You wanna know something fun? It’s possible to be as poor as you’ve ever been the EXACT SAME YEAR you make more money than you ever have before. Isn’t that kooky*?

It turns out that if your summer internship doesn’t take out money for taxes, and no one notices until March 24th, you just have to write a giant check to the IRS. And there’s really nothing I love more than giving people the money I earned.

Lately it seems like everything in my life revolves around how much money I have (or don’t have). The economy has become like the new global warming—the ultimate scapegoat.

Person A: Why didn’t you do the dishes?

Person B: Dude, in THIS economy?

But I really am trying to stay optimistic. I mean, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to have an internship this summer that will pay me $20 a day! Ka-Ching! (That’s a cash register noise…it’s better in person. Don’t believe me? My roommate Emma will vouch that I’m excellent at sound impressions.)

And, I mean, any DAY now things are going to start picking up. Right? RIGHT?

*effed up

So, it’s March now. Sorry, little neglected blog. I think saying that I would only write something when I had something to say was the kiss of death. (I’m really boring…)

Quick update before getting down to business: I got the editorial director position for my capstone’s website! Yay! So that’s what has been consuming my life for the past…two months? Yikes…

So I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I coach a high school mock trial team (cue nerd jokes here). This year they’re almost all seniors, so our conversations tend to evolve from matter-of-fact discussion of whether or not is it, in fact, hearsay to something a bit more amorphous about life, love, etc.

Last Sunday, everyone else had left except for four of the senior guys, three of which I have known for over three years. A while back I had brought up the subject of prom, and one of them had recently acquired his date and wanted to tell me. (They’re adorable.) After a bit more chatting about high school, nerdery, and various other topics of interest, I said something to the effect of, “You’re all just really nice boys…in a good way.” Which sparked a whole new topic: What is the bad way of being a nice boy?

“You know,” I said, “a lot of guys don’t like to be ‘nice boys.'”

“That’s because girls don’t like nice boys,” one of them said sourly.

“That’s so not true,” I argued. We debated this a bit, but eventually I just shrugged and told them it would be better after high school. Lame advice, Justine. Lame.

So here is something a bit more concrete in the way of getting girls to like you (if you’re a nice boy):

1. Be a tease. No, I don’t mean play mind games or act like you like her when you don’t. I mean, tease the girl a little. This is the world’s most basic flirting technique, and as long as you are not actually hurtful, she will most likely secretly like the attention.

2. Sweeten the deal. Again, my subheadings seem to imply more than I intend them to mean. I just mean, when it’s just the two of you, be sweet to her. Say nice things, act considerate. PAY ATTENTION. When you’re in a group, this kind of attention could embarrass her, but one-on-one, it’s just nice.

3. Notice things. This kind of goes with pay attention, but give her compliments now and then. Try to figure out what she likes about herself, and compliment that. Try to find out what she doesn’t like about herself, and if you like it anyway, tell her so. Use the fact that you’re a nice guy by BEING a nice guy.

Maybe nothing that I’ve just said is ground-breaking, but it’s also not something you find every day in every guy. I would know. So let’s all celebrate the nice guy, shall we?

It’s come to my attention that some of my blogs are supremely lacking in…what’s the word…purpose. So in an effort to avoid becoming the very thing that made me wary of blogs to begin with (that being blogs with no purpose except to ramble about what one had for breakfast), I’ve decided to cut back on my blogging unless I have a reason to write.

Fortunately, I had my capstone interview today, which inspired me to compile all the advice I’ve garnered about interview etiquette in that blogger’s fave, the list. Ok, preface over. Begin helpful blog.

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I hate interviewing. I hate having to brag about myself. I hate pretending to be natural whilst trying to sell myself (in the not dirty way). I hate idle chit-chat with forced laughter. I sweat profusely, I tend to repeat expressions (I’m really excited about the opportunity to…), and I stutter. In my capstone interview today, I literally spent the first 45 seconds in panic that I was going to start gasping because I couldn’t catch my breath mid-sentence.

Of course, I realize that interviewing is a necessary part of life if you want to have a career (outside of homeschooling your children). Which is why I’ve tried to get better at it. Throughout my journey, I’ve gathered a few little nuggets of wisdom I’m now imparting to you.

