Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Wild Health Check Wednesday

The last time I saw my own GP (family doctor) was nearing 2 years ago. Dentist? A bit more than that... While nothing's falling apart, yet, I think it's time to get reacquainted with my health care providers. How well do you know yours? It's not exactly a wild thing to do but it can be a bit scary, people sticking things in all kinds of places, but then, I'm sure you've done worse... We men are too often complacent about our health (I see it every day) and if you haven't been checked out for a while, today's the day to make that appointment to see whoever needs to poke and prod you a little to ensure you've got no major servicing required. Go on, make the call. If you're sexually active with a number of different partners you should make it a regular event for just the STI component alone. Being a GP myself it almost feels decadent to see my own GP, time for some indulgence I say!

Things New

I bought Madonna's new album HARD CANDY today. On first playing I was waiting for a track that I liked, and there were one or two that were OKAY, but not exactly getting me dancing on the spot. I was wondering if I'd made the right decision to buy it unheard... but now that I'm playing it again now, it's actually starting to grow on me. I wonder what I will think about it in a few days time?
Anyone else have the album yet? Your thoughts?

There's also a new iMac out - or an update of last year's edition. I was impossibly close to buying one last year, but held off. I'm thinking this might be the time for me to head back to my roots. I started off life as a Mac Boy and now it's time to return home. Everyone I know who has gone Mac, has never gone Bac.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Hobart 2

Day 2 and The Frenchman and I have eaten enough last night to make breakfast obsolete. We head to Salamanca Markets, because that's what you do in Hobart on Saturdays, and the only thing we buy is food including this particular slice of heaven (below) which becomes the entree for the breakfast I wasn't going to have... (I choose the blueberry version)

There's more too, like a local specialty: Scallop Pie, we'll call that main and is very good. Dessert is a dutch delicacy and I buy more but that's enough for now or I'll start to feel fat. Again.

We then head to Bruny Island, because again, that's what you do. And we head to the far south of it, terrorising every driver on the road as we go, (including our own) . Of course at the end, there's a lighthouse - and doesn't every lighthouse have a story of hardship... so I don't read most of the historical depiction of it but instead go take photos of the island just south of it, because it's quite spectacular and the rock formations are great. But I don't like the photos as much as the reality - so you won't be seeing more of them.

After terrorising the remaining drivers on the island and taking in the sights (as seen below with the Frenchman) we drive onto the car ferry that we all independently think "I don't want this ferry to be the way I die". And thankfully it's not. A quick, much needed swim in the Hobart Aquatic centre is punctuated in the open showers with a man who is obviously happy to see me, but I decline more Tasmanian forestry and we head back to the hotel for a run around the locale and then head out to dinner.

SMOLT is the venue tonight and smouldering Lynnette the guest diner, (who is grilled to well done by Sean, the vegetarian). It's good, we share 5 desserts between us and roll onto the footpath to stroll the square, window shopping the galleries then drive to the top of Mount Wellington - where we get out into a freezing gale that wakes us well and truly up (it's nearing midnight now). We rush to the edge, peer to the sparkling city below and rush back to the car to thaw.

Sunday takes us to the deep south to explore the forest, countryside and autumnal leaves. I'm feeling a little blue, but nothing like a bit of rain, suspended canopy walks and swinging suspension bridges to make you feel alive... (see photo at the top of this post). Sean tries to kill us on everything we get into or on and the suspension bridges are still vibrating violently, but despite his efforts, we make it home, safe and sound.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Hobart 1

So after a precisely tuned departure from work, a picking up of The Frenchman, and a negotiation of ANZAC day traffic (mostly headed to local watering holes in my observation) we get to the airport with way more time on our hands than normal so have a reasonably gourmet breakfast on the ground rather than a less so one in the air. In fact it is remarkably good. I might even head to the airport just for it one day, maybe.

Virgin spits us out with some quip in Hobart and the freezing day we expected has simmered into a reasonably warm one. We are picked up by the gorgeous Sean, and head to Port Arthur exploring along the way. The cafe we've been hanging out for since 1995 when we first discovered it is still operating - Eaglehawk Neck Cafe - but as we arrive we find it's closed for ANZAC day - bloody hell - all this way (and time!) and lunch plans are demolished - but by now it's after 2pm and the list of options is rapidly narrowing. The last time we ate at Port Arthur was shortly before the massacre happened there and that cafe is now a memorial... So we eat generic food elsewhere, then wander around and I actually like it here a lot more this time than last.

