Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The opposite of the word "settle"

I have central-Illinois jet lag. Bloomington Champaign Springfield. Within these three kindred cities unravels the story of my life (somewhere in the background, Urbana and Normal are stammering and upset). All three of these places have homelike feels to them. Two of these places are competing for my permanent residence, and two of them are competing for my free time.

I live in Champaign. I stay there.
I'm from Springfield. I return there.
My girlfriend lives in Bloomington. I visit there.

Navigating these three cities is easy, if you have a car. Interstate highways connect them, triangularly. Fifty-five connects Bloomington and Springfield, 72 connects Springfield and Champaign, and 74 connects Champaign and Bloomington. You won't find a taxing drive in the lot. Unfortunately for her, Jenn has a car and I don't. So she tends to be using that a lot while I bum rides and hitch buses with my parents' money.

The concept of home made a lot more sense when I was younger. In the past four years it's really degraded into an idea, as opposed to a place (600 Kenyon). It's become people, buildings, smells, streets, anything really.

The transitional phase of leaving the nest is gigantic. You go to college, you spend four years there, then you start honing in on a place of residence. You don't just, say, move to Milwaukee and setup camp. You go to a place, build a resume, meet some people, move elsewhere, blah. Once you realize that college is just a kickoff into homelessness and self-preservation, you kind of see it for more than the parent-free drinking haven that it is.

The feeling of independence is astounding, and I sometimes fear college may be the pinnacle of that. Independence and responsibility operate separately of one another. At least, such is true in college. I mean, sure, it's a step up from high school in terms of responsibilities. But you are at the point of least overlap between providing for yourself and being provided for. Before college, it's one way; after, the other.

This vast freedom is at times entirely euphoric, while at other times intimidating and daunting. There is a way to screw it up, ask to be provided for when you need to self-provide, or vice versa. You can slip up and dig a deep hole. Lose out on college, job opportunities or the terrifying future.

Employment outlook is just terrible. It feels like I'm blindly running through this jungle known as college, hoping I don't trip over anything or run into any predators, and presuming that if I just run long enough I'll get out of the jungle and into the clear. I'm blindfolding myself, like with my arm, and screaming all the while. And yes, I'm terrified, but also utterly exhilarated.

I alternatingly thought my parents were stupid and awesome for going to college for their passions: art and music. It was cool in the moments where I didn't just feel poor. And here I am going into journalism, a business that's getting a lot out of being fake to people. But it's not about the business; the business is interesting though, for with a stabilized business for journalism, perhaps media will regress to truthfulness and purposeful, accurate news reporting.

Or perhaps the technology boom will trump journalism, and the media will become corporatized (Tribune) and undesirable. Perhaps I'll end up just a writer, who tries to put words together better than all of you and expects to be paid for doing so.

My source material is mundane, living through the triangle. My life isn't overly depressing, living conditions are easy and midwestern, friends are plentiful and, while interesting, normal. My experiences are too relatable. And I think I put too much into source material, but typically because great writers have interesting backgrounds. Me, I have the summer of 2010 and little else.

This semester, I got experience at trying new things. Radio production, night editing, Vidcast, beat reporting, it was all new and that was the most I gained from it -- the newness. It's something I've always thought that to succeed, you must make your situation uncomfortable and then get comfortable with it. Like working out, but with your life events and situations.

So I'm staying in Champaign this summer. Hoping to be made uncomfortable once again. I don't know what it will be like, but after last year, feeling like breathing the Springfield summer air was taking years off my life, I want to try something new. I'll be an important person at the paper, and do my best not to mess up a ton.

And though my life is becoming the opposite of the word "settle," I think I'm starting to get used to not getting used to anything.

--Eliot Sill  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Anti-Plan

robert langellier

If i haven't told you yet, this is what i'm planning to do this summer. This is how much you will see of me. These are the directions i'll be moving myself:

i don't actually know— and i like it a lot that way. i know that my room is clean and impeccable and i like being inside it. i know that i have a firepit in the backyard. i know that i have books about drugs and the cosmos and nursing homes and Monterey Bay, California. i know that i have some string instruments, some more broken than others, and a piano, only a little broken. one of those string instruments is a violin, which isn't mastered quite yet. one is a banjo, which has a considerable length to go to mastery. i know that i have a very long story to sift through, edit, and fix to make pretty. i'm particularly excited about that. i know that i have a language, French, to learn how to listen to and interpret, which is difficult because theyslureverysoundandsoitsoundslikethistoforeignears. i know that i have a very important piece to work on regarding age. i'm both very excited and dispirited by that. i also know that i have to stay awake for as long as i can at some point, for the pressing purposes of science and jokes.

All of these are great things, but they don't tie me. Things i don't have are classes or a job with a fixed schedule or anything else which does tie a certain person to a certain place. and so— i may end up anywhere, anyplace, anytime, whimsically, hopefully. i'd like to move around a lot. although— i know that plans don't often go the way they are planned, and disappointment is an inherent quality present at the end of every plan. i'm sure i'll spend more time here than i want. i'll probably play some Mario Party at Conor's. and i'll probably enjoy that a little bit.

And i know that i have free rent in Springfield. i know that i have leases in Columbia for most of the summer, and friends who live in Columbia during the rest of the summer. i know that i have a job in Columbia that can be picked up and left off in 24 hours' notice. i know that i have a pair of jobs in Springfield that aren't fully lined up yet, but assumedly can be picked up and left off in 24 hours' notice, or else i will leave them.

i know there are some certain people in Columbia i am very excited to see, and i know there are people in Springfield i am also excited to see, and there are also a couple of really stellar people in Champaign. i know there are music festivals to attend, some hitchhiking to do, some pretty exciting nursing homes to poke my head into. i have a friend who will be living in Tucson who would like to see me, or to see me in Cheyenne. i have a friend and his father in Ludington, Michigan who are prepared to imbibe me with the cuisine and adventure of an outdoorsman's summer paradise.

In short, i am very open ended right now, in most all respects. i don't even know who i'll be close with next year, because even that is in rapid flux, but that's alright, because if i dive in and come out with no friends, i have books about drugs and the cosmos and nursing homes and Monterey, CA. i don't think i've ever dangled in wind currents more loosely than i am now, i'm going with the flow so hard. i don't know where i'll be in three weeks, and that's pretty exciting to me. i don't know if this qualifies as an extremely ambitious season or an extraordinarily unambitious and noncommittal one. But my summers lately have been magical in varying ways, so i'd like to think this one will find a way to be so, too.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nick - Yet Another Post About Pokemon

Summer is a time for relaxing and taking it easy. School lets up and suddenly you don't have to study or go to class or be anywhere on time ever. So you all have spare time now, right? Great!

Anyone who knows me well enough to be reading Classic Brian probably knows I'm a huge nerd, so here's what I've been doing the past week. 

This website here has one of the most fun and interesting programs ever, called the Pokemon Emerald Randomizer. It loads a Pokemon Emerald ROM (Which you can find, along with an emulator, using a quick Google search) and allows you to substitute your starter pokemon for any pokemon you want. It also randomizes the pokemon that appear in each area; for example, one time I found a floor of a cave early on in the game filled with Mewtwo.

You would think that totally breaking all of the rules of the game like this would have some kind of adverse consequences, but actually it just makes the game way more fun. Plus I never ever get tired of it because each game is very different.

My current game is DeBono themed! I started with a Bagon named Clare.

Setting the game up this way makes it really unpredictable and fun. I recommend trying it out if you, like me, have transcended beyond the realm of normal video games due to your unmatchable and infinite skill.