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Part 1 clarifies the fundamentals of implementing access control on Serverless SQL Pools, and introduces the use case and requirements…

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CSS Art Tutorial: Creating a simple Santa Claus (and animate the snowflakes) ❄️


In this article, I’ll show you how to create Santa Claus and snowflakes with CSS+HTML. We’re going to use a few classes, some pseudo-classes, and in the end we’ll add some animation to the snowflakes!

medium.com/media/53212f587df58085d5625c40b67c6ff6/hrefTools and resources:
  • I’m using codepen.
  • CSS box shadow generator ➡️ cssgenerator.org
  • Clippy, for not your normal shapes ➡️ bennettfeely.com/clippy
You’ll learn:
  • How to create circles
  • How to write pseudo-classes, and specifically we’ll use ::before, ::after
  • How to add simple animations
For practice, you can:
  • Add more animations
  • Complete Santa’s body
The final result:medium.com/media/1f68207750a4c94594ce2b6f5d7f45fa/href

OK, let’s start!

The base 🖼️

The HTML code is quite simple.

<div class="container">


I’ll start with creating the background in CSS. To do so, I’ll use the body.

/*  CSS Custom Properties */
:root { --bg-color: lightblue }

body {
background-color: var(--bg-color);
height: 100vh;
display: grid;
place-items: center;
margin: 0;

Here is what I did:

  • The first line sets the background color of the entire page to a variable named --bg-color. Variables in CSS are declared using the var() function and can be used to store values that will be reused throughout the stylesheet. In this case, the variable is used to set the background color of the entire page.
  • The second line sets the height of the body element to 100% of the viewport height using the vh unit (1vh is equal to 1% of the height of the viewport).
  • The third line sets the display property of the body element to grid. This tells the browser to lay out the child elements of the body element as a grid.
  • The fourth line sets the place-items property of the grid container to center. This tells the browser to align the grid items along the horizontal and vertical center of the grid container.
  • The fifth line sets the margin of the body element to 0, this will remove any default margin that the browser may have added to the body.

After the body, I have the .container

.container { display: flex; justify-content: center; position: relative; }

This block of code is a class selector for an element with the class .container.

  • The first line sets the display property of the .container element to flex. This tells the browser to lay out the child elements of the .container element as a flex container.
  • The second line sets the justify-content property of the flex container to center. This tells the browser to align the flex items along the horizontal center of the flex container.
  • The third line sets the position property of the .container element to relative. This allows you to position the container relatively to its initial position, for example, you can use top, right, bottom, left properties to move it around.

Note: body and container are 2 classes I love to use as templates. I usually copy-paste them from previous projects. 😉

Create the head, the beard, and the mustache🫥

Let’s start our CSS art by creating a round head.

<div class="container">
<div class="head">

<div class="mustache-1"></div>
<div class="mustache-2"></div>


We will create:

  1. a circle
  2. add color to it
  3. position it relative
.head {
/* create a circle */
width: 250px;
height: 300px;
border-radius: 50%;
/* add some color so you can see it */
background: #f7cdaf; /* beige */

/* we need position relative b/s we're going to have a few elements inside the head.
The elements will be positioned "absolutely" in releationship with the parent class which is .head */
position: relative;

/* we also need these 3 lines for the elements that are coming inside the .head (the eyes, cheaks, etc) */
justify-content: center;
align-items: baseline;

After the head, we will add the beard with a pseudo-class. More specifically, we'll use the ::before.

.head::before {
content: "";
position: absolute;
/* add beard */
width: 250px;
height: 200px;
border-radius: 50%;
box-shadow: 0px 90px 0px 26px #c6c6c6;

This CSS code targets an element with the class of .head, and it uses the ::before pseudo-element to insert some content before the element (in our case this is going to be the circle and the shadow).

  • The content: "" property sets the content of the pseudo-element to an empty string, which means it will not display any content.
  • The position: absolute sets the position of the pseudo-element to be absolute, which means it will be positioned relative to the nearest positioned ancestor element instead of the viewport.

For the box-shadow I used a box-shadow generator, you can experiment with it here.

Time to add the mustache too!

.mustache-1 {
position: absolute;
width: 110px;
height: 90px;
background: #c6c6c6;

margin-bottom: 80px;
margin-left: 60px;
align-self: flex-end;
transform: rotate(40deg);
/* Now I want to hide everything on the top half of the head... (like a mask)
So, I'm using bennettfeely.com/clippy for this */
clip-path: ellipse(50% 26% at 50% 50%);

.mustache-2 {
position: absolute;
width: 110px;
height: 90px;
background: #c6c6c6;

margin-bottom: 80px;
margin-right: 60px;
align-self: flex-end;
transform: rotate(-40deg);
clip-path: ellipse(50% 26% at 50% 50%);

These 2 classes (.mustache-1 and .mustache-2) are quite similar and there are ways to write these with fewer lines of code! (An example will follow with the eyes.)

In the above classes, I’m adding the properties transform: rotate(40deg); and transform: rotate(-40deg); to rotate the shapes by 40deg.

Here’s what we got so far:

♦Create the eyes and the cheeks 👀

The HTML part is quite simple. Inside the .head we'll create the .left and .right .eye, and the .cutout (for the cheeks).

<div class="eye left">
<div class="cutout"></div>
<div class="eye right">
<div class="cutout"></div>

The CSS part, is a bit more interesting! I will start by writing the 2 classes .left and .right.

.left, .right { position: absolute; display: flex; justify-content: center; align-items: center; }

We’re going to use ::after to actually create and see the eyes. The eyes are done with a circle and some brown color.

.left::after, .right::after {
content: "";
position: absolute;
top: 50px;
width: 30px;
height: 30px;
background: #622f02; /* brown */
border-radius: 50%;

To separate the eyes, I’m going to add some margin.

.left { margin-left: -50px; }
.right { margin-left: 50px; }

💡Note: You can follow a similar approach for the mustache classes.

I’m pretty happy with the eyes so let’s move on to the cheeks!

/* cheeks */
.cutout {
position: absolute;
width: 60px;
height: 50px;
background: pink;
border-radius: 50%;
align-self: flex-end;
margin-bottom: -150px;

Note that for the cheeks (.cutout) we don't need two separate classes and this is because cheeks are inside the .left and .right .eye, so they already have "inherited" a margin.

The head is ready!

♦Create the hat 🎩

We completed the head! But to be honest our “creature” doesn’t look like a Santa Claus. Let’s add the red hat and see how it’s going to look like.

Inside the .head I'm going to add three new classes (.hat, .hat-belt, .hat-dot).

<div class="head">
<div class="hat">
<div class="hat-belt"></div>
<div class="hat-dot"></div>

I feel that the CSS part is pretty self-explanatory but if you have some questions feel free to ask in the comments section.

  1. I created a white ellipse (with clip-path) and on top of that I added the .hat-belt (as I'm writing this I'm realizing that the classes' names are not the best but I hope you get the point).
  2. Notice that the .hat and .hat-belt are the same width and height are concerned!
.hat {
margin-top: -110px;
width: 280px;
height: 140px;
background-color: white;
clip-path: ellipse(33% 50% at 51% 71%);

.hat-belt {
margin-top: -20px;
width: 280px;
height: 140px;
background-color: red;

Now to finish the hat we need one more circle (.hat-dot):

.hat-dot {
position: absolute;
margin-top: -110px;
margin-left: 70px;
width: 60px;
height: 60px;
border-radius: 50%;
background-color: white;
box-shadow: 3px 3px 36px 12px rgba(88,88,88,0.75);

The only new element is the box-shadow. Feel free to experiment with it, or if you don't like it even remove it.

Here is what we have so far:

Now I feel we’re getting closer. Our Santa Claus is almost done.

To make it a little bit cooler I’ll add the upper part of his suit. 👕

Create the body

Ok! Just a few more classes for the upper part of his suit (a.k.a the .body). Starting with the HTML, I'm going to add the classes .body, .dot-1, .dot-2, and .dot-3 (the dots are going to be the buttons of the suit).

<div class="body">
<div class="dot-1"></div>
<div class="dot-2"></div>
<div class="dot-3"></div>

Keep in mind that these classes are not inside the .head, as everything else was.

Ok, here goes the CSS part:

/* Creating the body */
.body {
position: absolute;
height: 150px;
width: 220px;
background: red;
top: 300px;
border: 10px solid darkred;
border-radius: 100% 100% 100% 100% / 100% 100% 0% 0%;

To create a fancy shape (like the body) you can also use this tool.

Now let’s create the hands:

/* Preparing the hands.
I'll have 2 hands ~ this code they will be on top of each other*/
.body::before, .body::after {
content: "";
position: absolute;
width: 30px;
height: 100px;
top: 60px;
border-radius: 30px;

For the hands, I’m using the ::before and ::after, so I don't need to add any extra classes. These, along with border-radius, will give us what we need!

If you’re still following me, you probably know my strategy, first I’ll create something and then I’ll separate it. With the code above, although we created the “hands” they are on top of each other ~ and you don’t have any color, so you can’t actually see them. Let’s fix that:

/* Let's seperate the hands */
.body::before {
border-right: 20px solid darkred;
.body::after {
border-left: 20px solid darkred;
right: 0px;

Perfect, now we have the hands. Time to move on to the white buttons:

.dot-1, .dot-2, .dot-3 {
margin-left: 102px;
margin-top: 25px;
width: 20px;
height: 20px;
border-radius: 50%;
background-color: white;

Yes! Our Santa Claus is ready! 🧑‍🎄

♦Create the snowflakes & add animation ❄️

The last, and optional step is to create a few snowflakes in the background and add some animation to them.

Starting with the HTML, we need one more class, the bg.

<div class="container">
<div class="bg"></div>


For the snowflakes, I’ll add a round shape but with 4 shadows, this will give me the effect of the snow! (Of course, you can be more creative and create real snowflakes.)

.bg {
width: 50px;
height: 50px;
position: absolute;
left: -100px;
border-radius: 50%;
top: 20px;

/* adding the 4 snowballs (as shadows) */
400px 60px 0 0 rgba(0,0,0,.15),
50px 150px 0 0 rgba(0,0,0,.15),
20px 30px 0 0 rgba(0,0,0,.15),
370px 180px 0 0 rgba(0,0,0,.15);

/* Let's animate them */
animation: bgAnim 3s infinite alternate;

For the animation I chose to have a duration of 3s forever ( infinite) and alternate (go up and down).

Let’s write the class ( bgAnim) that will change the location and the color of the snowflakes ( box-shadow).

.bg {
width: 50px;
height: 50px;
position: absolute;
left: -100px;
border-radius: 50%;
top: 20px;

/* adding the 4 snowballs (as shadows) */
400px 60px 0 0 rgba(0,0,0,.15),
50px 150px 0 0 rgba(0,0,0,.15),
20px 30px 0 0 rgba(0,0,0,.15),
370px 180px 0 0 rgba(0,0,0,.15);

/* Let's animate them */
animation: bgAnim 3s infinite alternate;

We’re officially done!

medium.com/media/1f68207750a4c94594ce2b6f5d7f45fa/hrefSum up💫

In this article, I described how to create a Santa Claus using only CSS and HTML. More specifically, we created the head and body with a few classes and pseudo-classes. We used the pseudo-classes ::before and ::after to achieve things such as the beard, the hands, etc. Many of Santa's characteristics, such as the hat, have been created with inner or outer shadows. Last but not least, there is an animation (created with shadows) for the snowflakes.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments!

Before you start creating something similar, it’d be good to know how:

  • positions work (mainly position absolute, relative)
  • some basic flex-box properties work
  • to play around with box-shadow
  • to use the ::before and ::after
  • Extra: animations

Feel free to tag me if you try something similar. I’d love to see your art!

👋 Hello, I’m Eleftheria, Community Manager, developer, public speaker, and content creator.

🥰 If you liked this article consider sharing it.

🌈 All links | X | LinkedIn

Originally published at blog.eleftheriabatsou.com.

CSS Art Tutorial: Creating a simple Santa Claus (and animate the snowflakes) 🎅❄️ was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Code Like a Girl

Bonuses, Biases, and Getting it Right!

