Reasons You Should Vote

In case you somehow live under a rock (and if you do, trust me, I approve! It’s safer there.), you should know that Midterms are on the way! Wait, before you yell at us for inducing yet another panic attack, we mean the 2018 Midterm elections are on Tuesday, November 6th. In case you’re not already psyched to perform your civic duty, here are a few reasons you should vote (and info on how to):

1. You Might Meet your soulmate while in the line:

Tired of meaningless interactions with people on shady dating apps like Tinder, Bumble or even Datamatch? Does your lack of success during cuffing season have you down? The line to your polling place might be that one place where you might meet your soulmate. What are the odds of that? Idk, I can’t math, but are you really willing to risk it?

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WHY THE F@CK IS IT COLD AND SUNNY

I understand that the title may have betrayed a few aspects of my identity— yes, I’m from Florida; yes, I was born in California; yes, I’m obnoxious. But I resent that Providence’s temperature has been turned into a disgusting display of identity politics. I’m tired of my Northern brethren sneering at my plight— only after I tell them from where I hail. Northern or southern, rural Montana mountaineer or Bay area bro— are we not all human? Do we not all bleed red when cut? Do we not all have functioning nervous systems capable of recognizing how cruel the Providence wind can be?

Look, don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not one of those southerners, I did my research. I didn’t show up to Brown with a single pair of sandals in hand and a few pastel colored shorts, naively expecting the Northeast to cater to me. No, I perused Winter Coat Weekly for months before deciding on my perfect synthetic feather-filled friend. I weathered the jeers of my friends as I asked them innocent questions like “Why can’t I just wear my jean jacket?” I did my due diligence, all in the efforts to keep myself toasty in the icy winter months.

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How to Cuff the Hottie You Keep Seeing Around Campus

Look, I get it.

You’re hopelessly, irrevocably in love. Okay, sure, you’ve never actually spoken to them ─ that’s only a minor issue. After all, you’ve certainly seen them enough times to recognize the back of their head at a dimly-lit party, which is its own form of intimacy. At the end of the day, you know that your vibes align, you just need to figure out how to make the first move, and I’m here to help.

 

  1.       Do not, under any circumstances, try to speak to them.

At first glance, talking to the object of your affection might seem like a great idea. A simple self-introduction, a fact that relates the two of you (“Haven’t I seen you in my Beyonce: Herstory seminar?”), and a charming smile ─ what could go wrong? Everything. Everything could go wrong. Speaking to people needlessly puts you in a position of vulnerability. Opening yourself up to human connection at the risk of getting hurt? No, thank you. Instead, try silently staring at them from across the party. They’ll be sure to notice you, and they might even mention you to their friends!

 

  1.       Write a BBA about them.

Ah yes, the much more approachable relative of talking to your crush ─ writing them anonymous love letters. Though BBA (Brown Bears Admirers) has been defunct for a few months, rest easy knowing that BBA (Blueno Bears Admirers) provides a haven for all to deluge their lovestruck secrets. Though the seismic rebranding of BBA to BBA has caused a few followers to be lost in the process, some Brunonian is sure to tag your sweet. You can spend the rest of your day knowing that you’ve uplifted them and proceed to do absolutely nothing more. After all, you wrote the BBA. They should sense who you are and ask you on a date, not the other way around.

 

  1.       Make note of the places they frequent, and make sure that you’re there. Always.

Running into people is much less coincidental then you might have been led to believe. When it comes to your future spouse, it doesn’t make much sense to leave something so important up to cosmic luck. So, take your future into your own hands. Make a mental note of where you see them, whether that be local cafes, eateries, or libraries. Take a week of your time to really get acquainted with your lover’s second homes, spending at least seven hours in each place. The more time you spend sitting and waiting, the higher your chances of making awkward eye contact with your sweetheart when they come in. Scientific studies have shown that familiarity leads to love, so just make sure that you’re always within eyesight. They’ll have to say something at some point, even if they’re just asking to take the chair across from you.  

 

  1.       Tell all your friends about them in the hope that someone sets you two up.

Let’s be honest, “They were wearing a green sweater on Friday” is probably not a good enough description for your friends to immediately recognize your crush. However, nearly everyone is a Facebook Sherlock these days. I’m sure with a little determination and a hearty helping of elbow grease, your compatriots can make it happen. After all, what are best friends, casual friends, and distant acquaintances for? With Brown’s tight-knit and — at times — too small community, someone is sure to be able to link up the two of you. After that, it’s smooth sailing as your friend will no doubt arrange an elaborate blind date for the two of you.

