Thursday, September 29, 2011

And I wonder why I'm the least favorite child...

Check out my little sister doing what she does best.  No big deal.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Index Card Soup

            First off, I give him props for managing to incorporate cats, soup, grades, and inception in an esoteric clusterfuck of an assembly. I can’t speak much to the first two segments, but I do think our former Upper School Principal candidate brought up an intriguing idea in Part the Third. Here’s the policy he was advocating for, in case any of you missed it: relinquish public letter grades for 9th grade students at Park. Kids would still, however, receive grades, and their parents would still get their child’s report in the mail. But under the new plan, instead of having your paltry freshman grades saved on record for colleges to gossip over, they would instead see nothing from that year. K.C.’s justification for this scheme ran something like, ‘it would provide a smoother transition for eight-graders and they wouldn’t feel as pressured to perform, thus allowing them to concentrate on learning and adjusting.’
            His argument makes sense to me, and in context with our philosophy, it sounds like a logical Park move. But I think there are aspects that have been overlooked. I know our school likes to brag about not giving grades in middle school, and I suppose, technically, that’s true. Except that we did get grades, they were just in numerical/symbolic form. Let’s be real, when you got your math test back and it said “OK” on it, you could infer, with adequate precision, your “grade range”. We weren’t that ignorant back then, and neither were our parents. Perhaps more malevolently, our grades were disguised from us, masked with a veil of ambiguity, only for us to discover the truth in a few short years. By high school, we all knew what kind of student we were. There were no surprises at 9th grade quarter reports, or at least, there shouldn’t have been.
            Then there’s the notion of prolongation. Why let kids wait another year until they have to face the realities of high school and the rest of their lives? I hold the position of the sooner, the better. Eventually, the mother has to kick her hatchlings out of the nest and force them to survive independently. The longer we coddle our students, the harder reality is gonna smack them in the face when the time comes. And contrary to ninth grade, tenth grade actually matters. You want as much practice with these new-fangled “grade” things as possible.
            I’m sure most of us would love to live in a world free of evaluation, and I respect Park’s initiative to address this, but the system isn’t changing anytime soon. We can try to go against the grain, but in the end we have to accept that some factors are out of our control for now.

So that’s where I stand. What do you guys think? Am I being cynical?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Letter to an Asshole Driver

Dear Asshole Driver,

            I don’t know you, I really don’t. In fact, the only things I do know about you are the color of your car and how you drive like an asshole. So I apologize, in advance, if I’m making any false assumptions.
            Look, roads are public places. Every driver has an individual responsibility to make sure that his vehicle remains safe, and under control. We must share the asphalt with one another, as cordial members of society. For some reason, you feel like you’re exempt from this universal understanding. You find no moral or otherwise logical conflict with completely disregarding the laws of traffic and commuter code, and that bothers me. Why should I have to wait at the end of the line to get onto 695 when you casually cruise by on the shoulder and bully your way in at the last second? Why should I have to signal every time I change lanes when you thread in and out of traffic without warning?
In case there was any confusion on your end, it’s not cool to drive like a douchebag. I’ve never thought to myself after being aggressively cut off, “I think I wanna know that guy.” It’s overcast, take your fuckin’ sunglasses off. And look, your license plate spells something. That’s crazy, did someone else get that made for you? No? Then you’re just a twat. Of course tinted windows are a given; you can’t possibly let anyone actually see your face! What if they run into you at the grocery store? Then again, you’re probably used to getting kicked in the balls by this point. Seriously, no one cares that your parking spot will get taken if you don’t make it to work on time. We all have places to be. You’re not special, you’re just a prick. And, yeah, most of us have actually heard music before. Don’t feel pressured to have the volume so high that I can tell you’re listening to Linkin Park from four cars back.
But enough criticism. I’m here to make you aware of yourself but also to help you improve as a person. Is ADS (asshole driving syndrome) a genetic deficiency? Is it hereditary? It very well may be, but you can fight the symptoms. First you have to trade in that glossy new Chevy Camaro for a fuel-efficient Toyota. Sorry, I know it looks like Bumblebee from the Transformer movies, but it’s gotta go. Next you need to accept that your wife is the best you could have possibly done. Really, you’re lucky she married you. Try eel, it’s a natural aphrodisiac. I know your brother makes more money than you, but you chose a major you were passionate about, and that’s all that counts. Try and make a friend. Maybe after you find one, you might be able to find another.
Drink tea and do easy- or medium-level word problems to stave off the effects of road rage. But don’t fuck with Sudoku, because that gets me extremely agitated. Plant an herb garden or help your kids with a school project. Help bees pollinate flowers. Help the trash men lift your trashcans in the morning. Help the girl scouts in your neighborhood sell cookies (don’t be creepy about it). Help ants not fall victim to sadistic children with magnifying glasses. Help the saplings in your backyard compete for sunlight monopoly. Help your friend compete for a real estate monopoly. Help your Danish immigrant neighbor find an adequate pastry shop. Help your mom with her insulin shots. Help the local mafia compensate for their poor investments. And help yourself, by not being an asshole driver.

