Friday, April 29, 2005

Latest News

It has been a while since I wrote on here. So here is some news.


In the space of four days, I had three interviews, which went with varying levels of success. One interview happened just after I was fitted with new hearing aids and boy I was struggling to hear. Well I got feedback today, they didn’t feel I was confident, and that wasn’t quite a fit, well that to me is odd, especially given that in the first interview I had with them, they said the opposite, that I was charming, confident, had a great personality, exactly what they were looking for. Now either it was down to me not hearing very well, which could be the case, it could be the fact that my gold ear moulds stood out, and they couldn’t handle the fact I am profoundly deaf, who knows, just odd how it all the sudden changed. I also had an interview with an investment bank, well that didn’t go well, I had to sit a technical which is fine, but I am not a mathematician and there was a whole section on maths and formulas, typical really. So I lost out a lot there, and then they gave me a practical, but limited time, along with designing and developing something with which I didn’t have a lot of experience meant no chance to shine. Given I haven’t heard back, I can safely say, oh well. I did have another one though, and that went better. There were six people up for it, and apparently now I am the only one left that they want, and I am the favourite too, not sure how that works. I was told there were two of us, but now it seems there is one, just me. I have to have another interview next week, and if all goes well, I could be working. I hope so, it would be a nice way to finish a week.


Well it seems that I have done well enough to be asked back to undergo the training, not sure of the date yet, that will be sent later. But I was surprised to have it happen, especially as I was so struggling to hear them, but I must have done something right. As a friend of mine commented, I am a non-judgemental person and that is exactly what they seek from people, so it seems I am good for them. For me this will be good for me, to help others, and hopefully those who ring or get in touch, will feel that having communicated with me, they feel better for it, and that they will be happy that it was me they spoke to. To complete this though I had to call the Criminal Records Bureau and get a form from them and they will then do a check on me, I feel so lucky I have never gotten the wrong side of the law now, better make sure I keep it that way as well…..

Weight Gain

I am not trying to do an Eric Cartman and gain weight, but somehow I have in the space of just 4 weeks put on over half a stone of weight, in other words, about 4/5 kg, or in other money about 8/9 lbs of weight. Obviously seeing the scales tip towards 13st, was a bloody shock. I had to ask the gym, because that worries me, well they found it funny of course. What I didn’t know was this, adding muscle, apparently you only add about 1lb of muscle a month, a 1lb, so that means I have added 8 lbs of fat, yet my body fat % is actually lower than the last reading by 0.2%, so what does it mean. Well other than the fact I feel like my pants aren’t fitting quite as well, I have no idea. I can’t do the swimming at the moment, which is annoying, and I also seem to be changing my body shape as well, I am filling it out, so they reckon at the gym, I say, but round my gut only, though they reckon I look broader across the shoulders, mmm, I dispute this, maybe I should ask Z to check. Admittedly I haven’t been on my diet for the past two weeks, maybe the workouts took out more than I thought. I am just praying that before I have my operation in May, that I have a proper gym MOT and they say that it has gone down again. Being that heavy isn’t possible for me, but it is happening, and if I weigh 13 stone, it will be a horror story, I have never been that heavy in my life.

Lastly, I will be glad when I hear properly again, I finally got myself another appointment with the Audiologist and given that I lost a role because of not hearing I am going to be impressing on them to get it right. Thankfully the operation for my fractured wrist is soon, and I can hopefully get full movement back, though unlikely, I just hope they can fix the blackouts as well. Be nice to have it all tied up sooner, rather than later.

I am off to enjoy our Bank Holiday, one of the few we get, not enough of them, but I will be working hard on my OU, hopefully spending time with Z, working for the interview next week and maybe I will get some relaxation in there somewhere, lol..

Airbus A380

Back on Wednesday this mammoth of a plane had it first take off and landing, and I as a European as so proud of the achievement. We as Europeans have created a plane that will be the king of the skies for years to come. I know there has been a lot of battles about it, and will it or won’t it succeed, I think it will do so. It has been said to be quieter than expected, it weighs 560 tonnes, that is massive, but it got up into the sky and what a feat of engineering, we should be proud as Europeans for this, show off our skills and expertise.

Because I want to provide pictures and videos of the A380, here are a bunch of links for it

Airbus A380 flys
Airbus A380 flight pictures
Details of the Airbus A380

Some videos - Videos of the A380 flight

There has certainly been mixed reaction to it

Others thoughts

I personally feel that a lot of carping from the Americans over the funding is typical, given that Boeing has had a lot of funding in the past, and don’t like the idea that we are doing the same as them and when we do what we consider fair to us, they don’t like it. Roll on more of the A380, lets hope they can find a better name for it, a very European name, I did see a suggestion in a paper, calling it Mercury, from the past, maybe, any ideas of good names, maybe we should send to Airbus themselves.

Super Size Me - Movie Review

Yes, I know this movie came out a while ago. But last night it was shown on Channel 4, and I knew it would be a good movie, and it was. Watching it though, you really did feel for the guy, all the weight he put on, that fact the food made him throw up. Seeing all the side bits on it, about healthy eating, exercise, etc and how America isn't doing this stuff as it should do. It kind of was in the vein that Jamie Oliver had with the food for schools in this country.

Both showed just how bad, the junk food, and the effects of it, and the problems caused by it. Yes you shouldn't be eating it for every meal, and it should only be on a special occasion, but my the amount of weight he put on in the movie in just 30 days, was astounding. It was horrible, especially with the amount of time it took him to recover back to what he was.

If you haven't seen this movie, you must see it, it is a must see movie, and a movie that hopefully has shaken the US up a bit to realise that they need to do something, but it ultimately comes down to personal responsibility and good habits where possible

The Amityville Horror - Movie Review

I saw this on Wednesday after a long day, looking for a horror movie to give me a fright. I went along with Z to a cinema at Marble Arch, the Odeon there.

I have to say, the movie was okay, nothing special though, I had expected a lot more, I thought I would be frightened more, and I certainly don't recall being on the edge of my seat, even Z didn't feel on the edge of her seat.

