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Zombie thinking exercise

I just realised that my office and neighbouring classroom are possibly one of the best defensible points on campus in terms of a Zombie attack. The main access points are along a suspended iron walk way and a second suspended iron staircase, at the back of the classroom which few people know about, both can be destroyed comparatively easily.The rooms are suspended above an open lab and the technicians work-repair room.Supply of equipment such as means of cutting the staircase, hammers, makeshift weapons, raw materials such as steel, aluminium copper and plastic rods are stored below. Gas tanks and supplies, corrosive chemicals are all also available.

Water pipes pass through the room servicing other parts of the campus. Also Huge ducts for gas removal from the furnace rooms pass through the room (the type one sees in films) large enough for a human to crawl in, not particularly strong but would last long enough to provide a means of escaping. They have outlets that are powered by fans so unless zombies are smart, its unlikely they would find themselves in the vents. The view of the surrounding area is actually very good, would have almost complete view of corridor as its open glass walls, lots of lockers to tip over to create obsticles.

The labs below us have open ceilings (ie walls but no ceiling, you can look straight down into them like a maze). This can help in creating choke points. If we kept the down stairs doors locked, the zombies likely mode of movement would involve them coming in from the first floor corridor, causing them to fall down in to the Labs on the ground floor.

Also the walls are built from concrete blocks and cement. they are not anchored properly as they have no structural use, A sledge hammer would easily smash them down which could be an option the event an emergency exit is needed and vents are not an option. Many points are available to exit out once the outer walls are reached. There are other defensible positions.
Went to Siege of Limerick in home made Tutu (under pleated mini skirt). It was an interesting effect but meant that I could bounce around and not be self-conscious about flashing.
Arrived late at event but managed to catch some DECENT doom metal. I have to say that there is something about good doom metal that inspire images of world domination in me.
Picked up an album from a band that I was interested in. I did not realise it at the time. I just walked up to the desk where stuff was being sold and these were my actual words "what is that band playing and do they have an album with the song they are playing now on it, if so can I buy it". I bought the album, put it in my bag, only later on did I realise it was Mourning Beloveth. http://www.mourningbeloveth.com/
I also did a bit of Headbanging, could not mosh due to heels. Adopted power stance and let rip. I had forgotten exactly why I had kept my hair so long, its to flake around the place to music with rocks in it.
I hurt so much.
It was totally worth it.


Its almost April, FU*K

Went to see "How to train your Dragon" last night with sibling and randomers. Most people loved the film, I was somehow disappointed. I felt that the film sold itself short, the topics and subject matter was rich and could have been exploited much better. I would have banked it as a "watch on the couch when one has a cold/flu with a cup of coca" type of film.

On the other hand I also got to see Kick Ass in the cinema, this is odd as I could go 6 months with out seeing a film in the cinema and last weekend I saw two. I cannot get over how good that film was. I suppose its the fact I am a huge anti Hero and a hero dies in the film (wont say which one) and just about everyone gets the sh*t kicked out of them at one point or another, good guys and bad.

The FYP is in its final stages, should be out of the lab soon and onto typing the blasted thing up. Then presentation and finished. Yay. That by the way, is a huge amount of work that I have signed on to. Sigh.

Oh I am having a decently hot Chilli for lunch, Im back on the stuff big time.


Writer's Block: Single pride day

I plan on either skyping the significant other for a bit and settling down to a lindor chocolate egg or going out with recently single female friends and celebrating our contempt at such a fake holiday through acknowledging it by counter celebration.
Given that we're less than a week out from Valentines, how do you feel about the approaching holiday? Will you participate or abstain? If you're not in a relationship, how will you celebrate your single status?
Okay I realise that I have not posted in ages so better get back in good habits.

So I have got the FYP back on track, have to polish off a lit review and then next week I get to make glass...and test it and make some more glass and test that and then try to find a Fluorometer and test the glass some more. Once I have lots of data I have to figure out what it means, write a report and let bigwigs criticise it a bit and bobs your uncle I have a degree. Okay there are bits and pieces inbetween but thats the big plan.

The snow was a pain in the arse but like the flood, we somehow managed to be in the proverbial eye of the storm and did not do as bad as some people 15-30 miles down the road from us. Luckily the mother decided to get another pallet of Mischanthus logs just before the big freeze. The stuff burns hotter than coal in a enclosed fire such as our Rayburn. It also burns faster than coal if you are not careful. We lost water supply for a few hours when we forgot to close the door to the water treatment shed one night. The unbiased use of a heat gun [I now know that fiber glass insulation can burn as well as fertiliser bags and the sole of my wellies] and a fan heater got drinking water back in no time and soon the remainder of the filtered house supply came back.

