The Black Sheep FR
... L ON IKE LY THE TW W O AY WE PA EK RK S A IN GO G W AS .
• A COLLEGE NEWSPAPER THAT’S ACTUALLY ABOUT COLLEGE •
Volume 4, Issue 1 • 1/17/13 - 1/23/13
A SYLLABUS FOR SYLLABUS WEEK BLACK SHEEP STAFF WROTE THIS
Colleges these days, including our mostly-inebriated-butclassy-as-James-Bond’s-left-testicle Black and Yellow, are doing an A-plus job of teaching vital real world skills, curbing GPA inflation, and keeping tuition affordable. And by “doing” these things we actually mean actually they’re not doing them at all. There is one week to be optimistic, though, and that is the magical, twice-yearly syllabus week that nearly every college student, kind-of-in-a-way, looks forward to. It is the one-week in which you pretend that you might actually enjoy a course and not find yourself medicating with ten to twelve self-prescribed Keystone Lights on a Tuesday night. It’s also the one week where you’re practically required to procrastinate or be designated an overachieving dork. So, naturally, you should have plenty of time to read our course requirements on how to get down during syllabus week. Course Title: VCU 445: “Syllabus Week.” Also known as” Welcome Week, Part Deux” or “Advanced College Life for Students Who Don’t Introduce Themselves to the Professor on the First Day and Therefore Designate Themselves as Ass-Kissers: A Technology-Based Survey”. Dates/Times: Monday, January 7, 2013 - Sunday, January 13, 2013. All day, e’rr day, or until the night before the first quiz that some professors like to have during the first week to show that they have suede elbow pads and they are not dicking around. Instructors: The Black Sheep, Ph.D. in Gender Studies with a Concentration in Male Genital Monikers, MS in Historical Football Time Travel, and President Simon, BS and only BS. TAs: Have no effect on your grade. But these pseudo-librarian ladies often have Hefner-worthy T’s and A’s, just not quite worthy enough to waste your time on during this first magical week. Course Objectives: The student will only be able to demonstrate knowledge of his or her courses to the extent that he/she vaguely knows when and where they are, as well as the level of attractiveness of the professor. The student should also be able to determine the relative difficulty and seriousness of the professor, and should be able to demonstrate the proportionality of such properties as they relate to the age and number
MOVING ON WHILE THE MAYANS LAUGH AT US
“THE WORLD WAS SUPPOSED TO END FOUR WEEKS AGO” IS NOT A CONVINCING ARGUMENT TO AN OFFICER.
of sexual encounters of the professor, i.e. are they still young enough to give the students a break and are they still banging eligible suitors at the same pace as Taylor Swift on a Percocet binge. Finally, the student should also be able to fully analyze bars, parties, clubs, and other social gatherings to determine their level of drunk, hot, and duck-faced girls, ranging from bro-temptuous to bro-nasty. The student should also know which one of those is a good rating and which implies serious danger of STDs and those dramatic drunk-girl tantrums that still occur every night despite everyone agreeing that they’re fucking worse than cancer and an aging Eminem combined. Grading Scale: 4.0: 0%-89% 0.0: 90% and above. You’re trying way too hard already, slugger.
Hints for Succeeding in this Course: -Don’t buy any textbooks now. If The Black Sheep were ever serious about anything (we’re not, but whatev’s), it would be this. Unless you’re looking to buy a doorstopper that happens to be pricier than a mountain of gold-plated hooker robots, don’t buy the book. -Wear a monocle — being a fancy gentleman never goes out of style. -When you get a ticket for daring to park anywhere on campus without surrendering your first born, please, set your ticketed car on fire. You only experience so many syllabus weeks in your life, might as well make it memorable with some good ol’ fashioned arson. -Don’t do any reading. At all. Why are you even reading this? Stop now.
HOW TO RELOAD ON FRIENDS
SINCE YOU’RE ALREADY A SOCIAL MEDIA STALKER, YOU SHOULD BE A PRO.
FURTHERMORE, WHERE DO WE STAND ON WOOL SOCKS? ITCHY NUISANCE, OR HOURS OF ELECTRIFIED FUN?
contents PAGE 6: TOP 10 THINGS TO DO BEFORE 2013 IS OVER
Questions? Comments? Compliments? Insults? email@example.com
JANUARY IS ALREADY HALF-OVER, BETTER GET A MOVE ON.
PAGE 7: FROM THE STREETS WHAT DID YOU DO TO STAY SANE OVER THE HOLIDAY BREAK?
PAGES 9: POINT/COUNTERPOINT: BOOZE OR BILLS IF YOU CAN AFFORD PAYING FOR BOTH, YOU NEED TO STOP SELLING YOURSELF FOR SEX.
PAGE 12: BARTENDER OF THE WEEK MEET ZACH. HE PROBABLY CAN’T SKATEBOARD, BUT HE SURE LOOKS LIKE HE CAN.
PAGE 13: ENOUGH TO BREAK THE ICE IF ONLY CLASS ICEBREAKING GAME WERE A LITTLE MORE HONEST.
