#TRYHARDSZN2024: Catching unicorns

Avdohnk: Teen from Modesto, California goes 21 for 34 in college applications, including four of the Ivies

Seeing as how the general culmination of #TRYHARDSZN acceptance days are now in the past, all that’s really left is to just scour the landscape of the world, searching for #TRYHARDs who are standouts in a very competitive field.  In other words, schools and the news are mostly looking for kids that can help fill their Affirmative Action-like quotas of trying to represent diversity, but not realizing that by deliberately being so selective and obvious, that they’re kind of being more racist than if they weren’t #TRYHARDING so hard.

But what we have here is interesting, because we have a #TRYHARD that is a female of Iraqi descent, which I have to imagine is probably something of a unicorn when it comes to schools in America getting to put a checkmark next to in their diversity results.  It probably definitely helps that this student’s family immigrated to the United States some 30 years ago, which most likely helped them get their foot in the door before America got really, really afraid of brown people.

All the same, she’s still a female of Iraqi descent, which is impressive coming from a culture that basically sees females as third-rate, and of less importance than like, fourth-cousins from their uncle’s side, or cows, and I’m surprised that she didn’t go 34 for 34 in her college applications, because I imagine the pool in which to pull Iraqi females from is probably not even shallow, but a damp spot on the asphalt on a sunny day.

The funniest thing about this particular story is her narrative of opening of response letters from all the colleges, and how her family deliberately saved Harvard for last:

We opened up all the Ivy Leagues one by one and my parents were like, okay, save Harvard for last. We opened Harvard and my mom started crying and she was like telling all of her friends in Iraq, like, my daughter just got into Harvard,”

So it sounds like Harvard was the ultimate goal, as it is for basically every Asian parent on the face of the planet – but then the article goes to explain that she’ll be headed to Yale in the fall instead, with no context or justification for why she’s switching so abruptly like that.  It’s not that such is really any of our business, but it does come off as shoddy journalism to tease the whole wanting to go to Harvard angle, but then to just drop that she’s going to Yale instead.

Either way, another thing that’s interesting is the fact that this story actually mentioned the failure rate of this student; most of the time, these #TRYHARD stories are quick to round to the nearest high number, or just say the number of acceptances flat, but despite the fact that this girl got into 21 schools, she also failed to get into 13 of them.

Considering four of them were Ivies, other than perhaps the other four Ivy League schools, it leads to wonder what schools would turn this girl down, not knowing that they had already gotten into Harvard and Yale among other prestigious schools.  Like it would be funny if like Cal State-Fullerton or Long Beach State were all like “ehhh, nah, pass” while Stanford, Yale and Harvard all said yes.

Anyway, at this point, I think I’m done with writing about #TRYHARDSZN2024.  I think I’ve proven my point that there are a tremendous amount of #TRYHARDs that come out of the woodwork nowadays, and that most of them seem to be doing it not so much for genuine consideration for their futures, as much as it’s just a big dick Keeping Up With the Joneses competition to see who can get into the most schools, amass the most amount of scholarship money, and generally be the most obnoxiously insufferable overachievers there are, when the vast majority of these #TRYHARDs are exploiting some unfair advantages that not everyone in the country would be entitled to.

Short of some exceptional stories, we’ll mark the female Iraqi Unicorn as the closing chapter to #TRYHARDSZN2024.  Until next year (maybe)!

X-Men ’97: the speedrun for those with ADHD

I just finished watching X-Men ’97 on Disney+ and hoo boy do I have a lot of opinions.  I don’t quite really know specifically where I stand on it on how good I thought it was, but this is where I’m hoping that writing out my thoughts might help me come to a conclusion.

This is also where I disclaim that there is the possibility that I give some things away by virtue of feeling unable to avoid specificity but hopefully I don’t, but it’s not like I have any readers at all, so this is just old habit of trying to be courteous when I really don’t have to be.

