As I shared with you previously, I’m a guest judge on Microsoft Learning’s new reality show, Be The Next Microsoft Employee. In this contest, four SQL Server DBAs compete for a chance to work at Microsoft. They have to go through all the normal Microsoft interview processes PLUS compete in front of cameras, crew and the Internet on a series of data-related challenges. The challenge I participated in, filmed on the Microsoft campus, was the last one and it was a doozy.
It should be no surprise to you that I took the Technical Barbies (@Data_Model and @VenusBarbie) along for the filming. Since this was a hiring contest, I also brought along Working Woman Barbie, who comes with a suit that also turns into a glittery dance dress for after work fun. Working Woman Barbie can talk, too. She says fun things, but she talks too much about Ken.
When we arrived at the shoot, the first thing the Barbies got was a professional makeover. Stylist Mimi Pettibone of StellarStyle.com has previous professional experience styling Barbies and action figures. HOW LUCKY WAS THAT? Mimi also gave me some great tips about styling and posing the Barbies. Fishing line seems to be a key component. I also showed her how I used clear braid rubber bands to help keep Barbie from losing her cell phone and shoes. Just like I do. Or should.
I live by a man’s code, designed to fit a man’s world, yet at the same time I never forget that a woman’s first job is to choose the right shade of lipstick.
- Carole Lombard
I’m not sure I agree with Ms. Lombard there, but both the Barbies and I had to wear lipstick for this shoot. That’s how I knew I was on a reality show…just a different type of reality.
We took some before and after pictures. I think I pretty much looked the same as VenusBarbie. Mimi worked wonders with me.
Mimi did a fabulous job, don’t you think?
I’m so blown away by how well this girl rants against the onslaught of PINK on girls and females. For us grown-up girls, the concept of "shrink it and pink" as a marketing approach makes me want to run screaming out of the store. I had an exhibitor take a nice 16GB USB drive I was picking up out out of my hand and replace it with a blinged out pink 2GB one, saying "Oh, you want this one instead". No, I didn’t. And the fact that this vendor thought I did spoke volumes for how they felt about their female customers.
Sure, I cart around Barbies and have my fair share of girlie toys, but my Barbies are working girls – Technical Barbies that have job. Astronauts, School teachers, FBI agents, Computer Engineers. Action figures, I call them, because they do something other than look pretty. Most Barbies look like some type of working girl that involves being pretty, but I’ll keep that discussion for later.
Anyway, this video of Riley on Marketing gives me new hope that someday we’ll raise girls to have good analytical thinking.
In fairness to retailers, they stock and display merchandise in a manner that sells best. Parents (and Aunties and Uncles), they do this because you like it. Stop liking it. Don’t just buy for your little girl from an aisle with big sign that says "Girls" over it. Think about where you want your darling girl to be at age 18 – still trying to find a Prince to make her a Princess…or readying to enter post-secondary education so that she never has to rely on anyone but herself. Sure, buy her a Laundry Barbie and a all that princess stuff. Tell her that she is your princess. Let her have her truly silly girlie moments. But please don’t let that be her only professional development plan from age 5-25.
All I know is that when I hire people, I want a hell of lot more Rileys than I do princesses.
I had a fabulous time meeting DAMA Members in the US Midwest over the last couple of weeks. I was worried most about making all these flights, but they all worked out well. These DAMA Speaking Tours are something I look forward to every year. If you are interested in booking one, contact chapters in your general area and propose some dates.
The first is of the retraction of the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) that surrounds the shuttle while it is being prepared for launch. This happened about noon on 15 May 2011, the day before the launch. We tweet up-ers were taken by buses courtesy of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Visitor Complex to just outside Pad 39A where Endeavour activities were finishing up prior the launch. I took a screen shot of Google Maps on my phone to show the location near where we viewed the retraction.
I was able to get a bazillion pictures, as the retraction takes about 30 minutes. We all stood there in the Florida sunshine, watching people do their work while the RSS slowly rotated away from the orbiter.
In addition to using real cameras, I also gave Video Girl Barbie a chance to do her own filming with her embedded video camera. Her camera produces low quality recordings, but I find what she does produce to be of decent quality. First up is the retraction video taken on 15 May just outside Pad 39A.
For some more context, this is my photo of Endeavour. That’s how close we where.
The next morning we arrived at KSC just after 3AM. It was especially nice to see the orbiter all lit up. We definitely weren’t as close this time, but being 3.1 miles away meant that we were the closest non-staff viewers of the launch.
