Friday, December 20, 2013


My friend Jeremy Cohen just released an app that takes your facebook photos and stitches them into GIFs.  It is quite entertaining.  Give it a try here.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Reasons to Live

I came across this video made by a local high school senior, Maddie Terrill.  It's a pretty touching testament to enjoying life for what it is and making the most out of your time--whatever that means to you.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Study Drugs

            $10.  1 pill.  6 hours in the library.  A.
            Besides the illegality of the transaction, there isn’t much stopping college students from buying, selling, using and abusing “study drugs.”  The notion of whether or not drugs like Adderall and Vyvanse should even be prescribed in the first place is certainly interesting, but I’d rather not address that in this blog post.  The real issue I’d like to address is that it seems like far too often the average student now relies on a pill to make it through assignments and exams.
            First, it’s important to understand the appeal of a drug like Adderall.  College kids are taught to see it not as drug, but rather as a solution.  Once tedious, difficult, and seemingly impossible work, after taking an Adderall, becomes simple and achievable.  Who wouldn’t want to take a pill that would help them stay up all night and concentrate on their work?
            Therein lies the true problem.  Personally, I’ve never cared too much about grades.  Sometimes, this is a horrible thing; my parents have always nagged me about underachieving and putting in more effort.  My philosophy has always been that I enjoy learning, and I do what it takes to learn the material for a test.  It’s not like I skip assignments or neglect to study for tests, but sometimes I just come to a point where I’ve studied a fair amount and I’m no longer interested in doing busy work or memorizing terms for some arbitrary exam.  This has many times accounted for the string of B’s that have always outweighed the A’s on my report cards.
            I’ve never really seen the appeal of Adderall.  I honestly just don’t really think getting an A justifies taking a drug that ruins my appetite and alters my already abnormal social tendencies.  A lot of people do, though.  As I sit here in the library, taking a break after 6 hours straight of studying, half the people in this room are addied up, turning pages and scribbling notes.  Fighting tough curves and shortened sleep schedules, undoubtedly their exam grades are benefiting (although, probably not their physical wellbeing).  I don’t really blame them for doing it, but I do a see a fault in the culture.
            Just as steroids made baseball a little more exciting for a few years, Adderall has revolutionized the way students approach exam season.  Yet, fans quickly grew weary of watching home run after home run, and the crackdown on performance enhancing drugs in baseball has led to the return of premier pitching and multi-faceted talents.  So, maybe kids will keep popping pills—after all, who doesn’t like hitting more home runs—but I have hope that someday soon students will realize that sleeping, eating, and time-management are all important ingredients that are conspicuously absent from their current lives.

            In the end, study drugs are undoubtedly a growing trend in universities.  That being said, I’m confident that they will stay just that—a trend.  Even the most exciting trends come to an end eventually (anyone remember the Harlem Shake?)  Only time will tell if this one does.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family, Friends, Football & Food

            Family, friends, football, and food—what’s not to like about Thanksgiving?  Certainly my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving is unique because it gives individuals an opportunity to make their own traditions.  Unlike most holidays, which are religious in nature, the secularity of Thanksgiving is what makes it truly American.  Of course, there are universal customs like carving the turkey, watching the Macy’s parade, and shopping on Black Friday, that define the holiday on a national scale, but those aren’t the activities that make Thanksgiving special for me.
            The rituals that come to mind when I think of Turkey Day come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  From my mother’s Wednesday night mac ‘n cheese and chili meal that she prepares every year as the family trickles into town, to the annual monopoly game that inevitably ends in treachery and tears, each piece of the puzzle is equally important in fulfilling my Thanksgiving agenda.
            Of course, in addition to the hours-long Monopoly marathon, the spellers in the family always battle for triple-word-scores in Scrabble (despite Grandpa’s tendency to make up words).  On Thursday morning, while half the group is still asleep, the young men venture to a local field to play football; the game goes on until injuries or inept cardiovascular endurance make it impossible to continue.  As the long weekend develops, the whole troupe usually goes to a movie (only if the Harry Potter marathon has ended), and when a house full of family becomes too much to bear, I escape to my friends who are all experiencing similar cases of overdose.  After all, it’s the first time of the year where most of the high school crew is back together, and a preview of the month-long winter break to come.
            All in all, for college kids (at least for me), Thanksgiving break isn’t much of a break at all.  There are a million people to see and a million things to do, and only about five days to make it all happen.  But, in the end, that’s why I love it so much.  The one week of the year where family, and friends—everyone you love—become one.  Nothing makes my grandparents prouder than meeting my “darling friends,” and nothing makes my 12-year-old cousin more excited than tossing a football with the “big boys.”  So, take off class early, and fly home Tuesday.  Hug your mother and wait for madness to ensue.  Thanksgiving only comes once a year—enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bigger & Better Things

