Archive for October, 2008

My Worlds Collide

Warning: there’s no coherent theme or even a thread that’s holding this all together. Just stay with me til the end though. There’s a nice little surprise.

I lead a largely compartmentalized life. There’s no good reason. Well, except I’m still not comfortable with my coworkers talking to me about things that I didn’t explicitly share with them. I don’t know if that says more about me or my coworkers.

Last week (really the week before, but who is counting?) I attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. OH MAH GAH, the brains in the room. So many PhDs and researchers and actual computer scientists … well, it was over whelming. I worry, fairly often, that each career choice I make is the forever one. The one that’ll define where I can take myself in the next 30 years. Did I completely screw myself with the degrees I’ve chosen? Or the employers? Or the fact that I live where I do? The cavity inside my skull is aflutter with worry.

No, I do not have a flare for the melodramatic, why do you ask?

I met two older women that returned to the work force at 38 & 39 respectively. And now? Now they are major players at HP. Awesome for them. I wonder if I can recreate myself when I’m that age. I feel like I’m on a slippery slope; that the path has been laid and it’s my role in this is to follow the path. It’s as if I don’t have free will. I do. Lots. But a career path? Hmmm.

Back to my point.

BlogHer was awarded the ABI Social Impact award this year and I was thrilled for them. They completely deserve it.

The Anita Borg Social Impact Award honors an individual or team that has caused technology to have a positive impact on the lives of women and society or has caused women to have a significant impact on the design and use of technology.

Elisa Camahort Page accepted the award on BlogHer’s behalf, she gave an awesome (also short and sweet) speech. The following day she led a panel discussion. I expected it to be standing room only. Oddly, it was not. She spoke eloquently about blogging and how it’s affecting technology. She warned up front that it was not a talk about the technology that powers BlogHer.

And here’s where my worlds collided. Blogging is my hobby. I was at GHC for professional reasons. Hobby. Work. Work. Hobby.

During the Q&A session I did have the opportunity to point out that blogging decreases isolation. I had heard many women talk about how their chosen study field or their employment make their lives isolating. It’s tough to be the only girl at a science lab, especially when that lab is something like Las Alamos. You know, out in the middle of nowhere.

I explained that you all are my community; that I found my peeps inside my computer.

Wow, that was a really long winding road just for me to tell you all that I appreciate you. A room of techie women reminded me of that.

Maybe soon I’ll tell you about Mary Lou Jepsen’s great speech.

And, I’m sure you want the Google shirt I picked up. Earn it. Just change names to protect the innocent.

Yes We Can

I never intended to be a political blogger. That’s good, because I suck at it. Good political commentators can say more than, “Gah.” And their heads don’t explode when someone says, “Sarah Palin.” Or maybe they explode a little bit but their filters keep it from rushing out their mouths.


Here we are, three weeks before the election. Yesterday the DJIA closed up over 900 points. Bush’s approval rating is in the toilet. The gap is widening between Obama and McCain, but not enough to ensure victory. These will be a long 21 days ahead of us I am sure.

Here is a little boy though that brought joy to my cold, grey heart.

hat tip: MOMocrats, per usual.

Share the Shwag

A give away, oh mah gah – FREE STUFF.

Some nice people at the Grace Hopper Celebration gave away shirts. And I would like to give one to YOU. How do you get this shirt you wonder? Well, that’s a good question. Leave a comment telling me your best Internet snafu. Broad, I know. But come on! It’s a google shirt. (left is front, right is back)

I’ll tell you mine.

Once upon a time I sat with my back to the opening to my cube. BAD fung shui. Anyway, the girl across the walkway and I had been talking about that one band, that one that sings that one song. And I thought, it’s Bananarama! So, I went to bananarama dot com. It’s not a fan site. Or at least not a fan of the music band. At that exact moment my new boss walks down the hallway. I am clicking fervently trying to close the window. Each click opens a new one. Do you know how hard it is to close windows when your eyes are covered? I start yelling at my computer. My manager comes into my cube. And there are naked people on my screen. Doing stuff. Awesome. I turned my computer off.

He laughed. And did not fire my ass for surfing pr0n at work.

