Author Archive: Claudia

LOL THE BLOGS ARE CAUGHT UP

Freaking finally. It’s been literal years, I think.

As always, I’m going to give you all the empty promise that I’m going to do better in my posting habits, but…yeah right, right?

You know the drill.

01-10-2020

Waiter! There’s some freezing over in my hell!

Me: Yay, it’s good to be back in Calgary. Hello, Calgary!

The temperature, as it tanks over the next few days:
01-09-2020-a

Seriously, though, what is this madness?

01-09-2020-b

That first line of temps contains the “highs” and the second line contains the “feels like” temperatures. And yes, those are in Fahrenheit.

It’s supposed to warm up starting next weekend, but that’s exactly how last February was supposed to start. Instead, it was this madness all month.

I don’t know if I can do that again.

In This Blog: Claudia’s Jet-Setting Suitcase Says “Screw You” to Cold Temperatures and Goes to California Instead

Today, I went from Moscow/Pullman (PUW) to Seattle (SEA) to Calgary (YYC).

My suitcase, however, did not. It went from Moscow/Pullman (PUW) to Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary (YYC).

????

Luckily, my nine-hour layover in Seattle meant that my suitcase still got to Calgary before I did, despite its little adventure.

I like Sea-Tac; I’ve spent a decent proportion of my life there. It’s a nice airport. Nine hours, though, is a little too long of a layover. At least I got a lot of semester prepping done and still had time to walk around a little bit.

Hoorah.

The 5,000th Blog

Back when I was in high school, MySpace was the big, cool thing that all the big, cool people were getting into. I was not a big, cool person, but a few of my friends were convinced I was. Specifically, my friends Aneel and E’raina were very insistent that I join them in being big and cool by getting a MySpace account.

So on May 1st, 2006, I finally did.

If you don’t remember MySpace very well, one feature it had was the ability to make blog posts on one’s MySpace page. Once I got my account on May 1st, 2006, I decided to post my very first blog post as well, joking that I’d try to blog daily, but would likely only last in this routine for a month or two.

May 1st, 2006 was exactly 5,000 days ago. 5,000 days ago I made my first blog post. Today, I am making my 5,000th blog post.

That’s more than 13 years of daily blogging. To put that in a slightly different perspective, when I started blogging, I was 18 years old. Now I’m almost 32. I started blogging before I even had my high school diploma; now I’m an instructor at a university.

That’s pretty freaking cool.

Also, sometime along the way, I made it a goal to blog daily for 10,000 days. That means today is finally my halfway point to that goal! Awesome.

(Sorry, I’m excited.)

Here’s to another 5,000 blog posts!

MY FREAKING HAIR

So now that my hair has had the chance to be its usual horrible self with this new haircut, I think it looks terrible. So I went to Great Clips tonight and got those front thingies chopped off.

Now it looks like this.

01-06-2020

Improvement?

Another Weird January Dream

So remember a couple days ago when I mentioned that my brain likes to fire of a fair number of weird, vivid, memorable dreams near the start of the year? Here’s another one for you!

In last night’s dream, I actually am not sure if I was part of the thing I was dreaming about or just watching it on TV. That part I can’t remember. But the rest of it I can, so we’re just going to say that I was watching this on TV in the dream, because it was a TV show I was dreaming about. Specifically, it was the show 7th Heaven. If you’re not familiar with the show, it ran from 1996-2007 and was heavy-handed with lots of Christian themes. It focused on the family of Reverend Camden, which consisted of his wife Annie and like nine kids, and their Wacky Christian Adventures. One such adventure, for example, was the Rev finding a blunt in the house and going berserk “I WILL DRUG TEST THE LOT OF YOU HEATHENS” on the kids because he wanted to know which one brought the Devil’s Grass into their holy house.

It was a…weird show.

Anyway. In the dream I am watching(?) 7th Heaven on TV and in the episode, one of the Camden kids has befriended some other kid (he’s like…eight? Nine?) and have brought him home to hang out with him. This kid is like perfect: no hair out of place, perfect clothes, perfect speech an annunciation, perfect response to everything that he is asked—and as the episode goes on, I think to myself in the dream that I remembered this episode from having seen it before. Specifically, the “big twist” is that this kid is actually Jesus.

Yup. Literal, actual Jesus, disguised as a nine-year-old kid.

The episode cuts to this scene where JesusKid is finishing the last book in a huge bookshelf of novels and one of the Camden kids – I think it’s Matt – says something like, “there’s no way you could have read all those books so quickly. You’d have to be some sort of divine being to have done that.”

