RIP Chook (by )

RIP Lilly the Chicken :( Was clucking around this morning went for the pre-Jean home from school check and there was a sadly still form. She was the one who grew her feathers back last, and the one who had not laid a proper egg - last few months after a bout of being so ill we thought she would be gone before Christmas (she's the one we were keeping in the shower) she began laying the smallest little perfect eggs and her plummage was at last brown and full like the others. I hope the last year an a half outside of the battery farm was good to her.

Not sure how Jean is going to take this :( She has been looking after them and is very proud of what a good job she has been making (hence I check up on them because she is only 9 and she sometimes forgets stuff like water). And of course Lilly was her chicken specifically.

How I’m managing my life with emacs org-mode (by )

It's no secret that I'm a busy person; often, when I decide to do something, a few years pass before I actually get to do it. So the only way I keep afloat is by the judicious use of computers to track my task lists. I rely on automatic systems to make sure I always know what I need to do today, and what are the most important things I need to do "sometime" that I can do right now. There's no way I could keep all that in my head without forgetting about things and letting people down, or feeling stressed because I'm juggling too much in my mind, or not being able to find the best thing to do when I have a free moment.

As I've mentioned before on here, I want a personal information management system based on predicate logic, so I can express complex relationships between things easily, and tell the system how to infer knowledge automatically. However, "build one of those" has yet to hit the top of my TODO list, so for now I'm using emacs' legendary org-mode. This lacks the rich semantic power of my proposed PIM, but it's already implemented and has a nice editing interface :-)

A few people have asked about what I've done, so here's my attempt to document it.

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Old Maps (by )

The Maps of Imagination

I went through our books and found we had like a shelf of out of date maps of various types so I thought I would do some craft stuff with them. I had a few ideas which I'm sure you will all be getting to see soonly! But I also popped on the laptop to have a little look around the net and found some amazing things on Pinterest.

I saw some amazing pictures done on maps and though that type of drawing isn't really a me thing I thought about the fact I have a draw full of old mapping pens which were damn expensive (geology was known as the colouring in degree at Imperial), and I thought and thought and remembered I'd wanted to do some pictures of little creatures....

And yeah - so now I have a few of these pictures and lots of butterflies the girls punched out of maps and I have plans for bigger art works and what not!

I will be selling the Maps of the Imaginary at the comic con in Cheltenham in Feb for anyone who is interested :)

The Extreme Reading Jean (by )

So Jean's friend came up with an idea over Christmas and that was EXTREME READING which he did and took photos of to school. The school promptly nicked the idea or though he is helping coordinate so nicked isn't the right word!

the Extreme reading Jean

Anyway Jean is now Extreme reading - the book of choice is How It Works written by the XKCD comic guy - this was one of her Christmas presents - it was supposed to be mine but she got excited about it when she saw Al wrapping it. It has now been read several times!

Close up of Jeany ready How It Works XKCD in the cave at the climbing wall for homework

We took it to the climbing wall because extreme sports can always be improved by reading right? Cause everything is improved with reading... Not sure what we are going to do as a follow up though!

Jeany reading in the cave

12 years… (by )

So today I went to the Drs to see how the weight loss was going and stuff, I was convinced I had piled it on over Christmas I felt a lot stockier than before Christmas and to be honest I ate a lot reaching 1600 on alot of the days. This is about the 1400 stable and 1200 weight loss that I sorted with the nurse. 1600 is what I was eating before I went to the Drs, the amount I was eating and wondering why my weight was creeping up as everyone knows women have 2000 calories a day - unless you are me. I am short, had a boarderline thyroid for a decade or so and as it turns out have the lighter Asian skeleton like my dad (as well as the afro-carrabean spin from my mum) - add in the low mobility and I was screwed.

But between tablets and the discovery that I can't eat wheat and sticking to the low calorie counts to loose the excess weight, I have been loosing weight but I seriously ate some food over the holiday and then my birthday and so on.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I go and find I have lost weight, not much but I have lost weight still. The key being that due to pelvis being a lot more stable I have been out doing more stuff, doing running games with the cubs and even managing a 20 minute climb. And then they said my bloods were all good, all the tests were normal!!!

That is the first time that has been said to me, no not sures, or a bit high, or oooo that's not goods or it's boarderline or here's a tablet to help control this. So amazing!

And that is the first time in about 12 years possibly more.

One of the conversations I had with the Dr recently was that I don't know what energy level I am supposed to have - I've not had "me" energy since I was 18, I don't think 30+ normally have the same the energy as a teen so I have no idea if I am back to normal or not and to a certain extent I kind of don't care either as I am so much better than I have been for so long. I feel a little bit sad that that bit of life is kind of missing for me but at the same time I have the girls and though maybe I could have taken them to more things if I'd been weller I also know they love snuggly time watching films and colouring and stuff and I still took them to parks it was just some days I couldn't and when I did it was the outing for the day.

Interestingly I came home thinking about what I was doing last time it looked like I might get better with all the back treatments and exclusion diets at Chelsea and Westminster. That was like 12 years ago as was me trying to get a PhD place, the one I really really wanted was with the Open University, but it relied on Beagle2 landing and collecting data. It didn't happen, the beagle disappeared and today I watched the press-conference live of how they've found it sitting there on the surface of Mars. It made me smile, bitter sweet and poetically lovely.

Maybe when I have a cyborg body I can fly to Mars and say hi to it :)

Of course with hindsight I think it was for the best for me, I became so very sick and my friend who got the PhD funding did far more with the chance than I think I would have because fundamentally I am a shyer person and just not as good at Chemistry and form filling!

And anyway I am not sure I wouldn't be in a similar place to were I am now anyway.

2015 is kind of gearing up to be an amazing year.

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