8 Bits with PJ Metz
Follow PJ on Twitter: @MetzinAround
Follow Chloe on Twitter: @ChloeCondon
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @TheCodeTraveler
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Chloe Condon 0:07
I believe we are live. I'm gonna choke now because technology is fun. And you're live. Alright y'all. Welcome to eight bits. And we are joined today by a very, very special guest. Welcome to the show, PJ. Hello. How's it?
Pj Metz 0:36
Oh, I'm alive and well today. It's been a good day so far I got to skateboard. It's way better than last night because last night, our roof was leaking. And so that was one situation Oh, no.
Chloe Condon 0:52
I want to learn how to escape. So it's too, it's too bad. You're not on this coast to help out. But before we get too much into skating and roof leaks, tell the lovely humans at home, who you are.
Pj Metz 1:05
Hi, I'm PJ. And I'm on the internet right now. Because I am learning to code and trying to find a way into tech after about a decade of being a high school English teacher. And I am making this shift and challenge with the help of and I need to know which way to point I did it right. I think Brandon, who is a great friend of mine, and he's a sort of unofficial mentor for me, but I am trying to become some type of developer or coder or a person who works in technology. And this is the very, very beginning of that journey for me, like very beginning I started two and a half months ago, so
Chloe Condon 1:49
and you have a twitch channel, right?
Pj Metz 1:51
Chloe Condon 2:30
Okay, so first of all, I have to say, as, as someone new to the industry, PJ that is very brave. I work with a lot of folks who live code for a living in live talks, be it back in the day in person or live on the interwebs and being vulnerable and showing people your failures and successes while coding online. I have to applaud you can be a kind of a scary thing.
Pj Metz 2:54
Thank you. Yeah, it's like I don't know enough to be scared. If that makes sense. Yeah.
Brandon Minnick 3:04
Yeah. Be fearless.
Pj Metz 3:06
Yeah, no clue that this snake is gonna run up in touch. And this metaphor, snakes are code and I just run up and I'm like, let's, let's try and make an integer here. And then it doesn't work because I don't know what I'm doing.
Chloe Condon 3:21
Well, now we need me to get you working on Python. So you can actually be working with snakes.
Pj Metz 3:30
Technically, I'm working with ASP. net. And ASP is a type of snake. So like, tenuous, but the connections there?
Chloe Condon 3:38
Well, I'm super stoked to have you join this industry. Because you and I have chatted before with Brandon. And I know that you're a fan of puns as much as I am. And one of my favorite things about folks from non traditional backgrounds coming into tech is discovering a lot of these puns. So I'm very excited for your pen journey into tech.
Chloe Condon 4:02
So we're gonna ask you a bunch of questions with eight bits and a little bit. But before I do, I have to ask so what kind of prompted this this career change? Like, what made you want to start pursuing technology? I know for me, I was an actress and I was doing a lot of day jobs like nine to five Monday through Friday admin jobs and recruiting jobs. And you know, discovered over time that maybe I wanted something a little bit more career focused and tech had never really been a something that I had looked into before. But what was your journey to this self to self taught path?
Pj Metz 4:37
Well, in the sixth grade, I got shipped off to computer camp, and I learned basic, okay, and I made a ball around the screen, and I played a whole bunch of Starcraft. And that was my introduction to that, like computers can do things for you. But then it stopped dead in its tracks. And I never did any kind of coding or tech. work other than like messing around on a laptop that my grandfather gave me when I was like in the 10th grade or something he was like have this old laptop it's three inches thick and it as 256 megabytes of space on a lot of that's a lot of room for my Gundam pictures.
Brandon Minnick 5:17
Never fill up that much space.
Pj Metz 5:18
Yeah, yeah. God. Um, but yeah, there was it was texts always been a thing I've enjoyed messing with and having around and doing stuff with. But as far as a career my brain always something in my head always told me yeah but that's for math people and your your language person and I was like oh well then that's it I can just be a high school English teacher. And to be fair, I am super passionate about teaching high school English, I'm designing my I'm teaching AP Lang next year at my school and I'm designing my units right now. And I'm doing a somatic grouping of units. I'm super stoked about that. But when I look at teaching, I'm I guess I have to say it plainly, I'm never gonna make a lot of money being a teacher. If I teach five classes a day, which is kind of full time for being a teacher, the salary I get is not enough. And it's never been enough since I started teaching. So I've always done coaching and being a mentor for a club or doing something extra teaching a sixth class to get extra money is something I've done a lot, I need
Chloe Condon 6:28
to be paid
Pj Metz 6:31
a lot look and I even switched to a private school, the payment is the same. But I'm still this huge advocate for funding public schools more because every child deserves access to a great education and you get a great education when you put more money into it. Um, so I'm never going to make a lot of money. But I will continue to be an advocate for schools, even if I switch out of schools. So this past summer, spring, after Coronavirus hit, I was having a lot of happy hours with friends and Brandon eyes friend group from Melbourne. We all met in Melbourne, Florida. And then everyone's kind of like separated and gone different ways. We have friends living in Chicago and San Francisco and Colorado. But we can get together on these happy hours and a friend was talking about. He was upset about the amount of money he was getting for his job. And he was like, hey, buy this much. And I was like, Oh my god, you're being underpaid by how much I make in a year. And Brandon goes, you know, PJ, if you ever wanted to, like learn to code and like develop some skills that could get you into something better and higher paying, I'd be happy to sort of lead you in the right direction. And I was like, yeah, yeah. And then I drink like three more beers. And because we had a thing in these happy hours, when someone came in the room, you would grab your bottle of whiskey and drink. By the way, that's the thing that I was doing. I don't know if anyone else was doing that was a hard and fast rule for me. And
Chloe Condon 8:00
Brandon has basically been Henry Hagen sure Eliza Doolittle. He's like, I can take
a current programmer. That's
Brandon Minnick 8:12
free. Yeah, I've known PJ for about 10 years now. And PJ is good friend of mine. And yeah, he's always been a super smart, hard working guy. And, and yeah, it's it's very unfortunate that we don't pay teachers what they deserve in this country. And I'm, I'm kind of hoping that more folks will recognize this, especially during the pandemic, with the amount of homeschooling essentially that we have to do for our children. And how much how much parents Miss schools. It's like, Yeah, well, imagine how much better schools could be because of xy and z. Teachers always been a good friend of mine super smart. If you have a master's in English, right? If I remember so. University of Florida. Go Gators. But um, so yeah, but he brought it up. It's like, dude, you could totally learn how to do this. Like you're definitely smart enough. And it just so happened to be that yeah, it was during the lockdown. And I was bored out of my mind had nothing to do. It sounds like a PJ if you just want to, like hang out for a couple hours this weekend. We can start getting into some code. And he just took it and ran with it. It's been really impressive. So yeah, PJ has a he's live streaming on Twitch, I believe you're you're coding every day, which is probably more than most of us are coding and even in the industry. And
