Thursday, August 27, 2009

Try this at home

A good way to give yourself the heebie-jeebies late at night when you're lying in bed and can't get to sleep is to listen carefully to the sounds that the possums make as they run across your roof and imagine that they are not being made by possums but by small grey rubbery-fleshed men trying to figure out how to get into your house.  It is especially effective to do this on a windy night so that you can hear them tapping and scratching at the windows.  Once that has got you thinking, stick your feet out the end of your bed for a while, then start to think about whether it's possible that one of those small grey rubbery-fleshed men has somehow crept into your room and is about to seize you around the ankle with his cool dry hand.  Keep your feet out of the end of the bed for as long as you can.  Make sure you don't ever open your eyes. 


Hey guess what?  Someone's been reading my blog!

No, not just this post, like you.  I mean, someone's been the reading the whole darn thing!  Check out my page hits graph from google:
As far as I can tell, those 400-odd hits a couple of days ago are spread pretty evenly across the whole of my blog, so it seems likely that it's one person steadily churning their way through everything rather than a bunch of people all happening across something fascinating at the same time.
Hello mystery-man!  I hope you enjoyed my blog (because if you didn't, you seriously over-committed to reading it...) - any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Darth Octopus

It's quiz time! Yaaaaay!

I did a quiz from a mob called BrainHex. I'm excited by it because it combines my three greatest passions: personality quizzes, neuroanatomy, and games! It purports to be a personality quiz centred on what type of games you like to play. It gives you your results in terms of seven different characteristics and their associated brain regions, and presents the results in terms of a funky graphic.

Here's my results:

Your BrainHex Class is Mastermind.
Your BrainHex Sub-Class is Mastermind-Conqueror.

You like solving puzzles and devising strategies as well as defeating impossibly difficult foes, struggling until you eventually achieve victory, and beating other players. You do not enjoy feeling afraid, preferring to feel safe or in control.

Mastermind: 16
Conqueror: 14
Seeker: 11
Socializer: 10
Achiever: 8
Daredevil: 3
Survivor: 0
Here are some amusing quotes from the descriptions of Mastermind and Conqueror types:

Your major brain region is the orbito-frontal cortex, an area just behind and above the eyes involved in making decisions, and the nucleus accumbens (or “pleasure centre”) which is closely linked to it.

Your chemical messenger is dopamine, which is chemically similar to cocaine, and is involved in habit formation.

If you were an animal, it would be an octopus.

Your behaviour is forceful – you channel your anger in order to achieve victory and thus experience fiero, the intense emotion which causes you to punch the air.
So to sum it all up, I'm a nerdy, crack-head, dark-side-of-the-Force octopus. Yeaaaahh!!

Monday, August 24, 2009


You know what would be really cool? It would be really cool if Mr Google (or someone real smart like him or Senator Fielding) would put a button on my blog so that when I clicked it, it took me to other blogs by people who write similar stuff to me. Presumably I would enjoy reading such blogs. I have re-read parts of my own blog and I enjoyed most of it, when I wasn't obviously trying too hard to be funny or bizarre.

There's a button at the top of my blog called, "Next blog", and originally I thought it was a magic button like the one I want, but for some reason when I click it I just get random other blogs, almost all of which are written in Spanish or Asian or some other language that I don't even recognise. Like this: "Bálint az utóbbi időben két új szokással bővítette a repertoárt." At first I thought it was Finnish because of all the double letters but I don't think Finnish has so many accented letters. Maybe it's Turkish or Magyar. Or Asian. Why does Mr Blogger take me to these blogs?

Google Reader sometimes recommends blogs to me. But they are all pretty bland stuff, not the fiery polemics and champagne comedy that I write. It seems to think I'm interested in What's On In Adelaide (I'm not), AFL News (I'm not), or gossip sites from Singapore (I'm not). Google fail.

I know a few people who write blogs, but they are infrequent at best. Boooo! Hissss! Can anyone point me in the direction of anything interesting?


I was looking for tinned bamboo shoots in the supermarket today - I need them to make a Burmese chilli bamboo and tomato dish from the most excellent cookbook Hsa-ba that a friend gave me (well, gave my Smaller Half, but I have annexed it for my own use, muahahahah!).

