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So, it is traditional this time of year to look back on the past year and think ‘what did I achieve’ and discern whether it was ‘a good year’ or not. My vague notions about last year is that I didn’t really make much progress on the house, and that it was a quiet but not unpleasant year, for the most part. However, as with my friend’s recollections, thousands of miles away my general opinion wasn’t exactly the whole story.

It started well enough, with the discovery of Rise, the music store in Bristol, where I make infrequent pilgrimages and fawn hopelessly over the ranks and ranks of records. The fresh stacks of vinyl make me want to spend all the money. Every time I head in there I find my bank account substantially lighter on leaving, and frequently seem to pass from not knowing of a thing’s existence, to utter total desire without pause. It’s both terrible and wonderful simultaneously.

Not only that but I took my aged BBC Master around to my friend John’s, and he applied his L337 soldering skills and replaced the dodgy capacitors before they could expire. It functioned exactly as it should, lending hope to the possibility that I can inflict it on our child, when s/he is old enough to want a computer. Heh. Actually, I think our child will get something akin to the Pi. When I got my computer the deal was “here are some basic games, if you want more you’ll have to write ‘em” which I think is a fair way to do things :)

Anyhow, so it was an auspicious start. Flicking through blog entries made me finally take stock of what I’d achieved on the house over the year, and perhaps I’d been unduly harsh on myself. Perhaps, when you look at it, I’ve actually achieved a fair amount. In the last year I:

- Finished decorating the bathroom (which was essentially decorating the bathroom and plumbing in the new shower)
- Painted the downstairs half of the hallway
- Built and installed the understairs storage
- Insulated under the house
- Designed and made the kitchen lighting
- Built the top surface of the deck, including sinking 4 posts in to the ground
- Completely decorated Kathryn’s office

Amongst that there were a number of smaller jobs like installing the telephone, adding a radiator to the central heating, adding in bits of trim, repairing other bits and bobs that broke throughout the house.

Y’know, given that I’m working full time and had various other projects ongoing last year, I don’t think that’s a bad list.

As I say I had a number of other projects ongoing, my beloved Minor’s disintegrated differential was finally replaced after months sat at the front of the house being sad. I’m still working on the Electric Minor Project, and have a potential sponsor to contact, which has led me to fawn hopelessly over Adobe In-Design. My background with Ovation Pro (which, assuming it still works in modern versions of Windows I highly recommend to anyone needing a cheaper DTP package for Windows) came in handy because it had many of the features of In-Design and works in fundamentally the same way. Playing with layout and design is quite delightful, and one of the few things in IT that I think I could get quite into if my career in nursing ever went south.

Anyhow, so the Minor is [touch wood] back on the road.

However, it wasn’t all sunshine and bunnies. Last year witnessed the death of our plan to move to Canada. Nova Scotia telling me in the politest way possible that I would need to spend thousands of Canadian Dollars if we wanted to land up there. The difference between UK and Canadian nursing registration was simply too great. However, the good news is that we plan to move to the States, which will put us closer to Kathryn’s family and some of the awesome people (Kathryn’s friends that I’ve met too) over in the USA. We’re maybe looking at San Francisco, although it’ll be a while.

We also found out that we can’t have the free solar panels installed. A fact which makes me very sad, because in all honesty, if the UK was like Germany our roof would be well within the benefit side of the cost-benefit analysis; solar panels in the UK being way more expensive than in Germany. This is because UK has decided that we’d like to pollute the planet and our local environment as rapidly and depressingly as possible, by fracking every last bit of this once green and pleasant land. Indeed, politically this has been one of the most heartrendingly awful periods I can recall. The Conservatives and their political lackeys, the Lib Dems, for whom, shamefully, I voted, have destroyed the few bits of Britain of which I was proud. The’ve pushed our xenophobic streak and also made this country hateful for it’s treatment of the poor, those with disabilities, the sick. They’ve divisively separated every minority group and demonised everyone who’s not rich.

I recently saw a quote from Aneurin Bevan, the awesome angry Welshman who rounded up the Doctors and Nurses and said ‘Fix the people’.

“Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community.”

Which I think is a perfect way of describing illness. Mr Bevan rocked. Incidentally, he also said of the tories, this, which seems pretty accurate at the moment:

So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. (1945)

Anyhow, enough depressing, because all in all it was actually a pretty good year.