Chloe Condon 9:48
it's, it's been really interesting to see, you know, especially with what we're doing here at Microsoft with the kind of global skills initiative to empower everybody to code and be able to learn for free online will link to that below that lovely video from Satya, but I've had a lot of friends who are actors and actresses and stage managers and folks who have worked in the entertainment industry have similar questions and and wanting to kind of pursue this new channel. And I guess a question I have for you PJ is you mentioned something that I myself felt as well, which is like UI programming. That's kind of a Mafi, like thing that I that's not me, that's not my brain. That's not my brand. That's not my brain. That's not I don't see anybody like myself in this industry. So what was it that like, ultimately made you kind of change your mind? Was it the pressure from Brandon because I know he can? Or what made that switch for you? Did you try something and it worked? Are you like, hacked into the mainframe? What was it?
Pj Metz 10:45
Yeah, no, I definitely had to plan it. And I had my three and a half inch floppy that helps save the world. It was great. Yeah. I really, I did read an article like before Brandon even really approached me or around the same time I read an article that said, there's studies that are showing that language centered brains or non math brains can actually be better at programming, because it's all words. Yeah, and understanding how the words relate to each other. And so having a linguistic or a analytical as far as language goes, background can actually be very helpful in learning to program. And then really the whole math brain, word brain, the sort of left, right, creative, first analytical, I think that that's a thing that we tell kids to make them feel less bad about having trouble with something. And I think, ultimately, it's detrimental. Tons of studies have shown that if you tell kids, good job, you're so smart, you did so well with that. They'll be like, Oh, I'm smart. So when something hard comes along, they don't want to work as hard at it. But if you tell them good job, you worked hard at that they'll internalize that the hard work is what's important. And when they come upon problems that are difficult, they're more likely to work through them. Yeah. So I do that a lot with my students. If I see something they've done, I'm like, oh, man, you must have put a lot of hours into that painting. Or, oh, it's really cool. I like this paper, I can see where you put the work in on this. That's really cool to see you move from one thing to the next, as opposed to, oh, you're just so good at this. You're just naturally gifted. growth mindset. Y'all.
Brandon Minnick 12:25
Pj Metz 12:27
Very important. I
Brandon Minnick 12:28
get some of your questions, too. I mean, because I, before I started working in Xamarin, I really hadn't done any mobile app development. And, and yeah, there was a couple people that I worked with, they're like, wow, you're just you're so you're such a natural, you're so good at it. It's like, No, I am, I'm coding all the time, like, but I'm not in the office. I'm coding and like I was waking up. That was back, we had something called Xamarin university where you could take live online classes. And the teachers were based around the world. So it's really cool, because depending on your timezone, there was always a class available for you. But I wanted to learn it as fast as I could. So I didn't want to wait for that class to come to my timezone. So yeah, I was staying up till midnight, or waking up at four in the morning, two in the morning to catch these classes. And yeah, it's it's a it's a grind. But that's definitely something I've learned is you, you can do anything you want. It's just how much work are you willing to put into it? Because you have to learn these skills. And the only way you get better, or at least for me, the only way I get better is to do that hands on and get that firsthand experience.
Chloe Condon 13:35
Pj Metz 13:37
1000 hours to be an expert.
Chloe Condon 13:39
I have one more question. Before we get into our eight bit segment, mainly because I'm totally obsessed with this. But you mentioned that you have this more like language linguistic side, too. And you've been working on some interesting kind of poetry stuff, if I remember correctly, is that right?
Pj Metz 13:56
Yeah. So I've always loved poetry. Um, I got much more into it when I lived in Korea for a year and a half teaching English over there. There's a big xpac community and the expat community over there in Busan, where I lived, love to get together and do like creative show. So there'll be musicians and stand up comedy, and poetry. And I've always kind of just written stuff, but I was like, I can't write poetry and I just sort of decided I wasn't gonna do it. I decided I was going to do these, like, short story. They weren't great, but they were like I called them like, it was like pseudo flash fiction, prose, poetry. It's very, the kind of thing that like a grad student gets all in his head about and be like, I'm really changing the dynamic here, guys. None of it was really good. But I read something at an open mic. And this guy approached me was like, Dude, that was kind of cool. Have you ever thought about like, doing more poetry stuff? I was like, Well, not really. But I hung out with him. And by a year later, I did a tour. 28 days 20 poems challenge for February with him and another group of experts where we had to write 20 poems in February, I was on almost every day you had to write a poem. And from that came this sort of experience where I was like, Oh my god, I can write poetry. And then I started reading more poets, poets, like modern people like Shea Alexie and like ocean volume and these amazing poets that are doing insane things with words, just gorgeous stuff. And I was like, Oh, I see what they're doing. And I'm like, I'm gonna imitate it, no one wants me, I'm trying something new. And I don't want you can see. And I started doing it and doing it and doing it. And I ended up winning a poetry slam in Busan and I ended up placing in the finals for Orlando poetry slam, by honestly, that was by virtue of just showing up to enough that I accidentally got the right number of points. And I was like, and then I got there, and they're all these amazing poets. And I was like, I do not need to be here. Um, but I write and I write, and I write and right now, what I'm trying to do is keep a sort of Journal of what I'm doing with poetry and coding at the same time. So I've got a little blogger, it's me and the poetry dot blogspot. I'm, my goal is I'm building a website to and eventually I'm going to get the blog as a page in the website. So you go to one place to see everything. But that's, that's a million years away. Right now, I just got the CSS off website started the other day.
