23 October 2014

Update Spill

I haven't blogged for a while so I thought I'd write a little something today.

Let's see, what have I been up to?

Michael and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy, and though I didn't really enjoy the movie, the music was pretty awesome. Check out the mix here. And now Michael wants a dancing baby Groot for Christmas.

We also went to the Greek Festival just to enjoy the food, and a week later discovered a great Thai place not too far from where we live: Jitlada Thai Cuisine. I've learned to make most of my favorite meals, but I have yet to do some Thai cooking. First three on the list: pad ka prow (spicy basil) with tofu, tau hu tod (fried tofu), and gaeng keaw wan (green curry). Please, people, if you haven't found a dish with tofu that you like, you haven't been looking hard enough. Tofu can be so amazingly delicious, I promise.

I went to Django Barcamp at Eventbrite and met some really great developers, including the awesome authors of Two Scoops of Django. Now I'm reading their book and working on several Django projects. I'm also coming up with step-by-step Django instructions for absolute beginners as well as for my own reference. Technology changes so fast that they may not last long, but while they do, it will be awesome.

Barcamp Django 2014 photo 2014-10-04152339_zps0493f68f.jpg
Hackbright reps Rosette and Michelle at Barcamp Django!

I've been practicing technical interviews with many generous friends and doing a lot of algorithms studying (I finally found a book that has algorithms in Python that I like) on my own. Several other generous friends have spent time just talking jobs or helping me with development issues. I'm pretty ready to dive into real interviews, though some days I feel like there's so much to learn that there's no way I'm ready. I'm committed to finding a company whose product I like and who is committed to my growth as an engineer. I'm definitely hoping to work in a Python shop this time.

My hero Lynn Root put on a Python workshop at her workplace, Spotify. Out of all the things they gave out in a swag drawing, I was most hoping for the socks because new socks are heaven, so I was super happy when I won striped Spotify socks. So comfy.

Spotify Socks photo 2014-09-28123705_zps769ffd2c.jpg

I also got some great new t-shirts from Keen.io and laughed when people at HTML5 DevConf thought I worked at Keen because I was wearing one of the shirts. Then someone else asked me if I was Michelle Wetzler. Heeee.

HTML5 DevConf with KeenIO Shirt photo 2014-10-21111603_zps0798bd45.jpg

By the way—more on Lynn of Spotify. She taught herself to be a developer and now she's an expert (in my book, anyway) and does a lot for the women in tech and Python-in-general communities. She recently spoke about being a fraud (faking being a developer until she makes it) and it was amazing. She and her boyfriend have also been nice to lend me some books and give me very needed interview practice. I think we are kindred spirits because we all love chocolate chip cookies.

I made a big batch of chocolate chip cookies and put it in the freezer so I can snack on them whenever I need them, and then I realized that I've turned into my grandfather (except that he liked nuts in his frozen cookies).

I still love our apartment, but the street outside our apartment is having parts dug up for some project (probably new pipes or something) and it is so loud. And who would have thought that they'd start all the noise at 7 AM in San Francisco? Even before the construction and even after I scraped the paint off of the window latches so they could close more securely, my noise app was showing our average to be between 55 and 70 decibels because of the traffic, and the sirens that go past several times a day make it go up to between 80 and 90 decibels. Some days I re-research how to make our place quieter, hoping I missed something great the first five times I researched. I can only hope that Rudolf Stefanich eventually produces his noise-cancelling project Sono. I've thought of trying to convince the owners of our place to replace the windows or to get custom IndowWindows inserts, but I have little hope that I'll succeed.

At least Michael and I were able to laugh a few weeks ago when someone outside started yelling about Nicolas Cage at 3 AM. But when two people were screaming at each other the other night I wasn't sure if I should do something or not. My friend Hy runs a civic meetup and so I recently got to hear some really interesting stories and facts from a police commander. Ever since I've been even more focused on being an aware and responsible citizen, but I just don't always know when it's appropriate to call the police. Would they have wanted to come talk to me when I just wanted to go to sleep? Would the people have still been there yelling by the time the police arrived? Would it have been worth their time?

It turns out that having Whole Foods be the closest store to us is sometimes frustrating. Just need some eggs? Why walk ten more minutes to another store? Apparently my brother-in-law calls that place Whole Paycheck. :) At least it's good for when we want to make dishes for our vegan friends.

My friend Melanie turned 40 and had a prom-themed birthday party. I wore my Taiwanese wedding dress, only to receive my actual prom dress from my mom a week later. Sounds like we need another party!

Melanie's Birthday photo MelanieBirthday2014_zps6680e4ce.jpg

My mom came to San Francisco and brought a whole bunch of stuff that I'd forgotten belonged to me, including my old rock collection, the clay castle and fountain I built, an enormous origami flower I made, and a desk from my grandparents' cabin! And then we discovered that her grandmother might have lived in the building across the street from me.

We rented a car from some guy on Getaround and drove down to enjoy a hike in Cupertino with Sica, my mom, Amy, and Amy's kids. It was lovely to spend time with them and to get some fresh air.

Michael and I are still taking a while to get the living room put together. I've decided that I'm probably going to paint a rug (I found some great tutorials online). This week we found a desk, some drawers, a chair, and some monitors that were just we wanted and all from the same person, but the guy who was going to sell them to us sold them to the person moving in at the last moment. Argh.

