Irish Summer

I flew from New York to Dublin yesterday. I was fortunate to be sitting beside two friendly people, Katie from L.A. who was flying to Ireland for her summer holiday, and an Irish man who was heading home after a technology conference.  Katie was excited about her trip.  She hadn’t done much research, but she had a smart phone with GPS and the internet, so really didn’t think it was needed.  She told me she would be happy as long as it was green and there were castles and distilleries. It certainly has those things, so we smiled and chatted about food, one of my favourite Irish things, and the beautiful places she could visit.

As usually happens I got cold during the flight.  But I travel with a blanket and while Katie was admiring my fluffy Disney blanket we talked about our mutual dislike of being cold.  It turns out she was the sort of person who feels cold when others feel warm.  She joked about wearing 7 layers of clothes when her friends went out in shorts and t-shirts.  The Irish man asked if she had brought jumpers to wear on holiday.  She didn’t know what a jumper was, as it’s not an American English word, so I told her it was a sweater.  She had brought one, but it was summer, surely she wouldn’t need them?  Ah, the Irish man said, so you don’t know what it is that makes Ireland so green.

As we were landing the captain announced that it was 44° F (7 ° C) in Dublin.  She said to me, “did he mean 44° C?”.  He, of course, did not.  It was cold yesterday morning, colder than L.A. in winter, and even cold for an Irish summer. Katie was horrified.  We told her to find a Primark and to buy some cheap winterish clothes so that she didn’t freeze.

It’s still cold today.  I have been avoiding the rain and the wind.  It’s about 52° F (11° C) and after my week in New York of average temps. around 86° F (30° C), I’m cold.  My Mum’s washing is forlorn.  It hangs through wind and rain until eventfully the weight of the water drags it from the line.  I have not worked out yet why she bothers and there seems to be an endless cycle of rewashing clothes that become dirty on the line.  I think that she is an optimist and hopes for sun, it is summer after all, but today that seems a far fetched dream.

Washing in Rain

Washing in Rain – but look at how green the grass is…

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July 26th, 2015
. . .

Dear J

Dear J, single of Manhattan,

I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation tonight and your contemplation as to why you might be still single in your 30s.  I know you didn’t ask for my advice, but here is some anyway.

  1. Asking your date questions about themselves is great but you really shouldn’t answer the questions for them.
  2. If you do decide to let your date speak, it’s a good idea to listen.
  3. When taking a date to a restaurant you should know something about either the restaurant or the cuisine.  Describing guacamole as “the stuff on green sushi” and using your phone to look up the other foods does make it seem that you put no effort into choosing the restaurant.
  4. Making racist comments and offending 1.2 billion people is probably not a good idea.
  5. Bringing up S.T.Ds and not seeming to understand that you get these from having sex is just odd. (You really can’t catch one just by visiting a country.)
  6. First dates are not the time to give a lecture on how you expect your future children to behave.
  7. Making comments about the speed that your date eats, and your concerns about how they will look in the future if they keep eating like that, is not endearing.

Yours, K, who wishes she could tune out background noise.

permalink | America, Life, Travel | 2 Comments »

July 20th, 2015
. . .

The Search for Nessy

I finally managed to get to the Highlands of Scotland.  It was remarkably beautiful. I had been told it was like Ireland, but the landscapes are vaster, the mountains are higher, and the glens are wilder.

I sold the trip to my friends by describing it as a hunt for Nessy, but she was notably absent during our trip.  Mind you, Loch Ness is impressive all by itself and doesn’t need a mythical monster for it to be worth a visit.

Loch Ness, on a beautiful summer afternoon

Loch Ness, on a beautiful summer afternoon

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July 12th, 2015
. . .

Jet Lag in Salt Lake City

I’ve arrived in Salt Lake City a couple of days before YAPC::NA in the hope that I can adjust time zones before the conference.  This doesn’t feel like it is working well, but I did manage to stay awake until after 10pm last night even if I started waking at 4:30am this morning.  This would not be so bad if my head didn’t hurt and I was able to concentrate.  I appear to have my body here, but my brain is somewhere over the Pacific.

We held the last weekly YAPC::NA planning meeting last night.  There are some last minute things that need to be sorted out but things do seem to be on schedule.  I’m both apprehensive and excited about the conference.  This was the first time I was involved in the planning of training courses around the conference and I’m pleased to see that the Introduction to Moose course has sold out.

I’m looking forward to catching up with friends and there are a few people, who I have dealt with in email, that I’m looking forward to meeting in person.

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June 5th, 2015
. . .

End of Spring

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.

Spring Sakura

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May 17th, 2015
. . .

Perl in February

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.

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March 9th, 2015
. . .

Feeling Unproductive

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.

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February 11th, 2015
. . .

Tokyo – Safest City

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.

Winter View from my Apartment

Winter View from my Apartment

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February 3rd, 2015
. . .


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.

Cable Stitches

Cable Stitches

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.

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February 2nd, 2015
. . .

My Perly January

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.

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January 31st, 2015
. . .