Saturday, October 29, 2011

Conor - A Terrible Price To Pay

Nobody knows exactly when it happened or why, but Cupid changed a while back.

For one, he grew a pretty great mustache. Everybody liked it! Everybody thought it was a good thing. He was golfing more often, so it made sense, sortof, so nobody thought anything of it.

Everyone started wondering when he got rid of his bow and arrow, though, and got a pistol. It performed the same function, it would still cause someone to fall in love when they were shot with it, and it was still pretty much entirely metaphorical, so they felt no pain, but it showed his new state of mind.

He no longer used love as a gift, but as a weapon. He recognized that the love his victims felt when first shot was wonderful, it was like flying. It was something indescribable. He was also aware that when this feeling went away, when the love ended, the memory did not fade.

So he would throw people into the jaws of love and laugh. "Yes, I've heard that some love is eternal, but the love between you and that girl over there in the corner throwing up probably won't be." He would keep track of their relationship, and revel in every broken heart icon he saw on facebook.

Sometimes though things went well. Sometimes they got married! Cupid didn't know how to react to this. He felt pride, he felt shame, sometimes he felt nothing at all. He often felt like he had nothing to do with the whole process. He didn't understand love at all, all things considered.

Sometimes he made people fall in love with abstract concepts.

Sometimes he made people fall in love with really literal concepts, like microwaves and lamps.

That shit was always funny.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some storm we knew we'd brave

False, lying, incomplete.
There's an unfathomable essence in this room.
Something's not right — well, so
you're not here.

When I felt the warmth that day,
it reminded me of your shirt
pressed against my invulnerable skin.

Some things, they say, are meant to fade,
others vanish quickly
no more lonely days,
I'll take this planet with me.

You've found me, you see me, know my name
I'm-so-enjoy-you're glad you came

Don't think twice just take me with
we'll find some land and spread our arms wide.
We'll take it in, and it will be ours
to groom
and grow
and grace
and give.

We won't have to leave, not even when we think we should.
This place of ours, our neighborhood.
Our roundabout, our philanthrope.
Some reason won't wedge between us and it,
nah, it would never work out

that way. When we're older
we won't have to cry,
because no one's going to say
to us a bye.

Independence, independence
independence, independence, independence
oh no. Independence, independence.
Oh no.

Fighting back. Fighting back. Fighting back

--Eliot Sill

An afterword:

I feel the need to add — the need to explain myself. See, I've never ever liked poetry I've attempted. I've always written my poems, loved them, then hated them within an hour. It's the form of writing I'm least confident in.

Poetry stirs us that way. To try and use words as brushstrokes and craft art out of letters is a difficult task. Especially when it's abstract in the way (my) poetry is. I've found myself better describing emotions and images, rather than trying to use words as them. But I'm not alone. Poetry is an oft neglected art form.

It's not cool, it's never cool to do poetry, at least not in a public forum, (such as Classic Brian), but I feel like it's one of those things where it's awkward to read someone-you-know's poetry. Because you're used to them expressing themselves in a different, normal way. But when someone thinks they have this mind bending concoction of flowey words and sappy imagery painting phrases, it's sort of a matter of pretense. You don't respect the person writing because they aren't above you enough to write in that way.

Having said that, good poetry is good poetry. It'll make itself known in a crowd of crap, like most good things.

But here I am, I don't feel confident slinging poetry on Classic Brian like it's something I'm entitled to try. Like fiction, but to a greater extent. I am backing up that poetry with prose because, damn it, I can do prose. Anyone can do prose. But, anyone can do poetry too. Not good poetry mind you, but who said prose was easy to rock. Certainly, I think, it's easier. Especially for someone like me, who meanders on and on and can give you 1,000 words on any little dumb thing (like a dumb poem).

I wrote this poem because I didn't feel like I had any solid CB ideas, but yet I had a lot on my mind. I tried to think of topics, and only words came to my head. Words that sounded good together. Words that sounded bad together. Words that sounded nonsensical, frightened, and alone. Words that desired the companionship of other words. I put a lot of myself in its three-hours-ago state into that poem, and I feel like it relieved some stress, just typing it. But I still can't look at it like it's good. I hate it.

And, going back to the as-a-writer thing, it sucks that I don't feel confident in all walks of write. I wish I could bang out poetry and fiction in the same way I can do the things I do semi-decently. I've never been a songwriter, and I've never been a poet. I think I sound overall corny and always too desperate to sound cool.

Regardless, thanks for reading.

November is a Shit Month and I Will Have None of it.

Every single year, November fucking blows. It's colder than you expect it to be, you have more homework than any other time in the semester (or year really) and you haven't had a break from general shit since mid August. As I write this post on Tuesday, October 25th*, we are a mere 6** days from the arrival of that little bitch of a month; November, and there is nothing we can do to prepare for it.

First of all, dressing for November is hard and I don't like it. As a GDI (GodDamn Independent), I do not own an adorable North Face fleece jacket and I will not own an adorable North Face fleece jacket until I am at least 25 and they aren't cool anymore. Therefore, when it is 40 degrees everyday I can a. wear a winter coat which would be practical and warm but I look like a TOTAL LOSER, b. wear the gross, oddly shaped fleece that zips out of my winter coat from 9th grade, or c. just be really fucking cold everyday. I'm obvi never going to pick that first option and will thus feel either extremely unattractive or uncomfortably cold every day.

Next, school is awful and I hate it. First semester used to be about two weeks longer and people took finals after Christmas. This was clearly a terrible idea so they shortened it so that finals could be completed by the time we went home for festivities (thank gods). Even though this is a positive change in most ways it makes the end of the semester seem really scrunched and every teacher thinks it's a good idea to put their last midterm, third paper and extra honors assignment in the three weeks before Thanksgiving Break. Awesome. I will now spend about 20 dollars a week on fancy coffees and spend about as much time napping between classes as I do sleeping at night.

