Monday, 24 December 2007

Gone on holiday. Back in 2008

As we’re leaving tomorrow, this is my last post of 2007. I’m pleased to say that my blog has survived the year, having begun in April, unlike two other unsuccessful blogs I started last year. I aspire to continue such a strong tradition next year.

Meanwhile, I’ve been catching up on plenty of movies, both recent and past releases, films I’ve seen before and those I haven’t, of which I will include a brief summary here.

Into the Wild - an evocative and intriguing film about the journey of a young man into Alaska. I highly recommend it.
Heavens Fall - a moving recount of the Scottsboro trials
Ghandi - a touching account of Ghandi’s life, movement and belifs
Death at a Funeral - a highly amusing comedy about what happens at the funeral of a father when his past turns up in the shape of a midget, everyone needs a valium. which turns out to a different kind of drug, and old Uncle Alfie – wheelchair bound – needs to use the toilet. Again, do try to see it if you can.
Erin Brockavich - just as enjoyable the second time, the fierce true story of one woman’s fight for justice
Clueless - light-hearted and very funny chick flick starring Alicia Silverstone
The Blues Brothers - a fantastic film that is a must-see; the entertaining efforts of two brother to reunite their band with devastating consequences involving car chases, Nazis and bursts of song from old favourites such as Aretha and Ray, to name a few.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, as in I often make them but never fulfil them. Things can change – take my blogging abilities – so this year’s are: to be a kinder sister, a more patient daughter, a good student and a supportive friend. My new year’s ambition, wish, desire, or whatever you want to call it, is…to meet a boy, to fall in love (or lust, or some such teenage equivialant), and to be kissed. Call me desperate, but I just want to feel loved, you know? (Because Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.) I’ve reached sweet fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, never been kissed – sweet eighteen just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I’ll be back in the new year, with plenty of (hopefully good!) news about my driving test and exam results.

Mele Kalikimaka!

¡Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas, and have a jolly new year!

Just a girl

Friday, 21 December 2007

For those without Christmas cheer

A forward from a friend that I actually read and reflected on, realising that we all have much to be thankful for this Christmas. Somewhat to my surprise, this poem is actually attributed to a Marine. May all our soldiers have a safe Christmas.

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And had to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by the mantle, just boots full of sand.
On the wall hung pictures, of a distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sober thought came to mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a Marine, once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor, in his one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured, a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realized the families that I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers, who where willing to fight.
Soon around the world, children would play,
And grownups would celebrate, a bright Christmas day.
They enjoyed Freedom, each month of the year,
Because of these soldiers, like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder, how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The soldier awakened, and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for Freedom, I don't ask for more,
My life is my God, my Country, my Corps."

The soldier rolled over, and soon drifted to sleep.
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
And we both shivered from the cold night's chill.
I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night,
This Guardian of Honor, so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, "Carry on Santa. It's Christmas Day, all is secure."
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right.
'Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.'

[Source: Poem, a variation]


Thursday, 20 December 2007

Christmas in the air

I believe it would also be accurate to say “it’s everywhere I look around.”

Christmas is one of my favourite times of year, but it’s hard to say why. Not because I dislike it, but because of the many reasons I do like it. I remember writing a piece in primary school on what I like(d) most about Christmas, and I believe I said family; coming together to celebrate. Every year, we (my immediate family) travel to visit either my mother’s family, almost all of whom live in NSW, or my father’s family, almost all of whom live in Hawaii, and so we alternate every other year. I do love visiting my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and we always get together for Christmas day and Christmas dinner to exchange gifts. We all help with the cooking; in Hawaii, we all work in the kitchen together; when we visit my mother's family, we all bring a plate of food. A rather memorable Christmas was four years ago – spent in NSW – when I organised all of our cousins to participate in a “Nativity play” about three wise men and a farting camel. Oh, and a tractor driver. Don’t ask. But wherever we go, we never fail to have fun, because our families are generous, warm and funny. There are cousins that don’t – on my mother’s side – or can’t – on my father’s side – come, but nonetheless, we all get together for a good time. This year, we’re visiting my mother’s side of the family for two days, driving up on Christmas day and then driving to Sydney to stay in my grandmother’s apartment in Manly, though she doesn’t live there. Have to be back by the 3rd for my driving lesson and to receive my results on the 4th. What with all the travelling between families, we never used to be home on Christmas day itself, which never bothered me, but apparently bothered my brother, so now we try to be at home for Christmas day if we’re going to visit my mother's family; if we’re flying to Hawaii, we have to fly out a few days early.

Another of the said many things I love about Christmas is giving. For me, it truly is a gift in itself. I love shopping for people; there is a certain thrill in finding the perfect present. For example, when I went shopping for Pepito (with no particular ideas in mind) I found a mug with a cat on it. See, she loves cats (especially mine!) and tea; hence, it was a combination of her two loves. This year in my shopping I have found a new favourite place to shop; the Oxfam shop in Melbourne. Not only do they sell wonderful and unique gifts of great variety, but most – if not all – are handmade, and all are grown or crafted in countries such as India and Kenya. Money from your purchase goes towards these countries, so you really are buying a gift that gives twice.

Two more things I love about Christmas (really – what’s not to love? Well, Dancing Feet has a few ideas about that); cooking and carols. Specifically, I love the sweets; gingerbread (which I’m intending on making this year), cheesecake, candy canes, all that once-a-year special confectionary, dedicated to the season, advent calendars (which unfortunately I did not buy this year). And carols. It’s the one time of year we’re allowed to sing along, no matter how bad we are, and get away with it. To me, they just encapsulate the Christmas spirit, the merriness and the meaning of our celebrations. I may not be religious much at all, but there’s just something about them; Away in a manger, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (which I used to be able to play on piano), We Three Kings and Silent Night are favourites, to name a few.

Because there are only 5 days until Christmas, and I absolutely cannot wait, here are 5 comics that are vaguely Christmas, Thanksgiving or exams related:

As I’ve been speaking of Christmas decorations lately, here are four kinds I’ve seen in shops:

The Christmas decorations at Neiman Marcus are, every year, strings of butterflies hanging from the ceiling over the escalators. They tend to change; on previous occasions, they've been white and multi-coloured; but they're always spectacular.

The Christmas theme in Myer. I rather like it, I think it captures Christmas in two words. (Speak of Myer, did anyone see the Christmas windows this year? I took a brief look, but I didn't think they were any good. I mean, come on, Uno's Garden?! Is it even Christmas-related?)

An interesting take on Nutcrackers - less scary and more cuddly - in the foyer of the Marriot Hotel.

"Chior boys" - some of the most imaginative decorations I've seen - again, in the foyer of the Marriot hotel.

I seem to have started a Christmas countdown, so these are 3 things I want for Christmas (but won't necessarily get):

2 things I know I’m getting (because I told my brother to buy them for me, him lacking the necessary imagination and motivation I love about Christmas shopping):

And 1 thing I’ll miss this Christmas: staying out on our farm up near my mother's family. We used to own a property about an hour away, but we sold it four or five years ago. It’s only been this year that I’ve been getting really nostalgic about it. We used to stay at the homestead, which was a big, old house, with lots of character and memories. It’s hard to explain why I miss it so, but it became like a second home.

