Friday, November 28, 2003

Sad day

Not the best day in the life of Jaymaster. Yesterday, driving to work, I had an accident resulting in a lorry taking off most of the driver’s side of the car. No one was hurt, although in I was pretty shaken up and ended up going home to sort out the insurance etc.

Looks like it is going to be a complete write-off. I now have to wait for an offer from the insurance company and look at buying a new car. In the meantime I have had to hire a car (at my own expense). I have got a crappy little Corsa that gets me from A to B, but not very quickly, stylishly or quietly!

We are off to test drive a car tomorrow that is quite a lot more than I wanted to spend, but high spec, low mileage and less than a year old. It is a VW Bora, which isn’t a car I was even familiar with before. Basically it is a Golf with an extended boot, but it looks very smart, is comfortable and would be a good main car for us.

The main thing, as everyone keeps telling me, is that no one was hurt. This is true, but doesn’t help me with the annoyance at myself for having had an accident, and the frustration at having recently spent close to £1000 on new break lines for the car that is now wasted money.

So, hopefully I will soon be driving one of these….

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Gay couples to get joint rights

The Queen's speech has outlined some of the planned legisaltion by the Labour Governmeent for the next sessio in Parliament. Gay couples to get joint rights is one key new proposal.

Under this proposal a civil partnership ceremony will be required to register the partnership. Under the plans set out in the consultation paper, gay couples in the UK will have:

  1. Visiting rights in hospitals
  2. An ability to gain parental responsibility for each other's children
  3. Recognition for immigration purposes
  4. Joint state pension benefits
  5. Obligation to support each other financially
  6. Ability to claim compensation for fatal accidents or criminal injuries
  7. Recognition under inheritance and intestacy rules
  8. The right to register their partner's death and continue tenancy of a property
  9. Exemption from inheritance tax on a partner's home
  10. Exemption from testifying against each other in court

This will still have to be debated, especially as heterosexual couples cannot use this as an alternative to marriage and this will great a debate (especially in right wing tabloids) that gay men and women wre being offered rights that are denied to heterosexual couples.

Good to see Blair's lot finally bringing the UK into line with most of Europe.

TV movies

We watched “Where the Heart is” last night. Must be about 1990 and stars Dabney Coleman, Uma Thurman and Joanna Cassidy. Pretty light-hearted affair where everyone lives happily ever after. It also stars Crispin Glover as a gay fashion designer. His happy ending is to reveal, in the last five minutes that he had pretended to be gay to get ahead in the fashion world and is really a closeted heterosexual – meaning he can get together with Uma’s sister. It was very bizarre and felt like it had been tacked onto the ending.

The film also reminded me of a 1984 made-for-TV movie “Invitation to Hell” starring Joanna Cassidy and Robert Urich. I remember being obsessed with this movie when I was about 15 and would keep re-playing the video. The story centres on a lovely suburban couple with Urich working for a pseudo-Microsoft company. His wife becomes embroiled in evil at the local spa. Urich has to save his family from a descent into hell wearing a magic space-suit. Yes it is as bizarre as it sounds! I suppose it is a little like Stepford Wives crossed with an old Hammer B movie. Incidentally, Urich went onto to star in "Love Boat: The Next Wave" , which I would pay good money to see!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Bo Avid

Not had a lot of time for updating the blog or checking what is going on with others. Looks like Maloney has been busy, Dan has been to NY, Toby has been inane, Rob is fishing for presents and Zbornak has had a permanent position confirmed.

We had my parents staying at the weekend. Really good to see them and the time flew. They were partly here to go and see Fleetwood Mac, which I refused tickets for. They seemed to have a great time and other people have said it was an excellent gig. Also managed to get a new shower fitted, dimmer switches and other odds and sods. Having my father around is great for getting little jobs done. We also had a discussion about the electrics, so expect me to be fixing additional sockets soon. The principles of adding sockets is easy – the hard thing is making sure I cut the right wires!

Also had major hassles with the whole New Year Malarkey which seem to be finally sorted! We didn’t really want a dozen people in the house for a week as we need to kick back a bit over the holidays. Now a friend has decided to have her wedding on the 2nd January as well it has got even more complicated. So we had a pow-wow last night and have allocated guests between us. Will be a couple of days of chaos, but seems more manageable now.

I can also confirm my choice for the Christams Number 1, which has to be ‘Proper Crimbo’, by Avid Merrion. Bo Selecta!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Bobby update

I was on my way to ameeting yesterday in Sedgefield, where Billy and Bobby will be going tomorrow. we all had to pull over while a 6 police motor cycles zoomed past escorting a fake presidential party. Someone at the meeting who lives in Sedgefield says that no-one is allowed to park on the street over the next couple of days - if you don't have a garage and leave the car out it will be towed. I think Billy and Bobby are not endearing themselves to the local population!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Web Fire Escape

Just added the Web Fire Escape button to the blog. Use this if surfing at work for instant access to work friendly site. You can specify where this link goes at Web Escape. I encourage other bloggers to add this to the blog, especially those I visit at lot!

