The Great Water Bottle Debate: Which Type is Best?

(click image to zoom)

(click image to zoom)

Everyone knows you need three things to survive: food, water, and a smartphone.

Food is easily portable, thanks to bags, bowls, and the corners of your upper lip. Smartphones are equally easy to bring everywhere in your pocket, though if current trends continue, next year’s smartphones will require pockets big enough to hold a small floor lamp. It’s no surprise, then, that early humans quickly figured out a way to cart water around, with the use of water balloons. This, of course, led to the invention of the water pistol, the water mattress, the waterfall, and, about fifty years ago, the water bottle.

To give a brief history of the water bottle, it was originally fairly plain. It was made of hard plastic. It was round. And, like many cultural favorites from the past—asbestos, cigarettes, jitterbug dancing—it gave you cancer. I think it had something to do with the plastic slowly seeping into the water over time, though it could’ve also been the fact that everything ever manufactured gives you cancer.

Of course, nobody wants to drink water if it kills you, so the entire nation stopped drinking water for a brief six-week period in 2003, until they came up with: a plastic water bottle. Apparently one that does not cause cancer. Metal water bottles also gained popularity at this time, mostly because they were heavy, solid things you could use to defend yourself from zombies, hammer in nails, and, in a pinch, hit fly balls.

Some of today’s water bottles resemble the bottles of old, whereas others look more like a portable, self-contained missile-defense system.

Now, teenagers have an inherent need to rank everything from colleges to hairstyles to colleges with the coolest students’ hairstyles; water bottles are no exception. Walking down a high school hallway, you can often catch phrases like “Dude, that’s an awesomely cool water bottle,” or “That water bottle is so dorky it’s making my suspenders uncomfortable.” If you want to be cool, you’re going to need the coolest water bottle. The question is, which type to pick?

Stainless Steel

The stainless steel water bottle is usually fairly boring on the outside. On the plus side, stainless steel is impossible to stain, and very hard to steal.

The upsides to the steel bottle are few but important. To begin with, it’s metal, meaning it will probably take a very long time for scientists to discover it gives you cancer. As noted previously, it’s very sturdy, and probably illegal in certain European countries. It’s also terrible at insulation. If you live in a cold place, your water will always be very cold, and if you live in a hot place, you could always use it to hard-boil eggs on the way to school.

The biggest problem with the steel water bottle is that it is so plain, even when painted. Also, they have yet to come out with transparent steel, so you can’t see how much water is left inside without using thousands of calories of energy to unscrew the cap, which makes you thirsty.

Perhaps most annoyingly, stainless steel water bottles are easily dented and not easily un-dented, or indented, or trident-ed, or whatever the opposite of dented is. This means that after a week of hard use and drops, your water bottle only stands up looking like The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Reusable Plastic

Plastic water bottles are an incredibly hot market sector right now. You can get them with filters, with volume labels, with straws, with flip-tops, with pop-tops, with flip-pop tops, and (get a load of this) with tops.

The sheer variety of the plastic water bottle selection is a major plus. If you like the futuristic, I’m-the-one-who-took-all-the-water-from-Mars look, the transparent plastic gives all sorts of options. Many of the most popular plastic models of today started their careers as displays in prestigious modern art museums, in exhibits poignantly titled “Gift Shop.”

The downside to the plastic bottle is that its washing instructions are usually more involved than building a small fission reactor. You can wash the bottle part cold by hand, or with the dishwasher’s “fragile” setting. The top can only be washed in hot water or sterilized by staring intently at it for twenty seconds without blinking. The straw part can’t be washed with any water (it’s very bad for the straw to get wet), but if you want to CAREFULLY rub the outside with a piece of raw chicken, that’s okay as long as it’s very dry raw chicken.

Oh, also, the plastic might eventually give you cancer. But that won’t be a problem; you’ll be too busy admiring your high-tech high-fashion bottle to ever remember to take an actual drink.

