Monday, December 31, 2007

Tea for two

My sister came to tea yesterday. She's up from deepest darkest Dudley, and she's staying, not with any member of our family, but with her boyfriend, who I only found out about last week. Apparently, she's been dropping subtle hints since starting the relationship, but she should've known better by now that anything less subtle than a bunkerbuster warhead, is going to go completely beneath my radar - as it did.
She finally revealed all to Mum on Thursday, two days after I went down for Christmas dinner, and didn't mention a dicky-bird. I think my goose is cooked. Thanks sis! And happy new year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Very Best Christmas of All

It's Christmas.
You must not miss this
Merry old Christmas.
So come one and all
We're having a ball
It's the very best Christmas of all.
Sleigh bells chime.
Our guests they are on time
To drink of this mulled wine.
So come one and all
We're having a ball
It's the very best Christmas of all.
The clock in
The hall is tick-tocking,
So hang up your stocking
And come one and all
We're having a ball
It's the very best Christmas of all.
Children banter
As bedwards they canter.
They mustn't miss Santa.
So come one and all
We're having a ball
It's the very best Christmas of all.
Best wishes
And mistletoe kisses
To master and missus
And come one and all
We're having a ball
It's the very best Christmas of all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dead. But in a good way.
Parents, learner drivers, and now patients in nine English NHS trusts: all that information lost. And with it, the Government's plans to introduce ID cards. They're history. Gordon Brown isn't going to introduce them in this parliament. And after the next general election, the Conservatives will be in power, and that'll be the final nail in the coffin.
It was always a dumb idea put forward by a dumb government. Any purported benefits were massivly outweighed by the drawbacks. People hate the idea. It smacks of totalitarianism and fascism, the very philosophies we were brought up to despise. Besides, Scotland, Wales and Ulster would have voted aginst it anyway.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dr Crippen - the last post

Sad news from Julie. The NHS Blog Doctor - Dr Crippen, we've just found out, was killed in a car accident in October. His practice partners only found out his secret online identity when they were going through his computer records. They've posted an announcement in the comments to his final post.
Any blogger interested in the field of healthcare will have encountered his blog. It was very critical of the current state of the NHS and the roles played by politicians - a necessary function that I hope other bloggers will take on now. My sympathies go to his family and friends who may now be finding out what a stature he had in the blogging community.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Jammy Dodgers

What a bunch of spawny gets! It's Humanity I'm talking about, the jammy bastards. We're pumping all this carbon dioxide into the atmosphere like there's no tomorrow, and now it turns out there is. A tomorrow I mean. Yesterday, we were running out of time. Global warming was proceeding at a greater rate than was predicted. Emissions aren't being cut back. Any technical solution is going to take ages to make any impact. It seemed there was nothing that could be done to reverse the heating up of the atmosphere. Nothing ... except the one thing we have absolutely no control over.
The sun.
It's gone into hibernation.
The sun spots have stopped.
Or rather they're late. And if they don't start soon, the Earth's temperature is going to drop by 1.5 degrees, which should balance out the rise due to global warming. If this a Maunder minimum that were about to go into, we could have about a century of no sun spots, and a little ice age. But unlike the 18th century, we've got 200 years of CO2 insulation, and some breathing space to try and solve the problems before the tropics fry.
Talk about luck.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Another sighting

You remember I saw the Grim Reaper back in May? Well I've had another encounter, in the main concourse of the Royal Infirmary. This time she was an old lady in a long black flowing velvet cloak. It was definitely an omen this time. Later that afternoon, my wife rang me at work to tell me our neighbour's daughter had died.
It all feels a bit weird.

Hold your nose and down it goes

A friend of mine has come down with the sniffles, so I took her up something to help. She's just rung to say it's the best thing ever for a sore throat. So what did I give her? Just what I always take when my throat is sore - Co-op Bronchial Mixture!
This concoction, only available from Scotmid, contains capsicum, liquorice, peppermint, anise, treacle and caramel, and is one of the vilest tasting substances you'll ever encounter. You dilute 5ml of it in 20ml of boiling water, and drink it. It's an acquired taste, but by cracky it works on your tubes.
To my knowledge, it has never been advertised, but it beats all your Lem-sips, Night-Nurses and Strepsils into a cocked hat.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I bet Christian Voice are having wet dreams right now about the situation in Sudan, where a teacher is being prosecuted for blasphemy. If only it could be taken as seriously in Britain as it is there, and the people behind Jerry Springer - the opera could be put behind bars for their crimes against religion.
Never allow any of these fuckwits near any sort of temporal power. The kind of society they want to usher in would make Hell seem like an improvement.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Break through

I never thought I'd be glad to see adverts on television. But this week, they started appearing on Anime Central. Now, for two months I've been watching that channel, and there hasn't been a whiff of advertising. There were breaks where ads should have appeared, but they were filled by trailers for the shows, and though the music is amazing, it could start to get wearing. No advertising, of course means no revenue, and I was beginning to wonder if the channel would fold eventually, probably in the middle of a run of an anime I was following.
But no, the advertisers have at last cottoned on to the fact that there are people like me willing to invest time in following a fifty-episode series. Maybe they read my previous post on the subject? So now the breaks are filled with ads. Anime Central is making money, and I get to see Bleach and Hack/Sign all the way through.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rattlin' Sabres

While flicking channels, I came upon The O'Reilley Factor on Fox, where he was chatting with some writer about the best way to bomb Iran. They agreed that if Iran believes the USA has a batshit crazy cowboy for a president, (now what would give them that idea?) then the best thing to do would be to play on that image, and get them to believe that the Americans really would carry out a first strike against Iran. To be fair and balanced, Bill O'Reilley did say that diplomacy should come first, but the fact that they're discussing the possibility of attack without a sense of horror is disturbing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's no longer for you-hoo.

At last the calls have stopped. We finally signed up to BT's telephone preference service just over a month ago, and the silence is wonderful. You know the calls I mean, the ones asking you if you want double glazing/ a loan/ a conservatory/ a loan/ a mobile phone/ another bloody loan... Now they've ceased. No longer will my teatimes be interrupted by someone wanting to speak to the houseowner.
If you're with BT and still bothered by marketing calls, I can't recommend this enough. And it's free. All it takes is one phone call (to an automated call process of course, but it's worth the time) and you can be sure that when the phone rings, it'll be someone you want to speak to.
What happens when everybody has signed up? what will the telemarketers do then? Who cares!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Digging for victory

The countdown to the invasion of Iran continues. According to this article the US military are doing their utmost to gather every crumb of evidence against Iran to support the case for intervention. They're interrogating Iraqi detainees, with the emphasis on the mantra : "Got to find a link with Iran, got to find a link with Iran." as one official put it.
And all the while, Ares is polishing his red sword.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Warhammer 40K (-- 37,990)

Big stushie just now about Pat Robertson endorsing Rudy Giuliani for the republican nomination. Giuliani's stand on some social issues is anathema to the god squad, but it looks like he's the only candidate who has a chance of winning against Hillary Clinton. So what is a god-lovin' fundy to do? Back a guy who shares your belief system, but doesn't have a hope in hell of winning, or break bread with the antichrist? It looks like Pat is being pragmatic.
Of course, all this conniving and kingmaking will amount to nought if Queen Hillary wins. They'll have to wait at least eight years before getting another shot, if not longer.
But this christianist crapshoot is a sideshow. It's taken people's attention away from where the real action is taking place. Who needs the presidency, when you can have the military? Proselytisation is in full force in the services. It's getting to the stage where promotion depends, not on leadership ability, or strategic expertese, but on how loudly you can pray. It's getting more and more like Warhammer 40,000 every day. They'll be bringing on the inquisitors and the purity seals next.
So what happens when a crusader army decides that the government is not godly enough?

Water torture

Americans have a new Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, who has refused to class waterboarding as torture. Waterboarding is where you pour water on somebody's face, causing them to gag. (See Wikipedia link for details). It's torture. Plain and simple. But if an Attorney General confirms it, then he is legally bound to pursue and prosecute those who have made it military policy - in other words, the executive. Of course, they aren't going to appoint anyone who will confirm it, because as long as nobody says it's illegal, it's legal.
It's wrong. It's unjustifiable. It's evil. But it's legal. And until there's an Attorney general with the cojones to state that it's torture, it'll continue.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I recently discovered webcomics. I've been indulging in a bit of archive binging - that's where you start at the very first comic of a series, and work your way through five years worth of graphic art. Eventually you arrive at the present day, and the stories slow to a crawl, because they're being written and drawn now - literally now. As you are reading this, webcomics are being constructed daily, or biweekly, or weekly, and once you have read the archive, you must wait.
The first webcomic I read through was The Wotch, a magical fantasy set in and around a high school in Tandy Gardens. It was inspired by the even more wacky El Goonish Shive, where I'm currently in 2006 at the moment.
But my favourite, so far, is Dominic Deegan : Oracle for Hire, which is an epic fantasy where the title character is a grumpy seer. Now it's unusual for seers to get top billing in fantasy, usually they're a supporting character who gives the hero and team timely advice, or warning. And if they're not elven queens, then they're wizened old curmudgeons with straggly beards. Now Dominic Deegan may be a curmudgeon, but he's young and clean shaven and very much in control.
It's difficult to write about webcomics without giving away the plot, so why not check them out for yourselves, and get back to me?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Happy Birthday!