So, other projects are the ongoing attempt to re-rip music and video. That’s sort of fallen into stasis, but I really should get that going again. There are still massively large stacks of stuff that need to be re-ripped. All the DVDs/Blu-Rays, and still stacks and stacks of music. Actually, that’s pretty depressing to think about. It was a good starter project but maybe I need one of those lego diskchangers. Unfortunately so many of our disks fail to pull down art, or fail to get listings… which completely screws up the rapid disk ripping.

Oh, actually, whilst we’re on depressing, I sold my motorbike. I, for the first time in many years, am without motorcycle for the long term. The thing is though, I’ve no excuse to ride them. And not enough money to just ‘have’ a motorbike kicking around. Nor the space. So… Yeah. But I do miss it. It’s like not having a bit of me. One day I’ll have a Zero or somesuch.

We also, on a more cheery note, sold Chester. We ran all over France, toured the place, and having pushed him really hard travelling down to the base of the Alps and back we sold him and switched to our much loved iMiEV. You gotta love an electric car, they’re just flipping awesome. Not only that, but it’s also managed to get me a little bit of fame writing as a guest writer on the Transport Evolved website. I need to have a ponder about more things to write about because I’ve enjoyed writing them. I also got featured, briefly, on the Kyocera blog. Not my writing, but a brief bit about our aged Kyocera FS-1030D which continues to provide sterling service and provides endless glee when it prints wirelessly.

And on the writing front, I also did NaNoWriMo. Didn’t finish it, but I’m still working on the book, which is interesting. I’ve never written a novel before, it may be awful, but it’ll be my bit of awful. I need to find some people to look at it, so if anyone wants to read a not very good first-half of a detective novel (be my Beta testers!) then let me know :)

I also, for the first year ever (I think) managed to push out a full year of Dead Bug Jumping. Something I’m quite proud of, because it’s actually a fair amount of work to produce new episodes.

Oh, and there were a few other minor achievements. I finished and passed my MSc. And I got a permanent Senior Staff Nurse position… so, job wise, that’s pretty good.

I think all in all I achieved a fair bit in 2013. Some things didn’t go at all the way I’d hoped. Some things went very well, and y’know, screw my sense of ‘I didn’t work hard enough’. I clearly bloody did. Stupid brain.

So here’s to 2014. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

Originally published at Substantially lemon based. You can comment here or there.

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So, the single night shift is a rarity for me. Indeed, that I should never have single nights was my only request to the shift-roster-person at work. However, she apologised to me a couple of weeks back for these two weeks in which I’m on-and-off nights more frequently than a…. uh, can’t think of anything witty to say there… but imagine I did.

So, I had a single night which ended yesterday morning. My usual approach after nights is to stay up for the day afterwards, which meant I went to bed having been up for just over 36 hours. Weirdly, after about 28 hours I just felt normal-tired-I’d-like-to-sleep-now, as opposed to the screaming *LET ME SLEEP, PLEASE* which I usually feel. I also, being a good person, went and left the list of patients for audit with the medical records people in the morning before I came home to hide. Indeed, since they’d said that I could have notes same-day originally, I suggested I’d stay, they said it doesn’t really work that way except for urgent notes…

Hence me heading back today to start the audit. They’d located around 12 of them, the rest were in the ‘deceased store’, which meant that they should’ve been up later in the day. It didn’t quite work like that. First up, there seems to be no defined place in the notes for ED notes to live. In many of them I actually had to just trawl through the notes one page at a time, finding ED notes filed under ‘letters & discharge summaries’, in the ‘nursing’ section and in with the main clinical notes. Several of the notes lack copies of the ED notes. Loads of them don’t have copies of the ambulance sheets. I’m not sure why, but I now need to go to the ED notes store and pull them – at least for the ones missing the ED notes. I would have done this today, but the key was with a person who was actually in the ED notes store… with the door locked… and who didn’t answer the door when we knocked. To round off my day, the person who was meant to go and collect notes from the ‘Deceased Store’ didn’t, so I couldn’t do those either. That means I’ve got back with a total of 8 complete audited patients.

