Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Meme: Celebrity Obsession

It's Sunday, I'm sitting at the airport waiting for my plane after a lovely weekend away with friends. It's that time of the weekend. Either write up my meme or start trolling through a heap of journal articles. After dipping into a bit of history about the Rape of Nanking, I think that this is the more pleasant alternative.  The questions are, as always from Sunday Stealing and are on the topic of celebrity.

1)  First celebrity crush or encounter

This is a bit embarrassing, especially around these parts. I remember being around five or six and having a massive crush on Mark Holden. He went on to be a judge on Australian Idol and is now a lawyer. Always wanted to get a carnation off of him - when I was six that is.

2) Favourite celebrity encounter

Other than scumming a cigarette off Jeremy Clarkson in a restaurant many years ago - I stood behind Emma Thompson in Waitrose (supermarket in London)  once. I have better hair than her and she was taller than I thought she was going to be.

3) Most cherished celebrity obsession 

Clive Owen has been my celebrity boyfriend for years

4) Celebrity you'd like to sit down and have a chat to

George Clooney - would love to talk to him about the making of "Goodnight and Good Luck" as well as his humanitarian work

5) An artist you'd like to see live

It's such a pity he's gone, but I would have loved to have seen Philip Seymour Hoffman on stage

6) A celebrity you'd like to hang out with

Ian McKellen - while rehearsing some Shakespeare or other. He looks like a cool dude

7) A celebrity you respect purely for talent

Other than Clive Owen. Philip Seymour Hoffman was up there. I mourn the films he will never make.

8) A celebrity you feel you'd be friends with

Easy. Clive Owen - and maybe Colin Firth

9) A celebrity you dislike who others appear to love

I can't stand Will Ferrell. I can nearly tolerate him as Ron Burgundy, but I just don't get the appeal.

10)  A celebrity your respect for what they've been through in life

Robert Downey Junior has done a great job of facing his demons. Jennifer Hudson also has my complete and total respect after the murder of her mother and various other family members.

11)  A celebrity you share your birthday with

Matthew Perry (Chandler from Friends) is the only one who sticks out.

12) A celebrity you find annoying

Anybody with the surname of Kardashian. Why are they famous? Seriously....

13) Favourite under 20 celebrity

Chloe Grace Moretz has a great career ahead of her - she also has her head screwed on. Same goes for Abigail Breslin (of Little Miss Sunshine fame)

14) Favourite over 60 celebrity

Clint Eastwood - in his 80s, still makes a great movie - and he's a wonderful actor.

15) The celebrity 'fandom' that means most to you

I have no idea what this question means.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Be nice to the medical student

I've succumbed, completely, to the lurgy. What was a head cold has descended South. They threw me out of Masons last night after a five minute coughing bout. As is the case with me, when I'm home, stress free and quiet in a cool, dry environment, I'm fine. Put me in an overheated room with somebody I'd like to belt up, not a good move (another story, not for distribution).

Waking this morning to even more aches and pains, I reluctantly emailed work and told them I wouldn't be in. Then I called the doctors and made an appointment.

A couple of hours later, after a couple of coughing fits, a dose of nurofen (advil), breakfast, shower and a cup of tea, I made it to the doctor's office.

The hill to the doctors felt like Mount Everest. I normally run up it. The stairs up to the doctor's office felt five time as long. Again, not something I'm used to. I live on the second floor - stairs are nothing normally. My right shoulder blade ached on. The coughing stopped after about five minutes while sitting down, waiting for the doctor.

I love my doctors by the way, even if I avoid going to them. When I do go, normally for the biennial undercarriage check as well as times like this when I admit to being ill, they're great. The lot of them treat you with respect, listen to you and are nice people. Okay, you have to pay most of the time, but really, I'd rather pay for great service.

The practice are also a teaching centre and I was asked if I minded if a medical student sat in. "Oh course not," I told them. It wasn't anything that required disrobing or a long discussion.

Turns out, the doctor was lovely, although he sounded a lot like Peter Capaldi. Thankfully I can listen to that accent all day. Half of me wanted to ask him to shout "Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck!" but thought the better of it.