Disposable Plastic

The disposable water bottle is popular only because it comes pre-filled. It can be found naturally growing at the base of fronds on genetically modified palm trees near mountain springs.

The only plus to using a disposable water bottle is that is not a huge loss to lose, so if you’re skilled at losing things, this is the bottle for you.

Otherwise, there are endless downsides to disposable water bottles. The first is that it’s bad for the environment. You’re the one causing the pacific basin to turn into the pacific hot tub. You’re the one leading to the extinction of species that are probably much cuter than you are. Furthermore, these sorts of bottles crackle when you drink from them, which is annoying, unless you do it many times during a difficult math test, which may cause students to scream and run into the nearest wall.

Glass

Glass water bottles are more a fashion statement than functional bottles. Glass, after all, is as fragile as Justin Bieber’s self-esteem.

Nevertheless, fashion is obviously a plus side. After all, without fashion we wouldn’t have useless pieces of cloth men tied around their necks, or those British Royal Guards with the fur hats, and civilization would probably have collapsed years ago without them.

Otherwise, glass is not a good choice of water bottle, especially for sports or anyone carrying a few tons of textbooks who might suddenly buckle and crash to the floor at any moment.

A brief note on glass jars used as water bottles: don’t. Not unless you’d be willing to keep your jams and pickles in egg cartons and your orange juice in Tupperware. Exactly.

Each water bottle has benefits and drawbacks, meaning it’s truly up to you to decide. It depends on how much you value appearance, function, or a broken piece of glass. And remember, first ask your doctor if water is right for you.

Being sick is another reason to always carry around a water bottle, since it’s important to keep those flu viruses in your nose hydrated. And if you are sick, then you probably want to check out How To Be Sick, published this time last year. Want to know how to be sick the “sick” way? Of course you do.

4 Ways to Stay Awake in Class

(as always, click to zoom)

(as always, click to zoom)

“Similarly to the amplitude of sinusoidal wave, the obtuse transmutation of the radius/diameter ration is…” And, boom. You’re asleep.

It’s a common occurrence. Depending on the teacher, anywhere from 1 to 90 students may fall asleep in any one class. (No, classes don’t have more than 30 or so students in them, but, depending on the teacher, they may accidentally put entire adjacent classes to sleep as well).

Falling asleep in class is obviously caused by the fact that you don’t get enough sleep. But getting enough sleep is an unrealistic expectation; nobody does that nowadays, not even the Pope—he retired to try to get more sleep. Heck, if we all got enough sleep, we probably would have invented a vaccine for Bieber fever by now.

So, since you’re not likely to get any more sleep, you’ve got to work on staying awake in class. When you fall asleep in class, you usually miss out on vital information that you’ll never need to know to get a job in the future, such as the cosine of a metaphor. Thus, in an effort to help you stay awake, I’ve compiled a few tips that I’ve personally tested*.

*Just not necessarily outside of my imagination.

Shout Embarrassing Things

Adrenaline is great. It keeps us alert when we are facing a terrible situation, such as the possibility that our phone just died. It keeps us from relaxing the night before a big test on the social history of the 9000s, B.C.E. It even gives us a friendly ol’ heart attack when we can’t find our English homework in our binder immediately.

So, why not harness the power of adrenaline to stay awake in class? Train yourself to shout embarrassing things, like “I haven’t brushed my teeth in three months!” or “Does anyone else remember the time I peed myself in fourth grade?” Then, as soon your brain realizes what you just said in your tiredness-induced state, the sheer adrenaline should shake you awake.

Exercise

Another way to get your adrenaline pumping is to exercise. After all, if you’re like me, you don’t usually fall asleep while playing sports. Heck, the only people who do are usually curling athletes, and when that happens—although I didn’t think it was possible—the sport becomes even more hilarious.

As soon as you feel those eyes droop, start exercising. Mind you, you’re probably sitting in a desk, so you’re going to have to get creative. Pick up your textbooks and do some bicep curls. Lift up your legs and start frantically waving them. Take your hand and jog laps around your desktop with your fingers. Sure, people might begin to think you’re crazy, but hey, nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a straitjacket.