So I went looking for bamboo shoots in the "canned vegetables" aisle. No luck. Aaah, I thinks, they hides the precious bamboo shootses in the "Asian Foods" section! And sure enough, there they were, along with all the other food from the far off lands of Asia.

Does anyone else think that the Asian Foods section concept is ridiculously anachronistic? Rice is Asian, but it's not there. Soy sauce is Asian, but it's not there. There are plenty of Asian vegetables that live together with occidental vegetables in perfect harmony. They'd be better off calling it the "Stuff White People Don't Know How To Use" section. Or perhaps more accurately, the "You Don't Find This At The RSL Club" section.

Considering how diverse Asian food is, lumping it all together seems perverse. Perhaps the true purpose of it is to quarantine the weird stuff away from the prying eyes of casual shoppers so they don't give themselves fits when they realize they can't read some of the writing on the label.

While I was pondering all this, and also marvelling at the fact that they did actually have bamboo shoots, I noticed that there is one other "ethnic" food section in my local supermarket. I'd run a poll on getting you to guess what it was but I'm in full flight so I'll do it rhetorically.

Was it Mexican? No.

Was it Lebanese? No.

Was it Italian? No.

Was it Somali? As if.

Was it Dutch? Oh yes, my friend, the two powerhouses of world cuisine are, apparently, Asian and Dutch. Just imagine how delicious food from the Dutch East Indies must be!

So what's in the Dutch Food section? Apparently Dutch people mostly eat:
  • gingerbread,
  • almond biscuits,
  • apple sauce, and
  • something called fritessaus that could be either like mayonnaise or tomato sauce or maybe mustard or maybe all three or perhaps even a subset thereof, but to judge from the name is squeezed onto chips.
To steal a quote from Yoda, "How you get so big, eating food of this kind?"

I can see why you'd need to have a separate section of the aisle specifically for such delights though. I mean, if you put the gingerbread and almond biscuits in with the other types of biscuits, God knows what might happen!

Friday, August 21, 2009


When did pasta get so fancy-pants? I remember when I was a youngster, having spaghetti for tea meant being given a big bowl of spaghetti with butter on top. Grated coon was an optional extra.

I think these Italians mean well with their sauces full of tomatoes or cream or small animals. But let's face it - nobody knows pasta like country town Australian home cooks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Last night was a relief. Exams finally over. When I called my Smaller Half afterward she said that it was stormy down here, but by the time I got home it had all blown out to sea. We sat looking out over the water and as the darkness fell we could see the flashes of lightning playing across the clouds on the horizon.

I love thunderstorms. When the blue clouds gather I cross my fingers and hope it gets loud. I'm always a bit surprised when people tell me they are frightened of them. To me it seems a bit feeble, as if you were a family dog that should know better but can't help cowering under the verandah anyway. (For those of you who are frightened of thunder, feel free to point and laugh at me when I squeal and spasm at a tiny little spider.)

I think the reason I like thunderstorms is that when I was kid I really enjoyed blackouts. Our thunderstorms usually happened in the early evening and night, so my enjoyment of blackouts was maximised. Blackouts during the daytime are no fun at all. They are just an inconvenience. You wonder why the fridge light doesn't turn on when you open the door, and notice that the radio doesn't work. Given that it isn't even dark, daytime blackouts are not worthy of the name. They should just be called fridge-outs.

But night-time blackouts are superb. The whole rhyme and reason of the evening is overturned unexpectedly. No television. No proper dinner. No lights to read by. I think I enjoyed it that all of a sudden the whole family was forced together by having our routine ripped away. It was a surprise mini-holiday, a gift from the gods. Not only did we not have to do anything, we couldn't do anything. Not our usual stuff anyway. That improvisational feeling of suddenly having to make do was a thrill for me.

I always felt sad when the power came back on. It was like being engrossed in a childhood game and suddenly being interrupted by an adult walking into the room saying, in their big loud voice, "What are you kids doing?", and all you could think of to say was, "Just playing", and the magic was lost. When the power came back the lights would flick a few times then come on for good, the fridge motor would start to hum again, and we'd all blink at each other a few times as fantasy land was snatched away, and we'd all slowly disperse and wander off to do whatever it was we normally did.