♦A burlap sack full of one-hundred-dollar bills.

Let’s dive into what will be one of the most important and business-critical Medium articles of the year: Year-end bonuses.

I got an email last week from a person whose company had brought me in earlier in the year to talk about unconscious bias. This person is an assistant to a senior manager at their company and, while entering the team’s year-end bonus data into their payroll platform, noticed that every male direct report got a bonus above 15% and every female direct report got a bonus below 10%.

As the assistant in the department, the email writer knew how much the women had accomplished, how hard they worked, how much extra, unacknowledged work they did (i.e., business “favors,” which are expected of women and rarely asked of men), and thought these bonuses were grossly unfair. The well-rewarded men were also described to me as “pets” of the boss, whereas the boss often expressed annoyance with the women when they behaved in the same manner.

The email said, “I can’t take this to HR, because my boss is a woman, so they will tell me there’s no gender bias here, but I know there is. Also, if she finds out I reported it, I’m dead here. No one will ever find out, because bonuses are supposed to be secret, but this is wrong! What do I do?”

Luckily, given that this was a client, I offered to step in.

Without revealing any of the specific knowledge or where it came from, I was able to advise the DEI manager and HR executive that I had worked with that they had a potential problem. They needed to judiciously review all bonuses by department/manager for demographic patterns and correct any disparities.

I also shared the absolute ludicrousness (in nicer terms than that) of allowing one person to be the sole arbiter of something as enormously important and potentially bias-driven as a year-end bonus for each of their own direct reports, with no oversight or justification required. And don’t get me started on the requirement of secrecy around compensation, since that hurts marginalized, underpaid groups so badly!

But back to the bonuses…what if one manager thinks a great work ethic is to always be at your desk past 8:00 pm, regardless of what you accomplished during the day or what’s happening in your life, and another prioritizes work-life balance as the way to give your best? That means two employees operating in the exact same manner with equally valuable outcomes could get wildly different compensation for their performances. Do you think that’s fair? How does that protect your workplace from getting sued, and rightfully so, for discrimination?

If this might be an issue for your company, school, or organization, DO SOMETHING!

Yes, this message is coming very late in the year, and possibly too late for many reading it, as your organization may have already completed your bonus and reviews for the year. But if you haven’t, even if the plan is to do it tomorrow, it’s not too late to stop the process and put protections in place.

· Have a bonus review team that looks over what everyone is getting and the criteria that were used and determine where disparities exist, especially if those disparities seem to fall along gender, racial, parent, disability, native language, sexual orientation, or other identity lines that should never be the basis for compensation.

· Create specific benchmarks and priorities for what outcomes or behavior gets rewarded with bonus money and require leaders to discuss each one individually in deciding the overall value each employee deserves. Remember, you can’t claim to value something (like teamwork, mentoring, empathy, etc.) if someone who never shows that trait, but had the best sales numbers or the lowest costs, still gets a bigger bonus than the person who is displaying your desired values every day.

· Require assessments to be turned in and have an independent body decide the compensation that should be attached so that the person who hangs out chatting with the boss all the time about their favorite sports team isn’t more highly rewarded than the one who is always asked to proofread everyone else’s work and does so willingly.

When your workplace is not equitable, the people you lose first are the ones with the most options.

If you’re valuing people who put out fires more highly than the ones who prevent fires from starting in the first place, the fire-prevention team will get sick of not being rewarded and will quit, and you know what the result of that will be?

More fires!

I don’t know what the outcome will be for my client’s workforce. The assistant may circle back and share if anything changes, but I’m not expecting that and honestly can’t say whether I want to know or not.

This issue falls into the category of so many things we have to start getting right, even when it’s painful to do so, even when it requires changing systems that have been in place for years or decades and have been working just fine for some people. If it’s not working fairly for everyone, then it’s not working. Period.

So, if you need a New Year’s resolution, resolve to observe, honestly examine, and fix these issues whenever and wherever you can. It’s within your power! And doing so will make your organization and the whole world more equitable and inclusive.


Valerie Alexander is committed to expanding happiness and inclusion in all communities. She is a globally-recognized speaker on the topics of happiness in the workplace, the advancement of women, identity, equity & inclusion, and unconscious bias. Her TED Talk, “How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias,” has been viewed over half a million times and is used as a teaching tool in classrooms and boardrooms around the world.

If you want to join Valerie Alexander’s Happiness & Inclusion mailing list, go to SpeakHappiness.com/Inclusion to sign up and download the free workbook, Five Policies That Outsmart Unconscious Bias in Your Company. This newsletter comes out on the first and third Tuesday of every month.

If you’re interested in having Valerie Alexander speak at your organization or conference on Workforce Happiness as a Strategic Business Advantage, Outsmarting Bias, Identity & Inclusion, or the Advancement of Women, reach out through SpeakHappiness.com.

Bonuses, Biases, and Getting it Right! was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Code Like a Girl

Share Your Covering Story, and Other Actions for Allies

Each week, Karen Catlin shares five simple actions to create a more inclusive workplace and be a better ally.♦1. Share your covering story

Researchers at Deloitte and NYU surveyed employees across the United States about “covering,” or downplaying certain aspects of their identity to blend into the mainstream workplace culture. For example, someone might alter their appearance, not use a mobility-assistance device, avoid talking about their children, not bring their LGBTQ+ partner to a work function, or not challenge a joke about their ethnicity.

Roughly 60% of respondents said they’d covered in the past year, and 40% stated their team leaders consciously or unconsciously expect them to cover.

Covering comes at a cost, impacting an employee’s ability to do their job. As Kenji Yoshino, a professor at NYU and co-author of the study, explained, “When people have to work their identities instead of working their jobs, that can be a huge tax on them and on the organization because the organization is likely not going to get the best from them.”

The survey asked people to identify interventions that had helped them reduce the need to cover at work. The top responses? Teammates and leaders who uncover. Who share their story and its impact to make space (and hopefully safety) for others to do the same.

While I like this advice, I need to emphasize that not all covering stories are the same, nor do they create the same tax for the individual shifting their behavior. From any position of privilege, we shouldn’t assume our situation is similar to someone else’s.

So, as we consider sharing our covering story, let’s be sure not to add any “I know what others are going through” sentiments.

With that in mind, here’s mine.

When my children were younger, I didn’t include activities like “room parent” or “Youth soccer treasurer” on my resumé to minimize any concerns that I couldn’t do the job because of caregiving responsibilities. And I’ve never listed roles with my church because I’m concerned about religious bias. The downside? I was worried people might think I don’t care about volunteering in my community.

Here’s one more story. I’m a super fan of Zoom’s “Touch up my appearance” filter, which I swear reduces the number of wrinkles on my face, helping me combat ageism. Yet I get a bit nervous before meeting clients in person, wondering what they’ll think when they see the real me.

Now it’s your turn. Reflect on a time you covered an aspect of your identity and how it impacted you. Then, consider how you could share it with coworkers.

Repost this action on LinkedIn, or like it on Instagram or Threads.

2. Look out for fake diversity

Here’s a new thing to look out for. (I can’t believe I have to write this.)

To address diversity concerns of their speaker lineup, unscrupulous conference organizers may try to deceive you by creating fake profiles for speakers from marginalized, underrepresented groups.

Last week, engineering leader and author Gergely Orosz posted on X/Twitter about two upcoming tech conferences, organized by the same person, that list women speakers who aren’t real. The Register subsequently reported on the resulting fallout, with confirmed speakers dropping out and the conference being canceled.

Gergely Orosz on Twitter: "Imagine a tech conference having no CFP, as they reach out to speakers directly. They successfully attract some of the most heavy hitter men speakers in tech, and 3 women speakers.Now imagine my surprise that 2 of those women are FAKE profiles.They do not exist.Nada. / Twitter"

Imagine a tech conference having no CFP, as they reach out to speakers directly. They successfully attract some of the most heavy hitter men speakers in tech, and 3 women speakers.Now imagine my surprise that 2 of those women are FAKE profiles.They do not exist.Nada.

It turns out the organizer also “catfishes” as one of the woman speakers to promote his conferences. (Catfishing refers to creating a fictitious online persona to deceive specific individuals, often for financial gain.)

Allies, be aware. Examine the speaker lineup if you’re considering speaking at or attending a conference. Spend a few minutes online to check out the people purported to be giving talks. And if anyone seems suspect, reach out to the organizers. Hold them accountable.

3. Avoid unconscious demotions

I always follow my own advice. Except when I don’t. 😳

In Better Allies, I wrote about “unconscious demotions,” a term coined by my friend Dr. Suzanne Wertheim. These microaggressions happen when we assume someone holds a particular role that is of lower status than their actual role because of their age, gender, or race.

In my book, I shared this tweet by Dr. Marisa Franco:

“Tip: Instead of asking unfamiliar faces in your department ‘are you a student?’ ask ‘what is your role here?’”

Marisa G Franco on Twitter: "Tip: Instead of asking unfamiliar faces in your department "are you a student?" ask "what is your role, here?" This helps folks who haven't traditionally been the face of academia-- young professors, professors of color, female professors in mostly male departments --belong. / Twitter"

Tip: Instead of asking unfamiliar faces in your department "are you a student?" ask "what is your role, here?" This helps folks who haven't traditionally been the face of academia-- young professors, professors of color, female professors in mostly male departments --belong.

And a few weeks ago, I messed up doing precisely this.

I had just spoken at a university and was attending the post-event reception. I asked each person I met, “What do you do here at the university?” Almost all said they were students. Then, a young-looking man approached me to say hello. For whatever reason, I switched up my discourse and asked, “Are you a student here?” The event host, who was next to me, smiled and quickly answered, “This is Professor Smith.”

I could feel my cheeks turning red as I apologized.

Whether at a university or another workplace, let’s remember to ask open-ended questions about someone’s role to avoid unconsciously demoting them.

4. Seek connection, not perfection

On the journey to be better allies, we will make some mistakes. As I did at that event.

We’re not going to be perfect.

Yet, we can become stronger allies when we say or do the wrong thing. Not only can we learn from the mistake, but also share it and build trust with our coworkers.

Through vulnerability, we can forge connections.

A few years ago, I read Getting Serious About Diversity: Enough Already with the Business Case in the Harvard Business Review. The authors studied more than 400 retail bank branches in the U.S. and found that the more racially diverse it was, the better its performance — with one caveat. Employees at the more successful locations were willing to learn about racial differences and be unafraid to say, “I don’t know,” “I made a mistake,” or “I need help” when discussing issues of race.

These acts of vulnerability strengthened relationships, which, in turn, improved the branch’s financial performance.

I hope you’ll join me in seeking connection, not perfection.

5. Pay it forward

I hear from many of you that this newsletter is helping you become a better ally. That it’s your favorite email of the week. That you recommend it to colleagues regularly. That you appreciate my guidance and humility. 🙏

It’s an honor to do this work, and I don’t ask for much in return. That said, every December, I do have a request.

Please consider donating to Digital NEST, a non-profit organization I care about deeply.

Digital NEST creates free technology learning centers for Latinx youth in primarily rural areas surrounding Silicon Valley. The goal is to provide teens and young adults with the skills, network, and resources to launch their careers and soar. It’s impacted thousands of young people in the nine years since its founding, and I love their success stories.

As a board member of this organization, I’m excited about our plans to have an even more significant impact. I also know we rely on financial support from donors. Whether someone gives a few dollars or thousands, each and every donation makes a difference.

If you’ve received some value from this newsletter over the past year, please consider paying it forward with a donation to Digital NEST. On the form, you can dedicate your gift in honor of someone. If you mention me (Karen Catlin), I’ll send you a personalized thank you. (I’ll be notified that you made a donation, but not the amount of your gift.)

That’s all for this week. I wish you strength and safety as we all move forward.

— Karen Catlin (she/her), author of the Better Allies® book series

Copyright © 2023 Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.

Being an ally is a journey. Want to join us?

