Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Lost Art Of The Compliment

More of a sharing post today than anything pertaining to my own thoughts. A friend, Chloe, linked me to this article and, with my exams *mostly* out of the way, I finally got around to reading it.

The article: The Lost Art Of The Compliment.

It's essentially just about what it really means to compliment someone - why we do it, what effect it has, when the correct time to do so is. It's something I'd never necessarily thought about before. I must admit though that I kind of disagree with the author's initial view in regards to the weight compliment. I know it's probably odd for me to be taking an optimistic view but I never necessarily saw it as a hollow ice-breaker, or a reminder of how one *used* to be like he did. Considering the effort I'd gone through to lose a lot of weight (and still am), the odd occasion someone mentions it that I haven't seen in awhile... It really does brighten up my day.

As for motives and whatnot though, and the correct moment to compliment deeper in the article, I must agree that it should never be forced. They really do mean a lot more when it's just out of the blue, even mid-conversation. I know one thing I get constantly complimented on - and I'm not quite sure why - is my eyes. I've had a number of people just randomly comment on their 'blue-ness' when just standing in the canteen line or something such as Rachel. I know in the middle of a shift at Red Rooster I was in the middle of a conversation with Mariah and Colby at different points, and even just disregarding the conversation for a short moment each commented on my eyes out of the blue - just because they felt it needed to be said. Not to *start* conversations, but to merely acknowledge. That's the sort of compliment that actually means something to me, like he states in the article.

Sure hearing "Nice [x]" from a friend or a stranger is nice and all, but it never means as much. The more personal the comment, the more out of the blue it is, the better. It shows an actual element of observation rather than a fleeting moment or glance. He mentions almost developing this 'hypersensitivity' to the details of people, finding something unique and interesting, something to be admired, about the people that he meets, rather than just letting everyone blur into the crowd. That seems more like the kind of attitude I should work on adopting. Taking the time to stop and look around, to notice things, to admire.

I figure I should stop here - anything I say will just be written far more eloquently and made so captivating in the article itself. He really did have quite a way with words, made everything seem so thoughtful.

...and in hindsight I guess I just complimented him. Still, as cliched as it probably is, it needed to be said.

Adios.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Common Courtesy Isn't So Common

Seriously, whatever happened to common courtesy? Having just completed Paper 1 on Belonging today for English, I'm slightly disconcerted that I almost feel like the protagonist of my creative story, hanging onto values in a world where they're progressively becoming outdated and irrelevent.

Whatever happened to the times when a cashier was actually friendly,
not just spouting polite idioms?


Whatever happened to the times when an apology was actually apologetic,
not something just stated to get rid of the awkwardness?


Whatever happened to the times when a person could ask politely for something to be done,
not having to resort to anger or some form of deterrent due to almost bratty resistance?


Whatever happened to the times when a favour was actually a favour,
not some ludicrous transaction where everything was perfectly balanced?


Whatever happened to the times when people were actually attentive to a conversation,
not just a time filler until boredom or obligations consume one of the participants?


Whatever happened to the times when a gift was actually a gift,
not an investment or an obligation to get a future return?


I really wonder what happened to all that. As of late it just seems like these things are increasingly becoming a rarity, really different to how it was a decade or so ago. Maybe that's just the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia for my childhood that're skewing my perceptions, but I can't help but feel that's the way things used to be. More simple and personal. I know I'm not the only one who tries to retain these sort of values, and I'm thankful for those other people who do their best as well. It's those sort of people that make life worth living. Make it pleasant. I'm well aware this post is slightly more ranty than usual but I blame the HSC English paper for that, heh.

I really just long for the day when such values begin to make a more mainstream comeback.

Adios.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Polaroid Past

Short post today, especially since everything I'm about to say is explained in a longer post elsewhere.

Anyway, since I haven't updated in awhile, I thought I'd just quickly mention a side project I've started. Essentially, I'm aiming to take a photo a day that some how applies to what I was feeling that day or eludes in some way to the day's activities. Not necessarily aiming for 'profound' or 'inspirational' shots or anything, but rather just chronicling my existence for the next year. Then, since I love Polaroids and they have this nostalgic feel about them, but the film itself is too expensive, I figured I'd photoshop each of these daily photos into a Polaroid format - just for an aesthetic if nothing else.

The blog itself is here: Polaroid Past.

Full explanation can be read here: Polaroid Past - The Concept.

Anyway, not a great deal more to say on it. It's not exactly for an 'audience' as such, but it just gave me something to talk about in the mean time on this blog. It's more for personal intrigue, just to look back in a year's time and go through all the photos in one go - a year of my existence. Figured I'd at least wait until I had a week or so of photos up before announcing it, though one or two people found it on their own anyway.

I know starting it right before the HSC when I won't be going anywhere as much to take more interesting photos probably wasn't the smartest thing, but now that I've started I won't be stopping until it's been 365 days, heh.

Adios.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fifty People, One Question, Zero Study

Been a bit under the weather today so my study has taken a hit, which isn't exactly great the week before my first HSC exam. Anyway, I can't particularly find the time, energy or brainpower to write anything too substantial (which should please Shuang and the like who prefer things short and sweet, haha) so instead I thought I'd just link to this video.

There's actually a number of videos, a few of which get linked to at the end of this one, and even more if you google. Essentially, the premise is simply that this guy goes to a town somewhere in the world and pulls over 50 strangers on their daily walk to ask them a basic question with no limitations on the answer - for example, "Where would you like to wake up tomorrow?" or "What do you wish would happen by the end of the day?" - and then collages the video responses together to contrast all the different characters of the city, as well as their vastly differing and interesting answers. The videos just had a great atmosphere to them, so I'll say no more and let anyone who's interested to judge for themselves.


Really just makes you think. When a question is so simple it's amazing how easy it is to go blank, unless you adopt a stock standard response. Honestly, myself, I have no idea.

Adios.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Before I Tango With The Reaper...

