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An engaging time

Saturday afternoon, Rebecca and I went with Mum and Dad to wish Simon and Sharon Mazel Tov on their engagement. If nothing else, it was good to catch up with Simon.

Saturday night, I went with mum to pick up curry for dinner. While we were waiting for the order, we did the trivia in one of the newspapers. It made me think of one of the greek myths: (Rev, if I get the details wrong accidentally, can you let me know)

The people of Crete had a problem. Their labyrinth was contaminated with a trace amount of minotaur. University of Crete, LAbyrinth, offered a greek researcher a project investigating the eradication of minotaurs from labyrinths.

The researcher quickly solved the problem. The people were happy. Unfortunately for the researcher, he still had many twists and turns he had to navigate to escape. Many tortuous paths he had to pass before he was free.

While we can't take myths literally, this was the greek way of explaining why, after solving the problems in a PhD project, students still need to overcome many time consuming and unpleasant obstacles before being free. And in honour of the greek researcher/hero, Theseus, the major obstacle is known as a Thesis.

After dinner, we watched Fanatasia, because I couldn't remember how Night on Bald Mountain goes. Then someone had the bright idea of sticking on my Bar Mitzvah video. I could still remember (and sing with the same level of tunelessness) the first line of the Parasha, but I'd need to look at the words before any more come back to me. Not a bad effort, though, considering that it was half my life ago.

Sunday, Rebecca and I went to the Mosque in Doncaster, where the community was explaining Islamic beliefs and practices to local venturers as well as groups such as my synagogue and one of the local rotaries. It was actually quite interesting, and I was amazed by the similarities to Judaism. I suppose we are back to my line of "Never such violent disagreement as when people agree."

We then went from there to David and Tamara's engagement party. I took the opportunity to catch up with quite a few people I hadn't seen for a while (and Simon and Sharon, who I hadn't seen for a day). Apparently, there is a tradition at an engagement that the mothers of the couple break a plate. It took them a few goes to break it, not unlike me trying to break the glass at my wedding. And yes, it was the last time I got to put my foot down!

Monday, I went into uni. It was good to catch up with some people I hadn't seen for a while. Tuesday, I worked from home. I've sent out a draft of my paper to Justin, and while I wait for him to get back to me, I'm now writing up. Exciting, isn't it?

Tuesday night, Rebecca and I took our scouts and guides to Ballarat synagogue, where John, the President, talked to them about Judaism and about the history of the Ballarat synagogue. My scouts' questions tended to revolve around things like "what is the difference between kill and murder?" "Are you aloud to eat bacon?" "What happens if that's all you have to eat?" etc. Rebecca's guides' questions tended to be an unknowing exercise in comparative religion, particularly focussing on the difference between Judaism and Christianity. The one which amused me the most was "If the Old Testament is so good, why did they need to write a new one?" Probably not really the place where you'll get the people who are best qualified to answer that in favour of writing a new one. We struggled through that one...

Afterwards, Rebecca and I went out to dinner with Daniel, who had also come for a look at the synagogue. It was a pleasant meal, and I even had a vegetarian meal, which is rare for me when we go for a curry, but that way we could share.

Today, I did some writing and analysed the data from Brisbane. It looks reasonable. My predictions seem to be within an order of magnitude or so. I'll speak to Justin before deciding whether I try to work out the points of difference so that they match up, or whether I use Good qualitative agreement.

Working from home today has enabled me to cook dinner as well. After eating vegetarian last night, tonight I've cooked my favourite vegetable. Lamb. I once told Mum and Dad that lamb is my favourite vegetable and sweet potato is my second favourite. Mum asked me, "What about beef?" I looked at her and said, "Don't be silly. Beef is meat. It comes from cows." Mum tried protesting that lamb comes from sheep. "Yes, but sheep are trees. They have white, wooly foliage."

Over more protests, Dad helped by bringing up the venus fly-trap as an example. At which point, I conceded, "Ok, I'll accept that lamb isn't a vegetable, because it isn't carnivorous." On the whole, it was a silly conversation, but it was fun. Besides, having said that I will become a vegetarian when lamb grows on trees, I'm happy to lose that argument.

Ok, break's over. The thesis continues...

My posts may be sporadic over the next little while. They will be a reward to me if I achieve certain time based targets.


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