Archive for April, 2009

Ode to my dictionary

April 24, 2009

dictI heart Dorland’s. In an unhealthy way. I’ve never really felt, or even considered that I may one day feel, a strong emotional connection to a dictionary. If something were to happen to my copy I might would cry. 

A different dictionary was ‘recommended’ but I was drawn to the dark red pleather, the gold thumbprint indents + the way it made me feel like I was in Sherlock Holmes’ study. How could I not buy the only medical related text with quality stylish design? Rationally, this book has been the best value medical related purchase I have made all year. Irrationally, I’d like to sleep with it under my pillow, or entwined in my arms. 

I don’t know what’s up but lately I could write pages on the genius behind my multi-coloured-clicky-top-pen, or my pastel divider tabs, or the beauty of a well organised filing system. Stationary, books + printing paraphernalia have become more than study aids. I’m manically clinging to them in such a way that recently I plunged into a depressive state for a few weeks when my chocolate smelling black texta disappeared. I blamed friends. Pointed fingers. Sulked. My thoughts wandered frequently during lectures to the whereabouts of said pen*. I was genuinely upset. 

What. The. Frick? 

This study regime has turned me into the kind of person whose day is ruined if their black, smooth gliding, clicky top pen with the thick rubber finger grip is missing. Having to use a substandard pen, or misplacing my dictionary is not the kind of thing that used to put me in a tail spin. 

But I’ve noticed other med students are equally as neurotic.

So…at least I’m not alone. 

*it was under my sofa. 

The benefits of holidays

April 20, 2009


After ten days on holiday I feel great.

I cleaned the house. Decluttered. Read books. Cooked crazy amounts of food. Went to a family friend’s amazing art exhibition. Spent time with my family. Had baby cuddles with my niece. Wasted whole days reading the paper. Watched films I’d been meaning to see for ages. Did not open a textbook once. 

I forgot momentarily that I was at uni. 

Isn’t that what holidays are for?

10 reasons living below minimum wage rocks

April 20, 2009



Judging by media coverage of the financial crisis, Australian’s have an inflated sense of entitlement. Never being able to own your own home is not a ‘tragedy’. In other countries renting is normal. Not being able to afford an overseas holiday once a year is not a ‘tragedy’. Some people can’t afford one, ever.  Having to ‘cut back’, sell investment properties + stop feeding your children food from a colourful branded packet is not a’ tragedy’. It’s life.

Of course, some people are genuinely struggling, but if I hear one more person in the media who has fallen from a higher standard of living, claim they’ve been “hit so hard” by the recession they’ve had to resort to buying NO-NAME products for their families (oh, the indignity), I may have to write a strongly worded letter. To someone. 

Thus my list of why living below minimum wage for five years before the financial crisis rocks:

1. Nothing has changed. There’s need to adjust to a lower standard of living. 

2. We have fed ourselves off less than $20 a week before. 

3. We live in a run down unit with super cheap rent. It would be near impossible for us to “downsize” unless we moved into our bin. 

4. We are not too proud to move into said bin, if the situation arose. 

5. Our pantry is a homage to all that is Homebrand. 

6. We’re not in debt, because we never earned enough money for a bank to ever approve us for a loan. Teehee banks. Take that. 

7. We don’t have credit cards. We have Visa debits. 

8. We already have the best value providers of internet, phone and electricity.  

9. K-Rudd’s $950 stimulus money is going to make a huge difference. Like, massive-paying-our-rent-for-the-whole-month difference.  

10. We don’t feel the need to go on A Current Affair to complain about the state of the economy + our inability to buy Uncle Toby’s muesli bars. 

Having said that, I can handle living below minimum wage because I know it’s temporary. I wanted to study medicine because if I stuck to my previous career choice it may not have been temporary. I may have been living on minimum wage forever. We can live ‘small’ (as Dutchboy says) for another six years but I wonder how I’d feel if there was no timeframe.


April 8, 2009


copyright Kerri Milam, Facebook Global Vegan Network

copyright Kerri Milam, Facebook Global Vegan Network

The only time I see a doctor is to get another prescription for my pill, because despite my mum’s pleadings I’m not keen to do practical study of reproduction. Just yet. So my experience with GP’s is limited. I like it that way. But recently I felt the need to check I was on the right track with my health. I’ve been iron-deficient before, + really like to avoid it at all costs.

Which lead me to encounter the type of GP I hope I never become. After making hilarious jokes about my contraceptive pill not being strong enough now that I’d moved to Southport (Helloooooo, inappropriate inuendo! Nice to see you so soon. Oh, I haven’t even sat down yet…), he ordered the blood tests I asked for (iron levels, cholesterol, and liver function) + handed me my now “superstrong” prescription (cue laughter pause, during which I blinked at him).

I walked out thinking he was a tool who clearly worked at a dodgy bulk billing practice for a reason (inwardly cursing myself for being a cheap bastard for going to said practice).

