Blog-o! Notes from

Wed, 28 Apr 2010
New Pictures

I was once again lured by the siren song of Flick'r, and posted pictures from December, January to April, and Ursa's birthday party there. I thought it would be easier than posting on the local page, but in the end I got tired of editing and saving all the caption text, picture by picture. Next time I'll go back to posting pictures on the local page.

[Posted at 21:16 by Amy Brown] link
Fri, 16 Apr 2010
Cool stuff coming soon.

I’ve been reviewing a patch from Andreas and Standard8 which adds lightweight theme support (aka personas) to Thunderbird. It’s so cool that I couldn’t resist taking a screenshot, and posting it for you all to see!

Pretty new persona

It looks like there’s a good chance the code will make it in to Thunderbird 3.1 beta 2, so with any luck, soon your Thunderbird will be a pretty as mine.

[Posted at 09:55 by Blake Winton] link
Sun, 04 Apr 2010
Easter Sunday 2010

Blake and I went for a bike ride today while the girls were out swimming with Baba and Zaida. I didn't really want to go, but Blake does so love to ride his bike, and I don't mind biking. So off we went, and went up some steepish hills and down a slightly scary one, found some nice nature to bring Delphine to, and lost contact with my butt. And that was, as they say, all well and good, but the interesting thing happened later.

I felt great.

My back didn't hurt, my foot didn't hurt (I've had plantar fasciitis for, like, months), and I had enough energy to run up and down the sidewalk flying a kite with Cordelia. I didn't realize how bad I'd been feeling lately until I stopped feeling bad, and clearly part of the problem is the utter lack of aerobic exercise I've been doing lately. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do about that...

Cordelia and I fought today. Not the screamy angry kind of fighting, but silly punching kicking fighting. She was hitting me as hard as she could, and of course I was just play hitting. It's never come up before, so I have no idea of the etiquette of playfighting. I suppose it's not done to playfight at all any more, but she's just so cute when she snarls at me with her perfectly straight tiny teeth, and thumps me with her tiny ineffectual fists. It's like being menaced by a chinchilla.

We watched Prince of Egypt today, admittedly a week late for Passover. I had forgotten how great that movie is. We bought it, so we can watch it as often as we like. Every Passover! We don't do anything else for Passover, apart from eat a lot at Baba's house, so why not create our own traditions?

[Posted at 22:10 by Amy Brown] link
Sat, 03 Apr 2010

For the next version of Thunderbird, Bryan Clark, Andreas Nilsson, and I have done a lot of work to make it easier to upgrade your profile from Thunderbird 2, and we would like to hear what you think of it, and how we can make it even better.

There are some things we’re particularly interested in (mostly on the “Disk space” tab), such as:

  1. Are your existing settings preserved?
  2. If you have no previous settings do we choose “Do not Synchronize” by default?
  3. For those of you who choose not to synchronize your messages, does that appear to work correctly?

We also have some more general questions, like:

  1. Does it look okay? Do the sizes seem correct?
  2. Do the options make sense, and how can we make them clearer?
  3. Do the buttons work the way you think they should?

You can download the builds for various Operating Systems at the following links:


Mac OS X


And please leave your feedback on Mozilla Messaging’s GetSatsifaction Topic by the end of day on this coming Wednesday (April 7th), so that we have time to tweak the code and the design before the deadline.


[Posted at 22:08 by Blake Winton] link
Thu, 01 Apr 2010
What Up?

I used to have a blog here, but lately I've been busy with this paying job thing and haven't been blogging much. I have about eighteen million books to blog about, and everything else. This is going to be the everything else post.


Delphine is nearly seven and she's become all happy and patient and agreeable. Well, not all, but more than before. She sometimes doesn't respond when Cordelia tries to fight with her; she sometimes goes along with me when I ask her to do stuff she doesn't want to; she is usually happy after school and she seldom complains about her day. She's no Pollyanna, but she's not quite as emo and gloomy as she has been through most of the last year.