Guy you cut off

Saturday, September 24, 2011

State-of-the-Blog Address

           If you’ve been following recent blog activity, you know that there has been a healthy dose of controversy between two of our writers. The aforementioned point of dispute was regarding the distinction between an opinionated column and a strictly humorous post. Now, I do love a good argument, and their little back-and-forth served as a fantastic publicity stunt for us. That being said, the issue is a valid one. So we’ve made a few slight changes here on the blog. Directly under the title is a new header for page tabs. These tabs feature general labels like ‘Humor’, ‘Advice’, etc. When you click on a tab, you’ll go to a page which shows all posts labeled with that word. Or, if you prefer to just see all articles in chronological order, use the ‘Home’ tab. Hopefully this addition prevents any more confusion.
            Onto the second item. Up to this point, we’ve featured an intimidating grand total of six writers on the blog. That’s kinda pathetic. It was our intent to create a medium compelling enough that it would inspire our readers to want to contribute to it. While we have had a few submissions, it hasn’t been nearly on the scale that we’d hoped for. If you’re funny, if you’re witty, if you’re opinionated, we want to hear what you have to say. Take a chance, submit something (
            I think that pretty much covers everything for now. Thanks again for your continued support, and keep an eye out for new content. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Compromise

Dear J-Hay,

I’m truly sorry that you’re taking my post personally, however the post isn’t about you, it’s about how I feel about your post. Just to be clear I was never offended by anything you said, I just thought that a topic with as much dimension and breadth as Girls v. Guys deserved some broader concerns that come to mind in the daily life of a teenager.
You’re right, this blog does attempt to affect the thought of the average teenager and personally I think that this is amazing. Half of these posts are about silly stuff like how to make money or what shows to watch when the weather just won’t cooperate, but the other half of these posts are about more somber topics that truly matter to the bloggers, like Max’s “Young, Wild, and Free.” I think that affecting a teenager’s thought process doesn’t always have to be revolutionary, but the idea that our peers can influence our thought process through both humor and deep thought through a blog is revolutionary to me. Knowing that other teenagers are sad about growing up connects me to them and I’m happy because of it. Maybe not hysterical laughter happy, but I definitely had a smile on my face while reading that post.
I’m not suggesting in any way that you’re dumb. Pinky swear. I just think that there are always many ways to look at things and we just don’t see eye-to-eye, and that’s all right. If you can get your point across with humor, have at it! I’m not a particularly funny person, so I can’t do it like that. We’re just opposites. John Stewart is both hilarious and a genius, so maybe we both need to make our way to being more like him. I’ll help you if you help me. Maybe we can even co-write about another topic.

Best Wishes,

Quinn Salditch


Dear Quinn,

         I decided to write a post for this blog because it seemed to me that no true opinions were being posted on the website, but rather the site consisted of bloggers over-analyzing and in an attempt to create a piece that would revolutionize the social thought of teenagers. My sole intent was to bring some comedy to this site, as evident through my theatrical post. What I do is an art. What YOU do is a cold habit. Why be so soon to criticize, when all I am succeeding in doing is bringing a laugh to my audience. Obviously YOU need a laugh. As the Joker creepily says, “Why so serious?” Life is too short to over-analyze and take offense to a piece that never had the intent to offend. I am a unique person with my own comedic views, are you suggesting that I neglect my sense of creativity and comedy? Are you suggesting that I am dumb? I wrote this post for entertainment purposes. We all sit in school for hours on end each day and listen to the drones of academic analysis, why would I write a piece that states the obvious? However, if further posts will not be appreciated, let me know. If you don’t want to hear from me, let me know. What I do is an art, what people who criticize do is an unwarranted habit.


