Friday, 15 June 2007

Sleep-ins and Spares

This week has been unusually easy going for an IB student.

Although I had tests Monday and Tuesday (Math and Spanish; Spanish surprisingly more painful than Math) Wednesday was my 'gentle' double periods day (English, Spanish and D&T, as opposed to Bio, History and Math - ugh!). Wednesday afternoon was basically free because the GAT was on Thursday, and therefore no immediate prep needed to be completed. Thursday morning the yr 12s slept in (a luxury at boarding school!) as the GAT wasn't until 10. The GAT itself was fairly easy, although long and boring (3 hours with no breaks). No classes after the GAT, and that afternoon off (because the netball fourths team doesn't train on a Thursday). Our HoH (obviously feeling generous) let us have a 'tv night' (another rare luxury at boarding school!); we watched Teen Fit Camp and Eurotrip (which was hilarious).

And today, to top off an easy going week, I had 3 spares (almost unheard of for an IB student)! Yes, it's been a very relaxing day. And now I'm out to dinner for a farewell party. Quite sad but exciting at the same time.

And in other equally exciting news, I have my computer back! Didn't realise how much I missed/used it til it was gone and there was this big empty space on my desk...Apparently it had a faulty hard drive which needed to be replaced, but luckily I had all my work (basically) backed up on external hard drive. It was also reimaged, and heat paste (whatever that is) was applied to my CPU to stop it from overheating.

Just a girl

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Teenage Love

Is there such a thing? More like Teenage Angst...

No posting for a few days because the laptop is not working ("a problem with the cooling system was detected. Please shut down and return for service" + a whole bunch of other problems with errors, freezing and being unresponsive) and I've taken it into Computer Services for repair.

In the meantime, have been using house computers/library computers (quite annoying, as school network has constantly been down).

Just did one of those email forwards; I don't mind the quiz ones because I like to see what they say about me, and this one looks hopeful!

The questions:

1. Which is your favorite color out of: red , black , blue , green , or yellow ? Blue
2. Your first initial? let's just say it's from L-Z
3. Your month of birth? May
4. Which color do you like more, black or white? This was a tough one, but I picked white
5. Name of a person of the same sex as yours. Miss CM
6. Your favorite number? 9
7. Do you like Flying or Driving more? Flying
8. Do you like a lake or the ocean more? the ocean
9. Write down a wish (a realistic one). I can't tell you that, it's a secret!! But think teenage love/lust/crush/whatever you want to call it...

What my answers say about me:
1. Spontaneous and love kisses and affection from the ones I love.
2. I try to enjoy life to the maximum & my love life is soon to blossom.
3. I will have a strong love relationship that will not last long but the memories will last forever.
4. I will have a friend who completely confides in me and would do anything for me, but I may not realize it.
5. This person is my best friend (I knew that!)
6. This is how many close friends I will have in my lifetime.
7. I like adventure.
8. I am spontaneous and like to please people.
9. My wish will come true if I send the email to enough people...

Conclusion: two answers that say I am spontaneous (somewhat true) and two that say I could find love (though I'd be happy with a boyfriend). So...the question is...could it come true?

The signs are looking good! Here's (somewhat wistfully) hoping!

Just a girl

Sunday, 10 June 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

Is it not a little ironic that I am posting about kindness in a blog bitch-themed blog? Then again, I love irony. And kindness should be discussed as bitchiness' more thoughtful older sister, no?

This weekend I spent in Melbourne with my parents. And what struck me most over the course of the weekend was the kindness of strangers. The man who sold me Jodi Picoult's Mercy at Angus & Robertson, who commented on my choice of book; the man on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth who sold me a copy of The Big Issue, who stuck up conversation about the weather; the woman at the Ian Potter Centre whom I helped show how to use her iPod as an audio guide (yes, the IPC has switched from audio guides to iPods as audio guides - an intriguing indication of the influence of the iPod.) These people all expressed small acts of consideration in the form of friendly words; I can't explain why it touched me, but it did. It just restores that hope and belief that people really are good at heart.

Just a girl

Friday, 8 June 2007

Date with the Dalai Lama

Today I hope that I shall remember for the rest of my life.


It was that inspiring, eye opening and amazing.