If you are expecting a real horror story, then the storyline is okay, but you are highly unlikely to be scared by it, it doesn't do enough to have you on the edge of your seat.

Shame really, was hoping for more. Maybe nothing is shocking enough or has enough suspense these days.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Eels - Blinking Lights And Other Revelations

I have been listening to this new album from the Eels. I am a fan of the Eels and the past few albums have been a little hit and miss, I do find them to be quite good. This particular album has been said to be as good as Beautiful Freak, the first album. I am not so sure from my own viewpoint. It does have some good tracks, and it is a double cd album. I still personally have to say that Beautiful Freak is the best of the lot, but this album is good, a lot of different sounds and a lot of different messages, negative, positive and enjoyable.

I would say that if you like the Eels, this is worth getting, and will be an enjoyable listen

Audiologists – A lesson they need to learn

I have in my position had to deal with these people regularly, and I have to say my feeling towards them is getting worse and worse as time goes on.

I have been profoundly deaf since I was born and thus been wearing hearing aids for 99% of that time, I was wearing an aid at the first opportunity I could. This makes me quite the expert in knowing what sounds right, comfortable for me, and what doesn’t.

In my years I have had to suffer numerous Audiologists who think they know it all, and that they know better than I do when something sounds right or wrong. So when I tell them that the sound isn’t loud enough, or the sound is echoing, or the sound isn’t clear, lacks clarity, I expect them to listen because I am the one wearing the damn bloody aids. Do they, not a bloody chance, they obviously think I am stupid, that I am not willing to make an effort.

Lets change the scenario a little, imagine you go to an optician and get glasses to see, if you were to tell the optician that you couldn’t see clearly with the glasses, or that they seem to lack focus, something would be done, very quickly and with a great deal of attention to what you say. Audiologists, well I don’t know, maybe they have a different agenda, and that someone like me, who wants to be able to hear, rather than just take what is given, means they actually have to do their job. I am very picky with my hearing, and I expect to be able to hear, it has always been a comment that I drive them nuts, because I expect to have it all, well, in my mind, isn’t that what a hearing aid is meant to do, make it possible for me to hear, not make it so that I can’t hear what is going on, kind of defeats the purpose of them.

I refer to this, because last Thursday I was given new aids, and at the time I made it clear I felt I wasn’t hearing all I should, that they lacked clarity, and seemed just wrong. The response I get back was typical, you will get used to it, you are a power junkie, you always want more, well no actually, I just want to be able to hear when I am talking to people, I don’t expect it to cut-out on me, and I do expect that my life is worth sufficiently enough that you do your job so that I can communicate with the rest of the world. Well, lo and behold, in an interview on Friday, I struggled to hear the interviewer, and that was in a room with just me and them, no background crap to deal with, on Saturday I suffered again in a selection process for the Samaritans, and I also have two interviews this week, though I still don’t know the details for one on Wednesday, which is a little concerning and I have asked. But the point I am making is that as a deaf person trying to find a job, I need to be on top of my game and not missing anything and no amount of expecting them to be understanding or giving, is going to help me get the role, they will dismiss me, as has happened in the past before. It isn’t right, but that is life, so the less reasons I can give them the better, not hearing what they say, is a big reason for them to think I am either arrogant or stupid, and it isn’t a good idea to be that way in an interview. I can’t really say, oh do you mind talking louder to me, because my hearing aids are screwed up, no.

So, I am sure this won’t be seen by Audiologists, but on the off chance, here are some pointers to you.

1) Listen to the patient, they know what they are hearing, dismissing them as being picky, power junkies and whatever other terminology you want to use, doesn’t make you a good Audiologist, it makes you arrogant and dismissive
2) On your training course, you are taught to listen to the patient, and whilst you know the technology, or are supposed to, listen to the patient, they are the ones wearing the damn things, not you. You will never have to wear them, most likely so listen
3) Imagine yourself in the shoes of the patient, being told them aren’t making the effort, or are being problematic, just because you think you are right. When it comes to ears you aren’t, the person wearing the aids is the one whose life is turned upside down, not yours
4) Lastly, turning around to patients and saying you will not adjust them, is plain wrong and that they have to persevere with the awful settings you have given them, not right.

On a slightly related issue with regards to hearing aids, Audiologists, etc. Can someone please tell the RNID to stop experimenting with the deaf? The RNID have control over which digital aids each hospital has, and thus each hospital is different, and instead of catering to the needs of the deaf person, you try and squeeze them into categories for the aids which don’t fit all. I am such a case, telling me that you only have four options of digital aid, none of which I can hear with, is no option at all. The government should never have handed you the reins for this, the audiologists should be allowed to find the best aid for the person. It works in Denmark and many other European countries, so why not here?

And the last issue on entry. I have an issue with the Deaf Wannabes, yep, there are such people out there whom actually want to be Deaf, ACTUALLY WANT TO BE DEAF!!!
Wow, I am not someone with has prejudices, usually, but please go back into your little hole and leave the world alone. If you were doing this and not affecting others, I wouldn’t mind, but your actions are affecting others. By faking hearing tests, pushing for aids, you are taking resources away from those who need it. In this country there is a two year wait for digital aids, yes, two damn years, many people can be dead before they get their aids, and you are making that much worse, much worse. The time spent doing your tests, fitting you for aids, which you don’t need, just to fill your sickness. You need to see a psych, not an audiologist, you need help. To purposely make yourself deaf, you have no idea the life of a deaf person, not a smart move ever. If you want to be deaf, then do so, but don’t ask for hearing aids, tests, moulds, etc, which are meant for those who really need them, not some faker, who thinks it would be a good idea to fake. It is sick, and there is no other way to describe it.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Samaritans - Selection process

Yesterday I went to a selection meeting for the Samaritans. I have been through a lot in my own life, and thought it was about time I tried to see if I could help others who are having hard times.

