3.29.2007

what fresh hell is this

you know how everything in the valley seems to be 20 minutes away from the next thing? that you'll always be there in 20 minutes.. well it seems like the newcastle equivalent would be 10 minutes, but that's beside the point. it seems as if everything around here gets done in about two weeks. like processing a check. like replying to a work-related email. like issuing a new credit card. like restocking the cannula trolley. like connecting to the internet.

mind you, installing new curtains take 2 months and planning a couple kilometers of bypass takes 10 years so i guess two weeks isn't that awful, relatively. urgh what am i saying! anj is absolutely right in saying that this place breeds mediocrity. pretty soon, this place will be an idiocracy. like my visa saga. it finally ended! it's about time..

the medicos had my health exam results finalized on monday the 19th, as promised. i'm not sure about the hand-delivered part but the results should've been on the linked computer systems. immigration didn't have a clue, telling me that my case worker only works monday weds thurs afternoons so give him some time and call back in another two weeks. they took it one step further when i wanted to complain about my case worker not replying emails by saying that there aren't really case workers anymore. whoever's free processess the next job in the line. pfffft.

so anyway, i was feeling magnanimous. they were swamped with visa applications after all, as they keep telling me. i let them peacefully go through 2 whole working days without a peep from me! woohoo! when i called 'em up this morning and explained the whole situation for the fifteenth time by now, the guy curtly said they were swamped, call back in two weeks time. dude!! wtf! i yelled... in my head. i audibly continued the rest of the sentence telling him i didn't have two weeks to spare with an application deadline pending. well whaddya know. five minutes later, intermittently listening to the stomach-churning pre-recorded propaganda about becoming an australian citizen, i get the churlish voice back on the phone.

"are you there?"

no, i went to take a bath. no shit, i'm here.

"found. approved and emailed your new visa"

hallelujah. five frickin minutes to do all that. holy cow, batman! the guy completed three different tasks without any prior preparation! think of what they could accomplish in 15 minutes if they would just get their act together! australia would win the nuclear race! /sarcasm.

for those of you who've read the previous post on inefficiency, don't get confuzzled. this wasn't efficiency at all. that was merely an example of normalcy, something else sorely lacking in this fresh hell. with intern allocation preference forms due soon, i don't expect to be as disappointed as i first thought if i don't end up getting to stay here. a fresh start in a fresh hell.. will it be a matter of jumping from the pan into the fire? i'll let you know in two weeks.

3.24.2007

the good kind of madness

do you remember the last time you felt exuberant? the one recent time that always jumps to mind was when lu dropped by a few years ago and we went gallivanting around sydney and canberra. floaty. happy. content. extremely silly and giggly when paired with someone of a similar state.

yesterday was one of those rare days where i felt like atlas on a coffee break. floaty. happy. content. all because my three weeks of oncology was up. it was three weeks in a pressure cooker and i can't explain it. it wasn't that we had no free time despite having 28 tutorials that had to be signed off in addition to spending hours at wards and clinics. it wasn't that the tutors were excruciatingly mean if we didn't know any of the 27 different cancers we read up on. i'm not being sarcastic here for once. it may seem like a lot to cram into 15 days, but it worked itself out somehow and i even got a few early days, leaving around 2 or 3ish. it was cumulative i think... every day was graced with at least one spontaneous heavy sigh and a whole lot of inward groans.

but... i was quickly grounded after my call to immigration. those inefficient whatchamacalits. soo.. instead of working on my case report due on monday or on my reseach paper, i went to try my hand at making canneloni. mind you, i didn't have cheese to sprinkle on top with nor enough tomatoes to make a puree sauce base but dammit, i was gonna make my canneloni last nite. make it i did... even if i had to use salsa, ketchup and diced tomatoes to make enough sauce or if i had to dilute the little ricotta left with cream cheese, sour cream and milk to make enough white sauce. it wasn't half bad to eat in the end so it's now become one for the recipe bank =) the only problem is, besides all the other stuff i've cooked up in the past week to eat, i now have enough canneloni to last me through the next two weeks..

