Mario Villalobos

NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo 2022 Recap

  • Notes

In the end, NaBloPoMo was a blast, and I’m going to miss it.

“What could go wrong?” I asked in my introductory post. Thirty posts later, and I can safely say that I loved every minute I blogged in November, and goddammit, I’m going to keep blogging, aren’t I? Fuck’s sake.

In the last month, I wrote over 16,000 words, for an average about 500 words a post. Do I have a favorite? In a way, they’re all my favorite (laaaame), but I see them all connected as the stuff I wrote in “November.” These are my “November” posts, and they all tell a story of how I lived this month.

Okay, if I had to choose, my post, On Spider-Man, a Friend, and a Broken Heart, was my favorite because of how personal it was and how I was able to weave a video game review into it. I didn’t think I could do that, but I think I pulled it off. You be the judge. This was also my longest post, and the one that took the most out of me, in a good way. Something to think about for the future.

Will I do this again next year? I hope not because—goddammit—I think I’m going to keep going. Maybe not daily (I’m definitely taking tomorrow off), but more regularly for sure. I want to continue writing my weekly notes on Fridays, and I think I’d like to continue my Sunday Appreciation posts, too. The latter might be once or twice a month, not sure yet.

All in all, I had lots of fun, and I hope to keep going. So let’s keep going!

The Posts

  1. National Blog Posting Month
  2. It Starts Here
  3. An Attempt
  4. Admitting I Make Mistakes, and That’s Okay
  5. Architects and Gardeners
  6. What Is My Best Writing?
  7. Old Tools and New Tools
  8. Zero Draft
  9. A Matter of Perspective
  10. Bought Some More Music
  11. Notes for November 11, 2022
  12. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
  13. Clean Air
  14. Something Adorable
  15. 15 Good Ones Will Do
  16. Literally Advanced Civilization
  17. Creating My Own MTV Music Channel
  18. Notes for November 18, 2022
  19. This Is Just Life
  20. No Perfect Days
  21. Cold and Dreary
  22. 101 Films
  23. Slept In
  24. Grateful for the Small Things
  25. Notes for November 25, 2022
  26. On Spider-Man, a Friend, and a Broken Heart
  27. Sunday Appreciation: Headspace
  28. Friendly Competition
  29. Kneecap Magician
  30. NaBloPoMo 2022 Recap (this post you’re currently reading)

Kneecap Magician

  • Notes

“In another lifetime, I used to be an EMT,” I told the 8th grade student on our way to the gym. She giggled and continued walking. “Back when I was a firefighter. Me and the principal used to be EMTs, actually. Once upon a time.”

“Wait, for real? I thought you were joking.”

“What? I never joke,” I deadpanned. She laughed again. “So tell me again what happened.” She did, and I started to walk faster.

We walked through the lobby doors, and she led me toward the basketball courts. A small group of middle school students were huddled around the boy. The PE teacher held him up from behind while her husband lied on the ground next to the boy’s left leg. The teacher held tight to the boy and winced. The boy groaned in pain.

“There,” her husband said.

He popped the boy’s dislocated knee back into place. The boy’s face was whiter than the fresh snow that fell overnight, but he was fine.

“You popped it back in?” I asked the husband, another teacher on staff. He said yes, and I, motioning to the student who fetched me, said, “She made it sound worse than it was.”

“It looked really bad,” the PE teacher and wife of the kneecap magician said. “It really looked like the bone was going to cut right through the skin. I panicked, so that’s why I sent her to get you, but then I remembered my husband was just in the other building, so I had another student fetch him.”

The husband and another student helped the boy to his feet. He couldn’t put any pressure on his leg, but he looked relieved to have his kneecap facing the right direction. I looked the boy over, made sure he was okay, and I helped him to the locker room. He sat down on the bench and stretched his leg out. I looked at his knee, and sure enough, everything looked to be in working order.

Another teacher prepared a bag of ice and gave it to me. After I gave it to the boy, I left the locker room and called the principal. I gave him the details, and he told me the boy’s father was on his way. “He’s an hour away, though.”

Fucking Montana.

I told to the boy to rest and to keep the knee iced. “The swelling needs to go down,” I told him.

I talked to the PE teacher and she told me that her husband, a former football coach, had vast experience popping arms back into their shoulders, but he had never done knees before.

