Saturday, June 4, 2011

Conor - Happy Birthday, Classic

Classic Brian is many things.

Classic Brian is a blog that is waaaay less funny than I originally intended, but as it turns out, it's really hard to write a funny blog post every week and it's also really hard to do that when you have so much to tell your friends who are suddenly so far away.

Classic Brian is sometimes a bother. That's why I went to bed last night at 3 AM when I got back home and set an alarm for 6:30 AM. Which explains why an alarm went off at 6:30 AM that really pissed me off and forced me into an unpleasant state of consciousness for around 10 seconds. Which explains why I woke up around 7:30 AM and went back to sleep before I could comprehend the feeling of guilt and responsibility that had managed to wake me up. Which explains why I'm up right now, laying in bed at 8:45 right now, red-eyed and ready.

Classic Brian was conceived sloppily backstage at a community theater in Springfield, IL. Days later it would be hastily birthed in the attic of Brian Malone's house by Brian, Eliot and I. Blood was everywhere.

Classic Brian, as it turns out, is an excellent way to stay in touch with your friends. Every week we have to make a statement and we have to present it to the folks back home.c Sometimes it's an update or a status report, sometimes it's a joke or a rant, and sometimes it's whatever the fuck Brian's post was last week.

Classic Brian makes it okay that Robert quit facebook, because hey, I still see him once a week, at the very least. I get to hear what he has to say, whether that be something worth my time, or a vivid description of squirrel rape.

Classic Brian is the metaphorical kid our group of friends is staying together for. It gives us something to bicker and complain about, which is good, because our relationship lost its spark years ago.

Classic Brian is read by a surprising amount of people, which is funny and surprising. We have 338 pageviews from Denmark (whaaaaaaaat?) and 80 from wherever Slovenia is. Now that I know we have such a sizable Slovenian audience, I will start pandering to that demographic.

Anybody else excited for that music festival Tuesday? It's being put on by the Students Club of the Municipality of Koper! Call ++386 5 663 42 20 for details, or visit this new helpful website

Classic Brian should be more interactive, somehow. We should encourage discussion and feedback. These new super obnoxious "HAHAHAHA" or ":-[" options underneath every post are a good start. Hopefully that reference will become dated very quickly. Vote ":-D" though.

Classic Brian is a site that could stand to be made prettier. uuhhhhhh yeah someone get on that. We should also take a picture soon. Also I'm just going to go ahead and declare this the beginning of Season 3. We should do half years as seasons, yes, no?

Classic Brian is a great thing, and something I'm thankful for, and it's a year old now. That's amazing. It feels like we've been doing it longer than that.

Happy Birthday, Classic Brian.

I wish I had photoshop skillz. I would've made a picture that like, shows all of the members of Classic Brian each doing a crazy thing and like across the top it would've said in bold print "Happy Birthday!"

That would've been the perfect ending to this post.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Conversations With the Homeless

by Brendan Cavanagh

A few days ago, my friend and I were restless sitting at home so we decided to take a walk on the Old State Capitol Square downtown. We walked for a bit, then sat down on a bench and talked. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a homeless man meandering sloppily across the way, and feared he would most likely approach us. My suspicions were realized when he did, in fact, walk up to us. He looked like a thinner Zach Galifianakis with a baseball cap on, and his face and hands were so tanned and caked in dirt that he appeared at first glance and from a distance to be of ethnic descent. In his left hand he pinched between his thumb and forefinger the butt of a fast-extinguishing cigarette. Immediately I began conceiving a number of believable excuses I would soon employ in order to get us out of there quickly, as he started to speak:

Homeless man: I love walking around this place 'cause it's so historical, man, you know? Like, it's so interesting, man.

Brendan: Yes, it is rich with history. I love walking around here too.

Homeless man: Yeah! You get it, man. Oh hey, I'm Paulie.

He first shook my friend's hand, then turned to me expectantly with the same hand outstretched, yet I kept my hands to myself for fear of catching a virus.

