Friday, April 04, 2014

Why you will rarely find me at all female events

I am all for going out with the girls and meeting and supporting women/girls in technology fields but you will rarely find me at female only events.  I know that may seem odd considering I will speak about the challenges I have had as a women in technology.  I am always supporting groups that are trying to keep girls interested in STEM subjects.  I will always answer questions about the difficulties I have had or who got me interested in the technologies I now work to secure.  So why is it I do not go to gender exclusive events? Is that not one in the same?

I want to say no, no it is not.  When asked who my role models were who got me into technology, the answer never changes. My father. Who was my mentor who pointed me toward security? A man named Sean, who called me out when I pretended not to know something and he knew better.  So while I am more than willing to assist females and talk to them about technology I cannot help but remember who got me started and why I am where I am today.  I have spent my entire career working with mostly men, sometimes outnumbered 15 to 1.  So you might think I might relish a chance to talk tech with other women, and you would not be incorrect. What I do not desire is talking in an echo chamber, in an exclusive group that would deny others access.  These men did not deny me access when I did not fit the social norm.

The reality is women are outnumbered in STEM fields. Many women working in these fields will talk about how they have worked harder, been discriminated against or treated as inferior based on their gender. Many of those same women will also tell you that men helped steer them toward this career.  We will not be able to advance or increase the numbers of women in technologies fields by excluding the very same group that helped us get that start.  Excluding the majority of people in our field will only support the minority of that same group who believes we are incapable.  It is only by being inclusive that we can have open conversations about the challenges we all face in our field.  The issues are rarely truly gender exclusive.

So yes support the girls, young ladies and women who show interest in STEM fields and support them, nurture them, be their mentor but do not stop with females. There is no reason men cannot learn from us in the same ways.  The only way we can be truly equal is to actually be equal in all ways and not exclusive.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Ok so surprise, surprise once again I am lax on posting. I went to the Sapporo Snow Festival with my friend Darlene for a few days in February. To say it was awesome would be an understatement. It was not too cold and not so warm the snow was melting. It was the end of the festival so between the timing, the killer yen rate and the economy the crowds were not bad. YAY for us. Slipping and sliding on the ice with 3 million of our closest friends would not be my idea of a good time.

So to start off, I was invited out by a friend the night before and he claims to be a pumpkin (my nickname for the guys who have to be back on the ship by midnight), he is not a real pumpkin but he goes to bed early. So Darlene, Ned, his friend Adam and I head out. We started late because I was helping Ned with some things and had to finish packing. We grab dinner and go bowling. Good times were had by all but the early to bed night ended early in the morning. So around 2am we crash out at Darlene's so we can leave at 0530 and get on the bus on base. That was great, the bus picked us up and took us straight to the airport. Off the bus and were literally handed our tickets. Checked in at the airline counter, grabbed breakfast and shortly thereafter we were on a plane. First Haneda airport tripped me out. I am used to airports that are near water, San Diego, San Francisco, shoot even Sacramento flies over rivers and rice fields as you land, but Haneda is on the water. I could see whitecaps from the terminal. It just seemed so odd to me.

From Sapporo 2009 - Randomness

The flight was fine, I was a little unnerved by the nose and then belly cam on the plane though. I really do not want to see what I may potentially crash into shortly.

So we get to Sapporo, Chitose really, get off the plane, grab the bags board our awaiting bus and off we go to Otaru. I was really looking forward to Otaru. A friend of mine had been there the winter before and told me some things and it just sounded cool. It is a quiet, port town with canals and just a great atmosphere. Of course Darlene and I quickly found the Otaru brewery, it isn't a problem it's a gift. We had some good and different beer as well as yummy food. Otaru is known for their glass blowing so we saw some gorgeous glass. We did not have much time but we wandered around and just took it in. I loved the place and convinced Darlene we needed to go back the next night for the candlelight snow festival. So back on the bus we went.

The bus then took us to the hotel where we checked in and napped (we did not sleep remember). After a couple of hours we got back on the bus and went to the Sapporo Brewery, hey in the States I travel by way of Margaritaville in Japan it is breweries and good ones too. There we had yakiniku, which is basically cook your own food at the table. It was very good. It was all you can eat and drink for 90 minutes. I think they were trying to brainwash us into joining the Communist Party through good meat and booze. I mean look at all the red stars everywhere.

From Sapporo 2009

It was a lot of fun and very good. Then it was back on the bus, to go back tot he hotel (are you tired yet). From there we headed to the ice festival in Susukino, which is a nightclub district in Sapporo. It was cool. The sculptures were really neat and a lot of fun to wander past. It was snowing the whole time but not too bad. We stopped in at a bar to have a drink, well really to use the bathroom and ran into some people we knew from work. So we drank with them and chatted. By the way I was drinking dark ales, and while there I had 4 of the best darks I have ever had, one even gives Guinness a run for its money, I know sacrilege.

From Sapporo 2009

Then it was back to the hotel. Yes we were exhausted.

I woke up early but let Darlene sleep. She wasn't even stirring when I was ready to go so I took off. I thought she realized I was serious when I said I would do that. I hit the festival before it officially opened. That was so worth seeing. The sculptures are built, for the most part, by the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF). So they were out there, some in camis, cleaning off the sculptures. I want to be the guy with the bullhorn barking orders.

