Sunday, December 30, 2007

E-book vs. paperback price

I was looking at books about open heart surgery recovery and given that I don't have much time before surgery I was going to have to get super fast (and more expensive) shipping. I found a website for one of the books "The Open Heart Companion" by Maggie Lichtenberg. Through the website you could purchase the paperback for $20, or the e-book which was also $20. I thought it was a bit rude to charge the same for an e-book, but given the tight time frame, got it anyway.

I also sent an email to the author saying I thought it was a bit rich to charge the same costs and she replied very fast (which I was rather impressed by), and said

"Truthfully, from the hundreds of grateful comments I continually receive from heart patients and their caregivers who read/use the book, I consider the information I provide equally valuable whether provided in a paperback book or in an e-book format, hence the $20 price."

If she believes the information is worth $20, surely the paperback would be more expensive given the printing costs. When you buy the e-book, you get directed to a link and given a password to access the PDF.

I would expect an e-book to be at least $5 cheaper, since it's more of a pain to read and you have to print the 204 pages yourself. Anyone else got thoughts about this?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Surgery on Thursday

We're home safe and sound after a trouble free trip to Australia, and are on the count down to my open heart surgery (5 more sleeps). I can't wait to get it over and done with!

I go in on Wednesday the 2nd for the pre-op stuff, then 7:30am on Thursday for the surgery itself. So by the time the Aussies are waking up on Friday (and by mid-afternoon Thursday US time), the surgery should be almost over. Keep an eye on Andrew's blog for updates on how I'm going.

And if anyone's considering sending flowers, I would appreciate it if you didn't... I don't particularly want to risk being allergic to them and be sneezing after having my chest cracked open! :-)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Off to the land of Oz

I'm currently sitting at San Francisco Airport waiting for our flight to Sydney. We've got 6 days in Sydney, 4 in Canberra, then 11 in Brisbane (or something like that). There's so many people I can't wait to see!

Every single day we have things planned, and we really have no time free - so much for a holiday :-)

We get back on the 29th of December, then have my heart surgery on January 3rd (with pre-op stuff on the 2nd), so the next couple of month are going to fly by!

I hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas and New Years. I'll try to update before the surgery, but if not, check Andrew's blog for an update of how I'm doing.

Finally got my 2 front teeth for Christmas!

I lost one of my front teeth about 20 years ago and the adult tooth didn't come through because the root was wrapped around the tooth next to it. After multiple surgeries to get it to come down, they finally removed it.

From early primary school to Grade 11 I believe, I had no front tooth. They couldn't do anything until the teeth had all come in or something, and by that stage there was only a small gap where my front tooth should have been.

So many years of braces to try and increase the gap to make space for a tooth, I finally got a fake tooth on a plate - yayyyy! I only spent most of my entire schooling with no front tooth (thanks orthodontist!), but I was very pleased to finally have something.

I finally started the process of getting a dental implant around May last year. The first surgery was a complete failure, so I went to a second surgeon resulting in a much better hunk of metal in my head. Once the titanium rod had time to properly fuse around the bone, I could get the next stage to expose the rod to get the final permanent tooth fitted. Unfortunately I was pregnant then, so they wouldn't give me a local anaesthetic, and therefore I had to wait until just recently to get the last bit done.

It took 4 visits to the dentist (should have just been one!), but it's finally done. it's been a long, frustrating, embarrassing 20 year saga, but I finally have my 2 front teeth in time for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

2 years in the US

As of November 30, I have been in the US for 2 years (so now 2 years and 5 days). I can't believe it's been 2 years already, time has absolutely flown by.

In the last 2 years I have:

  • Fought with all sorts of Government agencies to get myself all documented up
  • Worked in 2 jobs - VMware and Google
  • Driven most of the West Coast
  • Been to 10 different (relatively big) cities across 6 states- Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles, CA; Reno and Las Vegas, NV; Phoenix, AZ; New York, NY
  • Been to 4 State/National Parks - Yosemite National Park, Muir Woods (which is actually a National Monument as part of National Park Service), Woods Canyon Lake (part of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest), Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
  • Skiied at 1 ski resort - Squaw Valley
  • Been to a bunch of tourist attractions (off the top of my head) - San Francisco Zoo, Napa and Sonoma wine regions, Alcatraz, Monterey Aquarium, Disneyland, Statue of Liberty, Winchester Mystery House, Filoli Mansion, Hollywood, Empire State Building, Seattle Space Needle
  • Seen 3 bands - Crowded House, Missy Higgins and John Butler Trio
  • Been to 3 shows - 2 Cirque du Soleil shows and Stomp
  • Stayed in more hotels and motels (and RVs!) than in the previous 25 years before that combined
  • Started my Bachelor of Business
  • Gotten pregnant and lost a baby
  • Been properly diagnosed with a heart condition and found out I have to get open heart surgery
  • Volunteered at an animal shelter (started that almost 2 years ago)
  • Adopted 3 great kitties and fostered a bunch of kitties
  • Run a feral cat trap-neuter-return program
  • Made a heap of amazing friends
  • Had many visitors
  • Driven 32,000 miles in the car (51,400km)
We have done so much since we've been here and had some truly amazing experiences - both good and bad - that we've both grown from. We've signed up for another 2 years year, so I hope the next 2 years have as much happiness and exploration, but not as much sadness!

Monday, December 03, 2007

iMovie '08 rocks

The kitties got a new toy called Da Bird which they LOVE playing with. I took a couple of little videos and went about making a video using iMovie on the old Mac. We bought a new MacBook Pro on the weekend which came with iLife '08, which includes iMovie.

The video I started on the old Mac was a bit of a pain to do - it was slow, and there wasn't many features and it was a little annoying to use. As well as that, right near the end of my video, it crashed and I lost everything.

So this time, I uploaded those videos and a couple of new ones to the MacBook Pro and checked out the new iMovie. It's so much easier to use, much more user friendly, so much faster and has great new features. Now you just move the mouse over the little clips that it makes and it plays video which makes it easier to select little chunks you don't want to delete them.

It took me maybe a third of the time to make a much longer movie with better editing, add a soundtrack, adjust the sound and light levels of the movie, remove my voice from it, add in the transitional bits, and even add a little ending. I am very impressed with how easy it was. I imagine there'll be lots more movies to come. As well as that, it saves as it goes along so if it DOES crash, you don't lose everything. What a novel idea :-)

Then to make life even more exciting, I right clicked on my project and one of the options that came up was "Publish to YouTube"! Yep, it definitely rocks.

My only one complaint is with the old iMovie, you could easily chop up songs to have it start from a particular point in the song, whereas with the new one it didn't seem to give any option for chopping up the song. I was happy to start from the beginning of the song, so didn't look very hard.

So here's the video of the kitties playing:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Fabulous and easy meatloaf recipe

I don't want to lose this, so I'll put it here to share it as well :-)

1 1/2 lbs mince (we used buffalo last time and it was fantastic)
1 onion
4 egg whites
1 cup salsa
3/4 cup oats
1 pkg Vegetable soup mix
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mix all ingredients together except for ketchup and push into greased meatloaf pan
Add ketchup on top (I don't measure the ketchup, I just squeeze it into pretty patterns on the top)

Bake for 1 hour and enjoy!