It's my sister's birthday on the sixth, but by the time she reads this it'll be her birthday, so:
Happy Birthday dear!


Today I saw inscribed upon the window of my local bus shelter these words:
Now recently I have come across a few neologisms using the word blog, such as blogswarm and blogosphere, but this surely demands a photo of a cute kitten with,
written underneath it.
The question is, what exactly is a blog surj (or surge) and how does it differ from a blog swarm?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's wikid

I've noticed from the comments to my last post, that some people had difficulty understanding some of the terms used. So as a public service announcement, may I direct your attention towards this site. A word of warning though. If you should click on the link, you will find yourself spending many hours during the next few months exploring the site - yes it's that big - and addictive!
The link takes you to the home page. At the left hand side, you will see a list of topics. Clicking on anime will take you to that section. Soon, you will be tossing out words and phrases such as shoujo, mecha and kawaii, with gay abandon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gotta catch em all

Typical. You wait ages for a tv channel devoted to anime, then two come along at once. Anime Network and Anime Central. Admittedly, they're only on in the evening, and Network only takes up two hours on the Propeller channel, but they're both showing some really cool stuff. Anime Network (Sky 195) is currently running The Guyver, and Elfen Leid, as well as Neo Genesis Evangelion. And on Central (Sky 199) you can catch up on Vision of Escaflowne, Ghost in the Shell : Stand Alone Complex, Fullmetal Alchemist and Bleach. There's also Transformers in the mix - that'll take you back somewhat.
I'm binging out each evening at the moment. It's sheer shounen bliss.

Monday, October 22, 2007

First with the news

Booyah! I scooped the Scotland on Sunday with my previous post! I went up on Saturday with it, and they, of course, ran it the next day. A small victory I grant you, but now I feel I'm starting to pull ahead of the game. The next goal is to have somebody in the media mention this blog as a source for a story.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Out of a hat

J K Rowling has just revealed that her character Dumbledore, the late headmaster of Hogwarts was gay. Cue a host of slash fiction writing fanboys shouting "I called it!" The question is, why has she done it? Does it add or detract from the series? Now, if one rereads all seven books, it may illuminate some of the character interactions, but should that not come out from reading the books themselves? I don't doubt that Dumbledore's sexuality was decided on a decade ago when Rowling was formulating the characters. It's how a writer works. You discover a whole lot of background information about the character, which may never make it into the printed text, but helps you decide how he reacts in any particular situation.
Of course, it's really going to piss off the fundies.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Talking politics

So where exactly does Deacon Barry stand on the issues of the day? Where am I coming from politically? I did some political analyses quizzes, and here are the results.
It seems I am both fish and fowl, I appear to be both extremely right wing and left wing at the same time according to one quiz, and an anarchist according to the other. What they do show is that I am very anti-authoritarian. I am opposed to fascism, be it right wing, left wing or religious, but you probably guessed that from my posts. I'm in favour of the free market. I think recreational drugs should be legalised. Prisons should be for rehabilitation. And gay marriage should be universal. Oh, and nurses should get lots more money.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The road to Tehran

The charm offensive is lumbering up. General Petraeus is lambasting the Iranians, claiming they're providing munitions for the insurgents. I'm sure we'll hear more of this in the weeks ahead, as the Neocon-controlled media apply the drip drip drip of propaganda to slowly bring the American public around to the opinion that attacking Iran is a good idea. Don't worry, I'm keeping a watch on the situation. This is instance 2 since the eleventh of September. It's a slow start, but I guess an all out, guns blazing, media frenzy would have been counterproductive. Look out for more on this.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Misere Bellum

Fox news are claiming that Iran will have intercontinental ballistic missiles by 2015. So today, the US military have demonstrated their new interceptor missile.
The rumours don't seem like rumours any more.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Enter stage right

We've just got a new addition to the family. His name is Shakespeare, and he's a siamese kitten. We've just driven down to Moffat and back to collect him, so now he's in the box resting after his ordeal.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Enter the Blogswarm

What do Alisher Usmanov and Disney have in common? They've both had bloggers censored. You'll remember at the beginning of this year that Disney had Spocko's blog silenced because he was speaking out against their hate speech radio station. Well this week, Usmanov, a russian tycoon, hoping to buy Arsenal Football Club, has thrown his money against two british bloggers, Tim Ireland and Craig Murray, who dared to criticise him. (note: the last two links don't go anywhere, because both those blogs have been wiped from the Blogosphere.)
The problem is one of resources. Usmanov and Disney have vast amounts of money. Bloggers have nothing but their keyboards. Their sites are crashed and burned by the service providers at the first hint of legal action. It doesn't even matter if the blogger complies instantly with any cease or desist order - they're toast!
The only recourse bloggers have is to publicise this censorship. Let the public be aware that Usmanov and Disney believe in stifling free speech on the internet. Only bad publicity can make them pause.
Usmanov wants to put the arse into Arsenal. If his mickey-mouse operation is stalled due to the ensuing blogswarm he's engendered, that will be justice.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

No fecking ID 'ere

Be warned, the enemy is at the doorstep. If you thought the battle against creationism was confined to the USA, think again. The DUP in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in the form of Paul Givan, want to have creationism taught in schools there. Because Paul Givan doesn't believe in evolution, he doesn't want anyone else to either, especially the schoolchildren of Lisburn. And some craven blowhards in the Corporate Services Committee have agreed with him, especially Councillor Bill Gardiner-Watson who sees no harm in writing to schools. No harm!?! Ulster is a festering canker of toxic religionism, a sectarian Chernobyl, where the last thing that anybody needs is the infection of crass ignorance from across the Atlantic.
Fortunately, saner heads may prevail. There is opposition from within the committee, but there argument seems to be more that they shouldn't be interfering in schools' curriculae rather than telling Mr Givan that he's a sanctimonious arsehole who's beliefs are a steaming pile of horse hooey which he's trying to foist on schools as part of a theocratic agenda. the guy needs to be publicly ridiculed and hounded from office - and that goes for Gardiner-Watson too.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blog anzeigen

Can anyone explain why Blogger has started speaking German?

Please, please help me!

Help me please. I want to blog about a song. I know the tune, but I can't sing it over the internet. It's a folk song from the seventies. The only line I can remember is the refrain at the end of the verse which goes like "Bring in the new day." I have tried googling the line, and got nowhere. There's at least one woman in the group if that helps.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wolves in the wires

It looks like it was just a rumour after all. We're nearly a week post 11th September, and the charm offensive against Iran hasn't materialised so far. It's a bit of a relief, because as long as they don't start persuading, then an attack on Iran seems unlikely.
Of course, the rumour could be disinformation. If the Iranians can be made to believe that Bush and his crew are batshit crazy enough to launch an attack, they might take the desired measures to avert conflict, ie halt Uranium enrichment. A few carefully baited nuggets seeded into the blogosphere setting off blogswarms like Roman Candles, gives the illusion of veracity to an imaginary policy of invasion.
Another purpose of manufactured rumour could be to make bloggers cry wolf. If blog rumours are seen as unreliable, then future unintended leaks might be ignored.
The blogosphere is a battleground, and the unscrupulous and machiavellian will manipulate it for their own ends.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Worst verse

I have come across the worst poem ever written, and, surprise, it wasn't by Macgonagall. It's called A Tragedy, and it's by Theophilus Marzials. It was published in 1874.
Warning! Before clicking on the link, clear your desk or immediate vicinity of hot or cold beverages. Any fluids currently residing in your mouth are liable to exit via your nasal passages on reading the first lines of this poem.
OK? If you think you can handle it, click on this link.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Next week's attack on Iran

The Interweb buzzes with rumours of war. Next Tuesday, the sixth anniversary of the Twin Towers tragedy is going to see the launch of a charm offensive by Bushco. The US will see a media blitz demonising Iran. They hope to persuade a third of Americans that their planned attack on Iran is necessary.
Of course, these could be rumours deliberately seeded. If the Blogosphere believe that war is coming and propagate that belief, then the Iranian government might take that belief seriously and capitulate, by scaling down their nuclear ambitions. Or Bush and friends could be spoiling for a fight, and there's nothing anybody can do to prevent it.
The thing to do, is observe next week to see if the charm offensive takes place. If it does, then the rumour is true. If not, then breathe a sigh of relief.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


It's a popular book, The God Delusion. We had it on holiday with us, but my wife wasn't able to read it in the car. When we got back, we discovered there was a waiting list at the library for it, so we had to return it. My wife was going to reorder it, when the librarian told her there was a large-print copy available at Dalkeith library. So we got it, and now she's half way through it, and enjoying it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Return of the native

I'm back. Refreshed in body and spirit. Ready to blog. More anon.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cwm on down

How do you get two whales in a mini?
Down the M6 and turn right at Chester.
I'm on holliday this week. Guess where? We're going to have a llovelly time savouring the ddellights of Gwynnedd, Snowdonia, and Ivor the Engine country around Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Don't worry, I'll be back before you can say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
Just sayin'.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blue is the colour

Apropos of my recent picture on this blog, Kim was wondering what the blue epaulettes signify. She guessed rightly that they indicated that I was a staff nurse. It got me thinking about how patients in hospital work out who's what, so I thought I'd present to you:

Deacon Barry's Nurse Recognition Guide
Student Nurse. Two Species. (named after the colleges where they were hatched)
a) Napier. Plumage - blue-grey trousers, white tunic with blue piping. No epaulettes.
b) Queen Margaret. Plumage - as Napier, only burgundy.
Clinical Support Worker (CSW) Plumage - Similar trousers as Napier. No piping on tunic. Brown epaulettes. This species is rapidly supplanting the now rare:
Auxiliary. Plumage - yellow A-line dress.
Staff Nurse. Junior and senior have identical plumage. Dark trousers, white tunic, with blue epaulettes. Some females also seen in white dress with epaulettes.
Junior Sister/Charge Nurse. Epaulettes are burgundy.
Sister/Charge Nurse. Blue dress. No epaulettes. Existence of males rumoured, but not confirmed. Their epaulettes possibly black.
Higher ranks of nurses camouflaged in civilian clothing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

One order of Phoenix - with fries

Spoiler alert (though if you're a Potter fan you've already read the book, and if you're not, then you won't care anyway)
Yesterday, finding ourselves in the Ocean Terminal in Leith, with time to spare, we went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I enjoyed the film. I appreciate that the scriptwriters had to do an awful lot of compromisin' to turn a thick hardback into a two hour film. There's a lot more in the book that didn't make it to the screen. The main miss was the extent of the revolution at Hogwarts. The Weasley brothers pyrotechnics are the culmination of a long simmering trail of sedition against Umbridge and her minions. This is the great irony of this particular book, JK Rowling has managed to get children to read about how to foment rebellion in a school, with their parents' blessing. But they did show Harry teaching Defence against the Dark Arts, which was one of my favourite bits of the story.
The good thing about the film is that it shows that fascism is not about jackboots, but that it can insinuate its way into society with a smiling face. Imelda Staunton as Umbridge enters the hall of great movie villianesses, in my opinion.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Job for the boy

The Civil Service union FDA are complaining about Jack McConnell's appointment as UK High Commissioner to Malawi. They say he was chosen on the basis of cronyism rather than open competition, which would be their preferred option. Their philosophy is sound, but in this case they've hit the wrong target. Whichever way you choose, the result would be the same. Jack is the right man for the job. Jack is the one responsible for forging close links between Scotland and Malawi. He knows the country. The Malawi Government know him. If he was being offered the post in Kiribati or Martinique, I might wonder what qualified him for those places, but Malawi? No argument there.
He's also a statesman-level politician. You can't get more senior than running a country. This job will allow him to continue the work he started as First Minister, and also to concentrate on it. It's a job he's obviously going to enjoy doing.
Can you think of anyone more qualified?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The game's afoot

My wife has just finished the Sherlock Holmes Collection. Of the fifty-six stories that appeared in Strand Magazine, fifty-three of them had someone being offered a glass of brandy. One was offered a glass of wine. In one story, and one story only was there no scene of someone being offered brandy (maybe Conan Doyle had a hangover?). This is made up for in the fifty-sixth story, where a character drains a whole bottle of the stuff!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Alimentary, my dear Watson

My wife is currently reading the complete Sherlock Holmes, as published in Strand Magazine. She has noticed a peculiar thing. All the stories she has read so far, bar one, has had a scene where a character is given a glass of brandy to revive them, after a shock, or in the case of the ladies, a swoon. The one story where there is an exception, it's a glass of wine. My wife is now expecting a brandy offering in every story she reads in this collection. Last night, she even dreamed that Sherlock Holmes was offering her a glass of brandy.
Obviously this is a dramatic device used by Conan Doyle to further the plot. Readers of the Strand would have these fifty six tales spread out over a few years and perhaps might not notice this repetition of, for them a mundane act of aid. Of course, now it would be unusual to offer alcohol to someone who felt faint, or shocked. We'd be more likely to lay them down, wrap them in a blanket, and offer them a cup of tea.
I'll find out from my wife, once she has finished the book, if this pattern of medicinal brandy tendering continues to the end.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Litter Kwitter

Here's another one from the same catalogue that brought you the towel holder and pencil sharpener - the Litter Kwitter, which will train your cat to use the toilet! Just think, no more having to pour pongy litter into a plastic bag for disposal, just let your feline companion have free run of the bathroom. All you need to do is put the above contraption on the rim of your toilet.
You know what's going to happen, don't you? It'll be three o' clock in the morning, and you'll wake up, needing to go. You'll wander through, half asleep, and plonk yourself down on the ... $&%£!! That's when you'll remember about it, as you slip to the floor with the Litter Kwitter and contents about your ears!

Your cat will use next door's rose bush as he always does.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The triple crown

I am now officially an undisputed world champion poet. I've just won my third competition as set by JanieBelle. It was called the Watcher in the Window, and followed on from the previous two competitions. The prize, as always, is a guest post on her blog.
Keep an eye open for the next one, and get your entry in. I have now retired from the fray, and will not be entering, (though it'll probably kill me to stay aloof from the proceedings) There's some good poetry out there, and the more that can be produced through competitions like this, the better. I would love to see a revival of poetry as a major art form.
To read my chilling entry, click on the link above.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

For cat lovers everywhere

Both of these are genuine offers from the Cat Gallery 2007 catalogue. Hat tip to Angela for bringing it to my attention.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hellooooooo nurse!

Remember that birthday party I was at two months ago? Well from the money we collected for her present, Miss Edinburgh bought herself a rather nifty digital camera, and she's been taking pictures of the ward staff. I've been meaning for some time to show you a picture of myself, just to let you put a face to my writings. So here I am. I told you my hair was curly.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Missionary position

This one's for Ragamuffin. In the comments to a previous post she expressed concern that my atheism was based on a superficial and erroneous interpretation of the bible. I feel a response deserves a post to itself rather than a continuation in the comments. So here goes.
I am an atheist. I consider the universe and all within it to be wholly natural, adhering to fundamental laws, some of which may be as yet undiscovered. I see no place in this universe for the supernatural.
Being British, I grew up in the religion of my family. I was baptised in a Methodist church, and when we moved to Scotland, attended a congregationalist church in Leith. I attended Sunday School from the ages of four to fourteen, and I enjoyed it. But when I was too old for Sunday School, I wasn't that interested in sitting through a whole service, so I just stopped going.
I knew from an early age that Genesis was a creation myth. There wasn't really a Garden of Eden or a Great Flood, and later I found out that the Tower of Babel was a ziggurat. I found out when I was nine that the earth was four and a half billion years old, and dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. I found that no-one was really bothered about this, and my concept of God was similar to most people round me, which was a nebulous something that was behind everything, but didn't interfere much in the world.
Of course, when I was in my teens and early twenties, I read everything - books on Astrology, the Tarot, Ceremonial Magic, and Celtic Ritual. But I also read books by Isaac Asimov, Patrick Moore, Stephen Gould and Richard Dawkins. I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Horizon, Connections, and I slowly moved from mild agnosticism towards atheism.
Once I got on the internet a couple of years back, and discovered blogs such as Pharyngula, God is for Suckers, and JanieBelle's favourite - the Bad Astronomer, then I finally felt I was coming home.
Now although I am an atheist, it is my philosophy that all people should make their own spiritual journey, just as I have. I am happy to debate religion on this blog, but I'm not looking to convert anybody.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy Birthdays

The other Saturday I managed to attend four birthday parties in one day. If that seems a little excessive, I will mention that three of the birthdays were at the same address. It was my nephew's and his aunt's and uncle's birthday, so my brother was having a barbecue. Plenty of sausage in buns there.
By an amazing coincidence, my friend Howard's party was only ten minutes drive away, so as the first party was winding down, I was able to nip over to the beginning of his party, where I stayed until one o' clock.
Boy was I full.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Barry Shopper and the Deathly Discounts

I bought the book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yesterday. I was in Tescos, shopping for bread and teacakes and... there they were! A pile of HP&DHs, £10 each. So I did an impulse purchase, and put one in my trolley. What the heck, I was planning to get it anyway. Thence to the checkout, where all my shopping was duly scanned and rung up. And then the fun started.
The girl at the checkout looked at me and said, "You know that the Harry Potter's only £5 if you've spent more than £50?"
"No." I replied, "That's great."
The bill was £54.
But the girl had problems.
"I can't get it to subtract the £5. I'll need to get someone..." She pressed the help button and waited. And we waited. And the lady behind us in the queue was placing her shopping on the conveyor.
The supervisor soon worked out what the problem was.
"It's got to be £50 without the book."
Ah, all was clear. When the £5 discount was taken off, the total dropped below £50 which meant that the price rose to £10 again which pushed it back to £54... and so on in a recursive manifestation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle applied to quantum economics.
"So how much are we short?"
"I could get some more teacakes." My wife had been swithering earlier about getting an extra packet, and this pushed the decision firmly into the extra packet camp. She went off to the bakery section, while I wondered desperately how to shop for a fivers worth of stuff in as many seconds. The confectionery shelves were nearest. I rushed over and grabbed a couple of packs of Kit-Kats and a box of chocolates, and returned to the checkout.
"There's teacakes coming." I told the girl as she checked my new purchases through. Then we waited. And waited. The lady behind us in the queue had by now placed all her shopping on the conveyor, and she was waiting. I bet she was thinking how Sod's Law always places you in a checkout line that gets held up by nutters.
Sod this, I thought, and headed for the bakery section, checking each aisle as I went along to make sure my wife wasn't heading down. Fortunately she was on her way back. I grabbed the teacakes from her and ran back to the checkout and slammed them down triumphantly. The girl checked them, brought up the total and tried to subtract the discount.
Then she tried again to subtract the discount.
Then she pressed her help button.
By this time, I was beginning to think I had House Elf problems. The little buggers had obviously put a hex on the till.
The lady behind us in the queue would be thinking the same thing I reckoned.
The supervisor came and tried to subtract the discount.
She stared at the screen. She must have been giving it a silent retailer's Expecto Patronum, because the second time she tried, she succeeded!
Relief all round. Soon, all was paid for, and we were out of the store.

