Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Scammers really piss me off!

I got this today...

From  Mr. Kone Karim


Dear Good Friend,
I am Mr. Kone Karim
an accountant working with one of the Commercial Bank here in Ivory Coast, I am contacting you on business of transferring the sum of Eight Million United States Dollar (US$8 million) into a safe foreign account and it must be very confidential.

I needs your help to come out to stand as the next of kin to late Mr. Burckhard, Erich, customer of our bank who died in plane crash on Monday 2ND September 1998 GMT 14:22 UK while they were flying from New York to Geneva.

Take note of my reason of contacting you, this fund is dormant and if it stays a little long the bank will block the fund. The depositor is now where to be found after all my investigation of the file through our bank server.

However i contacted you so that the proceeds of his account with our Bank can be paid transfer to your account and then you and I will share the money fifty fifty, I have all the formalities to legalize it on your name, Note that all the modalities of this transfer are RISK FREE, I want to make the following points clear for you so that you can have a better understanding of why we are contacting you.
1-As civil servants, we are not permitted to operate or own a foreign account while in office due to CIVIL SERVICE CODE OF CONDUCT.

2-A reliable foreign partner abroad is required for assistance to claim the fund as the case may be.

3-You will be forwarded as the next of kin to the late depositor of the fund.

Open bellow site for confirmation. http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/9809/swissair.victims.list/index.html

Upon your response i will give you the next step to take for the transfer processing on your name.

Thank for your understanding, you can reach me here for more explanation
Regards
Mr. Kone Karim
And I've had enough of this crap, so here is my reply.

What your profession is and for whom you work I neither can nor will pass comment on. However, I do know that you are a con man and are trying to get innocent, trusting people to give you money because you are dirt. Dirt that dogs avoid urinating on because their piss is worth more than you. Maybe you'll get lucky and someone who has worked hard for many years and saved some money will trust you and you will get their life savings. You'd like that, wouldn't you. To make sure that someone who wants to HELP you ends up being conned by you would be good, wouldn't it? It would make you feel a big man wouldn't it? In fact you are scum, a dirty little low life. My address is shown below, Why don't you change your ways and then come to my home and apologise for being a fool. I wonder why I don't think you have the guts to do that.

I'd love ti read your comments on my reply.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Elation!

About five years ago I started to get pain in my left calf. The cause being a blockage in my femoral artery just above the knee. I found I couldn't walk far without getting "the burn". About three years ago I started to get a similar problem in my right leg, but the blockage was in my iliac artery, so it effected my whole leg.

As I wrote earlier, Andrew Holden and the Radiology team at Auckland Hospital fixed my right leg in September. Since then a minor blockage was found in my left iliac artery. That got fixed six weeks ago.

Last Tuesday I spent two hours on the table again. My left femoral artery is now a beautiful clear pipe rather than a lump of sludge.

And, folks, that is hard for me to find words to describe. I haven't been able to walk properly for years but can now. To be frank, I've felt less than adequate; there was so much I couldn't do. Now I hope that there isn't much that I can't do. Ten years ago I thought nothing of playing two rounds of golf a day. That ability dwindled so that two trips to the dustbin hurt. Elated? You bet I am!

Again I thank Andrew Holden and the team at Auckland Hospital for what they've done for me. Not only is it very special to me, it is special in a global sense. Blockages of this nature in the arms and legs have been, at best, difficult to treat, there is simply to much movement soft tissue movement involved for a normal stent to work well. Bypass surgery and endarterectomy are the treatments of choice. That is changing and I have the priviledge of being part of that change. A flexible stent has been developed by Flexible Stenting Solutions that can be used in cases similar to mine and I am the eleventh person in the world to have one! Mr. Holden is conducting the first-in-man trial and I'm a part of it. The effect of this treatment for cases like mine will be mind-blowing for suffreers.

The results so far are superb; overwhelmingly so. My future has changed dramtically and boy am I looking forward to it. I said it to him in hospital and I'll say it again here, in public. Six months from now I'm going to play a round of golf with Andrew Holden. That's all 18 holes on a proper course. I'll not be trying to beat him, I just want him to see what a change he's made. I also want to buy him a damn good lunch 'cos he deserves it!

I'd also like to thank Louise and Cleo in the Radiology department who looked after me both before and after the procedure. You're stars, thank you!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

I've be recanalised...

...And you have no idea how wonderful that is!

Between 09:45 and 11:15 yesterday morning I found myself at the mercy of Mr. Andrew Holden, the Associate Professor of Radiology of The University of Auckland and, that dear reader, was an amazing experience. In that hour-and-a-half he placed a handful of stents (six I think) into my common iliac arteries and restored the blood flow to my right leg. As things were there was no discernible pulse in my right foot, my foot was permanently chilly, I had the pins-and-needles sensation so typical of diabetic neuropathy and walking any further than a few yards at a very sedate pace was out of the question. I can now feel the pulse in my foot, it is warm to the touch, the pins-and-needles have abated significantly and I would be very surprised if I can't walk as far as I damn well like!

The stents have opened up the artery around the large (~70mm long) stenosis in my right common iliac artery. I lay there and watched it happen folks. The arteriogram at the start of the procedure showed no blood at all going past the stenosis; it looked as if the artery simply didn't exist beyond the first few millimetres. He then placed the stents and more contrast agent was injected and I saw it. A clear pipe of the correct diameter. I had tears in my eyes.

What's more, he thinks that a new type of stent could be used on the similar blockage near my left knee and I'm going to see him in a month or so to set that up.

I guess the real reason of this post is to say to

  • Mr. Andrew Holden
  • The Radiology team on Level 5 of Auckland Hospital
  • The staff on Ward 41 of Auckland Hospital, particularly:
  • Jim Richardson;
  • Katherine;
  • Swarna;
  • Clotilda;
  • and all the others of you whose names I cannot remember.

THANK YOU!


You're stars, each and every one of you. You cared for me and about me.

WITH ALL OF MY HEART, THANK YOU!

p.s. I hope I wasn't that bad a patient.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Result!

Getting my leg done is a result. I actually had another result. I got a Vodafone mobile last Friday with, for once, a good number attached to it - 021 274 6664 - which doesn't look like much at first glance but when viewed as

021 2SIMONH

it's pretty damn good!

My thanks to Paul Baylis of First Mobile in Mount Eden for arranging it. If you are looking for business mobile or landline solutions then Paul's the man to talk to.

No more Burning!

For the last few years I've burnt, every waking hour of every day. Tomorrow I stop burning.