...I've been thinking of a few things that I'd like to do - before the end of my days. I was essentially bored of studying, felt like updating my blog yet had nothing particular to say, and thought I'd try and update my "Things To Do Before I Die" list and see how it has developed since I last thought of it. Some of them are incredibly mundane, whilst others are slightly larger goals. Behold, in no particular order!
  1. Travel to America (and possibly meet a friend there if able), Japan, and somewhere yet-to-be-determined in Europe.
  2. Land a job in graphic design or advertising, after having preferably attended the Visual Communications course at UTS.
  3. Get a slinky autographed by Hamish Blake & Andy Lee.
  4. Get a photo with Natalie Tran, the Communitychannel girl from YouTube.
  5. Learn how to dance and/or mosh to some description, whether it be an actual style or just generic when-the-music-is-playing type dancing.
  6. See Daft Punk in concert and apply some of the aforementioned skills in number 5.
  7. Obtain the largest stuffed Mario mushroom possible.
  8. Buy a 'fancy' pseudo-novelty belt buckle, so it's still metallic but has an interesting image/symbol/design/etc.
  9. Publish a book.
  10. Finally win something out of a Stacker game machine, instead of the machine cheating me at the final line every single time.
  11. Get Charles Martinet's autograph - the voice of Mario. He was in Sydney this year but his only store appearance was on a Wednesday, so I missed out due to school. Bah.
  12. Attend any form of video game music concert played by an orchestra, such as the Eminence or Play! Symphony Orchestras, among others. Or, bar that, just see a live orchestra of any sort.
  13. Learn to drive, heh.
  14. Move to Sydney or somewhere not too far from Sydney.
  15. Lose another 10 or so kilos, and finally get myself in proper shape when time allows.
  16. Have something properly exhibited in an art gallery or museum.
  17. Have a lucid dream.
  18. Experience anti-gravity, even if it's only that fake anti-gravity simulation thing they can do on a fast-moving plane. Apparently these planes are called 'Vomit Comets'.
  19. Finally get around to giving blood at least once.
  20. Participate in some form of scavenger hunt, along the lines of an 'Amazing Race' type deal, though probably held more locally such as around the city.
  21. Win a trophy from a competition, as opposed to a schooling or sporting trophy. It can be any sort of competition at all, even as obscure as, say, Lawrence Leung's Rubik's Cube trophy, for example.
  22. Learn to use chopsticks properly. I learnt once, temporarily, but then forgot by the next time that I had to use them.
  23. Learn to paint. I never really honed my skills in that and just focused on drawing, but I'd like to improve one day.
  24. Invent something, even if it never is never commercially successful. I just want to invent something that would be useful to me personally, if no one else.
  25. Own an SLR camera, and pursue photography in some form whether it be as a career in photojournalism, for competitions, or just as a personal hobby.
  26. Learn to play a musical instrument, preferably either the violin or piano.
  27. Properly sing karaoke at an actual karaoke bar without getting embarrassed or completely and utterly sucking. Just perform slightly above the level of terrible, maybe sub-par.
  28. Meet Tim Burton and/or Danny Elfman, and get some form of photo or signature.
  29. Paint a pair of my own shoes with some sort of retro gaming pattern, like Tetris or Pac-Man, ever since discussing it with Lynneal a year or two ago.
  30. Ride, or possibly own, a segway.
...Considering the first time I wrote a list like this about a year ago and it only had ten things, it's grown quite considerably. Good to know I have some stuff to aim for in life. I might try and keep this post updated and cross things off as they happen, though when and if I cross any of these things off is a mystery. Oh well, that's all for today.

Adios.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Breaking Open The Nostalgia Box

Considering graduation just ended and there's a flood of nostalgia, I figured I would finally do something I haven't done in two years.

Be warned - it'll be a long post, most likely due to the amount of images.

Ever since the beginning of Year 11, I figured I'd try and turn things around with no regrets, since I'd missed out on a great deal in the junior years. It all began after meeting I guy called John from Pendle Hill during a week of work experience at a news company in graphic design. I'm not sure what it was, but something about just the way he talked about his friends spurred me on to finally be more social, and to go a bit beyond my boundaries that I was comfortable with. In order to remember these things, and a constant reminder to live with no regrets, I began the Nostalgia Box, where I threw every little object and trinket, beginning with the notebook from that very week at work experience.

The overflowing Nostalgia Box.

Anyway, I finally actually delved back into the box after two years of only throwing things in, and what an eventful year it has been. Full of growth, new experiences, and most importantly - new friendships, and continuing old ones. I figure that a picture says a thousand words, and the rush of nostalgia is barely able to be described, so I'll try to focus mainly on images with a only small explanation in this post.

Behold, the magnificent contents.

Behold, the nostalgia box. Two years worth of memories locked away in this thing, though I use the term 'locked' loosely as it is literally overflowing now with nostalgia. Just quickly, I couldn't get photos of everything because it's just so full, so here's a few extras, like Shuang's handcrafted invitation to her 18th birthday outing, or pens from the school librarian from my work on the year magazine. Also inside are some 3D glasses from a few films such as Coraline and Up, or a number of brochures from various art exhibitions that I've been to see with friends in the past two years, ranging from the AGNSW and MCA, to the Object Gallery or exhibitions at COFA. There's also a farewell card from Kate acquired recently, along with the tag she had wrapped around the accompanying chocolate.

The Easter Show!

One of the first items I found inside was a day program from the Easter Show earlier this year. It was absolutely epic. Both school friends and external friends came along (after an environmental rally in the morning which was also awesome), went on a number of rides, saw Vex Reverend with David, Pat, Elliot, and Zac from school in it perform, got a photo with the infomercial guy from Sunrise, and so much more.

Party Panda!

Continuing on from the Easter Show, this is also a stuffed panda I won at one of the sideshows. The stylish hat he is wearing is a blue party hat - one of a set that we all rocked for an entire day in the city for Derek's birthday. Totally stylin'.

Postcard-palooza.

Littered all the way through the box were an incredible number of free postcards, often stolen in a raid of the rack with Shuang and co. as we grabbed any free things we could find at any venue that had them available. The photo above only shows a *very* small selection of what is a ridiculous amount of postcards (sometimes even doubles) that will never be used. Never hurts to have nostalgic free stuff though.

National Art School forms and an invite to the final exhibition.

....and who could forget the two week course at the National Art School during 2008. Seriously, it was quite possibly one of the best experiences of my high school life. Not only was it an immensely enjoyable learning experience, an outlet for some creative freedom and new techniques, and more, but it created the foundations for some new (and some of my best) friendships ever since. Whether they were people I'd known prior from school, but just not gotten that close to in the past (Dora and Shuang), or entirely new friendships from a number of schools (Derek, Julie, Johnny, Stella), or even meeting Alicia's apparent clone, it truly was one of the greatest growing experiences I've ever encountered. Even the general atmosphere of the area, such as visiting Pie Face (and devouring an terribly undercooked quiche), or...

A Yoshinoya brochure, and some original Yoshinoya chopsticks, never been used.

...experiencing the much loved and now lost Yoshinoya beef bowl. The brochure was only recently acquired from Dora, as she'd thankfully held onto it. That, and after digging through my box of odds and ends, I came across some chopsticks from my first ever visit to Yoshinoya with Derek during the NAS week, kept in pristine condition and never used because, at the time, I couldn't use chopsticks anyway. I only partially learnt how to use them like half a year to a year later, heh. Certainly some great memories in that place, revisited many times before it closed.

First ever concert. The Red Paintings, woooo!

