P&M

I was a P&M ninja last year because I thought the class lends itself to really exciting and different types of projects that you have a good amount of control over. I don’t have time in my semester this year to be a ninja, but I’d like to remind the Olin Community about cool projects students have done in past years through Frankly Speaking.

Here are 6 projects that were submitted via the form I sent out on the CarpeDiem and HelpMe mailing list. 

Project/year: CAD Buddy (2018)
Person/part of team?: Nathan Estill (yes)
What was exciting? We got invited to Solidworks to pitch the idea and talk about it.
What did you learn? I think I learned about how many product decisions are dictated by the past standards that have been set and how many older customers are the bulk of user groups.

Project/year: The Investigators (2019)
Person/part of team?: Anonymous (yes)
What was exciting? It kept people talking, interacted with the whole community, solved a problem help me couldn’t solve.

What did you learn? To pick a good team.

Project/year: Button/pins. Included the Mark Pins (2018)
Person/part of team?: Anonymous (2019)
What was exciting? This project was the start of pride pins made for OPEN  (because we were marketing towards Wellesley students lol). I also got paid $5 for a Mark Pin by Caitrin Lynch.
What did you learn? How to use the button maker in the library and that memes are profitable. 

Project/year: <info.olin.build> (2018)
Person/part of team?: Kyle Emmi (yes)
What was exciting? I had come up with the idea during an in-class brainstorming session and watched it grow as I added more and more post-it notes with different features and information that should be included. This was in the beginning of the class so when I finally pursued the idea in the final project, I was able to see my original idea change shape into a final and very usable product.
What did you learn? That a group of highly motivated people with a good skill set can get a lot done in a very very short amount of time with the right idea.

Project/year: Disposable Cup usage at Olin (2018)
Person/part of team?: Corey Cochran-Lepiz (yes)
What was exciting? I got to chat with the kitchen staff and know more about the campus usage of disposable cups directly from the source. We also got to hear about previous systems they have experimented with which gave our project a jump start into brainstorming new ideas that they haven’t tried yet with their blessing to conduct our own experiments.
What did you learn? I learned that the DH ran through a couple thousand(?) disposable cups a week and that previously they tried a system where they gave people reusable cups to use but despite that people still preferred the disposable ones. (And more often than not they would toss it into the trash can which renders the compostable aspect moot)

Other comments: I had a lot of fun in this project and even extended it to my final where we spoke with coffee shops about the issue.

Project/year: Poptalks! (2018) Our final value proposition was to “encourage meaningful discussion within the Olin community by organizing and lightly facilitating conversation surrounding topics that are usually avoided.” After getting formed in P&M, PopTalks grew into a club that has been around for 3 semesters and counting.
Person/part of team?: David Freeman (yes)
What was exciting? We used this project to carve out a little space in Olin where we could engage with our community in a way that felt really good and nourishing.
What did you learn? I learned that I have permission to shape projects into what resonates with me. There can be a balance between stretching myself in learning and staying true to where my heart is, and this P&M project was my first opportunity to discover how meaningful it can be to follow my heart in Olin projects.

Project/year: Waffle Food Cart (2018)
Person/part of team?: Jordan Crawford-O’Banner (no)
What was exciting? It seemed like they did a lot of good work and testing.
What did you learn? I thought it was an interesting look into what is important for restaurants to be successful.

Project/year: <info.olin.build> (2018) a website to help people navigate stuff on Olin
Person/part of team?: Anonymous (no)
What was exciting? It helped me, as a user. I still use it even now.
What did you learn? I learned that a static Olin-centered P&M project can make a difference.

Project/year: A concert finding app (2017)
Person/part of team?:  Allison Basore (yes)
What was exciting? We got a lot of interest from our user group. Ultimately, the idea itself was not that exciting, but the concept that we could build something that people wanted was very exciting.  
What did you learn? Besides learning how to talk to strangers for the first time, I learned how to identify value in an idea. 

My Riding Stables: Life with Horses (Review)

I am not a gamer girl. I play farming simulators and that’s about it. 

