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Like nearly everyone I know, I have been gripped by a case of Game of Thrones Fever, and the only cure is more main character deaths.  I love the show –  the plotting, the violence, the gratuitous nudity, the lovable characters.  Mostly the nudity.  But another one of the best elements of the show is the world George RR Martin created. Westeros is arguably the most immersive, original, and fully realized fantasy world since Middle Earth.  Martin even manages to outdo Tolkien in one very important sense, and that is the inclusion of the common man in Westeros.  In Middle Earth, the world may as well have been populated by cardboard cutouts.  They could’ve pulled a Blazing Saddles and had the orcs attack a façade of Minas Tirith, they probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.  In Westeros, meanwhile, the common inhabitants of the cities and countryside are frequently used in major plot points, whether they’re being murdered by bandits, raped by Wildlings, burned alive by maniacal dictators, – you know what, it kind of sucks to be a regular inhabitant of Westeros.  It might just be the single most dangerous fantasy world ever created for the common folk.

Here we see a Westeros villager in his natural state: being cut in half by marauders

Here we see a Westeros villager in his natural state: being cut in half by marauders

Given the brutal nature of the typical life in Westeros, most citizens seem to be clamoring for a new lot in life.  Many of them seem to try and seek this by joining a military force: that way they get to be the ones doing the murdering!  A few more enterprising individuals, such as Littlefinger, decide to try their luck in politics.  It’s not a perfect solution, given how many soldiers and low-level politicos have died over the course of the series, but still, these lives offer more protection and security than your average farmer, living in the boondocks and at the mercy of any psychopath who decides to wander past.  Even if these poor commoners manage to avoid the cycle of death that is all around them, very often the rulers of the land will imprison those who disagree with them, or even sentence them to execution.  Depending on the crime the poor bastard was accused of, he may be able to avoid an execution by agreeing to go north to The Wall and pledge himself to the Night’s Watch. In the books and series, this is depicted as a horrible alternative, just barely better than dying, which is surprising considering that the Night’s Watch is seemingly the best life a guy can have in Westeros. I’m honestly a little baffled that they’re not having to shut down the gates of Castle Black to keep out a horde of desperate applicants every day.

For some reason, the life of the Night’s Watch is viewed as one of the worst things that can happen to a man.  It is used as a humiliating form of exile for many political foes, and people often seem genuinely mortified at the thought of taking the Black.  However, if you break down the numbers, Castle Black might be the safest place on the entire continent, and that’s even taking into consideration that there’s a massive army of Wildlings bearing down on it, and a (presumably) even more massive army of White Walkers behind them.

Personally, I'd take this dude over Joffrey any day

Personally, I’d take this dude over Joffrey any day

King’s Landing, generally considered the seat of civilization and high society in Westeros, has been host to an assassination, several high level executions, a massive bloody riot, a deadly siege, and possibly the most horrific trial-by-combat the world has ever seen.  And that’s only counting events since the beginning of the series, not those referenced to have taken place slightly before the series’ start.  Winterfell, the seat of power in the North, has seen almost all of it’s populace killed or displaced, as well as about 75% of it’s royal family murdered.  According to the main title sequence, Winterfell as been on fire for the past 2 seasons. The cumulative death toll from these two massive, important, and theoretically stable seats of power goes well into the thousands.

How the hell is it still on fire?!

How the hell is it still on fire?!

Castle Black, on the other hand, the place of exile and humiliation, a cold and barren outpost where men only go when they’re absolutely forced to, has finally managed to hit a double digit death toll now that we’re at the end of season 4. By Game of Thrones standards, that’s basically a family trip to Disneyworld.  It’s rare that a character enters a room without someone dying on this show, and yet Castle Black had managed to avoid any massive slaughters for the first 38 episodes. Prior to the beginning of the series, it can be assumed that there were a couple hundred years where being on the Night’s Watch was the sweetest gig you could ever imagine.  There were no White Walkers, the Wildlings weren’t organizing against you, and if you were smart enough to bomb your combat test and get assigned to the stewards, you basically had a long life of reading and making soup to look forward to.  It is honestly the life I dream of having.

Wyeth's Greeting Card 004

Why am I not doing this professionally, dammit?

The most common argument one might make against wanting to join the Night’s Watch would be that they have to be celibate (though as Sam Tarly pointed out in “Watchers on the Wall,” they theoretically just have to be careful to not knock anyone up).  Which admittedly does suck.  But if you could overlook the sausagefest element of the whole deal and just enjoy the fact that you live in the one place on the continent where no one will ransack your home and you’re not at the whim of the increasingly unstable line of kings chosen to rule, it really seems like it would be a sweet life.  Besides, what kind of sociopath would actually want to bring a child into a world as horrifying as Westeros?

"One day, my son, all this can be yours!"

“One day, my son, all this can be yours!”

Of course, none of this applies to women, so if you’re a female, you’re screwed no matter what in the Game of Thrones universe.

