Presidents’ Day celebrates the respected minds that molded our country into what it is today. And hey, one president in particular may even win an Oscar® this year!
As admirable as these leaders are, we pondered what the country would be like if Knock Knockers graced the faces of Mount Rushmore instead. So members of the Knock Knock team put on wishful-thinking hats and answered this question:
If you were president of the entire world, what would be your first order of business and why?
“My first order of business would be to make the standard workweek four days instead of five, because honestly, who wants to work five days a week?” —Elyse, manufacturing director
“My first order of business would be to make it a law that every citizen should carry a WTF Stamp and stamp their fellow government representative on their forehead if they were not carrying out the job they were hired to do.” —Lonnie, national sales manager
“For my first order of business, I propose we have fewer police—no, no, not anything to do with a reduction in the police force. I mean a new federal law enforcement organization established to arrest people who incorrectly use the word 'less' instead of 'fewer.' The 'fewer' police would be a kind of grammar SWAT team, if you will, equipped with very special weapons and tactics. A pocket version of the Chicago Manual of Style could be used to Mirandize offenders.” —Jamie, editor at large
"As president, I would do a nightly fireside chat where I’d read children's books to the world, starting with Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. I’d also offer free physical education classes (for example, swimming classes, because we’ve got a lot of lakes in my home state of Michigan!), and give city-wide tax breaks to those municipalities that get their citizens to dance walk (http://bit.ly/YAsnAS) everywhere they go."
"I would outlaw use of the word 'artisanal.'" —Kate, associate editor and mother-to-be. Note: this is Kate and her artisanal, locally grown, single-source baby.
“I would establish a world constitution, to which all countries were subject, that addresses the most basic human rights issues; animal rights issues; and, most importantly, issues of the dying Earth and global warming. The most urgent order of business would be to put together a plan for reversing damage to the Earth by whatever means necessary.” —Jen
“Let's take some inspiration from the Spanish (or my toddler) and institute a nationwide siesta. Restorative naps: required by law! If only we were One Nation Under Rebecca. Which reminds me, ‘One Nation Under a Groove’ is the new national anthem. I promise to funk, the whole funk.” —Rebecca, assistant editor
“If I were president, my first order of business would be to mandate ovens/toaster ovens in every office, so anyone could take a break from work and bake delicious treats. Treat-making breaks would be mandated into the workweek every Wednesday (since Wednesday is the longest day of the work week).” —Aimée, designer
What would be your first order of business? Tell us in a comment!
We’re number one fans of our fans. (We’re sure you know how much you contribute to our existence.) So we want to thank you all with a column dedicated to you: “Friendly Fridays”! Once a month, we will be featuring a certain friend and their Knock Knock stuff-related stories.
Literature and writing, in general, would be—dare we say—less impactful without the human gems, known as English teachers, introducing the classics to us early on. Our August Friend of the Month, Ariana, is proof of just how amazing they are as individuals! (You’ll understand when you read on, peeps.) She’s so fond of all things Knock Knock, that’s she’s even influenced her own mom to become a Knock Knock fan. And that really gets the virtual, happy tears flowing.
Name: Ariana G. Haro, otherwise known as Arior, @SavvyRE1189, RetrogradeHipster, RE, or Ms. Haro. That last one will make sense after number three.
Location: I currently live in the Inland Empire of sunny Southern California. For those of you who have never been here or have no clue what I’m talking about, it is okay—most people don’t. (FYI: we’re glad to me be in somewhat close proximity to you, Ariana. Only in state terms though, not in Los Angeles terms. But you should drop by next time you’re in Venice!)
Occupation: After years of pain and suffering in school, I have made the strange choice to continue said pain by returning as a high school English teacher. No, just kidding! I love my job working at a local high school. I am lucky enough to teach freshman English, so not only do we go over authors like Poe and Shakespeare, but I also work with them to create study skills that will help them in other classes and beyond—I hope.
Favorite Knock Knock product? I knew this question was coming and I must say it is extremely hard for me to decide. However, since I have to, my favorite Knock Knock product would have to be my Note to Self Pocket Notes. I have [the sheets] everywhere; car, classroom, purse, bedroom. They are so helpful and I can’t wait to get the redesigned version too. It’s purple; a personal favorite color of mine.
A double whammy—Ariana using her Get Crap Done Pen with her Note to Self Pocket Notes. Lots of Knock Knock love going on!
Knock Knock Story Time: I personally love to use the sticky notes and stamps while at work. When I’m sending things to other teachers, the bits of wit and sarcasm go a long way to make someone smile after dealing with a hundred-plus teenagers a day. Also, it’s fun to get responses back when people get a sticky note from me for the first time. Sharing the whimsy of Knock Knock products is always fun. =)
Like her students, Ariana also passes notes in class (to her colleagues). We hope you got those sets!
We think you’re great, Ms. Haro and goodluck with all of the back-to-school planning. Just remember: if any of your pupils act out this fall, they may or may not receive an anonymous Nag Note (directly from us)!
We’re number one fans of our fans. (We’re sure you know how much you contribute to our existence.) So we want to thank you all with a column dedicated to you: “FOKKer Fridays”! Once a month, we will be featuring a certain FOKKer and their Knock Knock stuff-related stories.
