Saturday, November 20, 2010

Springfield, Springfield!

Oh Springfield, how I've missed you. It's so good to see your familiar face all around me. It's so very, very nostalgic. I can't wait to see everyone that's been off at colleges that aren't U of I, and I hope that that actually goes to fruition. Here are the main things I've missed about Springfield.
1. Steak 'N' Shake. Don't worry, I've already paid you a visit.
2. FFFF. Did it last night. Minus a member, and not as hardcore, but again, check.
3. Family. Eh... Just kidding. Love those guys!
4. Thai food. We shall soon meet again.
5. Real movie theaters. Harry Potter, anyone? Still need to see this.
6. Sno Bizz. Gonna have to wait awhile on that one...
7. My room. What a beautiful place. My sister trashed it while I was gone, but it's back to its original pristine condition. That took me all of 2 seconds to start working on. I said "Hi" to my family, then went straight upstairs and got back into the comfort zone. Aaaaah.
8. Wireless internet. Using that shit right now.
9. VHS. I love 'em. I don't have VHS player in my room anymore, but the VHS that are left in my room on the shelves...look so damn good.
10. Having a futon. The convenientest.
11. Actually being able to be alone in my room. I don't miss you, roommate.
12. A real, comfortable bed. Glorious.
13. A PC that actually allows me to play games on it.
14. Real home-cooked meals.

Things I don't miss:
1. The absolutely shitty water pressure in my shower.
2. Having to explain to parents where I'm going and for how long.
3. Not being able to be loud ALL THE TIME.

That's it, short and sweet.


P.S. - Can't wait to hardcore FFFF

Conor - Infinitely Late At Night

it's late and I'm tired. It's been a hard week, and the "something" that everyone constantly accuses of eventually giving turned out to be sleep. I want to stay up and write about my day or my week, but I just fell asleep for half an hour at the keyboard. I will do better next week, everyone. Please, forgive me.

To those of you back home: I miss you. I can't wait to see you soon. I'll be back soon for Steak n' Shake, Little Saigon, Band PRactice and FFFF. Hell yeah.

To those of you at OU: You read this? Call mez.

The song I will drift into the sweet sweet arms of sleep with:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pokémon Español

by Brendan Cavanagh

When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided it was finally time for me to stop buying expensive Five Star folders, which normally didn't hold up all that much better than normal folders, but if you had them everyone was all, "Ohh coooool, you have Five Star, niiiiiice, man" (in my mind). Later in the second semester of school, after my Five Star folder ripped from over capacity, I looked through the pantry/closet at home and found a bunch of old folders from first grade that were currently being used to contain bills and assorted papers. One in particular was a Pokémon folder, and I figured it would do just as well, so I brought it to school.

That week in Spanish class, we had to get together to do a group video advertising a product to our class- and the whole thing had to be gimmicky and entirely in Spanish. I got together with my good buddy Sean, and the two of us decided to join our pals Max and Connor for the project. During the whole week, as we were given time in class to come up with ideas and ultimately draft a script, we made jokes, played games and compared people in our school to various Pokémon. By Thursday we realized we had messed around too much, and seriously needed to come up with an idea, but we were stumped. Finally someone noted that I was casually using a Pokémon folder to carry my paper, and an idea was born: We would sell Pokémon for our video.

For the rest of that day and the day after, we hastily came up with a skeleton of a script, containing minimal dialogue and mostly containing drawings and English phrases describing what we would wind up saying or doing, harmlessly thinking the draft wasn't a serious script, that we could just jot down ideas and elaborate while filming. Not so. The teacher met with us individually to tell us that we were failing the project already, and that the highest grade we could receive would be a 66%, and informed us that she would call our mothers to tell them that we were goofing off in class too much and would inevitably fail the project.

That really put a damper on our creativity. How could we focus and make an enjoyable, albeit serious and informative video when we had the number 66 hanging over our heads? We decided to just go out there and make an outlandishly brilliant and hilariously bizarre video involving Pokémon, still retaining the Spanish language, and not worry about the grade, instead making a video that may not fare well academically, but stood a chance socially as an enjoyable video.

