Monday Sep 28, 2009

This blog just might go on and on too...

Hello Downtown Diner customers! I know I told you guys this branch was closed and it was but I'm re-opening for a one-time special event. You know how Celine Dion keeps saying she's retiring from show business but she re-surfaces again and again? It's kind of like that.

I'm re-opening the blog because something occurred in my life that was work-related \*and\* blog-worthy and on top of all that I managed to take some pictures during the event. Two of my colleagues, Fan Yong and Liang Zhen, presented about the Lustre file system at the Beijing Open Solaris User Group last week. Gina Li was the hostess for the event, which attracted over 60 people. Fan Yong presented about the Lustre product in general and our roadmap, and then Liang Zhen did a deep-dive into the Lustre Network, aka LNET.

I'd like to thank everyone who attended the event. You all showed so much interest and dedication. I know it was a long day - you worked the whole day and then stayed at the user group meeting until 9:00 at night. And you had so many good questions. That was gratifying for us because it showed that the presentations were relevant for you and you cared enough to follow up with 20+ thoughtful questions. We hope to see you at BJOSUG and Lustre events in the future!

Many thanks also to the Beijing Open Solaris User Group for providing this forum and the dinner.

BTW in case you don't know about Lustre - it's Sun’s open-source file system that is used in large and complex computing environments. The product is just seven years old and it's already being used in 15% of the top 500 supercomputers in the world and on six of the top 10 supercomputers. If you want to read more you can check out the Lustre Wikipedia page and if you want to join the Lustre Community please go here.

Here are some pictures from the meeting.

The audience

MC Gina
MC gina

Fan Yong
fan yong

Liang Zhen
liang zhen

Monday Apr 27, 2009

The Downtown Diner has opened a new branch

My life got pretty crazy around the end of last year and I couldn't find much time to scramble eggs for the customers at The Downtown Diner.

Plus, to be honest, I was censoring myself pretty heavily since this blog is corporate-sponsored. You guys weren't getting full-on me, you were getting a filtered version of me. I always asked myself the question, "Will I be representing Sun well if I write this? What kind of picture am I painting of a Sun manager with this?"

Basically I wanted to make grilled cheese sandwiches but I felt compelled to use whole wheat bread and Brie when really, doesn't a grilled cheese sandwich taste better when it's Wonder Bread and American cheese?

So anyway I created a private blog where I can serve up whatever blue plate specials I want - . Feel free to drop by there.

It's a new branch but the waitress will still recognize you.

Wednesday Dec 10, 2008

My sister interviewing Barack Obama

She's a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

She covers national politics in Washington.

I'm trying to sound cool but actually I'm SO INCREDIBLY PROUD OF MY BIG SIS!!!! JUST LOOK AT HER!!!

tech days

Okay I know you were actually looking at Obama but go back now and look at my amazing sister.

Her name is Christi Parsons. Remember that name. She's going places.

Okay, she already \*is\* places. Just look at her sitting right there with the President Elect. My Big Sis....

Here's the story she wrote after the interview. It's about Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested today on political corruption charges.

Monday Dec 01, 2008

Makes you want to floss right now, doesn't it?

There's a dentist office in my neighborhood that has two giant molars in the shop window. They're about 2 feet high each, what's that, about 80 centimeters? One molar sits on top of the other.

Every time I walk by I wonder what material these enormous molars are made of. Maybe marble? Maybe quartz? Plastic? Amber? Some kind of resin?


Well the other day I took a closer look. And I've felt kinda queasy ever since.


Need a closer view?


Awful, isn't it? I know!

I don't even want to check the comments section on this one. I know what you guys are going to say. "Why was that necessary?"

Monday Nov 24, 2008

I've been to Beijing Tech Days before

I've done booth duty before.

But nothing, I repeat \*nothing\*, had prepared me for the wave of eager young developers that descended upon our Globalization booth at 8am on Friday morning. It was a thing of beauty.

At one point I thought of you all and decided to snap a few pictures so you could see the ocean of people I was swimming in.

tech days

tech days

tech days

See that guy in the yellow sweater? That's Aaron and I was trying to hand completed surveys back to him. But the tide kept pushing me out to sea!
tech days later confirmed my suspicion that the number of attendees was much higher than expected - somewhere around 3,000.

I wanted to talk to all of them, ask them where they worked, what they thought of Netbeans and especially our localized version of it, blah blah blah, I could have gone on and on.

But there were just so many of them! So I did the best I could. I smiled at all of them and talked to a few. And I handed our give-aways as fast as I could.

I'm looking forward to next year already!

Tuesday Nov 11, 2008

How many triangles in this diagram?

Can you count them?

triangle diagram

Yeah, me neither.

