Alternative post title: The Day I Decided to Become a Plasma Donor.

In school, they taught us all the things about blood type compatibility; about antigens on the surface of red blood cells, anti-A / anti-B antibodies, Rh positive / negative, phenotype and genotype, how O- is the universal blood donor, AB+ the universal acceptor, so on and so forth.

My mother was the one who first brought me to a donation centre to donate blood, and over time, helping others via donating blood became my own passion. I’ve been a regular whole blood donor for a while, and donated every 3 months except during the period when I was iron deficient (I was donating regularly and restricting food at the same time; long story). Donors don’t get financially compensated in Australia, but the knowledge that my blood could save three lives, as Red Cross heavily promotes, was enough.

My blood donation centre of choice was the mobile centre near work. They would appear every 3 months, and because my boss also supported the idea, I could often pop out during work for a quick donation. Every time the staff at the mobile centre would make me feel like I was doing the right thing. They would thank me like they personally and directly benefit from my deed.

Blood Donation Jul 2015: Last Whole Blood Donation

Blood Donation Jul 2015: Quite possibly the last whole blood donation

Today, something changed. The finger pricking was done on a painful part of the fingertip. It bruised. Two staff frowned at me and asked if I’d made an appointment (I did), both at interview and the donation chair, and told me they wouldn’t normally take my blood type. They completed the procedure and hurried me along. It was as though I was wasting their time.

I was fully aware of the fact that my AB+ blood is only useful for the also AB+ population, the only ones who could take the blood type transfusion without ill effects. But it was only then, today, a staff handed me a brochure about plasma donation. People with AB+ blood are universal blood recipients because we don’t have anti-A and anti-B antibodies to react to the antigens that may be present on the red blood cells in other blood types, and for the exact reason our plasma has the opposite effect: AB plasma doesn’t contain anti-A and anti-B antibodies and can therefore be received by all blood types. So essentially by donating my full blood the whole time I’ve been wasting their time, my time, and my red blood cells.

ABO Blood Type

ABO Blood Type from the Wikipedia article

I was never taught anything other than blood transfusion in school; the theory was all there but I just never made the connection. Even Mum didn’t seem to know about the “opposite” compatibility until I told her for the first time. In some obscure way, I feel slightly more humble today realising that I apparently could only take AB plasma and nothing else.

But Red Cross really, really has to promote plasma and platelet donations as much as they do whole blood.

I suppose it is more effective to sell one message at a time. I suppose “save 3 lives” is less complicated a message than “make 17 life-saving products”. I suppose most people’s whole blood is far more useful than my own, which I only share with 3% of the world population. I suppose one of the criteria for plasma donation is having successfully donated full blood at least once within the last 2 years. I don’t condone making a donor feel unwelcome (it probably wasn’t even their intention), but I suppose it all worked out in the end.

From the next donation on, I’ll be giving my universally accepted AB plasma. It’s a much longer procedure and one that cannot be done at a mobile donation site, but helping other less fortunate, donating what I can, is my passion.

Today is the day I decided to become a plasma donor.

“How much is in a serving size? Watch how much food you eat with these easy-to-remember references from everyday life.”

Easy Way to Estimate Shotgun Shell Size

“How much is in a serving size? Watch how much food you eat with these easy-to-remember references from everyday life.”

Ah, so a typical shotgun shell is about the same size as a 28g sausage. And now the non-gun owning population of the world knows. #Murica rolleyes

On our way to Cairns! All business for colleague and good friend; half business half pleasure for me; all pleasure for Richard.

Cairns Trip Flight Selfie

Vickie, Richard and Ali

See food in Cairns! See you in Cairns, I mean!

Cairns Trip Flight Selfie

No individual entertainment system for this short-haul flight. I guess I’ll actually have to talk to people. The things they made me do!

I’ve had an account on Eatability for a while but never got into it, because the site just didn’t quite have the same appeal to me as a blogger as Urbanspoon (soon to be Zomato). I randomly logged in after a million years to its new site design and review categories, and the first thing that came up on my profile was a review blurb I wrote for a French restaurant last year.

Eatability Censorship: Roasted Quail B******

Roasted Quail B… What?

I really don’t remember ordering Roasted Quail Bitches for dinner…

Oh. Breasts. What a dirty word. rolleyes

We’ve been taking so many pictures together seated, sometimes I forget how tall he really is…

Grandpa, Grandma, Vickie and Richard

Grandpa, Grandma, me, and some guy whose head got chopped off by the album thumbnail (sometimes also known as Richard)

I’m actually slightly above average height for an Australian woman!

Saw the news ticker “New e-health system to see all Australians given electronic health record” on TV this morning, which of course piqued my interest as it’s only something I spent 2 full-time years that my parents paid exorbitant international postgraduate fees on. How many of you have heard of the term PCEHR? How many of you know that you have long been assigned an IHI? How many of you have actually set up, logged in and used the existing national e-health system? I have, I have, and I have, but only because I studied and am actually working in my field, and actively pay attention to the development.