😍 Follow @BetterAllies on Instagram, Threads, Medium, or X/Twitter. Or follow Karen Catlin on LinkedIn

✉️ This content originally appeared in our newsletter. Subscribe to “5 Ally Actions” to get it delivered to your inbox every Friday

📖 Read the Better Allies books

🔖 Form a Better Allies book club

👕 Get your Better Allies gear

📣 Tell someone about these resources

Together, we can — and will — make a difference with the Better Allies® approach.


Share Your Covering Story, and Other Actions for Allies was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Join this exciting campaign from November 24th – December 15th for your chance to win fantastic prizes, that include 3, $1000 rewards. ($500 for Uptown Waterloo spending, and $500 for Downtown Kitchener).

How to enter:
  • Follow all the host accounts on Instagram. (@uptownwaterloo, @dtkitchener, @gkwcc).
  • Like the Instagram giveaway posts and share them to your story.
  • Let us know in the comments which is your favourite local business in the region and tag a friend you’d like to go shopping with.
  • Three winners will be selected, each receiving cash prizes worth $1000 ($500 for Uptown spend, $500 for Downtown spend).


  • This contest is not affiliated with Meta.
  •  We will never contact winners and ask for money, and will only message winners from one of the 3 accounts listed above.
  • Contest open to Canadian residents only.
  • .Giveaway starts November 24th and will run until Friday December 15th.
  • Don’t forget to use the hashtags #shoplocal.

The post Support Local Business Campaign appeared first on Chamber of Commerce KW.

Brickhouse Guitars

My Awesome Guitar Nails Solution!


Elmira Advocate


 The unholy foursome of Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura/Lanxess have never been up front with the public. I expect however that in private sessions (which are most common) with the Min. of Environment (MECP), Woolwich Township, Region of Waterloo etc. they likely have been. All four made it plain early on that Elmira/Woolwich would be worse off without the economic engine which a chemical company is.  Wages, raw materials, water and power consumption are all paid for by a manufacturer. 

Hence here we are in the thirty-fifth year since Uniroyal Chemical shut down our drinking wells (1989). The "cleanup"  has not been successful and in fact it seems clearer and clearer to me that for all intents and purposes Lanxess really aren't trying that hard and the MECP is O.K. with it. Afterall if there are no sanctions for failure (none so far)  then why should Lanxess continue to spend full bucks on pumping and treating? I believe they have degraded their offsite pumping to the point of merely trying to stop the spread of the contamination. While that has been the intent with on-site pumping & treating for decades they are supposed to be pumping & treating to the point of both containment and actual cleanup of the off-site aquifers. By Conestoga Rover's own figures that would require closer to 150 litres per second versus the current 64-68 l/sec. total off-site well pumping.

Lanxess will likely continue telling the public one thing while keeping our authorities in the loop. This also allows our political authorities the cover of "plausible deniability". For example if the company decides to cut and run all our politicians will publicly cry foul and claim that they did not know it was coming.

Hive WR

Change The Ratio Waterloo Region 2017


James Davis Nicoll

Ringing On Their Own Bells / Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story By Sarah Kuhn &amp; Arielle Jovellanos

Sarah Kuhn, and Arielle Jovellanos’1 2023 Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story is a graphic novel about Lois Lane.

Having surmounted all the obstacles small town America places in the way of Asian-American girls, Lois Lane leaves Macville behind for to the big city — well, bigger city — where she has won an internship at Cat Grant’s prestigious CatCo, where Lois’ journalistic talents will no doubt be showcased. Lois has a plan for her life.

Arriving at her semi-legal sub-let, Lois discovers her mother also has a plan for Lois’ life.

Content warning: comic book minutiae.

James Bow

Wow. (The Green Party takes Kitchener Centre by-election with 48% of the vote)

Wow. It looks like the Green Party took Kitchener Centre in the provincial by-election, defeating the NDP candidate who was a popular city councillor, and who was representing the party who'd held the seat last. The Greens appear to have 48% of the vote.

I credit this almost entirely to the Green Party ground game, which got out early and worked extremely hard. It probably helped to have Mike Morrice's support (the federal MP, also Green), but there's ground game, and then there's this result:

Aislinn Clancy (Green) - 10,490 (48%)
Debbie Chapman (NDP) - 5,732 (26.2%)
Rob Elliot (CPC) - 2,959 (13.5%)
Kelly Steiss (Lib) - 1,692 (7.7%)
Paul Simoes (New Blue) - 517 (2.4%)
Plus 13 also-rans, including the affable kook John Turmel, who got 11 votes and another notch in his belt. (Note that, as I write this, 90% of the vote has been tallied)

When you consider this result, and you consider Mike Morrice's rise in 2019 and victory in 2021, I'm beginning to think that the Greens are a force to be reckoned with in Kitchener. It used to be said that a dead dog would win this riding if it had "Liberal" stitched to its collar, but that's no longer the case. The riding is clearly progressive, and the Greens have built a local infrastructure of excited and dedicated volunteers and workers who will clearly get the vote out.

Congratulations to Ms. Clancy. I voted for you, even though I was initially going to vote for Ms. Chapman. Because I loved the campaign you ran. And my eldest, voting in their first election ever, also voted for you. And was the one who asked for your sign for our lawn.

Brickhouse Guitars

Boucher PS-SG-12-163 Demo


The Backing Bookworm

A Friend in the Dark

To say that I was excited that Canadian author Sam Bailey has a new book coming out is an understatement. 
I loved her debut Woman on the Edge and her second book Watch Out For Her so I was eager to see what dark and twisty story she would share with us next. Sam is the sweetest person you will ever meet, but the woman has a dark side y'all!! And this reader is oh-so-thankful that she lets it loose on the pages of her thrillers. 

A Friend in the Dark is another ominous and tension-filled read that has a bit of a slow burn start with a believably flawed main character in Eden. Eden may take a bit of time to grow on you, but I loved that through her, Sam explores issues that impact women - their roles, expectations, insecurities and identity. You’ll soon feel Eden’s desperation to figure out who she is now that her roles have changed since she is no longer a wife, and her only child has left home. And when you add in sinister happenings and a ‘blast from the past’ relationship, things get spicy and compelling fast!

Buckle up, dear readers! A Friend in the Dark is full of secrets, deception, drama, and pasts that come back to haunt you. It publishes in March 2024, but get ahead of the book nerd herd and preorder your copy today. 

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to the author for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book which was provided in exchange for my honest review.

My Rating: 4.5 starsAuthor: Samantha M BaileyGenre: Suspense, CanadianType and Source: ebook from publisherPublisher: Thomas and MercerFirst Published: March 1, 2024

Book Description from GoodReads: A digital romance turns deadly in this sensual domestic thriller from USA Today bestselling author Samantha M. Bailey. Eden Miller’s world is crumbling. Her husband blindsided her with divorce, and her daughter barely speaks to her. In an impulsive decision to escape her present and revisit the past, she sends a friend request to her college crush, Justin Ward. 
One night twenty-three years ago changed the course of her life. It closed the door on Justin and opened the door to her husband, Dave. But what if Eden could have a do-over? Eden begins an online relationship with Justin that awakens her in ways she never thought possible, and his voice and words make her take bold risks. But something’s off. He knows too much about her and her family…he’s been following her. Eden is forced to awaken from her fantasy and look for answers—who really is the man on the other line? The truth about Justin—and about what happened that fateful night two decades ago—puts her and her family in a fight for their lives.

Brickhouse Guitars

Boucher SG-41-MV MY-1235-OMH Demo


Elmira Advocate


DNAPL removal, full hydraulic containment (Nov. 1991 Control Order); 2028 full remediation of groundwater (2000 Control Order).

Further MECP & Lanxess failures:  Canagagigue Creek cleanup not mandated according to Lanxess.

DNAPL and LNAPL remain on the former Uniroyal Chemical site both as residual and as free phase DNAPL and LNAPL. Locations are known and mostly shallow.

Full hydraulic containment in all aquifers never occurred. Three quarters of Upper Aquifer, namely north-west, north-east and south-east are not contained for egregious and or false reasons. Municipal Lower is not hydraulically contained nor is the Bedrock Aquifer. Municipal Upper routinely fails to achieve its' Target pumping rates.

 2028 full remediation of groundwater is admitted by all parties to be unattainable. This is due to the polluter being in full charge of the cleanup and the least expensive, least effective methodologies have been used despite excellent recommendations from various citizens plus UPAC and CPAC.

Only recently have we the public been advised that the cleanup of the Creek is voluntary. Good God!  The Creek soils, sediments and fish are full of DDT, dioxins/furans, PAHs, mercury and PCBs plus more most well above the provincial or federal health criteria. Human beings living along the Creek are also exposed. Lanxess claims that their bought and paid for Risk Assessment says that there are no unacceptable risks downstream. That is a lie produced for money by professional, self-serving manipulators. 

Code Like a Girl

My GRE Journey: Achieving a 320 and Beyond

Choosing the path of higher studies over a conventional job placement was a decision I made with unwavering determination. As someone deeply passionate about research and academia, the prospect of converting my internship at the prestigious ASEADOS lab of University College Dublin into a Ph.D. opportunity excited me. My guide’s encouragement and the satisfaction I derived from my work fueled my aspirations.

The idea of pursuing my education in the United States began to take shape around June-July 2023. The lure of the country’s diversity, abundant opportunities, and dynamic nature proved irresistible. However, I was delayed in embarking on this international journey due to various factors, including financial constraints, family support considerations, my hesitation, and the prevailing job market recession.

♦The GRE Badge by ETS

The Apprehension and Resolution:

One of my primary concerns on this journey was the GRE. I was apprehensive about the vocabulary-heavy, academically-oriented reading sections as a non-native English speaker. My academic reading primarily consisted of research papers with equations and figures rather than complex English. To overcome my doubts, I sought advice from my Head of Department and my guide, Dr. Aditya Kuppa, at the ASEADOS Lab, both of whom were my co-authors on different research papers.

♦Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

My guide assured me that GRE scores were not the sole criterion for admission and that their significance might be diminishing. He emphasized the importance of factors like GPA, research experience, internships, projects, Statement of Purpose (SOP), and Letters of Recommendation (LoRs). With this guidance and my strong research profile, I decided to take the GRE.

The Start:

Facing financial constraints and noticing that scholarships and assistantships were mainly awarded for early decision deadlines, I realized I had limited time to prepare for the GRE. I scheduled my exam for September 27th, but with ongoing internships, academic commitments, and paper submissions, I couldn’t start serious preparation until late August.

♦Photo by Say Cheeze Studios on Unsplash

With less than 40 days, I began my preparation journey, starting from scratch in vocabulary and academic reading. I stumbled upon GregMat, a valuable resource, and enrolled in their classes. I formed a study group with fellow GregMat students Neha and Vishal to boost my preparation.

The Realization:

My first official GRE mock test was a wake-up call. I scored 164 in Quant (a shock considering my confidence in math) and 143 in Verbal, yielding a total of 307. Realizing that overconfidence and silly mistakes had cost me in Quant, I focused on strengthening my math fundamentals — the problems I’m used to solving were always straightforward and rarely ever tricky {at least, they were not word-play tricky} — For tackling GRE Quant, I had to change the perspective with which I was tackling the problems, worrying about the corner cases I never had to think about previously. My Quant score drastically improved, immediately reaching a perfect 170.

♦Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Verbal, however, posed a significant challenge for me. As someone with dyslexia, I grappled with complex English and vocabulary. I recognized the need to work diligently in this area. For the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA), I believed in my logical and argumentative skills despite concerns about grammar and sentence structure.

The Preparation:

I embarked on intensive GRE preparation {(consistently invested) a few hours a day, given I have few commitments to my college and ongoing internships} exactly one month before the exam. I diligently followed GregMat’s techniques, wordlists, and exercises. Struggling to remember vocabulary, I created flashcards and increased my revision frequency as the exam date neared. My reading comprehension skills improved, though sentence equivalence remained my strong suit.

♦Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

Regarding AWA, I acknowledged my grammar and sentence structure weaknesses but remained confident in my ability to construct logical arguments.

