Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Because What Girl Doesn't Want to be Spoiled?

With Christmas and winter decorations abound in stores across the country, the beginning of the holiday season has arrived. That's right. We thought it couldn't get any longer and yet here, mid-October, giant blow up snow men and reindeer color large sections of many retail stores. But, my topic today does not just deal with the general gift giving season. No, today we will just be dealing with gifts and girls. A dangerous combination huh? Well, don't you fret when you don't know what her favorite color is or exactly what size of clothing she wears. Buckle your seatbelts, and let's get started.

With every girl I have ever encountered there seems to be a common theme among gifts. And among this theme, I have managed to pick out 5 gifts that, when given appropriately and with taste, will make you a winner any day.

     1. Candy.
          Yeah. Candy. Show me a girl who doesn't love chocolate and I will show you a world with some very super severe problems. She's a vegan? Try finding a recipe online. Anything home made earns you bonus points. Lactose intolerant? Try a fruity type of candy. Weight conscious? Try low sugar, sugar free, or a hard candy with a small amount of calories.

     2. Perfume
          Ah. This is just one of this gifts that gives back. You'll always be able to tell when she's wearing it. She'll come to associate the smell with you. And you can choose exactly the kind of scent that you love. Be careful though. You don't want to upset aforementioned girl. She may assume that you think she smells bad and needs to really use a heavy amount of perfume. A gift should never be insulting.

     3. Jewelry
          We like shiny things. It sounds quite demeaning but it's very true. There's no better feeling than when someone sees the gorgeous necklace given by your significant other strung around your neck. The people who notice it may think it's cheesy and cliche, but hey, there's a reason it's cliche. 'Cause it's sweet and thoughtful and meaningful. Even if it isn't shiny. Maybe it's one of those rings pops or a candy necklace. Still jewelry, still fun. :)
     4. Candy.
          What? What do you mean I already said this one? Well. That's just because it's true. As much as we don't want to gain an extra pound or two, chocolate is filled with endorphins. Endorphins are a chemical that is proven to improve one's mood. We like being happy. Happy is made by endorphins. Endorphins are in candy. Get where I'm going with this?

     5. Clothes
          Now. This can be a very dangerous area. Make very sure you know the girls style. And even more make sure you know her size. Getting a size too small will make her feel fat and getting a size too large will make her think you think she's fat. It's still probably safe to grab a gift receipt . And tell her that it's ok if she doesn't like it. Every girl loves new clothes. But we really love new clothes that we're actually gonna wear. If youre not sure, go to her friends. They'll know her size and her taste.

All in all, we're pretty easy to please. Any gift will show that you at least care enough to go and take the time to think about her likes and dislikes. A good gift is a useable gift. If it's something she can use, she'll think of you everytime she does. When in doubt, play spy and go to her friends. They'll know her best. They'll know her likes and dislikes and wants and needs. A little help is no big deal, even if you have to take them shopping with you to pick something out. Just be thoughtful. The best gift we could ever receive is your love and support. I happen to have an amazing boy who gives me both. He's more than I could ever ask for. :)


Monday, October 19, 2009

Life is good! a strange thing. We, as a society, accept so much for normal; such strange rituals, such strange behaviors, friendships, rivalries, opinions, relationships. Ah, relationships...ah, relationships.

I'm going to dare to be different with this one, folks. I'm not speaking to you, parents, and teens, I am not addressing you as a general public. Boys...I'm calling you out.

I'm particularly talking to those of you who are in a relationship, or are looking for a relationship. I know there are plenty of guys out there who don't care for such a thing. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with going from girl to girl, the 'player', most likely a self appointed name. It seems like a fun lifestyle, but I'm talking to you other fellows, so listen up.

I'm going on an eleven month relationship with the most amazing girl a guy could find; eleven happy months, but sure, we've had our ups and downs. What kind of relationship doesn't? No relationship. That's what kind. If you've found someone, you know what I'm talking about, or you soon will. If you're still looking for that special girl that will make you happy, allow me to let you know what you're in for.

