2015.04.20 – Clojure West

It’s hard to believe that yesterday I was in New York and today I woke up in my own comfy bed. Wayne and I also got married on this day twenty-freakin’-nine years ago! Whaaa??? I seriously have no idea where the time has gone. We don’t really celebrate other than to wish each other a happy anniversary since we’ve been a throuple (as our neighbors call us) for nineteen years now. We don’t really have a date that we became a three because it was such an organic process that just kind of happened as it did. Anyway, we decided to pick the date that all three of us changed our last names to be the same, but I digress.

I have been fighting off the cold that Andrew had but felt pretty good when I woke up and I had another conference to attend! While I was on our trip my friend Cherie introduced me to Lynn who is the organizer of Clojure West and the conference was being held here in Portland. I am interested in functional programming so signed up for the conference. I got dressed and was still feeling pretty good so packed up my laptop and my tea and headed to the Armory downtown.

I just can’t get over how beautiful Portland is. Everything is all blooming and colorful. I was just blown away at the beauty as I walked to the Max. I made it to the conference, got my badge and noticed a flood of people heading downstairs so I followed them and took a seat. Good thing I did because the talk ended up being standing room only. I have no idea what he was talking about though :-/ I went to a couple more talks and definitely understood more of those and then it was lunchtime. I was feeling a big blah but I figured it was because I had skipped breakfast. I headed toward Los Gorditos but felt really guilty about eating there so went across the street to Prasad and got a delicious salad and a carrot apple juice. I was definitely not feeling great though even after eating so decided to head back home and take a nap.

When I got home I had a message from Peter letting me know that stars weren’t showing up on events that were searched though so I decided to work on that instead. I also checked and responded to some email. Alice came over for a while and wanted to hear about our trip so I caught her up on things and before I knew it we had to figure out dinner. I wanted to use quinoa, kale, and chickpeas as the base for whatever we ended up having so found a recipe that sounded good and we went with that. Everyone said it was delicious but I couldn’t really taste it. It was easy to make though.

After dinner I got the star bug fixed and submitted a pull request. I’m feeling really unsure of myself though because I’m sick. Maybe not the best time to try and code?? We’ll see what Peter says tomorrow.

Today I learned that Fortran is just uppercase Java. Heh 🙂

2015.04.19 – MOMA

Our flight wasn’t leaving until 16:30 so we had a good amount of the day to fit in some sight seeing. Nick suggested we go to the Museum of Modern Art. Andrew and I had never been so we were pretty excited for the opportunity. We made our way there and it wasn’t terribly crowded yet. Nick took us straight to the Bjork retrospective. I’m not an art aficionado by any stretch of the imagination and I’ve never really listened to Bjork so I wasn’t sure I would be able to appreciate much. I was wrong. Her retrospective was super cool!  The music, the costumes!

After that we went to Terrace 5 and had a light brunch. Delicious! We were left with about an hour to rush around through the rest of the museum to see this and that but then we slowed down again so Andrew and I could look closely at One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. We rushed through the video games installation, breezed through the conceptual art taking just enough time for me to make fun of it. Sorry but a string of light-bulbs is art??? Really? The museum is beautiful though and I definitely plan on going back when I can spend a lot more time.

We were getting close to being out of time so headed back to Champs so we could get sandwiches to take on our long flight home. They were PACKED but I figured a to-go order wouldn’t’ take too long. I was wrong and now it was past the time we had wanted to be leaving for the airport. On the up side I had a tasty cinnamon roll while we waited for our food. We still had to get our stuff from Nick’s apartment and figure out how to get to JFK from Bushwick. Nick printed out directions for us but it was really easy. J train towards Queens, get off at Sutphin and take the Air Train. If we hadn’t been late we could have taken the L to the bus and then to the Air Train and saved the $5 fee per person but we didn’t want to chance the longer trip time. I was worried we would miss our flight but on the train I decided to just come to terms with missing it so I could be pleasantly surprised if we didn’t. We got to our gate with 30 minutes to spare! Security was thankfully light and fast. Also someone left a pile of pennies in their bin and the TSA guy said I could have them. A whole pile of luck! I guess the TSA isn’t all bad. The flight to San Francisco was super bumpy nearly the whole way but our food was delicious and it’s Virgin America so even a bumpy flight is a comfortable flight. We didn’t have much of a wait in San Francisco and our flight home to Portland was just over an hour. Wayne and Jordan were waiting for us and it was SO nice to see their smiling faces. Home is good! Ahhhhhh 🙂

Today I learned that Van Gogh’s Starry Night is at MOMA. I’m so outta the art loop.

