Thursday, February 20, 2003

What's the use of private health insurance?

I have booked for surgery (laparoscopy and possible bowel surgery) for the 14th April. Unfortunately no-one had told me how much it would cost. I will end up being between $1,000 and $2,500 out of pocket, not claimable by private or public health insurance.

So much for being covered with private health insurance for what most would consider non-optional surgery for endometriosis.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Reign of Fire

I had wanted to see this in the cinema - it had dragons!

But I'm very glad I didn't. It was a typical B-grade post-apocalyptic movie, complete with bad acting, no compelling storyline, very clear stereotypes and a bad script. However, it did have dragons. Not enough of them, especially not enough work up close (I guess the budget was fairly limited). But that was the only redeeming feature. I think, even in comparison to Dungeons & Dragons, it was bad, (at least D&D fairly accurately portrayed and laughed at the gaming crowd).

The Count of Monte Cristo

Bernie was surprised that I didn't know the story of this. But I have never read the book or seen any other interpretation on stage or screen, so I have no idea how well the story matches the book.

<>I found it rather disconcerting that there were a number of Australian actors in this movie, trying to imitate (usually unsuccessfully) a British accent (for a French character). The acting I found was lackluster, but the story was quite well told. The ending seemed far too quick (or the development of character at the beginning, far too long). The costumes were fairly good, as was the sword fights and scenery.

An interesting movie, but I don't think I'll see it again.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Midsummer Night's Dream in the Botanical Gardens

I had been wanting to see a production of this in the Gardens for a long time now (hmm... about 8 years) and finally got around to taking Bernie ;>

It was extremely good, though I was disappointed that Puck didn't run up and down the trees. He was however, quite manic (as were the fairies), which was exactly how I had imagined the character to be, and they used a fair bit of acrobatics. I loved the fairy at the beginning - we had heard her warming up in the gardens on our way to the stage, she has an excellent range.

It was a bit wierd seeing the same actors in this, as were in the play we saw in the gardens last year, but it was well acted and enjoyable. The bats weren't as impressive as last year.

Too busy/random stuff

As you have probably been able to see, I have been too busy to really think, let alone post to here.. :-\

All my medical tests are done, at least to check for endometriosis. All tests showed absolutely nothing, except the ultrasound, which showed that my left ovary is completely stuck down behind my uterus. The bowel surgeon thinks that it might be putting pressure on the bowel and causing all of the problems there. If it got freed, it might actually fix a lot of problems! (So I'm hoping for that outcome).

My surgery date is for the 14th April, one week before Easter. I'm fairly worried that things might be fairly serious, and require me to take a much longer time in recovery than I can afford (money and study wise).

Still hunting for a housemate. At least a couple of people have come and seen it, but I haven't heard back from any of them yet. It's getting fairly urgent, as the next pay period is rent time, and that will eat up all of my pay (and I've got dental work to be done then). I've managed to get the bedroom furnished, and have spread my stuff into the back room as it's a great room to work in (light/airy/not my bedroom!). If someone wants both rooms, it won't be much of a hassle to move back out.

Hopefully I can upgrade one of my home computers this weekend, even though I have a huge lot of work to be done, the install I currently have on it is annoying me greatly.

Enough rambling.....


A local (?) Irish band called Mythology played at the Zoo Twilights on Sunday past. They were not what I was expecting (being immersed in the more ethereal Irish genre), but were very good. I particularly enjoyed the pieces featuring the violinist (I must seek out CDs by Eileen Ivers). It was fun to see a fair number of the crowd get up and dance (Irish/Scottish) to the faster pieces.

They will be playing again at the end of this month at the Zoo.

The Melbourne Zoo

I haven't been to the Zoo since the new gorilla enclosure opened (which was a very long time ago), so it was interesting to see just how much had changed. Most of the enclosures have been 'greened' and expanded, giving the animals more room and more places to hide. Many of the bigger African animals have been moved to Werribee, and the Australian section seems to have shrunk somewhat (animals moved to Healesville). The monkey section contains much fewer varieties, but the gorilla family was still there (and the youngster out playing with his security blanket).

They still had the cats, but no panthers :-\ . I was pleased that the ocelots were awake, and discovered a couple of new animals that I didn't know about (one being a fishing cat).

The new elephant enclosure wasn't finished, unfortunately, but it's easy to see it's going to be impressive. It seems to take up about 1/5th of the zoo, and its wonderfully landscaped. I think I'll be going back to see it, once it's been finished and established.

The meerkat babies were miniature replicas of their parents, and very cute. One thing I didn't like so much, too many prams and kids, and it was busy (a very fine Sunday). Debbie assured me it was nothing compared to other days. During the weekdays, you don't get so many young families, but then you have to put up with the schoolgroups (ug).

Monday, February 3, 2003


I was actually fairly scared that I wouldn't be able to deal with it, being generally claustrophobic and crowdaphobic, but it didn't bother me at all. The noise that the machine generated was incredible - my pulse actually synced with the background thumping. Then there was the different pitch and frequency of the vibrations (which set the bed rumbling). If the mattress was nice and contoured rather than being hard and flat, it might have felt like a gentle massage system!

They were playing 80's music, but thankfully Madonna didn't get played - that would have been too surreal. I had to have two tests - an abdominal MRI to find my left ureters (they have never been found ;>), and a pelvic MRI looking for endometriosis and adenomyosis. For the pelvic one, an extra device was placed on my stomach and I was strapped down.

Sometime towards the end, I got pulled out of the machine to have contrast solution injected - they hadn't told me about that beforehand, and they made quite a mess of the injection (my veins are bad enough at the best of time, let alone after a nine hour fast!) This test cost a fortune, and I have been told that Medicare do not provide a rebate on it _at all_ (AU$320). I get the results tomorrow, after my next ultrasound in Clayton. It was so much nicer being on a health care card - I didn't have to pay anything then :-\

Sunday, February 2, 2003

Following instructions...

Last year in first semester, an automatic submission page was set up for students to attach a .c file which would then be mailed anonymously to my account for my honours project. About half of the submissions that I received were actually executables! I am now wondering if students don't know the difference between a source code file and the executable binary :-\ It does mean that I have only about 15 files to work with (and most look like they are compilable and runnable without semantic errors).

Saturday, February 1, 2003

The Shaping of Middle Earth

The Shaping of Middle Earth (The History of Middle Earth 4) JRR Tolkien

It seems that the first several books are dealing with the huge amount of material on the shaping of the world. This one is more about the actual geography and timelines of major events, and towards the end, geneology of both elves and men. This was harder to read than the Lays (book 3) as it was very repetitive. There is a couple of translations of the Annals into Old English, which would be great, except I can't read Old English! The prose was fairly easy to read, though fairly dense at times. The commentaries contained continuous cross-referencing to other pieces of prose in the same book, and other books dealing with the first age, which made it difficult to read. This one drummed home the details of the first age for me, and it looks like book 5 will do the same, so I'm taking a break from the histories :>