How to Watch an Iowa State Sporting Event: Sweet 16 Edition

Score more points than the other team, AMIRIGHT.

1. Make a plan. A Cyclone game isn’t something you just “catch just the beginning or end of.” It’s a commitment because A.) you never know what’s going to happen in these games and it is impossible to assume, B.) do you really have better plans than spending the end of your work week with over-priced beer and overly-entertaining friends?, and C.) because school pride. So whatever game it is — a blow out against TCU or idk guys, a Sweet 16 tournament game — make a plan to watch that thing whole-heartedly, from beginning to end. You will kick yourself if you don’t.

2. Know your facts. So that when someone says DeAndre Kane is a drama queen with Marcus Smart tendencies, you can say, “DeAndre Kane goes to AJ’s. AJ’s makes you happy. Happy people don’t flop. They just don’t.” Or you can use my favorite method, which is spouting facts really quickly and immediately making everyone think conviction is synonymous with fact. Phrases like “split the paint” “posting up” “double double” “shooting from downtown” and “field goal percentage” will all be extremely helpful. OR you can say actually true things like this:

USA Today Sports ranked DeAndre Kane fourth in the Top 10 best players entering the Sweet 16.

Hoiberg will continue to take different approaches due to the loss of big guy Niang, 6’7 soph, who had the nerve to go get his foot broken last Friday (aka when “break a leg goes too far” aka “we didn’t mean it literally” aka “maybe with all this new attention sports announcers will stop pronouncing your name phonetically”).

Kane averages 17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game and will, essentially, be Shabazz Napier’s worst nightmare. Speaking objectively here, people.

In part with being really ridiculously smart and good-looking, Melvin Ejim is the Big 12 Player of the Year and will take advantage of shooting both 3′s and inside the paint, because UConn’s highly ranked defense is scared of big guys apparently.

Let us not forget Monte Morris, Dustin Hogue, Naz Long, and Matt Thomas — together, they’ll make up for Niang’s absence.

So I mentioned Napier. He’s actually ranked no. 5 in that USA Sports Top 10 player thing, as he advantageously spent his 2011 freshman season on UConn’s national championship team and, you know, learned a shit ton doing that. He’ll be primarily responsible for guarding Kane, but Ollie will need to send in other troops so his star guard doesn’t get worn out.

UConn’s head coach Kevin Ollie is the same age as Hoiberg and they actually played for the Chicago Bulls during the same time. Both at the beautiful, ripe age of 41, you could say the former-NBA players are doing well for themselves. Or that one is doing REALLY SUPER EXTRA well.

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3. All the beer. The last thing Cyclone fans need is something to up their blood pressure, so go for your favorite familiar depressant. If you’re like me and drink anything that is in front of you, beer is your optimal choice. (I also get super quiet when sports get intense. It’s why my career as a competitive yodeler never hit the fan.) You will be drinking A LOT. Your eyes will be glued to the screen, your lips glued to a frothy glass (or a PBR can if that’s what you’re into), and your heart glued to so many empty athletic promises. Your sixth beer tastes like water anyway, so you might as well let the hydrating commence. Parts of the game might get fuzzy and NCAA rules may be confusing, but that’s what tomorrow’s Internet is for — to remind you that yes, it is in fact okay for a basketball player to dribble between his legs. Hey, beer leads us all astray sometimes, but it is a comfort in the unknown territory that is sports.

4. Be with friends. The only people who are safe around you during Cyclone games are other Cyclone fans. Your ailing physical, mental, and emotional states during these events only become more severe as game time passes. And who do you want picking up the pieces? Hawkeyes? Jayhawks? No thanks.

Side bar: “rock chalk Jayhawk” literally has no meaning. Some KU scientists made it up a bunch of years ago because the school was in desperate need of a chant. So they decided on some words that a four-year-old declared a rhyme and that make about as much sense as non-alcoholic beer. But hey, we won’t hold it against them or their tournament loss to a school whose mascot is a color.

Anyway, the point is whether crying tears of pain or of sweet, sweet joy, you’re going to want to be surrounded by the people who know you – not a rando dude who just happened to wear cardinal and gold that day.