But this is the Christmas season, a time of goodwill and cheer! Time to get wrapping!

Just a girl

Monday, 17 December 2007

Word of the Year

According to the people at Merriam-Webster dictionaries - or, should I say, the people who visit the Merriam-Webster website - woot (or w00t) is the word of the year. I've never used it here, but I've become quite fond of using it in emails since stumbling upon it in various blogs (Pink is the new blog is one of the most memorable for using it.)

For those who don't know, woot is an exclamation of joy. Apparently - which I didn't know - it can also be an acronym for we owned the other team, an expression used by gamers, I'm told. Which would be about right, because my younger and immature brother uses the term 'owned' all the time (not particularly

This year's word of the year isn't found in a print dictionary, but online, and was voted the award from a list of the most frequently searched words on the M-W website, beating out facebook for first place.

My father, the less tech & Internet savvy man that he is, heard this on the radio, and was surprised to learn that it actually was a word, and not something I - or my schoolmates - had made up. He was first introduced to the word by me in an email home, in which I excitedly declared that I had finished all my CAS hours, a joyous moment indeed, and one which no other word could convey. (Yes, it's the nerd in me that I try - often unsuccessfully - to beat down.)

In the meantime, Blogger had better update their spell check, because woot is a word, and it's not just me that says so!

Just a girl

Saturday, 15 December 2007

January: month of mixed emotions

Though Christmas is the most wonderful holiday on my agenda and in the immediate weeks to come, it is overshadowed by a nerve-racking prospect, among others.

I am a graduated senior. What else am I worried about but my score, which will be released on January 4? Unlike Dancing Feet, I am not looking forward this. Though I want to know, I am nervous at the thought, and cannot imagine how I will be on the day (not to mention that I will have to get up early in order to call my school between 10 am and 12pm.) Is my goal of 39 too high? How will I feel if I get 38, or less? And I try not to hope that I will get 40 or above (though it is my deepest desire) so that I do not set myself up for disappointment.

And as if all those nerves weren’t enough, my driving test to get my provisional licence is the day before. My mother had booked the test for the 12th of December, but – apart from not quite having 50 hours – I’m not ready. So, in my mother’s haste for me to get my licence, it has been postponed til January 3rd. I’m glad there are no traffic lights in the town where I’ll be doing my test (though it may be a larger town than my own, it’s population boasts only 2000), but reverse parallel parks persist to be the bane of my life, or at least my driving ability. And hill starts. I hate hill starts. To be optimistic, however, I have not hit anything. Yet.

But that is not the end of my agony. No. On January 15th, I find out which university and course I have been accepted into. If the ENTER for Arts at Melbourne Uni is anything like it was last year – around 90 – I should be accepted, but what if I’m not? In 24-48 hours of receiving this – an – offer, I find out whether I have been accepted into the residential college of my first preference (if I receive an offer at Melbourne).

On the flipside of all this, there are a few things that I actually am excited about. The first of this (Christmas notwithstanding) is going to Melbourne around the 20th to see The Phantom of the Opera, which I am have not seen and am very much looking forward to (unlike my brother, who lacks an appreciated of the arts). We’re also going to the Australian Open, which is always good. This year is a little bit different, though, as we’ve got a day pass for Monday and we’re going to the night games on Sunday – we’ve never bought a day pass before, but it should be fun. Last year we saw Federer, and the year before that, Sharapova, both of whom were absolutely amazing. I’ve just been informed that we’re also going to see the musical Shout, of which I was completely unaware, but equally looking forward to!

Though of course, the photos don't do their playing justice.

Furthermore, around Australia Day my good friend Sara is coming to visit and stay with me! If I can survive all of the above, I shall be simply delighted!

As to those photos of Hawaii, an explanation is finally due. The first of the house through the hedge is actually my grandparents’ house. It’s a beautiful, big, old two-storey house that my grandmother’s parents owned and lived in. There’s a pool and the front and huge backyard that resembles a rainforest, with a stream that divides it from the mountain behind, of which there will be many photos. The photo was taken from behind the hedge that borders the house on three sides (the stream makes the fourth). I was standing in an overgrown road between their house and the next, which led from their unused garage to the next photo.

The overgrown shack, as I refer to it, was something I stumbled upon in my exploration of the garden (though it is far too large and untended to be called that). It may have been a garden shed once upon a time, but now it is simply forgotten, and a mosquito haven – I got eaten alive taking the photo.

Expect more photos – of Christmas and Hawaii – soon!

Just a girl

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Computers, Chicken and Christmas

Alas, I have been an absent blogger due to my parents' increasingly strict rules about internet hours and computer (a.k.a 'the box')/laptop usage, based on their misguided impression that I have a computer addiction. I am not in denial, nor do I have any such addiction. They do not understand because they simply cannot see how or why I can do so much on a computer. As I enjoy writing, I type a lot of my ideas, poems or stories up using word. I also take a lot of photos, and thus have to load them, delete them, or - occasionally - play around with them using photoshop (adjusting hues, shadow, and all that jazz.) I use my laptop to play music and print photos or files. I use 'the box' simply for internet purposes, as we have broadband, which is only connected to 'the box.'

Due to this misunderstanding, I was not allowed to so much as touch any computer yesterday, but instead was forced to clean my room, a very large endeavour. Such a large endeavour, in fact, that it must be tackled in stages. The first was to unpack my bag from Hawaii (completed a few days ago, about a week after I got back!); the second was organising my school books into ones for my brother to toil over glance at next year and ones to gladly throw out; the third has been to unpack and sort the rest of my clothes and assorted packed things, which has involved cleaning out my cupboard, my dolls' house and my dresser draws to do so. Call me a neat freak, perfectionist, or just plain weird, but I arranged all the furniture in my dolls' house neatly (for the purpose of being able to put other stuff in there, like my iPod box, camera box, sanitary items and toiletries) and - for want of having a life - think it actually looks kind of cool, so I took some photos to share. I just think that doll house furniture is cute, OK?

This is the front of the doll house. My grandfather made it (he's big with woodwork) and my mother painted it.

This is the kitchen. See the little cups? And the kettle on the stove? Cute, right? The cupboard at far right was given to me by a very good friend when I was eight - she even made two tiny little cards to go in the drawers!

There's even a tiny baby grand piano that I didn't know I had! I think my mother must have found it somewhere...

Yes, the doll house has Christmas decorations, and more than the four shown here. Aren't they the cutest?

Today's chore was slightly more constructive (and worthwhile) in that I have been cooking! Pulverising chicken, to be exact. I'm preparing a teryaki chicken dish for tomorrow night, which involves marinating the chicken overnight. Hence the pulverising. It was fun. However, such has my state of relaxation, sleeping in and not doing anything (in true holiday, I-just-graduated-and-I'm-recovering-from-the-IB style) that I have the following supremely stupid conversation regarding the chicken:

Mother: You can make the chicken tonight.
Father: What about Friday night?
Mother: OK, you can marinade it this afternoon then.
Me: How long does it take to marinade?
Mother: Overnight.
Me: But that'll be longer than overnight....oh,'s Thursday.

And here I was thinking it was Wednesday. The only things that structure my weeks are TV shows, and they've all pretty much concluded for the summer.

