Excel-lent

However lame that pun is, it’s the best description of what you’re going to read here.

I am currently 11 weeks into my first coop term and I’m still enjoying myself, although the shiny appeal of having my own desk has definitely died. The number one thing that I’ve done in this time is mess around in excel. I’ve updated things and graphed things and once changed the entire layout and colour scheme of a dashboard.

Basically, when I said I was proficient in excel on my resume I was lying. My skills have increased exponentially and I still at this point would not consider myself proficient.

It’s been a great learning opportunity of instead of sitting through lessons and being spoon fed, I’ve just been given a task and got to trial & error, troubleshoot and google my way through it until I came out the other side with something that worked. At this point, efficiency isn’t my main concern with the work I’m outputting, it’s really to get something that will work under any circumstances.

I remember when my supervisor was telling me near the beginning of my term what kind of projects he had in mind for me I literally did not have a clue what was going on. At that point, all I knew how to do was press “=” into a cell and then do math operations. NOTHING ELSE.

So here I go off the deep end with my first task being to create a macro that would automate a task that involved updating numbers and formulas for new months of data.

For those of you who are in the same boat as I was and don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “macro”, it’s a code that you can program yourself in excel that can do all sorts of things much more easily than a human can. There’s a button to press and the code interacts with the sheets and data that you have there and can do a lot with it.

My macro had really simple operations and ended up only being 3 lines long (and then repeated for the different sections of the workbook) but it took me so much research to figure out what kinds of functions it had and the syntax and I was basically googling everything I typed at that point. Thank goodness I had that one coding in C class in first year because my knowledge of for loops and if statements was solid even if the rest of my coding ability is laughable.

I have learned SO MUCH new information and methods to do things that I know will definitely become more useful later in life but mostly it’s the process of creating these logical beasts that I’ve become more enlightened on.

A lot of the time I am frustrated or confused or at a loss when creating codes or working within the spreadsheet itself with lots of formulas. I’ve opened every single link on the first page of a google search to try and see if any of those could break down the wall that I had reached. At those times all that’s going through my head is how in the world can people do this full time for their jobs and there is so much to know I’ll never know it it’s too much and even just this line makes perfect sense to me why did I end up with the broken computer that can’t read my perfect line.

BUT THEN there’s the breakthrough moment when it all goes swimmingly with no error messages popping up or wrong outputs and you feel like you’re on top of the world. I feel like I get why people code and why they put themselves through all that frustration because when you get it and it works all you want to do is bring everyone around and show them what you’ve accomplished. And code some more. It’s addictive man, I can see it.

That has been a look into my brain as I turn from complete excel novice to slightly-experienced-but-still-takes-ten-years-to-finish-something.

I’m wondering how many of you relate with this or anything similar, or if you too had no idea there was another dimension to this spreadsheet program. Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your stories!

A Day In My Mind At The Office

I’m still getting used to dressing for an office.

I check the weather this morning and it’s going to the be in the mid-twenties for the majority of the day so I restrain the urge to walk out in shorts and flip flips and instead throw on black pants and a nice top. It’s cold in the morning but I’m used to that since carrying sweaters is for the weak and people who are okay with carrying things they might not use. In the office, the sun is beating in through the window but it’s too cold on my arms.

Brief pause at 10:30am where I remember an actual piece of weight loss advice was to shiver off the pounds and I wonder if you have to actually be shivering or if it only has to get to the goosebump stage.

And on the commute home I’m going to hate the black pants I’m wearing and hope my sweaty face is only noticeable from close range. I wonder if I’ll be any better at dressing myself for my winter coop term. Stay tuned.

I did not accomplish much today actually, yesterday was probably the high point of the week already when I created a diagram of a chilled beam (a piece of HVAC equipment) using NOTHING but the SHAPES on MICROSOFT WORD. It took me a solid hour but the final product almost doesn’t look like strategically placed lines and rectangles.

Almost
Almost

Mostly what I’ve done is have a discussion with the boyfriend via text trying to let him know that I still love him even if I’m not the type of person that likes anything romantic and/or saying mushy feely things. I do feel bad and am trying to be a little more in that ballpark for him but it’s definitely not a thing that comes natural and he’s just got to be reminded sometimes.

Workwise, however, I have learned a lot and then some more about condenser heat recovery and all the different combinations of chillers, cooling tower and heat exchangers that can exist, depending on the need you need filled. It’s all very interesting and also completely confusing which means it’s slow going.

I’m not sure if my bosses expect my work to be to their standards right away yet or if they expect me to finish the work more quickly than I have been producing it but it always nags me in the back of my brain that I’m not doing it fast enough or that I’m living a lie and don’t remember anything at all from my classes. At least they can see improvement as I learn from doing and I have had many opportunities to do things.

I spend basically all of my time reading and typing and scrolling and coding on a computer screen and I’ve discovered that if you put the cursor over a long straight letter (for example, an “l”) and move it one pixel side to side, it is no longer black but instead goes from blue to orange. I find this very exciting and it is what I do while logicking something out.