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word of the week Platidude:
An overly generic description of a college male. “Flynn likes to listen to the latest Macklemore album when he runs at the gym before meeting his friends and his side piece out on a Friday night. What a platidude.”
MOVING ON WHILE THE MAYANS LAUGH AT US DANIEL PARK WROTE THIS Dear human race at VCU, Pull down your Mayan calendars and unhook your December 21st piñatas now. Those mischievous Mayans have officially mind-sexed your brains dry for three years, ever since the debut of that heavilytouted and misleading movie, 2012. After you purge your browser history of Google searches of “how to sex before apocalypse” and forums where you’ve been a regular commenter under the pseudonym “mayonnaise_mayan” close you computer, open up a notebook, grab an erasable pen and let’s make 2013 the year we’re not all paranoid assholes. The Illuminati does NOT exist: For you silly goons out there folding $1 bills and into all kinds of funky shapes to expose our country’s subliminal messages, every feasible fold has been discovered. From making the numbers say 42069 (meaning that the presidents back then had weed-smoking orgies) to making President Jackson look like a woman, practicing origami on our nation’s dollar needs to take a break. The “secret society of conspirators” your friends discussed when you definitely weren’t stoned are rooming with the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. They’re actually on a world cruise and freestyle rapping with Tupac. Yes, Tupac – he’s alive and well – and is popping champagne bottles with all the other fictitious characters. We’re tired of reading the conspiracy entries on Wikipedia. Compositions on the Blue Beam Effect or the most recent scare - the eerie observation made from the Batman: Dark Knight Rises film-footage that foretells us that Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings were predetermined are all merely coincidental. Keeping your eyes peeled of this worlds’ corruption is fine, but don’t invest your lives and search about what the Illuminati has next on their agenda.
Nostradamus was just really good at guessing: Nostradamus is the douchebag prophet we’ve only seen while passing out to The History Channel. The History Channel runs “documentaries” on his wild guesses - he correctly predicted the death of the wonderful Princess Diana, for example. The French apothecary has taken it one step further, by connecting a “calm morning, dead horse and 9 circles” with the end of end of our universe. Oppa Gangnam Style, the world-renown music video featuring Korea’s rapper, Psy, has surpassed the 1 billion-click milestone on YouTube (the nine 0s). The dancing horse movement of the rapper’s choreography in the annoying video is precisely what Nostradamus had imagined when he was smoking some of that French herb. Much to Nutztradamus’ dismay, neither a droplet of fire has fallen from the clouds, nor has the radical Jesus-loving Tim Tebow started a game for the New York Jets. Take time to study your class notes while you sit on your toilet, instead of perusing Nostradamus forums while you poo. The homeless citizens on our campus street corners do not work for the government: It’s nearly impossible to walk around campus without a man or a woman approaching you with their palms opened (to show their prey that they aren’t carrying a weapon), and beat around a bush to ask the soul-burning question, “Could you spare some change?” But worry not, these poor bastards actually want your change – it’s not spiel to keep from being discovered as government agents sent to spy on today’s youth. After observing the dirty blonde-haired man in the camouflaged-spotted jacket on Cary Street steal a piece of wet bread from a pigeon, I no longer fear that these drifters are keeping tabs on my weekend binges, and neither should you.
The Cabell Library is not not haunted: Contrary to what the university will have you believe, the Cabell Library is very much haunted. Never go to the basement at 3:33 a.m., as the ghost named Andre McCormick that lingers around the vending machine will make the machine eat every dollar you put into it. Sure, this might just mean the machine is broken, but the odds that it is actually a ghost stealing your money are much higher. The Mayans will continue to point and laugh at our malleable, childlike hearts, and there’s nothing we can do to change that. What we can try to do, is to have a sane 2013 without fearing the world is going to end, or that the Illuminati is going to turn America’s homeless people into an army of drunken squirrel rapists.