            Former blogger Mark Rothleitner will be rejoining us today (unfortunately not in the form of one of his always entertaining posts).  Mark, who is apparently now going by the name of Katillion, has released his first mix—an upbeat mashup called Kiss The Sun.  Featuring Daft Punk, The Wanted, and Eric Prydz amongst others, it would be a great addition to any party playlist.  Anyway, we miss him dearly…RIP…so give it a listen.  Maybe he’ll even come out of retirement long enough to write another post if this one gets enough hits.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Perfect Costume

            It’s my favorite time of year again.  Leaves are falling, sweater weather has begun, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and best of all, Halloween is next week.  When else can children and adults alike run around in crazy costumes, instilling fear and searching for candy (and other things)?  It’s the one night when it doesn’t matter who you really are, just who you want to be.  The masks, capes, and latex that people don every October give them the freedom to create a new persona for just one evening.
            Anyone who says that they are too old for a costume is lying.  I’ve been there—at one point I certainly thought I was too mature for this seemingly childish game of dress up—but that was a weak conclusion to draw.  Halloween is all about forgetting maturity for a couple of hours.  Kindergarteners, college students, doctors, waiters, and even teachers drop those titles and create their own.  In fact, the young often dress up as the old and vice-versa.  This way, a 45 year old can go back to high school and a high schooler can become an adult.  It doesn’t matter where someone is in their life, Halloween will always be a night of mischief excitement.

            I’m not sure what I’m going to be for Halloween.  Hopefully it’ll come to me sometime in the next seven days.  Over the years I’ve gone from pumpkin to baseball player to scream and a dozen other goofy costumes.  But that’s enough about me; I’d like to hear from you.  What are you wearing this year?  Send in a photo to

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Keep In Touch: By Michael Ginsburg

A note from the editor:
For the first time in the history of this blog and my short writing career I’m going to admit that someone nailed the nostalgia post better than I have.  Yes, it’s the millionth time you’re reading about the longing for the past that us young adults continue to feel as we grow up, but Michael (a regular contributor now it seems), really brings up a good point here.  Enjoy.

There probably could not have been a better surprise than the phone call I received late last Tuesday night. I had just finished my weekly 3-hour class and Jake was calling me to tell me that he had decided to book a flight back to Baltimore at the last minute. Before, I was looking forward to coming home for my birthday over fall break, but only a handful of my friends were going to be home, and now my weekend would surely be a little more exciting.
While we were only home for about five days, we made the most out of the time we had back in Pikesville. We did everything we wanted, ate everywhere we wanted, and even ventured on a brief road trip. It was just like we never left. Every morning he’d outsleep me per usual, but I’d call and wake him up anyway. After all, running on just a couple hours of sleep for one weekend never killed anyone.
Whether it was deciding on where to eat lunch or just our casual banter on the drive south down I-95, we found ourselves arguing just like old times. It was reminiscent of our daily car rides to the Park School, even though those days were almost two years ago.   We were back in action, just like Kornheiser and Wilbon. Interestingly enough, sometimes it’s the trivial quarrels, not the memorable events that define a friendship.  Those everyday conversations and communications that friends take for granted when they see each other regularly are easily forgotten.
Amidst all the crazy shenanigans we did over the last five days, our final conversation before he hopped out of my Ford Explorer Tuesday morning will stick with me more than anything else. We sat in my car before we parted ways for the airport, and as always, we got nostalgic. We reminisced on upper, middle and even lower school memories. Whether it was shoveling driveways on snow days, playing sports together, or even just talking about stuff that happened in high school, everything was covered. The song changed and he relented that after this one he’d finally have to step inside the house and pack up his bag, but for some reason we just remained in the car.
The coolest thing we decided is that no matter how far apart, or how little we talk at times simply does not matter. He told me how weird it is that he just doesn’t keep in touch with some people he used to, and now they aren’t a part of his life. But sometimes, most times, there’s an exception to the rule. It wouldn’t matter if we didn’t talk for weeks or even months; right when we’d see each other, everything would be normal.
As I write this sitting on the plane back to New Orleans, I think about how many people I spoke to in high school, or even this past summer that I’ve simply lost touch with. I wonder if I saw them tomorrow, would it be like we never lost contact? I think, just based on experience, that if you can see someone after an extended period without speaking and have it be like nothing happened, they are someone you might want to consider keeping in your life.
To use Jake’s classic line, I implore you to call up someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Say something if you need to—take a step to diminish the bad blood, bitter feelings, or inexcusable lack of communication. I guarantee you that some words, any words, are always better than none. Never leave something on bad terms; you never know if it’s the last time you’ll ever see that friend that you haven’t talked to because of one stupid argument two years in the past. Try it out, and make someone’s day; I’m more than confident it’ll make yours too.