Next up was both a ticket and a newspaper clipping I found detailing my first ever concert - The Red Paintings. Yes, I know, my first concert was kind of late, only being in Year 11 and all, but I don't mind. Went with Kirsti and Joel (though at the time I was quite awkward and I'm pretty sure Joel thought I was retarded, heh), as well as my sister and my cousin, and they had a great stage presence. Awesome costumes, great music, very artsy atmosphere. Still a great night overall.

Miscellaneous memorabilia from Newtown.

Next up is an odd assortment of items purchased from Newtown with Dora/Lynneal/Shirley/Bas. I'd completely forgotten about some of this stuff, such as the small blue button badge that evokes memories of the *epic* button store that had buttons up to the size of one's head. Gould's was equally incredible - the sheer amount of books and reading all over the place was amazing, so I figured I'd buy a cheap comic as a token of the day (which just so happened to be an Issue #1 of this series, wewt).

Nintendooooooo!

Next up are a few odd Nintendo items from *both* days of the Nintendo Connection Tour for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Went the first day with Kirsti and Joel, and the second day with Alex, Jeremy, and Lee. DESPITE the fact that I got beaten by a 5 year old girl at one point (which I have still not lived down), it was altogether awesome. Also, the hideous Polaroid they took for my ID Card for the competition resulted in some amused laughs from the girls at Subway when we went to order lunch, followed by some terrible flirting when they were quite obviously just trying to flog a sandwich, heh.

Miscellaneous Adobe scribblings.

Buried toward the bottom of the box was the item that started it all - this old and semi-useless notepad from my week of work experience in graphic design at a news company. I pretty much explained this in the opening paragraphs, but it's just a reminder of starting things over in my senior years, all because of that random John guy I met that week from Pendle Hill.

Ticket explosion.

Scattered throughout the box is a number of tickets from random places I've been and things I've seen. By no means is this picture exhaustive, as there were PLENTY more where these came from. This was just as many as I could fit in a single picture whilst still remaining barely readable. Ranges from movie tickets (e.g. Lars & The Real Girl, Coraline and Fame), bus and train tickets to a number of places, art exhibition tickets (such as the Archibald or Monet exhibitions), a ticket to a King Curly concert, some random receipts, and who knows what else. So many scraps of paper in that box, but each holds so many memories.

The collection of Derek's cheap-yet-amusing paper CD cases.

One of the recurring themes throughout the box was a number of Derek's paper CD cases for things he'd burnt me over the last year. I think I just kept them because of the thoroughly amusing images or messages he'd always draw on them, with my personal favourite being the first one depicting both the awkward squid and the sad orangutan (whom I'd completely forgotten about). Ah, the sad orangutan... created after he destroyed the statue of Diana back in the drawing class at NAS and then basically curled up in a corner with his drawing pad, heh.

Miscellaneous scraps of paper that were thoroughly amusing reminders of earlier times.

Oh now *these* were certainly a surprise. Random scrap pieces of paper that most likely all require some sort of explanation. Firstly, the "Happy Happiness" card and the manly pink present were concocted in a free period by Shuang for a number of us, celebrating her newly created holiday of "Happiness". Instantly put a smile back on my face just looking at it. The next is a random note from Srishti (note that the "Nordeau" name is an in-joke between the two of us) that, when Shuang, Dora, and I were all cooped up in the art rooms constantly working on our bodies of work, she littered the room with a random note for each of us that made no sense, but each was still absolutely hilarious. Lastly, the Cloud Cadet badge was received during an FBI Radio Concert with Ama/Shuang/Derek/Dora where we went to see Cloud Control. Aside from the ridiculously crap band known as The Bennisons, the rest of them were awesome. Sierra Fin were epic, and even signed my Frisbee, Tom Ugly - though not necessarily my type of music - had a great stage presence and entertainment value, and then Cloud Control was...

Absolutely. Freaking. Awesome.

Awkward Squid draft illustrations. The bottom left was the final choice.

The very last of these photos for now is one of a number of draft sketches for the Awkward Squid t-shirt that Johnny and I collaborated on (even though he actually got his made and I just... never got around to making mine). Though the awkward squid has died down slightly as of late amongst our group, it still lives on every once and awhile, going all the way back to the drawing class at NAS yet again, when I introduced them all to it after learning it from my cousin. Courtney from NAS even made an epic awkward squid emoticon to accompany it, and Johnny wore his shirt we made to the Sculpture By The Sea exhibition meet-up we had. Good times.

...Well, I guess I should stop rambling as that ended up far longer than intended, yet again. I know half of you probably just gave up altogether or only skimmed the pictures, but I don't mind. Even considering the length, this is only a minor snippet of the full contents of the box, which is only set to continue growing (possible in a new and bigger box). If anything, it was a bit more therapeutic for me, reliving the past two years which, with both their massive ups and incredible downs, have been exceedingly epic, due to the shared experiences with friends - new and old.

Adios.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Memory Manipulation: Can Candids Do?

Considering the flood of graduation blog posts, I figured I'd avoid the inevitable and take a slightly different approach, especially since Julie so eloquently stated pretty much everything I could say on the subject in her own insightful post. For those interested, it can be read here: Julie's "End Of An Era" Blogpost. I echo every one of her sentiments, pretty much, so I shall just quickly conclude with the fact that graduation day was the most epic day ever, and that everyone will be thoroughly missed. For additional details, just insert Julie's thoughts here, heh.

Apologies for the length of this post. It turned out far longer than I'd imagined.

Now, with graduation having ended (despite the fact that the HSC exams are still looming), I've grown exceedingly nostalgic, glancing through a myriad of older photos to try and re-live the days now gone. On graduation day alone I took 445 photos, which was downright ridiculous. It was just a marathon of luvos and flashes until my camera died right before we entered the hall for the official ceremony. This brings me to the topic of today's post, however...

Which is better? The forced/organised/preconstructed 'Luvo', or the possibly-terrible-yet-more-authentic candid photograph?

Obviously people want their photos to look good, so that they'll remember the day on which it was taken in a positive fashion. Still, looking through a lot of those 'Luvo' shots, though some look great cause everyone was generally enjoying the day (whether it be graduation day or some time in the past), there are always those other shots where there is something eerie inhabiting the person's expression - that subtle signifier that alerts the viewer to the fact that, yes, this happiness is a tad forced or false. A few pieces of evidence, if you will.

Derek *trying* to appear happy, after the infamous
Lost Space Coyote incident...


Forced 'Luvo' with Jayanie after a massive delay with the camera.

