated to his passion for the beauty of language, words and literature.  It occurs to Stephen that his calling involves not only appreciating the aesthetic value of language, but also to spread that appreciation to his brethren.

"Welcome, O life, I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race."

Two. Holden Caulfield

As previously noted, the antihero of J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye has had a profoundly positive and negative affect on my life.  Unfortunately, some of the more unsatisfactory traits of Holden's personality have carried over from the transitional summer between high school and college.  There are times when I just get so sick of the "phoniness" that bubbles up all around me.  It would make Holden sick to see the immaturity that often arises in a collegiate environment (which is ironic because Holden is an incredibly immature character): Guys like Holden's roommate, Ward Stradlater, who are sickeningly self-confident and suave with the ladies, but run around the unit after classes, slapping you on the butt and humping you in a twisted effort to assert their masculinity.  "Oh hey, fag, you like this, fag?  Yeah?  Uh uh yeah.  Did you do the homework for English?  I just couldn't get up, so I skipped and I don't have any of the handouts."  Yet, we still wind up feeling bad for these people when we find out, for instance, that they're about to be kicked out of school for their depressingly-habitual apathy in regards to attending classes.  And then there are the girls:

"I was half in love with her by the time we sat down.  That's the thing about girls.  Every time they do something pretty, even if they're not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.  Girls.  Jesus Christ.  They can drive you crazy.  They really can."

Finally, when Holden relates his experiences wandering New York at sixteen, or when I write my weekly blog posts, we wind up getting overly sentimental. As Holden says,

"Don't ever tell anybody anything.  If you do, you start missing everybody."

Three.  Bob Dylan

Sometimes it seems when I cannot put what I am trying to express into words, Bob Dylan is there to articulate it in a most poetic fashion, as if he too is experiencing the same situation as I am.  When I need a creative outlet for my thoughts about women, society, happiness, sadness, justice or injustice, I simply plug in my iPod, scroll through a selection of Dylan's best songs and sing along.  On identity and its expression:

"The man in me will do nearly any task / And as for compensation, there's a little he will ask / Take a woman like you / To get through to the man in me." (The Man In Me, 1971)

On leaving loved ones at home:

"I will write you a letter from time to time / As I’m ramblin’ you can travel with me too / With my head, my heart and my hands, my love / I will send what I learn back home to you" (Farewell, 1963)

And not to be forgotten, on moving on from past loves:

"I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind / You could have done better but I don’t mind / You just kinda wasted my precious time / But don’t think twice, it’s all right" (Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, 1963)

Four. A Certain TV Character

Temporarily inexplicable.

Five. Mike from Swingers

Jon Favreau's portrayal of Mike, a guy who just cannot seem to get over his last girlfriend (who dumped him), is almost eerily easy to relate to.  He bores his friends by constantly bringing up his issues with this breakup, though they are too friendly to admit it.  I find if I am dwelling on a certain matter, always a romantic one, I cannot help but incorporate my concerns into every conversation I have with my friends.  Some are more understanding, and allow themselves to be a medium through which I can vent, while others are more like Vince Vaughn's character in Swingers, trying to get my mind off things by thrusting me into unrelated situations and focusing attention on themselves for a change.  Despite whatever romantic similarities lie between Mike and I, our true mutual trait is in our incorporation of comedy into conversation.  He is a struggling comedian, and we we both find our jokes and references hilarious, but find there exists a massive dichotomy between our understanding of our jokes and the intended audience's understanding.  For instance, when asked to order at a cafe in Vegas, Mike says,


"I'll have a coffee... Two, uh, two coffees.  And it says, uh, here, "Breakfast Anytime."

The waitress affirms, and he responds,

"I'll have the, uh, pancakes and, uh, the Age of Enlightenment."

to which he is met by blank stares from his friend and the waitress.  Now, despite the fact that the Las Vegas waitress DID, in fact, get his obscure French philosophical reference, I can attest to the fact that quite often Mike's and my references or quips will go right over some people's heads, which can be deathly embarrassing.  However, I am not as awkward as Mike ALL the time, but we still do share a similar inefficacy in making the effort to pick up women.

.                   .                   .

Don't get me wrong, I am still plain old Brendan.  I may exemplify some of the more noticeable traits of characters from film, television, books or real life, but my personality and identity are almost entirely shaped by my own experiences.  And I hate to end a piece of writing on a quote, but as Bob Dylan says,

"Oh there's changes in the ocean / There's changes in the sea / There's changes in my true love / But there ain't no changing me."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What's there to say?

