Q&A with a ChicagoNow blogger: Listing Beyond Forty – If Grace Hopper and Bob Fosse had a Love Child

Q&A with a ChicagoNow blogger: Listing Beyond Forty – If Grace Hopper and Bob Fosse had a Love Child
The disturbing love child of Bob Fosse and Grace Hopper

One very cool part about being a writer and blogger is the opportunity to meet and get to know other writers and bloggers.  Another cool part is that all bloggers come from different walks of life and have very different perspectives on life and writing.  I guess if there was one thing in common about all bloggers it would be that there was nothing in common.

 When Jimmy Greenfield, our fearless blog-father, came to the ChicagoNow blogging community with the idea of interviewing and being interviewed by other ChicagoNow bloggers many of us jumped at the opportunity to be paired with a blogger of Greenfield’s choosing.  I was chosen to interview Kim Z Dale who writes the blog “Listing Beyond Forty” which started out a couple years ago as Listing Toward Forty”  Yeah, it took me a couple minutes to figure it out but you can do it.

 Kim and I touched base and decided that we would get together via Google Hangouts which didn’t work mainly because my audio was muted for some reason on my webcam on Google Hangouts but we decided to Skype instead and it worked fine.  (a little plug for Skype)  I don’t blame Google Hangouts.  It is probably because my computer is old enough to remember parallel printer ports.

 Kim is a computer geek of the highest order and originally started her blog with ChicagoNow in 2012 as Listing Toward Forty which was a direct rebellion against the idea of creating lists of things to do before one would turn 40.  Every week she would create a 40 item list for each of the 40 weeks leading up to her fortieth birthday that had nothing to do with turning 40.  The first week was 40 “Unattainable Goals” or things that she wouldn’t be able to do before turning 40.  Of course the title of the blog created a built-in end date which required the revised blog name of Listing Beyond Forty.  We can do that because blogging is always fluid.

 Kim’s blog is a very eclectic mix of postings dealing with a combination of Internet Data Privacy and just about everything else that life throws at you. 

 Both of her parents were commissioned officers in the U.S. Public Health Service and she traveled around quite a bit as a kid.  She has lived in Arlington, VA; Pittsburgh, PA, Billings, MT; Pinetop, AZ; San Francisco, CA; Columbus, OH, New York, NY; and Chicago.  If you had to pin her down to a hometown it would be Pittsburgh where she spent 14 years followed by Chicago at 7 years.

 Kim admits that she was a geek from a very young age.  She started coding (programming) on a TRS-80 computer that had a cassette player as a drive at the age of 8.  I remember the TRS-80 as that cool looking thing at Radio Shack.  That was of course before ATARI.  Once ATARI came out who cared about that TRS-80 thing.

The TRS-80 ("Tandy/Radio Shack, Z-80 microprocessor")

The TRS-80 (“Tandy/Radio Shack, Z-80 microprocessor”)

 Most of her moving around was as a child and she more or less settled in Pittsburgh receiving her B.S. in Computer Information Systems and her M.B.A. at Duquesne University. 

 She learned of a Masters Program at Carnegie Mellon University having to do with an important emerging new field of study and received her Master’s Degree in information security policy which is the field she calls home at this point.  She actually started out as a COBOL programmer which is utterly old school when it comes to programming but as Kim said, “It was very tedious and programs didn’t get cranked out fast but they were extremely reliable and stable not like some of the “buggy” programs that are being developed now because the programmers are under the gun to finish them in record time. 

 When it comes to Data Privacy, Kim considers herself a “Privacy Pragmatist”.   She went on to explain that some are “Privacy Radicals” in that they believe that  no one should be collecting any information via electronic means on individuals and Kim feels that with conveniences there are certain trade-offs that one should be willing to make or at least have the choice to make when providing private information to a third party.  Currently there are organizations gathering huge amounts of marketing data on individuals who may or may not know that their Internet searches and footprint that they leave when surfing the web are being tracked.  It is the policies and education regarding that part of Data Privacy that Kim enjoys most.

 While she was in college she was also actively involved in the theater program which I thought was impressive for someone who considers herself an introvert.  She loves choreography and playwriting and was writing plays right up until she became a mom and at that point her priorities shifted a bit. 

 When you are doing an interview you MUST have your canned questions ready on a moment’s notice and during a lull I sprung it on her!  “If you could pick any person alive or dead to have a conversation with, who would it be?”  She didn’t really pause at all and answered, “Bob Fosse and Grace Hopper”.  Those are two people that you would probably not catch having drinks together but I think really represented Kim’s personality and her blog.

actor, dancer, choreographer, director, screenwriter, film editor and film director, Bob Fosse

actor, dancer, choreographer, director, screenwriter, film editor and film director, Bob Fosse

You have the outgoing, jazzy, extroverted personality of Bob Fosse mixed with the intelligence and disciplined nature of a woman who achieved the rank of Rear Admiral in the Navy and was also a programming genius who developed the first higher language compiler and was credited with sparking the development of the COBOL programming language that Kim used at the beginning of her career 20 years ago.

Rear Admiral and digital pioneer, Grace Hopper

Rear Admiral and digital pioneer, Grace Hopper

 I asked Kim another canned question about where she saw herself in 10 years.  She cracked a smile and said, “Who really knows!  Probably reading, writing and raising two teenagers which scares the crap out of me!”

 Yes, Kim you should be afraid, be very afraid, in fact the name of your blog at that point might be, “Running, kicking and screaming back to forty”.

 Catch Kim’s blog at Listing Beyond Forty

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