Real Life Is Going To Kick My Butt

Next summer I’ll have graduated and, with any luck, be entering the workforce. While I am kind of excited to do that and evolve into a Real Adult, I am scared – no, terrified – to deal with everything else that comes with this. I am brutally, b r u t a l l y unprepared for life, as this summer has rudely hinted to me, no matter how well I can pretend to adult.

a red-headed girl saying that real life is hard

I started off the summer helping with my grandparent’s estate. I heard my parents and my aunts discuss lawyers, inheritances, taxes, mortgages, and so much more. All those things are things that have ZERO knowledge on. It’s kind of scary to think that if my parents were to die early or something, my brother and I would have to muddle though that on our own.

Recently, my family also sat down with a banker to discuss a few saving accounts. The banker asked my father a bunch of questions about account types and RESP’s and investments and a bunch of other finance questions that went waaaaaay over my head. I understand money basics like interest and…well, just interest. In high school, my best friend, who struggled with math, took a more basic math class just to get the credit, and while I was learning about parabolas and airplane trajectories, she was learning how to balance a cheque book and how to budget and a bunch more great life skills. And that’s good for her and all, but here I am, having passed the advanced math classes, with no useful knowledge.

Kim Kardashian saying she has no idea what she's doing

And this summer at work, my coworker was in the process of buying a house with her boyfriend, so she told me a lot about dealing with the real-estate agent and going to design meetings and all that fun stuff that I’ve also never had to deal with as all I’ve done is rent a room for a few months while at school.

I’ve also never had to deal with cars or insurance or anything of that sort, and I know I’m lucky in some senses, but these are all things I know one day I’ll have to deal with, and I won’t know where to start. I’m a year away from being done with school so I know I won’t be learning anything there, and it’s not stuff that I’m eager to sit down and learn about in my free time, so….yikes.

Image result for im not ready gif

I’m grateful to have a father who will happily help me understand cars or whatnot, but I can’t rely on him for the rest of my life, right? I always wonder about people who aren’t as close to their families and how they learn about life. And honestly, young adults shouldn’t have to rely on their parents like that. We should be taught this stuff in school. Frankly, society has failed us bigtime.

There should be a class. Like every Sunday night for three months people who want to learn about Real Life Things can get together at a library or something and learn about taxes and lawyers and the stock market from someone who knows what they’re talking about. I’d attend something like that.

I guess my feelings on all this can best be described with this lyric:

I don’t know what I’m doing but come in and ruin me – ‘I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You’ from The Last Five Years

That’s all for now!

 

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High Fives Are Gay

Everyone high fives. Everyone knows what a high five is. Watch any sport on TV and you’ll surely see at least a few high fives. High fives are so common that it’s weird to think that they were invented, and more recently than you think. Today I’m summoning my inner Album and sharing some fun facts on a topic that you wouldn’t think to look up yourself.

First of all, high fiving is gay. And I mean that literally. High fiving was, and maybe still is, known as a symbol of homosexuality because the guy who basically invented the high five was gay and was a bit of a gay icon in a small community. He was also an athlete. Glen Burke played baseball for the LA Dogers and on October 2, 1977, his teammate Dusty Baker hit a home run, ran the bases, and when he came back to home plate, Burke was waiting there with his hand held up. Baker didn’t know what to do, so he just reached up and hit his hand.

And you must be thinking, there’s no way that people weren’t slapping hands before 1977. And you’re right. They were giving fives, just not high fives. Their hands weren’t held up, they were held down or held out. The low five has dated back to the 1920’s, and I’d guess that similar gestures probably date back long before that too. But it’s so weird to think that my parents weren’t high fiving people when they were growing up in the 60’s and 70’s.

a gif from Hamilton where Alexander and Lafeyette high five
Look at this historical inaccuracy in Hamilton. What do you have to say for yourself, Lin-Manuel Miranda?

Back to Glen Burke. As I said, he was gay and therefore faced a lot of prejudice in the MLB, being one of the first openly gay athletes. When he retired, he lived in the Castro district of San Francisco, and because of him, the high five became a symbol of gay pride there, especially after he started playing (and became a star) in a local gay softball league.

