it's a blog, yo

by brian copeland

Category: Update

The Latest

Yo!

Despite the dead cat post that sat up on my blog for awhile, I’m doing fabulous. Here’s the latest in my life:

Hot Peppers Are Amazing

Still rocking the hot sauce stuff. I’ve reported it previously on Twitter, but I like hot things a lot. Which is fun, as I distinctly remember thinking Sriracha was unbelievably hot. But around 2016, Alicia started watching Hot Ones, a YouTube show that interviews people while eating progressively hotter hot saurces. It inspired Alicia and I to start trying hot sauces, which resulted in me upping my hotness-tolerance.

If you’re not into hot things, I get it. I love it because that hot-feeling in your mouth is strangely unique. You can start sweating, it coats your mouth, and you can even feel it as you breathe. Even better, there’s different types of “hot”, like tip-of-your-tongue-instant-pain versus slow-building-back-of-your-throat pain.

I even learned from work colleagues originally from India that “hot” isn’t the same as “spicy”. Spicy refers to a flavor explosion, which sometimes includes hot peppers. Hot just refers to that burning feeling. After bringing my favorite hot sauce into work, it was sadistic fun watching taste it then start freaking out. As water poured out of one colleague’s eyes, he exclaimed, “You said this was spicy! It’s not spicy, it’s just freaking hot!”

Sadly, you build a tolerance. Sriracha is about as spicy as ketchup to me now, which has me chasing hotter and hotter things. Which brings me to this:

That’s me eating a ghost pepper at the Minnesota State Fair in 2018. I had just bought a new hot sauce from Caribbean Heat at the International Bazaar and I was tasting it (pouring it into my mouth). The shop keep chuckled and asked if I wanted a ghost pepper, which led to what you see above.

The aftermath was rough/funny, mostly because I’d been drinking. Good times.

PyData in New York City

I just returned from NYC for a conference around using the programming language Python for manipulating data. Lots of fun, I learned a ton, but even better, I got to return to NYC! I didn’t know how much I missed that smell.

It’s weird to say it, but I was way better at NYC this time than when I actually lived there. A combination of being more physically fit (able to handle walking long distances better) and having actual money (not living on student loans) made my trip amazing. You should see some of the street art – that city is brimming with culture. Here’s a curated sample of some fabulous.

Livia

Not everyone in the Copeland house was upset about Leela passing… Livia, our other cat, has never been happier. When we adopted Leela (our second cat) a year after getting Livia, people all over told us, “Oh, they fight now, but they’ll be best friends later.” LIARS! They fought (more specifically, Livia attacked) until the bitter end.

As a result, Livia has the run of the house now. She seems to love it.

Unfortunately for her, it also means she gets double the attention lately. Somehow, she got this shirt plopped on top of her…

She eventually got out! Well, kinda…

Good to see her happy, at least.

New Orleans

For her birthday, Alicia got a trip to New Orleans, that lucky hussy. Look at her, in her fancy chair:

Oh wait, I went with.

Just a lovely city, it was our third time there together (though our first time was only two non-consecutive nights surrounding a cruise, and I didn’t drink much at the time). Highlights include Superior Seafood (top five meal of my life), the music (I was too drunk to remember where), and our hotel. Lowlights were few and far between, but the weather kinda sucked (rain every day) and I shouldn’t have gotten one of those super sugary boozy drinks (bleh, made my kidneys hurt).

It’s a top three city for me (of the cities I’ve visited), so I cannot recommend it enough.

A New Love

To close, I thought I’d advertise something near and dear to my heart.

They’re amazing. Just trust me.

Winter 2017 Mega-Update

Geez, has it been six months since an update? Let’s do it mega-style.

Overview

I’m still a Data Scientist at Target, still living in Minneapolis, and still loving Jenga.

Life is good, cats are healthy, and there’s no major drama. Whereas my 20’s were spent worrying about what person I should be, what hobbies I wanted to cultivate, and whether I was headed in a good career direction, my early 30’s have me becoming more and more satisfied with where I’m headed. I think the biggest difference is fomo (fear of missing out). I used to have a lot of it. I’d wonder what cool people were doing on a Saturday night, or if there were career-developing activities I should be pursuing. Now, I’m pretty relaxed about it all.

Alicia is also kicking ass. We’ve been married seven years now and she’s still my best friend. She’s a budding competitive jigsaw puzzle solver, a voracious reader, and practically an academic on the subject of Horror Movies.

I know it’s against the zeitgeist to compliment 2016, but it was a pretty good year for us.

Hawaii

The biggest 2016 news for the Copelands was a trip to Hawaii in November. We seem to manage to save up for a biggish trip every 2-3 years and our last biggish trip (a Caribbean cruise) left us wishing we had more time at the beach. So we decided to try a new style of vacation; a “go somewhere and do nothing” trip to Maui. It was interesting – vacation lifestyle is different lifestyle, for sure. Everything seemed to shut down around 8pm and we never really adapted to island standard time – I think I was awake by 7am every morning, which is out of character for me.

