Monday, September 11, 2017

My "Mundane" Life in Maryland

Hi everyone - my friend Nancy is in the Peace Corps ( and she recently posted about her "mundane life", and said she'd be interested in her friend's stateside attempts at blogging about their life. So, Nancy, here is that blog post about my mundane life for you, going over just my last week.

Also, Happy Patriot’s Day? I have mixed feelings about the reaction to Sept. 11th every year. I understand wanting to memorialize it but it also seems that some of the memorials have become trite, and many of the people I've heard wanting to memorialize it are kids hoping for another day off of school, which seems disrespectful. In general, shouldn't we try to move on together as a country? I think remembering 9/11 with fear causes a fear of incoming refugees, and so I don't know how to truly feel for the families of the victims without promoting that feeling of fear (which we don't want). Anyways. Here's my week.

Last week was the kickoff for the all-girls robotics team I help coach. We had a parent meeting Wednesday night, and most of the parents were late because they were at Back-To-School nights. Whoops, I guess I should have thought more about scheduling. On Saturday the game was announced at a statewide kickoff. "The Game", for those not involved with FTC, is the challenge robots must complete this season. Video here:

Friday night Bojack Horseman season 4 was release on Netflix, and Ryan and I watched the first three episodes (we have since finished the season). Friday night we like to just veg out together.

Saturday night, my Dad and I went to a play, "The Christians", Baltimore Centerstage was giving out free tickets to opening weekend, which I learned about from the APL Drama Club. It was about a pastor of a mega-church who announces the church is debt-free, then preaches that he doesn’t believe in hell, and the various reactions from members of the congregation (an elder, his associate pastor, a choir member and his wife). It was cool and I think it wasn’t anti-Christian or overly “bible-banging”, just a legitimate look at some of the motivations of various characters and how they might react. The program had interviews with the author, where he said he started in seminary but then felt too much pressure from trying to interpret texts and learning the Bible is never really straightforward. That pressure of interpretation caused him to leave seminary and that comes up a lot in the play. I’d recommend it.

This summer I've been participating in the Innovation Challenge, a summer project for early career staff to show their skill/ability to solve problems. They announce the challenge in May, and teams have three months to work on it, then present their solution to APL program managers. Thursday was our team's final presentation, and I think it went OK. We had a more memorable demo than any of the other teams, because we let the judges be involved. One of the teams (out of six) is announced the winner. I don’t especially care about winning, but my one team mate really wants to win, and winners are announced this coming Wednesday.

Upcoming this next week socially I have a meeting with the program coordinator for HowGirlsCode, a non-profit creating classes for elementary school girls in programming skills. Why am I meeting with her? because I am officially on the HGC board as of August 1st! I'm excited to be doing STEM outreach to girls. I also have a happy hour with other Innovation Challenge participants to wrap up the program, and my group at work is having a picnic to celebrate the end of summer, so lots of work networking opportunities. Got to practice being more social with my co-workers, so this is a good experience for me. On Friday they have a church family board game night.

At work, I have a meeting for a new project kicking off, a C++ study group meeting, and a guest lecturer coming in to talk about robotics ethics, in addition to all my regular software developer tickets (a common term for software development requests is a "ticket" assigned to you to work on). I like my job but most people don't want to take the time to understand what I do. if you're interested, let me know. =)