Reasons to Smile #7

Genuine smiles

Being able to quote a movie while watching it

Eating ice

Starting a new notebook

Beating a personal best in something fitness related

Knowing exactly where you left something (and it actually being there)

When the wind doesn’t blow your hair in your face

Being as comfortable in your friend’s house as your own

Seeing a deer in the wild

Shredding paper

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Laces for Necks

Let’s have a looksee at all the necklaces that I own, shall we?
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This is my classic, tried and true staple. It’s silver, it’s simple and it’s blue, what more could I need. I am not a person that’s into big or flashiness when it comes to the jewelry I wear (all you will be able to find on my wrists are 2 hair elastics and a waterproof watch) and this matches with that aesthetic style perfectly! Blue is my favourite colour so throwing this around my neck makes a simple outfit a little cuter in my opinion.
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Do you heart this one too? This necklace is incredibly cute; the flower design on a glass heart is a really pretty pattern that’s perfect for making an outfit brighter. (I was going to use the adjective “smiley-er” but I don’t think that actually makes sense.)
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If we’re going for originality points, this one wins hands down. The context is that this was a craft at the summer camp we worked with and there were enough supplies left over for myself and some other staff to get one! I love this simple idea to death, this well-known lego piece can now be a statement jewelry item! It also makes the connection with my being an engineer as building things is a central theme there. Also it’s blue, can’t have a bad day with a blue lego piece swinging from your neck!
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I feel like a lot of people have this one lying around their house somewhere. I definitely first got this shark tooth necklace some time ago at the Museum of Nature and recently rediscovered it. It helps me feel hardcore when I wear it even though everyone keeps gently reminding me that I am a few degrees away from being hardcore.
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This one doesn’t actually get worn very often, mostly because it isn’t anything too special and it’s gold. I think having blonde hair limits the amount of gold or yellow that I can wear because if they’re not the exact same shade then it just looks wrong. I’m also very sure this necklace came along with my Secret Garden book someone gave me a long while ago.
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This is definitely my fanciest necklace, it was a gift for graduating high school! It is similar to the first necklace, keeping the blue gem, silver chain trend, although I think these gems are actually real instead of just glass. The shape of it signifies the path of my life that I’ve started as high school came to a close. I should wear it more often.

And there you have it! My vast collection of neck-themed jewelry! (read: 6) I’ve never been someone that wears them too often though, so they usually sit on my dresser until I remember that they exist!

Your turn! Let me know your favourite necklace that you own or even just favourite type of necklace that you’ve seen!

Kill Double Spaces

Hello!
Are you a human like me that just wishes they could blog in peace without hating the fact that every time you hit enter, it automatically puts a double space and no amount of backspacing can help you?

Well I have news for you!!

After a long and arduous 45 second google search, I have discovered that you can simply hold down the shift key while pressing enter and
VOILA!
’tis a lovely single space!

I know that the spacing of my posts and writing is always important to me and it’s always killed me to be stuck with all these double spaces so there’s probably a lot of you out there that feel the same way!

Man, this completely made my morning.

Road Trip Essentials

The most summer thing to do.

It may be quite late into the summer but it’s not too late to get in one last hurrah and plan a road trip for the fun of it! I’ll be going on one this coming weekend and thought it would be a great idea to outline all the essentials to keep this bon voyage from becoming a chorus of heavenly “are we there yet???”

roadtrip - destination

The first thing you’re going to want to decide on is where you’re going. The road trip could just be driving aimlessly but then there’s no real purpose. Some ideas are:

  • A place where a lot of your family lives
  • A city where a friend you haven’t seen in a while lives
  • Somewhere you’ve never been before and know no one and are just going for the adventure
  • A place from your childhood

Anywhere you’ve been itching to go in order to see the sights or catch up on life stories is doable as long as there are roads between it and you.

roadtrip - transportation

I may be blowing my cover as Captain Obvious here but it needs to be said. Not only does there need to be a human that can drive a car in the party of people going, there also needs to be a car that
a) will survive a trip of your desired length and
b) can comfortably seat everyone.
It will be no fun sitting on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck for a couple hours and neither will a blast be had if you have to be in the middle seat scrunched between two other people. Think of these things beforehand and you’ll be thanking yourself by the end.

roadtrip - company

In the previous paragraphs, I’ve been directing this post towards one person – you. But it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Even though solitude is nice sometimes, to just drive without anyone around you either in the car or on the roads, the friends are what make a road trip memorable. Make sure you get along with anyone in the car because if there’s something between you guys, it’ll most likely be amplified in the tiny space of a moving vehicle. Best friends are great candidates because willingly spending this much time with them isn’t a chore, unlike family road trips sometimes end up being.

