Shirts

A bit over a year ago I stopped wearing a tie to work, mostly because nobody else at work wears a tie.

When you wear ties, they can be the distinguishing feature in your work attire. When the tie is gone, it’s harder to get away with, for instance, wearing white shirts every day.

Shirts

So I’ve bought a bunch of different coloured/striped/checked shirts. Stocktake sale time is a good time to stock up. Van Heusen do quite a nice “European” cut, which is a bit slimmer than their normal “classic” slobby look, but not so slim every belly bulge shows.

I’ve got mostly blues, I have to admit, though recently I’ve branched into a few other colours; for instance a couple of hopefully-not-too-dull greys, one in lavender, one that is white with stripes of pink and a couple of other colours. Groovy.

Why today is a holiday

It’s Labour Day today in Victoria, marking the reduction in working hours during the 19th century to 8 hours, and the relaxation of working conditions, which in the 1840s were strict:

Conditions of the time were governed by the Master and Servant Act. Employees in Australia in 1840 who left their employment without permission were subject to being hunted down under the Bushrangers Act. As little as one hour’s absence by a free servant without permission could precipitate a punishment of prison or the treadmill.

Wikipedia: Australian labour movement

Thus this monument at the top of Russell Street in Melbourne marks the achievement of 8 hours work, 8 hours recreation and 8 hours rest.

8-hour day monument, Melbourne

8-hour day monument, Melbourne

If it were created today, it’d probably be called Work-Life-Balance Day or somesuch.

And it would probably be something more like 7.6 hours work, 2 hours commuting, 6.4 hours housework, babysitting and recreation, and 8 hours rest.

The lifts

Lift buttonsThe other day some colleagues were having a little rant about the lifts, which in recent weeks have been performing badly.

I blogged about this ages ago — in many buildings the problem is not the position or size of the lifts, but how they’re programmed. Evidently in 13 years, not much has changed.

Apart from simply responding to the call button, lifts should have a few basic assumptions programmed into them:

Before 10am, and between about 1pm and 2pm, lots of people will enter office buildings and want to go up, so the lifts should default to the ground floor.

The ground floor is where most people enter, so the system should not assume that because one lift has responded to a call, it can cope with everybody entering. More lifts should respond, and they shouldn’t make people play that game of waiting for the first lift to depart before being able to press the call button again.

It would also be useful to have lifts default to the non-ground floors (perhaps evenly spaced, and even ignoring unoccupied floors) at peak exit times such as between 11:30 and 12:30, and after 4pm.

Optionally, they could get a little smarter, for instance learning the patterns in the building, which floors are quiet and busy at which times of day.

Really, how hard could it be?

The health check

Apparently there have been some alarming results from the workplace health checks underway at the moment.

Victorian workers have been given a scare by a State Government-run health program which has found a high percentage don’t exercise enough with a number of people asked to see a doctor within 24 hours.

We’ve had ours on Friday (everybody opted-in, I think), and we seem to be a pretty healthy workplace.

At least, nobody’s been carted off in an ambulance.

My own results were all okay, with one exception.

Some of the points are self-assessment; others like cholesterol were checked by the nurse on the spot. I’ve summarised the take-home brochure, and my results below.

Diet

2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables (per day) should be your target

I’m on 3 serves of fruit, and 2 of vegetables, so need to increase my vegetable intake. It was noted that a variety is good. I probably eat more spinach leaves than most, as I know the kids will chow them down.

In all honesty, I’m not sure how achievable 5 serves of vegies per day is for me, but I can try.

Drinking

I barely drink (perhaps a one standard drink per month if I’m lucky), and the nurse decided this was closer to no alcohol of the three options on the questionnaire.

I’ve never drunk a lot; it’s reduced even more since the cluster headaches arrived on the scene, as alcohol can help induce them (though just at the moment they’re not around).

