An Obituary and Salutation

Posted: July 18, 2014 in Spring 2014

Dan Hahn

starThere is an enormous irony at the core of the Fredonia Follower: of course it’s satire so there is irony at its heart, it’s liver, brain, and every other appendage, but that core irony is the most important.

The Fredonia Follower has never followed anything.

You might say what about the Leader, or what about WNYF, or SA or whatever. You might list any number of campus organizations and events that the Follower has responded to but here language is so important (here and in all places) the Follower reacts to things but it has never followed them.

So that said: today the Follower dies.

At least today the Follower as it has always been will die and it has always been an entity driven almost entirely by my will and my direction.

In ten minutes I will be leaving Fredonia. Today is the last day I will ever belong in this school and this blog will drift out of public knowledge and just become another online ghost netting maybe one read every other month.

I’m not saying the Follower will never be revitalized, I’m confident that someday there will be a student who grasps the obvious wordplay and creates a periodical of the same name, but it will never be mine again and I wanted to take this chance, moments before the biggest thing I’ve ever done fades into nothing, to say hello to all of you who may dig this up years from now or maybe those who will never read this but still continue in the spirit of the Follower in your own creative way.

You are a relentless pain in the ass of most people you meet. Three out of five people on this campus know your name and two out of five of them will actually still speak to you. You have a vision and you are willing to do and spend anything to make that vision come to life: let me tell you about your lifestyle.

You are going to piss people off for the same reason that saying goodbye to this school is so hard for me right now: you represent sudden and violent change. Not only that but you possess the charisma and fool hardy recklessness to pull that change off all on your own and you will have to do it all on your own.

When the Follower was at its lowest point, and it spent a long time at its lowest point, I was alone in operating it, funding it, and writing for it. But at the same time, I never really was alone. I had friends and family that donated. Some of my closest friends even wrote for it and helped me operate it. Understand that you will hear people dismiss you and rebuke you and that an overwhelming wall of impossibility will be far more visible than the clear and present ladder that those closest to you are throwing your way.

To you who is willing to make the climb over that wall I am saying hello because you are the person who will drive the heart of Fredonia’s next great thing, you are going to be another great leader.

Leadership is a funny thing, it is so easy to confuse a title with leadership (remember here, language is key). I don’t care who you are, if you’re some club president or treasurer or just someone who’s never seen the outside of his (or her) dorm room, the title or lack thereof makes you as much a leader as being in a garage makes you a car: leadership is a lifestyle not a title.

In fact let me tell you about great leadership, it’s a lot like being a great teacher, and a great teacher does not teach a student about a subject but rather teaches a student how to learn. Internalize that.

When you learn about math you become good at math, if I ask you write an essay you will tell me how hard that is because you have learned math. Now, if you know how to learn and you are a math student if I ask you to write an essay you will know how to approach that problem and solve it because you learned how to learn.

A leader teaches followers how to lead.

Imagine that, if a leader was capable of more than just feeding off their title like some parasite but instead taught followers how to lead themselves. Imagine if a leader didn’t tell you what to do but taught you how to do: instead of being told what to think you are told to think, that is what a great leader is capable of and it doesn’t matter who you are: we are all capable of thinking if we let ourselves be capable.

You are in charge of your own capabilities.

Remember that massive wall of impossible I mentioned? That is what every problem worth solving looks like, a problem that does not have a cut out answer but will require you to find some way, anyway, to overcome it. Some of you will say it is exactly as it appears, impossible, and to you I say stand down and let a leader show you how to overcome it.

When I started the Follower I was told there was no place for it on this campus. I was told the Leader’s lampoon filled the niche I was attempting to fill myself. I was told there was not enough funding to do what I wanted to do. 20 thousand reads and more Facebook likes than any other campus media outlet later I will ask you, does it look so impossible now?

One person’s will and the aid of everyone I know made the Follower happen and it is a testament that will stand forever for what leadership looks like. I never followed anyone, I dared to believe that what I wanted to do was worth doing and could be done and here it is speaking to you right now.

Today is the last time the Follower will ever speak but every star in the sky will burn out someday and I just hope that there might be enough light left in mine to guide someone else towards their own blazing star. Dare to believe in what you can do and dare to believe that you may someday construct a star so large it lights a thousand others. Dare to believe that you may be capable of that relentless kind of leadership that makes a leader out of every one of your followers.

