I’m stuck in a loop!

October 16, 2012

I know that seems like a nice metaphor for my life, but it’s not. Ok. Just get that out of your head right now, mister/miss! (I have my mom sweats on today, so… sorry about that.)

So, yesterday I spent all day working with Python code. My first assignment went well, it was almost easy. Then I hit the second (writing a code to figure out the lowest, static, monthly payment that would pay off a credit card in a year, it’s #2 of 3 assignments that are due today, YAY!!.) and I thought I was doing well until I got caught in an infinite loop. Not just once, but like… aaaaaaall day.

I didn’t actually start my assignment until about noon because I had a few lectures to watch first. At noon I stood up, went into the kitchen, grabbed a banana, a coke and pretzels. Then plopped my ass in the la-z-boy and didn’t move, but once, until after 5pm. That whole time, I was literally stuck in an infinite loop for 95% of the time. I’d get it stop, by trial and error mostly, because I”m really bad at loops. I don’t know why, but on paper, they make total sense, but in my code, I’m totally lost. I need a damn loop road map. I had a few things to do in the evening, then sat back down trying to figure out this damn code (I’m also bad a nesting & using indentation properly) while trying to watch Monday Night Football.

Ohhh, and then I was stuck, for a long while, trying to figure out if a while loop was better than a for loop, but in a reality I probably have to use both, but if I have to use both, why couldn’t I use two while loops or two for loops? And why do while/for loops keep changing the answers of my damn test?!?!?!? UGH!!!

Theeeeen, I accidentally wrote over my code with a different code that I hijacked to see how it was working, so I lost everything and just about had a nervous breakdown. (Half-joking.)

So, thankfully the deadline was pushed back, due technical problems, to today at whatever time 22:00 is on the east coast, then convert that to central, or something. Whatever. I hate maths.

Today I’m going to have some kid teach me about loops. I found him on YouTube, he sounds slightly British, so that’s gonna get annoying, but he kinda makes sense.

You guys, I’m in desperate need of a python bitch.

Y’know, someone to explain to me, in real people language, how shit works. Not in computer speak, because I clearly do not understand the native language yet. So… if you want to be my python bitch, you can follow me on twitter @Candice_Jo, and send me a tweet.

As far as qualifications go, you’re gonna have to probably be bald or not like your hair so much, cuz I’ll probably make you rip it out (seriously, you’re gonna be all, “OMG!! How is she even breathing on her own?! This chick is amazingly awesome but a total idiot.”), you’re probably going to want to quit your job because I’m going to need you to be available 24-7 for the next 7 weeks. Now, I won’t need you that much, but I just need you to be available just in case something comes up and I get stuck. Oh and one more thing, you need to constantly tell me, “Candice, you’re totally not a moron. You’ll get it, just keep going.” At which point, I’ll probably want to punch you in the face. On the bright side, you can be responsible for me learning something totally new and dumb (seriously, what the hell was I thinking?! SMH…).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to work on my homework again…all…day…long.

F.M.L.

PS: In a totally unrelated note, I HATE AARON RODGERS!! I was in a close fantasy football match-up when all of a sudden A-Rodge is raining TD’s all over the place. I was down by over 50. Theeeeen, MNF. MotherTruckin’ Privers. Maaaaaaannn…. who drafts THAT guy?! Ugh! Ok, so, I had Privers and Decker playing last night. Decker had a great game, and so did Privers until he started throwing interceptions and fumbling like he just got new hands. I thought I was going to legitimately have a stroke (not really, but I could have won… AHHHHH!!!!). I’m now 3-3. I feel like my chances of total league domination are slipping away every week. *fakesobbing* So, for this week, I hate the hell out of A-Rodge. But mostly Privers, but mostly A-Rodge since I’m bound by the MN state constitution to hate the Packers (not really, but sometimes I wonder…).

A slight detour.

September 27, 2012

In my long journey to find long-term gainful employment I’ve struggled. I’ve mostly struggled with discovering something I’m really good at and especially, something that I enjoy. If only there was a job for being a sarcastic, taco, nap, TV, and video game-loving girl.

Throughout my life I’ve never had a job where I thought, “Wow… I love this! I can do this for the rest of my life.” While I understand most people don’t enjoy the luxury of doing something that doesn’t make them hate going to work, I’ve always wanted to have a job that I loved. I’m 30, almost 29 (haha!), and I have yet to find something that I really truly love to do.

I’ve worked in customer service, well… at a ski resort/water park, whatevs… I dealt with people. I’ve worked with adults with developmental disabilities and severe mental illness for many years, and while rewarding, I burned out quickly. For the passed three-ish years I’ve been calling myself a writer. I’m not a writer.