“Joints are joints,” I said.

We talked some more, and I checked on the boy again before I left and walked back to the main office. A few minutes before the end of school, the boy, helped by another student, walked to the front office with all his stuff. We sat him down and grabbed a chair for him to rest his leg on.

“The fact that you could walk all the way over here with very little help is a good thing,” the Superintendent said.

“Yeah,” the boy agreed.

Once the bell rang, I grabbed my stuff and left the building. My EMT license expired two years ago, but every now and then, I think about renewing it again. Today was a good example why.

I love seeing children in pain.

No, I’m joking. I like helping people, I like action, and I like solving problems. Being an EMT had all of that, but I let my license lapse right before COVID shut the world down. Every now and then I think about renewing it, but—I don’t know—I feel like that part of my life has ended.

Time marches forward and all that.

I was hoping to see a mangled kneecap, in all honesty. Next time.

Friendly Competition

  • Notes

This morning, my phone reminded me that I was very lazy over holiday break.

iPhone screenshot of my health trends. I averaged 3190 steps over the last 5 days, down from an average of 6855 steps.

I averaged 3,190 steps over the previous five days, which is accurate. I spent my break living like a lazy person, and I enjoyed every second of it. But I knew that type of life wouldn’t last forever, so today I returned to work: I both clocked into my job, and I pulled out my workout mat and burned some calories.

I’m understating it when I say I’m tired. My resting heart rate for the past hour has been in the 70s, up from a yearly average of 49bpm. After my workout, I texted my friend, “🤮🤮🤮.”

She replied by challenging me to a 7-day competition on our Apple Watches.

iPhone screenshot of the competitions page in the Activity app. The competition doesn't start until tomorrow. Currently, my friend and I stand at 0 points.

“Friendly competition,” she said.

Game on.

Sunday Appreciation: Headspace

  • Notes

Toward the end of October, I added Headspace back to my morning routine.

I first heard about the app from this 2015 article in The New Yorker. At the time, I had used Insight Timer to help me meditate, an app I loved for its simplicity and the fact that it was free. But Headspace appeared interesting, so I tried it. I used it briefly, but I missed Insight Timer, so I returned to it and moved on from Headspace. A few years later, I learned that Headspace offered free lifetime access for educators, so I applied and upgraded my account, and I began to use it again to meditate. Like before, I used it for a few months, tried their new meditation courses, but for some reason, I couldn’t stick with it. Around that time, I had learned that Calm also offered lifetime access for educators, so I applied and used that app for a while. I liked this one more because they had a nice daily meditation, so I stuck with Calm.

Sometime last year, I stopped meditating. I think I had hit a plateau, and I no longer felt like meditating was bringing my life any value. So I stopped, and I didn’t miss it. At least, it wasn’t something I craved. All those years of meditating didn’t mean much to me anymore, and I felt like I was okay with that. As you might be able to guess, I wasn’t okay with that. Over time, I had started to feel on edge more and more. It’s remarkable sometimes how something could affect your life so much, but you only realize by how much when it’s gone. I had lost something when I stopped meditating, and the only way to get it back was to meditate again.

So—toward the end of October, I added Headspace back to my morning routine.

And I love it.

I setup Headspace to send me a reminder every day at 8:15am, and every day at around that time, I open the app and start my day with The Wake Up, then I follow it with that day’s meditation. Sometimes they include nature videos, videos of animals in the jungle or the sea or the desert, and these ten minute videos have been a joy to watch in the afternoon and evening. At the moment, I’m only meditating for ten minutes every morning, but I am planning to add another meditation later in the day.

My current streak stands at 39 days, and I’ve been meditating everywhere, at home, at work, and in different times throughout the day. I feel like I’ve regained a piece of whatever it was I was missing—some mental edge I had lost over the last year. Will I ever quit again? Honestly—probably. I’m human, after all. At the moment, though, I’m appreciating what this app has done for my life and for my mental health.

On Spider-Man, a Friend, and a Broken Heart

  • Notes

I started blogging because of a girl. This was back in 2014, a genuine lifetime ago. I had moved to Montana a few years before, and this girl became my first real Montana friend. Friends is all we were, though I did want it to be more than that. Unrequited love and all that. We met at work—we both worked together—and I asked her out by using this cheesy McDonald’s pickup line: If you were a burger at McDonald’s, you’d be the McHottie.

