July 2008

Saw on the BBC website that the Orwell Prize are releasing all of George Orwell’s diaries over the next few years in blog form.  Click the pic for the link.


This is an interesting take on current feelings towards relationships: Sex Without Condoms Is The New Engagement Ring.  I can certainly relate and do kind of agree though I feel the meaning is wide open to misinterpretation/manipulation by younger kids and teens.  What is even more interesting though is the number of hugely vitriolic and borderline racist comments in response.  There’s a real mix and what’s most enlightening (once you take all the bias religious views out) is a seeming age divide.  The younger commentators show a willingness to look beyond the supposed controversy and make an effort to explain and support the case. 

There’s always a certain amount of ‘head in the sand’ attitude relating to teenage sexual health issue but what it comes down to is that many teens are having sex and just telling them not to won’t change that.  You need to accept it’s happening and then work out how to develop an atmosphere where the issues and concerns can be openly talked about by all.  From my years as a sex educator with Sexpression I think the more debate the better.


And to change the tone, I only just found the awesome free web comic: Last Blood.  When zombies take over the Earth it’s up to the remaining vampires to keep us alive so they have enough blood to live off.  They’re making this into a movie so get in now.



My mum was admitted to hospital 2 mornings ago.  She passed out while going to the toilet in the night.  Broke her nose when she fell, blood everywhere apparently.  Got a call from my brother in the morning and couldn’t tell whether he was shocked or just half asleep.

Anyway, she got discharged from the hospital later the same day and they’re going to refer her for a 24hr tape as they think it was some cardiac arrhythmia causing the syncope.  Or in my mum’s words ‘there was a bit on my ECG that wasn’t right’.  She recently stopped taking some of her anti-arrhythmics without consulting anyone and I got mad at her so she saw her GP and they were in the process of lowering the dose.  Probably not a good idea and I told her she needed to get referred back to her cardiologist.

It’s why I don’t discuss medical issues with her – she won’t listen so I don’t want to hear about it.  Otherwise I just get stressed knowing she’s not doing what I recommend.

So that day I didn’t get much sleep, being called every few hours during the day while supposed to be asleep.  Been pretty tired this set of nights.


From tomorrow I have no more work for 3 months.  Well, no conventional work.  I’ve been screwed around by medical staffing regarding locum work – I have one date but the 3 week medical locum has fallen through.  They are trying to offer me a short stint in urology which I don’t really want to do.  If they pay me locum rates though I can’t really turn it down as I need the money. 

I’m off to Bangor in Wales this weekend for the second data collection weekend for the expedition.  Going to be sorting out the medical kits with the other 2 in preparation for the field.  Should be fun.

Tomorrow night is the final mess party with volleyball and a BBQ down on the beach.  I can’t really be bothered but wouldn’t mind saying hi/bye to a few people.

Not sure why I’m posting this now – just been listening to Drums and Guns again (my favourite album of last year).  These are the videos that came from the album plus the great version of Murderer I posted right at the start of this blog.

Breaker (Animated version)
Hatchet (Optimimi version)
In Silence
Murderer (Live)

Along with most of the internet I found out about him after his Last Lecture and the resultant press.  I read he died on the 25th.  He was an interesting man and while he wasn’t special in having terminal cancer, he was special in the way he dealt with that knowledge and how he continued to live his life.  I respect that. 

Anyway, his talk on achieving your childhood dreams is below along with a few links.  I also like his time management lecture – for all the procrastinators out there.

Randy Pausch’s Home Page with links to his other videos and transcripts.

In memorandum

Nights are strange.  I’m on night 3 of 7 at the moment and I don’t seem to be able to sync in as well as I usually do.  Woke up about 16.25 this afternoon which is the second day in a row.  Makes me wonder if there’s an alarm going off that I’m not aware of. 