The D-Day:

Five days before the exam, I took another mock test and scored 326. I revised vocabulary and reviewed GRE essay prompts to prepare for AWA. Traveling to the test center in Warangal the day before the exam, I encountered some last-minute stress when the exam started earlier than scheduled. Many other test-takers on the Reddit GRE forum said going to the test center much before the scheduled time would give us ample time to unwind and settle down before the exam. Still, my experience turned out different because the center managers rushed me through as soon as I stepped into the center. I was overwhelmed and couldn’t gather my wits in time, affecting my performance.

Despite this, I tackled the essay prompt about leadership with a strong and opposing viewpoint. The Quant section, though tricky, played to my strengths, and I hoped for a perfect score. Verbal, on the other hand, proved challenging.

♦Photo by Edvard Alexander Rølvaag on Unsplash

The moment of truth arrived when I submitted my GRE scores: 170 in Quant and 150 in Verbal, totaling 320. I got official scores yesterday, and my AWA score was 4.0. I’m a non-native speaker, mind you — From different stats I gathered and speaking to many people, those who scored around 156–158 in verbal struggled to get a 4.0 on AWA — confirming that the GRE values logical reasoning. One can aim to get 5.0 or 6.0 by improving sentence structure and vocabulary, but solid reasoning with simple sentences and good grammar will comfortably land you 4.0 or more.

♦Source: my scorecard :)

The Conclusion:

With my IELTS exam scheduled for October 27th, Early decision application deadlines loom, creating a hectic and anxious period, and I face a demanding two months ahead. My journey to a GRE score of 320 in under 30 days was challenging, especially regarding Verbal.

Despite my Verbal score falling short of my expectations, I am hopeful that the admissions committees will consider my overall profile and not weigh the GRE score too heavily. I plan to address my weaknesses and improve my English language skills as I move forward.

♦Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

I share my GRE journey in the hope that it provides valuable insights and guidance for those facing similar challenges. As my application process unfolds, I will continue to share updates and experiences on this path towards higher education and research.

Until the next post! Adios!!!

My GRE Journey: Achieving a 320 and Beyond was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Code Like a Girl

Synopsis for the book: AI for the Rest of Us

♦Midjourney co-creation: “information as an event horizon with two women looking at the horizon”

One of my favourite things to do is look up the etymology of words, it is akin to archaeology and reminds me of how many stories can be contained within one word.

The word synopsis comes from 1610s, “a general view, an outline,”
from Late Latin synopsis “a synopsis,”
from Greek synopsis “a general view,” literally “a seeing altogether, a seeing all at once,”
from syn- “together” (see syn-) + opsis “sight, appearance,”
from PIE root *okw- “to see.”
-Online Etymology Dictionary
♦Book Cover for the book “AI for the Rest of Us”

Below is a synopsis of the book that I wrote with my co-author, Phaedra Boinodiris. This is actually an excerpt from the book and is the last chapter. I wanted to share this “seeing altogether” of what our book is about and build hope for our shared future that our book resonates and inspires.

There is much we need to unlearn to evolve as better stewards of AI. So we dedicate this book to our sons and daughters and gentle readers so that you can champion the cause.
Chapter 1 — This book is for you: We need a billion more humans literate in AI systems. We need more people involved in the creation of AI. We need you; your story is essential for creating effective AI.
Chapter 2 — A conceptual model for Data: Data is an artifact of human experience, and information, knowledge, and wisdom require context, relationships, and stories.
Chapter 3 — What is AI: AI is a system that simulates human intelligence, and responsible AI aims to augment humans.
Chapter 4 — Stories that keep us up at night: The stories that keep us up at night are nothing compared to our resilience as a species. What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.
Chapter 5 — The end of opacity: The end of opacity or ambiguity means that we can hold corporations responsible for their impact on individuals and communities for their deployment of AI.
Hold them accountable for ensuring what they deploy aligns with principles for trust and transparency.
Demand that AI systems have frequent auditing by ethically qualified personnel.
Demand that companies take on the burden of the total lifecycle cost of ownership if they reap the benefit. Align the incentives for corporations to take on the entire lifecycle of a product from the planning, development, and production phase through the use and then onto the end of the product.
Chapter 6 — Positive Parenting: Positive reinforcement works far better than negative; incentivize the behaviors you wish to see more of, replicate what works, be curious, and know that we borrow our world from our children.
Chapter 7 — Rules to live by: Models of how to live are all around us, and we can be the model by unlearning and rethinking our accountability.
Chapter 8 — Myth versus Reality: Understanding the myths and truths about AI and who benefits when we perpetuate those myths.
Chapter 9 — Language and Archaeology: Studying language and archaeology can give us the understanding we need to survive current Generative AI models.
Chapter 10 — Cognitive Science and Ontologies: Cognitive Science and Ontologies are different ways to examine AI and information systems, the cure that grows near the cause.
Chapter 11 — Roles and Responsibilities: Roles and responsibilities for responsible AI include many more than are currently being sought after for AI jobs.
Chapter 12 — The culture to curate AI responsibly: Systems of inequality are perpetuated through taking power away or building AI systems that control versus augment humans. The culture required to curate AI responsibly includes a growth mindset, multi-disciplinary teams, and diverse and inclusive leadership.
Chapter 13 — AI Education and Certification NOW: AI Education must start now at all levels, especially K-12. We are 100s of millions of people short of creating AI representative of the human race.
We need more people with diverse thoughts and stories to develop AI. We need people with the imagination to design and build AI to reflect better the communities that AI serves today.
In this book, we have attempted to teach that we need YOU. So please reach out to us. We want to hear from you!

Synopsis for the book: AI for the Rest of Us was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Code Like a Girl

Beyond the Code

♦Photo by Elijah O’Donnell

This year I took a brief hiatus from technical writing to dive into a Full Stack Software Engineering fellowship. I had one nagging question on my mind that I hoped the fellowship would answer. It did.

The Fellowship

Fellowships are common but they can vary widely. Especially in the world of Technology (Tech). Some are for making Social impact through Tech, like Notley. Others can be for advanced or specialized training in Tech fields. Like Formation. They also impose their own requirements for the benefits that they offer.

I joined Formation and worked with mentors from some renowned companies on algorithms, architecture, and design. It felt like a crash course in a missing manual for modern software engineering and Tech job interviews. Along the way, I learned to appreciate other programming languages, like Python, and their similarities to my JavaScript. This piqued my interest in Data Engineering — turning raw data into meaningful insights. However, I am still a User Interface (UI) Engineer at heart. Advancing my engineering methods to create functional and appealing user interfaces is still my favorite cup of tea.

The Nagging Question

Most software engineers have gone through more job interviews than we’d like to admit. I am no exception. Some interviews span days, and others leave you questioning the job description. A few years ago, I had an interview at a reputable company that left me salty. For the sake of brevity, I won’t regale you with all the juicy details. Let’s save that for a future coffee date.

The short of it is I bombed that interview, and I wasn’t satisfied with the feedback. I wanted to know:

  • Why were my interviewers expecting specific answers to their questions?
  • Why was I the only person well-versed in interpersonal skills during the 1-on-1 interviews?
  • Why did all my interviewers appear to be male individuals, although the engineering team had female members as well?
  • Why were my interviewers representatives of one painfully obvious background?

Most of all, I wanted to know: what did they know that I didn’t? This was my nagging question.

This interview happened before the recent push for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). At the time, I believed changing people’s perceptions of race and gender was harder than learning some new software engineering concepts. So, I chose the latter.

So, what made those interviewers different from me (beyond race and gender)?

  • They read different books — like Alex Xu’s System Design Interview, Martin Kleppmann’s Designing Data-Intensive Applications, and Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things.
  • They had efficient engineering methods for problem-solving.
  • They thought about Architecture and Design — Full Stack.
  • They had both experience and proven skills — different from years.

I think this made them better software engineers than me. Or at least fortified that perception. Despite the interview’s outcome, it ignited a blaze in my frazzled heart. Through my interviewers’ lenses I got to see the lay of the software engineering landscape. It wasn’t smooth then and it isn’t now. However, incorporating a culture of continuous learning makes navigating its terrain more manageable.

What now?

After my Fellowship, I decided to incorporate these new discoveries into my software engineering projects. Beyond refining my JavaScript and Angular, I also spend time delving deeper into holistic problem-solving approaches, patterns, architecture and design.

In the process, I have discovered some hidden joys like second-hand book hunting and a history of ubiquitous tools like relational databases. Perpetual growth may sound daunting, but there is more to love about this software engineering life than frameworks and code.

Beyond the Code was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

David Alan Gay

My First Full Adder In Logic World


James Davis Nicoll

High You Fly / Talonsister (Talon, volume 1) By Jen Williams

2023’s Talonsister is the first of two books in Jen Williams’ latest secondary-universe fantasy Talon duology.

Transformed (at the cost of her memories and through the application of processed titan remains) into a nigh-superhuman Herald, Leven repaid the Starlight Empire with eight years of service. She is now retired.

Plagued by visions of northern Brittletain, Leven resolves to visit that mysterious island to see why she has memories of a region that, as far as she can tell, she has never visited.

Github: Brent Litner

brentlintner starred faisalman/ua-parser-js

♦ brentlintner starred faisalman/ua-parser-js · November 30, 2023 02:03 faisalman/ua-parser-js

UAParser.js - Free & open-source JavaScript library to detect user's Browser, Engine, OS, CPU, and Device type/model. Runs either in browser (clien…

JavaScript 8.3k Updated Nov 30

Code Like a Girl

Optimizing System Design: Monzo’s Distributed System for Fee Data Gathering

Efficient Microservices for Real-time Data Collection and Generation of Annual Statement of Fees at Monzo Bank

Continue reading on Code Like A Girl »

Elmira Advocate


 Will Lanxess play the same game that Todd Cowan tried with me back in 2010.  Todd and I had sat down on two or three occasions and discussed the status of the Elmira cleanup. He already was unimpressed from various other professional sources that he had talked to. I was the cherry on the cake and promised to continue my work keeping up to date but as a member of Woolwich Council appointed CPAC (Chemtura Public Advisory Committee).  Then lo and behold as he advised me that I was being put onto CPAC, he and Dave Brenneman added a condition. I either had to give up my Blog (Elmira Advocate) or else promise not to discuss any Chemtura/Elmira/ CPAC issues in it. I was stunned and angry. I basically advised Todd and David in no uncertain terms that I had agreed to do volunteer work on behalf of the public interest and if they thought that I should somehow have to "pay" for the privilege then they were out of their minds  I was appointed without conditions.

Right now Lanxess (Ramin A.) are telling TAG (Technical Advisory Group) that they are in favour of doing something extra for the community in regards to the Canagagigue Creek. They emphasize that their whole Risk Assessment and or any extra are all voluntary. I do not know how they managed to wiggle out of both financial and legal liability for the devastation they caused in the Creek but the Ministry of Environment are not disagreeing with Lanxess's position. 

So will Lanxess go to their proven lousy poker player whom they've bluffed and bafflegabbed for thirty years and ask her for some form of ringing endorsement of them if they agree to say cleaning up two hotspot areas? Will Lanxess advise Woolwich Township that good press quoting Woolwich Township praising them is desirable  prior to them spending their money on any hotspot cleanups. Maybe if Lanxess have enough brass (they do) they might even sell their cleanup costs for good press from the Min. of Environment. Again if you will this is Lanxess's desired outcome. Do the absolute minimum (moral, ethical-legal?) AND get praised for doing it. 

It is without a doubt a fine time to be a dirty polluter.

Concept UWaterloo

Startup 101 | Register Now

Mondays from 6-7:30pm |  PHY 150 ♦

Want to know what an entrepreneurship journey looks like? Need to find funding and unsure of where to start? Startup 101 will kickstart your business knowledge with our simple hour long (sometimes more) themed sessions. Hosted by founders for everyone.

See you IRL Mondays at PHY 150 from 6-7:30pm. No experience necessary.

Startup 101 Schedule

Subject to changes

Upcoming sessions

Session 6: Dec 6*

HR, legal & accounting for startups

By popular demand, this session focuses on demystifying all the unsexy but critical components of turning an idea into a business – incorporating, filing taxes, hiring teams, and so much more.  

