genie22: (Default)
A medical student in search of a new image should look no further than diet, exercise, a new wardrobe, cosmetics and a haircut. Considering the high proportion of students with wealthy benefactors, cosmetic surgery, provided it doesn’t clash with placements and lecture commitments, is a drastic, albeit acceptable form of body modification. Its more readily available cousin, body piercing, is not.

Given the previous view of piercing as a habit of socially-derided groups and exotic tribesmen, its continuing resurgence as a form of popular culture shouldn’t go amiss. The reasons as to why the medical profession shouldn’t join in the fun our artistic and musical friends are numerous, and possibly prejudicial, given that plastic retainers can be worn to keep Health and Safety placated and that piercers in the UK are subjected to strenuous environmental health checks, whilst being fully immunised against Hepatitis B and it’s cousin C. Clients of reputable piercers are subjected to questionnaire checks both before and after the piercing, detailing the risks and possible complications that may ensue with both the piercing itself and the aftercare carried out to minimise the risk of infection. A practitioner reserves the right to refuse the pregnant, those with bleeding disorders and those with previous experience of leukaemia and contact dermatitis to metal/medical instruments.

Admittedly, it isn’t practical for a medical practitioner to have piercings which are easily entrapped or injurious to others, so there goes the old chin-stud and the hordes of Camden boys dying to get a taste of it…

Genital mutilation, for one thing, is a different matter, as seen in the case of Todd Bertrang, which saw one of the world’s foremost genital modifiers jailed for five years back in May. The performance of several consensual cliterectomies on adult females put him behind bars in May 2005, much to the glee of the Medical Board of California. (Their pre-historic attitude towards female sexual freedom is a different matter) His crime - ‘risking great bodily harm, serious injury or death by practicing medicine without a license’, leading us to examine whether body modification is a form of minor surgery, and what the formal training requirements to practise it are.

The common path for UK trainees is to train as an apprentice under a skilled and experienced practitioner. The length of apprenticeship will vary depending on the policy of the studio involved, but can take from one to three years. Having completed training with an experienced practitioner, the trainee has to sign an agreement forbidding you to set up in competition within a certain distance! Anatomy-wise, all trainees must learn the potential dangers to the circulatory and nervous systems and be able to identify when a piercing is not suitable for a client. Training should include learning about sterilisation, disinfection, cross-contamination and related health and safety issues. Local anaesthetic, on the other hand, remains the preserve of medical and dental graduates – piercers can be prosecuted under the Health and Safety act for administering this to their clients. A qualified piercer must also register with the relevant Environmental Health department for inspection, once he/she chooses to practice. They must also immunise themselves against Hepatitis B, C and TB, similar to the way we medics and nurses do.

So what in the way is there for a piercing trainee to acquire a basic understanding of anatomy and physiology? Apart from experience on the job, there’s not a lot of academic time devoted to it. The Association of Professional Piercers, proponents of SafePiercing.Org have a list of parlours which meet their standards, but anatomically-speaking, there’s not much talk there. Their UK counterpart, the Association for Safe Piercing, runs a two day course, covering the rudiments of the subject, for primarily superficial procedures. Other UK piercing establishments are similarly superfluous, given the complications of piercing more than skin and fat. It is worrying that piercers wanting to undertake invasive trans-dermal and sub-dermal procedures, along with scarification have non-existent formal regulation in comparison to their MRCS-qualified surgical counterparts doing much smaller operations (e.g the removal of a fungal toenail). Piercing, like cosmetic surgery, is a form of extreme modification, and it is on these grounds that I advocate comprehensive formal training for those about to undertake it on a professional basis. How this training is to be organised, I do not know, safe for the fact it has to be more detailed than that expected of a beautician or a hairdresser undertaking comparatively superficial procedures. I believe an Access-standard course in anatomy and physiology, to the standards required of surgical nurse practitioners would suffice, along with formal registration with a medical defence body.