And not the fun kind of screwed

And not the fun kind of screwed

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I’ve officially sold out ladies and gentlemen. I’ve succumbed to the multi-headed hellbeast that is list-based internet clickbait articles. But here you are, reading it, no doubt because I crammed the word sex into the title 4 times, you horny bastards. But unfortunately for us both, since you clicked on the link, I now need to write something in this article. So uh… here goes…  It wasn’t long ago I was an inexperienced young man in the ways of the lady. But now I’ve had a level of sexcapades that can only be described as “some.”

Though some estimates put that number as high as "a few"

Though some estimates put that number as high as “a few”

As a newly christened expert, I would like to share my knowledge with those who have yet to have enough sex to reach that milestone of the mid-single digits.  Below are a few simple steps I’ve learned that are sure to get the party going. The party in your pants, that is…

1. Be unpredictable

A predictable sex life is a boring sex life. Therefore I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to keep any partner on their toes. For instance, sometimes I’ll like to call out a different name in bed just to make sure they’re paying an appropriate amount of attention / are awake. The only thing limiting you is your own creativity. If your partner asks you to do something in bed, do the opposite. If she asks to be on bottom, turn on the television. If he demands you go harder, get out of bed and make macaroni. These are all things your partner will never see coming and ensure a fascinating sex life. This tactic can be used even with people you haven’t been intimate with yet. Say you’re with a new girlfriend and she says she’s ready to take it to the next level: let her find you in bed with a man. This will guarantee that they know what a wild card you’re sure to be in the bedroom!

2. Toys

Indulge me for a second here. As a musician, I know that many brass players need trumpet mutes for their playing. One such mute is the plunger mute. Now, a trumpet player could buy a plunger mute from any respectable instrument company and it would cost him about $35. However, what most choose to do is go home and remove the rubber part of their plunger and use that. It has the same effect and costs nothing. This is basically the approach I take with sex toys. Sure, you and your partner could buy a very decent vibrator for like… some amount of money. I honestly have no idea what the going rate of a vibrator is these days. But why do that when you could just dig through your childhood toy box and get freaky with a GI Joe? Surely that kung fu grip could be used for something erotic! The possibilities are practically endless. Dig out some of your old board games and make them naughty. Sexy Twister is easy, but Sexy Mouse Trap will really get the love juices flowing!

I maintain that Toy Story 3 is one of the sexiest movies ever made

I maintain that Toy Story 3 is one of the sexiest movies ever made

3. Try new things

It’s fairly common advice that couples should try new things together. “You need to try Ethiopian food!” some will say. “Threesomes are GREAT!” others will advise you.  In a relationship, you’re under a constant barrage of outside parties giving you ideas for exciting new things to try. However, there’s a limited amount of time in any relationship before the inevitable ugly breakup and subsequent restraining order, so there’s not a lot of time to get all these new things out of the way before you’re not legally allowed within 500 feet of her or her pets. In order to get to more exciting, relationship-invigorating new experiences, I like to kill two birds with one stone and try a new sexual experience at the same time as a new life experience.  Sure, skydiving is fun and death-defying and all, but the risk element is really amplified after you unclip your girlfriend’s parachute in order to get a better humping angle. And speaking of danger, there’s nothing quite as exciting as trying to beat the clock by trying bathroom stall sex right after trying ultra-spicy Indian food for the first time.

Now imagine the clock sound from '24' playing over this scene

Now imagine the clock sound from ’24’ playing over this scene

4. Communication

Good connections with your partner rely on them knowing what you want and so forth. Or so I’m told. I’ve never managed to elicit a verbal response during sex so I can’t completely testify to the validity of that statement. The closest I got was one time, immediately following the sexification, a girl sort of softly cleared her throat, as if to say, “Was that it?” Then I fell asleep and started snoring, as if to say, “You’re damn right that’s it babe.” However, despite my lack of communication expertise, there is one thing that I consider myself fantastic at: social media. In today’s world, much of our communication has been relegated to the internet anyway, and I see no reason why this method of connecting should be banished from the bedroom. Judging by the amount of likes people get on provocative selfies and/or barf inducing romantic proclamations, the next logical step to Facebook stardom is albums upon albums of pornographic pictures of you and your significant other. Your friends’ news feed should ideally be completely clogged by naked profile pictures, Vines, Instagrams and basically anything else you can get your virtual hands on.  Let EVERYONE in on the communication aspect; allow your friends and acquaintances to give helpful tips to your lovemaking sessions like “tell the girl to face the camera more” or “bro, you seriously need to shave.”

That advice isn't always bad

The internet gives great advice sometimes

Congratulations! You have now fully absorbed all the secrets of my success and are ready to get out there in the world and start makin’ accidental babies! Godspeed, my students, and good luck!

