Category Archives: Things That Amuse Me—


I've read all the comments that people have left on the last post, and I've decided to humanely trap and release the mouse that is left.  It just ran across the floor towards my main computer, where I think he makes his home.

The thought of disease didn’t bother me (after all you are aware of the types of people I see daily), trailing urine across the floor is nothing that I don’t do myself sometimes…

It was the cable chewing that did it for me – if I could trust him not to chew my cables, then he could stay, but he can’t be trusted not to find a Mrs mouse and have thousands of cable chewing offspring.  Also it wouldn’t be fair on my neighbors.

So the trap is loaded with chocolate (and yes, I did use that as an excuse to buy myself a bar of chocolate), and I fully expect to have him joining his friend later today.

To answer a few more comments, he looked bedraggled because he was sweating after being stuck in the trap all night trying to get out.  He was not a FBUA at any point during his captivity, and I can’t keep wild mice in a cage because the stress tends to kill them.

I got the picture of him because I let him run around a plastic tub (the bottom of a paper shredder to be exact) for a bit – for the express purpose of getting a picture of him using my new Macro lens for my camera.

I do still like mice despite their ability to multiply, any race that can give humans a run-around is alright in my book.

If my flat caught fire the rest of the block wouldn’t go up – something I’m very grateful for seeing as people here torch their flats in either drug related accidents, or as a way to get re-housed.

And how did I live with seven nurses?  Well – I was one of them, and I was at work most of the time, or asleep/drunk/shagging for the rest of the time.  Time passed very quickly there…

Clearing Out Some Links

Good news on the kidnapped MSF workers front – they were released on Saturday. If I didn't have things like rent and bills keeping me here I'd love to join MSF.


Time until appropriation by a marketing company for a TV ad? Probably less than three months.




Sticking your tongue out at Pascal's Wager.


While pondering 'what next' for my literary career (such as it is) Suw's thoughts on cliffhangers dropped into my RSS reader. Made me reconsider the structure of the fiction that I want to write.


Dementia with Lewy bodies – tagged as 'research'.


Welcome please 'A life in the day of a BASICS Doctor', they've just started blogging, but it looks like one to watch.


GREG RUTTER'S DEFINITIVE LIST OF THE 99 THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY EXPERIENCED ON THE INTERNET UNLESS YOU'RE A LOSER OR OLD OR SOMETHING – A fairly comprehensive list of things that make up the internet's subconscious. Trust me and avoid the NSFW 'bonus' links at the bottom. Some things cannot be unseen…


You are reading Freakangels, right? How about the forum where I tend to only lurk because everyone else there is smarter than me?


When they start talking about the credit crunch and start throwing about those huge numbers, remember that

A million seconds is 11 days

A billion seconds is 32 years.

A trillion seconds is 32,000 years.

(From William Gibson's blog)


Why, as a shift worker, I'm fcuked. It's why I get annoyed at obnoxious patients – those of us who work shifts give up our health for the ungrateful swines.


The Danish government seems to be doing something helpful for it's sick shift workers, somehow I can't see the British government paying compensation to our shift-workers. They'd rather spend their money bailing out the banks. Sadly this would not be without precedence.


Attack of the badly photoshopped mutants soon to be invading the telly.

Webby Night

My hand with a sticker on it

You are invited to a meeting of 'the cream' of the British web, the evening has no real agenda besides 'chatting and seeing what happens'.

So, what sort of set-up do you expect?

Well, the free vodka was a good idea, but putting everyone in a room with pounding music so you can't hear what is being said is possibly not a good idea. Add in the fact that the room is incredibly dark, so half deaf people like me can't lip-read and you have a badly thought out location.

So what do us incredibly intelligent 'cream' do? Clever buggers to a soul, we all decamp outside where it is well lit and there are tables.

…And then the DJ followed us out into the light and pounded us with stupidly loud Dance. For the second time while surrounded by tech people the suggested solution was to disconnect the speakers.

Instead we brave the cold, and like a group of dispossessed smokers we hang around the entrance chatting and 'networking'.