Billy and Bobby get to play together

All the media coverage in the UK seems to be about Bobby Bush and his 700 strong entourage. Bobby arrived yesterday and was live on C4 news getting into his helicopter at Heathrow. We also know he was met by the queen for an 'administrative welcome'; will join her for breakfast today and then have an official introduction to Billy Blair later today.

Tomorrow he is off to Sedgefield (about 15 miles away from here), where he will have lunch at ‘The Dun Cow'. Me and boyfriend are there for Christmas dinner this year with his folks, and I hope the place won’t be swamped in photos of Billy and Bobby chomping away. Pretzels are definitely off the menu and as Bobby Snr doesn’t like broccoli there will probably be an absence of greens.

In between all of this there will be a wide range of protests against Bobby’s policies. While I can appreciate the anti-war protests I am more concerned about the green agenda that the USA seems to avoid facing. The threat of global warming is well understood and the UK and Europe have signed up to pretty stringent commitments to reduce green house gases. (Which the UK is well ahead of!). America has point blank refused to sign up for these, and it is this aspect of US policy that would most likely get me out protesting.

It will be interesting to see if the Bare Your Bum protests take off. A less exhibitionist approach is to display the following poster

Looks like Bobby is the more dominant one in the relationship!

Hopefully, Bobby and Billy will play nicely and the world will get back to normal in a few days.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


I have had 2 big deadlines today. One was to ensure a consultant at my hospital saw a group of patients before the end of the month to ensure we hit our waiting time targets. I have had to do a lot of running around on this one as there have been so many people involved and a whole range of mixed messages. He had been following a certain course of action and someone else had scuppered it so I had to save the day! Actually did a pretty damn good job at making sure the consultant was happy and that all the patients are seen at the right time by the right people. One side of NHS management that is a drag. We really do end up distorting some clinical priories in order to meet government targets. Not because we want to, but because the targets are real must-do, lose-you-job targets.

Second deadline was to finalise my MSc assignment. It is just printing out now and will be sent tomorrow morning by the lovely boyfriend! Thank god (deliberate small 'g') he works next to the post office. I am trapped at a hospital away from town and the amenities of civilisation all day long.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Being grown up

It has been a busy time chez Jaymaster. This weekend has been the time of now escape for facing my MSc assignments. I made a good start actually, not sure of the quality of my analysis, but the whole point of this first assignment is that it is non-assessed to provide pointers on structure, style and content. I have a few more bits to add in and then it is ready to go.

Boyfriend has been good this weekend, doing the grocery shopping, most of the cleaning and pretty much all the cooking. Come to think of it he does most of that anyway! I haven’t had as much time at home recently with late nights at work, weeks away and now assignments to plan. I will have to try and address the balance before he gets housemaid’s knee!

We did catch up with a couple of friends on Saturday evening that we haven’t seen for ages, which was excellent. It seems like we have to book ahead about 2 months to see people. Everyone has got so many work and family commitments that socialising seems to fall to the bottom of the pile. We are pretty tied up now with family visits, weddings and the like until Christmas. And a friend has just announced her wedding on the 2nd January – so the whole New Year period is pretty much wiped out now. It is tempting to actually work all over Christmas and take a fortnight off in January when things are a little quieter.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Catalogue models wearing underwear

Visit Popdizzy for an assessment of the 'lengths' manufacturers go to to convince us that their underwear will make us look well hung. Anyone who has the time to zoom in on these airbrushed pictures to highlight the 'glans ridge' has got to be worthy of admiration! I won’t comment on my personal appearance in similar pants (although the exhibitionist in me is dying to say!).

Good news (for me!)

Regular readers will know that I have had a strange year at work. A new structure, new boss, lot of vacancies in the department and an ever-increasing workload. This week has been a case in point, where I return from a weeks study leave to find a lot of work allocated to other people hasn't been done and I need to work 12 hour days to get everything done. It often feels like the commitment isn't recognised and my eyes drift to the 'help wanted’ section of the paper.

Today, however, I have had some faith restored. My boss took me aside to say she appreciated the work I have been doing and the commitment to the department (Ok - nice but.....) AND I am being promoted and receiving a pay rise! Hooray! Now I can fuel my addictions to cheap porn, vodka and novelty pencil sharpeners. Or in reality - mortgage, loans, food etc.

It is good to get the recognition for the work done, and the extra cash will help. Must admit to having returned to the office more fired up. The only downside is that I will now have to maintain the professional persona that I have so convincingly crafted!

Eastenders Petition

I heard on Liquid News that something like 42 thousand Americans have signed a petition asking BBC World to bring back eastenders, which it has stopped showing. This is beyond belief to me. I appreciate that a large number of Brits watch this awful programme - full of misery, shouting, fights etc, but I am amazed that Americans want to watch it. If it is perceived as a real indication of East End life then the sooner it is off the air the better. If the petition signers simply want a half hour of misery then they would be better off stapling root vegtables to their foreheads. i think this would be much less painful than listening to "'ere - what you looking at?", "I thought he loved me!" and "Kepp on smiling love" all set around a dingy pub, squalid market and unbelievably miserable families.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'

Tom Coates has a rant about 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'. Interesting thoughts and comments there. Unlikely to see it here as we don't get Living TV and to be honest not that arsed!

