Wednesday 1 March 2006
Flash breast simulator
Ermmm. Almost certainly NSFW. via Cal, amongst others.
Mind Your Marbles. Simple, addictive.
Thursday 2 March 2006
Tessa Jowell didn’t know. So that’s ok then. Clearly, if Hels suddenly came into £344,000, I’m sure she’d keep that sort of information to herself. And I probably wouldn’t notice if our mortgage was suddenly paid off.
I’m glad that’s all cleared up then. It’s good to know that our government ministers are cleaner than the proverbial.
Friday 3 March 2006
Things they don’t tell you
As we go along with parenthood, we’re slowly discovering more and more things that you are either not told about beforehand or are glossed over. So, in order to forewarn a few other prospective parents, here are a few that we’ve found out:
- sleep deprivation. OK, so everyone jokes about the fact that when the baby comes, you won’t get much sleep. It’s always mentioned and, as soon as it is, everyone sits back in their chair and laughs. Heartily. But it really is no laughing matter and the severity and impact of sleep deprivation is not to be underestimated. Sleep deprivation has so many knock-on effects. It makes you short tempered and irritable, generally lacking in patience. For a breast feeding mother, sleep deprivation makes what can be a difficult and tiring task doubly so. And for a father, it makes your workspace seem like a terribly attractive place to take a nap (if only I could afford the time to do that – I’m working 9 or 10 hour days at my desk, plus taking the laptop into the house in the evening to do a little more). How anyone who already has children copes with this, I really don’t know.
- looking after an ill baby is even less fun. Tom has a cold. As a consequence, he is finding breathing difficult, particularly when feeding. He also has problems with catarrh so that he is coughing quite a bit as he clears his chest and isn’t sleeping terribly well. As parents, it is difficult at first to understand what the problem is – your child can’t talk and say “Mum, I’ve got a cold” or “Dad, I’m all blocked up”. When the baby starts to cry, you work through a mental checklist (hungry? dirty nappy? too hot? too cold? cholic? needing a hug? ummm – now what?) but when you get to the end of the list, you are left flicking through books or wondering if you should call up the GP. Fortunately, the onset of this illness coincided fairly well with a scheduled visit from the health visitor, and she decided fairly quickly that Tom was suffering from nothing more serious than a cold. A check-up with the GP confirmed this (the GP was actually very pleased with his progress and seemed to spend most of the consultation comparing Tom to actors and dead politicians). But it does nothing for the stress levels.
- mastitis hurts. And compounds all of the above problems. There is a lot more to it than that, but I’m not sure that Hels would appreciate me discussing that here!
- nappies aren’t made for bottoms. First nappies are quickly out-grown. Yet the next size up seems huge by comparison, so much so that I have little confidence that the nappy won’t leak because it doesn’t make a good dry seal around Tom’s legs. We’ve already had a couple of unpleasant leakage experiences. Not nice.
But in spite of all of the difficulties, when he’s laying on his playmat and follows you with his eyes as you walk around the room, perhaps even throwing the odd smile or gurgled giggle in for good measure, you can’t help but think that it’s all worth it.
The BBC has been featuring public information films on their website recently and invited readers to make and submit their own. The results can be found here and they are excellent. I particularly liked Pylon Peril.
Tuesday 7 March 2006
Mud, mud everywhere, mud, what’ll I do?
Ivor Cutler, RIP.
Avid comment readers will know that we have introduced formula feeding for Tom as a supplement to boob-milk. It allows us a little more flexibility, in that I’m the one responsible for preparation and application of the bottle, giving H a well-earned rest. The plan is also that it allows us a bit more sleep, as a bottle tends to leave baby feeling more full and less inclined to snack.
Well, based on just two nights’ experience, it seems to have worked. Sunday night was reasonably good but last night was the best yet – bottle at 10pm, then a feed at 3-ish and another around 7am. H and I are both feeling much better for getting something approaching a decent night’s sleep – we’re probably better able to cope with the demands of the day. Spectacular smelly orange poo is the downside, but we can cope with that with the aid of a gas mask and full chemical protection suit.
We plan to keep using the free mum-milk for at least another month and then make the transition to 100% formula feeding, although that depends on how things go over the next few weeks. At the moment, we’re using just one bottle a day. But we think that now is the best time to do this – six weeks of 100% boob-milk has been good for Tom and good for mother-baby bonding. And boob-milk is free, whereas formula is about £7 per tin, plus sterilizing costs.
In other non-baby news, it looks like we might make some progress on finally getting the repairs done to the leaky lead flashing around our chimney. I’m slaving over a hot laptop, trying to keep/catch up with work, including installing a blog on my work website to replace the news page (obvious really – should have done it ages ago). And I’ve been doing some work on the garden, clearing dead trees, trimming the hedge and psyching myself up for attacking the major project that is the front garden. Maybe this weekend?
Wednesday 8 March 2006
I’m having an email crisis. Can someone send me a gmail invite please? Thanks.
UPDATE: thanks to Paul R, Pete, Vaughan and Meg – all very quick off the mark. A combination of changing to the Gmail SMTP server and increasing the timeout time on the server, the problem is resolved. Phew.
Friday 10 March 2006
Redesign and upgrades
I’m currently redesigning my work website, moving the whole thing across to WordPress and using the Pages feature to generate the non-blog content. So far, it’s been a mostly enjoyable experience, with only the discovery that forms break TinyMCE to spoil the party. I’ll let you know when I launch it.
Meanwhile, I notice that there is a WordPress security update. How tiresome. Guess I’d best get it.
In other news, we had a builder pop round this morning. He actually turned up when he said he would. Amazing.
