Blog-o! Notes from

Thu, 30 Sep 2004
A New Start.

I got a new computer at work on Monday, and so eagerly switched over all my data to it. But I didn't install all the various programs that were on the old machine. Partly because I had a ton of stuff installed, and my registry was a complete mess, and partly because I wasn't working on a lot of the tasks I used to work on, and so didn't need the tools installed anymore. But one of the results of this is that my oh-so-clever palm-memo-to-weblog-entry conduit isn't installed, and indeed, the components it relies on also aren't installed, so while I have a perfect chance to write and test an installer, I haven't even started that yet, so all the weblog posts I'm writing there are likely going to be delayed by a few days or even up to a week.

Boy was I ever right there. It's taken almost three weeks to get that entry posted. But now my conduit has an installer, and is packaged up into a dll, and registers itself and everything, so I should be able to send it off to other people with just a little more code in the installer. I'm kind of pumped. And apparently other people are interested in doing something similar, so my little bit of code might get released in a couple of other places too. But for now, you can find the conduit, and the setup script which builds the dll and the installer here. (The code is in the conduit directory, and the script is in the root.)

[Posted at 14:26 by Blake Winton] link
Thu, 09 Sep 2004
How I got to work this week.

For a while now, I've been meaning to bike to work. It's healthier, less crowded, more relaxing, and costs less than taking the TTC. Okay, so the two middle reasons are kind of made up, but the first one has been getting more and more compelling, and just recently the last one has taken on a new urgency. I calculated that I was spending $19 per week travelling to and from work, and since we had to scrimp on our last grocery trip, having an extra $20 in the fund would have made a fairly large difference. So I started biking to work. It was fairly easy on the way there, but much harder on the way back, and it wasn't made any easier by my working out just before the ride home, nor by the fact that it's mostly uphill. The next couple of times I tried it, however, it was much easier, probably because I'm getting more used to it. So, without further ado, here's the path I take to and mostly from work, with some annotations.

1. This is by far the easiest way for me to get started. It isn't marked on the map, but there's a series of laneways there that take me right to the start of the Belt Line, an abandoned railway track that was turned into a bike/jogging/walking path quite a while ago.
2. Zoom! This big curvy section is all downhill, and there is a total of one stop sign on it. There is also a lot of traffic, and some speed bumps, so on my way to work I get to zip by a billion cars, and feel extra fast. Of course, with every good comes a bad, and on the way back I nearly die trying to get up the same hill. (I take the path just to the right on the return trip.) The first time I rode up it, I stopped halfway up. The next time, I geared down to 1-3 (where the first number means the easiest gear of three on my front wheel, and the second number means the third easist gear of seven on my back wheel). The next time, I only geared down to 2-1. And the last time, I was still at 3-4 when I hit the top of the hill. I spend most of my time on flat roads switching between 3-5, 3-6, and 3-7, so my eventual goal is to stay in that range on large hills. At which point I'll probably look into changing the ratios of my gears, so that I can get more speed on the flat and downhill portions of my trip.
3. For something on a signed bike lane, this is a remarkably hard street to cross, since I have to jog over half a block to get to the new bike lane. The right turn at the light isn't so bad, but the left turn from the major road onto the side street can really suck rocks if traffic is moving. I hope they improve it, but I can't really see a good way for them to, since that's just the way the road goes. It's also a pain coming the other way, involving a left turn at a light onto a major street.
4. I always miss this on the way back, leading to discussion #3 again. (I actually did a little more hunting around, and I found out where that bike lane actually starts, and ends up, and I think I might take that route more often now.)
5. There's a light at John and Queen, but not at Beverly and Queen, so I always cut over a block here, because crossing major streets is a lot easier when the traffic stops for you.
6. I actually lock my bike up about ½ a block north of the door into my office, partially because it's right outside the back door to my office (which is exit only), and partially because it's less likely to be used by the bike couriers who are also tenants of this building.

And that's my transportation. I've skipped a couple of days for various reasons so far, and I expect I'll continue to skip some days, but I am getting a lot more exercise than I used to, which can't be bad. I'm really pretty excited about it, which you could probably have guessed by my creating an entire new category just for this post. Surely I wouldn't do that if there was only going to be one post here, would I? On the down side, I now want a lot of new toys for my bike, like a bike computer to tell me how far and how fast I've gone, and clipless pedals, and maybe a more comfortable seat.

