Wednesday, September 30

another useful site

My colleagues in the Social History department have informed me about a research site called, where you can see what you would have looked like if you had graduated from a U.S. high school in various periods through history.

The first one is Cap'n Kev in 1966, followed by Albert in several eras. I'll be doing other people in future posts, or you can yearbook yourself.

Tuesday, September 29

career success avoidance 1

Following the success of my post on career success, certain commenters jumped to conclusions. They were assuming that it's an advantage in life to come from the ranks of the management classes. If anything one deserves sympathy, after having to grow up alongside these future captains of industry, at knob school.

The few career opportunities that ever came my way (so far) were of my own making, and I was able to mess them up all by myself.

The only respectable job I ever consented to was when someone talked me into taking a university research post.

I used to keep the blackboard in my office covered in meaningless scribbles, just in case the professor dropped in. It was a cover for what I was really doing with the grant money - writing software to print index labels for all my jazz radio tapes. I was able to maintain the pretence for several years, just long enough to last until I got the black spot, the perfect excuse for shelving the jazz research.

If I remember my sunday school lessons correctly, to him who hath shall be given. And so it came to pass that I received other offers, on the strength of the research job ...

Monday, September 28

way too cool

After the cold winter, I was just getting into the swing of spring. I took the woollen blankets off the bed, washed them and packed them away, along with the woolly jumpers.

That night, a cold front came through and it's been Siberian since, with a biting wind. I came to NSC to get away from all that. Walking to work along the jocko bridges in January used to nearly kill what remained of my spirit, though at the same time it must have been character building. Everything balances up.

So one minute we were enjoying spring, the season when an old man's fancy turns to thoughts of whatever. Then suddenly it's all chapped lips and split finger-ends again. And freezing in bed, but too cold to get up and find a blanket. My organs don't know if they're coming or going.

Meanwhile, Albert is keeping warm by training for the annual 17 mile walk, only three weeks away. He'll probably manage the full distance, but his dog won't.

It used to be that his dog could walk all day without flagging. It's an Aussie Collie, same as mine, bred to chase sheep all day in the outback. A few years back, Cap'n Kev took the dog for an overnight expedition into the bush, walking all day through waist-high grass and scrub. While Kev could step over the undergrowth, the dog had to leap each time. It kept going for a magnificent 6 hours, before it finally lay down and refused to move. But nowadays it's an old dame, and Albert says he's going to have to drop it off half-way through the big walk.

Sunday, September 27

emotional reunion

The Ipod went missing in action yesterday.

A credit card company had offered me 100 NSC dollars if I applied for a card, so last week I decided to blow the money - I went walkabout during a break at work, and bought myself a decent pair of earphones. As I returned to the office, I noticed my ipod had disappeared from where it's always clipped on my belt. It must have fallen off when I was shopping. Before I could even try out the new earphones. Which I now no longer needed.

I was cursing myself and the world in general. Losing not just the ipod, but all the data that was on it too.

Later, I saw it on the floor under my desk, where it must have fallen just as I got back to the office. The reunion was pretty emotional.

Friday, September 25

accidental anal intercourse

A colleague in the anatomy department referred me to yet another interesting abstract from a professional journal.

"A postal survey was conducted of members of the Association of Forensic Physicians (UK) to determine whether accidental anal intercourse occurs in heterosexual relationships and, if so, whether intoxication by alcohol or drugs and sexual inexperience were likely to be causative factors. ....

... Amongst those with a history of accidental anal intercourse, 79% reported that they were sexually experienced at the time and 83% reported that their partners were sexually experienced. Personal intoxication by alcohol or drugs at the time of accidental anal intercourse was reported by 43%, with 41% reporting that their partners were intoxicated."
These findings concur with my own research, in which both participants were indeed 100% blootered. In my study the subject sadly died - there is no evidence of a causal relationship. Or even a caudal relationship.

Tuesday, September 22

family matters apparently

The old dear's getting worse, and on top of the back pain she's now torn a ligament. I phoned her doc in Stockbridge, who says she's better off staying at home than going to hospital or a home.

I phoned her yesterday. She sounded very low. Then I got a call from the Piddledorf Pension Plan, in tears and full of idiotic ideas. Did I think she should send her some bottles of beetroot juice to make her better? I said that's a nice idea, but remember your sister won't take anything that hasn't been personally prescribed by a man in a white coat.

At least the PPP didn't start up with the emotional blackmail "you should get the next plane out of New South Caledonia and go see your old dear." That'll be her next move. Conveniently forgetting that the old dear chucks you out after half an hour - it's all too much trouble for her.

I'm finding it all a bit distressing too, but luckily I've had my whole life to get used to the idea that there's nothing I can do where the old dear's concerned. If she was ever actually in such a bad way that she'd accept any advice or help from me, that's when she would be truly be in serious need of medical intervention.

I called the old dear again just now, and this time she was happy as Larry. Her hubby's health visitor had just come in the door so she asked me to phone back in half an hour. Her sudden chirpiness is encouraging in itself, and also suggests that she's able to snap out of it when strangers call. That's good.

For years we've all been asking why she doesn't get a home help, but she just says she doesn't think she's entitled to anything like that. Presumably because she's not sick enough or poor enough. But in the last phone call I found out that she was indeed offered a home help some time ago, and she knocked it back. Of course now she's desperate enough to ask them for one, they've told her there's none available.

If the roles were reversed, she'd say to me "serves you right."

What a family!

It's been half an hour so I'll call back now. Tally ho.