The right of the individual to have the freedom to appear how they please, whilst being able to contribute to society, is fundamental to the happiness of many. Body modification is undoubtedly here to stay, and whilst the pleasure gained from its practice is undeniable to many, tighter regulation with regard to the anatomical aspects of the experience is required in order to ensure clients and piercers have the most pleasurable experience possible.
genie22: (Default)
Ok, simple idea. Leave your username here in a comment. If you see the username of someone who takes your fancy leave them a message describing exactly what depraved and thoroughly rude things you would like to get up to with them.

Obviously anonymous commenting is enabled. Look at this as the LJ version of a dark room orgy.

Now go forth and filth ;-)

Link this post if you feel like encouraging the free-flow of filth
genie22: (Default)
A lovely new website where Messrs Rohin, Sunny and I shall be trading our opinions on all things political and media related.

The rest of you are more than welcome to join us; either as writers/commentators or readers.

I've just finished my maiden piece for them, on 'Brain Pills'.

Pay us a visit at
genie22: (Default)
Abracci, in the most romantic of the romance languages, means ‘to embrace’, and an embrace is the most fitting way to describe the 'hug' across the Danube from the romantic parlance of Buda to it's industrialised twin in Pest.

the journey )

the Hotel )

food porn )

gluttony is good for you )

City breaks are a wonderful, yet painfully brief way to explore a town that interests you. We thought we'd take the opportunity to capture the essence of the prettiest city around.

architecture )

highlights )

Hope you enjoyed the show :D
genie22: (Default)
With over seventy percent of a first impression being down to visual impact, not to mention the increasing sexualisation of society, the need to keep things patient-friendly (read conventionally attractive) on the wards is more important than ever. The best way to make an impression, it seems, is to be irreplaceable. And in the words of the goddess Chanel, to be irreplaceable means being different.

Read more... )
The choice is yours; may the force be with you.
genie22: (Default)
Apologies to anyone I have removed from my FL.

I'm finding that things are getting busy round 'ere and keeping up with you all is a mission! My little sister, [profile] nalidixicacid told me my full-time job was 'staying in touch with my mates' - so not the way a fifth year medic should be!

I've removed the people I feel I've got the least in common with/I have the least rapport with.
genie22: (Default)
New York City is internationally renowned as the place a lot of people went to fulfil their dreams. Whether the dreams were the proverbial American one or not is irrelevant - these immigrants were focused, and it's this focus to the point of brusqueness that seemingly drives the city which never sleeps.

Q - How many New Yorkers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A - It's none of your fucking business!

Twenty-four hour delis, bars, eateries and streetwalkers abound the Hotel Skyline in Hell's Kitchen, home to West Side Story. Mid-Manhatten, exemplified by Times Square and it's resolute commercialism is a mere ten minute walk from our home away from home. The hotel is comfortable but incompetently staffed - breakfast is uber-expensive (so we choose the more authentic and less pricey Westway Diner and Bread Factory down the road), drinking water has to be purchased and the staff don't communicate in English, safe for answering rudely to all queries and asking politely for payments. Fawlty-Towers NY style, let me tell you!

So Fawlty Towers was left well alone, sleeping arrangements and showering excepted. The first day was spent shopping, absorbing the pure-Americanisation of it all. A coffee at the Dean and Deluca opposite the Rockerfeller Center, home of the NBC studios (who make ER) went distinctly unappreciated by the Fussy and Fussier so we split for the first time.

We ended up splitting and re-uniting for dinner many a time - clothes shopping bores me, history and culture intrigues me. So I braved the heat and humidity of NY in June, alongside the Hong Kong-esque scent of the garbage and graffiti-lined streets, and moved the fuck on!!

(Incidentally I shopped a shitload myself - clothes were bought at Mexx, shoes and handbags at Nine West and Century 21 - the Bicester Village of NY, CDs at Virgin and Bleecker, goodies at Times Square Sephora and the Flatiron building-MAC, scarves at St Mark's Place. Gifts for the family were bought from the above, Brooks Brothers and Macy's. Both Saks and Tiffany's were given a brief nod by my good self before running out to more affordable places - I did get to try on a $7500 dollar necklace though!)

