Saturday, November 5, 2011

Battle of the One-Liners


In playing Uncharted 3 and watching Arkham City be played, I noticed the combat systems are very similar, which led me to compare the two main characters as a whole. This is how I sum them up in the broadest sense, respectively.

Drake: Here is something you can't understand; how I can just kill a man.

Who wins? Vote in comments.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lonely Boy

by Brendan Cavanagh

Every now and then, I get a little down. Hey, I'm nineteen, so technically I can still suffer from teenage angst. And if I'm going to inevitably write prolifically about teenage angst, I have to enjoy while it lasts. right? Or, rather, not enjoy...anyway. It seems like if I'm sad, the weather is overcast for days on end and the only songs that show up on my iPod are the most depressing ones.

Does it get more depressing than this? Does it?

 Well luckily for me, the Black Keys- that is, the Akron, OH-based blues-rock duo consisting of Dan Auerbach (guitar) & Patrick Carney (drums)- released a video for the first single off their upcoming December album release, El Camino. The single is called "Lonely Boy," and if not for the laugh-a-minute video, I don't know if I would have given the song a second listen. That's not to say it's bad, I just wasn't particularly enthralled by it. But after I kept returning to my computer screen to watch the video, I wound up getting used to the song and appreciating its catchiness. I won't pretend like I know what I'm talking about musically, so I'll leave first impressions up to you guys.

You're probably wondering what it is about this particular video that turns me on ;)

In keeping with the steady stream of amusing videos by the Black Keys, "Lonely Boy" features what could very well be a homeless man (note the single tooth suspended from his top set of gums) who, prior to the filming of the video, was violently jerked from his slumber on a park bench, thrust into a shower and dressed in Don Draper's casual business attire. Somewhere along the line, though, this guy learned how to dance like your sober uncle does at every relative's wedding, seeking inspiration from manicTom Jones-enthusiast Carlton Banks and 60s twist-pop maker Chubby Checker. Major highlight at 1:33.

I can't match his moves! They're so bad, but so...inimitable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Twenty {frenetic} paces

 Me, thinking I'm cool. I mean, how could I not, right?

During my first week of college, I did what was only natural to a Springfield native attending the U of I — I hung with no one but the old guard. High school friends abound, I stayed close because it made things easier.

Through this behavior, I briefly met Brad Ryan, a regular guy attending the U of I and the friend of a friend of a friend. And in our first brief interaction, the conversation of hip-hop came up among he, myself and our peers. In this conversation, we covered Wiz Khalifa (then a newbie on the heels of the release of Kush and Orange Juice), Lil Wayne (then waning in a drought of sorts, only slightly different than now), and many others. Toward the end of the conversation, the new hip-hop came up. The not-yet-established-enough-to-be-considered-new brand of hip-hop. It didn't have a name — at least, not in our conversation.

"I don't really like it," Brad said. "It's like hip-hop beats, but techno."  He played us a sample, and the lack of sound quality of his computer prevented me from truly hearing what was playing. It sounded weird. "That sounds like it could either be awesome or really, really stupid," I chimed in.

And that's how dubstep was introduced to me.

Starts with more comfortable electric music, then drops...

Dubstep is fat beats that attempt to blow your speakers and invade your head and take over all your senses. It's most likened to rave music, a natural evolution, but with more rhythmic melodies (it makes sense, I promise. The melodies are made from the rhythmic elements). It's also like electric music (well, it is electric, but the sound is different), except with more of a mashup, chop-and-screw feel.

Dubstep requires a certain arena. You can't just throw on some dubstep (which should probably be called fuckingdubstep) while you're hanging out in your dorm room. Or in the middle of the day while walking your dog. You need it to be night, you need to be in a hot room with too many people in it, and you need to be impaired, preferably.

Dubstep is dance music through and through, and is best done when you're not hearing the same thing twice, and is a strengthening and eventual dropping of a beat, which should be done somewhat unexpectedly.

I love it. I spent all last year ignoring it, including the Canopy Club dubsteps held here on campus, but I finally decided to go to one this year. And luckily I drank a healthy amount before going, because it enabled the experience to transcend my mere sense of hearing. I could feel it, and the light show helped me see it.

What is it, exactly? I don't really know, it's this indefinable feel of a song, I feel it in hip-hop. It goes up and down, it frolics with the lyrics of rap songs, it drops in dubstep. It dances around any dubstep mix, playing with you in your drunkeness to make you feel like you're not only hearing the music but in tune with it yourself. It's what makes me dance and what enables me to do so without feeling like a total white guy all the time. I said all the time.

The drawback of dubstep? Well, it sucks if you're not in the mood for it. It's arduous to listen to and you need to be able to dance with it. Also, it's not catchy. If anything, it's elusive. You spend your time trying to figure out where it's going to go next. Trying to catch it. It's not going to get popular-popular, except for as like a thing people do. In a way different from music. Like, I can see dubstep getting popular in the way hookah is popular. You need this relatively elaborate set of parameters to be fulfilled. And while under most circumstances, it would be unpreferred, there are times when it's just absolutely on point.

