Stubborn?

My personal detent seems to be that place in between dogged persistence and pure-d, cussed bullheadedness.

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Hidden barriers to women in tech — even clothes make a difference

Working for one of the best-funded startups in Los Angeles’ “Silicon Beach,” Chelsea decided to perform a social experiment with her work clothes.

She usually wore the same standard tech uniform as her male coworkers — jeans and a t-shirt — but felt she wasn’t getting treated with the same respect. Techie that she is, she conducted research — by switching to a more “professional-sexy” look.

“I changed my clothes for two weeks, and the response I got was incredible: My ‘work was improving. You’re doing a great job,’” Chelsea recently told TheWrap. “I should note for those two weeks I basically did nothing. I not only just changed my clothing, I probably decreased my work by, like, 60 percent.”

via Sexism on Silicon Beach: How One Woman’s Sexier Work Clothes Exposed Tech-Bro Bias

So Very Fortunate

I am so lucky — people are nice to me in all kinds of unexpected and delightful ways!
 
The other night at the Belle & Sebastian/Andrew Bird show I went to go find Seamus and Kerri to say hello and chat, and by the time I headed back to where we were sitting on the lawn, it was on the verge of dark.
 
I had made a note of where we were (yah for doing that much), but even when it’s full daylight I have a weird vision thing that makes it difficult for me to recognize people at the 7′-20′ distance (exactly, BTW, where people expect to be recognized). Add some very-near-dark and a whole passel of people and you end up with me standing on the walk, near where I knew we were sitting, peering into the lawn, frantically scanning the crowd for my people, and considering whether I need to text Adrian to tell him where I am so he can come get me.
 
And here’s where the SuperNice happened: I was just pulling out my phone to text Adrian so he could come claim me (yes, like lost luggage) when a random woman who was sitting 15′ away gets up and comes over to me. She asks: “Are you looking for your people?” and I say (probably pitifully) “yes — and I know they’re *right here* but I can’t find them.”
 
She points to a spot 15 feet away (in the direction I hadn’t been looking) and says: “They’re right there. Don’t worry I’m not a creeper, but I remember seeing you get up before and…”
I interject: “Ohmygosh, thank you! thank you!”
… because *wow*!
 
This wonderful woman got up, walked over to a lost-looking stranger, and helped her find her people (and she knew where my people were!). I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such kindness, but this is *exactly* the sort of goodness that I believe we’re suppose to be adding to the world.
 
Thank you, nice woman!!!
 

Learning while frustrated

“So,” I think to myself, “I’ll use this time while the other POSSE participants are working on an exercise to practice my CLI skillz because they’re very rusty (and/or non-existent).”
On my work laptop (Fedora 23), I open a terminal window, run ls, see a couple of files that can bear removing. One is called ‘cascading_menu_HR’
I type
rm cascading_menu_HR
and get
rm: cannot remove ‘cascading_menu_HR’: 
No such file or directory
I ls again (in case it vanished when I wasn’t looking).
Nope. Still there.
OK, I think to myself, I can figure this out. I google.
Perhaps I need to remove it more forcefully. So I try:
rm -rf cascading_menu_HR
and get
rm: cannot remove ‘cascading_menu_HR’: 
No such file or directory
grrr. Angrypants.   Maybe I am not powerful enough (probably not the case, but I’m exhausting my options).  Besides ,’sudo” fixes everything, right?
sudo rm -rf cascading_menu_HR
and get
rm: cannot remove ‘cascading_menu_HR’: 
No such file or directory
Not unexpected but still frustrating.  More googling: “cannot rm -rf file but shows when ls”.  Find the following article: “No such file or directory” when trying to remove a file, but the file exists?
The article suggests that I run ‘ls -lb‘, explaining that ls -lb will list long form file names with octal escapes for nongraphic characters.[1]
And as it turns out, that file I was trying to remove was named ‘cascading_menu_HR/’  — what?!  Why wouldn’t the listing just show me that?
More confusing yet, / isn’t a /, it’s an indicator that a space is being quoted, so I really need to use an extra space in my command:
sudo rm -rf cascading_menu_HR\  <- there's a 
space at the end that you can't see
The sudo business and the remove with great force were both probably unnecessary, but at this point I’m a little angry at this file, and I just want the blasted file gone.[2]
And the file is finally gone! Hooray!
Then I remember something that I *just* learned last week:  Linux commands have a long form and a short form.[3] Turns out that -s is the same thing as –size and -a is the same thing as –all. Huh.  That makes a *lot* more sense to me (and eventually I’m sure I’d use the shortcuts, but it’s a lot easier to remember –size than -s).[4]
Last night I was talking to Adrian about how this new long form command business is a big helper for me, and he tells me another thing that I didn’t know: the short forms of commands can be smushed together behind a single dash.
So, I’m thinking that I should be able to “un-abbreviate” the -lb into two component parts. Google and find that -l means long form of the listing, so I think that
ls --long --escape
will work
Nope.   I get:
ls: unrecognized option '--long'
Try 'ls --help' for more information.
????  -l means long but isn’t the short form of –long?? Whhhhhhyyyyyy?
Ok. Whatever. Moving on. I try some other stuff:
ls -a -s
works.  And
ls -s -a
works but is much slower (is it because it has to do things backwards?)

