Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Education Revelation

Gosh... I never meant to "scare the bejeezus" out of a prefrosh days before camp Yale with my anti Ivy-Mythology rant. Sorry kid- you're gunna be fine.

I want to clarify something- Yale got the brunt of my ire because of what I feel is an undeserved overly-lofty status in the collective cultural conscious, and because it's the only college I went to so therefore the only one I know enough about to write long whining diatribes, and because I fancy myself an Ivyconoclast. But Yale isn't hell, or else I would have left.
Yale is simply a symptom of a larger educational epidemic...

The roots of compulsory and linearly ranked (graded) education are sordid and surprising, and I wanted to share some of my research:

In the early 1800s the King of Prussia decided he wanted a KICK ASS army. The kind of army that would do and believe whatever the hell they were told no matter how absurd. So he sent guys with guns to steal kids from their parents and forced them to go to the first official nationalized public school, where they were completely indoctrinated, lectured with unflinchingly rigid royally-approved curriculum, and were not allowed to even ask a question unless they first asked if they had permission to ask a question. This is the origin of raising your hand folks. (...I always knew that prissy bitch Ms. Cook was a fascist...)

Then the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION in America comes along, and Horace Mann, the father of compulsory American public schooling, takes a trip over to Germany to study this tip top child-molding system. He brings it back to make sure there are sufficient cogs for the new American Industrial machine. Check out this creeptastic quote about his goals for indoctrinating, I mean
educating, the masses:

"Having found the present generation composed of materials almost unmalleable, I am about transferring my efforts to the next. Men are cast-iron; but children are wax. Strength expended upon the latter may be effectual, which would make no impression upon the former."

Public education was made compulsory on a national level, but its private investors and most influential molders like Ford Rockefeller and Carnegie were never intending to help kids achieve the American Dream. These guys needed bodies to work in factories. John D. Rockefeller, THE FOUNDER OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, said "I don't want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers."

Traditional education was always intended to suppress individual creativity in favor of the collective good. And I'm pretty sure that's called socialism. 

But even after the Robber Barons kicked the bucket, this anti-child agenda held fast. Benjamin Bloom of the famed 'Bloom's Taxonomy,' which has arguably played a bigger role in shaping education than any other document, claimed outright that “The purpose of education is to change the thoughts feelings and actions of students.”

And there, in a nutshell, is the history of why you should be suspicious of traditional education.

But that isn't even close to the most interesting part. THIS is the BEST part:

In order to inspire obedience and competition amongst students, and to save time and money, holistic written evaluations were scrapped in favor of linearly ranked evaluation.  And those impersonal, maddeningly un-calibrated and mind-numbing grades, 4.0, ABCD, grades...WERE INVENTED AT YALE.

Grades. Came. From Yale.

(Not to be outdone, Harvard decides to use 100 points instead of four...)
Of course in order to impress these institutions, all the feeder schools began shaping their evaluation system to comply with these rankings. Grades trickled down from Yale to thousands of highschools and middleschools and beyond, tantalizing and torturing the brains of millions of kids for the past hundred years with their uncreative unproductive and unhelpful brand of labeling.

Holy Shit. When I first read this I fell off my couch and lay there basking in the horrifying possibility that I was a pawn in some sick cosmic cycle of elitism... I had spent 16 years perfecting a system to impress the very institution which invented the system?! WHAAAT?

I was horrified. I was furious. I was shocked that I hadn't looked into this sooner... everyone just follows the system without stopping to question its merits or relevance. Nobody tells you that the whole damn thing was concocted as a way to bludgeon your individuality to death with a cleaver and then pump your deflated corpse full of creamy sweet conformist filling.

But then after my blood boiled over I started to feel vindicated for having suspected something was fishy since the very beginning... school was a drag. I was good at it but it never made my soul sing, and I was sure there was more to life than being a good parrot. I was proud of myself for never giving in. And I decided to spread the word.

Consider it spread. 

Several very insightful commenters noted that if you try hard you can find inspiring teachers and great people at Yale, and they are absolutely totally right. In fact that's true of most places you'll find yourself educational or no.

But it just seems to me that for all the hype, for all the bullshit of applying, for all the time and for 40 grand a year for four years, your brain should be orgasmically stimulated. Call me a demanding customer, but that's the way I see it.

College is a product without a better business bureau to police it, and the most infuriating thing is that even if you don't want to buy it, it has made itself a necessity in many job circles. And with inflation, the jobs that used to go to college grads now require masters degrees, and the MA positions are only PH.D worthy, etc.

So work the system and get the most you can, but know that it's just that, a system, not an answer.

Be an Autodidact. Follow your passions. Thoughts?

(Cuz you can take the 'A's and shove them up your SS.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hannah's Guide to Eternal Happiness (Part One)

I worked for Yale admissions all four years and have advised thousands of nervous prefrosh about everything from med school requirements to fire safety regulations (apparently his biggest fear was being burned alive...gotta love those fresh-faced, well-adjusted Yalies....)

But after a while I realized that these kids were not asking me how many sweaters to bring New Haven, how many APs to take, and what acapella rush is like because of their love of sweaters, standardized testing, and public humiliation. It was because they were, like any kid about to enter college, freaked out.

But even if they come to Yale armed with those answers (a shitload, a shitload, and a load of shit) and more, I realized they wouldn't really be any better off. Logistics are what overachievers excel at, and those kids don't need me telling them that New Haven is cold unless they're retarded *oops* I mean recruited athletes. So I started to cut through the bull and tell them the things that I didn't think they'd be able to find in their bluebooks. And the more I talked the more I realized how many of us who are awesome at SATs and internships and auditions and elections are surprisingly lacking in something most butt-sniffing dogs are constantly capable of- Actually Being Truly Happy.

So I've sorted my thoughts into a few chunks, this being the first. 

HANNAH'S (slightly hypocritical)*

1. The Voice
If you are like me, or if you are even slightly more interesting than unbuttered toast, you have some form of The Voice. The Voice sounds a whole lot like you except that The Voice is a dick. The Voice takes great pleasure in saying helpful things like this:

"You are never going to finish ____ you incompetent lazy baboon. Go eat Mars Bars and forget your woefully pathetic _____ abilities in the mindless abyss of reality television. You will never amount to anything."

"Wow. This idea sucks more balls than 1. Paris Hilton and Liberace at a ball sucking competition and 2. A sweatshop full of cute asian girls who are only fed that tapioca-ball bubble tea and 3.a powerball lotto machine combined. To review: this idea, and by extension you, suck."

