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Breathtaking Barcelona

My father once told me that Madrid was his favorite city and that he generally loved Spain. When my aunt shipped me a series of family slides last year I was delighted to find ones from Madrid in the mix, I uploaded the album: Carl A. Krumbach – Spain 1967. I wish I had asked him why he loved Madrid, but in October I had the opportunity myself to learn why I now love Spain.

I landed in Barcelona the last week of October. First, it was a beautiful time to visit. Nice weather that wasn’t too hot or too cold. It rained over night a couple times and a bit some days, but not enough to deter activities, and I was busy with a conference during most of the days anyway. It was also warm enough to go swimming in the Mediterranean, though I failed to avail myself of this opportunity. The day I got in I met up with a couple friends to go to the aquarium, walk around the coastline and was able to touch the sea for the first time. That evening I also had my first of three seafood paellas that I enjoyed throughout the week. So good.

The night life was totally a thing. Many places would offer tapas along with drinks, so one night a bunch of us went out and just ate and drank our way through the Gothic Quarter. The restaurants also served late, often not even starting dinner service until 8PM. One night at midnight we found ourselves at a steakhouse dining on a giant steak that served the table and drinking a couple bottles of cava. Oh the cava, it was plentiful and inexpensive. As someone who lives in California these days I felt a bit bad by betraying my beloved California wine, but it was really good. I also enjoyed the Sangrias.

A couple mornings after evenings when I didn’t let the drinks get the better of me, I also went out for a run. Running along the beaches in Barcelona was a tiny slice of heaven. It was also wonderful to just go sit by the sea one evening when I needed some time away from conference chaos.


Seafood paella lunch for four! We also had a couple beers.

All of this happened before I even got out to do much tourist stuff. Saturday was my big day for seeing the famous sights. Early in the week I reserved tickets to see the Sagrada Familia Basilica. I like visiting religious buildings when I travel because they tend to be on the extravagant side. Plus, back at the OpenStack Summit in Paris we heard from a current architect of the building and I’ve since seen a documentary about the building and nineteenth century architect Antoni Gaudí. I was eager to see it, but nothing quite prepared me for the experience. I had tickets for 1:30PM and was there right on time.


Sagrada Familia selfie!

It was the most amazing place I’ve ever been.

The architecture sure is unusual but once you let that go and just enjoy it, everything comes together in a calming way that I’ve never quite experienced before. The use of every color through the hundreds of stained glass windows was astonishing.

I didn’t do the tower tour on this trip because once I realized how special this place was I wanted to save something new to do there the next time I visit.

The rest of my day was spent taking one of the tourist buses around town to get a taste of a bunch of the other sights. I got a glimpse of a couple more buildings by Gaudí. In the middle of the afternoon I stopped at a tapas restaurant across from La Monumental, a former bullfighting ring. They outlawed bullfighting several years ago, but the building is still used for other events and is worth seeing for the beautiful tiled exterior, even just on the outside.

I also walked through the Arc de Triomf and made my way over to the Barcelona Cathedral. After the tour bus brought me back to the stop near my hotel I spent the rest of the late afternoon enjoying some time at the beach.

That evening I met up with my friend Clint to do one last wander around the area. We stopped at the beach and had some cava and cheese. From there we went to dinner where we split a final paella and bottle of cava. Dessert was a Catalan cream, which is a lot like a crème brûlée but with cinnamon, yum!

As much as I wanted to stay longer and enjoy the gorgeous weather, the next morning I was scheduled to return home.

I loved Barcelona. It stole my heart like no other European city ever has and it’s now easily one of my favorite cities. I’ll be returning, hopefully sooner than later.

