Mar 16, 2015

Farewell to The Boulders

We lived in the Boulders Apartments for three and a half years. Over that period of time, I had numerous people ask me if we had to deal with a lot of crime there, and I always told them it wasn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. It's probably the worst part of town by Provo standards, but it's still Provo, which is isn't exactly a dangerous city. I never really felt unsafe there. We had some sketchy neighbors who would occasionally yell profanities right outside our window and such, but nothing more than annoyances.

We moved out three months ago and since then:

Police Search for Man Who Assaulted Woman at Laundry Facility
2 Men Arrested After Allegedly Stabbing Two People at Provo Apartment
9 Sent to Hospital After Carbon Monoxide Leak

Working theory is Fidel was The Guardian Cat of The Boulders and nothing bad happened on his watch, but it's all gone downhill since he left.

Feb 28, 2015


Store Clerk: I love your nails!

Me: Yeah, I know skulls tend to skew a little junior post-whenever-Alexander-McQueen-died, but I felt like they were still pretty fun, though I don't think they'll last very long because I didn't apply them very well.

Announcer: Congraaaaaaaatulations! By filling in squares "Downplaying anything positive about yourself", "Over-thinking every single aspect of everything", "Acting like a know-it-all", and "Focusing on the worries of the future at expense of the present" in a single sentence, you just won Andrea's Flaws Bingo!

Quick Plug: I got the nail wraps through my sister-in-law who sells Jamberry. If you like nail art, check out all cool designs they have at her shop here.

Feb 23, 2015

Trevor Turns 30

And now for a post of mostly pictures documenting a life event like I'm one of those kind of bloggers (nothing wrong with that, just not my typical). Don't worry, all of the photos are stolen off of other attendees social media outlets. I'm the worst about photo-documenting my life.

We had a "Farewell to the Roarin' 20s" themed party for Trevor's 30th birthday.

A variety of levels of dressing up. Aviator Caden is probably my favorite.
Happy birthday, dear Trevor.
Trevor was very pleased that he blew out the candles with his nose. Nobody ate any cake.
We are pretty.
Trevor and I have a weirdly large collection of wigs gathered over the years. So that came out, naturally.

Jan 5, 2015

2014 Tweets

I initially titled this post "My 25 Best Tweets of 2014" but that sounded way too narcissistic/self-congratulatory. Also, it's not entirely true, because some of my absolute favorite tweets contain swear words or sexual references that my mother (who I love and respect deeply and who reads this blog) would not appreciate, so they were left out. (Note to anyone with delicate sensibilities: Do not follow me on Twitter.)

I've had brief flirtations with Twitter over the last few years, but 2014 was the year I really became a regular tweeter. And it's been fun. Here are 25 of my favorites from the last year:

Nov 30, 2014

Fall 2014 Classes Review

  • "Diversity and Film": Loved the class. Learned nothing.
  • "Calculus II": Loved the class. Learned a lot.
  • "Object-Oriented Programming": Hated the class. Learned a lot.
  • "Intermediate Writing": Hated the class. Learned nothing.
Only two days left of classes before finals, which is insane. And I'll be done with general ed classes forever, which is also insane.

Nov 19, 2014


I crave anonymity not because I want to be invisible forever, but because of the hope. The anticipation.

If nobody knows me they don't know how boring and self-absorbed I am. I can be anything. Anonymity is a chance to emerge interesting and important. While a nameless face, the dream is alive.

I crave the hope of the dark. Stepping into the light, I am fresh. All is possible.

Interest is a fickle lover. Freshness dies and I must leave. Find a new dark corner for fanciful ambitions. Dreams are much gentler than the struggle to obtain them.

...I really should be doing homework right now. I'm so embarrassed of everything.

Oct 27, 2014

10 years

My 10-year high school reunion was last weekend / is next month (I went to two high schools). I didn't attend / won't be attending, since the travel would be more of a pain that it's worth to see people who are mostly distant acquaintances (I've kept in touch with very few people from my high school days), but seeing the posts on facebook about the reunions leaves me thinking about the last 10 years quite a bit.

