Female system administrators

<rant>

So in case you aren’t aware, I’m a technology project manager. In particular my experience is in infrastructure.

Networks, storage, servers… It’s been my life since I left university all those years ago.

A recent project of mine had me work with Veritas Cluster Servers (VCS), a technology I only had a very high-level understanding of. I did recall, from my UNIX administration days, something about needing to freeze service groups and such. But I knew this stock knowledge wasn’t going to be enough for the project.

So off to the Internet I go…

…and back from the Internet, I rant. Because one particular site opens their article with:

The purpose of this post is to make the Cluster concept easy for those young brothers who have just started their career as System Administrator.

Uhm yes, brothers.

Mind you, this post was written in 2016. Its not like women just magically appeared in technology within the last few years.

Why can’t a sister be a system administrator?

</rant>

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Resuscitation

WordPress tells me that the last time I published on this blog was six months ago. That was June.

In June, my father developed a nasty cough.

In July, he was on oxygen.

In August, he was in the hospital. For 23 days.

And on the 30th of August, he passed away, after battling cancer for seven years.

The past six months have been very, very difficult.

It felt weird, if not outright wrong, to not to have to worry about the next doctor’s appointment, the next lab result, where to source so-and-so medicine, and how the hell was I going to pay the next doctor’s fee.

It felt weird to have time and headspace for myself. It felt morally wrong to enjoy that time and space.

For a long time, my brain shut down. I couldn’t process any long-term thoughts. Day to day I’d come into the office, rely on my to-do list to get me through the day and give me the illusion of productivity.

Around December I met up with a friend and plotted a long-term project. While I usually would take on the planner role, my brain was just mush and I let her take the lead. We’re supposed to do something late February/early March.

Also in December, I signed up for an online Data Analysis school (details to follow). In gist, the school had offered a partial scholarship. Both my current and previous managers encouraged me to take it. The track in particular was for career transition to analytics.

It was like life forcing its hand telling me, “If you don’t do this now you’ll regret it!”.

Except I had a big certification exam coming up. And that long-term project with my friend. How the hell was I going to find time for this school?!

So in January I opened up my Trello board again for the first time in months, the one where I was running with the focus project.

It was like brain diarrhea. Every single “I have to do this…” thought I had in the past few weeks couldn’t transfer from my brain to the keyboard fast enough.

I was surprised at how I could think in terms of weeks and months again.

I further surprised myself by coming up with an idea on how to improve on the focus project. And how even more surprising, was that one of my first thoughts after the a-ha! moment, was to share the idea through my blog.

So here I am. I’m not 100% back, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be. In a couple of weeks my father would have celebrated his 57th birthday. I’ve been more teary-eyed this week than I have been the past few months.

But I enjoy writing. And sharing my ideas in this form. So here I am, showing up, drafting one letter, one word, at a time.

How to file for a lost Philippine passport in 10 steps

Earlier this year I had to file for a lost passport. The loss was stressful enough by itself, but was made worse because I couldn’t find much information about it. I was lost on how to file for loss!

So I called up their main office and got a list of initial requirements: Affidavit of loss and Police report.

The specifics, and the rest, I figured out along the way.

I’ve written down my experience here, step by step, in the hopes that it would make things a bit easier for anyone who experiences this loss.

1. File an affidavit of loss.

  • In your affidavit, write a detailed explanation of when, where, and how the passport got lost. Here’s a sample template I found online. If you can, best to have a lawyer write it for you.
  • Make 3 copies of the original.
  • Have all four (original + 3 copies) notarized. Technically you’ll only need 3, but you might accidentally mix them up so I say play it safe and notarize everything.

2. File for a police report.

  • Go to the police station nearest where you lost your passport and file a police report.
    TIP: Only investigators can write the report, and not all police stations have an investigation unit. If your first police station doesn’t have one, ask them to redirect you to the right station (usually the bigger ones).
  • To save you the trouble of explaining yourself to the investigator, hand them a copy of your affidavit of loss. They can then base their police report off the affidavit, ensuring all the facts are consistent across both documents. They’ll need to keep the copy though, which is why I said you’ll “technically” only need to notarize three.
  • Thank your police officers! I read in another blog post that they had to pay a P50 fee, but our officers told us this kind of service doesn’t need payment.
  • Make a copy. Or two. The extra copies weren’t needed from my experience, but you know, just in case.

