Thursday, August 31, 2006

TV is crap and so on.

The other night I managed to win the evening tussle ,with Mr. Realdoc, over the remote control (termed bosher in our house God knows why).
Instead of a documentary about death, his choice, I selected one of those 50 best... shows, giving Mr. Realdoc the opportunity to shout 'I went to school with him' every time Alan Davies or Hari Kunzru appeared. It's not a bloody life achievement or anything but the fact that he went to school with someone who is a ?'F' list celebrity seems to make him content so who am I to argue.
Anyway these shows are titting irritating aren't they? You say to yourself 'I'll just watch it for 10 minutes'
but then they show the end of Blackadder 4 and you think it might be good
but then they show endless clips of crap like Robin's Nest or Love Thy Neighbour so you think you'll turn over
but then they show the 'I'm a doctor and I want my sausage' clip from Fawlty Towers (a particular favourite of mine) so you stick with it.
After all this you watch to the end even though it goes on until 2 in the morning or something and the No. 1 show is something completely obvious. You own most of the good shows on DVD, anyway, but haven't had them out of the box since you got them for Christmas 5 years ago.
So you go to bed writing a letter to Feedback in your head. (Why oh why are our TVs clogged with this claptrap etc etc etc I'm a doctor and I want my quality programming etc etc etc)

At the end of the day it's nothing but bloody repeats ...harrumph.

Climbs out of Daily Mail reader persona and tries to resume normal life.

The link between The Beatles and the CT scanner is that EMI made so much money out of the Beatles that they gave their engineers loads of money for research and they came up with the CT scanner.
No Beatles, no accurate cross-sectional body imaging. Who says music can't change the world eh.

Does anyone know

the connection between these loveable moptops

and this hi-tech piece of medical imaging equipment

I'll tell you next post if you don't work it out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Big, Big Sea*

I have often moaned in my posts about living a long way from civilisation but there are sometimes advantages. I happen to live 15 minutes drive from this place...

White Rocks Beach, Portrush

I have to say mostly it is pissing with rain so perhaps this photo is rather flattering however there are days when it is just as beautiful as it appears.

On days like this I dress up in a rubber suit and throw myself in the sea hanging on to a piece of plastic. There is no better cure for feeling low, fed up or angry than being tossed about like a piece of flotsam (or is it jetsam? I can never remember the difference).

I have a dear friend who once gave me a very good piece of advice. She said we should all imagine we have a spiritual box, a physical box and an intellectual box and you've got to put something in each of your boxes every day to have a happy life. For me swimming in the sea takes care of the first two boxes. So if anyone out there is feeling down and you happen to be near the coast I recommend flinging yourself into the big, big sea.**

*The Big Big Sea by Martin Waddell, one of the best children's (picture) books ever written. Worth a read even if you've got no kids.

** If you are planning to swim near here and are not teflon-coated the rubber suit is essential

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Aubergines - pah

I really hate aubergines. I recognise that this dislike is irrational as I don't really mind the taste of aubergines it's just everything else about them...
the way they look like haemorrhoids (large haemorrhoids I concede but haemorrhoids nonetheless)
the way they look so manky when they're cooked
the way they soak up oil so I envisage biting into a sponge full of lard.

I have a friend who is mildly disconcerted by pomegranates, (they don't look inside like what you'd expect apparantly) but most people don't seem to have this problem with everyday things. So if you have any irrational dislikes I would like to know so I don't feel so weird.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Singing in the Rain

I don't get out much as you may have noticed from the content of this blog but yesterday I got hold of a ticket for a Snow Patrol concert at the last minute and thought what the heck.

I've not been to a gig for a good many years and things have changed. Well the horrible loos and the 20 mile queues for the bar are no different but now they put adverts on the big screen between the bands and that can't be a good thing can it?

Anyway Ed Harcourt was on first and I thought he was great despite the fact that it pissed with rain all through his set and most of the audience were having their tea at the time. The band were really impressive especially the fiddle player with 'Shadowboxing' being a standout for me. I think old Ed won over a fair few people which is much deserved in my opinion.

My 40 year old bladder gave out at this point and I missed Editors (do they have a 'The' by the way?) in the queue for the loo. My glasses were all steamed up so I couldn't see them anyway. I realise this is conjuring up a very attractive picture of an blind, incontinent crone spoiling the young people's fun but bear with me.

Snow Patrol will never be a cool band but they are a band with a bit of heart and that goes a long way. The lead singer has the look of a man who narrowly escaped becoming an accountant and he can't believe his luck. That sort of joy you can't fake.

The band played all their best bits which is what you want at a home-coming and we all sang our hearts out. Communal singing, very good for the soul. Most people around me were smiling and my sis and I decamped to the pub after for a chat about Samuel Beckett and cultural theory (fairly one way conversation that as I had had a few and don't know much about Samuel Beckett or cultural theory). So a great evening was had by all.

ps if I posted on your blog last night sorry.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ding Dong

Separated at decide.

