Dog: Walrus toy

As my parents have two huge dogs that rip any new toys to shreds I have a tendency to look for dogs toys that are indestructible as oppose to pretty

However I did happen to spot a snazzy walrus that wouldn’t last five minutes with the dogs so I bought it for the cats

The cats seem to be largely ignoring it when we are watching, although it has moved around the house seemingly by itself so that’s generally a good sign

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Garden: Sweet peas from seed

I’ve had a packet of sweet pea seeds for two years and I keep meaning to plant them – in particular because everyone says how easy they are to grow and how pretty the flowers are. However the internet keeps telling me to soak them which is a bit off-putting

This year I am going to get informed and grow them!

The Royal Horticultural Society says that I should sow the seeds indoors between January and April – however they do not advise soaking the seeds; their suggestion is to place the seeds on top of moist kitchen towel in an airtight container in a warm room (15 degrees centigrade apparently)

(Picture from Gardener’s World)

Then when the seeds swell or sprout then you sow them – preferably covered with one centimetre of compost

The tricky issue of spacing is always something the internet has various opinions on, it seems 3 ish centimetres apart might be sufficient when planting the seeds, changing to 9 cm once the seedlings are 3.5 cm tall

AND then in April the January sown plants can be planted outside with a minimum spacing of 20 cm apart. I am starting to see why I put off growing these!

There is also them the matter of pinching out the tips when the plants reach 10 cm, apparently you want them to get bushy with side shoots – totally unlike tomatoes

Then as a final complication the plants want something to climb; a wigwam of canes or some netting structure which generally tie me in knots

I’m perilously close to informing myself out of trying these seeds – although maybe being so old they won’t germinate…

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Nails: Dumbo

Looking for bargains in my local hardware store resulted in bringing home a rather creepy crow as a metal garden ornament

Happily my darling spouse was happy to take my explanation that it reminded me of the crows from Dumbo – admittedly a nightmare version however there is nothing nightmarish about these Dumbo nails

(picture from Pinterest)

In fact he looks a very happy little elephant indeed

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Film: Grimbsy – I can find nothing safe to quote…

Sacha Baron Cohen does have a knack for comedy that could offend and ‘Grimsby’ is no exception – for starters it wasn’t even filmed in Grimsby

grimsby

In the interests of keeping this post family-friendly there isn’t actually much that I can say about ‘Grimsby’ other than it’s about a spy and his long lost brother, it also really isn’t family friendly!

I did watch some parts of it with my hands covering my face and it was surprisingly that some of the ‘jokes’ didn’t get cut at the insistence of the censors – although there were some actually funny moments in between all the shock value bits

If you can watch it legally without it costing you any additional money – for example it appears on a streaming service that you subscribe to, then it’s worth watching just to see how high your tolerance of the unnecessarily vulgar is – apparently mine isn’t high enough to not hide for at least some of the film …

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Book: Paul Matthews’ ‘We Have Lost The President’ – “without a leader, self-interest would be king”

The premise of ‘We Have Lost The President’ sounded fun, the year is 2044 and due to a hacker- related incident Britain is a low tech Republic with an elected President

Howie Pond is the President’s official spokesman and is granted quasi secret agent powers when the President goes missing as part of a desperate attempt to find him

We largely see this world from Howie’s view, a land of bureaucracy where the beeper is king and close ties between corporations and politics are rife

I really enjoyed the first three pages of the book, then the world building and scene setting gave way to Howie, his unlikeable girlfriend and his dreadful coworkers… the book is sad to be a comedy-thriller yet it wasn’t very funny or very thrilling

Somehow there are three sequels all starting ‘We Have Lost…’ so I guess other people liked it

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Just-Noticeable Difference – a mechanism to steal chocolate

I’m still trying to improve my brain and not just read disposable junk, however it’s not as simple as I hoped – apparently my brain is not a muscle I’ve been exercising as diligently as I should have for *cough* some time

For example I stumbled across the term Just-Noticeable Difference or JND. The context was that humans experience a diminished sensitivity to changes away from what is ‘normal’ – this is apparently the Weber-Fecher Law where the JND of a variable is “proportional to the magnitude of that variable” (Richard H. Thaler’s ‘Misbehaving’)

fat hamster

(Picture from Pinterest)

So if my 56kg dog gains 100 grams I won’t notice, but if my tiny hamster gains 100 grams I will – and be seeking out an explanation and perhaps a vet

Wiki says ” is the amount something must be changed in order for a difference to be noticeable, detectable at least half the time”

Wiki also had some dodgy formula that put me off, however from a consumer perspective it’s important to know about JND as that’s what manufacture’s use to determine how much they can shrink a product by – whilst leaving the price the same, so that we won’t notice (or at least not complain). This seems to happen a lot with chocolate lately – everything seems to be shrinking a few grams on a regular basis

So what I learnt about Just-Noticeable Difference is that I should complain to the manufacturer about any time decrease in size, just to throw off their JND figures!

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Food: Mars Brownie

Mars bars are nice in extreme moderation, brownie can be nice, yet a Mars bar with chunks of brownie in sounds distinctly suspect

Happily heavy reductions can inspire me to try most things, in this case a slightly overly sweet and yet dry Mars bar

It was edible because it was chocolate derived, however either a brownie or a Mars bar would have been infinitely preferable

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