Well, I guess, I am. I can write. I’m writing right now. I write a lot, I don’t often post, but I’m always writing. Writing has given me one of my favorite jobs I’ve had so far and unfortunately, I know I’m not going back to that position (it doesn’t exist anymore). The thing with writing is unless I want to work in a virtual content mill pushing out SEO’d articles on real estate in Puerto Rico, it’s not very lucrative. Hell even that’s not lucrative, but if you’re willing to go days without sleep and write garbage, you can make some cash but a garbage truck driver probably has more fun.

So, while I’ve been unemployed I search through hundreds of kajillions of job ads every week. For a while I looked with tunnel vision. I only wanted to write, and I would only write for $XX per hour. As the weeks and weeks dragged on, I started expanding my search. I even started looking for receptionist positions at marketing/advertising firms. That bleed into any company that was hiring.

Then about a month ago (maybe more) I came across an article on Ivy League schools that were offering free classes online. I figured, what the hell? They’re free. And free stuff is usually not bad. So I looked into it. Coursera.org offers a ton of classes ranging from the history of the world to neuroethics (whatever that is…). I found a few classes that interested me so I signed up.

The next week I was going through more job ads and I noticed that there were a bunch of ads looking for a writer and programmer hybrid. Not a program writer, but a writer who knows programming languages. Many of the jobs focused on web development but some were looking for more advanced programming (well, advanced in my world, since I know nothing of programming languages and their uses).

That day a light bulb went off in my head “Why don’t I learn a programming language?” Literally everything is run by computers and the world needs programmers like they need nurses, oil and McDonald’s (those are the new 21st century necessities of life, right?). I figured, I’ve got some time on my hands to learn something new, I might as well do it now.

Now I’m currently learning Python through Coursera and the University of Toronto. I won’t earn actual credit for the class, but upon successful completion I’ll get a little certificate stating that I passed the course. The class basically teaches the fundamentals of the language. (So far I’ve only really learned how to treat Python like a calculator, but that’s cool, now I learned a more difficult way to find the area of a triangle.) I’m also taking a class on Edx.org that offers a similar course but it’s through MIT. That class is a little more in depth, but not much from what I read (it officially starts on Monday, I’ll know more then I’m sure). I figure between the two of them, which will overlap for a month or so, I should be able to get a good feel for it.

Maybe it’s something I’ll take to. Hopefully it’s something I enjoy doing, so far it’s not bad. I know what this means:

>>>def bigger(x):

return x ** x

>>>bigger(12)

…which I didn’t know last week. So, at least I can say I learned something new.

(For the record, that means nothing of any importance. It’s just defining some arbitrary function for the sake of an example. :-))

Losing stuff

March 29, 2012

I’ve spent my entire morning looking for something. The thing isn’t important, but it’s important to me. The search began earlier this week and after a fruitless excavation, I gave up. I started looking again this morning, even before I finished my first cup of coffee (that means it’s really important).

Last week I was looking for my car title. I know it exists but it wasn’t with the other important documents, as it should have been, so I literally tore my house apart trying to find it. I also started looking in boxes in storage. Nothing. I did, however, find a bunch of picture frames, one contained a picture of my deceased grandma. So, it wasn’t all bad.

Yesterday, since I was going to the DMV anyway, I got a duplicate title. That cost me $20.

Before that I lost a pair of jeans. Only worn once.

After looking for those for a few days I came to the conclusion that someone had stolen them from the laundromat since I couldn’t find then anywhere. Then I remembered on laundry day I was going through some clothes and I found a pair of Levi’s that I remembered didn’t fit and I threw them in the garbage (I didn’t try them on). “Weird,” I thought, “my new pair were Levi’s…SHIT! You idiot, you cut the other pair into shorts last summer!! My God you’re stupid!!” (Ok, I wasn’t that hard on myself, but I should have been.) When I realized what I did it was a few days after “garbage day” and it was too late. They were gone. At least I had closure but I was still down $15 (they were on super-sale).

Before that I lost a sweatshirt. One of my favorite hoodies. Turns out it wasn’t lost, it was just the trunk of my car for the past few months. I’m assuming it was put there some time in the fall and I “found” it a few weeks ago. WIN!

Back to today, I have given up my search. I sat down with my computer and in a fit of frustration I did a Bing search for “finding lost stuff.” Turns out there’s a “self-help” site that tells you how to systematically track down your lost crap.

