Tag Archives: University

I Have Been Put to Shame

The bloody woman had eight blogs. Count em. Eight! If she was an octopus her blogs would be like her arms. If she was a mother, she’d have octuplets. Eight screaming babies all vying for a suckle of mummy’s creative teat. But Mummy needs her rest children. Can’t you amuse yourself for five minutes? Can’t I even take a leak in private!

And she wrote everyday, sometimes twice. I sat there in my Writing for Performance class marveling at her, wondering how somebody could possibly have that much to say…

Then I heard her talk.

And then I understood.

The woman was a machine.

An eight tentacled abomination, enrapturing the blogosphere with her many differently themed creations.

I wondered about her competency. She was deathly allergic to bananas, yet for two years worked at The Big Banana. Bad logic? Or delicious irony? Like when someone fashionable wears a really ugly sweater…

Anyways. People. What can I say? I’m intrigued by them. Now to wait patiently for the mothership to beam me back onboard so that I may report my findings.

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I Wrote This With My Eyes Closed

Sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for inspiration to strike, I suddenly notice that for a non-religious household, there sure are a lot of representations of Buddha around the place.

When I was younger, in a previous house, Mum put a statue of Buddha outside the door, hoping it would repel Johos.

Somehow, I don’t think a little clay monument would deter them from helping us look for Jesus, but no matter. I searched behind my couch, where most lost things gravitate to, but alas, no avail.

Anyways, I digress. It was my first day back at Uni today. I had a midday short story class straight off the bat, my holiday hangover ever apparent as 12 still felt too early to function and my attentions immediately wandered from the teacher to all the new and shiny people. Particularly some Byron Bay alumni, with a floppy, maroon beanie and dead straight, sun bleached hair, compelling me to note down that I don’t like it when guys have prettier hair than I do.

The guy sitting next to him had red rimmed eyes, and I unabashedly assumed he was stoned. When the teacher asked him to define ‘short story’ on behalf of his group, he replied ‘Well, we all agree that they are short.’

Smart ass.

Anyways, he turned out to be some deep thinking, intellectual genius.

Here’s another one. ‘Short story is like a door, opened just a little.’

‘What does that mean to you?’

‘That life is like a door.’

Oh, god.

‘Why do we study short fiction?’

Thinks I, ‘Because it’s impossible to write and mark novel length fiction?’

BOOM.

Smart ass.

Unfortunately I didn’t turn out to be some deep thinking, intellectual genius.

Don’t get me wrong, I like short fiction, so in respect for the genre, let’s keep this post as short as possible.

 

 

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This Could Be Very Dangerous

Oh, wow. I can post from my phone. I couldn’t possibly think of anything more annoying than single finger typing and constant predictive text. Especially with my less than nimble fingers.

However, I am stuck inside waiting for my script writing tutorial, because of the miniature cyclone raging outside, so I must occupy my time somehow, meanwhile looking to everyone like I’m writing the longest text message of all time.

All I thought about in my first script writing lecture is how distressing it is to already know everything. Taking the word ‘everything’ with a grain of salt, however. Just the answers to newbie’s questions that you instinctively want to scream across the room.

Or yell out at the teacher about common short film length.

Look at me! I’m having a minor brain aneurysm holding my seasoned knowledge inside.

I am certain however, that past the introductory faze, it will be I whom receives an education.

Because despite my best efforts, I, in fact, don’t know it all.

P.S. The dangerous part is that this phone blogging business could be addictive.

In my previous post I pondered having a notepad surgically implanted in my hand, to jot down all my insightful thoughts whenever they crossed my mind. Scarily, a phone seems to be just that…

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Use Your Scholarly Words

I had the most brilliant observation the other day to share with you all, then I completely forgot what it was. So, really, it couldn’t have been that brilliant.

They say writers should carry a notepad around with them so they can jot down all the little unexpected gems that may cross their minds. But like my forever disappearing Chapstick, I know I would have to have one surgically implanted into the palm of my hand.

Or a tape recorder in my head. That has to be invented sooner or later, right?

Now all I have to share is a mildly entertaining anecdote about my first day back at Uni.

Actually I use the term ‘entertaining’ very loosely. Perhaps mild is exaggerated also. What’s below mild? I’ve never seen ‘boring’ on a taco flavouring packet before…

I can’t believe that Old El Paso ad where they try to make tacos less spicy with ice and a pedestal fan. I’m like ‘cucumber yogurt people! Obviously. Or is that just an Indian thing?’

