Wednesday, May 26, 2010

West Point

I apologize for the slowed pace of my posts. I have not, fortunately, run ouy of underage thoughts, I have merely run out of time with which to share them! I have been uber-overworked this last week as we prepare for finals. Next week I will also be unable to post, due to the Summer Leadership Seminar at West Point! I was very excited to get into this camp, as only a few hundred applicants do, and it supposedly puts you on the fast track to acceptance if I were to choose that path. It's a huge decision, this whole college shabang, and hopefully this upcoming week will aid in my decision making on making a potentially monumental life choice by entering the armed forces! West Point is as presitgious a university as they come, and heck instead of tuition I get a salary just to go there, which is always a perk :). I'm looking forward to a challenging but fun and informative week, and I'll be sure to post my thoughts on it when I get back.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Homework Loaded Weekends

The school year is winding down and my workload isn't as bad as it had been for most of the year. But yet again I find myself with a big history project and 2 english essays to write over the weekend. I would estimate that 80% of my home time is spent sitting in front of this monitor, either for homework or leisure. It's probably not healthy :( At least I play tennis and baseball to get some physical activity in, but I'd bet big homework loads have a lot to do with teenage obesity problems.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A DMV Horror Story

A humorous description of my fiasco at the Department of Motor Vehicles this past September

Just after the completion of my driving lessons in preparation for my liscense test, I came to realize that I had misplaced my drivers permit. Search as I may, it was nowhere to be found.

"Oh well" I thought to myself. "I'll just have my Dad drive me down the the DMV and we'll pick up a copy. I'm sure stuff like this happens all the time. No big deal, right?" I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Not wanting to be unprepared before embarking on this 30 minute excursion, I logged on to the Pennsylvania DMV website at about 12:30 to make sure I had brought all the neccesary materials. After searching through the "teen drivers" page and finding the "Reacquire/Extend/Duplicate Permit" page, I was informed that I would first need to fill out a "DL-31" form, which they thoughtfully had a link to right on the site. How helpful! I had the option of mailing it in and getting my permit through the mail within 7-10 business days, or merely bringing it in to the DMV office and picking it up over the counter that day. How convenient!

After clicking the link, my computer informed me with an obnoxiously loud dong that I did not have the latest version of Adobe Reader installed, and could not view/print this form until I did so. 10 minutes and several little green bars later, my printer spewed out this 1 page document...on 2 seperate pages. A careful reinspection of the document informed me that it was 1 page with a back, and was not valid if printed any other way. But oh no, that couldnt stop me! A few minutes of careful deliberation later I discovered that by printing this document 1 page at a time and reinserting the freshly printed page back into the paper tray, I could acheive a two sided print. After grabbing my wallet (because after all, there might be a fee and I might need some ID), we were on our way.

Filling out the form while sitting in the passenger seat, I noticed a signature-sized box labeled "Notary: Only Needed if applicant is under 18". Understand that this is an application to get a second copy of a drivers PERMIT, not a liscence. In a state in which the driving age is 16, how many people still have their permit (which expires after 1 year) after the age of 18? My guess is about 5. And yet they didnt feel it neccesary to write that a notary was required for all signatures of under 16 applicants save for a tiny little box in the bottom lefthand corner. "What!?!" I exclaimed to Dad. "Apparently I need to get this notarized."

"Well you didnt already sign it, did you?" he asked.

"Ummmm...." I replied.

But never fear: I had printed a second copy for just such a scenario and though to bring it with me. God I'm smart. We changed course in the direction of the nearest notary office. Apparently the notary got these cases a lot, because she recognized the form and before I opened my mouth to explain why we were there she said "You need a permit duplicate?". After having her officially watch me sign 2 other forms, she checked the computer database and found that Andrew Doris did indeed have a drivers permit issued to him, and it had not expired yet. After charging us 21 dollars for her, uh, "services", she told us my permit would arrive in the mail in 1-2 weeks.

"Whoa, hold on" my Dad told her. "I thought I could just pick it up at the DMV right now."

