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Tag Archives: parents

Freshman Attempts One-Month Hibernation Before Wildcat Welcome

26 Aug
Johanns

Johannson, preparing his natural habitat.

WESTCHESTER, NY–Hoping to fight increasing boredom and decreasing self worth, incoming freshman Eric Johannson attempted to hibernate for one month, planning to wake up in time for Wildcat Welcome Week.

“I heard the dark month–you know, that month after everyone else leaves for school while you’re still stuck at home–is totally killer,” said Johannson, a week before the beginning of his hibernation. “I mean, what are you supposed to do, hang out with your parents? Yeah, ooookay.”

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Sherman Ave Presents: Ikea Bingo

19 Aug

Untitled

Ikea is an awful place.  The Swede-founded furniture mega-mart is like some terrible cross between Disneyworld, the Minotaur’s Labyrinth, and your local mattress store.  It is humanly impossible to spend less than thirty minutes inside its walls, trying desperately to navigate yourself through the aisles of Bjurstas and Husviks, all while dodging the inevitable hoards of small children manically gallivanting across your path.  For college students, however, it’s an unavoidable destination: if you need a piece of furniture, Ikea’s gonna have it (simply because of the store’s sheer size); as such, hundreds of thousands of university kids make the pilgrimage through Ikea’s maze-like corridors every summer’s end.

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Meeting Your BF’s*+ Parents At Dinner (Not at all inspired by true events from last weekend)

28 Jul
Never display fear. Only self-loathing.

Never display fear. Only self-loathing.

In this list, I will pull from my vast! dating experience to help you conquer one of dating’s biggest challenges: meeting the parents.

Okay, so if you’re all like, “Oh but parents LoVe Me! iM sO FaCKING CharMinGGGG!!@!!@YQ*@ COMM STUDIES FTW!”  then fuck you.  Because nobody’s perfect, and everyone can use some helpful reminders.  No matter who you are, you’re not too good for my FOOLPROOF ADVICE.  Read on.

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A (Late) Review of the Kony 2012 Campaign

13 Mar

The Kony 2012 campaign is garnering far more attention than the Romney 2012 campaign, for better or worse.

The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am by the Kony campaign. It’s not because I’m a cold, hateful cynic who hates children. It’s because the video wouldn’t be nearly as viral as it is if people had thought past the initial “Oh my god this man is a subhuman aberration who clearly deserves to be slaughtered in the most slow and painful way possible oh my god how do people even become that horrible oh my god.” And that should be your gut reaction, assuming you aren’t a cold hateful child-hating cynic. Now if you’re rational and logical as well, Step 2 is asking yourself whether you agree with the campaign. I don’t.

Yo, America, remember the last time the entire country suddenly flipped an outraged shit over going to catch a bad guy hiding halfway around the world? It’s okay if you don’t — the target audience for Kony’s video was twelve at the time. Whether or not you support the war in the Middle East today, you know that it had widespread support at the time. Nobody likes people who kill people, unless their names are Dexter or Katniss. Let’s put on our 10-year-hindsight hats.

First of all: does anyone have a post-Kony-killing plan? Because once Kony’s out of the picture, we will have (according to the video) an army of armed, brainwashed, possibly orphaned trained killers. What, pray tell, do we do with them? Yeah, we can return them home — those of them that haven’t killed their parents. But it’s not like we can let ‘em off at the nearest bus stop and pat ourselves on the back — the kids are all fucked up, and kicking their leader out of the picture is not going to save them. If they’ve been brainwashed to think Kony’s the next Messiah, they’re clearly not going to take to a bunch of assholes with a Superman complex trying to save them.

But don’t worry, nobody’s planning on “putting Americans into combat.” If our troops happen to get attacked, we can just tell the Kony Killer Kids that we weren’t actually planning on fighting them. Just stopping them. Problem solved.