Register | Session 6

*This session will take place on Wednesday, December 6th, from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM, at PHY150.

Past sessions

Session 5: Nov 20

Navigating regulatory for health-tech

Hosted by our special guest Gordon Wehner, who is an Expert Advisor at Innovation Factory. Gordon brings extensive experience in guiding innovative medical organizations toward the implementation of effective quality management systems and navigating international medical device regulatory requirements. With Nearly 35 years of experience in Quality Management and Regulatory Affairs, Gordon continually demonstrates cross-disciplined talents in problem-solving for complex issues in both mature and start-up organizations in the medical device industry.

Registrations closed

Session 4: Nov 13

Navigating venture capital

Hosted by Moazam Khan the director of Velocity health and co-founder of Curiato, providing smart sensor systems to remotely monitor and manage patients at risk of developing pressure related injuries.

This session is a great primer for anyone looking to build KW’s next unicorn.  we’re giving you access into the mind of a venture capitalist and training you on how to close a fundraising round so you can scale

Registrations closed

Session 1: Oct 2

Intro to startups and the entrepreneurial journey

Hosted by Alroy Almeida, Velocity’s director of deeptech. Alroy co-founded Voltera a rapid prototyping platforms for printed electronics — from traditional circuit boards to the flexible, stretchable, conformable, and biocompatible electronics of tomorrow.

Registrations closed

Session 2: Oct 16

Validating your idea and business

Hosted by Moazam Khan the director of Velocity health and co-founder of Curiato, providing smart sensor systems to remotely monitor and manage patients at risk of developing pressure related injuries.

We build things or pursue ideas out of curiosity or to build skills.  Sometimes that turns into a business.  join to find out when and how to make that leap of faith.

Registrations closed

Session 3: Oct 25*

Navigating start-up grants

Hosted by our special guest, Jeremy Wang, co-founder and COO of Ribbit, which recently secured a $1.3 million contract with Transport Canada to start testing its commercial cargo aircraft to deliver goods to northern Canada.

There is funding out there to turn ideas into something bigger but getting any is competitive and confusing process.  this session is great for anyone looking to learn what support is available for dreamers and builders.

Registrations closed

*This session will take place on Wednesday, October 25th at PHY150.

All sessions are booked for 6pm-7:30pm (we may not use the full 90 min) in PHY 150. See you there!

The post Startup 101 | Register Now appeared first on Velocity.

Concept UWaterloo

Foundations waitlist

Transform the way you tackle challenges

Sign up for the Winter 2024 Foundations waitlist | Applications will open in early January

Velocity Foundations is a great way to learn about important issues while building an innovative mindset.

Foundations unites you with students who are committed to addressing a major societal issue while equipping you with advanced skills, tools and direct access to expert guidance. 

Sign up for the waitlist Learn more about Foundations

The post Foundations waitlist appeared first on Velocity.

Concept UWaterloo

Cornerstone waitlist

Turn your idea into a startup

Sign up for the Winter 2024 Cornerstone waitlist | Applications will open in early January

Cornerstone is the culmination of the student entrepreneurial process. Validate your startup idea by finding and speaking directly with customers. Gain firsthand knowledge of your target market while joining a network of founders to share knowledge and resources. 

Sign up for the waitlist Learn more about Cornerstone

The post Cornerstone waitlist appeared first on Velocity.

Andrew Coppolino

Local mocktails & cocktails for the holidays

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Making spirits bright and keeping the beverage alcohol light: cocktails and mocktails from Waterloo Region bars and restaurants set the pace for the colder days and nights of the year, approaching the festive season and beyond.

♦The Viale by Proof Waterloo (Proof Kitchen + Lounge).

These specially crafted beverages draw on local ingredients and collaborate with local businesses at the same time relying on bartenders’ personal inspirations and experience that might also stir up the ancient history of both well known and less familiar cocktails.

For the full story, visit Explore Waterloo Region.

Check out my latest post Local mocktails & cocktails for the holidays from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Code Like a Girl

From Campus to Career: A New Grad’s Guide to Success at Google

♦Picture taken by Sitara Uppalapati at Googleplex

Over the past few months, I have been navigating the college-to-work-life transition as I start my job as a Software Engineer at Google. Days that used to be filled with classes, late-night study sessions with friends, student org meetings, and impromptu plans have become structured days with work from 9 to 5 and greater responsibilities. Balancing this transition and the challenges of being a new grad was initially overwhelming, but I have learned a great deal from tackling these hurdles over the past few months, and I want to share my top 4 tips for success with you.

Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

As a new grad, I quickly realized that there is a lot I don’t know. However, I realized this was normal as my biggest priority was ramping up with the team and absorbing as much knowledge as possible. After speaking with my teammates, I realized that everyone understood my position as a new grad and was eager to help me.

My mantra became “embrace the unknown,” and soon I was comfortable with the discomfort.

One way to embrace the unknown is to focus on the steps you can take to fill knowledge gaps rather than letting them demoralize you.

3 Tips For Embracing the Unknown
  1. Develop effective ways to learn. Seek out multiple forms of learning resources, whether it’s documentation, internal courses, or teammates. While reading, compile a list of questions to ask your teammates. As you get to know your teammates, you can ask them questions based on their expertise. This will also help you understand the roles each person plays on the team.
  2. Dive into the Codebase. When assigned your first task, don’t be afraid to dive into the codebase and read your teammates’ code. Even if you don’t understand exactly where to add your code initially, the exploration will help you in the future. Over time, you will develop a better understanding of how the different parts of the codebase fit together.
  3. Find mentors you can reach out to for support. Being a new grad can be scary. I recommend you find a mentor with whom you are comfortable sharing your concerns, accomplishments, and anything. You can contact your mentor for guidance and support, which will help ease the new grad transition. Seek out mentorship programs through your company to get matched with mentors, or reach out to people you have met that you believe will be good mentors for you.
Take Initiative

My next tip for success is to embrace challenges and take charge of your learning and growth. This can be as small as planning a team social to foster connections and collaboration or something more significant like recognizing a knowledge gap within the team and taking the initiative to learn about that area and fill the gap.

The biggest thing that helped me was realizing initiative doesn’t have to be significant. At first, I didn’t think I was ready to take the initiative until I settled into the team and felt more comfortable with my work. But this was because I had a very narrow definition of initiative. Some ways I have demonstrated initiative within my team is by organizing a team social, compiling and updating onboarding resources, and obtaining an accessibility certification to contribute to our accessibility initiatives.

Here are Seven Ways You Can Take Initiative as a New Grad
  1. Proactively seek feedback.
  2. Volunteer to take on clean-up tasks/bugs.
  3. Own your learning by seeking knowledge through documentation, courses, certifications, etc.
  4. Create/improve onboarding resources based on your experience.
  5. Plan team socials and contact team members to get to know them.
  6. Organize lunch and learns for collaborative knowledge-sharing.
Learn How to Unblock Yourself

Another tip is to learn how to unblock yourself so you are never stuck for long periods. Exploring ways to unblock yourself demonstrates initiative while helping you progress faster in your work.

If You’re blocked, Here are Eight Ways to Solve it.
  1. Ask your teammates questions. When asking your teammates a question, it’s helpful to understand your teammate’s expertise and determine who is best to approach for your problem.
  2. Read documentation to fill knowledge gaps that might be blocking your progress.
  3. Post a question internally to reach a more comprehensive network of people who can answer your question.
  4. Follow up respectfully if you are blocked due to others' lack of action.
  5. You should contact those who have recently made code changes to the file containing the issue you are stuck on.
  6. Create a document to track issues and solutions for future reference in case similar situations arise.
  7. Gain experience with using debugging tools and familiarity with testing.
  8. Document your problem-solving process and keep track of results for different ideas.
Ask The Right Questions

Asking the right questions is one of my biggest lessons as a new grad. There are no stupid questions. The key lies in how you articulate them.

Initially, I would ask my teammates my questions. They would then ask if I had tried some initial exploration and suggest ideas I had already tried. I would then respond with what I tried and the result, and we would do this back and forth until we established everything I had explored and the results before considering other solutions.

I realized that this was happening because I wasn’t asking my questions effectively.

Not only does this lead to inefficiency, but teammates might also feel like you should be able to explore issues more independently.

So now, when I ask a question, I also include everything I have tried and their results, along with my thoughts on the issue and what we can try next. If your issue is significant and requires considerable context, consider making a document that includes context and your problem-solving process. Doing this will demonstrate to your team members that you have spent time and effort to tackle the problem on your own, and they will also be able to use the information to help you resolve the issue.

Closing Thoughts: Embrace The Journey
As I reflect on my experiences the past few months and even the present day, I am reminded that the transition from college to the professional world is a unique adventure.

The transition can be challenging, but these challenges are building blocks for growth and success. Embrace the unknown, seek guidance, take initiative, reflect on your priorities, and learn to unblock yourself. Being a new grad can be tough but also a phase filled with invaluable lessons. Approach the journey with enthusiasm. Take it step by step, and be open to learning and unafraid of making mistakes. Here’s to navigating the exciting road ahead and discovering your full potential! 🥂

From Campus to Career: A New Grad’s Guide to Success at Google was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Elmira Advocate


 Thank goodness! Or am I just caught up in the euphoria of the moment? Did I see this judicial victory described in both yesterday's K-W Record and today's ahead of time? I did not. There was of course absolutely no doubt that the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) and their stooges are complete bullies and idiots. That was not ever in contention with myself. I've been on the receiving end of that former pack of gutless wonders nearly thirty years ago.

Robert Williams and Luisa D'Amato in today's Record lay bare what Justice James Ramsay had to say about former Chair Scot Piatkowski as well as about the Board's behaviour. When I say the Board I usually am referring to the senior administration however right now I'm referring to them as well as to the Trustees as a group. They are a contemptible pack of biased and woefully ignorant citizens not working in the public interest but in the School Board's interest. That is the proof of their ignorance (as a group) as they have through their public stupidity exposed  themselves and the entire WRDSB to the public contempt and derision to which they've long deserved. To be clear there are at least a couple of trustees who do not deserve my contempt and that would be Mike Ramsay and Cindy Watson. I suspect that one or two more may have voted against the majority of trustees in agreeing with the then Chair Scot Piatkowski to remove Caroline Burjoski from the public meeting she was speaking at way back in January 2022.

 Am I being too ecstatic in my praise of Justice James Ramsay? Maybe because I don't believe that I know him at all. Am I being too harsh in my condemnation of Justice Robert Reilly? Not at all. I know that as+hole only too well. He is a biased coward and bully who uses his judicial pulpit not in the public interest. Frankly he disgusts me. Getting back to Justice James Ramsay I would very much like to believe that his decision hammering the Trustees, Scot Piatkowski and presumably the senior WRDSB administration is the real deal. 

That's the rub. I've seen asinine decisions out of judges at the Ontario Superior Court in Kitchener in the past. Also at local lower courts nearby. I've also seen a far too cosy relationship between senior police admin and the WRDSB in the past. So is this decision from Justice James Ramsay the proper decision based upon the facts and based upon the law or is it just one more set up by a group of professional liars and manipulators?  This recent decision shouldn't even have been entertained by the courts in the first place. The WRDSB filed a Motion to dismiss Caroline Burjoski's Defamation lawsuit against Trustee Chair Scot Piatkowski. This Defamation lawsuit was directly mentioned by Judge Ramsay as he indicated his opinion that it was a very worthy/credible ? lawsuit based upon the facts and evidence before him. 

Time will tell but it is typical for the inward looking, intellectually incestuous idiots at the Board to file a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) Motion against Caroline Burjowski after she was publicly defamed by the Trustee Chair.  Oh and just for the record up until the Burjoski incident I was a fan of Scot Piatkowski. Boy has that changed. 

James Davis Nicoll

Starry Night / Insomniacs After School, volume 4 By Makoto Ojiro

Insomniacs After School, Vol. 4 is the fourth tankōbon of Makoto Ojiro’s manga series. Serialized in Shogakukan’s seinen manga magazine Weekly Big Comic Spirits, Insomniacs After School has been ongoing since May 2019. The English translation of Volume Four will appear in December 2023. 

