Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Top 5

Top five things in life:

-Physical Contact: I'm all about that shit. From physical comedy to a good hug, nothing is as awesome as human touch. It's comforting, it's warm (usually), and it just feels good. I have a friend, Kenny, whom I will be living with next year. Kenny doesn't like to be touched. At all. I find this so weird. Many of my jokes include touching, and whenever I try to do so to Kenny, he physically recoils. It's weird. Touching is awesome. Sex.

-Learning: Learning is maybe my favorite. Acquiring knowledge is the greatest. I'm taking a philosophy class on symbolic logic class and I really enjoy it. Scientists are all about discovering things and adding to our current knowledge base, but philosophy is about understanding what we already know and using that to deduce other truths. All mammals are vertebrates. Some sea creatures are mammals. Therefore, some sea creatures are vertebrates. There's no way any one of us will ever tap even a small fraction of the knowledge we've already discovered, so why do we need more of it? Fuck dat. I wanna learn all I can, but I have no desire to discover knew things.

-Eating: Food is delicious. Fuck you, Nick.

-Dreaming: Sometimes, when I have nothing better to do, I just go to sleep so I can dream. That sounds sorta depressing, but whatever. I like it. Dreaming is so weird and not like normal life and that's what makes it so great. Where else can you fly around defeating evil bridge trolls in rap battles to win fair maidens' hearts. No where else, that's where.

-Drinking: I spend a lot of my time realizing it's too early to start drinking yet. Like right now. Drinking is just a ticket to good times, unless you're an emotional girl that turns into a puddle of tears by the end of the night. Inhibitions are stupid and I hate them.


Conor - The Perfect Day

Priorities are something I've often wallowed about here in the halls of Classic Brian. To summarize my earlier findings, doing things is hard, and I hate doing things. More often than not, being responsible and productive is more difficult than not giving a damn. Which sucks!

Oftentimes, while wondering what terrible god would do things like make peoples metabolisms operate on wildly different scales and make tying ties so tricky, I wonder what I do if I was suddenly free of the logical shackles of this world. What if I wasn't obliged to do society any service, what if I distance meant nothing, what if time was my only limitation and I could effectively do whatever I wanted?

If I had 24 hours to spend however I wanted to, how would I do it? What would My Perfect Day look like?

Here we go. Most of this can happen in any order, unless otherwise noted in my description.

2 hours would be spent playing Ultimate in Norman. Everyone would be there. It would be good ultimate, we would play well, but it would not be taken seriously. The game wouldn't devolve into exclusively upside-down hucks and the like, but it would definitely get pretty stupid by the end.

An embarrassing 3 hours of the day would be spent playing Final Fantasy. Know that I shaved a lot of other things down in order to ensure that FF got its fair share.

2 hours would be spent at improv practice. I say improv practice because, while I love the rush of having to make the improv good because there's an audience watching, at improv practice we can do stupid, regrettable things. Things can go badly and it can be way funnier than if they had gone well and we don't have to give a damn. We can ensure our spots in hell, worry free. Also, everyone who's ever been in improv would be there. And I wouldn't be the leader.

1 hour would be spent at either Steak N' Shake or Little Saigon. Come one, come all. EVERYBODY SHOW UP.

1/2 an hour would be spent at Snowbiz Shaved Ice. I guess, for financial purposes, it would be a Tuesday, so we could get two for one. I would get a medium sour lemon, sour green apple concoction. Every time I haven't gotten this I have regretted it.

1/2 an hour would be spent going on a run through Washington Park with Nick Dietrich, and whoever else worked up the energy to come with us that day. Which I guess would be the whole crew. Because this is the Perfect Day. We would run around the park twice. This would probably occur around 11:00 at night. No park police would bother us about being in the park after it's closed, because how do you close a park.

2 hours recording a new song with Band Practice. It would be a good song and everyone would like it. The lyrics would not be bad, and every band member would have an interesting part. It would not be showy, or too melodramatic. It would just work well. Later, we would play a 1 hour show that would be reasonably well attended. It would be a very very small venue so it would appear like there was better attendance than there was. Somehow, I would not sweat.

12 hours down.

