Dear Society: Sheltering Teenagers Helps No One (Thoughts from a College Student)

It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday. And then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And that someday is yesterday. And this is your life.”

 –  Nathan Scott

Six months! I would apologize, but this hasn’t even been my longest absence, so I’ll simply repeat my usual promise that I’ll never give up entirely on this blog. It might be a few more months before my next post, but there will always be one.

Today I wanted to discuss what it’s like to grow up as a teenager in today’s society. Why? Because as I approach the hilariously old age of 21, I’m looking back on my teenage years and realizing that, to put it nicely, there are some things seriously wrong with how kids are being raised, both by parents and their school systems.

How, you ask? Well, I should begin by saying I’ve grown up incredibly blessed with a plethora of good fortune. I have two happy and healthy parents who love me endlessly, my family lives comfortably, and I’ve been smart enough to get into college and survive as an engineering major (so far, anyway). A good bulk of teenagers reading this are hopefully lucky in similar senses. So why do I say we’re all getting screwed? Why have I, for years, been so fundamentally unhappy with how I transitioned from childhood to adulthood?

Picture this! Growing up as a teenager twenty or thirty years ago, life was different. Kids got jobs at 16 to maintain their shitty cars. As soon as they could drive, they roamed around and basically came and went from the house. They had to sweat a bit to make ends meet, but by the age of eighteen, they had gotten enough practice living as adults that they were ready to take off the training wheels.

(Or so I hear, anyway. I wasn’t exactly around thirty years ago).

These days—at least with how I was raised—growing up is completely different.

Here’s what inspired this post: today I was sitting in class trying to stay awake when I realized I didn’t have a single idea how to do taxes. TAXES. The only thing you have to do in this world apart from dropping dead.

Rant time: why the hell didn’t any teacher in high school bother to sit down us wide-eyed little 16- and 17-year old selves and say “here’s all the information you need about mortgages and loans and taxes”? Is the point of high school not to prepare kids for the real world? Why is it that I—and every other peer of mine—has reached their twenties without having been taught a single strategy for managing bank accounts or sketching out retirement plans?

BUT THANK THE LORD I KNOW THAT THE MITOCHONDRIA IS THE GODDAMN POWERHOUSE OF THE CELL.

All that being said, I’m not here to rant about being ignorant towards taxes, specifically. One YouTube video can (and will) fix that as soon as I finish this post. Instead, let’s dig deeper.

I earned my driver’s license a few days before senior year and had to wait 42 days before I was allowed to drive. “It’s not you we don’t trust; it’s everyone else.” When I was allowed to drive, it was only a few miles and for short periods of time. I wasn’t allowed to make the commute to my college (which is around 70 miles away) until my junior year at the University, and I also wasn’t allowed to own a car until that point.

And I know what you’re thinking! Hey, why didn’t you just buy your own crappy fixer-upper car with the money you had saved up from your high school job? I would have loved to! Except I wasn’t allowed to have a job in high school. Which, by the way, was uncannily common amongst my other friends as well. Why didn’t I get a job in college? Because I would need a car to get there.

Can you perhaps spot something wrong with this picture? By the time I stepped out of my house to move into my college dorm for the first time, I had still never had a job, never owned nor maintained a vehicle, never had any experience managing finances, and most importantly: I had never been allowed to make my own mistakes.

I’m most certainly not here to criticize how I was raised. I’m thankful every day for my impossibly amazing parents, and I realize that if my biggest problem is them loving me too much, I probably shouldn’t be ranting at all. But I’m going to, because these issues I’m describing are a) much more widespread than my own household, and b) way too important to not talk about.

Our society is screwing teenagers by coddling them. Parents and schools say “oh, we just don’t want you to have to worry about working, or maintaining a car, or being under too much pressure” but that’s the exact stuff that turns kids into adults, man! We have to grow up sometime, and in my opinion, parents and schools of the modern day are shoving fundamental skills aside because, “worry about that when you’re 18.”

In my opinion, when a kid hits 18, they should possess all the life skills needed to be out on their own paying rent, being able to get a job, dealing with crappy cars, and protecting themselves rather than letting others do it.

