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Mr. Happy book bag and journal September 3, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Holidays, Office, Smiley.
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During our trip to Texas last week, my family gathered for a giant birthday party (Jennifer, I, and all three of my sister’s kids celebrate birthdays within a few weeks of each other). The party was mostly for the kiddos, but Uncle Smiley got presents, too! Including two awesome smiley gifts!

What more fitting gifts for a writer than a book bag and a journal to write in? And what more fitting gifts for a collector of smiley faces than Mr. Happy paraphernalia?

I loved the Mr. books when I was a kid — didn’t we all? — and I still get a huge kick out of these smiling shapes! Of course, technically, all the Mr. Men had smiley faces except Mr. Forgetful, Mr. Mean, Mr. Fussy, Mr. Grumble, Mr. Quiet, and Mr. Worry. So any one of those guys would have been a terrific gift. But when you think smiley faces, you have to start with Mr. Happy!

Thanks, Sara and Red and the kiddos! This was a terrific birthday present!


Clay art August 25, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Art, Decor, Holidays, Smiley.
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Clay smiley art, made by Aidan S.

My nephew Aidan made these for me this past summer, and I love the whimsy of them! (If I remember correctly, the blue smiley with its tongue out is a “zombie” smiley.) I’ve been waiting to post them till this week because this week is Aidan’s birthday.

And when Uncle Smiley says “Happy birthday,” I really mean it to be HAPPY!

Happy birthday, Aidan! 🙂

Balloon August 18, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Decor, Holidays, Smiley, Toys.
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On my wife’s birthday, we were driving across town when I noticed a bright yellow balloon skipping down the sidewalk like a runaway puppy. The cars passing on the busy city street buffeted the poor lost balloon, and I saw that soon it would drift into an intersection and perhaps be lost forever. So I whipped the car to the side of the road and ran down the sidewalk to catch the balloon, which jumped into my arms like it had been expecting me. And then I gave the balloon to my wife, because it was her birthday. 🙂

This week is my birthday (and the first anniversary of this blog!), and I, too, have a yellow balloon. But I’m Uncle Smiley, so my yellow balloon has a face.

Balloon. From my personal collection.

Chocolate birthday cake April 25, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Food, Holidays, Smiley.
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Chocolate birthday cake. Photo taken in Platteville, WI.


Okay, this is technically my birthday cake (both in the sense that I made it and that it was for me), from a few years ago. But I’m posting it here today because this week is my sister’s birthday.

Happy birthday, Sara!

BONUS: Happy birthday, Mom! February 13, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Art, Food, Holidays, Smiley.
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Today is my mother’s birthday, which I would like to honor with an apple.

Smiley-face apple--for my mother the teacher.

See, my mother has been a teacher for well over three decades, teaching everything from pre-Kindergarten to junior high.  When I was a kid, she bought a large chalkboard for me and let me use her old gradebooks (those old faded-greenish things that looked like ledgers–if you have a schoolteacher in the family, you know the kind I mean), and I would “teach school” for my stuffed animals and, when they were old enough to play along but still young enough not to know when the run away from me, I would teach my little brother and sister, too.  I tried to cover the three Rs, but I also liked to work in history when I could (often at the expense of math).  Later, I tutored other students in high school, and by the time I graduated, I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps and become a teacher too.

My mother is retiring from our shared profession this year, so I feel like I need to get in one last teacher-related birthday wish.  Hence, this apple.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Greeting card December 2, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Office, Smiley.
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Greeting card. From my personal collection.

There are plenty of cards out there with smiley faces on them, I know.  The smiley face is graphically simple, yet thanks to its vivid yellow (traditionally), it’s also dynamic.  That and its function as an icon of happiness makes it perfectly suited to greeting cards for almost any occasion.

But none of those are the reasons I posted this card today.  What makes this card special is the inside:

Greeting card (inside).

