Monthly Archives: November 2009

Day 101- November 30, 2009

What an exciting start to the day. Connex, the company that ran Melbourne’s trains for several years has been replaced by another company called Metro Trains. There’s been some hoohah over the whole matter, not just from the company’s advertising, but people “celebrating” Connex’s departure. I wonder how they’ll feel when they realise that the new company is still using the same trains and infrastructure. Yes, you might say, but things look different! True that. The staff now have silly ties that look like Federation Square. The worst part of it is that the “Now arriving at…” voiceover on the trains has been replaced with “Metro arriving at…”. That is very irritating. It reminds me of Jimmy from this episode of Seinfeld, who always referred to himself in the third person. THE TRAINS ARE REFERRING TO THEMSELVES IN THE THIRD PERSON!

Apart from that, today was pleasant. I mean, apart from the fact that I was reading Twilight. I’m about halfway through it, and it’s still terrible (to allay James’ fear that if I read it, I might actually like it). If it wasn’t for the fact that I did yoga today and was very calm, I might have burst into a fit of rage on the train at the combination of annoying train voice-over and the inability of Stephanie Meyer to write above a middle school English class level. Apologies to middle school English students. I’m sure some of you write very well. But seriously (if there is a serious side to Twilight), the character development is abysmal, the style is clumsy and it reeks of unnecessary adjectives

But yes. Yoga. And I went to the gym beforehand, which I think is quite a good combination, leaving one (me, in this case) feeling all exercised and stretched and serene (think Manny in the first episode of Black Books). In between the two activities, I decided to take today’s photo, which is the university’s athletics track. Boring, I know. Sorry. There were some noisy birds running around, but we’ve had our share of ornithological photos lately. I was also thinking of taking an action shot of somebody running on the track but 1) I didn’t have my telephoto lens and 2) he was topless and about 60. Nobody needs to see that. I don’t care how good shape you’re in (see, reading Twilight inhibits one’s ability to write well!).

Day 100- November 29, 2009

Oh, the pressure, the pressure! Up to Day 100, and so I feel this should be an extra special post. In fact, I’m slightly disappointed that I didn’t get a letter from the Queen (I got one from my local parliamentary member the other day, but I doubt the blog had anything to do with it). And it didn’t help that Josiah excitedly informed everybody on his Facebook in capital letters about my special day, but a big thank you to him for continually promoting this blog. (Rambling sentences are permitted after midnight). Oh well, I got upstaged by Mum, who is up to Day 333 today, which is a rather half-demonic number.

Most of today was rather unremarkable. I slept (woo), I vacuumed the house (less woo-ish) and did other boring things. And I wouldn’t have had anything to photograph if I hadn’t noticed a particularly silly magpie in the front yard contorting his neck (is it called a neck on birds? biology fail…) and making ridiculous noises. By the time I pulled out the camera, he had stopped, but then hopped onto a long piece of bark and stood (do birds stand?) in a position with his wings out that made it look like he was surfing. I know people on the internet love pictures of silly animals, so here’s my contribution. In fact, my bedroom window has really quite a good view for seeing silly birds and the rain and other things that one may wish to see out of one’s window. Maxim has a fence. Ha. Suck.

Scott came over in the evening and we discussed various things, ate various things and watched Kill Bill. It was a good combination. I haven’t seen that film for a while and found I appreciated it even more this viewing (perhaps because I’d seen more Tarantino films in the meantime?). I found the fight choreography to be more interesting than that in most films. For example, there was a certain style of fight choreography in 300 and Watchmen (both Zack Snyder films) that I found quite boring. And the soundtrack is good. Ahh Tarantino soundtracks… And now I want to see Inglourious Basterds again. Or at least listen to Cat People.

Well, this was my 100th post. I hope it wasn’t a disappointment (to anybody that might be reading this… I doubt it will be a disappointment to Josiah, because he’s usually fairly optimistic). Hooray for the first 100 days! And hooray for the next 100! (Or perhaps the next 265). And boo and hiss to the people who said I wouldn’t keep this up. And to those who made fun of me for keeping it up. And I’d like to thank the academy. Boy, I certainly don’t make much sense at 1am…

Day 99- November 28, 2009

I was cleaning my room up today, which was supposed to be a half-hour operation, but instead found myself redecorating it. Which of course took much longer. I hadn’t dusted for a while, so everything was coated in a thick layer of dust (a la that Black Books episode… “filthy”) and it was getting rather difficult to breathe. However, as I was looking through the piles of random crap on my desk and deciding what to throw away, I found some postcards and pictures and things that I had meant to put up on my walls, but hadn’t yet. So I spent the next hour or so dividing and subdividing clumps of Blu-tac and figuring out what to put where.

