Unreliable and possibly off-topic


Saturday, April 25, 2009


It was 60 hrs this week at the real jobbie, and zero hrs on the homer M.Sc. jobbie. I don't have time for lunch in the day jobbie, and substitute approx 4 smoke breaks of 2 mins each during these days. No spare capacity for the homer after arriving home at 8pm or 10pm except to use the bathtub and CBT, or in extremis temazepam, so I can sleep.

Last 2 days, I've been slightly shitty to the casual staff for whom I'm responsible, by pressuring them to respond within a week for fuck's sake to emailed shift rotas, and to let me know when they're on hols so I don't waste time offering them shifts they know they can't (but I think they might) do. They owe me nothing. Most of them are unaware that I earn a less per hr than they, but still it doesn't feel good. Their keys don't work, which pisses them off, but they probably don't appreciate that new ones can only be cut if I personally make time to go to a locksmith and personally pay out (in expectation of reimbursement 2 months later) the £150 necessary.

Quite rightly, the casual staff tell me that the security light on the back porch has burnt out, that the Freeview reception in the pt bedrooms is crap and that ants are marching in the kitchen, when I have 10 studies to score between constant pt calls, random queries and appointments.

Today was a motherfucker.

Day before, I'd been stuck at work for 13 hrs, doing the usual daytime work followed by an evening training session with the clinical trial monitor. Today I was committed to my 8.30am start to conduct all-day daytime tests on a clinical pt, but also knew I'd be sharing my workspace all day with the clinical monitor, and that the Big Boss from London would be conducting his monthly clinic upstairs. So I knew I could expect at least a triplet of slavery expectations that day.

And so it came to pass.

On arrival, the night assistant asks if his duties are finished, and says he's washed the breakfast dishes. Ten minutes after his exit. I find the unwashed dishes in the pts bedroom, and dealing with those is another 10 mins gone and eaten up which I could've spent either smoking or eating before the onslaught from the clinical monitor and Big Boss.

Our trial co-ordinator is taking some well-deserved time back (after a continuous 60 hr shift this week), and by her absence making me 'it' for the monitor.

The clinical pt requires an hour of testing at 2-hourly intervals through the day. It's also my job to fetch the pt's, the monitor's and my lunch (though I won't have time to eat mine), and account for these in cash and receipts on my return to two separate accounts.

In between, I signed off CRFs, worked on the backlog of clinical dictations, researched and communicated that a stock-control fuck-up on equipment replenishment wasn't mine, discussed the technological implications of the wee bosses' plans for a continuous 3-day legal monitoring, commissioned two professional tech reports from a colleague on his behalf, organised and emailed out off the current May rota.

Still it's not enough. The Big Boss tries to hand me a CPAP education and
CPAP issue (inc. paperwork) on this hellish day. I tell him I can't do it in between nap tests, and that I have no backup today. He still pushes so I have to tell the patient face-to-face it's not a simple procedure, and that's it's not in his best interest to take a second best CPAP edu in half an hour rather than 1.5 hrs. They're pissed off, but not so badly as me.

I finished up at 7pm. I was left alone with a patient for two hours, which is supposed to be a no-no. At 5pm the wee boss was out for his exercise, and by 3pm the Big Boss was taking a nap with instructions I should wake him at 5.30 pm. Where's my fucking nap or lunch break?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Space occupation

It's near the end of the month so I feel duty-bound to post something, even if it's not quality.

My jobbie conference at York University this month was enhanced by the waterbirds of the campus pond and environs- about 20 species by my count. I was totally taken with the waterfowl's attitude that it was their territory and not humans', prolly heightened by it being breeding season. Some of my fellow delegates felt menaced by the geese, who look you straight in the eye and hold their ground on the paths, giving you the odd hiss (much like Her Catness) when they perceive challenge. At closing time, the paths were assumed as dormitories by the sleeping birds, and it was a pleasure to see that they're in charge locally, and not us. The birdies, especially when they have an attitude, were pure pleasure and to a large extent much more fun than humans.

Why are moorhens so-called? They're neither hens nor moor residents, since they rely on ponds or waterways for nesting sites and forage, and are (to my knowledge) obligate waterfowl. I dunno. Coots (forgetting our anthropomorphic similes of baldness) are amongst the most curious and inquisitive of birds- very fetching creatures.

