Friday, 31 October 2008

Look Wider

Being ill seemed like a good chance to get on top of some of my 'personal' guiding stuff, those things I want to do outside of running units. This afternoon I have sat down and gone through Look Wider, the scheme for Senior Section (16-25s) and written myself the following to do list/plan to finish off the Octants:
  • Gather supporting evidence for musical activities scheme.
  • Mail off completed musical activities scheme book to Arts Advisor.
  • Give up chocolate for November 2008.
  • Understand my asthma (I wonder why this would be useful... :))
  • Record what I eat for one week and consider how healthy it is/could be.
  • Pass my driving test.
  • Watch and review two foreign films.
  • Complete clause two from the compulsory clauses of the Commonwealth Award.
  • Find *something* to do for Phase Three of International. Switzerland would count for this if it happens.
  • Complete ALQ Module One for Brownies.

Books I read in October

Total: 7 books.

Eric (Terry Pratchett)
If You Could See Me Now (Cecelia Ahern)
Guards! Guards! (Terry Pratchett)
The Almost Moon (Alice Sebold)
Pyramids (Terry Pratchett)
The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank (Ellen Feldman)
So You're 50! (Mike Haskins & Clive Whichelow)

Another hospital read (28/10): If You Could See Me Now arrived from Rachel Bignall (UK) via. BookMooch at just the right time. A nice light read, much like the last book I read by this author (and much better than the last memorable one!).

Having landed myself a spell in hospital I've managed to read not one, but three Discworld this month. Guards! Guards! (27/10) and Eric (29/10) actually mean I've managed to read enough of these books to be almost back on track (just one behind I think). Also Guards! Guards! features on the BBC Top 100 book list taking me to 45.

Didn't know Alice Sebold had another book out so felt the need to buy The Almost Moon urgently in Sainsburys :) Read whilst poorly at home (21/10). Slightly different feel to her other books I thought, perhaps a little more like Sophie Hannah but not quite. Anyway, I enjoyed this but am sending it on to emma (UK) via BookMooch.

Finally read my Terry Pratchett, Pyramids (14/10) for July August last month this month, oops! Posted a teaser mid-read too. Not sure I got into this one as much as the last and some of that whole time/dimensions/right angles stuff confused my head! Still, maybe I'll get back on track with these again now :)

I bought The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank from Waterstones in Lancaster before heading to Liverpool to travel to Surrey, Waterstones has supplied a 20% off voucher for my birthday month so I felt obliged to buy some things. Not sure quite what I made of this book, it was an interesting idea but I felt like maybe I hadn't got as deep into it as I would have liked by the end. Ah well.

So You're 50! (04/10) truely counts as a book but then I guess if Snoopy does then it's no worse :) I'm not 50 and I can't see that the quips in the book would be any more funny if I were, but never mind.


In case you're wondering, I've still not finished Starbook. It seems a slightly more difficult read than some, perhaps the third person writing style?

Friday Fill-In

This week's Friday Fill-In:

1. My favorite food seasoning is rosemary. (It makes good potatoes)

2. Music is music to my ears.

3. Lucky is a good name for a cat - but almost promises some sort of narrow escape, mind the roads!

4. Achieving things is something I take very seriously.

5. Many people do things we don't understand; the more there are of them, the more likely the result will be unfathomable.

6. A pink glittery shirt for Innovate was the last thing I bought at the store.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to resting tomorrow my plans include resting and Sunday, I want to rest some more!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Film In Four Words (The Queen)

Different. British. Captivating. Clever.

(Image from wikimedia, more film info at IMDB)

I'm not sure what it is about this film, but I'd agree with all the excellent reviews it was given when it came out. Very watchable, very interesting.

No Plastic? Fantastic!

With the title ripped shamelessly from one of the described blogs :)

I picked up a couple of blogs from a university mailout today. Subtext is an independent university email which I occasionally stretch to reading all of. Somewhere at the bottom of this last one (that link currently sends you to 34 but I assume 43 will be uploaded shortly) were links to the blogs of two students, Rose and Ele, who had been pursuing life without any plastic. I've come across this idea before somewhere and I do think it's a great one, just a shame it's so hard to do at the moment. Whilst I'm not quite sure I'm adventurous enough to take this challenge on myself it does prompt some thought as to how much more effort I *could* be putting in to these things. I know that as time passes we all get better at reducing, reusing and recycling and yet I also know that there's far too much stuff that gets taken and binned just because not doing so is a little bit more thought or work. (That said, I'm still not sure on the whole Mooncup thing - maybe I'll ask Becky one day :))

Also, I think I know Rose (which is what drove me to look at the blog in the first place).

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Film in Four Words (Mrs. Henderson Presents)

Nice once. Something missing.

(Image from The CIA, more film info at IMDB)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Maths Puzzle

The following puzzle was posted on one of the departmental forums...

