Sneeze Count 2018

Look at this graph meme.
Look at this graaaaaph

Is Christmas the most wonderful time of the year? NO. The most wonderful time of the year is right now because I am sharing my much anticipated annual Sneeze Count. 2018 marks my sixth year of counting, and I am so proud of myself. If you’re new to this blog, you can catch up on my previous sneezy years that I blogged about here: 2017, 2016, 2015.

Alright, so 2018’s sneeze count was 364 days long, and I sneezed 2155 times. This is my second lowest year, but it’s only a couple hundred from my third lowest. I did not hit a new maximum, but I did hit a new minimum by one. Overall, though, a decent year. Behold my chart in all its glory!

The 2018 sneeze chart.

There’s not a lot to unpack here, as it’s pretty clear on its own, but I do want to talk about a few things. That big week in May was when my family went to New York City for a few days. I’d like to say that America makes me sneezy, but I pulled up 2014’s chart because I also went to NYC for a few days also in May, and there wasn’t any unusual activity at that time.

It’s also worth noting that in mid-July, I got a full-time job, so nine hours of my days since have been spent in an office. It’s not a remarkably dusty place like the book warehouse I used to work in, but it’s not a stellar shrine of cleanliness by any means.

Another thing that happened in the back half of the year was that my neighbours got a cat. The cat’s name is Dirk and I love him even though he only loves me back when he’s lonely. I don’t see Dirk too often, but when I do, he definitely brings out some sneezes. That big spike in October is almost exclusively from Dirk because that week my parents and my neighbours went on a trip, leaving me and their daughter home, so the two of us (three if you count the furball) hung out a lot at their house. The many hours over several days led to many sneezes, and by Sunday I felt like I had asthma again, but I had no regrets.

hugging a cat gif.

Going forward, I’m going to try and make some notes during anomaly weeks. I don’t remember why that week in February was so high, and I wish I did. So in 2019 and beyond, I will do better.

And to close out this post, I wanted to share some other stats. I’ve compared my sneezes to the two other people who ever dared to count as well, but I still wanted to know how I compared to others. How many times does the average person sneeze in a day? A month? A year? I found one study (well, the abstract of a study. I’m not paying for more) that said the average person sneezes 4 times a day. As you can see from my chart above, I calculate an average every year, and my averages, and I’m always higher than 4. A few years had been at around 9 per day. I also found one source that estimated how much time the average person will spend sneezing in their lifetime. It used a daily average of 1.2 sneezes and a lifespan of 78.8 years to conclude that you’d spend over 5 straight hours sneezing. Given that 1.2 sneezes a day is weak for me, I’m looking at closer to 12 or 13 hours of sneezing.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my 2018 sneeze count and the facts I’ve shared. Counting sneezes is my dumbest hobby but perhaps my favourite.

That’s all for now!

 

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My Seven Goals For 2019 (Not Resolutions)

I’ve never really liked the idea of new year’s resolutions. Maybe because they always seemed like a joke thing that we all abandon two weeks in. Or because they are things you resolve to firmly do rather than work towards. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried to set some before. A few years ago I made a resolution to be more positive. Honestly, I don’t know if I succeeded in that one. I think I’m definitely less outwardly negative, but I don’t think my innermost self is all that positive.

Anyway, on top of working on that still, I do have some goals I’d like to work toward this new year. Time may be a social construct but I do like the idea of the new year being a chance to better one’s life and rethink our potential. And this year will be an interesting one because the only thing I have to do is work. No school, no apartment hunting, no applications. Just go to work and do my job.

So here are a few things I want to work on this year. Maybe I’ll succeed sooner than I plan and be satisfied by March. Maybe it’ll take me until next December. Maybe I won’t fully succeed but I’ll be okay with the fact that I tried. I think having this mindset makes daunting goals (or resolutions) easier to achieve because there is less pressure. But by putting them here on my blog, at least they will be public and things I can’t take back quietly.

  1.  Get my full driver’s license. This one isn’t as much of a goal as much as an absolute. I have my G2, but it expires in August, so I either get my G or go back to start. I don’t want to go back to start. So as soon as the roads aren’t too snowy and the sky isn’t too dark, I need to get back behind the wheel and gain more driving confidence. The trip to and from work isn’t long or difficult, so I should be good to do that at least. If I’m being honest, it’s not the driving that intimidates me the most, it’s the parking.

