30 September 2014

San Francisco Eats

Having been in San Francisco for less than a week, I am clearly an expert in the food scene. We tried to cook at the place that we're staying, but it's hard because all of my cooking stuff is packed away in the car or in Michigan. We even decided to leave our spices in the car, so when I decided I was going to make tacos tonight, I realized that it wasn't going to happen. We've been eating out a bunch, probably more than we should, but here's a list of some of the places that we've eaten at that I've enjoyed.

We went to La Oaxaqueña in the Mission District tonight for dinner. Colby got a "spicy pork" taco (he's super awesome at details), I got a sundried tomato + goat cheese pupusa and we split a tlayuda. I had never heard of a tlayuda until we went there. It's essentially a Mexican pizza-like dish, with a crispy tortilla as a base, covered in refried beans, cheese, salsa, lettuce, and (in our case) chipotle chicken. Colby said that the taco was the best thing he's had since we've been to SF. The tlayuda was similarly delicious and I am completely angry that I didn't know those existed until now. We almost didn't go there because they sometimes cook with grasshoppers and I was terrified of cross contamination, but I'm glad that we went. Only later did we find out that it's a "hipster hotspot" and "super sketchy". 
This also satisfied my avocado craving
Truly Mediterranean is in the Mission District. It serves schwarma and falafel on lavash. Colby got the lamb and I got the chicken kabob and it was wonderful. While we were waiting, one of the cooks gave us a sample of falafel. Those were incredibly delicious and definitely worth a trip back.
This is the only picture I have of that
Pakwan is also in the Mission and it serves Pakistani and Indian food. it was a little strange in that you have to buy the rice separately, but we ended up just splitting a huge piece of naan instead. I got the saag with chicken and Colby got chicken tikka masala because that's the only thing he ever gets. They were both really good and Colby would have probably enjoyed his meal more with rice.
Nothing look as delicious as blurry spinach, AMIRITE?!

Sugar Cafe and Coffee Bar is in Union Square, right next to Hackbright. My hackathon team (I swear I'm going to post about it soon!) met there to discuss ideas. I had a super delicious latte and a tuna salad that was also very good (and super low carb, might I add). I am 90000% sure that I'll be making a return trip because I rely on coffee the way python uses white space. Or something.

latte + chromebook = instagram picture
prettiest tuna salad ever
Hopefully I'll get out the DSLR and take real pictures of actual food I'm eating again. Or better yet, I'll get back to writing about the food I'm making at home when I finally have a home in which to make food again.

29 September 2014

Hackbright Day 1

Today was the first day of Hackbright and like everyone else who is blogging their way though it, I felt the need to recap.

My first accomplishment of the day was making it to the office on time and without getting lost. GO ME!! We had breakfast provided, which was nice, and then settled in with a getting-to-know-you type of game, where I didn't really get to know anyone. I just know that most people either don't like Jason Mraz or are willing to admit their fondness for his music, but not too many people consider it their guilty pleasure. We then heard from some of the instructors about what the program was like, two alumni about their experiences, and then learned about pair programming via a skit and then a short talk.

3 Things I Didn't Know About Pair Programming:

  1. You're supposed to switch after every 2-3 LINES of code, or at least every 5 minutes
  2. You're supposed to talk your way through it
  3. You're not supposed to just put one person at the keyboard with the other person "navigating"

Thing I Didn't Know About Pair Programming, But Largely Suspected:

  1. I'm not particularly good at it.

It's okay, though. I have plenty of time to get better and I think that having other people who think differently than me is helpful. I hope. And I hope that I didn't make the first day useless for my pair programming partner.

We then went to lunch, came back for our first pair programming exercise in blockly, heard a lecture on the command line, and then had our second pair programming exercise, this time about the command line. This was a tutorial by Zed Shaw, as part of an appendix of Learn Python the Hard Way. This is the first time I had ever used "pushd" and "popd". Those are not useful commands. AT ALL. It's okay, though, because I asked one of the TAs about it and she also said that she's never used them.

My biggest complaint of the day is that they're not using emacs, but rather a text editor called sublime. In fact, emacs wasn't even installed on the computer in the lab. Maybe I'm just a crusty old astronomer (I did do extensive parts of my thesis using supermongo, after all), but gahh.