Gabbi, the medical student was also lovely in an earnest sort of third-year medical student way. She received my permission to examine me.

The normal questions. How long had I felt like this, what was going on, signs and symptoms? She got off to a good start.

As somebody who used to get these chest infection things five to seven times a year, I know the drill pretty well.

The doctor sat back and let Gabbi do her best.

Ears, clear, throat, a little pink otherwise okay, glands up (she went around it the wrong way however). Listened to my chest. Yep, crackles in the middle lobe on the right (Could have told her that - it's why my shoulder's aching). Tap the lungs and they sound strange.  Temperature - normal, but that could be because I'd taken nurofen. No sweats. A bit hot and cold. No energy.

Yep, it's some sort of chest infection - possibly viral, possibly bacterial.

"Are you asthmatic?" she asked.
"Only on cold mornings and when I get sick." This is true. I'm not an asthmatic - I just get a bit wheezy and short of breath when I get chest infections. I'd grabbed a few puffs of ventolin off one of my Freemason friends the previous night before then sent me home.
"But you've never been diagnosed as asthmatic," she pressed.
"No. I get a puffer when I get wheezy."

How to I get it through this chick's head that I know what asthma is. My mother had chronic asthma when I was a child. I get wheezy when I get sick. Don't call me asthmatic. Just give me a puffer and go away. I will throw out said puffer after using it three times once it expires a few years later. Like I always do.

So, what was she going to do with me asked the doctor.

Here's where she came unstuck.

Fluids, bed rest, ... ventolin...

Oh alright - I'll take the bloody ventolin.


Yes, I'll take them too.

"Amoxycilin?" she asked.
"No." I told her. "Doesn't work on me anymore. Had too much of it in the nineties. And you haven't asked me if I'm allergic to anything" I added.
"Are you allergic to anything?" She asked.
"Sulpha drugs and bananas."
"What does that mean? asked the doctor.
"Don't give me bactrim... gives me a rash... looks like measles." I whispered at her.
The doctor asked her what she would prescribe if I said I couldn't take amoxycillin.
"Cyclines? Clarythromycin?" I whispered to her.

They worked out what to give me.

She took my blood pressure. After a bit of a muddle, it came out well - 135/90 - brilliant for me.

What else did she have to tell me?
"What about other medications?" I prompted her.
"Oh, are you on any other medications?"
"Yes." and filled her in on the details.
"Ah, the antibiotic might diminish the effect of the other medication."
"Cool - that's not a drama."
"And keep on with the nurofen." she told me.
"No." I said.
"Why not."
"Umm, what contraindicates the use to nurofen?" I asked.

The doctor's smiling at me by this stage. "If Pand was in my class I'd have her on the ten second rule - not allowed to answer until everybody else had a change to say somehing. She knows her stuff."
"I don't know why she shouldn't take nurofen."
"You've just told me I'm asthmatic. Nurofen and asthmatics don't mix. Constricts your chest."
"And get some panadol." she told me.

It was quite fun putting the medical student through her paces.

As for me, I walked away with a reluctant prescription for ventolin and antibiotics, a sick note for two days and the knowledge that this is not in my head. I also know that I will be throwing out the ventolin puffer in two years after using it about three times. Ah well.

I will follow doctors orders. I've spent the afternoon in bed and gently pottering round the flat. Thankfully it's quiet at work, though I'm not happy about being off as I don't get paid. Health, however, is far more important. Let this go and it could turn into pneumonia.

Yes, I know when I'm beaten.

Tomorrow I hope to be up and around and bright enough to do some course work. May as well.

Here's hoping.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Alphabetty - The Sunday Meme

Today's Sunday has me cleaning, writing up a tutorial paper, going off to a Father's Day barbeque and pondering my line of attack for my research paper. Oh, and doing some Mason's stuff.

It's good to have the meme to take away a few of the worries of the day.  The questions, as always, are courtesy of  Sunday Stealing.

