MEL for DSC Magazine, March 2020

In this month's issue, we're on spring break, babbbyyy.

Mistook your monthly magazine for a pack of One Wipe Charlies and flushed it down the toilet? No worries, here’s the online version!

In this edition:

  1. Sing a Song of Pong
  2. How to Prepare Your Skin For a Crazy Temperature Jump
  3. Everything You Can’t Bring on an Airplane (And Why)
  4. Road Trip Arithmetic
  5. Campfire Cuisine
  6. All the Ways Travel Is a Nightmare for Big Dudes
  7. How the Hawaiian Shirt Came to Symbolize Vacation Time
  8. If Your Cruise Ship Stalls in the Middle of the Ocean, How Long Do You Have Before Everyone Resorts to Cannibalism?
  9. Oh FAQ: How Do I Pack for a Week With Just a Carry-On?
  10. Get to Know Your Body: Feet

1 – Sing a Song of Pong

World Series of Beer Pong champ Michael Vitiello offers up some advice on making the most of your spring break.

Starting a Game
“Beer pong is the perfect game for a party — it’s also a great icebreaker for getting to know someone,” Vitiello says. “People love to be competitive, and if you can have a drink while you’re doing it, people like that too. If you’re looking to get a game going, you of course need the balls and cups, but if you’ve got that, find a group of people who are just standing around and start setting up a game. They’ll probably join in.”

Perfecting a Technique
“Beer pong isn’t physical, it’s mental. You obviously need to play it enough to have a level of athletic competency, but there’s no one way to do it. If you go to an event, you’ll see people shoot a whole bunch of different ways — they just do what works for them, so just play however is comfortable for you.”

Life Advice from the Beer Pong Table
“Don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in the moment, either in beer pong or your whole vacation. Just do your own thing and have fun. In beer pong, people can try to play defense by yelling at you or trying to trip you up, but as long as you block the negative stuff out, then your execution and will be successful and you’ll have a great time.”

2 – How to Prepare Your Skin For a Crazy Temperature Jump

Flying from a frigid tundra to a tropical paradise this spring break? Here’s how to prep your pale, dry, wintry epidermis.

Hydrate Your Husk
Dr. Fayne Frey, of skincare site FryFace, says that it helps to moisturize in the days leading up to your trip. By having well-hydrated skin, it’ll help to prevent further damage from sunburns (assuming you follow the advice below about suntan lotion).

Tropical Treatment
After a day or two in a more humid environment, your skin will naturally become more hydrated, although, “You might want to bring a little moisturizer to treat a dry patch,” Frey explains.

An SPF of 30 is a good, safe number when your body’s not used to the sun, as this offers a lot of protection. If you’re pale from a long cold winter, Frey says that getting a “base tan” before you go does nothing for you except put you at greater risk of skin cancer. If you’re that worried about your ghostly appearance, go for a spray tan instead.

Reapply Yourself
Frey says that it takes about ten minutes for suntan lotion to take effect, so apply it before heading to the beach and it’ll be ready by the time you get there. Also, be sure that you reapply every two hours, lest you want to spend your spring break applying aloe to your burnt back.

3 – Everything You Can’t Bring on an Airplane (And Why)

Is that a canoe paddle in your pocket? Oh, it is? Welp, you’re gonna have to check that.

Dangerous Chemicals
Captain Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts, explains that poisonous, infectious and radioactive materials — aerosol insecticides, bear spray, chlorine — are outright banned from planes, since they have the potential to spill (or explode under pressure) and infect the entire cabin. This one’s kinda a no-brainer (like you will be, if you accidentally detonate a can of bug-killer at 30,000 feet).

Large Liquids
The most perplexing — aggravating, even — items banned from planes are virtually any liquids more than 3.4 ounces. The reason, as Aimer explains, is that nefarious types could potentially bring various separate liquids onto a plane, then mix them together to create a homemade bomb onboard. While this may seem far-fetched, there was such a plot that was thwarted by feds in 2006.

Weapons, Explosives and Flammables
These are banned from planes for obvious reasons: To prevent purposeful hijackings and accidental explosions. Besides the problems that would arise if someone were able to bring a weapon on an airplane, explosives and flammables are particularly volatile in the skies. “You have different oxide conditions than you do at sea level, so things burn much more violently,” Aimer explains. When you consider that planes are perhaps the absolute worst places to experience an uncontrollable fire, it makes sense that these items are banned. That being said, the TSA may have gone overboard when they added “weapons” like bowling pins and canoe paddles to the list.

4 – Road Trip Arithmetic

We’ve crunched the numbers, and if you decide to take a road trip for your spring break, this is what you can expect.