Just two examples. I mean, sure, everyone has a smile on their face, and Derek even has two thumbs up, but these are just a few examples of these disconcerting feelings I find in the odd photograph when someone is told to smile. The one of Derek, firstly, was taken at a time when he was slightly down about losing a painting, so obviously there's a manner of sadness about it despite the smiling facade (especially since Shuang continually brought it up after it had happened, heh). The one with Jayanie was under different circumstances. In this case, the person wasn't necessarily unhappy, but rather (as my camera's battery was dying), the camera was taking ages to actually take the picture, and as a consequence both of us were a little fed up with it, trying to hold a smile and position for at least 10-15 seconds. So, by the time the photo is actually taken, there's a distinct quality of forced emotion in the image, even if the actual mood of the day and time was still generally positive.

These are just examples of how the 'Luvo' can go slightly wrong, in a sense. There are always those posed shots that turn out great, but I'd hazard a guess that, at least some of the time, it was because the people were actually laughing or smiling at the time prior to the photo, and not necessarily doing it because it was just about to be taken. So, in essence, it becomes a slightly truer, yet there's still that haunting element of articifiality, even in those. Now, take the candid...

Sure, there's a greater likelihood that these photos can turn out terrible, that people will be caught at unflattering angles, that their faces will be contorted from a split second of changing expression or speaking. Still, when candid photos do turn out well, I generally tend to favour them over the 'Luvo' which, while it may have a higher "success" rate, they never seem to capture the day in its true entirety, but rather a constructed happiness for future viewing. Take these few candid photos as examples.

Candid of Jacinta from down at the river.
I actually quite like this shot, even if she doesn't.


Candid of laughter from the Easter Show earlier this year.

Now, even though the one of Jacinta was only taken a day or two ago, I know she hated a lot of the more candid ones. It seems some people just prefer those photos where they have complete control over how they look, as well as the fact that people seem to be more critical of how they look in a candid even when it turns out well, possibly just because they didn't choose for it to be taken in that exact position or they aren't directly facing the camera. As for the other shot, personally I find shots of laughter, even if not always the most flattering or slightly blurred, to be far more jubilant and fulfilling to look at than a constructed smile. It just showcases that raw happiness so much better, despite the greater chance of an imperfection due to the random nature of it all.

I'm reluctant to bring Extension English into this, but from studying Life Writing it has taught me this one thing. In the act of writing or creation of a subject, often the persona in which one is portrayed is constructed in much the same matter that the medium is, since they have complete control over both their own portrayal and that of others. I find it to be the same with photographs. It's only when the outcome of the photo is totally out of the control of the subject that any positive sentiments that come out of it can be truly exemplified. A positive shot becomes a thousand times more positive in my book, simply because it was taking at any random point of the day and still showed this sense of positivity - thus, when reviewing later, it gives the impression of an overarching positivity throughout.

So I guess, linking that back to graduation, I'm actually slightly reluctant I didn't take more candids. Well, I did take plenty during the middle of the day around the water-fighting-cardboard-tobogganning-log-standing-forest-exploring escapades. However, as for the actual shots at school, it was more of a frenzied running around to find friends you still hadn't taken a photo with, and due to the time restraints of the day many of them were just a quick 'Luvo' and then we were off. Looking back, sure, a lot of them display a genuine happiness because we're all laughing and having a good time as we pose anyway, but there are those shots that, whilst they look "good", don't necessarily capture the epic nature of the day to the greatest extent.

That's just my opinion though, and I'm sure plenty of people can go either way. I just love embracing the candid, in all the trial-and-error imperfect nature of them, because when you do get that perfect capture...

It's priceless.

Adios.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The First Of The Lasts...

Today began the vast majority of the first 'last times' for everything at school, with - considering today being Friday and graduation being next Thursday - the final 5 days of school just beginning. For example, today was the last of many things, such as:
  • Last Focaccia Friday at the school canteen.
  • Last Photography free period before graduation.
  • Last Ancient lesson with Ms. LeClerc.
  • The end of the last Week A on the timetable ever.
...And this is only just the beginning. With four days left to go there's not a great deal of time and too many final opportunities, so I'm going to try and make sure I get involved in as much as possible. For example, when the grade came together for that junior uniform day I went out of my way to the clothing pool in order to be able to don a blue shirt the following day and join my nostalgic peers.

The grade lunches have also been kind of cool, just seeing the entire grade come together in one space for a short span of time and just... hanging out essentially. Many photos, including getting drafted into my first proper 'Toyota' photo ever, aside from one failed 'Jolly Greens' one with Shuang/Rose/Nichole. The second grade lunch was kind of soured a bit however, due to the intervention of some teachers breaking up the water fight, which I only got to observe a bit of anyway. Bugger.

Time just seems to be moving too fast, and today was the first day that it really hit me, so to speak, that it's almost over. Before today, I'd been waffling about as though it was business as usual, just with slightly less of a work ethic for the time being.

Not anymore though.

It's time to step it up with both work and enjoyment simultaneously. I'm going to try and remember as much as I possibly can of this final week, as well as start improving my study regime yet again for the final set of exams ever in a few weeks' time. I've started going photo-crazy at school to try not to forget anyone, and even scabbed one of those small books off Bernice to get people to start signing. Even though I only had time to get a few people to write in it today, it's still amazing to find all the little in-jokes and memories with specific people that I'd forgotten.

It looks like the back of a playing card! Sign it people!

Lee's page is absolute post-modern win. I may upload some of the pages later when it's all completed. I'll make sure to get as many signatures and comments as possible by graduation, and probably an enormous amount of photos, considering I usually go a bit trigger-happy with the camera even just on a general outing. It's just exciting, and yet depressing, that this routine of my life as far as I can really remember is drawing to a close. Sure, university beckons, but that 3-4 month gap in between seems so daunting and aimless. No idea what I'll do with myself.

Still, enough about the future. Aside from exam preparation, I'm living in the present until the end of the HSC, and that's it. No time for negativity anymore. I hope everyone else's final days are equally as awesome.

Adios.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

R.I.P. Yoshinoya - Lest We Forget

A humble moment of silence in memory of the greatest Japanese restaurant ever to grace the great nation of Australia - Yoshinoya.

So many good memories, and ever since attending the National Art School (NAS) for a course last year - which was quite possibly one of the greatest experiences ever - I've made a conscious effort to go back to this little restaurant on Oxford Street whenever I'm in the general vicinity. Firstly, for the absolutely amazing beef bowl they make, and secondly purely for nostalgia purposes.

However, after heading to the COFA Spring Fair yesterday, which isn't too far off of Yoshinoya on Oxford Street, I was shattered to find... the place had closed down. Give me a moment whilst I shed a single, extremely melancholic tear. The place was deserted, lights off, sign covered up and hanging sign destroyed. What makes matters worse is that this was the last restaurant of its kind in Australia, with a few others that had existed in the country being closed down previously.

Lest we forget. [Insert solemn silence.]

