Today has been seriously unproductive – to say the least. I think the business plan assignment has given me attention deficit disorder (never realised how weird the word “deficit” looks). The assignment is a group assignment and is broken up into sections. I’ve been allocated parts from three different sections, and in these, there are sub-sections.

What has been happening is that I try working on one sub-section until I get stuck or bored, and then I try working on another sub-section. So, really, I’ve just been jumping from one sub-section to another. Sometimes I don’t even wait until I’m stuck before switching. I’ll just suddenly think of something to write in the other section, and just ditch the one I was supposed to be working on.

It was really nice of the lecturer/tutor to give us a template to follow, but sometimes I still don’t know what I’m meant to be writing or how much I’m supposed to write. I wonder how much the rest of my group has done…..

Anyway, I’ve totally been wanting to write something about ‘Stoked’ for so long now. For those of you unfamiliar with ABC3 programming, ‘Stoked’ is a cartoon on said TV channel about these people who work at a beach resort. I haven’t liked a cartoon this much since ‘Storm Hawks’ (but I don’t think ‘Storm Hawks’ is airing anymore).

To be honest, though, I don’t know exactly when ‘Stoked’ is on. It would’ve been helpful for my shameless promotion of the show. I watch it because it happens to be on when I watch TV in the morning, and it was on when I ate lunch today at 1:45pm. Anyway, you can probably watch it online or something. It’s pretty funny.

Well… I guess I should really be getting back to work now… Unless something happens to prevent me from getting back to work…

Something….. Anything….. Any minute now…..

Oh, ok, I’ll just go …and have afternoon tea!

taking stock

I spent most of today, Good Friday, the first day of the Easter break, crunching numbers, calculating ratios and compiling financial statements. I really feel like a business manager, spending a day off doing work-related stuff. But, you know, it has to be done!

And, no, I did not suddenly give up pharmacy to do accounting/business. This is part of a pharm course to teach us about the business side of pharmacy, which is applicable even to hospital pharmacy and GPs and whatever else some people might want to study after pharmacy. And that’s because everything in life comes down to money.

I actually reckon it’s quite a useful course. Sure it’s a pain to have to stare at pages of numbers, but this isn’t really the sort of stuff you want to just learn as you go along.

Anyway, since it is Easter, I figure a lot of people are thinking about upping their chocolate intake. But a few days ago, I heard some lady on TV say that it’s a myth that dark chocolate has any health advantages because all the good stuff is lost during processing. I was so shocked by this that I went to do my own search of the literature to find some evidence to prove her wrong.

The good news is that I found plenty of recent studies that support various assertions about dark chocolate’s health benefits. The bad news is that these studies aren’t the most ideal in terms of study design. For example, some were conducted in mice (issues about extrapolating to humans) and some only had small sample sizes (~30 people).

At this point, I would say it’s inconclusive, but leaning toward the affirmative. I think the strongest evidence is for chocolate with extra “flavanol/flavanoids”. At any rate, I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Something more concerning, though, is an article I read recently that said that calcium supplementation in older women may increase the risk of cardiovascular events. This is concerning for me not because I’m getting on in years and have started taking supplements, but because I recently recommended calcium supplements to a family member.

But I had a read of (the abstract of) the main article that describes all this research, and it said that although the findings are significant, they only represent modest increases in risk. Plus, the main reason for calcium supplementation is to prevent osteoporosis. You can’t make people choose between one disease and another!

Looks like I’ll have to just keep an eye out for stronger and more conclusive evidence.

wild at heart

Sorry to disappoint you, but this is not a post about maniacal tendencies or going on safari or whatever it is that people associate with the word “wild”…

Lately I’ve been getting this song stuck in my head a lot:

I think this song has been getting in my head so much because of ads on TV – lots and lots of ads on TV. Ok, well, I might be exaggerating a little there. I haven’t heard it on TV that much. I’ve only listened to this song in full a few times but I really like it. Heck, I liked it from just hearing snippets in TV commercials.

I know I don’t usually blog about music, but it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had a song that stays in my head so much. I mean, I like plenty of other recent(ish) songs, but they don’t seem to leave too much of an impression. Of course, that’s not to say that “Wild at heart” is a song that I anticipate will stay with me for many years to come, but, at the moment, it seems to be quite a … powerful song.

I also wanted to give a plug for ‘Discovering DisAbility and Diversity’ because we had a lecture/workshop from them today and it was pretty awesome. I reckon I’ll remember more about cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, blindness, etc from having participated in their workshop of maybe 40 minutes than from any amount of reading notes and texts.

And, you know, it’s not just about remembering facts. It’s about understanding people, knowing it’s ok to ask questions and not excluding people because of some misconception.

And just a quick mention (because it’s getting late now) for the staff at Peony on Albert St (where I had dinner with friends tonight), who were really nice and gave great service. I think one lecture that I’ve had recently mentioned stuff about word-of-mouth and how the average person who has a bad experience somewhere will tell about 9-10 people, but if they have a positive experience, they’ll tell only 4-5 people. (Someone correct me if the numbers are wrong.)