"What", I hear you cry, "is the idiot on about?" You've heard of athletes having "the burn" and you may well have had it yourself. I have "the burn" but not through strenuous exercise. Mine is caused by a blockage in my Right Common Iliac Artery. (The Grey's Anatomy bit: Big artery, the aorta, runs down the middle of your torso and splits into two smaller arteries, the common iliacs, which feed your groin and legs.) I have a blockage near the top of the right hand iliac such that the blood flow to my right leg is minimal. Just walking to the mailbox hurts. Getting wood from the wood shed bloody hurts. Walking to the corner shop is beyond contemplation!

No more though! YAY FOR ME!

At 1 o'clock this afternoon I go into Auckland Hospital for two days to have tandem stents put into the blockage. (More Grey's Anatomy: a stent is an expandable wire mesh tube. Stick the stent in the artery where the blockage is and blow up a balloon inside the stent. The stent expands and the artery expands with it, making it a pipe again.)

It's taken 5 years of pushing the Health Service to get it fixed. 5 YEARS! Ho hum.

I'm so looking forward to being able to walk again. To being able to play golf again. To converting some of the 5 or 6 kgs of excess weight I have into muscle! I used to have good legs and a butt that got admiring comments from ladies. I shall have them again! I was actually pretty fit, I used to play two rounds of golf a day regularly, I couldn't play two holes at the moment.

I will be fit again!

I'm also more than a bit trepidacious too. Which is daft, 'cos the procedure is done under a local anasthetic but it still frightens me. A lot more than I'm really prepared to admit.

Monday, 25 August 2008

The Banting Homestread

As all you insulin dependent diabetics know, Sir Frederick Banting kept you on this earth. Without Sir Fred you and I would be dead by now. Without Sir Fred millions of others would have died before their time. Without Sir Fred billions in the future would die long before their time. Without Sir Fred, we would not have insulin.


The homestead where he was born and that gave him inspiration to do what he did is in disrepair and needs restoring. Please, visit the website and make a donation to help preserve a unique and, for diabetics, a very special place. My best friend, M, says she would like to visit the homestead and kiss the ground. I want be next to her!

Thank you, Sir Fred, for the gift of my life.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Professor Randy Pauch


A couple of hours ago I found out that Professor Randy Pausch has died. If you haven't heard of him or his last lecture then please, find an hour and a quarter and watch it; it's on YouTube here.


Actually, no, don't find the time to watch it, give him the time. Go on, do it now, he is worthy of that time. Very worthy of it. To say that he is inspiring doesn't do him justice. He knows that he's on borrowed time and he's happy; he's having fun; he is full of life! His legacy is one I'm sure we can all learn from and the world is a better place for his having been here and a sadder place for his passing.

Of one thing I am sure, wherever you are now Professor, I bet you're having fun!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Enhanced Stimuli Alternative

disorder noun 1 lack of order; confusion or disturbance. 2 unruly or riotous behaviour. 3 a disease or illness. disordered adj. (from Chambers dictionary)

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Attention Deficit Disorder. Both names are valid and both contain “disorder”. And I’d rather to like to change not only the name but how we see and handle it. So, I no longer have ADHD, I have…

Enhanced Stimuli Alternative or ESA

And I don’t suffer from it, it’s a gift I have that’s to be enjoyed and used!

Consider some of the people who have or had this gift

Wolgang Amadeus Mozart – I can’t stand his music but there’s no denying his genius.
Billy Connolly – Irreverent and at times rude but his observation of the human condition is second to none.
Robin Williams – Comedic genius of our day.
Alexander Graham Bell – Appropriate name for the inventor of the telephone.
Albert Einstein – The scientist’s scientist.
Vincent Van Gogh – Handy with a paint brush.
Jack Nicholson – He’s about As Good As It Gets as an actor.
Steven Spielberg – Close Encounters Of The ESA Kind?
George Bernard Shaw – The Importance Of Having ESA?

… and the list goes on, including many statesmen, inventors, scientists, authors, actors and so on. And yes, I know some of that list are guesses, damn shrewd ones though!

The point is that a significant proportion of humanity has ESA, significant enough that it isn’t a disorder but an alternative. We don’t consider red hair a disorder and yet there are twice as many people with ESA as there are with red hair!

Many students with ESA are expelled or suspended from school because they have ESA. I suggest that happens because the education system is set up to deal with the other 95% of students and simply doesn’t know how to educate those with ESA. Those with ESA are seen to be a problem. A lot of schools celebrate students with high intelligence; those who are gifted. It is high time the educators learnt to see ESA as a gift and deal with it accordingly, giving those with it the help an encouragement to excel, as they almost certainly will.

Why is it a gift? ESA minds are like blotting paper; we absorb knowledge. ESA minds are imaginative; from our dreams and imagination come ideas and inventions, we push the envelope way out of shape and, because of that, we come up with things others have never thought of. We are always “on the go”, we are stimulated by our surroundings rather than stagnant.

Take a few of the DSM-IV criteria:

Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
Expected for what reason? Does it actually matter if we move around? If the observer was blind, they wouldn’t even notice that we weren’t sitting down. Yes, I know our voices would move around but does that make a difference?

Often has trouble organizing activities.
Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
Is often easily distracted.
Often forgetful in daily activities.

We aren’t the organizing type, we lose things because our minds are on more important things and we forget the hum-drum of daily life for the same reason. People have secretaries to do the organizing for them. Rather than chastise us, help us. Give us a little help with that sort of thing and, in return, we will give you the fruits of our thoughts, like the telephone and the electric light.

Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
You want us to do what you want, not what we want. Why do we have to? It’s your expectation governed by you. We think differently, please, just accept it. I seem to remember that those who thought differently were called heretics and suffered badly for it.

We don’t have a brain disorder, we have an enhanced brain. Be glad that we do, you couldn’t use the phone if we didn’t! Don’t knock us and tell us we’re weirdos, rather say “Wow! You have ESA, that’s cool, ‘cos I know that you could invent something wonderful.”.

We could even have our own slogan –

ESA – the minds that bring you stuff.

Seriously, try looking at us from another angle and see our strengths. You might just be surprised at what you see!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The First Post

I've been a JAFA now for 13 days, a JAFA being "Just Another Flaming Aucklander". "Flaming" is commonly replaced by an alternative. No prizes for guessing which one.

My house is enormous, 165m² (1,775ft²) and lovely. It was built in 1928 and has 10 foot high ceilings. The doors are all 2' 9" wide rather than 2' 6", which is the norm these days. There's a window seat in the lounge. The view from the back of the house is superb, I can see One Tree Hill; which won't mean a thing to most people but if you are local to here you'll know what I mean.

Here's a few pictures... excuse the mess, they were taken the day after I moved in.



The view - One Tree Hill is in the far distance


From the window seat in the lounge through to the back of the dining room


Some of the kitchen showing the spare area behind it

The kitchen from the breakfast area

There is still an enormous amount of unpacking and sorting out to do so I'll post more when my feet touch the ground.

