I know that many folk are very fond of dogs, but I'm afraid I'm not one of them. I can see that many dogs, like this one from hherbzilla, seem very affectionate, and are good companions on a long walk, but I've always found dogs to be rather smelly creatures that shed hair all over the place and damage your furniture.
Oddly enough, although I don't like dogs very much many of them seem to take a shine to me. One of the interesting aspects of General Practice is the fact that it gives you a reason to visit all sorts of different homes, literally from hovels to castles. Although a work colleague of mine has two Rottweilers and assures me that they are harmless, loving creatures, I tend to be more aware of their reputation for aggression. A home that I was visiting was about mid-way along the hovel-castle spectrum. It turned out to contain a Rottweiler, and this dog seemed to take a particular liking to me. It was very difficult to examine the child of the household because my canine "new best friend" was determined to have a good sniff at my genital area. Fond as I am of my testicles, I'm afraid my assessment of the child was far more perfunctory than usual. I did, however, emerge with my manhood intact!
Like all hobbies, however, some dog enthusiasts take dog ownership to obsessive levels. I suspect some of those individuals are represented in flickrDogs. What do you think?
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Posted by Son of Groucho at 9:13 p.m.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I've come across this site a few times on my travels though Cyberspace, but just in case anyone has missed it here's the link. The idea of PostSecret is that people anonymously send a home-made postcard with their guilty secret to the site where they are then displayed.
If any (either?) of you have something that you want to get off your chest, the instuctions are at the bottom of this page.
Some of the postcards are really quite chilling, but most of them are visually very interesting.
Posted by Son of Groucho at 1:20 p.m.
Monday, June 27, 2005
I took Friday as "a holiday" during which I exhausted myself painting the walls of the small bedroom. Getting rid of the dark red and brown (!) of the previous owner made the room look much bigger. On Saturday we turned our attention to Flatpack Hell.
I have to be honest here, we had a little help---well, a lot of help---from a friend called Brian. With his trusty little electric screwdriver, Brian made light work of building two beds, a chest of drawers, and two bedside cabinets. While he did all this Wosog and I sweated over the construction of a dining room table, four chairs, two shelf units, and two small tables that we confidently expect will be worn down by the elbows of our student residents (joke!). These objects were slightly less challenging than those undertaken by the bold Brian.
On Sunday we did one or two minor things, including construction of a bathroom cabinet, while Brian built a large display unit for the lounge. We just had to screw the little legs on our two sofas. Well, you've guessed it, the eighth leg wouldn't screw on properly, leaving it distinctly wobbly. I felt a definite loosening of my bowels as the awful significance of this set in: we would need another trip to Ikea!
Posted by Son of Groucho at 7:28 p.m.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
I was reminded today of a funny incident that happened many years ago when we lived much further north in Bonny Scotland. Property prices were much cheaper there, and we had a huge garden complete with a large greenhouse. A significant feature of this greenhouse was the fact that it had a latch that allowed you to lock it from the outside.
It's a well known fact, mentioned in the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", that men like to withdraw to their "caves", basically to contemplate their navels, from time to time. To some men their study is their cave, to others the garden shed, and to others their cave is their greenhouse.
That weekend my in-laws were visiting and I was pottering in the greenhouse. Wosog strutted across the lawn and harangued me for being antisocial, and devoting more time to my tuberous begonias than to her, and my mother-in-law. Having said her piece, she turned around and absentmindedly fastened the latch on the door.
Ten minutes later, I finished what I was doing and went to open the door, only to find it locked shut! The greenhouse was practically brand new and I had no intention of breaking anything to effect my exit. I can't remember how long I spent fuming at the fact that I had a perfectly clear view of my surroundings but I was totally unable to go anywhere! I can still, however, remember Wosog storming across the lawn, incandescent with righteous indignation, and ready to tell me off for staying far too long in my cave. As she got nearer, she saw the steam emitting from my ears and it obviously dawned on her what she had done. With a deft flick of the wrist she opened the latch, and sprinted back towards the house hotly pursued by a barrage of expletives from me.
We don't have a greenhouse in our current garden. 'Nough said....