On the plus side, I got my feedback from uni, and it’s actually positive. Also, my motorbike is still fun to ride, although I’m still apparently not over my rain-phobia. Both my offs have happened in the rain, and riding the as-yet-unnamed GT550 on the wet roads filled me with an anxiety which I had to consciously pull into myself, and away from my hands. Otherwise I went very tense on the handlebars, which is not a good plan. One should ride smoothly, like nutella, not stiffly like someone dancing 80′s robot style. Conscious effort produced some nice riding, even in the rain, although my journey home was tedious. I managed to hit the rush hour coming home, which was unnecessary and slow.

Still, apart from continuing to be a bit lumpy at idle and tending to stall out (which we know is because of the crud in the carb), she’s performing nicely and is generally a pleasure to ride.

Also, I came home to find that my ‘moskva’ wrist watch had arrived. This 1950s item adds to my plan of being able to look like I’ve dropped out of an alternate version of the ’50s… Unfortunately, while it said ‘fully working’ on the ad, it didn’t say ‘accurate’. It would appear that it needs a service, given that in an hour it’s lost approximately 18 minutes.

I still love the look of it though, and I’m hoping it’ll be easily repaired.

Moskva Wristwatch

Also in ‘things I shouldn’t have bought but did anyway’, I’m also the owner of a slightly basic valve amplifier. It’s mono, and has a combined FM/AM tuner. However, apparently they’re nice amps, so I’ll knock up a little stereo-to-mono adaptor for it – and I’ll finally have music in the office not through my headphones. Which would be awesome.
I’d actually given up hope having not won any of the auctions, and was about to suck it up and try and win a crappy amp of somesort which would ‘do’. I’d actually not realised that this was a mono amp (the M, apparently, in the model number denotes the discount mono version). But got a second-chance auction. Having contemplated it for most of the 24 hours that offer was valid I decided ‘sod it’, and having spent the day staring at notes decided I deserve a present.

It’s my last present tho’.

No more toys.

Wandering back to my dissertation, apparently it is much improved, needs some more tweaks, but generally it’s looking positive.

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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So, I’m back to work on monday, and should be further along with my dissertation. I lose all my points today, because having spent the morning cleaning the garage I was hot and tired, and not in the mood. I sat here and poked at it, but the niggling headache which has surrounded my dissertation the last few days came back, and I…being weak, and feeble, abandoned my dissertation and the heat and lay downstairs watching telly. I suck. Tomorrow shall be a better day. No telly. None. Not until 2000 words are on the damn page, at least. Promise. Nor any internet dinkage. Nor even e-mail. Tweet me not, the browser shall be closed tonight and unless I need a thesaurus, not reopened.

However, whilst I dinked around I did find the solution to a minor problem. See, I had the best idea ever for a present for Kathryn. It is awesome. Well, I think it’s awesome. I’m so pleased with it I’ve been ridiculously over excited just thinking about it. Unfortunately it’s now getting on for 8 months late.

See, I had this idea, and I wanted to make this thing, but it’s not the simplest thing in the world. Especially because I don’t have endless scads of money, nor time, nor the ability to hunt out exactly the components that would make it work perfectly.

Eventually, a while ago, I settled on a solution that I wasn’t 100% keen on. I got the bits, but it never fired me up the same way that the original concept had, because, well… it wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t even as near to perfect as I reckoned I could get. I’ve hunted second hand shops, charity shops, e-bay (but didn’t want to leave a search running, as well, it might pop up while I was sat dinking on the laptop next to her). I tried the car-boot* sale at Bristol Fruit Market today – I’d allowed half an hour. It took maybe 15 minutes to walk the whole-sad-and-distressingly-pathetic thing. I think it’s because when I grew up these things would occupy entire abandoned airstrips and be filled with the most awesome stuff. Or perhaps that’s just the awesomeness of kid-vision. But I was kinda disappointed.

Anyhow, I spent some time poking at the internet and found the answer. It’s not 100% the answer I’d like, but it’s pretty close. Part of it is 100% exactly what I was looking for and part of it hits, maybe 80%. So now I just wait for those bits to arrive, and I can make the belated present.

After I finish this damn dissertation. Or maybe whilst it’s in for its second reading. Hrm.

* USians – think garage-sale in a field, with lots of people’s garages. It’s kind of a trunk-sale. Only with tables. :)

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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So, today is a day with occasional frustrations, and attempts to maintain optimism. I’m waiting for feedback from Cardiff U on my dissertation. The question of how to develop it into something that’ll pass hovers in my brain, especially since I realised that thanks to moving deadlines I’m now running one month short at the end, since we’ll be on holiday.