Argh.  Yet again, I find myself stymied by the stupidest things. I want to understand it …and when it doesn’t make sense it frustrates me. Greatly.

And so I end up feeling like “if something this ‘easy’ [5] has stymied me, then (a) I must be very stupid and (b) this is probably something I shouldn’t mess with anymore.

[1] No, I have no idea what that means, but if it makes it quit erroring.
[2] Annoying realization at this point: I don’t really care about removing this file — it’s been there for who knows how long and doesn’t seem to be hurting anything — but my little “CLI practice session” has turned into the very definition of stubbornness for me.
[3]  Well, some of them do, but not all.  ls doesn’t seem to have a longer form. (?? – why wouldn’t it be list?) and -l means “long” and -b is the shortcut for –escape (???).  (And if you’re thinking to yourself that they must’ve used -b because -e was being used by something else?  Nope. Not that I can tell.)
[4] BTW, why in heaven’s name does the long form require when the short form requires ?  Why couldn’t they both use -?
[5] Reminder: deleting a file via the command line is all I wanted to do.

Invisalign: my $.02 worth

01111_p_9aek3m4zz0192I was a candidate for braces when I was twelve: my teeth were a little crooked, so it would have been a primarily cosmetic procedure, but my orthodontist at the time was pushing hard.

I, however, said “nope”  The way I figured it, I was already four-eyed and terribly unpopular, with standing memberships in both the science club and the A/V club.  I did not need any additional “markers” of nerdiness, thank-you-very-much.  I told them “No,” and said that if I needed them when I was a happily married grownup, I’d get them then.

Which brings us to two Thanksgivings ago when one of my  lower front teeth cracked right down the middle.  The tooth-cracking thing has happened before, but it’s always been in an easy-to-get-to tooth, which has meant that the ensuing root canal and crown was simple enough, if not painless.
unnamed-3This time was different, as the tooth that cracked was nearly perpendicular to the two teeth on either side of it, a fact which hadn’t bothered me in the day-to-dayness of life, as my lower teeth just didn’t show when I smiled.  However, that tooth’s unusual orientation posed a challenge for the root canal, as there was no way to get to the back of the tooth to make the needed hole, as the back of that tooth was smushed up against the side of the tooth beside it.   You can see it especially well in the middle right photo above.

I’d be totally ok just doing the root canal and crown and going about my business, but the crooked tooth is preventing that.  My dentist suggests I visit an Endodontist to see what she thinks, and she thinks the tooth should be straightened out before doing the reapair work, so she sends me to an Orthodontist.

The Orthodontist, Dr. Brogden, felt pretty sure that Invisalign would straighten them out.  Well, as I’d said when I was twelve: if I need them when I’m older and happy and married…

Dr. Brogden predicted 2-2.5 years with Invisalign, assuming I was compliant and wore them as directed.  I had 47 trays, each of which was to be worn for two weeks, plus there’s sometimes some extra time needed on the end for stabilizing.

My Review

The Good:

They weren’t as bad as I had feared. I think a couple of things helped on that front:  each set of trays was only painful for 48 hours or so, and by the end of each set of trays I could tell that they’d done their duty and I was ready to move onto the next set.  In addition, it helped to know (from a not freaking out mentally standpoint) that I could take them off any time I wanted to.

