Showing posts from 2019

Training for the Olympic Atmosphere

This weekend, I did something not Olympics related. (But it has an Olympic connection - stay with me!)

I attended Star Wars Celebration, a mega convention celebrating all things Star Wars, in Chicago. If you've read my Blurbs for a few years, you know that I published Star Wars Saturday articles in anticipation of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, ran a Star Wars Half-Marathon, and participated in a Star Wars seven movie marathon!

It definitely was a no brainer to attend when I realized that the next Star Wars Celebration was only going to be a couple of hours away (and that it wasn't on Easter weekend!). Since I would still be teaching, I made it easier on myself by only buying passes for Friday and Sunday, giving me Saturday as a rest/recharge day. (Sorely needed, BTW. I'm typing this on Saturday and am so glad I have this day free.)

I felt like this was a good chance for me to experience high crowds in a large city while attending an event that we all enjoy. Kind of…

Is It Time To Talk Track and Field Yet? (Sorrynotsorry)

There is a lot to be excited about with the upcoming Olympics. I mean, this website's name is "Light the Cauldron," so there's not much that beats Olympic talk.

However, it is not a good idea to miss out on all the stuff that's leading up to the Olympics. Know your athletes! See their conquests! Understand who they are and where they came from, and make your mind up about them before NBC narrows your fandom to its handful of profiled athletes.

This is the season of Spring. Winter sports are just about done, and the sports that feature in the summer Olympics are starting to ramp up.

Which, of course, means that I start waxing poetic on track and field.

(Wait - I've already been doing that? Well, whatever. Now it's outdoors.)

It's easy to watch track and field because it's on or around an oval track. Marathon viewing is easy because the cars can lead the runners on, and cameras are easy to find.

But have you ever watched cross country? No, not cros…

Healthy Competition

Yesterday, the Men's World Figure Skating Championship program concluded with a wonderful free skate final. Where figure skating had transformed into a "he who doesn't fall wins the medal," the rule changes of last year brought wonderful artistry to all the disciplines - none more so than the men's program.

Everyone was waiting in anticipation for the Yuzuru Hanyu vs. Nathan Chen showdown. While both of them were in last winter's Olympics, Chen's multiple falters in his short program left him well behind the pack, even though his long program score actually exceeded Hanyu's.

This year, it was Hanyu who was struggling after an injury in the fall left him trying to recover in time for this weekend. Meanwhile, Chen was soaring, winning the ISU Grand Prix Final as well as the U.S. National Championships with an insane (and probably inflated, let's be honest) score.

This weekend, both men came out strong, but it was Chen's short program skate that…


What happens when there are over 6,000 spoken languages in the world and you are hosting a wordwide event where everyone needs to understand what's going on?

Not only is the spoken language a struggle at international events, but the written language can make things difficult. Maps, signs, and directions are usually in the native language of the host city. And while they change their signs to be bilingual with the addition of English, that still doesn't cover everyone's language!

So how is a host city to solve the problem?

If you're Tokyo back in 1964, your answer was pictograms.

The more people started to travel for leisure, the more necessary it was to find a way for people with different languages to understand where things were in unfamiliar cities. The way for everyone to universally understand what was going on was to create a picture language.

For the Olympics, spectators needed to understand where they needed to go to view the events they wanted to see. So pic…

What's Next?

So I quit my job.

I mean, I am not currently jobless.

But once the fiscal year is done, I am out of a job.

So what's next?


Pros: I can work my own schedule. I can reach out to companies and individuals who share my interests and work with them on projects that help get their name out there. I can pick and choose what I want to do. I can work from home or travel. The world is my oyster!

Cons: Freelance is what the name implies: yes, I am free to choose, but there's also a chance I won't have any work. The pay that I get will be very low. I'm not even sure a good place to start!


Pros: I could use my insanely handy organizational skills for a variety of projects. That could include administrative or executive assistant or something else that's related. I definitely know that I'm good at it.

Cons: There is a lot of assistant skills that require a bit of education, including accounting and billing. Plus, most companies want a bit of experience, w…

Couch Potato: Enjoying the Tokyo Marathon and Other Sports

This week I am going to take you to Tokyo.

Well, not the Olympics in Tokyo.

But today (Sunday, but Saturday in the States) the Tokyo Marathon was held. With my NBS Sports Gold Track and Field Pass, I was able to watch the entire thing. And I don't do this out of obligation; I do this because I love watching the marathon.

Most of the time, the marathons are run while I'm at church and I have to watch them later on replay - probably knowing who already won. But with an event halfway around the world, it works to my advantage! Plus, I'm not attending any events this weekend, so I can devote my Saturday evening to watching a bunch of men and women run a lot.

Watching marathon for most people is like watching paint dry. But when you watch from start to finish, the tactics of the race pop out, and result in an enthralling two-plus hours of racing.

So I'm going to prove it to you. I'm going to watch the Tokyo Marathon and break down the race into 5-kilometer segments. As…

Overstimulated at the B1G Championships

So I thought everything was going to be back to normal this weekend. No national championships in the area (though the USATF Indoor Championships are taking place this weekend), no vlogs, and a weekend finally to catch up with all the crazy winter sport championships that have been taking place.