In my boredom and slightly sloshed state due to the medicinal properties of whiskey, I have taken up chewing ginger. I guess its a sign that I am beginning to get tired of chilli for the moment.

Dad is now in isolation in St. James Hospital. He is undergoing a stem cell transplant. Thankfully he is his own donor. The doctors did a stem cell harvest last November. Half of the treatment the mother and I administered ourselves and the final physical harvest was done in St.James. Basically they used drugs to force the stem cells out of the bone marrow into the blood, that is mightily painful and a major irritant to the body, then the Doctors use a device like a dialysis machine to filter out the cells from the blood. The Lab guys use the awesome power of centrifugal force to isolate the good cells. Now he is undergoing a complete chemo where they are going to wipe out his current set of cells and implant the donor cells. The treatment is pretty harsh and so far he has had to be sedated to help with the nausea and general pain. On the upside there has been no complications such as infections.



Tara died of a heart attack. To be honest she was not well for a long time. She had an enzyme deficiency which meant that she could not digest a lot of fats. We had her on supplements but still it probably was a strain on the body. She tripped when running to fetch a stick and appeared to catch her hind leg on the limb of a fallen tree. She limped back to us and was dead in less than 2 minutes.

I am not sure how to follow that bit of news with this bit of news with out seeming insensitive but meh here goes.

I have a nice shiny new laptop. I wanted a gorgeous number on Overclockers but it turned out that it was a custom build gaming laptop and I was unable to find out the chipset which meant we could not gamble that it would be compatible with our OS. Then the lads found a net book for 350 on line. I almost wept, it had an atom processor, something like 1.6 GHz. It was 10" across. I was devastated but decided to take it gracefully after a few tantrums. Then it turned out that the company the lads ordered from could not deliver.
The younger sibling spotted this little baby in PC world for 550. It has a dual core processor, 250 gig memory but as we could not delete "shudder" vista...as it would void my warranty.I lost a bit of space to partitions. The Graphics card is unfortunately an intel embedded one. oh and its another 17.3" except this is a wider flatter monitor than my last laptop. I feel so excited and happy. The last laptop went senile. I think the RAM was faulty and I am not so sure about the memory. Either way it would crash in special and creative ways regularly.


Belfast and stolen cars.

Belfast was an unexpected adventure.

The younger sibling wanted to leave early that friday to be up nice and early, unfortunately I got delayed when the Public health Nurse turned up just as got out of the shower, I ended up dealing with her while wearing only a towel. Classey

We hit the road in the Bright Green Volkswagen Jetta, note this car is 21 years old and has a 1.6 Liter Diesel Engine, good for horsing around but NOT fast and terrible acceleration. Note this as it will become important later.

I ended up driving up all of the way to Belfast and made good enough time. Arrived and parked the car beside Queens University Student Union Building. Went in to find we missed the sign up for the evenings RPGs [role Playing Games] but we got to meet up with some friends, chat to some of the cos players and look around the stalls. The sibling wanted to get some new board games, I wandered over to a stall that had a colouring in competition. Spent an hour colouring in a picture with markers at a table, felt like gamers creche.

Went out after about 2-3 hours to pick up the car, noticed some PSNI [police service Nothern Ireland] talking to a bunch of glum gamers but did not take much note of it, probably being booked for a bald tyre or something. Went to where we parked the car, only to find another car where our car should have been. We walked up and down the street incase my memory was faulty, nope NO CAR. Went over to the PSNI to inform them of this development. It turns out that the poor bastards that we passed earlier were reporting an attempted car robbery and subsequent damage to their car. The first thing Constable B**** said to us was that it probably was stolen.


So the nice Constable took our statements in the back of the police car, as we phoned home to explain our predicament and to ask the parents to cancel all of my bank cards as they were in my bag in the boot of the car [i had two purses, one for sterling, one for euro, had not swapped the cards out of my euro purse] We were told that it was highly probable that it will be found burned out. They took a list of all the stuff we had in the car, including the siblings laptop for uni, got me to sign the statement, gave me a slip of paper that was my receipt and dropped us off to the B&B we booked. The only break we had was the B&B was prebooked and paid for on a 3V voucher, which the sibling still had on his person.

