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the pi ne press volu me 41, issue 11 “chi ld hood�


Submissions are always welcome. education@msu.coop

§ If you have ideas for events and you’d like to involve the entire cooperative system, tell your house Education Officer. Remember, your Education Officer loves you.


Table of Contents 1 Untitled poem by Liya Rakhkovskaya 2 The Loss of a Tooth: A Children’s Essay by Katie Courville 3 A Media Look at my Childhood by Tobias Roth 4 Routine programming by Wilbtron Hedroid 5–6 Sheep by Ratt Mevers 7–9 Phoenix Cheese Review by Phoenix House 10 The Thai Invasion by Mike Davidson 11 The Cookie Recipe of Childhood: Spritz by Katie Courville 12 Childhood Activities by Shae Valko 13–14 Halloween by Amelia Larson 15–16 Should we embrace the Landshark? by Korey Hurni 17 Childhood by Tobias Roth 18 Ninth Floor Down: Of All Things to Take by Shae Valko 19 The Beautiful Poem by Richard Brautigan, submitted by Frank Doherty 20 Christopher Walsh by Brendan LaCroix


one

*** by Liya Rakhkovskaya

And I hold my breath, for I can’t contain The three words of promise, of hope, of pain, That I want to say to you again and again, All in vain, for you are asleep. And I’m numb with fear, for what if you heard Every little tear, every whispered word. Would it set us back? Would it push us forward? Have we an accord to keep? And I wish you asked me what those words meant, So I’d say them in languages you understand. For I’m spent, I have nothing left to repent, And I can’t find the strength to weep. §


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Kid discovers wiggly tooth. Not just any wiggly tooth. But the first. Yes, the place that holds this tooth will soon be occupied by an *gasp* adult tooth. Maybe the first wiggly tooth is dangling by a thread and then finally falls out. Maybe it is yanked out on the count of three. Maybe the dentist has to yank it out. But at the end of the day, the first baby tooth is gone. On the road to adulthood. Great success. Very niiiiiice. As many children can look back at this experience as a truly momentous time and milestone in life, some cannot. Such a tragic 1st world problem came to show itself to my little sister back in the day. My twin was pretending to be a rock star. He had a toy guitar. Purple plastic with Guitar Hero-esque buttons if I can recall. Shitty neck strap. Also plastic. He was rockin’ out but that guitar was wanted elsewhere. My sister wanted that prize toyage. She reallyyy wanted it. She fought. She shoved. She screamed. But no guitar. He fell on the floor. She grabbed his foot. BITEEEEEEE. Verfickte tooth. Tschüss. §

The Loss of a Tooth:

A Children’s Story by Katie Courville


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Well, in another article I wrote for this I discussed a couple of the cartoons I watched. In fact, those were actually a few of the only ones I did. I never had cable until about 6th grade and because of that and probably other reasons too I just matured a little more quickly in the type of things that I was watching. I fell in love with film at a very young age too while some of you may be aware of my love for movies now, it has been growing since my early years. I don’t even quite remember this, but my mom has told me the story in the past couple years. Apparently, I chose to see Titanic as a kid simply because of the amount of award nominations that it had received and that has continued up until now. My favorite type of movies to watch to this day is the dramas with the well known stars or the movies that are to be up for awards. I did not have older siblings to expose me to the more risquÊ movies that others did. Some of these movies that parents would not approve of and sometimes did not like hearing about after I had seen them because they are too violent or swore too much I would end up seeing with friends and their older brothers or babysitters of mine. I still remember when I saw the Terminator movies for the first time with a childhood friend of mine and his older brothers and my parents not approving afterwards. I also find it very ironic and somewhat related to this relating to Happy Gilmore, a classic 90s comedy we all love right? Well at the time that I saw I was with a babysitter and he wanted me to watch it since it was one of his favorites. I look at the box and see that it is about hockey and golf, the two sports which I dislike most and have no desire to watch it. I am then convinced to somehow and it becomes my favorite Adam Sandler movie still and I used to say it was my favorite movie up until a few years ago when Crash took over that title. §

A Media Look at my Childhood by Tobias Roth


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Routine programming

by Wilbtron Hedroid

The walls of my room are a smooth, brushed aluminum. No wires, clean, smooth. Recharge my batteries, an energizing trance. Visual circuits engage. Hydraulics engage. Leave dwelling. There aren’t any trees, just towers and vortex tubes, a useful solution to the clogged and congested public transit magnet trains. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walking. Enter non-desrcript building. Work. Work. Work.

