sawyl: (A self portrait)
Via the Guardian, the deeply disturbing discovery that ebola has something in common with Mira Grant's deeply creepy Kelis-Amberlee virus:

In an interview with the New York Times he revealed that months after his apparent recovery the pressure inside his eye, which had been dangerously elevated, began to drop and he felt his eye was turning to mush. “The eye felt dead to me,” Crozier said.

The biggest shock came one morning about 10 days after his ocular symptoms started, when he saw that one eye, normally blue, had turned green. It transpired that the inside of his left eye was teeming with live, replicating virus.

Truly disturbing...

sawyl: (A self portrait)
A gentle afternoon hanging out in west Devon, doing a spot of bouldering and recklessly endangering ourselves with a spot of longboarding. Mikey, master of all things outdoorsy and risky, showed us how it was done:

MC longboarding at the Barn

Although our attempts were but a pale shadow of the master, both E and I manage to hold on to our nerve long enough to make it to the bottom of the straight track. Although unlike everyone else — all apparently completely fearless — we both balked at the hard left turn down yet another hill that took them off through one of the farm buildings. We also declined to start from the top of the hill on the main road — something to save for a more suicidal session — but that didn't stop it from being good fun and didn't do anything to strip away our feeling of achievement...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
I'm not quite sure who set up the distribution cupboard in our place but whoever it was, they clearly weren't a neatness freak: it's so jumbled and untidy that it's hard to trace from the meter to the night-time clock to the fusebox — because we still use them — and on from each fuse to the individual circuit it controls.

Since everything but the lighting circuit and what I suspect must be the instant hot water is on a 30A fuse, my back of an envelope calculations, in combination with today's blow-out, lead me to suspect that the shower needs to be on a 45A circuit to run at full power. I the original shower, gone long since, must have been under 7KW whereas the newer one is around 9KW but I'm confident it's still on the same wiring, so I really need to get it checked to see whether it's rated for the higher current or whether that path leads to incineration and death...
sawyl: (A self portrait)
Having had a better day than yesterday, I ditched work on the dot and went bouldering. I managed to finish a couple of new problems, one on my second attempt — I should have done it first time but for failing to spot a particularly obvious hold — putting me ahead of my overall score for the second round.

However on the way home, I was almost knocked down by someone attempting to accelerate through a pedestrian crossing — which, given that it it right next to a roundabout, is clearly an act of dangerously incompetent driver. Fortunately they slammed on the brakes and I dodged far enough out of the way to avoid any actual contact but I couldn't help noticing I was disturbingly close to their bonnet when I gave them benefit of my very best what-the-fuck-is-your-problem expression...
sawyl: (Default)
While I was waiting around to change my sports centre membership card — the old one having been so ill-used that it no longer swipes — I overheard one of the life guards asking whether they should close the learner pool because "[S]ome little kid has just been sick. In the pool and everywhere!" At which point I started to ask myself whether I really wanted to go swimming after all...
sawyl: (Default)
Today's classic comment from a colleague: "I hope X will let me take a day off to go to the dentist. I've got a slight toothache and I don't want it to get worse. Someone else had a problem and it turned into an abscess before they had time to get it treated..."
sawyl: (Default)
Trying to read on the bus in to work this morning, I was systematically distracted by the bizarre reactionary paranoia of a couple of my fellow passengers. After one of them opened with some comment about something they'd happened to see a drunken student do the previous evening, they were off and flying, blaming the world's ills on: students, immigrants, the unemployed, cyclists, feminists, the young, the old, and, it seemed, anyone who wasn't them. As an example of empathic failure, it was nothing if not comprehensive.
sawyl: (Default)
Midway through this morning's kaffeeklatch, I started to develop the deep conviction that I was supposed to be elsewhere. I checked the calendar on my phone. Nothing. I charged my memory for an account of my appointments. Nothing. And yet. And yet. I couldn't shake off the growing paranoia that I was supposed to be elsewhere. Eventually I gave in to my anxieties, made my apologies to [livejournal.com profile] doctor_squale and returned to my desk where I discovered that I'd somehow confused yesterday morning's meeting with today... Typical.
sawyl: (Default)
Perhaps I'm being too judgemental, but I can't help but think that texting whilst cycling isn't a good idea. Especially when you're riding along a busy bike and pedestrian path right next to a canal. But what do I know? Maybe the woman I saw doing just that was texting a cure for cancer or a passing on the last few lines of a new Theory of Everything, although I rather doubt it...
sawyl: (Default)
Cosmopolitan barbecue and Just Dance party chez [livejournal.com profile] doctor_squale. I managed to avoid the dancing — I'm so appallingly badly coordinated that my (thankfully rare) attempts at dancing usually end with things being broken and a trip to casualty — but others were much (MUCH) less restrained.
sawyl: (Default)
Soirée musicale a St Margaret's in Topsham in aid of Shelterbox. The program was a charming mix of pieces for voice and pieces for clarinet — Finzi songs and bagatelles, some Mozart, Fauré and Bizet songs and, to end, Schubert's delightful The Shepherd on the Rock — and a good time was had by all.