Posted by Son of Groucho at 8:27 p.m.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Due to our recent foray into the Property Market, we've been forced to come into contact with that rather strange breed The Legal Profession. Many people, including many doctors, have rather negative attitudes towards lawyers. This may explain why typing "jokes about lawyers" into Google produces so many hits.
Apart from the rare occasion when they want to tell you that the rich relative you forgot you had has died and left you a fortune, contact with lawyers is generally bad news. This is because: (a) they are working for someone else and they want to visit some legal nastiness upon you, or (b) they are working for you and they want to present you with a large bill. As Franklin P Jones said "Anybody who thinks that talk is cheap should get some legal advice."
One phenomenon I came across in dealing with legal documents was the page labelled "this page intentionally left blank". After a few years of aimlessly drifting through cyberspace you soon realise that if you can think of it, there's a website devoted to it. Well sure enough there is a site (via Bifurcated Rivets) devoted to fans of the page left intentionally blank. Like so many times before, I'm 99% sure they're taking the Mick. But there's always that 1%....
Posted by Son of Groucho at 9:12 p.m.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Couldn't avoid it any more, I'm afraid. Since I was not working this Saturday, I had run out of excuses not to go to The Dreaded Ikea to buy furniture for Gdog's Little Palace (the flat we've just bought in The Big City).
It's even a traumatic experience driving to our local Ikea! Although you can see the giant blue and yellow edifice looming in the distance, you have to figure out how to thread your way through an amazingly complex network of mutliple lane roads and roundabouts to make your way to the Temple of the Cult of the Flatpack. The buggers behind you always know exactly where they're going and, consumed by their feeding frenzy, they have little patience with less experienced supplicants.
You arrive at the dedicated car park in a state of near collapse, and you then have to drive around for half an hour waiting for a space to appear. You're so relieved to find a slot that you stumble out of your car and make your way humbly to the Temple, having forgotten to note where in the huge car park you've abandoned your vehicle.
We were in luck: today they were having a sale. That totally unfunny character in their advertising campaign was supposed to have changed "sale" to "salad" (ha! bloody ha!). I reflected on the fact that the sale might mean that I was only relieved of an arm: my leg was safe for the moment!
At the end of three hours of torment, we had accumulated 7 (seven!) trolleys of stuff! The till roll was 63 cm long!! My eyes flitted nervously to the till's display screen, registered a figure akin to the debt of a small African nation, then everything went black. I came round hoping that it had all been a dream, but alas no: I really was awash with flatpacks.
Another 30 minutes searching for our car, and we drove home in silence. We struggled with the dawning realisation that the nightmare wasn't yet over: we still had to construct the bloody things!
Posted by Son of Groucho at 7:57 p.m.
Monday, June 13, 2005
I may be preaching to the converted here, but I'd highly recommend Del.icio.us to those of you who haven't tried it. Until very recently, I had avoided trying it because the page design looked really geeky, and all that talk of strange things called bookmarklets made me think that the whole affair was beyond my technical capabilities.
In fact, the site is really easy to use. If you use Firefox (I haven't tried it with Internet Explorer), the bookmarklets work like a dream: you simply drag them to your link bar. Once you've created a free account, you can start saving your bookmarks onto the Del.icio.us server and then access them from any computer, be it at home or at work. I find that incredibly useful.
You can look at the popular links, or subscribe to those of a fellow user that shares similar interests to you. If you're interested in a particular subject, photography say, you can look at or subscribe to, links with the appropriate tag.
De.lirio.us is similar, but the interface is not quite as good, and the content (at present) seems narrower in terms of subject matter: very much IT-related stuff. However, it too is free and I think it's well worth registering with both sites. There are several other bookmark-sharing websites, but I've not really looked at them in any detail.
One thing I can't work out is how a site like Del.icio.us pays for itself. Anybody out there know?
Posted by Son of Groucho at 9:17 p.m.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Came across this interesting site on De.lirio.us. It allows you to enter a URL and the site then "translates" the page into one of 8 "comic dialects". For example, click on "dialectize!" after clicking this link to get the cockney version of this very blog.
No idea how it works, but I'm so impressed that I'm thinking of switching bleedin' permanently to Cockney....
Posted by Son of Groucho at 7:39 p.m.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Haircut for Boring Meetings
Originally uploaded by The Rocketeer.