The book's good.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Vengeance is mine!" sayeth the Demon Landlord

My friend the Demon Landlord is back in the news. The Sunday Mail has yapped at him with an article lambasting his new website which he has set up as a service to other landlords and letting agencies warning them about two (ex) tenants who up-sticksed owing him unpaid rent, and trashed the property before leaving. His blog has the full story, with a link to the offending article.
What gets the journalist's tighty-whiteys in a tizzy is the matter-of-fact way the Demon Landlord refers to this website as revenge. It's as if there's some sort of taboo in today's polite society about admitting to humanity's more visceral emotions. ("I mean... revenge! ... it's just not the done thing!")
Listen, The Demon Landlord is one of the last of the red hot capitalists. He does have a tendency to be brutally blunt, but he is running a successful business, and likely to become one of Scotland's wealthiest people. So what if he upsets the sensibilities of Sunday Mail journalists? He's providing a much needed service in a time of housing shortages and rising prices.
What's wrong with revenge anyway? It can be very satisfying, and good for one's peace of mind, especially when it's a dish served cold.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cheerleader saved. World saved.

So farewell then (for a time at least) to Heroes, that fab series on the Sci Fi channel. Mondays are going to drag until it comes back on. It's a perfect example of how far television has come over the past decade. Watching the last twenty three episodes, has just been like reading a novel. How much different to the SF shows of the seventies, where there was no story arc, and there would be a display of superpowers three times during the show. The villains would be defeated just when they thought nothing could go wrong. The Heroes would have some sort of illogical transformation scene (and I'm thinking here of Wonder Woman's twirl and the Hulk's trousers) into lycra costumes - though come to think of it Indestructable Cheerleader's costume might have been interesting - and the episode would end with one of them summing up the preceding 43 minutes with a pithy comment.
Heroes has so many good things in it - Christopher Eccleston, Malcolm McDowall, and George Takei for starters, and of course Mr Bennett! The guy who's set off a whole new trend in glasses wearing. Ultra ruthless, but loves his family. My favourite character of the series.
They're doing a second series, so until then, remember:
Save the cheerleader - save the world!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another can of memes

Martyne's just tagged me with a meme that I've actually participated in before, but I don't mind, as there was a different book within reach. Da roolz r: go to page 123 of the book closest to hand. Go to the fifth sentence and write down the next four sentences. People then have to guess which book you chose. Guess what? I was spot on with Martyne's choice!

Try this:

And the brotherhood of nations

Aboot the love of a woman

And the gifts of creation

He'd soon be a star - 'The Ayrshire Sensation'

You're so not going to guess this one.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Here we go and here we go...

I've just finished The God Delusion, and now I feel fully armed against anything the fundamentalists can throw at me. A lot of it I knew already, but some things stood out.
Did you know there won't be any women in heaven? According to Revelation, only 144,000 people will be saved, none of whom will have defiled themselves with women. That means they're all male - and virgins! I wonder if they're the ones promised to islamist suicide bombers?
So if you're a girl, you're not going to heaven. The bible says so.
Just imagine what heaven would be like. A large crowd in a celestial Wembley, all clean cut young men in white suits worshipping the band on stage - Father on bass, Jesus on lead guitar and vocals, and Holy Ghost on drums, rocking out Kum-by-yah all over the new heaven and new earth for all eternity. Who wouldn't want to be a part of it?
Me? I've got better things to do.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cuiken: the books

There's a new library opened in Penicuik, so yesterday, we went to have a look. It's in the new leisure centre, along with the gym and swimming pool, so that after exercising your body, you can exercise your mind.
It was like walking into a branch of Waterstones, or Borders. It's got plenty of seats for reading. And straight away, I came across Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion! What a find! I'm now on the last chapter. I'm more determined than ever to try and prevent what's happening in the USA from happening here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The real McCoy

It's a shocking indictment on the training of doctors. These are intelligent men, highly skilled, one of them a neurologist even. And yet they can't build a working bomb between them! I mean ... it's not rocket science! (Uh ... well actually, given the amount of explosive materials it probably is.)
Never mind, they can at least fall back on the "Bones" defence :
"I'm a doctor, dammit, not an explosives engineer!"

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pish Bish

As you know, according to the Bishop of Carlisle, the recent flooding in parts of England are not due to the natural effects of geography and meteorology, but due instead to the immorality and permissiveness of our society in allowing gay people to marry. Thus he posits a causal relationship between human behaviour and bad weather. So now we have the means to alleviate the extremes in weather. All we have to do is behave in a manner pleasing to his Grace, and we can expect pleasant summers and mild winters for ever more.
It is quite obvious, that Sheffield and Doncaster are sinkholes of vice and depravity, and fully deserved to be submerged, as opposed to those worthy centres of gay culture, Brighton and Manchester which were not affected.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sibling rivalry?

I've just watched the last episode of Doctor Who. Wow! I must admit, I've got questions. Are the Doctor and the Master siblings? We've had hints. I bet they're setting up the plot lines for the next season. I wonder if we'll get a bit more of their early life. It would be nice to find out the significance of the Doctor's name. He chose it after all. And what's his real name? I bet it's something obvious, like Hu Jann Smyt. The Master once called himself James Stoker. James and John? Hmm.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fiver for a tenor

In the spirit of Wimbledon, JanieBelle has lobbed me another meme, well this is a clusterlob of memes. I ain't doing them all at once, I'm going to spin them out over a few posts. And I'm going to return the serve with a counter meme of my own.
Her first one is Five songs you know the words to. Oh come on! This is Deacon Barry - Tenor Extraordinaire! I know the words to loads of songs. So in lobbing this one back, I'm going to mutate it into Your Five Karaoke Classics. Or, in other words, the songs you can be sure of getting a good reaction when singing them at the karaoke. Here's mine.

1.King of the Road: I use this one to test the waters in an unfamiliar venue. Call me Mr Lounge Lizard.
2.Chantilly Lace: This is my wife's favourite (oh you sweet thang)
3.High Hopes: Frankie goes to Holyrood.
4.Whispering Grass: Put the Windsor Davies/Don Estelle version out your mind. This is a great karaoke song.
5.Bohemian Rhapsody: Only to be used sparingly. I won a competition with this.

OK, that's mine. You tell me yours.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Eight little secrets

It's meme time. JanieBelle has tagged me (the cheeky minx) so now I've got to inflict you with Eight Dirty Little Secrets.
1.I'm not Scottish - well not completely, Dad is English, and I was born near Banbury Cross (yup, the 'ride a cock horse' one.)
2.I didn't learn to read at school.
3.I'm crap at swimming.
4.I have curly hair. It's self-perming.
5.I was in the school orchestra, playing the cello.
6.I have never flown in a plane.
7.I have flown in a helicopter.
8.David Cameron and Lord Byron are both my fourth cousins.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nursing Voices

Nursing Voices is a new forum for nurses all over the world, although at the moment it's just the USA, Australia and the one from Scotland (me). It looks like it's going to be a good place for nurses to hang out and chat about their work, and maybe let off a bit of steam. Certainly, you'll be able to find out how other nurses get through their shifts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Founding of Gremandir

“Father. Listen to thy son,
and mark this well.
What my brother, Gremus hath done
Is turn to treason. He incites
The common people to rebel,
against you, their sovereign overlord
You must not heed their talk of rights
They seek to put you to the sword!”
Thus, good name by evil twin defiled,
Was Gremus, Prince of Taere exiled.

“Oh my brother! Gromul beware!
I will return.
By mighty Mabegon I swear
I’ll leave no place for you to hide;
You and yours will surely burn.
Know how I yearn to see you dead
For your attempted fratricide!”
Thus saying, Gremus eastward sped
To mighty Castelmar, wherein he sought
The shelter of the Llindaan court.

King Merkh listened to his plight
With passions strong.
“I cannot aid you in your fight.
No troops have I, please understand,
To help you right your grievous wrong.
The Borphyr press us from the north
And soon we must, to save our land,
Leave our defence and sally forth
And fight no matter what the cost.
For if we fall, Llindaan is lost.

“My proposition, if you’ll agree
Perhaps you should.
I offer you a captaincy.
I need new men to lead the ranks.
Though dangerous, the pay is good.
It needs to be, to fast replace
Those fallen by the Sibher’s banks.
What’s your reply? Time moves at pace.
I want your help, I will confess.
All I need - a simple yes.”

By battle’s blaze his glory flamed,
This warrior prince.
Throughout the land his deeds acclaimed,
From mountains sharp to rocky coast.
Llindaan morale was flourishing, since
His assumption of command.
Within a year the Llindaan host
Drove the Borphyr from their land.
Morale increased with each attack,
To Akhna-Vaer they forced them back.