"Oh don't worry, we'll call you as soon as it comes in. That way you don't have to drive all the way out to Frazer to get it! It's much easier this way."

"Ya but I want it now" I informed her. "Will the DMV give it to me today?"

After casting an unsure glance back to her boss for assistance, the boss informed us through a glass screen that yes, you can get it there, but "they're not legally required to give it to you".

"But they will, right?" I clarified.

"Maybe, but they don't have to" she reminded us helpfully. Wanting to make sure we didnt drive all the way out to Frazer only to be told that they don't feel like giving it to us, Dad valiantly tried to call the DMV via operator. After 3 unsuccessful computer-animated-voice-reads, he cussed, hung up, and said "We'll take our chances". Notarized form in hand, we head off to Frazer.

In a hurry to get there, my Dad honks at some idiot on the road who not only refuses to turn right on red, but refuses to turn when it's green as well. After keeping us stuck behind her crawling at a snails pace for several miles she finally pulls off the road...right into the same DMV office we are headed to. She is also a teenaged driver, mother beside her, trying to learn the rules of the road from her parents just like me, and some impatient hothead just blared his horn at her.

Rushing to get in the office without making eye-contact with the flustered youngster, we enter the door and find ourselves last in a lengthy line of angry people. As one fuming middle-aged man exits, confused teenager son tailing behind him, he mutters under his breath "I feel like I'm in f***ing Egypt." Neither me or Dad are quite sure what that means, but (no offense to Egyptians) we take it as a bad omen.

When we finally reach the counter, a plump woman greets us with a smile. "I'd like a duplicate permit please" I say as I hand her the notarized form.

"Got ID?" she asks.

"Sure do" I reply cheerfully as I hand her my YMCA membership card, complete with name and picture.

"Uh uh, that won't cut it." she replies. "You got a birth certificate? social security card? passport?" When we inform her that we do not, she shakes her head at us for our ignorance and hands us a typed printout. "This was online." she explains. "Next".

Not bothering to waste my time challenging her, Dad and I walk out of the office pissed off. "The whole purpose of a notary is to confirm that signature was written by you" my Dad vents. "What's the purpose of paying for a notary if you need to prove your identity all over again to the DMV? Had I agreed to let that lady at the notaries office mail it to us, we wouldnt have recquired any ID at all!"

"And why are they so damn picky about what type of ID you present?" I chip in. "If I were applying for a new permit, that's one thing. But I'm only trying to reprint the same permit I already legally acquired the first time!"

The printout she handed us has 2 large paragraphs of technical jargon, most of it I know already, and the last line says "you must provide identification in accordance with order P-15" yada yada yada. Clearly, we determine, order P-15 must be mighty specific about what types of ID are valid and which aren't. The picture on my YMCA card was taken within a year, I look exactly like it, and the same goes for my High School Student ID cards, which are also deemed no good. The reason any ID must be provided at all is due to a law designed to prevent those who cannot legally acquire a permit/license from acquiring one. This group is mostly made up of felons and illegal immigrants. I hardly think I look like either, but I suppose rules are rules.

Angered but determined, I remember that I have my passport right on Mom's desk at home. We drive 30 minutes back home, grab my passport, and as backup write down my social security number from old tax forms. Then we hop right back in the van, drive back up to the office, and just slide in 20 minutes before it closes. This time, there is no line, and the women greets us with a smile.

"Okay, back again" I say as I proudly present her the notarized, completed form AND the passport. "I'd like a duplicate permit please."

"You got your social security card?" she snaps, cocking an eyebrow.

"Ya I have my number right here" I reply, showing her the number we scrawled on a post-it note.

"No I said do you have your card" the women repeats.

"You don't understand" Dad says irritably, seeing where this is going. "We don't even have a card for him in our possession. I don't have a card either, but we have the number on that card, which is all that matters in the first place.”

"He's gotta have a card" the woman informs us. Pointing to the same internet printout she gave us an hour ago, she points to the very bottom line where it says "order P-15 and P-....and Social Security Card". "I can't belieeeeeeve you didn't bring it this time!" she says demeaningly, as if we were immeasurable idiots for not understanding her casual dismissal. "I gaaavve you the form."