(Subtle.)

Jesus Kid just smiles, and Matt takes one of the books and says “Okay, fine. But I’m going to read along with you just to make sure you’re reading them all like you say you are.”

Cut to a different part of this bizarre 7th Heaven universe: a farm. There’s a mother and a daughter out working in a field when the mother jumps up and starts freaking out about one of their sheep escaping its pen and going over to the Camden’s field. Now I’m pretty sure that in real life 7th Heaven, the Camdens lived in town, as they lived in a church-owned house that somehow held the Rev, the wife, and their massive brood. But in the dream, I guess they lived on a farm…?

Anyway, the mother and daughter start absolutely freaking out, because I guess there is some sort of giant pond between their farm and the Camdens’ and the sheep was in danger of drowning in the pond.

Cut back to Jesus Kid. Using what I’m assuming is his God-bestowed sixth sense, he suddenly seems to realize the sheep is in trouble, and he jumps up and runs out to the fields, much to the confusion of Matt and everyone else.

He bolts to the pond as fast as he can and sees the sheep drowning near the middle of the pond. Then – I kid you not – he just calmly walks on the pond water out to the sheep. He touches the sheep, which grants it the ability to walk on water as well, and the two return to the Camden side of the pond.

So, walking on water: obviously a Jesus thing, right? But the Camdens don’t make that connection. They chalk the whole thing up to an optical illusion (???) and are just happy that the sheep is safe.

Jesus Kid, meanwhile, waits until everyone is busy doting over the sheep, then disappears into the ether with a weird little halo glow about his head.

Then the episode is over.

I literally had to Google “7th Heaven Jesus episode” when I woke up this morning, because while I was sure that no episode exactly like the one in my dream existed, I was convinced that there was some episode where the kids meet Jesus without even knowing it.

There’s not.

7th Heaven creator Brenda Hampton, I am disappoint.

Grandpa

Long story short here to set things up: my grandpa (on my mom’s side) died way back in 2002. We had him cremated, and since then, my grandma has been holding on to his ashes. Now that she’s dead, my mom took possession of my grandpa’s ashes and decided to scatter him somewhere he always loved to be: Spring Valley.

So today we took him out there and found a nice place to put him. It was kind of snowy and cold, but we know he’ll be happy out there.

01-04-2020.jpg

Rest in peace, grandpa. You’re finally back out in the woods where you belong.

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Great Freaking Start, Decade.

So 2020 is already a flaming hot pile of GARBAGE and I hate it.

What a shock.

So because I feel like my entire life is not worth living anymore and because I have absolutely no motivation to exist, you’re getting a crappy blog post.

(As opposed to…?)

I enjoy “Zodiac signs as…” things, so we’re gonna do those today. ‘Cause I need something that will make me laugh or I’m going to go find the nearest bridge and go weeeeeeeee.

 

Walking 2019

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! Let’s do the annual madness that is my review of last year’s walking stats.

Here they are for January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

Total number of walks: 348
Total mileage: 4,836.81
Total number of steps: 11,813,295
Total calories burned: 304,776
Total walking time (minutes): 80,420.25 [that’s about 55.84 days]
Average speed (mph) per walk: 3.64

4,836.81 miles is approximately the great circle distance between Seattle, WA and London, England or between Constantine, Algeria and Cape Town, South Africa.

01-01-2020-a01-01-2020-b

Let’s do as well (or better!) this year.

Claudia’s 365 Days of Music: Year 10 – A Review

Holy crap, y’all, it’s the final year of this project!

Before we get to the stats, let me mention again (since it’s been a few days since the actual blog post about it) that my thorough “Decade of Music” review is coming at the end of January (hopefully). I would like to do it sooner than that, but I just haven’t had the time to compile all of the information I want to for the review. I’ve been way too busy with work.

A disappointment, I know, but hey – we all know I’m really good at being a disappointment.

ANYWAY. Expect that later. For now, let’s just look at 2019:

Total songs: 365
Total time: 23 hours and 59 minutes
Mean song length: 3:45

The Five Stars
Listed in order of acquisition!
Airwaves by Airplanes
Ice Cream by MIKA
Canada Dry (Acoustic) by Barenaked Ladies
Send Me On My Way (Jesse Bloch Bootleg) by Rusted Root
When I Need a Friend by Coldplay
Door by Caroline Polachek

The five most beautiful/touching songs of the year:
When I Need a Friend by Coldplay
Underneath the Stars by VOCES8
Air on the G String by Bach (played on the Whitworth Hall Organ)
The Sound of Silence by VOCES8
Lully Lulla Lullay by VOCES8

The Overall Top Five
Canada Dry (Acoustic) by Barenaked Ladies
This song is simultaneously chill, uplifting, and melancholy. I’ve really gotten into the Barenaked Ladies this year and this song, from their newest album “Fake Nudes,” is definitely my favorite. And I like this live/acoustic version better than the album version because of the piano. So good.