It kind of makes me realise the impermanance of things. Yoshinoya was this distinct reminder of the good times had at NAS, as well as times after when I'd revisited, of times when I was a bit more open minded as I hadn't tried much Asian cuisine back then. Yet, it didn't exactly last, though I suppose it'll just make me cherrish the final memory of that exquisite beef bowl all the more, heh.

...The food...

...The culture...

...The friends' disgusted looks...

...

...All gone...

But at least I'll have the memories, even if they're now viewed through slightly rose-tinted glasses with any chance to revisit them now somewhat gone.

Adios.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

World Wide Web Of Inspiration

Recently got into StumbleUpon and it led me to this site full of a number of inspirational quotes. I was skimming through and one quote in particular stuck out.

"One who looks for a friend without faults will have none."

The site for those interested: http://www.worldofinspiration.com. Guess I should probably take these sort of things on board. I'm a bit of an offender in this regard.

Adios.

Hello World, Welcome To The Conversation...

Figured I haven't updated in awhile, though I don't know how substantial this post will be. More of a sharing experience. That and Shirley requested a blog post since I hadn't in awhile, heh.

Anyway, got linked to this quite interesting video regarding the evolution of media and how it's shaping conversation and culture. It helped me realise one thing in particular that I'd never really taken note of until now in the writing of this blog - namely, who exactly am I writing to?

I mean, I know people read it, as evidenced by the comments, and I know even more just flick through it occasionally and lurk (because they've essentially told me so), but the video raised the interesting point of the fact that... well.. I never quite know who I'm writing to, let alone when or in what context. Here's the video for those interested:



Wesch raised this point that, with the evolution of the media and its inclusion of blogs and vlogs, etc, we're essentially having conversations that, well, aren't conversations. They're face-to-face in the case of vlogs especially, except we have no eye contact or awareness of the context, time, or whom we're conversing to in the first place. The same goes for blogs to an extent; people are reading this, and yet there's no recognition necessarily between myself (the author) and the other person (the reader), to the point where it's a complete 'conversation' that simultaneously excludes one of the participants from any interaction (myself, unless you leave a comment, heh).

It's just a very intriguing notion, that all these conversational barriers collapse when I'm typing to simultaneously someone and no-one, and the same for those with a web cam doing vlogs - talking to someone who isn't even there are the time but is still forever part of the conversation.

Still, there are those who try and reconnect through this odd form of conversation, like he shows toward the end of the video. Particularly, there was that guy.... I forget the name, but I can't be bothered re-watching the video again, heh, anyway... He basically works anonymously under a mask and uses this lopsided conversation as a call for action. He even takes advantage of the fact that the conversation is debatably eternal, until the video is removed, allowing for an endless stream of replies for a conversation that is technically-speaking long finished. Ironically, all these responses in the disconnected conversation, where he asked everyone to write something on their hand, essentially spoke of calls to action for a reconnection of the world, despite this cultural and media shift.

Just found it an interesting thought that I hadn't really considered since beginning this blog. Still, there's plenty more than just that within the video. Seriously, watch it - very intriguing.

Adios.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No work and all play makes Ben a dull boy...

I never thought I'd say this but... I wish I had some schoolwork to do.

I find myself sitting here at the computer, totally and utterly bored, quite simply because I've finished all my assignments, exams, and major works, with only the HSC left to worry about. I'm left with an abundance of free time and nothing to do with it, no goals or hobbies or anything to retain my interest or give me some sort of goal to work toward.

Ok, I lie, it's not like I don't have the odd hobby and such. I mean, I was playing the Wii for a good portion of the afternoon, but there's only so much "enjoyment" I can take. With so much time to spare, these little pockets of time that I'd normally treasure between turning to the monotony of working have just become annoyingly pointless. They don't exactly give a sense of achievement either.

Even more annoyingly is that basically everyone else still has work of some description to do. I'm basically only writing this blog post because everyone else on my MSN list that I'm talking to at the moment seems preoccupied with their own remaining work, so the conversations aren't exactly *lively* or anything.

Seriously, I never thought I would actually wish I had more work to do. I went *looking* for homework and was actually disappointed that I couldn't legitimately find any... Without that sense of time pressure and something to work toward, everything has just gone a bit 'bleh' right now and I'm struggling to find some method of entertainment that I don't tire of quickly.

Writing this blog entry was one of those, though I've basically run out of anything further to write as well. God dammit. I'm going to die of boredom after the HSC when I have 3-4 months of nothing. Never thought I'd appreciate school so much.

Adios.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Payoff

BOTH MAJOR WORKS AND TRIAL EXAMS ARE NOW COMPLETE.

Just had to get that out of the way. All the hard work finally paid off, despite the fact my hand feels like it could probably just fall off right now. I was drawing from 9:00 AM Sunday until like 2:30 AM Monday morning... and basically only stopped for meals. Holy crap.

Finally managed to clear up my little Art corner that looked like a felt-tip bomb hit it. Counted up all the pens I've used up... and the grand total is... *drum roll*

95 FELT-TIP PENS. Wow...

It's raaaaaining pens, hallelujah!

Working on those drawings for so long... all the earlier procrastination just made this last weekend a stress-induced hell where not finishing had become a legitimate possibility. Basically it made me realise the importance of long-term vs. short-term rewards, heh. It was either "play TF2 (Team Fortress 2) right now" or "bust your ass drawing for a few days straight and enjoy yourself later", and to make matters worse I'd just bought Punch-Out for the Wii on the weekend. A brand new game... sitting there... fully wrapped... taunting me day in and day out.

Admittedly, I didn't exactly stick to the whole "long-term is more important" ideal for the entire weekend... seeing as I kind of bludged off all of Saturday to go to UTS and attend Shuang's kickass shin-dig. Soooooo much free stuff, and I ended up with three new shirts at the end of the day! (Unfortunately, one of them didn't fit, bah. Oh well.) Still, as much as I wanted to just game for awhile and collapse on my bed after that long day, I *persevered* and drew well into the night, and the entirety of the next day, heh.

Reminds me of this thing I saw on TED.com (and yes I *know* I reference it a lot, but it's a damn brilliant site), based around showing the long-term vs. short-term enjoyment and goals notion through presenting some toddlers with a marshmallow.



Basically, for those of you who can't be bothered watching (even though this is a LOT shorter than the rest of the TED.com videos I've linked), the experiment showed that, when presented with the option of eating a marshmallow now, or waiting some amount of time to get the original marshmallow and a second one, that based on this decision it showed how well these children would cope with the long-term vs. short-term decision later in life. Those who waited to get two marshmallows generally had good grades and some degree of success, whereas the majority of those who ate the marshmallow and didn't restrain themselves and wait ended up... well, in less than optimum circumstances for the most part.

