Web Reads… 27Feb2011

  1. The Queen advertises for a dish washer to come on staff… My local MSP wonders if they’ve not heard of a dish washing machine.
  2. The WHO drills down into the alcohol stats.. Apparently alcohol killed more people than AIDS or TB in 2010.. Sobering..
  3. Understanding the story.. Thirteen perspectives….
  4. Brain chemicals and dating.. A primer.
  5. Teju Cole’s ‘Open City’ hits the shelves… The New YorkerThe Daily Beast and The Apostrophe weigh in with reviews.
  6. The kid named Facebook..Ostensibly its a testament to the impact FB had on the Egypt Revolution.. Hopefully, the kid doesn’t get a lot of stick for the name though..
  7. There’s an app for that… Tracking relationship changes on Facebook gets the Web2.0 makeover….. SMH..
  8. Web mourning?
  9. Help for the blokes – wristbands that warn of potentially PMSing partners.
  10. Bringing faiths together by cuisine.. The Faith and The Hot Dog show..

Not feeling it…

Sleep and I have never been the best of friends. As far down the labyrinths of memories that I can navigate I find that I have always been an early sleeper, prone to be awakened by the lightest of commotions. Perhaps it is me clutching at omens – seeking to find solace in unrelated events – but days when I have awakened early with full control of my senses something momentous has happened.

The morning before I face the latest interview panel, I wake up at 2am. It is one of those nights when sleep seems to depart early, and all I have left to do is count sheep, twist and turn, and hope that dawn brings respite from the feeling of general malaise. As a consequence, I am not exactly in the best of moods when the interview starts. The interviewer also does a great job of getting under my skin, and I field a few gaffes. I can sense control slipping from my hands on this occasion. The back story is that I don’t think I like the role on offer, nor the people who I would report to directly. I’m just not feeling it…

Sidewalk Preacher..



I am waiting for the bus to work when I see a four-wheel drive approach. Two men jump out and proceed to hand out invites of some sort. When I finally get mine, its for a seeker focused meeting at the Church opposite the road from the bus stop. In another place, these men would be armed with portable microphones, blaring out the Gospel.. Interestingly, what I remember is the white-clothed variant….

Simple Things…

Sometimes simple things can break you. Benign things repeated time and time again can finally reach a threshold that leaves a scar – scratch marks burned on the wall of ones consciousness like ravines gouged out of hard rock by the persistence of a swollen river. It is not an inherent danger of the act, but its repetition that finally wears one out.

I have been carrying a beeping device around. Every thirty minutes a faint beep sounds – a precursor to the inflation of a cuff around my arm – and then I must stretch my hand out for one more data point to be acquired. At first it was novelty and I tried to anticipate when the next beep might sound. But with each beep and straightening of the arm,a certain weariness descends. I want out of the control the little device has over me. Sadly, the only choice I had was in accepting..The consequence was chosen for me at the same time.

Web Reads.. 18Feb2011

  1. ‘Spiritual’ love goes social… The story of Vicars connected by a witty comment on Facebook
  2. A soup ladle turns out to be a life saver in more ways than one.. Meet the bloke saved from a tiger by his wife’s soup ladle
  3. ‘Life is short, have an affair?’… Al Mohler muses on the Ashley  Madison business model..
  4. GABA receptors may be the reason for anxiety around that ‘time of the month’ for the lasses..
  5. The ‘thief’ who sued the bloke he tried to steal from – and got 13k pounds..
  6. A not so short history of Aji-no-moto.. And the scare scaremongering around MSG.
  7. Man vs Machine.. 1-0 to the machines on Jeopardy..


I finally drag myself out of bed at the third time of asking. It is shaping up to be one of those days; one when an ultra short to-do list will manage to get the better of me. Something about the lack of urgency spawned by a short to-do list has always been my besetting ‘sin’. Today, there is one thing that must needs be done – I’m off to the GP’s to have a 24 hour blood pressure monitoring device fitted.