READ THE PINE PRESS. READ THE PINE PRESS. Work. Work. Work. Leave. Walk. Walk. Walk. W. A. L. K. I. N. G. Losing power. Increase rate of movement, continue on planned trajectory. Slow movement. I see a mouse, the first one in years. Strangle program activated. Enter dwelling. Enter charge center. The walls of my room are a smooth, brushed aluminum. No wires, clean, smooth. §


Sheep

by Ratt Mevers

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Over the years, and especially the college ones, my memories of childhood have waned in strength and in clarity. I can recall many of the more defining moments of my childhood (smashing my forehead open on the corner of a door, my sister starving my goldfish to death to introduce me to the concept of my own mortality, eating deodorant, etc), but there are certainly more memories that have left me than there are with me. The most potent memory I possess, however, is this one. Now, before I recount this story to you, dear reader, I need you to know that I’m not making this up. This story happened. The passing days may have blurred the edges, the emptied bottles may have smeared a few of details, but I can assure you, this is not a fabrication. This is a story from when I was no more than a boy of 6. As a tender lad, I was quiet, wellmannered; I minded my parents and kept to myself. My father had been transferred to Commerce, Michigan a year prior. Though an air of discontentedness surrounded the rest of my family, as the youngest I sensed none of this. Both too young and too distracted to understand my parents’ and sister’s heavy dislike for Commerce, I busied myself daily with the neighborhood kids. Spending my days interrupting the passions of the mating frogs of the pond, poking dead birds with sticks, and collecting grass stains on my jeans, springtime was a bright and happy time in Commerce for a younger me.

Always curious about the woods that met the other side of the pond, I was never allowed to venture beyond the tree line. I would wander the tree line, looking for bugs or else filling the pockets of my jeans with moon rocks, but I would never go in. I never asked why I wasn’t allowed into the woods, because I knew. I knew, of course, because I had gone into the woods. I was 6 years old, and often hung out with the older boys of the neighborhood, who happened to be instinctual rule-breakers. Upon one excursion into the woods, we came upon what appeared to be an enormous abandoned farmhouse. It had been left some time ago, before Commerce had succumbed to cookie-cutter housing and manicured lawns, and had naturally fallen into a state of disrepair. As I drew closer to the house I noticed a vending machine plugged into nothing had been dragged across from the doorway of the shed. Guided by curiosity alone, I walked over to the vending machine and peered inside. It would have been a normal snack machine, with nothing exceptional, aside from its geography, but no. Instead of being filled with gummy snacks, Snickers, and Pop-Tarts, it had been fully stocked with bottles of beer, all pointing crazily in different directions, some of them empty, others broken, but many remained unopened.


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As I was taking all of this in, my friend breathed the word “Sheep” close behind me. I turned around to ask him what he could have possibly meant, but I stopped short of the question. Suddenly, I remembered. A memory of someone one telling me a tale of local bum who lived in these woods who went by the name of Sheep. I had heard claims of sightings of the man known as Sheep several times, by both children and adults, but had put them out of my mind for the most part. Now, however, this phantom seemed all too real. This was my closest encounter with Sheep, and it was as if he had gained an entirely new materiality. He was real. I knew it now. A few weeks later, however, his existence would affirm itself further. After our discovery of Sheep’s dwelling, the other boys and myself swore to each other that we would tell no one. Surely we would be grounded for eternity if it were revealed that we had been traipsing through the forest unsupervised. Instead, we promised to never make mention of it again. Weeks passed, and we let our secret’s importance fade by ignoring its existence. Instead we busied ourselves with our usual pass-times of digging for treasure and stretching our Stretch Armstrongs to their limits.

