Smek For President: Review

Oh J.Lo, how I love you.

It’s hard to give this book a real review explaining why I liked it and what I thought about the themes found inside when all I really want to do is quote all the funny parts to you. I’ll end up doing both, most definitely.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog at one point or another, Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday and anything that is remotely related to it is automatically my favourite thing in the world. I don’t make the rules that’s just how it is.

smekforpresident

Summary from Goodreads:

After Tip and J.Lo banished the Gorg from Earth in a scheme involving the cloning of many, many cats, the pair is notorious-but not for their heroics. Instead, human Dan Landry has taken credit for conquering the Gorg, and the Boov blame J.Lo for ruining their colonization of the planet. Determined to clear his name, J.Lo and Tip pack into Slushious, a Chevy that J.Lo has engineered into a fairly operational spaceship, and head to New Boovworld, the aliens’ new home on one of Saturn’s moons.

But their welcome isn’t quite as warm as Tip and J.Lo would have liked. J.Lo is dubbed Public Enemy Number One, and Captain Smek knows that capturing the alien is the only way he’ll stand a chance in the Boovs’ first-ever presidential election.

With the help of a friendly flying billboard named Bill, a journey through various garbage chutes, a bit of time travel, and a slew of hilarious Boovish accents, Tip and J.Lo must fight to set the record straight-and return home in once piece.

It was a little harder for me to get into Smek for President (you know, like reach that point where it doesn’t feel like you’re reading words anymore and are just experiencing the story) but it was a delightful read. I feel like the plot was less crazy than The True Meaning of Smekday as the setting remained the same the whole time and the reader wasn’t getting introduced to all of the characters this time around although it did have a pretty hilarious, spoilery twist that I found hilarious and perfect. You’ll know it. It’s even illustrated.

The novel made up for any of that by being classically random in the most ingenious ways. Our 7th grade selves that were known to sometimes say “I’m so rANdoM xD TACOS!!” have got nothing on Adam Rex’s genius. It’s example time now:

  • We’ve got the complete rules to Stickyfish which are actually coherent and could be adapted to the real world just like JK Rowling’s creation of Quidditch
  • A friendly billboard named William “Bill” Board
  • A hoverbutt
  • A boov not understanding the concept of “I can’t wait to do this thing” and explaining that you indeed will have to wait
  • Guns that turn everything blue
  • Some poomps, pardon my language
  • An appearance from “Rihanna”
  • The museum of noises

In short, read this book then come back and agree with me! (Or not, you do you)

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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.

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‼

Top 10 Things To Do With A Onesie

This is going to be utter nonsense so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Onesies are an item of clothing that have become more and more popular in recent years due to their funny look and extreme comfort! But who says all you have to do is wear the thing?? This is so much more to be done with this Thneed-esque ensemble!

1. Wear it as pants with the sleeves tied around your waist. Okay, this isn’t the most out there things to be done and I’m betting a lot of you have already discovered the joy of fuzzy warmth covering your legs PLUS the feel of a lumberjack sweater wrapped around your middle. This way you can wear a tshirt on your top half instead of having long sleeves!

2. Wear it as per usual, but at a fancy event. This time, don’t change up the outfit, change up the scenery. You’ll probably get labelled as the quirky kid or at least get some strange looks but those are so fun to get when you really don’t care what others are actually thinking of you. If you want, you can do this for science and write down reactions and words people have about your situation.

3. Fill it with stuff because it would feel cool. Works even better if you have the footie variety. But if you have some random markers or fake flowers or whatever floats your boat, just dump it in the top and shake around until it makes its way to the bottom. Or whatever. Do what you want.

4. Put it on straight out of the dryer. It’s like a full body hug. Except without all the awkwardness of another human being. (Human being hugs are quite amazing though)

5. Pretend it’s a thneed and make up weird uses for it. Kind of already described it as such but you have to admit the resemblance is pretty close. SO why not wrap it around your head as some sort of sun hat or throw it across one shoulder in a sort of sash. There’s leg holes and arm holes that can be put on the wrong places. You could make a whole fashion event out of it and have people rate each other on creativity and style. Also, there’s the important part where you memorize and perform the song from The Lorax.

thneed

6. Eat lots of food and watch as the onesie hides it from everyone! Seriously, those things aren’t form-fitting at all so you can get your eating game on and enjoy that food baby while wearing this thing.