In the mean time I set up the database on my laptop to allow me to capture data for the audit, and then spent about an hour trying to work out how to get Excel to talk to mySQL. The answer? Not easily. There are a few hacks, but basically Excel 2011 won’t work properly with the mySQL ODBC stuff on Mac OS, which is ‘a pig’. In the end I found an application that will extract the data in the form of a nicely formatted spreadsheet, which should allow me to then dink with the data. Thus, data collection should be easy, and data analysis easy. All I need is data location and abstraction. I’ll be writing my audit proposal and submitting it to work today, at least, that’s the plan.

Having had a shuffle of my days off, meaning that I couldn’t collect the bike wheel when I’d arranged to, yesterday I rang them and asked if it was ready. They’d said it would probably be ready today, but I was meant to be at work today. When I rang, he said it was ‘already finished’. So I trundled through Bristol’s hideous traffic in the car, arrived to a very confused looking person who informed me that no, it wasn’t ready.

The person behind the counter admitted it was his fault and that he’d got mixed up… no offer of anything to recompense me for the hour wasted in the middle of a nice (and very warm) day though. I know they’re a co-op and I know they’re lovely, but at this moment, on top of the fiasco of not mentioning that spokes would more than double the cost of doing the wheels? I am feeling rather less fond of them at the moment.

However, I had one of those nice realisations – the Sturmey Archer hub is not merely easy to get spares for, but also, apparently you can just switch internals from a later AW hub into an early AW hub. So, a quick e-bay gandering later, and I’ve got a 5 quid bid on a working AW hub from 1987. That would give me a bike with working gears, for double plus awesome, and at some point later I can strip down the BSA hub and fix it :)

On the slightly frustrating side, I finally got around to checking the Minor and the battery was flat. Not a weeny teeny bit flat, but properly flat. Or at least, I thought it was. Having put it on charge, I’m surprised to find my charger thinks otherwise, which is perhaps even more concerning. Still, I’ll leave it on charge for a bit, check the voltage and then maybe pop it back into the minor. She’s in need of moving though, her paint’s starting to go matt on the bonnet, which is going to be a bollocks to fix because it’s two-pack. I think. I also finally got over myself and rang the engineering firm. I feel like I should be more certain about what I want, but frankly, I want to talk to someone who’s an engineer and say ‘will this work, am I insane (in a bad way)’.

Sadly, the bloke who I need to talk to is not there at the moment. And I’m at work tomorrow, so I’ll have to leave it ’til Monday. Having measured the engine, the motor is about 3cm longer than the distance from the backplate to the mount, which means that it may have to be a sort of U-shaped mount. Ideally I’d like to sketch it for them, and say “if that makes sense, please make a nice engineering diagram of it, and then if I’m happy please make it”. However, and slightly upsettingly, I’ve realised I don’t have any vector drawing packages installed on the Mac. The RiscPC, which has the most delightful of all vector drawing packages (well, when combined with the !DrawPlus enhancements) needs its battery checking before I dare plug it in. I may have to resort to the draw-photograph-send, which is pretty…cumbersome. But perhaps better than trying to explain what I’m after on the phone. I shall see what he says when I ring…

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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It’s the subtle creep of things I don’t have time to do that annoys me. While I don’t have time to renovate the house or start converting the car, they’re big projects that will take time. I can intellectually get my head around that. But the fact that the bottom bracket on Molly is a bit ‘clunky’ and clearly needs replacing, and that because it isn’t a ‘pop out the bearing and pop the new one in’ job (because I don’t know what bearing without taking it apart, so it’s a take it apart – work out what I need, put it back together so I can use it for work, order the part, take it apart, replace it – job). And because me and bikes are not yet entirely comfortable with one another, she’s going to have to go to the shop for it.


I hate having other people do stuff for me that I can do myself.


Also, it’s more expensive. And weak as I am, stuck in writing dissertation as I am, I’m finding my strength not to spend money on frivolities much reduced.


This education m’larky is just quietly expensive, in addition to the viciously painfully expensive experience that it visibly is.

