It’s time for the biennial update of what I have been up to! I mostly do this for my own historical record, but if you’re out there reading this feel free to get in touch. I’d be interested to know if someone occasionally stumbles across my blog. I don’t do analytics tracking. As I am not trying to sell anything, the only point would be in service of bolstering my own ego… and the results would undoubtedly have the opposite effect.
My sister got married this year!
I landed an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) position at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. It was really interesting! I had to break it up into two trips. The first trip, I flew out there and had a very wacky Airbnb experience (I have the whole thing chronicled in a letter I sent to Airbnb, but the TL;DR is that it started great but slightly eery with an empty house, and ended with the host cutting his hand open with a weed wacker at 4am and banging on my door requesting I drive him to the emergency room.) After that I ended up staying at an extended stay hotel, which was much more peaceful, and I had some really fun experiences in that area. I went on a some nice walks and really enjoyed the fireflies. One night I was walking home and I got caught in a thunderstorm and it. was. incredible. It was so warm, and I fully embraced getting soaked and walking through the sunset as it dumped buckets.
I came back to Bellingham so that I could teach some week long workshops to middle school and elementary school kids on Arduino, crafting with LEDs, and learning how to code with Processing. It was kind of cool, but it did make me realize that I’m not that interested in being responsible for large groups of people of that age group. I have too nervous of a disposition and don’t trust kids not to constantly be falling and breaking their necks after tripping on office chairs, or otherwise permanently causing damage to their emotional well being.
I also went to OCF while I was back, and it was one of my favorite years there. My brother Devin came for the first time, and watching him experience a whole new world was really, really fun. It was on par with my first year, going with Rose and Clea.
I of course made a few projects for OCF, including these sick diffraction glasses and this Outrun inspired jacket with fiber optic lining.
Then I returned to Bethlehem, this time driving. I had an amazing time on the way back out. A standout memory was staying at this beautiful camp site in South Dakota.
I also visited Shady Liberty in Pittsburgh, which was done by my good friend, Sheila Klein
When I got back out to Bethlehem, I stayed at the same hotel I did the first trip for a few weeks. Then I attended a bioinformatics conference in Boston. I met some really cool people there, and presented the research project I had been working on.
For my final trip back to Bethlehem, I was running a little bit low on cash and I was weighing what I really wanted to spend my money on: A clean but rather boring and pricey hotel room, or some fun experiences. The latter was obviously the better option, so I bought about $80 worth of camping gear and stayed at a very nice family campground. It was owned and operated by the ladies of the family, and it was great! It saved me enough money that I was able to take a weekend trip to New York and go to Electric Zoo! (I quickly crocheted myself up a rave onesie, which I ended up feeling very self conscious wearing… but hey, you never know until you try.)
That was amazing. I camped in south Brooklyn (yes! You can camp in NYC!) and actually drove around New York City. Driving there is nuts! I also went to House of Yes one night after EZoo ended, and met some very interesting people. I’m really glad I pushed myself to have those experiences.
Around this time I also made myself a new website. I don’t really think of it as a replacement for this site. I like having this one on hand if I’m trying to put forward somewhat more “professional” impression (within reason, I’m still blogging about festivals and butt hugger onesies here), and I like having the historical blog. The new site is more of a portfolio, and also just a fun way to showcase my personality and the things I’m most interested in in this phase of my life.
My dad flew out to PA and drove back with me to WA, and it was fun spending time with him on that trip, too. I got to go to the Field Museum in Chicago, which was a big goal for me on the trip. We also hit up Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, and Needles Highway. I had the best stake of my life in Montana. It was a lovely trip, through and through.
Not too long after that trip, I took yet another trip, this time to attend Grace Hopper Conference in Orlando, FL. I entered a poster competition, and won first place for the Undergrad category. Siiiick.
GHC had a party that was very much up my alley, where Google handed out LED glasses and someone was doing UV reactive face painting. I really felt like I was living my best life at this moment in time, attending a dance party at a conference centered around women in computing after having just won a big competition. And just a few weeks later, I graduated with my shiny new degree in Biology/Mathematics, with minors in Computer Science and Chemistry. I also applied to a handful of grad schools, and was feeling very optimistic about the future.
A highlight at the beginning of the year was flying to London, with my mom, to visit my baby niece Ren.
Unfortunately 2018 otherwise started out rocky.
A very sad thing happened at the beginning of this year, which is that my dog Franki (pictured in the background of this very website) passed away. She led a good long life, but it was very hard to say goodbye.
I also did not get into grad school 😔 I did get a trip to Chicago for one of my interviews, and I brought Jason along with me. I went BACK to the field museum, because it’s great, and I got to see some really neat parts of the city.
While not getting into grad school was a huge disappointment, I was able to keep my job as a Web Developer at Western, and actually move into a full time position. Since my entire goal in going back to school was to get a good job, and this is a good job, I’m actually pretty okay with how things turned out. While it makes me feel a little anxious that I have this expensive new degree that is only very tangentially related to what I’m doing as a web developer, I also have long loved making websites so I’m very happy to be doing something that I’m good at and thoroughly enjoy.
And, before I had known I wasn’t getting into any of the schools I applied to I was working as a temporary employee, which mean I had a very flexible schedule (yay 32 hour work weeks!) and lots of time to work on projects and attend a number of really fun (and at times intense) events in 2018. It turned out to be an incredible year.
These are the events I attended in 2018:
- Lucky (in Seattle)
- Oregon Country Fair (duh)
- Happy Little Farm Party in Conway
- Summer Meltdown
- Virtual Self
These are the projects I was able to complete in 2018:
- Rainbow onesie
- Rainbow vest
- FurFur - LED Sculpture
- LED Sparkle Cape
- Multiple tie dye outfits
- Synthwave Sweater
Photos of these projects can be found on masonmak.es. The rainbow onesie is like, my pride and joy. The sculpture was a big project and came out awesome, but that onesie… woo, it is sooooo cooooool. I have another colorway of that same yarn, and I sort of have it in mind that I might make another similar one and this time document the steps/write a build log so I can create a pattern webpage for it. We’ll see if I manage it.
I DID make a pattern website for the Synthwave Sweater!
Now I am settling into the 40-hour workweek. While I don’t have as much free time as I did last year, I still have a number of fun projects planned, and while I had planned on doing less events this year, I already have a lot of trips and festivals planned. They’re just on a slightly different plane of reality than the events I attended last year. I’ve already taken my nephews to Emerald City Comicoon, and I am taking my step mom to OCF in July. My sisters and I are also prepping for a local Renaissance fair in July. In August I’m probably going to Summer Meltdown again, possibly also Subdued Stringband Jamboree. There is also a family Disneyland trip in the works for October. I also have a few trips to see family this month and in May. So, should turn out to be another fun year.
And already this year I’ve been on a knitting frenzy, and have completed three more projects:
In preparation for Comicon, I created a robot costume. It is an EVA foam based costume, and I learned a lot. I think I will do more with the material in the future, but suffice it to say this was a learning experience and not my most impressive project ever created. The boys made their own costumes (with varying amounts of help/guidance from Jason and me) and they both got a lot of attention and photos snapped with other kids and teens, which was really fun to see.
I think that summarizes most of the highlights from the last 2 years. See you in 2021? Maybe 2022? 😜