How to spend a spring long weekend in Canberra?

Be kind to your anus The Medical Fun Facts Podcast Gary Lum

Why do we have a long weekend?

It’s been a fine and mild long weekend in Canberra. For readers from distant shores, some states and at least the Australian Capital Territory (apart from the greatest Australian territory, viz., the Northern Territory of Australia) are enjoying a public holiday on Monday while Victoria enjoyed a public holiday on Friday. I don’t even know why Canberra (Australian Capital Territory) has a Monday public holiday (I probably should look that up!). I know in Queensland it is labour day which is odd given it is usually gazetted to coincide with the first day of May (to celebrate my birthday I assume). In Victoria, Friday was a public holiday so AFL fans could watch a parade in the streets of Melbourne.

AFL grand final

The AFL grand final is held on a Saturday (yesterday) while the NRL grand final is held on a Sunday (today). A Melbourne team, viz., Richmond Tigers defeated the Adelaide Crows. I didn’t watch the game, I was binge watching Star Trek The Next Generation. That said, I’ve told a friend that next year I may take an interest in AFL just to expand my horizons. My aim is to follow the Chinese Suns from the Gold Coast, my number two team will be the Brisbane Lions and my number three team will be Carlton. Obviously, there is a Queensland connection with the first two and I chose Carlton because one of my best friends is a supporter.

Who knows, this time next year when enjoying a long weekend, I may watch both the NRL and AFL grand final games.

NRL grand final

The greatest game of all

While my team, the Brisbane Broncos, were defeated last Friday night by the Melbourne Storm, my number two team, the North Queensland Cowboys, made it to tonight’s grand final game after defeating the Sydney Roosters. I am hoping for a Cowboys victory. If they lose, however, I won’t be greatly disappointed because the Storm is my number three team given their players form the core the mighty XXXX Queensland Maroons. It’s nice not having a Sydney team in the NRL grand final.

Man flu

The weather in Canberra has been remarkably mild. I wouldn’t say warm, but not cold and there haven’t been too many clouds in the sky. Not that I’ve been able to enjoy the weather. You see, since returning from Bendigo I’ve been feeling unwell. Crook is a better description. I have a dreaded lurgy, a wog, you know, man flu. That most maligned of all ailments. I’ve been rendered inactive with a mild fever, a constant low-level headache, sore joints and a nose that runs for hours and is then overtaken with nasal congestion which makes breathing feel like hard labour. To be fair to Bendigo, I did manage to get out to see Floriade before Man Flu took over.

Squarespace to

So, what have I been doing? I’ve been resting and drinking large quantities of water and other liquids. I’ve also spent days manually copying and pasting material from one website to another in the absence of an easy to use export function from the Squarespace platform to the platform.

The Medical Fun Facts Podcast

My podcast, Medical Fun Facts has been hosted on a Squarespace website for the last couple of years. Squarespace isn’t a bad platform but it isn’t as flexible as or So what I’ve done is to copy over the blog posts from to Even though I’m only talking about 84 posts, this task took days to accomplish. It wasn’t just the text but it was also photographs and audio files. The biggest risk with this move is hoping both Apple and Stitcher approve my request for a new podcast. Until I get word from Apple and Stitcher, I will keep “Medical Fun Facts” intact but the new podcast, viz., “The Medical Fun Facts Podcast” will exist on a new host.

I need to lose weight

So what else have I been up to? After returning from Bendigo which can best be described as a gastronomical journey I’ve been pondering the weight I’ve gained over the last couple of years. I’ve tried to look at my portion control but continually fail. The only thing that has worked for me in the past has been to reduce my carbohydrate intake. I don’t want to go full Atkins again though. It’s not sustainable. It’s unpleasant and makes meal planning and going out difficult. I mean, it helped me go from 100 kg to 77 kg over about 9 months and keep it off for at least 5 years. I’m now back to about 90 kg. I feel uncomfortable and I don’t want to spend money on new clothes. So what I’m going to try is to reduce my carbohydrate intake without going to extremes. I won’t eat anything with added sugar and I won’t eat any bread, rice or pasta but I will continue to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables regardless of the carbohydrate content. This will necessitate an increase in meat and cheese consumption but I will try to focus mostly on white meats like chicken and if I have to, turkey. I also need to be careful about cured meats. Previously I consumed large amounts of salami and other cured meats but since the International Agency for Research on Cancer warned about risks associated with cured meats which I presume to also include bacon, I’m mindful of being more careful. I’ll let you know how I go.

Be kind to your anus The Medical Fun Facts Podcast Gary Lum
Be kind to your anus

I went with a click bait type title for this week’s show. It’ll drop tomorrow (Monday 2 October 2017) night Canberra time at 7 pm AEDT. Please note, some Australian states and Canberra have moved to daylight saving time today. If you own an Ikea VIKIS digital clock you can get instructions on how to change the time here.

Catch you next week.

Other posts you may enjoy

Podcasts I listen to while walking, driving and working around the flat

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

Is my drawing getting any better?


My thoughts on Floriade 2017

Sir Robert Menzies Gary Lum

I missed the beginning of Floriade 2017 because I was in Bendigo for the weekend watching Miss 16 compete in the 2017 National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival. For the last few years, I’ve tried to attend Floriade on the first weekend, mainly because it’s less crowded because the bulbs tend not to be as well developed.
Check out the map. If you click on a place marker it will open up information including photographs.

Fishing in Lake Burley Griffin

I have no idea what these blokes will catch but there’s no way I’d eat anything from one of Canberra’s artificial waterways.

Fishing on Lake Burley Griffin Gary Lum
Fishing on Lake Burley Griffin

Hello Sir Robert

I like how the sculptor captured Sir Robert’s face.

Sir Robert Menzies Gary Lum
Sir Robert Menzies

My thoughts on Floriade 2017

The surface area is smaller this year.

The parking is more difficult because the usual parking area is undergoing maintenance. I wonder if this was thought through in advance knowing the parking for Floriade is always tight. I suppose for the ACT Government event management like this is tough.

The nook the gnomes usually occupy was roped off so the gnomes had a new spot. It doesn’t seem to be as ‘cosy’ for the gnomes. There seemed to be fewer gnomes this year.

The biggest change was in the placement of stalls. Usually, the purveyors of various goods and services you find at fetes and carnivals are lumped in one main area so that you can easily go from vendor to vendor. It meant you could get this part of the Floriade experience over and done with in one hit. Not this year though, all the stalls have been scattered and I didn’t notice any particular theme. Given the cost of parking, I didn’t have enough time to visit each and every stall across the entire ‘Floriade footprint’. I expect some people like it that way. I hope it helps for the tourist numbers.

Here is a gallery of photographs. Click on one and then scroll through the gallery.

Captain Cook Memorial Jet

In the ten years I’ve lived in Canberra, I’ve only ever seen the jet running a few times. It has required significant maintenance over the last few years. It’s good to see it working again. I hope it has continued trouble-free operation.

Captain Cook Memorial Jet on Lake Burley Griffin Gary Lum
Captain Cook Memorial Jet on Lake Burley Griffin

Will I go back?

I might, Floriade is ‘free’ in that there is no entry fee. There are parking costs and the prices of goods and services are way overpriced. I bought a small long black coffee (essentially dirty water) for $4.80. I bet the food is overpriced too.

Is there anything better?

Yes, Tulip Top Gardens is much better but it’s a bit out of the way and there is an entrance fee.


Day 2 vault Gary Lum

This year’s National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival was held in Bendigo in Victoria, as it was last year and the year before that. Next year the carnival will be held on the Gold Coast in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gymnastics centre.
Miss16 who is Level 9 at Delta Brisbane was competing in the Delta Brisbane B team in the Level 10 competition. Delta Brisbane was the 2016 Champion Club and is one of the largest clubs in Australia. Her competition days were Sunday and Monday.
I elected to take some days off from work and enjoy a short break. I drove down on Friday stopping along the way for toilet and food stops. My IBS seems to be getting more unpredictable, so much so I’m considering a FODMAP approach to eating.

