Doesn't read it


Andy doesn't read my blog. Phew! This is a good thing.



Andy and I went to his land in Lockwood today. We drove down, hiked around a lot, tried to put up a zip line, failed at putting up the zip line, and gathered up the dogs. I took tons of pictures. Bella ran off. Andy found. Andy got sick. I drove us home. A fun day. Wish Kris could have come.



What can you build with 8 pieces of pipe, 8 connectors and one pulley?

Well, starting with such pieces, you can push them together, twist, cajole, untwist, retwist and tighten to get a T! Whoo! A T! Fabulous!

So, what can you do with such a pipe + pulley T?


You could hang it on the wall and call it art.

Or, you could connect up a zip line and go flying down said zip line.

Which is the plan for tomorrow. Andy and I are heading down to his place in Lockwood to check out the land, somewhat in preparation for the birthday campout, but more because he wants to go down and I want to see the place.

Update: we went

Geek Girl Dinner, the boring parts


Since we shut down the company, I've been very careful about scheduling enough social events to keep me involved outside the house. Working from home is inherently an isolating endeavour if you don't have children or housemates who also stay home to work.

I've also been thinking of starting to network, so

First up, was tonight's Bay Area Geek Girl Dinner, sponsored by Google. I think the Geek Girls Dinner group is an informal group of women working in technology who get together over dinner to talk and network. The Bay Area group was just forming, and I signed up to go when I received an invitation.

Besides, who can refuse an opportunity for a meal at Google?

Seriously. Can anyone?

I invited Andy to go with me, since I didn't think Kris would be either interested or able to be home in time to go. Andy accepted, and off we went.

Arriving much too early for our own good. I grossly mis-estimated the commute time, leaving us with plenty of time to both drive all the way around the main campus, as well as park far enough away to be completely soaked by the time we followed the yellow brick road and made our way to the big top socializing tent.

I'm not kidding about the yellow brick road.

The event was socializing, panel discussion, socializing networking. Now, the problem with going to one of these type of events where you know exactly no one except the person you came with is that it's quite easy to talk to the person you arrived with ant lose the opportunity to network with other people because you're not forced to talk to other people.

This was the risk I took in inviting Andy. Unsurprisingly, since Kris and Andy are practically twins, the same thing happened with Andy that happened when I brought Kris to one of my geek events: I spent the whole time with Andy and managed no networking. I'm okay with it, though, because I learned some fascinating insights about Andy.

He likes more bitter beer than I do. I think I knew that, though.

When talking to someone, Andy looks at them in one eye, but not the other, and not both eyes. In particular, he looks at their right eye. Sure, if the person is talking to him in 7/8 profile with only the left eye showing, he'll look at the persons left eye, but for the most part, it's quite difficult to talk to left eye. I do the same thing, entertainingly enough, because looking at the left eye means you're SEEING THE WHOLE FACE, and isn't that just too uncomfortable.

We also talked about things we're bad at, but know we're bad at and trying to be better about. Mine is interrupting. Oh, goodness, did I used to interrupt ALL the time. Lisa Timmins broke me of that habit (mostly) by making me aware that I interrupted people by simply NOT letting me interrupt her (gah, I still miss the two of them. I really should take this telecommuting job seriously and REALLY telecommute, say, from Seattle).

That Andy said he didn't notice my interrupting him means I've managed to somewhat squash that demon (yay!), though I may still ask questions too quickly.

Andy's kinda like David Ruhoff in that sense, I think.

One woman, Danielle, came up to talk to the two of us. She works at Google as QA in the IE toolbar group. She did what a single person has to do at functions like this: roll the dice, pick someone, introduce yourself, start talking, and hope you've just met someone interesting. Apparently Andy and I are sufficiently geeky and open that we were approachable.

I like that we were approachable.

Unfortunately, my bladder called, and I didn't get Danielle's email address to let her know how much I enjoyed talking to her.

We went into the panel discussion, sat near the front, and listened. I have to admit, I didn't have a pen or paper with me during the talk, which drove me COMPLETELY nuts. I so wanted to take notes about what I thought about the talk, but had to be satisfied with after impressions instead of the specifics that caused emotional responses.