Phsyical activity

Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably all days

I might not play sport, but I do a fair bit of walking. It’s generally three 30 minute walks a week with the kids, and one or two 60+ minute walks with Marita and her dog on the weekends. Add to that the shorter walks to/from the train each weekday (12 minutes x 2 x 5, though no doubt that doesn’t have the same benefits of the longer walks), that’s 270-330 minutes of walking per week, or at least 38 minutes a day.

So I think that’s fine.

Smoking

There is no safe level of smoking

No problemo. Never smoked, sure as hell not about to start.

Body shape

Normal — Men: 94 cm or less. Women: 80 cm or less

I’m 86 cm, have been since I was a skinny yoof. Do have a little bit of a pot belly, but nothing major.

Blood pressure

Normal — Less than 120/80

The brochure explains that the first value is systolic — the pressure in the arteries as your heart squeezes blood out during each beat. The other is diastolic — the pressure as your heart relaxes before the next beat.

Mine’s a little high: 113/83. On this basis there’s a recommendation to review it when I next see my doctor, but the nurse emphasised that there’s no real problem.

This seems higher than usual for me. Normally when I give blood it’s lower — it was 117/76 the last time I noted it in my blog. In fact this time round the nurse thought it might be unusual and did an average out of four readings.

Cholesterol

Normal — Total cholesterol 5.5 or less, HDL cholesterol 1.0 or more

Mine is 4.8 total, and 1.8 HDL, so that’s good.

Diabetes risk

Diabetes risk score — low risk: 5 or less. Medium risk 6-14. High risk 15 or more
Random blood glucose levels — normal: less than 6.5. High 6.5 or more

My diabetes risk score is 2 points for my age, 3 points for my sex (that would be male), and 3 points because someone in my family has it — my Dad has type 2. So 8 points makes me a medium risk for diabetes, and worth reviewing with my doctor at some stage.

My blood glucose level was 5.4, in the normal range.

Overall then

I’ll enquire about blood pressure and diabetes risk, the former isn’t a big problem at present, and the latter I can’t really do much about other than keep up the exercise and improve the diet.

I suppose there’s no big surprises for me in all this, but in terms of preventative health measures, I can see how this kind of far-reaching basic health check might help others to think about their lifestyle choices and modify them if possible.

And of course it’s only a fairly superficial check. I’ve still got headaches, Bowen Belly (much less so recently) and other minor ailments which hit me from time to time.

Anybody else do the check? Any surprises?

Ties

I have a love-hate relationship with ties.

When I started my working life in 1993, almost all white-collar male workers wore ties. Over the years this has dropped somewhat, and I’d hazard a guess that perhaps around 30% now do so.

I still wear a tie. I switched a few years ago to a Windsor Knot, and this is what I’ve taught my kids to use now they wear ties in high school. Apparently some of the other boys don’t know how to tie them at all, and just leave them tied up all the time. (The girls wear them only in winter.)

Ties can add some colour to an otherwise dull shirt and suit. And when chosen and presented well, can look really good. I think they can give one an air of authority. Such as on TV!

On the other hand they are fiddly, and I don’t find them particularly comfortable to wear.

Ties apparently originated in the 1600s. I wonder if they’ll eventually disappear from common use.

The Loud list

At work I have a “Loud” play list, for when things are noisy in the office and I need to concentrate on something.

Loudness helps, but an all-encompassing sound is even better for when I need to drown out other noise.

Most artists in my collection have at least a few loud songs, but some which have more than others and are more prominent on the list, such as:

The Living End
Led Zeppelin
Powderfinger
Hendrix
Spiderbait, obviously
Hoodoo Gurus, especially their live album
Ocean Colour Scene
Green Day

Who else would be good?

I hate the music

Message to owners of coffee shops in the CBD and other business-oriented areas:

Because of the closeness of related organisations, your venue is a de facto meeting room.

So, at least 9 to 5, turn down the music. Your clientele is happy to pay you to serve us beverages, but we really don’t want to be shouting across the table.