Dominate Those Awful Art Project Assignments

Trifoldfunny“Okay, class. Now that we’ve finished our lecture on the physiology of a pygmy Chihuahua, I’m going to ask you all to make some sort of artistic representation of your favorite human organ system. It needs to be 3-D, and it also needs to be stunningly beautiful. Also, it is due in seven minutes.”

You think that’s funny? You’re sick. That’s not funny—that’s just true. True, as in teachers nowadays seem to think that assigning sculptures, posters, or other creative projects is a good idea. True, as in yes these projects are actually due the next day. And true, as in there is no such thing as a pygmy Chihuahua.

Now, what’s wrong with art projects, you ask?

Artistic Skill

Art projects are insanely skewed towards those with any sense of artistic skill. All it takes is one Leonardo Van Gogh in your class, and boom, every other project looks bad. Rather than think that your project is good, as it is no better or worse than the rest of the projects, your teacher assumes thatDa Vinci’s project is the only ‘A’ worthy project, and that the entire rest of the class deserves a ‘C’.

No Educational Benefit

Sure, you learned something in the lecture, or from your textbook. But unless you can explain to me exactly how cutting out six green-paper borders helped you learn about the electron and proton, I think it is safe to assume that when doing an art project, you learn absolutely nothing.

Actually, that’s not true; you learn just how hard it is to cut straight lines when you are running on three hours of sleep. Maybe that should become some sort of sobriety test:
“Excuse me, sir, but you were swerving across two lanes. Can you please cut me a rectangle from this piece of caution tape?” “Sure.” “Oooh, I’m sorry, sir, that’s a parallelogram. Your angles are 91 degrees and 89 degrees. You were close, though. But I think I’m going to have to take you back to the station.”

Wastes Resources

I think most everyone believes that global warming is real by now. I mean, thanks to changing weather patterns, hurricanes have recently hit cities like New York, D.C., and Denver. So, let’s think about it: why should you just turn in a one-page paper, when you can waste upwards of 65 pages mounting, re-mounting, sculpting, folding, cutting, collage-ing, and constructing an art project with the same information?

But It’s Not Hopeless

Sure, art projects are awful, but if you repress your inner artist and simply take steps to create what’s proven to get an ‘A,’ your grade nor sleep need not take the hit.

Mounting Papers

The easiest way to make any art poster or display board look impressive is to layer more paper. To do this, you’ll need a glue stick, paper, more paper, another glue stick—because the first one will have dried out before you can get your paper together—and some more paper. Pick three colors that don’t give you a headache when you look at them together, and just stack them in an overlapping style. After all, this is how they present stuff in the corporate world, I hear. No wonder so many large companies go bankrupt.

Accenting

Mounting provides a nice foundation, but accenting is where you truly illustrate: “Look at me! I either have too much spare time, or drank six gallons of coffee at 2 AM as I finished this! Or both! Yaaaaaay!”

As you can probably tell from that description, accenting is generally seen on girls’ posters/projects, but not those of guys. So, if you’re male, your accents need to be incredibly masculine. Mud, smushed bugs, or exposed rusty chain-link fence bits work well.

Materials

Even if it’s only a poster, and not a sculpture or painting, the quality of your materials matters—often, it will make up for your lack of artistic skill. If you spend at least $500 per square-inch of your project, you should probably be okay. Or, if you don’t have a few grand to drop on your homework and would rather save it for college—which is crazy, because I’m sure this art project will be way more important to your life—you can always just use crayon. Then, just explain that crayon is symbolic of [mumble this part] and your teacher will be very impressed.

Sabotage

In some rare cases, you just won’t be able to compete with your classmates’ projects; maybe one of them read this blog and was already a good artist. In that case, you need to resort to sabotage (Warning: if they too read this blog, you’ll probably want to build a concrete bunker in to keep your project safe while you carry out your espionage. And if they have a concrete bunker too, well, hey, failing and then repeating a class isn’t so bad).

Since you don’t want to get caught, you should resort to stealth. Maybe you leave a leaking water bottle next to their project. Heck, maybe you accidentally trip and fall on it (untie your shoelaces. If you don’t have shoelaces, get some and just sort of throw them up in the air as you fall, exclaiming “Oh, no, I tripped over my laces!” Hopefully, no one will notice that you were wearing sandals. In February.)

No one will ever tell you that we need more art projects in non-art classes. If they do, pinch someone: yourself first, to see if you’re dreaming, and, if you aren’t, then pinch them, to get them to go away before they can officially assign an art project. In the 97% of cases when that won’t work, though, at least now you know how to complete the art project better than Salvador Dali. When he was in high school, he just turned in dead plants.