So I saw the Museum of Modern Art, the finest collection of post-1900 art alongside the Tate Modern. Explanations were aplenty, unlike at the Guggenheim and the ergonomic design (of pouring vesicles) and photography exhibitions were most impressive. Seeing Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' and Dieter Ruth's take on 'Piccadilly Circus' was impressive, along with Jeffrey Wall's photography and Warhol's PopArt. Monet's 'Waterlilies', a painting I've always wanted to see didn't quite hit the spot as much as I'd hoped - but was very impressive all the same. The disappointment here was swiftly made up for by Matisse's line-drawing and Gaugain's exhibits at the Guggenheim.

Pictorial art aside, my experiences of music and theatre were more limited. Fussy and Fussier cite REM and the Backstreet Boys as their musical heroes - and their scant knowledge of theatre meant that seeing A Street Car Named Desire and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway didn't happen. I walked past the Knitting Factory, CBGB's, Ronnie Scott's and the Harlem Apollo with great enthusiasm though.

A lack of MP3's, CD-players and radio meant my beloved music had to go amiss. (I've had to wait 'til now to listen to the 35 CDs I splurged on - they're half-price, I'll have you know, and I'd have bought them anyway). The music played in shops ranged (with very little in between) from lame female-laments in the style of Celine Dion to the Puerto-Rican rap stylings of Noreaga, whom I saw from a distance (with Fat Joe) and the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday the 12th. Ricans are a very expressive people - if they're irritated by you, they're not afraid to show it; if they're excited they're not afraid to make noise and lots of it!

What really made it for me was a) hanging out in the Def Jam records building (home of Jay-Z and Damon Dash) with [profile] bignono and looking out over the city, and b) hearing Biggie's 'Hypnotize' whilst at the highly enjoyable party of 240 beers.

Your daughter's tied up in a Brooklyn basement.

Hell yes. Bondaged ladies aside, I can see why New York is a creative hub. It brings out the best and worst in people - rudeness in the uneducated since they do not know better, hope in the conscientious (like our Haitian taxi driver) and inspiration in the city of collective, overcrowded struggle against the angry weather and the inevitable rat race. Few have chosen to opt out with the Harlem residents included amongst these since they were out in force when the majority of NY was at work! I can see why Brownstone, Duke Ellington, Talking Heads, Public Enemy and the Sugarhill Gang started off here, along with Spike Lee, Woody Allen and Martin Scorcese. Record shops are plentiful and open 'til late (Colony 'til 1am), and Radio City provides short-notice showcases (I believe Alanis Morrisette was there on Wednesday) for fans to watch recording sesions.

I can also see why John Lennon chose to live here. The transport system is more reliable and air-conditioned for one thing.

It must be said that Strawberry Fields was a humbling experience for me, alongside Ground Zero. Seeing the three towers, two razed to the ground, one half-standing really hit home the extent of destruction and vulnerability felt in the home of the UN. Almost 500 foreign nationals died, from 91 different countries. It just goes to show the international allure of the Big Apple - the UN building on the East Riverfront exemplifies the diversity of the city where Spanish is given almost-equal prominence to English in everyday life. (Hispanics are the majority ethnic group in NYC, closely followed by African-Americans - a fact ignored by the TV producers of NY's famous exports - Seinfeld, Frasier, Friends, SATC to name a few).

More political geekery was felt on seeing the Columbus Circle, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln statues in the city, along with the Washington Arch by Washington Square Park and City Hall. Union Square, home to NYU and the gloriously old-fashioned Union Square Cafe Bar also hit the political spot. Fitness must also be given a mention - the sheer amount and quality of skater/surfer totty available in this area has meant that I've had to re-write my top 10 best-looking men ever list, by relegating the previous number 1 to 11. Tribeca also has its charms, with Wall St and Merrill Lynch to keep the suit-watchers busy ;)

The Manhatten skyline is very impressive too, with the Chrysler Building, the Trump tower and the Empire State Building providing a force to be reckoned with. Architecturally, NY is varied, with much late 18th-early 19th century features built in mock-Amsterdam-style lanes. Churches are imposing structures too, sprawling larger than their English equivalents since churchgoing is more prevalent here too. Grand Central Station is another wonder to be beheld for the view when entering and leaving.