A. What are your favorite smells? 

In no real order: Vanilla pods, Davidoff Cool Water, freshly cleaned men, dogs paws in the morning, roast lamb, night jasmine, Stella McCartney perfume, baking cake,...

 B. Can you go a whole day without caffeine? 

Yes. Unfortunately I've been made to give up caffeine because of my blood pressure. Most days are now caffeine free days, though I will occasionally sneak in a coke zero. Tea doesn't count - it's not the same.

 C. Who knows more about you than anyone else? 

Different people know me differently. Some people know about some aspects, other's have a completely different view. Lachlan knows me pretty well, although there are details he's completely unaware of.

 D. What song did you last listen to? 

Watching Bull Durham last night - a reliable go-to movie when I'm trying to relax, I listed to "Sixty Minute Man." Love the music in Bull Durham.

 E. Do you have a crush on anybody? 

Other than Clive Owen?  No. Clive Owen doesn't count because he's my celebrity boyfriend.

 F. Do you like The Beatles? 

Of course. Doesn't everybody (except an old boss of mine)? I prefer their middle to late reflective stuff rather than their early, more simple music.

 G. If you could choose one color to wear for a whole year, what color would you choose? 

Probably black. Mind you, living in Melbourne, this would not be too much of a stretch.

 H. Do you cook often? 

I cook regularly. Not as often as I would like, but at least a few times a week.

 I. What was the last film you watched? Did you like it? 

I saw the new Woody Allen film, "Magic in the Moonlight" approximately two weeks ago. Though not Woody Allen's best, it was very enjoyable. A good "Take your Mum" film.

 J. Can you sew? 

Yes. Not that will, but basic jobs are not a problem. Don't ask me to make a dress. I could, but there is no interest in that.

K. What is your favorite fruit? 

Fresh, ripe strawberries.

 L. Are you health conscious? 

Yes, 90 percent of the time. You can't be healthy living all the time - it's not healthy.

 M. What is your middle initial? 

T. Pandora the Bear.... he he. My middle initial is J. Stands for the most boring middle name anybody can have.

 N. Do you curse a lot? 

I wouldn't say I curse a lot, but I do swear. In strict moderation, normally for emphasis. I'm a middle aged woman. I'll f*cking swear whenever the f*ck I like. Okay, not in front of my mother and not in front of children and very rarely at work.... Never underestimate the power of a well-timed expletive.

 O. When was the last time you had a beer?

 About a month ago - I had to cut back on alcohol about the same time that I gave up caffeine. I hope to have a beer this afternoon as I'm heading to a barbeque soon. What is a barbeque without beer?

 P. Are you pro sports fan? 

Not really. I like to know who's won the football and can happily watch cricket for an hour or so, but that it it.

 Q. Is there a certain food you often crave for no reason? 

Cupcakes. Love cupcakes. And sometimes I just want to have tzatziki. That's a bit odd.

 R. What was the last book you purchased? 

Only a minute ago I purchased Jan Ruff O'Herne's "Fifty Years of Silence" as a primary text for my research project. For a book that's not for uni, I bought "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler. Looking forward to that one - heard good things about it.

 S. Where was your last vacation? 

I went to Bali in February for a few weeks.

 T. Do you share your fries?

Most of the time. It's not like ice cream which I never share. 

 U. Did you ever play seven minutes in heaven? 

No. I'm not American. We Australians don't get up to shenanigans like that.

 V. Girls, when was the last time you went out without a bra? Guys, when was the last time you went shirtless in public?

Daft question. I think I picked up a sports bra on Ebay earlier this year.

 W.  What's the longest you've gone "unplugged"?

About two days. I feel naked without my phone or laptop.

X. Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how did it happen?

Not that it was ever verified, but I'm sure I broke a little toe after I collected it on a doorframe many years ago. The toe has never been the same since.

 Y. How do you like your eggs? 

Poached. If I'm feeling decadent, then the poached eggs come with hollandaise, wilted spinach and smoked salmon on a toasted English muffin.