Anyways. First day back at Uni and I’d forgotten to turn my ‘intellectual switch’ back on.

I noticed that it was still on everyday-citizen/waitress/friend/daughter mode, when in my self introduction to the class, where you could share the latest move you’d seen, I described Django Unchained as ‘cool’.

I, in this mode, thought that this was a perfectly adequate description, especially when in the realms of a short personal introduction. Because, I dunno, maybe you’d gather a little bit of insight just knowing that I enjoy Tarantino films.

But, alas, no, what was I thinking? That was an everyday-citizen/waitress/friend/daughter response. You’re back at Uni now baby, you must expound. You must think critically. You must think about the way that you think.

In my defense, I was first cab off the rank, so I only forgot to flick back on my intellectual switch.

Now, to the guy that described Prometheus as a ‘spiritual’ prequel to Alien, good on you for remembering.

I have never heard that turn of phrase in my life, but it sounds intellectual, so you must be on the right track!

Believe me, I went to film school, so I could defiantly give you an in depth breakdown of all the themes and techniques used in Django Unchained. But, the thing is, when I did expand and said that it was Tarantino just indulging in what Tarantino does, with a whole bunch of long shots in the beginning that go on forever, it didn’t quite encapsulate my movie going experience like the word ‘cool’.

So, I conclude, let’s keep it simple people. It’s a self introduction. There’s plenty of opportunities for self evaluating and exegesis-ing in class.

Ah, exegesis-ing. My wielding of the English language is incomparable. I can almost feel the high distinctions already.

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Shelter from the Reign: A Short Story

So, I’ve decided to post my first assignment of my creative writing degree. I figured I spent so much time on it, I might as well. But, I must admit showcasing my ‘serious’ writing is giving me a slight anxiety attack.  It’s kind of like one of those dreams where you’re suddenly naked, or you really, really need the bathroom but everybody’s watching and the door won’t close. It just won’t close!

Eh hem, anyways. For my short story assignment I submitted something that was originally part of a much larger story. Upon some positive feedback I’ve decided to expand on it. So, here’s Part 1 of my first attempt at dystopian SF.

Oh, yes, and … Disclaimer – this post does contain infrequent coarse language.

******

‘Shelter from the Reign: Part 1 – Sacrifice’

Clutching a high-powered, automatic weapon in your hands in a post-apocalyptic town is worlds away from holding a hunting rifle back on the farm. This thing wasn’t made for culling feral roos, or keeping rabbits away from your crop. It would damn near blow them to bits – a tail here, a fuzzy little foot there – no, this thing was made by the Confederates to cut through the armour of the enemy. Red State armour. The cool weighted metal across my lap, my finger poised over the trigger, inspires the same feelings in me of a kid hugging their teddy close when mum turns out the bedroom light. Slouching against the paneled stainless steel wall of the observation deck, I listen to the steady breathing of my sister, her body curled in a foetal position a few feet away from me. Still there, to my reassurance, high as a fucking kite, seeing swirling patterns in the white and grey linoleum floor, but still there.

The stuff mellowed her out and it sure beat the hell out of her screaming at every splayed corpse littered throughout this silent grave of a power station.

“The view’s not bad,” I mumble, trying to rise something out of her, but she just makes little circles on the floor with her pinky, round and round, her sparkly purple nail polish chipped on a broken nail. She’d normally freak out about that, go ballistic looking for nail clippers. She’s not quite the same without the complaining.

“Not bad,” I sigh, staring out the twelve-foot seamless glass window, that only four days ago I was showing as one of the technological highlights in my guided tour. It was the perfect vantage point to look out over hectares of outback country and the small mining town purpose built for the employees of the highest energy-producing plant of the 22nd century … And the most obvious site for military attack. Especially in a world energy crisis … Why wasn’t that part of my tour guide speech?

Now, outside the plate glass everything is flattened to the earth, as if a massive harvester came along, ripped it all out and dumped it. The buildings are burnt skeletons in the distance. I can almost make out the pub, the fuel station, the Hypermarket, even though they’re rubble. They’re the biggest piles. The sky is a haze of red dust – blood smeared across the horizon. There’s not patch of blue, or a speck, or even the hope of a speck. It’s suffocating. Lifeless. Pocket fires burn, their orange glow illuminating parts of the destruction – the street where Lil and I used to play, the footy field where I smashed Luke Jones for calling me a little girl and not letting me join in with the boys, the school where all twelve of us students learnt algebra and all that other crap that’s about as helpful now as a fly-screen in a submarine. Gone. All gone. Out there is completely fucked, because of one little thing in here.

