Birthday Cards Are So Dumb

One year for his birthday, I got my brother a gift card. And instead of putting the gift card in a birthday card and envelope, I wrote a quick message on a sticky note and stuck it on the gift card.

My father was, for lack of a better word, shook. “What do you mean you’re not using a card? It costs a dollar! Why are you like this? This isn’t classy! You’re not normal!”

But after I gave the gift card to my brother, my father asked if he cared that I deprived him of a birthday card. My brother said no. I knew he wouldn’t care.

i know what im doing gif.

Birthday cards given directly to the person in person are dumb.  You pay money for a mass-produced card with a cheesy joke and then write something along the lines of “Happy Birthday! Have a great day!” and now the receiver gets to hold on to that for a while until they realize it just collects dust and they don’t read it so they throw it out. So why not just use a sticky note if that’s all the card is for? Tradition be damned, ya know? My family isn’t the sappy kind, so the cards we exchange aren’t usually full of anything meaningful, and even if there is a cute paragraph of some sort from Mom, it’s not something that I feel a need to hold on to for years and years. I cleaned out my room a few weeks ago and tossed a whole bunch of cards from years ago. Guilt stopped me from doing it soon after I got them.

And I’m not saying all birthday cards are worthless and heartless. For years I’ve made my own goofy cards for friends and I wrote novels in those things. I know my best friend kept them all and has several pinned up to a corkboard in her room. And I did keep some cards too, even some from people I don’t even talk to anymore. Cards made and filled with love like those should be kept (maybe not forever, but for a while). But ones that just contain a line or two of traditional birthday wishes are just unnecessary.

Thanks but no thanks.

I understand that giving a card on a birthday is the norm, but why is deviating from it is seen as absolute blasphemy? How dare I? People (my father) need to calm down and realize that I’m not out to offend and ruin birthdays. I’m just thinking realistically. I knew my brother wouldn’t miss a card, so I didn’t give him one. And I wouldn’t miss a card either.

Basically, the only cards that should be given are really really fun ones like these. Olive amused herself for a whole weekend with this:

Easy A 'Pocked Full Of Sunshine' card.

 

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PDFelement: A Worthy Adobe Rival

This is a sponsored post! I was paid to test out this product and share my honest review here. 

I am always a fan of new companies and technologies innovating things we didn’t think could be innovated. We all have Microsoft Office, and then came Google Docs/Sheets/Slides to show us they have some new features. The same can be said for Adobe, with its InDesign rivaling Microsoft’s Publisher like no other. But what can rival Adobe? PDFelement.

This software, made by a company called Wondershare, is primarily a PDF editor, meaning that if you have a PDF and don’t have the editable file, this program will allow you to edit it. Adobe’s Acrobat does the same, but I was very curious to see if PDFelement held up against such a popular software. As useful as Adobe is, it’s very expensive, and if it weren’t for school and now work, I’d’ve never got a chance to use it.

For the purpose of making small edits to a PDF, PDFelement works very well. I played around with several different PDFs I had on my computer, and there wasn’t a single part of text that I couldn’t touch and edit. It was able to identify fonts and colours perfectly. If you had to fix a quick typo or align a picture, it’s easy to do with this. But there were a few things it couldn’t handle like preexisting interactive elements (which I know isn’t that common) and it had an issue with the shading on a few pictures on one PDF. Overall, though, it’s very intuitive. The taskbar is clean and easy to understand; things are easy to find on it, so no matter how competent you are with technology, this software should be manageable.

PDFelement screenshot.
This is a PDF of an assignment I submitted in Uni. See me edit it?

Some other small features I like are its ability to combine PDFs, its ability to export to Word, PowerPoint, or other things, its marking features (highlights, comments…) and its cool template library.

As an editor, PDFelement, like Acrobat, isn’t necessarily designed to build documents from scratch, though it can be done. I think for one-page things like a resume or poster, this could be great because it allows you to move things around more easily than you could on Microsoft Word. You can add text boxes, background colours, images, and even stamps. You can also add shapes and arrows, but they can’t be coloured, which you’d think would be a basic feature. Unlike Microsoft Word, where the whole thing is one neverending ‘text box’, PDFelement has different boxes for different bits. This does allow for easier specific movement, but it doesn’t make it easy to edit large sections of text. So if you wanted to edit all the text and increase the size or something, it’s not easy. For this reason, and the fact that it doesn’t allow you to easily drag objects between pages, it wouldn’t work as a replacement for InDesign, which I kind of hoped it would. I used InDesign to typeset my novel that was eventually exported as a PDF, and it was a bit of a challenge. However, PDFelement would have been good to fix typos without having to take 20 minutes for InDesign to get itself going on my laptop.