"Holy shit this is a disaster! Everything is horrible and it's only getting worse! Bail out now."

the one that I'm sure all you Yalies in the audience will be familiar with:

"That's not good enough. Why do you even bother? You could do so much better."

and the wonderfully uplifting:

"Nobody loves you and you have no friends. That annoying habit you secretly fear someone could hate you for is only one of the thousands of reasons that everyone hates you."

The Voice insists that it's The Voice and not you're awesomeness that makes you a successful person. "Without me you'd be a crack addicted loser" The Voice declares. But just for kicks, let's think of The Voice as if it were a voice outside your head instead of inside for a moment.

Imagine if you had someone hanging around you pretty much all the time who shouted about what a failure you were, and told you you were ugly and unworthy, and insisted that all your dreams are laughable delusions because you're such a talentless slob. 

If I were you, I'd punch that person in the face. And I hope you would too.

And let's remind ourselves that on some days we inflict that kind of battering on ourselves hour after painful hour with the expectation that we're being realists. It's game time. Nose to the grindstone. Tough love. 

That's bullshit.

People tell us it's good to be motivated and to give yourself deadlines. We assume this means being hard on yourself. But you and I both know that you're going to reach the finishline much faster if someone is cheering you on even when you fall down instead of taking the opportunity to pour bees on your head and smack you around with 2x4.

Let's be logical- if you're like me, and you err on the side of perfectionism, you do not need The Voice telling you that you're doing a terrible lazy uncreative mediocre job. You'll get it done faster and it'll be more pleasant if you just stay positive and wait to critique yourself until the end.

In fact, doing something creative like writing, and something more critical like editing, uses entirely different parts of the brain. Doing and criticizing is like simultaneously trying to tweek and analyze the exact decibel frequency of the aria you are trying to perform with passionate emotion- it's gunna trip you up.

So... what to do?

First thing's first. Identify it. The Voice is super sneaky and, as I said before, sounds exactly like you. It also knows everything there is to know about you, every icky awful cringe-worthy detail, so it has a pretty big arsenal of insults to draw from. Don't let it get to you. You're too important to waste time getting stamped on by some figment of your own imagination.

Secondly- Reason with it. Eventually you'll be able to hear the voice and tell it to shut the fuck up, but at first The Voice is not going to back down easily, so you'll have to be pugnacious and deal with feeling like a skitzo for a little while. It goes a little something like this:

"You suck."
"Glad to hear that you think that. But I'm busy right now."
"Ya, busy sucking"
"A helpful suggestion, but one which I know will only serve to make me feel crappy, which is ultimately going to hurt my productivity and quality of life, so I bid you good day sir."
"Who do you think you are you pretentious freak? This is why you have no friends."
"No, this is why you have no friends. You're negative and obsessive and if you talked to any of my friends the way you talked to me they would punch you in the face."

Thirdly- After working hard at the last one, you'll eventually have sussed out The Voice's tricks enough to smell The Voice like a distant but swiftly approaching hint of dog poo in the breeze, and just put it aside. It's not helpful. It's not enjoyable. You're not even going to dignify it with a conversation.


So here is my footnote about why my guide is *(slightly hypocritical) ...

This is hard.
This is really hard. It is 100% worthwhile but you will have to work at it constantly, especially if you, like me, have The Voice turned on so loud that sometimes it has edged out your own voice entirely. *I do not claim to have mastered this system.

But I do know that every day I use it, my life is happier, healthier, and more meaningful. I have more productivity, more joy, more fun, more energy to make friends, more confidence in myself, and more certainty in what I want to do with my life than ever before.

Sussing out The Voice is the most powerful gift I've ever given myself, and I hope you find it helpful. 

Check back for another Happiness Guide and How To Get Published installment.

Let me know if you have questions :)

Much Love and Light,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pilot Audition Tape

The audition tape which won me the New York Television Film Festival Flying Solo contest. (turn up the volume on the bottom it defaults very low)


My pilot premieres September 17th. Hooray!

video url:
contest details here:

Spamming Quips and Publishing Tips

Last night I did something brazen. I sent out a mass blog advertisement to every possible Yale panlist I had ever been a part of in four years. I broke the yalemail rules. The possibility of my dignified and dapper Master Haller browsing a slapdash post about curry & cunnilingus wasn't even enough to dissuade my triggerhappy click finger.

And I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I think it's important to start steeling myself against critics, and I don't know anywhere with a higher density of socially frustrated elitists who get their self-aggrandizing kicks by pointing out pedantic imperfections in other people's work (myself included) than at Yale. Secondly, my Yalemail expires in about 3 days and I was more than happy to bid the buggy system goodbye in a spam-tastic flurry of self promotion.

Encouragingly, despite this caveat I included at the end of the email:

If you are FUMING because you received this email three times in a row then either get a better spam filter, or take this as serendipity and see if one of my posts doesn't tickle you. That, or write derogatory sarcastic comments on my blog to vent your anger at me while soothing the pains of a pathetic life in which email decorum takes up 1/3 of your mental energy while STILL supporting the career of a struggling artist.

I have still ruffled the feathers of people who don't seem to understand sarcasm, like the Grammar Gestapo, who is quick to tell me that “I think if you're going to write a book, you should learn how to use punctuation with quotations…” and, helpfully, " know it's spelled Tandoori, right?"

I apologize guys. Although I too used to extract meager droplets of self worth from making sure English papers footnotes were formatted exactly perfectly, I am now a Yale graduate and this is a blog, so I am no longer beholden to the ALL HOLY MLA FORMAT. Witness a daring rebellion as I cavalierly leave this sentence totally un-punctuated

Also- that's what I have an editor for. Do you have an editor? No? Then I guess it's a good thing you can use punctuation marks correctly. Well done. Gold star!

The ones that I won't admit stung a little more included: "Jesus h christ you're not funny" and the thrilling "you are not funny and I hope no one buys your book." Well I don't think you're particularly funny either.

But I do think it's funny that you may be stuck at Yale writing 10-12 page papers which will be scanned for 4 seconds by a manic depressive TA playing guitar hero with his free hand while I get to sort through comments about writing that people are actually reading. People including you, funnyman.

My alltime favorite comment was "The least you could've done is facebook friended me first, you trollop." Consider it done Chris. Anyone who can combine 21st century telecommunication and 17th century prostitution in one swiftly condemning quip is ok by me.

I was really tickled to read that one person had already heard of my blog when a friend told him something along the lines of "believe it or not, someone we went to Yale with is doing something better than turning other people's money into more money or doing coke off of toilet seats."

I am humbled by this compliment and hope I will live up to it. In fact I am resolving here and now before all and BlogGod only to turn other people's money into my money and do coke off of strippers' elbows nowhere near toilet seats.

