Thursday, November 12, 2015

November 12, 2015.

I can now play the following songs on ukulele:

"Do You Swear To Tell the Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But the Truth, So Help Your Black Ass," and "Map of Tasmania" by Amanda Palmer.

"A Beginning Song," "Grace Cathedral Hill," and "O Valencia!" all by the Decemberists.

"Take a Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed.

"Ahead By a Century" by The Tragically Hip. (I really want to learn "Bobcaygeon" but the chords I'm finding online don't sound right to me. I don't know if that's the fault of me, the ukulele, or the transcribers. Not going to happen until I find the right ones, though.)

I can also play "Wicked Games" by the Weeknd but it just sounds weird on the uke. I also attempted "Hotline Bling" but the chords I found for that also don't sound right. Disappointing. I wanted to make a "Hotline Uke" video SO BADLY. And "Missed the Boat" by Modest Mouse. Really hard to do the fast chord changes without it sounding weird. 

But, all in all, not bad for owning it under a week and, you know, maintaining a life and working and commuting and dating and writing and such. Apparently I'm a natural. Slash all those years of musical training haven't completely left my brain. Basically I'm obsessed with Amanda; it's a ridiculous, all-consuming love. Yes my ukulele is named Amanda. I have no shame. I am a ridiculous human being.

Anyway, today I worked at tech trade show for my company. I've worked one other show in my time in tech, down in Pasadena. It was a bust of a show, and we were hardly busy. This time, however, was very different. This was a huge convention, well-attended and well-staffed. Quite impressive, actually. The thing that was annoying this time (beyond the typical annoyances of serving the public for 8 hours) was the sexism. Now, it wasn't rampant, per se, but Silicon Valley and the tech industry has a distinct lack of women. Our booth was different in that my company had two women and one man, and our co-sponsor in the booth was three women. The company across from us also had a woman staffing their booth. We were an anomaly in a sea of men. Going through the presentation list for the three-day event, there was over 150 presentations. In a scan-through, I see around a dozen women (almost all on panels) presenting. That's it. Out of 150 presentations, and probably a good 175 people to present over three days, only 12-15 were women. Isn't that outrageous?!

I got a weird mix of men talking to me because I'm a woman, and men who wouldn't talk to me because I'm a woman. Granted, I am the administrative assistant, and I don't have as much tech knowledge and experience as my coworkers (one was in marketing, one on our tech consulting team) but I know to ask them if I have questions, or to direct people to our website. Basically, I'm not a total idiot, but I am not a programmer/expert, by any means. There were lots of men who saw me standing there and then made a beeline for the booth, just so that I would have to talk to them. There was also a number of men who completely ignored me if I was free, even if I greeted them, and waited to talk to the only man working at our booth. 

I took a late lunch break. I got there around 10:40 so we could finish setting up, as the expo hall opened at 11. I took an email break around 1; then didn't take a lunch break until 3. By that point my feet hurt, I was very hungry, and just wanted to sit and be alone for a while. After overpaying for a pre-made crappy sandwich and some greasy (but actually sort of delicious) garlic fries, I wandered around until I found a place to sit. It was upstairs, off the escalators. There were three big 6-8 seater tables, two of which were already occupied by single men on their laptops. I sit down, start eating, grateful for solitude and greasy fries. I'm texting one of the men about how glad I am to have a few minutes alone when, and I shit you not, some random middle-aged man plops himself down at the table across from me and pulls out his laptop. Now, he didn't go to a table with a man at it. He didn't ask if he could sit there or even say, "Hey, you appear to be alone, I'm going to sit here. Cool?" At almost the exact same time, a different man went up to one of the solitary men and politely asked if he could sit at the table. My dude just kept making eye contact with me, as if I was going to spark up a convo and MPDG his white male life into meaning. Instead, I'm pretty sure I cut him into pieces with my stare of death and destruction. I was not. pleased. Yeah, okay, it was a large table. Yes, of course if he had come up and said, "Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here?" I would have said he could. But no question, no politeness, just fucking sitting down across from me like it's the most normal thing in the world. RUDE. 

The other thing that kept happening today was that people (mostly men, but a small sprinkling of women) wanted things for free. We had samples of our hardware out on display and were raffling off some at the end of the day. The amount of people that came up and just grabbed them and said, "So I can have this?" is mindboggling to me. Or people just wanted free stuff. I get it. Swag is fun. I myself took home a fair amount of swag. There was also the men who tried to convince me to just give them things, with a wink and a little shrug. Sure, random man trying to charm me into giving you that $120 piece of hardware, that's TOTALLY going to work. I'm just a silly woman; pay attention to me and I'll give you anything. There was also the tried tactic of just complaining. "But I just want the t-shirt! Why do I have to register for your website?" Them's the rules. Don't like it? No shirt for you!! Yes I see other people giving away t-shirts willy-nilly, that's not how we do things here. It was a strange day, but I'm glad to have done it. I got to be out of the office and gain more experience in actual techland. 

Cons: rude people; grabby people; entitled men; aching feet and calves; general weariness; shitty lunch.

Pros: more experience; swag of all sorts (including a hat, a screwdriver with a built-in flashlight that I'm calling a sonic screwdriver, little brain teaser puzzles for my desk, and a plastic beer glass); seeing cool technology being demoed; meeting a hot Australian guy and giving him my business card because I'm just that smooth (I don't expect to hear from him but DAMN how could I NOT?!); free coffee from said Australian guy (he was demoing a fancy coffee maker that connects to WiFi and keeps track of the coffee stats); meeting the ladies in our partnership business who are super lovely and talented; a free beer at the end of the day. Oh and listening to Missy Elliot's new song on repeat for a good half hour on each way of my commute. Not ashamed; shit's fantastic. AND coming home to my ipsy makeup bag and two new Jeffree Star lipsticks (I'm obsessed with this stuff). 

I am good and properly tired. I will hopefully sleep well tonight, which is good because I have a long and busy weekend ahead of me. I'm so excited. I'm very happy. As annoying as parts of today was, life is damn good. Excuse me, Amanda is demanding my attention.

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