7. Get together with friends and climb a tall wall with them. Keep in mind that in this scenario you aren’t actually wearing the onesies. It just sounds like a cool adventure to grab some people and descend down or ascend up an obstacle by using what materials you have on hand (in the case, the 7 onesies y’all brought specifically to do this but that’s just a minor detail) and actually accomplish something that’s probably quite hard. Team building! Looking ridiculous in public! What’s not to like!

8. Use it as a body double. More on that later.

9. Use it for costumes. There’s probably a whole bunch of costumes that can come from adding a few frills to a onesie. You choose the colour and then anything goes! Tails, ears, pins sequins and more; the whole lot can be added with some easy sewing or hot gluing and voila!

10. Stand on a heater. The kind that blows hot air. If you can follow my train of thought, you’ll see this ending in head being blown directly up through your leg holes and just pillowing around you and keeping you the toastiest you’ve ever been. The best situation to remedy being up too early on a winter morning. Or eating ice cream even though the temperature is not optimal for eating ice cream. You do you.

So. There you have it. My top 10 things to do with a onesie. Nevermind that I thought of the title first then had to come up with 10 things to fill the list up with, I think it turned out pretty well. These could actually be quite tame compared to what some people are willing to do. So, in the comments, let me know if you’re a fan of any of these ideas or you’ve cooked up a few fantastic ones yourself.

Spelling Queen

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

Back in the 8th grade, when the end of the school year still meant watching movies and zero stress, I was a pretty decent speller. (But only bak then. Now I’m horible with werds and kan’t speil to safe my live.) Decent enough that I won my class’s mini spelling bee to see who would represent them in the schoolwide one. The winning word was brackish.

Side Note: my best friend at the time got eliminated from the running by the word sugar. I remember being so disappointed in her.

Anyway, fast forward to the big auditorium (and by big auditorium I mean the gym with a stage on one side and everyone sitting on the floor) with all us representatives from every class from the big grade 8s down to the lowly grade 4s in rows on the stage. I forget what my number was. I could go check my yearbook that has those horribly unflattering pictures documenting that moment in time but there is legitimately a cat on my lap right now so I can’t. I’m sure you’re all devastated.

Insert the really uneventful process of elimination in which we each took our turn and stood in front of the mike while a teacher sitting at a table – with a binder of words and a legitimate bell that they ring when you get a letter wrong and simultaneously bring dishonour on your family – told us which word to spell. Some people asked for definitions and languages of origin not because it actually helped them but just so that they could look cool.

ACTUALLY scratch that one of my words was “kernel” which is no big usually except you know how for some inexplicable reason colonel and kernel are homonyms so I actually had to ask for the definition. And plot twist the definition was like “the leader of a group” or something random like that and NOT “an unpopped popcorn” or “some guy in the military” which are your standard two definitions so I went with the popcorn spelling and got it right.

I remember being nervous as heck since public speaking was and still is so not my forte and literally shaking as I went up to spell my word. I also remember spelling everyone else’s words in my head to make sure I was totally in the spelling zone (I was)

This went on for a long time until there was only 2 of us left and I got my word wrong. But let’s make it clear: I misheard them say probable instead of probably. Which, let’s be honest, is probably the lamest way to go out. Luckily, the other kid, some 4th grader, got his word wrong too so I was back in the game. We sparred for what seemed like forever until I realized what would happen if I won: I would have to go on to Regionals and there would be more people and possibly televised and oh gosh that was exactly the opposite of what my 12 year old introverted self wanted so when my word to spell was goatee I went up there and confidently said “Goatee. G-O-T-E-E. Goatee.” The sweet little ding of freedom sounded and it was up to my opponent to spell this next word right plus one more to seal the deal of his victory.

