5 Things You Must Consider when Making Your Holiday Wish List

A holiday wish listWe now have only one year and four days until the world ends.  Do you know what that means? It means I can do simple math.  Oh, it also means that this will be your last winter holiday season ever.

In that case, you had better make this one the best ever.  And it all starts with your wish list, assuming you celebrate one of the religious holidays where gifts come into play (if you don’t celebrate a holiday such as this, than pretend you are making a birthday wish list.  If you don’t celebrate birthdays, just pretend that you are making a shopping list of goods you wish you had with the price being more than seven times the income of both of your parents).

Affordability

We live in tough economic times.  This has been made clear by things such as the ‘occupy’ protests, the sole purposes of which were to land the (unemployed) protesters as Time’s Person of the Year (as opposed to last year’s winner, Mark Zuckerburg, who created jobs and a multi-billion dollar company).

So, when creating your holiday wish list, one thing you need to consider is price.  The best way to calculate this is to estimate how much your college education is going to cost, and ask for gifts that cost twice as much (this way, you can sell off your gifts in a few years at half price and still pay for college).  Also, consider that the world will end next year, and “you can’t take it with you.”

Indulgence

The holidays are a time for wants, not needs.  I mean, just look at some of the holiday car commercials: even though the same couple got a new Lexus last year, they are getting another one this year.  I don’t think having two Lexii is considered a need unless you are the owner of the company and can’t have you or your wife seen driving around in a Ferrari.

Look over your holiday list and make sure that absolutely everything on it is a want, not a need.  This has the advantage of ensuring you don’t get ugly socks or sweaters this year; if they are ugly, they are certainly not a want, and if they are warm, then they are a need and thus should not be gifted during the holidays.  If they are both ugly and warm, then they become a “stress factor,” which is not economics but health.

Bragability

While you must consider your wants, you also need to consider what you are going to say when people ask you “What’d you get for [insert holiday/non-religious day/season/ “no reason” here]?”

Most commercials you see at this time of year have already ingrained this in you, so you shouldn’t need to think about this too much (“I got my 18th Lexus;” “I got twelve smartphones-there was a deal;” “I got ‘Logistics’;”).  Just make sure that you don’t ask for something un-cool, or you’ll have to reply with something like: “I got a new stainless-steal set of teaspoons with the losers of every presidential election since 1856 sculpted onto the handle.”

Legality

I needed to throw this in somewhere, because we all know how us teens think.  Please try to follow the law in your wish list.  For example, don’t ask for a shoulder-mounted rechargeable dual-barreled blue-flaming Barbie-launcher without first asking for the required permit from your state, province, country, planet, or solar system (with weapons as dangerous as the one in the example, sometimes the extraterrestrials get involved in the monitoring process).

Length

I think we all know that it is impossible to hope that everything on your list is something you receive. Thus, you need to make your list somewhere between the length of a Stephen King novel and “Shakespeare: Complete Works.”  This way, you are guaranteed to receive enough gifts, even if only 10% of your list is fulfilled.

If you can remember to consider these five things, your holiday wish list will truly be the best wish list ever.  Please, though, don’t send me a copy, or I might start to feel guilty about the havoc I have just wreaked on your parents. (But I’ll just forget about the guilt by remembering that these are the same parents who let their teens read this blog in the first place, and so they deserve it).

If You’re On Thin Ice….Break It: 3 Icebreakers You Need to Avoid

Ice breaking activityThere’s no more denying it: summer, a warm, free, and joyous season, is over.  It is now officially winter (I think.  I don’t know who officiates winter, and dates don’t mean as much anymore because of “Climate Change” which is really Global Warming even though it is also Part-of-the-Globe Cooling – see the intro of this post if you’re confused. )

Yes, I did just skip fall.  Fall is a season useful only to the top 1% of retirees who have the time to go on ‘nature’ walks and watch the leaves change, a luxury most of us can’t afford (are you thinking what I’m thinking? “Occupy Deciduous Trees”).  I spend all of fall pretending that summer isn’t over yet.  However, once it is winter, I start looking forward to the end of it when summer begins (no, I don’t count spring either).

One of the things that happens in winter is that ponds freeze, and while I’ve got many amusing stories about ice-skating/sledding/skiing/rock-guitar-playing that all end with a frozen splash and hypothermia, I’m not here to talk about literal ice.  I’m here to talk about the metaphorical ice, as in “icebreaker.”

Icebreakers are generally activities meant to acquaint groups of people with one another and are run by the person who had organized the group in the first place.  Essentially, they were invented to make meeting new people less awkward, but have instead had the reverse effect (hi, I’m George…can you twist your arm this way-no, the other way…).  I’m mentioning them now so you are prepared for possible 2nd semester class icebreakers.

