Welcome to my little home on the web!My name is Kira Grothoff, and this site is pretty much perpetually under construction.
I’m a computer geek/code monkey, occasional tech writer, linguist, researcher, and constant troublemaker who lives in scenic Munich, Germany with her evil German husband, Christian, and our amazing little boy. I spend most of my time trying to avoid ever returning to Southern California, even for money.
I am currently a researcher in the Faculty of Informatics at the Technische Universität München under the Chair for IT Security. My primary research revolves around distributed private negotiations, but other research interests are in privacy and censorship issues, anonymity, and steganography. I was a guest researcher at Fraunhofer AISEC (formerly Fraunhofer SIT-Munich) from 2009-2011, and I was a member of CERIAS (Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security) at Purdue from 2000 to 2005. I also worked as a research assistant both with the Purdue CS Secure Software Systems Lab on the OVM project and with the Purdue Sign Language Linguistics Lab on automatic recognition of American Sign Language (ASL).
Photos and additional personal stuff are available on my blog, and professional information is on the professional page or on my webpage at TU-Munich.
If you’re looking for enlightenment, well… you’re in the wrong place.
SOME RANDOM FACTS OF NO PARTICULAR IMPORT:
- Once upon a time, I was Krista Bennett. Now the name just sounds weird to me.
- I’ve lived all over the US and in a couple of countries: Utah, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wisconsin, California, Indiana, the Netherlands, and (currently) Germany.
- If I had to pick any of those places to go back to and stay, it’d be Amsterdam or Milwaukee. Lovely, lovely places.
- My marginal “home” is Wisconsin, though I haven’t been back in a long while.
- I was named after a Playboy Playmate. Seriously. Not kidding. Clearly wishful thinking on my parents’ part.
- Then again, my mother was a beauty queen. Really.
- My Erdős number is 3. This should make up for the wishful thinking, but it doesn’t really.
- I’ve written five novels. Someday, I’ll get the nerve up to try to publish them. No, really.
- I was a music major when I started college. I still miss it desperately.
- I’ve been many things – data entry monkey, preschool teacher, au pair, programmer, engineer, screwed-up college dropout, doctoral fellow, instructor, food service worker, research assistant, tourist shop clerk, etc.
- None of these things were as hard or as wonderful as being Mama.
- Everyone asks linguists how many languages they speak. This is because people confuse “linguist” with “polyglot”, which is silly.
- For the record, I speak two languages actively – English and German (which gives me headaches) – and can use many others with varying degrees of competence.
- I used to speak fluent Spanish, pretty good Dutch, and passable French. I would probably have gotten arrested using my Japanese or Italian, and probably could have told Thor I was not a giant in Old Norse/Icelandic. I remember more with beer and the right mindset.
- I live in Munich with my lovely husband, Christian, and our amazing son. Germany drives me crazy about half of the time, but this is mostly due to nosy older people. I’m hoping I’ll get over it.
- I am an advocate of the Oxford comma, but I always feel naughty when I use it.
- Yes, I left the US on purpose. No, I don’t plan to return. Maybe someday I’ll explain why in detail, but for now:
- I’m not naïve
- I’m not idealistic about the whole thing – Germany isn’t utopia
- I’m not some sort of traitor (why do Americans always jump to that conclusion?)
- I’m very happy with my socialist health care, six weeks of vacation, and social services, thank you
- I’m really worried about you guys. Things have really gone off the rails back home. You all need to get your shit together, stop listening to Fox News, and fix things. And seriously, get off the whole light bulb thing. No one’s stealing your precious bodily fluids.
- I’ve become terribly boring in my old age. Unless, of course, you make me laugh while I’m eating cheese soup. Then I’m boring, but there’s likely to be cheese soup shooting out of my nose, which has to score me a couple of points.
- No, I still haven’t seen Big Bang Theory. Please, stop asking. I’d like to, really, if only to see Evil Wil Wheaton, but it just hasn’t happened. Seriously. STOP ASKING
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