3.20.2007

in eff'in shunsee

boys and girls, it's time for the whinging aemii to make an appearance yet again. get ready for another rant! =)

today's word, brought to you by the letter X and the number 42, is inefficiency. een-eh-fee-shun-see.

it's a hard concept to grasp by some people, but it's antithesis seems to be a much more endangered concept due to its profound nature... efficiency is a concept so confusing that many people here don't seem to carry it in their vocabulary bag. but never mind that for the moment. after all, it appears that it doesn't really exist anyway. inefficiency is friends with many other words that you may already know, such as disorganized, incompetent, slack and slipshod.

now, it's an important concept to grasp dear boys and girls. you need to know how to recognize it so you can keep yourself and your loved ones away from it. because it's such a slippery concept amongst the natives here, i'll try to explain through examples.

we'll start out simple. take the hospital consultants who are scatterbrained and inefficient. the ones who will start seeing patients in one ward, get distracted by someone and tramp to the other end of the hospital to see that patient before returning to complete his ward round where he first was. now repeat this scene five times over an hour. as well as being extremely frustrating to the rest of his entourage, it's also making things very inefficient.

next, the registrar who calls up the consultant to inform them of every patient being admitted... immedicately after seeing each patient. one may think that isn't inefficiency at all - after all, the registrar immediately informed the consultant quicksmart. couldn't be much faster than immediate. that's the confusing part, you see.. for instead of making just one single phone call regarding all the patients at the end of the shift, the registrar has ended up making at least ten different calls - wasting both time and energy. the consultant's schedule has now been made very inefficient too, with these constant interruptions.

now to something a tad more complex. take the whole visa charade. immigration is able to look up my visa status after i've given them my passport number, name and birthdate for the fourth time. fifteen minutes later on the phone, i get taken off the frickin' broken record telling me how great it is to be an australian citizen to be told that i had been granted my bridging visa, is there anything else they could help me with. It would've taken me less than a minute to get the same information online, not to mention that i knew that a few minutes after lodging in my visa application on february 3rd. i get an email 20 days later from my case officer telling me i needed to get a medical within the next 28 days. i was only also supposed to contact him via email after working hours. wtf.

so i get my medical done on march 1st. results are supposed to take 3 days max to be sent down to sydney to be cleared and passed onto immigration. 16 days later, immigration still hasn't heard a peep from the medicos. well hmph. it's not our problem, there's nothing we can do until we hear from them immigration tells me. check in another couple of weeks if you don't hear from us. they reiterated that today. by this time, a week had already passed since i emailed my case worker regarding the application status. no reply. why isn't that surprising..

so finally. finally.. the medicos pick up the phone after agonizing minutes of annoying propaganda instead of elevator music. i tell them my name and birthdate for the ninth time. my results have just been processed yesterday and will be hand delivered to the immigration dept tomorrow, the guy tells me. twenty frickin' days later. no wonder they don't have a "we'll deliver in half an hour or it's free" policy.

first of all, why did it take 'em twenty frickin' days to process blood results? hepatitis serology can be ready in half that time. why were the results sitting here for a day when they could've been hand delivered today? why weren't the results mailed to immigration the minute they were cleared instead of wasting valuable human resources to run 'em over. repeat after me, boys and girls... eeen-ehh-feee-shun-see.

boys and girls, i'm afraid this might be a contagious state. i've been showing such tendencies lately and have become quite inefficient in covering planned topics of study myself. even the best of us will relapse into periods of inefficiency! be wary, be mindful and remember to remain efficient!

addendum, o3.24.o7 ~ so much for my results being hand-delivered to immigration. called 'em up on friday and they still don't have a clue about my medicals. dude!!