Click on the place markers for more information about each place I stopped.

Dog on Tucker Box

I left Canberra at roughly 7 am (see the map’s marker details) drive to the iconic Dog on Tucker Box just before Gundagai. I had a cup of coffee and emptied my bladder.

Dog on a Tuckerbox near Gundagai Gary Lum
Dog on a Tuckerbox near Gundagai

Run in with law enforcement

Not long after passing the Tumblong turnoff, I needed to pass a couple of semi-trailers going up a reasonable incline. I made an error and exceeded the 110 kph speed limit by 18 kph and a NSWPOL constable in a patrol car pulled me over. I’ll receive a substantial fine and loss of demerit points from my Driver License. This field of yellow is near where I was pulled over.

Field of yellow canola flowers where I got a speeding ticket Gary Lum
Field of yellow canola flowers where I got a speeding ticket

Not a yellow submarine but a yummy yellow vanilla custard

Morning tea was going to be a vanilla slice from the Holbrook bakery. I made a quick stop though to shoot a photograph of HMAS Otway at the entrance of Holbrook.

HMAS Otway at Holbrook Gary Lum
HMAS Otway at Holbrook

I’ll provide a rundown with the food I ate on the trip at Yummy Lummy. This will probably be published in a day or so.

Vanilla slice at Holbrook Bakery Gary Lum
Vanilla slice at Holbrook Bakery

Cafe Derailleur

I decided lunch would be at Cafe Derailleur in Wangaratta. It was a delicious caramelised pork belly with an Asian slaw salad.

Caramelised pork belly and coriander salad with apple ginger and lime juice Gary Lum
Caramelised pork belly and coriander salad with apple ginger and lime juice

One of my problems, when I drive, is a desire to get to my destination in the best possible time. Even though I had cruise control on most of the way, I had one speeding infringement but this didn’t stop an internal desire to keep moving. I should have stopped at more places.

Violet Town

After I finished lunch, I got on the road again and headed to Violet town for a spot of afternoon tea.
When I arrived in Violet town I visited the Lions park public toilet and then stopped at a local cafe and pondered the choices in the display cabinet. There were no vanilla slices left so I went with another iconic Australian sweet, viz., a Lamington.

Lamington and tea at Violet Town Café Gary Lum
Lamington and tea at Violet Town Café

After a very nice afternoon tea and toilet stop I proceeded to my final destination, viz., Bendigo and the Comfort Inn Julie-Anna.

Comfort Inn Julie-Anna

I’ve written a Google maps review which you can read.

There’s a car show at the motel Gary Lum
There’s a car show at the motel
Welcome note from Comfort Inn Julie-Anna Gary Lum
Welcome note from Comfort Inn Julie-Anna

Lake View Hotel

On my first night, I walked down the road to the Lake View Hotel and enjoyed a scotch rib fillet steak with a peppercorn sauce, chips and greens.

Scotch fillet steak with peppercorn sauce served with chips and broccolini Gary Lum
Scotch fillet steak with peppercorn sauce served with chips and broccolini

A disappointing Friday evening

The good news is that each room in the Comfort Inn Julie-Anna there is a large screen television which has access to Fox Sports which meant I was able to watch the preliminary final between the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm deep in AFL country.
Unfortunately, the Brisbane Broncos were defeated convincingly and the Melbourne Storm proceeds to this week’s grand final of the greatest game of all.

Julie-Anna’s signature omelette

Julie-Anna’s omelette with cheese, bacon, red onion, mushroom and spinach Gary Lum
Julie-Anna’s omelette with cheese, bacon, red onion, mushroom and spinach

Golden Dragon Museum

I spent a good couple of hours on Saturday at the Golden Dragon Museum.

Bendigo has a rich Chinese heritage associated with gold mining. This wonderful museum has some wonderful pieces including the longest dragon in the world at about 100 metres in length.
I’ve created a gallery of photographs. Please click on one and then scroll through the gallery.

A country meat lover’s pizza

For dinner, on Saturday night I walked down to Luchiano Pizza & Pasta and bought myself a meat lover’s pizza.

Meat lovers' pizza Gary Lum
Meat lovers’ pizza

It was really very good and got me in the mood for the best part of Saturday.

Finishing Saturday night with a happy ending

No, not that sort of happy ending! The second NRL preliminary final between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Sydney Roosters was being played in Sydney. While the Brisbane Broncos are my number 1 team, the North Queensland Cowboys are my number 2 team (and the Melbourne Storm are my number 3 team). These are the teams with the highest proportion of Queensland players who after all are the best athletes playing sport anywhere in the world.

Star Trek PJs while watching the NQ Cowboys defeat the Sydney Roosters Gary Lum
Star Trek PJs while watching the NQ Cowboys defeat the Sydney Roosters

The North Queensland Cowboys were victorious and will meet the Melbourne Storm this Sunday evening in Sydney for what will be a great game.

Sunday avocado with Hollandaise sauce and poached eggs

For breakfast, I enjoyed poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce and smashed avocado.

Poached eggs and avocado with Hollandaise sauce Gary Lum
Poached eggs and avocado with Hollandaise sauce

Bendigo Stadium

After breakfast and a walk around Lake Weeroona, I drove to Bendigo Stadium to watch Miss 16 compete. . Bendigo Stadium is pretty good for gymnastics. It’s big and can accommodate women’s and men’s competitions at the same time. The only problem is air flow which I think needs some attention given the cloudy haze of chalk dust that floats in the air continuously.

Welcome to Lake Weeroona Gary Lum
Welcome to Lake Weeroona
National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival 2017 Gary Lum
Bendigo Stadium. National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival 2017.
Day one on the floor Gary Lum
Day one on the floor

Gems are the standard lunch

For me, gymnastics at Bendigo Stadium means potato gems (or for my North American friends tater tots).

National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival means Potato gems Gary Lum
National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival means Potato gems

Intestinal colic

As I was leaving Bendigo Stadium I was feeling a little delicate in my abdomen. I was experiencing some colicky cramping pain. That said though, I still felt hungry so I went back to the Lake View Hotel and ate a Caesar salad with anchovies and a crumbed poached egg.

Caesar salad with anchovies and a crumbed poached egg at the Lake View Hotel Gary Lum
Caesar salad with anchovies and a crumbed poached egg at the Lake View Hotel

I spent the rest of the evening in discomfort and pain. All I can say is that a warm bath is so soothing.

Spa bath Comfort Inn Julie-Anna, Bendigo Gary Lum
Spa bath Comfort Inn Julie-Anna, Bendigo

Monday bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce

I woke up feeling considerably better. The intestinal colic has stopped at about 3 am and I just felt delicate. The best way to evaluate how healthy your bowels are is to eat something so I had a piece of toasted raisin bread and then some crispy bacon with poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.

Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce on Sourdough Gary Lum
Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce on Sourdough

Again I took a short walk around Lake Weeroona and spied a couple of black swans with their cygnets.

Black swans and cygnets Gary Lum
Black swans and cygnets

Back to Bendigo Stadium

Day two was the finals for the Level 10 girls and Miss 16 was again competing in the morning. She performed better on the second day.

Day 2 uneven bars Gary Lum
Day 2 uneven bars
Day 2 balance beam Gary Lum
Day 2 balance beam
Day 2 floor Gary Lum
Day 2 floor
Day 2 floor Gary Lum
Day 2 floor
Day 2 vault Gary Lum
Day 2 vault

What the hell! You had one job Bendigo Stadium!

The tuck shop ran out of potato gems. I had to make do with hot chips.