More photos from my adventures in Barcelona here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157674260004081

OpenStack book and Infra team at the Ocata Summit

At the end of October I attended the OpenStack Ocata Summit in beautiful Barcelona. My participation in this was a bittersweet one for me. It was the first summit following the release of our Common OpenStack Deployments book and OpenStack Infrastructure tooling was featured in a short keynote on Wednesday morning, making for quite the exciting summit. Unfortunately it also marked my last week with HPE and an uncertain future with regard to my continued full time participation with the OpenStack Infrastructure team. It was also the last OpenStack Summit where the conference and design summit are being hosted together, so the next several months will be worth keeping an eye on community-wise. Still, I largely took the position of assuming I’d continue to be able to work on the team, just with more caution in regards to work I was signing up for.

The first thing that I discovered during this summit was how amazing Barcelona is. The end of October presented us with some amazing weather for walking around and the city doesn’t go to sleep early, so we had plenty of time in the evenings to catch up with each other over drinks and scrumptious tapas. It worked out well since there were fewer sponsored parties in the evenings at this summit and attendance seemed limited at the ones that existed.

The high point for me at the summit was having the OpenStack Infrastructure tooling for handling our fleet of compute instances featured in a keynote! Given my speaking history, I was picked from the team to be up on the big stage with Jonathan Bryce to walk through a demonstration where we removed one of our US cloud providers and added three more in Europe. While the change was landing and tests started queuing up we also took time to talk about how tests are done against OpenStack patch sets across our various cloud providers.


Thanks to Johanna Koester for taking this picture (source)

It wasn’t just me presenting though. Clark Boylan and Jeremy Stanley were sitting in the front row making sure the changes landed and everything went according to plan during the brief window that this demonstration took up during the keynote. I’m thrilled to say that this live demonstration was actually the best run we had of all the testing, seeing all the tests start running on our new providers live on stage in front of such a large audience was pretty exciting. The team has built something really special here, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to help highlight that in the community with a keynote.


Mike Perez and David F. Flanders sitting next to Jeremy and Clark as they monitor demonstration progress. Photo credit for this one goes to Chris Hoge (source)

The full video of the keynote is available here: Demoing the World’s Largest Multi-Cloud CI Application

A couple of conference talks were presented by members of the Infrastructure team as well. On Tuesday Colleen Murphy, Paul Belanger and Ricardo Carrillo Cruz presented on the team’s Infra-Cloud. As I’ve written about before, the team has built a fully open source OpenStack cloud using the community Puppet modules and donated hardware and data center space from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. This talk outlined the architecture of that cloud, some of the challenges they’ve encountered, statistics from how it’s doing now and future plans. Video from their talk is here: InfraCloud, a Community Cloud Managed by the Project Infrastructure Team.

James E. Blair also gave a talk during the conference, this time on Zuul version 3. This version of Zuul has been under development for some time, so this was a good opportunity to update the community on the history of the Zuul project in general and why it exists, status of ongoing efforts with an eye on v3 and problems it’s trying to solve. I’m also in love with his slide deck, it was all text-based (including some “animations”!) and all with an Art Deco theme. Video from his talk is here: Zuul v3: OpenStack and Ansible Native CI/CD.

As usual, the Infrastructure team also had a series of sessions related to ongoing work. As a quick rundown, we have Etherpads for all the sessions (read-only links provided):

Friday concluded with a Contributors Meetup for the Infrastructure team in the afternoon where folks split off into small groups to tackle a series of ongoing projects together. I was also able to spend some time with the Internationalization (i18n) team that Friday afternoon. I dragged along Clark so someone else on the team could pick up where I left off in case I have less time in the future. We talked about the pending upgrade of Zanata and plans for a translations checksite, making progress on both fronts, especially when we realized that there’s a chance we could get away with just running a development version of Horizon itself, with a more stable back end.


With the i18n team!

Finally, the book! It was the first time I was able to see Matt Fischer, my contributing author, since the book came out. Catching up with him and signing a book together was fun. Thanks to my publisher I was also thrilled to donate the signed copies I brought along to the Women of OpenStack Speed Mentoring event on Tuesday morning. I wasn’t able to attend the event, but they were given out on my behalf, thanks to Nithya Ruff for handling the giveaway.