The first time I saw the station’s core power cell, floating there in this clear tube container, it reminded me of a special clear marble I had as a kid, one of those with the streak of colour suspended in the middle, swirly, like the surface of Jupiter. Even though I was pushing nineteen at the time and had long grown out of marbles, I felt the same unadulterated fascination of my younger self when I looked at that power cell. A tiny fragment of energy-sucking material, storing what was left of whatever they could drag out of the ground. Even though mining has long been inactive in this area, the cell has gathered enough energy to be self-sustaining, my chipper, tour-guide voice reverberates through my head.

Gees, you’d think the government would invest more in protecting something that important. You’d think the Confederates would be freaking smart enough to stop something like this happening. Maybe they were all nuked too? Caught off guard. Who fucking knows. I hit my skull against the wall with a clamour that echoes through the silence. Lil stirs. My head flops over towards her like a rag doll’s, exhausted from keeping all my frustrations inside and smothered by a fog of dope. Lil’s eyes are red-rimmed and bloodshot. She sits up, her vintage Justice League t-shirt clinging to her skin with sweat. The goofy, cartoon smile of Superman makes me grin painfully, with dry, cracked lips. He must be something pretty freaking special to still be idolized, but I guess that when the world’s turning to shit, people wanna hold onto symbols for good. Even if they’re are a fourteen year old know it all, who should be obsessing about boys and not comic book heroes.

“You coming around?”

Lil nods and grabs her head with a quiet moan. “I feel sick…”

“Ya gonna chuck?”

“I don’t think so…” Lil scoots her back up against the wall. She stares at me with her usual ‘what the hell are you looking at?’ face and I know my lil’ sis is still in there.

If I hadn’t shut us away in the basement after work to get high, she probably wouldn’t even be here at all.  The weed is wearing off now. Its comforting haze clears and bleak reality presses on my chest like a hundred kilo weight. Images of the lifeless faces twisted in terror I saw when we first emerged from the basement, creep their way back into my mind and I wish I were still stoned. I pat myself down, searching for a fix. Plastic crinkles beneath the khaki material of my right pant pocket and I feel the cylindrical shape inside. A medical grade applicator housing a drug far more serious than weed, and so far I’ve been hesitant to use it. At least I know for sure what weed does to me – this stuff I can only go by what I’ve seen and the stories I’ve heard.

The soldier boy I took it from hadn’t the time to use it. Poor bugger would have died screaming. From what they say, just a little of the drug would have saved him all that pain, and with the whole syringe he’d have flown out of this world quicker than a startled chicken flying the coop from a big nasty goanna. I guess you can tell the ones who took the lot: they’re the ones you can still recognise. The ones the Red Coats wouldn’t waste bullets on. The ones that don’t have their brains spilled out onto the floor, limbs missing and broken bones poking out of their skins.

I picture my sister suffering the same fate. I’ll be fucked if I let any Red State pig touch her. Lil questions me with her blank glassy eyes. I want to give her a reassuring smile, one that says ‘don’t worry kiddo, we’re gonna be alright’, but I don’t believe it myself. When we passed the reactor chamber the bitch was still glowing, and I knew someone less than merciful was going to come back for it.

I need a fix, bad. The last thing Lil needs is to see me wuss out.

Just suck it up. Lil will need the stuff more. You don’t even know how long it will last. 

My sister reaches out for me. Her hand is clammy and cold, on her finger is her gold signet ring, the one mum and dad got her for her tenth birthday. I remember because that same year, for my seventeenth, I got my first air rifle.

That thing barely left my side for a whole year. I could shoot a clothes peg off the line at a hundred meters or so. That was then. Now, the gun in my hands is completely foreign to me. I tried my best to wipe it clean, but it still has specks of blood, stained into the metal. I’ve never shot one of these before. You know, never wasted a guy. Except in virtual. I bet it feels heaps different in real life. I bet it’s one of those things you can never recover from. I can’t be certain whether I’d have the gall to fire if it came down to it. Yet, just holding it, just knowing I have it. I dunno. A big-ass gun can certainly give you an ego rush to the head, and I know Lil feels safer with it around.

“What’s taking so long?” Her voice is hoarse and it falls from her lips in a parched sigh. “They should’ve come already. Aren’t they checking for survivors?”

