Tag: adulting

Naked! :O

Ok, so not exactly naked.

The day arrived where my Microsoft Band broke, and I have had to remove it from my wrist and send it back for a repair/replacement.

I now have to endure the next 8ish working days without being able to track my sleep, daily calorie burn, exercise, getting reminded to put on sunscreen, and also getting reminded to get up and moving.

I haven’t had the band all that long, but it’s almost scary how much I am missing it already. I am already sad that I won’t be able to see my pretty graphs.

I feel naked. Though as first world problems go, it’s not the end of the world. I’m betting when I get my band back again, it’ll take me a while to once again get used to it.

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My Brain: The Crazy making machine

Some of you may remember an earlier blog post where I spoke about a break in at a flat in the same complex I live in.

Well, there was another ‘incident’ this week. I got a knock on my door at about 9:30pm from a neighbour who had seen someone wearing a hoody lurking around my living room window and car. When they challenged him, he legged it over the fence.

Awesome.

This is where my brain turns into a crazy making machine. What my logic tells me is this:

  • The scumbag was scared off before being able to break in to anything. Odds of him coming back any time soon, knowing that the residents are once again on high alert, are slim to none.
  • It’s likely that this is the same scum bag who broke into my neighbours flat, hoping that enough time has passed for us to no longer be on high alert, and hoping that he can get another easy score. He’s probably now scouted out my flat, and realised it’s not going to be easy pickings.
  • My neighbours are still vigilant, so if anything dodgy is going on, it’s going to be noticed, investigated, and reported.
  • The bloke is more than happy to stay at mine for as long as needed to play my white knight until I feel a bit more secure.
  • I should, with any luck, be moving to pastures new within the next couple of months. So I won’t have to worry about the security of the complex where I live for much longer.
  • I have my stuff insured, plus I have motion sensor alarms since the previous incident. The odds of someone sneaking in whilst I sleep are slim to none.
  • If someone does break in looking for easy pickings, they will be aiming to grab easily transportable things. Alarms, confrontation, etc, are likely to scare them off.

Here is what my brain has conjured up for me in the face of what logic states:

  • A random scary psycho dude is going to break in and stab me in my sleep.

I don’t know why my brain has conjured this scenario. I’ve never been stabbed. I don’t know anyone who has been randomly stabbed. It’s incredibly silly. Yet this is what my brain now tells me is going to happen in the face of all logic and reason just as I’m trying to sleep.

I was running short on sleep anyway, because I daren’t keep my windows open when it gets dark due to the prior incident, and my flat is too hot. I’m now running on even less sleep. It’s annoying. And kind of headachey.

So, in a nutshell – my brain is stupid, and should probably have a word with itself.

Trolley Rage

This has been a frustrating week. I have encountered various scenarios where life isn’t going quite as expected, or neatly following the carefully laid out plans in my head.

Of course, this is just life being life. I’ve just never been able to deal that well with curve balls. I like my routines. I like things behaving *properly*. This has been a week that has thrown me for a loop. I am generally more irritable and distracted from the things I should be focusing on as a result.

That brings me to the icing on the cake. The straw that broke the camels back.

The supermarket where I do my weekly shop has moved all of the aisles around.

I get why supermarkets do this. They like to have their customers meandering around completely lost, viewing all the available merchandise, and potentially making an impulse purchase. All this does for me is serve to irritate.

I am the kind of person who makes a shopping list. I do not deviate from it. In addition, I have my shopping list carefully ordered by aisle, so I can get in an out as quickly as possible.

Imagine my sense of outrage when I went to pick up a bottle of Pepsi, and instead found myself facing packets of crisps. Tragically, this was the first moment I realised things had moved, since I was existing in my own head already seething about all the various other things that haven’t gone quite according to my own expectations this week alone.

I went to find coffee. That now lives where all the wine and spirits *used* to live.

Two of my major caffeine supplies have been moved. Seriously. I think it was lucky that no one died when I was doing my shop. It was a brave move on the part of the super market planners. Frankly, I’m amazed that there haven’t been blood baths caused by these kinds of impromptu switch arounds. What kind of nutcases move the caffeine?

