Monthly Archives: December 2009

It just doesn’t make sense

So there’s, like, no-one online. Is there some event on or something? I mean really, where on earth could everyone be? Crazy!

My NYE has been enjoyably non-eventful But don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it in lots of words!

A couple of days ago I came across this photo of a “sausage platter” at an English pub. Why have I never heard of such a thing? So this afternoon I was at the supermarket and bought some appropriately proportioned oven fries. I decided that when I got home I would call my mother and ask her to bring some sausages with her when she came home from work. There is a butcher next to her work that does excellent sausages.

Back home, first things first – fries in freezer, cheese in fridge, throw ball for dog. I was about to call the mother when the front door opens. It’s my father, home early from work (what’s with that? Is there something on?) and he is holding a package wrapped in… butcher’s paper… approximately the size and shape of hmmm 8 sausages. Turns out he stopped at the mother’s work on his way home and the mother gave him the sausages that she had bought THIS MORNING.

Now you might be thinking that perhaps I had showed the mother the photo of the sausages and put the idea in her head. But NO! I did no such thing!

A clear case of telepathy.

So after my sausages and chips and sauce, I watched a few episodes of Two Fat Ladies – a seafood one, a meat one and a fruit & vegetables one. Then I watched some South Park (channel 99 has solid South Park on until some time after now – all repeats, surprise surprise). Then I watched the second half of a French movie about a teacher who turns his students into a choir. The end result was far superior to that attained in Sister Act, however I think this may be more a casting effect than anything else.

I was also reminded why subtitles are annoying. It’s hard to do other things at the same time and keep up with what’s happening. And I’m not good at only doing one thing. And if tv is one thing, the other thing is usually computer-related or a book. Doesn’t work.

Pooka and I also did a bit of obedience practice. And I gave her a good combing.

And we all lived happily ever after.

Kitchen gadgets

Some gadgets that I think are excellent
1. Toaster
2. Stab blender (aka stick blender) – turns a saucepan full of hot vegetables and water into soup with considerably less mess than transferring to a blender (erm particularly if one was unable to find the blender lid and was convinced by a friend that a plate held over the top would do the job…). Can replace hand-held held electric mixer in many situations if necessary.
3. Sandwich toaster. Does what it says on the box. Also good for reheating slices of pizza if it allows you to suspend the top plate. And if it doesn’t have that setting, you could just make a sandwich out of two slices of pizza I suppose….
4. Electric kettle. I find it hard to believe that there are developed countries where electric kettles are not commonly used. But it’s true!
5. Microwave. My ideal microwave would only have a few buttons. Probably 30 seconds, 1 minute and 10 minutes. Only one power setting: high. I never use defrost, reheat or meal-specific settings. I mainly use the microwave for defrosting bread (30 seconds on high), reheating a plate of dinner (1-2 minutes on high, depending on the food) and melting stuff for recipes. Don’t need no fancy programs to make roast duck or clam chowder.

Some gadgets that I like but could live without or that I live without but can understand people liking.
1. Rice cooker. It really does make good rice without needing any attention. I like it, but I’m told that if I read the instructions for cooking rice by the absorption method I will get a similar result for similar effort.
2. Bread maker. I used to have one of these but at some point developed an aversion to the taste of bread maker bread. Weird. But I can see the attraction to chucking a few ingredients in at bed time then waking up to a nice warm loaf of bread.
3. Food processor. This become my friend when I started cooking for large numbers of people on a tight budget – grating 2kg of cheese? No problemo! Chopping onions for a bbq for 200 people? Kapow!
4. Electric non-stick wok. If I had a gas stove I would most likely use a non-electric wok. But I have an electric stove with a glass/ceramic cooktop and it just doesn’t do woks very well. My electric wok does an excellent job. And it’s really quite easy to clean if your standards aren’t too high!

Some gadgets that I am not sold on
1. Cupcake maker (I have one of these. It’s called an OVEN)
2. Hot dog maker (I have one of these. It’s called a STOVE)
3. Crepe machine (hmmmm… frying pan?)
4. Milkshake makers. I think that if I worked in an establishment that sold milkshakes, this would be a good idea. However for average Joe, who doesn’t have milkshakes all that often, this gadget takes up cupboard space and its single function can most likely be handled by some existing piece of kitchen equipment. I think my favourite milkshake maker is the Tupperware one that you… shake… y’know using your muscles and all.

Technology vs medicine

So Australia has relatively recently cranked up digital tv. This is not an unwelcome move – more channels, better reception of existing channels. Then there is all the fun stuff with twin-tuners and integrated hard drive recorders. Not complaining about any of that.

But Australian haematologists will find life more difficult.

When I was in first year medicine (2006) learning about haematology, the vitamin K-dependent coagulation factors were also referred to as the tv channel factors – II, VII, IX, X, corresponding to the four main tv channels. SBS was not included in the vitamin K factors list, but this was not really a major drama, for me at least, because we’d never had reception of SBS. Or the community channel (28?). Although there were the beginnings of digital tv at this time, it was not big enough to affect the lecture on vitamin K-dependent coagulation factors.

But now? Hmm well there are about 13 channels as far as I can tell. There are also high definition channels and some information ones. And have coagulation factors changed to reflect this? No! They have not!

I suppose that if you tried to tell an examiner that coagulation factors 72 and 99 were vitamin K-dependent you would obviously be a muppet because there are no such factors. But SBS is now on channel 3, whereas it used to be 31 I think (I wouldn’t know, having no reception). And there is definitely a coagulation factor III.

