Spraying the Rays

The Alternative Radiographer

30 August 2006

It is Happening Again...

Some years ago, as we were passing the time of day over a pint or three of London Pride (this being in the dark days before the advent of Twickenham Fine Ales), Mr Bob Swipe happened to mention to me a new TV series he had been watching and recommended it in glowing terms. "Phenomenal", "Sublime" and "Outstanding" were just some of the words he would have used had he known what they meant.

Well seeing as his previous recommendations had revolutionised my leisure time through the introduction of Drambuie shandy and plastic sheeting, what was I to do? I made it my business to watch the next episode of this monumental drama. And score up another bullseye for the enigmatic self styled "Swipester"; I was hooked. I bring this to your attention because the sixth and final series of this unmissable program starts again tomorrow night. It is of course:

The Sopranos

The story so far: the Welsh Valleys are in the iron grip of an organised crime family masquerading as a travelling opera troupe; the Bledoweudds. The Heddlu De Cymru seem powerless to intervene against the various "waste management" scams perpetrated by the family involving the hijacking of lorry loads of manure and subsequent selling on of this valued commodity to rose growers in the affluent metropolis that is Cardiff. With the head of rival Swansea crime family the Gwenfrewis under arrest and facing trial, will "Godfather" Bleidian Bledoweudd (he's the one with the fiddle) make his move?

Next week: The Tweenies. After the poor reception for Fizz's solo album, is there any truth in the split rumours?

29 August 2006

Mickey Mouse

here, here and here. Why are all these many and various organisations united in their desire to oppress me? Whatever happened to Freedom of Choice? I demand the right to a version of the Championship table where Hull City are not rooted to the bottom.

It's a Mickey Mouse league anyway. At least now we can concentrate on the Cup...

Next week: Championship Manager.

26 August 2006

Dean Windass

be still my beating heart!I was going to post an MPG video clip of Deano's legendary goal against Wycombe Wanderers in 1994, but Blogger doesn't seem to want to let me. In the meantime let's enjoy this picture of the great man himself.
STR rating: 10/10
Next week: Half Life

24 August 2006

Gamma Camera

These are used in Nuclear Medicine Departments to take pictures of peoples insides. Gross! Working in Nuclear medicine departments is cool! you get to inject people with radioactive isotopes and take pictures of the results! Beats Happy Slapping any day. Some of the people you take pictures of are a bit poorly and are miserable. Downer, man! Others are perfectly alright but because they have got Money a rich doctor has persuaded them that they need a scan even though there is nothing wrong with them.This helps the rich doctor get even richer. This is called Private medicine. If you work in Private medicine you will probably get to play with a Gamma Camera like this one:

But if you work in the NHS your gamma Camera will probably look more like this, and break down a lot because it is very old:

What happens then is that your camera breaks down again but this time no-one can find any spare parts to fix it. Next some people with a nice new Gamma Camera at a Private Diagnostic Centre will come along and say to your hospital, "hey, why spend all that money on a new scanner? we will scan your poorly patients for you if you give us some money; it will be much cheaper." This seems like a good idea to the Finance Director and so your department closes down, and you get to go home and do lots of gardening and play Doom 3 a lot.

Next thing you know they renegotiate the Service Level Agreement and suddenly it costs a lot more to send people to the nice private scanner with the proper coffee and the posh carpets with no sick or wee in them, and the Hospital can't afford to send them there any more. Instead they have to go to another Hospital that still has a Nuclear Medicine department and wait a lot longer to have their inside pictures taken.

Maybe it would have been a better idea for the hospital to have bought a nice new scanner for the poorly people in the first place. I'm sure it can't be that simple though. Still what do I know? I'm only A Radiographer.

STR rating: posh gamma camera 9/10; broken gamma camera 0/10

Next week: Dean Windass

22 August 2006

Pointy Stick

Batteries not required
Readily available

Very sharp when it was your sisters turn.
Didn't impress other kids at school.
Not available in metallic red.

STR rating 2/10. A bit crap really.

Next week: Evaluation of collimator response modelling in 3D-OSEM iterative SPECT reconstruction

Fender Telecaster

This is basically two different shaped bits of wood bolted together in the middle with wires stretched across it. To make it work properly you connect it to a machine with lots of knobs on it the most inportant of which is labelled "volume".

