Sunday, September 30, 2012

Second Date Tips

This is unbelievable. Please don’t tell me you need more help. I have done absolutely everything for you. I gave you the perfect online dating profile, I gave you pick-up lines to use, and then I showed you what to do on the first date. But no, that’s not good enough for you. Seriously, when it comes time for the sexcasion*, are you going to hire me to stand outside of your bedroom door and give you tips?** In any case, for the sake of moving all relationships along, I will present second date tips to help you get to where you want to be in your dating life. Or these could hopelessly misguide you horribly and wreck even the best relationship. You decide. The format will be the same as last time.


Before the Date. You know the 3-day rule? The one that states you must wait three days after dating a girl to call her back? Well, everyone does that. Break free from the pack. Wait 13 to 15 days to call her back. “But won’t she forget about me? I should call her sooner.” Shut up, Rookie. Are you the one with the successful blog*** writing dating tips or am I? Exactly. This will separate you from every other guy she’s dating.

When You Call Her. So you’ve waited two weeks to call her. Great. Now you’ve got to keep acting like you’ve been dating every girl on this side of the Mississippi River in the mean time. Pretend to forget her name at least three times. Every time she corrects you, mention off-hand that you thought she was someone else you were seeing. There you go. That’s subtlety.

The best date idea ever. You already went balls to the wall weeks ago trying to impress her, now is the time to take your foot off the gas pedal and relax a little. Invite her over and cook her a meal**** and watch a movie. Actually cook with her. It’s fun. Just don’t accidentally scare her when she’s using a sharp knife or something. I’m speaking from experience here. It’s funny for the first five seconds, but when she slices a little of her thumb off, well, then it’s not as funny.

A word on this movie. This is where you gauge just how attractive you are. If she sounds like she doesn’t care at all about what you watch, then you’re in great shape. If she has a strong opinion on the movie, well, you’re in more trouble than the guy who just got caught throwing water balloons out of his apartment window at unsuspecting bystanders. I am usually the one with strong opinions about the movie. Back in my younger years before cars had been invented, I always thought the point was to, you know, watch the movie.

If the conversation hits an awkward turn. So she wants to know when you’re going to move out or what religion you are. Maybe how many kids you want or if you’ll marry her next week. Avoid, avoid avoid! You could go right for the restraining order, but a better option is usually to break into spontaneous song and dance. Pretty soon she’s singing and dancing with you and the fact that you have a pet porcupine and named her after your Mother is forgotten.


The Phone Call. You have to understand that we as guys have to pretend like we’re busy when we’re not seeing you. We also have to pretend, for the sake of our egos, that we secretly have 5,000 women who would drop their husbands in a nanosecond to be with us. Thus, we wait three days to call. If a guy calls you before three days, drop him like a water balloon out a window. His ego just isn’t big enough. Maybe he “just wanted to talk to you.” Forget him. You can do better. Tell him you’re moving to a country where phones haven’t been invented yet.

Don’t Go Over To His House. What is this, date three? Go somewhere fun that isn’t hit house. If he suggests his house, quickly suggest something else that you would like to do even if it would make him miserable. Like a trip to Italy. That’s a sensible second date. Did you read the section above this one and now you think I’m trying to create controversy? Fair. Maybe I am. What are you going to do, disobey me and go over to his house alone just to spite me? Be my guest.*****

Remember the 10 foot Rule. There must be ten feet of space between you at all times. Oh, sure, this makes car rides extremely difficult since there isn’t enough space for the both of you to follow this rule. Make it work, though.

Play Hard to Get. If you’re not playing hard to get, you’re easy. Everything about you has to say “you can look, but you can’t touch. Actually, you can’t even look.” Remember when during date one you dressed tastefully, yet attractively? Well, those days are over. It is time to break out the gigantic sweaters and pajama pants. You won’t look good, but he saw you at a time when you did look good. Jackpot.

When awkward conversations come up. So he wants to know why you have a picture of your ex-boyfriend as your profile picture on Facebook or why he’s still texting you every hour on the hour and your ring tone for him is a Maroon 5 song? What you want to do is talk about all of your pairs of shoes out of nowhere. There is an evolutionary thing in a guy’s brain that, whenever a woman talks about her shoes, we imagine grabbing a pie and hitting you in the face with it so we can go back to talking about sports. Shoe conversation will make us forget anything incriminating you were about to say.


This is the most important date of your life. The first date is like the honeymoon stage. Everyone is happy and giggling like school girls. The second date is where the real action happens. Just like the first day of class is the most important day of your life, the second date means everything. What’s decided is who will wear the pants in the relationship. Will it be you or your date wear the pants or maybe someone else? Might I be the one wearing the pants and making all of the decisions in your relationship? Perhaps. I work in mysterious ways. You must be the one proverbially on top in this relationship. If you take command now, you’ll have won control of the relationship. Be tough out there!

* See what I did there? I combined “occasion” and “sex.” Other unnecessary phrases I could have used include “bang it out” and “get it in.” Tell all your friends. The other one I have come up with is “sexcation.” It’s like a staycation, except the only thing relaxing you do is...well, you get the point.

** For the record, please do not hire me to do this, no amount of money is enough. Actually, what am I saying? I can be bribed if the dollar amount is high enough. Wait a minute, no no no, I will not do this and please do not inquire. I might have a sex post, though, so you might be out of the woods for free.       

*** Successful blog is defined as having five or more readers. Hello to all five of you! How’s it going?

**** What do you freakin’ mean you don’t know how to cook? Ugh. Fine. Buy some restaurant food, pick it up, and then put it on paper plates messily so it looks like you could have made it. Actually cooking the food with her is supposed to be the experience, but clearly you were born to screw up absolutely everything.

