Sunday, February 25, 2007

Double Diamonds

It's a two for one offer on links today. Both JanieBelle and Corporal Kate have included me on their blogrolls. So it's a peek above the sgian dudh for both of them.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ohhhh Julie

Remember Duncan Thorp? The chap running as an independent for the Lothian list for the Scottish Parliament? Well I've found another independent challenger with a blog. Her name is Julie Mcanulty, and she's standing in the Central Scotland list. She's campaigning to keep Monklands Hospital from closure. Her blog is fun to read, and informative. I hope she keeps going with it after the election.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The four essentials

Mother Jones has tagged me with a meme: “Name four things that, as a nurse, you can’t live without, and one thing that you covet.”
The tunic I wear only has two pockets, a small breast one, and a larger side pocket. Within them, I carry all my essential equipment that I need to nurse. I carry pens (black and red), scissors, pen torch, and the printed report. All of these are replaceable on the ward, so if I lose one, I can easily get another. One thing I carry in my pocket that I can't live without, is my tape measure. I use this for measuring patients' calves for TED stockings. I hated searching the ward for one, so I found one in our sewing box and I've kept it in my nursing kit ever since.
Sister got me a mug for Christmas with a picture of a grinning animated squirrel from Over the Hedge. I keep it on the ward for my coffee breaks. I can't live without that now.
I can't live without reading material. I always buy an Independent on my way into work, and every fortnight, a Private Eye. Once I've finished them, I'm forced onto a diet of Metros, Cosmopolitans and OKs, whatever is in the room, I'll read it. Breaks are interminable without them.
The last thing I can't live without is my holdall. It holds my uniform, sandwich box, biscuit - banana - and yoghurt container, hat, gloves, umbrella, the aforementioned newspapers and various pieces of paper-based detritus.
The one thing I covet is one of those fancy tourniquets that clips and tightens round the patient's arm. The ward only supplies ones made of rubber and velcro.
I tag anybody who wants to join in the fun. You don't have to be a nurse, just adapt it to whatever job you do.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Don't they teach superheroes first aid?

I've just watched the new series on the Sci-Fi channel - Heroes. Of course I loved it. It's an intelligent take on the superhero mythos that focuses on the characters rather than their powers. And guess what? One of them's a nurse. His name is Peter, and he and his brother Nathan, a politician, can fly. We know he's a nurse, because right at the start of the programme, he changes an IV bag. The girl, who's father he's looking after, later calls him to help her boyfriend, another Hero, who paints prophetic paintings, and is also a drug user. He's unconscious. Peter checks him over, says "He's alive, call 911!" So far so good. Then the scriptwriters spoil it with a boo boo. Instead of rolling the unconscious artist into the recovery position, Peter's eye is caught by the paintings of nuclear annihilation and leaves his patient to have a closer look. And I'm shouting at the TV: "Recovery Position Dammit!"
Still, it's nice to have a central character who's a nurse, and not a doctor/detective/lawyer.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The little drummer-blogger

Here it is. A picture of the Bodhran I bought yesterday. Isn't it a beauty? It's a lot harder to play than it looks, but I'm starting to get the wrist movement right for beating triplets. That's the extra beat with the other end of the tipper. It's very therapeutic.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


To market
To market
To buy a Bodhran.
Home again
Home again
Uh... guess what I did today?
A Bodhran is a celtic frame drum, played with a double ended beater called a tipper or cipin. Today I was walking round East Fortune Market, and I saw it. The whole package. Drum, two tippers, beginner's book, demo cassette and CD - only £15! At long last, after many years of waiting, I now have my Bodhran.
Many years ago, I attended the very first Beltane Fire Festival on Calton Hill. There I received my first lesson on how to play this instrument. I resolved then and there, that I would obtain my own instrument. In the intervening years, I have been to numerous jumble and car boot sales, always in the hope of finding one on sale. Today it happened.
It's a genuine Irish instrument. I know this because it's got a Guinness advert on the skin. I may post a picture of it later so you can see it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


The previous post won't make much sense now, because I've managed to delete the duplicate blogroll.

The blogroll cometh

At last! I've finally got a blogroll! I can now give link love to everyone who's linked to me. Actually, it looks like I've got two of them. My previous efforts at diving under the bonnet have finally come to fruition. I put those links there ages ago, but they never appeared on screen. Now, with the new features, and me working on a new blogroll, they finally appear, duplicating the links in the top list. Oh well, two blogrolls for the price of one - what a bargain!