You’ll have plenty of time to talk, invent silly car games and just be around each other so if you don’t know your travel-mates’ life stories at the beginning of this journey, you just might by the end.

roadtrip - music

This deserves capital letters because most people have strong opinions on the music they want to listen to. And since there’ll be a lot of time to fill during any road trip, the songs are going to need to happen! It’s best to know what common ground everyone coming along has in terms of music taste, including everyone’s vetos. Of course, everyone should be willing to be flexible in order for everyone to be happy and I really don’t think you can go wrong with Disney!

Some people like creating playlists that have the theme of summer or vacation or road trips to set the mood so if anyone in the car has a knack for that, get them to go right ahead and you’ll feel 10x more legit.

roadtrip - snacks

Humans need to eat in order to live. [citation needed] Whatever your food situation may be, be it quick runs to the Timmies* every time you stop from gas, an entire picnic meal/dinner or easy access snack items, it’s important to have some on hand so that everyone stays comfortable and happy. Water is also an important thing to pack, although in this scenario you have to think of when you’ll be able to let it out.

*non-Canadians can calm their confusion, I’m just talking about Tim Horton’s, our equivalent of your coffee and donut shops.

roadtrip - entertainment

We’ve talked about music which is a large portion of car ride entertainment but there’s plenty of other things to do. As I child, I was the queen of making up something to keep my sister and I occupied in the back seat. I’m not sure how many I got from other places and how many I got from my brain but I will share them all willingly here.

The Alphabet Game – Very straightforward, you’re competing against or working together with everyone in the car in order to find all the letters of the alphabet in order on anything you see outside of the car. (stores, licence plates, road signs, etc) One of my rules is that you may only take one letter from a common location before you move on

The Rainbow Car Game – Same deal, look outside your window and find a car that is each colour of the rainbow in order (red, orange, yellow, green blue, purple). Orange and yellow and quite rare and you may find yourself stuck on those for a while

Car Count – This is a straight up competition. You each pick a colour of car and count every time you see one of that colour. Whoever gets the most wins! Heads up, silver and red are quite common.

Animal Name Game – this game definitely was invented by me. It involves looking for animals outside and then giving them a name. That is all. Good for going through the countryside and seeing cow after horse after llama. I’ve given a flock of birds names, they get quite silly at this point.

Bingo/Scavenger Hunt – If someone wants to put in the necessary effort of thinking up things you could potentially see on a road trip, they should definitely do so because that could be a lot of fun!

roadtrip - plan

Overall, you just really need to plan this kind of thing out. I know in the movies and books, they just jump in the car with their sunglasses and romantic tension and off they go but really it’s important to have a very good idea of certain things like

  • what route you’ll take
  • where you’ll stop and how often
  • where you’re going to sleep
  • who brings what
  • how long it’ll take

Everyone should also be aware of the plan so that it’s not up to one person to stress all about it. If you’ve got locations in mind in advance, there’s much less of a chance of something going wrong and therefore a higher chance of everyone having a great time!

A Few Final Things…

You should keep in mind the distance as well because sometimes a road trip can be too long and cars can start feeling like a sardine can – smell and all. The longer the trip, the higher the cost with food and gas and places to sleep so although it feels very freeing to just go, it won’t do to use up all your funds on this expedition.

And that is all of my knowledge about road trips, please put it to good use and tell me about any road trips you’ll go on in the future or have gone on and loved. It’s good to enjoy the summer while you can because school is just around the corner (small gasp)

Technical Writing and I

It’s a struggle.

I’ve always loved writing. Ever since I was a kid, I would fill notebooks up with random stories usually centered around my current favourite animal and document my day, journal-style. I was a voracious reader and for a good portion of my childhood, I thought I had it in me that I could one day be a famous author. That or a pet shop store owner, that it.

Fast forward to my first year of university where I get to take a wonderful, joyous and soul sucking class about technical report writing.

It could be the fact that it took place at 5pm on a Friday but it could also be the fact that we relearned basic grammar and got reminded that anything imaginative and unprofessional was not needed.

The one thing that I’m actually thankful that I learned in that class was the proper use of the word “whom” which says a lot about everything else that was taught.

Right now, I’m actually required to do a lot of technical reports and summaries for my coop job which feels a lot different from that writing class in that people are going to actually read them and need them to be at a certain level while in class, the only person I had to impress was the TA and only enough to get a decent grade.

The part that is similar is that it’s still like pulling my own teeth in order to produce something other people would consider a professional technical report. I still do love writing as a way to get my thoughts out on paper (hello! I have a blog!) but I find the methods completely different.

