# Thursday, 10 August 2006

Making a fool of myself - Part 97a

The Mrs took the children off to the park this afternoon, so I had the house to myself. It was lovely and quiet and I had the chance to get a lot done (I didn't, but that's another story).

At about 4pm, a large blue vehicle drew up outside the house, and I assumed that my peace had ended. The doorbell rang. This is not unusual, as the little ones often like to ring the doorbell when they get home, even if there's no-one in.

I decided to surprise them, so I crept out of my office. I sneaked up behind the front door and leapt out with a "ROAR!!"

It was the milkman...

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Mathematical oddities

Being a mathematician by training, I was amused by the following examples of students' mistakes in maths questions. I hvae no idea if any of them are true, but they are funny enough to be true!! Having marked a fair few undergraduate example sheeets when I was doing my PhD, I can tell you that these are in no way out of the ordinary!!

Question 1:

Question 2:

Question 3:

Question 4:

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# Monday, 07 August 2006

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!!

Am I the only one who gets excited by stupid little things? No, I don't mean the children, I mean those insignificant things in life that really should be passed over as not worthy of comment, but somehow arouse something deep within us.

What on Earth am I talking about? I'll explain. Don't worry, it won't take long, then you can go and do whatever you were doing before I interrupted.

I bought a new telephone the other day. Big deal huh? Well, that's what I thought before it arrived. The 'phone I was using in my office did not have any way to increase the volume of the sound coming through the speaker, which, coupled with the headset I use (so I can type whilst talking), made it hard to hear sometimes. After some investigation, I bought a BT Big Button 100, mainly based on the fact that it was the cheapest BT 'phone that had this feature. As it happens, it was designed for accessibility, so has really big buttons...


It also has a few other useful features that the old 'phone didn't have, like memory buttons and a 1571 button that lights up when you have messages. By the way, if anyone is thinking of buying one, don't get it from BT. I got one from Amazon for quite a lot less than BT were asking!!

So, this would all seem to be a fairly insignificant event, certainly not worthy of the amount of waffle it's been given so far. Well, the weird thing is that it got me really excited!! I sit here just willing it to ring, or looking for opportunities to ring someone so I can press those big buttons!!

Am I unique, or do other people get excited by silly things like this? What is it about a 'phone with big buttons that caught my interest? Do I need a psychiatrist? Does anyone care?
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# Monday, 31 July 2006

Build your own house - for free!!

OK, it's not quite as exciting as that might sound, but I came across a real gem of a program yesterday, and the best bit is that it's free!! Within about five minutes, I managed to build a new house...




Now that not might look like your idea of a dream house (nor mine), but considering that it took less than five minutes to build, it's not bad!! You can whizz it around, zoom in and out, and go for a walk around inside.

All of this was done with Google SketchUp, a 3D modelling program distributed by Google. Although there is a posh version that costs, the basic version is free, and very easy to use. It's about 19Mb to download, but well worth it. You can build all sorts of wacky and wonderful things, not just houses. I have made a start on a model of the Beis Hamikdosh (which is how I came across this in the first place), but I reckon that would take rather longer.

Download it and have a play, it's a great toy!!
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# Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Happy birthday Daliah

My oldest niece Daliah turned eighteen today. Judging by the blog entry, David is feeling old and redundant. This got me thinking (well, something has to)...

1) Are parents ever redundant? OK, we can get old, that's a fact of life, but my parents certainly aren't redundant. Maybe I don't rely on them as much as I did when I was small (my life nowadays tends to involve more answering bottom-wiping calls than making them!!), but I certainly need them and rely on them. I have to disagree David, parents are never redundant.

2) Daliah is eighteen. I remember the day she was born. They were living in Israel, and I was there for the summer. I went to their flat a day or so after she came home, and held her for the first time. She was so small. I had never really held a baby before, certainly not one to whom I felt so close. My father has a video of the moment. I looked up at him and said "I want one!!" B"H I got my wish six times over (bli ayin horo). Time has a habit of flying by when you're not looking. I guess that's why middle age hits some people so badly.

Anyway, happy birthday Daliah. May you continue to grow into the fine young woman that you have become. We are all looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks. Lots of love from all at the PSG.

Goodness me, I think I'm getting old, I was almost crying when I typed that

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# Thursday, 20 July 2006

iPod toilet roll holder - no, it's not a joke!!

I have just discovered this...


No, it's not 1st April, this is real!!

I am speechless (for once)
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# Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Chana Liba and the "scrimpler"

The other day, the Mrs was walking with Chana Liba, and they passed a garden that had a sprinkler going. As it was a small garden, water was being sprinkled into the street. Chana Liba took great delight in running in and out of the spray, and refused to come home for about half an hour.

In the past week or so, we have had some of the hottest weather in the UK's recorded history. On Sunday we had the paddling pool out, which caused great excitement amongst the children (ours and next door's). The problem with this is that it takes up a lot of room, and it uses a lot of water. Also, the Mrs doesn't like leaving Chana Liba in it.

So, we decided to buy a "scrimpler" as Chana Liba called it. I just ventured out from my air-conditioned room, into the baking sunshine, to fit a hose pipe to a water supply in the cellar. I fed the pipe out into the garden, and attached the scrimpler. Getting rather wet in the process (which was actually quite refreshing), I set it going and stood back to watch the fun...

...Chana Liba wouldn't go near!! She stayed by the edge of the garden, avoiding the water. Ho hum.

Kids eh?

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# Monday, 10 July 2006

Simcha's first bounce!!

As Simcha is holding her head up very nicely, we decided to try her in the bouncer. This is a fantastic toy that, sadly, isn't made for adults. Shame as it's wasted on babies!! Ours was a present from Uncle David and family when Nechoma Bryna was born (thanks guys). It has been used by each of the PSG babies in turn, and it still going strong. Simcha had her very first go in it today, and here is the result...



As is usual, it took her some time to work out what to do, but once she got it, she had a great time.

Now why don't they make these things in Daddy size?
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How many beans make five?

A few months ago, we decided to try and get some beans to grow. This all started because Shayna Brocho's teacher had done something similar with them in school, and she was eager to try it out at home. So, one Sunday afternoon, Shayna Brocho and I raided the food cupboard and pinched some cholent beans (butter beans and red kidney beans to be precise). Bored of doing homework, Nechoma Bryna decided to join us.

We lined the inside of some empty jars with absorbent paper, then pushed the beans between the paper and the glass and added about 1" of water (so that the beans were above the water). The principle is that the water soaks up water and makes the beans damp enough to grow.

Due to the fact that Shayna Brocho's teacher had done it by putting the beans on some wet kitchen roll in a box that was placed in a dark cupboard, we decided to do a couple like that to compare the success rate.

Well, within a few days, we had a fair number of roots and shoots growing, which developed into nice bean plants. Eventually these were transferred into plant pots, resulting in the PSG Bean Plantation shown below...



The main picture shows the porch window sill with nine bean plants growing well. The inset shows three flowers on one of the plants. Altogether, we have around 50 flowers growing, each of which should produce a pod containing several beans.

All in all a fun way to learn about how beans grow. At the rate they are going, it will be a tasty way too!! I reckon we will get enough beans for one cholent.
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# Wednesday, 05 July 2006

Simcha update

As you can see from the picture below, our little Simcha is growing into a not-so-little Simcha (bli ayin hora). The picture below was taken during one of her many happy moods. She has developed a gorgeous smile, and a little giggle. This is complemented by a lovely fat tummy, which is currently impervious to raspberries, but I am biding my time on that one!!


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