If you think your project is still lacking, you might want to check out “How to Use Clip Art to Make Your Projects Better,” published this time last year. Unless you’re Bill Gates, in which case, don’t read that one.

The 5 Real Reasons to Take AP Classes

Funny Ap textbookSure, we’ve all heard the arguments for AP classes. They can get you college credit. They can offer you a more in-depth coverage of a subject. They will instantly turn you into Albert Einstein. The list goes on and on.

But while these arguments are true, they are not the main reasons you should take AP classes. I mean, get college credit before college? Please. That’s what junior high school was for. You need a break before entering college, not more college credits. Heck, college is so cheap nowadays there’s absolutely no reason why shouldn’t be able to afford at least a few days of college and pick up some credits.

As a brilliant investigative reporter—because no one ever suspects the gum-chewing, half asleep, walking into walls, grammatically erroneous teen to be anything but a source of comedic relief—I can tell you that there are actually other, better reasons to take AP classes.

1. Get Less Sleep

Many studies have shown that teens need 8+ hours of sleep every night. These incredibly scientific studies argue that a lack of sleep leads to depression, anxiety disorders, and zombification of teens into stumbling green undead creatures.

But let me ask you something: when’s the last time anyone ever sponsored a study examining the consequences of getting enough sleep every night? It’s never happened, because people are too afraid to find out what getting enough sleep could mean. For all we know, sleep can cause death, just like it’s been found that various amounts of sitting, standing, running, swimming, breathing, and eating can. Obviously, no one knows for sure, but to make sure you’re not getting too much sleep, you should definitely take some AP classes.

2. Learn More Useless Information

The purpose of our education system is to teach us stuff that we’ll never need to know, so that when we finally need to know something, we will have spent so much time Googling useless stuff that the useful stuff will be easy to find on Google. And, since education is often lauded for its effects on knowledge, the economy, politics, and social mobility, one can only conclude that more education is a good thing.

With that in mind, why take regular US History, when there’s an AP US History? It is clearly better to stay up until 3:00 AM learning about the Women’s Christian Temperance Union than it is to stay up until only 5:00 PM. Sure, in regular US History you might know the names of the leaders of the movement, but in AP US History you’ll learn so much that you can tell people whether the leaders preferred hot dogs or hamburgers.

3. It’s An Easy A

Colleges prefer A’s to B’s, or C’s, or even, believe it or not, D’s. But as the number of applicants to various colleges have skyrocketed, college admissions departments have had to adjust by spending less time on each applicant (although the popular alternative being considered is simply moving college application deadlines to the spring of your 6th grade year, to give the admissions officers enough time to really assess your “diversity”).

So, currently, college admissions officers only quickly glance at your transcript, trying to mentally tally the number of A’s. What this means is that the more AP classes you have, the more capital “A”s you have on that transcript. Thus, even taking an AP class adds an A to your transcript. And if it’s, say, AP Computer Science A, that’s even better. (For this reason, I’d recommend avoiding AP Calculus BC. Colleges hate C’s).

4. Awful Tests

Thanks to modern tech advancements, many of the old hardships of your parents’ days are over. You no longer need to walk five miles to school in the freezing cold with a warm potato in your pocket for lunch and warmth. You no longer need to sweep the school house or kill snakes on the playground. Heck, you don’t even have to churn butter!

Sure, this is mostly a good thing, but think about it: what are you going to tell your kids? Currently, your parents can make you grateful you have to wake up at 4:00 AM to catch the bus just by telling you about their own past.

Well, AP classes solve this problem. So, in the future, when you have kids, you can mention that you used to be locked in a room for four hours and forced to write essays about events that happened 300 years ago, by hand.

5. Never Worry about Social Status

It’s no secret that high school is a time of shifting social relationships, which can get pretty stressful. The best way to avoid this stress is simply to avoid people. And, the best way to avoid people is to take AP classes.

With AP classes, you’ll have 28 hours of homework every night, ensuring that you don’t have time to hang out with friends. Thus, you’re less likely to be betrayed or hurt by your friends, since you don’t have any.

Overall, there’s really no reason not to take AP classes. Heck, I’ll bet that in fifteen years taking AP classes will do more for your high school status than playing on the varsity football team. But don’t wait: take the number of APs that you can handle, multiply it by five, and then take that many AP classes. You’ll be astounded at how much your life improves.