I have to go through an entire process where

  • I first ramble out what I want to say in this sort of format, bolding and italicizing words and sections in the process (bold means “is this really important enough to add” and italics means “I’m too busy to find a good synonym right now but there is no way in heck that this word is going to be in the final draft”)
  • Then I need to go back through it and make better sections and subheadings in order for things to be clearer. My saving grace turns out to be bullet points because everyone loves their easy, informative layout but I also don’t have to put together sentences that actually flow!
  • Finally, I correct everything by reading it out loud to myself under my breath and rearranging everything until it is actually good. And I always have to remind myself to go through the bolded and italicized text to fix what past me left for future me.

I think in my time here I have improved on my writing skills just from sheer volume of writing and that those professional connector words like moreover and consequently are slowing worming their way into my textular vocabulary.

I would love to actually go back and read that report on Composite Parts for Automobiles I handed in for my final grade in that class to see how bad it looks from my newly experienced eyes.

Pro Tip: Whom

Here’s the how-to on when and where to use the word “whom”.

Turns out it’s not just thrown into a sentence to make oneself sound fancy! The rule I use that consistently works is to answer the question about the subject of the sentence.

If the answer is he, use who.

If it’s him, use whom.

Simple as that!

Here are some examples:

Who/whom are you going to do cartwheels with? I am going to do cartwheels with him. Therefore it’s whom!

Who/whom is going to weigh the cat tonight? He is going to weigh the cat tonight. So you get to use who!

But here’s the real secret for these two tricky words…Literally no one uses whom, you get the message across just fine if you use who for everything and it’s much easier than trying to figure out the difference? Maybe if you want to be annoying you can correct people on their usage of the word or there’s always the classic trying-to-sound-fancy-and-better-than-thou-so-I’ll-use-words-like-thou-and-whom.

But it is kind of fun actually knowing the difference, isn’t it?

Listing 16 Facts About Lists

An amazingly original and zero percent sarcastic idea.

  • People like lists
  • Lists keep people organized
  • Lists help those of us that can’t actually create good sentence flow in a regular paragraph
  • You can use a list to write down thoughts without forgetting them
  • Bullet points help separate ideas
    • Sub lists create a whole new level of fun
    • Literally
    • But also make you feel so much more organized
    • While helping you clump related tasks
  • Lists let you rest your eyes and brain from reading blocks of text
  • Its efficient
  • And much easier to skim if you’re not committed to reading an entire article
  • They help classify the piece of text that appears below
  • Poetry

There once was a girl who would list/To ensure her brain would get the gist/Of what she must do/To keep track of school/Or else some homework would be missed

  • See?
  • Counting makes clickbaiting easy: 10 easy ways to eliminate a body! 17 things he may not be telling you… 6 reasons this sock will change your life!
  • Even I’m curious and I made those up
  • One word: checking off tasks in a to-do list
  • Great for brainstorms
    • To help you realize what might be a glorious idea in your head but fall flat on paper
      • Get it, flat, because paper is 2D
        • When you discover you can continue subheading forever
          • But then get annoyed when the length of a line becomes too short
            • It’s your own fault, sister
  • Not needing to come up with a conclusion

Home: The Movie

Based on my absolute favourite book: The True Meaning of Smekday

This is going to be a review of the adaptation of one of my favourite books of all time. I still haven’t made an actual review of it to link to you guys but one day it will arrive. Although I sincerely think the contents of it would be something along the lines of: “read these 17 quotes, aren’t they hilarious, oh here’s some context refer to the glossary for all the words that don’t make sense now look at this picture hahaha remember when oh yeah you might not have read it why are you reading this when you could read that dude go do it now trust this internet stranger”

Truly feeling like a hipster when I first read the book when it came out 8 years ago (le gasp I’m old) and finally the movie adaptation was released in 2015 with most people who see it never knowing that there was a book first and the book was better.

Yep, I went ahead and said it. The book was truly magnificent with a blend of random and deep and the movie chose a few of the lessons learned in the book, made the painfully obvious and then dumbed everything else down to kid level. Which I respect I guess, movies are a different form of entertainment than books and when you put that much effort into animating this world, it’s got to be something the masses and target audience will enjoy.

If I had seen the movie never knowing about the book’s existence, I still would have loved it though, the book is not the only thing that’s making me give Home an overall great review. I mean, I could spend the whole time griping about how they missed their chance of including teleportation, asphyxiation and just-add-water-sheep-lookalikes but I think I’ll pass.

CHARACTERS

Right away, Oh was a little over the top but it makes the plot by setting him aside as an outcast and making his transformation in the end more obvious. I bet the kids adored him and his silly antics even though I was more entertained with how they kept the stilted speech of the Boov similar to the style of the book than his ridiculous antics.