So, tell me your tale and you can be the proud owner of this shirt. Since it’s conference shwag the sizes were sparse. It is a XL woman’s cut. It’s cute, but I grabbed it for you. Comments close on Sunday, October 19 at 7pm MDT. Winner will be announced on Monday!

Don’t Fear a President Obama

Twice in that campaign stop McCain had to talk his supporters off the ledge. These are scary people. I assume they’ll be voting. So, you go vote too, m’kay?

More over at MOMocrats.

The Great Shlep

Sarah Silverman should totally be Obama’s campaign manager.

Also, I’ll be back to regular posting soon. In a funk. Economy sucks. Perpetual anger at Caribou Barbie.

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty

Blog Action Day is giving me, and anyone else that would like to participate, the opportunity to blog about poverty. They have two immediate goals: raise awareness and raise money. For blogs that generate revenue they ask you to donate your proceeds from October 15. Pink Asparagus does not generate revenue. So for every distinct commenter to this post from now to October 15 I will donate $1 (cap to be determined) to my local food bank in Blog Action Day’s name (yes, it was Kiva, but as I started writing this I took a new perspective). Comment. Tell your friends to comment. Be part of the discussion.

Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom (World Bank).

When I was in elementary school my friends had free and reduced lunches. Their families looked like mine: single working parent; I was the only only-child I knew though. I asked my mom why I didn’t get my lunch for free like my friends. She put it simply, we were lucky. We were lucky that she had a good job. We were lucky that she could afford to pay for my lunch. Being a kid, I probably thought they were the lucky ones, they didn’t have to remember to bring three quarters to school every day.

We were fortunate.

In our current school district today, a family of four has to have an annual income below $39,220 to qualify for free/reduced lunch. Elementary lunch in my district costs $2.10. If you have two kids in school and they eat school lunch 60% of the time, that’s $12.60/week. You’re looking at about $50/month. My basic math leads me to believe that there are too many families that would benefit from this service and are ineligible.

Poverty isn’t something that just happens to someone else in some other country. Your children know kids that are living in poverty. Every day. Every night there are American children going to bed with empty tummies. Every morning there are parents sending their children off to school wondering where they’ll find the money for dinner tonight.

We have to be the change we want to see. We have to make a choice that social programs work. Help me put my money where my mouth is. Comment. Anything. Leave your links to your own Blog Action Day posts.

Poverty is a broad topic. This post has been written and rewritten a few times. I wish I could speak eloquently to poverty in America. Maybe that’s your role? Maybe you have those words? Be part of the discussion.

edited (10/13/08): I’ve removed the $100 cap for my own donation. That’s not to say it’s unlimited, but I thought $100 was adventureous when I originally wrote this post. We’ve surpassed it and I’d like to see a good thing continue.

With the $100 cap, commenter Shannon and author Shauna Glenn are matching and donating it to their local food banks.

Fake Fudge

Mr Lady is having a recipe contest. And, I’ve decided you all should benefit from my mad cooking skillz. Ahem. So, here’s installment one of some number of “Cooking with Cat.”

Each Christmas time I host a cookie exchange (Amy used to do it, then she moved, and now I do). Anyway. Each year I make yummy yummy peanut butter fudge. Everyone loves it. Everyone wants the recipe. I only divulge the ingrediants after they swallow.

Hmmm, there’s a chocolate version too.

So here it is, in all it’s glory:

1/2 lb Velveeta cheese
2 lbs powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter

Melt first 3 ingredients together in microwave. Add remaining ingredients. Knead like bread dough until you can no longer see the sugar. Roll candy with a glass. Spread into greased pan. Refrigerate until set. Cut and enjoy!

Yes, the fudge glue is velveeta. And no, there’s no cheese flavor to the fudge. Where would it get the cheese flavor?

Don’t Vote

It says send it to five friends, I have five readers! How convenient. Pass it along.

Thanks Rachel.

Out of Pocket

I’m heading to the mountains for a great conference. Here’s hoping to me holding my own. The invited speakers list is impressive. One of the keynote speakers is Mary Lou Jepsen, aka the founder of One Laptop Per Child. Good stuff.

If you haven’t already, please go comment on my Poverty post for Blog Action Day.

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