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HOW TO RELOAD ON FRIENDS SHANAE EDWARDS WROTE THIS So the fall semester has ended, the lollygagging of winter break is over, and the new semester is beginning. Your closest amigos have graduated early, everyone has moved off in different directions to start their life as a college graduate and you’re stuck here all to your lonesome. You’ll have to make a name for yourself and do your best to re-ignite some old friendships or worse, make new friends. So how do you get through the next couple of months until graduation without turning to drinking alone in your dark apartment every weekend? Relationships 101 says everyone is your friend, and you just need to act the part. All of those acquaintances you kind of know, semi-know, forgot their name - instead of giving the old “hi-and-bye” to these long-lost friends, spark up a conversation. Bring up a funny moment, like the time they puked in your dorm room, or the time you made out with their dad on Family Weekend. Hell, make it up if you have to! Keep the conversation long and drawn out until you have every messy detail of their current life worked out and committed to memory. By the end of your convo, you should know a cellular number, an emergency contact, the number to the nearest fax machine and directions to send a singing telegram to their house. Additionally, knowing various means of social media to reach that person by, make a mental note of their schedule, and set up a weekend plan. Once that person is in your corner, it’s all smooth sailing from there. The next step is to make all their friends your friends, and their friends’ friends your friends too. It’s like a pyramid scheme, but with friendship. You might even have to turn down requests once you become a bit more well-known. And if it should be an unfortunate weekend where you’re sitting alone in your underwear watching Grey’s Anatomy, you’re only a few tweet checks away from turning up at an acquaintance’s private party that you weren’t invited to and shouldn’t know the address of. Like Tarantino’s Django, get in character and play your part. Dress, act, and talk like the people you intend to be around. You can become popular and liked by everyone, and even more, you can turn everyone in the group against each other, while making them only trust you. Friendship accomplished! If you don’t have any slight acquaintances left on campus, you can always bring in the New Year with a brand new set of friends. All you have to do is find a carefree group of freshmen, just don’t let them know your classification. They’ll dig the knowledge you have of the club scene, underground spots, and best dine in places of the area. Encourage their friendship through offers of Captain Morgan shots and Newport cigarette singles. You’ll be the go to guy, just with a younger crowd. But hey, friends are
friends even if they’re just leaving the nest and ditching 11:30 p.m. curfews. Plus, the fresh meat is less stuck up than the 23-year-old career-starting snobs you’ve been dealing with. By having your own place and car already, your place will be the place to chill out - freshmen are always trying to get out of the dorms, and you’ll be the outlet to that glamorous life without RAs. Soon you’ll have them relying on you for booze and shelter, and then you can start charging them to hang out with you! That’s what friends are for, right? RIGHT? Everyone knows you’re preparing for graduation and getting serious about your future, but you shouldn’t give up on all your shenanigans just because all your real friends aren’t in one location. You may not get the crew love you used to, but you’ll at least have a shoulder to cry on when you truly realize the impending doom that is graduation.
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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: SOCKS JESS OVERCASH AND GREG ALEXANDER WROTE THIS Point: Socks are a Hot Fashion Accessory for the Winter by Jess Overcash
Things to do before 2013 is over
One of the latest looks in fashion right now is also one of the easiest to pull off. Socks are taking the spotlight for the remainder of winter and into the spring. It might be hard to imagine such a common article making a bold statement, but this is one trend that isn’t exclusive to just one style. The last time you thought about socks may have been while reading Fox in Socks By Dr. Seuss, or throwing your neighbors cat “Socks” out of your window for science, but now it’s time to pay attention to that dresser drawer that’s full of the yellowed, crust cotton bags you pull over your feet. You couldn’t ask for a more practical way to transform an everyday outfit into something chic and unique while keeping a little warmer during these cold days. The possibilities are endless with infinite styling options, colors, textures, opacities, patterns, and prints. Ankle socks, footless, thigh highs, and over the knee socks can be worn with virtually any shoe in your closet (except flip flops). No matter the outfit, the right pair of socks will transform your look into fun and flirty or naughty and even sexy-nerdy.
nia, and also your feet will be really cold. Socks also stain really easily, and while that’s true with most clothes, it still doesn’t help their case. There is no standard sock. You’ve got like 40 different lengths, the entire visible spectrum of colors (not counting freaky designs that some European guy added on a whim), and the line between “socks” and “pants” is forever blurred by things like stockings, pantyhose and leggings. I don’t even know what sock to wear with my sneakers, much less how to coordinate an outfit with these things. Full disclosure: I don’t really get fashion, but socks? They blow.
“THEY’RE MAYBE THE LEAST GLAMOROUS PIECE OF CLOTHING.”
It might take a little while to get used to seeing yourself in this look, but in the end you’ll fall in love with socks of all shapes and sizes, colors and patterns. After all we’re in Richmond, the dirty south, where anything goes! Just don’t do what I did and spend all your Christmas money on socks from Free People and Kate Spade (like a brand name whore). You can find awesome socks at thrift stores and online for super cheap, so when your at your favorite department store and find an amazing pair of socks for $20, look for them on Amazon or eBay real quick before you make that purchase. Oh, and one more thing, be careful before borrowing a pair of your little brother’s tube socks on laundry day, you never know what could be lurking at the bottom. Counterpoint: Screw Socks by Greg Alexander Socks are the goddamn worst. They’re itchy, they go missing easily, and they’re never there when you need them. Never once have I thought, “Damn, I sure am glad I’m wearing socks right now!” Socks limit the amount of places you can travel. Wet floor? Hope you aren’t wearing socks. Grass? No socks allowed here. The list goes on and on, but mostly variations of wet floor and grass, as well as combinations (Dewy grass? You better not be bringing socks into that environment). How is a protective sheath for your feet somehow limiting? Easy: you can get pneumo-
They’re maybe the least glamorous piece of clothing. Yeah, underwear has a pretty lame job but at least it can glamorize or accentuate your business. Socks are just mittens for your feet that soak up dirt and sweat. Also, for something that gets advertised as having “dust busting” pads, my socks end up looking an awful lot like Civil War bandages if I don’t vacuum for a week. There is also no sexy or seductive way to take off socks unless someone has a foot fetish. “Oh, well, don’t take them off, then!” you might counter because you’re that creepy bastard who keeps his socks on during sex. This is nonsense - men and women both need grip and socks introduce a frictionless surface to the bottom of your feet. It’s a matter of safety. Maybe the worst thing of all with socks is the ridiculous markup. You can pay like 99 cents for a 24 pack of (admittedly kind of shitty) cotton socks, or you can pay 20 dollars for a single pair of cotton-rayon blended socks, designed in a lab by a man with a doctorate in physics who has probably ruined his family life in pursuit of chasing the perfect sock. Socks all feel about the same anyways and it’s not like anyone’s going to notice whose socks I’m wearing. They are not the “prefect winter accessory,” they merely exist to fulfill the function of keeping your feet warm, and sometimes collecting jizz in a pinch.