The sandstone on the decaying buildings has none of the wear of those in Sydney - it looks like it's been freshly quarried and at times I wonder if it has, must be something to do with the pristine air they talk about down here - though today it's a smoke haze with forest back burning that seems to have been very poorly planned in recent days, and we're coughing and my eyes are a bit sore, but I'm away for the long weekend so I'm still happy.

We head back to civilisation and our accommodation at The Islington Hotel in Hobart is it. We're greeted by Kelly who is at once warm, engaging and beautiful, and we feel at home right away. The rooms are sensational, and ours subtly has the seal of the hotel's owners in a painting of two naked men sitting together (though you have to look twice to see that that's in fact what you're looking at.) I've been up since 6.15am and I collapse into the huge bath for an eternity before heading out to dinner. Marque IV is the place - and the food is sublime. My main is 3 variations of Salmon and I can still taste them all (in a good way). More please!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

superchilled heads to Hobart

And today I'm asking you for information about Hobart. It's the place to be this weekend, and I just want to make sure you all know that. If you don't know where it is, click here. This is where we're going for the long weekend. If you don't know where it is I'm guessing you won't be able to suggest things to do, see or places to go. It's ANZAC Day in Oz on Friday, a public holiday, and while I'm working for part of the day the rest will be in or finding my way to Hobart. We have accommodation booked - which looks rather spectaculent, and given the weather is looking pretty awful I expect it is just as well it's nice. Normally we don't spend much time indoors, but wind rain and 14C tops says otherwise this weekend - though I'm willing to go swimming of course somewhere - is there anywhere good to swim in Hobart? I'm guessing heated indoors?

Dinner Saturday is booked - SMOLT. I haven't researched it but am told it's a good if not great restaurant - so we're going and I am going to go in blind. I hope what I'm wearing for that blind event is appropriate. But I'm guessing it's going to be a LOT OF CLOTHES or I'll freeze my arse off. Of course, swimming mostly naked in a pool is a completely different story.

So that's the weekend as it stands, a morning flight, a hotel, a dinner, oh and I forgot about our chauffeur. A friend who took up our invitation to join us for the weekend - he's arriving early and will pick us up, regal style, at the airport. Gotta like that. Oh and there might be a guest visit from Launceston.

Anyone have more hot tips for superchilled in Hobart?

Wild Hot Wednesday

Find something hot today - and share it with someone.
That's today's Wild Hot Wednesday challenge.
The more you can share the better.
I have a few suggestions below.

Hot Chocolate.
A Spa / Jacuzzi.
Freshly baked cookies.
A Sauna.
A log fire.
Your body after intense exercise.
Someone else's body after intense exercise.
Some Sunshine.
A Steam Room.
Someone intelligent and sexy.
A Tropical Beach.
Bikram Yoga.
A Roast Dinner.
A Dance Club.
Something that makes your heart race.
The hottie from gym / the pool / the library.
An electric blanket.
A kiss.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


A patient of mine tells me today that she saw coverage from the 2020 Summit in Canberra , on TV on the weekend, and that if she knew it was on she'd have gone to take part in it. She'd tell them how they need to fix up workcover health insurance because she has (legitimate) grievances about it, and a handful of other things that she'd clean up.

I sit there wondering if she realises that the rest of Australia knew an age ago this was happening, and that you needed to be a leader in your field of expertise to get a foot in, so her turning up on the door on Friday for the weekend at Parliament House would have been akin to walking up to Buckingham palace unannounced and asking to spend the weekend with the Queen, please. Mind you if she did get in - I don't know that anything else would have happened all weekend, because she's kinda like a didgeridoo... you never know when they take breaths but the sound keeps on coming ...