He promised "I will read your book cover to cover when it comes out, tell my friends about it even when I lack an appropriate conversational segue, AND read your blog...if you tell me about the process you went through to get to this point" which I think is a pretty legitimate deal seeing as I claimed to be writing about professional writing. You're on AC. So here's a little intro which will be fleshed out over the coming weeks:

How to get a book deal.

First, have a unique idea. Do research into your target demographic and be familiar with the hooks of bestsellers in your market. See if you can find a niche for yourself amongst them, and once you do, start writing a killer chapter sample.

A lot of people I know slaved away writing entire books before shopping them around, but the truth is that most book deals are sold based on a proposal which includes, generally, a compelling summary, 2 sample chapters, a chapter outline, marketing info, and a bio. That's it.
Then you get an editor to help you figure everything out, and an advance to bolster living expenses while you write for a few months, so sometimes it's better to concentrate on a killer proposal that gets you in the door than driving yourself nuts writing the perfect completed novel which people are going to want to change anyway.

There are two ways to go after you assemble this stuff, and please ask questions if you want more details on any of those specific proposal elements.

First, send emails to a gagillion agents. Agents will help you craft a proposal and shop it around to the big buyers. There are tons of listings on the net, one of which is here:

Do your research and figure out which agents specialize in what. Don't send your slasher murder mystery to a children's book agent. If you have a favorite series or an author you want to pattern yourself after it wouldn't hurt to find out what agency they work with.

Calls are generally considered creepy, so write a short but intriguing email about your book, attach your summary or chapter, and hope for the best. Be enthusiastic and appeal to their mentorly side (Having a email address really helped me out here). I sent about 50 emails and got 6 or 7 responses, two of which resulted in meetings, and one ended up with a contract. Still, even the contractless agents offered me tips on how to make the proposal more industry-ready and I think I ended up with a much better product after hearing so many 'no's.

However, this is where things get tricky. Agents are basically professional leeches no matter how nice and competent they are, and it's a big commitment to give 20% of your career to someone before you even have one. You don't need one right away.

I actually got this book deal without my agent through contact with the publishing company, which can be established through more emails, tenacity, and personal contacts. If you know a friend of a friend who is interning at Random House, get them your proposal. Often interns our age are the ones sorting through submissions and can make the difference between a proposal winding up on an editor's desk or in the garbage.

Also, blogs are the new frontier in publishing, and if you get a lot of traffic and fill a niche you'll be able to attract attention from publishers while honing your writing chops.

And you may even get a bunch of your former classmates anonymously accusing you of hackery.

My advice is to write a lot, even when you don't feel like it, because if you wait 'til you feel like it you'll be that 80 year old guy still working on his first and only novel. I don't like writing. But I do like having written.

What do you guys think? How have you managed to motivate yourselves beyond the realm of GPAs? How have I endured my first official Ivy-avalanche of troll posts? Keep me posted, keep smiling, keep the faith.


Thursday, August 21, 2008


My friend goes on a date, he and the lady get tipsy, she takes him home, she goes down on him, and as any gentlemanly gentleman would do, he attempts to return the favor. He has never done this before and is less than pleased with the results.

"My god it's like trench warfare down there" he shrieks retelling the harrowing tale.

Nausea swells but then subsides. It subsides because he has vomited chunky curry tandori dinner all over her... trench. He says that she says it stings even after she's run into the shower and rinsed and redressed and called a cab to take him home.

"I'm gay" he announces.

I try to sound surprised, like his tapdancing and love of lavender scented candles and obsession with American Idol were just flukes. "Reeeeeeally?"

"I guess sometimes God works in mysterious ways" he says mysteriously.

"And so does Tandori" I conclude.

He pauses. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat it again."

"...well that makes two of us."


I've been caring for a narcoleptic poodle and she's making me suspicious.

At first I was convinced she was about as intelligent as a doorknob who you also had the privilege of feeding, walking, and petting. She had been biting her tail and had her head in one of those oversized clear plastic cones to make sure she couldn't reach it. "Stop biting your stupid tail stupid dog. It's not good for you. Stopit how hard is that?" I say while watching TV eating brownies surfing the internet and drinking a glass of wine.

Dog follows me around the house, even into the bathroom, and cocks her head to the side perplexedly like I just sprouted alien antennae when I say "Go. Get out. Just because you can shit in the middle of the Stop and Shop parkinglot at rushhour doesn't mean that this is a spectator sport." She cocks her head to the other side. I do whatever shooing I can from the toilet, then resort to hurling a roll of toilet paper at her, then lock the door. I feel guilty about it the rest of the day because she hangs her head like she's done something wrong.

Dog likes to sniff things and tugs at the leash powerfully when she decides that prime sniffing loations are behind us. "This way! Eiw that's a dead bird! Come ON stupid dog." She gives up after a while but still seems perfectly satisfied with herself by the end of the walk having smelled, pooped, and smelled lots of poop, and lies down for some tail gnawing or some squeezy toy chewing or some shut eye.

Dog watches me get dressed and follows me back and forth from laundry to mirror to closet to mirror to bathroom to mirror to closet. I feel like a tour guide and suddenly feel an aggravating pressure to be doing something more exciting than color coordinating. Dog has no clothes and a floofy poodle haircut but that wasn't my decision and presumably not her's either.

Dog catches me masturbating and thinks this too is a spectator sport. It's beyond awkward and the mood is beyond ruined and Dog seems to think we are playing a game. Dog offers me her squeezy toy. I do not return the gesture.

Dog does not procrastinate.

My Dad says his philosophy on life is based on his dead dog Barker. Barker insisted on healthy cardio and spending time in nature, and not letting the man get you down. One day in the park Barker made friends with the dog of a beautiful lady who turned out to be my mother. Barker sure could pick 'em, Dad says.

My mother is suspicious of anyone who the monkey (see note) does not trust. My mother says the monkey can smell dishonesty. My mother also says the monkey might be psychic. Sometimes the monkey drinks her own urine.

Sometimes I hate my writing so much it makes me sick to even approach the computer letalone face the screen and come to terms with how much more I have to finish. I squeeze my theighs, enraged at my inefficiency, til white thumbprints appear. I watch the blood fill them in as a temporary distraction from the lame lame lameness of how lame everything is.

Dog offers me her squeezy toy.

We take a walk. She cocks her head.

I wonder what Dog is thinking as Dog wonders what I am thinking and I realize that we are thinking the same thing. And I wonder which of us is slumming it. And I don't think it's me.

