Extra Life! Playing games for sick kids

This weekend I will be participating in Extra Life - a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for the Childrens Miracle Network of hospitals. 

I'm really excited about how much money my team has been able to raise for this event!

For myself, since I jumped into the fundraising a bit later than expected, I set up a whole set of "rewards" based on different donation levels. So far it has worked out really well! I have raised more money than I ever expected in such a short amount of time!

Now it's almost time to buckle down and get ready to stay awake for over 24 hours! Actually, when all is said and done, I will likely have been awake for 42 hours straight. Why? Well normally we would game from 8am Saturday to 8am Sunday, but that really throws off the sleeping schedule pretty badly. This year we are actually going from midnight to midnight, which means we are starting TONIGHT. Since I woke up at 8am and probably won't get to sleep until around 2am on Sunday, that's 42 hours. Almost two full days of no sleep! 

I participated in Extra Life two years ago for the first time, and it was really interesting. Playing games for 24 hours is a lot harder and a lot less fun than you would expect. The begining is pretty great - playing games, having fun - but once you reach the later hours it's all you can do to stay awake and alert enough to play even the less mentally-stimulating games. Particularly for me, my favorite games tend to be the most mentally-stimulating ones: games with a high amount of strategy involved. (Civilization, various tower-defense games, Xcom, puzzle/adventure games, etc.) Last time around, I started playing FreeCell on my phone at hour 18 or so because I simply couldn't handle anything more challenging than that!

Fortunately, playing with a team makes it easier to keep everyone going. This year, like the last time, my husband and I will be going to a friend's house (with a truckload of technology) in order to complete the marathon. There will be a small group of people there to play games with, cheer each other on, and keep each other awake at the really difficult hours. Apparently, board games count too, so we'll be able to play those together as well! 

Oh - and we're planning to stream the whole thing online for anyone who wants to watch! We'll be starting at November 2nd, 12:00am EST, (that's Friday night/Saturday morning) and playing through the end of the day Saturday.

Tune in if you have a chance! And if you have the money, consider contributing to the cause! Your donation is tax-deductible and goes 100% towards Childrens Miracle Network hospitals.

Posted by Amy on Fri, 1 Nov 2013
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New Site!

After long last (and check out the blog entry before this if you want to know how long... whoops) I have moved everything over to the new site.

The short version of the story is - I had some issues with my hosting account and when I finally got it fixed, I never got around to putting the site back up. Essentially, the old site design felt extremely outdated to me and I couldn't stand to put it back up as it was, but kept putting off a redesign.

Now I have everything migrated over, including all of my old blog posts. (Please forgive the formatting issues if you go back more than a few entries - I haven't gotten around to fixing that.)

 

So what is this blog's purpose now?

Well, I originally created it with the intention of blogging about professional things, with the occasional personal post to add some fun. Then, during grad school, the blog morphed into a school assignment, but one I liked enough to keep most of the posts around after the class was over. And after I graduated, the blog kind of died, partially because of time constraints and partially because of the hosting issues.

The plan now is for it to return to some semblence of a professional/personal blog. So stay tuned!

Posted by Amy on Wed, 16 Jan 2013
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Solace in Creativity

Hi gang! Well, it's been a crazy few months, but I finally completed my MBA program (and have been on & still going on a few awesome vacations to celebrate!).

Unfortunately, posting may still be a bit light for a while, as there are some serious and unfortunate family issues going on that may occupy some of my newly-rediscovered free time.

I've been struggling emotionally with some really bad news, and finding that there is solace to be found in creativity. (Shocking, right? Haha.) I was inspired a few weeks ago when a friend posted a link to some adorable homemade magnetic bookmarks, and decided on a whim to make a few of my own!

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(An homage to Scott Pilgrim and Doctor Who, respectively.)

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I ended up making four in all (the other two were Portal & Dr. Horrible themed). I've uploaded the hi-res image here in case anyone wants to print a few of their own using my designs... they're huge in terms of pixels, but I printed them at 7in height, used contact paper as a kind of ghetto lamination, and found "business card" magnets to secure the insides. Pretty simple stuff as far as DIY goes... the most time consuming bit was the designs.

I'd love to hear which is your favorite! Mine, personally, is Doctor Who... but that could be because I'm newly obsessed with the show!

Posted by on Thu, 26 Aug 2010
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Haitus, perhaps.

This past Thursday I went to my first class for the summer. It was raining and mid-rush hour, so it took about an hour to get there, and I came home with several assignments: a 1 page paper due this Tuesday, a 10 page paper due this Thursday, a 10-15 min presentation to give on Thursday, and several cases and articles to read.

Which wouldn't be SO bad if I didn't also have a Monday/Wednesday class starting today (thankfully at a closer location than my Tues/Thurs).

Yes, you heard me right: I'll be continuing to work full time, and then going pretty much straight to class from there (4 days a week) and going to bed to continue the cycle, and working on all of my homework all weekend.

All of this is just to say that posting may be a bit sparse for the next six weeks while I attempt to have my MBA courses complete by mid-July!

P.S. I wrote my 10 page paper (topic: Marketing Research Methods on a Global Scale) in about 8-9 hours yesterday... complete with research and outline. Not bad, considering I only found out about it 3 days prior!

Posted by on Mon, 7 Jun 2010
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Tackling New Code Challenges

I just ran across a great article called Why I Love Reading Other People's Code And You Should Too. It definitely brought to mind some memories.

When I started on the web team that I'm on now, I was fresh out of college. I had worked with ASP.Net as an intern and learned a HUGE amount. (Side note: my internship experience was pretty close to what I would call ideal. I was given a series of web projects and tasks that slowly but surely increased in challenge and difficulty, making the job interesting and challenging. I was given a fabulous mentor who helped me figure out where to turn when I got stuck, and who made the work environment enjoyable. And at the end of the internship, I had something of a finished product to show for it... an internal application, built primarily by me from scratch. I now consider that experience to be a benchmark to strive for when dealing with interns.)

Anyway, when I started full time on this web team, I was no longer building applications from scratch (which, let's face it, is really fun... your creativity has a chance to shine and you feel so accomplished when you've built something useful). I was, instead, taking over an already-built code base for updates and maintenance.

Let me tell you... those first few months were painful. I had gone from feeling like a rock star intern to feeling like a complete moron. The developer who originally built the website had left the team (possibly the company) and those on the team who had maintained it in the meantime were incredibly smart and experienced, but to a point where they had forgotten what it's like not to know how to do it. Plus, it felt a little intimidating to ask. I was afraid of revealing how deep my ignorance was. I'd ask one question, and the answer I received would bring up about 15 more that I was afraid to ask.

I wish I'd come across this article then, because it has some wonderful tips for understanding existing code. Thankfully, though, I managed it on my own (with a little persistence, continued asking of questions and a lot of help from Google), and again learned a great deal from the experience. Still, it would have helped to have some reassurance back then that everyone faces that void, programmers probably more than most, and that it doesn't mean you're stupid... it just means there is a new challenge and a new opportunity to learn something new about your craft.

Posted by on Wed, 19 May 2010
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