How Many Gallons of Gas Will We Burn?
Mark Sedenquist, of Road Trip America, explains that, comfortably, you wouldn’t want to cover more than 350 miles daily. For seven days, that’s 2,450 miles. With the average vehicle getting 25 miles per gallon, that means you’d burn about 98 gallons.

How Many Songs Will We Hear?
The average radio station plays 12 songs per hour and, since Sedenquist recommends you only drive six hours daily, this equals 72 songs. Over seven days, that’s 504 songs. If it’s commercial-free, that’s about 40 percent more music, or 706 songs.

How Many Arguments Will I Have with My Spouse?
It’s impossible to calculate this, but psychologist Dr. Farrah Hauke explains that thanks to the stress of driving — traffic, missed exits, etc. — fights can be as much as 25 to 50 percent more common than normal. Because of this, Hauke recommends making conscious intentions to be more patient, so try counting to ten before flipping out because your partner accidentally closed your navigation app.

How Many Pee Breaks Will We Take?
OnePoll and Quaker State found that people take a pee break about once every two hours, which means three driving pee breaks daily. Over seven days, that’s 21 pee breaks. Wee!

5 – Campfire Cuisine

Okay, so you know how to cook hot dogs and assemble some s’mores, but here’s a few other really simple options for an open fire.

Hobo Stew
Camp counselor Dan Atkinson offers up a dish with just a few ingredients: a pound of ground beef, a can of baked beans, a can of mixed vegetables and some tomato-based vegetable juice. Just brown the beef in a pot, drain it, and add everything else to the same pot until it’s thoroughly heated.

Beef and Vegetables
Benjamin Camp, director of Camp Bonfire, says that before leaving home, get some cubed beef and chop up some potatoes, carrots and celery, plus a bit of salt and pepper. Mix those all together and dish out hamburger-sized portions onto squares of aluminum foil, then wrap them up. Once you get to the campsite, wait until your fire dies down to the coals, then place the packages right onto the coals. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes and, once it cools, you can spoon the food right out of the foil.

Camp says that when it comes to dessert, there’s something even simpler than s’mores: Just get a pack of refrigerated croissants and open them up at your campsite. Tear off a perforated triangle and dip each side in some cinnamon sugar, then wrap that around the end of a stick and cook it over an open flame. Just make sure you pull it out of the fire before scarfing it down.

6 – All the Ways Travel Is a Nightmare for Big Dudes

Some larger guys share their first-hand accounts of the hardships of traveling when you’re taller and/or heavier than most of your fellow vacationers.

Adam, Tennessee (6-foot-2, 250 pounds): The first thing people should know is that any inconvenience we cause, most of us are fully aware of it [and] I would say it’s embarrassing and dehumanizing for most obese people. Having a gate attendant approach and hand me a preferential boarding pass was where it started. It dawned on me [that] I was in a line with the elderly and people bound to wheelchairs. I got to my seat and realized that my seatbelt didn’t fit so I had to request the extender. The flight attendant handed it to me in a discreet manner. I appreciated her for doing that, but it also dawned on me even further that what was wrong with me was something to hide.

Mark J., Chicago (6-foot-5, 170 pounds): I just don’t fit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rental car or a plane, my knees are pinned in front of me. My head is bobbling six inches over the headrest, sometimes scraping the ceiling, so I have to crane my neck. It’s a stressful environment — especially on a plane — and you can forget about any hope for comfort if the jerk in front of you decides to recline.

Brandon, Missouri (5-foot-9, 400 pounds): I truly realized it’s a small-person world when I took my first plane ride as an adult. I just barely fit in the seat and I had a middle seat. I truly felt bad for my neighbors, as I was definitely invading their space. I have taken numerous flights since then and [now] I take the aisle seat, as you are not spilling over into somebody else’s space. [You’ve also] got the aisle right there — if you need to stand up, you’re not inconveniencing anybody. 

Page Kent, Georgia (6-foot-6, 285 pounds): Because big guys run hot, [it] immediately makes me a target because the TSA thinks I’m hiding something. Then when I finally get to the TSA scanner, my arms reach outside the little circle room thing, so they have to take me outside and take extra time to wand/grope me. 

Pat Sanchez, Illinois (6-foot-6, 176 pounds): The worst part is the bathroom. In the lavatory, no excess movement is possible, and you better believe my bare butt is rubbing on the walls as I’m struggling to pull my pants up without nose diving through the door.

7 – How the Hawaiian Shirt Came to Symbolize Vacation Time

Nothing says “I’m officially checked out from work” quite like a loud flower print, but why?

How the Hawaiian shirt came to be is not entirely known. Much like the patterns on the shirts themselves, finding a distinct beginning to the tapestry is difficult, but DeSoto Brown, a historian at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, explains that the patterns were influenced by the colorful Japanese fabrics that were being imported to Hawaii in the early 20th century. 