Having said all that, I'm a big fan of dubstep. If for no other reason than it seems to be a definite creation of our generation. A genre of music that's conceived by this generation, and at that it may be the first new genre of the millennium. It's got a lot of room for innovation, and as for how big it gets, we'll just have to wait and see.

--Eliot Sill

You Guys, What Shoud My Minor Be?

So here's the deal, I need to pick a minor and that sounds really hard. Do I pick something that will be most applicable to my probably future jobs? Do I pick something that is a good contrast to math and show how well rounded I am? Do I pick something fun that won't be too hard and will be relatively interesting? I don't know, I just don't know.

Here's what I thought about so far:

  • Statistics: This would almost certainly help me with whatever math related job I end up taking in the future but will 1 or 2 stats courses and 2 math courses a semester make me want to shoot myself as I crumble under the hours of theorems, equations and analytical proofs? Possibly.
  • History: I like history because it's just stories and I also believe that a strong knowledge of history makes you understand the world better and therefore makes you a better person. However, I have a tendency to get behind on readings in the classes I'm currently taking, should I really take on a minor that is mostly based on reading tons of shit and writing reactions?
  • Political Science: Like history, political science seems like something that just makes you a better member of the national and global community. I want world events to mean something to me. However, political science is one of those very subjective majors where you can totally understand the material and still get a bad grade because the TA or professor doesn't agree with your answer.
  • Linguistics: This seems like an interesting and not too incredibly difficult minor. I have already taken the intro course and enjoyed it and it would be very different than math, however, who the hell cares about linguistics (other than my sister who is majoring in it...)? That's no passion of mine and has no real relevance to understanding the world.
  • Scandinavian Studies: I am studying in Stockholm next semester and am really interested in the Scandinavian culture. I will also (hopefully) take 2 courses while in Sweden than will maker me about a third done with this minor. But who the hell minors in Scandinavian Studies. What a weird thing to put on my resumes later. Math and Scandinavian Studies? Who are you?
  • Philosophy: Logic based philosophy is actually considered a math based minor and I would therefore not have to take as many hours to fulfill this minor. Plus, formal logic and philosophy in general seem really cool and interesting to me. Unfortunately, higher level logic classes are usually pretty fucking hard. And what if all that existential analysis actually just pisses me off instead of intriguing me?
What's a girl to do? Since I am essentially taking next semester off, I'm not going to be starting my minor until my junior year which is a bit later than they suggest. Hence the freaking out. If anyone wants to help me decide my life, throw down a comment.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nick - The Misadventures Of Mitt Romney

The best costumes are ones that involve acting. That is why this year I dressed as Mitt Romney for Halloween. That and because I'm not black enough to dress as Herman Cain.

By "dressed," I of course mean that I put on a suit and used an excessive, disgusting amount of hair gel, because that is what Mitt Romney does. Then I proceeded to introduce myself to people and shake their hands, all presidential like, and drop subtle and annoying political references.

Really the only thing better than making a reference that somebody catches is making a reference that nobody catches. For example, when the subject of Native Americans came up, I put on my best Mitt Romney smile and laughed sociably, and then said, "We should ship them all back to Mexico," very politely, as if it's a completely reasonable thing to say.

I had many such moments this weekend, and the response was always the same. People would turn and look at me as if I was about to realize my mistake, and then they would nervously try to act like nothing had happened at all. I managed to make such tasteless statements on the subjects of race, homosexuality, religion, and various other topics, all without being called out / people realizing it was part of my costume.

Just imagine what I could have done if I were Herman Cain.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Robert - I Hate Joel

Oh shit. This comes out Tuesday. That's 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 9 seconds from this sentence. There's really not much time.

Now, I really like this series. I'm not sure if that's because Uncharted 2 was a really good video game, or because I just like video games. There's no way to tell, because I haven't played any modern video games since GTA: San Andreas was new.* Video games are extremely demanding. I struggle with commitment. Video games aren't productive. I'm productivish.** Video games are in 2D. I'm in 3D. We just haven't been compatible, or at least not until I rediscovered the ability to pull myself up over a 300 ft. ledge with my left arm while pulling a fully-armed guard off that same cliff with my right and sustaining heavy fire from as many as twelve undertrained mercenaries below.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Fortune will be my second voyage into post-PS2 video game experience, and I intend to celebrate by holing myself away in my apartment cave for days on end and consuming an adequate amount of sugar to damage my brain into forgetting about exams and/or homework assignments. My brain would already be in this state, had Joel followed through on his commitment to burn through Uncharted 1 in preparation for the new release. Unfortunately, UUUU*** will wait for Tuesday morning.

I bid you adieu as I head to bed for my last good night's sleep in a while.

*Excluding Wii Tennis
**At times
*** United Uncharted Über-bUds