The lovely Stephan Mangan and the lovely Elliott Gould (as he was when I remember him about the time of MASH) or is it the other way round?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Passenger profiling...ooops

There has been a lot of chat in the media about passenger profiling for air travel. It seems now,that if they don't like the look of you, your fellow passengers can get you ejected forthwith.
Having been born and raised in Northern Ireland I have been subject to this sort of thing in the past.
"Look, there is a pale-skinned freckly type person, let's get her!"
I was once pulled from the line of Belfast passengers in Heathrow and questioned at length. It went something like this.
Some bloke who looked like an extra of the Bill,"What is the purpose of your visit?"
Me,"I'm a student here."
Fat bloke,"Where are you a student?"
Me,proudly(I was only 18)"Cambridge."
Him, not as impressed as he should have been,"Which college?"
Me, "Trinity."
Him,"What street is your college on?"
Me,"Duh, Trinity Street."(see that's where I made my mistake.)
Fat man with ironyectomy, "List all the shops in Trinity Street."
Me, "You're kidding!"
He then went on to question me for at least 40 minutes on Cambridge and its environs and the detailed content of the first year medical syllabus. I was getting rather shirty by the end of all this but quite impressed by the extent of this guy's knowledge of geography and basic biochemistry. Anyway my point is that passenger profiling is an opportunity for fat blokes with irony deficiency to aggravate people for the hell of it.

The other thing is that they may question people who know you about whether you have any past form and I have to confess a guilty secret.
When I was 8 this happened. Feeling inspired I kidnapped my little sister's much loved teddy bear, cut off his ear and left the gory evidence with a ransom note on her bed. Now, this may have demonstrated an early talent for microsurgery but could look bad if I ever have to prove to any fat jobsworths that I am not a potential terrorist with borderline psychopathic personality disorder.
Hey ho holidays in the land of the leprachaun (and perpetual rain and crap food) for me then.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

City Bonuses

Apparantly the estimated levels of bonuses in the City of London this year is set to top £19billion!!!!!!
Think about it. In 2005-06 the entire budget for the NHS was £76.4billion and the NHS is the biggest employer in the Europe.
It's enough to make tea come out of your eyes.

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's all about the stories

I have a theory that most people have 5 or 6 really good stories. (You know the kind of thing, my auntie for example shook hands with Bobby Kennedy the day he was shot which by anyone's reckoning is a pretty good story.)

When you first start having a relationship you sit up late at night telling your stories to each other and it's great. After a while however you know the other person's stories so you reproduce so you can have someone else to tell your stories to. Then when you have your little tribe you tell each other your stories again and again and it sort of reinforces the family unit.

The cornerstone of medical diagnosis is listening to other people's stories (taking a history in the medical parlance). As an old Prof. of mine once said "Listen to the patient and they'll tell you the diagnosis." One of the real privileges of being a doctor is that you get to hear stories from all sorts of different people. An old lady in her 80s once related to me her story of being an unmarried mother in the 1930s which was so moving.

Our world view is also informed by stories. After 9/11 we heard all sorts of harrowing and moving stories which made us connect and sympathise with the victims and their familes. We hear less from Tyre and Rwanda and Darfur etc etc and perhaps that's why we are able to countenance some of the things happening there.

The question is how early in your blogging career do you introduce your real bazooka stories, given that we all have a limited number? I will ponder that for a while longer.

Meanwhile I saw this on yourdictionary which was quite interesting I thought...

Today's Word: Librocubicularist (Noun)Pronunciation: [li-bro-kew-'bik-yu-lĂȘ-rist]
Definition 1: One who does something with books in the bedroom-not someone who necessarily reads in bed.
Usage 1: Today we are sending out a warning of a lexical virus spreading across the Internet. Someone with a smattering of Latin and English has concocted this word and is palming it off as a legitimate compound meaning "someone who reads in bed." English, of course, is full of words that began illegitimate and ended up respectable members of our vocabulary. This one may, too, but so far it hasn't: be wary.
Suggested Usage: If you were to use today's word, be sure to read the etymology first. It does not mean someone who reads in bed but someone who does something with a book in a bedroom. If we allow this word into our language, let us at least demand that it means the sum of the meanings of its parts. We recommend you avoid using this cheap substitute in word's clothing.
Etymology: Today's ostensible word is a fanciful combination from Latin liber "book" and cubiculum "bed chamber," so the actual meaning would be "book-bedroomist," not "someone who reads in bed" as is commonly claimed by those out of the know. This word could be used as appropriately to refer to some who publishes books from his bedroom or eats them there. English does not normally allow more than two Latin or Greek stems in a borrowed or created compound (medical terminology excepted). So there are several reasons why this word is not found in any dictionaries. (Thanks to Zack Smith of Johnson City, Tennessee for alerting us to the spread of today's pseudo-word.)