2 hours would be spent sitting around 1042 Leslie Lane, and doing whatever. Relaxing. Chillaxing, maybe even. Fuck you, blogspot, don't you dare put a red squiggly line underneath chillaxing as if you don't know exactly what I mean. I would maybe take turns playing Halo 3 with some of the guys, maybe  I would just sit in the living room we've entitled The War Room and talk to people, watching a movie in the second living room we call Codename: Bitch Tits, maybe I'd play ping-pong, maybe we'd play Risk maybe I'd just sit in my room and read. It don't matter. It'd be nice.

3 hours would be spent going to dinner with my family and then playing board games with them afterwards. We would go to someplace nice. Like Ginger Asian Bistro. We would then play Banagrams, or Chasing Mr. X or whatever that new game someone just got for Christmas was. I wouldn't win. Even in my perfect day, I have to accept simple facts about life.

2 hours would be spent seeing an impossible concert. It would basically be like a 2 hour mix CD where every band plays one or two songs and so there are like 10 or 11 of my favorite bands. There is no set up or tear down time. Somehow. It's in a medium sized venue. Probably in Oklahoma, but people from Illinois are there, too, for some reason. It's crazy.

Or it could just be a 2 hour Mountain Goats concert. I'm cool with that too.

2 hours would be spent in a car, driving, talking to whoever else would be in the car, and listening to music. The sun would be setting. I'd probably be drinking a monster.

2 hours would be spent at a party in Springfield. The Party Planning Committee would have pretty set it up. I would be the designated driver, but I would still have a fantastic time. I would get to see all of the people I miss, all of the people who I acknowledge I haven't put enough energy into seeing while I'm back in town. I've been thinking about this lately. It's so easy and so convenient for me to spend time with the same 5 or 6 people in Springfield, and because I am a creature of sloth I've done just that. I feel pretty shitty about that. I will do my best. I haven't done well thus far, but I'll try. I know if I wait any longer to start maintaining these relationships, it will be too late.

2 hours would be spent at a party in Norman. I would not be the designated driver.

I would also take a 45 minute nap.

Also my perfect day would be 25 hours and 45 minutes long.

It would also be my birthday.

And Christmas.

EDIT: If anyone's interested, list the contents of your perfect day. It's probably exactly like mine.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I have a lot of thoughts. Some of them hold value. Others are utterly worthless. I think that's actually how most people are, so I don't feel too weird about it. But, I often imagine how my life would be different if I were born 10, 20, 50, 100 years before that fateful day in 1992. I also frequently think of myself as better fit for those time periods, and those who lament my terribly inconsistent communication habits would probably agree. Or, see it as an excuse I make for myself for not being a reliable communicator. Yeah, screw you guys.

I don't think everything clever has been said, but wouldn't it be reasonable to think that a grand majority of clever thoughts have been thought? We have 7 billion people on earth, all of whom have their entire lives to think of things. You would think we'd cover all our bases. But, there's still plenty of gold left to be mined, so whenever I think of a unique thought or joke, I feel the need to throw it out there.

Into the wind, you see.

Social media has spread from platform to platform, covering standard human thought process like a gaseous cloud, expanding and filling the entire void. For instance, try to think of a website that should exist, or a different form of social media that should exist. Such cognitive construction is difficult with so much already out there ("that has to exist already").  If you have an idea, there's a proper medium to express it. How many more mediums can there be?

All of this contributes to the wind, the white noise and assumed progress of social media. When you use Facebook, do you feel like you're advancing your life? Socially, perhaps you are, but is it important change, or is it just dust in the wind? It's probably just dust in the wind. I mean, yeah, I'm quoting Kansas here, but it's valid, right?

Biz Stone, in a commercial for some off-brand vodka, said he thinks Twitter (which he co-founded) is like a river, that if you want access to it, you dive right in. Otherwise, no big deal. And while that's an amicable, poetic way of defining Twitter, I could see it more like wind. It picks up, dies down, sometimes it's nice and pleasant, other times it blusters too hard and is obnoxiously noisy. Rivers come from somewhere and go somewhere. Wind just passes by. We can shout into the wind, but more than likely our measly contribution isn't going to change anything. We just want to be part of the wind, because people feel the wind, and we want to be felt.

