Roundup

November 2017

Well, another late roundup for you. I contemplated just throwing in the towel on these backed-up posts, but I still wanted to talk about a few things that happened this month. So, as I said in October, I say again now: better late than never!

Saron

Without a doubt, this was the single thing I was looking forward to most about November. I had been talking with Saron online for a while at this point, and in October she mentioned that she would be in SF for a bit in the beginning of November and wanted to see if I was free to meet up. Now, my calendar happened to be wide open, but I swear to you I would have cleared my entire schedule to make this work. Saron has been an idol of mine since I first heard her years ago as a guest (and then regular) panelist on the Ruby Rogues podcast. From there, I learned about the CodeNewbies podcast, and I’ve been pretty involved in the CodeNewbies community since.

Meeting her was an absolute delight. She is so nice! Not that I was surprised at this — it’s just nice when the real version of someone meets (and even exceeds) the idea of them you constructed in your head.

I do have to remark, though, that it was really weird to hear her speak in person. Up to this point, my only exposure to Saron had been as a voice in my head. To make matters worse, I listen to podcasts at 1.5x. So, for the first time, I heard a normal-speed Saron voice, paired up with facial expressions and body language. Luckily my brain seemed to handle this adjustment just fine.

The other cool thing was that she had already gotten her hands on an iPhone X (see below, mine came at the end of the month), so I got to play with it! I made a fox animoji. I had no idea what to say, so needless to say I made it quite awkward. It was really cool to see though.

And, yes, I was able to confirm that — as her Twitter bio says — she did wear a T-shirt to her wedding. She then treated me to the story of her wedding, which was really good, but I won’t be able to do it justice.

Escape Room

For our offsite this quarter, locking ourselves in a confined space for an hour seemed the best way to build camaraderie and rapport among the team. By that I mean we went to a local escape room. We were too large a group to do a single room together, so instead we split into two groups, each to do their own room.

Our group was assigned to the “serial killer” room, which apparently was their most difficult room. It boasted a 5% escape rate, and groups were allowed no more than three hints to be counted as a successful escape. Luckily, my group was composed largely of escape room veterans, with about two thirds of us having done at least one before, myself included.

The room lived up to both its name and its reputation. The decor, and some of the puzzles, were really creepy. In an effort to prevent spoiling any of the puzzles, I’ll simply say that to finally escape, one of us had to put their arm some nasty looking goop and be wiped down with paper towels afterward. I’m glad I wasn’t the one to make that sacrifice. Some of the puzzles were extraordinarily difficult. One that has stuck with me involved reading a light as morse code. A cheat sheet was provided to translate morse code to the English alphabet, but even with that, reading the light successfully seemed damn-near impossible. For the longest time, we couldn’t quite figure out the difference between a dash and a space, or where exactly the pattern looped on itself. Eventually we were able to crack it, to the great relief of those that worked on it.

I suppose your dying to know how we did. I’m quite proud to tell you that we escaped! If that weren’t enough, we set the record time for that week. It was only Wednesday afternoon, so I can’t say whether someone else came along and knocked us off the leaderboard later that week. What’s more, the attendant told us that he thought we were the first group he’s ever seen get out with only a single hint! The other group escaped their room, too, and long before we did.

After the escape room, we took a stroll over to a sports bar, where I tried some carne asada fries. They are amazing. I highly recommend. Basically they’re french fries with covered in guac, sour cream, cheese and meat which I think was pork. I hung out with the team for a bit, and a few of us talked about crossfit and lifting, but I had to duck out early. It was time to head home and pack. I escaped the serial killer today, and would be escaping San Francisco via airplane in the morning.

Thanksgiving

I feel somewhat obligated to acknowledge that Thanksgiving happened. Nothing really eventful to report here. I spent the evening with some extended family, and we had a delicious traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. So turkey, mashed potatoes and all that. Then came to desert, which featured my personal favorite — pecan pie. I literally ate half the pie. Judge me. It was wonderful.

New Phone

My new phone arrived!

I placed a pre-order for an iPhone X back in October, but wasn’t able to get the earliest shipping dates. This wasn’t a huge issue; my only complaint here was that I kept seeing other people unbox and use their shiny new phones, especially at work. The envy this created was pretty noticeable, I’m ashamed to admit. In any case, my turn came, and I got to play with my new phone.

I loved it from the moment I started using it. My old phone was definitely on its last breath — I had to charge it multiple times a day just to get by. I can’t tell you how nice it was to not need to worry about my battery at all times anymore. Plus, upgrading from a 16GB phone to a 256GB created a sense of infinite storage to me. I still haven’t even come close to running out of space. I don’t think I ever will.

Also, my bluetooth magically started working again. I have no idea what went wrong, but some combination of iOS 11 and an old iPhone rendered my bluetooth headphones unusable. I am pleased to report that all my bluetooth devices seem to just work again.

A couple of things I’ll remark on, as you’ve likely read a thousand pieces about this or that new thing on the iPhone X, so I don’t want to beat that horse any longer than I absolutely have to. Therefore, a quick list:

Universal Paperclip

Before I go any further, allow me to issue the following warning: this game will suck away all of your time. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here without a few days of free time to kill. With that out of the way, let me tell you about the most fantastic clicker game ever.

I first learned about Universal Paperclip after hearing CGP Grey and Brady discuss the game on Hello Internet. As Grey says on the show, the concept is incredibly basic. But, the game does an amazing job of slowly rolling out new twists and turns in a way that just absolutely grabbed me. I couldn’t help myself. I just had to keep playing to find out what would happen next.

If you’re curious, yes, I destroyed everything. I would say sorry, but I have no regrets.

Written on 26 January 2018