Oasis

“OASIS” – a short story and photos by Jacob Gantenbein

 

 

Part 1: Unclear Beginnings

It’s tough being curious. But we all do it. Might as well embrace it, otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.
Annie was a curious teenager. However, it is not his fault. He was fed stories from generations.

Stories of beasts and magic growing on and on, past the city walls above the ground. Stories of things possible that would never be in his world. It was forbidden to walk among the surface for reasons he never understood. However, that didn’t stop him. If it did, what kind of story would this

Be? He, being the prince of the city, was always under high watch. Always cared for and never given much freedom at all.

How do they know it’s bad?

He asked himself.

It’s not like they’ve ever been up there?

He asked these questions constantly on long nights watching the stars through the front gates that had never been opened.

It was late and the moon still shone through the bars of the cage they called home. Occasionally darkened out by the clouds.

Annie had devised a plan. He had been preparing the night beforehand for hours and had finally mustered the courage to pull through.
He had put sleeping elixir in the guards’ water supply and waited patiently.

He watched them drop one by one.

“What’s happening?”

He said.

“I’m scared.”

He said.

And they believed him. He walked over them and out to the city gates where he climbed. He swung his bag around and tightened the straps and just went up.

Part 2: The Lake Sabrina

 

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Lights. Nothing but lights. Blue trees under a purple radiated sky littered with fireflies that never extinguish their flame. Four legged beasts with horns slowly but smoothly trotting across the moving fields illuminated by the sky.

On the other side of the field, in the light of the forest, calmly stood a girl. She saw him and reached out as she could kill the distance between them just by moving her hand.

He saw her and moved. She sank into the ground like a popped water balloon. He kept moving anyway.

He was scared now. And he wasn’t faking it. Still, he was curious and did not stop. Past the animals which ignored him as he moved. Through the ocean of fireflies where everyone of the lights felt like the small touch of another human’s hand.

Directly to the forest where night seemed like day.

The trees were like soft sponges and every touch was a kiss being passed between Annie’s hand and the tree. He was stopped. Frozen still by the sound of rustling approaching him faster than anything human. He glanced one way and then another. He couldn’t find the noise.

Maybe they were right?
He said.

Maybe this is just a death trap?

He said.

I’m going to die. He cried and the rustling stopped. Tap. Tap. Slush. Slush. It was directly in front of him. He peeked out and looked up. A young girl stood over him with hair like a woven blanket. A dress blue like the trees surrounding them with light. They stared into each other’s eyes.

“Who… Are you?” She said.

“My name is… Annie,” His voice hesitated to work again and again. He’s never been asked that question. He was used to everyone knowing who he was.

“What are you doing out here?” They asked in a frightful harmony.

“I live here,” The girl said. “My name is Sabrina. I am the lake.”

Part 3: Never Ending Endings

Time passed and Sabrina and Annie got to know each other quickly. Sabrina hadn’t seen anyone in a long time. No one ever came out to visit her and she got lonely. Annie liked it above ground.

Sabrina was nice and fun even though she was a body of water in a forest full of large creatures and things that could kill you.
Annie liked it a lot.

Day after day, they made songs and laughed and ate glowing fruit from the trees and telling stories about what it’s like above ground vs what it’s like under.

The city sent for Annie and brought back only the desire to venture out again. The want to explore what else there was. More of what they had tasted. Word spread, that the world is not what it used to be. Led by an orange flag, the city people made their voyage out of the dull underground and to the surface.

A new life for them. A new story. Annie was nothing but ready.

Really Old News: Rome

Sitting on the west coast of Apennine Peninsula, Rome has stood as a global cultural and economic center for millennia. It’s long held position as one of the greatest cities in the world has earned it the nickname “The Eternal City”. While an impressive title, I’m not sure it’s entirely fitting considering Rome has been sacked six times.

Not much is known about the first sack of Rome, or, at least, not much is verifiable as it happened a forever ago (387 B.C.). The Gauls came and scattered the Roman army as they didn’t have their infamous fighting style developed yet. Many people were killed and many things were stolen. The surviving Romans retreated to Capitoline hill. After several months of siege, the Romans agreed to pay the Gauls 1,000 pounds of gold for their retreat from the city. According to legend, Brennus, the warlord of the Gauls, used a rigged scale to measure out the weight. When the romans complained he shouted “Vae Victis” (“woe to the vanquished”).