2015.04.18 – Hello New York!

We got up and dressed, packed our stuff and had breakfast while Michael took the boys to gymnastics. I got in as much time as possible with the baby before I had to say goodbye. It’s amazing how quickly one can fall in love with a tiny human.

When gymnastics were finished the whole family drove Andrew and I to New Haven where we caught a train to Grand Central. The ride was totally uneventful. I read a book and looked at the passing scenery. Our friend Nick met us at Grand Central and we lugged our stuff to his apartment in Bushwick. When we got off the train we walked downstairs and then I noticed that the trains run on raised platforms in his area. I should have taken more pictures but completely failed at that on this trip. His apartment that he shares with three others is really nice.

We got our stuff dropped off and I had to change my shirt since it was really warm there and I wasn’t expecting that. Nick took us over to the food co-op he is now running in his spare time??? Yeah, that’s Nick. It’s very small but they had all sorts of vegan stuff I hadn’t seen before. We got a couple of dessert type things and ate them on the patio then took some groceries back to his place. After that we walked somewhere. I don’t even know where. Nick knows the city so we just followed him and ended up at a coffee shop in a different neighborhood where we met up with his friend Ivory. She was awesome! The four of us then decided on a place for dinner and chose Champs Diner. It is totally my kind of vegan food. Crap! It was delicious. I had a chicken pesto sandwich and we all shared a slice of chocolate mousse cake.

After a heavy comfort food meal we were all pretty tired so Ivory headed home and the three of us made a quick trip to Target so Nick could get some sheets for his bed. We had walked a LOT and Nick’s back was really hurting even though he said it was fine. He broke his back not too long ago so I know he wasn’t really fine so we took a cab back to his place. It was Andrew’s first time riding in a cab in NY. I had ridden in one before with Spencer and John but that’s a whole different story!

Today I learned that there is a TON of amazing obscure street graffiti in some very random places. But in keeping with the theme of this trip, no pictures.

2015.04.17 – A Quiet Day

Yup, Andrew is sick but he still had to get in a day of work so he stayed in the guest room and I checked on him now and then. I went with Michael to drop the kids off at their schools/daycare, did our laundry and then Michael and I went to get Andrew some Sudafed. Apparently I haven’t purchased any since meth users made it nearly impossible. The pharmacy tech was super nice and apologetic but it took forever for her to input every single detail off of my license. It did help him feel better so success!

It was Michael’s birthday so I offered to watch the kids while he and Josh went out to dinner but they wanted to spend time with us so we ordered pizza and had a night in. Northampton is really nice and quiet. The scenery is beautiful. I love to visit them.

Today I learned that Big Hero 6 is a great movie!

2015.04.16 – Catching Up

We all got up and went to get some breakfast. The hotel provides it as part of the stay so that was really nice and convenient. Josh showed up shortly after we were done and we were once again on our way home. The trip was uneventful thank goodness! It was nice to be at their house with the kids. I hadn’t seen Felix and Kayden for nearly two years and they were so much bigger! Josh and Michael also have their 5 month old foster baby back who they brought home from the hospital when she was just 4 days old. They are hoping to adopt her but she has gone back to her mom twice already. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them all!

Today I learned that Andrew is not feeling well 🙁

2015.04.15 – Trip Interrupted

Today we headed south to Albany where our friend Michael would pick us up from the train station. The train ride was totally uneventful and really pleasant except for one pretty unacceptable issue. Seems Amtrak no longer has any sort of feminine products on their trains even for purchase. Granted I should have been better prepared but I wasn’t and we were at least 6 hours from our destination. By sheer luck the cafe car attendant was a woman and she happened to have something. I gave her $5 and thanked her SO much. Amtrak you have to do better than that!