Meanwhile I'm sitting there, not making much of a difference to her particular small yet significant problem, let alone the greater world, thinking that at least she shows some enthusiasm for it all, which I did when I first heard about it all those weeks ago, quickly realising that I would qualify as readily as my patient for a participatory role and instead my biggest problem for the day is getting home before 9.30pm because I have let too many people speak for way too long today.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Wed Thurs Fri

I get to work on Wednesday, and I've been bought a new office chair which is very swish, soft leather, stylish design, and when I sit in it, I feel like I'm an kindergarten and I haven't quite grown up enough yet to reach the table properly, but might one day... I reach for the height adjustment, and when I do it just goes lower, surely there's something wrong here, I start playing with all the knobs, as one does.. but this is increasingly frustrating as it looks like is should go higher, but it doesn't. And I eject it from my office and take my old chair back, which up until now had been quite okay, but now is just damned uncomfortable and so last century...

I get to the hospital on Thursday night and I'm firing. It's the first week in 3 there that I've not been a little ill, and it's like all my energy has come back at once from all those weeks, so I'm running about doing everything at a high pace, and before people ask me, and I solve a whole host of problems before they're problems, but I have to slow down because people aren't keeping up. It's fun, and I sleep well.

I've been in the habit of organising extraordinary things for my birthday celebrations with friends. Having done such complex and varied things in the past, from short film competitions, to group photo essays, complex car rallies, art classes and combinations of all of the above it's kinda difficult to find something different. And in every spare moment (which has mostly been when I'm in the car driving places) I've been trying to figure out a new idea, and I think I have it, and I think it's sounding really good, but it might take a little research, but not too much, and I can't say what it is, because that would just spoil the fun. But be warned.

So I finish my work day Friday and go to gym where they have this new scent thing in the change rooms that smells really really good and makes me think for the first few times I'm there that the men nearby are smelling very sexy (ie it smells like an aftershave or something that must have pheromones in it or something because it just must. ) And I calm myself down. Then I go running on a treadmill, and I'm thinking really I don't like running on a treadmill because I just get so hot & sweaty and outdoors it is really nice here to run - but it's raining today - so I figure I'll continue on the treadmill because, well, I don't want to get wet - only I sweat so much anyway that I might as well have run in the rain. And at the start of my run the ipod (The Frenchman's old mini ipod no less) battery goes flat before I've even started and I swear that I'll buy myself a new one that will actually work and not run out of battery and not start playing in just one ear for no good reason in the middle of my favourite track. And in today's survey of the gym, there are a lot of men here I wouldn't push out of bed. Many who I very wouldn't push out quite frankly. There might have been women at the gym today too, but I only remember seeing an instructor who I swim with who chats with me for a bit and who, I note, looks very different out of the pool.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Wildly Routine Wednesday

I usually suggest doing new or unexpected things here on my Wild Wednesdays, but today it's a different kind of wild. And it's not something you can do overnight - it takes time and regularity.

It all came to me when I picked up my Vietnamese takeaway, which has become a kind of routine for me once a week after an intense swim squad and gym session. I almost always order the same food - although it does vary from time to time, and when I call to order they usually pick up that it's me and I can hear them smile as they take my order. They now know my name when I go in, and are friendly and engaging - much more than they were when I had first started in this routine. There are other places I go to quite routinely, gym, bank, bakery etc, and over time I have come to know the people in these places and it becomes kind of like family wherever I go. I know it's not quite the same, but it's great to have people who are warm and engaging and with whom you have some kind of history (even if it isn't always the most complex). And as I sit at diggies and order the breakfast they don't have on the menu anymore, but make it for me because they can, I guess I feel a part of something, a connection with the world around me; and it's nice, and I like it, and it warms me.

So as I walked out the door holding my rice paper rolls and combination vermicelli I felt kind of warm despite the chilled night air. And I thought maybe rather than encourage doing different things this week, I'd encourage some degree of regularity that helps connect you to your world. To find and develop people and places that you encounter regularly and create some kind of bond, however close you want it to be. Because life is about people, and there are all kinds of ways to connect with them, but mostly it takes time, and a little bit of effort, oh and a smile of course.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Life is Beautiful

They come in threes, they say about pretty much everything, and my trilogy this weekend was a stomach bug. Just when I was feeling on top of the world the bugs struck back. So I've had laryngitis, sinusitis, and gastroenteritis all in a few short weeks. Regardless, the weekend threw some fantastic events, people and sights my way. It was the last weekend of The Frenchman's family - and my in-laws, in Australia (and I can say in-laws because in France at least our relationship is formally recognised). So Saturday was an all out Sydney Fest - Paddington Markets, Beach, Opera House, Harbour Sunset and AFL match; before their flight out early Sunday morning. The day was perfect, a lot of fun was had by all, and I even got in a swim at the perennially closed Tamarama Beach. We haven't been to the AFL for a while - but it was a lot of fun. I didn't manage to see the big punch that has been in the news ever since, but the atmosphere at the stadium and the game were great, even though I like to see the scores a little closer for the thriller finish factor... Our nephew got quite the surprise when Sydney scored and the crowd errupted with flags and all waving about just in front of him. It was the perfect end to their 3 week trip to Oz.