I miss Paraparaumu greatly but Auckland does have benefits, there is far more social life here.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Last Post

Well, last post from Paraparaumu anyway. The removal men are due to turn up at 7:30 this morning to start packing and on Monday next week I'll be in my new home in Papatoetoe in Auckland. I even have a picture or two for you...



69 Hillcrest Road, Papatoetoe, Auckland

The inside is stunning! All polished wood floors and well decorated. The pics above were taken by the landlord but I'll take some better ones once I'm there!

There will be a house warming party some time soon, to which you, dear readers, will be more than welcome. I'll let you know the date when I've got it worked out.

Yesterday was another last post, Mabel Inglis' funeral. Mabel reached the grand age of 100 last November. I had the honour of producing the reflections presentation for the funeral and of being a pall bearer. Thank you, Rosemary, for those honours.


Fare thee well Mabel, may your shadow never grow longer.

I have no idea when I'll get the chance to post again but I hope it will be soon. There'll be lots to tell you about my new home and Auckland, I'm sure of that!

To my friends here in Paraparaumu the Trunklator has this to say:

I'll be back!

It's now 6:30 in the morning and so I must sign off and get packing, literally. Wish me luck folks, I hate bloody moving!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

JAFA in the making

I've already mentioned this.

I'm moving.

To Auckland.

I am to become a JAFA. JAFA for those who aren't in the know is an acronym for Just Another Fu...Flaming Aucklander.

Auckland has the distinction of being the largest city in New Zealand. Somewhat over 1,000,000 souls live in the greater Auckland area, which is rather sad for New Zealand as a whole. Housing costs are high and the traffic is a nightmare. The problem as I see it is that the national infrastructure cannot support a city of that size, roughly a quarter of the population of the country live in Auckland and there simply isn't enough money in the pot to cure the problems.

However, I digress. As I said, I'm moving there because I have been offered a job that pays me considerably more than I earn now, roughly tripling my income. I know I'm silly, but I ain't daft! To decline that sort of income would be stupid in the extreme. A client of mine is going from completely manual to computerised and they've asked me to join them to handle the IT side of things and to take over from the Office Manager who is leaving in March.

There is a curates egg element to it. I like living here and have friends here who I shall miss dreadfully but I do need to look to the future and having a little money would be rather nice. I don't need a lot but to know that when the shit hits the fan I can deal with it has a lot going for it.

What I'd forgotten was the personal trauma of moving. I have to find somewhere to live and that isn't easy. I have two cats and rental properties that will allow pets are few and far between. I'm also down here, rather than up there, so viewing properties is awkward at best. Whilst I could select a place from a distance, most landlords actually want to meet the prospective tenant so I have to be there. I do go up to Auckland for a day or two at a time, but my time up there is limited and must be shared with work so there's some serious juggling happening.

I have to pack the house up here. I don't have a vast amount of stuff, but enough to make it more than a trivial task. Particularly when my trips to Auckland mean that I loose half a day on each side of the trip. Travel can be bloody tiring!

Whilst I have lived in Auckland before, I had few friends there and have lost contact with them now, so I'll be rather on my own when I get there. It'll be good to make new friends and have places to go and things to do. It's one of the down sides of living here, there is little in the way of entertainment locally. I decided some time ago to take up golf again. I bought some clubs and was all set to go to the driving range and start getting some sort of swing back. Bugger! The driving range closed down shortly after I got my clubs! The nearest one is an hour's drive away which, by the time you have added the petrol cost makes it impractical at best. At least there are plenty of ranges and courses in Auckland!

Anyway, by the end of the month, one way or another, I shall be JAFA.

Watch out Auckland, here I come!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Caption Time

'M' over at Being 'M' caught this guy by the beach today and I'm sure he's saying something.

Over to you folks, captions in comments please.

© 'M', 2007

Friday, 21 December 2007

Pets, Drugs and Rock and Roll

A recent comment on an earlier post, Ritalin vs Rubifen ,prompts me to say a little about the symptoms of ADHD and the drugs used to ameliorate those symptoms. My comments are, of necessity, subjective but I have seen the medicated/unmedicated state of others with the problem

The symptoms -

My mind wanders. Not just occasionally but most of the time, to the extent that it is extremely difficult to concentrate on a task that is uninteresting or particularly difficult. Repetitive tasks are almost impossible. You remember the school punishment - One hundred lines "I must pay attention to teacher"? Well, for an ADHD sufferer that itsn't a punishment, it's a torture. For us, ten lines is a punishment, twenty is a severe punishment and anything over that is indescribable.

My mind will go off at a tangent. It doesn't matter how important the current situation is, it will go walk about. For example; I am in an important meeting trying to sell my services for lots of money and somebody walks past the window. My train of thought just derailed. Crashed and burned. I'm now thinking about how much I'm enjoying the book I'm reading or counting the number of cars going past per second. Annoying to say the least and I can't stop it happening.

Most people will engage brain before speaking. Not me! If I had a dollar for every time I've had my foot in my mouth I'd be a millionaire ten times over. Now think of the effects of those dropped bricks. How many people have I offended over the years? Did I want to offend them? Of course not, but I couldn't help myself when I did it.

Do people answering questions before you've finished asking them annoy you? They do me and I'm one of the worst culprits.

Do you have a "To Do" list? I do, sometimes. Do you prioritise that list? I do, sometimes. Do you complete the list? In the order of priority? I don't, ever!

We all daydream, to some extent. I daydream constantly only it isn't just A daydream, it's SEVERAL, simultaneously. Do you have a tune running round in your head? Some tunes just stick, don't they. Do you have half a dozen? I do (usually rock songs), and it's very annoying.

I guess we all fidget occasionally. I fidget a lot and I don't even know I'm doing it. I must have driven my teachers mad with my inability to sit still.

Those are just some of the symptoms of ADHD that I suffer from and have done all my life. However, I now take Dexamphetamine and every single one of them is significantly diminished. I don't even have a tune in my head at the moment. I managed to write this post too and, believe me, without Dexamphetamine or Methylphenidate, that just wouldn't have happened.

I'm not addicted to Dexamphetamine. I've been taking it for a year or so now. Some days I don't take any. Some days I take two, depending on what I'm doing. But I am not addicted to it. Nor was I addicted to Methylphenidate, which I took prior to Dexamphetamine.

The point of all this was Me's comment on the previous post.

Subsidies for an abuse addictive drug (Ritalin) don't make sense. Kids and adults need pets, not drugs.

To subsidise abuse of of Ritalin or any other drug would, of course, be madness. Personally, I am intolerant of drug abuse in any form and would not hesitate to inform the police of anyone who I found either abusing drugs or selling drugs illegally.

There is, to the best of my knowledge and experience, no evidence that either Methylphenidate or Dexamphetamine are addictive.