We know that:

ABCDEF is even
G is odd
All are different digits
Being as it's the computing department a few people have brute forced this but, given that I'm ill today, I thought I'd have a go at solving it properly - and succeeded!

Here goes....

1) For ABCDEF to be even, F must be even.

2) Even x odd = even so BCDEFA must be even, so A is even.

3) All are different digits so ABCDEF can't be equal to BCDEFA, so G does not equal 1.

4) ABCDEF has the same number of digits as BCDEFA so, A x G must be less than 10.

5) Possible options for A and G are: A ∈ {0, 2, 4, 6, 8}, G ∈ {3, 5, 7, 9}. Given that found in 4), A must be in {0, 2} as 3x4=12. Including a leading zero is rather unlikely, so A = 2.

6) Given 5) and 4), G = 3. So now we have:
x 3

7) 3 x F ends in 2, given that F is even, 3 x F ∈ {0, 12, 18, 24}. F must be 4. So now we have:
x 3

8) (3 x E)+1 ends in 4, so 3 x E ends in 3. E can be either odd or even so 3 x E ∈ {0, 3, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27}, therefore E = 1.
x 3

9) 3xD ends in 1. D can be odd or even so 3 x D ∈ {0, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27}, therefore D = 7.
x 3

10) (3 x C)+2 ends in 7, so 3 x C ends in 5. C can be either odd or even so 3 x C ∈ {0, 15, 18, 24, 27}, therefore C = 5.
x 3

11) (3xB)+1 ends in 5, so 3 x B ends in 4. B can be odd or even so 3 x B ∈ {0, 18, 24, 27}, therefore B = 8.
x 3

Note, once I'd got A and G I did initially start by trying to solve this from the other side as follows (I quickly realised that I'd got the wrong end!):

7) The value of B must be at least 6 (AxG plus any carry over values). Therefore, B ∈ {6, 7, 8, 9}.

8) Given that 3 x B ∈ {18, 21, 24, 27}, some carry over value will be applied so the value of B must be greater than 6. Therefore, B ∈ {7, 8, 9} and 3 x B ∈ {21, 24, 27}.

9) Given 8), the carry over must be 2. So B is greater than or equal to 8, B ∈ {8, 9}. (Note, the obvious thing to do here is say that B ∈ 8, but it's possible for B to equal 9... take for example the value 298145 x 3 = 917435).

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Film in Four Words (Prince Caspian)

Much better than Wardrobe.

(Image from Liberty Film Festival, more film info at IMDB)

I was very pleasantly surprised by this film. Having seen The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the cinema almost as soon as it came out and been really quite disappointed, I totally expected this to be awful but felt obliged to watch it anyway. Having waited until it reached the university cinema I was really quite surprised at how un-rubbish this film actually was. A vast improvement and enjoyable.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Friday Fill-In

This week's Friday Fill-In:

1. Follow the leader.

2. Books are something I always take with me on vacation. (Towels and pyjamas are the things I always forget!)

3. To achieve your goals, you must know what you want

4. "I always appreciate gifts of Cadbury's Dairy Milk" is something I'd like you to know about me.

5. I have a cold.

6. Coca-Cola floats. I've never had one and I can't imagine I'd like them at all!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to projecting at the cinema, tomorrow my plans include the Big Gig! and Sunday, I want to get a bit of sleep!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Wizard of Oz

I've just been doing a very quick bit of research into the Wizard of Oz approach to usability studies (by which I mean checking it meant what I thought it did) and somehow ended up at Wikipedia's page on Political Interpretions of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I have a feeling I've seen some of this before and promptly forgotten it all, but it's amazing that:

1) People can draw so much out of all these things. Whether it's on religious grounds or political it seems that something like this exists for almost any kids story, classical novel or well-known film (and probably some lesser known ones too). Maybe I'll have to go looking for some more but there's always the classic Lord of the Rings religious arguments :) Even on the poetry front I sometimes have to wonder how much of the subtleties and double meanings were *really* intended and how many just worked out that way - did people really write all those GCSE anthology poems with so many meanings?

2) That people can contribute so many details to Wikipedia :) It's strangely addictive.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Teaser Tuesdays: Pyramids (Terry Pratchett)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today:

“It is astonishingly difficult to walk with legs full of straw when the brain doing the directing is in a pot ten feet away, but he made it as far as the wall and felt his way along it until a crash indicated that he'd reached the shelf of jars. He fumbled the lids of the first one and dipped his hand gently inside.”

Page 256 of Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Monday, 13 October 2008


(Image from today's Google search page)

Tehe, Paddington Bear is awesome.

Film in Four Words (Corpse Bride)

Fantastic music. Dark. Pretty.

(Image from BFI, more film info at IMDB)

Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman makes a good combination.
I'm not quite sure I don't prefer Nightmare Before Christmas but it's a tough call.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Film in Four Words (Addams Family Values)

Historical. Funny. More please.