I hesitate. Longer than I should, but what can I tell her? I want to believe that the Confederation is going to come as much as she does, but we’ve been looking out this goddamn window without seeing a Green Stripe for days now.

The silence drags, then, fortunately, she lets out one long sigh. “Are you gonna shoot that thing?”

“What, this?” I notice the tightness of my grip on the gun and release a little. I raise it, bringing the butt under my right armpit. The thing is freaking heavy. My arms quiver, so I rest it on my lap. “If I have to.”

“I should have one.”

“No way,” I reply.

“Come on. I’ve gone skeet shooting with dad heaps of times.”

“This is way different, Lil.” She’d never killed anything breathing before. Every time Dad or I had to shoot a lame cow between the eyes, she’d run to her room, crying, then turn up some crap Top 40 song to drown it out.

“It’s not like I’m gonna hurt anything. This place is a dump.”

“Lilly.” I never use her full name unless she’s grinding on my last nerve. It usually shuts her up.

“Fine,” she huffs.

Fighting with my sister comes naturally even at a time like this. The familiarity appears to sooth her and it distracts me from the cruel wrenching of my insides.

Darkness falls like mum turning out the light and I hold my teddy bear closer. The narrow beam of the LED light from my sight torch pierces through the night.

The torchlight reminds me of camping out in the backyard. Lil and I laughing and writhing around in our sleeping bags, making stupid shadow puppets on the walls of Granddad’s old tent. I could only do the duck. Lil managed something that looked like a dog. Then we’d just name everything we could think of that looked like a hand … a five-legged spider, grass blowing in the wind, I dunno … stuff like that. We’d stay out there in the middle of winter. You couldn’t keep us inside. Even now the only thing stopping us from wandering out into the ruined remains of our town was choking on some noxious gas.

It’s getting cold. We huddle. Lil shivers and I sling my arm around her. She buries her head in the little nook between my shoulder and collarbone and I rest my cheek on her strawberry scented hair.

My eyelids droop, heavy like the headlock on a cattle crush. My body loosens, sinking into the floor with exhaustion. The world begins to slip and time melts into nothing. But then a flicker of light dances past the inside of my eyes, again and again until a flood of bright white bursts them wide.

Lil stands completely still, silhouetted against the giant glass window. The sound of blades continuously chops the air: ticka, ticka, fwoom, fwoom. I pray to see a telltale green stripe on the chopper tail. Shit. The crows are as black as the township they burned to the ground, and there must be at least ten of them in the air, a whole murder of them, ready to swoop down. The searchlights pierce through the window, sweeping the entire observation deck. They flash over my face like the strobe at the underground rave.

“Come on,” I scream at Lil over the chopper’s thrum. Lil’s transfixed and I have to drag her away.

As I shoulder through double doors and sprint the long hallway, Lil flails out behind me. Our slapping footsteps on the floor are not alone. Heavier, more synchronized ones are marching on the metal grating of the upper floor.

You can run…

We fly down the steps of the stairwell and burst out into another long hallway.

I run until my breath escapes me, then I keep on running. Stairwell after stairwell, the footsteps are getting closer. Hallway after hallway and those stomping Red State boots still get closer.

I barge into the basement and bolt the door behind us. We disappear into a maze of high-stacked boxes. I drag Lil down beside me. We crouch. Hearts in our throats, we wait. Just maybe if we’re quiet enough they won’t find us. Lil’s eyes are wild. My gun rattles in my shaky hand.

How the hell do you shoot this thing? I was too shit scared to even practice in the whole freaking four days I’ve been holding onto it. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably drop it and wave the white flag first thing. Maybe they do take prisoners. Lil trembles beside me, her breath shallow and erratic.

“Listen to me Lilly,” I breathe out in barely a whisper. “We’re going to be fine…Look at me… If they come in here, we’ll take ‘em out. We’ll take ‘em all out if we have to.”

She nods. She wants to believe me, but I can see the cracks starting to form. Hysteria’s going to grab hold. It’s going to rip her apart.

What the fuck can I do? She’s gonna die screaming. 

My hand instinctively goes to my pocket. The applicator is unbroken. Steadying my jittery hands, I take out the implement.

“What does it do?” my sister asks, wide-eyed and innocent. I’m reminded of when she was eight, and I was about to put antiseptic on her skinned knee. I got her talking about her favourite cartoon and it distracted her from the pain.

“It will make you invincible,” I say, ripping the plastic pouch with my teeth. “So nothing can hurt you.” I nod down at her T-shirt, “just like the Man of Steel.”