As for the campaign itself: It’s been said before, but I’m cynical about the power of middle-class American college students’ Facebook status fads changing the world.* The problem with “awareness” is that it reaches a set point: right now, everyone who’s gonna know about Occupy knows about Occupy. And everyone who’s gonna know about breast cancer knows about breast cancer. At that point, you’re either doing something about the issue or not. Kony 2012 will reach that point.

But, what if “awareness turns into action.” I’m totally on board with them there. So long as you define “action” as letter-writing, calling Congressmen, and pretty much endorsing the message. But if you’re anything like me, you can be aware that you’re an out-of-shape lump of hot cookie bar who couldn’t run 20 minutes anymore let alone 20 miles, make a hearty New Year’s Resolution, plan to multitask on the treadmill with your reading — and still find yourself at Shepard Munchies stress-eating your finals via homemade baked goods and cocoa product. Awareness turns into intention, which sometimes turns into action.

Philanthropy’s easy when all you have to do is type some words on the Interwebz. But as any former philanthropy chair/DM 60-hour-clubber/Camp Kesem counselor can tell you, and as you probably already know, it’s really goddamn difficult to regularly squeeze money and time out of broke overinvolved college kids.** People will forget/“forget” to donate their time, money, and empathy around the same time the Keg starts forgetting/“forgetting” to notice again that your ID belongs to a 5’2” 115 lb Asian.

The viral philanthropy campaign set up by author Parrty Cat.

I’m also annoyed with certain vague, majestic proclamations regarding Ugandan child guerrillas. Prime example: “It’s bad for the world.” First of all, Jason Russell, this isn’t the persuasive essay you shat out at 3:00 AM your junior year because your coffee machine was broken and Starbucks was closed and you couldn’t stay awake any longer. Support your goddamn generalizations or it’s propaganda. Because, second of all, is it really, truly bad for the entire world? Honestly — somebodyisgoingtohatemeforsayingthis — no. It’s really, really bad. But this half of the world is personally affected by things other than Kony. And y’know, that’s why the Invisible Children sentiment is admirable – most anti-Kony campaigners have nothing to gain. Unlike the satisfaction of getting in shape, or taking vengeance on Osama, or having the kids for whom you raised $1.1 million high-five you onstage after 28 hours of anguished feet, the US and its inhabitants don’t gain anything from killing Kony (another reason our government is hesitant to help). Diehard Ko-pponents have their hearts in the right place. It’s the heads I’m worried about.

One thing I’m unclear about, and I ask this because I truly don’t know: why this plan of action? Our narrator gives us a step-by-step tutorial of how we’re going to stop Kony. But why aren’t there alternatives? They need technology and training – why doesn’t IC ask us to send money to the Supply The Ugandan Army With Necessary Shit Fund, instead of having ten middlemen? Is deploying American advisers overseas really our only option, or can’t we bring people here to train them? Who decided on this plan, and why don’t we have a say?

Sidenote: There’s an imaginary New York Times newspaper at about 22:25 in the Kony 2012 video, with the headline “KONY CAPTURED.” But I’m LOLing a little at the second article’s title: “The world agrees, Kony is the ‘Worst’.” I’m not entirely sure why this is amusing, but it might have to do with the ironic fact that the most vile adjective we can think of to label Kony with is “The Worst.” Was “ruthless sack of diarrhea” inappropriate somehow? And Flipside, could you pleaseplease take this and run with it?

I do admire the campaign for its great methods, and I’m not preparing for sarcasm here. Having only 20 “culture makers” and 12 policy makers = 32 public voices is a really, really good way to approach it. You might wonder why they don’t involve more, but what this strategy does is keep responsibility on a few committed individuals, rather than letting the campaign diffuse.*** The committed public’s gonna focus on pressuring those people to continue advocating. But, on the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if our lawmakers are just waiting for the initial outrage to blow over.

The sentiment is nice. Watching it for the first time without feeling the total emotional rush that I know others felt made me wish I could be less of a cynic and believe with all my heart in happy endings and butterflies and peace. I said the same thing after watching The Notebook.**** But that’s not how humans work. And if we aren’t at least slightly more cautious about running in headfirst without a plan for the lasting repercussions after an intervention is over, we haven’t learned a damn thing.