The meet up was a vague affair, done in part to promote 'The Webby's', which is apparently some web based award ceremony. The end date for nominations is the 15th of December and I suspect that they want a few more. Each nomination costs between $150-$250 to be entered. With 5,500 nominations last year, and 15 new categories, it's an idea I wish I'd had…

But the night was good for the excellent people that I met. The first person that I knew was Ian Forrester, who has just designed some rather cool T-shirts. What is nice is that he turns up to all the things that I do and is a constant friendly face. Ian introduced me to Walid Al Saqqaf who (over the pounding music) told me about Trusted Places. Now this is a great idea (and I have signed up), it is a peer review site for cafes, restaurants, bars and cultural places and has a really mature number of features. He has challenged me to find a better kebab shop than Best Mangel

I also *finally* had a chance to say hello to Tom Coates, we've often shared a place, but I've never been able to talk to him. I think I managed a few words before I was dragged away by a wild haired Rob Manuel of B3ta fame – many, many moons ago he suggested that someone scoop me up for a book deal, so you could say that he 'discovered' me. He also roundly abused me for forgetting to link to my interview I did for him. Something I can rectify here. Some of the answers are vaguely tongue in cheek. Apparently his book is selling better than mine, which makes me glad that we aren't in a zero sum game.

I also managed to chat with Tom Armitage (who has the coolest blog title ever) and Meg Pickard who does lots of interesting stuff on the web. I also managed to meet Suw who, with the release yesterday of the Gower's report has been run ragged.

I also managed to chat with Joel Veitch who does those superb web animations. He's also done one for a charity, which when released I'll link to.

So yes, a bloody fun evening despite the loud music and dark lighting.

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Community Relations

Cover of Community Handbook

(WARNING:  It has been a while since I was in education, so I don’t know the current ideas on political correctness, so if the post below is insulting, I’m sorry.  You should know by now that I treat everyone the same.  If you think I’m racist, then check out my archives.  However, it’s not against the law (yet) for me to say that I think religion is a generally silly idea).

Written by the Ambulance Service Association, the Community Handbook (Pocket edition) is an easy reference guide to many of the ethnic groups that we may come across.

Of course, in London there are around 200 different ethnic groups, so any ‘comprehensive’ handbook would weigh a ton.

So we get a two page spread of some of the commoner ethnic groups in the UK.

You can take a look at a sample of the book.

It’s very pretty, and I can imagine it possible being useful for ambulance trusts who do not have a large ‘ethnic’ population.  But I work in Newham, where the ‘ethnics’ outnumber the WASPs, and I’ve found that you tend to pick up on other peoples culture pretty quickly, as in a week or two on the job.

One amusing point of the book is that for a lot of cultures, it says that you should remove your shoes on entering the house.  Yet one of the main things we were told in ambulance school, was that you never take your boots off, as it’s just too dangerous.  I’ve only been asked to remove my boots once before, when I was entering a Mosque.  I explained that I couldn’t and the head bloke there told me not to worry, as the sick person was more important (he was as well, he was having a heart attack).

For a number of cultures, the book tells us that we should speak via the head male family member.  Again, in practice I’ve never come across this.  What I do tend to come across is a seven year old girl doing the translating for the whole family, which is why I think you have a lot of very ‘grown-up’ Asian girls.  Language is always a problem, but I’ve found that although people tell me that they can’t speak English, it is more probable that they don’t have the confidence to try.  So I always try to talk to the patient, and then the relatives will translate the odd tricky word.

Various cultures also apparently have a taboo about men dealing with women.  Again, something I have very little trouble with, as I’m not about to perform gynecological examinations on my patients.  The only time I’ve found that it might be an issue is with delivering babies, but if there isn’t a woman around then I’ve found that people are just plain happy that there is someone around who knows what to do.

Although, having seen some of the ethnic grannies, and their attitudes to their granddaughter having a baby (something along the lines of, ‘Stop being a wimp, and push it out’), I suspect they have as much an idea about delivering babies as I do.

And I can’t see any culture being happy about having their women undress alone in front of strange men.

The book also has little sections on ‘Customs around Death’.  I’d like to think that we are so successful at treating people that we don’t have to deal with it that often…

To be honest, a lot of the book is trying to teach us to suck eggs.  As long as you have some semblance of common sense, and are polite and respectful to everyone (except maybe drunks…), then you shouldn’t have any problems.  If in doubt ask is my motto, and I’ve learned quite a bit about other cultures just by asking the patient.  I’m guessing that a lot of ethnic people have come across a fair bit of unconscious culture clash, and have developed their own strategies for dealing with it.

Please note how Reynolds has made special effort to make everything positive in the above post.  Note how he hasn’t mentioned that some people have a huge chip on their shoulder about their culture, or how one culture seeks to emulate the worst qualities of another culture, or how a lot of non-drunken violence seems to be ‘ethnic’ vs ‘ethnic’ violence.  Just remember, I dislike everyone equally, I’m an equal opportunities cynic.