Sunday, August 19, 2012

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an amazing true story, brought to life by Erik Larson, based on the journals written by the US Ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd, and his daughter, Martha Dodd. What a strange time it was for them, heading to Germany on the brink of the second world war. William, never a fan of the Nazis, was forced to entertain them in his home. A simple man, Dodd never seems to adjust to what is meant to be an ambassador's lifestyle, constantly battling both the German locals and members of his own embassy.

Martha, a young and impressionable woman, falls in love with several of the men whose lives intertwine hers, from Germans, other diplomats all the way to a Russian spy.

Ambassador Dodd also brought his wife and son, but you do not get to know much about them, presumably they did not write as many letters or keep as detailed of a journal to gather information from.

This is a wonderful book that takes you to Germany as it was on the cusp of war, showing you how human everyone really was, and how vile others were at the same time.

Lest we forget, even some Americans sided with the general principles of the Nazi party, which made it difficult for those back home (and even for the Dodds) to believe the cruelty that was happening right under our noses.

Thanks to Martha's many associations, the book also gives us a detailed look at high ranking officials in the German government.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Grace Hopper Community Volunteers

I am thrilled to be co-chair of the Grace Hopper Celebration's Communities Committee again this year.  I love working with the Anita Borg Institute, talking and working with other technical women, and bringing the excitement and inspiration of this conference to women and men the world over.

I first volunteered as a blogger in 2007, and immediately became hooked.

Being an official blogger or note taker let's you get your thoughts written down while everything is fresh in your mind, making those memories last longer.  This is great for me, otherwise I tend to let my notes languish in a notebook.  This is also great for the conference organizers and speakers, as these moments are kept for posterity.  Best of all, people can participate in the conference remotely, through our words.

If you don't have a blog, don't worry, you can take notes on the official Grace Hopper Wiki.

Being an official blogger or note taker only requires a commitment of 3 posts, and gets you a nifty ribbon you can attach to your badge - an immediate conversation starter!

Want to join us? You can read more about the communities we participate in and what it means to volunteer, and then sign up!

This post syndicated from Thoughts on Security, Beer, Theater and Biking!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Amazing Commute Today

Our regular bike route has a bridge out this week for repairs, so Mark suggested we hop on our mountain bikes and head out to work on the Bayshore trail.  It had been more than two years since I had ridden in along the San Francisco Bay. I had forgotten how wonderful it was.

When Sun Microsystems, Inc. was up in Menlo Park, the trails along the Bayshore were all paved, so we could ride our road bikes in and get into work in pretty good time. The Santa Clara trails, though, are not paved.  Since then we've moved down to Santa Clara. As mountain bikes are generally slower and we're always running short on time, we always take our road bikes in along lightly traveled roads.

But, do you know what? Lightly traveled roads still have cars on them. And leaf blowers. And drivers that turn right right in front of you.

The Bayshore just has runners and a few other bikes.

It was so peaceful and beautiful. Riding behind Hanger One, naked now. Forlorn.  Seeing the other hangers at NASA Ames.  Smelling the sea air, hearing the birds, watching the squirrels scurry up and down the hills.

We saw several blue herons, egrets, ducks, geese, coots, a night heron and Mark caught a glimpse of an otter.

Yes, the ride took longer, and I was beyond starving when I got home, but I feel recharged. Happy. Peaceful.

Friday, August 3, 2012

This Blog is Read in Russia

Futzing with my blog this AM, trying to get the "Labels" gadget to work correctly again (currently, you can either see a cloud with every label I've ever used, or none - selected labels no longer works) - I was paging through the various blogger pages and discovered that I get the most readers from the US. No surprise, but then the second highest readership comes from Russia.  Not just by a little bit, but way more than any country.  Sure, Russia is big, but this is a big gap.

So, Hello my Russian readers!  What brings you here?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Support the Ada Initiative and Drink Beer!

Two of my favorite things to talk about, all in one place! The Ada Initiative, which supports and encourages women participating in Open Technology, is holding a meetup tonight, Wednesday August 1st, at the Tied House in Mountain View, CA (which now has 14 beers on tap!) so we can all learn more about what the Ada Initiative is up to and socialize while drinking beer!

So, if you're curious about open technology, women in open tech, or just want to support this great organization, come on by!

Check out the Ada Initiative's event registration page for more details.

See you there!