We got together on two separate afternoons, first at Max's I think. Initially we hung out in his bedroom and watched Youtube clips of That 70s Show and further compared SHG students to Pokémon. Finally, in his hilarity or maybe his exasperation at getting nowhere, Sean just raised his arms and screamed, "POKEMOOOOOON!" We all died laughing and decided to film him doing it again. This would ultimately be repeated heavily throughout the finished product, serving as a transition between scenes. We didn't end up getting much done that day, but we decided to shoot some introductory and finishing shots of us in the street and dressed up as our respective Pokémon characters: Max as Ash, Sean as Brock, Connor as Pikachu and me as Misty, obviously. We wound up having a blast(oise) filming ourselves running towards and away from the camera, jumping and flipping and twirling every now and then for dramatic effect. Our last attempt at filming culminated is us shooting each other having a dance party, which was so funny it was put into the movie as a lighthearted denouement from the gravity of the beginning.

PokéDance Party

The next day we shot in Sean's basement. These scenes filled up a majority of the film's middle, including fight scenes and a tour of the Pokémart, run by Professor Oak, conveniently played by me. Of course, we had to include information about Pokémon and how to buy and train them in order to get some credit for our video. I had to leave after about an hour or and hour and a half because I was, at the time, currently employed at Cold Stone Creamery. If you notice, during the middle of the movie, I am mysteriously and surreptitiously absent, thought it appears as if I am holding the camera. That's what we wanted the teacher to think. From what I saw of the scenes filmed, those guys had a lot of fun in my absence. There were so many alternate takes and re-shoots because they could not hold it together. Connor decided to come up with accents for each of the Pokémon he portrayed, and the general ridiculousness of the whole thing was too much for them to handle I guess.

The perils of battling without a Pokémon

Anyway, we had Max collect all the scenes we shot and edit them on his computer into a somewhat cohesive video, complete with transitions and music! When the time came to view our video in class, none of us would lie and say we weren't nervous. I sure was. I had never really been involved with a hopelessly failing project before, and I figured the teacher already hated me, so this video could either keep things the same, awkward way, or cause the serious deterioration in our relationship. Luckily, the video was an unpredictably popular sleeper hit. The class was constantly in stitches, including the teacher herself, who decided to accredit us 22 points of extra credit, giving us a passing grade of 88%. She continues, to this day, to show the movie to all of her Spanish classes in order to explain how to make an acceptable Spanish video for her class. Despite all the obscure Borat references, sexual innuendos, horribly disfigured Spanish and previous erroneous conceptions of the video's quality, she deems it in high enough esteem to serve as a model for future generations of Spanish-class filmmakers.

The guys and I became briefly popular around school. Everyone at SHG somehow found out about our success and demanded to see the video. We couldn't nearly come up with enough DVD copies to dole out to other students, so I, for the first and last time in my life, took it upon myself to upload the video to Youtube, where it sits today with a staggering 1,241 views and 11 comments! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for future world renown. Every year, around springtime, there is a general resurface in interest in Pokémon Español, marked by familiar underclassmen inquiring about the video and an influx in Youtube views. It's weird; I just realized this will be the first time I'm not around the school to watch it happen again. I do miss it. Those were some fun times, making the video and living in relative simplicity. Of course, that's all in retrospect-the simplicity part- but it's nice to reminisce on all the same. I plan on making videos with my friends next summer or sometime when we're all cooped up together and bored because I've created some classics like Pokémon Español and Springfield 911! (a take on Reno 911! about gangs for Theology, unfortunately caught on tape cassette and lost). Pokémon Español Dos, anyone?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ramblings and Runnings from Me to Us.

Okay, so I'm in a car. Riiiiiiiiight now. Driving home from Champaign Urbana. Two days early, cuz I'm a badass. I don't need foolish charades such as class and learning to make me the most intelligent person in the world. In fact, I thrive on knowing everything I need to without trying to know everything I need to. It just happens. Like periods.

