Friday, December 8, 2006

Where does the time go?

I honestly keep meaning to keep this blog more current, but it seems I get distracted doing other work around the office. Oops! Let's see some recent interesting events:

* In June I had an excellent plastic surgeon (a *real* surgeon, not like the Intern that was useless) remove a giant cell tumor from the tip of my finger. I was told this would not affect my ability to work. Um, let's see - had to keep my hand elevated for 72 hours & type one handed. That was just a bit difficult. At least it's good to know that those type of tumors are completely benign, but unfortunately very common for women in my age group and are likely to reoccur. It was a relatively painless surgery, though, and my finger is better than before!

* In July I complained to my eye doctor about blurred vision I'd had for the previous month or so. An exam showed that my left lens was indeed not strong enough, but a detailed exam with the contacts out showed that my prescription had not changed. The problem? An entire box of mislabled contact lenses. I verified this by using a left lens from another box that I had picked up at the same time: vision problem cleared. My eye doctor said she'd never heard of any such thing happening, but I figure if I can buy CDs from a store with the wrong music recorded on it, why not the wrong lens in the container? I'm glad to know I'm not quickly going blind.

* In August we bought a house. Wow, very different than renting! I think I should buy stock in the major DIY stores in our area.

* We hosted for Thanksgiving again, this time our group included a vegetarian and a vegan! Mark made them a nutloaf to go with the veggies (all cooked in olive oil instead of butter) and everyone seemed to have a good time, though I do think I saw the vegetarian grab one of the bacon wrapped sausage appetizers! I made my first pies from scratch (okay, store bought crusts) and they came out really well.

* At work over all these months, I've been busy with Solaris 10 updates, bugtracking issues, working on smartcard related stuff (more on that later) and doing a lot work with the elfsign command.

Speaking of elfsign, I've got more work to do in that arena. Unfortunately, the work I'm doing is all around US export compliance and the source is still closed. We're constantly in touch with legal hoping things will change, but I'm not holding my breath at this point.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Last weekend for Bye Bye Birdie!

Since I last wrote, I was cast in Saratoga Drama Group's production of Bye Bye Birdie! This was a surprise, because I was asked at the audition if I could tap dance and do the splits - neither of which I can, but I was still cast as Gloria Rasputin, a woman who has a tap solo that ends in the "flying" splits! As the summer progressed, I worked with dancer friends & yoga teachers to start getting to the splits - finally accomplishing a "jazz split". Close enough, apparently - *phew*!

Rehearsals began, and I was originally under the impression that I would only be on stage for a few minutes for this "cameo" role of Gloria Rasputin. After a few rehearsals, the director asked me to start learning the "adult" music, so I could join the chorus of parents when I wasn't being Gloria. Sounds great!

Then one night, the director asked all of us "parents" to learn the teenager songs so we could beef up the volume by singing from the wings. No problem, I said.

A few more rehearsals, and the director asked Carla (another "parent") and myself to additionally be teenagers. Um - Okay!

So, now I am proudly the oldest teenager in the cast - and here I thought my days of playing a teenager were over!When I did finally get to my first rehearsal for the "Gloria" scene, I was surprised when the choreographer, Kayvon (who rocks, btw!) was not there. Once I inquired, I found out I would be choreographing my own tap dance. Apparently, it's very funny when someone doesn't know how to tap stomps furiously across the stage in leapord patterned "hot pants" and a jacket made of purple feathers. The choreographer's favorite part is the "cheetah butt section", which I've been told can never be removed from the dance.

SDG has been fun to work with and I'm so happy to finally be cast in one of their productions after many years of auditioning for them.

So, if you have time tonight, tomorrow or Saturday, come on down & see the show. I promise you'll have a great time! You'll recognize me in my hot pants.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Goodbye Gaslighter, you will be missed

A long standing Bay Area icon, the Gaslighter Theatre, has gone the way of the Dodo bird.  I spent more than five years at that theater: singing, dancing, fake tap dancing, overacting, sewing, painting, serving beer, spilling beer, ripping costumes, losing costumes, losing wigs, losing props, doing magic and banging on the tamborine.  The Gaslighter was in its last home on Campbell Avenue in downtown Campbell California for 37 years, and it passed quietly out of existence.  That is certainly the only thing that the Gaslighter ever did quietly!  This lovely little theater, that has housed melodrama, vaudeville, magic shows, rock bands, blues bands, political parties and educational speakers, filling a niche the Bay Area desperately needed.  Children and adults of all ages have been entertained in this little building for 37 years.

