Food Friday 2014 – Google food hacks to learn from

Loved this article about how Google influences employees painlessly to make healthier choices.

Top tips:

  • Put unhealthy snacks in opaque bins or boxes instead of in plain sight.
  • What is the first thing you see when grazing for food – it will be what you eat most of.
  • People with bigger dishes tend to eat more.
  • Be conscious of what you put at eye-level in the fridge, e.g water v. soda.

Food Friday 2014 – Slide at the free buffet and a good book

Still having trouble with temptation. Offers of chocolate from coworkers and this week, a krispy kreme, a nice buffet spread at a workshop I attended followed by an ice cream….

The work temptations are also pick-me-ups when staying inside. Need to make sure to walk outside during the day. Then saying no to things I am tempted by rarely (fresh krispy kremes) or free food….It is not as though I’m hungry and need  the food…

Been reading a really good book (so far) called The Flat Tummy Club Diet (should I have left the typo in as Fat Tummy Club Diet??).

The chapter on getting ready to make changes in your life talks about the Stages of Change model which has been around for a while in various forms.

1. Pre-contemplation
2. Contemplation
3. Preparation
4. Action
5. Maintenance
6. Relapse

damn but you can get to relapse quickly.

The trick with these relapses is to not let it lead to more, but rather to go straight back to contemplation, pass quickly through preparation, action and back into maintenance, or ‘happy balance’ mode. – Kate Adams, Flat Tummy Club Diet, p. 25

Thought on Ariel Sharon’s death

Ariel Sharon, the 11th prime minister of Israel was a participant in the majority of Israel’s wars. He was considered a great military strategist. I would need to read a lot more about wars to be more specific than that.

As housing minister, he encouraged Jewish settlement in such a way
Hamitnahalim Geder Bitahonas to make the Green line blurred through his Seven Stars housing plan. Many supported him for religious or nationalist reasons, others thought it would help with security while others took part in settlements for economic betterment through subsidized housing.

I am sympathetic to those who took/take part in this activity out of a genuine if misguided belief it would help keep Israel safe. The sticker above at right is translated as “The settlers are the true security fence”

It’s a shame that Ariel Sharon fell into a coma just as his hawkish ways were turning toward Peace with quotes like “You can not like the word, but what is happening is an occupation — to hold 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation. I believe that is a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians. ” Source

I remember left wing protesters at the time holding up placards with the words of Ariel Sharon, which was quite a switch from this parody of a playful children’s song sung at protests against wars in Lebanon.
Red Eleynu protest songThe lyrics of the song are

Come down to us Aviron (airplane) – רד אלינו אוירון

Take us to Lebanon – קח אותנו ללבנון

We’ll fight for Sharon – נלחם בשביל שרון

And return in an Aron (coffin) – ונחזור בתוך ארון

The original lyrics were Come down to us plane, Taking us to the sky to play above the trees to be like the birds.

My perception is that Israel trusts its old men. State builders and hawks who turn into doves have greater credibility in the eyes of the general public. Whether they transform in light of newfound knowledge and maturity obtained in later life, due to the practicality of the two state solution in terms of population numbers or a self-centered eye toward their historical legacy I don’t know.

I wonder if Benjamin Netanyahu will one day turn toward Peace and whether he will be in a position to effect change. It will be sad if Peace waits for him or those that come after as that would mean the founders of the state of Israel do not get a chance to see Peace in their lifetimes, similar to Moses being unable to enter the land of Israel as the biblical story goes.

It is easy to forget that these politicians are also people. There was an exhibition in 2008 “Moments of Home – רגעים של בית” featuring photographs by David Rubinger and Ziv Koren of Israeli politicians/public figures in their homes to serve as a reminder. This exhibition was part of Israel’s  60th birthday celebrations. It took place in Shuk Hapishpishim in Yafo –  June 25, 2008 – July 2, 2008. There were postcards of some of the images. Below are two photographs of the ones of Ariel Sharon.

Lily and Ariel Sharon in their home, Havat Hashikmim – Sycamore Ranch, 1989

Photo by David Rubinger – דוד רובינגר

1989 ,לילי ואריאל שרון בביתם, חוות השיקמים

Lily and Ariel Sharon in their home, Havat Hashikmim – Sycamore Ranch, 1989 Photo by David Rubinger

Ariel Sharon in his home Havat Hashikmim – Sycamore Ranch, 2001

Photo by Ziv Koren – זיו קורן

2001 ,אריאל שרון בביתו, חוות השיקמים

Ariel Sharon in his home Havat Hashikmim – Sycamore Ranch, 2001 Photo by Ziv Koren

Another pair of Ariel Sharon photos can be found in Ziv Koren’s book Milestones. Screenshot below in case the site goes down. At left is an opponent of Disengagement from Settlements reading a biography of Ariel Sharon, at right Ariel Sharon is at a Picasso exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

pair of Ariel Sharon photos in Ziv Koren’s book Milestones

And then there was also this randomness in 2003.

Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston and Ariel Sharon in Israel

RIP Ariel Sharon. Obituary in Tablet Magazine here, with a famous photo of Ariel Sharon holding a sheep.

Stargazing at RSPB Saltholme

RSPB Saltholme puts on great activities for families. Just as BBC Stargazing Live returned to our screens they held two live stargazing events on the reserve. Both events were fully booked well in advance so it is worth pre-booking early.

Volunteers from the Cleveland and Darlington Astronomical Society helped out for the evening. They generally meet monthly at the Wynyard Planetarium.

There were 3 activities to keep everyone busy. We took our two nephews and were lucky to have a clear night.

We were at capacity and split into two groups.

Our group went outside first. The volunteers had telescopes set up.  There was a small one pointed at the moon’s craters – well within reach of little ones. There were also step-ladders to reach the eyepieces on larger telescopes.

We could see Jupiter and its rings with four moons, a yellow star near a blue star, and given a historical eye test. The telescopes needed to be readjusted all the time as the stars moved due to the Earth’s constant rotation.

A great tip from the volunteers was that an amateur would do well with a pair of binoculars rather than a telescope as it would have a wider field of vision that wouldn’t have to constantly be readjusted.

It was a bit chilly so we went inside to have a warming cup of delicious vegetable soup and a bun and take part in activity 2 to make planispheres.

It was then time to swap with the other group and go upstairs for activity 3. A star dome, a portable planetarium was set up from Teesside University. You have to crawl into it, it looks like an inflated igloo. There is a moment when the tunnel is pitch black. I was concerned my younger nephew would panic and freak out (flashbacks of his former 5-year-old self at The Forbidden Corner shrieking and crying). Happily he pushed past his initial fear :o) One of the volunteers then showed us different constellations inside the dome, telling stories with drawings overlaid on the stars.

As we left they handed  out the BBC Stargazing calendar for 2014 – available online as a pdf.

A great early evening activity with the boys at “the bird place” who are now looking forward to the Big Garden Birdwatch

More star resources linked to from the BBC website:

60 Second Adventures in Astronomy

Star Party Pack

Stargazing Event Pack

On death by Canon Henry Scott-Holland

Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other

That we are still

Call me by my old familiar name

Speak to me in the easy way you always used

Put no difference into your tone

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed

At the little jokes we always enjoyed together

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was

Let it be spoken without effort

Without the ghost of a shadow in it

Life means all that it ever meant

It is the same as it ever was

There is absolute unbroken continuity

What is death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind

Because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval

Somewhere very near

Just around the corner

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost

One brief moment and all will be as it was before

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

– Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral

Excerpt from ‘The King of Terrors’, a sermon on death delivered in St Paul’s Cathedral on Whitsunday 1910, while the body of King Edward VII was lying in state at Westminster. The full text of the sermon is available on wikisource.

Beautiful, comforting words upon the death of a loved one.

Axe Cop at Animex

Ethan Nicolle speaking at Teesside University for Animex had a lot of helpful things to say for people beginning their career paths and also was a lot of fun for fans of his work.

I LOVE Axe Cop. Because of the talk I have since picked up copies of Chumble Spuzz (how neat that Doug Tennapel, creator of Earthworm Jim has written the intro) and The Weevil. How much would I love to see a copy of The Drug Busters?

I was a bit fangirlish and asked for a smooch cop here it is:

Smooch Cop

Whistling in the Dark by They Might Be Giants

A woman came up to me and said
“I’d like to poison your mind
With wrong ideas that appeal to you
Though I am not unkind”
She looked at me, I looked at something
Written across her scalp
And these are the words that it faintly said
As I tried to call for help:

There’s only one thing that I know how to do well
And I’ve often been told that you only can do
What you know how to do well
And that’s be you,
Be what you’re like,
Be like yourself,
And so I’m having a wonderful time
But I’d rather be whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
There’s only one thing that I like
And that is whistling in the dark

A man came up to me and said
“I’d like to change your mind
By hitting it with a rock,” he said,
“Though I am not unkind.”
We laughed at his little joke
And then I happily walked away
And hit my head on the wall of the jail
Where the two of us live today.

There’s only one thing that I know how to do well
And I’ve often been told that you only can do
What you know how to do well
And that’s be you,
Be what you’re like,
Be like yourself,
And so I’m having a wonderful time
But I’d rather be whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
There’s only one thing that I like
And that is whistling in the dark

There’s only one thing that I know how to do well
And I’ve often been told that you only can do
What you know how to do well
And that’s be you,
Be what you’re like,
Be like yourself,
And so I’m having a wonderful time
But I’d rather be whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling in the dark
Whistling, whistling
Whistling in the dark

Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)

Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)

Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)
Whistling (whistling), Whistling (whistling)
Dark (dark), Dark (dark)