Brandon Minnick 16:36
And it looks bad on anything.
Pj Metz 16:39
Other than the new morphic button thing Brandon told me about it, we found it. He helped me make my website pretty, but only on a laptop, don't visit it on mobile. It looks like a Jackson Pollock painting on mobile,
Chloe Condon 16:53
there's been some really cool language based projects. In particular, I think, Melissa, ooh, I'll link it below in the show notes when we upload this. But she built a dramaturg app when she was at hackbright that could assess language to let you know if what you wrote was actually in the style of the era you were writing in. So for example, if it was Shakespeare time, or the 40s, or the 20s, you could actually use some sort of I want to say machine learning to determine or NLP to determine if that was accurate. And I think it's so cool to see folks like yourself, and folks like Melissa come into this industry, and use that kind of like previous life. Or I think we had someone on my show bccl, who calls it wiggle noodle careers where you put your hand into into different things before. And I love that you're able to bring that piece of your background into tech, because we need creative folks in tech. So please stay.
Brandon Minnick 17:52
Pj Metz 17:54
Don't be sad and emotional and cry together. It'll be great.
Chloe Condon 18:00
Well, I think it's time to get started with eight bits. I am going to ask you seven questions plus some eight bonus question. And we're let's just dive right in. Let's go for it. So question number one, PJ. What is your earliest memory of tech?
Pj Metz 18:21
I, as a young child, there's a story my parents tell all the time of them staying up till like two in the morning. Or my dad who's a musician coming home from a late night gig and my mom is still up playing regular Nintendo. Okay, playing Zelda and having like big league, like these big legal pads, and they were hand drawing maps to the, to the dungeons and stuff and noting what's in each room. And apparently, there's the story of they put me to bed. And I came out while they were playing. And I just wanted to sit and watch and I just sat and watch them play. And they said I was fascinated. Like I couldn't play I was I was too young to know what was going on. But I just watched them play. That led to like in the third grade, my dad brought home a Super Nintendo and I was obsessed immediately. And my dad and I would play Super Mario World and run around and like I was obsessed with it. But video games was my first entry in the tech. I even remember, we had this archery game on our PC that was on a five and a half inch floppy. And you actually had to like lock it into place to keep it in the drive. The archery game was this there would be a target that would like come down one side of the screen and you had to fire an arrow at the correct time to get it in the bullseye. And I played it for hours just I loved it. So Playing video games is definitely, definitely my early memory of tech going over to my friend's place to play Virtual Boy. I'm having Mario Kart like tournaments in the neighborhood. Yeah. Um, as far as like, outside of, I feel like that's a pretty common experience for a lot of people when it comes to tech. But as far as like getting into, like, doing stuff with it, my grandfather did, in fact, give me this old laptop one time, and it was really thick. And it had no memory at all. It could barely hold pictures and like Word files and stuff. But as soon as I got it, I just went into the settings. And I was like, What can I mess with? And just, and I was like, what's resolution do and I changed it and then the screen went wonky. And I was like, and I would like, slowly move the mouse until I saw it like this happening. I was like, okay, and I know the Start button is down here. And I like it. And I managed to find the settings again. And I managed to revert and I was like, oh, man, I almost really messed up. But, I mean, that's all I've been doing with like computers and tech is like, how do I mess this up and get back to being not messed up? Right? consistent theme, break it and then see how to unbreak it.
Chloe Condon 21:17
I mean, you're already halfway there with engineering. So you're an engineer before you even
Pj Metz 21:22
write. How do we break this? Get to work.
Chloe Condon 21:26
I was also a Super Nintendo, Super Mario World gal myself. But I was trying to think what was like the earliest game I played and I promise this isn't a Microsoft advertisement. But I'm pretty sure that ski free and Minesweeper were like some of the earliest games I played.
Pj Metz 21:47
There was another game that came with fat sweet, it must have been around like Windows 3.5. There was another game it was like Daniels. Oh, I can't but you had a little dude who like walked around the dungeon and had to collect keys in a specific order. It was Daniels something and it was like a free loaded Microsoft game. I can't recall what it was.
Chloe Condon 22:08
There is a wonderful, nostalgic website that I will share. When we upload this to YouTube, the creator of ski free has made about the history of ski free and all the fun little easter eggs and things that are popped up whiskey. I love that little Yeti run,
Pj Metz 22:26
or there's a rumor that you cannot run them. But it takes a very specific situation.
Chloe Condon 22:32
We should find him and have him as a guest on the show, Brandon.
Chloe Condon 22:40
So our next question is what is the last piece of tech or hardware that you bought?
Pj Metz 22:47
The last piece tech or hardware I bought is either and I think this can go both ways. These headphones right here. Because when I started streaming on Twitch, I was like, well, I need a decent pair of headphones because my wife teaches English online. And she has these. And I used to wear these. And then one day she said hey, I think you're stretching my headphones out. And I said, Oh, I do have a giant wide head. So I won't do that anymore. So I'm going to buy my own pair. And so I bought these these are Cohen, ees seven pro bluetooth headphones. And so far, they're working like a dream. They're great. I can even play drums in my garage. And when I turn the noise canceling off, I can actually hear the music and not just my drums bouncing around the garage. So my wife also just bought a Samsung smartwatch and I'm going to count that as tech that we bought, even though it's just for her and she used her own money for it. And I'm not involved in the watch in any way. But she jumped on the smartwatch train finally and it's making me jealous because it like tells her her heartbeat and how many calories she's burning. And if I know how many calories I'm burning, that means I can eat more burgers.