Brendan: Sorry, I have a cold, but I'm Brendan.

Paulie (pinching his nose and speaking nasally): Oh yeah, alright. I'm Brendan! Hahaha.

Brendan (pulling out a used tissue from my pocket): I have a cold, man...

Paulie: Ah, don't worry about it. I'm sort of a comedian, man, like...

He proceeded to tell an incomprehensible joke, then ran about ten feet away and back, laughing proudly at his alleged talent. At this point, I became too mysteriously intrigued by the conversation to walk away, and kept listening.

Paulie: No, but I'm forty-two years old. I had a wife and two kids, but I fucked around on my wife and lost her and my kids, my job.

David: That's tough.

Brendan: Hey that's alright, I can't even get the girls that I want!

Paulie (realizing he couldn't use an emotional appeal to influence us to contribute money): Yeah, well...I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades, too. Hey you got to be careful down here, man. You can't really trust all the homeless people that hang out here, you know. But there are some people I've sort of become friends with. Like, there's this one woman who sits on that bench over there. She's kind of...(twirling his finger around his ear)-

Brendan: Uh, schizophrenic.

Paulie: -and she just sits all day and talks to herself, man, you know, like...but she doesn't even talk, really. She just hums all day to herself, like. And I'll go over and sit down and talk to her, but she just hums, like HUMMMM, you know. But she'll talk to me man, like we'll sort of talk sometimes. I should probably take her back to my house for a meal and someplace to sleep. but I can't do that, you know. I mean, I could. But what if she's like fuckin'...!

And he stepped back and violently thrust his arm back and forth as if stabbing someone, coming very close to punching my friend in the face.

Brendan: Yeah, you've got to be careful.

Paulie: Yeah, man.

He looked sideways at the tree he stood beside, which was covered on one side with neon-green moss.

Paulie: Hey, wouldn't it suck to have that on your pecker?

Brendan: Probably.

Paulie: Man, they're coming out with new STDs every day, man, it's, it's scary, there are so many STDs. I remember, like, in school, they were, like, coming out with a new one every day...

Brendan: Yeah man, we got them all at once at school. They showed us a Powerpoint slideshow with pictures of all of them, it was awful.

Paulie: Ohh yeah, those were so gross.

Brendan: Yeah, it was disgusting. But nowadays, schools are more concerned about the rising prevalence of sexting in grade schools, man.

Paulie: What?

Brendan: Yeah, sexting's become a prominent concern with grade-school kids.

Paulie: Wait, what? What's sexting?

Brendan: They're writing these inappropriate texts to each other during classes.

Paulie: Is that like someone saying, "Hey, do you want to meet me after school and suck my cock?"

Brendan: Uh, yeah, sort of. And like, sending pictures of themselves naked to each other.

Paulie: Oh man, wow.

At this point, there was a pause in the conversation as David and I looked at each other and non-verbally decided it was time to bid Paulie farewell. David stood up and I said to Paulie that we had to get going. I had planned on asking David if he was ready for dinner, but I feared Paulie might try to invite himself over, so I left out our reasons for leaving.

Paulie: Well hey, it was nice meeting you guys. I'm around here most days, you know, just walking around.

Brendan: Yeah, we'll definitely look out for you.

Paulie: Hey, do either of you guys have forty-six cents so I can buy a smoke?

David: I don't have any change.

Brendan: Uh yeah, I think I may have a dime. Here you go.

Paulie: Oh thank, man. Now I need thirty-six cents and then I can get a cigarette!

Brendan: Well it was nice meeting you Paulie, but we should probably get going.

Paulie: Oh hey!

He extended both arms in order to simultaneously fist bump both David and I, and we each reluctantly grazed our knuckles over his, noticing their delightful rainbow of grime and disease.

Paulie: See ya!