Anyway, I don't have a clear goal for this post, and I definitely don't have internet here on the road so there will be no crafty links or hilarious and ironic pictures. Sorry, buds. So where are we headed? Eh, south, probably. However that doesn't mean that you guys don't need to hear me rant and rave about random occurences.

Okay, what's been going on this past week with me? A whole lotta nothing basically. Stayed in on Friday in favor of Final Fantasy and NBA 2K11. I like basketball and dragons, what can I say? Ps, I had this idea. Well I had these ideas. Here we go. We've got an ideear. Random thought line post? Sure.

Quarterbacks in football should be allowed, in fact, required, to ride horses. Spend the next two minutes envisioning that, have fun.

Some people are just bitches. You deal with them as best you can, and when they turn their back you roll your eyes and say “I'm really glad that I don't have to deal with you anymore for a while”. It's okay to dislike people, really.

Guns should be outlawed. Duh.

Pot should be illegal. It's way more epic that way.

Illinois should rename itself Abraham Lincoln. It's time to become American. Like for real, we aren't injuns.

I found a silly band at Classic Brian's dorm the other day that is ridiculously big. I've been wearing it around my waist since Saturday. Yeah. I'm fit.

School is hard, but if you don't wanna do great, like if you just wanna do good, then you really don't have to try all that hard. Just be able to know when you need to step up.

I really love the Bulls. I demand to go to a Bulls game. I have yet to attend a Bulls game, and dammit I'm a bigger fan then mosta these hoes. D-Rose makes me so happy on a nightly basis.

Lauren Leonatti and Jenni Austiff are a couple cool chicks from Chatham. Who knew?

Props to SHS for finally getting a playoff W. The second one was sweeter. Don't worry about fucking up against Chatham, we still thought it was awesome. (OKAY SERIOUSLY NONE OF THEM WILL READ THIS AT ALL)

Is it weird that I casually listen to music from Final Fantasy VII? You would think but...

This statement has nothing to do with the last one. Well actually now, eh, damn.

If you feel like we haven't talked to me in a while, Skype me. You can look me up yourself. If you don't have Skype, then call or text. I'm in one of those moods.

Do you guys think I can get Ganja to marry me?

Fountains are really stupid. Think about it.

You know why people stand around and drink in college? Because that's all that college provides for. It gives you a bunch of empty rooms and a culture that embraces and prides itself on drinking. They boast that 19% of students here don't drink. And I think that's just undergrads. Really? That's ALMOST one in five.

I'm going to do a fun project. I bought a recorder because that's what journalists have. So I need one for when I play dress up. What I was thinking was doling it out to friends of mine so that they could record themselves and talk to me. Just give me a message that I will hear at a time of convenience. I want you to talk to me. Just ramble for ten minutes. I love to hear you be you. Wanna be a part? Ask a fella. I'm not going to make anybody do it that doesn't want to. I'll return the favor somehow so I'm not just using you for an ego-boost. Well, so that's not ALL I'm doing. I love my fans.

I haven't played poker in a while. Anybody wanna play a game of poker over TG break?

Speakin' a which, I'm dead excited to see my Springfield peeps. Especially Brian Malone. It's been like 28 hours bro!

It's hard to define “it”, but “it” is what makes rap great. I can't define it, but I can feel it. If you can't feel it then you don't like rap. If you do feel it you will like rap. Good rap songs have it flowing beautifully in synchronization with their beat. There's more to rap than studio keyboard and self-righteous lyrics. Well, more to GOOD rap anyway.

Do I miss having a job? I don't wanna admit that, but paychecks are fucking sweet. Except for the fact that they're never as high as you want them to be. You always hope for the surprise that you worked 20 more hours than you did. NEVER happens. Why God?

Mada's post last night was great. Almost as good as Brian's. Good job team!


I'm a Packers fan. I love the Packers like I love my cats. Ladies, the head start you have by being a Packers fan is similar to if you came up to me on the street and told me you loved my cats.

I wanna drum. Like REAL BADleh.

My brother just lit up a cigarette. Suckin' the thin dick of death. Mmm MM!