So We are in Belfast, with only the clothes on our backs,40 pounds sterling and phone credit burning up like a demon. good way to start a weekend.

The B&B to be honest were lovely and I would highly recommend it, Pearl Court. The lady lent me a baggy T-Shirt for a night dress, put us in the apartment section of the B&B so we had access to a shared Kitchen and sitting room.

So my Saturday was spent looking for primark, the northern Ireland equivalent of pennies. Trying to get a change of clothes, underwear, pajamas and socks for the pair of us.

The only good news I got that day was the B&B over booked and instead of upgrading the next guest to better rooms they decided to upgrade us, so we got a complete ground floor apartment, with our own private living room, leather couches, private kitchen, bathroom and twin room with a divider. It was very Nice and at no extra cost. The owner-manager lady was also nice and was listening to the local radio news for any reports of our car, it happened to be the same day that the unionists declared a commitment to disarming. What some news stations did not report was that a few controlled explosions were carried out on suspected car bombs..... Also we were not far from where the Romanians were attacked not long ago http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/23/belfast-romanians-leave-a_n_219777.html

Well I missed all activities that day for Q-Con except for the table quiz and the "disco" [personally hate that word, so naff] after. The DJ was actually got WORSE since last year. We had gamers, emos, goths, rockers, headbangers, Punks, girls with Mohawk/mohican hairstyles the music was a bland mid tempo, not good enough to mosh to, not good enough to slow dance to. So we had that uncomfortable middle ground where you are mulling around uncomfortably trying to dance but really waiting in hope that something better would come on. SERIOUSLY I went to a Macra Na Ferma [young farmers organisation/youth club] black tie ball and moshed out more, they managed some AC/DC, Rage against the machine, black sabbath and metallica which the Q-con disco could not even cough up, Q-con DJ did cough up Barbie Girl by Aqua......enough said.

On Sunday I gave up the car as a dead loss, joined a kick ass RPG, paranoia http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/rpg/series.php?qsSeries=19, had loads of fun singing the loyalty song, my character was the happiness officer, I made sure everyone had lots and lots of happiness pills. Did well except just before the end of the game, I feared that my character was going to be captured and as this would count as theft of property belonging to "our friend the Computer" I committed suicide. so it turned out that the only reason why I did not win the game was because I killed my character [thinking it would come back as a clone]

Just before I was going to leave to catch a bus down to Limerick, I decided to call the PSNI and see if there was any news for me. To this end the Reception of Queens Student union allowed me to use their phone. The car had been found. It was in coelraine, one of the thief's were captured with the car but the guy at the desk had no further information for me.

At this point I would like to thank the Dragon Slayers [gaming soc] for stepping in and pulling strings to get accommodation for us on campus. So we hung around Belfast until Monday.

Monday, we pack up our stuff into bin bags and prepared to head up to Coleraine, only to discover that the PSNI had not started forensics on the car. It should be noted that phone calls are horribly expensive, even to receive them, this was crippling us, the mother had to call 5 police stations to get the ball rolling. In the back ground once or twice she hear it being referred to as the Fenian car, the police thought it was funny because as cars go, it was stupid one to steal. It is slow and stands out as it is one of the few green jettas in the country as they were never made in green day one.
So we had to stay another night in the student accommodation. Funds are long gone for me, Brendan has his bank card and is dipping into his personal savings.

Tuesday we get the bus up to coleraine, to get the car. We had to pay 150 pounds recovery fee, out of pocket. The insurance company were not inclined to help us as it would be cheaper to scrap the car. Now the car is worth a lot more than its book value, the brother wanted to keep it long enough to make it a classic car, we had the engine rebuilt, power steering installed, the body work done up and resprayed [professionally for 2 grand,] new sound system installed 3 weeks ago, I helped to wire and solder in, new radio, fancy indicator switches, extra lights and wiring installed. In short it was NICE.
The car sustained some damage to the body work, we dont know if the chassis is damaged yet. The front left panel is badly dented, bumper damaged and brackets broken, indicator lights miraculously working despite the case being shattered, paint flaked off a few places.They attempted to break into the boot but failed so all of our stuff was still there, Including the siblings Laptop and computer gear. The left, front passenger window was damaged, the glass is okay just the gears-wire system to raise it was broken inside the door, so it was stuck open. The new Radio was taken but they did not mess up our wiring, so re installation should be easy, around the steering wheel is a mess, they pulled out the wires for the the petrol gauge and heat gauge as well as the wipers. In short the car was drivable but was damaged.
So we phone our mechanic at home, the guy is a walking genius, seriously he has patents for batteries and stuff. Inorder to drive the car home we had to hot wire it and disable-remove the steering lock properly. He talked me through removing the steering lock, got most of the way through except I needed some special equipment to unscrew the central bolt in the steering column, so the garage boys finished the job, took out the broken bit of metal that remained of the lock and reassembled. The sibling and I changed the tyre.