That said, Kony deserves every profanity in the English language and I hope he dies slowly and painfully.

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*Black with hot pink polka dots and a lacy bow by the clasp which is in the front not the back because I enjoy experiencing my boyfriend’s momentary bewilderment.
**Although for some reason, people in Bienen are the best cookie consumers. Sometimes I feel guilty because I should really tell them to save their money for when they’re starving artists and I’m relying on my non-music degree. But it’s all for the kids… right?
***Sherman Ave’s all about the psych terms. Right, Brother Jürgen?
**** You’re not a bird. Neither of you are birds. Get out of the middle of the road. Stop that nonsense. You’re both neurotic and your sex scene was weird. Shave and move on. Where in this movie am I supposed to be crying? Oh, now you have to go and die together. Does that even happen? You suck.

Holiday Guide: NU Gift Ideas For Your Favorite Wildcat

19 Dec

A yamaka with Pat Fitzgerald's face on it is also appropriate as a Hanukkah gift

So you’ve got to find gifts for the dorm buddies you’ve known less than four months and the friends you haven’t seen since before you lost your innocence. Or maybe you’ve just gotten your early decision letter* and you’re wondering what else you could possibly want in life. Fear not: Sherman Avenue is committed to delivering you new holiday ideas from our sack full of sassy class.

Fucksaw
Admit it: you have those days. You’re hornier than a two-peckered triceratops, but too tired to go all the way up north to flirt your way into some frat bro’s lovestained man-cave and too classy to booty text your “It’s Complicated” on the fourth floor. Hell, you don’t want to deal with people at all. This is why sex toys exist. Remember: nothing says Wildcat Pride like a decently sized purple drilldo.

A Framed Photo of Yourself
Because who wouldn’t want that? You could even pose like the self-photography of 13-year-old girls whose love for MySpace is only second to love of themselves. If you’re really feeling it, make it a poster — the recipient can put it above their bed and wake up self-gratify themselves to it every morning like they did with their Channing Tatum poster in middle school. But this time, they might even have your fucksaw to help out.

A Framed Photo of Morton Schapiro
See above.

Box O’Fun
Not what it sounds like, and a legit good idea. I’m compiling quotations that are inspiring (“Remember, things are never so bad that they can’t get worse”), dorky (“Is your name Avada Kedavra? Cause you’ve got a killer bod”), mature (“I’M STANDING RIGHT BEHIND YOU…made you look”) and thoughtful (“Can I borrow your hair straightener?”). I’m putting them with candy in a small tasteful storage container names-in-a-hat style, and instructing my BFF to draw a quotation every time she needs to de-stress or procrastinate.

Gift Card to Burger King
Let’s be real: after Willard dining hall, this is your friend group’s second-most-patronized food acquisition area in Evanston. Late-night drunchies? Weekend Hinman’s too busy? You give someone the gift of free burgers, and they’re gonna use it.

Would you like that gift rapped?

A Frat Bro
So what if your homegirl’s not rushing? You might still consider getting a talented PMA bro to serenade her. May I recommend Flight of The Conchord’s classic ditty, “Most Beautiful Girl in the Room.”** Because sometimes, we all need our fucksaws to have faces.

Cookies
No matter how incredible hot cookie bar can be, nothing compares to homemade peanut blossoms. Nothing.

Another legit idea: “Cookie mix in a jar.” You’ve seen it. Someone gives out a jar/bag/mug of dry ingredients and lets the recipient do the messy work. But it’s cute.

A Stripper
Give me one reason why not. I dare you.

The Love Professor will see you now

Professor J. Reginald Vandernips
Women love him. Men love him. Parents, pets, and children of all ages love him. He knows more about cooking than Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart put together, regularly fielding obscure questions regarding food science and practicing his skills. He’s slept under lecture tables in Tech and licked objects labeled “biohazardous.” If there is one thing on this list that you choose to purchase for your wildcat, let it be Professor Reggie V.