From Sapporo 2009

I was able to get up pretty close and the volunteers were more than happy to take a picture for me.

From Sapporo 2009

After Darlene joined me we went to the top of the TV tower, which was cool to see the view and the sculptures from so high up. We then wandered the festival. It is about 12 blocks long. We were accosted by children pretending to speak English (they only really knew what they were asking and the simple answers to their questions) but it was fun. They played games with us. The sculptures were just amazing.

A little after lunch we had finished walking the festival so we headed back to Otaru.

We went to a different part of Otaru and walked back toward the canals. We shopped and just wandered. I found corn, baked potato and sweet bean flavored Kit-Kats as well as caramels in every flavor. The beer ones are a little beery but I was told the meat ones taste like meat. I do not know if the person I gave the corn ones to will actually eat them or just save them for the sheer humor. I finally got a good cup of coffee at a cafe we stopped in to snack. Then after more wandering, we still had time to kill before the sun went down so of course we went back to the brewery to try more flavors of beer. The brewery sat on the water so we were able to watch them string and light the candles floating in the canal as well as the ones on the banks. It was really neat. Then we walked the canal in the candle light as we made our way back toward the train. The festival is called the Otaru Snow Gleaming festival or Yukiakari-no Michi. It was very beautiful and I would have loved to wander longer but we needed to head back so we could see the snow sculptures, lit up.

Once we were back in Sapporo, Darlene was beat so I went off to see the sculptures lit up alone. I managed to walk the major sculptures before they shut the lights off. It is amazing how different they are lit up. Some were much more dramatic.

On the last day we found the Chocolate Factory and had some very good chocolate. That is also where I met my good friends Bach and Mr. Lincoln. Lincoln was definitely a little jealous of Bach. But hey what can I say, musicians are just hotter. Then we boarded the bus and then the plane. It was great having a trip where they did not make us go to certain places in certain orders but at the same time all of the transportation was provided for. But that was my whirlwind trip to Sapporo. Sapporo was ok, but thank goodness for Otaru, I would love to go back there.

Here is the random I encountered as we traveled

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Enoshima Island

Today I ventured off alone to Enoshima Island. It is not far from where we live and I love going places alone. People talk to me when I am alone and it just makes it more interesting. I met a family who was heading to the airport after spending time with their son who is stationed here. I also talked on the train to a man who was curious about me and surprised I was alone, he was a little old guy who spoke poor English but it was hella better than my Japanese.

First there are pigeons big enough to eat in Kinugasa. Seriously, I d not think these bad boys could fly, they just live on the train platform.
From Enoshima 12-27-08

Then, I was off. The day was perfect and beautiful and I could see Fuji very well which was the point. :)
From Enoshima 12-27-08
From Enoshima 12-27-08

From Enoshima 12-27-08

From Enoshima 12-27-08

From Enoshima 12-27-08

From Enoshima 12-27-08

Some of the vistas from the island were also great
From Enoshima 12-27-08

From Enoshima 12-27-08

So I missed the entrance to the observatory on my first lap around the island so I paid to take the escalator straight to it. I was inundated by ads the whole way, now for some reason I really want a coke and some Meiji dairy products.

From Enoshima 12-27-08

From Enoshima 12-27-08

The observatory was worth the 500yen
From Enoshima 12-27-08

And I must add the kickass cat rockin the scarf
From Enoshima 12-27-08

and the cool dachsunds in their dresses
From Enoshima 12-27-08

From Enoshima 12-27-08

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Another Christmas in Japan. We spent Christmas eve in Tokyo looking at the lights 'cos we all know I love lights. We found the luminaries at the Imperial Palace which was totally cool. Unfortunately we were late and they had already put ut a number of them. Check out the pics.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I went and saw Smashmouth for free on base tonight, the show was over an hour and lots of fun. I had a great time and was right in front of the stage for most of the show. No pics cos I took the crap camera but hopefully I can get some of the great pics my friend took. The Steve Harwell, lead singer, is much hotter than he was when I was in college. Much to the hubbs joy I did not get to relive the glory days and one of my few claims to fame and get another kiss from Harwell. We hoped the kiddies would clear out and we could talk to them, a friend I was with said it has happened in the past, but no such luck. ok off to bed I am tired, those damn kids made me feel old and they didnt even know the music

Friday, October 24, 2008

What do you mean no one want to volunteer

I saw this story and could not stop laughing. A couple of weeks ago a polar bear fell into his moat and he is rather happy down there. The part that makes me laugh is not that they are waiting for him to climb out but that they are doing everything they can before they sedate him. The reason? Someone would have to go into the moat to make sure he is really sedate and they don't have any volunteers. What you don't want to jump in the moat with a possibly asleep polar bear? Why not? CHICKEN?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hakone take 2

Yesterday I went back to Hakone and Lake Ashi. It is just an absolutely beautiful place. Yesterday I went with the Good Time Trekker club. It is a group of Japanese men and women who conduct tours with a group from the base in English. They are fun and I have been out with them before, it is just a wonderful experience to have them tell us about things. Yesterday we were doubly blessed by beautiful weather. Please check out my Picasa Gallery because I got many beautiful pictures of Fuji and other things but mostly Fuji.

From Hakone and Fuji