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» Kids

That really gets my goat.
No, not another rant. Normal service has been resumed...

My mother, the esteemed Mrs Rakky, is a psychologist and currently works in a hospital with children. You know, I can almost hear the murmurs of “Aaaah, that explains a lot then…”

Some of the kids mum works with are severely damaged. They’ve been abused, beaten, bullied, abandoned. You wonder why some kids are fuck ups, look at the way they’re treated by the very people who are supposed to protect them.

One of the things that mum has tried to do is to take kids out of the hospital setting and let them interact with the real world in a carefully controlled manner. This can be something as simple as a trip to the supermarket, to help them understand how to behave in public, or how “buying things” works; an alien concept to a teenager who has been brought up in a family who traded drugs for their daily essentials. She also takes them out to do nice things, education fun days, to museums, art galleries. People thought she was mad to try it, these kids are out of control and my mum is barely five feet tall, in her 60s, how in god’s name is she going to deal with a six foot 14 year old boy who thinks that exposing himself is a good way to introduce himself to people. But she has a way with them, plus she takes along a cohort of strapping male psychiatric nurses, just in case.

She took a group of the little uns to the petting zoo. It was a glorious day – the staff at the zoo had been prewarned that these kids were a little different and had got some of the less easily spooked animals out so that the kids could interact with them. One of the things mum tries to encourage is for the kids to improve their communication skills, to talk about what they are doing and describe their surroundings. Stuff that I guess most of us took for granted.

One little lad, about 9 years old, was stroking a goat. He was obviously totally fascinated by it and so my mum took the opportunity to get him to talk about it. Now this kid has been in care and in therapy since he was about 5 years old. Mum turns to him and says

“Do you like the goat?”

“Yes Mrs Rakky, the goat is beautiful”

“What does the goat look like?”

“He has white fur and two things on his head and big brown eyes”

“And how does he feel?”

The boy stops, considers, then looks the goat straight in the eye and says

“How do you feel?”

Apparently the nurse who was videoing this exchange had to hand mum the camera so he could go off and wee himself laughing.

Mum retires this summer. She’s spent the last 40 years looking after the children that no one else wants. She’s been punched, kicked, spat at, flashed more times than she cares to remember and has had to talk a child out of suicide. And she never once raised her voice or raised a hand in anger. I’ve had emails from kids that she taught (mum doesn’t do email) asking me to thank her for believing in them as they now have a job / house / family and a life.

And she didn’t do that bad a job with me. After all, she created a b3tard…

Click “I like this” if you think my mum deserves an OBE, or at the least a big ice cream and a gold star for being fab…
(Mon 21st Apr 2008, 16:18, More)

» Desperate Times

I'm just a two bit whore...
Regular QOTWeekers will notice a common theme in many of my postings. That being that I am monumentally, catastrophically bad when it comes to matters of lurve. In my 33 years on this planet I have rarely had anything approaching what could be described as a functional relationship with anyone of the opposite sex. My current status, of having been single for 7 years after a 6 year relationship with someone who I saw a total of 5 times during the last 3 years of that relationship typifies just how bad I am. Lest you think I’m sat here with a bottle of cheap scotch, about to reach for the paracetemol, I’m not. I’m a nice person. I’m friendly, funny, not a minger, it’s just that something happens to me whenever I’m in the company of someone who I really like that makes me do stupid things.

And this can best be exemplified by the night I went for a drink with Huw. Not his real name, I don’t see why my shame should cause him any more embarrassment than I already did. Huw was working in my lab during my PhD. His supervisor was having some marital issues and wasn’t really around to look after him, and as her and I were good friends, she asked could I step in, which I did gladly, as Huw was 6’2”, with a lilting welsh accent and was so pretty he made my eyes hurt. He was funny and, boy, was he smart. Huw liked me, I could tell, we would spend more and more time together each day, having lunch and coffee with each other, working late, giggling over nothing. People in the lab were starting to notice and Simon, one of the post docs, told me to just go for it. So when Huw asked me out for a drink one night, I jumped at the chance.

I should have known something was awry when he asked me to meet in the local Wetherspoons. Neither of us are Wetherspoons types; I’m a pint and a games of darts kind of girl. But I agreed and we sat at our table, surrounded by undergrads all racing each other through jugs of vodka red bull. Huw seemed nervous, on edge. He was distracted and kept changing the topic halfway through sentences. I was nervous too and his behaviour was making me more so. So I was drinking way faster than I would do normally, the consequence of which was, by nine pm, I was drunk. Shitfaced. With the confidence that can only come from two bottles of cat’s piss chardonnay, I started to flirt. I complimented him every way I knew how, smiled, flicked my hair, but nothing. I became increasingly more outrageous and suggestive, hoping to get a rise out him (stop sniggering at the back, you know what I mean). Then the conversation went something like this…

“Huw, we should get out of here. Maybe somewhere a little quieter…”
“Rakky, we’re good friends, aren’t we? I can talk to you like no one else”
“I’ve got some wine at my place, why don’t we go there?”
“There’s something I need to tell you…”
“My flatmates are out, we’d have the place to ourselves…”
“I really need to get this off my chest…”
“We could, you know, take this further…”
“I haven’t told anyone this…”
“Huw, I find you really attractive, and cards on the table, I really want to sleep with you.”
“I guess I’ve known for sometime now that…”
“Or if not sex, maybe just a blow job..”
“Well, that I’m gay.”

Silence. Not just from me but from the surrounding five tables. You see, I’m not a dainty girl, less so when pissed. I could win a shouting competition against Brian Blessed with a foghorn. And I’d just announced to 20 total strangers that I was so desperate for a shag that I’d basically offered a gay man a blow job.

