blogging

Exit 252. Traumatized.

[EDIT from spring 2020: This blog is pretty much inactive indefinitely at this point.  The last post below was written in September 2019.  Someone today posted a link to this site on a post intended to get people to check out new blogs.  So if you are reading this for the first time and are looking for a new blog to follow, you might want to check out my other blog instead, which I’m still updating although I just finished a month long hiatus.  Also, as of now there haven’t been any other major problems with the house, and the trip to New Mexico in October was wonderful.]

I haven’t been posting very regularly on this blog, and I don’t know if I ever will be again.  I could blame it on the other blog taking up more of my writing time, but now I’m not posting very regularly there either.

I feel like the events of 2019 have completely traumatized me.  I have had so many things at my house fall apart.  I have spent so much money on repairs and improvements, and many of those either didn’t do anything or just made things worse.  Any time I hear heavy wind, or water running, or even think about rain, I’m terrified that the house is going to fall apart even more.  Sometimes, when I leave the house, or when I go to bed, I double- and triple-check to make sure I didn’t leave any water running, and that the oven and stove are turned off, and lots of stuff like that.  I was almost late to work this last Friday because I kept running back inside double-checking things.

And now I got screwed out of $2600 by a company that didn’t tell me that the product they installed on my house was not completely compatible with the way my house is built.  The first time they attempted to install it, they caused more damage.  They eventually came back to fix that, but they didn’t fix all the damage they caused, and it took them about a month.  I was looking more closely at their work recently, particularly after another home repair professional pointed out that their product might cause more damage in the future.  I took a picture of their project not working as intended, sent it to my contact person with that company, and he basically said he had done enough and didn’t want to talk to me anymore, and that poor construction isn’t his fault.  So now I either cut my losses and consider the $2600 a bad investment, or I take them to court and give myself an even bigger hassle.

So, yeah, I’m a little stressed now.  I have work on top of all this.  And I’m going to be in New Mexico for five days in October, which will be awesome unless something happens to my house while I’m gone.

But I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because there are some good things happening too.  And I know that I should be trusting God to take care of me, but on the other hand I still have responsibilities that I need to deal with.

So I’m just going to write in both blogs when I feel like it.  Hopefully you guys will stick with me.  Happy last weekend of summer.

Exit 244. Sunshine blogger award.

I had nothing to write about this week. Conveniently enough, Charlene at Curiosity & Confession nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Thank you! That means I get to answer a bunch of questions about myself, and then nominate people to answer different questions about themselves.  I know I’ve gotten nominated for a few of these before.  I don’t remember if I’ve done this exact one, but the questions are different every time, so it doesn’t matter.

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
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These are the questions I got from Charlene. There were 12 of them, even though there were supposed to be 11, so you get a bonus question.

Where do you get your news? Mostly from the website for the major newspaper in my area.

If your job gave you a surprise paid three days off, what would you do those three days? I’m a teacher, so I have long periods of not having to go to work on a regular basis. But if it happened unexpectedly, I’d spend at least one day sitting around the house being lazy and catching up on cleaning. And if my friends were doing anything spontaneous, I’d be a lot more likely to go along with it than I normally am on a weeknight. Maybe I’d take a day trip to eat at an In-N-Out Burger I’ve never been to before (I’ve been to 116 different locations). But anything more adventurous would require a lot of advance planning and mentally getting myself ready, not something I can handle in three days.

What is something that you resent paying for? Other people’s abortions, via my tax dollars. (Please don’t argue about abortion or politics in my comments. A question was asked, and I answered it.)

What is the most expensive thing you have broken? A few women’s hearts. I’m not good at having the conversation when someone is into me and I’m not really into them like that. However, I’ve been on the receiving end of those conversations far more often than the giving end.

What was cool when you were younger, but is not cool now? Vanilla Ice. When I was 14 years and 2 months old, he was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I had outgrown him and his music by the time I was 14 years and 3 months old.

What is something that no matter how evolved we become will always be popular? Breathing. Breathing has been in style since prehistoric times. Either that or the Rolling Stones, since they’ve already been popular for over half a century.

Who do you go out of your way to be nice to? Going out of my way to be nice is kind of my default. However, if you’re openly angry about how much you hate people with my beliefs and opinions, then I’m going to go out of my way to ignore you as much as possible.

