Category Archives: made of win


Vote by 3nglishN3rdThe students at work today asked if I voted. Some of them had taken the “I voted” stickers from other adults in their lives, so I think they wanted to make sure that my sticker was legit.

My Dad gave me my sticker. But only after he watched me, as one of my polling place workers, slide my completed ballot into the box.

I told the students that I voted in this election because I vote in every election. So the students asked how many that is, and I really had to think.

It’s around 22.

California, where I’ve always been registered, usually has 2 elections in a year, and I started voting when I turned 18. I know my math could be off…

I didn’t vote in this election because I believe in everything President Obama has done (Spoiler: I absolutely don’t). I didn’t vote in this election because there were Propositions on the ballot I believe strongly in (Spoiler: There were).

I voted because it was the time set aside for everyone to speak out in the larger conversation of the country, county, city, community where I live. I voted with my passions/concerns/loves/dreams/hopes in mind. I voted with those same thoughts in mind for my friends who are not allowed to speak yet must suffer the decisions made. I voted because there was a time when I couldn’t and there are places in the world where I would still be banned.

I voted because that’s what we do in the U.S.

Tonight, I was relived with the Presidential outcome (and no, this post isn’t where I’ll discuss that). But the races I am most concerned with are the new U.S. Congressional Rep, State Senate and Assembly seats that came from the last census. The results will not make national news, and I don’t expect it to. But it matters to me, because it means for the first time in my history of voting, I will have a more direct voice in the laws that will directly impact my life.

And that’s really to point of voting.

So I’ll see you at the polls in the next election. If you live and are eligible and registered to vote in California, the next election could be this spring! And I can’t wait to see what it holds…

Vote, a photo by 3nglishN3rd on Flickr.

November is the month of writing

Image from msugrads wikispaces on copyright

I’m not doing National Novel Writing Month this year, because it’s college application season. But I found a new November Writing challenge.

Digital Writing Month.

It’s another 50,000 word goal, but instead of a complete novel draft as the end goal, I think the goal is to demonstrate how much we write using a digital method.

So I’m of course I’m playing this game. I have no idea if I’ll make 50,000 words. I honestly won’t mind if I don’t, because college applications are due and high schoolers are demanding.

tees for degrees

I’ve said before that I have amazing friends, Well, meet tees for degrees.

My friends, Sean and Fernando, looked around last fall at the challenge one of our other friends was facing paying for his education at UCR. They decided that they could use their talents with graphic design and making things happen to create a way to raise money for college scholarships.

And tees for degrees was born.

They sell limited edition, eco-friendly t-shirts with original designs screen-printed on them. There’s also cool packaging and a ton of odds and ends included with the shirt.

Best of all, they only keep the cost of production and pool the rest into the scholarship fund. And they’re super ethical about the whole process, which is good because I wouldn’t be friends with jerks.

The first design is now out in the wild for sale, and it’s awesome. It’s really fun to see how excited they are about their product, and its launch. I’ve been making fun of them for weeks now as each piece came together to create their line. But I’ve really been entertained and couldn’t be more proud of or happy for them. (but don’t tell them; I’d never hear the end of it)

So check out their site, and order a shirt. They’re still working out the kinks for shipping, but they’ll get one to you if you want it. If they still have any. They’re selling really well, so pick one up soon. Seriously, you don’t want to miss out on this.

Marie Curie

Today, Marie Curie would have been 144.

I’m sure there’s a math or science joke in there somewhere.

She’s one of my favorite scientists. Because she has always been presented as a passionate woman who wanted to do nothing more than science. I always think it would have been cool to meet her, if I had been born significantly earlier. Or had a time machine.

Because I remember her being one of the first, and few, women we learned about in history who were not equated with their sex. It didn’t matter that Marie Curie was a woman; what mattered were her scientific discoveries concerning radiation and radium. I think learning about her was a partial catalyst for my 6th grade science fair project studying the effects of radiation on the germination of seeds. (Spoiler: The higher the radiation, the lower the rate of germination)

She’s always the first scientist I think of whenever anyone asks me to name a famous one. And I know that it’s because I learned about her at such an early age that I’ve always been fascinated with science.