Pets (I have two much loved cats; my girls) and love and understanding are wonderful. We should all have them. For those of us who have ADHD and for whom medication is efficacious then we should have that medication available.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Meep! Meep!

Poor old Wiley Coyote, didn't matter what he did, it failed. Luck was never on his side and sterces accidit was his motto.

Not all coyotes fail. Meet Charlie.

© Shreve Stockton, 2007


Charlie is the companion of Eli and Shreve. He lives with them in Wyoming and he's cute. Actually, no, cute doesn't cover it. Charlie is way past cute.

Take some time out and read all about him. Shreve is rather good with a camera, as you'll see on

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Dear lowlife

There is a medal called the Victoria Cross. It is awarded "For Valour" and is the highest military honour awarded by the British Forces. There is a civilian equivalent, the George Cross.

The US equivalent would be the Medal of Honour.

At about 1 a.m. this morning, someone broke into Waioru museum and stole nine Victoria Crosses, two George Crosses and an Albert Medal.

This post is to the lowlife who stole them.

What for, arsehole? It's pieces of dirt like you that give the rest of us a bad name. I hope you are ok with being despised and reviled by everyone who has gone in harm's way. Did you even think that if it wasn't for people like those who received those medals, you could well be in a Nazi concentration camp now? It didn't cross your mind? I suppose that's not surprising for scum like you whose IQ wouldn't make room temperature.

Hand them back now please, with an apology, and the kicking you will most certainly get might not be that bad. Fail to hand them back pronto and you sure as hell ain't going to enjoy the results.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Pack up my troubles...

cats, goods, chattels and other detritus and move my sorry butt to Auckland.

I have a job! I'll still be doing my Dr. Simon stuff on the side, but I have a permanent job to go to. Whilst I love my work, it isn't that secure and I do have to have the tiniest eye on the future. NZ$60,000 a year and a car goes a long way towards doing that.

The firm I'm going to work for have been all manual up until now, no computers at all. My task is to bring computers in and make them work sensibly for them. I'm looking forward to it immensely!

For the first time in my life I feel as if I've grown roots here in Paraparaumu, only to have to tear them up and say goodbye to all my friends round here and that will hurt, big time. There will be a lot of tears on my face when that happens in the new year. Hell, there are tears in my eyes now just thinking about it. I know I can come down here and visit,and vice-versa but it's a helluva long drive - at least 8 hours plus stopping time. I'll also have to live in a city and I'm not a city boy, they always seem so impersonal and rowdy. Constant car noise and the like doesn't make for a peaceful life. But then I will have easy access to galleries, theatres and other goodies that the countryside doesn't have.

There are two definite upsides though. Auckland has excellent support of both diabetes and ADHD!

Anyone fancy moving to Auckland with me? I'll be very lonely there and I'm really not looking forward to that. And if you already live there please say Hi? Some friendly faces will help me greatly.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Small, MEDIUM, Large

I had an interesting and enjoyable experience last night. I went to see Kelvin Cruickshank (His website is here), a well known medium. There is a TV show here called Sensing Murder (Website here) that has three mediums investigating unsolved murders. I have to be honest, I haven't seen the show myself as I don't watch TV, but I'm reliably informed that it is excellent.

I was, quite frankly, amazed. There were about a hundred people in the room and he discussed some of what he does and talked to a number of people, giving them messages from family members and others who had died.

I have always been a skeptic regarding communication with spirits, I am much less of a skeptic now. When he was talking to people, he was getting things right. He would talk to someone and ask them if so-and-so had died. I would say that 9 times out of 10 he would be right. He would ask them if they'd died of this-that-or-the-other and again, the majority of the time he would be right. He would then tell them what he was being told to tell them (by the spirit), regarding people and things in their life and yet again, those people and events would be pertinent.

Yes, there were some inaccuracies. Yes, there was some spurious stuff. Yes there were names that didn't make sense to the audience member he was talking to. However, the vast majority were spot on. If he'd been hammering nails then his thumb got very few hits!

You might think that the people in the audience were plants; paid to be there. Not a chance. The cost of paying that many people would bankrupt him in a hour.

There was no evidence that I could detect of the Forer Effect being used. He wasn't making generalised statements that people could find a fit for. Statements like "I'm talking to your mother and she died of cancer." or "Your father played bowls." aren't general. Very specific and more often than not, right.

He wasn't doing the "Is there anyone who has lost someone called John?" trick (known as shotgunning), where there are bound to be a number in the audience. He would ask for a microphone to be given to "That lady/gentleman there.". He would then talk to them directly and give usually accurate information. He started talking to one lady about a young man's suicide. There was no one in her family that had committed suicide. He then said that the young man had hung himself. He was right! Not a family member, but the lady in question had discovered a young man who had hung himself in the bush. Kelvin then went on to discuss a number of things with another lady and her sister, who was also in the audience. Kelvin was talking to their mother. He had the feeling of an excess of jewelery about the mother. And yes, the mother did wear a lot of jewelery, much more than average.

That is just one example, the rest of the evening was just as startling.

Am I convinced? No, but I'm a lot less sceptical than I was!

One day I hope to meet Kelvin or one of his colleagues in person and see if he can get an answer to my question to the spirits. I'd like to hear one word to show we are on the right track. I then would like two words. I plead for those two words, they are desperately important to me. Give me those two words and I will be totally convinced. There will be one less skeptic in the world.

In the meantime....

Thank you Kelvin!

P.S. If someone happens to have recordings of Sensing Murder then I think I'd rather like to watch them.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Diabetic Denial

I strongly suspect that the majority of diabetics who read diabetes related blogs and forums have their diabetes under control, or are working towards that goal. Unfortunately, there are a large number of diabetics out there who aren't under control simply because they have trouble coping with the fact that the have diabetes in the first place.

The husband of Wife of a Diabetic is a case in point. That saddens me, as I have been in the out of control place, and found that being in control was worth every second of the effort it took to get there.

So I decided to help, if I can. What I would like to do is visit every non-compliant diabetic and help them get past the problems. That ain't going to happen so, the next best thing is to provide a place where they can partake in a forum and, even more so, those around them can have a forum for discussion on the issues. Therefore...


now exists. If you know someone to whom this is even remotely relevant, please, point them at http://diabymous.drsimon.co.nz.

I hope it does some good!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Perhaps... maybe

Is this the start of a cure for Type 1 diabetes? We can only hope it is.

Article on Stuff about pig cell transplants

And yes, it is only first steps but we have to learn to walk before we can run. :)

Saturday, 6 October 2007

The Blogger's Choice Awards




You have until October 19th to vote for your favourite blog. Go on, go and vote, the more recognition good blogs get, the better.

I was thinking of nominating myself for "Most Obnoxious Blogger" or "Worst Blog of All Time" but I decided not to. Someone who hates my blog can have the privilege!

