Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013, among other things

Wow, I can't believe this is my 1st entry of the new year!!

(Warning, this is SUPER wordy)

Firstly, I would like to apologize to my readers for the lack of updates... I know I'm blaming the pregnancy again but it's true, especially after hitting my 3rd trimester all I want to do all day long is eat, marathon tv shows, and sleep.

It isn't just the blog I'm neglecting - that day I realised I let my armpit hairs grow to a record-breaking length due to the infrequency of me leaving the house.

I've got not much to blog about really, all I'm busy with is making a baby, and I'm not sure swollen limbs, constant backache and how fitfully my baby is kicking will interest you guys. (Update: This is false, ended up I wrote A LOT about pregnancy)

But since some of you are asking for updates on the pregnancy... Well, I'm 29 weeks along now, which is a little over 7 months... The baby is estimated to be due on April 9th, but my mother, who had 2 premature pregnancies, kept telling me that the baby will be born earlier than that.

She's freaking me out.

Not that a few weeks will make a big difference, but I just feel a bit panicky how soon my whole life is going to change and I'm not sure if I got everything ready for the baby yet. I haven't even got my cot and the baby's room is still PINK!! It needs to be repainted blue!! Smart move woman, so much for "Woo I want the guest room pink because I don't think I'd get pregnant so soon and it might be a girl anyway".

Transitioning from the 2nd trimester to the 3rd brought along a few discomforts, namely as mentioned, backache and leg cramps.

I cannot sit down for too long without a cushion behind my back, and if I sit with my legs dangling (like a normal sitting position in a chair) my legs will start to swell and cramp. I have to sit cross legged or somehow prop my legs up. Same for standing up - I can do it for a max of 15 mins before feeling like I want to die. -_- I feel so... old.

My weight gain: Pre pregnancy I was 38kg and now I'm 49.3kg. I hope I don't gain much more than 14kg in total so I have another 2kg to go, but I don't feel hopeful about this because I'm eating like a pig.

Belly at 7 months

Stupid, stupid Megan Fox had to spoil the market by gaining only 10kg and she lost it all by now. BYATCH. Never mind Wendy, look at Jessica Simpson.

The good parts: So far, I haven't gotten any stretch marks!! I had 3 very mild red lines on my boob that day but they seem to have disappeared. Speaking of boobs - I am totally shocked at how ginormous they have become. When I try on old bras I can't believe how I used to be that size. I used to wear 70B and now I'm 80 or 75C. I don't like the new boobs - I've never been a sexy person and I think the giant tits look so matronly and vulgar.

And big boobs make bras SO uncomfortable. Even after buying new fitting bras and among them many ugly comfortable wireless ones, I STILL HATE WEARING BRAS. One of the best parts of coming home is to take off my bra and throw it somewhere. Ok I know most of you girls would like bigger boobs so I sound totally irritating and ungrateful like one of those bitches complaining about how they never ever get fat so I shall shut up here. The good news is - even if you have small boobs, like me, they might still swell to ginormous sizes during your pregnancy!

Other good parts: I am totally grateful that I've gotten so many interested sponsors for the baby!! He is one super lucky kid!!

On the 2nd of February I'm going to Mothercare to pick up my beginner baby kit... Since I have NO idea what I need to get, I'm glad Mothercare is going to have a specialist there to guide me along and give advice. They also provide this service to all new expectant (and lost, like me) mummies!!

As the due date draws closer I'm also more and more worried about childbirth itself and how painful it is. I've been considering between a natural birth and a C section, mostly because I'm quite worried that the baby will be too big to go through my narrow hips. Will my pelvic bones crack and break?

But my gynae said I should just go for natural unless a C section is necessary so *gulp* I guess I will go for that. PLEASE don't let my vagina split to my asshole. That would be such a pain in the ass. (*cue dry laughter*) Stupid Qiuting told me that happened to her friend and I am petrified.

I'm definitely going to take epidural though - I just don't see why it is necessary to go through all that pain if it can be helped.

Also, I HATE all those judgmental mothers who give you the stink eye just because THEY went through an au naturale water hypnotic birth or whatever, so even though I am the most pain-tolerant person I know, I'm going to take epidural just as a middle finger to these sorts.

