06 October 2014

Hackbright Day 5 and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Friday was the first Friday of Hackbright and the last day of our first week. (You still following?) Fridays are generally more relaxed, so we started the day out with a skit from the performers of Hackbright Theatre on the differences between tuples and lists. Very entertaining! We also talked about sets. Tuples are immutable and good as data structures. So basically, they're like the array-like things in IDL. That aha moment stuck with me, but I decided to keep it to myself because I'm guessing that there is no one else in that room who ever used IDL because OMG NO ONE USES IDL WHY DIDN'T I LEARN A USEFUL LANGUAGE IN GRAD SCHOOL???????

We're going to revisit this later.
We then did a skill exercise to see how quickly we could get through something. It was actually pretty easy because it did not go over my nemesis (that would be list slicing). What I've found is that if I've seen something in Fortran/Supermongo/bash/IDL/somethingelseuseless, I'm mostly okay with the concept. I just need a refresher. My Fortran-honed instincts tell me to build everything from scratch, though, so it's kind of a huge roadblock for me. In addition, my HOLYCRAPPANIC-o-meter goes off if I don't immediately understand something (AHH. LIST SLICING). I'm going to thank grad school for that.
In the afternoon, we had a brief lecture from one of the founders of Hackbright. He's usually an intstructor, I think, but this was the first lecture that he led. He told us about how google figures out where you are from your laptop. Google street view vans used to drive around and record your wifi names. They would then remember where that was located and then could tell if you were connected to it. However, moving across the country, but keeping the same wireless network name doesn't update automatically... until! they started using phones that hooked to wifi but also had GPS enabled to determine your exact location. So every time your phone asks if you want to enable wifi for better precision and you connect, Google is thanking you.
The rest of the afternoon was spent working on the skill exercise and then completing all the other items we didn't finish from earlier in the week. I should probably look at the "extra" stuff that we could have done if we had time (but no, LIST SLIIIIIIICCCCCCCCIIIIIIINNNNNNGGG). One of the instructors was kind enough to give another lecture on list slicing, which was great and helped me better understand it.
Finally, around the built-in break time, all these bottles of champagne were brought out and a butter knife was brandished. Hackbright was congratulating us on finishing up the first week of classes and the lead instructor was about to attempt to saber the champange bottle with a butter knife. It turns out that you can't really saber a champagne bottle like that, but you CAN do it with a spatula. All of the rest of the bottles were opened in the usual way. Surprisingly, no one wanted to drink out of the spatula-opened bottle.

It turns out that glass shards do not provide the mouthfeel that most people seek in a good champange.

It was a good week. It was frustrating at times, but mostly I felt like I learned what I needed to. I really need to do some soul searching and become better at pair programming. I probably also need to unclench a lot. It's hard to do, though, because this feels like the highest stakes schooling I've ever done and it's in the shortest amount of time.

And here's where all the Hackbright stuff ends. So keep on reading if you're super interested in random things that I did this weekend. ;)

The summer of 2005 was pretty rough. It was the summer between my tumultuous freshman year of college and the (unbeknownst to me at the time) equally tumultous sophomore year of college. I applied to a bunch of internships for the summer, but was rejected, mostly because those internships typically went to students who were a year or two further in school. My undergrad advisor got me into the summer program at MSU, and so I spent the summer splitting my time between East Lansing where I worked M-F and Harper Woods, so I could go home and fight with my awesome boyfriend. I remember so very, very little of that summer. Partly because I blocked it out and partly because it was 9 years ago. (HOLY CRAP I AM THE OLDEST WHO EVER OLDED IN EVER!)

I did form some friendships, though, and "maintained" those friends through facebook. Here's to never cleaning out my friends list! I actually met up with one of the people from the program last summer when I went to Boston to work on my thesis. Interestingly enough, she knows the person who let us crash at her place in the first night we were in the Bay Area. BUT! I was introduced to that person by one of my best friends in Austin who went to undergrad while the pad-crashing-allower was in grad school. (Wow, talking about people without names is difficult.) What I'm trying to say is that astronomy is an incredibly small community and everyone knows everyone else. You don't play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon in astronomy because everyone is Kevin Bacon. But i'm getting off track.
There was another person who I maintained a facebook friendship with from that long-ago MSU internship. She moved to San Francisco with her fiance a few months ago and is doing a different coding bootcamp. We met up at The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest in Golden Gate Park on Saturday, and it was great! I got to meet her fiance, she got to meet Colby and we reminisced about the very few things we could remember from the summer of '05 and talked about San Francisco, tech, and life in general. It was awesome getting to see her again and I hope that we can hang out more frequently than every 9 years in the future.
Right, so let's talk about Hardly Strictly. It's a nominally a bluegrass festival, but the first act we saw was Deltron 3030 and the 3030 Orchestra, who were very much not bluegrass. I think it's a rap superband, but I could be totally mistaken. A typical fan was frat boy with dreads with a joint in one hand and a bag of Franzia in the other. We left after a couple songs because the area was in the sun and Colby melts in the sun because he's pretty much as pale as you can get before you get rickets.
We then headed towards the Rooster Stage, where we stayed for most of the rest of the night. It was great, and mostly alt-country. The whole reason why I wanted to go was to see Robert Earl Keen. Every time I'd hear a country-sounding song on KLRU that i liked, it was him. My homesickness for Austin was briefly alleviated to the tune of Gringo Honeymoon, Merry Christmas from the Family, and (of course) the Road Goes on Forever. The MC called him the "Poet Laureate of the Rooster Stage" and everyone was super into it. The crowd at the Rooster Stage was generally a lot older and a lot less trashed. I posted a bunch of pictures on Instagram and twitter from the festival. All in all, it was a great day and I'm glad that we decided to brave the crowds and the terrible public transit situation.

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