Sunday, August 19, 2007

Everything you need to know is here

A fantastic series of lectures by the world's greatest thinkers on everything you will ever need to know about everything is here!


If you go to this website you may not come out for a number of years.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

This is quite interesting

Some clever scientists, with not enough to do, have worked out how much the internet weighs.

They have calculated the number of electrons which fly around every time a piece of digital information goes whizzing down the line and worked out that the internet weighs.......

.....wait for it

..........................2 grammes!

On a completely unrelated topic I have read that there is now a Cornish Liberation Army who are threatening bomb attacks in Cornwall. Now we live in Northern Ireland and , quite frankly, we have had our fill of liberation armies. We are going to Cornwall on our holidays which now appears to be one of those 'frying pan into the fire' decisions which I have been prone to make. I only hope that they delay the outbreak of their struggle until after the realdocs have left.
Just popping out to book next year's summer break in Gaza.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stupid reasons for buying things #1

I purchased this clock for my new kitchen so that on New Years Eve we can watch all the flaps turn over and pretend we are stuck down a hatch like on Lost.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Relaxing weekend...I wish.

Sorry I wasn't around at the weekend but I was bringing a group of 10-16 year old girls on a trip to Dublin for an introduction to waterpolo from the Women in Sport initiative. I gained a lot of knowledge and insight from the day (including spending 7 hours with them on a minibus) as follows:
  • waterpolo is a very violent sport especially when the kids get to "tackle" their swimming coach at close quarters.
  • I now know every feature on my phone (and all of their phones)
  • I have had a crash course in how to play Animal Crossing (a game on those little machines they all have)
  • If you let a bunch of girls loose in a shopping centre they will spend all the money they have brought for lunch on shoes and hair accessories.
  • I now have an intimate knowledge of Hannah Montana, High School Musical and how "hot" Orlando Bloom is.
  • Teenage girls feel that saying "whatevah" is too much like hard work. They now say "vah" instead.

It is a relief to be back in the laid back and relaxing atmosphere of the NHS.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lies, damn lies, not even any statistics

The government in their infinite wisdom have decided to tell pregnant women that it is not safe to drink any alcohol during pregnancy. Apparently they feel this information will be easier to understand than " it is only safe to drink in moderation" which is the advice at present. This would be helpful if it was true but it is a lie. There is no evidence to show that small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy damage the fetus; ditto caffeine; ditto brie and pate; ditto stroking your cat.

Apparently in the US, that bastion of truth and freedom, pregnant women are routinely abused in starbucks for ordering a double espresso. In fact women in the US have been advised to regard themselves as pre-pregnant at all times and never drink alcohol or caffeine, smoke or take drugs, answer back to their husbands or attempt third-level education. OK I made the last two up but still, bloody health nazis!!!

Here is what your baby will look like if you have a small white wine spritzer at any time during your pregnancy............probably.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Passive aggressive puss

If you read GSE's very helpful halp site you will know that a recent visit to the vet has revealed that our cat is clinically obese. This has resulted from him hassling the family for titbits every time the fridge is opened. So we have decided to be more snacking.

This policy has now been in force for only two days, but Courtney (after Courtney Walsh, the other one's called Curtley after Curtley Ambrose) is mounting a sustained campaign of passive resistance.....

sitting in my handbag when I want to go out

Standing on the paper when I'm trying to do the crossword

rolling in the coalhole

or just plain ignoring us

But I will stand firm, he will not triumph, oh no. I will be strong despite the fact that I have just realised I have turned into one of those sad, middle-aged women who post pictures of their cat on their blog

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Return of the


I have been neglecting my blog for the last few months. Real life got very busy and then I just sort of got out of the habit and then the guilt set in. Must be a catholic thing but being tormented (well, vaguely irritated at least) by guilt because I am neglecting to update an online diary read by about three people, a peculiarly 21st century malaise, is a pain in the arse so here I am again.

I will start with something simple, so here's a cultural update on my reading, viewing and listening habits for the last few weeks:

Music: The new Tracey Thorn album is good in a chilled out sort of way and I have recently discovered the rather singular genius of Duke Special.

Books: The last 3 I read were

Engleby by Sebastian Faulks which is OK but slightly up its own arse

Theft: A Love Story by Peter Carey which is interesting especially if you want to know something about the world of modern art

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky which is very like previous Sebastian Faulks efforts which is ironic.... or not.

Viewing: I don't get to the pictures much so it's all telly I'm afraid.

Heroes is good but I can already tell it's going to let me down in a Lost, 24 sort of way. It will meander around and disappear up its own fundiment. Of all the superpowers on show so far I think the ability to melt toasters is my favourite and certainly the most useful although I can't think what for yet.

