My birthday was on Feb. 1st and if the first 22 years of my life were any indication, this is a mostly awful date for anything celebratory. Growing up, my only birthday tradition was a long-distance phone call with each set of grandparents as they sipped on palomas in Mexico, having escaped the miserable Chicago cold that had so brutally forced everyone else inside. My birthday parties felt like a consolation prize, averaging four to five kids whose parents had somehow mustered up the poise (while likely hiding anger from my parents) to brave avalanche-like conditions en route to laser tag or a movie.

Maybe you’re wondering if I have anything positive to say about getting older at this time of the year. The answer: kind of. A few times over the past decade, right around Feb. 1, if we were really, really lucky, we’d receive a gift from the important weather folks: a snow/cold day. Seeing as we seemed to catch that magic again this year, it only made sense to put together an entirely random, mostly useless snow day guide. You know, for the next time we get three consecutive school days off.

Listen to “Harmony Hall” and “2021”

Earlier this month, Vampire Weekend teased its first album release in over five years with two incredible tracks. Before finally sharing its real name, fans were given an acronym — “FOTB” — to further speculate about the title of the album. Around the same time the universe was making obvious guesses like “Fuck off Tom Brady,” it was also realizing that both of these songs are absolutely gorgeous. And, at the risk of oozing sentimentality, I think, with time, they’ll come to symbolize this college-postgrad transition for a lot of Vampire Weekend diehards my age.

Use a Keurig

Switching gears here, but this turned out to be a much more complicated process than you might think. I was actually going to write an entire column outlining how to use a Keurig before I decided against it. Regardless, here’s how it works. First you add water to the container and plug said container into the back of the whole mechanism. You then wait for the guiding screen to indicate that the machine is done preheating. When prompted, lift up the handle on the front of the Keurig and insert your K-Cup into the hole that looks like the one you’d put a K-Cup in. Make sure there’s a mug under the pour hole. Enjoy coffee and machinery-God status.

See how long you can last watching this video playlist

Spoiler: it’s not a good one. Or maybe it is. Well, it was at one point, but, for purposes of incrimination, I’m not going to admit at which point in my life I considered it humorous. Agh. Give it a try. Maybe you’ll make it to the clip of a person falling down. Wink.  

Play Secret Hitler

Wikipedia describes Secret Hitler as a “hidden identity party game,” but I’d define it as an infuriating, thrilling, deceptive and sweaty way to lose friends in 30 minutes. The premise: you’re assigned a (secret) role as either liberal or fascist, while one player assumes Hitler’s position. Each side pushes its respective agenda — resulting in tense chancellorship election debates — until either five liberal or six fascist policies are enacted. This sets up a cutthroat environment, with each player angling for the good of their party while remaining ambiguous enough about their personal role. I personally witnessed tears a few weeks ago by the end of an especially backstabbing round, which is par for the course.*

Make a Rube Goldberg machine

This activity requires quite a bit of engineering competency and boatloads of patience, and I’m not good in either of those areas. If you do happen to find a friend who can engineer and patient, your next step should probably be a hardware store to gather necessary materials. Wait. On second thought, take notes from OK Go, our generation’s greatest innovators. Does OK Go still exist? Do treadmills owe their relevancy to OK Go? Should we, as a society, have a dialogue about OK Go?

Judging by the quality of this column, the polar vortex froze not only most University of Michigan operations, but also my brain function. Stay toasty somehow.

*Disclaimer: The Michigan Daily does not condone fascism.

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