The Human Knot

This icebreaker really gets you close to those around you (and was mentioned above-poor George).  You form a circle, except for the one person who is always somehow left out, and then grab hands with two different people across from you in the circle.  Then, the idea is to untangle the group so you are once again in a circle.

This icebreaker is quite physically demanding, and usually results in a sprained ankle or hyper-extended earlobe.  By the end of it, you’ll be wishing you stayed home, unless this takes place at school, in which case you’ll fantasize about tying the teacher up in knots with his in-laws and leaving them in a dark closet.

The Name Game

Winner of the “Stupidest Idea EVAR!” icebreaker award (3 consecutive years), the point of this icebreaker is to learn others’ names. Again, you form a circle, and the first person says their name, along with something that starts with the same letter as their name (usually and adjective).  Then the next person goes, and also repeats what the person before them said.

While this might have worked in medieval times, when everyone was named Henry, Louis, Mary, or Elizabeth, people today have names starting with every letter of the alphabet.  And so, while words in that letter may exist, they make the person sound like they are going bonkers (“…adventurous Adam.  I’m…Baloney Bob”).

I mean, what if your name starts with a ‘U’? Only bad adjectives start with ‘u:’ under-, un-, etc. (“etc.” in this case meaning I could really only come up with two ‘bad u’ prefixes but I wanted it to seem like I was more intelligent than that, and so I put an “etc.” so you would naturally assume I knew more and didn’t want to write them.  By the way, don’t take this idea too far: “My Fellow Americans…We Have Gathered Here Today…Etc.”).

Do you become “Unstable Ursula,” ready to melt down at a moment’s notice (“This human knot game is so..*sob*..hard *bawl*”)? How about “Unintelligent Ursula,” which is degrading? Even the good words don’t work: “Understanding Ursula” makes you sound like some sort of psychologist who expects you to spill your guts at a moment’s notice, even though you just met an-look, it’s not my fault, I swear.  I just feel so…guilty and there was nothing I could do…I mean, who would know it was incredibly flammable…(cue tears).

Maybe “Unctuous Ursula” (I believe the definition of unctuous is, literally: does anybody have a dictionary or dictionary app?).  Before you get to thinking that I am genuinely concerned about the ‘U’ demographic, though, let me tell you this: I would be, except I just realized nobody’s* name starts with U.

*Except Ursula, which is only the name of crystal-ball physics who could predict whether or not the event they attended would have icebreakers and thus never appear to the ones that did.

If You Could Have One Superpower

The first step to this is: you form a circle (would you have guessed?).  Then, you survey everyone to see what superpower they would have if they could only have one superpower.

This is probably the least embarrassing, because those of us with ‘awkard-ness sensing’ skills will just say something like flying.  However, there will always be that one person who feels that this is an appropriate time to share one of their insane ideas that will mark them forever in the eyes of those also in the circle.

From personal experience, I can tell you I have heard: “To be able to sneeze ink,” “To have the ability to never get a papercut,” and “To be able to clap and sound like a snare drum.” I mean, you can have ANY superpower, and you choose to sound like a drum? Well, that broke the ice as well as a falling piano would.

With all this in mind, I beg, dear reader, that if you are ever in a position of power enough to command others to do icebreakers, you turn that opportunity down.  Otherwise, you might recognize me-I’ll be running to the kitchen to get a sheet of ice that I can break over your head.

Snow Days FAQ: Frosty Answers Common Misconceptions

Weather PredictionsApparently, as Global Warming increases, parts of the world are supposed to get…colder [source].  Don’t ask me to explain it, because I am not a scientist (although I did once use the words “conclusive” and “data” in the same sentence, something I’m quite proud of).  What this means for you is that you can now start referring to this phenomenon as “Global Temperature Change” instead of “Global Warming.” Yes, I know that the bit about parts of the world getting colder is an inconvenient truth if you consider the name.

Regardless, this means that those of us lucky enough to live in the parts of the world that are cooling off will have, theoretically (hey! I used another word you might find in a science paper), more snow days.  Essentially, these areas are just stealing the snow days from the parts of the world that are heating up, which I believe is an act of war according to the Geneva convention.

So, then, many concerns may be brought up about snow days, since they directly affect those of us who attend school. In order to address your concerns, I’ve brought in an expert from Iran, who will censor all facts until you are presented with a fabricated truth (one which no concerns can be had about).  Oh, wait, sorry, that’s my backup plan. I brought in Frosty the Snowman, whose official job description is “JHC (Jolly Happy Soul) of Corncob Pipes Inc.”

Concerned Parent: Don’t Snow Days Take Away From My Child’s Education?