At this point the Officer that arrested the guys and got the car turned up. He wanted permission to take the seat covers to see if he could get fibers for evidence.

He told us that he was on duty in a police van and noticed the car,with the guys inside looking dodgy. He decided to pull them over [breathalyze or check license etc] but they drove away, he gave chase. Our poor jetta managed a full 100 miles per hour or 160 kilometers per hour. We are frankly amazed. They hit into a few things while driving and threw stuff at the police van such as beer cans. They pulled into a country lane and stopped. The driver, fast off the ball escaped through the fields, it was 2 am so the police could not see him/follow him. The passenger was not fast enough and got sprayed in the face with CS spray [tear gas] and by looking at all the foam on the side of the car [snot and mucous] he got a face full.
Later that morning the driver broke into another house and stole a set of car keys and subsequently the car. He was arrested not long later.

When we asked if we should sue for damages, the officers reply was classic, "you can't get knickers off a bare arse". the driver had spent six of the last 8 years in police custody or in jail.

We got the car home, despite the fact it rained on us and we had no wipers, thankfully it happened on side roads and on the dublin road but we were stuck behind a slow truck so we were okay. I was in the front left passenger seat so I got soaked...

Now we are waiting to see the actual extent of the damage from our mechanic and the chances of repair as well as cost.

so not a good year so far.

Drinking in a Nursing Home

Lets see.

We decided to tell grandad that dad was unwell and had Myeloma, okay we never mentioned the "C" word, just what the disease was all about. Grandad is currently staying in a nursing home as he has been suffering from chest infections. Beyond that he is pretty mobile and lucid.
Things were going well on Saturday night, we watched the game in the day room. The nurses were taking out the other patients to bed, so we got it to ourselves. The Grandfather enjoys a night cap before going to bed, a glass of whiskey or the like. The nurses turn a blind eye as it is usually only the one and he is never any trouble. As he had company he had decided someone was going to join him in a drink [as it was good hospitality] My aunt and Uncle were there as well as the parental units and I. My Uncle was on duty as an ambulance driver and could not drink, my aunt was off duty but was driving. My Mother was driving and the father was on opiates so he was content anyway. So Responsible Parenting stepped in and I was told that I was taking one for the team, and was handed a generous glass of whiskey [ie 3-4 measures, we work on the policy, pour generous now, saves time getting up and pouring more, in the long run]

There is something surreal drinking in a day room of a nursing home [okay I know, I know, I used to drink sherry when I was small with my grand aunt, she was of the generation that saw nothing wrong in giving a 9 year old a "small drop" every now and again] Getting steadily drunk while your sober family looks on is very odd. I thought I was in the clear when I finished the glass but a can of Guinness was also opened and I had to finish it off as well [thankfully I learned to drink with old men]. Still I got terribly paranoid and anytime a nurse passed by I was ducking the glass off the table, not realising that the Can was in plain view, drunk logic.

Lets see, we also managed to do 2 cuts of silage, not a proper cut as the grass growth is all over the shop, which forced us to cut one or two fields at the time instead of all at once. We are doing another cut on Thursday and hopefully two more from the second crop in September. Although last year we did a cut in October-November.

On Friday I will be going up to Belfast with the younger sibling to Q-Con. A gaming convention. I went last year and dragged the sibling along as we both could probably get some class of culture there or something. This year he is dragging me along as I need to get out more and talk to "real" people. Apparently sock puppets dont count.


Okay Update

I mentioned in the entry on april 27 that Dad was unwell. In march he sustained a broken rib. The rib broke when he sneezed on a flight back to Ireland. He had been in Doah [near dubai],part of the reason he was out there was to visit his brothers and the other part was because my uncles recommended a medical facility to get him checked out. Dad had been complaining of ill health since last September and before that was just getting run down. We had him checked out in the Midwestern Regional Hospital, Mallow and St. Johns as well as the hospital abroad, all of them said that he was fine and just needed to take it easy. The sickening thing is that we made the appointment with the oncologist through our GP in January and the soonest they were able to book us in was early May, the guy was booked solid. Once he was looked at by the oncologist, things started to move. He was admitted to hospital the same day [tuesday], got a bed the next, had an MRI scan, a series of bone marrow and blood tests and a confirmed diagnosis by friday.