The final insult to this already¬†grievous¬†injury was realising that all the goods in the chillers have been shifted around to. My usual quick 5 minute rush doing my weekly shop was delayed further as it took me another 3 minutes to find where the Philadelphia snack pots now live. If I hadn’t been so irritated, I suspect that a calmer mind may have found these at least 2 minutes earlier.

I realise this has turned into something of a rant, and there are way worse problems in the world. I guess I just want to shout out that I’d very much like to smack supermarket planners upside the head with a dead fish¬†a few times. Although they would have plenty of time to run and hide in the amount of time it would take for me to find where the fish are now situated in their newly shifted around store.

Grr.

Frustration! The House Edition.

Once upon a time, I had an idea in my head that buying a house would be a somewhat long, but overall easy enough process.

At this point in the house buying process, I’m still good to buy my house. Yeay! However, it’s not going to be quite as quick as I anticipated.

Turns out I’m in a chain. *Someone* in this chain (not the people selling to me, thankfully) has been playing silly buggers. Now, the people selling to me are a young family, with another small one due in October. They need to upsize. The house they are buying is in a street where a similar property sold for a lot more than what they are trying to buy their own future home for. Turns out the person selling to *them* realised this after agreeing a price. Cue shenanigans. From what I’ve heard from the estate agents, he proceeded to try and ask for more money, had various inquiries that further stalled the whole process, and was generally being a pain in the backside to the people selling their house to me.

From being told only a few days ago that I should be able to exchange contracts on Friday, I had a call this week to let me know that there was a delay – the dude playing silly buggers has now pulled out entirely, stating an unspecified ‘family issue’.

The people selling to me are back to square one – house hunting. They¬†are understandably gutted. They’ve been hoping to get everything signed and sealed before the end of this month, as their anticipated October arrival may hinder a smooth move. They still want to sell to me. Thankfully, I have yet to give notice on my flat, so they’ll get no pressure from me to hurry things up. I’ve waited years to get to the point of buying a house – a few more months won’t kill me.

Still, it is incredibly frustrating. I suspect that I’ll soon see the house they were hoping to buy back on the market soon at a much inflated price. I can only imagine that the seller thought he had a young family over the barrel, and got greedy. I’m half tempted to turn up at any potential viewings and be an arse. Which I wouldn’t, of course, because that would be petty and beneath me. But still – one can dream.

One thing that this whole process has just taught me though – they have a way better system for this in Scotland that prevents this kind of shenanigans. I really wish we had it in England.

Keeping my priorities in order.

I’ve talked before about how my mobile phone of choice is a Windows Phone.

I have no real problems with it. It serves its function well. In recent days, however, I have been seriously considering upgrading it to an android device. I’ve created a list to aid in this decision making process:

Why I should keep my windows phone:

  • It does everything I need it to do.
  • I have data from some apps on it.
  • It works perfectly with my Microsoft Band.
  • I’ve almost finished paying off my device plan for it.
  • Buying a house is expensive. I don’t really need another large bill – especially with my car currently making expensive sounding noises.

Why I should get an android phone:

  • I really want to play Pokemon Go.

So in summary, I think I know what will end up happening here. I’m going to be getting an android phone. Because adulting is obviously about having your priorities in order.

Sods Law

Sods law states that the worst thing possible will happen at the worst possible time.

Or something like that.

I’m in the process of buying a house. I’m about to be throwing the largest amount of money at something that I ever have in my life.

I should have realised this would be the harbinger of a huge car bill.

Ah well. Almost £400 later, and my car has a new exhaust and is running pretty amazing.

Gah.

The adulting got real.

Over the weekend just gone, I decided to check on how far away I was from one of my long term goals – house ownership.

Well, imagine my surprise when the internet mortgage checker came back with actual mortgages!

I thought I was still about 5 years away from this. I was actually ready for another 5 years of not going on the holidays I wanted to go on. Another 5 years of not going out with friends, just so I could squirrel away more cash into my deposit fund, all while watching house prices continue to creep upwards.

I didn’t quite believe it, so I opted to talk to an actual real life mortgage advisor today. I was honestly half expecting to get laughed out of his office. But he actually came back with better news – he could get me a better deal than the one I found online.