Hot chips 🍟 while watching gymnastics Gary Lum
Hot chips 🍟 while watching gymnastics

If you have Facebook, click on this image and check out the comments from Bendigo Stadium’s Facebook page

Saying goodbye

It was great to spend some time with Miss 16 while we were in Bendigo but saying goodbye is always tough. She is such a happy bubbly person and watching her with her teammates and coaches lifts my heart to see her so happy.

Dinner with Julie-Anna

So for my last night in Bendigo, I ate at the Comfort Inn Julie-Anna restaurant.
I enjoyed a lovely crumbed steak covered in pepper sauce and served with hot chips and greens.

Crumbed beef with chips and pepper gravy Gary Lum
Crumbed beef with chips and pepper gravy

For dessert, I enjoyed a berry ice cream sundae with white chocolate and pieces of crunchy honeycomb. It was amazing.

Fruit sundae with white chocolate and honeycomb Gary Lum
Fruit sundae with white chocolate and honeycomb

The drive back from Bendigo to Canberra

I left the Comfort Inn Julie-Anna just after 6 am and felt a little sad. If I attend the 2018 National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival, it will be in the Gold Coast and not Bendigo so this may have been my last stay at this motel.
I had a final bath, packed up and drove out of Bendigo with a heading to Canberra. Click on the place markers for more information.

Australiana iconic sweet number 3

I didn’t eat breakfast in Bendigo so I had to find a coffee and breakfast within an hour of leaving. I stopped at Murchison and found a bakery and enjoyed an apple turnover and coffee. I remember loving apple turnovers as a kid at primary school. Our tuck shop sold a really good apple turnover. The Murchison bakery didn’t disappoint me. This apple turnover was delicious.

Apple turnover and coffee in Murchison Gary Lum
Apple turnover and coffee in Murchison

My final vanilla slice

Yep, I think I’m a Hobbit, I had second breakfast. I stopped at Hide’s Bakery and enjoyed the best raisin toast I’ve ever had. It was amazing.

Raisin toast and coffee at Hides Bakery Benalla Gary Lum
Raisin toast and coffee at Hides Bakery Benalla

On the way out I picked up a vanilla slice to go.

Truck stops are good places to eat morning tea

So after second breakfast in Benalla, I drove north and stopped at a truck stop northbound near Glenrowan.
This is where I enjoyed my final vanilla slice of my trip. You can find the place marker on the map.

Vanilla slice from Hide’s Bakery in Benalla Gary Lum
Vanilla slice from Hide’s Bakery in Benalla

My first pie of the trip

After morning tea I stopped just before the Victorian/NSW border and had lunch at Henri’s Bakery in Wodonga.
I love a potato pie and this one was delicious.

Potato pie from Henri’s Bakery in Wodonga Gary Lum
Potato pie from Henri’s Bakery in Wodonga

I can’t eat anymore and I need a dunny stop

Would you believe that by the time I got to Tarcutta I wasn’t hungry? I’m sorry good people of Tarcutta I didn’t spend any of my holiday money in your fine town. I did leave a deposit of another kind though.

Tarcutta dunny break Gary Lum
Tarcutta dunny break. Shot from the entrance of the public toilet.

The end of the story

The good news is that Miss 16 got home to Brisbane safely and for dinner, I had salmon and salad.
I’m hoping I haven’t insulted my bowels too much and I’ll feel okay soon.

Baked salmon with salad Gary Lum
Baked salmon with salad

As I write this though, I feel like I’m developing an upper respiratory tract infection. I have a headache and worsening nasal congestion.
I’ll try to post a food-related story tomorrow but I am starting to feel like death warmed up.

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Kensington Pride Mangoes in August! Seriously?


Podcasts I listen to while walking, driving and working around the flat

Medical Fun Facts Episode 84 Gary Lum

What podcasts should I listen to?

If you’re not a mature adult please read no further. Leave the blog post and read my food blog which is safe. If you don’t want to be exposed to adult themes read no further.

Up until a few years ago, I didn’t listen to podcasts. I didn’t even know what a podcast was. I knew there was an app called Podcasts on my iPhone but I’d never opened it. It wasn’t until I renewed my interest in watching Star Trek 🖖 with the release of the Blu-ray versions did I venture into listening to podcasts and you guessed it, amongst the early podcasts I listened to were Star Trek shows.

Now that I’m actively recording and sharing a Podcast, viz., Medical Fun Facts, I thought I’d share with you a list of the podcasts I listen to. I’ll break them up into a few sections for ease of classification.

I’ll also try to share the relevant iTunes link as well as a website so you can get the relevant link to whatever podcast app you prefer. Sorry Android users, I know I could share the Stitcher link plus others but I’m lazy. It’s not because I think Apple Mac MacOS iOS is better, it’s just what I’m accustomed to.

These are not all the podcasts I listen to but a good selection. I should also point out that I don’t always listen to every episode in its entirety. Some podcasts I listen to everything (almost) religiously. For others, I will skip through and listen to the parts I’m interested in.

Not safe for work/Nerdy Geeky podcasts

Mouthy Broadcast

My second favourite podcast

Mouthy Broadcast

The hosts are Jennie, Lauren, and Peter. The Facebook page is kept pretty well up to date and the website is very well maintained. I got to ‘know’ Jennie via another podcast about Star Trek and started listening to Mouthy Broadcast as a result. Mouthy Broadcast has gone through a few iterations, but it’s now in a stable and reliable format. This is important for podcasts. A podcast audience gets used to something happening in a specific way and drastic changes can cause a change in the audience. Sometimes it will increase the audience, but if you piss off listeners too much it can see your audience fall off dramatically. Each Tuesday (as in C U Next Tuesday), a new show will drop and the hosts spend around half an hour sharing stuff about what has gone on in their lives.

This may include Jennie attending a comic convention, Lauren inhaling/fellating a sandwich and Peter experimenting with surgical-grade stainless steel implements. There may also be a discussion about dating app experiences, movies seen, and using household items for personal pleasure.

The language is explicit and it can be profane. The topics are diverse and the hosts are generally uninhibited. Once you get to know Peter though, you can trigger him easily with a special sound (pun intended [inside joke]). The topics can cover science fiction, current trends and vocabulary. I have learnt so many new words since listening to Jennie, Lauren and Peter. Like I would never use the term “Woke AF” but at least I know what it means when I hear it now. There is a little sexual innuendo, so if you’re cool with that, you’ll love listening to the Broads. It’s best to listen to Mouthy Broadcast with the Urban Dictionary app open.

Like many podcasts, with popularity, the costs of web hosting and all the incidentals add up so the Broads have a Patreon account you can contribute to if you wish. Please note I have no affiliation with the Broads, I’m sharing their Patreon link because I’m friendly with each of them and a few regular listeners.

We have a small friendly community in a chat room. I’ve become sort of the old man in the room. I feel like amongst friends.

Zombie Anonymous

Zombie Anonymous

The hosts are Freak, Mrs Freak, Jessi and Micro. I’m not as familiar with the ZA hosts as I am with the Broads although I’ve gotten to know Freak through the Broads’ chat room. If you like zombie stuff on TV or the Movies, this is a podcast you may enjoy. Each show starts with a description of the beer each host is drinking and then they start to talk about zombie stuff.

If they have a guest on, Freak asks the guest about the worst place to be during a zombie apocalypse, what preparation they would do for a zombie apocalypse, and what improvised weapon they would use to defend themselves against a horde of zombies.

For me, the worst place to be would be any situation that required me to run. I hate running. I can’t run. Flat feet, skinny ankles and bad knees!

In terms of preparation for a zombie apocalypse, I would secure myself safe accommodation near a freshwater dam and I would transport as many tinned goods including tinned vegetables to my safe house. I’d also buy all the Metamucil I could to keep regular.