After the sack by the Gauls, the city remained untouched by the direct effects of war for hundreds of years because it turned out the Romans were really good at this whole war thing. Sadly for them, the Romans committed some blunders in the operation of their whole deal. Such as making the state economy depend on stealing stuff from people they conquer and splitting the empire in two. Anyway, instability and internal problems eventually lead to Rome being unable to protect itself and being invaded by the Visigoths. While laying siege to the city, a group of slaves opened one of the city’s gates and allowed the barbarian invaders into the town. The Visigoths proceeded to steal most everything but allowed citizens to take refuge within the city’s basilicas as the Vandals were Christian just as the romans were. As St. Jerome wrote: “The city which has taken the whole world was itself taken”.

The third sack was by a germanic tribe called the Vandals. Following the assassination of the emperor, the Vandals laid siege to Rome. Knowing they couldn’t stop the invaders, the Romans sent the pope to negotiate their surrender. The Vandals agreed not to destroy any buildings or kill anyone, but they were let into the city without resistance and allowed to take what they pleased. Following the sack, the late emperor’s daughter was married to a Vandal prince and the nations enjoyed peace with one another.

Following the destruction of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Empire succeeded in retaking the city of Rome from its gothic rulers in the 6th century. The victory was short lived however, as Totila managed to pull the goths under his banner and laid siege to the city. Supposedly, his men scaled the walls of the city in the night and opened the gates to allow the army in. After a few weeks, the goths left the city. Buildings lay in ruin, streets were plundered, and less than 1,000 still inhabited the city.

In the late 11th century, the Norman warlord Robert received a call for help from the pope, who was under siege by the forces of the Holy Roman Empire. He arrived and drove back the imperial forces from the city, but was met with rebellion from the citizens, many of whom favored imperial rule over papal rule. Robert allowed his army to pillage the city, and they did for three days. Many blame this sack for the destruction of many historic structures.

After defeating the armies of france in the early 16th century, forces of the Holy Roman Emperor marched towards Rome. The Papacy had allied themselves with the now defeated France and had invoked the ire of Charles V, the emperor. To make matters worse for the Romans, the 1,000 imperial troops marching towards them had not been paid but instead offered the chance to sack Rome. The duke of Bourbon, the leader of the army, was killed in the fighting but his forces managed to enter the city. Once inside, The army proceeded to loot, kill torture, and rape the inhabitants of the city. To protect the pope, who was then an enemy of the empire, 42 members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard escorted the pope to castel sant’angelo while the other 147 stood behind to cover his escape. None of the 147 survived.

Sources:

http://www.history.com/news/6-infamous-sacks-of-rome

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/visigoths-sack-rome

http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/sack_rome_390bc.html

aitm

nullAmerican Idiot the musical contains mature themes. If you are under sixteen, don’t watch it.

American Idiot is a musical based off of the album of the same name by Green Day. The musical and album tell the story of a twenty-something boy named Johnny making a journey through the city and finding his place in the world. Johnny is tired of living in the suburbs and sets out for Los Angeles. His friends decide to join him but end up abandoning him along the way. After getting to the the city, Johnny meets the girl of his dreams, referred to as “Whatsername”, and hallucinates a drug-addled persona named Saint Jimmy. Johnny, because he is overcome with addiction, threatens Whatsername with a knife. She leaves and he pursues a career. He gives up on his office job and goes home, resulting in the metaphorical suicide of Saint Jimmy. When he returns home, his friends although initially upset, embrace him (see the Wikipedia Article for a more in depth summary).

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There are, of course, many performances of American Idiot: The Musical. For the theatrics portion of this, I will be focusing on the L.A. performance, performed by Glory|Struck. There were a few artistic choices made in this performance. The biggest one I saw was that they had a woman play Saint Jimmy. This change was… Bad. It was bad. Although it could be seen as an interesting look into “Maybe Johnny is a trans woman” (seeing as Saint Jimmy is a reflection of Johnny and how he wishes to be, the life of the party, Etc.). If you were wanting to give that perspective you would need to give more in depth story attributes to that. Saint jimmy in his own song is referred to with masculine pronouns. The choreography for the whole musical was a little sloppy but still amazing.

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Now onto the audio design. I would talk about the mismatch between the actors vocal ability and the songs being played, but there’s genuinely only one person who can sing like Billie Joe Armstrong, and that’s Billie Joe Armstrong. In “American Idiot” (the individual song) they had amazing vocals, I loved the chorus with the delayed mirroring effect. I have found a clean version of “American Idiot” being performed by the broadway cast Here. The light work was well done, it did a great job of setting the mood for a lot of scenes.

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I have definitely seen worse musicals. This performance was not as good as what I’ve seen from the broadway version, but it was still an amazing experience. I’d love to know what other people think of it!

