We Need More “Snow” Days

Snow day

It's all about perspective

It’s January.  Do you know what that means? It means we have approximately a million days until spring break, not to mention a bagajitrillion days until summer vacation.  You see, the schools didn’t just wake up one day and decide to offer randomly interspersed vacations.  No, they sent the top science teachers to a mountain retreat and did not feed them until they determined exactly how long each student could survive in peak work condition without a break. (Although there are many other conspiracy theories).

Then, they doubled that time and set up spring break, winter break, and summer break. Fall, feeling shortchanged, decided to remove itself from the seasons in protest, which is why nobody really ever thinks of it being ‘fall’ anymore; we go right from warm summer to cold winter.  (Moral of the story: protesting by ‘leaf-ing’, or leaving, doesn’t always work).

However, right about now you should begin to feel the strain, because winter break has been over for weeks.  You are probably contemplating throwing your books at the wall in frustration and then dropping out of school, willing to take your chances in the organ and uranium trade that happens in crime-ridden northern Canada.  Although that is a bad idea, because most textbooks are heavy enough to smash through your walls, your neighbor’s walls, and the walls of the house down the block, all in one throw.

The solution, of course, lies in the thing known as ‘snow days.’ They are, essentially, one-day winter breaks that can happen at any time, often in a row.  I expect them to become more common in September, what with the global climate change, but right now, January is prime time for snow days.  I should know; I have almost had 40 snow days since the start of January (although I’ve actually had 0).

So why don’t schools give us more snow days? Well, it’s because Hollywood has a deal with the schools to keep them open. Hollywood, currently out of plot ideas, is hoping that a school bus will some day get stranded in the snow, so they can make a movie about a school bus full of multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-eyed innocent school children that get stranded in the snow on top of a cliff that is about to collapse (in the middle of some terrible third-world communist cannibalistic country) for 6.34 days that is “based on a touching true story.”

Ha ha. No, schools aren’t even that smart; rather than milking their policies of ‘no snow days-I don’t care if the weatherman just got hit by a car that skidded on ice into the studio-ever, and that’s FINAL’ for money from Hollywood, they listen to the interests of ‘the people.’  Here, the ‘people’ refers to a very, very small population of about 6 single moms, all of whom coincidently live in South Florida, where it never snows anyway.

These moms hate snow days.  If school closes, then they have to stay home from work, meaning they don’t go to work, meaning “ARE YOU MOCKING ME, YOUNG MAN?” they don’t go to work, which, of course, is bad, because then they don’t go to work.  “YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY?” Which is really bad, because then the global economy collapses and the Canadians, Mexicans, and “all the little islands that we were supposed to memorize in 7th grade that I never bothered to memorize”-ians invade the US and take it over.

No, that doesn’t happen, but, as you can see, I had to throw that in to appease the 6 moms who are, well, incredibly vocal when it comes to snow days.  The schools also have to appease these moms, which is why we don’t have enough snow days, especially when there is actually snow on the ground, and not just morning dew.

But really, I think schools should consider the dangers of not having enough snow days. For instance, let’s say that there is even a little bit of snow on the ground.  Schools should close, because otherwise:

  • You could slip and hit your head.
  • A snowball could hit you in the leg, making you go “Hey!”
  • The school bus could actually get stranded, meaning you would have to fight your way to school amongst a swarm of Hollywood writers.
  • Icicles could fall from the school’s overhang, harming students.
  • The school’s roof could collapse due to the increased weight of .3 inches of snow, crushing everybody inside and forever immortalizing that school as the place where “School roof Colapeses-LOL so funny” on YouTube.
  • You could slip and fall into a Hollywood writer, making them hit their head, leading a cameraman to avenge their death by attacking you with an icicle and leaving you on the roof, which then collapses.

Clearly, every one of these things is more dangerous than 6 moms not going “NO IT ISN’T! YOU SAID s THAT THE U.S. WOULD CEASE TO EXIS-“ to work, because “YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY? THIS IS REAL LIFE! WHEN DID YOU EVER HAVE ANY RESPONSIBILI-“ without these snow days, the entirety of students everywhere will “DO NOT FINISH THAT SENTENCE! GO TO YOUR ROOM!”

13/2 Things that Give You Bad Luck as a Teen

A situation with a lot of bad luckI was wracking my brain for a post idea the other day, and I realized: I don’t know how to wrack.  Is that the action of, what, hanging up clothes? But that’s without a ‘w,’ right? Of course, after I contemplated what ‘wracking’ was for a few minutes, my brain ran out of charge, so I would have had to wait until I slept for 17 hours straight to use it again.  I still had no post topic, though.

Luckily for me, a devoted reader/commenter left a comment here suggesting I write about Friday the 13th. (If you would like to suggest a topic, feel free to do so in the comments of any post; your idea might not be guaranteed a post-for instance, if you suggested something like “Alpaca wool and it’s uses in Somali industry”-but ideas are always nice to have).

