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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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
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.

Daniel’s rules for phone conferences

The over-arching rule is: Don’t waste people’s time.

Don’t invite everyone in the known universe, unless they’re all genuinely needed on the phone at once. Talk to them individually if possible; it’s often more efficient.

If plans change and some people aren’t needed after all, let them know.

If you have people in different states/cities, use a service with a frecall 1800 number dialin, or at least a local 1300 dialin. People dialling in from home don’t want to incur a long distance bill just to sit on the phone for an hour to say their ten words.

Start the conference on time. If you intended to kick things off at 10 past, schedule the damn meeting for 10 past.