Niel Breen Supreme

I think we’re all familiar with the genre of ‘so bad that it’s good’ movies. A film that manages to do so makes so many terrible choices, that it becomes a hilarious riot. This is a movie that manages to not only make bad choices, but it makes them at places you didn’t even think was possible. null

Meet Neil Breen, or god, the new flavor of terribly amazing movies. Never before have I seen such perseverance, such beauty, such magnificent trash shown on screen before. This scene alone should give you a taste of what I’m talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZLkJcoQjJA

Believe me, it doesn’t make sense with context either. But the genius (or Breeneus) of Neil Breen doesn’t stop there. His 3rd movie, Fateful Findings, amazingly enough, doesn’t have a single scene in it that didn’t have an amazing amount of wrong.

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The movie starts with a 2 friends, a little boy and a little girl. They bury a locket in the ground, the boy gets superpowers, and the girl moves away. He grows up to be a writer, and a hacker who’s encrypting government secrets. He later reunites with his childhood friend, who his pil-addicted wife suspects that he’s having an affair with. Also his neighbors take up a considerable amount of screen time. Anyway, will Neil Breen reveal those giant government secrets, convince his wife he’s not having an affair, and fix his neighbors relationship? Or not?

Sorry, just gotta wipe some blood off my nose, trying to describe the plotlines of this movie was so exBreenly difficult, I got a Breen, err, I mean brain aneurysm. You might think that although written down the movie script seems extremely convoluted, it must translate better on film. I can assure you that it does not.

But the power of Breen’s filmmaking isn’t just kept to convoluted “plotlines”. His profession at being unprofessional transfers to all acts of filmmaking. The camera closes in on the faces too often without reason, nullalmost all of the scenes take place at different locations yet were obviously filmed at Neil Breen’s house, the music is generic stock, and whenever one of the characters try to do a basic movement or activity, they always find a way to fail at it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92KCWiczOm8

And that’s what makes Fateful Findings one of the most hilarious movies I’ve ever seen. If you liked the Room, see it. If you’re a fan of terribly amazing movies in general, see it. If you want a movie that has coherent plot lines, character movement, and dialogue, or a movie that’s at least decent, don’t watch it. But for the rest of you, this movie would likely be too opbreen, I mean obscene for you to handle.null

Editorial: “I Know What My Job Is: I Write the Songs, I Sing Them, I Play Them On the Piano” – Fiona Apple

By Eden Pearl

“The Idler Wheel is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do” is an album I can’t stop listening to, and each time is a different experience. The first few listens, I was confused: I didn’t know what to think of her voice, her lyrics — so hard-hitting I didn’t know what to do with them… They confused me, but in such an enigmatic, almost charming way I had to keep listening, and let me tell you, I’m glad I did. She’s not trying to be cool, she’s not hiding how she’s feeling, she yells, screams, makes guttural noises, and they may be near shocking to some at first, but that’s what she is, that’s what she does. She never yells just to tell people she’s yelling, a strength not many people can admit. In an interview, Apple said “I don’t care what people do. I don’t care how people remember my albums. I do them for my own reasons.” For anyone in the public eye, this mentality is a major gain, and one I try to live by in my own way.

Pop music can be very impersonal, but not in this case. The entire album is an expose, filled with intimate details about Fiona, her relationships, reminiscent of Regina Spektor’s “Samsung” but on a larger, more operatic scale. There’s a full spectrum of emotion and experience in all her work, especially so in “The Idler Wheel” She is so strong, and unafraid; the way her emotional maturity, anger, hope, anything, shows so vividly is so impressive. It makes me stand back It is much more complex than at first listen; it took me a bit to fully see & appreciate the world she created. Her music very well reflects her as a person, and shows sides of her that aren’t usually seen in other people’s work, which is something I really appreciate in music, as does she. “Everybody sees me as this sullen and insecure little thing. Those are just the sides of me that I feel necessary to show because no one else seems to be showing them.” And she’s right. We need confrontational artists more than anything right now.

I’ve created a playlist to give you a taste of the Fiona Apple experience. I’ve started it off with something tame, but you will soon hear what I’ve been talking about.

Movie Review: Minions

By Noah Beaver

Let me make myself clear: Minions is not a good movie. It’s the greatest work of all time. It proves itself to not only be completely necessary and made without any intentions other than the duty of releasing true art, it not only makes literally everything else pale in comparison (with the exception of Despicable Me, that gets second place, Sing gets third), but it has proved that an animated movie doesn’t just have to be intended for children: it can be intellectual and artistic, just like all the others.