My brother bought my old bishop's business. Though I suggested he modernize it a bit, he's sticking to traditional. Weirdly (for a business of that type), they don't have a graphic designer, so I ended up making his business cards. I also helped my dad learn how to import contacts to his new Gmail account.

Happy Diwali! It's hard to believe that we celebrated Diwali with Gunjan a whole year ago. This year I again celebrated at Hult, where we were required to get a bindi, learn how to say "happy Diwali" in Hindi, and then do some Bollywood dancing before we were allowed to have some of the divine food.

While I was at Hult, a guy approached me and asked where I was from. When I answered, "Here," he said, "America? We three were discussing it and we thought you were from Russia." I'm not sure what gave them that impression. My clothes were pretty darn techie-in-San-Francisco-casual: RocketDog sneakers, not-loose-not-tight jeans, and a company t-shirt (Couple.me). Maybe it was my frazzled-looking hair? Or my nose?

Speaking of hair and nose . . . my hair is currently kind of a mess. It's somehow decided to be really fuzzy and I have to wet it down so there aren't flyaways everywhere. I don't recall having this problem before (except for with my cowlick), so I'm not really sure how to deal with it. My digital perm is growing out and so it probably looks a little weird that I just have waves/curls on the ends of my hair. I'll have to do something about it soon. And as for nose . . . I had a crazy sinus infection for several days a couple of weeks ago, but even before that, I was complaining to Michael about not being able to breathe through one side of my nose and so he opened up my nostril by pulling on the skin to the side of my nose. I was so surprised that I started coughing because suddenly I could breathe and the air felt so new in there. Clearly I can't walk around holding one nostril open all the time, so it seems like it might be time for another sinus surgery. I feel like the last one was pretty pointless. I wonder if I can find someone this time who can make so I can breathe and not totally change/ruin my nose. Add "sinus surgery" to the list of things to do when we have benefited jobs.

I've recently thought about how I really don't do my hair or get dressed up much anymore and it's not just because I prioritize comfort but also because I bike everywhere so it feels like there's no point in being uncomfortable or messing up nice clothes.

It turns out that our upstairs neighbor has a piano! We talked about our favorite musicians and songs for more than an hour before she told me that I'm welcome to come play on her piano. I've gotten my music back from my sister and now I'm pretty dang sure I have at least ten pieces that this neighbor is going to love.

Unfortunately, despite having unpacked all of our boxes and bags, my external hard drive is missing. So much of my last ten years of life is on there, so I sure hope we find it. The only place either of us can imagine it being is buried in Michael's parents' garage somewhere. Argh.

I'm planning a Hackbright Halloween party and it's going to be awesome.

Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook) posted a video of an interview he gave . . . in Mandarin. It was fun to listen to it. I really like his comprehension, confidence, and big vocabulary, and I hope to get to where he is. I was surprised, though, to realize that his tones aren't so great. I'm not saying that because I want to rip on him. I'm saying that because although I think my tones are pretty good, I need to follow his example. Sometimes the fear of getting a tone wrong keeps me from saying anything, and clearly people who just go for it with whatever tones are still understood and make progress, so I need to get over wanting to get things right and just try to communicate, no matter how messy it is.

So there you go. A very thorough and possibly uninteresting update.


  1. 1. I am glad there is someone else who didn’t particularly enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy! Everyone at work was so into it, I thought I was really missing something when I felt mostly just like, “eh, ok.”
    2. Chocolate chip cookies in the freezer: tell me more. Do you freeze them as dough and cut off slice in a log? Or are they already cooked in and in a ziplock bag and then you just heat them up again later, in the microwave or one like a toaster oven?
    3. Key to being dressy while biking: nicer knit dresses and leggings, with boots (short or tall)
    4. Zuckerberg’s tones were pretty much the only thing I wanted to listen for in watching that video and I was not particularly impressed either. Good point though on just going for it anyway.

    1. KWu: as far as the chocolate chip cookies go, I bake all of them and then put them in Tupperware or in a Ziploc bag and freeze to eat later. Strangely enough, if you dunk them in milk, they don't really need to be heated up later. The milk thaws them enough, though if you really want the warm cookie taste, you could probably microwave one for a few seconds.

      I like the dressy biking idea. Now I have to try and find some good boots that don't hurt my weird feet and don't cost a zillion.

      I actually changed my response to Zuckerberg. At first I was feeling a mixture of jealousy of his fluency and arrogance that my tones are better, but then I realized that I really just need to go for it like he does. Shame often keeps me from doing things that could be awesome and I have to get past that somehow!

    2. Interesting...so this means you make fresh warm chocolate chip cookies...and then put them away for later. That seems like a novel approach. I should try that some time! ;)

      In general I am trying to be good lately about not buying new clothes that are cute but restrictive in movement, and also getting rid of a lot of my wardrobe that's in that category. Stretchy dresses are awesome, because it looks like you put effort in, but really it's not that different from pajamas. I forgot you have foot issues :( but you might be able to find short boots that don't cost too much and will be easy to walk/bike in.

      That's very self-aware of you to be able to diagnose your initial reaction as jealousy/superiority. I get that as my initial reaction to lots of things too, and I don't know how much of it is shame vs some mixture of fear and ego. You're right though, it's better to be able to get past that, you'll be able to improve more.

    3. You're so cool and I'm super glad that you read my blog and leave comments.