30 December 2007

Almost the end of the year!

Hmm, over 2 weeks since last posting. What has happened?

Weirdness with Mother Ship continues. We are not exactly sure WTF is going on. I think this is their Cunning Plan.

Crimbo happened! I was on evening shift last week, s
o I had to work Crimbo and Boxo evenings. Crimbo brought me an iPod Classique - yay!, chox, an Oxfam-CAA goat, sundry other bits and bobs, and five ambulances' worth of people with "abdo pains". Hello! Perhaps you ATE TOO MUCH.

Boxo brought the crazy at work - four first psych episodes and 2 suicide attempts. It's not just me that doesn't care much for Crimbo.

ADO tomorrow, for which hooray! And then working NYDay, because why not take out the public holiday trifecta?

And now, some pix:

Finished feets!

Normal histology, in the sunshine, with added succulents.

And one Alice's Illusion Sock. See the pussycat?

11 December 2007

Post-accreditation fatigue zzzz...

Well, the NATA assessors didn't send us to the guillotine, then mount our heads on pikes and dance around them! So maybe it went okay. At least it's over - yay!

Many of us were really shagged out today. It's really funny how drained you can be by the stress you're too stressed to notice. I almost fell asleep at the pub at our "exit meeting" ($3 special for a pot of Stella! but I only had two).

Hopefully, work will now resume normal programming, whatever that is.

07 December 2007

Bad, bad week.

Ever since we consolidated our pathology information management system with the Mother Ship, we've been lurching from one disaster to another. We formerly both had different configurations of this system - ours was a lean, mean, results-releasin' machine, with many small scripts that didn't take too long to load and meant that the person validating results could see everything they needed to in one screen - except in Microbiology, where they sometimes ran to two screens' worth of data.

The Mother Ship has far fewer scripts, but they are exceedingly poorly designed from a user point of view. Most of the Micro scripts run to six screens, which is a big, big pain and slows us down as we bounce from the last screen (which can't be viewed by clinicians, and is where we record all the stuff we do to test organisms of interest) back up to the first screen (where it tells you what this specimen actually is, and where the Gram stain results are) and bounce back to the middle, and then have to exit out of the whole thing and go back in again to see how the final (clinician-viewable) report will look. It's insane.

And then we have the problem of worklists and electronic daybooks (which capture result entry fields from the various scripts, as defined and selected by whomever writes the worklists and daybooks) sometimes capturing the data they're supposed to, and sometimes not, and no-one can tell why.

Essentially, what this has meant to us is that we have had to change our workplace practises to match theirs, which are monolithically inefficient and not properly documented in any accepted sense of the word "documented".

Next Monday, we have assessment by NATA coming up. NATA is the National Association of Testing Authorities. From their webpage blurb,

The National Association of Testing Authorities ( NATA ) is Australia's national laboratory accreditation authority. NATA accreditation recognises and promotes facilities competent in specific types of testing, measurement, inspection and calibration.

It's not legally required for a lab to be accredited, but it's strongly recommended, and there are moves to allow Medicare benefits and funding only to accredited labs. Last time we did pretty well. At the end, a lab is issued with a set of recommendations and/or issues that must be addressed within a stated timeframe, and the date set for the next assessment. We've always addressed all of ours (not always in as timely a manner as they'd like, but still), whereas TMS seem to file all of their recommendation lists in a basement in another suburb and just plod along exactly as before.

So on Monday these people will come and go over us with a fine-toothed comb. They will be checking our manuals, for the Mother Ship-style processes we have had to implement since consolidation, and which we have had to write as TMS doesn't seem to have anything recognisable as a manual for anything they do. They've been hauled over the coals by NATA for this before, and now have shanghaied us into pretty much doing it for them. Bastards. There are over twenty of these manuals, detailing every single test, procedure, policy and protocol we use, and because we had less than a month to produce them all, they are full of errors. But we got them done.

And now there's the Great Hepatitis Debacle.