But one day, it was noticed that one of the neighbor’s dogs, Ferrin had gone missing. Not a particularly fun dog had run off, so I wasn’t worried. But when Nacho, the golden retriever had also disappeared, along with a reported three other dogs, suspicions began to arise. Had they all run off together? Was someone hoarding taking them and selling them off for quick cash? Was it mere coincidence? Police reports were filed, and we the neighbors were told to keep our eyes out for any dogs or suspicious behavior. After a few more days of no sightings of any of the dogs, a small search party was organized. If there weren’t any results, maybe the presence of the search party would scare the crooked fucker who took the dogs into a confession. But there were results. After a policeman led a small segment of the search party into the woods, the search was called off. The dogs had been located. All of the missing dogs, with the addition of four unidentified dogs, had been strung up by the neck with makeshift nooses, twenty feet up into the trees outside of the barn where Sheep lived. I happened to be sitting in my living room, watching it grow darker outside when I saw distant flashlights bobbing in the woods. I watched with curiosity as a small group of neighborhood adults, most of whom I knew by first name, followed a police office as he led a gangly, disheveled looking man, hair long and gray, shrugging in his handcuffs. Suddenly terrified, the pieces came together in my mind. Sheep killed those dogs. I never was allowed to go into those woods. §


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The Thai Invasion

by Michael Davidson

Three Thai restaurants take root on the Grand River strip in East Lansing, MI. Whose spice will spark the taste buds of students this Fall? A notoriously tough audience, one known for its acceptance of the gourmet hotdog over the gourmet, organic, all local brick oven pizza. Thai 102°, which prides itself on the availability of a wide range of degrees of pepperiness. Especially considering that medium will coax even the most daring off the ledge, forcing them to rethink their lives. While medium+ is enough to force out a few tears, an uncomfortable sight when one is on a date and surrounded by one’s peers. How will these others stand up to its almost frat level aptitude for hazing customers with its proclivity at packing on the scovilles? No Thai, which recently opened its doors, revealing both their menu and some sadistic primate/daemon encouraging passersby to “nom.” Exactly what it wants us to “nom” upon remains open for discussion. One also has to wonder what might their scheme be? “No Thai”? Clearly their menu contains traditional Thai plates. Is there a misplaced comma somewhere? One meant to correct people assuming this would be another HD TV-strewn, ESPN non-stop greasy burger parlor or Greek/Burrito fusion fantasy land? The underdog of the group, only classified as such for their location, as it is on the north side of the ball pit colored parking garage (essentially its armpit, if you’ll excuse the pun,) is in for an uphill battle. As a place where businesses seemingly go to die, what will become of this perilous foe? This is of course Spar-Thai, which happens to be a combination coin laundromat and green cab outfit. The fact that they do not cook Pad Thai nor serve spiced foods of any kind seems not to have fazed them for the time being. It actually seems to be the trick up their sleeve, so to say. What spices up life more than a lazy Sunday at the laundromat or rocketing around Circle drive in your Pedi-Cab. Who’s to say this scheme wasn’t the work of a truly ingenious en-Thai-preneur? No one, that’s who. §


The Cookie Recipe of Childhood: Spritz by Katie Courville

Yields 6 dozen cookies 1 cup butter 2/3 cup sifted confectioners’sugar 1 egg 1 egg yolk 1 tsp. almond extract 2 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour 72 red and green candied cherries, quartered