Is PDFelement flawless? No. But at a fraction of the cost of Adobe Acrobat (which is a huge factor for me), and with very good PDF editing features, it can be very useful for single users or small businesses. You never know when you’d need to edit a PDF. It’s professional, fast loading, and has a lot of features that make it a great competitor in the editing software world. Plus Wondershare has some forums so if you have questions, you can get some help there.

Some of PDFelement's templates.
Some of PDFelement’s templates. If you’re into planners, Wondershare even has a planner template giveaway!

If you’re in the market for a solid PDF editor and want to try it yourself, I have a 50% off discount right here for you.

I had fun playing around with PDFelement, and I can definitely see it in use in my future.

 

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Being The Young One

Growing up, I was never the youngest. I was definitely the oldest kid on the street (though only by a few months). And though most of my cousins are older than me, I have a younger brother, so he prevented me from being the youngest. I joined Quidditch in my second year at university, so even then there were people younger than me.

Anyway, age never really affected me that much, is what I’m trying to say. I was never upset to be on the older side compared to people I interacted with and I never really thought about it being anything more than what it is.

But now things are different. At work and at curling, I am a young one. By a lot. And it’s weird.
Image result for i am a baby gif

At work, all my coworkers are grown adults. They have kids closer in age to me than I am to them. There are a few younger people in the building, but we’re pretty quiet and segregated so I don’t ever see or talk to them. But in terms of the people I work directly with, I am a fetus compared to them. For the most part, it’s fine because we aren’t very social so it’s not like they’re constantly chatting about mortgages or other things I can’t directly relate to, but once in a while, it hits me just how different we are. Sometimes we’ll talk about weekend plans. They’ll say they did stuff with the kids or worked on a project like a basement reno. As for me, I stayed in pajamas all weekend watching a Bar Rescue marathon while my parents, who I live with, laugh at me.

It’s the same at curling. After games we drink and chat, and I really cannot relate to their retirement plans of travel or pictures of their grandkids. It doesn’t help that I look a lot younger than I am, so they all think I’m in high school or something. “So are you in school?” is always the first question I’m asked. By now they all kind of know me so it’s better, but I’m still an outlier.

Of course, there are some positives to this. At work, they sometimes praise my borderline-millennial carefree creativity. I’ll post a gif on Twitter and they’re all very pleased. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the company and its target audience are people a lot older than me, I’m restricted as to how much creative freedom I can act on, but I’ll still adapt a meme or two to work for us.

Image result for you're welcome gif

And at curling, it’s such a casual environment that these people seem like fun older siblings. I still feel awkward, but that’s just me. A few of them have given me rides home, one of them has tried to set me up with friends’ sons, and some of them give me life advice. And since I’m one of the better curlers in the Sunday night league, they respect me as a good athlete. Sometimes I’ll spare or curl against an unfamiliar team and they’ll call me a ringer.

Being the youngest one is weird, especially when it’s not by a year or two and I’m the only one, but it’s not awful. Sure, I can’t quote the constant stream of Vines that play in my head, but I’m putting myself out there. I’m not hiding in my home. And when it comes to friendship and curling and coworkers, age doesn’t matter. These people have a lot to teach me. And they’re doing so just because they want to, not because they feel like they have to.

Image result for i am ready to learn gif

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: March 2019

January may have dragged on, but February flew by, and it is now March. I don’t have a lot going on in terms of things not involving a screen, but who knows what may come up (probably nothing). Either way, here is my March, and I’d love for you to share what’s going on in your March too.