In a state of shock, the two of us walked away, making a right turn and taking a roundabout route back to the car, hoping Paulie wouldn't follow us. We both stated that that was the most bizarre encounter either of us had been involved in, but we agreed that the conversation was, strangely, rather enriching. We felt like we sort of had an intellectually stimulating conversation, even if it was with a homeless man. As we walked quickly down the block, we touched upon our favorite points of the conversation, laughing our heads off at the fact that I had just explained sexting to a homeless man. Before we reached the streetlight, another apparent homeless man walked passed us. He was a lanky six foot five,  and his grizzled and emaciated figure sported a heavy trench coat. Afraid of being accosted by this man, who did not seem like the type to joke around and talk with, we sped up. As we crossed the street, me watching this man out of the corner of my eye in anxiety, he stopped in his tracks and yelled out to no one in particular, "Two and a half blocks that way!"

The rest of the journey back to the car was the most frightening two minutes of my life. Even scarier than when I saw the movie Darkness Falls for the first time. I expected a homeless person to jump out of every alleyway or from behind the corner of every edifice. We finally made it back to the car, subsequently speeding away with a strange mixture of terror and good humor, making sure to wash our hands immediately upon returning home.

Needless to say, I will probably say hello to Paulie next time I'm on the Old State Capitol Square, so long as it is in passing. But then again, another conversation with him could be infinitely enlightening and entertaining.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The 2010-2011 NBA season in review

It started on July 8th with a wave of disgust.

We had been hearing reports throughout day of Miami — a city who already laid claim to two of the league's best — but no word had yet been made official. The king wouldn't want his party pooped, after all. The cities of Miami, Chicago, New York and Cleveland awaited with anticipation, holding their collective breath.

I was at work. I had had it in mind not to get my hopes up, but nothing could stop my heart rate from shooting through the roof. As the night's seventh hour grew older and my productivity level shot through the floor, the anxiety became a petulance. It was no longer fun being strung along like this. After all, he probably wasn't going to choose us. He seemed to be hamming it up for the ratings, a bad sign for Cleveland, which was essentially an entire city watching the televised equivalent of its girlfriend "wanting to talk."

Finally, after a half hour of what has since been verified as bullshit, he uttered those famous words: "This season, I'll be taking my talents to South Beach."

Oh. Great.

In that hour-long television special that was somehow as warranted as it was unnecessary, LeBron James changed the face of the NBA. The league's top dog, instead of the savvy and vicious pitbull known as the Los Angeles Lakers, was now the Cerberus birthed to patrol the grounds of Miami. At this point, we had no evidence to suggest that the threesome of LeBron, Wade and Bosh would actually work. They were anointed as favorites at the moment of their inception by names alone, not play.

It sucked. I felt like I had lost at least three years of my NBA-loving life. It was hard to imagine any scenario in which Miami didn't rule the NBA with an iron fist for years. It'd be cool, you know, if I didn't hate them. They were sure to have a millennium's worth of highlights, all of which would induce momentary excitement followed by bitter disdain.

It wasn't the team's talents that caused anger. It was the contrived and pre-meditated nature of the team's comprisal. The fact that the Big Three cheated the system, taking less money (which we commend) for the purpose of dominating the rest of the league (which we hate). It was the fact that things like this were written months beforehand, the concept of a superduperteam was born, as ominous and seemingly avoidable as a train spotted miles down a track. It was the fact that the recipient of the gift of the most star-studded basketball team in the NBA's history was the city of Miami — a city four years removed from a title, with apathetic fans who enjoy infinite sunshine and beautiful beaches, not to mention some of the country's best nightlife.

The biggest objection I had personally was that LeBron James turned a backstabbing into a spectacular charity event (the proceeds were given to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America). The city of Cleveland needed LeBron more than any other place. They loved and worshiped him. They forgave his failures, and vicariously cherished his achievements. They treated their superstar like a superstar should be treated. And it wasn't even really a backstabbing, because the city of Cleveland was watching. But LeBron wasn't looking at them. It was some kind of weird no-look heartstab. It was televised and self-celebrating, and The Decision was rightfully bashed by the public as distasteful and strange. Never before had a seemingly simple career decision been turned into an hour-long nationally televised special event.

