Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And the Journey Begins...

In the last post I was talking about being exhausted by the first week of the clinical school. I felt rather exhausted both psychologically and physically.

Let me first talk about the psychology part. Last week, all of us fresh clinical students were treated to a buffet of information in a one-week orientation, and it was quite tedious having to digest all the information at once. The "intimidated first-year-first-week medical student syndrome" suddenly started showing up in everyone, including myself. The symptoms included overwhelming sense of smallness, cerebral drowning, time deficiency, and the ominous feeling of "OMG is this what my life is going to be like from now onwards".

So that's the psychology exhaustion. I guess at one point or another, all students are bound to have at least a good dose of "first-year-first-week syndrome". Meanwhile, this post is about the physical part. I mentioned earlier that my travel time is either 40 minutes or 60 minutes, depending on the weeks. This week, I am doing the 60-minute travel to the Northern Hospital. While a 60-minute journey might seem insignificant for people who are used to travelling to work in major cities, it is quite a challenge when you need to catch the bus at 6.45, you return home at 5 or 6, and study until late at night.

I will let pictures do the storytelling.

My daily journey began at this bus stop. It's just a convenient three minutes' walk away from my house. Time: 6:50am.

As the first rays of light shone through, the canopy above was painted with an indescribably beautiful soft, diffused blue-purplish tint. It's not that often I observe the sky with such an intense interest. I guess in the future I will have all the time in the world to do that as I wait and wait and wait.

Part of the waiting process involves constant checking on the timetable at the bus stop, especially when the bus doesn't turn up at the time it's supposed to. Any delay for this bus is disastrous for me, as the next leg of the journey from the train station allows only four minutes from this bus' arrival to the departure of the train. And once I miss the train, I will be 15 minutes late for the hospital.

The bus arrived just before it's TOO late, and it sent me safely to the train station which is seven minutes down the road.

After saying thanks to the bus driver, I came to face what I would call a typical image of a typical Melbourne train station. A ramp going up towards the waiting area. People wheeling their bicycles (yes it's allowed in the train). Some boring tungsten lights in the waiting area. People who look bored.

The train is more punctual than the bus - here it was.

And it went.

The train journey lasts for 30 minutes, stopping by about 16 stations before reaching my destination. I was amused by this particular place's name.

As the sun rose, the colour of the sunlight changed from dark blue to golden.

From the inside of the train, you feel a sense of remote detachment as you observe people go about their daily routines. People getting on the same train everyday, "living life" as usual.

It kind of makes you suddenly realise, jeez, I am now one of them.

As I was getting bored from taking shots of train stations, the train slowed its pace and the PA gracefully announced, "Now arriving at Epping station. This train will be terminating at Epping station."

So the train stopped. I took a bus, and it got me to the front entrance of Northern Hospital five minutes later. I was five minutes early.

And the journey begins...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

After One Week

I am exhausted. After one week, all I realise is that my time management skills is virtually non-existent.

Will fill in more details when I have time. I am gonna spend more than two hours travelling on trains and buses everyday for the next six week.

I am optimistic, but I am still learning how best to learn.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back to School

austin03 (by changyang1230)The long, careless holidays are coming to an end, and I am going back to "school" today.

I am now officially a clinical student, and this is the stage where everyone starts to get a taste of the real medical life. This semester I have a grueling 19-week timetable without a break in Austin Hospital and Northern Hospital. My travel time is going to be 40 minutes and 60 minutes respectively via buses and trains.

I guess I am about to know how true all those "Melbourne public transport sucks" complaints are.

Image Credit: Major Projects in Victoria - Austin Hospital


Friday, July 18, 2008

Pak Lah vs. The Godfather

badawi Marlon-Brando-2

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi vs. the Godfather (Marlon Brando in his 50s). Don't you think they look alike? Their personality and political finesse are like at the two ends of the spectrum though. :P


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Encounter - Unibicycles, Melbourne University

The RackThis is gonna be a long story. It's about a bicycle, its recurrently punctured front tire, and someone in the Melbourne University's unibicycles. First let me relate some background about this bike. Or if you are not too keen on it, just jump straight to the conversation further down this post.

My girlfriend has a bike, and I have been using it for the past year. Being a poor international student, the bike of course wasn't one from the top range, but it's not the cheapest either. She got it for about 300 dollars, two to three years ago.

Throughout the years, the bike has had a good deal of problems. There have been three occasions where one of the spokes in the front wheel was snapped. Each repair cost about 20 dollars. We have been repairing the bike in the shop we bought the bike from, but it's very far away from my house so we no longer go there.

In May this year, the front tire punctured for no reason. One day, as I was about to ride to the hospital, I noticed the front tire was totally flat. My girlfriend sent the bike to the uni bike shop to repair it, and they changed the inner tube which cost something like 20 dollars. She said the shop keepers were fierce and hostile, but she didn't elaborate much on it.

A few days after that, the tire punctured again. The SAME, REPAIRED tire.

During that time we were totally preoccupied with meeting our research deadline, so we didn't send the bike for repair again. The busy period had since passed, but I kind of forgot about the bike (didn't use it during the holidays), and only today I thought of sending it for repair, as she's gonna use it once we start our semester.

