09 August 2014

Being a Real Person®, Part I of Many

It sure has been a while since I've blogged (about anything!), so this post will be an end to such hiatus. I have a bunch of drafts on various technical shenanigans, but haven't found time to write in the middle of relocating.

Moving was pretty darn stressful. Because I am a Terrible Person and procrastinated, I felt pressured to liquidate a bunch of computer parts at the last minute. I was not pleased that I had to make aggressive price cuts to increase liquidity. At least I sold all of my GPUs I bought for mining, because those would have been worthless now. Having movers to repack and ship was convenient, so everything settled down after they came and did their thing.

My main hobby is taking care of Bud, my Porsche 911, who I bought near the beginning of my senior year :3 (yeah internship money~~~) [1] Driving Bud is a huge blast; I'm getting into advanced stick shift techniques, such as rev-matching my downshifts. I'm still no good at heel-toeing, but that's okay since I'm still learning! One piece of advice I got was to practice by nudging the throttle at a stop light while my foot is on the brake.

I should note that babying Bud is pretty expensive: I got Bud waxed and washed upon delivery ($120) and then a wash and leather conditioning two months later ($80). Most recently B&R Racing did an outstanding job repairing the curbed wheel (completely my fault for being a n00b); that'll be $350 please. On my list of future repairs is replacing the alternator, since the car is really slow to crank from a warm engine, and that's $1500 (thankfully including labor and tax). That said, slow starts aren't a big deal now that I don't stall the car at every other red light.

Carrying responsibilities of a Real Person seems not too hard for now. I don't have much of a life outside of work, which is quite relaxing, so I have plenty of time to do chores and run errands. Because driving Bud is such a blast, I look forward to commuting and getting grocery and shuttling friends to and from the airport and what not.

That said, I do avoid doing some chores, like vacuuming, which I've delegated to the wonderful Roomba. It's not only convenient, but also highly amusing to watch.

On being a woman in CS/technology/STEM, I figured I'll comment a bit since this is much of the rage in the tech industry right now. I have yet to be discriminated against (ever since my middle school misfortunes -- and that was by my female peers). Maybe I'm just socially inept and don't know when my colleagues/classmates/friends are disrespectful toward me or my female peers. There definitely are way fewer females in the teams I'm on and work with, which might be solved by targeted recruiting at women in CS/tech groups, getting and retaining younger females (middle/high school aged) into STEM, reworking social constructs, etc etc.

On that note, as a former USACO (competitive programming) participant, I'm disappointed by the lack of females in the upper divisions (silver, gold, and camp, but camp really is not relevant at this stage). [2] The competitive math scene is better, probably because of more participation and exposure at schools.

[1] My parents paid for my MIT tuition (~3.75 years since I took a light load last term). I will hopefully continue this tradition and hopefully buy my parents a Ferrari someday :3 As for internships, I did something every summer (3x) and every January (4x). All in all, I had a decent surplus after buying the 911. Do math! Make informed decisions!

[2] That said, this year has been extraordinary in that a girl qualified for the invitational camp, but sadly did not represent the US at the international level. This rare event happens once several years; hell, qualifying for the gold division (which I did) isn't even a yearly occurrence. Perhaps I should start mailing high school teachers about it.

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