Monkey (Amelia) has lived with my mom for 23 years. 2 years longer than she's had me. Monkey gets the good towels.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fuckity Fuck Fuck (or, the beauty of the blossoms)

Sam seems to be doing better thank god. No permanent damage, no ruptured tendons as he insisted was the case while lamenting "well... I guess I need to choose another career. I can never be a musician." I held back from reminding him that Django only had 2 fingers and still tore it up, but then a surge of big-sisterly-snootiness overtook me and I said "See? This is what it's like to feel depressed. Sucks, huh?"

This was in response to a lifetime of my blissfully contended brother observing my bouts of anxiety depression obsession and self doubt the same way a beach towel might consider a volleyball... why all that bouncing soaring pounding nauseating spiraling hysteria? Why get smacked around all day by angry women when you can just lie on the sand and have them lounge atop you? This is the kid whose first girlfriend was a beautiful blonde heiress who flew him to her private peninsula complete with houses cabins docks and boats. Private fucking peninsula. I spend highschool cramming for AP classes, being class president, and meticulously concocting the ingredients of a fairytale relationship only to end up with an eating disorder and an alcoholic nutjob while Sam basically sleeps and smokes his way into a fucking romance novel.

But while we're on the subject of fucking... one of my loyal readers who also happens to be my loyal aunt mentioned a friend of hers read this blog and thinks I say fuck too much. My first instinct was, of course, to tell that friend to go fuck herself. Who the fuck does she think she fucking is? Go read Dr. Laura's blog if you want things kept clean.

But after some fucking consideration I realized that my love of etymology has never ventured into the furtive forest of fuck and so I decided to do some further fucking research.

There are many theories as to the origin of fuck. Some say it comes from one or a combination of a cornucopia of language roots:
The Swedish focka -strike push
The Swedish fock -penis
The French se foutre- to care nothing
The German ficken- to itch, scratch, make quick movements to and fro
The Latin facare- to do, to make
The Dutch fugtig- damp, musty

I learned the word has its fair share of fucklore, if you will. Some falsely surmise it originated as a medieval battlefield taunt (holding up your middle arching finger and shouting 'pluck you' was a way to rub in the fact that the soldiers had been victorious and would be able to fight again), others claim it's actually an acronym (False Use of Carnal Knowledge, Fornication Under the Christian King...). The fact of the matter is that although it was coyly referenced in euphemism by Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and James Joyce, its most popular advertisement came from a Louis Armstrong song entitled Ol' Man Mose, chorus below:

(We believe) He kicked the bucket,
(We believe) Yeah man, buck-buck-bucket,
(We believe) He kicked the bucket and ol' man mose is dead,
(We believe) Ahh, fuck it!
(We believe) Buck-buck-bucket

Which basically means that the reason people use the word Fuck is because some guy couldn't think of a rhyme for bucket. Seriously, can you? Nantucket... that's all I got.

Despite its humble beginnings, fuck blossomed into veritable verbal fucking manna- for no other word can convey so many things for so many people in so many different situations:

Fuck can be used in an endless number of ways, its grammar malleability showcased by the
transitive verb form- she fucked him
intransitive verb- he likes to fuck
adjective- where did all the fucking doritos go?
adverb- you talk too fucking much
noun- who gives a flying fuck?
verb- don't fuck with me buster.
exclamation- Holy fuck!

But what really struck me was despite the fact that fuck came from far and wide, its countries of origin are fucked when it comes to the handy applicability we enjoy here in the USA

In French, "He's a great fuck" is "C'est un bon coup" but "He's a fuckup" is "C'est un pauvre con" while "Fuck off" is "Va chier!" (I don't speak fantastic French so don't slaughter me for translation). The list goes on. They are missing out on the simplistic beauty of our Fuck... a fuck which can be used to describe joy, disappointment, surprise, anger, and an endless host of other emotions. A true chameleon, Fuck should be celebrated for its versatility and efficiency- it's the ipod of profanity, the Bard of bawdiness, the Hercules of lewd, the frosting on the birthday cake of foulmouthed filth.

So what have I learned? Perhaps I could use more restraint, but we're all adults here... and if the best way I can think of to describe a music tour in which 1/3 of my band goes from jazz-god to limbless-lad in a month is "a fucking disaster," I'm not going to hold back. It would be patronizing. I think too much of you to dress my posts up in bonnets and powder their noses before publishing.

However, I will admit that perhaps due to its vunderful versatility I might use a fucking fuck-crutch a little more than fucking necessary to inject edginess into anotherwise bland sentence. And after what I have learned, fuck has come too far, has blossomed too magnificently in its unparallelled functionality, to be taken for granted. Like fine china, perhaps fuck should only be taken out for the most special of circumstances... if the pope comes to visit or something.

Or maybe, rather than being a crazy celibate monk about my fucks, I should simply learn to appreciate and truly savor them instead of hurling them around like fucks grow on trees. The world is a splendid place full of many complex beautiful things awaiting our attention, and we can choose to hurry past, or to bask in their fucking glow.

So have a lovely evening folks. Hug your families. Breath some fresh air. Be patient with yourselves. I, for one, am not going to frivolously fritter my beautiful things away just for the heck of it.

But sometimes, and in some contexts, something feels so right it can't be wrong.

Goodnight folks.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blah Blah Blog

I have to be honest, folks. Frequent blogging freaks me the fuck out because every time I finish a post I’m happy with it means dick the next day, and maybe even worse than dick, raises the bar for the next post. Today, in a pathetic attempt to find a blogging niche and a mad dash to one-up myself, I pumped successful blogs for ideas, took my favorite post titles, gutted them of heinously awful/ridiculous content and filled in my own.

Everyone on the blogosphere seems too brain addled to be capable of reading content longer than one sentence, so we have reverted to a simplified bullet point system as demonstrated by the two real post titles found below and filled with my own content:

Top five hairstyles of Lauren LC Conrad and how to do them yourself:
Seeing as the complexities of my hairstyling repertoire amount to two modes: hair up and hair down, this is perplexing. For a brief period in middleschool (known as the dark ages) I subscribed to the very popular Puerty Rican hair-plastered-to-your-skull look, and the combination of my rather large head and the even larger plume of cauliflower curls bursting forth around my neck once I had run out of skull to plaster my hair to with gobs of hairgel is something I get chills reliving even now.

I can however, point out that the only thing which flagged this chick as a candidate for being on TV in the first place was the fact that she is fucking loaded. If you have enough money to employ a professional hair stylist, you too will have fab hair ladies. So here is my how-to for La Lauren’s cute wavy look:

1. Get rich. (I’m talkin’ four iphones and a swarovski-coated Chihuahua rich.)

2. Get pretty. (skinny, tan, toned, mani and pedi botox lunching at the Ivy pretty)

3. Get someone else to grow you some really fantastic hair (preferably a vegan nubile Swiss virgin) then lob it off and get it woven into your own hair.