With the earlier loss of the Opry House in Almaden, and now Big Lil's on "hiatus", we melodramatic types have lost our last venue in the Bay Area. Gone are the days where you can boo the villian (dressed entirely in black, from the top of his hat to the tip of his pointy shoes) and cheer the hero (strong of arm, but a little dense in the head).  No more popcorn to eat or throw. No more audience numbers. No more lobby songs to thank the audience with on their way out.  No more Gaslighter Rag.

A Campbell city representative was overheard saying of the passing of
the Gaslighter, simply: "Businesses come and go."  This was not just a
business, it was a life for so many of us in times when we needed it
more than anything else in the world.

I will miss the 8-20 costume changes over an hour long Vaudeville review.  I will miss talking to my fellow cast members while sitting on those little wobbly, fishnet stocking eating stools putting on our makeup in that cramped and slightly musty dressing room.  I will miss emergency costume repairs.  I will miss performing in a show I've never seen before, and certainly never attended a rehearsal for.  I will miss doing audience interactive theater, where each audience makes the show an entirely different experience.  I will miss set pieces falling over. I will miss missing props and missing cues.  I will miss the blue eye shadow and all the glitter.  Most of all I will miss performing with some of the best actors to ever trod the boards in live theatre.  I will miss it all.  Goodbye Gaslighter.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

ALA Breathe Easy Bike ride a success!!

After 100s of training miles, the American Lung Association's Breathe Easy 65-mile bike ride was a huge success! Team Salty Dawgs raised nearly $15,000 for lung disease research & prevention! (and with a few last second donations still coming in, I think we'll make $15,000 before the week is up). The ride was incredible - it was windy, but not too bad. It was so beautiful! I've finally mastered the art of drafting, so with my friend Richard's help, I was able to complete the ride without destroying my body this time. It took me 6 hours and 13 minutes this time, but the ride was actually 66-miles this year - so that's a slight time improvement over last year.

I hope to get pictures from my teammates soon & I'll let you know when they are up on (my woefully out of date website).

We spent the weekend at the Larson Family Winery's Captain's Cabin - wow, what a treat! The home is beautifully decorated, and no modern convenience was overlooked. The wines, which we were able to taste across the path from the "cabin", were wonderful as well. I would have to say the Wingo White & the Pinot were my favorites. This is a family run winery, and it truly shows. We were all treated like family while we stayed, chatting with folks in the tasting room - even singing showtunes with Bob. The family dogs were ever present and incredibly friendly.

Monday, May 22, 2006

65-mile bike ride, here I come!

It's just days now until the American Lung Association's 2 Rock Breathe Easy 65-mile bike ride. I haven't been able to get in nearly as many or as long of training rides as I did last year, and fundraising has been a lot more challenging. Take yesterday, for example, I was planning a nice 45 mile ride in Hecker Pass wine country - but it poured rain most of the day! This isn't why I moved to California! Well, I guess we can't always have perfect weather :-)

Rode my bike into work today, for probably the last time before the big event on May 27. I hope to get one more mountain bike ride in tomorrow, then I'll be resting up. I'll have to have a word with my cat about letting me actually sleep through the night! (really, I *don't* need my armpit kneaded at 4AM!)

Wish me luck, and if you can, sponsor me!

All money raised is tax deductible & goes to fund research for lung cancer, emphysema and asthma - 3 lung diseases that very intimiately affect my family.

In addition to all this training, I managed to squeeze in an audition for Saratoga Drama Group's season auditions last night. I screwed up my song a bit, but turned it around at the end. When I finished singing, I was asked if I could tap dance. I replied, "No, but I can fake it - I smile so big you won't know what my feet are doing!" Well, I got a call back to the tap dance auditions. Ummmm... now, can I learn to tap dance in just a few hours? we'll see.... ;-)

Friday, May 5, 2006

Spring is finally here!