Lastly, it has just been way too long since I was able to just lay around for three days reading and eating. U of I is mean and stupid and therefore doesn't think that its students deserve a fall break. This means that I have gone to class 5 days a week for 10 goddamn weeks straight (ignoring Labor Day because it is far too early in the semester to ever really be appreciated). During second semester, Spring Break is usually about 9 weeks in, almost exactly half way through. This makes sense. Thanksgiving Break is 14 weeks in and U of I has 8 days of classes before "reading day" and finals begin. SO DUMB. Those two (one and a half) weeks after break are pretty much pointless and the 14 week stretch before break is torture.

Solutions: There are none. Perhaps I could help the weather situation by finding some warm yet cute jacket alternative but those two things don't really go together in girl's clothing. Other than that, I/we are doomed. School is always going to be hard and Thanksgiving is always going to be the third week of November. If anyone can think of some tips to make me less miserable during this dreaded eleventh month, let me know.

*Let's not kid ourselves; Wednesday, October 26th

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nick - Facts vs. Ideologies

Last year I learned things.

I learned how certain chemical compounds react; at what rate, and forming what products. I learned how cells operate inside my very own body. I learned how dendrites and axons, working together, allow your brain to function.

I didn't like learning about any of those things. And that's why, this year, I'm learning very different things.

I'm learning about when it is and isn't morally acceptable to kill people. I'm learning about what is a good basis for policy in domestic terms and in international terms. I'm learning about what motivates people.

And, truth be told, I don't really like learning about that stuff either. And the reason for that is very simple: it's so subjective. It isn't even 'learning' so much as 'discussing.'

But let me tell you what I do like.

I like that moment where we can look at two policies, and say, "this one is the better policy." I like looking at statistics of countries going to war, and saying, "this factor increases the probability of an armed dispute between nations."

I like when we can apply facts to social situations. I like solving real, lasting problems. I like when we can sift through the grey areas to find the truth.

Oftentimes political science is a petty squabble over opinions; there is no invalid opinion as long as one can argue in support of it. This is the part of political science I hate. The part where we distance ourselves from reality in an effort to remain politically unbiased.

But it all becomes worth it in that moment where the numbers are sitting in front of me, and I can see that factor x increases probably of result y. That moment where we can cross a policy off the board, casting it down as ineffectual. That moment where the professor tells someone he's incorrect, and illustrates a real-world example to show us why.

I love facts, and I love using facts. I love applying facts. Because once that barrier between facts and ideologies is broken, the true state of things can be discerned.

Only by being completely open-minded, and completely dedicated to evidence, can we determined the correct path.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Robert - Speed of Light

This post is directed primarily at Nick, Brendan, Eliot, and Brian. I have a vague feeling that Conor and Mada might have already experienced this in some fashion.

I recently was in a hurry, about two weeks ago. My bike displaced at the time, lounging about on the other side of campus somewhere, there was simply no way I was going to make it to that meeting on time. There wasn't the time, there wasn't the speed. I acknowledged my defeat, grabbed my things and briskly walked outside, where I promptly tripped on a concrete step, sending both legs sprawling and flailing into the afternoon midair. Soon, though, almost as quickly as they left the ground, one of them came back down and landed again, forcing energy to shoot down my body, connect with the earth, and spring back up through that leg, in turn forcing that leg back into the air. This process repeated for almost a full minute, each leg ricocheting into the air, one after another, until I finally regained control of my body and stopped to regain my bearing. My haphazard staggering was characterized by a pattern wherein there would sometimes be two legs in midair and sometimes one, but at no points were both legs on the earth. I know what you're thinking, and no, I did not fly off into the atmosphere once my entire body was propelled from the ground. I also was anticipating this, which frankly provided some moments of sheer terror, but indeed gravity seems to work as a force that extends somehow into the ethereal dimension of the airs. I've done a little research on this and uncovered that this phenomenon seems to be known as running.

Running is real goddamn fast. It's a lot faster than walking, I came to notice. I understand it doesn't make any sense, because if both of your legs are off the ground at once, how can you possibly be propelling yourself faster than someone who is using both of their legs at once, but you're going to have to trust me because confusing results are still results.

Over the course of the next few days after my discovery, I skipped most of my classes and quit one of my jobs, dedicating the vast majority of my time to mastering this new trick, which I expect will win plenty of ladies once I'm comfortable enough to display it publicly, assuming that they can still see me as I whisk by them.

I really think I got the hang of it after a while, and I learned a few helpful hints for those who might want to try. For example, I find it much more difficult to use the skill in my apartment than in the outdoors. No matter what logic dictates, attempting to claw at the ground with your arms for increased speed does not speed you up. Again, I refer you to the confusing theory wherein the fewer limbs on the ground, the faster the speed. Finally never run for extended periods of time after consuming a highly significant amount of alcohol unless.

I admit I got a little crazy once I mastered the running. I started with a mile, and then two miles the next day, and then four, and then five (five miles!) and then eight (eight!) and then ten (!!!). I thought that was really cool until my knees notified me that this is not a rate of increase that the human body is capable of sustaining. Their memo which contained debilitating uselessness informed me that I would not be running for a week. Being the good bureaucrat that my body is, my ankle also sprained itself to maximize effectiveness of the message. Thank you, body.

I understand this is likely to stir up some interest. I can't promise that I can cater to every single person's desires, but I am willing to give lessons or at least a demonstrations to those who text me the fastest at 217-494-1823.