Posts Tagged ‘college’

Non-Traditional Enemies

February 12, 2012 2 comments

When I was a fresh-faced college kid, the world was surely my oyster (it smelled like seafood and had a small, meaty center). I was new in town, and had no enemies or natural predators. That is, until I started classes. I could hear the sound of my dismay in the distance.

“Clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka-clicka” the sound would go, and it grew louder as it came nearer. Students familiar with the sound emptied the hallways, scuttling into classrooms at an alarming rate. I stood speechless it turned the corner, leaving in its wake a trail of Scantrons and complaints.

The Non-Traditional Student

Anyone who has had any college classes knows exactly what I’m talking about. If you have recently attended classes, you probably guessed it already. The “clicka-clicka” sound, of course, refers to a backpack on wheels. Your average non-traditional student always looks like she is on the way to the airport.

Characteristics of the Non-Traditional Student:
1) Backpack on Wheels
2) Water Bottle the Size of an Above-Ground Pool in Hand
3) More Life Experience Than Everyone Else, Paired With the Inability to Keep It to Oneself

God love non-traditional students. They wheel around every book from everyclass every day, no matter what classes they have. By definition, a backpack should not have wheels. A backpack on wheels is LUGGAGE.

Webster defines “non-traditional student” as: n. One who goes back to college after many years in order to earn a degree, wheel around a backpack, and ask a bunch of stupid questions. Not Webster the dictionary guy; Webster Baxter, my alter-alter-ego.

With any luck, you will not be seated near a non-traditional student (NTS). The seat most likely to be occupied by an NTS is in the front row, very middle. These are known as the “obnoxious question seats”. Teachers tend to avoid standing directly in front of these seats, sometimes opting to lecture from an adjoining room.

99.5 times out of 78, an NTS is recently divorced and eager to share the experience in all its gory details. After hearing time and time again how piggish these ex-husbands are, I have decided to become a feminist lesbian libertarian. Also, I disagree with Miley Cyrus’ outfit choices, but I choose to let my teenage daughter listen to her anyway.

The NTS always seems to graduate with a ridiculous GPA of 6.5 or greater. Though not mathematically possible, many teachers will give a grade of “A++++” to avoid ever seeing an NTS again.

By the end of my freshman year, I could hear “clicka-clicka” from 500 feet and duck into a supply closet in plenty of time. I learned how to pick up the scent of hand sanitizer from across the library and blend in with a shelf of Young Adult Fiction with ease.

An NTS has a distinction from the rest of society: despite always having 10 quart-size Ziploc bags of granola and dried fruit, she weighs 350 pounds. The NTS’s body is designed to store up extra fat so that, when the time has come to ask insufferable questions and argue with the teacher, she will be able to do so without sleeping or considering anyone else’s college experience.


Up to My Elbows in Tampons

March 3, 2009 6 comments

Before we start today, I feel I should explain that I will be using a series of single italicized words to express emotion.  I hope it’s as hard-hitting and personal to you as it is to me.  Begin!

I had the great honor of being part of an ugly people convention today.  I felt like I was on the outside looking in.  Surreal.  Ill-fitting t-shirts were everywhere.  I wish I had broken out my phone so I could truly express to you how truly “unique” everyone was.  I’m not trying to sound immodest here, but I’m almost certain that I was the best-looking person in the entire building.

“What kind of event was it?  I must know, because I want to live my boring old life through you.  You help me get through the day,” you may be saying out loud right now to your computer, as you beg for more details.  Delusional. Well, I will tell you that I was helping a business set up a new store in the United States (contiguous).  I have never felt so dumb in my entire life.  It was like my first day of college all over again.

I walked through the doors, and the noise from a bustling crowd of people greeted my ears.  They were all here for the same purpose as I was.  I had never been involved in this type of thing, and they all obviously had.  As soon as the crowd split into groups, they all began feverishly working.  I wandered around for a few minutes until a kind soul basically asked me if I had any idea what was going on.  I followed that person like a lost puppy to the area in which I was to begin setup.  Because I was the last person to claim a section, I received the section no one else wants, ever.  Feminine Hygiene.  Awkward.