Video Girl did a great job filming the launch. You may want to crank up your speakers to get the full effect of the rumbling launch sound.
I have a bunch of pictures to share, and a few draft blog posts hanging around that you’ll see over the next few weeks. I’ll try to spread them out a bit so that you aren’t inundated with all my #spacebrain content all at once.
I haven’t blogged yet about my NASA Tweetup experiences, for the most part because I’m worried about coming across as too emotional about the entire experience. As I previously posted, I’m attending a special NASA program that brings 150 Twitter users from around the world to Kennedy Space Center to watch the launch of the Shuttle Endeavour on her last mission, STS-134. I started this post hoping to keep it as a short overview. It’s not.
Pre-Tweetup – Level Green
The launch was originally scheduled for mid-April, then that was moved to 29 April due to a traffic jam in space. No worries. I arrived here in Florida on 26 April. Wednesday I picked up my credentials and then went over to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to add to my space brain, the term I’ve been using for being inundated with science about space exploration. I also met up with my house mates of Venus House for the first time.
Thursday – Level Orange
Thursday we headed over to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to get settled in the Tweetup Tent (affectionately referred to as the twent). I new we were going to be close to the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building, but I had no idea we’d be parking right next to it. That was just awe-inspiring. There we met our fellow Tweetup attendees. We started with the obligatory “everybody introduce yourselves, tell us where you are from and something interesting about you”. Crap. Interesting? Okay, I’ll say that I’m a…well, let’s wait to see what everyone else says. I was sitting on the far end, near the air conditioners. They started on the other side. As people stood up to say who they were I sat there stunned by the number of accomplishments and backgrounds. Quick…what the hell can I say that is interesting? Somehow “I like data” just didn’t seem to be that interesting with this group. Attendees came from all walks of life: 3 -time Jeopardy champion, Internet company founders, Twitter staff, rocket scientists, TV and film stars, musicians, pilots, journalists…well, you can read what most said about themselves at http://nasatweet.com/wiki/STS134_Fun_facts …but I think that most people were a bit too humble about their interesting things. So I finally settled on “I’m a former national spokesperson for Women in IT. I help encourage girls to take more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)” That seemed to go over well, with this crowd being STEM friendly. I mentioned that I had brought the technical Barbies with me to enjoy the launch, too. I was already starting to have the overwhelming feeling that this Tweetup was going to be something like I’ve never experienced before. Emotions were at Alert Level Orange by that point.
We did a tour of the KSC property, including the inside of the VAB. There we got to see Atlantis being prepped for her last voyage soon after Endeavour’s trip. Did I tell you we got to go inside? That’s insane. There aren’t normal tours for going inside the VAB. I guess to other people it’s just where they work. For me it was just amazing. I need to find another word. Someone find me a thesaurus.
Thursday was a full program of speakers from NASA, including astronauts and staff. More on that later. We were supposed to go out near the pad to watch the retraction, but freaky storm weather cancelled that. My first disappointment. Emotions still at Level Orange, but barely.
Friday – Level Red
On Friday we headed back over to KSC ready to experience an opportunity of a lifetime — to see the launch from just over 3 miles away. To put this in perspective, if you were 400 yards from the launch the heat and flame would kill you. If you were 800 yards from the launch, the sound would kill you. So 3 miles is close. It’s as close as non-workers can get. Emotion Levels were Reddish Orange, sort of like a tequila sunrise. I set up my tripod to reserve a space. Right next to a tripod from an international camera crew. My tripod looked sad next to theirs, but it was setup and ready to go. More exciting program inside the twent happened, and I’ll post pictures of that in a later post.
Every presenter over the two days spoke of the emotion and the feeling of awe of what they did for a living. It was all about STEM, but overall the most blow-me-away thoughts were about humanity, peace, the meaning of life, and…emotions. As each person spoke, I could see the passion they had about the work they did; they were changing the world and they loved every minute of it.
Sadly, as Rob blogged, the launch was scrubbed about noon on Friday due to a mechanical failure. We were terribly disappointed, but all of us understood that safety first is the key phrase. We watched the Astronaut Van drive slowly past, it made an unexpected turn into the VAB drive. We were hoping that it was just making a special drive by of the special observation area, but it wasn’t to be. I was interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered about this disappointment. I found out that interview made it to the air because people all over the US started tweeting that they heard me on their drives home from work. How wonderful is that?