    Modern Family Hailey driving gif.
    Me trying to park
  2. Do more writing. I blog enough, but my second novel isn’t going to write itself. For a week or so I did some writing on my lunch break, but then I decided to reread The Inheritance Cycle, and those are some long books, so writing is taking a rest. Instead of watching dumb YouTube videos at home, I should be writing. I really did well with discipline when I had deadlines for that bookmaking course at school, so maybe I need to make fake deadlines for myself.
  3. I also want to keep pitching my book The Time Company to literary agents. I’ve done some (and gotten some rejections) but I know I could be doing more and learning more about how to perfect a pitch. I’ve been admittedly dragging my feet on doing more of this because every time I do something related to that book, I get a feeling that can best be described as low-level anxiety. This is due mostly to the fact that I’m incredibly mad and disappointed at myself for having several typos in the book (don’t hire a cheap copy editor and typeset at 2am, kids!). So I’d like to get better at pushing through that feeling and trusting in myself and hoping that someone is willing to take a chance on me and my story.
  4. Get a better social life. In school, my weekends were filled with homework (because I pushed it all to the weekends so I could watch many TV shows every weekday evening), so I wasn’t too bothered by my lack of social activities then. But now my weekends are free and I don’t really utilize this time. I have a few friends, but they’re either often busy or far away (or don’t like seeing me too often?) so I’d like to expand that social circle. I’ve had a few people suggest finding groups on Meet Up or on those friend-finding apps, so maybe I’ll grow a pair and try something. If nothing comes of it, I can always return to my lonely weekends. I’m sure I can find a new TV show to start!
    looking for friends gif.
  5. And then there’s dating…I’m 22 so I think it’s about time I went on a date with someone who is actually interested in me and vice versa. So maybe I’ll try a dating app because clearly I’m not in a position to meet someone organically in real life.
  6. Do more blog promotion. Sorry to everyone who follows me on social media, but I think I need to get a little bit more aggressive with my blog post sharing. Despite posting regularly in 2018 and gaining new followers, my stats and levels of interactions were down, which is sad because I want to grow and reach new people. I know I’m lazy and awkward when it comes to doing self-promos, but I need to do better. Social media has the potential to reach people. Though don’t worry, I won’t get spammy.
  7. Talk more. At work and even among peers, I’m quiet. I’m not good with small talk, and I won’t often start conversations. I need to push myself to do that more, though, because sitting quietly sucks and it certainly doesn’t help my social life. Even if I’m faking comfort in these conversations at first, it’ll be a start.

    Just do it meme.
    Me @ me this year

So those are my 7 goals for this new year. As I said, I’m not looking to master all of them right away (or at all) but they’re something to work towards. Do you have any goals you’re working towards this year or any tips to help with mine?

That’s all for now!

 

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Coolbeans Life Hacks #2

In 2017, I wrote a post with 4 tried and true life hacks. Today, I am here to give you 5 more. Recently, life hacks on Instagram and YouTube have gotten a bad rap because some people/companies (*cough* TroomTroom *cough*) don’t seem to understand what a life hack is. They’re supposed to make little aspects of life simpler. So rest assured, I am here to do that for you.

1. Pre-stretch hair elastics

On my left wrist, I always have two hair elastics. Once in a while, one will snap or stretch out far too much, so I’ll need a new one. But if you’re also a user to hair elastics, you’ll also know that new elastics can be too stiff. My wrist will have red marks for days, and looping my hair twice can be a bit of a struggle. So to combat this, I take two or three hair elastics, and I stretch them out on a bottle of some sort so that when I do need a new one, it’s not as tight and stiff. It’s like breaking them in!

soap pump with hair elastic around it.

2. Use Internet Explorer to stream things illegally

Internet Explorer may be known for being lame, but it’s got one use: it has the best pop-up blockers. I stream a lot of TV illegally, and doing such things means you have to go to some lowkey sketchy sites and face some highkey sketchy pop-up ads. But then I found a way around this issue that works 95% of the time. Internet Explorer has a setting where it will forbid any pop-up of any kind, and instead, you’ll see a little box that says a pop-up is trying to open, in which case I can then ignore it,  allow it once, or allow it forever. Since I only use Internet Explorer for streaming, this works out well, and now I rarely have to deal with gross ads forcing themselves into new tabs and freezing up my browser.

