YOUR New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve made my resolutions, now it’s time for me to help you make yours!

These, of course, are suggestions that you can take or leave but if you’re looking for inspiration or confirmation, this is it.

  1. Find a type of exercise you actually love. Story time: my mother is one of those people that wanted to do something about her current fitness level and tried to sign up for gym memberships and even beginner volleyball classes but nothing stuck and all motivation would peter out quickly. Just 3 months ago, she signed up for some aquafit classes at the local YMCA because she heard it was good for your back and she’s been going around 3 times a week since then! She’s become one of those people that complains when she had to miss a class! So you CAN get fit or lose those pounds, you just need to find your method! The gym is not for everyone, it might be competition or environment that gives you a reason to keep coming back to it.
  2. Read one book per month. Reading is something that people feel like they don’t have time for but books are, in my opinion, a great part of life and important to expand your imagination. So by setting aside your commute to listen to audiobooks or before bed to read a chapter or two, it is definitely plausible to get through at least one book each moon cycle. Definitely try to get a diverse selection from fantasy to non-fiction because the world is huge and there’s no telling what you might learn.
  3. Invest in friendships. You have no idea how important this is. It’s so easy to let great people slip out of your lives or to not initiate getting to really know someone because you already have your family to talk to. Coffee dates are easy to plan, letter writing is not dead and potlucks are really fun. You don’t have to become a social butterfly but do hold on to the friends you have and make sure they know that they are important to you! That isn’t done enough in my opinion.
  4. Create. Totally open-ended, totally depends on what you enjoy and what you’d love to try. I believe we all have something inside of us that needs to create things whether it be an elegant computer code, your very first knitted scarf or a story. I’m sure there’s something that you’re passionate about and if you’re passionate about it you will totally be able to make the time for it in this coming year!

These are my tips to making your year a success (hopefully), let me know what you would have added to the list or what you’re taking from mine!

2016 Goals

I’ve decided that if I don’t call them “resolutions” that there might be a higher chance of me trying to accomplish them.

I’m actually one of those people that tries to take every opportunity I can to make promises that I inevitably don’t keep to better myself. At the beginning of a new school year, after a particularly unproductive weekend, whatever might motivate me to try and have a New Start to create a Better Self.

At least I realize that I’m not that disciplined of a person and am not that disappointed in my failure but I do know that I steadily improve each time I try to create new habits. In conclusion, it’s not like setting goals for myself is making anything worse so here I go!

1. Develop skills. This includes but is not limited to my coding abilities, decreasing my aversion to networking and spending more time crocheting cool projects.

2. Spend more time reading. Honestly I’ve gone from reading 100+ books a year to less than 50 and I’m not sure why, maybe it was because I’ve been spending more time on the internet or homework is much harder than it used to be but I would like to go back to the former please.

3. Put effort into others. Just because I am an introvert does not mean that I’m allowed to never plan hang outs and not stay friends with the cool people that I have the pleasure of knowing in my life.

4. Clean up. My ability to walk through a dirty room unfazed is stellar, unfortunately that is exactly what I’m trying to curb. Hopefully I can create habits that make it less of a chore to stay tidy!

5. Track money and time. I find that if I know where I am spending my money and my time then I will be much more capable of deciding whether that is something I want to continue or if there are things I need to cut back on.

6. Be the nerd I want to be. Which is someone that is always on top of their schoolwork and rewrites their notes are prettily and pretty much knows everything about all their subjects. Serious goals.

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?

Uncertain

Double and triple checking everything is a reality for me.

I literally don’t accept what I think I know at face value. I can read a recipe or maybe the solution to a math problem and then when I’m using the information I just read, I second guess if I actually read it right. Like it literally just entered my brain so I haven’t had time to forget it I just don’t believe I know it for some reason. Only 0.02% of the time did I actually get it wrong because I simply misread it but it doesn’t happen as often as it would need to for me to be this paranoid.

Another time where this situation happened that was really bad was when I got on the bus with two of my friends to go to the movies and I was the only one who knew the way. I have done this route hundreds of times (okay a little less but still I know my stuff) but I still had a minor panic attack where my chest clenched up about halfway through because I was worried that we got on in the wrong direction or had missed the theatre. Everything was fine, of course, but it left me wondering why in the world I kept doubting myself like this.

What is self confidence, who knows, I don’t have it…

You can share similar experiences in the comments if you have them!

Smek For President

The first answer to any of those “what person dead or alive would you want to have dinner with” questions is Adam Rex.

smekforpresidentHe’s the author and illustrator to many a book, including my all time favouriteThe True Meaning of Smekday.

We’ll get into exactly why that is in a later post so that I can put all my focus into converting you into a major fan also but the point of this post is to celebrate and anticipate!