Yeah, I really used that line. And it worked!

We had dinner together at her place. She cooked dinner, and we hung out and talked for hours. We could always spend hours talking to each other, and she was one of the few friends I’ve ever made in my life who I could carry a conversation that long with. We talked about anything and everything. We teased each other. She teased me over how I pronounced caramel (care-uh-male, obviously), and I teased her on how she held her coffee (with both hands, even with small cups—I don’t know, I found it funny). We could always find the time to hang out, and man, where did that skill go?

We stopped being friends two years later, two years after it seemed we were inseparable. I thought we would be inseparable. I dreamt about it. I told her about it, my dreams of marrying her, of having kids, of building a life with her here in Montana. And then it ended, our friendship, and I don’t think I’ve fully recovered. I’ve moved on, but I don’t think I’ve recovered.

A week ago, I began to play Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a game I chose to play because I knew it wouldn’t take very long to beat, and it was a game I knew I’d enjoy. I had played the main Spider-Man game years ago, and I loved it, and I hoped for more of the same. Once I started swinging through New York City again, I felt like I was back home after being gone for a few years. [Warning: Spoilers here on out.] Fighting Rhino was fun and challenging, and I sincerely felt worried when Rhino knocked out Spider-Man. But then Miles discovered he had this bio-electric ability (“Venom Power”) that he could use to defeat Rhino, which he did. Afterward, Pete told Miles that he will join Mary Jane overseas on a journalism assignment and that Miles will be the only Spider-Man in New York City for a while. And off the story goes.

During his adventures, Miles has a run-in with a group called the Underground, led by someone called the Tinkerer. The Underground are after this experimental power source developed by the Roxxon Corporation called Nuform. Spider-Man, of course, wants to stop this from happening. During Christmas dinner, Miles finds that his friend Ganke invited Phin Mason, a childhood friend of Miles and someone he hadn’t seen for a while. While they chat and reconnect, Miles had this feeling that something seemed off with Phin. Later, during one of the campaigns, Miles learned that the Tinkerer, the leader of the Underground, was, in fact, Phin, his childhood friend. Miles has this idea to infiltrate the Underground as Miles, with Phin as his way in. Once inside their headquarters, Miles changes into Spider-Man, and during this campaign, he goes up again Phin as the Tinkerer. During this fight, the Tinkerer kicks Spider-Man’s ass, but before she could finish him off, Spider-Man takes off his mask and reveals his identity to her.

Phin, of course, is angry at Miles for having kept this secret from her. She leaves him, all bloodied and beat-up. Later, Miles calls Phin’s phone, but he gets her voicemail. He leaves a message, but the operator tells him that his message was too long. He tries again, but the operator tells him that Phin’s number isn’t accepting voicemails. He tries one more time, and he learns that Phin blocked his number. I felt for Miles because my friend—my former friend—blocked my number, too. I’m not proud of what led to that, but it happened, and it’s part of my identity and history now.

For the rest of the game, I was reminded over and over of my former friend, of her anger, her laughter, our shared memories. There’s a moment toward the end where the game enters a flashback. Miles and Phin are teenagers, and they’re walking around the Oscorp Science Center. They had entered a science competition, and they were on their way to see it. As they’re walking around, they’re checking out different exhibits, and during it, they’re goofing off, teasing each other, and chatting about life. It was here where my memories of my friend were strongest. I haven’t really had a friend like her since, and every day I think about what I don’t have anymore. Is that selfish? Self-centered? I’m not sure. I’m the one that hurt her, after all. Do I deserve anything good?

At the end of the game, Miles absorbs the energy from a nuclear reactor using his Venom Powers, but the energy is too much for him. Phin, seeing that her actions put millions of people’s lives in danger, realizes that she screwed up and that her friend Miles needs help. She sees Miles trying to get away from everyone before he releases all that energy he absorbed. She grabs him and flies him up high above the city, and during this sequence, they both understand what is about to happen. For a brief moment, they become friends again, and they’re these two nerdy goobers again. But then Miles releases all that energy…

This game hit me hard, harder than I expected a game to ever hit me. That ending shook me so hard that that night, I dreamt about my former friend for the first time in a long time. It was a simple dream. It was just us together, smiling, laughing, like the good old days. I woke up that morning sad, sad that I wasn’t still dreaming, that I wasn’t in that world with my friend anymore. What we had was great, but it was temporary. Those moments will never exist again, and that just breaks my heart all over again.

