Pages tagged “iris”

21 Oct 2017

Alexa, tell me a joke

Following last week’s Siri shutout (football result was a double-zip deadlocker in A Field), more interactions with digital assistants today. We are trying out an Amazon Echo Dot, primarily because changing the station on the “radio” in the kitchen is such a hassle with Sonos. I know, First World problems. If others are interested, integration with Sonos is a new Alexa skill, and if you have existing Sonos devices, it’ll work, but it ain’t spectacular.

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13 Feb 2017

How old is that gannet?

Yesterday I caught the last official day of “Tracking Animals” - an exhibition at The Hunterian in Glasgow curated by my good friend Nicky. Iris pressed her four-year-old nose to the glass of the display cabinet and peered at the taxidermied seabird inside. “How old is that gannet?” she asked, prompted by discussion between myself and her grandpa about its plumage. This preserved individual was, specifically, a teenager, in gannet terms; it’d been chosen to illustrate and augment the other articles on display about GPS tracking of this species’s wanderings between colonies.

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05 Nov 2015

One unexpected pleasure of fatherhood...

…is that this morning I got to test physics by driving about with a helium balloon in the car. I think I am happy explaining the phenomenon without reference to general relativity but it’s an interesting perspective Why does a helium filled balloon move forward when a car accelerates Happy Birthday Iris!

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17 Oct 2015

On infinite villages

Just behind the New Old Inn (a name I particularly like) in Bourton-on-the-Water is a model village, modelled on the village of Bourton-on-the-Water. The model makers must’ve been my kind of people, and shared my love of “meta” because they made it a member of the set of things that describe themselves, a bit like this sentence would be, if it talked about itself. Which it does. Anyway, what I mean is: they included a model of the model inside the model, and a model model model inside it.

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08 Oct 2015

Remember, remember the xth of November

I have an old-fashioned, non-smart, not-even-digital watch. I have to fiddle with the little rotary adjuster thingamabob to set the date to “1” at the end of every month with fewer than 31 days. How do I remember the length of all the months? That rhyme, right? The one that everybody knows: “30 days hath September…” Mnemonics are great, but if this is supposed to be one (wikipedia says it is), it’s a terrible example.

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23 May 2015

Morrisons += 10lbs

I am so proud of my wife. We have another baby and his name is Finn Owen Morrison. He seems a placid sort of fellow and likes sleeping during the day and whimpering during the night. I think he looks a bit like big sister did at the same age. Born precisely 1,432,210,581 seconds after midnight on the 1st of January 1970 a.k.a. early on Thursday afternoon. (He has a terrible almost-repetetive birthdate of 21-05-2015.

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25 Apr 2015


I suspect every parent feels the feeling I have at the moment. Right now, Iris is fast asleep next door dreaming, probably, of the bears that she says often visit her at night and take her to the park. She’s totally fine, except for a bump on the face - exacerbated by her new sunglasses whacking into her right next to the eye. She had a bit of a trapeziuming incident today, after I let her go on “the big girls' swings”.

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27 Apr 2014

Iris Sula Morrison meets, er, Morus Bassanus

Iris encountered the bird with which she shares a name this Easter and was generally unimpressed. A great, sunny-if-cold few days camping near the Morrison Yorkshire “hood”!

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14 Dec 2013

Sula skull sponsorship

Iris Sula Morrison has adopted an exhibit at the Grant museum of Zoology: the skull of a northern gannet, whose Latin name at the time the specimen was catalogued was Sula bassana. Gannets are awesome and so is Iris!

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13 Dec 2013

Inverse crowing

While working alone in an otherwise quiet house yesterday afternoon, just as the sun was setting, I was surprised by the sound of a cockerel crowing from the living room. Baby Iris has a toy puzzle with different farm animal shapes, and it uses tiny light sensors to detect the presence or absence of the pieces. It plays the animal sound as each piece is put in the correct hole. As is usual in our house, the pieces were scattered around the room, none of them in their little holes.

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04 Dec 2013


On the face of it, putting a tangerine in a stocking is a strange thing to do. Why put something in there that’s neither novel, nor a surprise, nor particularly exciting? Dear Father Christmas - if you’re reading this, I’m grateful for my stockings. They had some great things in, but I must admit I always hoped that the toe bit would have something other than citrus fruit in it.

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17 Jun 2013

Two more metaphotos for my collection

I’ve mentioned my liking for metaphotos before. Now, with the hugest of thanks to photographer extraordianaire, Quentin, Sarah and I have a great set of photos of wee baby Iris. Equalling Iris’s toy collection in size and quantity but probably surpassing it in terms of expense, the contents of Quentin’s photographic kit bag were put to deft and skilful use, and the results are brilliant. Grannies/grandmas/granddads reading this: we are deliberately witholding the full set, but don’t worry, just be patient!

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17 Jun 2013

j = 100i

Yesterday Iris passed an interesting milestone with one of her parents' parents. Grandma was (near enough) exactly 100 times Iris’s age at the time of this specially arranged video call. By the magic of maths, although her grandparents' ages span a few years, she will pass the equivalent milestone with all of them in the space of a week. I hope to compile a full gallery - technology permitting. Since it fits so nicely, and because her “turn” came first, I’ve decided to remember this moment in Iris’s life as… a Janniversary.

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25 May 2013

Starting early

Iris’s first typing. She hammered away on the keyboard until I saw windows starting to open - at which point I grabbed the keyboard back! Here are her first “words”: . gnmnm g n b v hnmjk Not that different from her current speech.

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05 May 2013

Iris celebrates half a lap of the Sun

6 months ago, Iris Sula Morrison entered the world. She marked today (her sexemensary?) by: rolling over for the first time. We missed it! Just turned around for a second, turned back, and there she was. directing a poo so precisely out of the leg of her nappy that all three members of her family had to change their clothing. learning to jump up and down properly in a Jumperoo.

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29 Apr 2013

Broken thermometers no longer exist

From a caption at the exhibition at the Bowes museum, Barnard Castle (Jeremiah Dixon - Scientist, Surveyor and Stargazer): This thermometer is probably identical to those taken to Cape Town by Jeremiah Dixon and Charles Mason in 1761. The actual thermometers they used got broken on the way home, so no longer exist. If things that got broken ceased to exist, a lot of museum exhibits would take on a whole new dimension.

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01 Mar 2013

Another milestone for Iris

Iris passed another milestone this afternoon: 10 megaseconds. It’s a sobering thought that she probably has only two of these decimal events left in her lifetime. I hope I’m around for her gigasecond on 14th July 2044.

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17 Dec 2012

Iris unimpressed by the concept of a metaphoto

I have a liking for photos of photos. It is clearly not (yet) shared by Iris. Sarah’s “photo of a photo being taken of a photo being taken of a kangaroo” is one of my all time favourites (click for full size version)…

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17 Nov 2012

There was a 1 in 3 chance...

…that Iris would be asleep for her megasecond. She seems to partake in sleeping, crying and feeding in approximately equal measures, and pays no attention to other timescales.

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08 Nov 2012

Morrisons += 9lbs 1oz

My wife is amazing and we have a daughter! Iris was born at 20:40:53 on 5th November, which meant that Sarah’s labours were accompanied by the sound of fireworks. I am now enjoying the grammatical conundrums that occur because Iris’s initial matches the first person pronoun. “I and S are in the hospital” now means something different from “S and I are in the hospital.” Henceforth, contextual disambiguation will be required for abbreviated sentences in which I is/am the singular subject.

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