 

  1.       Be yourself, if that’s what they’re into.

Imagine this ─ it’s a beautiful, crisp autumn day and you’ve done the unthinkable, you’ve introduced yourself to someone who was once just a beautiful stranger. Huzzah! You’ve thrown the hook, but how do you reel them in? The question might seem daunting, but the answer is simple: just be yourself, as long as they’re into that. You’re more than welcome to have your own hobbies, passions…  and interests on your own time, but if they’re not what your darling is interested in ─ drop your convictions immediately. A careful perusal of their Facebook and Instagram is sure to tell you what shows you should like, what foods you should be obsessed with, and the friend group that you should assimilate into. After initially drawing them in with your commonalities, you might even be able to slip in some of your real interests ─ just make sure not to do it too quickly.

 


BBA: Behind Blueno’s Admins, EXCLUSIVE Interview

       This Sunday, I had the distinct honor of interviewing some of Brown’s most renowned: the Moderators of the Blueno Bears Admirers page. To maintain their anonymity, their names will not be mentioned during the course of the interview transcript. They will be referred to as Moderators 1 and 2 (numbers assigned by alphabetical order.)

This interview has been edited for clarity.

 

Why keep your identities a secret?

Moderator 2: To maintain the mystique of Blueno. We didn’t invent Blueno, and it’s not our symbol to define; we want people to have their own ideas of what Blueno means to them. It’s also easier to pour your heart out to a lovable, loving teddy bear instead of being self-conscious about the admins who run the page. And it’s harder to send us personalized hate mail when you don’t know who we are.

Moderator 1: On BBA, every post is anonymous, so to keep in style, we should be anonymous, too. We want to be cognizant that people of different backgrounds and identities can project themselves onto Blueno, and we don’t want to stand in front of that. We don’t want the dynamic to be swayed or changed by their perception of the people fronting everything, so we think we’ll stay behind the bear for now.

 

What made you decide to start Blueno?

Moderator 1: Because we’re a bunch of narcissists! Just kidding, there are other reasons, too. Our predecessor Brown Bears Admirers was like a little bit of magic on campus. It made people really happy. It was an important part of campus culture. There’s definitely still a need for that kind of a platform on campus. I had never received a BBA post about me, and I really wanted one, so I was like, hey guys, let’s make a platform for this.

Moderator 2: I really missed BBA after it disappeared in August. I find other online communities at Brown so interesting. They don’t just exist in isolation; people talk about them, and they shape the discourse on campus. They’re just Facebook pages, sure, but they can also legitimately affect people’s lives in a very tangible way. And of course, they’re always making people’s days a little brighter.

 

How did you start Blueno, and what was the process like?

Moderator 1: We’d been toying with the idea for a while. When Brown Bears Admirers disappeared, everyone on campus was like, “Where’d they go?” Including me. I wanted admiration posts. So, I started prototyping how people would submit things, the moderation process, all that. I ended up following the same tried-and-true Brown Bears Admirers model, primarily built on Google Forms, with a bunch of extra formulas and automation built into Google Sheets. I finished developing it around August, and our first post was on September 9 by (Moderator 2).

Moderator 2: I thought that was you!?

Moderator 1: No, I’m sure it was you.

Moderator 2: I remember the Blueno the Bear page already existed for years; you (Moderator 1) reached out to whoever ran it.

Moderator 1: Yeah, it was owned by a Brown student who graduated a few years ago. I decided to build the secret admirers page from the perspective of Blueno because I thought it would be cool. The Brown alum was down. I pulled the original BBA icon into Illustrator and Photoshop to make it look like Blueno, sort of a visual parody of the original, to communicate that we’re building from the original spirit of BBA.

 

What about the name?

Moderator 2: The page was initially just Blueno the Bear. But people referred to it as BBA, because it was easier and people knew that it meant the admirers page. So we changed the name to Blueno Bears Admirers.

 

What are some issues you face as moderators? What do you do with  controversial content? Do you ever receive any?