Two insomniacs, Ganta Nakami and Isaki Magari, had a meet-cute in , their high school observatory, which turned out to be the sole place where either could sleep. Access to the observatory being dependent on there being a recognized astronomy club, the pair have been relentlessly working to restore the moribund club1. This demanding effort has kept the boy and girl busy, so that they have no time to ponder just why it is that they enjoy each other’s company so. Nevertheless, their shared hobby is fun and entirely calamity-free2.

In this volume: calamity strikes!


Agilicus: Municipal Cybersecurity Success Stories from Across Canada


Cordial Catholic, K Albert Little

The Catholic Tools for Spiritual Warfare (w/ Father Ken Geraci)


Cordial Catholic, K Albert Little

The Shroud of Turin is 100% Real! (w/ Dr. Gilbert Lavoie, MD)


Concept UWaterloo

Impressive representation of Velocity-linked founders on latest Forbes 30 under 30 list

November 28, 2023

Nine founders of current and alumni Velocity companies were listed in a cross section of categories on the media company’s 2024 list, published today.

The annual list highlights young entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their fields and Velocity-linked founders were named in healthcare, consumer technology, science and social impact categories.

♦ HEALTHCARE: Saving lives and creating a more equitable future
  • Vasu Nadella of Vital Bio
  • Christine Simone of Caribou
  • Nicholas Hui and Rui Su of MedMe

“Being recognized in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list is a tribute to both my entrepreneurial journey and the exceptional MedMe Health team, whose dedication has been pivotal in transforming how pharmacists deliver clinical services. Together, we’ve assisted over 25 million patient-pharmacists interactions significantly contributing to more efficient and accessible health care, the critical need for which was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic and still persists today.”

Med Me’s Nicholas Hui, named alongside co-founder Rui Su.
CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY: Creating the products that better your everyday life
  • Peter Gokhshteyn, Kevin Michael of Tempo Labs
SOCIAL IMPACT: Leveraging business smarts to save the world
  • Chee Hau Teoh, Co-Founder of Nfinite Nanotech
SCIENCE: Inventing the future from the atom up
  • Thomas Storwick and Kelly Zheng of Costal Carbon

Being recognized in the science category is ultimately a recognition of the tenacious and brilliant people on the Coastal Carbon team, who are among the best scientists and engineers I know. With our customers, who are visionaries in the seaweed industry, and our partners, who are experts in the fields of artificial intelligence, remote sensing and oceanography, we are leading a collective mission to restore the world’s oceans and combat climate change profitably and we are honoured that our hard work is being recognized.

Coastal Carbon’s Kelly Zheng, named with co-founder Thomas Storwick.
Read more about Velocity companies

The post Impressive representation of Velocity-linked founders on latest Forbes 30 under 30 list appeared first on Velocity.

Code Like a Girl

How Artificial Intelligence Does (and Does Not) Diminish Human Creativity.

♦“New York City in Van Gogh’s art style” generated in the Stable Diffusion Playground.

Recently, AI has become the hottest topic in the creative economy. With the growing popularity of AI art models like Dall-E 2 and Stable Diffusion, people are becoming more conscious of the ethical questions that arise with the production of AI-generated art and how it impacts human creativity.

With the tools previously mentioned, anyone can create gorgeous and impeccably detailed art pieces by simply typing a few keywords into a textbox, and since these programs only require basic English literacy to be used, work that once took professional artists hours if not days to do can now be accomplished by any person, regardless of their artistic ability. This fact is sparking some nuanced arguments about the impact AI has on art.

However, the debates over how new technology is impacting the art world are not unique to the recent outburst of artificial intelligence. Ever since computer graphics have made their way into the art space, people have argued that digital art is not a real art form since it is computer generated and there are infinite copies as opposed to when a traditional artist creates art and it is “one of a kind.” Though today, in 2023, using software like Procreate and Adobe Photoshop is generally accepted as a respectable form of creating art because the people who utilize these tools are still working from a creative process: brainstorming, creating, and modifying. Thus, digital art has not replaced traditional art as a whole, it has simply evolved how artists can make and share art.

So, why is AI art upsetting so many artists around the world?

As previously mentioned, technology has already been causing debate in the art world long before the implementation of AI. The argument that people love to wield against artists is that “art is just evolving.” Like with the gradual respect of digital art using tools like Procreate, AI art will eventually achieve the same acceptance in society.

Sure, this argument might have held significant weight in the 19th century when painters were threatened over the invention of the camera, but when discussing AI art, it is partially ignorant.

According to Oxford’s English dictionary, art can be defined as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

Many forms of AI art today completely diminish the meaning of this word. Pieces that require little to no creative input or emotional value are being praised and artists who spend long periods of time crafting their work in order to tell a story obviously are not pleased.

What about creative writing?

AI has also made its way into debates about creative writing, which is not usually considered to be an art form, but still requires the utilization of imagination, creativity, and innovation in order to tell a story.

Variety on Twitter: "AI has become a central issue in the writers strike. Writers on the picket lines fear that movie studios will use AI to write scripts - either in whole or in part - diminishing the role of writers or even making the job obsolete. t.co/xpxQYmiwaY / Twitter"

AI has become a central issue in the writers strike. Writers on the picket lines fear that movie studios will use AI to write scripts - either in whole or in part - diminishing the role of writers or even making the job obsolete. t.co/xpxQYmiwaY

In May of 2023, The Writers Guild of America went on strike to demand increased writers’ room staffing, viewership-based residuals on streaming, and more. AI, especially, has become a central issue in the writer’s strike. People fear that AI-generated texts are diminishing the role of creative writers. The WGA has explained that they do not seek to outlaw AI, as long as it is used as an assisting tool, though thousands of misguided Twitter users have responded to complaining writers on strike with a similar sentiment: “Well, their jobs can be replaced anyways.”

This is simply not true. AI is a tool that can be properly harnessed by creative writers in order to support their work but it can never replace the role of writers entirely because that completely devalues the reason why so many people have come to appreciate filmmaking as an art form. Humans do not only watch content for the sake of entertainment, but we also watch shows and films because we respect the effort and emotional value that the entire crew puts into telling a unique story. We watch shows and films because it feels special to see a character on our screen that we relate to and that was created by another human who relates to them as well. We watch shows and films because we care about learning from different people’s real-life perspectives.

Sure, we could watch a show entirely written by ChatGPT and get a few chuckles, but the emotional quality of that media will never compare to how Greta Gerwig wrote the entire screenplay for Lady Bird as “an achingly tender love letter to her hometown, to her awkward, yearning teenage self, and ultimately to her mother.” As with many artists and writers, their work is an extremely vulnerable expression of themselves.

Youtuber Drew Gooden shares a similar perspective in a quote from a recent video:

“I like watching TV and Movies because they are a celebration of human creativity. I want to see people tell stories about their lives or turn hard times into art because it’s incredible that it’s even possible to do that… I can’t even relate to the mindset of someone who’s like ‘yeah, but my computer could do all that.’”

medium.com/media/617d0696a3779abac8230ddf40fe9482/hrefHow could some AI programs help artists?

So, does that all uses of AI in art are unethical? Absolutely not. In fact, some AI art processes assist artists without devaluing the creativity that was put into that piece.

For instance, Dall-E 2 and Stable Diffusion offer Inpainting and Outpainting processes which both intake an art piece and fill in missing pieces parts of an artwork, and extend the border of the image respectively. These tools can be useful for real artists and they do not completely deplete the work of a creative process.

Kris Kashtanova on Twitter: "TUTORIAL: Basics of Inpainting and Outpainting with DALL-E and Stable Diffusion (locally + inpainting model SD 1.5) (watch an advanced tutorial at my Subscriptions) pic.twitter.com/FCtLMX4E2z / Twitter"

TUTORIAL: Basics of Inpainting and Outpainting with DALL-E and Stable Diffusion (locally + inpainting model SD 1.5) (watch an advanced tutorial at my Subscriptions) pic.twitter.com/FCtLMX4E2z


All in all, AI is evolving the art world. Though some people may argue that it is inevitable for AI art to eventually reach the same status as original work created by artists, it is unfair to neglect why humans need art in the first place. Sure, it is wonderful that people with little artistic capabilities can now visualize their ideas through the use of powerful software, but the art that took seconds to generate and was trained using thousands of other artists’ work will never compare to the art that was created by someone who put their time, energy, and creativity into crafting a vulnerable story.

How Artificial Intelligence Does (and Does Not) Diminish Human Creativity. was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Code Like a Girl

Exploring Terraform Loop Techniques: A Comparison of “count” vs. “for_each”

Terraform, a powerful Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool, provides versatile features for managing cloud resources. Among these…

Continue reading on Code Like A Girl »

Code Like a Girl

The Art of Influence: Tips for Successfully Pitching Your Ideas

Continue reading on Code Like A Girl »

Github: Brent Litner

brentlintner starred fxn/zeitwerk

♦ brentlintner starred fxn/zeitwerk · November 28, 2023 16:31 fxn/zeitwerk

Efficient and thread-safe code loader for Ruby

Ruby 1.9k Updated Sep 25

Check It Out WPL

Sip, Savour, and Celebrate – Delectable Cocktail Recipes for the Holidays

Let’s face it, now that it’s cold out, not a lot of people will want to be out and about. And with the holidays just around the corner, themed cocktail nights are the perfect way to hang out with friends and family without having the need to leave your warm and cozy home!

Here are some books with fun cocktail recipe ideas that range from the basics of being your own bartender to blender drinks and some delicious non-alcoholic drink recipes.

The Golden Girls Cookbook: Cheesecakes and Cocktails by Christopher Styler

If you love the show Golden Girls, then pick up The Golden Girls Cookbook: Cheesecakes and Cocktails – it’s a perfect compilation of recipes inspired by the TV show characters. With 24 delicious cheesecake recipes and 24 cocktail concoctions, you can learn to master cheesecake baking with expert advice and create delectable drinks garnished just like in the show.

The Complete Home Bartender’s Guide by Salvatore Calabrese

Salvatore Calabrese’s The Complete Home Bartender’s Guide is a must-have for your liquor cabinet or bar cart and will help you create picture-perfect drinks every time.

With over 800 recipes, you can learn industry terminology, key ingredients and syrups, how to choose a juicy lime every time, how to create layers in your drink, and the secrets to inventing memorable cocktails!

400 Blender Cocktails: Sensational Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes by Andrew Chase

All you need is a blender and the recipes in 400 Blender Cocktails: Sensational Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Recipes. Blender drinks are back in! Creating these concoctions can be daunting but with these recipes it’s almost too easy to create truly delicious, and sometimes decadent drinks that will amaze yourself, friends, and family!

Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking by Elva Ramirez

What do the world’s most talented bartenders concoct when they don’t want to use alcohol? Zero Proof: 90 Non-Alcoholic Recipes for Mindful Drinking answers that question with 90 lush and sophisticated recipes that take drink curating to new heights.

Cocktails for the Holidays: Festive Drinks to Celebrate the Season by the editors of Imbibe Magazine

With winter holidays approaching, there’s bound to be glasses clinking, and friends and family laughing. Cocktails for the Holidays offers up a plentiful collection of festive creations to help you celebrate the season.

With a wide range of recipes for all occasions and with ingredients that are super easy to use, this book makes it a cinch to create tasty drinks for everyone to enjoy.

James Davis Nicoll

Bomb Bomb Bomb / The Wrong End of Time By John Brunner

John Brunner’s 1971 The Wrong End of Time is a stand-alone near-future science fiction story.

Affronted by several ungracious rejections of helpful US intervention, offended Americans have retreated back to North America. For the last thirty years, the US has sullenly remained behind what it firmly believes to be impenetrable defenses, reveling in capitalist decadence while doing its best to ignore the existence of the outside world1.

Now the outside world comes calling, in the form of Vassily Sheklov.