So, while I wanted to write about Friday the 13th, we all know that it is bad luck to write about Friday the 13th right before Friday the 13th.  Instead, I figured I would write about 6.5 superstitions that you may or may not be aware of (13x.5=6.5), all of which could have life-changing consequences.

1) The Gum-Wrapper Rip

When you unwrap a piece of gum, you should be careful not to tear the wrapper.  If you do, you must immediately toss the gum box and any remaining gum into a crowd of teens.  This way, when the bad luck arrives to follow the box of gum, it latches on to the wrong person.  You will know who was the unlucky one by noticing that their ears, teeth, and fingernails slowly turn into gum.

2) The Broken Lead

If your pencil lead breaks, mechanical or wood, you are almost certainly doomed.  Before you even contemplate where to get a pencil sharpener or more lead, you must take the broken piece of lead and give it a proper burial, complete with an engraved stone tombstone (to scale).  Otherwise, you will be plagued with a constantly breaking pencil.

3) The 5 Es

You are sitting in class, taking a multiple choice test, when you notice it: multiple-choice should have a dash between the two words. No, sorry, what you actually notice is that the last 5 answers have all been choice ‘E.’ Certainly, this cannot be right, as this never happens.  You are either doomed to worrying about this until you get your scores back, or (this is the only known solution) you can change one of those Es to a ‘C.’

4) Lying About Gum

You are still sitting in class, but now you have finished the multiple-choice test.  You take out some gum and put it in your mouth. The person next to you notices this gum.  Heck, the person six seats away smells the gum and looks up.  A crowd of gum-starved teens begins to gather outside the windows, looking in menacingly (and you are on the second story of your school, amazingly).  Then the question comes: “Can I have a piece too, please?” What can you do? You lie: “That was my last piece, sorry.”

DO NOT LIE ABOUT GUM.  Otherwise, the lie will come back and bite you (no pun intended) in any number of situations.  Picture this: you’re lying on the gurney, about to go into surgery, when the doctor says: “Sorry, but we are out of anesthetic.  You’ll just have to undergo the brain surgery without it.  Also, who taught this kid Phil to write? Two colons in the same sentence? Someone out to give him a Colonscopy, whatever that is.”

5) The Substitute Teacher Cursing You

Teacher’s all have their ‘evil’ stares, but, as a teen, those should hurt you only as much as getting hit on the head with a ping-pong ball.  What I’m really talking about are the rare instances when you’ll have a substitute teacher who is actually a witch/wizard in their spare time. If you receive any bad looks, then you should probably stay after class and offer your first born child if they’ll lift the curse.  Otherwise, you might be stuck with something such as never-ending hiccups, or worse.

6) Seeing Your Teacher Outside of School

It could be a supermarket.  Or a gas station. Or a tanning salon.  Wherever you are, it is always bad luck to see your teacher outside of school.  Not only is it extremely awkward, it is also guaranteed to alter your actions in a negative way. For instance, you might be talking to your friends later in the day, and suddenly start correcting their grammar, causing you to be dropped out the nearest window.

6.5) The “Gee-I-Bet-You-Don’t-Live-To-Be-20” Scenario

You were minding your own business, taking a test in class, when you notice that you got E as the answer to the last 5 questions.  As you try to change one, though, your pencil lead breaks.  To console yourself, before you go outside and dirty your hands in the lead cemetery, you take out a piece of gum.  However, you rip the gum wrapper.  The sound alerts the other 30 kids in the room to your gum, and all of them shout: “CAN I HAVE SOME GUM, TOO?” You reply: “It was my last piece, sorry,” but then throw the box into the crowd to avoid the bad luck of ripping the wrapper (say ‘wilbur wright ripped the wrapper when he wracked and wrestled the wrangler jeans’ six times fast).  This disruption causes the Substitute teacher to look over and curse you so that every time you blink you grow slightly shorter.  By the end of the day, you are only 3 feet tall, so you go to a supermarket to buy foods that should help you grow.  When you are there, though, you see your regular teacher, who was buying chicken soup because they were sick.  This causes you to mention it to your friends, who want to know: “Why was you at the store, again?” You correct them (“Were, not was”) and get punched a few times.  As the doctor prepares the stitches, he says, “I’m sorry, but I just used my last good needle. You don’t mind if I use a rusty nail, right?”

10 Absolutely Brilliant Creative Uses for Your Graphing Calculator

Graphing Calculator

Click to zoom

Graphing calculators are rites of passage to most teenagers.  Not receiving a graphing calculator is simply not experiencing a full teen life.  It’s like never getting addicted to gum, or never getting acne, or never becoming so full of hormones that when you open your mouth you not only manage to bite your tongue and cheek, but also manage to make no comprehensible sense and then break down into tears.