In his boundless wisdom, the section head of Biochemistry at the Other Place decided that, since we and they were no longer using the same analyser to do hep serology and most of the signal/noise ratios and interpretations had changed with the machine they're now using, that someone's hep test codes (which generate the scripts for various serological tests for hep A, B and C) had to change too. (Why is the biochem section head monkeying around with tests that are under the general umbrella of microbiology? Good question. Perhaps it's because the analysers in question are nominally biochem machines.)

He picked us.

And didn't tell us he'd done it.

And then he went interstate for a week.

The change took effect at 00:00:01 on Saturday morning. I've been in Serology this week. On Monday I was too busy to look at coding the heps (we have a general default hep serology code, which functions only to alert the Serology person that this particular specimen needs hep serology, so then that person enters the correct codes after checking the request slip and clinical details. It's a bit involved.). Tuesday I start having a crack at them, and I keep getting all these weird flags and the lab info mgmt system starts changing all my hep codes on me. Worse, the ones from last week that weren't coded right then and needed more tests added are losing all the results that they did have.
So I tell our Micro section head, and she rings IT at TMS, and they tell her that their Biochem section head has done it but "he meant to tell you last Thursday". While she's on the phone to them, I go tell our lab manager, and our biochem section head, and everyone who has a legitimate involvement in hep serology, and a few other people just so I can vent. And then our lab manager tells his boss, and also has to tell TMS's medical microbiologist (the pathologist responsible for serology). The man responsible for this disaster has been under a malign star for some time now anyway, and is going to get his sorry arse imperially kicked for this. And there have been constant IT/hep problems all week as IT try to fix up this gigantic ballsup. This "small change" wasn't even mentioned to anyone apart from IT Over There, let alone discussed or - god forbid - properly thought out and tested.

And when NATA come on Monday, if they should happen to ask me why there's been such a delay in getting heps done, and why the manual does not reflect what we actually do, I will tell them.

Not good enough, Neil. I wouldn't like to be you right now, you idiot.

26 November 2007

It's time.

What a day, what a night, what an Election Night it was!

After watching Honest Johnny concede, and Kevin '07 accept, we decided it was time.

Time to get into the T-shirts (Fight Workchoices for me, and an "It's Time" reprint for Mr P).

Time to go into the city.

Time to go to the John Curtin Hotel (which was, unfortunately, shut).

Time to look across the road to Trades Hall, where the big chalkboard said "Election Night Party! Bar Open Until 3 a.m.!) and the bar was packed.

Time to dance in the revolution.

Time to be part of the mighty crowd, to sing:

There is power in a union.

I am still on a great wave of high. Thanks, Australia.

22 November 2007

Because nothing says Xmas like ....


All I want for Xmas is a robot.

A snip, at only $4 or so, from Big W at Eppink Plaza.

20 November 2007

Self-editing: good or bad? Discuss.

(Essential background information: I have really long hair - about down to my knees when it's out, halfway down my thighs when it's plaited, which is usually)

Okay, so I didn't self-edit the gibberish coming out of my gob when I went bookshopping last Friday. My excuse? A week of overnight shift, followed by a four hour nap, and I'd forgotten what I had and had not said. I may have sounded like a loon but only a small one - just ranting about how I don't like film tie-in editions of novels and having completely forgotten that the background to this was still tucked away in my non-transparent head.

The woman I encountered in the public loos at Northland on Sunday also did not self-edit. And here is my message to her:

Dear Highly Curious and Unnecessarily Frank Person,
Next time, before you ask the complete stranger with the very long hair how she "manage(s) to go to the toilet with all that hair", consider two things: firstly, how would you do it if it were you? And secondly, is this really a question you want to be asking anyway? And when this complete stranger gives you the demonstration, by bringing her hair forward over her shoulder, perhaps next time you should just end the conversation there by thanking her.
And never, never again should you mention that one weekend, you wore a top with really long ties in the back, and you went to the toilet, and ..... Because that complete stranger you're talking to has just filled in the blanks and didn't need to know any of this.
Now if you really want a good question to ask, try this one: which one of us was more embarrassed?

