quartzpebble: (Doom!)

Cyteen, for "at least things aren't that fucked-up," and Dreaming In Code, for learning more about/cringing at the practicalities of software development.

quartzpebble: (late INTERNET)
  • I'm giving a MediaWiki tech talk tomorrow on What I Did During My Summer Internship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz__duVeaWY
  • I just found out that my proposal to talk at SCALE (SoCAl Linux Expo) this February was accepted, also about API client libraries (in a somewhat more general form).
  • I'm tired of staring at my slides for tomorrow, but they're not. done. yet. Halp.
  • One of these days I will move my stuff here from the pod. It will help my ergonomics, a lot. Until then I see myself spending lot of time in the library or the office.
  • I've slept in my new apartment and have eaten and had tea. It's chilly and has a few quirks, but I like it, especially when it's sunny. And OH HEY IT'S CALIFORNIA, yes it's been sunny.

Right. Fixing up 5 more slides and going to sleep.

ETA: Three slides left, one of them just with links to add, two to clean up phrasing of existing content. SLEEP.

quartzpebble: a woman getting up with a barbell above her head (barbell TGU)
The Ada Initiative is hiring a new Executive Director.

I don't have the skills for this, but I'm thinking that using that list to inform my professional/activist goals might be a good plan. Working towards that would at least give me a sense of whether that is a direction I want to go. My current thinking is that five years from now I would like to be established, skilled, and respected enough that I materially influence the course of at least one organization I care about and contribute to.

I got feedback from my interview with Google a couple of months ago--basically, + analytical thinking, + learning in a short time, - coding/algs/problem-solving. A dev job with more-experienced coworkers for the next year or two is still sounding like a pretty solid plan.
quartzpebble: (INTERNET)
To get my feet wet in the way WMF analytics does things, I'm working on this bug: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T77936

When Dan asked if I wanted to work on this as a getting-started bug, I'd never actually looked at anything that used Puppet before, I didn't actually know what Limn did, and I still don't have a good sense of how the MediaWiki dev tools go and how they relate to mediawiki-vagrant. (Incidentally, it appears that I may need to manually update virtualbox when an updated kernel comes out? Ugh and hmph.)

I borrowed from Alison Kaptur's idea of a mental stack, described in her post on systematic debugging, and tried to understand enough of it that I could send a reasonable-feeling* email to Dan to ask questions and make suggestions. My questions and answers are under the cut for my own records and anyone else who's interested in my thought processes learning new code-ish things.

Things I was confused about: the stack. )

Notes: )

* history and context suggest that my bar for understanding enough for "reasonable" is probably far too high, and the truly obnoxious bit is that lowering that bar takes energy just like meeting it does.

Hello, SF!

Nov. 27th, 2014 11:48 pm
quartzpebble: (I care alot)

I've been in the SF Bay area since Monday and have been enjoying being here. When I've been down to CA in the last couple of years, I always knew that I'd be going back to Seattle at the end. Now I don't have to, and that makes it so much better to be here. As I've been getting around here, I've been looking around and thinking that in a few weeks, I'll be here to stay. Still don't know where yet! Bay Area people, let me know if you know people who'll want roommates or who are moving. Mostly I'd like to have a reasonable commute to the city.

I have:

  • now seen Sneakers
  • been to a judo class at Keiko Fukuda's judo club (I'm still a bit sore, and it felt so good to get back on the mat, even in something I hadn't done before. Hip throws on someone short are still hard!)
  • gotten to catch up with [personal profile] badgerbag
  • worked at the WMF main office, met my boss in person, had good conversations, met more WMF people (thanks, [personal profile] brainwane!)
  • done actual work!
  • been felt out for another contract, this one where my tech feminist background is an explicit plus!
  • gotten to see [livejournal.com profile] mackenzie
  • drunk excellent tea
  • eaten at least a few pounds of mandarin oranges since Monday
  • decided to apply to linux.conf.au's diversity program for travel funding and started the application for that
  • apparently not told local people I'm moving here? I'm moving here!
  • pointed [profile] gwillen at various Python resources
  • continued to take new!med

Once I land for a bit longer I think it will be time to sit down and do some project planning. I have a lot of things I want to do in the next year or few and I'd like to set myself up to make them happen. I think I'll see if I can make a(n internet) party of it.


Nov. 16th, 2014 04:42 pm
quartzpebble: (you can't see me)
I went to the UW Open Source Comes to Campus event today to be part of the career panel, mostly because I thought that sharing my perspective and experience was worthwhile and that it was likely that I would be the only similar one. It ended up being me and 8 dudes, all of whom had been in open source/coding for distinctly longer than I had. With so many people, most of us didn't talk that much, but with that particular ratio the slant in the experiences they were describing was noticeable (to me, at least). There was "people knew I'd worked on this thing, and they asked me to write a book", and "I put all of my personal stuff/work/thoughts on my website and it works great", "I've never interviewed for an open source job, people saw my work and wanted to work with me" (and "Me neither"), and "Open source is a great way to be a more balanced workaholic". That one I did push back on--I mentioned the person I know who's worked in open source for some time and not volunteered for any of it (because if you don't have the time/resources/etc. to volunteer, I want your contributions too!).

