Saturday, February 26, 2011

Conor - No Excuses

I just got back from a date party where I danced. Yeah that happened. I was about to lay and bed and play maybe an hour of Final Fantasy before I went to bed, but if I have time to play Final Fantasy I have time to write a half-assed Classic Brian. Never again will I fail my readers.

So here are the things that have interested me lately.

Radiohead - Lotus Flower

Radiohead came out with a really good album last Friday called the King Of Limbs. It's the first time in a while that they've released a really good album instead of an arguably amazing album, so some people, myself included, were initially somewhat disappointed by it. But even weak Radiohead interests me and challenges me. There are things to love about this album. It's subtle and contained, maybe even to a fault. The huge musical moments they're known for (like the climax of Exit Music or the explosion halfway through 2+2=5) are no where to be found, but it's obviously a decision they made. They can make that music, and they chose not to. The question is why did they do that, and without that sense of drama and scale does the music still connect? I can't tell you why they designed the album like that, but the music definitely still works. It makes you have to search for the little things. The melodies that don't initially jump out at you, the guitar lines that come in so quietly you didn't even realize they were there, the lyrics that were obscured by the way Thom Yorke sings, etc. There's good stuff there to be found. It's not as good, but I still love it.

Also check this guy out. He's a dancing machine.

Bright Eyes - Shell Games

This is just a perfect song. Everything works. I've always been a fan of Bright Eyes, but I've never been 100% sold. I know how Bright Eyes operate, so I can't fool myself into thinking the rest of this album will be as catchy or as infectious, but I can hope.

Fisherman's Horizon - Final Fantasy VIII

I'm learning this on the piano right now. Their arrangements are so pretty. I especially the part that begins at 2:25, the way the different hands and voices harmonize.

Thomas Jefferson - Derrick Comedy

My guy Tynan showed this to me over the summer, and so you know, I didn't even find this video for the first time recently, but for some reason there was a time first semester where I watched this like twice a day. Iunno why. Maybe to try to get funnier. * Also Mada showed Derrick Comedy to me in the first place, so shout out to Tuesday.

The Mountain Goats - God Damn These Vampires

I feel somewhat obligated to like this song because it's called "God Damn These Vampires." ** Thank god it's good. John Darnielle writes the best choruses. That's not dissing his verses at all, his melodies and especially his lyrics are definitely incredible. It's just he's written so many choruses that just make me  nod in agreement. They just click so well. It's not like I relate to all of his characters, or the sadness and wild, energetic desperation that make up so much of his work. It's not me personally being like "yeah, I get you." It's just the combinations of his words and his conviction. Together they're perfect. Like "I am going to make it through this year if it kills me," or "... and I won't get better but one day I'll be free, cause I am not this body that imprisons me." "And in a small room in Brazil, we were waiting" doesn't seem like an amazing line by itself, but with John Darnielle's voice, it is.

And any chorus that has the line "God damn these vampires for what they've done to me" is just sweet as hell, I don't care.

OKAY WELL I GUESS THAT'S IT. Status report from Conor. I saw Broken Social Scene last Sunday in Tulsa on a whim. That was sweet. I almost died in a car crash on the way up there. That was also sweet, no joke. I'm well on my way to locating the house I will be living in next year, which is exciting. It's not lost or hard to find it's just, you know, we don't know what we're doing exactly yet. But we will soon. I'm trying to figure out what my spring break is looking like. There's a frisbee tournament the first weekend of spring break that our B Team ("Of which I am proudly member of," Conor said while gazing longingly at the A Team)  is supposed to be playing in, but I bet we won't get enough people to go and we'll have to cancel, so like, no way am I going to buy plane tickets to work around that tournament that I am pretty much certain we will drop out off. Frustration becomes me. Tomorrow is our frisbee team's Prom party. I got asked out. By Nolan. A dude. So. I'm going with Nolan. A dude. He best put out.


**And because it's by the Mountain Goats, if I'm really being honest with myself.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


 by Brendan Cavanagh

In the above picture you will see, from left to right, the author, his friend David Garvey and their television alter-egos, Roger Sterling and Don Draper.  The latter two men are the stars of the hit AMC series Mad Men, which centers around the personal and professional lives of a group of men and women who work for an advertising agency in New York City in the early 1960s.  In some ways, our identification with the two men is somewhat superficial, as we like to think of ourselves as two dapper, suave young gentlemen with opalescent prospects.  However, certain personality traits in the two characters have found themselves exemplified in David and I.