It was quite an eye opener for me, and seeing how people view things, certainly some were more different than others, and I have always prided myself on being open minded, not easily shocked and very understanding of people. I still hold that view, nothing from yesterday changed that, if anything it made me think even more just how much I can take on board, and to be even more mindful of it.

I did struggle though to hear and these new bloody aids are doing me no good at all. I struggled on Friday in the interview I had, and yesterday as well. I am not a happy bunny or PnB over this.

I am hoping that it won't affect their decision as to whether to take me on or not. It would be nice to volunteer my time each week, helping them out, and hopefully helping those who call via the phone, or email, or even visit the branch.

I will be a little sad if I don't get asked to come for the training, but I know I would be in good company, as they do pass well qualified people by. It is known that they do say no to therapist, psychologists and plenty of others you would expect to be right. It is all down to removing the thought to give advice, and just listen, and let the person work it all out for themselves and just help shine the light and nothing more really.

If anyone ever needs them - Samaritans - They take emails as well, so no need to call if you feel uncomfortable calling.

Election 2005 - Voting

I have been as regular readers will know, been putting my two pence worth in regards to the election. Well it seems I have attracted the attention of others with my comments, and that is great, it is nice to have that.

I have managed to attract a site that lists bloggers for Labour, and they went for my tax entry, well I can clearly imagine they weren't impressed by the fact I shone light on their parties stealth taxes and the lies we have been fed.
If you are interested, have a read - Bloggers4Labour, not going to show favourtism, they are entitled to their view.

What I have found which I really did find interesting was the following sites.

Not Apathetic - A really great site, and people explaining why they won't vote, a must read, a site that I really wish that the parties would read and maybe they would actually understand the situation as we the people see it

Election-based satirical humour - Quite funny I like it

Who Should You Vote For - A site that assists in helping you find which party matches most closely to what believe in, it felt I was going for the Lib Dems

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

Labour -20
Conservative -52
Liberal Democrat 74
UK Independence Party -3
Green 47

You should vote: Liberal Democrat

The LibDems take a strong stand against tax cuts and a strong one in favour of public services: they would make long-term residential care for the elderly free across the UK, and scrap university tuition fees. They are in favour of a ban on smoking in public places, but would relax laws on cannabis. They propose to change vehicle taxation to be based on usage rather than ownership.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

So there you have it, it feels that I will be voting Lib Dems, still not sure yet.....

San Marino Grand Prix - Result

For those who haven't seen the race, stop because I am printing the result.

1 F Alonso (Renault)
2 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
3 J Button (BAR)
4 A Wurz (McLaren)
5 T Sato (BAR)
6 J Villeneuve (Sauber)
7 J Trulli (Toyota)
8 R Schumacher (Toyota)

I have to say, the best race of the year so far. A cracking race, which really came alive about the first round of pitstops, suddenly it all came to. Hats off to MS, he drove a great race, and nearly managed it, and as Martin Brundle said on the commentary, Ominous, it really is. For MS to be about 2 secs faster is scary. The Red Baron is back.....

It was a shame to see Kimi suffer his problem, I do think it would have been an epic battle if he had been around as well, given he was infront of Alonso and pushing hard, such a shame. One can only hope that for the next race in Spain, he gets lucky.

All the hope for Button to overcome Alonso came to nothing, but still a good drive, which shows BAR are getting back there, and well done to Wurz, a good measured drive, more than showing he should be racing again, maybe if JPM is still not fit for the next race, they will give Wurz another chance, cause he showed a good race.

What the heck happened to the Williams, I have no idea, but that was awful, just awful, you expect better out of a Williams.

Roll on Spain, this is starting to get interesting.

NFL Draft 2005

This weekend has been the NFL Draft, for those not interested in American Football, this weekend hasn't been of interest, but for those who follow the game, this is an important time of the year, a chance for your team to restock the players with new young blood, which you hope will have an impact as soon as can be possible.

Well for the first time in recent history, my team has actually done what seems to be a good job of drafting. Day one certainly turned up a few good players, which if they pan out right, which is always a crap shoot anyway, but if they reach potential, then it looks like we have gained a few good players that will have quite an impact.

Being in the UK, we don't get to know much about the college prospects, and can only go by what we read and the analysis that is given. For once Dallas has been ranked as a winner and that is very good by usual standards. In the past few years, we have sucked a great deal, hopefully these new picks will prove to be good.

My only concern is that we didn't focus on the WR position, I feel we needed to do so, especially with a draft that seemed to be quite deep at that position as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bling Bling

Well a strange title maybe, but once you read this, you will totally understand.

A few weeks back, well two months now, I wrote I was to get gold ear moulds, well today I got them. I really did think the audiologist was joking, but nope. I have gold plated ear moulds, and four of them. Now, I am not an oddity, I don’t have four ears, I have two like the rest of you, but I have two for each ear, different types to try and find the right ones for me. At the moment I am currently trying to use the basic design models, if I find them not the best use, then I use the more advanced design. It all depends how my ears react to them.

I have to say right now, it is odd wearing gold plated ear moulds for the new hearing aids I have, and I have two new aids, one for each ear, another new idea for me, wearing two aids.

The gold plated moulds are a little odd, I have been given them, because my ears seem to be causing problems, and as I understand it, having gold plated means that they shouldn’t overheat so much, due to gold not causing so much sweat in my ear, which has been suffering a lot of ear infections and with my ears susceptible to infections at the moment, it is felt a change of moulds will help. Fingers crossed I need to be able to hear.

I should point out that these moulds as I have been told cost in excess of £100, I was given different values, ranging from £120 to £180, which is true, who knows, but if it stops me having ear infections, it is more than worth it. So as I say in the title, bling bling. I look odd with this gold in my ear, and I am sure it is going to be noticed every time I walk down the street. I am just hoping they won’t get noticed in the interviews I have upcoming, that is my main fear, given how some people react to those wearing hearing aids, as if the person wearing the aids are incompetent, stupid and of no use.

