Sunday, October 15, 2006

Whimsy it is

A friend's question has prompted this post; I will do my best, Clint, to muster whimsy at this late hour, but you will be lucky if it even makes sense.

When I write about the books I'm reading, I usually hyper-link the title to the book's Amazon page so you can read more about it, and buy it if you wish. Turns out, I can (in theory) make a little money by doing so, simply by signing up as an Amazon Associate and then modifying my links to include my special Amazon ID code. Then (in theory), when my readers, who are legion, click on the links, they are tagged as Browsers Who Came to Amazon Thanks to Kat, and any purchases they make within twenty-four hours (for any items, not just the ones I link to) earn me a Tiny Little Finders Fee.

In theory.

The reality, I am finding out, is somewhat different. Either:
a) My readers are not legion;
b) My readers don't buy books;
c) My readers have unwittingly already been tagged by other, less charming and definitely more deceptive Amazon Associates who create programs to randomly tag people as they roam the internet, so that my little tag has no place to hang his hat -- there's no room at the inn; not a square to spare; that train has sailed. You get the picture.

Option a) is impossible, of course; you can see from the plethora of comments as well as the many requests to post more! more! more! when I have the occasional dry spell, that you number in the teens at least. I find b) only slightly more likely, not because my readers, who are legion (see above), don't read, but rather because many of you are known, card-carrying, library card, uh... carriers, and also maybe spend your money on better things (like famine relief, or organic dark chocolate). That leaves us with c), the Tag Pirates. This, though frustrating, is a blessing and a curse, and for the same reason: I can do nothing about it. Yes, it stinks, but think of the time I save by being totally unable to change the situation!

So, my tags are set, and maybe someday I will get credit for a sale, my little tag sobbing before the Academy, "You like me! You really like me!" But there's not a whole lot I can do until then -- except, of course, write. For my readers. Who are legion.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Excuses, excuses

So, last time it was, "I'm too busy," and this week it's, "I'm too sick." But you don't want to hear it, I'm sure, so now that I am up and moving about I will put down a few thoughts that have been keeping me company lately.

For starters, we have a new car. Not an actual new car, of course -- the day I buy something off the showroom floor you'll know I've been taken over by an alien lifeform. But for us, a 2000 Mitsubishi Space Gear is a huge step up from the '93-ish Toyota Zace that we've been driving. There are bells; there are whistles; there are two TV screens and a built-in refrigerator. (No lie.) It is certainly the nicest car we've had, but I'm not totally comfortable with that. Perhaps it's not the frills that bother me, but rather just the idea that I no longer drive a Zace in Taiwan. Old Zaces are all we've ever driven here, and I love them. Manual transmission, no power steering -- no power anything -- but totally utilitarian and unfussy. And, I guess, a little bit romantic -- for all its dings and doors that don't always open and windows that leak in the carwash, it's a great roughin' it car, and captures a bit of Taiwan in its funkiness. Yet now we're in a silver mini-van. A very comfortable mini-van. I am leery of too much comfort; I think it makes you weak. The reliability, though, is a good thing. And seatbelts for everyone. And room for visitors. And karaoke! Did I mention the karaoke? It really is a hoot. Come see us and we'll take you for a spin. You can have first dibs on the mic.

In other news, Nora starts preschool next week. She turns three on Monday (already!), and Tuesday heads off to Sunny Kindergarten (which is actually quite shady, but who would send their child to Shady Kindergarten? Who knows what bad habits she'd pick up there). She is very excited, had a great time when we visited last week to make arrangements, and is looking forward to the big day. Our little friend and neighbor, George, will be in her class, so I'm hopeful that his familiar face will help ease the transition. I am excited to have a few hours to myself twice a week, for Bible study on Tuesdays and writing/editing/napping on Fridays. I'm also eager to hear our little red-head start chattering in Chinese. I think she'll do fine.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006