***** You’re welcome, guys. She never would have gone had you simply suggested it, but now that I’ve told every woman that she shouldn’t go over to your house, well, now she definitely will. Reverse psychology at its finest.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

First Date Tips

I almost did a terrible, terrible thing. I teased you all by giving you great pickup lines and also showing everyone a template for the perfect online dating profile. I basically sold you the car but kept the tires for myself. By now, you’ve probably got hundreds of dates lined up but you’re petrified about that first date. What will you do? What will you say? Never fear, Josh is here! There are going to be three different sections of this post. One for the guys, one for the girls, and a gender-neutral section that includes tips that apply to everyone.* Women, feel free to peruse the section for the gentlemen and vice-verse so you can see what the other sex is up to.


Before the date, go to the most expensive flower store in town and buy her the biggest bouquet you have ever seen made up of her favorite flowers. You did find out what her favorite flower is, right? Ugh, of course you didn’t. Fine. Go with roses. Why? They’re expensive and if you go daisies, some guy raises you with tulips or orchids. The average guy has no idea what flowers are nicer than roses, so you’re good. You’re buying her flowers to prove that you’re a gentleman, and if you don’t buy her the biggest bouquet known to man, somebody else will and she’ll give him all her love instead of you. If you skip the flower step, she’ll go on the date, but she’ll really be thinking “he failed. He forgot the flowers. Now I’m just here for the entertainment. There is no kiss in his future.”

Tell her what kind of clothes she needs to wear for the date. Actually, don’t tell her what kind of clothes she needs to wear for the date to keep it interesting. See what she goes with on her own. Is it a sweater that’s three sizes too big with the biggest sweat pants you’ve ever seen or is it a very nice, yet tasteful, dress and/or something that makes her look attractive?

Bring mints on the date. Sure, they’re for you, but mostly, they’re for her. Women, for whatever reason, believe spraying perfume magically eliminates all odors. They use it to compensate. There is a direct correlation between the amount of perfume she sprays and the last time she showered and/or brushed her teeth. Little perfume means she bathes. Half the bottle or more means she hasn’t showered this month and probably doesn’t own a toothbrush. You may as well date a pig who spends his days rolling around in mud at that point because the pig is probably cleaner. Don’t shoot the messenger! Women have always been known as the dirtier sex**, come prepared and use your mints as a weapon.*** Also, buy her a toothbrush for Christmas and make sure she uses it.

Keep your car clean and smelling nice. While the smell of post-workout sweat should theoretically be attractive, it’s not. Women pay attention to the condition of your car. Has it been cleaned recently? Is it a deathtrap? Is there garbage lying around from 2005? Women see the condition of your car and then spread it out to your entire life. They think if a man has a dirty car, then he is probably dirty and the house he lives in is probably even worse. If you have kids, they’ll be disgusting. And on and on and on.

Don’t drink excessively. Don’t be a fish. Besides, you’re probably paying, and those alcoholic beverages are expensive. Not that I would know, but I’ve heard things.

Don’t ever, ever, get into a car when a woman is driving. You may as well skydive without a freaking parachute instead, because clearly you don’t value your life. I don’t care if she insists on driving you. Choose life! Drive yourself.


Find out what you’re doing on the date and dress accordingly. If he wants to keep it a secret, that’s fine, but ask him what kind of attire you should be wearing. This is also a note that you should not be planning said date. He should have everything under control. If he sounds absolutely clueless about where he wants to take you, then find another guy, and quickly. His indecisiveness will never go away. You will have to be the man in the relationship forever. Tell him you can’t make it because it’s your cat’s half birthday. If he suggests another date and time, tell him it’s the 1-year anniversary of you buying your favorite pair of shoes. He should get the hint.

When in doubt, punch him out...kinda. That famous phrase you've heard used so many times combined with that move you learned on the tv show, When Kangaroos Attack, has taught you well if you’re ever in a precarious situation with a kangaroo, and interestingly, guys are a lot like kangaroos. When the date hits a lull, you may want to randomly punch him in the arm, the chest, the stomach, or the face to get a reaction. You will probably have his respect and he will begin fearing you slightly. Can you say win-win?

Drink like a fish and eat like a grizzly bear. He’s paying, right? Get the most bang for your buck. If the restaurant or place you’re eating allows you to take things home, order five more entrĂ©es and you’ll have meals for all of next week! Guys love women who can not only out-eat them, but also drink more than they can. Another win-win.

Don’t drive him anywhere at any point. First, why should you be paying for gas? Exactly. Most importantly, you can’t drive. Admit it to yourself. Your driving is so bad that a sleeping tortoise could probably use a vehicle better. Never once have I ever been in a car with a woman driving and felt safe. Every single time we get to our destination, it’s a miracle. I mentally kiss the ground and tell myself I’ll never drive with a woman again. It must be hard being a girl knowing that every time you drive a vehicle could be your last. In any case, avoid driving at all costs.

Manage your perfume usage. We know what you’re up to. See #3 on the Guys’ list for more information on this one.


Use your cell phone as much as possible, ignore your date if need be. This will show your date that you have a life. If you don’t actually have a life, go ahead and make a fake call and keep clacking away at your phone’s keyboard while sending fake text messages.

Make sure to eye other potential suitors so your date knows you have options. Better yet, they might get jealous and start liking you more. They may also enter into creepy stalker mode, but hey, those are the risks one takes.

Talk about yourself as much as possible. Look, a date is like a war where both people try and talk as much as possible while ignoring the other person. How will your date know how awesome you are unless you tell them?

I have come to the conclusion that one blog post cannot possibly rectify every problem there is regarding first dates and certainly not every problem in the dating world. If there is any interest in anything else regarding dating, hit me up either on here or someplace else. I feel like I will be addressing these very issues again sometime soon.

* Somebody somewhere is asking themselves, “why can’t you just have one gender-neutral post. I mean, aren’t we all the same anyway?” Here is why that idea is more moronic than trying to pet a cactus. How can I be gender-neutral about telling women to wear dresses and spray small amounts of perfume as well as stuff like buy her a nice bouquet? I can’t. It would be impossible. Alright, alright, I over exaggerate. I recently found out how to change the color of text, and I wanted to show off. There. Happy?

** Don’t try to dissuade me from this view, women. I may reveal one day why I know for a fact that women are dirtier than men, but for now, just know that I know.