Central Park deserves a mention on it's own. It's pretty fucking beautiful for something roughly half the size of Hyde Park. The homes of the wealthy on the Upper East and West-sides provide a beautiful foil for Museum Mile - where it is rumoured you find an a$$hole every 18 metres :P My favourite part was Harlem Meer, closely followed by the Sheep Meadow and the 6-mile running track around the mini-lake. I can't wait to enjoy the Metropolitan Museum of Art and chill in the park once more :D

Which brings me to my favourite thing ever. Food. NY is the city of the foodie with cuisines of varying ethnicity, competency and price available for consumption. I sampled the requisite NYC Pizza, Cryft-Dog jalapeno hot dog, Knish, Matzo-ball soup, pastrami sandwich, Zabar's Bagel with lox and cream cheese, alongside Cajun, Tex-Mex and Soul food cuisines. Portions are enormous - enough to feed the entire Welsh rugby team twice - as famously put by [profile] lorretta, so much food is wasted over here since New Yorkers are of comparable (with the men being more built) size to Londoners with only three morbidly obese people seen in seven days. I only saw three immaculately-groomed women, a far cry from what the Sunday Times and Vogue would have you believe. New Yorkers are a better-looking bunch of people, although I put that down to diversity and gym-culture.

I visited Katz's, home of the 'When Harry Met Sally' pastrami sandwich scene, along with Teeny, Moby's delightful little vegan cafe (and home to the best chocolate brownie EVAR!!), Chinatown's 'Happy Noodle Bar', Sushi Kaito and Sylvia's Soul Food. The food emporiums in NY offer a choice unrivalled to anything we've got over here - the mental overload at Dean and Deluca, Good Earth, Zabar's and Food Emporium gave me a headache beyond sampler tasting-time!

(If anyone's popping over there soon, please pick up some Cilo pesto from D&D for me. I couldn't bring it over due to baggage constraints and shall be eternally grateful if you make me a super-happy lady!)

I also got to try cocktails NY-style - larger and far more potent than their UK counterparts. The $3 frozen margaritas at Blockheads
and their more expensive counterparts at the Fat Black Pussycat (a bar where Radiohead, NIN and Bjork are on the playlist) in Greenwich Village are absolutely delicious. An episode of unparalleled drunkeness took place on the Wednesday, since I'd underestimated the effect of three margaritas. [profile] bignono's mango margaritas are also worth a try - so be nice to her and she'll make you some too! I'll warn you that Soho is pricy and that East Village, NY's equivalent of Camden and it's environs, is the place to go :D If money is no object, Tribeca, the Meatpacking district and the Upper West Side may well be your thing - the cafe culture SATC brings across is alive and well.

Living it up at bars aside, there's the indoor life, or lack of to speak of. American television is patronising and dumbed-down. Their magazines, of which we have a British counterpart, fare similarly badly. I fear I might have to make/seek my own entertainment should I consider a move across the pond. The broadsheet coverage isn't bad though - just a tad conservative for my liking. It's the societal dumbing-down that the independent-traveller can't stand.

The people I spoke to at length on my travels were highly intelligent, exchanging tidbits about the city as well as their own lives in the Solomon Islands, Denmark and the Virgin Islands. This part was the most exciting for me, alongside meeting real New Yorkers, courtesy of [profile] bignono and [profile] la_poubelle. I didn't meet/speak to a native at length though, leaving me clueless as to what it's like to grow up in NY. I also didn't experience what it's like to work here - so there's this, the Met and more shopping to accomplish next time, since hasta la vista baby, I'll be back.

My general thoughts on the US, since this is my first trip here - tacky, educationally-deficient (most people didn't know where ENGLAND was when my debit card kept getting declined - where'd ya get it fraaam?), neurotic to the point of nannying, whilst being compelling. The variety - nature and culture-wise is immense. It's just very spread out and whether I'd have the energy to do a Route66 in the future is questionable since there are other places I'd like to see first. Like Eastern Europe, Australia, SE-Asia, China and Africa. Latin America, Argentina, Chile, Guyana and Peru aside holds little fascination for me. I often wonder how it could've been had I followed Fussy and Fussier to San Francisco (known as the NY of the west coast) but have no great desire to see much more of the US, Seattle, Boston, Washington DC and New Orleans aside.