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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So. Plastic, right. I’ve never been terribly fond of plastic packaging. Particularly because it’s often not sporting the appropriate recycle logo, which means that it ends up in the bin if we can’t find another use for it. And eventually you end up with hundreds of the buggers, and have to start chucking them away. But anyway, ignoring that, we’ve known for a very long time that plastic leaches chemicals into the food it surrounds. It’s a problem that’s worse when the food is hot. I’ve been vaguely aware of this for more than 10 years, but it’s slowly beginning to bother me. In that way that, well, we try to eat healthily. In years when our garden produces more than a bumper crop of slugs, we try to eat organically produced, home-grown food. This year is not turning out so well, what with it having rained pretty much continuously since March – we’ve had some soft fruit (those few strawbs that we saved from the slugbeasts) but not much else is growing.

Anyhow, so. And then that niggling thing about plastic leaching into foods sits there, and whenever I open a packet I now think about eating plastic. I have a packet of chewing gum at work… for when I eat something very strong on my break… apparently, chewing gum is made of plastic too. Feh. And then you think about tins, I never thought of tins as being plastic, but they are – apparently – coated in plastic internally. And tetrapac cartons – I knew they had plastic in, but I think about the quantity of fruit-juice I drink… and oh dear.

Now I know there are arguments about what’s better – the shipping cost of a lightweight plastic packet vs the shipping + recycling energy from a glass or ‘other’ container. Which obviously makes my brain hurt trying to decide which is the least-bad option. It all ends up being horribly, horribly complex, like most trying-to-work-out-what’s-eco-friendly things. It does make me feel like I’m going to turn into one of those tin-foil hat people. Otoh, as my beloved pointed out, I don’t think it’s all one vast conspiracy. So yay for that :)

In other news, my mum now has a new linux box which is, apparently, working well for her. Yay for Ubuntu. Also, Yay for Ubuntu which is now on the last of the hackintoshes. My other 8 year old PC (I can’t quite remember why I ended up with two. Something to do with a dud power-supply, I vaguely recall) is now running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. It’s surprisingly responsive, if not actually very good when you get to doing real work. Unfortunately, during the installation process, I dropped the nice trackball that Alex sent me. Not far, you understand. Less than a foot, I think, onto a rug. And it stopped working…instantly.

I took it apart, and couldn’t see anything obviously wrong…

No obvious physical damage from being dropped, more's the pity. Could've fixed that.

But thankfully, John applied his superior fixing skills to it – one of the pins on the sensor had corroded through to the point that dropping it was sufficient to break the pin. Replacing the pin with wire (using his nice temperature controlled iron) brought it back to life. Which has made me very happy :)

He also gave me an old keyboard and mouse, so that the garage security camera / music player can go live. Only slight problem is getting Motion to work. Unfortunately, the Ubuntu installed version doesn’t seem to have installed the default config file, and also the camera I’m using at the moment – one of those old Logitech golfball quickcams, that’s a bit finnicky about working in Linux. The night-vision camera which claimed to be supported by linux is, but the night vision bit of it, not so much. Having got both cameras working…trying to get Motion to use them is proving to not be as ‘off-you-go’ as I’d hoped. While I’ve alloted the 5 minutes ‘while the bath is running’ period for having a quick dink, I don’t hold out a great deal of hope for it working this morning.

John also gave me a wifi bridge, so hopefully I can get the network extended down to the garage without having to have the router in the larder. Which will be good :)

All I need to do is find by 100BaseT hub, which is kicking around….somewhere. Because there’s only the one network point in the larder. Of course, the 10baseT hub has now hidden itself, along with the amp which I was *also* going to take down to John’s yesterday. Bah.

Right, so Bath. 2000 words. Fun.

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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So. It’s been a stressful few days here for a variety of reasons. One of which is trying to write my dissertation which I’m not finding particularly easy, or happy making. At any rate, I got back a message last night saying I’d passed my module that I had to resubmit.

Woo! I thought.

Today I looked at the feedback. Now I’m deeply angry and stressed. It passed, but only just – I think – and they had the fucking gall to say “you’ve not really address the feedback”. WHAT FUCKING FEEDBACK. *Breathe*.

This is the same department that sent me *TWO* ticks to indicate where I’d got something like 15 marks. TWO TICKS and NO COMMENTS WITH THEM. I have no fucking idea what I do well. I only know what they don’t like. It’s like learning to write in english by scrawling a series of squiggles on paper and then them telling you which ones you were cyrillic. I don’t know which ones were latin script, but I know which bits I definately don’t want. What the fuck use is that. When I asked for more feedback, I got the fucking mark scheme sent to me. I CAN READ YOU USELESS FUCKHEADS. *breathe*. I don’t know *WHERE* I’m getting marks because you won’t fucking TELL ME.