[Posted at 14:05 by Blake Winton] link
Mon, 06 Sep 2004
Books Good

In the past, as you have been unfortunate enough to witness, I have been miserable about my life, feeling like it's not going anywhere or I'm not doing good enough or I'm not achieving anything or whatever. Recently, however, that feeling has subsided. I'm feeling mellow, like whatever needs doing will get done, and I'll be able to deal with stuff as it comes up, and I'm not a big loser. It's refreshing!

To what do I attribute this change? If only I knew. But I'm working on a theory that it has something to do with all the books I've been reading lately, really good books about normal people living their normal lives. Like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Clare Callan and The Brothers K. I don't have a lot more to this theory, other than that maybe reading all these books has made me pull my head out of my own ass and think about other people instead of just sitting around worrying about my own "problems".

I also haven't read any parenting advice books lately, I bet that helps. There's nothing that makes you think your life is so significant than reading a book all about what's wrong with it and what you have to do to make it better.

By the way, the reason for all these books is that I finally got off my ass (actually got on my ass) and figured out how to use the Toronto Public Library inter-library loan system on the Internet. Now I barely have to do more than think "Huh, I'd like to read that book", and I get a call from a nice recorded lady telling me that the book is waiting for me at my local branch. It's amazing, except that About a Boy, Due Preparations for the Plague, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, A Fine Balance, and Quicksilver all arrived at the same time, just after I had taken out The Brothers K. That's almost 3500 pages of book. Good thing I also know how to renew over the Internet.

[Posted at 20:36 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 02 Sep 2004
First Words

I think I can officially declare that Delphine's first word is "up!" Spoken imperiously while tugging on pant legs or holding up a book to be read. She also says "Hi" and "Byebye" (actually "Buh-bye") but it's hard to tell whether she knows what they mean. "Buh-bye" is always accompanied by waving. She also makes a credible attempt at "Zeyde": "Tz-da", but she definitely doesn't know what (who) it means.

In other news, she's sleeping pretty well in the crib. She wails a few little wails when we put her down, and then drops off to sleep and stays there until about 5:00 am or 6:00 am. Then we bring her into bed and I desperately try and catch another hour of sleep while she has breakfast. I would like her to not cry when we put her down, and I would like her to not wake up so early, but I do not know how to go about effecting either of those things. I suppose I could go back to the advice books I scorned so thoroughly earlier, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet.

She's eating pretty well, although I'm breaking a couple of rules in order to get her to eat: I don't sit her down in her high chair and feed her. Instead, we hang out in the living room and I give her bites of whatever she's having while she toddles around and plays and hangs out. She seems to eat more that way. I only do that for one meal a day, though, and for the other two I make her sit properly. It's not bedlam here, you know.

The other rule I break is that I let her wander around with her sippy cup of milk, which is supposed to be bad for their teeth or make them obese or something. In general I'm not doing a great job looking after her teeth. She won't let me brush them, and I don't know what the hell to do. Every few days I poke at them ineffectually with her pink and yellow baby toothbrush while she clenches her jaw. Maybe one day she'll actually let me in there. Anyway, I'm sure my parents never brushed my teeth as a baby, and I turned out fine! (A sound and popular argument among proponents of many a lousy parenting technique.)

My friend Tanya from pre-natal class and I are both poking idly at the idea of doing something productive with our lives; me working for my father-in-law to earn money to buy a dishwasher, she making a documentary about her husband's family's pursuit of Native status, or something. Clearly she is far cooler than me. Anyway, to that end we need someone else to take care of our babies while we do our shit. We bandied about a few ideas, and finally settled on each other! We're going to trade a few hours of child care a week. I'm a little nervous -- make that terrified -- about looking after a second toddler, but it's worth a try. Maybe it won't be so bad? It might be fun, even. And one day soon (I hope) I'll have to look after two kids all the time, so this will be good practice.

Oh yes. I don't know if I should post about this because it seems like an overshare (I know, I've overshared so much, why stop now? Because I've finally realized that family reads this sometimes is why.) Anyway, I still haven't got my period back, and I'm getting impatient, so I've decided if I'm still not fertile by the end of the year I will wean Delphine. It will suck, but I don't want my kids to be years and years apart. If I were my mother I would be six months pregnant with my second child already. So, the clock is ticking for Miss Delphine's love/love relationship with my bosom.

[Posted at 22:08 by Amy Brown] link