The funny thing is, this was Grant's homework. Yes, that would be KINDERGARTEN homework.

How is a 5-year-old supposed to figure out how many triangles are in that figure?

Monday Nov 10, 2008

It was either the scarf or the tiara

Along with my co-facilitators Lucia Yip and Gerald Ng, I got to facilitate my second course for Sun managers last week - a class called "Experienced Manager Essentials." I covered the topics "Leading High Performance Teams" and "Rapid Decision Making." It was a great class, mostly because the students were very talkative and made jokes to keep the atmosphere light.

That was one thing I saw last week so clearly - a talkative, relaxed class can TOTALLY make or break the class for everybody, especially the facilitator. If people will raise their hands and contribute, give their own perspective, disagree with the facilitator, anything, it makes the whole thing so much more worthwhile. So if you're headed for a class any time soon please speak up during the class, your facilitator will thank you for it.

teaching class
That scarf I'm wearing? Totally borrowed it from my 8-year-old.

teaching class
I love the unplanned color coordination in this shot.

teaching class
Stanley, Mark and Albert, looking so engrossed! Thank you guys for that!

teaching class
Lucy, Winston and Guang trying to decide if they'll build a boat or stay on the island.

The week was insanely busy because I was tied up in class all day and then at night I was trying to catch up on emails and also prepare for the next day's class. I wasn't getting as much sleep as I like to and as you all know, I'm still caffeine-free so I couldn't even use coffee as a crutch.

The good thing about last week is that it forced me to use one of the skills we stress for managers in the course - delegation! I wouldn't have gotten through the week without the help and support from so many wonderful people.

- Thank you Jasper for running the Tech Days prep meeting.

- Thank you Susan for covering for me at the PAC meeting, and for being willing to cover for me at Staff.

- Thank you Jim for managing the printing of the books that we'll give away at Sun Tech Days in Taipei, Guangzhou and Beijing.

- Thank you Grace for scheduling 1,001 appointments for me this week and next.

- Thank you Jack for negotiating with the Labs team on behalf of AGC.

- Thank you Buddy for taking care of the kids and everything at home all last week. I know I was no help to you at all and you carried that whole load without complaining once. Okay once, but that was only when I had snapped at you. :)

I know I am sooo lucky to have solid people like you to delegate to. Thank you all for carrying me through last week!

Sunday Nov 09, 2008

There's a typo on this sizing label

This is why it's hard for me to shop in Asia. Here's a page from a Korean fashion magazine.

"For small size"
small size model

"For big size"
plus size model

Let's get a closer look at the plus-size model - plus size model

Do you see the same thing I see? She's not plus-sized! She's normal. She's healthy. She looks like she could stand up to a strong wind and possibly play soccer with guys. And in Asia she's a plus-size model. And we won't even talk about those God-awful clothes they're making the "big" girl wear.

It's depressing.

I try to avoid shopping in Beijing but sometimes I just have to. And occasionally I walk into a store and ask about a particular item and the sales clerk says something seemingly-innocent like, "Wait a sec, I think I have a XXXL in the back. Let me see if I can find it."

No way, sister. I am from the land of vanity sizing and I know my rights.

"Uh-uh, don't even bring something out here that says XXXL because I am not wearing it, even if it fits."

I'm out the door before they can even offer an XXL that might fit me, we could try. Whatever.

Tuesday Nov 04, 2008

I voted!

I voted by fax yesterday!

Actually my awesome admin Grace sent the fax for me - thank you Grace!

absentee ballot

I'm not normally one to say I'm proud to be an American, but I do feel that way today. And I'm proud of the fact that we're going to make history this year no matter who wins the election. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!

Thursday Oct 30, 2008

Grandmas are so smart

Rainy day + 5-year-old boy + tiny apartment + me = Disaster!

Rainy day + 5-year-old boy + tiny apartment + clever grandma = Carpet Ping Pong!

ping pong

ping pong

ping pong

My mother-in-law is so smart. Just like my mom.

Friday Oct 17, 2008

Sorry about that!

One of my team members shot me on Monday, then waived his hand at me and yelled across the field, "Sorry!"

It's all good.

Teambuilding at the laser tag base.

team building
team building
team building
team building
team building
team building
team building
team building
team building

Many thanks to Eric and Jacky for the pictures.

Thursday Oct 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Audrey!

Eight years ago today my husband and I were looking at this precious little bundle that came bouncing into our lives. (And before you say anything let me just say it was a long labor with lots of anesthesia. Let's just hope the ex-boyfriends don't check in while this post is on the front page.)

new family

baby audrey

She arrived 16 days past her due date and was clearly already very mature - just look at that smile! And this picture was taken when she was 2 hours old. Most people say it's a gas smile but as a mom - totally objective - I say look at the eye contact, that was a real smile, not gas.

