Rubik's Cubes at Christmas

There is a clear trend of people searching for Rubik’s cubes around Christmas time!

I hope i can find a new Rubik’s cube in town when i go out for lunch (i am at work today). I solved a few on the online applet last night and i am quite confident i could learn to solve any 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube. I may not be very fast, but there are about 7 or 8 patterns to learn (and apply them in the right order!) that should always work. I like the idea of going into somebody’s house, seeing a messed up Rubik’s cube and be able to put it right for them!

Just another entropy-decreasing service i can offer! ;)

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By sermoa Posted in geeky

Rubik's boohoo

I found a Rubik’s Cube of my partner’s and immediately decided that i must learn to solve it! I found some great video tutorials on youtube and was doing great until the cube just fell apart in my hands! Which made me feel bad obviously because it is my partner’s, but also because i was determined to learn it to impress people!

So tomorrow i will have to buy a new Rubik’s Cube, and until then i have been using an online version! :) I just solved one in fact! YAY! :D

JK Rowling is on ITV1 at 7pm … looking forward to that, although i have seen a preview clip and i do not believe that was the very moment that Jo finished Book 7. It was just like, “Oh, there we go, i’ve finished!” No way! That was surely not how it happened.

Running news

I have continued my running over the Christmas break, including one three-mile route in Kent.

On Friday night i had my first 20-minute non-stop run. I was quite nervous leading up to it, but you know what, i did it!! I even did a bonus minute, i enjoyed it so much! I am really pleased with myself. I always enjoyed long-distance running at school (better than sprinting, anyway) so i am delighted to find i still like it, and i am now fit enough to be able to do it again.

The Couch-to-5K plan really works! Just to think that five weeks ago i struggled to even run one minute at a time. Look at me now! :D

And … relax!

Wow, finally a day to unwind. Don’t get me wrong – the Christmas period has been lovely – but very busy! Lots of ‘face time’, which is good, i have enjoyed seeing friends and family, but i also enjoy a day to myself.

I think i have decided to do nothing at all for new years eve. I’m too tired and i don’t really see the point. It’s just a number, arbitrarily decided. I’m more inclined to celebrate the solstice because it has geological and astronomical meaning. I think i might just go to bed as usual tomorrow evening. As for new years resolutions, i have made one easy one: to carry on being myself. I am really happy with my life as it is at the moment, and i want to continue in the same way: getting fitter by running, developing my spiritual awareness, learning more about science, stars and planets, making MyChores better … it’s all good! :)

We had our friend goodarcher to visit yesterday. Had a lovely time together, i cooked a nice apple pie, and we had a good meal in the evening. We tried to install Second Life on my computer but it won’t work because i don’t have a super-splendid graphics card. Probably a good thing: i don’t want to become addicted to Second Life!

We went out into town to see Library 2.0 which continues to impress me! They have this amazing self-service check-out for books! You scan your card, place as many books as you like on the table, and somehow it recognises what they all are! It checks them out to your account and prints a receipt! MARVELLOUS! :D There is also a lovely exhibition on about the history of the library and how they built the discovery centre. Oh, and there is a special room for railway geeks! It’s so sweet, with chairs and a table, and surrounded by books about trains. I am actually quite interested in trains and railway lines, but when i went in the room there were three or four hardcore train geeks and it was instantly clear that i am way out of their league!! I covered my face in shame and walked out again!

It’s also a good time of year for bargains: we got a steamer for £12.50. Hurrah! I have wanted one for ages! We have already done broccoli, Brussels sprouts and a Christmas pudding in it with great success! It’s so easy! :) It’s nice after Christmas is over to get a little gift for ourselves! ;)

Happy holidays

I hope everybody had a good Christmas break. I had just about the best Christmas ever. My partner’s parents came to Kent – specifically to Platts Heath, the tiny hamlet where my mum lives. It was so nice to be staying just around the corner from my mum, and our families got on very well indeed.

Here is a picture of the view from the cottage window this morning – just before the fog had lifted:

The Weald of Kent

We ended up celebrating our Christmas on the 24th. We had drinks up at my mum’s and met a lot of friends and neighbours. We had a great little international corner going on – German, Italian and French people all chatting together! :) Later on my mum came down plus my two brothers and we had a lovely cosy evening at the cottage. We cooked food and served it buffet-style … only it didn’t really all fit on to the table so it overflowed on to chairs and the floor! Heheh! Everyone found it quite amusing to eat Christmas dinner off the floor! :D Towards the end of the evening it seemed appropriate to open our Christmas presents. The custom in Germany is to open presents on Christmas Eve anyway, so it worked very well. It was nice because it was so free and easy. Usually you have all this faff with going to church and having the Christmas dinner and everything. We just sort of skipped all that and did it differently! :)

I was delighted that our two families got on so well. My partner’s parents met my dad’s side of the family last year, but hadn’t met my mum and family yet. But we had a really lovely time and i went to bed feeling absolutely full of love and happiness to feel our families merging together.