What has also happened today as I point out above, I have now been fitted with two aids, so this is a new experience for me. I have tried in the past to have two aids, but the two previous attempts left my head spinning like the girl in the Exorcist. Now as these are digital I supposedly stand a better chance of it working, not that sure, but I have to try as it seems my hearing has gotten worse and if I don’t, I could be in more trouble than it is possible to describe.

So after about 10/11 hours of trying this experiment, I have to say, my head aches a lot, I am trying to figure out where sounds are coming from, trying to comprehend sounds I haven’t heard before, it all seems very alien to me. My mind is working overtime trying to process the sounds and I have and this sounds odd, felt the sounds switching in my head, and apparently that is normal, for someone going from one to two. Totally freaked me out, still getting double sounds at the moment, hopefully that will subside as time goes on. This is a long running experiment and one that will hopefully mean I won’t have to strain so much to hear people and things. The phone is a difficult one at the moment, there is a little bit of feedback on it, but I am hoping it is just adjustment time more than anything.

My main worry for me, is what happens if one breaks down and I am back to one, getting spares on the NHS is notoriously problematic and always an issue, and not something where I can say to a boss, “oh, by the way can I be off today and every day until I get a replacement”, not a good image. So I am hoping that my past doesn’t come back to haunt, where I seem to get a bad run on the quality of the aids. In the past year, I have to replace my aids I think something like 10/15 times, some not even lasting more than a couple of days, not exactly a joy I can tell you, sitting for hours, pushing them for replacements, and then being told we are out of stock, oh great, what am I supposed to do in the meantime. Clever that isn’t.

It will be interesting to see what people who know me say when they see the gold moulds and I have to wonder how Z will react when she gets back from her trip to see me wearing gold moulds. She didn’t seem convinced that I was getting gold moulds, just like I wasn’t, but this could be an interested meeting.

I swear that if anyone tries to grab them, they will be going for a hard fall. These things are precious and there is no way I am going to allow myself to be mugged for them, not they can use them, but you know how some people are. Boy they would get a fistful of me, defending my precious moulds, lol…..

So it a strange look and I just hope no-one gets blinded by the reflection of the sun on them…..

Election 2005 - Polling Card

Well I got my polling card today, yippee. My chance to say what I feel, though I do feel that the candidates in my local ward aren’t exactly inspiring me to vote.

I am not sure who to vote for yet, I am undecided, very much so. I am sure of one thing, that unless a mega miracle occurs I won’t be voting for the current bunch of wasters sitting there grinning away thinking, aren’t we a great bunch of people…. Nope, you aren’t.

So, I need some help, which bunch of idiots deserves my precious vote, I will be voting of that you can be assured. In my local ward, there are only three candidates though, Labour, which won’t happen in a month of Sundays, Conservatives, which I feel are being opportunistic at every chance, and Lib Dems, who I really wonder if I vote for, will it get rid of Tony McNulty. Whom I have to say, every time I see him, makes me cringe and my blood boil, because he is so out of touch with what is going on.

So I have an issue, who to vote for, now if there was a box saying none of the above, I would be selecting that and be done with it, but there isn’t and spoiling the ballot paper seems a waste too. Anyone want to help, more than happy to listen to views being given, sway me with an argument…….

Election 2005 - Health

This isn’t quite an election comparison issue, but this is about incompetence on a grand scale by this bunch of morons running the show at the moment. I found this yesterday, which has gone quietly unreported by most of the big news stations, and was found through a health emailing list I am connected to called NetDoctor.

Petition to save children's ward found in skip

The idea that throwing away a petition is good political nonce is amazing, whoever thought that no one would ever find out, well, at this time especially with all the electioneering going on, this was going to come out and it has, someone was kind enough to send the bundle to a national newspaper and lo and behold it has come out, that the Health minister was handed a petition and less than two weeks later the petition and its associated papers are found in a paper recycling skip.

Mmmm, an issue that surely shows how out of touch the government are, and how they never bother to listen to a bloody word anyone says, and they want us to re-elect them. Well start listening and then maybe, just maybe, you will hear what we have to say, until such time, forget it.

Election 2005 - Tax Part 2

Well, another hot issue, council tax and all the surrounding issues with that.

Parties battle over council tax

Lib Dems promise 'fair' local tax

Labour says the revaluation will go ahead, the Tories have said they will cancel the revaluation and Lib Dems want a local council tax.

Well, as said on this blog some weeks back when it became clear that the revaluation was going and is going to hit us hard in London and the South East, I said then it would be around £300 plus on bills, based on what happened in Wales. And all of the squirming by Labour is showing that they feel uncomfortable with it. Mark my words, you read it here as well as many other places, if Labour win, we can be sure of at least £300 increases in council tax and that for the average Londoner will push bills to nearly £1500 a year.

The Tories saying that they will not do the revaluation is very much an opportunistic attitude, saying what they can to try and woo people. What they are failing to do is to fix the system and given that they put the council tax in the first place, they are certainly lacking any ideas as to what to do, to make the whole thing fairer.

As for the Lib Dems, well they are proposing a local council tax. There has been complaints that it will cost the average household about £300 more a year, well if you live in London and are having a revaluation, as we all are, you will then see that you are going to be no worse off than you will be under the Labour plan.

A lot of people have had their say on the local council tax, and I have to say, I am astounded by the selfishness of a lot of people. You would think that every other person apart from them is a scrounger and a parasite, well let me tell you, what on earth happened to the greater good, and paying for the services that are needed. People have in the past 20 years become extremely narrow minded, way too self self self.

Council tax: Others views

For me personally I do believe the local council tax is the best plan, and I would be paying more under that plan, than the current system, but I know that with the change, I stand a chance to have better services, better local amenities and thus hopefully create a virtuous circle.

Election 2005 - Tax Part 1

The issue of tax in this election is a big one, today there is an announcement that the Tories will cut stamp duty, which for so many of the countries voters an important issue. They are going back to their strengths of the past and focusing on those who want to be homeowners. They say that they will scrap stamp duty on the average home.