In the human realm, I've seen two recommended films this month- Armando Ianucci's 'In the Loop' (a feature length episode of BBC political satire 'In the Thick of It') and 'Teddybear'- (a charming Czech reflective/romantic comedy).

Reading has been Orlando Figes' 'The Whisperers' (historical documentary of Stalin's Terror) and Colin Thubron's 'In Siberia', a travelogue of a trans-Siberian journey conducted in the dying days of the Soviet regime in 1982. Currently, Colin has me in Tuva where (in Mircea Eliade's footsteps) he's trying to explain the anthropological crossover of shamanism and Buddhism.

H. etc., grieving quietly for Peter Ballox, took off for a week in Cyprus. She brought back photies showing at medieval royal tombs at Paphos the same 'clootie tree' you can find in Siberia, Tibet, Scotland, Ireland and Israel: a cross-cultural, presumably animist tradition adaptable to whichever colonising faith.

Apart from these, I work my arse off between the 50 hrs/week at the jobbie and the M.Sc. marking every night. I'm hoping to maybe get a clue what it's all about sometime soon.

Mostly, it's about the kiddos and how to get them where they want to go. That means kicking the Big Wan's arse to study more for his Higher exams this month, and gently enquiring of the wee wan why she needs to wear so much eyeliner when she's naturally gorgeous. Ah... what goes around comes around.

Hoping to get smart soon, but not counting on it.


Monday, April 06, 2009

Neighbour relations

AFAIK, the last person to officially sweep and mop my stair was me in Jan 2008, before tenant changes turned it all to shit. I swept again later last year when the Downstairs Neighbour, during the height of his complaints that I actually locomoted after midnight, put up a notice to the effect that spilled cat litter was making the stair stink. At that time, my feckless BW had spilled around 0.5 oz of cat litter from a leaking binbag, and I stepped up to the plate to solve his complaint.

Well, since then the two bad upstairs neighbours (there exist three, but only two bad yins) are doing worse things that DN could ever imagine. Because I'm too cheap to have a nameplate engraved for my door, my handwritten paper address nameplate gets torn off about once a week at 1am by screaming banshees. My 16 yr old BW (whose bedroom backs on the stair) had to go out at 3am last weekend to tell off people 10 years older than him for making anti-social rammies and leaving smoking litter in the stair. Even his Fraggle friends know this is unacceptable behaviour.

I've put up a notice tonight to respectfully ask all occupiers to ask their guests to dispose of their smoking litter responsibly. These born-in-a-barn over-privileged types leave their fag butts, packets and cellophane as litter in the stair and on the landing windowsills, expecting some maid to sweep up. Well, it ain't me who's leaving or cleaning it, even if DN would like it to be so.

Both DN and UN suspect or know I'm mad, especially after I circulated the communique last year that anyone re-aligning my aerial again would have their freeloading wiring excised. I am mad, but that doesn't mean I should accept stinky litter in my stair as just desserts. It's just not acceptable in an Edinburgh stair. I shall call in the Environmental Health to conduct DNA analysis of the fag-butts, if it doesn't get solved. That's how nuts I fucking am.


Sunday, April 05, 2009


While away in the Flatlands, I spent a soupcon of the kiddos' inheritance for Donald and Kevin to fit a new bathroom. A far as I'm aware, we're the only flat in our stack of three to finagle a tub into the small shower-room. None of the tenants of the other two, of course, speak to me anymore. Result!

Since neither tall nor wide by habitus, this corner tub is genuinely comfortable for me. Not so sure about the Big Wan (now about 5' 10") but since he chooses bath over shower since the refurb he must be able to hunker in, if not luxuriate like I.

eBay is sending me an offcut of industrial lino in a pale green, studded with non-slip mica, to finish the floor and I'm looking for a mirror to stare at me from above the sink. Tomorrow, God willing, I'll be painting those beautifully smooth plastered walls a clean white.

I tried to see 'Il Divo' tonight. I really wanted to understand such a beautifully scripted and filmed work, but after 1.5 hrs couldn't for the life of me piece together the fragmented conspiracies feeding on Andreotti's reign. I do know I'd like to live on those sets/locations forever.