Monthly Archives: March 2007

my mother always told me…

… not to wiblog during a thunderstorm.

Well actually she didn’t. But it’s something that a mother might have said. However I am not plugged in to anything. The only ways that I could get zapped are the lightning turning a corner under the eaves of the house and jumping through the window at me, or the telephone line getting hit and sending a surge of power through the wireless router and the router erm sending a wireless powersurge into my computer.

Have I ever discussed my plans for wireless electricity connections? I think it’d be great!

In other news, Maddie was of course correct about filing Chalet School books under B. I just looked at one and the surname was hyphenated. AND then I remembered that I usually search for them (in vain) near Enid Blyton in bookshops. So there you have it.

In yet more other news I am greatly enjoying A Perfect Mess – so many case studies on instances where being a bit messy (or even very messy) is far more efficient than being super tidy. I think that Smudgie and Jack would both feel vindicated by the premises of the book and so far (it looks like I’m about a third of the way through), I would say it’s worth a read if you are feeling dejected about the state of your world. I quite enjoy the different types of mess we can make – some of us go for piles – if it’s in a pile, it’s ok. Even if the pile is 8 feet high and has a Royal Wedding (Charlie and Di) edition of the Women’s Weekly at the bottom. Then there are the archeologists. They tend to have just one big enormous pile. But they are quite adept at navigating their pile – frequently accessed documents are usually towards the top, and important but rarely consulted information is nice and secure at the bottom somewhere. There may be certain areas of the enormous mess that have higher concentrations of particular items -eg. bank related things might be near the back, take-away menus on the left (a few levels above the phone) and plastic goats scaling the northern slopes.

answering questions

1. Why a plastic goat? Why not? And at $1.50, how could you not buy it?
2. How do I file my Chalet School books Well I am not a filing books type of person…. they are on my shelves in the section with other books from the genre, however there is no alphabetical component to the ordering of the section. However I believe that the appropriate place in an alphabetical system would be under D. As far as I could tell in EBD’s biography (acquired from Maddie during the last WISE exercise), Dyer was her surname. I have lent the bio to a friend but will confirm this when she returns it. Or possibly Maddie could consult her copy and enlighten us.
3. Why a plastic goat? Why not?
4. Why a plastic goat? Because it was there! And it was only $1.50! And who knows when it might come in handy!

ah hah!

Today I made three purchases:
1. A plastic goat.
2. A packet of Mixed Gummis (car lollies)
3. A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder by Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman. It’s very interesting reading so far (page 67). I was alerted to the presence of this book by Roy on Shrink Rap – a multi-psychiatrist blog that I read on occasion. As the book just happened to be at Borders when I popped by today, I had a look at the blurb and thought it worthy of a read.

This wiblog will possibly descend into anarchy Actually that’s untrue. The book so far seems to be telling me that most people are functioning at approximately their optimal amount of disorder, and that increasing the orderliness of our lives is not necessarily an efficiency-boosting exercise. I’ll keep you posted!

what is order?

Every so often on a slow news day at work, I wonder about re-organising the dispensary. It is not a good lay out, for reasons that probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t work with alphabetised products. Hmm actually I’ll try, using a library as an example.

Imagine a library, with really long shelves. These shelves have subdivisions, at intervals of about a meter, but are essentially 4-5 meters long – I would call these subdivisions “bays”. There are about 6-7 levels in a bank of shelves. Do you have this image in your mind? No? Then stop and read no further until you have imagined the long shelves.

Now imagine that these shelves are filled with books, in alphabetical order by author. So far this sounds reasonable. So you want to find The Chalet School in Exile… hmm no, not that one actually as it’s hard to know whether to look under Brent or Dyer.. how about Summer Term at St Claire’s by Enid Blyton. So you take a stab at roughly where you think the B books might be. Assuming that there is a roughly even distribution of authors in various parts of the alphabet, you would probably look in the first bay, towards the bottom. So you stoop down and find The Lilac Bus by Maeve Binchy, at the far end of the bottom shelf of the first bay. You then stand up and move a step to the right and behold! There on the top shelf are the Enid Blyton books. Unfortunately Summer Term is out at the moment, however <sixth Form at Mallory Towers is there and you’ve been waiting to read that for months!

Now imagine that the bays do not represent any sort of barrier to the shelving system. The As start at the top left and carry on towards the top right, where they morph into Bs. The Bs take up two shelves (due to the Secret Seven and Famous Five) and end midway across a shelf.