Moderator 1: We get controversial content every day. We have like hundreds, thousands of submissions, but we read and discuss every single one amongst the board of 8 undergraduate students. We spend so much time discussing and editorializing what we should post, and what we shouldn’t. The group chat is always rife with debate. Is this post being sex positive, or is it making an individual uncomfortable? Is this post celebrating an identity, or demeaning it?

Moderator 2: The point is, there’s a ton of social factors in play with everything we post—how does this post affect members of the community? If we censor it, how does that affect people with this identity?

Moderator 1: There’s this fascinating phenomenon where people dissociated from their own names and responsibilities suddenly talk about ethical matters they wouldn’t say out loud. For example, we had that recent controversy with TAs and RPLs “admiring” their students. A lot of people presume that it’s completely acceptable to be attracted to their students and post about it. This is ethically wrong, a potential abuse of power dynamics, and not to mention it directly violates Title IX. We instituted a rule against RPLs and TAs posting about their students in a sexual or romantic way since it was making people—myself especially—feel uncomfortable and unsafe. We got a really surprising amount of backlash for instituting that rule.

Moderator 2: We have some other rules that we’ve developed over time, for example, that it’s not okay to out people’s sexuality or gender without their explicit consent. We have a group chat where we check in five, ten times a day. So, yeah, we sometimes approve discourse-centric posts if they could lead to genuine productive conversations. We don’t want to silence discourse. The primary goal is to be a supportive, positive community. In terms of the discourse we choose to approve, there are a lot of negative outlooks. Sometimes we comment on posts right after we publish them, to directly respond to the post, set guidelines for the future, or to point toward helpful resources.

 

What do you do if you find a submission is addressed to you?

Moderator 1: I think I react the same way anyone else would. You feel warm and fuzzy, you smile a lot to yourself, then you message your friends, “Did you see this?” and “Who did this?” The only difference between my reaction and yours is that I then perform the narcissistic act of copying and pasting the post onto the page for all to see. Then there’s also the attacks. We censor attacks on other people, we don’t want people to feel hurt from this page. But some posts target us. We’re the only ones who have to see any hateful posts, but that’s sort of a negativity we set ourselves up for.

 

What are some perks of being a BBA moderator?

Moderator 2: Getting to see all the piping hot tea on campus first!

Moderator 1: You know how you open Facebook, and check if BBA updated? We open up a Google Sheet and see posts the second people click Submit. (To Moderator 2) Should I show her?

Moderator 2: Yeah, I think it’d be cool.

(Here, Moderator 1 demonstrated by posting a pending submission. The intake form was meticulously organised and color-coded.)

Moderator 1: We’re absolutely up to date with the drama on campus. I get to promote the voices of underrepresented identities on campus, especially narratives around LGBTQ people, people of colour – discourse people might shy away from if their names were attached to them.

 

When we messaged the original BBA, they said they’re “in transition.” Are they your competition? If so, what will you do when/if they resurface?

Moderator 1: It would be great if they came back. If people wanted to migrate back to them, that’s great! We can’t change that. I’d probably go back to using them. As long as there’s a social platform for positive, anonymous voices on campus, moderated in a socially responsible way, I’m happy. Until then, we’re going to keep having fun.

Moderator 2: We messaged them during the summer and asked if they wanted any help. They said they were “in transition and working on it”. They put out one round of posts in August, then nothing. Then we started Blueno to fill the void and we’ve been able to be much more active. So I’m not holding my breath.

 

What are Blueno’s opinions about Rodent versus Ratty?

Moderator 1: Blueno prefers The Ratty, but he forgives anyone who calls it the “Rodent” if—

Moderator 2: If they leave him a present in mailbox number **** (Moderator 2’s mailbox number censored for anonymity)

 

Does Blueno have any admirers? Who would he admire if he could?

Moderator 1: Everyone knows Blueno has a crush on the Nelson bear. Who doesn’t. He’s buff as hell.

Moderator 2: How could he not? There’s also a torrid past between Blueno and the rock tree, but why bring up history?

Moderator 1: And Marcus Aurelius on equestrian has been eyeing Blueno for quite some time, but who knows when he’ll make a move.

 

What does Blueno mean to you?

Moderator 2: Well, there was initially a lot of controversy about the statue, his funding.  And obviously, lots of schools have a bear as their mascot. But Blueno is his own thing, his own icon, he’s not just a generic teddy bear. Blueno is unique to Brown, Blueno is blue—

Moderator 1: Blueno is blue? Hot-take.

