Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clouds in my coffee

In the middle of my day I found myself lost in a bureaucratic meeting.  People were talking words that I knew but their meaning was obscure to me.  There was discussion of leveraging client actualities, of service overlap, and of negative expression of emotion prior to an upcoming facility transfer.

So I wrote some poems in the haiku style instead.

There's a cardboard box in our doctors' office that has the coffee supplies in it.  On the sides are written poems in the haiku style about or inspired by coffee.  Coffee haikus - I hear you think - what a bunch of hipsters. And truly, there is no defence against such an accusation.  The ones I wrote are pretty damn good though...
A warm cup to hold
To take the place of a hand.
Welcome to the tribe.

Black? White? Some sugar?
Do you embrace or mask the
Bitterness of life?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The top 10 songs in which you can substitute "fart" for "heart"

  1. My Fart Will Go On - Celine Dion
  2. Unchain My Fart - Ray Charles
  3. Two Strong Farts - John Farnham
  4. What Becomes Of The Brokenfarted? - Jimmy Ruffin
  5. Achy Breaky Fart - Billy Ray Cyrus
  6. Good Farted Woman - Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson
  7. Fart Of Glass - Blondie
  8. Fartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley
  9. Listen To Your Fart - Roxette
  10. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Farts Club Band - The Beatles

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Not thinking about elephants

Well, what would you like to talk about in today's tutorial?

Oh, anything at all, as long as it isn't the Oedipus Complex again.

It's interesting, isn't it, how the Oedipus Complex often brings out these types of very strong reactions from people.  It just makes you think that Freud must really have been on to something.  I know you don't want to talk about it but there are some fascinating things to consider such as how...

[One hour and fifteen minutes pass]

... ending in the destruction of civil society and the slow rebuilding up again which is, of course, the tragedy of man's inability to process or work through the Oedipus Complex.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Urban legends

The Candyman
Legend:  If you look at your reflection and say "Candyman" five times, he will appear and brutally murder you.
Status: False.  This is actually the plot of a 1992 slasher film.

The Handyman
Legend: If you look at your reflection and say "Handyman" five times, he will appear and unblock your drains.
Status: False.  There is no way to summon a handyman when you need one.

The Randyman
Legend: If you look at your reflection and say "Randyman" five times, a sexually aroused man will appear.
Status: True.  But only if you're a highly narcissistic adult male.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Clinical audit audit audit

Although most medical students are accustomed to producing audits, few are used to audit auditing.  Thus, this audit audit audit audits audit audits to measure their compliance with the protocol suggested by the Trans-Tasman Council of Amateur Humorists (TTCAH) and makes recommendations to improve the audit auditing process.

Ethics Approval
Ethics approval was sought for the audit audit audit because of the high likelihood of two adverse events:
  1. That those exposed would find it so unutterably funny that they might bust some kind of internal valve from laughing so hard.
  2. That those exposed would find it so unutterably tiresome that they might lapse into a narcoleptic coma and miss their next dental appointment.
The Ethics And Human Research Committee advised that ethics approval would not be granted for such diabolically try-hard self-deprecation as contained in this sentence and thus the final audit audit audit would contain no such sentences. Otherwise they said it would be fine.

Selection of audit audits
The auditor briefly considered a range of semi-humorous methods that may have been employed to find and select audit audits before deciding that it was getting reasonably late and he wanted to get on with the main business of making stupid jokes so he would just present the selected audit audit for audit as a fait accompli with a white wine sauce and simply post a link to it.  (LINK)

Analysis of audit audits
The selected audit audit was briefly reviewed to refresh my memory and some suitable categories were invented in order to produce a few graphs that were relevant to the audit audit.  These, coincidentally, are also identified in the TTCAH protocol for audit audits as being both necessary and sufficient for a late night blog post stretching one simple idea out to several hundred words, to wit:
  1. Snappy title
  2. Thin veneer of respectability
  3. Classical allusions that are actually totally bogus
  4. Leaving the door open for a sequel just in case it works this time.
The audit audit audit revealed that the audit audit had been undertaken with due regard for TTCAH processes.  This is clearly illustrated by the following charts:

 Snappy title - check!

Thin veneer of respectability - check!

Classical allusions - check!

Sequel - check!

