How to make money on the Interweeb.

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.


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.


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.

Wisdom of Babies

In The Car

[Andy tries to get Delphine to do something.]
Morgan: She's not your monkey.
Delphine: Eee eee eee!
Amy: I guess she is your monkey.

In The Kitchen

Delphine: ManaNA!
Blake: Is "banana" the longest word she knows?
Delphine: MananaNA!
Amy: I guess not.

Links for Morgan

Morgan was saying she needs more stuff to check on the Internet, so here are some sites I think you all should read if you don't already:

Mimi Smartypants adopted a baby girl a year ago. Her baby is a couple of months older than Delphine. (When she first, um, got Nora it totally blew my mind that Mimi had an eight-month-old, and I only had a six-month-old, but I had a been a mother for six months and Mimi had only just started. I think I was jealous, and rightly so because it only starts to get good at eight months. All babies should start at eight months -- maybe I will send my next one to an orphanage for the first eight months. Or to Sascha and Leontine.) Mimi is very funny, especially the one where Nora feeds the cat.

Dooce has an eight-month-old named Leta who is much more of a handful than Delphine ever was, and also a very amusing constipation problem and a slightly less amusing (but only slightly) mental illness problem.

Okay, that's only two, but someone lost all my bookmarks so I'm groping blindly around the Internet at the moment. If I think of any more I'll post them, or you could just look at the list of journals over on the right, but I haven't updated that for ages and I can't guarantee any of them will be funny or interesting.

Some Stuff

For those of you who inexplicably check the blog before the baby gallery, there are new pictures up. Lots of new pictures.

She's napping now so I'm typing on borrowed time, so excuse sentence fragments.

Work: Have some, working for my father-in-law, liking it but then it's only a couple of hours a week. It's a nice change of scenery and it's good to be appreciated. The nice thing about my father-in-law is that he appreciates me. At least to my face; who knows what he says about me behind my back -- he's kind of notorious for bitching about his employees. That's fine with me, as long as he keeps the compliments and money coming. It's not like I never talk about folk behind their backs.

I'm hoping the daycare I put Delphine on the waiting list for will have an opening in January, which seems like forever but will eventually come. I signed up for two days a week, which will be just perfect. I think she will love it, and I think I will love being able to work again. It will be nice to be able to spend good chunks of time at the office and really make a contribution. Right now I feel like I'm just filling in holes and "helping out".

Delphine is sleeping well, from seven until six-thirty. If I were smarter I would be going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting lots of rest, but instead for the last couple of weeks I've been staying up late reading and watching The Daily Show and putting pictures on the web.

The US election is freaking me out. How can half the country want to vote for Bush? Honestly, how a country can be simultaneously so great and so fucked up I just don't know. Again, glad to be here and not there. It's also freaking me out how much of a news story the election is here; people routinely refer to it as "the election", not "the US election". "Did you watch the debate last night?" There's a local bar that's having a shindig on the night of the election, showing it on their TVs and having debates and such, just as they did with our election. (We will be watching The Daily Show live coverage, of course. I think I kind of have a crush on Jon Stewart.) It's horrifying how much effect the results of their election affect us, and yet we have no say. (Of course, and rightly so, but still horrifying. Just vote Kerry, okay, for the love of god? You can vote for Rob next time.)

I started taking square dancing a while ago, where by started I mean I went to one class and then bailed. The second class coincided with a condo board meeting, and since I'm president of the condo board I thought I'd better be there. When the third class rolled around I weighed the relative benefits of tromping around in circles with lovely old people to whom I would have to be friendly and polite, or sitting like a tumour on the couch, and the couch tumour won out. I would feel worse, but the idea of signing up was to get exercise, and the old dears move so slowly that there was really no exercise being got. I guess I should have seen that coming. Next time I'll sign up for step dancing or sword dancing or something. In the meantime I'm just trying to go out walking every day.

This weekend I'm going to dye my hair back to a decent shade of brownish-black. I'm still suffering the reddish colour it turned out when I tried to dye it light brown, and now it has the brown plus grey roots coming in as well. Nice. I'm also growing it out, which means it has been and will continue to be awful. I got a trim a couple of weeks ago, so it's less awful than it might be, and I will get another in December. My stylist seems to know what he's doing and to have a plan as to how to grow it out, which is heartening since in the past all I have done is just stop getting it cut. Perhaps this will work better.

I still need to think of a costume for Delphine for Halloween. So far I have come up with "70s Baby", "Ninja", and Morgan and Erik need a fourth for their Kiss costume, but they're going to a party and when bedtime is seven o' clock partying is out of the question. I am hindered by the fact that I do not want to spend any money, time or effort on the costume. Wish me luck.