When people go above and beyond our expectations, it feels as if the universe decided to braid us a crown made of genuine cheeriness and place it atop our heads. It’s twofold when it’s a FOKKer doing the impressing.
This is how we felt after reading every single “pin” that’s a part of our June FOKKer of the month’s post. Kate Hudkins, also known as the undeniably cool @KateHudkins, wanted to put a twist on the usual format of our “FOKKer Fridays.” Instead of straight-out answering our questions about herself, she put all of her answers on Pinterest. Also, she did all of this post-surgery, lying on her couch watching TV, while on the mend. Never underestimate the combined powers of a creative mind, social media, and DVR.
. . . Or she will rain vengeance on you—using plastic wrap.
You may recall the “office rat” that our operations team enjoys placing in random areas around the office, like the bathroom, candy bucket, inside people’s belongings. (They also love pranking in general. Remember this bit?)
Anyways, last week, on our former designer Alexis’s last day, our director of operations decided to place our fake furry friend in Alexis’s bag. She got him back. Good.
With the help of an unnamed accomplice, whose face you can totally see in these pics, Alexis wrapped all of Gil’s stuff. Like of all of it.
So here’s a traditional and easy way to prank a prankster: wrap all of his or her belongings in cling wrap while the person is out at dinner.
Lots of wrapping going on. And look, Alexis left Gil a note.
The result. They even got his filing cabinet.
Alexis! We will miss you and your mischievious ways.
Here at Knock Knock, we’re not “regular bookworms”—we’re literature zealots. We’re ravenous book lovers, devouring novels, newspapers, magazines, and RSS feeds on a daily basis, and end up still asking the reading gods for extra helpings. So in our newest feature, “Between the Stacks,” we’re delighted to share our own reading recommendations and reviews.
Tonight’s the official start of summer, which makes perfect timing to offer up our final suggestions for your own summer reading list. In this post, Kate, our associate editor, Dayna, our assistant editor, Erin, our managing editor, Travis, our sales associate, and Jamie, our editor at large, share their top choices for the season. Now let the Personal Library Kits feast!
(From left to right) Kate, Dayna, Jamie, and Travis. Note Jamie’s Bartleby shirt. (But if you “would prefer not to,” it’s okay.)
Kate’s picks: Because I commute an hour each way to work, I do a lot of my “reading” with books on tape. (Technically, they’re on CD. But “books on tape” sounds cooler.)
"The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" by Alexander McCall Smith
1. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agencyby Alexander McCall Smith. I recently “read” this and enjoyed it so much, that I plan to “read” the entire series. I can’t imagine better summer reading: light, witty, humanistic, but real page-turners. I have just started book two, Tears of the Giraffe. He has a gift for understatement that goes down like a cool glass of water on a hot day.
1. Advanced Styleby Ari Seth Cohen. There is nothing sexier in this world than a crazy old lady in a leopard-print pantsuit. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration or a complete lie, but I still find mountains of respect for the graceful aged women who keep themselves looking fresh and stylish in their, shall we say, advanced years. In Ari Seth Cohen’s book, which originated from his incredible blog, photos of old women looking snazzy in everything from Chanel coats to Manolo shoes are exhibited. When I’m on the beach this summer, being passed by swimsuit-clad beefcakes and busty babes, I’ll happily find solace in a few old women in pearls and fur coats. I’ll be the one wearing a body-length swim tunic.
2. Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan’s Guide for Beginners, Semi-experts, and Deeply Serious Geeksby Zack Hample. For those who have dedicated their lives to baseball or have occasionally drank a few brews in a parking lot of a stadium or even for those who half-heartedly watched Moneyball because Brad Pitt is dreamy, I suggest you read this book. There is no doubt that summer is about baseball and getting rowdy at games, so if you want to avoid being the jerk who keeps complaining about how bored you are, Watching Baseball Smarter will change all of that for you. It’s informative, interesting, and pleasantly simple. Don’t know what the infield fly rule is? Learn up. Like to know why pitchers pee on their hands? The secret is revealed. This book will make you look like you were born behind the plate.
"Dead End in Norvelt" by Jack Gantos
1. Dead End in Norveltby Jack Gantos. I saw Jack Gantos speak on a panel at the Los Angeles Festival of Books in late April. He was completely charming. I love his writing—so funny, vivid, and clean.
2. Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Someone I love and admire recommended this to me ages ago. It’s been sitting in the tall stack of books next to my bed since then, waiting to be read. If the first few pages are any indication—and I believe they are!—it’s going to be brilliant. The voice is so strong and compelling. Plus, the whole author/pseudonym backstory is a great industry-insider twist.
"Half Broke Horses: A Real Life Novel" by Jeannette Walls
1. Half-Broke Horses: A True-Life Novelby Jeannette Walls. Like most books in my collection, I stumbled across this gem at the airport, just before a cross-country flight. Part memoir and part fiction, Jeanette Walls’s “true-life novel” about her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, does not disappoint. Simply put, this woman was a badass. Born in 1901 in a dirt hut somewhere in New Mexico, Lily leaves home at age fifteen—alone on horseback—to teach on the Arizona frontier. The first-person narrative of this teacher, horse trainer, rancher, bootlegger, wife, and mother spans over fifty years. Walls’s version of her grandmother’s no-nonsense, no-tears, funny-as-hell approach to life out west kept me laughing throughout an otherwise dreary flight. (I also cried a little too, but whatever.)
