Archive for May, 2012

A Brave New World

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Work

When I walked out of work today at 16:01 (ok 15:50 but I started late)I left behind the world of smells and bells. I felt strangely disoriented and could not find my car. Then I remembered I had ridden the bike back to work after my 30 minute lunch (ok 45 mins). This helped explained the rather heavy feeling I had in my head too with a helmet on and all. Onward and downward.

Smells of course refers to the wonderful world of Microbiology which is now relocating to the seaside hamlet of Hervey Bay.The Micro Credo is If you have an orifice we can swab it and if you have a fluid we can culture it and if fluid is leaking from your orifice you are probably in trouble. Its a sense of mixed emoations really. Microbiology is an interesting discipline and of course one of the ironies of work in Pathology is it can be very mundane and routine until you get an interesting case. The cases are often interesting not only because you may rarely see them but also because the consequences tend to be more significant and this is the problem. The excitement of culturing The Flesh Eater bug is tempered by the realisation that it is eating someone’s flesh at present. Mind you most people have too much flesh anyway. So it has been 35 years of playing with bugs. I often wonder what impact being a Gynecologist has on one’s sex life – let me tell ya 35 years of processing vaginal swabs is no spanish fly. How can such an accumulation of so many bugs be referred to as “normal flora” ? Leave a tub of yoghurt in the sun for 3 days and you get the idea. And no I have not kept all the vaginal swabs from the last 35 years – 2-3 years max. There have been some highlights though – I once isolated 2 different E Colis from the same urine on taste alone – a much underused skill. So weekends will be a lot easier but the passing is not without a sense of loss.

Bells refer to the annoying sound of the “On Call” phone disturbing sleep at all hours of the night. After 35 years I have had enough – although the money is good! My first call 35 years ago was for a CSF (Spinal Tap to you lay people and not the band). Often used to investigate an unexplained headache , let me tell if they take > 3 ml CSF out of your spine then that headache aint going away in a hurry. My last call was for a suspected snake bite on Wednesday night – arent those bastards suppose to hide in the cold weather. I only mention this because in all of those 35 years you could probably count on one hand and one foot the number of CSFs or Snake Bites you would be called out for in Maryhole. Of all those, only ever had one positive snake bite for venom. The guy was dead and they had a brown snake in a bottle by the bedside but that did not diminish the sense of achievement I felt when I was able to inform the doctor 30 minutes later that the venom was from a deadly brown snake! I have had nights with 7 calls in it and I have had 7 nights in a row with no calls. Mind you I was in America at the time

So Monday beckons with the dawning of the brave new world. Only time will tell whether it is a good new world or a bad new world. At my age I guess I will just be happy to wake up on Monday morning.

In days of yore ( ie before Facebook) the preferred confidante of the male populace was the local neighbourhood barman in your local Pub. Many sorrows drowned under the watchful eye of your most trusted friend. Of course in those days there was only one type of beer and the only choice you had was Pot or Schooner – if you ordered a 7 oz shandy then the barman politely moved away to a more testosterone infested area – like the ladies toilets. Thus he was not very stressed with choice and had plenty of time to listen to your woes.

Drink Driving. This is a bad thing – always was, always will be. With the increased recognition of this (ok heavy fines associated with) less time is spent holding up the bar and lets face it the barman is usually some pimply youth with less life experience than you that would prefer that you sent your order in as a text message so as to avoid all possible human contact. Where to then?

Step up to the plate Mr Barista. I have altered my starting time at work to reflect when it most suits to grab my early morning caffeine fix. Nothing else matters – sick people will eventually get better or die – it’s a known medical fact. Sadly this is 0630 which starts to pinch as winter approaches. It is dark when I get up. It is cold even in Queensland. Is it all worth it? Of course. Much like when you walk into the clubhouse after a game of golf for your one beer you are allowed to have it is nice to have the barperson acknowledge your presence with a slight imperceptible nod followed by the swift delivery of your preferred poison in front of your favourite seat. We have got to the stage of no chat at all and it works fine for me but there is still that void of the confidential relationship.

So the car rumbles to life at 0625 for the short trip to Coffeeland – a quick phone call and with any luck Mr B even tips my name before I speak and states my order. Sadly this morning I get one of the lassies and have to give my order along with a name! This is worrying. Can I just state here that when you request Equal it is Equal you want – not bloody sugarine or anything else. Mr B knows this – does Lassie 1? I pull up apprehensively outside Coffeeland and lo and behold there is Mr B having a gasper around the side of the building. He smiles and waves – “its ok Dave I made your coffee before I came out here” All is right with the world

A Decade with the Decayed

Posted: May 8, 2012 in Events

One of the advantages of a long term relationship (as opposed to long distance which is a story for another day) is you don’t have to shave every day. Another almost equally significant benefit is the accumulation of special memories from special places. If we were web browsers we may refer to these as Favourites – we return regularly knowing what to expect but hoping for a few tweaks and upgrades. New experiences are great too but also come with the distinct possibility of let down which you don’t really want when celebrating a significant event.