Now, high fiving seems simple. Just…hit someone’s elevated open hand with your own. I don’t think this is an action that needs a lot of description or visuals. And yet, the high five Wikipedia page (where I got a lot of the information in this blog post) has gifted me with this amazing series of pictures:Two people demonstating several versions of high fivesI can’t decide if “Victim misses” or “with finger guns” is my favourite part of this set. Were these taken specifically for this Wikipedia page? Was this guy like “Honey, I have an idea. Come here, I need your help for some pictures.” This lady doesn’t seem too happy, especially when this trickster of a dude pulled his hand back and taunted her with those finger guns.

a closeup of an unhappy lady who missed a high five
Same, girl, same.

National High Five Day is on the third Thursday April, so make sure to celebrate that, but even that day has a wild story tied to it. The creators of the day made up a high five origin story, claiming it was real, and giving credit to a guy named Lamont Sleets. But it was all fake, just a publicity stunt for National High Five Day.

Honestly, I’ll be thinking about Glen Burke and the other weird interesting high five facts every time I see a high five, let alone participate in one. It’s really cool that there’s such a neat history to such a common action, and no one knows. I’d guess that even people in the LGBTQ community are unaware of the ties. I found all this information out while looking up trivia for a project at work, and I just had to share the goodness.

And for more high five goodness, Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother was a high five king.

That’s all for now!

 

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Designing For The Future: Accessibility

First, a disclaimer: this post was written as an entry for CGTrader’s Design Blogger contest which I was invited to enter (but it’s a cool topic that I’d probably be writing about anyway). If you’re a blogger with an interest in design, you can enter too!

I’ve never really known anyone who has a physical disability. I’ve never had to think about wheelchair ramps or automatic doors or anything of the sort. And I’ve never broken a bone and needed even temporary accessibility help. But this summer I’m working at a place that is really accessibility friendly and I’ve been immersed in a whole new environment as I see and interact with people of many abilities. I’ve learned so much about accessibility and how much of a difference even the littlest things can make to someone who has to rearrange their life to get around.

a whole new world from aladdin gif

Wheelchair parking is very common now. Parking lots are designed with those in mind nowadays, which is great. Similarly, having a larger bathroom stall to accommodate a wheelchair or other assistive tech is also common in a lot of public bathrooms. They too were designed this way. Designing for the future means designing with accessibility in mind, and I believe it’s only a matter of time before we live in a world where accessibility is commonplace. But there’s a lot that needs work.

Take websites for example. Think about how many websites there are and how many are accessed on a daily basis. There are a lot of aspects to a website that are not accessibility friendly. Of course there are simple things, like font size or clashing colours background, but there is also so much more. I’ve seen websites where site visitors can manually increase font size, change the sites colours to black/white or black/yellow (fun fact: yellow is not only one of the most eye catching colours, but it’s also the most easily seen colour by people with vision loss), or get text read out to them. I wish I could add some of these features to my blog, especially the colour changer, but that’s not an option for me with the free WordPress plan. Maybe one day that’ll be a free widget offered. But for those of you who self-host, look into widgets and plugins to make your site more accessible. Another website fix that even I need to work on (and I swear, from here-on out, I will make more of an attempt) is alt-tags in images so people with text reading technology can find out what your images are of no matter what.

And that’s just online. Think about how much work needs to be done to the outside world to ensure accessibility for all. Door frames need to be wider, the Open Door buttons need to be larger, signs need to be clearer, brail needs to be more common, and so much more. It’s a lot, but slowly, as more awareness is being raised, our future will entail this.

And progress is already being made. In December, Google Maps released a feature where users can make note of wheelchair accessible places. And there’s an app that will, via the camera, describe to a blind user exactly what’s in front of them. I know there are so many more examples of our wonderful technology making a real difference in people’s lives, and I can’t wait to learn about more. There’s some tech that’s been around for ages but people like me, who apparently has lived in a bubble, aren’t in the know.

screenshots of phone app describing images to user

I don’t blame you for not being aware, as I wasn’t either. Unfortunately, as I’ve come to learn, society has pushed issues like these to the back (literally – a lot of wheelchair entrances are at the back of buildings). So it’s great that there are so many advocates and places and organizations that are trying to educate and help and design. I could honestly write so much more about the technology, movements, issues, and campaigns I’ve learned about, all to do with accessibility.

