Tuesday, September 16, 2014




Dave Ticen: Lyceum speaker shares lessons on stress, life

By BY DAVE TICEN
Oct. 1, 2013 at 5:01 a.m.

Dave Ticen

The first program in what promises to be an interesting and enlightening 2013-14 Lyceum lecture series is scheduled for noon Thursday in the Victoria College Student Center. The college and the Lyceum committee are pleased to bring to Victoria a nationally known author and blogger, who is likely to get this year's slate off in rousing fashion. Describing herself on her website, jenniferworick.com, as a writer of "things that blow my skirt up," Jennifer Worick focuses on the frustrations and peculiarities of living in 21st century American society. Her writing is infused with side-splitting humor and insightful observations on modern popular culture. She touts humor as the best method for coping with our often chaotic and frustrating world.

Worick is the New York Times best-selling author of "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex" and "The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: College" in addition to nearly 20 more volumes with similar topics. She has written for several national periodical and Web-based publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon.com and The Huffington Post. She's made personal appearances on programs like The Today Show, ABC's World News Now and NPR's All Things Considered. Reader's Digest has deemed her one of the four funniest bloggers in the United States.

Perhaps reaching the widest audience is her blog, Things I Want To Punch In The Face, in which she tackles - with her characteristic humor - the stressors of modern life. Blogs, short for Web logs, are dynamic, interactive and free-flowing websites in which the author/moderator is free to broach whatever subject interests him or her. They are interactive to the extent that anyone is free to submit attitudes and opinions that are then posted on the site. The result is often a thread of commentary until a subject is played out and another takes its place, either from a posting by the blog's author or one of its contributors. Blogs are an example of the democratic nature of the Internet and the value - whether informational or entertainment - of the interaction between its community of users.

Recent entries that appear on Worick's blog include responses to a question she submitted asking what is still on your bucket list - in other words, what is at the top of your list of things to do before you die (even though "bucket lists," she freely acknowledges, characteristically poking fun at herself, made her list of things she wants to punch in the face). Another entry takes on the now decadeslong dialog between Mac and PC users over which is superior. And still another asks "What would you like from your hometown?" Worick, a resident of Seattle, says that "sunshine" is her greatest wish. Weather, it seems, is a great conversation starter even in a blog.

While it may appear from the titles and topics of much of her writing that Worick is speaking mostly to the young, she has much to offer in the way of insightful commentary to all who live, work and breathe in today's world - in other words, all of us. Anyone who has entered the dating world as a mature adult can appreciate the insights she provides from her own experiences as a single, 40-something female, trying to negotiate the pitfalls, trials and travails of relationships.

In a similar spirit to her blog, Worick's live presentations are noted for engaging the audience as well as for their own particular brand of hilarity. She encourages questions and comments from audience members and is known for passing the microphone freely. She is interested in hearing stress-inducing experiences from people and, in return, shares coping and communication skills that serve to defuse problem situations. She frequently uses her own experiences - for example, what she calls her dumbest move ever, which involved getting into a van with her college's rugby team after a "night of drinking" - to exemplify how to handle potentially scary situations and escape with one's physical well-being - not to mention integrity - intact. Please plan on attending Thursday's Lyceum and prepare to be entertained and perhaps leave a bit more equipped to handle the curves life can throw at us.

Dave Ticen is the chairman and a longtime member of VC's Lyceum Committee. Ticen works as a librarian in charge of user education at the VC/UHV Library.

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