Spring is over, but I did manage to get out and see the Cherry Blossoms. It is the most beautiful time of the year in Tokyo.. . .
March is, well, marching on and I still haven’t completed this post on my work in February. I’m just going to post what I have or I will never acquire the discipline to post about Perl every month. February was hectic and I could not keep up with my workload. A large part of the problem was caused by me having shingles and not being able to work on Perl Foundation things. I did try to deal with urgent things, even when ill, but it’s not easy to do and I had to cancel a few meetings.
Every month I work on the Perl 5 Core Maintenance Fund as there routine task that are carried out on a monthly basis. It has been suggested to me that I shouldn’t deal with these tasks but I find that doing them helps me with procrastination. I imagine that every volunteer suffers from a procrastination problem to some degree and I help overcome mine with routine tasks. Once those are completed I can usually continue working for the whole time block that I set aside. At the minute we have two running grants, Tony Cook’s Maintaining Perl 5, and Dave Mitchell’s Maintaining the Perl 5 Core. Every month I read the reports, post the reports, and authorise the payments. This month we also received a new grant request from Ricardo Signes, so that he could travel to the QA Hackathon.
As well as blogging about grants I have also been posting to the TPF Facebook page, the TPF twitter account, writing for the TPF blog, and updating the TPF website. I’m not alone in doing these tasks as many people in TPF have access to do so including Mark Keating and the marketing committee. We even have some outside help as this year, in order to improve our communication for YAPC::NA, we are using a PR company to promote the conference.
The preparations for YAPC::NA are well underway and I continue to work on the beginners’ track, the master classes, and the Perl 6 hackathon. I’m excited about the conference and pleased that we have a capable team of people working on the many things that need done to run a successful 500 person conference.
We are going to be taking part in Outreachy, which is the successor to the Outreach Program for Women. The winter round is not completed yet and at the minute we have a intern working on Dancer, and another one working on MetaCPAN. We have funding for one intern in the summer round and I’ll have more to write about it in March as the application deadline falls on the 24th.
Admin work is constant and not something I find I want to write about. One admin thing of note this month was the calling of a vote of confidence in the Secretary of the Grants Committee. This is part of the rules of operation for that committee and this will be done on an annual basis. My email situation has worsened since last month but I’m still optimistic that I can catch up on the backlog.
As you can probably tell from this post my role in TPF isn’t a clearly defined thing. Jesse Vincent stated during his time as the Perl 5 Pumpking that he was the project janitor — and I know exactly what he meant.. . .
February is passing oddly. I’ve injured my shoulder causing the days to crawl along when I want to cook, clean, knit, answer email, or do anything that causes me pain. At other times it seems to be zooming by as I’ve been so unproductive and can’t easily work out what I’ve been doing with my time. I have read 9 books, but since only one of them was non-fiction it doesn’t feel like an overly productive way to have spent my time. I’m taking a musical theatre class so I’ve been working on “The Worst Pies in London” and “A Little Priest”. It’s been a while since I tried to sing anything this difficult, but it’s fun. I get to meet Mr. Todd at a rehearsal on Valentine’s Day so hopefully by then I’ll have learnt to sing “popping pussies into pies” with a straight face.
My shoulder is improving though or I wouldn’t be wasting typing time on this blog post.. . .
According to the Economist’s The Safe Cities Index 2015 Tokyo is the safest city in the world:
Tokyo (1) comes top in the overall Safe Cities Index 2015. The Japanese capital performs most strongly when it comes to the security of its technology assets: it tops the list in the digital security category, three points clear of Singapore in second—the widest gap at the top of any of the four categories. Tokyo also ranks in the top five for personal safety and infrastructure safety, despite suffering regular earthquakes and being home to the world’s largest urban population (38m, according to the UN).
It is a great city to live in, if a little big.. . .
I knit in the winter. It seems to start towards the end of December and by the middle of January I knit every day. Now that February has arrived I have decided to learn a new knitting technique. I used to watch my grandmother knit Aran cardigans but I had never really tried cable knitting apart from a few small samplers. As well as thinking it would be complicated, buying the wool in Japan is expensive and I didn’t want to waste money on a failed project. But I found some cheap yarn made of acrylic fibre and I practised some of the basic patterns. I’ve now started something more complicated and I love how the cables look, though I wasn’t able to take a picture that shows just how lovely the pattern is.