The amount of times I had to turn down playing TF2 or just chillaxing with some anime over the last week to get this art major finished... I'd like to *think* I would've been one of those kids who managed to wait the duration to get the second marshmallow. At least that would mean I'll be successful later in life, if the statistics are to be believed, heh, even *if* I do indulge in the occasional period of procrastination. Pseudo-restraint is enough restraint for me.

Still, the relief of having all my majors completed now, rather than a few extra games of TF2 earlier and then being riddled with stress at the moment as I'd be forced to draw until all hours of the morning... it's definitely worth it. All in preparation for hopefully getting into Vis Comm at UTS - it shall be worth it eventually.

Guess that's it for now though.

Adios.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Trial Period Has Expired

Freedom.

Oh how sweet it is.

That is all. Adios.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Can See The Music...

Two posts in one day!? I'm on a roll. Although, last night's one, though after midnight, I suppose technically sort of counts as yesterday. ANYWAY...

Managed to finally have a look at this link Derek sent me, and it is so damn aesthetically trippy. I could seriously watch it for hours. It's essentially sort of like what I've always imagined synaesthesia would look like if I were a synaesthete. I've heard it described as 'ribbons of colour' before, but the smokey effect just seems more natural. Before I continue, here's the video:



For those who're uninformed with the condition known as synaesthesia, here's a definition:

–noun
a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color.

Or, to put it more colloquially, it's like having the part of your brain that interprets sound hardwired to a windows media player music visualiser 24/7. As cool as synaesthesia would probably be once you've discovered what the sensation you're experiencing actually is, I can't imagine ever wanting to have been born with it. I can just picture myself getting incredibly distraught as a child and thinking I'm going crazy when I see these random colours floating about in front of me that no one else can see.
Getting past those initial stages though, it'd be pretty damn beautiful to behold, and probably incomparable to anything one of those computerised visualisers can actually produce.

Considering this condition is apparently caused by some sort of unique link developed in the brain of the individual between the parts of their mind that interpret sound and sight, what I find more intriguing are those synaesthetes who are able to visualise *taste*, as well as sound. I couldn't find the exact documentary that I heard this in, so I googled and found a different video if anyone is further interested (keep in mind that it's 45 minutes long, so you might only just want to watch a bit to see what I'm talking about):



What I find absolutely hilarious is that, in this new documentary I just googled, within the first ten seconds one of the synaesthetes says he hates hearing the name 'Derek' because it tastes like earwax, hahaha. Seems I've come full circle in this post, yet again, so I'll leave it there and let those of you actually interested to enjoy the videos. Truly a bizarre yet amazing condition.

Adios.

Trials & Tribulations (& Team Fortress 2)

A pun AND alliteration in the blog entry's title!? Oh this is madness. Truly my wit is absolutely astounding.

Nothing particularly thought-provoking tonight - well, maybe. Who knows, maybe you'll find something of interest at the end of this post? I have no idea. It's 1:00 AM at the beginning of typing this so it's probably going to be a bit of a rambling recap of my absence, heh. Haven't exactly done a 'proper' entry since the music lyrics one, so let's see what happens.

Main reason for my lack of updates, obviously, is HSC Trial Exams, as I'm sure you've all struggled through (or are still struggling through, like myself). Problem is, due to my uber-sexy exam timetable, giving me almost a week's break between the first half and second half of my exams, I'm starting to fall into holiday mode despite still having two more exams PLUS two major works to do. 'Tis not good.

Due to this aura of the holidays engulfing me, I've recently become reacquainted with an old friend - Team Fortress 2. I suppose this post may deteriorate into a bit of a gaming-related ramble but bear with me.

One of the things that always appealed to me about Team Fortress 2 was that, despite mindlessly shooting at each other with no storyline or true purpose, like a lot of shooters on the market, the game actually had a great sense of humour and art style about it. Speaking of the art style in particular, compare it to the following:

Present-Day/Futuristic Industrial Wasteland Vs. Original Eras & Stylised Constructions.

Grizzled Macho-Man Archetype Vs. Characters With *Personality* & Distinct Aesthetics.

Grey scale & Craptastically Brown Surroundings Vs. *Gasp* Colour!

Considering the amount of shooter games on the market, none of them seem to entice me because they're all borderline the same. Aside from the weapons, they're all about grizzly macho-men in grey scale (or brown if they're feeling *adventurous*) industrial present-day or futuristic ruins. That's basically it for 90% of them. Team Fortress 2 is a tad more original in this regard though, with each character having a distinct personality beyond this overly generic isolationist 'bad ass' character archetype that seems to engulf the majority of shooters these days.

Essentially, rather than trying to project an overly 'mature' look about the game, which at this point most end up almost satirising themselves due to the saturation of the market, Valve dared to be a bit different with Team Fortress 2 and achieved this unique, aesthetically pleasing, charming, and humorous atmosphere about the game. The cartoon-ish motif mixed with the altogether insane violence, bodies literally scattering into a collection of bloody-yet-colourful limbs after exploding... It just stands out against this ridiculously over-the-top 'mature' market that most gaming seems to be geared toward at the moment. Though admittedly I've played my fair share of Halo, Call of Duty, and Gears of War, none of them held me, simply because they're all so generic at this point. Team Fortress 2 however, even if I take a break, keeps me coming back, simply because it dared to be different in its art style and characterisation - even if the gameplay is still reasonably similar to the common shooter (not completely, but it doesn't completely shatter the genre in any way).

Essentially, I guess I just wanted to get this point across that 'mature' games don't have to be ridiculously 'serious' in their tone, because it just ends up ridiculously bland and generic. Hell, this expands beyond games, really. It's often those multimedia works that develop their own style, rather than just emulating what they think they *should* portray, that appeal to me. Take Tim Burton for example - each of his films have this absolute distinct motif and feel to them that's incomparable, no matter how hard others may try. I'd much rather have things visually interesting than having the developer focus on creating five hundred levels of realism. If I wanted realism I'd just walk outside or turn on the news.

There's no need to completely throw out the rulebook and be different for the sake of different, but I'm glad they didn't fall into stereotypes - things are more interesting if you're a tad original.

Adios.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Trivial Awkward Post Ahoy!

Should be doing Modern History right now. Don't particularly want to as YouTube keeps stealing away my attention. It's becoming quite problematic and my Modern History rank is probably going down the toilet with each video. Wonderful.

Still, I'm finding this girl quite hilarious - Bernice linked me to one of her videos awhile ago - and I can't stop going through her archive. Behold... The "We Just Touched Awkwardly" Song!



Guess I should go back to studying South African politics now. Although, I'm already essentially doomed for this exam. Ah well. Also, I'm currently holding a slinky, and you are not. I know how jealous you are.

