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Tag Archives: stranger

21 Things I Would Do For $1

22 Aug
Let's Scrooge McDuck this mofo

Let’s Scrooge McDuck this mofo

As you may have ascertained from my previous posts about college, I recently graduated. It’s great and terrible at the same time. Honestly I’m a wreck. But that’s not what this article is about. This article is about money.

Unless you’re lucky enough to get a full ride scholarship (smart asses) or your parents are paying for all of your school (rich bitches), you’ve probably taken out a student loan or two to pay for your totally-worth-$50K-a-year education. Unfortunately, once you graduate, they expect you to pay those back. Which kinda sucks, especially if your “real job” hasn’t started yet. This is the situation I’m currently in, and it has left me both broke and bored. So, naturally, I’ve compiled a list of things I would do for $1:

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How To Liven Up Your Summer

5 Jul

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and you have spent more time walking around your house with your pants off than you ever imagined possible. It can all only mean one thing: summertime is here. Now, if you’re anything like me, spending six hours a day with your hand down your pants just isn’t cutting it (unfortunately, we’re not all thirteen and having your hand down your pants for hours is neither funny nor exciting anymore), so here are a few suggestions to make your summer more exciting.

Cats, meanwhile, seem to derive endless pleasure from sticking their tongue in their crotch.

1. Pick Up a New Hobby
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a painter but have never had the time to work on your craft. Or maybe all of your Orgo homework has been interfering with your ability to build a replica model of the Northwestern Campus. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve always wanted to test how long you could spend moaning in the massage chairs at Brookstone before a sales associate asks you to leave. No matter what your weird aspirations are, summer is the perfect time to explore them. Why spend all of your summer watching re-runs of Breaking Bad when you can start your own meth lab? (Note: Sherman Ave in no way supports or endorses the idea of starting a meth lab) From working on your guitar playing abilities so you can pick up that comm studies major that shot you down at the Keg during Reading Week, to teaching yourself Italian so you can pick up that comm studies major that shot you down at the Keg during Reading Week, to learning to breakdance so you can pick up that comm studies major who shot you down at the Keg during Reading Week – the possibilities are endless.

2. Get In Shape
For anyone who has ever been shot down by a comm studies major at the Keg (it was once dance, Julie! ONE DANCE!), you know it is important to be in your best shape to get through your daily life – and summer is the perfect time to work on that physique of yours. Unfortunately, when everyone returns to Northwestern, there will still be a month and a half until all warmth and life leaves Northwestern for its annual five-moth vacation – which means everyone will be forced to wear normal clothing. Yes, unless you want to look like that awkward kid wearing a t-shirt in the pool, you will have to go over a month without being able to don the traditional, body-blurring Northwestern attire.

Ross Packingham’s baby picture

3. Find Some Summer Lovin’
Summer is all about having fun and exploring, so why not have fun by exploring the body of a stranger? Now, Sherman Ave is in no way condoning putting your tongue in the mouth of a random stranger, because that mouth could very well be Ross Packingham’s – and that wouldn’t be fun for anyone. Despite the alarming possibility of this horrendous event, you should not feel hesitant to go out and get yourself some of that summer lovin’. This is especially true if you are going on vacation abroad – because nothing exemplifies immersing yourself in a foreign country like immersing yourself in one of their foreign tongues. Remember everyone: this is your last opportunity to hook-up with a state school student for at least three months – so take advantage of it.

4. Stalk the Northwestern Class of 2016
Did you know that there’s a Facebook group where current Northwestern students are not only allowed, but encouraged, to interact with the incoming Northwestern freshman? Did you know you can post horrible, horrible things in that group? You can. Have a few more self-gratification jokes you forgot to tell before everyone stopped caring? The incoming freshmen will find them hilarious. Maybe you never get enough likes on your status. Post it in the NU Class of 2016 – Get Involved group and the incoming freshmen will be so blown away by your intelligence, wit, and maturity that they will all like it. Remember: all incoming freshmen are naïve and suggestible – so be careful to not blow your one opportunity to take advantage of that.

Aw, somebody’s got a serious case of the fluff!

5. Read Sherman Ave
Maybe you enjoyed this article. Maybe you hate horses. Maybe you should call me …MAYBE! But whether any of those things is true for you, you can find something you enjoy on sherman-ave.com because we all share a common bond – a love of swearing, Morty – and penguins. In the end, isn’t that what this life is all about? Penguins, those adorable little bastards.

Things That Suck: Coffee

15 Dec

Coffee: Sir Twattingworth's anti-heroin

Fuck coffee.

I feel like a stranger in a strange land. Not because I’m the protagonist of a Robert Heinlein novel, but because I don’t drink caffeine. I’ll pause a moment to let your mouths fall agape as you shout “WAIT WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTT.”