After the panel, I finally used the restrooms at Google and discovered that, yes, the toliet seats are heated at Google. It was a little disconcerting to sit down on a hot toliet seat, but I was more distracted by the couple four stalls over having sex.

No, I'm not kidding about that couple. Four feet, two pointed the wrong way, squeaking noises and a lot of moans. No, I'm not kidding, though I almost wish I was.

After the restroom adventure, we snarfed some food and left. Bless him, Andy was willing to leave when I was ready to leave, which was, admittedly, fairly soon after the panel was over. I wasn't feeling the networking love, too big of a crowd for me to be really comfortable, but going was a start. I'm glad I went.

Bay Area Geek Girl dinner


Went with Andy to Google tonight for the first Bay Area Geek Girls' Dinner. Food was served both before and after the panel of four speakers.

The panel was introduced by Ellen Spertus, whose presentation was quite entertaining. I'm fairly certain I've seen her speak before, either at Blogher or some other event such as SxSW or OSCON. I'll have to look it up. She had a top ten reasons why it's great to be a geek girl, the only two I recall being, "You'll always have a place to store your USB drive," (which humoured me) and "You can wave to the men in the line at the restroom as you pass them by." Indeed.

The panel consisted of Leah Pulver, Sumaya Kazi, Irene Au and Rashmi Sinha, and moderated by Katherine Barr. The panelists' ages ranged from 24 to 36, with only one woman being a mother.

The first question posed by the moderator annoyed me more than maybe it should be. It went something like what do you need to do to legitimize yourself as a woman in the workplace.

Not one of the panelists answered the question as I would have: "I don't do anything to legitimize myself. I don't need to prove myself because I'm a woman, I need to prove myself because we work in a meritocity in the Bay Area. Being a woman has nothing to do with my skillsets or ability to complete tasks or think clearly."

I completely questioned the need for such a question.

Other questions from the audience were spectacular in the answers they elicited. The question that stands out in my mind was, "As a woman, I find my ideas and suggestions are not taken seriously until specifically approved by a man or someone above me in management. How do you deal with this?"

The first two panelist's answers were something to the effect of, "That never happens." Ah, to be so young and full of yourself that you can actually believe such a world exists.

The next answer was "get another job." Ah, a valid solution, but not necessarily possible, given the questioner was Indian and may need to stay with the company to complete her green card status.

Irene's answer, though, was right on, spoken with both authority and experience: align yourself with a person of authority, find out what they believe, make friends with them. If others see you in this group, your ideas have legitimacy by association.

Overall, I need to admit I was disappointed with this whole presentation. It may have helped the early 20 year olds who are just starting in the work place, but it did nothing for those established and wondering what's next.

I did, however, find the two people having sex in one of the stalls of a women's bathroom entertaining.

That, and Google's heated seats.

Sprint 8


Okay, right, what was I thinking this time? I don't know, I really don't know. The conversation yesterday went something like,

"Hey, want to go for a short morning hike tomorrow morning?"

"Want to do a sprint 8 with me instead?"

"Uh, I'd look like a dork."

"I won't notice. I'll be so far in front of you, I won't see you."

"Uh, 16 minutes for a full workout instead of 2 hours?"

"Does that mean yes?"

Okay, maybe not really, but it easily could have, because I was certainly thinking I'd look like a dork. I haven't sprinted farther than 50 yards in the last two months, and haven't run much more than a mile either. Out of shape would be an understatement, especially with the 24 hours of sitting in the last 48.

But, hey, okay, I'm game for trying to run a mile in 4 minutes, spread over 16, why not.

So, this morning at 11 am, I looked at my watch and realized I had completely forgotten about the arrangements I had made with Andy to run myself into the ground at 9 am this morning, while he ran gazelle like way far in front of me. I immediately started cursing up a storm, such that Kris looked at me aghast. Hey, wait a second, I thought, Kris is with me, at 11 am on a Wednesday? One big gut-busting wrench later, and I pulled myself out of the nightmare I was having, looked up at the ceiling and found out it was only 7:43. Another hour plus before the sprints! Yay!