Thanks to Nithya Ruff for taking a picture of me with my book at the Women of OpenStack area of the expo hall (source) and Brent Haley for getting the picture of Lisa-Marie and I (source).

I was also invited to sit down with Lisa-Marie Namphy to chat about the book and changes to the OpenStack Infrastructure team in the Newton cycle. The increase in capacity to over 2000 test instances this past cycle was quite the milestone so I enjoyed talking about that. The full video is up on YouTube: OpenStack® Project Infra: Elizabeth K. Joseph shares how test capacity doubled in Newton

In all, it was an interesting summit with a lot of change happening in the community and with partner companies. The people that make the community are still there though and it’s always enjoyable spending time together. My next OpenStack event is coming up quickly, next week I’ll be speaking at OpenStack Days Mountain West on the The OpenStack Project Continuous Integration System. I’ll also have a pile of books to give away at that event!

A Zoo and an Aquarium

When I was in Ohio last month for the Ohio LinuxFest I added a day on to my trip to visit the Columbus Zoo. A world-class zoo, it’s one of the few northern state zoos that has manatees and their African savanna exhibit is worth visiting. I went with a couple friends I attended the conference with, one of whom was a local and offered to drive (thanks again Svetlana!).

We arrived mid-day, which was in time to see their cheetah run, where they give one of their cheetahs some exercise by having it run a quick course around what had just been moments before the hyena habitat. I also learned recently via ZooBorns that the Columbus Zoo is one that participates in the cheetah-puppy pairing from a young age. The dogs keep these big cats feeling secure with their calmness in an uncertain world, adorable article from the site here: A Cheetah and His Dog

Much to my delight, they were also selling Cheetah-and-Dog pins after the run to raise money. Yes, please!

As I said, I really enjoyed their African Savanna exhibit. It was big and sprawling and had a nice mixture of animals. The piles of lions they have was also quite the sight to behold.

Their kangaroo enclosure was open to walk through, so you could get quite close to the kangaroos just like I did at the Perth Zoo. There were also a trio of baby tigers and some mountain lions that were adorable. And then there were the manatees. I love manatees!

I’m really glad I took the time to stay longer in Columbus, I’d likely go again if I found myself in the area.

More photos from the zoo, including a tiger napping on his back, and those mountain lions here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157671610835663

Just a couple weeks later I found myself on another continent, and at the Barcelona Aquarium with my friends Julia and Summer. It was a sizable aquarium and really nicely laid out. Their selection of aquatic animals was diverse and interesting. In this aquarium I liked some of the smallest critters the most. Loved their seahorses.

And the axolotls.

There was also an octopus that was awake and wandering around the tank, much to the delight of the crowd.

They also had penguins, a great shark tube and tank with a moving walkway.

More photos from the Barcelona Aquarium: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157675629122655

Barcelona also has a zoo, but in my limited time there in the city I didn’t make it over there. It’s now on my very long list of other things to see the next time I’m in Barcelona, and you bet there will be a next time.

Ohio LinuxFest 2016

Last month I had the pleasure of finally attending an Ohio LinuxFest. The conference has been on my radar for years, but every year I seemed to have some kind of conflict. When my Tour of OpenStack Deployment Scenarios was accepted I was thrilled to finally be able to attend. My employer at the time also pitched in to the conference as a Bronze sponsor and by sending along a banner that showcased my talk, and my OpenStack book!

The event kicked off on Friday and the first talk I attended was by Jeff Gehlbach on What’s Happening with OpenNMS. I’ve been to several OpenNMS talks over the years and played with it some, so I knew the background of the project. This talk covered several of the latest improvements. Of particular note were some of their UI improvements, including both a website refresh and some stunning improvements to the WebUI. It was also interesting to learn about Newts, the time-series data store they’ve been developing to replace RRDtool, which they struggled to scale with their tooling. Newts is decoupled from the visualization tooling so you can hook in your own, like if you wanted to use Grafana instead.