I remember looking at her and thinking, "Who are you? What spirit is hiding inside of you? You're going to be one of the most important people in my life and I don't know anything about you."

Now eight years later I feel blessed to have watched her spirit emerge and I'm in awe of the gift God has given us in this little girl. She is so generous and sweet and giving, in fact she puts me to shame.

For example the other day Grant and Audrey and I were getting ready to leave the house and I gave them each a jacket, warning them that it was going to be chilly outside. Audrey wore hers and as usual, Grant forgot his. Stunningly predictable, that kid. Mere seconds after we got outside the building Grant complained that he was cold and, being the tough-lovin' kinda mom that I am, I told him that was too bad and next time he should remember to bring his jacket. (I know, in China this is just about unthinkable!)

I walked a couple of steps ahead of the kids because we were running late. I looked back a few seconds later and saw that Audrey had given her little brother her jacket and she was rubbing her bare arms, claiming that she wasn't that cold.

I gave Audrey my sweater. Grant gave me his if-I-knew-the-number-for-child-services-I-would-call-it look. Another tough love lesson, flat on its face.

Aside from sabotaging my tough love lessons, Audrey is full of life, has never played a sport she doesn't love, talks a lot and sings when she isn't talking, knows what she wants, and loves 'jian mei cao' (kind of like calisthenics set to music) more than anything in the world. And what does she want for her birthday?

"I need a new tiara," she told me the other day.

A new tiara. I don't even have an old tiara.

Happy birthday Audrey!

Wednesday Oct 08, 2008

What a Difference an "A" makes!

pick up a chinese

Tuesday Oct 07, 2008

Hong Kong - simply irresistible

I was in Hong Kong two weeks ago to facilitate my first management course for Sun. It was called Experienced Manager Essentials and I facilitated the session called "Leading High Performance Teams". My co-facilitators were also Sun employees - Lucia Yip from our Hong Kong office and Hok-Siong Wong from Singapore. The cool thing about these courses is that the facilitators aren't professional coaches, we're regular Sun managers like anyone else so we can bring in real examples from the life of a manager at Sun, and that hopefully makes the classes more interesting and relevant for the students.

I adore Hong Kong. Here are some snapshots from my week there.

Here's the class. That's Lucia, Hok-Siong and me in the front holding up the poster.
management class

They have Krispy Kreme in the Hong Kong Airport! As a Southerner I can say this is a HUGE relief to know that soul food is available in the middle of Asia. Alas they don't have the "Hot Now" sign and when I asked the staff if they could sell me a hot doughnut they had no idea what I was talking about. How can you work in a Krispy Kreme and not know about Hot Now?!
krispy kreme

All you can eat shark's fin and bird's nest?! Um, for me that would be NOT VERY MUCH!
all you can eat shark fin

Yep, that's what it is. Nope, don't know what animal.
dried sheep parts

Remember those amazing drummers at the Olympic Opening Ceremony? Now some of the drums are on display at the Beijing International Airport. I have no evidence to confirm that these are actually the drums from the Ceremony and believe me my husband is dubious but seriously, what else could that "0349" mean?

Saturday Sep 27, 2008

Another localized release!

sun cluster

This time it's Solaris Cluster Express 9/08, available in eight languages simultaneously - English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. This 'simultaneously' part is a big deal for us in the Globalization team - it means we have to start localizing the software while the engineers are still working on it and the writers are just starting to write the documentation. Most of our releases today are 'sim ships' but that doesn't minimize the accomplishment each time we pull it off so hats off to the members of the G11n team who worked on this one - Kazuhiko Maekawa, Jacky Cao, Jan Hnatek and William Xue. Great work guys!

So what exactly is Sun Cluster Express? It's a complete version of Sun™ Cluster 3.2 software that runs on Solaris Express Community Edition Build 97. In addition to language support in so many languages, it has all kinds of goodness in it like an upgraded Sun Management Center, enhanced fencing mechanisms, zone clusters, a loopback file driver device, and of course many bug fixes. The Sun Cluster blog has many more details.

Why don't you give it a spin?

Chinese + English = Chinglish

Caught this perfect specimen on camera yesterday at the swimming pool - "Please do not run and play in order to avoid accidents and wounds."

dont run and play sign

While laughing at the Chinglish I do have to say it's cool that the gym posts signs in three languages - Chinese, English and Korean. How many gyms in the US post their signs in anything other than English?

Thursday Sep 25, 2008

Where are the games on this thing?

Grant was in my office the other day and found my trusty calculator (I know - I'm so old-fashioned!). He pushed all the buttons and flipped the switches for a few minutes and then finally asked me, "Where are the games on this thing?"