Friday, 5 October 2007

The Diabetes OC Webring

I'm feeling all privileged now. I've been included in the Diabetes OC Webring. You'll find the ring navigation in the sidebar. Please, go for a browse round the ring.

I think it's wonderful what the web has given us. Before it we had the support of our local diabetics, if any. We got such information as the medical profession deigned to give us which, from memory, was close to zero. We were, to a greater or lesser degree, on our own.

We can now get more information than we can possibly handle. We can talk, via forums and blogs, with a host of other diabetics all over the world. We can get support when we need it and, we can GIVE support when others need it. That, to me, is a source of joy.

Take, for instance, Wife of a Diabetic. She has an outlet for her frustration and sorrow and a means of getting input from others that she could never have had before the net.

TuDiabetes, DiabetesForums, Six Until Me and Diabetes Mine, along with many other blogs and forums, give us all a chance to improve our diabetes and to help others improve their diabetes. We get the chance to ask questions about our problems and issues and the chance to answer the questions of others. We have access to the same information as the medical profession itself. Whether we can interpret it correctly is another matter! To give some idea of the amount of information we now have at our fingertips just goggle at the number of results Google gives for diabetes; ~36,500,000. That's one heck of a lot of information!

The point is that the internet has changed the world. Not just for diabetics, but for everybody. I can read and look at information on just about anything I want (And rather a lot that I don't want!). We can be aware of developments and events shortly after they happen. We can publish, to a very broad audience, our own thoughts and ideas.

To

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau

Sixteen years ago you started something wonderful, the World Wide Web.

Thank you!

Billions of us have a great deal to be grateful to you for.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

What the crutch?

It appears that crutches are considered an offensive weapon. Now, who would have thought that? Not me, that's for sure but the management of a night club in England seem to think so, as this article details.

I wonder what else would be considered an offensive weapon? Handbags? They're pretty effective. Glasses and bottles? Long recognised as a weapon of choice in nasty bar brawls. What other sharp things do people carry. I can't really think of any at the mome... AH! Yes, I can! All of us who are insulin dependent diabetics carry nice sharp needles and lancets and, of course, we would use those as offensive weapons at the first opportunity, wouldn't we?

Moi? Sarcastic? Damn right I am!

Here's a brief message for the management of the Hush Enigma Club in Newton Abbott, Devon.

Come down out of the trees and rejoin the human race.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Justice SEEN to be done.

Those who read my blog will have noticed that I keep an eye open for injustice, particularly where it concerns those who are ill or disabled in some way.

This time it's the other way round; justice HAS been done.

48 year old Richard Paey suffers severe pain from the effects of a car accident, back surgery that went wrong and multiple sclerosis. Richard, like many others, took marijuana to ease his pain. And, of course, that is illegal in most of the world. Rather than turning a blind eye to his marijuana use, he got busted and sent to prison for 25 years (the minimum sentence). He's been in prison for the last 3 years.
Read the whole story here.

But, by now, he should be OUT of prison. The Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida have given him a full pardon. Justice, seen to be done.

Govern Crist and the Cabinet - Well done!

Richard Paey - Congratulations! You should never have been in jail in the first place!

I very much hope that Richard can continue to use the medication he needs without police intervention. I fear that may not be the case.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Shoot Them!

The first day of June, 1979 was a Curate's Egg day; good in parts.

I had been offered a job at a carpet store and was going for a look round the place. What's more, I had a hot date that evening. I lived with my grand-parents in Sunninghill in Berkshire and my (not very) trusty Triumph Bonneville had taken me to my new boss' house in Egham. We went on from there to Burnt Oak (North London) in his car. The sun was shining and all was right with the world.

I had £8-50 in the bank, damn all in my pocket and a hot date. I needed that £8-50! A couple of doors away from the carpet shop was a branch of my bank, so off I toddled. I gave a cheque to the teller and waited whilst they phoned my branch to clear the cheque. Yes, that's right, telephone; this was 1979, no desktop computers back then! The time was about ten to three in the afternoon and my day was still good.

At five to three the day started to go downhill. Hmmm... downhill doesn't quite cover it. Turned to total shit would be closer, but still doesn't really do it justice.

Three blokes came into the bank wanting to draw some money too, but their cheque bore a more than passing resemblance to a sawn-off shotgun. The bloody bank was being robbed!

It didn't sink in to begin with. They were wearing caricature masks, so was this a student prank? It just didn't register until I found myself looking down the barrels of the shotgun. You ever looked down the barrels of a loaded shotgun from six inches away? It concentrates the mind wonderfully, believe me on this one!

The robbers were telling the bank staff to do this and do that or "we shoot the customers". The staff were rather stunned and weren't that quick off the mark. No surprise really, this wasn't an everyday occurrence for them. However, one of the staff WAS on the ball. He had dropped out of sight as soon as the robbers came in and had pressed the alarm button which alerted the police directly. No siren at the bank though, so the robbers didn't know this. After a couple of minutes, the robbers worked out what had happened and panicked. They wanted out of Dodge, now!

There were two loud bangs and the robbers were out the door like a rocket.

The customers consisted of three middle-aged ladies, a very tall Australian man and me. The robbers didn't want anyone interfering with their get away. The ladies weren't a threat, but the Australian and I were a different matter; we could try to be heroes. So, to prevent heroics, they shot the Australian in the arse and blew the back off my right calf. No way either of us was doing anything!

I didn't even feel it. I just stood there wondering what was going to happen next. Ten seconds later my brain started to register that something hurt, something hurt big time! I looked down and... "OMG! WTF! Some c**t call an f**king ambulance!" I was hobbling round the bank, dripping blood and screaming blue murder.

I woke up to find my leg on an upturned waste paper back, and the three ladies comforting me. Shortly after that an ambulance turned up. They put me on a stretcher and rolled me out of the bank. "Not so fast", says I, "I want my £8-50!". Yeh, I know, dumb thing to worry about but I wasn't exactly thinking straight at the time. I got my £8-50 though! The police had turned up by then too, believe it or not, they had gone to the wrong bank. A crowd had gathered outside and I gave them a royal wave as the ambulance men wheeled me out. As I said, my brain was not firing on all cylinders.

Off we went to Edgware Hospital. I had my trousers cut off me which upset me, I was wearing the only suit I had! The fact that the trousers were shredded didn't matter, my bloody suit was ruined. The police turned up wanting my name and other trivia. The cops wanted to tell my family what had happened. There was no way I wanted them turning up on my grand-parents doorstep telling them I'd been shot in a bank robbery, it would have given them heart attacks, so I told them they were NOT to do that under any circumstances and that I would phone them and tell them myself. Which I promptly did. "Hallo Nanny, just thought I'd let you know that I'm in hospital." "What? What's wrong?" "Um, I've been shot in a bank robbery." I'm sure you can imagine that it was a rather surreal conversation, but at least they knew I was ok and likely to die on them. The cops ignored my instructions and went round anyway. Bastards!