Award Season Fever has gripped me; I can’t sleep at night as I lay awake tossing and turning and contemplating Best Cinematography nominations, and the entire left side of my body routinely goes numb.  Though my doctor assures me that the numbness thing cannot possibly be caused by Award Season Fever, I know my body.  This is an exciting time of the year, and I wanted to get in on some of this sweet, validating action.  However, seeing as I belong to zero governing bodies in the arts, I’m gonna have to get a little creative about my own personal awards.  Without further ado, I present the winners of the 2014 Wylies!

1. Most Pretentious Thing Ever Filmed

Narrowly edging out the plastic bag scene from American Beauty, which won this category for the last 14 years straight, I give you the new iPad Air commercial, “Your Verse,” which suggests that by using an iPad, you will be making significant contributions to the advance of human civilization.  Give it a watch if you need a reason to be angry for a few minutes

2. Best Tweet of they Year

I gotta tell ya, it’s been a great year for the ol’ Twitter machine, and this was a tough category to choose a winner from, but I’ve gotta hand it to this one because, in addition to being hilarious, the construction is just flawless

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Honorable Mentions:

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3. Favorite Site to Hate With A Burning Passion

This category means a lot to me.  For one, a large part of my personal identity is devoted to looking down on people who post from the various sites I put in this category.  Previous winners have been Buzzfeed and Pinterest, but I’ve grown tired of hating them and my wrath needs a new outlet.  So now, I give you my winner for Favorite Site to Hate in 2014: Upworthy.com! Upworthy may have had a time several months ago, when they would share just a few really big stories with a unique, positivist spin on them, but recently they’ve succumbed to the demon hellbeast of overly-viral marketing, and I’ve found my newsfeed littered with embedded videos about “This Kid Will Literally Change The Way You Think About Fast Food In 90 Seconds” and “This Totally Amazing Cat Knows A Mind-Blowing Truth That Needs To Be Shared.”  The site has become the bastard child of a cute Youtube video and a particularly uplifting episode of Oprah.  And for that, I hate it.

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Really pandering to their target audience with this one…

4. Movie With The Best Built In Porn Title

Inside Llewyn Davis.  No contest here.

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5. Funniest Youtube Video (Intentional)

While I was initially considering handing out this award to my very favorite Youtube comedy duo BriTaNick, I decided that they hadn’t really released anything that was worthy this past year.  So instead, I’m gonna have to give it to my favorite Norwegians of accidental international fame, Ylvis, for their video “Massachusetts.”  And not just because I live there now either.

6. Funniest Youtube Video (Unintentional)

The real hard part in choosing this winner was that I had to be sure that the humor was completely unintentional.  But then I saw this video and I knew I had a winner.  Kanye West’s Bound 2 is easily the worst song I’ve heard in a long time, and has a long laundry list of musical reasons why it’s awful.  But the song itself isn’t the hilarious thing about it.  It’s the fact that self-proclaimed creative genius Kanye decided that the best visual accompaniment to this train wreck of a song was to force us to watch him dry hump his wife on a stationary motorcycle in front of an iMovie greenscreen effect.  He also speaks the words “I wanna fuck you hard in the sink” and rhymes “bad reputation” with “Brad reputation” and if I haven’t convinced you how hilarious this video is yet I’m clearly never going to.

7. Best Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence.  For the third year running, J-Law is the winner of this category. Now please return my phone calls!

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Dear People Who Write Open Letters,

 

We are on to you.  Clearly you must be aware that this is not how letters actually work.  I have to imagine that you know that more often than not, these letters are not read by their intended recipients.  Therefore I think it’s clear to absolutely everyone involved that these are more about attention than actually causing any sort of actual change.  And to the people who share said open letters, with such headlines as “Epic Open Letter to So-and-So Says What We’ve All Been Thinking,” do you understand the minute difference between sharing this “epic” open letter and sharing a passive aggressive Facebook status? Because at the end of the day, the only real difference comes down to word count.  Passive-aggressive Facebook statuses, while annoying, are short and sweet, while open letters are short stories of misdirected complaints and immaturity.  

So in the future, I must ask that you refrain from writing an open letter, opting instead, perhaps, for the more traditional “letter” format of communication.  That way, the emphasis will be placed where it appropriately belongs, (on the content of the letter) an less on the side effects more specific to open letters (people sharing it on Reddit).  I think we can all agree that these changes would lead to a better, less passive-aggressive tomorrow.  Now if someone can please post this to Buzzfeed with the headline “Little-known But Incredibly Handsome Blogger Writes Badass Takedown in Open Letter” then we can really get this ball rolling!

Facebook is convinced I’m gay.  It’s true.  The targeted ads they have sent me flatter my fashion sense, try to set me up with other men, and on one occasion have attempted to enlist me in a study of gay Jews with AIDS.  The point here is 1) Facebook is terrible at directing ads at me, and 2) though I am a straight man, I am fervently in support of gay rights, just as I am fervently in support of women’s rights and bald people’s rights and left-handed people’s rights and North Dakotan’s rights and just all people’s right in general.  In fact, the only people whose rights I don’t particularly support are Pepsi enthusiast’s rights, because I’m not sure they’re really people at all.   But that’s a story for another time.

