Personal List: 2017 Year-in-Review

I was convinced not much happened this year because there were things I didn’t get done, but then I sat down and thought about it.

Writing

  • Did not finish some posts I’d intended to finish, but did start a writing group over the summer by asking Facebook friends if anyone would like to join a writing group — and ended up belonging to four different writing groups and enjoying reading many interesting pieces of writing for a few weeks. Personally succeeded in a few blog post drafts and short story drafts but did not publish all that much.
  • Beta-read a friend’s epic 75K-word sci-fi manuscript (Part 1). It took me a little over a month to read and add comments.

Travel

  • Spent New Year’s (2016–2017) at a friend’s family’s beautiful house near Turin, Italy. Stayed up until 3am with Italians playing games and eating a lot of food at a table. This was a part of three total weeks of travel in early January that spanned London, Paris, Turin, Milan, and NYC. My first time in Europe.
  • Thanksgiving week -> went to London and Venice, Italy.

YouTube

  • Uploaded 17 videos in total (wow, more than I thought)
  • Started uploading travel videos! Mostly so that I can show family who’ve never been, but I hope they can be delightful for strangers and last as good personal memories too.
  • Broke 1 million channel views (1,113,609)
  • Started uploading violin loop pedal videos thanks to the amazing gift of a loop pedal from my friend Anbuselvan.
  • Finished an original loop song I’m now quite proud of:
Song has no name yet
  • Still at 4K subscribers; maybe next year’s goal is to get to 10K so I can get access to the YouTube Space?
  • Uploaded my first 3-minute documentary short for PyBay 2017! Asking people to speak to the camera was so much fun that I wrote about what I learned.
  • My Patreon is still up, but I did not charge any of my patrons this year since I didn’t really want to charge friends who signed up to be patrons. Thinking of turning it into a monthly pledge because I do still have costs associated with equipment (e.g. video editing software, better microphone for camera etc.), but first have to tell friends to stop pledging.

Photography

I’m quite proud of these photos I took in November:

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, Italy
View of Tower Bridge from The Shard in London, England

I’ve tried to post the most scenic on Instagram.

Meetups, conferences and other tech-y events

  • January: Spoke at a Techqueria meetup held at Github [slides here]
  • March: volunteered to co-teach a full-day workshop (Introduction to Python and Django) at the behest of my friend Daniel for the non-profit Girls in Tech and was dead on my feet by the end of the day. There were SO many questions about Python installation and why git wasn’t working and why migrations weren’t working (see: they ran the command twice) and how to open up folders in Sublime Text and how to exit from vim. I was very patient and enjoyed helping folks solve problems (by the end we’d stopped lecturing in favor of workshopping and every second I turned there was another hand up) but it was very tiring. Totally reminded me of what it felt like to be a beginner. (Note: I’m not at that level of beginner anymore, but with many things I’m still a beginner.)
  • Throughout the year: volunteered as a mentor on a bunch of Open Source Hack Nights for Write Speak Code, which is an awesome meetup.
  • June: Enjoyed going to the SustainOSS conference and meeting the Open Collective folks and learning that all open source projects face the same challenges omg.
  • June: started co-hosting a biweekly PyLadies/Women Who Code meetup with my friend Bethany in Berkeley. We don’t always have food (no money except during special occasions where we might get a reimbursement, really), but we ALWAYS have really good people there. Before June, I had been single-person hosting a biweekly Women Who Code meetup by myself for over a year, and I have to say that having a co-organizer to partner with is much more fun.
  • August: Volunteered for PyBay 2017 and met Grace! Shot that 3-minute documentary short mentioned above to test out/play around with a gimbal.
  • September: Went to a hackathon at the Internet Archive and ended up helping with an experimental UI with hackathon teammates Jono and Richard for the Wayback Machine and had a lot of fun! Also highly recommend getting a tour at the Internet Archive if possible; it is super inspiring.
  • October: Lurked at Github Universe and got a free octocat.
  • November: Since I’m an event organizer for the SF East Bay chapter of WWC, was asked to present an award to another person getting an award at the Women Who Code benefit in SF! Again, held at the Github offices. The best part: I met someone who 3D-printed their own violin.
  • December: Performed two songs at Techtonica’s diversity in tech benefit talent show with loop pedal/violin. Folks enjoyed it! I was asked to say a few words to the audience after my act.