Keep your friends close and your heinousness closer.

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*In which case, CONGRATS!
**Ellie K once had an overnight tryst with a boy who sang her that very song. However, contrary to what one might expect, the full-length serenade did not facilitate the hookup, but rather transpired a significant amount of time later in a location where she was quite literally The Only Girl in the Room. She’s never been quite sure what to make of that.

4 Nuisances Of Being Home

18 Dec

They say there’s no place like home. While it has been quite fantastic to spend some time relaxing at home with my family now that finals are over, there are certain aspects of being home that I had forgotten how much I don’t like. Indeed, sadly, home doesn’t consist solely of gourmet food and a nice bed. So without further ado, I present – in all my glorious bitching – four things that have bothered me since I’ve come home.

Nothing says "Christmas" like a shouting match with your father over light placement

4. Putting Up Christmas Lights
There’s just nothing like a Christmas tradition. Every December, my parents hand me a string of sorry-ass fucking Christmas lights and a ladder (which, incidentally, is about as stable as the Zambian government) and give me one objective: Make the 25-foot leafless tree in front of our house look slightly more festive and slightly less flaccid. It’s especially fun when, after an hour spent climbing around the tree like a paraplegic chimpanzee, I finish decorating the tree to discover that approximately a quarter of the lights actually function. Ultimately, though, it’s worth the Christmas cheer. Every time I look at that pathetic tree and the lights which appear to have been put up by a blind lemur, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of holiday spirit. And by holiday spirit, I mean uncontrollable rage.

3. Losing To My Parents in Scrabble
I don’t know about you guys, but I love shit-talking (Side note: Being from Denver, Tim “The Jesus” Tebow has regaled me with a whole anthology of shit-talking materials). Therefore, when my parents suggest a casual post-dinner Scrabble game, I immediately acquire the attitude of a theoretical lovechild of Terrell Owens and Pau Gasol. This shit-talking strategy pays off richly, seeing as I often demolish my parents and subsequently run naked victory laps around the dining room table. And this isn’t me bragging about my Scrabble skills; the case is rather that my parents don’t give two shits about whether or not their placement of “twat” (I truly wish I were lying about my dad playing that in Scrabble) opens up availability to the Triple Word space. Tonight, however, my shit-talking strategy failed me, as I fell short by one point against my mom. Ugh. Now I just feel like a douche.

2. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
I never thought it would be possible to make such a trainwreck out of a movie starring Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and Samuel L. Jackson, but damn it all if it hasn’t been done. I mean, seriously, what a steaming cinematic shitstack. The kid who starred as Anakin Skywalker (out of principle, I’m not looking up the little fucker’s name) is more obnoxious than the Nyan Cat on methamphetamines. And Jar Jar Binks? I don’t know whose idea it was to combine the voice of an illiterate Louisiana swamp-person with the visual representation of a banana peel with birth defects, but that idea single-handedly ruined my childhood. Honestly, the only thing they could have done to make this movie any worse would be casting Nick Cage as Senator Palpatine. Yeah, just imagine it.

"To the nights you wish you could forget."

1. Vodka Commercials
Maybe this is something I’m just noticing now because I spend 8 hours a day watching TV (luhhhh vacation), but vodka commercials are absolutely preposterous. The one that I find most personally absurd is a Grey Goose commercial, featuring the tagline: “To the nights you’ll never forget.” I don’t know what sort of idiots are running the marketing department over at Grey Goose, but they clearly lack a fundamental understanding of alcohol. Granted, the tagline “To the nights you’ll blackout and then discover five weeks later that you vomited gratuitously” isn’t quite as catchy, but it is certainly more accurate. It just seems that somewhere in the attempt to craft a convincing image-based appeal, the morons over at Grey Goose forgot some of the drawbacks of downing vodka. If I were Grey Goose, I’d try something more along the lines of “To the poke wars you drunkenly initiated with the entirety of your high school government class” or “To the texts you receive from your mom the next morning saying ‘You might want to take that video off of Facebook.’”

