Sorcerer’s Tower

My robes are tattered and my feet ache with every step but a’las, I have arrived. The grand structure still stands, untouched by the elements. I approach the gates, trembling with fear, for it has been years since I returned.

 

A royal servant guides me through the threshold. A vibrant garden welcomes my presence, dispelling all of my anxieties. The garden is vast and filled with exotic specimens such as the Cow Trap plant. I watch as the botanists feed live cows, wolfs and reptiles to the plants. They were devoured whole. These exotics revealed massive tongues and serrated teeth, capable of filleting anything with flesh. We ventured through the garden, careful of our steps, until reaching a library filled with ancient tomes.

 

Books, saturated in magic soared above us, flapping their pages like wings. My curiosity controlled every thought and action as I read through the tomes and manuscripts amongst the massive bookshelves. The servant told me these shelves never reached the ceiling: there was no ceiling, so long as additional books filled the shelves. I looked above and saw the extraordinary- thousands of books that eventually diverge into the night sky. As I turned through the pages of a spell book, sparks of lightning and bursts of fire glided across the surface. Ancient tomes containing historical conflicts would make manifest once again in front of my eyes, displaying scenes from a forlorn battle.

 

A wooden door opened. The royal servant had vanished. The tome slipped out of my grasp and shut upon the floor. The historical battle that had been watching dispersed into arcane magic. A black-robed man appeared. There was an air of doubt about this fellow. With a snap of his fingers, the soaring books collapsed around us. He shook my hand, introducing himself as a sorcerer of the tower. The sorcerer was just a young man with bushy brows and a black beard but I sensed a great power within him.

 

Together we ascended the staircase beyond the wooden door. Servants ran past us carrying culinary marvels from across the globe. Dumplings, beef wellington and even steam Cow Plant filled the rooms above with an enticing aroma. No doubt we had made our way into the dining quarters of the tower. My stomach growled but I dismissed the thought. I did not trust this sorcerer.

 

I looked amongst the dining room, marveling at the sights. Portraits of ancient sorcerers covered the walls. A gleaming chandelier hung above the dining table. Hundreds of guests sat patiently waiting for the meals to arrive. Chefs came forth, setting a giant Cow Plant dish in the center of the table. I was repulsed, but the attendees delighted in its presence. The sorcerer chatted with his guests and complemented the chefs. More dishes arrived. Temptation for the mashed potatoes and filet mignon probed my stomach.

 

A large unattended balcony offered a respite from the crowd. I stepped out into the starry night, placing my hands upon the railing. I closed my eyes, envisioning a magnificent tower of my own. I would fill the quarters with royal subjects, enchanted tomes, filet mignons, and Cow Trap plants. Something touched my shoulder.

 

I turned around and saw nothing. The dining room was empty. The banquet of food was gone and the chandelier had smashed upon the ground, shattered. I walk back into the abandoned room and notice portraits of myself- a much younger self. A mirror covered in silken web rests upon the wall. I brush the webs off and peer into my reflection. The young sorcerer stares back at me, laughing. I look upon myself, realizing that I am the young sorcerer. Bound to my own domain for an eternity is my fate.

 

A Requiem for a House Plant

Nicholas stood before the withering bean plant, tears streaming down his face. His hands sunk into the loose soil around the plant. There was nothing left to live for without my bean, he thought.

In a fit of rage he tore the soil, flinging it across the garden. He screamed in remorse as dirt soared above his head. The situation became a sad, strange little man’s requiem for a dead plant.

He fell face first into the earth, slowly rising with dirty tears.

“It’s all my fault for forgetting to water and fertilize” he sniffled.

Nicholas sat upon a mound of dirt, defeated. His beautiful wife just finished cooking filet mignon while his two boys would just be coming home from school.

Nothing left to live for, he thought.

He reached for the dusty fertilizer bag in the garden shed. Scooping his hand into the bag, he pulled forth a significant amount of granules. The man reached into his coat pocket, revealing a small bottle of whiskey.

“Bottoms up” he said, while guzzling the granules down with liquor.

A Rookie’s Experience in Dark Souls 3

I boldly set forth into the hellish nightmare of Dark Souls 3 published by FromSoftware. I stumbled into this series a little too late, especially after witnessing my friends beat the previous two games. I’ve been told this game series is the toughest, the most intense, painstaking, and controller-throwing hell (for console users of course). So far I’ve only managed to beat three of the bosses, with some assistance from online players. The beauty and most annoying factor of this game is the ambiguity of it all. You literally start off with 0 clues as to what you are doing and what to expect. You pick a starting class, that really has no effect later in the game, and you boldly set forth with your weapon in hand- ready to die.