4. Get another someone to perform daily blows, curls, spritzes, scrunches, twists, and up-dos on your lovely new locks. It is preferable to abuse this someone verbally, financially, or otherwise if you get really creative.)

5. Work it, biatch!

Top three ways to get into a bar underage:
Boobs, more specifically, cleavage, sideboob, or, for the truly desperate or perhaps already halfway gone due to vigilant pre-gaming- the nip slip. It’s not classy ladies, but neither is the drunken dance floor dry-humping you’re about to be doing. Pay a bum to buy you a bottle of wine and drink the classy way- with friends in a candlelit room where the floor doesn’t stick to your shoes and smell like piss, or for the truly Hemmingway at heart- alone in your locked room with only the glow of a flickering candle for company.

There are many posts which claim they are doing you a favor by telling you how to be more efficient, effective, and productive.

However, scanning the internet for ways to be productive is like fucking a porcupine to get rid of that stabbing pain in your inner theigh. I mean that’s a little graphic but seriously, the whole reason you’re unproductive is the fact you are spending time stumbling upon these articles. However, if you fall into the category of people who are genuinely trying to find answers instead of dicking around and then giving themselves an excuse for dicking around by finding a ‘productive’ way of dicking around, then you need to know a few things which are brutally honest and which , even in my most manic raging waves of productivity, I can never manage to stick to:

How To Be Productive
1. Sit down and fucking do it.
2. Shut up, stop whining, and really do it.
3. Seriously, what the fuck are you still doing here- go do it. It will usually get done.

These posts love to harp on the power of positive thinking, taking small bites, and good planning, but all the planning and smiling in the world isn’t going to get shit done unless you do it. Go and do it.

People like to review new technology and applications, and I’ve noticed that the NEW FACEBOOK has garnered a huge amount of posts. But what worries me more is the huge amount of views on said posts… a whole community of people who are too retarded and devoid of personality to even make their own decision about the ultimate tecno-tool for retards with no personalities

Review of the New Facebook
Don’t get me wrong, I use the facebook. I use it more than I’ll care to admit, but I am under no illusion that I am indulging in anything short of binging on a sociopathic-masturbation sunday with a .com cherry on top. Facebook and THE NEW FACEBOOK are still good for exactly the same things:

1. reinforcing my fear of social interaction
2. stalking the fuck out of everyone under the guise of “social networking”
3. Looking at pictures of old boyfriends’ new girlfriends to see if they are prettier than I am
4. Looking at pictures of the bitchy girls from highschool to see if they are prettier than I am
5. Looking at pictures of seemingly happy people going to parties, lounging on the beach together, and making silly faces on backpacking Euro-trips to reinforce what I already suspected, which is that my life is boring and empty.
6. Posing for pictures with people who are not really my friends at parties on the beach and in Europe to reinforce the illusion that compared to me, everyone else’s life is boring and empty.

Movie Review
Who really cares about your movie review unless you are A. a well respected film maker B. famous, or C. a total asshole who is entertaining only in their brazen assholedome. Since I have no claim to a or b yet, I’ll dive right into C and say something inflammatory just for the sake of getting attention:

Heath Ledger absolutely SUCKED ASS in Dark Knight because he was not Heath Ledger, but rather a shapeshifting reincarnation of Sid Vicious who died only a few months before the birth of baby Heath, as clearly evidenced here:

Well done Sid.

Someone got fat, someone got knocked up, someone is in rehab. I don’t know how the same recycled stories still manages to maintain our interest year after year. I mean come on people, we have CG now, can’t we have a cooler scandal? Mary Kate Olsen is dating a kraken!

I don’t care if Lindsay Lohan is a lesbian. Call me when you find out her lesbian lover is the spirit of Catherine the great (the Paris Hilton of the 18th century, whose well pounded Polish pussy got gossip mills a churnin’ claiming she died by having sex with a horse. That’s right. A horse. Now THAT’S a quality tabloid. Step it up tabloids of 2008, you’ve got big shoes (and vaginas) to fill.)

I’m out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Awesomeness: the Scottish Tourism Epic

Now with a 7 hour plane ride between me and Scotland, I have had some time to reflect, because although I don’t have a thing for shitty weather, alcoholism and kilt-clad lads, I do have a special fondness for Scotland.

And after some consideration I think it’s really an appreciation for the perpetual cultural zeitgeist which, to be sociologically blunt, pretty much amounts to “… Fuck it!” Nowhere is this better exemplified than in their tourism industry.

Scot the Scottish Tourism Apprentice and his master are drinking ale by a fireside...

But Sir… our weather is dreary and depressing and the only thing we’ve ever done arguably better than other countries is make whiskey!

I know my boy, but...Fuck it! We’re gunna make it work.


We’ll start with the weather. You know the moors?

You mean our many “ open areas of land- usually above sea level- with poor drainage?”

That’s right... We’re gunna sex that shit up.

Excuse me?

You heard me lad. We’ll get some product placement in those newfangled ‘chick’ novels… the crappiness of the weather will represent… tempestuous relationships… women love that shit. Get those batty Bronte bitches on the phone.

But sir, who would want to read that?

Nobody but… fuck it. We’ll make pretentious English departments in other countries feel like they’re being sexist and unsophisticated if they don’t force every single goddamn student they ever get their hands on read it!

Oh I see! What about that Shakespeare Fellow? I heard he’s writing something that takes place in Scotland right now… it’s called Macb-

Stop right there.…. Fuck it. From now on it’s called the Scottish Play. Send some of our goons to every single place it’s being performed and have ‘em smack the shit out of someone with a blunt object anytime they say the name. It’ll catch on. Fuck I’m brilliant.

But sir… even if we get people here… how do we make them stay?

We get them piss drunk of course. We’re good at that. Here’s how I want the main street arranged: pub, fruit-stand, pub, pharmacy, pub, pub, pub with prostitutes in the back of the pub, charity shop, pub.

What if they don’t drink?

Then they’re idiots! And idiot tourists love two things: old stuff and magic stuff. We’ll give ‘em tours of the castles.

You mean the crumbling piles of rock all over the place? But they’re just… old walls.

…Fuck it. We can make up anything we want to say because the only physical evidence is a bunch of fuckin’ rocks. Battles! Bravery! We'll sell swords in the giftshop. And then for magic…


Hmm… you know what? Fuck it. Giant fish dragon. In a lake. Is it magical? Is it a dinosaur?

Is it?
Exactly. They’ll eat it up. Go round up some drunken fishermen, a half broken camera, and a noodle with an eyehole cut out. And while you’re out- you know those ridiculous tablecloth skirts people wear because we like to go commando? … fuck it. We’ll sell ‘em to tourists at $200 a pop. Oh! And you know that obnoxious squeezebox thing that sounds like you’re squeezing a dying cat?