For instance, apart from bearing a resemblance to the man, David relates to Don Draper, the handsome, brilliant, albeit entirely enigmatic Creative Director in a more romantic, social sense.  An adequate guide for attracting women in which David takes stock has most fortunately been provided by Don Draper himself!  There are four main steps:

One. "When in doubt, remain absolutely silent."

David, you see, attends Lincoln Land Community College, which serves as his primary arena for attracting women (though I imagine he may see some results one of the next times he does his "Brad Pitt Workout" in the basement of the YMCA). He talks to girls, but has found that in the field of talking to girls, talking to girls is not always his strong suit.  However, once he embraced his identity as Don Draper, he began to stop talking so eagerly and incessantly, favoring instead to remain in silence throughout class and prospering heavily at its result.  He said to me earlier tonight in regard to this step, "You know how many girls at LLCC approached me?  Let me think.  At least 6."

Two. "When asked about your past, give vague, open-ended answers."

David does not like to discuss his one serious, high school relationship of several years.  It is a dead subject that paints a picture of an entirely different person, and he is happy with his distinct personality he possess today.  However, not everyone else is so willing to forget.  When asked about his relationship, David will respond with such replies as, "I don't know, I don't remember, I can't talk about it, If only you knew, If I could tell you or It's a long story."  An almost guaranteed moratorium on past relationship talk.

Three.  "Have a great name."

Come on.  Don't tell me that you didn't notice the rich alliteration and pleasing flow of the name "David Garvey."  All those hard sounds counterbalanced by the smooth double "v"s.  Okay, maybe it's not exactly "Don Draper," but at least he doesn't have to spell and/or pronounce his name emphatically a million times everytime someone asks for it.  NO, there is no "u" in my last name, and for some reason, whenever I spell my name, no one seems to be able to distinguish between the letter "v" and the letter "b."  How many Brendan Cabanaughs do you know?

Four. "Look fantastic in a suit.  Look fantastic in casual wear.  Look fantastic in anything.  Sound good.  Smell good.  Kiss good.  Strut around with supreme confidence.  Be uncannily successful at your job.  Blow people away everytime you say anything.  Take six-hour lunches.  Disappear for weeks at a time.  Lie to everyone about everything.  And drink and smoke constantly.  Basically, be Don Draper."

Okay, well maybe David doesn't encapsulate each and every one of Don Draper's characteristics, but he DOES wear Ray Ban sunglasses, as does Mr. Draper himself.  Admittedly, simply wearing a pair of Ray Bans makes both of them much sexier.  But also, David has a very smooth way of interacting with men and women alike, so that while he may not be tearing off girls' clothes left and right, he still emits a sense of debonair self-assuredness that is not mistaken for cockiness in the slightest.  He has a very fluid way of conversing with you, and you should see this guy sip on an Orange Fanta.  I could have sworn he was enjoying a little mid-morning scotch-whiskey in the office.

So where do I figure in?  How do I embody Roger Sterling's traits?  Who is Roger Sterling, you might ask?  Roger is Don Draper's immediate boss and trusted friend at the advertising agency, and he lives every day like he is "on shore leave."  Yes, that's right, he smokes and drinks perpetually- in and out of the office- and prefers to fool around with women much younger than himself and much more beautiful than his wife.  All of this ultimately led to two heart attacks in the same year.  He is kind of a douche bag.

I don't really remember why David and I decided that I was Roger Sterling, but I suppose if he wanted to be Don Draper, he needed a sidekick, and in a way, Sterling and I both fit that mold.  I guess David and I sort of exemplify the dynamic that makes Draper and Sterling so admirable and affable.  We enter a room together will much more self-confidence and higher aspirations when we're together, which sadly is all too rare these days.  I like to imagine us in about fifteen or twenty years, positioned around a dining table at David's house.  My eyes frequently meet with his beautiful and charming wife's as I oh-so-subtly make passes at her, and I'm considering calling my secretary up for a little late-night horsing around once dessert is over,

 This is my secretary.  I'd be stupid not to do it, right...?

while all the while my wife is obliviously telling David about how our daughter has the lead role in her school play.  Yeah, that's the life.  And David and I are not mad about our prospects at all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bored bear

What if I was a bear?

What if I was a bear who didn't like to hibernate?

