cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
I had so much fun last month, I'd like to keep it going! Please include the date you want in your comments.
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
[personal profile] holyoutlaw asks What are your optimistic dreams for the future, from your hoped-for lifespan through shortly after?

It’s hard to stay optimistic about things political here in the US due to the impact that big money has on our system, but I’m hoping we reach critical mass on both widening access to same gender marriage and the end of the War on Some Drugs.

On a spiritual front, I’m also encouraged by the example Pope Francis is taking on economic issues. It would be seriously way optimistic for me to think that there will be a similar move on gender issues within the Church.

On a scientific front, I would hope that we can make some progress on fighting chronic diseases, especially diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
cynthia1960: (steampunksuffrage)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k asks When you realized that your work would find you in male dominated milieux, did that influence what you did or how you did it?

When I was little, I was absolutely fascinated by astronomy. Chemistry came into my life not much later when I was wondering what the stars were made out of. When I was in 9th grade, I was dabbling in theater arts and getting A’s in science. I kept getting cast as middle aged or elderly women at the age of 14, and I never could be the ingenue. Of course, I could raid my great-grandmother’s closet for my characters’ wardrobes, but I looked at my type casting and my grades in science, and then went, “Cindy, don’t quit your day job!” My high school was exceptionally good in science and math, and my physics teacher was very keen on getting the girls in her classes to focus on STEM careers. I was able to work at NASA Ames in Mountain View as both a senior in high school and a senior in college.

The gender imbalance wasn’t so acute in high school because my closest girlfriends and I were pretty much science geeks together. By the time I got to Santa Clara, I declared my chemistry major right away and just kept plugging along. I never got any flak from the chemistry faculty about how girls don’t major in chem, but one of my friends got a major sexist slap down from one of the physics professors about how girls don’t do physics (GRRRR, he was a grade A jerk).

There were four girls majoring in chem in my year, and three out of the four of us graduated cum laude (only one guy was with us, and the 4th girl wasn’t far behind us).

My only question was whether or not I was going to go to graduate school in chemistry, and by the time I finished my senior thesis with my second tour at Ames, I pretty much had gotten tired of academia and didn’t really have the necessary drive to do research. Soooo, that meant looking for a job, and I got a job in the semiconductor industry right out of school (which incidentally paid a lot better than pharmaceuticals if you had a BS degree thirty years ago). I started off doing benchtop quality control testing on the chemicals and plastics used in wafer fabs and chip assembly, and then switched into materials characterization and microscopy where I still am today. Some of the meetings I was in at my old company, I was at least 33% of the XX chromosome cohort. My current company is probably split 60/40 M/F, but that’s probably damn good for around here in Silicon Valley.

I’m pretty happy because my work focuses on doing good materials characterization to help others improve their products. My primary job is making samples for transmission electron microscopy and the quality of the pictures that my imaging co-workers take are only as good as the samples that those of us in the sample prep group make. If I do a really good job, we can see the atomic lattice at 400,000X, which rocks. And I still keep my hand in surface contamination analysis by bouncing X-rays off of shiny wafers part of the time.
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
[personal profile] littlebutfierce asks me What about your life now would most astonish (& delight) your teenage self?

Hm. This question is harder than it looks.

I think the first delightful thing is that I would still be close to several friends who go back to my teenage years in my life, and that I’m still in touch with some people I flunked nap time in kindergarten. Also, I wasn't close to my sister for a long time, and we're finally having a good time together as we have hit or approach the half century mark.

The next thing would be my rediscovery of the fiber arts. I truly wouldn’t have imagined how much fun knitting, weaving, and spinning would be.

My home would also be astonishing because l would have never foreseen living in a loft in a converted walnut factory with my partner, four cats, and lots of fiber and books.

Then of course, there’s the impact the internet and social media would have on my life. Think about it, today’s question was posed to me by a friend who lives in Europe and that we see each other finances permitting at a feminist gathering in Wisconsin once a year and keep in touch the rest of the time on social media.

Finally, I got the feminist thump on my head in college, and it’s shaped everything else I’ve done since then.
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
[personal profile] wild_irises asks: What's satisfying and right about knitting?

I learned how to knit from my maternal grandmother. Actually, she was much more of a crocheter, but my mother had learned how to knit Continental style, and she taught her mother how to do that. Grandma then passed the knowledge on to me. Part of knitting's attraction to me is that I'm following in the footsteps of my foremothers. My favorite things to knit are socks and lace, and both of these things have a lot of precision and fine detail.