She looks to the doorway. The footsteps aren’t far away. She’s not buying it, I can tell, but then she looks to me, the corner of her mouth creeping up.

“Faster than a speeding bullet?”

I nod, shaking the applicator out of the bag.  “Faster.”

Lil smirks. “Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?”

Even though she’s trembling, even though she may be scared out of her brain, she still gives me one of those sarcastic teenage smirks I’m so fond of.

I stare at the applicator. It has one of those little red buttons. It couldn’t be simpler. Just point and shoot.  A single harsh clamour fills the air. Metal on metal. The basement door heaves, resisting.

“A lot of the physics in Superman are wrong, you know,” Lil pipes up, like she knows.

“Is that a fact?” I ask, gently taking her forearm and facing it towards me.

An accented Red State voice commands, loud and violent, through the door.

“Yep. If he actually held out his arms to stop a train, he’d actually go right through it, instead of stopping it…”

The basement door is resisting the barrage. I’m shaking so hard, I’m afraid I’m going to miss the vein. What’s wrong with me?

Just point and shoot … point and shoot. 

Steadying my breath I pick my spot. The automated needle pierces Lil’s baby-soft skin right on target. We look at each other. I press the button, half way. I feel her body relax.

She smiles. “Just like Superman.”

“Like Superman,” I smile back. The needle is still in her arm whenthe basement door finally surrenders, crippling off its hinges. There’s a flash of sight torches, yet I keep looking at Lil. Her eyes are serene, blue as a sunlit sky. She’s somewhere peaceful, where nothing can hurt her.  She’s free. I can’t let them take that away from her. I won’t. The whole syringe is hers.

*****

To be continued …

Now, could somebody please pass me that paper bag? And perhaps a defibrillator as well.

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Just a little bit ridiculous…

Hurrah! Back at University. That didn’t sound completely believable did it? I don’t mean to come across as sarcastic, because there is a subject I am studying this semester that is actually of interest to me. Introduction to Creative Writing. Yes. Creative Writing. They still managed to squeeze an essay into the assignments, yet I’m still mildly excited. In class we had a writing exercise. It took me back to grade seven, with my favourite teacher ever, Mrs. Rowley, an actual author, and the brainstorming sessions we would have, writing in our journals, just letting our imaginations run wild. For some reason a lot of people had images of ‘pools of strawberries’ in their heads. I don’t know why, but is seemed to be a reoccurring theme. Perhaps it wasn’t an inherently twelve year old thing to think about, perhaps my classmates just thought it sounded ‘artsy’ and copied each other. Anyhow, in this particular writing exercise we were asked to complete this sentence: When I write I feel…

Hmm, I thought, thinking back to my most recent blog post. When I write I feel like I’m unlocking the gate to a mental asylum, letting all the crazies out to wreak havoc on the page. Painting green hair and bright red smiles all over priceless artwork, like Jack Nicholson’s Joker in a Gotham art gallery, yet my paintbrush is my keyboard and the art is the relative credibility of the blogosphere.

I didn’t write that exactly, but something along those lines.

And I’m secretly quite proud of my ability to smear countless, irrelevant words on to my internet page, yet a little worried how that translates into my story telling ability.

I like to write fiction, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m any good at it. I’ve written many words, yet the quality may be a little iffy.

My motivation also leaves a lot to be desired when writing fiction. Which is a shame, because there is a kick ass movie rolling in my head, and if I could only find a way to translate it to the page I’m sure I’d be winning. I sometimes wish I could just project what ever I’m thinking on to a screen, then it wouldn’t look like I was just staring out a window for two hours with no reason, like some sort of decrepit old lady who had lost her marbles long ago…

There are many movies inside my head. I imagine my mind would look, not so much like a sleek stack of shelves with neat, ordered DVD cases, but more like an old, dusty, dimly lit room with rolls of film shoved in draws and on rickety wooden shelves. Everything creaking, because that’s what my bones do…gosh, you 21 year old old woman you, go on crack your neck then, just move your shoulders back a bit, cccrriickk…sigh. Yes, I already feel old. I have already experienced the look of confusion and ignorance on younger people’s faces when they do not get references in my jokes or conversation.

“Have you actually ever seen Jack Nicholson’s Joker?” (I don’t know why that reference keeps popping up, let’s just say with my recently acquired Bat-mobile key ring, Batman seems to be on the mind.)