I will be a home owner by the end of the year. I don’t think it’s actually quite sunk in yet.

I’ll be spending the next few weeks actually house hunting. That sounds so adult, it’s scary. I feel I can mitigate this by decorating my future home with a My Little Pony theme though, so it’s all good! I’ve yet to break out in a sudden rash of responsibility (I keep checking).

So, I’m very excited at the moment. My main long term goal is about to become a reality. I guess I should figure out what my next thing to work towards should be. I’m thinking world domination. ūüėÄ

Exercise vs Sleep

I recently purchased a Microsoft Band, as a way to track my new found lunch time activity of running. And to be part of the techno ‘in’ crowd at the office.

I love anything that allows me to chart progression and see pretty graphs.

Anyway, I’m quite enjoying it so far – it tracks all sorts of interesting things, prompts me to get up and get moving if I’m stationary for too long, the quality of my sleep, etc.

Because I have a Windows phone, I can pretty much get the most out the band also. I have it all hooked up to the Microsoft Health app, which gives me access to more detailed statistics about myself if I go through the Dashboard online.

I just wanted to share my main observation of the day from this (because no doubt I’ll have other observations to share when I’ve been wearing it longer). Here’s a screen shot of my average calorie burn since I’ve been wearing my band.

Calories

My take on this – I burn more calories sleeping than I do actually exercising. Why am I torturing myself, getting all sweaty and achy when I could be burning more just sleeping?

I am possibly kind of sneeped about all this. I could take this to mark the beginning of a new golden age of lots of sleep for me, though. That is what the data is telling me to do, after all.

Think I’ll be sleeping on this while I figure out what this means.

Home Security

We always think we’re secure … until, well, we realise we’re not.

The flats where I live have giant electronic gates that can only be opened with a key fob. I came home on Sunday evening to find that my key fob wasn’t¬†opening the gate, and just quietly assumed that the battery in the fob was dying.

I’m kind of kicking myself for not checking the gate situation sooner.

I parked around the back of my flat instead, went inside, and got myself into bed. The next morning was the first reason I had to venture out into the car park – I needed to empty my bin, and noticed that the front door of my neighbours flat was wide open, big hole in the window. Further investigation revealed that someone had forced open the electric box for the gates, and disconnected the battery – obviously in the hope that a lack of power would cause the gates to open.

Well, as a result of this, my bank holiday monday was spent dealing with the police, my landlady, my other neighbours who had their cars stuck on the car park, and my own feelings of unease.

After the neighbours who were broken into got home in the early evening of that day, it turned out that not much had been stolen. A TV and a custom tablet. The thief had managed to break the TV, and left components of it behind. The tablet turned up on eBay the next day, but the police claimed they could do nothing, as my neighbours didn’t have the serial number. For their tablet with a custom operating system on it. They also claimed that it would take them a month to get the paper work together. So it was too much hassle to bother with.

There is something very wrong with a system that thinks it is too much bother to follow a solid lead to get someones property back. Granted, it’s not so much about the stolen property in this case – it’s about the violation of what is supposed to be a place of comfort – a home. For that alone, I really wish that burglars were pursued with more prejudice.

I’ve since been involved in trying to get a neighbourhood watch scheme set up for our flats, and I’ve installed motion sensors in my home. Although I wasn’t burgled, I can’t help but think that the thief has now scouted out the ground floor flats. I live alone – so I at least want some warning if someone breaks in during the night so I can barricade myself somewhere. I know that my other neighbours have done similar.

The frustrating thing is that no matter what kind of measures are taken, if someone is determined to break into somewhere to take what is not theirs (instead of getting off their arse and getting a job like the rest of us) – they’re going to find a way. That’s pretty depressing.

Burglary should be taken a lot more seriously than it is. It’s not the cost of repairs, or even the items, as much as it is the loss of a sense of security. Personally, I think that the punishment for this sort of crime should be much higher, and should take that loss into account more than it does now. It’s a very sad fact of life that all too often, the scum who do things like this don’t even get caught – and when they do, the sentence seems all to often to be completely laughable.

About the only good thing to come of this is that I’ve probably talked more to my neighbours over this week than I have in almost 4 years of living here. Fostering a community spirit in order to look out for each other isn’t a bad thing – I just wish we could have done it sooner.