3. Go to the DFA main office

  • In Aseana Business Park in Parañaque. Not along Roxas Boulevard.
  • And no, they don’t process lost passports in satellite offices (I asked).
  • Ensure you have the documents from #s 1 and 2. Optionally, bring a copy of the first page of your lost passport if you have one (I did) and your birth certificate (I didn’t).
  • You do NOT need an appointment. Just go right up to the entrance, tell the guard you’re filing for a lost passport. He’ll ask you if you have the above documents, then direct you to the information counter.
  • At the information counter, they’ll request for documents #1 and #2 again. They’ll arrange your documents, and hand you a passport application form tagged for lost passport. You then proceed to a different room for processing.
  • You don’t have to fill up the form now, but I did so anyway.

Continue reading “How to file for a lost Philippine passport in 10 steps”

When a walk reminded me that oh, by the way, you’re a girl

Tonight I had a mad craving for milk tea.

So I went down from my apartment, took my first step on the pavement… and I shuddered.

It was pretty chilly.

I looked around, and realized it was much later than I thought. Maybe past 9 or 10 PM? I had been reading a book, and must not have noticed the time pass by.

Whoosh went a gust of wind, as if to interrupt my thoughts.

I smiled. In retrospect I hope I did not look creepy smiling by myself like that.

I smiled because it was exactly my kind of weather. Slightly chilly, but not enough to need a coat, with a gust of wind every now and then.

It was the perfect weather for a walk.

So I took another step… and I shuddered again. This time it wasn’t the weather.

A girl walking by herself at night, are you crazy?

Shuddered. Again.

Had I missed out on so many great walks like this, just because I’m a girl?

I looked around carefully:

Yes it was “dark”, but when does it really get dark in the city? The street was lit well-enough, and there were more than enough stores open.

Yes there were less cars, but wasn’t that part of the charm of a walk?

Yes there were less people, but finally it would be the chance to hear myself think.

I walked ahead, determined to enjoy my walk. Every now and then I would fall into habit.

Cross the street because the other side is better lit.

Check the pavement ahead of me for shadows.

Check the windows around me for movement.

Ugh. How can I enjoy my walk when I’m fighting paranoia at every step?

I had been so focused on trying to enjoy my walk, that I nearly missed the milk tea shop. Which was closed. And apparently had been for some time, given it was all boarded up with a notice at the door.

So I walked to the next nearest brightly-lit public space: a convenience store. And grabbed whatever bottled tea they were selling. It may not have been authentic tea. I didn’t care anymore.

I didn’t want to pretend to enjoy my walk anymore.

I walked back faster than when I came.

I was mad, furious, but most of all sad. The thought of past walks missed, the thought of  future ones I may never have… all because I’m a girl.

How to fall, and stay, in love in 58 questions

Over the weekend I had a lovely meet-up with some high school friends. We met up at our old school, sat on the grass, and talked the afternoon away.

We quickly caught up with each other’s lives (we’re kind of boring in that there’s not much outside of work), so to avoid the awkward silence that usually follows we played an upgraded version of Ice Breakers.

One friend had asked advice on his relationship so our questions revolved around romance. Some of those questions include:

What’s an ideal first date?

You’ve been dating for some time; name 3 ideal dates.

It’s time to plan for your wedding! What are the 3 things you’d go bridezilla (or groomzilla) for? i.e., What are the 3 things about your wedding you’ll prioritize above all else?

I absolutely adore these kinds of questions as the answers are always insightful. I discovered new things about my friends even though we’ve known each other for over 15 years!

So if it can do that for long-time friends, can you imagine how powerful these questions would be for perfect strangers?

Such as these 36 questions designed to help you fall in love with anyone.

The questions are based on a study by psychologist Dr. Arthur Aron (et al.) which explores if intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by a specific set of personal questions.

The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.

The series of questions is broken up into three sections in increasing intimacy. You start off with,

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

And end with,

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

The study also encourages you to wrap up with four minutes of staring into each other’s eyes–sure to be uncomfortable if you’ve only met!

But the big question: Does it work?

Well, the logic is sound. And there’s a documented case where it worked. I’ve never given it a go myself, but I guess it couldn’t hurt to try..?


 

Now assuming you’re past the falling stage and are already together, how do you stay together?

We’ve got another set of questions for that thanks to the Book of Life, 22 to be exact.

Instead of revealing insights, these questions are centered around clearer communication and setting realistic expectations to your partner.

1. The things I would like to be appreciated for…

The Book of Life didn’t cite any scientific studies, but instead they offered explanations behind each chosen question. A lot of the explanations correlate to the five love languages, so I recommend giving that a try as well.

 


 

I realize it may be un-romantic to take such a logical approach to dating and relationships, but I think most of you will agree that post-infatuation, love is just as much about the head as it is about the heart.

These questions don’t guarantee the perfect relationship, but they can at least help with effective communication. THAT, I guarantee, is a must for any relationship.