On the surface, this is a valid way of organising the books. They are in alphabetical order after all. But it’s a stupid way to organise books when efficient selection is important. What if you need a book by Elvira McSweeney… you first hazard a guess that it’ll be in the middle somewhere. But if you take a sample from the centre of this bank of shelves and end up with something by Frederick Looton, you are no better off. Clearly two samples are needed to ascertain the trend… but even with Thomas Teapot being located down two rows and a bit to the left, you are no better off – you may have identified a likely vertical location of your book, however because the horizontal plane is so long, with uneven quantities of surnames starting with any letter, you will still have to traverse the length of the bookshelves a few times before finding your book. This is silly!

And what’s so good about the alphabet anyway? I have often pondered rearranging the dispensary in order of tablet colour. I think that would be pretty cool.

where it all happens

Good news everyone! The university has installed a new wireless access point somewhere near my PBL room. So I can wiblog FROM PBL!

So anyway, we are currently discussing migraines. And getting nowhere because “science” can’t adequately explain everything so how on earth would we come up with anything.

Words being thrown around:
hypoperfusion
hyperperfusion
hypoxic
hyperoxic
inhibition
excitation
magic*
vasodilation
vasoconstriction
serotonin
photophobia
phonophobia
aura
pain
visual fortification scotoma
hemiplegia
disorientation
somatosensory
stretch receptors
contralateral
ipsilateral
dysdiadokinesis^
spreading depression
gah! this is a waste of time!
glutamate
depolarisation
neuro#
paradoxical
geographical agnosia
ambrosia%

* is my explanation of the topic
^ nothing to do with migraines. A good word though.
# if you add neuro- to the beginning of a word, it becomes relevant to neurology!
% also nothing to do with migraines. But sounds like agnosia – someone with phonemic dysphasia may say ambrosia instead of agnosia.

remote diagnosis

Good day everyone.

I am in the library, studying diligently (well not this very minute, but I have been until 11 minutes ago). Yet my concentration is being assaulted by someone snoring rather loudly on the other side of the room. I fear this person may have obstructive sleep apnoea because a) they are snoring very loudly and b) it is daytime and OSA is characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness. Maybe I should go and suggest they refer themselves to the sleep clinic for an assessment.

In other news, my macbook is finally back with a new logic board. A logic board is what Apple call a motherboard. My issue with Apple is not that there was a faulty part – I recognise that anything can have a faulty part. Nor is my issue with the authorised repair people. They did a good job. My issue is that there are no enough authorised repair places so it takes way too long for something simple to get fixed, and the Apple Customer Relations people, pleasant enough as they are, are helpless to do anything to speed up the process. I shall be writing to Apple to explain my thoughts on this matter. See people use computers for work. Having no computer for 2 weeks is bad. Obviously I did have a computer. But what if I didn’t?

Anyway, that hasn’t dulled my like of mac. Last night I giggled as I was backing up both my laptops to my brother’s hard drive (Linux) over our Windows network. The macbook and linux machine negotiated it just fine. The windows laptop had a lot of trouble.

remote diagnosis

Good day everyone.

I am in the library, studying diligently (well not this very minute, but I have been until 11 minutes ago). Yet my concentration is being assaulted by someone snoring rather loudly on the other side of the room. I fear this person may have obstructive sleep apnoea because a) they are snoring very loudly and b) it is daytime and OSA is characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness. Maybe I should go and suggest they refer themselves to the sleep clinic for an assessment.

In other news, my macbook is finally back with a new logic board. A logic board is what Apple call a motherboard. My issue with Apple is not that there was a faulty part – I recognise that anything can have a faulty part. Nor is my issue with the authorised repair people. They did a good job. My issue is that there are no enough authorised repair places so it takes way too long for something simple to get fixed, and the Apple Customer Relations people, pleasant enough as they are, are helpless to do anything to speed up the process. I shall be writing to Apple to explain my thoughts on this matter. See people use computers for work. Having no computer for 2 weeks is bad. Obviously I did have a computer. But what if I didn’t?

Anyway, that hasn’t dulled my like of mac. Last night I giggled as I was backing up both my laptops to my brother’s hard drive (Linux) over our Windows network. The macbook and linux machine negotiated it just fine. The windows laptop had a lot of trouble.

what I do all day

So one of the joys of medical school is PBL. This stands for Problem Based Learning. You get a problem. Then you sort of solve it. Or the patient dies. One of those.

But anyway, this video is made about an American medical student (who is in my year… well sort of… due to them not starting the year at the right time of year) and it’s a good introduction to the process. At my uni it’s a bit less American (although not much – my uni likes the lucrative North American student market), our rooms are smaller and we don’t have powerpoint presentations. Oh and no-one does the reading because the computer does that for us.

a slow news day

Yesterday I had nothing to talk about, so I didn’t say anything. Unfortunately the same thing has happened today.

I had plans for today. But they didn’t come to fruition… so hence I cannot discuss them.

But, it’s only 2:37pm. There’s still time to fit in adventures!