It was that big a deal, though, in hindsight. Contrary to what I anticipated, the world kept turning. The NBA execs didn't stop operations, yell at the Heat for being unfair, and reallocate the players. We were actually going to have a season like this. The Heat continued to make themselves a spectacle. Free agency continued, the Chicago Bulls netted Carlos Boozer, giving them the scoring forward they sorely needed. Joe Johnson did pretty much the exact opposite of LeBron, staying in Atlanta and taking a buttload more money (more per year than any Heat player). 

The NBA had its first true villain in years. The Heat had become what USA basketball is to the rest of the world in international competition; unfairly stacked. The rest of the league braced for impact, contenders made moves to prepare for the oncoming storm. The Lakers, our defending champions and pretty much only team with a target on its back, suddenly became something of an only hope. It would have to be the Lakers to fend off the Heat this year, it seemed like the two teams were on a crash course. The only thing standing between them, it turns out, was the 82 games known as the regular season and a few measly rounds of playoff competition.


Meanwhile, in a warm, dirty gym in Santa Monica, California, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook were busting their asses. Rose and Westbrook were working to ensure their respective teams achieved more than first round playoff exits in the upcoming season, while Love was merely working to provide his franchise with a face. The three of them practiced six days a week, twice a day. Not at all mandatory, the sole incentive of these workouts was for each player to bring out the best in themselves.

The season began with a triumphant bang. In their first quarter together, the Big Three of Miami netted just 8 points, lower than any quarter the LeBron-less, Bosh-less Heat registered last season. Thanks to a pre-season injury to Dwyane (whose mom may or may not be dyslexic?) Wade, the Heat had virtually no time to jell before the season started, so they looked hilariously lost as Boston beat them 88-80. It seemed that there was hope for the rest of the league, so long as Miami didn't get eight points better over the course of the season. Uhh ...

Westbrook and Rose took center stage the following night against each other, and Westbrook's Thunder bested Rose's Boozer-less Bulls by ten points. The Bulls had relatively low expectations, the year was seen as a stepping stone. After all, the management had failed to get a shooting guard in the offseason. What was to be expected of the trio of Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver? Service by committee, as it turned out.

The Bulls' ambitious new head coach, former Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau brought an extremely defensive mindset to the team, and Chicago became the gold standard for defense in the NBA. Defense has become a sort of novelty in the NBA in the last decade and more since Jordan retired, despite its consistently proven benefits. An intensive defensive focus kept the Bulls in games, leaving it up to D-Rose to win it in the end. This strategy usually worked, obviously.

Derrick Rose is not a shining personality. He isn't a jokester. He doesn't pander to the media (like those punks in Miami). He doesn't have much to pander. He's generally a boring person. Luckily for the world and Derrick, he plays basketball. He plays a lot of basketball. He plays the crap out of basketball, too. He's quick, strong, relatively big-bodied, and damn good. He's got heart. And that's often said about people who know when to give 100%. That isn't what heart is; heart is not knowing when to give 100%. Derrick doesn't know when to give 100%, so he's trying his hardest all the time. Good things happen when Derrick Rose tries, and he was clearly the Most Valuable Player in the regular season this year, and that doesn't change with his less-than-stellar postseason performance.

What many will point to as the biggest weakness that kept Rose's Bulls from reaching the top was the shooting guard position. Kyle Korver can shoot, but he can't defend. Ronnie Brewer can defend and slash, but he can't shoot. Keith Bogans sucks, but can defend and occasionally shoot. If we could combine them into one supershooting guard, we'd have a weak Reggie Miller. But we can't, so we have a merry-go-round of mediocrity. Not truly weak enough to sink the team, but weak enough to keep them from soaring.