However, in terms of cooking, I am more a dessert and chocolate chef, as these are not only my specialties but my favourites. And, obviously, the best part about making them is eating them while you're making them. So, this afternoon I baked brownies. Yum.

In the meantime, I have also - productively - set up the Christmas decorations around the house. And as my good friend Pepito is not feeling the Christmas festivities over in Qatar, I thought I'd post some photos of ours to help her get into the spirit. So, Pepito, this is for you!

Christmas obviously centres around the story of Mary, Joesph and the birth of baby Jesus. This depiction is found on a wooden Nativity scene we have.

And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without nutcrackers (which my mum loves) - who doesn't love The Nutcracker (which I remember seeing a fantastic production of in Honolulu some years back) - and angels? Hark, the Herald Angels Sing!

Speaking of angels...these two are possibly my favourite decorations. They're just so sweet and innocent.

That's just a taste of Christmas. More to come. And, of course, explanations of these photos.

Just a girl

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

I do believe in Robin, I do, I do!

I'll let Jonas do the talking (since he does it so much better), but the lowdown is that Sherwood forests - like many around the world - is being depleted and is in need of saving. Let's keep the Robin Hood legend - and location - alive. Vote for Sherwood Forest to win 50 million pounds for revegetation.

Thanks to Robin Hood for alerting me to this.

I'll do anything for Jonas. Sigh.

NB: This is my 101st post. How cool is that? And it is perfectly appropriate that I am celebrating it with a cause for a character - and a person - I love.

Just a girl

Monday, 3 December 2007

Jet Lag

Flew in last night to Melbourne at around 7.30 pm after catching a flight from Honolulu at 8.15 am (which required me to be at the airport at 6 and thus wake up by 5.30) and drove home (a 4 hour trip) immediately. Fortunately I was able to sleep most of the way home. Despite a 12 hour sleep last night I'm still prety tired. But a small price to pay for the absolutely fabulous time I had there.

In the meantime (as I sleep and unpack the mountains of things I not only brought back but all those books, clothes and accumulation of stuff from school...oh, gods), here are two photos from my trips. They are, please, use your imagination and tell me what you think I've been doing (and what these two places could possibly be)! Go on, get thinking!

* * *

Just a (mysterious) girl

Friday, 23 November 2007

Aloha! (this post is continued as a comment)

Just a brief post from my grandfather's iPhone, the only internet access I have. Yes, my grandfather - the man who took a look at the phone and said "what's SMS?" - has an iPhone. Understandably, however, because he doesn't use mobile phones very much, and if so, only for calling, not texting.

In the meantime, I've been relaxing; sleeping in, eating out with my grandparents (which is so good!), swimming in the pool, hanging out with my cousins. Tonight, for instance, my 18 year old cousin and I have the house to ourselves because my grandparents and aunt (her mother) have gone to a party, so we've ordered pizza and are watching a movie (High School Musical.) Yesterday was Thanksgiving, which was delicious and a wonderful family celebration, even though it was just my grandparents, 2 of my 4 cousins (the other two go to college on the Mainland) my uncle and his sister my aunt (minus his girlfriend and her husband, my other uncle, who couldn't make it.

Friday, 16 November 2007

The Mayfly: Inspirational

I love this ad. Really makes you think about the value of life and how we live it, doesn't it?

(I also love it how the Aussie version of the ad - shown here - is different to other versions. Noticably, "the common mayfly has a life expectancy of just one day. Does he give a damn? Nah, bugger that, he says!")

"If we made every moment in life count, like the mayfly, what a life that would be."

For once, Vodefone says something worth listening to.

Reminds me of a couple of quotes (I told you I'm a quote database!):

-"it's not the number of breaths you take, but the number of moments that take your breath away"


-"don't count your days away, but make your days count."

[Video: YouTube]

Just a girl

Thursday, 15 November 2007

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it has happened"

My time has come to an end at the school I have loved, hated and enjoyed for the past four years.

I may be walking away, but I'll be leaving a piece of my heart here, for all the times I've smiled, laughed, hugged, hoped, dared, dreamed, cried, complained, missed home, said goodbye, danced, loved, feared, and perservered.

[Photo taken by my friend Miss CM of me on a rainy winter's afternoon last year]

I will never turn my back on those memories.

Just a girl

Exam Update: It's All Over

DT Paper 3 done this morning. I officially finished at 10.15.

I can't believe it. It's exhilarating. Thrilling. Relieving. Sad. Hopelessly emotional.

15 exams.

Less than two weeks.

Not much sleep.

History Paper 3 made up for Paper 2, which was great because I was really worried about this paper, as it's 3 essays in 2.5 hours and very difficult to prepare for, as the questions aren't asked in topics like Paper 2 but chosen from any section of the syllabus. Fortunately, the questions were on topics that weren't asked in Paper 2, like League of Nations and causes of WW1, which I was prepared for, so I think I went OK.

The funniest question on the paper though was something like this: "Assess the role of music in promoting nationalistic ambitions in two countries." I didn't know anyone studied anything like this!

I'm packing now, and in a bit of a rush. I have an interview at Melbourne Univerisity this afternoon with the college I'd like to live in this year. The interview is a large part of the application process, and the college is quite small. First I've got to get into the uni (which would be ace!), so hopefully the college will follow! Otherwise I've got other preferences.

I can't believe I'm not in yr 12 any more.

Just a recently graduated girl

Sebastian the Eskimo

Sebastian the Eskimo
lives in a little ice house
Just him and his books and his stove
And of course his little white mouse

By day he hunts for fish
Out in the Artic cold
By night he curls up to fire
Reading stories from days of old

Just a little poem I wrote during Design Tech Paper 1 because I finished early.

[Image: Ig-glue, Cartoonstock]

Just a girl

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Exam Update: 1 to go!

Today was my biggest day; History Paper 3 and Design Technology Papers 1 & 2. Thankfully, I've survived, and with only a few scratches.

But let's talk about the exams I can bitch about.

Nothing to complain about English Paper 2 at all. There was a great poetry question on how and why poets make words, phrases and lines memorable to the reader, which was just talking about literary features in all the most meaningful words, lines and phrases in the poems we'd studied. I studied quite a few poems by each poet we studied - Hopkins, Thomas, Harwood and Herbet - but only ended up basing my commentary around Spring, God's Grandeur, Lion's Bride, and Welsh History. I was really happy with it, and overall it made up for the frustration of Paper 1.

Speaking of frustrating papers...History Paper 2 was not supposed to be a problem. It's based around 6 topics - of which we cover 4 - so having revised 4 of these topics (causes of WW1, rise of Mussolini, League of Nations and causes of the Cold War), I should have a good chance of getting two questions that I can answer, right?

Wrong. Looks Prac exams can be deceiving.

All the prac exams we've looked at for History (from 2001 until May 07) have been straightforward in being able to choose a question we could write a half-way decent essay on.

And then there's November 07. A new breed of Paper 2 is born. It's tough. It's a bitch. And it's unforgiving.

Of all the questions on the paper, I wasn't really happy with answering any of them. There was no League of Nations question at all, there was no simple WW1 question, the Cold War question went up to 1953 for goodness sake, which it's never done before and we only cover up to 1950, more or less, plus the question on Mussolini was about to what extent was ideology significant in his rise to power; not that he had much of an ideology.

