Ari Does Unhackathon 2014, Play-By-Play – DAY 1


Ready for live updates, tweets, late-night insights from Unhackathon in NYC? Of course you are.


9:44 – On board the train with 2 other McGill hackgirls. None of us have been to NYC, and we have a whole night to kill! Such exploration! But first, 10hr train ride. Rita and Shanna have started brainstorming “super cute” ideas. Looks like a kind of comment feed system?

9:58 – Screaming baby. SOS. Shhhhhhh child shhhh. In other news, Rita and Shanna are arguing about colours in true #hackgirl style.

10:38 – I just found out why my computer was always completely full! Damn “Application Support” files. Just deleted 28 000 files, and now my computer starts up without complaining about how full it is. Ah, 11GB of freedom. I’m gonna work on some personal Android projects for a little bit.

10:55 – Getting ready for the US of A, we roll into customs with our classy Canadian passports. Did you know they smell like maple syrup and moose?

Canadians crossing the border! Watch out USA!

Canadians crossing the border! Watch out USA!

12:03 – Been sitting at customs for an hour waiting for people with non-North American passports to cough up money to get into the country. ‘Murica. Rita is going to eat me if the Café Car doesn’t open soon.




12:55 – Questionable American train food choices: giant plain-as-can-be bagel, wrap that contains half bacon, and, the kicker, a microwave “processed cheese-product”burger.

The lovely selection.

The lovely selection.

Cheese? Maybe?

Cheese? Maybe?

14:13 – It’s kinda pretty down here. Some nice views from the train:

Still water, Vermont in the background.

Still water, Vermont in the background.

I'm on a boat.

I’m on a boat.

Pretty hackgirl, pretty view.

Pretty hackgirl, pretty view.

14:26 – WIFI! I’m WordPressing, and Shanna is learning Node. The internet goes in spurts of dial-up slow and Google-office fast (I have no idea what Google’s speeds are, but I’m assuming they’re pretty quick). Oh well, at least it’s free?

Working hard, hardly working...

Working hard, hardly working…

15:44 – The train, the view, the food in your belly…a recipe for sweet dreams. It’s naptime. Kids, I have a lesson for you. Don’t talk to your fellow hackers about fonts before sleeping. May cause disturbing images of serif fonts (Garamond ftw) using claws to fight with one another. No, doctor, I’m not crazy. Shhh.


Sleep tight; don’t let the serifs bite.

17:00 – The sun is starting to set and it burns my eyes. The curtain (this sucker is straight outta ’59) provides no respite. The struggle is real. In other news, I think we’re near Albany. Wherever that is. Does anyone even live in the rest of the State of New York?


The struggle is real. I think I’m a vampire.

17:21 – THEY’RE LETTING US OFF THE TRAIN FOR A BREAK! HALLELUJAH! FREE AT LAST! But wait, when we get back on the train, there’ll be an additional 100 passengers to contribute to the delicious smell and temperature of these cars? Mmmm. Love it. Basking in the aroma of close human contact.

17:42 – During the brief venture into the outdoors, Rita and I ran upstairs to a little convenience store where I wowed the cashier with a hot new technology: credit cards with chips. Seriously America? Keep up! We also took selfies for you:


Try to look normal…

...or not.

…or not.

18:00 – Why does SHE get to be the normal looking one???

Maybe it's Maybelline.

Maybe it’s Maybelline.

18:12 – WHAT IS THIS? A bird? A plane? A vertical train? Superman? A beanstalk? A rocket? Am I going to die?

Up up up, can only go up from here.

Up up up, can only go up from here.

18:43 – America: let’s have a chat. Why do you eat so much? Literally every portion size is bigger than Canada. Let’s talk about Twix bars: why don’t you package them by the portion? I could see maybe packing in twos, like we do in Canada, because that’s kinda what your name is based off, twins. Cool. But no, you’re determined to shove 4 SERVINGS in a package, and label it “per serving”. Really? Who needs 440 calories of “cookie bars”? (And if you’re wondering: yes, I ate them all, and yes, they were delicious. No shame.)

Gotta eat 'em all.

Gotta eat ’em all.

19:34 – The “OMG WE’RE AN HOUR AWAY!!!!!!!!!” selfie series:

Cute, but wait...

Cute, but wait…

...nope. Crazy.

…nope. Crazy.


We have moustaches because we are better than you.

We have moustaches because we are better than you.

21:00 – We have arrived! We met with our lovely hosts, and the hackathon overlord Jon Gottfried (from MLH). Jon did a fantastic job of saving the hackathon world as we know it while making sure I didn’t get hit by cars while jaywalking.

We're here...let's scream!

We’re here…let’s scream!

21:30 – Here beggineth a tour of epic proportions, from Times Square to the Library to Grand Central Station, and finally to a place with food other than microwave cheeseburgers. I won’t bore you with the details and my super-tourist pictures, but I’ll give a huge shout-out to Jon and company from Major League Hacking: thanks for a great hacker welcome! First impression: I feel short. Why are the buildings so tall? I know in Montreal we have limits on height, but I didn’t realize it made THAT much of a difference.

The last supper (before our bodies turn into caffeine-powered coding machines)

The last supper (before our bodies turn into caffeine-powered coding machines)

23:54 – I’ve arrived with my lovely NYU host, Freia, and I’m settling down for the night. Pfft, nonsense. I’m downloading software I might need tomorrow, writing blog posts, and trying to plan how to best budget my time in NYC. Sleep is for the weak. And the week (because hackathons are on the weekend…get it? Haha. Funny. Not funny?).

Check out my DAY 2 post for a continuation.

Live news on Twitter, @arielle_van.


One thought on “Ari Does Unhackathon 2014, Play-By-Play – DAY 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s