A few years back, living in London I had a period where I kept waking up at 3.30 in the morning for no apparent reason.  All I knew was that I would groggily come round into consciousness and find myself awake.  After about 2 weeks of interrupted sleep I mentioned it to my flatmate who provided the answer.  She was diabetic and tended to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet, usually some time after 3am.  The toilet was right next to my bedroom and when you turned the light on it started the fan.  The fan was loud but only stayed on for about 4 minutes after the light was turned off, so every night when she turned it on, the fan would start and it would wake me up.  In the time it took me to come round to consciousness the fan would turn off so I was never aware of it.  She started using the upstairs bathroom after and I slept better.

Similar to the way sounds in the morning merge into my vivid pre-waking dreams.  I love that time of the morning.  Like your surroundings are trying their hardest to wake you, countered by your mind trying its hardest to keep you under.

As a house officer in Redhill last year I loved nights.  That massively long and empty corridor to patrol, en route to the inevitable pointless calls and drug charts to re-write.  Then saving a few wards to last, knowing the nurses were nice and would provide you with a cup of coffee, some biscuits and conversation, staving off the return to A&E to clerk a few new arrivals.

I don’t use the ‘q’ word but a lot of the time on this job it is ‘calm and civilised’ which is fine as you can do other things.  I know most of the others sleep but I’ve never been able to do that.  If you sleep at night then you don’t feel tired during the day and don’t sleep meaning by the time the next night comes round you’re exhausted.  If that night then turns out to be busy you feel like shit.

After these nights my job here is done.  I get a week of post and that takes me to the end of the rotation.  Then I have 3 months off interspersed with a variety of other pursuits.  I cannot wait.

Say what you will about Stephen King (I’m an unashamed fan) but he’s more than happy to embrace new story telling styles.

It’s a good idea – over the next 5 weeks there will be 25 two minute ‘graphic video episodes’ serialising his new short story ‘N’.  With a pan and scan format, comic style art, a real audio score and voice actors you can get daily updates for free online or via your mobile (if you live in the States).  The trailer is up and the first episode is available if you register.  If not it starts next Monday.  Click the pic:

The first part is wonderfully OTT in tone and it sounds like it will be a dark and addictive tale.  It looks great though the music is on the hokey side of horror.  I tried to grab the player for my blog but it wouldn’t work.  WordPress doesn’t like widgets much.

It has been jointly produced with Marvel and is due to be released as a comic mini series later in the year.  The King short story collection Just After Sunset in which ‘N’ appears is also out later in the year.  I find his short story collections the most rewarding for variety and enjoyment.  He is prone to occasional lengthy works of tedium (try reading Desperation for an exercise in pointlessness) so at least the odd crap story only lasts a short while and is usually followed up with something awesome.

Stephen King seems to be doing pretty well with Marvel right now – The Dark Tower series has so far been stunning and could easily run for a very long time.  As well as that the new serialisation of The Stand is shaping up to be a thing of wonder.  Say hello to Captain Trips:

It’s going to be nasty!  I’ve always thought (not to discredit the TV movie) The Stand would work really well as a long TV serial (with the right people and money) but a 35 part comic is a pretty good alternative.  Bring it on.

I am now content.

Turns out the seats were not bad afterall so me, K and a cinema of excited people sat down to watch the special advanced screening of The Dark Knight last night.  And it was everything I wanted.  Everyone played their part perfectly so credit to them all (not just Heath Ledger).


Regardless, the Joker is a magificent creation in this form.  I was genuinelly scared at times when he’s on screen as you just didn’t know what was going to happen.  The sense of instability is ramped up even more by the marvellous and deeply unsettling score.  All the whining and screeching really put me on edge.  The mob and the disappearing pencil trick was about as terrifying and succinct introduction to a charcter I’ve ever seen.  He got multiple cheers and shocked utterances from the crowd the whole way through.  Plus I’m really glad I didn’t sneak a peak at Two Face all those months ago on the leaked images.  Jesus H Christ!

The only concern of mine is I cannot see where it can go next.  I almost don’t want it to.  Stil, going to see it on IMAX soon so can really sit through and enjoy it for what it is.

What with seeing Wall-E (twice) last week (just as good if not better the second time) and this I’m pretty happy.  Roll on Hellboy 2 in a few weeks.

Start nights tonight for the next week so probably more blogging.

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