I think the next time you find yourself frittering away the evening you should sneak outside and flip the power off in your house. Bust out the candles, sit together in a room, and see what happens.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Major Major

Got my prac exam at 2pm today. Which means that I have to spend all this morning waiting for it. I don't like afternoon exams. I have a policy of never trying to learn anything new on the day of the exam since I don't think it's worth it. There's a tradeoff between knowing useful information and freaking yourself out. I've got to get myself in The Zone. For me, there is no point stressing myself out trying to get that extra 1% if it means rattling myself and hence losing 10% because I make stupid mistakes.

So that means that I have to spend all this morning revising. And I don't like revising on the day of exams either, for much the same reason. There's always something you thought you knew but now can't remember. And there's not too much point freaking out about it at the last minute. I've made my bed - time to sleep in it. (That's a metaphor - I don't make my bed, nor am I about to go to sleep.) That's why early morning exams are great. You wake up, stagger off to the exam, do it in a daze, and stagger home again. Perfect for suppressing those traumatic memories.

Nevertheless, since my exam isn't until 2pm, it seems a bit stupid to just spend the morning strolling off to the shop for coffee and writing stuff in my blog. So I decided to bust out some old anatomy flash cards that my Smaller Half has, but that I haven't really looked at.

There are a couple of hundred of them just on muscles and bones, which is all I need to know this arvo. At first I was a bit intimidated by how many there were, but the drawings are very good and it turns out that I seem to know most of what I think I need to know (how subjective was that??). So I was just flipping through them, trying to get them right but also trying hard not to try too hard because that might make me freak out.

Then I got to a card with the muscles of the anterior thorax (or as I like to call it, the front of the chest). The card had two numbered arrows, which I believed pointed to the sternal head of pectoralis major and the clavicular head of pectoralis major. Pretty easy. But then I flipped the card over to find that the twits who produced this deck of cards seem to think that the clavicular head of pectoralis major is actually pectoralis minor. Aaargh! You eeeediots!

What the heck is the point of going through flash cards if they are trying to make me learn wrong stuff? Guess I'll go back to strolling around and writing on my blog.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


A week or so ago I'd been doing the annoying-med-student thing to my Aged Mother and telling her all the reasons why exercise was good for her. I was chatting to her this afternoon on the phone:

Aged Mother
You know, everything you told me last week about exercise was absolutely spot-on!

Oh really?

Aged Mother
Yes, I read all about it in Reader's Digest today.

I'm glad that my information has been checked against such a reliable source. If Reader's Digest agrees with everything that I've learned from wikipedia, I can sleep soundly tonight.

Ink for the Ink God!

I think I might have become hypoxic in my car en route to my exam this morning. I felt normal, but three different people all said to me, "You look too happy". Fair enough too, who wants to be faced with a hairy grinning idiot just before you go into your exam? At least no-one beat me up. Yet.

While waiting in the corridor to go in I noticed that one of my Esteemed Classmates was carrying a pair of shorts. I asked him if he was really expecting the exam to be that scary. He put them over his head and said, "I'm going to plead insanity". It really made me laugh and was a good way to detensionify before the exam.

The exam itself was a whirlwind of ink and paper. I wrote non-stop for the whole 90 minutes which is very rare for me. Usually I finish early and take off but this was a seriously intense exam. Ten questions, so that's nine minutes for each question. I think the whole thing would have been much easier if we'd had ten minutes for each question. Not just because we'd have had 11.1% more time, but because I found it confusing trying to add up all those nines in my head to try and figure out if I was going to be able to finish the exam or not. Even using the power of multiplication didn't help that much because then I had to use subtraction and division to work out how much time I had left per question. Honestly - just make the time per question a nice round number and save me some grief.

Now all I have left is the prac exam tomorrow, which will consist of identifying various parts of the human anatomy from real live, err dead, specimens. Here's a tip for my Esteemed Colleagues: the knee has the patella nearby. The elbow doesn't. Buy me a drink if it comes up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Daisy daisy

That's one down, two to go. So - this morning's exam ... either it was surprisingly easy or I forgot to do about half of it. Hmm. I guess I'll find out in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed.

Of course, there were things on there that I didn't know and other things that I had a decent guess at, but on the whole whoever set it was very gentle with us. Perhaps that's because last year the average mark was 43% - at least that's what I heard. I have no idea how such rumours get started, but I intend to perpetuate them.