7 Things You Miss About Being at Northwestern

14 Dec

Right now you’re probably sitting at home and staring at Facebook. You’re probably praying to the Almighty Tim Tebow that your life becomes more exciting. You miss Northwestern and you know it. Here are some of the likely reasons why you’re missing NU.

You don't understand. It's hot cookie bar.

7. The Cold
Now I’m going to be honest here: I don’t like cold weather. I’m not a fan of my boys retreating back into my body like the French during, well, any war ever. However, now that I’m away from the freezing helltrap known as Northwestern, I realize I do miss the cold. “Why?” You may ask. Well, to answer your question, Mr. Theoretical Man Who Talks to his Computer, the frozen domain known as Evanston provides us with two things: 1. The appearance of social skills; and 2. The chance to whine incessantly. Because nobody likes the cold, the vast majority of your conversations at Northwestern may be about how fucking cold it is – and though it would be unacceptable anywhere else to spend so much time talking about the weather, it’s okay here. Also, the biting cold lets you complain and swear as much as you want. Hell, if you wanted, you could walk outside and scream “Fucking Shit Bitch Damnit!” and have a simple “man it’s cold out” excuse to forgive your horrible language.

6. The Dorm Food
We’ve all got a secret fat person hiding inside of us (mine’s Israel Kamakawiwo’ole). When you’re home in front of your family, you must hide this fat person for fear of terrifying your parents and siblings; however, in the dining halls of Northwestern, you can let that fat person run wild. With chicken tenders every day, grilled cheese always on the menu, and ice cream galore, you can indulge your disgusting gluttonous desires each and every day at Northwestern (not to be confused with your other awful desires).

5. The Classes
You’re at Northwestern – embrace your inner geek. You love that you’re struggling to get a C in Orgo. You want to discuss Nietzsche every day. And each time you go to Russian Lit, Morson gives you a mini orgasm. You’re at Northwestern for a reason, and that reason likely isn’t your amazing rapping prowess…we can’t all be Chet Haze.

4. Gratuitous Hook-Ups
You’re disgusting. I mean, you are a sick group of horny little nerds. But that’s okay – it’s part of why we love you. However, since you’re no longer at Northwestern, your game probably isn’t doing quite as well as normal. Saying “I wish I was DNA Helicase, that way I could unzip your jeans” just probably isn’t flying with that General Studies major from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater the way it worked with that “cute” girl from your bioethics class. I know you’re trying to convince yourself that your “self-help” is just as good as any vodka-induced adventures you’ve had at NU, but you know it’s just not the same.

You don't even want to see the stock-image for "self-gratification"

3. Fucksaw and Self-Gratification Jokes
Do you want to know how many times I’ve wanted to make a comment about fucksaws and masturbating in the showers in the three days I’ve been home? A LOT. Do you know how many times I haven’t been able to? TOO FUCKING MANY. And do you know how often I’ve accidentally mentioned self-gratification in front of MY MOTHER? Once….AND THAT’S ONE TIME TOO MANY. Without being able to talk about fucksaws, waxing the dolphin, or the cold weather – I HAVE NOTHING TO TALK ABOUT ANYMORE. Since coming home, I feel like I may have to learn how to converse like a normal human being again, and I’m not ready to do that – and you probably aren’t either.

2. The Diversity of Thought
Unless you’re Rick Perry (in which case, please kindly go die in the most painful way possible), you’re probably a fan of tolerance and diversity. Northwestern provides more diversity of thought and belief than any place within 500 miles of my hometown. Though you may be fortunate enough to live in a place with rational people, the only thing my state has chosen to move forward on is reviving Pre-Civil War era policies. I appreciate Northwestern so much for how accepting it is of all people, and it’s something that you should miss and cherish as well.