Side note: I was lie-on-the-floor devastated when I found out that they had changed his name from J.Lo to Oh because that takes away from the insane charm of the book. However, I was dance-with-strangers-on-the-street happy that they managed to cast the actual J.Lo as Tip’s mother.

Captain Smek was a character that I did not care for in the least. He was even more comic relief than Oh was and it was pretty much just annoying. The gelatinous and colourful body properties of the Boov were unnecessary in my opinion but I guess got a kick out of it. I need to keep reminding myself that this movie is in fact not aimed towards 20 year old girls.

Rihanna was perfect as Tip and Tip was the character that best translated from page to screen. They kept the fact that she was scared and needed her mother and was willing to do whatever it took to get there. She was strong and vulnerable and basically amazing.

The final main character was Kyle the traffic Boov and while he may seem like just some random guy that they added I basically died when I heard that he was actually going to be important.  In the book, J.Lo pretends that he knows a traffic Boov and calls her Kyle and it’s just a random not-really-that-important interaction so I love how big a role he ended up getting.

PLOT

The plot was so basic compared to that of the book but it had enough twists and funny moments to keep me entertained.

One of my actual favourite scenes was one they took straight from the book, direct quotes and everything‼ It happened in the mopo (although I forget if it was an actual mopo in the movie) slash convenience store where Oh and Tip first meet. All of that coming into the out and mimom and shoot forth lasers from my eyeballs and exploding heads being impolite was from the book and it made me so happy! If you are near me when that happens, I not only quote the entire thing along with them but I also fill in the rest with every fact from the book that you really didn’t want to know and are busy just wishing I would be quiet.

But who wouldn’t want to know that Gratuity found something called Tub! That came with its own spoon?????

In the novel, Slushious takes them across the United States but I found traveling across the pacific and around the world made the adventure even more exciting! There was just enough panic with the invitation bringing their enemies down upon them to keep you on the edge of your seat and all the Boov technology was really well done!

Some more subtle nods to the book I had forgotten about until now are the orange peels that Captain Smek was wearing as that ended up being all the rage to the Boov in Florida as well as Oh eating the urinal cakes in the bathroom.

Finally, the ending was really well done. The friendship and family tie-ins were very strong and real and pulled at all the right emotions. At this point we had strayed so far from the book plot that I could simply appreciate that finale for all it was.

FINAL THOUGHTS

At the end of the day, Home is an amazing movie with an amazing soundtrack featuring the first black animated protagonist which is pretty nifty and great. It’s cute enough for both kids and adults to enjoy and will hopefully expose people to the book it originated from so that they can experience true happiness.

Other things they missed out on in the movie:

  • Bubble writing
  • 7 magnificent genders
  • An alien hiding in plain sight in Roswell
  • Two separate organizations called BOOB
  • And of course, 4 pages full of the word ‘meow’
not pictured: me dying from this scene being in the actual movie

The Curse of Wasting Time on Your Own

Or, Karen complains about nothing important!

So I’m living the office life 37.5 hours a week for the past 14 weeks. I went through the phase of being in awe and excited about everything from attending a teleconference to having a drawer with my own stapler. We’re past that, although I am going to miss my plethora of sticky notes.

I’m sure everyone’s on the same page with me on this when I say that it’s impossible for me to work at 100% efficiency for the entire 8 hours that I’m here. Sometimes you just need to click away from what you’re doing and take a walk or check facebook.

The thing is, we all pretty much pretend we’re working all the time, I’ve seen many a fast window change or two screens with one having a buzzfeed article and the other a random excel sheet. And that’s totally fine I know these coworkers of mine are competent and have been powering through their work during the day also.

The people that I’m envious of are the ones that like chatting as a form of straying from their work. I have been in a conversation about firefighters for almost half an hour one time because the dude I was talking to was so effective at continuing the conversation. I see those people that bring over a paper to another section of the office then stay to talk about their vacation and this tv show and what they’re having for lunch which is great and the only way to ever got to know who you’re working with in the long run but it’s so subtle at wasting time.

If I was on youtube straight up just laughing at what I’m watching for 20 entire minutes, that’s extremely different than standing up and talking with the person across from your cubicle for the same duration.

“But Karen, nothing’s stopping you from also doing that”, you say. Yes, there is something stopping me and it’s that I’d rather be working than attempting to converse for a long amount of time a) with people I don’t know very well and b) when I’m tired and am actually wanting a break. It doesn’t make me energized in the least to have a vague discussion about weekend plans which truly does suck because I feel like those types of people can get away with so much more!

That concludes my non-issue at work today, back to trying to explain the math I did to people who don’t care about math‼

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!