Saturday, 22 February 2014

Away for a while...

Well, just a quick note to say that I am still here, and I'm now a parent :)

Everyone is doing well, all three of us are just adjusting to the new routine and so there may be a lack of posting here for a while :)


Sunday, 9 February 2014


No, I'm not going to start singing to you :)

I've had a rather uneventful week again - things are 'going' at work. Every time I get something finished (another chore checked off before going on leave) I start on something else and obviously want that to be finished as well!

I have had a bit of fun this week though - I have started our welcome document for new developers. It's not an 'On-boarding' document because that word makes me cringe and brings up images of stiff corporate offices where people are not allowed to think for themselves.

No, the place I work for is very informal and so I have tried to keep the document informal as well.  Maybe too informal - I am waiting to hear what the other team leads think!

I was happy though as it wasn't my job to write it - but the others were busy and I could see it never being done. Three hours of thinking with the keyboard and I think we have a good basis that simply needs to be completed, and of course implemented (we currently have no fixed welcome  process, it's all a little off the cuff...). I'm quite proud of it really!

The second document I wrote was going to be a cheat sheet for Scrum as a way of bringing it back into focus in the Scrum teams and helping the development teams and the product owners understand the responsibilities they have, and how they can make it work more efficiently.

It's not really a cheat sheet any more - in fact I think it is now a 7 page document :)

But, it's finished and either I, or another of the Scum Masters (should I be on leave) will be going through it with the Scrum teams over the coming weeks.

And... My Scrum blog, that has a grand total of one post still, is going to have a few entries based on it.  I wonder what feed back it's going to get...


Yesterday I was watching the  latest episode of Hij is een Zij and for the first time it had me in tears. In fact it completely screwed up my entire morning.

One of the women went back to her school with her brother, revisiting their childhood. It sounds like she had as good a time in school as I did. An emotional, gentle person who was constantly bullied because of it (the fact that I never backed down to the bullies, a trait I picked up from both of my parents, didn't help me either). Not wanting childhood photos to be used in the program due to the feelings those photos bought up.

Slowly my eyes filled, and then that was all that was in my head for the next few hours.

It's amazing what you think you have left behind, but actually is lying just under the surface.

I'm fine by the way, it's nothing that is going to cause a spiral in me (that is more than 20 years ago now - I feel old!) it's just something that hit me at the time.

And of course the update...  Well I have time to write this, so I'll let you guess :) (Everyone is doing fine btw)

Saturday, 1 February 2014

When is something offensive?

4 weeks ago a new program started on Dutch TV – Hij is een Zij (Literal translation: He is a She). Quite a few people in the office had told me about it, but I had not got to see it until last week when I found it on the Dutch catch up TV app.

I really like the presenter of the program, he tackles quite a few difficult subjects, and it never feels like he is making it sensationalist.

And this one is no different; I think they have tackled the subject quite well. There have been a few complaints about the use of pronouns at the start of the program to explain what the program is about. And it is very much he was a she, she was a he. Kind of like the title itself. But, this is a program trying to introduce this subject to people who haven’t a clue. You have to start somewhere, and I can’t think of a good way to do it…

In the program we are introduced to various transsexual people, male to female and female to male. They are all at different stages of transition and all at a different stage of life. Some of the program is more interesting to my colleagues than me (I know rather too well what the process is ;p), some of it is quite upsetting – seeing other people going through the same things I have gone through, listening to my life told by other people. Of course not everything is the same, but there are a lot of similarities in the feelings that people described.

There was one part that really made me have to laugh though. It was with two female to male guys on a beach having just been surfing. The presenter asked why, when they were wearing wetsuits, did they have big, baggy Bermuda shorts on over the top. There was some embarrassed smirking from the guys, looking around a little, and then: “Well, the wet suits are really tight and, well, there is nothing there – it's not something we want people to see.”

Why did I laugh? Well, because there is a reason I don’t wear some of the outfits I really like. Skinny jeans with a nice top and jacket, looks great, but… If I wear skinny jeans I always wear a long jumper or dress over the top. For the same, if opposite, reason as the guys in the show J

The reactions online here have been mixed, with some people really feeling for the people on the show. Some of them feeling outraged that the people appearing have been used to make the show (I have to say that looking at it I don’t see it that way), and of course the trolls that crawl out of their caves and write crap about the people on the show – who obviously completely missed the point! Thankfully there were not that many trolls; progress? Overall, the show is very sympathetic, showing the lives of those involved and the way it has affected themselves and the people around them. The difficulties faced and the good things that have happened.

The reactions of my colleagues have shown just how good the program is. I’m quite open about myself in the office. They all know just what I am going through, and seeing as 90% of the people I am working with also worked with him I don’t see the point in being coy about it. I do have one small rule though. If someone asks a question that could result in a too much information answer then they could well get too much information. If you don’t want to know, then don’t ask. But still, there is so much that they do not know to ask – just how it affects me, and what the effect on my life has been; both the good and the bad. This show shows that side, and I think has been a good for my colleagues and myself.

The title of this post is there as I can see why people think it is offensive to reveal someones history on TV. I can see it as something that would mortify me completely, whilst people who know me, know me, those who do not - and those who get to know me now - have no reason to know my past. It does not affect them, and is in no way relevant to them. And yet I don't find this program offensive as some people online have. These people were not coerced into doing the program. They were brave enough to go on the show and tell their stories. The program has treated them with complete respect, not taken anything as a joke, and the presenter has supported the people on the show when they were doing something very hard on camera. I only think this can be a good thing, and the people on the show have my admiration for having the strength to appear on it!

I also wanted to write about a conversation I had yesterday. Considering I have been living as Stacy as two years now it’s maybe odd that it has had this effect on me.  It certainly seems that way to me, and yet it still pretty much made my day.

I have recently moved offices – or rather I now spend my time between two desks; two days at my old one and three at my new one. Yesterday I was working at my new desk.

About half way through the day a colleague popped in to ask about gift ideas for someone who will reach their 5 year milestone next week.  I’m not going into details about what was discussed (just in case someone who I work with is reading this and give the game away ;p).

But, there were two guys, me and the other female programmer in our team in one of the rooms discussing this and the guys went a little over the top with their ‘fun’ ideas that all four of us were discussing.  Afterwards the guys left to go into the town centre to get the gifts and my colleague just gave me ‘that’ look and said, “Guys just don’t have any idea do they, Stace?” That comment made my whole day!

Like I said, after more than 2 years this sort of thing shouldn’t mean that much to me, and yet…  Big smiley face!

One final thing before I go – update! No update J  Someone is still very happy where they are!