#986 The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, and Jennifer Worick

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, and Jennifer WorickThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht, and Jennifer Worick

Many of us went to college and many of us had many questions about how college works. It’s difficult to go from being a kid to being responsible for your own life and education. This handbook has a few bits of advice that might be helpful in your college education.

What I liked

Some of this book was humorous.

What I didn’t like

This was a farce. This is not an actual advice book. It’s a joke book. While some of the studying advice could be highly useful, it seems that the rest of the book is all about how to find a party school, how to sleep in class, how to hook up in the library and about fifty different ways to open a beer bottle. While some amount of street knowledge is nice to have, it’s not really the be-all and end-all of life. College is way too darn expensive to read something like this and take it as actual advice for how to get through college.

A more appropriate use of an advice handbook for college would be advice on how to get through  college with the least amount of student loans possible. Am I right? Yes, you know I’m right–praise Jesus, Amen, all that, and a bag of chips!

On the one hand, I’m pretty sure this book was supposed to be a goof; on the other hand, how many college students who read this would take this advice to heart? Oh, there’s advice in this book about how to stall for time when the professor asks you a question? I’m in! This means I won’t actually have to read the text-book!

The Worst-Case Survival  Scenario board game is the worst thing ever and a lot of the trivia is wrong, so I didn’t exactly expect high quality from this book after playing that awful board game, but I expected at least an attempt at something. It took three people to write this book? Three? Really? Were they conferring on all the different ways to slack off at college and make a mockery of that 40K + you’re spending on a college education? I could write a book, of this length or longer, about all the ways to screw up your college education by myself. Let’s start off with advice on skipping class and extra classwork, then work our way up to vandalizing school property and getting an academic dismissal.


Did you know that BJU(Bob Jones University) is right down the road from FU(Furman University)? True story.

Weigh In

What was some good advice someone gave you about college?

Did you find advice about being a slacker just as helpful as advice about being serious about college?


One time, I was in a Mexican Restaurant with my boyfriend and there was this large group of very conservatively dressed young people. They were college aged and we guessed they were from BJU, out on the road, for something. Most of them were quite awkward and the conversation from the table was awkward. There was one girl after some guy, but he wasn’t interested, or something, but at least I had tacos.

#985 The Horror at Camp Jellyjam by R.L. Stine

The Horror at Camp Jellyjam by R.L. StineThe Horror at Camp Jellyjam by R.L. Stine

Wendy and her younger brother Elliot are on a boring car trip with their parents. It’s so boring that they convince their parents to let them ride in the camper trailer they’re pulling behind the car. Things are fine, for a bit, but they realize their trailer has come detached from the car and they’re rolling through the countryside. There’s a knock at the door, but it isn’t their parents; it’s a strange guy who says he’s from Camp Jellyjam, a sports camp nearby. He says they can come and stay at the camp while waiting on their parents.

The camp is very concerned with being your best. “Always the best,” that’s what everyone keeps saying while competing in events. If they win a sports event, they get a medal. If they get six medals they get to walk in the winner’s walk. Elliot is determined to get six medals right away, but Wendy encounters some weird stuff .When one of her cabin mates gets all six medals, she doesn’t come back. The counselors say she left. One girl in the woods told Wendy to leave, but Wendy didn’t listen, so Wendy decides to follow the people on the winner’s walk to see what happens to them. What she sees is horrifying. She knows she has to get her brother out, but it’s going to be smelly.

What I liked

This story makes me kind of glad I never went to summer camp as a child.

What I didn’t like

Ugh! Sports!

Look, I know people like sports. I know they can be fun to play sometimes. They are not the be all and end all of life though. Some people are just way to competitive, even on the child level where sports are concerned. I don’t really like team sports, at all. I’d rather see someone compete in an individual sport, skating, gymnastics, boxing, whatever. My aversion to team work probably fuels this dislike of team sports as well. There are too many people who don’t do their share of the work. Your team could suck because your teammates suck, not because you suck, and that’s just not fair. If I suck, I want to suck all on my own and not drag other people into it.

Part of me still kind of wishes I had been one of those kids that got to go to camps during the summer. It would have been a nice break away from the house.


Don’t trust a place called Jellyjam unless they’re making delicious jellies and jams.

Weigh In

Did you get to go to summer camps? Did you enjoy it?

What do you think of team sports?

