Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Side garden greenery

When I got home from my holiday, I was shocked at how much the side garden had grown. And it was so green (especially in comparison to the dead, brown countryside). I won't need to buy anywhere near as much fresh stuff, as everything is growing so wondrously!

Currently there are tomato plants flowering, sunflowers budding, celery, cucumber, spring onion, huge variety of herbs, turnips, beets, snowpeas, butter beans, carrots, sweet corn flowering, eggplant, rhubarb, capsicum, jalapeno, lemon tree and strawberries (not flowering yet). The left hand bed is only just sprouting (planted it just before I left), and has more of the same, as well as pumpkin, honeydew melon, zucchini and salad greens. Oh yes, and everywhere there are the requisite weeds (and flowers)!

US GM corn

It looks like the US is 'watering down' it's non-GM corn with the StarLink GM variety. Trace amounts were discovered for the second time in a couple of years in a shipment of corn to Japan. When it was discovered last time, a new testing procedure was put in place and US corn export amounts plummeted. Who knows what will happen this time.

More Tolkien

A new book by JRR Tolkien has been found in a box of papers in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The manuscript contained a translation and interpretation of Beowulf by JRR Tolkien and will be published sometime next year. It is expected to be a best-seller, if anything, just due to the name of the author.

Monday, December 30, 2002

The Lays of Beleriand

The Lays of Beleriand, history of middle-earth, volume 3 JRR Tolkien

This was actually easy to read, and quite hard to put down. Especially when I had reached the Lay of Luthien, the poetic rhythm just kept me reading. It's also interesting from the point of relating the poem's creation to that of the prose, noting similarities, changes. CS Lewis contributes a very different style in his criticism of the lay, included at the end of the book. Sadly, most if not all are unfinished. I would have loved to read the end of the Lay of Luthien.

The Circle and the Cross

The Circle and the Cross - book one of the Wanderers Caiseal Mor

I had no expectations for this book, though I love celtic lore and wisdom, and had finally got around to buying and reading it. I was very pleasantly suprised. Although even a younger person could read this (sometimes phrases seemed simply worded, though that could be more so after reading Tolkien poesy), the story was engrossing. It was set back at the time of the Roman Church invasion of Eirinn (Ireland), and followed how the druids, warriors, the other christian order and kings dealt with it. From what I could tell, the geography and naming seemed to be historic (if not accurate). It did paint a bleak picture of the future of that island. I need to find the second book now...

Back

Obviously we are back.. a little early, seeing as my health is still not good. I'll post photos and descriptions sometime later, when the photos have been downloaded, and I have time to write some stuff to go with them. It was fun, but the thing that struck me most - the countryside looked dead, no green anywhere. It was quite distressing. Oh yeah, and the kangaroos were back in their cow fatigues, though I spotted them once!

Endometriosis: Natural and Medical Solutions

Endometriosis: Natural and Medical Solutions Kaz Cooke & Ruth Trickey

I was inspired to get this book having read the section on endometriosis in 'Women's Problems' by the same authors. I didn't learn that much that I didn't know, but I have some more pointers for altering my diet (mainly focusing on anti-cramp minerals and deficient vitamins). This is a very good, no-nonsense, no medical-lingo description of the disease and various solutions that you might try (though it stressed under supervision a little too much - you need a very broad minded doctor to agree to help with diet to control endo). I think I'll be passing it on to my family, seeing as they really have no understanding (perhaps they don't want to), of the disease I will be suffering for life and it's effects. They think I'll just get better over time, or after the next operation, or by taking a tonic (yeah right!)

Recommended as an introduction to endometriosis, and searching for alternative and complementary treatment options.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Merry Christmas

We are going away over Christmas, for which we are definitely not prepared for. It snuck up on us too quick, with weather, and my health, and various other problems all whittling away the time. At least CSE1303 summer notes, pracs, tutes are all written, I only have left to teach the stuff, write the mid-semester test and exam, (only, says she).

Bernie gave me a digital camera for Christmas, so I will be able to get photos of my holiday up when I get back, rather than never getting around to scanning hard copies in, on a non-existent scanner. It's a little clunky, but because of it, I will have a hard time getting my fingers in the photos! Now to decide what I will be wearing... always difficult.. Have a good Christmas all, and I'll be posting photos when I get back ;>

Friday, December 20, 2002

Assassins

An old movie, that I had planned to watch in the cinema but as usual, never got around to doing so. I enjoyed it, the music was completely non-memorable, the acting was fairly weak, but it was fun to see Antonio Banderas play a little crazily. Bear in mind I am fairly dosed with pain killers which can warp my judgement (thus re-watching Tomb Raider - I want my bungee ballet setup!).

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Pain...

Despite varying pain levels (getting up to about a 7/10 in the evening) I've been managing to do stuff during the day. Admittedly it's still early in the week, so it's not too bad yet, and it's fairly manageable with Mersyndol Forte. Yesterday I actually was able to do a belly-dance exercise routine, albeit gently, and not suffer too badly from it. Today is a bit worse though, the pain is constant at a higher level, and I have house-cleaning, sewing and washing to do before I go away on Saturday. So far I've avoided using Tramal, sticking to Mersyndol Forte, heat packs (on 30-odd degrees, that isn't pleasant) and staying fairly sedentary. If the pain goes up much more at a constant level, I think I'll have to use it. The Mersyndol was already making me very dizzy last night, when coupled with tiredness.

Enigma

This was one of the movies that I wanted to see in the cinema and never got around to it. Knowing some of the history of Bletchley Park from having read The Codebook by Simon Singh, this movie didn't add much info in that area. It was advertised as being the story of Turing, but the only similarity I could discern, was that the main character, Tom was a mathematician. It was interesting seeing Kate Winslet in a different role to what I was used to. The story was interesting, I didn't like the pop music of that era due to association with bad stuff, and it was fairly well acted all round. I don't think I missed much by not seeing it in the cinema.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Breakthrough Bleeding

It was bound to happen at some stage, but why now!! I'm going away on Saturday, and won't have stopped till about Monday. I haven't bled for about 8-9 months now. The pain is pretty bad (and haven't started properly yet) and I'm very scared that I'll have to resort to the Tramal pain killers which had huge side effects (the worst being insomnia that lasted about 6 months, and incredible dizziness and nausea when I was taking it). I think I'll stick to Mersyndol Forte and Panadeine Forte for the time being, I don't need to be suffering insomnia while teaching second semester. I'm hoping that cutting out dairy and doing regular exercise will actually help the pain levels. *bah* It's not fair...