And actually, today is a rare opportunity where my eyes can look at paper instead of pixels. I’ve dug up some hefty 1000 page handbooks on HVAC systems in order to have more of a clue of what I am doing. They’re quite interesting to pore over although I am severely missing the ctrl-F function to get myself where I want to be.

Song of the Day: Baby Don’t Dance – Mother Mother

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 3 and Proverbs 3. Both were very similar, reminding the reader that you actually don’t have to worry if your path is a righteous one, no matter what the world throws at you. It probably won’t be ten thousand warriors anymore but I think stress from all the things I have going on and worries for the future probably equate to that. God’s like, you should be able to sleep easily if you truly believe I am on your side. They also warned against rolling with the proud, the mocking and basically anything that the Bible categorizes as foolish. Just don’t, it’s really easy if you put in a little effort.

//This is a completely different style of blog post that my usual because I am trying it out as sort of a diary. Giving small tidbits of what has been going on in my life or going through my brain. They probably won’t be this long usually because that’s how first posts go when you’re motivated to do something but putting thoughts into typed words has always been therapeutic for me even if it doesn’t make for an eye catching blog post. No one reads this far down into a post anyway so that is reassuring in this instance.//

Things I Would Say To My Younger Self

This is a list of things that stemmed from the fact that I tend to cringe a lot when thinking about my past self and what I did or thought. Things that took me forever to figure out and by the time I did, I was very late to the party and second guessing why my friends even stuck around with me.

1) Yes, people can see that pimple. No, they don’t care.

2) Use conditioner, for everyone’s sake. Pretty please.

3) Learn to study now when it’s still easy because in the future you’ll need to and you won’t know how and there will be tears.

4) Don’t be intimidated by people your age or older. Or younger, they really aren’t that intimidating. Maybe that 12 year old dresses better than you but you’ve probably got a few things on them too.

5) Be more comfortable with your silence. You are a quiet person and if you don’t feel like talking, you don’t have to!! That being said…

6) You’re allowed to talk. Just because you don’t talk often doesn’t mean you have less of a right to have everyone hear what you have to say.

7) Please wear jeans. Yes, I know your fuzzy pants match your fuzzy sweater. Now make that go away.

8) Maybe you should have broken a few more rules so that when it came to being older your mom wouldn’t still expect you to do everything she said without question. This one’s iffy actually, past me, but I’m not sure how to get around it here on my part.

9) You like music, go discover it! How did you manage not to have a favourite artist until well into high school?

These are only a couple things that come to mind for advice that could have been useful to give to the past versions of me, albeit I might not be the same person I am today if I suddenly grew a fashion sense in the 8th grade. Who knows. And I’m definitely going to be embarrassing of 19 year old Karen in the future because the cycle never ends.

What about you guys, what are some tips or comments you really really wish you could go ahead and say to previous you? Tell me them in the comments!

TWO DOTS

aka the only thing I spend any time doing.

I discovered this app while my friend was visiting from Kingston and I stole her phone. She hadn’t actually played any of it and just had it downloaded so of course I investigated.

twodots

The premise is really simple, you connect dots of the same colour in vertical or horizontal or any mix of those to get rid of them and then more dots fall down randomly to replace them. Kind of the concept of a lot of phone games actually. The fun part is when you make a box of dots and every single dot of that colour gets eliminated!! Once you’re on a streak of those you feel like you can do anything.

So the levels started out simple enough, there’s no time limit, just a move limit so you get to be strategic and plan everything out, and each level has an objective, whether it’s to get rid of a certain number of dots or, as you’ll see when you get into higher levels, you do other challenge-y things.

I don’t want to outright spoil it, but if you scroll up the levels (that part of the app is super aesthetically pleasing. the whole gosh darned thing is.) there are clear definitions on when a new section will start and with it will come a different type of challenge.

I super recommend it to people who don’t really like games that are all up to chance (although you can be dealt a good set or bad set of dots) and are very goal oriented and like focusing on doing something until they get it right.

It can get extremely frustrating and there’s a set number of lives you have that if you run out, you have to wait a while (LITERALLY THE MOST ANNOYING THING) but it’s so addictive and fun!

I’ve pretty much made every single one of my friends download it so that I can race against them up the levels and so that they can experience the sheer joy of this game.

This isn’t a sponsored post or anything I mainly wanted the rest of the world (or the part of the world that reads my blog) to know about this game and join me in tearing their hair out and moving on up, slowly but surely.

Reasons To Smile #6

other people wearing shirts of things you like

ice cream cake

not having to set an alarm for the next morning

flowering cacti

when your feet are NOT cold

liking every song on an album

funny teachers/profs

really good fries

lip synching to a song perfectly

cool cloud formations

Coin Jewelry

The need I have for this is very intense.

I was scrolling through tumblr today and came across this picture where someone had carefully removed the heads from some american coins.

coincutoutI thought this was literally the coolest thing ever not only cause it makes me wonder how in the world they managed it (lasers?? a chainsaw? sheer willpower???) but it also looks so out of place and wonderful.

This also got me thinking down the path of how soon can I do this myself? What would I do with it? SO MANY POSSIBILITIES.