So I dragged this bike to the shop. In all possibility, it could have been the bike shop's fault that their replaced inner tube punctured in just a few days. However, I thought it's quite hard to argue as I am now sending it in after two months. Hence I just let it pass and didn't even mention that.

This is what ensued in the bicycle shop. Not verbatim but the gist is there. And the last sentence IS accurate.

Me: This tire went flat since one month ago and how can I fix it?
Shop Guy: One month ago? *with what I think is a contempt look* *check the tire*
Me: Oh have been back in Malaysia.. *to do away with stupid judgmental attitude*
Me: What do you think is the problem?
Shop Guy: Just a puncture.
Me: How would you fix it, and how much would that cost?
Shop Guy: I am gonna change the inner tube, 25 bucks.
Me: When can I get it back?
Shop Guy: You will have to wait until after lunch tomorrow

*With that he carried the bike to his storage area, and came back in. But he didn't give me any receipt or anything*

Me: Should I get a receipt or something?
Shop Guy: It's a piece of shit, what am I gonna do with it?

WTF? Okay the bike is not terribly well maintained, and it's only 300; but it's not very rusty or cracked or squeaky either. Calling it a piece of shit is just plain rude, and even if it's true, saying it simply shows just how much an arse he is.

So I am gonna boycott this shop from now on. Your mileage may vary, you may have a bike worthy of more courtesy, or this guy probably just had a bad day. Regardless, have a second thought when you choose your bike shop the next time, especially if you have "a piece of shit". And this shop just lost some business.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Great Ocean Road (Again!)

I have been to the Great Ocean Road three times.

IMG_5954 IMG_5974
Mar 2005: Back in my first year, I joined some coursemates for a trip to Great Ocean Road. I was a pure tourist and was not involved in any sort of planning. Needless to say, I was awestruck by the breathtaking scenery that spanned the whole length of the limestone coast. As the first-time tourist, I took picture with the sign at the entrance of the Twelve Apostles. I never did that again in my subsequent visits.

IMG_8308 IMG_8282 (by changyang1230)
Sep 2005: My parents and two of my sisters came to visit me in Melbourne, and I obligingly brought them to Great Ocean Road. This time we hired a car and I planned all our journeys. Since Great Ocean Road is just one hell of a long seaside winding road (more than 200km in total), there actually wasn't much to plan. :P

DSC08111a (by changyang1230) DSC08077 (by changyang1230)
Jul 2007: Yong Chin, Freda, Xuan Ni and I organised a road trip to Adelaide, and since Yong Chin and Freda have never been to the Great Ocean Road, we decided to take the route although it's slightly longer. It's funny that while yours truly was again (for the third time) exhilarated by the seascape; Yong Chin and Freda slept almost throughout the whole drive. :P

Question! (by -bast-)
Jul 2008: Another trip to Great Ocean Road in six hours. This time I am going with nine other Fotoholics. I hope that the two days are going to be a blast! :)


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Where Is My Tram?


If you are a Melburnian, try out this website called www.tramroute.com. Just click on the tram line you are interested in, and choose "show estimated position of tram" - you then get to "spy" on your trams, and the dots representing trams actually move on the map! If you click on a particular tram stops, you also get to view the time table for that stop on your right. Very handy indeed.

It's not specifically mentioned, but I believe that the estimated tram position is based on the time table instead of the real-time tram tracking system as employed by Yarra Tram's Tramtracker. But oh well, it's so much fancier than the Tramtracker, and this website doesn't cost a single cent to use. :)

[via Melbourne Metblog]


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Of Wide Angle Lens - The Comparison

Melbourne Central 17mm (by changyang1230)
1/60s - f/5.6 - ISO 100 - 17mm
This is the widest you could get with ordinary lens. In this case, 17mm. Yup, it's the same focal length in "The Tower" I shot earlier.

Melbourne Central 10mm (by changyang1230)
1/800s - f/5 - ISO 400 - 10mm
This is what you get with 10mm on the super-wide lens. If you have ever been to Melbourne Central, you could definitely appreciate the vast angle of view in the shot.

Technical Note: The duller colour in the first pic is not the fault of the lens. It was because I didn't bother processing it because it's not a "good" photo. I just took it to compare the focal lengths.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Greenery in Melbourne

IMG_5761 (by changyang1230)
Melbourne is considered to be Australia's garden city, and Victoria as the Garden State. Back in the 19th century, some officials decided to set aside large tracts of land around the city for open space and parks, and a substantial amount of those parks remained until today, filling the Melbourne map with huge green patches. As any sightseer would notice immediately, in many places you would come across rows of trees accompanied by a backdrop of skyscrapers...

IMG_6525 (by changyang1230)
... and trees among shop lots.

In Malaysia, we have "airport in the forest, forest in the airport". But in Melbourne, we have construction cranes in the park (haha not really, they are far away in the city).

IMG_5915 (by changyang1230)
We are now in early winter,

so we are fortunate to behold the sights of trees with ostentatious colours,

IMG_5844 (by changyang1230)
as well as tress with premature baldness.

IMG_5802 (by changyang1230)
In many places, there are footpaths that encircle the whole park, so you are bound to come across casual joggers,


and surprised-by-a-photographer jogggers.

Royal Park
Parks may be a cliche hangout place for many, but I believe it will never get old.

Because you will never be wrong with its abundant greenness...

IMG_6239 (by changyang1230)
... and blueness.