*** Another suggestion, if you know her perfume smells like skunk or if skunk is her natural feminine aroma, is to bring a bottle of Febreze with you, distract her, and then spray the air when she’s not looking.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pseudonyms - Life's Second, Third, and Fourth Chances

Over the years I have used a fair number of assumed names to get me through life. I have used fake names for dates, crazy paparazzi wanting to get autographs from The World’s Greatest Usher, and secret identities, you know - the essentials. Everyone needs a fallback in case life #1 falls through for whatever reason.* I have been debating posting these for a while since having a fake name is much more difficult when everyone knows it’s a fake name, but I have finally conceded the fight against myself. I like to think that these names are the very definition of both originality and believability, but you be the judge:

Tim Ticklesberry: Like a John Green novel, Tom appears differently to everyone who sees him. He also thematically looks like a strawberry.

Terry P. Feathersworth: An interesting note here. Apparently someone tried to make a disguise of my disguise. You can check out his rendition here: Terry P.'s Facebook Page.
And also this one of a Larry P. Feathersworth Facebook Check out the high school for both of these guys. Something's fishy.

Taylor Teagarden: Oh wait, that’s not one of my pseudonyms, this is an actual person who plays for the Baltimore Orioles.
His Mother must have hated him or perhaps he hates himself. I would personally change my name to sound like less of a girl, but hey, maybe I’m the only one who thinks this. Does this produce imagery of tea cups growing in a garden for anyone else?

Rex Hexagon: He’s a master at trigonometry who can jump an amazingly high 10-inches in the air. That is almost a foot, for those of you who do not have your rulers handy.

Harrison PepperTrout: What he doesn’t know about life could fit on a paper napkin. He is, as his name suggests, a master at both curing deli meats and slicing fish. Legend has it he once loved a pet fish so much that he kissed her and she turned into a real woman who became his wife.**

Gerald Smith: For when flying under the radar is of utmost importance.

Trevor Oliver: People with two first names can never be trusted, and Trevor is no exception. He carries a pair of handcuffs around just to be mysterious. His socks have never matched. Ever.

Hopefully this post has given you a glimpse into how many different directions one’s life can go in. Maybe next time someone asks you your name, you’ll drop one of these or perhaps one you make up yourself, just to keep life interesting.

* Since I’m sure you’re wondering, no, I do not consider a career as a movie theater usher with a college degree, living with my parents, and a tentative, at-best, financial situation a success by any stretch, but come on, I’m not a failure. I’m going to hit my stride...eventually.

** Seasoned readers are probably asking themselves two questions: 1. How does a fictitious person who you made up have a legend surrounding him? 2. When you are pretending to be him, how do you make the whole fish wife thing work? Answers: 1. Great question. 2. Oh, that’s easy. I carry around a feminine looking goldfish in a bowl around and say she turned back into a fish. That’s stealthy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Teacher Evaluations

The favorite part of school for many students is the last week of classes in a semester. It’s not because we can smell freedom is only a week away, but rather, because it is Teacher Evaluation Week. It is where wrongs can be righted and we can write how we really feel. Thought your professor graduated with a PhD from Truck Driving School? Maybe you secretly thought the clothes your professor were made them look like Snooki when she has a bad day?* Perhaps you didn't appreciate all of the low grades you received on papers you began the night before they were due? Well, you'll never have another chance to tell them unless you sign up for a fake email account, and since almost no one is going to do that, Teacher Evaluation Week will have to suffice. As a bonus, they’ll never find out our true identities because we write with our left hands and use incomplete sentences. Genius. These are some of my more memorable.

Her daughter is a musician in the loosest sense of the word, but if anyone mentions her, they automatically get an A. If she hates you, you're screwed. She also has a son but she never actually mentions him. It shouldn't be this easy to get an A.

When he shows up to class, it's great. Unfortunately, his kids seem to be "sick" at least once a week. When I say that, I mean it is likely he is out partying at Taco Bell with a gentleman I shall call "Borski." He also seems to add an "S" to everyone's last name for some reason. He's a great teacher, but he definitely has some quirks.

I walked into class not knowing how to find the area of a triangle. You know who also walked in not knowing anything about math? My professor.

I couldn’t take it anymore. This professor was driving me insane so I drove to the market, bought a nice, ripe tomato and brought it to the next class. While she was talking, I held it in my hand. Oh how juicy it was, both the situation and the tomato. I prepared to throw it at her, but as I sat there, I couldn’t do it. You know how I know this was one of the worst classes I have ever taken? I didn’t throw it not because I couldn’t deal with the consequences, but because I had spent one whole dollar on that tomato, and I didn’t think she was worth the dollar. I ate that tomato and it tasted like shame.

My professor was like caviar, she was an acquired taste. I am referring to her teaching style, not her...well, you know.

I didn’t learn very much from this professor other than his opinion on why farts smell. Apparently, it’s so deaf people can enjoy them, too. Also, apparently Sniffilous is when two Eskimos rub noses. Luckily, he is an all-around good person, so I keep taking his classes. However, if the person reading this evaluation could please buy him a pair of nose hair clippers for Christmas, well, I wouldn’t complain.**

He sounds so excited all of the time. He’s talking about a chair and a building that houses said chair. I like him, but for whatever reason, whenever we have a class discussion about anything, it turns into an all-out war because everyone is pissed off. We don’t even know why we’re mad. It’s probably because of that blonde girl who keeps calling us all idiots. I’m not mad at her, though. She’s too attractive to be disliked.

She was hitting on me! She was actually hitting on me! Sweet pumpernickel pie there must be a rule against what just happened. No one winks like that anymore. I just signed up for more classes with her. I probably like the admittedly inappropriate attention. So, on balance, this is probably a positive review.

* Did you catch my sarcasm here? Snooki never has bad days. On the other hand, everyday that she is with Jionni and not me is a bad day for me.

** Alright, alright, so those weren’t the craziest things he said. He once told us that a dictator was the combination of a penis and a potato. Get it? Dic-tator. Clever. Troubling and potentially scarring for life, but clever.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pick-Up Lines That DO NOT Work

What you are about to read can be dangerous if it ever falls into the wrong hands. These pick-up lines will instantly attract anyone you want, anytime you want. Does she have a boyfriend? Well, the boyfriend isn’t an obstacle. Married? Those things end in divorce all the time.