1. Cream together butter and confectioner’s sugar in bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in egg, egg yolk and almond extract; blend well. 2. Gradually stir flour into creamed mixture, mixing well. 3. Fit flower crown design into cookie press. Place 1/2 of the dough in cookie press at a time, forcing dough through press, about 1 inch apart, on ungreased baking sheets. 4. Place 1/4 of a red or green candied cherry in center of each. Bake in 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven 7-10 minutes or until set but not browned. Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks. §


twelve

Childhood Activities by Shae Valko

Below is a list of things I remember from my early developmental years (I don’t want to type “childhood” too much). It is getting me all nostalgic thinking about them but it is cathartic and therapeutic to relive the simple before diving headfirst into the dangerously shallow pool that is post-college life. Enjoy! • doze in a stroller strapped to the back of my dad’s bike • chase my massive cat Max only to trip and fall on my face • having a mullet and having it be socially acceptable • I could walk around naked whenever and wherever I want • time was slow…very slow • first kiss when I was 4 years old in a nursery • making a child hood (I should explain. I used to skin other children at my preschool and make a hood out of their hides) • gathering my on feces and distributing them to the houses in my neighborhood…like Johnny Appleseed • getting a boomerang thrown at me • trying to disprove the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle…at age 8 • making fun of my brother’s mushroom haircut (I still had a mullet) • stealing my cousin Tyler’s toys and setting them next to me, not playing with them • rape!!!! Oh sorry…grapes…they were delicious • I loved pickles • Sanibel Island, Florida, before the New Orleans disease decimated it • Not having to decide what to major in so my parents won’t berate me for my interest in music and theatre. §


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twelve


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Fellow Co-Opers, Should we embrace the Landshark? For those not in the know, or are under 21, the Landshark recently changed management. Their new direction: Co-Ops. Every Friday a different house chooses a theme, a DJ or a band, etc, and we make it our own. We don’t pay cover, wait in line, and we get a +1 for our non-cooperative friends. On top of that, they offer reasonable drink specials. All in all, the Landshark’s management is generous to our system, and most of all earnest to move away from prior conceptions of the establishment. So, I now restate, do we embrace this? I beg this question not to reevaluate the co-op “bar of choice”, or to demean the Landshark’s attempt, but to draw parallels to a similar work-in-progress in our system. As some of you may know, Avalon is currently lacking signed contracts for next year. Formerly a 21-person house, the Board recently approved a motion to change every double room into a single, reducing the number of rooms from 21 to 17. If my memory is correct, that means we are at 12/17. There are a number of issues at play that lead to this, but a common thread that appears over and over is the house’s culture. The conception of Avalon, at least in recent memory, is mostly negative. Any attempt at a new progressive culture has failed to be sustainable. This article isn’t meant to criticize the house or its residents, but to open up discussion about what we can do, as members of a cooperative system, to free Avalon of its stigma. In repopulating Avalon for next year, they will face what every other house faces: new people and new dynamics. However, in houses like Bowie, where a majority of last year’s residents are returning, Avalon faces something more stressful. New and old residents are hit with a restart button. This gaming analogy should not be taken lightly; it’s an opportunity to start over.

Yet, for all returning members, we’ll still remember the old Avalon. Whether they change or not, we’ll hold their actions in strict comparison to how it used to be. That backdrop will be hard to abolish. When the Landshark extended a deal to us, a lot of members were confused. The Landshark held a certain connotation. We all stereotyped it. True or not, there was some hesitance. A few weeks in, and we’re still not that comfortable. Last week when I attended, I still saw the old crowd coming, paying cover, and sharing space with us. There was no conflict, at least none that I recall, but it was divided. Co-Opers stuck with Co-Opers. So far in this article I’ve tried to stay away from labeling the conception we hold of Avalon (PARTY HARD), and of the Landshark (YOU LIKE DAVE MATTHEWS, BRO?). I’m vague, but on purpose. Our first step should be comfortable realizing these social attachments, but also be willing and able to overcome them. We’re stuck with Avalon, so we have to work towards a new house culture. The Landshark? We could all just stop going. However, I respect the bar’s new management. Like the Board working with Avalon towards a new house culture, we as a system can help the Landshark to a new bar culture (yes, I understand the awkwardness of these lumped together phrasings). New tenants, new customers, they can be seen as the same thing here. Yes, we can boil this down to business and profits, as maintaining a structured house culture leads to more and more returning tenants, and a maintained bar culture leads to more and more returning customers. However, there is still something human about all of this. We will lose money with Avalon next year. The Board currently is unsure where that money will come from. There was even talk of increasing assessment (but don’t worry, no one seems comfortable with that). Yet, wherever we take the money, it’ll affect all of us. WE OWN IT means we all feel the pains and pleasures of our system. Reevaluating Avalon


