Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Can you believe it? Blogs.sun.com is 5 years old! I felt that I was "late to the game", but now 4.5 years after my first post, I guess that's just noise. I've enjoyed having this outlet to share my theater experiences, work experiences, pitfalls and successes with all of you over the years and really appreciate the support, feedback and sympathy I've gotten from so many people!
I see I haven't been great at keeping up with my "frequent" updates... I guess we all always have ways to improve! (and I know for sure that I have more things to improve than just my blogging frequency!)
Friday, April 24, 2009
On Tuesday I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel of folks talking about open projects started from within Sun, at a conference for SEED Mentoring participants. I enjoyed talking with people from all over the company and really enjoyed learning more about the other open projects. Of particular interest to me was the speaker, Durgam Vahia, from the OpenSPARC project. He mentioned a recently released FPGA that was made possible because of OpenSPARC and was released by Xilinx. The board, based on the T1 microprocessor can be up and running with Solaris in about 30-45 minutes and is a great way for students or any interested parties to learn about the SPARC architecture.
That afternoon, I worked in the Sun booth at the RSA conference. Even though our booth was a bit off the beaten path, I still saw a lot of traffic coming our way. People were really interested in the OpenSolaris LiveCDs and hearing about the latest things we have been up to in Solaris Security. We also had an SCA 6000 card and a UltraSPARC T2 motherboard. The mother board was an odd "demo" - considering it had no power supply/memory/etc, and I really wished I had the OpenSPARC FPGA I had seen earlier that day :-)
Of course, I got several of the inevitable questions that I couldn't answer (really because I don't know anything, but even if I did, I still couldn't say).
Yesterday was a fun and crazy day, starting off bright and early with an OGB meeting, followed by a few Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day activities. I got to see the Project Wonderland demo, which was very cool - and the kids enjoyed playing the games, then I was lucky enough to have lunch with the girls from TechBridge. Their passion for science and math was truly inspiring!
Monday, April 20, 2009
A few weeks ago, I attended a fantastic workshop from the Global Women's Leadership Network taught by Kay Kleinerman called "Singing for Leadership: Releasing your Inner Leader Through Voice". I've been singing for years, but have never thought of the connection to sense of self and ability to lead before.
Kay talked extensively about the transformative learning experience, basically how you expand your sense of self based on your personal life experiences. Actual experiences can change your self view of what you are capable of, much more than you would imagine.
The workshop had about 20 women in a room, and we all partnered up to share our "Leadership Journey Line", a chart of 3-4 pivotal events that helped to form us as the leaders we are today. Then she asked us to chart on the same graph our realization of voice. I was surprised at what events came to my mind - both upsetting and uplifting.
For example, I was bullied in high school by a group of "hoods" (aka hoodlums), and one girl in particular. I remember being worried about the girls showing up to my house and beating me up, as they repeatedly threatened to do on the phone and in person. I was actually worried about what my parents would think I must've done to deserve this, which was honestly nothing. One night, at Taco Bell, a girl friend and I were walking back to our car, when there were those girls - calling me horrible names and threatening to "teach me a lesson" then and there for not giving respect to their ring leader. My friend, much stronger and more confident than I, turned to me and said: "I'm sick of this. I'll help you, let's go!" The girls immediately backed down, and in fact apologized for their months of harassment. I suddenly had confidence, suddenly felt I had a voice and that it mattered. I was free to be myself.
It amazes me how much one person's negative opinion can so much impact one's sense of self. During this class, I recalled a recent experience in a show where I was told, on the phone, by someone associated with the show that I was ruining various numbers, including my solos, with my voice. That I was so flat on pitch and had such horrible rhythm that the show might be better off if I left. Even through my obvious tears, the person continued. I was so confused, I had recordings of myself, and I didn't hear pitch problems. I consulted with musician friends of mine who insisted I was on pitch. I could only imagine that I was doing something "live" when I wasn't right next to the piano that was dreadful and horrible and embarrassing. My friends that saw me perform said I sounded great. Other people involved in the show said the same thing. But, yet, I could not let go of this one person's comments. I suddenly lost my voice - my will to sing.
So many women in the class had similar experiences and just talking about them took the power away from those people, which is, honestly, what has compelled me to write.
Kay taught us all a simple song, and had us work on just a few techniques. With each new lesson, our communal voice swelled - the song took on various interpretations and came to life. By the end of the afternoon, everyone was able to sing a solo line or two and everyone sounded just wonderful. All of the voices were different, some more obviously trained, but all were on pitch and were enjoyable to listen to.
Kay taught us that every voice has value. Someone in the class mentioned Tom Waits, who certainly is not known for having a "lovely" voice - but his voice is so powerful and enchanting all the same. Kay believes that having connection and confidence in your own voice can make you a better, more authentic, leader. It seemed obvious, by the end of the workshop, that we were all on board.