There was certainly a lot of stuff that I busted a gut to learn that didn't turn up at all on the exam, and I am totally fine with that. I've never understood the mentality of people who bitch and moan about exams being "too easy". Don't laugh - some people do. They seem to feel they've been cheated of the opportunity to stomp their classmates into the floor.

I'm trying to work up the motivation to look at the stuff for tomorrow's exams - bones and muscles and stuff. I've already succeeded in forgetting everything I know about psychiatry and neurology, so that's a solid start.

Sitting here pretending to study while my Smaller Half cleans the house is great - until she walks past and sees the blogger logo and busts me! Whoops - gotta run!

[edit: new poll up. Choose a pet. Mais, attendez - is it mere happenstance that they are listed in the order they are? I think not! Dogs eat cats, and cats eat fish, and fish eat mice, and mice eat birds! Aha!]

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good luck

Exams start tomorrow. Good luck to everyone in my class.

Also, good luck to everyone else. It would be a bit churlish of me to not wish you luck simply because you don't have a test tomorrow.

What would you do if you knew you really did have a lucky day coming up? Would you gamble? Invest? Buy a ticket on the Love Boat? Get all your medical tests done? Send your first draft to every publishing house in the land?

Why aren't you doing those things anyway?


Psychiatry exam tomorrow! It's a bit troublesome to prepare for, since they don't seem to require us to actually know anything.

Oh sure, we have to know the effects and side effects of a range of drugs, and know the common presenting symptoms of the most common psychiatric complaints. But hey, since psychiatrists basically make it up as they go along, they're going to have difficulty marking us wrong unless we write something really really stupid.

That's why I'm just going to write:
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in one's own.
Helloooo psychiatry prize 2009 - start writing my name on that little beauty right now!

Friday, August 14, 2009

War ward

Hey I need some help from you people. You know how if someone has been injured a lot recently in professional sport, the commentators will say, "He's been in the wars a lot recently". Or do they say, "He's been in the wards a lot recently"?

Both of them make sense and it's really hard to tell which one it is. Or is it something else entirely?

I have a horror of mispronuniciating things like this. One of my Esteemed Colleagues pointed out to me that one of our lecturers used the phrase, "for all intensive purposes", and he wasn't talking about intensive care. Things like that make me wish I carried around a big gong. I'd stand right up in class and bash the gong like those old Rank Arena clips before daytime telemovies. And then I'd say, "FAIL!"

And then my lecturer would say, "FAIL!" and he'd ask my name, and I'd tell him his own name, and he'd be like, "Really? What a coincid... wait - what's your real name?", and I'd run out of the lecture theatre and quickly shave my beard off and then walk back in like I was a different guy and say, "Boy you sure scared him off!" and then we'd all laugh and be best friends.

Back to the study I guess...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nut poll

Wow. 60% of you voted for the macadamia. Still, I shouldn't be surprised. Even Pauline Hanson was popular.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ghost in the peanut

Yesterday I figured out that lying down to sleep mid-afternoon is not only a great way to blow off the whole rest of the afternoon, it's also a great way to make sure you can't get to sleep that night. For some reason I had the word "anisocoria" whizzing round in my head too. Does that ever happen to you? It happens to me all the time. I'll hear or read a strange, novel word and for the next few days it just zings round inside my head.

Sometimes, especially when I'm trying to get to sleep, it's as if the word is a weight on the end of a piece of string. It swings round every couple of seconds and whacks me right in the head. ANISOCORIA! And in between I can feel the tension in that string - feel it twist and buzz through the air. ANISOCORIA! It's incredibly annoying, let me tell you.

If the word is really tenacious it can stick for years. I've had the phrase "loya jurga" stuck in my head since late 2001 when the US invaded Afghanistan. I think it's some kind of tribal council, and I can't even remember if that's how you spell it, but it's such a nice round euphonious word that I think I'll always have it close by in my head. It's like rolling a smooth cool pebble around in my mouth.

One thing that studying medicine is really great for (oh yeah, you can make sick people well again, so that's two things!) is that your vocab really picks up. This is great for Scrabble. I played the word "talus" the other day. Sweet! I'd never heard of the talus (ie: ankle bone) until a few weeks ago but now there it is on my board. I don't think I'll be playing "anisocoria" any time soon though. It's a bit long.

