university if iowa

anonymous asked:

I dare you to tell another story from the apartment

ALRIGHT BOYS GIRLS AND EVERYONE WHO THINKS THE GENDER BINARY IS FOR SQUARES IT’S STORY TIME.

Today, we’re going to talk about the time Paul’s desire for superior firepower turned into a mini arms race that ended with me setting Eric on fire with a homemade flamethrower.

No, Matt Boomer, you sexy motherfucker, I am not kidding you. Let’s begin with some details.

So when I was at the University of Iowa, several people, including myself, bought Nerf guns for impromptu battles in the hallways when we had free time. Mostly this was all good, clean fun, except for two of the guys down the hall, my roommate, and I.

We all thought, rightfully so, that factory built Nerf guns are bullshit. They’re weak, darts are too fucking light, the barrels cause too much friction, which makes them inaccurate and slow, and you have to re-cock them after each shot. That’s some fucking bullshit right there. So we fixed it.

We bought new, higher tensile springs. We bought PVC pipe and lubricant. We put BBs in the tips of our darts, and my roommate and even put in a second spring to automatically cock the gun, essentially turning them from bolt action pieces of shit into semi-automatic friendship-ruiners.

So when I moved back to Chicago, and into the apartment, I obviously brought my Nerf guns (my roommate gave me his when we moved out), and I obviously attacked my roommates the first opportunity I had. OBVIOUSLY this led to everyone buying Nerf guns and modifying the shit out of them.

However, some of us were terrible shots, so certain measures had to be taken to make it possible for them to keep up. Brad practiced in his room every day, Josh built an extended clip for his gun, and Kyle bought the fucking Vulcan and built a 600 dart belt for it because he decided aiming is for people who can’t fire 6 darts a second (he modded it for doubled firing speed using a small car battery and replaced mechanics).

And then there was Paul.

Paul was fucking terrible. Like almost so bad it couldn’t be for real. He once tried to ambush me coming around a corner from 2 feet away and missed by a good 6-7 inches. He literally could have slapped me and he missed. Whatever moving on.

So Paul decides to solve his aim problems in the most Paul way possible: online shopping. He bought 500 foam pellets for a marshmallow gun, two dozen foam discs, and a motherfucking t-shirt cannon.

You see, Paul, much like Kyle, decided aiming was for lames. So he would pour foam pellets into the cannon until it was half full, slip in a disc to keep them from falling out, then shotgun people in the face. I was his first victim and boy let me tell you that shit is terrifying.

So Paul became the big dog in the house during Nerf battles, and the rest of us found ourselves unable to compete. So we all escalated in our own insane ways. Eric and I, the former champions, modified our guns to fire faster, Brad added an extended magazine to his gun, Kyle built a harness so that he could shoot his fucking stupid fucking bullet-storm piece of shit while moving. Josh booby-trapped various parts of our apartment. Suddenly, we were all better than Paul again, so he decided to step his game up.

He started making paper cartridges that would explode open once fired. Suddenly, he could actually fire multiple times a minute, which meant once again, he was at the top. It didn’t help that our reluctance to shoot back out of fear of getting shot was allowing him to take his time, therefore drastically improving his aim.

So we stepped up again. I smooth out the cocking mechanism on my guns, improving my firing speed even faster. Eric adds more weight to his darts, making them heavier and faster and much more painful. Kyle buys a bigger battery, newer parts, and he perfects his belts, which increases his firing speed to 12 darts a second.

So Paul steps up to take advantage of his improved aim and buys something called a Pucker Chucker which basically is a t-shirt cannon except it shoots foam pucks. This means we can’t just shoot at him from the other side of the apartment anymore, so we all step up again. I modify the rail on top to make aiming easier, Eric modifies his grip to make it more comfortable, Kyle and brad modify their barrels to make them more accurate, and Josh jumps on board the crazy train and builds a goddamn under barrel cherry bomb launcher.

And this is where shit starts to spiral out of control.

Brad starts making smoke grenades, Kyle solves his weakness against close quarters combat by using his battery to create a cattle prod to keep people back. Eric breaks the head off an old golf club to use the shaft as a weapon, I put pins in the tips of all of my darts, and Paul realizes that the Pucker Chucker can also shoot real hockey pucks after he steals my bucket of pucks from my room.

So it escalated a couple more steps but I’m going to leave them out partially out of a desire to keep moving forward and partially out of shame anywhoozle when we pull out our final contraptions and modifications that day we shifted from light-hearted fun that was a bit too far to literally combat. Josh had a sword. I don’t know where he got it from.

That battle was terrifying. Our normal fights were like an hour, two hours tops, then we would clean up, get together in the living room with some beers, and laugh about what happened. Honestly we should have known this was going to happen because when we did this after our previous fight, the laughter was less “haha remember when I shot Josh in the butthole? Classic.” and more “haha remember when I missed your face with that puck? Next time I won’t miss.

So we somehow get into a battle again and this time things go south quickly which is bound to happen when you have a dude in a speedo swinging a sword around while rolling fireworks down the hall. It was literally chaos. There were fireworks and homemade smoke grenades and Kyle made the electrical current in his cattle prod too strong and it was too close to the muzzle of his Vulcan so every few seconds you would just see a flaming dart wiz past and I built a fucking flamethrower and I don’t know what the fuck is going on so I’m just firing it in the general direction of Josh to keep him the fuck away. At some point Brad barricades himself in his room, and so we all run back to our rooms and hide.