Tigers, better than police

A tiger has stopped crime in Selishtan Dol, a Bulgarian holiday destination. I'm not sure it would be that much cheaper to keep as the owners report Raja eats fruit, 8 eggs and 3 kilos of meat a day, and lives with cats, dogs, sheep, hens, a pig and a cow.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

New US sensitivity

With the release of the second Lord of the Rings film, the Two Towers, a protest group has claimed the movie is deliberately being titled the Two Towers to capitalise on the Sept 11th tradgedy, New Line Cinema's and Peter Jackson's actions are classed as 'hate speech'. The organisation also claims that the tragedy gave US citizens a greater sensitivity that had been lacking for a long time in that country.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Workshops

I have enrolled in several CeLTS workshops in 2003, and hopefully when I complete honours will be able to do the Higher Education Diploma. I will be missing two related workshops due to teaching commitments, so I hope they re-run them. The workshops are:
  • Practicalities for Beginning Teachers (PBT) (10-11 Feb 2003)
  • Small group teaching and Non-English Speaking Background Students (9-12pm 20 Feb 2003)
  • Developing assessment tasks using inclusive language (9-12pm 21 Feb)
  • Assessing the written work of international students (9-12pm 4 April)

Urban Grooves Lounge Cafe

99 Grimshaw Street, Greensborough, 3088

average price - $11 - 14 for a main meal, $8 - 10 for entre/salad/side, $3 for tea/coffee

an eclectic mix of food

Although they put cheese on my meal when expressly asked for dairy-free, the main chef saw and whisked the dish away, apologised and told the waitresses off (they garnished the pasta). The dish I had was penne calabrese, one of the few that did not have dairy, and was very delicious. It was fairly noisy and an informal atmosphere, which got to me after a while, but the service was good and the food extremely yummy. The menu has a huge variety of mainly italian/greek dishes, one asian dish and a variety of wines, beer and drinks. I am told that their milkshakes are quite good aswell. It was however, a 40 minute drive from where I live.

K-PAX

A very well made movie, with refreshingly different music. You could guess what the ending was going to be, but getting there was still enjoyable to a point. It struck a little too close to home at times to be completely comfortable watching it. It was well acted, though the doctor seemed fairly wooden at times, but even that is consistent with the psychiatrists I have known. Impressively good movie, it's rare that you find a 'human commentary' film that feels as if it could be a real story, a good one to watch.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Fish Parcels

I've decided that cooking in parcels is neat, you just construct them and chuck them in the oven for half an hour and forget about them. Then you just take them out, open them up and eat...

white fish fillet (perch, blue grenadier, ling)

zucchini - sliced thinly lengthways

1 spring onion

1 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

salt, pepper

2 lemon slices

dash of olive oil

dash of some kind of stock (vegetable or fish works well)

Cut a large square of baking paper, place the zucchini strips on it, then the fish, then the herbs and chopped spring onion. Season with salt and pepper, put lemon slices on top. Drizzle with olive oil and a little stock. Tie into a parcel with kitchen string, bake in a 200C oven for 20-30 minutes, until fish falls apart.

Chicken soup

Everyone has their own chicken soup recipe.. mine varies every time, and this time is based on my wonderful home-grown turnips found today ;>

root vegetables, cubed (turnips, swedes, carrots, parsnips)

potatoes, cubed

zucchini, cubed

onion, diced

cooked chicken, shredded

cooked diced bacon

chicken stock (enough to cook however much is in the saucepan)

fresh herbs

salt & pepper

garlic

Put all together in a very large saucepan and cook slowly for 2 hours. Season with herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic to taste when liquid is warmed. You could also add instead of potato, pasta, or a soup mix of lentils and beans, celery, tomato, capsicum.. really anything you have left around that needs using up. Of course, it tastes much better with fresh home grown veggies ;>

The Scorpion King

The Scorpion King was meant to be in the same vein as the Mummy and the Mummy Returns. It didn't quite live up to the clever wittiness and sometimes funny slapstick. It seemed to draw inspiration more from D&D scenarios and Conan adventures than from it's predecessors. However, it was a funny and entertaining movie. I'm glad I didn't see it in the cinema though. Something unusual happened - there was a red ant crawling up the wall after the movie, and there were red ants in the movie. I had never seen a red ant anywhere in this area before...

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Rice Milk

I've decided that rice milk really isn't my thing. It's white coloured water that is slightly oily (there is an oily film on top of my tea!). In tea, you can't taste it - it tastes like I'm drinking black tea, and this morning, water on cereal (need I say more?). However, it is a nice drink by itself, if you like a slightly sweet watery drink. Overall though - blech... back to soy milk for me.. (goats milk still to try).

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Dead feet

Whatever you do, if both of your arches in your foot are dead, don't go for long without wearing insteps. Especially if you have dud ankles aswell. Just wearing my sneakers at the gym on the treadmill is enough to really hurt my foot. I am still recovering from going right over on my ankle five weeks ago, but now the pain is along the outside of my foot and up my calf. It get worse whenever I don't wear my arches, but unfortunately my sneakers can't fit them! I guess there is still a while to go before this heals.

Majesty - the Kingdom Sim

I have just been playing this game since I got home from work. I managed to get right through the beginner missions (5 of them), then hit the advanced ones - which are a lot tougher. It's a neat game, full of D&D characters and plots, but as an unusual sim, it took a little getting used to. Your aim is to recruit 'heroes' of various forms into your realm to help destroy monsters and solve puzzles. You can't make any of your subjects/heroes do anything directly - you need to offer rewards and increase the desirability of your kingdom by upgrading existing buildings and building new ones, especially gardens and a tournament ground. Some quests are time limited, some have numerous solutions. A neat game, playability is a little less as the interface is not intuitive and quite different from the other sims I play. The music is non-intrusive (and not annoying). One question: why do advisers/storytellers of 'fantasy' lands have a strong Sean Connery Scottish accent!? (This one, strangely enough, is actually done quite well).

Sunday, December 8, 2002

Arabic Groove

Arabic Groove - Various Putumayo World Music Most of these tracks are quite danceable (belly dancing of course), and seem to be more carefully 'cleaned up' or processed than most belly dancing or folk music from the region that is available easily from retail stores here in Melbourne. There is one track on there that has inspired me to find more from the artist - Natacha Atlas. (Don't bother looking at Borders Knox for any of this type - their range is abysmal, this CD was bought from Borders Chadstone).