My weapon of choice would be a cane knife and not just one cane knife but one in every room as well as in my vehicles. If you’re not familiar with a cane knife, they were designed to cut sugar cane during the harvesting process. The blade can be about 60 cm (roughly 2 feet for my American, Liberian and Burmese readers) long. On the opposing side of the blade is a large sharp hook. When wielded by an expert, a cane knife is a deadly weapon. It would take the head off a zombie easily. With a downward motion, it would also nicely split a zombie’s head apart. My maternal grandfather and his brothers owned sugar cane farms and cut cane alongside Italians and Pacific Islanders. I loved listening to their stories when I was a little boy. It seems they got into their fair share of trouble and they knew how to use a knife. A cane knife sharpened correctly is a very sweet tool and a beautiful thing.

The best place to make contact is via the Zombie Anonymous Facebook page.

Again, please note the language is explicit.

Dork Trek

Dork Trek

Jennie from Mouthy Broadcast is also a host on this show which goes through an episode of Star Trek each show and the hosts basically weave their lives, loves, and interests into their discussion. Sometimes it goes really off topic but it’s fun to listen to.

At the moment, the hosts are watching Star Trek Deep Space 9 (DS9) which isn’t my favourite series of Star Trek. It’s the series with my least favourite doctor, viz., Dr Bashir and it has Major (later Colonel) Kira, she is annoying. DS9 would have been better with Ensign Ro. DS9 also has Sisko and Jake. Two characters who I can’t stand. We’ll see what the hosts think when they begin to watch Star Trek Voyager (VOY). My only objection to Dork Trek is that some of the hosts don’t like Jeri Ryan who plays Seven of Nine in Star Trek Voyager. Hand on heart, Jeri is one of my favourite Trek actors and not for the reason most people would assume. Her facial expressions while playing Seven of Nine just suck me in every time I watch an episode with her in it.

The hosts of Dork Trek are seriously funny. Check them out.

The best place to make contact is via the Dork Trek Facebook page.

Safe for work/Nerdy Geeky Podcasts

Mission Log

Mission Log

Ken Ray and John Champion host Mission Log which is a Rod Roddenberry Entertainment podcast. The aim of Mission Log is to go through each and every episode of each and every series and movie of Star Trek. These two are truly masters of podcasting and this is one of my all-time favourite podcasts.

One of the great things about this podcast is Ken Ray, I say that because Ken hosts another of my favourite podcasts, viz., MAC OS Ken.

Mission Log has a Facebook page and a website.

I can highly recommend the quality of Mission Log especially if you’re a fan of Star Trek.

The Promenade Podcast

The Promenade Podcast

This is a brand new Star Trek podcast by an online friend Robert Reyes. So far there has only been one episode, so we’ll see how this goes. Robert has told me the first episodes that cover Star Trek Las Vegas maybe NSFW but after those episodes, everything should be safe.

Trek Mate: A Star Trek Podcast

Trek Mate: A Star Trek Podcast

An English podcast which when I get the time to listen is quite enjoyable. I just can’t get into a rhythm with it because the programming is a bit erratic.

Photography podcasts

No Name Photo Show

No Name Photo Show

This is a new photography podcast that I listen to. The hosts are Mike “Sharky” James and Brian Matiash. They have a Facebook page which is worth visiting. The show is basically Mike and Brian chatting with one another about photography. The show drops weekly.

Sharky also hosts another podcast which I’ll describe next.

PetaPixel Photography Podcast

PetaPixel Photography Podcast

This is Sharky’s main podcast and is probably the best photography podcast available. It comes out twice a week and is full of news and information on photography.

If you’re going to listen to a photography podcast, this is the one to subscribe to. You can also subscribe to the e-mail list from the PetaPixel Mother Ship.



The hosts, Andy Williams and Juan Pons, are Sony mirrorless uses and they travel the world doing photography tours and teaching classes. The reCOMPOSE website is at

Medicine and science podcasts



Hosted by Dr Mark Crislip who is an infectious diseases physician and a sceptic of everything about Supplements Complementary and Alternative Medicine (SCAM). It’s been a while since Mark has updated the podcast but it is a treasure trove of information especially when it comes to things like naturopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture. I highly recommend this podcast for anyone with an inquiring mind for the truth.

GP Sceptics

GP Sceptics

Hosted my Drs Justin Coleman (Brisbane) and Liz Sturgess (Canberra). This podcast comes out irregularly and while it is aimed at general practitioners, it is worth listening to for medical information with a sceptical slant.

Medical Fun Facts

Medical Fun Facts

Hosted by me and is a hobby blog, podcast and YouTube channel.

MFF is a short sharp show with a few medical facts in every show and hopefully one or two funny lines. If you don’t take it too seriously, everything will be fine.

I try to get a show out every Monday night at 7 pm Canberra time. The shows can last from 4 to 10 minutes. They’re short so you won’t ever be tied down. In addition, there is no advertising. I can’t imagine it will get popular enough for me to need sponsorship for the web hosting, but if it does then I’ll reconsider.

The video is pretty crap I’ll admit that but the reason why I do it is that audio editing is easier in a video editor. I try to use Garage Band but Final Cut Pro X is so much more intuitive.

I’d love it if you listened and subscribed. The show notes which includes a transcript of each show is on my other blog at Dr Gary Lum.

MFF is also now on Anchor.

Medical Fun Facts Episode 84 Gary Lum
Medical Fun Facts Episode 84

Technology podcasts

Your Tech Life

Your Tech Life

Hosted by Trevor Long this is a weekly podcast that looks at all things tech. While it is Australia-centric, I know that Trevor has listeners from all around the world. You can get more information about Trevor from his website at The other reason I have given Your Tech Life a 5-star rating is that Trevor is an XXXX Queensland Maroons supporter.

Two Blokes Talking Tech

Two Blokes Talking Tech

This weekly show is hosted by Australia’s two most well-known technology journalists, viz., Trevor Long (See Your Tech Life above) and Stephen Fenech. These two blokes work well together. The main reason why I refuse to give this podcast a 5-star rating is because Stephen is a South Sydney and New South Wales (Cockroach) supporter. You can check Stephen’s website at The other reason not to give a 5-star rating is that Stephen prefers Star Wars over Star Trek.

Just for the record, Stephen Fenech is a great bloke and an excellent technology and sports journalist but you know me, I’m a Queenslander first and foremost, a Brisbane Broncos supporter in the NRL and a Star Trek fan through and through. If I started liking Stephen too much, people would suggest there was something wrong with me.

I can highly recommend both Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech (Stephen has his own show but I’ve never listened to it). I always listen to them because Trevor and Stephen put technology news into an Australian context. They are both platform and device agnostic so you can get a balanced feel for all new technology.

If you want to get their attention on Twitter use #ziggyzaggy (you have to be a regular listener to understand why).

Mac OS Ken

Mac OS Ken

Ken Ray, aka, Mac OS Ken is the host of the week daily show which runs from between 15 and 30 minutes. Ken (yes the same Ken from MissionLog Pod [see above]) runs through all the news about Apple and Mac, MacOS and iOS. If you like or even love Apple products, this is a great podcast to keep up to date.

EYE Chart Radio

EYE Chart Radio

Originally hosted by Ken Ray (yes again!) and Mike LaPlante, it is now just Mike with a different guest each week. Sometimes the guest is Ken Ray! EYE Chart Radio is a weekly in-depth examination of everything Apple. For me, each show normally drops on a Sunday morning and each show is just under one hour long. Long enough for me to walk around Lake Ginninderra.

The Checklist by SecureMac

The Checklist by SecureMac

This weekly podcast about IT security issues relevant to Apple Mac and iOS users is hosted by Ken Ray [see above], Nicholas Raba and Nicholas Ptacek. This is a very informative podcast and keeps listeners up to date on the latest IT security problems for MacOS and iOS.