Now I know a paper is not supposed to be easy but it's supposed to be doable! I can appreciate a challenge but not something I can't do. And it wasn't for lack of study.

I ended up choosing the questions on Cold War and Mussolini, which I think might have been OK essays. But everyone agreed that it was an unnecessarily difficult paper.

Paper 1, on the other hand, was really good. It was on Stalin's rise to power, which is one of my better topics. I also wrote the longest mini-essay I've ever written, which is a good sign.

Last hurrahs:

  • Last dinner (spent with all the year 12 girls in my house)
  • Last assembly
  • Last supper (no, not like that!)

I'll miss this place. I can't believe I'm leaving. I think I might cry soon.

Just a girl

The Newest Sensation Warming Our Nations

Liquid coal.

Don't buy it.

Don't buy what they say.

Don't buy the coal.

Support a cause that protects the environment.

Say no to liquid coal.

Just a girl

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

I Think, Therefore I.B.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, stressed or just sick of it all, I consult Uncylcopedia for a dose of laughs. What cheers me the most is their article on the IB. It's hilarious!

Not only does it detail the kind of students IB kids are, it also exactly describes TOK (the bane of every IB student's existence), offers help on how to write an IB paper, gives questions to prepare you for the final exams, provides examples of how to get extra points, and - my favourite - includes a prayer for all those doomed IB students out there:

"As I lay me down to rest
A stack of books upon my chest,
And if I die before I wake
That's one less test I have to take."

Too true. And one that applies all too well to me.

Off to bed then, to pray sleep cram.

Just a girl

We're All Just Prisoners, Waiting For Release

The facility: primary school, before upgrade to higher level detention in secondary school

The crime? Being children in need of education

The sentence: 13 years. No parole.

The punishment: mental torture and subsequent emotional suffering. Physical labour is optional.

Conditions of release: exams

We're not all that different from prisoners. We even have numbers, whether it be your VCE number, IB number, account number. We have uniforms. We probably eat like prisoners, too.

Major differences? We have fun. We have friends. We're here by choice (more or less.)

But sometimes, exams just feel like Hell.

And who can be bothered any more?

But prison never had this:

While many may say that yr 9 at this school is more like prison that any other, I say that it was the best year of my life. It's what you make it. And see major differences above. Sure, it was hard as anything, but that's what made it worth it.

Just a thought.

Just a girl

Exam Update: English Exams

I'm strictly mum on English Paper 2 (not allowed to talk about it until 24 hours after) but I can bitch all I like about Paper 1 (Friday) - a.k.a the exam no one studies for.

Paper 1 wasn't a great paper, but not for lack of study.

Paper 1 involves writing a commentary on a piece of unseen prose or poetry (hence, no study); we always do poetry, because our Part 3 (a.k.a Paper 2) books are poetry, our unseen orals were on poetry, and it makes sense; we haven't done prose commentaries in years (well, maybe a year.)

The poem itself was obscure, so much so that I can't find it in full anywhere on the Net. Anywhere at all. I've found the poet - Penelope Shuttle - who may not be so obscure, but nothing on the poem, Three Lunulae, Truro Museum.

Essentially, it was about how Shuttle goes to Truro Museum and see these three lunulae. I just couldn't find that much in terms of literary features and a deeper meaning to write about. My line of argument was that Shuttle was reflecting on who were the women who wore the lunulae. Other people discussed how the lunulae was a symbol of the moon, which represented the cycle of time, the turning of the seasons, as well as cultural differences, and searching for identity by looking to the past in order to move forward. All of which sounds incredibly deep and meaningful and something I should have thought of. Nothing I can do about it now, though.

That's what I hate about after an exam; when people say "I wrote about this; what did you say?" and you say "well..." and feel all insignificant and wonder why you didn't write something like that. Especially with essays.

Everyone's celebrating - "no more English!" I'm not so sure, as it is the major I want to do as part of an Arts degree!

1 more dinner with my brother (tonight.) 2 more days left of school, and I'm starting to pack. 3 friends I've said goodbye to. 4 days until I go to Hawaii. 6 more exams. 7 more school meals.

5 things I'll miss about school

  • My friends
  • The house tutors
  • The house, esp. the yr 12s
  • The outings
  • The events; the Christmas dinners, where all the catering staff dress up as elves; Christmas Balls, etc

5 things I won't really miss

  • Slush
  • Chapel
  • Stealing
  • Bells
  • The food (although Sunday brunch was one of my favourite meals of the week)

Just a girl

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Fashion Shoot, Grammar Style

This post is for Miss SM, who claims that our schools' rugby jumpers are "literally 100% identical."

Except, of course, ours say our school across the breast in small print.

Well, this is what it looks like. Is it the same? Either way, I think they're a nice colour and print (and certainly - thankfully - the colour isn't our school colour.)

As a rugby, they're casual but they look good, suitable for street wear without looking like school uniform.

Needless to say, we all wear them whenever we get the chance!

[Model: Just a girl; Photographer: Just a girl - so multi-talented!]

Just a girl

OC Does New York


The result is Gossip Girl - the new TV show that's on everyone's lips.

And it's now taking this school by storm. Everyone is talking about it; whether Chuck is hot (ew, no, he's way too sleazy), if Serena and Dan are right together (as one girl said, "I just want them to have children!"), whether Nate is hot (fairly, in my opinion), if Jenny really looks like a 14 year old girl (no), etc. It seems we can't get enough!

My friend and I watched the first 7 episodes last night - it was almost a marathon effort, but more than worth it. Although now we're left wondering whether Blair really did do the dirty deed with Chuck (good god, I hope not, she really does deserve better for her first time.)

Why is it so addictive and delightful? Because it's so spiteful! It's got bitchy cat fights, hot guys, steamy sex, gorgeous fashion, snotty rich kids, torrid affairs, drugs, rock 'n' roll (if you count Rufus, that is) and mystique (who is Gossip girl?!) - what's not to love?

The only problem I have with the show is how far it strays from the story lines and characters of the books. Although some of the stuff Josh Schwartz comes up with is far juicier than that in the books (for example, Blair's Burlesque dance, the modelling, the brunch fight), some things just aren't right:

  • Eric is supposed to be Serena's older brother, in college, and doesn't attempt to commit suicide (Blair has a fling with him in later books)

  • Dan is supposed to be a little more of an introverted, tortured soul - and a poet; but his character is awkward enough to be OK

  • Rufus is also supposed to be a poet, a scruffy father with long hair, a shaggy beard, and a bit more "uncool" than he is in the show. He is also not supposed to have a 'thing' with Lily, because there is a Mr Van der Woodsen on the scene

  • Nate's father is supposed to be a strict sea captain (or something like that), not a businessman
  • Nate himself is supposed to be a stoner boy - and wait, blonde? A bit of a waspoid, actually

  • Vanessa is all wrong, because she's supposed to have a shaved head, for goodness sake. Apart from that, she too is a recluse like Dan, but a movie-maker (big on filming everything). They didn't have a past, either, they created one in the books

  • Serena's and Nate's sex scene is not on a bar stool, but creative license is OK in such an instance
  • Jenny is supposed to be a little more endowed - more developed, if you will, than a 14 year old girl should be, and that is what catches the attention of the guys (eg Chuck Bass)
  • Blair's mother Eleanor doesn't have a job (she's an Upper East Sider for goodness sake) but marries an older, gross man whom Blair hates. This results in a wedding on Blair's 17th birthday and a stepbrother
But, for all that, I'm not going to hold it against the show, because I love it too much. I'll have to think of the TV show is more of an adaptation that a 'based on the books' series, otherwise my complete adoration of the books (my first love, you see, between the show and the books) will continue to interfere with what should happen instead of what does. And that would be predictable, anyway. Besides, the two key characters, Blair and Serena, are perfectly bitchy and pretty much spot on; no real complaints there! So thank you, Josh Schwartz, for bringing such utter gossip queens to our TV screens!