Frosty: Well, no, actually.  See, in an average day of school, your child will learn the casualty count of the 30 Years’ War, how to transform quadratic equations, and a couple words in French.  However, the average snow day will teach your child Newton’s 3 laws of motion (1. objects that are cold hurt more when they stop than objects that are room-temp; 2. Sleds in motion stay in motion until they crash into a car/brick wall/strolling velociraptor; 3. Unlike cartoons, it is almost impossible to actually roll a snowball down a hill and watch it get larger), plus many survival skills dealing with the cold.  The only way a school day is more valuable is if your child is planning on calculating, using quadratic equations, just how many corpses from the 30 Years’ War he will need to stack in a military formation before he can successfully ask the French to surrender their nation.

Concerned Teacher: Don’t Snow Days Disrupt My Lesson Plan?

Frosty: That may be the case, but I want you to consider one thing: would you rather allow your students to enjoy the snow or lecture a class while it is snowing outside? If you choose the second option, realize that every time you turn around you will have fewer students left and the 2nd story windows will be slightly swinging.

Genetics Scientist: Is Your Nose Really Made of Carrot?

Frosty: I usually wear the carrot one, yes. Sometimes, when it’s at the cleaner’s place, though, I use a potato instead.

Concerned Senator: How many people are in favor of me supporting snow days, and how many people are in favor of me supporting snow plows? Which is more bi-partisan?

Frosty: Well, 83% of voters support snow plows.  However, 100% of people who resort to underhand political messages, such as egging, Tp’ing, or defenestrating your house, car, or wife are for snow days. There is no bi-partisan stance on them, though, because only senators who lose elections have time to worry about snow days.

Concerned Student: Aren’t Snow Days The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

Frosty: Yes, I believe they are.  Studies may even show snow days to be more beneficial to a child’s/teen’s growth than graphically violent videogames.

Concerned Senator: What does “Defenestrating” Mean?

Frosty: It means to throw something out of a window.  However, the politically correct term is “Wow.  I didn’t think the window was so far off the ground. Oops.”

Concerned Superintendant: How Do I Know if I should Declare a Snow Day?

Frosty: If you can answer yes to any of the following statements:

  • There is snow on the ground.
  • It is snowing.
  • It is raining, but it could be snowing if you tilt your head sideways and watch the raindrops fall in slow-motion.
  • It is cloudy and below 40o.
  • There is a protest going on about Russian democracy, the euro, or the “99%.”
  • Google is not down.
  • The electricity starts talking to you.
  • You woke up and immediately started using oxygen.

Concerned Squirrel: Chirrp Chatter Chatter Chatter Chirp-irp?

Frosty: I’m sorry to hear that.  Can I interest you in a premium corncob pipe? It’s only $19.95.

Concerned Victim of a Snowball: What should I do if a Snowball hit me?

Frosty: First, are you above or below 18 years of age?

Concerned Victim: I don’t believe in the standard theory of time. However, let’s say I’m less than 18 years old.

Frosty: In that case, locate the snowball thrower and sneak up on them from behind. Grab two humongous fistfuls of snow and stuff them down the hood of the thrower.  Then, hold the writhing person from their ankles, swing around once, and heave them into a snow-bank.  If there are no snow banks nearby, then a regular bank’s drive-thru window also works quite well in terms of ‘message.’

Thanks for that vital information, Frosty.  I’m so glad I managed to get a hold of him-you have no idea how long I have been on his waiting list (I think I was just under the choir, the little child, and the Nissan representative who wants him to do a car commercial).

I hope that I have answered all of your Frivolous Aunt’s Questions about snow days.  If I didn’t, then you should definitely move to a planet where “Global Warming” actually means, universally, “Global Warming.”

Printers: Enemies of All but One

A hateful printerNow, after reading that title, you might think I am about to argue that printers are enemies of everyone but teens. However, the last time I checked, teens≠one.  There are many teens, or at least enough teens that Sillybandz don’t actually go out of business the second they open up (don’t try to tell me adults would wear shape-holding rubber bands.  We all know adults don’t have the self-restraint needed for that.  Adults just can’t resist shooting any form of rubber band across the room at someone).

However, “all” looks like it would include teens for sure (unless you try to argue that teens are “none” because that is how many it takes to change a light bulb-as teens would just infinitely procrastinate), and, in fact, it does.

Why should everyone hate printers? Don’t you hate it when I use a poor rhetorical question as a transition to the rest of the post? You know you don’t actually need to answer these, right, but that you should just continue reading? What did you have for breakfast this morning?-Don’t answer that.

Teachers

We all know the number one reason teachers hate printers: they ‘break,’ thus causing their students to not have their homework.

However, I’ll bet you didn’t know that printing 30 copies of each worksheet per class can be pretty stressful; as that is the number two reason teachers hate printers.  After all, you know what kind of mess us teens can creat-I mean, witness, when the teacher is unprepared.