Not to drift too far off-topic, but there are approximately a gazillion different kinds of feminine hygiene products.  How can women reasonably send a husband to the store at that time, and expect him to come home with the right product?  Insane.  “Oh, it’s the one in the blue package,” she says.  So are 5,000 others.  He’d be just as likely to find the right product if he were to walk into that aisle blindfolded (with a baby duck in his hand), wildly flailing until a box, package, carton, or envelope of “health care needs” falls into his hands.  God help him if he’s going to make a phone call in front of the shopping public and ask the proper questions out loud to determine what he needs to buy.  Therefore, he will guess, and it will be wrong.  And the baby duck will likely be scared from being in a public place.  It’s a lose-lose situation.

Back to the story.  Pointless.  I struggled with this section for 8 hours before finally retiring for the day.  Before today, the following words and phrases didn’t have any meaning to me in and of themselves.  Now, I can’t get them out of my head.  They swirl about every time I close my eyes.

–Super Plus
–With Wings
–Ultra Thin
–Monistat 7

All of these words now strike fear into my heart.  I dare not go back to that place tomorrow, lest these words drive me over the cliff of insanity.  Clowns.  I do, however, recommend that every husband go through what I did today.  It’s a great lesson to learn, and I feel very knowledgeable about this subject now.  Perhaps too knowledgeable.  I learned more this morning than I really wanted to.

I do, however, have an even greater respect for women.  With as many different combinations of attributes there are available for such products, I imagine it would be hard to find the product that works best.  Was I non-specific enough?  I’m trying to be as inoffensive as possible here, but also trying to retain the humor inherent in such topics.  I can hardly say the word “tampon” without breaking into girlish laughter.  I don’t know how people who market . . . such things . . . can do so without giggling all the time.  Childish.

I feel like I’m forgetting something.  Let’s see . . . as is my custom, I included a list (so my posts appear longer).  Check.  Ah, yes.  I have to talk about cats!  How silly of me!  I can’t believe I would be so irresponsible.  This is called “Kittens Inspired by Kittens”.  I did not make this video, but I do have an appreciation for it.  Watch this video with pride by clicking HERE.  I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.  Tampons.


The One Thing I Know Most About

February 13, 2009 10 comments

In my college Composition class, my professor always told us (her students) the easiest way to write is to write about something you know.  I searched the depths of my brain for a truly unique and thought-provoking topic.  I wanted to find something so intertwined with humanity that you would be overcome with emotion and possibly thoughts of baking me homemade banana bread.  There’s only one truly deep topic I know anything about, and that is:

Being Handsome

This may sound a little elementary, but if you get the choice between being handsome and being ugly, choose handsome.  It offers way more perks.  I’m still surprised at how many people, in this day and age, still choose ill-fitting pants, goofy haircuts, and American Eagle.  I rest my case.  Fortunately, my readers are all on the same page with me.  I boast daily to anyone who will listen that my readership is among the best-dressed in all of cyberspace.  Look at me, getting off on a tangent.  Back to the perks and drawbacks of being unreasonably handsome.


–People will treat you well
–People won’t walk away when you sit down at a lunch table
–I will quit personally sending you hate letters filled with rancid bacon.

That last one isn’t really my fault.  I just have a lot of stamps I’m trying to use up before the postage goes up in May.  I knew I should’ve gotten “forever stamps” instead of giving in to the pressure from that pushy stamp counter lady to buy those 42-cent collectible “Dancing With the Stars” stamps.

As with anything that has perks, there are drawbacks to being incredibly good-looking.  I just can’t think of any right now.