The Bulls' second best player, whether they knew it or not going into the season, is Luol Deng. Despite looking very Kenyan, Luol is actually a Brit. A model of consistency, Luol could be counted on to keep his mouth shut, put his head down, keep his man in check on defense, never fear a big shot, and give you 15-25 fluff points a game.

The team's big free agency acquisition, Carlos Boozer, provided the team with an invaluable element.

You see that beautiful and ever-useful blue bottle in the clip? Yeah, that's Carlos Boozer, metaphorically speaking. All last year we had an excuse for not being a top contender; youth and the lack of a scoring big man. We wanted Chris Bosh, which like, thank God we didn't end up with Chris Bosh. But here's hoping you're wondering the connection from Boozer and Michael's Secret Stuff. Well, Carlos Boozer is the league's best placebo-forward. I mean, he can score, he does do that. But did he not miss a large portion of the season, as we trudged to the best record in the NBA? He provided us with an awesome form of false confidence that we would beat people we should beat now. Additionally, we always played up to the level of the top competition. We swept the Miami Heat in the three regular season games we played against them (Impressive, as they are on their way to a title.) In two of those games, we were missing one of our best two bigs. We managed, however, and came out with W's in all three. Apparently this confidence was temporary, maybe we lost it in the first two rounds of the postseason when Boozer showed his unfortunate and presumably true colors? Taj Gibson and Omer Asik (and Kurt Thomas too, yeah) stepped their asses up, prevailing with hustle and that thing we discussed earlier, Heart.

But in the center of this well-oiled machine was the season's biggest secret disappointment; Joakim Noah. Bulls fans love Joakim, other fans think he's a tool. I would too, were I not a Bulls fan. Regardless, he played tough, but he was missing a couple things. First off, health. He was injured for a long stretch in the middle of the season, and played injured for a long time as well. It was his wonderful excuse for lacking the fire and energy Bull-backers are accustomed to seeing from the long-haired and lanky seven-footer. He was occasionally bullied, and he would do something rare for Joakim in certain instances: he would accept it. This was the second thing Joakim lacked — Heart. He wouldn't scrounge and fight like the old Joakim would. Blame it on the new contract, whatever.

Despite their sparse flaws, the team operated on a higher plane than most other teams for the majority of the year. In the last month, we edged past Boston and Miami to earn the top spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.


Maybe this was another problem. Being favored — we weren't used to it. We didn't handle ourselves like superior playoff teams do, we didn't handle ourselves like underdogs either. We handled ourselves ... differently. Or maybe we didn't handle ourselves at all. We went in without expectations, and so we were oddly hindered, playing, imitating maybe, our opponent. Folks, the Indiana Pacers are not really a good team to imitate. They play feisty above their collective skill level, old-Bulls style. They played us in three close games, a real confidence hit, before we finally lost one. We finished them off in Game Five, but it was a bad five games. Not what you wanted to see from a team you're still trying to trust in the postseason.

Next series, we were surprised to face Atlanta. Things were definitely getting hairy. Not working out the way we Bulls fans were hoping. Unfortunately it was a hope, it wasn't an expectation. The Hawks shocked us in Game One, beating us by ten points. To boot, Derrick Rose muffed his foot on the floor when the game was out of reach with about ten seconds left. A first sign of a first year coach, not taking his go-to guy out in a game that was decided. Confidence was hailing on the city of Chicago, melting away and disappearing beyond recovery. The problem wasn't anything anymore, it was a number of things. Luckily we ran the Hawks out in the next five games (a way more encouraging five games than those it took to dispatch Indy.)  We were on our way to the East Conference Finals.

Had you told me that before the season? "Bullshit," I would have called.

So, we headed into the Conference Finals, not really sure if we could actually beat Miami in a series. Game One eased those worries as we dominated Miami in the second half to win by 21 points. Unfortunately, we lost control of the series in the next game when the Heat erased our homecourt advantage to tie the series at 1-1, and Miami had three games to play at home in the series.