I’ve moved on, but I haven’t recovered. I don’t know how one can recover from this. I started to blog again because of this girl in an attempt to be better, to never fuck up like that again. It’s been eight years, and I don’t know if I’ve made progress, but I do know that I haven’t had a friendship like hers since, I haven’t had moments like those moments I’ve had with her since, and I haven’t truly been as happy as I was when I was with her since.

Maybe I deserve this, being alone. Maybe I don’t. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have been alone for a long, long time. I spent Thanksgiving alone, and I will probably spend Christmas alone. The last time I celebrated my birthday with anyone was in 2014, and that was when she took me to the hot springs. I’ve tried letting other people in, but I’ve trapped myself behind these walls, walls I’ve made progress in breaking down this year, but walls that I still have up. Just today a friend texted me, “[Montana is] a good place for you if you stay social and not a recluse!”

I know this sounds lame, but I have to be like Spider-Man. Spider-Man, and heroes in general, sacrifice so much but they still get back up and keep going. I have to keep going, and I have to keep living. Maybe I didn’t deserve happiness soon after our friendship ended, but it’s been eight years… I think I deserve some happiness now, right? I have a hard time accepting that, but I have to. I miss those moments I had with her, but I also know I can have them again with someone else. So I have to keep marching forward and hope that I can find happiness again.

And fucking Spider-Man helped me realize that. What the hell. Anyways, four out of five stars, highly recommended.

My new FUJINON XF16-55mmF2.8 lens

Notes for November 25, 2022

  • Notes

I’ve done lots of sleeping and not enough reading this week, so this edition of my Notes (original name, huh?) will be shortish. Yeah, that’s the excuse I’m going with… Anyways! Here are some notes from today, this 25th day of November, 2022:

New lens

My new XF16-55mm lens arrived today. First impressions:

  • It’s big
  • It’s beautiful

That’s it because I haven’t really had a chance to play with it yet. Because Montana is very cold right now and because UPS doesn’t heat their trucks, my lens was ice cold as soon as I unpacked it. When I went to use it, condensation fogged up the lens, so I couldn’t really use it on anything. That’s fine because I wasn’t going to go out to shoot anything today anyway. Maybe this weekend?

Black Friday

How many people were ridiculously spammed today by emails from wish.com? Anyways, I setup a rule to automatically mark them all as spam, and my inbox has been quiet ever since.

I took advantage of some sales, many of which I did not really have my eye on, but when I saw them, I was like, why not? That’s how they get you. Well, me, at least.

Here are some of the deals I took advantage of:

  • 25% off a lifetime license to Plex Pass. I’ve been using Plex for years, and I’ve always had my eye on this, so I decided to take advantage of it now. Doing so gave me access to Plexamp, quite possibly the best music player I’ve ever used. It’s not without some major flaws, but the good parts far outweigh the bad. I’ve been thinking of doing a deep dive into it… I just have to write it.
  • A lifetime license for GameTrack+. I discovered this app a few weeks ago when my guilt over my backlog finally forced me to do something about it. I downloaded the app, added over 100 games into it, and realized that 1) this app is fantastic, and 2) I wanted the ability to add more lists, which, alas, was hidden behind a paywall. $20 for a lifetime pass was worth it for me.
  • 50% off a basic Xnapper license. Another app I discovered a few weeks ago. I noticed some web development blogs using it for their screenshots, and I thought it looked really cool. Once I bought the license, I used it on this post from a few days ago. Simple and nice. I like it.
  • 50% off Every Layout, Heydon Pickering & Andy Bell’s awesome CSS course. I love web development, and I’m always looking to improve my skills. I cannot wait to get started on this.

Video Games

I finished Spider-Man: Miles Morales yesterday, and my goodness. I have so many thoughts about this game, thoughts I hope to write soon. This game hit me hard.

Once I finished it, I still wanted to play video games, so I started Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, another game I purchased a year or two ago and never played. I’ve been playing since yesterday, and I’m enjoying it! I love the Uncharted universe, and this game is hitting all the right spots.

