The Captain’s Log at HackIllinois

Friday, February 19, 2016
1:05 PM — Hit the road
2:27 PM — Quick pit stop.
        “Flannery stay in the car and don’t get arrested.”
2:35 PM — Realization that Champaign-Urbana is on central time, which means we are going to get there an hour early
2:50 PM — “Did you know that taking a dead body is technically not classified         as theft?”
        “Chau, this fun fact had better not end with ‘So guys, I was
2:34 PM — Crossed Illinois state line, changed to central time
3:15 PM — Stopped to buy ethernet cables (that we never even used)
3:40 PM — Arrived
        “How will we know where the room is?”
        “Just follow the trail of ethernet cables.”
3:45 PM — Pee break because registration wasn’t open yet, and we’ve been driving for 4 hours straight
3:46 PM — Idea for a pee-related app
5:00 PM — “We should make sure that app doesn’t already exist.”
        “I mean, if it does we can always make a better version of it.”
        “No we can’t.”
5:05 PM — Stood in line to register
5:20 PM — Career fair
unknown copy
9:45 PM — “Why don’t we work on researching the model and you look into
        being the actual computer science person?”
10:30 PM — Microsoft Azure workshop
11:30 PM — “I don’t have enough hands to hold all the snacks I want.”
        “It’s a rough life.”
11:45 PM — Brought in a designer from Georgia Tech

Saturday, February 20, 2016
1:30 AM — Found out confusing issue was just browser related
2:20 AM — Realization that machine learning is the way to go
2:30 AM — “I’m going to go change pants.”
        “That sounds so good right now.”
2:57 AM — Nap time!
10:30 AM — “You look like a teenage girl at a slumber party, which is such an
        interesting juxtaposition to coding an app about pee.”
12:15 PM — “Paint me like one of your French girls.”
12:40 PM — 10 minutes of this:
1:45 PM — Blue Waters Supercomputer!
unknown (1)
unknown (3)
unknown (2)
4:00 PM — *hides in blanket and cries silently*
4:30 PM — “Soylent tastes kind of like liquid oatmeal.”
5:15 PM — “So I’ve decided to switch to objective-C.”
        “I feel like this affects me.”
7:15 PM — Finally got swipe recognition to work
7:42 PM — “Fight me! Just kidding. I’m real weak right now.”
8:06 PM — “Ok, this fortune reveals the key to the rest of this Hackathon…
        I tore it in half. That pretty much says it all.”
9:15 PM — “I still don’t get how to do the thing.”
        “I just told you.”
        “Yeah but I don’t get it.”
10:01 PM — “So this backend isn’t going to happen.”

Sunday, February 21, 2016
3:16 AM — App was finished, everybody was stunned
9:30 AM — App was submitted

10:07 AM — “So if I’m 1000 years old and drink 400 mL, I will have to pee in
        30 minutes.”
11:00 AM — Microsoft interview
        “You guys can just talk naturally, like, keep pissing on Scott for
        getting the most sleep.”
12:00 PM — Projects Expo
        “Oh you guys were the team talking about pee on the fourth floor!”
1:30 PM — Apple guy dragged his friend over to find out when he would need to pee
3:45 PM — Hit the road again
8:00 PM — return “Earlham College”

Check out our project here!

Global Feminism

Women hold up half the sky. – Chinese proverb

I had quite a liberal upbringing, thanks to parents who were more spiritual than religious, who weren’t very interested in politics, and who were less tiger parents and more “as long as you don’t get into trouble, you can do whatever you want.” Yet, as I grow older and know more about the world, there was a huge rift between them and I. They want me to aspire to marriage. Sure, a successful career and financial security are nice too, but they want me to find a nice man to take care of me.

For the longest time, I could not fathom how my well-educated, liberal parents could have such a backward view of women and their potentials. I could be anything, an engineer, a doctor, a writer, a politician, a Fortune 500 CEO, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. But I also had to be a wife and a mother. It wasn’t that I could have it all; it was that I must.

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Anywhere, Really

I met an immigration officer who spoke to me. Nicely. And not about issues with my passport or visa or boarding pass or anything of that sort. He spoke to me about my travels. It was kind of like small talk, which was a little strange. He looked at my passport and saw the visas in there and asked me if I was going to Japan for school. Negative. I just got back from Hiroshima three days ago and my summer break just started.

“Where are you going then?” he asked cheerfully, genuinely curious instead of just asking as part of procedure. I paused for a fraction of a second, my mind temporarily blanked on my final destination. You have to cut me some slack, I don’t meet friendly immigration officers very often. “I’m going to … America,” I eventually replied. He flipped through my passport. “America, India, Japan, you’ve been around! Are you traveling while studying?” Affirmative. He’s spot on, actually.

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Departure: Procrastination

I have two more days. Reality still hasn’t hit me yet. It felt like yesterday when I landed in Albuquerque after a grueling six-hour flight from Boston, after a four-day orientation at a boarding school in Connecticut without any air-conditioning, after a whole day of traveling halfway across the world. I am not looking forward to the long trip home. If only Doraemon’s “Anywhere Door” really exists.

I left home on a rainy Tuesday night. I will return on a Saturday night. Hopefully it will be rainy. Living in New Mexico gives one serious appreciation for water and humidity.

My mom is very excited for me to come home. She has been counting down the days ever since I arrived in Albuquerque ten months ago. I’m sorry I’m growing up, mom. Really, I am. Life seems so much easier when you were coloring outside the lines.

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