My biggest worry about most outings is that I'll have an urge to use the bathroom, and there will be no bathroom in sight. For boys, eh, whatever, they stand in a corner of a field and pee. Sometimes don't even move that far. Girls, on the other hand, squat, until they learn to pee standing up, which isn't as difficult as it sounds.

I arrived at the field with enough time to worry about having to pee, find a port-a-potty, walk over to said port-a-potty, find said port-a-potty locked, and walk back to my car before Andy showed up. To say I was nervous about this workout would be an understatement. SIgh.

So, Andy showed up, played with the dogs for a bit. I dodged Blue during that bit, finally removing layers and steadying myself for the runs.

The Sprint 8 workout consists of 8 reps of sprint hard for 30 seconds, rest for 1:30 (and that's one minute and thirty seconds, not one hour and thirty minutes). Andy had a GPS clock unit that not only told you where you were and how fast you were moving, but also had a timer mechanism that you could set to 8 :30 + 1:30 laps AND ding at you at the end cheerfully! What a joy! He let me carry the GPS unit, since he knew about how far he was running, about, and I could just call out to him when the timer went off.

He offered to run criss-cross on the field, so as to minimize my overwhelming feelings of dork, but I declined. Something about running at someone makes it worse that running behind someone. Something about lack of eyes in the back of their heads, maybe?

So, we start with the first run. I feel nothing as I'm running. The ground is soft, I run well. I finish 25, maybe 30 yards behind Andy when the ding ding ding ding ding DING! finishes, and I'm good with that run. I'm not breathing too heavy, didn't really notice if that one was hard, I'm good.

1:30 later, that 1:30 feeling like 20 seconds, we're running back the way we just came. The field is about 240 yards long, so we have plenty of room to run. At the end of this sprint, I walk to Andy's starting point, and notice a trend starting: Andy's run out is nearly the same distance as his run back. By "nearly" I mean within a few yards. MY distances become increasingly shorter, to the point where I'm probably 60, maybe 80 yards behind Andy when he finishes. By the six sprint, I can't feel my legs. I'm moving my arms, I'm moving my legs. Neither is willing to move any faster than they're going, and they aren't going very fast.

Hello, dorkdom.

Andy's good natured about it, even though I'm barely walking back to his starting point by the time the GPS unit goes ding ding ding ding ding GO! My legs are starting to feel the leaden feeling they have at 350 meters of a 400 meter race, oh back in college. I think this is one of the points of workout, though, to hit the "lactic threshold" and keep running past.

But, I don't know. I just know that I'm out of shape, that I'm going to be sore tonight.

I hear the call of the hot tub already, and it's not even 11 am.


Daily Photo

A tree Andy pointed out on the walk to lunch.

Useful, selfish gifts


When i was over at Andy's house on New Year's Day, I made a souffle. I used a lot of

a good amount of bittersweet

though with enough

that the bittersweet part didn't matter much.

It turned out well:

The only difficulty I had with cooking at Andy's (aside from the fact I wasn't cooking in my own kitchen, where I know where everything is and can find all the ingredients easily) was the only spatula Andy had in his cooking tools drawer was a 2" x 1" tiny, tiny spatula.

Do you know how hard it is to fold in 8 beaten egg whites into a heated chocolate mixture using a 2" x 1" spatula?

Let's just say I'm good, okay?

So, the next time I was over at his place cooking, I brought along a couple new spatulas. not the large assortment of my spatulas, but two medium sized spatulas that would make my life easier when i was over at his place cooking. Oh, and a set of measuring spoons that I later found out he didn't need, as he had a full set. I just couldn't find them.

After the disaster of a gag gift, I didn't think he noticed the extra spatulas.

I was wrong. He noticed. Of course he noticed. Who wouldn't notice?

Besides Kris, I mean.

