Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Jesus Storybook Bible

The Missus and I were in a bookshop this afternoon and stumbled upon the Jesus Storybook Bible. We were looking for a bible for Reubs, who is turning two in a few weeks. Although this Bible is clearly for ages 4 and above, we thought we'd get this one anyway and all grow into it.

The first thing that caught our eyes was the tag line - every story whispers His name. This simple phrase drew us in - what a joy to have that emphasized throughout the whole book. The second thing was the book is gorgeous to look at. The cover is simply a picture of Jesus, a delightful foretaste of the style used throughout the rest of the book's illustrations.

Those two things along were enough for us to take a punt on it. (We plumped for the 'deluxe' edition, which comes bundled with the audio version of the book - narrated by David Suchet.)

When we got it home Reuben took no time in insisting that we unwrap it and read it to him. Well, he quickly tired of it (being only small), but we were rapt. In no time at all we were playing the audiobook and falling in love with Jesus all over again as we heard the old familiar stories in a new way. The book is actually a paraphrase of key Bible passages, and covers the whole sweep of the Biblical narrative. It is beautifully illustrated, and I can't wait to explore the images with Reuben as his attention develops. The audiobook is a great accompaniment; a good narrator can highlight facets of the text that you might not see, and this is exactly what Suchet does. In summary, these adults are pretty impressed with this children's version, and it's going to be our real pleasure to introduce Reuben to the Great Big Story in this way.

Every story whispers his name.

Monday, November 09, 2009

An old favourite

Disobedience by A. A. Milne

James James
Morrison Morrison
Weatherby George Dupree
Took great
Care of his Mother,
Though he was only three.
James James Said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he;
"You must never go down
to the end of the town,
if you don't go down with me."

James James
Morrison's Mother
Put on a golden gown.
James James Morrison's Mother
Drove to the end of the town.
James James Morrison's Mother
Said to herself, said she:
"I can get right down
to the end of the town
and be back in time for tea."

King John
Put up a notice,

James James
Morrison Morrison
(Commonly known as Jim)
Told his
Other relations
Not to go blaming him.
James James
Said to his Mother,
"Mother," he said, said he:
"You must never go down to the end of the town
without consulting me."

James James
Morrison's mother
Hasn't been heard of since.
King John said he was sorry,
So did the Queen and Prince.
King John
(Somebody told me)
Said to a man he knew:
If people go down to the end of the town, well,
what can anyone do?"

(Now then, very softly)
W.G.Du P.
Took great
C/0 his M*****
Though he was only 3.
J.J. said to his M*****
"M*****," he said, said he:


Two days ago, as we sat eating our breakfast, Reuben gestured with his fork and declared he was 'fork-ing' a morsel of food. I thought this was pretty cool, since neither Nic nor I use the verb 'forking' at all and he must have come up with it by himself.

It's amazing to think how quickly he has developed in just under two years.

Looking around

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Barry Pumpkin

Our dentist surgery takes Hallowe'en very seriously - on the Friday before Hallowe'en all the staff were in fabulous fancy dress. They had also decorated this squash with a cute smily face. Reuben noticed it straight away and, since they are lovely people, they gave it to him. (I actually suspect that since it was the day before Hallowe'en they going to get rid of it anyway, but hey, who's going to turn down a free squash?)

We named him Barry, after our dentist.

Barry Pumpkin

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A rainy weekend's walk

Reubs and I had some father/son time last weekend. We took a stroll around Kinder Farm Park in the rain, watching some football (boys) and some soccer (girls) on the way around. I thought it was a pretty miserable day to be out and about, but it didn't phase him one bit as he galumphed through puddles and driving drizzle.

Snack in the rain

Friday, November 06, 2009


Reubs discovered the joy of stacking blocks last night (thanks to his mate Abi, who emptied the box of blocks all over the floor). I thought this attempt (his first) incorporated some unorthodox shapes quite inventively.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mighty mouse woes - update

It is not totally repaired. The scroll-ball is no longer able to act as the third mouse button, although as a scroll-ball it still operates perfectly.

