4 Reasons Schools Have a Spring Break

Calendar of MarchBecause this week is spring break, I do not have the usual break-my-back workload from all of my classes.  I’ll bet that you think that this is a good thing.  Guess what? It is.  However, like most positive occurrences, there are minor unpleasant events associated with it (just look at winning the lottery-it leads to wealth, but there is an increase in criminal activity and scams directed at the winner.  Hopefully, though, whoever wins is intelligent enough to realize that it is incredibly unlikely that they also won the Transylvanian lottery-you know, the one that needs a social security number, bank account number, and driver’s license to claim).  The negative occurrence here is the increase in spare time.

That also sounds like a good thing, though, so let me use an analogy to attempt to explain how this is negative.  Let’s say you are asked by your boss or another superior to do 12 hours of hard work a day, for a consecutive three months.  Then, this mysterious superior doesn’t ask you to do any work for a week.  You’d be instantly suspicious and anxious.  Were they after something from you? Were you going to be fired or asked to do even more work? Did they have a crush on your pet Chinchilla?

That’s how it feels during spring break.  Having less work to occupy our time, teenagers become instantly suspicious. I think that it’s an instinctual thing, right up there with using the bathroom, eating when hungry, and writing on the walls (from cave walls to graffiti, instincts never die).

Therefore, I have come to four possible conclusions.  Each is a motive for schools allowing a spring break.  I mean, why else would schools let us out of their sight for a whole week?  Even disregarding that school “keeps us off of the streets”, high school students are free labor.  How do you think they built Rome in a day?

Scenario number one is the possibility that the schools need a full week to finish the details of our ‘labor contracts’.  We will then be told that we are signing an academic honesty agreement, while actually signing ourselves away to an undisclosed location in Africa.  The schools will benefit because it will reduce the budget, what with not having to pay for food services or keep as many bathrooms operating.  The students benefit because, you guessed it, it builds character.

More likely is the fact that schools must be vacated so that they can receive the new “maximum persons” rules.  Throughout the year, the buildings have been shifting due to undiscovered earthquake fault lines, people dropping their bags dramatically on the floors, and a rise in food and oil prices.  Therefore, the Fire Marshall must visit the school and cram the rooms full of people until someone is crushed to death.  Then they take that number and add fifty-just to be on the safe side.  Where do they get the people? Simple.  Advertisements for tax-deductible work experience that is also a leadership-training program (Uhahahhhh! Can’t Breathe! C’mon, I think I found a weak floorboard) highly recommended by “Kathy, an empowered person” who was not “paid” to make a recommendation, but, instead, her hospital bills were mysteriously taken care of.

Situation three is dreadful-being bought out by the chain restaurant.  A fast food place or coffee shop has buys out and closes down the school, forcing the students and teachers out.  While this may at first seem positive, after the first week, or “Spring Break”, the government discovers that students are not attending school, regardless of the fact that there is no school to attend.  Therefore, the students get put in jail.

Lastly, the schools could be closed for the week because of migration.  It is now spring, so the teachers must migrate north to the natural habitats, which is where they remain in the summer.  This leads to a school staffed by substitutes, the average Joe, and Joe’s brother, the not-so-average Jagger, who is usually focused on a subject such as punk rock, wrestling, nascar, the color black, or any aspect of violence.  On the bright side, though, PE can get really interesting during the last semester, and classes are offered such as “The Art of Tattoo”, “How to punkify your college resume”, and “A.P. Gov-Protesting the Norms”.

The Best Addition to Your Perfect Schedule

School ScheduleHigh school is a place of opposites. First of all, there are the practically-crazy people who ‘challenge’ themselves by taking classes that inflict hours of work and extreme sleep-deprivation. These people are determined, motivated individuals who have unusual definitions of success (ie: 4 hours of sleep due to a 4-point assignment).

On the other hand, there are the students who value things such as sleep and sanity. In order to live by their core values, these students take mind-boggling classes like study hall, late arrival, early release, and PE.

Of course, most people would think that the first group (self-inflicting sleep-deprived over-achievers) would be more valued by a high school due to typical academic standards. Yet in my experience, high schools encourage the exact opposite. This means that counselors will strive to convince each student that since the change from 8th grade to freshman year is a “tough transition,” the student must make their classes as small of a challenge as possible. This leads to many students filling their schedule with PEs and study halls galore, but sometimes – God forbid – there is still a free period in the schedule.

