I start this post with some bad news.  Today I hit a squirrel while driving to work.  I know some people think they're rodents and don't matter, but I still was sad about it.  I tried to dodge, but as Yoda would say...there is no try.  I heard the "thump" and knew.  I saw the damage in my rear view mirror.  I had squashed a life.  Poor little fuzzy...I'm sorry.

Now that the sad part is out of the way, I have had a busy few weeks.  I'll start as far back as I can.  A Geeky Lady shindig was three weeks ago.  It was a great time.  I got to see @tapps, @jennaddenda, and @ashedryden; three of my geekiest lady friends.  We spent the evening behind the glow of laptop screens.  It was really great to catch up with them.  I need to visit more often.

While I was home, I also got to meet Fezzik, my little sister's new boxer puppy.  He's a ball of energy and a lot of fun.  I had fun playing with him while catching up with my sister.  Things seem to be going well for her and her husband.  I envy them in a lot of ways.  Anyway, I asked Fezzik if there were many rocks ahead.  He just kind of looked at me funny.  I certainly hope my sister trains him to respond to that line.  Haha.

I also got to see Elden again.  He's getting bigger!  No surprise.  He's a baby.  They grow fast.  I got some cute photos of him and my niece, Kalina.  In fact, that Sunday, we had an unplanned family gathering for dinner.  It's rare we all get together for a meal, and I'm glad I was there for that.

That following Tuesday was my forum at UW Eau Claire.  It went exceedingly well.  The room was moved because we needed a more open venue.  We had a full house, standing room only!  I was blown away.  Even though I've been speaking for years on gender issues, I still never feel prepared enough.  That feeling is only increased because I do it so infrequently these days.  Still, about half way into this presentation, I felt my rust shaking off.  Suddenly that groove came back, and I felt confident and comfortable.

I am excited about that.  I just know that my next few presentations are going to be even more stellar.  I've got two events coming up on November 20th, the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  I'm going to be very prepared for them and I'm sure they are going to be amazing experiences.  I'm really looking forward to it.  If you're going to be in the area of UW Stout, stop on by at 2:30 in the afternoon.

I've been very motivated lately and have had some great ideas for Genderverse.  Despite my comfort returning in my speeches, I want to stay on top of the latest information.  So I've decided to pledge a day a week next year to research and writing time.  I'm going to read an article, book, or something related to gender a week, and I will comment on it through Genderverse.  I think that's a great idea to learn and to help others learn through it.

My idea for Genderverse is to turn it into almost an online magazine with regular columns and articles.  I want it to be the place to go to for gender related news and commentary.  I've already got one person that's interested in writing.  I've got another person I want to ask.  He tweets a lot of articles and cares a lot about the trans community.  I think he'd be a great person to write and give a straight ally / male perspective.   Now I just need a design for the site.  If you have any thoughts, share them in the comments.

So that's my excitement of late.  I also have to share a bit of sad news.  I visited gpac.org the other day.  GenderPAC was an organization I worked with when I was in college.  It was run by Riki Wilchins, who has been an inspiration and teacher to me through these years.  GenderPAC was great in that they worked towards ending gender discrimination, had a big focus on youth, and were really the first of their kind when it came to their approach to gender.  Upon visiting the site, I discovered they no longer exist.  There's a letter explaining their history and why they decided to close their doors.  They ended on a proud note.  I hope I can use their inspiration as a launching point for Genderverse.  Thank you, Riki, and the folks of GenderPAC, for all that you have done and that you continue to do even though the organization is no longer.

Two weeks ago was Twin Cities Code Camp.  What is a Code Camp you ask?  Well, it's a free conference about programming for programmers by programmers.  This was my first one, and I had a good time.  I finally got to start playing with Ruby on Rails, which is really cool.  I also got to meet some awesome people and came home with a free license to Office 2007 (which still hasn't arrived yet).

One of the issues that came up at the camp was the lack of women in the field.  I was one of maybe 15 women there.  In fact, in one of the breakout sessions, one of the women was openly hit on by a guy...during the presentation.  There are many reasons that women aren't attracted to the field, and the ever present misogyny is one of them.  I think a lot of it also has to do with the geek taboo.  I think in a lot of ways there's a bit of a cycle that keeps women out.  The social expectation for developers is that you are a nerdy, socially awkward guy.  Because of that expectation,  a lot of people, including women, avoid the field.  There's also a bit of the "good ol' boys" attitude there.  Misogyny has been present in video games for a long time for the same reasons.  I also think a lot of people are pushed out of the field because of the way that programming is taught.  I almost didn't even have a CS minor because of that very reason, and yet, here I am a developer now.  I'm mostly self taught and from what I'm told, I'm pretty good at it.  Yet, I dropped out of the computer engineering program in my first year.  Something's wrong there.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts about the scenario.  I think I will dedicate an entry on genderverse to that topic.  To sum up, I had fun at the code camp and had a lot of energizing conversations about computer science.  Yes, again, I know I am a nerd.  Stop sending me emails telling me that.  I know already.  Thanks.

Halloween was fun.  Chris and I handed out candy to the kids.  We didn't get as many as we thought we would, but it was still a good time.  That evening, we dressed up and went to Scooters, the gay bar in town, and had a good time.  Chris put the most effort into his costume.  He sewed together two suits, did up some crazy face makeup, and went as two-face.  He got a lot of compliments.  I went with an old standard.  I was "Generic Sith Lord #2", which is the same outfit I wore at my brother in-law's 30th birthday party a year or two ago.  We had fun.

Money has been tight tight tight lately.  I had a difficult October, and I blame the fact that my student loans came due.  I may have to put them off another six months until I get some of my other debt paid off.  It shocks me that even though I'm making better money than I was in Milwaukee, and my costs of living are lower, I'm still only scraping by.  I guess I can't complain though.  I have a job and I have food.  I guess it's a good thing I'm not dating.  I couldn't afford it if I was.  I do certainly hope that there will be a time soon that I don't feel poor.

Question of the blog:  What are your suggestions for Genderverse?  What was the best costume you saw this Halloween?