With all the excitement of entertaining the rellies and of trying to get over feeling hideous, I've not posted a lot. But now with normality restored, I'll see what I can do... though the gut still hasn't quite caught up with my plans.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Random Thoughts

I'm very happy to be able to proud of our prime minister, finally. When Kevin Rudd addressed students at Peking University in China (in Mandarin no less) and expressed his concerns about human rights lacking in Tibet, I felt like finally I am being represented by someone who thinks a lot more like me than our previous PM ever did. He has balls. It made me smile deep within, and I like that.

I sometimes get annoyed about the lack of recognition of homosexual couples and lack of social acceptance of being gay in this country, but then I have a look at some of the locations of people who are reading superchilled, including places like Iran, and realise just how lucky we have it here. I mean I can walk down the street holding hands with The Frenchman if I like and really not have any concerns - though we still only do that when noone is watching... But really - I am openly gay at work, with family and in my local community... it's not exactly tough for me. If only that were the case everywhere else. I'm wondering if just reading this blog would be reason for condemnation in some places?

Why is it that every time I wash my car - it rains the next time I'm out on the road? Usually within 12 hours of washing it, even when the sky is clear and forecast fine... (In reality I really dont' give a damn - sometimes I'd wash it when it's still raining, but regardless - it always happens).

What drives me crazy in this life is when people always assume the negative. I'm a relentlessly positive guy and I really try to do the best by the people in my world, at all times, even under duress. Despite this and the fact that most people are aware of this, I'll still have people accusing me of being scheming, or playing games, or trying to do wrong by them, as if the aim of my life is to make their life hard for them. The reality is the converse, but some people will go to extremes to support their take, without really trying to understand where I'm coming from - (ie misunderstanding / miscommunication is commonplace). But I've kinda gotten tired of trying to explain this, so if people want to believe negative stuff, then I'm starting to just let them believe what they want to and let them go. If they want to be happy - they're gonna have to work on it themselves. Is that wrong?

Coming out the other end of a period of being less than 100% healthy, I'm feeling fully energised again - it feels good, no actually it feels fantastic! although the people around me do tend to get a little scared when this happens, because who knows what can happen next. Watch out I say, I'm turning up the music...

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

wild wednesday

Got an ipod filled with tunes you've had for an eternity? Tired of the same old same old? Today's wild wednesday is for you - it's time to find some new tracks to listen to. They might be ones you've lost from old and are happy to bring back into your world, they might be a whole new generation of listening pleasure. I've started it off by downloading an extended version of Madonna's "Express yourself" - an oldie but a goodie. Another current fave is 1234 by Feist (used in the ipod ad). I'm hungry for more.

If you have a track that's your absolute fave - let us know - maybe we can all share the passion...

Monday, 7 April 2008

Chillaxed in Byron

The Frenchman catches a wave.

Bathing in the Kitchen Sink

Guess who built pyramids... (click to enlarge)

I never tire of Byron Bay. We spent this weekend there. A weekend of a bit of this and a bit of that. Some home cooked food, some dining out, some beaching, some running, some playing in the surf, some afternoon siestas and playing with our nephew. Sure there was some pouring rain and there was me too slowly getting through my first ever sinusitis, but they were mere hiccups. (in fact I love nothing more than rain belting onto the roof when you're in bed!!) The weekend was divine. I'll do it again - or maybe The Frenchman and I really will do it one day - and just move there... now wouldn't THAT be nice!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Talk to me

Have you been at a dinner party when your partner or someone close to you has said something that has completely shocked you? Taken you by complete surprise, because you thought you really should have known this fact already?