Adios.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lyrical Musings

Well this post is sort of a continuation of the line of thought I had with a friend earlier today regarding music. Namely, the importance of lyrics to said music or song and the effect of the words on the appreciation of the piece.

Firstly, we were discussing how important words are to a song, mainly due to their poetic quality. Some would argue, such as my friend, that the intriguing lyrical composition and choice of the words adds to one's understanding and appreciation of the piece, over merely the aesthetics of the voice. I, however, tend to not pay attention to the actual words being said as such, and rather prefer to focus my attentions on the overall sound, thinking of the voice as yet another instrument rather than exam the content it's conveying and relating through the words.

Ask yourself this: If the hypothetical song in question (or one of your own choosing) had the same vocalist, the same amount of syllables in place of the words, however instead of enunciating the words themselves, you merely got the sounds of the syllables with the same inflections. Now, would this diminish the value or adoration of the song in any way to you - given that this is a song you're hypothetically quite familiar with and possibly even one of your favourites? Or, additionally, if you listen to a version of your favourite song without the lyrics at all, does it affect your opinion of the song in any way?

Personally, I find the masterful crafting of the sound more than enough to sustain my interest and appreciation, and as long as the vocals are excellently inbuilt in the song, the quality of the lyrics I find is often unnecessary. My friend begs to differ though, in that either merely the sounds of the vocals, or no vocals at all, does not have the same depth of appreciation possible for a song with impeccable lyrics.

This brought to mind another idea, however, in regards to the issue of lyrics. Namely, the fact that I can still enjoy foreign songs (yes, I enjoy J-Pop/J-Rock, laugh it up) despite not understanding a word of the lyrics. When you're not given the *option* of that poetic depth, and merely getting the audibly-pleasing syllables, I wanted to see if that would effect one's opinion of the song, after reading a translation of the lyrics later. Though not on the *same* individual, I tested another guy with one of the most ridiculous J-Pop songs I could think of, knowing he'd hate it, heh. Thus, not only could the poetic nature of lyrics *increase* one's appreciation of a song, but could the revelation that the lyrics are terrible and nonsensical also *diminish* the value of a song in one's opinion, after already having heard it when oblivious. Here is the song in question, and you non J-Pop folk can enjoy your ears bleeding:



Now, for those of you who dared to listen, here is but a snippet of what the lyrics actually mean (if you can even call these 'lyrics', considering how odd they are):

Myah myah myahcology
Mankind mya? Très bie~n!

For example magnets, within the sand
The aliens have their Teatime at their branch department on Earth
Its inconvenient to be small, send out the big ones
Someone, move Battleship Yamato

Its a work horse work horse! Drink milk
Its a carriage work horse! Go to sleep early
Its a work horse work horse! Adults certainly transform in secret
Its a stranger! Better to leave him alone
Its the President! Whats your order?
Its a uniform! Your letters are odd!
Kamehameha

Did the absolute non-poetic qualities and altogether nonsensical nature of the lyrics make you like the song any less (or hell, if it's your sort of thing, did you like it *more*)? This isn't exactly a conclusive post, more just an experiment if anyone bothers. I know opinions will vary, and some will treasure the deeper layers of meaning and appreciation that lyrics can provide to a song, whereas others such as myself just prefer the excellent melodic voices of the vocalists (or slightly high-pitched pseudo-yelling in the case of the given video, heh).

Guess that's all for tonight though. Just found it an interesting topic.

Adios.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Faulty Towers

(Oh what a terrible pun... it doesn't even make sense till you've read the blog entry anyway...)

Well I *was* trying to draw for Art tomorrow, but this has been playing on my mind since I heard it this morning. Anyway, at school at the moment, there's a competition to design the cover of the school year magazine - 'The Towers'. Best entry is *supposedly* meant to be used as the cover for this year's magazine, and as opposed to previous years it's open to the entire school.

Now first, some background information. Last year's cover was strictly open to the Year 11 Photography classes, with the design for the cover simultaneously used as an assignment to gauge photoshop skills for the digital component of the Photography course. One of these covers was also *supposed* to be used as the cover for the school magazine. Now, nothing against the entries, but it was kind of slim pickings, my own cover included, with the librarian only picking out 3 or 4 that she actually tolerated. Still, she's openly stated many times since that she pretty much detested all the entries, and thus the 'competition' out of the submitted covers became null and void. Instead, she put all the pressure on Shuang to design a better cover, despite the fact that Shuang also designed one of the original covers that was picked out anyway - though it seems the librarian didn't even like *that* one (personally I thought it was quite good, but eh.. different tastes I guess). Not only did the librarian just disregard these other entries, she pretty much forced Shuang to emulate the cover of another school's previous year magazine instead of even using Shuang's original design. Now, this brings me to this year...

The Towers is just so... corrupt, all because of the librarian. Pretty much the same thing is going to happen this year, despite opening the competition up to the entire school (in hopes that the turn out will be better than those forcibly created for the photography assignment, though that's still running). Despite advertising the competition and 'trying to get the students involved', she's already basically consulted Shuang on the matter. Essentially, if she doesn't like any of the entries this year, yet again will she just throw caution to the wind, chuck them all, and get Shuang to design something perfectly to her own liking.

Of course, nothing against Shuang, her photoshopping skills are absolutely *brilliant*, and I can see why the librarian would want her to do this, but the whole notion of manipulating this 'competition' to gain *publicity* instead of actually running it like a competition, when behind closed doors she already pre-planned to do whatever she pleased with the entries, just irks me. It's hardly a competition at all... more just a shameless promotion and luck-of-the-draw that you may by chance submit a cover that the librarian finds *pleasing* ... and if not, well she just ignores any democratic process and manipulates in a new entry that she finds suitable.

If you're going to hold a competition, you abide by fair processes. Even if she just got Shuang to enter in the first place she'd still probably win, as she's quite skilled and I love her work, but the fact that this librarian would wait specifically until *after* she's seen all the entries before even deciding whether or not to intervene with her less-than-democratic methods.

It reminds me of a specific Simpsons episode - 'Pygmoelian' - where, although Moe puts in all his effort to win a contest, he still ultimately comes out losing in a sense when a multitude of stickers are plastered over his ugly face, which was meant to be displayed in the Duff Calendar. So... instead he goes out and gets plastic surgery to make things look all nice and spiffy.

Moe sporting his fancy new face in 'Pygmoelian'. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

It's just covering up the problem and pretending things never happened, despite how others might feel about it. Honestly, even if the cover isn't the *greatest* looking thing ever, I would seriously find it more gratifying if it was designed by some junior student who put all their time and effort into drawing it. Of course it would have to be up to some level of quality, hence the competition, but it shouldn't have to be exactly to the librarian's liking in every single way, shape or form. Firstly, it'd probably make their (the entrant's) day, and secondly (and most importantly) things would be a great deal more fair for all concerned.