Moderator 2: Thank you. He’s quirky, a little weird, but we still love him. That says a lot about the Brown community. He’s gonna leave eventually,  and I’m sad about that. But Blueno’s legacy at Brown will be here a long time even after he’s gone – ideally, with Blueno Bears Admirers sticking around as long as people want it. Blueno sort of gives us a new life, especially if you consider student activities in his hollow interior.

Moderator 1: If BBA was responsible for your relationship, you’re welcome. If you get married to someone you found on BBA, you are contractually obliged to fly us out to your wedding. (Reporter’s note: The Blog was unable to verify this claim.)

Moderator 2: I think it’s fun how different Blueno is from the statue – he doesn’t stand for the same ideals, and he’s a fun piece of campus culture.

Moderator 1: It’s very representative of our generation, that we’re able to make light of and personify big, unchangeable things. He’s become a part of campus culture. We’ve had some amazing artwork come in from illustrators on College Hill; we had one for National Coming Out Day and one for Halloween—shoutout to Felix Summ and Julia Chu! The world seems really bleak right now, and I think we need more fun, happy things on campus. Untitled Lamp/Bear is going away in a few years, but we’re all creating Blueno, and there’s some permanence in that.


Top 10 Sitcom Halloween Specials

October is upon us, which means that Halloween is rapidly approaching. To celebrate the spookiest time of the year, I thought it would be a good time to rank the top ten Halloween-themed sitcom episodes of all time.

10) Friends – Season 8, Episode 6: The One with the Halloween Party

Friends may be an overrated show (you heard me), but their one Halloween special suffices. Most of this episode is pretty meh honestly, but it is saved by the most unlikely of sources: Ross. His “Spud-nik” costume – a cross between a potato and the Russian satellite Sputnik – is probably the most ridiculously hilarious costume from any character on this list. And he puts it to good use, besting the pink bunny suit-wearing Chandler in the most depressing arm-wrestling contest ever shown on television.

Spooktacular Quote: “Well, is it fair that all you had to do was put on a cape and now I have to give you free stuff?” – Rachel


9) Freaks and Geeks – Season 1, Episode 3: Tricks and Treats

The arrival of Halloween causes a panic among parents and kids alike here, as rumors circulate that hippies have been infusing heroin into candy bars in an anti-establishment political statement. Though only on the air for one season, Freaks and Geeks quickly found its niche of walking the fine line between significant coming-of-age moments and equally significant fits of awkwardness. With Lindsay beginning her transition between friend groups and Sam experiencing the tribulations of trick-or-treating as 9th grader, this episode achieves both.

Spooktacular Quote: “Rich people traditionally give out the cheapest candy. That’s how they stay rich.” – Neal


8) The Office – Season 8, Episode 5: Spooked

It took a lot of courage for me to choose a post-Michael Scott Office episode, but hear me out. Season 8 MVPs — Erin, Robert California, and Gabe, in that order — are each given their chance to shine here, with Erin at her most poignant, Robert at his most mind-boggling, and Gabe at his most insane. It is a touching episode that is contrasted with Gabe’s horrifyingly hilarious Cinema of the Unsettling. Couple this with a newfound bromance between Dwight and Robert California’s ten-year-old son Burt, and we have an unforgettable Dunder Mifflin Halloween celebration.

Spooktacular Quote: “You don’t live as long as I have without a healthy fear of snakes, Bobby.” – Creed


7) It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – Season 6, Episode 7: Who Got Dee Pregnant?

Most of the time, all It’s Always Sunny has to do to make me laugh is give Danny DeVito something funny to wear and have him waddle around a bit. In this episode, his Man-spider costume (not to be confused with Spiderman) fits the bill. Beyond that, though, this one belongs to the McPoyle’s: Liam McPoyle chugging a glass of milk and screaming “YOU WILL CALL HER!” to Mac after he slept with Liam’s sister will never not be funny.

Spooktacular Quote: “Without my Mario I’m just a creepy, Italian plumber. I look like an asshole here.” – Dennis


6) How I Met Your Mother – Season 1, Episode 6: Slutty Pumpkin

From Ted’s hanging chad costume to the random Angel just trying to get some weed, “Slutty Pumpkin” is an absolute classic. Ted has always been a hopeless romantic, and his attempt to reunite with the penguin-loving, pumpkin-wearing Antarctic voyager who supposedly invented mixing Kahlua with root beer is probably the most blatant example of that. Elsewhere, Barney and Robin’s respective escapades remind us how much better the show was before they got together (This is almost a hot take, but not quite).

