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84. Black Techies

On Friday, I attended the Kickoff of a Black Tech Group.  I am not revealing the name, as you can imagine, as I would like to keep my anonymity.  This group is a group of Black developers and entrepreneurs in CA’s Bay Area, NYC, and ATL.  The membership fee is $350 and everyone is assigned to a group called a squad of 5-8 others.  Squads meet monthly for 2.5 hours, break bread, and get each other ahead in their respective careers.  The idea of this was awesome.  This was part of the reason I wanted to be a developer: the community.  I don’t know any other industry that fosters community as much as tech does: there’s conferences, hackathons companies support, memes people can relate to, external Slack channel.  There was no community like this in Finance that I felt included in.  Emphasis on, “that I felt included in”, as I am sure they exist.  Before getting in this group however, I was so let down by the lack of welcoming I felt from the Black female developers at my company, that I asked to withdraw my application.  When asked why by the admission committee, I said that I had been let down by too many a Black org and did not have faith that this one would be aligned with my goals.  They encouraged me to attend kickoff and that I could get a refund as late as the 3rd month of the program if I did not like it.

I am glad I gave it a try.  The kickoff was held at a well known tech company here in the Bay and that company welcomed us with open arms.  I would love to work for the company the Kickoff was hosted at, because they don’t just say that are creating opportunities for underrepresented folks like myself in tech, they actually show up, which is something my company could do a better job at.  We get a lot of support from the CEO, but it would be great to see VP level and your regular colleague who isn’t Black who is not a manager show up.  It does not all fall on the Black group to make people feel welcomed (as we already go above and beyond to do), it should be the other way around since WE are underrepresented in that space.  

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Originally posted by simonfalk

Anyway, the Kickoff was great.  I was so nervous and excited.  I knew there would be a bunch of well paid Black men there too, so I did my hair and threw on my typical lazy but cute red lipstick, making sure not to try too hard and look too desperate.  I love the way it goes with my skin tone and makes whatever I have on look a little more polished, especially since I do not wear any other make up regularly.  I don’t know how and I don’t want to learn: I can’t afford it, and it’s hard enough to get up to wash my face at night!  Plus, all the eye complications I had a few years ago makes me paranoid about any eye makeup.  I was so excited to be there.  This was what I dreamed of.  One of the main reasons I dropped my Computer Science major in the first place back when I was a Freshman in college was because I did not know any Black engineers and thus did not think we were good at it.  And here I was, in the mecca of tech surrounded by the well accomplished engineers who were doing it all while I was a youth in Los Angeles thinking I was alone.  Many people may have thought that I was normally that excited and friendly and warm, which I kinda am regularly, but I was especially that way just because I had been waiting for that moment for 10 years. 

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Originally posted by danks-gif

I knew there would be men, but I did not think there would be so few women.  The last time I was in a room where the ratio between Black men and Black women was so large was when I attended the scholarship ceremony in high school of a fraternity that gave me the scholarship thinking I was male because of my name (I have a masculine name but am a woman).

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Originally posted by pizzabills

Anyway, that may have added to the excitement to.  There was networking bingo and I was the first to get Bingo, going around the room, introducing myself and demanding they tell me about themselves and help me fill out the Bingo card.  I jumped at the opportunity to help the moderator of the women’s chat.  I turned a few people off who were not ready for my energy, but I didn’t shame them too much for being possibly intimidated by my huge smile, big curly hair, red lips, cobalt blue dress, and sparkly gold shoes I paid too much for.

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Originally posted by desingyouruniverse

The second day of the Kickoff was great.  It started with breakfast (I have been vegetarian this month, and breakfast is always the most fulfilling because I can have eggs and oatmeal, and breakfast burritos and fruit and bagels, whereas at lunch and dinner its mainly only salad…thank God for salad, but sometimes it can get monotonous, but I am grateful nonetheless.  They’re healthy and abundant, but the variation of breakfast is a treat.), and conversation with a man who was deaf.  He sat at the end of my table.  I was in between two men, one pretty attractive and the other just as excited as I described I was to just be in the presence of so many amazing Black folks, only he was telling everyone this in a two table radius, whereas I let my face say it all.  My attention was stolen however when the man who was deaf rallied the help of his translator to speak to me.  I encounter so many men afraid to approach me, and here he was, not allowing his non-traditional way of hearing to get in the way of having a conversation with me.  I’m sure it wasn’t that big to him and that he may be used to it, but I felt so honored.  I was even more blown away when I found out he was from the same neighborhood as me!  The small Black suburb in LA that I knew no one else in the Bay Area was from.  