I saw the perfect moustache porn (see here for clarification) for the middle-aged woman the other night when Tombstone was on. Yum yum and Sam Elliott is going to be Lee Scoresby in the film version of His Dark Materials and that, in my opinion, can only be a good thing.
So my aim is to be a good blogger from now on and not stay away for more than a week unless I am on holiday or ill or something. Just off to see what you've all been up to....later!
*(Rather optimistically) the picture features the slaughter of the fatted calf

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I'm back and like the Terminator I don't have time for much chat. Just a quickie to say I'm still alive but I have an exam in 3 weeks and have had a busy month skiing, getting the kitchen sorted and having the flu. I plan to rejoin you all very soon. Podcast 3 is planned (in my head only at this stage).
Mr realdoc hasn't been great company recently as he has been riveted by the yawnsome spectacle that was the cricket world cup so I'm just going to have a scout around and see what you've all been up to whilst I've been away. Any hatches, matches or dispatches I need to know about??
Anyway mucho cyber love to you all.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A weekend of Hope in cynical times.

I apologise for my recent prolonged absence. A combination of electrical mishaps, severed phonelines and a shedload of work have forced me off the blogosphere recently. We're not quite back to normal yet but I shall try my best to post a bit more regularly.

I just spent a lovely weekend with my mates from university in a place called Hope. The high Peaks are beautiful even if they are hard going for a rather indolent middle-aged woman whose usual exercise consists of hefting icecubes into the G&T. My companions were three other middle-aged women escaping their domestic responsibilities:
  • a bass-playing, karate chopping classics teacher
  • a would-be author
  • a consultant physician who (she tells me) knows everything there is to know about constipation.

The weekend started, as these things often do, with an almighty piss-up on the Friday night and the rest of the weekend was spent trying to recover.*

We chatted a lot, shared book and music recommendations and photos of the kids** and generally put the world to rights. I ended up being a right old misery, which is my wont, so for that I apologise.

On the Sunday morning, despite weather which (if you were prone to understatement) could be described as inclement, I was entertained by hundreds of people wearing lycra running down an extremely steep slope outside my bedroom window. I have never encountered fell-runners close up before and came to the conclusion that these people are clearly insane.

The journey home would have daunted Shackleton but I just about made it home again, mainly thanks to having this and this to distract me from the horizontal sleet and lightning at Manchester airport.

So, it's good to be back blogchums, hope you haven't all deserted me whilst I've been gone.

*If you are ever tempted to drink this stuff make sure you have nothing important to do the next day.

**You never, never, never get used to seeing photos of the children of people you have known in your youth.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

101 Uses for a fat person's arse #1

After all my complaining about fat people, it seems they may come in useful if we are going to save the planet from global warming...... see here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Just what web 2.0 needs, more baby animals.

Everyone is posting cute pictures of baby animals. I thought I would join in as this blog is nothing if not an avalanche of plagiarism. It is spring time after all and soon we will all be kicking around in the metaphorical afterbirth of a new season. Here you are then.....

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wreck of the Hindenberg

This young man has been getting a lot of press recently. He is 8, he weighs 14 stone. Now, I'm not a nutritional expert but even I know that weighing more than your age is not a good thing.
The powers that be are worried that his excessive weight may adversely affect his health, which is akin to wondering whether driving into a brick wall will adversely affect your car.
The debate is whether what his mother has done to him is child abuse and therefore if he should be taken into care. My response would be definately yes to the first and definately no to the second.
Turning an 8 year old into an enormous, piggy-faced gut bucket is undoubtably abuse but if he gets put into care the enormous food bill may well cripple the welfare state on its own.
Maybe I am a cruel an heartless person but, this is Darwinism in action and I think it is our duty to stand back and watch for the good of the species.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

That meme that's got everywhere.

Seven things I have wanted to be (in chronological order, roughly):

1. 10
2. Anne of Green Gables
3. Hawkeye
4. An olympic swimmer
5. Someone's valentine
6. A bass player in a punk band
7. A polymath

Seven things I have been:

1. Gawky
2. A prefect
3. A barmaid
4. A (very crap) DJ
5. An assistant at a liver transplant
6. A GP
7. Disillusioned

Monday, February 19, 2007

Shouting at the radio, the first sign of madness.

I am back, having been deprived of internet access for 4 days whilst in London. Despite the fact that I am definately NOT addicted to the internet I did find myself getting a bit twitchy by the end. A lot of stuff has happened in the interim and I am particularly sorry that I missed any discussion on the carcrash that was the Brits.