 

I started off with the cleric class, thinking that miracles would save my character from hard-hitting foes- I was wrong. It really doesn’t matter what class you choose because everything can branch off into other classes; it just gives you a little head start to your preference. The Souls series is essential to any dedicated RPG fan. It pushes your patience and dedication to the maximum and only hardcore fans of the genre will find the most satisfaction in this series of games.

 

I’ve only played a few hours of the game, but so far my guy is looking like a desert-wearing badass. He also has a giant machete axe that I enjoy slamming down upon my enemies. This game has everything for RPG lovers, especially the exploration aspect. Some fans have already beaten the game, which is a life achievement feat itself. There’s always items laying around to be picked up; and of course the enemies waiting to ambush you behind every corner.

 

Dark Souls 3 and it’s crazy level of difficulty is what makes this game so much fun. You’re going to want to scream occasionally,  but that satisfaction after beating a boss after the 100th attempt really is awarding. You feel your heart rate go down slightly. It’s great. It’s a rewarding game that just requires some time and effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WC: 352

The Mystery of Shangri-La: Lost Horizon

A world unseen within the Himalayas, forged by the imagination of James Hilton in Lost Horizon (272 pages). This novel follows a band of foreigners who venture forth into a Himalayan monastery that seems immune to the disease of old age. Numerous residents are mentioned to be over one-hundred years also, specifically a young girl, who has retained her aesthetic beauty for over a decade. Longevity, beautiful vegetation, friendliness of the people all create the picturesque monastery of Shangri-La. In the midst of worldly conflicts back when the book was published in 1933, Shangri-La is the ultimate safe haven from worldly affairs. Lost Horizon focuses on four characters journey through the monastery. Their thoughts upon the monastery, past-life, and decisions to stay or return to the familiar world are all put to the test in Lost Horizon.

 

Fellow utopian readers will find solace in the mythical realm of Shangri-La. It offers a perspective into what the clarity of mind really is: a world high above the clouds, free from mortal quarrels and anxieties. Beauty exists in many forms in this monastery: longevity of youth, freedom from global conflicts, and the picturesque scenery. Each of the four foreigners introduced into the monastery represent a handful of any random candidates: a petty crook, a man convinced to stay in the monastery, a reserved elderly woman, and a man trying to escape back home.

 

James Hilton’s novel influenced the mythical realm of Shangri-La in Far Cry 4, and the city of Zhongdian was officially renamed to Shangri-La in 2001 after being influenced by Hilton’s novel. In the novel there are several incidents where some of the foreigners attempt to escape, but their attempts are often futile, for this monastery is high within the Himalayas and supplies from the outside world are dropped off rarely every other month. Discover the fate of the foreigners and the depth of imagination that Hilton delves into in order to captivate a place that is liberated from human suffering.

 

 

 

 

 

WC: 326

A Punk Appreciation of Music

Living in Gainesville FL, also known as The Swamp, can be considered a bombardment of fraternities and sororities, but nestled away from midtown-in downtown, lies the comfort of guitar shreds, cheap beer, and a friendly music-induced atmosphere of punk vibes. Some of the local bands- Insignificant Other, GUTS, and Post Teens all contribute to the punk pool of Gainesville. Besides the local shows, an abundance of bands flood the scene, and information on tours can be found on Punknews.org.

 

If you’re looking for guitar shredding, pumped-up crowds  of people going passionately-crazy, then the punk scene might be your calling. Last year at FEST14, a music event that sponsors a weekend festival of punk-rock in Gainesville, brought out the best of the community: Modern Baseball, The Hotelier, Foxing, and more. The best part of this scene is not just the music- it’s the community. Everyone is connected through the music, excited, and at the shows for the same reason, which is to have a good time. Bring your friends and acquaintances new or old, regardless it is always an experience worth sharing.

 

Beware the heart of the enthusiasm, otherwise known as- the pit. The pit is a place of total enthusiasm, passion, and madness for punk. People are jamming out to the band in a physical manner that often leads to some sucker getting knocked down, hit in the face, or leaving with a bloody eye- the latter was me at The Fidlar show last year in Gainesville. The safety zone is outside the pit, where fans can appreciate the music in a less physical way.

 

For those unaware of the punk scene, it’s history, or leading activists, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain sheds light on the topic. Reading a book is helpful, but the best way to appreciate and learn about this scene is to simply go to a show. It can be a big event or a local show- it doesn’t matter. Get yourselff out there at the venue, talk to people, and immerse yourself in a passionate culture that enjoys good music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WC: 354

 

Everything 1960s Ft. Madmen

It’s an accurate portrayal of debauchery, infidelity, and the advertising industry in the 1960s. Madmen on Netflix provides us with an insight on the lifestyles and treatment of employees. Women were often abused and taken advantage of, given minimum payment, and subjected to far different work than men. A lot of the women such as, Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss) are subjected to such treatment in the show, but over time she is given tenure and authority. The show revolves around the protagonist, who underneath the skin, really resembles an antagonist, Don Draper (Jon Hamm). Don is the picturesque successful advertising man on the 1960s: he has the chicks, authority, he’s an alcoholic, and did I mention the babes?