Now. Do I think it’s a travesty every time a parent sends their kid a care package? Of course not. I love how much my parents and I have stayed in touch and any time they want to help out (such as paying for me filling up the car or sending me pizza money) I’m sincerely grateful. But I wouldn’t blame them in the slightest if they didn’t, because it isn’t their job anymore. And more than anything, I wish I’d been put through the ringer at the age of 16 or 17. I wish I’d been able to own a crappy car that breaks down on me, or had to work at a menial job…hell, I just wish I’d been able to go to a football game without being forced to carry a rain poncho with me.

Because here’s the secret: now, every time I go outside and it looks the slightest bit like rain, I change into my shortest of sleeves and let that glorious downpour soak me to the bone. Why? Because I was never allowed to do that as a kid. At night when it’s freezing out, I’ll sometimes walk around in gym shorts and a t-shirt. Stupid? Yeah. Why do I do it? Because never once was I allowed to be stupid when I was growing up.

Parents—especially the amazing ones, like mine—are so driven to protect their kids from everything. But hardship, and mistakes, and pain…those things shape us to be stronger. And dealing with life experiences (such as jobs and cars) early on can help us teenagers learn how to overcome those challenges for when we’ve truly grown up.

And now here I am—finally filling out my own job applications, driving my own car, managing my own finances—and I couldn’t be happier. But I’ve had to spend a few years playing catch-up, and that was a sincere worry on my shoulders.

In short, to any parents with teenagers: I know how scary it can be letting your kids go, but it has to happen sooner or later. Just be mindful of when they’re really going to become adults, so you can make sure they’re ready to face the world when they step into it.

And high schools? If you’re going to make me sit through a class where I learn how to build a bridge out of popsicle sticks and craft glue, the least you could do is make sure I know what the fuck a FAFSA is.

On Writing: Procrastination

“If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

–  Unknown

 

Hi, everyone! No, I haven’t died or been killed by my schoolwork (yet).

I’m sure some of my veteran readers could’ve guessed that my posting would be spotty at best when the school year kicked off. I told myself, “No, Caleb, this year it’ll be different! With a year of college under my belt, I can now manage my time infinitely better, and I’ll post so often that the WordPress servers will poop their pants!”

Then the other day I logged back into my account for the first time in two months, like:

shrekoops

Sorry about that, readers.

One thing I am pleasantly surprised to see, however, is that my reader stats haven’t even been dented. I appreciate everyone’s support during my sparse posting, and am glad you all enjoy reading old posts even when I’m not around to create new ones.

Today, however, I am! Which is a nice segue into the meat of this article: procrastination.

I think any person with internet access has fallen victim to procrastination at some point. The internet is a fluid place; one minute I’m watching a YouTube tutorial about the difference between Enantiomers and Diastereomers, then I blink and suddenly I’m watching a video called “News Anchor Laughs During Murder Report.”

So, how does this factor into the lives of writers?

The thing about writing—in my experience, at least—is that it isn’t a process that can be divided into tiny chunks.

Here’s what I mean: think of doing homework. Any high schooler knows this is a verb for watching TV and having an open textbook nearby. But perhaps, during commercials, you can knock out a math problem or two.

Writing isn’t like this. Sure, you can set goals for yourself (“tonight I’ll finish chapters two and three!”) but it’s difficult to write a handful of sentences every ten minutes or so. Writing takes intense focus, which is why authors are often found doing their work in a private study or an area of similar seclusion. I don’t have an office, but when it’s writing time, I lock myself in my room and put on ambient music. No one is to disturb me.

And then the internet comes in.

Maybe you’ve heard it before: several times, when published authors have been asked how they get their work done, they’ve said step one is turn off the Wi-Fi. Or unplug the Ethernet cord.

Easier said than done, my quasi-Amish friends.

Sure, yeah, turn off the internet! But hey, what if you need to decide on a name for that new character? Where are you going to look up name etymologies?

How about if, mid-sentence, you know the word you want to use, but can’t think of it? A physical thesaurus would be a good tool, certainly, but the online thesaurus would take a tenth of the time.

And don’t you dare look at that smartphone.

Get my point? This generation of authors has grown up with the internet, and we—dare I say—depend on it. I’m an active person; when I’m in the writing zone, my thoughts are spilling onto the paper like rapid-fire pellets of creativity, and if I need to look up a word mid-sentence, I want to do so now. Immediately. Not put the whole process on hold while I rummage around my books for a thesaurus.