When I went back to get my results, he skipped the hello’s + launched straight into:

GP (huffing): I don’t know why you’re even here. I have nothing to tell you. You’re a perfectly healthy woman. All of your tests came back fine.

me: oh. Excellent. 

GP (switching from huffy to lecherous): Any man would be lucky to have you.

me: Thanks. um…


me: ok. cool. bye. 

I was so happy that I wasn’t anemic that I let his weird compliment slide. It was so nice to be told I was wasting his time. Especially when I spend a fair amount of time defending/explaining my dietary choices, how I ‘live’, why I don’t eat cheese + making forced understanding noises when people tell me emphatically they would die without cheese.



Until they are dead.

I inwardly cringe when people ask me to explain veganism because the bottom line is I’m just not down with the whole death + cruelty bit that has to come before the food bit. I’m not an evangelical vegan looking to persuade the masses. When asked about my views, I either clam up or end up sounding like a stuffy activist, quoting studies, books + ‘findings’. 

But now I feel really validated. Kicked out of the doctors surgery for being too healthy. I’m so hardcore.

Food for thought

April 4, 2009


I’ve read a lot about Dr John McDougall. He interests me a lot, aside from the fact that his profile shots with Mrs McDougall belong hung above the fireplace of a woodlands house, or in a 1970’s winter fashion catalogue.

He runs a 10 day live in program in California aiming to reverse chronic disease. Amongst other things, McDougall advocates that nutrition is one of the most effective ways to prevent and treat heart disease (and cops it from cardiovascular surgeons who are losing their bypass patients to him).  His successful ‘Star McDougallers’ are real life endorsements for the removal of animal products in the diets of CHD patients. The whole testimonial thing is a bit creepy but that’s probably just an American thing. The style of filming, set design and editing is a little bit too “Hi, I’m Troy McClure“. Get RID of the red velvet curtain in the background. 

In my opinion the people who would benefit from this kind of dietary change are the most unlikely to go to a health retreat. While I like his concept, the marketing seems wrong to me. The market segment that needs this info the most are low income earners, with busy lifestyles and poor nutritional knowledge. They are not going to spend 10 days in a health retreat. They need this packaged in a way that makes sense and has value to them.  Processed, prepackaged food is expensive. Meat and animal products are expensive. Grains and legumes are cheap.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are cheap. 

Having heart disease is expensive.

Not having heart disease is cheap. 

There are a lot of people that can be reached if a product or service breaks convention with its advertising. The success of the Skinny Bitch series can be attributed to:

  • the lack of the word “Vegan” in the title
  • the chick lit style cover
  • a paparazzi photo of Victoria Beckham emerging from a shop clutching the book

If the authors of the Skinny Bitch series had titled their books “Vegan Fare” and used cover art of an kitchen bench laden with fruits and vegetables they would have significantly reduced their audience. I think the McDougall program is doing great things with their diet vs drugs philosophy (peas vs pills, oatmeal vs obesity, cabbage vs CABG), but they haven’t broken convention enough with the way they spread their message. It’s possible that their methods of communication mean that they’re only preaching to the converted (and the willing to be converted). 

I’d like to see the MacDougalls cut loose a little. 

Come on, get HAPPY!

April 4, 2009

retrohousewifeI like being with uber cynical, acidic people. I like my friends on the sarcastic side. The kind of people who would never have fluffy pink steering wheel covers (and have trouble getting into cars that do). 

I love my real estate agent because she never smiles. I like well executed taunting, grumbling, and people who write cranky letters. 

Of course, there is a time and place for unbridled joy, but for the perpetually perky…

there is this.

regen, wind, hagel & sneeuw

April 3, 2009

200236712-001When it rains, it pours. 

It seems like every second time I venture outdoors I get drenched, step my boots in a puddle or stuck in some bizarre wind-tunnel. The “sunny Queensland” ads lied.


April 3, 2009

stress2It’s ten weeks in and so far I’ve avoided coming down with the evil hacking cough that’s been ripping its way through our cohort, courtesy of a super strict attendance policy & ducted air conditioning in PBL. I don’t know what I’d do if I did get sick. I don’t feel like I can afford to be sick.

or take time out to recover.

or be foggy and unable to concentrate at uni. 

Saying I’ve been stressed is an understatement. There’s been no assessment so far. I have no idea if I’m on the right track with what I’m learning and I’ve lost all desire to cook. Dutchboy and I are fighting over laundry. 

I understand the concepts. It’s just that there are so many concepts in such a short time. One after another after another. I think I’ve studied to the right depth and then *BAM* someone starts banging on about an even deeper level of understanding. A super, super detailed level of understanding. One that I haven’t even considered researching in the two days since we were given the concepts.

I don’t know how much of that is just other students discussing the intricacies of something in a genuine attempt pass on knowledge and how much is me…

just not knowing what I’m supposed to know.


April 3, 2009

feeling so nerdy lately.