Wednesday, June 30, 2010


While walking through the treatment room at the clinic recently, one of the patients caught my eye and smiled.  He was an elderly chap who I knew I had talked to previously but couldn't remember a single thing about.  So I went over and 'fessed up:
Hello.  I know I've talked to you before but I can't recall what it was about.

It was this cut on my arm.

Really?  And it's still a problem?

Well I only did it two days ago.

Oh, but I haven't seen you for a least a month.

[Crestfallen] Oh.  I thought it was you that I saw.  It was a young doctor.  Tall and skinny.

Ah, that was probably Dr MacGillicuddy.  He must look a bit like me because a few people have mixed us up.

Yes, tall bloke.  Big nose.

I see.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mr Tumble

While my Smaller Half and I were in the UK we spent a fair few days mooching off the generosity of an old friend in London.  It was great to catch up with him again after so long - I am spectacularly bad at staying in touch with people so I think I last saw him in the 1950's.  Anyway, since he has a little boy now we were able to spend the first part of each day watching Ceebeebies, the BBC's children's television thingamajig.  Children's television is awesome.  They make everything so compelling.  Colour!  Noise!  Excitement!  Talking pigs!  The screen is like a magnet for my eyes.

I particularly enjoyed watching Mr Tumble, the clown who teaches sign language.  His large gestures and happy smiling face just make you want to be his friend.  After a week of that I was walking around singing the Mr Tumble theme song everywhere I went.  Listen to it yourself at this link: (click on the big "Something Special - PLAY" icon)
Hello, hello!
How are you?
Hello, hello!
It's good to see you!
I say hello!
I'm happy that you came!
I say hello!
Please tell me,
Please tell me,
Please tell me your name.
I realized that I needed to get that song out of my head while I was in the public toilets of the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square.  I was attending to my ablutions and was happily singing the song out loud to myself when it occurred to me that I was not the only person in that block of toilets and that the song's lyrics might be open to dubious interpretation.  Sure enough, the anonymous occupant of a nearby cubical had frozen into immobility like a rabbit in the headlights of an onrushing car.  I just had to laugh and leave.


My favourite thing that I've seen written in anybody's case notes so far:
"One questions the wisdom of a legally blind man using a jigsaw."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Somebody should really do this

I was watching some of the goal celebrations at the World Cup and I was struck by inspiration!  I reckon it would be awesome to be able to slide across the ground in that Superman pose, except rather than having to score a goal at the World Cup, why not simply do a medical degree?

Yes, I propose that someone in my class should do this at our graduation ceremony in 18 months time.  If you rigged up a couple of old-school roller-skates at waist level, under your academic gown, after you are presented with your degree you could sweep your gown open, launch yourself horizontally and go zinging right across the stage, no doubt to the thunderous applause of your Esteemed Colleagues.

You would then go crashing off the stage and plummet to the ground below, but hey - with 130-odd new doctors in the room to help you, it's a price worth paying.

Friday, June 25, 2010


We have a new Prime Minister down under.  Julia Gillard has been elected unopposed by the Labor caucus after Kevin Rudd spectacularly imploded under the gravitational pull of his own conceit.

Julia's happy - she's Australia's first female PM.  Labor's happy - they've shrugged off the iron yoke of totalitarianism.  Tony Abbott's happy - now the Labor MPs can't say "Et tu Brute?" to him in the lunchroom.  Kerry O'Brien's happy - rangas FTW!  I'm happy - I think she'll be an excellent PM.  She's intelligent, tough, articulate, and Left.

Everyone (bar Kevin) is happy.  Or so I thought.

Chatting to people at the clinic today, here are some of the choice comments about her:
"You'd think that her hair would look better seeing as her partner's a hairdresser."
"She could have at least worn a dress.  She wore black pants.  Probably trying to be one of the boys."
"I didn't vote for her.  The public voted for Kevin Rudd." (Er, not unless they live in South Brisbane)
"She doesn't even have any kids.  This is all she's wanted her whole life and now she got it in the bitchiest way possible."

All of the above comments were made by women.  They went on to discuss the Italian politician who had been a nude model.  I'm not 100% sure of the relevance but there you go.  Seems to me that 51% of the electorate just decided that Julia's gotten a bit uppity by smashing that glass ceiling.

What a shame.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Feeling pretty happy at the moment.  North Korea just got whipped by Portugal in the World Cup, so Australia has no longer suffered the most crushing defeat.  Go Portugal!

Somehow I managed to miss most of the goals through a combination of eating my dinner, going to the loo, and trying to think about my unstarted ethics assignment which is due Wednesday.  Fortunately my Smaller Half was watching too and was able to provide me with the salient details:
Smaller Half
Portugal scored again!

What happened?

Smaller Half
The guy over on the side went run-run-run and then he hit the ball into the middle and the other guy did this thing with his feet and it was a goal!
Who needs digital TV?  It was just like being there!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Scottish train

I was thinking on the train on the way up to Edinburgh (but quietly, so as to not make it obvious I was Australian) that it would be great to have a sushi train on the train.  A train within a train, if you will.  It could scoot up the side of the aisle and when you got hungry or bored you could pick off some fresh sushi and have a  little snack.

It would be fun if the sushi train was on a bullet train and ran in the same direction of travel, so you could advertise the 300 km/hr sushi train (or however fast the bullet train is).  I'm pretty sure that it might have been this kind of thought experiment that led Ludwig von Einstein to conceptualize his Theory Of Relativity - once the sushi travels fast enough it become infinitely tasty!

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup fever

... or perhaps World Cup Malaise would have been a better title.

Watched Australia get thrashed 4-0 by Germany last night.  Football being what it is, there was some luck involved in that outcome.  If we'd been luckier it might have been only 4-1.  But the Germans could easily have scored 5 or 6 times so there's not much to complain about.  Except for Tim Cahill's red card, which looked pretty soft to me.  But again, the Australian team should have known that the ref likes to hand out reds and shouldn't have been making silly challenges like that.

Still, I'm looking forward to the next few matches.  If if if Australia can beat Ghana and Serbia we'll be okay. But it doesn't look good.  In light of all that, why not take some time to answer the new poll to the right of my blog page concerning who will win the tournament?

Holiday inequalities

walking > bussing
trains > planes
exploring > touring
breakfast > lunch
galleries > museums
trees > lamp-posts
towns > cities
relaxing > bustling
sun > rain
history > glamour
Europeans > Americans
coffee > beer
free > charged
bathroom > wifi
soup > pudding

Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't look down

When you were a kid, I am sure you played that game where the floor was lava and you had to clamber over the furniture to make your way around the room without touching the ground.  Our hotel room here in London is like that because the carpet is so filthy that we're pretty sure it would be fatal to come into contact with it.  Fortunately it's easy to move around the room without touching the carpet because the room itself is about the size of a postcard.  I had to fold myself up in the fifth dimension in order to put my pants on in the morning.

The good thing about staying somewhere really awful is that you don't feel bad about making it any worse.  This morning I got a tickle in my nose as I was popping the eggs into the saucepan to boil.  I screwed up my nose to try to stop sneezing but to no avail.  The eggs went into the water and I turned around and sneezed, trying not to sneeze onto our breakfast.  Turns out I had a bleeding nose, so I sent a fine spray of blood across the bed.  Normally this would horrify me, but today I just looked at the carpet and shrugged, thinking that now the bed fit in so much better.  God knows what the "cleaners" will think we've been up to.