Monday, October 14, 2013

Quick hello to Python people

I'd like to welcome anyone coming to my blog from Pycon Ireland, I hope you enjoyed the convention as much as I did. If you're here to get a feel for who I am, I recommend this post which I wrote for this blog

I love blogging for the same reason I love delivering training, programming, arguing about Monty Hall, and teaching boardgames. In all these cases it's about understanding something well enough to be able to explain it to someone else. It just happens that in one of those cases the someone else happens to be a computer. However, I blog very irregularly because it's rare that I get the inspiration and time to do so at the same time.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to fix (or at least open) a toilet

Some time ago there was some problem with the inner workings of one of the two toilets in the house. Unfortunately we have one of these new ones, with the flush buttons on top, which we didn't know how to open.

Flush buttons

My husband sort of did battle with it until it opened and he could fix the problem. Over the next while whenever I was in that bathroom I fiddled with it until eventually I had it reassembled. In the process, I discovered a magical truth. Those buttons screw off.

Just pinch the outside and turn anti-clockwise (lefty loosey). At first it will seem like it's not going to do anything. But keep turning and eventually.
Buttons and mechanism, unscrewed

At this point you can just lift the top of the cistern like an old fashioned flush on the front model and get at the whatever you were trying to get at inside.


A while later the other toilet in the house started flushing constantly. The cistern was constantly filling up and emptying at the same time, wasting huge amounts of water. So I simply unscrewed the buttons, lifted off the top and had a look. That black thing at the right had drifted up, and water was flowing over the top of the white pipe in the middle. So I pushed the black thing down, put the lid back on, screwed the buttons back on, and felt very satisfied with myself.


Friday, August 2, 2013

My current weight loss journey

I have another post about weight loss, thin privilege, size acceptance, yo yo dieting, obesity discrimination, being both fit and fat, the myth of how easy it is to lose weight if you'd only try, and much more, sitting in my drafts folder. It is a complicated and nuanced question, so it'll probably sit there for a while. This post, on the other hand, is on a topic I definitely am qualified to talk about: me.


Through a combination of good fortune, privilege, and conscious effort, I am less affected by our culture's body policing than most women. I had made peace with being overweight, and wasn't going to take 'but it's for your health' from anyone who couldn't keep up with me on a ten mile run. But recently I realised that I was not just fat, but getting fatter. Despite continuing my running, trying to cut down my portions and carbs, and trying to avoid deserts; I was getting large enough that I needed to buy new clothes, and heavy enough that it was slowing me down when I ran. So I am dieting.

I lost quite a lot of weight on Weight Watchers At Home several years ago, so it was the natural choice this time. I put a lot of that weight back on during pregnancy and breastfeeding*, and more since. I enjoy Weight Watchers. There are rules that I find easy and fun to follow; I quite like rules. I find the challenge of trying to pitch my eating in the narrow band between the daily minimum and my daily allowance pleasing. And most of all I enjoy Weight Watchers because it feels like a game, and it's a game I'm good at.

I expected to hate the ProPoints system which replaced the comfortably familiar system I used last time; change confuses and angers me. The new system removes half points, introduces weekly points in addition to the existing daily points, changes how points are calculated, and makes almost all fruits and vegetables 'free'. All of these changes, to my mild irritation, make it better.

Despite starting with a five day week, I lost six pounds in week one. I've been losing a steady pound or two a week since. Last time I aimed for the mid range of 'healthy weight' for my height, but found that my face started to get too angular under ten stone. That was before I took up running, and I have gained a lot of muscle mass since. So this time I'm aiming for ten stone six, the high end of 'healthy' for my height. I've already lost more than 5% of my starting weight, and I'm about a third of the way to my goal weight. I might update again when I get there.

I've struggled with my weight my whole life. I was a large child, I gained several stone during my junior cert, and apart from the brief period between the first time I did Weight Watchers and a month or two into my pregnancy, I've always been big. Some times more than others. So the really interesting bit here isn't how I look and feel in a few months when I reach my goal weight, but how I look and feel in three years time. Maybe I'll update on this again when I get there, too.


*A lot of people say breastfeeding makes you lose the baby fat. Maybe it does for some people. But I think this didn't work for me for the same reason exercising for weight loss doesn't work for me; it makes you hungrier, and only makes you lose weight if you ignore that extra hunger.


P.S. These comparison photos also teach me that my running bra is whatever the opposite of flattering is. But it is very good at its job.
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3 
Week 4 
Week 5

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sorry I've been so quiet.

This is just a quick apology to those of you that read this blog without me linking to it somewhere, if, in fact, such people exist.

I blog because I enjoy taking an idea and making it into something that I hope is interesting, informative, or entertaining for someone to read. That requires an idea, and time, together. I have a lot of ideas, but, being fortunate enough to have a lot of things I love to do, find time harder to come by. But still, it's been over six months, which is getting silly. Expect a real post soon.