Emotional Humility

Emotional humility is having to admit to people that you feel pretty meh about Star Wars.

Emotional humility is defriending someone on Facebook who you thought you would never see again only to have them confront you about it two years later in front of a group of people.

Emotional humility is saying goodbye to someone after hanging out and then realizing you both parked in the same direction.

Emotional humility is accidentally making eye contact with someone in the car next to you and doing your best to give them a heart eye emoji face to make the uncomfortable in a whimsical way.

Emotional humility is when sometimes you try to hard to be alternative, but ultimately you are still right handed.

Emotional humility is not being able to tell a workout song from a regular song.

Emotional humility is admitting that your keyboard is red not from blood, sweat, and tears, but from Hot Cheeto dust.

Emotional humility is not updating your blog in six months and admitting that was an oopsy. It is also emitting a small prayer than you are using the term emotional humility correctly.

2015: You Can’t Win Them All

A few highlights of my 2015 🙂 :

  • My old boss told me I sounded “too straight-forward” in work emails, so I should try to include a smiley face and an “!” in each email. This is now amongst my worst habits.
  • I discovered those video blackjack machines in Las Vegas that are pretty demeaning to animated women,  but also pay well if you play them right. Verdict: Worth it, but I feel a little dirty.
  • I think I only read one book, and it was about makeup …
  • I am almost out of debt
  • I didn’t write enough, this sentence feels short.

 

Happy New Year, every body! Be weary of drunk drivers, they are terrifying.

Magically Dashing

Seven men, six in custom-tailored suits and one in a suit straight off the rack, gathered in a dimly lit bar with only one shelf, and it was the tops. They were surprisingly good-looking for aspiring magicians, even objectively dashing. They conversated with each other in hushed tones, shallowly letting their tongues run ragged with their knowledge of classic American culture.

“Buster Keaton was a brilliant man, it’s a shame you can’t get away with artful blackface these days,” commented the tallest.

“Charlie Chapman, what a class act, I respect a man who is unafraid to fight a taboo,  even if it was taking on multiple teenage wives,” said the most attractive.

The group communally complained that they don’t make beauties quite like Greta Garbo anymore, but the men all agreed Sofia Vergara was passable.

By this point, Steven, the young man in the hackneyed suit had zoned out — life leaves you at a certain disadvantage when you grow up with only basic cable and parents that exclusively watch reality television. Worried about his social stature within the group, he walked into the center of the informal circle and put on his largest, most genuine, stage smile.

The group gave him their full attention, expecting a magic trick, an illusion or a witticism of new heights that was reminiscent of old ones. With all the flare of years of magic lessons and social rejection, Steven took off his top hat and whipped it around to prove that it was empty. He flipped the hat back towards his body, tenderly reaching his hand in and taking out a dove.

In great jest he yelled, “Who let the doves out? Who, who, who?”

Steven was never heard from again.

Five Ways to Get Your Humor Post Freshly Pressed*

I decided to take a completely non-scientific look at what the WordPress curators think is funny/what they think will make the residents of WordPress lol. Basically, who do they think we are? Why does WordPress hate people who are actually funny?

1. Use the Top 10 Format* Nothing says comedy like a list.

Let’s check out this freshly pressed list about going to the dentist.

The idea of completely organized humor is about as edgy as David Letterman. I mean, how non-threatening is the blogger’s avoidance of the Oxford Comma?

answer: about as threatening as going to the dentist

I am not a fan of sweeping generalizations in comedy, or otherwise. I got a few points knocked off a paper I wrote freshman year because I called people who lived in America “Americans.” My TA scribbled  “people who live in South America and Canadians are technically Americans, too!” in the margin ( <– I went to Berkeley). My TA had a point: generalizations are rarely accurate, usually offensive and frequently not funny. The things on this list are not true about my dentist — I love my dentist. My dentist could kick your dentist’s ass and maybe he should kick your’s too for making some mean-spirited generalizations about him.

2. Write About a Common Experience In this casenever lolling at a freshly pressed humor post.

Maybe I should take my own advice and stop posting about how ridiculous artichoke cookbooks that look like romance novels are.

