GeekWire Summit 2019

The past couple days I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 GeekWire Summit,Β a 2 day conference exploring some key topics in tech, business, science & society.

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I generally enjoy attending conferences that aren’t just about tech, since I find that a lot of tech-centric discussions or demos are usually things that I can read about online or aren’t too short for me to really get much out of it.

I’ve found that listening to talks that are more opinionated or vision-based are not only easier to follow up with discussions of my own with the colleagues I attend with, but they’re also often more inspiring and get the gears turning in my head πŸ™‚

The schedule for this year’s summit was pretty great, with a solid blend of tech, business, science, social good, and health. There were also lots fun GeekWire specific events such as the Elevator Pitch (where finalists from several different categories gave pitches to some investors from PACCAR) and the Favorite Inventions segment (a showcase of some really interesting inventions by their inventors) that were fun to watch πŸ˜€

There were also some pretty high profile speakers such as Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft, Dave Limp, the SVP of Devices & Services at Amazon, and Mark Okerstrom, the CEO of Expedia, so it was really cool to see them in person and hear about their perspectives on a variety of topics.

One of the most powerful speakers, in my opinion, was Doug Baldwin, a former Seahawks football player and now Senior Advisor of Product Concepts at Intellectual Ventures. He didn’t really talk about anything tech-specific, but ratherΒ  about his passion for solving problems that are people-centric. He also emphasized the importance of having empathy for other individuals, making the effort to see ourselves and each other as human beings who are all in it together.

Living in this age where there are especially large amounts of siloizations occurring in many different parts of the world, the country, neighborhoods, and people, I admit I felt a twinge of sadness upon hearing his message and what it said about us as a society that we would warrant such a message, but it was also resolving in a way because it reminded us, or at the very least me, that empathy is a very human trait that we need to exercise more often and gave me aΒ  pleasant sense of solidarity :).

 

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience attending the Summit this year and was pretty happy with the quality of the panels and logistics of it all πŸ™‚ I appreciated the mobile app that was provided by Alaska Air as it made it pretty easy to stay abreast of the different events that were happening during the Summit, and the venue (Hyatt Regency in Downtown Seattle) was also pretty swanky πŸ™‚

 

Harry Potter with the Seattle Symphony :)

Growing up, the magical universe of Harry Potter was my favorite. I was definitely one of those kids who cried on the morning of their 11th birthday because they didn’t receive an acceptance letter from Hogwarts XD.

In addition to Harry Potter, I also really enjoy seeing live music, which is why I was so excited when my friend told me that the Seattle Symphony was performing the soundtrack ofΒ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanΒ live while screening the movie :D!

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The concert was absolutely amazing and it was one of the most unique movie-watching experiences I’ve ever had. The conductor watches the movie from a small screen on his podium that gives visual signals on when the music should start and also keeps him on tempo with little blips of the screen, while the rest of the orchestra & choir watch the conductor for cues on when to play.

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Benaroya hall, the concert venue and (I think) where the Seattle Symphony usually plays from, was also really cool, and the acoustics were pretty awesome within the hall. There was also lots of food and drink stands both outside and inside the hall where people could grab some bites before the concert or during intermission, where I bought a couple of yummy cookies! Some of the food stands inside the main hall area was also selling Harry Potter-themed snacks which was really fun to look at πŸ˜€

 

I really enjoyed the experience and had a newfound appreciation for all music in the movie. Until I saw the soundtrack being performed live, I never realized how much chorale stuff was in the soundtrack and also just how much music is in the movie at all. There were also times when I would forget that it was a live performance because it was just so seamlessly integrated with the movie screening and the performance was just absolutely wonderful ❀

 

When the Seattle Symphony does another one of these movie in concert series, I definitely want to check it out!

Weekend Excursion to Vansterdam! :)

Hi! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend!