Why Paint Cats

Why Paint Cats: The Ethics of Feline Aesthetics Burton Silver and Heather Busch

This book is incredible, thanks Paul! It has amazing photos of painted cats, with explanations of why the owners chose to paint them. Some for reasons of religion, others to match the cat to their hair. The one I like the best is the two toned cat - a brilliant blue with tips in fluorescent red, on a long haired cat. Even in natural light it glows! The last photo (see below) is a winner. There are some completely over the top and disgusting painted cats, but some are tasteful, funny or very subtle (as in the one where only it's whiskers were painted). A great book, though not for all tastes.

Friday, December 6, 2002

Finished printable courseware

Finally I have finished the print versions of the courseware (lecture notes, prac notes, tute notes). PPT has this really annoying habit of not showing underscores, even if you insert them as a symbol (underscore), or underline them, or even cut and paste from Word where the underscore is visible. Thus the lecture notes are a little inconsistent when using the lines #ifndef blah_h, #define blah_h. I've decided to include the summary lecture in the notes this year - I have also taken out the code for the hash table (converted it to an algorithm). I haven't changed the content too much, the main change that I still want to do for semester 2 next year is to change to a different (less confusing?) version of quicksort. If you are interested, the courseware for summer semester already has all this work available. I've still yet to do some summaries (as Debbie has done for Part B), but the main grunt is done. Test and exam and marking guides still to be written, and I haven't heard yet whether Malaysia is running it concurrently again (I dearly hope not!)

Thursday, December 5, 2002

Stressful teaching stuff

I have worked out that I am earning the equivalent of 15 hours of tutoring a week, and I am doing 20 or more hours of a lecturing job per week. Either the tutors are getting paid too well (which is obviously not the case) or I am getting paid crap. Admittedly my salary isn't based on teaching semesters, but is continuous, but during the semester I spend about 30 hours per week on it (part time position). Education, IT and research are the three areas where unpaid overtime is the highest, guess I'm in the wrong field - IT educational research! On a mildly related note, the deluge of students complaining about their failed marks has started (results came out today).

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Favourite Fantasy Story

My Favourite Fantasy Story Edited by Martin H. Greenberg (Daw Books 2000)

I wasn't impressed with this collection, despite the stories being chosen as those that inspired well known current fantasy authors. Some were very good, one was terrible and extremely long (I would not have included it in a short story compilation), most were average to 'skip-it'. Something to borrow if you are interested in seeing who/what inspires current authors, but I wouldn't buy it.

Monday, December 2, 2002

Harry Potter : The Chamber of Secrets

This was quite dark in comparison with the first movie. It was interesting meeting the new characters/actors, and quite astounding to see the best Hamlet portray such a fop as Lockhart. I liked how the main characters grew more, and loved Dobby and the phoenix. I think that is the one bird (or maybe an owl or a hawk) that I would consider having as a pet (as long as they were fine with cats!) A warning for any and all arachnophobia, be prepared for your nightmares. I felt that the spider sequence was ripped straight out of my dreams (that I have on average at least 3 times a month) and plonked in full colour and sound (exactly as I dream it), on the screen. That will be the only factor causing me not to watch the movie again. Maybe if that is 1 or 2 sequences on the DVD that can just be skipped. I was ok with the larger ones, just not the carpet of spiders. For some reason I thought the music was even more derivative of Williams' older works, but I'm glad there were other people involved in the recording and mixing as it took the repetitive edge off. Stick around for the very end!

Knox City (Village and Borders)

Encouraged by my Aunt's remarks that the new Borders at Knox City was much larger than the Jam Factory I was very much looking forward to spending my birthday voucher there. I was horribly disappointed. The store is small and does not have much of a selection of anything I was looking for! (belly dancing music, Tolkien art books, sci fi, celtic music) I would recommend the Chadstone store for size and the Jam Factory for range, and leave Knox totally alone.

We saw Harry Potter in Gold Class (Village Knox) today (as can be seen by the review), and I was very pleased with the screen and the sound. Both seemed superior to Century City Walk (maybe it's just getting old?) However, they needed more people serving and ushering - we waited over 10 minutes to place our order, despite getting there 15 minutes early we entered the theatre just before the trailers started, after the ads. And their overall service speed (bringing food in during the movie) was terrible. But on a happily surprising note - their portion sizes seem to be much larger than CC Walk. Overall I will probably be frequenting Knox over CC Walk based on screen/sound/food (not service or distance from home).

Friday, November 29, 2002

Kidney disease update

According to the renal specialist my kidney function is excellent, even though I have pretty banged up kidneys and a wonky bladder. This is excellent news :> and I only require to be monitored semi-regularly.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

The Mammoth book of Fantasy

The Mammoth Book of Fantasy Edited by Mike Ashley

This is an excellent book of short stories, with not one bad story in the lot! Considering that I normally read epic fantasy (trilogies and longer) short stories are a bit of a novelty, and I usually find it difficult to get into the storylines and especially the characters, but not these ones! The collection includes stories of 'pure fantasy' without any science fiction which were chosen to be not 'Tolkien-esque' - my usual fare. Some of the authors include Michael Moorcock, Ursula LeGuin, Theodore Sturgeon, Lord Dunsany, Fritz Leiber and many others, old and current. The editorial comments introduce the authors and where they fit in the fantasy genre and timeline, noting some of their publications, which I found useful (I need authors that aren't currently writing series). Highly recommended to fantasy fans looking for new (or old) authors.

Argh!!!

I need a new housemate. After a couple of weeks of see-sawing between saying he will or he won't re-sign the lease, my current housemate has discovered he really can't afford to live away from home. This is after saying he could definitely afford it, and definitely would re-sign, and asking for a new lease to be sent out. It's also at the worst end of the year for finding housemates (Overseas uni students have gone home, and won't be back till the end of February - which is when I'm having my next major operation). So.... if anyone knows of a non-smoking easy going housemate to share a 3 bedroom house with one other person, of course sharing bills and chores, please email me!

Friday, November 22, 2002

More green roofs

Canada is joining Japan in encouraging green roofs in cities and urban areas to help the environment. Incentives also exist in many countries in Europe for greening rooftops, and some cities in the US have also encouraged the idea. I haven't heard anything about it in Australia yet though. Proving this idea is bigger than I originally thought it was, there is a research center at the Pennsylvania State University, and the site greenroofs.com contains a wealth of information, but is mainly focussed on the US. Penn State has a good collection of links many of them in Germany, where the idea originated.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

The Amazing Maurice

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents Terry Pratchett

I'm not sure whether this book is meant to be a children's book. It's shorter than a normal Pratchett book, but still contains lots of social commentary but also many references to other very popular children's books. As usual it's an amusing read, and a quick one as it is fairly short. My favourite character is of course, Maurice. Recommended as a very enjoyable half-a-day read (for those who read at my speed!)