I grew up playing Farmville (Zenya) before smartphones allowed you to check on your crops. I was in a Facebook group with mostly old people where people shared extra animals. I was friends with my classmates’ parents not my classmates. 

Over the summer I started playing Stardew Valley (Eric Barone) on PC which I will maybe write a review on later (I have strong feelings on it after sharing it with unappreciative friends). To this day I’ve logged 100+ hours on it.

But last semester, I needed something to look forward to at the end of finals. So I split a Switch Game with Mark Goldwater ‘21 as a joke during Cyber Monday sales.

I saw this game and I was like, “Haha, it would be so funny if we bought this.” So we did and it was. 

Let me be clear: you would play this game as you would watch a bad movie. It was made in Unity originally for PS2. Anupama Krishnan ‘20, said she played it as a kid and nothing has changed since then. The graphics prove this isn’t a lie.

The gist of the game is that you bought a rundown horse stable, and you need to bring it back to its former glory. So you buy some horses (you also get to customize your first one), feed them, clean them, clean their hooves, fix their health, massage them, and ride them. There are nine races you have to win.

You have to make money to upgrade your place and maintain your horses. To do this you originally have enough money to buy a horse track where you train other people’s horses so they follow directions (more on this later). 

You can then save up to buy the following: a massage parlor, a breeding stable, and a guest house. In the massage parlor, (which is the most efficient way to make money) you massage horses. In the breeding stable, you pair one of your horses with a stud and instantly produce a horse for a client. Lastly, the guest house can be upgraded to host up to 9 guests which stand in front of your house waiting for you to check in (see bullet 9 on the following list).

It’s a terrible game in a few ways:

1 Your person can’t turn, and thus you must do multi step turns or walk backwards.

2 There isn’t really an explanation of the controls. (Two examples are: turning your horse in races and completing a massage.)

3 You can only have 6 horses at a time.

4 In the track you own, the horses don’t have a turn animation and it’s scary.

5 When you clean their hooves, the hoof will just go away and come at you in the screen which is alarming as well.

6 Everytime you feed your horse, it scoots you to the right as you dab.

7 You can only buy a certain quantity of items at a time. (ie 10 supplements)

8 The only way you learn what you should be doing is because you realize things are going really bad.

9 This guests just check out your horses without warning and return them to you filthy as heck.

10 The quality of your stable is based on how many races you’ve completed, but you can only complete one race a week. 

Which brings me to the fact that I’ve put more hours into this game than I’d like to admit because I still have to feed and clean my horses every day. 

If you’d like to try it, here are some tips when you start playing. 

A Live with the multistep turns and get good at walking backwards or you will waste your in game time.

B Do not feed your horses hay. Feed them either Barley & Oats or Pellets (Pellets preferred).

C When you feed them, feed them once without supplements and once with supplements. (This is how you make sure they have energy and heath)

D Do not skip the first Sunday of races, practice with your horse (the same one over and over for the week) starting Thursday. 

E Only check in guests Mon-Wed so they don’t take the horse you’re trying to race with.

F You check on your horses’ stats with the RZ button. If they have more than have health just groom/hose them down. Checking if they’re hooves are clean wastes your in game time. This is good for checking their health as well.

G Aim for the Three Gold Hooves, this gives you points (you can only buy certain things with points). 

H The Three Gold Hooves come from grooming (not hosing), cleaning their hooves, and massaging them (without a saddle) at the parlor. 

I To massage at the parlor, when you get the horse press A. Look at the yellow circle with green arrows. If an arrow turns off, move the brush that way. Click again. I recommend just looking at that compass (sometimes the fastest massage is when the brush isn’t touching the horse). 

J Enjoy the game, it’s pretty fun. 

Overall, I’d like to say that if the game didn’t have bad handling and controls it would be pretty boring. The horses are cute and you get to Dress Them Up with flowers in their hair. You also get to buy some cute outfits. 

