The Worst Part of Summer: Summer Homework

Don’t read the title of this post. Oh, you did? Sorry. Well, the good news is that I’m reminding you about your summer homework at the beginning of the summer, so you have about two months to try and re-erase it from your memory.

See, summer is not about school. Summer and school go together about as well as apple juice and potato salad*. The good thing is that summer and school are pretty much separate.

*No, I did not make that statement from experience. Mostly. Okay, maybe I did. It DOESN’T CONCERN YOU. MOVE ALONG.

Logically, then, homework, which is the worst part of school, should not exist during summer vacation, right? Obviously, you say. (Notice how you are unable to disagree with me when I’m writing. This is why I always win arguments – I talk for the other person and make them agree with me).

However, homework does exist during summer. For most AP and Honors classes, summer homework is the norm.

Now I’m sure you are aware why homework is bad. If you are not, you are either very lucky (having never had homework), very stupid, or lucky to be stupid, although that isn’t actually all that lucky (although if you were stupid it might seem lucky, which is stupid).

Summer homework, though, is uniquely bad for many reasons.

The Weather

Now, you either live in a place where it is sunny all the time, like Mercury, or you live in a place where it rains every single day except for ten weeks during summer, like where I live (in a cloud). In that case, your summer basically goes something like this:

You [sitting at a computer, doing an AP History study guide]: My brain is melting…[you glance outside] Wow, it’s nice outside. You can even see the storm drains – there’s no water flooding them! [Sigh] But I have to work on this.

[In the window: A frolicking (assuming birds can frolic) blue bird flies by. Then another bird.]

You: Ughh! Those birds are enjoying this weather while I have to do this stupid study guide on…Benjamin Jefferson? Huhmm, this must be some new stuff…

[In the window: A monarch butterfly flits by. You pause to watch it.]

You: No, gotta focus. Let’s see, George “Sacagawea” Adams was born in…

[In the window: A flock? Herd? Gang? Bundle? Of butterflies goes by, completely blocking out everything but the sun for three minutes.]

You: That was cool. I’ve never seen a rabble* of butterflies before.

[In the window: Just as your head turns back to the computer, the bluebirds return and land on a birdbath.]

You: I wish I could go swimming, too. Hey, wait a minute, I don’t have a birdbath outside my window.

[In the window: Birdbath disappears, and the birds perch on the windowsill and start singing summer songs that you hear way too many times on the radio in the summer, such as “Doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-dee.”]

You: I don’t believe it. Now I’m in, like, a Disney movie. That’s it [pulls out metal cuffs and chains self to desk.] I have to finish this. [Parts of your brain start dripping out your ears as you try to focus. Scene fades to black].

*I guess my subconscious is smarter than I am.

Some People Don’t Have Summer Homework

While I’m sure your esteemed colleagues and you are the geniuses of the school, and thus have tons of summer homework, I guarantee that no matter what, one of your friends won’t have any.

This means you will be subject for the rest of your summer to comments like: “Hey, want to go to the park with us? Oh, wait, I’ll bet your summer homework is more fun,” “Dude, I’m having a party tomorrow, but you can only come if you’re done with all your homework, ha ha,” “You have summer hoooommmeeeewooooorrrrrk. I don’t. Seriously, though, your summer will suck.”

The Homework Itself

Granted, most homework assignments are about as mind-stimulating as lying in a dentists’ chair while they drill your teeth. But certainly, there is a scale of how boring the assignment is.

Well, I’ve got some bad news: Thomas Edison is no longer alive. Oh, sorry, I meant to say that summer homework is on the lowest end of the scale. It’s reading, worksheets, memorization, and, in extreme cases of AP Honors Advanced Accelerated classes, water boarding as well.

Honestly, summer homework is terrible. So, while you spend at least a week this summer seriously procrastinating and doing your summer homework, know that you’re not alone. There are many others in the same situation. Myself, well, let’s just say I worked out a deal with my teachers so all I have to do is record myself drinking potato-salad-apple-juice. They agreed that as long as it’s unpleasant, it works as a substitute.

Also, we’ve added a new page to our site entitled “Suggest a Post.” If you have an idea or topic that you’d like to see written about, go to that page and submit it. More info can be found there as well.

Driving on the Freeway: A Guide for Teens

a speed limit sign (funny)“There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” is a famous quote from a great man. Although much of his greatness came from the fact that his middle name was Delano, which struck both admiration and fear in the hearts of his opponents, this quote still rings true.

However, this quote is also one of the most misinterpreted quotes of all time. People like to say this means that you only need to fear the emotion of fear. They, however, are wrong.

What FDR was actually saying was: “There is nothing to fear – but fear itself.” Now, instead of telling you to only fear the emotion, this quote tells you to be very afraid of ‘itself.’ That’s where I come in.