This is being seen as opportunism, well from Labour stand point it will be, but then at the budget they had the chance to do exactly the same, but didn’t take it, so now to claim the Tories are being opportunistic is a little false, because they had the chance to steal a march on this in the budget announcement earlier on this year.

Whilst it is a good idea, I do feel that it isn’t a truly fair system. If they want to make it fair, then it should be regionally adjusted, because the average home in London and the South East is a lot more than those outside London. And I know this idea will upset a lot of those outside the London and South East areas, because they will feel it is favouritism, but it isn’t. It is just taking account of the factors involved living in such an expensive part of the UK. If the proposed rules had been in place when I brought my place a few years back, it would have saved me the best part of 2K, which I could have used to furnish my house, or other things, so it adds up. To be truly fair, it should be on the type of property and whether it is a first property or not. If it is your first and only property then if you are encouraging an owner occupier style of housing then it should be free of duty, but if it is more than your first property then that is different. Houses shouldn’t been seen as investments, because they are meant to be lived in, if you decide to create a portfolio of housing then that is an investment.

The idea needs tweaks, but a basic idea that has some credence as far as I am concerned. There needs to be an overhaul of the system, rather than tweaks

Labour on this issue really have made a right cock up and feel their thunder has been taken, well, lets be honest here, what it is, is that Labour have no idea what it is like being in the south of the country and thus their policies more than punish those who live in the south, because of higher living costs, higher housing costs, etc. And for those who believe that those living in London have a better standard of living, you are sorely mistaken, because those outside London have more disposable income despite earning less on average.

The Tories have made a lot of gain out of this, and appealed to their core voters, so they feel and it could have quite an impact, how much who knows, but Labour needs the seats in the south and thus they could feel the pinch much more now, especially from those aspiring Londoners.

The LibDems well, there seems to be little word from them as to what they will do.

Other peoples take

Monday, April 18, 2005

From the Ministry of the bleeding obvious

From the Ministry of the bleeding obvious

Happy moments 'protect the heart'

It would seem that having happy moments protects the heart, well blow me down with a feather really, stunned look, and scratching of head, whilst I try and get my head around this one.

Let me strap myself in, and please explain it to me in very simple terms, so I don’t miss any of it, lol…

Whilst I applaud research like this, much needed even if it is to point out to those who don’t live outside the ministry of the bleeding obvious. How about finding a way to make it so that we can experience more happy moments, and not suffer the stress of everyday living, and thus give us that chance to have the happy moments.

I am really sure, there must be people who when doing the research already know the answer to the question they proposed, but just want to mess with people just to see if there is that .01% of it being wrong.

Election 2005 – Health

This issue for me is quite close to the heart. I am very much in favour of the NHS and feel it should be supported at all costs, and made to serve all the people in our country. It is an indication of a civilised country, where no matter someone’s background that their health should be taken care of.

Okay, at the moment that isn’t quite happening, the infamous postcode lottery that exists in our health system, if you are lucky enough to live in a certain region you can get good or relatively good service. I myself know about this from the sharp end, especially with long term healthcare. Audiology departments are not equal across the country, when you have people waiting 2 years for a hearing aid, and only able to visit 2 half days in the week if they need help, I don’t exactly call that a good service. If GPs were only available in that way, things would be changed so fast it would beggar belief.

Well, this election has a big battleground of health, and I have to say, I am not impressed by what the parties are offering. Both the Tories and Labour are offering choice as their big idea. Now the idea of offering choice, might sound attractive, but in a system where choice is impossible to offer, what a load of crock. Back in the 90s we were told that by privatising the railways they were offering choice. Yeah right, how is it possible to offer choice on the railways, when you can’t have competing trains. Again this is another idea where the minute you attempt to offer choice it is going to cause competition between hospitals and services, which really can’t compete anyway, and shouldn’t even be attempting to compete.

All people want is a decent service on their doorstep, not the idea that they can go off somewhere 2/300 miles away to get treatment. Which part of healthcare don’t these two main parties get, I have to say, very unimpressed. The same goes for this idea of Labour for a maximum 18 week wait between seeing the GP and being treated. Well they have spectacularly failed to meet their target of 9 months for an operation, heck I am living proof of it. The only way waiting lists can be reduced is to invest more money in the service, which they have attempted to do, but of the extra money they have put in, barely a quarter is making it to the front line, now there are one can guess many reasons for this. One could be the fact that PFI is sucking up the extra money, another could be all the extra middle managers/administrators in the system, taking much needed money away. If there was so much extra money then why is the world famous Great Ormond Street hospital having money issues, despite treating more children than ever before and struggling to make ends meet. I don’t think that points to a system which is working.

So to judge the parties

Labour - 1/5 overall, it is a nice ideal, to attempt to get 18 weeks max waiting lists, but you have to ask which waiting list, because they now have so many different ones.

Conservatives – 2/5 as well, mainly because they want to reduce the waiting times which is more than admirable, and they want to make the matron of the wards decide whether they should be open or not, i.e. putting the power back into the frontline staff’s hands. And the idea to remove the targets is understandable since it seems to cripple the hospitals, but they need to be made to provide uniform services, so for example all hospitals providing proper audiological services, instead of a crummy 2 half days a week.

Liberal Democrats – 3/5. Their ideas are better, making sure that we increase the resources. Free eye and dental checks, free long term care for the elderly, reducing waiting lists for diagnostics.

Still despite this, none seems to tackle the issues at hand. When you have to wait 9 months plus for an MRI scan, where you have to wait up to 9 months to see a specialist, and even more than 9 months for an operation. You can see how a simple thing turns into more than it should. The NHS should be made to prevent things, not cure. And the first step to prevention is that if you tackle something quickly, it means less money is spent in the longer term, because the longer you wait for an operation, more damage is being done on the parts needing an operation and thus it costs more to fix, more time is taken off work and in recovery as well. So I don’t know, I am sure that I am not the only one who can see this, I am sure that the average Joe in the street can too, but why is it the politicians can’t. Do they really not live in the UK, and are so devoid of normal life?