Dear J-hay

Dear J-hay,

            Men and women. Two seemingly different species, entirely mysterious to the other. Out of all the things in the world that separate the two, your first thoughts were bags and bathrooms? Really? Although purses and restroom decorum may seem like the most important differences between guys and girls to you, they’re pretty trivial. Yes, it’s true that girls have to sit down when they go to the bathroom. That’s old news. And honestly, purses suck. They’re uncomfortable and full of useless shit that I throw in just because I have the space. I’d take pockets any day of the week. Besides, ever heard of a backpack? Our fellow blogger Mark carries one just about everywhere he goes.

            Granted, I agree with you that both men and women are subject to “horrible experiences,” but those experiences are certainly worth mentioning if your point was to decide which has a better life in this society. So now that we’re on the same page, let’s talk about some big topics.

            Sex. As teenagers it’s on all of our minds. Whether you want it or you don’t and whatever your reasons may be, sex is all around us. It influences the decisions we make and the people we relate with. Both genders are pressured to have sex, but in my opinion, girls will prevail here. The key factors are as follows: who has to initiate the relationship and who can say no. In our culture, men are expected to start the relationship. That’s a massive risk. As childish as it sounds, what if she doesn’t like you back? What if you don’t live up to her expectations? The girl has all of the power in this situation, and that moment of horror while she contemplates your fate is torturous, not to mention if she says no. We can also see this dynamic on any typical Saturday night. The boy has to prompt the encounter with any of several certified, teenage initiation moves, like grabbing her hand and leading her into a bedroom.  Once that bait has been cast, sex is on both of their minds. The question then becomes if he’s going to go for it or not. Traditionally, girl says no, and boy reluctantly complies. The night ends with God rejoicing that two more of his children haven’t had sex before marriage. But what if it’s the guy that isn’t ready? What if she wants to hook-up but he doesn’t? Guys can’t say no. If the prospect of sex is placed before them, they have no choice but to hesitantly acquiesce. Thankfully, most guys do want to have sex, but at least girls have the choice when it comes down to it.
            Clothes. Fashionable girls are cool and fashionable guys are gay. However, with fashion comes responsibility. Girls are required to wear different outfits every day that match and look decent. It can’t be too baggy or you’re sloppy; it can’t be too tight or you’re a slut. Guys can get away with wearing t-shirts every day, and in rare cases can even get paid to wear the same outfit for an entire school year. Granted, they can’t try out fall’s latest fashions, but who cares? I’d rather have a uniform for school than spend time picking out what I’m going to wear each morning. Men can wear a button down and dress pants to practically every event, whether that be a wedding, Bar Mitzvah or school. For girls it’s totally different. Family reunion? Maybe a sundress, but maybe pants and a nice top would be better. Sister’s graduation? A dress would be nice, but it has to cover the shoulders. Maybe pair it with a sweater and it’ll be okay. Don’t know what to wear to school today? Don’t even think about a dress, too fancy. Jeans and a cute top…but what shoes? Maybe earrings today, but maybe not. In terms of clothes, guys have it easier.
            Being a man makes you automatically right when you’re talking to a girl. Whether you actually are or not is unimportant. As a girl, and a fairly confident one at that, I have firsthand experience with male dominance in both a classroom and a social setting. Girls aren’t wrong when they talk in class, just not right. As a boy your ideas are thought of as superior, with a particular sophistication, no matter how much you actually thought it through. This is the reason women can’t be leaders. Female president? Forget about that. Her decisions would be too heavily influenced by her emotions. All of these gender roles are imbued in our subconscious, whether you like it or not, and the majority favor men.
Now back to my boy J-hay. Let me make this clear: I don’t think you’re wrong, I just think you’re right for the wrong reasons. If you neglect all of the concrete examples, it comes down to power and confidence. Those “horrible experiences” that you talked about all have to do with being thought of as normal. You’re not normal if you carry a trash bag around. “Normal” is a golden word for all of us with self-esteem issues. Now it’s no secret that all girls have self-esteem issues. They all strive to lose a pound, have whiter teeth, or prettier eyes. This may come as a surprise to some girls, but men have the same issues we do, they’re just better at hiding it. We’re all the same and we’re all aspiring toward the same goal: to be accepted. So if you want to yell “Yes we can!” at the guy in the mall, go for it. Maybe your words will help him feel a little more normal.

