Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hall of Honor

Grandpa Sam inducted into NSA Hall of Honor
NSA Deputy Director John C. Inglis, Samuel S. Snyder, Carolyn Snyder

photo by Joel Snyder

I've tried to disavow some of my geek heritage, mostly to claim a purely artistic path in this world. Truth be told, I have a rich personal history rooted in 1's and 0's, mine being just the latest in the family line. Today my grandpa Sam, that's Samuel S. Snyder, was inducted into the NSA Hall of Honor for his instrumental work in breaking the Japanese codes in WWII and developing one of the first computers for the government. My uncle Joel recounts it well here, with pictures.

I couldn't be more proud, Grandpa. [You saved the world, so I could blog about it. Thank you. ;-)]

From the official docs:

"MR. SAMUEL S. SNYDER made significant contributions to the development
of the modern computer, as we know it, as well as its specific
applications to cryptologic problems.

"Samuel Snyder began his career as an 'assistant cryptographic clerk'
with the U.S. Army's Signal Intelligence Service in 1936. He was one of
the first ten employees in that organization, which was a predecessor
to NSA. During World War II, he led large teams that exploited Japanese
army cryptosystems.

"Noticing that use of sorting machines for cryptanalytic support was
haphazard, Snyder suggested a more systematic approach to William
Friedman, and Friedman tasked him with developing it. Snyder's
innovations made special-purpose devices a strong asset in rapid
wartime exploitation of enemy communications.

"After the war, Snyder carefully researched what was known about the
new field of computing and in 1952 was instrumental in designing and
building ABNER, a then-sophisticated computer that took advantage of
advanced technology.

"During the 1950s, Snyder conducted in-house research and worked with
outside contractors to design and build three more powerful systems.
The last of these was HARVEST, one of the first general-purpose
computers. HARVEST greatly expanded NSA's computing capabilities, but
also had significant influence on the commercial computer market.

"In 1964 Snyder became an information systems specialist for the
Library of Congress and was one of the creators of the library's
Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC) system for bibliographic data. This
became an international standard for data sharing in research.

"Samuel Snyder's pioneering work in early computers led directly to the
development of the computer as we know it, and laid the foundation for
many aspects of the modern computing industry."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Beauty Queen

My sweetie modeled t-shirts as a fundraiser for a great documentary film THE QUEEN FROM VIRGINIA, about a Vietnamese refugee who wins the Ms. Virginia Senior America pageant. Message? We're all Beauty Queens; so go buy your t-shirt and wear it with pride!

Oh, and Dumbledore is gay (a whole other kind of queen)!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Boobs and Beaches

Last night we frolicked in West Hollywood in support of our friends (Michelle Wolff & Jill Bennett) who frolicked on-screen in tight clothing in beachy surroundings for the premiere of Dante's Cove.

Imagine my delight this morning, when I found an email from Clay Drinko with a YouTube link to the Lesbians: The Video where my sweetie and I cavort around in tight clothing in beachy surroundings!

Monday, October 15, 2007

caution: emotions in mirror are closer than they appear.

Todd (aka Ida Dunham) + Sweetie

[2 of my favorite redheads... Ida Dunham (aka Todd Sherry) + my Sweetie]

It was fabulous and hysterical and touching all at once...

My sweetie interns for the incredible gentlemen (Patrick Rush Casting) who put the amazing
"Best in Drag Show" shindig together, and it was an honor to be there
supporting their hard work. And as the crack sportswriter Kaki Flynn
puts it: since we "were four lesbians in a sea of thousands of gay men"
it was even more of a hoot, especially watching the celebrity judges
out-$-pledge Kathy Griffin to annoy her in the best way possible.

Sitting in the audience of the AID for AIDS benefit last night, tossing wadded-up dollar bills at drag queens and tearing up as check dedications like "In loving memory of my twin brother David" were read aloud from the stage, I realized that I hadn't attended an AIDS fund-raiser in person in years. If I'd written a dedication, there would be too many names to fit on the check. These events are always entertaining and always fun, and always tend to rip my heart out in the end.

My 20's are hitting me like a Mack truck lately; My salad days back in NYC, writing coming out plays off-off-Broadway, attending lesbian avenger kiss-in's, volunteering at GMHC, writing for Total New York, caring for my contemporaries with HIV and AIDS, discovering the City and myself and the outer boundaries of human suffering, cruelty and kindness. That was when I went to several AIDS benefits a week.

Guns have trigger locks; shouldn't memories? Some warning, at least - caution: emotions in mirror are closer than they appear.

Driving home from the benefit last night I realized how much I needed the literal change of perspective to L.A.. I had to break out of my comfort zone back East and scramble my point of view. It's a shame that it took all this heartache and money and frequent flier miles to figure it out. Can't wait to write NOW.