The new e-health system is an opt-out, I heard, but I have a feeling it’s going to be the same fail implementation that no-one but healthcare practitioners would use. Can’t fully blame the government for not promoting it properly, though; most people really just don’t care.

Ross Noble was as chill, random and tangential tonight at his Tangentleman show at Enmore Theatre as he’s over the radio, when we discovered his Australia tour (which was also the first time I’d heard of him as I don’t pay attention to stand-up comedies). Loved the audience interaction throughout.

Ross Noble - Tangentleman (Sydney)

Selfie at the Ross Noble – Tangentleman Sydney show, for great justice

I preferred the first half of the show; Richard preferred the last with more pop culture references. I’m very particular about humour (filthy jokes = okay; child abuse and rape jokes = no), and I think this show passed! A great way to end a hump day! smile

Took advantage of the eBay 20% off tech stuff promo (selected retailers only) earlier and grabbed a new graphics card from the Kogan store. I ordered at a time when the Qantas Points Online Mall was running their double points promotion as well. *explodes from bargain*

Gigabyte GTX 970: Box

My new Gigabyte GTX 970 in the box!

It’s here! It’s here it’s here it’s here it’s here!

Gigabyte GTX 970: In the Case

Cable management? What’s that?

A long overdue upgrade! And cable management be damned! (Deja vu?)

Gigabyte GTX 970 vs EVGA GTX 470 Size

The new Gigabyte GTX 970 (top) is a few cm bigger than my old EVGA GTX 470 (bottom)

The new card is so quiet. Running the same two monitors, the 970 temperature under load is lower than my old 470 with fans spinning at a higher speed at idle. Seriously.

Time to geek! Things to stop caring about: friends, boyfriend, sleep, food, personal hygiene, work.

Urbanspoon, the restaurant review site I actively participate in, has the the best external blog post integration system not found elsewhere. It has also been acquired by Zomato recently. I gradually noticed changes on the Urbanspoon site, and had mostly been in denial about the acquisition as I didn’t want to imagine what would happen to my favourite blog feature after what I perceived to be the eventual demise of the site.

So it must be understandable that when I received the email from Nick the Zomato Sydney Community Manager about a meetup, my emotions went from “Ding! Food blogger status level up!” to “THIS IS THE END OF URBANSPOON!” within half a second.

Henley's Wholefoods Alexandria Today is the day of the meetup with Nick and Richa the Community Managers, at the cafe of my choice. After the introductions, food ordering and my trying to hide my THIS-IS-THE-END-OF-URBANSPOON! fears, they proceeded to explain to me the Urbanspoon-Zomato transition process. They demonstrated the Zomato phone app, yet to be populated with Australian restaurant reviews. But more importantly, they assured me that food bloggers will not lose their beloved blog entry integration function, Spoonback! Hurray!

For once, I also didn’t have to explain or apologise for taking pictures of food! smile

This is what I understood about the transition process from our meeting:

  • Urbanspoon’s Spoonback feature will be integrated into Zomato.
  • All existing Urbanspoon reviews and content will be imported into Zomato.
  • Restaurants will be added by Zomato staff, including restaurant menu uploads and photos supplied by the restaurants themselves.
  • Restaurant details and menu will be updated every few months, also by Zomato staff.
  • Restaurant photos will be sorted by official uploads first, followed by user-submitted.
  • The full transition is expected to complete within this year.
  • Zomato Australia intends to run local community events, such as sushi-making classes! (I think I’ll be invited to some of those!)

Main differences between Urbanspoon and Zomato that I picked up:

  • Zomato operates globally across 20 countries and has local offices in each city here in Australia. Urbanspoon is a Seattle-based company of 40 staff.
  • Zomato has compulsory ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 stars in half-star increments. Urbanspoon has optional like (“I like it”) or dislike (“I don’t”) buttons and an overall percentage of how many people liked it.
  • Zomato has a weighted system where reviews of more trusted users will become the top reviews. Urbanspoon reviews are mostly listed in reverse chronological order.
  • Zomato restaurants can only be added by Zomato staff. Urbanspoon restaurants can be added by other users.

Questions I wish I’d asked:

  • Zomato has compulsory ratings. How would current reviews on Urbanspoon — favourites, likes, dislikes, neutral (no like or dislike), wishlist — be transferred over?
  • What happens with current Urbanspoon users who have earned the “Prime” status (most active users, of which I’m one)?

I guess I’ll have to find out on my own later.

Thank you for your time, Nick and Richa! It was wonderful of Zomato (Australia) to organise this and I do feel a lot more reassured after the meeting. I look forward to participating in the Zomato community once THIS IS THE END OF URBANSPOON! it launches for Australia with all the amazing features of Urbanspoon integrated later in the year! The next time we meet up, maybe I’ll remember to take a picture with you two as well!