Unable to believe our ears, we stammer out a few explanations before she tells us "There's people in line behind you, please sit down." As we confusedly walk away, she kindly adds "Oh, and take your stuff".

After calling Mom to find that my Social Security Card has been locked away in a safety deposit box ever since we last needed it to GET my first permit, we turn back to the car infuriated. Since the office closes soon, we don't have time to go to the bank. "Does that idiotic bitch realize that I pay her entire salary?" Dad quips, irate. "She gets better benefits than I do for sitting behind that desk and making life hard for people. THIS is why people hate the DMV. That passport is good enough identification to grant you access to any country in the entire world, but its not sound enough ID to get you a permit."

"A copy of my permit" I corrected him. "They have a government database with all my information right in their computer. Forget my social security number; they already know the date my first permit was issued, my height, weight, age, birthday, grades, favorite color, and preferred brand of toothpaste. I have provided my name, 3 types of ID, a notarized signature, and my passport and they STILL cant just print out a COPY of the permit that I already have?"

After calming down, we decide to just mail it in ourselves under the "7-10 business days" plan. When we arrive home 4 hours, 6 printed sheets of paper, 3 forms of ID, and 2 faulty customer service run-ins later, I am still permitless.

There are 2 morals to this story:
1. DON'T LOSE YOUR PERMIT!
2. If this is how the goverment handles replacing lost permits, how are they going to run Healthcare?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Political Dream Team

The good guys of American politics, all in office simultaneously, at the one position they would be best at. Some of these guys I love, and just had to find a position for regardless of what it was. Some of them I don't like, but think they'd be good at whatever position they were assigned to. Others are funny and just for kicks and giggles. But still, imagine the possibilities if all of these guys were in office at the same time...

President: Abraham Lincoln
Vice-President: Ronald Reagan
Speaker of the House: Henry Clay

Cabinet:
Secretary of the Treasury: F.A. Hayek
Secretary of the Interior: James Madison
Secretary of War: Robert E. Lee
Secretary of Defense: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Secretary of Homeland Security: John McCain
Secretary of Agriculture: Thomas Jefferson
Secretary of Commerce: Milton Friedman
Secretary of Education: Benjamin Franklin
Secretary of Energy: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Secretary of Health and Human Services: John F. Kennedy
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Barack Obama
Secretary of Labor: Henry Ford
Secretary of the State: Grover Cleveland
Secretary of Transportation: Paul Revere
Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Ulysses S. Grant
Attorney General: George Washington

Supreme Court Justices: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams (because who better to interpret the constitution than those who wrote it? And they’re allowed to hold their aforementioned offices simultaneously), plus John Marshall, Thurgood Marshall, Daniel Webster, and Ron Paul

Notable Congressmen: H.L. Mencken, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, John Hicks, Alan Greenspan, John Adams, everyone who signed the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, Martin Luther King Jr., Chuck Norris, Thomas Reed, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, Arne Duncan, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, W.E.B. Du Bois, Thomas Edison, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George H.W. Bush, Ben Stein, Drew Carey, John Stossel, Thomas Sowell, Nick Gillespie, Veronique de Rugy, Frederick Douglas, Matt Welch, David Harsanyi, Jacob Sullum, Shikha Dalmia, Ayn Rand, Brett Favre, Elihu Root, Anna Schwartz,

Other Miscellaneous Positions:
Chairman of the Federal Reserve: Ludwig von Mises
Chairman of Environmental Protection Agency: Theodore Roosevelt
United Nations Ambassadors: Woodrow Wilson and John Lennon

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bo Burnham: Youtube Meme

Who out there has heard of the great Bo Burnham? Bo is a 19 year old comedian, musician, and parodist made famous by his youtube videos, which have received over 60 million views. He writes and plays comedic, politically incorrect songs, and I think he's totally hysterical. Some of his best songs are "New Math", "My Whole Family (thinks I'm gay)", "The Perfect Woman", "Cookout", "Bo Fo' Sho", "Rehab Center for Fictional Characters", "I'm Bo Yo", and others. He does some fake rap, plays guitar and piano, uses lots of intelligent puns, and throws in a bunch of sexual, racial, or insensitive jokes to target a teen audience. Plus he's got a great voice and is a talented musicion. Here's one of his videos, you can search through the others yourself. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQZ3mNX2FyY&feature=related