And now it's time to talk about impostor syndrome. My interview process was different than most of the other students. They kept telling everyone, "don't worry, we chose you because you're awesome and we know you", but I'm terrified that they don't actually know me and that my alternative path to Hackbright was based on networking and not actually because I'm going to do well. Everyone seems really motivated and capable and I'm back in my first year of grad school wondering how the hell I even got in. People talk about coursera classes they've taken and different things they've done and I've spent the past month procrastinating on finishing up the pre-work and moving across the country. Everyone said I needed a mental break after my thesis so I didn't implode, and they were totally, completely right. But I wonder if I took that break at the expense of being prepared. I guess we'll see.

Also, I participated in a Hackathon last weekend, but I think I'll wait to recap that for a later post.

25 September 2014

San Francisco Things: Clarion Alley

The first apartment that we're staying in backs up onto Clarion Alley in the Mission District. It's actually incredibly spacious for San Francisco standards, and I kind of wish we could stay here for the duration. Clarion Alley is known for the colorful murals that cover its buildings. The Clarion Alley Mural Project has been around for over 20 years and the murals are updated and changed frequently. We walked down the alley and took some pictures while we were out and about today.

The stairs in the second picture actually lead up to the apartment we're staying in right now. I guess it's the only apartment that's painted as part of the CAMP.

There were a lot of memorial works up.

Imma go out on a limb here and say that this artist is not a fan of gentrification.

That's actually on the sidewalk. On the other side of the alley there were giant piles of human shit. Lovely.

That might be my favorite one, it's incredibly intricate.

Another interesting piece

And now I should probably finish up my pre-work since tonight and tomorrow are my last days where I can really do anything about it.

24 September 2014

San Francisco Day 1

A lot of the people who have done Hackbright have blogged about it. In fact, that's how I even heard about Hackbright to begin with. I toyed with the idea of starting a new blog, but this has been so long neglected that I'm sure that my readership is like... me and the 3 people who probably put this blog in a feed reader and forgot about it. So, hello again. When I have the opportunity and inclination, I'll post things about Hackbright and generally what's going on with us. I think it'll be nice to remember these days because it's going to be a unique and intense period of time.

We're currently in San Francisco proper now. We're staying in an apartment in the Mission and it's great. It's actually incredibly spacious and the airbnb host actually works for airbnb, so she had a ton of stuff out for us. It's been really great. In an effort to save money, we're trying to make most of our meals at the apartment. Our first meal was Tuscan tuna and bean salad, with a handful of arugula thrown in and green onion subbed for shallot and the herb. I think this is going to be our inaugural meal in every new place we stay.

Back to Hackbright news, I'm slogging my way through the rest of the pre-work. I'll have to switch my focus to the hardware hackathon that I'm participating in this weekend, but I still have two days to make it through the rest of the required modules and then try to fit in whatever else I can. I definitely thought I'd have a lot more time to work, but having time where I didn't work like crazy was probably a good thing for my mental health and ultimately my ability to succeed in the program.

We're in California. Holy crap.

You know what's scarier than driving up a winding mountain road?
Driving down a winding mountain road.

You know what's scarier than driving down a winding mountain road?
Driving down a winding mountain road at night.

You know what's scarier than driving down a winding mountain road at night?
Driving down a winding mountain road at night with lowered visibility.

You know what's scarier than driving down a winding mountain road at night with lowered visibility?
Driving down a winding mountain road at night with lowered visibility from the forest fire that is raging away close to where you're driving.

You know what's scarier than driving down a winding mountain road at night with lowered visibility from the forest fire that is raging away close to where you're driving?

Driving down a winding mountain road at night with lowered visibility from the forest fire that is raging away close to where you're driving and trying to make sure that you make it out of the winding mountain road fast enough so that you beat the road closures that are caused by the OH MY GOD THE FOREST THAT I AM CURRENTLY IN IS ON FIRE AND I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING AND I'M IN CHARGE OF MAKING SURE THAT NO ONE DIES.

 ...but we made it. Mostly. And more later, I hope.