 Z. What was your last argument about and who with?

I don't argue with people that often, preferring to walk away from arguments unless I'm really passionate about the topic. I've had a few minor clashes with Blarney over politics - tending to give in and walk away before I get too frustrated.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The New Normal

It's Saturday night, it's about nine 'o' clock and I'm working on my first tutorial assignment.

And I'm happy about it.

Not sure who this woman is who is going to have her tute paper in two days early, not sure why I'm chomping at the bit to get into the next thirteen weeks, but I am. Last time I was a student, papers went under the office door the day after it was due after pulling an all nighter. I can't do that crap any more.

I'm a student again. Better go and get something pierced or tattooed.

Admittedly, the first tutorial assignment isn't that difficult. Read a couple of papers and answer a few questions, then talk about what you're looking at doing for your research topic.

Where this studying on Saturday night comes from I don't know. The last time I was a student Saturday nights were for going out and getting drunk. Okay, that was 25 years ago when things like that were done. I'm now a "mature aged student" studying a Masters of Arts (Writing) I get that the hard yards need to be done.

Receiving my university login on Wednesday was brilliant. I've met a couple of the fellow students in the course discussion board. Seems I'm not the only 40-something, full time working new starter in the course. That gives me a bit of hope.

Refining my topic of enquiry is my next issue. There's a publication piece and a research journal and plan to complete in any genre I desire. I'll go the 2500 word short story route as it's something I know. But what to research. I've got the umbrella topic - now it's a matter of cutting it down to size. I'm pretty sure that I want to write on the subject of Comfort Women in WWII - just from what angle. This is my dilemma that will become more granular as the week progresses. Why such a grim topic? Women's stories need to get out there.

Right, I best get on with it. There's a tute paper to write.

There is a lot to be cheerful about:

1) This head cold is nearly over
2) It looks like my current contract will be extended for a bit
3) My friend Teddy is taking her very first interstate trip - aged in her early forties. I'm thrilled about this one. Okay, it's a road trip to Adelaide for a footy game - I'm over the moon for her.
4) Jay will be very happy that her football team won
5) The Melbourne Theatre Company nearly redeemed itself last night with it's performance of "The Effect". Jay was a bit over the medical stuff and it's inaccuracies, but I though it was well done
6) The discover of Irish Creme Lindt balls found at the Lindt Cafe will make anybody's world happier
7) There is a barbeque tomorrow at Blarney and Barney's so I don't have to cook tomorrow night (pity it won't do my floors) And I get to see Maow Maow.
8) It was a gorgeous sunny day today and should be the same tomorrow
9) T2 Chocolate Chilli tea is a revelation
10)  I should be right to walk to work on Monday.
11) I won't be secretary of my lodge after Monday night - yay!
12) Essendon lost tonight. The world is always a better place when Essendon loses. Especially in the finals.

I'm in study mode. Simple is good.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Blogging Meme

It's Sunday and I have jobs  - one of these jobs is get my blog done for the day. There are a load of jobs that I need to get done before tomorrow too. As always, the meme comes from Sunday Stealing.

(Job: Meatballs made)

What kind of blog do you have? 

This blog is a personal experience blog. I started it about five years ago when I was intending to blog my way along the path of training for a marathon. The marathon is still to be run, but I continue to blog. I've been a bit slack lately. Must get blogging - been knitting instead.

(Dishes done)

How many posts do you have? 

I'm up to post 603. Not sure how I've done that, but I am.

(Shoes put away)

How many blogs do you follow? 

Only a handful. The Plastic Mancunian. Keep Working Through It. Blurb from the Burbs. Sixth in Line. Magical M - and a few others sporadically. Should read more blogs.

(Ironing started)

How many followers do you have? 

Official followers, 37, though I have a number of friends who I know read my blog because I get the "I thought this was happening - I know this because I read about it.

(Put the world to rights with a friend)

How often do you change your theme? 

Rarely - I think I've changed it once in five years.

(knitted a few lines)

How often do you change your icon? 

Never. What's an icon?

(Done a question for the Cert IV topic I was supposed to finish today)

 Do you have any favorite blogs? 