Facebook is similar. Another medium where you can shout into the wind, except your friends are there to give you a reaction and shout back. None of it will get you heard, none of it will get you published, none of it will make you famous. All of it will give you the opportunity to be felt. And being felt is a nice reminder that you exist. If you put something on the Internet, they say, anyone can see it. Well, anyone can not see it, also. It can be completely ignored, or just not cared about. This blog is wind, also.

It's fun to play in the wind. You can act out, be as bold as you want, showcase your pearly morals, express dissatisfaction, pretend no one will hear you, pretend everyone will hear you, pretend that that one special person will hear you and understand you better, pretend anything you want. Freedom of speech was devised without social media in mind, but what a perfect forum to practice free speech. The almighty Internet, wherein all your opinions matter and are as visible as any other opinion. Someone tells you your wrong and you know you're alive.

Rarely will the wind move you. Sometimes the wind can be terribly destructive. But one thing remains true: when the wind stops blowing, there is stillness, tranquility, calm. Some people, those better fit for the past, enjoy it when the breeze dies down and the world can be observed with the eyes, and instead of hurtling your thoughts into the wind to be felt, you hold them to yourself, and that's enough to know you're alive.

And then the wind picks up again.

--Eliot Sill

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Here is a list of things that have caught my interest during my stay in Sweden:

1. Everyone here is skinny. I have seen only a handful of overweight people since I've been here. People aren't even chubby. Or bulky. Everyone is slender.

2. Stockholm is filled to the brim with shopping. There are malls hidden all over the damn place (including half of the subway stops (which is actually really convenient (you don't even have to go outside))) and downtown Stockholm is lined with fashion, sports, and electronic stores. I guess America has a lot of shopping too but I think this place is setting some kind of record.

3. Everyone dresses extremely appropriately for the weather. Since I've been here it has been about 30 or 32 degrees Fahrenheit everyday. That really isn't all that cold. At U of I I would still see people trying to get away with hoodies under northfaces and hardly anyone would be wearing gloves. Here, everyone has a parka that goes down to their knees and scarves. So many scarves.

4. This place is ridiculously clean. I live in the biggest city in the country. From my experience in New York, the subways should be filthy, smell weird, and look like a dungeon. The subways stations here are all decorated in what is actually the longest art gallery in the world. And they don't smell weird.

5. Literally every person I have come in to contact with speaks English. When I walk up to counters at stores or coffee shops or whatever the worker will always start out optimistically, saying "hej", and I will immediately let my situation be known by following with a firm "hello". Their respect for me drops a bit but then we continue on in perfect English. I have also met foreign exchange students from all over the place (Germany, Ukraine, Finland, Great Britain, Singapore, Korea, Madagascar, Portugal, etc.) who are all fluent in English. However, accents can be tricky. At first I thought I would just have to get used to the Swedish accent but now I see that I will be spending 5 months asking people to repeat themselves. So cultured!

6. People love/hate America. I had always heard that everyone abroad hated America and that I would be judged immediately based on that fact. This is not really true. People actually kind of love America. They poke a lot of fun at us (I have been asked if I know a lot of lumberjacks and if everyone owns a gun and why wasn't I fat) but at the same time, they all grew up watching American television, American movies, and listening to American pop music, as well as their own TV shows, movies, and music of course. And apparently everyone tries to study in America because it is much more prestigious to go to school there. The ones who fail end up in Stockholm and the like.

7. I am not a cynic over here. At the only party I have attended thus far, I found that everyone I talked to was extremely sarcastic. When I told them I was considered very sarcastic or cynical by my friends they told me I fit right in. How fun!

These are all of the observations I can think of at this moment, though there have been many more that have slipped my mind. More to come I hope!

Nick - A Day Late, A Dollar Short

Yeah, I didn't post yesterday. But I'm posting now! That's good, right?

I don't know if you noticed, but I just did something I don't normally do, which is apologizing for a late post. Usually I just pretend like it never happened at all, which I think is a great strategy.

