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Yay For My Eccentric Family; Christmas Edition

January 1, 2010

Happy Christmas and new year – hooray for reaching 2010!

I’m back in Sheffield and supposedly revising, so I’ll probably be posting  a little more frequently. (Since this is the third time in the last year and a half that I’ve had to issue the revision warning, I’ve learned that it’s daft to say I won’t be around; I’ll be online more than ever, hiding from Numerical Linear Algebra!)

Anyway. There’s no news that I feel like mentioning in the Cheerful News series, so instead, have a yuletide anecdote, courtesy of my lovely sister.


My sister can’t wrap presents. At least, not effectively. So when, on Christmas Eve, my parents and I found a strangely shaped, strangely wrapped present with only the faintest of scratchy biro lines to identify the recipient, we knew that there could be no doubt, at least, about the giver. Clearly it was her work. As my dad turned it over in his hands, he looked increasingly bemused. “It feels like a bag of pasta”, he told us.

Well, that would have been bizarre even by my sister’s standards, so me and my mum both felt the unidentified package. It did, indeed, feel somewhat like a bag of pasta, and was around the right size and weight. But neither of us could believe it. While my dad went to put it under the tree, me and my mum spent the rest of the evening trying to guess what could be a present that felt so much like pasta.

Fast forward to the morning, my little brother was excitably throwing presents around so that he could get to his own, my sister was excitably throwing presents around so that she could watch other people open hers, and in the midst of the chaos, I was handed the oddly-shaped parcel. And when I started to rip it open, I had to laugh.

My sister had gone to Carluccio’s, an incredibly expensive italian restaurant in Covent Garden, and bought me a bag of expensive pasta.

“Because you’re a student,” she explained, “I knew you’d need pasta. But I thought it should be special pasta, seeing as it’s Christmas.”

That present – the pasta – will probably go down in family legend, along with a couple of other tales of my sister and Christmas. So I should say now, before I forget, that when I cooked some of the pasta this afternoon, it was – really and truly – the best pasta I’ve ever eaten!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2010 9:06 am

    But I’d never call Ramen pasta.

    Numerical Linear Algebra? What’s that like?

    Approximately this:

    170A. Introduction to Numerical Analsysis: Linear Algebra (4)

    Analysis of numerical methods for linear algebraic systems and least squares problems. Orthogonalization methods. Ill conditioned problems. Eigenvalue and singular value computations. Three lectures, one recitation. Knowledge of programming recommended.

  2. January 2, 2010 9:07 am

    Oh. It appears that my chuckle at the beginning is gone because I used < and my blockquotes are still visible. I am not good at this.

  3. January 2, 2010 1:40 pm

    fixed 🙂
    well, mostly fixed. I wasn’t sure what to do about your missing chuckle!

    Numerical Linear Algebra is a bastard, that’s what it is.
    For me it was a double disappointment because not only was it not particularly interesting (although I admit it might come in useful), it was the subject I’d had to pick because the lectures that I did want to attend got cancelled.

    Also, I suspect your ramen/pasta comment may have got lost in translation somewhat. The university of Wikipedia tells me that Ramen is a kind of noodle or noodle soup, so I’m a little confused.

  4. kirstente permalink*
    January 2, 2010 6:45 pm

    According to Toby, Americans call certain kinds of pasta noodles. And Ramen is noodles. And students live on it, like Pot Noodle here.

    I still do not quite understand what is going on.

  5. kirstente permalink*
    January 2, 2010 7:04 pm

    Also, see, I’m right on the whole Maths commenting thing! Although possibly it is because we only have one regular commenter.

  6. January 2, 2010 9:44 pm

    Maths was only a sidenote in the story of my sister, to be fair. And it’s not my fault maths geeks are notoriously antisocial and therefore congregate online 🙂

    Please tell Toby my response to that is: WTF?! Apart from spaghetti, where, I admit, there’s room for ambiguity, how can you confuse the two?

    I think I understand now though. I suspect Benyitzhak thought that my sister had given me some kind of upmarket Pot Noodle, and was rightly pointing out that that shit isn’t even real food.
    But no, it really was pasta. Italian pasta, that you have to boil for 6-7 minutes and then cover with a tomato sauce of your own devising, involving lots of garlic and onion. Mmmm, pasta!

  7. January 2, 2010 11:05 pm

    I do enjoy the other posts as well, it’s just easier to comment on the posts with math.

    The math class that disappointed me most (by taking it, there are numerous math classes that I am disappointed I did not get to take) was Cryptography. It has so much promise and opportunity to be an interesting class, but the professor managed to avoid 90% of that by teaching it via power point.

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