This is some others links and other people's viewpoint, which are more than worth reading

Campaigns focus on health clash

Who has the best health policy?


As nicknames go, I have had various ones over my lifetime, ranging from hedgehog, because I used to have spiky hair, and various other ones, some more tasteful and original than others.

Seems that over the weekend I have been given a new one, which I have to say I am not against being given.

Z, has commented that at times I seem to sound like a cat at various times, a cat that is in the midst of being stroked on its tummy….. I am sure you all know what cats are like when they are like that. And given that I like cats, and I often wonder if I was lucky enough to have a life of a cat before, being waited on, looked after, it seems very apt.

Well now, I am being called puss in boots, from the character in the Shrek 2 movie, and surprisingly enough I can just about do the voice as well, so now for Z, I am her puss in boots. I even do a good mimic of coughing up a hairball action, though no hairball, that would be worrying.

Now all I have to do is find the boots and a sword with a hat to go with it, and perfect the doe eyed look and I have it down to a T. And no I am not going to find a way to grow fur!!!!


Read a report today which shouldn’t have left me astounded but this did.

Banned US maize seized at ports in GM health scare

The US is upset that their maize is stopped from entering the UK at our ports. This is because it has been found to contain banned maize, and this is the good bit, this has been going on for four years and more. And the US is up in arms because we have refused it entry to our country, despite the fact they should never have been shipping it in the first place.

Okay, here is the funny thing, we in the EU, don’t want GM maize in our country, it is unknown what it can do, we have said we as the EU don’t trust it, and we don’t want it.

The best part about this is that the Bush administration knew that they were exporting banned maize to the EU, and now is in a huff and upset because we found out. And we only found out because of the scientific magazine Nature investigated. And they neglected to tell us. Whatever happened to the special relationship we are supposed to have? And the US wonders why the world sees them as arrogant. Maybe as an Englishman, I am missing something here, maybe our moral compass in the UK is working a little more than the US’s, not to say ours is perfect, heck when you have Tony Blair in charge of your country, the compass was thrown out the window years ago.

I just shouldn’t be surprised by the Bush Administration getting in a huff over this, but they put our lives at risk for their own backside, welcome to the world where the US rides roughshod over everyone.

Phone Interview

Today I had a phone interview for a company. This was designed to last 20 to 30 minutes. Didn't quite work out that way.

Despite the fact my ears are still problematic, I ventured on ahead and did the best I could. The interview only lasted only about 15 minutes, which for me was a little surprising. I was surprised how little seemed to be asked. I guess part of that was down to the question how much experience do I have with STL, and my honest answer being well not much, I wouldn't say I have used it more than a little bit, some years back. No point in lying, it all comes out in the end, and I think the interviewer had a bunch of STL questions to ask me, and I wiped out a major part of the interview, oops. But then nowhere on my CV does it say I have a lot of experience with STL, so if the CV has been read properly, it would be known.

It will be interesting to know exactly what happens.

I guess not also knowing what placement new is, has something to it as well. I have never heard that phrase before. Through checking in a handy Stroustrup book, it is where you specify the address for an object. Fair enough something new learnt, but in my mind, isn't it a risk to do that, specify the address, cause what if two people specify the same address, a bit like what if two people use the same name for a namespace, it defeats the purpose. Oh well maybe I am too logical or think too much...

Fingers crossed for another interview elsewhere.


Just got an email with regards to the phone interview above. It was as I thought, they have declined to take it any further. And the agency did ask for reasons, and in typical fashion, no real answer came out, so when pushed by the agency if it was to do with my STL experience, they said it was a factor, ie it was the reason. Well I have always been upfront about the level of my experience in STL, so really they obviously want more than I have, so the interview shouldn't have even taken place, so either they didn't know what they wanted, or my CV is that impressive that they thought they would suss it out. I think the later personally.

I don't feel I should remove something I have done, even if it was minor, just because I don't have major experience in it, it that was the case, I would have to remove ATL and UML, both of which my experience is fleeting, but it was still something I did, and as far as I see it, it counts as experience and skills, just something I need more of, really.

Oh well, roll on the next one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

An amazing shock

Well yesterday, I attended an interview for a new role, with a company that are of interest for me, looks a good role. Well I am currently in the midst of an ear infection, haven't slept well, I am so blocked up in my ears, barely hearing a thing, I look like I have Panda eyes, and sound very hoarse as well. So not exactly a picture of perfect health and looking like I could kill over at any moment, that is how bad I look and how bad I feel.

Well I must have done something right, because I have been asked to attend a second interview, now I did think I did quite well, but then I was drugged up to the eyeballs to keep me together for the interview, so I thought I might be a little biased, well I guess not, I guess I actually had a sublime moment and came across a lot better than one realised.

I am wondering how it happened, I am so pleased, I need to email them back to arrange the date, but so pleased. I might put this down to the autogenic training I have just started. I have been struggling with it, and not being able to get it right, but maybe it worked yesterday without me knowing. Autogenic training is meant to allow the person to relax, a set of tools, to help them do so. Well I am only in week one, but I have been finding it hard to passively find parts of my body and make them heavy as is the first tool, and whilst I did it on the Tube on the way to the interview yesterday I struggled as I always do to get it right, well maybe it worked more than I realised. What I will say, is that since I started the Autogenic training last Wednesday, I have been having more vivid dreams than I can recall for a long time, but it those dreams where you wake up and go wow, what a dream, and then the next moment you are like, what was I dreaming about. You know you had a vivid dream, but you are damned if you can actually recall it.

I will do an entry on the Autogenic training another time, when I have done more of it myself, but there seems to be logic in it, and if it can get me a good nights sleep, then it will be great, I haven't had one of them in what seems like eons.

So despite feeling like crap, sore, aching all over, I have had a success which makes me feel as good as one can feel when they feel like a 100 years old.......

Monday, April 11, 2005

More Election 2005

Been doing more reading for this election and something that came to mind, we have all the parties fighting it out for an electorate who are generally very unhappy with the parties and with what is going on and yet there is little or no way for them to voice their displeasure at what is going on.