Unfortunately, today I also have nothing to post about and my first day of classes starts in roughly 20 minutes. So allow me to make it up to you.

First, I'd like you to meet my friend the freshwater stingray.
We met at an aquarium store called Sailfin in downtown Champaign, and we bonded over our shared hatred of humanity. I posted him on Twitter yesterday, so you may have already seen him. If not you should totally follow me on Twitter.

Second, I'm gonna go ahead and tell you what I'll be doing for next week: I'm going to summarize every day, at the end of the day, with one sentence. So look forward to at least seven sentences of Classic Brian next week.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Robert - Amorphous Bulbous Bodies

It is a cold event, being born. Slowly my elements swim around each other and then finally condense into my tiny wet form. And there I stay, frozen in space for a few moments, as the cold air and pressure begins to mold me already. My extremities begin to form, sprouting out from my bulbous ends, and new extremities form from those, and so on. My shape is crafting itself; the sky is ushering in my utterly new existence. I am a snowflake in the air.

It is inevitable that I will fall. I am afraid of that. I have known no such thing in my momentary life, only the comfort of stagnancy, calm quietness. I'm okay here. My mother said that we all fall eventually. She said I have to. That my father and his father and his father, and so on, all fell. She said I have nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be ashamed of, that change is a part of life. I asked her what would happen after I fell. She said she did not know.

I like it here in the clouds. My sky is huge, but I can only see so far because it is crowded with others. They are all like me. I want to reach out to them, to ask them if they are afraid, but I do not; I hang still in the air. I love them, though, all of them. They are my friends.

One day I gather my courage and ask my friend Graup if he is afraid. He says no. I say why. He says he pretends falling is a race, and he cannot wait to get started right away right now right now. He says he will go as fast as he can, and he will love it. Okay, I say. He is not afraid.

I know about my fathers, and I know about gravity, but I begin to wonder how it would be like to stay in the air forever, to be different from the others. My mother said look at me, all my many extremities from my bulbous bodies. She said to be proud of them. That no one else in the whole sky would have extremities just like mine, not ever before and not ever after. She said I was totally unique, and that I shouldn't worry about being different from the others and so I shouldn't worry about falling. I asked her how she knew I was unique exactly. She said well she didn't know but it was pretty likely I was.

I am very proud of my uniqueness, anyway. I look around at others now, at all their extremities, to find out how I am different from them. I do not think it will make me any less afraid to fall.

I grow every day, and I have gotten big, as big as anyone in the sky, and I start to fall. It is a scary thing at first, but it is also a relieving thing at first, because you have waited so long for it. My god it is fast. The wind hurtles at me from below and pounds at my bulbous body, and it feels as though the air is trying to keep me afloat, but I know it is not—I am falling.

The fall is not too long. At least it is quick, and all my friends around me are falling too. As I get lower, my body begins to heat up. I have never known this earth heat before, and it is like the sky is on fire. My body begins to boil on the outside, and it is the worst pain in the entire sky, and I scream. It is not like my mother told me. I wonder if this is how it was for her, when she fell. My body contorts in excruciating agony, and the only thing I wish for more than death is to be in the clouds again covered with my friends. I look around; they are all in pain too. They are all screaming. It is horrible. Everyone is suffering. They can all feel it.

My body is mangled, different from before. My extremities have withered and disappeared in the heat, changed into hot liquid. My vision is blurry now, and I don't feel very much alive, but it is the same way with the others, I can see. Their extremities are all melted away, and they are only amorphous bulbous bodies now, and I am too. This heat has taken away my uniqueness even. I am just like the others, but it is not important to me now, not now.

It has been 30 minutes. I am ready for death. The earth is still distant but it feels so close now. I cannot think anymore, there is only me and the ground. My last elements begin to change at last, and as the heat begins to finally envelop me, I am filled with a sudden surge of unexplainable glee, a charge that moves through me and back out again. I can feel my bulbous body, every remaining part of me, melt away into water, just as my father and his father and his father, and so on. I know this was how it was for them. I think I knew it would be for me. In becoming water, I start to feel so close to them. I await my death in moments, and I do not know what will become of me, but for now I feel so connected.