Because I was so compliant, my orthodontist said I could switch my trays out more quickly than the standard 14 days.  I could feel when each set was “done” and that’s when I’d switch them.  Sometimes I’d leave a set in slightly longer than 14 days too, as I wouldn’t want to switch trays on the first day of a trip.

And because I *waited* until I was a grownup, the technology got better!  Less than two years of braces — and ones that were *invisible* and *removable.*  So, so, soooo much better than the options that I had at age 12.

The Bad:

I have really sensitive skin, and having hard plastic rubbing against my gums was not a happy thing.  I became a copious user of dental wax, which I discovered that you can buy in 20-packs on Amazon.

Taking out the trays is awkward, especially in situations where it’s not feasible to sneak away to the ladies to take my teeth out. I got pretty good (I think) at having the tray ready under the table and popping the teeth out really quickly and sliding them in the tray.

And before putting them back in, you’re *supposed* to brush your teeth. I was adamant about that at the beginning but eventually I figured out what reasonable compromises I could make.

And then there were the “tooth barnacles” (my term. I think they were properly called “attachment points”), which are little…barnacle-like things that help give the trays something to grip to.  Those little boogers were sharp! Sharp enough that they’d cut up the insides of my lips, and thus I discovered another use for the dental wax.  (And, I must admit, it was good incentive to get the trays back on sooner rather than later so as to prevent scraping and tenderness).

unnamed-4

The Amazing

My teeth!!  Not even 1.5 years and WOW!  They’re so straight!  I feel like it’s still going to take me a while to get used to being able to actually bite into things (my prior approach was more a grab-with-teeth-and-tear thing). Check ’em out!

The Final Verdict?

I approve.  Invisalign is a Good Thing and I approve.  Also I think Dr. Brogden rocks :-)

Edited to Add: Lessons Learned

  1. For me, it worked best to switch trays right before going to bed if at all possible. Usually the first hour or so with new trays wasn’t so bad but around two hours in they started *ouching* — and if I could sleep through that, it went better.
  2. I found that new sets of trays did make me lisp a bit, which was problematic when
    I was supposed to be presenting at a conference. Thankfully, since they were trays, I could pop them out before I spoke (advantage: Invisalign).
  3. I must admit, I ate less.  Taking out the trays, brushing your teeth before putting them back in, knowing that every time they came out it counted against my “time out of mouth” and that on any given day that had to be less than four hours — that all added up to wanting to take them out less, which meant eating less.
  4. I mentioned above that the trays can cut into your gums and tongue (depending on how sensitive they are)…well, the trays can also be ground down by your orthodontist so they aren’t so sharp. Theoretically they can also be filed down at home using an emory board, but I never had much luck with that.
  5. The sharp tooth barnacles can also be smoothed some (though so so much that they are no longer barnacle-y)
  6. You can also use normal tooth whitening gel in the trays, which is kind of nifty — cleaner and straighter for the win!

 

Things I learned today

IMG_1419Things I learned today, while sorting through my Granny’s thread stash:

  • I love knolling (although technically this wasn’t knolling, as I wasn’t arranging everything at 90 degree angles..but they were round things, so some leeway would apply, yes?)
  • I have a peculiar affinity for button thread — every time I find a spool I squee inside. I have no idea why.
  • I desperately want my thread spools to be tidy so it angers me beyond reason when manufacturers don’t put that little slit in for the loose end of the thread to go into.  It’s such a tiny thing! Why wouldn’t they just do it always? (I forgive the wooden spools, but the plastic ones have no excuse!)
  • Very little orange thread, despite much of this coming from the 70s. Though I did hate the orange crayon, I don’t know why Granny had so little.
  • I have such a sense of knowing her through this ritual– so much of her love was expressed through sewing (and cooking)

IMG_1420Also, I have a veritable museum of thread types:

  • American Thread Co.
    • Geneva Glace Finish
    • Star Mercerized (Will Boil) – I am getting the sense that boiling thread was a big deal?
  • Belding Corticelli Pure Silk Buttonhole Twist
  • Brother Embroidery Thread (Made in Japan) — I think this one must have been mine
  • Centennial 100% Spun Polyester Sewing Thread Best Value in 200 Yrs
  • J&P Coats
    • Dual Duty Plus – NEW! Dacron Cotton Wrapped 25¢
    • ​J&P Coats Dual Duty Plus – Mercerized Cotton Covered Polyester 99¢
    • Finesse