10.) Have a reality show: We can all agree that MTV stars are the most entitled, untalented, vapid waste of grey matter this side of 17. They’re also disgustingly rich. Have a TV show featuring your untalented ass so you can swim in diamond-encrusted pools of Goldschlager by 2014. 9.) Write “2013” on your papers: To some, writing the date correctly comes as naturally as singing into oscillating fans when they’re bored. Others are still a bit “two thousand and late.” Make it your goal to write 2013 on your assignments, even though it feels weird and foreign. 8.) Travel: On a good day, Virginia is boring. We haven’t had a good day in ages. This year, travel out of state or country where the sun shines more than two months of the year and the people aren’t weighed down by soul crushing ennui. 7.) Get “Call Me Maybe” out of your head: It will be very tricky, and you might need some help. Try throwing a wish in a well. Da da da I’ll never tell OH GOD DAMN IT! 6.) Find Love: You’d think Love would be easier to find, but it’s a very big world and there are so many other people with glasses and red and white striped shirts and hats that it can be - wait, that’s not Love. Who am I thinking of? 5.) Master a recipe: Cooking might not be the most impressive of skills, but if you have one dish that you do better than anyone else, you have a much higher chance of getting laid in 2014. “Come to my place, I’ll make you my signature Pringle-crusted chicken on cheesy Ramen,” will get a girl into your apartment faster than “Your butt looks like a butt Jell-o mold.” 4.) Get kicked out of a bar: Not everyone wants to hear about the time you drank three martinis and danced with a less attractive member of the desirable sex. EVERYONE wants to hear about the time you got kicked out of a bar. You can challenge yourself with this. Will it take more alcohol than anyone has ever drunk? Or a gorilla suit? Or fire? 3.) Figure out what you want to be when you grow up: Better late than never, but you’re not going to be a dragon. You do understand that, right? 2.) Make a pillow fort: Nothing, and we mean nothing, is more conducive to a happy, healthy lifestyle than dinosaur nuggets, shadow puppets and a well-constructed pillow fort. You have to put the “NO BOYS ALLOWED” sign out front, though, or else you risk cooties. 1.) Start following The Black Sheep on Twitter: It’s the most rewarding two seconds you can spend. Not only will you have access to the newest news with your favorite campus paper, but we say the smartest, funniest, awesomest things that you won’t want to continue to miss.
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What did you do to stay sane over the holiday break? “Tended to my cats mostly.” - Samuel K.
“Chilled with my hometown friends.” - Esteban D.
“Rollerblading, moving, shaking, and producing. You know, normal stuff.” - Scram J.
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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: PAY FOR BOOZE OR PAY YOUR BILLS VCU STAFF WROTE THIS So winter has totally been a dick and actually showed up this year (Take that, Al Gore - Global Warming is a myth) and it’s starting to get quite chilly in the good ole Virginia Monologue. This also means classes have just begun and the dynamic duo of Virgina Commonwealth University and textbook publishers has effectively price-gouged poor students’ eyes out, and many of us are finding ourselves in quite the frozen pickle (and no, we don’t mean the sex act). We’re here to help and, since our loyal readership knows our advice is as good as Goldschlager, we give to you a point-counterpoint to help you discern what to spend your money on this winter. Point: If you don’t use your last fifty clams to pay your Consumers Energy bill your heat might get shut off. If your heat gets shut off you might lose a testicle or breasticle to frostbite. Counterpoint: They don’t actually shut off your heat for like, what, fifteen days or something, right? Anyway, who cares how cold you are on the outside when you have an internal Cosby sweater made of yummy yummy booze to keep you warm? Point: You might need an Internet connection to get your class work done on time as well as providing material to effectively masturbate to (yeah, we know your imagination isn’t as morally depraved as the Internet). You should probably forgo a weekend of drinking and pay that bill. Counterpoint: What the hell are you paying a small fortune every semester for if you can’t take advantage of free Wi-Fi in every building on campus? Screw Comcast; just hit up campus and get that shit done, then go home and use the smart phone Mom and Dad still pay for to either sext a sexual companion or download some material to j.o. to. Point: Your flimsy pretense of “movie night” with that hot piece of ass from your accounting class seems kind of sketchy if they realize you don’t have electricity. Counterpoint: HA! Or you might enjoy a candle-lit dinner of take-out food. Plus, the post-dinner excuses to curl up under the blankets and keep warm! Plus, if they’re not feeling the whole “dark-and-cold” scene there’s always the whiskey option! Point: How will you shower and maintain personal hygiene if you don’t pay your water bill? Counterpoint: Don’t maintain personal hygiene, just maintain being drunk - the musk of blood and booze is way better than the smell of being freshly showered, so, yeah, fuck showering.