Ice Cream by MIKA
AAAAAAAA MIKA IS BACK! A hot, sexy, summer song with a very catchy chorus. Love it.

Send Me On My Way (Jesse Bloch Bootleg) by Rusted Root
The bass in this song is nnnnnf. This remix takes a pretty chill song and gives it a lot more exciting energy. 1:33 goes BOOM!

When I Need a Friend by Coldplay
Chris Martin has a perfect voice. The only way to improve upon it, as this song demonstrates, is to give him the backing of a choir. This song is just stunningly beautiful.

Door by Caroline Polachek
Caroline has a captivating, haunting voice. The way it’s layered and used in this song makes this song haunting as well. I love the chords in the chorus.

YAY!

Again, stay tuned for the Decade of Music project review…hopefully at the end of the month!

What a Decade

I suppose any decade has the capacity to bring about MASSIVE CHANGE due simply to its length, but this past decade has definitely brought many changes, both worldwide and personally.

For example, 10 years ago today was December 30, 2009. Things that were true on that day include:

  • I was 21 years old
  • I had a BS in psychology, a BS in philosophy, and had just finished my first semester of grad school at UBC for an MA in psychology
  • I was 100% miserable in my grad program and did not want to go back up to Vancouver after visiting Moscow over Christmas break
  • I had no desire to ever become an instructor/professor (or whatever the hell you want to call it), especially an instructor/professor of math
  • I was not yet walking for pleasure/exercise/sanity
  • I suspected I’d never find anyone I wanted to actually legitimately marry. People I liked? Yes. People I thought would like me and would tolerate my nonsense? Nope
  • I had 1,340 blog posts on Eigenblogger

Now, on December 30, 2019, the following things are true:

  • I am 31 years old
  • I have a BS in psychology, a BS in philosophy, I (somehow) finished my time at UBC to get an MA in psychology. I also now have a BS in math and an MS in statistics
  • I love living in Calgary and always enjoy going back after visiting Moscow over Christmas break (even though I miss my mom when I leave Moscow!)
  • I have been working the past six-ish years to get to where I am now career-wise as an instructor in math/stats
  • Walking is my JAM, yo
  • I have found my soulmate and love him more than I ever thought I could love someone
  • I have 4,992 blog posts on Eigenblogger

Wild. What has changed for y’all over the past decade?

I hope the next decade proves to be even better to everyone.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I got all my ugly, pain-in-the-ass hair cut off today because, as I’ve mentioned before, I am so sick of dealing with it. Here’s what I look like now:

12-29-2019

What do you think? I’m still an ugly bastard, but now all that long, scruffy hair is gone at least.

(Ignore the frizz; Moscow is way more humid than Calgary and my hair can’t handle it.)

Here’s the Last List of the 00’s

YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO let’s list. I know I already did a December list but SCREW IT.

  • If you’re interested at all in travel bloggers who focus more on the transportation rather than the destination (i.e., the airport/flight, terminal/bus, station/train, etc.), one good one I’ve recently found is Paul Lucas’ YouTube channel “Wingin’ It! Paul Lucas.” He’s very knowledgeable about airplane travel (train travel, too, but I’ve only seen his airplane-based reviews thus far) and has a nice chill voice. Check him out here.
  • When I was in SeaTac on Christmas and doing one of three “run between two different gates because we don’t know where the plane will be LOL” exercises, I saw someone with a super colorful backpack. I didn’t want to be a creep and take a picture of them, so instead I was a creep and walked up kind of close behind them so I could see the brand of the backpack. The brand was “Cotopaxi,” so when I got to Moscow later that day, I looked it up. Cotopaxi is a company that makes backpacks, outerwear, and activewear with a focus on sustainability and recycled materials. They put 1% of their profits towards addressing poverty and community development. The reason the person’s Cotopaxi backpack was so colorful was because it was made from a mishmosh of leftover materials from other backpack constructions and the employee who makes the backpack gets to choose the pieces and colors. Check out those backpackshere!
  • Hahaha. Fake, but pretty funny.
  • I’m reading (fiction) for pleasure for the first time in like two years and it’s weird. It makes me want to write (or more specifically, work on my 2019 NaNo project some more).
  • I hate myself.