IMG_1452

  • Coats & Clark
    • Mercerized Sewing – Boilfast (™) 15¢
    • Pure Silk Twist​
    • All Purpose – Dual Duty
    • Super Sheen 15¢
  • Fruit of the Loom Spun Polyester
  • Gütermann
    • 100% Polyester
    • Dekor 100% Viscose
  • Lily
    • Lint-Free
    • Nylon Seaming Size A 25¢
  • Mettler
    • Quilting Cotton Mercerized
    • Metrosene
    • Silk Finish Cotton Sheen
  • IMG_1456Molnlycke Spun Syntet
  • Molnlycke Wrights 100% Polyester (Did someone buy someone else?)
  • Notion
  • Stitch N’ Time Polyester
  • Suisse (™) Symbol of Excellence Long Fiber Polyester 60¢
  • Super-Spun (™) Polyester – The Perfect Thread for All Fabrics 75¢
  • Talon
    • Polyspun Permanent Press
    • PolyPlus 100% Dacron (for permanent press knit stretch)
    • Mercerized Sewing Colorfast 25¢ (and 15¢ – both 125 yards! Price hike!)
  • Trusew 100% Spun Polyester
  • Zayre Dept. 94

IMG_1458Sorted.

Thoughts on learning from bad behavior

Today I was witness to a conversation online (after someone posted the video where the mom yanks the kids out from behind the dad who is broadcasting from his home office) where Party A said something like “it just bugs me that people have to go and ruin the fun by getting upset and saying it was racist when some people thought she was the nanny.”
Party B explained (quite well, I thought) that the video is funny *and* the comments from people who automatically assumed “nanny” are problematic *and* it might be a good thing to consider listening when people raise issues like this rather than brushing it off as a joke, or whatever.
Person C (someone who often gets under my skin, I admit), posted that “reasonable people can tolerate problematic speech.”
Person D chimed in with “yeah, especially when they probably didn’t mean it as an insult.”

 

URGH.

When people raise issues like this, maybe consider just listening and trying to understand instead of just brushing it off or saying “it was just supposed to be funny.”

My response:
I think this is where the “reasonable” humans part comes in.  I don’t think that a lot of racist (or sexist or homophobic or (…) speech is *intended* to be insulting or hurtful (or illegal, for that matter).
But *intent* and *outcome* are different.  I guarantee you, I’ve never *meant* to get into any fender bender that I’ve gotten into.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m not responsible for the outcome of those fender benders (or wrecks), as I clearly am.  Can you imagine how this would turn out:
Nice person who I’ve just rear-ended:  “Um. You read-ended me!”
Me:  “Yeah, but I didn’t mean to, so you shouldn’t be upset.”
Nice person: “Well I am upset!”
Me:  “Well, it doesn’t *look* like your car is damaged, so let’s just go on our separate ways, ok?”
Nice person: “I know it doesn’t *look* like my car is damaged, but I felt the impact and I suspect there is damage, so I need to get your insurance info.”
Me: “*I* can’t see any damage, so there isn’t any damage, so I am not going to do that.”
And just like it’s reasonable to expect adults to take responsibility for the outcomes of their behavior, it’s also reasonable to expect adults to want to learn when they are causing harm — even if *they don’t see it* — so that they can avoid doing so in the future.
And, yes, one could argue that everyone should simply beef up their bumpers and expect to be hit every now and again and to not take everything so personally all the time…
…but do you really want to be the person who makes everyone else feel like they are in danger?
Think about that. As easy as it is to write off all of this concern as “political correctness,” the outcome of your behavior when you treat issues around (racism or sexism or homophobia or transphobia [or]) as something that is *their problem* (because they’re weak, or take things the wrong way, or because you didn’t mean it that way, or because you were just repeating something someone else said, or because you thought it was funny [or]) rather than your mistake to be corrected and learned from, that’s exactly what you are doing.
You are making all those other folks feel like you can’t be trusted. That you don’t have their best interests at heart. That you would intentionally hurt them, even after having been told “hey – this hurts. Please stop.”
If you’re ok with that, then carry on.