Chicken parcels

This is a yummy recipe that I stumbled upon recently, which is low fat/salt/sugar/spices, yet still very tasty. It can also be made as a casserole.

skinned chicken thighs or breasts

prosciutto ham (1 slice per thigh)

bunch asparagus

red onion (cut into chunks)

thyme sprigs (2 per thigh)

chicken stock

freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil

Cut squares of baking paper, enough to make a parcel around 1 chicken thigh and some vegetables, cut short lengths of string to tie the parcels with. Slice the asparagus into short lengths, throwing away the woody end. Place about 5-6 pieces of asparagus and a couple of chunks of onion in the middle of a square of baking paper. Place a thyme sprig on the inside of a chicken thigh, roll it up and place two more sprigs on top. Wrap a prosciutto slice around chicken and place on top of vegetables. It's easier if you put the parcel in a shallow bowl before you add splash of oil and enough chicken stock to fill to about a third of the parcel's height. Grind pepper on top and tie parcel with string. Place on a baking tray and bake in a 200 degrees Celsius oven for about 20-30 minutes. Serve with fresh crunchy bread (fresh baguette is delicious to mop up the juices!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Survived...

I survived the colonoscopy... just ;> Really, I had a bad reaction to one of the preparation mixes (Picoprep) where I got really cold and shakey, so had to switch to Fleet, and still take the second preparation (so I had an extra lot of cleaning out!). I spent the entire day in front of the heater with a rug, frozen. I had a fair bit of pain right after they woke me up from my endometriosis, which a hot water bottle helped hugely. It still hurts on and off, but getting less. Apparently I have a 'beautiful bowel', no problems there thank goodness, so the pain must be due to something else (probably the endometriosis). February 25th I have to go through the preparation yet again for my next laparoscopy (to remove the endo), this time in the private health sector, so we will see which does a better job.

The Dream

This is the first time I have ever dreamed something from a book I was reading just before I went to sleep. I'll post a review of the short story omnibus I was reading tomorrow when I actually have the title handy..

People were getting abducted by this glowing sphere with seven different coloured lights in it. They abducted me and my best friend and placed us in this room. It had a skylight however, so we escaped through that to the roof of the palace surrounded by canals and a small township. Somehow we managed to float away but were losing altitude as my best friend was getting tired, and ended up landing on a bridge on the outskirts.

There was a high bluestone wall surrounding the whole area, as well as many small quays in the canal system, where we managed to take one of the odd rafts (which consisted of one platform just under the water and one just above), before anyone noticed. We travelled through the canals into a forested area and came across barges with odd laser gun turrets on them. We managed to dodge a couple (they never fired, just were too slow to aim) but soon found a group covering the width of the canal.

My friend was unconscious at this stage but I managed to get the raft we were on to 'jump' over the blockade. However, it didn't go down, it just kept floating up and up, still going forwards past the barges. We ended up in a huge leafy tree, not unlike birch, I was trying to keep my friend warm and look around for food, while trying not to attract the attention of the laser barges or the glowing spheres that were ghosting overhead looking for us. If we could just get over the wall we would be safe..

Then I woke up.

Fitness test & gym...

Seeing I have been hassled into joining the gym by every specialist and doctor I have had to see recently, I decided to bite the bullet about 2 months back and do it. The uni gym wouldn't let me join due to chronic sciatica (had it since I was 12) without having a physio assessment first, so off to the physio I went...

They gave me a really difficult but extremely gentle exercise - tensing the trans-abdominal muscle - the lowest of the 4 levels of abdominal muscles, without tensing anything else and of course, breathing normally. I had to start doing that while lying on my back, then progress to standing, sitting, walking, everything. This set my endo cramping which in turn upset the sciatica, so the second week was not good. Toned back the intensity and everything got used to it.

1.5 months later and 4 visits to the physio, I was allowed to join the gym, but limited to cardio, abdominal stability and flexibility exercises for 4 weeks with a program suggested by the physio. Before I could join, I had to have a fitness test and a program design/personal training session to learn all of the equipment. The fitness test was surprising in some areas - I'm hardly carrying much fat above 'normal' on my torso, but my legs are at least double (and the hardest place to lose it!). My flexibility is 0, and should be up around 33, and my general level of fitness is shocking.

So, in combination with the ops and my other conditions, a gentle start was recommended. Monday 17th I had the personal training session, and used the fit-balls and various cardio machines. I had never used a treadmill or x-trainer before. The x-trainer was very difficult for me - it actually got my heart up and required a lot of effort, so this will be the one I monitor my progress on.

Hopefully I'll be able to start going regularly next week (3 times a week for 4 weeks, then introduce some weights). It felt really weird going to a gym though, I will probably go with a friend in future (another person who was bugging me to join). I am hoping that this will help the recovery time from the next laparoscopy as I will only have about a week to recover before classes start!

Friday, November 8, 2002

Arty things

Some recent things I have done... The pencil dragon drawing was my impression of a framed print I have, and a present for Bernie. The cross stitch was a present for Caroline, and is a free pattern from DragonDreams.

My Garden

The side garden has been finished, it just needs more soil and a pebble path. I am currently growing seedlings of rhubarb, coriander, basil, oregano and lemongras in preparation for planting the house side of the side garden. Sweet corn has already been planted. Lettuce and carrots and herbs (parsley, coriander, dill, oregano, thyme) are producing lots of produce, and the sprouts are slowly maturing (despite attacks by caterpillars). I need to visit Bunnings again soon to get stuff to treat the powdery mildew in the back garden, and whatever is eating the sap out of the sweet pea leaves. Also to get more compost, mulch, stakes and wire. The next major things are to chop the lilly pilly (well, some of it - scale), nectarine, kill the jasmine, empty the pond (again), and turn the compost.

More dust less trees?!

If there is a naturally dusty area, especially around the ocean, planting trees to keep the soil on the ground rather than in the air may actually contribute to global warming. Plankton in the sea feed off the dust and absorb more carbon dioxide than a stand of trees do. However, it is very hard to tell which areas are naturally dusty and treeless, and which have been made that way by humans.

SG1 season 7

SG1 has been renewed for another 22 episodes (season 7) with most of the old cast. It's a pity the Sci Fi channel didn't do the same for Farscape, but more SG1 is also good :>

Squirrel terrorist!