By Ash Davis

ImageSince arriving at SUNY Fredonia, NY, I’ve had a lot of questions thrown at me regarding Australian culture and certain stereotypes. I thought I would take the chance to clear up the leading 5 misconceptions surrounding Australia… are they true or not?

1. Australia is the most dangerous place on earth courtesy of its “killer wildlife” and “drop bears”.

This is a hundred percent correct. I am terrified to return to Australia, not just due to adjusting back to ridiculous time zone differences, but I generally fear for my safety inside and out of my home. My morning routines such as collecting the mail or taking out the rubbish that appear as simple tasks in America, are a constant struggle in Australia full of life threatening obstacles. I am faced daily with swooping magpies, wrestling my way through a pit of writhing crocodiles, and trying to pry myself out of humungous human-sized huntsman spider webs just to reach my driveway. I am unable to open a kitchen drawer without a King Brown snake springing out at me in some sort of Hopi snake charm fashion. Walking outside at night is virtually impossible due to our infamous ‘drop bears’. If you’re lucky enough to master avoiding a bat attack or possum bite, you still have to keep your head covered incase a drop bear literally drops on top of you. Those who have encountered drop bears have not lived to tell the tale…

2. Australians live off Vegemite and beer.

This is half true, we are able to survive the day until 5 o’clock without cracking open a cold beer. However, Australian’s depend on Vegemite like air and water. The salt content in Vegemite is so high that we have morphed into a salt-dependant nation, in which we rely on this spread to function physically and mentally.

3. Koalas and kangaroos roam the streets and Australians ride kangaroos.

Yes the rumors are true, we do in fact ride kangaroos to school. We don’t ride them to university though, we usually upgrade to emus (one of the largest birds in the world) for advanced education and professional work transportation. Koalas are not as common to kangaroos though; it would be unusual to see more than 20 koalas walking along footpaths or waiting for the bus in an average day, whereas kangaroos actually outnumber humans 2:1. These figures are quite alarming and we suspect kangaroos will take over the human race and govern Australia, especially after Kangaroo Jack has been voted as most likely to win our next Prime Minister election.

4. Australians like to throw “shrimp on the barbie”.

We usually refer to shrimp as ‘prawns’ in Australia, but due to the increasingly popular references to ‘shrimp’ and ‘barbie’ in overseas countries, Australia decided to incorporate a new game into the Commonwealth Games; “The Shrimp Toss”.  This legendary game consists of literally throwing a shrimp onto a BBQ, which is placed further and further away as the game advances. It’s an extremely popular game in Australian culture, and is often played by families during festive seasons such as Easter and Christmas.

5. You can’t swim in the ocean or “a shark will get you”.

We are less concerned in Australia about sharks in the ocean, and more focused on the sharks that engineered breathing apparatus’ and are now actually invading our land. It’s a recently new advancement for the shark species, but after the implementation of the ‘Shark Cull’ in Western Australia where you are given the right to slaughter sharks in an attempt to reduce highly unlikely shark attacks, they have built a resilient army known as The Great White Force that are now living among us and slowly killing off humans who were originally in favor of the ‘Shark Cull’. It will be interesting to see how the invasion develops over time.

I hope I have cleared up a lot of popular misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding my country Australia. I know it may sound like our native animals are currently dominating and taking over the country, but this should not be viewed in a negative manner or deter you from paying us a visit, as anything is better than the reign of Tony Abbott.

By Dan Hahn

ImageAs far as on campus work goes there aren’t many jobs as physically easy as being a Night Desk Attendant (NDA). For hours you are asked to simply sit at a desk and occasionally sign students into the building hell, you’re essentially paid to relax and watch some Netflix. However, research has surfaced suggesting this job does not take its toll; as the hours go by and you rack up shift after shift the effects become harder and harder to ignore.

Those who become an NDA are faced with a radical and completely unavoidable adjustment to a nocturnal lifestyle. If you sit desk between the hours of midnight and seven AM know that you’re not alone and everyone who has done this job goes through what you’re going through just at their own pace.

These are the five stages of NDA sleep loss.

Denial

You may assure your friends and family through yawns that you are not actually “all that tired.” Maybe you’ll pretend you can reset your sleep schedule, that there is still a chance to salvage it by ignoring the need to sleep after your shift and staying up until bed time the following day.