As part of his 2007 Australian tour, the Dalai Lama held a forum called 'Open Arms For Peace - Dialogue with The Dalai Lama.' It involved His Holiness receiving questions about religion and peace from selected individuals of different faiths.

The Dalai Lama said some truly touching things, but it wasn't necessarily what he said, but his approach that made the experience - and he himself as a person - so remarkable. There are two moments in the dialogue which stand out in my mind; the first is the very first question he was asked, something along the lines of "Do you think religious schools perpetrate or produce religious prejudice?" and his immediate response was "I don't know." He didn't stop there; he explored the question for while, but his conclusion was "I don't know." He was honest, humble and down to earth. Secondly was his comment that "The best weapon against the nuclear bomb is not another nuclear bomb; it is warmheartedness." His Holiness is a compassionate, devoted, generous, loving, forgiving person - at least, that how he tries to be. And he's open about, open to change, open to new ideas. And that's what makes him charismatic and funny and lovable. And I know some people don't agree, but I can honestly say, after meeting him, I have enormous respect for a man who can live like that - with inner peace - and who is passionate about peace for the world.

I feel like I've gained a new and vibrant perspective from today's dialogue with the Dalai Lama. He is the proof that we need inner peace before we can establish peace in the world. And that humans are kind, caring people by nature. I loved that his discussion of religion was so open, and I agree that all religions are basically different forms of the same thing, what he called "the same goal." It's so true. And all this conflict we have about God and Mohammad - it's so unnecessary. Religion is about the search the harmony, both within and without, but ironically it's created more discontent than otherwise. But the Dalai Lama also rightly argues that we can put aside these so-called differences not only to create peace in our time but to work together on issues such as human rights and the environment.

The Dalai Lama has become one of my heroes. I hope that I might be able to achieve half of what he has, and become half of what he is.

Just a girl

Thursday, 7 June 2007


TOK day is over. Finally.

In a few words: physically. emotionally. mentally. exhausting.

No kidding.

The aim of the day was to sit down and write our first draft of the actual essay (for the most part of this term we have been drafting plans). The essay is supposed to be between 1, 200 and 1, 600 words.

I managed to write 2, 420.

And I didn't even include all of my plan.

I think it's because I have so many examples! My teacher (who is also the IB coordinator) is big on examples, and I swear I just about had an example for every sentence!

And now, it may as well be the weekend, because tomorrow I only have two periods, as I am off to visit my old friend, the Dalai Lama. Actually, I'm going as part of a school group to a forum he's hosting at Rod Laver tomorrow. Should be good. And after that is the weekend!

But I still have to work tonight because I have to finish my WL 2 draft.

Just a girl

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

How Could I Resist?

Yes, POTC 3 icons. Can you blame me?


thanks to perceptible

thanks to perceptible


thanks to perceptible

Favourite Scene:

thanks to vmars 3

Though my favourites are over here at my friend's blog.

Just a girl

World Environment Day

It was brought to my attention by Miss SC (an environmentalist at heart) that today, June 5, is World Environment Day! The United Nations Environmental Programme lists 77 ways to celebrate, but here are just a few:
  • Join an environmental group (so easy to do online: eg Environmental Defence)
  • Never litter
  • Plant a tree
  • Recycle
  • Reuse
  • Save paper

And some of Miss SC's suggestions:

  • Switch off a light
  • Put rubbish in the bin
  • Put on a jumper instead of the heater
  • Every time you breathe, thank a tree
  • Frolic in the rain

Let's get in touch with our inner hippy, y'all. Have fun!

Just a girl

Monday, 4 June 2007

My Life: A Black and White Story

Let's start in Africa...

Last year I traveled to Africa with my dad's side of the family - (almost) all 17 of us, including my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. It was a celebratory trip for my grandfather's 75th (for his 70th we went to Cairns - more convenient for my family than for my relatives in Hawaii! - and his 65th and 60th were celebrated in Hawaii), and he wanted to take us grandchildren on a trip we would remember. Well, I know I'll never forget Africa. We traveled around Southern Africa - South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.

This was one of my initial impressions and sadder memories of Africa. I took this on a driving tour of Johannesbourg, on one of our first days in Africa. This is an informal settlement in Soweto, South Western Townships outside Johannesbourg. These settlements have no electricity or running water.

In these settlements, they make coal out of coal dust and clay. I love that this shot contains the coal and the settlements and the women looking out over the settlements. The black and white really enhances the bleakness of it.