I then went shopping. This was a mistake.

I have been looking for some nice bookshelf speakers. And granted, I only paid £4.50 for the nice bookshelf speakers I’m now the owner of, but I had to then make it up over a fiver…which meant that I bought a couple of CDs (London Calling (The Clash) and Frank (Amy Winehouse)). Which all would have been fine if I’d've not then spotted the heavily discounted ‘World of Poo‘ (£6.50 for a hardback book!). I went from not knowing it existed to owning it in the space of about 10 minutes (well, slightly longer, I had to meander round Sainsbury’s ‘cos I wanted stuff they don’t sell in our local Co-Op).

Whilst they are nice (looking) speakers (haven’t got an amp to check them with) which is important ‘cos they’re going on my nice desk in the nice library, I feel a little bad. Problem is, I want an anglepoise lamp for my desk. If I can’t find one I’ll give in and get another ikea one, but the quality of it’s not great.

On the plus side, as I try and chill out before I (a) try and look at the obnoxious and useless feedback from Cardiff Uni (I’ve glanced, it didn’t look helpful, however it does helpfully tell me it’s not good enough for my dissertation) and (b) go back to writing my dissertation which I’ve not got very far with… err, not sure what that plus side was. Oh ah. I had a really nice coffee with my friends Nikki and Kate, and was reminded yesterday what an awesome friend Emma is. I have good people around me, and can take on the fucking world if I need to.

I also have Röyksopp to listen to. And The Clash, and more Amy Winehouse. Ah.

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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- Fixed the front door lock (it fell off yesterday, the screws that had once held it to the door have vaporised).
- Re-fixed the alarm sensors in the garage. Until a few days ago the doors to the garage had no alarm sensors on them (‘cos I didn’t have enough range, and hadn’t bought enough sensors). A few days ago all the bits had arrived and I finally got around to adding them to the garage door with their stick on pads, and mounted the alarm repeater so that it had enough range. The alarm randomly went off this morning and on checking I found that the stick-on pads had failed – so I’ve screwed the sensors to the doors. It’s now covered by movement sensors and door sensors. I feel happier, or at least, less paranoid.
- Fixed the desk surface to the desk legs.
- Keep poking my dissertation with pointy sticks.
- Put our painting on the house insurance.
- E-mailed the engineering workshop and said I’ll get back to them soon about the Minor’s EV needs.

So, that’s not bad, I guess. :)

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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So, I’ve made, or at least started to make my drelf… or shrawer. Basically, the laptop is going to lurk, when I’m using the desk, on a combination between a shelf and a drawer, with an adaptor to connect it to the rather less exciting Acer monitor I picked up (I can’t entirely decide if the scabby quality of the output is from the very, very cheap MiniDisplayPort to VGA adaptor, or from the monitor being scabby. Looking at the output I think it’s the monitor tho’). It also connects to a dinky little powered USB hub that means I connect one connector to the laptop and get mouse/keyboard/M-Audio FastTrack and if I can find the drivers for it, the Miglia Evolution.

The drelf, which is what I’m calling it, pulls out and has a thingie to retain the cables when disconnected. I’m quite overly excited by this fun toy, and have been using it to bribe myself into working on my essay :)

The good thing about this is it makes me feel less annoyed about the death of the ViewSonic VMP74. The dinky little media player from the lounge is now deceased – at 1 year and 1 month old. To make it worse, it sat in its box for several months before we used it. But Scan computers are, it seems, unclear on the law (Sale of Goods Act 1979) and their responsibilities, so are refusing to do anything about it. Arguing alternately that it’s lasted as long as it should and that I can’t prove it’s broken. Obviously the fact it doesn’t work counts for nothing.


I hate arguing with companies, and would just like to tell them to behave like a decent company. But we’ll see what Trading Standards say, since Scan have stated they’re not going to do anything about it. It’s all terribly tedious. For the sake of £50 they’ve completely screwed a 10 year customer relationship.