Depending on your coffee/redbull consumption this stage can last from one to four days. Eventually you will just “lay down for a minute” and wake up hours later, fully dressed, your face pressed against your own drool in a library cubicle. It’s normal to go through this stage, don’t be afraid of bean bag chairs or your common room couch: it’s all part of the healing process.

Anger

Caffeine can only hold a life together for so long before it’s going to snap. Close friends, professors, people who walk slowly in front of you on the way to class, at any given moment something will trigger the breaking point and it might be in text, it might be face to face, but you’ll probably try to say something nasty that comes out instead as fatigued and incoherent babble.

The good news is this stage can be very fast (you honestly won’t have the energy to keep a raging rampage going for too long if you even have enough to start it in the first place).

Bargaining

Now you’re beginning to nap large bits of the day away but the attempt to coffee through the rest are still there. The synapsis in your brain have likely been cooked away and you’re going to be making bad choices, possibly even thinking you have a handle on your lifestyle. You are so confident in yourself you might even begin taking more shifts, later shifts, it has become a new and unhealthy addiction.

You will trade things away (you have no need for clothes that aren’t pajamas anymore), friends and family who live normal lives in the daylight hours will be estranged and everyone at Tim Hortons and Starbucks will know your name. You’ve reached a manic low and that finally will lead us to…

Depression

You have arrived at the terrible realization that your blood cells have been replaced with miniature Arabica coffee beans: you could be ground up and served with hot water in a roll up the rim to win cup and no one would know the difference. You barely remember classes if you were there at all, people will tell you you’ve been in a group presentation and you will have no memory of ever being there. What’s worse, you even made the Prezi.

The sleep at this stage is finally catching up to you and you will go to bed Friday and you will wake up Monday afternoon having missed all of your classes. You know you cannot continue working upwards of fifteen hours a week for NDA and that it is time to stop working or finally accept what has happened to you.

Acceptance

This is the new reality: welcome to it.

People are shocked to see you, they thought you graduated or died or something, but here you are. Sleep happens anywhere at anytime because napping is an art you have perfected. You know exactly when you need to drop what you’re doing and catch some z’s to make it to your classes and still sit the desk until 7AM.

What’s even better is that everyone knows you are the NDA that has it together, you don’t need to beg for shifts anymore, people know they can call you at 3:28 and you will be there to protect that building until the sun comes up.

By Dan Hahn

ImageNoting an outrageous number of issues with their intervisitation policy, Grissom Hall has recently held a massive investigation into why exactly, so many people are breaking into their building. The results were shocking and revealed that, while there was the occasional off campus laundry squatter, a vast majority of the break-ins were just to use the first floor bathrooms. Authorities had this to say:

“At first we weren’t really sure what to expect I mean Grissom seems an odd choice for a rash of break-ins, but when we began to compare the spike in policy violations with the number of times janitors have needed to replace the toilet paper in the first floor bathroom we were seeing a startling correlation.”

As it turns out first hand reports suggest that the first floor bathroom always gives out the “perfect” amount of paper towel from its paper towel dispenser. That coupled with the rustic brick architectural sensibility of Grissom hall has made it what residents and break-ins alike call “the best bathroom” on campus.

“So often those dispensers give out way too little paper towel,” explains Andrea Michaels, a break-in apprehended late last night by Grissom’s NDA, “but the first floor bathroom in Grissom, I don’t know, it’s just like it knows exactly how much paper my wet hands need to be the perfect amount of dry.”

While the news was at first met with tighter restrictions on Grissom’s intervisitation policy there have been plans to open up a toll booth charging students one quarter per use to enter the bathroom regardless of where they might live.

“What we have here is a golden opportunity,” explains Grissom RHA president, Samantha Reins, “and like hell I’m not gonna jump on this golden goose while it’s still laying eggs.”

By Dan Hahn

Image“Like shit man… We should have known about this before half our budget got cut. Between that and the money we lost on our annual club March Madness brackets I think we may be in a bit of a pinch for FREF Fest this year.”

Intramurals Treasurer and Junior Marketing major, Rob Niles, is as shocked as anyone to find out that several student clubs will be hosting special events from 6PM until 12AM after SPECTRUM’s on campus FRED Fest has ended. However, hoping to pool together with some of the other clubs, Niles is confident that they will be able to “pull off something I guess.”