A squirrel is attacking residents of Knutsford, a town in Cheshire, Britain. Children are even being kept indoors for safety!

WTO vs environment

Another push for 'free trade' rules to be linked with environmental rules, this time by the EU who believe that "environmental concerns should trump trade rules. Unfortunately the USA has the completely opposite stance, and wants the WTO to have nothing to do with any environmental concerns.

Thursday, November 7, 2002

Tarkan - Tarkan

This contains the hit Simarik, recently remixed (not very well) by Holly Valance from Neighbours. This is a great mix of dance and popular Turkish music by Tarkan, considered to be the 'Ricki Martin of Turkey'. I've been hunting the original of Simarik since it was used in a bellydance class. Unfortunately this version of the CD comes with English lyrics (not Turkish). Well worth the import price!

Legionella scare

Today I was tested for legionella, the results will be in on Friday. The recent scare was based around Westall Rd/Princes Hwy - where I walk past every morning, and drive past every night. I have shown most of the symptoms, and they are concerned enough to get me to rush my test to the hospital as I had missed the pickup time. I'm worried as it may affect my kidneys, and they are pretty much screwed already - if I lose any more function, it will be bad and downhill from there. I would have been put on the antibiotic used to treat legionella anyway (Erythromycin), except I am very allergic to it (internal and external), that would have made me end up in hospital unable to breathe. So I find out tomorrow just before 5, and will probably go on doxycline or similar. Even if I don't have legionella, I have some kind of virus (says the doc). *sigh* End of semester health breakdown due to stress?

CSE1303 marking

Again, there had to be remarking of papers as tutors did not follow the marking guidelines. At least I didn't have to do much to fix Part A this time! I really feel like not employing any of those who stuffed up yet again for marking, as most of them wasted heaps of time and distracted everyone in the room. I don't feel like employing them for tutoring at all, but luckily for them that's not solely my decision. We are going to keep track of those who have been warned, and reduce their likelihood of re-employment (at least for the marking side of things).

On an up note, I'm pleased with the overall result (which I'm not going to talk about here just yet!). The final results are out on December the 5th, just in time for summer semester enrolment. (I'll be teaching CSE1303 Part A over summer again).

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Education online

Joining in with MIT are a number of US and Canadian universities to jointly make available their courseware online. It will be hosted on DSpace, which will eventually be the long-term archive for OpenCourseWare. I hope Monash gives up on the Monash only mentality and joins in!

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Communal Showering

Melbournians are urged to shower together. It's not just couples that are encouraged but apparently you should feel comfortable sharing a shower with a 'sympathetic friend'. Hmmmmm... Just a word of warning, don't try a shared shower in one of those combined bath/shower types!

Sunday, November 3, 2002

What privacy?

This is really not new, but I only just found out about it. As the Australian government has instituted compulsory voting, everyone is required to submit their address and phone number for registration. I just found out that this list is available to be purchased, and is frequently used by tele-marketing companies. This is extremely bad for several reasons, the main one being that anyone can find where you live and what your telephone number is, even if you aren't listed in the phone book. The government was stopped from using this electoral roll to complete a mail-out to everyone as the GST was being introduced, as it was an abuse of something or other. But I can't see how selling the roll to marketing companies, or even worse, companies that compile lists of people and details about them from multiple sources!

I needed to rant about this, as I had no idea that it was legal for the Australian government to disrespect their citizen's privacy like that.

Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds

Having played the first 2 campaigns I feel I can review this now. The interface sucks. I don't have a manual for this game and the hotkeys are slightly different to all the previous games in this genre I have played, which means I am always using the wrong keys. The games seem to be very time-consuming, often the opposition starts out with way more firepower than you and you need to 'just hold them off' long enough to build up a bit. But that step takes a long time.

The graphics are smooth, and the military is more varied than other games I have played (Starcraft/Warcraft/AOE/Settlers/Pharoah), but you are limited to fairly rigid unit placements. Unfortunately, if you have chosen a formation that should protect some units, selecting to attack anything will cause the game engine to abandon your formation and make every unit attack the target, oblivious to other things. It would also be nice to be able to set initial instructions for when a unit is made, but I realise none of the games I have played have done that. There are only 3 speeds, slow, medium and fast. Fast is quite slow, and slow is deathly slow - only useful in planning a large combat situation, where there is lots of mouse work.

I find the game play quite tedious, and the interface very annoying. At least the background music is exactly that, very soft. It's a real shame they didn't get the actors voices, as it sounds quite fake. I think it will end up like the Gungan Frontier - a game a played a little of, but gave up because it took too long for a game to finish. There are campaigns from varying times in the SW universe, but the storylines seem very much contrived, and most of the time you know how it is going to end. I guess I was spoilt with Star Craft!

I rate it about 5.5/10. It's good enough for me to lose a day when I need to shut my brain down and everything else out for a while.

The other side

Friday the 1st of November 2002 was my first time being at Caufield exams on the other side. I was the lecturer there to answer questions. It was so weird! I didn't get many stares of death so I assume the exam I set half of wasn't too horrific. I guess I'll see tomorrow when we start marking. It felt odd enough to warrant a blog entry ;)

Saturday, November 2, 2002

RSPCA vs WTO

The British RSPCA is going to confront the WTO on animal rights issues. Currently there are two European laws that haven't been implemented due to conflict with the WTO - the ban on snimal tested cosmetics and importing of furs of animals caught using leg traps. I hope the RSPCA can win this one.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Tetris is NP-hard

Scientists have proven that tetris is NP hard. I always knew it was fairly difficult, but NP-hard? (via acb)

Crushed flyer

A passenger on a transatlantic flight received compensation for being squashed by an obese person who was seated next to her. Apparently the passenger was fairly seriously injured, with torn leg muscles, acute sciatica and a blood clot on her chest from this incident! (via Shanmonster)

Sunday, October 20, 2002

The Book of Lost Tales 2

Writings by J.R.R. Tolkien, compiled and analysed by C. Tolkien

This book actually took me nigh on 6 months to read. It is full of the history of the rings, and clearly shows Tolkien's story and history development process. Towards the end, a couple of incomplete manuscripts are included and C. Tolkien proposes an outline from various scraps of details found in those manuscripts. This is not an easy read, but if you want to know much more about the history of the Lord of the Rings, and how Tolkien actually developed his world and stories, this is an excellent book.

Bored of the Rings, by Harvard Lampooon

Well, if you like crude spoofs, and you like the Lord of the Rings, then you will most likely enjoy this book. Personally I found it far too childish, with few twisted and clever references thrown in. Not to my taste, and I didn't finish it.