I'm sorry, but just going through more self-inflicted unnecessary pain during childbirth does not automatically make you a better mother!

Did I already mention I have a thing where I fly into a rage once anyone even vaguely hints that I'm being a bad mom? Well, I do. I've been blocking and deleting idiots telling me not to dye my hair/eat certain food/sleep earlier/wear flat shoes etc.

STFU, JUST STFU. Nobody gives two flying fucks whether you are only concerned for me and my baby ok? I don't need your concern - you are merely a stranger to me and for all I know you could be giving me wrong and stupid advice. Which most likely you are because let's face it, empty vessels make the most noise. If you are not a gynecologist or midwife please stop telling me how to handle my pregnancy. Some of these advice givers are KIDS even.

I don't really know how to explain why it is SO infuriating when people keep dishing pregnancy advice to you. Afterall, most of them meant no harm.

I can only say you will understand once you are pregnant, and my agony is magnified thousand-fold because I made my pregnancy a "public" thing.

When my friend got pregnant in 2010 I was very excited about her pregnancy... We weren't close enough to always meet up so I'd always check her facebook for more updates. But to my surprise after her initial announcement and some preggie status updates afterwards, she no longer talked about the baby at all.

For a few months I was scared to ask her why, because I thought she perhaps lost the child. But eventually I did and I asked why she no longer talked about her baby online... She said she didn't want to because these naggy people kept dishing her advice and telling her what to do. She hated it.

I was really confused and at that point thought she was crazy... I thought it was mean of her not to share when some of us genuinely care, just because of some of the irritating people. Surely they shouldn't be such a big deal?


Just imagine - you are the only carrying your child. It is inside you and you love it with all your heart and want the best for it.

But all these people, who are sacrificing nothing for your kid really, keep correcting your parenting decisions like you are a selfish, bad person. Some of them are moms and are clearly judging you and insinuating that they are better moms than you are.

It isn't that bad if they are family or friends, but when they are complete strangers?? Even worse!

What makes these people think they can tell others what to do with their bodies or their lives?

Imagine if you are a fat person and you dine in KFC and every 2 minutes people keep stopping by your table and warning you of heart attack and clogged arteries. Imagine if you are using your cellphone and people keep tapping you on your shoulder saying it will cause radiation and cancer (as proven as hair dyes are harmful to fetuses). Imagine you saved your money to buy a Chanel bag and people keep saying you should be donating to the poor instead when you bring it out. Imagine going through criticism like this everyday for 9 months.

All the above are annoying, but at least they don't insinuate that you love yourself more than your child, which makes you a monster.

People think that just because a baby is innocent and needs to be protected they have a right and worse, an obligation, to do some of the parenting for you. But even social workers don't harass families unless there is proof the child is being neglected.

I'm not doing anything that my gynae doesn't approve of. I'm not smoking, not drinking, or bungee jumping.

I've have enough family and friends to give me advice and help with the baby - I don't need bits and pieces of unproven, internet-found hearsay like "they say pregnant cannot eat ice cream" (actual advice given to me) from strangers, thank you.

If you are so genuinely concerned about innocent babies being harmed I suggest you stage protests outside abortion clinics. 

Please, don't bother yourself with mine. He is FINE.

Ok rant over.

Another question I've been asked... What am I going to name the baby?

After much discussion Mike and I decided on the name


His first name is pronounced Dash-uhl not Da-shiel. The original spelling is Dashiell with 2 Ls but Mike said one L looks nicer. The name has no meaning, but it originated from the French surname Da Chiel.

Initially I wanted to name him Tristan, after the lead in one of my favourite movies Stardust, but Mike said he knew a kid from elementary school called Tristan who eats his own boogers, so he was adamant against it. -_-

One day I saw the name Dashiell on a baby names website and it was listed as similar to Tristan (although it really isn't). I immediately liked the name and found it vaguely familiar...

Then I realised it is the name of the little boy in my favourite movie, The Incredibles:

His name is shortened to Dash in the movie but his real name is Dashiell Robert Parr.

Suggested the name to Mike and he likes it so it's decided!

As for the middle name Marquet, it is supposedly the name of a French dude that Mike's ancestors rescued on a ship or something, and it has been passed down to the first born sons, so I guess our kid will take the name. Not too sure how his ancestors will feel as all the the Marquets have been white until now... It is pronounced as Mar-cat.

