Blog-o! Notes from

Fri, 31 Dec 2004
Approaching 2005

It's New Year's Eve. Blake and I invited a few people over, casual-like, but for one reason or another no-one is coming, so it's just the two of us. Delphine went to bed at 6:30 and we tidied up (I hate to start the new year with a messy house) and now we're watching Firefly and eating party food leftover from Christmas: stilton and crackers, chips and dip, peanuts, soda and gingerbread. I hope to be able to stay awake until midnight, although I don't expect I'll have a drink since I am once again in post-ovulatory limbo.

2004 was good to me, I must say. Nothing much happened; a trip to Florida, a trip to Las Vegas, a trip to Saskatchewan (I travel too much) and not really much else other than day-to-day life, with choir and visits to and from Morgan and Baba and Zaide, and baby things.

In 2005 I am going to:

  • have a baby
  • work (for money)
  • go back to eating healthy, and maybe even healthier than that
  • paint the kitchen
  • do some yoga
  • knit
  • pollute less
  • take Delphine swimming more

I'm looking forward to it; I think 2005 will be good to me too.

[Posted at 20:05 by Amy Brown] link

Today, Delphine spun around and around to the music of her 30-song musical duck, and then she staggered around drunkenly and giggled and giggled.

Today, Delphine separated a mandarin orange into segments. (She tried to peel it herself but that didn't go so well.)

Today, I cleaned up Delphine's high chair and put it away; she sits on a booster at the dining table now.

Today Delphine walked across the street to Starbucks with us without being carried once.

Every day is like this, full of little big things.

[Posted at 20:02 by Amy Brown] link
Tue, 28 Dec 2004
Nineteen Months

Delphine is not a baby any more. She is a full-on little girl. It happened over the last couple of weeks, but we just realized it today at breakfast when we were sitting at the dining table. Delphine was sitting on a booster on one of the dining chairs, eating her eggs and bacon and waffles with a fork, and drinking water out of a huge 20 oz glass. She's no baby. Blake and I were a little sad.

Good thing we're working on another one.

She is linking words together now; she started couple of weeks ago with "Baba hot tea" and now she's all about the sentence fragments. She says "Hello Thomas" (ah-no Momis) and "Daddy book" (all books are Daddy's book, I don't know how that works) and "boobie nap" (a boobie nap is when she nurses and naps at the same time) and lots of other things. Today she added a possessive "s", "Morgan's boots". And she's being doing plural s's for a couple of days. When we put her down to bed she says "two man-kents" (blankets); I must have said that one day and it stuck with her.

We got her a pair of Sorel winter boots, the classic winter boot (unfortunately not Canadian) and a new navy blue snowsuit, so she is all kitted out for the winter. Later this week if it warms up we're going to go to the park and play in the snow.

I finally got her into a daycare starting in mid-January; I'm sharing a full-time spot with a friend so we'll each have two days a week plus alternate Wednesdays, or whatever we decide. I'm pretty excited about it; I think it's a really good time for her. I think she'll enjoy all the people and activities and stimulation, and hopefully it will take some of the pressure off me to provide Activities and Crafts* and Edifying Experiences, and let me just hang out with my girl in the time we have together.

* I've read a few different "activities to do with your toddler"-type books and articles, and all of them included a multiple-page list of crafting supplies you will "need" in order to raise your child effectively. I have a two-bedroom condo, I barely have room to store pens. Give me a break.

The more I learn about daycares the more comfortable I am sending Delphine to one. There really isn't anything scary or horrible about the kinds of daycares we have in Ontario, which are basically pre-pre-schools run and staffed by degreed Early Childhood Educators. They have planned activities which cover all kinds of different development and all kinds of subject matters. I think Delphine will thrive in that environment; she's so smart and curious and loves new experiences.

I do wonder how she will deal with the other kids. Of the two other toddlers she hangs out with she is by far the most passive; if she gets into a tug-of-war over a toy she will always give in first and cry. I am curious to see what kind of tactics she will develop to deal with the other children.

[Posted at 21:38 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 23 Dec 2004
Why is Python slow?