This class recalled to me the lyrics from Concrete Blonde's "True": "And if I had the choice I'd take the voice I got / Cause it was hard to find. ... I give all I can and it's all I can do, / But I'm true."
Do any of you have similar experiences with voice and trust in yourself?
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I listened to a great interview on the Adam Carolla Podcast yesterday of George Takei, who you all know as helmsman Sulu on the original Star Trek television series, but he is really a very interesting man once you get past the cheese factor of that classic science fiction show. George has been interviewed in the past by Adam Carolla, so he did not go into great detail of his time living in a Japanese internment camp in California during World War II, but his recollections of soldiers removing his family from their home at gun point, of losing his home, of his father losing his business - are all heart rending. Back in the midwest, I had never really heard much about this shameful part of US history, and I was surprised to get such a lesson from an Adam Carolla podcast, but it was compelling and I do recommend you give this edition a listen.
On a completely unrelated note, when I got home last night from watching Grease in San Francisco, I was dismayed to find a snail pigging out at my little seedlings that I had put out yesterday morning for "hardening". I lost a couple of pepper plants and all of one kind of basil. I had started those from seeds weeks ago and they were the ones that were actually doing well. Stupid snail.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
So this has been a very musical week for me (more on that later), a time for discovering new favorites and enjoying the old gems. I've been getting into "zones", quite unintentionally. I put my iPod on random, and just listen to song after song of the nearly 6000 tunes that come up (and I *still* haven't finished ripping all my CDs...), and then I'll hear something from an artist and I'll have to go and listen to the entire album right then, at least once. This happened a few times recently, and it kind of surprised me. The first time it was Carter USM's 101 Damnations. I heard "Every Time a Churchbell Rings" and I had to listen to the rest of the album. Three times.
Then I discovered NPR Live Music Series - and they don't just cover old people's music, either! I downloaded a bunch of concerts (all for free, legitimately!) in podcast form - Liz Phair, Death Cab for Cutie, Tom Waits, Rilo Kiley and Leonard Cohen - just to name a few. I've listened to the Leonard Cohen concert twice already. I can't believe he still sounds so magnificent at 74 years old! And since Liz Phair is another one of those artist that I love listening to the entire album of, I am sure I will love the concert material as well. The two recordings I've heard so far have been very high quality - much better than what you would've gotten on a live album just 15 years ago.
Onto the new music - at Adam Carolla's urging, I got The Pretender's latest, Breaking up the Concrete. Wow! It's everything I've ever loved about their sound, but current and relevant. I also just got the new EP from Dirty Little Rabbits, a new band out of Ames, Iowa. I met their vocalist, Stella Katsoudas, back when I was working for Amoco (now BP) in Chicago many years ago when she was fronting Sister Soleil. This album does not disappoint, with Stella's light vocals swelling over the heavy guitar riffs. The drummer is Shawn Crahan from Slipknot, so I guess the band has to take breaks from recording and touring whenever Slipknot is active.
Finally, my other musical addiction is this fan made video for Turn Around by They Might Be Giants. This cracks me up every time I watch it - it's such a perfectly literal translation!
The weather has warmed, the time change has gone into effect, and it's really spring here in the SF Bay Area! That means getting back on my bicycle! I'm coming off of a nasty cold (seems like everyone has had it), so it feels good to be breathing in the fresh morning air. I managed to commute into Menlo Park twice this week - my hubby is well on his way of biking in every day for a month... What is really cool about this ride in is just being so close to nature as we ride along the bay shore, through Shoreline park and the Palo Alto wetlands. This week, we were surrounded by butterflies who are apparently in the area as they migrate from Mexico to Washington. We spotted many egrets, nesting geese, and crows. Last night while riding home, a large hawk was pacing us, riding the wind just feet from our heads (in fact, he nearly accidentally swooped right into Mark's head at one point!) It was very cool and definitely something we could not have experienced from the car.
Oh, yes, the cars... we're actually getting problems starting these cars, just due to lack of driving. I had heard that there are supposed to be car insurance discounts if you commute by bicycle, I'll have to look into that to see if I can somehow cover the extra tune-ups we'll need to do due to lack of use ;-)
Now a side note on blogging - I'm going to update my blog roll tonight, as I realize that I haven't been very good with updating it with the blogs that I actually read every day. Some are quite funny and others very interesting. Speaking of blogs that I read, I met a friend of mine in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago that I hadn't seen in months - and we realized that since we both follow each other's blogs, that we didn't have to update each other on the big things in life - just the details and things we never got around to blogging. Very cool, if only a tiny bit nerdy. :-)
Now I'm going to try to get up all the entries that have been running through my head all week....