So a little bit of luxury and a fair slice of decadence were in order for the 10 year celebration. First up? Lodgings. StamfordPlazain Brisbanehas a superb location on the BrisbaneRiverwith the StoryBridgeframed from the suitably panoramic windows of our 7th floor Superior Suite. 2 pm book in? Ha – we always turn up around midday and invariably squeeze out a couple more hours as room is always ready and we are returning customers! Not this time though – ok not a deal breaker but a slight disappointment. We had a beer at Belgian Café , we found some Sushi in a food court and discoveredBrisbane is nothing likeMelbourne – its more distinctive eating experiences prefer to sleep in on Saturday apparently . Valet parking has allowed us to wander the strangely quite streets ofBrisbane at midday on a Saturday and present ourselves at 1345 to find they now have a room but we suspect it may not have been our original. Did I mention we had the Moet Chandon package organised with said bottle of champers supposedly on ice awaiting to be popped. By now it should be suitably chilled. The room is great and the champers slides down rather easily against the vista of a rather brown but still beautiful river. In keeping with the decadence directive in room massages are booked for 3 pm. Can always be a trick for young players and be all macho and tick the “firm” box for strength of massage especially if the masseuse appears a little on the slight size. Don’t be fooled – the small ones have devised some clever tricks primarily involving pointy elbows. Nothing more embarrassing then asking the dwarf pummelling you to take it down a notch. Tick medium folks.


After the disappointing cancellation of Restaurant 2 booking as previously alluded to we found ourselves chopping and changing our mind about the most suitable replacement. Not a good sign. Eventually settled on Phillip Johnson’s E’cco Bistro giving due gravitas to a well respected chef. It was a pleasant walk from the hotel to the “restaurant” on a clear balmy night with the stars shining and theStoryBridgedominating. Fair share of morons hanging off luxury hotel patios being loud and obnoxious at 1900 hrs though. A good rule of thumb is don’t stay at luxury hotels that have outdoor areas for each unit – only encourages drunken and loutish behaviour. I digress. Walking into the restaurant is underwhelming and you remember now the term “bistro” in the title. Worse still we are stuck at a table near the door and next to Cousin Eddie and Clan of Griswold fame. Those kids could pack it away let me tell ya. The champagne cocktails were small but tasty and the range of breads fine. With age comes common sense and we went straight for mains leaving room for dessert and/or cheeses. From here on in the night picked up considerably. The meals were superb – black angus fillet for moi and lamb loin for CLP. The portions were significant and we could have survived without the extra side dishes we ordered. An appropriate glass of wine and then on to an equally impressive cheese board and we were suitably sated ready for a casual walk home. Watched some footy when awoken by some strange popping sounds – well this is embarrassing I thought. Then the room filled with light and I thought Lord take me now. Luckily it was only a rather impressive fireworks display on theBrisbaneriver against the backdrop of a sparklingStoryBridge.

So a day that had a few hiccups early on ended with a bang and smiles all round – much the same can be said for long term relationships. A full buffet breakfast the next day followed by The Avengers in Gold Class rounded out a great weekend but that is also a story for another day.




God is a funny bugger at times. As you get older and your appreciation of wine, fine food  and even more wine increases as your metabolism decreases. This disparity is not good for the waistline. The brain cells can take care of themselves as apparently males have plenty to spare. We all know output must outweigh intake in all endeavours ,except sex, if we are to maintain a healthy mind and body. Then we have exercise. God having a laugh again. As we get older our abilty to exercise diminishes in a logarithmic scale which is rather appropriate as we at times resemble such logs. They say cardio-vascular exercise is the most important. If you run up a flight of 1000 stairs you can have a Mars Bar when you get there. Who is the sadistic bastard that hides chocolates at the top of long staircases? I hate CV exercise. Give me the pump of a good weights session anyday. Of course having lifted a lot of weights as a younger lad – who needs to warm up I am young and fit Ha! – has no doubt contributed to my current list of previously mentioned ills specifically back and shoulders. In one of those cruel yet ironic twists of fate these injuries now prevent me from doing CV exercise even if I wanted to. Luckily I don’t. I will keep going to the gym. I think my basic problem though is that I rush through the gym session so I can get home in time for a couple of glasses of wine before dinner. Even God would get a laugh out of that.

They say bad things come in threes. They also say every cloud has a silver lining. Some people talk too much.

