Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bay Area Geek Girl Dinner: BOX

Last week I attended my first ever Bay Area Geek Girl Dinner. I had never been able to go previously because of scheduling and the fact that they became waitlist only after the first few minutes of tickets being opened up every month. My mom is visiting me so for the first time I could sign up freely, without wondering whether Stewart would be able to get off work in time or even be in town that night! The dinner that night was at Box. If you haven't downloaded it already, whip out your brand new iPhone 5 and download Box. For a limited time, Box is offering users who sign up through iOS 10 GB + sync FREE. If you rely on the other major cloud sharing app that offers 2 GB free, you know this is a great deal!

Back to the dinner. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!!! First, I loved it because everyone who walked in there was self-selecting so nobody had to preface anything they said with things like, "oh, this is for you out there who are interested in tech" or assume that we wouldn't be able to understand and thus dumb down the language. The presentations started with a talk by Tamar Bercovici, Senior Software Engineer at Box, on Scaling MySQL for the Web. My brain must have been starving for knowledge because I could not stop nodding my head and smiling when she was talking about sharding and ways to segregate information across servers. Now that I've been working at Wikets for over a year, this was really interested and made me want to contact our engineers and ask them how we were doing it at Wikets, vertical or horizontal scaling.

Second, the energy in the room was palpable. I know people write that a lot but really, if you were there, you would have agreed that is the best way to put it. SMART WOMEN!!!! Lots of them!!! And most of them young, in their 20s and early 30s with no kids. I could feel the ambition, the quest for global domination, the hanging on every word of the next talk, when Kimber Lockhart, the DIRECTOR of Engineering at Box, revealed 10 Ways to Become an Engineering Leader. Not being on the engineering side of things, I devoted more attention to dessert than to the talk but it was still fascinating. One thing that stuck with me was "Take Out the Trash." If you want to succeed, you have to be willing to do anything and everything, a mantra by which I've lived my entire life.  

I hope to be able to go to more of these dinners. It's definitely a different scene from mom blogger events. Even though many of these women were working crazy hours, they had an energy that a mom of three just can't muster. One woman literally had sparkling eyes. I have not seen that since my analyst training in investment banking. She was so excited to talk to me and network. She asked if I knew a good Dev Ops Lead because her company was hiring. So if you are a good Dev Ops Lead and live in the Bay Area, let me know and I will connect you. Another woman I met was confident enough to say about herself, "I'm brilliant and I'm hot." I can't divulge the context but it was awesome to encounter such confidence from a software engineer. LOVE IT!!!!

I'm a geek and proud of it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

9-11 Then and Now

Emotionally draining weekend past week and tomorrow won't be better. 9-11, it's still fresh to me like it was yesterday. The tears and grief hit me every time. People who weren't there just don't understand. At the time my sister and I lived in D.C. She was working and I was attending law school. I didn't know where my sister was, and since she worked next door to the White House at the time, I was a complete mess freaking out because I couldn't reach her. It started when I walked into my part-time job at the Georgetown Law Alumni Office and my co-worker said, "a plane just went into the World Trade Center." I thought she meant one of those little bi-planes that celebrities fly. In my wildest imagination I never thought it could be a 747 that would bring the entire complex down. Then I heard about the plane that hit the Pentagon and the one that was headed for the White House. When I finally heard from my sister, I was relieved to hear that she was with someone who would really take care of her. They're married now, and I don't doubt that having shared that experience brought them together closer.

When all of that happened, people in the U.S. appreciated being Americans and having such great freedom that others would attack us for it. It seems like when the economy went South, people forgot that and just focused on how they weren't achieving the mythical American dream. We can argue day and night about who's responsible for the housing market foreclosure debacles, but the point is that we can argue about it and anything else we want. Maybe we can't all live in 4500 sq.ft. houses built on nothing, but we all still have the freedom to think the way we want, to say what we want, and to take charge of our lives in a way that most other people in the world can't even begin to fathom. Having essentially grown up in this country, I embrace American ideals of freedom and liberty and justice for all. I even became a lawyer so that I could make the law my livelihood.

So when I hear of people in America committing atrocities because that's the way it was/is done in the old country, that just makes me sick. If you are going to act like that, then just leave. Don't give your daughters in arranged marriages when they are 3 years old. Don't buy girls through smugglers so you can use them as household servants or sex slaves. Don't beat your sons with baseball bats so they will get straight As in school. If you are here, then really be HERE and not try to re-create some sort of social enclave that only includes everyone that is from your country of origin. If you don't like it, again, just leave. Obviously I'm very bitter over something that has happened to my family recently with the excuse of it being culturally acceptable in the ancestral homeland. Well, I'm an American citizen and an officer of the court in New York and California and I am not going to excuse it, accept it, or condone it even a little bit. There are all sorts of terrorists--some fly planes into the World Trade Center and some terrorize members of their own family. Neither of these are acceptable. Zero-tolerance policy for terrorism! 9-11, never forget!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School Time at Ross: Review and Giveaway



R went back to school last week and H is going back next Wednesday. I was a bit surprised at R because he cried when I left him there. He had asked to go to this preschool since H had gone there and finally after two other preschools, it was his turn! Apparently he tried to hit his head on the ground repeatedly so that the teachers would call me, but instead they told him that was a fruitless endeavor that would only lead to his own suffering. Nice, finally a non-touchy feely school that understands how to be firm with kids. I remembered from H's experience that the teachers keep the kids in line, which is exactly what I need to feel secure that no one will attack R like they did in his old preschool.

H goes to 1st grade this week. Since 1st grade is "real school," we all decided to head to the Ross Dress For Less Back to School sales while we were in Oregon last week. It was an instant 10% discount on top of Ross's great prices because there is no sales tax in Oregon. Score! H is pretty set in terms of clothes because he grew into his size 6 and 7 clothes a couple of months ago. But what he really needed was pajamas. In the summer, it's fine to sleep in boxers but I know that in a few weeks he will need to get something more substantial. I was able to find two sets for him for less than $20 total for name brand items (unfortunately I can't tell which ones because of the agreement Ross has with the retailers). I know when E grows up we will be there frequently to buy all the cute things and stuffies (what my 7 year old sister would call all her treasures) that girls need. I noticed all the things that would be perfect for a college dorm room. You can check it out for yourself! My friends at Ross will give one Random Mommy reader a $25 giftcard to see all the fabulous Back To School specials that are available this season!

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:  Contest period runs from Monday, September 3rd at 12:01 AM (Pacific) until Monday, September 10 at 11:59 PM (Pacific). Enter by leaving the name of your favorite school supplies, and leave your e-mail address OR sign in to comments using your Blogger ID, making sure your Blogger profile is public and includes your e-mail address.

Bonus Entries
(leave a separate comment for each entry, it counts if you've done any of these so leave a comment for each one)
1) Follow me on Twitter
2) Tweet this contest and leave the tweet url (once per day)
3) Like Ross Dress for Less on Facebook

If you don't leave a qualifying comment and your e-mail address or public Blogger profile, your entry will be disqualified. I reserve the right to extend the contest period. At the end of the contest period, I will utilize to randomly choose the winner. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and will have 72 hours to respond to my e-mail. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, the prize will go to the next place winner as decided by This contest is open for
US Residents only. A huge thank you and much appreciation to my friends at Ross Dress for Less for their generosity! Good luck!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I received a gift card to facilitate my review.