Madmen is aesthetically pleasing to watch. It provides the audience with an inside scope of the 1960s through the outfits, marriage scandals, infidelity, and long forgone old habits. Don Draper is often viewed as the most successful man in advertising, courtesy to Madmen only of course, but underneath the surface he is the show’s most wretched and miserable character. There’s seven seasons total and each season encompasses multiple years of the 1960s. Significant events relevant to the years are noteworthy in the show: Cuban Missile Crisis, Civil Rights March, Nixon Campaign, and more.

Follow the life of Don Draper and his destructive lifestyle, yet successful business career in advertising. Experience the beautiful women relevant to the times, the infidelity of Draper, the dark thoughts that often cloud his mind, but by no means hinder his advertising empire. Madmen is filled with drama from the entire cast, while Don takes the spotlight, there is still a story behind each character and constant development. Season seven was the grand finale, and the start of a new decade. Watching the characters develop and how the craziness of their lifestyles ultimately affects their health after ten years is what drew me in.

 

 

 

 

WC: 317

Revelations of College

Ch. 1: Last Day of School
It was finally the greatest day of high school: the very last day. No more homework, texts, quizzes, and other repetitive academic chores. I’m a free man, I thought. Free from the oppression of FCAT, mathematics and rigorous science courses. I formed a beautiful Christmas tree on my last multiple choice test and made haste for the exit door. I smiled and felt my feet lift off the ground as I casually swam through the crowds of bustling teenagers making their way for the busses; luckily I own a car. I drove away from that wretched confinement for the very last time. No more high school, and no more school work.

Ch. 2: Real Life
Two months had passed and no doubt was I enjoying the relaxation. I began to dabble in an excess of hedonism and it began to take a toll on my abdomen. All the nights of heavy-drinking and late night pizza was delivering an early case of the freshman fifteen. I got out of bed and my way to the bathroom to check out the damage. I now have some definite pudge that needs to be taken care of, and a sticky note on my mirror that read: “Time to get a job!” I sighed, realizing that I had escaped one evil only to be introduced to another.

Ch. 3: Customer Service is Awful
The only place that would hire a fresh recruit to life outside of high school was my local McDonald’s. I hustled to and from the nasty burger joint every day, managing a full-time position as a fry cook. I could never put SpongeBob to shame, but I’m sure minimum wage is higher than Bikini Bottom. I flipped patty after patty and crafted sandwich after sandwich. My hands wreaked of fatty-oils and beef. These eight-hour shifts are grueling, but at least the food is free to employees: the latter is the greatest evil of the establishment. McChicken, McDouble, fries and milkshakes became the scourge of the dieting world. My abdomen continued to frown at my choices, but I continued to be reckless.

Ch. 4: Community College
It’s definitely an improvement from McDonald’s, but a sad reminder of the high school struggle. Luckily the schedule is more accessible to students, allowing the liberty to choose professors and days of the week to attend. It seems like a constant struggle for the young generation. Subjecting ourselves to miserable minimum-wage jobs and lousy work, but perhaps that is all we feel adept at doing until we can wave that diploma in the air; and then maybe we will feel confident in our ability to succeed. The hardships ahead are grueling, but it’s important to keep fighting and to enjoy your youth while it still exists. Consume yourself in work and academics and there will be no room for life’s greatest pleasures: the trivial matters of entertainment. Embrace your youth and make the most out of your night.

College Muse

You stumbled into my life while I drunkenly stumbled into yours. You are beautiful, sweet, intelligent, and have a lovely figure. I can never have enough of you, especially when we gaze into each other’s eyes and I’m left staring into your beauty. No one else captivates my attention as much as you do. You’re beautiful, warm, and fair brown-skinned. Your presence is always a treat and the greatest reward to my indulgence; it’s a pleasure just being with you. No matter the time of day, I will always find and make the time for you. Full time work and full time work are essential, but nothing can compare to the warmth you make me feel.

I’ve done wrong and I have ashamed myself, but my love continues to grow stronger; like a bonfire’s flames ascending further into the sky. You have all of me and I want all of you. I’ve been a lone for so long, struggling, and attempting to survive without a significant other. The other girls pale before your looks, your figure, and especially your flowing brown hair. Everyone else is just another pretty face, but you are so much more than that. I’ve never had the pleasure to be with such a loveable woman that I can shower with affection and receive the same reciprocation.

Our random adventures, Waffle House binges, and intimacy can surpass no other. I thought you were just another one of them: another woman of the night giving into the temptation; never to be heard from again. It’s been so long since then, and now I ease into you, admiring everything about you as your lips hunger for more. The insatiable thirst, that no one else can sedate, but you. It’s more than physical; it’s comforting and reassuring to know that you will stand by me and I will reciprocate. You clad yourself behind a menacing gaze, particularly with your brows, but beneath the veil lies a sentient woman capable of greatness.