In short, no matter what you’re designing or doing, think about how you can make it more accessible. Be a part of the future by designing for everyone.

E for Everyone rating logo
The future should be rated E for Everyone

That’s all for now!

 

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Be Yourself…Unless You’re Outside Of Your House

Be yourself. Everyone always preaches that. Be unique! Don’t be like others! Embrace your weirdness! We’re told that from a young age but I’m kind of realizing lately that no one means it.

Let me explain to you my clothing style: it’s casual. Skate shoes, jeans, a shirt or sweater, occasionally some simple jewelry. No layers, no frills. I’m always put together but not fancy.

Related image
*claps furiously* Thanks, Niall!

Fancyness doesn’t suit me at this point in my life. I don’t need to be dressed up to go to class or to sit at home and watch TV. Even when I do hang out with friends or go to a club or something, what I own and like is perfectly acceptable. And while I don’t hate skirts and dresses, I rarely choose to wear them because I find them constricting and really don’t like worrying about how I’m sitting/standing or wind.

Unlike where I worked for the past two summers, there is a bit of a dress code at my current summer job, as there is at most workplaces. I understand that dress codes are in place so people don’t go around wearing anything inappropriate. There is an image to maintain. I can handle this and I respect this. I know to not wear my paint-splattered shorts and my flip-flops, but who decided that jeans were innapropriate? And I don’t mean ripped, bedazzled, lowrise jeans. I mean normal, fitted jeans. But I digress.

My mom hates my style. She hates that I prefer rubber dollar-store flip-flops to fancy, flowered sandals, or that I prefer a plain tank top to some frilly crop top. For years she’s begged me to expand my wardrobe, but here I sit, wearing the same shorts she wanted me to throw out three years ago and a STAR Labs t-shirt that is a size too big. And while my mom just wants me to look cuter, my father is the one more worried about my reputation. That’s even worse because now I feel guilty, like I’m purposely sabotaging my own career by not wearing flats to work like most of the other ladies I work with. I know my parents want the best for me, but it’s kind of hard to be my best self while wearing something I’m not comfortable in.

But it goes beyond clothes. Do you know how many times I’ve said something like “I think blue garage doors are nice,” and have my parents roll their eyes and say something along the lines of “No, they’re ugly. Wait until you have a place of your own.” I can’t wait to have a place of my own. So then I can decorate it with dragons and fun colours and funky lamps. My parents don’t want me to be myself even in my house.

So okay, my parents are weirdly formal and my brother straight up said he doesn’t want to be seen in public with me. Whatever. This issue expands farther than my family. High schools, workplaces, church…one’s ability to perform well is not dependant on if they’re wearing heels or running shoes or flats or flip flops or crocs. I went to a high school with a uniform and if you think that having that allowed us to all appear appropriate, you are very mistaken. Some girls had those kilts rolled up far too high, and some boys had no shame showing everyone their boxers as they were low-riding.

This issue also expands past gender and social norms. Being yourself means boys wearing skirts if they want. It’s girls cutting their hair short if they want. It’s teenagers getting tattoos if they want. It’s people wearing as much or as little makeup as they want. And guess what?!?! None of these things makes you an unproductive member of society. Being yourself means being able to do these things, or whatever else you want and knowing that some people won’t like it, but who cares? Personally, I think a lot of tattoos are unattractive. But do I have friends with tattoos? Yep. I also don’t like the style of wearing leggings as pants. But do I have a mom who does that? Sure do. People have different opinions, and really, I hate that so much of our society is based around only one conservative opinion. If people want to wear dumb things or do dumb things, they can, as it’s a reflection of themselves.

I’m going to continue fighting for myself. I’m going to continue doing everything I can do be presentable and comfortable. I’m going to continue being myself, even if that does mean more screaming matches with my parents. And if later on in life something negative happens because of this, then I’ll deal with it, because it’s my life and my choices.

Image result for deal with it gifs

And I’m not anti-dress code or anti-rules. I’m just against the fact that ‘being yourself’ seems to wear off once you turn 16 and enter The Real World. I don’t care if every actor ever in their award acceptance speeches have said to ‘stay true to yourself’ because they’re not the ones hiring me or influencing my daily life. I want parents and teachers and bosses and everyone telling someone else to ‘be themselves’ to really consider if they mean it. Because I do.

