30 May 2007

Linkage and Learnage

Or Elementary my dear particle. As you may know I like to consider myself, basically, at heart, a scientist. I didn't get my degree but that's another story. Although I now slave away at the coalface of government contracting I still like to keep my finger on the pulse of what is going on out there in the world of hard science.

There are some fantastic science blogs and pods out there, for astronomy I've bigged this up before but Astronomy Cast is an excellent non mathematical discussion about our current understanding of the universe. Not only that their podcast archives are developing into a resource for anyone who wanted to know more than the popular science level but didn't want to/have the time to learn with the mathematics included.

Over the last few weeks I've begun to discover the rational thinking/sceptical blogisphere out there, it's a refreshing change after reading some of the brain melting numptiness of the American fundamentalist blogs that I read for the shear WTFness of them (no links I don't want you to damage your brains). If you are not already reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre you should be, also highly recommended is Respectful Insolence.

But to the proper linkage - via Cosmic Variance - The Hunt for the Higgs Boson

28 May 2007

Bank Holiday

Boy the weather has been bad this weekend, almost constant rain and like an idiot I was wandering around in open toe sandals, in the rain and wind. As Bex has said we went up to Liverpool to celebrate Jessica's Birthday. But if the weather outside was grim inside it was warm, welcoming and just plain fun.

Sensible Drinking

Jessica and Abi showed that they were taking sensible drinking very seriously by using the smallest cocktail glasses possible.

Later we went clubbing, it's not really my sort of music but I had a really good time strutting my not so funky stuff to the tunes, but mainly it was really cool to get to hang out with the gang again as we hadn't seen most of them for a while.

Yesterday after a leisurely brunch we set off up to Lancaster to visit Siobhan and see for ourselves the servers that Trannifesto lived on. We put the state of blogging to rights and just generally caught up. Add to that finally getting to drive across the M62 and it was a great way, if very tiring, to spend a bank holiday weekend.

Another One Of Life's Ambitions Achieved.

We've just back from an extremely enjoyable weekend in the North-West, more on that tomorrow later today when I've recovered from the trip back. But I just want to mark for posterity that today yesterday I drove on my favourite motorway - the M62; over my favourite bit of the country - The Pennines. It was great!

25 May 2007

And So

I was off work today, first day of my holidays, Si wasn't so the day was mine. So I went into Lynn bimbled around and decided that I really needed to go to the opticians. I needed to go as I hadn't had my eyes checked for over two years, I need new contact lenses and the lens of my spectacles are scratched. Three very good reasons for anyone.

The chap who received me did the puff test which made my eyes water, then I had to place my chin on the edge of a box which had an array of bulbs that would glow green at his command. I had to tell the chap how many of the bulbs were glowing. He did my right eye first, it seem to take an age, he kept stopping to ask me in which quadrants I had seen the lights. The left eye we sailed through, not a question was asked.

Next I was ushered through to the care of the optician - first she asked me the usual questions seeing as I was a new patient I assumed. Were any members of my family diabetic? - Yes my mother; did any members of my family have high blood pressure? - Yep my mother; Does anyone in the family have glaucoma? - No, no one does. She cracked on, looked at my retinas very carefully, asked me if the letters looked clearer with "either 1 or 2.... a or b.... 3 or 4?"

Then, once she had finished with the eye test she started to talk, she told me about how my prescription had changed from when I had my glasses made up, she told me how she was very concerned and would be writing a letter to my doctors telling them to refer me to the Ophthalmologist at the hospital because I showed all the signs of the early stages of glaucoma in my right eye. There were three tests she could do as an optician, the puff test, the grid test and looking closely at the retina for all three I showed the typical indications of glaucoma - the pressure was too high, I had an arc where I was not perceiving the lights and my retina looked wrong. The good news - it looked like it was the very early stages, the disease is very treatable, the bad news I'm a bit too young to be a typical glaucoma patient, it usually manifests itself in people over 40.

They redid the puff and grid tests because the hospital likes consistency - they'll be pleased with me.

It's not been confirmed I might not have glaucoma but as far as I can tell it's quaking like a duck, it's walking like a duck and it sure as looks like a duck so I'm not really expecting any other diagnosis when I do see the consultant.

How do I feel? I feel very dropped on, I wasn't expecting this, I have no obvious symptoms, it doesn't hurt. But I now face a lifetime of eye drops to stave off the risk of going partially sighted or blind. However that is far better then a prognosis of blindness or permanent disability, I don't have that and if it means that from the age 40 my brother will get free eye test I'm sure that I should get a freebie or two myself.

20 May 2007

What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?

male Janewest asian Jane
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?Manga Jane

I just had to validate Becky. This is me transformed by those clever people at St Andrews University.

17 May 2007

In Ur Reality

From xkcd

Alive but knackered.

14 May 2007

The Scarlet Siobhan

No, no, not our Siobhan she's more wine stained than scarlet. Rather I refer to Siobhan Hatherway the scarlet woman and Irish temptress of Brian Aldridge in The Archers. That Brian has the breaking strain of a kit kat when it comes to the temptations of the flesh is bye the bye, it's Siobhan who has considered the baddy ever since she and Brian first started to have conversations about Hungarian affairs even before she conceived and had Brian's son, Ruairi.

