Monday, February 26, 2007

fat end of the wedge

All of the meedja are up in arms at this story, that a child could be taken into care because he weighs 14 stone1. He's lost weight since Christmas so it doesn't seem to be Praeder-Willi syndrome. I do feel for the kid's mum but I also want to shout at her. The child is 8. He only gets to eat what adults give him to eat.
Ms McKeown, 35, told the BBC: "Connor had a mouthful of apple once and he didn't like it. a mouth full? once? he's hardly been encouraged to give them a go

"He refuses to eat fruit, vegetables and salads - he has I buy, prepare and give him processed foods.

"When Connor won't eat anything else, I've got to give him the foods he likes let him understand that that's all that's on offer and he can chose it eat it or not. Perhaps then he will try more than one mouthful of apple."
I know I'm not much of a one to lecture on healthy eating, but I have taken a strong "don't do as I do do as I tell you to" line with O. He doesn't have to clear his plate (urgh I hated that when I was a kid) but he does have to try a mouthful of everything and stay at the table till everyone's finished (it's amazing how often a plate pushed away as being disgusting ends up getting eaten), and he knows we're not going to make him something else if he doesn't eat it. Oh and there are apples in our house most days, also oranges pears bananas grapes persimmons plums apricots pomegranates etc etc, so eating them is not some exotic new experience, it's part of normal life. Now I know I've had it quite easy with O (a child who loves cabbage and brussel sprouts!2) and other parents with similar regimes struggle to get their kids to eat healthily, but that doesn't mean you have to indulge their every whim.

I suspect there's a lot more to this situation than we are being told, and that the child's weight may be a symptom of the reasons why social services are concerned, rather than the cause itself. The mum has free reign to present her side of things but social services are not so free to publish the detail of their concerns. Social workers are not all the pc witchhunt brigade they get painted as - although I might be biased as my mum was one. I'd like to discuss this case with her actually but her and me dad have galivanted off on a 5 week round the world ski-ing trip.

1. 14 stone = 196 lb = 98.9kg
2. Another reason to hate SunnyD is there 'no child is like Max Wild' ad campaign, based on the premise that normal kids don't like fresh fruit and veg so caring parents have to give them vitamins laced with sugar instead.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

study Sunday (not)

god almighty hates book lerners Gah the weekend's nearly over and I still haven't done any studying yet. I am having one of those omg I can't do it gaaaah days or 3. The fact it's that time and that I've been forgetting to take my anti-loonie pills (unisex) and my anti-loonie pills (gurls only) won't be helping much. Or perhaps it is the my just desserts for failing to observe the sabbath.

Talking of dessert, there is a good chance we will be enjoying a delicious edible Devonian marine ecosystem in the near future (seen over on Pharyngula).

Ooh look, molecules

(1S)-cis-4-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-N-methyl-1-naphthalenamine aka sertraline 4,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)- 2-methylpyridin-3-ol aka pyridoxine

Friday, February 23, 2007

ging gang gooley

It seems to be deeply unhip to admit to liking scouts/guides. Most blogs I read or people I talk to, if the subject comes up they take delight in recounting how short a time they were members for, how much they hated it and, for bonus points, what heinous crime they got expelled for.

Me, I loved it. I was a Brownie and then a Guide for years. I loved the badges and the camping trips. OK so I'm not a big fan of some of B-Ps views and there's the god-business, but generally I think it's A Good Thing that organisations exist where young peeps can go and learn new things, meet new kids and new grown ups, find out a bit about responsibility, and maybe even have fun and a bit of an adventure along the way. Oh and YAY for the grown ups who give up their time to run things.

So I am happy that O has joined beavers. The pack/colony was recommended by friends and their Raskha says they can accommodated atheist beavers. Took him for his first meeting last night and it turned out they were having a sleepover, O wanted to stay and had a great time. He's a joiner-inner like me, I think he's going to like it there, so yah booh sucks to the kewl kids who turn their noses up, they don't know how much fun they're missing.

another week another gain

Blurgh inspite of my good intentions, a combination of London and TOTM has given me a gain of 3 lb this week. Oh well at least I will be mainly at home for the next few weeks so can get back to trying to learn how to eat like a normal person.

