David Graff – davidgraff.com Today with Dave, Downunder it's Monday, October 23rd, 2017 @ 7:02 AM

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Take a trip with me down the Brisbane River

Last weekend was Australia’s National holiday, aptly named Australia Day. The holiday itself falls on January 26, and this year that was a Saturday. In lieu of the day, we had Monday off, and I took the chance to see a bit of the city. I haven’t seen much of it yet, since I’ve been feeling a bit obligated to sort out this whole homelessness thing of mine (I’ve been temporarily staying at a dorm on campus).

Since the rental market here is controlled by real estate companies, there was none open on Monday, briefly relieving me of that duty. So I headed down the river, to see where the City Cat ferries would go. I took a stop in Southbank, which is an inner city park with a pool made like a beach, sand and all. You can see the “lagoon” on the Our Brisbane webcam. I took a few photos that I’ll put up later.

After getting back on the ferry and riding it as far as it would go in one direction, I decided to time lapse capture the trip home. Follow the link to watch it. [Read more →]

Gross Anatomy Started Today

That just about says it all.

Happy Birthday Mike!

It’s my brother’s 25th Birthday today! It’s crazy to think of him that old, and with every birthday he has I can’t believe it.  It’s another one of those normal things that I think about and that doesn’t seem to phase him at all; he’d say it’s just normal.  It seems like just seconds ago I was there, and then a flash, and it’s him. Hope you have a great day Mike! Don’t take it as a sign of disrespect when I sleep until at least noon! (It’s only 6 am for me!) and anyways, you’re sleeping away right now… it’s almost 4 AM for you!

R.I.P. : Dave’s Relative Mobility (and favourite whip)

I have been walking a lot lately. A lot. Imagine walking up and down every street in all of UBC, Kitsilano, and Point Grey. That’s what it’s been like to try and get a handle on what’s around here. It’s been good to get to know the place, and the exercise is great. But I recently got the news that my car was finally, officially gone. A moment of silence…

Small 2002 Honda Accord 2002 Honda Accord 2

It has gone in a way that many things in my life have recently; it feels as though it’s gone before the natural close of things.

And now, I walk. No, it’s not convenient, but it is pretty cheap!

Australia Day

End of the first week here and it’s Australia day, which brings back good memories from the last time I was here.  I remember walking our butts off around Sydney trying to figure everything out. Maybe I’ll go downtown and relive it.

This week has been busy feeling compared to the time leading up to it.  The classes so far are a mix of introductory science, orientation and when the parties are.  The most different thing is PBL, which is Problem Based Learning.  Basically you have 9 other people that you sit in a room and go over a case chosen by the school.  Except you can’t just talk about logical conclusions and what the most likely reality is.  You, and all your colleagues, have to discuss at length every single minute detail of the situation.  It’s not enough to say he hurt his finger.  What muscles are in the finger?  What bones? What structures could have been affected by an injury like this? Is the pain from the skin, or elsewhere? Why does it hurt? How is the pain transmitted? What is affected by the pain? How does that make him feel? What led up to this injury? How can it be avoided? Is it our responsibility to avoid this for other people? etc.  I hope it doesn’t drive me crazy, and I suppose the point is to make the footprints of coverage as large as possible with a single case at a time.

Orientation Day

It was the first day of actual sessions today and it felt like a long one. There were a few different speakers in the morning that were fairly accomplished doctors, I understand that at least one of them had two Ph.D’s and some of them were part of some exciting stuff in the med world. It was a pretty good feeling to sit in that room, and made my head spin to think that just a few weeks ago my plans were so much different.

PBL starts tomorrow morning, so I ‘ll get a good idea of who I’m hanging out with in a small room for hours on end, for the next year. It was much the same as the international orientation and aside from a few Canadian/Australian jokes they could have just done them in the same day. We were in a lecture hall that seats around 450 and there are 421 of us, putting that air con to good work.

Anyways, my general feeling is excitement, I am a bit surprised to see how much I love hearing about people talking about caring for people, but what strikes me most is how intentional it seems. The fact that it is years of effort to learn to not only recognize and understand disease, but also to skillfully deliver care is one that makes me look forward to this challenge.

Let your judgements be fair

It was international welcome day today for the School of Medicine.  There was a few sessions on how things work at the school, some introductions, and a lot of welcome-to-the-brotherhood talk.  One of the things that stood out to me today was in the Australian Culture session.  They encouraged us to “Let our judgements be fair” (Specifically in context of understanding other cultures).  In Canada it often seems that judgement is a bad word, and that everything is just equal because “we’re supposed to think” that way.  I have often thought it strange that everyone would habitually judge, but just as habitually deny or condemn judgement.  The Australian way seems to be a better fit for the way I see things; it seems more honest.

Aside from all that the BBQ was good, and despite being cloudy all day, I got sunburnt.  They say it can happen through the clouds, and once again, they’re right.

The Sunshine State?

It poured rain all day today, with barely a break. I thought I moved to Brisbane for the sun! The rain makes it hard to do things when you don’t have a car, which means I got soaked going for a quick walk. I wanted to try put up a video of the rain, but Microsoft Vista is so wonderful, they have managed to get absolutely nothing to work. Hopefully I’ll edit this and add it later to give you an idea of the rain.

EDIT: Alright… I think I kinda figured it out… no help from M$. It’s after the link if it interests you.

[Read more →]

My Initial Thoughts

I know it’s a few days old now, but these are some initial thoughts that went out in a first email home…

See!? It is a very small world after all! I am sitting in the biological sciences library at UQ, I have checked into my dorm, have my room, had a shower and actually walked around the loop of the Great Court that you see in the pictures.

I am kinda shocked that I’m here. I sat in the dorm stunned that I was even sitting there, thinking, “How did this happen?” It is really real now, and all the people around me are just going about their business,talking about some assignment they can’t figure out or typing away and highlighting like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a huge school. I supposeanyone who has been to a big school would be used to it, but it’s like a city to itself.

It’s 2 pm here right now, and I can’t really remember when I ate last. I don’t know if I’m tired, hungry or just weak from hauling my bags around… when I had to carry them all at once it was a little bit of work!

This is a really strange feeling… like a warp of some kind, I am just transplanted into the middle of day to day life here. Except there are vines growing all over campus and the rain dumped an hour ago and poured straight down in tropical style. It looks like the afternoon rain might be over, but I don’t know if it just comes and goes at will or what.

The van that met me at the airport was picking up another guy who came from Toronto. He was pretty talkative and jumped right into trying to find a place to live together… I guess he’s sweating it… He’s here on a one year program for teacher’s college. Another guy was in the checkin office of the dorm, and was really friendly, and asked if I played tennis… he had a racket in his hand. I told him no, and he asked what sports I do play. For ease of explanation I told him none. He seemed really unimpressed, but nice about it, and promptly informed me that IH (International House, the dorm I’m in) is all about participation. ok! 🙂

Anyways, I thought it was weird that people were like that… I guess one strange face is the same as another.

There are lots of asians here, probably because they can/have to stay over summer to keep their visas.

That’s all… there will be more.

The B word

To make things easier for me to change my site, I have started… this. Don’t expect enlightenment, just plain, boring, normal things, as [my brother Mike pointed out] those often amaze me.


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