I seem to remember the third mouse button being over-sensitive, and triggered by a lazy left- or right-click, so I disabled the function many moons ago. However, I did check it today–opening the whole thing up again to see if any ribbon connectors were out of place, and to see if the internal support was wrongly positioned/reshaped. Despite fiddling with the tiny metal arm, and reshaping it ever so slightly, the scroll-ball firmly refuses to work as a button now.

One less thing to worry about I suppose.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mighty Mouse woes and warnings

The Apple Mighty Mouse is famous for its 3D scroll-ball which is, in turn, infamous for getting gunked up, jammed, and useless.

The common remedies to free the scroll-ball prescribed on the interweb involve rolling the gunked up scroll-ball around, either with mouse upside down on a sheet of paper, or with some saliva or rubbing alcohol in the palm of your hand as a 'gunk-solvent'. This remedy does work; my mouse is a few years old and has been un-gunked in this manner at least three times.

More recently, I carried out this un-gunking exercise - first rolling the scroll-ball around on a bit of paper as well as then using some rubbing alcohol in my palm. And the process worked well, at least for the un-gunking. The scroll-ball was free and easy in its socket, scrolling smoothly in all directions. However, I began to experience some odd behaviour with the normal left-click: the mouse would become unresponsive to a light click, but a firm (almost rough) click would restore its normal functionality for a few minutes. I also saw some odd tab-opening behaviour in Safari, with the left-click causing tabs to open behind the current tab.

Then I saw that I had, in my familiarity with the un-gunking exercise, pressed too hard on the scroll-ball and bent its tiny internal support out of shape. My suspicion was the scroll-ball, which normally sits proud of the mouse's upper shell, was now slouching in its cup. While the scroll-ball would still scroll smoothly, its weight would cause the internal support–which seems to double as the switch for the third mouse button–to register a constant click, hence the irregular left clicking (and perhaps the Safari tab issue).

Taking a deep breath, I searched out a video tutorial on how to open up a Mighty Mouse, knowing that opening up the scroll-ball mechanism would be the only way to confirm my suspicions. Taking a craft-knife to my mouse, I dug inside and confirmed my hunch was accurate. The rubbing alcohol had left the rollers clean, but the internal support was crushed into the base of the cup. Using two small screwdrivers, I reshaped the support, and am pleased to say that, on reassembly, my mouse is working fine.

Next time, I'll definitely use some gunk-solvent, and less pressure.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Flickr Uploadr: 2.3.1 vs. the Rest of the World

'Write when you're inspired' is the advice; it's a shame that I'm currently inspired by an irksome piece of technology rather than some wondrous facet of creation that deserves praise.

So, the gripe I have is with Flickr's desktop uploaders: they just haven't worked since version 2.3.1 for the Mac. Further, since I invariably feel excited by the prospect of an updated piece of software, each time a new version is released I get duped into trying it out (the current version is 3.2.1). The final straw is that they have also now removed version 2.3.1 from their web site.

This evening I spent half an hour hunting through the Help Forums for version 2.3.11, and fruitlessly trying out the later evolutions up to the present 3.2.1.

I'm still using 2.3.1.

  1. In case I forget, 2.3.1 is still available for downloading here.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Paddling pool

Two weeks ago, we bought an inflatable pool for the sun-deck at the rear of our house. After hyperventilating, breaking a bicycle pump and hyperventilating again, we managed to get it inflated.

Last week, the water was finally warm enough to get Reuben to get in. We had a nice hour or so splashing around in the sun; I spent a while snapping away with the phone and the set is now up on Flickr.

5/31 Pool - 38

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The boy done good

Giggs got it.