5. Survive and advance. Let the March Madness mantra be your mantra. Whether that be surviving the commercials and advancing to the bar, or surviving the game at hand and advancing to the next round. We can all take a cue from Freddy here and maintain sheer coolness during a game.

Lolz.

It’s important to take things one step at a time and to not get too ahead of ourselves. We’re Iowa State fans. How boring would it be if we knew how each and every game was going to turn out? Where’s the fun in alumni apathy? Your finger nails may be gone, your hope in humanity may be restored, lost, then restored again, and your thumbs may break after favoriting each and every #cyclONEnation tweet, but we do for it a specific reason. This is a team well worth fighting for, and we couldn’t be more proud to be one.

Now watch this.

Spring Break Broke Us

589e5d16ce8f74bdfc9b7736bea2d924Next week will throw us into tumultuous emotions. On top of March Madness, we’ll be coping with the week that we formerly knew as “spring breaaaaak.” The pro is of course: waking up each morning and not immediately wanting to die. But how are we supposed to promote inter-collegiate friendships if we’re not all on the same party beach together, developing similar interests, like ocean-flavored beer and other Midwestern people? We are left to bask in the 40-degree sunshine that we experience during our walk into and out of the office at the end of the day. Maybe we’re in denial. I mean, why go to a beach when we can simply admire tweets, instas, and FB posts about warm weather from the comfort of our car’s heated seats? And all that sand? Yuck.

But really, I think we’re all doing okay with our first year acknowledging spring break as a fond memory rather than an actual thing that’s happening. Though I’ve been flirting with the thought of just how well the Les Mis lyrics of “I Dreamed a Dream” resonate with my feelings about spring break, I’m not losing mental stability at all… maybe it’s good that now if we want to execute a mass beer bong event, we’ll need to organize it in the Outlook Calendar or “follow up” with it later on in the week. (Post-grads LOVE following up.) At least on the plus side, we won’t have to worry about spring break bods? All the tacos for us. There’s also a crazy amount of time and money we can save by not going tanning all the weeks before spring break. I mean, who misses being tan? No one. Putin, maybe. And who needs a multi-level bar in the ocean when you’ve got Buffalo Wild Wings?

Reminiscing about hot weather, fruity drinks, and blatant disregard for time will only hurt your soul. Surely there had to be some negatives to journeying south and will help stifle this year’s blow. We were burnt to a crisp. We spent way too much money. Everyone had that one person in your group no one could stand – the KU of spring break. They needed a bathroom break every hour on the drive down, were always lagging behind, or they threw up in a cab and made their friends pay for the damage…………………………………………………………………….

Spring break trips have left us believing it is a right to experience a week-long hiatus from real life; that James Franco wants more for us; that even though hangovers come and go, South Padre, PCB, and Mexico are forever.

R. Kelly Usually Doesn’t Do This, But We Do: “Ignition” Cover by Riley & Merritt

“Not only did I get an A in music, but I got an A in ladies.” – R. Kelly.

1. Riley sang “premix to rignition” nine times out of 10. Words are hard.

2. I have really poor posture apparently. Don’t judge.

3. We know the video quality isn’t great. Maybe we should’ve used a video camera instead of an LG Chocolate.

4. Jimmy Fallon usually doesn’t do this either, but I guess HE HAS AWESOME TIMING. (You’re a copy cat, Jimmy. But we still love you.)

5. We’re past the point of caring how cheesy this might be.

6. Please somebody put “Ignition” in your Varieties 2015 skit.

7. Couples who play 2003 hip hop songs together, stay together.

8. R. Kelly told me once that he actually WAS trying to be rude.

9. We actually probably had too much fun doing this.

10. We’re between two hot contenders for our next cover: “Smack That” by Akon or “Let it Go” from Frozen. Perhaps a mash up.

The Trap that is Your ~*college*~ Facebook Album

Picture 4Amid the medals, measurements, and minutes that are counted during the Olympics, I got lost in a numerical sea of my own today. I’ve spent the last week in Wisconsin (a trip my mom referred to as “a little spring break”) before I start full-time employment next week. Though the site seeing in Appleton, WI is endless, I’ve found myself with quite a bit of down time while my boyfriend is off at work contributing to society or whatever. So I’ve been organizing taste tests and focus groups for myself and for Pinot Noir.