Finding your people

Okay, I did do some reading. I read this post by Tom Critchlow on generating agency through blogging, and this part jumped out to me:

It’s common to think of blogging as “building an audience”, but this can sound negative, self-serving, sleazy and promotional. Instead we can think of blogging as “finding your people”, which sounds much more wholesome, generative and positive.

Finding your people. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? I’ve found some people through blogging, and having them in my life has made my life that much more fun. I think when I first started blogging, building an audience was something I cared about, but when the focus turned to that, I cared more about them and not on my writing, and that only made me hate blogging, so I quit. When I returned, I did not focus on building an audience, and because of that, I’ve enjoyed writing again.

I wonder if people can notice that. I really have no clue how many people are reading me because I don’t have analytics on my site, nor do I care to add them. The odd email here and there from a reader is more than enough for me.

Again, thank you for reading. I really appreciate it.

Grateful for the Small Things

  • Notes

I used to keep a gratitude journal. Every night I would write three things I was grateful for, and in the beginning, I felt like it helped me appreciate life and being alive more. At some point, though, this exercise began to feel like a task to check off as quickly as possible, and once that happened, I stopped and I never returned to it.

I like Thanksgiving season because it reminds me to slow down and appreciate what I have, many of which I take for granted. Things like sleep and good friends are top of mind because of how tangible they are on a daily basis, but I’m also grateful for the little things that when I notice them, I appreciate the value they bring me. Things like:

  • The feel of my palm against a page in my notebook
  • The scratches my pen makes on the page
  • A hot cup of coffee
  • A good song
  • A warm blanket
  • Ten minutes of meditation
  • A good dictionary
  • A good pencil case
  • An empty todo list
  • No traffic
  • Little kids greeting me with “Hi Mario” all throughout the day
  • Little Ashley bragging to her friends that she’s “best friends with a teacher”
  • A warm hug
  • A fridge full of food
  • No longer living paycheck to paycheck
  • No car or loan payments
  • A sweaty floor after a good workout
  • When my back doesn’t hurt
  • Photos my friends send me of their families
  • Save the date cards
  • Sleeping in and getting nine hours of sleep

And of course, anyone reading these words. Thank you.

Slept In

  • Notes

I slept for nine hours and thirty-nine minutes last night.

I’m not sure how I was asleep for longer than I was in bed, but I’m not questioning it. As soon as I woke up, I texted my friend, “I slept in past 8 and I slept for over 9 hours… can’t every day be like this?!?!” I wish it were because I have felt amazing all day.

What did I do with these good feelings? Absolutely nothing, and I don’t feel guilty about that one bit. After my morning routine, I had lunch and watched the season finale of Andor (how is this show this good?), then I started working a bit on my computer. My new SSD arrived yesterday, and I hadn’t had time to set it up yet, so I started transferring all my pictures onto it as my plan was to use this drive to edit my photos with Capture One, but…

This has already been copying for 5 hours…

1.29 TB takes a while to transfer, so while I waited (am waiting?), I played Spider-Man: Miles Morales for a few hours. I am enjoying this game a lot, and I’m already quite far into it.

I don’t have big plans for Thanksgiving, but I might see some lovely people here and there tomorrow. All I hope to do during this holiday break is to continue to sleep in and to continue to be lazy. How does that saying go? I’ll work when I’m dead. Something like that.

101 Films

  • Notes

Today was my last day at work before the holiday break, giving me five days to rest and recuperate, and for some reason, I had a strong urge to watch films this week. In the spring of 2004, I was accepted to the USC School of Cinema-Television (now known as the USC School of Cinematic Arts), and I majored in Writing for Screen and Television. As part of my acceptance package, my advisor in the writing program sent us this list of 101 films. I don’t remember the context for the list, but I was very excited for school to start that I spent most of the summer watching as many of these movies as I could.

At the time, our family had a Netflix subscription, but back then, it was a subscription to rent DVDs as Netflix didn’t have their streaming service setup yet (that was around 2007). We had the 3-DVD plan, and remarkably, they had most of the movies on this list. I didn’t quite watch every movie, but I was close. I would watch a movie and immediately seal it in that big red envelope and go on to the next movie. I remember spending an afternoon adding as many of these movies to our Netflix queue, and oh man, the nostalgia.