Most WordPress users can relate to the subject of this freshly pressed post and nearly all people who avoid the Oxford Comma can. So cool, you have my attention, I hope you have something interesting to say.

I think a lot of good humor stems from the melding of ideas that don’t obviously belong together. If you go for the obvious, please have something original to add to the conversation. Content-wise this freshly pressed post seems super generic to me, at least they attempted to have some sort of writing style.

Let’s talk about the “!!!” at the end of the first sentence. It’d be annoying with one exclamation point, using three exclamation points unironically is just insulting to my intelligence. Give your audience the benefit of the doubt — they can figure out what’s important. Other frequently found offenders: CAPS LOCK, ???, ?!? and  (parenthetical snark (I do this sometimes)).

3. Be White and Middle-Aged I can’t relate

I’m not going to comment on this further, but I am going to acknowledge that I am clearly not the target WordPress demographic. There needs to be a blogging platform geared towards apathetic 22 year-olds who aren’t obsessed with Glee (that disqualifies Tumblr).

4. Make Cheesy Jokes I do really well on this one

It hurts me when people try this hard to be funny.


I’m OK with cheesy jokes, but it’s important to use them sparingly. A post full of them is pretty much unreadable. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed at a low quality Steve Jobs joke. Sorry I’m not sorry. Maybe people just shouldn’t answer their phones if they are too busy to talk? Seems like a simpler solution.

5.  Be a Parenting Blog Bonus points if you’re a Daddy blog, they love that shizz

WordPress is the least edgy place ever. 

No one cares about your kids.  At least this freshly pressed blogger is a good writer, but in general mommy blogs make me hate the Internet. I also don’t really understand why mom jeans get so much hype — leggings as pants, camel toe and sweatpants are much more offensive.

Honorable Mentions

  • Write about first world problems, apparently all humorous situations happen to people from the same socioeconomic background
  • Have a caption contest with some photo you ripped from The Economist
  • Use five year-old jokes, like “Ugh Boots,” and pretend they’re original
  • Be nostalgic of decades past, childhood or at least laugh at all the crazy technology the kids are using these days

How To Make the College Paper

It’s college newspaper recruitment season, so I thought I would put together this quick guide on how to wow the development editor and get on the staff of a selective collegiate newspaper.

As per request I am starting this at the HS level. wOOt.

Join and dominate your high school newspaper.

This means signing up for journalism freshman year and sticking to it. You’ll never be an editor if you don’t show commitment. Never underestimate brownie points. I got pinpointed to be EIC when I was in the 9th grade by being a moody and mysterious writer type — this doesn’t work for most people, so I suggest kissing ass (real talk).

This is where you, aspiring teenage journalist come in. Try to pitch interesting and somewhat serious stories in the discipline of your choice. If it’s a boring assignment, feel free to experiment with your writing style to try to make it interesting. It’s important to build up relevant clips for your college newspaper application, so have sports clips if you plan on applying for the sports section, news for news, arts for arts, etc.

Let’s be honest, high school newspapers tend to be really bad, like write news briefs about six different picnics bad. I was even able to convince our advisor to let us do a (now legendary) point-counterpoint about cricket the game vs. cricket the bug. Much like crickets, this would rarely fly at the collegiate newspaper level — so get it out of your system NOW because it ain’t cute.

Try to be EIC or editor of your section — college newspapers get A LOT of applications, so it can be the norm that 80% of their new hires for news were EICs of their HS papers. I’m not sure how it is in other sections of the paper, so I can’t fairly speak for them in terms of the application process (sorry!).

PRO TIP: Read your biggest local paper and figure out who their best writer is. Read that writer’s work every day and dissect it to figure out why you like it, how they use quotes, how they approach different types of stories, etc.. I didn’t do this until I was already working for The Daily Californian (hey guys!), but I wish I had done it earlier because it drastically improved my news writing.

So it’s the summer before college, now what?

Find out what the application process is for the paper at your university and get started early. IMPORTANT: Make sure your best newspaper clips make it with you to college. It would such a bummer if you couldn’t apply because you left them at home. If you want to apply to multiple sections, let say news and arts, be sure to bring clips in both styles. Pick a diverse set of clips, be sure to include a feature, a brief and a straight news story. Flaunt what you got!