Anyways, if you have any questions please reach out to me. Mark (he’s a bystander) and I sometimes play it in the EH2AL. 

Build Week Reading List

Editor’s Note: This reading list was curated over Build Week 2020 by those attending and moderated by Louise Nielsen and I (Erika Serna). Link to the reading list is <tinyurl.com/readbuildweek> which has links to the articles.

A place to share media that are good reading for other Build Week participants! Please look at the Code of Conduct for Build Week to determine if something is appropriate to add.

Moderated by Louise Nielsen ‘19.5 and Erika Serna ‘21 (please reach out with any concerns).

We ask that you include content warnings (CW) in your listings so readers can decide what they want/are able to engage with. The following is a list (in progress!) of example types of content that would be important to note:

  • Any type of abuse or violence, specifying the type (sexual, child, physical, etc)
  • Sexist, racist, ableist, and/or classist exploitation
  • Homophobia or transphobia
  • Severe mental health issues (for example, depression, grief, self harm, and/or suicide)
  • Drug use, alcoholism, or substance abuse

If you’re on the Build Week slack, there’s a channel for discussion (feel free to leave comments on this doc too) – we’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles!

Again, please add more (template at bottom)!

Peppermint-Chip Cookies

Recipe modified from https://lilluna.com/peppermint-chocolate-chip-cookies/ 

Makes 36-40 cookies. 

Ingredients:

1.5 sticks softened butter, 3 tbsp warm water, 1 c sugar, 1 c brown sugar

2 eggs, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp almond (optional), 1 tsp peppermint extract (optional)

3 c AP flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and your chocolate (8 oz Peppermint Kisses is good)

Instructions:

1) Cream butter, water, and sugars.

2) Beat in eggs

3) Add in the extract(s)

4) Incorporate half of the flour, the baking powder and the baking soda. Then incorporate the rest of the flour.

5) Fold in your chocolate (in this case peppermint flavored). 

6) Form 1.25″ balls. Cover them in flour. 

7) Set them 1.5 inches apart. Don’t press them down.

8) Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 10 mins.

Eastham Turnip Festival

Editor’s note: Upon request of content from friends with the idea of recipes, Mark Goldwater asked Vienna Scheyer to send him the recipe of the Mashed Turnips they made during their trip to Cape Cod. This story was too good to skimp on, and I asked for more. Prior to making these Mashed Turnips, they had gone to a Turnip Festival. This is their story. 

The Turnip Festival

Tell me more about where it was, when it was, why you attended, and how you all chose to attend this?

As our peers headed home for Thanksgiving break, we decided to embark on a Great American Pilgrimage. This time, though, we elected to break from the storied traditions of our forefathers and head Due East – more specifically, to Eastham, Massachusetts, to the Eastham Turnip Festival hosted by Eastham Public Library at Nauset Regional High School. We expected it to be a small event – we were not sure how many people lived on Cape Cod all season long, and we were even less sure how many of them would spend a beautiful fall afternoon in a high school gymnasium celebrating an underappreciated root vegetable. We quickly had that assumption turned-upside down when saw just how much traffic there was to enter the parking area.

Much like the pilgrims, we arrived at land that clearly was not ours and decided to push forward anyways – we parked on grass a short walk away from the entrance and followed the crowds of fellow turnip enthusiasts into the high school. We were kindly greeted at the door and were handed a schedule and map. Much like the high school itself, the schedule was packed – there were bands playing all day, a juggler performing for literally four hours in the auditorium, a turnip cooking competition in the cafeteria, local vendors, concessions, the “Turn Up Zone For Kids,” turnip games, and probably even more events that we could remember if we had not returned the map and schedule on our way out so the next festival attendees could use it. We started our day by checking out all of these events. At a table among the vendors, we even got to guess the weight of the enormous turnip (note that Google does not provide great results when you try to find the density of a turnip). We are still waiting on the call to confirm that we clearly had the correct value. 

