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Tag Archives: brother

How to Deal with Your Family This Holiday Season

16 Dec

With winter break upon us, many of us will be back at home spending time with our families. To some of us, this sounds like a great chance to reunite with the people you love the most. However, to many of us, this is a nightmarish scenario that you have dreaded since you left for school. Have no worries, we here at Sherman Ave are ready to guide you through interactions with every family member this holiday season (And by “holiday season,” I really mean Christmas, because Hanukkah is over and there has yet to be sufficient proof that Kwanzaa exists).

Ugh. These assholes.

Dad

What to expect: You know he’s going to be an asshole from the get go. He will be asking questions about your grades before he says hello. That’s just his style. The trick here is not giving away that you regularly sleep until 1 pm and don’t go to most of your classes. If you keep the jig up, he might just keep paying for tuition.

Make sure to say: “It’s like a common Northwestern practice to drop two classes.”

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Considering our Options for the ASG 10k Initiative

6 Dec
Our suggestion from last year, which has yet to be passed by President Ani "The Punisher" Ajith.

Our suggestion from last year, which has yet to be passed by President Ani “The Punisher” Ajith.

What would you do with 10,000 dollars? Associated Student Government, as you may know, asks the entire student body this question every year. ASG then applies this sum toward the best answer. I spoke with several members of the Northwestern community regarding their opinion on the matter.

Cameron Jibril Thomas, Ph. D., Psychologist, CAPS: In light of Northwestern’s mental health epidemic, CAPS has responded with different services – clinical services, workshops, etc. – but there is a more effective and far-reaching option. $10,000 could buy 10 pounds of weed and go a long way to improving mental health on campus.

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The Four Most Embarrassing Things You Did as a Teenager

4 Apr
"Dude, Green Day are the Beatles of our generation."

“Dude, Green Day are the Beatles of our generation.”

Now that you’ve survived spending time at home with your younger relatives, all those old memories are coming back to you.  Remember your creepy loyal and unrequited love for The One, who dated the ugly skank with the stripper name instead of you?[1] Remember that time your stupid mean “friend” ditched the Fabulous Five Femme Fatales to go to Homecoming in her stupid boyfriend’s group and totally spent the whole dance frenching with him? Remember changing for gym class? Taylor Swift, why isn’t any of this in the song about being fifteen?

This, apparently, is what teenage siblings are for: to remind you of the awful weird bitchy creature you were just a few short years ago. And now you realize: everyone was probably really embarrassed on your behalf, too. Here’s a list of the things you really shouldn’t have been proud of.[2]

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A Super Serious Restaurant Review of Frontera Fresco for Super Serious People

5 Dec

Is this what study abroad is like?

Does this count as a multicultural credit?

Frontera Fresco is the worst creperie cum Jamba Juice cum sushi hut cum Sbarro I have ever patronized. Let’s enjoy that imagery for a moment.

Anyway. Frontera Fresco is a new restaurant. In Norris Center. Owned by Chicago chef Rick Bayless. It serves “quick-service” (more on that later) Mexican food (also more on that later). To college students. And, presumably, the Norris cat lady. Here are some quick key facts that must be understood in order to appreciate the impact of Frontera Fresco on the Northwestern dining scene and community at large.

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How to react to your first episode of Gossip Girl

16 Oct

Hands down the hottest 20-something to play a high schooler in years.

It all started with Monte Carlo[1].

Well, that’s inaccurate, it all started with an accelerated math course in elementary school but to follow the threads back that long would just be boring[2] so we’re going with the abbreviated version and it all started with Monte Carlo.

I used to watch a new movie every day which is relatively easy to do between Netflix and OnDemand and, you know, the internet. One of the last movies in this multi-year habit was Monte Carlo, starring Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester and a blonde woman who seemed very replaceable the entire time. The movie is an intense look into the differences between people as stipulated by classes and also there is a scene where they play polo and also Selena Gomez meets up with her true love while casually working at a Romanian charter school. Also Cory Monteith is in the movie and he doesn’t sing[3] so that’s a plus I guess.

Regardless, I watched the entire movie trying to figure out where I had seen Leighton Meester before. My first guess was Episodes, best known as the show that earned Matt LeBlanc a Golden Globe for playing Matt LeBlanc. However, a quick trip down Wikipedia lane proved that incorrect[4]. I also that it might be Elizabeth Moss but it turns out that Leighton Meester and Elizabeth Moss are two seperate people and only one of them has kissed pre-skinny Jonah Hill.