monthly look ahead logo

  • Ellen Degeneres is going to Toronto, so I too am going to Toronto. I’ve been a fan of her for years, but she really only does things in LA, which is very far from me. So now she’s got a show of some sort she’s doing in Toronto and I knew I had to be there. A friend and I got tickets because we knew that seeing her live may never be an option for us again. I am very, very excited.
  • The ever-pure Netflix show Queer Eye premieres its 3rd season on the 15th. I look forward to seeing the fab 5 change some more lives and spread some more positivity.
  • Captain Marvel on the 7th! Not only is this Marvel’s first female-led movie, but it features such characters as Goose the cat and Phil Coulson. So yeah, catch me in the theater opening weekend seeing this for sure.
    Goose the cat from Captain Marvel.
    Goose could defeat Thanos.
  • I was supposed to go visit my friend last month but she got sick so now we have plans to do it this month, which is especially good because there are no holidays in March, so I’ll appreciate a little holiday (even if it is over a weekend).
  • There are two shows coming to NBC this spring that I think I’ll try. The first is Abby’s. From the wonderful mind of Mike Schur. This looks light and I like Neil Flynn, so I’ll give it a shot. The second is The Village, which seems to have This Is Us-type vibes, and I can respect that, though this show, based on the trailer, seems more focused on one army guy, and not the whole group of neighbours like I had read/assumed.
  • And on the last day of March, the last season of Veep premiers. It’s so great that despite JLD’s cancer struggle, they managed to make a final season for us. My mom and I binged the show two summers ago, so we’re excited to see more (though not live because I curl on Sundays).

What’s on the docket for your March? Any big St. Patty’s plans? I’m half Irish, but don’t really celebrate it. Maybe I’ll eat a potato or something.

 

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I Tried Indoor Skydiving—Here’s What You Should Know

For my last birthday, my parents got me a pass to do indoor skydiving, which sounded cool and safe. But I didn’t want to do it alone, so for his birthday/Christmas, I got my brother a pass. And then we found out that our neighbours also got passes from their aunt for Christmas, so we decided to all go together.

Overall, it’s a really interesting experience. I’ve never done real skydiving, so I can’t really compare the two, but I’d think that in real skydiving, the primary feeling is of falling. Gravity is doing it thing, and the wind pressure you get is a side effect. But for indoor sky diving, you’re not falling; you’re being pushed upwards by huge vents below you so you’re just kind of doing an unsteady float at various heights.

Image result for indoor skydiving gif

It is something that you can get good at with practice. The instructors were very good at it and liked to show off every once in a while. Unfortunately, the beginner passes don’t really, in my opinion, hook you enough because they’re far too expensive and you get only a few minutes of air time. So it was cool to try, but I have no desire to go back, and certainly not if I’d have to pay for it.

Image result for not worth it gif

And speaking of money, I did find that the place had a few kind of sleazy tactics to get more money from us, which very much rubbed me the wrong way. For beginner packages, they keep the wind power at a level where you can only go up maybe 15 feet, and you may not even get that high if you’re struggling to keep a balance. But the air chamber is huge, maybe up to 45 feet. The instructors can grab onto you and do their magic (probably surface mass logic) to get you up BUT for a cost. Our instructor said this beforehand and said he’d give us the option after we do what our passes covered. But instead of then explicitly asking if we wanted to spend an extra $10 to go up the chamber for a few seconds and giving us time to think about it, they kind of did this pointing thing. Right before you step out for your last run and your mind is quickly through all the steps (keep your arms bent, look forward, etc…) your instructor points to himself and then up. Note that it’s so loud and we all have earplugs so we can’t talk, and even visual cues are hard because we all have big glasses on. Luckily I caught on quick enough to shake my head no, but my friend misunderstood the ‘up’ finger as ‘one’ and nodded yes, so he was forced to pay $10 after he was pulled upward unexpectedly at the end of his last fly time.

The whole “don’t think, just do” (direct quote from our instructor regarding doing more than our passes were for) mentality that was forced on us was kind of rude. I mean, we were all adults who can make our own decisions, but do they do that to the kids that try it? Because that’s gross.

Image result for i dont like that gif

The other thing that kind of annoyed me was that because we were all adults, we drove ourselves there so we didn’t need an adult to sit there and wait for us. But that meant we had no one to take pictures. They stopped me from bringing my phone into the waiting area because they wanted to sell us pictures of ourselves, and I didn’t want to give my phone to a stranger in the viewing area. Luckily, my dad happened to be in the area and popped in right as we were about to do our last flys, so he managed to get pictures and videos. My advice to you is to have someone else there to take pictures if you want.

Another piece of advice is if you have long hair, braid it. We were told to tie it back, so I did, but after taking the helmet off and taking my hair out of my ponytail, I found that my hair was in severe knots. It took me a while to brush it out later that night. I feel a braid would be the best way to keep hair from getting messy and knotted in the extreme wind.

Anyway, if you like extreme sports and think this is something you want to actually do as a hobby, then it can be cool. Watching the experienced instructors fly and float and zoom around with such grace was neat, but I know that I’ll never get there, and to be honest, I don’t really want to. I’m glad I tried it, though. It did make a fun gift. But if you’re wanting to try skydiving, then do it. Indoor just didn’t cut it for me.

 

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