This is a perfectly acceptable reason to go on the internet, in my opinion. But as soon as I open that browser, it’s only a matter of time before I find myself watching “Dumbest Answers on Wheel of Fortune- Part 1” or something.

Stop whining, you helpless blogger, the masses sneer. You’re perfectly capable of avoiding distractions if you choose so. Blaming the internet for being able to distract you is like blaming alcohol for being able to intoxicate you.

To which I say, I agree in full! This is most certainly not an anti-internet post. I love the internet. I think it’s fantastic that, in several simple clicks, I have the ability to open and watch a video titled “Crackhead Does Backflip off House for a Dollar.” But I also think that as a culture, we’ve become less productive as a whole because of these time-wasters.

Several weeks ago, I sat down at my desk to do some work. The plan was to check Facebook, pull up a Pandora station, then do my material balance problems for Chemical Engineering.

So I pull up Facebook, scroll through it, then close it out without thinking. I open a new browser tab…and somehow, I’m back at Facebook. It takes me a minute to realize that I, by complete reflex, decided that the first thing to do after closing Facebook was to re-open Facebook.

I thought for sure that this was the sign of unhealthy internet use, until I mentioned it to my roommates. All three of them had done the exact same thing before. It was common.

Perhaps that’s a college thing, but even so, the fact that these time-wasting videos exist proves that they have an audience.

So, what can writers do about it?

Well, killing off internet access is good in theory, if you’re willing to do your research and fact-checking the old-school way. I’m also a fan of checking all of my social media right before I start writing, so I can put it out of my mind and focus on the current task. In the end, however, I think the best solution is the simplest one: avoid internet use if you can, but if you must, get what you came for and go back to writing.

And if the piece you’re currently writing is enticing enough to keep you away from those cat videos, then I think you have a real winner.

My Identity

“The way we choose to see the world creates the world we see.”

–  Barry Neil Kaufman

 

Considering how spotty I’ve been with the posting this past year, I’m not sure how many of my veteran followers I still have on board. But for those of you who are out there, a) thank you, and b) I think you in particular will find this post most interesting. Because, after almost two years of blogging, I think it’s time I share a bit of my identity.

About time, right? Here I’ve been, hunching over my laptop, spewing opinions about movies, growing up and—of course—writing, yet you don’t have a face or even a name to put to me.

You’ve gotta cut me a little slack on that front. I’m nineteen. It’s scary out there, guys. I have plenty of friends who run blogs with their pictures and full names attached. Yeah, that seems like a brilliant idea: hey world, here’s what I look like, and all the information you need to find me, and my house! Key is under the brick!

Don’t get me wrong, for some people, blogging is all about establishing a writing persona to build their author creds. And perhaps if the day comes that my book is in fact published, and I want to reveal the man behind the curtain here, I’ll do that.

However, for the time being, this blog is nothing more than a template for some writing practice. And thus, I’ll stick to using a writing persona when identifying myself. All that being said, you can call me Caleb.

Of course, that isn’t my real name, but it is one of my favorites, as far as names go. It’s Hebrew for “whole hearted” or “faithful.” I prefer to ignore the fact that its other translations include “dog,” “crow,” and “basket.”

So, hi, everyone. My name is Caleb, and I run the blog SuperOpinion8ted.

(Hi, Caleb).

Some more about me, taken from one of my early posts, my writing persona:

As I haven’t told you much about myself, I don’t know what you picture when (if) you think of the person behind this blog when they’re creating its content. Perhaps you imagine a teenager with six friends on Facebook, glasses worthy of Professor Trelawney, and a laptop on which he plays minesweeper for twenty hours of the day.

Or, maybe you picture a sketchy dude in sketchy clothes, sitting in the darkest corner of his basement, typing furiously on a laptop and staring at the WordPress stats pages waiting for views to trickle in.

In both cases you’re incorrect. Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of writing. The depth of that life is questionable, but it exists nonetheless.

Seriously. I don’t do this all the time.

I’d like to think of myself as quirky rather than downright weird. I’m a somewhat average teenager who happens to be a huge writer nerd at heart. I love printed books infinitely more than electronic ones. I’m picky about which pens I use.

And I. Correct. Everyone’s. Grammar.

