Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Just call me Professor Jaymaster


Yes – I got a letter yesterday saying that I "had met the course requirements for completing the Masters of Science in Health Economics and Health Policy." Hardly the most exciting of endorsements – but who cares! I rang the University today and was told I got 65% for my dissertation against a pass mark of 45%. So not bad – not hitting merit territory – but I always knew that! I should be getting the comments from my supervisor in the next couple of days, so I can see what he thought of it.

It is great to know that all of the work was worth it and I can now bin all those dusty piles of paper. I am glad I did the MSc, but may have thought twice if I had appreciated how much work was involved and the difficulties of juggling work and study with a home life.

I celebrated yesterday with a bottle of beer, which took me about an hour to drink. The hard core party days of old are behind me now! We will be at a wedding this weekend, so I'll hijack their celebrations to celebrate my good news.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I have posted before about how the UK seems to have come a long way (under Labour) in challenging discrimination for gay men and women and delivering some really positive changes e.g. civil partnerships, repeal section 28, an equal age of consent, housing succession rights, hate crime legislation, same sex immigration etc.

This makes Ruth Kelly's voting record all the more abhorrent. Kelly is a member of the Opus Dei movement and has abstained in 12 votes on homosexual equal rights since 1997. She failed to support an equal age of consent after 1997 and missed votes on gay adoption and civil partnerships as well as the vote that overturned section 28. Ironic, as she is the new minister for equality!

Interviewed on 5 Live she refused (twice) to say whether she supported Opus Dei views that practising homosexuality is a "sin". She said "It is possible to be a Catholic and hold a portfolio in government. I am responsible for holding to the collective cabinet view on these matters but I firmly believe in equality and that everyone should be free of discrimination and I will fight to the end to make sure that's the case."

Fair enough – I think an MP can still have religious beliefs and I would rather know about their beliefs so that I can make a judgement about whether I want to vote for them or not. The point that she seems to be missing is that, in spite of Labour's record for gay (or human) rights, her comments ands stance continue to support the 'establishment' that oppressed gay people for so many hundreds of years. She should have the balls to stand up for gay rights by joining the government votes. It seems perfectly possible to be an MP without agreeing with every policy, so why can't she be a member of Opus Dei without supporting all of their views?
Get it together Kelly! More on this, here and here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Get Lost!

The second season of Lost started well with the discovery of the bunker and more of the other passengers being found, but I am not finding it as gripping as season 1. We are on episode 10 of season 2 now (the wonders of eBay and DVD burners) and I am finding the introduction of the new characters a bit annoying. I want to know more about Locke, Jack, Sun, Jin, Hurley etc, and we are seeing more glimpses into there past – showing more coincidences and linkages between the characters, but the 'must-see' feeling has evaporated a little. Someone who is up to episode 12 says this definitely comes back so I will persevere.

The Dharma Initiative is what i want to know more about. If you can crack the password here please let me know.

The old 'hot jack' we all love!

I will cram in a few more episodes this week and see if there is more to it all. I suppose that the first season was pretty character driven and this was always what kept you coming back, but the mystery of the polar bears, black smoke, the invisible monsters and 'the others' held it all together. SPOILER!! - looks like the budget was shot with the polar bear being replaced by black beauty!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The boy is back in town

I finally sent my dissertation off last week! In the end I was really pleased with it and thought it was pretty good. If you are interested in “How does economic evaluation influence the commissioning of local health services”! Let me know and I’ll send you a copy. I cannot imagine there will be a rush to read this but hopefully it will make the grade for me to pass my MSc. I should hear in the next few weeks what my supervisor thinks of it.

It has been wonderful to have the weight of the MSc lifted from my shoulders. We spent our first free weekend outside, clearing the garden, re-potting plants and buying a patio heater. It was great to spend the evening drinking wine, playing backgammon and not feeling guilty that I should be working.

The bank holiday weekend has been pretty busy too. We finally got a round to sorting out the hundreds of boxes in the loft that have been there since we moved in 3 years ago. Lots of rubbish and a huge pile for ebay. Recent ebay sales have paid for a new dining room carpet and the next batch should go a long way towards some electrical work and a new kitchen floor. On Sunday evening we went to see Morrissey at the Sage Gateshead. It was a great gig, with some tracks off his last album and a few knew ones from Ring Leader of the Tormentors. He also played Still Ill, Girlfriend in a coma, and finished with How Soon is Now. There was no encore which was a little disappointing and I think that it is the first gig I have been to were people were booing because the artist didn’t come back on. Obviously not everyone enjoyed it as much as we did – one lad said, “I could have bought a new pair of jeans for the price of the ticket!”

Yesterday we went to Wallsend to the Swan Hunter shipyard for the Pet Shop Boys composed soundtrack to Battleship Potemkin. It was a pretty crap evening all in all. The gates opened at 6pm for a 8.30pm start and the publicity promised entertainment while you waited. We did get there until about 7.45pm and then stood in the freezing cold with 10,000 people until the show finally started at 9.30pm. No explanation, apology or real introduction. By this time we were freezing cold with stiff legs and soon headed off for a cup of hot Bovril. After a further ten minutes we decided to sack the whole thing. It was a real shame for Newcastle that this wasn’t better organised. The shipyard made a great venue and the concept was unusual, it just didn’t work. Lots of people were leaving when we did and I don’t know how many were left at the end.

It is has been strange not posting or catching up on blogs for the last few weeks and I did toy with not starting up again, but realised I do enjoy blogging, even if it ids just for my own personal record. I am hoping to start a new site over the next few months, incorporating the blog, but I have got to get to groups with net fusion first.