This is one of my favourite photos ever (though I do have a few of those.) It was taken at sunrise on the Zambezi River, which forms part of the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 'sunrise cruise' was optional - we had to get up early (6 am) in order to meet the boat at 6.30. That morning it was misty, and so we had to wait a cold 15 minutes for before it had lifted a little. Once a ways out, we stopped for tea and coffee and to watch the sun rise. I have so many beautiful shots of the sun rising through the mist - as my cousin put it, it was a real African sunrise, the ones you only see photos of in National Geographic. It was something spectacular. I snapped this of the other boat just watching the sun rise.

Another favourite photo. This is on the Okavanga Delta. We were poled down the Delta in these little canoes called makoros (pronounced like maquarie, but maquaro). The boat in this photo has my cousins in it. Traditionally made out of wood, these boats are now made out of fibre glass to preserve trees.

This of a breeding herd crossing the road at Chobe National Park.

This furry little guy is a meerkat. They come out of their burrows during the day to first, bask in the morning sun and second, search for food (at least they have priorities!). Cute, but shy; you have to be very discreet in the manner in which you approach them - they will let you stand right next to them if you are slow and subtle about it.

And now, let's return home...

Last year, my friend came home with me for exeat weekend. I took these photos while showing her the beauty of my farm:

We live right on the creek (literally metres away). The sun sets on the creek and can be seen from the house (though this photo was taken a little ways from the house) - it is beautiful. Most sunset photos don't look great in black and white, but (I think) this one does. Plus it conveys the splendour of the creek.

This, too, is one of my absolute favourite photos. It's of my friend, Miss SC, silhouetted by the sun. I think it's gorgeous.

Now, to Christmas...

Last Christmas/New Year my family and I traveled to Hawaii to spend with my dad's family (yes, the very same whom we traveled to Africa with). As always (we split our Christmases between my mum's family in NSW and my dad's in Hawaii - one year each), it was awesome, though this year was spent on the other islands (previously we have traveled around the States or Europe). We stayed in Hilo on the Big Island and visited the volcanoes and the beaches (yes, an island of extremes; the rainy east coast and the sunny west coast). It was beautiful, though, yet again, I was unable to get a tan. But I did get these photos!

This photo is of my grandparents' back lawn, which extends down to a stream (bottom of the photo) where a lush rainforest covered mountain begins on the other side. Lush, green, majestic and picturesque.

This is my family, walking down Kahala Beach, completely unaware that they are posing for the photo...I just love the footprints in the sand.

Let's return to the present year and location (well, home again)...

Meet Satan. Actually, he's kitty/puss/cat/not likely to be named otherwise. I wanted to call him Satan, because he's black and has evil tendencies (to bite your fingers and toes, it's a bit of a fetish. He also has a thing for hair...) But it never really stuck. And so this cute kitty will remain...kitty. I think this photo really captures his playful/innocent nature. And, of course, his charming good looks. He also has this whole deceiving "Puss In Boots" big eyes ('who, me?') thing going on.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not my house. It is the fisherman's hut on our farm. It is so dry that we could walk there - usually (and when it was inhabited) it is surrounded by water, and accessed by boat. I love that it's becoming part of nature; there are various trees and shrubs growing in and around it. It's also right on the creek (closer than house - literally two metres away!) and it would be gorgeous to live in (albeit a little isolated). The black and white really enhances the old and run down feel of it, but also it's rustic, natural beauty.

And that concludes my life: a black and white story. Or rather, the last two years of my life summarised by the best photos I've taken.

Just a girl

Saturday, 2 June 2007

A Fourth Pirates?

Perhaps it's too early to speculate, but, as I suggested, it seems there may be hope for a fourth Pirates yet!
Apparently Johnny Depp has signed up for a fouth film! He's admitted he'd like to try a "fourth and [even a] a fifth" film. I certainly hope the producers and scriptwriters agree!
The speculation that Orlando might be killed off in the fourth film really scared me, but then I considered the comments raised and I was reassured. As if they'd ever kill off Orlando. Disney would get killed!
That is all. But I'm excited at the prospect!

Just a girl

Friday, 1 June 2007

Hey, Orlando! I'm Over Here!