Use a Water Bottle

Water bottles are terrific when it comes to staying awake in class, and you can use them many ways. If it’s the last class of the day, you can just drench yourself in water and you should be uncomfortable enough that you can’t fall asleep. As a bonus, this can make it look like you wet your pants, which is embarrassing enough to kick in some adrenaline* as well.

If it is the beginning of the day, you can just sip some water—but don’t swallow it. Instead, keep it in your cheeks for as long as possible. This causes you to focus on the water in your mouth, which in turn keeps you awake.

Of course, you may look and feel like a beached whale, and you can’t talk for the rest of class, but at least you are awake. Once you get good at this, though, you may find that you still fall asleep—since you have to focus on it less—so at that point it’s a good idea to invest in a live goldfish or two to make things more interesting.

Finally, if you get a sports water bottle with the nozzle top where you must squeeze/suck the bottle to get water out, you can strategically position it on your desk so that when your head falls forward asleep, you land on the bottle and it squirts you in the neck, splashing you awake. The only risk is that if you’re incredibly tired, you might somehow drown, but that’s pretty rare.

*I am not an actual doctor or biologist. I have no idea if adrenaline is the right term to keep using. As far as I know, adrenaline is what causes puberty, adrenaline is what leaks out of your veins when you get a paper cut, and cancer of the adrenaline is the #1 leading cause of death in teens ages 20-29.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Even though our elementary school teachers really emphasized this technique, I’ve never had to stop, drop, and roll after catching on fire. Thankfully, I’ve never actually caught on fire. Of course, I’ve also never had to write in cursive, nor go to Sally’s house and ask to borrow eight cookies, leaving her with three cookies left, so go figure.

The point is, nobody has any idea if stop, drop, and roll actually works. Have you ever actually seen someone use this technique effectively? In all honesty, it sounds like the sort of thing I would come up with on this blog. For all we know, stopping, dropping, and rolling only makes sure you’re evenly roasted like some sort of grotesque hot-dog. I mean, if you’re trying to put a fire out, it’s probably harder to aim the hose at the frantic person rolling around spastically on the lawn than it is to spray a person standing still.

But since nobody knows if stop, drop, and roll actually works, you can pretend you’re on fire in class. By the time you’ve stopped rolling around, the “fire” will be put out, so your teacher can’t definitively say whether or not you had been on fire in the first place. And, in dropping and rolling, you’ve probably gotten enough exercise/adrenaline/painful injuries that you can stay awake for the rest of class.

This technique works especially well in classes that actually deal with fire, such as chemistry class, cooking class, or study hall.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ll find success with at least one of these techniques. And, hopefully, you won’t be expelled for being schizophrenic or mentally unstable, either. After all, you know what they say: sleep is the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Yes, that means that humans didn’t actually need to sleep until after we invented sliced bread. It’s some odd medical relationship that has to do with the adrenaline of slicing bread, I think).

Yes, I haven’t posted in over a week. Sorry about that, but it’s hard to be funny on less sleep than you have fingers on one hand. Nonetheless, you can always just pretend that it’s 2012 and go read last April’s posts. Of course, if you need something to take up your time, you could work on suing your school to pay for college, as detailed in School Desks: 3 Lawsuits Waiting to Happen (Or, How to Pay for College), published this time last year.

As a heads up, there may be a few changes (one minor, and one semi-major) coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned.

8 Twitter Hashtags that You Should Be Using

Funny Twitter HashtagsIf there’s one thing that seems like it was invented specifically for teens—aside from driving, texting, and gum—it’d have to be the twitter hashtag.

Who else would want to randomly incorporate otherwise irrelevant phrases into messages? Aside from Shakespeare, who’s dead, only teens would want to, of course.

(For those of you that still think “twitter” is the sound that a bird makes, a hashtag is something that comes after the “#” sign. Usually, you can click a hashtag and discover just how badly it is being abused.)