Clay & Glass Museum

Sharing Experiences: Art of Recovery

About Sharing Experiences:

Sharing Experiences is an ongoing series of community art workshops and exhibitions offered by the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery. The gallery partners with community organizations to share lived experiences through clay. We thank John and Rebecca Short for generously supporting this program.

Sharing Experiences aims to support healthy wellbeing, build community connections, and spread awareness about important issues impacting people in the Waterloo Region and beyond.

Each Sharing Experiences project is unique, as the theme of the exhibition is chosen by the group. For this exhibition, the gallery was honoured to work with House of Friendship to explore the theme of recovery.


.stk-6n3m2rw hr.stk-block-divider__hr{background:#ff6900 !important} House of Friendship – About the theme of Recovery

The theme of ‘Recovery’ was chosen for these workshops as September is recognized as ‘National Recovery Month,’
to celebrate strength and honour recovery practices. Participants were able to dictate through art what recovery means
to them, in the same way they are supported and encouraged to determine what recovery means in their own lives.
At House Of Friendship we believe in dignified, and person-centred care focusing on the strengths of each
participant in our Residential Treatment Program, and we’re thrilled with the opportunity for them to express these
strengths through the workshops. ‘We are stronger together’

Addiction Counsellor, Addiction Services –
Women’s Residential Treatment

.stk-tu2lyl9{margin-bottom:0px !important}.stk-tu2lyl9 hr.stk-block-divider__hr{background:#ff6900 !important} #jtg-17416 .modula-item .jtg-social a, .lightbox-socials.jtg-social a{ color: #ffffff }#jtg-17416 .modula-item .jtg-social svg, .lightbox-socials.jtg-social svg { height: 16px; width: 16px }#jtg-17416 .modula-item .jtg-social a:not(:last-child), .lightbox-socials.jtg-social a:not(:last-child) { margin-right: 10px }#jtg-17416 .modula-item .figc {color:#ffffff;}#jtg-17416 .modula-item .modula-item-content { transform: scale(1) }#jtg-17416 .modula-items .figc p.description { font-size:14px; }#jtg-17416 .modula-items .figc p.description { color:#ffffff;}#jtg-17416.modula-gallery .modula-item > a, #jtg-17416.modula-gallery .modula-item, #jtg-17416.modula-gallery .modula-item-content > a:not(.modula-no-follow) { cursor:zoom-in; } #jtg-17416.modula-gallery .modula-item-content .modula-no-follow { cursor: default; } @media screen and (max-width:480px){#jtg-17416 .modula-item .figc .jtg-title { font-size: 12px; }#jtg-17416 .modula-items .figc p.description { color:#ffffff;font-size:10px; }} ♦ ♦ ♦ { "@context": "schema.org", "@type" : "ImageGallery", "id" : "www.theclayandglass.ca/feed", "url" : "www.theclayandglass.ca/feed" }

A series of 4 workshops took place in September and October 2023, and the resulting artwork was displayed at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery November 2023 – January 2024.

.stk-gwmrs1a{margin-bottom:0px !important}.stk-gwmrs1a hr.stk-block-divider__hr{background:#ff6900 !important} Images and Artist Statements: ♦ Amoreena Mallen 

Page 85 

“We didn’t get clean to keep running from life”, is a sentence from the Narcotics Anonymous basic text which resonates with me in my recovery journey. 

♦ Top Bolimon 

Top G 

I like it, I want it, I take it  

♦ Ryan Brown 

Morning Joy  

I created this to be a reminder to be kind to myself. And to start the day happy and mindful 

♦ Z. A.

Flower tray 

Trail of flowers  

♦ Ben

Still Learning  

I have been clear from my drug of choice for close to 5 years. The quote “Be quick but don’t rush” was something that was important to me in my recovery. Learning to slow down and learning to walk before I ran has helped me come to terms with my recovery. And that no matter where I am in life, I will always be learning.  

♦ Tim “Clayton”  

Ashtray of love 

I made this ashray for my girlfriend whom is also in recovery. Smoking is the only addiction that remains…  

♦ Kenneth Ram  


As an avid coffee drinker and former perfectionist, I thought a daily reminder of my human abilities could be useful for others to remember. The idea of being perfect is stressful and unrealistic. This ideology consumed me and fueled a life of addiction.  

♦ Paul T.  


I thought I was broken beyond repair. Through recovery I now can celebrate the flaws that make me whole.  

♦ Nyeduel 

The Interconnection Blossom 

The interconnection blossom was constructed using stoneware clay. The small butterfly represents the essence of growth, which the small butterfly transcends into the larger and completed, developed butterfly which is portrayed. The contrast of the sizes of the butterflies symbolizes that your inner butterfly will continue to be connected alongside your journey as a fully developed butterfly. This small butterfly symbolizes your inner child, being a part of you as an adult, and represents who you are. Both butterflies together represents how embracing my inner butterfly connects me to the foundation of who I am, and acknowledges the connection between the two. 

In my encouragement coaster, the outer lining with contrasting black and white symbolizes the resilience of continuing on, during trials and tribulations. Stating this mantra reminds me of the obstacles I have endured throughout my beautiful journey in this life, and reinstates me in my power to proceed in recovery, into the unknown, with courage. Green represents the growth and new beginning in life which transpires during recovery, and finding yourself again. In contrast, the red represents the fragility of the feelings of the heart, hopefulness, and the warmth of being your true self. 

♦ Anonymous 

Flame of Friendship 

I constructed this flame to show my best friend how important they are.

♦ Rebecca Ng 

Make Peace Out of the Pieces 

In our lives, there are pieces of experiences that we carry with us, and that shape us. These pieces are a part of what makes a school, and they are part of how we become who we are. When we analyze the pieces, some of them can be difficult to take in, yet, as we do, we grow, and there is beauty and pain, as well as in transformative healing. We each have the freedom to choose what we want, and how we want to add to our lives. Over time we learn what adds to our lives, and what doesn’t, and we learned to make peace out of the pieces. 

♦ Stacey Barletta 


This piece was inspired by my journey in recovery. Like a butterfly transitioning from a caterpillar, I too have the opportunity to spread my wings and become something more beautiful in the world each day. I believe a happy, fulfilling life is about evolving from my experiences, no matter how difficult, and being my authentic self. I not only want to embrace change, I want to be the change! 

♦ Luciana 

Arte es Vida 

I am the rose that blooms in the night. 

I am art, the most beautiful light.  

Healing through art, transformation through love. 

I am a force not to be reckoned with. 

Sharing Experiences: Art of Recovery Catalogue Sharing Experiences Art of Recovery (27 x 11 in) (4)Download

The post Sharing Experiences: Art of Recovery appeared first on The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery.

The Backing Bookworm

Being Henry: The Fonz ... and Beyond

Anyone who grew up in the 1970s and '80s knows about The Fonz. He was the epitome of cool and could command a group of people with a swagger, a thumb in the air and uttering a brief 'Ehhhh'. So, it may come as a surprise to his fans that Henry Winkler is not as self-assured as the iconic character he portrayed for over a decade.
In this memoir, Winkler shares memories beginning in his childhood as the son of German Jews who routinely berated him for his struggles in math and reading - going so far as to give him the German nickname that translates as 'Dumb Dog' in English. He internalized that feeling of not being good enough and he shows how their belittling throughout his life has impacted his sense of self as a husband, father, and actor.
Winkler went on to train at a prestigious acting school and struggled to read and memorize his scripts. It wasn't until he was in his 30's that he was diagnosed with severe dyslexia, which greatly impacted his acting career that required him to regularly, and often quickly, read and memorize scripts. 
I appreciated Winkler's vulnerability as he shares his struggles and his successes on his long journey to gain self-confidence. His decisions were sometimes hard to read - particularly in his relationship with his wife of over 40 years, Stacey, who shares her insights (and voice) frequently in the book. With this candidness, readers gain clarity about the man behind his famous roles and that despite being admired on stage and screen, there remained a part of him who always felt less than and was surprised at the support and success he attained on screen, stage and with family and his famous friends. 
"I wasn't trying to be better than anyone else. I was just trying to be my best self. Which in itself was problematic, because I was, in my head, always a little boy. Without any real handle on who my adult self was. 
Henry Winkler is so much cooler than The Fonz. Despite his debilitating insecurity, he continued to push outside his comfort zone by challenging himself personally and professionally - including writing the successful Hank Zipzer children's chapter book series which is based on a child with dyslexia. I loved all the (humble) celebrity name dropping and being reminded of the many acting roles and movies/plays Winkler has directed over the years. These reminders have me wanting to catch up on his work in books and on screen. 
This is a heartfelt memoir (which was wonderful in audio!) with a casual, 'meeting up for a coffee and chat with a friend' vibe as Winkler candidly shares his ups and downs in life, career and family. 

My Rating: 4.5 starsAuthor: Henry WinklerGenre: MemoirType and Source: eAudiobook from public libraryNarrator: Henry Winkler (and Stacey Winkler)Run Time: 9 hours, 22 minPublisher: MacMillan AudioFirst Published: October 31, 2023

Book Description from GoodReads: From Emmy-award winning actor, author, comedian, producer, and director Henry Winkler, a deeply thoughtful memoir of the lifelong effects of stardom and the struggle to become whole.
Henry Winkler, launched into prominence by his role as “The Fonz” in the beloved Happy Days, has transcended the role that made him who he is. Brilliant, funny, and widely-regarded as the nicest man in Hollywood (though he would be the first to tell you that it’s simply not the case, he’s really just grateful to be here), Henry shares in this achingly vulnerable memoir the disheartening truth of his childhood, the difficulties of a life with severe dyslexia, the pressures of a role that takes on a life of its own, and the path forward once your wildest dream seems behind you.

Since the glorious era of Happy Days fame, Henry has endeared himself to a new generation with roles in such adored shows as Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, and Barry, where he’s revealed himself as an actor with immense depth and pathos, a departure from the period of his life when he was so distinctly typecast as The Fonz, he could hardly find work.

Filled with profound heart, charm, and self-deprecating humor, Being Henry is a memoir about so much more than a life in Hollywood and the curse of stardom. It is a meaningful testament to the power of sharing truth and kindness and of finding fulfillment within yourself.

Code Like a Girl

The Kubernetes Learning Roadmap: A Guided Journey for Beginners

If you find yourself standing at the threshold of learning Kubernetes, wondering where to begin, this article is your compass. Join us as…

Continue reading on Code Like A Girl »

Apollo Theatre

Dee Dee Simon and Nathanael Barlow Crowned 2023 Amateur Night Grand Finale Winners

WHAT: The winner of America’s longest running talent show Amateur Night at The Apollo,  

Dee Dee Simon was crowned at the show’s grand finale on November 22nd after she performed “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”. From a global pool of vocalists, rappers, dancers, instrumentalists, comedians, spoken-word artists, and other performers Dee Dee Simon was awarded the highly coveted Amateur Night Grand Prize—which has jump-started the careers of artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, H.E.R., Machine Gun Kelly and the Jackson 5—as well as $20,000. Nathanael Barlow won the Apollo audience over with “For All We Know” performance, earning the title of “Child Star of Tomorrow” and a $5,000 prize.  

“The first time I hit the Apollo stage, I walked through the hallways, saw all the greats and I was like I’m really going to be on this stage. This is history and I felt like I was supposed to be here. This is the most amazing feeling in the world,” said Oakland-based Amateur Night Winner Dee Dee Simon.  

“I’m feeling wonderful, I’m feel grateful, and I’m feeling very thankful for this opportunity. To touch The Apollo stage felt like a rite of passage. I’m really watching my dreams unfold; I’m watching my dreams unfold,” said 16-year-old Child Star of Tomorrow winner Nathanael Barlow. 

A special holiday presentation of Amateur Night takes place on Saturday, December 9 at 7:30PM EST, and will gather an exciting roster of past winners for a special, non-competitive evening of holiday classics and other musical hits. 

The Apollo’s original, large-scale talent competition is hosted by comedian Capone (NY Kings of Comedy, Def Comedy Jam) and features perennial favorites including C.P. Lacey in the role of the “Executioner” (in charge of ushering off eliminated contestants); Greginald Spencer, the “Set It Off Man”; and Amateur Night’s longstanding famous house band led by music director, Michael Mitchell (MJ The Musical), featuring DaiQuan Davis on drums, Reggie Young on bass, and Matt Oestreicher on guitar and keyboard.  