Oh, do I correct grammar. I correct grammar like we’re in the Hunger Games and one misuse of “who” vs. “whom” will get everyone blown up immediately. When I’m hanging out with my friends, after two or three corrections, said friends want to rip off my writing arm and shove it down my throat to make me shut up. I don’t care; I keep correcting. It’s an involuntary reaction from me. I can’t help it. Someone will say “Me and my friend—” or “I went to lay down—”

And I’m all:

english

My best friend has hit me in the face exactly once, and it was over a “who” vs. “whom” correction.

Uh, where was I? That’s right; a bit about myself.

Probably the most prominent thing about me is my nostalgia. This is boosted by the fact that I can accurately recall almost every day of my life. Memories don’t fade with me like they do with others…well, eventually they fade, but it takes a long time. I can still give you a breakdown of my ninth birthday party, including who attended, what date it was on (April 4, 2004) and a list of the gifts I received. You can only imagine how well I remember Senior Prom, or Graduation, or the summer between high school and college.

Memories affect me a lot more than they do most people, and that’s why you’ll catch me blogging about growing up. Because change is something I’m (I dare say) much more aware of than most people. In fact, change is the main theme of my novel, which is centered around a group of friends’ senior year of high school.

So that’s a little about the kid behind the blog. No one extraordinary, just your everyday book-writing, grammar-correcting, sarcastic, quirky teenager. And oh yeah, I’m also hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to get my novel in print.

But, that’s another story.

 

On Publishing: “No Response” Agents (My Thoughts)

“Success is something you attract by the person you become.”

–  Jim Rohn

 

Two days ago, my dream agent requested my full manuscript, thus brightening an otherwise dreary Wednesday. However, I’m not here to talk about that, as there really isn’t much to discuss. Instead, I wanted to share my thoughts on the hot topic of agents and their varying degrees of interaction with hopeful queriers.

Translation: here are my thoughts on how some agents give the kindest rejections and others don’t even reply to you unless they want more material.

It’s an interesting topic, isn’t it? But after all, this is a strange industry. A cover letter is supposed to be a formal proposal that you’re submitting to a potential business partner. In any other industry, that would warrant a definite response. And yet in publishing, it’s becoming more and more common for agents to have a policy of, “I’m only going to reply to you if I like your letter.”

When I tell my friends of this, they usually respond with, “That would make me mad if I were you.” But honestly, it doesn’t. I understand that some agents are busy people and don’t have time to respond to every proposal they receive, especially considering that some queries are nowhere near coherent. But I do think that there’s a right way to reject people.

Some agents I’ve submitted to make it a point to respond to every query, and they say if you haven’t heard back within x-weeks, re-send. Those are my favorite kinds of agents.

Even if the rejection is your standard “Dear Author” form, at least I have closure, you know? I can check that agent off the list.

Personally, I would aim to have that policy if I ever became a literary agent. However, I understand that some people are still crazy busy and can’t manage to reply to everything. That’s why some agents use a policy along these lines: “While I try to respond to every query, if you haven’t heard back within x-weeks, please consider it a pass. You will receive an auto-confirmation when we receive your query.”

That last part makes a world of difference. I’m entirely fine with a silent rejection as long as I know it’s indeed a rejection, and not a glitch in my email system. Queries get lost in cyberspace. Agents’ emails crash, as do authors’. If I send a query and never receive so much as an auto-confirm, I’ll never be sure if it was read and passed, or simply lost in the internet.

Once again, I understand that agents are busy. Truly, I can appreciate that, and I have no hard feelings towards most. There’s only one type of agent I have a real problem with, and that’s the agent who promises to reply to all queries, then never does so.

A while ago, I queried one agent who looked especially promising. Her guidelines specified that she aimed to reply to all queries within a certain amount of weeks. I waited, the weeks went by, and no response.

Normally, I would’ve assumed my query was lost in cyberspace. But, as it happens, I was also following said agent on Twitter at the time. About a week after the response time frame had passed, she tweeted a sentence or two from several queries which she’d deleted without response because they were such a quick pass. Mine was among them, being cited for “lack of specificity.”

tumblr_monkt1y7_Oy1r33idro5_r1_500

I’m not bitter about the rejection; hell, that’s the best kind, because it included feedback. But I would’ve preferred to hear that from an email, not a social media feed which I happened to check.