All sarcasm aside, there is not one good idea presented here. Usage of these lines can only wind up with one of three endings, you’ll either be punched, kicked, or aggressively licked.* The latter is worst of all. I was a victim. These are written from a guy’s perspective, but these can be gender neutral if you happen to be a particularly aggressive woman or you make some slight tweaks. I am including a couple of lines that might work to show everyone that for every ten bad ideas, I have one or two good ones. Without further ado:

Hey, I’m not over my ex yet, but do you think you might wanna date me, you know, at least until she decides to take me back?
Hey turkey legs, wanna give me your phone number? I promise I won’t smell like garbage on a first date, I’ll shower.

What’s up? Wanna go out with me? I promise Terry Feathersworth is my real name. If you do, you can meet my brothers, Barry, Jerry, and Larry and my two sisters, Kerry and Mary.**

Are you good with parents? Great! Let’s go meet mine. They’re dying to meet you and for some reason they’re at my house already.

Wow, you’re so hot that there’s no way I’d ever cheat on you with your sister’s roommate. Wanna go out with me?

Hey babe, can I get your first and last name so I can poke you on Facebook? I promise not to look up your address on

Seeing you here tonight is the best thing to ever happen to me. Really, nothing good has ever happened to me except for you.

Usually I would offer to buy you a drink, but it looks like you’re already drunk enough for me to do what I need to do...get you in touch with the nearest designated driver, of course!

Can I get your first and last name so I can Facebook poke you all night long?

Look, I don’t have a lot of money, I’m not very attractive, I live with my parents and won’t be moving out anytime soon, but what I lack in every single category, I make up for in seductive winking and obsessive cleanliness. Do I have a chance with you?

For good measure, here are some that might work, but I make no promises:

For women: I would probably go up to a guy, say hi, and let him start talking. If you can come up with something interesting as an opener, so much the better. This is probably the safest tool in your arsenal. Your job as women is to sit around and wait for us to approach you. The only time you are socially allowed to choose who you date is never. Don’t blame me, though, I’m just the messenger.

For guys: Seriously, a simple “hi” and a greeting while waiting for her to state her name has worked troublingly well. It seems like it’s too simple to work, but hey. I have also found success with saying the first thing that comes to mind based on my surroundings. Tic-Tac-Toe Technique is also recommended.***

* I know you’ve been reading this thing long enough to know there is a story here and hopefully you scrolled down to find out what it was. Well, let’s just say a woman or three has gotten pissed at me over the years. These were particularly intelligent women who knew how difficult getting saliva off of one’s cheeks is.

** The genius of this one is that I, ahem, I mean a distant friend of mine, couldn’t possibly be lying because I, ahem, I mean, he, provided all of that back story. Of course there is a Terrence Prussia Feathersworth, why wouldn’t there be?

*** What do you mean you didn't read the post on Tic-Tac-Toe Technique? Go back and read it. Do not pass go and do not collect $200 until you do.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Online Dating Profile

This is easily the most anticipated post of my blogging career. I know I say that every time, but I was lying all of those other times, this time, it’s for real. Women from across the globe have been asking when they’ll have a shot at dating me based off of this profile. I have heard that women all secretly hate each other, but if that’s the case, the one thing that brings them all together is their desire to date me. Just call me the great unifier. WARNING: You might just fall for me by the end of the first paragraph:

Screen Name: 2Jew4U

Roses are red, violets are blue, but you know who belongs together? Me and you. And there is much more great poetry where that came from. I stand at an amazingly tall height of 5 feet 9 inches which means I can ride almost all of the rides at most major amusement parks. If they don’t allow me on, I can always go out and buy some nice elevator shoes. I hear those are the most attractive shoes a man can buy. When cleanly shaven, I might look like I’m 16-years old, but trust me, when I don’t, I look as if I’m 18. So if you’re an older woman, I should be right up your alley since I hear every woman wants to be seen as robbing the cradle, right? And if not, cougars are in this decade.

I have a degree from the most prestigious university in all the land and it has netted me a job in the Janitorial Arts. You never have to worry about finances because I am reeling in a whopping $8.25 per hour. Don’t fret, though, because rumor has it I am due for a $0.05 raise sometime before 2014. If I don’t get it, well, minimum wage has to go up at sometime, right? My low wages shouldn’t be a problem, though, because I’m such a cheapskate that I doubt I’ll ever spend a penny on anything at any point, ever. Don’t worry, because our first date and all subsequent ones can be had at the fanciest restaurants in the most expensive vehicles and we can spend thousands of dollars per long as you foot the bill. Doesn’t feminism dictate that the woman now pays for everything? I must admit that I don’t like doing anything fun and in a life with me you can look forward to many, many hours of Jersey Shore re-runs.

Are you good with parents? Hopefully you are because I live with mine. My Mom says hi! I promise, though, once we get married, I’ll move out...eventually.

There are some things I cannot tolerate in a significant other and I shall list them here. When you are a man of my pedigree, you can afford to be be a bit choosy. You cannot have more than 15 tattoos. You must not have been charged with any kind of violence against any of your past boyfriends. Your father must not have a gun and should not know how to use one. You must not wear black more than once a week and not more than 4 times in a month. You must be able to do a headstand while drinking milk and singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” None of these are negotiable points.

Good luck in trying to lock me down! Send in your applications now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

School Secrets: Part 2

This post may be the most anticipated piece I have written in the 3-day life span of this blog. I have set the bar unbelievably low, I know.* This is part two on the topic of school secrets that no one wants you to know (Get Part 1 Here). To protect me from myself, I am going to jump right into the list before I get into yet another story from my past:

6. Choose Your Adviser Wisely

Picking an Academic Adviser to help you select classes and make career decisions is almost as important as picking a seat on the first day of class. It is serious stuff. This person can either help you realize your dreams or veer you so far off track that your only option in life is cleaning toilet bowls.** It is important to shop around and pick someone who you can both relate to and who can help you get to where you need to be. My story is one where I did absolutely everything wrong.