And Friday wouldn't be Friday without my GTD review. In some ways I find the weekly review the hardest part (well apart from actually doing the work) and am still playing around with how I do it. At the moment I
  • make a cup of tea
  • process anything outstanding in my in-tray
  • pull out all my @action files and my project files, open up my email folders and 43things
  • get out last week's project/review list
  • look at my diary for the week/s ahead
  • work through my paper & email folders, checking for things done and things outstanding
  • synchronise my main diary (sunbird) with my paper diary and the family calendar
  • list my ongoing projects and note the 'next action', highlighting the things I really need to move on in the coming week
  • make sure the reminders are put in the proper place in the system - eg putting a bill in my tickler file so it 'pops up' when I need to pay it, noting it on a post-it and sticking it to the right list (eg calls)
  • put all my folders away again
  • have another cup of tea
One thing I know I need to work on is my longer term planning. I'm getting pretty good at next actioning stuff but many projects also needs some work on planning them out. That's something I'm going to work on this week.

And because I know how fascintating all this gtdness is, here are some photos to go with it:

project/review/action listnotebooksPhotobucket - Video and Image Hostingpost itstickler file

More stationery news: I am currently in love with the Paperchase's stripey range.
my stripey stationery

because she's worth it

This year's winners of L'Oreal Unesco awards for women in science announced. Winners include:
  • Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, University of Mauritius, Reduit; organic chemistry
  • Margaret Brimble (left), University of Auckland, New Zealand; organic and medicinal chemistry
  • Tatiana Birshtein, Russian Academy of Science, St Petersburg; macromolecular compounds
  • Ligia Gargallo, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Santiago; physical chemistry
  • Mildred Dresselhaus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US; electrical engineering and physics

loreal award winner margaret brimble
Margaret Brimble's work involves the synthesis of biologically active molecules from natural products including shellfish toxins and algal blooms. She told Chemistry World that her work synthesising these 'beautiful molecules' was enormously satisfying and that she was surprised and delighted to receive the award, adding that she hoped it would stimulate added interest in science amongst young women in her home country.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

be afraid

welcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlords

Fisherman have landed a colossal squid in Antarctica. I am stocking up on t-shirts. His squid brethren will be angered and I want to be in their good books when they come looking for him.

giant squid size chart

Is it heresy to suggest that their tentacles remind me of His Noodly Appendage? Are squid perhaps his earthly aquatic form? Is the future invertebrate?

welcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlordswelcome squid overlords

my bad

new boots

oh dear. Today I had to go into town on some routine errands, remembered I still hadn’t spent my Xmas money from my parents so went to look for some boots. Ended up buying two pairs, these gorgeous turquoise ones at full price and some very cute brown suede ones in the sale.

And then I bought some books. Yeah cos what this house needs is more books sfxgroaningbookshelvessfx and especially now my geology courses are underway, I really need extra works of fiction to distract me.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

all priests over-75 five a side indoor football contest

well nearly. Two of the Arran Islands are to have a five a side soccer1 match to decide which is the real Craggy Island. John Aldridge seems a particularly fitting choice. May the best feckers win.

1. Yes they do call it 'soccer' in Ireland, as 'football' means Gaelic football.

procrastination central

because I have so much work and study to catch up on that I get all panicked when I think about starting, here's a nice picture of the last 25 books I read
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

how squid am I?