What if I liked to hang out after all those other bears bitched out and went to sleep for months at a time? What would I do?

Well, I'd be cold. I'd be lonely. I'd be bored. I would be a bored bear.

I would walk around from time to time, feeling my way through the blustery forest, shaking snow off my fur coat. Wondering where the fish have gone. Also wondering where the water went? And why do I keep slipping on the bottom of where the river used to be?

I'd talk to squirrels. Squirrels would still hang out. We'd be able to play tag in the woods and I would never win. Because I'm a bear, but more importantly, they're squirrels. Squirrels don't lose in tag. Especially not to bears. I try. I try to become friends with them. But they're so pesky and annoying. All they do is run around forgetting where they put their shit. And it's like, I'm here to help, you know? That tree, with  the branches that split into two like a wishbone and the one that has those odd shaped leaves in the spring time, you buried them up against the north edge of that tree. Why the hell are you so confused? You need more brain.

I need better friends. These squirrels are assholes. All my friends are hibernating. I swear I have friends in the summer. And I'm the oldest of my siblings. We go on hunts together and I always get the most salmon. That shit is delicious. It's funny because I don't think they know how bad we eat them. The other salmons will laugh as their friends get caught, as if they're expecting to see them later. Yet I tear into his backbone and then he stops moving and starts tasting all delicious.

But. Where are the fish? I'm hungry and the river has turned into this slippery odd wet basin. I need to get out of this forest.

Well, the forest I'm in must be pretty fricking big, because I've been searching for days. I don't even know if I'm seeing the same crap anymore. I can't tell whether the squirrels I run into can't recognize me or if they just are dumb and forget that there's a large bear roaming about in search of good times and a nice warm bath.

Oh yeah, and where the hell did the sun go? I remember times when it would be gone for a day. But like, seriously? It hasn't been there at all for weeks. This sucks. I'm cold and lonely and bored. I'm conelord. 

What is this? It seems there's a large path here in the forest that I've found. This man came down it riding some armored vehicle or something. So I hit him off the thing and it went crashing into a tree. The man ran away, so I took his vehicle and tried to mess with it. It was kinda heavy. I think I'm on the right track. I mean, that was exciting.

The cub in me wants to go wake everyone up. I can't stand being the only one awake. It's like that Will Smith movie. Yeah, the one with zombies. Except I don't have a dog.

A day or two passes. I come to a clearing! There's tons of nothing here! It's like the desert, but white and not warm. And there's no food. I don't usually survive this long if I don't get anything to eat. I tell myself that I'm going to die soon, but then I never die. A bunny passes by me. He says his name is Curtis. Seemed like a nice guy, but he wasn't in the mood for a friend.

I met a new friend today. His name's Dave. He's a scamp of a coyote who agreed to help me find food other than him as he was pressed down in my jaws. I relinquished him, and he actually seems like a nice guy. He owns about two acres of territory, as marked off by his piss. I try to explain to him that this means nothing to bears, as we could easily devour him and make his digested corpse our territorial boundary. He doesn't seem to get it. He likes to fish, though he's not very good at it. Dave and I go around to more of the old river, and it's still all weird and wet and dry. Dave explains to me that this is ice, and that this happens every winter. It's actually the old water, just consolidated. It huddles for warmth and lies still. Like my family did. 

It's pretty cool watching Dave hunt. He runs really fast, like he's giving a lot of effort. I just kind of kill the killable things around me. But Dave gets me food in exchange for protection. From what, I don't know. There's nothing out here except dumb rabbits and dumber squirrels. I tell him we should look for something more exciting than the clearing. It's a big world out there, I wanna take in as much of it as I can. Dave and I head to this old edifice located down a ways from the clearing we found. There's some fenced in cows laying out in the snow. So Dave and I kill one of them. Her name was Edna. She said that before she died she had wanted to have a calf, but never got the opportunity to bear (LOL) a child. Sorry Edna, you were pretty damn delicious.

About halfway through Edna's torso, this old guy came out with a cannon of some sort. He shot it at us and it hit me in the leg. I was like "Ow!" but he leaned up to shoot it again, so Dave and I ran off, mouths red and tummies full.

Dave told me a super depressing story about his mom. Apparently she died while trying to teach her litter how to catch stuff. She got hit by one of those armored vehicle and got like, really killed. Dave told me he's never messed with any of 'em since. I told Dave that what we had done that night could serve as revenge for his mom. He didn't seem too satisfied.