I bought a great book full of beautiful patterns and I’m going to see if I can work my way up to the more advanced ones. I always enjoy knitting but these patterns also come with nostalgia and the closest thing to longing for Ireland that I’ve experienced in quite some time.. . .
David Golden recently wrote about the Perl Iron Man Challenge and his goal to regularly blog about Perl. He plans to blog at least once every 10 days and, much as I would like to manage that, I’m not sure that I can. So I’m going to set myself a goal of writing about Perl, on this site, at least once a month.
So what have I being doing in the Perl world this January?
The New Year always brings a flood of email. I am guilty of contributing to this. I wake up, realise it’s January, and become horrified by all the projects I didn’t get finished last year. I tell myself that this year I will do better and start sending email to find out that status of everything I’m interested in. I also have aspirations of getting my inbox to zero, but I can’t find a way to make that work other than filing email to deal with it later. And I don’t see much point in doing that just so I can pretend to myself that I don’t have email in my inbox.
At the minute I have 72 Perl related emails that need a response. My waiting_on box was cleared out at the start of the year so I’m only waiting on 21 responses. Even writing about the email makes me think that I shouldn’t be blogging, I should be responding to those. It’s a priority problem. There is part of me that thinks that blogging is important but is it really more important than email? I find it hard to blog about Perl things because I’m so busy doing those things. Now that I’ve started though I should write about those things.
I’ve been working with the YAPC::NA organizing team on the conference that will be taking place in Salt Lake City, 8-10th June. There’s a lot being organised but I’ve been focusing on the beginner’s track, master classes, and speakers. I’ve also been working on a Perl 6 Hackathon that I’m hoping will take place during the conference. There are tasks that I work on every month – Perl 5 Core grants, trademark requests, and admin. It’s the mid-way point of the Outreach Program for Women and I’ve been following that, though at this stage in the program it’s the mentors and interns that are doing all the heavy lifting. I’ll have to spend more time on this in February if we are going to take part in the next round of the program. I’m sure that there are other things I’m working on but for now I’m going to go and try to make a dent in my email and I’ll leave you with the highlights of last year’s YAPC::NA.. . .
There is something about the winter that makes me want to knit. So far I have knit a scarf, fingerless gloves, and two neck warmers. I’ve also learnt a new cast-on method and practised knitting in the round.. . .
I forgot that it’s New Year this week and that it’s a huge holiday in Japan. Attempting to grocery shop today quickly reminded me of my folly. It’s nasty out there. There are extra staff at the shopping centre to deal with the cars, the grocery store has brought in extra tables to give more room for packing groceries, and the queues for the tills stretch right down the store. It’s horribly like shopping for food in Northern Ireland before Christmas. But here I don’t have a car and the stores don’t open in the middle of the night so I can’t sneak out and do my shopping when people are sleeping.
I was not ready for any of this when I wandered out of my apartment building. I grocery shop nearly every day and my grocery shopping is limited by what I can carry. Today I planned to buy food for one meal. It’s midweek so I expected to do this in about 15 minutes. And then I saw the crowds, the New Year decorations and signs, and I realised that the shops would probably close over the holiday and that I needed to buy food for multiple days.
I was not dressed for crowds. I have a cold, like so many people do at this time of year, and I was feeling dazed and sluggish when I got dressed this morning. I put on old clothes and was too lazy to change my trousers when I realised they were too big, as I was going to run quickly to the store. I stuck on my biggest coat, to cover up my awful clothes, and shuffled out. As soon as I stepped into the sunlight I started to sneeze, my nose started to drip, and the weight of my coat was causing my trousers to slid uncomfortably down. I ended up in the bathroom at the store trying to fix these problems while staring at my pasty white face. I looked awful and this was before I had braved the store.
I managed to buy food for two days and instead of writing this blog post I need to make myself go back to the store. I know that it will be open again tomorrow but the crowds aren’t going to get any smaller, if anything it will get worse as more people get off work for the holiday.. . .
This year I don’t have to dream about a white Christmas. It’s so beautiful in Niseko, cold, but a great way to spend the holiday.. . .
And the bad puns keep coming for a fast food Japanese Christmas…. . .