So naturally, all this hulabaloo about gay rights lately has gotten me pretty riled up.  I fire a Nerf gun at the TV every time someone comes on to complain that gays are going to topple their loving family, and I invented a drinking game where I take a shot every time someone uses the words “traditional marriage” that left me so inebriated one night that I nearly ended up in a traditional marriage of my own with a total stranger.  But the thing is, I’ve heard all of their arguments before.  People claiming that gays are against the founding principles of marriage, people claiming that gays are unfit to raise children, people claiming that God hates gays and is only making them out of some sort of confused divine boredom, etc.  But as these theories have all been rebutted and debunked, opponents of gay marriage have had to go to some really weird places for their defense.

I recently saw a New York Times article that quoted several of the Supreme Court justices as asking if it was the “right time for a decision on a fast-moving social issue.”  I have grown used to the more common arguments against gay marriage, but this one is brand new and confusing to me.  What exactly would constitute a “right time” to talk about this issue?  Would there need to be some sort of pressing issue that would require a more immediate decision on this issue without waiting for the infamously lethargic American public to make a louder demand?

If there were two massive gay mansteroids (a word here meaning “asteroids that are also gay men”) flying towards Earth and only by allowing them to get married could we prevent Armageddon, would that be reason enough for the justices to render a decision?

gay mansteroid

“They’re headed straight for Washington, Mr. President! Think of all the traditional marriages they’ll destroy if we allow them to make impact!”

If the Ring of Power came back from the depths of Mt. Doom, was recovered by Lesbian Frodo, and the only way to end the ensuing war was to send her on an epic journey to find her lady lover Sam and allow her to “put a ring on it,” then would the timing be more convenient? I don’t know.  What I do know is this: if the timing right now, when literally all I hear anyone talking about on the news is this Supreme Court case and all I see as I scroll down my Facebook feed is people posting red equal signs in support of equal rights, if this timing isn’t good enough, then I don’t know what the right time will be.  So we’d better finish this discussion now, because I’ve already seen enough homosexual tension between Frodo and Sam to last me a lifetime.

For some parents, the moment their child tells them they want to spend thousands of dollars a year to go study music ranks somewhere in between coming out of the transvestite closet and joining the Nazi party on things they don’t want their child to do.  Mine, thankfully, were much more accepting of the choice, and I think it may have had a lot to do with the fact that I would have been just the worst person ever in the traditional business world.  Here are a few of the foolproof business opportunities I tried to start up as a kid.

Bednar’s Blacksmithing

Blacksmith_working

Like many kids of the millenial era, after watching The Lord of the Rings movies I developed a strong and incredibly nerdy obsession with the Middle Ages.  No one ever bothered to tell me that there weren’t actually orcs and sexy elf ladies in the real Middle Ages, so the obsession burned on for several years.  I collected everything medieval I could get my hands on; I had toy armor, knight action figures with mace-swingin’ action and a photo with the King at Medieval Times.  However, despite the incredible amount of feudally-themed knick knacks I had lying around, I still felt empty.  I was lacking the most basic medieval object of all: the sword.

Having a sword would really round out my collection, so I begged my parents day after day to let me buy one off of many of the reputable sword dealers on eBay. Sensing about 10,000 ways having a sword in the house could lead to disaster, (my brother once chased me around the house with an X-acto knife for not letting him play my drums, a sword could only have exacerbated that situation) they repeatedly said no.  It was time to take action into my own hands.

There were, after all, other ways to get swords in this world besides paying weird men on the internet to send them to me!  I saw people making swords all the time in movies, how hard could it be? This was a question that I asked myself, and apparently never bothered to answer, because if I had attempted to answer it the answer would have been a loud and resounding “VERY hard. It is VERY hard to make a sword.”  Luckily I didn’t have time for answering my own questions; I was far too busy laying the groundwork for Bednar’s Blacksmith.  I scavenged around the house and garage for any scraps of metal that looked like they could theoretically become a sword.  After 3 hours of searching, I didn’t find anything, so I just grabbed a pipe and started wacking it with a rubber mallet for a while.

After 20 minutes of pipe-wacking, a phrase here that is actually NOT a euphemism, it became clear to my adolescent brain that I had a gift for iron-working (still not a euphemism) that needed to be shared with the world.  I abandoned my barely-dented pipe and went inside to make a sign for my new blacksmith shop.  After 2 hours of backbreaking labor in Microsoft Word, I had a sign for my business in my front lawn but had already officially abandoned my one real attempt at making a sword. Luckily no random passers-by actually asked me to craft them anything, even despite my reasonable prices.  It would not have ended well.