Early that evening I got visited by a reporter and photographer from the Daily Mail. I was big news, as you can see!





Would you buy a used car from this man?

I had an operation on my leg that evening and was doped up on pethidine. Pethidine is good stuff, no pain at all and you can float through the clouds.



Remember that hot date? She got stood up and was deeply pissed with me. On Saturday morning she saw the paper and started eating humble pie. Not just a slice of pie, but the whole damn thing. She lived in Bracknell, about 30 miles West of London. The hospital was about 10 miles North of London but that didn't deter her. She got the train into Waterloo, then the underground up to Edgware and came to visit me.

One of the curious things with the newspapers appeared in the Daily Express. They had a picture of me that and I have no idea how they got it. It was a school photo from when I was about 15. It didn't come from my grand-parents or anyone else in my family. Not the school either, the robbery was late on a Friday afternoon and how the hell would they even know what school I went to? It's still a mystery, I never found out where it came from.

Lovely picture. ain't it. Come on folks, gimme a break, I was 15!



Anyway, back to the main story. The Thursday after the robbery, I was scheduled to have the real operation to fix my leg. The surgeon told me that one of two things would happen, if pellets had gone into the bone then he'd have to chop me off at the knee and if they hadn't then he'd do a skin graft. Suffice to say I still have both legs. I spent three weeks with my leg in a Robert-Jones Bandage, with the gentle smell of necrosing flesh wafting about the room. Why they didn't remove the bandage and deal with the infection is beyond me, but they didn't and, when it was removed, there was every colour in the rainbow in there. The wound was an oval about 6"x4" and of the original graft, there was a bit the size of a postage stamp that had actually taken. Neither I nor my family were pleased. My grand-father arranged for me to change hospitals to one closer to home that also had a proper plastic surgery department so, after six weeks in Edgware, I was let out for a week before going in to Wexham Park Hospital near Slough.

My new boss agreed to take me home but I remembered that my Bonneville was at his house, so I asked him to take me back there instead. This was six weeks after the robbery and the bike hadn't been started in that time. It damn near killed me getting that bike running, but there was no way I was NOT riding it home!

The timing of my week out was perfect. My best freind, Dennis, was getting married on the Saturday and I could go to the wedding. I wanted to surprise him so didn't tell him I was out of hospital and, instead of going to the wedding I went to the reception, taking BJ girl with me. We arrived at a good moment. No one was dancing and Dennis and Hazel were sat at a table facing the door to the hall. I walked through the door (no crutches, no way I was NOT going to walk in normally) and their faces were a picture, they thought I was a ghost! The last they'd seen of me I was bed-ridden and not going to walk without sticks or crutches for the rest of my life. And I'd walked in without even a limp. Oh and yes, it did hurt like hell but it was worth it!

This is where we starting getting in to the upside of being shot. I'd been told that I would walk with crutches or sticks for the rest of my life, because of the sever equinus deformity I had. "Not so!", says I. I was determined that was not going to happen. The only means of correcting an equinus deformity at the time was by applying a back slab plaster to the calf and foot. This is an L-shaped plsater that goes behind the calf and under the foot, and is about as much use as a chocolate tea pot. So I came up with an alternative that actually stretched the achilles tendon and calf muscles and allowed exercise. I took a belt, a lenght of string and a screwdriver. I made a loop on each end of the string and put one loop round the belt and the other under my foot, like a stirrup. I wore the belt on as normal put my leg out straight. I used the screwdriver to make a something like a twist tie in the string. As I turned the screwdriver, the string got shorter and evenetually it was pulling my foot up hard. If I bent my knee the pressure was removed. Over time I increased the number of turns of the screwdriver and it worked! I still have an equinus deformity, but it's not a factor in normal life. Indeed, if you didn't tell you it was there, you'd never notice it. Whether the...er... appliance I devised has ever been used since I don't know. I hope it has. The orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists was amazed at the results and said he'd remember it for the future. If you, or someone you know, has an similar problem, then it might be worth trying.

Back to the main story again. I went into Wexham Park for another six weeks of skin grafts and that was, for the time being, that.

The only thing I couldn't do any more was rock-climbing, the only real sport I'd ever been really interested in and I was actually quite good at it. I did start Morris dancing though which, as you may know, is quite energetic. Have a hunt through YouTube if you aren't familiar with it.

We now get to where Diabetes enters the mixture. In 1986 I'd been found to have some glucose in my urine, indicating that I was somewhere in pre-diabetes. In July 1991 (I've actually worked the date out!) I found a bloody great ulcer in the skin graft on my leg. There was no feeling in that area, so I simply didn't notice it. A blood test or two later and... I'm a diabetic! I now know that I'm a type 1.5 (LADA), rather than a type 2, but LADA wasn't known about back then.

The robbery had a profund effect on my life and is, in part, the reason why I was such an out of control diabetic to begin with. I'd fought long and hard to beat the equinus deformity and won. Then diabetes sorta snuck up behind me. It felt like all my efforrt was worthless. Oh well, that's all behind me now.

I am immensely grateful to Rosemary, a friend and client. She went to the effort of getting the copies of the newspaper articles for me. Thank you Rosemary!

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Time is money

We've all heard the saying "Time is money" and it can often be true.

What I want to talk about though is the actually "The measurement of time is money" or "How to rip people off".

I'd rather like to get myself a new watch, this one.

It's made by Skagen, a US based company run by two Danes. Their design is superb. Very smooth and understated. Have a look at the range on the Skagen website.

At first glance you would think the prices are going to be high. Not so! Hunting round on the web I found the model I want available online for US$73-97, which is hardly expensive. At the current exchange rate that's NZ$106. Yes, I will have to pay to get it sent from the US, so call it NZ$130 to cover that.

I found there is a dealer for Skagen here in Wellington. Instead of the shipping cost I'll use about $20 worth of petrol to get there and back so there isn't much to choose between the US and getting it locally.

Or is there? The US have it in stock and even allowing for shipping I would have the watch within 7 to 10 days. Wellington haven't and it would be "late September" before they would even be putting the order in! Apparently they maybe able to "source one locally". "May" does not light my fire.

Hmm... online from the US is looking better.

There is another difference that makes buying online from the US a certainty.

Online from the US... NZ$106.

From my local dealer... NZ$220. Yes, that right, more than DOUBLE the price! The dealer in the US are making a profit so it's reasonable to assume they can buy for about US$50., which is about NZ$72. There is a sales tax here of 12.5%, so the local price of NZ$220 is actually NZ$195.

Please read the update.
So the dealer here appears to be making 170% profit. Now whilst I have no problem with making a profit; we all have to live, there's profit and profit. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY percent mark up is extortion in my book.

