Saturday, January 31, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Went with Wosog to see the terrific movie "Revolutionary Road" before finishing the evening with a curry. The film is basically about the dreams that you have as a young adult and whether you should, as most folk do, compromise when you get older or try to stay true to your dreams. This is the second Kate Winslet film we've seen recently (the other one being "The Reader") and her performances were brilliant in both. Leonardo DiCaprio's acting was superb too, although I find it a bit disconcerting that he never seems to get any older!

It's been a long time since we've seen so many films in such a short time, but we've not been disappointed with any of them.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fussy Eaters

One of Wosog's favourite TV programmes is "I'm a Celebrity! Get Me Out of Here!". For those not familiar with it, the idea of the programme is that a small number of so-called celebrities are placed in jungle conditions in Australia for around 2 weeks. The objective is to see how they respond to the privations of jungle life, including the consumption of various bizarre foods. These include things like kangaroo testicles as well as live insects and grubs. As you can imagine, many of the people prepared to endure this treatment are not individuals whose careers are heading for the stratosphere. A lot of them are folk who you have almost forgotten about, like ex-stars of soap operas etc. I wouldn't say I am a fussy eater but the texture of certain things definitely "turns my stomach". I can't imagine ever being desperate enough that I would consider consuming a live widgety grub on or off TV!

The video above was found on a site called, which, sadly, doesn't seem to have been updated since October last year. Although I've tasted frog's legs---and they do taste like chicken---the idea of eating a still-beating raw frog's heart fills me with revulsion! Without I wouldn't know about Vietnamese duck blood soup or boiled duck embryo from Cambodia.

But, then again, maybe I'd be better off not knowing!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eminemmy Hill

According to, "Statistically speaking, there's at least one person on Earth who's a fan of Eminem and Benny Hill and Doctor Who. This video is for that freak."

Surely, I can't be the only one?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Like A Virgin

I'm not a great fan of flying, but I do love to travel. If I could be beamed from place to place, as in Star Trek, it would suit me just fine.

One of the things I hate about flying is hanging around airports for hours on end. The current obsession with security seems to give the airports carte blanche to insist on you turning up ridiculously early. I suspect this has less to do with the War on Terror than it has to do with giving you the opportunity to buy more gadgets you never realised you needed in Duty Free Dixons and yet another overpriced greasy bacon roll at one of the airport eateries.

We never fly anything other than tourist class, so the second thing I hate about flying is spending interminable hours with my knees millimetres from the back of the seat in front, and my nose inches from the head rest of the selfish sod in front who has decided that he really needs to recline his chair to the max.

The third thing I hate about flying is what the airlines laughingly call "food". Banging elbows against those of the folk on either side, you wrestle to get into the little plastic bags of unidentified nutrients, or prize the lid off a rectangular tray of indeterminate sludge which you are told was carefully crafted by some overpaid celebrity chef. I've had a few pretty awful airline meals in my time but none quite as bad as the one described by this Virgin Airline passenger.

Maybe I need to complain more?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Milk of Human Kindness

Went with Wosog and Gdog to see the brilliant film "Milk" yesterday. Sean Penn's performance was breathtaking as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to achieve public office in the US. Harvey Milk has a pretty large Wikipedia entry even though I, and I suspect most Brits, had never heard of him before now. Scanning through it, it seems the film was a pretty accurate portrayal of his life, though I believe he had a reputation for being bad tempered that was not reflected in the screenplay. Acceptance of gay people has come a long way since then, in the UK and the US, but the Internet Move Database Entry on the film still recounts someone's experience of watching the film in a cinema where the audience cheered when Milk was shot and booed the film at the end. I suspect ignorance and bigotry will, sadly, always be with us.

The dramatisation of Milk's success gives the achievement of relatively minor public office almost the feeling of a presidential race. Barack Obama's success in actually gaining the presidency is several orders of magnitude more impressive. It carries at least as great a significance for the non-whites of America as Milk's accomplishment did for his gay constituents. It is important to remember that, although Obama achieved 365 electoral votes versus McCain's 173, only 53% of the electorate voted for him. Some members of that 53% are even less happy about having a black man in the White House than that cinema audience were about Milk's lifestyle.

America has a sad history of assassinations, and I fervently hope that Barack Obama survives to enjoy the fruits of his success....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's not been a good week...

I have been fortunate, up till now, to have had very good health. I've had very little time off work. This week one of my partners is on holiday, so being ill was a particularly bad idea. There have been a lot of nasty viral illnesses around this Winter and I was congratulating myself on avoiding them all when, at the weekend, I had a slightly runny nose and a mild sore throat. On Monday morning I felt pretty normal. "Clever old me" I thought, "to shrug that little sucker off so easily!"

By mid-afternoon on Monday I had virtually no voice. I've never had significant hoarseness before, and I didn't realise how tiring it is to try and conduct a consultation when you are having to make a supreme effort to squeeze the words out. I was mildly amused to note, as I have observed before, that the patients I saw either didn't notice I was unwell or were too polite to comment on it! I decided to take Tuesday off so that I could make a concerted effort to fight off the virus.

I struggled through yesterday at work, but last night felt my left eye was a bit uncomfortable. This morning I awake with pretty florid acute conjunctivitis---something else I've never had before!

I have always felt that doctors empathise much better with patients if they have experienced the patient's symptoms themselves, but, if anyone's listening up there, I've had enough for one week thanks!