So legit this is on my bucket list I will one day manage to make cutouts in currency (except with Canadian money cause ours is so much cuter. I would have lil beavers and maple leaves and moose!!) and use them probably for jewelry like imagine just stringing one of these on a chain for a necklace or getting a bunch of them in a row for a bracelet.

Right now I’m actually supposed to be studying but my mind is going a mile a minute with how fun and creative it would be to play around with this idea.

Oddly Specific Questions

I want to know everything.

And that includes everything about a certain person. Doesn’t matter if you’re one of my besties or the friend of a friend that I’ve been left alone with until the mutual friend comes back and we’re just standing there awkwardly. I will always be interested in what you have to say about a vast amount of topics.

I satisfy this curiosity by having random questions on hand to spark these conversations. Some regulars include “What is your favourite tree?” and  “What is your ideal ugly sweater design?” and also “What store would you live in for a week?”.

I like when people really put thought into their answers and make it a personal thing instead of just giving me a look and shrugging some easy answer. It’s my way of getting to know who the person is through what kinds of things they think about. Like for the tree one, I legitimately have a top 3 so you know I like nature and lists for starters. Also people that clarify the questions even further gives me even more insight to who they are and how they think. For example, with my last question, someone who thinks more logically than impulsively might ask if they can bring anything while they’re living there or if it’s some weird type of camping where you have to survive off what’s there already.

It’s a really great way to simultaneously break the ice for what they’re getting into when being my friend/acquaintance since weird is my bread and butter while also fast tracking the learning about each other phase. I can find out what you’re doing in university later, let’s talk about which one you think is more gross: worms, snakes or spiders.

I know my answers and what it probably says about me and I’m always ready to give them if my conversational partner decides to bounce it back to me. (In this scenario: 1) Aspen, Willow, Birch, 2) Yellow, orange and purple with hot dogs and teabags and a pretentious quote and 3) IKEA)

If we get all psychoanalyze-y here, I’m pretty fairly certain that the reason my questions are so specific, as in they can usually be answer in one word or sentence, is because that’s the kind of question I like answer. The open ended ones are too broad and I never know what to say and I assume the other person doesn’t really care anyway so what’s the point. When I’m given specific questions, then I know exactly what is being asked of me and I know they want that information. It’s a win-win!

Also would you rather have a conversation about flying squirrels versus regular squirrels or about what you’re thinking of doing with your life once you graduate.

Reverse Procrastination

While I was shirking my responsibilities, discovering new corners of the internet to get lost in, I had a novel idea.

I’m pretty sure everyone in the universe experiences the phenomenon where when you really need to get something done but there’s still enough of a window that you’re not in last minute panic mode it seems like absolutely everything else is way more interesting. I find that things are more relatable on tumblr, the click bait on facebook is much more enticing and my room is way too messy to continue this way. Every activity, be it learning how to lip read or discovering some new music, is ten times more exciting than the actual thing that you are obligated to do.

I know I myself have tried the method of inducing that last minute panic earlier than it actually would come by giving myself random deadlines but it’s so easy to pretend you didn’t see the clock turn 6pm or something.

So this brainwave that I had incorporates this concept and attempts to transform it into something useful for productivity rather than detracting from it.

If you rig it right, somehow, you need to trick yourself into thinking that the work you have to do is a distraction from your real distractions.

Confused? I would be too.

What I’m trying to get at is turning the tables on yourself. Open twitter and give yourself a deadline to write a fantastic and retweet worth blurb and pretend like you are not allowed to do anything until that happens. Then, in another tab, have the research on solar panels that you’ve been trying to do all afternoon just sitting there and see what happens.

Obviously I haven’t actually tried this and there is the obvious pitfall that you could open an entirely different tab with a quiz on what famous internet cat you are (is that a thing?? you never know… And there is!!) BUT it’s an idea is all I’m saying. And as someone that actually needs to be researching solar panels right now, I have written two blog posts in a row so at least I was slightly productive with this technique…

Try this and tell me your findings, fellow internet scientist/procrastinators, whichever you identify with most!

I couldn't resist
I couldn’t resist

New Theme

I wanted a better font, pretty much. My requirements were that I needed a sidebar and the colour blue needed to be around.

Voila, what do you think of the transition? I miss the cuter vibe and the blue everywhere but readability of the font really didn’t work for my mostly-text blog. Apparently I’m into having the title in capslock though…

themebeforethemeafter

Holding My Cat’s Paw: A Saga

I love my cats.

I love them so much and it’s common knowledge that cats are very selective with when they’re going to show you some affection back which, for some people, is off-putting, but it just makes me even more excited when it happens.

One thing I know my cats aren’t into is letting you touch/hold/pet their paws but of course I like to see what I can get away with.

Today, my cat Oreo was in a super cuddly and purring mood (she’s chilling beside me completely relaxed and blissful) and we got the hand-holding going on. Of course, I had to record it for posterity so here you go:

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she’s pretending she doesn’t notice while I’m in the corner elated
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she’s happy too, I promise
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the cutest lil eye contact that ever could be
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can she get any more adorable