So, apropos of nothing at all, I am going to rant on a bit about the Today programme on radio 4, Mr. John Humphries in particular.

As first thing in the morning, I like to be lulled into consciousness, rather than harangued by a fat misogynist with inner child issues, I waken to the Today programme. This has been my routine for at least 10 years. Recently, however, I am finding the programme increasingly irritating. I don't know if it is the insufferable 'Thought for the Day' ,(my thought..if I wanted to be lectured on my morals I would go to a philosophy lecture and not listen to a patronising load of bollocks spouted by a sanctimonious cleric with inner child issues.) or the invariable items on the demise of the sparrow. No, the thing that winds me up the most is the unbearably smug Mr. Humphries. You may recognise the tone, you know, self-satisfied and utterly devoid of humour or self-awareness.

This progamme is meant to be the flagship discussion and news programme on the BBC and all we are given is Mr. Humphries whining on and on about everything......why oh why.... ad nauseum, interspersed with the so-called tough questioning of various government representatives. In fact all he does is loudly express a personal belief and then sit back and ignore everything that is said to him in reply.

I was unlucky enough to hear him on some other programme talking about music the other day and it was obvious to me that he is one of those people who just doesn't 'get' the point of it, it's just background noise to him. Whilst I'm on the subject he is also patronising towards his fellow presenters, especially the women. Also he's about 60 and he has a little kid, yeuchhh. And he's always going on about how he wants it to rain, for the benefit of the farmers, when it's been pissing it down here for about 6 weeks.

Now I am not young, I am proudly middle-aged. What that means is that about half the population are younger than me. Mr Humphries is either speaking for the older demographic and is quite happy to be out of touch with the rest of us, or I am just a bit touchy*.

Anyway, I would like to listen to a current affairs programme in the morning that informs and entertains without being patronising. I would like to hear a presenter who isn't an old-fashioned, misogynistic, creepy, egotist. Is that too much to ask?

*Rhetorical, obviously.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I'm not dead I just blog as if I am

Despite evidence to the contrary I am not dead but the much over-rated, and hellishly inconvenient, real life keeps getting in the way of my blog. I am still reading everyone's stuff but not always commenting. Hopefully I will be back with a vengence soon.

I will be in London again this week visiting the in-laws for half-term. (I know, I know my carbon footprint is the size of a small African nation). Unlikely to see any of you though, as I will be accompanied by the kids and a grumpy consultant radiologist. The itinerary is thus certain to include:

  1. A visit to the only specialist sylvanian family outlet in the UK (in the wasteland that is Finsbury Park in case you're interested) with baby realdoc.
  2. Top Shop Oxford Street with petulent teen realdoc. (feel my pain)
  3. The Science Museum to see the first CT scanner (again).
  4. (if I get to choose) A trip to Divertimenti to slaver over the lovely kitchen accessories which would look perfect in my embryonic new kitchen but will prove too expensive for Mr. realdoc to agree to purchase.

Give us a wave if you spot us.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Oooooo look, Ryvita with pumpkin seeds and oats.

The other day I was browsing the aisles in Tescos. I'm terrible in the supermarket*; I tend to buy a selection of interesting things rather than anything that might conceivably be combined to produce a meal. I digress, I was looking at the cracker section and noticed that ryvita have produced an number of interesting new varieties.

This took me back to the days when I was young and the signal that my mum was on a diet was the presence of ryvita in the house along with this stuff.

All tasty titbits were banned when mum was on a diet, not that they were much in evidence anyway, so when I arrived home from school ravenous I was reduced to eating what was available. Now a meal of ryvita and PLJ tasted like house bricks washed down with battery acid but I still remember thinking it was exotic, somehow, to be eating it.

The, admittedly somewhat lame, point of this story is that food must have got a hell of a lot more interesting since the 70s.**

*For example it takes me an age to choose bananas, too many difficult dilemmas you see:

green vs yellow

organic vs non-organic

free trade vs ?nasty capitalistic

big vs small

**Not interesting enough for me not to buy the new ryvita though.***

***Although I will never buy that acid stuff, oh no!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I fart in your general direction...

After a shitty week this managed to make me laugh out loud. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New! Hypochondriasis induction service.

I was going to do a funny post today but then I read this in the Guardian and got spitting-mad so you'll have to put up with a rant instead.
If you are a completely healthy person and you pay an outrageous amount of money for a full body scan you are a total twat.
Why you cry? "Isn't it a good thing to know that everything is OK and there are no lurking tumours or aneurysms waiting to kill you at any moment?"

No No No No No and again NO.