Delphine had her first piano lesson last Saturday. Piano lessons now are so much cooler than when I started playing: instead of starting with "this is a staff and this is a quarter note" it starts with "these are your fingers and this is the keyboard" and you plunk away, and notation is introduced as needed and no sooner.

So Delphine loves piano. She couldn't wait to get home to practice, and she has practiced every day this week.


Cordelia is still happy, sweet Cordelia. She tells me she loves me eighteen million times a day and she does little dances. She loves her friends, too—she and Anna won't go into the kindergarten playground without the other.

I wonder, sometimes, if Cordelia's always going to be the sweet, frivolous contrast to Delphine's darker personality. No, that's not quite right. What I wonder is how Cordelia's bubbliness will make the transition to adulthood. Where is she going to get that gravity that surely adulthood demands?

For now it seems like along with gloominess, Delphine also has a lock on scepticism, bookishness, and intellectualism (inasmuch as a six-year-old can be intellectual). Cordelia's only "things" are that she runs really fast (and a lot) and sings well. I guess I worry that Delphine's going to be "the clever one", leaving some other identity for Cordelia. I suppose even if she isn't "the clever one" she'll still be clever and she can always leverage that in whatever she ends up doing with herself.

Anyway, there's nothing so sure as that they'll be what they'll be and I have much less control over what they'll be than I'd like to think.


As for me, I have got myself a paying job. I'm copyediting and laying out a non-fiction book for self-publishing. A while ago I said that I didn't think copyediting would be a great job for me because it's so picky-picky; as it turns out it's a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I do love to proofread things, and even the totally anal stuff is kind of cool. I like knowing what kind of dash to use (even if I don't always bother to use the right one) and whether "BCE" has periods or not. And the meticulousness you need to employ to keep track of the style decisions you've made is right up my list-making alley.

I do need to reread Strunk and White, and some other writing books, just to clarify what makes good writing good, and I feel like I should put my hands on some style guides. (I wonder if people buy those on paper or just, I dunno, subscribe to them online or something.)

This working gig is going to have to get a lot more real in September. I signed Cordelia up for daycare when she was just over a year old, and as it turns out she got in. She starts in September at the daycare at the school. I won't have Delphine in daycare ("It's not FAIR!") but I will send her to school with a lunch, so my work day will be from 9:00 until 3:00. My plan, such that it is, is to work a twenty-hour week, leaving me ten hours a week for such frivolity as housework, exercise, reading and getting my nails done. Maybe I'll skip the nails and read more.

I'm reading a rather intense (but very useful) book about starting a home-based writing business. The author is quite intent on my making a business plan, planning further education, budgeting, marketing, and all that sensible, grown-up stuff. I almost feel like I can't waste my time doing that stuff when I could be doing billable work—kind of like the kid who runs his bike all the way to school because he doesn't have time to get on. I'm also resisting doing all that business stuff because somehow I can't take myself that seriously as a professional freelance writer and copyeditor. Clearly I'm going to have to get over that, but fortunately I have a few months to do it.

[Posted at 22:09 by Amy Brown] link

I've been thinking I should really take some driving lessons to get over my fear of scary big city driving. Since I already have a driver's license, I don't need actual in-class lessons, I only need a few hours in one of those cars with the extra set of brakes, so I emailed a couple of driving schools to see if I could do that. Here is what I received in response from AllWheels Drivers:

were do you live and do you have ontario G1 licence.
IF YOU ONLY HAVE SASK. licence you will have to get your G1 licence inder take driviong lessons.

I shit you not, I didn't change a single letter of that email. If you're keeping track, that's three spelling errors, two missing capital letters, one missing question mark, a whole lot of pointless ALLCAPS, and one incomprehensible phrase ("inder take driviong lessons"?)

I was going to send a polite email explaining why this isn't a good way to handle customer response, but it seems I can't be bothered and would just rather blog about it here. I'm passive-aggressive like that.

Since then I've received a recommendation for another driving school from a friend. I won't be emailing them.

[Posted at 20:33 by Amy Brown] link