First of all, regardless of where I land on my overall opinion, one thing is very clear in my opinion: the show operated at a breakneck pace, and there was basically no time to breathe throughout the season as the show went from storyline into the next into the next and into the next without any pauses in the action, minus one specific Jubilee mini-arc.

The show tackled numerous actual storylines that I could recall from the days when I was a massive X-Men reader, but it was almost laughable at just how little time was dedicated to what were epic arcs in the comics, rendered to literally 5-6 minutes in the show.  Like for example Inferno, with Madelyne Pryor becoming the Goblin Queen; this was an epic event that transcended the X-universe and even bled into other Marvel properties, but in X97, Inferno literally starts and ends within a ten minute window, leaving me with this great big feeling of, wtf.

One of the most iconic moments from the Fatal Attractions storyline was tucked into one of the last episodes of the season, and given the sheer lack of context and time given to everything else, honestly probably didn’t even need to occur, but by this point of the show, they were clearly so determined to cram in as many X-storylines as possible and using as little airtime as possible to do so, so here we went.

The best way I would describe X97 is exactly what the title of this post is – it’s X-Men comics presented in a medium that caters to those most likely with ADHD and are incapable of sitting through multiple seasons worth of storytelling to get around several epic story arcs when they can all be crammed into the confines of a ten-episode season.  I used to think that when I was a kid, I probably was an undiagnosed ADD kid because of my sheer struggles to pay attention and listen and follow directions, but after watching X97, I don’t really think that that could’ve been the case.

The X-Men, and mutants in general seemed to have been nerfed as fuck throughout this show.  All throughout the season, mutants were getting their asses handed to them by humans that had Sentinel tech, as well as Sentinels themselves, in contrast to the original 1992 series where Sentinels were about as capable as the Putty Patrol from Power Rangers at neutralizing their intended targets.

Continue reading “X-Men ’97: the speedrun for those with ADHD”

#TRYHARDSZN2024: Uganda be kidding me

Binyebwa: Oakland teenager accepted into 122 colleges and amassed over $5M in scholarship dollars; chooses UC Berkeley because he wants to be a musician

I’ll be honest, I actually don’t know what Berkeley is actually famous for, but I didn’t think it was a place for aspiring musicians.  It’s a reputable enough school to be known by name, but I’m a bit puzzled on why it would be a school where an aspiring musician would name drop to be where they want to go to pursue their career.

Apparently, Berkeley is known for its mathematical science, as well as the Space Sciences Laboratory, according to Google, and some light digging doesn’t show anywhere where music is a viable path to thriving  as a student there.

But then again, if I wanted to pursue my architectural design degree, and for some reason, Berkeley were among the schools that I were accepted to, and I could go to for in-state tuition as well as the fact that I wouldn’t be too far off from home if I’m from nearby Oakland, it would be something to consider going there, solely for the name value alone, because it still is a reputable institution regardless of what I’m attending there for.

Either way, despite the fact that we have a queen of #TRYHARDs anointed this #SZN for her 200+ college acceptances, I would say that we should all rise for the king of #TRYHARDs this #SZN, the Ugandan boy from Oakland who has collected 122 college acceptances and amassed $5.3M in scholarship offers.

Thanks to him and the queen, all the other pleebs who only got into 30, 50 and 60 colleges seem like common peasants now.

But it is pretty funny when I think about this particular #TRYHARD; boy wants to be a singer, an entertainer of some sort, which most people in the world of entertainment would simply respond to a kid saying they wanted to get into the business with a stern and nihilistic, don’t.  However, that’s not stopping this one kid from chasing his dream, considering he survived immigration into America and is probably living a slightly better life than if he were still living in Uganda.

At some point he realized that he could still chase his musical dreams, but when the day is over, it’s still important to have an education, so he starts flinging college applications out like Gambit throws playing cards, and because of his obvious attributes, the acceptances start rolling in and next thing you know, he’s got 122 of these things.

Obviously despite the fact that he picked Berkeley, it’s a safe bet that many of them were probably the UC-campuses that are not Berkeley and are less known or reputable.  Hell probably among them were some actual music schools, but when the day is over, entertainment is really, really, really hard to break into, and it’s probably for the best that he’ll have a Berkeley degree to fall back onto instead of some shitty wannabe Julliard of the west coast.