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t want to be one of those “average people” who spread the word about bad things without giving due mention to good things.

you gotta be kidding

I reckon for most days this last month (at least) the weather forecast has predicted rain or warned of the possibility of rain. Is this what London is like?

It was raining this morning while I was walking to pharm school. On my way, I counted seven people walking in the rain without an umbrella. Is it really that hard to just go get yourself an umbrella? Why are all these people walking around in the rain like it’s not raining when it clearly is raining~ I’ve walked through rain without an umbrella before, but that’s when it was super light rain that barely qualified as rain.

Anyway, there are probably good reasons why each of those seven people did not have umbrellas or raincoats or rain ponchos or anything at all to protect them from the rain. Who am I to judge? Not that I am judging. If people want to walk through the rain and get soaked, that’s their prerogative.

Something else I was a bit shocked at, though, was that I worked 22.5 hours last week. That’s almost as much time as I spent in class~! But, you know, it would’ve been less if I hadn’t been asked to cover a Saturday shift at a certain pharmacy in Northside. I do not regret it at all, though. I quite liked working at that pharmacy – a good first impression.

And, just to be random, I thought I’d end this post by sharing my love of breakfast. It’s my most favourite meal of the day. I never leave the house without having breakfast (unless I’m going out for breakfast, in which case I’d probably still eat a bit before going out anyway).

Breakfast is good because it’s ok to eat a lot because it’s meant to kickstart your metabolism, and all the energy should get burnt up later in the day (or so the theory of it goes…). It’s also good because there’s no obligation/expectation to be very nutritionally balanced. Like, no one really expects people to eat a serve of vegetables during breakfast – that’s more for lunch and dinner to cover. Having said that, though, I have had breakfasts with plenty of vegetables and other random stuff.

My breakfast of choice, though, is cereal, the no-fuss breakfast.

one long day

There goes my Friday. After just a bit over six hours of sleep, had to go off to an 8am lecture. Had a one hour break for wasting time, and then a one hour tutorial, which actually went pretty fast. I didn’t realise the tutorial was meant to be over until I noticed people leaving and I saw that it was 12:05 already (it was meant to finish by 12, but technically it was meant to finish at 11:50am).

It’s a good thing I did realise what time it was because I needed to go catch the train to work, and trains do not come very often, so if I’m going to catch the train, I have to catch that train. Had to quickly eat my lunch on the way. (Don’t worry, I don’t eat on trains. I was eating while waiting for the train.)

On a side note, today was the second time I saw this guy dancing at a certain train station. He’s just some guy waiting for the train, but while he waits, he puts his earphones in and pulls out the fancy footwork. Ok, so it’s not that pro or anything particularly amazing, but he seems totally unfazed by (or oblivious to) the watching eyes of fellow commuters.

I don’t have a problem with him. He stays out of the way, and it does no harm to anyone. But today I saw a guy on the opposite platform get out his iPod or whatever and actually record the dancing guy. At first, I thought it wasn’t right for him to do that (because who knows where that video will end up) but then.. it’s a public place, and maybe the dancing guy wants to be “discovered” or something.

Well, anyway, I had work from 1-8pm today with a half-hour break in there somewhere. This means that I’ve pretty much had an eight-hour day. So tired~ And the great thing is that I have work from 9 to 5 tomorrow. In all honesty, though, I am looking forward to work tomorrow because it’s at one of the pharmacies that I haven’t been to before. It’s also in a suburb that I haven’t been in other than when travelling to somewhere else.

Something else that I wanted to mention was that my mum was recently out of town for two-and-a-bit weeks, which meant I had to pretty much fend for myself. (Yeah, ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration because I wasn’t totally deserted.) But I managed to survive those two-and-a-bit weeks without giving myself food poisoning.

by the clock

Today has been an unbelievably unproductive day. But, seeing as it is a Sunday, I did sort of expect that. I was hoping to have finished (and submitted) my placement report by about now, but unfortunately I am still “working on it”.

Trying to write the summary is really driving me crazy. Some people reckon it’s the easiest part to write because it’s just a repetition of all the important points in the main report but, to me, it feels wrong to just repeat everything. Why bother having a summary/conclusion?

One of the weird things about this assignment is that they asked us to write an abstract for it. I thought the purpose of an abstract was to give readers a chance to decide whether it’s worth their while to read the whole article/report/whatever. Aren’t the markers/tutors going to read our entire reports anyway?

Something that I have learnt from today is that housework and general housekeeping is a great way of procrastinating from working on reports. And the great thing about it is that there’s always something that needs doing (or something that can be done regardless of whether there’s a need or not).

I like a bit of routine. I like waking up without an alarm and finding that I’m quite well-rested at 7am anyway. I like big breakfasts, and I like Sunday lunches that come from the oven. I also like submitting assignments and getting on with my life.