It made me think of past situations where this has come up and is increasingly occuring simply because of the ineptness and the high and mighty attitude of the politician, who is these days ever more removed than should be possible, given that we are paying them, and boy do we overpay them, maybe if they were on the average wage in this country, instead of 2/3 times it, maybe they would get what the grip is for most people. And yes MPs earn a damn lot of money, if I recall correctly, in excess of £50K, yep that is slightly more than the average wage, and a lot more the minimum wage which they are so fond of pushing people into.

Anyway back to the point I was intending to make, if there was an option for none of the above, we could encourage people to vote, and really find out just what people think. I can easily imagine though that over 50% would say none of the above, ie find us others who we believe in and aren't slimy overpaid jackasses, read, find someone who we don't think is a class one loser.
I think it is long overdue for us to have that option, the only snag with this idea is that we could end up with none of the above winning the election, and then we might be in trouble.

Other news

As it has been a little while for news about what is going on the personal front, I had best explain what has been going on.

Well last week I was having to work hard on an OU assignment which I still need to finish and ASAP, so that is running me hard. I also had a test for bank to do for a job, well that test was nasty, like working out the square root of a number without using the sqrt() function, like I recall how to do that, and every way I looked online I couldn't see a simple way of doing it, so I have my fingers crossed that I get somewhere with that one.

I had two interviews the previous week, well one let me know on Friday that, I have an outstanding personality, just exactly what they are looking for, but on the technical they were looking for someone with slightly more experience than me, oh well it happens, I also got the same for a different role I saw that previous week, but I am still in with a chance there, so fingers crossed.

I have two interviews this week, one today, though I am not sure how I am going to do, I have been laid low all weekend with an ear infection and right now I am struggling to hear, and wearing the aid is going to be hard work, to put it in simple terms, my ear is weeping and I am praying it doesn't weep in the interview, but I am so tired and rundown, I fear how this will go. I can but hope as they say. I do have others in the pipeline, but I need my ears working well ASAP, which isn't looking a good prospect right now.

Despite my ears being what they were over the weekend, I was very fortunate to have some time with Z, despite not hearing and the poor Z having to raise her voice for me to even catch a little bit of what was being said, we had a nice time together, and I hope I didn't hurt her ears too much when I was talking back, given I was shouting, because I was talking loud enough to hear my own voice. My neighbours must love me, loud loud music at the moment, and someone shouting as well, I can see an ASBO coming my way eventually, and an ASBO is AntiSocialBehaviourOrder. They are issued for the most daft things these days.

So I am unfortunately back in a silent world, one which frustrates me, all I can do is keep moving forward, and hope my ears come back to normal soon, each day having this is difficult, and restricts what I can do. That is my moaning over.

I am off to finish my OU assignment, and finish the work for the interview I have later today and hopefully they will be okay with someone who has a raspy voice, has panda eyes, and isn't hearing well... great combination wouldn't you say.......

Election 2005

I thought with the upcoming election on May 5th, I would add my two pence worth and over the next few weeks give my views on the election process, what is being said and how things could be better, etc.

I should point out at this juncture I am not aligned to any party, I was in the past called a Conservative with a small c, but that was my youth and I hope you can forgive me for that.
I am of the left leaning stance these days, and by that I mean a society that includes all its people, regardless of race, gender, disability, religion, etc. I strive for a society where all get given equal chances regardless of where in society’s strata they are born, whether at the top or the bottom.

In the run up to the election I will tackle issues like Education, economy, transport, immigration, tax, health, etc.

Before I go any further I should say, I was happy to see the Tories kicked out after 18 years in which they destroyed the fabric of this country and showed amazing ineptness. Well after 8 years of New Labour, and let’s be honest they should just drop the word Labour and call themselves Conservatives that is what they are, I would be happy to see them kicked out for their ineptness and destroying even more of what this country is. In my eyes there is no alternative available, so as for how I will vote, I am unsure at the moment, though I think a tactical vote might be in order, to give this inept government a swift kick up the backside.

I read over the weekend about how Labour claimed that things are so much better under them after 8 years. If that is the case, please explain a worsening NHS, a crumbling transport system, also explain how the gap between the rich and the poor has widened a lot more under 8 years of your government than under 18 years of the previous. On top of that, you have destroyed the education system, now if you want to progress you have to pay for your degree, yet each labour MP who is in the commons with a degree voted for the new generation to pay for theirs despite the fact the MPs got theirs for free, mmmm, talk about lining your own pockets. I have yet to see anything in 8 years of Labour that I can say, I am glad we did that, I think things have gotten better, not a chance. Well I lie, maybe closer relations with Europe is the only good thing to come out of it, but that was well overdue, and we are from being integrated as we should be, we are still on the outside, just now we closer to the EU than before, but still outside, maybe in the next four years of Labour, we might actually get on the inside. On top of that the little thing they call PFI, which is back door privatisation, sneaky little thing that is, 30 year contracts which means come 2035 for example, the then government will have to deal with the mess this lot left behind, very nice.

So you can see I find the present incumbents guilty of destroying the country, lets see if after the coming four weeks, I will see it any different

To give an idea of how inept I consider this government, it took Jamie Oliver to make them change how much money they give for school dinners, so instead of 37p, it will rise to 50p, oh big wow, and that isn't immediate either. As well as that they create a quango with £280m of our money to distribute it, why. On top of this, they had 8 years of giving so little money and a celebrity chef made them see they were wrong, when the country gets up in arms. On the final note of this, consider this a prisoner gets more money for their meals than a child does in theirs, and it is well known that if a child is given healthy food they will be less distruptive in lessons, so they learn more, anyone else see a virtuous circle here??