Be yourself, kids.

P.S. Shoutout to that one red-headed lawyer on The Good Wife (which my mom was watching) who wears fun, colourful suits and carries funky bags and is very smiley and is always 100% herself on top of being a great lawyer. I thought about her a lot when writing this post.

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#BehindThisDoor And How Non-Bloggers See Bloggers

So maybe you saw the hashtag #BehindThisDoor on Twitter this week. I follow a lot of geeky bloggers and they were all up in arms about it. Here’s the deal with it:

A blogger recently got to see an early screening of Spider-Man Homecoming and reviewed it on her blog saying that she liked the movie and all, but was really bothered by one line from Tony Stark. That line was, “Behind this door is a bunch of reporters. Real ones, not bloggers.” The implication of this, of course, being that bloggers are not real reporters and are not worth anyone’s time.

So, in the blogger’s article on the movie, she used the hashtag #BehindThisDoor to explain what a blogger really is, and people followed suit.

I’m torn about this, and here’s why: I’m not a real reporter. I am just a blogger. I know this. That’s not to say ALL bloggers are not real reporters, but the fact is, most aren’t. And I’d think that if you are a real reporter, you’d identify as one before you would a blogger, but that’s none of my business. But basically, any news or info I ‘report’ is second hand. The same goes for any article I write on Popwrapped. The only way it could be spun is if you consider me a reporter of my own opinions, but in that sense, anyone with a Twitter account is also a reporter, which is baloney. But I do understand why so many people are upset about this line. Blogging is a lot of work, most of it just for fun, but bloggers aren’t some group of lowly, awkward people making a mockery of writing.

Behind this door is a bunch of photographers. Real ones, not paparazzi. You see how in this comparison one is good and one is bad? Tony’s line should not be like that.

Anyway, I still love Tony Stark (after all, I am #TeamIronMan) and honestly, it’s completely in character for him to say something like that. After all, hypothetically, how many ‘tech bloggers’ have approached him wanting to know more about Stark Industries or his Iron Man suit? He’s just being cocky and hyping up young Peter and it’s not that big a deal to me.

But this all does speak to a large issue, and that’s how non-bloggers see bloggers. Blogging is stigmatized a little, and that’s a fact. Blogging is, for most people, a bit of a dorky hobby for those who love to write but don’t necessarily have a more professional platform. There are so many bloggers out there and the blogosphere is wonderful, but like in many communities, it’s not understood by outsiders very well. I’m fairly comfortable talking about my blog, but I won’t shove it down people’s throats, so often prompting from my parents is what leads to other people in my life finding out. Last year (after prompting) I told my uncle about it and he was very impressed to know that this blog has survived for a few years and has over five hundred followers (I may have neglected to tell him that only about fifty of them actually read my posts). People are also so surprised when I tell them that I blog and have been doing so for years (especially when I then proceed to struggle to explain what I blog about) because they just don’t know what it’s about. As much as there are many bloggers out there, they’re not always so public with this information.

In the last five years, blogging has gotten a lot more popular. Bloggers of all ages are popping up, and while that’s great, it kind of has saturated the industry. No longer are bloggers just those brilliant freelance people who share their deep opinions on the side as well as write powerful exposés for bigger platforms, they’re regular people like me who just like to write and like having readers. And I think that’s great. It is something that anyone can do, as long as one has the drive, and it’s wonderful that there are kids discovering their passions. But until you’re a blogger, you won’t understand. You won’t understand that I spend hours writing posts and hours networking only to get a handful of views. You won’t understand that I share my posts on Facebook all the time but only my mom ever really Likes them. You won’t understand that we struggle every day to make our posts the best and stand out, and most don’t.Image result for you dont understand gif

Non-bloggers don’t understand blogs, or they only think of them as fun little free side projects. Some people blog for a living. But it’s the lack of understanding that allows for lines like Tony Stark’s to make it into a movie. So we bloggers have to raise awareness. The #BehindThisDoor tag is a solid start.

And as for me, #BehindThisDoor is a 21 year old girl who loves to write and understands that thought it is a hobby for some, others blog for a career and it’s nothing to knock until you’ve tried it.

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