Two people spending so much time together, sharing with each other, growing close to each other - no matter how happy you may make each other - such a situation is inevitably going to lead to butting heads, to conflict in opinions, views, decisions. There is no pair anywhere that does not have at least minor conflicts. Hell, I've seen what high school relationships are like. "Oh, I'm mad at you because you did not say hi when we passed in the hallway!"..."Oh yeah? Well I'm mad at you because you had a girl's night with your friends last Saturday and never answered my text."...yeah, ok. Is that going to be the end of the relationship? I've learned in the past eleven months that when things get tough, its so, so easy to lose track of what matters, but if you bear in mind that, hey, this person with whom you're arguing makes you happy, they like you back - maybe love you? You've got to enjoy the little things in a relationship, and remember them. Dont ruin something good because of something stupid.

Guys, news flash. Girls are different than you are. They think differnetly, they feel differently, they respond differently, they cope differently...some guys will say they're weird, some may say crazy, some may say confusing...i prefer to simply say different. Now, I'm no relatioship expert, and the only advice I can give is based off what I've experienced, but hey, something is better than nothing. Hm, where was I...ah yes. Hormones, tears, irrational worries and doubts...girls have em all. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. No sir. It's just comes with the package. If you are anything like me, or any of the guys I've met, you will raise your eye brows, you will laugh, yopu will wonder 'what the hell is she getting so worked up about?!'...but hey, be patient. They cant change how they're feeling or what hormones are going through their body. It wasnt their decision, but like I said: be patient, be the one she wants to hug when they're upset...and only roll your eyes when she's not looking. They'll be there for you when you need it someday.

Ok, everything up till this point has been rather general, but that's because this one paragraph was pretty much everything I've been meaning to get to. It's my grand finale - DON'T BE STUPID. Guys, I know exactly how many relationship issues can be avoided if the individuals would just take a moment to think about what they're doing. But seeing as you cannot force a girl to do anything, it's up to you, fella's, to think extra hard...yeah, i know how hard that can be. I'm sure you've heard people say oddities such as 'girls like bad boys', or 'no one will like you if you're a wussy little momma's boy.' Psh, perhaps those things are true for some girls, but believe me, girls really, really do appreciate the genuine, old fashioned nice guy. Don't worry about looking like a wuss in front of yer guy friends. Hey, my friends make fun of me literally ALL the time. I dont care, though, because the reason I'm doing what I do is more important than the immature harassment I take for it. If you appreciate your girlfriend, you better show it. You treat her like a princess. Open her door for her, pull out her chair, tell her she's pretty - and for god's sake, mean it! - get her little gifts to show you care. Trust me, she'll find ways to show you shes grateful. And dont get pushy! No girl will like that. Dont pressure her, dont force her to do what she doesnt want to. That's a good way to have a very messy relationship on your hands, or no relationship at all. Listen to her. When she has a problem, be there for her. Tell her everything is going to be alright. And try to be considerate, please. She has feelings, and I'm gunna guess they are feelings a little moe complex than 'hm, I'm feeling hungry.' Ask her how her day went, and genuinely care about the answer. If you dont care, its all a moot point anyway. Honestly, this stuff may sound cheesy and old fashioned and pointless. But hey, ask any girl; nice guys are a dying breed, and the rare occurrence will really surprise a girl. Surprise her in a good way! And, you know what? Try something different. Just be her friend once in a while.

Hm...I'd go on if I weren't out of breath, but oh my, oh my. I havent even scratched the surface, boys. Just bear in mind, do these things, make her happy, stick with her, and perhaps you'll find out just how rewarding a real relationship can be. I'm the prime example. Hopefully a few of you out there know what I'm talking about, and hopefully the rest of you will someday experience it, because it really does open you're eyes. Hey, I'm not afraid to say it - I love my girlfriend, and life is good :)

For all of you out there, finding the girl is half the struggle...keeping her is the other half, and I'm sure experienced diplomats could debate for hours on which is more...'fun and exciting'...but believe me, it'll be worth it in the end.