I did all of those things and they didn’t work. With my luck habit of indiscriminately throwing stuff away, it’s in the garbage. So, I’ll have to grab the bag out of the can and start digging. (Just kidding, it’s not THAT important.)

Now, I’m going to do research and will hopefully find a way to place trackers on all of my stuff, all 20 billion objects. I want to be able to type in “right shoe, black wedges,” then a map of my house will show up and a Siri-like voice will say, “I found your shoe right here *red dot*, two feet away from your face, you moron.”

That would be awesome.

I broke down and bought a new pair of running shoes.

My run on Tuesday was the last straw. I had horrendous blisters on both heels. After a bunch of google/bing searches I found out I probably, more than likely, have a deformity on my feet.

Ok, it’s not a major deformity, but it’s enough to cause problems.

The technical name for my self-diagnosed deformity is “Haglund’s deformity.” It’s basically a boney bump on my heel, next to my Achilles tendon.

You can watch this WebMD video to see what it is:

http://women.webmd.com/video/high-heel-pain

The only difference is, my deformity wasn’t caused by wearing high heels, it’s more than likely hereditary and/or my high arches (which causes it’s own set of problems with shoes).

So, in order to find shoes that won’t rub on my deformity, I had to find shoes that don’t have a plastic heel support running up the back of the shoe. Some shoes only have the support going halfway up, which only makes the problem worse. I checked at least 30 pairs of shoes and found exactly 3 that didn’t have the plastic insert in the back of the shoe. One of the pairs was the New Balance 730.

I tried on one shoe and it felt great. I tried on both shoes and ran down a few aisles (because you can do that, y’know). I wasn’t sure I wanted them, so I took a drive over to the Nike Outlet looking for the Nike Free. I found it, but it doesn’t have a normal tongue, it’s attached, so you have to slip your foot in. I have high arches which make the top of my foot ridiculously high so I couldn’t get my foot in. I went back and bought the New Balances.

I haven’t run in them yet, I plan to give them a week or so trial before writing more about them. For now I can tell you what I think:

They weigh nothing. Well, almost nothing, New Balance says each shoe is just over 5 ounces.

The heels are fabulous!! There’s no rubbing, no plastic inserts to stab into my boney deformity and cause terrible blisters. The toe area is nice and roomy. Just doing some walking/hopping/bouncing and my foot has room to expand without rubbing up against the side of the shoe. My old shoes were wide-ish, but with every step I could feel my pinkie toes pushing out on the sides.

My only concern is the soles. They’re pretty thin. Which is what I expected from such a minimalist-ish shoe, but I’m used to the severely overly-padded shoes so it will be interesting to see how my feet feel after a run.

I plan to test them out later today, I’ll let you know, more than likely on Twitter, how it goes.

During my job search today I came across a blog post titled, “The need to be certain causes paralysis.” It just hit me, SMACK! It wasn’t a new idea, as this is something I’ve always struggled with, but it was the smack-in-the-face reminder that I needed.

For as long as I can remember I rarely make a move without being 100 93.25 percent certain of it’s outcome. I don’t just get nervous, like normal people, I literally (well, figuratively) become paralyzed with fear. I’ve let countless opportunities pass me by because it pushes me out of my comfort zone and scares the shit out of me. I’d rather be safe, in my own little world, with my little laundromat/post office life and just… be.

Last year I took a massive leap of faith and took a job I feared was above my head and was going to just destroy any confidence I had in my writing and social media skills. It didn’t. Unfortunately, my year as an actual paid writer for one of the biggest websites in the entire world hasn’t given me the “You can do anything you put your mind to!!!” confidence you’d think it would have.

Instead I’ve spent the past three months trying to be the perfect future-writer. “I’m going to learn everything I need to know and start applying it to my blog posts (I haven’t, clearly). I’m going to actually pay attention to how/what I’m writing and edit my blog posts with the proper grammar and punctuation. I’ll even use the semicolon properly (Nope.). I will write every single day, practice makes perfect!!!(Hogwash!!)”

I’ve done none of these things, well not consistently anyway. Why not? I’m not sure.

It’s probably fear. Mostly the fear that I’m not even a barely competent writer. Fear that I’m just wasting my time working on skills that may not even be utilized. Fear that I might not even want to be a “writer.” Fear that if I decide that I don’t want to be a writer, then what? I don’t know.

What does that even mean, anyway? Writer. Pshh… well I know I will never be a journalist. I’m barely a blogger. I can tweet. And lately I’ve even failed hard at that.

I can write words. I can put my thoughts into a semi-coherent post that sometimes conveys what I actually intended it to.

It all boils down to passion, and right now, I have none.