Anyway, that aside we made it to Albany with not any other trouble. We even brought our own food this time so lunch was really good. I made smoked tofu, sprout and tomato sandwiches with this yummy tarragon mustard I found. The scenery was beautiful.

We arrived on time and were happy to see Michael and Felix waiting for us! We loaded up our stuff and got on our way but before we made it very far we got in an accident! The other car took off so that was extra fun. The car was a bit banged up and had a flat front tire but it looked like that was the only issue. Andrew and Michael put on the spare tire and we limped our way to the closest place to get a new tire which was unfortunately Wal-mart. They put on two new tires in the front and we wandered around the store while we waited. I do not miss shopping in that place.

Once the car was ready we attempted to hit the road again but something was definitely not right with the car so we pulled into the parking lot of a Holiday Inn Express and I called AAA. I am so thankful I have their service! Things took a while but a tow truck finally showed up and got it loaded to tow all the way back to Springfield where they bought it. We, on the other hand were stuck. We couldn’t get a rental car that late so we grabbed some dinner at a sports bar that was in the same parking lot and then went to the hotel for a room. They were sold out! The front desk person was great though and called us a cab who then took us to a Comfort Inn. We got a room and went straight to bed. Felix who is three was just amazing through all of this mess. Josh would come and get us in the morning.

Today I learned that a bent tie rod is bad.

2015.04.14 – Last Day in Montreal

Well that’s it. Another wonderful PyCon and another wonderful trip to Montreal. I actually got a little bit done today once Asheesh found a bug for me to work on. Well, I should have gotten a LOT more done but once again I talked and talked. Michael from Mozilla sat with us and I enjoyed listening to his process of working through his bug. I would ask him questions about things I didn’t understand and it was really interesting. There were a lot of distracting conversations going on but I didn’t want to miss out. I also spent too long working with virtualenv and a new python version manager to try and get the version of Python I needed running in a virtual environment. It meant deleting the environment several times and recreating it and also installing the dependencies I needed. It was a bit of yak shaving but what else is new?

Lunch was provided again but I spent a long time at our table talking to a guy that lived in Montreal for two years while his wife was in graduate school. He was telling me all sorts of interesting stuff about Canada, Montreal, the college system, the historical and cultural beliefs about the French language, and a lot more. SO interesting!

Andrew and I took a break in the evening and went to a nearby tea house that I had no idea existed. When we walked in I was just blown away. It was like a dream come true! Tea and teas sets everywhere! We only had one hour before they closed to have some tea and a couple of small snacks. Andrew ordered an oolong and I ordered a golden eyebrow. When the man brought out our teas they were served on the traditional trays. He picked up a cup with my dry tea leaves and held it to my nose saying, “Smell your tea.” It was wonderful. He then proceeded to demonstrate how the tea was to be prepared, “The first steep is not for drinking.” as he poured the water over the tea leaves. “We use this to heat the cup and then pour it out.” He dumped it in the tray and added more water. “Ten seconds or a tiny bit more if you prefer it stronger.” as he took the strainer out of the pot and poured my first tiny cup of tea. Then he did the same for Andrew but his was even more complicated. “The first steep is also not for drinking.” as he poured water into a tiny teapot. “The water is poured through this strainer and then we use it to heat both cups and also we pour it over the outside of the teapot to heat it.” As he poured. He refilled the tiny teapot. “Now we pour into the strainer again and then we pour into this tall cup.” it was very thin and tall like a skinny shot glass. He covered it with the tiny tea cup and then inverted it before handing the empty tall cup to Andrew and saying, “This cup is for smelling. Smell your tea. The other is for drinking. Taste your tea.” He told us to enjoy and off he went to prepare our snacks. We had some steamed dumplings that I really liked and some tofu rolls that apparently had seaweed in them which I gave to Andrew. It was so much fun! Amanda would have loved it and I wish I had known of the place sooner or even last year! I probably would have gone there every day though so maybe it’s a good thing I just found out about it. I did buy some of that delicious tea to take home though.

We headed back to the conference center and by that time everyone was getting ready to head to dinner. I guess we were done. We decided to go to IGA and get a dinner to make at the apartment and also get food for the train tomorrow. We headed over there, got what we needed and made it back to the apartment in time for me to remember I forgot to get vitamin C. Off we went again to a pharmacy nearby and picked some up. When we got back I made dinner while Andrew did some work stuff and then we packed most of our stuff and called it a night.

