Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why the Ivy Leage can blow me

I just read about the "plagiarism scandal" surrounding Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan, and it's actually made me feel a lot better about not getting into Harvard or Stanford. I don't want to seem like the guy who's just bitching because he's got some sour grapes (though maybe that's what I am). I definitely liked both Stanford's and Harvard's programs best of all the ones I looked at, and, as more and more teachers tell me there's a huge job shortage for any but science and math teachers, I would absolutely love to have the golden ticket that comes with an Ivy League diploma.

But check this shit out:
In a profile published in The New York Times earlier this month, Ms. Viswanathan said that while she was in high school, her parents hired Katherine Cohen, founder of IvyWise, a private counseling service, to help with the college application process. After reading some of Ms. Viswanathan’s writing, Ms. Cohen put her in touch with the William Morris Agency, and Ms. Viswanathan eventually signed with Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, an agent there.

Ms. Walsh said that she put Ms. Viswanathan in touch with a book packaging company, 17th Street Productions (now Alloy Entertainment), but that the plot and writing of “Opal” were “1,000 percent hers.”

Getting into the Ivies involves hiring a private counseling service and getting hooked up with a "book packaging" company? Why does that sound a lot like you have to buy your way into these places?

Getting some guidance on the application process makes sense. I hired Kaplan to help me, and for a few hundred bones I got some very valuable insight on my application essays. But there's something, I dunno, suspicious, about a counseling service that can put you in touch with a book packaging company as well as get you into top schools. (Read about what a book packaging service does, here.)

Or, in other words (since I'm feeling muddled and verbose): if someone is hooking you up with a company that's going to give you the plot, the characters, the outline, and the first four chapters of a book, and then pay you a half-a-million-dollar advance to "write" the book even though your writing style is unexceptional, what would you suspect that same person is doing to get you into Harvard? Is there a fill-in-the-blanks process for that, too? I wish someone would have told me about it.

I guess I'm naive.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Debt Free

In the interest of counting my financial chickens before they've hatched, it looks like I've nearly gotten myself out of debt. I have (or will imminently have) paid off my card, my WaMu card, and my Kohl's card. A few months ago I polished off my Apple Loan. And I've paid my motorcycle insurance for the year as well. This leaves me with college loans to repay, and my motorcycle payments. I feel free. I am a cigarette thrown from a car's window on the L.I.E.: I'll stay afloat for as long as there is turbulence to keep me going, yet inevitably, gravity will have its way with me (imagine those final orange sparks leaping across the ground like ballerinas fired from a cannon!). And what is this metaphoric gravity, you might be wondering? It is the HP L2335. I have wanted one for so long, and the payments would be sooo sooo small (the way peanuts are small, yet packed with protein and satisfaction). Oh, the hunger.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Da Vinci Suck

Just finished reading the Da Vinci Code. Huge disappointment. I was hoping to have another Harry Potter experience, where I come late to the party but still find myself caught up in all the excitement. Instead, I found the book completely bland. The characters are flat, the mechanics of the quest aren't particularly interesting, and the payoff is poor.

However, the history and research that Dan Brown bases the book on are interesting (in spite of his liberties and errors) and I'd bet reading the straight academic work is more rewarding than sifting fact from fiction within The Da Vinci Code, so I'll be adding some more non-fic to my wish list. Yippee.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rain is bullshit

I could be out jogging. Or biking. Or riding my freakin' motorcycle. But noooooooooooooo -- it's freakin' raining. Again. Two days in a row. Three, almost, since Friday was crappy also. What the fuck, man? We don't even need rain anymore. Rain is obsolete. Between global warming, in-ground sprinkler systems, and bottled water, it's time for rain to realize that its day is done. It's over. Time to say goodbye. And don't come back again until we need some snow, which is about all rain is good for until we start importing that, too. Fucking rain.