Originally, the brightest patterns were reserved for children and young women, but Chinese businessman Ellery Chun had a major influence in the 1930s when he began producing patterned fabrics, which became popular streetwear for Hawaiians. For mainland Americans vacationing in Hawaii at the time, the style stood in stark contrast to the era’s conservative attire and offered “a spirit of release and fun,” Brown says. 

The shirts began to be exported to American vacation spots prior to World War II. Following the conflict — which, naturally, had put a damper on the Hawaiian shirt business — Hawaiian tourism and trade began to rebuild. Brown explains that the 1950s “were the golden age of the classic aloha shirt, tremendously colorful and made of smooth, heavy rayon.” 

As Hawaiian tourism became more popular than ever after Hawaii became a state in 1959, the Hawaiian shirt became a permanent, fun-loving symbol of a place far more desirable than sitting behind your desk.

8 – If Your Cruise Ship Stalls in the Middle of the Ocean, How Long Do You Have Before Everyone Resorts to Cannibalism?

Just askin’.

Your cruise has stalled in the middle of the ocean. There’s been some world-ending calamity back on land and no rescue is coming. Now it’s only a matter of time…

First off, cruise ships have desalination machines — which convert saltwater into freshwater — onboard, so dehydration isn’t a concern. Also, “There’s tons of food, so you should be good for about two months, especially since the Captain would institute rationing,” explains cruise ship singer Joe Moeller, who asked around his ship for details. He also says there are fishing lines on the lifeboats, but they could hardly catch enough for the 4,000 people onboard, so maybe that would extend things by another two weeks, but that’s about it.

Once the food runs out, Richard Sugg, author of Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires, says it would only take about a week for cannibalism to begin. Originally, the bodies of those who died of natural causes would be thrown overboard, but eventually, someone would propose eating them instead, because, well, people are gonna be hungry.

But wait, it gets worse! Sugg believes that once the naturally-deceased run out, people would begin to be selected. As for who would be eaten, Sugg says that in some cases of cannibalism, people were known to draw straws, which is impressively diplomatic given the circumstances. 

All told, you’ve got about three months before your shipmates begin to see you as appetizing, assuming you haven’t already gone crazy by then. Aren’t you glad this is all just hypothetical?

9 – Oh FAQ: How Do I Pack for a Week With Just a Carry-On?

Jen Ruiz, of travel blog Jen on a Jet Plane, offers up some tips on fitting everything in one small-ish bag.

Step #1: Ditch the roller bag carry-on — those are the first things airlines ask you to check when they’re low on space. Go for a duffel bag with a backpack as your personal item.

Step #2: When packing, roll your clothes, don’t fold, as rolling is much tighter. Start with things like jeans and sweaters, then shirts, then boxers. For socks, lay them flat on top.

Step #3: Don’t go overboard! Stuff like jeans can be worn several times. Ruiz advises that darker colors are better for re-wearing due to stains, etc. 

Step #4: Pack your swimwear and maybe a formal outfit or two depending upon your itinerary. Plan for your number of days there plus maybe one or two extra outfits — that’s it.

Step #5: Wear the heaviest shoes that you need to the airport and swap them on the plane. If shoes need packing, pack them last and cram them into open crevices in your carry-on.

Step #6: Finally, wear your heavy coat to the airport and take it off on the plane. Consider it your first step in preparing for that beautiful tropical weather that awaits you.

10 – Get to Know Your Body: Feet

While you’ve got those dogs kicked up over spring break, consider these foot facts!

Smell Ya Later
Dogs, hooves, tootsies — a foot by any other name would smell just as rank, and that’s because a pair of feet has a whopping 250,000 sweat glands that can produce half a pint of sweat per day. Combine that with odor-producing bacteria and you’ve got one stinky situation.

Giving Boots the Boot
When ditching your winter boots for flip flops over spring break, dermatologist Fayne Frey says to moisturize your feet before flying, as more moisturized skin helps to guard against burns. Also, be sure to apply suntan lotion to the tops of your feet, as that’s commonly forgotten.

Bone Up
Of all the bones in our bodies, nearly a quarter of them are located in our feet. For those keeping count, that’s 26 bones per foot, plus 107 ligaments, 33 joints, 19 muscles and 10 tendons. The feet also contain 8,000 nerves, which explains why our shoe-fillers are so ticklish.

Bare is Better
Just like our animal-kingdom counterparts, human feet function best in their natural, shoe-free state, but most footwear — particularly for women — elevates the heel and constricts the movement of the toes. High heels might look good, but they’re the reason women are four times more likely to develop foot problems. Bare feet for everyone, we say! Just not in the gym shower, of course.

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