The highlights, however, took place on the center stage (half of the gymnasium) – there we got to experience the blessing of the turnips, the crowning of the turnip king and queen (the library volunteers of the year), and performances from a competition for song parodies with turnip-themed lyrics (hearing a turnip-themed rendition of ‘Wagon Wheel’ was especially painful). There were also opportunities to experience turnip line dancing and a turnip shucking competition. Truly a wonderful day! 

The Turnip Blessing

Please write something here about the experience. Pictures are allowed if you don’t want to write something.

One of the most special parts of the turnip festival happened right at the beginning, with the blessing of a single turnip. A radio host from WGBH took the mic at center stage, held up a turnip with one hand, and with the backdrop of some wonderful instrumental music, freestyle rapped (or recited?) an ode to the humble turnip. We all cried.

Later, when trying to make mashed turnips in our home, we tried to recreate this blessing. While we definitely did not capture the beauty of the blessing we witnessed, we did replicate the emotional depth.

The Mashed Turnips
Recipe taken from The Spruce Eats and can be found by searching on Google, “The Spruce Eats Delicious Mashed Turnips.” Recipe was written by Molly Watson and rewritten by the contributors of this article.

Ingredients:
Blessed turnips, a small amount of butter, and misc. spices.

Instructions:
First, bless the turnips. This is the most important step. We honestly just peeled turnips, cut them into cubes, boiled them for 30 minutes, added a small amount of butter and misc. spices, and then beat the shit out of them with a (washed) nalgene.

Penny for a Thought

Welcome back to Penny for your Thought. Topics are overrated, but you are allowed to think about what the thought might be in reference to. Submit a Thought (not a Thot) if you wish. Also, the form was updated, and you can find out how in its description. 

Form can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/

FSPennyforyourThought

“My favorite movie is Big Fish because it is a unique story with amazing cinematography.  It celebrates stories, imagination, love, and seeing things in different ways! It gets me right here (points to heart)!” 

– Adva, Staff

“I’m thankful I have enough time in my life to think deeply about my values” 

– Anonymous, Second Year Student

“No matter where you land on the political spectrum, The Bell Curve, by Richard J. Herrnstein & Charles Murray is worth a read. It discusses the relationship between socioeconomic status and intelligence, equality of opportunity, and the consequences of large scale migration. If you’re interested, it’s pretty easy to find a free PDF online.” – Anonymous

“Speed Racer” 

– Anonymous, Third Year Student

‘IF THINGS WERE A LITTLE DIFFERENT YOU WOULD DIGEST YOURSELF THROUGH A CUT IN YOUR MOUTH. IT’S A RELIEF TO KNOW THERE ARE PROVISIONS AGAINST THIS.’ – Jenny Holzer” 

– Anonymous, Third Year Student

“The following is an email that I sent to my sister in 2006. She replied to it last week/13 years later. Unrelated second paragraph included for my own on-brand-Librarian time capsule lolz.

‘I have one final left, in two and a half weeks. The rest of that time I plan to spend reading books and seeing blockbusters. We saw Mission Impossible 3 last night and if you do anything in life, it should be to see that movie. It’s all that you could ask for in a movie.  There’s even a scene where Philip Seymour Hoffman beats up another Philip Seymour Hoffman!!!

My new form of procrastination is Wikipedia. They have EVERYTHING on there. Today I won a fight about zorses, in that they do exist. Wikipedia proved it. I LOVE Wikipedia.’

2019 notes: I still all-caps LOVE every Mission Impossible. If you want a truly terrible Mission Impossible movie, just watch Hudson Hawk (but don’t).” 

– Maggie Anderson, Staff

The El Paso Shooting and Home

While it took the white supremacist who aimed to kill the “growing Hispanic Population” 10-11 hours to get to El Paso, he could’ve easily have gone to my hometown of Laredo, which is only eight hours away from Allen, the suburb off of diverse Dallas. If you remember my story slam piece, I’m from Texas. Specifically, I was born in Laredo and now live in San Antonio. Except I kinda live in New England these days as I’ve been at Olin and have worked here over the summers for two years now. 