So, perhaps the only helpful words one may ever hear...good luck!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Remember the good old days, when I had a life?

Isn't it nice to just be able to go home after school and throw in your favorite movie, lay back, eat some chips? Sleep late on the weekends and do whatever you want; it's nice, isn't it?...I wish. If you have that, enjoy it while it lasts. I wish I had. Seems like it's been years since I've slept past 9:30...and I am NOT a morning person.

I've developed a hate...hate relationship with my job. Teens, be selective about the job you pick. Be picky. I'm sure if you are desperately searching for a job someone along the line has told you you cant be picky...that's bull. Take it from me, find a job that you absolutely hate, and you will drive yourself crazy dreading going to work every day. I can say I am a prime example of one who has been through a job or two that I've hated. Want to know how I spent my weeks? Monday: oh God, only four more days before I have to go back to that hell hole. Tuesday: oh God, only three more days before I have to go back to that hell hole. I want to die. get the picture. I'm just saying, be picky if you can. It will make life such a brighter place to be. Of course, I know quite a few people who have incredible will power to stay with possibly the worst jobs. You may find you are one of those people.

Are you searching for a job? Well, say goodbye to free time. I'm a busy kid as it is. I have sports practice everyday after school, almost year round. At the moment I'm in the thick of filling out college applications, which is not at all a quick finish. I'm a writer who, sadly, has not had time to write for months. By no stretch of the imagination do I have time for a job. But of course I have expenses; how can I not have a job? So, i find time to work my measly one shift per week, on the outside celebrating for extra hours when they come, while on the inside I mourn the fact that my last shred of free time has been given up to sell movie tickets. Sadly, for two weekends in a row now, due to last minute changes in my work schedule, plans of mine have been either ruined or stunted. But that's life. That's what having a job means. Responsibility, whether you want it or not. Are you ready?

You have no clue how many times I've heard something along the lines of 'oh, the paycheck will make it all worth it.' HAHA! Let's travel back, shall we, to the part where i said I have time for one shift per week. That makes for a lousy paycheck. Sure, sure, bottom line is I'm getting paid, and I honestly cannot survive without paychecks, no matter how pathetic - as Im sure is true for many teens - but convincing yourself over and over that the paycheck is the only reason you stick gets tiring. So take a nice long look at that 'now hiring' sign. Consider. I'm only saying, be smart, be picky about where you take on a job. If you are busy on week days, dont apply at a store closed on weekends. If you have a sporting event every saturday morning, dont apply at a resterunt looking for extra saturday breakfast help. Think to yourself, will you be able to fit in work? Once you have the job you will quickly realize you dont fit in time for work. You fit in time for life around work. It'll be better for you to realize that before hand.

Hey, I may try to help, but I know only what goes on in my life. Maybe you are the type of person who is unfazed by tedious, annoying work that would drive me crazy. Maybe you absolutely need a job, and you dont have a choice. I'll tell you this: jobs are frustrating. Work There's no escaping that. But every two weeks I have that envelope put in my hands and, as much as i may complain, that one little slip of paper is what I rely on. Bottom line - you got to do what you got to do. All I'm here for is to try my best to let you know what you're getting yourself into; it's up to you to do the rest.

So, think about what you're doing, make sure you're ready to work, lose time, cancel plans, be frustrated. But hey, if you're ready for all that, I'm sure you're darn ready for that paycheck. So, look around, find a place that suits you...and have fun with those applications!


A Letter to the Clothing Companies

Dear Clothing Companies:

I am a real girl. With real proportions. Your clothes, while most certainly real, do not have real proportions. I cannot find a single article of clothing that fits properly or as intended. And on the off chance I do, it looks like a unicorn has vomited rainbows all over it. I mean, seriously. What is with the styles these days?

