Daily Archives: June 16, 2006

Wrapping Up

No new words on Swan Sister today — I worked on writing proposals and did proposal-related research instead — but I forgot to post my new updates from Wednesday, so here:

Total words, Swan Sister: 11,954
Total new words, this past Wednesday: 741

HRH and I went to see Cars this afternoon, and it was brilliant, it really was. When we saw the original trailer long ago we kind of looked at one another and said, “Um, as genius as Pixar is, we really can’t see how this will work.” We’re very happy to be wrong. Liam will love it when we get the DVD, because there are an incredible number of wheel shots in the first eight minutes alone

I think my brain now switches off around eight at night. Long gone are the days when I could work till eleven. It’s a pity, because the evenings could be prime writing time. Ah well.

I had too many caffeinated beverages today and not enough real food to balance it. I’m going to have to have a rather large warm milk with vanilla (possibly two) and go to bed with a book. But first, laundry. My life is really too exciting.

And Suddenly It Was The End Of June

Well, not exactly, but awfully close. And if it’s late June, that means it’s time for the first announcement for the annual July 1 concert!

On July 1, the Lakeshore Chamber Orchestra will be giving a free (yes, free!) concert as part of the overall Canada Day celebrations with Pointe-Claire Village. We do this every year, and it’s always terrific fun.

This year’s programme includes:

Symphony no. 5, first movt – Beethoven
Symphony no. 5, first movt – Schubert
Symphony no. 40, first movt – Mozart
Suite from Evita – Lloyd Webber
Memory – Lloyd Webber
Suite from A Chorus Line – Hamlisch
Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffman – Offenbach
Overture, Orpheus In The Underworld – Offenbach

I’ll have to verify the start time for you all, but it’s usually 19h30 or 20h00. As always, this concert is being held at St Joachim Church in Pointe-Claire Village, below Lakeshore Road, right on the waterfront; you can take the 211 bus from Lionel-Groulx metro and it drops you right at the corner of Sainte-Anne and Lakeshore, and you just walk down Sainte-Anne to the lake and the church. Here’s a map to give you a general idea. I usually encourage those facing public transport to get together and coax a vehicle-enabled friend along by offering to buy them an ice cream or something. It works nicely, and it’s fun to go with a group. And hey, you can’t beat the price.

Free classical music! Soul-enriching culture! And as an enticing bonus, the fireworks are scheduled for ten PM, right after we finish, and the church steps are a glorious spot from which to watch them.

Write it on your calendar, and tell all your friends! The more the merrier!

Just What Does Amazon Sales Ranking Mean Anyway?

Brent Sampson has figured it out, and it’s remarkably unlike how one expects it to be calculated. Which in turn means that what it means is different than what one would suppose it to mean.

In actuality, the process is somewhat more convoluted than they let on. Only the top 10,000 books are updated every hour and the ranking does not depend upon the actual number of books sold, but rather, on a comparison against the sales figures of the other 9,999 books within that same hour. Simultaneously, a trending calculation is applied to arrive at a computerized sales trajectory. So, hypothetically, a book that held a ranking of 2,000 at 2pm and 3,000 at 3pm, might hold a 4,000 ranking at 4pm, even if it actually sold MORE books between 3-4 than it did between 2-3.

Books with rankings between 10,000 and 100,000 are recalculated once a day, rather than once an hour. Current projections, as well as historic sales information play a key role in these calculations. In fact, the predictive nature of the Amazon ranking system is what makes it possible for a newly-released book to outrank an older established title, even though the actual sales figures for the latter far exceed the former.

(Via Bookninja.)

Friday

Two things:

I just spoke with a staff member of the Canadian Revenue Agency about an odd notice I got in the mail saying “OMGyouoweusmoneyandwetoldyoubeforesopayitupnow!”, with no indication of what tax year to which it was related, or why it had come out of nowhere, or even of what it was a reminder (because 2004 was the first and only year I’ve ever had to pay tax, and what I owed wasn’t this amount — besides, it was paid). She was incredibly helpful, whereas the notice was not. Turns out it’s a GST thing from three years ago; looks like they’ve decided I’m not eligible for the refund and have to give it back, which is wonky since I never get a GST refund because our total family income is always too high. I’ll be calling the GST folks later for more info. The good news? She quoted me a number now due that’s lower than the number on the “pay-us-now” notice, not that it was a horrendous number to begin with. It was just more irritating to be told that I’m late paying something I was never told to pay and couldn’t immediately verify against my records because there was no reference number or year given.

Then I spoke with a staff member with the provincial Regie des rentes about our child assistance allowance, clarifying a name issue and a retroactive payment thing. He too was incredibly helpful.

It is mildly sad that I am surprised to have received clear and helpful service from two civil servants today.

In completely unrelated news we have a new-to-us mattress and box spring (thank you, t!), and it’s firm and comfy and I slept incredibly well last night. Of course, the sleeping well may also have had something to do with the amount of sushi eaten at the all-you-can-eat sushi place and the amount of sake imbibed on the moms’-night-out yesterday evening. And after I work on a couple of hours of consultant stuff this morning, then get an hour or so of my own writing work done (proposals, Swan Sister, that sort of thing), HRH and I are taking one of the movie gift certificates we got as a Christmas gift and going out to see Cars this afternoon, because it’s Liam’s day with his grandma!