Sometimes leaving makes me feel like I’m guilty of a crime. When I was in highschool, I left Laredo for San Antonio because my mom got married. He had a job; my mom had just lost hers. It made sense. We didn’t choose San Antonio because it was safer. When I left San Antonio for college, I left to escape “events I can’t speak of sober” that happened at home. Not because Texas was unsafe. I mean it was, for me, but not because I was a documented Mexican-American. 

But the truth is, I went to a safer place for brown immigrants. People are more likely to be massacred at a highly Hispanic city, like the ones I left, than a small white college no one knows about. “Is my city going to be the next location of another domestic terrorist attack?”  is a thought I share with friends and family, even other Oliners. I should feel safe knowing that I’m not in those cities anymore, but leaving the violence feels wrong. I left, I did. But I didn’t bring my family with me. I left them to the coyotes.

They are people leaving violence, seeking asylum and dying doing so. If they don’t die along the way, they are put in concentration camps. They’re being starved, denied health care, left to die, and being sexually abused, again. But don’t forget why they’re seeking asylum. These people (families, children, or whatever you want to call them, just don’t forget they’re humans) are seeking a better place than the ones they’re leaving. I’m not going to detail what they’re leaving or what they’re experiencing because those articles just make me hurt all over. IWhat those who are crossing and those being detained are facing, whether they’re wrong or not, is inhumane.
Maybe the right word for what I’m feeling isn’t guilt. Maybe it’s shame. I feel ashamed for not suffering with everyone else like me. Maybe it’s fear. I’m waiting for the next attack to be closer. Maybe it’s disgust. I’m complaining about American Cheese while so many inexplicable horrors are happening.
I left my neighborhood, but I didn’t leave the violence on the news. I didn’t leave my worry behind. I didn’t leave the desire to be at home. A home currently targeted by white supremacy and over run with fear. Because even as El Pasoans are buying self defense weapons, they’re still afraid.Why would they need to defend themselves if they weren’t? My friends are all sharing posts warning of the next attack even if they’re false because we are all afraid. We don’t even know what to say about this fear, except the same thing over and over again: “It could’ve been us. It could be us.”
I have wanted my family. All this time, I’ve struggled to feel comfortable at this college and at my summer jobs. I was just one of the few like me. I was brown, but apologetic. I’ve struggled between knowing I should be worried about all the things happening in the border but being unable to cope if I was. Maybe if things were bad at college like at home, I’d feel like I found the right place. Maybe if instead of going to therapy to cope with the past, facing my nightmares would feel familiar enough that I could feign comfort.

I have dealt with terrible things often in my life, but my mom has helped me get through them. At college though, I’m alone in processing what events like the El Paso shooting mean. I’m isolated from my family in a time where I want them around me for safety. No matter how many times I video call my mom, that will not change. No matter how good our wi-fi connections are, our phones are incapable of sharing the warmth and hope my mother radiates. 

Last year, when the children crossing the border started being separated from their parents, I could not drag myself out of bed. I could not stop crying. I couldn’t show up to work. During that period, I went to therapy and was talking to my mom. My therapist talked about how maybe my obsession with the safety of these children was because I almost lost my mom several times, but that did not make me feel better. It was only when my mom lied to me that I had a sense of relief. She told me it was going to end soon. Here we are a year later. I knew that it was a lie. I was still able to tell people my mother lied to me and yet feel comfort me as it was the truth. My mom’s lie felt like a prayer. I didn’t ask her to, but maybe she knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it together without her trying to make me feel better.
So here I am, finding myself seeking lies, feeling guilty, ashamed, disgusted, and afraid. I’m not sure if I’m losing myself or growing a thicker skin. I’m just trying to get through college, like you are. I’m not trying to focus on the news and crumble instead of getting a degree. I’m trying to focus on the new problem set and grow, just like you are.
I want to thank everyone who has donated their time by protesting or volunteering with those affected or donating money to charities. Thank you for being public about it and calling those around you to help as well. Doing that makes Olin feel a little bit safer to call home.