When I was in 10th grade, we did a project about what we imagine for our future, and I thought it was just a generalized thing about the future and made mine all about what I imagined college would be like. But apparently the assignment was "15 years in the future" and I missed the teacher saying that somehow. So everybody else's was about careers and families and whatnot. I was completely embarrassed with that deep horrible embarrassment only teenagers feel that mine was not set in the distant a future like everyone else. But jokes on them, because here I am 12 years later and still in college with no end in sight! Hahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa.....

My life is in almost no way like I imagined it would be when I was in high school. In a lot of ways that's good. I'm really glad I'm not a Mormon housewife with four kids right now. Not because there's necessarily anything wrong with that, of course, but it's just not the kind of work that I think I would personally find satisfying. I like my freedom right now. I like all the intellectual stimulation I get right now. I like a lot of things about my life.

I'm also dissatisfied with a lot, of course. But it's mostly money stuff. I hate being 27 and not having a dime saved for retirement. I hate that it will still be at least another two or three years before I'm done with school and can finally have a "career" instead of a "job".

I hate all the anxiety I have about the future. Is there an age where that's supposed to stop? I figured I would be settled into a more stable life by this point in my life. That's the flip side of the freedom I enjoy, I suppose. I guess that's worth it.

Also, I'm an infinitely better dresser now than in high school. Pretty sure I used to wear nothing but unisex t-shirts and bootleg jeans that were always slightly too short. Now I'm a style icon, baby.

Sep 22, 2014

Women in Tech: Tiny Anecdotal Case Study

It's pretty well-established that there is a deficiency of women in STEM fields, particularly in the technology industry. There are a lot of factors involved, certainly, but let's talk about grades and my particular experience.

I started an Object-Oriented Programming class this semester. The first day of class, I noted that about 11 of the 31 students in the room were female, which was not as bad as I'd expected, considering that nationally women make up only 14% of computer science graduates. But today, as I looked around the classroom, I realized I was one of only two women in the room. I pulled up the class roster and discovered only three women were still enrolled in the class, meaning eight women had dropped the class sometime during the first couple weeks of school before the add/drop deadline.

Plenty of men have dropped the class as well (the total number of students is 18 compared to the original 31), but it seems telling that 73% of the women in class dropped, while only 25% of the men did. It's a tiny sample size, and it's entirely possible that some students switched to the same class at a different time or there might just be something I'm not realizing about women specifically at Salt Lake Community College that doesn't apply to the national picture. However, it's still a large enough gap between the male and female drop rate that it makes me wonder why/if women are weeding themselves out of the tech field nationally for fear of bad grades.

My programming professor is a tough grader and (I feel unnecessarily) particular about exactly how your code looks and how it's submitted. Nearly everybody in the class (myself included) did not do very well on the first couple assignments. Most of us have figured out what the professor expects by now and have done better on subsequent assignments, but the first couple weeks were rough on a lot of us.

This Washington Post article, cites a study indicating that part of the reason women don't major in higher-paying, but harder fields in college is that they are more afraid of bad grades then men are. I remember hearing somewhere something like "Women get an A- in a math class and say 'Oh, I'm bad at math'; men get a B+ in a math class and say 'Oh, I'm good at math.'". That rings fairly true to me.

I currently have a B+ in my programming class and a B- in my math class and I am constantly beating myself up, tossing and turning at night stressing about getting those up to A's by the end of the semester. Struggling with some of my math or programming assignments, I have thought so many times "Why am I doing this? I'm never going to get this. I'm a failure of a human being." 

I'm just one woman, but I'm sure there are plenty more out there like me who dwell maybe a little too hard on what letter is on their report card. I personally never seriously considered dropping those classes because they're both prerequisites I have to get done and I'm already a million years old for a college student and don't have time to waste, but I can absolutely sympathize with anyone who has dropped.

Side note #1: Every single person of Asian descent also dropped out of the same programming class. I'm not sure how many we started with, but it seems like there were three or four at the beginning of the semester. Now there's no deficiency of Asians in tech, but as they are another group that traditionally focuses hard on grades, I can't help but wonder if for this particular class weeding out for fear of bad grades was a factor.

Side note #2: My math class only had two women out of forty-ish (I never made a real count, but it was around there) at the beginning of the semester and both of us are still there while ten-ish of the men have dropped. So for Calculus II, the drop rate is higher for men, but the gender disparity was so huge from the get-go on that one, that I'm guessing any women self-weeding-out happened at an earlier level of math class.