Blogging podcasts

ProBlogger Podcast

ProBlogger Podcast

Hosted by Darren Rowse this is THE podcast for bloggers, even if you have no interest in making money from your blog it’s worth listening to Darren.

Hilah’s Happy Hour!

Hilah’s Happy Hour!

Hilah Johnson is my favourite food blogger/YouTuber/Podcaster. Well, Hilah doesn’t do that much YouTube now but she was huge on YouTube. She’s a Texan who lives in California and she has a great personality and I love her Texan accent. Hilah’s Happy Hour! is now a weekly podcast for up to about an hour and Hilah chats with a guest and the discussion is more often than not food and lifestyle oriented. If you don’t mind a little swearing, you’ll love Hilah. I promise. You can find more from Hilah’s website at

I desire mutton flaps


The Chopped Podcast

The Chopped Podcast

Hosted by Marly McMillen this is a podcast for food bloggers. The focus is on having a balanced approached to food blogging with a general understanding that not all bloggers are interested in making money but that we want to share our posts and make the most of them. Of course, unlike Yummy Lummy I reckon most listeners have monetisation in their sights. Marly is a really friendly approachable and a very likeable host.

Comedy Podcasts

No Such Thing as a Fish

My favourite podcast

No Such Thing as a Fish

In many ways, NSTF is my favourite podcast of all time. Like Mouthy Broadcast, I wait in anticipation for each show to drop. For me, in Canberra, it’s early Saturday morning and I like to walk around Lake Ginninderra listening to Anna, Andy, Dan, and James who are the regular four hosts. Anna is my favourite host, she has a wicked sense of humour and is smarter and funnier than the other hosts. Join the campaign to get Anna on Twitter!

The hosts are the ‘elves’ or more correctly researchers for the TV program QI, and they work together so well. In each show, each host shares a fact which has been discussed among themselves beforehand. It makes for a great show with facts and fun.

The Sporting Probe with Roy and HG Nelson

The Sporting Probe with Roy and HG Nelson

Rampaging Roy Slaven and HG Nelson are two of Australia’s best comedians and the two best comedians with the most knowledge about Australian sport. This show drops on a Saturday night on the East coast of Australia and will keep you up to date on the weekend and week in sport. The comedy is peculiarly Australian, so if you’re not familiar with Australian humour you may not get the jokes.

Questions for readers

  • Do you like listening to podcasts?
  • What are your favourite podcasts?
  • How do you like listening to podcasts? While walking? While driving? While in bed? While cooking?
  • What app do you use to listen to podcasts?
  • Do you have your own podcast? What is it called? What is it about?
  • What genres of podcast do you listen to?
  • Do you interact much with podcasters? How do you interact? What’s the best way to interact with podcasters?
  • Do you listen to Medical Fun Facts? If not, why not?
  • Are you thinking of starting a podcast?

My answers to my own questions

  • I love podcasts
  • My favourite podcast is No Such Thing as a Fish and Mouthy Broadcast
  • I listen while driving, walking and doing housework
  • I use the native iOS Podcast app
  • My podcast is Medical Fun Facts It’s about medical facts
  • I like comedy, cooking, blogging, medical, technology and photography podcasts and combinations of each
  • I love to interact with podcasters especially via social media like Twitter, Facebook and various chat rooms
  • I hate the sound of my own voice
  • I’m not sure about starting another podcast

Thanks for reading this blog post. I’d love to get some feedback from you on your thoughts about podcasting.

Some other posts you may enjoy

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

Is my drawing getting any better?

Father’s Day 2017

Some photographs from the weekend

Click on a photograph thumbnail and a gallery will open up

See you next week

A Kransky for your thoughts

Kransky sausages Gary Lum

A Kransky battered sav for your thoughts

Questions and answers Photo GalleryMedical Fun Facts

Kransky battered savs served with coleslaw, wasabi aioli, Kim chi, pickled ginger and tomato sauce Gary Lum
Kransky battered savs served with coleslaw, wasabi aioli, Kim chi, pickled ginger and tomato sauce

Last week (Tuesday) I was in Melbourne participating in a meeting. I got back into Canberra just after 6 pm and even though I had prepared in my mind to make a salad, I was tired and just wanted to eat something without cooking. I stopped at the Jamison Takeaway and bought a battered sav, a couple of potato scallops and a serve of hot chips.

The following day I went to see my ‘potato scallop-loving’ colleagues and mentioned the battered sav. The question arose, “How to make a battered sav better?”. We discussed a few options and finally arrived at the Kransky sausage. The Kransky sausage has its origins in Europe while etymologically, the word Kransky appears to be Australian. The next question was, “What sauce should a Kransky battered sav be served with?”. My friend with the greatest desire for battered savs, said in her mind, tomato sauce is the only sauce. I know that tomato sauce is a favourite of hers, she keeps a supply in a refrigerator at work. I also thought the battered sav should be served with coleslaw which turned my mind to cabbage.

On Friday, at the Canberra Hospital and Health Services, I shared my food challenge thoughts with a colleague including the cabbage conundrum. As I was about to suggest sauerkraut, she came up with the brilliant food fusion notion of Kim chi. Given my proclivity to combining cuisines, I thought this was a great suggestion. I needed to seek out some Kim chi. The other sauce I thought might go well with the Kransky battered sav was some wasabi aioli.

So today my mission was to get some Kransky sausages, some Kim chi, wasabi and pickled ginger. I had almost everything else I needed in the flat.

If you want the recipe you can find it at my food blog Yummy Lummy.

I went for a walk around Lake Ginninderra after the grocery shopping and enjoyed the blossoms that have bloomed even more since the last visit I made last week.


Tuesday night takeaway

A battered sav, a few potato scallops and a serve of hot chips

Battered sav, hot chips and potato scallops Gary Lum
Battered sav, hot chips and potato scallops

Friday night quesadilla

On Friday night I made a simple bacon instant noodles quesadilla for tea and served it with some avocado and sour cream

Bacon instant noodle quesadilla Gary Lum
Bacon instant noodle quesadilla
Bacon instant noodle quesadilla with avocado and sour cream dip Gary Lum
Bacon instant noodle quesadilla with avocado and sour cream dip

Blossoms and a bee on Lake Ginninderra

Blossoms and a bee on Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Blossoms and a bee on Lake Ginninderra
Blossoms and a bee on Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Blossoms and a bee on Lake Ginninderra

Raisin toast

From Everbean Espresso Bar

Raisin toast with butter Gary Lum
Raisin toast with butter

Burrito bowl with pulled pork

From Guzman Y Gomez

Guzman Y Gomez burrito bowl with pulled pork Gary Lum
Guzman Y Gomez burrito bowl with pulled pork

Kransky in the deli

Kransky sausages Gary Lum
Kransky sausages

Kim chi from the Asian grocer

Kim chi
Kim chi

Kransky battered sav with Japanese and Korean tones

Kransky battered savs served with coleslaw, wasabi aioli, Kim chi, pickled ginger and tomato sauce Gary Lum
Kransky battered savs served with coleslaw, wasabi aioli, Kim chi, pickled ginger and tomato sauce

Questions and answers

Why do you like battered savs?

Well I mean who wouldn’t love a battered sav. A battered sav is an iconic Australian food much like a meat pie or a vanilla slice.

Is the battered sav a euphemism for anything?

Well of course it is. It wouldn’t be Australia if we didn’t imply a sexual aspect to something so phallic.
The best example of this was made famous by Roy and HG.

If you want more from Roy and HJ check out their new podcast. I listen to them every Saturday evening.

What is the next food challenge?

I believe I need to begin a diet. Seriously, I need to lose weight.

