Saturday, April 22, 2017

heart problems

Unfortunately, recovery from the heart operation has not gone as well as I had hoped.

I've been getting really bad arrhythmias (i.e. rapid and irregular heart beats). In fact, I have been feeling worse than what I was feeling prior to the heart procedure.

Evidently, these recurrent episodes do not necessarily mean that the procedure has failed, as it is not uncommon to get arrhythmias while the heart is still recovering.

Nevertheless, the persistent and abnormal heart beats have been extremely unpleasant.  They are also very scary. After 3 days of putting up with my heart racing at 140 beats per minute, I decided to go to hospital, where they performed a cardioversion to basically stop and restart the heart. It worked for a few hours and then the heart started going crazy again.

Looks like I'm going to have to just deal with it and hope that the irregularities will settle down.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Milestone

Nathan and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary today (which is like an eternity in gay years). The day marks our very first date. We had pizza on Lyon Street. The date went for three days.

It's remarkable that we ended up in a relationship at all, as we are very different on so many levels. Nevertheless, these differences have worked out very well for us. And of course, we also share many things in common.

The last couple of years have been tough. Nathan's dad had to go into a nursing home and I've had recurrent health issues, but we have supported each other through of this – and no doubt a whole lot more into the future.

I love him to bits.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

After surgery

I had my heart procedure last week. Everything went well and I'm now resting at home. I think the heart and the point where they inserted the catheter in my groin are healing well. Unfortunately my right foot has decided to have gout issues so I'm hobbling around the house, dosed up on endone.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dogs bar

I caught  up with my gallerist friend at the end of the working week in St Kilda. We went to the Dogs Var. we bumped into my friend's neighbour (the one who cooks with pungent shrimp paste). They were chatting about the shrimp paste when I got back to our table. The neighbour seemed nice and was very apologetic. Oh well, my friend will be off to Germany for 6 months so I guess the neighbour can cook with as much shrimp paste as she wants during that time.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Shrimp paste and fish sauce

My poor gallerist friend. She moved into a nice apartment in St Kilda and has had nothing but trouble. She got permission to hang some of her artwork in the public spaces and two got ripped off the walls and were stolen. Then her storage space got broken into. So much for secure swipe card access into the building.

Her latest gripe has been about her neighbours downstairs. The bloke is British. His wife is Indonesian - and evidently the chef in the household. My friend has been complaining about pungent smells wafting into her apartment. Turns out to be shrimp paste and fish sauce. Even though I don't cook with those ingredients very often, I personally wouldn't have a problem but I'm used to those smells. I find cigarette smoke wafting into my apartment to be more annoying.

Given my friend's German heritage, I suggested she cook sauerkraut to block out the pungent shrimp paste odours in her apartment.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tentative steps

I took my first tentative steps out into the big wide world today following my medical dramas yesterday.

Even though I am now feeling fine, it was surprising how nervous I was walking out of the apartment. Rather than taking the stairs like I usually do, I decided to take the elevator instead.

And after running my errand, I came straight back home.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday morning drama

I ended up in hospital this morning. I was on my way to work and decided to take the stairs up to Collins Street. This is something I do almost every day but today I was in atrial fibrillation.

The actual climb up was fine but when I reached Collins Street and started to make my way towards the train station, I found it increasingly hard to catch my breath and started to black out. I had to lean against a wall to steady myself and it didn't get any better so I had to sit on the sidewalk. I then felt really unwell and ended up calling an ambulance. My shirt was soaked in sweat.

The ambulance arrived but was on the other side of the street so I asked a guy in a suit to help me flag it down. He made a half arsed attempt and then continued on his way. I guess he was eager to get to work. I ended up stopping a lady for help instead and the ambulance eventually found me.

The paramedics were terrific and had a great sense of humour. I was initially reluctant to go to hospital but they talked me into it. It was my first time at the Royal Melbourne. The facilities there seem to be much better than my last visit to Cabrini. A couple of hours later, my heart returned to normal rhythm and I got to go home.

