July 11, 2012

Mostly Notes

Exercise: Lots of the regular exercisers like the Free Step on Wii Fit Plus, which provides a pulse on the Wii remote so that you can step while watching tv. I watched QI, and this worked pretty well; best for a rest day or as additional exercise because the Wii Fit is not a very high step and the rate feels quite slow (I raised the pace and would like to raise it more). I plan to do this while watching the Dallas reboot or other junky TV: if it becomes a regular thing I will buy a riser for the balance board.

Culture: Many of my home-based friends swear by Woman's Hour so I am giving it a go. The original plan was to do cardio to it, but the timing probably doesn't work out. I suppose there's Listen Again. Today we've had a rather worthy segment on Melinda Gates and global contraception, and a rage-inducing segment on young men's attitudes to women. Now it's the Cultural Olympiad, which I'm benefitting from without seriously paying much attention to. Yesterday I picked up free tickets to one of the Olympic events-in-other-parks -- so we'll be in Victoria Park on 3 August. Those events are free, and there are some interesting bands playing and other events, so they're well worth checking out. That week is becoming our Olympic week; we have archery tickets, olympic park tickets and Victoria park tickets. After that we're mostly ignoring the fooferol, though we are worried that transport will be blocked all over London.

I do very much want to see Sacrilege, which is coming very close to here but we'll need to organise our life very carefully to do it.

Food: The pea and bacon pasta was really good. We adapted this recipe with 500g not 400g of pasta, additional mushrooms and fennel, and much less parmesan (perhaps 30g instead of 150!). I also used chervil instead of mint. But I think adding a stock cube to the pasta water is quite a good hack, and this ended up serving 4 people plus 3 lunch portions. So probably 6 dinner portions. Tonight: stretchy mince. With turnips probably.

Study: I am still very very stuck on convolution in Signals and Systems, and the software testing course is boring me -- the first Udacity course that hasn't consistently engaged me. I press on though.

Posted by Alison Scott at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2012

The Shape of the Summer

Udacity has launched its new hexamester. I am enrolled in four courses. One is ST101 introduction to statistics, which I do not expect to trouble me unduly, and one is the CS262 programming languages course that I'm about 60% of the way through. I am excited about CS221 Logic and Discrete Maths, which hasn't quite launched yet, and I've made a start on CS258 Software Testing. That one requires you to understand objects (classes and methods) in a Python context, which I don't, so I am going to have to find some remedial support on the web for that (Steven says that CodeCademy has some good stuff on beginning object oriented programming) but otherwise I think it will be ok but challenging for me.

I'm trying to do German on Duolingo daily, at least until I go to Castellans Folksommer, and Japanese (on Anki and Read the Kanji) daily. I'm also doing the self-study 6.003z. I'm intending to exercise and play music for half an hour each daily, cook my family delicious food made from fresh ingredients, and squeeze in a bit of sketching, knitting, blogging and reading. Hmm. And, as Marianne said, 'isn't it lovely that you have the time to be a full time homemaker and mother'.

And I'm back on My Fitness Pal, or as my wicked mate Ang calls it, 'My Fat Friend', trying to track food and exercise. An acquaintance of mine has started Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation, which is a regular sort of online diet and fitness plan except that it runs in structured, deadline-focused, lumps, like the Udacity courses. I know from Udacity and 6.002x that this sort of structure suits me. But the result of it being in lumps is that I can't start yet, and it costs a lot of money, which violates my 'taking advantage of free online courses' model. So I thought I might just try regular old 'eating less and exercising more' for a month or so first before deciding whether to shell out my cash.

Food -- Gordon's Lasagne again, this time with absolutely perfect Natoora fresh pasta sheets. Which are expensive but the packet is twice as big as you need for this dish so I have frozen the rest. Natoora has a partnership with Ocado, which is good because I don't think I could possibly afford to do all my shopping at Natoora! We make this recipe serve six (four large dinner portions and two smaller lunch portions), and it is full of vegetables (I think I use more than Gordon calls for; particularly more mushrooms this time). This time I skipped the creme fraiche, used whole eggs rather than yolks, frozen spinach, and much less parmesan than recommended because I made Marianne grate it and she lost heart after about an ounce. Still delicious. Tonight will be a soup, roughly in line with the Minestrone from How to Eat Nigella Lawson, and homemade bread.

Finally, Dallas is back! Not properly on television in the UK until September though, because in Channel 5's world nobody in the UK who wants to see this has access to the internet.

Posted by Alison Scott at 09:59 AM | Comments (2)