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Point: Good luck throwing an awesome welcome back banger with no lights, no music, and no heat. Counterpoint: Just move the party to the neighbors’ place. They can’t say no if you show up with six handles and a keg! Well, they could say no at that point, but that would make them dicks. Point: Paying your utilities would be the responsible decision to make in this situation. Counterpoint: There will be plenty of time for “responsibility,” “car insurance,“ and “soberness” once you graduate and become a corporate bitch. You’re in college—your only responsibility is to be irresponsible. Point: Your microwave won’t work if you decide to buy booze instead of paying bills. Counterpoint: Wh-wh-whaaatt, hold the phone! Okay, shit, you should probably pay that bill. What is life without microwaves? That’s not a life I want to live; that is for certain.
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The Western World’s First Gene Therapy Goes on Sale The Event: Dutch biotech uniQure’s Glybera will become commercially available, providing gene therapy to treat lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD), an extremely rare inherited disorder affecting the metabolism of fat particles. How can we selfishly make this about us?: Gene therapy might just be the future of medicine as we know it. It physically alters the fundamental material that tells our cells how to function, and could potentially provide cures to some of humankind’s most detrimental diseases. But we’re not quite there yet, so who cares? Just like global warming, we should spend more time arguing whether or not humans should tinker with God’s creation. In fact, until uniQure can replace our short, fat, and brunette genes, let’s not give a shit about it. In other words, if a man was born to die of LPLD, then that’s what he was put on this Earth to do… until we can alter our genes to have powerful sex organs, then we shall not agree with uniQure and its evil plans to white-wash America.
Royal Baby Born The Event: Kate Middleton and whichever royal breeder is plugging her are passing on their blessed genes! Surely this baby will be left to grow up in a private, loving home like the rest of us, it won’t throw itself off of the London Bridge at the ripe age of 14 on national television! How can we selfishly make this about us?: How dare we suggest that someone else's baby isn't primarily about us in the first place? This baby is will be a real life princess or prince! Our generation barely knew Princess Diana, and now we have our chance to become psychotically possessive of someone else's life. This baby is ours, America, and if we can't destroy the English monarchy with war, we shall tear it down by shoving our fat faces into every aspect of this baby's life. We will vote on the baby's name (deeming him/her Oprah no matter what), witness his/her first kiss, and ultimately steer the royal family back to what they do best - have sex with each other until years of incest rot away their genetic makeup.
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DA14 The Event: On February 15, 2013, the DA14 asteroid is predicted to narrowly sweep past Earth. The 45-meter, 130,000 metric ton asteroid will blow by us at 21, 200 miles from the center-point of Earth, with an uncertainty region of about 0.000001 AU (150 km; 93 mi). How can we selfishly make this about us?:"Uncertainty region" is certainly a sexy term. In this random universe anything can happen, and we feeble humans just have to bend over, grab our ankles, and take it. Might this near-Earth asteroid randomly be coerced by unknown forces of the universe, and take a path to knock Earth of its axis, killing us all? Or will Jesus whisk off into space on a silver surfboard and push it away? Only time can tell, but one thing's for sure - you want to make sure everyone within your online social reach knows that you know the asteroid isn't going to hit (because of science or surfboard Jesus)… but you're going to party like it is AnYwAy!~! #DA14 #NearDeath #JesusPushedtheAsteroidAway
The Wide Commercial Use of Highly Flexible Touch Sensors The Event: 2013 is predicted to be the year we start to see our computing technology evolve to be flexible - with a phone that wraps around your wrist as the desired endpoint. How can we selfishly make this about us?: Our grandparents would never have dreamed of carrying the sort of computing power we do in their pockets. Yet, how do we respond to having an infinite amount of information at our fingertips? Immediately start complaining about the Facebook app loading too slowly, or carelessly dropping it into on the ground as we stream porn in the bathroom stall at work. Of course we'll welcome our computers being able to bend into a wrist accessory, but we'll all inevitably grow bored with this groundbreaking technology and wonder why the computer is still a physical thing, and not a chip implanted into our brain. Why do we have to still look at something to watch porn? Why aren't we to the point where we can stream it on the back of my eyelids yet!? We thought this was 2013, not 2003!