Soul night: Dinner at Florida Avenue Residence Hall where they serve black people food. Stereotypical as shit. But they nail it, and it is so God damn delicious. Also they have Kool-Aid. Yummness.

Tynan Shevlin looks like Michael Jackson. I'm concerned.

Is the countryside beautiful? I couldn't tell you. I suppose it's more prettier durin the day, but also I feel like I'm just immune to Illinois scenery. If I met Abraham Lincoln I wouldn't even flip out. I'd be like yo, I probably know more about you than you do. Not to mention reluctantly. #fucklincoln

Speaking of which, hashtags should become more normal. They're like rap lyrics, but more accessible to the mind of white people. Which is good, because white people have trouble with rap lyrics. It's funny.

ESPN is a joke. They show nothing but Brett Favre and the Heat and steroids. It sucks, for everyone.

It's been a while since I've played a good video game. Honestly the last one that wasn't FF was Uncharted 2, and that was at Christmas, feel free to throw a title or too my way.

I brought home four garbage bags of laundry. Garbage bags. Yeah.

These things are hard to write sometimes. An idea can come to you during the week, but it's got a fifty-fifty shot of slipping your mind before you step up to the keyboard to write a blog post. If you do remember it, you have to be passionate about it, because if not your writing's going to suck. (Here's the part where I would link to Mada's ten-word post if I had access to the internet). Then you have to make sure it's an interesting subject in the first place. Well, I guess you don't have to, but you should.

Lists suck, Brendan. Just kidding. Just lists about books.

Books suck.

Harry Potter is a self-righteous douche.

So is AJ Delaurio, but he pulls it off well.

Almost as well as Ben Shane.

Answer to the question in your mind: I don't know. I don't know what I'm talking about. Uhh.

Anyway, back to drinking in college. They give you a bunch of open rooms to stand around and drink in. The one thing that everyone can say without denial is cool is drinking and hooking up. Want people to not think you're weird? Get drunk and hook up with trashed girls. That'll make you normal. How embarrassing.

CrossTape did a show with Twista and didn't make a huge deal out of it. Fuck that.

For those of you out there thinking about pulling a 180 on their life plans. It's college. We're here to find out what's really interesting.

Conor and I still have to build a wall. Can that be this summer?

Now I'm getting back into Springfield. Time to think of something clever to end this post.

Did I just spite myself out completely? I can't think of anything now that would be nearly clever enough to overcome the fact that I just told you I'm trying to be clever.

How inconvenient. Rememer when I wrote about Springfield and how much I love it? (No? Oh, well then...) It's so weird. It honestly feels like a third parent. And not a good one. 0 for 3. :(


Can't wait to grow up. Gonna get a job. Gonna have some money. Gonna have my own things. Maybe I'll get a dog. Whoa.

My brother now tells me we're stopping by a friend's house to say hi. Apparently the dude just had his second kid (I KNOW, I KNOW, HE didn't have the baby, I get it. You're stupid for thinking I was that stupid.) less than a week ago. Crazy. That baby is still raw.

Having a new kid is like learning a new summon spell.

On second thought, maybe I'm not ready to grow up yet.

Just kidding pops, I love you too. No homo though. Boy would THAT be weird.

Music plays. Yup. It's a fadeout.

--Eliot Sill

Harry Potter is Life.

Hey guys. It's Wednesday. My bad. Better late than never I guess.


Ok. So my obsession with Harry Potter started at a very early age. My sister's both read the first book when it came out so naturally I decided I should too. I will admit that when I first started reading it I quit after ten pages declaring ti boring. This was mostly because I was nine so I was FUCKING RETARDED. I picked it up again about a year later and realized there has never been anything better att all ever. By this time the second one was out as well so i immediately devoured that one and patiently awaited the third. Since then my family has made sure to get a copy of the new book on the day it comes out so we can all start reading it. This plan worked out fine for the next two book until I got sick of waiting a week to start it since i was the youngest and had to wait until everyone was done reading it to pick it up. The we became a two book purchase on the day of type of family. No regrets.