School Dinners, see others opinions

Monday, April 04, 2005

Worst Drivers in the UK

Saw a report this morning in the Metro, the free newspaper that you can get on the Tube. Well it is a really sad fact, but the drivers in London seem to be the worst in the country, they have the most accidents. What was even more scary is that North West London was the worst. Roughly 10% of drivers in Harrow have had an accident in the past year that was their fault, closely followed by those in Uxbridge and North West London

Harrow Drivers the Worst

The best and worst places for motorists in 2004 revealed

Well for all those who live in these areas, this would be a really good reason why your premiums have probably gone up a lot more than you expected. This study was carried out by the insurer Admiral, and will no doubt be used by the other insurance companies. The example they give of people being without insurance and then if they hit someone not stopping is becoming all too common in London and the sooner the menace that is those people are removed from the roads, the safer we be. I don't think enough is being done to stop those people driving, taking away their car, their driving license, and actually fining them a great deal of money would be a start, but the best would be to make them realise that driving without insurance and a tax disc is illegal, and that they face more than just a fine would be a good start. As I say they are a menace, and I know of more than a number of situations where these morons have killed people in Harrow, and taken the life of someone who was valuable to the community and well respected by all around, due to their high arsed attitude.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Yesterday after an interview I had in the late morning, I went to this restaurant in London -

I booked it as a nice lunch for me and Z, a special deal through TopTable. On the site it said smart casual, well I was fine, I had a suit on, Z dressed up for the occasion, and she looked fantastic, very fantastic. We actually had a picture taken in the little square afterwards, which I don't have, but I hope to, we actually look quite nice, especially me for once...
Prior to booking I did some reading up on the place, it said it was a classy venue, yet was smart casual, I thought nice, I am sure to like it and I am sure Z will as well.

Well poor Z, she was a little overwhelmed by it, she wasn’t expecting the place to be like it was, even I was a little surprised by the opulence of the place. It is a really beautiful place. The food was stunning, we only had a main and dessert, but it was great, a really lovely piece of chicken with sun dried tomatoes and potatoes for me, and a spaghetti with prawns and vegetables for Z.
The service was really nice, they were just right, not in your face, not ignoring you either when you wanted service.

No.5 Cavendish Square as a restaurant is a higher class of restaurant and thus you would pay for it, well I was lucky, going to one of their special deals they had on, and despite that we weren’t treated any differently to the other customers they had in there.

I really enjoyed it and so did Z once she overcame the shock of where we had dined, she kept the memento of the lunch, the card the bill came in, obviously I took the bill, not showing that, never polite, lol… I think Z is still a little stunned really, I have known her for about 3 to 4 weeks and we went somewhere she felt would be a place for a 6 month or year anniversary. For me it was just a nice place to go, which had a good deal, and I thought would be nice. Maybe after this I have now set the bar a little high, so if we go to 6 months or a year, I will have to top it, yikes….

But if you ever have the chance to go to No.5, do so, it is a lovely restaurant and you can read the reviews on the links I have enclosed.

Bill Hicks: Agent of Revolution

I was out yesterday and I found this book on Bill Hicks by his close friend Kevin Booth. I am a great fan of his, but I had no idea about this book and so I bought it, a hardback book for £15.99, no problem, I thought I had done well with it being a promo offer at Borders in Oxford Circus, who have Booth over on the 19th April at 6.30pm talking about the book and Hicks.

Well guess what at Amazon, I found the following

Bill Hicks: Agent of Revolution

Talk about feeling stupid, could have saved more money.

I haven't had the chance to read the book yet, though I am really looking forward to doing so. Maybe I can get lucky and get Booth to sign it as well on the 19th April, mmm, lets see.

I also saw on Amazon the following

One Consciousness: An Analysis of Bill Hicks' Comedy

I think I will be getting this book as well. I already have two books on Bill, American Scream and Love all the People.

If you never had the chance to get to hear Bill's stuff, try and find his audio CDs that were done, they will give you an idea of the man, who was unfortunate to die from cancer at 32, the same age I am. Poor bloke, I think the world lost a great mind when he died and there exists a void where he once stood.

The latest news

It has been a little while since I last added an entry and that has been for a lot of reasons, mostly good ones as well.

Over the past week I have had a couple of interviews for companies, one arranged by an agency, and the other got in touch with me direct. Plus I found out I have more time to undertake a test I was doing, which is a godsend for me, because I was running out of time and had to give them something. Plus I have more in the pipeline as well, which is really great for me, all of the sudden going from nothing to a riches of them, which pleases me a great deal, just now spending every opportunity I can to revise, and rightly so, so I can be on the ball as much as I can. Fingers crossed as they say.

I also have been very busy with my second degree, very hard work, but I am so happy I am doing it, I think doing Psychology will help me in all manner of ways.

Also I have started a new diet, the one I wrote about previously on these pages. I have to say, it is a fantastic diet. I am actually feeling fitter, I certainly get a real rush of endorphins, and the high feeling is really great to have. And on top of it, I get to feel good about someone else, and at the same time, feel good about the fact I am making them happy to. A real win win diet I have to say.

Been spending more time with Z, Z is in a position over the past 7-10 days where she has been off, and thus I have had more chances to spend time with her, and Z has certainly made me feel good, I find her to be funny, intelligent, open minded, very understanding, caring, and a joy to be around. I find that when I am with her, time just seems to fly, and without knowing it, we have been together for hours and it seems like no time at all has passed. I know I had my fears when I met Z that my history and problems I have would mean she would disappear. She has been more than understanding about my deafness, and yesterday other things came out into the open, not by design, but when an agency calls for a role and you have to try and explain to them that you aren’t available, without explaining that it is because you have to go to hospital for a regular checkup, it can lead to issues. Agencies wouldn’t understand me needing these checkups. But it left me in a situation where I needed to explain to Z the score. So the reasons came out, the fact I previously had a tumour back in 1999 which needed a very serious and long operation, after the operation I then suffered PTSD. As well as the surrounding issues that I am susceptible to suffering another tumour in the future especially if I am not regularly checked, and if I did get another one, I would be struggling a great deal. Z is very accepting of what I am, what I have been through, takes me as me, and is genuinely very caring. I have no idea where this situation will go, what will happen, I am just trying to take what comes.