My adviser and I did not really speak the same language. Well, correction, we both spoke English, but a different kind of English. Every time one of us spoke, the other one would have absolutely no idea how to respond. Whenever I said something, he would give me that look as if he was waiting for a wizard to pop out, wave his magic wand, and give him a translation to what I just said. Neither of us were positive that the classes I was taking would help me graduate, but we didn’t really want to know. Sure, I graduated, but even I’m not sure how my adviser aided me.***

7. Don’t Be a Hero

One of my favorite phrases is, “be a hero.” It means that you should attempt to live your life as you believe your hero would live it. However, when selecting classes, the name of the game is not to be a hero. Seriously. Especially when it comes to electives or classes that have nothing to do with your major, take easy classes if at all possible. If you are, say, a Chemistry major, then take an advanced History course at your own risk. No future employer is going to care that you took an easier elective, but advisers and such want you to “challenge yourself” with harder courses. Look, I’ll challenge myself in other ways, like seeing how fast I can spend my money or how long I can make it into a sad movie without crying, as opposed to seeing how challenging I can make my course load. As an additional note on this, make sure during Freshmen and Sophomore year to throw in a couple of harder courses with your Gen-Eds. Unfortunately, many Juniors and Seniors have schedules filled with advanced-level classes because they waited to take them.

Regarding picking classes specifically, I have one important tip, use Rate My Professors to decide which class to take. It shouldn’t be your only metric, but it helps. If Rate My Professors says that your professor likes to bring her grill to class and roast students who get answers wrong, believe it. On the other hand, it might tell you that your professor is that rare combination of cool and hot, as represented by the slightly troubling red pepper graphic.

8. Pick a Good Major

As a general rule, if I have a degree in it or was considering getting a degree in it, you should not be studying it. Make sure to pick a career that, you know, has actual employment opportunities. As a professor of mine said religiously, “don’t choose to study something that doesn’t actually exist anymore.” Getting a degree in anything involving the Soviet Union or any other collapsed government will likely lead to limited job opportunities. Go figure. Think about what your degree will ultimately lead to, and if that is nothing, well, get out of there!

Too many people have this idea that they will be the only one to get a job. “I really, really want it,” they might say. Well, so do a lot of other people. Wonder why no one says that you’ll end up at a McDonald’s asking people if they would like fries with that? Well, getting a job at McDonald’s is harder than it looks nowadays. Some people, who shall remain nameless, applied there three different times and were rejected four different times.**** Think that everyone has the hand-eye coordination to work the fryers? Guess again. If it is so hard to get a job there, well, a field where there is 20%+ unemployment is probably a bad idea. Remember when your Mom told you when you were little to follow your dreams? Heck, remember when I was alluding to that a couple of paragraphs ago? Well those days are over. Do something you love some other time.

9. Connections, Connections, Connections - A.K.A. Make the Most of Your College Time

I was actually considering using only the second half of that title, but I see how that could be misconstrued to mean party as hard as you can for as long as you can. To get anywhere at any point, ever, you’re going to need connections. Alright, maybe you specifically don’t because your dream job has been calling you incessantly for the past four years wondering when you’ll apply, but for the rest of us, it’s not so easy. I went around and asked all of my professors how they got their jobs and I have kept up with a large chunk of my graduating class and asked those who have gotten jobs what they did to get there. In a nutshell, connections. It was some job they had or someone they knew from either a job, a friendship, or a family tie. What does that mean? You must maximize your opportunities to connect to different people. Network expansion is probably the most important aspect of college because most jobs don’t actually care how well you did in Calculus, they care that you graduated. So how does one expand their network?

First, use your adviser. Everything should start with them. If they like you, they automatically become something of a gateway. They can hook you up with employers, people they know, internships, etc. A good adviser should be able to guide you while a sub-par one will keep winking at you and calling you Mortimer. Next, scour the depths of the ocean for opportunities. These include internships and volunteer opportunities. Internships, according to my informal poll, were the best way to get a job, even if it wasn’t with that company. During college, especially the summers, there isn’t much to do. Use that time to intern for a company you’re interested in or volunteer - for free, at some place that is in your field. There is a bit of a double-edged sword for workaholics. On one hand, you are making money to pay off debt and to have a bit of a nest egg, on the other hand, you’re probably not advancing your career any. The former is a short-term strategy while using summers to intern tends to mean taking the long-view. Emailing your Department Chair asking them if there is anything they recommend could also be fruitful. The point of all of these methods is to get to know people and then have them connect you to someplace else. When they need someone reliable for a job, they have you to call. Do this as many times as you can for as long as you can and by the time you’re out of college, you should have places to go and people you can call.

10. Manage Your Time Wisely

What this doesn’t mean is that you should be working surfing the internet and checking your email twice as much with no down time. This also has nothing to do with winning Fantasy Football, Fantasy Basketball, or besting your score at Fat Boy Raids the Cookie Factory,***** I am talking about time spent outside of class on course work. There are basically three types of classes: Cakewalks, Classes you have to put in the work for, and classes where your grade is pretty much predetermined from the minute you walk into the class. Most of your work and effort should be directed at the second type. Cakewalks don’t usually require much effort while the third type is one of those classes where no matter how hard you study, you always seem to get the same grade on each test. Unfortunately, these classes tend to be somewhat difficult. As a rough estimate, I would say this is how your time should be siphoned off for each type of class: Type 1: 15% Type 2: 60% Type 3: 25%. What kids tend to do is spend an excessive amount of time on the classes they’re best at while avoiding the ones they are treacherous in. It’s a nice ego stroke, but a bad overall strategy.

There were multiple ideas that hit the cutting room floor because the list was only meant to ultimately be 10 numbers long, but here were some of the items I was going to use for number 11 if there were actually a number 11: Grad School advice, Dating and Relationships in school, and finally, tips on how to, you know, do well in classes, but I figure it’s time to end this thread.

Hope this either helped or entertained you, ideally both!