“Who’s Jack Nicholson? Isn’t that other guy the Joker, the one that died?”

“…sigh”

Dammit, I wasn’t even born when Tim Burton’s Batman came out, but kids today, seriously… Soon no one will get my pop culture references and then what will I do?

Noooooooo…

But surely, surely my Simpsons references are still relevant?

Well no, not always. And, if I may say, that’s just ridiculous, or as I like to say redonkulous, or because I’m Australian and Australians like to shorten everything, just redonk, or if I want to add a little pimp/gangster flavour, redonk-y-donk, or to just mix things up a bit, redonkey-kong…

Okay, I don’t really use these turns of phrase, because they, quite frankly, are just a little redonkey-kong.

Toodle-oo.

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Get and New Plan Stan. 50 Ways to Leave Your…study.

I’ve come to the resounding conclusion that procrastination is directly linked to cleanliness. Being that when I put off doing undesirable things, like reading Flaubert’s Parrot (which is actually pretty amusing – I mean any one who says ‘I am like a cigar: you have to suck on the end to get me going’ has got my attention…momentarily), things get clean. When there’s uni work to be done – washing the dishes, washing clothes, vacuuming, mopping, spraying and wiping, obviously takes precedence. And so does brushing and walking the dog, and saving those overripe bananas, that are attracting a swarm of fruit flies, and turning them into delicious muffins. Which I will regret later as I eat them for breakfast for five consecutive mornings, and realise that you really can have too many muffins.

There’s also another effective, yet less productive way to distract yourself from reading – watching movies. Any movies. Seriously. I watched ‘The Rock’ in shiny satin pajamas and fairy wings last night because I didn’t think to use my time more wisely. Yet, sometimes watching movies is technically study…ch-yeah, for lazy people who haven’t read the book. And when you have read the book, I swear, sometimes, watching the movie adaption will just make you dumber. Or incensed with inconsolable rage…especially when you watch said adaption in your tutorial and cannot leave, curse, or throw things at the screen. I’ll admit, the novel itself, namely ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’, wasn’t really my cup of tea – but it had its moments and potential to be a more tolerable movie. Man, was I wrong. Just a warning, I am about to go on a spiel about what I was thinking at the time of watching this movie, and having spent a year studying film, which has completely ruined my ignorance and tolerance of flaws, I’m going to sound like a bit of a movie snob….Anyways, when the movie finished the classroom forum was open for discussion – about themes, about inter-textual readings, about stupid stuff like post-colonialism – and all I wanted to talk about was how freaking horrible the actual film was. I, movie critic that I am, (cough, cough) immediately after, whipped out my phone,  jumped on IMDB so I could discover who this terrible director was that created this abomination. It was a soapy director, whose main credit was ‘Neighbours’! Ah hah, my inner reviewer was having a field day with this information. The people must know my thoughts! Sure they picked up on the complete miscasting of Rochester. The actor not quite measuring up to the Byronic hero, by way of his face forcing this temperamental emotion similar to that of a toddler, his weak screen presence and how his spindly, pasty body and lack of finesse made the numerous sex scenes quite nauseating…No, but let’s not talk about how repulsive the character of Rochester is, that’s in the book, wasn’t anyone completely put off by the sickly yellow colour grade on all the nature/jungle scenes? The unflattering lighting? The overexposed sky? The way the director so desperately wanted to emulate Terrence Malick in the way he brings nature to life through beautiful cinematography, but ended up with some weird swaying grass, with some obnoxious music over the top? The unnecessary and distracting use of hand held in random dialogue scenes, where the characters are sitting and drinking tea? The overused trope of echoing voices in the characters head and flash cuts as he runs mad into the jungle? No? Are you sure? Damn, I say as I wear my black beret and black turtle neck sweater, stroke my primped grey beard and turn into that obnoxious hack of a movie critic in my local newspaper, whom I so despise, mostly because he completely missed the point of the shaky cam in the Hunger Games (amongst other things). I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t think I’m like that guy, but nevertheless I’ll put away my scathing pen for now and reflect on why I don’t normally do movie reviews.

Hmm…Obviously, I just get too worked up. It’s not healthy.

I’m thinking that maybe I should just read that parrot book now.

