Bye Mum

My Mum passed away last Friday. We’d originally planned a holiday for the last two weeks, but cancelled that and switched to a week in Derbyshire. We’d go out during the day with the kids (Gulliver’s Kingdom, Alton Towers Water Park, etc.) and then I’d visit her in hospital in the evening. By the Thursday one of the nurses suggested I might want to stay over, so we set up a mattress on the floor of her room and I kipped there (until she got tired of me being so concerned for her comfort and kicked me out). We hadn’t quite allowed for Mum’s tenacity, however, as I spent a further 7 nights sleeping on the floor, allowing myself an hour a day to wander around Ashbourne while someone else sat with her. I can’t honestly say it was an easy passing, but the awesome staff at the excellent St Oswald’s hospital made it as close to one as was possible.

That’s all I have to say about that for now. The funeral is next week, and I’ll be making a speech, so I’ll share what I come up with later.

End of Days

I was driving with the kids to the local garden centre, listening to a news item on the radio about the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico. It struck me that, as a Stephen King fan from a while back, driving the kids to the local garden centre and hearing about a disease outbreak far away is not a good sign for you or the people around you.

Monsters vs Aliens

We all went to see Monsters vs Aliens today because, well, it’s called Monsters vs Aliens. What’s not to like? Well it turns out the film is what’s not to like. Great voice work, sadly drowned out by the constant dull thud of dead punchlines, plus animation that at times barely looked one dimensional, let alone the 2 we’d paid for or the three that is available in some places (though at other spots it was truly great), meant that I spent way too much time wondering when I could have my next candy.

The kids loved it though, so I recommend sending the smallest number of parents you can get away with.


An interesting bit of trivia, I think: If you play with the graph here you can show that since Obama came to power the S&P 500 (which I chose because it’s a better indicator than the Dow of the overall market, though still far from perfect) has fallen around 10%. That’s pretty shocking. Not as bad as the previous incumbent, though, who experienced a drop of over 12% in the same timeframe. This doesn’t indicate anything, of course, it’s just a curiosity.

On Chimps

Here’s an interesting article on the perception of African American as apes even today:

The researchers consistently discovered a black-ape association even if the young adults said they knew nothing about its historical connotations. The connection was made only with African American faces; the paper’s third study failed to find an ape association with other non-white groups, such as Asians.

In case you’re wondering about those historical connections, this (perhaps biased) source has a couple of pointers.