The Borphyr mourned their loss, aggrieved
At this humiliation
This turn of fate was scarce believed
That they, proud warriors faced defeat
From the arms of a backward nation
They plotted, planned. It was agreed
This time revenge would be complete,
Llindaan would fall… But who would lead?
Then into the hall a leader came -
Godwulf Squinteye was his name.

“Give me men! In sixmonth time,
Or maybe four,
I will crush this Llindaan slime!
I’ll bring you Gremus’ head!
We will hold the south once more.
We’ll sack the towns and raze the spires,
Then hack and stack the Llindaan dead,
And light the darkness with their pyres!”
From Akhna-Vaer the Borphyr swarmed,
And down towards the south they stormed.

Now Gremus knew the Borphyr’s plan
He had his spies
He knew their number, to a man
And knew he could not win the fight
And so, to both sides great surprise
He ran. The Borphyr gave pursuit
Jeered and mocked with great delight
But reckoned not the Llindaan’s route
The Borphyr plan was thus perverted
Their thrust against Llindaan diverted.

He led them through the Eastern plain
To far Barrani-Sarq.
And nightly raids left Borphyr slain.
A handful at a time, though few,
They came to fear the coming dark.
In wakeful torment, sleep deprived
It tore their minds, and tempers flew,
When food and arms had not arrived.
For Gremus was a bold tactician
Who fought a battle of attrition.

He brought them through that hellish gash
The Manakh rift.
He planned their numbers there to slash
In fetid swamps he’d bring them down,
The spirits of his troops to lift.
But Gremus, still, was full of doubt.
Many Borphyr didn’t drown,
And options now were running out.
The time for battle was at hand.
Somewhere, he must make a stand.

On Sibher’s banks there is a mound,
An ancient barrow.
Bow-shaped, eighty rods around
From where an archer, shoulders broad
Near half a girdh, can fire an arrow.
Here did Gremus kneel and pray
“Great Mabegon! Oh mighty Lord!
Grant us victory on this day!
I swear that if we win this fight
I’ll build your temple on this site.”

At morning’s break, with fearsome roar,
The armies clashed.
The ground was soon awash with gore.
Formations fell to disarray,
As soldiers hammered, clawed and slashed.
Gremus watched them cruelly die
As, battling grimly through the fray,
Blood streaming from a shattered eye,
He finally stood face to face
With the bestial marshal of the Borphyr race.

“Does your head hurt, little man?”
Godwulf drawled,
The cure for it is in my hand.”
He swung his sword at Gremus’ head,
Who parried - fell - in red mud sprawled.
Twas then the Borphyr saw his chance,
He lunged to kill, but slipped instead
And was impaled on Gremus’ lance.
He watched his blood flow, horrified.
A final laugh and then he died.

Gremus lay there, bruised and battered,
Limbs awry.
His eye was gone, his leg was shattered,
But knew the prize was his to snatch,
So Godwulf's sword he lifted high
And like a wave the murmer spread,
Like fire through a burning thatch,
Became a shouting, “Godwulf’s dead!”
The Borphyr army now broke ranks
And lost the battle of the Sibher’s banks.

This barrow, marking fair Llindaan’s
Most northern point,
For countering the Borphyr’s plans
King Merkh, from here to Manakh mouth
Did Gremus, governor anoint.
He built a sepulchre as vowed
And fortress to defend the south.
With what name would it be endowed?
They asked. Gremus replied with candour,
“After myself, tis called Gremandir.”

Monday, June 18, 2007

A clean sheet

Here's a tip. To wipe down surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom, use baby wipes. Unlike kitchen cloths, they're disposable, so they're more hygienic. Really messy spills on tables or work surfaces can be easily cleared up, without leaving a badly stained rag to deal with.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dinos at dawn

It's Celebrity Death Match time. The two contenders I want you to consider are Barney (Cute Purple Dinosaur) versus HR Pufenstuf.
I consider this to be an evenly matched pairing. Both are seven foot tall raptors - OK one's a dinosaur and the other is a dragon, but it's close enough.
My initial assessment is that Pufenstuf has the advantage. He's an experienced politician, forward planner - his rescue service rehearse their procedures often, and his environment can be hostile, due to the attacks of Witchypoo.
Barney, on the other hand starts out looking like the under-raptor in this contest. He's the much younger challenger, lacking Pufenstuf's emotional maturity. His environment is very non-threatening, so his lack of combat experience could hold him back.
He's a T-Rex, for Tinky-Winky's sake! OK, one that's fallen a really, really long way from the tree, but he's got the equipment - a large jaw with developed musculature due to years of singing. It's possible that if he's really pushed, his reptilian brain and raptor heritage could kick in and give him the edge.
So, Barney or Pufenstuf? You decide!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Let's make it a threesome

I've won again! Another of JanieBelle's poetry competitions. This time the seed phrase was 'Quietly naked in the pouring rain'. You can see what I did with it here.
And the best bit, as well as getting a guest post, is that my poem is the new starting point for the next competition. If you want to have a go, read the poem, and then write about the same event from a different point of view. The closing date is 30th June at midnight in the States, or in the wee small hours over here.
That's three poems now that wouldn't have existed were it not for these competitions. The second one didn't win, so I don't get it all my own way. It's important when writing to have something to focus on, such as a seed phrase, or picture, just to get you started.
So have a go! It's fun!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Change of Shift : One year in.

Change of Shift is a year old today. It's over at Nurse Ratched's Place, so go over and get your fix of good nursing blogginess.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Birth of a blog

My friend Martyne has started a blog.
Here's the URL
It started today, so now's your chance to get a comment in the very first post.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WWS-MT : What would Spider-man think?

This can apply to any fictional character, but it's easier to have an example, so I choose Spider-man (notice the hyphen) given that the film is on release, and he is well known to be given to soliloquising.
Now are Spider-man's thoughts real? Obviously they originate in the minds of Marvel scriptwriters, but they come about as a response to the situation he is in. When you are writing a character, you get inside that person, so you imagine what the character is feeling and thinking. Now the thoughts of Spider-man are contained within the meta-thoughts of the writer. And a person is what he thinks - cogitet ergo est. And to use an analogy, software can run on any compatible computer, so Spider-man's thoughts are being run in the writers' brains. If all these thoughts are gathered together, you have an admittedly rudimentary simulacrum of a human personality.
Does this mean that Spider-man lives? Or if not, is there a level of cognition that could be reached which could be defined as life?
I hope you've got the gist of what I'm trying to get at. I'm sure that some philosopher out there has been over all this, and there's a standard response to this. It's just I've been thinking about this off and on for the last few days, and I'm interested in others' responses to this.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

See who I work with!

Dorothy, whose party I was at on Friday, is a celebrity. Don't believe me? Here's the article in this week's Evening News.
When she told me of the adventures she's had, after picking my jaw off the carpet, I told her she had to write it down. So now she's writing her autobiography. I'll let you know when it comes out.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In which Deacon Barry is surrounded by a bevy of beauties

Last night I was at a friend's birthday party. She was crowned Miss Edinburgh twice, back in the seventies when they used to have beauty pageants. In honour of this, we held a beauty contest at the party, and I was the compere. I wore my bow tie and dinner jacket specially for the occasion, and affected my cheesiest mid-atlantic twang as I introduced the girls.
We had fourteen contestants, including a Lola from Brazil, a Debbie from Dallas, and a Paris from LA. I can't be sure, but I don't think they were giving me their right names.
The winner, judged on looks, poise and personality was Debbie from Dallas.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Qualified to blog?

Are bloggers born rather than made? It's a common theme among writers that their favourite subject at school was English (or whatever their first language is) specifically, the creative writing part of the subject. Is it the same for bloggers?
It was definitely my favourite part of the school week. It was no chore. My regret was that it didn't give me enough time to finish any of the stories I started. I'd be just getting onto page two of my science-fiction epic (hey! I said I enjoyed writing, I never said I had any taste!) when the bell would ring, and it would be on to the next lesson.
The question for today is, should prospective bloggers be people who enjoyed writing at school?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hard to beat

It's amazing how far a meme can travel in a day. The Independent today mentioned that the Olympic logo resembled Lisa Simpson doing something comically pornographic.
How long before the logo disappears under a deluge of derision?
To be fair, for sheer priapic artistry, the Olympic logo pales into insignificance when compared to the tumescent magnificence of the logo for the Brazilian Institute for Oriental Studies. Now that is what I call a cock up!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Oh dear. The logo for the 2012 London Olympics has been unveiled. Oh dear. It cost £400,000. Oh dear.
Now it's meant to be a stylised representation of 2012, and it's all very trendy, but unfortunately, to a growing number of people, it's putting them in mind of Lisa Simpson giving - how can I say this delicately - sexual favours of the Monica Lewinsky variety.
Now remember, this cost £400K, and for the next five years, people are going to be looking at this and sniggering.
I don't blame Tessa Jowell and Wolff-Olins (the designers) for not seeing this interpretation before the unveiling. It's just an unfortunate placing of the elements that is suggestive to the filthy-minded out here. It could happen to anyone. But if only Wolff-Olin could have come up with a selection of logos for public perusal. This could then have been rejected in favour of something a little less suggestive.
Politicians are not the best people to make artistic judgements.
If you want to know what people think about the logo, click here.

(Via Mr Eugenides.)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

And the score was...?