I am a size zero short in jeans. Size zero. Does anyone else realize that zero mean that there is nothing there? How is this legitimately a size? And what about double zero? I fail to see how something can not be there times two. Of course, I suppose the size is rather accurate. There is -nothing- there. I try on a pair and if I dare open the dressing room door I'll be arrested for public indecency. Sorry to disappoint you, but I wear my jeans on my hips and I do have a waist. I'm not one for flaunting around whatever underwear I'm wearing that day. And your 'short' jeans? Yeah. I don't know what your definition of short is, but that definitely is still three inches way too long.

And what about some of these shirts? I mean, half those shirts you need to be at least a C cup to look decent in. What about us slightly smaller chested girls? We wanna look good too! And, as much as we wish we had a little more to flaunt, we don't. And then those shirts are just too baggy and super awkward looking. Who really wants to search for their boobs? Or, they fit just fine across the chest and then woop! There's your belly button. And your sweatshirts? Just 'cause my arms aren't that long, doesn't mean I have absolutely no torso. Does everything have to be a crop top?

And what is with the fashion these days? Did a rainbow collide with the past to create this mind-blowingly neon rendition of every fashion trend that was later horribly regretted? Or did a happy, prancing unicorn just get a little ill on all of your fabric and ended up spewing rainbows all over your clothes? Let me assure you, very little of that stuff is actually wearable without looking like your clothes are radioactive. Most of it is just plain ugly. I don't want to be directing planes in my neon clothes. I just want some comfy, casual kinda tops that I can mix and match; few longs sleeves, few short sleeves, couple sweatshirts, nothing too complicated there. But it's awfully hard to pair my purple and black houndstooth shirt and my dark green pants to anything but some other crazy color. Oh, I think my eyes may just be bleeding. What happened to jeans and tee shirt with a funny saying? Huh? That's what I wanna buy. Comfy clothes that I don't have to work at to look good in.

Don't you think all these terribly ill-fitting clothes kinda makes a girl feel horrible about herself? Well, in case you can't make up your mind, Yes. They do. It feels terrible when you go up a jean size just because you clothing companies decide to make the size threes change to size fives. And then we walk around those stores and see all those stick thin models staring down at us wearing the clothes we wish fit, daring us not to bow down and hand over dinner that night to burn a few extra pounds off. How is someone supposed to ignore everyone everywhere telling us we're not skinny, we're not pretty.

Think about who you're selling to. Not those skinny little models with insanely unrealistic proportions. The general public. The general public with real proportions, real lives. Be realistic.

With Regards,


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Given adequate vacuuming systems..."

"...The human body can be drained of blood in 8.6 seconds." River Tam, Firefly

My topic today is blood. As in, donating it. Not just slicing your finger open on what appeared to be a harmless sheet of paper and then feeling the keen bite of the gash days later. No, I'm going to stick with blood donation.

I am in NHS (National Honor Society). And every year they host a blood drive in the fall. Being old enough now, I was quite looking forward to being able to help out my community and possibly save a life. Everything was fine and dandy until they reminded us of the weight requirement.

When you donate blood, they draw a pint regardless of height, weight, gender, or any of those fun things. Unfortunately for me, they require that a person be one hundred and ten pounds in order to donate. Guess how much I don't weight? That's right, 110 pounds. My friends however, most being taller and therefore a little heavier than I am, do weigh 110 pounds or more. They won't donate. One hates needles. One is just super squeamish. The third just finds someone using her blood icky. But who cares? Close your eyes when the put in the needle, bring a friend to talk to you so you don't have to see the blood in the bag, don't even think about who's getting that blood. In the end, you're still gonna save a life.

So, my mission today is to get you to at least think about donating blood? Feeling a little selfish? You can sell your plasma. That's right, for money. A little bit of your time can get you some money and the warm and fuzzy feeling you get knowing you're gonna being doing someone a ginormous favor.