I guess you can say, I’ve growing apathetic and paralyzed.

No.

I am apathetic and paralyzed.

I used to be filled with the desire to connect with people and new ideas. People and new ideas outside of my comfort zone. People who shared similar values/interests/hobbies, people who opposed everything I stand for, people… in general. Now, I’ve found myself in my own little world. I interact with the same people every day. I read the same Twitter lists, which haven’t been updated in ages. I even listen to the same damn music over and over and over again. Why? Because I know it.

Everything is just safe and stale right now.

I’m not going to bullshit you guys and say, “So… on that note, I’m going to turn this shit around and snap the hell out of it.” I respect all 8 of you more than that.

I will say this though, I need to figure out what the hell I’m going to do, and fast, before I’m stuck in this apathetic space forever.

If you remember, I wrote that I plan to start running. Well, on Saturday the weather was great and I figured I might as well start now. So I did.

I didn’t buy new shoes, and I knew it would be a bad decision as I started my run/walk. But I wanted to do it to see how difficult my mission to 5k was going to be (this is my training plan).

I started with Day 1 – Week 1, “Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.”

I downloaded an app to help track my progress. (If you’re looking for a great one check out RunDouble. I haven’t tried any others, so my review is severely biased.) I think the app is great, I can pick one of my playlists, and hit start. Then I just listen to what the lady tells me.

First I started off with my “brisk 5 min walk.” Then a voice comes over the Foo Fighters and says “start running now.” So I did. A then the women said, “Slow your pace to a brisk walk.” And I did that too. This continued for a while, and the woman said, “You are halfway done.” So I turned around and went back toward home and continued with my run/walk and a 5 min cool down walk.

After my run, I felt fine. Nothing hurt except my heels where my shoes apparently rubbed off all the skin. Aside from that, I was feeling good.

I woke up on Sunday and felt like I had been hit by a bus. Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but it was pretty awful. My legs were sore. Mostly my shins (the outside) and my knees were a little achey on and off throughout the day.

Of course I started searching the entire internet to find the cause of my sore shins (aside from my shoes, because that’s an obvious conclusion). Apparently when I run I hit the ground heel first, and thus causing my shin pain (to get an idea of the pain: just put your feet flat on the floor and leaving your heel on the floor, raise your toes as high as you can and wait for the burn now hold it for like a minute. Yeah…it’s unawesome.) Ok. So I need to stop that because I’ve always had this problem.

There’s all kinds of hippie crap about barefoot running and blah blah blah injury free blah blah blah, but I’m not running barefoot. So I skipped over all that nonsense.

Then I came to the pile of “midfoot” crap. Now, it’s not really crap. I did try a few running steps through my house to see the difference and it clearly doesn’t hurt my shins to land on my whole foot. So, that’s a bonus. But that’s also being mindful of every step (I took 5) and that’s clearly not something I’m going to do while running a mile or two. However, it does make sense to shorten my stride (it’s not very long to begin with) and lessen the impact on my heels.

Anyway, I plan to see if I can modify my running form to be less of a heel striker and more of a soft midfoot lander. I think it’s probably a good idea to start now before I get too far into this 5k training and have to adjust it again.

Of course I’ll let you guys know how it goes. Also, I’ll let you know when I buy new shoes, that will make a big difference.

I’m going to start running again.

Ok, I’m going to try running again.

Alright, seriously, I’m going to start running.

I don’t expect to be a super marathoner any time ever (I don’t want to be). I just want to be healthier and lose weight. Apparently working out with that evil woman Jillian (30 Day Shred) is causing me to gain a bunch of muscle (Yay! Upper body strength!) but it’s not doing anything to the fat around those muscles, thus my thighs are getting bigger, not smaller. However, I might still use her for weight training purposes a few times a week instead of daily.

Anyway, since I can’t stand running on a treadmill or elliptical and I hate gyms and I like to be outside, running seems like a great thing to get back into. So, I’m going to be following a couch-to-5k training plan. Here’s how it should go:

Week 1:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes (3x/wk).

Week 2:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes (3x/wk).

Week 3:
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following (3x/wk):

Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Week 4:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then (3x/wk):

Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Week 5:

Day 1) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Day 2) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)

Day 3) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

Week 6:

Day 1) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)

Day 2) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)

Day 3) Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.

Week 7:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes) (3x/wk).

Week 8:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes) (3x/wk).

Week 9:

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

Hopefully everything will go as planned and I will run in the Komen 5k on Mother’s day (May 13). If that’s successful I will hopefully do more this summer.

First I have to find better shoes to fit my goofy feet (high arches, weak ankles…).

Wish me luck!