My bigger point here is that while I don’t hold a grudge against agents who treat queriers badly, I do have an enormous amount of respect towards the ones who are courteous—even in dealing with the slush pile. I accept this is a brutal industry, but I think that some agents (and I place extraordinary emphasis on ‘some’) view queriers as people who are so used to rejection that they won’t mind at all if their proposal is deleted without a promised response.

Again I say, I’m completely fine with agents who say, “If you haven’t heard within x-time, please consider it a pass.” No problem! Now I can mark my calendar and hold my breath. But likewise, if you say “You’ll hear from me in x-time, one way or another,” then prospective authors count on that.

The other thing I think people can sometimes forget is that the agent-author relationship is a professional partnership, and that requires mutual respect in equal amounts. If an agent sends me a kind rejection, even if it’s a form, I think, “Man, that’s a loss; he/she would’ve been great to work with.” But if an agent gives a specified period to reply and doesn’t (and obviously received and read it), then I admit I do feel a slight bit of, “Well, I’m not sure I’d want to work with them anyway.”

I’m sorry if I sound naïve or whiny, but what I’m trying to explain is that the kindness and respect of an agent, even a rejecting one, is a warm and welcome feeling in the business of querying. It truly does make a difference between my image of some faceless lady in an office versus a real human being who’s friendly and personable but simply doesn’t connect with my material.

In any case, the two agents reading my work at the moment have been every bit as respectful and friendly as I could hope for.

To them and every other agent out there who treats the slush pile kindly…thank you!

On Publishing: The Literary Agent Process, Told Through Memes and GIF’s

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

–  Robert Collier

 

First things first: the concept of using GIF’s to explain a process wasn’t originally my idea. By all means, before you read my take on this, I’d highly recommend checking out Nathan Bransford’s hilarious blog post, The Publishing Process in GIF Form. Mine is a bit different because it uses mostly different images, has a few paragraphs between each one, and focuses specifically on the process of getting a literary agent rather than the entire publishing cycle.

(In Star Trek villain voice): Shall we begin?

So I talked last time about the process of writing a query letter, which is one of those you-get-there-eventually tasks. Once I got there, and edited said query letter to death, it was time to look for a literary agent. I turned to the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents. I was hoping that flipping through that would be something like this:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-27969-1361551443-1

But instead it took me a solid few days to read the advice in the first half (what? Yes, I’m a teenager and I actually read advice!) and then another week at least to carefully scan through the agent listings, highlighting those that seemed like good fits.

agenttime

(In case you’re wondering, I made all of the non-animated memes myself).

Once I had a highlighted book full of potential future agents, I typed up said agents’ names and agencies in a document on my computer. That may be a little too organized for most people, especially seventeen year olds, but I’m not most people.

So then it was time to start reading over the submission guidelines for each agency, and I started to feel a lot like:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-21641-1361553914-25

And then I learned that I’ll need to include a synopsis along with my query letter and sample pages, and my reaction was:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-29954-1361553931-1

and

arguecat

But I researched the best way to write a synopsis, hammered out a rough draft, then let it sit for a few days before revising it until it was in the best possible shape. And now everything was finally, really done, and I was just about ready to prepare everything for hitting ‘send’ to the first of the agents on my list.

That’s the stage I’m at now. Everything is all ready to be sent. And I wish I could tell you I’m all like:

come_at_me_bro

But in reality, I’m feeling closer to:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-28420-1361551925-9

Okay, I promise I’ll actually write a bit of a blog post now.

Being the way that I am, I feel the need to break down every process into smaller steps. So, for my own personal organization, I’ve broken down the process from query to representation into three ‘battle rounds,’ if you will.

 

Round 1: The agent reads over your query.

So you send off the letter, completely prepared for the worst:

bracerejections

And you can only imagine what the agent is thinking as they read it:

querycon   grumpymanusc

I should clarify that these memes are meant to be a parody of how people perceive agents to be, not how agents actually are.

Admittedly, no one’s odds are good here. As Nicola Morgan wrote, “Be prepared to be rejected, often. It’s not a lottery but a very difficult game.” All I can say is that every author will get their tsunami of rejection slips. Myself included.

BUT. It should be well noted that agents aren’t heartless, bloodsucking leeches whose mission in life is to destroy prospective authors. Their mission is to find the truly good ones. And though this is a tough part of the fight for aspiring novelists, the reward of survival is valuable: an agent asks for a partial manuscript.