I have to say that seeing that Astro Van take a turn when it wasn’t supposed to was heartbreaking. It wasn’t a crushing blow because I was by then riding a full RED ALERT emotionally already. I had experienced so many amazing things up to then it didn’t matter. The launch would happen when Endeavour was ready for it to happen.
Later in the afternoon President Obama arrived, even though the launch had been scrubbed, to meet the astronauts and their families. We were able to wave to him as he waved back at us, a bunch of Twitter Space-crazed photographers.
And then there was more: NASA Tweetup attendee Chris Cardinal proposed to attendee Nina Tallman, right in front of the Countdown Clock. As a fellow geek, that was so amazing to see. My emotions were now just going crazy. I took a bazillion pictures.
Most of us stayed in the twent, listening to ad hoc program presentations, chatting about everything that had been happening so far, and talking about making extended travel arrangements. We looked forward to a launch in the next 48 hours. All was fine.
Saturday – SQLSaturday
When the scrub was announced, Kendal van Dyke (twitter and another former NASATweetup attendee) reminded me there was a SQLSaturday happening in Jacksonville. I caught a ride with him and two other great SQL community members Bradley Ball (twitter) and Dan Taylor( twitter). So I got to spend time with the rocking SQL Community at the last minute. What a great opportunity. For the ride back we were all really tired and we had great gut-busting laughs, the kind that are hilarious if you are tired, entirely stoked from being with a great community and punchy from getting only a couple of hours of sleep. Thanks, guys, for taking care of me and the Technical Barbies. Oh, and for letting me be part of your SQLRoadtrip.
Now – Back to Tequila Red Orange
I have many photos and blog posts to share and am struggling with how to not overly spam this blog with them. I have lots of potential blog posts that talk about data, project management, decisions, and costs, benefits and risks. But my main concern is that I’m still GUSHING with emotions and I don’t think my posts will come across as anything but completely insane. I’ve been struggling with this post, trying not to fill it with #FTW #AWESOMESAUCE #ZOMG and 10,000 exclamation points. Did I tell you have pictures?
I so wish I could have taken every single girl that I talk to about taking more science, technology, math and engineering along with me to see an hear just how freaking rewarding STEM careers are. I’d show them how these careers change the world and make lives better. I’d show them the fabulous role models, how much fun they have, and how being in a community of insanely smart people can make every minute count.
As I am putting the finishing touches on this, NASA just announced that the current date (more about that coming, too) will be pushed back again. I was doing okay travel-wise because I was already planning on being in Orlando for SQLRally on this Saturday. Staying over a few extra days was cheaper and easier, so that’s what I’m doing. As of right now, it will be later and not 10 May as last announced. You know what? I’m still at EMOTION LEVEL RED…ish. All things considered.
I used this slide in my recent Webinar sponsored by Embarcadero Technologies. It’s a collage of photos to represent how it seems I spend my time.
I’d love to see your typical day as you would represent it. It doesn’t have to be a collage or even have photos. Just blog your typical day in something other than paragraphs and link to the photo above or leave a link in the comments if you don’t see a track back in the comments automatically. Include the hashtag #typicalday in the title.
Don’t blog? This would be a great way to get started.
I’ll write up a summary blog post of all the submissions, along with my usual witty observations.
Go! Show us what your days are like (or at least what they feel like).
Subscribe via E-mail
- Karen Lopez on My Chat with Chris Hadfield. Yeah, It Was That Kinda Friday.
- Karel Vetrovsky on My Chat with Chris Hadfield. Yeah, It Was That Kinda Friday.
- Karen Lopez on Go @YanniRobel
- Karen Lopez on Stubborn @YanniRobel at the Big Hill
- San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon Recap | Yanni Robel on Stubborn @YanniRobel at the Big Hill
- June 2013 (4)
- May 2013 (7)
- April 2013 (5)
- March 2013 (4)
- February 2013 (7)
- January 2013 (12)
- December 2012 (2)
- November 2012 (3)
- October 2012 (3)
- September 2012 (13)
- August 2012 (5)
- July 2012 (17)
- June 2012 (2)
- May 2012 (4)
- April 2012 (4)
- March 2012 (8)
- February 2012 (11)
- January 2012 (3)
- December 2011 (10)
- November 2011 (8)
- October 2011 (5)
- September 2011 (3)
- August 2011 (9)
- July 2011 (5)
- June 2011 (5)
- May 2011 (5)
- April 2011 (9)
- March 2011 (4)
- February 2011 (9)
- January 2011 (8)
- December 2010 (15)
- November 2010 (27)
- September 2010 (2)
- August 2010 (1)
- July 2010 (4)