Then I forgot about it.

Just kidding, then I watched Monte Carlo again because it was on HBO before Real Sex[5] and I like having very confused junk. The second time around I discovered that the film was a clever commentary on a gendered society done through a gender-inverted version of the classic parable, the prince and the pauper and also the replaceable blonde woman is a waitress right in that douchey French guys face and also they could have made a very shocking sequel in which Riley, the carefree Australian goes all Wolf Creek[6] on Leighton Meester.

After this viewing I forgot about it entirely.

Several months later I was at a neighborhood joint I frequent often[7] when Gossip Girl came on. My only knowledge of Leighton Meester up until this point was as the wounded Meg Kelly. A woman driven by academic ambition who learns to accept levity into her life, by way of a very attractive Australian.

In Gossip Girl she plays Blair Waldorf, who is a huge bitch.

Blair is manipulative and just a meanie-pants in general. In specific, in the three episodes of Gossip Girl I saw she blackmailed two people and was really mean to another one and then kissed all the boys and I believe I’ve discovered the perfect analogy to what watching Gossip Girl was like.

Watching Gossip Girl was like the first time I went to visit my brother[8] in college and we got into a huge street fight with some other guys and then went downtown to a suite and sat around in the hallway passing around bottles of André and then me and this other guy got hungry so we went downstairs and ate Popeye’s. Gossip Girl is that chicken. I enjoyed the show a lot at the time, but later when I try to access it again it has turned into shit via entirely normal physical processes.

I have fond memories of watching Gossip Girl, but I’m not sure if that’s because I liked the show or because I was watching it with good company and I was in a great mood. That said, watching the show reminded me of something once said by noted cultural critic and current expatriate John Edwin Foster regarding the inevitable proletariat revolution.

J.E. and I were watching It’s Complicated[9], a movie where there are literally zero considerations for things like money and whatnot, and J.E. told me that when the proletariat revolts it will be because of It’s Complicated. They will rise up banners of fire and counter-oppression and as we look down from the diamond balcony we will have very little soul in our argument and they will justly rend us limb from limb.

Gossip Girl works in substititution for It’s Complicated[10].

The entire show could be summed up as #firstworldproblems. In the episode I watched, a character was removed from all his money, a problem he solved not through any great effort. He just fucked a cougar. Then he got called out on it and the explanation “I fucked a cougar because I needed the guapamole” was perfectly sufficent.

Similarly, someone’s mom was running a fashion show and the cool kids had to show up in order to make sure it was covered by the press. The cool kids did show up but the models didn’t so they had to be the models!

At this point, someone reading this should have bridled as the unfairly one-sided portrayal of Gossip Girl by someone who has admittedly seen a very small amount of the show. “What gives him the right,” you may be asking, “to decry such a show? It’s not like they’re trying to make a really deep show or anything.”

Touche.

Some people don’t know this about me[11], but I’ve seen every episode of Sex and the City and both movies. While the second movie is not really worth mentioning[12], I love the show. My mother suggested the reason why she likes Sex and the City and not shows like Desperate Housewives or Cougartown is because the show, on a very elementary level, is about friendship. That’s what seemed to be missing while I watched Gossip Girl. Blair and Serena have moments of comradery but their relationship is built on mutual antagonism.

The men in Sex and the City are mostly[13] one-dimensional coitus puppets. But the show uses them as plot devices to advance the women. If Berger hadn’t broken up with Carrie via post-it-note then we would have never realized how he, an intellectual foil to her, represented all her insecurities in a relationship and her constant desire to find easy happiness over lasting contentment.

When Chuck hits Blair it’s shocking, but it’s shocking in a way that American Psycho[14] is shocking. There’s no emotional fear, just a physical revulsion to the act. Patrick Bateman was created as a satire of east-coast elite, and so his violence is somewhat representative of the arrogance and incosiderateness of an entire class. When Chuck hits Blair it becomes apparent that you are watching either very deeply layered cultural criticism or a soap opera.

This begs a further question: what is wrong with a soap opera?

There is a prevailing theory that stating a genre informs the experience of the viewer on a fundamental level[15]. If you watch Gossip Girl through the lens that the production value would suggest, then ultimately you will be disappointed. The show is not as glitzy as the location scouting would suggest, it is base, and that is not an insult though it may sound like one. It is less than it claims to be, sure, but if we learned anything from the Nolan Batman trilogy[16] it was it’s not what you say, but what you do that makes you who you are. Despite Gossip Girl‘s vehement claims to the contrary, it is just a tabloid you peruse while waiting to check out at the grocery store. You might enjoy it, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you should stay conscious of its deliberate sensationalism which fundamentally undermines any sensationalist aspirations it may have.

