beauty is skin deep …

I can still remember feeling squeamish whenever J channel-flicked onto one of those edutainment programmes on Sky that show live surgery. If I had my way, even Nip Tuck would have been committed to the TV naughty corner, had it not been saved by surprisingly creative dialogue and provocative plots … not to mention the tanned bodies and strong jawlines. Call me shallow, but I pledge my full support to the producers of that TV show when it comes to flaunting feminine curves and 6-pack torsos … because beauty (and I herewith make an advance apology to any hirsute lesbians/feminists and Lionel Richie lookalikes who may be offended by my next pronouncement) is skin deep. And whereas the external human form has immense sex appeal, the insides of a human body and its workings are about as interesting as the contents of Margaret Thatcher’s handbag. That is, unless it is your body … and then, it suddenly becomes the most intriguing thing since Kate Moss’s purse and the most bloggable subject in the world!

Last Wednesday, I gave birth to twin gallstones – an achievement that would not have been possible without the skill and professionalism of the very competent team at Bath Clinic, particularly Messrs Hardy (anaesthetist) and Britton (surgeon). While Hardy knocked me out and made sure I stayed under, Mr Britton (whose dry and boyish bed-side manner reminded me of Stan Laurel) stabbed me 4 times in the abdominal area in a procedure known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (that’s gall bladder removal for the medically challenged among you) which comes under the curious medical vernacular of ‘key hole’ surgery. Key hole – now that’s a bit of a misnomer! What surgeons fail to explain to patients during pre-op consultations is the size of the lock they will be dealing with, and judging from the length of incisions on my tummy, it would appear that my surgeon was attempting to pick-lock the portcullis of Warwick castle 😉

But it is all good, as they say and I am now bed-bound and signed off work for the next two weeks with little prospect of social interaction to feed my blog, and yes, I will spare you loyal readers any write up on the frequency of bowel movements and other bodily functions. However, I’m giving serious thought about a paper comparing the coefficient of transparency between Egyptian cotton pillow cases and my nylon anti-DVT stockings. Ummmm, maybe I should save that for next week. Suffice it to say, the prescription drugs, in particular Tramadol, are doing wonders for pain management and inducing some very interesting and florid dreams – an added bonus of being an opiate derivative, I guess. Kids at home, say NO to Tramadol ok … unless you’ve been stabbed.

Meanwhile I’ve made a start on a programing project – a piece of extra-curricular work set by my boss to develop an eBay software tool that will allow sellers to do some statistical analysis on historical auction behaviour in order to predict (read: artificially inflate) the best final sale price for an item. I thought I might write it in Java, but being bed-ridden and having no access to any good books, I’ve decided to plumb for Visual Basic 2005 Express. Progress to date includes the GUI mini-browser functionality (which was a doddle), and today’s task is to work on the ‘state machine’ of valid eBay HTML responses, before diving in to the nightmare of parsing HTML code to extract valuable data from the noise. That should keep me out of mischief for a couple of days …

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broken again …

Well folks, my mac mini is broken again. Fortunately, I have preserved the look and feel so all that’s needed is to reload the backups containing previous posts.

There’s never a dull moment with mac software …

your number’s up, charlie boy …

Obfuscation – that’s my mot du jour. And rather topically, it was also the tactic employed by Charles Kennedy last night, when he publicly admitted his addiction to alcohol. In a ridiculous performance that was more reminiscent of an aged pop star’s coming out, this fading political star couldn’t be more transparent about his shit or bust strategy if he had tried: either win the electorate’s sympathy by this public admission and in doing so, divert focus away from the fact that he’s crap at his job, or face the collective frustration of his shadow cabinet. Listening to the live broadcast on Radio 4, I imagined a pitiful, little boy at the podium, occasionally seeking reassurance by brushing over the bulge in his trouser pocket – a bulge that no longer concealed his trusty hip flask but a well-thumbed copy of Sun Tzu’s Ancient Art of War, bookmarked conveniently at Chapter 7 …

He who knows the artifice of diversion will be victorious.
Such is the art of manuevering.

Good luck in your leadership challenge Charlie boy, but as they say (rather ironically for you) in the trade, In vino veritas 😉

The start of the year is always a great time for words. And being the clock bitches that we have become today where every second is precious and life is only deemed to be eventful if one is armed with a magazine of monosyllabic descriptors, ready to be emptied on the first person at a New Year’s Eve party who innocently asks So what are your new year’s resolutions for 2006?

HM the Queen chose easy and safe in her traditional Christmas Day broadcast as she looked forward to a better 2006. Now, safe is a direct (and perhaps unnecessary) reminder of the clear and present threat of terrorism faced by the world today – a threat which ripened with explosive and tragic effect on July 7 when Londoners experienced the aftermath of one particular Battle on Ideas. But easy? Ummm, I suppose that’s a somewhat cryptic reference to the natural disasters that have groped the world in last 12 months, starting with the Aceh tsunami, followed by Katrina and the calamity of the Pakistan earthquake that claimed over 70 thousand souls in October. So I’m guessing easy because let’s face it, there’s bugger all we can do about natural disasters.

Sure, I want all those things in 2006 for me and my family. And then there are things that I believe are well within the purview of my capability to influence and deliver. So my promissory words for this new year are healthy and stress-free – chosen with trepidation in anticipation of some big challenges that we will face in the next few months, incuding major events like moving house(s), and some of us going under the surgeon’s knife.

Roll on 2006 …