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I believe in yesterday…

Yesterday…all my troubles seemed so far away. Eh hem, sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. Anyways, yesterday was my first day back to uni after one week off for study week, or more appropriately, for some, ‘beach’ week or ‘bludge’ week, or for me ‘stress out of your brain how much you can’t bring yourself to finish your assignments, but get over it and do them eventually’ week. It was a big day, starting with passing an accident where some person drove into the ‘Welcome to Lismore’ sign on the roundabout, and ending with me having some sort of emotional breakdown for no apparent reason (humph, women! what are you gonna do? Blame hormones, that’s most likely…)

So, I’m back in class, listening to some post modernist, post structuralist, post colonial…stuff. When, bam! An unexpected emotion hits me – amusement. A brief moment when my intellectual, insightful lecturer describes a chair as ‘being in a material world’ and I immediately think of him as Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer saying ‘ – and I am a material girl…or boy’, and how much I love that movie, and probably how much I’d rather be watching it at that very moment. Nevertheless, I am somewhat intrigued by the tutorial’s subject matter, and as usual, want to contribute my brilliant thoughts to the matter. Yet, my opinion, in this instance, is like a gastric brooding frog, not in the way that it gives birth to a bunch of tiny, baby opinions from its own mouth, but in the way that it is scarce and endangered. Oh, sure, my opinion is kicking around in my brain alright, self professing its awesomeness, but it just can’t transpose into verbal form, unless of course I had perfected my telepathic skills, unknowingly.

Well, that was the first disappointment of the day. Secondly, was the possibility of a freebie gym membership being cruelly snatched away. Nobody, I ah say nobody denies me what I think I’m entitled to. (And the importance of that sounding like Foghorn Leghorn, I don’t really know. When I make a point, for some reason, I speak like a cartoon character, a British gentleman or Pee Wee Herman…because they obviously hold more weight than myself…) I thought that apparently anyone playing a social sport was entitled to one month free gym membership at the uni gym, but it turned out that it only went to the team captain. I figured that pretty much sucked, as, if I had to sit on my bum for eight hours straight in class,  I should be afforded the opportunity to stave off blobbery and a soft mid-section. Because, don’t you know people, that there is an obesity epidemic in this country? And equally as important, an epidemic of poor uni students, whose boxing bags are so old they brake and nearly crush their dog? (exaggeration, we all know my dog is fine) But really, in other words, this is just me not wanting to pay for gym membership because I’m stingy. I did end up paying $10 casual rate to use the gym that afternoon, and I didn’t care if I nearly died of exhaustion, I got my money’s worth…

So…obviously this day was just too much excitement for little ol’ me, as at the end of the night I wound up getting all emo like I had just watched ‘A Walk to Remember’ or something (don’t deny it, that movie is horribly sad). Okay, so nobody wants to hear about someone bawling their eyes out for no reason, but seriously, what is it? A stress reliever? Maybe for me, but not for my mum trying to get to the bottom of some deep seeded personal insecurity I may have. Woman, your constant mood swings make no sense! (cue perfect segue) And neither does this blog…

So, tune in next time for another nonsensical dramatisation of my otherwise ordinary life. Bonsoir.

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Help…brain aneurism!

I’ve just submitted my first two university assignments ever and let me tell you, it was stressful. With shoulders so tight they were just about up around my ears, I went over my essays with a fine tooth comb, or in this case and a fine eye comb, because I don’t really see how you can comb a Word document…I checked and double checked everything before going into online submissions. There, I couldn’t find the appropriate link where to upload my paper. I began to mildly freak out, yelling at the computer screen. ‘Where is it, it should be under assignment submissions, but it’s not, why isn’t it here? This PDF instruction manual looks nothing like what I’m looking at! Max stopping woofing at me! (My dog, impatient for his dinner, I just didn’t understand why he could not wait, I was in the process of minor meltdown after all) Where the hell is it!…oh it’s right there, where it’s supposed to be…dumbass.’

There’s a certain amount of dread in uploading your work into the ether. There’s just no possibility of getting it back. It’s done, finite. What if I made a grammatical error?…dun, dun, dun. *Whirl around, dramatic look down the barrel of the camera* But after a few moments of distance and reflection there comes a sense of relief, a tiny realisation that you were completely and utterly irrational, and if I may say, a little bit of a loser nerd (and, I can say, I don’t know why I’m asking permission to insult myself) It’s not the end of the world if everything isn’t exactly perfect. I must dispose of these high school ideals I drummed into myself of maintaining A’s across the board. It’s just not practical in this new university setting, as it may turn me into a hunchbacked hermit, not to mention a spinster, my brain may explode, I just might turn into an obnoxious pseudo intellectual *shudder*, or be buried underneath a pile of papers so deep I’ll need one of those funky little helmets with the flashlights on them.