When I was in college, I made afghans for myself and my roommate. I took scraps of yarn from Grandma's crocheting, tied them together in multicolored balls and knit large rectangles out of them. Grandma crocheted around them and put them together, then added fringe. I don't know what my roommate did with hers, but I still have my afghan, and we keep it draped over the couch in the living area. The cats are quite fond of the fringe!

My fiber obsession has widened to include spinning yarn and weaving, and I do want to get better at crochet and tatting (which was my great-grandmother's thing).
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
[personal profile] emceeaich asks how does one update Austen for modern times?

The timing of this is spectacular, because today is the 238th birthday of the Divine Miss Austen ([personal profile] emceeaich says it’s not intentional, but I bet something in his subconscious made the correlation).

Frankly, I don’t think there is s written story out there that really captures her stuff. The closest books I can think of are Beth Pattillo’s Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart. I find that she has a third book dealing with Sense and Sensibility, so I will check it out. If there are other good ones out there, let me know.

The best modern movie retelling of Austen in my opinion is Amy Heckerling’s 1995 Clueless which translates Emma to Beverly Hills. It may not keep the names the same but the spirit is intact. I want Cher’s closet! Bridget Jones’ Diary may have had Colin Firth as Mark Darcy, but it doesn’t even come close.

I never got into Lost in Austen, is it worth it?

My favorite interactive media retelling is Pemberley Digital’s The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I cannot squee loudly enough about this show. They won a juried 2013 Creative Arts Emmy award for interactive media. The casting of the series is excellent, and they even made me care about Lydia.

On a personal note, the Tribble Sisters came into my life right after I finished the series, so their names have as much to thank to the Diaries as they do to P&P. The good folks at Pemberley Digital have also finished Welcome to Sanditon which takes the unfinished Austen story set in Sanditon, England and sends it to the beach in Southern California. I haven’t finished that yet, but am thick in the middle of Emma Approved which makes Emma Woodhouse a life coach/fashionista makeover pro (think not quite as air headed Cher Horowitz sent ahead twenty years, done with business school and very social media-savvy). The video blog/social media combination seems to be extremely amenable to handling Austen’s storytelling style. Hie thee to Pemberley Digital and enjoy!
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
[personal profile] sraun is interested in my musings about birthdays.

Some folks get very sensitive about age; a friend of my mother’s has never gotten a drivers’ license because she would have to reveal her birth date.

On the other hand, I have been known to say that my age is a matter of public record but I lie like a bandit about my weight on my own license. I basically put a number there that is plausible if somebody looks at me.

I have one silly ritual for my birthday, I try to call my mother as close to 12:23 PM PDT as I can because even though it’s all goodies for me, she didn’t have a whole lot of fun on that day.

Some birthdays come easier than others. I didn’t enjoy #30 too much because at that time there was that show “thirtysomething” that bugged me because the characters came across to me as whiny self-indulgent jerks. I also thought that I would no longer get any slack for mistakes, slack is for folks in their twenties. Thank Goddess, I got over that one a long while back because the mistakes still happen and I still can use some slack.

#40 wasn’t as bad, I figured my motto for my forties was “no more nice girl” and that I was officially now a Crone in Training. That decade was a wild ride, losing one job and my father, finding a new job, and best of all, having [personal profile] emceeaich as a partner.

#50 got me Crone status and [personal profile] emceeaich gave me Charlotte, my first spinning wheel. After that, my interest in the fiber arts took off like a rocket.

Who knows what the next one will bring?
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
[personal profile] wordweaverlynn asks: Please tell us about your favorite poet. Or, if you don't do poetry, your favorite songwriter.

Oh, heck, I'll do both.

My favorite poet is T.S. Eliot. I first read the Four Quartets as a freshman in college and loved them to bits. I also liked The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, but it's the Four Quartets I'll keep coming back to. I am also very fond of Dorothy Sayers' translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, but I'm sure I'm missing something in translation.

I have two favorite songwriters, Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne. Early Bruce albums (the Nebraska album and earlier ones) have some fabulous stories in their songs. I pretty much wore out the grooves in my college friend Judy's copy of Darkness on the Edge of Town, and then wore out my copy of The River. Jackson Browne is another songwriter I've had a long relationship with. I recently went through his albums from the 1980s and got swept back in time. I was listening to them at work last week, and one benefit of working a weird shift is that once most everyone on day shift has left, I can hang out in my lab in the back of the building and crank up some music if there's not a Sharks game on the redio. The dual beam microscope doesn't complain about my taste in tunes or gets annoyed if I growl when something bonehead happens during a hockey game.


cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)

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