I put up some photos I’ve taken and have had printed, a few small film posters that you can get around Carlton, some postcards and pages that I’ve taken out of the Museum for Contemporary Art and Melbourne Underground Film Festival programmes. This is in addition to the Russian public health advertisement (mostly anti-alcoholism) postcards, postcards from the National Gallery of Victoria’s Guggenheim exhibition last year, my Aladdin Sane, Beatles and Pulp Fiction posters; and a painting by Lena. And that’s just one wall. I’ve also got some prints of vintage Italian films, some gig posters, Astor movie calendar posters, original 1960s film posters and pictures taken from a calendar of old film posters from a few years back. I think I’ve got around fifty things on my walls. My ultimate goal is to cover up every square inch (or square centimetre, depending on how you measure area).

Then, after baking a cake (pink grapefruit) and tutoring, I went over to Andrew’s where we (I’m ashamed to admit it) played computer games. In fact, I should probably get him to delete that footage he has of me giggling while running through the streets of Damascus and throwing people off buildings. It could be worse. I could have been playing WoW. Afterwards, I came home to my parents watching Superbad and enjoying it. Weird.

Day 98- November 27, 2009

One week into my holidays and I still haven’t written up a list of things to do. One of them will certainly be to learn how to use the several gigabytes worth of Adobe software that I downloaded a few weeks ago. I’ve got the hang of Lightroom, which is actually really easy to use and great for organising and editing photos. I’ve also used Photoshop a bit and Illustrator to make a design for some tshirts, and today I was using Indesign in making nametags for Syezd. Today’s picture (not a photo…) is what I’ve done so far as a nametag design for the committee members (everybody else gets a plain black one that says “delegate”). I’ve kind of picked up the extremely basic functions of these programs, but I’d love to learn more, especially since I know what about 1% of the buttons/functions do, let alone actually being able to use them. I’ll have to find something in a library or an e-book to teach me, perhaps…

I also went to Officeworks to buy the stationery for Syezd, which involves making sure that all of the 100 or so people attending (“delegates” sounds a bit wanky…) have an exercise book, pen, folder and nametag. Unfortunately, Officeworks only do free delivery for addresses in the Melbourne CBD, so unless I wanted to pay $40, I’d have to take it all myself. Super unfortunately, I was going by public transport. Now this didn’t seem like too big a deal. I mean, how much can stationery weigh? However, getting home was a nightmare because the bags were quite big and kept whacking into my legs and although they weren’t that heavy, I had to hold them at an angle (since they were bulky), compounded by the fact that my arms were tired from going to the gym. Gah! And to top it all off, my bag kept slipping off my shoulder. Not a fun trip. But sorry for the whinge. Please don’t make fun of me…

Some time ago, I won this “Australian Student Prize” for my high school results and recently I got a letter from my local member, telling me there would be a certificate-giving ceremony. So I was quite amused when I got home and Maxim passed on a message that “someone called Jenny Macklin” rang and that the ceremony would be postponed given something involving her going to Canberra (voting on the ETS, I presume). Can’t really explain what was so funny (it’s never as funny to anybody else), but I was just amused by the thought of Maxim casually on the phone to the Minister For About Ten Things. Oh well, at least I’m free to go to yoga on Monday. Win!

Day 97- November 26, 2009

Holy shit! Awoken by what sounded very much like an atom bomb this morning (but in fact was just a rather spectacular peal of thunder). It was somewhat scary, especially if it’s causing you to jolt out of sleep in that disoriented manner that causes people to say “whaaaaaa?” and look very puzzled. The storm must have been right over the house. I hear the dog went absolutely ballistic. But that’s ok, because I went back to sleep.

Given the weather and its likely effects on public transport (or Connex cancelling services with impunity now that it’s on its way out…), I decided to go into the city a bit earlier than I had previously planned. I was going to the State Library for the annual Inkys (youth literature) awards, so I ended up having breakfast (le croissant!) at Mr Tulk, the adjoining cafe. The croissant was nice, but the coffee wasn’t great. Grrr! But that was ok, since I got a muffin at the Inkys. In fact, I was rather lucky to get one after the food table was pillaged by a school group that had come along.

I was there because I was a runner-up in their Creative Reading Prize for my (still unfinished… how Schubert!) soundtrack to The Book Thief, but it was also interesting to see which books had been nominated for or won awards (not that I had read any of them). They gave me one of the shortlisted books (Broken Glass by Adrian Stirling) and an Insideadog tshirt to match Sarah’s (potential for awkwardness or awesomeness, depending on how you see things). The awards were judged by a panel that included teenage readers and the author of last year’s Gold Inky winner, James Roy (who for some reason, brought a slightly creepy doll with him). The Silver (international) Inky winner for this year was Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (which, frankly, sounded a bit Matthew Reilly-ish to me), and the Gold (Australian) Inky winner was Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Where The Streets Had A Name.