Still, now I’ve got to get back to hacking about 300 words out of my essay. :-/

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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So, it’s traditional for me to post something after my nights. I was vaguely thinking about looking at my essay* but I am seriously exhausted**. I am quite pleased though, despite the two days of awfulness having failed an essay (where Kathryn spent much time putting me back together and making me feel like a human again), and the exhausting shifts I managed for the first time since I started the job to get on my bicycle at the house and get off my bicycle at the bike rack at work. I didn’t push her up the final hill, I rode up that hill all smooth like. Well, okay, smooth might be overstating it.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

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So. I’ve got 1500 words to write through this next week (in which I’m on nights). Those 1500 words? They are on a subject that I know about in loose, nursey, I know how to treat it and roughly what the guidelines say* way, but not in a deep ‘I know what the papers say and where they are strong / weak’, so…uh, yeah, I need to read them. Now. Fast. Also, I need to know about audit. I know approximately >< that much about audit processes. I mean, I know what it is and roughly how to carry one out, but I don’t know how to pick one audit method over another. And the book I need? In the post. Maybe. *WAIL*

On top of which, I start a new job in 11 days time****, to get to which I need to ride my bike (to get it out of the garage, I need to go through a gate that currently has no handle). So it would be useful if (a) My bike had a reflector on it (being as it’s legally required ‘n all) and (b) the gate had a handle on it, so as I can open the gate in the morning to get to work.

Also, I need to proof read and improve (it definitely needs some improvement) the 3000 word literature review that I’ve written (on a different topic to the 1500 word one, obviously).

And…our illustrious Volvo has, having destroyed its radiator and been fitted with a new one, decided that at 100,000 miles he’d rather like a new water pump. So the expensive nice coolant I bought to fill the brand new radiator is now slowly gracing the road surface outside our house as it drip-drip-drips its way out of the car. The new pump was only 12 quid (including delivery) – and wasn’t difficult to source – but is, I suspect, going to be an arse to fit and will, I suspect, require a chunk of time that I don’t currently feel I really have available to install.

On top of all that…my beloved minor’s rebuilt differential, which has always been a little whiney, has decided (I suspect) to shred at least one of its bearings. She’s very, very whiney now and I changed the oil a few days ago wondering if I’d cooked it or it’d leaked out or somesuch. Normally diff oil is pretty much the same colour as it went in, but more runny**. It’s normally yellow (and smells pretty foul, EP90 does). It came out opaque grey. Opaque grey is not a suitable colour for oil coming out of a diff. Nor is the noise it’s making. All that grey used to be ball bearings.

I’m waiting to find out if it’s still under warranty or if I’m going to have the fun and excitement of getting it re-rebuilt locally (we won’t think about that).

Oh, and I *was* planning to have my GT550 up and running so that I could use that to get to work in a pinch. Have I done that…? No.

As the final little set of stressors, I still have no desk, my laptop’s screen is getting flakier and flakier (once I’ve done these two essays I’m going to bite the bullet and take it down to Apple), and the house is no further along than it was a month ago. I am, as it were, ready for the world to chill out a bit.

Right at this moment I’m feeling a teeeeensy tiny bit stressed.

* Although, having just read the most recent Cochrane review I’ve just discovered, as with so many things in medicine, we’ve been doing it wrong. See, we (as in the medical profession) largely seem to have assumed that when people are sick sick (Looky here) we should throw all the antibiotics in the universe at them to make them not be sick. New research says, uh, don’t. It says yay to antibiotics but boo to the kitchen sink approach. I need to read it more thoroughly, but my glance at it says giving people multi-antibiotic therapy (which is what, I think, all the protocols I’ve ever seen say) is worse than just giving them one specific kind of broad-spectrum antibug. Basically, you roger their kidneys***. Like with oxygen, and so many other things that seem sensible, when you actually test it turns out you’re wrong, wrong, wrong. Arse. Also, the Number Needed to Harm is 4-5 patients. So of the many, many people I’ve given that to over the years….oh lord. This is the problem with doing research, it’s depressing.

** This is because the long-long-long chains that make up the thick goopy stuff that goes into a 1960s differential slowly gets chopped into teeny, tiny, shorter chains. But there’s no soot (which is what turns the oil black in an engine).

*** As in screw them, permanently. This is bad.

**** While it’s the same job, at the same pay, in the same kind of department I now get ‘Senior’ in my job title. Wahey!

Originally published at Kates Journal. You can comment here or there.

September 2017

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