Too much drama for a Monday in my opinion!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Birthday surprise

Nathan and I are in Canberra. We are here celebrating dad's 70th. It was suppose to be a series of surprises but as the weekend approached, more and more of the surprise had to be revealed (e.g. mum let the cat out of the bag that we were coming to Canberra.)

We are heading down to Tilba on the south coast of NSW so it was inevitable that we had to eventually let mum in on the secret and then to tell dad so they can plan the trip (our family doesn't do spontaneous things well).

My sister in Melbourne is also coming with her family. They are driving up and meeting us in Tilba and were suppose to be one of the surprises too but she had to tell mum to mitigate Mum's inevitable stress levels if she suddenly found out there were four extra people to feed (dad's already busy preparing food for Tilba. Yes, it's meant to be his birthday). Dad doesn't know that my Melbourne sis is coming so at least that will remain a source of excitement when we get there.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Blogger catch up

I'm looking forward to catching up with fellow bloggers later this morning. I've met Victor a couple of times previously and really enjoyed our previous catch ups (once in Melbourne and once in Sydney with Nathan in tow). I'll be meeting Andrew for the first time but I've been following his blog for years so it will be fun to finally meet him in person.

Luna Park wedding

Nathan and I went to a wedding last week at Luna Park.

I had no idea that Luna Park did wedding receptions, but I thought it was a really fun venue.

We were perched on the roof of the main cafe for the actual wedding ceremony, right next to the tracks of the big roller coaster. In between the sound of screaming roller coaster riders, the bride and groom managed to get through their vows.

I guess an amusement park is actually quite an appropriate venue for a wedding. It's full of wedding relevant symbolism (emotional roller coaster ride immediately comes to mind).

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A morning at the museum

I had to go to the Museum for a work meeting yesterday. I stopped by at a cafe on Gertrude Street called Grumpy and the Dreaded One's Little Cafe of Awesome. True to it's name, the cafe was awesome and there was a lady with dreads behind the counter. And after my companion received his coffee, we realised that the bloke who brought out his drink is, indeed, a grump.

Spiders and how not to quit your job

A couple of interesting social media lessons for me this week.

The first concerns a Facebook post I made, in which I posted a picture of a big, hairy huntsman spider. Pretty innocuous right? Well, not if you have both biologist and non-biologist friends on Facebook. The reaction of the non-biologists was naturally quite predictable. Most people do not like spiders. The problem was that one of my Facebook friends happens to be a spider expert and took offence to the commentary and started writing comments about the people who wrote the anti-spider posts. Lesson 1: No more spider posts on Facebook.

The second concerns the resignation of a colleague, who told our boss that she would be resigning to take up a new position overseas. She initially wanted to keep things under wraps until she had the opportunity to inform her grad students. Once that had happened, I guess she posted something about her new job on social media (Twitter?). Well, the boss saw the post and had a dummy spit accusing her of undermining his reputation by making her resignation public before he had the opportunity to formally tell the rest of our Department. Lesson 2: Your boss probably follows you on Twitter.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

My new toy


I have a new laptop. Yay.

My last one is starting to fail me and I am too technologically incompetent to rectify the things that I'm sure can otherwise be easily fixed or updated.

Broken wifi and problems with accessing various websites (including those associated with my work) has led me to my brand new Macbook Pro.

The scary thing is that I'm beginning to worry that the new laptop might be a bit overly fancy for me. For example, what the heck is a thunderbolt port and will I be able to figure out how to connect my computer to the lecture theatre screens at work before the start of second semester? Oh, and how do I use my fancy trackpad?

I'm worried I might have simply traded one set of technological incompetencies for another.

I took my new toy out of the box last night but haven't actually switched it on yet.

In the meantime, I'm typing this on my old computer in the bedroom connected to a very long ethernet cable.

On hands and knees

Don't get the wrong idea.

I've spent a week stuck in my apartment because of a nasty gout flare up. At its worst, I was having to crawl on my hands and knees to get to and from the bathroom.

The week in bed did allow me to catch up on a lot of movies and I kinda went crazy watching queer movies (I exhausted half of our download limit for the month). Three stand outs for me were FreefallStrangers by the Lake, and Weekend

I also watched an interesting documentary called Do I Sound Gay? The latter was particularly surprising because I didn't expected to see my old (American) boss and colleague in the documentary.