We came last.
But with our dignity intact.
We had the smallest team. And if you thought 'Popmaster' on the Ken Bruce show was hard, this was downright diabolical.
I did well on the 'answering questions before they're even asked,' though. Pity there weren't any points for it. One of the rounds was naming record and artist and the record and artist sampled. I tried to explain it to one of my teammates : "You know that Madonna song where she includes a bit from that Abba song?"
Guess what was question number one in that round?
In the 'guess the relationships between two artists,' once I heard Judy Garland's voice, I was writing down Liza Minelli in the second column straightaway.
Controversy of the night - Dionne Warwick and Whitney Houston : Aunt and niece or cousins? Discuss.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Give me your answer, doh!

Tonight, I'm going to the annual Eye Pavilion Pop Quiz.
What you've got to know about me is that I am very good at quizzes - very good! I'm a demon at Trivial Pursuit, and I have at my fingertips an obscene wealth of fascinating facts. Just so's you know.
My encyclopaedic knowledge doesn't cover all areas. If I ain't interested in a subject, it's not worth knowing.
This gives me lacunae in two areas.
Sport. I am so not into sport.
Pop music.
I never got into pop music when I was young. I never watched Top of the Pops much - except when I was seventeen, which is for everyone the best year evuh for music. Since then I've missed out on the all important connection between name of group, name of song, and year it made the charts. You can't pick these things up afterwards. My general knowledge as regards music is limited to the most popular songs of the last few decades.
Still, I'm hoping for a few questions that I'll be able to answer. Hopefully involving the Fast Food Rockers, S Club 7, or the Spice Girls.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Out of the doldrums

Bloggers have been mentioning that they've recently been through a hiatus or dry spell with their blogging. I've felt that way too, certainly two weeks ago. And now I'm back to regular output. There's been something about mid May that has acted like a miasma on the surface of the Blogosphere. Could this emerging cyberworld be developing a climate? Will we see warm fronts and anticyclones in lower Blogistan? Will we start needing weather reports before we can post?
Am I taking this extended metaphor too far...?
The thing with metaphor is that it can lead you by a chain of association to strange places. I'm thinking of this recent slump as a cyber analogue of the Doldrums - a part of the Atlantic Ocean outwith the trade winds where ships used to be stranded. That, of course, makes me think of pirates who have risen in the public consciousness at the same time as blogging, and how the mainstream media view us. And of course, you can't mention pirates without thinking of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. This, I feel is the ultimate symbol and embodiment of the Blogosphere. If you think of how the Blogosphere would look physically, you'd see it as a spherical mass of interconnected wiring, like a ball of spaghetti...
Ramen to you all.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The grapes of wrath - much whining

Edinburgh University are adding insult onto injury by rubbing salt into the wounds of the Christian Union. How are they doing this? Well by giving permission for the Pagan Society to hold its annual conference on campus. The CU are furious because a few months back, they were denied permission to hold their PURE course on University premises (see previous posts here and here.)
Basically, this is a case of sour grapes, and a complete non-issue. It is Edinburgh Uni's policy to not host events which are discriminatory. The PURE course was: the pagan conference isn't. End of story.
What bugs me is that of all the events held on campus, the CU is singling out this conference as being evidence of the university's religious persecution of christianity. Why pick on the pagans? What did they ever do to the Christian Union? It's this attitude that shows just how discriminatory they are being, and why their course was barred. They just don't seem to have any insight into how bigoted and asshatted they are.
I guess it's because they're young and immature. Hopefully they'll grow out of it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You need never run out of milk again

Here's a tip about storing milk for your coffee and wheatybangs. You can freeze milk! Yes you can! What we do is buy a couple of 2-litre bottles and put them in the freezer. When we're down to a third full of the opened bottle, we retrieve one of the frozen ones, and stand it in a small saucepan overnight to thaw. The pan is important, if you don't want a wet worktop.
Before you open the thawed bottle, give it a good shake, to mix up any separation.
Doing this saves having to rush down to Scotmid at the last minute in the pouring rain.

Or, you could get a cow.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Blogiversary!

I've done it! I have blogged for one year. I wasn't even sure when I started if I would last one week. But here I am, with a blog that's a year old today.
I am so glad I started this blog. I have made so many friends in this community that I would never have encountered otherwise. I wouldn't have been a contributor to Change of Shift or the Scottish Blogging Round-up. I wouldn't have been published in Shaggy Blog Stories. I wouldn't have won Janie's poetry competition. All these things I would have missed out on if I hadn't started this blog.
And I have you to thank. You who have read my words, and left comments, and who have linked to me. Without your support and encouragement, I would have found it hard to carry on. Here's to my second year of blogging. Let's hope it brings new exciting things, new directions and challenges.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The first postcard

Here's my first postcard from Second Life. It's from a new place called the Diversionarium. You can find out all about it here. Unfortunately, it runs on Silicon Valley time, which is eight hours behind us, so when I visited, and took this picture, it was early morning for the management and punters. Sure, Second Life and the Blogosphere are bringing the cybercitizens of the world closer together, but you can never get away from the inconvenience of different time zones. The Internet just shoves it in your face.
Anyway, consider the picture above as an experiment. I did it just to see how to do it. I'll delve back into SL and bring you some more exciting pictures in future posts.
It's the big day tomorrow. Check back in about twenty four hours for a doozy of a post.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

De-mat. Re-mat. Re-run.

The brush disappeared again this morning! I managed to locate it much quicker this time. It reappeared in the cats' cupboard, on top of the tools, when I went to get the stuff for the wallpapering. My wife denies all knowledge of how it got there, and I know I certainly didn't put it there. I think this brush doesn't have a firm grip on reality.

Friday, May 25, 2007

By his fruits ye shall know him

You'll have heard of the Horse Whisperer, who can charm horses merely by whispering the secret Horses' Word. And now there's all sorts of whisperers - cat, dog, whatever pet you've got. Well gather round, and let me tell you of a chap I knew in my youth, who was a Fruit Machine Whisperer!
Many years ago when I was at college (this was the first time, way before I ever considered nursing) there was a guy on the course who, more often than not, was my lab partner. Naturally, we used to frequent the Students' Union in Edinburgh (Ah those far off happy hours when you could get three pints of lager for £1-50!) It was there that he demonstrated his uncanny ability of charming money out of the fruit machines. These were your bog standard electronic machines, with lots of lights, electronic diddly-diddlies, and three tumblers bearing different fruits - blackcurrants, plums and strawberries, as well as bars and bells. Get three in a row : get various amounts of prize money.
It was there, one night when he told us how to win on these machines - and blow me, if he didn't put into practice what he had preached, and came away with a small profit, enough for a round of drinks!
Convinced that I was now in possession of some arcane secret of the universe, I had a go.
I lost everything.
I don't do fruit machines now.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

RCN Def Con 2

So the RCN are to ballot on industrial action, following the staged pay award in England and Wales. How could the government balls things up so badly, so that this unprecedented turn of events could come to pass?
What the RCN are looking for in their indicative poll is whether there is support for the idea of industrial action, and what form that action ought to take. The answer to the first part ought to be obvious, going by the reception Patricia Hewitt famously got at that conference. And things have gone downhill from there.
But what sort of action should we be contemplating?
The important thing is to hold onto the moral high ground, and to retain the support of the public. If we lose that, we're sunk.
Keep in mind the one objective of this, which is to reverse the staging of the pay award, and have it paid in full. Get that, and the industrial action must be immediately abandoned. The 2.5% is achievable. Anything above that has to wait until the next pay round.
Industrial action should hurt the government, not the patients. Keep the emergency service going, but attack the government's targets and initiatives.
By awarding the pay rise in full to us Scottish nurses, somebody in the Scottish Labour party has committed a tactical error of legendary proportions - not that I'm complaining about it, you understand - it's an error that benefits our case. It weakens the government's justification for staging the award down south. Gordon Brown must be spitting bile. Good. Remember, we owe him nothing. He's behind the staging. Let's force him into a U-turn, then keep the pressure on him so he doesn't shaft us again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The brush has reappeared! So has another one. But just because they reappeared when I pulled the freezer out to clean behind it, doesn't mean my hypothesis below isn't true. It just makes it more difficult to get folk to believe it.
Spocko , in the comments to the previous post, says that he read somewhere that when you get to heaven you get back all the things you lost in your life. If that's so, what in tarnation am I going to do with several dozen odd socks?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A brush with dematrixulation

The brush has gone missing.
I haven't touched it. My wife hasn't moved it. The cats... well what would they want with a brush anyway?
So in order to sweep up after the cats, my wife has brought down the dustpan and brush from upstairs. Yes, we are a two dustpan and brush household (three if you include the old set in the shed which is used for leaves and garden debris).
All this, of course, is evidence that the Matrix is true and we are living in an elaborate computer simulation.
See, what happens is this, the computer only rezzes stuff that you're actually looking at. If it's not in your field of vision, it merely becomes stored information. Now, obviously, at certain times, depending on what arcane factors influence the running of the program, we're getting glitches. And when they happen, stuff fail to get rezzed. Stuff like the brush, the socks, the glasses, the fish from the fridge... (don't ask. It's still a mystery.*)
Sometimes, after a day or two in limbo, the objects mysteriously reappear. I'm kinda hoping that's what'll happen to the brush. Sometimes they don't.

*The fish was one of those things that did reappear. That's the mystery!