The problem of women in Software Engineering

Last night, I attended a female only event at the Microsoft Research Laboratory – Engineering the Future.

It was slightly recruitment heavy (and I am happily employed), but I figured it would be worth checking out, because they do cool things there.

Now, I’m typically averse to attending female only events – I think in a culture that is attempting to gain more gender diversity, aiming at one specific gender in this manner is probably counter productive. Also, it brings its own issues.

Before I really get into the meat of this – I really enjoyed the event, and the projects that were showcased to us were amazing. It looks like great work to be involved in, and I’m really happy that I got an invite to this.

That said, lets get back to the female only part.

So, there is a drive to attract more women to the Software Engineering world. Last night, that very problem was kind of apparent. In the only Microsoft Research lab in this country, this female only event had only approximately 50-60 attendees.

When you factor in that this is representative of people in a country, not just a city, for a company as huge as Microsoft, it’s easy to see that the ratio of Men : Women in the field is very off. I also factored in after some networking that a significant portion of the attendees were people studying for PHD’s or other degrees – and were somewhat unsure of where they would aim to be employed. In a nutshell – they aren’t quite software developers yet, and some seem undecided as to whether that will be something they are aiming for at all.

This brings us to another consideration – why aren’t women aiming for a career in technology? Events like these are supposed to help, right?

To be honest, I’m not sure if gender specific events are the answer here. At the beginning of last nights presentations, it was noted that non-gender specific events like this had been run before – but 95% of the attendees were male, hence they decided to try a female only event. I can see the logic. The previous way was obviously not attracting any more women, so they switched the format slightly and had another pop at it.

So, let’s examine the presentation content. One of the reasons I tend to avoid female only events is because some gender bias comes into play in terms of what is presented. You will find that less of the ‘we’re working on this because we thought it would be cool to try’ content, and more of the ‘here’s a human interest project that’s all for a good cause’ content instead.

I guess the thing that bugs me here is that there seems to be an assumption that a lack of dangly bits means that women can’t appreciate something that is being done for the sake of seeing if it can be come, and that we should only be enthusiastic about things that can help us to cure diseases, or world hunger, or other worthy and caring causes. It almost sends a message that as women, we’re supposed to only work on serious things, and forego anything that is more typically fun in that sense.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t think human interest projects are not cool and amazing, and can’t be fun – they are, and I love hearing about them – but I also love the cool ‘here’s something we’re trying without being quite sure why’ stuff as well.

I have a suspicion that a non gender specific event would have had a more even balance of both kinds of projects to showcase. Targeted events like this actually put me off somewhat, as the assumption that I somehow cannot be spoken to on the same level as a man in this field is somewhat demeaning. That said, non-gendered events have been around for a while, and they have done nothing to solve the problem of the lack of women in this industry. Maybe this approach is the way forward. Honestly, I don’t actually have a better idea on how to address it.

All I know is that as a female software developer, what really bugs me is being set apart from my peers and treated as if I’m somehow different, or less able to appreciate or understand things, just because I’m female. * To be truly diverse, surely we should be able to ignore things like gender, creed, and colour and speak to everyone the same? Sadly, we still seem to be quite far away from this.

As a final note, this push to bring more women into the field also has another unintended result – it’s very easy to get a job because I tick¬†all the right HR check boxes. This comes with the added bonus that I can be seen as a ‘quota’ hire. I find myself having to work twice as hard, and be twice as good as my peers, just to prove that I’m actually worthy of both the job and some respect. I don’t think either gender gets a win from this, and I suspect the same can be said of other typically minority groups in the field as well.

It’s an interesting problem, and with no easy solution. We certainly aren’t there yet, but I feel that gender specific events and hiring guidelines aren’t actually helping in the way that was intended. I’d love for us to be at a point where the criteria becomes ‘is this person right for the job or event’ as opposed to ‘this person has a characteristic they can do nothing about’.

* Just to add – last nights event did not make me feel demeaned, etc, at all, and was truly enjoyable. I just question the current methods being used to try and encourage women to join this field, as even without a better suggestion, I’m not sure the current ideas are working either!