Because I love the books so much, let's enjoy some quotes relating to my favourite characters:
  • The Van der Woodsens: They were all tall, blond, thin, and super-poised, and they never did anything - play tennis, hail a cab, eat spaghetti, go to the toilet - without maintaining their cool.

  • Nate: Nate was the only son of a navy captain and a French society hostess. His father was a master sailor and extremely handsome, but a little lacking in the hugs department. His mother was the complete opposite, always fawning over Nate and prone to emotional fits during which she would lock herself in her bedroom with a bottle of champagne and call her sister on her yacht in Monaco. Poor Nate was always on the verge of saying how he really felt, but he didn’t want to make a scene or say something he might regret later. Instead, he kept quiet and let other people steer the boat, while he laid back and enjoyed the steady rocking of the waves.

  • Serena: Two floors below Blair, in the Constance Billard School auditorium, Serena was toiling over her American history exam.
    Not. Serena wasn’t exactly the toiling type.

  • Blair: Whenever Blair did anything nice for someone else, she usually regretted it.
    Which kind of explained why she was such a bitch most of the time.

  • Eleanor: To Blair’s dismay, her mother was wearing beige velour track pants with the word Juicy printed on the butt.
    Hello, inappropriate?!

  • Jenny: Blair knew perfectly well that Jenny was the balloon-boobed freshman whore who’d stolen her Nate away, but she also knew that Nate dumped Jenny flat on her ass after some extremely embarrassing pictures of Jenny’s bare butt in a thong had been posted on the Web just before New Year’s Eve.
[Extracts from the books]

Just a girl (just as mysterious as gossip girl herself)

Friday, 9 November 2007

Confirmation at last!

My dad has finally confirmed that I will, indeed, be departing for those golden sands and blue skies a week from tomorrow!

Hawaii, here I come!

Plane flies out at 2 o'clock, which makes me suspect I have a ticket.

There's no going back!!

Woo hoo!!

And, of course, in typical celebratory style - I just have to post a photo.

Isn't it beautiful? (Taken from a viewing car park overlooking the ocean on the side of the road.)

Just a girl

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Exam Update: No Exams Today

Today is was my day off, unheard of in the IB exam timetable! (Practically, although some people have two days off.) A day for sleeping in, and lounging around, and generally not stressing because tomorrow's exam is English (commentary on an unseen poem.)

No, I didn't get any study done, although I had planned to.

Instead, I continued to dispose of my notes, now adding Spanish to the pile of Unwanted Maths and Biology. It has now become quite the pile of Past Papers, Prac Exams, Notes, Tests, Hand-outs, and All Manner of Things Vaguely Related to the Topic and Deemed Helpful &/or Relevant to Said Topic:

Although quite large in size, I don't think the pile really conveys the amount of blood and sweat and tears that went into it; the study, the revision, the stress, the anxiety, the emotion (be it satisfaction or disappointment)...

It does, however, clearly demonstrate that the IB is an excessive waste of paper.

Just a girl

Exam Update: Los Examenes de Espanol

(a.k.a the exams that almost weren't)

Yesterday was the most eventful day of exams yet. Mind you, that's not necessarily a good thing...

Yesterday's exams almost weren't because I become ill - that is to say I felt extremely unwell - during the first exam. Reading time (which is five minutes), in fact. Around breakfast time I developed a stomach ache, which wasn't exceedingly painful as it was annoying, which I thought would pass. All felt fine before I entered the exam room. However, once I sat down, the pain increased, and I began to feel quite hot and sweaty, despite the fact that it was a cold day and the room was by no means warm. I felt clammy, lightheaded, and like I was going to faint for vomit. I put up my hand to say I felt sick, and the invigilator (fancy IB word for the supervisor) called the IBC's secretary who came and took me to our Sick Bay, where I was checked over by the nurse, given something for my stomach, and then taken to see the doctor. Apparently all my vital signs were fine, but I looked really pale. The doc thought it was something like a claustrophobic reaction (it couldn't have been nerves or anything, because Spanish is one of my better subjects, and I wasn't worried about it) - like I was going to faint, but I didn't; I believe he called it a vasovagal episode.

Anyhow, I was feeling slightly better, and felt that I could take the exam - the IBC has drummed into us that even if we are sick, we must try to take the exam under any circumstances. As it turned out, he rang the exam office, and they wanted to take at least 50% of Paper 1. I was also granted all kinds of special considerations - extra time and rest breaks. So I ended up taking Paper 1 and 2 in the Sick Bay with my IBC supervising. Despite the circumstances, pienso que los examenes fueron buenos [I think that the exams went well.] And by the end of Paper 2, I was feeling fine. So all's well that ends well.

On a happier and more exciting note, I have only one week left at school, so I'm posting 7 of my favourite taken-at-school photos:

View from my room, third term last year

This one is beautiful; of the main school drive

The sun setting behind my boarding house

The sun setting after the rain over the tennis courts behind my boarding house

Of blossoms in the light of sunset at the side of my boarding house facing down the main school drive

Taken on Aths Day this year - during the sunny part of the day, when it was warm and the sky was blue and it actually felt like September

What I like to think of as this school's version of The Thinker

Just a girl

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Pink: The Epitome of Chic

The colour, that is.

And Christian Dior says so.

I found this quote in a Rouge Dior ad:

"Pink is the colour I prefer, the softest of all colours, the colour of joy and femininity. Every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe."

While it might be a little strange for a man to be saying this, well, this man happens to rule the fashion world. With a very stylish fist.

As if I needed an excuse to wear, buy, own or love pink; now I've got justification.

Just a girl

Exam Update: Maths Papers Kill Me, Thrill Me

I've finished maths for ever!

I am uber, uber excited. Because I'm sure I'm not going to continue it at university (I'd much rather follow my heart, thank you very much.)

Although I'm not quite as excited as I am about my travels; at this stage, it looks like I'm going to be leaving the Saturday after I finish with school/exams, Thursday 15th, as I'm going to be in Melbourne for that weekend and might as well fly out from there. I don't mind in the least that I'll have a days' rest (I have the rest of my life this year to sleep!) or that I'll have to pack up all my stuff here and a suitcase.

I couldn't be more excited!!

I finally figured out why Hawaii means so much to me. It's because it feels like home. My grandparents' house, for example, is vast and beautiful, but I love it because it's like home; familiar, friendly and comforting.