A pEditPro/pEdit32 Conduit.

I've recently started exploring the world of writing COM-based conduits for the Palm in Python. I had one working for the PalmBlosxom application I've mentioned previously, and I figured that it wouldn't be a huge task to modify it to just copy any memos from the Memo32DB to files and folders in a directory. And it wasn't that hard. The biggest problem I ran into was trying to instantiate an object that I should have gotten from another object. The error message was a little misleading (at least to me, someone who hasn't spent a lot of time in figuring out COM error messages), but I finally realized what had happened by reading the documentation. And perhaps the most surprising thing was that I started development on my computer at work, and finished it on my computer at home, through the use of Subversion. I figured I'ld have to install a bunch of stuff on my home computer to be able to build the code, (it currently requires InnoSetup Beta 5, py2exe, wxPython, and Python 2.3,) but I guess I had all that stuff from the last time I tried developing something from home.

So, I invite anyone and everyone to give it a try. It'll only work for Windows users, but it should be fine for them. I don't know of any bugs, and I'm quite sure that even if there are bugs, it won't destroy your Palm's data (I do no writing to the Palm, so the data on it should be safe, right?), and you can always uninstall the conduit. That was one of the toughest things to get working correctly, surprisingly. There are a couple more features I'ld like to add before I feel it's ready to have a 1.0 version number. (Actual two-way syncing being the main one. And having a configuration dialog that wasn't just a big blank screen would be another. Perhaps switching to the C++-based Conduit API would be useful as well, for cross-platform issues, but I'm not sure how I could build a conduit that way.) And leave me some comments if you have any problems or suggestions, or even if you don't. I'ld like to see who's using the little tools I put out there.

Seventeen Months

Words Delphine Says

Cat. Duck. Ball. Daddy. Mummy. (She doesn't quite know who is which, though.) Baby. No. (Sometimes polysyllabically, Aussie-style.) Bubby (for my chestal region and the pleasures thereof.) Down, as a nice counterpoint to "up!". She sometimes says "Up please". Other times she just says "Up UP!"

Fifteen Month Stats, Finally

She was 22 lbs 11 oz, and 30.7 inches, meaning she had gained 11 oz and .7 inches since her one-year checkup. That's not very much; she's slid from the 95th percentile at birth to the 50th now. Yeah, I know they're not supposed to gain much in the second year, but more than that. Anyway, she seems bigger now so maybe she has had that growth spurt we've all been waiting for. Her next checkup is November 17th.

Height growth chart (in cm)
Height growth chart (in cm).
Weight growth chart (in kg)
Weight growth chart (in kg).

Sleeping, Eating, Teeth, Hair

Asleep She's still sleeping in the crib. The last couple of nights have been great, the couple before that not so good, and so on. It's a process. I'm surprised by how she has taken to it, though. After we go through our bedtime routine (diaper, jammies, teeth, nurse) she veritably lunges for the crib face-down, tucks all her limbs underneath her and goes right to sleep.

She has just started cutting her canines. Once they are in each type of tooth -- incisors, molars and canines -- will be represented, meaning she can eat anything we can eat. I don't buy much food especially for her anymore, apart from crackers and high-fat dairy products. She still loves tomatoes more than anything, and I don't think there's anything that she particularly dislikes, although she's not very interested in most things. Perhaps I am nursing her too much? I didn't think that was possible, but then I have only read the hippie attachment parenting books on the subject.

New hairdo I cut her hair for the first time yesterday -- the front is still really short, so I trimmed the sides and back so it doesn't look so mulletty. It's much better now, and she kind of looks older. I didn't do a fantastic job, technically; the sides look a bit hacked at, and there are a couple of wisps at the back that I couldn't get because she kept moving away, but her hair is haphazard enough in general that my clumsy efforts don't stand out.


All these dry factoids are inadequate to express what Delphine's like, how she is. She's so interesting, funny, clever. She loves to be read to, and to go for walks. She is fascinated by plants. She can stroke the cats gently. She dances to music, bouncing and turning around and rocking from foot to foot. She likes to clean up, walking around the house with a rag wiping things, and "sweeping up" with a whisk brush (really she finds the neat piles of stuff that I have swept, and flings them around with her brush). She loves to say no: "Nnnn-aaaa-oooo!" She is a hundred times more interesting now than when she was a baby, and I love to be with her. I miss her when she is sleeping or out with her auntie or grandparents. She is both lovely, and amazing, and I tell her so all the time.