I think I've just been upgraded, whether I wanted to or not. Honestly, I take three days off blogging to do three twelve hour shifts in order to ensure that enough money appears in my bank account at the end of the month to pay for a few luxuries such as food, electricity and mortgage, and when I log back on, I'm faced with a page that won't allow me through until I sign on to the new Google Blogger. Well I'm here now. I just hope it doesn't cut down on my traffic. If you have any problems commenting, let me know...uh... wait a minute... how's that going to work?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Who's Duncan Thorp?

The Scottish elections just got interesting. It seems we have an independent candidate in the listings for Lothian. His name is Duncan Thorp, and it's a hat tip to Scottish Political News for finding him.
He's going for the second vote list seat, but he doesn't have a popular single issue, nor is he well known, which are the two main prerequisites for an independent challenger. So what has he got? His main asset is his inside knowledge of how the Scottish Parliament works. He's worked there as a press officer for the Liberals. He's also not Labour, which is always a good sign. Here's a link to his website
I've decided to blog about him, because he's made an effort to engage the netroots. He was quick to respond to the post in the Scottish Political News, which shows he's reading them. The only way he's got a chance of winning is with netroot support.
The American netroots only made their breakthrough last year. We're probably about three years behind them here. Scottish blogs don't have the muscle yet to be a deciding factor in these elections, but it will be an invaluable learning experience trying out tactics and strategy. A good place to start is seeing if it's possible to build up a netroots candidate to something close to a competitive election result. A candidate has presented himself fortuitously for the chase. Who can resist the underdog?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Change of Shift

Mother Jones is currently hosting Change of Shift, the blog-carnival written by and for nurses. The post about the awsome power of stupidity is drink-snortingly funny.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


The sudden harsh, shrill scream of a child in pain filled the ward.
It came from a side room where the howling child was being comforted.
"She fell and hit her head on the bed frame."
She's got a real keeker on her right forehead.
Ice, the inner nurse tells me, ice will reduce any swelling by constricting the capillaries.... I'm on it already. It's only my third shift here, but I know where the ice maker is. I hurry to the treatment room.
What are you going to put the ice in? the inner nurse asks. You'll need a plastic bag.
I look forlornly round the treatment room. If this was the Eye Pavilion you'd know exactly where to lay your hands on the polythene bags you normally use.
But they use orange disposal bags for dressings!
I grab one, pile the ice cubes in, then look for something heavy.
Everything in the treatment room seems to be made from flimsy plastic.
You usually batter the ice with a jar of coffee.
There's a kitchen. Sure enough, it has a large jar of coffee.
Bang, bang, bang!
I turn ice cubes into snow.
I return to the injured toddler.
Who's not too happy about having a freezing bag of ice placed on her forehead.
A wet paper towel might be an acceptable substitute. The water is cold.
I grab some paper towels and soak them in cold water. Now, how to persuade the moppet to put it on her bump?
You know what you're going to have to do.
Yup. I know.
I kneel in front of her. I hold the wet paper to her forehead.
"This is the way we wash our hair,
Wash our hair
Wash our hair
This is the way we wash our hair
On a cold and frosty mor-ning!"

Friday, February 09, 2007

Rapid response

The blogstorm appears to have subsided. JanieBelle and WordPress, while not exactly at kisses and peek above the garter terms with each other have settled into a guarded truce. Further developments will emerge, no doubt. Elsewhere, Spocko is having a slow but steady effect on KSOF's advertising revenues, with several organisations announcing their withdrawal of adverts. In both cases, a similar thing happened : the news about the censorship of a low flying blog filtered upwards until major blogs brought it to the attention of the blog masses.
The Blogosphere is messy. Like biological structures, it evolved into a form which works, but no-one in their right minds would have designed that way. There is one major imbalance which was highlighted by Interrobang* on the comments thread two jumps down. I want to respond to this in a post, so here's the comment in its entirety :
If all the blogging services that currently exist start censoring things that people in the free world (that is, outside of the US) want to and are legally permitted to read, probably new, non-US-based blogging services will start up. That said, you can run a blog on your own website if you own a domain name and stuff. It's slightly harder than using Blogger (I actually run a site of my own for my job, since I'm a consultant), but it can certainly be done. That said, by what law can they even censor "erotica" online? Even hard-core pornography is not, so far as I know, illegal for people over 21 in the US, so I think they're treading on some pretty shaky First Amendment grounds. I'd say the best strategy is to fight this vigorously, while looking into people or organisations who could start a non-US-based blogging service. For that matter, it's about damn time the rest of the world built its own internet backbone, because most of the world's internet traffic still passes through servers that are physically located in the US, and that could get sticky later on.
The Blogosphere may have virtual tendrils of digitally marshalled electrons wafting about in cyberspace, but the anchors to the real world are firmly rooted (routed?) in the USA. There it is vulnerable to attack. Interrobang's strategy seems a good one. Vigorous defence against censorship already exists and is improving. Like a muscle that develops with exercise, the recent blogstorms have shown that the Blogosphere is developing a defensive mechanism against censorship. The philosophy is : Censor one, censor all.
There should be more bloghosts in other parts of the world, certainly, but how do they gain a toehold in the market? Maybe that is a response which will only kick in after the atmosphere in the US becomes so polluted by restriction, that the Blogosphere has to move or die.