Overall, it’s just funny.  Guy wants to sing, but still wants to fulfill obligation to go to college.  Fires applications out like crazy, gets into a ton of them, including a well-reputable school. It’s like accidentally became the 2024 King of the #TRYHARDs.  Uganda be kidding me!

MLB’s Japanese Player Fetish

This has been a topic that I’ve had on my list of things that I wanted to write about, that I just haven’t really been able to bring to fruition.  Either I burn myself out on writing about high school tryhards applying to every school under the sun, or I just don’t feel like I have sufficient time to write about it, but it’s definitely a topic that I feel like I could go off about, but for whatever reason, I just haven’t had the chance to do so until now.

But it’s been something that’s been brewing over the last few years, and this year it’s definitely come to a boiling point about just how cringey MLB has become when it comes to their obvious opinion and feelings when it comes to Japanese players.

Sure, Shohei Ohtani is an incredible specimen of a baseball player, and I do think there is legitimate argument that we might be able to call him the best player of all time (for this generation), and that he’s more impressive than Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Albert Pujols, combined.  Statistically he does bring a lot to the table, but one thing that he does not bring to the table that MLB insists that he does, is the fact that he is, Japanese.

His ethnicity has nothing to add to any argument over his place in baseball history, but MLB is so rapid quick when it comes to injecting it into the narrative, and it’s not like those who follow baseball aren’t already aware that Japan is the de facto #1 country in the world when it comes to baseball talent, seeing as how they’ve won the vast majority of Olympic golds and World Baseball Classics when it comes to international competition over the last 20 years.

But MLB does it anyway, because for whatever reason, over the last 20 years, they’ve become an organization that is definitely going through a serious weeaboo phase in their history where Japan = #1, and everything, including their own assets are inferior in comparison.  Ohtani is definitely a worthy blue pill to cause this phenomenon within the organization, but the ensuing trickle-down effect when it comes to the yearly migration of a handful of Japanese players and the hype and fanfare they get when they come to America is downright cringey.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto making more money than Roger Clemens and Nolan Ryan ever made in their careers, combined is an egregious overpay and fellating sign of kowtowing to their Japanese overlords. 

Everytime Shota Imanaga throws another scoreless inning, bean counters for Elias and MLB blow their loads at being able to throw out another tweet about how low his ERA is, seemingly completely ignorant to how the league will adjust on him harder than the stock market once the scouting report on him is complete. 

Seiya Suzuki is by-and-large a perfectly good, above average player, but the way MLB expounds his occasional positive contributions is like they’re talking about the second-coming of Ichiro.

The season is barely a quarter of the way through, and there’s already talks about the next Japanese overlord, some guy named Munetaka Murakami.  But few outside of the diehard fans of their respective teams are bothering to get excited over any prospects on their own farms.

The point of all this is that it’s extremely clear that MLB has a pretty raging boner fetish on Japanese players right now.  I can practically hear the gong and racist Asian theme in my head every time I see an MLB channel or MLB beat writer lose their shit over something a Japanese player does, as if their mythical powers from the magic Orient were why Yamamoto had a 5.2 inning outing where he gave up no runs, while Max Fried throws a complete game shutout in the middle of an era where complete games are becoming as scarce as no-hitters.

Much has been made of Ohtani’s 2024, and how because he doesn’t have to worry about doing any pitching at all, he can focus on being the demigod of hitting he’s believed to be.  Every single home run he hits, is answered by some god-awful MLB tweet fellating him for doing what he’s going be paid $700 million dollars to do; meanwhile, Marcell Ozuna of the Braves is leading the majors in home runs currently, when just a year ago, fans were clamoring for him to be cut from the team and eat the salary hit, and MLB barely takes notice when he maintains his home run lead.