Ok enough about Dashiel and pregnancy, let's move on to topic 2:

Blogger and the Great Blog Deletion

Do you guys have a mental list of the worst things that can possibly happen to you? Well, I do. I guess the top of the list is people or pets I love dying or being severely hurt, but waking up to my blog being completely deleted and gone is among the top 10 definitely.

And that's what happened 6 days ago.

After since my blog got hacked and deleted in 2005 the idea that it could happen again has haunted me ever since.

I took extra precaution to make sure it won't happen again... This time I backed up my blog entries, made sure my password is complicated and unguessable enough, and transferred my Blogger account from "Xiaxue" to another unguessable username so nobody can hack me.

But still, I woke up to my mom giving me a panicky phone call while I was sleeping, saying my blog has been "removed". She isn't very technically savvy (although I must say she is one of my biggest fans, viewing the blog several times a day) so sometimes she makes mistakes like keying in the wrong url etc, so I just told her "Don't be ridiculous, how can be?"

She said "You go check ok?" and hung up. I checked on the iphone. Indeed it was gone. All that was stated is that the blog has been removed, no other information. The next thing I did was to check Qiuting's blog to see if it's a Blogger problem or outage, but her blog was perfectly fine.

My heart racing, I tumbled out of bed and ran like a mad woman to my PC, which if you saw, you would have been like "OMG please don't run with your big belly"... Turned on the computer and checked my Blogger dashboard (the administrative panel). To my horror, there were 4 other blogs I owned that were still there, but the main, this one, is GONE. Just disappeared.

I changed my password hastily but the more I thought about it the less I thought it is possible that I got hacked. If I did, my password would have been changed and all of the other 4 blogs I owned would have been deleted but they weren't.

I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could do at all. I called my web designer Lionel and he couldn't access the blog either.

Blogger provided me no explanation email, nothing. They provide no support services and there wasn't even an email I could write to to demand a "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?". The ONLY thing I could do is to write in their STUPID FUCKING FORUM.

I HATE HATE HATE their fucking forum.

Just take a look at this SHIT. Hundreds of people a day all flooding the forum with their Blogger related problems.

The people giving answers are extremely condescending and curt, and if you are rude to them they delete  your thread and lock it up.

When you post there you can't help but feel so SMALL, like your problems don't matter to them, like you are just ONE of the many idiots with a Blogger issue that should be patronised with a canned generic response. 

If it isn't solved, too bad for you.

But from my experience I knew this was the only option I had, so this is what I posted.

As I read on, more and more people posted in the forum saying their blog, too, have been deleted by Blogger for no explanation at all. Some stupid guy called "Nitecruzr" answered everyone with the same reply, saying that their blogs were pulled for "spam". Google mistook their blogs for a spam site and just deleted it - no warning no explanation.

When people questioned or were upset about this, he locked their threads. All you can do is to post on the stupid forum, and wait indefinitely for a review. Some people don't get their blogs back at all. I was so distressed and upset looking at the sheer amount of people which this happened to. They may not earn their living from their blogs like I do, but many mentioned they have blogged on Blogger for many years and I'm sure they all treasure their blogs very much.

Luckily enough for me, I had a friend working for Google's PR and the Nuffnang peeps also had contacts from Google, so they tried to help me find out why the blog was gone.

1 day later I had an email from Blogger's Product Manager. He told me that my blog wasn't pulled for spam like Nitecruzr said - it was removed due to the detection of malware. He said that the immediate removal was for the safety of viewers and in their hastiness they didn't notify the bloggers whose blogs have malware and were working on doing so.

Up till today I have no idea where the malware came from. And worse, my blog was completely deleted from the dashboard, so how can I even fix this problem? And is the blog deleted forever??

It took Blogger 2 days to reinstate my blog back into the dashboard, but this time round it is Locked... I was to remove the malware (which wasn't told to me is what or where) and submit my edited blogskin code for a review.

The review itself took 3 days. Every single day was filled with anxiety and fear... I didn't know how long it was going to take to get the blog back. I had advertisers to answer to. Every hour the url said my blog is removed means a risk of a permanent loss of readers I've worked SO hard for. This blog is my life.

