Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Absent mindedness

My colleague is the most absent minded person I know. In the last 18 months, he has lost his credit card – three times. A few weeks ago, he lost his myki just after buying a month's pass only to discover it again amongst his CD at home after he had already cancelled the card.

So...it really shouldn't surprise me that the curry I packed for him to take home last night was left on the train. Sigh.


Extra day off today. That's all.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Whistler's mum

I'm currently hosting a research visitor from Scotland.

Yesterday I played tour guide. We started at the NGV because he wanted to revisit a Rembrandt that he had seen in Europe, which he remembered was loaned by the NGV. We also took the opportunity to have scones at the tea room and to check out Whistler's mother which is currently on loan from the Musee d'Orsay.
After lunch at Chinatown, I took John up to the Lygon Street. We walked over to the museum and then onto Brunswick Street before catching a tram back into the city.

John is a keen gardener so we decided to go for a walk to the Shrine of Remembrance and the Botanical Garden before walking along the Yarra back to the apartment where Nathan had prepared a roast chook for dinner.

It was a nice way to spend Easter Sunday.

Buggered up arm

I think I've buggered up my arm. Well, actually, I'm pretty sure I did.

It happened a few weeks ago.

I was on the bus on my way home from work. It was crowded. I was standing in the isle, each hand holding onto a straphanger (one on each side of the isle). A car suddenly cut in front of the bus, which had to break suddenly. My body lurched forward and side ways, twisting my right arm (still holding onto the straghanger) at a weird angle. At the same time a fat passenger catapulted into the back of my arm. The pain was excruciating.

Since then, I have managed to aggravate it three times with innocuous arm movements....twice when I was  in bed and once when I was moving a small pot plant on the balcony. Each time, the pain has been intense (i.e. rolling around on bed and moaning loudly kind of pain).

I went to see my GP the other day. Of course, when I was in the Doctor's room and was told to move my arm at all kind of weird angles, there was no pain. Grrr. [Oh, as an aside, I think my GP might be gay. I told him that I am feeling very old and experiencing all kinds of aches and pains. He then took out his phone to show me a picture of his (10 year) younger self wearing a tiara. Hmmm....time has not been kind to him.] 

I am going to get an ultrasound on Friday.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pet owner truths

This video is too close to home...

Good friday traditions

Nathan and I aren't exactly the religious type but for reasons that we cannot fully explain (Catholic guilt? Some weird manifestation of Stockholm syndrome?), we have both carried on the 'no meat' tradition on Good Friday.

Here's an interesting 'no meat' story...I remember a few years ago, one of the grad students in my department gave a talk about these fascinating creatures called capybara, which are basically large water-loving guinea pigs (see below). Anyhow, the student was talking about her previous research back in Venezuela where she had been studying the population biology of these giant rodents, which are also harvested for their meat. Funnily enough, the only thing I remember about the student's talk was that the Pope had, as some stage, made a decree that capybara was a fish so that it could be consumed during periods of the Catholic calendar when no meat was allowed. Hmmm.

Memories of a more personal story of Good Friday takes me back to my childhood. We were at the South Coast of NSW for a family holiday. Maternal grandma, who is a non-Catholic, made buns filled with 'vegetables' for lunch. Halfway into my first bun, I swore I could taste minced meat and could see tiny flecks of pork mixed in with the veggies. Sneaky grandma. Of course, she denied it and became strangely over the top angry at my accusations. Dad (who is a chef, a catholic and a whole lot wiser than I), gave me a look that basically said 'just eat the bun and shut up'.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

International flower and garden show

I'm going to the flower show today. A researcher from Glasgow is visiting my lab over the next few weeks. He arrived yesterday. I know he is a fanatical orchid grower so I figure he might enjoy the show. Getting him out in the 'sunshine' should also be good for getting him over the jet lag.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Another wedding

Another week. Another wedding. This time, Nathan and I are heading off to Emerald. Truffles is invited too.

The groom and I are work colleagues but we've been friends since we were grad students. It's his second marriage. The first one didn't work out but he is still good friends with his ex, who is also invited. Nathan and I liked his ex very much. We like his wife-to-be too!

Of all the guests, I'm kinda excited to meet the rest of my friend's family the most. I've known about them for years but have never actually met them (his first wedding was very low key and took place in Brisbane,). I'm looking forward to seeing his two sisters, one of whom is married (to a guy who used to work with my friend at McDonald's when he was younger). I'm looking forward to meeting his dad and his dad's Thai-Finnish girlfriend (who none of the family likes). I reckon the girlfriend will be a hoot. I'll at least have a love of Finland in common with her. My friend did warn me that his dad and his brother-in-law are homophobic though. Let's see how that plays out.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Star light, star bright

Late last year I was laying on the couch channel surfing and came across a terrific documentary on ABC2 about a transgender woman doing remarkable work with indigenous youth across the Western Desert.

I was super keen to get her to come to speak at my student leadership program this year. That wish was realised this week.

Starlady was amazing and the students were captivated by her inspiring career and life journey. Here is the opening sequence from the documentary that kick it all...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Recently outed gay types

I seem to be a perennial agony aunt for recently outed gay guys. A few years ago, I bumped into a former uni student on the tram. I said hi and briefly introduced him to Nathan, who was with me on the tram. The following Monday the student sent me an email telling me he had recently come out and wanted to know if I could recommend any good gay clubs (the answer was no because I am not really a regular clubbing type of person and even if I was, I don't think it would be appropriate!).

Fast forward a few years later.... I'm at a friend's 30th in Albury (the same friend who got married this weekend). A burly biker bear (BBB)  comes up to me and, let's not stereoptype here, starts recommending me places to go if I was interested in antiques. Bumped into BBB again this weekend at the wedding. He tells me he recently came out as gay. I told him I kinda figured that out the last time we spoke. He wants to move to Melbourne because Albury didn't offer much opportunities and he is hoping Melbourne will bring him some happiness. I hope it happens for him. BBB seemed like a very nice (cuddly) guy and I'm sure he will be very popular at the Laird. After the somewhat heavy conversation, he takes out his mobile and asked me for an opinion about someone's profile picture on Grindr.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Albury wedding

I have been invited to attend two weddings in March. The first is today. Truffles is in the dog hotel and we are off to Albury. The groom is a tattoo artist and the bride works for the council. Nathan and the groom's sister have known each other since they were kids. Should be fun.

Chopper troubles

There is a helipad on the Yarra near my apartment. And it's starting to piss me off. When I first moved into the neighbourhood, there wasn't much chopper activity at all and I barely noticed the noise. Indeed, the only concern I had was to make sure my apartment insurance covered my property for aircraft impact.

Now the choppers are coming and going at a much higher frequency and the noise is terrible. It looks like I'm not the only one getting annoyed by the increased activity. Grrr.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


I remember the revelation of tasting real Mexican food for the first time on a field trip to the Hidalgo region of Mexico in 2004. It was nothing like the tex mex food I had eaten back in Australia or the US. My grandma would have loved the flavours...it reminded me of northern chinese cuisine!

Today I went to a lovely taco place for lunch. It's not quite tex mex but I wouldn't say it's completely authentic either. Never mind. It tasted bloody good. And I reckon I could have eaten 10 of the fish tacos.

I did regret ordering this sickly sweet soft drink though. The label says it all. 100% sugar.
My American friend told me later that it's labelled this way to differentiate from the use of corn syrup, which is a common sweetener in the US.

Object of desire

I know its green and un-masculine and has giant flowers all over it but I want this Marimekko duvet cover so bad! I'll have to wait until May before I can order it.