My old boss is most definitely not gay (though he does have a very strong lisp). He also happens to be (along with his wonderful wife) one of the very first people I ever came out to, but that's another story.

Anyhow, it turns out that my former boss is the documentary filmmaker's cousin and made a cameo in the film. I emailed him to let him know that I saw him in a doco and he said that if he knew he was going to be an international star, he would have made a bit more effort to comb his hair on the day of the filming.



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Exempt

There is a news story on the Fairfax websites about a woman who was told by a security guard to refrain from breastfeeding at the National Gallery. The Gallery has since apologised.

It did get me wondering though. Food and drink are generally prohibited in public gallery spaces – and for good reason. Should breastfeeding mothers be exempt? And what about other spaces where food and drinks are not allowed?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Gong xi fa chai

Rooster


Tomorrow marks the year of the rooster in the Chinese lunar calendar.

It was interesting to read that the period around chinese new year also marks the largest human movement on Earth as hundreds of thousands of people make their way home to celebrate with their families.

I'm staying in Melbourne this year, having only just gone back to Canberra for Christmas and (Western) new year.

There are a lot of weird traditions and superstitions surrounding the lunar new year. For example, one is not suppose to cut their hair for a month.

You should also refrain from doing any house work on new year's day to avoid sweeping away all your luck and good fortune.

Another tradition is to consume copious amounts of things with auspicious sounding chinese names that are totally lost in translation. I'm talking about things like pig trotters, dried cyanobacteria, dried oysters, sticky cakes and whole fish. Yum.

Every kid's favourite tradition is, of course, to receive red envelopes of money from adults. For a long time, chinese new year was my one and only source of pocket money for the year!

As time has gone by, it seems that Australia has really embraced the chinese new year festivities. For me, I've become increasingly 'meh' about the whole thing.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

In pictures

Well, how bloody disorganised am I? It's taken a week but here is a selection of pictures from our recent vacation in Hong Kong.

Of course, for a fish fanatic, no trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a visit to the goldfish market. I don't approve of the way the fish are sold though. Poor things.

 We caught the cable car to Lantau Island to see the big buddha. It worked out quite well because the cable car was shut the following day for 5 months for maintenance so it was a fortuitous decision to go the day that we did.
 I visited Macau for the first time. It was interesting to see the Portuguese influence.
 Also took a ride on the mid level escalator, just for fun.
Naturally, as a tourist, we went on the peak tram up to Victoria Peak. The crowds were horrendous...
...but the view was worth the wait.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hong kong

Nathan and I just got back from a one week holiday in Hong Kong. We had a great time. If Hong Kong was a person, I reckon he (or she) would be the teenager that sleeps in but comes alive at night and stays out late.

Cantonese is the worst of the three Chinese dialects that I speak but it was sufficient to get us around. I'll post more details about the trip (with photos) when I have access to my laptop (which I actually left in the office, so determined was I about leaving work at work during my holiday).

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Deserted

The University is deserted. Students are on Summer break. Most of my colleagues are still on leave.

I'm currently Acting Head of Department, which is why I'm going to be working for the next three days. Then I've asked a colleague to fill in for me for a week (as Acting Acting Head of Department?) when Nathan and I are jet off to Hong Kong for a holiday.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The vase

We went to Gippsland to visit Nathan's folks. We stopped in at his mum's place first.

Truffles knocked over a giant vase and it smashed.

Nathan's mum was very good about it but we felt bad nonetheless and offered to find a replacement. In truth, it was a hideous looking vase that looked like something from a $2 shop but evidently it was worth a lot of money. It had accidentally been damaged previously and had been repaired so Nathan's mum was very pragmatic about it. In any case, it was beyond repair this time around.



Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year greetings

Happy New Year!

I spent last night on a roof top balcony watching the fireworks with some of Nathan's extended family.

Best socks ever...

I spent Christmas in Canberra. Aside from spending time with my family, a notable highlight was picking up this pair of hungry caterpillar socks.