So where are the games? Sun wants to find them. The ones that you're writing with Darkstar.

Project Darkstar is running a contest now and they're offering some great prizes. The grand prize is a pass to the 2009 Game Developer Conference (GDC), the chance to show off your stuff at GDC, and cash for your travel. And you get featured on the Project Darkstar site. Entries can be submitted between November 17, 2008 and January 19, 2009. Details are here.

Extra points if you can write something that runs on my calculator. :)

Friday Sep 19, 2008

United States of Anxiety

My big sister, Chicago Tribune reporter Christianne Parsons, has co-authored a series for the paper called "United States of Anxiety."

Here's how it starts.

These are troubled times in America.

The nation, divided sharply this decade by politics, is now united in worry. Our economy is faltering. Our health care and energy costs are soaring. We're fighting wars of security abroad and a battle over identity at home.

Our problems run deep and wide, and the presidential candidates aren't stumping for anything close to the transformation we need to solve them.

Read more here.

Wednesday Sep 17, 2008

Never thought I'd see my name on a tombstone

This is my husband's grandmother's tombstone. She passed away 12 years ago and every time we visit her, her children and grandchildren cry as if she had passed away that morning. Sometimes her great-grandchildren even cry and given they never met her, that's a powerful testament to the love and the joy that she left in the hearts of her family. It is spilling over into future generations.


Just after her death in 1996 my then-fiance took me to visit her gravesite, which rests high atop a mountain and under the shade of a pine tree. Buddy taught me about the Chinese tradition of carving into the tombstone the names of the person's relatives, honoring the traces they left behind on the sands of life. I ran my finger over the cold indententations of the stone, recognizing the names of Buddy, his mom, his dad. I came to a name I didn't recognize and I asked Buddy "Who is that?"

grave closeup

"That's your name," he said.

I nearly passed out, which looking back, would have been an ironic thing to do on a grave bearing my name.

I was surprised because for one, I never expected to see my own name on a gravestone. Shouldn't that be a sight reserved for your adoring children and grandchildren?

I do remember seeing graves in Alabama where for example a husband had died and was buried in a "twin lot" so his wife's name was carved into the tombstone, along with her birthdate and a dash. At the time I thought it must be eerie to be the wife and wondering every day if today might be the other side of your dash but now that I'm married I know that once your partner goes you probably want every day to be your last so you're okay with the grave template.

On a sidenote, I once met a woman who worked in the office of a cemetery and her husband was a mortician. I asked her if their occupations gave them any special insights into death and life and you know what she said?

"Not really, no."

How can that be?

Back to the cemetery, seeing my name on my husband's grandmother's tombstone also surprised me because, hey, we weren't even married yet. The wedding was still two weeks away and yet here were our names literally carved together in stone. Not that I was getting cold feet or anything but is it not customary to inform the carved before commissioning the family tombstone? I took it as a good sign that his family had faith in our promise to each other - then and now they've never expected anything other than complete mutual support and devotion from us. I find this especially difficult when I do occasionally want to thump him on the head and they're around. (On another side note, Buddy and I discovered on our last trip to the cemetery and after an unfortunate family divorce that it is possible to have a name erased from a stone. I'm pretty sure the un-carved didn't get notified in this case.)

All this talk of death and marriage reminds me of one day when I went to the cemetery at Sulphur Springs Baptist Church in Mud Creek, Alabama where my dad's people are buried. I was walking around the cemetery with my Uncle John and we came across a twin lot with a husband and wife who had died on the same day, same year.

"Oh, I wonder if maybe they died together in an accident? Maybe a tornado hit their house? Or wait, maybe they were both sick and in separate rooms of a hospital and she passed away and then he, sensing that she was gone, let go too?"

Uncle John knows everybody in Mud Creek, dead or alive, so of course he had the answer.

"Naw, Melney, he shot her and then he killed himself."

And only in Mud Creek, Alabama would they be buried together in a twin lot.

Saturday Aug 23, 2008

Me and My Hometown Hero

I had to wait outside the stadium for two hours to get this one but here it is - me and my hometown hero Deontay Wilder. I finally got to meet him in person after his match Friday afternoon and he is a sweetheart. He did not win this last match (which I got to attend thanks to Deontay's awesome trainer Jay Deas, who snagged me a ticket at the last minute - thanks again Jay!) but he will go back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama with a bronze medal! Congratulations Deontay!!!

melanie and deontay

For those who don't know the history here I've been writing about my hometown hero Deontay for a while now but have never met him. A few readers left comments asking me when I was going to get my picture made with him and now I have finally come through for you guys! :)


The grilled cheese sandwich of blogosphere


« July 2016