First of all the scriptwriters exiled Siobhan and little baby Ruaiririri to Germany and now they have given her the fate of all Scarlet Women in Fiction - She Must Die! So improbably she turned up last month with nasty skin cancer and today we found out that her card has been finally marked.

Will Jenny accept little Ruairiririri to her bosom eventually - Natch it gives her a chance to show how the Archers are made of greater stuff than us mere mortals now stop wibbling and wobbling about it woman and let us get back to the light relief of Eddie Grundy and Bert Fry.

08 May 2007

Linkage 8 May 07

I was going to go to water aerobics tonight as part of my feeble attempts to get fit but I can't
and with that disappointment knocking me off my blogging stride here is a link.

Here Be Anthropomorphic Dragons

07 May 2007


Apart from a few months after I was born I have never lived anywhere where I could claim any family roots - until now. You see with Norfolk I have ancestry, which I didn't know until about 4 5 years ago, but one of my great grandmothers came from Holt. I know very little I'm ashamed to say, she was in service for a while as a cook, she ended up living in Kent although how she got there from Norfolk I don't know but she and my great grandfather (who was Irish and I don't know how and where they met either) did live in the west end of London for a while before World War I.

Looking for things to do today I suggested we go to Holt to have a look round, as far as I'm aware I have no family left there but I thought it would be interesting nevertheless to have a look see. Holt is a bit of a tourist trap, a posh tourist trap, it's full of boutiques, expensive sandwich shops, galleries and gourmet supermarkets, oohs sorry "food halls." Holt reminded me very much of a mix of the village my brother and his family live in, the touristy bits of Harrogate especially round the Crown Hotel and Masham which has a Spar shop with gourmet tendencies.

Apart from the tourist trap shops there doesn't seem to be that much of interest to see in Holt, we had a look at the war memorial, had lunch in a local pub, nice, not too expensive and didn't taste like it was "fresh from our freezer".

And then we left. I would be lying if I felt anything about the place, I'm not sure if you are supposed to in cases like these. I wouldn't want to live there and I wouldn't visit as a matter of course as it's not my sort of tourist destination.

So ancestral stomping grounds - meh I think without some family there to connect with they don't mean that much to me.

06 May 2007



It's the May Day Bank Holiday tomorrow although it hasn't felt at all like a bank holiday this weekend apart from the scum bag traffic on Friday which made me miss a Doctors appointment as even allowing 1 1/2 hours to get home wasn't enough if there are too many caravans and idiots on the road.

I'd forgotten what it's like to live on the tourist route; trails of caravans, coaches full of over excited old biddies and outrageously bad driving from tired and harassed drivers. Harrogate town swarmed with visitors almost 11 out of 12 months and for the week of the Great Yorkshire Show all roads into Harrogate would be virtual car parks. Where I used to live didn't, as really there was nothing to do or see there after about 5 minutes so no caravans.


Yardarm TimeYesterday was "24 Hours Of Flickr" basically an excuse for me to take my camera out and about. Unfortunately it was grey and cloudy, it's very hard for anywhere to shine in that sort of light. The sun did eventually come out but only in time to illuminate dinner and show that it was past the yardarm. That was the picture I added to the flickr group.

Dr Who

Wooo that was good! Great story, I was so involved that I didn't recognise the Welsh Assembly Building even though Simon was saying "Oooh we've been there" I didn't see it. However as consistently good as these series has been so far there hasn't been a knock out episode for me, The best episodes have lingered in the mind, none of these have yet had that quality.

There is no Dr Who next week because of Eurovision, which I do lurve, but I'd rather have next epi of Dr Who as it looks rather good and Capt Jack is back!

02 May 2007


Apparently these codes might be useful Gadget Lab - Wired Blogs HT to Septicisle for the information

01 May 2007

May Day

With a nod to Betty - 10 years ago I was on a course in Bristol, it was residential and all the attendees were accommodated in an expensivish hotel near UWE, We were a motley group of Civil Servants most of us fairly young. The majority of the group were fairly disinterested in politics but 3 of us were prepared to say that we wanted Labour to win, loudly and proudly. I had had enough prior knowledge of the course dates and together enough to organise a postal vote and had already put my X against the Labour candidate a pointless action as I lived in a constituency where you could put an idiot up as Conservative and he would still get in but it made me feel better.

Anyways that Thursday was the last evening of the course and we were in a fairly celebratory mood, the booze was flowing freely as someone had a contact who worked behind the bar and he told us that we could convert the money that work had given to the hotel to feed us into money we could drink. We labour 3 commandeered the telly in the hotel bar and turned on the Election Special, I remember Norman Lamont failing to get Harrogate and me dancing round like a mad thing much to the disgust of the gitzoid businessmen who were dotted around, not that I gave a shit, but to my eternal shame although I was up and cheering for Portillo I don't actually remember this and had to be reminded the next day.

On Friday, after the course I had to get to London to meet up with my then boyfriend, I had to wait for him at Paddington Railway Station everyone round me was smiling, friends were greeting each other by waving copies of the Evening Standard, Indie, Guardian, Mirror, then laughing with the pure pleasure of it all, I've never seen a place look happier, ever.