sixteen

means reevaluating our system. Not just financially, but as I have stressed, culturally as well. We will be forced, alongside the physical and social changes that occur inside Avalon’s walls, to change and overcome our preconceptions about the house. Whether they improve or fall flat, we need to be open to that change, and not simply compare and contrast to a mental backdrop. In short, we must love Avalon, but not in changing from what it was. If we hold a standard that it must meet, then we’re setting up expectations that, if not met or exceeded, will cause disappointment, and possibly ridicule. We must understand at least one thing, a new Avalon, a new Landshark, it’s all a process. This simply isn’t A then B. The B, the end goal, a new culture, that doesn’t happen in one contract period. It occurs over generations, and we must be generative during each one, progressing to our ultimate goal. As I’ve said, we’re stuck Avalon, we have to do this, or else we’ll face severe financial, as well as social, loss. Landshark is in our hands. They are willing and open to the change we can bring. Hell, I think that’s what is attractive about us. We work together, and not simply bring change, but actually make it. Let’s work with them. Let’s sit through the good and the bad nights at Co-Op Fridays. Let’s work towards leaving future generations of co-opers with a house to live in comfortably and a bar where they can drink safely, all without our current negative stigma of each. Not to sound cheesy, but we’re the change here. We may never enjoy the fruits of our labor, but someone will. § Korey Hurni


seventeen

Childhood by Tobias Roth

Childhood was a fun time for all of us I’m sure. We were all discovering who we were and making connections with others around us. Most of us developed our first crushes on the opposite sex at some point during elementary school, some earlier than others. I remember seeing my friends have their first girlfriend or boyfriend and some of these people being people that I had known all through school, interesting to see how relationships were developing even at that young age. I also remember what it was like having a girl that I liked over at my house for the first time. We didn’t do anything more than friends would be doing at that point, but it was still a big step as we all remember those times of first crushes and what it meant to us at that time. Some of us connected with different cartoons and TV shows as kids. Rocket Power and Hey Arnold were definitely a couple of my favorites and a couple years later it was all about Boy Meets World. I know everyone remembers Recess as well, that was another big favorite of mine, cant forget about TJ and Gus! So Weird was also a great show that I loved as a kid that was on Disney late at night. It was a mystery, twilight zone type of show in a way and had teenagers as the star of it, really interesting stories and sure to scare kids everywhere. I also had a fun childhood with my birthday party tradition that I used to do every year throughout elementary school. I would have people over and do water balloon fights with pizza and ice cream and then do fireworks at the nearby hill at night. It became a very fun tradition that me and my friends would enjoy. As a young kid, I was terrified of fireworks and I think sort of made up for my not seeing them at that age by doing them often on birthdays and other times to have a good time. Spending time up north and at the water was also big for me during my childhood. I had a friend who I got to be best friends with in first grade but then he ended up moving up to Manistee and later on Bear Lake. They are great places, but too far from East Lansing so I made every effort I could to get up there and usually at least made it a couple times during the summer. It has become tradition going up there and there is a little lake called Manmade Lake in Manistee that I still love to go to when I can. Going up there as a kid, I used to spend time with my friend up there and my mom would take us camping, giving us many memories to tell now. We used to have some wild bonfires and go swimming in Manmade and Lake Michigan which are right by each other too. §


eighteen

Ninth Floor Down: Of All Things to Take

Characters: Greg by Shae Valko Olivia Greg decides to make himself a quick protein shake before heading home. He goes to the mini-fridge to get his blackberries to add to the blender. He can’t find them. He immediately gets confused and then frustrated. His co-worker, Olivia, enters the office. Greg starts to inquire. GREG: Olivia, have you seen my frozen blackberries? I had a half-empty carton left. I looked in the fridge and freezer and can’t find them. Did you have some?