Then the unthinkable happened: Miami reached its full potential. Like Frieza in his final form, the Heat terrorized us and simply became the closest thing to unbeatable that the NBA has seen this year. They didn't particularly blow us out in any given game, but, when the game was in question, it was LeBron's Miami Heat who were the answer, contrasting the regular season matches when Derrick Rose was the answer in the closing minute.

This became hard to watch. A team that had been hated all year long, suffered noticeably because of this hatred, and seemed to not have the answer when it mattered most, was killing us. Watching, you kept expecting the Bulls to dig deeper — deep enough to get a game when they needed it. They didn't.

Most gut-wrenching of all was the Chicago Bulls' last stand in Game Five in the United Center in front of the faithful home fans. The Bulls were up 77-65 with three minutes left. It appeared we had finally bounced back, and we were going to get one. Then Miami unleashed a metaphorical spirit bomb, conjuring the world's energy and turning it into an 18-3 run that left us crushed, windless, and most importantly of all, dead.

83-80. In a shocking comeback. It brought memories back to a regular season game against Atlanta. One in which the Bulls were dominating throughout the first half, up by (I want to say) 17 points, before the team seemingly quit in the second half and gave up the lead for the first time all game with under a minute left. We lost to Atlanta, 83-80. This game was a learning experience for us, we went on a huge tear after the embarrassing defeat. No such opportunity is available this time. We're just dead. Coach of the Year. Most Valuable Player. Best regular season record. Phenomenal team chemistry. Not enough.

You have to revert to the pre-season mindset; this season is a stepping stone. We took a pretty huge step, considering all the awards and winning we experienced. But we aren't a perfect team. It's hard to say whether we're going to be better next year. The youth excuse is no longer relevant. I think the key is to get a shooting guard, someone who can fill out the lineup and allow the trio of shooting guards to take their rightful spots on the bench.

It hurts to lose to the Miami Heat. The No. 1 team we'd rather not see ourselves lose to. And what's worse, we did so timidly. When the final buzzer sounded, we had no choice but to be cordial and respectful. They outplayed us. They beat us. They deserved to win, and we didn't.

Things will be different next year. How? I don't know. But the circumstances will be different. Right now the championship isn't yet decided, and if it's the Heat that will be the most painful thing of all. I really think this year, preseason, my top concern was that Miami not winning, rather than the Bulls winning. Of course, the second goal accomplishes the first, so I was hoping more for that, but I can still consider this NBA season a success if the mighty Heat get taken down. It will be hard for me to watch LeBron tell the haters (aka me) to shut up and that they were wrong. I will do so, but despite the talent advantage being clearly in Miami's favor, that round ball has bounced odder ways before. If Miami plays with a three-man team, they're probably going to lose. Then again, when three of those guys are All-Stars, you stand a pretty good chance no matter what.

So the season is over. We may not yet have a champion, but the Bulls are done. I won't cower away from watching the Finals, and if the Heat win, they will have certainly earned it. But something is definitely at stake, and I don't think there's a single way you can honestly root for the Heat. A monstrous team of Bosh, Wade and James will have their successes. But like every up and coming basketball dynasty, the Heat need to be humbled. You cannot just choose success and have it. You have to earn it.

Dirk Nowitzki lost to the Miami Heat in the 2006 Finals and has been fighting to get back to that point ever since. Future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd made two  NBA Finals with the New Jersey Nets, only to lose to the Lakers and Spurs. He's 38 now and very likely to retire before too long. This past offseason, Nowitzki was a free agent. He was the third most highly sought after free agent behind James and Wade. He could have gone to any number of organizations with diabolic plans for league takeover. Unlike LeBron he stuck to his guns. Unlike Dwyane Wade, he didn't beg and plead for the league's best player to come save him. He and his team have made it back to the Finals at long last, and this is the best shot they'll have to win it all.