Solar Flares Will Disrupt the Earth's Magnetosphere The Event: The sun will reach its solar maximum this year - the period of greatest activity in its 11-year solar cycle. Because of the low level of activity in recent years there is a build up of energy, with large "solar storms" hitting Earth's magnetosphere strong enough to disrupt electronic systems on Earth. How can we selfishly make this about us?: Despite the fact that the solar flares could potentially alter the banking system and hospital equipment, we'll all inevitably complain more about our phone batteries not charging as we sleep, and GPS devices leading us to Taco Bell instead of the nearest strip club. Sure, we could take this phenomenon to realize there are bigger external forces that alter our lives than WiFi and sex, becoming a little less dependent on our machines and a little more interested in the frailty of human life and our relationships. But we won't, and our faces will stay glued to our phones as we mash the refresh button like apes until the internet checks back in.
we interview: We interviewed Ryan North, creator of the online Dinosaur Comics, writer of Adventure Time comics, and eventually a choose-your-own-adventure Hamlet book. He is the self-described “final boss of the internet,” so follow him on Twitter @ryanqnorth! By Brendan The Black Sheep: So you went to college for Computer Science, did you start the comic out of college or in college? Ryan North: I did undergrad in Computer Science and started the Dinosaur Comics in my final year. Then I did a graduate degree in computation linguistics, and continued the comic during that time. When I graduated I had the choice of getting a real job or doing comics on the internet, and the internet comic thing seemed like it would be more fun. TBS: With that in mind, what was the decision like -- did you understand the risk, did you look at it as kind of “this is my one shot to do this”? RN: Yeah, actually it was a really easy decision, because when a cartoonist decides to go full time that means they have to quit their day job, but all I had to do was fail to get a job. It was easy because the easiest choice was the most fun choice. TBS: Since then you’ve branched out to a bunch of different things -- designing other web comics and other projects. When you go after these things, how do you choose to do it? RN: It takes me about three hours to write a comic, which seems like a lot for six panels, but it takes that long to get to the point where I’m happy with it. So when I started doing comics full time, I’d be done around noon, and have the whole afternoon off - so I was like, “Yeah! Spring break full time!” But after a couple weeks of that, I started to be like “Oh no, I’m wasting my life.” But Oh No Robot came out of me saying “Wow! This is something that can solve a problem for web comics, and something I can do in the afternoon that would be computer science-y,” which I enjoyed also - you know, helping out both myself and other cartoonists. So seeing something that could be done better and doing it, but also selfishly just needing to feel more productive than I am. TBS: Dinosaur Comics, do you find the 6 panels are a continual challenge? RN: In one sense it’s like a haiku, where you have these constructions and you work within it - and that gives you some advantages, like you’re not facing a blank sheet of paper in the morning. I know my comic today will probably have T-Rex in it to some degree, because it’s always those same six images, but at the same time you’re thinking how can you spend ten years with the same six images, this is brutal, it’s reptilian. But they’re really flexible, which is great -- if I put “Meanwhile in Tudor England” above one of the panels, that changes the visual narrative of the strip and it starts telling different stories and having characters off panel that interact with the main characters, which makes it flexible, and seemingly easier. TBS: The Adventure Time comic is very stylistically different from what you’ve been doing, how do you switch voices between the two?
the big three
entertainment-y things to keep your eye out for.
BROKEN CITY IN THEATERS JANUARY 18th
Hey, it's a Mark Wahlberg action film! Russell Crowe stars as the mayor of New York City, a man who hires Wahlberg (a disgraced ex-cop with an innate anger problem) to help him identify his wife's lover, that bitch. Scandalous situations simmer up, supposedly surrounding sex and stuff.
TORO Y MOI - ANYTHING IN RETURN OUT JANUARY 22nd
Chaz Bundwick, better known as Toro y Moi, graces us yet again with his low key dance beats on Anything in Return. Bundwick describes his latest album as just him having fun, music that his "girlfriend would dance to, or something." Yeah, guys, or something, so let's keep the vibes chill around here, okay?
AFRICA JANUARY 22nd at 10p.m. on discovery
From the makers of Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and Life comes another epic documentary that shows us that rhinos and giraffes really do live complex, interesting lives outside of the zoo. The third installment of the seven part series shows us the country of Congo, and how life is, like, real in the rain forest.