* Whoa It’s my first rhyme since that time in 7th grade with that girl and the poetry that I talked about last time. Holy cupcakes, I just did it again!

** Not that there’s anything wrong with that, since, you know, that’s what I do for a living.

*** You are probably wondering why I did not select a different adviser once I realized that the one I had picked was, shall we say, not my cup of tea. The answer is that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. You see, if I had transferred advisers, my adviser would have realized I had left him since advisers gossip amongst themselves more than teenage girls. He would immediately be struck with jealousy and despair. Whenever he would bring someone else into his office to advise, he would sit there thinking, “I wonder if this guy is going to leave me like Josh did.” It would affect his entire life all because I moved on. I couldn’t do that.

**** You're probably wondering how I, ahem, I mean the nameless person who kept applying to McDonald's, got rejected four times when he only applied three times. One has to take into account the various mediums with which one can get rejected and that sometimes you hit "Submit" more than once.

***** As an aside here, back in the day when I was 85 pounds heavier, I was an absolute beast at Fat Boy Raids the Cookie Factory. I gained weight just watching my virtual character gobble up all of those cookies. When I lost the weight, my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

School Secrets: Part 1

Are these actually school secrets? As in, information no one aside from me knows regarding school success? Of course they are, but they won’t be for much longer considering how many people read my blog. Everyone will know within the hour. Well, alright, so maybe that was a bit of exaggeration, but these are tips nonetheless. With school back in session, this is extremely relevant since during the summer, no one cares about anything except for when the next season of Jersey Shore begins and when Snooki will break-up with Jionni. For all of you wondering, yes, I seem to have an affinity for putting ideas into lists, but trust me, one day I will stop doing that and these virtual pages will be filled with paragraphs. Unfortunately for the more grammatically-enraged among you, that day is not today.

1. Seat Selection is Everything

Where you sit in a class is the most important part of college life. Forget relationships, money, grades, and future career options, this is where life begins and ends. Where you sit on the first day of class is like deciding your future for the next 16 weeks.* Don’t pick the wrong spot or you will regret it for the rest of your life! And since everyone knows that once you pick a seat, you must stick with it forever and ever, well, the pressure is on. Do not walk in and walk to the very back of the class and sit down. That is the section of lost dreams. If you do that, you will not pass Go, you will not collect $200, and oh yeah, you will stop existing. Seriously. When you raise your hand, no one can stare at the back of your head as you give your answer, so therefore, you do not exist. If you faint while sitting in the back of the class, no one will notice because they can’t see you. In many ways, sitting at the back of the class is like living at the top of a 29-floor building that doesn’t have a working elevator. If there’s a fire, you’re screwed. Alright, so sitting in the back of the class is worse than writing poetry for that girl you like**, so what should you do instead? Glad you asked.

First thing’s first, see if you know anyone who will be in the class. This is on the assumption that you know absolutely no one there. Wait until a few minutes before class starts and then head on in. Survey the area. You will see the wasteland that is the back of the class and chuckle, but more importantly, most people will be in their seats. For whatever reason, everyone loves leaving a chair empty next to them instead of sitting directly next to someone. I mean, everyone knows someone who doesn’t know what soap is, but those people are in the minority. In any case, you can now scope out the area and see who looks like they’d be a nice person to get to know. Pick anyone you like. Remember, by the rules as put forth by the universe, they are not allowed to move, so take advantage. Go ahead and sit next to them and introduce yourself. The bar is set so low for first-day-of-class conversation that you can’t help but succeed. If you’re feeling a bit shy or maybe a bit risky, then perhaps my next strategy is right down your alley.

2. The Tic-Tac-Toe Technique

I have never discussed this openly in written-format before, so get ready to be blown away by sheer awesomeness. Ideally you will have done everything stated in number one and so now you’re next to someone who you would like to get to know. Ideally this person is a member of the opposite sex, but hey, push the boundaries if you want. During class, inevitably there will be a bit of a lull in the lecture, it is at this point that you tear out a piece of notebook paper, write something on it, fold it up like in the 4th grade, and then pass it to your future-companion. He/she will open it and write you back. What I like to do is draw a tic-tac-toe board and make the first move. She will virtually always play back at me and then it’s on. From there, you have broken the ice in a fun way and the possibilities are endless. Feel free to transition into some basic note-passing conversation. This has only ever failed me twice out of dozens of attempts. Once the girl looked as if she had never seen a pen before and stared at it blankly until I took it back. The second time the girl was the worst tic-tac-toe player I had ever seen and I won the game before making my third move. Keep in mind that this can be used outside of class as well, but I have found it most successful in that setting.

3. Picking the Right Essay Topics

This strategy mostly applies if you’re not particularly astute for a class. When it comes time to pick a topic either for an essay or on an exam, make sure to pick the one that no one else is going to pick. This will likely be a bit more challenging, but the reward is potentially great. The problem with picking the topic everyone else has chosen is that the professor is going to compare them all, and guess what? In comparison to some of the geniuses in the class, yours may very well suck. Kiss that A goodbye because if you don’t like the class, your chances of besting the best are as good as my chances of being the father of Snooki’s next child. By selecting a topic no one else has selected, the professor can’t directly compare you to anyone. Victory!

4. Learn to Save the Professor

Every professor has a moment or ten where he/she asks a question and everyone looks down at their desks because no one did the reading. The professor is left standing there in silence wondering if they should find another job or wondering whether anyone knows their socks don’t match. Panic is beginning to set in, but never fear! You’re here! That’s right, you raise your hand, save the class from five more minutes of awkwardness that even the cast of Twilight couldn’t muster, and answer the question accurately. The professor loves you for it and makes a mental note to give you an A no matter how bad your future work is. Alright, alright, so maybe I got a little carried away, but the point still stands. Professors are people, too and they like knowing that even one person is listening to them and not thinking about who they’re going to poke next on Facebook. This is also another good technique for when it is a class that is not your strong suit.   