You see, having been blessed with a time-travel-read-minds ability, I can tell you that Mr. Roosevelt meant for ‘itself’ to refer to freeway driving. He changed that to ‘itself,’ an ambiguous pronoun, only because his speechwriters thought that freeway driving was too much of a polar issue.

Even today, this quote rings true for most teens. I mean, here you are, learning how to drive, scared of hitting people, cars, and squirrels, when you suddenly find out about the freeway.

Your first impression of the freeway can make it seem a bit daunting. Your second impression of the freeway will scare you more than the word ‘Delano’. This is because driving on the freeway means:

  • You have to go really fast
  • You have to change lanes while going really fast
  • You have to avoid hitting other cars while changing lanes and going really fast
  • You have to be surrounded by other cars going really fast and changing lanes as you try to change lanes while going really fast
  • You have to go really fast

The freeway can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be, if you follow this advice.

Avoid Traffic

One of the main factors of how scared freeway driving will make inexperienced teen drivers like yourself is the number of cars on the road. More cars=more things to hit or be hit by.

The easy solution, then, is to avoid times when cars are usually on the freeway! Some great times to drive with little or no traffic include between the hours of 10PM-5AM on weekdays and 3AM-10AM on weekends. Just plan ahead so you get to your destination on time. Another great time to drive is when the freeway is closed for roadwork, because then you’ll be the only car on the road.

Avoid Trucks

Trucks can also strike fear into your heart. After all, they are huge, block your vision, and can’t stop quickly. Not to mention that trucks weigh so much that if they accidentally flattened your car the driver would not notice. At most, he’d figure that he’d hit a pothole. Meanwhile, you’d now be two dimensional, or one-dimensional in worst-case scenarios.

A great way to avoid trucks is to post a sign at the exit right before you get on the freeway that says, “EXIT 34: FREE FOOD FOR ALL TRUCK DRIVERS.” Also, you can just drive a very low car, like a sports convertible, so you can drive under the trucks and not have to worry about being crushed.

Avoid Lanes

Lane changes. Normally a pain, they become horrific on the freeway. You are supposed to check your mirrors, look behind you, signal, and check your mirrors again, all while you are supposed to be looking forward and not hitting anything.

So, the easiest way to avoid lane changes is to avoid lanes. Only drive on the freeway if you are in the middle of the country where many freeways have only one lane. Otherwise…

Avoid the Freeway

The easiest way to avoid being scared of freeway driving is not driving on the freeway. Duh. That’s why Google Maps was invented, to help teens everywhere find alternative routes. Who cares that the estimated travel time takes an extra four hours? At least you’ll have a normal heart rate when you arrive.

10 More Things You Absolutely Have to do This Summer

Just a picture of a squash gameI’m sure we’ve all heard the famous saying that goes something like, “Live as if you’ll die tomorrow, learn as if you’ll live forev-ackchk! Unnnnhhhh….”

As that saying so aptly illustrates, nobody lives forever. Which means you will eventually die. Which means you won’t be alive. Which means you will only have a limited number of summer vacations to enjoy, not to mention summer vacations during your teen years. (If this were a DirecTV commercial, the next sentence would be: “Don’t eventually die. Ditch cable and become immortal. Also buy DirecTV.”).

Being a blog run by teens who have your best interests at heart*, we’re going to make sure you make the most of your summer by giving you a checklist of 10 things you have to do. (For last year’s ever-popular list, click here).

*Or at least we would, if teen brains could handle using a heart to both pump blood and be compassionate at the same time.

1) TP a Toilet Paper Company

First, let me set the record straight: this blog does not encourage illegal activities. However, we can tell you to ‘tee-pee’ a toilet paper company for a few reasons.

For one thing, the irony of it is strong enough that no court of law would be able to remain orderly long enough to prosecute you. Secondly, nobody actually knows where to find toilet paper companies. I mean, when’s the last time you were driving through an industrial district and saw a factory belching black smoke into the air while thinking: “Hey, I bet all that black smoke is a byproduct of toilet paper manufacturing.” And, finally, most toilet paper companies are guarded by their mascots, so unless you plan on taking on a few full-grown Charmin grizzly bears, you won’t even get close.

2) Learn to Play Squash

I don’t have any idea what country you come from, so maybe you already know how to play squash. If so, what kind of freak are you? Just kidding. You can stop reading this section and move on to number three. (Now that all the squash players are no longer reading this: thank god we got rid of those squash-playing freaks for a few seconds).

Chances are, though, that you don’t have any idea how to play squash. Summer is the optimal time to learn. I have absolutely no idea how squash is played, although I assume it involves a squash and possibly a legume or leafy-green as well. Regardless, I’m sure it’s fun, healthy, and well worth your time. Besides, you’ll become a great comedian: you can walk into a party, declare that, “I’m a squash player,” and watch everyone break out laughing.

