Learn Useless Things From Me

 I was recently asked by a dear friend to teach a workshop at an arts festival. While I was flattered, I was immediately overwhelmed with impostor syndrome and couldn’t imagine anything I was possibly qualified to teach, or that anyone would be remotely interested in learning. The dates didn’t work with my schedule anyway, so I got out of coming up with something. But I got to thinking of what I could teach in the future, and realized I have some unique skills. There are at least five incredibly useful workshops I could teach in the future. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I’m pretty together and talented and amazing and have tons and tons of wisdom to impart, so here are my completely serious workshop ideas. Email ash@wyvmag.com to book me for any of these exciting workshops!


How to Make Almost $30 a Month as a Standup Comic

standup oakland

Learn how to spend more money on gas and tolls driving to gigs than you pull in from the tip jar. I average about $30 a month in standup income, though not to brag, but in September I have so far made $65 from comedy… which is the most I have ever made in one month. In this workshop, I will encourage you to not go into standup for the money, but for the thrill of making people chuckle for a couple minutes, or for the crushing defeat of bombing in front of dozens of strangers. People are often shocked that most of my gigs are unpaid. Yeah, only famous people make real money from this. I’m doing standup because I love it, not because it’s making me richer. It’s actually making me poorer, but luckily, also happier. And if you’re interested, you can start losing money telling jokes, too!


How to Be Terrible at Quitting Smoking

ash smoking headshot

This is me, being a bad person.

Start smoking at 16. Quit for four months when you’re 19. Quit for six months when you’re 25. Quit for two weeks when you break your arm at age 27. Quit for two days when you’re 28 but start again when you are unbelievably and irrationally bitchy to your grrlfriend and you are afraid she’s gonna dump you and you would rather smoke than break up. This is a short workshop: basically, never stop smoking for good, and beat yourself up every day about how bad you are at quitting, how much you’re hurting your body, and what a bad person you are in general.


How to Take a Badass Selfie

Me with my best defined jawline/forehead-wrinkle-free face.

Me with my best defined jawline/forehead-wrinkle-free face.

It’s all about finding your best angles without resorting to the classic above-the-head MySpace angle. I find that ¾ profile works best for me because I have a cute ski-jump nose from the side, but it’s a little wide from the front. Tilt your jaw up to get that defined jawline we all crave (it’s mostly facebook friends who will be seeing these anyway, they don’t have to know your jaw is not nearly so defined in person). Keep your forehead relaxed to minimize wrinkles, unless you’re going for comic effect. Don’t do a duck-face kiss unless you’re sending your lover a kissy photo (duck lips are okay in a kissing context). We will be critiquing each other’s selfies in this interactive workshop. Bring a smartphone and a thick skin.


How to Fuck Up Your Finances Through One Trip & Fall

This is what I looked like. Source: school.discoveryeducation.com

This is what I looked like.
Source: school.discoveryeducation.com

Visit your family on the other side of the country. Have a dramatic and upsetting trip. Get very excited to go back to California and put your packed suitcase in the driveway. Run back into the house to grab your purse. Trip on the step in the garage of the house your family has lived in for 24 years. Break your fall with your right arm. Feel a lot of pain. Go to the ER and discover you fractured your elbow. Be forced to stay in Connecticut for three more days. Get the $4000 ER bill. Try to plead with the financial aid counselor at the hospital because you don’t have insurance or $4000. Ignore it. Ignore everything. Hope your arm feels all better one day through magic, and not through going to physical therapy and taking care of yourself, because you won’t be doing any of that.


How to Overreact to a Fight/Ruin Your Hair for a Few Days

This photo does not do justice to just how terrible it looked.

This photo does not do justice to just how terrible it looked.

Have a fight with your grrlfriend of almost a year because you’re freaking out a bit about the future and things are too good and you’re self-sabotaging because that is what you used to do in life and old patterns come up when you’re scared. Take a weekend apart to process and calm down separately. Impusively buy purple hair dye at Walgreens. Drink almost an entire bottle of wine by yourself and then bleach and streak your hair. Let me be more specific: do an absolutely terrible job of dyeing your hair: uneven purple streaks mixed with orangey bleached patches. Act like you are ok with it for a few days until your colleagues at Wear Your Voice make fun of you and you accept that you look like a 16-year-old wannabe punk poseur. Spend $100 getting it fixed at a salon. Be forced to dye your hair nearly-black to cover the purple. Vow that you will never do this again. Make sure to make up with your grrlfriend somewhere in there.