True story. I’ve never drunk coffee in my life. Okay, wait, there was that one time when I was a curious young four-year-old and my dad let me taste his coffee and I was so horrified that I jerked violently and spilled it all over my Charlie Brown pajama pants. But other than that I have usually abstained from the black stuff. And from Red Bull. And Monster, too. Fuck that shit.

Final exams may be over at Northwestern, but I know there are a bunch of other poor unfortunate souls out there who still have to cram months’ worth of learning into their skulls before exams. As a result they may, in all their mortal vulnerability, be tempted to turn to the evil that is caffeinated beverages. I am here to hold up my hand and say the same thing I would say to anyone planning to read Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666: Don’t do it!

My body is like this temple, in that it is a temple.

That’s a picture of a temple. I included it in this article because, like the Baha’i Temple, my body is a temple. When I stay up till four in the morning writing a six page essay about what Henry David Thoreau would think about the Weather Underground, I do so simply on the sober strength of my own fucking willpower. I understand that if you start thinking about this metaphor, some obvious contradictions might jump out at you like the T-Rex face in my old dinosaur pop-up book. But I’ll remind you that most temples have alcohol in them. You can put wine into a temple without damaging it, and Christians have done so for ages. But something tells me that if you shot lightning at a temple to “give it energy,” you would really just blow up the temple. That’s my visualization of inserting caffeine into a human system.

Shoot a temple with lightning and it will never be intact again. Give me Red Bull and I will never sleep again. I have enough trouble as it is. The first time I stayed up past midnight on a day that wasn’t New Year’s Eve, it was all over for me. Once I crossed that threshold, it became impossible for me to ever fall asleep before midnight again. At night my productivity goes up, and I suddenly remember all the Grantland articles I wanted to read and all the episodes of Dragon Ball Z that I wanted to watch that I somehow forgot about during the daytime. Before I know it, it’s 2:30 and somehow the knowledge that I have to telemarket for three hours the next day doesn’t stop me from looking up YouTube clips of old Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches until my eyelids finally take executive action and shut themselves, only to be jarred awake hours later by an alarm just in time to swallow a mouthful of Cocoa Puffs before huffing it to my French class with all possible speed. No rest for the weary, and I am nothing if not weary.

I am not alone here. I have friends who drink coffee like it’s water. As a result, they go to bed at midnight and wake up at six every day. They think they’re fully functioning modern human beings. I think they’re more like zombie robots in danger of falling apart at any second. I don’t want to see that happen, so I’m finally coming out against the horrid black stuff.

She is hot. Coffee is awful.

That’s a subjective take on the general suckiness of caffeinated drinks, so I’ll throw in an objective approach as well. I feel like I shouldn’t have to mention this, since it is as inherently obvious as the blueness of the sky or the hotness of Kate Middleton, but caffeine is gross. Coffee is gross, and everybody secretly knows it. I’m not just talking about the people who pour mounds of sugar into their mugs to deaden their sorry souls to the fact that they’re drinking liquid poop. I’m talking about everyone. We all seem to have agreed to forget that coffee is disgusting, the way we all agreed to forget that George W. Bush was appointed President by the Supreme Court.

And not just coffee. Red Bull is gross too. I admit, I’ve tasted it a few times, and I’d sooner hang out with Michele Bachmann for a few hours than repeat the experience. But even if I hadn’t been capable of offering this personal testimony of awfulness, surely the list of ingredients – which looks like something Walter White might cook up in his basement to pay for chemotherapy – would probably be convincing enough. 4Loko actually tastes kind of good, but it’s illegal, so that’s a given. I won’t even talk about 5 hour energy drinks until they make better commercials. If my RTVF roommate could make a better commercial than the one you put on TV, you probably don’t deserve to exist, let alone be talked about in the valuable Internet real estate that is this website.

Would you rather drink coffee or eat poop?

I realize that this anti-caffeine argument is difficult. Sometimes the AP curriculum makes it seem as if the College Board just assumes that every AP student is injecting caffeine into their eyeballs (Either that or no one told them about the existence of time-consuming extracurriculars, but either way they’re a bunch of douchemuffins who gave me too much homework in high school). Then there’s the necessity of being a hipster in order to have any social currency in this hyper media-literate world. That means you need to read Pitchfork regularly and wear clothes originally designed for girls Europeans, but it mainly means that you need to spend a majority of your time in darkly lit indie cafes sipping black energy so you’re wide awake and prepared to unleash a shitstorm of ironic Tweets the next time Bon Iver releases a workout video. Caffeine has been so prevalent in our society for so long that we just accept it as a given fact of life. But the fact that people in the Eighties were accustomed to the idea of nuclear Armageddon didn’t make it okay. Nuclear holocaust is never okay, and neither is coffee, and don’t let Henry Kissinger tell you any different.