*** UPDATE ***

I contacted the supplier in question about this and also gave them the opportunity to read this post and comment on it.

It appears that they are NOT making that level of profit and the price they sell at is the recommended retail price for New Zealand. They are forced to purchase from the main agent in Australia and the price is set by that agent. They tell me that the recommended retail price for this item in the US is US$100 which converts to NZ$143, which makes me wonder why the hell we in New Zealand should have such disparate recommended retail prices.

Economies of scale, as pointed out by the supplier, is an obvious issue but, well, why should there be economies of scale? The cost of manufacture of a good is fixed for the quantity manufactured. The shipping cost is variable but is a small proportion of the sale price on small, high value items. Why can retailers here NOT buy direct from the manufacturers, as I presume they do in the US and at the same price? I'm sure the same applies in other countries too.

My view of this may be rather odd but is it that unrealistic? Let us say I produce a widget and to service the world market in widgets I need to make 10,000 of them and the cost of manufacture is $100 each, including amortizing the development cost, etc. I fix a markup of , say, 40%, making the sale price to the retailer $140 plus whatever shipping cost there is. The retailer puts his mark up on that and that's it. Everyone pays pretty much the same price. I make the same, the retailer makes the same and the customer gets a decent price too. With the added bonus that the small guy gets as much of a chance as the big guy, totally fair, one constant price.

The whole thing seems to me to be grossly unfair on retailers and small businesses. The final customer has the choice of buying from where so ever they please. In this case, I'd be a fool to buy locally, the price difference is just to big. This saddens me greatly, I am a small business man myself and I would much rather support others like me.

I've just done a little investigation. I can buy an Intel Q6600 CPU retail in the USA for LESS than I pay wholesale here!

I think we are ALL being ripped-off, not only the consumers but the suppliers too!

Friday, 17 August 2007

I beg your forgiveness

I've just realised that it is over a fortnight since I last posted anything.

[kneels]
Forgive me please, I know you were champing at the bit waiting for more drivel from me. I have sinned and shall eat humble pie, I shall not abandon you again. It was cruel and heartless of me. You need not wail and gnash your teeth again.
[/kneels]

[PMSL]
There are times when my ability to talk complete clap-trap is beyond belief!
[/PMSL]

Get your IP address

Finding your external IP address can be a pain, particularly if your internet connection is through a router. There is, however, a quick and easy way of getting it. Dr. Simon (that's me folks) has put a little bit of PHP on his web site that will tell you your IP. Simply click on the link below and you should get a result something like this...

Your IP address is: 184.239.137.185

Easier than one of Baldrick's cunning plans.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

The cat who knows

I found this rather lovely but also rather sad story about a cat who knows when people are going to die.

Oscar lives at a hospice for those in the end stages of dementia. It appears that if Oscar visits someone then they have but a few hours left. This may sound rather far-fetched but I believe it.

My Great-Uncle Doug and Great-Aunt Em had two fox terriers - Jane and her son, Joe. Both dogs would occasionally come into the bedroom but nothing more than that. Great-Uncle Doug had cancer and was in the end stages of that terrible disease. One morning, Jane came into the bedroom, jumped onto the bed and licked Uncle Doug on the face. She jumped off the bed and left the bedroom. Uncle Doug died later that morning. Jane had never jumped on the bed before and she never went into the bedroom again. I am absolutely certain that Jane was saying goodbye.

"Joe", as he was on a Horniman's Tea Card in 1961. He was a star!

Thinking about Doug, Em and the dogs brings back happy memories of my (otherwise unhappy) childhood. They lived in a small village (Woodcote near Reading) in an extremely old cottage. Built in the 17th century and all wooden beams and low ceilings. Uncle Doug grew roses, for which he won silver medals and they kept geese. Kids - do not chase geese, they will chase back and scare the devil out of you! I was back over the gate like a rocket, angry geese close behind!

I used to visit Aunt Em regularly. We would walk for miles in Deans Wood and Fox Covert Wood. The dogs would chase rabbits and Aunt Em and I would pick wild raspberries. I'd play on the rockery in the garden, climbing mountains or having battles with tiny plastic soldiers made by Airfix. Whilst life at home was extremely unpleasant (Dog poo is nicer than my step-father was), the time I spent at Behoes Cottage was wonderful. It was fun, it was idyllic, it was what childhood was all about. Yes, I know I'm digressing, but it was important to me.

On a sadder note, when I was 18, Aunt Em phoned late one evening. Joe was a very elderly dog by then and he had been put down that morning. Aunt Em had spent the day in tears and was distraught. Unfortunately, I had no means of getting there that late at night and so it was the following morning that I caught the bus/train/bus combination needed to get to Woodcote. It turned out that Aunt Em had called the vet to come to the house to put Joe down, which he had done. Having put him to sleep, the vet had left his body on the toilet floor! How insensitive can you get? No wonder Aunt Em had been in a state the day before. I buried Joe for her. We were both in floods of tears as we said goodbye to an old and dear friend. It was the end of an era. Not long after that Aunt Em had a series of debilitating strokes; her right side was paralysed and she lost the ability to talk. She moved into a home and died a few years later. A sad end for a wonderful lady who made this little boy happy.

Thank you Aunt Em, you were a ray of sunshine. I still miss you.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Been there, got the T-shirt

Whilst I've not been as bad as "Wife of a Diabetics" husband, I have been down the road he is traveling. For many years I ignored my diabetes. When I was on tablets, I took them if I remembered it, which is certainly less than half the time. I tested once in a blue moon, if that. I never bothered to go and see the endo. The only concession to dietary changes was that I started drink diet soda.

When I went on to insulin, I took it if I remembered it which wasn't that often. My A1c numbers where in double figures; when I bothered to have them done. I kept no records of what my numbers were doing.

Basically, I started to get neuropathy in my feet, my vision started to degenerate and I was having mood swings. Basically, I made no effort to control my diabetes and I was NOT a nice person to be with.

I don't think I was anywhere near as bad as her husband but if I was the face of diabetes then it would not look good.

Fortunately I got past all that. My A1c is consistently in the sixes (and I want to see the fives). I don't have many lows at all, and those I do have aren't major ones. My diet is somewhat better than it was. Yes, I still eat High GI foods with a high GL too. I also take enough insulin to deal with those foods and a meter reading above 10(180) is not that common and dealt with immediately. The neuropathy in my feet has improved dramatically. My vision is fairly stable and I don't have the foul mood swings that I used to.

As a partner, the old me sucked - major league sucked. The new me doesn't suck. The new me is worth having around (Well, I think I am.).