We do this for three days. THREE DAYS. I missed classes. We all had junk food in our rooms, and private bathrooms, so that’s what we sustained ourselves on for three fucking days. I, however, try to eat healthy, so I ran out of food almost immediately. After not eating for a day and a half, with food literally less than 50 feet from where I was hiding, I decided that I was willing to risk a trip to the kitchen.

So here’s something important about our apartment: I was the only one who knew how to cook. I had tried to teach the others, but all that had accomplished was several kitchen fires. This meant when Eric also ran out of food, he knew the only way to get a meal was to make peace with me. So he had snuck down the hall to my door, intent on asking me for help.

I did not know he was there.

So when I opened the door and saw a crouching figure in the shadows nearby, I assumed, I think justifiably, that it was the guy who had been swinging a sword at all of us the last time I saw him. So I pulled the trigger on my homemade flamethrower, only to see Eric’s horrified face illuminated by the flames for a split second before they hit his torso.

Luckily, I was using a scavenged fuel source (computer screen cleaner), so the flames were weak, but still fire is fire and fire fucking hurts. So Eric is rolling on the floor with first degree burns on his stomach and chest, and I’m freaking out because Eric is my friend and I just set him on fire, so there is now a lot of screaming coming from the hall.

Now, to lighten the mood slightly, here’s a personality test. You hear the sounds of fire, followed shortly by screaming coming from the hall outside your room. What do you do?

Do you assume the crazy sword guy has finally snapped and is going to kill you all, so you climb out the window onto the fire escape? Congratulations, you’re Brad.

Do you hear the cries of pain and grab a first aid kit before sprinting into the hall to help? Hey! You’re Kyle!

Do you hear the flames so you sprint into the kitchen to grab the fire extinguisher? You are Paul.

Do you come out into the hall to see what’s going on but also bring your sword just in case you have to stab someone? You are Josh and also mentally unstable please put your sword away.

So Kyle comes out and he and I start administering first aid and luckily through a combination of the weakness of my fuel source, how quickly I stopped the flames, and the quickness of our treatments, Eric only gets some first degree burns on his torso. Paul puts out the last of the flames, Josh decides he doesn’t want to stab anyone today, and Brad decides that the lack of screaming is a good thing and he comes inside. I spend the next hour apologizing profusely while cooking everyone dinner, and we decide that hey we should probably have some rules for our Nerf fights to prevent this from ever happening again.

So we all eat, we establish rules about modifications and ammunition, and at the end of it all, we grab some beers, head into the living room, and tell Josh he needs to get rid of the sword seriously dude where did you get that from?

2

“I think you work harder if you’re haunted by some small darkness,” says John Darnielle. And if the work he’s produced is any indication, Darnielle is one haunted man.

Across several albums with his band, The Mountain Goats, Darnielle has written distinctive lyrics that are gloomy and full of wry humor. Lately, his storytelling has taken a different form: novels. His latest, Universal Harvester, takes place in the late 1990s in a small town in Iowa. Its main character, Jeremy Heldt, is still grieving for his mother, who died six years earlier in a car accident. He’s working as a video store clerk when he makes an unsettling discovery: Someone has been splicing weird, dark and sometimes violent home movies into the store’s videos.

In ‘Universal Harvester,’ Mountain Goats Lyricist Reaps A Creepy Crop

2

The Monster Study refers to an experiment conducted by Wendell Johnson at the University of Iowa in 1938. Johnson wanted to understand the cause of stuttering and for his experiment, he got 22 orphan children and would give half of them positive speech therapy and the other half negative speech therapy. Those with the positive speech therapy were praised for the fluency of their speech while the other half were berated and belittled.

The experiment was dubbed the Monster Study because the majority of people were absolutely horrified that somebody would use orphan children during a negative experiment. In fact, most of the children who received the negative speech therapy suffered psychological effects and retained speech problems for the rest of their lives. Some just completely refused to speak following the traumatic treatment they received.

In 2002, the University of Iowa publicly apologised for the grim experiment.

Historically Yours Podcast from the University of Iowa
Episode 8: A Tale of Woe from Miss Rosa Poe
Historically Yours Podcast from the University of Iowa

For this episode of Historically Yours, Curator of Science Fiction and Popular Culture, Peter Balestrieri takes us back into the publishing industry reading a handwritten letter from 1868 written on behalf of Miss Rosa Poe, sister of Edgar Allan Poe. 

 Letter text:

17 Lafayette Place:New York City, 28 Jan. 1868

Dear Sir,I am again compelled to remind you that you have returned no answer in the matter of the Juvenile Verses of Edgar Poe, which I submitted to you some time ago for “Southern Society” and to ask either that you will return me the Ms. or else authorize us to write to Miss Rosa Poe that she may draw upon you for $15 – the sum I named as compensation for them. I explained to you when I sent the Ms. that Miss Poe was in a very destitute situation, and that I had undertaken, purely as a work of charity, to find a purchaser for the verses. If you want them, write me to that effect at once, if you do not want them, send them back to me, for delay in a case of destitution is really really unreasonable.I desire to get two copies of your paper containing my poem of “Music in Camp,” and one copy of the number which published Simms’ Sketch of [Timrod?]. If you will be good enough to send us these, and will let me know what I am to pay for them, I will send you the amount in postage stamps.Very truly yours,R. ThompsonEugene Didier Esq.

Letter information:

MsL T473d

Thompson, John Reuben to Eugene Didier

28 January 1868

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