Yesterday my mum took me to see my nanna who has Alzheimers. It is sad that we have not seen each other for so long. Nanna has deteriorated so badly that it is hard to recognise people or string together any words into a meaningful sentence. But we did get some lucid moments where Nanna’s eyes opened and looked deep into ours, and we heard some words like “It’s lovely that …” and “That would be marvellous!” and a really heart-felt “I love you” to my mum. I believe that Nanna is happy. We were about to go and Nanna started crying and pulling us back. So sad. It affected me much more than i could have imagined it would. I went back again today and got some photographs. Here is a lovely one of the two of us together:

Nanna

Another busy day tomorrow – with my dad’s side of the family this time. They’ll be staying the night and then we have a friend coming on Saturday! Still not decided what to do for new year though …

Holidays!

Heheh, it felt like Christmas Eve at work today. Most of us are away next week, so it was a very laid back atmosphere. We were meant to be hammering a test system and i kept logging quotes from Scroobius Pip, such as “Thou shalt not make some noise for Detroit” – “Thou shalt not shake it like a Polaroid picture” – “Thou shalt not wish your girlfriend was a freak like me” … what a cool song! :) Upstairs they were making dubious comments about an inflatable sheep! I think they had their Secret Santa today. Someone came down to show us a USB humping dog. Yeah really.

The testing also sparked a reply-to-all war with everyone sending everyone else screenshots of the errors they were getting. It eventually degenerated, as everything on the internet always does, into cat macros. I love abusing the Reply to All button! :) We also had a music war this afternoon as someone started playing Christmas carols out loud on their laptop, and all the rest of us turned up our music to drown it out, much to the disdain of the Accounts department: “Don’t you have some software to ship to our customers?!” to which we replied, “They’re not having our software until you get the money off them!” haha!

We officially shipped Version 7.2.3 today. Hurrah! It was the first release EVER that i feel we released on time after a thorough regression testing phase. I am very pleased, and i hope our customers like it.

I came home expecting to go straight out for a run but something was up with my ipod. So it took me about an hour to work out how to sync it on Linux. Eventually Songbird did it for me, and i had a good run, even though it was freezing cold and very foggy. I couldn’t feel my toes or fingers to begin with, and i actually couldn’t wait for the warmup 5 minutes to be over so i could start running! I was even glad that it was uphill to get me warmed up! How things change, hey! :)

I’m afraid once i got back it was quarter past eight so i abandoned any idea of cooking for myself tonight and went to get some chips and a pineapple fritter from the last remaining chippie in England to still do pineapple fritters! Abandoned too is any notion of vacuuming, changing the bedclothes or cleaning the bathroom. Now it is just time to unwind, get packed ready for tomorrow and go enjoy the holiday! Housework can wait: we have a day when we get back before my dad and family come to visit …!

I was very glad to speak to my lovely friend Maribel tonight on Skype. Maribel told me that the theory of parallel universes has been proven! I am very excited about this! We talked about how there are really only two options: one universe or infinite universes. We also discussed the flaw of Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor says that the simplest theory is most likely the correct theory, the point being that one universe is simpler than an infinite number. But Occam’s Razor is self-predicting in a way: the simplest theory is that Occam’s Razor is always correct. But i don’t think it can be.

Maribel is reading The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. I instantly decided that i need to read that book too!

Oh, one more thing before i finish this long and winding post: Amazon bought the Beedle the Bard book by JK Rowling (for 2 million pounds!!) and has posted in-depth reviews and pictures at www.amazon.com/beedlebard. I am so pleased that it went to someone who wants to share it with as many people as possible! When i have some time i am going to read all the detailed reviews of each tale. They received a lot of praise by the look of it!

Home Alone 2

Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of an evening and you think, “What did i actually do tonight?”. And then you think of everything. And then you go, “Yes, but what else?!”. And then the only feasible next action is to waste a bit more time blogging about it!!

I don’t seem to cope well on my own. I was alright last night because i occupied myself with lots of chores and writing Christmas cards. But tonight i have gone all non-linear and don’t seem to be able to get around to doing anything much.