Side note #3: I'm obviously getting A's in my film class and in my writing class, but those subjects come very easy to me. I fart A+ level film analysis papers. We have to write a film analysis each week and after every single one I'm like "This is so fun and easy, why am I not just a film major? Oh yeah, because I don't want to be a waitress forever."

Side note #4: There are three women named Andrea in my writing class. The percentage of women with my name in my writing class is higher than the percentage of women total in either my math or programming classes.

Side note #5: Isn't it cool that I can even count the number of people in my classes? This is such a better learning environment for me than BYU ever was. In general, I'm much more invested in school than I ever was at BYU, but the smaller class sizes definitely helps. All of my professors know me by name. I don't think I ever had a BYU professor who knew me by name. I can only recall like two classes I ever took there with less than 40 students.

Side note #6: I'm obviously just adding anything that comes to mind as a side note now, because I'm putting off doing homework. Maybe women are all just too busy blogging about the lack of women in tech to go off and succeed in tech. No wonder I'm a failure!

Sep 15, 2014


Forbes did a write-up about a great teacher a few days ago.

This semester, I signed up for Calculus II, despite the fact that I haven't taken a math class in ten years. I technically have the credit for Calculus I from my high school AP class, so they allowed me to sign up, but it meant a lot of independent math study over the summer to relearn everything I needed to prep for this fall.

I just kind of stumbled upon Jim Fowler's Calculus I class on Coursera while dabbling in their Data Science course track, and it turned out to be the absolute best way for me to learn a lot of Calculus as quickly as I needed to.

Jim Fowler has incredible enthusiasm for his subject and is very good at explaining why things work in a lot of different ways (for like every formula you get a numerical proof, a graphical proof, a logical proof, and a geometric proof). He takes full advantage of the film medium and presents ideas in all sorts of interesting ways. It was seriously fantastic. Even Trevor, who typically avoids math like the plague, would get caught up watching some of my lessons with me, because the presentation is just that engaging.

Just look how jazzed he is:

Calculus is still a difficult subject and I had plenty of frustration trying to pass some of the quizzes, but it was overall one of the best learning experiences I've ever had. I highly recommend.

I'm doing well-ish in my current math class (currently have a B that I wish was an A, but I'm trying not to dwell too hard on that because I will have a panic attack and there's still plenty of semester left to salvage things). I without-a-doubt have Jim Fowler to blame for any success I have had with math this semester.

Sep 10, 2014

Server Update

For the last two months, I've been working as a server at our local wings place (not Hooters). I switched jobs because I needed the flexibility of schedule with all the school I've got going on these days. I've never worked in the restaurant industry before, and I kind of like it. And kind of hate it.

  • Servers are almost always "people persons" and the rapport among coworkers is totally different than anywhere else I've worked. There's a lot more joking, messing around and (most happily) spontaneous breaking into song/dance.
  • My klutziness has had a chance to shine at this job. I have spilled a couple drinks on people, broken a beer mug, and (most cringe-inducing-ly) flung alfredo sauce from a used fork into a customer's hair. Customers have luckily all been understanding, but it's still absolutely horrifying.
  • I eat multiple times a week at work and it isn't exactly the healthiest place in the world. Also, (most health-damaging-ly) we get free soda and popcorn whenever we're there and I have no self-control. However, I've still lost a few pounds since working there just because I'm moving around so much.
  • I've just been promoted to a bartender position. The bartender still serves tables, and most of my job is still serving since there aren't a ton of alcohol orders, but I get to make more money and (most excitingly) I'm learning how to make a lot of cocktails. Also, the people that sit at the bar are the craziest people that come into the restaurant.
  • When I started, my feet hurt all the time, but I've gotten somewhat toughened up to it. If I work a shift longer than seven hours or so, it's still pretty bad, but five hours without sitting is no problem at all anymore.
  • I hate that I have to wear a uniform. I am doing laundry a lot more often since I have to constantly keep my uniform in shape, which I guess is a perk, but it's still terrible. My work pants don't fit me well at all, but I hate pants shopping enough that I haven't bothered to get new ones. And I just like looking like I have some sort of style, and the only leeway I have is earrings. So I wear a lot of big earrings to work. It's all I've got.