All I'm trying to say is, I've been a bad diabetic and a good one. I wouldn't wish a bad diabetic on anyone.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Diabetic spouses

You all know that I'm a diabetic. It's my problem, I have to deal with it. What is sometimes rather less obvious is that diabetes effects the people around us too. Our families and partners have an important role to play in our lives. They may even be responsible for saving it. Those who love us get a pretty thin time of it as well. This is exacerbated if our diabetes is out of control.

There is a lady who writes about her experiences as the wife of a type 2 diabetic who is obviously wildly out of control. Her husband is having a bad time of it and will have a worse one. That lady is there for him through thick and thin. She loves him, stands by him and deals with it. She, and the other spouses in a similar position, deserve our support and admiration. Her blog is her way of venting her spleen. It's her outlet. Her husband won't talk about the problems and the poor lass has to have some outlet. Her blog provides that.

However, it seems that some diabetics can't see her role and the enormous contribution and sacrifice she is making for her husband. Rather than being supportive, she gets nasty anonymous comments.

Come on folks, diabetes is a large part of this lady's life. It doesn't have to be. She could walk away from her husband and leave him to it. She chooses not to. I think we should appreciate that and be supportive and positive.

Please, read what this lady has to say and be supportive. If you can't be supportive then leave her in peace. To be negative devalues her efforts. She is giving a large part of her life to her diabetic husband.

Personally, I think she deserves a medal, not approbation.

Interview

I have been inteviewed by C-Dell over at Views Of The Silent Majority. I enjoyed the experience. It made me think about why I am here and what I am doing here. Thank you C-Dell. Here are my responses.


C-Dell > As an Englishman who now lives in New Zealand you have gained greater understanding of the world, and it's many cultures. What to you think of the United States influence on the world's political Landscape?

Simon > I have a feeling my answer will upset people. Frankly, I think US influence causes more trouble than it cures. Washington is very egocentric. The rest of the world has to do what the US says or get beaten down, if not physically then by trade sanctions and similar tactics. Whilst I accept that the US must look out for its own interests, they do appear to be rather selfish.


C-Dell > As a fifty-one year old man what are the main events in your view that lead to the current political climate?

Simon > I think you have to go back to September 1923, when the British Mandate In Palestine came into effect. That started the ball rolling for creation of Israel and that pissed off the (mostly Muslim) Arab population The fracas in the Middle East has been going on ever since, culminating in 9/11 and the other atrocities since then. Please, don't think that I blame Judaism or Islam, it was the League of Nations that generated the mandate and the British who implemented it. The Arabs were, quite reasonably, upset. If someone turned up on your land and decided to kick you out then you'd be a bit miffed too, wouldn't you? Events in the Middle East have changed the lives of everyone. I don't condone terrorism. I am quite sure that Mohamed and Jesus would be appalled and disgusted by the actions done in their name.

The other enormous event was the Second World War. It changed the face of the world.


C-Dell > What is the most important issue to you as of now?

Simon > I have a couple, but they are in different spheres.

Health - the vast profits made by the drug companies. They have a captive market, If you need the drug or appliance then you have to have it or loose quality of life, or loose life itself. The drug companies are very well aware of this and milk us for every cent they can.

World Politics - Creating harmony. Why can't we all live together in peace? It isn't so very difficult and for the future of mankind I believe it is essential. We will wipe ourselves out otherwise.


C-Dell > If you could relive any moment in your life which one would it be, and why to experience it again or change it?

Simon > Over the course of my life I have made a great many mistakes but, on the whole, I don't think I want to change any of them. If I changed them, then I wouldn't be who I am now. Whilst I still have (and always will have) many flaws, I am me and happy with where and what I am now. I have a past that has taught me much and from that, my future will, I hope, be better.

There is, however, one experience I would like to relive. As a child aged 10 or 11 I was taken to the film studios where the Thunderbirds puppet series was made. I spent the day watching them make the programmes. I as given a "real" Thunderbirds uniform, a "real" Thunderbirds model, lots of still pictures and all sorts of other goodies. My mother told me all this when I was in my early twenties because I don't remember it. Not a bit of it. It's is totally excised from my memory. Which, given that I must have been the envy of every other young boy in England, surprises me.


C-Dell > What do you gain from blogging?

Simon > There is an area of Hyde Park in London called Speakers Corner. You turn up there with your wooden box. Stand on it and start talking. People sill stop and listen or pass by. If those that stopped didn't like what they heard, they could heckle and employ rotten eggs and soft tomatoes as missiles, if the speaker was a complete nutter. My blog is much the same, but without the missiles! It gives me a vehicle to say what I think. I can let off steam. I can also, perhaps, make others think. I don't want them to change to my way of thinking, but if I can help open their eyes and get them thinking too then I'd be pleased.

I also have a creative side to me, and writing is an outlet for that. Perhaps, one day, I will write a best-selling book. I might also become Prime Minister. Ew! What an awful thought.


Do YOU want to be interviewed?

Interview rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you ask them five questions and so on.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

The Performa debacle yet again

Not only did Roche tell the NZSSD about the problem with the Performa meter, they told Diabetes NZ too, either on or before 27th June.

I STILL have not received a letter from Roche regarding this.

Even more surprising, neither my pharmacy or two of the other local pharmacies have heard anything either! They have been told about the 11% bias due to plasma readings, but nothing more than that.

I have spoken to Roche about this. If you have a Performa meter, please call the Accu-chek help line on 0800 80 22 99. They will send you Advantage strips to replace your current stock of Performa strips. You then send the performa strips to their freepost address.

Why Roche have not simply told all the pharmacies to dispense Advantage strips instead of Performa strips if requested is beyond me.

I am disgusted with Roche's handling of this matter. It is public knowledge that they have been aware of this for some weeks now, to have apparently done nothing about it beggars belief.

*** UPDATE ***

I have just received a letter from Roche, dated 12th July. The letter is clear and explains the ins and outs of what's happening.

Whilst the time taken to get this letter to patients is unconscionable, at least it has now arrived.

I would be interested to see the results of Roche's investigation into their quality control but I rather suspect that wont be published. :)

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Performa Redux

It appears that Roche don't want their users to know about the exceptionally high readings the Performa meter has been giving. Roche knew about the problem on or before June 26th. That is a matter of public record, the NZSSD announcement was made on their website on that day.

I mentioned in my post on July 5th that I had received no letter from Roche advising me properly of the problem with the meter and the need for calibration. I have still received no letter, nor has anyone else I know.

It is quite possible for someone not to know about this problem and take an overdose of insulin simply because their meter is giving them inaccurate results. That could have lethal results!

I also mentioned that I know how long it takes to print and mail such a letter - around 24 hours. A week has passed and I've seen or heard nothing.

This feels as if Roche are still being reckless. Perhaps a class action should be brought against them. There are a number of people whose lives may well be at risk.

So, do any of my readers know of a good class action lawyer? If you do, please e-mail me.