It wouldn't have been so bad if the audience wasn't 40% female. No one explicitly said that what they did was good general advice iirc, but there was no acknowledgement that (statistically) if that 40% of the audience tried the same tactics, it would not work out so well for them unless they get lucky. (To be fair, I am under the impression that men working in open source is a minority of a small population as well, and so it's possible that the same wouldn't work for most of the men in the room, either.) I didn't counter "or you can work with all of your work in public" with, "and meanwhile, women I know are stepping back from public tech spaces because they are hostile and exhausting, and many women want private repos so that they don't have to defend in-progress code."

After today, I am unenthused about volunteering my time to get more women into open source as a whole. On the other hand, if I hadn't been there, it would only have been men. IDK. I think that gets filed under "not my event, not my problem."
quartzpebble: (Dead sheep)
Because of this: http://recode.net/2014/10/01/under-pressure-from-gamers-intel-pulls-advertising-from-gamasutra/

I contacted Intel through the form at https://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/forms/corporate-responsibility-contact-us.html . If you feel similarly, please feel free to contact them and borrow as much of my phrasing here as you find helpful.

I am writing you to cosign Tim Chevalier's open letter to Intel, posted at http://tim.dreamwidth.org/1861513.html and which I have included below.

As a participant in the Outreach Program for Women and a woman who is entering free/open source software development, I am particularly dismayed by Intel's decision to participate in a campaign of gendered harassment. Due to Intel's support of the OPW, I had previously considered seeking a job with the Intel OTC. This is no longer true. It is disingenuous and immoral to get good press for getting women into tech by sponsoring programs like the OPW while at the same time making conditions worse for us once we get here. I want nothing to do with a company that does so.

Finally, I fully support Matthew Garrett's decision to stop working on Intel hardware: http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/32778.html . I use Linux, and my next computer will not have an Intel chipset.

With utmost sincerity,
quartzpebble: (I care alot)
I had veggies and now I have soup. For the records of anyone who's interested:

~1 c fresh shelled shelling beans (these were kind of like white kidney beans)
1 large leek, quartered, rinsed, and chopped, minus the very dark green bits
some sliced potatoes
corn stock, made by simmering corncobs I'd cut the kernels off of
some frozen bacon chunks
~4 sprigs fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

All quantities are very, very approximate.

Stick in a small saucepan. Simmer until the bacon is dead, the potatoes are falling apart into the leek-mush, and the beans are very soft. Devour.
quartzpebble: (you can't see me)
I've recently been dealing with some stuff that happened during my former partnership that I'm now finding much more traumatic than I experienced it being when it happened several years ago. I'm creating an opt-in filter so that I have space to discuss it and so that no one who is likely to find it overly awkward or overly triggering to hear about will run into it accidentally. If you want more details, ask and I will answer in a screened comment. Comments on this post are screened by default.

If you--yes, you, it will not be weird if you ask to be added--want to be on this filter, please comment here with your DW or OpenID account. I do reserve the right not to add you for any reason (I would feel weird, it is raining that day, I have some sort of feeling). If I don't add you, it is only that I don't feel like discussing these particular things in front of you.

ETA: If you can see this test post, you are on the filter.
quartzpebble: (square flames)
I'm sorting out some of my stuff, and some of that stuff is a bunch of perfume oils I don't want any more!

I don't have it in me to pack and mail many separate packages. If you want >1/2 of these, or if you're Seattle-local, leave a comment and we can work something out! I'm open to swaps, I'm open to you paying the cost to get these to you + whatever you're able/willing. I mostly want these out of my house and to someone who will enjoy them! Feel free to pass this on.

list of samples )
quartzpebble: (Doom!)
* Tone policing is different from pointing out the probable effects of a course of action.

* Whether these effects are desired/worthwhile depends on your goals and tolerance for risk and/or splash damage.

* Not all movements/subgroups/individuals have the same goals.

* Tactics are most likely to achieve our goals when they serve a strategy.

* Goals change.

* Sometimes we hurt people by existing and taking care of ourselves. Sometimes it's worth hurting someone to get our needs met. Sometimes it isn't. We are all complicit in so much.

* Self-defense is not the answer to harassment and assault. However, it is an important part of the answer.

* "Self-defense" is a vague term that encompasses empowerment self defense.

* "Self-defense" != "kick him in the balls" or "slap him if he makes a pass at you"

* Some people conflate these. This is wrong and should be corrected.