A scoop on Skype
Skype. Actually pronounced "skipe" and not "sky-pee" as I’ve always believed. Who knew?
Tuesday 14 March 2006
I was listening to the radio this morning and was heartened to learn that today is International Pie Day. I had visions of celebrating with some pastry-surrounded-meat concoction.
Unfortunately, it turns out that today is International Pi Day, which is far less exciting.
Saturday 18 March 2006
Four minute nuisance
I have Akismet installed on this blog. Today, it caught its 50,000th spam comment since installation. That’s 50,000 spams in just 139 days or 360 spam comments per day – one every four minutes. Which begs two questions – if everyone used Akismet, would spam commenting stop? And how does anyone survive *without* Akismet?
- I’m never going to look at a jar of Loyd Grossman curry sauce the same way ever again.
- Why don’t we have this service available here? Apparently, this company is now offering this service in Australia, the Netherlands and California. Let’s just hope that it is a matter of time, as I’d certainly feel much happier knowing that Tom’s pooped pants were being recycled.
Monday 20 March 2006
Tuesday 21 March 2006
Polio – check
Diphtheria – check
Whooping cough – check
Hib – check
Tetanus – check
Meningitis C – check
One sore and irritable infant – check
Wednesday 22 March 2006
Those of you who know where my work website is will find that it has finally been relaunched, entirely powered by WordPress. I’m pretty pleased with it.
Ignore Alien Orders
(Letterbox seen in Lewes).
Jolly Chums’ Stories
Hurrah! Let’s play some jolly japes, chaps!
The Inland Revenue have written to me to tell me that they agree with my self-assessment and that they owe me £1.00.
I feel vindicated.
When BBC Weather goes bad
Blimey. Best head to the shops for some ice creams and sunblock.
Monday 27 March 2006
For Mother’s Day, I made a chicken, bacon and leek pie with the word “MUM” on it, and fed it to the newest mum in the family. As a bonus, there’s enough left-over to feed to, um, the most experienced mum in the family later. Double result.
I should have taken a photo – it was a particularly handsome pie. Now it is just two-thirds of a particularly handsome pie (yes, Waitrose, I’m talking to you – the recipe says “serves 4″, but we reckon that it would easily serve six extremely hungry people with some to spare).
Tuesday 28 March 2006
Apologies if you found this site to be out of action this morning – it was offline for about ten minutes whilst I upgraded to WP2.0.2. I’ve upgraded my work site too. Yay me.
Wednesday 29 March 2006
60A is not dark red
Today, I shall mostly be spending getting on for £150 on one of these. But at least I’ll be able to tell you what colour it is.
What a fruitless day. A large chunk of it was spent trying to track down the correct brake parts for Hels’s car – ultimately I gave up searching the interwebnet and went to my local garage where they, helpfully, assured me that they were as confused as I am and suggested that the best thing to do was to take the old ones off and take them as patterns to a motor factor. Hmm.
After that, I went seeking some transparency film. Call me old-fashioned, call me a luddite, but don’t call me late for tea (very old family joke – sorry). "Why do I want transparency film?" I hear you ask. Well, the answer is that you don’t want it, I do. The reason is that I need to update my slide collection that I use when I’m giving presentations, particularly with new pictures of some of the plants that I look after in my work. But does anyone sell transparency film any more? Nope. Finally, I tracked down a particularly obscure old-fashioned photographic shop in a particularly obscure corner of NearbyTown (which is obscure in itself) and purchased two rolls of Konico-Minolta 100ASA film – not my preferred brand (always been a FujiFilm kind of guy), but given a choice of that or nothing, that will do.
I’ve also purchased a new (25 year old) lens for my (equally old) Olympus OM2N – my current one is not in the best of health and, for the sake of ten quid, the new one might just be better. Of course, the camera is not technically mine, as it really belongs to my brother, but as it has been in my possession for a considerable number of years now and he hasn’t asked for it back, I’m claiming squatter’s rights.
Subsequently, I’ve discovered that the camera had a part-exposed roll of film inside. So I’ve squandered the remaining frames on pictures of plants, of Tom and of the cats (Monty is so much better at posing than Treacle) and dropped it into Boots. I’ll be able to collect it on Saturday and, as I’ve asked for a CD of scans, you might get to see some pictures from it too. Of course, since it must be at least three years old, there is no telling what is on the first 23 frames of film. I suspect that it may well feature ex-girlfriends, which could make it, um, interesting. Hels has already said that she will delight in destroying any such photos as soon as possible. I’ll keep you posted.
Thursday 30 March 2006
Wrong runway is no joke
Everyone seems to be treating this story as a bit of a joke – a pilot landing on the wrong runway seems like a cause for mirth, with passengers recounting amusing anecdotes of finding themselves in the middle of an army base. But I think people are missing the point.
The pilot had no clearance to land his aircraft at the army base. If, as he’d been bringing the aircraft in to land, there had been another aircraft on the runway, or a vehicle crossing it or even some fixed object in the way, the consequences could have been disastrous for all concerned – it certainly wouldn’t have been one of those "And finally…. [chortle!]" stories.
Clearly, either the systems need to be improved to ensure that this sort of error can not occur again, or the existing systems need to be more rigorously enforced. I guess we will have to wait until the outcome of the enquiry to find out which is the case.
Friday 31 March 2006
I hate stories like this one. Look – the sample was of 46 (count them: forty-six) women aged between 23 and 83. Assuming an even spread of ages, only 5 or 6 were under the age of 30, which, I dare say, is an age group with fewer personal committments such as husbands or children that might rein in their more liberal attitudes. So it is barely surprising that 90% of those surveyed are quite conservative in their views.
Go away, researchers – come back when you have something useful to say.