Who was your craziest/ most interesting teacher? What grade did they teach? I’ve had a lot of crazy and interesting teachers.  And this is a hard one to answer, because I’ve had a lot of favorite teachers for reasons that “crazy” and “interesting” don’t describe.  (I could say that I’m my own craziest teacher, because I’m sure a lot of my students would say I’m crazy and interesting, but that’s a cop-out.)  The first one who comes to mind was my PE teacher in 9th grade, because of the nicknames he would give some students (for example, there was a kid who always wore a blue hoodie, not sure if it was gang related or not, but this teacher always called him “Little Blue Riding Hood”).  He also made up names for some of the activities we would play; the flag football class championship was called the Toilet Bowl, and when we would have to run two miles on the day before a long holiday, it was called the Turkey Trot (Thanksgiving), the Reindeer Romp (Christmas), and the Bunny Hop (spring break, which included Easter).  I think those are the right names.  I wrote more about him, including a hilarious quote, a few years ago when he passed away.

What are some red flags to watch out for in your daily life? People who say they care about you but are always too busy for you, especially if said people are significant others.

If you could move one character to play in a different movie, what character would it been and to what movie/show? Barry Goldberg on Beavis and Butthead. That could be interesting…
Barry: “And so I pass into Hyperspace, Maybe you can follow me
Where I will be starting my own rap colony”
Butthead: ” “Uhhhh… this guy sucks.”

What actor/actress plays the same role in almost every movie or show they do? Jack Black comes to mind. He’s really good at that one role.

What protagonist from book or movie would make the worst roommate or spouse? There was this one character, I don’t remember what movie he was from, where he would interrogate his roommate every time his roommate had a new woman in his life, and lecture him about Christian purity and how great it is not to kiss until your wedding day (the roommates were both adults, it should be pointed out). And sometimes he would wander around the house talking to himself about how messy and immature his roommate is (the roommate found out because the guy didn’t realize his roommate was home). He told his roommate on numerous occasions that he was immature and weak in his Christian faith because he played video games, and how he was wasting his time by having friends who weren’t Christians and not was actively trying to convert them. I can’t remember… what movie was that from?… oh wait, it wasn’t a movie, IT WAS REAL LIFE.

I don’t like nominating people for these, so if you want to be nominated, go ahead and do this. 🙂 And if you are nominated, leave a comment below so people can go check out your blog. The rest of you, go check out some new blogs in the comments.  Seriously, don’t forget that part, because that’s the point of these blog awards.

My questions for you:

  • What place would you most like to visit right now, if neither time nor money were a factor?
  • What is the farthest away from home you’ve ever been?
  • What is the longest you’ve ever waited in line, and what was it for?
  • What is the weirdest or most noteworthy story you have about how you met one of your friends?
  • What is something you liked to eat as a kid, but you don’t like anymore?
  • If you could bring back one discontinued product, what would it be?
  • What was your least favorite thing about school?
  • If you could change one law/rule/etc. that applies to you, what would it be?
  • Who is your celebrity crush?
  • If you could change your name, what would you change it to?  And if you like your name the way it is, why?
  • What’s that band/singer/musician that you’re a fan of, but you’re kind of embarrassed to admit it? Come on, everyone has one.

Exit 241. Five years.

So I’ve been trying to think about something to write about all weekend.  I kind of had an idea earlier today.  But then I remembered that this week marks five years since I started this blog.

Well, not exactly.  Last week was the actual anniversary, but I had something more important I chose to write about last week.  Still, five years.

Looking back, I had one post before I started my actual posts.  When I started numbering the posts, I didn’t include that first one, because it didn’t really say anything.  I was just kind of writing out my thoughts about starting a blog.  And one thing stands out, now that I look back on that post from five years ago: “I don’t know if anyone other than my friends will ever find this page, but who knows?”

I have to admit, when I wrote that, I had fleeting thoughts of Highway Pi getting this huge viral following, getting me millions of followers and so many clicks that I could quit my day job.  Yeah… didn’t happen.  And I’m not surprised.