Today I learned how enjoyable the traditional tea drinking process is. I need a tea set.

2015.04.13 – Sprints!

Today is the first day of sprints and I am joined OpenHatch again. Asheesh is one of the first people I met at PyCon last year and he was so welcoming. We met him on our first night in Montreal while hanging out in our hotel lobby, he told me a bit about OpenHatch and what they do and then asked if I wanted to fix a security bug in Django at the sprints. I was SO excited and told him that I did.  We hadn’t scheduled time to stay for sprints because I didn’t know what that even meant but we would have half a day since our plane left in the late afternoon. My excitement about fixing the bug started to fade as I thought about things though. Although I had been learning Python for a couple of years I still felt really new and started to think that maybe Asheesh was just making a joke about the bug and I didn’t get it because I was so new. Why would a newer programmer be fixing a security issue? He had to be joking and wow what an idiot I am for not getting it. I went from excited to embarrassed pretty quickly. The conference was great, we met tons of wonderful people, listened to great talks and it was over before we knew it. It was the first day of sprints so Andrew and I went over and I avoided the OpenHatch room but went into the Django room to see what I could learn. I fumbled through their issues for a long time not understanding much of anything at all. I took a bit of a break and happened to run into Asheesh. I figured he would avoid me but he came up and asked if I was ready to work on that security bug. Huh?? He wasn’t joking. I told him I would be right there and that bug ended up being the very first open source thing I had ever contributed to with a LOT of help from Andrew.

Anyway, back to this year’s sprints. I thought we were late since I have been sleeping in but there was only one person there before Andrew and I. More people showed up and they were new to open source and OpenHatch so I helped them get set up on IRC and helped as needed while they set up their dev environment. I looked through open issues but honestly I spent the entire day talking to some really interesting people! Russell, is from Hawaii and works on the big telescopes at the university. Fascinating to talk to him.

Lunch was provided so we were able to eat and get back to work (talking) but a group of us went out to dinner together. Michael who I had the pleasure of working with at Mozilla, Hannes who lives in Portland, Renee who lives in San Francisco, Eric who also works at Mozilla but lives in one of the Carolinas, Andrew and I all went to a really good Italian place in old Montreal. The weather was amazing on our walk there and back. We had a great time.

Today I learned that the big telescope on the island is 24ft in diameter but they are trying to build one that is 30ft in diameter.

2015.04.12 – Pycon Day Three

Yep, slept too long again. I’m just doing a terrible job of getting moving in the morning. We missed every keynote of this conference but at least all talks are recorded and are already appearing on Youtube. These Pycon people really know what they are doing. The conference has been spectacular again.

Anyway, I did get up and dressed in time for the job fair. We went in and I had no idea what to do. I suck at this! But Andrew said to just go up to booths where I’m not interested in working and talk to people to get over the nervousness. I did that and of course was blown away by the company and what they do. It would be working with scientists who do genetic research! Gah, that would be amazing! But they are in San Francisco and they don’t do remote. Dangit. I wandered around to a few more booths and then saw Michael, a Mozilla employee I chatted with often at the office. It was really nice to see him so we stood and talked for a long time! Jonathan from Dreamhost walked by and confirmed our lunch. I was still sure he’d find a way to cancel because I suck at self confidence.

Turns out he was waiting for me! Woo hoo! Andrew came with us and we went to a nearby noodle house we had eaten at last time we were here. We even got seated at the same table. We had a really great talk, he was very nice, had a very interesting back story, was interested in mine. All in all it felt great and felt like a better meeting than it would have been over the phone. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much but maybe it all worked out for the best. I would love to work there.

We headed back to the conference for more talks, one about serialization which was really interesting and one about something really boring. After those it was time for Guido to give a final talk, then someone gave the final keynote and another person gave final statements and thanked the many, many, many volunteers who made the amazing conference possible. They also announced where Pycon would be in 2016 and 2017. It’s in Portland which wasn’t a secret but they played a really nice promotional commercial. The only thing missing from it was the Unipiper. I was kind of surprised about that. Next the people running sprints came up and talked about their projects. So many sound so interesting. We are staying so I can participate in a couple of days of sprints but now I have no idea what I want to work on!

