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I love the Yale 250. Folks get really anxious about writing this particular essay; I find it's a good exercise to write a couple parody Yale 250s. Getting creative with that format can seriously free up some brain space.

The basic idea is to choose the world's most absurd topic--a topic that would be unbelievably ridiculous to send to Yale--and write a parody "250" on it. I don't know if I've got any fellow Creatives in the house here, but I hope so, because I want to see this thread get redonk.

Two entries from me:

Yale 250: My Boyfriend's Microwave is Better than Mine

I frequently make oatmeal in the morning, from those little pre-packeted flavored pouches; I favor maple undertones, with the occasional cinnamon kicker. Sometimes I'll go for freeze-dried cranberry bits in with the oats--the tartness is a welcome wake-me-up.

I mention this because my microwave has only two options for oatmeal texture: soup or glue. I have been unable to find the sweet spot on the timer for the proper consistency.

It is possible I could boil water on the stove instead; I have heard the factoids about microwaves destroying all nutrients in everything they zap. I've tried to picture this phenomenon: beautifully-wrought double helices dissolving into a softly bubbling pool of watery muck, like the Wicked Witch of the West. Where do the nutrients go? Are the B vitamins really that delicate? Maybe they're hardy. Maybe they've evolved, and now thwart the evil zapping powers of microwaves everywhere. Of course, that makes no sense--where's the selective advantage? I don't think B vitamins mate, for instance. In any case, I eat oatmeal for fiber, which might gremlinify into six grams of radioactive evil, but should still scrape my insides clean.

Iconic movie references aside, I must admit: My boyfriend's microwave nukes more superbly than my own. (This is not meant to be a metaphor.) Oatmeal that spends two minutes in his white box emerges in the proper creamy-fluffy texture that oatmeal eaters everywhere pine for. I can guess blindly at the amount of water I ought to add, and it's like his microwave can appreciate this and adapt to my capriciousness. It's lovely.

Yale 250: On Cartoon Eyeballs

Open your newspaper to the funny pages. See all of the cartoon eyeballs? Nota Bene: They are all some form of sphere, with some sort of dot within. Let's say 90% of cartoon eyeballs get no more complex than that.

The artist can nudge the eyeball a millimeter and suddenly the wee cartoon man is angry; another nudge sends him into sadville; the next nudge might make him appear maniacal. Moving the "pupil" a smidge can take a cartoon face from genius to drooling. Sure, sure, sometimes it's the eyebrows doing the work, raised so far up they are no longer even attached to the cartoon head they are meant to modify, but instead are hanging like two lazy commas surfing the updraft of a heat register in December. But eyebrows are all hyperbole; eyeballs, subtlety and finesse. The noisy already get plenty of attention in this world. It's the eyeball's turn to shine.

To eyelid or not to eyelid?, that is the question. For here's the rub: in cartoons, we can simply bend the outer rim of the eyeball until it creates a recognizable facsimile of a human emotion. Eyelids are great for alluding to sleepiness, but otherwise can be discarded. Cartoons, after all, do not need to blink.

Eyeballs in actual human heads are sometimes pretty, sometimes alarming, sometimes mundane. But eyeballs in cartoon heads meet the sonic standard set by the word itself--eyeball, after all, is a hilarious word. Like monkey. Or: Underpants. Bubble. Wattle. Banana. Forty-two. Pickle. Llama. Well, you get the idea.

General Off-Topic Board / Snarky Haiku? Fukyu!
« on: January 03, 2006, 09:47:22 PM »
Pretty much what the title says. Here's a place to flex those latent poetic muscles and vent all in one. Write a 'fukyu' about what ails ya. Same 'laws' as haiku (well, anglicized anyways): 5-7-5 syllables.

Here are some samples borrowed from my poetry brethren at PFFA to get the ball rolling:

I could write better
poetry than you if I
pithed my own brain stem

My speling isn't
bad, you fat facist mouron,
it's inovative.

if I ever write
as badly as you I have
friends who will kill me

Definitely is
spelled with an i not an a
you ignorant ass.

my purple-winged words
soar beyond your fatal grasp,
poetry nazis

It's not a typo:
"kepe writting" means "please post more"
in Klingon, stupid.

You worry easy.
Consider the birds, how they
aim sh*t like snowflakes.

So you can’t get laid.
Camilla Parker Bowles can.
It’s your fault, not hers.

it's content that counts,
you Thalassophiliac
slack-jawed buckethead

Your math is flawless
but we have this tradition
to skin nerds alive.

Shamans? Mushrooms? Please.
Sham hippie profundity
purchased by the bag.

circumlocution sounds good
next to your twaddle

Here's my attempt at law-themed fukyu:

Oh, happy Yalie
Give the bragging a rest:
We all say fukyu

180 you say?
It's hard to believe that of
a big prick like you.

LSAT, you're killin'
me with those weird logic games--
diagrams, fukyu

Rejection letter
wallpaper--one more way to
recall that fukyu

ah, poetry...


General Off-Topic Board / For the funny LSD folk
« on: January 03, 2006, 03:38:28 PM »
all of my work over on the PS board gave me an idea--anyone here read McSweeneys? ( I've been wanting a good idea for a "McSweeneys List," so as to be immortalized on their hilarious wesbite. Here's an example of a McSweeneys list:

Socially Awkward Situations During Which It Would Be Acceptable to Mess With Texas. BY BENJAMIN SUMLIN

Texas shows up to the party already drunk with the girlfriend nobody likes.

Texas partied too late, asks to copy homework.