Bend it like Beckham

A very neat movie, well acted, good storyline. The music in it is mostly brilliant. I want to know if Beckham was actually in it at the end or whether it was a stand in! If you ignored the merchandising aspect (how much promotional material was donated?) it was a better movie still.

Two recent purchases (CD)

Bend it like Beckham soundtrack

Mostly excellent, but has snippets of lines from the movie sprinked every 4-5 tracks which is extremely annoying. More so because the sound quality of those snippets is atrocious. There are a few great tracks to bellydance to.

Incubus - Make Yourself

Bought for one track - Drive. For some reason that song just clicked, and I have finally got the CD. The other tracks are not nearly as good, but definitely listenable.

Health update

I saw a gynecologist for the first time since seeing the surgeon last summer. The surgeon had told me that the pain would go away, especially as they removed all the endo (basically that it was all in my head). On examination, it seems that the endo has grown back on the lower left ligaments - it didn't move freely and was horribly painful. The gynecologist specialises in endo, and does surgery. The only time she doesn't remove endo is when it is on the bowel (requires a bowel surgeon).

So.... a laparoscopy is scheduled for next February, and before then I need to find out whether I have 2 whole ureters on the left, or whether they fuse halfway down (which is more common). This is just so the gyno can make sure she looks for 2 or not when she is cutting things out. She also said to stay on the pill and not have a period unless I break through bleed. The bloating is most likely to do with my digestion. Speaking of digestion, my colonoscopy is scheduled for 20th November.

Various digestion tests with different types of dairy have been bad. Normal dairy causes severe cramping if I eat more than a small amount. Organic dairy has the same reaction. The next and final test is lactose free, but I want to get over the previous reaction first. Goat's and Sheep's cheese seems to be fine, but I never have that much of it to tell. Other than that, I'm reduced to having soy and rice milk, and can't have my favourite alcoholic drink - Baileys!

I've discovered that ponstan/nurofen and those types of pain killers all contain anti-inflammatory drugs, which means I can't have them, ever. Not that at such a low strength they ever did anything for me.

Every doctor/psych/specialist has ganged up on me, and said I should join the gym. But the gym wants me to do a physio assessment of my back (sciatica) before they let me join. I'm not sure yet when/if I'll join as it is a lot of money at the start (physio/joining fee/fitness assessment/program design). However, I'll take it slowly and see when is the best time. Taking a week off work at the moment, as I had to work full time when Debbie was away (wasn't expecting too, but the students who were missing classes took up the rest of my time - Deb normally deals with these). So hopefully I'll get over my current (4 week) sinus virus, and get some rest.

Thursday, October 3, 2002

Bah...

I have got my first chest infection since high school that I can't easily cope with easily. Usually I just don't cough and am fine. But this one is a killer... If anyone has any suggestions that help with sore throats (that doesn't involve lemon and honey drinks), coughing, temperatures that just won't go away, please let me know! I hope I'm ok by Tuesday - I need to lecture!

Looking for Alibrandi

Silly movie. It's bad that I've got cable at the moment, and intermittent net access, and being sick, cos I watch all sorts of silly things. A fairly wacky storyline and average acting doesn't make for the best movie, but it's watchable if there is nothing else on. Definitely not something I would recommend for hiring.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Anna and the King

This movie was spectacular, and very sad. Why is it that all extremely beautiful movies are so sad? I would put this with other movies: Kundun, Elizabeth, Ghandi and Hilary & Jackie. Pick the theme there... The acting was superb, the costumes exquisite. I feel a new costuming effort coming on, that doesn't require crazy makeup. The music didn't stick with me, it was upstaged by the imagery and story. The Thailand government does not endorse this movie as it is historically inaccurate, but it is still beautiful.

Too busy

With my co-lecturer away, I have been completely swamped at work and while housesitting. I'm looking forward to the break. Tiger (a black and white cat), has started eating, finally. Which means I don't have to be enemy for a while as I don't have to give him tablets if he is eating.

Students have been pestering me continuously for extensions and deferred tests. Even though I was horribly sick throughout my undergrad, and still now, I have never missed a prac. Only non-essential classes like lectures and tutes. I realise how difficult it is to work and study and be ill at the same time, but they seem to always put work above study too often. I think university policy needs to be re-worded to clearly state that 'work' is not a good enough reason to miss classes. Test marking starts on Monday, I'm not looking forward to it.

Had an ant infestation to add to my woes today, and found out about a broken promise, which has greatly upset me. Is this the tip of the iceberg? I hate being hassled to hassle others. And no-one is doing anything to help that situation, in fact it's just getting worse. I don't need to be stressing about this on top of everything else. Family do tomorrow. Really not looking forward to it. As usual I have been completely guilted into it.

I miss my garden and the relative quiet.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Health update

I saw a kidney specialist today for my lumpy and swollen kidney. A good look at the IVP xrays showed that my left kidney is buggered - small, motheaten in the extreme, and not working very well at all. The right kidney is a little bigger to compensate, but is also starting to get moth-eaten. However, I basically have only one kidney between them. This could be due to a number of factors, and cannot be fixed, only monitored, and measures need to be taken to stop it getting worse. The next round of tests (this time I will glow) begins next week, for a baseline, in order to have something to compare to when monitoring the condition. This will happen regularly for the rest of my life.

I will be seeing the gynecologist sometime in October regarding my pelvic pain and endometriosis. Hopefully she will suggest an MRI, and will probably also want to do a laparoscopy, hysteroscopy and colonoscopy. I'm so sick of doctors, but at least the kidney specialist I saw was very good, knew his stuff, and explained everything in great detail. I hope the Gynie is just as good. Now to find a GP who isn't shoddy.

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Governments with no clue

More evidence that governments and legal systems are unjustifiable and completely out of touch - the Greek government has passed a law which bans the use of electronic games such as gameboys, those that come with mobile phones, and any games on home computers, including those that ship with operating systems. This is an effort to stop illegal gambling. Those found with electronic games (including tourists) face a heavy fine and possibly imprisonment. (via the null device)

Saturday, August 31, 2002

Couscous salad

Tried a new recipe tonight - from Jamie Oliver's old column in the Times Online. It was delicious!