Oh, and one more thing to mention. I find that while I'm studying the brain I find myself straining to actually feel my brain doing stuff. For example, I'll be reading about the basal ganglia and I'll be sitting there half convincing myself that when I wiggle my fingers, I can feel a little buzzy zap go rushing from one part of my brain to another and eventually down my spine and out through my arm.

Another great game to play is to try to surprise yourself by wiggling your fingers unexpectedly. I sit there for a while staring at my un-wiggling fingers, thinking, "no, no, no, no, no, no, n-YES!- but really I did that on purpose so it doesn't count". You should try it right now, it's a blast. In fact, I think it could be the underground street hit of 2009. Get in early.

Anyway, that's probably more insight than you really needed into how my mind works. I'd just like to qualify all of the above with the following points:
  1. I've got exams next week so I'm quite stressed.
  2. I'm a terrible procrastinator so I'm quite bored.
  3. I do exaggerate an awful lot.
  4. I have a hard-earned reputation for eccentricity that must be maintained.
Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Collective nouns

Update: the International Committee On Medical Nomenclature (Professional), of which I am Chairperson, has released its draft list of official collective nouns for medical specialists. We are now calling for public comment.

A movement of gastroenterologists.
A cauldron of endocrinologists.
A battery of neurologists.
A follicle of pathologists.
A station of radiologists.
A herd of audiologists.
A convention of psychiatrists.
A chamber of cardiologists
A retention of urologists
A shot of anaesthetists.
A factor of immunologists.
A mass of surgeons.
A perfection of general practitioners.


Study proceeds as planned. Prognosis cautiously positive.

One of the things that's worked in my favour is that I've exceeded my monthly download cap and have been throttled back to 64k. This is fast enough to use wikipedia to check stuff, but too slow to waste time on facebook or watch people falling over on or any of the other things that I find myself doing instead of studying. It's funny that my connection being so slow as to waste my time prevents me from wasting my time. Whoa - deep...

However, I am a resourceful chap, so I've found alternative ways to distract myself. What's working well for me at the moment is engaging in idle speculation about stuff. For example, at the moment I'm attempting to review (or more accurately, to learn) neurology. Lots of things about various parts of the brain connecting up to other parts in different places and making them go zoink. (Terminology: if it goes zoink on the same side as the bit of brain that's doing the zoinking, it's ipsilateral. If it's on the opposite side, it's contralateral.)

So I started wondering about those words. Contralateral makes sense - it clearly means opposite side - contra-lateral. Contra- is pretty common word root, like contraband or contrary or contrast. But ipsi- is more unusual. If something is legal, is it ipsiband? If someone is agreeable, are they ipsary? And so on. I can chew up a lot of time thinking about stuff like that.

To solve this urgent curiosity crisis I busted out the online etymology dictionary, which is a great site because there's no high-bandwidth crap to slow it down and hence drive me back to my work. Sadly, ipsilateral is not in it. But when I searched for ipsi- I found that it's part of the word solipsism. Sol-ipse-ism = alone-self-belief. It's the belief that you are the only real being in existence. This is a belief that often occurs to me during swot-vac when I'm glued to my desk for a week and don't see anybody else. Maybe there's been a war out there and the world is over but I didn't notice.

Nah, I would have read about it on facebook if that was true. Sigh - back to the work...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Poll underway

And maybe I'm getting a little paranoid here, but I'm starting to suspect that one or two of you are playing funny-buggers with my current poll regarding nuts. Why? Well:
  1. The very day I put it up there were about 8 votes, which is very strange.
  2. The interim results show a marked preponderence for one particular nut which in my view is "not all that".
  3. A few of you seemed to take great delight in screwing around with my previous poll, or at least winding me up by claiming to have done so.
  4. It's already the most-voted-on poll of mine EVER. And there's a way to go still. Hmmm.
Come on folks, play fair. Let's give nuts the respect they deserve.

Study, or the lack thereof

Urrrrgh - I feel like I'm thinking in slow motion. I've gotten not much done since yesterday, and I blame my lecturer. In the final class he did a demo answer from a past exam for us. It was actually really encouraging to see how low the bar is set in terms of what is an acceptable answer. He doesn't want any explanation, he's happy with just splatting it all down on the page in whatever order it falls out of your brain.