3.16.2007

woe, begone



kent rogowski, a photographer currently based in brooklyn, is about to release his first book simply titled bears. as much as i'd like to claim credit, all the purdy pix in this post come from the official bears website.

me, a med student currently based in newcastle, is about to ...i don't know. that's the problem. i feel exactly like that little yellow guy up there. i mean exactly. there's a feeling of displacement in the midst of this current streak of calm. i half expect the sky to come crashing down any minute, chicken little style. i feel all wrong... i'm constantly munching on something, from fruits to stir-fried noodles to chocolate and yet i'm still hungry. i get mysterious bug bites that only announce themselves a day later and outstay their welcome by weeks. my place is as messy as that teddy bear workshop. everytime i find the energy to clean up, the mess creeps back not thirty minutes later. i also think i've got some memory loss and lack of coordination - must've lost some of that stuffing when they were turning me inside out. heck, even the color matches. he's a yellow teddy with white stuffing, i'm a yellow person who has been bleached white on the inside to the point where i get asianphobia if i'm walking around alone in places like chinatown. actually, the whole of george street for that matter.

it's this aimless wandering of both mind and body through each rotation that's really getting to me i think. almost 3 rotations down, 4 more to go. gone are the days when we actually had some teaching. gone are the days when one could pretend to teach oneself in the company of a study buddy. what we're meant to do now is pretty much play the game of being seen but not heard. we're meant to play the game by their rules... the answer continuously changes, even if you have it down in print, so that it will always suit their needs. never ours. and yes, my visa's still not processed. i paid $7.70 for the frickin' express post envelope dammit. why the hell hasn't immigration recieved the results of my blood tests and such yet? *grinds teeth* negnohl, i hope you have better news with your visa or else i'm up for a perma-vacation to rant&raveland and am extending an open invite.

bleah. can see this turning into a long-winded rant heading towards nowhere. i guess what i'm trying to say is that i'm frustrated with being stuck in a limbo, to not know what the immediate future holds and worse, to have little control over it. yes, i'm a control freak. what's just as frustrating is that i've resorted to cooking and baking as a vent instead of something else more productive. for goodness sakes, i've got a week's worth of lunches sitting pretty in my fridge just from the past couple days of cooking. i can't eat to keep up. i feel like the stereotypical housewife, cooped up at home waiting for the stereotypical kids (a boy and a girl you know. that's a must) to come home from school. i'm beginning to understand why some of them go streotypically astray and seek the thrill of an affair. on second thought, mebbe i'm going through my second quarter-life crisis =(

3.11.2007

just because


an email arrived the other day,
one of the sporadic kind
it was sent by one of my parents
a hundred things raced through my mind

i should've known better,
especially after so many years.
this was another attempt to get me a friend
and a chance to allay their fears.

just because i'm an only child,
doesn't mean i get lonely.
just because i'm studying med,
doesn't mean i make med friends only.

they say birds of a feather flock together
and i'd like to point one thing out
they naturally flock without much urging
especially from parents no doubt.

i'd really like for them to see that
and not shove every kid my way
to thrust random emails and numbers
so i can contact 'em all today

despite knowing that they do mean well,
i still get a little bit frazzled
whenever they pull a stunt like this
she too's in med! they expect me to be dazzled.

just because we're in the same course,
albeit two different schools,
doesn't mean that i have to call
and use my communication tools.

they think that we'll have lots to yak,
even tho they've never met her.
but hey, it's alright because she's a girl and
our parents had shared fun and laughter.

my dad belongs to a clan of three,
each of them has a daughter.
they keep trying to make us meet
we're still clueless about the other.

just because our parents are friends,
doesn't mean that we will be too.
i guess they'll take a while to learn
til then, there's not much i can do.

except to hope that they'll soon see
some of the different subtleties
that just because we're all chickies
is no gurarantee we'll be cozy as peas.