Yes, I know, you'll probably point out that I'm being hypocritical or something since I intend to enter this competition myself. However, keep in mind that the librarian hated my own cover from last year during the Photography assessment, as well as the fact that there are PLENTY of talented graphic artists in the school. By no means am I expecting to win this competition. If anything, it's just to show the librarian that I'm still getting myself involved in Towers - being in the roll call and all - or rather, that I'm not slacking off. Still, it'll probably backfire and she'll hate my design this year as well, in contrast to the myriad of better ones - Shuang included - and thus just think I'll be crap when doing my actual pages for Towers, heh.

Still what are you gonna do? As immoral as her selection criteria and running of this 'competition' might be, she's the one in control. Debating it would probably just get me kicked out of Towers anyway. It's not like she doesn't hide the fact that she goes behind backs to control every little facet of this magazine anyway.

Guess I should stop ranting though. It's just been on my mind for hours.

Adios.

Continued Thoughts On Meritocracy

Just a quick one today in response to the post from yesterday. Came across this talk on TED.com (seriously people, if you didn't check it out from the first video in my original post, go have a look now - absolutely 'brillo' site, haha) that seemed to convey a similar point to what I was talking about yesterday. Basically, that idea of a meritocratic society, as he calls it, regarding those with the ability and motivation reaping the benefits, as opposed to everything just being handed to one. Anyway, if you're interested, have a look:


Well that's all for now, back to working on Art / Trials preparations. Bah. So much work. Probably going to have to restart one of my drawings too, so I'm currently sitting on 4/7 completed. Ah well, I'll get stuck into it.

Adios.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Apparently Bogans Have Stylish Hair

Bit of a trivial post today, but bear with me.

Anyway, I was getting my hair cut at the hairdresser today, yet for once there was no awkward forced conversation between the hair stylist and myself. The reason behind this is that, on the other side of the salon, there were two quite odd characters - and yes, both of them were somewhat bogan. Instead of creating chitchat as the stylists normally do, both her and myself were obviously eavesdropping on this pair and the stylist working on them.

Some of their conversation and logic was just baffling. To begin with, when I sat down to get my hair done they were gloating about how they were thieves, and quite openly at that, detailing some of their illegal escapades in front of this law-abiding (or at least, presumably law-abiding) young woman cutting one of the men's hair. However, they then went on to complain about how "whenever they stole something, something of theirs often ended up getting stolen as well", thus prompting the stylist to inform their bogan brains of the concept of Karma. Of course, they then went on to complain how possessions being stolen off of them was "totally unfair", yet did not backtrack or show any sign of regret for their own thieving activities. This, my friends, was only the tip of the iceberg.

They started complaining about all sorts of fiscal matters, whinging about their "shit income" (because obviously such upstanding citizens are worthy of high-paying jobs). This prompted them to ask the stylist what her income was... and after dodging the question for a short while she told them that she earned "six million annually". The ignorance of these two was baffling though, as they believed her for AT LEAST a good 10-20 seconds. By now the hair stylist was, quite clearly, fed up.

These monetary musings, if they can even be called that, continued with concerns that they could never earn "two-thousand-trillion dollars" (is that even an actual number?) because they "hung out with a bad crowd". Still showing some human decency and normality, the stylist offered them various words of advice and options of how to get out of the bad crowd, stating that she herself hadn't had the best adolescence but had managed to secure a stable job, family, and house, etc. Of course, the two fools reject any helpful advances and then state how they, quite simply, don't want to stop hanging out with this bad crowd, *despite* knowing the effects it is having on their lives. They just laugh it off and make a crude joke.

Unfortunately, since I was only getting a quick trim, this was all I got to hear, but it was more than enough. I know a lot of people struggle to get above the social and economic status that they were born into, but these two individuals clearly just... Were. Not. Trying. If you're given reasonable options or advice to remedy a problem you have, you should take it. Illegality obviously isn't going to solve anything. I'm sick and tired of people who just think they can laze about, acting like tools, and then expect life should be handed to them on a silver platter. Wealth, status, friends, power - it's all achievable if you *work* at it. I know I'm not a *prime* example or anything, considering I indulge in my fair share of laziness, but still... when I want something, I work at it. Short term gains just simply aren't worth it. Nothing will ever change that way. The thing that gets to me the most, however, is those who then have the AUDACITY to complain that they're getting nothing out of life when they're putting nothing *into* it. You reap what you sew. Seriously, you don't want to end up like these two.

But hey, at least you'll have good hair.

Adios.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another Com Bites The Dust

It seems, after eight years, that our poor little home computer has finally carked it. Sad, I know... I can sense the tears. Eight long years, of constraint frustrations and part replacements, resulting in what can only be described as an aging 'Frankenstein' of a PC. Everything had grown totally mismatched over the years, with the tower in particularly bad shape. Constant whirring and humming, the side slightly coming off at times from the shaking. All I can say is I'm glad I now have my laptop, heh. My brother randomly turned the computer on a few days ago and was met with a myriad of corruption errors and a ridiculously screwed up scene. After restarting a few times it managed to remain stable for a bit. So, of course I rushed in oh-so-heroically with my external hard drive and backed up as many files as I could, or at least those that were necessary. The thing was pretty much dead not long after.

Poor ol' Franken-puter... R.I.P.

But out with the old and in with the new, as they say. Within days we now have a brand spankin' new home PC. Considering I do most of my stuff, gaming included, on the laptop nowadays though, we didn't have to splurge massively on graphics and whatnot since mainly my brother and mother would be using it. Still cost a bit though, especially considering half the house has been falling apart lately. First the fridge, then the dishwasher, then some of the fuses in the back room's wall, and now the PC dying. To quote the Simpsons: "The crapshack is goin' to hell".

Case is quite funky, even if the metallic casing is a bit incongruous with the rest of the setup. Then again, it's far closer than the eight year old beige monstrosity ever was, heh. Because I know you're all just *dying* to see (he says with immense sarcasm), here it is:

Isn't she just positively glowing?

Isn't she beautiful? Her radiant fans... her sleek coat... oh, she looks positively magnificent. The guy at the store was nice enough too - better customer service too. Worked through every option and whatnot rather than just forcing the flashy and expensive on us. Presented pros and cons etc, answered questions perfectly. Also, apparently after the initial meeting when my mother and I went down to order the computer, he seemed to think I was ridiculously nice and well-behaved or something. When my mum went back down today to pick up the PC he was raving about how "well I'd been brought up" and how "nice and polite" I'd been, as opposed to most of the kids he sees come in with their parents, being ridiculously rude and even swearing at them right in front of him. As a result, he ended up giving my mum a free copy of Nero as a reward of sorts.

Guess it's true, good manners go a long way. Never know what will happen.

Adios.