Our story starts with explaining the origin of Minions. It turns out, they were created from evolution millions of years ago before humans. A truly remarkable and very necessary origin story, after all, I can’t see how else a race of yellow creatures who served an evil genius in the original movie could have been created any other way. Anyway, from the very beginning of their evolution, Minions had only one purpose in life: to serve an evil master, the most evil one they can find. They may be immortal, and they may be able to create their own societies with housing and entertainment, but without a master, they have no purpose.null

Anyway, after serving Napoleon Bonaparte, the Minions find a cave in the snowy wasteland. They build a colonization with homes and entertainment, but they eventually realize that their lives are meaningless without a master. So they decide to send 3 minions off into the world so that they can find a master. Those Minions are the main characters, Kevin, Stewart, and Bob.null

The wacky and hilarious trio eventually find their way to America, during the 60’s, meaning the Minions were dwelling in their ice cave for at least 159 years. Which is too bad, I can think of one particular bad guy they could have served. You know, the one with the cool mustache. Anyway, they find the most evil bad guy of all time: and it’s a woman! Yup, her name is Scarlet Overkill, and she has the most evil weapon of all time: screaming! I would go into more detail over the masterpiece that makes Citizen Kane look like bird crap, but quite frankly, the plot is much too complicated for your fragile little minds to even comprehend.

To see the full mastery of this godlike movie studio who constructed this masterpiece, compare them to this other crap company called ‘Pixar’. To be clear, they aren’t sell outs: that would indicate they were sold in to begin with. Every single movie they’ve made has been nothing more than an attempt to brainwash people to buy their merchandise, particularly our children. Just look at one of their many terrible movies titled ‘Finding Nemo’. It uses a completely unrelatable story with so many obvious cliches, it’s animation is very outdated (I mean just look at it), and worst of all: it has violence! The only reason this ocean turd is memorable at all is because it tries it’s best to scar your children with the first act! And this is unforgivable, chlidren should never be shown movie violence, after all, all us good parents know that they’re not actually going to encounter any in reality! So why show them any at all? Children are obviously to delicate for the real world, that’s why a parent who’s actually sensible would agree that the best way to raise them is to lock them indoors away from all outside communication and real world events.

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And that’s why I give this tear of god 9/10 stars. I took one away because this movie was so well constructed, my eyes melted off my face from it’s sheer beauty, and the hospital bill was pricey. Too bad I couldn’t have gotten better insurance with Trump Care! Anyway, when you inevitably decide to watch this masterpiece, make sure to wear shades, because the future with Minions is so bright! null

Movie Review: Get Out

By Noah Beaver

This is the kind of movie you almost never see. It takes two genres that usually don’t go together, doesn’t include any giant celebrities, focuses on a controversial issue, and yet grosses 30 million on it’s premiere. And for good reason. I highly recommend everyone to watch it, go to your local movie theater, and fake an ID (editor’s note: The Blunderbuss does not condone the forging of identification documents).null

Get Out is a satirical thriller. It exposes a type of racism, one that doesn’t include a white hood or a vote to the president you oppose. It’s one harder to reveal in the real world, one that we are all guilty of.

Chris, a young black man, is dating Rose, a white woman. They’re about to meet her parents, but Chris is worried because she didn’t tell them that he’s black. But when they arrive, her parents greet Chris in open arms. But something seems off. With each minute, it’s made more and more obvious that they are treating Chris as an exhibit instead of a person; because he’s black. Roses dad specifically tries to relate to Chris by trying to talk street, in an obviously fake manner. What’s more, the parent’s caretaker’s are all black, and all of them act outlandish. And later the parents invite their other rich white friends, where it’s revealed why everyone’s acting so weird: they’re kidnapping black people so they can transfer their minds to their bodies.

There is a problem in this world this movie exposes, and it’s not slavery. It’s a accidental problem, one that all of you have likely experienced or taken part in at some point. It’s a complicated one, and it’s hard to expose. So I won’t bother trying to. After you’ve seen it, look up somebody else’s analysis of the film to understand the message. Or better yet, watch interviews with the director Jordan Peele, because If I try to explain the message, I would certainly word it wrong.

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But even forgetting the satire, as a thriller, I loved this movie on it’s own right. They only problem I had was one too many jump scares, but everything else was great. It’s one of the few thrillers I can think of that is not only suspenseful, but also logical.

Much more analysis should and has been made with this movie, so please, research it. Research and talk about it with others, try to make this movie talked about.