In my work I get to know people's inner thoughts - their issues with partners, children, family and friends, and I often get to know those partners', children's and family and friend's thoughts on them as well, so I get to have an understanding of both sides of the fence, but with the challenge of not being able to share my knowledge. Sometimes I feel like just telling everyone what's really happening in everyone elses lives - and they might well all live under the same roof - because ultimately everyone would be better off.

It is clear to me that there is so much that can be resolved by being transparent, by not having things filed in the 'do not open' folder. My suggestion to a patient today, that he inform his partner about a change in his management, because she might be able to identify problems earlier than he would regarding adverse effects, was met with wide eyed questioning look... It seemed obvious to me, but people do like to keep things quite partitioned in their lives, even from people who are incredibly close to them, even when it might really be very beneficial for them.

Which leads me to believe that a lot of people really don't know enough about those people who they think are really close to them. If you know how someone thinks, because they share their reasoning with you - then you're going to have a better understanding of any problems they might be having - or how to deal with problems as they arise. Too many people are guessing what their partners/significant others are thinking - but not actually asking them. Some partners aren't so good at being receptive to such questions either, becoming protective or patronising, or answering with things like "oh, you should know what I want" - which isn't exactly encouraging one to ask similar questions ever again, leading to further future misunderstandings.

My personal feeling is that too much information is never too much. (Although you do need to be selective with whom you share it - ie not the whole neighbourhood.) Sure, you don't have to speak your thoughts as you are developing them, but the more transparent you are with those close to you and the more they are with you - the less likely you are going to have misunderstandings and less likely you are to grow apart. But it's got to work both ways - no question should be dismissed, even if you think you've answered it a thousand times before.

I guess we need to give up our sense of needing to protect ourselves from criticism. At the base of this I guess is trust - you need to have trust in those people around you for this to work out... but if you don't have that - why are they still around?

So next time when you find out at a dinner party that your partner used to date a pro footballer, know his name and what his preferred activities were, and feel free not to share them with the neighbourhood.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Wild Wednesday

There's something decidedly fishy about today's Wild Wednesday. In fact it's all about fish. I've been craving and eating fish all week. It's certainly considered one of the best foods you can have (good lipids, good proteins etc), so maybe my body is telling me something. And now I'm making it a fishy wild wednesday so you too can share in the goodness (like you couldn't otherwise!). I've had 2 serves of perch one barbequed (in foil) one fried, tuna and smoked salmon - and just in the past 3 days - I don't think I'm pregnant, but maybe I need to go get tested...

Your quest for today is as easy as having a tuna sandwich for lunch, but be as creative as you like - if you have a great fish recipe or recommendation - post it here in the comments. If you're a vegetarian who doesn't eat fish - perhaps you can go swimming with the fish like the guy in the photo - I did today - and while there were no sharks - it was sensational! The Frenchman and his brother joined in - at a place called Wattamolla... but that's a whole other story.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Medical Advice

So I'm at work and the hundred and second person, upon hearing my darth vader voice and chronic smoker's cough, suggests I see a doctor. I smile politely, tell them I don't know any good ones, and ask what their problem/illness/ raison d'ĂȘtre is today...

I've had people suggest how I should treat myself, including specifics of what to take, where to find it, and how to prevent getting ill in the first place... Isn't that MY job?
I'm just glad I don't have a surname like 'Carver' or 'Paine' or 'Hacker', the days could be very long...

Gay Genes Discovered

Finally someone got the science worked out!

It appears being gay is linked to a number of genes which, when present in the right combination, lead to the expression of homosexuality. It appears the most powerful genes, GMBT2 and AFDJ9, when both present increase the probability of homosexual orientation to around 72%. The probability increases if there are other associated genes also expressed in combination with one or both of these, though it seems there is quite a range of associated genes that can act in combination with various relative 'strengths' (ie the more genes you have - the more likely you're going to be gay).

Environmental exposures, including chemical and hormonal influences can cause both genetic mutations and alterations in the genetic expression of genes already present, influencing the probability of homosexual orientation.

Following from this there looms the possibility of antenatal genetic screening tests, estimating the 'probability of orientation' but with environmental influences ongoing in-utero it seems these would be loosely indicative and not be as accurate as testing after birth. Post-birth testing may then become available with genetic manipulations to 'cure' homosexual orientation, and while no such treatment is available, its possibility is expected to cause significant social and ethical issues.

Full article soon to be published in the journal 'Nature'.
You heard it here first.