How to Use Phones (For Teens)

PhonesfunnyIt’s obvious that nobody uses phones anymore, aside from salesmen, pollsters, and caring robots that go out of their way to let you know that your prescription is ready to be picked up. Even your grandmother uses Skype (which means, at best, Skype has another two years before it becomes outdated).

Why do we even still have phones? Well, mostly because adults, somehow, still find a use for them. This is reason number 45 why adults are uncool.

But for teens, a phone is more like a desk sculpture. It looks like it belongs on your desk, and watching the blinking lights is way more fun than doing your homework, but you’ve never really used it. Or touched it. Or even realized that if you wanted to, you could call someone, right now, and actually hear their voice. Scary.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to come off as better than you just because I did call someone over the phone last month, for about two minutes.* I see no reason why you should spend much time on learning to use a phone; it’d probably be about as useful learning cursive. But in case you wanted to, needed to, or tried to use a phone, you should know how.

*The conversation went mostly like this:

Me: Hello?
Friend: Hey man whassup?
Me: ’s Phil.
Friend: Yo Phil why you calling me, bro? Somebody die? Multiple people die? Oh man, don’t tell me that the Taylor Swift concert already sold out.
Me: What? You like Taylor Swift?
Friend: Uh, I never said anything about her. Must be a faulty connection or something.
Me: Oh. Well, I wanted to ask about the English group project.
Friend: Why didn’t you text me?
Me: I had a lot to say.
Friend: It’s called e-mail, dude.
Me: I wanted to make sure you got it.
Friend: Man, you could’ve just used registered FedEx and I would’ve hadda sign for it.
Me: Good point. I’ll text you the basic details and send you an email with more info. And you’re still P.O. Box 3268, right?
Friend: Yeah whatever man. I gotta get off the phone now; it’s giving me a headache.
Me: How do I hang up?
Friend: Just hit the button.
Me: Okay.
Friend: HELLO? DID IT WORK?
Me: No that just put you on the speakers. I’ll go ask my parents how to hang up a phone.
Friend: Ok. See ya.

When To Call

As you can see, there is little reason to use phones to actually call people. This means that you should use a phone call in a very limited number of situations.

The first is obviously when a reply is urgent. This includes things such as when you’re injured, when you’re getting married, or when you can’t find the peanut butter and you’re home alone.

The second is if sound is an important aspect of communication, and you’re not able to skype/facetime because there’s no wifi (so, in someplace like North Dakota). If you really need urgent feedback on your interpretation of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” then by all means, call your friends. You might even consider making it a conference call.

How to Call

Really, how hard can it be? You just have to dial some numbers. Right?

Wrong. First of all, if you’re calling someone long distance, you have to dial 1 or 9. You also have to locate the phone app on your smartphone, which is less used than Apple Maps.

Secondly, after you’ve dialed, you have to understand the sounds you hear. If you get “Bum-Dee-BEEP: I’m sorry, but this number is no longer active,” or some other error message, you have the wrong number (this may seem intuitive, but if you think about it, calling back in an hour and hoping the number is re-active, or more active, or awake, or something—I really have no idea what that message means—would also make sense).

If you hear: “Bzzeep-Bzzeep-Bzzeep-Bzzeep,” that’s a busy dial tone, and you should call back when the person gets off of the phone. I promise you that if you are calling a friend, you will never hear a busy tone, because if this is a person who used their phone regularly, you wouldn’t even have considered being their friend in the first place.

How to Start Your Call

If you’re calling an adult, they are way more familiar with phones than you are, so you don’t need to say much more than your name. If you’re calling a friend, however, you need to make it clear why you called rather than texted/Facebook-messaged/emailed/snail-mailed/telegrammed them.

While your reason might sound fine to you, I guarantee teens hate being called. It means we have to drop whatever we’re doing, or balance a phone on our shoulder. Plus, we can’t take our time in replying like we can with a text or email, so it’s incredibly mentally strenuous. There’s a reason that we text in incomplete sentences; it’s the best our brain can do without spending a half hour on each text.

So, you need to add to drama to the situation.

Let’s say you’re calling because your history group project is due tomorrow, and you need to let your friend know what they are supposed to do. In that case, your initial intro would sound something like this:

“Hey, it’s Phil. Sorry to call, but our history project is due in like 6000 seconds, and I need to tell you what part you’re doing or else we’ll get a D- and my parents will revoke my driving, internet, eating, bathroom, and sleeping privileges. And also the other group members are holding me at scissor-point and forcing me to call you.”

In conclusion, I’d like to remind you that “with great power comes great responsibility.” Sure, you now know how to call someone, but that certainly doesn’t mean you should. And if you do need to call someone, just play it safe: only call teens who you wouldn’t mind accidentally putting on speaker in front of your parents, and teens who are generally nonviolent, if they choose to retaliate.