I wish I could donate. I'm willing, and I could probably handle missing a pint of blood even if I'm under the required weight. But I can't. So I'm asking you to. Find out when there will be a blood drive in your area, contact your local blood bank, call the hospital. Is an hour of your time a little blood too much to ask in order to save a life? I think not. Just, give it a second thought, that's all I'm asking. For my sake.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Oops, he did it again

"You're too young! You dont know what's right for you."
"I'm stopping you from making the same mistakes I did!"
"I know you're better than that!"
"If you're going to throw your life away, dont expect any help from me!"

Yup, I've heard them all. Goodness knows, as a teenager I've made my fair share of mistakes - heck, I've probably made a few peoples' shares of mistakes. Some have been a bit more severe than others, some minor, a select few getting me into quite a bit of trouble, but we all know what that's like. Show me a teenager with a perfectly clear record, and I will show you a lier.

Crazy nights, purchases I cannot afford, doubts about mother has nagged me through them all. Yes, I have at one point gone out with friends, made some very bad choices, and later regretted them. Teens: I know when you're out and partying and having fun, being responsible easily gets pushed to the back of your mind, but it's important! Have fun - otherwise there's no point in going out, but think about what you're doing! Are you going to regret it tomorrow? Parents: Yes, sometimes things get out of hand with teen parties, and yes, sometimes teens make bad decisions, but if you're willing to be open, trust your kids. As teens, they are liable to make mistakes, but trust helps. Dont worry that they might get hurt. Yeah, they might, but there's no more risk than when they're driving to work, or when they're out on the football field. And as a last note, if...or when you do catch them in such a sticky situation, try to remember what it was like to be a teen. Try to remember what it was to have that fun. Unrealistic punishments will help nothing.

Yes, I have, at points throughout the years, had trouble staying focussed on school, or have had my doubts about going to college. Teens: if you think you can get somewhere without an education then good luck and all the power to ya. I'm just saying, from what I've seen of life, an education, both highschool and college, seem pretty important. Just dont rule out the idea. Parents: Dont force. Being too pushy may just lead to resistance and you'll wind up with a teen who stops trying simply so he/she can sneer at you. Positive reinforcement and encouragment. A bit of support is what they need, and help along the way. A little uncertainty is bound to happen. As a paernts one must stay focussed and help the teen stay strong.

Yes, I have, at one point recently, dropped several hundred dollars for a car, severely angering my mother, whose argument was that I could not afford a car and the cost would run me dry. Well, she was right. But things get easier. It doesnt necessarily have to be a car, but for almost any teen, money - and what they spend it on - is often a very significant topic. Teens: BE REALISTIC! If buying things, or one specific thing, is really that important - or essential - to you, consider a job. Think about what you really need, and what you can afford. Yes, the shiney set of wheels looks good now, but how good do you think it will look when you cant afford the gas to make the wheels move? Parents: again, dont be too pushy - unless its necessary. Some topics offer a bit of variation. What teens need is guidance. Teach them how to make the right choices, help them decide what they need, and a helpful tip - if your teen has a job, or any source of income, make sure they save money! if need be, sit down and help them draw out a budget plan for their paychecks. I wish I had learned earlier how to budget and save. Any regretful teen can attest that a bit of money in a bank account - over time - will be infinately more helpful than a bit of money in a wallet - soon to end up in a cash register. So parents, just keep an eye on 'em. Dont be too dictator like, but hey, money is money. When it all comes down to it, it's important, and you're gunna do what you're gunna do, and I'm willing to bet it will all work out just fine.