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Originally posted by justalittletumblweed

The day continued with a meeting with my squad.  In the meeting, we each shared 8 points of our highs and lows for 8 minutes.  My speech when on for 10. I felt like I have told my story to so many people, and I am so blessed to have my story, that I was excited to tell it.  I talked about how Barbie CD-ROM, Reader Rabbit, and Myspace made me fall in love with being on the computer, how I dropped my CS major in college because I didn’t think Black people were good at engineering because I didn’t know any, how I went into depression when a friend committed suicide when I was a sophomore, how I battled depression, studied abroad, and fell in love with exploring and public transportation, how I lived in NY, how I moved to SF to pursue tech, how I got in my first tech company and worked my way to finance to data analysis to AV operations, how I quit and finally did a bootcamp, and how I am here now interning.

We had a career roadmapping workshop after that I doubted, but which turned out to be awesome.  I learned to keep my focus on the next 1-2 years as we really have no clue what life looks like after that given how fast our world is changing.  I learned to attach a main goal or vision statement to my main aspirations, and how to create milestones to get me there.  I felt empowered, with awareness that I want to become a senior engineer and eventually help other Black folks do the same.  I thought about financial independence, growing communities, creating a legacy, while growing stronger in my faith and taking my battles I am blessed with in stride.

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Originally posted by fleece-it-out

The group’s main codes are to keep confidentiality of what is shared in the group, give each other props, be nice to one another, show up for one another, help one another, and build our community.  I love it. I have finally found my people (kinda) and want to do whatever I can to stay in and grow this.

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Originally posted by abelmvada

During the lunch break, one of my squad members recommended I reach out to the Black engineer at my job I had to report to HR.  I responded, “We don’t see eye to eye.”  She said, “Well she does have a strong personality.”  I said, “There’s a difference between a strong personality and unprofessionalism.  I had to report her for the protection of my reputation and physical safety.”  I word vomited.  I took her saying, “She does have a strong personality,” as a complete disregard for my feelings or why I had to report her, all because this woman was friends with her. What a way to start off a year of meetings together.

This reminded me of why I did not want beef with that girl from the beginning and why I even reached out to her to tell her I was coming back to where we work in the first place: I knew I would be around her a lot because the tech industry is small.  The Black tech industry is smaller.  The Black female tech industry is tiny.  There are 14 Black female engineers at my company that has over 1000 engineers.  We are almost 1 in a million.  Sure enough, she was at the party.  I saw her by surprise and on jerk reaction to someone approaching me with a familiar face, said hello. She rolled her eyes with a smile and ignored me.  She did not attend the kickoff, just the happy hour which was open to guests of the people in the program, which tells me she was not in it.  Maybe she didn’t apply.  Either way, it was again a reminder that I was here.  In a space she wanted to have control of.  It killed her to see me there.  And again, I felt sorry for her.  We all know how it feels to be slightly envious of someone.  A few of us know what it feels like though to have that person report you to HR because you acted on that jealousy.  I think all the time about whether or not I should have reported her, and always go back to yes.  She made me feel uncomfortable on many occasions for years and tried to harm me and publicly embarrass me many times.  That’s immaturity.  I saw a good quote somewhere. It said, “I had to remove myself because you were okay with harming me.” And she was.

I enjoyed the night however.  Took another headshot in hopes to replace the current one on my LinkedIn profile that has been there since my junior year of college!  I made casual conversation with strangers as if I had known them.  I was amongst family in God of my industry and hue.  I hopped in the conversation with the man who was deaf, and we talked about our beloved park we both grew up going to, and the one my dad, paternal grandparents, and most of my childhood friends still live around.  I saw people smiling at the obvious chemistry we had.  He was kinda cute.  Bifocals.  Invisalign.  Complete nerd, but so am I.  I just had never had a conversation with someone who was deaf, and I surely have never had a conversation with a person who I did not know growing up about the place where I spent most of my after school and summer hours from kindergarten to fifth grade and now when I am back home and needing a walk for a workout.

At the end of the night, without his translator, he asked me for my contact with his notes app.  He typed it out and showed me his phone for me to read it.  I texted his and my name from his phone to mine with a grin too big for my face.  Out of all the men that weekend, he was the only one that asked for my contact, and not my LinkedIn…although he may have been fine with just my LinkedIn.  Did I tell you I was single af?! lol


I went home with some folks from the group.  One of them, a Black woman from LA as well, I caught my train with.  Turns out we’ve been neighbors this whole time and I can see her window from mine.  That was the first time where I did not feel lonely or stared at on the train.  Muni is a white classist place man!

hsmtmts ep 10 review from a techie

*i love this show and i know that it’s only a tv show but that doesnt stop things from bothering the hell out of me

*also im a sophomore now and started being a techie at the beginning of freshman year 

*what i say could only be specific to my school so if you know of it a different way lmk :)

okay here we go

- THIS IS WHY WE DOUBLE CAST!!! its dumb to have understudies as actual characters in the show. big roles have two actors who play on seperate nights (though they only did one show for hsm? if they were planning on doing more than one before the theater burned down gina and nini would probably both play gabriella every other night) 

- seriously it is so confusing to have ej already on stage as chad and now he’s troy with a whole new chad

-i still cant get over big red’s little xylophone he is the absolute purest character and i hope we get more background on him next season