Write a resume. This might be your first one, so ask older friends/siblings/relatives for their resumes in order to get an idea of what your’s should look like. Shop it around for input when you finish it to get an idea of how other people will view it. After all, you are trying to impress the hiring staff at the paper.

Pro Tip: Don’t put your AP scores on your resume, ESPECIALLY if you are entering your senior year of college *groan*. No one cares if you got a score of 3 on your AP Environmental Science test. NO ONE.

You’ve arrived in college … time to get your cover letter on.

I suggest waiting to write your cover letter until you move-in. During your first week as a co-ed, make an extra effort to be curious about EVERYTHING. Write down things that are exclusive to the area, the crazy guy BBQing celery in front of Sather Gate, the hippies living in the trees by the stadium, the jesus jumpers in the white van across from Amoeba records, etc.. Then write about them or casually mention them in your cover letter. This makes it seem like you are immersed in the culture of the town, are a creative writer and prevents your cover letter from sounding generic like most the ones in “the pile” will be. Also, much like your college application essays, show, don’t tell.

If the newspaper has an info session, go to it. Honestly, I didn’t go to mine, but if you have questions it’s the best way to get them answered.

Pro Tip: GET YOUR APPLICATION IN ON TIME. As I said, they get a lot, so they might not even look at your’s if you don’t turn it in on time.

What happens to your application after you turn it in.

 For the paper I wrote for, the applicant puts a 1st and 2nd choice section. Let’s say you put 1:Sports, 2:News, if the sports section decides that you are not the right fit for them, they will pass your application on to news, who may very fall in love with you and ask for an interview. Don’t be discouraged if this happens to you, embrace it. Everything happens for a reason, and you can always reapply to sports again at a later point.

The next steps:

So I got called in for a news interview (my first choice!!) and I was super stoked. I got the impression that the interview is basically just to make sure that you are not creepy and/or smell bad. It is very important for collegiate reporters to not be creepy or smell bad. Don’t underestimate that. I was literally invited back for the “writing test” four-minutes into my interview.

The writing test was terrifying, but I am also confident that it was how I got hired. In my case, we had to write a story in one-hour after we “attended” a faux press conference about a murder. There were four aspiring news writers on one side of the table and the development editor on the other. The editor pretended to be the PIO and he briefed us on the crime, we were allowed to ask questions at any point. I am pretty confident I got hired because two minutes into his brief, I asked if the victim was a student and the editor said “no.” About 20 mins later he referred to the victim as a student so I raised my hand and said, “I thought you said she wasn’t a student?” All the other applicants in my writing test looked at me and were super jeals about how badass I was. In the end only two of the four of us made the staff.

For the record, I don’t think writing tests are used at most college newspapers.

If you get rejected …

Don’t send any distressed and mean-spirited e-mails to the editors if you get rejected. They won’t get answered and they can negatively affect your chances of being taken on as a writer in a future semester. You can, however, send an e-mail asking nicely for some advice on how to make your application better for the next semester. Also, keep applying, it shows that you really want it. One of my friends got in on his fourth try for the arts section and eventually became arts editor!

Good luck!

Open Letter to Bloggers

Dear Fellow Residents of the Internet,

If you are a personal friend of mine, you know I keep it real. I’ll tell you if you need a haircut because I can see your split ends, if your jeans look a little cholita or if the tag of your shirt is sticking out. In the same vein, dearest Internet, no one cares about any of our blogs enough to allow for  “sorry I haven’t updated my blog” posts.

They are only okay if they are followed by some sort of epic story as to why you haven’t updated your blog. Needless to say, “sorry I haven’t updated my blog, I was on vacation for two weeks” = zzzzzzzzzzzzzzfest. Seriously.

The following is a formula to retain your reader’s attention while telling them the interesting/witty/morose story as to why you haven’t updated your blog in X weeks:

First of all, get rid of the apology. It’s your blog, you do what you want.

This leaves you with the openings, “These past few weeks have been some of the busiest of my life because X, Y, Z,” “Winning the lottery last month has drastically changed my life,” and “My grandmother died.”

Then explain your story in the style of your choice and get the heck out.

kram///

A