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  • 7 Random Tips....

    7 random tips for living away from home

    Taylor McKinnon, Special to Times Colonist
    Published: Thursday, August 03, 2006

    The other day, while attempting and failing to properly slice a mango for a salad I was helping my mom make, it really sank in that I am going to be on my own next year.

    I won't have people like my mom around to give a detailed step-by-step of everyday things in life, such as peeling and slicing a mango. I started to feel a little panicky, to tell the truth.

    What about all the little, insignificant tasks that I don't know how to do? There must be a million. Thus, this is my gift to all teenagers embarking on their own next year -- or anyone for that matter who wants to expand their knowledge of how-to's. After searching the Internet databases of wikihow.com and ehow.com, leafing through a few books, and even consulting some friends, I've compiled a list of some completely random tips that -- who knows -- might even come in handy some day.

    1. MAKE YOUR CELLPHONE BATTERY LAST LONGER

    Cellphones seem to run out of power only when they're needed the most -- like the fifth hour in a row you've been sitting and watching it, waiting for that guy/girl to call. If your cell looks as if it's going to call it an early night, wikihow.com suggests turning off the vibrate function, which uses up a lot of power. Same goes for the backlight -- if it won't turn off completely, you can change how long the light stays on each time you open or use your phone.

    Finally, only turn your phone on when you're sure you have reception; if you're in a subway or any other area without service, your phone will waste a lot of battery power searching for it.

    2. MASTER THE BUDDY SYSTEM

    The buddy system usually revolves around one thing: creepy guys. They're everywhere. My friends and I have an unwritten code when we go out. We keep an eye on each other throughout the night and, if it looks as if someone needs rescuing, swoop in and work our magic. This has involved -- on more than one occasion -- hiding, ducking, running, pretending to be on the verge of sickness.

    Heck, I've even heard a physical threat come from my five-foot-two, 105-lb. friend. In all seriousness, though, travel in pods of at least two or three. Everything's better that way.

    3. CLEAN A LAPTOP SCREEN WITH HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

    Find some rubbing alcohol. Dilute it half and half with water. Dip a soft cloth (like an old T-shirt) in the mixture and wipe the screen in a counter-clockwise motion, applying an even pressure but making sure not to press your fingers too hard onto the screen.

    4. GET RID OF YOUR ROOMMATE

    Some of the favourite suggestions that I came across? Make a duct-tape perimeter around "your side" of the room. Eat all of their food. Pile the dirty dishes on your roommate's bed and insist you don't know how they got there. Ask if your family can move in -- "just for a couple of weeks." If all else fails, you could talk to someone in charge at your residence ... but that's pretty boring, isn't it?

    5. FALL ASLEEP ON A HOT NIGHT

    If you don't have a fan handy -- and really, who has a fan handy when they need one? -- you should hop in a cool shower or wipe yourself down with a cold, damp cloth. Then, without towelling yourself dry, jump into bed. You should stay cool long enough to fall asleep, and once you've dozed off, you're in the clear. Another method? Wear a pair of cold, damp socks. Uncomfortable, maybe, but apparently "cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body." Last-ditch option? Sleep in the spread-eagle position. Yes, you know the one.

    6. EXERCISE WHILE SITTING AT YOUR COMPUTER

    I'll admit that I laughed out loud when I discovered this article, at wikihow.com. Then I realized that my fitness levels will almost certainly plummet next year, and suddenly exercising while sitting at my computer started to look more and more like my kind of thing. The article advises you to fidget; apparently it's a good way to keep moving. Contract and squeeze your abdominal and tush muscles while you sit.

    You can even invest in a stability ball (it will keep your abs and posture in top shape) instead of a desk chair, if you're really going to town with this whole fitness kick.

    7. SAY NO WITHOUT SAYING NO

    If you've been asked a favour, feign enthusiasm and reveal something horrific in relation to the favour. Some examples I found in The Bad Girl's Guide to Getting Personal:

    "Can I borrow your car?" "Sure thing! The accelerator kind of sticks every now and then. All you have to do is pop the clutch really fast and then hit the brakes until it un-sticks. The keys are in my purse!" or "Can I borrow your lipstick?" "Sure! My cold sore is pretty much gone. Does this spot look funny to you?"

    Having done all my research ... perhaps I'll stick to slicing mangoes next year. I've got that mastered now, at least.

    Taylor McKinnon, 17, graduated from a Victoria high school in June.

    © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  • #2
    And I always thought you ladies held union meetings in the restroom while "powdering your noses".

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