3.01.2007

pissy day

in an alternate universe where i was an egomaniac, i would insist that aemii having a pissy day induced the heavens to have a pissy day as well. that would explain the huge thunderstorm to culminate the day - one that's clouded my view from the balcony as well as figuratively reflecting my clouded outlook for the day.

in that alternate universe, the day begins at 9.30pm of the previous day and ended when it decided to end. in the middle of watching hugh laurie giving another wonderful performance as house, i was so startled by a sudden sharp burst of ear-drum popping sound that i lost any inhibition and cursed at the sliding glass door.. "what the fuck was that?!" now for those who know me, it takes a lot to get me to use the f* word. shit is usually the worst it'll ever get. bitch and asshole are thing that i telepathically use but something that i never utter.

so anyway, a couple long-drawn seconds of shocked silence pass before another mini explosion went off at my sliding doors. i seriously thought that however illogical, maybe it was one of the christmas lights gone kaput on the garland i had stretched across the balcony tiles. mebbe two of them went kaput, explaining the two bangs. then i heard the unmistakable clatter of a pebble after the second one and thought some idiot was shooting bb gun pellets or something at the building. an hour later, another round of explosions came. one could hear them clink clattering at various other sliding doors all around my unit. i still can't figure out who launched the attack, nor from where. all i have are the stones in their final resting positions after they bounced off the glass. one lays about 3 feet away from the glass door - must've come at quite some speed to bounce that far away. if you can figure out the projectile path, do post your theories... i'm guessing it came from the rooftop parking lot. this picture shows you what lies in front of my balcony. this is sorta the same view in daylight. keep in mind that i'm 8 floors up in the air too.

that officially kicked off pissy day but i was too scared to venture outside. the last thing i wanted was to be killed by some organic shrapnel. so i stayed indoors to rage and fume at all the idiots in the world and why more darwin awards have not been given out. the sun eventually rose, driving away scary shadows.

now to end the pissy day, here are rants one and two... coming right up!

one: immigration dept's one money sucking machine. went for medical checkup to get my visa extended. parted with..


a friend of mine worked with a rural doctor who was the only guy for miles around that was qualified to conduct medical assessments that the dept of immigration recognized. he gets $200 per patient he sees. notice how much they charge for item #2: student visa medical including the xray and photo (crappy photo i might add!). and the kicker.. they charge you for the express mail envelope! what a bunch of ebenezer scrooges!

two: newcastle seems to be harboring the majority of this state's reckless drivers, especially around the university. either that, or it seems to have the uncanny ability to attract them from elsewhere. mebbe there was a driving for dummies convention in session this week or something. all these P-platers are really ruining the rep for the minority that do drive safely. i say minority because the rest are made up from both ends of the driving spectrum - the speed devils and darwin award nominees on one end, and those who shouldn't be allowed to drive because they inch along at 5 inches per hour out of sheer fear. in the first half of my 30min drive, i encountered 3 idiots already. by the fourth and last idiot, i was cursing him to either get pulled over by a cop or to crash his car one of these days. some people need that to learn a lesson, if ever. yes, i'm malicious like that. the idiot was driving a white nissan pulsar with plates reading xqy-311. what good that info will do, hell if i know. it helped to diffuse a bit of the pissiness. giving him dirty glares everytime i passed him by also helped. yes, i hold grudges. i'm good at that. the idiot had cut me off as i was half a car's length away from the intersection line, about to make a right turn. idiotboy in the lane to the left suddenly decides he needs to turn right too and elbows his way, making me slam on the brakes in the middle of accelerating.

it's not so much his bad decision making that irks me. it's the fact that he could've caused an accident if i hadn't braked in time, or if the car behind me couldn't etc. what pisses me off is that he put my life in danger without my fricking consent. it's the same line of logic with regards to smokers. to all you smokers out there, sorry if i offend you with my stubborn wrath. i just feel that it's fine and dandy for you to consciously decide to kill yourself everytime you light up a ciggie, but for you to impose that same consequence of someone else is just wrong. you're killing me with second hand smoke without my fricking consent and frankly, mebbe it's ok with you to have black gritty lungs recovered at your autopsy but i sure as hell want to be as pink and pretty as a corpse, lungs included.

ok, i'm done. we can all escape from this awful alternate universe now. =)