Results: You are almost certainly part giant squid. Your mother may have had a watery fling that your father didn't know about.
How to tell if you are part squid at

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

London Lurgy

london pics
We had a good time in London, though we didn't get to see the giant squid - by the time we got there all the tours were booked up. But we did do lots of other stuff. Was pretty tired when I got home and have been betting more tired since, I think I have picked up some London germs. I just want to sleep.

fat man at speakers' corner
Eating was not good but not disasterous. Lots of pizza but not lots of crisps or ice cream. I've had a bit of a gain but hopefully that will be gone by Friday, if only because I'm too tired too eat. We saw this man at Speakers' Corner on Sunday, bringing a warning from left-pond. Luckily we were on our way to have a go on the pedaloes so I worked off maybe half a slice of pizza.

london pics

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I have got meself all worked up about something going on locally and tonight was the only time I had to work on it, so I got all caught up in it and didn't get to belly dancing, preferring to stay in and fire off emails to secure my place on the moral high ground. Now I'm all wound up and won't sleep and have been forced to resort to the only booze in the house, a bottle of Triassic-era Tia Maria. No exercise + sweet sticky drinks = bad fat gurl.

Monday, February 12, 2007

stick it where the sun don't shine

The ever fabulous (& future Mr Clarrie) Ben Goldacre has written a magnificent article about Gillian McKeith and by extension a subject close to my heart, the pseudo-science of the whole woo wooo diet industry.
She talks endlessly about chlorophyll, for example: how it's "high in oxygen" and will "oxygenate your blood" - but chlorophyll will only make oxygen in the presence of light. It's dark in your intestines, and even if you stuck a searchlight up your bum to prove a point, you probably wouldn't absorb much oxygen in there, because you don't have gills in your gut. In fact, neither do fish. In fact, forgive me, but I don't think you really want oxygen up there, because methane fart gas mixed with oxygen is a potentially explosive combination.


These new nutritionists have a major commercial problem with evidence. There's nothing very professional or proprietary about "eat your greens", so they have had to push things further: but unfortunately for the nutritionists, the technical, confusing, overcomplicated, tinkering interventions that they promote are very frequently not supported by convincing evidence.

And that's not for lack of looking. This is not about the medical hegemony neglecting to address the holistic needs of the people. In many cases, the research has been done, and we know that the more specific claims of nutritionists are actively wrong.


the most significant "lifestyle" cause of death and disease is social class. ... This phenomenal disparity in life expectancy - the difference between a lengthy and rich retirement, and a very truncated one indeed - is not because the people in Hampstead are careful to eat a handful of Brazil nuts every day

I encourage you to read the whole article, and the rest of The Ben's columns on 'Dr' Gillian, and keep it in mind when the next nutrition guru pops up on your tv flogging miracle diets and super foods and vital supplements. One of the main reasons I don't go to WW meetings any more is the tendency of the leaders to spout whatever cr@p they've read in the Daily Mail in place of basic decent nutrition. And I was that mean ol' spoilsport who complained to WW when they ran an article on their website about astrology and dieting.

We know what we have to do - eat less cr@p, eat more fruit and veg, drink less booze, do more exercise. Sounds simple to those people who live like that already but for those of us who struggle it's a long hard road. But no amount of blue green algae1 or horny goatweed is going to make that road any shorter, just more expensive.

1. I know someone who's doing a PhD researching the toxins in algae

Friday, February 09, 2007

on not getting things done

Well my widgets remain beautifully organised but unfortunately somewhat uncranked. I have several projects that I keep pushing back and pushing back. I need to get them moving else I will be in serious trouble but seem unable to overcome my ostrich-itis about them. These are not things that will take a seriously long time, but they are things I have allowed myself to become scared of.

Doing my weekly gtd review has helped a bit. I have realised that I have progressed many things well, so I am not in fact a total failure. I am hoping this perspective will help get me over the hump and back cranking my widgets come Monday morning. I have re-arranged my working patterns so that instead of smearing my part-time work over a full week, I work only on 3 days a week. I thought this would make it easier to concentrate on doing the right things on the right days - work on work days, study on non-work days. So far it's not working out that well but I will keep going at it.