I over dramatise, yet manage to put forward a succinct and poignant argument (Hunt, 2010, p.1)

Oh, I forgot one thing, it may cause me to reference everything I write…

Until next time, bonsoir. (See, this is becoming a regular sign off…I actually have a sign off. Groovy…)

P.S. Mum, I appreciate you proofreading my every post. Please let me know if there are any spelling mistakes, or god forbid, grammatical errors! dun, dun, dun…

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I Feel Smarter With My Glasses On

This past fortnight a great many things have happened to me. For one, I broke my boxing bag. The frayed straps finally gave way, leaving me both secretly proud of such testament to my own brute strength, and deflated that I could not finish the venting of my frustrations through pounding fists and kicks of fury. I left the bag hanging there on a skewed angle, knowing full well the possibility of it coming completely undone and landing on my unsuspecting dog – which thankfully did not happen. I am in no means defending my own negligence, I just thought that Max (my ‘a little smaller than a Newfoundland’ dog) would have the good sense to stay away from a 50 kg weight crashing to the ground…

Secondly, I had a conversation with a curious lizard, that sat next to me whilst I was eating my lunch at Uni. I named him Gary. We got along swimmingly.

Gary

Thirdly, I had another bizarre dream that I was Batman – cape, utility belt, gravelly voice and all. Fighting off Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer version), the Joker (Jack Nicholson version) with a bazooka, many minions armed with machine guns, and saving children from unexplainable crates dangling from high-rise buildings. Quite frankly, it was better than Xbox.

And, oh, what was that other thing I did? That’s right, I started University. Obviously this list gives priority to the most important details first…

Today, I wrote down three things during my ‘Australia, Asia and the World’ lecture, that at the time felt important in surmising my second ‘cultural studies’  experience in a whole. I made a note that I do appreciate a good Star Wars reference in the teaching of, well anything; that I’m enjoying my peculiarly swinging, swively chair; and that lecturers like to use YouTube clips of foreign people singing to illustrate points about culture.

Another thought also crossed my mind in that lecture, namely ‘Woman! For god’s sake just calm down!’ – obviously referring to the designer sunglasses, midriff wearing ‘scholar’, who would not quit with the fidgeting, playing with the mobile phone and the constant opening and shutting of the MacBook Pro. I get it, you can take notes and look up stuff on your whiz-bang information machine, while I just jot on my totally cool Typo notebook – but the pages popping up on your blaring screen are distracting me from what I’m sure is a very interesting lecture about…something.

Actually, I exaggerate. I do listen and take notes, and participate in all the philosophising, theorising and questioning. What I don’t get is that, in one of my unrelated tutorials, we were to discuss a critical work on orality and literacy, amongst ourselves, like, you know, we were at a coffee shop. I don’t know about you lady, my inner monologue says to my teacher, but I don’t theorise about the written word at a ‘cafe with friends’, my cafe experience usually comprises of drinking coffee and perhaps talking to my mum about what’s for dinner…I can’t pretend like University discussions are just casual chit-chat between gal-pals.

So, it seems that I haven’t quite caught a grip on being all pseudo intellectual without sounding like a total pompous ass. If I’m to be a ‘scholar’ I feel like I’m in need of a pipe, a glass of brandy, perhaps a monocle, or even a fine mustache that I can tweak between my thumb and forefinger whilst remarking ‘Hmm, interesting point old boy!’ But seeing as though I’m not some sort of 18th century gentleman, I will have to adjust my view. Easy enough as I so discovered, by listening to a fellow classmate ‘articulate her thoughts’, the so-called ‘scholars’ of today sound more or less like this: “Like, like, like, individuality, like, like, creative writing, like, like, you know, like, like, like, you know what I’m saying?” Kind of reminds me of the Yip Yip aliens from Sesame Street

Okay, so that was only one person, and perhaps the ‘liking’ wasn’t to that extent. It just sounded that way – ‘like’ seemingly replacing where an intake of breath or a full stop should have been. Inner Monologue: “Just spit it out, woman! Think before speaking, it’s not that hard” aaaand breathe, let it go. End of rant.

Tune in next week (or whenever I find the motivation between reading Jane Eyre, amongst a million other texts, and French class, and touch footy, and work and perhaps Women’s Self Defense Kung Fu…? Hmm, ponderous!) for another exciting installment of… yeah, I can’t really finish that sentence.

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