This weekend I took a trip up to Vancouver to visit my old roommate and her boyfriend who recently moved to the city πŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure what to title this post so I looked up nicknames for Vancouver and found out that Vansterdam is one of the more well-known ones! Apparently Vancouver is very liberal with recreational drug use, hence the nickname haha XD

 

The last time I went to Vancouver was when I was really young, so I didn’t remember much about the city and went on the trip not really expecting anything πŸ™‚ A couple of friends at work had told me that there’s a huge Chinese population there, so that I should definitely try as much Chinese food as I could, but that was pretty much all I knew about Vancouver going up πŸ™‚

 

 

I arrived pretty late on Friday night, so we didn’t do too much that day other than go out for some light bites, but on Saturday we had the whole day to explore Vancouver! The first thing we did was go for some congee in Chinatown, because I looooove congee and also there was a really yummy place right next door to my friend’s apartment!

 

Next we headed over to Gastown, a place my friend explained to me is like Vancouver’s equivalent of Cap Hill here in Seattle πŸ˜€ The area was really lively and bustling with people, and it seemed like one of the main tourist districts in Vancouver πŸ™‚ We passed by a lot of really chic stores as well as the statue of Gassy Jack (which Gastown is named after) and the famous Gastown Steam clock :D. The steam clock plays a few notes every 15 minutes, and I think it plays a short song every hour (?) but I wasn’t around to hear the longer song so I’m not a 100% sure :3!

 

After Gastown we wanted to go biking around Stanley Park so we looked for bike rentals nearby and found a company called Van City Bikes. Renting the bike was a pretty speedy process and we rented it for the rest of the day at a pretty affordable price πŸ˜€ Once we were out of the pedestrian heavy area of the city, we got on our bikes and off we went around Stanley Park! We’d been worried that it would rain during the bike ride but fortunately the rain let up just before we started the ride! The view was also pretty great and it was very refreshing to glide past the seawall on our bikes and breathe in the fresh air πŸ™‚

 

After making a roundtrip around Stanley Park, we rode our bikes to Granville Island! The island itself is not super huge, but it was bustling with storefronts and people, so it had a really nice vibe and was like a little oasis in the middle of the busy city around it πŸ˜€ We stopped into a lot of the little stores and tried out samples of stuff, and eventually made our way to the Public Market on the island πŸ˜€

We wanted to spend some more time on Granville Island, but our day had to draw to a close so we rode our bikes back through the city to the Van City Bikes rental area and after returning them, ended the day by watching season 3 of Stranger Things XD

 

I liked Vancouver and would probably go visit again sometime this year or next year! Thank you, Vansterdam! XD

 

Hiking Mount Si

It’s been a while since I posted in my blog, but I’m excited to start writing updates again! πŸ™‚

Summer is here in Seattle and with it came some amazing summer weather! One of the ways I’ve been wanting to take advantage of the weather and all the things the Seattle outdoors has to offer is to go on more hikes in the area, so yesterday I went on a hike to Mount Si!

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Did you know that Seattle operates a trailhead shuttle that takes you to a bunch of different trailheads :D? Yesterday I took advantage of the service and took a bus from Capitol Hill to the Mount Si trailhead!

There are four different routes that the trailhead shuttle operates for: Mount Si, Cougar Mountain, Mailbox Peak, and Issaquah Alps. They run pretty often (it seemed like there was one every 30 minutes) and you can even transfer from one shuttle stop to another.

The bus driver was telling us that it’s pretty useful for some of the further hikes, such as Mailbox Peak, because instead of going all the way to Issaquah, which is where the Mailbox Peak bus starts its route, you can take the Mount Si shuttle bus from Capitol Hill and then transfer at the Issaquah station to Mailbox Peak πŸ™‚

This is the fare chart (accurate as of 6/30/2019) for a one-way ride on the bus, and you can pay with your standard ORCA card or with cash πŸ™‚

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The bus is smaller than the usual Seattle buses and so it doesn’t seat many people (capacity said 26), but it was enough for all of us πŸ™‚

 

 

The Mount Si hike itself was pretty difficult, with an elevation of around 4,000 feet with a distance of around 4 miles. There are lots of different routes you can take up around the mountain range, but we pretty much just stayed on the Mount Si trail all the way up to the peak.

The first half of the hike is not too bad, and at the end there was a little makeshift picnic spot with logs for seating in a clear area. A lot of people seemed to hang around here and then head down. If you’re up for the challenge though, you can continue on to a little bridge area.