Some might say that you can increase your attractiveness by getting tattoos and piercings.  When it comes to altering your body (tattoos and piercings), who can really say what looks good?  I can, for one.  And I will, come to think of it.  Right now, as a matter of fact.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?  You see, that’s a common misconception.  I aim to disband this convocation of free-wheeling ideas right now.

In my youth, I went out,  had my ear pierced, and had two tattoos inked into my skin.  I do not regret any of them for a minute.  Let’s discuss these two options as beauty enhancers.


A well-placed earring, tongue stud, or butt zipper can enhance anyone’s natural beauty.  There is something called “too much of a good thing”, though.  A misplaced piercing can look horrific, while a simple classy piercing can be both trendy and elegant.  (The elegant one is the neck ring.)  My mother always told me she would kick me out of the house if I ever had any piercings.  In my ever-vigilant attempts to test my mother’s love, I had my ear pierced on my 18th birthday.  I kept it in until last Wednesday.  I almost let it go by without any fanfare, but it was a big step for me.  I have had it out for over a week, and I can’t say I really miss it.  I took it out for professional reasons, fully intending to put it back in at the end of the day.  I never did.  It was just time.  *sigh*  But seriously, nose piercings kind of freak me out.  (You didn’t really think I was going to show you a picture of a butt zipper, did you?)


I am definitely FOR tattoos.  As I said before, I have two of them.  They are both on my right arm.  There are still some people I work with who probably don’t know I have a tattoo, let alone two on my right arm.  I think everyone ought to have at least one, just to try it.  Something small, like a flaming skull sitting on top of a baby dolphin vomiting into a bathtub filled with electric eels smothered in tartar sauce that is a few months past the expiration date because some pimply-faced teenager working at your local supermarket did check the expiration dates when he was specifically asked to.  Small.  Like that.

With my earring, I was able to take it out and leave it on the bathroom counter.  With my tattoo, I’ll probably wait until I’m 30 to take it out, but it probably won’t fit on the bathroom counter.  I’ll probably fold it up nicely, wrap it in newspaper, and put it in a box in my attic (so I can show my child 15 years from now).

Slogan for the KBP T-Shirt

Thanks, everyone who voted on the t-shirt slogan for the Kyle Baxter Project!  The winning phrase is “Help Save the World: Support the Kyle Baxter Project”.  It may get modified slightly (make it shorter), but the spirit of the phrase will remain.  You are all really awesome to participate in this!  I have already received a few e-mails, FB messages, and texts asking me about when and where shirts will be available.  Claire and I need to hammer out the details of the shirts, but I want to have pricing available soon.  We’ll make sure that you have plenty of options in terms of trendy shirt styles for the gals (of course, trendy shirts will cost a tiny bit more).  Not sure if having more than one color option will change the price.  I will look into that and post the info to the Facebook group, Fans of the Kyle Baxter Project.  If you have not already joined, then go do it!

Public Speaking Pointers

January 28, 2009 Leave a comment

As someone who speaks every day (sometimes even to other people!), I consider myself an expert on the subject of public speaking.  There are those of you who are easily frightened at the thought of speaking publicly, but I (as always) have solutions for you, the timid orator!  Far be it from me to let you suffer in vain!  With only a few pointers from me, you will become more confident, less nervous, and more attractive to the opposite sex.  That’s a guarantee!  (Not a guarantee.)

Here’s everything you need to blow your audience out of their shoes, socks, underthings, and possibly into the next county:

Practice in Front of a Mirror–Before you give that all-important presentation to the board, your manager, the President of the United States, or a potential future father-in-law (“Sir, I would like to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.  Of course I have the ring, and no, she’s not pregnant”), you must practice your speech to yourself in front of a mirror.  With text in hand, I order you to stand awkwardly in your bedroom and recite your information to yourself.  Honestly, I’ve never tried this myself.  Apparently, as the legend goes, if you practice in front of a mirror by yourself, the Speech Fairy comes in the night and plants magic speech beans in your inner ear canal (possibly through ear candle, which is the best way to put anything dangerously close to your brain), which springs up, blooms, and allows you to speak confidently in front of a crowd (with no mirror).