Brandon Minnick 24:04
I can eat more.
Chloe Condon 24:07
You can do some burger Driven Development apps PJ. I'm looking forward to that. I'm working with some students with bit project right now. And one of them's using a built his own heart rate monitor with I believe some he's using Azure IoT and maybe a Raspberry Pi. So it's possible.
Pj Metz 24:27
I like raspberries.
Chloe Condon 24:29
Let's see, our next question is what technology do you love?
Pj Metz 24:41
Um, the tech that I love is still still video games. And I consider now when I approached video games, I'm like my God, I wonder what this code looks like. I'm the big one. I like to play Diablo three. I've been a big fan of the Diablo series. I don't know if you can tell by my shirt but I'm Spooky stuff. Hello.
Chloe Condon 25:02
Pj Metz 25:05
that's right on a Halloween Horror Nights every year since 2009. Wow. The only year I didn't go is because I was living in Korea. And I was there for two Halloween so the first Halloween I couldn't do it. The next Halloween I found out they were doing in Japan. And it happened to be that time that Brandon and his wife were visiting. And they were like we're gonna go visit you and I was like cool. Come with us to Japan. We're going to Halloween Horror Nights.
Chloe Condon 25:30
I could not do that I could not
Pj Metz 25:33
different world was the scariest Halloween Horror Nights in Japan terrified. Like we really terrifying
Chloe Condon 25:39
what was the theme is a theme every year.
Pj Metz 25:42
They don't really have like a tie like a theme that connects everything but they do something different called haunted rides. So in America and in California in Orlando, they just have mazes and scare zones. Okay, your zones around the streets and you can walk through them. And mazes are it's like a soundstage and you walk through a maze and people jump out for
Chloe Condon 26:06
everybody playing at home with their eight bits bingo card. This is the part where we talk about theme parks. We talk about theme parks on
Pj Metz 26:14
this is important this is important. Okay. So in Japan, they have mazes, and I think they have like sort of scare zones but not quite the same. But they do haunted rides where they take the traditional universal rides, and some type of spirit or ghost honson No, we did Terminator The Terminator, right is the same as the one in Orlando, even the same like preview video. And the preview video has like here's how Dinah tech is going to help you it shows a mom tucking in her daughter from far away
Chloe Condon 26:47
for anybody who's never been on a universal ride before the main structure and format of every universal ride is Oh, no, that's not supposed to happen. It happened and then some fire or water gets blown. And it's like, oh, good thing we save the day.
Pj Metz 27:04
That's right. And then you're free to go back to your day at Universal Studios. Buy a $7 coke bottle. It's great. So yeah, it's Terminator, which is like you said someone comes out and says we'd love to show you about our new security robots. And then they show you the security robots and the you leave because things are off. So in this one, it's haunted by the girl from the ring.
Brandon Minnick 27:35
if I remember from my
Pj Metz 27:37
presentation, which is on Japanese and there's me and three other like tall white people go like oh, this is great. Not understanding the show. Okay, the lights cut out. And like the video from the rings starts playing
Chloe Condon 27:52
no thank you and the audience
Pj Metz 27:54
gasps and then the lights flash for a second and then turn on and the girlfriend The ring is standing like looking at the crowd.
Brandon Minnick 28:03
Nothing. The hair and everything.
Pj Metz 28:04
No, it's there like the lights flash again. And then she's gone. And the host shows back up because that was weird. Next room, please. And we go okay. And then the girlfriend the ring shows up at different points. Oh, like literally different places in the room and they shine a spotlight and she's there and then the spotlight shuts off. Okay, and then they shine a spotlight in the walk light walkway and she's there and then it shuts off.
Chloe Condon 28:35
I didn't realize that the girl from the ring was part of the Terminator universe.
Pj Metz 28:42
She's hoping it would have been a very different movie. If like Arnold Schwarzenegger had like a girl crawling out of a TV at him, you know? Yeah, I'm like, I'm like remembering how scary it was. Wait,
Chloe Condon 28:55
so is your favorite is the technology you love is the girl from the ring. I can't.
Pj Metz 29:03
I got so far off.
Chloe Condon 29:04
I was like, wait, what
Pj Metz 29:06
is the technology I love is video games. And I really love Diablo three and I like spooky things. So spooky things have always had a place in my heart. That's Diablo three. Gotcha. This.
Chloe Condon 29:21
This is fascinating. First of all, it's fine that you got off topic because we have to talk about theme parks on every episode of the show. And you will never find me on that ride. That sounds absolutely terrifying. I'm a spooky girl myself if you couldn't tell from my Jackson lantern hair. But I like skeletons and pumpkins and like spooky ghosts was like a sheet with hideout. I can't do that.
Yeah, my skeleton son is waiting in the hallway over here. JOHN bongiovi my
Pj Metz 29:52
like I'm legitimately scared for a while but then everything's fine. Spooky.
Chloe Condon 29:57
What are some other like wait Britain. Do you like some of these stuff too? Are these scary games?
Brandon Minnick 30:04
I do. Like, I know some people don't like watching scary movies. But yeah, I love it. As long as I know, everything actually is safe, then I like that kind of escape of immersing yourself in a scary movie are a scary theme park where, you know, you're not really in any danger, but at the same time, like it still is. Just scares the crap out of you your fight or flight or fight or flight responses go in. And but at the end of the day, it's like, okay, yeah, that wasn't real. We're fine.