Dave ate Curtis today. I was just about to tell him not to eat Curtis because Curtis had seemed pretty nice, but then I saw a deer running far off over the hillside, and I mean, how often do you see those things running around? Curtis seemed pissed at me. Well, disappointed really. He knew he had somethin' like it coming. Dave's a nice guy, but he should really use more discretion when he goes and eats things. Curtis' little brother saw him and got really upset. I told Curtis' little brother, Tony, that he'd be all right. Tony didn't buy it, smart little fella, and ran away.

Dave and I left the farm that week. We found more paths, apparently they're called roads if they're made of cement and let those vehicles, cars, run on them. So we kept walking down this one road and a bunch of vehicles passed us. Every time one did, Dave got super freaked out. It was hysterical. He began to howl, like at his mom or something.

It snowed a ton today. I couldn't keep shaking it off my coat fast enough. Dave got really cold and died. I tried to tell him he'd be okay. But he said it was his time to go anyway. He could've told me. I'm a little bummed, because now I don't know how the hell to get back to the forest. Wish I could ask Curtis for directions. Thanks a lot, Dave.

I just kind of turned around and started walking the other way. Now it's like all these vehicles stop and yell at me. At first it kinda freaked me out, but now I just yell back, "hey! you go away, vehicle!" I tried asking one for directions, but the female man's face just got really terrified and she made the thing trample my foot. I had to take a nap after that. That hurt a lot.

The weather got kind of not so cold today. The snow even started to turn into water a little bit. I found the farm that I stayed at, but I don't think it's a very good idea to stay here a while if I don't want the man with the cannon to hit me again. For the record, his vehicle was still beat up. Cool. Wonder if he knew it was me.

I found the clearing today, and I realized it's been too long since I've eaten. I'm starting to get more energy everyday. But at the same time, I feel hungrier. So that sucks. I saw Tony today, he didn't recognize me. Little runt. I decided to let him live though it killed me not to eat any food.

Maybe I should've eaten Tony. I'm starting to get dizzy. I need to eat something. The sun's been  out a couple times in the last few days. It seems like everyone will be getting up soon. I need to find my back. I find my way to the clearing. Now it's sort of a dead brownish yellowish color with some white snow splotches drooped in here and there. I try eating the snow, and that does nothing for me. I try eating the dirt, but I cough it up. Dumb idea.

Eff it. I'm just going to die here. I can't find my forest. I'm going to sleep now.


If bears go to heaven, this sucks. It's hot. The grass is green. The sky is gray. It's raining. I stagger to my feet. I'm in the clearing. I just.. slept? Ahh, darn it. I will have to go home now.

I found the forest today. At least it's a forest. I don't know where else it could go. I still haven't seen any other bears yet. They certainly have to be up by now, don't they? Yeah. They'll be up.

I walk deeper into this forest and come across that road where that guys vehicle got messed up. Almost home! I can practically smell the salmon. I run back to the territory where me and all my friends mess around. The first bear I see is Nellie. She's my best friend. I scream at her from thirty yards away. She doesn't recognize me. I walk up to her. "Hey Nellie, it's me! I'm up!"

She looks at me. "Who are you?"

I slash her face. Bears are dumb.

--Eliot Sill

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

College is for Cweers

It is no big secret that I did not have the most awesome college experience last semester. That isn't to say that it was horrible by any means. Just not great. My roommate was weird and had no desire to know me, I found it very difficult to meet anyone other than my Springfield friends and the workload was not great but different in a way that I found very stressful. This semester has been completely different. I have made some awesome friends, I have my own room and my classes are harder, but I don't mind.

I am writing this post for all the seniors I know who are just a semester away from their freshman year of college. Let me tell you right now to throw away all your expectations. You have NO idea what it is going to be like. Some people go off to college and immediately meet an awesome group of people that they hang out with for years. Some people go to college, join the greek system and find their home there. And some people, go to college and absolutely hate it. You'll notice the increasing number of people coming home and enrolling in Lincoln Land. Now, for some people that is the right decision, but for me, I'm glad I waited it out. It has made all the difference. So here are a couple of things I feel like would have helped me going into my freshman year:

1. Don't have expectations. Everyone's college experience is different, even if they go to the same school.

2. Don't give up. Think about how long it took you to find your best friends in senior year. You haven't hung out with exactly the same people since the beginning of freshman year of high school. College is the same way. Wait it out, it make take a month or a year, but you'll find people.