However, as many teens, yourself likely included, have realized, graphing calculators aren’t exactly ‘innovation’ or ‘new tech.’  They look more like something you would find on the dashboard of a model-T Ford.  Their size to function ratio is that of a walkman or video cassette tape, and they will soon likely join the ranks of piles of plastic that are choking our planet to death (if you want to read my take on global warming, do so here. If you want to read about dead fish, do so here. And, of course, you can find dead birds here).

Therefore, to prevent these hunks of plastic from becoming totally obsolete, I’ve come up with some other, less-obvious uses for them:

1) Doorstopper

I don’t know about your school, but at mine, we have this myth known as the “Fire Marshal,” who supposedly frequently audits our school to ensure it is fire-safe.  In my opinion, though, he simply steals our fire extinguishers, because all the boxes in our halls with spots for fire extinguishers are empty (either that or the teachers realized it is not a good idea to let teens access fire extinguishers unsupervised.  Probably because they don’t want us using them way most teens would; rather than putting out dangerous fires, they want us to be studying).

One use of the fire marshal, though, is to prevent us from having doorstops.  The thinking here is, I think, that the fire, not having opposable thumbs, won’t otherwise be able to get through doors.  So, just use your calculators as doorstops; that way, when the fire marshal comes by, you can just tell him that someone accidentally dropped their calculator and is going to come back. Plus, graphing calculators even have convenient rubber grips on the bottoms.  It’s like this was practically their intended use.

2) Message Passer

I bet that you knew you could type a full alphabet on your graphing calculator.  However, I bet it never occurred to you that you could type messages and pass it around, thus avoiding teacher suspicion.  Unless you are in English class, in which case, “We were just passing it around because we think it is a good metaphor for the main character’s struggles.”

3) Coin Flipper

We’ve all been in situations where the fairest way to make a decision has been to “let me choose.” However, many people don’t seem to realize how fair that is, so you often have to flip a coin.  Rather than dig around in your pockets or ask for coins, you can carry around a graphing calculator, which, get this, has a coin-flipping app! That’s so much more convenient than an actual coin.

4) Mousetrap

Nobody actually uses mousetraps anymore, because, unlike in the 1900s, mice have become pets and not vermin.  And I would hate to accidentally kill my sibling’s pet, even though it probably carries rabies, fleas, ticks, lice, tetanus, and ebola.  However, you can use a graphing calculator as a non-deadly mousetrap.  Simply leave it out in a mice-infested area.  A mouse will be overcome with curiosity, and will start pushing buttons on the calculator.  Then, while the mouse is engaged (probably on the coin-flipping app), you can sneak up and scoop it up in a box.

5) Anvil

Most of us don’t know what an anvil is really used for.  So, to help you out, I “googled” it and discovered: you can buy an anvil for anything from $45-1,500. Presumably it comes with an owner’s manual that tells you what to use it for, but if I had to guess I’d say the manual probably only tells you “DON’T mix alkaline and lithium batteries.” The real use for an anvil appears to be, as you’ve seen on TV (which is just like real-life, but more 2-dimensional), dropping it out a window and hitting someone below.  And your graphing calculator is more portable and compact than an anvil, but still weighs enough to give someone a large comical lump.  Therefore, your graphing calculator is a better anvil than an actual anvil.

6) Indoor Skates

I’ll bet you didn’t know that your calculator parts could do this.  Get four graphing calculator covers (the thing that slides over the screen and front) and remove the rubber stoppers.  Tape two of them together to make a ‘boat’ shape, and put a foot in each of the two ‘boats.’ The plastic should slide on carpet, making you just as ‘hip’ as any randomly selected presidential candidate.

7) Washboard

One of these days, even washing machines will become outdated, giving way to an ‘iWash My Clothes’ app.  However, this app won’t actually physically clean your clothes, and that’s where your calculator comes in. Since actual washboards haven’t been sold since 1932 (don’t quote me on that, and definitely don’t quote me on me saying don’t quote me), the only place you can find them is in certain instrument stores.  The buttons on your graphing calculator, though, can serve the same purpose as the ridges on a board.  Just make sure you take the batteries out before you get the calculator wet, and DO NOT mix alkaline batteries with lithium batteries.

8) A New Phone

In this age of technology innovation, new, “better,” phones are released every 5.43 seconds.  If you don’t go through at least three phones a week, you certainly aren’t ‘cool.’  To help fix this, you can pretend to use your graphing calculator as a phone.  After all, when you stand alone pretending to text, it doesn’t matter whether you use a phone or large calculator, because you aren’t actually texting anyone anyway.