--Quinn Salditch

Monday, September 19, 2011

Flip of a Coin

Every time a baby is conceived, the big guy upstairs flips a 2-sided, 1953 Deutsche Mark and decides if the poor, bloody fetus will emerge a boy or a girl (sometimes both, sometimes neither). With the flip of a coin, a life is defined. There is no doubt we live in a society defined by creepy cashiers who give out discounts like free samples to our large-breasted girl friends, as we stand there with our 7 dollars in hand, ready to pay the listed price for our burrito. I began thinking (which really hurt so I took a break, ate, and continued thinking): Is it better to be a boy or a girl?
I cannot keep track of my things. On a daily basis I can expect to lose my wallet, my keys, my credit card, a friend or two, and perhaps my virginity (Oh, the dreams of a 17-year-old boy!). Girls are lucky. Those smiley pricks are socially permitted to carry a bag around to throw their shit in. I have two pockets to put all my crap in. I hate it when my keys nudge me in places I ought not to be nudged in! Not to say that I want to carry a purse around, believe me. But I would jump at the chance to tote a massive, black, ForceFlex trash bag to carry my things in, if only society allowed it. If I were to do that now, I’d be looked upon as a hobo. Then again, what else is new? The world, once again, unconsciously begrudges my needs. #Letsbehonest, if you saw a schmuck like me walking around with a big black bag, wouldn’t you think, “OMG Let me Mupload this” or “I am so glad I don’t go to public school.” I don’t blame you, I blame society. How dare you force my sharp keys so firmly upon my tender thighs.
Don’t worry guys, in the Public Bathroom Department, we got the girls beat. Whenever I find myself angry about not being able to carry a trash bag around, I quickly cheer up as I pass girls waiting in the line for the bathroom. Ever swam in an Infinity Pool™? Same concept. Not only do they have to wait, but they always have to sit. Don’t get me wrong, sitting is great in the comfort of my own home. I often imagine my Oscar acceptance speech as I rest, asquat, atop my porcelain throne. I must admit, I envy the fact that girls can leave class and go on a secret undercover mission to take a poopy break during school. If I were to partake in such a dangerous mission, I would be found out! Women don’t have urinals, and although they don’t get to participate in those fun games we play while we try to aim our pee, they do get to sit, no matter what. 
Here is the thing: women are subject to horrible experiences and guys are subject to horrible experiences. Next time you see a poor guy carrying a trash bag in the Towson Mall, shout "YES WE CAN" or some other communistic saying like that. Maybe it'll brighten his day and give him hope that he will someday lose his virginity. As humans, we all fear public restrooms. I am happy to be both human and a boy, as I am sure girls are happy to be both females and human. At the end of the day, we can recognize the greatness in both genders of the world, and all that fall in between. Everyone has to put up with shit.
Over and out.

Post by: J-hay

Sunday, September 18, 2011


800,000: the approximate number of views that my YouTube videos have aggregated—a number well into the threshold of human incomprehensibility. It’s a statistic that has followed me, through my adolescence, without ever revealing itself in my physical life. Not because it isn’t a satisfying achievement, but because the videos that I produced were about a video game.
I was thirteen years old when I first broached the realm of virtual filmmaking. Using hardware that I had read about on a tech blog, I scrupulously crafted my pilot episode of Halo 3 Hiding Spots. It was a miserable flop. Though I had surely thought otherwise at the time, breaking onto the YouTube scene as a new user is an onerous undertaking. If no one is looking for you, no one is going to find you. I discovered that the most efficient way to make a name for myself was not to have consistent, high quality content, but to shamelessly publicize. So that’s what I did. I went on to every related video and every related channel and posted the following comment: “COOL VIDEO! You should check out mine.” It was a bait and reel; I caught them off-guard with a compliment, and while intoxicated with flattery, I snuck in a bit of subliminal advertizing. After just a few days, I could already tell my stunt was working.
Once I had established a core group of viewers, the daunting task of keeping them became my main focus. My videos were in a fairly unique niche of the Halo community. Most films of the game were simple exhibitions of skill. Conversely, the purpose of my videos were to demonstrate the areas of the game in which one could go to hide from the skilled players featured in the other videos. I was—and not to belittle a renowned historical figure—the Harriett Tubman of Halo.
Eventually, my infamy spilled over into the actual game. People would recognize my name from YouTube and scream emasculating remarks at me through their headset. I amassed a cult following, people that watched my videos and used my strategies. We made such a significant impact on the community that the company that developed the game had to implement mandates reprimanding those players who practiced my tactics. To a thirteen year old, that’s monumental.
Now, I’d like to return to that initial number of views. To think about it in terms of time is rather fascinating. I estimated that the average length of one my videos was close to four minutes. Let’s imagine, for exemplary purposes, that only one person could be viewing my videos at a time. In this hypothetical circumstance, it would take over 6 years for the video to be viewed 800,000 times.
This period of my life had come to a close before I had even entered high school. I stopped playing video games altogether by 10th grade, and it was also by that time I decided to never let any of my friends unearth what I saw as a thoroughly embarrassing past. So I buried that fragment of my history, and it remained undisturbed for a long time—until I finally reached a level of self-confidence that trumped irrational anxiety of humiliation. Yeah, fuck that. I'm a nerd, what of it?