After assisting with the washing up of the interval tea things, we adjourned to the Globe Hotel for a couple of hours of amiable conversation, before heading back to Exeter. The journey back took slightly longer than expected after we got lost in a Ballardian nightmare of a housing estate; a sort-of Stepford in the making, where half the roads terminated in unfinished dead-ends while the other half simply seemed to loop back on themselves like giant tarmac Mobius strips. For a moment, I feared we would be condemned to drive the same roads for ever, but, thanks to the superior navigation skills of [livejournal.com profile] doctor_squale we managed to break out of the loop and get back on the (wrong) main road into Exeter.
sawyl: (Default)
Slightly against my better judgement I've moved a whole load of reading materials from their previous storage location — a couple of teetering shoulder high stacks in front of the TV — and piled them up on a previously under-used shelf above the desk, thus exchanging the risk of death by book avalanche for death by catastrophic shelf collapse.
sawyl: (Default)
Thanks to the Indy, I think it's going to be a while before I contemplate having baked potato and beans for lunch:

The dead rat climbed or fell into the tin at the factory, according to a post mortem which established it had been entombed during tinning.

It's well worth clicking through for a photo of the dead, tomato covered rodent in all its mummified glory...

sawyl: (Default)
I sleep well. I sleep the sleep of the just. I am level-headed. Logical. Unflappable. Good in a crisis. Unafraid of things that go bump in the night. But early this morning, I found myself beset by the strangest attack of the horrors.

Woken unexpectedly, I found myself convinced that there was a Nameless Horror in the living room. After a few minutes, I was able to gain enough control on my paranoia to make it to the bathroom. But, once there, my fears multiplied again leaving me all but paralysed by indecisiveness. Eventually reason won out and I was able to persuade myself back to bed. But I didn't make it back without switching on all the lights to check and checking all the corners for eldritch terrors.

All very uncharacteristic. I blame Charlie Stross. I'd rather unwisely started reading The Fuller Memorandum just before bed and something obviously took up residence in my cranium. Something squamous and rugose and with an enthusiasm for non-Euclidian geometry.

Tonight I'm taking no chances. I'm going to be sleeping with my copy of Practical Combat Epistemology, a violin close to hand, just in case a possessed Uncle Fester lookalike should really happen to drop by around the turn of midnight...
sawyl: (Default)
Discussing books over coffee this morning, [livejournal.com profile] doctor_squale suggested that I should try to do a sponsored read; to see how many pages I could get through in a 24 hour period. But to make things more challenging, he suggested I limit myself to Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle and the daunting Anthem.

Reader, I declined.
sawyl: (Default)
I had been having a reasonably successful day. I had an enjoyable run first thing. Work went well. I arrived at the stop just in time to catch my bus home. I managed to fit in a decent swim.

But. Because there's always a but.

When I got out of the water, I discovered my locker key was gone. Fallen off its rubber band. I retraced my steps and searched the floor of the lane I'd been using. Luckily one of the other regulars offered to help and quickly found it for me. Kudos. He was especially pleased because he done it without glasses.

Key safely recovered, I went to get changed. In the process of fetching my stuff, I managed to hit my head on the door of my open locker. Very much an injury on top of an insult. But I seem to have survived largely unscathed, excepting a minor, painless lump on my scalp. I don't even have a headache. Perhaps I should be grateful.
sawyl: (Default)
I've been reading Justin Cronin's The Passage and listening to Radiohead's The Bends — a combination guaranteed to make the rest of the world seem joyous and uplifting in comparison.
sawyl: (Default)
I'd assumed that no-one in the right mind would want to eat a Manchester egg — a potent combination of picked egg, black pudding and breadcrumbs. But I was wrong. I made a throwaway remark about it to one of my colleagues, only to discover mere minutes later, they'd already formulated a plan to try and some shipped down to Devon.

I fear I might just have ruined my colleague's health forever.
sawyl: (Default)
Travelling home from work the afternoon, I saw a crash avoided by mere inches. As my bus was turning right, it paused to allow a police car to jump across the junction into Sainsbury's. A car, whose view of the approaching police car was obscured by the bus, assumed that because the lights were green it could cross straight over the junction. Fortunately the two spotted each other just in time to stop, but they came to rest less than a foot apart.

Makes me glad I don't drive.
sawyl: (Default)
On the evidence, I suspect that Stross might be reading my mind. Or at the very least, following me around with a notebook:

All bureaucracies obey certain iron laws, and one of the oldest is this: get your seasonal leave booked early, lest you be trampled in the rush.

I broke the rule this year, and now I’m paying the price. It’s not my fault I failed to book my Christmas leave in time—I was in hospital and heavily sedated. But the ruthless cut and thrust of office politics makes no allowance for those who fall in the line of battle: "You should have foreseen your hospitalization and planned around it" said the memo from HR when I complained. They’re quite right, and I’ve made a note to book in advance next time I’m about to be abducted by murderous cultists or enemy spies.

I'm never going anywhere without my tinfoil hat ever again...

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