This is the start of the steep incline up the mountain, and it’s also where most of the elevation was achieved. When I was struggling up this stretch of the hike, I saw some super amazing people running on the trail, and in fact I saw them two more times throughout the hike, just running around the trail! I was so impressed and amazed by their stamina and energy :000

When you reach the end of the steep incline, there’s one final stretch of incline that you need to go up before you can say you’ve really reached the peak of the trail. I believe it’s called the Haystack, and it’s essentially a rocky part of the trail that ends with the peak πŸ™‚

I’m looking forward to going on some more hikes this summer!

SakuraCon 2019!

This weekend I went to Sakura Con at the Washington Convention Center!

It was my first time at the convention, and I had a really nice experience! There were so many interesting panels that were being hosted, a really good lineup of other kinds of activities (like arts & crafts, a manga library, and an open karaoke room), and a ton of really awesome cosplay!!

 

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There was also a karaoke contest at Sakuracon, and it was pretty fun watching the contestants perform! : )

There was also a pretty extensive exhibitionist center where a lot of people were selling official merchandise from different randoms, as well as an artists’ gallery where artists were displaying their different artwork πŸ™‚ The exhibitionist center had a lot more stalls and merchants than the artists’ gallery, but they were both really fun to browse through!

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One of my favorite stalls from artist’s gallery! πŸ™‚

 

There were so many people at the convention, and I particularly noticed that Saturday was the most popular, which made sense since most people have to go to work on weekdays and Sunday is more of a rest day than anything else πŸ™‚

 

Overall, SakuraCon was a really nice experience! At times it was a little overwhelming because there were so many people, but I really enjoyed attending the different panels and admiring the different cosplays present at the convention πŸ™‚ I’m not sure if I’ll attend it again next year, but it was a super great weekend! Next year I think I’m going to attend Emerald City Comic-Con and I’m already looking forward to it! ❀

 

 

Beacon Food Forest

The past weekend I spent my Saturday volunteering at the Beacon Food Forest! They refer to themselves as the BFF, which I thought was sweet πŸ™‚

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The Beacon Food Forest is an entirely community-driven park in the Beacon Hill area of Seattle and its goal is to create an edible urban forest garden where locals can come harvest crops, take classes on how to start their own gardens, and volunteer in many different ways to give back to the community.

Apparently they have committees that meet fairly regularly to determine what type of work needs to be done to maintain the forest and also decide which crops to plant, but I think the coolest part about the food forest is that it’s entirely driven by the community. Even the money to fund the forest comes from the neighborhood’s budget for community improvements, and most of the work that’s done is done by community members or volunteers who are just interested in helping out : D

 

I was there volunteering with my Seattle Teamworks group, a group that volunteers at a different location once a month for 4 months (more information about Seattle Teamworks here!), but apparently BFF hosts a volunteer party every 3rd Saturday of the month where anyone’s welcome to help out with the forest πŸ™‚

I could really tell that they had done this multiple times before because the day went really smoothly and they had a lot of different kinds of projects that volunteers could choose from, such as creating mounds for the new round of crops, making compost piles (the first ones for the year!), weeding and pruning, and building new walls for an expansion of the food forest.

Around noon, the core volunteer committee serves a vegan homemade lunch (that was super yummy!!!) and everyone takes a break to just socialize and talk to other volunteers :D. There’s also coffee and tea that volunteers can drink throughout the day too if they ever need a break or just want to hang around the water cooler for a bit haha.

I worked on creating some new trellises for the DNA Helix part of the food forest (named as such because of the way the irrigation pipes criss cross each other), and there was some leftover bamboo at the end so I took some pieces home to try make something out of it and ended up making a little soap holder πŸ˜€

Overall, I think the concept of the BFF is super cool and I love how much emphasis they put on forming a community and also building a sustainable food forest. I could just picture lots of families coming to the garden during the spring and summer seasons to pick some harvests and also school field trips to learn more about where food comes from and how they grow; it’s a great mission. : )

 

 

Skiing on Crystal Mountain!

