Friday, December 9, 2011

Thursday Night Rambling Blues

by Brendan Cavanagh

I didn't have time today to sit down and write a cohesive post of appropriate length, so here's a collection of things I'm thinking right now.

I had to make a five-minute presentation about my progression through any childhood, cognitive theorist's theoretic stages of development. Basically an excuse to show five minutes of baby pictures and cute c0lLeGe  pix. I hastily assembled the video at the last minute, and added some music to the beginning to make it more dramatic. Needless to say, it went well. Nobody knew I was the sibling of triplets, so that portion of the video got a lot of attention. Nice! Easy-A. But anyway, looking through my childhood pictures, I just felt so old. My innocent, childhood self even looked different than me. I felt like a corrupted, distorted version of that boy. Not that I hate myself or anything, but I guess I just can't fathom the amount of significant change that has taken place in my life since then. I mean, we have iPods and cell phones that are ten times smaller than Zach Morris'. Our President is an African American! Look how far we've come.

Speaking of Saved By the Bell...let's talk about that. You know, when I first started watching it, in junior high, I despised it wholeheartedly, but watched it every day before school for an hour anyway because it was the only sitcom on at six or seven in the morning. Over time, as I watched it for several years in a row before school each morning, I grew to appreciate its ridiculousness, like the time senior year when Zach tried to prevent a frantic Jessie from popping caffeine pills before the big video shoot.

I already appreciated the Joker playing card before The Dark Knight came out.

More saved By the Bell...check out this parody, about A.C. Slater's life after Bayside High.

I'm sad that my poetry class is over for the year. It really kept me motivated in writing poetry, and I felt like I was expressing myself more articulately and artfully than I had in a long while. I want to keep writing poetry and honing my skill. Here's one that I've written that I'm proud of:

Lady Rose

Again incapable of speech I watch
as across the windswept street
shuffles the nerve-wracked Lady Rose
bearing and untidy assortment of empty letters
the black ink bleeding upon faded-yellow sheets
reminiscent  of the wrought-iron gate impaling
a pool of fallen leaves outside
her isolated mansion existence.
She wouldn't let you know it
                         I know it
                         after many years of keen observation
                         from my post along the wide window
                         at the corner coffee-house
                         beside the post office
but she once lived a life of luxury
as evidenced by the floral French fragrance
stemming from the neck of her beaten frame
and which wafts to where I sit still speechless
at the cafe's only outside table
in the first merciful days of April.

After her husband passed
hardly any of her ample inheritance
could save her home, like her countenance
from wilting into sun-dried disrepair.
                          I was there.
                          I watched detached as always
                          while her husbands life spilled out
                          in silent streams from his thick neck
                          as he mouthed helplessly
                          I knew then that I could make my lady happy thereafter.

Each subsequent Friday afternoon
she passes my post to deliver her post
where I sit still and aware, always aware
that I'll never be able to reveal
my unspoken deed of unrequited passion
forever doomed to murmur weakly

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Newman Hall

For the past semester my I have lived in private certified housing, specifically Newman Hall. Last year, all I knew about Newman Hall was that it was a Catholic dorm and that Nick Dietrich lived here. It had the stereotype of being a bunch of boring weird kids who didn't go out, and probably all had their own rosaries. After a semester here I feel like I've gotten a pretty good grasp on this place and I have to be honest, the stereotypes are kind of true.

Newman Hall tries to offer every possible thing you could want in your college life. You sleep at Newman, eat at Newman, study in the caf or the Lewis lounge, hang out in the floor lounges, participate in evening activities they offer, worship at Newman, and even go on trips over break with your Newman family. In theory this could seem like a nice idea. Newman is a home and the people there are a community. However, in my observation it has greatly stunted these kids' college experiences.

When I lived in public dorms, I had friends all over campus, I rarely ate at the same dining hall for every meal in a day, and everyone I knew was the same way. The people I lived with were involved with a ton of activities on campus and  could go out with a variety of different groups. Most of the people I have met at Newman spend almost all of their downtime here, their friend group is consists mostly of other Newman residents, and if they get involved, it's with a Newman organization. Obviously there are exceptions, our very own Nick is a second year resident and has tons of outside friends via improv, but this is a rarity.

On my own floor, the girls I have bonded with the most have been the girls in sororities which is surprising because these are the types I tried to avoid last year. However, when compared to the other Newman types on my floor, these are the girls who are going out and doing something different. It's almost like they are the rebels.

Finally, and this is going to be a terrible generalization, Newman Hall is has one of the largest homogenous and sheltered/naive populations I have come in contact with on campus. Again, I know this is certainly not everyone, but it is true for a sad amount residents. As everyone at U of I, most of the people you meet here are from the suburbs. Plus, these kids' parents decided to pay for private housing for their children. For some that is a religious or community-based decision, but for many, it's proof that your parents probably don't have too much trouble with money. As white, privileged kids from the suburbs, these kids haven't seen much of the world and Newman Hall is allowing them to keep that shelter. I start to cringe every time I hear someone here try to use the term hippie or hipster, try to discuss social issues, or brag about partying. This is because it is almost always followed by a misinformed or just slightly off statement that is immediately accepted by those around them.

Oh! and why don't we have any kind of late night or convenient store? I have spent more on food this semester than I ever did last year.

Ok, so I'm ranting. And probably offending a lot of people. I'll try to add in the positives. Newman has a baller location. Seriously, I get mad when I have to walk more than about 6 minutes anywhere because of how spoiled I am living next to the quad. Also, there is a sink in the room, and the room is bigger. These things really do make a huge difference. My RA is also really nice. That's not really a Newman thing, I just like her. Also the weird meal system makes it incredibly easy to steal food for yourself and others. Oh and they leave a soda fountain out at all times so that's just free. That's really all I can think of. Needless to say I can't wait for Sweden.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Nick - Re-Elect Frank Sobotka

Yesterday I realized I have 500 pages that I can print in the computer lab before the end of the semester. The following is a mere sample of my work.