* I suspect that it's easier to not see the active practice of assertiveness and healthy entitlement as a form of self-defense when you never had to consciously learn it.

These are still fairly amorphous. I am very much up for discussion.
quartzpebble: (freakish)
I am going to be giving the final keynote at Open Source Bridge!

One of the peculiar perks of giving a keynote at this conference is that I get to choose my own introductory organ music. So far I have considered/had suggested to me:
  • variations on a nyancat theme

  • something appropriate from Vienna Teng, like "Level Up" or "The Tower"

  • something from The Indigo Girls (the better to flag with, my dear)

  • Nikki Minaj's "Starships", mostly because of those amazing fanvids

  • Something by Mika. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" would probably be inappropriate but talk about a fun song!

  • "Radioactive", by Imagine Dragons (mostly because omg organ version)

  • Something by Thou Shalt Not

  • "After All", by Dar Williams

  • something from a nifty movie soundtrack (like Pacific Rim!)

It's late. I'll edit to add links as I feel like putting off talk prep. *g*

Suggestions, serious and not, are welcome!
quartzpebble: (INTERNET)

I wrote about the ways toxic entitlement enables unintentional but substantial harm in STEM communities for Model View Culture's current issue, Abuse.

When “I Didn't Mean To” Makes it Worse

Entitlement and violation in STEM communities

We assume that our stories are universal. We assume that what helps us will help others. We ask, “Couldn't you just...?” and explain that, actually, if they saw things our way they’d have it better. We ignore differences of ability, power, class, and culture to overwrite their stories with ours. We expect the world to be as we want it, and when we have power we act like that’s true.

That is the danger of entitlement. When we expect more than we're due, we are in danger of robbing those around us of their own autonomy. Our assumptions shape our actions. Unintentional harm becomes easy. When we don’t expect boundaries to exist, we step right past them without looking, all in what we think is good will.

We don’t want to do this. How do we stop?

quartzpebble: (Default)
testing, please ignore
quartzpebble: (Propargyl)
I've written about my choice to leave the field of chemistry in Model View Culture's Lean Out issue.

You can find it here: I Didn't Want To Lean Out: Why I Left, How I Left, and What It Would Have Taken to Keep Me in STEM.

When I decided to leave, I let go of my intention to continue contributing to the advancement of human knowledge as a scientist and a chemist. I mourned that I would not achieve my goal of changing the culture of organic chemistry, and I knew that my leaving would mean one less woman for other women to talk to, network with, and lean on for professional support. I fought feelings of obligation and squashed that nagging sense that I was letting down The Sisterhood™.

I was furious. I saw that little about my situation was fair, but there it was, and there I was.

In the end, I chose my own health and happiness and I chose self-respect.

The past year has been filled with changes. I've lost family. I've set aside my dream of changing the world as a kickass chemist with a PhD. I've dealt with fundamental changes in my personal relationships. I've started one of the first explicitly feminist hackerspaces. I've thrown around a lot of ideas for what I want to do next, and some of them are now starting to stick. I've done the emotional work to become wiser, more compassionate, and more accepting of myself. I've had some amazing support in getting through this and getting here. To all of you I've tossed around ideas with and who've listened to me and let me cry on you--you have helped me get to where I could write this. Thank you.
quartzpebble: (Default)
Cross-posted to Geek Feminism.

TL;DR: Check out Seattle Attic’s Indiegogo campaign.

2013 has been a hell of a year for me. I’ve lost family; I’ve ended or reshaped several important personal and professional relationships; I’ve begun to reconsider my career path based on some truly unfortunate experiences in my current academic department. And with all that, it’s been the most personally and professionally rewarding year I’ve lived so far.

Why? I wanted to turn some of my frustrations into positive change and started the Seattle Attic Community Workshop, the first of the new West Coast feminist hackerspaces. I can—and will—talk about our vision for the space and specifics on how we are moving toward it. First, though, I’m going to talk about how my work with the Attic has changed me and why I love this space so much.

I think it’s the first space—at least, the first formal community—that I’ve been able to bring all of myself into without fear of rejection. I can be the least censored public version of myself. I’m not afraid I’ll be judged for the choices I make to deal with the flawed systems we all live in, and I’m not afraid that the real harm those systems do will be waved away in the process. The support there helps me grow into the self I want to be: gutsy, strong, curious, creative, knowledgeable, skilled, and compassionate. I want to create. I want to learn. I want to teach. At the Attic, I can ask the basic questions that let me learn without being judged for not knowing already. And I’m not the only one who’s restarted work on projects that had been on hold for months and years.

It’s what I wish working at a start-up — or a new lab — were like. If I ever do start a company, I’ll be drawing on my organizational experiences here. We consciously notice our social dynamics. We learn from movements’ prior experiences. We explicitly discuss burnout and balance responsibilities so that the work gets done and no one feels like they have to do it all. We value respect and kindness over displays of superiority — disagreements don’t define our worth as individuals, we aren’t afraid to be judged when we ask questions, and we’re not ashamed of our interests.