The Elgin Roller Hockey League

inline_hockey_jerseys

It seemed like kids in TV shows and movies were literally always off to go play some sort of pickup game with their friends.  I don’t know where these kids grew up, but it was clearly not Elgin, IL.  I had never once seen a bunch of kids spontaneously start playing any sport unless you count running away from girls as a sport.  However, this total lack of real-life precedent couldn’t stop my dreams.  And I had some big dreams.  Not content to simply try and organize a pickup game with my friends once or twice, I aspired to create the town’s first and foremost for-profit roller hockey league, all at the age of 8.

The plan looked simple on paper.  I was going to round up enough people to make 8 teams, build an arena for us all to play in, buy uniforms for the teams, promote the league at major events, charge people $5 to come see our games, write a bitchin’ theme song for whenever someone scored a goal — wait, that’s not very simple at all…

Now, apart from the general craziness of this scheme, there were quite a few reasons why this was just a totally ridiculous idea.  For starters, I had never actually played a roller hockey game.  I had no friends who played hockey.  I knew no one who played hockey.  I just really liked The Mighty Ducks 2 and they looked like they were having a good time.

The second reason that his was a ridiculous idea is related to that old real estate trope: Location, location location! Now, I don’t mean to push stereotypes, but apart from two exceptions, everyone I’ve ever known to like hockey has been a honky-ass cracker.  This was trouble for me, since I was living in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood of a heavily Hispanic town.  So even on the off chance that I found enough people to form teams for this league, (at the league’s peak I had 2 whole people registered) there was pretty much no market for a U10 amateur roller hockey league in my town, no matter how bitchin’ their theme song was.  By the time I finished building the 2,000 seat stadium I had planned and stocking it with slurpee machines and an arcade, it was gonna be awful tough to break even.

But I guess it wasn’t a total wash because I designed some sweetass uniforms. If anyone’s ever looking for a cool jersey for a really awful hockey team, I can hook you up.

Wyeth’s Strawberries

Chandler_strawberries

While a little kid starting a strawberry stand might seem like the least ridiculous item on this list so far, I assure you, this was perhaps my most poorly conceived attempt at money-making ever.

For reasons that still sort of escape me, I went through a brief phase where I was super into planting things. Usually I go through phases because I watched a movie that made things look really fun, but either I had a fundamental misunderstanding of The Constant Gardener, or I was just really bored one afternoon.  As such, I set about to plant my very own garden.  My dad is a landscape architect and avid gardener, so the backyard was off limits for my tiny plot. I had to move my operations to a small patch of dirt next to the house.  Along with a small pack of strawberry seeds I got from my neighbor, my garden amounted to a spearmint plant, 4 dandelions, 1 sprout of crabgrass, 2 sticks and a hole I dug before I realized I didn’t actually have any more seeds to put in it.

Now, as I mentioned before, my plot of land was confined to the side of the house, well out of reach of the hose.  After walking back and forth a couple of times to fill up the watering can, I got sick of the effort involved.  When it came time to plant the strawberries, the flagship of my new garden, I had already completely written off walking back to the spigot as an option.  So instead I just stuck them in the ground and then spent about an hour spitting on the dirt repeatedly.  I planned to sell these strawberries in a little wooden box with a picture of me in a straw hat and a logo that read: “Wyeth’s Strawberries – Watered Wid’ Mah Own Spit!”

Luckily the strawberries died because you can’t grow strawberries with saliva, and no one ever had to eat my spit-watered strawberries.  You can all be very thankful I decided to go into composition, where it’s decidedly harder for me to inadvertently poison people.

I’ve been looking for a job that really fits my unique skill sets for quite some time now.  It finally occurred to me what the best way to utilize myself would be, and I immediately posted this ad to Craigslist.

 

Do you run a coffee shop that sells gluten-free crepes and are hoping to appeal to a more family-friendly crowd? Or perhaps you own a vintage bike store and are looking for someone to help sell 1980’s Schwinns to high schoolers. Even if you are just a simple manager of an art house movie theater trying to convince the folks down at City Hall that you’re not blowing your arts grant on bongs, I am the guy for you! I am a 20 year old white male from a middle-class Chicago suburb, and I can make your business look hip and trendy while still being so wholly non-threatening that mothers will have no problem bringing their daughters in to shop for artisanal pastries on warm Saturday afternoons. Please allow me to explain why my services are so vital to your success as a business.