As finals conclude and the second semester gets underway, you may be starting some new classes. In that case, you’re probably in need of “The Only Guide to Class Syllabi that You’ll Ever Need.

A Guide to School Bus Emergency Safety Features

(click image to zoom)

(click image to zoom) Correction: A bus driver has alerted me to the fact that there are actually 0 airbags on the bus.

It’s a well-known fact that teens are pretty safe people. We don’t engage in high risk behaviors, we have a fully developed brain, and we are usually asked to be consultants to many of the major airbag companies.

Ha. If only that were true. Actually, aside from skydivers and human cannonballs, teens are probably the least safe group of people, in the history of the world, ever. I could go into all of the terrible alleged things we do, but, in the interest of not writing a 1,900,000 word blog post, I won’t.

No, the real reason I’m bringing this to your attention is that if you’re already unsafe, you really need to take advantage of every external safety feature in your life. And that includes time spent on a school bus. So, in the interest of preserving the lives of my readers, I’ve broken down just how you can stay safe on the school bus.

Brace Yourself

Unfortunately, safety cartoon cards instructing you in proper brace-positions are reserved for airplanes, because the airlines can’t afford lawyers to fight off lawsuits, while—little known fact—most school bus drivers have an ivy-league law degree (the economy is still recovering).

As a teen, though, you are probably smart enough to understand that you should try and brace for a crash/flip/rollover. The real issue is figuring out how to brace yourself.

You could just push against the seat in front of you, but 9 times out of 10 the only thing holding it in place is dried gum. Plus, your head could get stuck in one of the gaping holes in the back of the seat, and then you’d suffocate on that toxic gray foam the seats are stuffed with.

Another option would be to brace yourself against the wall of the bus, but if you haven’t already noticed, the whole bus is just one large, metal can, so it won’t be too much better.

Ideally, you can find some friends to lean against, and their bodies will cushion the impact. If no one is around, though, it’s probably a good idea to just stick your head inside a large textbook and let that act as a helmet.

Emergency Exits

Yep, the fun part of any bus-safety crisis. See, most school buses have from 2-4 doors; when you load/unload the bus, the bus driver limits you to using only one just because they like to feel important (they’re lawyers, remember).

Plus, many school buses have emergency exit windows, every third window. They are rarely used, but bus companies figured out that they could save even more money by not completely attaching the windows and then calling it a safety feature.

So, in the event that the bus gets in a situation where evacuation is necessary immediately, you’ve got a lot of options. You have so many options, in fact, that there is really no reason to remain on the bus in any situation. As soon as your speed is below fifteen miles an hour, just exit, assuming you’re not on the freeway. In that case, get out of there regardless of speed; the bus is either going to hit another car going 60+ mph or a solid concrete barrier.*

*Note: I am not a bus safety expert. This is probably not what a bus safety expert would recommend, assuming bus safety experts even exist. I am an ivy-league lawyer, however, so don’t bother suing me. We are everywhere. (I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but your toaster is also a practicing personal injury lawyer that graduated from Columbia. It’s a new cost-saving measure enacted by appliance companies. If you get burned, you can just settle your claim immediately).

Bus Safety Supplies

In addition to having absolutely no solid brace position and loads of emergency exits, the school bus you ride on likely has a number of safety supply kits. You’ve got the bodily fluid clean-up kit, the first aid kit, the fire extinguisher kit, the second aid kit, the flare kit, the understudy to the first aid kit, and the bodily fluid spill-again-for-laughs kit.

Furthermore, you’ve got a fire blanket, traffic cones, a broom, and a radio. All of those, save the radio, are found in various labeled metal lunch boxes left over from the 1980s.

Now the biggest problem with these safety features is that they are strapped to the bus. Remember, in case of an emergency, you’re going to first brace yourself and then exit the bus. Nowhere in there are you supposed to risk your life for a fire blanket or safety kit. Thus, while they may give you a false sense of security, they are only useful for personal emergencies, such as those times when you left your bodily fluids at home and need some to get you through the day.

Overall, I have no idea how safe or how dangerous school buses actually are. Thankfully, due to manufacturing restrictions, most school buses can only go 5 mph and have to stop every block (regardless of whether or not kids need to de-bus) to remind the cars behind them just how much it sucks to be stuck behind a bus.

If you’re lucky, you won’t even have to take the bus because school is canceled due to snow days. Unfortunately, because of global warming, “We Need More Snow Days.”