When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out a couple years ago I waited outside of Barnes and Noble with my sister for over two hours at the midnight release to get a copy. When I finished it I literally cried. I also cried while reading it due to the loss of some beloved friends, but that was a different kind of crying. I cried at the end of the novel because ti was over. The end of something huge. No more mystery and suspense. I had read ALL of Harry Potter. A very bittersweet moment. However, I did not allow this to get to me too much because I knew I still has the movies. It was not really the end until The Deathly Hallows came out.

I have always been a HUGE fan of the movies as well. I was never one of those Harry Potter snobs wh thought the films butchered the story and only like one of the directors. I think they are fantastic. I see all of the movies at midnight on opening night and I buy them all as they come out on DVD. After the sixth one came out it really hit me that there was only one left. There was one movie left until I couldn't ignore it any longer, Harry Potter would be done. Oh wait. What? You guys decided to split into two movies? HELL YEAH THAT'S THE BEST IDEA EVER. That's like five hours of movie! Thank God. I can put off that depressing idea for at least another six months.

The reason this is such a huge deal to all of us is because we are of a generation that grew up with Harry Potter. In general, my class has been the same age of the characters as the movies have come out. (We're a little ahead now but whatever..) Most of us devoured the books as children in a way our teachers could never get us to read other novels and we all secretly hoped to get our letter one day. For me, Harry Potter was one of the defining aspects of my childhood. And in that sense, when Harry Potter is over, so is a part of my childhood. A part! not all of it. I'm never growing up.

I really can't explain to you how much Harry Potter means to my life, or how often I have played the multiple Harry Potter board games at my house, but I hope all of you will excuse this pointless post i have written and understand that I'm literally not thinking about anything else right now.

-Mada Ginny Larson

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nick - Shindigs!

Despite what previous posts would have you believe, I do occasionally go to parties, get-togethers, and shindigs of all kinds. Whenever people talk about meeting up and hanging out at someone's house with a bunch of other people, they usually use the verb "partying" to say it. As in, "we're going to party hard tonight!" or, "I did a lot of partying this weekend!"

But what does partying really entail? It's one of those tricky turns of phrase that means something different to everyone, much like "snack" or "busy." I can't answer for why some people say that they are busy when they have a little math homework to do instead of when they actually have very pressing matters to attend to, or why some people say they are going to have a snack first and then proceed to eat a full meal. Perhaps these people are equally bewildered when I say that I am going to "party" and I proceed to stand on the balcony and have long and overly sentimental conversations with people instead of dancing to the obnoxiously loud music.

Prior to pinpointing the particulars of my party-time preferences, we should discuss the differences dividing divergent party deeds.

You see, the kind of party we're talking about is very important. Some parties have tons and tons of people I don't know. Some have a small but well-acquainted group of people. Still others have a central focus on a particular game or theme.

As any of you who know me are probably already aware, I am awful at parties involving lots of people. I'm awful at all parties, but I'm bad at these ones in particular. They usually begin with, end with, and are punctuated by me standing against a wall and occasionally saying hello to people I know. These are especially difficult for me when we're talking about a college party, where I know a maximum of maybe five people.

Then we have theme parties and common interest parties. I lump them together in the same paragraph, but they are pretty distinct categories. Theme parties are where people, unsure if they share any common interests, attempt to create a common interest in the form of a theme that must be adhered to. For example, I went to a robot party full of people dressed as robots. Unfortunately, I had no access to robot materials, so rather than standing in the robot-kitchen talking about robot-costumes with other robot-people, I ended up on the wallflower-couch resorting to my usual big party strategy of being boring.

Common interest parties, however, are a name I give to a party where everyone has something in common to discuss. For example, this weekend I hit up an awesome Oregon Trail (the computer game) party. There was much competitive spirit and talk about dysentery. These kinds of parties are nice because there is something for everyone to talk about. They did not, however, have Nick Dietrich in mind when they created this kind of party. Nick Dietrich has to be the best at everything and will sit by the laptop attempting to become the best at Oregon Trail into the wee hours of night after everyone else has grown bored of the game.