It may come as no surprise to you that I attended a large church full of other non-threatening white guys back in my hometown. One of the things that always struck me about the church was that in the band, they would always have a guitarist who looked like he was on the verge of headlining the next Pitchfork festival. He would wear tight jeans and a scarf, or perhaps an undersized beanie in July. For all me and the other non-threatening white guys at my church knew, this man was the face of rock and roll! Of course, he wasn’t. He was actually just a community college student with a rewards card at American Apparel, but we didn’t know any better, and this man was the closest we would ever come to meeting a real live member of the urban elite. This one guitar player was able to give me, along with every other non-threatening white guy at the church, a real sense of edginess and, dare I say, danger, while all the maintaining our carefully cultivated comfort zones. It was essentially the religious equivalent of a roller coaster. But I digress…

In today’s fast-moving urban business market, it is imperative for any aspiring Boston establishment to give off a vibe that it’s a divey neighborhood gem, but one that people from that neighborhood would never actually go to. To create this vibe, you need someone that so boldly walks the line line between “Bohemian rebel” and “corporate stooge” that it is unclear if they are on the new cutting edge of hipsterdom or if they simply lost track of which type of jeans are popular these days. I can be that person for you! I am that rare white guy that is exactly hip enough to wear cardigans, but not hip enough to actually look cool while doing it. My hair is neatly parted in such a way that its questionable if its an acute fashion choice or simply a lazy conformity to the same hairstyle my mom fashioned for me at family functions during my formative adolescence. My jeans are at the ideal tightness where its impossible to tell if you can see through to the bulge or if perhaps it’s just an idiosyncrasy of the fly.

Gone will be the days of suit-wearing yuppies shunning your establishment because they frowned on the bearded man with the ear gages you hired to hock nostalgic t-shirts with Boy Meets World quotes on them! When the passing professionals see me standing behind the counter of your store, they’ll know that there’s simply no feasible way that anyone remotely intimidating could ever have set foot inside the building.

Gone will be the days of floral-print-clad college girls shuffling past your doors without a second glance to the stuffy 30-something man named Rajmit you hired to brew the coffee! When the hordes of relocated suburban college kids see me taking their orders, they’ll know that they’ve finally found a place where they know they will be able to sit on their laptop without fearing that a homeless man will come crashing through the door and spill watered-down malt liquor all over their keyboard.

In short, it is impossible to fathom that you will be able to sell enough locally-sourced throw pillows from your upstart local business to make a profit unless you have me there, affecting my most neutral and unassuming smile as patrons ask me to confirm that the cotton used in the stuffing was, in fact, cage free. I hope you consider my proposal, and I look forward to hearing from potential employers soon!  To conclude, I have attached some photos of me being non-threatening, partially so you can see for yourself, and partially because I thought this page could use a little color.

 

Soup

Me making soup in a non-threatening fashion

Wall

Me looking at my wall in a non-threatening manner

Christmas

Me opening Christmas presents in a slighly weird, but still ultimately non-threatening manner

For those of you who are unaware, I am currently attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, a school that is just as well-known for its progressive and contemporary approach to musical education as it is for its high tolerance of scarves, American Spirit cigarettes and Urban Outiftters apparel.

With Hurricane Sandy barreling up the coast towards Boston, many people have been out trying to prepare for the worst, stocking up on non-perishable foods and batteries.  However, Berklee students are acutely aware that it’s very difficult to maintain a cool, detached vibe while eating peanut butter sandwiches by candlelight in your apartment.  For the more fashion- and image-conscious among us, here are some tips to survive the storm, and still look like a hip young Bohemian artist while doing so!

1. Boat shoes are a very practical choice of footwear.  In the event that the entire city floods and you require rescue by boat, you’ll fit right in!

Definitely go for Sperry’s if you can, you’ll find a ride on a yacht way easier than with some knockoff brand

2. It’s quite possible that Starbucks will be closed during the worst part of the storm, meaning that you will not only lack a place to write your novel, but also be running on empty in the coffee department. Never fear though – you can make your own pumpkin spice lattes at home by just pouring boiling water and coffee grounds into your jack-o-lantern!

Delicious AND seasonal!

3. It doesn’t matter that we’ll be under a thick and constant cloud cover – aviator sunglasses can also make very effective (and styling!) shields against the rain.  However, thick-rimmed glasses may be more durable against the intense winds.

It’ll be a little tough to keep you hair this awesome with 70mph winds, though

4. With everyone else staying indoors for a few days, the lines at the Apple Store should be miniscule. Take advantage of this and go get an iPhone 5! Just kidding, you’ve already got an iPhone 5 if you go to Berklee, obviously.

This is way shorter than normal

5. You know what looks cooler than standing outside in the cold and smoking? Standing outside in the cold AND rain while smoking! Definitely hit up the Berklee Beach for maximum visibility of your coolness.

This kid’s getting an early start on being a total badass

6. This storm is essentially the Instagram event of the decade. If you take less than 75 sepia-toned pictures of blurry rain and clouds, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

This is powerful stuff, right here

7. Most people are stocking up on food and water, but if the power and water goes out, that also means the internet goes out!  Be sure to stock up on tweets in the next few hours to avoid a withdrawal.  You wouldn’t want your friends to be wondering how much wet hair annoys you during the storm!

Twitter is a vital source of information in times like this

8. Flashlights are a waste of money.  iPhones have built-in LEDs and they can play music too! How many flashlights can do that?  Your iPhone should be able to stay on flashlight mode for about 3 hours straight before running out of battery, or 2 if you’re blasting “Set Fire to the Rain” on a constant loop for an ironic hurricane dance party.