As we started this, I started to lead our earlier meetings and eventually was formally chosen as president. I discovered that I do have a talent for leadership — and here, I don’t have to keep my guard up or worry that my femaleness or my queerness will undermine it. I encouraged little things that build community; our meetings include a “rant and squee” section, one part consciousness-raising group, one part fannishness, one part show-and-tell, as well as a “good and welfare” section that I nabbed from my academic student employee union‘s meetings. Other members have also called me on my mistakes and failings and with their support, I’ve turned those around and done better.

This space and its members have also been a base of support for my other activism. It’s why one of our members entered the tech field this year. It’s a huge part of why I feel secure enough to consider leaving science completely. It’s given me the support I needed to be able to share my reasons why and is why I plan to do my best to make a change in my department and not keep my head down. None of this is easy, but now it’s possible.

So, this is a love letter of a sort to the Attic and the people who comprise it. Many of my best experiences this year have been through the Attic or through the amazing women I’ve met and worked with there. After this year it would be easy for me to leave science completely and geek from the edges, or to stay and become more and more angry and brittle. That’s not what’s happened. The acceptance, encouragement, and compassionate strength I’ve found from my fellow Attic members have helped make me into the person I want to be. I look around and see how I can be strong without being brittle. I’ve been shaped by my painful experiences this year; I’m being tempered by the kindness and utter acceptance the Attic’s showed me.

Right now, Seattle Attic is raising money so that we can build on the beginning we’ve made and expand our space and our programs. We want to make this space sustainable, and we want to provide enough resources that other makerspaces can do the same. If you want to help us continue to make our vision real, you can contribute to our fundraiser, or simply spread the word and tell a handful of your friends why this feminist makerspace excites you, personally. If you’re local or visiting, come to one of our open houses, workshops, or events — we would love to meet you.
quartzpebble: (you can't see me)
One of my coworkers is dealing with serious family issues and needs someone to take her 4 cockatiels temporarily. They come in 2 sets, so taking 2 would still be helpful. If any of you can help or know Seattle-area people who'd be interested in helping her with this, please pass this on and have them contact me.
quartzpebble: (INTERNET)
I finally finished Cryoburn, and ow. The ending was sad, but really didn't feel like it meshed well with the rest of the book.

So I've been reading a bunch of fic. )
quartzpebble: (I care alot)
01. What part of your body is most prone to injury?
Historically, I turn my ankles. Currently, lungs if you count asthma (thanks so much, cold weather, and yay spring). Generally, joints.

02. What's the origin of your internet handle, quartzpebble?
When I was in high school, I went on a Robert Frost kick. I really liked "For Once, Then, Something" for the way it conveyed that search for underlying meaning in a world where clarity is hard to find and often obscured by who and where we are. So, quartzpebble. It's also mostly unique to me.

03. When you were growing up, what did your parents tell you (or imply) you'd be best at?
Broadly, intellectual stuff; specifically, reading and science and math. Emphatically not physical or social skills.

04. What's your first memory of going away from home?
I remember going on a trip to visit my aunt in Boise sometime before I was 6. I don't remember all that much, but it was summer and the fields were gold, and we got to play with clay and go play in the grass.

05. What are your favorite methods of travel?
I like driving and biking. Biking because it is slow enough and close enough to the ground to really see what I'm passing by and enjoy the sunshine but fast enough to not take forever. Driving, because it gives me a sense of freedom--I love road trips, I love being able to see more of the country, and I like it that the timing is all mine.

06. If you had sufficient time and resources to work on a side project related to your academic interests, what would it be?
I would like to do work on neglected diseases. I enjoy medicinal chemistry, and less profitable projects are definitely addressed less.

07. What is your current favorite internet meme?
Here, have some otters that look like Sherlock.


Apr. 14th, 2012 09:11 pm
quartzpebble: (cat)
I've been planting things this spring and they're going surprisingly well so far.

We have a raised bed in the backyard that's about 3' x 7' and gets well over partial sun, and a few terraces in front of the front yard that get afternoon sun. There are some other beds in the back along the fence that are mostly shaded and aren't planted with much.

I've planted two types of kale, spinach, broccoli raab, snow peas, chard, maybe some lettuce, and leeks in the bed. Everything except the peas and the chard is from seed; they're actually coming up, and most of the greens are getting tiny real leaves. I tried starting some in the seed-starter, but that didn't work as well. I hope to also start some cucumbers soon.

In front, I put some rainbow chard seedlings, a blueberry bush, a sage plant, and irises for Lori. The bulbs had started sprouting a little bit when I planted them today, so hopefully they will come up soon.


quartzpebble: (Default)

January 2015

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