But what does stand out is that while I haven’t gotten millions of followers, some people other than my friends have in fact found this page.  I’ve made friends just through here (although I haven’t met any of them in person), from looking at people who comment on my posts and then reading their blogs.  I have read about organizing your life; people’s experiences with introversion, autism, eating disorders, anxiety, and various medical conditions; some interesting posts about Christianity; poetry and short stories; just life in general; and many other subjects and cultures from around the world that I wouldn’t know as much about otherwise.  And I have also started a second blog, episodic fiction which has led to a great deal of introspection about a significant time in my life.  And most importantly, I’m not stressing as much over either blog about having to write something every week.

Thank you all for a very memorable five years.  It’s been nice meeting and getting to know all of you… and to those of you whom I already knew, thank you for your comments and helpful words.  I plan on keeping this going as long as I can.

Exit 230. I don’t have time.

I don’t have time.

I always have all these great creative ideas, and I don’t have time to work on all of them.

I wrote a novel off and on from 2014-18, more off than on, and it still feels like it isn’t quite finished, like there’s one part that needs to be rewritten.  I started a second blog recently.  I have another fictional universe I’ve done things with in various forms for over a quarter-century.  And I feel like I can’t really commit to any of them.

But that’s okay.  All of these projects are just for fun, and I shouldn’t stress about them.  I’m not trying to make a living out of any of these creative projects.  I have a real job that takes a lot of my time.  But this is also the kind of real job that periodically gives me time off when I can concentrate on things like this.

So I’m just not going to worry about it.  I’ll write what I can, when I can.  Even if no one reads it.  Because maybe when I’m an old man, I’ll look at some of my old writing that I haven’t read in decades, and I’ll get a good laugh out of it.  (That actually happened recently with some poems I wrote in my late teens that have followed me from hard drive to hard drive on five different computers.)

And if any of you don’t know about my other projects and are curious, let me know.  I’ll either share it, or maybe I’ll kindly thank you and explain why I’m not comfortable sharing everything with everyone.

Exit 159. Small steps.

I missed a week.  Sorry about that.  I’m trying not to let this time off work pass me by too quickly, and it seems like that should be a positive thing.

I don’t have much time left before I go back to work.  Almost three weeks, that feels like a long time, but it’s going to go by fast, and I already have plans for some of it.  I look at my long undone to-do list, full of major projects that most sane people could not get completely done, and I just get overwhelmed and discouraged.

What I need is to take small steps.  Come up with small more manageable goals, one day at a time, one week at a time.  And writing this post means I can check one off. 🙂 Happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers, and happy upcoming Independence Day to my fellow Americans.

Exit 152. Three years.

As of this week, I have now been writing this blog for three years.  What does that mean?  Nothing really.  It hasn’t grown nearly as quickly as some other blogs I’ve followed, but that is mostly because I haven’t actively promoted it all that much, and because it doesn’t have a specific topic tied to it that people can search for.  And it’s not necessarily supposed to.

I have made some new friends through this blog, people who, after randomly finding posts of mine, follow me and I follow them.  I don’t have hundreds of adoring fans, like celebrities or like some of the blogs I follow.  And some of the people who used to follow me don’t anymore.  But that’s okay, because that’s how real life is too.

I’ve said before that part of the reason I feel so lost in the world is because I’ve been looking for ways to live like I’m in my early 20s again, with friends who live nearby and a church group that also doubles as a social circle.  That’s not going to happen.  That’s not how life is, and I can’t change that.  But what I can do is make the most of what I have.  My social circle isn’t going to be huge.  But it doesn’t have to be, and it shouldn’t be. And it will change.  People grow apart.  People’s actions reveal who they really are, and it is better to let go than to stay angry and hurt.

I can’t change other people, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do anything.  I can stay close to the people who have stayed close to me.  I can try new things, since some of what I’m doing now isn’t working.  Or maybe it’s time for another party at my house, to try to keep my circle intact.  Or maybe some combination of those things.

Exit 141. Versatile Blogger Award and things about myself.

There are a lot of deep topics I could write about this week.  Today is a national holiday here in the USA commemorating the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.  The controversial businessman Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated later this week as the 45th President of the United States of America.  A controversial political journalist was scheduled to speak at my alma mater, and the speech was cancelled due to protests in a move that some say sounds suspiciously like censorship.

But I really don’t feel like writing something that deep right now.  I’m going to keep it light this week.

One of my readers whom I do not know in person, Anna from the blog My Little Corner, nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  I’ve seen these kind of blog nominations going around for a while now, and this is the first time I’ve ever been tagged in one.  Thank you, Anna.