Like most people, I enjoy my job a lot of the time, and hate it at other times. At least I feel, most of the time, that what I do is worthwhile. One thing I really dislike, though, is going to meetings.
Some people seem to get a real kick out of spending hours shuffling paper and listening to the sound of their own voice. So often little is achieved and the only thing that comes out of the exercise is a date for the next boring meeting. Unfortunately, I do have to attend some meetings, and I'm thinking of adopting the hairstyle above (via The Rocketeer) to make these events more bearable.
To be honest, I'm getting so thin on top that I'm half way there anyway!
Posted by Son of Groucho at 6:48 a.m.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
I've always considered myself Scottish first, British second and European third, but at least I do think of myself as a European. I can see definite advantages in there being free trade in a Single European Market, and fairly unrestricted movement of labour within it. The Euro seems a good idea when I have money left over from my holiday at Easter and I can spend it in the summer in a different part of Europe. It's when you realise that if the UK joined the Euro that the European Central Bank would decide UK interest rates that the whole thing starts to unravel.
I really don't think that an United States of Europe, made up of more than two dozen countries that not only have major cultural differences but have in many cases have been at war with each other, has a chance of working. The fact that the existing member countries can't even agree on what to do when two of them vote against the proposed constitution I think speaks volumes! The egotistical politicians who see themselves as future Presidents of Europe should be getting the message that this is not what the people of Europe want. Maybe they should start consulting them on what they do want?
Posted by Son of Groucho at 8:34 p.m.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Only in the USA, or San Francisco to be precise, would they have an annual "masturbate-a-thon" to "provide an outlet for safe sex for those who enjoy pleasuring themselves in a semi-public setting".
I know there is an enormous market for "personal development" books and media in the United States, but is this the ultimate self-help group?
Thursday, June 02, 2005
I've been a member of the British Medical Association (BMA) ever since I was a medical student. I'd probably be staggered if I worked out the membership fees I've paid over the years. Membership gives me the dubious privilege of receiving the British Medical Journal every week. It's a respected journal, but not exactly full of ripping yarns! I suppose the BMA has represented my interests over my career, although sometimes I'm a bit sceptical about how well it's done so.
As organisations go, the BMA is quite well known: to members of the general public as well as to doctors. I wonder how many of us, however, have heard of the BTA---the British Toilet Association? Well it exists, and it even has a website. Like all respected organisations it has objectives, and even publications. As far as I can see, however, The British Toilet Journal does not (yet) exist.
My curiosity is so stimulated that I'm tempted to gatecrash the BTA's annual summer meeting in picturesque Stratford upon Avon. I think I'll give the World Toilet Summit a miss, though: it's in Belfast incidentally, not Flushing Meadows as you might have expected!
UPDATE: I wonder what the BTA would make of Uncle Booger's Bumper Dumper?
Posted by Son of Groucho at 2:17 p.m.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
My regular reader might wonder why I've gone quiet in the last few days. Unfortunately, quite unexpectedly on Saturday, my broadband router-modem thingy died! Its usual cheery three green lights were replaced by a single angry-looking red light, and the Sog household was suddenly disconnected from the Internet.
An anxious phone call followed to "Intelligent Home Networking" who, intelligently, told me that something called my "firmware" (what is that?) was basically buggered, and a replacement device was needed. Of course, with the public holiday, the soonest I could call the supplier was Tuesday morning. To their credit, we now have a new thingy that seems to be working perfectly.
You really only appreciate things when you don't have them, and all the Sogs missed the Net in different ways. Wosog missed playing her games on the Yahoo! site, and both junior Sogs missed checking their e-mails, and exchanging inane remarks with their friends on MSN Messenger. I, of course, missed the ability to keep up to date with the latest medical advances, and hankered after the numerous postgraduate medical courses available online. I really feel I have become significantly more ignorant as a result of this brutal disconnection. Never mind, as soon as I've finished this post, checked my e-mail, read a few blogs, checked out flickr, and generally aimlessly drifted through cyberspace for an hour or so I'll get back to the serious stuff....if it's not bedtime by then, of course!
Posted by Son of Groucho at 9:20 p.m.