It's an odd world.

12 November 2007

Yarn + cat = happy

The birthday yarn, in some of its glory, plus a little bit of The Small:

Yarn: Jamieson's 2 ply Spindrift.
Clockwise from top left: 562 Cyclamen (subbing for Ivy), 3 balls; 180 Mist (subbing for Sand), 3 balls; 1300 Aubretia (subbing for Yellow Ochre and Old Gold), 8 balls; 1290 Loganberry (subbing for Peacock), 3 balls; The Small a.k.a. Hobbes; 615 Hyacinth (subbing for Mooskit/White), 4 balls; 610 Purple (subbing for Mooskit), 4 balls; 596 Clover (subbing for Rosemary), 3 balls; and in the middle 598 Mulberry (subbing for Pine Forest), 4 balls.

Lots o' fun will be had with these balls, baby.

And I've finished the first Normal Histology. I'm not 100% pleased with it. There's some combination of purl fabric + tight socking tension + circular knitting + me (probably) that's made it ladder quite nastily in places. Places I'm not going to show you :)

For the second sock I'll be implementing a few tricks to minimise this, short of a) knitting it inside out (i.e. with the knit side facing me) - I know this would help but I don't know if I can deal with
working bobbles from the wrong side and b) knitting in on two circs - never change horses mid-stream and all that. If I make another pair I will definitely use two circs.

And now, a detail shot:

See my ducts? See my lobules? See the heel?

I'm about 85% happy with them, and will be using this instep/heel combo again.

Note: the ducts and lobules are NOT anatomically correct. I got a bit artsy with them.

07 November 2007

Belated birthday present #1 arrives!

It arrived on Monday - the yarn to make me a Venezia!

I love this pattern, and the colourwork design for it, but I am left completely numb by the colours Eunny Jang worked it up in. Not so good if you have blue-pink skin and high colouring in yer cheeks; I'd look like I was on the waitin
g list for donor kidneys and/or liver.

So quite some time ago, probably not too long after I got the Winter '06 Interweave Knits issue, I had a play with graph paper and colour pencils to see what my preferred colours would look like. Then I got out the shade cards for Jamieson's and for Jamieson and Smith, both of Shetland. I wanted to stay with Shetland wool, because the colour ranges are amazing, and also because I'm going to give the steek thang a crack.

While J & S is cheaper per ball, I prefer th
e Jamieson's colours. So I invested some dosh, for swatching. I wanted to have the colours I like, and keep the pattern visually balanced, and not have it look like a mess.

So here are some pix!

The first one, at the top, is the six swatches I did. The second is my three favourites - the top row of photo #1, and the one on the left of the middle row. The third one is a colourway I just didn't quite like enough (from the left of the middle row of photo #1), but notice how the horizontal striping effect is really minimised? I'll keep it in mind for 'ron.

And the winner?

I'm a sucker for purple!

My list of substitutions:
Aubretia (#1300) for old gold and yellow ochre;
Mist (#180) for sand; Loganberry (#1290) for peacock; Hyacinth (#615) for mooskit/white; Clover (#596) for rosemary; Purple (#610) for mooskit; Cyclamen (#562) for ivy; and Pot Pourri (#603) for turf.

I actually prefer the colours in the top right of photo #1 (lavender blues on purples), but the horizontal striping was really pronounced, so no go.

But first, a Southern Summer of Socks and a top to make.

03 November 2007

Back at work week.

And it's been a bit of a shi!t week too.

We've consolidated our clinical lab information system with the Mother Ship's, and went live on their system on Thursday. There were a few things we'd forgotten about (eg for our location on their system, we had no electronic tracking set up for donor blood units ("virtual blood fridge") much less anything in said virtual fridge) and a few things that went all surprising on us on the day.

While patient histories for histology and blood bank were migrated onto the new system, none of the patient results for other disciplines were, so Thursday in haematology land was very, very tedious as whenever I had an abnormal result in the new system, I had to refer back to the old to see if this result was an ongoing thing that had previously been commented on. Plus, for whatever reason/s, the new system was running extremely slowly.