Everyone began to laugh. The ground didn’t swallow me up as I’d hoped and as Huw’s pretty face swum before my teary eyes, I did what any self respecting girl would do in this situation. I ran.

The next day, hungover and devastated I crawled into work to have to tell everyone that I’d not just crashed and burned, but that I’d doused myself in kerosene then lit a cigarette. And I couldn't tell anyone the real reason as Huw wasn’t ready to come out…

He came and found me, curled up in the foetal position, put his arm round me, and said “Rakky, you’re a fuckwit. And if it wasn’t for the fact that I prefer cock, I’d marry you.”

That to this day is possibly one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. Isn’t life strange?

Huw and I remain good friends. He aced his degree and went on to med school. I coached him through his interview, wrote references for him, held him when he cried like his heart would break when his first boyfriend left him and wept like a proud mother when he told me about the first time he delivered a baby on his own.

And what speciality did my wonderful Huw decide to go for, is he saving lives as a heart surgeon, restoring the faces of the disfigured in plastics, maybe leading a team at the cutting edge of HIV research?

He’s a gynaenocolgist.

So much for preferring cock…
(Sat 17th Nov 2007, 22:56, More)

» Conspiracy theory nutters

No conflicts of interest declared...
In my line of work, you can encounter a lot of conspiracy theorists who think nothing of ruining my evening and causing my arteries to clang shut by invoking the classic…

“But hasn’t the Pharmaceutical Industry got cures for pretty much all diseases these days; they just choose to suppress them as they make more money from people being sick. That’s why they’re so against alternative medicine; it can cure people cheaply and cut into their massive profits.”


To which my short answer is,


My long answer is, however;

No. It takes on average $900 million to develop a single drug. Think about it. $900 million. That’s an amount of money that even Bill Gates would have trouble finding down the back of the sofa on a regular basis. Of the drugs that get out of pre-clinical testing, 70% will fail at Phase 1 trial stage. One of the reasons that drug discovery is so expensive is that (apart from the fact that it’s difficult), the pharmaceutical industry is so heavily regulated.

Now I’m not defending Big Pharma. Far from it. Frankly, they’re a bunch of cunts. Their price fixing and handling of off-patent drugs in the 3rd world is criminal, they aren’t always transparent with their methods and data and when they fuck up, people die. But they exist to make money and if, for example, 1 in 3 people in the Western world will get cancer in their lifetime do you not think that they would exploit a cure, any cure and have us over a barrel to make money from it? Not to mention the kudos, the plaudits, the Nobel Prizes that any scientist would receive if they managed to cure the potentially incurable? The idea that they would regularly piss away close to a billion dollars while sitting on possibly one of the most lucrative ideas of all time is laughable. The there's the sheer number of people, in the thousands, they would have to pay to slap gagging orders on.

Furthermore, the failings of Big Pharma do not in any way vindicate the tofu weaving approaches of untested, unproven and unregulated alternative treatments. Of course they’re going to appear cheaper, they don’t have to be rigorously tested, they can get around all current licensing because they’re NOT MEDICINE.

And if I have to listen once more to some patchouli oil wearing twig muncher bleat on about harmful chemicals or ancient Chinese meridians or the memory of water, whilst ignoring the 50 billion dollars that the spurious nutritional supplement industry generates each year then I’m going to take my copy of Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science and ram it in their gaping maw. Then let’s see how well reiki works in getting their circulation going again, shall we?

I’m lucky enough to live in a country that gives me a choice; I have free healthcare (no matter how much it needs an over haul); I can buy all manner of magic sugar pills to help me convince myself I feel better. I can even listen to a pinched faced harridan with a degree in Unicorn Science from the University of Fabricationsville tell me that eating pine cones will help me live till I’m 205, but the second this type of magical thinking extends to using people in the 3rd world suffering from HIV, TB and malaria as guinea pigs for their Fisher Price “my first alternative therapist” play set, then, as you may be able to tell, I get angry.

Ideally I’d like to see the Pfizers and GlaxosmithKlines of this world act like they have a social responsibility. It’s unlikely to happen. But what I’d really like is for those well meaning, but ultimately deluded individuals who would have us all back in the Dark Ages to shut the fuck up, or get a fucking science degree. And leave me the hell alone when I’m trying to kick back and have a beer.

*awaits knock on door from secret cabal of lizard overlord vitamin salesmen*
(Tue 1st Sep 2009, 11:33, More)

» Cringe!

For the love of god, put them away...
Where to start? I can do these chronologically, alphabetically or by degree of mental scarring…

Ah yes. PhD, year two. Went to lab wearing fetching black shirt with popper fastenings down the front. To protect said shirt, slipped on lab coat, with popper fastenings down the front. The eagle eyed amongst you may be able to spot where this is going.
Tea break rolls around and, being the attention seeking little sausage I am, I ran to the door of the lab, faced my lab mates and pretended to rip off my lab coat, a la Clark Kent ripping off his shirt to reveal underneath the fabled “S”. What I actually did do was grab both sets off poppers by mistake, rip them open and reveal my tits in a grubby, greying bra with the underwiring poking out.

I think if you look up the word “fuckwit” in the dictionary, there may be a little picture of me next to it…
(Fri 28th Nov 2008, 9:35, More)

» Tightwads

I have a friend
who never pays for a round when we go to the pub as she says she doesn't earn that much working in a fetish club as a submissive.

Well, she's always complaining that she's strapped for cash.

(Fri 24th Oct 2008, 12:32, More)
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