Emily Orts, President of the Sigma Iota sorority weighed in with her opinion saying:

We literally just passed the vote to donate much of our budget to the Relay for Life – but that’s not to say the fourteen dollars we have left can’t go a long way. I know a guy back home that might be able to help us out, he was always doing card tricks in the high school cafeteria and back then it only cost a bag of fruit snacks. Hopefully his expectations for payment haven’t changed.

While many groups are surprised to hear that they will be helping SPECTRUM host its single most important (arguably only) event of the year many are excited to finally have a hand in the FREF Fest activities.

Leaving us with invaluable insight, Computer Science Club Treasurer, Andrew Valentine has high hopes for this year’s FREF Fest saying:

“FRED Stock got a mechanical bull so I say we pool together and get a real one wouldn’t that be a blasty blast?”

A blasty blast indeed Andrew and hopefully what remains uncut and unspent of our clubs budgets will be enough to make all these dreams come true.

By Dan Hahn

ImageLate last night reports came in from some of our top field agents that a dark truth lies behind the email credited to Vice President Herman that first introduced us to the “FREF” fest phenomenon. As it turns out, he has until very recently been held hostage in his home by FRED Stock administration and forced to write the email that could potentially lead to the cancelation of FRED Fest.

“We’ve been staking out the residence for about five days now,” tells us our anonymous man in the field, “basically since the email went out we had a sneaking suspicion of foul play and sure enough we got our confirmation last night.”

Although still murky our agent says a hand was seen closing a window on the second floor with the FRED Stock logo tattooed into the wrist. We’re told that it is still too soon to confirm the exact identity or number of the captors, but it is clear that Herman is being held against his will in a state of house arrest.

“At this point we are trying to do our very best to get him out of there safe and whole, but unfortunately have had a very difficult time figuring out exactly what is happening in there. That is at least until our recent discovery of a secret code concealed in his FREF Fest email.”

Our agent tells us that the email we have all received was in fact forced on Herman and that many of the gaffes we’ve been laughing at these past few days are in fact coded messages informing us of his dangerous situation.

“We have top men working on the decoding process, currently we have deciphered three words which gives us ‘don’t’, ‘kernel’, and ‘gallery’ it’s not much to go on but we are hoping to have the rest of the message before the night is up.”

While our team is working tirelessly on decoding exactly what Herman was trying to tell us there is a rumor that a crack rescue team has been assembled to intercept and free Herman tonight while he is in transit between his home and the emergency SA meeting. We know the meeting is at least in some part scheduled by his captors and that they have an eye on the proceedings but beyond that it’s difficult to say exactly how it all might pan out.

For now we keep our fingers crossed and assure you, we are doing all we can to bring our people home safe.

By Dan Hahn

ImageWith FREF fest just around the corner Fredonia administration is stepping it up to avoid a repeat of last year’s downtown mayhem. The trouble is that between so many different variables from weather to visiting student turn out a simple catch-all solution seems next to impossible.

“We can really boil the problems down to one of two variables,” says lead FREF Fest analyst, Martin Saliger, “and that is a balance between incentive to remain on campus and the threat to stay out of the surrounding community.”

Saliger goes on to explain that “despite what some might consider ‘overwhelming’ historical evidence” it only makes sense that students will be less receptive to positive incentives like FREDFest to remain on campus than they will be to threatening “decentives” to go downtown at all.

“With SPECTRUM’s FRED Fest, or rather the FRED Fest they typically host (last year an obvious exception) students will find a lot of reasons to remain here on Fredonia campus. Unfortunately many will still go downtown all the same. That said we have decided upon a course of action we believe will deter 100 percent of our students from going downtown at all, a much better result than even the most successful FRED Fest has ever had.”

“While it is still early in the planning process we have decided that during this FREF Fest season, so from May 2nd to May 5th, we will release into downtown Fredonia a large pack of wild badgers that we think will successfully keep students at home.”

Having a chance to take a quick look at the badgers in question all housed happily at the Buffalo Zoo, we agree that they will likely be effective in convincing most students to keep away from downtown. Saliger continued to fill us in on some of the specifics saying:

“We will of course have policemen and various town volunteers stationed at key exit points from downtown Fredonia to bounce the little guys back into play so-to-speak, but we figure once they get ahold of one student they’ll probably have all the incentive they need to stay in the area on their own. While we aren’t exactly hoping for casualties, we figure any that may occur will be good to act as further deterrents to those students who might be questioning the commitment these badgers have to mauling whatever might wander into the kill zone.”