ryan north RN: I think it helps that the characters from each comic like T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics and Jake from Adventure Time, are very distinct characters with really clear voices, so it’s not hard to write them. You know it’s not like I sit down and I say, “Alright here’s a funny joke, now is it a T-Rex joke or is this a Finn and Jake joke?” It’s more, I’m writing for Finn and Jake and then suggest the different sorts of jokes for each character. TBS: Moving onto your Kickstarter project To Be or Not To Be: That is the Adventure choose your own adventure play on Hamlet that blew up, what was the inspiration behind that? RN: It was totally the title that caught me because I thought “Wow, that’s structured like a choice, like in those little choose your adventure books!” Then I thought “Oh my gosh, I have to write this.” And there is a lot in Hamlet that is well suited for the adventure book format - he has a very clear goal to kill the bad guy, and when you do the story is over. And there’re other easy translations like the play within a play easily becomes a book within a book. TBS: The Kickstarter campaign raised a bunch of money, why do that instead of going to a publisher? RN: The thing with going to a publisher is you have to say, “Hey Mr. publisher I’ve written this choose-yourown path version of Hamlet, so stay with me it’s going to be great, but I want every ending illustrated and it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars to print this. But trust me it will be really cool!” which a lot of publishers won’t go for. But you go to Kickstarter and say the same thing, and only ask that people put up $20 and get the book, and you can watch it grow. We started with just black and white book with a thirty pictures, but as we made more money it became full color with over 110 pictures. So it let the book be better than what it would’ve otherwise been, which I think is a really powerful thing. TBS: One of the over-arching things that have been in this conversation has been you betting on yourself and winning - have you experienced and large-scale setbacks? RN: There is a truism of writing that says, “If you want to write something good you have to write a bunch of bad things first and get them out of your system,” but I feel what’s actually happening is that your initial writing will be bad - like if you look at the first couple years of Dinosaur Comics, I wouldn’t put those comics online now because I wouldn’t be happy with them. Like, when I put the first comic out, it was just me and my mom reading the comic -- and then my mom stopped -- I feel like if I had the objective measure to say “Is this a successful comic?” Well for the first couple years it wasn’t! But I wasn’t doing it for the success I was doing it because I enjoyed writing a comic and I wanted to see what I could do with it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. That doesn’t mean it’s a failure and you have to move onto the next thing - it means “Well, that didn’t work, we learned something from this, and we better adapted, or learned the lessons we learned to do something new” I feel like labeling your different projects as failures or not failures is a little bit harsh, and sort of writes off the failure stuff, when really there is something good in there that you can recycle and make into something better.
bartender of the week zach g. NEW YORK DELI How long have you been bartending: 6 years
What’s your signature move: Double pistols
Craziest thing you’ve seen someone do for a free drink: I told a guy he’d get a free shot if he did a “cement mixer.” You take a shot of Baileys and a shot of limejuice back to back and hold it in your mouth while you shake your head. It curdles.
The best way to get your attention: Just a friendly wave - nothing over-dramatic.
Weirdest drink you’ve ever made: Jaeger and Coke… it’s actually pretty gross What’s your dream job? Besides bartending of course: An EMT Celebrity Crush: My girlfriend. She kind of looks like Blake Lively. Drink of choice: Beer - especially IPA’s
THE DRINKING GAME:
Favorite thing about being a bartender: The stories and the experiences. You get to meet new and interesting people all the time. Worst experience: Kicking out a couple because they were discussing an inappropriate topic in front of a family having dinner. They didn’t take kindly to being asked to leave. Who do people say is your doppelganger: Tony Hawk
RECIPE FOR DISASTER:
INFERNO WALKING TACOS
This week we will look at a game as old as booze itself. It is both the simplest and most entertaining of games, and it is easy enough to play almost anywhere. We’re talking of course of the game simply known as “drinking.”
Too exhausted from last night’s 3 a.m. booty call? Too entranced by Aqua Teen Hunger Force to get off your lazy ass and make real food? Well, The Black Sheep has the perfect recipe for that lazy Sunday, or Monday, or any day of the week for that matter.
What You’ll Need: Booze and preferably a friend to drink with. Number of Players: As many as you damn well please. Level of Intoxication: That depends on you. How to Play: Take one drink when: - You feel like drinking. - You feel like you haven’t had a drink in a while. - You’re really in the mood for more beer. Take another drink when: - You inevitably fail at hitting on the super hot chick at the bar. - You realize you’ve already spent more than $15 and it’s only 9. - Your roommate hits you up for yet another round.
- You want to increase your dance skills. Finish your drink when: - You run into your ex with his or her new significant other. - Someone really annoying comes up to you and you need an excuse to get away. - You really have to pee and don’t want to bring your drink into the nasty bathroom. - You want the courage to send a sexy email to your super hot TA.
Game Ends When: Either you pass out or feel intense bouts of shame and remorse. With all that fancy-shmancy technology we have these days, sometimes we forget about the ol’ classic fun our relatives had many years before us. Time to raise a glass to Grandpa Joe; he’d be proud of you tonight.
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What You’ll Need: 6 little Fritos bags, 1 can of chili, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce. Cook Time: About 5 minutes. Fatty Factor: It’s such a good laxative that it’s like negative calories! Let’s Get Baked: - Pour the can of chili into a container with a lid and heat it in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. - Open the bags of Fritos and dump some in the chili. - Mix in the lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, onions and whatever other ingredients you love to put on your tacos. - Liberally add hot sauce to the container. Just dump the whole bottle in there. - Put on the lid and shake vigorously. - Grab a spoon or a bag of chips and go to town. You now have a delicious, extremely unhealthy bag full of Meatwad for you to enjoy while he’s on the television.