(image from Klub Miłośników Filmu, more film info at IMDB)

There should have been more Addams Family films.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Friday Fill-In

I've changed the formatting this week, I'm hoping it's a bit clearer but maybe some more experimenting is needed.

1. One of the best concerts/plays/movies I ever saw that I really didn't think I'd like was forgotten - I can't think of a single one. I can however think of at least one I'd been told would be OK and turned out to be awful :)

2. Stewed apple and raspberries is a recipe I recently made (or meal I recently ordered) that was delicious! (I do like hot fruit now it's getting colder outside again.)

3. It's time for some work.

4. Fresh lemon juice (either still or in the form of Fentiman's (rather lovely) traditional lemonade) is quite refreshing.

5. If I never hear the word moreover again, it'll be too soon. (Sorry Oliver!)

6. To one side of the curving road was a knife emporium and on the other was an electromagnet specialist store.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a rest, and a bit of tidying. Tomorrow my plans include manning our local Guide depot and having a good lunch and Sunday, I want to not get too cold and wet when we close down the campsite.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

I <3 Mental Floss

There are few things I would wish myself American for, but Mental Floss is most likely one of them. Fortunately they have a website :)

Today on Mental Floss: 8 Cases of Locked-In Syndrome. Interesting and scary. I did read Bauby's memoir last year sometime (but seemingly did not blog it). I think I still may have it though I had intended to put it onto BookMooch at the time.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Gluten Free Mineral Water

The bottle of Aldi's Elmhurst Spring mineral water I have sat on my desk is (or at least was when it contained the orignal product) gluten free - hurrah! Isn't all mineral water...?

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Teaser Tuesdays: Starbook (Ben Okri)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today:

“But the wise men and women were hard to find and mostly did not want to be found. And when he made enquiries and was directed to this hut or that place, when he arrived he would discover that the wise man, learning that the prince was seeking him, had disappeared, had, as they say, made himself scarce.”

Page 274 of Starbook by Ben Okri

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Books I Read in September

The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets (Sophie Hannah)
Gifted (Nikita Lalwani)
The Final Reckoning (Sam Bourne)
Hurting Distance (Sophie Hannah)
My Favourite Wife (Tony Parsons)
The Book of Air and Shadows (Michael Gruber)

I used to hate books of short stories but seem to have discovered over the past year or so that they are actually generally quite fun - and usually pretty weird, The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets (28/09) is no exception. Gone to Fleur Fisher (UK) via. BookMooch.

I enjoyed Gifted just enough to hang onto it for a reread. I can't quite recall if it was supposed to be based on fact, but I assume that given these two pages (one and two) that it probably was.

The wealth of Da Vinci Code mirrors seems to have reduced substantially in the last year which is probably for the best. Perhaps with this in mind, The Final Reckoning seemed somewhat weaker than Sam Bourne's previous novels. That said, it was an easy read with enough plot to keep me interested and was rather better than the (similarly styled) The Book of Air and Shadows. Gone to Chris Wilkinson (UK) via. BookMooch.

Hurting Distance is the second book by Sophie Hannah that I've read, the first being Little Face and I think she may slowly be becoming someone I might look out for in the future. Like Jodi Picoult's novels, these seem to be crime novels where the interest is not really in the crime at all but in all the other things added to the genre (which is good because I can't imagine ever reading an ordinary crime level unless truely desparate). Anyway, a clever and interesting book. Gone to Jasmin (Ireland) via. BookMooch.

My Favourite Wife - Better than the last Tony Parsons I read, but maybe not as good as some of the others before that. Gone to Lyonsy (Ireland) via. BookMooch.

My first Da Vinci Code style novel in a while, The Book of Air and Shadows is a long but quick, easy read. Not one of the better ones in this style but probably not the worst either. Gone to Kirk McElhearn (France) via. BookMooch.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Friday Fill-In

Following on from last week's initial exploration into Friday Fill-In land...

1. October... so soon! My summer has run away from me. At least I get a birthday to take away some of the gloom.

2. Getting older without getting places, potentially making the wrong decisions and being left all alone... scare me!

3. Leaves are falling all around, it's... darker than I remembered.

4. My favorite horror movie is... something funny, maybe Shaun of the Dead or Black Sheep or that weird film I watched in the all-nighter... because... I'm too much of a wus to enjoy *real* scary movies.

5. Seducing biscuits, being girly with Lizi and plotting with ye olde LU Cinema folke... = good memories.

6. It was a dark and stormy night... would be a truly traditional start to a horror story - if only I had some good ideas :).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to... getting my knitting back on track and drinking some beer..., tomorrow my plans include... the long drive South (but I don't get to do any of it *grumble*)... and Sunday, I want to ...catch up with folk I've not seen in a while at Church in the Pub!


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