Back in August, I mentioned in my introductory post that my mother-in-law is the “enabler” of my smiley face addiction, to the occasional consternation of my wife.  This card, which is from my mother-in-law, accompanied a whole shipment of smiley face collectibles, and it belies my mother-in-law’s conspiracy to provide me with all the smiley-face gear the world is able to produce!

This week is my mother-in-law’s birthday, so this post is my way of saying thanks.

A note on punctuation: Yes, I noticed the missing apostrophe in “don’t”.  My mother-in-law is a teacher and a stickler for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  Seriously, the woman carries a rainbow of Sharpies in her purse so she can correct errors in signs, regardless of the color of the text (or the location of the sign, for that matter).  I sometimes suspect she’s the real author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves.  So there’s no way this is her mistake–this is a printed card from the company that sent the gifts, so I’m 100% positive that she wrote out the message correctly and, in classic Cake Wrecks fashion, the company somehow omitted the apostrophe.  Just wanted to clarify that.

Cat toy November 4, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Toys.
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Cat toy. From my personal collection.

We got a pack of these catnip-filled smileys for our cats a while back.  They played with the pink and blue ones often enough, but for some reason they didn’t much care for this classic yellow one.  Which was fine by me, because into the collection it went!

Incidentally, it’s our cats’ birthdays in a few days, so send good thoughts to Ibsen and Brontë!

Duct tape smiley November 1, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Art, Office.
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Duct tape smiley. My own art. Duct tape on paper.

This week is my dad’s birthday.

In my family, we have a grand tradition of giving each other gag gifts, presents that serve not only as genuine gifts but also as jokes–often inside jokes.

My dad, a jokester himself, has an ironic history with these gag gifts:  he often takes them seriously.  One year, for instance, we all conspired to give my dad a book about how to fix everything (and I mean everything) with duct tape.

Handle on your briefcase broken?  Duct tape!  Door falling off your refrigerator?  Duct tape!  Huge crack in your windshield?  Duct tape!

It was a gentle joke on my dad’s sometimes improvisational method of household repairs.  In response, though, my dad read the book with relish and promptly began fixing more things with duct tape.  It was in the book, after all!

Honestly, I think this was more of a prank on us all, his way of getting us back for the gag gift.  But he did seem to enjoy working with duct tape an awful lot….

So Dad, on your birthday:  Need a smile?  Duct tape!

Measuring tape October 25, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Office, Smiley.
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Measuring tape. From my personal collection.

Who says work can’t be fun?  The tape itself is interesting–it’s very flexible, much more like a tailor’s tape than a construction tape–and it’s proven pretty useful for simple household measuring and for taking to the store so we can check sizes when shopping for furniture.  Plus, the cats love to chase the tasseled end.  But my favorite feature?  The little button “nose” that you push to retract the tape!

Side note: It’s my father-in-law’s birthday this week, and since he’s quite the craftsman himself (he’s currently finishing a complete remodel of their house, which he designed himself and did a lot of the construction for himself), I thought this measuring tape would be a fun tribute.

Shaved hair October 11, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Public art, signs, & graffiti.
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Shaved hair. Courtesy of Jon Snoek.


Okay, bear with me a minute:  This is armpit hair.

There’s a story here.  It’s not much of a story, but it explains why I have armpit hair on a smiley blog.

About seven months ago, my brother, filmmaker and professional cook Jon Snoek, made an offhand comment in Facebook that it would be funny to shave a smiley face into his armpit hair.  The online world, of course, egged him on, and eventually, he decided to go for it.  This smiley face was the result.

Not many people find happiness in other people’s armpits, I know.  But you have to admit, this is pretty hilarious.  And if it made you laugh, then my brother’s work–and mine–is done.

Oh, and the real reason I’m posting this today?  Today is my brother’s birthday.  Happy birthday, Jon!

FYI: If you do enjoy the comedy of armpits, you might want to check out my brother’s Facebook group, Designer Armpits. But only if you really want to.