Friday, May 18, 2007

My first event in Second Life

Strangest party I've ever been at.
Second Scotland in Second Life were having an open day. Our country is well represented in this brave new cyberworld. There are two Scotland sims, and number two was throwing a shindig. It's run by the University of Paisley, and looks to me to be an arts project. There were three avatars there in kilts (four if you include myself), and an interactive map of Scotland with ear trumpets bearing the names of eminent scots such as Burns, Carnegie and Billy Connolly. Not forgetting the capercaillies that wander about the sim. It's all very surreal and dreamlike.
Conversation can be a bit random. You hear the people within earshot, but if they're talking to someone a bit further away, you end up with half a conversation. And when that is interweaved with another half-dialogue, and you factor in the delay between typing and display, the script starts to resemble an Ionescu play.
Still, with all its limitations, it's science fiction become science fact. It's the cyberworld predicted all those tears ago where you can interact with others in a virtual reality. And it's only coming up for its fourth birthday! Imagine what another four years will bring!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Leaping into action

I'm starting to come round to the idea of reforming the House of Lords. Up until now I've been of the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' persuasion. I see no point in constitutional change just for the sake of it. I'm also against an upper house whose only purpose is to rubber stamp acts passed by the government in power. You get a situation where bad laws go through unchallenged.
Saying that, the current set up is a bit casual. Lords get appointed, but they may have other commitments, that keep them away from the chamber. The upper house is an important check on the runaway aspirations of a party in power, and shouldn't be left in the hands of people who might or might not turn up to vote depending on their schedule.
I would be in favour of a senate made up of one or two senators representing each county, or major city, elected democratically. That way, bills passed upwards from the House of Commons would get the scrutiny required to prevent bad law blighting our land.
But I wouldn't rush it. constitutional change has to be well discussed and examined before implementation, otherwise you end up with a situation worse than the one you tried to fix.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Guess what day it is?

Happy Nurses' day! Yes, it's that time of the year when we celebrate the contribution that nurses make to society. This year I remembered! I went onto the ward this morning and wished everybody "Happy Nurses' Day!"
"Oh is it? So it is."
So what did I do today?
Well, I put drops in patients' eyes, gave out medicines, took some blood, put more drops in eyes, helped pat slide a patient, gave out meals, gave advice on the helpline, wrote up the care plans, bathed eyes, gave out more medications and put even more drops in patients' eyes.
What sort of a day did you have?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dancing in the datastream

Second Life is an interesting place to visit. It's a virtual world where you exist as an avatar, and you can interact with other human-controlled avatars. It's only been in existence for three years, and it recently signed up its six-millionth inhabitant.
It's still a work in progress. It has teething troubles. But it has potential. And it is science fiction become fact.
Remember Tron? Disney's venture into computer animation? A world existing inside a computer system? It's here.
But a better description of what Second Life is like from an SF perspective is Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time trilogy. In it, the world is a playground for its population of aesthetes, who throw parties and create marvels out of the world's energy field. The most eminent citizens if that world are the ones who produce the most fantastic creations, just as they are in Second Life.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Holy craps at Holyrood

The Lib Dems have just turned down a deal with the SNP. It's the referendum. They're playing hard-ball on this issue. Fair enough. That's what coalition politics is about. The SNP are going to have to jettison some of their manifesto promises if they want to rule Scotland. So it looks like goodbye to the referendum and the local income tax then. I wouldn't take anyone's refusal at the moment to be the last word. It's merely the opening round of the game, entitled 64 vote pickup.
Here are the rules as far as I can work them out.
In this particular match there are six players - for the purposes of clarity, lets call them Mr Yellow, Mr Red, Mrs Blue, Mr Orange, Mr Green and Mrs White.
Each player has a set number of votes given to them by the electorate (those of them smart enough to read the ballot paper anyway).
There are 129 of these votes.
The object of the game is to get half of them, which is 64.
The remaining vote left over belongs to the referee or Presiding Officer, and is put to one side, but you don't want it put on your side.
Mr Yellow and Mr Red have to persuade all the other four players to play on their team.
Mrs Blue, Mr Orange, Mr Green and Mrs White all say they're not going to play on anybody's team, anytime soon, no-siree-bob.
(Actually Mr Green has still to say this, but I guess he's still a bit unsure of the rules)
Mr Yellow and Mr Red then have to carefully and strategically start discarding policies until the other players agree to join their team.
Whoever gets 64 votes after offloading the Presiding Officer card where it'll do the least damage is the winner!

Where do we go from here?

I guess this weekend, the SNP leadership are busy making phonecalls trying to forge some sort of coalition to run Scotland. Everybody's talking about an SNP/Lib/Green alliance as if it's a done thing. That's probably the most likely outcome, but maybe the SNP should be thinking outside the box. What about an alliance with the Conservatives? A marriage made in hell to be sure, but it would put the Lib Dem's gas at a peep, that's for sure. After a disastrous election, what could be worse than to even be denied involvement in a power-sharing government, and see the Tories take their place!
Admittedly, there are two big obstacles to a Tory/SNP coalition. Annabel Goldie said "no" prior to the election, and there is the even more obvious problem of Independence, and the Referendum for.
It's a poor weapon that doesn't cut both ways (Salvor Hardin). A referendum could settle the question of Independence once and for all, and it could quite easily be in favour of the union. Support for a referendum does not equate with support for independence. The Tories could go along with the referendum, on the clear understanding that they would be campaigning against independence in 2010.
The Greens hold the balance of power though. Margo McDonald intends to stay staunchly independent, though even after being dropped by the party, she must surely be in sympathy with their policies.
There's always Labour/Lib/Green plus Tories? The grand unionist rainbow alliance against the SNP? Yeah... like that's going to happen.
We'll see what happens next week after the Monday bank holiday. A second election isn't off the cards yet!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Clearing up the mess after the night before

What a pig's arse of an election! The phrases "brewery", "piss-up" and "couldn't organise" come to mind. It's been over nineteen hours since the polls closed, and we still don't know who's won - apart from the spoiled ballot party, who unfortunately don't have any candidates.
For readers in America, we're trying this novel concept called democracy in Scotland. Unfortunately the organisers underestimated the inherent numptiness endemic in the general populace. It's now official, there are people who are too stupid to vote. We just never had a way of screening them out before. Obviously holding two elections at the same time with completely different voting systems is the way to go about it.
So far, Labour and the SNP seem to be neck and neck. It'll be interesting to see what combinations of parties will eventually make up Government.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Guess who I saw walking along the road?

Today I saw Death. Yes, him. The fourth horseman. The grim reaper. Best friend of Billy and Mandy... okay okay, enough with the hyperbole. I know it probably wasn't that particular mythological archetype - just some flesh and blood human who looked like him.
So what did he look like? Well, I was in the car, caught in the start of the rush hour, so I overtook him at a leisurely pace. My initial view of him was from behind, and I was aware of his long black Matrix-style coat. Now this afternoon was T-shirt weather, and I was thinking that this coat would be way too hot in this blazing sunshine. Now if it had been the middle of winter, I probably wouldn't have given him a second glance, but today? "Looks like Death warmed up," I thought.
I looked for a scythe, but all he had was a black briefcase, or it might have been a toolkit, it had that sort of plasticky look about it.
By this time, the traffic was moving slowly forward and I was now passing him. I must admit to curiosity as to what this long-haired, black-clad, toolkit wielding apparition looked like, so as I pulled ahead, I took a quick look in my wing mirror.
He had no face!
The long dark hair I had seen from behind continued round to the front. Like Cousin Itt from the Addams Family.
"Well!" I thought, "You don't see that every day."
I just hope it wasn't an omen.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Busy week?

I'm on holiday this week. Supposedly a time for doing nothing but sit in front of the computer, checking up on all my favourite blogs. I should be so lucky! It's perfect gardening weather - in Scotland that usually means it's not raining, but actually, the sun is out. Later this week, it's the double birthday. My niece and nephew conveniently decided to have their birthdays on consecutive days. She's going to be five and he'll be eight. So today I was out shopping for birthday stuff.
I've also been down at Mum's teaching her how to use Photoshop. That's the thing, you have a bit of computer savvy, and you're a guru. I was showing her how to use the lighting effects that I just discovered the day before. It always helps to be one step ahead.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

After school

I delivered my wee seminar on the complications of retinal surgery today. It seemed to go okay. Mary, the course tutor, told me she and her husband have been reading this blog, and the picture in the preceding post was yucky. I'm glad it's getting such a good reaction.
Well that's my teaching done for the ophthalmic course. Now I've got to cobble together a teaching programme on tonometry for my Knowledge and Skills Framework. That's partly why I wrote that previous post about the different types of tonometers. See, the way they want it to work is that every year you set a target of learning objectives you want to achieve in the year ahead, to justify to the NHS that you're worth paying extra for. This year I had planned the seminar on the retina (done) and the tonometry project (still to do). But Mary asked me to do another seminar, so I've been concentrating on that (one thing at a time is a good philosophy to live by). Now, I've got until the summer to get the tonometry thing up and running.
Oh the joys of educational nursing!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A sight for sore eyes

It's good to get pictures from readers, so here's one sent in by Angela the pharmacist. She was telling me about a book she had (Eyes by Michael Glasspool) with a picture that she found difficult to look at - so she sent me it, and now I can share it with you.
The condition above is probably as bad as it gets for someone with an overactive thyroid. The eyeballs are protruding (exophthalmos). Because of this, movement is restricted (ophthalmoplegia), and there is a lot of fluid retention in the tissues (oedema). This poor chap will be unable to close his eyelids, so his cornea will be permanently exposed to the elements. The tear film will dry and his corneas will be at high risk of abrasion and ulceration. He will require constant lubrication, and reduction of his thyroid production - possibly by thyroidectomy.
Once the thyroid has been dealt with, he will probably require corneal transplants if there is too much damage to his corneas.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A 5000 year old operation?