Chloe Condon 30:35
I will admit, but I would never want to get back. I was on a rabbit hole the other day of celebrities. I think specifically on The Ellen Show. They do this a lot, where they send her assistant and a celebrity into the Halloween Horror Nights. And like Christie Egan's on a couple of them and I I like watching other people get scared, but I myself, I cannot stand being scared. No, thank you
Pj Metz 31:01
so much. I actually just bought a shirt from this old 80s movie called Monster Squad. Okay, and it's cheeky, 80s movie where Dracula ends up in a small town like Michigan with an army of the Wolf Man and the creature from the deep and Frankenstein. And he's trying to find an amulet. But the kids in the movie because it's middle school kids fighting monsters are super into horror. And at the very beginning, one of them's wearing this red shirt with yellow text that just says Stephen King rules. And I bet that shirts available somewhere and I found it and I ordered this and I've got this. It's like a double layer reference. It's like Yeah, I love Stephen King. But also have you seen Monster Squad? movie like on IMDB.
Chloe Condon 31:50
I was gonna say this will be my last reference to a theme park. But I'm sure it won't be the last reference on the show. So we can't promise that but one of my favorite Universal Studios Orlando fixtures is there's a food kiosk that has all of the scary monsters on it like Creature from the Black Lagoon. I think Frankenstein's on there. And the Creature from the Black Lagoon is holding a shrimp Louie salad. And it's the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life. We'll post a picture of
Pj Metz 32:17
pizza and it's a whole rotating thing. That's where you do character dining during Halloween Horror Nights. Well, Gary, people running around.
Chloe Condon 32:26
Well, I will stay away from that. Our next question, which I'll answer first is what technology Do you hate? And my answer to this would have to be putting the girl from the ring into theme park rides or otherwise not scary? How about up address?
Pj Metz 32:43
Now, tech I hate. It's so weird. Because the reason I hate this tech is because like it distracts me and it's my phone. And I am constantly jumping between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit. And I'll just see the same stuff. If I'm on my phone, I get immediately distracted with stuff. So I'm trying to use it less. I had in the past, deleted Facebook off my phone as an app. And it's helped. And I was about to do it again. When the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement started a few months ago. I was like, Oh, I know a lot of people on Facebook who I like I kind of need to talk to and if I'm posting this stuff, at least they'll see it in their face. And so I've used it as like that sort of like that minimal level activism, like there was donating and there was direct action and there was emailing but also constantly posting articles like, Hey, are you interested in seeing people killed less? We should probably do this and trying to engage those people. Otherwise might not see that voice. So
Chloe Condon 33:54
Elaine, my brand's Brandon, the mobile dev over here for making these apps right so well.
Pj Metz 34:00
I have a friend who decided to put his whole phone in grayscale because it cuts down on his time using it. And he's like and it saves battery power. I was like do you really need to save battery power on your iPhone 11 like it's fine and grayscale. You're on Instagram posting pictures of like these beautiful woods and these awesome things you're doing. How are you editing these if you're just in grayscale on your phone like the word
Brandon Minnick 34:31
Pj Metz 34:32
it's cool that you're like yeah, this is neat that like Ivan's and grace grayscale my screen time is cut down. I'm like, dude, you're fine. Like, like leave the color on. At least it's the most interesting part of the phone.
Chloe Condon 34:45
I think there's a landia sketch maybe where Fred Armisen gets stuck in a loop of like checking all of his different notification apps which is very relatable especially when you're trying to stay informed. We can blame Brandon for These great mobile apps, check out in the Play Store. That's
Pj Metz 35:04
right. I'm constantly just hitting refresh on my Git trends that anyone has anyone here commented or added a branch to my credit card check that I did on Code Academy. You guys are not entered. That's fine.
Chloe Condon 35:22
Brandon, do you have a phone addiction as well, I feel like I'm trying to cut down my phone usage too. But maybe my battery is just draining a lot, because I'm watching RuPaul drag race every week and a lot of battery power. Yeah, I
Brandon Minnick 35:35
mean, this one's so yes, as a mobile app developer, I am tied to my phone, because it's also what I do for work. And that's at least my convenient excuse. And also while at least tell my wife that I always need to upgrade to the latest greatest iPhone, or whatever. Like, I just want to play around with it. But yeah, if it's for work, then it's justified. But But yeah, something I found during particularly during the pandemic is, there's really nothing to do you know, we, we can't go to movies, we can't meet friends for dinner anymore. And I've definitely found myself on my phone a lot more. And yeah, part of that is, like you said earlier, just staying informed. There's so much like, there's so many new things coming out every day, and trying to stay on top of everything, because a lot of it is also directly related to our public safety. So it's like, Hey, we learned something new about the virus. You don't shouldn't do this anymore. It's like, Okay, good to know. But that, is that really all I'm doing now? Yeah, I'm scrolling Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all the things. And yeah, a lot of it's just just sheer boredom, really, because there's only there's only so many Netflix shows, you can watch. There's only so many YouTube videos you can stream. And yeah, just need that. You need that break. And so I've, I've been trying to fill these holes personally with, with coding and projects. So while I do a lot of coding for work, yeah, projects like this, get trends out that I can work out in my spare time, or I've been working on adding this new feature that I'm pretty excited to roll out soon. Spending just way more time than I should have on little features like this, like as I showed it to my wife the other day, that's basically so it get trends, it totally shows you all of your repos and how many stars forks views clones each repo has. And I realized I was like, I would love to know what the totals are. So add up everything for all my repos. How many total stars do I have? Or how many total forks do I have? And so I've been thanks, you haven't played around with the Android app, putting one of those floating buttons in the corner that you can tap, and it'll explode out. And when it explodes out, it'll show you the totals for your stats. And yes, telling my wife, I was like, if I was doing this for work, and somebody told me to build this, I'd be like, that's way too much effort for just this little tiny feature that maybe somebody uses was as like, but I'm here for it. I was like, I have nothing else to do. I'm happily devoting days of my life to this.
Chloe Condon 38:27
That's me with my Animal Crossing Ireland. I'm like, do I need to put all these automatic toilets in a row? So when you walk by them, they all open like they're bowing to, you know?