Uhhhhhhhh I think that’s it for now.

You Say You Want a Resolution

HELLO, PARTY POOPERS!

It’s that time of the year again where I review all of my FREAKING FAILURES and set up some more FREAKING FAILURES for next year.

So without further delay, let’s get to it!

A review of the 2019 resolutions:

  • ACCOMPLISHED: The blogs. As always. Not even a hard resolution, but I keep putting it on here ‘cause then I get at least one “ACCOMPLISHED” on my list, haha.
  • ACCOMPLISHED: The musics. There are only a few more days left in this Decade of Music project! MADNESS
  • FAILED: Get my music organized before the end of the year. I had every intention of doing this and have a few years organized, but I’ve been S U P E R  B U S Y and thus haven’t gotten it all done. Hence my pushing back the Decade of Music review.
  • ACCOMPLISHED: Walk 4,000 miles. Done. Easily. I won’t hit 5,000, but I’ll probably be in the 4,800s maybe?
  • ACCOMPLISHED: Get back to running 10k distances. I was looking at this resolution list a few months ago and was thinking “hey look, this one’s going to be a failure!” But over the past month or so I’ve picked up running again and just recently started running 10k distances. Hell, I ran 10k today! So that’s coolio.
  • ACCOMPLISHED: Win NaNoWriMo 2019. I almost didn’t do NaNo this year, due to – you guessed it – being S U P E R  B U S Y. But I did it, I won it, and I actually want to keep working on the story, even though it’s a craptastic premise.
  • FAILED: Get my blogs in physical form. Hahaha. S U P E R  B U S Y.
  • FAILED: Write at least 500 words a day, 5 days a week, until my NaNoWriMo 2018 story is done. Then start editing it. NOPE
  • SORT OF ACCOMPLISHED: POST THESE GODDAMN BLOGS. As of my writing this list, I haven’t posted my blogs since the end of September. But I posted a whole slog of them earlier this year, I should get credit for that! …Right?
  • FAILED: Be. Better. For. Nate. I’m such a bad wife. I try not to be, but I am. It’s rage-inducing.

And now for the 2020 rez list:

  • The blogs.
  • Walk at least 4,500 miles. This is assuming that I’ll be teaching all year; if I’m not (heaven forbid), let’s say 4,000 miles.
  • Do something with my writing. I don’t even freaking care what, really. Just something. I need to be more consistent with it apart from banging out 50,000 words every November. I want to work on one of my old NaNo projects – maybe this year’s, or 2009’s or 2014’s. Or do something with my old short stories. SOMETHING.
  • Run a half-marathon. I don’t want to just run half-marathon distances, I want to run in an actual “official” half-marathon race.
  • Run a marathon. See above, but replace “half-marathon” with “marathon.”
  • Win NaNoWriMo 2020. Let’s keep the streak going!
  • Get my blogs in physical form. I really need to do this. I fear losing them more than I fear losing my own life (priorities: I have them)
  • Get a body composition analysis. I have no idea what my body fat percentage is, for example, and I’d like to know. I also want to do this near the beginning of the year and then work to improve it (less body fat, more muscle, that kind of thing)
  • I’m going to try to be more consistent in posting these blogs, but pffft.
  • I’m also going to keep trying to be better for Nate. I really do try, but I’m absolute garbage, so it probably doesn’t even seem like I’m trying half the time. But I am. Sorry, Nate.

Ugh.

SURVEY IT UP!

Hey so remember that survey I do at the end of every year?

LET’S DO IT AGAIN! ‘Cause repetitive content is FUN and ENJOYABLE, right?

What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?
HAVE MY OWN OFFICE! I only just got it in September, but that totally counts. I love it so much.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
There will soon be a blog post regarding this!

Did anyone close to you give birth?
For the first time in like five years, none of my old friends have had kids.

Did anyone close to you die?
My grandma on my mom’s side died. I’m not sure if she counts as “close” because we hated each other and I haven’t spoken to her in like a decade, but I guess she is “close” family-wise. So.

What countries did you visit?
USA.

What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?
More free time.

What date from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Can’t think of any.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting that lecturer position. A step above a sessional instructor!

What was your biggest failure?
Existing.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope!

What was the best thing you bought?
I have no idea. I can’t remember everything I bought and no single purchase is standing out as the best thing I bought.

Where did most of your money go?
Condo fees. Broccoli. Eyeshadow. Music.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My new job! And teaching calculus. That was bomb.

What song will always remind you of 2019?
Door by Caroline Polachek

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastinated.