I do like the Plastic Mancunian  - mainly because we're polar opposites. Rather fond of Mamamia at times too, though it does get a bit preachy. Helen Razer's blog is pretty good too, though I need to read it with a dictionary nearby.

(Started prepping the brownies)

Do you ever send anonymous messages to other people? 

Very rarely.

(Done the banking)

Do you ever get anon hate? 

Thank goodness, no, and long may that remain. Spam, yes, but I can deal with spam.

(More ironing)

Have you made any friends through your blog?

I call the Plastic Mancunian a friend of sorts, not that I've met hi, Elisabeth from Sixth in Line lives next door to my friend Teddy and I run into her every so often. I really should put more effort into my blog.

(Clothes out for tomorrow morning)

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

I love knowing that I'm writing. I also like the outlet - getting myself and my writing out there to the big wide world.

(More ironing)

What’s your least favorite thing about blogging?

It often takes up time when I should be doing other things. And the guilt I feel when I run out of idea or just don't have the time to blog often.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Favourite Fictional Meme

Ah, here we go, the Sunday Meme, once again supplied by Sunday Stealing. Gives me something to think about when I'm doing my Sunday chores. I'm going to look to literature, cinema and television for my answers, so apologies if there are some people who haven't heard about my antipodean choices. 

1. Favorite fictional couple?  

There are so many to choose from, but I'm going to have to go with Noah and Allie from "The Notebook". I'm not a fan of Nicholas Sparks' work but there is something about The Notebook that gets me every time. I like to think that some people are destined to be together.

2. Favorite fictional character? 

Oh that's a hard one. There are so many I can think of, from minor characters like Jeffery Woo in "Jasper Jones" to Antonio Corelli in Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, to television characters like Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Josh Lyman in "The West Wing". I'll go with Josh Lyman for the moment - he made "The West Wing".

 3. Favorite fictional TV show? 

I learned everything I know about American Politics from "The West Wing". I can watch it again and again.

 4. Favorite fictional movie? 

Just for pure imagination - Brazil.

 5. Favorite fictional villain? 

Oh, easy, not that he's a villain. Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.

 6. Favorite fictional hero? 

Mr Darcy, Pride and Prejudice. Who wouldn't want one like that? (Especially in the form of Colin Firth)

 7. Favorite fictional pet? 

There was a film  called 'Bright Star' out a few years ago. Was the story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne. They had the best cat in that film. Brilliant cat.

 8. Favorite fictional setting/universe? 

The world found in Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go". Speculative fiction at its best.

 9. Least favorite fictional couple? 

I could never quite get why Walter and Skylar White were together, this is not to say I don't like them, but they do fight a lot.

 10. Least favorite fictional character? 

Any character that Will Ferrell portrays, other than Ron Burgundy. I just don't like Will Ferrell - but Ron Burgundy is okay...

 11. Least favorite fictional TV show? 

You have to admit, Revenge is a pretty lame television show.

 12. Least favorite fictional movie? 

Sin City - walked out of it. Horrific.

 13. Least favorite fictional villain? 

Syndrome from The Incredibles was pretty lame.

 14. Least favorite fictional hero? 

I'm not into the new Marvel stable of heros that's coming out. Captain America holds no appeal what so ever.

 15. Least favorite fictional pet? 

Was "The Thing" from the Addams Family a pet? Thing always creeped me out.

 16. Least favorite fictional setting/universe?

Post apocalyptic Tatooine was never a nice place.

That was a hard one.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Would You Meme

I normally do the Meme on Sunday afternoon, but as of 9 pm my time yesterday, there was no new meme questions on Sunday Stealing’s blog, so I went blogless. This morning I arose and found that the questions had been posted – fine for the American Sunday afternoon, but not so great for we Australians who are 17 hours ahead of the United States and nor in the depths of Monday morning.

So I’m doing this in my lunch break at work.

Here we go. Let’s see what we would, and wouldn't do.

Would you ever cheat on someone if they cheated on you?

I don’t see the point of tit-for-tat retribution, so if somebody cheated on my, I very much doubt I would cheat on them back – what is the point of that. I’d be hurt and angry, but there is no point cheating on somebody to get back at them. Also, being somebody who’s not completely comfortable with the concept of ultimate monogamy, this might be a moot point. But that’s not to be discussed on this blog. Just saying.