5. The Two College Paths

I posted a few weeks ago on the subject of buying cheap textbooks, but this goes well beyond that discussion. Essentially, there are two types of paths in college. These two divergent paths will affect absolutely everything in your life from the moment you step into college to the moment you leave and long after. They will even affect what kind of donut you eat to how many walls your house has.*** The first is to go the cheap route and try to get away with as little debt as possible after college while the second involves millions of dollars in student loan debt and years of living life on the run avoiding creditors. Virtually everyone lands somewhere in the middle, but most lean one way or another.

The first path generally involves going to a cheaper school that is much more affordable and involves little debt after college. For this, one typically has to give up “the college experience” as it was once envisioned and settle. The second path is where, as an infamous Nicole once said, “you have as much fun as you can for four years, and then be miserable for the rest of my life. That can’t possibly be healthy. Josh, can you help me?”, I couldn’t. In a nutshell, live it up, spend as much money as you can, and worry about the future later. I mean, tomorrow never comes...right?

So, which is right for you? The correct answer is probably neither. It’s not a good idea to be so frugal that you’re eating ketchup and mustard for every meal to stay out of debt, but Livin’ La Vida Nicole is emotionally dangerous. Have fun in college, just don’t completely forget that loans will have to be paid sooner or later.

Watch out for part 2 to be posted sometime soon.

* You know I’m right. When even one person changes seats, the entire space–time continuum of the class is forever altered. No one knows what they’re doing anymore. Someone steal’s a seat from someone else, so that person moves, and then another person gets displaced. Before long, chaos ensues.

** It was one poem! Pretty soon the whole school knew and I was so embarrassed that I never rhymed again. I really could have been someone in the poetry world, but no, my Junior High heart was crushed instead.

*** I personally am a 4-wall man myself, but your mileage may vary.

Monday, September 10, 2012

When Facebook Stalking Is Absolutely, Positively, The Best Use of Your Time

If my last post represented the angel on your shoulder, well, this one would have to be considered the devil. While the angel is whispering “do the right thing, don’t investigate the Facebooks’ of other people!” The devil is whispering, “come on, everybody does it, just this once, just for a few minutes. You'll feel better about yourself.” Pretty soon, the devil wins and you’re up until 4:00 am looking through every single Timeline you can find for someone talking about you. They never actually are, but it never hurts to check. Your grades slip, your boss fires you, and your significant other stops loving you, all because you got too happy uncovering new information. Is that the way it always has to end? Of course not! Here are reasons why you need to start gather more information, not less:

1. Information Is Power

Guess what? If you aren’t looking through everyone’s Facebook, someone else is and they will certainly use that information for their own benefit. While you’re out having fun and maintaining a life, they’re at home in their dimly lit basement planning your demise. That’s right. You may think your best friends like you now, but just when you think you have nothing to fear, this creep is Facebook chatting with them behind your back. He’s telling them everything they want to hear so they’ll hang out with him more and you less. She’s poking your boyfriend on Facebook to lure him to poke her back. And everyone knows when a guy pokes a girl back, well, it’s on.* He even goes one step further and Facebook stalks the boss so he can brown nose better and he doesn't even work where you do! We all want to be this person. We all can be if we would spend less time around people and more time online rifling through pictures.

2. The Ex isn’t going to stalk themselves

Picture this: You’ve just broken up and you’re craving to get this person back. They claim that you’re too clingy, but you’ll show them by obsessing twice as much! Following their every Facebook click is step one. Whenever they “like” something, you’ll be there. Whenever they comment on anything, you’ll be notified. Naturally, since you’ve just broken up, anything and everything they say must insidiously** be referring to you. Even things as benign as, “Hey! I haven’t seen you in forever, let’s hang soon,” have secret meanings. Translated, that comment really means: “Hey! I broke-up with my lover so I have all of this free time. I wanted to talk to you because I’ve exhausted every single one of my friends with the stories about how absolutely terrible my ex is. Text me!” See how it would be worthwhile to know that piece of vital information?

Even if you don’t actually want to get back together with the person, everyone needs a self-esteem boost. It’s nice to keep up with an ex to make sure they’re not doing better than you in anything. Hopefully they’ll post pictures of themselves writing love letters to you sealed with a pink heart. You know the old saying "the best revenge is living well?" How will you know you're doing better than your ex if you don't follow their every move?

3. You’ll Seem Smarter

Since you’ll be constantly looking for new information about the whereabouts of others, you’ll know what’s going on all the time. When someone buys their morning coffee or posts their opinion about how yogurt is the new black, you’ll know. Bring this stuff up in conversation and you’ll look like an absolute genius. If anyone asks how you know, well, say you had a feeling something was up or that you just know. Smart people don’t need sound reasoning to back up their gut instincts. Besides, it’s cool knowing everything first.You also get first dibs on when one of your distant, distant friends has changed their relationship status. You get to play the detective and investigate why their relationship is now "Complicated." If you minded your own business, life wouldn't be very exciting.

4. Protect You From Yourself on First Dates and Beyond

You remember my cautionary tale. When one Facebook stalks before a first date, one gets burned faster than a Menorah candle***, but there is a right way to do it. As some of you may have guessed, I do have something of a service where I will befriend the person you are going on a date with, do a complete Facebook background check, and then get back to you with a summary and my conclusions on this person. The caveat is that I might not be able to stop myself when I give you my debriefing because I think the information I found out is so cool, so it is a bit of a double-edged sword. I let you know relationship history, attractiveness through the years, a general personality profile, and then a general grade on all 2,000 of her pictures. I don’t charge anything since I get the gift of knowing I made someone’s day. Upon request, I will also go one further if a guy has recruited me to help him gather information about a girl. I am willing to hit on her and see if she takes my bait. If she does, I let you know the bad news. I know, I know, my generosity knows no bounds.

Kidding aside, there is some value to getting a cursory overview of a potential suitor’s tastes. Don’t go overboard and then research everything they enjoy, but if they “Like” Whips and Chains or “beating up my boyfriend and stealing all of his money,” well, you know what you’re getting into. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ignorance might be bliss.

Honestly, I don’t know which side sounded more convincing nor do I know which side I’m on anymore. The author wrote about both sides so eloquently.