3) Travel to an Unknown Land

Yes, that sounds quite mysterious. And quite awesome. Whether your unknown land is the forest behind your house, your attic, your bedroom closet, or the forest growing in the attic of your bedroom closet, unknown lands contain hours of entertainment. And, as the documentary Avatar showed us, unknown lands also often contain 10 foot-tall blue people who would be great to have on your team in a street basketball game.

4) Start a Sign-Making Business

Chances are, if you are now in high school or have already graduated, you once learned cursive in elementary school. Now, I have no idea why they decided to teach us cursive (or script); I only know that I really wish I hadn’t spent hours of my life slaving away at my capital G’s, which looked more like a small boat than a ‘G.’

However, I’ve got good news! I’ll bet that now that I’ve reminded you, you are the only one in your entire town who knows that you know cursive. Sure, other people may have learned, but they have wiped those painful memories from their minds. This means that you can open up a sign-making business without competition and make MILLIONS! Of Chilean Pesos! Some people may pay you in dollar bills, but it’ll add up to MILLIONS! Of Chilean Pesos!

5) Do Art

The nice thing about this is, you can do pretty much anything and call it art, thus making yourself feel more sophisticated than you actually are. That recycling bin you just compacted? That’s now a piece of art. The way you just got a triple-head-shot-nuke-bonus-multiplier-boost-powerup in that really popular nonviolent* video game? That was a beautiful piece of performance art.

*Nonviolent meaning nobody who plays the video game dies. Trust me, some games are violent. Take that “Cooking Mama: Cook Off” game, for example. The rivalry that game creates between the two players has lead to multiple assault crimes being committed.

6) Try a New Food

I know this will be hard for us teen boys – we’ve probably already tried most foods that exist, including moldy cake (‘cause cake doesn’t go bad) and earthworm. However, new experiences are always enlightening, so strive to find a food you have yet to eat. Personally, I’d recommend you check out your vegetable garden. After all, I’ll bet you’ve never had a banana-slug split (that’s no BS. That’s BSS – banana-slug split. Okay, put the baseball bat – or BSBB – away, I’ll stop, I’ll stop.).

7) Attend a Convention

For some reasons, conventions are a big deal amongst adults. To teens, though, it’s basically like willingly paying to attend school after you’ve graduated from college.

However, conventions do have their positives. For one, they often have a lot of free stuff handed out by people who think that giving you free stuff will make you want to buy more of their stuff…even though they are handing it out for free. Also, conventions allow you to keep your rubber-band shooting skills sharp over the summer.

8) Make A Modern Lemonade Stand

This is actually pretty easy to do. You just need a table, a tablecloth, and some cups. Lemonade is a bonus, but that’s really just for show. You see, thanks to modern advertising guidelines, you can say whatever you want as long as you make it true with an “*”.

So, have a sign that says “LEMONADE STAND: 25¢ a cup*,” and then just add this, in really small print (or better yet, cursive, because nobody remembers how to read that anymore either), “*cup does not have lemonade in it.”

9) Invent a New Pool Dive

The swan. The cannonball. The belly flop. The movie hero stunt double. What do these all have in common? They’re all unoriginal ways to dive into a pool.

Chances are, you’ll be swimming at some point this summer, unless you are too busy playing squash (although I bet you can play squash, like basketball, in a pool). In that case, you will need an original way to dive into the pool. Some places to start could be the “rhinoceros,” the “trash compactor,” the “killer duck,” and the “vice principal.”

10) Visit Your State Capitol

The nice thing about summer is that you have a few months off from school. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. No, it could be a few years off from school, or even a few millennia.

So, if you live close by, are going to drive by, or plan to hijack a delivery van, you should visit your state capitol. See if you can persuade the lawmakers to extend summer vacation, using your high school persuasive techniques like bribes (“I’ll give you gum”), threats (“I’ll never give you gum again”), and peer pressure (have everyone angrily chew gum and stare at the person to intimidate them).

11) The All-In-One Fun

Yes, I know I said ten. But this isn’t really an eleventh idea; it is only a solution to having a fulfilling summer for those of you too busy doing nothing to take the time and do everything on this list separately.

First, you need to drive by your supermarket and pick up a squash. Chances are, since it’s a vegetable, you’ve never tried it before, so it’s a new food. Then, use the squash rinds and the squash that you spit out/vomited to play some form of a sport. After that, travel to the unknown depths of a craft store, watching out for serial crafters who would willingly kidnap you so they could force you to admire their crafting ability, and pick up some pens and cardboard.

Then, make a sign outside your state capitol building for a lemonade stand offering free cups(*, of course) to any legislator willing to extend summer vacation. Celebrate your inevitable victory against school re-starting by traveling to a Toilet Paper company with your state-legislator groupies and TP’ing it. Take a bunch of photos of your work when it’s finished; this is probably some new genre of modern art.