Actually, I’m not so convinced anymore. This light isn’t even capable of lighting up the entire frame of this picture…

9. Raincoats may be waterproof, but they’ll never match the nostalgic charm of a peacoat.  To counteract the hydrophilic qualities of a wool coat in a hurricane, just wear 3 peacoats at all times! They can’t all get wet!

It’s a little harder to wear 3 pairs of peacoat shoes simultaneously though. Better stick with boat shoes

Hopefully we can all survive this natural disaster in style now with these helpful tips!  Be safe out there, everyone! Unless it would be cooler to be unsafe in a given situation. Then, by all means, endanger away!

I go to a school with a pretty hefty foreign population (actually the most internationally diverse college in the nation, but who’s counting?), so there comes a day every October when I get asked the question a lot: “Why do we get the second Monday in October off?” I explain about Columbus Day, and I’m generally met with anything from confusion to outright anger.  “Christopher Columbus, the man who discovered America and then promptly killed off everyone that lived there already?” they will say.  They will often be outraged, and rightly so.  It seems to reinforce every negative American stereotype out there that we get a day off every year to commemorate a man who spawned a more effective genocide than Hitler, and we use that day to sleep in and watch football.

Though in the spirit of cultural reparations, I always cheer for the Chiefs on Columbus Day

I can see why this would be almost unbelievably offensive to many.  But I think Columbus Day represents something so much more important than that.  Columbus was a man who was so wrong, so mean, and so abrasively arrogant that he became a hero.  People still remember who Columbus was over 500 years later.  I think it’s important to celebrate Columbus not so much because he sailed to America, but because he lived out a fantasy that so many of us have  – becoming rich and famous for doing little to no work.

Even these guys are more deserving of their fame. I don’t see Columbus coming up with any catchphrases

Let’s really take apart just how ineffective Columbus was at the things he supposedly did, so that we can better understand why it’s important to commemorate him.  The one thing that most people know about Christopher Columbus is that he discovered America.  But we really can’t even give him that much credit .  Let me go on a little tangent here to explain my point.

There was a very sad time in my life when I didn’t understand the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between Taco Bell and actual Mexican food.  Or Taco Bell and actual food, for that matter.  So one day, I passed a Taco Bell on the way to my friends house.  Later that night, everyone started really wanting some delicious Mexican food, and I knew it was my time to shine. “I just found a new place on the way over here, its really close!” I proclaimed, eager to share my discovery with everyone.  Ecstasy abounded, and people piled into my car to go to get some burritos.  However, upon discovering that the “new, really close Mexican place” was actually just a Taco Bell, the happy feeling went through all of us faster than a Crunchwrap Supreme, and soon my car was filled with a diarrhea of disappointment.  Not literally. God no, not literally.

Honestly though, how was I supposed to know that Doritos weren’t a traditional Mexican food?

Not only had I promised a Mexican food place and had instead discovered a Taco Bell, but it turns out that several people in the car had actually been to this Taco Bell before, and had opted to just not talk about it.  Probably to avoid the embarrassment of letting people know they ate Taco Bell.  I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it was the all-time low point of my life.

I hope you see where this analogy is headed now.  Columbus may have landed at  America, but he didn’t ever think that he was in a new place.  He legitimately thought what he found was India.  India – a place where thousands of Europeans had been before, and therefore could have easily told him that he was wrong.  He then went and told everyone he found India, and even to this day the natives of America are referred to as Indians just because Columbus was about as good at telling races apart as he was at playing video games (presumably not very good, but I don’t actually have any evidence to support that claim).  Several other people tried to tell him that it wasn’t India, but Columbus literally died still believing that he had just found a sweet new shortcut to India and that all those people were trying to take that accomplishment away from him by saying that it was actually a new continent.

Further adding to Columbus’ lack of accomplishments, he wasn’t even the first person to discover America.  It’s not like he could’ve used the excuse that he was convinced it was India because there was no other place it could have possibly been.  Numerous Viking expeditions landed in North America hundreds of years prior, and not only did they beat Columbus to the punch there, but they also managed to avoid killing everyone.  Yes, the Vikings, a people famous solely because they used to slaughter English people for fun, were more skillful with indigenous relations than Columbus was.

Now, I think it should be abundantly clear at this point that Columbus was just an utter failure for an explorer as well as just a human being.  He got lost, found a land that had already been discovered, told everyone it was a completely different place, refused to accept that it was not that place, and then started governing the new land he refused to admit that he discovered so badly that he was arrested.  The guys from Almost Heroes were more successful explorers.

Meaning that Chris Farley Day would be a less ridiculous choice for a holiday than Columbus Day

But it takes a certain kind of man to look down at the fact that your life’s accomplishments are all either false, stolen or just downright evil, and then decide that there should be a holiday named after you.  This is why many think that Columbus Day is an outdated holiday, celebrating a man that is at odds with everything we believe in this modern age.