After 8 long years, there is now a sequel. The first book was a standalone, the ending was satisfying (actually it was a lot more than that) so it’s not like we’ve been dying over a cliffhanger for the past couple years but it excites me to no end that there will be more of an alien named J.Lo and a girl named Tip in a post-alien invasion world that will apparently include a presidential campaign but I know nothing because I haven’t even read the description I just want to go in blind and be amazed.

that was one very extremely long run on sentence

Things I Hope To See In The Sequel:

– more boovish history

– comics

– Gratuity and her mom

– J.Lo not understanding normal human things

– J.Lo’s horrible grammar

– how the aliens have integrated themselves into our world

The novel came out February 10th so there is absolutely no reason as to why I am not reading it right now. That makes me a little upset. Not sure if I should just go out and buy it or wait for the 8 people in line ahead of me at the library to hurry up and finish…

If you guys are fans of Adam Rex’s work, let me know so we can discuss at length how awesome these books are!!

Resolutions 2015

“new year, new me” I say as I overtake the body of my next host.

– tumblr user masturbending

I’m totally okay with this being the first you hear of me in this new year.

I’ve always been on the fence about making resolutions since it just feels like I’m setting myself up for failure but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take amirite guys? (so inspirational)

1. Read my Bible every day. I think it’s important to put away time for that kind of thing. My life gets real hectic real quickly and stuff falls to the side but I want to make it a priority to actually try to keep this up.

2. Do something school related every day. I know me and I know that I will try to rationalize that going to school counts as school but this is me on the record saying that it isn’t. Even if it’s just reading through the notes I took that day, it’ll help me immensely to not fall behind which is the major cause of any stress in my life. Also when coop applications start I have to be on that like a lion.

3. Keep my room clean.  It’ll feel really awesome and I like the idea of everything having its own place. I know how quickly it can become a danger zone so I’d like to avoid that because the cleanup is way worse than just throwing a couple things into the laundry bin.

4. Learn how to do my eyebrows better.  I know, this isn’t that important and life changing but eyebrows really do make a face look better or worse so that is something that would be nice to have.

5. Keep in better contact with my friends.  Man, I am so bad at this. I can’t even keep a text conversation going without hour long pauses where my friends are probably definitely sure I died and have already made calls about the flower arrangements at my funeral before I get back to them. And those are the people I see pretty regularly. The people that I have no common locations to run into them are the worst because I super want to continue being friends with them but losing contact is just way too easy.

6. Be less anemic.  I’m not actually anemic I’m just on the verge. But it’s enough for me not to be able to donate blood like 52% of the time which is super annoying so eating iron rich foods and all that good stuff is going to be mandatory for this year. Donating is the bomb.

So yeah, these are my resolutions of 2015, I’d love to know yours down in the comments!

Procrasti-peeing

Oh hello friends. Let’s pretend there wasn’t a 5 month hiatus on this blog and get straight to what we like talking about most: procrastinating and peeing.

I am currently trying to finish a paper for my business class that is actually worth 20% of my final grade and seriously I had this assignment from the beginning of the school year yet it is only in the last week that I have actually looked at it. Go me. I’ve already gotten tired of perusing social media in attempts to distract myself so at this point I have resorted to reading my own blog and drinking water.

I’ve literally peed 4 times in the last hour and then read an article on how too much water is actually bad for you so my water bottle is going to remain untouched for the next few hours.

What a great way to ease back into the blogging life. I bet this post will get everyone excited for what’s to come. Who doesn’t want to read about someone’s bathroom habits???

Man I get sarcastic when I’m stressed.

Ready Player One: Book Review

ready player oneLet me preface this by saying that this is not the type of book you’d usually see me reading. And that’s actually kind of sad. Because although I do adore a lot of the books I read, there’s so much more out there that I need to also dive into. But anyway yeah, this isn’t a dystopian book centred around a girl who fights the government and gets two boys to fight over her and that’s okay.

Ready Player One was recommended to me in this person‘s book rec vlog and I was just like “okay, yeah, I’ll order it at the library and see if I have time to get through it. The cover’s kind of cool or whatever.” Like it caught my attention but not in the I’m Going To Die If I Don’t Have This In My Hands Within The Next Hour way. (Kinda like Blood Red Road, actually.)

I brought it with me to read on a long car journey and couldn’t put it down. It’s an almost 400 page novel and I finished it in two nights plus the car ride. Seriously it was fantastic and I couldn’t get enough of it. There were so many puzzles and the characters were amazing and I probably had a smile on my face while reading some of it; it was really that great.

