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A few days in September

I spent about half of September traveling, but between trips to Dublin and Los Angeles I was able to spend a little time at home in San Francisco to get kitty snuggles, observe the Jewish High Holidays with MJ, speak at a local conference, get my ankle looked at and celebrate my birthday. I’ve been busy.

We spent Tuesday through Friday at home between Dublin and Los Angeles. I was able to catch up with a bunch of work post-travel and went into the office on Wednesday, as I do when I’m in town. I ducked out of my office a little early to head over to the Microsoft office in San Francisco. It was just before MesosCon and I wanted to meet up with my fellow DevOps track lead to make sure we were all set. We enjoyed some coffee and went back to to the office to hack on a few things before evening crept up and I had to make my way home. It was fun, I’m not much of an office person but I do enjoy visiting other people’s offices to work now and then.

The condo has been hot this month. Thankfully we missed the record-breaking 100+ temperatures, but even when it’s 85 degrees outside, our 11th floor unit gets very little breeze and it heats up quickly. A small standing A/C unit helps a little, but it’s mostly for taking the edge off the worst of the heat. The heat got even worse one night when our old toaster oven caught on fire. I quickly learned how much of a pain it is to clean up after a dry chemical fire extinguisher, but no damage was done. We picked up a new toaster oven after I got back from LA, and Caligula was pretty excited because he got to enjoy the toaster oven box until I put it away.

I returned from LA just in time for MJ to head out of town the next day for work, just a few days before Rosh Hashanah. But I did have him back in time to celebrate together on Thursday the 21st. We typically go to the evening services and the daytime services on Rosh Hashanah and this year was no different. The daytime services concluded with a Tashlich at Crissy Field, near the Golden Gate Bridge and it was a beautiful day for it.

I also attempted to make a round challah! It was more square than round, but I also did an experiment to make it with honey and it turned out really nice and moist. So next year I know to still make it with honey, but work harder on actually making it round.

The day after a bunch of standing and walking for Rosh Hashanah, I decided I needed to see a doctor about my ankle. While I was at Newgrange in Dublin I twisted it pretty badly. Walking on it in Los Angeles through tar pits and two conferences didn’t do me any favors. I think standing on it during services was the last straw, it was hurting that day I went to the doctor more than it had when I first injured myself three weeks before. That trip to the doctor led me to get x-rays, and x-rays hinted at a break which sent me to an orthopedist the following Monday. Of course that meant I spent the whole weekend worried about whether I’d broken my foot. Ugh.

Thankfully there was no break, but I did get to discover the open source Aeskulap DICOM Viewer and so I got to see pictures of my bones! I was instructed to rest my ankle, since I had clearly done more damage to it. It kept me working from home all week, except for a local conference on Wednesday where I was giving a talk. Fortunately, the talk was only fifteen minutes long and after spending a bit of time at our booth, I was able to grab a ride back home for some more ice and Aleve.

The talk was a shortened version of my Day 2 Operations talk. Given the 15 minutes I had, I was able to take a more playful spin as I explored four myths around operations and containers:

  1. Containers will solve all your problems! (they solve a lot of problems, but create new ones)
  2. Green fields! (no, you still often have complicated legacy infrastructure)
  3. Everything is already automated! (it’s not, but most things have APIs now to hook into existing tooling, nice!)
  4. No more planning! (easier to deploy, but make time to add in logging, metrics, maintenance plans)

I enjoyed the 15 minute format, it felt a bit rushed, but it also caused me to yank out a lot of slides that were “here’s a list of technologies that do this” and focus more on the overall message. Though I always do feel weird telling ops folks they still need logging and metrics in this world of containers, the message is always well-received as they bring it back to their workplaces to argue for the time to build better a more maintainable system. Slides here.

Thanks to Rachel Dines for taking a photo during my talk! source

I wish I had been able to spend more time at the conference though, it was the Sysdig Camp-Con-World-Fest-Summit and there were a number of generalist container and metrics talks that would have been interesting to see. It was nice to meet up with fellow speakers at a speaker dinner at The Slanted Door in Ferry Building the Monday before the event though, we even got to eat clouds for dessert! Alas, foot-wise I needed to take care of myself.

That night I had to cancel some of my other plans as well, but I did pay for a ticket to see Ellen Pao speak on Resetting Silicon Valley so that made my priority list. In spite of my sore ankle, I’m glad I went. Stories of systematic sexism are never easy to hear, but I really enjoyed hearing about Project Include and their 87 Recommendations for companies looking to increase diversity and inclusiveness. The interview with Pao gave me hope for the future of diversity and inclusiveness, as not only projects like these are popping up, but there’s a much stronger understanding of and push back against the now acknowledged problems of sexism, racism, ageism and more in Silicon Valley.

Friday was my 36th birthday! The chaos of travel lately and the evening of my birthday landing on Yom Kippur made it so my birthday was considerably more low key than it’s been in previous years. We skipped a proposed getaway up to Tahoe in favor of a much-needed weekend at home, and went across the street to Fogo de Chao for a wonderful, filling birthday meal before the sun set and we were off to Kol Nidre services and into a day long fast. My best friend did send me flowers though, which was an incredibly sweet surprise. I also accepted the free dessert offered at Fogo, having been interested in their grilled pineapple dessert for some time but usually too full at the end of my meal to even think about dessert. They decorated accordingly!

Yesterday morning I met up with my friend Laura for breakfast. She’s in town for the huge Oracle conference that’s been under construction at Moscone for several days. One of my colleagues is speaking at the conference, but I’m off to Orlando tonight to help out with the Mesosphere booth at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. We only get to catch up in person a couple times a year, and now that my role is on the developer advocacy side, I have a ton to learn from her experiences doing this professionally for several years. She shared tips about working with a budget, “on call” rotations for covering social media, Slack and other community-driven resources and goal setting. In spite of doing this on a volunteer basis for various communities over the years, there’s a lot to learn once you’re in a position when you’re being paid to help engage a community, even if you’re passionate and excited about your work. I have much to think about after our conversation and I look forward to sharing it with the rest of my team.

Grace Hopper will take up the rest of my week. On Friday after the event concludes I’ll be staying with some friends for the night, one of whom is another developer advocate who I met through the Ubuntu community. No doubt we’ll have lots to talk about and catch up on. I’m flying home Saturday night, and staying in San Francisco for just under two weeks before I’m off again. Next adventure? All Things Open, MesosCon in Prague, various Meetups in Germany and then CubaConf. I’ve got my month cut out for me! I’m also pleased to have booked our trip back to Philadelphia over Thanksgiving and gotten kitty care worked out for that. It’ll be nice to have some family time and get back to the townhouse for a week or so.