This ‘free period’ I speak of is a true terror. It is when there are no more easy classes to take — when one must choose from the vast plethora of actual classes which require actual work. My friends, this is nothing to joke about, for it may impose potentially another 10 minutes of work each night; a toll that no high school student can take. Thus, as a noble, valiant blogger, I have created a solution to this issue. The solution is as follows:

New Class Option: “Intro to Basics – For Beginners!”

“Intro to Basics – For Beginners” involves hard work and provides an unbeatable learning experience. Derived from programs at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions, the modified curriculum of the class teaches students absolutely everything about how to learn absolutely nothing! In the class, students are encouraged to learn in a more natural manner. This includes student-ran field trips to nearby 7-Eleven stores as well as productive tutorials on sleeping through class (and even fire-drills!). In order to ensure focus and continuous learning throughout the semester, the class provides a pre-determined grading scale:

10 Points – Miss the class in order to sleep-in at home.

10 Points – Buy a Big Gulp Slurpie along with one of those gross chili-dogs that no one ever buys from a gas station.

30 Points – Complete the REM cycle using a binder as a pillow during a single class period.

50 Points – Annoy everyone else in the classroom using a new, creative method.

As you may have noticed, the number of points from each criterion adds up to a total of 100 points. Thus, completing each task the suggested number of times (the number of points for each task) ensures a perfect 100 percent! For some, this fantastic achievement comes easy, but for others, it does not. The only way you can know is if you participate in this once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. So I encourage you to sign up and give “Intro to Basics – For Beginners” a try. The class truly is the best foundation for a successful future!

5 Tips for an Amazing PowerPoint Presentation

What’s black and white and (I’ll misspell this next word in an attempt to avoid ruining the joke) rhed all over? Well, it can’t be a newspaper.  The ones that haven’t gone out of business are read online in full color with tons of endearing pop-up ads trying to convince me that, regardless of the fact I am still in high school, I should click on them and find out just how long it would take for me to get a plumber’s degree (although it is always good to have a plan B in life).

And a zebra with chicken pox can be ruled out.  After all, everyone knows the disease comes from a chicken, and any chicken stupid enough to be out, unsupervised, in the middle of the African Savannah would be gobbled up in an instant by a lion.  The lion would probably get the disease, but until the zebra population grows desperate, I find it unlikely the zebra eats the lion.  However, they may already be pretty desperate; last thing I heard was that McDonalds was going to open up an African chain called McDabajoniruba (with a never-before-seen McRhino special for $4.99), so good food must be getting hard to find.

Since neither classic answer fits the punch line, the question still stands.  What holds these characteristics?  I’ll tell you.  The answer is: the worst ever PowerPoint color scheme (on my version, at least, but since I’ve stayed up to date and use PowerPoint 2004, Microsoft may have already listened to my series of flame e-mails I sent them about this).  It’s called the “refined” theme, probably because it is what occurs when you take an oil spill that was headed to a refinery (and add the redness of the company CEO’s face when he hears the news combined with the whiteness of the numerous documents explaining why a spill will never, ever happen again).A powerpoint theme

But I’m not here to rant about just one theme of PowerPoint.  I should remind myself that I shouldn’t be here to rant, period (or, at least, rant without entertaining you readers).  No, I’m here to address the big idea, the umbrella concept, the underlying themes of PowerPoint (if I missed any overused teacher phrases, let me know).

You see, projectors are still widely used in priso-ahem, schools.  Therefore, it is only logical that, when a group of students is asked to create a presentation, an accompanying PowerPoint is included.  However, students are usually too preoccupied with various procrastination methods to give much thought to the presentation, so I’ve done the thinking for everyone here.

My first tip: don’t read.  If you fill your Powerpoint with words and then read those words, you are insulting the audience.  You are sending the message that the audience is too stupid to read the board, so you will do it for them.  Just because this is true in most high school classrooms doesn’t mean it isn’t rude (I’m using what I’ve heard here.  I’m of the opinion the truth should always be told, and no, it isn’t rude to tell somebody that they look like a dog suffering from mad cow disease as long as it is true-but then you run into that whole issue of cross-species diseases mentioned above).  If I want to try to understand what ‘the’ means in my head, while you talk, please don’t rob me of that opportunity.Reading a ppt