A week or so ago, he made some reference to the gift escalation that was happening. No, no, no, I explained, those spatulas were a Homer gift, a selfish gift. I needed them when I was cooking at his place, they were for me, though he could certainly use them, too. My thoughts were something like, 'Crap. We can't afford a gift war...'

"Oh, well, then I can give a selfish gift, too."

Yesterday, we walked in and, as I went to hang up my coat, yelped. Andy's selfish gift was hanging on the door.

Complete with treble clefs.

"I never know where to put my coat when I come over," Andy let me know. He has a coat rack next to his door, so we always know where to hang our coats at his house.

And now we know where to hang our coats at our house, too.

The shoulder that would not heal


Kris, Andy, Blue, Shadow, Annie, Bella and I went to a local school today for some exercise. Kris mostly walked around, arms stuck at his side, unable to lift them because of last Friday's workout. Andy and I ran around, played on the playground/jungle gym/obstacle course, trying to climb various poles, conquer different bars, shimmy up different structures. Kris, he watched.

As we were walking back to the cars, a process which always takes about ten times as long as you think it should, what with all the smells to smell and trees to claw, discs to chase and dogs to run over. Somehow, I was in front of Andy, and Kris, and Annie, and Shadow, and Blue. Bella was in front of me, keeping her distance from Blue, who, early in the walk, had run her over chasing a disc.

She's the smart one.

So, I turned back to say something to Kris, as Andy released a disc for Blue to catch. The throw was a beautiful low throw, a perfect throw for an easy catch, actually. As I noticed the throw, my thoughts were something like, "That's a nice throw." "Hey, I could catch that throw." "Oh, a dog."

Then bam! No, more like BAM!, only bigger.

Blue ran right through my knees on his way to the disc. Sure, he was still accelerating. Sure, he wasn't at top speed. Sure, my pivot point is about hip level.

We discovered this when I did, indeed, pivot at hip level to horizontal, then, as in a Road Runner cartoon, dropped straight down.

I landed on my shoulder, hip and knees, searing pain shooting up my shoulder, which has been semi-injured since late October of last year, and only started healing earlier this month when I started taking mega (MEGA) doses of ibubrofen at my doctor's orders.

I landed with a THUMP. I started crying.

Now, crying in pain is an okay response. It happens. When pain is sudden and severe, hey, crying is a natural response.

Except that from a distance, crying sounds a lot like laughing. Which is what Andy and Kris were doing.

Eventually, they wandered over to me and asked if I was okay. I said my shoulder hurt a lot. When Kris asked how much, I realized that I couldn't answer, because it didn't hurt much on Kris' pain scale (where he'll be moaning in pain at the top of his lungs, but when asked where it is on a scale from 1-10, he'll say 4), so I stopped moaning and got up.

Kris looked at me when I stood up and said, "You know, it's been a long time since you've had some bizarre accident," referring to the time a random dog ran out into an ultimate field and just clobbered me, or the time I caught a boomerang in the shoulder, or the time I caught a disc in the face and my braces broke through my lips (it was brillant cut!), or the time I broke my shoulder from some ultimate player crashing into me, or the time I had a concussion wrestling with Kris, or the time, yeah, well, it's been a while since I had one of those.

Although I'm annoyed my shoulder hurts again, I think the worst part was the fact I cried in front of Andy. I'm so mad at myself. Pain on a physical scale? 2. Pain on an embarrassment scale? 10. Argh.



When I had my first migraine of the year, the headache lingered for a few days, as they often do. Andy had suggested some coca tea to help sooth the headache. I wasn't sure about the tea, in as much as tea contains caffeine, which may or may not cause migraines, so I declined.

At communal dinner this week, Crystal and Nick showed Kris, Andy, Beth and me pictures from their Christmas trip to Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos. At one point, she expressed how much she really liked the coca tea in Ecuador. She explained how the tea dilates blood vessels, usually stopping headaches.

Having spent the whole day with a headache, I was willing to try some coca tea tonight. Andy stopped by and made the three of tea.

Here's hoping it destroys the headache. I'd like to sleep well tonight.