Inauspicious birthday tradition

Yesterday was my 29th birthday (yes, I’m almost officially wrinkly) and Simone has started to notice a bit of an unfortunate tradition associated with my birthday.

It seems that the first restaurant (and often the second and third) that we try to go to for a birthday dinner is always closed. The last 3 years have all been pretty much the same (and it may have been before that too, just I don’t specifically remember, and didn’t make so much of an effort to do stuff on my birthday previously): Plan to go out, get ready, ring around or just rock up to a few places, find that the first (and usually second) choice venue is closed for the Christmas – new years period, get frustrated, eventually find something usually after some degree of cursing, eat.

Perhaps we just need to be more organised in future. Perhaps.

On the creation of “heroes”


Again I watch a bewildering cycle of absurdity play out in America.

Kid goes on shooting spree, leaves note, says that “Now he’s going to be famous”

People despair and ask why.

No-one asks why anyone could possibly need an AK47 for keeping the squirrels in check etc.

Everyone floods him all over the news, making him “(in-)famous”, and thus actualising his prediction, and serving as a nice little reinforcement for others that if you find yourself feeling like no-one, you can kill a bunch of people, “solve” your problems, and become a “someone”.

Instead how about (a) making some moves to curtail assault weapon and handgun ownership, and (b) not making it public that part of his intention was fame, so as to avoid making him a role model to other disaffected youth.


Old bad habits

In my post exam state I am reverting to my old bad habits.

I am playing on the internet a lot.

I am not going to bed until 11 or midnight, and

I have 4 books on the go at once (and another that I need to read before the movie comes out in december)…

And to top it all off everything that I learned for my exam is slipping predictably but lamentably out of my brain. I got asked about the brachial plexus the other day and I had to pause for a bit and really rack my brain to dredge up the details. A month and a half ago I could have recited it in my sleep.

Oh Noes!!!!

Hessian sack

One of the phrases that I picked up shortly after moving to Australia to study medicine was “She’s so cute she’s look good in a Hessian sack” (which one of my female friends used to describe one of her younger and at that stage thinner friends).

This summer I find myself constantly reminded of that saying, not because all the girls are cute (although I suppose you see a few good looking ones around), but rather because the current fashions seem hell bent on testing the notion by producing garments that are only a small technicality away from being actual honest to god real life hessian skirts and tops. They are seriously ugly and completely unflattering to every person I’ve seen them on and yet like hamsters to a cliff edge young girls are all over the place in them because they’re “the new thing”.

Now whatever my views are on moronic consumer sheep behavior I think the main point which has been shown is that the adage is clearly false, as I don’t believe that I have seen anyone (no matter how cute they may be) who has actually managed to look anything other than foolish in those particular variants of hessian sacks.

There goes credibility

Details remain scarce, but it seems that the Indian doctor from the gold coast who has been being questioned by the Australian Federal Police in relation to the recent failed London bombings has been charged with Terrorism related offences, seemingly solely on the basis of having lived with one of the UK suspects previously, and having left his mobile phone sim card with that person when he moved to Australia. So far there seem to be no suggestion that he even knew his ex-house mate had an extremist agenda.

If that’s all they’ve got on him then the AFP is looking pretty stupid, and I look forward to a judge telling them to get the f**k out of his/her court and stop wasting the nation’s time.

I am also quietly looking forward to the other doctor who was questioned but was (by the AFP’s public statements) never even a suspect, and who had his name leaked to the press by the police, suing the arse off the Queensland police for loss of income, defamation, anguish, and breach of privacy.

We seem to live in an increasingly depressingly moronic society whenever anything related to domestic terrorism comes up.

Where are my harsh chemicals?

I went shopping the other day for some shower cleaner, as the stuff we currently use seems to no longer be doing it’s job (it is a little old, so perhaps that’s the reason). Anyway, I got to the cleaning products isle and started looking.