Well, there are some good things about tonight: i went for my run, i cooked a good meal, i folded the laundry and put some more on. I should certainly give myself a Well Done award for those, and maybe i can finish the day up well by getting to bed at a sensible time instead of hurriedly trying to achieve things to make me feel better.

OCD

My slightly OCD tendencies seem to become more apparent when i am running. Once upon a time i invented an idea that going upstairs i had to start with my right foot, and going down i had to start with my left. Then it started to apply to kerbs of pavements too. Which is fine when i am walking, but when running i find myself altering my pace of running just so that i can land on the pavement with my right foot.

Another thing: if one foot slightly kicks against the other by accident i always feel the need to do the same thing back again. So if my right foot brushes against the ankle bone of my left foot, my left foot will have to do the same back to the ankle bone of my right foot, in the same kind of motion with the same amount of pressure. Again, when walking this normally causes no problems but when running this compulsion could become quite dangerous!!

Anyway, OCD aside, it was another good run tonight. I am always amazed at how much easier Wednesday is compared to Monday. I guess there’s a psychological element: i know i have done it before so i can do it again. The same applies to hills: “Ah, i’ve run up this hill before! I can do it again!”

There is a sort of runners subculture in Winchester – so many runners out and about, and i am starting to recognise people! We give a sort of encouraging smile and tiny little wave when we pass each other! :)

I am using Gmap Pedometer to find myself a good route to run in Platts Heath, Kent next week. It’s harder than i thought it would be. There are lots of long roads around huge fields and it’s actually quite difficult to find a route of 3-3½ miles which is what i want!

I made myself a very good dinner tonight: a spicy beanburger along with half a cabbage, an avacado and a tomato. In some crazy parallel universe it made sense to cook two beanburgers but then i slipped through the 5th dimension into the universe i am currently in, where it seems utter nonsense with all the rest of the food i ate, but maybe i can take it to work for lunch tomorrow. Can cooked spicy beanburgers be re-heated in a microwave? Would that do them any harm?

I have to write about the food i ate in case my partner comes and reads this to find out whether i fed myself properly tonight!

I feel like Pot Noodle tonight

My beloved is away in Germany until Friday and we actually won’t see each other again until we meet in Kent on Saturday. I promise i will eat some vegetables tomorrow, but to be honest, today i had a good meal at lunchtime (it was our department Christmas lunch) and so i’m afraid i copped out tonight and got a Pot Noodle. I notice they have lost their “Approved by the Vegetarian Society” status … i wonder how that happened? But it still says suitable for vegetarians so that’s good enough for me.

I have a boat load of chores to do tonight and yet more Christmas/Solstice cards to write, so i’ll make this quick … in fact i can’t even remember the reason i wanted to write anything at all …!

I just spoke to my dear Felix on the Skype, which was fantastic and hurrahful! :D It’s such a good way of knowing when people are available to talk and not have to worry about disturbing them at a bad time … they always have the option to ignore the call if it’s inconvenient. I love Skype … don’t know why i didn’t set it up sooner!

Anything else? No. It must be chores o’clock. Go go go!!!

Still running

I am now into Week 4 of Couch-to-5K and it was the hardest challenge yet. Every run up until now has only included 8 minutes of running, the rest walking. The runs have been spaced out differently to build up my stamina. Today the amount of running doubled and the walking greatly reduced. By the time i had done 8 minutes i was only half-way through my run – but it felt great! I knew i had a lot to do so i paced myself slowly. The podcast helpfully played more chilled out music for me. But towards the end it rocked out again, and encouraged me to do an extra push for the last minute!

This week’s schedule is:

5 minutes warm-up walk
3 minutes running.
1½ minutes walking.
5 minutes running.
2½ minutes walking.
3 minutes running.
1½ minutes walking.
5 minutes running.
5 minutes warm-down walk.

I definitely feel a huge improvement in my fitness level. There is absolutely no way i could have done what i did tonight four weeks ago. I went quite a long way too: just over 3 miles in total. My goal is to get to run three miles non-stop, in addition to the warm-up and warm-down 5-minute walks.

A few times i have passed another runner who seems to run about the same time and place as i do. Today we passed each other twice, and smiled each time! It was nice. We may have different reasons for running, but there is a sort of connection all the same.

I had a really nice weekend away with my family – it was my dad’s 50th birthday party! Really lovely to see a lot of people especially my dear siblings.

Unfortunately Friday night was really cloudy so we missed all the good meteors. It was kinda frustrating knowing they were zooming across our heads and we couldn’t see any of them.