Posts – Page 2

Misjudging Food

My journey times were pretty quick today and so I made it home with the boys earlier than I expected. I thought I would go for maximum dad points and get food on for when my wife got home.

I did pretty well at playing referee while the boys played ...

Disastrous Dinners: Imperial Sugar

The following is roughly what I intended to say during last nights Disastrous Dinners talk.

I didn't stick too strictly to the script, but you get the idea. There was a good discussion after the talk with extra questions.

If you want to attend the next talk in September ...

Another Talk Down

I am just in from presenting my second disastrous dinner. Here are my initial thoughts:

  • It doesn't seem to matter how many presentations I give, I always get ridiculously nervous before the event.
  • I always forget how nervous I get when I am organising before hand and only remember ...

Some Things Don’t Change

Despite my best intentions, I have done it again. Back in February I swore that I was going to make sure that any future talks I give would be well planned in. Two weeks before the event, I would have my rough transcript finished, giving plenty of time for polishing ...

Sugar Manufacturing is Dangerous Stuff

I have just had the realisation tonight that my Disastrous Dinners series of events have, so far, been fairly sugar industry focused.

The very first talk was on the Boston Molasses Flood - Molasses being a byproduct of the sugar industry.

I then had 3 presentations that did not involve the ...

A different perspective of the moon landings

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landings this weekend, there have been a lot of different programs looking back at the event.

My favourite interview has to be the recollection from one of the astronaut's kids. While watching on TV, their main worry was that their dad was ...

My Little Monkey

My little monkey
I see you can climb well but,
Please don't climb up there.

Guilty Cuddles

I love getting cuddles from my kids.

I feel bad for enjoying the cuddles when they are feeling ill.

Cycling with a Trailer

The weather over the last few weeks has been lovely and has made the cycle commuting much more pleasant. In particular the cycling with the kids in the trailer on the way home from nursery has been a pleasure.

Yes it is tiring and hard work but, due to the ...

No Phone

Still out of breath having cycled up the hill, I sat down on the couch only to be immediately presented with a picture book by my one and a half year old.


Do I dutifully went through the book pointing out all the animals and encouraging him to repeat ...

Why Guard?

In the UK, most equipment is guarded. Moving parts that could crush or amputate are covered up. Hot surfaces get lagged or caging applied to avoid burns. Why do we bother?

Because the government forces us?

Well yes, we do have legislation in the uk1 that require organisations to ...

Green Waves can be Tiring

A green wave is when you manage to travel through a built up area arriving at junctions just after the lights have turned green to let you continue. In some places the lights are actually engineered to work like that for the majority of traffic. If they are traveling at ...

Back in a Boat

My dad likes kayaking. He offered to take my son out in a two person boat (K2) and I decided to have another go myself.

I can't remember the last time I was in a K1 (a one person boat). I am talking about flat water racing kayaks. Unlike ...

Playing in the Park

Rather than rushing off on any big adventures today, we kept it simple and stopped by a local park. It was nice to get out on the bike without feeling like there was a need to get anywhere quickly.

The kids got to get out and run free for a ...

Another Energy Supply Problem

Almost as soon as I published yesterday's post, I ran into a different energy supply issue.

We had been cooking dinner in our pizza oven when the gas canister ran out. Not to worry I smugly thought to myself. I knew it was low and a couple of months ...

Proof that Distributed Control Works

Today we had a perfect example of distributed control working.

The way our DCS is set up is with individual plants on their own local networks and these are connected to a central network that runs to the control room where the operators and the advanced control schemes that work ...

An Unexpected Visit

As I am about to pack up and head home, I received a message from my sister saying that she was in the area, and asked if it would be ok for a visit. This worked out well. She made it to our house before me and was able to ...

Past Performance

I realise that I graduated university over 10 years ago now. Earlier today I wanted to check the exact date so I looked out a copy of my certificate. Sure enough, the 10 year anniversary was at some point last month. What was also stored with the certificate was my ...

This is an Automated Post

I have decided to try and help myself to maintain regular publishing posts. In the last year, the days that I missed tended to be busy days either playing host, traveling or working nightshift.

So to try and help, I want to be able to quickly write a post in ...

Kids Eating Preferences

It is no surprise that we have struggled to convince our kids to consume their vegetables. On child seems determined to only eat things that are cream or white in colour (rice, pasta, bread, yogurt). Anything that looks like it may have touched a tomato or anything green gets a ...

4th of July Picnic - on the 6th

So today was our annual "4th of July Picnic" held on the closest Saturday to the 4th. As usual we invited lots of friends over and had the grill on doing burgers and sausages for most of the day.

Grass and bench in foreground. Patio in background with tables chairs and a green shelter.
Patio's ready
Grass and bench in foreground. Patio in background with tables chairs and a green shelter.
Patio's ready

An addition this year ...

A Year of Blogging

On this day, one year ago, I started posting (almost) daily. In the last year I have published 358 posts, so clearly I didn't manage to publish every day. Prior to this past year, my posts have been very irregular and infrequent.

In fact my first ‘streak’ only lasted ...

Happy 4th of July

Today is the one day that Americans manage to get the date correct. To celebrate independence, they call the put the day of the month first just like everyone else.

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and family.

Thanks to Randolph Lalonde

Randolph Lalonde is a self published author who has written my current favourite sci-fi series Spinward Fringe. Yesterday he posted that he has now had more than 1 million downloads and is celebrating this achievement and 10 years of self publishing with a sale on all his books.

I have ...

Easy Gym

I made it back to the circuits session for the first time in a while. I was expecting to find it hard, but there was a different trainer taking the session. While the half hour was fully utilised (it overran by a few minutes) it was actually easier than normal ...