Since its inception in 1934, the Apollo’s signature Amateur Night has attracted audiences from all corners of the globe and given a platform to what are now some of the biggest names in entertainment, including D’Angelo, Luther Vandross, Lauryn Hill, and H.E.R. Amateur Night has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feel the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience responses can help make or break a career. As always, audience members decide the winner of this year’s championship title, participating in the competition’s nearly 90-year tradition of “cheering” and “booing” each contestant to determine who advances.



Amateur Night at the Apollo is made possible by leadership support from Coca-Cola. 

Public support for the Apollo Theater is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

About the APOLLo

The legendary Apollo Theater—The Soul of American Culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, The Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world. With music at its core, The Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera, We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival. The non-profit Apollo Theater is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend The Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens, including the [at] The Intersection Arts and Ideas Festival, Women of the World (WOW) Festival as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, The Apollo has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at The Apollo are Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, and Miri Ben Ari; and The Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. For more information about The Apollo, visit www.ApolloTheater.org.

# # #

Press Contact

For more information, please contact:

Sydney Edwards
The Apollo
Public Relations Manager

Destanie Martin-Johnson / Elizabeth Cregan
Resnicow and Associates
jbalber@resnicow.com / Dmartin-johnson@resnicow.com
2212-671-5172 / 212-671-5183

The post Dee Dee Simon and Nathanael Barlow Crowned 2023 Amateur Night Grand Finale Winners appeared first on Apollo Theater.

Concept UWaterloo

Past Velocity Pitch Competition winner expands into U.S. market

Landscape Direct grows sales by 40 per cent since joining Velocity’s incubator

Blake Patterson’s first time pitching his business Landscape Direct was at the Velocity Pitch Competition last fall. Now, the online plant distributor has expanded into the U.S. market, selling plants through a distributor in Chicago to customers in Illinois and Wisconsin.  

“One of the reasons we started eyeing the U.S. market was through the Velocity Pitch Competition,” recalls Patterson (BAFM ‘22), co-founder of Landscape Direct. “Over the course of the pitch competition and the practice leading up to the finals, our eyes were opened to the potential of expanding the business up to different markets outside of Canada.” 

As a Faculty of Arts student in the Accounting and Financial Management program, Patterson tapped into the University of Waterloo’s entrepreneurship resources. When campus reopened after the pandemic, Landscape Direct applied for the Velocity Pitch Competition to gain insight into the startup world. 

“How we communicated our business evolved drastically between when we submitted the application to the finals event,” Patterson says. “After getting through the semi-finals, there was a pitch day at Velocity downtown Kitchener where we got advice from people who have deep startup experience and we listened to their valuable knowledge.”  

Before graduating, Patterson also completed an Enterprise co-op term through the Faculty of Engineering’s Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business. He also took four undergraduate courses from the Conrad School.

“I wish I had known sooner about all the entrepreneurship resources at Waterloo, it would have made things easier at the start,” Patterson says.  

Landscape Direct was co-founded in 2020 by Patterson, his brother Evan and Conner Krofchick. The trio started shipping out of their trucks and driving to customers across the province. But even in the beginning, their goal was to take it big.  

Read full story on Waterloo News.

Join Us On November 30 At Theatre For The Arts For The Velocity Pitch Competition Finals

The post Past Velocity Pitch Competition winner expands into U.S. market appeared first on Velocity.

Code Like a Girl

My 2022 Grace Hopper Conference Experience

Maybe it was the fact that the Grace Hopper Conference was in Orlando, Florida this year, but walking into the Grace Hopper Conference gave me the same sense of magic, wonderment, and excitement as walking into Disney World. As soon as I stepped foot into the conference hall, I could feel the palpable energy in the air as attendees rushed to attend talks and speaker events, check out booths at the career expo, network, etc. I am so thankful to have received the Grace Hopper Scholarship from the University of Texas at Austin Computer Science Department to attend this conference. I am beyond grateful to have the resources to thrive as an undergraduate student in computer science and business at UT Austin.

After milling around the convention center to get acquainted with the layout, my conference experience was kicked off with the opening plenary. Being surrounded by all the attendees in one room made me feel that I was a part of a large community. It was incredibly heart-warming and empowering to be surrounded by so many women and non-binary technologists. Hearing about the work and career paths of the speakers at the opening plenary left me feeling inspired and ready to take on new challenges.

At the conference, I focused my time on attending talks to further my learning in areas of ethics in AI, responsible innovation, and designing for accessibility. As someone who has interned as a software engineer twice, I also got to explore other areas such as product management. I learned so much during these talks and even stayed after to ask the speakers more questions. It was amazing to have the opportunity to not only learn from speakers with incredible backgrounds through panels and talks but also engage with them in conversation 1:1.

One of my favourite parts about the conference was the environment. Whether I was waiting in line for a talk, sitting at the food court, or exploring booths at the career expo, attendees would approach me to have conversations, and I enjoyed reaching out to the attendees around me. We would discuss our ideas for new products, the latest technology trends, our experiences at university, and our hobbies and passions. Through this, I met so many people from all over the world, with different experiences and interests. I received advice and gained new perspectives from attendees, while also getting to encourage and support my fellow peers through sharing my own experiences. At UT Austin, I founded Forge Non-Profits, an organization that connects students with Austin non-profits to build technological solutions that address the non-profit’s needs. I met a student who didn’t have a similar organization at their university, and after hearing about my work with Forge Non-profits, she was inspired to start something similar at her own school! I left the conferences with many new friends, mentors, and connections!

Of course, one of the best parts of Grace Hopper was reconnecting with my friends from summer internships, summer programs, high school, etc. We attend schools all over the country, and it was so great to catch up with close friends and explore the conference and Orlando together!

It was so fulfilling to be in an environment surrounded by other women celebrating each other’s accomplishments and all that we will continue to contribute to technology. The conference has left me feeling inspired and empowered. I would love to share my experiences and perspectives to inspire other women in tech so please comment with any questions, and I am happy to answer and share advice!

My 2022 Grace Hopper Conference Experience was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Code Like a Girl

Understanding Telegram Bot

I have always been interested in bots. I have tried to understand how bots work in the Telegram ecosystem and implemented a simple bot that can be extended for different use cases.

♦Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash

Telegram offers a Bot Platform that developers can leverage to enable their applications to interact via Bot. The beauty of the Telegram platform is it provides an API reference rather than building API by itself. This gives the possibility for the API kit developers to interface with the Platform and to add feature sets as they grow along. This gave rise to BOT libraries in different languages like PHP, Go, Python, etc. You can choose the language/library you like to develop your Bot and host on your favorite infrastructure.

♦Sequence Diagram for building a Telegram Bot

The above diagram depicts the steps involved in building the sample Bot. I choose to deploy the Bot to an EC2 instance since it gives me more flexibility as it scales.

The first step is to create the Bot using BotFather of the Telegram Platform. Access BotFather and send a message ‘‘/newbot’’.

♦Create Bot using BotFather

Once a new bot is created, you can name it. You will then receive a token to register the new bot with the Telegram bot ecosystem, which will identify the Bot Application you host.

♦Token Generation

Once you name your bot, an API token will be generated and shown like above. — I removed the token since one having the token can hijack the bot. It would be a string like `4839574812:AAFD39kkdpWt3ywyRZergyOLMaJhac60qc`.

♦First look at the Test Bot

The bot, once created, can be accessed using t.me/<botName>. So the bot name and the id with which it is associated within the Telegram Bot ecosystem are unique. Since there is no logic written for the Bot and it's not hosted, it would go to the default page of Telegram.

The language I chose to implement the bot is Python, and the API reference implementation I chose is `pyTelegramBotAPI` since I liked the Asynchronous execution. Async is essential in applications that might take longer to execute the command and can give the result later.

♦pip install pyTelegramBotAPImedium.com/media/f555f6619ebbfa2e59a49f80b198be26/href

I implemented simple commands start, help, and echo. When someone with a link to the Bot issues a command /start, it responds with the message, “Howdy, how are you doing?”. When/help is the command, it answers, “What do you want me to do?”

♦Bot interaction

The image shows that the bot responds to the commands, as I said above.

I am in the process of exploring CLI in AWS. Once done, I want to link these two and see how we can put the same bot to control the infrastructure.

Until then, stay tuned :)

Understanding Telegram Bot was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Code Like a Girl

Is it worth bringing your heart to work?

Many people often talk about the role of emotions in the competitive workplace of today. As a product owner in the IT field for 16 years, I too have struggled with finding the right balance between being direct, forming emotional connections, and challenging cultural norms. Come along with me, and let’s look deeper into these issues and the pivotal question:

Is it worth bringing your heart to work?
The Heart of the Matter

Emotional investment means bringing a tiny bit of yourself into your tasks with sincere feelings. The drive pushes you through obstacles to turn regular job duties into something meaningful to others. While this emotional connectivity remains potent, it has emerged as an area for introspection, considering that disengagement is frequently perceived as superior to engagement in current corporate culture.

The Honest Dilemma

In most cases, the workplace is a battlefield for those who wear honesty on their sleeves. Vulnerability fears and emotional investment misconceptions as a sign of weakness may provoke a struggle between self-expression and social acceptance. The question then arises: What can be done to uphold integrity and retain their professional status?

♦Photo by Anthony Da Cruz on UnsplashThe Drawbacks of Dedication

Emotional investment is a driver of dedication. However, we must also be aware that there are limits to it. Emotionally invested people experience burnout and emotional exhaustion at a higher rate and are misinterpreted as oversensitive.

Several studies have found that emotionally invested people are more likely to experience burnout and emotional exhaustion than those who are less emotionally invested. For example, one study found that nurses who were more emotionally invested in their patients were more likely to experience burnout (Aiken, Clarke, Sloane, Lake, & Euwema, 2002). Another study found that teachers who were more emotionally invested in their students were more likely to experience emotional exhaustion (Schaufeli, Bakker, & Van den Berg, 2004).

It is, therefore, important for people to strike a balance so that they don’t end up suffering from the passion that propels them to success.

♦Source: CanvaThe Power of Emotional Intelligence

Instead of seeing emotional investment as a liability, people can learn emotional intelligence, which will be a good asset. By Emotional Intelligence (EI), we mean, the capacity to read, interpret, manage, and apply one’s emotions as well as the emotions of others. It includes a number of capabilities and capacities that enhance one’s performance both as an individual and as a person within society. Emotional investment can be a weakness or strength depending on how one can understand one’s emotions, manage them, and connect empathically with others. This encourages teamwork, good interaction, and withstanding difficulties.

Embracing a Holistic Approach

The holistic approach considers individual life as an entity wherein emotional health is closely related to professional work. We can turn emotional investment into fuel to promote personal and professional development in setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and creating a healthy work environment.

♦Designed in Canva

Passion, integrity, and dedication are essential threads in a career that weaves together emotional investment. The evolving workplace culture may challenge tradition, but authentic connections between colleagues remain a powerful force. Let us be courageous enough to bring our hearts along on this journey because the combination of passion and work is not a vulnerability but rather a unique strength that can enhance our careers and bring greater satisfaction.

In its simplest essence, bringing your heart to work means doing something for which you love to earn a living. There are various advantages that this could bring forward for people and organizations. It contributes to greater well-being for people in terms of greater job satisfaction, better relations with their coworkers, and enhanced mental and physical health. It boosts organizational productivity through better innovation, lower turnover rates, and better customer servicing.

Bringing your heart to work means setting high but achievable goals, getting along with people at work, valuing the results of your efforts, not hesitating to try new things, and taking good care of yourself.

As we wrap up, your insights matter:

Have you considered yourself too honest or vulnerable in dealing with others? How did you handle it?
What is your definition of taking your “heart” into work, and what does it mean when considering your professional journey?

Thanks for the read. If found resourceful, clap, follow me, and subscribe.😺.

Is it worth bringing your heart to work? was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.