 

Round 2: The agent reads over your partial.

What’s unfortunate about this stage of the process is that your stress level will probably jump up. I can only imagine being at the point where an agent loved my query letter enough to ask for some of the book, then I’m left praying I don’t get rejected for a lack of writing in the manuscript itself. I wouldn’t call this the hardest part of the process, unless you’re someone who can write a decent letter for a terrible book. That’d be an interesting skill to have; I’m pretty sure I have the opposite problem.

This round is hard to survive, too, but the prize is grander still: an agent asks for your entire book. Eeep!

 

Round 3: The agent reads over the entire manuscript.

I don’t know from experience, but I would guess this is the most nerve-wracking point of the journey. On one hand, you’d think the author would feel good, because they know their work is enough to attract significant interest from an agent…but, on the other hand, now is when it gets down to a generous chunk of the luck involved with this. The agent hopefully likes your writing as well as your story, but now is the time for them to decide if they would be the best agent for it. And there is a scary plethora of reasons as to why it might not work for them.

But, if you survive this round, the prize is metaphorical wealth beyond the young writer’s imagining; the Holy Grail of storytelling, the Triwizard Cup of the typed word: an agent’s offer of representation.

Which, I can only imagine, goes something like this:

tumblr_m8rxioybpK1r9rdxs

But, for now, I’m just getting ready to send off my query letter. So, for now, I’ll say the same thing to every prospective novelist that I’m saying to myself, as I dive into this great (and terrifying) industry:

oddsfavor

I think that about sums it up. Best of luck, authors.

5 Things People Need to Stop Doing on Twitter

“Some people tell me I have a short temper. I prefer to call it ‘A swift and assertive reaction to B.S.’”

 

This post was easy to write. I haven’t been on Twitter that long, but I’ve been on long enough to notice that there are some common behaviors that give me the urge to high-five a lot of people. In the face.
With a chair.
Sorry to sound so bitter…hopefully not too many of my readers demonstrate the behaviors listed below. If so, please stop.
Things people do on Twitter that annoy me the most:

 

1. Having stupid bios

For anyone unfamiliar with the general structure of Twitter, a bio is the blurb you write about yourself under your profile picture. After spending even a little time on Twitter, you can safely draw the conclusion that no two bios are created equal. Some are full of hashtags of their interests, some just have the Twitter name of their boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. I’ve seen ones with Bible verses tacked on, rhetorical questions (“bio like biology?”) and in quite a few cases, simply, “Everyone follow me!” along with a heap of profanities.

To further my point, I found some bios of Twitter celebrities that are real gems:

  • Bobby V.—“CEO BLUKOLLADREAMS! 4GET THE WAGON COME JOIN DA BAND! UPS 2 ALL MA HATERS! NEW ALBUM AVAILABLE NOW!”
  • Macy Gray—“I want to be as famous as midnight as powerful as a gun as loved as a pizza”
  • Chris Bosh—“The coolest dude alive”
  • Shaq—“VERY QUOTATIOUS, I PERFORM RANDOM ACTS OF SHAQNESS”
  • Miley Cyrus—“Im a dime. best top of the line. cute face slim waste with a BIG behind”
  • Draya Michele—“I am not her, she is me! *blowin’ kisses and flippin’ the bird*”

For the record, mine is “I apologize in advance.”

 

2. Whining to a mystery person about how they act

I know a few people who do this. The majority of tweets will all be things like “why don’t you grow up?” or “fine, I hate you too” or anything along that line. Except for the tiny glitch that the tweets aren’t ADDRESSED to anyone.
I understand that Twitter is a venting place. But there’s a difference between venting and directly yelling at a person who isn’t there. Maybe a lot of people reading this are thinking I’m a cold and heartless person who doesn’t care about the problems of others. If my friends have a problem they want to talk to me about, just let me know! Heck, tweet about it; I did say Twitter was a venting place. But as soon as you start throwing out the messages to no one, I won’t know if something’s wrong. I’ll just wonder if you’re crazy.

 

3. Tweeting unintelligible nonsense

To quote Liam Neeson from Taken, “you’re telling water not to be wet.” I get it; Twitter is a place to say whatever you want. Go ahead. But there are some things I’ve read that no one could possibly decipher or derive any meaning from. Examples include tweets such as “what’s shakin bacon” which is sadly a real example. I don’t know, sir…what is, indeed, shaking?