While this is great, since it means that I don't have any grounds for being stressed about that exam any more, it's terrible too because it means that I am now taking it way too easy. Particularly since the other exam I have to sit currently looks fiendishly difficult to me. I looked at a previous paper and it was scary stuff.

Having said that, my mother assures me that I am a genius and of course I'll do brilliantly. So I guess I'll waste tonight too... :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Night driving

As I drove home, the sun was setting. It's a beautiful time of year to see such a beautiful time of day. At one point there are a lot of almond trees just finishing blossoming and just starting sprouting leaves. In the golden sunset light, for some reason undoubtedly involving physics, their bare trunks seem to glow a soft purple. It's a total Monet rip-off.

As the sun continued to set and it got dark enough that I realized that if something ran onto the road I wouldn't see it in time to avoid it so I'd better turn on my headlights, the dimness and the headlights of oncoming cars reminded me of how much I like driving at night. The dodging of, and occasional impact with, unfortunate animals on the road is a downside of course, for all parties involved. There's plenty of kangaroos lurking in the bush, with supplementary amounts of wild ass and stray sheep, so you've got to be careful.

But that's a practical issue. On an aesthetic level, driving at night is like magic. Your car floats through space. Ahead of you, the twin tracer beams of red and white stretch out like a runway. When I was a kid and had to sit in the middle of the back seat because I was the youngest and we were all crammed into the car returning from a family holiday at the beach, I really enjoyed being able to see out through the windscreen. I'd see the reflected light, stationary in the distance but flicking past fast in my peripheral vision, and I would pretend that I was in Battlestar Galactica, in that glowy tunnel that they would lauch the Vipers from.

And as the night wore on and I gradually nodded off, all I could see was the dim glow of the instrument panel. The lights in the heater and radio switches, bobbing up and down in time with my sleepy head, rocking me to sleep.

If I was rich, I would always get someone to drive me around at night just before I went to sleep. Ideally I'd have a bed actually in the car, or perhaps the car could drive right up into my bedroom and roll me gently out onto my house-bed. It would be so soothing. I wonder if I can get REM to write a song about it?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

qanda rage

I really shouldn't watch Q&A. (Especially while trying to simultaneously learn how the hand works. The hand does a lot of stuff folks. Yes indeedy. Like typing these words for instance. That uses the typus digiti erroneii muscle.)

Yet again I am left filled with rage. Tonight was even worse than last week because the audience and panel were stacked with people who only seemed to be capable of processing one idea at a time.

Debt? "That's bad!"
Education? "We want more!"
Teaching? "I can't spell!"
Utegate? "I ate my hat!"

Poor old Julia Gillard battled away trying to explain the concept of tradeoffs, being that if you have one thing, it stops you having something else. And the notion that if something is better than it used to be, that might be a good thing rather than a failure to achieve utter perfection.

Meanwhile Malcolm Turnbull tut-tuts his way along, accusing Julia of being out of touch. Because you know that Malcolm spends a lot of time down at the youth centres, don't you? Don't you?? He's such a sniping, patronising opportunist. And the Young Liberals (and, to be fair, young lefties too) all sit there whining about how old people ignore them despite their manifest genius while coming up with nothing but inane speeches parading their own feeble resumes.

Tony Jones - you've got to whip it into shape! Shape it up, get straight! Go forward, move ahead! Try to detect it! It's not too late to whip it - whip it good!


Poll results finalized! 14 votes, which is another good response, excluding the distinct possibility that some of you twerps voted multiple times for a whole range of dumb reasons. But thanks for your participation! I really admire the fact that you are trying your best to read and stuff.

Anyway, 50% of you thought that really big ray-guns go "pew pew pew!" which, to be honest, surprised me. I think you'll find that it's tiny little ray-guns that go "pew pew pew!".

Still, it was a better answer than the 2 of you who thought that really big ray-guns make no noise at all. Ha! I scoff at your pseudo-intellectual wrong-headedness! If it made no noise at all, how would stuff get blowed up by it? The scientists would have to add a thing to make a noise so it could zap people, wouldn't they? And then it would make a noise. So you're wrong.

Three of you thought that a really big ray-gun would go "Brrrdoo! Brrrdoo!" and you're close to the mark but not quite there. A ray-gun that it takes two hands to use would go "Brrrdoo! Brrrdoo!" but it's not really big, is it?