3. Use a sticky note to list things to need to take to the washroom

Okay, maybe this is just a weird thing I did, but it was useful for me! When I was in university, I shared a bathroom with roommates, so when I had to take a shower, I’d have to bring things with me because none of us stored a lot in the small bathroom. Too many times I’d find myself forgetting pajamas or soap, so I learned to use a sticky note to make sure I had what I needed before I forgot it. I taped the sticky note to the back of my door so it was the last thing I saw before I went to the bathroom. It really worked. I’d do a quick check and I saved myself many times.

sticky note taped to door.
Ignore my hideous writing. When I made it I obviously didn’t plan for anyone else to see it.

4. Double-knot shoes

Tying shoes is the worst. You have to stop what you’re doing and make sure these floppy, tiny little strings are in a bow just so you don’t trip. I don’t like that. So I loosen my shoes just enough so I can jam my foot in, but they don’t fall off, and then I double-knot my laces. This allows me to not trip, get my shoes on/off perfectly fine, not look like a slob, and not have to constantly deal with laces. Instead of tying shoes every time you wear them, I now tie them maybe once a month if they happen to undo themselves.

5. Use hair as floss

Yeah, it’s a little gross, but sometimes you’re in a rush and don’t have time to get proper floss or don’t even have proper floss at all, so if you have hair that’s long enough for the task, it can be used to get black pepper or corn out of your teeth in a pinch. I feel like it’s not something people consider using, even though it 100% works.

April Ludgate saying "That's gross. I love it".
You guys when reading this hack, hopefully

Bonus Hack: Watch videos at a faster speed

And in case you missed it, I did share a life hack a few weeks ago: watching videos at a faster speed so you can consume content faster. I swear by this method, so I encourage you to read this blog post about it and try it out.

 

Did you use any of the life hacks in my first post, or do you see yourself using any of these above hacks? They’re all useful hacks that actually work, so give one or two or all of them a try! Also, if you have a life hack of your own that you want to share, let me know! You can comment here or email me or message me on social media (links below), and if I get enough, I will happily make a third life hack post sharing your contributions!

That’s all for now!

 

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Stop Ruining Christmas Music (And Looking For Fights Where There Aren’t Any)

As you’ve probably heard, the classic Christmas song ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ has been the topic of debate for a few years now, though this past year, with #MeToo being so prominent in our society, these debates have started to have consequences. A few radio stations that play Christmas music have banned the song. In Canada, Rogers and Bell (two big media companies) have done this, meaning that the Christmas station I listen to no longer plays any version of the song.

I don’t love Rogers and Bell’s decision. I liked the song. I understand why some people dislike it, but I personally think the song is more playful and flirty than it is creepy. There’s also this Tumblr post, examining the song from a historical perspective, which is important to consider (not that Tumblr is always a credible source, but still). Either way, it is what it is. And people are entitled to their opinions, especially on topics like this where there isn’t one right answer.

But then my dad showed me this article in The Toronto Star in which a writer decided that there are a few more Christmas songs that are also offensive. And this, my friends, is what we call a damn big reach.

Image result for you're reaching gif

Like, yes, obviously some songs on this list like ‘Santa’s Got The AIDS This Year’ and ‘Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas’ are songs that are inexcusable. No one’s arguing about that (mostly because no one knows about them; they get no airtime and are super old). I’m just mind blown that this dude thinks that there are disturbing connotations in songs as fun and pure as ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and ‘White Christmas’. Who really thinks ‘White Christmas’ is about racism? Or that ‘Jingle Bells’ is about dangerous driving? It’s wild that this writer not only had these opinions but then thought that he should share them in one of Canada’s biggest newspapers. As if people would read this and agree and there’d be a big movement. There’s a difference between looking at something at another angle/bringing new perspectives to the table and looking for fights because you live in an angry parallel universe. And even if we all agreed that yeah, ‘Santa Baby’ is a little weird (which it kind of is), it doesn’t mean it should be pulled off the radios. We’re allowed to like and have slightly problematic things. It’s the same with the story of Rudolf The Reindeer. People have recently taken to the internet to express how the story basically condones bullying until the victim can become useful to the masses. And sure, I guess that isn’t completely wrong, but it’s still a decent Christmas movie, and kids should be allowed to watch it. Because kids aren’t the ones coming up with these inane arguments, and no kid is going to become a bully because Dasher the reindeer was a bully.