Friday would have been better, but the interface for (mostly) biochem results fell over. To cut a long story short, this meant things in biochem-land were running over 4 hours behind schedule (for stuff that should be finalised within 1 hour) and we were getting a lot of angry phone calls.

So today, Mr P and I went to Bundoora Farmer's Market (Bundoora Park on the first Saturday of every month). To be honest, the market wasn't all that great - as markets go I prefer Preston Market, and as farmer's markets go I like St Andrews). So here's some pix from the market:

Here is Mr P making a friend in the back of a ute.

Buying some curry sauce from the bloke that makes his own. We got some korma sauce.

Buying seeds, and seedlings. This seller was all out of basil, but he had some coriander, and lots of seed packets.

But wait - there's more! Unfortunately, no more pix, because this was the point at which the camera's memory card said it was full.

We went for a drive in Bundoora Park after the market and went to the children's farm. Man, do I love children's farms! There were sheep, and cows, and sleeping pigs, and rabbits, and chooks, and ducks, and goats - yay! I love goats! - and alpacas - double yay! - and guinea pigs. Mr P is now known by three kids as "The Guinea Pig Man" after he caught them one each so they good have a photie taken with gp's by Mum. Unfortunately there were also geese. I am not fond of geese.

I got some more done on Normal Histology.

29 October 2007

What I did on my holidays.

Not much, really, which was the aim of the exercise!
I got a bit of wallpaper off, but there's still some wall area left that needs the glue washed off it. I'll leave that to Peter though, because just peeling the paper off has left me with very clicky shoulder joints.
I got some of the skirting boards sanded back. Still more to do, but it's not too hard.
I got some mending done that had been sitting around for over a month.
I played around with Ravelry a lot. Still haven't got it quite as I want it yet.
And I got a lot of sleep! I'm a pretty poor sleeper, so it's good to catch up.

It's been a very relaxing 2 and a bit weeks. I'm almost looking forward to going back to work.


23 October 2007

Photies wot I have done.

So, time to post some photies of The Knittery 4 ply Merino Cashmere Sock yarn goodness makings:

1) Vinnland socks

This photo shows off the dyejob pretty well. The Knittery doesn't have the right green, so I got a skein of undyed yarn and dye-Y-I'd it with Landscape. First I made a yellow (Wattle) dyestock, then added Marine Blue to it until it was the correct green (using coffee filters to check colour). Then I added dyestock to the slowly simmering dyebath, reserving a little stock, and put in the skein. I gave it a gentle swirl, then randomly squirted on more dyestock with a 5 mL syringe, and left it alone for a bit. While it was cooking, I made up a very small amount of black (Currawong), then squirted that on with another syringe. Total cooking time was about 30 minutes. The dye gods must have been smiling on me that day - nearly all the dye was exhausted, the colour is perfect, and the yarn came out ever so lightly variegated. I'm sure it will never happen again!

2) The Socks Which I Call "Normal Histology"

Daphne at The Knittery is giving $5 from every skein of this pinky yum sold this month to breast cancer charities. So I thought I'd do something experimental, with a norkular theme. If they're any good, I may write them up.

So far, the pattern is a toe-up, box toe construction, with one gusset inserted at the top of the instep rather than one each side of the heel, short-row shaping at the back of the heel, and bog-standard eye of partridge heel flap.

The keen of eye may also notice that the gusset is reverse stocking stitch, with some sort of lines and bobbles thing happening. All will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Three hours of my life I will never have again.

And it was worth it.

Yay! Got my Ravelry invite today - I am craftyscience!!! Added 2 of the 4 things I'm currently working on, plus one finished thing. Must backfill with photies tomorrow.

And I have signed up for Southern Summer of Socks! Been approved, just awaiting the invite.

Sleeps time now.

19 October 2007

Happy birthday to me!

And what have I done with my day? Not a lot - yay! Day Of Rest!