I also got a tour of the library, which included some exhibitions I had never seen or heard of before. We saw Ned Kelly’s armour, a collection of Australian pulp fiction and heard a rather strange story involving Matthew Flinders (of Flinders Street fame) and his cat. There were also some quite strange things on display, such as a rare book of life-size drawings of birds, a 4000 year old tax receipt and a “midget library” (pictured).

Luckily, the weather/transport delays had temporarily eased by then, so I went to Andrew’s, where he was playing some ridiculous game called Assassin’s Creed. I once had it explained to me, and I really don’t want to know. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but running up the sides of buildings while people are chasing you is always good fun. The weather then got worse again, of course while we were out. Luckily, we only had to run 200m in the rain, but it really was torrential downpour and got quite wet (my fish and chips was kept dry, however).

Then, after musical rehearsal, there was a Syezd meeting. It’s all really coming together now (we’re all a bit freaked out) and there’s only a bit over four weeks left. Having finished with the tshirts (and more importantly, being free from exams!), I’ve volunteered to organise the programs for the conference, as well as nametags, and packs of notepads and pens. Hopefully it will all turn out well, both in terms of raising enough money in the lead-up to it (to avoid being in debt!) and in it running well and being enjoyable.

Day 96- November 25, 2009

What a bore. I did not photograph anything of note today. In fact, a good portion of the day was spent burning all 6000 or so photos (~25GB) on my computer onto DVDs so they wouldn’t take up so much room on my hard drive. So that’s basically the only thing I had to photograph. How boring.

I guess I could have take shots of food, but I tend to do that a lot. I made a broccoli and mushroom risotto for dinner, which we enjoyed with a glass of red (we had our own glasses, not like one of those massive margaritas with several straws in it…). That was good fun… will have to expand my culinary repertoire during the holidays. In fact, I really should write a list of things I want to do in the next couple of months, starting with learning how to use Adobe Creative Suite. And I need new music. Any suggestions?

Apart from that, I’ve already starting looking at some photography sites. Some are quite specific (and time-consuming!) Photoshop tutorials such as how to get a fake rain effect (surely you can download an effect for that?), but I’ll have to find someplace that gives a comprehensive guide to its basic features. Illustrator and Indesign too, although I have figured out a (very) few things about Illustrator from working on the Syezd tshirt design (confirmed and paid for today! Woot!).

I really want to find more people to share photos and network with. I think I might return to Twittering (or Tweeting or whatever it is the Web 2.0ers call it), having read an article today on how to get more people to look at your photos. I’ve found the trick myself, having noticed that any photo I’ve taken of a girl tends to get more views. Doesn’t matter what else is happening in the photo– of all the photos taken at a fundraiser barbeque a few months back, one of Sasha counting the money got the most views. And food, food tends to get a lot of views (good thing I photograph it a lot, then!). In fact, one of my most viewed photos is a particularly unimpressive shot of chocolate cake! Now if I just combine the two concepts and take photos of girls eating cookies or something, I’d be an Internet celebrity!

Day 95- November 24, 2009

Today’s photo is not just of any old computer. It is a computer in the Economics lab, inside a soulless little booth, where I sat for over two hours today. But it’s ok, because I got paid almost $50 for that! I signed up a while ago for “economics experiments” at the university, and ended up going to one today, which involved trading in virtual containers of coloured balls and blah blah blah… (It took me ages to figure out what I was supposed to do; do you really think I’m going to try and explain it here?). Basically, you had to make various choices and then wait for an unknown person in another booth to make their decision and the whole thing would go on and on (again, it was cool because you got paid). Also, I discovered after a while that I could alt-tab out of the experiment program and eventually found the internet, so I could be on Facebook during. Sweet.

Got home and got a letter telling me that I didn’t get the Yamaha job. Damn. I drowned my sorrows in leftover roast lamb and potato. So I guess I’m looking for work again/still, made slightly more complicated by the fact that most of December and January will be spent either organising Syezd, being interstate or Christmas and other related excuses to eat. Oh well. I also got a letter from my local MP (Jenny Macklin) telling me that about a year after winning an Australian Student Prize, I would be getting some sort of awards ceremony. Didn’t quite make up for not getting the job, but there’s a good chance of sandwiches, and the opportunity to laugh at the timeliness of our elected officials. I also got the proof for the tshirts from the printers, which was cool– it’s all coming along nicely.

After spending the afternoon getting bored and taking photos of bees and other flying insects (which is what one clearly does when bored), James came over and we “chilled”. Somehow, our conversation with Mum on the evils of alcohol turned into us drinking vodka, but that’s ok because it meant she had something to put on her blog. Mmm Russian Standard (Русский стандарт), the official vodka of Syezd.