I then went to Rob Kinyon’s Devs are from Mars, Ops are from Venus. He had some great points about communication between ops, dev and QA, starting with being aware and understanding of the fact that you all have different goals, which sometimes conflict. Pausing to make sure you know why different teams behave the way they do and knowing that they aren’t just doing it to make your life difficult, or because they’re incompetent, makes all the difference. He implored the audience to assume that we’re all smart, hard-working people trying to get our jobs done. He also touched upon improvements to communication, making sure you repeat requests in your own words so misunderstandings don’t occur due to differing vocabularies. Finally, he suggested that some cross-training happen between roles. A developer may never be able to take over full time for an operator, or vice versa, but walking a mile in someone else’s shoes helps build the awareness and understanding that he stresses is important.

The afternoon keynote was given by Catherine Devlin on Hacking Bureaucracy with 18F. She works for the government in the 18F digital services agency. Their mandate is to work with other federal agencies to improve their digital content, from websites to data delivery. Modeled after a startup, she explained that they try not to over-plan, like many government organizations do and can lead to failure, they want to fail fast and keep iterating. She also said their team has a focus on hiring good people and understanding the needs of the people they serve, rather than focusing on raw technical talent and the tools. Their practices center around an open by default philosophy (see: 18F: Open source policy), so much of their work is open source and can be adopted by other agencies. They also make sure they understand the culture of organizations they work with so that the tools they develop together will actually be used, as well as respecting the domain knowledge of teams they’re working with. Slides from her talk here, and include lots of great links to agency tooling they’ve worked on: https://github.com/catherinedevlin/olf-2016-keynote


Catherine Devlin on 18F

That evening folks gathered in the expo hall to meet and eat! That’s where I caught up with my friends from Computer Reach. This is the non-profit I went to Ghana with back in 2012 to deploy Ubuntu-based desktops. I spent a couple weeks there with Dave, Beth Lynn and Nancy (alas, unable to come to OLF) so it was great to see them again. I learned more about the work they’re continuing to do, having switched to using mostly Xubuntu on new installs which was written about here. On a personal level it was a lot of fun connecting with them too, we really bonded during our adventures over there.


Tyler Lamb, Dave Sevick, Elizabeth K. Joseph, Beth Lynn Eicher

Saturday morning began with a keynote from Ethan Galstad on Becoming the Next Tech Entrepreneur. Ethan is the founder of Nagios, and in his talk he traced some of the history of his work on getting Nagios off the ground as a proper project and company and his belief in why technologists make good founders. In his work he drew from his industry and market expertise from being a technologist and was able to play to the niche he was focused on. He also suggested that folks look to what other founders have done that has been successful, and recommended some books (notably Founders at Work and Work the System). Finaly, he walked through some of what can be done to get started, including the stages of idea development, basic business plan (don’t go crazy), a rough 1.0 release that you can have some early customers test and get feedback from, and then into marketing, documenting and focused product development. He concluded by stressing that open source project leaders are already entrepreneurs and the free users of your software are your initial market.

Next up was Robert Foreman’s Mixed Metaphors: Using Hiera with Foreman where he sketched out the work they’ve done that preserves usage of Hiera’s key-value store system but leverages Foreman for the actual orchestration. The mixing of provisioning and orchestration technologies is becoming more common, but I hadn’t seen this particular mashup.

My talk was A Tour of OpenStack Deployment Scenarios. This is the same talk I gave at FOSSCON back in August, walking the audience through a series of ways that OpenStack could be configured to provide compute instances, metering and two types of storage. For each I gave a live demo using DevStack. I also talked about several other popular components that could be added to a deployment. Slides from my talk are here (PDF), which also link to a text document with instructions for how to run the DevStack demos yourself.


Thanks to Vitaliy Matiyash for taking a picture during my talk! (source)

At lunch I met up with my Ubuntu friends to catch up. We later met at the booth where they had a few Ubuntu phones and tablets that gained a bunch of attention throughout the event. This event was also my first opportunity to meet Unit193 and Svetlana Belkin in person, both of whom I’ve worked with on Ubuntu for years.