To quote the article "She had experienced no symptoms whatsoever, but it could have burst at any moment: the scan's locating of it allowed a relatively easy surgical fix."

But what, as would often be the case, there is no easy surgical fix. Then you have to live your life with a death sentence, would that make you feel better or worse do you think?
The other thing is that in the average middle-aged person the liklihood of having a normal scan is small. They would find little lumps and bumps which may or may not be dangerous. You will then be forced to have annual complete body scans to check if the innocuous lumps have changed or grown, making lots of money for the scan companies which is the aim of the whole bloody exercise.
Everyone who goes in for this sort of thing is seeking reassurance but not everyone will get it so think long and hard before subjecting yourself to an unnecessary investigation.

If however you are fascinated by scans and anatomy I can recommend Mr. realdoc's favourite site in the whole world, here. Marvel at the pretty pictures. I have a feeling that this is what he sees at moments of high emotion so wonderfully described by patroclus.
PS Someone found my blog by searching google for the phrase 'lard haemorrhoid'...a world first?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Staring into the maw of the beast.

Last night I decided to confront the beast that I will be facing and watched 'skins'. (It doesn't appear to have a capital letter, presumably increasing its appeal to the texting generation of barely literate youth.) The characters are all bright and shiny and good-looking and confident. Remind you of your youth? No me neither.
The teenagers frolicked and danced, had sex, took drugs and chatted up their teachers whilst running rings around their cartoon-crap parents. Now when I was young (you don't think you'll you ever say that phrase but you will, you will) I was miserable and embarrassed, greasy, spotty and deeply anti-social. In the company of adults I was monosyllabic, with my friends earnest and with the opposite sex terrified. Most of the time, however I was alone in my bedroom reading dark and obscure works of fiction, writing appalling angst-ridden verse or cataloging my record collection. Not much drama for a TV series there.
Now, maybe I had a worse adolescence than most, but I do not recognise the version of those terrible years portrayed in 'Skins'*. I shall not be watching it again. As well as being bright and shiny all the characters were smug, shallow and very dull.
Are teenagers that different now or was I suffering from some sort of sociopathic personality disorder?
So, were your adolescent years the best of your life or the night of the living dead?

* I am an adult and will therefore use the appropriate punctuation.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

All that's topical in Ireland

Despite the fact that there have been some significant news stories in this part of the world, there is only one issue occupying the populace at the moment.

(one of my close relatives)

Where is Craggy Island really?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Thank God for split personalities.

Well ,the builders have dug through the oil pipe by mistake so I have no heating, cooking facilities or hot water. My real self is shivering, starving and getting slightly whiffy.

Meanwhile my blogging persona (see here and here) is lying on a balmy beach on a hammock reading whilst uniformed waiters bring me elaborate drinks served in a coconut.

Here is the view:

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Insufficient multitasking capacity.

I have been neglecting my blog a bit as:

  • The Northern Irish health service is being reorganised and I have to 'make an impression' if I want to keep my job. I can say 'would you like some toast' in the manner of Sean Connery but I don't think that's going to help somehow.

  • My kitchen is being rebuilt so walls down, dust everywhere, intermittant access to the cooker* etc.

  • I don't want to be labelled an addict (see last post).

  • My eldest is entering her teenage years which seems to involve a lot of door-slamming and mood swings which require me to stand in the corner and be verbally abused in a sarcastic manner and have my make-up nicked.

  • I have 28 books piled up next to my bed and I'm feeling guilty about not having read them.

  • I'm doing a post-graduate diploma thing which is extremely dull but I have only 4 months to go so I'm supposed to do some assignments and stuff.

So I will be here reading but perhaps not posting and commenting as much as before.

CB wanted to see some examples of Northern Ireland vernacular architecture. Here you are then, don't say I didn't warn you...

*cue noise of mass wincing*

This may not look so bad but in rural Northern Ireland ALL the houses look like this although they may also have large, rampant lions on the gateposts and a 6foot high model of a windmill in the garden. Such houses are often called 'La Ponderosa'.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Addicted to the internet?

I heard on the radio that doctors are going to be asked to quiz patients on their internet addictions as a clue to other addictive and potentially health-threatening behaviours..... oh dear.

Plus first in what is sure to become a longrunning theme:


"The vernacular architecture makes me wince."*

*She has a point.

Monday, January 15, 2007

realdoc's diary

......or the weekend I went to London and it all went a bit surreal for a while.

I arrived on Friday and spent a lovely evening with friends. I was quite surprised to see this in their kitchen.....

My mate works at Channel 4 news and apparently the newsroom is now right behind the coke vs kittens campaign. (Even if Jon Snow thinks Ska is an acronym.)