OLIVIA: No, I didn’t have any. I would’ve asked. There was an office party yesterday when you weren’t here. It was Matt’s birthday. It started in his office, but it spilled into the hallway. GREG: Spilled into hallw…spilled into…this is a place of busin…wait, did you leave the door open? OLIVIA: Hahaha, c’mon of course I did. GREG: What?! OLIVIA: I don’t understand, what is the problem? We’re all co-workers….. GREG: Well one of them stole my damn blackberries! OLIVIA: You’re not seriously losing your mind over frozen fruit are… GREG: (overlapping Olivia’s last line) I mean what kind world do we live in where a man’s snack foods are under the constant threat… of… thievery!? OLIVIA: Thievery? Are you using daily Shakespeare toilet paper or something? GREG: Hey that was a gift? Dare not you mockith thy… OLIVIA: Oh shut up that’s just gibberish! GREG: Excuse me, are you a Shakespeare scholar? Are you an expert? OLIVIA: No GREG: (quickly) Then don’t question my… The suicidal man flies past the window. GREG: What in the bluest of blue hells was that? OLIVIA: Your blackberry burglar, consumed with grief. GREG: Oh trust me, he’s far away from here by now. OLIVIA: Well if he’s far away then…then who’s that? GREG: (turns darts out the door after some random co-worker) You owe me blackberries you piece of crap! §


nineteen

Submitted by Frank Doherty. ยง


twenty

Christopher Walsh The day I signed my contract, Chris Walsh was sitting behind the desk in a much smaller SHC office. This Monday, August 15, was Christopher Walsh’s last time at a Board of Directors meeting as a member-owner of our system. Friday, August 19, will be his last day in the office, and he’ll be moving out of our system next week. He’s been a strong member for three years, and his influence, guidance, and experience have helped the Board through a lot of difficult decisions time and again. As a staff member, he attends every Executive Committee meeting, weighing in on our decisions and, more than anyone else, he makes us understand the gravity and importance of our decisions in keeping our organization afloat. He’s worked on innumerable projects while in his post as our Member Services Coordinator— the new member guide and orientations, the website, our application process, the new software for managing our properties, the office expansion, online payment—going above and beyond his duties. Chris makes our organization run smoothly and responds in a courteous and timely fashion to each of us, even when we’re being pigheaded (as we all too often are). I don’t mean this to be a typical sendoff, full of congratulations, thanks, and other platitudes. Most of the time we spend in the office together is spent bickering, and Chris and I certainly don’t always see eye-to-eye (in fact, it’s a rare occasion that we do).

But here’s the thing: Chris is someone who will answer a question I have about co-ops at 2AM. He’s sat through me ranting about the ineffectiveness of our policies or the silliness of our members, then talked me down from making short, rude, or uninformed responses. Despite any faults he might have, Chris always obliges to help out SHC member-owners. His motivation, along with the fact that he takes ownership of his ideas, has made him an incredible asset to this corporation­—not just since he started working in our office, but from the day he moved into New Community. I’ve taken him for granted. Too infrequently are thanks given to our staff, our officers, and our fellow members. He’s not just someone we hired, he’s someone we live with and share responsibility with—but he’s done more than could have ever been expected. So while I was sitting in Chris’s last Board meeting, watching him tearfully read his last report to the Board and give his final farewell, I thought there could be nothing more appropriate than giving him thanks for being an excellent co-oper and a very good friend. Thanks, Chris, and good luck. Yours in cooperation, Brendan LaCroix §


the pi ne press volu me 41, issue 11 “chi ld hood�

Pine Press: Childhood  

Volume 49, Issue 11

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