A final note:

Metafilmic influence is a crazy thing.

Remember Monte Carlo[17]? That was where I saw Leighton Meester for this first time. Usuaully, when an actor has a definitive role[18] it informs how the audience views them in subsequent roles (or previous roles viewed subsequently). This can also be true for the first role you see an actor in.

Imagine watching Gossip Girl through the lens formed by Monte Carlo. Blair Waldorf becomes an act to appear tough, a protection against something. But what?

Does Riley leave Meg after Monte Carlo ends? Is Blair just a girl who opened up her heart, only to have it Temple of Doom‘d, forcing her to act as heartless as possible to avoid being hurt again? Maybe all of her politicking is intentionally self-destructive, as she has seen how the only thing she needed for happiness was an oft-shirtless Australian.

Do you think that Blair ever finds herself sitting by a window in winter? She looks out onto the snow and sees not a blanket but a smothering force. She remembers the beach in Morocco where he told her that the key was not to worry and so she doesn’t. She laments. She ponders the consistency of words when their speaker has been proven to be so inconsistent. She might run a finger over her lips, but only if she is sure no one is watching.

Her phone vibrates. Serena wants to get drunk because she can taste Conneticut in her mouth and she wants to drown it out anyway possible.

When they are having sex with their boyfriends, they’ll think of each other.

It will not be a sexual thought. It will be the absolute misery that comes from realizing that in all of existence there is only one other person who understands your position, and that’s because she is also on her back, legs up in the air and over-priced liquor in her stomach too.

Later that night Blair will turn her head to the side as if to vomit, but nothing will come up. Her stomach has become too fortified against all the poison she ingests.[19]


[1]   I was trying to come up with the name Monte Carlo once and said Montenegro. Very different films, I recommend neither.

[2]   A lot of the time in grades 6-8 would be spent at Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments, a notoriously difficult game to report on.

[3]   I feel very bad for a lot of the actors in Glee because how can any other work be fulfilling after that?

[4]   In my more vain moments I like to imagine that there is a conspiratorial council dictating rapid-fire changes to Wikipedia just to foil the discovery of pleasant coincidinces in my life. Also I was banned from editing Wikipedia so I’m still a little sore about the whole thing.

[5]   There’s a really good drinking game where you drink and watch Real Sex and wonder what went wrong to lead you to this point.

[6]   This is a movie I recommend. If more people see it, then they’ll get what I mean when I drunkenly threaten to Wolf Creek their ass.

[7]   It’s called the Kitten Shack and three Zeta’s live there because only the best can wear the crown.

[9]   I liked It’s Complicated but then I really like Roxanne so maybe I’m just a Steve Martin fan

[10] So does Catcher in the Rye, sorry.

[11] All of you who don’t know me shouldn’t know this, but some people who do know me also don’t know this.

[12] Think Godfather III

[13] Except Aidan. Carrie and Aidan forever.

[14] I only own three DVD’s: American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and Remember the Titans.

[15] This is why Rian Johnson never told the cast of Brick that they were making a noire film. Genre conventions, etc.

[16] Those movies are worth watching a few times, which is independent of how good/enjoyable they are.

[17] You didn’t think I was never going to come back to it?

[18] So for John Lithgow, clearly it’s The World According to Garp

[19] The necessary accusation is that in order to write fan-fiction one must, on some level, be a fan.

Authors That Would Make Bad Writing Infinitely Better

6 Jan

As a manipulator of the English language myself, I hold several beliefs dear to my heart. They are as follows:

1) If you are over the age of 12 and still cannot successfully distinguish when words should have apostrophes (confusing “it’s” and “its,” “your” and “you’re”), I cannot respect your education. Why are you stupid?
2) If you can’t write something nice, don’t write anything at all. I’m not talking about pleasant or polite; I’m referring to “nice” writing as the opposite of writing that is bad, boring, poorly written, wrong, pointless, confused, frustrating, or Rick Perry.

Yeah, I know. It’s radical. Of course, not as radical as Rick Perry. But let’s face it: there is some literature/film/music that simply should have been penned by someone other than the original author. In some cases, aforementioned art is a slice of brilliance that got tarnished in the current writer’s incapable hands; in other cases it is an unsalvageable failure whose only option is to get worse so as to become presentably heinous.