I’m going to try and give you a little synopsis so here we go: Our main character is Wade Watts. His dad named him that because he thought the alliteration gave his name a sort of superhero vibe (a la Peter Parker or Clark Kent) but that’s not important to the plot, I just thought it was cool. Anyway, this whole thing is set way into the future where basically all anyone does is go on the Oasis which is a video game turned virtual reality thingy where you can live your life in a cooler way than you ever could in real life.

The creator of all this is a dude named James Halliday whose death marked the beginning of this book. Obviously he was all kinds of rich and obviously he was an antisocial recluse that didn’t have any heirs to pass down his massive fortune to. SO he thought “hey, why not hold a contest where I hide three keys for three gates in my little Oasis game and whoever goes through all the gates gets all the money! That cool with everyone?”

Obviously everyone went crazy trying to find them but this world had thousands upon thousands of planets and you really had to know what you were looking for to get there so it really got nowhere and a lot of people gave up. But not our Wade. Despite being so poor that he can’t even pay to get off the planet he’s on right now, he’s decided he’s going to be the one to win this contest and basically devotes his life to being obsessed with everything Halliday was every obsessed with. Aka anything to do with 80s culture and also videogames.

I’m not going to go into any more detail but there are friends and there are bad guys and there are eureka moments and it’s just one of the best things I have ever read in a while.

I can’t imagine what reading it must be like to people who atari logoactually know more than your average human about 80s pop culture because I am not well versed in most of that yet I still really enjoyed reading about it. Like every second page was just full of release dates and artists and producers and the most minute details on random things like Monty Python or Atari or John Hughes.

All the strategy and hardcore clue solving made me giddy as the whole process was described in lots of detail so even if you, like me, could barely even get your head around what they were talking about, you would still be able to grasp the connections and marvel at the ingenuity of it all.

It was a great beat-the-odds type of book where these teenagers faced a greedy corporation that wanted the winnings for themselves and had all the resources to do it yet were still undermined by some pesky kids.

The romance was kind of forced and interrupted the goods parts (and I don’t usually say that ever!!) but it came through at the end and was pretty adorable.

And I’ve been trying to keep it spoiler free but I need to get something off my chest so if you’re going to read this book and care about spoilers please don’t read the next paragraph, kay?

So when they revealed Aech’s real life identity, I had to laugh. Like I was kinda rooting for him to be a black character y’know cause Wade wouldn’t be expecting that or something but no, Aech had to be every single minority possible all tossed into one. Which is great that there’s representation and all but after most people being white and male, with the exception of Art3mis, it was a little bit of a shock to see a black, overweight, lesbian woman. I like that she exists, it’s just a little funny that it wasn’t spread out or anything among many characters it was just BAM hello. Yeah that’s what I wanted to say.

Anyway, please read the book, I don’t even know if it’s popular amongst everyone because, like I mentioned earlier, I don’t really roll in those circles, although I should really start doing that. Sci fi is quite great!

Oddly Specific Book Recs (OSBR #1)

In case you didn’t know, I read a lot.

I love to read and I love discussing books with people that also love to read. It’s one of the few conversation topics I can actually go on about for a really long time.

Another thing I like is connecting said other person with a book that I think they’d really enjoy. I might have just read something and just want every single person on the planet to also read it (aka that time I read Blood Red Road by Moira Young. If you haven’t GO! Go NOW!) but other times, if I know the person well enough, then it’s really fun for me to rack my brain for the actual perfect book for them. The one that just matches up with so many of their interests. Like a book soul mate.

Thus this series on my blog is born. It won’t be a regular thing like my Reasons to Smile, Masterposts or Beautiful Boys but whenever I stumble onto a perfect pairing of human and page, then I won’t hesitate to talk about it.

cinder - marissa meyerThe book is Cinder by Marissa Meyer and the person is my friend in Biomed Mechanical Engineering.

The number one similarity is that she’s really interested in prosthetics for different parts of the human body like heart valves or hip replacements and anything of that sort and Cinder, the main character, is a cyborg. That is the literal same thing, just a lot more advanced. Of course, the science behind Cinder’s superhuman body is fictional but it is backed by research done by the author on potential things that humans could someday achieve.

Then there’s that tiny connection that she’s in a type of mechanical engineering and Cinder is a mechanic.

And finally, my friend is a really rational, cuts straight to the chase, no nonsense person so if the romance in a book was the central theme with all the pining and overthinking she’d probably have a fit. In Cinder, of course there’s some romance, it is after all in the YA genre and a retelling of Cinderella, but it’s definitely not the most important aspect. There’s the whole equality issue and stopping someone evil from taking over the world business to take care of as well.

The verdict is actually in: she loved it! I lent her my copy yesterday and she was asking for the second book in the series today. I am a miracle worker. Just kidding, loved the fact that she loved it, dreading to tell her the news that the series isn’t finished yet so she’ll have to wait a while after finishing Cress to read the last book.