Sunday, February 6, 2011

Oh, Hi February

February has truly unleashed its wrath - horrendous 40°C temperatures that are driving me insane. I've felt as though I were roasting my insides in my own skin like a big Aussie haggis. I cannot remember a summer being this hot for a very long time. Luckily: we have ducted air-con at home. Unfortunately: it keeps shorting out the power to our house in mid-afternoon. Argh!

Anyway, the last few days have been all over the place... good, and bad.

On Wednesday, I beached it with one of my closest friends. We headed to Nobby's first, where we were toppled over by waves and whipped by kelp cat o' nine tails. Not as strong as her, I was knocked over and dragged with the current closer to shore. All I could think of was our friend at Schoolies who nearly drowned caught in a rip, and the nasty kelp, so we drove around to Newcastle Beach. Much better conditions there - cleaner water, better waves, more vigilant life guards and nicer guys to perve on for sure!

Monstrous waves at Nobby's Beach!

I'd virtually forgotten until the drive home, when we were talking about her TAFE class and how I'd stuffed up Uni for the year, that February Round offers came out that night. 9pm soon came around and I looked online on the UAC website, not expecting much at all. But I was amazed by what I saw in the screen in front of me. Somehow, I'd gotten in to the Bachelor of Communications at Newcastle Uni!

There must have been some serious admin errors, because based on what the staff at the Uni open day told me, that was the only way I could possibly get in. I screamed out to mum in sheer delight but at the same time, doubted it could be true. I logged in to "MyHub" or whatever the Uni student portal is called to access my offer. It was true. There was my name, a student number, B of Communication, and the year of 2011 all ready for me to decide my own fate. Accept. Defer. Decline.

I thought about it for a moment. I'd mentally conditioned myself for a gap year - work, travel, learning French at the WEA. Everything. I also had to hear from that job offer in two days time. Knowing my place would still be held for 2012, deferment it was! A gap year is still my priority for this year - I'm turning 18 and want to enjoy it for a while without the stress of study. That and I don't want to start my degree when I can't get into the Uni bar for a couple of months!

Rest, my precious piggy bank. You needn't worry just yet.

On a high, Thursday, I went into town with another friend. We checked out Hunter Street. She showed me Emma Soup, I showed her the legendary Rock Shop a few stores up, and then we headed to Westfield, Kotara. I was so well behaved! I paid for my lunch and a Boost juice, and that's all. Usually, I have to spend there - I'm overcome with the objects surrounding me... especially in JB HI-FI. This time, my will power had a work out.

Naturally, I have very little money to hand out at the moment in my unemployed state. At the moment I've been following my grandad's motto "spend it wisely". I have an upcoming baby shower gift and belated 18th present to purchase, which will hurt the bank in its current state, but I am happy to hand over the cash. It's for one particular friend who really needs it and will appreciate what I buy for her and her developing bub. Grandad, that's got to be a wise outflow of cash.

Silent indeed.

If you could compare my week to a roller coaster, Friday was the downward slope. I stayed at home, on standby with my mobile phone and the land line until 4pm. No call. I was pissed off, no doubt about it. The guy I'd had my interview with told me I'd receive a call even if I didn't get the position. It's plain rude not to call when you make a date and set certain conditions. The optimist in me tells me to wait an extra week - they could have been as busy as the day I had my interview and had no time to call. If I don't hear in a weeks time, it'll be official - no dice. My littlest cousins came over for a swim, though, and it got the issue of employment off my mind.

Contrastingly, this weekend has been quite cruisey. Very relaxed, very quiet, except for the incessant chorus of cicadas. Tomorrow I start my French class, and I've got to keep looking for work if I am evidently incommunicado. February: a month shaping the year ahead.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Hair: for me, it has recently become an obsession. After my Year 10 Formal, I decided for the next dress-up occasion I was growing my lifelong shoulder-length 'do. I desired "Mermaid Hair", the sort of shiny, healthy stuff that drapes over breasts, hanging down to your waist. Never a fan of "The Little Mermaid" or similar stories, I have no clue what suggested to me that mermaid hair was the epitome of feminine chic.

Expecting blues and greens for a mermaid illustration, were you?