Would you ever consider becoming a teacher?

I have considered becoming a teacher. About ten years ago I went back to university to upgrade my English degree from a minor to a major, with the goal to then go and do my Diploma of Education to become a high school teacher. Life got in the way and I never did the Dip Ed. However I’ve done a lot of tutoring and mentoring in my time and by day, I working Training and Development, so in some ways, I’m teaching already. Just not teaching children.

Would you ever give a hitch-hiker a ride somewhere?

Unless I knew the hitch hiker, no, I’d not give somebody a lift.

Would you ever try fasting for a whole week?

This is something I would do. Check myself into a clinic in Bali and go on a huge detox. I can see myself doing this.

Would you ever try to quit one of your addictions?

I don’t really have addictions – bad habits, yes, but not addictions. I managed to stop sucking my thumb at the age of 33 with the help of a rather good psychologist. I've manage to give up caffeinated coffee in the last few months – that was a bit of a struggle. If I put my mind on something I can normally do it. Just don’t ask me to give up ice cream entirely. That would be a bad thing.

Would you ever dye your hair purple?

If it was temporary – yes, I have no problem with that. I dye my hair red anyway, it’s not that much of a stretch.

Would you ever spend $100 for the best tasting hamburger in the world?

This one is a no. Other than I’m off red meat at the moment, there are plenty of other $100 meals about the place that I’d rather enjoy – there are plenty of hamburgers around that you can get for a tenth of the price which are great. Would I spend $100 on the ultimate dessert – that is another questions.

Would you rather chew gum off the ground or kill a squirrel?

I’m glad that this is a hypothetical question, but I think I’d rather kill the squirrel – as long as it could be a humane way of killing it – a clean kill in whatever happens – and the squirrel is then put to good use. I could never chew gum from the road. Like eww.

Would you rather play Monopoly or Operation?

Both have their good points. As much as I like Monopoly, I’ve always had a soft spot for Operation. Used to love that game as a kid.

Would you rather eat chocolate or fruity candies?

Again, a hard one as it depends on the mood. I’m going to go with the fruit candies and I find chocolate a bit much most of the time – a little bit now and then, but I could eat fruit flavoured sweets daily given the desire and the fact that my blood sugars are still in good working order. Then again, if I was to eat too much sugar over time my blood sugars and weight would not be in such a good state.

Would you rather listen to one CD forever or become deaf?

Give me the one CD option. At least you can turn it down. Deafness is permanent. The only proviso to this is the album is not Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” album. I think if I end up in purgatory, this will be playing. I heard the album end on end for about two years and just the first few bars of “I Can See Paradise From the Dashboard Light” is enough to send me running very fast in the other direction.

Would you rather be deaf or blind?

I can live without music and can learn to read lips. I can’t live without reading. Deaf it is.

Would you rather text or talk on the phone?

I’m a texter, but there are times when I would rather talk on the phone. I’m wise enough to pick up the phone when more than a line or two is required to get the message across.

Would you rather spend a day with Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus?

Lady Gaga. She appears to be batshit crazy and I reckon that would make her fun. I think I’d end up lecturing Miley Cyrus on the virtues of keeping your tongue in your mouth.

Would you rather learn to play piano or guitar?

I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano.

Would you rather have a stomach-ache or headache?

Tummy aches and headaches are both debilitating, but I’m going to go with the stomach ache here. As somebody who gets the occasional migraine, at least with stomach aches they are normally over pretty quickly, and the drugs don’t make you drowsy.

Would you rather be overly interesting or overly dull?

Much prefer to be overly dull. I reckon my friends would find me quite dull anyway, but being overly interesting would mean a big pressure to remain that way. You can always become more interesting if you’re dull. May as well set the bar low.

Would you rather be too loud or too quiet?

A very hard question for a Leo as we have the tendency to be both loud and quiet all at the same time. I think I’d rather be too quiet, as I really find being loud a bit draining.