Couscous salad with asparagus and courgettes

Serves 4

Ingredients

225g couscous

2 tbsp lemon juice + juice of one lemon

5 tbsp + extra olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

285ml water

1 red onion or 2 shallots

0.25 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 handfuls of fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, basil, marjoram), finely chopped

1 medium chilli, deseeded, finely chopped

1 tomato, deseeded, finely chopped

1 tsp red wine vinegar

2 whole red capsicum

1 handful of fresh asparagus

2 courgettes (zucchini) cut into strips

Method >br?
Put couscous, 2 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper, 5 tbsp oil into a bowel and mix. Add water and stand 15 mins or until water is absorbed.

Blacken capsicum on grill, peel, deseed and chop. Brush zucchini and asparagus with oil and grill until coloured. Chop zucchini and asparagus roughly.

Mix onion, garlic, herbs, chilli, tomato, capsicum and vinegar with a little oil. Season with extra salt and pepper if desired. Mix well into couscous. Add zucchini and asparagus and mix.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Ice Age

Twas a very cute movie, with many jokes that would be way over the heads of children (mostly). I didn't like the animation style, but it looks like Pixar are concentrating on stories rather than just 'pretty pictures' now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Aus Post gone potty?

Australia Post has denied sending an order through to workers to only use one sheet of paper per toilet visit. Joke?
According to an area manager, the same order requested less use of pens, delivery bikes, and sunscreen.

Children buried alive

Parents are fined if their children don't become unconscious after the extensive preparations before being buried. The burying ritual is thanksgiving to 2 local deities in southern India, and has been performed every 5 years for the last 400 years.

Australian Jedi population ignored?!

The recent census resulted in 70,000 people selecting Jedi or Jedi related as their religion. The Bureau of Statistics is however classifying these responses as undefined pending further investigation.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Cat Fantastic 2

A collection of stories about cats, mostly magical, this was probably better on average than the first volume, it only had a couple of ordinary stories. Some of them, shone. I miss my cats, and this helped and hurt at the same time. A couple of sad stories to finish though, it may have been better arranged to leave the reader on a happier note.

Various things in news...

Coke and Pepsi have recently denied knowledge of painting rocks with their logos in the Himalayas, adding the the environmental damage by tourists leaving the garbage there. The two companies claimed that local franchises authorised these 'advertisements' without their knowledge. The Chinese government stops the creation of new numberplates due to unpatriotic ones selling like hotcakes (such as 007, FBI, TMD).

Iraqis living in the US could be forced (trained) by the Bush government, to appear on TV and radio, write opinion articles and speeches to support the US to overthrow Hussein. As per normal Microsoft policy of releasing insecure software, a recent articles mentions they have release 30 security bulletins on different security flaws since January, about 4 per month. This is relatively soon after Microsoft admitted to misleading customers about the security of their Passport system, the Federal Trade Commission found they did not follow 'reasonable and appropriate measures' to keep private information safe in a business environment.

The Food Standards Agency in Britain wants to ban sheep intestines used for haggis, citing BSE as the reason.

Just as I start my dairy free diet, parents in Britain are warned against the dangers of a milk-free diet for children. A fairly biased article which mentions that of those studied who don't drink milk one in three are obese, not mentioning the rate of obesity in those that do drink milk. A repeat study done in several more years would be useful, to see which of the groups has a higher occurrence of illnesses.

Blah

Burning: Nothing yet, but will be Winter Blues mix

My favourite word at the moment - blah. Or failing that, the sound of a tortured scream. Maybe not favourite, but what is playing in my head. Thus the bassiness and loudness of the music. Reorganised kitchen to clear some space in my head, it filled with more of those two sounds above.

Anyone know any tricks for shutting the head up, discounting actual screaming?

Sunday, August 25, 2002

The Codebook, by Simon Singh

It was rather amusing that the first few chapters matched my cryptography honours course nearly exactly (omitting the maths)! A very well written book, detailing the sometimes sordid history of cryptology. An interesting look at quantum cryptography in the last chapter, and a large appendix for someone wishing to try out their code-breaking skills. Highly recommended for anyone studying or interested in cryptography. Amazon listing and reviews

Saturday, August 24, 2002

The City of Lost Children

I finally got around to seeing this for the first time, it took long enough. But it was worth seeing. A very twisted and strange movie, but extremely well done. The actors acted naturally in a very unnatural setting and story. Very dark and surreal movie - worth seeing!

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Doctors closed!

I can't believe what happened to me today. I went to go for the next doctor's appointment, and when I got there, the whole place was shut! Closed due to staff shortages, blinds closed, note on door, and they were not answering the phones. I'm guessing the admin staff got sick, and the doctors couldn't cope without them.

Frustrating though, I'll have to get another appointment tomorrow, or leave it till Tuesday. *grrrrr*

Ummm....

I wish I had a photo this morning of the car that was driving along the footpath as it was quicker than driving legally around the block (one way street). It was a little car, and fit on the footpath with heaps of room to spare. 'Twas quite amusing ;>

Hippo Found!

They found the hippo in Prague zoo today, to the great relief of zookeepers. It wasn't happy, but is eating so will probably be fine. Unlike the poor elephant the other day.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Alasya

Address: Brunswick Street Melbourne

Drinks: BYO

Cuisine: Turkish

Price: about $20 per head (set menu + drinks)

Rating: 9/10

Wonderful food, great variety on the set menu - 6 different entrees and several different main meats from the spit and an eggplant/tomatoe dish. All the dishes were excellent, Bernie reckons the doner kebab is exactly as it should be. I preferred the kofte and the lamb pieces - much more flavoursome. Service was quite decent, unlike what we were led to expect by the age reviewer in an old 'Cheap Eats' guide. It was interesting to see the volume of bread they were baking in the back, loads and loads! The only disappointment was the dessert and a fairly nondescript hot chocolate.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

More bad news (health)

grrrr... Apparently I have something else wrong - something new has caused my left kidney and ureter to become swollen and lumpy. This is on top of the recurrant severe endometriosis, possible adenomyosis, sciatica, a probable stomach/bowel problem, insomnia and migraines. It all ends in pain. I'm going to glow under xray on Monday.. yum!

Women's Trouble, by Ruth Tricky and Kaz Cooke

Women's Trouble: Natural & Medical Solutions by Ruth Tricky and Kaz Cooke Amazon listing and reviews

This was an interesting book, written with much sarcasm for the health system in whatever country the writers lived in. It covered medical and natural solutions to many problems that women may face, stressing that that normal medical route is the best one to trust. There are many good dietary tips and guides for specific illnesses, which I have yet to try.

Endometriosis was described very well, perhaps because Kaz suffered from this condition. Adenomyosis was mentioned briefly, and not explained at all well. There were sections for many other problems including: PMS, other causes of dysmenorreah, how to deal with menopause, and menarche.