Update: The old dear was much too happy/busy to talk to me this time, another good sign. But she was able to tell me the health visitor is going to get them a home help, as well as somebody to come and help them shower and dress. It'll take up to 2 months to organise it, but at least something's going to happen.

New drugs the white coat guys have given her: Zopiclone for sleeping or for recreation if you're certain folk. And Ditropan for going to the pan of course.

Sunday, September 20

who's this?

Who is this a picture of?

A clue: it's someone I know from when I was younger.

Thursday, September 10

such music be the food of love

Albert tells me the romance betwen the cleavage client and the jerk is progressing. Albert's using the time-honoured strategy for dealing with his ambivalent feelings - completely ignoring her so she doesn't notice he thinks she's special.

She was overheard telling her mates about an all-night dance they had been to. All that doof-doof music. He's had a lucky escape.

Monday, September 7

the effectiveness of multi-tasking

My colleagues in the psychology department drew my attention to some interesting research, which proves that Buddhists and couch potatoes were right all along - the world would be a better place if everyone tried to do just one thing at a time.

In a society that encourages more and more multitasking, researchers at Stanford University had assumed that people who do a lot of multitasking would be better at it.

"But they're not. They're worse. They're much worse," said Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford. "They couldn't ignore stuff that doesn't matter. They love stuff that doesn't matter," he said.

So perhaps the multitaskers can take in the information and organize it better? But no. "They are worse at that, too," Nass said.

Finally, they tested ability to switch from one task to another. The high multitaskers actually took longer to make the switch from one task to the other.

So, all those young people who multitask more are worse at everything, even at multi-tasking. Another reason for old people (not me) to feel smug.

Sunday, September 6

looking up

Things continue to look up. I was kindly invited to a concert on Sunday night, of Bach and other goodies, and I discovered there was a jazz band performing a couple of hours earlier, at a pub that brews its own weissbier. To thank the person paying for the Bach tickets, I insisted on taking her for pre-concert refreshments. It transpired that they didn't serve weissbier in the jazz lounge, so I'll have to go back another day. I should have known jazz with weissbier was too much to hope for.

Actually, I first heard the Bach piece as a teenager, when I went to a concert with Mary Hopkin. Her wee sister (who deserves to be trouser blogged, though sadly not in the biblical sense) was singing in the choir.

Friday, September 4

epoxy resin: a case report

A colleague in the anatomy department referred me to a most interesting abstract from a professional journal.

We describe a unique case of a patient presenting with rectal impaction following self-administration of a liquid used as masonry adhesive for anal sexual gratification. The solidified matter required laparotomy for its removal. Strategies for removing rectal foreign bodies are discussed as well as other consequences of inserting foreign material per rectum.
If only I had stuck in at my medical studies, I could have specialised in cases like this.

Wednesday, September 2

unprofessional thoughts

One of the drawbacks of my job at the McDonald Institute is that occasionally one of the clientele may be excessively fit. There's one at the moment who's particularly gorgeous, and it takes an effort not to tumble head first into her cleavage. Well-groomed, beautiful, compact without being delicate, with physical and social graces. Intelligent but not as clever as me. We're a perfect match!

I'd throw away everything and follow her in an instant if she just made me an offer. I'd only need a few cast-iron guarantees. Over the years while I would mature further, she mustn't ever change. She'd have to keep working, and be prepared eventually to push a wheelchair. She could only have kids if it didn't interfere with changing my nappies. In return I would share all my home brew supplies and other worldly fluids.

Update: last week I had to sit close to her on a matter of work, and I happened to take a deep breath through my nose. I inhaled her essence. It was strong and feminine, but not the bouquet I had visualised. Not sure how to say this. It was in the trouser department, right?

Flesh and blood, scared me off. I think I may be cured.

Further Update: this week she fell prey to the inexplicable charms of the most assholey of the other clients. I see them giggling and whispering together. Why do the nice ones always go for the biggest jerks? Only very occasionally has a nice one ever landed in my life. Or even a not nice one.

Anyway, I've gone right off her if her taste's that bad. I withdraw my offer. She'll never make the trouser press.

Tuesday, September 1

giving up and giving up giving up

In recent weeks, the energy levels were so low that even the green bliss tea was having no effect. Actually it was having an effect - the bastard tinnitus levels were at screaming pitch, and the crabbit levels were abnormally high, even given that I had plenty to be crabbit about.

Caffeine is known to aggravate tinnitus and probably crabbitus too, so I decided to give up the green tea, to give my system a rest from the all that invigoration.

Pretty soon the levels dropped nicely, but there's no such thing as a free lunch or free tea, and so the tiredness levels rose to balance things up. Work was torture - I kept needing to lie down on the floor and rest or sleep. At home, I couldn't be bothered doing stuff. And in the community, I said goodbye to my volunteer relief work in the prostate health area and the Ching Release Programme.

Life was in a downward spiral, and I couldn't see a way of getting out of it, not while I'm having to work full-time at the institute (thank the Piddledorf Pension Fund for that).

As a well-brought up bavarian bourgeois, I am fortunate to have strong willpower and deferred gratification skills, so giving things up comes naturally to me. But as I patrol the blogosphere I notice that, for some people, giving up things is closely followed by giving up giving up.

So to try to fit in, I finally decided to try that.

This morning I gave up giving up tea. I had a double dose of the green stuff, and every cell of my body thanked me for that, starting with the lining of the large intestine. After abluting, I went for a 90-minute power walk through the bush track with dog and pod. What a fortunate person I was!

The sun is out, and there's trees to be lopped. Against safety regulations, I am going up a ladder with a chainsaw, and I may be some time. Here come the adrenalin levels!