Muchos grazias a Dinesha, Pallavi and Michelle for making this happen for me :)
genie22: (Default)
Professional life is continuum of compromises. Or so it seems on the wards. Not only have you got to tone down your extra-curricular behaviour, conflicting your civil liberties (re: pot) in order to be in concordance with the GMC, but you've also got to keep it conventional on the wards, for having piercings, coloured/fake hair, artsy make-up and wearing anything aside from the old blouse/jumper/skirt/trousers combo automatically deems you unprofessional.

We could sit here all day debating the semantics of professionalism, or what it means to be professional. What is often lost in the egotism of the construct is that professionalism is an attitude, of being able to carry out your mission with competence and confidence. How a few pieces of metal or a head of locked hair are going to prevent an able doctor from being able to provide the care that is in the best interests of the patient is beyond me, along with the notion that doctors shouldn't be allowed to express their individuality. (This has got nothing to do with the fact I find all the surfer boys with dreadlocks in the lower years at ICSM undeniably attractive, honest!)

It's a fundamental human right. If we're providing another (good health) to the majority, what's to say we don't have a few concessions for ourselves, personal ones, EWTD aside?

Long-winded ranticle (brought on by the fact I dress more like a Goldsmith's student than an ICSM one) aside, I thought I'd bring some lightness into our final issue. How does beachwear (read nudity) sit on the wards? Temperature considerations aside (we need to be homeostasising at the optimum to deliver the most competent care we can), the summer brings its own quandary, with regards to how far we can maximise our comfort without entertaining the perverts on the 'scared of the elderly' wards a little too much for their ACE-inhibitors to take care of?

Less is nearly always more - so the basic rules come into play. Anti-perspirant, deoderant and anti-foot odour powder are staples for the locker room. We're here to make the patients comfortable, remember?

With regards to footwear, flip-flops are a no, since the smell of your respiring feet is not one I'd like to continue a wardround with. Open toed sandals would go down a treat with perfectly manicured feet, provided you've scrubbed between the toes. High-heels, as I said before, lengthen your legs and increase your chances of getting it on with a Harley high-flier along with his house officer job in the most affluent catchment area your deanery has. Skirts should not be confused for belts to the naked eye and the rule of inverse proportion with hemline length and neckline depth should come into play in order to be taken seriously. Especially where the uglier GEP's are concerned - no one wants to see a pair of stale aubergines when they're being woken up to give you a history at 8am.

St Tropez tan will also score you points. Patients are unlikely to leave the hospital grounds, so any semblance of a more glamorous outside ward where you CAN tell whether it is night or day will bring both envy and hope into their life. Teaming these with shaved legs is the key to success. As for jewellery, my personal bugbear - keep it light and summery. Rapper-impersonators with jingling bling aren't what I'd like to share my wardround with. Hair should be treated the same way - beachy bohemian waves will keep the patients ideal in the
same way as the fake-tan will. They'll be more likely to give you their history and help you score points on that all-important ward round.

And that's how we like to keep it - rising and rising against the odds, so we can eventually afford a decent cocktail cabinet with endless supplies of limoncello when I get to pop round to visit you.

Have a great summer, readers and I'll be back next year!
genie22: (Default)
'Are you or your friends in an up-and-coming band whom everybody just HAS to know about? If so, Felix, the student newspaper at Imperial College, would like to hear from you...and with the power of our mighty features, reviews and interviews, dispersing the good news, is what we're all about. Please contact Sajini, on or Andy -, if there's a secret you want to share'.

Check out our website at for more details.
genie22: (Default)
Right. Four hours later, I've written 238 words out of 2500. I'm going to get a move on with this haemoglobin E leaflet instead. Yum.
genie22: (Default)
*must remember not to gossip too much in computer lab and diss the entire medic male population for dressing unimaginatively*



Sep. 22nd, 2004 10:29 am
genie22: (Default)
Yayness - I got an article sorted for the November issue of the Gazette. Now need to become less complacent about completing the second one (about the debate on cannabis on 21/10 at the SAFB at IC).