A very good book to read if there is anything wrong, and indeed for understanding what could go wrong.

Monash Palace

Address: Monash Homemake Center, Cnr. Princes Hwy and Blackburn Rd, Clayton

Phone: 9544 5668

Drinks: BYO and Licensed

Cuisine: Cantonese

Price: about $20 per head Rating: 6/10

It was late, I wanted to eat out, this restaurante was on the way home. We passed another that had very few people in it, and decided to eat here. There were no other customers so it felt really wrong. However, the service was excellent and the food was good, even though it was overpriced. I ordered deep fried tofu and vegies - the tofu was the best I'd eaten anywhere, but the sauce was very non-descript. Bernie got crispy skin chicken, with a very yummy salt, whch I was tempted to put over my dish, and a pot of green tea rounded out our order. The ambience was completely wrong though - the music was Elvis Presley (blech!)

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Big leap for Australia... ?

The first Solar Tower is going to be built in Australia. It should generate enough electricity for a 'city' with population of 200,000. However, it costs a fortune, won't be ready till 2008 and contributes only a little to the natural energy generation target for 2010. Why don't they make solar panels mandatory on all new homes? That would be of more benefit sooner, with less effort, than a project that is due in 2008.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Pain study

A new study of the Luna procedure has been proposed by British Gynocologists. Luna is an operation for women with severe pelvic pain, where the endometrial nerve is severed. This effectively stops the pain messages getting to the brain. The study is going to look at how quality of life and pain management is altered by selecting at random half of 400 women who sign up to give the operation to. Pity about the other half.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Shut up!

Sometimes it's best just to shut up and not join in the conversation. Especially when those concerned think they know it all, or their experience tops all others. It's also wise not to comment on things said in order to stop the conversation earlier and cause less grief. Why do families cause so much pain? Why are parents so insanely stupid?

Nuclear Worms?!?!?

An article explained that Nuclear Worms are being used in America for bait as they keep better and are more appealing to local fish in SF! Shipped from Vietnam, apparently they are hot pink (fluorescent), up to 7ft long and can carry diseases (Cholera). Strange what gets accepted in America, and what they don't like.

Future of education?

Donald Norman, a professor at the University of California, has started ULearn, a 'distributed education' system, where "Top Professors design the course, and top Instructors teach the course as designed". In an article he ponders the future of university, and has some very good points.

It's interesting to see the same attitudes exist in other universities in other countries regarding teaching versus research.

Saturday, August 10, 2002

CA125 Blood test

The CA 125 Blood test, indicates the level of a marker which is released from ovaries when they are damaged. Typically is it used in the diagnosis of cancer and monitoring of treatments. a level of 30 or under is normal a level of around 100 may indicate TB or endometriosis a level of 3000 or more, may indicate cancer. This is is very inconclusive when used as an indication of endometriosis, and works best when diagnosis is sure, before surgery to remove endo, and then taken again after removal to monitor levels, and see if they change. The level will typically go back up when endo returns, if it indicated anything at all before surgery.

Friday, August 9, 2002

Short lecture

My lecture today ended in .5 hour, I have no idea why it was that short. I did extend it by talking about the reverse polish calculator prac, but only by another 15 minutes. How can you extend a lecture on stacks and implementing it (simply) in C to an hour?!?

Thursday, August 8, 2002

Rooftop Gardens

Tokyo is implementing a policy that buildings with flat roofs over a certain base size, must have a percentage of their roof devoted to rooftop gardens. A picture shows just what sort of garden you can grow on a roof! Unfortunately designers/builders are using slant roofed buildings to avoid this ruling. Perhaps one day we can have new buildings automatically incorporate solar panels, rainwater tanks and decent insulation and windows.

Pretty Atmospherics

Atmospheric Optics has some stunning pics of various atmospheric things, as well as detailed descriptions of them!

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Random thoughts

The blossom trees are flowering, not even having shed all their leaves. There is still rotting fruit on fruit trees. Jonquils are flowering, before snow drops. Plants are suffering from thirst. Shade loving plants aren't liking it in the shade. Sun loving plants are growing happily in mostly shade. Something is very strange weather-wise.

Burning: Lavender

Saturday, August 3, 2002

'Ware emergency hospital costs

Even if you are privately insured, most insurance companies do not cover you for emergency visits to hospitals, found the hard way. Top hospital cover does cover some if not all of the fees, but the price is obviously high.

A small portion is refundable through Medicare, partially justifying the 1.5% levy taken through tax. However, that's only for the emergency doctor's fees, still waiting on the pathology fees.

Some advice - take a credit card with you when you go to the emergency rooms!

Composting

Speaking of too much money spent, part of trying to reduce my costs is to create a veggie and herb garden. This requires a compost, and the compost pile required pulling out of about 4 trees (dead already) for space and light. Having just removed the final stumps, and pulling up the weeds, the pile is ready to be made, so information is needed on building the smelly thing.

Think I'll leave it at that... and go and build my heap...

Eating after surgery

Apparently eating and drinking soon after surgery does no damage, and in fact may help recovery time. Good news! ;>

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Plagiarism in Tertiary Education

An article in The Age recently outlined rampant plagiarism by the huge majority of students in all disciplines in university education. It also shows that the 40% caught on one Technical Documentation prac, was only half of those that had plagiarised!

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Argh!!!!

First Lecture Woes..... The first lecture that I have taught in over a year that I hadn't printed overhead slides for, just in case, and of course they were needed!!! Network down, flakey CDrom drive, data projector unhappy..... slow printer, photocopier needed 6 minutes of warm up time... grrrrrrr I was totally thrown, and felt like I was drowning all lecture! Not to mention I was trying to keep talking on no breath, and despite a microphone, had no voice left by the end of it. So apologies to the students who may have received some garbled speech, and to the ones who will listen to it online.. where I'll probably sound completely terrible. Already we are behind schedule.

Monday, July 29, 2002

Blog

I'm crashing - I've got it set up and linked in as much as possible. Any suggestions please let me know. I'll be working on this blog, and converting my honours logbook over to a related blog at some stage. I'm hoping that each blog has it's own templates and style sheets, or else I'm going to be very annoyed. Anyhow... enough for tonight, I need sleep.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Moulin Rouge

I have several of the songs stuck in my head.. No-one told me it was a comedy! I found it to be a very funny movie, with wonderful costumes and theatrical acting. I wonder how much the music rights would have been - many songs were used that would have cost a lot!