I do wish that I could name more women in the sciences. I know that my lack of knowledge stems in part from my lack of attention. I study English and can name significantly more women authors who frequently stay in the shadows because I search them out. I should do that more with scientists. I hope that the students going through school now get to learn about the women scientists who are changing the world now. Through intentionality, students can learn the names early on and perhaps end up with chances to meet the women who inspire them. This may be my new goal.

So, if Marie Curie showed up on my door-step, I would thank her for not conforming. Because of her work, I’ve never doubted that I could learn or succeed in whatever caught my attention.

And I’ve always kept a healthy fear of radiation.

(thanks xkcd for your awesome comic! I always laugh)

Long Beach Comic Con

Long time nerd; first time Comic Con attendee.

And I’m headed to Long Beach to hang out at the Long Beach Comic Con. Because I hear it’s small and a good place to start the whole con experience.

Plus they have several Guild panels and a Womanthology panel. I couldn’t pass those up!

So for the first time in my life, I will be at the con and not merely following other people’s experiences. I’m a little nervous about being there alone, but I think if there’s any place where that’s not going to be a super weird thing, it’s a con.

Check back here or my twitter feed or my tumblr, if you want to follow my experiences at a con.

Sharing Knowledge

Amateur wireless station (LOC)Today, I had the privilege of introducing one of the students who started a blog to HTML. She knew about computer languages, to the extent that she knew you needed a language to get computers what you want them to, but she hadn’t thought about how you would need to have a language to make websites do what you want as well.

And now she not only knows that HTML paves the path to controlling what her site looks like, she’s already started learning the basics. I won’t lie; it was really fun watching her excitement at discovering how to create buttons and links. I felt bad reminding her about her homework.

But she did walk out with more information, and a broader field of passion, because she learned something new today. And she found the practical aspects, along with most of the information, by taking the initiative to search for what she didn’t know.

That’s what happens when we share the information that we have with those who don’t know about it. Will HTML change her life entirely? I don’t know. Some of the most poignant lessons in my life come from my Year 11 experiences. But with most of her life, and all of college, ahead of her, I may have only shown her the tools she can use to continue creating in yet another medium.

Watching her joy at playing with the basics for any website inspired me to really get back into increasing my coding knowledge. It will probably take me awhile, I do have a thing or two to do, but I’m excited to expand my collection of information. Because that’s what sharing knowledge does.

Home from a fall

Indiana Huber Farms Trip (155)I’m home again. I didn’t get to write as much on the fly as
I would’ve liked, but the internet connection was persnickety. And I was having
too much fun out an about. This just means you’ll end up with week-old stories.

My current feelings about the trip are best summed up by
this picture. It was beautiful and lovely and full of wonder, and I am more
than a little sad to have to come home.

Life calls, however, and I have much more to do before I can
really rest.


I don’t really understand what the rest of the U.S. means when they talk about “Autumn”. In Southern California, we call it “Fire Season”. It’s the time of year where fines are issued for people with land they haven’t cleared of brush. The weather warms up again after a brief cool down from the summer heat. And we all tie down anything light weight.

When I read about the reds and oranges of the fall colors, I think of flames devouring hundreds (or thousands) of acres and the (increasingly more frequent) local community. The crisp air comes from the excess of electricity in the air that puts everyone on edge. And the trees fall, along with their leaves, pieces of roof, and the occasional semi-truck from the strength of the Santa Ana winds.

So I decided, since my roommate lives where this Autumn thing everyone raves about takes place, to fix my lack of knowledge. I’m spending a week in Kentucky to experience the fall everyone outside of the American Southwest seems to know. I expect there will be many pictures. Many will probably end up on tumblr and flickr with links and further posts here.

Please fill me in on this phenomenon, if you know about it! I might need a few pointers.

Cut off your nose to spite your face

Dictionaries hold the answersI used the phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face” recently, and then wondered where it came from, because, really, it’s an odd phrase.

It means to injure yourself in order to harm an adversary (or variations close to that) and carries the idea that revenge or anger motivates the self-inflicted damage. And the phrase apparently comes from England in the 1500s. Where most of the really interesting and useful phrases do.

Which also means that I’ve never used this phrase correctly. I generally use it in the sense that a person is too stubborn to willingly do something, despite  surmounting evidence of said thing’s benefit. The word “spite” really should have clued me into the violent elements of the phrase, but there you have it.

So if you’ve ever wondered, like me, about the phrase, now you know. What other words or phrases make you curious? I think I’ll have to look into more because words are fantastically fun.