Unit193, Svetlana Belkin, José Antonio Rey, Elizabeth K. Joseph and Nathan Handler

After lunch I went over to see David Griggs of Dell give us “A Look Under the Hood of Ohio Supercomputer Center’s Newest Linux Cluster.” Supercomputers are cool and it was interesting to learn about the system it was replacing, the planning that went into the replacement and workload cut-over and see in-progress photos of the installation. From there I saw Ryan Saunders speak on Automating Monitoring with Puppet and Shinken. I wasn’t super familiar with the Shinken monitoring framework, so this talk was an interesting and very applicable demonstration of the benefits.

The last talk I went to before the closing keynotes was from my Computer Reach friends Dave Sevick and Tyler Lamb. They presented their “Island Server” imaging server that’s now being used to image all of the machines that they re-purpose and deploy around the world. With this new imaging server they’re able to image both Mac and Linux PCs from one Macbook Pro rather than having a different imaging server for each. They were also able to do a live demo of a Mac and Linux PC being imaged from the same Island Server at once.


Tyler and Dave with the Island Server in action

The event concluded with a closing keynote by a father and daughter duo, Joe and Lily Born, on The Democratization of Invention. Joe Born first found fame in the 90s when he invented the SkipDoctor CD repair device, and is now the CEO of Aiwa which produces highly rated Bluetooth speakers. Lily Born invented the tip-proof Kangaroo Cup. The pair reflected on their work and how the idea to product in the hands of customers has changed in the past twenty years. While the path to selling SkipDoctor had a very high barrier to entry, globalization, crowd-funding, 3D printers and internet-driven word of mouth and greater access to the press all played a part in the success of Lily’s Kangaroo cup and the new Aiwa Bluetooth speakers. While I have no plans to invent anything any time soon (so much else to do!) it was inspiring to hear how the barriers have been lowered and inventors today have a lot more options. Also, I just bought an Aiwa Exos-9 Bluetooth Speaker, it’s pretty sweet.

My conference adventures concluded with a dinner with my friends José, Nathan and David, all three of whom I also spent time with at FOSSCON in Philadelphia the month before. It was fun getting together again, and we wandered around downtown Columbus until we found a nice little pizzeria. Good times.

More photos from the Ohio LinuxFest here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157674988712556

Holiday cards 2016!

Every year I send out a big batch of winter-themed holiday cards to friends and acquaintances online.

Reading this? That means you! Even if you’re outside the United States!

Send me an email at lyz@princessleia.com with your postal mailing address. Please put “Holiday Card” in the subject so I can filter it appropriately. Please do this even if I’ve sent you a card in the past, I won’t be reusing the list from last year.

Typical disclaimer: My husband is Jewish and we celebrate Hanukkah, but the cards are non-religious, with some variation of “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” on them.

Simcoe’s October Checkup

On October 13th MJ and I took Simcoe in to the vet for her quarterly checkup. The last time she had been in was back in June.

As usual, she wasn’t thrilled about this vet visit plan.

This time her allergies were flaring up and we were preparing to increase her dosage of Atopica to fight back on some of the areas she was scratching and breaking out. The poor thing continues to suffer from constipation, so we’re continuing to try to give her wet food with pumpkin or fiber mixed in, but it’s not easy since food isn’t really her thing. We also have been keeping an eye on her weight and giving her an appetite stimulant here and there when I’m around to monitor her. Back in June her weight was at 8.4lbs, and this time she’s down to 8.1. I hope to spend more time giving her the stimulant after my next trip.

Sadly her bloodwork related to kidney values continues to worsen. Her CRE levels are the worst we’ve ever seen, with them shooting up higher than when she first crashed and we were notified of her renal failure back in 2011, almost five years ago. From 5.5 in June, she’s now at a very concerning 7.0.

Her BUN has stayed steady at 100, the same as it was in June.

My travel has been pretty hard on her, and I feel incredibly guilty about this. She’s more agitated and upset than we’d like to see so the vet prescribed a low dose of Alprazolam that she can be given during the worst times. We’re going to reduce her Calcitriol, but otherwise are continuing with the care routine.