One of our more popular videos.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

[Expression About Making Money]

            I suppose it’s not nearly as common at a prestigious private school in Maryland, but every so often you find yourself browsing in a shopping mall, or on the internet, and something irresistible catches your eye. Maybe it’s a shiny pair of Ray Bans, that new Call of Duty game, or perhaps some kinky sex toy on Amazon. You reach for your wallet, instinctively, but upon opening it you remember that you’ve been on a five-day Chipotle splurge and have completely exhausted your funds. It’s the end of the world! It isn’t. At this juncture, you have a few options: you can go Marissa Cooper (+1 for O.C. reference) on their asses and shoplift the fuck out of that watch. You can whip out your cellular and beggggg mommy and daddy for their generosity. Or if you’re in an Asiatic or third-world country there’s a decent chance you can exploit the bartering system. However, if all of those methods fail, you’re going to have to figure out a way to generate some capital.
           First off, let’s just throw out some of the classic schemes for their lack of modern-day effectiveness. Lemonade stand? Yeah, sorry 1975, but the fact of the matter is that there are way more appealing beverage options than buying overpriced minute-maid from dirty, hyperactive 4th graders. Yard Sales. Hey, you. Yeah, you. Come here. I wanna show you some old antique shit that I’ve dumped in my front yard because it’s so irrelevant to my life that I would rather just leave it on the lawn. Do you wanna give me money for any of it? Mowing grass. Not for the pale-skinned or those of us who don’t want to do real work for money. Raking leaves… ‘Cause that’s something I would pay someone to do for me.

            Now then, onto the real cash cows. Keep in mind, this list is in no particular order.

-          - Craigslist. The cyber yard sale, if you will. Craigslist is a simple and magical website that pairs people who want something with people who have something. Sure, if you really desired you could sell your body at an hourly rate or maybe even purchase a professional wetwork hit, and that’s the side of the website that drives some folk away. That being said, if you use it legally, it’s an extremely useful tool for selling your junk to strangers.

-          - The stock market. Granted, I don’t really know what a stock is, but it seems to be all the rage these days. There are numbers and graphs and suits and lots of abbreviations, so if you like any of those things and/or are a typically lucky person, this is for you.

-          - Dig for gold. The price of gold has risen by almost 100% since 2010, now strutting a value of $1,900 per ounce. What you may not know, however, is that gold is used in many electronic devices for its conductive properties. But that’s starting to become less common as the price continues to climb. Go to your basement. Find that ancient iMac that’s been sitting in the same spot for eight years. Now bring it upstairs and drop it out your window. Scavenge all the gold you can and melt out the impurities. Rinse and repeat.

-         -  Shake your money maker. Seriously. If you got it, use it. Objectify your body. Sex sells.

-         -  Help fund a genocide in Africa and then use the land to mine for precious resources.*

*Don’t do this.

So there you have it. Get out there and make bank. Just remember all of these suggestions are subject to complete failure.

Something To Do When It Won't Stop Raining

The weather in Baltimore has been pretty lousy lately.  Between Irene and the seemingly endless stream of rain, the sun has rarely presented itself in the last two weeks.  That’s not to mention the earthquake that shocked us all just a few days before the hurricane.  The dismal weather has left us bored and confined to our homes, many of us without power for days.

I know I’m not only speaking for myself when I say that I’m starting to run out of things to do.  My boredom has gotten to the point where I’ve even started doing homework to occupy myself.  In fact, this blog was the product of post-hurricane boredom.  So, for all of you out there who don’t know what do with yourselves while it continues to rain, here’s my advice: find a good TV show and watch it.  There is no better way to kill time then vegging on the couch and watching quality television.  Here are my favorite series, all of which can be rented through Netflix:

1.  Arrested Development-Only 3 seasons, this is a hilarious comedy about a dysfunctional family taken to new levels.  When CEO of the family company George Bluth gets arrested for fraud, it is up to his son Michael to save the family.  The Bluths never fail to impress; each episode is better than the last

2.   Freaks & Geeks-This show lasted only 1 season, but it may very well be the best season of television around.  With a stellar cast that includes Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, Linda Cardellini, and James Franco, Freaks & Geeks tells a story that will touch any highschooler’s heart.  The freshman geeks struggle to fit in to their new environment while the protagonist Lindsay chooses to abandon her academic to talents to hang out with the burnouts.  This show is the perfect mix of funny, heartwarming treasure that anyone will grow to love.