Anyhow (the thought of Hawaii can be a very distracting one these days), the maths exams were...mixed. Paper 1, which is usually my better paper (the last prac paper I took I almost scored a 6!) wasn't great. It could have been worse - but it could have been (much) better, too. It seemed more challenging than any practise paper I've done, but I think I scored OK overall. In the middle of it I started freaking out because I hadn't been able to answer many questions, and I was adding it up and I thought I was going to fail the paper. But after that, the brains kicked in and I was able to complete more questions. So in the end, I might score a 5 (worst case scenario?) and if my mathematics was more sound that I think it was, I could score a 6. The prayer around here (and from most people after that paper, which most people agreed was fairly disagreeable) is for large grade boundaries.

Paper 2, surprisingly, was better that Paper 1, I felt. As I said, Paper 2 is not my strong point...all those extended questions that require mathematical thinking and logic...shudder. But overall the questions were answerable, which was really good, because it meant that I was able to attempt most - if not all - of a question, instead of going "OMG, I don't know how to do this, mierda, I can't do any of it..." and thus being screwed. I answered 3 questions in full; I couldn't answer parts of the other 2. However, I could potentially score 70/90 (if everything I did was right), which is around a 7. Again, pray for large grade boundaries! Realistically though, I'm not a maths genius, (unlike some people) and so I might have scored a 6, gods forbidding. I'm aiming for a 5 in maths, but I'm not opposed to a 6.

So I am now going about the incredibly joyous process of throwing out all my maths and bio notes, past papers, etc. Don't worry, I'm recycling them - while it would be much more satisfying to the burn them all in a big bonfire, we learned about the greenhouse effect in Bio, and thus I am not going to contribute. Plus, I don't know where I'm going to build a bonfire around here (though I'm sure all the other IB students would join in!) nor can I be bothered.

And because I heart Hawaii so, and I'm on cloud nine about going there, I'm going to post some more pictures, because really, who can get sick of them? And they are just so beautiful. (And before anyone says anything, it is not an obsession or an addiction, merely appreciation and excitement.)

Akaka Falls, Hawaii, the Big Island. Beautiful. It was raining that day, and we had to run along the path - through forest - to see it, and then run back. It was worth it though.

Cute lifeguards. But what I like most about this photo is their lifeguard shack. Reminded me of Australian lifeguards at the time. (Oahu)

Huuuge waves, on the beach with above lifeguards. I remember just pulling up at the beach some time after lunch, and not being in my swimmers. So, I changed into my top (subtly, of course) and just swan in my shorts. Despite the clouds, it was a lovely, warm day, and the swimming was excellent.

Just a girl

Monday, 5 November 2007

This is the End of You + Me (Sorry, Bio, It had to be)

No more cells
No more bells*
And, thank goodness,
No more organelles

No more brains,
Or reflexes of pain
And certainly no more
cell membranes

No more genes
Or what allele means
And who could care
about Mendel's beans

What could that be?
Is it related to
blood group B?

No more clones
No more drones
And certainly no more
About rods and cones

No more HIV
Or the social organization of bees
No more A & T or G & C,
Or anything about the Golgi

A quadrat?
Who's heard of that?
Or knows what emulsifies fat?
Or the taxa of a cat?

I don't need to know
More than the Average Joe
This is the end
Of me + Bio.

*Pavlov and his dogs

Today I had my last Bio exam - paper 3. Papers 1 and 2 (Friday) were stellar - well, I've got a pretty good feeling that I aced them both - many thanks to all those who wished me luck. Paper 2 worried me, because of the dreaded essay questions; a choice of 1 of 3 questions, each with three marks, totalling 20 marks (of the overall 60 for the paper), and you have to be able to answer all three parts of 1 question, not 3 parts from different questions. Fortunately, there was a nice question on cells and stuff that I could answer. Paper 3 was OK - not great, but not horrible - at least I was able to answer everything, except for some stupid diagram on a part of the syllabus to which I went "they'll never ask me that." Damn the IBO. Anyhow, I hope that I'll be able to score a 6; best case scenario 7, hopefully the worst case scenario is 5. (I'd like to think that I scored 7s on Paper 1 and 2.)

In the spirit of being relieved about 1/5 of my exams being completed (yes, I have 15 exams; 12 to go now!), I'm sharing this rather amusing 'exam response':

[if you can't read, the question is: how would you verify that the mutants identified by phenotype in your screen are true loss of function jaw-D mutations? The answer is: use the radioactive ooze!]

Just a girl

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Can't Help But Smile Squeal

So...nothing is totally definite yet, but I'm positively close to certain that I will be returning to that tropical island paradise in the Pacific!

I can't help it - I'm beyond excited, I'm absolutely elated!

I'll (potentially!) be leaving the weekend after I finish - in two weeks' time!! - and be spending around 10 days - 2 weeks there.

This is the first time I'll be travelling sans family. Does it bother me? Not particularly - it all adds to the anticipation of the trip! Plus, I've done this so many times before with the family that I'm sure I can handle it without. Mind you, I think it took my dad a bit of convincing. It's only airports (which I'm pretty good at navigating now, because of said multiple experiences) with a possible change-over in Sydney, and getting picked up by my uncle once I get there.

I'll be able to see, spend time with and stay with my grandparents (whom I love dearly), catch up with my cousins and go to the beach, all of which thrills me deeply. Not to mention the fabulous shopping I'll be able to enjoy (unchaperoned!) and my first real American Thanksgiving (not counting the Australian ones we have home, which rock). It's a place I truly adore and can't wait to visit again. So, in the spirit of being absolutely over the moon about it, I'm going to post some more photos:

This is the view from the Pali lookout, on a mostly clear day. The day before, it was unbelievably - and uncharacteristically - cloudy, so much so that we couldn't see a thing!

Looking back up Kahala Beach toward the Hilton

Did I mention I can't wait?!

Just a girl

Spapshots of Speech Day Weekend

The dress I wore to Valedictory (a present from my friend):

Someone's shoes from Speech Day, Sunday:

The main quad, where all the yr 12s had to gather in house/alphabetical order before walking into the ceremony, which is beautiful, but made me sneeze as all the trees are in blossom and I get hay fever something fierce:

My friend's plant, Daisy (table decorations from lunch which were being given away - yes, surprisingly for free!) - that is to say, it's not a daisy, but she has called it Daisy:

Just a girl

Celebrating Being the Class of '07, Part II

How many private school students does it take to change a light bulb?

None. Their parents do it for them.

(From a student's speech at yr 12 Chapel.)

While this isn't strictly true, I can appreciate the stereotype (and still find it hilarious.) A joke that more pertains to this school is:

How many Grammar school students does it take to change a light bulb?

None. They call Maintenance.

Now that is true.

On Friday morning (morning of our yr 12 breakfast & valedictory dinner) we had our yr 12 leavers' Chapel service - and it was surprisingly funny, touching and sad, all at the same time (I say surprisingly because this is Chapel we're talking about.) This was probably because it was mostly a student run service, with students giving their own reflections on their time at the school. One boy wrote a poem about everyone - or almost everyone - which was very funny, as it essentially mocked us all (and my house got called fat, yet again. But that's OK, because I know it's all in jest.) And that's the last time the Class of '07 will gather together - except for Speech Day - in celebration and recollection. When I walked out of the service, I was almost moved to tears - it was just so overwhelming to realise that we will probably never see many of our year group ever again. It's so sad to think that I may never see all the people from my unit again, because we were so close. Or even those people who I may only say 'hi' to in passing. All these people make up my past, from year 9 til now, in some way and somehow, and it's like losing parts of my memories, because they all remind me of something.