Because of this, teachers spend much time in front of a printer, praying that their papers for the day will print.  Each sputter/odd noise is just another spike in blood pressure.

Teacher: “Wait-this is only 23 of the 28 copies I need! I guess the printer isn’t done yet.”

[Puts papers back on desk. Printer makes a noise as if it is about to start printing.]

Teacher: “Please…come on, printer.”

[Printer prints two more copies. Stops printing.]

Teacher: “Three more [nervously wringing hands], come on…Maybe I could just copy them by hand…”

[Printer prints a half of a page-you can see it sticking out of the printer.]

Teacher: “Please, printer! For crying out loud!” [Teacher hits printer.]

[Printer rewinds and pulls the half-page back inside of it.]

Teacher: “No, no, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, printer.  Just print.  Look, uhm, hitting is a sign of love.  I hit things only if I love them.  See?” [Teacher hits “Teacher of the Year: 1999” award and it falls off of her desk and breaks.  She starts to cry.]

Teacher: “Now you’ve got me all choked up, printer. *Sob* Please print the last three copies. I love you.”

[Printer prints one more copy.]

Teacher: “Yessss! I love this! Happy day!” [Teacher jumps up for joy, but forgets to push her chair back.  She knocks her computer off of her desk.  A pile of smoke starts rising from the broken remains on the floor. The printer, on a rolling cart, is fine.]

Teacher: “Who needs that, anyway? I just need two copies…please…just two…I’ll never give any student an ‘F’ again, I promise…well, except maybe [in a low, contempt-filled hiss] Butch…but no one else…”

[Printer prints one more sheet.]

Teacher: “Now we’re talking! Just one more, please! Please! You can do it!” [Teacher gets up and starts dancing around the printer.]

[Printer makes noises, and then goes dark.]

Teacher: “Nooooo….” [Teacher sinks to knees.]

[Printer prints half of the worksheet.]

Teacher: “Come on…”

[Printer starts beeping and reads: “Error 425: The signal from the computer is no longer being received.”]

Teacher: “Wait, I’ll fix that, wait one second!” [Teacher scrambles around on floor and tries to hold the broken bits of computer together.]

[The teacher from the next classroom over walks in, having smelled the smoke from the computer. He surveys the mess, the broken computer, the crying teacher on the floor trying to hold the computer together, the printer in the center of the room, and the broken award.  He mumbles something about “sorry..didn’t know you were busy…” and walks out quickly.]

[Teacher, in despair, gives up.  She claws the half of the worksheet out, planning to finish it by hand.  Then, she takes printer over to the window and drops it three stories.  The printer crashes to the ground, amazingly unharmed.  Then it starts to print copies of the worksheet.  Soon the printer is buried under printed worksheets. ]

Parents

I couldn’t tell you why parents hate printers, because I have no idea how their minds work. If I had to guess, though, I’d say it is because the ink is repeatedly replaced, and almost as expensive as the first two seconds of my future college education.

Toddlers

Toddlers hate printers mostly because they can’t put them in their mouth, as they are slightly too large.  This should be solved when the new ‘tablet’ printers come out in 2012 (similar to the ‘tablet’ computers such as the iPad).  Then, the printers will just be a set of chisels that a) will fit in any baby’s mouth, and b) will etch your printed document into tablets of stone.

Other Adults

If the adult in question is generally normal, see reason for “Parents.”  If the adult was caught going in to see the new Muppet Movie, see “Toddlers.”

Banana Slugs

I’m sorry, but I don’t know why Banana slugs hate printers, as I don’t know how their minds work.  Or if they even have minds, or just simply a group of five brain cells that they share amongst those in the slug colony.

Teens

We all know your printer never breaks when you need it to (when you didn’t do your homework). Therefore, the night before the one project that WILL NOT be accepted late is due, your printer breaks (for real, not just ‘breaks’).  But that’s only one reason.

Another is the fact that most of us teens don’t have “fully developed” brains, which is the reason we can’t vote or drink (although we are allowed to take a series of Standardized tests that determine our future, oddly enough.  That makes no sense to me, but I’ll just blame it on my underdeveloped cranium).  Therefore, when the printer jams, we don’t do the logical thing, which is to open it up and fix the problem, but rather the ‘teen’ thing, which is to threaten the printer with violence/peer pressure until it releases our paper.  Needless to say, this rarely works (unless your printer is running SIRI and understands you), so we just get more frustrated.

Clearly, everyone hates printers. Oh, wait, everyone but one.  Who is this one, you may ask? Why, Lassie, of course.

After all, Tim’s (or was his name Tom?) parents got so sick of him falling down wells that they started to make him carry an iPhone and printer around, so that he could hand a printed note with directions to the ‘well of the day’ to Lassie, thus cutting the length of each episode by 40 minutes (or the amount of time in which Lassie could normally lead the parents to the well).