Almost universally the bottles seemed to have (somewhere on their label) the claim that they contained “No harsh chemicals”, and I was miffed! I had stubborn grime (it’s actually not as bad as that, but seeing as that is the terminology that also seemed to appear on just about every bottle I though I should use it here too) to deal with, and dammit if I didn’t want those harsh chemicals so that I knew that the job was being done right.

One bottle even had the nerve to suggest (right below the bit about not containing harsh chemicals) that I should apply the product to the shower/bath surface daily for a fornight and at the end of said fortnight I would have a good-as-new shiny clean shower/bath. TWO WEEKS??? What are they thinking? I want to clean the shower once every 2 weeks, not every day for two weeks, and I want to know that it’s being done properly: hence the search for the good old fashioned caustic chemicals. Frankly I don’t care if I come out with chlorine’d red eyes, and immaculately sterile drain pipes (it goes to the treatment plant anyway, where it will be broken down).

Am I the only one who feels like this?

Suburban insecurity

One of the things I have noticed in our house, parked as it is in the middle of suburbia, is the preponderance of wireless networks in our area.

Not only do we have good reception on our own wireless modem, we can see at least 4 others depending on where you are standing in the house.

This says something quite interesting about the extent to which networking hardware and fast broadband internet connections have become mainstream technologies.

The other thing that this has illustrated is that you can make technology simple and accessable, but as much as you spell it out in the installation instructions you can’t make make people take security seriously. Of those wireless networks I mentioned, only 2 had any form of security set up on them. The others were open for anyone to see/use/access/hack. I imagine that it simple constitutes ignorance on the part of the owners, but if they knew how much a person parked outside their house could access, I think they’d be pretty disturbed.

Oh, it’s that time of year again

I’m always amused at how quick my brain is to forget why I hate living in Queensland so much, but once again I’ve been reminded: For 6 months a year it’s inhumanly hot here.

It’s just reached the start of those 6 months, and already I’m once again trying to figure how I modify the house so that I can sleep in the fridge.

(And next year we’re moving to Cairns. Sometimes I wonder if I do this to myself on purpose as some sort of punishment for unspecified sins)

Surely that’s a little early

A few weeks back (ie mid september) Simone and I were out shopping in what is a fairly major department store, and were frankly bewildered to walk through one section of the store and see shop assistants scurrying about unpacking boxes of christmas decorations, merchandise and associated paraphenalia.

Christmas isn’t for 3 months!!! Surely people don’t need that much time to get their stuff together?

It just reinforces my cynicism (there I go using that word again) about the commercial nature of yet another holiday. And it seems to be getting earlier and more pervasive each year.

Viva le grand finale

In a reminder that synicism is so easy when working in the health system, this weekend was grand final weekend, with the AFL final on saturday, and the NRL final on sunday, and I was working both days.

Now the bit which inspired cynicism is that normally saturdays and sundays in ED, particularly the afternoons, are hectic with millions of people presenting, usually with pretty mundane complaints (I’ve had a cough for 5 weeks, my little toe hurts, and the like).

Both days this weekend however basically from half an hour before kickoff to half an hour after the full time whistle there were maybe 2 or 3 people in the waiting room at a time. The masses may have been sick, but not sick enough to miss out on watching the beloved footy.

Meanwhile two dozen doctors and nurses sat around getting paid to twiddle their thumbs for a couple of hours.

Then as soon as the game was over they started to show up again. In droves. Admitting that they had had their ailments while the game was on, but that they felt it could wait.

You feel like giving them a good piece of your mind (ie. a slap around the head) and pointing out that if it was that unimportant that it came second to football, then it was probably the kind of thing that was better being seen by their GP the next day, and that they were just wasting our time and the taxpayers’ money be being in ED with such trivialities.
The quiet irony which does the hint of a smile back into my heart is that the masses who showed up after the game finished probably ended up waiting 2-6 hours to be seen, due to their large numbers and minor conditions (people in ambulances automatically take higher priority when they arrive), whereas if they had showed up while the game was on they would probably have been seen almost instantly.