Unfortunately, it seems that hashtags have become an acceptable part of society, which means that in the future TV newscasts will go from displaying hashtags at the bottom of the screen to simply writing them into the script: “Hello, I’m Rich Richardson here with your 6 o’clock news. Hashtag number sign, numeral 6, capital ‘P,’ capital ‘M,’ lowercase word ‘news.’ Our first story of the night deals with a sinkhole that mysteriously enveloped an entire Wal-Mart just outside the metropolitan area. Let me just say: Hashtag, Capital P, ‘prices,’ Capital P, ‘plummeting,’ ladies and gentlemen. Ha ha. Anyways…”

But, since people seem to have gotten used to the mildly to severely annoying trend of the hashtag, this means that teens, as pioneers of many stupid past trends—such as sagging pants or lenseless glasses—need to take our hashtag use to the next level.

In order to help you along, I’ve compiled a list of hashtags you could use as starting points. While some of them may already be hashtags, they are being used improperly; you’ll find the proper uses below.

#NoSleep

I don’t need to explain this one. All you need to do is attach this to tweets about stupid things you’ve done because you hadn’t had enough sleep. Eventually, if it catches on, we can use the #NoSleep tweets as evidence in a massive class-action lawsuit against society, the government/education complex, Canada*, or all three.

An example of a properly used #NoSleep might look like this:

“that morning when you accidentally put the toaster in the fridge and the orange juice in the outlet…#NoSleep”

*Because they probably don’t have very aggressive lawyers, although they do have money.

#Bringitback

Remember the earlier mention of how teens are really good at starting stupid trends? Well, sadly, we aren’t very good at sustaining them. So, tweet about an old trend you’d like to bring back, such as: 9 button texting, dial-up internet, silly bands, MySpace, Velcro light-up sneakers, pencil-top erasers, the word “hip,” the Harlem shake, etc.

“my legs are sooooo HOT right now its 70 degrees out. wish I had some zip-off pants #BringItBack”

#GraphingCalculatorProblems

Let’s face it: teens love complaining. In recent years, this had led to a number of dumb phrases in the form [insert group] problems, such as “Rich people problems,” “Popular people problems,” and “Rich popular people problems” (those are joke examples. The only problem rich popular people have is that I just made fun of them).

The point is, I’d like to see some actual problems, to lend some credibility to the phrase itself. Obviously, as teens, one of the types of problems we’re most familiar with is graphing calculator problems, which is why this would be such a useful hashtag.

“don’t know the right y-window settings to find the max and zoomfit didn’t help #GraphingCalculatorProblems”

Or,

“can’t integrate 5x+3 over 3×2/3 and don’t know what to do! Heeeellllppp! #GraphingCalculatorProblems”

#Hashtag

What if, after reading your tweet, you don’t see any way to attach a hashtag? You can’t tweet without a hashtag. And that’s where the #Hashtag comes in. If you don’t know what to attach, simply add it and you’ve now met the minimum of one annoying unrelated hashtag.

“My hamster just choked on a grape and died. RIP Chuckles #Hashtag”

#YOLO_SWAG_LOL

So, you’ve been trying and trying to figure out this whole hashtag thing, but you really don’t get it: sure, you use hashtags, but they aren’t annoying enough. All that can be solved with the #YOLO_SWAG_LOL hashtag. It’s especially useful if you don’t want people to remember the tweet itself; they’ll read the tweet, then read the hashtag and throw up, forgetting all about the tweet.

“here’s an embarrassing photo of me when I was like not as old as I am now #YOLO_SWAG_LOL”

#ThisShouldveBeenAText

Even if you’re not on twitter, you’ve probably heard about it: the private message addressed to only one or two people that really should not have been tweeted. Whether it’s tweeting an invitation to hang out at a super secret location, an inside joke, or simply a picture of a politician’s crotch, it just makes the tweeter look, well, like a tweeting twit.