The last kind of party is the kind that is small and where I know everybody. This is the environment in which I thrive. These parties are simply not prepared for Nick Dietrich. It doesn't take long for people to begin drinking, which gives Nick Dietrich the opportunity to talk to them for hours on end. There is no better way to have an insightful conversation than with a person who has drank just enough to tell you all sorts of things they ordinarily would probably not tell you. In this way I cultivate friendships through shared secrets, given only mostly willingly.

I understand that this sounds like I'm a weird person who is trying to take advantage of his friends, but in reality I just like making connections with people. Also, the whole "get them to tell me things they ordinarily wouldn't" actually backfires into me telling people all about myself far more than it works in the correct direction.

I guess the reality is that I'm someone who just likes to talk more than I like to dance or play beer pong or other forms of partying, though that's not to say I don't do high-energy things at parties sometimes too. One time I went exploring at a party and found a drum set, but that's a whole different story.

I guess the moral of the story here is that Oregon Trail is a cool game.

Party hard,

Natural Selection

Robert Langellier

You don’t need a red wire and a blue wire to experience a real instance of absolute panic. You don’t need a long silence after proposing to your girlfriend of three years. All you need is to have your teacher announce “choose your own partner” time in class.

At this point, starting guns fire in the distance, nervous pit stains appear, and the entire room plays a furiously faux-nonchalant game of musical chairs, except with eye contact and not chairs.

“Finding a partner” is one of the lesser appreciated terrors of the young student. There’s nothing scarier than the possibility of ending up with that weird girl with the greasy hair and the voice of a seal. This bodes dangerously for the normal kid sitting next to her. All eyes in the room will undoubtedly treat his corner of the room like a cluster of lepers. By indiscriminately making a sweeping rejection of an entire region, chances of being paired with Sealia are cut drastically. 

In most cases, everyone will have a preferred target. The Golden Partner. I try utilizing my eyes as a sound combination of mild heat vision and ESP telegraphing to control my target’s focus. If I succeed, he catches my eyes, and I quickly convert them into tractor beams that lock him in until it’s too late for him to escape. I have won, at least for that day.

Never let them see you bleed. Sweat, but never pant. Nobody wants a nervous kid for a partner or a friend. It’s a difficult process to put on an air of being above petty scramblings while a keeping a constant vigilance on a 270-degree region, but in times of real need, unknown potential always realizes itself. Your eyes will adapt to bend light around your temples like bullets in Wanted, and your senses will become attuned to the emotional statuses of both your friends and your enemies. The moment you show fear, the culture will sniff you out immediately. You are then doomed to a less-cool partner, or worse yet. 

Ostracization. If there are 185 penguins in an arctic colony, mathematically, one of them isn’t mating. I failed to mate with anyone in my 8am French class. Over the course of time, every person in class has paired off with an unofficial daily partner. I have been ostracized. Every day is a bleak window of terrifying solitude. My eyelids shift constantly between half-closed half-consciousness and wide-open, petrified fear. Since it is a foreign language class requiring you to speak, French makes room for “partner work” time every single day. And every single day, I try to sink lower into my chair than the day before, in shame.

I have one of three options when this happens. First, I look to see if anybody’s partner has failed to show up. Perhaps I can snatch them up like a Hungry Hungry Hippo marble. When this inevitably fails, I switch to option two: try to fit a third nut into a peanut shell. The way the tiny desks in my classroom are attached to the chairs and packed in, this becomes an exercise in extreme awkwardness, especially when you’ve built a reputation in class of not talking much or interacting with other life forms. I often then concede defeat and slip into option three: sit alone, stare intently at my book, and read the partner exercise to myself semi-audibly. This is true humiliation, coming to its full, awkward, disgusting climax when my French teacher came over a couple weeks ago, knelt down by my desk, and did the exercise with me. Consider myself blacklisted, unless a pity clause is soon invoked in some kind soul. It probably won’t be.

Selection is about speed, strategic angles, communication, and willingness to mouth the word “Sorry” to that one guy while pointing to the kid sitting next to you. Play the game wrong, and you’ll end up as alone as I am. Play the game right, and you might make a lasting friend with a real impact on your life. All it takes is a little luck. One wire makes all the difference.