It’s just funny how an entire organization like Major League Baseball becomes no different than myself and lots of my nerdier friends in my life have been at certain points of their lives, when it comes to going through a Japan #1 phase.  I look back at that time of my life with rolled eyes and a little bit of embarrassment, but the difference is that I’m not a publicly known, forward facing, billions of dollars organization, looking like a collective cringey weeb in front of the rest of the world, and I look forward to the day when MLB grows out of it, because it’s really fucking embarrassing watching them spooge all over themselves over Japanese players.

#TRYHARDSZN2024: The Arrogance is real and appropriate for Duke

TL;DR: teenager from Scotland not the country, North Carolina, accepted into more than 30 schools, selects Duke University

Firstly, if any of my zero readers were to click the link to de-anonymize this #TRYHARD, I have to ask if all of the photographs of her are actual photographs or if they’re paintings?  They’re processed so crudely that they look like paintings, and I know I’m already calling her arrogant, but I don’t think to the degree where she’d have paintings of herself in graduation.  But I guess out in Scotlandnotthecountry, North Carolina, they don’t have any reliable graphic designers anywhere to not make photographs look like shitty watercolor paintings.

But anyway, here we have another #TRYHARD who is just arrogant enough to pique my interest, because when the day is over, she’s really not that hot shit because she basically applied to every college in the state of North Carolina and because the article points out that she raked in nearly $1M in scholarships, not to mention will be getting aide from the Gates Scholarship which basically is a free ride to anywhere, any and all credentials and accolades have to be mentioned to really sell this #TRYHARD in a sea where there are fish who have cleared 60, 120, and 200+ college acceptances themselves.

To cut to the chase, she ultimately picked Duke, which is definitely a good reputable school in academics, but it’s also among the most insufferable institutions on the planet if you want people to hate your guts for any reason at all.  But it seems to be a match made in heaven already, because when describing her journey of when she started getting acceptance letters, she’s clearly got the arrogant part of being a blue blooded Dookie already down:

When she began opening her accepting letters, she thought it was too good to be true.

I was like, I need some rejection. I need to be humbled,” Revels joked.

Oh please, someone reject me just so I know that I haven’t applied to every single UNC-Wherever satellite school for agriculture among a few others that will still give me the time of day simply because of my demographic credentials.

But then it gets better and in this case I mean worse, as in her arrogant humble-bragging just continues to grow, in thinking that perhaps she sold herself short by not applying to bigger and better schools, like perhaps any Ivy Leagues (that we know of):

Despite being accepted into so many schools, Revels admitted she regrets she didn’t reach higher.

Don’t sell yourself short. I felt like Duke was my highest reach. Why not go higher and go to Harvard, Yale, Princeton? You never know what could happen,” Revels said.

Man, despite getting into a school like Duke, she doesn’t hesitate to take a dump on them and loudly ponder on if she could have done even better.  That’s quite some arrogance.

Welp, it’s because you did have doubts and did sell yourself short, and didn’t bother try to get into any of the Ivy Leagues.  Frankly, Harvard has accepted just about everyone under the sun this year that wasn’t white, so it stands to believe that this one probably would’ve made it through as well, but she didn’t try, and therefore she won’t know, and despite her high degree of arrogance, she most definitely falls short in the rankings of #TRYHARDs this #SZN.

Didn’t try hard?  Then you can die hard.  Owned

#TRYHARDSZN2024: When going 11/11 just doesn’t seem special anymore

Sauce: Michigan high school senior gets into all eleven of the schools she applied to, including 5/5 on Ivies

Okay, so I’ve been doing this for this #TRYHARDSZN and I’ve gotten to the point where success stories like this just don’t really seem like that big of a deal anymore.  Regardless of the fact that she got into five Ivy League schools, all I really think about is why she only applied to five of the Ivy Leagues and why not all eight of them?

What did Penn, Columbia and Dartmouth not do to make this #TRYHARD omit them from her applying spree, because I have to imagine that someone who’s applying to five Ivy League schools may as well shoot for all eight of them, and hedge their bets and go for among the rarest of feats, which is getting the Ivy Sweep which is an actual term borne from the fact that there are so many #TRYHARDs on a yearly basis that try to get into all of them, presumably for the bragging rights and not because of anything else.