Image result for you need to chill gif

I think that some people are just looking for fights. I read a blog post the other day where the blogger rebutted the opinions of a writer who wrote an article claiming that Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank U, Next’ music video was anti-LGBTQ. I saw the video (out of curiosity, I’m not really an Ariana fan at all) and let me tell you: it’s not. For example, the writer said that Kris Jenner’s line in the video (she literally just says “thank you, next!” at the end) was a direct attack on Caitlin Jenner, and I can assure you that Kris has better things to do than make subtle hits at her ex by being in a music video about being your best self. This writer’s claims were so insane that they got death threats and the website took down the article and apologized. Luckily, in the blog post I read, Ren had a lot of direct quotes so you can get the gist there. Please read it and her great rebuttals to understand just how much of a reach this writer came up with.

There are a lot of things to be angry about in this world. Do I spend a little bit too much time being angry at rather insignificant things like the cancellation of TV shows? Sure. See my last post for proof. But at least I’m not looking for fights where there are none. I’m not trying to make others angry and ruining things that don’t need ruining. Some people, like the writers of the two above articles, are, and they need to stop. Society and what we deem acceptable is a tricky thing, especially these days. Let’s try and be sensible about what we’re getting angry at. It’ll make our lives a lot easier.

Image result for i'm tired of being angry gif

That being said, at least I got a good laugh out of knowing that someone on this planet really thinks that Ariana Grande was “flaunting her heterosexual pride” in her video. Maybe these far-reaching woke people are just in it for the chuckles. Here, I’ll give it a try: the Christmas radio station near me used to sometimes play the Glee version of ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ sung by two males, so by banning it, Rogers and Bell are definitely homophobic. Hmm, yeah, that was fun! I feel like a better, smarter person!

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Canada Isn’t Your Perfect Utopia

I like Canada. In fact, I love a lot of Canada. And I even enjoy the fun reputation Canada gets in the world…to a point. The political climate between Canada and our neighbour the United States is rough, as it has been in the past few years since a certain moron became America’s leader. When said moron got elected, there was a bit of a joke from some Americans that they were then going to move to Canada to escape the madness.

But guess what, y’all? Canada is not your perfect utopia. You can’t just run over here and think you can join in on our life when we’ve always been a joke to you.

Image result for canada gif

Every time an American celebrity comes to Canada or films something in Canada and is asked about, they’re always like “Yeah, Canada’s is so great! I love Canada! Such nice people!” and it’s just the same little spiel each time. It’s tiring. You guys don’t really like Canada. No one wants to come here. No one wants to open businesses here. No one wants to do anything but pretend we’re some fun, reliable place that is just there to give the rest of the world trees and syrup and fake girlfriends or something.

Aren’t we great?

No. Canada can suck too. Canada can suck big time, and for a lot of the same reasons America can suck. We have racism and guns and idiot politicians and student debt and more. Obviously, I’m not proud, but it’s the truth, and reading some CBC headlines will prove it. This past summer in Toronto (Ontario’s capital) there were over 80 shootings. And I know that’s peanuts compared to America, which has like 80 shootings a week, but it goes to show that Canada has problems too, even with our gun control laws and likable Prime Minister and healthcare. I’m disappointed in Canada often because we could be better.

But all the rest of the world sees is polar bears and weird accents and hockey and poutine. Some of that stuff isn’t even accurate. And none of it matters. We’re painted out to be some weird, safe utopia of nice robotic people. And I think I’m tired of seeing this online. I’m tired of Americans only using us when it’s convenient and then pretending we’re the greatest place ever when they know nothing about us.

Shut up, Jon Hamm.

Is any of this making sense? Are any of my Canadian pals understanding this or relating? Or do I sound privileged and whiny?

I guess all I’m asking for is the respect we deserve and some honesty. Yeah, Canada can be a great place and I’m so thankful that I never really worried about getting shot in school or anything like that. But we also suck in a lot of ways, and that’s not being addressed even here in Canada. We’re a mediocre problematic country like the rest of them, and it’s time that was understood worldwide.

 

 

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