The rain has finally stopped here in the SF Bay Area, and I've been able to ride my bike in on a much more regular basis. Flowers are blooming along the bay shore trail like crazy - it's beautiful! Shoreline park is a bird sanctuary, so it's cool to see lots of different species hanging out in the very large park. Today, I saw some pheasants and tons of geese. The geese today were quite puffed up and were hissing as we approached, because they have lots of baby goslings! Last week I saw an egret that had caught a rodent, and a pair of burrow owls just hanging out. I knew the burrow owls the moment I saw them, after years of listening to the Dead Milkmen's "Stuart".

With the dry weather I was also finally able to get out on my mountain bike this week. WOW! Mountain biking is much harder than road biking. I went down to Los Gatos with a few other mountain bikers & road up St Joeseph's hill. It was so hard, with my heart rate constantly spiking into the high 180s, but I did it! Now I can't wait to get out on my mountain bike again - soon!

At this point, though, I just want to make sure I am in shape to do the American Lung Association's ride at the end of this month. I know I *can* do it, but I want to do it without hurting myself again!

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Murder Myster Solved by locals!

I got to do something very cool for the first time this weekend - perform in a murder mystery!  I was hired by Mystery By Design to perform an exciting golf related murder mystery at the  Hollister Ridemark Country Club.  It was a blast!  I've done interactive theater before, but never anything quite like this.  The method to the acting is completely different than stage acting, so I was very fortunate to have some great coaches & fellow actors to help me transition from the stage to the floor.  The biggest difference from stage acting is  that you need to always try to keep two  tables distance between you & the other actors you're interacting with.  This was awkward rehearsals, but once you're there with an  audience it seemed the only natural way to include them in the fun.  The audience was incredible - hanging on nearly every word, interacting with all of the characters and  excited about figuring out.  The only, well, strange thing that happened was a  woman in the audience decided to reach up and tickle my arm pit while I was pointing at someone and delivering a line. It was a bit distracting!  The audience was wonderful and the  country club treated us really well.  I do hope I'll get another opportunity to work with this group, since it was such a thrill to perform again.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Dive Bar tour of Mountain View!

Last Saturday night, my friends and I embarked on a walking tour of the dive bars on El Camino in Mountain View. We started out at the 101 Club, only to find that this very classic Mountain View dive had closed its doors just a couple of months ago. Pity.

So we walked up to Ugly's. Ugly's had a surprisingly modern digital jukebox, playing jazz, rock, country - well, a bit of everything! The bartender was very friendly & quick, and the drinks were reasonably priced. They have lots of good beer, including Fat Tire, on tap. It was a small & cozy place, but we didn't stay long because there were more bars to explore!

Next we hit Ron's Farmhouse. True to its name, it had a country theme inside, though it was definitely not a country western club. It was Karaoke night at the Farmhouse, which will always bring out an ecclectic crowd. The rotations were short, the song selection was good and the singers were, well, Karaoke singers. I don't think any of us should be expecting recording contracts any time soon ;-). This was a large place, with snacks on the bar. The drinks were tasty and again reasonably priced, but no beer on tap.

We've previously toured the dive bars on Middlefield Road, but I feel there are many more we just need to walk in and see what's inside. My favorite is probably still Fred's Place. Big bar, imports on tap, friendly bartenders and a pool table. :)

Since then I've been trying to get caught up & trying to nurse my grandmother's cat, Queenie, back to health. Unfortunately, he had FIP which is untreatable and fatal. We lost Queenie Tuesday morning, just after finally receiving a diagnosis. He will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Life Cycle of a Patch - the basics

I know I promised a follow on about Solaris Updates and exceptions back in October, but, well, I've been busy. Update 1 (S10 01/06) shipped in January and has been making people happy ever since :-) My last blog entry on the subject of how updates are built has generated a lot of questions internally about the lifecycle of a patch. In my last entry, I talked about patches being cut at the end of the build, this is where things get interesting.