Just a girl

Friday, 2 November 2007

All the Small Things

Simple pleasures:
  • The sound of rain falling softly as I fall asleep
  • Well wishers sending their thoughts via email and phone
  • Friends who say "you'll be OK"
  • Sleeping in
  • A hot shower

Happiness is in the small things.

Stress is in the big ones. Like exams.

Just a girl

[title inspired by Blink 182's song All the Small Things]

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Unexpected Kindness

Isn't it the best kind?

Today I received a good luck card from family friends; the mother of friends I used to go to school with. It was so sweet and surprising - which is a nice feeling when I'm freaking out about Biology Paper 1 and 2 tomorrow! (Paper 1 is multiple choice, which won't be so bad, but Paper 2 is data analysis, short answer and essay questions...less easy to bluff!) And in the same post, I also received a letter from my mother, including a 'worry bear' to do all my worrying for me:

The feeling of being loved is unlike any other. It improves any situation (such as the stressful one I'm in now) and just makes you want to smile.

In the meantime, you can make a difference in someone else's life, somewhere...sign the Avaaz petition for Climate Action and the petition for Burma. Think of it as your act of kindness for the day.

Me? I've already signed them.

And now, I must learn the difference between absorption and assimilation, fertilization and copulation, gametes and zygotes, mitosis and meiosis, plant and animal cells, prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells, and so on.


Just a girl

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Last Hurrah: Graduation Before Exams

As of Sunday, I am now an official Old Girl of my school...and exams don't start until Friday! (Far too soon, I might add.) Nonetheless, I have the signet ring to prove it.

Our graduation ceremony was pretty much an all weekend event. It began Friday morning, with a house yr 12 breakfast outing (that we had to get up really early - 6am early - for, so it was a looong day - but so worth it). Sometimes it's just nice to get away from school for awhile, to forget about the everyday expectations - not to mention enjoy a decent buffet breakfast.

That night was our house Valedictory Dinner. It was the most enjoyable house dinner/event I've attended (and I've attended a few of those "in my time"); it was fun, comfortable, friendly and carefree, but oh-so-sad, because it was the last time we'll all be together. I was truly able to forget the stress of impending exams, but not the heart-wrenching fact that we are all leaving in a few weeks' time.

All the same, it was a fantastic night, filled with laughter, reminiscence, thank yous to our parents and tutors, and wishes for the future. This induced all kinds of emotions, and after my performance of Landslide (which didn't begin well - an octave too high! - and wasn't as polished as I would have liked, but not terrible), the nerves, the anticipation, the happiness and the realisation that this was it brought me to tears. I'll miss the girls, I really will; well, maybe not all of them, which sounds horrible, but there is this one girl...she didn't go to the dinner though, so my night was not ruined. But I'll miss the closeness, the jokes, the teasing, the openness, the understanding, the kindness, the trust, the care, the support. We've had it rough, losing so many friends along the way what with so many friends leaving, but we've always been there for each other, and that's something I won't forget.

I also hope I won't forget this night; I think it encapsulates the joyful experience I've had with my year group and my house.

Just a girl

Celebrating Being the Class of '07

Don't know who we are? Surely you've seen us around...

  • We're obviously distinguishable by our blue yr 12 jumpers, with our names (nicknames, or otherwise) emblazoned on our backs, along with 07 (too bad no one in our year is called 'Kevin.' And no-one thought to get "Double" (07) on their back. Doesn't mean that people weren't original with what they got though...)

  • We Old Girls are wearing our signet rings on our little fingers (if they fit.) The Old Boys aren't wearing their ties though. For shame.

  • You might see us carrying our cameras around campus, particularly in the Dining Hall. It's a "we'll-never-see-this-place-again-I-want-to-capture-it-on-film" thing.

  • We've been acting a bit crazy lately - blowing off steam. We're stressed, OK, and we need to have some fun before the seriousness really starts - exams, that is (Friday.) Some of us were mucking around on the pedestrian crossing outside a day house last night, taking photos which generally involved lying on the road. Don't ask.

  • Speaking of muck can't have have missed a large group of us in the Dining Hall last Thursday. We were crossing dressing - the boys wore dresses that were too short and didn't button them up. The girls wore shorts and shirts. We even went so far as to add lipstick and kiss marks on our cheeks. We took up about half the Dining Hall, raising a ruckus whenever any came in, and throwing food around. After that, we went outside to raise the roof sky some more.

  • Some of us sit at dinner with palm cards, frantically trying to remember whether osmosis is diffusion from high concentration to low, or low to high, and when Hitler's rise to power ended - 1933, with Chancellorship, or 1934, when he became Fuhrer? (If you're wondering, osmosis is the process of diffusion of particles from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. And Hitler's rise may be considered to have ended at either date.)
  • Tonight, you may have seen a rather large and noisy group of us - mainly day boarders - at dinner together, taking photos and laughing loudly, celebrating the last dinner for the day boarders at school. Ever. Lucky them...

And when I leave, in 15 days, these songs will remind me of the school and the crazy people who are the Class of '07:

  1. I Like to Move It, Move It is from that hilarious animation film Madagascar and reminds me of when I went to see it with some friends in yr 10 on a weekend. We stayed during the credits, because the characters from this film were singing this song and dancing to it (on the screen.) It was highly amusing.
  2. Hollaback Girl reminds me of a girl who got expelled in yr 10 who always sang along to the part "this s*** is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s..."
  3. Accidentally in Love makes me think of another girl who got kicked out in yr 10 - we used to sing it together walking back to house from music prac.
  4. You're Beautiful reminds me of this school in general. Everyone used to play it in yr 10, and it was overkill to the point that I had decided I hated the song (due to overkill) - until I found out that it was sung by James Blunt, who happened to sing one of my favourite songs of all time, Goodbye My Lover. Call me a hypocrite, but maybe it's because I like the sound of his voice more than my classmates'...
  5. Love Generation will always remind me of the new girl in yr 11 who is now a close friend. On our house outing to Daylesford, I remember her singing the song (I'd never heard it before) and saying "That song was so big when I was in France" (she went on exchange.)
  6. High School Musical (OST) was the soundtrack of yr 11, esp. term 3, when this movie was huge and everyone was watching it, talking about it, singing it and quoting it.
  7. Robbie Williams will make me think of the "Robbie Williams" (i.e. impersonation) concert we held last year as a fundraiser for the student committee I was on. It was great fun; lights; music; dancing! (And scantily clad women prancing on stage! Middle School were attending, for goodness sake!)
  8. Forever Young was also a favourite of many towards the end of last year
  9. Air Tap (a favourite song of mine) will make think of a yr 10 boy who is an absolute guitar god - he won the solo prize at our house music competition for this song.
  10. Take a Chance on Me will always be remembered as our house music song, with which we won house music the second time in a row! For a small house that is incompetent when it comes to aths/swimming (because we're so small, and we always have to run/swim/jump etc repetitively whereas other houses can afford to chose their best athletes), winning a house event is phenomenal (and means pizza night!). We practised it well and pretty smoothly, but when it came to the actual day, we missed our cue for the second line in, which we'd never done before! But we ended up winning, so what does it matter? (It's because we had the "package," you see; the adjudicator was impressed overall. Mind you, many were very sour and poor sports about our winning, complaining that we didn't deserve. Maybe we didn't, but couldn't they at least be gracious or happy that we won something? But the funniest part was that the adjudicator complimented one house on their group performance - a song they'd written themselves - except that they thought they'd won that category and accepted the prize! It was never said they shouldn't have, but everyone speculates because he said "I'd like to commend [such and such a house]...")
  11. The first time I heard You Can Call Me Al was when our vice principal/head of campus played it in assembly. I can't really remember what his point was, but I remember his playing this part where you could hear some kind of whistle or piccolo. Our VP is so passionate about so many things, especially charities and arts.
  12. Umbrella will remind me of my friend who left earlier this year, because she fell in love with it, and would sing it always, in those weeks before she departed.