  1. That I go to bed soon.
  2. Bacon and cheese toastie.
  3. More charts.
  4. Sell! Sell! Sell!
  5. Shift down a gear once you hit 2000 rpm.  This is also true of driving.
  6. Winning the Victoria Cross twice.
  7. Banana (serving suggestion).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Clinical audit audit

As part of the final year of the medical degree at this Fine University, students are required to complete a clinical audit.  This audit examines the adherence of the auditors to the auditing protocol and makes recommendations to improve the auditing process.

Ethics approval
Since this audit was conducted only upon the auditors self and was entered into voluntarily, no ethics committee approval was sought or, therefore, granted.

Selection of audits
A retrospective selection of all audits undertaken by the auditor during the 2011 was performed.  The auditor's email account and hard drive were searched for all files containing the words "audit", "overdue", "panic" and "apathy".  This resulted in the retrieval of several thousand files which would be impractical to search by hand, so they were further searched for the tags "piece of shit".  One record was retrieved, a clinical audit recently submitted by the auditor.

Analysis of audits
The audit was examined for the following key items, drawn from the guidelines to auditing published by the International Lazy Students and Bullshit Artists Association (ILSBAA):
  1. Excessive verbosity clearly intended to boost word count.
  2. References farmed from unreliable online sources such as Wikipedia.
  3. Formatting and structure plagiarized from example audits provided to students.
  4. Meaningless recommendations.
  5. Precision in statistical calculation used to distract from data collection flaws.
For each audit audited, a high degree of adherence to the ILSBAA protocol was found, as shown in the charts 1 through 5 below:
Notwithstanding the recent episode where the auditors audit was submitted late for no reason other than his inability to submit the audit on time, the auditor found that the audit was conducted largely in accordance with the ILSBAA protocol, or else in a sleep-deprived stupor, which is also an approved method of production of student audits.  Acute observers may question why confidence intervals were not calculated and quoted above, to which the audit auditor may only quote Demosthenes in the Palladium when he was stabbed in the Ides by the Emperor Octagon: "Auditor, audit thyself".  Whilst the relevance, and indeed the veracity of this quote are lost in the dawn of time, it cannot be denied that they most usefully added some sorely needed bulk to this paragraph and furthermore avoided it being a one-joke section, albeit at the expense of some rather heavy-handed surrealism.

It is recommended:
  1. That further audits by this auditor be audited to determine adherence to the ILSBAA protocol.
  2. That this audit audit be audited.
  3. That the audit audit audit be audited in order to complete the third repetition really needed to hammer the point home.
  4. That you send money now.
  5. That you read Dune by Frank Herbert.  It's full on shit, man.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


There's a scene in one of my favourite films, Star Wars, where Indiana Jones is describing how clueless his colleague is by saying, "You know Marcus.  He once got lost in his own museum".  Well - today I got lost in my own Emergency Department.

In my defence, it was only my second day.  Plus, there are extensive renovations happening so there are temporary walls being flung up that seem to move on a daily basis, opening up mysterious corridors haunted by bull-headed freaks (sorry - by surgeons) or sealing up unwary strangers inside wall cavities to be entombed forever. 

Also, when I was given a tour yesterday I got the impression there was (currently) only an A side and a E side (don't ask me what happened to sides B,C and D.  Perhaps a mad geometer proved them to have zero length, or perhaps they got together with Type 3 renal tubular acidosis and ran away to join the circus).  But it turns out that the A side has two halves which look really similar, like the Olson twins, so I went to the wrong one and walked around it several times looking like someone on one of Escher's endless staircases.

Plus, I was tired.

It's not the first time I've gotten lost (or as I prefer to think of it, afflicted by momentary topographical ambiguity) but it was the most embarrassing.  Not only did I run into two of my Esteemed Colleagues who had to free me from where I had become wedged behind a vending machine, I had in tow an unfortunate and quite distressed woman whom I was attempting to take to her husband who was a patient.  So at first I got just a bit sheepish when I couldn't find his bed number.  Then I got to side A part 2 and located his bed, flung back the curtain with a dramatic flourish, only to find it occupied by a complete stranger.  Awkward!

I recruited the help of some bemused nurses who checked the compooters and showed me that while we'd been careening around in circles in the wrong area, my guy had been transferred to the E side, which is where we'd come from.  It didn't take me too long to find our way back but I could only do it leaving the ED and starting again as if I was arriving in the morning.