Whenever a patch is created, it is placed in an internal database where we can all track the status and progress of the patch. Additionally, all interested parties, like patch requestors and test, will have an automatic hold on the patch preventing its release to SunSolve. The patch requestor, as officially defined by the tools, is whomever the engineer specified as the requestor in their patch RTI (Request to Integrate). This should be whomever is asking them to backport their fix to Solaris 10, and at this point it must be an internal person. Many engineers will use themselves as the requestor since they are doing the backport on behalf of a customer.

All Solaris patches are delivered to an internal group called Patch System Test (PST) where they do basic regression testing of the patch and test applying patches on systems with popular enterprise applications. PST has a one week test schedule, so if the patches are delivered *just* after a cycle has started, they will have to wait until the next cycle begins so it may take a patch up to two weeks just to get through testing. If PST is satisfied by the patch, they will release their hold on it.

Each developer & patch requestor is then responsible to do unit testing with each patch, to make sure the bugs it is supposed to be fixing are actually fixed, that all dependencies of the patch are actually correct, and that the README content is accurate. This is where things sometimes slow down in the cycle if engineers are on vacation or don't understand that it is indeed their responsibility to do this. Fortunately, that does not happen often, and is normally quickly caught by an engineer covering an escalation for a customer or someone else desperate for the patch.

As soon as all of the holds are released, the patch is pushed out to SunSolve within 24 hours by an automated system. If there is an urgent need, the patchmanager, with the proper escalation, can override individual holds during special circumstances to get a patch out even faster.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Time flies when you've got good music

I've been reintegrating myself back into the Solaris Security community over the last couple of weeks, and doing a bit of traveling. (note: Canada is very cold in January). I'm working on writing up some stuff for how-to on the crypto framework, and considering doing a submission for our internal tech conference in May.

Today I've been listening over & over again to the Dogs Die In Hot Cars debut album "Please Describe Yourself". The songs are incredibly catchy - I'm already humming along (thank goodness I have the door shut). "I Love You 'Cause I Have To" and "Celebrity Sanctum" are very fun. The bands website claims they are indescribable, saying they were influenced by Nirvana & Red Hot Chili Peppers. Well, they don't sound a thing like those other bands, but are incredibly reminscient of XTC with their melodic harmonies & bright guitar.

Yesterday's CD of choice was the soundtrack to SPAMalot. Wow - what fun! The is different than when I saw the show in 2004 in Chicago (before it "premiered" on Broadway), but every bit as enjoyable. I love all of the Diva songs - especially "The Song That Goes Like This".

I'm coming to the realization that my CD collection has reached well beyond the limits of what I can actually reasonably listen to. I'm constantly finding CDs on my shelf that I totally forgot I had purchased. It might be time to go more portable and get an MP3 Player. Of course, realizing how I can be quite lazy, I think I'd need to go for a very large MP3 player so I can hold most of my CDs. This may be a time consuming process, but will let me experience some old favorites like Carter the USM, Front242, Ministry, Shawn Colvin & Annie Lennox, that are currently gathering dust.

Of course, that would mean getting a decent home computer to drive the ripping... hmmm, this is getting expensive. For now I'll just keep rotating my CDs at the office :-)

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Ah, a new year!

Back in the office again.  Having a "winter break" at Sun US is great. Time to totally unwind, and not too many emails when you get back. :-)

I ventured back to the midwest for the holidays to visit my family, and see a couple of friends.  The weather was much more mild than it is here in the SF Bay area and the gas was more expensive - not exactly what I was expecting!  As always, it was a great joy to see my family, especially my niece & nephews (who are growing like weeds)!  These kids are growing up in a completely different world than I did.  As soon as I'd take any of their pictures, they'd immediately run up to me and demand: "Let me see it now, ok?"  No more waiting to finish a role of film and sending it off for processing, just "now". It's a good thing they are so cute.

Now that Solaris 10 Update 1 is out the door, I will get to start focusing more on Solaris Cryptographic Framework stuff again. Yippee!  All the same, I know I promised to go into more detail about how Solaris updates are created and I will... really!