Over the past weekend, I went on a ski trip to Crystal Mountain! Some really good friends from Austin and Portland also joined us and having them there really made it a blast πŸ˜€

The last time I’d skied was around 7 years ago. I used to go with my family fairly often, but ever since I started college I don’t think we’ve been to a ski resort except to maybe just enjoy the view of the mountains and stay at a cozy winter lodge, haha πŸ™‚

I only know how to ski, but on the first day of the trip I actually decided to rent a snowboard because I wanted to give something new a try :0! Before I left for the trip, one of my coworkers told me that I’d be falling a lot, but that was definitely an understatement – I was falling on my knees and butt every few feet down the bunny slope, and for a while I had a really hard time figuring out how to get back up after a fall or even how to move forward after getting back up from a fall :/.

I had a lot of fun learning how to snowboard though, and by the end of the day I wasn’t falling as often which was awesome πŸ˜€ But eventually I got tired of getting bruised so I switched over to skiing so that I could start going on the higher slopes πŸ™‚

 

Overall, I had a really nice time on this ski trip – it was really great spending the weekend with people I cared about and enjoyed spending time with, learning something new by trying out snowboarding, and getting better at skiing! I went on my longest run ever with the combination of the Forest Queen route and Quicksilver, and I didn’t fall down once which I was pretty happy about :3

 

Here are some tips if you’re planning/interested in taking a trip to Crystal Mountain!

Driving Over

The drive over was really nice! Initially we were worried there might be too much snow on the road, which would’ve been a problem for us since none of us really knew how to drive in the snow, but fortunately the weather and roads were both all nice and clear! πŸ™‚

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Clear roads and skies all weekend πŸ™‚

On the way to Crystal Mountain, we passed a city called Enumclaw, where we saw a “Log Show” – basically there was a big log in the middle of what looked like a little baseball field where you could sit and watch the log from some bleachers. It was interesting XD

Staying at Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain has 3 or 4 different options for lodging, and they’re all at the base of the mountain with convenient locations. There is also another lodge that is fairly close to the resort called Alta Crystal Resort that has a little grocery store which is super nice.

The lodge we stayed at, Quicksilver Lodge, didn’t allow people to cook in their rooms. This was pretty lame because it pretty much forced you to eat at the restaurants at the ski resort. To get around having to eat at the restaurants for all our meals, we packed a bunch of snacks that didn’t require any/much cooking, such as fruit, some bakery items, and a lot of cup noodles :3. One night we did have a really nice dinner experience at The Snorting Elk, one of the main restaurants at the resort – I really recommend their Face Plant drink, it was really yummy!

The lodge itself was pretty cozy, especially the lounge area in the middle of the second floor! There was a very cozy fireplace (which also was almost too extremely effective in warming up the entire lounge), a lot of comfy seating, and some board games that you could play with your friends/family :).

The rooms were pretty spacious but the loft rooms, which were the ones we were staying at, have a really weird layout where the first floor is a mix of a bunch of things.

It was a good space for all of us though, so I can’t really complain too much! πŸ™‚

Renting Equipment

If you’re planning on renting equipment while you’re at Crystal Mountain, there’s a conveniently located rental shop right at the base of the mountain. They rent out both ski and snowboard equipment, and I think they rent out clothes as well – if you don’t have goggles or gloves though, you’ll have to buy them at the equipment store upstairs since they don’t rent out those :(.

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With the rentals, if you’re borrowing them for more than one day, then you have the option of doing a multi-day rental instead of a single-day rental. The multi-day rental is useful because it allows you to hold on to your rented equipment for multiple days instead of returning them at the end of each day and then having to rent them again at the start of the next day. The rental assistant told me that it’s the same price as doing daily rentals so if you’re going to be needing rental equipment for more than one day in a row then there’s really no reason to not get a multi-day rental πŸ™‚

 

 

In general, I kind of enjoyed the intimate nature of the experience at Crystal Mountain. It is a lot smaller than the ski resorts I’ve been to before, but the small scale of the resort lended itself to a cozier atmosphere, and it was a lot easier to find and meet up with each other after we’d come down a slope πŸ™‚

I hope these tips help in planning a trip to Crystal Mountain, and as always please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions! πŸ™‚ Have a safe ski season everybody!