The Frisbee Fanatic

Today (or rather yesterday, it being what was considered tommorow when I woke) was Rustin's Community Fair, which featured a dozen or so of Rustin's extra-curriculars enjoying a pleasant afternoon of beautiful weather, great food, and enjoyable live music by a student band. But as pleasant as this was, everyone in attendance knew that all of those factors played second fiddle to what went on in the football feild next to the fair's booths: the main event, the big attraction, the King-Da-Ka of Rustin intramural sporting glory, the pinnacle of student-body bragging rights that is the Ultimate Frisbee Tournament.

Of course, this is not the only opportunity Rustiners have to play "the more beautiful game." Ultimate Frisbee goes on all year round. We define our season's duration as "From whenever the snow melts to whenever the Frisbee gets too icy to catch." Our weekly meetings are competitive enough already, so much so that we keep individual offensive statistics on our club website ( http://www.wcufc.webs.com/ ). But the annual Community Fair tournament takes it up a notch. To compete here requires the stamina of soccer, the physicality of hockey, the metnal toughness of football, the precision of speed skating, and the intensity of a caged gladiator wrestling match between a man and an ill-tempered platypus. 10 teams from 2 seperate high schools were able to meet today for over 5 hours of Frisbeeing Frenzy, and everyone had a great time.

But you know when your parents used to tell you "Hey, so long as we all have fun, we're all winners?" Well, it's a load of crap. As Vince Lombardi once said, "If we aren't playing to win, then why bother keeping score?" My team, the Disc Jockeys (you may notice I have a thing for puns....) went 4-0 with a total margin of victory of +24. Despite our dominance, we were not yet crowned the champions we must defeat 2 teams in tommorow's playoff round to win our prize. Not that any prizes are needed besides the sweet scent of defeated enemies and the primal, testosterone-filled chest bumps that ensue, but the winners additionaly recieve some elite, expensive, premium grade frisbees for our own. And these aren't just any frisbees. Remember in that godawful movie "Blades of Glory" where Will Ferrell goes on a rant about how much he loves his hairbrush? ""Not just a brush but a Verticoli. Handmade in Italy. They carve it out of illegal whalebone. They only make eleven of them a year. This one cost me $12,000 or 30 million lira. Perfectly balanced, low drag, minimal torque...No exaggeration, I could not love a baby as much as I love this brush." Yeah, well that's about how we feel about these frisbees.

No longer is Ultimate Frisbee the realm of hippies and weirdo's not good enough to play any "real" sports. No, our team beat the team with all the football players on it 11-2 today. We made one of the girls on their team cry when she missed the frisbee and it hit her in the lip. We laughed. Get on our level.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Blogging Newbie

Hello everyone! By everyone I mean me, that is, at least until I get some followers :). My name is Andrew Doris and I'm a Junior at Bayard Rustin High School. I love writing, history, politics, sports, eating, board games, card games, music, and spending time with my friends and family.

I've created this blog because I have recently gotten the opportunity to intern at the Daily Local News through their new iJournalist project. This should be a big source of my traffic, but of course anyone is welcome to follow my posts and hopefully even humor me with some comments!

As for my plans for what to blog about, I can't say exactly. The blog's title is a funny pun (especially to a teen), but vague, and that's on purpose: I want free reign to post about whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time. So, then, I'm sure any prospective followers would like to know what I frequently think about! I love politics and sports, and I'm sure there will be a lot of posts on those topics. But I'll also just have some funny, fairly deep observations about some other things in everyday life. I envision the blog being a collection of funny youtube videos, political diatribes, links to good songs stuck in my head at the time, pro-sports commentaries, witty remarks on teen living, and a motley assortment of other amusing odds-n-ends.

So please do check in every once in while, and I promise to keep it updated and entertaining.