*A friend of Spocko who has just put me on the blogroll. Much thanks!=D

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Coke cuisine

We went out for lunch to the Waterside Bistro in Haddington today. There was this must-have item on the menu : Ayrshire gammon in Coca-Cola sauce. Yup, you read that right. Number one fizzy drink in the world, (but only just in Scotland) used as a marinade for a dish. Of course I went for it. And let me tell you it was delicious. It's like a very rich gravy, but slightly sweet. Like a sweet and sour sauce you might get in a chinese meal.
It's definitely a first for me. I've never heard of a chef using coke in a recipe before. But it works.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The spreading shadow

Another blog has been censored by WordPress. A Swedish blogger called Isabella Lund, who writes a political blog about prostitution in Sweden had it suspended temporarily. Another blogger was censured when she tried to raise the subject on the WordPress Forum. Add that to the delisting of JanieBelle, Corporal Kate, Censor This and Crowded Head Cozy Bed, and you start to see a pattern emerging.
A point made by Bloggenbent is important:
"This identifies a state of affairs that have always been there, but which may not have been apparent. Since most of the Swedish blogosphere is dependent on American service providers like and it may be that Swedes will have to abide by the most narrow of moral codes in US society."
And that is the wider issue of this situation. The Blogosphere exists currently on the whim of the American Government. Fortunately, at present, they are favourably disposed towards freedom of speech. But if they were to turn towards a more authoritarian or Dominionist mindset, we might see curbs on what subject matter would be acceptable to service providers. Imagine a Blogosphere with no criticism of the US administration or established religion permitted.
Blogs are becoming more influential, and having an effect on the political process. They are also outside political control. The only way to rein them in is to lean on the service providers, who are subject to US law.
WordPress itself may not survive the bad publicity. Once it becomes generally known that it's censoring blogs, bloggers will think twice about signing up to them. I know I certainly have.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Censorship alert!

Janiebelle has a blog called UDreamOfJanie. It is hosted on Wordpress. She's a science chick (that's her term) who also writes erotic fiction on her blog, so naturally, it is tagged as such. That seems fair enough to me. If people are looking for erotica they are likely to find her blog by going through Wordpress tags.
Not any longer. Wordpress have delisted her and her friend Corporal Kate from their tag lists. Now Janie and Kate are not the only bloggers with erotica on their sites, but they seem to be the only ones targeted.
They only discovered this, when their supply of spam suddenly dropped. Using that as an indication, they suspect that the offending post that seems to have precipitated Wordpress' action is a story that involves a priest. The message that seems to be conveyed here is that writing about sex is fine, but if religion is involved, then hell hath no fury than a bloghost in full righteous indignation mode.
Please go over to their blogs and give them your support. The Blogosphere is one place where free speech must thrive, and an attack on one blogger is an attack upon us all.

I chased a bug around a tree.

When my wife was a little girl, her father used to say the above phrase to her, to his great amusement, and her mother's annoyance. It wasn't until she was a lot older that she understood what her father meant with this phrase.
When she told me, I knew there had to be more to it, so here, in its entirety is the song. I would sing it, but I'm unable at this time to embed an audio file in this blog.
The Bug
I chased a bug around a tree,
The biggest bug you'll ever see.
I bagged that bug, 'cause he bugged me,
That bug around a tree.
A bug... a bug... a bug... a bug...
A bug around a tree.
I caught that bug and asked, "Tell me,
O bug, why do you pester me?"
He said, in all sincerity,
"For curiosity!"
For cu... for cu... for cu... for cu...
For curiosity.
Now go and sing this song to any children you know who are bugging you, and require some bugging in return.