But other than the fact that I’m getting tired of stories of #TRYHARDs and am tiring of writing about them, frankly a story like this one where a chica goes 11 for 11 in applications and among them are five of the Ivy League schools, just doesn’t really seem special anymore.

No feigned arrogance for me to dissect, no reports of cumulative scholarship money earned for me to point out that the schools they applied to must’ve been low-tier, just a hard working teenager who only abused the application system just a little bit, and got into all of the schools she applied to.  Sure, I could say that in a real-world scenario where she had to pay for her own application fees, she’s probably looking at somewhere around $3,000 if I had to guestimate, but I’ve already made that observation about 15 other times from all the other #TRYHARDs I’ve chronicled this #SZN.

They’re planning on going to Yale.  So was Zack Morris, and look what happened there.

So we’ll leave it at that, congratulations to a #TRYHARD for getting into all these high-tier schools, but in the grand scheme of the game of trying hard, she’s but a mere blip in the bucket of #TRYHARDs applying to everything under the sun and probably not paying anything for it.

I would like a pizza topped with a Little Caesar’s pizza pls

For absolutely no reason other than to support my children’s school’s spirit day partnership with a local restaurant fundraiser, I ordered some pizzas from a local pizzeria that was the chosen restaurant of the month to split their profits with the school.

Believe me, there’s nothing in it for me or my household by ordering New York-style pizzas. 

Doing it for the kids.

Anyway, those who have ever worked in the restaurant business or have a decent understanding of how a lot of them work, know that one of the highest profit margins comes from soft drinks.  Like a bag of syrup for like Coca-Cola costs $80, but the ROI on the entire bag is usually 2-3 times that, depending on what the business decides to charge for soft drinks.

Over the last few years though, I’ve noticed that if there was ever something to challenge soft drinks on the profit margin scale, it would definitely have to be pizza toppings.  Of course, adding things onto your pizza should not really be free unless you’re a giant like Pizza Hut, Domino’s or Papa John’s, but those pizzas are all garbage anyway and aren’t really considered pizza as much as Chinese food should be considered Chinese.

But from all the independent, mom-n-pop types of pizzerias, I’ve noticed a tremendous amount of inflation as far as pizza toppings go over the last few years.  One pizzeria I used to frequent when I was a little bit closer to the city, charged like 50¢ per added topping to a slice of pizza, to which when you’re ordering by the slice typically is a little more negligible, but when ordering up some pizzas (for the kids) the other day, adding toppings was now up to $3 per topping for an entire pie.

Look, I know everyone loves to cry inflation as justification for costs going up across the board these days, but ain’t no way adding pepperoni and mushrooms onto my pie should be the same cost as an appetizer of garlic bread.

I was complaining about this to a friend of mine, and I stated that the cost of adding two toppings to a pizza is now the cost of an entire Little Caesar’s pizza, and if I were going to be paying that much, I might as well just ask to have an entire Little Caesar’s pizza chopped up and spread out onto my pizza as a topping itself.

And then it dawned on me just how brilliant of an idea that could possibly be, and how much of a culinary atom bomb of an invention that could be if ever tried out.

But this couldn’t be something I tried out on my own, because for the idea to be optimal to what I’ve fantasized, the Little Caesar’s would have to be chopped up and spread onto the pizza before it goes in the oven, not afterward, because then it wouldn’t have cooked into the pizza itself.  And you can’t do it after the fact because then you’d be overcooking the pizza outright.

It would be nice to be able to walk into one of the local pizzerias that I like, with my own Little Caesar’s in tow, and place my order, and then ask them to chop up this Little Caesar’s and top my pizza with it, and I’ll give them $6 for the equivalent cost, because if the cost of toppings is going to be as much as an entire Little Caesar’s, might as well get an entire fuckin Little Caesar’s put on top my pizza for reals then.

For the kids.