Friday, April 24, 2009


- 0930: hydrocodone/APAP 7.5/500mg + penicillin

Hard to swallow; changing swabs every 15 minutes; deep ache around lower jaw, moving from back to front and occasionally to roof of mouth; raw feeling of holes; inside of cheeks feel very bruised; chin and tongue still numb (no drool though)

- 1130: 800mg ibuprofen

Incredibly uncomfortable; can't get away from pain and thinking 1330 is really a long time to go; ice packs helping slightly

- 1330: hydrocodone/APAP 7.5/500mg

Ache dissipated after ibuprofen and appetite returned; still painful to swallow and to open mouth - managed some yoghurt and mashed banana (Reubs would've been proud); totally spaced out on hydrocodone and decided to watch House (the first two episodes of Season 3, so I had more Vicodin than he did); the Wife came back from a run and was a silent comforting presence

-1630 penicillin

love that I'm warding off infections with penicillin

- 1730 hydrocodone/APAP 7.5/500mg

I could get used to this stuff - feeling slightly more chipper, though very drowsy; optimistic that I could get through to 1900 or later without ibuprofen and pace myself through the night; desperately want something savoury and that doesn't taste of yoghurt/blood/cotton swab mixture

Giggs is a legend

And Fergie is Old School with a capital O and a capital S.
"We gave Ryan all the accolades in Moscow [last May]," said the United boss. "The players' presentation was very emotional and it was a great representation of how the players feel about the boy.

I just love that he refers to the 37 year old Welshman as 'boy'.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Paradox of Choice

I got this book out of the library yesterday (it was a rainy Tuesday afternoon, what else is a guy to do when he's shirking work, eh?).

This video is a great opener - can't wait to get through my Batman comics to pick it up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wisdom teeth

In ten days' time I will have all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. Three are impacted, the fourth is a 'tricky' one.

I'll have it done under general anaesthetic - after talking with the surgeon he recommended it and, even if he hadn't, I think I would have asked for it.

I think I'm scared about the pain. I know it's coming, but don't know exactly what it will be like. I know there will be a needle for the IV drip - I hope that's the only thing I feel until after the surgery. The only thing is the surgeon said that I'll need to take pretty much the whole weekend off - the kind of pain is the kind that 'will have you rocking back and forth' and 'give your tail a good kicking'. Hmmm.

The nurse warned me to not choose a light coloured t-shirt, just in case - when they extract a tooth (or tooth fragment) - they drop it on me and I have a blood stained shirt to worry about as well.

The risks outlined in the brief consultation (other than the pain, which is guaranteed and therefore not a risk but a certainty) were nerve damage or a hole in the roof of my mouth. Nerve damage would be to the nerve running along each side of my lower jaw, just near my wisdom teeth as it happens; damage would result in the loss of feeling around my chin and lower lip, so I would have to watch out when shaving. A hole in the roof of my mouth would mean food or drink coming out my nose, but this can be repaired with a few stitches.

I am a little nervous about going under a general anaesthetic too. Mrs Hope has had three operations which required going to sleep and each time I have seen her fears of how she will react to it. Not that I have ever been around her when she did wake up - but she said she was sometimes overcome by sadness, or the groginess was disorientating. Perhaps it will be like being drunk?

So after the operation I will be watching what I eat - apparently nothing too hard (obviously) or anything that can crumble into little bits and get stuck in the four gaping holes in my jaw.

What's most worrying to me is that nothing has been mentioned about whether they will give me any pain medication to take home and use over the weekend.

Oh, and the ice-pack (please let that not be all I get to take home) costs $20.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Some sites to spend time on

Have enjoyed two or three videos from these sites, and look forward to finding more new content on them in the future. (Typinator keeps correcting it to 'For a tv' but it's Fora really) was something I stumbled on (from Lone Gunman) this morning. I watched this interview with Jonah Lehrer on his new book; bit brainish, but good if you've got the time (certainly some great stories in amongst the big sciency words).

The other site is TED, which I was pointed to a month or so ago, and more specifically this video about what wisdom is. Again, some cracking stories to illustrate the points made.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Well worth a watch, and some time to think about it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My commute from hell

I cycled to work today. It was all of 3 miles - probably less. That much, and only that, was on my side. Arrayed against me were my naivety regarding the weather, poorly set-up front brakes, and a sorry lack of fitness of any sort whatsoever, of which I was only dimly aware of the latter.