Hey, I need an idea to write about.

Come on, I'm completely uninspired, unmotivated, and oddly unpeeved at the moment, and I need to present something to you that you want to read. What's so hard? Just tell me something I need to have an opinion on. I will formulate an opinion and present it to you in the all-too-familiar systematic formula, with some vocabulary garnishing and some jokey comment sprinkles.

Having an idea is a fucking chore.

The responsibility of thought is one that is most frequently taken for granted. Every day I'm supposed to think of new things that no one has ever thought before and word them in ways no one has ever worded them before. Call this nonsensical whining, but that's so difficult.

I, right now, want to plateau. I don't need a breakthrough today, I'm doing just fine. I just want to sit back and entertain myself with Dragonball Z or Final Fantasy VII or Batman. Mind numbing shit that keeps a moderate smile on my face. But yet, that's not how life works. Regardless of how much I feel like I know journalism, I have to get up this morning and learn something new. As much as I don't care about Physics, I have to go learn how balls bounce for an hour and a half. Should I suck it up or do what I want?

These choices are hard to make without your parents in the picture. They answer for you: "Go do things" is the general motto of all parents ever. Unless of course that means "go do things that you want to do." It's more like "go do things that you need to do." And that makes sense. But it is tiring as hell doing that every day.

I mean, I don't know what to say you guys, I don't have meaningful thought in me today. Just not feeling it. I could sit here and write about how Final Fantasy VII is the greatest game of all time. I could write about how The Joker is the best villain of all time and would make Galactus poop his pants. I could do that, but I'd rather be doing something else. Like playing Final Fantasy or reading about The Joker. Today I don't feel like working. I don't feel like effort today.

Which means I don't really feel like talking today either. Maybe if I have something to talk about, but I don't feel like meeting a new friend today. I mean, there are days in which I'm ready to submit a first impression, and then there's days in which I could give two shits about the word outgoing. For instance, if today's blog is the first thing of mine that you've read, you probably think I suck. And as far as you know, I do. But, I just don't feel like gaining a reader today.

Small talk sucks.

It's all the same. Among friends, among strangers, among family, it doesn't make a difference. How's the weather, how's your day, how's the cat. Blah. I wish there was a better way to start conversation than by routinely discussing trivial crap that we know you're only saying to get somewhere else. A fascinating thing about college is the amount of necessary small talk. You know no one. You need to know someone. Conversate with them. What's there to say? I dunno, but it's warming up this week, and I know they care about the weather because they live in it. Sure! Look at the sun! Be my friend! Gosh, I just wish I could say interesting shit all the time, but it's soooo dammmmn harrrrrd.

What's the solution to this problem?

Well I don't know, and it's not my job to know. For to explain the solution here would be to make a point, and as I have stated previously, maybe I'm not feelin' a point. Is there something wrong with that? Should people be forced to progress themselves every day?

Hell, I don't know. And since I said hell let me insert this tangent here: sorry for cursing. You have to understand, I really don't mean it. When I say fuck, it isn't because I'm angry. I would say I am and am not a vulgar person. Is my vocabulary that of a vulgar person? Absolutely. But the connotations of anger and loss of control that come to your head when someone is enraged to the point of writing out the word "fuck" on the internet are where I dissociate myself from the term. Vulgar isn't just a swear word, it's a swear word and a punch to the wall. And you see, I'm not angry. Just in the mood to make a point.

Which brings me to my next paragraph (this is working out well) hypocrisy is disgusting. It's like the equivalent of a dirty mind. Despite the fact that we pretty much all have one, nobody wants to be the one to claim it. A lot of us are aware of the fact that we are hypocritical. The rest of us commit hypocritical acts without realizing it. When someone tells you you're a hypocrite, you feel like shit because they're right. But, I mean, everyone inherently sees themselves as the main character of life. When other people do things, it's subject to "the moral code." When you yourself do something, it is subject to emotional reason and alternate rationality. Hypocrisy is an epidemic. It takes more perspective than you or I have to act truly as how you would hold yourself to act were you yourself not yourself. So don't hate hypocrites. Doing so would be hypocritical.

I don't want to take up too much of your time today, because, well, I don't deserve much of any of it. So next time you talk to me, say interesting things. Also fuck hypocrites. Thanks for reading. Good day.