1. Don’t memorize answers. It will sound forced, and if they ask you something you’re not expecting, you’re more likely to panic.

2. That being said, prepare a brief (30 second to 1 minute) “tell me about yourself” answer, generally about your schooling or a synopsis of the best things you’ve done career-wise.

3. Have two to three main ideas that you know you want to bring up. For example, my three were 1) I’m incredibly organized, especially when it comes to schedules, 2) I have experience managing people, and I like working with them to develop a cohesive and impressive product, 3) I have a lot of enthusiasm for this project, despite the potential roadblocks we’re facing. The idea is that these points are easy to work into conversation so you don’t sound forced or fake.

4. Have two to three anecdotes from past experience that portray you in a positive light. Whether it’s the time you saved the day at the restaurant you work at by filling in for a sick waitress AND busing all the tables or the time your attention to detail spotted a clerical error in the spreadsheet your boss was about to present to a client, these stories are ways to brag about your strengths without seeming like you’re bragging.

5. The basics: be a little early, firm but not bone-crushing handshake, look them in the eye, be friendly, and don’t say “like” before every sentence. Don’t feel like you have to answer their questions right away; it’s ok to think about it (of course, don’t have them wondering if you had a stroke mid-question).

Above all else, relax. They WANT you to be the perfect person to hire; if you are, their job is done. So all you have to do is not prove them wrong. That’s not so hard, right?

Oh yeah, and breathe.

First things first: I am not a cat person. I’m just not. I love dogs. I love an animal that you can roll on the floor with, rub their belly, and BOOM, you’re the greatest thing alive (at least in their eyes). I like things that come when they’re called because they WANT to spend every waking second with you. I like an animal that only thinks three things:

1. I love you so much I can barely stand it.

2. I’m hungry. But you’re so wonderful you probably already have a plan to deal with it.

3. My GOD, could I love you any MORE?? No!!!

Ok, so now you’re thinking, Geez woman, just get a boyfriend. But I think a dog is probably much more reliable anyway.

The POINT is, despite my general preference for dogs, my lease only allows cats (and grudgingly at that…), so in August my roommate Emma and I bought a kitten from a rescue shelter. We named her McKinley (don’t ask why, it’s an inside joke that you won’t think is funny), and totally fell in love with her.

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Emma is also a dog person. In fact, we both have West Highland White Terriers back at our parents’ homes. So, in way of an experiment, we decided to raise dear McKinlers as a dog. As a result, we now have a clumsy cat who drinks from the toilet, snuggles under the covers, doesn’t bathe herself, and plays fetch. Mission accomplished.

Of course, the animal is still a cat with cat instincts and cat quirks. For example, McKinley needs to be given a bath now and then. However, she is not such a fan of water. The first time Emma and I tried washing her, I ended up with a hole in my arm courtesy of her dagger-like claw. We are slowly warming her up to the idea, though. She’s no longer afraid of the sink, and we can rub her down with a damp washcloth without too much of a fuss. Baby steps.

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I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the wisdom teeth surgery went well–all four teeth went without a fight, feeling has returned to the lower half of my face, and so far no signs of a dry socket.

The bad news: I was way too exhausted post-op to write a post. As in, I don’t remember the drive home, or even really how I got to my parents’ couch pre-pass-out. So here we are, three days later. Consider the soreness in my jaw and the chipmunk cheeks enough of a punishment.

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I take back everything I said about winter.

Today was a balmy fifty degrees, and I can hold no grudge against anyone. I drove with the windows DOWN. I didn’t wear my coat INSIDE. (I do this to get slightly overheated before going outside. That way, the bone-chilling cold feels merely refreshing. For about thirty seconds.) I wore a SKIRT sans TIGHTS. (A mistake, actually. I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs.)

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The point is, the feud is off. I’m spreading my lightly clad arms in love and acceptance. Provided winter remains at an agreeable temperature. Sounds fair, right?

Also, tomorrow is the dreaded surgery. My goal is to write a blog post whilst under the influence of anesthetic. We’ll see if I remember. I might get distracted by the pudding my wonderful friend Annie bought for me. Anything is possible in this crazy world where winter and I get along.

ALSO, turned in my capstone application today. My interview will either be next Tuesday or Thursday, so I only have a week to sweat whether or not I got the position I want. Here’s hoping!