Dress For Success–When speaking in front of a large audience, say, a Public Speaking class in college, you should always exude an aire of confidence by the way you dress.  The rule of thumb is: dress a step above the occasion.  For instance, if you are speaking to a group of construction workers, a nice pair of slacks and a polo will serve you well.  If you are speaking before Congress, a tuxedo with tails and cummerbund is fitting.  If you are speaking to the typical audience of a Metallica concert, I’m not even sure you have to wear a shirt.  (Yes, I know I just offended every “rocker” by calling a “show” a “concert”.)  Finally, if you are giving an address to the president of your company, remember to wear clean, pressed suit pants and a “I ♥ My Boss” t-shirt.  Looks like someone’s getting a bonus!

Never say, “Um”–By saying “um”, you can literally kill your speech, drag it down a gravel road, and set it on fire.  Literally.  Do you know anyone who sounds intelligent saying “um”?  Would you feel good going into anesthesia hearing your heart surgeon say, “We’re going to, um. . . pry this guy’s, um. . . chest open and locate the, um  . . . what’s that called . . . blockage . . . and, um . . . fix it, um . . . without killing him . . .”?  See how ugly that looks when converted to text from Judaism?  When you say “um”, you are giving the audience a hint that you are:




–Not Qualified to Perform Open-Heart Surgery

Imagine the Audience in Their Underwear–This technique is only for those who have mastered the previous steps.  Because of the exponentially increasing obesity rates, imagining your ever-ballooning audience in their undergarments can trigger an uncontrollable laughing fit.  Or, if you are creative enough to see the hairs coming out of your boss’s navel, a crying fit (thumb sucking included).  Use at your own risk.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Because I did.  Just now.  Like, um, 4 sentences ago.  See how silly I sounded?  Don’t say “um”.  Just a reminder.

Watch Your Gestures–You want people to pay attention to what you’re saying, not the flailing and quite possibly offensive motions you’re making with your appendages.  Did you know that everyday gestures we make are considered greatly offensive in foreign cultures?  For instance:

–Giving the “peace sign” is considered rude is Japan

–Biting your thumb and pulling it quickly from between your teeth is offensive in Italy

–Putting your hand out, making eye contact with your boss, extending only your middle finger, and yelling, “Moron!” will get you fired from your job in the United States

–Spinning in a circle and throwing creamed corn up in the air while speaking in Pig Latin is considered the highest offense to Regis Philbin

Eye Contact–One expert (namely, I asked my wife what she learned in speech class) informed me that eye contact is vital to connecting with your audience.  She warned me, however, that you are not to always stare directly into the eyes of your victims (audience), but you are to talk approximately 1 foot above their heads, and make eye contact occasionally.  That seems to make sense.  I know I sure hate it when I get pulled into a staring contest by some orator.  Especially that guy who gave his speech while looking back at me from the other side of the mirror.

Know Your Audience–Keep the creamed corn at home if you know you’re going to be on “Live with Regis and Kelly”.  That’s just one example of Knowing Your Audience.  For instance, if you are giving a presentation to professional clowns, it is very rude to show up without oversized shoes on.  Likewise, if you are campaigning to be President of the United States and speaking in front of Union workers, you’d darn well better be wearing a tacky shirt and have those sleeves rolled up (even though those guys know you’ve never worked an honest day in your life), or else the I.E.W. 405 will string you from the rafters with 8-gauge wire.

I hope this helps!  If your next speech isn’t the best you’ve ever given, I will personally refund you the purchase price of reading this post.

By the way, this is my 25th post here on the Kyle Baxter Project.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have.  If you haven’t yet, go back to my very first post (in October 2008), and start from the humble beginnings.  Thanks for your time and continued loyalty!