3.  24-a classic, 24 tells the story of Jack Bauer as he saves the world from terrorists.  8 seasons of solid action, including bone chilling torture scenes, 24 will provide hours on end of entertainment.  Warning: this show is extremely addictive.

4.  Entourage-I didn’t start watching Vince and his crew until the fall of last year, and I finished all of the prior episodes before the start of this summer’s 8th and final season.  E, Turtle, Drama, and Ari are arguably the funniest collection of characters on one screen.  This is a must watch.

5.  The Office-Michael Scott and Company take humor to a new level.  The show’s title is self-explanatory; each episode tells the story of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company led by their incompetent and politically incorrect boss.  Each member of The Office brings something to the table; my personal favorite is Creed-keep your eyes open for his occasional one-liner.

These are my favorite shows to watch.  I do hope they serve you well on rainy days, or late night marathons.  If anyone knows a show that they think should be on this list, don’t hesitate to comment.  I’ll be in the market for a new show after Entourage ends this evening.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Young, Wild, and Free

              Everyday when I look at myself in the mirror, I say "I don't feel any older than I did yesterday, I don't look any older than I did yesterday, I must be pretty much the same age".  This has been going on for the past decade or so.  Since age seven, I've been, at least in my opinion, the same guy.  Granted, my voice has gotten noticeably deeper, and I have certainly gotten bigger as the years have gone by, but to me, all things considered, I'm pretty much the same old Max that I've always been .  Or at least I try to be…

               It's actually quite difficult to do, though.  I have found that as we get older, trends are picked up, different activities become popular, and some of our most favorite things to do in this world become labeled with those dreaded words that condemn every person, place, and thing to an eternity of shame. These words, such as uncool, immature, childish, and dumb are the equivalent to the death penalty for all things that we thought of as fun when we were kids, and they're thrown around as carelessly as the word "diversity" is at Park nowadays.

               Now it's obvious that no one wants to be labeled as any one of these things, so we all drop whatever we're doing, and pick up the nearest glass of Kool-Aid and down it.  We have no qualms as we forget what fun we had going stream walking and looking for frogs, or playing dumb games with our friends. They meant nothing to us, because we are mature adults, and we're cool. 

Fuck that shit…

                It's my senior year, and god damn it all.  When I look in that mirror now, I realize that hell yeah I've gotten older.  Amidst the college essays, and visits, and classes, and parties, I've realized that the frivolous part of me is being forced to take a backseat, and frankly, that isn't sitting right.  You may think I'm being naïve, maybe even think I'm being "immature", but I have made it my goal to never relinquish that part of me that wants to play Pokémon into the wee hours of the morning, or wants to follow the walls around the entire high school with my best friend so that, in the off chance we go blind, we can sure as hell find our way around.  I need to have that little bit of kid that still exists in me to stay where it is.

                Why keep it around? That's a good question.  Maybe it's because it helps to relieve the everyday stresses of being in high school.  Maybe it's because it'll help me understand my own kids better when they eventually decide to exist.  Maybe it's even because I have some suppressed desire to be a new-age hipster that doesn't conform to things like "ages" ("Psh, yeah, whatever.  Age is so mainstream…").  And maybe, just maybe, it's because I don't think that there needs to be this constant push to grow up.  Love being a kid while you can, it's not going to be an option forever…

                 So the next time you see me in the halls playing Magic: The Gathering, or surprise trust-falling on various students and faculty members, come and hang out with me for a while.  Get rid of the books, throw out your worries, and for a short, blissful moment, just be a kid.

Post By: Max Berner

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Let's Dance?