However, I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement.  I can’t think of a man to more accurately represent the modern American dream than this man.  We live in a world where we forgive Chris Brown for beating up his girlfriend and celebrate Donald Trump for making absurd boasts about himself, and the whole mentality of this sort of thought process can basically be traced back to Columbus’ brazen claims over Hispaniola.  We are very willing to celebrate people with mediocre accomplishments just because they feel they deserve them.

If this picture were taken today, these people would be waiting in line for MTV pilots

It’s an age of entitlement, where some people honestly feel like fame and attention are a birthright, and they will do whatever is necessary to achieve it.  It may not necessarily entail wiping out an indigenous population, but it could very well entail putting their child on Toddlers in Tiaras, which may actually be worse if you ask me. I’m honestly not sure we’ll ever find a more fitting symbol for the modern age than this great and innovative man, so we’d better keep celebrating Columbus Day or we’ve got some serious ‘splainin to do.

I think it’s clear to everyone that this is a very hotly debated election season coming up.  Even if you do your best to steer clear of the divisive assholery that has become the American political machine, surely you’ve seen a segment on the news on campaign finance, or had a commercial try to convince you that Mitt Romney eats Mexicans for breakfast or maybe a homeless man on the bus told you that you look a lot like one of them sexy Obama girls.  The point is, this is indisputably a big time for American politics and a lot of sides are being taken.  People are breaking into arguments left and right about healthcare, immigration, chicken sandwiches, etc. Even a simple change in lightbulb regulation quickly becomes a storm of partisan fury.  However, there is one issue that I feel we can form a united front against and tackle as a nation united.  This issue I’m referring to is, of course, Indiana.

If you’re not aware, Indiana is a state in the American midwest, and it aligns just so with Lake Michigan that it literally looks like its sitting in the gross stench of an armpit if you flip the map upside-down.

Image

It looks like it shaves, too. More reasons it sucks.

Indiana has the highest level of ueslessness per capita of any region in the world.  There is a small bubble of interestium (the element that creates interest, to be featured in an upcoming James Cameron film) that encompasses Peyton Manning at all times, but other than that there isn’t one cool thing in the entire state.  Even its boring next-door neighbor Ohio is at least notable for having Fangboner Road, the most hilariously named piece of real-estate in the contiguous 48.  Indiana just has nothing.  In fact, lets break down all the nothing Indiana has going for it:

Indiana can basically be broken down into 2 distinct regions.  Cornfields, and Gary.  The cornfields cover about 99% of the state.  Pretty much everything there is in a cornfield.  If you ever drive through the cornfield region of Indiana, you will become convinced after about 4 hours that it will never end.  It will seem as if you are travelling on a cosmic record player and you hit a skip and you are now destined to just live in the corn forever.  But don’t just take my word for it, let’s observe some of the fine scenery that the cornfields have to offer!

The hallowed halls of Notre Dame University

Downtown in Indiana’s capital city, Indianapolis

The 50-yard line at Lucas Oil Stadium. Go Colts!

As you can see, there’s not a whole lot of diversity in the cornfield region.  But before we forget, there is one other important region in Indiana: The Gary Region!

Gary, Indiana is the city that sits directly in the armpit of Indiana, and generates an appropriate amount of stank considering its location.  Due to it’s proximity to the Illinois border, its the first view most Illinoisans have of Indiana after driving down from Chicago.  It’s also the reason most Chicagoans hate driving to Indiana.

Gary’s City Hall during business hours

Gary was once a thriving city, full of steel mills, coal plants, and one restaurant that the steel mill and coal plant workers could go to in between shifts. Then the steel industry tanked and everyone left the city.  Gary was a has-been city before Detroit made it cool.  Gone are the days when you could see the smog of American Industry from across Lake Michigan; Gary now barely produces enough smog to reach its own city limits and causes less than 100 cases of lung cancer each year.  As is typical of this unfeeling world we live in, most of the smog has been outsourced to China.  Thanks Obama…  As a result, Gary is still just as gross at it was back in it’s hey-day, but without the inevitable benefits of having lots of industrial money poured into a city.  In a nutshell, it’s a terrible place.

So now that we’ve exhaustively gone over the anti-benefits of having Indiana around, there’s just one thing left to do.  As I said earlier, this is a difficult time for us politically, but this is exactly the kind of cause any man, woman, Republican, Democrat, or illegal alien can support.  When you go to the polls this November, be sure to vote YES for Referendum SB 68 (if it’s not on the ballot, I’m gonna give Mr. Obama a stern talking-to), an act which would officially give the deed for Indiana to Canada, with a rider that declares “no give-backs” so that there is no way Canada would be able to dump it off on us again.  If this bill passes, it would be a glimmering beacon of the democratic process working in this era of congressional stalemates and shouting pundits.  Please people, vote Indiana out of the country.  Make a difference.