9) Wristwatch

Watch fashion is something else that changes every 5.43 seconds (5.431, to be exact, and you can quote me on that), because watch companies like to make money.  A new innovation in this field has been the ‘iPod nano watch,’ where you strap a small iPod to your wrist and carry it that way.  There’s no reason why you can’t do the same with a graphing calculator, although you might need a larger case.  Even though your calculator can’t tell time, whereas the iPod nano can, it can flip coins, roll dice, and take the “fnInt(“, whatever that is.  Can your current watch do that?

10) Distraction

Teens aren’t supposed to focus.  It goes against our DNA (even though our DNA doesn’t change before/after the teen stage).  So, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are focused, pull out your graphing calculator (which you should keep handy in your shirt pocket) and aimlessly push buttons.

These ten insanely genius uses for your graphing calculator illustrate one thing: if you have a teenage brain, you can come up with uses for anything.  Including spent gum wrappers, which people at one time stuck to their composition books because the gum wrappers were: “OOOooooh, Shiny.”

The Invaluable Guide to 5 High School Winter Sports

a funny picture of athletesWhen talking about sports, it is important to know what kind of sports person you are, easily determined by this simple test: who is (most likely) going to be the #1 NFL draft pick next year? If you said “The Packers,” then you are probably not a sports person.

Luckily (sports people: no pun intended; non sports people: don’t bother looking for a pun, because you won’t find it) for you, I’m here to explain all you need to know about the winter sports at your high school.

Basketball

We all know what basketball is, so I’m not going to bother with the rules.  No, in high school, the trick is figuring out who the basketball players are.  Generally, this isn’t too hard; take a good look around when you walk in the halls.  The person whose chest is at eye-level is a basketball player. I’ve heard from many a basketball coach that you don’t need to be tall to play basketball, but I didn’t hear them before I quit playing, because it took the words seven light-years to travel from their super-high mouth down to the level of my ears.

Also good to know, for you semi-clueless non-sports people (those of you who didn’t know Andrew Luck was the answer to the first question, or that the pun was about his last name), is that basketball, while being the most popular winter sport, is a little different from football.  If you go to a game, you should avoid shouting things like, “Tackle ‘im!” or “Touchdown!”; rather, you should shout “Batta batta batta swing!” or “Goooooaaaaallllll!”

Wrestling

Remember that look around the halls? Well, the wrestlers are the ones you didn’t see, because they were turned sideways.  Many of you might think of wrestlers as enormous and muscular, but in high school, there’s this thing called ‘weight divisions.’ Just like it sounds, ‘weight divisions’ pit people against each other depending on how long it takes them to divide a random 2-digit number into a random 5-digit number.  Oddly enough, many of the wrestlers misinterpret this to mean that they should diet to get into a lower, and thus easier, weight division, as dieting allows them to spend less time eating and more time practicing math.

I’ve never gone to a high school wrestling match, so I don’t know what you should expect.  I think that if you go, the proper way to cheer is by yelling:  “Wrestle!” or maybe even: “Wrestling!”

Skiing/Snowboarding

The skiers/snowboarders can be identified by the fact that the really ‘intense’ competitors never spend more than three seconds without a cast on some part of their body.  The idea of skiing/snowboarding is usually to go as fast as one can down a mountain laden with rocks, boulders, trees, rocks, bodies of water, rocks, and stones, and a collision with one of these is usually what causes the injury.  These are not spectator sports, so you don’t need to bother cheering (although if you really feel a need, you can shout “Break a leg!”).

Swimming

To identify a swimmer, look for the person with a genetic mutation.  In my experience, the state-level swimmers are often mutated due to the time they’ve spent in chlorine-filled pools.  Examples of mutations include the inability to grow hair on their legs, a lessened sense of smell, webbed hands and feet, or a third eye.

Swim meets are exciting sporting events.  You get hyped up with school spirit, or pep, and travel with a group of fellow students who are equally pep-ed up to the event. Boy, are you planning to kill the other swim team.  But then, the swim meet actually starts, and…nothing happens.  All you see is splashing and waves, and have no idea who wins.  Your excitement quickly fades, not helped by the fact that the scoring system is more difficult than some derivative calculus.

Water Polo

The water polo players are those with both genetic mutations and muscle (when compared to swimmers). Water Polo, as you may know, is the pool-oriented version of Polo, where people ride genetically enlarged seahorses while trying to play golf.  Because so much of Water Polo happens underwater, where the ref can’t see, it is a ruthless sport, with opponents being known to scratch, punch, kick, stab, shoot, skin, bite, burn, bomb, or sue members of the other team under the surface of the water.

If you go to a Water Polo match, it is appropriate to chant: “AoiuahAHGOAOUAwoahweYEAHYEAHOheoweaui!” repeatedly.

I recommend that you print this guide out and reference it whenever you need.  You should also print copies for your friends, Facebook friends, Google+ circle-mates, Twitter followers, and congressmen. After all, you never know when you’ll find you need to know the answer to: “Who will be the number one draft pick in the NFL next year?”