            Dances: the epitome of school sponsored social events you wish you never went to.  They can range from the boring, to the awkward, and on rare occasions to the moderately amusing.
            The makeup of a dance is always the same.  The underclassmen scatter around the outskirts of the dance floor.  Freshman boys can be found shooting a basketball, while sophomore guys complain to each other about how lame the dance is.  Meanwhile, the girls cling to their friends in groups of 3 or 4, dancing together in small circles.
            The segregated dynamic prevails until a few brave guys approach their female counterparts and ask them to dance; this step is pivotal in the development of the evening and often separates the mediocre dances from the lousy.  The key is for the gender barrier to be broken as early on in the dance as possible.  After this occurs, the door is open for the rest of their nervous peers to join in on the fun.
            For upperclassmen, the dance is a completely different story.  For juniors and seniors there are several keys to a successful dance experience.  First, people need to go.  If no one goes to the dance, then it simply will not be fun.  Upperclassmen provide the energy of the dance and without them dances will inevitably fail.  Second, there needs to be a good DJ.  No one, and I mean no one, wants to dance to shitty music.  Even if everything else goes right, a dance will always suck if the DJ is bad.
            Lastly, it is the duty of the seniors to bring life to the party.  If the seniors dance the night away, everyone else will follow suit.  No matter how bad the dance is it’s the seniors’ responsibility to make it fun for everyone.  Whether it’s by coming dressed in a theme, holding a dance-off, or requesting an awesome song, the seniors must set the tone for everyone else.
            So, for those of you in charge of planning homecoming, I implore you to keep these things in mind:

1.  More important than anything is a good DJ.
2.  Get people to come! If no one comes, the dance cannot and will not be fun.
3.  Have a theme-a good one.  Students (especially girls) love to dress up.
4.  Get the seniors on your side. Their leadership means everything.
5.  Provide refreshments.  Nothing fancy, but everyone enjoys a sip of soda or some chips throughout the night.

            Finally, if you’re going to a dance, be sure to come in with an open mind.  Sure, it’s more than likely that the DJ sucks, the theme is really dumb, or the girl you like isn’t coming.  But, the fact of the matter is that more than anything the dance depends on you.  Go crazy on the dance floor, be the life of the party.  A dance is only as good as you make it, so as long as you’re going, you might as well have some fun.

No, you.

            “Alright guys, screw this, I’m starving. Let’s just order a pizza or something.”

            “Yeah, seriously. I’m down for a pizza.”

            “OK…make the call.”

            “You do it. I don’t know the number for Domino’s.”
            “Can’t you just look it up on the website?”
            “I mean I guess. Or, you know what? We should just order it online.”
            “Alright. Good call.”

            Crisis averted. That was an example of a conversation I experience on a monthly basis. I’ve dubbed it the “No, you” dialogue. It takes place when you have a group of people with no fucking balls, whatsoever. If you’re normal, you might be reading this thinking, “I don’t see the problem here.” The problem is that the youth of our nation have developed into inadequate little saps, wholly incapable of committing themselves to seemingly extraneous human contact with strangers.

I chose the pizza example because I see it so often, but the trend doesn’t end there. Phone calls in general are seen by these people as hazardous, anxiety-inducing tests of verbal prowess. When, in reality, the person on the other end of the line could literally not care less about what you’re saying. They’re just there to take your fuckin’ order. I have a friend who won’t even call the automated recording for showtimes at the movie theater. I’ve seen cases of people who are apprehensive when they speak into the metal box at a Chik-Fil-A drive-thru. And individuals who will adamantly refuse to make reservations at a restaurant.

These are critical actions that, sooner or later, you are going to have to perform. And down the road, when you’re 21 and old enough to drink alcohol but too callow to talk to a stranger over the telephone, you’re gonna wish you conquered that fear long ago. I can’t speak for everyone suffering from this social disorder, but it seems to me that there is no rationale behind the behavior. There appears to be some integral difficulty within the process of communicating with someone you cannot, and will most likely never see. It’s as if, and I’m definitely generalizing here, they are so self-conscious that even though the repercussions for lingual embarrassment will never be felt physically, there is still a fundamental fear of being awkward or saying the wrong thing. These are scrupulous individuals, never brazen.

I’ll admit: I used to experience the same paranoia. What cured me? Prank phone calls, and that’s the honest truth. After you convince a gas station attendant that you left your child in their Planet Aid donation box because you didn’t want to pay for his plane ticket to Africa, ordering pizza is a breeze. It leveled the playing field; instead of me being the embarrassed one, it was the unlucky hotel clerk on the other end of the line. That’s when I realized, the expectations were never on me. I am the customer. I can make whatever asinine inquiries I want, and these people have an obligation to their occupation to answer me truthfully. Heed my words, kids: next time you make a blind phone call, fuck with ‘em a little bit. If you can get comfortable doing that, asking for reasonable things will become infinitely easier, and before you know it, you’ll be able to tackle Microsoft tech support. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011