I understand that the malware is my fault but why did Blogger have to completely delete the blog from the dashboard when they could have just locked it? Why was there no explanation given to me till I kicked up a big fuss? Why couldn't they tell me how long a review was going to take instead of making me wait indefinitely?

I can't anymore... This is the last straw. I've used and mostly loved Blogger for TEN years now. TEN.

Throughout these 10 years so many others have left Blogger for Wordpress, Tumblr etc but I haven't. I always believed we could work things out.

Time and again Blogger proved to me that they don't give a shit about their users. They are tyrants, and I guess they have a right to be because us bloggers are not paying users.

It didn't use to be that way... When Blogger was first bought over by Google I thought it was fantastic - with such a big company backing them Blogger would surely be improved.

But it didn't.

Blogger used to have a support email service... The people from there gave me personalized and timely help when my blog got hacked 2005.

Biz Stone, co-founder of Blogger (under Pyra Labs), himself replied my distressed email and helped me. Now Biz has moved on and is the co-founder of Twitter so I doubt he has time to reply random emails anymore, and all the help I could get is from the stupid condescending, uncaring forum.

Time and again Blogger made major changes and never bothered to ask the opinions of their users or even forewarn us.

In 2010 Blogger rolled out "Auto Pagination". A fancy name for a bullshit move. What this means is that there is a bandwidth limit on what you can post on the main page. For example, I used to set the main page to show 7 blog entries. With auto pagination, if my newest post is too long, my main page will only show ONE blog post.

To see the next post readers will have to click on the "next page" button.

And since, as you can see my posts are always very long, this means my main page sometimes shows only ONE post. I was furious about this because:

1) I tell advertisers that their adverts will be left on the main page for at least 7 days... This ain't gonna work now is it?

2) Internet users are lazy. Believe it or not it takes lot for a reader to click on "next page". If, to a new reader, the first post is boring, they may bother to scroll down to read the next post to give the blog another chance, but they will not bother to click the "next page" button. Instead, they will rather just leave and don't come back.

Did Blogger even inform us that auto pagination was going to happen? No. I was so confused for days before I saw a tiny little post on a related Blogger blog about this.

I kicked up a big fuss on the forum and all I got was cutting replies (I believe from stupid Nitecruzr again), giving canned responses about how this decision saves Google so much bandwidth a month and how people were abusing the system by having very long main pages. He also tried to lecture me on how a long main page takes a long time to load and will cost me readers. *rolls eyes* As if I need him to teach me about readership!

There was nothing I could do about this. I even offered to be a premium user by paying monthly so I can not have auto pagination, but I just got ignored.

At this point I wanted to move to wordpress already. But upon migrating to wordpress, I realised my photos, hosted on Google Picasa, do not show up. Sneaky bastards set it such that they can only be viewed on blogspot. So I just tolerated auto pagination.

Second straw:  I've always set my photos to 640 pixels wide. Suddenly Picasa shrunk them to 488 pixels wide. My archives were heavily affected and all my photos became so small. Unless I physically alter the html code for every photo in every post, there was nothing I could do.

Third straw: You know how I always post my photos on Photo of the Moment via mobile? Those photos, sent via email to Blogger, used to be set to 480pixels wide.

They suddenly decided this takes up too much bandwidth and suddenly all the photos shrunk to 360pixels wide. My POTM is specially designed to fit the 480pixels, and it looked so damn stupid afterwards.

Luckily, Lionel found a way to use coding to enlarge the photo...

But this doesn't stop the fact that Blogger does whatever the hell it wants with no regard for their users at all.

I cannot deal with this anymore. I cannot keep anticipating and accepting with meekness each decision they make that can save them bandwidth, or have another change sprung upon me that I don't want for my blog.

I deserve better treatment.

And thus, I am announcing my move to Wordpress. 

I don't care if my archives cannot be seen properly or whatever... I'm the stupid girlfriend that stayed on after being cheated on time and again - it is time to go.

The move will take Lionel some time to implement, but it's happening.

Goodbye Blogger... In 3 months it would have been our 10 year anniversary, but this is when I leave you. It has been mostly good for 10 years, and I will miss you.

p/s: I have a fear that Blogger will delete my blog again after this post - But I don't think they will be so nasty and unprofessional, right?