It turns out that Dad has Cancer. Multiple Myeloma. Its an incurable Cancer. It affects plasma cells that produce antibodies. One of the side effects is that your bones decalcify, that would explain why his rib broke from sneezing Unfortunately the delay in diagnosis has meant that 3 of my fathers vertebrae have turned into swiss cheese and have began to collapse in on themselves. The rest of the spine is damaged to various degrees. The spinal chord is still in tact which is good. With treatment what remains of the bones can recalcify but unfortunately this is only strengthening and filling in the gaps in the remains of the damaged bones, not fix the collapse or heal back to the way they were. They have still to check the rest of his bones. Dad starts Chemo tomorrow and is on steroids at the moment.
The only good news is that he has a dedicated pain management team and they are not the airy fairy bunch that tell you to visualise a happy place full of sun and bunnies, these guys mean serious sedatives and happy drugs. There is a good chance of remission, unfortunately he is guaranteed that it wont last very long and the cancer will come back. They can treat the returned cancer and he can buy more time but each remission gets shorter and shorter until he builds up a resistance against all treatments. By my calculations, he wont see 65, if he makes 60 he is doing well.

Now I have the great difficulty in figuring out how to steralise the dog. We want to keep the place clean while dad is on chemo and Tara is a house dog. I am thinking of by weekly washes in tea tree shampoo and keeping her indoors so she cant pick up muck. We are lucky that her bed was always hygenic for a dog. From the day I bought her bed, I had a system where I wrapped the core pillow thingy in two black bin bags and sealed that with tape, then covered that with the outer fleece layer, that could be washed in a washing machine.


Oh joy.

Yesterday the father had a check up with an orthopedic specialist in our local care center [formerly a hospital in the 50s-60s it has since been used as a rehab center for people recovering from car crashes and hip replacements, very small] Dad ended up getting X-rayed in many interesting poses and then told he needed to go into hospital.

This is where the fun starts. They got dad into the Regional in the evening, around 5 PM. The Accident and Emergency area was packed. The overflow trolley area was filled so he ended up in the corridor and 20 hours later is still there. The wards are full and there is nowhere to put him. To be fair his doctor came down and talked to him this morning. Things have not improved by the fact that Nenagh and Ennis both have lost services especially after 7 pm and the regional was not expanded to take the over flow. To put this in context. I was admitted into hospital in January, before Ennis and Nenagh hospitals lost services. I spent 7 hours in A&E and was given a bed in a ward. I thought that was bad, there was only 3 beds in the overflow ward that night and two of them were drunks sleeping it off who needed a few stitches. That was on a Friday Night. Dad went in on a Tuesday afternoon.

By the Way the Mid western regional Hospital [limerick] A&E is divided into 4 areas of unequal size. There is a sit down waiting area which is small. Can hold about 8 people at best, walls have cracks and holes where plaster has been blown out of it, that is the least of the troubles. There is a big central area, thats where the ambulance drops off their charges on trolleys. that can take about 6 trolleys two rows deep, three across with enough space between for someone to check up on them. I have seen 8 or 9 there but then its sardines level of packing and a doctor wont be able to get to the middle. Then there is what I suppose is triage. This area is pigeon holed out into mini rooms with examination beds and mobile blood pressure recording units. Here is where they take bloods and see if you are likely to die immediately. If they think you are going to live but still need attention then you are in for a long wait. Finally the overflow ward. This area is, as far as I can tell, for emergencies and is a mini ward where they can put patients on trolleys until they can deal with them. In short it does not have great capacity. Also it takes a lot to get as far as A&E, there is another waiting room outside A&E where you wait to be admitted.

The only ones that have a hope of getting to the head of the queue are people who have something immediately life threatening such as a heart attack. Considering that if you lived in the back of ennis [say 15 miles into the back of beyonds in Clare] your survival chances are dramatically reduced compared to me who happens to be 25-35 minutes in bad traffic from the regional, last ambulance we called out took 20 minutes, must have been speeding, just as well as dad was bleeding out at the time from severe wounds [nearly completely severed his leg]