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ENOUGH TO BREAK THE ICE SAMMIE SEA WROTE THIS Awkward, TA-induced icebreakers are the bane of a happy syllabus week. The fact that this is an issue at the college level is ridiculous in itself, as the entire concept of icebreakers is flawed. While TAs may have good intentions, these little “games” are nothing but a painful waste of time. Of course everyone would rather sit and do nothing in class instead of actual work, but icebreakers are just a torturous hour of listening to shit about people who you’ll never talk to again. The truth of the matter is that icebreakers just give people an opportunity to brag about themselves and exaggerate who they really are. Of course you’re going to talk yourself up. Who cares if your “Two Truths and a Lie” were really all lies if it makes you look good in front of the hot, new babes in the room? But think about it: Wouldn’t it be awesome if icebreakers were painfully honest? The awkwardness would be so palpable and entertaining. Then you’d really know who you’d want to be friends with and who you should probably stay away from. Embarrassing icebreakers like these would be enough to justify going to that 9 a.m. discussion. “Hey! So, my name is Brenda and I’m currently a junior. I am the social chair for DG, which is whatever. I really wanted to be the VP, but I lost to this one bitch. I’m totes kidding! I love all my sisters. Anyways, I’m originally from Indiana, but I moved to Virginia with my mom when I was fourteen because of my dad’s alcohol problems. I tend to have a lot of daddy issues so I’m really trying to fill that void with anything, if you know what I mean.” *Winks* “Hey guys, my name is Mark. I’m a junior majoring in kinesiology. I’m not really sure what kinesiology is, but I’m an athlete so I’m sure my advisor will explain it to me before I graduate. I rarely attend class and when I do, I just scroll through my Facebook Timeline on my phone. If we’re in a group project together, there’s a good chance I will lie and tell you I have practice so you’ll end up doing the project alone. That way the project will be done right and I’ll still get the credit I deserve, you know, since I’m an athlete and all.” “Hi, I’m Ricky, and I’m studying communication because I was too lazy to commit to a real major and have no serious plans for my future. I’m socially awkward and usually just end up staring at girls creepily throughout lecture instead of talking to them. An interesting fact about me is that I collect vintage erotica and like to rummage through my roommate’s drawers and try on his clothes when he’s not home.”
“Hey there, my name’s Nicole and I’m a sophomore. I love to party, and I usually go out every night with my friends. I was in rehab twice in high school after multiple alcohol poisonings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my stomach pumped! Last semester I had a pregnancy scare and a bout with Chlamydia, but I’m seriously not a slut. I just love to have a good time! YOLO, right? Let me know if you guys want to study together. I can never find time to finish the homework on my own.” “What’s up? My name’s Alex, and I’m an art and design major. I think the whole foundation of gen-eds is bogus because they don’t allow us to express our individuality and creativity. I spend a lot of time writing lyrics for my band, the Meat Murderers. We’ve had a few gigs, but we’re really trying to make it big. I use drugs to help me create my unique image but to label me as a stoner is just ignorant. I’m also a vegan. I will end up shoving my beliefs about animals and the legalization of marijuana down your throats.” Sure, hearing icebreakers like these would make syllabus week more of an awesome time than it already is. The problem sets in though when it’s your turn to speak. Who knows what that classroom is going to learn about you.
EvEry Thursday 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
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the MADLIB: BACK TO SCHOOL It seems like it was just yesterday you were packing up your things and heading back to __1__ to enjoy a month-long break. You were determined to relax, promising yourself that you’d __2__ one __3__ every day you were home. Well, that didn’t happen.
Deciding you need a break from all that nonsense, you head over __8__’s house, knowing he’ll be down to __9__ some __10__. You walk into his house and the whole family is sobbing; apparently his __11__suddenly __12__. Now you’re telling him everything is going to be __13__, but you really, reFirst your __4__ began be- ally just want to go to __14__ rating you for showing up at and __15__. home with so much __5__. Doesn’t she understand Of course things continue to that it’s really expensive to get worse. A few days later do it at school? Then your you find out that __16__, __6__ asked why you reek the ex- you still quietly lust of __7__, like there’s a good over, is now dating __17__. way to answer that question You still despise __18__ for in front of the parents. __19__ on your __20__ as a joke your __21__year of high
school. Nothing really got worse through Christmas, but New Year’s saw the ultimate shitstorm come crashing ashore. After __22__ ditched you at a __23__ you decided to head home. When you walked in you heard a shriek. A naked, quivering mass of flesh was on the couch. It was your __24__, with __25__ on top. Then, on top of both of them was a __26__. You immediately started __27__ and __28__, though you’re not sure which one came first. So yeah, thank god you’re back at school.
1) Your hometown 2) Verb 3) Noun 4) Female family member 5) Noun 6) Different family member than 4 7) Libation 8) Male friend’s name 9) Verb 10) Noun 11) Pet 12) Verb (past tense) 13) Adjective 14) Location
15) Verb 16) Name 17) Name of nemesis 18) Same as 16 19) Verb (-ing) 20) Body part 21)Year in high school 22) Name 23) Inopportune location 24) Family member 25) Family member 26) Animal 27) Verb (-ing) 28) Verb (-ing)
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