Secondly, don’t use a gradient background (the one where one color blends into another with a region in between, similarly to the way the frosting on a cake does.  Mysteriously, though, this only happens to the words, so you’ll get a beautiful frilly border and corners with text saying something unreadable.  This sends the message that even birthday cakes cannot afford to properly display signs, for we already knew that lighted signs are a thing of the past.  Now we’ve got Of-ice –ax and Co–co and such).  Gradient Backgrounds are simply so 2000’s.  This is the 2010’s.  Pick an accordingly futuristic looking background.  If it blocks the readability of the text, all the better.  That gives the audience an excuse not to pay attention, lowering their guilt level, while preventing you from reading the PowerPoint.Powerpoint background image

Use slide transitions.  Otherwise no one will notice when your slide changes, because I, like most people, have perfected the technique of appearing to be attentive while daydreaming.  Without a transition to snap me out of my own world, I’ll just keep on pretending to be attentive.Why you need transitions

Use images, even if they are not relevant.  Images give the audience something to look at instead of the presenter or words, which both force the brain to do more work than an image does.  I wouldn’t care if you were telling me about the traits of imperialism and put up a picture showing a cute young cat or dog tearing up somebody’s belongings (not sure why people find that cute), because I’d have something to look at.A powerpoint with an image

If you can afford it, use celebrities.  If you can pay a celebrity to do your presentation for you, I will definitely listen.  Just make sure the celebrity you choose has a clean record for the past month (a year is asking too much) so they are allowed at school.  I can’t afford it, so I could not illustrate this tip with a picture.

There are many other pieces of advice I could give, but then I would have given away all of my trade secrets.  So, for those who would like to go above and beyond, you should feel free to add to this list using your own ideas.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go see if Charlie Sheen is available to help me with my presentation on the many uses of the wheel.

3 Common Causes of Phone Death

Phone CemeteryYou are probably not still using your first cell phone. If you are, you are either new to cell phone technology or you are still using an outdated piece of scrap that would be better off being run over by your car (see, there’s some complicated logic here.  I figure that this happens to everybody at least once.  If you run over your outdated phone with your car, when you get a new phone it is very unlikely that you’ll run it over with your car).

I am not even on my first phone; I switched recently and upgraded to a better phone with an actual camera (my old phone had a 1.2 megapixel camera; however, the screen itself only had about seven pixels, so the camera was useless either way).  The one exception is for those of you who have super-cool phones.  If you have managed to keep one of those shoebox sized white plastic monsters from who knows when working until today, congratulations.  You probably aren’t reading this, though, because I don’t know if you get modern Internet on an ’82 PC.

I don’t know about you, but, as of late, it seems a lot of people I know have had to get a new phone due to breakage, loss, or malfunction.   Therefore, I think it would be justified for me to thoroughly examine this topic (read: make fun of) during this post.  Otherwise, I could talk about something else, like the humor potential of a tissue box, but then I’d have wasted a thoroughly good introduction.

Physical Harm

The most common cause of phone death seems to be physical breakage, such as screen cracks, hinge snaps, or battery leaks.  The reason seems to be that teenagers are not very careful, but, as I, being a teen myself, cannot accept this, I will blame these breakages on phone companies.  Who are you going to side with, the wide-eyed, innocent teenage boy, or (loud booming voice) the ‘Big Corporations’?  Please ignore the fact that the wide-eyed teenage boy has a tattoo on his forearm and a pierced ear, along with his untied shoelaces and sagging pants.

Water

Wetness is also a major killer.  It is like the Jack the Ripper of cell phones: a constant serial murderer.  This is also the most depressing death of a phone, because you can’t blame the corporations, who warn you of wetness.  Usually, it occurs near a cloud or bathroom.  Therefore, I’d advise you to stay away from clouds or bathrooms.  You may think you’ll get sun burnt, but the dirt buildup from not showering is the best sunscreen I’ve ever discovered-it’s got to be at least SPF 300.

Malfunction

The other well-known cause of phone death is the mysterious malfunction.  There are a billion and a half conspiracy theories on this one.  It could be those big corporations are forcing you to buy a new phone to make money.  It could be bad karma. Heck, it could even be the fact that you hung up on that nice foreign-language speaking telemarketer who was trying to tell you about this wonderful new vacation opportunity for those who are between 21-25, have a credit card, know their social security number, and make over $80,000 a year.

Flip-phone or slide, touch-screen or keyboard, i-Phone or Droid, your phone is at risk.  Know the symptoms (which were not mentioned in this post).  Know the prevention methods (also not mentioned in this post).  Most importantly, read this blog for this valuable information on cell phone deaths (Hey! Mentioned in this post).