PS. If the above isn’t your idea of a good time, try reading Walls’s personal memoir, The Glass Castle. It’s well worth it. Trust me.
1. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. The sequel to Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall, which I am reading right now. Okay, an historical novel about Tudor England sounds either woefully tired or bodice-rippingly cheesy, but Mantel manages to bring a huge cast including Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Cardinal Wolsey, but most importantly Thomas Cromwell (the King’s advisor), to vivid, heartbreaking, fantastically detailed life. Best part: the surprisingly modern dialogue coupled with its evocative, period-perfect minutia.
2. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Guess it’s sequel summer. I’m watching the HBO series and I’ve almost finished the first book,A Game of Thrones. I’m about to move on to Season Two . . . Oops, I mean the second book in the series. Bonus: occasional confusion between the Mantel and the Martin books—political intrigue, horrifying deaths, manipulation at court, knights and ladies and suits of armor and dragons . . . Oh, wait, no, that’s only the Martin book. See what I mean?
Want more book picks from the Knock Knock team? Check out Part One and Part Two of our summer reading list. And tell us what you’re reading in a comment below!
We assume everyone is wrapping up his or her spring-cleaning by now, what with us now at the cusp of summer. However, all these Pinterest entrees reminded us that organization is oh-so evergreen. Hooray for that!
Before we announce the winner on our end, we want to thank Paula, the List Producer, again for teaming up with us for this contest, and everyone who entered.
But without further ado . . .
Congratulations, Jessica Hanby! The Knock Knock “Spring Organizing Kit” is yours!
Among the forty pins, one in particular caught our eye:
You’re right, Jessica, this really had to be shared with the world.
We're teaming up with Paula, the List Producer, for our first Pinterest contest!
It’s nearly a month until the official start of summer (June 20th!), which means it’s time to finally shake off any remnants of procrastination. As in, finally spring-cleanifying your personal space!
To jump-start your efforts, we’ve teamed up with Paula, a longtime friend of Knock Knock whose compulsive list-making skills make us very, very happy. Paula’s site, List Producer, is chock full of helpful tips and tricks on how to make your to-do list work for you—lessening the stress and upping productivity. She’s also an Emmy Award-winning producer, so it’s safe to say she knows her stuff!
With our powers combined, we’re hosting a “Spring Organizing” contest on our new-favorite web time suck—Pinterest. We could easily spend all day on Pinterest, and you probably can too. So why not kill two birds with one stone and enter?
The prize is a “Spring Organizing Kit” to help assist in your tidying up. It includes:
As you know, we at Knock Knock are passionate lovers of pencils, paper, and printing presses. I was therefore thrilled last Friday to attend a party for Slake, a new Los Angeles literary quarterly that proudly exists only in paper form. That is, it exists only in real life.
Slake started in summer 2010, and is currently on its fourth issue (“The Dirt”). The journal is new, but has already won several awards (and hit the Los Angeles Times’ bestseller list) for its content—which combines visual art, photography, poetry, long-form journalism, fiction, oral history, and memoir. Its founders, Laurie Ochoa and Joe Donnelly, were formerly the editors of LA Weekly. (On a personal note, I worked with Joe and Laurie for years as a writer and editor for the Weekly, so the party was a homecoming for me.)
"Slake" founder Laurie Ochoa, taking a picture of me while I take a picture of her, because it's just so fucking meta.
Slake is all about fostering a community of writers and artists who are deeply rooted and in—and in love with—Los Angeles, and it’s also about staking a claim for paper as a beautiful and viable medium. As their website proclaims, “Slake sets a new template for the next generation of print publications—collectible, not disposable; destined for the bedside table instead of the recycling bin.”
As previously mentioned, paper is something that exists only in real life. You know something else that only exists in real life? Free beer.
Quantities of free beer were available at this party; the evidence of this is in the blurry, slurry photos I managed to either take or pose for. It may or may not be worth mentioning that free pie was also served by Suicide Girls.
A blurry, blinky shot of Joe and me.
Besides live music and dance performances, other stuff on offer included an exhibition of beautiful photographs of the Occupy L.A. encampment; video footage from the LA riots; and a station where people could create album art for the new vinyl LP by Detective (a musical project from Guided By Voices member James Greer, who is also a Slake contributor).
Laurie Ochoa says that Slake is meant to be enjoyed slowly, in bed or otherwise in a state of repose—and then kept. It should be noted, another advantage to the print-only format is that after inevitable disaster strikes, taking down the “grid,” and we are all shivering in our homes with candles and limited water, Slake will remain to provide us survivors with hours of meaningful, thought-provoking, mind-enriching entertainment. Hey, it’s L.A. Anything could happen.
People making album covers for Detective, the musical project from "Slake" contributor (and ex-Guided By Voices member) James Greer.