I wouldn't pin this Finals as a battle of good and evil, not quite. But as far as building teams is concerned, it's a battle of the right way versus the wrong way. LeBron and D-Wade aren't wrong for wanting to win titles, but they couldn't do it alone so they decided to essentially combine two of the league's top teams into one superforce. Worst of all they're surprised that people don't respect them. I appreciate greatness, but I appreciate even more someone elevating themselves to greatness in order to beat greatness.

If the Mavs can't do it, then it seems as though this summer will be worse than the last, with all the Heatles worship and whatnot. Oh, and don't forget, the NBA will spend this summer trying to figure out a new collective bargaining agreement.

Sigh ... the NBA. It's a love-hate thing.

--Eliot Sill

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nick - Gold Rush

One of my favorite stories takes place in 1848 in the small town of Westhaven, California. Westhaven was settled very early compared to the rest of California, so when the gold rush rolled around they had already been settled into a pleasant, peaceful lifestyle for a long time. The problem? Westhaven was right in the middle of a gold vein passing under the city.

Fearing that the incoming rush of gold miners would overpopulate and eventually destroy their town, the city council of Westhaven acted quickly: they passed a law. The law stated that no one could mine, search for, or even posses gold. Period.

Despite the best effort of the town, nothing can come between people and money. Eventually tunnels were dug from outside of town to the rich gold mine sitting directly below it. In fact, three such tunnels were made, all from separate sides. Eventually the tunnels grew wider, wider, and wider, until the mines spanned underneath the entire town.

And then, one day in late 1850, the town collapsed. The tunnels caved in, and Westhaven sunk into the Earth in seconds. In trying to prevent their gold from being taken and their lifestyle being upset, they ended up stripped of both.

Only a few people survived the cave in. Not a single structure was left standing, save the statue in the dead center of town. A stone statue of the founder of the town, who had ventured west in an effort to escape the greed and conflict of large cities.

It stands there to this day, bearing the inscription, "Greed is the bane of humanity."


Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Murderer Interviews His Victim

By Robert Langellier

I wouldn’t say a murderer, really. I mean, I gave life more than I took it. Specifically, from my and my friend Jimmy’s mutual uterus sprang 19-year-old Cassie Tipping.

I’m not going to tell you the story in full, because the topic has been exhausted in full by the blogosphere this week (you should read those to fill yourself in), but I will tell you the story in short. My friend Jimmy and I put in countless hours this past year creating a false Facebook persona, first to fool our friends Garrett and Molly, then later others like our friend Joel, and then finally just Garrett as people began to catch on.

It’s hard work keeping up an internet profile: adding a realistic amount of friends, maintaining an interests section, getting other people in on the joke, commenting on their walls, posting frequent statuses, writing Facebook notes, taking Facebook quizzes, and finding the Tumblr of a minor actress from “The Last Song” starring Miley Cyrus and uploading all of her down-to-earth photos we could find onto Facebook. All just to see if Garrett’s sappy lovey-dovey girlfriend would friend request her as she did with countless other Mizzou friends of Garrett. Lot of work for a small punchline.

But as everyone at Mizzou knows, she quickly grew larger than the joke, and we went to greater and greater efforts to make her seem realistic. She developed an extensive backstory of high school life in Oak Park, Illinois. She took part in her sorority ADPi’s events. She penned an article for Mizzou’s student newspaper, The Maneater. She guest rapped a verse on acclaimed local rap duo Twain Tokenz’ song, “fuckyou.docx.”

Many months later, the cat’s out of the bag, and it’s interesting to see the reactions of the people we ended up deceiving in our creepy little puppet trick. Joel made his stance clear in his blog, and it’s as important as the rest of this post, so I’d recommend reading it. I wanted to give something unique to the Cassie blogosphere, so I thought I’d interview the biggest butt of the joke, Garrett, and get his view on the subject. I edited a bunch of it out so it would fit; here are the important parts:


Robert: Could you talk about your thoughts or opinions of Cassie as you started to hear more about her?