--Eliot Sill

I voted for my own Snowpocalypse episode. SORRY.

Hey guys, Mada here. I’m just sitting at the library working on copious amounts of homework and trying to figure out what I could possibly blog about that would be of remote interest to anyone else. Should I talk about how stressed I am? Probably not, who isn’t, right? Should I talk about how fun the Vagina Monologues were? No one wants to read my diary. Maybe I should just make a video about nothing. Oh wait, Robert already did that.

Hmmmmmmm

List? Nah, that’s not even fun anymore. Maybe just a random observation I made recently. Yeah, I guesssss sooooooo.

How about how cut off I am from the real world in college. Soooo weird right? Like I haven’t watched television in over a month. At all. I never read the newspaper (except when Eliot writes, of course) and I don’t listen to the radio. I never go to CNN.com and the last time I checked movie listings, the only thing I had heard of was Harry Potter. Fuckin crazy.

The reason being that I live in a commune. That’s what college campuses are; communes. We seem to have this tradition in society that when a person gets to be in their late teens, they need to be shipped off to hundreds of little concentrations of other young adults around the country and their not supposed to interact with the outside world except on “vacations”. I never really realized until I came to college, surrounded by people my age, that it is really weird to see concentrations of young adults. In Springfield there are children and adults and no one in between. That’s because they’re all in college. It’s an age group that has been pretty much removed from normal society and stuck on its own so that young adults can “discover themselves”. Soooo weird.

Yeah that’s all. Have a nice night.

-Mada

PS my internet isn’t working so I have no idea when this post will actually get published tonight…

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nick - I Wanted The Title To Just Be A Heart But Blogspot Wouldn't Let Me

Okay, I actually like Valentine's Day. Really I do. But, I mean... how did this happen? Look at these hearts.

These hearts look very dissimilar. They are both a little bit red, but other than that I don't know how we got them confused somehow.

I love my heart. It keeps blood pumping up through my pulmonary artery, from whence it goes through my lungs and some oxygen diffuses into it! Then it goes back through my heart and to all of my cells, and then back again.That's some cool shit right there.

So really what I'm having trouble understanding is why we would ever want to dumb this down? Hearts are beautiful. Look at how intricate that thing is. Understand that your heart is working really hard to keep you alive, and chances are that you're going to screw up and die before your heart screws up and kills you. If that isn't a perfect expression of love, I don't know what is.

And then there's this bastard child over here on the right. It doesn't even have anything connected to it. How does the blood get pumped to the lungs? Maybe it's the biologist in me, but this sad excuse for a heart seems really unromantic to me.

And besides the whole heart thing, we have this guy here. Saint Valentine.

Personally, I don't really understand how he became icon for love and whatnot. If I were him, I would absolutely be honored at the veneration of my memory.

Though at the same time, I would kind of wish that I hadn't been beheaded by the Roman empire. Also I guess I would be a little miffed that I never got to experience love myself, seeing as how Valentine took a vow of celibacy.

Poor guy. We don't even really know all that much about him considering how long ago he lived. We don't even have anything he said. (Though we can imagine what he would say.)



. . .


I don't want to come off as one of those people who's bitter about Valentine's Day being around. I love holidays, Valentine's Day included. I mean, what's more deserving of its own holiday than love? I just want to make a point about how we think about it.

Because honestly, a biological heart is way cooler than what we call a heart. It's so much more intricate, so much more necessary, and really communicates what the holiday is about better than a meaningless shape.

By the same token, Saint Valentine is way cooler as a bishop who stood up for what he believed in and got brutally beheaded by the church's enemies. Celebrating an icon who lived a long life with his sweetheart and with no problems would be totally overlooking the hardships and passion of love. Not to mention it would be super boring.

So appreciate those around you, but don't let society decide how you celebrate. You don't have to be in a relationship to celebrate Valentine's Day: it's a day to show love and appreciation for all of the special people around you. It seems we, as a society, have this idea that being single is something to be ashamed of, particularly on Valentine's Day, which isn't true at all.

By the same token, we seem to think that couples should get along perfectly all the time, and all problems will be overcome by the power of love. We need to look forward and understand that there's nothing wrong with disagreement; communication is key.

Enjoy your Valentine's Day. Be filled with love, because it isn't necessarily about romance, entitlement, and soul mates: it's about appreciation.

-Nick.

Robert - Meet Robert

video