I tried replying to this post from Peter Bowyer, but the comment submit form was behind an httpd-authenticated wall, so I figured I'ld post the reply here instead.

Have you tried posting to the Python Tutor list (, and asking them why your code is so slow? You'll probably get some interesting responses. A couple of things I've noticed off the top: You could replace this x = 0
bins = []
for x in range(MAXSTEPS): bins.append(0)
with this bins = [0 for x in xrange(MAXSTEPS)] which should be faster for a couple of reasons. First, list comprehensions are faster than repeated calls to append (I believe). Second, xrange should be faster than range, because it just returns the numbers one at a time instead of creating the whole list at once.

Here's some code showing how much faster that one change is: >>> t1="""x=0
... bins=[]
... for x in xrange(20): bins.append(0)"""
>>> t2 = """bins = [0 for x in xrange(20)]"""
>>> time1 = timeit.Timer(t1)
>>> time2 = timeit.Timer(t2)
>>> time1.timeit()
>>> time2.timeit()

As a side note, I ran: >>> t3 = """bins = [0] * 300"""
>>> time1 = timeit.Timer(t1)
>>> time3.timeit()
which takes half the time of t2 to do 15 times as many entries... Interesting. I'll update this with the results of the other tests as they finish running...

Okay, another thought. You calculate the distance every time through the inner loop, which seems really slow. Perhaps you could keep track of the distance, and update it in the call to walk?

Here are the results from running all of them for 300 iterations. >>> t1="""x=0
... bins=[]
... for x in xrange(300): bins.append(0)"""
>>> t2 = """bins = [0 for x in xrange(300)]"""
>>> t3 = """bins = [0] * 300"""
>>> time1 = timeit.Timer(t1)
>>> time2 = timeit.Timer(t2)
>>> time3 = timeit.Timer(t3)
>>> time1.timeit()
>>> time2.timeit()
>>> time3.timeit()

[Posted at 10:44 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 21 Dec 2004

I was listening to Maximum Geek 5 on the subway this morning, and was struck with the need to comment on it.

To start off with, damn Jeff and Josh (the two hosts) are some huge geeks! (And this coming from someone who wrote a Palm conduit to post to his weblog.) What I mean is that listening to them takes me right back to my days in the Computer Science Club at the University of Waterloo, complete with interrupting each other in the middle of sentences and misquoting Monty Python.

Second, Jeff Kirvin is perhaps the most naive, and I mean that in the nicest way, person I have ever heard speak. While I'ld like to believe that people would pay for content that I could get for free, I just don't have that much faith in human nature, and sadly, my experience seems to bear out my conclusions. I think that at this point in time on the Internet, paying for something is always harder than not paying for it, so you need to add some sort of value to the paying copy.

Which means that the New York Times has completely the wrong idea. It's true that they've cut themselves off from the rest of the web, and are only harming themselves by doing so. (They're a newspaper, why not make the current month pay-to-read, and open up the archives? Surely their main selling point is commentary on what's currently going on!) So, I have the following suggestion for Solo Media: Put up text-only versions of your serials. By "text-only" I don't just mean versions without any formatting, because given the existance of alt.binaries.e-books, and the fact that the first few doc readers couldn't support formatting, having a non-formatted version is clearly not enough of a difference to get people to pay. What I really mean "text-only" is that you should remove all the punctuation, and force capital letters into lowercase as well! It's very rare that people search for a comma, or a semi-colon, and most-if-not-all of the search engines are case-insensitive these days, so lowercasing everything won't hurt your searchability. It will allow people to quickly find which episode memorable text is located in (and approximately where in that episode it is), And it will even give people the flavour of the stuff you're writing, but it will also make it much harder to read, and probably hard enough that it won't be worth the time to try to fix it.

So that's my idea for you guys. Feel free to use it, and spread it around. I hope you like it, and may you grow rich off of it.

[Posted at 09:52 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 14 Dec 2004

Balloon: "a-boom-boon"
Thomas: "Mom-is"
Grandpa: "Mank-a"
Stroller: "Go-der!"