Sir… you can’t mean… the bagpipes?

Get a whole bunch of guys, I’m talkin’ like 500 guys, playing the dead cats and wearing tablecloths. We’ll get people to pay $60 a seat, get the audience wasted and then… set stuff on fire.

(Here we have the Edinburgh Military tattoo... thousands of $60 seats booked more than a year in advance.)

Sir… you’re truly a genius. How can I ever repay you for all you've taught me?

Go make our national animal the most hilariously fruity thing you can possibly think of. Oh- and get me a drink. or five.

Anything for you sir.

And the official animal of Scotland is (…fuck it)
a unicorn! That’s right, who needs biological taxonomy when you have whimsy?

Even better, true to the nature of a loveable drunken bum who you might poke with a stick, but a looong stick just incase he ever musters enough motivation to lunge, Scotland’s motto is
“Nemo me impune lacessit” which means “no one provokes me with impunity.”

So you can provoke Scotland. You can poke and provoke and overtake its monarchy all goddamn millenia. But sooner or later… (probably later) you’re gunna get… well... (they haven’t gotten around to that part of the slogan.)

But you do not have provoking impunity, sir. There are consequences. Oh Yes. Something of undetermined nature and magnitude at an unknown future date is going to… do something. You will be somethinged. Badly. And that’s what you get for fucking with Scotland biatches.

H (no one facebookpokes me with impunity) annah

Thursday, August 7, 2008


There's nothing like sitting next to a once ten, now three-toed man gushing blood to make you reevaluate your own 'problems.'

My brother Sam has been experiencing tons of strange and intense wrist pains, and today's fun kicked off with his hands going numb, turning blue, and deforming into a creepy crippled claw-like position which made him look like the Crypt Keeper.

"Umm... what the hell should we do?" I ask the reception staff at the physical therapy place.
"Does he want a biscuit?" says a chubby receptionist
"A what?"
"A biscuit. Chocolate or oatmeal?" she asks cheerily reaching into her purse.
"Are you serious? He's shaking and turning blue."
"So... he doesn't want a biscuit?"
"No. No he doesn't want a biscuit. He wants some pain killers. Do you have anything for the pain?"
She looks at me suspiciously and puts down the biscuits.
"Just popping out for a cigarette I'll be back soon." she declares.

Well fuck.

Eventually biscuit lady and I decide to call an ambulance, which, aside from how scary the afternoon was, is actually kind of exciting. I feel suddenly like I'm on Grey's Anatomy and although I have no medical training and the phone connection is fine I find myself shouting seemingly authoritative things at the 911 (or 999 over here) person. "He is 18! He has blue hands! He is breathing! With his mouth! And nose! Stat! Shit!"

In the ambulance Sam calms down a bit and I try to get the paramedic to assure him he hasn't damaged his hands for life. Sam is the best jazz piano improviser I've ever fucking met and is understandably upset at the prospect of losing his playing capabilities. The guy goes on and on about tendons and oxygen and calcium and seems really nonplussed. I try to coax him into straightforwardly assuring Sam that he'll be fine.

"He'll be fine, right?" I nudge
"Looks like you're the one who's not doing so fine lass.. calm down there."
"I am calm."
"You've got a wee vein popping out in your forehead says otherwise."
"I'm fine."
"Do you always turn red when yer fine?"
"Listen, why are we stopping at every red light? Isn't this an ambulance?"
"I hope so, otherwise this is the worst-stocked iced cream truck in the whole damn county" he laughs, pointing to a cabinet full of splints.

Har d har har.

Then we proceed to the emergency room where we wait for 2 hours only to be moved into a small room where we wait for another 2 hours, then a nurse comes in and takes blood while she tells us about how she lives near the world's largest puffin sanctuary.

"Are you concerned the hands are blue?" I ask
"Beautiful birds."
"Very regal."
"The puffins. The royalty of marine birds. Did you know they can live 30 years?"
"And the hands?"
"They're blue."
"Umm... thanks."

Eventually they rule out the crazy-bad diseases my mother and I have been driving ourselves insane with worry researching on WebMD, splint him, drug him, and send him home.

The weirdest thing is that the whole day is free- they don't take a health insurance card or ask for a billing address. Thank fucking God for free national healthcare (wtf America, I'd put up with snarky paramedics and ornithological enthusiasts for this kind of treatment anyday). When we finally walk out of there 12 hours later with a bagfull of codeine and wrist splints and haven't paid a penny, I feel like I've pulled off a major jewel heist.

Sam is sleeping and no longer in constant pain, though he can't use his hands even to feed himself Thai food or go to the bathroom, and I cannot help but feel guilty for all of the complaining I've done thus-far on this trip, even right here on this blog.

It's easy to feel very far away from everything we'd like be and to have. Lists of our unfulfilled desires multiply with overwhelming perceived flaws in an ever-mounting mountain of reasons to be unsatisfied, frustrated, just plain depressed.

But for tonight at least, dazed from 12 hours of ER tracklighting and shitty BBC waitingroom television and gushing toe blood and unhelpful cookie-wielding receptionists and the yicky smell of antiseptic and vomit, I'm taking a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the too-often under-appreciated fact that I can go to the bathroom all by myself and feed myself chicken satay without having to use my feet, ending up with Thai peanut sauce lodged in my nose, as Sam pathetically demonstrated before bed.

And although being a superhero billionaire, or an Oscar winning astronaut, or a magical shape-shifting genie that can talk to dogs might be super awesome...compared to toe-less Joe, most of us with all 10 little piggies are having a pretty good night.

I mean, I can pee and eat chicken all by myself. Seriously. Woohoo! And if you can too, then you should smile wide, and you should give yourself a pat on the back for Sam, because he can't even pat himself on the front.

(See Ned- I don't just complain on this blog. I can be positive. I can be uplifting. I could uplift Oscar the Grouch, Squidward, and Eeyore and still have enough lifting power to lift your grumpy bum into sillyville and back- I'm like the Jewish Oprah. Suck it. Mwah.)

much love and limb limberness,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dirty Little Secrets for Cheap Laughs

Hooray for the Fringe!

Today I met up with fellow college grad G, who is spreading his carefree youth wings for the last time before September when he will be caged into official corporate servitude (don’t feel too bad, he’ll have enough cash to buy you and your family and force you to dress up in hilarious animal costumes for his afternoon entertainment before he’s 30). We have seen a host of shows ranging from complete shit to nonstop laughs.