Two years later and I have my mermaid style: when straightened, it reaches the middle of my back. It's heavy, it gets in the way all the time and it is unbearably hot in summer. Suddenly, after my goal has been achieved I no longer see it as the ultimate girly accessory.

One day I want my face to be framed by a style similar to Alexa Chung's, the next I'm favouring Carey Mulligan's cute crop. I am not familiar with their work, yet I desperately want their look. I am constantly buying hair magazines, trying online style simulators (specifically, the free one at InStyle), and for what? For nothing. I stagnate when it comes to the action of cutting or colouring.

People hate change, but humans are meant to be able to adapt fast, which apparently makes us superior to other animals. So why the hell can't I act as a superior animal and get my hair done? I can't blow caution to the wind and just experiment because I fear what others may think of me. Hair is such a huge part of our culture, yet it is just one aspect of human appearance...

Nice locks can attract a partner. Hair - or the absence of hair - can demonstrate youth, maturity, health and illness. The natural growth and colour of a person's mane are altered based on belief systems, eg: Punks, and members of certain religious groups. For women in particular, their tresses also provide a constant topic of conversation. Oh, and styling the mop on your head also creates jobs! It's not just emotional and social, you can capitalise on a person's crown of glory.

Growing up, our attitudes towards hair are quickly influenced. We readily accept the notion of short styles for boys, and longer lengths for the girls. In primary school, I remember when boys got nits their mothers would often just shave their heads. Problem solved! But for us girls, we suffered chemicals slathered on our scalps and hair-pulling with metal-toothed combs to keep our precious, precious locks.

Now I'm older, I do like short cuts. I like bobs and undercuts and all sorts of things. But I'm a scared little cry-baby whose hair will be the same for a while to come.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Work, Please

I am in desperate need of a job and have been looking since just before my graduation. I'm running low on money, and getting my licence in the last couple of months has drained my bank account significantly. Yep, I can still hear the money going down the plug-hole as I type. Glug, glug, glug. Anyway, I've had three unsuccessful job interviews since September. Three. Count them - three, three!
  1. For a Junior Agent position at a real estate joint, in the last couple days of school.
  2. Another as a Junior Admin / Run-about for a law firm, sought after my exams, which dragged me away from my Schoolies trip for a day and a half.
  3. and, third time unlucky, a tedious retail job at a clothes store (sheer desperation - I hate retail).
In February last year, I visited the clairvoyant (psychic) my family receives readings off. She doesn't know we're all related, she doesn't ask for any information whilst you're in with her, and yes, she is the real deal. I won't go into any details, but lots of things she's explicitly told my aunties and mum have come true, as have two things she's disclosed to me. One thing I thought she wasn't so dead-on about though was my employment forecast.

I'll answer phones, I'll write notes. Anything. Work please!

The clairvoyant told me I'd never have any problem getting a job, because of how I spoke, how I presented myself etc. I believed her. Three job interviews later, I struggled to believe her and was bashing myself up over what was wrong with me. But then I thought about it a bit more...
  • Job interview #1: I got into the office and couldn't see myself lying away to people about properties.
  • #2: I was put off by all the driving I'd have to do. I'm not a confident driver, especially where parking is concerned, so it was a very daunting prospect. Plus the wage was crap.
  • #3: It was close to home, that was the only thing the job had going for it. I hate retail. I hate it. I also hated the fact that because of its black-out period over Christmas, I probably couldn't see my dad.

That's why I sucked in the interviews (or at least, I'll tell myself that, thank you!). I wasn't confident because I didn't want to work there, but I didn't necessarily want to say to them "Nah, it sounds like a shit gig. I'd rather be selling sea shells by the sea shore," either. So I strung myself along, thinking they'd be dying at my feet to get a hold of me after what the clairvoyant said. Nuh-uh.
Yesterday, I had a job interview for a Junior Admin position at a marketing company. I think it went really well, which is a total contrast from my last three. I actually walked out with a smile on my face! I'm hoping I get it - my prospective boss was friendly, it's a creative environment, the location's a not-too-bad distance from home and the duties sound to be quite good.