Somewhere between a Menage a Trois blended red and a 2 p.m. screening of Bruce Almighty, I found myself perusing the FB. Enough hits on the right arrow, and I was transported back to freshman year. The first question: who let me three-barrel my hair that often? The second: WHY ALL THE PHOTOS?! 2009, it seemed, was the year we greeted guys not with a “hey” “hi” or even a wave, but rather, “Can you take a picture of us pleeeeease?” It was the new hello and the flash was the perfect goodbye.

After a Friday night out, there were 198 photos, 27 friend requests, and a dozen new contacts saved in our flip phones. (#blessed that Twitter wasn’t a thing when we were college freshmen.) Were we just that excited to be meeting new people? Yes. Did we really feel the need to bond because we were the only two in the girls’ bathroom at that fraternity at that particular moment wearing the same Forever 21 top? Absolutely yes. Maybe we just didn’t want to miss a minute of our college experience, or maybe we were just looking forward to editing all the new photos on Picnik while we listened to “Party in the USA.”

However, a few things I picked up on while meandering through pixels of a life pre post-grad:

1. I would’ve spent an exorbitant amount of less time working on house party costumes.

2. I would’ve spent even less time worrying who my date was because, really, did it ever work out?

3. Captions do more harm than good.

4. Helser Hall really, really builds character.

5. We all really took “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes” to heart.

I’ll be the first to say that many a great friendship started via “oh em gee are you in a house?” and also that I’m glad to have all of these awkwardly posed pictures, sans skinny arm or sorority squat, showcasing now non-existent clothing trends and guys who we wasted too much time talking about. So in answer to our parents’ asking what good is social media — it gives us something to screenshot and still be able to laugh at with our friends, years later. Long live the college memories and the pictures that encapsulate what a horrible, hilarious mix our lives were. I became enveloped in a vat of memories that reminded me how easy it was to get wrapped up in Greek life. It reminded me how much I loved Ke$ha and how okay I was with wearing flare jeans and chunky headbands. It reminded how lucky I was to be immersed in a group of people that were just as excited and unprepared as I was.

Forever (Not That) Young

It wasn’t until I visited my sister, a sophomore in college, that I realized how tiny college students look –adorable, baby-faced freshman who either grip my inner cougar or remind me of a 15-pound-less version of myself. There is a large crossover that a freshman feels after his or her first semester of college. That was us just a few years ago. We were most likely hauling backpacks the size of small children and donning our fresh Greek letters every chance we could. And now, still a freshman to the real world, I’m starting to feel that same crossover. Button-ups and blazers have replaced bid day tanks and spirit jerseys (long live the spirit jersey), and I feel like I know immensely more about the world than I did this time last year; however, I’m still finding myself in a constant state of debate.

I want to be taken seriously, professionally. Having made another career(ish) jump and move back to Minneapolis this past week, I decided I was over being the eternal intern. Cover letters were sent with the credo that I’m ready to commit to my next job because I owe it to the company and I owe it to myself. So here I am in every facet of my life – not just work – declaring that I am not that young. It’s okay for friends to get engaged because we’re not that young. It’s okay to apply as an associate instead of an intern because we’re not that young. And it’s okay to not tell your parents everything because we’re not that young.

But we’re also not that old.

As soon as some sort of responsibility or autonomy is doled out, I’ve found myself recoiling and wishing I were just a little bit younger — still a senior, still spending hours creating an away message, still calling and hanging up on the ~**cUtEsT**~ boys during a sleepover.

But in this reality, it’s just as easy to qualify the same statement with either phrase. Using, “Well I’m not that old,” when we need to defend ourselves and, “Well I’m not that young,” when we deserve more freedom. So potentially we could go one-on-one against middle school Miley and argue that we’re the ones with the best of both worlds. Or it just means we have more decisions to make. Obvi I prefer the former, but personally I’d be emotionally and professionally stuck with that sort of mentality. I think it’s okay for us to gravitate toward the younger, day drinking friendly version or older, “let me check my Outlook calendar” version of ourselves as long as we can still be defiant in the present, confused, awesome version that needs a life too.