Next, when the state legislators realize that these photos are probably going to ruin their political career and attempt to grab your camera, push them into a nearby pool and invent the “floundering government official” pool dive. Finally, attend a convention on how to avoid being convicted for crimes by a grand jury.

10 things. More than ten days of summer. You should be able to procrastinate and still do them all. If you are really good at cramming, you might even repeat some of last year’s list of 10 Things You Absolutely Have to Do this Summer. Me, well, I’m busy warming up my toilet paper-throwing/squash-playing arm.

A Summer ‘Inconvenience': Staying in Touch

I’m going to devote this entire first paragraph to one thing only: TGIF. Yes, that’s right: Thank God It’s Finally summer. After nine arduous months during which you spent countless hours wasting your life and learning useless things, such as the meaning of arduous, it is summer vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, that’s probably (!!!!!!!!!!) enough exclamation marks; if you’re like me, you really hate (!!!!) it when someone texts “no way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how??????????????”. I mean, honestly, what are you supposed to reply with? “I dunno,,,,, c ya tomoro……….” doesn’t really seem all that emotional.

Putting all that aside (for later, of course, because now that it is summer you have lots of time for useless musings, such as why the ceiling of your house has this weird pattern that sort of looks like Johnny Depp climbing a rhinoceros, and if it was intentional or if it just dried that way), there is one minor inconvenience* at hand. How are you going to stay in touch with your in-person friends over the summer?

*no, not a “problem.” An inconvenience. There are no problems allowed during summer.

Now, in-person friends are friends whom you could recognize if you saw them in a police line up. They should be distinguished from Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and Email marketers trying to sell you prescription medication for problems that you’ve never even heard of. Those people are considered friends only in the literal sense. If you can’t think of anybody fitting the description of an in-person friend, well, can I interest you in a real life?

Sure, there are the obvious ways of staying connected, like Facebook, Twitter, texting, faxing each other handwritten notes, leaving encoded messages in toilet paper, raw eggs, and forks on people’s front lawns, and throwing dead birds (sound familiar, long-term readers? For those of you who’re new, go here) with notes attached in place of homing pigeons.

However, those methods can come across as a bit awkward.

Facebook

For example, if you post a photo of yourself on Facebook depicting your family posing in front of some scenic landmark on vacation, the only logical comment would be a) something about your family, which is always awkward, b) something about how much fun you must be having on vacation, which is weird, or c) something about the landmark you are standing in front of, which is weird and awkward.

Twitter

Twitter can also be a bit of a struggle. In the first place, you only have 140 characters to connect, in one tweet, to all of your 7,021,000,003 friends. (For those of you keeping track of things, yes, that is three people more than the ‘rounded’ global population. See, someone just had triplets, and their ‘loving’ parents ‘followed’ you for the new borns as is now the custom. Now that I think about it, it’s really a shame we didn’t grow up with our parents tweeting about us for us. Our childhoods would have been even more embarrassing.)

Yes, you could mention specific people in each tweet, but to keep a conversation growing your tweets will start to look like “@TylerT1 it was the cat; @Orangey5 yeah, an after he hadta get a new fishbowl; @123bob we all had sushi for dinner; @rrrandy no that’s disgusting”.

Texting

Okay, so Facebook’s photos are awkward and Twitter is impersonal. Texting solves for both of those inconveniences, right? WRONG.

At least with Facebook and Twitter, you commonly update things. Unless you text someone regularly, it’s unusual to get random texts from people whose number you might not even have.

On top of that, what are you supposed to say? “Hey wat’s up?” Only girls do that*. So, I guess if you’re a girl you could text your in-person friends, but I’m not a girl. Statistically, there is 1.01 boys for every 1 girl (as for those triplets now following you on twitter, one is a girl, one is a boy, and one is a .51-.49 boy-girl mix. Don’t question nature), so the majority of you aren’t girls either.

*to girls reading this: don’t get mad at me. I did edit out the accompanying ‘:)’ to make you look less….girly.

Faxing

All that’s left, aside from the dead birds with notes and the raw eggs (both of which concern handling things that could contain dangerous viruses/bacteria), then, is sending each other faxes.

Logically, the effort and personal touch of faxing a hand-written note, combined with the uniqueness and originality of it, should outweigh the awkwardness of the action. This would be true, except for one slight problem. No teen has, wants, or knows how to operate a fax machine. In fact, going back to our definition of an in-person friend, no teen could recognize a fax machine in a police line up, even if every other thing in the line up was a person.

Thus, it appears that staying in touch with the rare in-person friend whom you neither text nor hang out with regularly can be a bit difficult over the summer. The good news? It’s summer, which means you won’t care. The bad news? It will be really awkward when you meet these people again in three months. But hey, three months is basically a gajillion years away. Right now, it’s summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!