Medical Fun Facts

A new show drops at 7 pm on Monday 11 September 2017 (Canberra time). This week’s show is about hæmaturia or blood in your urine.

Click on the thumbnail above and you'll be taken to the show notes. It will be available after the show drops. Gary Lum
Click on the thumbnail above and you’ll be taken to the show notes. It will be available after the show drops.

Other posts you may enjoy

Footy food round up for the 2017 State of Origin series

Maybe I shouldn’t celebrate with food!

Kensington Pride Mangoes in August! Seriously?


Father’s Day 2017

When RAW makes sense Gary Lum

Father’s Day 2017

In Australia, Father’s Day falls on the first Sunday of September. It’s been an overcast and cool day in Canberra with a few light showers.

Father’s Day breakfast

I made myself a breakfast taco with streaky bacon, eggs and cheese. I got a couple of rashers of streaky bacon and put them in the oven for 12 minutes at 200 °C. While that was cooking I gently beat a couple of eggs and added some freshly ground black pepper, chilli flakes and chopped parsley. After the 12 minutes, I pulled out the bacon and then poured over the egg mixture. To that, I sprinkled some grated cheese and put it all back in the oven for a further 8 minutes. As the bacon and eggs were nearing completion I heated a tortilla in the microwave oven for 20 seconds. I then made a taco wrap. It was delicious.

Father’s Day breakfast taco

Father's Day breakfast taco with bacon, eggs, and cheese Gary Lum
Father’s Day breakfast taco with bacon, eggs, and cheese
Close up of my Father's Day breakfast taco with bacon, eggs, and cheese Gary Lum
Close up of my Father’s Day breakfast taco with bacon, eggs, and cheese

Father’s Day FaceTime and gifts

After breakfast, I spent a most enjoyable time with my daughters on FaceTime. It was great to see them and speak with them. I had already opened the gift they had sent me in the mail.

Father’s Day gifts

I received a new shirt, some slippers and some handkerchiefs.

Father's Day package Gary Lum
Father’s Day package
Father's Day gifts Shirt, slippers and handkerchiefs Gary Lum
Father’s Day gifts
Shirt, slippers and handkerchiefs

Game of Thrones Season 7

Yesterday I watched the seventh season of Game of Thrones on iTunes. I’m one of those fans who wait until the season is over before I watch any of the episodes. I like watching an entire season in one sitting. Like previous seasons, season 7 didn’t disappoint me. I was pleasantly surprised there weren’t as many deaths of significant characters and focus tended to be on the plot rather than nudity and sexual activity or coarse violence.

Are you a fan of Game of Thrones?

Lake Ginninderra

A couple of things stood out on a walk around Lake Ginninderra yesterday.

When RAW milk makes sense

I came across a herd of cows and found a calf feeding from its mother. It got me thinking that this is the only time RAW milk makes sense. When it’s warm and fresh straight from a nipple. Sadly there are still people who are deluded into thinking that drinking shipped and stored RAW milk or eating unpasteurised cheese is as safe as pasteurised milk.

When RAW makes sense Gary Lum
When RAW makes sense

The other thing that stood out was the appearance of spring blossoms.

Spring has sprung

Blossoms of Lake Ginninderra on the first weekend of Spring Gary Lum
Blossoms of Lake Ginninderra on the first weekend of Spring

Creamy Udon Noodles Taco

Saturday Food while watching Game of Thrones

Sushi Saturday lunch Gary Lum
Sushi Saturday lunch
Game of thrones afternoon tea | Ginger beer and chips using my metal straw to protect the environment Gary Lum
Game of Thrones afternoon tea | Ginger beer and chips using my metal straw to protect the environment

I was on episode 4 of season 7 of Game of Thrones by the time I got to dinner. You can find the recipe for this dish at my food blog.

Creamy udon noodles tacos with slowly roasted lamb Gary Lum
Creamy udon noodles tacos with slowly roasted lamb
Pasteurise this and it makes delicious safe yoghurt Gary Lum
Pasteurise this and it makes delicious safe yoghurt
Coconut yoghurt Gary Lum
Coconut yoghurt dessert
Extra dessert | Kensington Pride mangoes 2 for $6 Gary Lum
Extra dessert | Kensington Pride mangoes
2 for $6

Medical Fun Facts

The next show drops on Monday 4 September at 7 pm Canberra time. It’s all about the letter G.

Medical Fun Facts Episode 82 The letter G is for Gunt, Granville and Google Gary Lum
Medical Fun Facts Episode 82 The letter G is for Gunt, Granville and Google


Further odd on-line behaviour

I recently wrote about some odd behaviour on my blogs Yummy Lummy and My Thoughts and Stuff, especially spam-like comments that didn’t follow the usual pattern.
Now I’m seeing some odd behaviour in e-mail traffic not only on my personal e-mail accounts but also on my work related e-mail accounts. The good thing about working for two government public service agencies is the information technology security. I’ve received some unsavoury e-mail traffic in the past so my work e-mails are monitored by IT security.
As far as personal e-mail goes, I probably over do the delete key, I have no hesitation. I think there have been some people who have reached out to me and because the message wasn’t that clear, I’ve just deleted the e-mail. Life’s too short to get into on-line hassles. I figure if someone really wants to contact me he or she will try again.
Another wrinkle in my on-line life has been a sudden interest in a Facebook group I started called Cooking meals for one. I had wanted to be fairly flexible and open minded as a group administrator but I quickly learnt when trolls get in, removing them quickly is important. Trolls can play havoc and they have to be managed carefully.

Lessons as a Facebook group administrator

If you decide to start a Facebook group think hard about whether it will be open, closed or secret. Having it open at the beginning to attract some attention from ‘passers by’ makes sense but what it does is allow all and sundry to see in. What it also means is that members’ friends can also see their posts on their timelines and members may not want that. I learnt that quickly and changed from open to closed.
Even with a closed group trouble can occur. I had initially set the group up with some questions that I wanted new members to answer, but not all of them did and because I was keen to see the group grow, I allowed people in. I usually looked at their profile and account and if I didn’t see anything overtly dodgy I approved their membership. The thing is, once someone is in they can quickly add members. Now for this group, I had the settings so that only an administrator (me) could approve people and again, because I was taking a flexible open posture I approved most requests. This was my mistake, one night there was a sudden influx of requests and I quickly approved most of them not realising some of them had the intention of wrecking the joint.
It started insidiously with some snide comments, then the sexual innuendo with double entendres. You know, people liking creamy salty sauce in their mouths, that sort of thing. Not necessarily bad, but very inappropriate in a food focussed group for people who live alone and what to share ideas. Being mostly single people, we’re vulnerable.
So I’ve learnt the value of acting quickly and deleting threads and comments and blocking the people responsible.

Other posts you may enjoy

10 reasons why podcasting is fun

Is my drawing getting any better?

Kensington Pride Mangoes in August! Seriously?


Kensington Pride Mangoes in August! Seriously?

Kensington Pride mangoes in August in Canberra Gary Lum

Kensington Pride Mangoes in August! Seriously? Is this for real?

I was doing my normal grocery shopping this morning, you know, the Saturday routine, when I came across these Kensington Pride mangoes at $4 each. So expensive and so out of season. I can only speculate the weather in the Top End where the best mangoes are grown has been good.

Kensington Pride mangoes in August in Canberra Gary Lum
Kensington Pride mangoes in August in Canberra

Friday night out

I received an invitation to dinner by my friends Peter and Li Peng (aka Jasper and Myrtle). We had a great night chatting about stuff, catching up on stuff and learning what is going down with Australia’s most award winning bean to bar chocolate makers. I’ve known Peter for a long time and Li Peng for a good number of years too. When I first met them, I would never have guessed they would be these world conquering chocolate makers from Australia’s national capital.