Yes, teens do, at intervals in their lives, make mistakes. Parents: it's up to you to draw the line, but i will say this. Some mistakes just have to be made. That's how we learn, I'm sure you can remember that. Somethings, for the sake of life experiences, have to be sacrificed, and others must be regretted, for there is no better way to learn a lesson. i know I've leanred one or two.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Boys will be Boys

So...apparently I'm here to aid Spencer in this epic journey into the disheveled, inglorious minds of your everyday teen, or so I've been told. From a guys perspective, i hear....Well, sounds like an awfully dangerous mission, but I'll see what I can do :)

Why doesn’t he clean his room? Am I going to go bankrupt buying food at the rate he eats? Is it dangerous when he wrestles with his friends like that? What is he doing with all those girls?! What are his intentions? What do they do when they are alone? That age old cliché, ‘boys will be boys,’ is, if I may point out, cliché for quite a good reason. We brood, we bark, we get angry, we yell, we hoard crap we don’t need, and we do it all…why? Well, allow me to shed a little light on the subject.

No, my room is not clean. It very rarely is. I’m not sure I know a single guy who can regularly keep his room clean. Why is this?....Don’t worry, I don’t know either. It just seems easier at the end of the day to drop everything on my floor, pick out what I need, and later on, whatever I’m looking for will be right there on the floor for me. And before you ask, yes, I know first hand how quickly a habit like that can escalate to the point where you can no longer see the bedroom floor. It’s a bad habit to develop, things get lost, and – especially if food is getting left around – bad things can happen, but parents, a word of advice. No guy will appreciate being demanded to clean his room. If it’s really to the point where you, as a parent, cannot stand it, take it in steps. One day, ask him to clean on particular corner or section. A few days later, choose another. Maybe just incorporate – calmly, with no authoritarian commanding – a light room cleaning into a weekly schedule. Say, they can’t go out Saturday night until they pick up ten things. But parents, whatever you do, don’t go in and clean your son’s room unless you know he’ll be alright with it. Some guys hate it, some guys are happy to have someone else do the work for them, but nothing will piss a guy off more than having an unwelcome visitor move everything in his room. Plus, god knows what you’ll find in there. I’m sure so many of you out there know what I’m talking about. Very recently my mother covertly entered my room, cleaned it, and ended up throwing away two water bottles that had been sitting on my floor for a fairly significant amount of time and had developed a growth of mold. Yuck, yuck. Trust me, though. If a kid is anything like me he will eventually get fed up with his own mess and clean it himself. I can’t promise how long said cleanliness will last, but at least for a brief time you have the pleasure of remembering what his carpet looks like.

Attention everyone: boys eat. A lot. Some guys, even the little ones, just have that unnatural ability to make food disappear, literally. Particularly if you have a son in athletics, I’m sure you experienced the feeling of looking in the refrigerator and thinking, “Didn’t I just go shopping yesterday?” My suggestion, find one particular thing you know he always craves, and – if possible – buy in bulk. For me it’s sandwiches. A great snack for anytime, one that can be made with bread and virtually anything else…and my mom knows it. When she goes out she makes sure to buy a particularly large amount of bread. I’d advise leaning toward something that might be cheaper, for my mother has, on more than occasion, reminded me how quickly my need for groceries can wipe her out. But hey, there’s not much one can do in such a situation. Kids got to eat, don’t they?

And finally, I'm sure at some point every parent dreads it, but it’s bound to happen. Attraction. A very large part of teen life, is teen life with a significant other…or in some cases, many significant others. I’m afraid on this topic I cannot offer too much insight, as I have found throughout my years every guy is different. The best advice I can give: do the best you can to know your son, and talk to him. Basically, a guy is gunna do what a guy is gunna do, but maybe if you talk to him enough, he’ll be smart about what he’s doing. Other than that…good luck!

Who all noticed that what I have said is all pretty basic? Well, it is. These are all pretty general topics and insights - upon which i may elaborate come a later date - but why is that? I’ll tell you. When it comes to the inner workings of a guys mind, we don’t even know what we’re thinking about half the time. And I’m sure many a fellow strays off the beaten path of even the most basic of basics. Basically, no one could use insight into a guys mind more than a guy…if that makes sense.