After all, we have to wonder why it was a tweet and not a text. Did they lose their cell phone? Did they confuse the “Twitter” and “Message” icons on their phone? Or are they so naïve as to think that Twitter is simply a second SMS app? Whatever the reason, this hashtag should come in handy.

“@bob wanna hang by the fountain at ten tonite? Ill bring food #ThisShouldveBeenAText”

#IsItToTwoToo

There are three types of people in this world: those that know grammar, those that don’t know grammar, and those that know grammar just enough to think that they’re in the first group but make so many mistakes that they’re grouped with the second group. This is hashtag for that misunderstood third group.

I mean, teens aren’t grammarians, nor should they be. At the same time, many of us get slightly annoyed by repeated grammatical errors. So, if you’re using the wrong form of a word, or don’t know where to punctuate, just attach this hashtag. At the very least, people will understand that you were just too lazy to look it up.

“just saw a UFO land over theyre bye the tree too abduct some squirrels #IsItToTwoToo”

#LoveMyPhone

As the Twitter sensation spreads, more and more people tweet using their smartphones. Unfortunately, most smartphones have a feature known as autocorrect, which pretends to know more than you do. That itself is an outrageous idea—I mean, a computer smarter than a teen? Come on.

Anyway, avoiding autocorrection errors can be a pain, often involving retyping a word many times. If you don’t want to waste your valuable procrastinating time, you should just leave the autocorrection and attach a sarcastic #LoveMyPhone to the end.

“hey all I just bought some awesome shrews at FootLocker for $20 #LoveMyPhone”

#Conclusion

The next time you tweet, ask yourself: can I use any of these inventive hashtags? The answer is probably yes. And if it isn’t, well, here’s one that you can attach to whatever you like: #HighSchoolHumorBlogIsAmazing.

If you’re not on twitter, or you’re already using plenty of pointless hashtags, then you might be more interested in something all teens have to do at some point: in-class note taking. And yes, I know it’s awful, as detailed in “The Horror Known as Note-Taking.”

3 Things to Do With Those College Emails

College Emails FunnyIf you’ve ever taken a standardized test in your life, then in the spring of your junior year you are going to be swamped with emails from public colleges, private universities, and Libyan princesses.

This is because College Board, the omnipotent deity that has the power to decide not only where you go to college but also what you will have for dinner tomorrow night, runs this thing called the “Student Search Service.” And don’t let that title mislead you: if you get kidnapped, College Board will have absolutely no idea where you are. Even your handwritten cursive integrity statement won’t reveal that much about you, although it does reveal whether or not you paid attention in third grade.

No, the Student Search Service exists purely for the benefit of colleges. Essentially, College Board sends your email address to every educational institution in the world that has signed up, including some slightly-confused preschools that originally joined because they thought it would help them locate any kidnapped toddlers.

Now I know what you’re thinking: but, man, if you don’t want those emails you can just opt out of the Student Search Service, right?

Sure, in theory. In theory, there’s a little box somewhere on every AP test, SAT, PSAT, and SAT II that allows you to opt out. But by your sixteenth AP test or fiftieth SAT II, you’re too brain dead to find the little box. Heck, you’re just trying to figure out whether leaving it marked or leaving it unmarked is closest to “C,” which is what your hallucinatory, test-battered brain has been guessing on the last thirty questions.

Since it’s inevitable that College Board eventually gets your email address, it’s inevitable that you receive these college emails. Heck, you might not even realize how massive this email-address grabbing operation is. That fly buzzing around your laptop? It’s actually a College Board-controlled bio-mechanical robot meant to get a screenshot of you logging into your email address.

So, once you’ve received these emails, what should you do?

Respond Immediately

Trust me, colleges wouldn’t send these emails if they didn’t want a response. That’s why they take the time to personalize each and every email: notice how your first name is used in the subject line of every email, often up to three times. (In rare cases, the subject line might read like this: “Joe, picture Joe at the University of Uzbekistan, Joe”).