I hope someone has noticed this problem.

3000 words

One of the Yay Family traditional Christmas pigs. There are two in circulation, however my uncle is the guardian of the other. My mother broke the leg of this one so it was allocated to her. I replaced the broken leg with a red pencil. The pigs were bought in a NSW country town between 50 and 60 years ago by my grandmother. Tradition dictates that they must be loaded with some sort of jelly-based lolly (Marella Jubes are optimal but they are not often stocked by supermarkets now. The ones seen in this photo were Coles jubes. Natural Confectionery Company Citrus Slices have been used in the past) and liquorice allsorts.

The Yay Family traditional Christmas snack basket. This is around 30 years old I believe. It was given to my mother some time after she got married and needed some sort of modular snackbasketry system. Loading the snack basket is one of my festive tasks (loading the pig is another). This year it contained (clockwise, from the top): chocolate coated fruit & nuts, almonds, Ferrero Rochers, dried apricots, honey-roasted macadamia nuts, chocolate coated almonds, crystallised ginger, cashews and dates in the centre).

This is not really anything to do with Christmas, but I took the photo today. I am quite pleased with the progress of my tomatoes. Hmm it looks like I need to post a photo of the most recent additions to the tomato enclosure. But not today.

Ways to make the mother explode #1


Breaking the main toilet of the house on Christmas Eve has potential to cause fireworks, particularly when various members of the extended family will be descending upon us in less than 24 hours.

The brother was responsible for the flush that broke the camel’s back, and it was a scene somewhat like the one pictured above that I awoke to. The main difference was that if the water was turned on, there was water spurting out of various places in the plastic bits…

My brother was working from home today, not bludging like myself, so it fell to me to come up with a plan for having the toilet fixed by the time the mother arrived home from work. It seemed unlikely that we’d be able to get a plumber at such short notice (unless we paid $$$$$) so I called a plumbing supplies company to see if it was something we could do ourselves. The man I spoke to seemed to think it would not be a big deal to fix.

When it got to the brother’s lunch break time, we went for a drive to the plumbing supplies place. I explained to the guy what I was after and it soon became apparent that the fix would not be as simple as I had hoped (I thought it’d be nice if the part could be replaced like a toner cartridge or a sim card…). Luckily I had taken photos and could point to where the water was coming out. This proved to be more helpful than the part number, which I had written down and thought would be the most useful information.

They didn’t have the whole assembly, but they had a spare parts/repair kit which they were fairly sure would do the job. $22.85. Bargain. And they gave me a receipt and said to bring it back if it was wrong – that was pretty nice of them – it was all packaged up and it’s not the sort of thing I’d expect to return in the event of me selecting the wrong item.

Anyway, I was going to start working on it when the brother had finished work because I’d never done toilet repairs before and wanted moral support. But the father arrived home early so I set him to work instead.

Apparently it was quite a tricky job… and it is now forbidden to break the toilet on Christmas Eve. Dad’s not sure that he’s fixed it, but there’s a part that was in there that looks broken and it has been replaced and the toilet is now behaving itself.

But if anyone else’s toilet breaks tomorrow, I have a few other spare parts in my kit so just give me a yell. It’s probably better if someone else installs it though.

Mail bag

Despite Australia Post strikes this week, I received three items in the mail today.

1. A letter addressed to Dr Yay from the Medical Board telling me that I’m registered to be an intern.
2. A letter from the university saying that I passed all my subjects for fourth year and some words to indicate that I have passed my degree.
3. A Christmas card.

My mother has appropriated all three items to hang up with the rest of the Christmas cards.

There must be some mistake…

This picture has nothing to do with the content of this post, but I just made it for my dinner and it’s rather delicious.

So my roster for work arrived today. Doctor work… y’know, with a stethoscope and all that. I start in 3 weeks.

And it’s pretty sweet I must say. I knew it would be nothing like what junior doctors in other countries do, but I must admit I am still surprised…

I’m starting in emergency. This would have been a bit of a disaster if I hadn’t spent half of my pre-internship rotation in the very same emergency department. I will still probably not like it very much, but I know in advance what happens, where things are, who’s good/scary/dangerous and that not all interns like emergency terms.

At any rate there are three different shifts that interns are rostered to. The earliest I’ll start work is 8am, the latest I’ll finish* is 9pm. I have 4 x 10 hour shifts per week. Two Saturday day shifts in the 10 week term, no Sundays.

* ie. the latest time I’m rostered to be there. Although leaving on time is a bit of a fantasy in most departments, in emergency it isn’t such a zany idea because new people arrive to work…

Time to extend…


I ran out of chicken wire, but this is a start…

I think the architectural style is similar to that of this weirdo house I came across in Vietnam:

very strange place

We were initially going to stay there, but got totally weirded out during our day visit there. I can’t remember what it was called, but man that place was odd.

Progress notes


I took Pooka to visit the grandmother this morning. I’m pleased to announce that she has been promoted to “going inside” privileges. My grandmother has never been a dog person and was quite wary of Pooka initially. Which was kind of fair enough because Pooka was a bit mad (in the crazy sense) when I first got her. But anyway, she’s a lot better than she was and the grandmother has had a couple of years to come to terms with her. Although she still insists on calling her “him”.

Oh yes, for anyone else wondering about the Sound of Music reference last week, I answered in the comments section


In other news, my tomatoes are progressing well. As are the passionfruit.