Yeah, I'm gonna do it.
Pj Metz 38:39
In a way. Is it necessary? Absolutely not. But am I gonna put Absolutely, yes.
Chloe Condon 38:46
Yeah. Well, PJ, have you dabbled at all and like Android development or mobile development yet?
Pj Metz 38:52
Honestly, I am. So brand new to this that like trying to get into anything other than what I've started with right now is too much like I am, like I said earlier, I'm designing an AP language class. Well, not from the ground up. I've gotten a lot of like, obviously, it's AP Lang. It's been taught for however many decades now. But I want to make sure I'm doing a good job, because it's my first time teaching AP. I'm getting ready by reading a bunch of books for that. I'm getting ready by designing my syllabus and making sure I can find stuff I need for that. So right now learning to code and I just re completed the C sharp module on Code Academy because they added a list and link to a link right, I'd say correctly. Yep. So I just finished that. And now I just found out they have a skill course, where you can do ASP. NET, and that's what I'm using to build my website. So I was like, Oh, this is literally relevant. So I'm doing that. I also have a web development course that I'm doing on Code Academy. So at any given moment, I have so much going On that if someone's like, you should try making an app. I'd be like, you should try shutting up. I'm busy. Cuz it's too much and I will something I've done my whole life, I will do 20% of everything instead of 100% on something and get it done. Yeah, and I, and it's important to multitask. But I am absolutely, very capable of overloading myself with too much to do. I've done it before. So I haven't done anything with mobile yet.
Chloe Condon 40:30
We have our first question in the chat. I'm so stoked. So we have a great question from the ryan Smee. And it says, if any, which side projects are each of you working on in addition to any downtime you have during lockdown? For me, I just started on a projects kind of work kind of for fun, where I am going to have a QR code that you can have printed onto a mask that you scan, and then we'll take you to a hosted website that will show a picture of your full face. So that's what I've been working on. How about y'all? What are your little side projects? I know Brandon get trends, the official App of the show
Pj Metz 41:11
is sponsored right
Chloe Condon 41:12
Brandon Minnick 41:16
All the $0 I've made from this
Pj Metz 41:18
good sponsor. That's right. And the only project I have is your new favorite poem, which is why NFP dotnet. And that's a list of poets and poems that you might not have encountered. Most people encounter poetry in a high school classroom. And then that's it. Yeah. And they'll encounter poets like Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. And those poets are amazing. But everyone kind of encounters the same poems. Yeah. And I think it's cool to expand your idea of what is happening in the poetry world. So I've collected a bunch of modern, and by modern, I mean, like, you know, 1970s and onward poets. So
Chloe Condon 42:01
not just the Jabberwocky poem from Louis Exactly,
Brandon Minnick 42:04
Pj Metz 42:08
Some Walt Whitman, and you don't just have to read Keats or eats or go to a Grecian urn. There's great stuff happening out there. So I picked poets that I like, and I have each poet with two poems right now and a link to poems that you can read by them online. It's, this is gonna be a long term project for me, where I'm slowly making it better and better and better and better. So anytime you go to it's going to be very heavily under construction. Like, none of I don't know that I've put out a finished product on this yet. And it's been does anybody
Chloe Condon 42:44
ever really put out a finished product? I don't know.
Brandon Minnick 42:51
That's the key to everything. Cuz like, as developers, we're always, well, I'll speak for myself. I'm always spinning up new fun side projects. And then I kind of abandoned them for another new fun side project and
Chloe Condon 43:05
on the air,
Brandon Minnick 43:10
you get to this point, where it's like, oh, it's not really good enough for the App Store yet. But what I found is there Yeah, there never will be a point where it's good enough. So just just throw it out there and see what people think. And that's actually what I do with get trends to get started. I. I mean, the app does doesn't didn't look nearly as good as it does. Now. My buddy, Louise pojos, redesigned the whole thing for me. But yeah, when I first put it together, it was functional. But it didn't look right. And I was like, let's start at the App Store. Because maybe somebody will like it. And now we have a couple 100 monthly active users, then I get contributions on GitHub from fellow developers that are like, Hey, we should add some foreign languages and people have added in like Spanish and German or Hey, I found a bug and I fixed it for you. It's like, amazing. And this Yeah, this little side project that I didn't expect to do anything more than maybe me and a couple of my friends using it has really turned into something that's become used and useful for people all around the world.
Chloe Condon 44:17
So this next question, I guess we kind of know the answer from PJ but other than engineering, what other profession would you want to attempt?
Pj Metz 44:28
It's so funny to like, have this question is like, hey, other than the job you don't have right? Well, first of all, find like the tech job first. Um, so I am kind of like what I alluded to earlier. I'm sort of a jack of all trades, master of none. I'll pick something up and I'll get like, medium good at it. And then I'll be like, and done. The thing that I haven't, that I'm not medium at is teaching and I'm, look, I'm a good teacher. I like being a good teacher. I enjoy teaching literature. I've had kids That have told me Oh, that was a really cool book, I never would have read The Great Gatsby if it wasn't for you. And I'm gonna tell you what, everyone out there that hates Gatsby, you haven't had it taught by me, I promise you would love it if I taught it. But if universal basic income was a thing, and if I did not have to work to eat, I would probably be a musician, to be honest. When I was 17, and getting ready to go to college, I was like, I'm going to major in music. And I'm going to minor in business. So I can be in the music business. And my dad, who is a working musician was like, I mean, you don't need to do either of those things. If you want to be a musician. And I would recommend going to school for like, an academic thing. And keep doing music on the side. Because you can always play music for fun, and you can get as good as you want at it for fun. That's what I did. I did marching band and I did basketball band and I joined a metal band here in Orlando for a while. And then I was at a ska reggae band in Orlando for a while. And I have a drum set finally permanently set up in my garage that I can go play almost whenever I want. If someone was like your bills are paid, what do you want to do? I'd be like, I want to play music. And I want to get around, you know,
Chloe Condon 46:19
it's just a matter of time before we see a music app from you. Like I'm feeling
Pj Metz 46:24
like a better version of like the virtual drum set.
