5 July 2006

Matt couldn't wake up in time for breakfast this morning, but the girls smelled "shopping" in the air and woke up right on time. We had breakfast in hall, fed the ducks (of course!), then went to the Wednesday Market. Still no chicken tikka sauce, but we got necessities (e.g., TP) and niceties (e.g., raspberries, strawberries, oranges, and bananas). The girls each bought Tamagotchi's.

CS1316 is at the hardest part of the course. I just introduced linked lists and traversals yesterday, and today we did repeating and weaving. But with only three people in the course, I can ask them to do things often and keep an eye on them. I think they're doing okay.

CompFreak did descriptive statistics today. We played with population numbers and stock price values. Lots of people falling asleep – still too blasted hot. (And this is clearly one of the least interesting lectures of the term.)

I gave the kids two hard challenges today. The first, the "normal" challenge, was "Find the oldest building in Oxford and take a sound move of it making noise." Believe it or not, Katie and Jenny solved it without hitting the Internet – but also figured out that I was wrong. (As Richard said to them, "Don't you hate working with amateurs?") The oldest building in Oxford is the Saxon Tower, dating back to the 1000's. But I was thinking of the Carfax Tower, which contains a big clock, dating back to the 1400's. They're about a block (and 400 years) apart in Oxford. Katie figured out my mistake, and she filmed the movie, so they got the ice cream.

Click me to hear and see the clock
Carfax-tower-ringing.jpg


The second one was really hard, and I promised them two pounds each if they solved it. (They've been asking me how they could earn more spending money, and this seemed like a reasonable excuse.) The index card I gave them said:
Remember, remember the Fifth of November.
If you want to set off a bomb at midnight,
you'd best remember to have a _________.

The "remember, remember" line is part of a poem that Matt knows (from the movie V for Vendetta and elsewhere) referring to Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up Parliament on 5 November 1605. It turns out that the Ashmolean Museum up the road has Guy Fawkes' lamp!. Katie and Jenny were racking their brains over it during breakfast. ("Should we look up bombings in Oxford?") So I told them that they could solve it over several days.

Unbeknownst to me, they asked for Mommy's help at their regular 12 noon (here, 7 am there) Skype call!! They solved it, and I went with them for the picture. (I'd never been to the Ashmolean myself.)

IMG_5769.JPG

We took Jenny after that to the Oxford Modern Art museum, after getting their reward ice creams. She's figuring out her artistic tastes – at eight! She told me yesterday that she didn't like the art we were seeing at the Fitzwilliam and elsewhere. "I like The Scream, and I like art where there's different colors that don't go together." My guess was that she liked modern art. Boy, was I wrong! The Modern Art museum here is small and only has one exibit at a time, no permanent galleries at all. Right now is "Out of Beirut" about living in a wartorn land. Nope, not up Jenny's alley at all!

Though it finally started raining today, it's still darn hot here. Katie and I are sleeping the worst for it. Katie suggested asking Worcester for a fan, which I did, but they only gave us one. (And since it's all sealed up, I think that they bought that one!) We also bought me a fan for 10 pounds.

We got turned away from dinner tonight – not enough spots left for the four of us after the students all came in. So while the kids bought me a fan, I went back and made spaghetti meat sauce with "mince" (read "ground beef"), bottled sauce, and some chopped up olive and garlic. (I had bought some olives stuffed with garlic at the Market today – yeah, it'll give me terrible breath, but who's to care here?!?) I had bought noodles already, and lettuce, and I cooked up some Nan with butter to make garlic bread. Everybody liked it but Jenny (par for the course), so she made a ham sandwich.

Richard's going to leave tomorrow before our class – he's off to Inverness in Scotland. We're planning to see the new Pirates movie, then go to LegoLand on Friday, and maybe biking on Saturday. I finally finished my ICER reviews today, so now I can work on the IRB protocol. Maybe I can finally get back to the data structures book by the end of this weekend – if no other fires spring up.