You know you're from Saskatchewan when...

I am having something delivered to my parents' house, and apparently they need the street address to deliver it. But no-one in rural Saskatchewan gets mail delivered to a street address, so I only know their PO Box number! I had to use Canada411 to look up my own parents.

Strange Conversations in IM

[14:50] Skiff: о
[14:50] Skiff: привет
[14:51] Skiff: сообщения дошли?
[14:51] Coder: I'm afraid I don't speak Russian.  Perhaps you were looking for someone else? 
[14:51] Skiff: omg :)
[14:52] Skiff: do you have a GLATCO Credit Union enroll accounts?
[14:52] Coder: Nope. 
[14:53] Skiff: sorry
[14:53] Skiff: b
[14:53] Coder: No problem.  I get it all the time. 
[14:53] Coder: Have a nice day. 
[14:54] Skiff: thx :)

Well, that was odd. Can anyone translate the stuff at the top, and leave a comment letting me know what it says?

You can take the girl out of math...

... but you can't take the mathie out of the girl. The Globe and Mail's review of the movie Rent ends with the phrase "a series of hand-waving production numbers."

Vague, unconvincing production numbers?

No, wait! Hand-waving production numbers! (Girl waves hands.) Now I get it!

She's Fine

We went to the cardiologist for Cordelia's follow-up visit, and as suspected she's fine. The doctor couldn't find any abnormality in the EKG or the ultrasound. Like Dave said, it was just a startup problem -- "Device driver not initialized" or some such.

We do have to hold off on stimulant decongestants for the next six months or so, though, just in case. Obligingly enough, Cordelia came down with a cold last night. Fortunately we can still give her nasal decongestant spray, bar none my favourite cold remedy, so we did that and soon enough she was sleeping soundly.

(Mystifying) Conversations with Delphine

We're reading Franklin Rides a Bike. It's all about how practicing at stuff makes you better (a lesson, incidentally, that I didn't learn until I got to university, and then it was only when I noticed how much better my typing was after spending so much time on But I digress.) Franklin Rides A Bike says "Fox tried and tried [to hit a baseball], and one day, he hit a home run!"

Delphine: And who else hit a home run?
Me: I don't know, who else? Delphine?
Delphine: Yeah. And Mummy! And Cordelia!
Me: Did Zaida hit a home run?
Delphine, in the tone of one speaking to the village idiot: No! Zaida's a boy!

Huh. I wish I could get into her head and figure out what she thinks a home run is.

Delphine can't pronounce "l"s. It's not a big deal -- you're not supposed to be able to pronounce everything until you're five. But it gives her a unique accent, and I am always interested to see what she substitutes for L. Franklin is "Frankwin". "Mary had a little lamb" is "Mary had a yittle yamb". And Cordelia is just "Cordeeya", with a long Italian-style double-e.

I think she also uses "f" instead of "th", but I am so used to her accent that I don't really notice. (This happens to me a lot -- I will get so used to mentally translating accents that I forget people have them. I'm especially good at Chinese accents, but it kind of blew my mind when I talked to a Chinese guy in England, at my last job. Instead of having a Canadian Chinese accent he had an English Chinese accent. It took me a few seconds to recalibrate my accent filter and figure out what he was saying.)

Three More Books

Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

I wanted to know what happened next, so I read this book despite having heard, on numerous occasions, that the other Anne books aren't as good as Anne of Green Gables. Well, they were right. This is almost comical in it's not-as-goodness. Lousy characterization, telling-not-showing, awkward dialogue. I don't know what came over LMM, but it wasn't good. I wonder if her other stuff is good, or if Anne of Green Gables was a freak occurrence.

Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering by Robert L. Glass

Why am I reading about Software Engineering? Because I have decided when I grow up I would like to be a software manager. Not a librarian or a teacher or an opera singer or a photographer, or any of the other interesting things which have come to mind in the last, oh, ten years. No sir, I am plunging headlong back into software, with ambition, this time. Ambition to become... middle management.

How do I know it will work out for me? Because I am reading books like this. For fun! And it was fun, and interesting and edifying (since it is pretty much the first book I have read on the topic.) Fortunately Glass is not skimpy with his references, so I have a whole list of other books to look up*. Some of which I remember from the shelves of the Computer Science Club. Oh, how far I have come to be back where I started.

* Most of which the Toronto Public Library doesn't own! Argh! Do they care nothing for software engineering? I will have to see how well their "buy this book for me" system works. Also, if anyone has any recommendations on the topic, I would be glad to hear them.

Trickle Treat by Laurie Boucke

This is a book about how to potty train your baby from infancy. The theory is sound and the author gives a pretty good description of how to implement it. However, as with so many other parenting books, it is bogged down the author's sense of superiority and her disdain for those who parent any other way than hers. She even goes so far as to imply (based on a single anecdote from a friend) that diapering your child and subsequently potty training in toddlerhood will emotionally damage your child for life. I am surprised the attachment parenting folks haven't gotten ahold of this method, it's right up their alley.

Also the name makes me gag.

I'm calling you out!

From conversations with various people, I know that there are a lot more of you out there reading this weblog than have commented, and it's a little strange having this one-sided conversation. Or, rather, it's strange when I see you in person, and you already know everything that's happened to me, so I'm left with little to talk about other than the weather. So the third Friday of every month, I'm going to call one of you silent lurkers out, and ask you to post a reply to this message letting me know how you're doing, and what's happening.

So today's victim is Jay Deen. Jay! I know you're out there! Introduce yourself, and tell me what's going on in your life.

The times, they are a' changin...

So my role at the company is changing slightly. Due to a manpower shortage, I'll be back doing some server development. Fortunately, I sort of know my way around the modules this time, and so I don't expect many surprises to crop up. So, to make my life both simpler and more difficult at the same time, I've decided to try out a new IDE. That's right, instead of using IDEA, I'll be giving Eclipse a trial run. It hasn't been too bad so far, but I'm still kind of getting it set up to do the things I need it to.

My three main motivations for using Eclipse on this project are:

  1. I need to look at C++ code at the same time as Java code, since that's the only documentation we have for this project.
  2. The savings of an IDEA license are not inconsiderable.
  3. The co-worker who is working on it with me prefers Eclipse
Are they great reasons to switch? Maybe, maybe not, but they're good enough reasons to give it a try for a while. It helps that I have been using an older version of Eclipse for my Python development, so I'm a little familiar with it.

Not again...

Yup, it's raining, and I'm commuting. And so what happens? I bail. This time I was changing lanes on Queen Street from the center lane, across the streetcar tracks, into the outside lane in preparation for turning right. Now, on a dry day I can take those streetcar tracks at about a 10° angle, but with the metal and pavement being all wet, I guess I needed to be crossing it a little more sharply. Anyways, down I went. I have a couple of slight abrasions on my elbow and knee, but neither of them hurt as much as wiping it down with the first-aid pad. And it's another lesson learned, making two.

  1. Don't use your front brake in the rain.
  2. Don't cross streetcar tracks sideways, especially in the rain.
At this rate, I'll have enough lessons to write a book by the time I'm 80.