It’s upsetting to see her decline in this way, and I have noticed a slight drop in energy as well. I’m still hoping we have a lot more time with my darling kitten-cat, but she turns ten next month and these value are definitely cause for concern.

But let’s not leave it on a sad note. The other day she made herself at home in a box that had the sun pointed directly inside it. SO CUTE!

She also tried to go with MJ on a business trip this week.

I love this cat.

Seeking a new role

Today I was notified that I am being laid off from the upstream OpenStack Infrastructure job I have through HPE. It’s a workforce reduction and our whole team at HPE was hit. I love this job. I work with a great team on the OpenStack Infrastructure team. HPE has treated me very well, supporting travel to conferences I’m speaking at, helping to promote my books (Common OpenStack Deployments and The Official Ubuntu Book, 9th and 8th editions) and other work. I spent almost four years there and I’m grateful for what they did for my career.

But now I have to move on.

I’ve worked as a Linux Systems Administrator for the past decade and I’d love to continue that. I live in San Francisco so there are a lot of ops positions around here that I can look at, but I really want to find a place where my expertise with open source, writing and public speaking can will be used and appreciated. I’d also be open to a more Community or Developer Evangelist role that leverages my systems and cloud background.

Whatever I end up doing next the tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) version of what I need in my next role are as follows:

  • Most of my job to be focused on open source
  • Support for travel to conferences where I speak at (6-12 per year)
  • Work from home
  • Competitive pay

My resume is over here: http://elizabethkjoseph.com

Now the long version, and a quick note about what I do today.

OpenStack project Infrastructure Team

I’ve spent nearly four years working full time on the OpenStack project Infrastructure Team. We run all the services that developers on the OpenStack project interact with on a daily basis, from our massive Continuous Integration system to translations and the Etherpads. I love it there. I also just wrote a book about OpenStack.

HPE has paid me to do this upstream OpenStack project Infrastructure work full time, but we have team members from various companies. I’d love to find a company in the OpenStack ecosystem willing to pay for me to continue this and support me like HPE did. All the companies who use and contribute to OpenStack rely upon the infrastructure our team provides, and as a root/core member of this team I have an important role to play. It would be a shame for me to have to leave.

However, I am willing to move on from this team and this work for something new. During my career thus far I’ve spent time working on both the Ubuntu and Debian projects, so I do have experience with other large open source projects, and reducing my involvement in them as my life dictates.

Most of my job to be focused on open source

This is extremely important to me. I’ve spent the past 15 years working intensively in open source communities, from Linux Users Groups to small and large open source projects. Today I work on a team where everything we do is open source. All system configs, Puppet modules, everything but the obvious private data that needs to be private for the integrity of the infrastructure (SSH keys, SSL certificates, passwords, etc). While I’d love a role where this is also the case, I realize how unrealistic it is for a company to have such an open infrastructure.

An alternative would be a position where I’m one of the ops people who understands the tooling (probably from gaining an understanding of it internally) and then going on to help manage the projects that have been open sourced by the team. I’d make sure best practices are followed for the open sourcing of things, that projects are paid attention to and contributors outside the organization are well-supported. I’d also go to conferences to present on this work, write about it on a blog somewhere (company blog? opensource.com?) and be encouraging and helping other team members do the same.

Support for travel to conferences where I speak at (to chat at 6-12 per year)

I speak a lot and I’m good at it. I’ve given keynotes at conferences in Europe, South America and right here in the US. Any company I go to work for will need to support me in this by giving me the time to prepare and give talks, and by compensating me for travel for conferences where I’m speaking.

Work from home

I’ve been doing this for the past ten years and I’d really struggle to go back into an office. Since operations, open source and travel doesn’t need me to be in an office, I’d prefer to stick with the flexibility and time working from home gives me.

For the right job I may be willing to consider going into an office or visiting client/customer sites (SF Bay Area is GREAT for this!) once a week, or some kind of arrangement where I travel to a home office for a week here and there. I can’t relocate for a position at this time.