In fact, may I make a few suggestions?

Twilight
by Terry Pratchett*

We’d all like this series so much better if Ms. Meyer’s attempt at a love story about a girl next door (translation: exposition on How To Have A Dysfunctional Relationship) had relatable and quirky characters with different fonts for every time they spoke. P-rad knows exactly how to make a totally impossible instance (Death playing Santa Claus? Criminals becoming post-men? Women in the army and not in the kitchen?) plausible, insightful, and funny — qualities which are all completely lacking in the hands of its current author.

Miley Cyrus’s memoir, Miles to Go
by Lemony Snicket

I haven’t read the original, but here is what I imagine it will read like, “My daddy is the only reason I’m famous. My brother croakmoans uncomfortably horny music to an audience that hasn’t got boobies yet. My boyfriend is way too old for me. I like drugs.” Are you attached to any of these characters? Do you care if the melancholy wit of Lemony Snicket creatively kills them off? Me neither. Just add a narrator who regularly urges you to stop reading, a meaninglessly depressing end,** and illustrations by Brett Helquist, and we’ve got ourselves acceptable piece of literature. It might even be appropriate for children, unlike everything else about Miley. Which brings us to:

“Party in the USA”
by Adele

Face it. She’d sing it better. Adele’s been so angsty lately (trying to set fire to the rain and all. She must be so frustrated) I’d like to see her getting down and shaking those God-given gifts. We know that when a Jay-Z song is on in Adele’s taxicabs, you better believe she puts her hands up.

Freud’s Early Theories
by Tara Gillespie

If you think about it, it wouldn’t be too different: My Immortal (the world’s worst fanfiction) and Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams are both mostly about sex/mostly wrong about sex. But if our favorite “goff” wrote it, we’d have the added pleasure of trying to decipher what words were behind the awful spelling in addition to laughing at his concept of penis envy and her concept of orgasm. Maybe she’d throw in some Harry Potter references*** along with her My Chemical Romance worship, extensive description of fishnets, and use of the phrase “passively frenching.” On the negative side, there will undoubtedly be a morbid amount of it’s/its confusion, but on the plus side, as far as we can tell, Tara wasn’t on cocaine, unlike Freud.

Glee
by Tommy Wiseau

Oh hai: it’s another artist who lacks command of the English language. Be honest with yourself — you don’t watch Glee for its**** gripping storyline. Having America’s most multi-untalented artist write/direct/produce/star/fornicate in the musical TV show can only make it more interesting. You know you want more of the writing that made Tommy’s masterpiece, The Room, so fantastic — what better way than to sit down with a bowl of popcorn to a fusion of pop culture featuring quotable magnificence such as, “You ah tearing me apaht, Wachel!” and “I did NAHT hit on Kurt. I did NAHT.” Best of all, we get to hear more of his wonderfully attractive accent/speech impediment as applied to music. Which, of course, he’ll arrange and sing entirely by himself.

Unfortunately for you, I have no suggestions on how to improve your terrible English paper. And so, I leave you with the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:
You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes,
You have heinously read all Sir Twattingworth spews.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose
(Just as long as it sounds like Erman Shmavenues).

——————————————————————————————————————————
*Another soul who understands the beauty in a footnote. All I want for Christmas is his semen in a petri dish with the reproductive cells of Bristol Bacchus. Bristol, dibs on being godmother.
**I’m all for realistic children’s literature, but I was really attached to Uncle Monty. And did anyone else develop a phobia of Lachrymose Leeches in Lake Michigan?
***Godwin’s law of NU: the longer a conversation continues between two NU students, the more likely a Harry Potter reference becomes.
****Did you see that apostrophe? No, you didn’t, because it does not belong there. It belongs in the first sentence of that paragraph.

Sherman Ave Freshman Guide: How to Party Like a Wildcat

22 Aug

NOTE: According to the Illinois Liquor Control Act of 1934, no person under the age of 21 years old may purchase, drink or possess any alcoholic beverage. Therefore, I would like to ask anyone under 21 years of age to stop reading this post and go back to watching Dora the Explorer or whatever the fuck you children do. I would also like to point out that while this post is intended for incoming freshman, I am assuming that the vast majority of freshman took three consecutive gap-years (The Gapfecta) and are currently 21.

Now then. Care to Party Rock?

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