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December events and a pair of tapestries

In my last post I talked some about the early December tourist stuff that I did. I also partook in several events that gave me a nice, fun distraction when I was looking for some down time after work and book writing.

It’s no secret that I like good food, so when a spot opened up with some friends to check out Lazy Bear here in San Francisco, I was pretty eager to go. They had two seatings per night and everyone sits together at long tables and was served each course at the same time. We had to skip the pork selections, but I was happy with the substitutions they provided for us. They also gave us pencils and notebooks to take notes about the dishes. An overall excellent dinner.

On December 2nd MJ and I met up with my friend Amanda to see Randall Monroe of XKCD fame talk about his new book, Thing Explainer. In this book he talks about complicated concepts using only the 1000 most common words. He shared stories about the process of writing the book and some things he had a lot of fun with. It was particularly amusing to hear how much he used the word “bag” when explaining the human body. We waited around pretty late for what ended up being some marathon signing, huge thanks to him for staying around so we could get our copy signed!

The very next day I scored a ticket to a local Geek Girl Dinner here in SOMA. I’d only been to one before, and going alone always means I’m a bit on edge nervousness-wise. But it was a Star Wars themed dinner and I do enjoy hearing stories from other women in tech, so I donned my R2-D2 hoodie and made my way over. Turns out, not many people were there to celebrate Star Wars, but they did have R2-D2 cupcakes and some cardboard cutouts of the new characters, so they pulled it off. The highlight of the night for me was a technical career panel of women who were able to talk about their varied entry points into tech. As someone with a non-traditional background myself, it’s always inspiring to hear from other women who made major career changes after being inspired by technology in some way or another.

Twilio tech careers panel

I mentioned in an earlier post that our friend Danita was in town recently. The evening she arrived I was neck deep in book work… and the tail end of the Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter campaign. They hosted five hours of a telethon-style variety show with magicians, musicians, comedians and various cameos by past and future MST3K actors, writers and robots. I’m pretty excited about this reboot, MST3K was an oddly important show when I was a youth. A game based on riffing is what first brought me on to an IRC network and introduced me to a whole host of people who made major impacts in my life. We all loved MST3K. Today I still enjoy Rifftrax (including the live show I went to last week). In spite of technical difficulties it was fun to prop up my tablet while working and watch the stream of their final fundraising push as they broke the record for biggest TV kickstarter campaign ever. Congratulations everyone, I am delighted to have donated to the campaign and look forward to the new episodes!

Hanukkah was also in December. Unfortunately MJ had to be out of town for the first few days, so we did a Google Hangout video call each evening. I set the tablet up on the counter as I lit the lights. I also took pictures each night so I could share the experience further.

At the end of the month MJ had a couple of his cousins in town to visit over the Christmas holiday. I didn’t take much time off, but I did tag along on select adventures, enjoying several great meals together and snapping a bunch of tourist photos of the Golden Gate Bridge (album here). We also made our way to Pier 39 one afternoon to visit sea lions and MJ and I made a detour to the Aquarium of the Bay while the girls did some shopping. The octopus and sea otters were particularly lively that evening (album here) and I snapped a couple videos: Giant Pacific Octopus and River otters going away for the night. Gotta love the winter clothes the human family was wearing in the otter video, we had a brisk December!

To conclude, I’ll leave you with a pair of Peruvian tapestries that we picked up in Cusco in August. Peru was one of my favorite adventures to date, and it’s nice that we were able to bring home some woven keepsakes from the Center for Traditional Textiles. We bundled them together in a carry on to bring them home and then brought them to our local framing shop and art gallery for framing. It took a few months, but I think it was worth it, they did a very nice job.

And now that I’ve taken a breather, it’s time to pack for SCALE14x, which we’re leaving for tomorrow morning. I also need to see if I can tie off some loose ends with this chapter I’m working on before we go.


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