So the weather was 33 degrees when I set out this morning, but the wind - nay, gale - that I found myself cycling into must have come straight from the Canadian hinterland. Within 30 seconds of pulling out onto the main road, I lost the feeling in my windward parts. By the time I was at work, despite the 'windproof' gloves I was wearing, I had chillblains in the tips of my thumbs and fingers, and in the darker moments of utter exhaustion and pain (I'm really unfit, okay) I honestly wondered whether it was possible to get frostbite while cycling...

My front brake cable was set too tight. Although I did check over all my equipment yesterday (and even pumped up my tyres this morning) I hadn't done a thorough job with the brakes. All I did was balance out the tension of the springs - whereas I really needed to slacken off the cable. I found this out by cycling to and from work with the front brake 'on' the whole way there and the whole way back. Into a headwind, with the brakes on, and no fitness whatsoever... not the best way to get back into cycling.

My fitness was so bad, and the conditions so inclement, that my legs started to burn while I was going downhill. By the time I got to the junction of Benfield, Veterans and the bridge over the I-97, I had nothing left - they were agonising apendages with all the resistance and tone of gruel. I was utterly spent, demoralized by the cold, frustrated by my ineptitude with my brakes. Thankfully, when I made it to work, the wind (now behind me) took me the length of the parking lot (faster than I was cycling the other way) which allowed me enough time to recover the ability to stand upright.

I think I'll do it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things I've learnt this weekend

New Hampshire is really, really far away from Maryland.

A nine hour drive according to the sat-nav is more like eleven when you take into account breaks for food, coffee and gas.

An eleven hour drive quickly lengthens when your infant son develops a tummy-bug on the day of the journey.

Vomit runs off Ikea painting bibs like water off a duck's back. This is good in a rest stop (it just falls to the floor); this is not good in the car (it pools in the car seat).

Dunkin Donuts make pretty good donuts but terrible coffee.

Terrible coffee is still coffee on a twelve hour drive in a car with a puking infant.

A tummy bug is over, not when the vomit stops coming out, but when the nappies return to normal.

When your son vomits over your shoes, it is a good thing to have washable shoes, like Crocs. Except when your Crocs are the ones with holes in them, because then the vomit pools in your shoes.

The place you absolutely do not want your son to vomit on is the pile of clothes you have just washed yesterday's vomit off.

When he smiles and calls you 'gagga' none of the above matters one jot.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Adjusting to the lashings of 'Mac-goodness' that abound on the study desk in the form of a new unibody MacBook Pro. The Wife agreed (for work purposes) that we could buy a new laptop, and so I've been adjusting to the new machine for the last week.

Most adjusting has been positive: it's quicker than any machine I've ever used; runs much cooler than the previous laptop (which is reasonably important when you consider Apple laptops are essentially blobs of aluminium with a portable computer secreted wonderfully inside of them; the old G4 Powerbook ran really hot); the screen is crisp, brighter and turns on instantly; the keyboard and trackpad have a much better feel than I anticipated.

Some adjusting has been a pain: the wi-fi 'just does not work', perhaps due to issues with our Verizon router (Actiontec MI424WR) and only a day of frustrating fiddling around with the settings (by using WPA instead of default WEP, and by increasing the TKIP group key interval, we've maintained a steady connection for now).

Other adjusting has been fun and unexpected: the keyboard has square black keys on an aluminium background, so creates an optical illusion of black dots at the corners of the keys.

And a small amount of adjusting has been harder than expected: apparently putting new Macs into old laptop bags work about as well as putting new wine in old wineskins. So the Wife and I embarked on an unexpected review of our household's fiscal policies with regards to the differing husbandly/uxorial stances on what exactly constitutes a 'necessity'. And while there were no harsh exchanges during that review and it ultimately came to a good conclusion (both parties satisfied with the new policy, and still favourably inclined to working together in the future), it was a reminder that we do have to work at our relationship, even on a Saturday afternoon when we were both trying to relax and have some downtime.