Spooktacular Quote: “We love tiramisu. Am I wrong for saying that?” – Mike “Well it’s not really a group activity, is it?” – Robin


5) Curb Your Enthusiasm – Season 2, Episode 3: Trick or Treat

Like any Curb episode, Larry David’s social miscues get him into trouble with a number of furious adversaries. To name a few: he unintentionally whistles a song written by Hitler’s favorite composer in front of a Jewish man, refuses to give candy to kids who appear to be above the trick-or-treating age threshold, and substitutes out every cobb salad ingredient in front of the grandson of the inventor of cobb salad (turns out he was lying). Unlike most Curb episodes, though, this one sees Larry get his rightful revenge in an epic finale.

Spooktacular Quote: With all due respect, Officer, you are not bald. You’ve chosen to shave your hair, and that’s a look you’re cultivating in order to look fashionable, but we don’t really consider you part of the bald community…with all due respect.” – Larry


4) Community – Season 2, Episode 6: Epidemiology

I’m a simple man. If you give me multiple ABBA songs in your Halloween special soundtrack, I will rank you higher up on the list. After some mystery meat turns everyone at a costume party into zombies — and “S.O.S” transitions seamlessly into “Dancing Queen” — hilarity ensues as everything devolves into absolute chaos. Come for the jumpy cat that steals the show, and stay for Ken Jeong trying to bait unsuspecting partygoers into racism by wearing a Peggy Fleming costume (he’s not Michelle Kwan or Kristi Yamaguchi, of course).

Spooktacular Quote: “Leonard, you better back that pumpkin ass up or I’m gonna make a pie.” – Shirley

3) Parks and Recreation – Season 2, Episode 7: Greg Pikitis

The Joker leaves behind a playing card, the “Wet Bandits” from Home Alone leave the faucets running, and Greg Pikitis leaves a peach pit. All of these supervillains know how to make their mark after a crime, and I’ll be damned if Pikitis isn’t the dastardliest of them all. Leslie Knope would certainly agree, as she spends the entirety of this episode ruthlessly trying to arrest her teenage foe. I still can’t believe the bastard hired a fake mother to bail him out. Brilliant.


Spooktacular Quote: “Look – I’ve been very civil so far. But I will waterboard you!” – Leslie

2) Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Season 4, Episode 5: Halloween IV

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s annual tradition of Halloween-themed heist episodes made it difficult for me to pinpoint the best of the bunch, but, after agonizing over the decision for minutes, I have concluded that the fourth installment reigns supreme. The MVP of the episode is undoubtedly Captain Holt, who is an energetic force unlike ever seen before – viciously breaking through a glass window, threatening to slit Jake and Amy’s bodies from mouth to anus, and constantly referring to Boyle as a “porkchop”. With an elaborate con dating back to the 4th grade by Gina, and Jake hiring a sketchy guy to pretend to be Boyle, this is Brooklyn Nine-Nine at its absolute best.

Spooktacular Quote: “I’m the third in a lot of marriages. I got a nice, soft face so I don’t intimidate the other husbands.” – Fake Boyle


1) Modern Family – Season 2, Episode 6: “Halloween”

Modern Family now is not nearly the show it once was, but this episode is a reminder that it was once an unbeatable entity come awards’ season. The Dunphy family attempts to put on a haunted house for trick- or-treaters, but Claire’s valiant efforts are ruined by a number of factors, including Gloria suddenly losing her accent, Phil desperately trying to rekindle a marriage that has shown no signs of needing rekindling, and Haley dressing up as “Mother Theresa before she was hot”. The episode’s peak, though, is Mitch rappelling down a drainage pipe in a Spiderman costume after finding out that the only people in his office who dress up for Halloween are “tools and douches”.

Spooktacular Quote: “Unfortunately, Halloween for me personally was marred by an incident long ago. Now it’s just a day I have to get through.” – Cam

 


Encyclopædia Brown

The Sharpe Refectory

 

/Not-Ro-dent/

Noun

Very, very mediocre dining place. Affectionately known ONLY as “The Ratty.”

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