* As an aside here, I don’t know what I am supposed to do when a guy pokes me. Do I start a conversation with him? Do I ignore him? What if I see him the next day and the tension is thick because I didn’t respond to “the poke?” My failure to act could result in some serious collateral damage.

** Big, complicated word, I know. I should probably consider college or something.

*** Admittedly, that isn’t very quickly, especially in my house where we regularly forget to light the Menorah, however, I figured this post needed something Jewish.

When Facebook Stalking Is a Horrible Idea

The Companion Piece on Why Facebook Stalking is an Awesome Idea is: Here.

This might be the marquee debate of our time. Scratch that, this is the marquee debate of our time. While politicians are out there focusing on meaningless subjects such as the budget, gun control, health care, and all of that other stuff, they completely miss the boat on this. There would be a lot more interest in politics if they would focus on fun topics such as this one. Before further ado, let’s dive right in!*

First, what is Facebook stalking? I define it as one person covertly looking in on, and likely gathering information about, another person. In other words, it is the favorite habit of formerly married couples along with watchers of MTV. In other, other, words, most people have done it at least once, and others have done it thousands of times even though they have fewer than 250 Facebook friends.** Let’s examine the reasons why this practice is more dangerous than tickling a grizzly bear:

1. It can completely screw up a date

One of the proposed uses of Facebook stalking is to get some information about a future date. The logic is sound. You’re nervous, you want the date to go well, and thus, you virtually mozie on over to his/her Facebook and gather some information. What have they “Liked,” how many friends do they have, and do they actually look as good as they did when you asked them out, or were they just having a really, really, good day?*** Unfortunately, this can go more sour than a gallon of milk left out in the sun for a week. Here is one example from my life:

Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I met a girl, we’ll call her Michelle****, and we exchanged numbers and Facebooks. The subsequent phone calls and chats went incredibly well and we had setup a date for a couple of days later. Little did she know, she had lured in quite a catch as this was before I was ranked the best movie theater usher in the world. I figured a harmless couple of minutes looking through her Facebook would do me some good and I would have some topics to discuss on the date. Well, that went worse than trying to fill a gas tank with vegetable broth.

Quickly, I got lured in. I memorized all of her favorite movies and then Wikipedia’d each of them so I’d be able to act like I’d seen them since I would have the plots in hand. I did the same with her favorite bands and I listened to each band’s key songs. This was going to be great. What could possibly go wrong?

I jumped at the opportunity when she started talking about a movie she had seen. I regaled her with the plot, some of the key lines, and I knew the actors names. Then she asked the question that would kill our relationship before it started, “oh, so you’ve seen the movie?” Noooo! What should I say? That I had seen it? But that would be a lie, and lies are bad and starting a relationship based on a lie sounds like a horrible idea. Tell her the truth? Oh yeah, girls love it when you do tons of research on them and comb through their Facebook. All marriages start like that. Well, I essentially decided not to decide. I changed the subject - to music. The same problem propped up and I couldn’t decide what to tell her. The moral of the story: Don’t Facebook stalk on first dates.*****

2. EXes will get you every time

This is probably why most Facebook stalking occurs. We want to check-up on the ex. You know, pretend like we only want them to be happy, but secretly hoping they are posting thousands of statuses about how awesome you were. The problem is, this never, ever, ends well. The ex always seems to bounce right back and marry someone who makes more than minimum wage or who knows what a button-down shirt is. Even if they seem to be single, it always seems like they’re constantly surrounded by members of the opposite sex and they’re always writing flirty, sexually suggestive comments on their Timelines.

The pictures are even worse. People only post pictures of them doing things and being happy. They don’t post pictures of themselves going to Wendy’s and crying endlessly while drying their tears with a hamburger bun because you’re gone. They post pictures of themselves smiling and laughing even if they're mentally jumping off a bridge. Seriously, Facebook stalking an ex never ends well. Even when it does, it doesn’t. Let's say the ex does post pictures of their misery? Then you're the bad guy because you're taking pleasure in someone else's misery. Besides, all of the comments will probably be about how she's better off without you anyway.

3. Close Family and Friends Are Scary

I am here to warn you as someone who has treaded into these water: you don’t want to know. Really. All of these people can keep telling me sweet little lies because their actual lives scare the living stuffing out of me. Seeing your Grandma out clubbing because she’s playing the field is not fun. Hearing about the sex lives of family members and parents is troubling. Listening to your best friend post status after status about this secret girl he's been dating when your significant other is mysteriously missing... The list goes on and on. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Did I convince you never to Facebook stalk anyone ever again or did I simply encourage you to go against my warnings and Facebook stalk twice as hard? Get ready for the other side of this debate in the next week or so.

* Some of you (all four of my readers) may be scratching your heads right now wondering how I, of all people, could possibly come out against Facebook stalking. “Josh!” You might exclaim, “weren’t you the one who allegedly created a fake name, friended people on Facebook, and then typed out a summary of their Facebook whereabouts to various people?” I have no comment.

** Shocked? You shouldn’t be. Practically everyone from the World’s Greatest Movie Theater Usher to your Mother’s cat has done it. Yep, when you’re not feeding Fluffy premium cat food, he wonders what you really spend your money on. He goes on Facebook, sees you in that new dress that cost $1500 and begins plotting your demise. In fact, someone is probably gathering information on you right now.

*** This is reason number one to not post bad pictures of yourself on Facebook. If they get posted, de-tag yourself within five seconds. If you wait until the next day, everyone will have seen on their news feeds and your attractiveness will forever be downgraded.

**** I like to believe that if Michelle Branch met me, she’d fall in love. To prepare myself for this extremely likely occurrence, I pretend all of the girls I have dated in the past are named Michelle so that when we do get married, I’m so used to being in a relationship with a Michelle. There are absolutely no flaws in my logic.

***** One would think that the date had to have been better than that considering everything was going so well before that and nothing worse could have possibly gone wrong. When we went to kiss, I forgot how to kiss, and while I was thinking about it, we experienced the most awkward 20 seconds in kissing history.