Texas asks if it would be "cool to hook up with your ex."

Texas has a habit of spending more time than needed in the bathroom.

Texas bogarts the remote just before Lost.

Texas demonstrates little respect for "personal space."

Texas finds and eats the little snack cakes you've been hiding in the back of the pantry.

Texas needs you to cover rent "just until I get back on my feet, man, I swear."

Texas brings up an anecdote about his recent colonoscopy.

Here's what I was thinking:

Somewhat Dubious Law School Personal Statement Topics

1. Knows a guy who did the sister of the fellow who one walked Johnny Cochran's dog

2. The time I fell in a sewer

etc. Will it work? Will LSD be immortalized on McSweeneys? Well, only if some of y'all are freakin' hilarious, I guess.

(If I get enough funny ones to choose from, I'll post a poll to choose the best, & email it off with some moniker we choose.)


Here's your chance to blow off some steam and write the 250 you'd never send to Yale in a million trillion years (but you would if you could):

If the abundance of world snarkiness is getting you down, I have just the thing: The New Sincerity. (Better than the old, of course.)

The difficulty with sincerity of any form is our instantaneous mistrust; the level of frankness required is not something we remember how to respond to. Take, for example, Bill Murray’s hangdog mug: we snicker when we see him, but it is not the robust belly-laugh of SNL days of yore—we’re talking the laugh-stuff of discomfort, the unnatural titters that issue forth from unsure mouths. This is today’s response to sincerity—a quick giggle and puzzled look. We’ve simply forgotten how to keep a straight face. When Wes Anderson has Bill gaze into the camera, he surely intends the audience to love, not chide, that pockmarked fellow.

The New Sincerity is already taking a beating from the poets—fie, poets!—but you, Yale, you alone can save this theory from history’s dung heap o’ irony. The poets want to know “what is sincere? How do you know if you’ve achieved sincerity? What if you’re just being a pompous ass and ought to be made fun of?” Those poets have never understood true beauty. They’re all about the iambs—they’ve no love to spare.

Please, Yale: save The New Sincerity. If anyone can prove the merits of calm reflection and considered response to the world at large, it is you, my meta-friend. Even if I should not grace your hallowed halls this fall, please do admit sincerity. It is all I ask.


...for those of you who've read a lot of personal statements for others, what themes/rhetorical devices/strategies have you seen used over and over? I'm starting to notice patterns, and it made me reflect: I wonder if adcomms want to shoot themselves when they see ______ for the umpteenth time. Maybe by listing some of the most common stuff, folks writing their PS's right now can use the info to their advantage.

1) This is a big numero uno--I'd say 3/4 of the PS's I've read over the last two years have an opening paragraph that starts in childhood--from between ages 5-10. This pattern was so startling in the last batch I read, I wondered if I'd missed the memo to bring up my own childhood (!!).

2) Complaining about parental influence. What's this about? I mean, I feel for anyone whose parents aren't supporting their educational decisions/helping pay--that sucks--but why belittle them directly in the statement? "My parents suck, see?" seems like a weird PS strategy to me.

3)Talking about GPA/LSAT for 2+ paragraphs. This just drags the emphasis away from the author and onto one's beef with "the man" or whatever. Soooo many people do this, I think this might be the one strategy that makes adcomms want to jump off a bridge."The LSAT isn't indicative of my true abilities, so I'm going to complain about it for awhile." Why not spend the precious PS writing space to convince the school you're awesome? Write a short addendum if ya gotta.

I'm sure I'll think of other examples throughout the day. I'd love to hear what patterns others have picked up on--



Studying for the LSAT / How you say...LSAT?
« on: March 17, 2005, 01:04:20 PM »
Just for jollies...I've heard it pronounced both ways, so I'd like to see if there's a majority.

(Amped for June 6th)

Studying for the LSAT / Tutoring v. Classroom
« on: February 21, 2005, 09:12:47 PM »
I've been doing lots of LSAT self-study, and I really want to take the LSAT only once (June), so I'm thinking of hiring a PowerScore tutor for 10 hours. The classroom gives more hours, but doesn't work well with my schedule.

Does anyone have any one-on-one tutor experiences? Any tips as to maximizing time spent? I imagine I'll want to focus on games--that's the only section I'm not consistently finishing in under 35.

Also, please let me know if there is a better tutoring option...



Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Lewis and Clark visit
« on: February 11, 2005, 12:04:06 AM »
well...I'm headed down to Lewis and Clark tomorrow morning, to check the campus out and sit in on some classes...should be good times. This will be my first Law School visit. Are there any basic do's and dont's? I just found out I'll be meeting an admissions officer, and I'm mildly worried that I could do something foolish and be perma-banned from what is currently my number one school.

any horror stories? Anything that I can say that will make them think "what a freakin' genius this girl is!" Please do share (esp. for the latter).



Law School Admissions / Senior Thesis & Law School
« on: February 10, 2005, 12:38:18 PM »
Hey all!

I'll be applying for the 2006 cycle. I have an option of writing a senior thesis, but I'm thinking of nixing it, taking a senior seminar, and graduating early--so I can have some travel time before I start law school.

But, if anyone out there thinks that taking the extra time/effort to do a senior thesis is a big law school application plus, I might re-think.

As for me: I'm 25, and I've got a number of other projects/work experience going for me, so it's not like I won't have anything to talk about on my applications.

If I *did* do a senior thesis, though, it would probably deal with an intersection of environmental issues and human rights, which would parlay decently into my presumed focus of environmental law.

Any opinions?



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