CodeBuddies

  • Huge feature — study groups — launched, in large part thanks to my friend @distalx
  • MongoDB Atlas agreed to sponsor hosting for our database
  • DigitalOcean renewed their sponsorship for hosting
  • Vanessa G., pillitiere, and Albert Fougy became recurring small donors on our Open Collective!
  • Thanks to CodeBuddies hangouts I’ve attended I now have a better understanding of functional javascript, CSS grid and flexboxes, and decorators.
  • Contributors pushed out a release (and wrote up release notes) when I was away!
  • So many good PRs by Connie and Dhaval
  • Bethany was a welcoming powerhouse on Slack, and Omar and Angelo and Tony and Alice and Sebastian and Marc and others (I know I’m missing a lot of people) really helped make the community what it is: inviting, friendly, supportive
  • Participated again in Hacktoberfest
  • AMAs in the summer were all really fun! Takes work to organize, though. Need volunteers who’re interested in helping.
  • Had thoughtful, deep discussions in the #codebuddies-meta channel about how to make it easier for contributors to know how to contribute (and less work for me to reach out to sponsors for our Open Collective and write the newsletter etc.) and about the roadmap for the project. Implementing the plan is still a work in progress.
  • Late in the year, sent out a survey to the community which garnered a lot of thoughtful responses about people’s ideas of what CB is and experiences with the community.
  • Slack broke 4000 members. Entirely word-of-mouth over the past few years, because we haven’t “launched” this project yet and honestly I’m embarassed we don’t have some processes automated that’ll help people figure out hangouts and how to find each better so it’s still not ready to be shared on Product Hunt etc. yet.

Leisure

  • Movies I enjoyed this year: Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Spiderman: Homecoming, Thor Ragnorak, Hidden Figures, Hollow Crown, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Movies I thought were OK: Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Kung Fu Panda 3, Pete’s Dragon, The Hateful Eight
  • Books I enjoyed this year: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Tribe by Sebastian Junger, Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner, A Very English Scandal by Stephen Frears, Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
  • Actual Theatre Watched: Young Marx (Bridge Theatre), Albion (Almeida Theatre)
  • I have two new favorite actors: Kelly Marie Tran and Ben Whishaw! Celebrity sighting with the latter happened accidently when I was walking out of Albion at the Almeida Theatre in London.

Health

  • I gnash my teeth when I sleep -> excruciating pain -> root canal. Fail.
  • I can do 1.9 chin-ups in a row and 3/4 of one pull-up now?
  • Still not getting enough walking/running in every day, but I try. The best (though of course tiring) feeling was walking 10 miles a day in Europe.
  • Joined my local Quidditch team — or at least, went to a few Tuesday practices at my local park. Hurt myself more than once and I need cleats but am too lazy to get them, but it’s great cardio and great people.

Failures

  • Planning a wedding
  • Mastering computer science
  • Being a career coach
  • “Finishing” all the features for the CodeBuddies platform
  • Proficiency with Logic Pro/still haven’t composed electronic music
  • Taking the initiative to reach out to people to get the occasional lunch or dinner
  • That fast.ai machine learning course I was going to do with my friend Sabrina (we got hit up with unexpected AWS fees but luckily we asked and got refunded)

Successes

  • Being good at travel research (e.g. finding decently priced plane tickets)
  • Can’t take credit for this, but the masterminds group my friend Alice set up is ❤.
  • I felt like I was getting lazy with YouTube; still can’t believe I uploaded so many videos
  • Becoming proficient with Final Cut Pro
  • …Traveled more than I’ve ever traveled before?