I've been throwing out positive vibes to the universe non-stop, and next Friday will be when it throws something back to me (phone call regarding a trial day, if when successful). In fact, I've gotten so excited about it that I have designed a budget from the minimum wage I can receive in that line of work, so I can save up to travel. Yay!

Dear cosmic powers, if you can sense what I'm writing... don't let me down this time!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day: Need for Change

January 26th: Australia Day. I spent the day sitting at home alone with my dog, listening to Triple J's Hottest 100, sober unlike most of the population. Some of my friends worked, some slept the day away, and the rest have gone camping (not my idea of fun) or spent it with family. Mum went to Sydney for the day. It's been a lonely and quiet Australia Day today, haha. Meanwhile, I'm sure the rest of the nation has spent it sticking on Southern Cross temporary tattoos, flag-waving and burning meat on barbecues.

Aussies aren't as in-your-face with their adoration of their country as... say, Americans, but they're just as slow to actually criticise their country. They'll criticise politicians - any figure of authority, really - but not the general population or country itself. There's this "she'll be right," apathetic attitude that is really disturbing. Every year, I tend to think about what needs to be done around here - things that tax makers and tax payers can work to achieve...

Ten things that need to happen before I'll be more proud to be Aussie:

1. Close of the gap between Indigenous Australians and "White Australia".
Simple solutions, but hard work. Education, government funding, and I think most importantly: a change in peoples' attitudes.

2. A huge decrease in racists and xenophobes.
The second verse of the Australian national anthem beckons, "for those who've come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share". It's almost amusing that racists seem to ignore this fact when upholding their snow-white vision of this place.

If they honestly feel the need to tell others to "Fuck off, we're full", well, there's ways to make room. This can be done by:
a) all racists being sent on a boat holiday, refugee style. If they survive and shed their discriminatory views then they may be readmitted to our society.
Or, I'd settle for...
b) all racists being permanently kept in a detention centre on Christmas Island.

3. Equal pay for equal work between Aussie men and women.
The USA expects this to happen for their workers in about 2024. Australia supposedly has a lot longer to wait, which is just despicable. I'm not comparing what we can do with another nation, I'm comparing what we can do as people.

Barry and Sheila worked for Man's World Pty Ltd. They had the same degree, had their induction together, worked in the same department as accountants from 9-5 and wore the same colours every day. But for some inexplicable reason, Barry was paid more.

4. Legalisation of euthanasia.
Having seen someone with a terminal illness live in pain just to suffer day after day, with no quality of life, I find it ironic that people seem to see euthanasia as what is immoral.

5. Legalisation of gay marriage.
People are people, and love is equal. Everyone should have the right to have their love legally recognised.

6. Australia becomes a Republic.
We've got nothing to do with Britain these days other than a shameful history, a bastardised version of their language and maybe some trade agreements. I like Britain, but it infuriates me to think that we're technically run by a woman who gets to rule the roost because of her "blue blood". May I add, in addition to regal titles, she's undoubtedly also passed on genetic defects to her children, one of which is destined to be our - HA! - King.

You see, Elizabeth II is married to Prince Philip, who is her second cousin and third cousin through two of her different ancestors. That effectively makes her children a cousin to each of their parents, as well as a cousin to themselves. Shock horror! This provokes the question as to why Australians should be ruled by people who encourage a type of Eugenics theory? Should we admire them for their incestuous ancestry? I mean, that's the kind of shit that created haemophilia. Just saying. Oh, and also, the concept of "democracy" within a monarchy is extremely ironic. The constitutional monarchy is a thing to laugh at.

7. Change in design of the Australian flag.
Republic or not, the flag needs to change. We're not all from Britain, and the British weren't the first people to live here. The times have changed and the Union Jack is no longer relevant, though I dare say it never was.

8. Mandatory English language lessons.
You may think this is a racist point, but in all honesty it's not. Everyone has the right to speak their native tongue at home and in public, too. However, when a country functions using one language, and people who live within it are unable to communicate with others they do become a burden to society. Even worse, because of this they become the target of racists. My dad's parents can barely speak English, and what they can it's broken with a thick, Italian accent. They've basically relied on their kids for a lot of social interactions. Hence, English lessons are needed.