I've just read that there is an Egyptian papyrus in Berlin that's five thousand years old, which has a description of cataract surgery. At present, I have no way of knowing whether this is true or not, but if true, it would put the origins of ophthalmic surgery four thousand years further back than was first believed.
I would so love to see this papyrus. I'm sure, given enough time and a facsimile copy, I could translate the appropriate passage to see whether they used an extracapsular approach, or the subluxation technique described in an earlier post.
How's that for a project? Combining two of my favourite subjects : hieroglyphics and ophthalmology!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Two new links

Two blogs have just linked to me. I've just added them to my blogroll. Don't call me Joe is a new blog - a very new blog. He only started a couple of weeks ago. And I was the very first person to comment! He seems to have got into the blogging way, so he could be around for some time.
The other is code blog : tales of a nurse. She hosted Change of Shift a few weeks ago, and came up with a limerick for each post! Pure genius! And just have a look at her blogroll! An icon for each link! Pure dead posh, so it is!
I love my one. It makes me want to keep visiting her blog, just to press it.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A touch of the Blobbies

Does anyone remember the Blobbies? It was a children's show from the late seventies with characters called Melody Gwen and Mr Centigrade. That's all I can find out about it on Google. I had this vague memory of a show with a Melody Gwen in it, so I googled her name and found the Blobbies who were some sort of pop group. The page didn't have any pictures to jog my memory. I have a feeling it was a cartoon though.
Although a lot of programmes from my childhood have achieved cult status, many more have fallen off the cultural radar, and this, I fear, is one of them.
BTW the programme had nothing to do with Mr Blobby, that I am sure of. He is one cultural icon I could do with forgetting.

Friday, April 20, 2007


1. At first they knew not what had happened. They had no understanding of His sacrifice.
2. Some rejoiced in His passing. But others grew fearful.
3. And caution prevailed in the councils of the First ones. And likewise the Secondcomers and Thirdcomers too were cautious. And an uneasy truce was between them.
4. The winter came. And with it the sickness. Death claimed the sick in their thousands. First ones, Secondcomers and Thirdcomers alike. For the sickness knew no difference between them.
5. For death had entered the world with His death.
6. After the sickness came strife. And after the strife came more sickness.
7. Those that succumbed neither to strife nor sickness began to know what it is to grow old.
8.But also in the years after His sacrifice, children were born for the first time in the world. And the sound of their laughter was a comfort to ease the sadness of those who yet remained.
9. One by one, as the years passed, each First one, Secondcomer and Thirdcomer died.
10. And then there was not one left who had entered through the Doors of the World.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


1. And now among the rebels were ones with great knowledge and power, to rival any among the First ones. Their craftsmen created great engines of war. They used blood secrets to breed fell beasts of battle.
2. And He fought with the rebels. He gave them His leadership. His power. His knowledge. And they prevailed against the First ones.
3. One by one the First ones were taken. And the roots of Mount Abnakhos rumbled with their groans.
4. Their palaces were taken. Their chariots were destroyed. And their devices burned.
5. But the last of the First ones, seeing that all was lost, resolved to take action. They gathered all the sources of power into one Source.
6. None could stand against them now. And the war turned in their favour.
7. He knew what they had done. They had used His discoveries. Continued the work He had forsaken. And now they were all powerful. There would never be another rebellion.
8. But even they did not know how far His knowledge now extended.
9. He surrendered Himself to their judgement. As they demanded. And they condemned Him to a thousand years of torment.
10. But before they took Him away He spoke unto them, saying that their immortality was a barrier to being fully of the world. Without death, there was no true life : only endurance. No birth. No renewal. No change. Only stagnation.
11. And He reached into the Source and pulled the power into Himself, Immolating Himself in an instant.
12. And He died.
13. His was the first death.
14. And by His death the veil was torn. First ones, Secondcomers and Thirdcomers became truly part of the world.
15. And the Doors of the World slammed shut.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


1. There was one in the world of great knowledge. Who understood the energies and workings of the world. And through whose means the First ones obtained the Source of their power.
2. He it was who led the First ones in their struggle against the rebellion. But the victory tasted to Him of bitter gall.
3. He could understand the right of the rebels. And He could see the corruption of the First ones.
4. And He slowly withdrew from their councils. And dwelt apart in His dwelling place on the northern continent. Where He immersed Himself in His studies into the workings of the world.
5. And the Doors of the World remained open. And more people entered the world to serve and worship the First ones.
6. And also through the Doors of the World came other creatures. And they were strange of form. And some malevolent and dark of breeding.
7. The Thirdcomers also wearied of their servitude. And they joined with the remnants of the Secondcomers in rebellion.
8.This time He refused to lead the First ones against the rebellion. And though their power was great, they could not completely subdue the rebels.
9. When peace was obtained, the rebels agreed to serve. But never more were the First ones worshipped in the world.
10. But He remained apart from the conflict. And His standing with the First ones worsened.
11. And when the Thirdcomers, and the remnants of the Secondcomers tired again of their servitude, He joined them in their rebellion.
12. And there was war upon the face of the world.

Monday, April 16, 2007


1. Into the world came the First ones. And they were first because the world had no inhabitants.
2. The First ones named the lands and the oceans. And they named the plants and the animals therein.
3. The First ones took delight in their world. But they had no-one to rule over, for they were all equal.
4. They said: “Let us open the Doors of the World so that we may have people to serve us and worship us.”
5. And so the Doors of the World were opened. And people found their way from their worlds to this world.
6. But the First ones captured all who came through the Doors of the World. And made them serve them and worship them.
7. And in those times there was no death. And no-one grew old or sick. Even those that came through the Doors of the World to serve and worship the First ones. And their time of servitude was unending.
8. It came to pass that the number of Secondcomers surpassed the number of First ones. And they resented their servitude. And there was rebellion in the world against the First ones.
9. But the First ones were all powerful. And they crushed the rebellion. But there was no death in the world so they could not kill the rebels.
10. They chained the rebels. And bound them beneath the roots of Mount Abnakhos. But there were others who evaded capture. And they hid in the secret places of the world.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A real ophthalmological nurse

Mother Jones at Nurse Ratched's Place has tagged me with a meme. It's 'what makes a real nurse?' I'm going to refine it to my specialty, so here's my take on the meme.
What makes a real ophthalmic nurse?
  1. You automatically remember to spell ophthalmology with an 'h' after the 'p' and an 'l' before the 'm'.
  2. You can hold eyelids open with your ring finger while your thumb and forefinger are squeezing a drop bottle.
  3. Your 'yuck' reflex evaporated ten minutes after starting work in an eye ward.
  4. You loathe and detest iridologists.
  5. You're not too fond of people offering laser corrective surgery either.

Okay, that's it. You only need five statements. I tag Dead Nurse Walking and Intelinurse. Have fun guys.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mystery of the missing pods

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh has a pneumatic tube system for the transportation of laboratory samples and pharmacy orders. These are encased in cylindrical pods which shuttle back and forth through the fabric of the building. Lately, staff have been noticing that the supply of these pods have dwindled. Where once there were a couple of spare pods on the rack, now they need to be borrowed from nearby wards, or failing that, requested from the labs or estates.
Recently, a number of pods were discovered on the roof of the hospital. No-one knows how they got there!
I have a theory.
Considering the number of cock-ups in the building of the hospital, I find it more than credible that a misreading of the architect's blueprints may have resulted in an egress of the tube system opening onto the roof. The missing pods being shunted down this false exit by a miskeying of the destination code, would result in them popping out the pipe and travelling in a parabolic arc over the hospital before landing where they were found. The opening might be some distance away, and thus remains undiscovered and purely conjectural at this stage. Any other theories would be appreciated.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rock n' Roll n' Resus

Pack your trunk Nelly! Step gaily away Marie! There's a new entry at the top of the CPR charts.
Up until now, practitioners performing resuscitation had a choice of songs to pump people's chests to. They were Nelly the Elephant, and Marie's Wedding. Today, I was informed by our friendly neighbourhood consultant anaesthetist that the tune of choice is now Status Quo's Rockin' all over the World. Apparently it's a bit faster than the other two.
So now, when you are trying to revive someone who's suffered a cardiac arrest, you're going to be in a whole new world of cool as you perform compressions, going, "Here we go and here we go and here we go..." At this point the words subside into a hum because you don't actually know the words to the next bit. And so it continues until you finish with "... Rockin' all over the world!"

Monday, April 09, 2007

Stand and deliver

What's the most expensive postage in Britain? I believe I have a candidate. The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh portering services are run by Haden. The other day, a colleague sent a prescription to pharmacy. She was told it would cost £36 for it to be delivered to the ward! That's from one end of the building to the other. You could get the same package delivered to the other end of the country for under a pound.
What I don't understand is how Haden calculate that £36 is a fair and equitable rate to charge for one person to carry a small package weighing not much more than a packet of crisps for the ten minutes maximum it takes to walk from one end of the hospital to the other. That works out at a rate of £216 per hour. Nice work if you can get it. I must be in the wrong profession.