Two thoughts on Winter Weather in North Carolina, addressed mainly to recent transplants from points north

1) If this is your first winter storm in North Carolina and you’re from a significantly more wintery place: first, welcome :-) and second, be aware that what we get down here isn’t usually like what y’all get up north.  I’ve driven a tiny bit in snow up north (Michigan) and it’s *fine* — it’s big, fluffy stuff that is not too treacherous given the sorts of cautions mentioned above (Moshe, *love* that saying!).
What we get down here, OTOH, is often a mix of sleet, freezing rain, and snow, so what looks to be nice, fluffy white snow — the likes of which you’re well accustomed to — may actually be a thin layer of fluffy stuff concealing a treacherous layer of ice.
This is compounded by the weather patterns we often see ’round these parts, which go something like: short sleeve weather, freezing rain, snow, more freezing rain, warm day that’s neither long enough nor warm enough to melt everything, then a really cold night.
2) Yep, you’re right: we don’t know how to deal with snow down here.  We don’t salt enough, nor plow enough, and we (or at least many of we) sure-as-heck don’t know how to drive in it.
If you think about it, though, it makes perfect sense.  The state can’t afford to keep around enormous quantities of equipment on the off-chance that we’ll need it every three-to-six years.  So, yeah, it’ll take a while for the plows to get around to your area.
As for the driving: most North Carolinians that I know (at least the ones that grew up here) just don’t go driving in the snow unless we absolutely have to.  This is why we do the bread, milk, eggs, pop-tarts grocery store run, ’cause we know we’re in for the count! [1]
We know we don’t know how to deal with snow.  We’re ok with that. Those of us that grew up here (usually – can’t speak for everyone) *like* snow days and the fact that everything comes to a grinding halt when it snows.  So don’t feel like you need to tell us How Badly The South Does Snow.  :-)
Enjoy it!
[1]
  • Eggs: just useful to have on hand — nice protein, necessary for many recipes, probably don’t have any in the freezer.
  • Bread: necessary for french toast and grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Milk: necessary for cream of tomato soup and snow cream [2]
  • pop-tarts: every family has their weird snow thing. This was ours.
[2] Snow cream recipe:
Place large mixing bowl outdoors before snow starts. Remember where you put it.
Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl, whisk together:
  • milk (assuming a large mixing bowl, figure on needing 1-2 c milk total, depending on how wet the snow is, but start with only 1c),
  • vanilla extract (some. More is often good. 1 T)
  • sugar (again, some. “To taste” — I add 1/2c but I have a huge sweet tooth)
  • smidge of salt
Stick this in the fridge until your bowl #1 is full.
When bowl #1 is full of snow, retrieve.  Pour in your previously mixed base (assuming you didn’t drink it straight out of bowl #2), and quickly stir. Add more milk if necessary (this is where the “up to 2 cups” comes in.  It should get to a sort-of ice cream like consistency.
Scoop. Eat.  (But fast, this doesn’t have a long shelf life!)

All y’all.

In the past I’ve been asked to explain the meaning of “all y’all” (or “all of y’all” if you’re feeling fancy).

“All y’all” is the Southern Inclusive Plural — specifically, it means *all of you,* as opposed to “y’all”, which means “you (plural)”.

“Do y’all want to go to the movies?” means “Do you (plural) want to go the movies” and *doesn’t* require everyone’s response, as it’s a general “any of the you’s who are assembled here”.

“Do all of y’all want to go to the movies?” on the other hand, is asking if there’s a *collective desire” to attend the movies.

In my experience “all of y’all” is particularly useful when, for instance, you’re at a larger gathering at which you only know a subset of people.You don’t know everyone, but you want to indicate that everyone (even those folks whose acquaintance you haven’t yet had the pleasure of making) is included in an invitation.

As in:

“Hey — there’s a movie in the park in an hour. Do all y’all want to go?”  The implication is that I’m suggesting that after we’re all done eating dinner at the restaurant, I’d be delighted if we *all* adjourned to the movie in the park.  It avoids the situation where  few of us are heading in one direction as we are leaving and someone else asks “Where are y’all going?”, leaving one of us to answer “To the movie in the park…” […that we didn’t tell you about…]  Awkward, and totally avoidable with “all ya’ll.”

The converse is equally useful:

When speaking to the three people at a party with whom one carpooled, and requesting departure from said party, “Are y’all ready to leave?” means “are you, the people whose conveyance I shared, ready to go?” not “is everyone at the party ready to leave” (with its inherent implications that the Party is Over).

(“All y’all” is written as such, but pronounced “alla y’all”. This oughtn’t be surprising, as much of Southern would look the same if written phonetically ;-)