Competitive pay

It should go without saying, but I do live in one of the most expensive places in the world and need to be compensated accordingly. I love my work, I love open source, but I have bills to pay and I’m not willing to compromise on this at this point in my life.

Contact me

If you think your organization would be interested in someone like me and can help me meet my requirements, please reach out via email at lyz@princessleia.com

I’m pretty sad today about the passing of what’s been such a great journey for me at HPE and in the OpenStack community, but I’m eager to learn more about the doors this change is opening up for me.

Autumn in Philadelphia

I spent this past week in Philadelphia. For those of you following along at home, I was there just a month before, for FOSSCON and other time with friends. This time our trip was also purposeful, we were in town for the gravestone unveiling for MJ’s grandmother, to celebrate my birthday with Philly friends and to work on a secret mission (secret until November).

Before all that, I spent some time enjoying the city upon arrival. The first morning I was there I got in early and a friend picked me up at the airport. After breakfast we headed toward the Philadelphia Zoo. We killed some time with a walk before making our way up to the zoo itself, where I insisted we spend a bit of time watching the street cars (they call them trolleys) on the SEPTA Route 15 that goes right past the zoo. These SEPTA PCC cars are direct relatives to the ones that run in San Francisco, in fact, San Francisco bought a large portion of their PCC fleet directly from SEPTA several decades ago. Almost all the PCC cars you see running on the F-line in San Francisco are from Philadelphia. It was fun to have some time to hang out and enjoy the cars in their home city.

And of course the zoo! I’ve been to the zoo a few times, but it’s a nice sized one and I always enjoy going. I don’t remember them having an aye-aye exhibit, so it was nice to see that, particularly since the one at the San Francisco Zoo has been closed for some time. The penguins are always great to see, and the red pandas are super adorable.


Humboldt penguins at the Philadelphia Zoo

More photos from the zoo here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157673262888271

Tuesday I spent working and spending time with my friend Danita. Camped out on her couch I got a pile of work done and later in the evening we went out to do a bit of shopping. That evening MJ arrived in Philadelphia from a work trip he was on and picked me up to grab some dinner.

Wednesday morning was the gravestone unveiling. According to Jewish tradition, this ceremony is completed approximately a year after the passing of your loved one and coincides with the conclusion of the year of mourning. We had 10 people there, and though the weather did threaten rain, it held out as we made our way through some words about her life, prayers and quiet moments together. Afterwards the family attending all went out to lunch together.

Thursday’s big event was my 35th birthday! In the morning I went out Core Creek Park a few miles from our hotel to go out for a run. The weather wasn’t entirely cooperative, but I wasn’t about to be put off by a hint of drizzle. It was totally the right thing to do, I parked near the lake in the park and did a run/walk of a couple miles on a trail around that edge of the park. I saw a deer, lots of birds and was generally pleased with the sights. I love autumn in Philadelphia and this was such a perfect way to experience it.

That night MJ drove us down to the city and met up with a whole pile of friends (Danita, Crissi, Mike and Jess, Jon, David, Tim, Mike and Heidi, Walt, and Paul) for a birthday party at The Continental near Penn’s Landing. I love this place. We had our wedding party dinner here, and we eat here, or at the mid-town location, almost every time we’re in town. MJ and Danita had reserved a private room which allowed for mingling throughout the night. Danita helped me pick out some killer shoes that I had fun wearing with my awesome dress and I drank a lot of Twizzle martinis (Smirnoff citrus, strawberry puree, lemon, red licorice wheel) along with all the spectacular food they brought to our tables through the night. There was also a delicious walnut-free carrot cake …with only 5 candles, which was appreciated, hah! Did I mention I drank a lot of martinis? It was an awesome night, my friends are the best.

Late Friday and into Saturday were secret mission days, but I took some time for work like every day and we also got to see friends and family both days. I also was able to get down to the hotel gym on Saturday morning to visit the treadmill and spend some time in the pool.

