Archive for December, 2004


Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

Last night at choir we were singing a very nice carol with 17th (or maybe 18th – can’t remember) century words which included the word “eke”. The context was something like “and eke a place to sleep”. Nowadays of course that spelling of eke is just used in “to eke out a living”, but in this instance it means “also”. As in, our choir director suggested, “A Big Mac and eke some fries”. Try it next time.

flat not fat

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

I just saw this oustanding idea for a diet plan. So a block of cheese would be fattening, but shaved parmesan all over a salad would be healthy. Equally, as someone points out, flat beer and thinly cut cake.

they did great

Saturday, December 11th, 2004

I got a call from Emma this morning. She said that Toby was a star on the plane. As they went through the gate he was asking for me and she told him I had to go home to feed the cats, so he seemed fine with that. I guess he wasn’t realizing that they were going on a big trip for a number of days, but apparently he’s fine so far. He did very well indeed on the plane – he loved looking out the window while they were at the airport and taking off, and thought that the lights of the city were really cool (“pretty cool”, as he likes to say). His special kid’s meal was chicken nuggets and tater tots which went down quite well. Em had bought him a new toy – airport magnets which you stick to a background, so you can move the pictures about. There’s planes and cars and luggage and various people, including a grandmother waiting to say hello. We took care to avoid including anyone who looked dad-like, just in case. He slept for over four hours which is not bad, and loved the landing about as much as the take-off, with the great view again, and was very well-behaved at the airport, being content to stay conveniently in his stroller as they went through immigration and customs. After a great deal of excitement getting into Grandad’s car and zooming along the motorway (the car seat is higher than in our car so Toby has a commanding view which he loves) he fell asleep about 15 minutes before they got home, and stayed asleep as he was taken into the house. The plan was to wake him at about 2pm to try to keep him on regular schedule, and then to go and choose a Christmas tree for the house.

happy landings…

Friday, December 10th, 2004

So I just got back from the airport after dropping off Emma and Toby. They’re going to be in England and Scotland for a couple of weeks, coming back just before Christmas. We’d primed Toby about the trip for a few days, telling him how he was going to go on a big plane with Mummy to see all his relations. He seemed pretty excited about the whole thing, although I’m pretty sure he knew something was up that we didn’t mention me going. He was in pretty good spirits at the airport, and so were Emma and I until it was suddenly boarding time – it was waaaaaay harder to see them go than I expected, and I expected it to be pretty difficult. Fortunately I was able to take some time before having to drive home, whereas Emma had to be at least pretending to be perky for Toby’s sake. They’re currently somewhere over Eastern Canada and with a bit of luck Toby’s eating the child’s meal we ordered for him. I’m sure they’re doing fine but it’s a strange feeling overall.

it’s official – underpaid

Tuesday, December 7th, 2004

I just took the Guardian Unlimited Money IQ test which calculates your salary against IQ. The good news is that I did much better in the test than I expected. The bad news is that (in British pay rates anyway) I am apparently underpaid. Hmm, better speak with my manager.

What score do you get?

for the home

Monday, December 6th, 2004

As you’re thinking of Christmas shopping, imagine what it would be like if this was the home computer you were going to get. I think that the bloke in the suit is an important accessory as you’ll need someone to operate the steering wheel while you’re simultaneously typing, looking at the printout and getting a sore neck from looking at the TV:

lying to our children about science

Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

That headline is an actual quote from Democrat Henry Waxman who is leading an investigation into some Federally funded programs which teach sexual abstinence to teens in order to prevent pregnancies and disease. However the investigation is finding that there were many claims made in the teaching materials which have no foundation in other Federal government literature and sound hysterical and ridiculous to me. I can only hope that teens generally are smart enough to take this information with a pinch of salt. As Toby’s getting older I’m getting increasingly concerned about the quality of science teaching here, especially as it seems to be being invaded by fundamentalists and “well-intentioned abstinence educators”.


Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

Just read this interview with the British scientist/philosopher Richard Dawkins. I’d be very interested to read his book, it sounds very stimulating. I like the article too, especially when it talks about how Dawkins is against Creationism and “other forms of anti-Darwinian nonsense”. Subtle.

Side note: I am now probably the only person in my office who has had leftover haggis for lunch. Delicious.

at last

Thursday, December 2nd, 2004

For the first time in about two weeks Toby slept right through the night last night, thank goodness. We think he’s getting his second set of molars, which apparently typically appear around now. I thought he was done with teething for the time being but there we go – don’t get too comfortable! Anyway it was very good to get a decent night’s sleep, although I was woken a couple of times by Nessie the cat who was very happy to jump up on our bed and walk around purring loudly.

black folder

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

Recently at the Cathedral we started using folders to sing from for all our music. It was looking a bit messy to have people holding sheets of paper or tatty-looking books, and now that we’re all holding black folders while we sing it looks much smarter. My folder of choise is the Black Folder which is very thoughtfully designed, easy to hold (it has a strap on the back you can put your hand in, so you can hold it one-handed) and works just right.