The Quick & Dirty Guide to Understanding Super Bowl XLVIII

26500Sports are good. Most of the time, the games allow me to drink during the daytime (sans-judgment) or wear an oversized jersey or sweatshirt (sans-real pants). And at the very least sports are a good excuse to stop whatever you’re doing in order to go hang out with your friends because this is what America does, dammit. Generally most of my football knowledge comes from Friday Night Lights and the greek god that is Tim Riggins #33, and I feel slightly unAmerican not giving too much care to Super Bowl XLVIII (which is Super Bowl “48″ in human math). Maybe I’d care more if the Vikings (lol) were playing. But if you’re going to attend some sort of friendly football-focused gathering this Sunday, here are some fast facts to catch you up to speed:

1. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are playing each other. That’s important to know, sources confirm.

2. The game is in New Jersey (random?) and Bruno Mars is playing at halftime because every other artist was unavailable, except for The Black Eyed Peas and/or Marc Anthony.

3. The Broncos apparently have a pretty big fan base in the Midwest, which is cool if you’re into the bandwagon thing. And Richard Sherman of the Seahawks basically made everyone else in the world hop on that wagon with his weird freak out after his team won the NFC Championship.

4. Pete Carroll, coach of the Seahawks, is the second oldest coach in the NFL (62 years young) and is a big Macklemore fan so that’s cool.

5. Peyton Manning took a timeout from Buick commercials to be in another Super Bowl, which is sweet because he could potentially be the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl title with two different teams (or “franchises” as the NFL likes to say.) Peyton’s brother Eli is the QB for the New York Giants. They have another brother named Cooper who is the black sheep non-NFLer, but he IS an energy broker. So you can thank him for the blackout during last year’s Super Bowl, as one can clearly assume that COOPER MANNING BREAKS ENERGY.

Btw, this was an awkward search…

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I was going to give you guys a really detailed account of all things football (obvi I’ve done a lot of research) but then I found this super helpful thing on the Internet and will just link you to it: here it is! Also if you’re going to a Super Bowl party, it’s usually nice to bring a plate of something, you heathen. This might be a good time for you to try out my guacamole recipe, hint hint. But the most important thing to realize is that the Vikes, Packers, and Bears are all missing from this game so we’re basically all just in it for a Sunday Funday.

Magic Bacon

As the sun peaked over the Fox River, we were already admitting defeat to the day. We woke up in Appleton, WI feeling hazy and cursing our bodies for their recent programming to jolt awake anytime before 8 a.m. (#PGP, AMIRIGHT) With my boyfriend’s recent move to the state of beer, we took it upon ourselves to explore the downtown bar scene and proceeded to pay for it the next morning. Needing something to cleanse us and revive our souls, we looked to bacon: magic bacon.

The recipe title may be redundant, (because when isn’t bacon magical?) but this style of everyone’s favorite [breakfast] food actually has powers. Apart from healing your hangover and tasting mind-blowingly great, magic bacon is easy and affordable to cook.

What You Need:

Thick-cut bacon 

Brown sugar

Fresh-ground pepper

Cookie Sheet

Tinfoil

Start with covering the top of a cookie sheet with tinfoil. Then lay the bacon. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of each strip, and then gently rub it into the bacon. You don’t want to drown the bacon in sugar (because clogged arteries), so about a teaspoon spread haphazardly on each strip should do.

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Next, add the fresh pepper. Make sure to hit the fatty part of the bacon so it can really soak in the spice. Again, use the pepper sparingly (similar to the sugar). You can always add more.

*Disclaimer: this is Riley’s hairy manhand, not mine.

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Now comes the baking — read carefully! Put the bacon into a COLD oven, then turn the oven to 400 degrees. Set a timer for 17 minutes. Check on the bacon after this allotted time. You’ll want to pay careful attention after the 17 minute mark, as the sugar will burn quickly if the bacon is left in the oven for too long. Check on the bacon for about another two-three minutes, making sure the bacon is cooked through before removing it from the oven. It should look like this:

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Serve up and enjoy! Man approved.

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