Just a girl

Monday, 29 October 2007

Oh, The Things I Shall Do!

Read all the books I want – of my choice!
-To Hellas and Back
-On Beauty
-Master of the Books
-Out of Africa
-Through My Eyes
-Harry Potter (again)
-Gossip Girl (again)

Watch all the movies I want – whenever I want
-Dead Poet’s Society
-Apocalypse Now
-Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
-The Talented Mr Ripley
-What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
-High School Musical 2
-Shrek 3

Watch all the TV shows I want – any time of day
-Chaser’s War on Everything
-America’s Next Top Model
-Gossip Girl
-Robin Hood

Access to unlimited internet sites and downloads – I’ll never go byte over again!

Sleep in til lunchtime – no more bells and assemblies!

Open to recommendations and suggestions.

Just a girl

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Oh, The Places We'll Go

It's a typical graduation speech, but somehow oh-so-fitting. At today's Speech Day/graduation ceremony, our school captain quoted Dr Seuss, which was both inspiring and reassuring:

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

Just a girl

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Muck Up: Just an Excuse to be Bitchy

Not everyone agrees with muck up - there can be extreme events and serious consequences - but unlike initiation, it tends to be harmless fun.

In a boarding school, it's even better, because you can do all those things like putting washing powder in people's beds, stealing their toothbrushes, etc. Practises like egging and vandalism aren't really in the spirit of friendly jokes. And there's always the students who cross dress (i.e. wear the uniform of the other sex.)

On Sunday night, after brainstorming how to make fun of the yr 11s in tonight's skit (tonight is Party Night, and involves the yr 10s singing a funny song and a sad song to/about the yr 12s, the yr 11s making fun of the year 12s in a skit, and vice versa, as well as super supper), we put our devious heads together about how to carry out muck on the yr 10s (the yr 10s are always the ones who suffer muck up - at least at this school they do!), apart from the obvious: honey on toilet seats, Vegemite on door handles. This is what we came up with:
  • 'Stealing' their Internet (by unplugging the cord to the connecting box - we did this yesterday, and they still haven't figured out it us! Mind you, the Internet drops out all the time is this house. It's pretty funny though, because it's killing them not to be able to email/IM during prep, and I've seen some in our common room, because that's where they can get an Internet connection!)

  • Mixing up their dresses, so they're all in the wrong people's cupboards (also done yesterday)

  • Glad wrap on the toilet seat (not very original, but effective)

  • Setting alarm clocks to go off at 1/2 hour intervals starting at around 2 am in the morning, and hiding several in every dorm (this was attempted last night - all the alarm clocks were hidden but they weren't set!)

  • Stripping beds of doonas, tipping mattresses, and removing doona covers

  • Finding the house list of phone numbers and pranking them late at night, every so often

  • Stealing their shoes, tying them together (in odd pairs, of course) and piling them in our common room (can you picture them walking down for assembly, in their socks but without their shoes, dazed and confused?)

  • Stealing their bras, hooking them together in one big line, and hanging them from the beam in the common room

The last two are planning to be carried out when the yr 10s go on camp in a couple of weeks from now.

Such much up is more rife in another girls' house, where the yr 12s actually have permission from their Head of House to carry out muck up on the yr 10s! I believe she even provided them with a list of people to target! They began the week (this week) by "raiding dorms" - running in at 12am and then again at 2am, turning on lights, taking doonas, and generally causing havoc. They also have rules including that the yr 10s may not talk to the yr 12s unless spoken to, and that they must write an essay on one of two topics: "what if God was one of us?" and "the history of the dildo." However, this has all been ended by a yr 10 girl complaining to her parents about it, and her parents ringing the HoH. Sigh. No more muck up.

I don't think our HoH is strictly aware of our plans. I'm not sure she'd entirely approve. Although it's not as though we're going to hurt anyone. We shall see what hits the fan.

Muck up also tends to be a time when people get suspended. Around this time in yr 10, four girls in my house snuck out of the house around 1 am in the morning and visited a boys' house. I needn't go into details - there was some degree of intimate relations, as well as alcohol, and obviously being out of bounds, out of hours. Three of the four girls were expelled (as they couldn't pin dirt on the fourth girl.) Just one of the many reasons why our year group is so small.

Speaking of mucking around...two boys have been suspended and demoted (from prefect) for getting caught drinking alcohol on campus! Big school no-no. Not exactly sure how they were caught, but that's what everyone's talking about.

[Update: the HoH has said NO! to all things muck up. No, we didn't ask her - I'm not sure if she was pre-empting us, or whether it had to do with a small matter of yr 10's cupboard being locked and not being able to find the key, or if she figured that we were behind the Internet debacle. Whatever the reason, our last excuses for fun at school are quickly disappearing. Party night tonight, yr 12 breakfast Friday morning, Valedictory dinner Friday night, followed by Speech Day, then exams. But more time for fun after that - 22 days to go!]

Just a girl

Saturday Night's Alright for Bitchin'

From a conversation during dinner on Saturday night:

“Hey, look, it’s the hot Indo gang.”

“That guy’s not Indo.”

“Yeah, but he’s hot.”

“Eww, no, he’s wearing ugly shoes!”


Monday, 22 October 2007

Laughter = Exam Stress Relief

Dinner date
Boarding school slang
To imply an exclusive arrangement between two (or more) people to eat dinner together

Tonight I have learned to appreciate the simple happiness of friends and laughter, particularly in such a stressful time, with 11 days until my first exam(s) and 24 days until I leave. I had a dinner date with two good friends who I unfortunately don't see much out of class time because they are day boarders. It was so relaxing and carefree just to sit about and talk. After dinner, I performed a musical piece for them, because I'm trying to practice up for this Friday's Valedictory Dinner, at which I will both sing and play (on piano) Stevie Nicks' Landslide. Afterwards we stayed and reminisced about old times.
In the meantime, I try to stay inspired. My motto is if I can survive the next 2 weeks of torture, I will have earned my freedom. I'm anticipating that freedom will mean this:

Ah. Paradise. Just like Christmas. Hopefully I'll be returing there in 4 weeks' time!

Just a girl