We were going to grab Carl and go to dinner with Michael and some others but they were going to a steakhouse so we hopped on a bus and went to some interesting vegan raw food place. It was my first experience with raw food. I had always avoided it because it seemed really boring. Our food was pretty good though. Even Carl, who is most definitely not vegan, enjoyed it. Dinner was long and leisurely and then we ordered dessert. They do a fantastic job of raw dessert. We walked back to the bus stop and waited for a while while talking about this and that. A bus showed up but it was not the same one we took to get there so I asked the driver if he was going downtown. He waved me on and said, “It’s free. Come on.” so we all boarded. His machine was broken apparently but we had no idea if it would really take us where we were going. Whatever, it was a beautiful night so we would figure it out. We did make it downtown though and the driver was nice enough to tell us where to exit. We walked Carl back to his room and then headed back to ours. I sent Jonathan an email thanking him for making some time to go to lunch in the midst of conference chaos and then it was time for bed.

This has been a wonderful conference again! I got to see Sumana, Asheesh, Honza, Elana, Shauna, and Carl. I got to see friends from Portland. I met tons of new people, some in unexpected places and had a great time.

Today I learned that Montreal seems to have a LOT more hippies than Portland. It’s a wonderful, diverse, beautiful city. I hope we can come back just because.

2015.04.11 – Pycon Day Two

Once again I couldn’t get out of bed. Made it across the street in time for the talks to begin though. Listened to some great talks about diversity and getting started as a new contributor. I then went on my own to a test driven development talk that was pretty boring for me unfortunately. It was lunchtime so I met up with Andrew and Amanda and we headed to the Open Hatch booth. We talked with a group of really nice women, one who is a vegan. We started talking about the lack of vegan dessert and I remembered a friend had suggested a vegan bakery to try. I looked it up and it was a fairly decent walk away but Andrew and I decided to go for it anyway. It seemed pretty nice out but as we were walking it was getting more cloudy, cold and windy. We were already far enough to be kind of invested in the walk though so we kept going. We finally made it to Sophie Sucree and it was totally worth it. We had a great talk with the girl who was working while I had tea and cheesecake. Andrew had carrot cake. We got several cupcakes and a pecan tart to go and by the time we were all done the weather had cleared up and warmed up so we decided to walk back. It was wonderful.

We made it back to the event and dropped off a cupcake to Liz who was ever thankful and then wandered around the booths some more. We were collecting stuff to take to Josh and Michael’s boys Felix and Kayden. We would be seeing them in just a few days and what better to bring them than conference swag. We dropped everything off at our place and then headed back for the last of the talks, techniques for debugging and a talk about avoiding burnout.

Our friend Carl was here and somehow I didn’t know that until the end of the day when Andrew mentioned that Carl had gone back to his hotel. It took me several seconds to process that he was here in Montreal. Well we just had to see him! Luckily he was willing to go out to dinner with us so we walked up to his hotel. We took the underground path that is a lot longer but an interesting labyrinth to traverse. We took this walk many, many times last year since we stayed at the hotel last time.

We got to Carl’s hotel room and visited for a bit before deciding to go get pizza nearby. Once we walked up to the place, I recognized it from last year. It was where we ate our first meal in Montreal and it wasn’t that great. This time it was wonderful! We also had the pleasure of making friends with the older couple sitting next to us. The wife was so outgoing and funny! When she mentioned that she has been to Paris 17 times and knows it like the back of her hand I said I wanted to go with her. She immediately gave me her contact info! She also seemed to think Andrew was a minor and also my son. Wow, that just never gets old…..unlike me! She said if I didn’t like the woman he decided to date that I needed to “flick her away like a bad burrito” as she made a flicking motion. The three of us had several good laughs about the whole thing but man I feel old. Shaking my fist at Andrew’s youthful looks is doing nothing to age that baby face of his though. We had a nice walk back to Carl’s room and visited for a while before heading back so we could go to bed.

Today I learned that Eddie Money sang a song called Gimme Some Water. I thought I knew all of his songs!