I have always detested hospitals, and clinics, and GP offices and every other place medicines are dispensed. My earliest memories of such spaces – not by any means happy ones –  are inextricably bound up in the smell of folic acid, injections of chloroquine and the inevitable bout of manic itches that bookended my almost constant dalliance with malaria.

Having gotten myself out of bed, dispensed with my ablutions, and thrown on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I call the cab company and prepare to head out to the GPs.

Today’s cabbie is not very chatty. I wonder if its first job for the day, or if he finds hospitals as depressing as I find them, or if his wife said some very hurtful words to him as he headed out for work, or… if he is just a mean chap.

–  KR medical

The words tumble out,  dragged out by his stern stare which jolts me out of my reverie and reminds me I haven’t stated my destination. The dispatcher at the cab company would have mentioned a destination but sometimes the cabbies insist that one states his destination – again.

The Admin Nurse looks Chinese – make that Korean or Nepalese or Taiwanese or any other Asian nationality in fact. They all blend into a category of faces I have never being able to deconstruct. Much the same way as they would be unable to  make out the subtle differences of facial morphology that make one black face distinct from the other. I pick a tag, shuffle to my seat and await the calling of my name.

The specialist nurse calls out my name. Lost in the world of my music, I fail to hear it the first time. The second time with a slightly raised voice she repeats the call. This time I hear it, and I walk towards the door marked ‘Nurse’.

– This will be quick she says. This goes on your belt clip, this goes around your arm, I’ll thread this through your sleeve, around your neck, down the front of your shirt and click the recorder in place. You’ll hear a beep every thirty minutes. That will be your clue to straighten your arm whilst the cuff contracts.

I nod my understanding as she completes the process of wiring me up.

– Too tight? Or just right she asks.
– Just right I reply.
– That’s you sorted then. I’ll see you tomorrow same time to retrieve the data. Okay`?

I nod my acquiescence. That took all of fifteen minutes. What to do with myself for the rest of the day is the big question.. It is only 9.30am… Sigh.

In praise of 3.00pm….

If clocking in at 9am is the final act that seals my very own Faustian exchange, 3.00pm heralds the first faint sniffs of a coming salvation.

Each day, a Bloke must lay the gifts of his time and skill on the altar of Mammon slaving away to earn his sustenance. Cups of coffee, endless trips to the loo, inane spreadsheets, chats with the intern and the occasional hard shift are all tools in the Bloke’s arsenal as he strives to make time pass quickly to justify the day’s pay. If the Bloke is lucky, make that uncommonly lucky, he finds his daily grind slightly more than remotely interesting. If he is like the rest of us, sometimes work is a long drawn out struggle with boredom.

After a break for coffees at 10.00am and lunch at 12.00 noon, I find that 2.00pm can often seem like the low point of the day. The conjoint action of a rush of blood to the stomach – especially if a heavy lunch was involved –  and the usually mind numbing meetings with clients typically leave me struggling to stay attentive.  Enter 3.00pm, an unlikely hero to the rescue. Maybe it is the fact that just after 3.00pm freedom from the drudgery of work suddenly seems a less elusive proposition,  or that other blokes are more likely to stand around and chat, or that we as a collective subconsciously switch into coasting down mode.  Day after day I have sensed a lift in my spirits and attention levels as the clock has chimed 3.00pm. Bar 5.00pm then, 3.00pm is my favourite time of the working day…

I wonder if the 3.00pm thing is a me-only thing?

Seasons of Discontent..

The discontent is almost palpable. There is that sense of wanting more that seems to leave those it has infected disaffected with the status quo.  Rumour has it that a number of senior company people are lining up moves elsewhere for themselves. It hasn’t helped that there is some uncertainty over what the long term company strategy is. A number of key company cash cows projects appear to be slipping and just what will happen to the personnel currently servicing them is unclear. People huddle in twos and three talking in hushed tones – tones that suddenly fade to an uncomfortable silence when someone outside the huddle approaches within hearing distance.

It is looking increasingly likely that I might just join the bandwagon and actively commence seeking a move elsewhere. Now may be the time to call on the old boys network….