Garrett: She slowly became this hyperbolized “slut” character. I think there was one status that was like, “Apparently waking up in a random guy’s bed isn’t acceptable here. Whoops.” And then she started typing like Jimmy does via text, which I’m surprised I didn’t pick up on, spelling “like” l-y-k-e, and stuff like that.

Robert: Those were probably Jimmy’s.

Garrett: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, I read Joel’s post, and I was obviously flattered because I was just getting compliments out of the blue, but I never was offended by it. I thought it was hilarious. Anyone who’s seen “Get Him to the Greek,” I just felt like I had been deeply mind-fucked, as I think I said that day, because literally I had never ever ever ever ever doubted that she was real, once. I don’t know why. Looking back and seeing how Brandon talked about his slipups, I remember him saying at the Maneater about how she moved in after first semester, which was completely contradictory to everything I thought about her. I never once suspected that she was fake.


Robert: Oops.


Robert: Oops. Pressed “End.” Well, to give some context to the joke, we never thought it would be anywhere near as big as it did.  And then, eventually, one-by-one, the pins got knocked down, and you were the last one standing for a couple months, so for those last couple months…

Garrett: Wait, me and Joel were the last ones for a couple months?”

Robert: No, you were the last one for a couple months. Ashley blew the beans to Joel a couple months before you found out.

Garrett: Ohh my gosh, I thought Joel caught on a matter of hours before I did. That’s even worse! Oh my gosh. And the thing is, Joel was throwing out this conspiracy against his friends, but honestly, if I were in that position, and I had started the small joke and was completely killing you and Jimmy with it, of course I would’ve kept going for the whole year. That’s like, literally, you’ve been handed a golden ticket. You cannot waste that. That was like the ultimate joke, and to blow that by thinking I would be offended would be dumb.

Robert: Well there were some moral issues. But still, it was worth it.

Garrett: Oh yeah, of course if I was like, “wow, this feels like a betrayal of trust”… It’s not like that. I don’t care. You know what I mean? Like, whatever. It’s not like I found out you were sleeping with Molly when she was here, which I actually still have not verified.

Robert: Oh, no, I did.

Garrett: She gets this awkward blush whenever I say your name. I’m like, that’s awkward, why are you blushing? So, I don’t know. It’s one of those good experiences overall. I think Joel took it a little harder than I did.

Robert: Yeah, probably. I don’t think we were expecting Joel’s post. I would’ve expected you to be offended more than Joel. Not because that’s your personality, but just because you eventually became sort of a bigger target.

Garrett: The weird thing was, Joel was surprised I hadn’t blogged. For some reason, it literally never crossed my mind to blog about it.

Robert: At any point, did you Facebook stalk Cassie? Be honest.

Garrett: Oh, yeah, definitely.

Robert: Muahaha.

Garrett: Looking back, I really have no room to critique you guys, because I fell for it 100%, but there was this weird gap where she had no pictures that I remember thinking, “There are no pictures in here with a clear shot at her face that I could recognize.” For some reason I thought she was Kristen Herhold for a while. I thought that was Cassie Tipping.

Robert: That’s really funny also. That’s brand new news.

Garrett: Oh yeah, like, I didn’t know Kristen. She was in journalism classes, but we never hung out with each other. I never ate lunch with her, so I thought it could’ve possibly been her, but then I found out that was Kristen Herhold and I was like, “Okay, who is Cassie Tipping?” I’ve even seen “The Last Song.” I didn’t even know that girl was in “The Last Song.” Like, I couldn’t even recognize her.

Robert: Well, she did play a minor role.

Garrett: And then, the makeout pic, at the same time.

Robert: Yeah, that was Elizabeth Downy.

Garrett: She lent me tanning oil once.

Robert: That’s good. Do you think you will ever be able to trust again?

Garrett: No. I mean, ever? Yes, obviously I can trust again. Or actually, I can’t really answer that, because I don’t really know. How am I supposed to know if I can ever trust again after you guys fucking with me for literally an entire year? I guess yes, with a side of no. God, this is so frustrating!