Society seems to have ordered its priorities like this:
1. Work
2. Sleep

But that is so, so wrong. Our society has forgotten the value of sleep. Let me tell you, there was one Saturday earlier this quarter when I slept until 3 pm. It was the greatest day of my life. We all need sleep to recuperate from the horrid heinousness of everyday life, and coffee prevents that. It sucks. Finals suck. Life sucks too. But you just need to get over it. Do it all natural or not at all, that’s my motto. Sleep well, my friends.

(And for those of you wondering about the fate of my aforementioned Charlie Brown pajama pants: They did not survive their encounter with coffee, and were promptly retired to the dustbin of history. The world is a worse place for it).

Album Review: Extreme Measures’ “Extremities”

6 Sep

It's rumored that Sherman Ave's own Ross Packingham was the leg model for the album cover

Some say that Radiohead’s Kid A was the most important album of a generation. Other music aficionados declare that the Beatles were the best band or that Sam Cooke was the best singer modern music ever saw. These debates have raged for years and will continue far into the future, but nobody doubts that all of the aforementioned artists look and sound like tone-deaf taintfaced 12-year-olds playing “Louie, Louie” at a midday suburban block party when compared to the debut album Extremities by the renowned a cappella group Extreme Measures.

Founded four years ago by Dan de la Torre, Extreme Measures follows in a long line of successful, talented, and unbelievably peppy a cappella groups here in Evanston ever since the Northwestern University School of Music dean Peter “That dude who won’t stop belting Journey covers in Burger King at 1 am each Saturday” Lutkin popularized a cappella in America with the founding of the A Cappella Choir in 1906. Extremities is the exquisitely angelic culmination of a year of recording by the group (with production by Ben Lieberman), and is the greatest thing that my ears have had the good fortune to hear since “Born to Run” on vinyl. Featuring covers of acclaimed artists like OneRepublic, Gavin DeGraw, Yellowcard, Christina Aguilera, and the Backstreet Boys, Extremities has the power to transport you to a wondrously magical time in your life — right around 6th grade — and keep you there until the album finally ends, an experience you won’t soon forget.

The enchantment starts right from the beginning.

There are certain moments that occur right at the opening of truly great music: the rimshot before Dylan launches into “Like a Rolling Stone;” the riff of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that channeled every conceivable emotion of a generation; and that moment when the beat finally drops in Beethoven’s 5th Symphony all immediately come to mind. But the opening line of Extremities, a cover of Yellowcard’s “Breathing,” is so stunning that it immediately warrants consideration as one of the best album-openers of all time. In the first few bars, Extreme Measures already establish themselves as the most illustrious a cappella group in America since four insufferable pricks from Yale first donned tuxedos and formed the Whiffenpoofs — who incidentally only have the second-most obnoxious name among a cappella groups at Yale.

But what makes this album so bewitchingly radiant is the caliber of the rest of the tracks furnished by Extreme Measures. Stunning and sublime songs like “Brand New You,” “I Don’t Want to Be,” and “The Call” all exhibit more pop sensibilities than if Hall & Oates got together with Huey Lewis to cover Rihanna’s discography. Each of the ten songs are probably catchier than the hypothetical musical lovechild of Michael Jackson and Will Schuester, and any random song you select will display more technical virtuosity in a three-minute auditory frenzy of delightful harmonies and resplendent melodies than John Coltrane could ever hope to produce in an entire gig. The vocal percussion is ravishing, production on the album is supurb, and the vocals mesh in only the most tantalizingly mesmeric combinations that make your heart (and groin) go pitter-patter.

Clearly, upon my first listen of Extremities I experienced a slight tingle in a particular extremity of my own. But multiple listens of the album can prove invaluable, providing a deeper sense of the true meanings behind Extreme Measures chipper vocals. In “The Voice Within,” for instance, the line “dum dum dmmmmmmm da da” subtly hints at a hidden darkness lurking in the hearts of man, which we all feebly try to cover up by surrounding ourselves with material goods and unsubstantial romance, while in “Ignorance” the interplay between lyrics about how much Hayley Williams likes change and more incomprehensible lines like “sjaw dot du chaut jot sjaw dot du chaut jot” evoke the inner turmoil that can arise in your soul when former loved ones start treating you like a stranger.

When the album comes to a close with “Sound of Silence,” you will probably be left with only your thoughts about the astounding beauty you just experience and a pool of your own urine — an unfortunate side-effect of aural pleasure as powerful as that produced by Extremities. Luckily, this predicament can easily be cured by purchasing more copies of the album. Scientific studies have already determined that owning a copy of Extreme Measures’ Extremities will make you five times cooler, six times more intelligent, and last at least 12.78 minutes longer in bed.

OVERALL RATING: Drip drip drop there goes an eargasm

Extremities by Extreme Measures can be purchased from iTunes HERE.