Award certificates

Award certificates for Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates Gary Lum
Award certificates for Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates

Peter and I have a strong affinity for seafood and one of our favourite meals is a prawn sandwich.

Prawn sandwich

Freshly boiled prawns with butter and fresh bread and a little vinegar. Salt and pepper also help make a great sandwich.

Prawn sandwich entrée Gary Lum
Prawn sandwich entrée

Peter cooked an Asian noodle and mince dish for the main meal. We joke because Peter likes to add plum sauce to everything. Li Peng claims a real Chinese person wouldn’t add plum sauce. To prove the point, I add plum sauce and hot chilli flakes to my plate  :mrgreen:

Noodles and mince

Noodles with mince and Plum sauce Gary Lum
Noodles with mince and Plum sauce

Peter and Li Peng both know how much I love a vanilla slice, so for dessert, we had a vanilla slice or what my Victorian friends ingloriously call a snot block from Flute bakery.

Vanilla slice

Flute vanilla slice Gary Lum
Flute vanilla slice

It was a great night and I really love times with Peter and Li Peng.


It’s become a bit of a ritual to eat a slice of raisin toast with some butter while sipping on a latte at Everbean Espresso Bar on a Saturday morning.

Raisin toast

Raisin toast breakfast from Everbean Espresso Bar Gary Lum
Raisin toast breakfast from Everbean Espresso Bar

Joy of vegemite joy

While in Coles buying groceries, I came across a real favourite. Vegemite and cheese scrolls. If you look at my Yummy Lummy Instagram feed you’ll see I regularly have these for lunch as a BLT from Urban Bean Espresso Bar. If you’re ever in the Woden town centre at lunch time, check out their Facebook page for the daily chef’s specials.

Vegemite scrolls

Vegemite and cheese scrolls at Coles Gary Lum
Vegemite and cheese scrolls at Coles

Lake Ginninderra

After the grocery shopping, I went for a walk around Lake Ginninderra and shot a few photographs.

Photographs from around the lake

Lake Ginninderra bike park Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra bike park. Where is everyone on such a good looking day.
Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra
Cows on Lake Ginninderra attracted to visitors Gary Lum
Cows on Lake Ginninderra attracted to visitors
Spring is coming! Cherry blossom buds. Gary Lum
Spring is coming! Cherry blossom buds.
Belconnen Art Centre Gary Lum
Belconnen Art Centre


On Twitter this week, a friend suggested I try a Hash Brown Big Mac combination. It was delicious.

Hash brown Big Mac combination

McDonald's Big Mac, Hash Brown and Vanilla shake Gary Lum
McDonald’s Big Mac, Hash Brown and Vanilla shake 

Saturday afternoon fun and games

I spent the afternoon enjoying Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates and watching Star Trek on Netflix.

My version of Netflix and chill

My weekend is sorted with Jasper and Myrtle Chocolate and Star Trek on Netflix. Gary Lum
My weekend is sorted with Jasper and Myrtle Chocolate and Star Trek on Netflix.


Dinner tonight was a simple roast chicken with a cob of corn on some crispy noodles. I like cooking chicken this way by cutting out its vertebral column and flattening the chicken to make it cook more evenly.

Roast chicken with corn and crispy noodles

Cheesy roast chicken and corn on crispy noodles Gary Lum
Cheesy roast chicken and corn on crispy noodles

And so ends another quiet Saturday. I still feel blergh and I hope I stop coughing up lung butter soon.

I reckon I might have to buy one of those Kensington Pride Mangoes tomorrow. It may help me feel better.

Other posts you may like to read

Still feeling blergh

Learning to ride a bike

Is it getting warmer or is this a false sense of security?


Still feeling blergh

24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake Gary Lum

I’m still feeling blergh after a couple of weeks of incessant coughing and sleepless nights. It’s not just the coughing but the lack of sleep getting to me. Every morning I’ve been feeling crapulent and all day I feel like a zombie.

Last weekend, going to The Ekka was a good thing but it hasn’t helped me feel any better. If anything, I feel worse. The problem is, it’s not like I have a fever, or a severe headache or any other pain, just a persistent, some paranasal congestion and brain fog from a lack of sleep.

I was hoping with this weekend being fine I could get out and try to shake things off.

The weekend started well with a spicy pork burrito and a Bundaberg ginger beer.

Spicy pork burrito bowl from Guzman Y Gomez Gary Lum
Spicy pork burrito bowl from Guzman Y Gomez

Last night I downloaded the Sarahah app and started playing. You should give it a go.

Sarahah comment about Medical Fun Facts Gary Lum
Sarahah comment about Medical Fun Facts

For breakfast this morning rather than raisin toast at Everbean Espresso Bar I made a bacon and cheese sandwich with some freshly brewed coffee to celebrate the Brisbane Broncos victory last night.

Bacon and cheese sandwich with coffee Gary Lum
Bacon and cheese sandwich with coffee

Latte at Everbean Espresso Bar

Latte in a mug at Everbean Espresso Bar Gary Lum
Latte in a mug at Everbean Espresso Bar

Look at what’s on special. Yes, I grabbed a tin.

Spam® on sale Gary Lum
Spam® on sale

I went for a walk around Lake Ginninderra for the first time in a few weeks.

Cloud porn on Saturday walking around the lake Gary Lum
Cloud porn on Saturday walking around the lake

It’s winter but there are flowers. No wonder my allergic rhinitis is also causing me grief.

Wattle Gary Lum

I like the texture in this bark

Bark Gary Lum

How are you brown cows?

Cows Gary Lum

Lake Ginninderra

Lake Ginninderra Gary Lum
Lake Ginninderra

The little water fall at John Knight Memorial Park

Water fall at John Knight Memorial Park Gary Lum
Water fall at John Knight Memorial Park

Lunch today was 24 McNuggets®

24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake Gary Lum
24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake
24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake Gary Lum
24 Chicken McNuggets® with garlic aioli and vanilla shake

Dinner tonight was Panko crumbed prawns on olive sourdough bread

Panko crumbed prawns on olive sourdough bread with aioli Gary Lum
Panko crumbed prawns on olive sourdough bread with aioli

As I type this I’m coughing and spluttering and feeling blergh. I wish I wasn’t. Despite getting a little exercise, eating some yummy food and having a nap, I still feel like crap.

There’s a lot of circulating viral infections in Canberra

This is a snip from a report I authorised yesterday.

Respiratory panel Gary Lum
Respiratory panel

Hopefully, I’ll start feeling better soon.


Hot chips and potato scallops Gary Lum


Is blergh a word? It’s how I feel. The last week I’ve been coughing and feeling slightly febrile with a mild constant headache. It’s like an aborted viral infection. I just wish it would abort completely so I could feel better. There is some mild nasal and paranasal congestion but none of the usual common cold symptoms and no muscle and joint aches and pains associated with influenza. Is it a low-grade enteroviral infection? Who knows? It’s enough to take the shine off every day. I am awake through most of the night so I feel exhausted. I just wish I could sleep. I have this overwhelming feeling of fatigue.

The worst thing is I’m about to spend some time away with my daughters and parents. I don’t want to be sick near Mum and Dad. They are very frail and if they get an infection it takes them so much longer to recover. I also want to enjoy the time with my daughters and not be coughing and spluttering all the time.

This week

So apart from feeling under the weather, what else has been happening this week? Work has been fairly busy and I’ve been doing a little travelling for work. On Wednesday I was in Sydney for a meeting and on Thursday I was in Melbourne. The weather in Melbourne was a little like Canberra in September. It was fresh, meaning it was cold, and there was a strong wind during most of the day. During the meeting, I was told that Melbourne Airport had closed a runway and to expect delays. That’s the last thing anyone likes to hear when all they want to do is finish a day’s work and get back to their abode. While the flight was delayed, it was only by 30 minutes and the tail wind meant the delay into Canberra was only about 10 minutes from the scheduled arrival time. In my mind that was sufficient excuse to not cook, so as I drove back to the flat I stopped at Jamison Takeaway and got a serving of chips and some potato scallops.