So, you need to respond ASAP. First of all, it’s the polite thing to do. Secondly, you don’t know which colleges you’ll be applying to eventually, and do you think you have any chance of being accepted if you didn’t respond to the personal email a college sent you? You’d have about as much chance of being accepted as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.

Thus, the question then becomes: how? How can you possibly respond to the 60+ college emails you receive everyday? The answer’s pretty obvious: do less. Sleeping? Cut some of that out. Surfing the ‘net? No time, you’ve gotta respond to the seven emails that just came in. Metabolizing? Hello, wake up, you won’t have time for that either, dreamer. Maybe after you get accepted to college you can do that stuff.

Get the Free Guides

Often, the emails that you receive from colleges will include a free guide. These guides will have incredibly catchy titles, such as, “5 Questions to Ask when Touring Colleges,” “10 Ways You Can Find the Right College,” or “18 Fiscal Tips to Avoiding the Next Double-Dip Recession.” Instantly, your self-doubt will set in. What if you don’t respond? What if you don’t get these guides? WHAT IF YOU DON’T ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS ON A COLLEGE TOUR AND END UP CRASHING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY? It’d be so easy, you’ll tell yourself, to just click the enticing link and not have to worry about missing anything. So you click the link.

Of course, once your guides actually arrive, you’ll realize how gullible you were. Sure, they’ll all look amazing, with color photos and very glossy paper that reveals just how little that college—say, Somalia State University—cares for the environment. But the tips inside will be practically useless. For example, one brochure might recommend that you “Look around” while visiting a campus, or “Talk to Current Students.” Obviously, without this helpful advice, you would have strolled about the campus blindfolded, with a sign around your neck explaining that you have a rare tropical disease to keep people from getting close enough to talk to you.

Even though these guides are all fluff you should probably already know, I still recommend you get every single one just to appease your paranoia. After all, you don’t want to lose sleep worrying about all of vital admissions info you’re missing.

To get the guides, of course, involves slightly more time than simply responding to most other college emails. Often, you have to provide your parents’ email addresses, neighbor’s email addresses, and the email addresses of the last seventy people you emailed, which takes a little while. But, really, you’re just doing these people a favor: without you, they’d be missing out on all of these wonderful emails.

Sort the Emails

You can’t allow these college emails to just pile up in your inbox. Heck, since you’re already spending the majority of your time outside of school responding to them, you might as well take the extra hour or six and sort them.

The question is, how do you sort them? Well, that’s a good question. After all, you probably have no idea where you will or won’t apply to college. So, I recommend the following system:

First, sort the emails by geography. And if you aren’t sure whether Denver or Austin is closer to your current location, you might as well touch up on your geography knowledge now rather than later. I mean, at least all you have to do is check Google maps. Think of how bad it was for your parents in the 1980s: they probably had to walk to both cities and count their steps. (Plus, email didn’t even exist back then, so they had to sort college telegrams instead).

Then, sort the emails by rank. And this doesn’t just mean academic rank. Coolest names, best locations, strongest engineering programs, number of times they emailed you, number of times they used your first name in the email subject line, etc. Since many email programs can only sort by date, name, subject, or size, you’re going to need to start printing out each email to properly sort it. To minimize your environmental impact, just print it on the envelopes and paper of the free guides you were sent. And, of course, to ensure that your sorting efforts don’t go to waste, you should keep your files in a fireproof, underground, climate controlled, radiation-blocking safe (or a chiseled slab of concrete works well if you can’t find one of those).

Conclusion

Take action. Sort emails. Respond. Get free guides. It’s pretty straightforward, really, even if it does take 27 or 28 hours a day. So, in parting, I have one final tidbit of advice: outsource. Got a baby sibling or a lazy pet cat? You might as well give them something to do and allow them to feel productive.

Last year at this time, we drew your attention to the urgent issue of “The Movie Industry’s War on Teen Books.” You definitely need to be aware of what’s going on if you aren’t already, and that post includes what I find to be one of our funniest pictures of all time.