One show opened with two gorillas emerging from orange puffs of smoke, then peeling off their fur to reveal leather, bikini-clad babes who proceeded to have an elaborate boob-jiggling sword fight before falling prostrate on the floor where they lay for the entirety of the show. Then the comedian of the evening came out dressed like Conan the Barbarian and shouted “Because I fucking can!” before starting his standup.

And he fucking could because he was fucking funny. Last year, G and I were brave/stupid enough to enter Yale’s Last Comic Standing, and we were... not. Seeing as that when I am not craving attention I am a neurotic recluse whose fear of rejection is only eclipsed by her fear of public failure, that may well have been both my debut and my Waterloo on the standup stage.

But in the written word I’m a lot more comfortable and can be flanked by my badass literary posse Captain Edit, Colonel Thesaurus, and General Wikipedia, so I thought I’d try out a popular theme I’ve noticed in the good acts here at the Fringe which I like to call the “I’m fucking crazy and here’s why” admission monologue. So here, in no particular order, is my list:

I have alternated between genuinely thinking I’m the laziest most worthless person that has ever lived and genuinely thinking I am the fucking messiah, or maybe more like a badass revolutionary who’s a cross between Che Guevara, that Terminator kid and Cheetara from Thunder Cats.

I often change clothes 3 times before walking out the door because, depending upon on where I’m going, I feel compelled to delicately navigate between being casual but not looking like a fucking hobo, trendy without looking like I'm trying to be trendy, hippie without the crunchiness, sexy without the sluttiness, and quirky without being one those obnoxious “LOOK AT ME!” girls who prances around in fairy wings.

Sometimes while you are talking, I hum a song in my head about all the things I would rather be doing than listening to you talk. (watching Schindler’s list on repeat, giving birth to quintuplets without anesthesia on an airplane that’s about to crash, swimming in snot, etc.)

Even though, as compared to 99% of the world, I come from a super comfortable financial background, if you have a trust fund, no matter how nice you are, not only am I jealous of you and completely dismissive of your ‘problems’, but I am probably doodling an imaginary Uncle Moneybags from Monopoly mustache onto your face as you talk.

I rage against all the bullshit masochistic anti-feminist swill in the media, but secretly love those old movies where the guy calls the high-collared straight-laced ingenue “doll-face” and passionately kisses her against her will and then she smacks him in the face but secretly absolutely loves it and goes in for another.

I love to be in charge, but will readily cede power and delegate responsibility in order to have a scapegoat in case things go wrong.

If I date you, I will test you with a formula which is as elaborate as it is illogical, and no matter how spontaneous you think we are being, I will have already determined whether or not you will ever get to touch my boobs by test number 3.

I am suspicious of, and only feel at ease with beautiful confident women once I am able to identify what about them is sufficiently fucked up (anything will do really, crippling fear of spiders, dead parents, lazy eye, lisp, lupus, hot but pants-on-head retarded…)

I think my farts smell like a delicious magical bread factory in a swampy but lovable bog.

I make fun of religions people, but have earnestly prayed at one point or another for all of the following things: blonde hair, a tomagatchi, chocolate cake, rock hard abs, a pony, a bag of pot as big as a pony, sparkly shoes, my own island, and an island of ponies wearing sparkly shoes and smoking pot... thank you Jesus.

I consider having children because I think there should be more of my DNA out there than other people’s. Darwin would have wanted it that way.

Feel free to share your own anonymous dirty little secrets. It might even inspire me to share the real ones... More on the festival to come.


Monday, August 4, 2008

reYALEity check: comment extravaganza

Since my Yale posting garnered an unprecedented amount of comments, I've decided to distill a little 'best of,' because I thought my responses were clever, and I want you guys to see them, and I know the only people who read entire comment chains are… well me and my father.

If you don't care about this topic enough for a second helping then 1) who the hell are you? 2) piss off and 3) I love you I need you I swear I didnt mean it, check back tomorrow for a fun Edinburgh Fringe Festival post.

Here's my point from the previous post distilled:
Yale is nothing special. Gucci sunglasses shade your eyes whilst shouting “Hey you! Guess what? I’m fucking loaded!” but they don’t work better than the crappy plastic ones at the gas station.

Inquisitive Oliver, reasoning that there must be something about Yale that justifies its mythical status in his and the collective mind, like maybe a magical Hogwartsesque stone that sneezes gold and grants career wishes, is my first commenter:

OLIVER LI: Besides name, do you believe there is anything outstanding about Yale that sets it apart from other schools?

ME: Well Oliver, in short, NO.

In long, Yale has a hugeass library and gym and attracts a lot of famous people. Everyone from the president of China to the director of the biggest budget porn movie of all time visited during my time at Yale and I shook hands with fucking Paul McCartney at my graduation. But that doesn't mean, and I cannot emphasize this enough, that those famous people give a good goddamn about you or your education.

Then I was pleasantly surprised to receive... a rebuttal! I have always dreamed of being part of a community of insightful writers who hurl witty insults at one another over fancy cocktails and even wrote as much in my blogger profile but never imagined anybody would care enough to respond to my bitter blatherings. Anonymous defends Yale:

ANONYMOUS: Wow, really? Yale was the best thing that happened to me…I felt safe, surrounded by beauty every day, and in love with every person and conversation I had…

ME: In love with every person and conversation you had?... what kind of happy pills are you on, and where can I get some?

Maybe the roving drunken bums, the plethora of horrendously boring intro classes, and the soul-sucking icefest that was October through March in New Haven were figments of my imagination. It wouldn't be the first time I thunk myself into a funk, and of course everyone is entitled to their opinion no matter how suspiciously saccharine I think it might be... (you giddy grinning freak)

ANONYMOUS: And the teachers -- really, you didn't find anyone who sat down and took the time to figure out how best you learned?

ME: I would certainly never claim that every single teacher at Yale is a twat, but for me at least, out of the 37ish classes I took I had:

  • 2 amazing teachers
  • 4 good teachers
  • 9 teachers who were amusing simply in their utter fucking craziness (including the guy who got fired for faking his PhD, the guy who called the Mexicans in my class 'shifty bean lovers,' the raging uber feminist who permanently replaced the term 'man' in her personal lexicon with 'penis wielder' and the digital video professor who showed us the epic film he made featuring him, naked on a hospital bed, shaving his entire body while he wept and then jacked off into the pile of collected hair clippings. Seriously. WTF.)
  • 6 totally vanilla blah teachers
  • 10 teachers who were the temporary bane of my existence due to their incompetence and
  • 6 teachers who, if I were stuck on a desert island with, I would delay every rescue plan just for the opportunity and excuse to tie them to a tree while warthogs and fireants ravaged their flesh as I forced them to listen to their own horrendously awful lectures for hour after cerebral mutilating hour before I gave them the choice between completing every reading essay quiz and test on their own syllabus or having a wild monkey feast on their eyeballs to which they would undoubtedly choose the latter.
So while this doesn't amount to a torturous education, what I'm saying is that Yale isn't utopia. I expected, in my prefrosh naivety, for most classes to be fucking stellar illuminating experience. That's what Yale told me.