The wanderlust of late has been partially sated by some great trips OS with CLP. As such we have a soujourn to Europe planned for October this year having had the return trip to NYC fail in a close 1 all vote . One of the treats befitting us elderly travellers I was looking forward to was a 7 day river cruise on the Rhine. I had the bermuda shorts bought and had even picked out some white socks to match my brown sandals. We had paid $1000 deposit several months ago – circa 2011. Captain’s Log Stardate – January 2012. Ring Ring – sorry your cruise has been cancelled as it has been booked out by a group. Hello – do you clowns understand the concept of a deposit? 1 down

I say if you work hard you don’t play hard – you spoil yourself. With this in mind CLP and me went to Melboring in February for 54th birthday and splashed out on Business Class upgrade on Qantas – already being Qantas Club members, it was a salubrious start to a great few days. Also being fully independent FBTCs we have our own frequent flyer points and I paid for flight down and CLP flight back. Sitting in Qanatas Club on a dreary rainy Melboring day waiting to come home and watching the Channel 9 Cricket Commentary team spreading themselves out we got the first hint something was wrong when CLP called to the counter about 10 minutes befoe boarding due. Flight cancelled. We can put you on a flight an hour later but no business class. Oh and no in flight catering as we are overbooked? What – do I have to sit on the wing or something?? Seat  3C was mine – as I walked pastit  down to 73 D who was sitting in 3C – bloody Thommo. Should have asked for an autograph but not sure he would have spelt it correctly. I now have to stay with CLP/FBTC for another 10 years to make sure I get my share of the points back! 2 down

Plans to celebrate the 10 year sentence with CLP were well advanced with a meal planned for Restaurant 2 in Brisvegas booked last weekend  – in fact it was the degustation menu which runs to a few rubles. Ring Ring – sorry we have to cancel your booking as we have a group in that night. What?  – they wouldnt happen to be a bunch of bloody river pirates by any chance!  However we had some silver lining appear over the horizon in the shape of 1 very noice bottle of Champers delivered to our room in Brisvegas by one David Pugh – chef extraordinaire from Restaurant 2. We have been there before – we shall return. No harm no fowl. 3 down – the rest of the year looks good

In Plain Sight Disappears from View

Posted: May 7, 2012 in TV

When you think M&M most thoughts turn to small bite size sweets. Maybe if you have a rare condition where you miss every second letter you think of Mad Men. I think of Mary and Marshall the lovable Wit Sec Marshalls who live in the crimnal laden outpost of Albuquerque. They have been with us for 5 seasons – if you can count the Brit like  8 episode final offering as a season – and it has been a fun ride. Not every case is a page turner but this is a show about the 2 leads and the byplay that ensues. Mary is played by Mary which helps considerably. Mary M , as opposed to Mary S who shoots first and wisecracks later, has been around for a while usually as second or third banana and she does well in the lead role. Marshall is Raylan-lite if you like – just as laconic but maybe doesn’t have that trace of Justified mean we all secretly desire.  The two have great chemistry and there is always that will they wont they scenario floating just above the ether – the answer is revealed in the final episode. Lesley AW is her usual annoying self as is the sister even if they are the parts they are playing – there is suitable pathos beneath the ditzy cover. The rest of supporting cast is great but it is the M&M  show – sweet!

What better indicator of a mid life crisis than to enter the Blogosphere world. Mid life crises are a common affliction of men that usually occur strangely enough around the middle of their expected life, if that were the case then I will live to be 108 – we all know that is not going to happen. The CLP(Current Life Partner) and I have a bet on 86. This would be a good age for moi as I always loved Max Smart growing up – and grown up- and aforementioned CLP use to pose a striking resemblane to 99 until bob cuts went the way of the dodo bird. The way the body feels post 86 would be ugly anyway and I will have seen my grandchildren grow up – what is left? So given it it is not a true mid life crisis for the anally disposed amongst us why the current introspection? A sequence of events seemingly unrelated perchance?

  1. In 2 days I will cease “On Call” work in Pathology after 35 years. No more disturbed nights, no more big paydays. Retirement is a speck of light on the horizon but my Honorary Personal Financial Advisor disagrees. In fact he laughs so hard he has to sit down. So the work continues for the time being but hopefully followed by a restful night’s sleep – apart from the obligatory toilet visits
  2. The CLP and I just celebrated 10 years together. I could retire if I had a sweet wealthy benefactor to cuddle and cajole me through these difficult times.  The CLP is sweet, she is comfortable but not wealthy but she is independent to the point of changing the access code on the Ponderosa monthly. We will be together one day but it wont be next year, or the year after…… need I go on
  3. My 3rd Grandson will be born next month having just stood as Godfather for GS 2. These are good things and good times
  4. I have a gnawing wanderlust coupled with a complete lack of plan or direction and a strong realisation I am not a lone traveller. Never was, never will be.
  5. My youngest daughter has moved out so I am living by myself for the first time in a very long time. It is good, it is bad, it is what it is.
  6. I have a significant mortage that I service well and still have a reasonable disposal income. I like gadgets but never use them to their potential before buying the next one
  7. I feel old and have for many years. The back is broken, the ankle crippled and the shoulders shot. I play golf for 9 holes, then limp and crawl for the last 9. My handicap reflects … well my handicap I guess
  8. I am a pessimist. If the glass is half full I simply want to know which asshole drank the first half and didn’t tell me??

10. I am terrible at Maths

So what does the next year hold? Watch this space