Weight-wise, I have lost another 1.5 lb this week whoo etc. I have eaten sensibly/normally 5 days out of 7, making a change from bingeing 5 days out of 7. I'm still tracking my food on WW site but not worrying about staying within points - I think I need another few weeks of adjusting back to eating normally before starting to cut back more. Maybe when I stop losing weight, it will be time to try and stick to my points. I've done most of the exercise I aimed for - belly dance and aquarobics but not pilates (not my fault, class was cancelled).

smoothiehoumouspitta breadoatcakes
The current cornerstones of my healthy(er) eating are smoothies (the lazy girl's way to eat fruit, whizzed up with low fat pro-biotic yoghurt & sugar-free cranberry juice), houmous (home made, way nicer than shop bought houmous which is often foul) , pitta bread (to eat houmous with)p & oatcakes. I am trying to be organised - making a batch of houmous at the weekend, and when I make smoothies I make enough for 2 or 3 at a time, not running out of itta bread or oatcakes, that kind of thing.

Next week is a bit worrying - me & O are having a half-term trip to That London and will mostly be eating out. I need to think about how I can handle that sensibly.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

older than kylie

aargh I will be 40 this year omg omg how did that happen wtf aaargh

that is all.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Pringles. Curses to you evil Pringles.

Monday, February 05, 2007

want that one

bens boookMy hero Ben "fuck off acadmic ninja" Goldacre has a book coming out whoot whoot hurrah. You should buy it, then he'll have more money to buy me presents (eg a lovely periodic table table for our living room) when he sees the light and marries me.

(Note to self: add 'work out how to stop blogger putting boxes around pictures' to next actions list)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

new toys

microscopeHurray my boxes of OU stuff have arrived. Including a fantabulous microscope and boxes of rocks and fossils.

I'm a bit worried about juggling managing two courses at the same time, and making sure I spend enough time on each and don't get behind on either. The microscope, and the maps, create some logistical problems - can't take them with me to the library or on the train. Last year I relied alot on being able to go to the library to study (no tv, no internet, no food). I will have to try and arrange things so that I use time at home for the maps 'n' microscopes course, and do the other one in the library. Oh except that this course has lots of online activities too. Gah. Must get that 43things thing happening ...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I was walking down the road the other day

Man walks up to me, says how far is it to the railway station? Ted Chippington, what a star. Who says the 80s were all bad?

Friday, February 02, 2007

not just me, then

Article in this week's New Scientist says
Out-of-control binge eating is a widespread eating disorder in the US, and more common than anorexia and bulimia combined, according to the first national survey of such disorders. Binge eating afflicts 3.5% of US women and 2.0% of men at some point in their lives
Not that that makes me feel much better but it's nice to know one is not alone. It's also good that binge eating is being reconised alongside other eating disorders.

Anyway my beginner's efforts to deal with this cr@p have lost me two pounds this week hurrah etc. Next actions for next week: eating = keep on working on eating normally, (recording what I've eaten but not worrying about staying in points allowance) and also drink 1 litre of water a day; exercise = do 3 exercise events again this week.

I started this post on Friday evening but had to break off to watch tv with O - our new Friday night tradition is to let O stay up past his bed time to watch Nick Baker's Weird Creatures on 5. O is going to write to Nick to ask if he needs a kid assistant.

Things I do that normal people don't (# 263): stand around admiring the ammonite and belemnite fossils in the Jurassic limestones on the walls of the new Arndale centre. Must take my camera next time I go to town.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Ack, there was a (minor) binge this morning. But hey it was just the one family sized bag of crisps rather than 2 tubes of pringles and some cakes. Progress, of sorts. Koff. Anyway I have been to Pilates tonight yay me.

More important news: JK Rowling ruins my life. Well my summer, at least. Why can't she bring the book out the week before, to co-incide with my birthday like she did last time? Why does she have to do it the day I go to summer school? Tsk no consideration these millionaire authors.

4 years

I have not smoked for 4 years, 9 hours, 37 minutes and 58 seconds.
36,535 cigarettes not smoked
£9,133.75 not paid to evil death dealing tobacco company capitalists.

Life saved to continue fight capitalism: 18 weeks, 20 hours, 35 minutes.