How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas was a few days ago. Went walking/running in the morning, then spent most of the day in SeaTac. Now I’m chilling with my mom!

Did you fall in love in 2019?
I stayed in love in 2019.

How many one-night stands?
ZERO!

What was your favourite TV program?
I don’t know if there were any new shows (“new” as in new to existence or “new” as in new to me”). So Chicago Hope, as always.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope.

What was the best book you read?
Shamefully, the only book I’ve read is the one I’m (re-)reading now: On the Beach by Nevil Shute. So that one.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
That will be revealed on the 31st!

What was your favourite film of this year?
Probably End Game. I didn’t like it nearly as much as I liked Infinity War and I feel like I liked it less than most people did, but it definitely wasn’t horrible. I enjoyed it—just not as much as I was expecting to.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 31 and spent four hours of the day walking in -15°F weather. Turns out that that would be a preview for the rest of the month of February.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably satisfying?
Not being me.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?
alelrdfgbakklcwgefksf

What kept you sane?
I think any milligram of sanity I had left at the start of the year has now disintegrated into thin air.

Which celebrity/public figure(s) did you fancy the most?
Leibniz. Always and forever.

Who did you miss?
My mom.

Who was the best new person you met?
Uhhhhhhhhhh I don’t think I met anyone new. John, maybe? Sure. John.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019:
Sometimes good things happen to terrible people.

I am IN MOSCOW

Also it’s Christmas. Merry Christmas.

I spent most of the day in various airports, but at least I got to walk/run this morning before I left. So yay!

In the spirit of Christmas, have a beautiful rendition of Carol of the Bells.

BYE!

I am a Disappointment (What Else is New?)

So as I’m sure you’re all aware (assuming you read my blogs on a semi-regular basis), my Decade of Music project is due to end on December 31st. That means I will have a decade’s worth of new songs (3,652 songs, to be precise, with the leap years) and thus will have a lot of cool stuff to share with you all, including my absolute favorite songs of the decade, most beautiful songs of the decade, top music videos, etc. Not to mention all the STATS, too!

However, I have not been very vigilant with keeping my Decade of Music songs super organized. That is, due to various computer changes over the course of the decade, not all my songs have rankings, not all of them have the correct genres attached…that kind of thing. And I don’t have one big master list of the songs, either. I have yearly Word documents, but all those contain are the songs and artists, not any other details such as genre or my ranking of the songs.

I was hoping to get a master list together by the end of the year so that I could share all the cool summary info with you starting in the beginning of 2020, but I’ve been so busy with work that I just haven’t had the time to make said master list.

So here’s the plan: rather than try to half-ass my end of the decade music summary and basing it off of what I know off the top of my head about my songs but get it to you at the start of January, I’m going to delay it a little bit to make sure I have time to get that comprehensive list done, sorted, and properly analyzed for all stats-related things.

Would I prefer to give you the summary at the beginning of next year? Of course. But I don’t want to half-ass it; I’ve spent a whole decade on this project and it would feel lousy trying to throw something together at the last minute when I feel like this project deserves a much more comprehensive exploration and discussion.

So if it’s cool with y’all, the Decade of Music project’s summary will be a little late. Maybe end of January or sometime in February.

Is that cool? Please say yes.

I’m sorry.

BALLS TO THE W A L L

YESSSSSSSS Idaho is coming!

12-23-2019

I seriously hope they’ll have Lewiston/the Lewiston grade in there. It’ll be so weird to be playing this game in a region that I know in person.

*excited screeching*

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelephant

Uli Westphal is an artist from Germany. His works focus on how humans interact with the natural world. One of his projects, “Elephas Anthropogenus”, is described as this:

“After the fall of the Roman Empire, elephants virtually disappeared from Western Europe. Since there was no real knowledge of how this animal actually looked, illustrators had to rely on oral and written transmissions to morphologically reconstruct the elephant, thus reinventing an actual existing creature. This tree diagram traces the evolution of the elephant depiction throughout the middle ages up to the age of enlightenment.”

It can be seen here.

I like how some of these are pretty damn accurate…

12-22-2019-a

12-22-2019-b

12-22-2019-c

…but then other ones are like…

Vaccuum Mammal.
12-22-2019-d

W-what are you?
12-22-2019-e

Ah yes, the regal Erect Tusk Nobleman species.
12-22-2019-f

Don’t do drugs, kids.
12-22-2019-g

Nice legs, daisy dukes…
12-22-2019-h

Um…
12-22-2019-i

Sweet heavenly Jesus.
12-22-2019-j