ANONYMOUS: I had more than one lecturer or young professor reach out and engage me, and e-mail me to get coffee and talk about my paper, or just life. I am certain this would not have happened anywhere else -- definitely not in a state school with enormous classes and possibly not at other Ivies…

ME: Now this really gets my proverbial goat. I have to assume you are being hyperbolic. Right? I'm glad you had close teacher relationships, as did I, but it's that kind of blatant elitism that puts a mindfuck on kids going into application hell. "Well shit" they think "no teacher will ever want to talk to me if I don't go to Yale!" I have to believe, based on simply knowing more than a few people who are not Yalies, that meaningful and profound educational relationships have developed in the not-so-hallowed halls of universities all over the country, even *gasp!* in a state school or two.

But perhaps out of stubbornness or a desperate need to justify their sometimes unfounded and usually unbridled Yale Bulldog pride, Anonymous returns:

ANONYMOUS: another thing - I never could have afforded another non-ivy liberal arts school, like wesleyan, because those schools mostly have limited financial aid.

ME: Awesome. I'm jealous. My financial aid was fine, but I am now solidly in the hole. Plus, if I had chosen to go to Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, Ithaca, Con College, or Wes, I would have been paid a few grand a semester just to attend. That's right- THEY WOULD HAVE PAID ME.

So while the Yale package isn't shit it certainly isn't the top, especially for a university which is SO FUCKING WELL ENDOWED they could give the Hubble telescope a golden shower of Ivy League excellence.

And then, much to my titillation, I get my first troll!

CRIMSON: Yale = Harvard rejects

Hilarious. You truly have a saber wit.

A few hours later, in a faux-nonchalant attempt to prove his Harvard diploma actually does make him special and important, Crimson returns with some more stunning feats of brilliance…

CRIMSON: If I could make a neutral observation, you should put more time in your writings, so they are more coherent, and be a bit more balanced….

ME: First of all, I think you need a dictionary. Your observation is not “neutral” if you introduce yourself by condemning 15,000 people you’ve never met as rejects in the face of your Crimson godliness.

CRIMSON: And I think your blog suffers from organisation and it stinks of a student who was slightly wronged by Yale.

ME: Well you’re right there bucko, I was “slightly wronged” by Yale. I think every negative review stems from this sense of wronging, from feeling that something didn’t live up to its own hype, wasted your time and money, or pissed you off enough that you want to make sure other people don’t go in with the same high expectations. That’s what a real review is. If I were going to pad my review with all pros instead of cons I would be the fucking Princeton Review who (if you couldn’t tell by the title) has been lavishing Ivy League balls with big wet tongue kisses since its inception.

As to the claim that I’m incoherent, your point is actually well taken and I agree I may need to edit and streamline a bit more. However, the blog is called a “mess of motley musings” and not “an alphabetized spreadsheet of doctoral theses” so what the hell did you really expect?

ANONYMOUS #2: I find all this very intriguing and it has opened my eyes. I am currently about to be a senior in high school choosing universities, and having a really hard time!...Any advice?

I am thrilled to discover another Anonymous has put in their 2 cents before I get a chance to answer and it's a pretty good post albeit pithy.

ANONYMOUS #3: "education" is overrated. If you're going to a university for "intellectual stimulation", chances are you won't find it, regardless of where you go. Choose whichever school gives you the most money. If you have a full ride to a state school, go for it. I wish I had.

There are some exceptions: if you plan on going into a field where reputation/connections will make/break your careeer (investment banking at UPenn), or where you're learning a physical skill (singing, dance at Juilliard), it might be worth it to spend the extra bucks.

ME: I think ANONYMOUS 3 has made an excellent point, and one which is probably difficult to hear for those who are drowning in application propaganda. As Americans in the age of the internet we’re all looking for instant gratification, the quick fix, and a snazzy college name seems like the fast track to inspiration-nation, but the truth is that if you want to do something truly original with your life you’re probably not going to find a lot of support at ‘top’ colleges.

What you will find in college are lots of course requirements and homework which seems maddeningly similar to the bullshit timewasting you had to put up with in highschool in the name of getting into college. And if that doesn't piss you off, then your spirit has been completely broken just like traditional education always intended for it to be. Don't get me wrong, college is not all a time waste; you will find some great teachers, but you will find great teachers anywhere. My favorite teacher of all time never got her masters in education and would not have even been allowed as an associate assistant professor at Yale letalone a tenured one.

College is not the best or the only way to learn. Do you like music? Well the Beatles couldn’t read music notation so fuck music theory, kids. Like money? Richard Branson rebel billionaire didn’t even graduate highschool. I’m not saying school isn’t important, but I’m saying that it’s not as important as it seems right now, and in this spectacular age of plenty you’ll be able to learn everything you need to by being pugnacious and passionate and having access to freakin' Wikipedia- no Ivies required.

“But people who go to top schools make more money, right?!!” Actually, all the studies that claim this are laughably biased because they don’t take into consideration the fact that even if Harvard lets in 1000 brilliant kids and then does nothing but play pattycake with them for four years, Harvard will still get credit when the kids go on to major corporate ass-kicking whether or not they had anything to do with it.

One of my favorite studies which addresses this flaw is by Al Krueger and proves that people who go to ‘top’ schools make JUST AS MUCH money as people who got into those schools and turned them down, implying that it’s NOT the school that makes the success story. ‘Top’ schools identify people who are go-getters and those people will be success stories whether or not they choose attend.

In the grand scheme of things, if you’re a smart hardworking creative person, IT WILL MAKE NO DIFFERENCE what school you went to. Have faith in yourself.

So what to do? Figure out what you might be interested in and sit in on lots of classes to see what actually excites you instead of what sounds really prestigious. Use your detective skills and look around campus- are there people who you would want to spend time with? Are there opportunities which will satisfy and nurture you intellectually and creatively? Are students encouraged to explore and devise unique curriculum?

If yes, then that’s the right school no matter what it’s called. You are fucking awesome, and you need an Ivy diploma to prove it as much as you need your SAT score to get you laid.

So that’s my rant for the afternoon- I am so looking forward to more comments if you’re feeling curious or furious or just plain silly. And if I ribbed you a bit in this post... it's all in good fun.


"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education." - Albert Einstein