No, a really big ray-gun would have to be mounted on a tank or a plane or a deaf-star or something like that. And it would definitely go "Freem!" - and it would only do it once because buddy when you get hit by that thing you're lying down straight away so they don't do it again. Oh yeah.

So if you picked "Freem!" then give yourself a pat on the back. Well done.

If you picked "Brrrdoo! Brrrdoo!" then set your shoulders back and pledge to do better next time - you have potential.

If you chose "Pew pew pew!" then bite your arm until it leaves teeth-marks. You've got a lot to learn.

And if you chose "No noise at all", you know where the door is. Get out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Sometimes I hate studying. Sometimes it all just builds up and I start to fantasize about when I used to work in the public service and got paid to sit on my backside and eat cake.

Fortunately, today is not one of those days. Today I am elated because I've been learning all sorts of crazy trivia stuff. Most particularly, I learned today that the plural form of biceps is bicipites (pronounced bi-sip-it-teez). This is awesome! For the rest of my life I'm going to able to annoy the hell out of people by correcting their incorrect usage of biceps as a plural noun.

For example, if someone were to say to me, "Did you see Gary Hall Jr. on telly? He said he was going to smash the Australian relay team like guitars, and then he kissed his biceps!" - I would be able to say, "Yes I did see that, and I think you'll find that he kissed both his bicipites, not just one!" - and the person would say, "Piss off you idiot" - and I would laugh and strut and ask if they wanted to play Scrabble against me and laugh again when they fearfully declined.

In fact, if I was going to be really annoying I'd ask them to clarify if they were talking about Gary Hall Jr's bicipites brachii or his bicipites femoris. Seeing him kiss the latter would be quite a sight. (There's another "don't know your arse from your elbow" joke lurking in there somewhere - can anybody come up with a setup?)

The one drawback, of course, is that the people who like to talk most about arm muscles are people whose arm muscles are somewhat larger than mine and would probably make me eat those Scrabble tiles one by one. Oh well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Yum cha yesterday! Awesome! Went to place up the snooty end of Greenhill road. The food was good and the prices were cheap (for Adelaide).

Once of my favourites at yum cha is the little egg custard tarts: dan tart (pronounced like dahn tart with a low tone I think). Anyway, yesterday was a bit tragic because as the plate was being passed to me, my dan tart slipped off and fell directly into my tea cup. Bummer. Luckily my Smaller Half took pity on me and I got half of hers.

The great thing about dan tart is not only are they delicious but there's a great song I made up (well, adapted) that you can sing about them, which I sing in the car every time we are going to yum cha to help us get in the mood. If you know the song "Downtown" by Petula Clark (linky) then it's easy. You just sing that song but replace every instance of the word "downtown" with "dan tart".

When you're alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go - dan tart!
When you've got worries all the noise and the noise and the hurry seems to help, I know - dan tart!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Endocrine strikes back

One of the horrible things about studying hard for upcoming exams (so I've been told - ha ha) is that you get this awful feeling that the information that you're forcing into your mind is inexorably forcing out stuff that was previously in there.

My Smaller Half was sitting in with an endocrinologist a day or two ago, so of course over dinner we chatted about all things endocrinologistish. Since I happened to have passed my endocrinology exam back in April, I was keen to strut my stuff and show her how much I know. So naturally when she mentioned that there were a lot of patients coming in with hyperthyroidism I got excited and did an infodump. Unfortunately I basically ended up babbling like an idiot.

Oh! Oh! Did anyone have that thing? Where your skin goes a funny colour?

Smaller Half

You know! With the hormone! You know! Preproopiomelanocortin! It gets cleaved! Into melanocyte stimulating hormone and the other one. C! C!

Smaller Half

C! It's got a C in it! It controls the thyroid!

Smaller Half

Yeah that's it! No wait, I'm confused.

Smaller Half
I think you mean Addison's disease. That's your adrenal glands, not your thyroid.


Smaller Half
If I were you I wouldn't say that kind of stuff in front of the consultants next year.

I find it pretty depressing that the only thing I could remember was that piece of trivia about preproopiomelanocortin - a totally useless piece of knowledge which I got wrong anyhow.