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.

FredHoibergLockerRoomDanceISUVid

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.

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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Celebrity Shot: They Still Serve Beer in the Ivory Tower

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 1.11.45 PMHappy new year to you all and welcome to the first Celebrity Shot of 2014! To start off the year, I  let someone else take the reigns on a topic that is unfamiliar territory to me. Personally I’d rather put forks in my eyes than go to grad school, but the consensus of my Masters-clad friends has been positive experiences. Colin Grace, current law school student and therefore prime Dementor meat, gives insight to what really goes on behind the Ivory Tower that is “further education.” (Read more about Colin here.)

I write this story snug in the cozy bosom of my parents’ house, putting in more mileage on my Netflix account than I care to admit. My first semester of law school is in the books; I’ve retired this semester’s textbooks and am watching my beer gut expand thanks to my parents’ fully stocked pantry. After four years of undergrad I have this routine down to a science (although nowadays I spend most of my breaks like some kenneled puppy waiting for my friends to get out of their real people jobs so we can play a game called drink the beer). For all you post-grads or soon to be real-worlders, I have some exciting news: the Ivory Tower won’t necessarily push you baby birdies out of the nest to fly out into society just because you got handed one measly diploma. You can stay as long as you like… for a price; however I’m in no position to weigh the pros and cons of your decision to stay in higher education. There are better writers with much more evidence and sources to cite, and that sounds like a monumental pain in the ass. What I can offer you, dear reader, are a few observations from my own experience.

From the first day your poor mother pried you off her pant leg outside the kindergarten classroom until you’re handed a college diploma, your academic career follows a pretty set path. The thing about grad school is that some of your potential classmates actually did the whole real world thing and came back, which suffers some consequences.

Older classmates will not share the same affinity for Busch Light and screaming the lyrics to “Take Me Home Tonight” at karaoke night on a Tuesday. This serves to help shatter the illusion of your own indefinitely extended college career. Later in the semester when the first few salvos of shit hit the fan, you’ll be grateful for the lack of bad influences and arm twisters. But in the beginning of the semester (when you still half heartedly believe your reading is optional) these people are a group of major disappointments. But hey, they’ll attend the first few parties and it’s probably a good thing to learn the ins and outs of adult conversation.

Grad school parties DO in fact have potential to be entertaining affairs. For the seasoned partiers of undergrad, a get-together in a bar organized on Facebook is pretty standard fare; however, many  potential classmates attended small liberal arts schools or come from other countries and have now found themselves in unfamiliar territory resulting in at least a few grad students who get far too drunk for their tolerance and pull a few moves we haven’t seen since our freshman year move-in weekend. Awkward icebreakers, truly terrible dance moves, and horrific displays of face sucking are enough to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of the straight-through socializers you need to align yourself with.

If you’re like me and are more inclined to 80s music and questionable shot concoctions than coffee houses and discussions of neo-Marxist feministic social paradigms, I would urge you to find a core group of similarly minded folks because you will have them to rely on. These people will more or less be a scaled down version of your undergrad glory days. This is not the prettiest nor the most romantic outlook on grad school but hey, it sure as hell still beats a real job, right?

(Read more about Colin here.)

Nine Hour Days are the New Black (Out)

267308_10150245101280912_5157441_nThere are days I get home from work where I can hardly remember what happened. The day flew by because I was going a million miles an hour. While this can seem like an awesome thing, it could also be a sign to slow down – similar to how you go from being sober, sober, sober, black out in 60 minutes. Nothing good is going to come from it. Pump the breaks. You should be able to get home from work and tell somebody what you spent the last nine hours accomplishing.

Whether by fate or choice, there are hours (days, weekends?) that we cannot remember from college. We wake up and vow to never drink again. And then the Gatorade and McDonald’s breakfast kick in, and suddenly – playing a game of bags in the sweltering heat becomes the greatest idea. So we traipse out to the college version of the Coliseum and fight to a bean-bagged death. Not wanting to offset the gravitational pull of the universe, we make sure to have the appropriate counterweight (it’s usually about 12 ounces) in order to gain the best possible outcome. This continues on for the next couple of hours and before we know it, we’re back at square one. How can a few beers during the afternoon turn into a missing puzzle piece-inspired life by morning? Hard work and determination. That’s how.

Ironically enough, we can muster up all the strength we devoted to obnoxious (yet endearing) party marathons – Beer Olympics, VEISHEA, Mifflin, Spring Jam, game days (most notably the awkward 2:30 p.m. game where your  liver suffers commitment issues) – you name it, we were there. We didn’t notice the tumultuous travel we took our bodies through because we were hell-bent on succeeding and coming out on top. Throwing this mentality at the professional world is a stretch – and most definitely inappropriate – but it’s also something we can relate to. We would applaud each other for outstanding efforts in focus and flexibility, and then we’d recap it again the next morning. Gradually, photos from the weekend’s events would show up on Facebook. And while we claimed to hate the girls who uploaded pics from the weekend with captions they stole from The Beatles, we know that they really did get by with help from their friends. We know they wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for their friends. They’d probably be lost in a Hobby Lobby or an unfinished bar basement. And the same is true of people you work with. Without acknowledging the fact you may need some help from time to time, you may never get your projects – or yourself – to full potential.

Also keep in mind that while everyone likes reminding you of the craziness you ensued over the weekend, it’s quickly forgotten and there are usually some apologies or tabs that need to be paid. Growing up isn’t the easiest thing for me either, but something that can be learned quickly out of college is that it’s okay to give up excessive drinks for a few nights in order to feel and do better the next day.

Just remember to slow it down while you’re at work. We’re in an office for the rest of our lives anyway, right? (Sorry for the spoiler alert.) Do your work promptly, but not sloppy. Save that for trips back to college bars.