I'm halfway through two weeks' annual leave. I'm spending it readin' crime novels from the library, knittin', shoppin', and strippin'.

Strippin' wallpaper.


This half-way-there pic shows all three phases of Ugliness - the ugly wallpaper in question (beyond the arch), the papery backing stuff left behind when the plastic w/paper coating is stripped off (above the arch and above the door on the left) and the crappy paint job that was behind the paper after finally washing and scraping the glue residue off.

What it does not show is:
a) the amazingly bad job whichever set of previous owners did in hanging the wallpaper;
b) all the cracks in the plaster that had been papered over*;
c) how hard it was to get the backing paper off - my wrist is still a little swollen from all the scraping, hence today's Day Of Rest; or
d) the large numbers of black hairs that had been papered to the wall. Ewwww.

(* When we started stripping the placky coating, we had the amazing good luck to hit the only part of the house to which the paper had not been attached by Superglue. It came off in nice sheets, just like in all the books, and so did the underpaper. Then we hit the tough glue, and the cracked plaster under it, and I had a truly scary nightmare in which we finally got the underpaper off, and the house fell down around us.)

Remember, kids, if you must wallpaper your house, choose something that's not pig-dog ugly, use a plumb line, and start from the middle of the wall and work out. Not the other way around.

On crafty related themes, I'm debating whether or not to do Southern Summer of Socks. I'm not really a Joiner of things, but meeting new peeps is always nice, and I have a tentative pattern-ette floating around in my brain for using some of this. The Knittery's merino cashmere sock blend is a lovely yarn, buttery soft and good value. It can be a little splitty though. I highly recommend it! And if it doesn't come in any colours you like (as happened to me the first time I used it), it dyes really well. Evidence to follow, when said socks are dry and on my feets.

14 October 2007

O dear ....

Two things about which to say "O dear":

1) it's been a month since I last posted anything. And I can't remember much of note happening in that time - except I'm on annual leave for two weeks, yay! But much more importantly,
2) I forgot The Kitten's birthday two days ago. I thought it was this Friday coming. Not so bad - he's not going to remind me, after all - except my birthday is one week after his to the day.

So not only am I a Bad Cat Parent, I'm a week older than I thought!

Went to S'n'B Albert Park today (which is where/when I remembered about Hobbes's Big Day). Got my contraband yarn - 2 skeins of it - and will work up an appropriate patterny thing for it in the fullness of time - something yarn-subject-appropriate. When I got home I balled it up, and I balled up some others while I was in the swing of it.
I've also been trying to turn the mess that is the craft storage area into less of a mess. Photos will follow, if I can ever learn to take good pix.

14 September 2007

So why tell me about this ...


... and then say you don't want one?

Come on, Mr Plus One, you know what's going to happen. If you're really lucky, you won't get an orange and green Psychedalek.

Thanks to Boing Boing for the link.

08 September 2007

An odd week

It's been a bit of an odd week for this little scientist. It started well, by Tuesday it was starting to get ordinary, and then Wednesday came.

Wednesday bore some unpleasant news about which I probably can't say much right now, as we're talking with the Union about it.

Thursday retained the headache that Wednesday gave me.

Friday was an ADO (accrued day off). Mr Plus-One and I were supposed to see his Health Professional #1, but Mr P had the time of the appt. wrong and we arrived as we should have been leaving. It really tore him up, as he felt he'd failed me, and the doc, and himself, and life - which is where a person's head is at when they've got major depression and possibly the 'flu as well. So home we went. It was a beautiful day anyway, and in the arvo we went out and bought some folding chairs to sit on in the backyard and enjoy.

Today, I woke up with neck and back pain again, then somehow managed to get a bit lost trying to run an errand.

Still, it's another beautiful spring day anyway, and Mr P is in the backyard either planting things (tomatoes, basil and marigolds were mentioned) or beginning the makings of a chookery. And the cats are happy.

06 September 2007

Shiny new blog ...

... shiny new blogger. Let's see where this leads!