In my everyday struggles that are constantly igniting my anxiety, I know you will be there to extinguish the fire. Coming home to someone who cares about you, who loves you for you, and who is genuinely interested in what you have to say is the greatest reward love can offer. The physical pleasures of you resting upon me, staring into my eyes, and biting your lower lip are a treat, but it’s so easy to find sexual pleasure nowadays. The intimacy we share is a bond that I could never find in a drunken haze or on a dating app; you are the real deal.

When you feel all alone in this lonely world, it’s reassuring to know that I have you. I don’t have much to offer you, but you have my love and attention, and my time: a resource that I have very little of. Your presence is always so uplifting, especially in the midst of working so much. As I steam milk for the next asshole’s latte, I know you will soon arrive and deliver the smile that I have been searching for. Having the love and support of a significant other is the greatest level of connection two human beings can achieve.

I come home exhausted, often angry at many situations in my life, but you are my peace of mind. It’s constantly an everyday struggle, but you give me something to look forward to at the end of the day. You doubt your capabilities and speak less of yourself, while I can only think highly of you. I love your company and simply being in the same room as you. I love you, Veronica.

The Folly of Socialites: The Beautiful and Damned

The Beautiful and Damned by F.Scott Fitzgerald (366 pages) explores the rise and fall of the famous literature couple: Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert. The couple falls madly in love and decides to embrace an entertaining, yet hedonistic lifestyle that ultimately destroys their relationship. The couple is symbolic of Fitzgerald’s relationship with his own wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. The beauty of this novel comes from being apart of the socialite lifestyle which entails, the drinking, the partying, and the constant entertainment that follows suite.

 

Anthony and Gloria ultimately succumb to the consequences of their lifestyle such as alcoholism and crippling finances. Anthony changes over the course of the novel from a handsome man to a beer bellied alcoholic, while Gloria loses the beauty in her complexion. The Beautiful and Damned is reflective upon the college social lifestyle, specifically on the negative consequences that follow suite: weight gain, alcoholism, and eventually meandering around the streets of Gainesville as a bum.

 

This story is the picture perfect rise and fall of a beautiful relationship. In the beginning Anthony is celebrated as a WW1 war hero and relishes in the praise he receives. He is also the heir to a tycoon’s fortune, but his claim to the fortune is a mystery. Anthony and Gloria’s excessive spending and hedonistic lifestyle eventually becomes their downfall, and leaves Anthony meandering around New York like a drunken fool. People that he once thought of as friends begin to view him as an alcoholic and even call him out on his debauchery.

 

The Beautiful and Damned in a sense is the perfect example of a beautiful relationship between two people: they’re madly in love, live a care-free lifestyle, but eventually succumb to the destruction of a care-free lifestyle. It’s similar to holding a work of art and then promptly crushing it in your palm. The revelation of whether Anthony inherits the fortune is a mystery, but the state of his well-being remains in ruin.

 

WC: 325

Drinking Schenanigans in Beerfest

Americans finally take a stand in the international drinking games in Beerfest (2006). 
The comedy group Broken Lizard is the main cast, and provides a ton of laughter for roughly two hours. After getting their asses kicked in a beer-game competition, two American brothers return to the homeland to assemble a team of brew-lovers to redeem themselves. If you decide to watch Beerfest, you must watch the unrated version because the best scenes are not in the original. The Broken Lizard group are also the masterminds behind Super Troopers (2001).

 

Barry Badrinath is the highlight of the movie and the most lovable character of all time. He’s the king of beer pong, he’s working under bridges (not as an architect) and he’s even taken a beer paddle up the ass. It’s no wonder the two brothers recruited this loyal brew-lover onto their team. The Wolfhouse brothers train for a year before the big drinking games, and they soon learn of their grandfather’s secret recipe. In Munich, relatives of Wolfhouse, the Wolfhausens, want to crush the American team, steal the recipe and claim the stellar brewery in Germany as their own.

 

It’s the best movie to watch with your friends, especially when drinking beer. There’s tons of laughable moments; like when Barry thinks he’s the coolest guy at the bar and promptly hits on women, when in reality he’s wearing a cardboard hat that reads “Asshole” on the top. Everyone has had a Barry Badrinath as a friend before. It’s a comedy about the number one drug that brings people together: beer. Grab some beer, preferably good beer, and watch this movie with your friends. The beer-game competition gets intense, especially with a challenge known as “Das Boot” which involves drinking a ton of beer in a glass shaped as a boot. If you ever consider drinking out of the boot, remember, turn it when it reaches the ankle or the bubble will cause it to spill on you.

 

WC: 327