Any ideas about what you could do with books in a bedroom (as opposed to any other sort of room) gratefully received.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Arrogance and album art

I would like to thank bowleserised for pointing out the almost pathological levels of self-confidence seen in the following for-real site. Click here why dontcha. (and scroll down to dating tips)

Also following on from patroclus' blog on pretty album covers I present the following for your delectation.
My local record emporium in Ballykissarse may not have Sufjan Stevens but I just bet they stock all of these.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Book Meme

I thought I would borrow the Cultural Snow book meme thing as I always find it difficult to name my favourite book and this allows a bit more explanation.
1. One book that changed your life: Down and Out In Paris and London, by George Orwell. In the most wonderful stark text I received an insight into what poverty really means and I hope I have never forgotten.
2. One book that you’ve read more than once Lots and lots; special mentions to Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger as it reminds me what I was feeling at about 16 and His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman as it's just a stonking* story.
3. One book you’d want on a desert island The Diary of Samuel Pepys (unabridged version). I don't think I would ever get sick of the brilliant honesty of it all and it's really funny.
4. One book that made you laugh A History of the World in 101/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes. Especially the chapter about heaven because it is exactly what I would like to imagine it to be.
5. One book that made you cry How To Be Good by Nick Hornby because the author sounded so broken by life and it pushed quite a few personal buttons.
6. One book that you wish had been written I wish Bill Hicks had written his autobiography after a long and productive career.
7. One book that you wish had never been written Any sporting/celeb autobiography. Why waste publisher's money on crap.
8. One book you’re currently reading The People's Act of Love by James Meeks. It's bleak, it's about revolutionary Russia so perfect holiday reading then.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read Anna Karenina by Tolstoy tops an extremely long list.

*I never say words like this in real life, honest, but it just slipped out and I have promised myself not to self-censor.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

WiFi "quick" installation

My afternoon was completely wasted trying to install wifi on my laptop. My brother in law who is a professional computer whizz spent 4 hours fiddling with the bloody thing to no avail. If it makes him curse and shout and bang things about what chance do the rest of us have ( being in our twilight years with early onset Alzheimers).
After a blissful first day as a blogger, feeling all cool and techno-sorted, my equilibrium has been upset by this and also by the fact that I have been harrassed by some bird flu police people simply by saying I don't want to think about our imminent destruction by said virus.
Is there a nanny state in the blogosphere now? Will I get rude comments from the wifi police or the Alzheimers police if I am not sufficiently reverential about their chosen obsession.

So here is a pretty picture staged and taken by realdoc minimus to cheer us all up.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Death and destruction

Mr. Realdoc is an average bloke, I suppose, but he seems obsessed at the moment with death and disaster documentaries. You know the sort of thing.. tsunami will destroy the American West Coast, asteroid to hit any day, global warming to kill us all, killer bird flu will send us back to the stone age etc etc. (He particularly likes the one where half of one of the Canary Islands is supposed to fall into the sea.)
Now, I have no doubt that one or all these disasters will hit the human race and we will all perish in the most ghastly way, however I don't want to think about it particularly. My TV watching is confined almost entirely to comedy, drama and films. Does this make me a bad person, an uncaring person that I don't spend my leisure hours fretting about what may kill my children or grandchildren? Don't get me wrong. I recycle with the best of them, buy local produce try to be ethical in my shopping choices, all those things, but I don't fret, I don't want to know the details whereas Mr. Realdoc is obsessed with the detail. 'If you live in Kent, it will be so hot by 2050 that all your skin will drop off if you go outside', he will say over breakfast to send me cheerily on my way to work.
Is it a male thing? Is he secretly fantasising about a post- apocalyptic world in which he hunts and gathers and fights off invaders? Maybe it's his version of a mid-life crisis. I just wish he would buy a motorbike like all the other 40+ men around here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Virgin Blog

Well, I finally bit the bullet and joined the blogosphere. As this is my first ever post I thought I would try to explain why I am drawn to start blogging. I have been reading a lot of stuff on other blogs I regularly check like patroclus, heather, molly bloom etc about the media's recent hostile reaction to bloggers which has come to light of late. All of this has set me thinking. I am drawn to read blogs by an absence in 'reality' of true human to human connection. We are surrounded by spin, lies and manipulation. This creates an atmosphere of fear and alienation which prevents us from making true connections face to face. I have recently discovered that a true community exists with humour, intelligence, high and low culture all over cyberspace and I am enjoying being part of it. I feel more human when chatting on a forum or posting on a blog than I do in countless inane interactions in the real world. Perhaps the fault is mine but it seems I'm not the only one.

Please excuse my feeble attempts to create links post photos etc as I am new to this and I'm trying to pick it up as I go along.