Our days had ample time for lazy sun-soaking, running along the beach, day drinking, and even reading. The most unexpected highlight was a road-side food truck serving a traditional Hawaiian lunch:

That’s pork, chicken, glazed pineapple, rice, a light salad, and orange wedges – all served on a banana leaf. Even the chop sticks were chopped off of fresh bamboo. We found this stop along the Road to Hana and ate it off the trunk of our rental car – a brand new Ford Mustang.

I think Alicia and I are go-explore vacationers, so I doubt we’ll visit a tropical location soon, but it was still unforgettable.

Halloween

I was a squid. It was fun.

Glasses

It had been two years since I had gotten glasses, thus it was time for a prescription update and some new looks. I decided to go with a few thicker frames. If I haven’t raved to you about Zenni Optical yet, please allow me to do so. Glasses start at $6.95, and by that, I mean that’s frames + lenses. I spent just under $100 for six pairs of glasses and that’s me “splurging” on two fancier $25 models. They take about two weeks to arrive from California, where they manufacture everything and charge $4.95 flat for shipping. It takes all the fear out of new glasses – who cares if you don’t end up liking the style, they were super cheap!

Xmas

I doubled down on lasers, even decorating our “Christmas trees” with lasers.

The holiday was the most relaxing in years. Christmas Eve being on Saturday meant no rushing home from work. Alicia and I held off from exchanging gifts because we’d splurged in Hawaii, so shopping was a breeze. I even got some interesting gifts, such as this sample of gallium:

It’s a metal that is liquid at slightly above room temperature, which means it melts in your hand and has all the freakiness of mercury without any of the decreased cognitive functions. Great holiday, all around – especially the Prime Rib at my parent’s house!

Websites

I’m always an internet fan. Here’s some of my favorite website as of late:

Salty Bet – A website where you watch two computers fight in a Street Fighter style competition. You bet “salt” on which side will win, which is purely meaningless. Because it’s just for fun, the fights can almost be nonsensical – you get a Sponge Bob fighting an anime samurai chick.

/r/internetisuseless – my new favorite subreddit that collects the most useless websites (read: my favorite types of websites). For example, see http://isitthursday.org/  or http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/ or even http://www.iraqlobster.com/

ZenPen.io  I’m not afraid to admit that I journal. It’s just one of those things that helps me process my thoughts, de-stress, and collect my thoughts. I’ve also found that there’s a lot of things I think about that no one needs to hear, such as my todo list or when someone makes me cranky (sure, I could rant at Alicia, but that is rarely a fun conversation – I’d rather chat about fun and happy things).

So, when it comes time to write up things, I love a simple “just let me type” editor. ZenPen is my favorite, and I’ve even reviewed the source code – it’s a beautiful example of simple HTML5 code.

Shout out to Writer, which is also a solid option. I really love single-purpose websites.

The SCP Foundation – It’s a fictional website that outlines the “Secure, Contain, and Protect” protocols of various phenomenon. It scratches an X-Files itch with lots of omitted and classified information everywhere. You simply pick an entry (such as SCP-087) and start reading it. They usually reference each other and provide a ton of eerie reading.

Spicy Food

For me, it started with my diet two years ago. I wanted a low calorie snack and carrots + hummus fit the bill. But soon, hummus wasn’t enough, it had to be red pepper hummus. Then “supremely spicy” red pepper hummus. Suddenly, foods I thought were stupid hot (such as sriracha) were plesant.

For Alicia, it was watching Hot Ones, a YouTube series that features interviews with celebrities while eating progressively spicier hot wings. It made her want to try some hot wings. Then hot sauce. Then really hot sauce.

Now, we’re putting hot sauce on half the food we eat. Salsa gets doused in Cholula. Buffalo wings are usually too tame. Carribean jerk is a treat. We’ve even polished two bottles of Sriracha within the last two months.

I vividly remember being about 12 y/o at my parent’s house, having a hot wing, and practically crying. It’s crazy how things can change.

New Year’s Resolutions

To wind down the post, here’s some low-commitment resolutions I’m hoping for in 2017.

Pixel Art – I’m not sure if I want to create it myself or just be a patron of the pixel arts, but I want more pixel art in my life.

Weird things – I stumbled upon the below picture of a useless fence and I just love it.  It’s the kind of thing nine of ten people might pass and not put a second thought into, but that tenth person will stop and wonder “why does this even exist? Who constructed a twelve inch fence??”

I love it. I really hope I can contribute some weird things into the world in 2017.

Jenga Party – 2016 went by and I didn’t host anything (see poker party of 2015). I really want to host a Jenga tournament this summer.

Running – As much as I hate running, it’s good exercise. What makes me cranky is how much faster people are than I am. For example, there are competitive “Beer-Mile” runners that will chug four beers and run a mile in 5:00. Now, this is competition winning-speed, but the fact that they are pausing four times to chug a beer and still running a mile significantly faster than I (my fastest mile time is 6:30) is frustrating.

So for 2017, I’d like to run a mile in 6:00 and I’d like to run a 21:00 5k. Just recently, I managed to hit 22:00. It was stupid painful and I know that shaving the next minute will be damned-near impossible, but I might as well dream big, right?


Take care and have a happy 2017!

– B