Belle de Jour

Saw a link to Belle de Jour blog on Terrus' blog today. Belle is a London call-girl who gives an insight into a life that is pretty alien to me. Interesting to see the practicalities "Try cramming lube, condoms, a change of lingerie, spare stockings, a makeup kit, phone, diary and the occasional whip into a Fendi baguette. It's a black art not even Paul Daniels could reconcile." Have a look if you want an insight into fisting, dominatrix etc and (more importantly) the life of an extraordinary person in an ordinary world.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Face transplants

Got masses to do at work - but having a little break and noticed this story about face transplants. It seems like some kind of bizarre sci-fi tale. Aside from the obvious medical complications there seems to be a much bigger concern about the psychological impact. You may well have had a facial disfigurement that could benefit from this procedure and in I assume it won't necessarily be the whole face, but it would be very strange to look at a different visage in the mirror. I think you would have to be very strong - emotionally, mentally and physically, to deal with it. Having said that i don't have any inherent moral or ethical objections.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Blog updates

See that Dan has upgraded from Blogger to his own web address. Must admit I have registered a couple of domain names - but there is too much other stuff going on at the moment to get all that up and running. We finally get broadband at the end of the month, so maybe I'll have a bit more time then. The old dial-up connection makes it too time consuming to play around too much.

Also added a link to Geekslut, came across the link on Maloney’s site and recommend this blog if you wanna follow some guys sexual adventures. As Maloney says ".... i'm thankful for your blogs because i'm living vicariously through you. in a huge way, a score for you is a score for me."

Also, like the ramblings of BMW who has an interesting take on life.

Proof of bloggers forgetting that they are in a small culture came for me last week. as part of the MSc I suggested that we could set up a blog as a discussion point for some of the trickier points of health economics, (bear with me on this one!). The group has members from Ethiopia, UK, Hong Kong, USA, Zambia, Portugal etc, and I thought it would be a good way for us to keep in touch, as we are all on different modules, and to use as a forum for helping each other with assignments. Not the kind of blog that lights up search engines around the world - but one that would be useful. Yu would have thought I had suggested that Mickey Mouse become president of America. There were looks of complete confusion form most of the group. Only one person had heard of a blog - (Baghdad Blogger) and the others thought the concept a bit strange. May have a go anyway at setting one up so people can see how it could be used - so don't forget not everyone is a blogger!


Finally back into the thick of it here. Seems like an eternity since I went to Birmingham. I enjoyed the week away overall. I learnt a lot about health economics and was able to see the relationship between the theory and my work. It is a little frustrating that although the economic tools we discussed would make a great impact in the decision making processes in the health service I doubt that there will be much opportunity to use them. This is because it would require a cultural shift in the way decisions are made i.e. rationally rather than who can shout the loudest, and because we are so under-resourced that the time needed to properly implement them would be hard to find.

Heigh ho! I now have a couple of assignments to prepare including one for the 21st November. I will need to spend a lot of my free time working on this and although the first deadline is just for an outline assignment I want to get it right.

Being away form home was weird. I have been away on work-related business before, but never without knowing someone there. I felt like I was back in the first day of school. I wanted to make a good impression, but didn’t want to appear cocky at the same time. Managed to ensure I contributed to the discussion without dominating and hopefully did all the positive elements of group work – like encouraging others and recognising the value of their contribution. I think the evenings were the hardest – everyone goes off to their own homes (most of the people on the course are living locally) and I go back to my hotel room, with nothing to do other than go over the notes for the day and prop the hotel bar up. Don’t really like to go out on my own, but you can only sit in a room for so long. I tended to sit in the bar with my book and try not to look like a scary loner!

It was good to get back on Friday evening – although a wave of total exhaustion hit me as soon as I got off the train. My partner thought I was a bit grumpy, and I suppose I was. No excuse really, other than having had a very long week. Not away until December now, so time to try and absorb and consolidate my learning.

Saturday was a busy day with us ripping down a wall. Actually, a lovely 70s style glass and wood partition between the dining room and hall. Looks really dated and we have moaned about it since we moved in. So, we decided to take it out before preparing a new stud-wall. Went pretty well although it is weird having a room with only 3 walls! Also removed the old fireplace and hearth. The backyard is full rubbish now – waiting for removal. Hope to get the new wall in before Christmas, but need to make sure it is all well planned. The danger of doing work like this is that now we can see we want more power points, a new door, decorating, carpets etc. The job just gets bigger!

Still, it is good to have made a proper start. I am not too bothered about the work taking a while to complete. I would rather take 6 months and have the satisfaction of doing the work ourselves, than spend a load of money on builders who are work when it suits them and spend half the day drinking tea.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Sophie Ellis flash

Just back from a week in Birmingham and knackered. Will upsdate blog soon but in the meantime here is a snap of Sophie Ellis Bextor flashing her minge! Not something you would expect from the demure Sophie!