#984 The Barking Ghost by R.L. Stine

The Barking Ghost by R.L. StineThe Barking Ghost by R.L. Stine

Cooper and his family have moved way out into the middle of nowhere. There is nothing but woods all around. It doesn’t take long at all before Cooper starts hearing barking dogs in the night. He never sees any dogs though and there is not supposed to be anyone around who would have dogs. Cooper then sees the dogs, but he also finds a neighbor girl who tells him there are no dogs. The two soon find out that there are two large black dogs hanging around, getting into things, but none of the adults believe them.

One day the dogs drag them into a strange place in the woods. Cooper and the girl soon find out the truth about the dogs and their lives are never going to be the same.

What I liked

Ghost stories are a lot of fun. This one was a little weird, but it was still entertaining.

What I didn’t like

Part of me completely gets ignoring what kids say and not taking them seriously. Kids make crap up all the time. They exaggerate things. They don’t have world experience so their opinions and desires can’t be counted on for a whole lot. You can’t pass up a great job just because your kid would hate moving. That’s life and life has to happen. On the other hand, there are so many stories about parents dismissing everything their kids say, much like this story. If the parents knew what had happened, they would feel awful, but they don’t know, so they can’t feel bad about dismissing the concerns of their son.

If this story were real life and these kids were my kids, I don’t know what I would do. Would I not listen to my kid knowing my kid has an active imagination or would I listen to my kid and believe there were some mysterious black ghost dogs roaming around, which just sounds silly?


Let this story be a lesson for you–don’t get messed up with strange dogs.

Weigh in

Would you follow some strange dogs into the woods?

If you were in the place of Cooper’s parents, would you have believed him?

#983 The Spy Game created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Spy Game created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Spy Game created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens visit a neighbor and find a mystery. They find out that there is a game prepared by one of the original owners of the house. There is a photo of bride, but a woman they know looks a lot like the bride. There are different names mixed in all of this. What could by the mystery?

What I liked

I kind of like the idea of just leaving some random scavenger hunt for whoever buys one of my houses. I should have done that with the last house I sold, but I was too stressed out to do anything like that.

What I didn’t like

This mystery ultimately involves some assumed names. It must be nice to be able to be someone else.


There’s something weird going on in this house that isn’t ours. Let’s mess with it.

Weigh In

If you did find out some mystery about a friend’s house, wouldn’t it be best to let them deal with it?

What kind of mystery would you like to find in your house? A bathroom you haven’t noticed before?

#982 What If… by Shirley MacLaine

What If... by Shirley MacLaineWhat If… by Shirley MacLaine

Shirley likes to ask questions about life. What if this and what if that? She sees the world as possibly a play in which we are the actors. Who are we putting the show on for? Maybe aliens? Maybe ourselves. What if we acted this way? What if we treated each other in this manner? What if war was just for profit? Shirley has a whole lot of questions about life.

What I liked

I do not know a whole lot about Shirley. I read this book anyway. It’s a short book of Shirley’s questions about life and her thoughts on a few things. I like that Shirley is one of those people who are open-minded, meaning, that she doesn’t necessarily take things at face value. Maybe there is something more to this question or this aspect of life and it’s completely different from what we ever expected.

My ex took “open-minded” to mean doing drugs. For real, when I told him he needed to be more open-minded about things in life, he said, “So I should do drugs?” I’m not really sure where that  comes into play. I guess in a way being open-minded could mean doing drugs and being open to whatever you may or may not experience while doing drugs, but I look at the phrase “open-minded” to mean that you question things before you. Is this really the way things are or are we looking at this entirely wrong? That’s how we should be at life. Always consider that things may not be the way you think they are. Shirley is very good at this, I think.

What I didn’t like

Some of this is a little too “woo” for me. Are we the only life in the universe? Probably not. It’s self-centered to believe that we are. There’s an entire universe out there. We cannot assume there isn’t bacteria, fungus, animals, or other thinking beings somewhere out there in the vastness of space. Do I believe there are little green men flying around? How about people getting abducted by aliens? I don’t really have evidence to get behind any of that. On the other hand, I don’t have evidence not to get behind any of that. I’m adult enough to admit that I don’t have all the answers to everything, but I’m leaning towards a “No” on the little green men.

Shirley seems to believe these things. It’s her life and she can believe whatever she wants to, but it’s just a little too strange for me.


Shirley, I also have a lot of questions about life.

Weigh In

What is a question about life that you don’t have the answer to?

Do you ever think about all the questions you don’t have answers to?

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