Our flight took us home to our kitties on Saturday evening. I’ve been incredibly stressed out lately with a lot going on with my career (work, book, other open source things) and personally (where to begin…), but it was a very good trip over all.

Rosh Hashanah begins tonight and means a day of observation tomorrow too. Tuesday and Wednesday are packed with work and spending evenings with MJ before I fly off again on Thursday. This time to Ohio for the Ohio LinuxFest in Columbus where my talk is A Tour of OpenStack Deployment Scenarios. While I’m there I also have plans to meet up with my Ubuntu community friends (including going to the Columbus Zoo!) and most of the crew I went to Ghana with in 2012.

MUNI Heritage Weekend

Before heading to Philadelphia last weekend I took time to spend Saturday with my friend Mark at MUNI Heritage Weekend. As an active transit advocate in San Francisco, Mark is a fun person to attend such an event with. I like to think I know a fair amount about things on rails in San Francisco, but he’s much more knowledgeable about transit in general.

I was pretty excited about this day, I was all decked out in my cable car earrings and Seashore Trolley Museum t-shirt.

The day began with a walk down Market to meet Mark near the railway museum, which was the center of all the activity for the day. I arrived a bit early and spent my time snapping pictures of all the interesting streetcars and buses coming around. When we met up our first adventure was to take a ride on our first vintage bus of the day, the 5300!

Now, as far as vintage goes, the 5300 doesn’t go very far back in history. This bus was an electric from 1975 and it had a good run, still riding around the city just over a decade ago. This was a long ride, taking us down Howard, South Van Ness, all the way down to Mission and 25th street, then back to the railway museum. It took about 45 minutes, during which time Mark and I had lots of time to catch up.

We then had some time to walk around a bit and see what else was out. Throughout the day we saw one of the Blackpool “boat” streetcars, the Melbourne streetcar (which I still haven’t ridden in!) the Number 1 streetcar and more.

Next up was a ride on the short 042 from 1938! This was a fun one, it’s the oldest bus in the fleet and the blog post about the event had this to say:

A surprise participant was Muni’s oldest bus, the 042, built in 1938 by the White Motor Company. Its engine had given up the ghost, but the top-notch mechanics at Woods Motor Coach Division swapped it out for one in a White bus Market Street Railway’s Paul Wells located in the Santa Cruz Mountains and repatriated. The 042 operated like a dream looping around Union Square all weekend, as did 1970 GMC “fishbowl” 3287, shown behind it

Pretty cool! As the quote suggests, it was not electric so it was able to do its own thing in the Union Square loop, in a ride that only took about 20 minutes.

Then, more viewing of random cars. I think the highlight of my time then was getting to see the 578 “dinky” close up. Built in 1896, this street car looks quite a bit like a cable car, making it a distinctive sight among all the other street cars.

By then we were well into the late afternoon and decided to grab some late lunch. Continuing our transit-related day, I took him up Howard street to get a view of the progress on the new Transbay Transit Center. After walking past it on street level, we went up to the roof deck where we live to get some views and pictures from up above.

This was definitely a bus-heavy heritage day for me, but it was fun. Lots more photos from the day here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/albums/72157674240825576

That evening it was time for me to get off the buses and rails to take another form of transportation, I was off to Philadelphia on a plane!

Yak Coloring

A couple cycles ago I asked Ronnie Tucker, artist artist and creator of Full Circle Magazine, to create a werewolf coloring page for the 15.10 release (details here). He then created another for Xenial Xerus, see here.

He’s now created one for the upcoming Yakkety Yak release! So if you’re sick of all the yak shaving you’re doing as we prepare for this release, you may consider giving yak coloring a try.

But that’s not the only yak! We have Tom Macfarlane in the Canonical Design Team once again for sending me the SVG to update the Animal SVGs section of the Official Artwork page on the Ubuntu wiki. They’re sticking with a kind of origami theme this time for our official yak.

Download the SVG version for printing from the wiki page or directly here.