Back in the Office

Today was my first day back in the office after a week long break. So I wasn't able to enjoy the sunshine as I walked or cycled through the park. Instead I was inside a blast resistant building with little connection to the outside world.

And it was brilliant ...

Fakeaway Cooking

Now that our house is a mostly vegan one1, we have been getting takeaway much less than before. There are a few takeaway places that do have vegan options but not covering all cuisines. One that we have been missing on is the Chinese takeaway.

We have now gotten ...

Parenting Slight of Hand Win

For tonight's dessert, the kids had some frozen berries (thawed out in the microwave) with some yogurt. As far as the kids were concerned, their parents were eating the same thing.

Of course we had managed to communicate with each other and organised that we actually had ice-cream with ...

Flagchaser Spotting

Yesterday, on my way home from collecting the boys I spotted some equipment getting set up in calendar park. This morning I saw more equipment and people in the park along with a sign directing 'Adventure Show Crew'.

I didn't think any mor about it but on the way ...

I just can't win

On Monday, it was raining all day and I was unable to get any work in the garden done.

Today the weather was so hot and my hayfever was so bad, I was unable to get any work in the garden done.

Just as well my day job is based ...

I Gave In & Bought a New Watch

I have been nursing my fitbit surge watch for the last year, ever hopeful that I could delay buying another piece of technology that I can’t use most of the time1, but at last I have admitted defeat and accepted that I need a new watch.

ABB Presentations

Despite being on holiday this week, I attended a seminar by ABB on energy efficiency and smart sensors.

There were two presentations, the second presentation was about permanent condition monitoring devices that remain in place on each piece of equipment and gather data every hour. Then the data is collected ...

Games Reflect Reality

Over the weekend we had some friends over who brought a new boardgame over. The game was a very strategy focused game and I had to make the first move. I was struggling to decide what move to make and said something along the following:

It is difficult to make ...

International Women in Engineering Day

So today is ​International Women in Engineering Day. A day to celebrate the many women who work in engineering and try to promote the profession to the future generation.

I have not been involved with any events but have spent the day with a friend who happens to be a ...

Energy Credits

After attending the Royal Highland Show on Thursday, I had expected to be exhausted. But that evening and on Friday I felt fine. Actually I had more energy than I had had recently. I was surprised but this.

But now I know that I must have been living on borrowed ...

Simple and Silly Pleasures

There are some simple things that can bring more pleasure than they probably ought to. During a meeting today, we were working out what the next steps were. My manager was mid way through assigning some tasks for me to do on Monday morning when I pointed out:

Except I ...

Attending the Royal Highland Show

Today we spent the day at the Royal Highland Show. I remember going with my dad when I was a kid, but couldn't remember too much.

We timed things well, arriving just after 07:30 and leaving at 17:00, we missed the worst of the traffic. We also ...

A Message to IChemE Scottish Group Members

Last night I became the chair of the IChemE Scottish Members Group. I have just submitted an email to the members and I am placing a copy here.

This is a quick email in three parts:

  • An Introduction
  • A Request
  • An Event

An Introduction

My name is Alistair Marshall and ...

The First Tuesday After the Second Thursday in June

Happy Marches

Not Such a Busy Week

Back in February we planned a dry 4un testing week to run through different parts of a migration to help answer what will happen during the changeover.

Since the Dade was put in the calendar, I have been invited to lots of other events which have all been scheduled for ...

Father's Day

For father's day, my wife and her friend decided that it would be a good idea to organise something something to do together leaving the kids with their respective fathers all day. How thoughtful of them.

Weddings are Weird

I have just gotten in after attending a friend's wedding. The groom pointed something out during his speech that I will paraphrase1 here:

Weddings are a weird occasion. They are essentially a very expensive and public way to say to the bride's family, "hey, I am getting ...

Holiday Booked

I have ay last actually booked some days off work. I had great plans at the start of the year to work out when we would take time off as a family, but never actually did so. Earlier this week I realised that we are now nearly half way through ...

A Cheat's Guide to Making Vegan* Cupcakes

* See ingredient footnotes

First I am going to apologize, I didn't take any photographs. This was a mistake. But you can assume that they look like any other cupcakes.

A couple of weeks ago I brought in two cupcakes to work that my wife had made1 and put ...

IChemE Group in Trouble

The IChemE Scottish Members Group is in trouble. Next week is our AGM and we currently have no one willing to take on the positions of Chair, Treasurer or Secretary.

As a result, it is looking increasingly likely that we may no longer have a local members group by the ...

Well That Didn't Work

The ploy a couple of weeks ago to encourage better security has clearly failed. The person who unwillingly sent an email to the rest of our team, offering to buy pies, sent another one today.

This was followed up about an hour later by a different team member offering to ...

Suspicious Weather

I have gotten soaked every time I have cycled home over the last two weeks. The day that I used the car because it was supposed to rain turned out to be lovely. Today was the most suspicious yet. Glorious sunshine all day then pouring rain just as I was ...

Taking Them Down With Me

Today I was taking care of the two boys on my own. Rather than keeping ourselves in the house, we went on an adventure to Deep Sea World1. It was a very tiring day, I now have a headache and my legs are screaming at me.

The one good ...

Our Adventure Book

Last year, some friends came to visit and we went out to a local park, then stopped in a cafe for some food. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, our friends got out their adventure book. This is a notebook which they write in when they go ...

A Really Frustrating Afternoon

This afternoon, I attempted to merge two graphics together including all the custom code that makes them work behind the scenes. I had thought it would be pretty easy but in the end I failed. I did manage to get some problems fixed but never at the rate that it ...