I thought again about these films, and thankfully, I had a scanned copy of it in my files. Scanning this list again brings back so many great memories from that summer. I still remember that excitement I felt, of watching these movies, of getting to go to the best film school in the world, of meeting fellow film nerds, of going to Los Angeles and living on my own, of starting my life. There are some amazing films here, and I am eager to check them all out on all the streaming services I now subscribe to. Man, to be my eighteen year old self again in this day and age…

Without further ado, here is the list of movies my writing advisor sent us all those years ago. I warn you, this is a pretty banger list:

  • African Queen
  • All About Eve
  • Amadeus
  • American Grafitti
  • Andrei Rublev
  • Annie Hall
  • The Apu Trilogy
  • Babette’s Feast
  • Battle of Algiers
  • The Bicycle Thief
  • Black Orpheus
  • Blue
  • Burnt by the Sun
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Casablanca
  • Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis)
  • Chinatown
  • Cinema Paradiso
  • Citizen Kane
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Dekalog
  • Dersu Uzala
  • Diner
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  • Dog Day Afternoon
  • Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
  • 8 1/2
  • The Exorcist
  • Fantasia
  • Farewell, My Concubine
  • A Fish Called Wanda
  • Five Easy Pieces
  • The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
  • The General
  • The Godfather I & II
  • The Gold Rush
  • Gone With the Wind
  • Grand Illusion
  • Harlan County, U.S.A.
  • High Noon
  • It Happened One Night
  • Ju Dou
  • Juliet of the Spirits
  • Kramer vs. Kramer
  • La Dolce Vita
  • The Last Emperor
  • La Strada
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Like Water for Chocolate
  • A Man for All Seasons
  • Manhattan
  • MASH
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Murmur of the Heart
  • Nashville
  • Network
  • Ninotchka
  • Notorious
  • On the Waterfront
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
  • Out of Africa
  • Paths of Glory
  • Patton
  • The Producers
  • Psycho
  • Raise the Red Lantern
  • Raging Bull
  • Ran
  • Rashomon
  • Rear Window
  • The Red Balloon
  • Remains of the Day
  • The River
  • Roman Holiday
  • The Searchers
  • The Seventh Seal
  • Shane
  • Shoeshine
  • The Sorrow and the Pity
  • Spellbound
  • Stagecoach
  • A Star is Born (1937)
  • Star Wars
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • The Third Man
  • The Tin Drum
  • A Touch of Class
  • Triumph of the Will
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • Unforgiven
  • The Verdict
  • White
  • Wild Strawberries
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Woman in the Dunes
  • Woman of the Year
  • Zelig

Cold and Dreary

  • Notes

It’s been dreadfully cold in my parts of Montana the last few days, so much so that I can feel my beard freezing. I took this photo on my iPhone while running errands yesterday morning, and I considered deleting it because it wasn’t the picture I wanted to take, but it shows that thick layer of fog I found beautiful and wanted to capture. For the past week, I hadn’t been able to see the mountains, and when I saw them clearly this morning, I didn’t realize how oppressive things had felt without them visible. All told, I had a good and productive day today, one where my mood was good and unlike that of the past few days.

I had a Zoom meeting in the morning where the lady I was chatting with was loopy as hell, and she kept bragging to me how she’s never like this with any of her other clients, so I should feel lucky I was getting this side of her. “Manic Mondays,” she said. I found it charming, and I enjoyed our Zoom meeting. Later in the day, I had to make a call to a customer service rep, and during our conversation, she asked me what the weather in Montana was like, and I told her it was dreadful. I checked the weather app and said, “It’s 29°. That’s actually on the warmer side, but it’s still miserable.”

“I would rather it be 29° than in the 70s,” she said. “I love the cold.”

“That makes one of us.”

This morning, as I was wrapped in my blankets and had my heater on full blast, I thought about how I only had ten more of these entries to write before November ends. Ten more of these and ten more Pimsleur Japanese lessons before I complete level 5. There are only five levels, with each level consisting of 30 lessons. As of this morning, I had ten of each to do, and now, I have nine. I believe that’s how math works. I was so excited, I blasted Haru To Shura by Haru Nemuri on my way to work. I can sing along to many of her songs, but I maybe understand 10% of what she’s saying. I recently learned that () by Sigur Rós is sung in “Hopelandic,” a made-up language consisting of gibberish words.

I find that beautiful, just as much as I find a thick fog in freezing temperatures to be beautiful.

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