1. Your Friends
I’m sure you have a ton of great friends back home. I’m grateful every day for the fantastic people I know in my hometown. But that being said, I still miss the hell out of everyone at Northwestern. Only at Northwestern will you have friends that are stumbling outside the Keg one day and then intensely developing a Chemical Engineering program the next. Your friends at NU are always there to help you stand up, and they’re certainly there when you’re falling down (you alcoholic, you). These are some of the best, most ridiculous people you will ever meet – and you’re probably suffering a little every moment you’re away from them.

There are so many reasons why you think you hate Northwestern, but you know you love and miss it there. So tough it out NU. You can make it. Soon enough you’ll be back at school just in time to freeze and die with the best student body on the planet.

I’m sorry I made fun of Rebecca Black

14 Aug

And it was fun, fun, fun, SO GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING FUN!!!!!

When Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video first debuted, I was among its harshest and most persistent critics. Even this esteemed website pounced on the unabashed heinousness of the video. I was quite proud of my ability to completely and totally eviscerate that power-tripping adolescent at any turn.

“Oh, today’s Thursday,” I’d say, a sly grin stretching across my face. “Wonder what day tomorrow is? Better ask that hoe Rebecca Black, amirite guys?!”

Got a laugh every time. And as Rebecca’s 15 seconds of infamy faded away, I worked tirelessly to resurrect it. I showed Brock’s Dub to everyone I knew.

“MY HAND IS A DOLPHIN!” I bellowed originally. My friends found it equally hilarious, I’m sure, so I continued to mock the video.

But the fact of it was, I was always mainly mocking the video itself. My hatred was never aimed at the girl involved; I assumed she was likely just a 13-year-old who had been sucked into the collective p-trips of her parents and that excruciatingly talented producer/rapper whose name I am too disgusted to Google. We’ll just call him Fat Usher.

So as I mocked and lawled and gleefully took part in the collective national destruction of Rebecca Black, I did it with my true hatred directed at the adults who had put poor Rebecca in that position. As her Good Morning America appearance demonstrated, while she is outrageously far from being a professional-caliber singer, her voice is not THAT horrendous. Anyone would sound less than prime while belting out the lines “my friend is by my right, heyyyy.”

Kids these days...

Yet today I regret that I did any of it. Even though I meant only to emotionally cripple her parents and Fat Usher — who I know were listening to my every critique, lips trembling — I must admit that I have contributed to the bullying of an adolescent girl from another state. And I had promised myself I would stop doing that.

That bullying culminated this week in the news that Rebecca was leaving her school and being home schooled due to the incessant teasing by her schoolmates.

This, my friends, is too far. If we have become a nation where untalented little children can’t spend thousands of dollars on music videos, post them on the YouTubez in the hopes of getting famous, and go on a nationwide tour of talk and morning shows without being teased by their peers, then we have lost all that makes America great! This kind of mean-spirited behavior is probably why Pippa Middleton is still British.

And I know what you’re thinking: “But Rebecca Black got to touch Katy Perry!” And while this is certainly true, it doesn’t mean that she isn’t still capable of having feelings. Russell Brand probably touches Katy Perry often, and it’s hard to imagine a world in which he doesn’t cry himself to sleep every night.

So, cut the crap America. Specifically, cut the crap you students of Rebecca Black’s school. There’s a fine line between good-heinous and bad-heinous, and those kids just obliterated the line like Michele Bachmann obliterates the line between hot and terrifying on a daily basis.

Amateur attempt at photoshopping with spare "bullying a 13-year-old time"

There are plenty of other things to do in life besides bully Rebecca Black. Like Photoshopping yourself into photos you weren’t originally in! Or tweeting with the hashtag #replacebandnameswithpancakes! Or listening to Demi Levato’s new song “Skyscraper”…you can just feel the pain in her voice.

But the bottom line is this: go live your lives Sherman Ave readers. Live them well and heinously. And for Yahweh’s sake, LEAVE REBECCA BLACK ALONE.