3. Join something random. Don't join something that is exactly the same at what you did in high school or something that your friend is joining or something you think will make you seem cooler. Join something random that catches your eye. Either it'll be awesome or it won't. Just do it.

4. Don't freak out about housing. Where you live does not determine your life. I was miserable when I got into an all-girls dorm, not I actually really like it.

5. Buy warm clothes. Holy shit so cold.

So yeah, there's obviously a lot more to it than that but these are just some realizations that have helped me be much happier this semester. College is weird and crazy and stressful and worth it. Just do it.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Nick - Conor O'Brien

FACT: Conor was really squinty as a little kid.
Conor O'Brien. The man. The legend. That guy. Around here, we call him Friday Conor. But long before that, he was Conor the tag champion. Conor who fell down and scraped his knee every time he tried to come to my house. There are so many things you have yet to learn about Conor O'Brien.

Let's start at the very beginning. Conor and I were maybe 4 years old. Or 7? Or 5? We were some amount of years old. I was playing with my good friend Peter Eck, who urged me that we should go play with this "really cool" kid named Conor who lived next to Peter. After playing, the next day Peter wasn't home, so I went over to Conor's house to see if he wanted to play.

At first he stared at me like he didn't recognize me at all, but before long we hit it off and we were sitting on his porch talking about very important matters.

"There used to be a dead ant in here." Conor informed me in a grave voice, as he motioned toward his belly button. "I washed it out though." He added.

It was a glorious friendship if there ever was one. He fell on his face onto the sidewalk every time he tried to walk down the street to my house.

FACT: little-kid Conor got angry really often. One time he picked me up and threw me on my driveway during an argument about spiders and ants.

As time went on, we progressed to more serious topics than dead ants: we played Nintendo and tag.

FACT: we were champions at tag. My brother used to get really mad by the end of every game and try to hit us and stuff. Also Nicole Down The Street used to play. Conor had a falling out with Nicole Down The Street.

FACT: I really liked watching Conor play video games. It was weird.

As Conor continued to grow up, he developed into the leader of the glorious improv troupe known as Easily Amused. It is presumably at this time that he met Mike Watts and Paul Elders and had his innocence taken away.

During Conor's late high school years, we saw emerge the Conor we know and love today: the Conor That Knows Everybody. He branched out socially. His music developed from playing Final Fantasy music to writing his own really cool songs.

FACT: Conor can play a lot of instruments. Possibly more than any of us can name.
And then Band Practice began. Probably the second coolest thing that Conor will ever be a part of, right after the Easily Amused Improv Troupe, is his cool band. They have an EP which has been talked about plenty here, so I will keep this section concise.

Now Conor is in Oklahoma, presumably making more music with less cool people and hopefully working on a zombie invasion like in Zombie Snowpocalypse.

The things that make Conor extraordinary are the things that make him Conor. He is hilarious. He is awkward. He is, at times, hilariously awkward. He's really great at making friends and talking to people. He puts forth a lot of effort to be involved in as much as he can. He's full of funny and cool ideas, and he can really bring people together when he tries.

Even the notorious aspects of Conor's personality are kind of endearing. Everybody knows that he probably won't get everything done that he says he'll get done. But it's okay, we tell ourselves, because he's Conor.

I like to think of Conor O'Brien like a prom queen. Even though she's really popular, she always makes time for you. It's just part of her charm, grace, and voluptuousness that she's around all the time even though she seems like she should be too cool to be hanging out with your friends.

Yeah. Conor's like that.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Robert - “Catieno, Savamo!"

As promised, a poem inspired by Lewis Carroll, made up almost entirely of blogspot Capchas. Please interpret this in the comments.

“Catieno, Savamo!"

Dialanci, Dialanci!
Yondei, through the yella sponct,
Hither, o’er the bright fordedi!
The Meringer approaches,
Colarking her dinfeti.

Watch, the mongs they crest her,
The ripe bicolon ready.
The ploksmag in the flograys hath
No haver in the undley.

Ye pickerc, ye codratic,
Thy Meringer’s upon thee.
The coryne’s singing softly
For thy widow’s abicessi.

The unenlightened pontonat
Gagges and chetts his fooni.
But you, my valiant Savamo,
May triumph in thy kinsi.