Chloe Condon 46:28
Yeah, I'm working with some students right now. And one of them's actually using the Spotify API and the Microsoft Face API to detect your emotion from that photo, and then recommend a playlist based on how you look emotionally on the photo. So there's some fun stuff you can play with out there. Like it, and did the two of you meet? Because of music? Is that correct?
Pj Metz 46:55
No, no, but we like accidentally had these like shared musical experiences.
Brandon Minnick 47:04
We both lived in a small city in Florida called Melbourne, Florida. And it's I don't I can't speak for today. But at least when I first moved there, 10 years ago, it was mostly a retirement slash engineering communities.
Chloe Condon 47:19
But oh town performed there. So it was pretty hit.
Pj Metz 47:25
Really, Melbourne's plan of fame is that oh town was there.
Brandon Minnick 47:30
And so so yeah, in Melbourne, there's not a whole lot of people, you're well, there were a lot of hope. There weren't a lot of people who are, were my age at the time, like, early 20s, fresh out of college. And we're the ones who were we're all kind of we're there for a new job. So we're working this engineering company called Harris. And, and yeah, so we kind of, we all ended up finding each other. And if you were kind of in that community, you eventually ran into each other. And that's, that's how PJ and I met kind of through friends and then kind of discovered like, Oh, we went to the same college and we both love music and drumming again. Just kinda took off from there.
Chloe Condon 48:12
I'm picturing like this sea of people partying at a Dave Matthews Band across a crowded room, finding each other. All right, next question. If you couldn't guess already, what profession would you not want to attempt?
Pj Metz 48:26
Um, so one of the reasons that I want to move into tech out of education is because in education, there's not a ton of room for growth. You're a teacher, or you're an administrator. And early on, I realized I don't want to be an administrator. I don't want to be a dean. I don't want to be a principal. And that's mostly because I find that working with teenagers is pretty easy. I've developed an amount of skills were
Pj Metz 49:01
exactly what so many people say to me when I when someone new is meeting me and they're like, Oh, you teach high school. Oh my god, that must be and I'm like, No, kids are awesome. Stop being mean to them. Like you're a teenager all you really want is for someone looking and be like, that's kind of hard hon. Then they go Yes, thank you. This is hard. Because as dramatic as it is like when we think of teenagers and we think of the the drama and difficulty of their lives. Even if it's not later on and they move past it in that moment. They're really really feeling a lot and it would be unique and novel and difficult for them. And for instance, I had a kid and I'm also the drumline instructor for our band at the high school I teach at like I said, I have to do a million other things in order to make decent income.
Chloe Condon 49:51
He does it all.
Pj Metz 49:53
I love my grandkids. They are the best and I have a kid who I'm at that End of our last sectional for band camp was like, kind of upset. And I asked him what was wrong and he was like, it's all over. This is my last band camp. And I was like, yeah, that's hard right to know that something's ending. And he's like, yeah, his friend came over. I was like, no, it's gonna be okay. You don't have to worry, it's gonna be fine. You're going to be happy soon. And it's okay, just be happy. And I was like, hey, like, This hurts, doesn't it? And he was like, yeah. And I was like, well, let's acknowledge that for a second, let's say and know that this is difficult. And then in a minute, we'll get up and move on. And I just let him be sad for a second. And so many people are ready to write off the way someone else is feeling because they don't feel the same way or they understand the bigger picture. But when you're in the small picture, the big picture doesn't matter. When your room, your emotional room is this big. That's all you can feel right now. So you have to let that happen. And then, of course, they're gonna feel better later. But don't tell them that when they're sad. And I think that's a big thing about working with teenagers is acknowledging that they're human. And they're a person, my big thing in my classroom is like, if you need to go to the bathroom, just fill out this Google form that says you're leaving the room and go, because I don't want to tell you, yes, you may use the restroom. Because God like, I don't want to tell you that. I just want you to get up and leave and come back. And I'm trusting you to do that. And if you're gone for 20 minutes, we'll address it. I love working with teenagers, I get it. I could never work with adults. I can never be the principal that has to say to a teacher, hey, you really should silence your cell phone before we get into the faculty meeting. Hey, like you're always late, like we're expecting you to be a professional teenagers. You can give them a lot of leeway. But you can immediately come down on them if you have to. And there's an established sort of like, I'm the adult, you're the team, you get it. treat them with respect, but you have automatic authority. I don't have that with adults. I'm 35 I can't tell an adult to do anything. I would be terrified. I can't wait
Chloe Condon 52:07
to talk to you. And eight years when you become an engineering manager. This is gonna be a really fun video to reflect.
Pj Metz 52:15
I'll be like, look.
Oh man, these Junior devs crazy.
Chloe Condon 52:26
very relatable. All right, we're almost to our final question. But before we get there, what technology Do you wish existed from film or TV?
Pj Metz 52:38
Um, there's this first off, there's a lot the first one I want is that replicant owl from Blade Runner,
Chloe Condon 52:45
okay, okay, yes,
Pj Metz 52:47
right. In Blade Runner, there's the scene where they go to the corporation that's making replicants. And he's about to give that test to the Secretary to see if she's a replicant or a human, right, there's the shot of an owl. And when the owl looks at the camera, its eyes have like this different quality to them. And when they do the shot on the secretary, she has a similar quality to her eyes, and that's showing that she's a replicant. And that the owl is a replicant is this cool little film moment. That owl looks so neat, to have a little like robot owl that like, hung out on my shoulder. And just to have a robot.
Chloe Condon 53:24
Also very convenient to just like, have on hand to know who's a replicant? Yeah,
Pj Metz 53:28
exactly. Like, hey, do your eyes look like this owl? Oh, no.