-our audiences never are that enthuastaic like they clap after every scene?? we breathe a sigh of relief if they clap after a musical number

-THE GINI HUG PLS

-why did no one tell nini that ej was going on that was obviously going to throw her off

-the talking on stage and covering their microphones,,,,,,,,im going to lose my mind 

-carlos deserves the world

-wondering is by far my favorite original song on this show ugh it still gives me chills

-ricky bby :( lynne better watch out 

-wHo the hell thought it was okay to bring signs to a THEATER it is not a concert or football game i love that seb’s family is supportive but holy shit 

-ej going off book to give ricky a chance is good for his character and im coming around to him but from a theater standpoint what the actual fuck is going on can you imagine how confused the audience is

-i love the parallel to the first episode when ricky and ej pulled out their phones for the flashlight but seriously wtf none of this makes sense 

-i know its also not professional theater so who cares but high school theater is still taken seriously on some level 

-one of the first rules is absolutely do not bring personal drama on stage 

-damn they got a big orchestra on stage thats impressive

-one of the few things i really enjoyed about their show is their bow number 

-peep the techies in the background dancing in the wings,,, realest thing ive seen so far

-bruh we got spring musical auditions in the middle of the fall production how do they not even know the show yet

-all theater kids know that the actual bow where they went down one by one in a line took hours to get down. it already takes forever to get a normal bow down

-RED FOUND HIS THING I LOVE THAT REPRESENTATION!!! like i never did anything or had anything in my life before being a techie and i love what it has given me and the fact that red’s parents see that makes me so proud

-im a redky, gini, and rini warrior so i really won this episode 

-”usually the theater kids cry and go to denny’s” nini spitting straight facts 

-my teacher says getting in or out or any relationships during the show (from first rehersal to last show) is not allowed because you will be reminded of that when you think about it in the future if it went badly which is pretty smart ngl

-im livid they cut out the seblos scenes and queerbaited us. hopefully they dont do that in season two because joe is a series regular now

-ms jenn cannot tell them that was a great performance it was a shitshow and my teacher would have a lot of angry words for everyone 

-RED TAP DANCING AT THE END I LOVE U BIG RED 

-ok i think that is all and again i love this show i just have some opinions 

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Hey IT babes. Help?

Do I have any techie friends or followers?

I need help understanding and creating a relational database in Excel. A many to many relationship (basically OLAP in Excel)

Since it’s for work I don’t have a lot of options for outside resources. I’m trying to build a database for our caregiver center. But yeah.

I’m like so close to getting it, but there a connection in my brain that doesn’t seem to be firing together. So I’m like I get it but how do I make it work here. Idk if that makes sense.

Halp plz?

Burnout is not a four letter word

I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t faced burnout in their career in the arts, and it’s ok. It’s hard and it’s not fun, but you can get past it. You just need to find ways through. These are some things that help me:

  • Have a hobby/ do things that aren’t related to theatre (or, at times, even anything artistic). I’ll paint or crochet, watch crashcourse videos, go to karaoke, or watch my friend’s wrestling matches; Something that isn’t related to theatre. Don’t even listen to a musical soundtrack. Jam to Fleetwood Mac, Lizzo, or Chance the Rapper, but any OBC is off limits.
  • If you can, take a break. Theatre is a fun job, but it’s still a JOB, and you need time off to recoup. I got a job at a bookstore and didn’t work any theatre jobs for 3 months. For some people it’s their source of income or if you stop accepting jobs you lose your credibility in town (which is a whole other beast), but if you can find a way to take a week off between shows and go visit your sister out of town or road trip to an Airbnb by a lake, or even if you can spend a week vegging out in your apartment and playing board games with friends, do. Sometimes the best cure for burnout is space
  • Along similar lines, your time off the clock is off the clock. If it isn’t crunch time before a show, have time every night set aside for not theatre thoughts. Unless it’s tech week or my director tells me they’ll need me early or late on an off-day, I will take time off outside of rehearsal times. I won’t be available after 10:00pm or an hour after rehearsal, whichever comes later (if rehearsal gets out at 9:30, I’ll be available until 10:30), and I won’t let myself work on the show after 11:30 pm or before 9:00 am. Boundaries are good, even if they’re hard to set.
  • Get on a regular sleep schedule. A long night of rest isn’t a privilege everyone has, but even if you can’t sleep long or often, try to fall asleep at the same time. It’s proven to not only help you sleep better and feel more rested, but it also helps with cognition, mood regulation, physical health, stress reaction, and a whole bunch of other things
  • If you can afford it, get a therapist. I’m a firm believer that everyone should have a therapist, regardless of mental health. For realsies, get a therapist. It’s life changing.

These are things that I do when I face burnout, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is that burnout is real. You aren’t being whiny and complacent because you don’t feel inspired and/or fulfilled by this work right now. It’s something most if not all people face, and you aren’t broken or wrong for feeling this way. Reach out and let someone know what you’re feeling and they may be able to help you. You can get through it ❤️

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