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Now I’m supposed to do these things:

  1. Display Award.
  2. Thank the person who gave this award (and include a link to their blog.)
  3. Share seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate bloggers.

The first two are already done, so now I get to share seven things about myself.  I’ll try to stick to things that I haven’t written about before on here, although some of these might be common knowledge to my friends in real life.

1. I have never seen the movie Titanic, and I have no desire to.
Yes, I know it’s one of the most popular and highest grossing movies of all time, but I haven’t seen it.  Yes, I know it’s a love story, and if you think that’s going to make me want to see it, you don’t know me very well.  (Read this for more information, especially the paragraph starting with “A couple years ago.”) I wanted to see Titanic at the time it was in theaters (which was my last year as an undergrad at UC Davis), mostly just because everyone was talking about it, and because they built and sank a replica of the actual Titanic to make the movie.  That sounded awesome.  I had plans to see it with a female friend (I’ll call her Aldebaran) who I got along with wonderfully and probably would have been interested in as more than a friend except that she had a boyfriend back home.  Aldebaran cancelled on me, and we never got to reschedule.  A couple weeks later, she moved away to do an internship related to her future career.  When I saw her again in the fall, her boyfriend had moved to Davis, and she pretty much disappeared once he was around.  I think I saw her once or twice that year, we didn’t say much more than hi, and 18 years later I have never heard from her again.  But back to my main story… at some point during the time she was gone, I heard all the stories about middle-aged women being so obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio that they had seen Titanic 20 times, and I heard from friends whose opinions I trusted that it really wasn’t that good, and I decided I wasn’t missing much.  Eventually, it sort of became something I was proud of that I never saw that movie.

2. I don’t like coffee.
Again, I apologize if you find that blasphemous.  I’m not going to stop any of you from drinking coffee.  You do you.  But I just can’t handle the taste.  I’ve mentioned this a little bit in this blog before (follow the same link in the Titanic paragraph above).  I’ve tried to like coffee.  Being a college student in the 90s, I felt like my dislike of coffee stunted my social life.  But no matter what I added to the drink, I couldn’t get past the fact that I could taste the coffee.  Since there’s not much of a story to this, I’ll tell a related story: A while back, I was in my early 30s, and I brought a friend to a football game at UC Davis.  After the game, she didn’t want to go home right away; she suggested going to a coffee shop to hang out and talk.  (I had no problem with this; my plan was to order a hot chocolate.)  She asked, since I used to live in Davis, where was a good local non-Starbucks coffee shop?  One came to mind right away that I was pretty sure was still there (it was Mishka’s, for my readers who are familiar with Davis).  Once we walked in, I looked around and realized something interesting: I had never been inside Mishka’s before.  I only knew of it because my friends were always talking about it and how good it was.

3. I have never consumed alcohol.
Not technically entirely true, because I grew up Catholic, where they use real wine for Communion, but that’s just a tiny sip.  And once I was trying to make bootleg Vanilla Coke using generic cola and vanilla extract, and I didn’t realize that vanilla extract contains alcohol.  But that’s all; no alcohol other than those situations.  I have mentioned this several times, but I haven’t told the whole story.  As with coffee, sometimes I feel that not drinking has stunted my social life.  But I have different reasons for this.  My father is a recovering alcoholic, and this kind of thing tends to run in families.  Dad has been sober since the early 80s, so I’m too young to really remember most of his problem days.  But I remember him being kind of distant when I was a kid, and much of that was because he was still fighting his own demons.  I also see in myself the kind of personality tendencies where I could easily turn to alcohol to run away, and I’d just rather not play with proverbial fire, so to speak.  Plus, I never have to worry about knowing whether or not I’m too impaired to drive, and I save a lot of money not drinking.  But if you enjoy alcohol in moderation, I’m not going to stop you, and I’m fine being around you.  You do you.

4. I’m not one who always embraces the latest technology with enthusiasm.
This surprises some people, considering how much time I spend behind a computer screen, how I tend to figure things out on computers pretty easily, and how I knew the basics of what would today be called coding by my preteen years.  Growing up, I did a lot of reading about computers, but much of it was wishful thinking because we did not spend a lot of money on expensive technological devices.  As an adult, now that I have more money, I understand the wisdom of not spending it prodigiously, so now I don’t always go out and buy the latest thing.  It also makes me angry the way that slightly older technologies that work perfectly well are forced into obsolescence by corporations (smartphones without headphone jacks and MicroSD card slots, for example).  All that accomplishes is making me NOT want to buy your latest product.