            I don’t know how to write in cursive.  I gave up real soccer in favor of FIFA 10 for Xbox.  My favorite way to socialize is by playing Words with Friends on Facebook.
            As I sit here, typing away on my laptop, I’m also chatting on Facebook and mindlessly perusing the Internet through Stumbleupon.  When I’m done with this post, the first thing I’ll do is tweet about it.  Later, I’ll check up on my fantasy football team, with opening day fast approaching.  I’ll read about my beloved Orioles losing again per usual.  Perhaps I’ll test my knowledge on sporcle, or check out the latest fools to make their way onto tosh.0.
            Don’t get me wrong; computers are great.  I could sit for hours chatting up a storm with people I’d never speak to in person.  Browsing twitter can be one of the most amusing pastimes, and nothing beats a good youtube video.  But lets take a minute to consider what else I could be doing on this pleasant Sunday afternoon.
            Today is the last day of the Baltimore Grand Prix; events began at 8 AM and won’t end until 5 in the evening.  After a summer of boiling temperatures, the weather is finally nice enough to play some touch football or simply stroll through the neighborhood.  I haven’t ridden my bike in years, and my basketball sits in my garage yearning for me to pick it up and shoot some hoops.  There are dozens of restaurants where I could enjoy a nice meal; I’m always up for a Chipotle burrito, or a hamburger at Fuddruckers.  I have a closet full of books I’ve never read, and a list of about 7 college essays to write.  After two days of school I already have plenty of homework to deal with.
            I have 30 followers on twitter and 679 alleged friends on facebook, but I occupy my couch alone.  I’m a keystroke away from hundreds of girls, but I still can’t seem to find a date.  What really lies behind all the texts, wall posts, and videochats?
            So while you sit in front of your computer, reading this post, take a minute and think about what else you could be doing.  Your computer will always be waiting for you, but life will move on without you.  Don’t be like me.  Go out Sunday afternoon; see your friends, eat good food, relax.  Your life is what you make it, and Facebook can only take you so far.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Battling Subjectivity

I know where I stand on the matter. Others may not agree with my assured conviction, but they’re wrong. The first day of school is often overlooked, sometimes even labeled as ‘trivial’. On paper, at least, it is just that. A brief sampling of the year to come, that’s the principle behind the 40-minute blocks. Introductions, opening remarks, materials checklist, etc. Boring shit, yeah? It is. Still ecstatic from reuniting with all of your friends again, you might not even pay attention to what’s being preached. This is normal—rather, it’s common. And teachers expect nothing less…or so they think.
         Unfortunately, the subconscious is a cruel, unpredictable beast. Humans have the capacity to record feelings, impressions, without any acknowledgement on their part. These are the kind of impressions that creep into the grading process at the end of the first quarter, and by some sleight of hand, flop that borderline A- to a B+. The kind of shit that drives students into psychosis. People, however clichéd and repulsively overused the expression is, you only get one chance to make a first impression (excluding certain scenarios involving Halloween parties, grandparents with Alzheimer’s, or technology that hasn’t been invented yet). This is especially stressed if you are taking primarily new professors. Granted, teachers will have intrinsic bias of which you may have absolutely no control over. Some common examples: athlete-haters, boy-haters, girl-haters, loud-haters, quiet-haters, republican-haters, gay-haters, Mexican-haters, or perhaps the most common (and most deserved), asshole-haters. THESE are out of our reach in terms of student regulation, unless you can somehow prove that the teacher who doesn’t give A’s to lacrosse players is atoning for the douchebags who forced him to eat urinal cakes in high school (does anyone know if that kind of stuff actually happens? #parkbubble).
Luckily, through sacred knowledge passed down from students who made it their job to do as little work as possible in school, we have some tips that will help swing the odds in your favor.
FIRST, meet with your fucking teachers. They love the attention, and it shows initiative on your part. Teaching is in the business of helping people, just like doctors. They want to teach you, aid you. And in addition to showing them your ambition to understand the material, you also build personal relationships that will weigh into your grades.
SECOND, bring all of your supplies, every class, and every day. It may sound stupid, but teachers like to see consistency in their students. They pick up on that kind of stuff. Think about it, does the kid who is always borrowing the textbook or the teacher’s calculator ever get a good grade? Ever? And if you can manage it, that goes for homework, too. It doesn’t have to be anything special, as long as you get it in on time.
THIRD, it’s all about how attentive you are in-class. Make eye contact with your teachers as much as possible. I’m not talking, like, eye-fucking, just clear contact. And laugh at their goddamn jokes, no matter how bland. Adults are just kids with bigger limbs and more responsibilities. They want to feel like they’re entertaining you; make that apparent.
Now you have all the tools you need to produce garbage work and still do relatively well in school this year. Pair these tricks with decent work, or even good work, and you will have successfully eliminated teacher bias from your evaluations. Happy slacking.