Sunday, March 21

olde worlde widdle

Recently I went with the cellmate to see a play in the New Caledonian Festival. The venue was at Ile Plate University, in a magnificent nineteenth century mock-Camelot hall. During the interval I visited the bog, all olde worlde marble and sandstone. You almost expect Thomas More to emerge from one of the cludgies. I had a majestic widdle among sumptuous facilities. Very relaxing. And yet, when I was a student at Old Caledonian University, the real McCoy, the medieval environment seemed malign, not at all welcoming.

I discovered that being at uni when you're not a student is like visiting a hospital when there's nothing wrong with you. A perfectly balanced experience.

Tuesday, March 16


When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

When you rearrange the letters:

if you can keep your heid

Up to ones eyes here, still viral. One of the people here is forever exploding. No help at all. I'm working overtime, and thanks to over-zealous self-treatment for the ingrown toenail, I've a limp. The old dear has packed her suitcase and swears they're coming to take her away. All in her imagination. The pension fund (in receivership) is delivering helpful bavarian lessons over the phone.

As Dazzle used to say, it'll be nice to be drunk on a plane. These meditators have the right idea really - stay out of it.

Saturday, March 13

the floor

The body is still dragging itself off the floor after a thorough doing from a gang of viral, bacterial and perhaps fungal opportunists. Just when you feel like jumping for joy, it all takes a dive and you feel like crap again.

Last week I had a full week back at work. On Monday morning, I got to the room early, so I lay down on the floor for five minutes' rest. When the clients arrived, they found me fast asleep on the floor.

The clients helped lift the mood, especially the easy-on-the-eye ones, and I was able to power through the blahs. How fortunate one is.

By Wednesday, things were going well, and I worked 14 hours non-stop, with a working lunch at the computer, and a bar of chocolate for dinner.

On Friday night, when the last client had left the room, I put off the light, lay down on the floor and slept for an hour.

If the British Airways folk don't get a move on, they'll miss their last slot for a strike. After a ballot and months of prevarication, they still have to give at least a week's notice. In my day, it wasn't like this. A strike could be wildcat or lightning. There was no talk of mass ballots and notice periods.

Wednesday, March 10

career success avoidance 2

To him who hath shall be given. And so it came to pass that I received other offers, on the strength of the jazz research job.

I used to run occasional workshops for a London software house. In a win-win arrangement, they were able to tell their clients I was a research academic, and I got the finance for holidays in Greece whenever I needed a break from the cassette tape research.

Eventually they offered me a permanent job at an unimaginable salary, with every second week off. Naturally I told them to get lost. There was no way I was going to be trapped into working hard for 26 whole weeks a year.

And that wasn't the last time I had to fend off a job offer ...

Tuesday, March 9

recent email

Extract from recent email.

Hi Rob,

Hope the cellmate's 'scopy went as well as mine. I was told not to come back for 5 years. I could see that my colon was squeaky clean on the T.V., and after shitting water for a whole day and a brisk enema, so it should have been.

My friend Peter didn't get an examination until it was too late. After chemo and surgery last week, it's not good news I'm I count myself lucky.

Heard from Harry again and I'm trying to talk him into visiting Scotland when you/I are there.

Yours, Dances etc.

Hi Dances, good to know you're master of your colon, as Hawkwind might have said. The cellmate is clear too.


PS I hope Harry shows up. With compound interest, the 20 quid I loaned him in 72 will easily cover a slap-up feed all round.

Thursday, March 4


Wednesday. I'm now sick with a chest/throat thing that I caught from another blog. And getting a swine flu jab on top has only added to the malaise. The thing I really dislike is the sleep deprivation self-torture. Every time you drop off, you cough yourself awake again.

I've promised myself that because I soldiered on at work Monday and Tuesday, I'm taking today, my longest day, off sick. Ah sickies - one of the benefits of being a wage-slave.

Mind you then I spoilt the sickie by spending several hours emailing every client, outlining a work plan for them to follow on their own.

I've just realised, the clients think of me as someone who's wise, or at least sane. I'm not sure which is the greater achievement of my life. Appearing sane, or getting inside certain pants. I must remember and tag this post for future eulogists.

Wednesday, March 3

carbon fibre pants researched

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

"OBJECTIVE: A variety of charcoal-containing devices are purported to minimize problems with odoriferous rectal gas. We objectively evaluated the ability of these devices to adsorb two malodorous, sulfide gases (hydrogen sulfide and methylmercaptan) instilled at the anus.

METHODS: Via a tube, 100 ml of nitrogen containing 40 ppm of sulfide gases and 0.5% H(2) was instilled at the anus of six healthy volunteers who wore gas impermeable Mylar pantaloons over their garments. The fraction of the sulfide gases removed could be determined from the concentration ratio of sulfide gas: H(2) in the pantaloon space.

RESULTS: Measurements with no device in place showed that subjects' garments removed 22.0 +/- 5.3% of the sulfide gases. Pads worn inside the underwear removed 55-77% of the sulfide gases. The only product that adsorbed virtually all of the sulfide gases was briefs constructed from an activated carbon fiber fabric.

For comparison, most cushions are relatively ineffective, adsorbing about 20% of the gases."
Even without a medical research degree, I feel well qualified for a career in this kind of work, if some research employer would just give me a (wind) break.