 

4. Excessively tweeting at celebrities

First of all, I get where you’re coming from. It’s cool to be able to message famous people. I’ve done it myself, and I even got a direct message from the lead actor of—you guessed it—Super 8.

JCDM

But there are some people who create Twitter accounts specifically to constantly bombard the members of One Direction with tweets about how awesome they are. This isn’t a mortal sin, but if you’re going to do it, please warn me so I can unfollow you pre-emptively.

 

5. TWEETING CONSTANTLY

According to a study in 2009, the most active person on Twitter had a total of 1,560,818 tweets, with an average of 2,268 tweets per day. And this was in 2009, four years ago. Does this gentleman have a problem? Yeah, I’d say so. Granted, he only had twenty-eight followers at the time, but that contradicts my point. There are lots of people who tweet literally every thirty seconds, yet they still have hundreds of followers. I don’t understand the point of following someone who spills their thoughts every second of every day.

But then again, I don’t really understand Twitter, either.

(More Of) The Most Ridiculous Things I’ve Seen on the Internet

“And there seems to be no sign of intelligent life anywhere.”

–  Buzz Lightyear

 

Those who actually read my blog for the occasional humor I manage, I bring you good news. Tonight there will be no sobering thoughts on the meaning of life and how it relates to writing, or what new movie I saw and loved or hated. Tonight it’s just more of the best of the worst of the net: digital places where cats bounce and cows grow on trees and some of the strangest arrests I’ve read about come to life.

Please stay tuned!

In the interests of structure, and for the purposes of easing my readers into the icy waters of human stupidity, I’ll order my findings by increasing weirdness.

 

1.  Website: Nooooooooooooooo.com

Maybe you’ve heard of this site. I don’t really consider it ridiculous; in fact, I even pay it an occasional visit. In case you don’t want to click on the link, I’ll break it down for you: by going to this site (using fifteen o’s…no more, no less) you have access to a button that unleashes Darth Vader’s scream from the end of Star Wars: Episode III. What’s not to like?

Also, please note my next entry in this article was to be a website my friend told me about, in which you can pay a French service to kidnap you. But I didn’t have the courage to find/post the link to it.

 

2.  Article: Man Arrested For Attacking Wife With a Sandwich

By a show of hands, who just did a double take?

To be fair, I didn’t go looking for this on purpose. I was sitting bored at home on my most recent snow day, searching Google for this image:

Haircut Arrest

Granted, that one is pretty good in and of itself. But alas, I have bigger criminal fish to fry. And so I present the highlights of this article about a man attacking his wife with a sandwich, to save you the trouble of reading it:

  • “Larry Spurling, Melbeta, Neb., was angry at his wife for “making him live in the county” and “being bored since there is no place for him to walk,”
  • The woman grew tired of the argument and retired to her bedroom with a sandwich.
  • Spurling followed her…pushed her down on the bed and crammed the sandwich in her face. She called 911 to report the assault.
  • The Scottsbluff Star-Herald didn’t detail the ingredients of the sandwich, but a sheriff’s deputy found lunch meat and crumbs scattered around the crime scene.”

 

3.  Cat Bounce!

http://cat-bounce.com/

I have a confession to make: when someone on Facebook posted a link to this site, I went to it. I stayed on the site for eighteen minutes.

Eighteen minutes well spent, indeed.

Though in my defense, around fourteen of those moments were spent “making it rain.”

 

4.  Video: Cows and Cows and Cows

Oh, goodness. The near-pinnacle of weirdness. The space of the internet (other than this one) that makes you question your current state of mental well-being. The corner of YouTube that most people, sane or otherwise, avoid at all costs.

I did my best. And I held out until Thanksgiving break this past year. But even YouTube has its limits, and with a video that has almost twenty million views, I found it eventually.

And I watched it.

And I tried with all my might to look away.

And I failed miserably.

If you think this one is bad, don’t even look up “Welcome to Kitty City.”

 

5.  Website: The Marvelous Breadfish

Then there’s this:

http://www.breadfish.co.uk/

If anyone wants to explain that one, you can find me in the corner of my local neighborhood park, busy with line editing and weeping for humanity.