[Posted at 09:23 by Amy Brown] link
Sun, 12 Dec 2004

I just got my period. My first period since July 2002.

And it's appalling. It's revolting. It's disgusting. Why do we put up with this shit? It's like Nature herself is conspiring to oppress and humiliate women.

And to add insult to injury when I picked up my Keeper I realized that in the last two years it has degraded (it's natural rubber) so I'm stuck using the huge pads left over from after Delphine's birth until the drugstore opens and I can buy some tampons.

[Posted at 09:57 by Amy Brown] link
Sat, 11 Dec 2004

I hope y'all are reading the book list because that's the only part of this site that's getting any attention these days.

Winter is setting in. We got a gorgeous snowfall the other day, the kind with really fluffy flakes and no wind, so the snow heaps up on the branches and telephone wires and makes everything all pretty. It melted by the end of the day so I have no pictures, but I made a point of stopping and enjoying it and remembering it so I have a picture in my head, at least. Sorry, y'all are going to have to imagine it based on my inept narrative.

Today is Saturday. Delphine is at Baba and Zeyda's sleeping over because last night was Blake's company Christmas party. It was at Five Doors North, which is just a few blocks away from here. I got all dressed up in a new low-cut lacy black top -- very foxy -- and my same tired old ballgown skirt that I pull out for every event ever. I was way overdressed -- most other people were in jeans -- but I am grown-up enough that I don't care. I don't have anything else to dress up for this year.

We are hosting a party here, next week, but I don't think I want to wear my foxy top -- it's kind of tight. Okay for standing up or hiding behind a table, but when I sit it shows all my rolls so it's not good for sitting on an easy chair. I think I will wear brown pants and my new pink v-neck sweater. (My mother told me to buy new clothes for Christmas and she would pay, so now I have two pairs of pants and three sweaters that fit. What a treat! I look like I have lost forty pounds!)

Today I have choir practice at 10:00 because tomorrow is the concert: Messiah with the orchestra playing period instruments. We have done Messiah a couple of times since I have been with the choir, so we're really good at it note-wise which frees us up to do interesting things with tempo and expression and stuff. Jurgen is really excited. We've already sold out the concert -- Messiah is our cash cow, the piece we do when we need money to do a piece with a big orchestra that isn't going to attract much of an audience, which I think would effectively describe the other two concerts we are doing this year. Tomorrow's concert should be particularly profitable since we only have a small orchestra.

I am still full from dinner last night. The food was served tapas style, which is the new trend. Everyone gets a little plate and they bring the food to the table on big platters. I do not like this trend. First, there was no menu so we had no idea what to expect and it was impossible to pace yourself. I filled up on pasta and rice (the second course) because I thought that was all there was; all three starch dishes had meat in them so I didn't figure there would be a meat course, but I was wrong.

Second, it was very wasteful. Each platter from our table (of twelve people) was sent back to the kitchen at least a third full. Either they throw it out, which would suck, or they repackage it and give it to someone else, which would suck more. The only non-sucking option is that they give it to Second Harvest or some similar feeding-the-foodless-type organization.

Third, the people in the middle of the table spend half their dinner passing heavy platters back and forth, and you have to bother them every time you want to try something different. Finally, I just don't do well with family-style service; when there is food in front of me, especially tasty food, I eat it, even when I am full. It is why I am so fat. So I ate way way way too much last night; I was easily keeping pace with the pregnant woman beside me. Although it was really very tasty.

Oh, and I also had two amaretto sours, which the kind waitress brought for me after I flailed around trying to think of a fun fruity girly drink. I can never remember what cocktails to order, but amaretto sours are going to be my go-to drink from now on -- sweet, sour, bitter, and girly but not too girly. Sadly I might be a little bit pregnant -- I am in that post-ovulatory-pre-menstrual limbo -- so I hope if I am I didn't do any damage. It was kind of stupid, in retrospect; no-one knows how much and when you can safely drink when you are knocked up so I should have abstained altogether. I hope I didn't screw up.

[Posted at 08:17 by Amy Brown] link