And then I happened to come back to visit my parents, placing me near Ann Arbor, where Michigan was hosting the B1G Indoor Track and Field Championships.

How could I miss that?

When the last group of tickets opened up on Tuesday, I took the chance and snatched up a ticket. An hour later, the final tickets had sold for the weekend, so I'm glad I didn't hesitate!

In 2018 the University of Michigan introduced a brand-new track and field (and lacrosse) facility a few miles south of the main campus. There was a new outdoor track with all the necessary field space as well as a new indoor building. And what a building it is!

Now Michigan is one of only seven universities in the nation that h…

U.S. Curling National Championships Live from Kalamazoo: Championship Finals

Another exciting week of curling has come and gone, and I had a ball! I really, really enjoyed all the live-streaming of the U.S. Curling National Championships during the week, which kept me in tune with what I was going to see in the finals.

I actually could have gone to the rounds on Wednesday because we had a snow day, but even though the weather was pretty good where I was, the weather was nasty in Kalamazoo. So I decided to just watch online instead. (Probably a good idea.)

The plan for Saturday was pretty perfect: go to Panera Bread and pick up a salad that I could store in the car until eating it in between matches, then go to Sweetwater's in Kalamazoo and pick up some of the best donuts you'll ever eat, watch the women's match, eat salad, watch the men's match, then eat some Chick-fil-a before heading home to relax. Luckily, the execution lived up to the planning!

On Tuesday, the Wings Event Center sent emails to those who had purchased curling tickets, notif…

U.S. Curling National Championships Live from Kalamzoo: Draw 1 (Men's)

You can't keep me away from National Championships!

Just two weeks after enjoying my time in Detroit, I take a little jaunt over to Kalamazoo (about 2ish hours east of Chicago on I-94) to watch Day 1 of the U.S. Curling National Championships. This competition is going to be taking place all week, but I need to make sure I still do, you know, my job, so I'm just attending both Saturday events.

I had a lot of fun sitting in the Wings Event Center, and my vlog basically sums it all up! I'm looking forward to seeing more of these men and women this week through USA Curling's live stream now that I've seen them live and in person!

With that, let's go to the vlog! Enjoy, and I'll see you next week for the finals!

And if you're interested, here are my PyeongChang blurbs from one year ago! Crazy!

I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! 

U.S. Figure Skating Championships Live from Detroit: Men's Free Skate

I'm still not over it.

It's been almost a week since I saw the men's free skate, and I'm still not over it.

I've never seen quads done in person. I did last weekend. GOOD GOLLY!

My parents and I were there for five hours, but it did not feel sluggish at any time.

And Nathan Chen...just. Wow.

I'm still not over it.

The Preshow

The weather going back to Little Caesars Arena on Sunday afternoon was much different from the weather we had to deal with the night before. As we exited the arena on Saturday night, we were met with a slushy mush of snow, which I certainly wasn't expecting.

Thankfully, the flurries were done by noon, the roads were cleared, and we didn't have any problems. I had paid for parking again, and my mom in particular was thankful for the quick walk from the parking structure over to the arena.

We arrived just as the doors were opening, and wandered around the main concourse. Boy were we glad we didn't just go to our seats!

My mom and…

U.S. Figure Skating Championships Live from Detroit: Free Dance

Well that was a lot of fun!
My parents and I attended the free dance in Little Caesars Arena last night, and had a great time. Parking was a snap because we'd bought a parking pass to the structure right next to the arena, our seats were great, and the competition was fierce. And I got a chance to throw a stuffed animal on the ice - a dream of mine!
We got there right at 6:15 when the first three pairs danced. I had seen them all the night before on television, so I knew what to expect. One of them - Nicole Takahashi - skated a Russian dance with her partner, and then later on I saw her in the concourse! That was pretty cool. 
I immediately spotted the kiss-and-cry area, which was across the arena from our seats. I saw where the NBC broadcast was (it wasn't hard; just look for all the lights), and admired the GIANT jumbotron that sits over the ice. (When I went to Stars On Ice, they didn't use the jumbotron at all, so I was having fun watching it.)
Unbeknownst to me, they…

BONUS: A Figure Skating Fan's Dream

I know that the World Championships and the Olympics are the pinnacle of figure skating prowess, but to be honest, this weekend might just top them all when it comes to a figure skating fan. Not only are the U.S. Figure Skating Championships taking place in Detroit, the European Championships are also taking place in Minsk! We viewers get to enjoy double the axels, flips, and toe loops, plus the double rolling of our eyes at yet another interpretation of Carmen or The Phantom of the Opera (seriously, Alina Zagitova, don't you know there's way better soundtracks of TPOTO out there instead of the film version?).

This weekend is a special treat for me, because I am able to go to Detroit and attend the free skates for both ice dance (Saturday) and the men's (Sunday) competitions! I'll be posting about my experiences tomorrow and next week. There will probably be some video included!

If you missed any of the U.S. or European Championships, I'm sure that The Olympic Cha…