The last word was tutu. It was a great victory for him and I was quite happy with my second place.

My friends were kind of disappointed in me when they learned of my planned escape from winning but hey, if they wanted to do the whole spelling in front of strangers thing, they should’ve beaten me to it and gotten to second best speller in the whole school themselves.

Taco Cat

And Other Cool Palindromes

Red roses run no risk, sir, on nurses order

A man, a plan, a canal — Panama

Too hot to hoot

Nurse, I spy gypsies, run!

Stressed was I ere I saw desserts

Stiff, o dairyman, in a myriad of fits

Step on no pets!

Nemo, we revere women

Worst Texter Award

…goes to me.

Even though non-face to face communication is my preferred method of communication, I still somehow manage to make it unfun to talk to me.

First of all, there’s the fact that I always forget that I’m talking to you and just leave my phone somewhere in my house only to stumble onto it a couple hours later. I also do that thing where I read a text, reply to it in my head, put my phone down and then get annoyed when you don’t text me back.

And then there’s the fact that for some reason my brain can’t comprehend the length of a normal text like either it’s 5 paragraphs long or 3 really short two word sentences. Sometimes I score and get a decent length but most of the time my friends probably want to hit their head against a wall.

Lastly, I’m no good at showing emotions. I refuse to say lol and barely use emoticons. (But to be fair, I don’t have an iphone with all those emojis but you can bet your bottom dollar all I would punctuate my texts with would be the eggplant. Hands down.) If you can squeeze a smiley face out of me then congrats because that is not a regular occurrence.

eggplant emoji
definitely me

What about you guys? What’s your preferred mode of communication? How do you think you are at texting? Let me know!!

New Words & New Friends

Yesterday was a good day.

I know I’ve complained about my schedule to you guys before but I’m actually warming up to it now! Being at school for 14 hours, I was pretty much dead by the end of it but right now after I had a good night’s sleep and am actually fully functional, it was a pretty sweet day. This is the part where I tell you about it.

Canadian BeavertailsDSC_2835-450

I had physics first thing which probably sounds like the opposite of a good thing but it’s one of my favourite classes! And to boot I understood all the problems we did in class AND we didn’t write as much as usual so my hand doesn’t hate me. Then came a 3 hour break in which I braved the freezing cold to stand in line for free beavertails and maple taffy with a friend. Worth it.

Cue a second three hour break (Yes, I am at school without classes for the same amount of time my little sister is at school in total. Just let that sink in.) in which I chilled with a friend, had food (always worth mentioning), and was productive in a way that didn’t feel very productive and therefore didn’t tire me out as much, Bonus.

 

I then had a class in which I know the most people (we take up a whole row) and when I see that I get proud of myself for being social and knowing that many people. Other thing that happened in that class was that I sat beside and talked to one of those friends which should have been awkward because of recent circumstances but was decidedly not. Score.

Had a quick calculus tutorial and by this time it was 7pm and time for my final class of the day. There’s this really snazzy thing about my campus which is the fact that there’s a bus stop on either end making it a thing to be able to hop on one bus and get off at the next stop to save you from a 10 minute walk and entering your class late. So I did that and here’s where the first meeting-of-a-new-person happened because I sat beside a boy who went to the exact same place as me. So now I know n+1 mechanical engineers!

Hands down my favourite class is Intro to Mechanical Engineering. We were learning more 3D modelling techniques and I was pretty much making a fool out of myself getting all excited about all the parts we were creating. My apologies to all the friends I sent random snapchats too with no description and just a picture of a hubcap or something. My second friend and first word happened in this class. This dude sat beside my buddy in our row of three (first row, of course) and we all ended up talking and then the word popped up during the lecture. It’s “knurling“. For some reason, I kill myself laughing every time I hear or think it. Don’t ask me why. And if you’re wondering what it means, it’s just a surface pattern on some tools. Pretty nifty, eh?

knurling

(Question: Do you guys like this kind of post? Is my life and/or how I go about telling you about it a good thing to see here or something you’ll skip over until I tell you another science fact or review another movie? I loooove feedback!)