Speaking of cannabis and the reasons for people doing it aside; what intrigues me more is why someone would carry on doing 'class A/B' drugs with more potent side effects; knowing fully well that taking one could be fatal due to the amount of filler put in alongside the actual drug?

I understand that actually taking the drug is down to the individual concerned, but ending up in A&E and diverting resources from people there for less preventable conditions is a slightly selfish thing to do, assuming you took the drug to enhance your experiences. If you took the drug through depression/a need to lose weight/a need to seek attention for other issues - then I offer you my sympathies..but assuming you're fit and well - if you need to use something potentially dangerous to enjoy something you go to every week; you're going to the wrong places?
genie22: (Default)
Before I get round to writing that piece on COSMIC, I thought I'd let everyone who can understand Sinhala that there's a BBC Sinhala service on They actually play the news at an understandable pace; unlike the TV news in SL!

I'll also take the chance to say that I think the singer from Rooster is yum :P His band may make formulaic corporate rock; but my god is his voice lush!
genie22: (Default)
Chuffed to see my bebbeh [profile] exedra is back - I missed her SO much; and I will see her at her Piratefest on Saturday! Two more days 'til [profile] dr_monkey gets back - and the days of Monkey missing will be over :) Also chuffed to see the lovely London Medical Student editor cyberstalking his way through things I've written. Have to admit I'm guilty of the same :P (Dead excited I get to meet up with the rest of the team come Thursday!)

Spent most of yesterday asleep. Got quite a few boring things to be getting on with; the most fascinating of which are reading Amy Tan's autobiography (she's such an oddball!) and writing a puff-piece for COSMIC in the Medics Gazette.
genie22: (Default)
Got keys to new flat. Meaning I can move in now, if I wanted. Regardless of whether I pass/fail OSCE, I get to do my BSc at Imperial College - hence I move into my flat.

OSCE is on the 15th. Results out 22nd. Term starts 27th. Bro also starts uni on 27th, and his halls say to move in on the 25th/26th weekend. Parents don't want to move shitloads of stuff twice on same weekend. I start new job on 3rd Oct.

Logically, this means I have to move on the 18th weekend. Keeping stuff there seems like I'm tempting fate, meaning I'd feel more comfortable post 22nd. Hmmm....what would you do?
genie22: (Default)
Just found out the ISA rates may be going up tomorrow, so fingers crossed my gamble with Abbey works out.

Also chuffed that Rohin likes my article, and Zoe wants a new one re: COSMIC and it's work. Feel like writing something more substantial than a review or an introductory piece, so will chase those up when retake is over. Already got 5/6 things in the pipeline, but feel bored due to the material/time to do them not arriving yet.

Not got much else to say, safe for Student Finance Direct being crap and continually engaged without the ART login on the website being functional. I really want to know whether I sent off a loan request form this year or not - I can't find one amongst my letters (which prove I am supposed to get payments by BACS on certain dates for the next academic year) - have they got a new name this year?
genie22: (Default)
Life just got good. Apart from Amarjit asking me to look MORE into methods (yuck), Rohin Francis, the NEW and improved London Medical Student editor, has allowed me to write 2 of the 3 pieces I pitched to him. The previous ed - didn't like anything I sent him :(

The lovely Zoe Papadoullous from COSMIC (Children of St Mary's Intensive Care) also got in touch, asking if I'd be up for helping out with their black tie ball at the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, on the 27th of November. She asked if I had any mates who'd be up for doing their bit between 530 and midnight, and has mentioned that return cabs will be paid for at the end of the night. Pretty chuffed COSMIC want to see me again, and fingers crossed Larisa will let them have a piece (written by me) in the next Gazette!
genie22: (Default)
.....when a fashion/women's magazine/style section of a stylish paper tells you the things you've been doing/having for a while are THE thing to get.

Sad, isn't it?
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