9. Increased literacy of English background speakers.
For people who have grown up speaking English, there is no excuse for poor spelling and bad grammar. The most annoying things I have ever encountered are stupid grammar mistakes when I read Facebook statuses or text messages - and I'm not talking about typos or absent-minded slips. I think it's because of the Australian accent and the way people translate it into their writing.

The most heinous?
  • "Would of / should of" when it should have been "would have / should have", but most likely their contracted forms, "would've / should've". - eg, "I would of been there, but..."
  • "Then" when "than" should be used - eg, "I like the new iPhone better then the last one."
  • "He's" instead of "his" - eg, "He picked up he's phone" or "We're going to he's place". (This one is inexcusable. They have no idea of apostrophe rules, either.)

10. Australian of the Year awards are won only by deserving people.
Alright, a lot of deserving people win. People like Fiona Wood (2005), Prof. Michael Dodson (2009), and Prof. Ron McCallum, who won the senior award this year. These are all citizens who have contributed to better our society as a whole. But Jessica Watson for the youth award in 2011? And Maggie Beer for the senior award last year? Pfft. Not worthy, if you ask me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

UAC Blues

University offers, or lack of them, can make or break a person's future. I should know. Last week, the UAC (Universities Admission Centre) released offers for the Main Round. THIS was the occasion when I realised how big of a mistake I'd made when it came to my tertiary education - initially, at least.

Tossing up whether or not to change my preferences for a Bachelor of Communication at Newy from number two, to number one, I'd reckoned that as the UAC considers "all preferences" for the Main Round I'd just leave it be. I mean, nothing was set in stone as to what I really wanted to do, where I wanted to study. I could always change my mind. Stupid girl.

What I failed to comprehend was that all preferences are considered after a prior offer is rejected. If #1 degree at *blank* institution is brutally turned down, then #2 is brought to the table for judgement, and so on. Stupid girl - although, I asked a few friends and they thought this was the case too. But they got into their #1's that they actually wanted, so the "stupid" tag remains.

I kept listed a Bachelor of Writing at Canberra as number one, and with an ATAR cut off of 65.00 out of a possible 99.95, my ample 88.30 made me a more than likely contender. Stupid, stupid, stupid girl (with a decent ATAR, mind you).

On that fateful night, at 9pm I accessed the UAC website with the jitters, eager to see any offers sent my way. It was almost as nerve-wracking as getting my HSC results. I was horrified to see one, just a single offer from the University of Canberra. I realised how silly I'd been understanding the application process. More painfully, in that very moment I realised I'd give an arm and a leg to have it say B of Comn at University of Newcastle (81.60 ATAR cut off, so I'd have gotten in).

Weeping Undergraduate, not quite as cool as Picasso's Weeping Woman.

Devastated, I told my Mum and then had a complete and utter nervous break down a la Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons. I must have cried for about a half an hour, and let me tell you - I don't break down easily. I'm more prone to anger than anguish. What set me off was that I hadn't been rejected, but I hadn't even been considered because of my own foolishness.

After I'd calmed down (approx. 18 hours later), Newy Uni had an advisory day and I discovered the unfortunate truth. B Comn, unlike several other courses, would not be making offers in the two subsequent rounds before first semester began. They wouldn't be taking mid-year applications, either. I was told to cross over from a Bachelor of Arts after a year, like most people. Bachelor of Arts? No thanks.

Four factors for a thumbs up Gap Year! Ha.

I went home and moped. What to do? I humoured downing a whole packet of Panadol (total over-reaction, I know) but remembered I was seeing friends in a couple days and didn't want to rock up as a Ghost. What to do? I was struck with the most obvious answer: take a gap year! A gap year, a sure fire way to get some money, life experience and forget about study for 12 months.

Before doing anything for certain, I interrogated UAC phone operator Jamie (poor bloke) about fluctuations in my ATAR, the February and final offer rounds, and accepting offers. Taking all info into account, I went online today to defer my B of Writing at Canberra (just in case I change my mind again, a place is a place), and decided on re-applying to the UAC next year with a B Comn listed right at the top.

So... Hurrah for optimism! Hurrah for gap years!