5. I have only been to Yosemite National Park once, for one day, at age 38, despite living pretty much my whole life within a few hours’ drive.
This may not mean much to my readers outside of California, but I know people for whom this fact is completely inconceivable; to them, it’s just something you do growing up in California.  Not me.  I grew up in a family that was not outdoorsy at all, and family outings and vacations themselves were relatively rare growing up because everyone had such different and incompatible schedules.  It was also a trip I hesitated to take because, from what I had heard, Yosemite was always so crowded, and it was very difficult and expensive to find a place to stay.  Around 2000, I got the idea to take a day trip there, to leave very early in the morning in late spring or early summer when there would be lots of daylight, arrive at the park mid-morning, explore until it got dark, and get home in time for bed.  Someone I knew at the time shot down that idea (even though they weren’t invited, this was to be a solo trip), saying that I was underestimating the drive time, so it wouldn’t be worth the trip for just one day.  I listened to them and cancelled this plan.  I got the same idea around 2011 when I was dating Acrux, and she again told me I couldn’t do that, for the same reason.  I’d get there, drive up and down the Valley, and then it would be time to leave, according to her.  By 2015, I did a little more research and decided that my original plan would be feasible.  Screw you, naysayers.  The people shooting down my ideas were presumably assuming that it would take forever to get ready in the morning, and that they would want to get home in time for dinner.  They weren’t counting on the fact that I was perfectly willing to pack the night before, leave my house at 5:30am, and not get home until 11pm.  So I did just that, which gave me around 10 hours of actual time to explore in the park.  It was a wonderful day.  Of course, the park is so big that I just barely scratched the surface, seeing some of the most popular attractions, but the trip was still well worth it.

6. I’m terrible at skateboarding, roller skating, rollerblading, ice skating, skiing, or anything else along those lines.  I just don’t have that kind of coordination or balance.  I suppose I might get better with practice, but it’s hard for me to justify spending a lot of money on a hobby that results in nothing but me falling down over and over again.  (Snowboarding isn’t on this list because I’ve never tried it.)

7. My favorite number is pi, and my least favorite number is 19.
Pi is because it is a symbol of the field of mathematics, which is what my degree is in.  (This is why I named my blog as I did.)  And 19 is because it seems like every time I meet a cute single girl, that’s how old she ends up being.  Either that, or that’s how old she ends up acting.

So, now that I’ve given my seven facts about myself, I’m supposed to nominate bloggers.  I’m going to modify this step, though.  I’m going to say feel free to do this if you want to, and if you don’t, then don’t.  Besides, I think all my blog friends deserve an award.  But if you are going to accept my quasi-nomination, post a link to your blog in the comments so that other readers can follow it.

 

Exit 100. I’ve stayed true to that mission.

This is my 100th post.

Well, technically it’s my 101st, because the first post I wrote here said something like “Hi, I’m starting this blog, but I don’t know what I want to do with it yet.”  A few posts later, when I started numbering them, I didn’t include that first one.

This blog is a weekly, and since there are approximately 52 weeks in a year, that means I’ve been doing this for almost two years.  Hard to believe it’s been that long.  Time seems to keep going faster and faster as I get older, and my upcoming 40th birthday this summer serves as a reminder of that.

In the aforementioned first post, I said that I didn’t have big expectations for this blog, I didn’t have a specific topic for it, and that I’m just going to be me and share my thoughts in a public place.  In two years, I would say I’ve definitely stayed true to that mission, if you can call it a mission.  I still don’t have a specific topic, and I’m still just me, sharing my thoughts.  When I started this, I didn’t know if I would build an audience beyond people who already know me.  I haven’t exactly made an effort to.  But I occasionally get likes and comments from people I don’t know, and I’ve followed and interacted with a few of them in return.  That has been a very positive experience.

As I’ve said before, blogging is a big business for some people, and I haven’t really made an effort to turn Highway Pi into a business.  But that’s okay.  I’m not trying to.  I’m doing exactly what I wanted to with this blog, and I will continue to do so indefinitely.

Thank you all for reading.  Happy Easter/Resurrection to those of you who celebrate.  He is risen.