You know I’m not feeling that flash when I don’t finish the chips. I finished the potato scallops but only about half the chips. The remainder is in the freezer. I’ll work out what to do with them another time. I’ve come across a few old chip recipes lately so I may do one of those.

Hot chips and potato scallops cure the blergh

Hot chips and potato scallops Gary Lum after feeling blergh
Hot chips and potato scallops

APSC guidance on social media

I suppose the big news this week has been a revision and release of the Australian Public Service Commissions (APSC) guidance on public servants and their use of social media (“Making public comment on social media“). You can find the new guidance document here. It’s not really much different to the previous version and if anything the revised version clarifies the intent and meaning of the document. I know some people are concerned, but for me, I don’t mind it. It’s made it clear to me that on social media I do need to be careful not just about comments I may make but also how I react to material shared by others, i.e., liking and sharing material on social media can leave an impression with a reader. In addition, I need to be more conscious that anything I write or say on social media can be shared even if that is not my intention. While most of my accounts are public, some are private, but all it takes is for someone to capture a screenshot and if it’s clearly a comment made by me it’s as good as me sharing it. The same holds for private e-mail which can be forwarded on or elements can be captured as a screenshot and shared. This may signal a return of making telephone calls using standard telephone services. I wonder about services like FaceTime and Skype whether the audio and video are retained in the cloud for long. I know that the audio when using Siri is kept by Apple for up to 2 years after we’ve asked Siri a question. The difficulty is that for most of my online friends, I wouldn’t know their telephone number to make a call to say hello. For some friends though, a telephone call is so much better. I’m pretty boring on the telephone, but with the right person I can speak for hours.

How will the revised guidelines affect me?

So what do the revised APSC guidelines mean for me and my multitude of social media accounts? I’ll carry on much the same as usual. I don’t make comments about political events, especially domestic politics. I rarely make comments about events that are culturally topical. On Medical Fun Facts I steer clear of anything I’m working on. Yummy Lummy is a food blog and I’ve recently taken to just having recipes there with the occasional review. The only problem with my food blog is that there will be some people who may object to a health professional sharing recipes that don’t necessarily align with current health doctrine. I see that more of a professional issue than a work related matter as a public servant. Here, on My Thoughts and Stuff I’ve been careful not to engage in political commentary so I think in terms of blogging and podcasting I’m doing the right thing. When it comes to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram I will need to be more conscious of the things I write and post, but more importantly, I need to be more mindful when I like something or share or retweet or regram something.
If anyone who reads my blog posts or other social media activity, feels I’ve crossed a line, please tell me. I want to make sure I stay within the APSC guidance.

So, back to feeling blergh. I hope in the next week I pick up and feel better. I really don’t like blergh!

I desire mutton flaps

Yes, this is a sheep I drew displaying where the mutton flaps are Gary Lum

I desire mutton flaps

Mutton=sheep meat, older than lamb meat, fuller in flavour but slightly tougher
Flaps=Not what most people seem to think, stop thinking what you’re thinking!
Mutton flaps=older tougher flaps of meat that are good to eat

A few months ago I was in a lecture for Australian Government medical officers who are based in Canberra. The lecture was from Prof. Sharon Friel from the Australian National University. She was speaking about policy coherence in a health context with some emphasis on international trade. Sharon mentioned the problem with New Zealand (and to a much lesser extent, Australia) selling mutton flaps to people in Tonga and the contribution this trade has had in Tonga’s obesity outbreak.

Sharon displayed a drawing of a sheep which made it clear that mutton flaps are the breast meat from the lamb or sheep. This meat is about 50:50 fat to meat and the fat is saturated fat. It’s full of flavours and when spit roasted the delicious aroma spreads through market places. These market places were traditionally for trading deep sea fish, but because the fish fetch a better price on the export market and because mutton flaps taste so good, the diet of many Tongans has changed from being fish-based to red meat based with huge amounts of fat.

Yes, this is a sheep I drew displaying where the mutton flaps are Gary Lum
Mutton flaps

As you may imagine, especially if you know me, as soon as Sharon began describing the mutton flaps I was on Google looking up recipes and where I might find mutton flaps in Canberra. I promise I did listen to her lecture and I did take away strong messages about the importance of policy coherence and ensuring policy development considers wider ramifications, especially health ramifications. I also promise I didn’t go to Urban Dictionary to see if an inappropriate thought was recorded there (or not).

It turns out that mutton flaps are used extensively to make doner kebabs and apart from the market to Tonga, most Australian mutton flaps go into pet food. This means that your dogs and cats are getting a good loading of ovine saturated fat in their diet. If I understand the canning process correctly, the meat will be super tender and very tasty.

Anyway, I discovered that mutton flaps could be purchased on the south side and north side of Canberra. Given I’m a dweller of the north and rarely venture to the south of Canberra, I visited the Belconnen Markets this morning at 7 am with a view to getting some mutton flaps to fulfil my carnal desires. To my dismay, I was told that each week all the mutton flaps are bought by a regular customer and they don’t keep any extras. I asked about other vendors in the market and was told no one stocks mutton flaps. It sounds like if I want mutton flaps, I’m going to have to put in an advance order and that may take some time. So what’s a boy to do when he wants to get his lips into some mutton flaps?

Dejected I went on to do my grocery shopping at Westfield Belconnen. In Coles, I came across some scrappy looking meat and noticed they were lamb offcuts. They looked like ribs with quite a bit of meat and fat on them. In my mind, these may as well be mutton flaps. So I bought about $7 worth and started thinking about how to cook them.

Lamb bones ready for slowly roasting Gary Lum
Lamb bones ready for slowly roasting

Now if you want to see how it all turned out, you’ll need to venture to Yummy Lummy and check out the post on slowly roasted lamb bones. Sadly, there’s not much over there about policy coherence though.

Changing the subject to a change on my blogs

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a change to the way I’m handling comments here and over at Yummy Lummy.

I’ve been noticing some strange online behaviour here with odd comments. Basically spam but not in the usual spam structure. No links and no abuse, but the comments seemed to be from random people who I had not reached out to and who didn’t seem engaged with the blog. When I saw it I would remove it. I thought the safest thing to do would be to moderate all comments so I had a greater level of control.

Of more concern, I’ve also had a sort of reverse problem with some good (online) friends not being able to comment and their words ending up in my spam folders. I hope by increasing the control I have over comments, this problem will be ameliorated.


This raises the issue of online trolls. I’ve been really fortunate that I can count on the number of fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve been trolled on my personal sites (including Medical Fun Facts). On the other hand, from time to time at work, I get abusive messages but that’s very different. Friends who keep an eye open for me have sent some interesting screenshots from various social media accounts. It would be inappropriate to describe these in any detail here but it’s one of the reasons why I try to be polite, friendly and courteous here. There are a few safe spaces where I can be more myself online and in those forums, it is nice to be amongst like-minded people.

When online, I usually write with trolls in mind. I’m not wanting to be controversial and if I have anything controversial to write I’ll try to couch it carefully. Even on my Medical Fun Facts blog/podcast/YouTube when I’m a bit out there, e.g., I have a strong position in favour of conventional medicine including vaccination, I try to make sure I’m on solid ground.


It remains a constant problem and what I don’t get is with good anti-spam products like Akismet, why do spammers bother. Unlike the tasty canned pork product, I hate online spam, especially now malware and ransomware are becoming more common.

Gary Lum spam

If anyone has ever sent me an e-mail and I’ve not responded, I’m sorry. Unless I know you, I’ll probably delete the e-mail.

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