The next day I went here and met this person and this person. However due to a pressing engagement I missed all the rest of you. SORRY!

So I yomped up to this place for the Green Wing convention. After lunch involving hula hoops, caramacs and chocolate cocks I watched a famous actor refereeing a game of guyball involving a lot of ladies with wastepaper bins on their heads in the middle of a roundabout.

(Sorry for the crap photography, I was shivering)

I met some more bloggers and Marsha Klein (blog deceased) and cello (who has a profile but no blog.)

There was also a bloke there who claimed to be an academic investigating online communities, lots of Green Wing related writers and cameramen and other jobs I don't understand and lots of lovely people from the Green Wing forum. Being a skinflint I failed to secure bluecat's signed script in the auction which went for an alarming amount of money.*

There was a Q&A type session involving the writers being grilled on the medical details of Dr. Mac's impending doom and one of the writers kindly spoke to Mr. realdoc on the phone and listened politely whilst all his bile on behalf of the radiology profession was poured forth. ("...and in episode 9 one of the x-rays was upside down"....etc etc ad nauseum).

I had a very brief discussion with a famous person, some thing about Miss Marple and Mica Paris I think but I may have been hallucinating by then.

mangonel....marvel at how close I was to the back of his head.

It was very nice to discover that not as many of you as I had feared had bizarre personality disorders.

Now I'm going for a bit of a lie down.

*Seeing he was there and could have signed something anyway.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm going to a convention....

Well, it's going to be an exciting weekend. I am heading to London for the Green Wing convention. I have never been to a convention before and so I'm not quite sure what to expect.* Hopefully I will meet some of you there but I have been instructed that I am unable to give details of the venue etc in case we become targets for international espionage or something.

If you see a bewildered middle-aged woman wandering around clutching a yoyo and a packet of hulahoops, but NOT dressed in scrubs with stethoscope accessories, that will be me. Send me an email and I will let you know, roughly, which part of London I'll be in.

*Word on the street is that there may be quite a lot of people with wastepaper baskets stapled to their heads, this remains to be seen.

P.S. All this time I thought messing around on the internet was just time wasting. Little did I know I was developing my soul. The cybergeek will inherit the earth, apparently.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blogging in a vacuum #2

Blogger is being a total bastard* again just when some interesting posts were turning up, see here. So if you are all doing brilliant posts and I haven't commented it's because bastard blogger says I'm a computer virus or some such nonsense. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Meanwhile you should watch this. The problem with the NHS is that doctors are all bastards*, apparently.

*bastard is my swear of the day

Friday, January 05, 2007

Another one of these...

Well I did another podcast and you can get it here.

I have also been trying to work out what Mac is dying from but as nearly every fatal illness I can think of has an 'A' and an 'E' in it I haven't made much progress.* I was slightly stunned when I saw it last night but it is much funnier on second viewing, highlights:
  • new shouty radiologist (Mr realdoc loved him)
  • New improved Karen and the office girls going native
  • you shat in my vodka?
  • you cannae, you didnae etc etc
  • drunk Mac and Guy
  • 'I meant inside her womb, not up her'
  • Hiding a body with cornflakes
  • that suit!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The fact that Joanna and Statham made me cry at the end ...etc etc etc

The end of the funniest programme on telly by miles, I will miss it very much. Congratulations to everyone involved. I will buy you a drink if I ever meet any of you...

*UPDATE It must be Menke's Kinky Hair Syndrome. How could I be so blind, Green Wing has always been about the hair.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Nice one centurion!

According to a classics teacher of my acquaintance the Roman soldier on Torchwood last night was shouting, 'I'm hard me! Be afraid! Be very afraid!
Well there's a joke aimed at a narrow demographic, but admirable nonetheless.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year's unrealistic aspirations

I hate New year's resolutions, they're pointless and I never keep to them so this year I decided to have some unrealistic aspirations instead.
I am wondering about whether I should consider becoming transhuman; which, I'll concede is more ambitious than resolving to go to the gym occasionally, but probably just as unlikely.
I could become a poet or improve my cooking or, better still, combine the two.
I could learn Finnish as I fancy going to Finland but it is a confusing language and I'm not getting very far on this forum so far.
I could get a new man but after a certain age they all look the same to me.

So there you have it, my unrealistic aspirations for 2007. So in all probability I will just keep posting the same old nonsense in the hope that someone is reading it. Although, ahem,because of this I will have to do another podcast.

Finally a little piece of advice to all you women out there, if the man in your life is irritating and difficult to get rid of, why not give a gift that sums up his inner qualities.