Chloe Condon 53:33
Are you? Brandon,
Pj Metz 53:36
you have to be please don't break my heart.
Brandon Minnick 53:38
I mean, I'm not not a fan. I've seen both of them. But uh,
Chloe Condon 53:42
what about the mean of the little boy whose mom is like, what do you have in your hand and he goes a knife, and then people have captioned that Blade Runner. That's funny. Cuz I like that person a lot.
will link that below.
So I was forced to watch Blade Runner to understand the poster and
Brandon Minnick 54:09
somebody who can explain it better because i've i've seen both but I saw them. I saw them out of order. I saw the new one in theaters and then went back and saw the first one, which helped under explain some things. But then, yeah, I, I get lost. And then when I get lost, I tend to check out so it'd be cool to watch it with somebody like, like YouTube that could be like, Oh, yeah, check out this bar coming up right here. Like Did you catch that? Like, go back up again. It's like what
Chloe Condon 54:38
I wanted to
I want to change my answer from when I answered this question, which I believe was I don't even remember what but I want the technology to have a hologram of Elvis performing on demand. That was my favorite scene from the new Blade Runner was like the kind of Vegas casino with like Elvis performing
Pj Metz 55:00
Beautiful. That's what we need really for hologram Elvis.
Chloe Condon 55:03
That's true. All right, final question. I'm going to be honest, originally, this final question was going to be about RuPaul drag race, because I know you are also a fan, but to not totally alienate our audience, that's going to have to be a whole other episodes.
Pj Metz 55:21
Talking about like Groupon and how Jinx monsoon is an amazing human being.
Chloe Condon 55:25
Absolutely. But instead, I have this question for you, which is more of a hypothetical question. So let's fast forward. Let's pretend that it's like five years from now, you are like mastering the code, you can hack into the mainframe. You're making Blade Runner, owls, you can do anything. What app? Are you going to build with all these skills? Ideally, like what what's like the cool thing that you're going to build with all these newfound tech skills? Or what industry or like, where do you? Where do you want in the in the perfect imaginary dream worlds be working on
Pj Metz 56:01
the perfect imaginary dream world. I'm working somewhere where the tech I'm making is going into like the hands of students to make something about their life easier. Whether it's organizational, whether it's helping them understand poetry better, or even just accessing more interesting things than they might see in their classroom. So you know, I mean, you know, there's always someone on YouTube that's there to explain like math. Like when you don't understand quadratic equations, you can get on YouTube type quadratic equations, and someone is going to walk you through it. And you can find 800 videos of that. that exists for English within a very specific niche way. There's things like Crash Course, which is fantastic, and I use in my classroom, there's things like wisecrack channel has, like thug notes, which is like a fun little way of understanding classic literature. But I feel like there's not enough that gets kids into non canonical classic works. Yeah, every kid's gonna read Gatsby, every kid's gonna read like, like, the pearl by Steinbeck or, or one nephal. No One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest isn't popular to be taught. But there's like canonical literature. Yeah, we need something that can get kids into something else. And it's really it could be something like, well, what have you read? Here's what's similar. What are you into? What type of music are you into? What do you want to listen to while you read? Here's what fits thematically for your reading.
Brandon Minnick 57:31
Pj Metz 57:31
right? You're reading this, try this. Here's something you haven't heard of, oh, you're interested in post modernism. Here's one of the proto post modernist novels that no one really knows about, check it out, and get into reading again. You know, that's, that's what I'd love to be able to do something that exposes the average person to more interesting, deeper literature, especially because I feel like, people don't want to read that type of stuff. Because someone messed it up in the past. So many people are like, Oh, my English teacher made me hate literature. I'm like, oh, that sucks. But my students don't feel that way.
Chloe Condon 58:12
I see a lot in our future, PJ, where you and I work on some AI machine learning. And I do this as musicals, because I think it's the same thing with theater or musical theater where people go, Oh, I hate musicals. And I'm like, of course you do. You saw a bad community theater production of West Side Story. Let me show you some time. But I digress.
Pj Metz 58:34
I absolutely agree.
Chloe Condon 58:36
Well, I am so so so excited to see your journey into this field. I I see a lot of collabs in our future PJ because I couldn't agree more. I think that educating or at least getting more technology into education and educating folks on how they can use tech in that industry in Ed Tech is so important. So thank you for all the work that you're doing. It's so so important. We've got about a minute here, but we can go a couple minutes over. Where can we find you on the interwebs PJ, where can people watch your stream and all that fun stuff.
Pj Metz 59:11
I am so fortunate that there's not a lot of other people with the last name Metz. There's even less people making puns with their names. So like all of my stuff is messing around Instagram, Twitter, Twitch. GitHub is actually messing around too. So he type method around, you're probably going to find one of my things and it'll lead you directly to me. So Twitter messing around.
Chloe Condon 59:38
you've discovered a fun easter egg of being a woman in tech, which is that not a lot of our names are taken in different profiles and stuff. So welcome to the club.
Pj Metz 59:48
That's right. I'm proud to be a woman in tech that way. Yep, find me there. I'm super excited actually, to see all these women in tech. I'm following a lot of women in tech on Twitter because I feel like that's the next important wave. Yes, getting more non traditional backgrounds more, like just different people, different experiences in
Brandon Minnick 1:00:12
Pj Metz 1:00:13
that's the future for sure. I'm super stoked about all of that. I love all y'all on Twitter.
Chloe Condon 1:00:19
very, very stoked to have you join this club of code newbies with creative non traditional backgrounds. Brandon, as always, I'm assuming folks can go check out Git trends and code traveler on Twitter thing, we'll link it below. And that has been eight bits for the day all any parting words before we get going?
Pj Metz 1:00:43
support women in tech support Latino, Latina people in tech support black people in tech support non traditional people in tech. Do it because the only way things grow is to get more people involved.
Chloe Condon 1:00:56
Amen. Can I get an amen up in here and then and with that, we will add the show. Thanks for joining