It is a funny sort of toy because all it seems to do is make quite unpleasant noises when you touch the strings. I have had mine for more than ten years now and it still makes the bad sounds when I play with it. I have had different ones before that since I was since I was about sixteen and they were all pretty much the same.

My friend Bob tells me that that this one is a bit like the one Scotty Moore of the Antarctic used to play with Elvis when he wasn't out discovering Poles just after other people had discovered them first.

Bob and I used to be in a club together for people who played with these toys; it was called a "band". We all used to have one of these apart from one of the boys who got to sit down at the back and hit things. He was a bit odd. When we made the noises people used to get upset and told us to stop. Some people went away until we had finished.

Mrs Radiographer says that the best way to look after these is to leave them in their special cases and not take them out. Not ever.

You will notice that this guitar has a rosewood neck. This is because I am a boy. it is a well known medical fact that only GURLS play guitars with maple necks. Except for my Ibanez Blazer which doesn't count.

STR rating: 7/10. The last bit of furniture to go on the fire.

Action Man Deep Sea Diver

I mean what was the point? By blowing or sucking down the line you could make Action Man sink to the bottom or rise to the top of the water. But did my mum ever let me fill the bath to the top so that I could try it out? Did she b*llocks. As far as she was concerned the Swinging Sixties just weren't happening; it was still wartime and we were only allowed to have 5/8 of an inch of water in the bath. Hardly got his weighted boots wet.

In the toy department at Hammonds, which became Binns, then became Hammonds again, they had a big dustbin sized tank with a window in the side so that you could see Action Man going up and down underwater. Did my Dad ever offer to convert our dustbin into such a facility so as to maximise their investment in this toy? To be frank, no he didn't. No wonder I have ended up so bitter and resentful, is it? Should hardly have been a surprise to my parents when at the tender age of 24 I ran away from Hull to answer the lure of London and ended up as a healthcare professional.

Spraying the Rays vintage toy rating: 2/10. Complete waste of money.

Examples of the helmet alone from this set are estimated to be worth 2 to 3 million pounds.

Next week: the Fender Telecaster.

21 August 2006

Matchbox Motorway

Instead of motorised cars taking power from a live track like Scalextric, this worked by a long continuous spring being driven round the track in a groove. By fixing a pin on the bottom of any matchbox car it would engage with the spring in the groove and be driven round the track. So any of your favourite Matchbox cars (or other make...although I seem to remember it struggling a bit with the larger scale Corgi or Dinky cars) could be raced.

You could either have two cars on seperate grooves going the same way, so that you could race them, or you could load it up with loads of cars and have the two tracks going in opposite directions like a motorway.

It even had a feature where BMW and Mercedes models driven by arrogant middles class tossers resentful that they couldn't afford a proper car like a Rolls or a Bentley could be driven within inches (to scale) of the more modest vehicle in front and ignore all the normal rules of the Highway Code. The Matchbox Range Rover with the Countryside Alliance sticker could be parked at the side of the track but unfortunately this meant that the rest of the cars stopped moving for some reason. An extension set was available with extra track and despite objections from my sister, planning permission for this extension was granted across the front room carpet and her toy conservation area had to be cut down.

Plans for a special Feltham edition where the cars could be stolen and driven off the motorway and set on fire by twelve year olds high on Booze and Drugs were abandoned for technical reasons.

Even poor condition examples of this toy are now going on eBay for as much as £3,500. Blimey!

Next week: the Action Man Deep Sea Diver.

Crap Things A Radiographer Used to Do In The Days When You Had To Make Your Own Entertainment...

In response to Swipey Bob's most recent post; well I'll see your "Track and Field" and raise you a Waddington's "Formula One". A game of skill and judgement...the dice were only used to decide whether you spun off or not, apart from that YOU decide how fast to go through the bend and what line to take; the more your speed was over the "safe" speed the more loaded the dice were to indicate that you were in the "kitty litter" as Martin Brundle would describe it. Each player had a cardboard dashboard which indicated current speed, tyre and brake wear and what lap you were on. You could get ahead early in the race by driving wreckless Ericly but you would trash the brakes and when you got to 5 on brake wear you spun off on every corner, had to accelerate from zero each time, and when inevitable your more conservative opponents overtook you on the final bend they would play their "Swivel on This" card as they roared past.

I retrieved this game from my parent's loft a few months ago and forced a randomly selected 9 year old PS2 owning daughter into a game; she loved it. Amazingly priced at £59.99 here. What a bargain.

next week; the Matchbox Motorway with extension set.

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