Tomorrow I'm taking in a bag of breadcrumbs.

First depressions last

Like you, I've been feeling under the hammer a bit recently, what with the Hatchling to look after, a rogue assignment rampaging through my spare time, and some pesky Hittites to suppress.  Busy busy busy.

Or so I thought.

Today I met someone who is about to complete their big scary ED exams, they are also training for some intense athletic event, they have two kids, they dress with elegance and poise, and they are a really nice person too.  They probably also play woodwind in a symphony orchestra.

People like that should be banned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New adventures in cheese

Like you, I bought a big block of Nimbin cheese today.  No, "Nimbin cheese" is not some kind of euphemism for psychoactive substances.  (For those of you not from Australia, Nimbin has the widespread reputation, rightly or wrongly, as a hive of hippies with heaps of hemp.)  Nimbin cheese is in fact a cheese produced in Nimbin.

I was so surprised to see it right there in the stupormarket that I bought it without really thinking about it.  I don't even know what type of cheese it is.  Presumably it's a tasty cheddar or something similar.  Gets up to look in fridge ... oh my god - it's something called "Elbo style cheese". Eurgh.  I know that Elbo cheese must be a real and delicious thing, but the name is very unappealing, sounding like the consequences of a long-neglected personal hygiene regimen.

Anyway, I think that the reason I bought it was because of its colour.  Sitting there on the shelf amidst the other (non-elbo-style) cheeses it really stood out.  Yellow, dark yellow, yellow, pale yellow, green, yellow ... wait - green???

Yes, Nimbin cheese is green.  I was so enraptured that I threw it into my basket without a moment's further thought.  I thought about it all the way home though.  This cheese, from the home of the hippie, is a triumph of marketing.  Distinctive name, distinctive colour, colour has multiple connotations directly linked to the distinctive name (green = eco & green = dope).  The only comparable idea I can come up with right now would be to sell a Tony Abbott blue.  But the idea of somehow extracting milk from Tony Abbott to make it is an even worse concept than Elbo cheese.

Which is why I was so bitterly disappointed when I got home and unpacked the shopping and found a plain old boring block of pale yellow cheese in my bag.  Had I grabbed the wrong cheese off the shelf in my excitement?  Was the green colour just a product of my fevered imagination when I read that it was Nimbin cheese?  Was I stoned out my mind?

No, no, and no.  It turns out that Nimbin cheese is not green at all.  It's just ordinary looking cheese inside a wrapper which is green on the front and clear on the back.  Man...  I've obviously read Green Eggs and Ham one time too many.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Like you, I've been pondering this strange thing called "blogging" a bit recently.  I very nearly called it quits with this blog recently but decided to just leave it and stew for a while instead.  Ultimately I seem to have decided to keep things going, so I suppose that's good for those of you who come here to read this stuff because you enjoy it rather than because you hate me and you're slowly assembler a dossier to clonk me over the head with one day when I'm running for Prime Minister.

Anyway, one I'd stopped writing here frequently I suddenly became unable to figure out how to start again.  I kept thinking of ideas but was unable to develop them in my head into fully-fledged posts ready to leave the nest and soar the information superdooperhighway without me.  It took me about three weeks to realize that that has always been the case.  I don't develop these posts in my head at all. 

What actually happens is that I have an idea or two, or maybe not even that - sometimes just a feeling that I need to discover or explore - and I sit down and let things go.  That's why it's fun.  Planning things is not fun.  Doing things is fun. 

When I succumb to the urge to plan I usually find myself trying to perfectionize things, which results in a clean crisp dull icy ache in my brain and a clean crisp dull icy ache on the page.  Sure, structure is good, and structure is something that is probably a good idea to plan, especially if you're trying to make some kind of point.  Fortunately for me I seldom am in such an unfortunate position.  I have the liberty of just blabbing all this stuff down onto the page.

And why?  Why do I do it?  Mostly just so I don't think so much about it any more.  Once I notice that there's a post welling up inside me I tend to start to overthink it, which, as mentioned above, kills it.  So the more frequently I blab this stuff, the sooner I can launch my unconscious out through my fingertips and onto the screen.

Stand by stomach, here come banana!