Thursday, October 21, 2010

Public Service Announcement #3

This month, I want us to work on eliminating this phrase:

"I like long walks on the beach."

Example: My name's Julianna, and I like long walks on the beach.

Why am I targeting this one, you may ask? BECAUSE I CAN'T LISTEN TO IT ANYMORE.

Here's the weird thing about this phrase: I'm sure it started out as a sincere way to introduce oneself service videos. And then it was overused to the point that people started saying it as a joke. Oh, and what a funny joke it was for people to introduce themselves that way at work and school and church and such. Har har har. And then the joke got less funny over the years as people continued to introduce themselves that way at work and school and church and such. Har har. And now it's decidedly UNfunny when people introduce themselves this way at work and school and church and such, but we feel obligated to give out at least one "Har".

No more. Let's do away with that final "Har".

If you are one of those hundreds of people that STILL thinks this is a clever way to introduce yourself, let me enlighten you. IT'S NOT. You might as well stand up and say, "My name is ______, and I like being unoriginal." (Ironically enough, it would be more original for you to say you like being unoriginal, but whatever.) And, if you are one of those hundreds of people that STILL laughs when someone introduces himself with the beach phrase, I beg you to stop encouraging this.

I submit that the next time someone tries to get a laugh by using this phrase, we all choose to stay completely silent. No laughter. If you can make a cricket chirping noise, do so. Feel free to glare at the person who uses the stale phrase. Make him feel so embarrassed that he will never say it or laugh at it ever again.

I know it sounds harsh, but it must be done.

Go forth, my people. Grab your literary pitchforks and slay the ogre that is "I like long walks on the beach"!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


On Saturday, I was lucky enough to be able to take the GRE. Ah, there's nothing like spending a gorgeous fall day trapped inside a small, dark testing center taking a mind-taxing test for four hours.

Actually, the test itself wasn't TOO bad. Except for the math part. So help me, I will never be able to figure out how to find the area of one shape circumscribed about another shape.

URG. I just about have an aneurysm when I look at those problems.

Anyway, the worst part of the whole test was actually the hoops I had to jump through BEFORE the test started. They don't allow you to have food or water in there, and they monitor how many breaks you take. They also literally make you turn your pockets inside out before you go in. I understand the principles behind this, but it's sad to me that we have gotten to this point as a society. We can't just treat people like adults. We have to treat everyone like disobedient children, because there are too many dirty, rotten cheaters.

Oh! But that wasn't the worst part. The test itself started with a tutorial about the computer. Literally, the first part of the tutorial said, "This is a mouse. This is how you use the mouse. Practice clicking the mouse." It then proceeded to teach you about all sorts of *difficult* skills like scrolling and other such complex computer functions.

What the what?

Let's think about this for a minute. The GRE is designed to assess the competency level of people who are getting ready to attend grad school. So, here I am, ready to be tested on whether or not I know the antonym of words like cosset and misanthropic, and whether or not I can solve 48 math questions in 45 minutes. Somehow, these skills are supposed to inform admissions officials about my ability to perform well in school. But the test-makers are assuming that there's a possibility that I won't know how to operate a mouse. AND THIS IS ACCEPTABLE??!

Call me crazy, but I think it's a lot more important for a potential grad school student to know how to perform basic computer functions, than it is for a potential grad school student to know what pulchritudinous means. (Frankly, if anyone ever uses that word in my presence, I will punch him in the face. "IT MEANS BEAUTIFUL!! JUST SAY BEAUTIFUL!!") If you don't know how to click a mouse, you are going to have a hard time anywhere, frankly.

This is just one more thing that bothers me about the whole world of academics. We are all tested on skills that aren't entirely applicable in real world situations, while USEFUL skills are neglected. I don't care if you can quote all of the words in the dictionary or do wonders with imaginary numbers. If you can't figure out how to navigate around a computer or carry on a conversation with human beings, you have some work to do.

Common sense, my dears. It's worth a lot more than that GRE. Or, it should be worth more, anyway.

Well, at least that part of my grad school prep is out of the way! Now it's on to other things. I'm on my way to Chicago this weekend to check out Columbia College, so I hope that all goes well.

And when I say "I hope that all goes well", I really mean, "I hope I don't get raped". (Thanks, Dad, for giving me a complex by telling me about the muggings that happen in Chicago. I love you.)

Wish me luck, my dears! And if I don't make it back, carry on the Hermit blogging without me.

Love you, mean it.



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