How will I ever be able to forget my sweet 17th? I have been so spoiled. Tonight the girls (mostly in my boarding house and some from other houses) took me out for dinner and movies. Not only was it just nice to go out on a week night and get away from school, but it was a carefree outing and terrific fun. We ate at La Porchetta (pizzas were fantastic!), where the girls surprised me with a cake and a mortifying rendition of 'Happy Birthday' (but all in good humour), before catching Pirates 3.

The Bitch Review:

Pirates did not disappoint. Thrilling, action packed, funny, full of twists, romantic and ridiculous all at once. A little confusing at times, and the epic battles become a little tiresome, but the characters were at their best. Jack is his usual witty, unpredictable self; Will is his usual gorgeous and courageous (and perhaps a little more savvy?) self, Elizabeth her usual hysterical and made over self (ok, so she had a little more grit in this one) and Barbarossa is his usual fearsome self. Plus a bevy of other characters (some new, some not) that provide sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, relief. Jack's madness keeps things lively but a little weird. And the way characters constantly stab each other in the back is also amusing. Will and Elizabeth's relationship gets a bit rocky, which was the stage of the movie where I was waving at the screen and shouting "Orlando! Hey, Orlando, I'm over here!" (Not really, it was quite a full theatre. But figuratively speaking...) I like that their relationship is a little turbulent - it makes it seem more real. Though if Orlando remains taken, I'll take Johnny! The movie concludes on everything that was raised in the past movies, but also leaves it a little open maybe there's hope for a fourth?

Some of the brilliant one liners (definitely better in the context of the play):

  • Jack: Did no one come to save me just because they missed me?
  • Barbarossa: For sure you have to be lost to find a place that can't be found, elseways everyone would know where it was.
  • Jack: Fine, we'll have a lovely garden party and you're not invited.

And then Will's unbelievably romantic line:

  • Bootstrap: One day on land and ten years at sea. It's an awfully high price to pay.
  • Will: Depends on the one day.


But you'll have to see the movie to figure out what that means...and if you ever do catch the film - stay behind after the credits. The credits take forever, I know, but it's worth it at the end...

A wonderful celebration of my b'day and the end of EE.

Just a girl

The Excruciating EE

As I mentioned, I have finished my EE. I handed it in this morning. Can't say I was ecstatic - more of a huge relief, slightly outweighed by the rest of the homework I have due - TOK, WL, Bio pracs, D&T folio, Spanish never stops.

Something my friend (Miss SM) said to me last night in an email put the EE in perspective for me. The EE is a 4000 word research essay and a compulsory component of the IB. We put in huge amounts of time and effort to complete the essay - according to my IB coordinator and the IBO it should take 40 hours, and considering we've had at least 5 EE writing days, that's about 5 hours/day = 25 hours. Plus time spent with supervisors and working on drafts outside of this time...But it's more than 40 hours. It's countless days spent stressing, tired, and emotionally and intellectually drained. How much is this worth of our final mark? Logically, if proportional to the amount of time/effort spent on it, it would consist of a fair percentage of our overall mark. But the IBO doesn't work like that - in total, our EE mark counts for 1.5 marks out of 45 (though as my IB coordinator keeps reminding us, this, combined with 1.5 marks for TOK, can yield up to 5 ENTER marks!). That's 3 1/3% of our final mark!! (and yes, I did only just figure that out). All those long nights...all those drafts...all those trees...all that angst and frustration...It's such a major thing and such a little mark (let's remember my IB coordinator!) I want some acknowledgement of my effort, dammit!! It's so undermining - it's like, what did I do this for?! But I'm so over it already. No more footnoting! No more "don't acknowledge like this!" (my IB supervisor). No more long nights! No more worrying about whether the essay is justified!

Speaking of the above, the EE really brings out the nerdy side of any IB student. We become so pedantic (thank you, IB supervisor, for making us worry about whether our pages numbers are the same font as our essay. And thank you, examiner's report, for pointing out that in my footnotes I should use p. not pg when denoting page.) I reprinted three copies of my whole essay (all 17 pages - relatively short, because it's an English essay, and thus does not need appendices etc. My friend who did her essay in Physics had a 53 page essay!) this morning because I hadn't justified my margins. I didn't have to, but it was something I felt worried about. We actually care about our footnotes, and whether our abstract is double spaced. Even more sad but true: people actually care about their word count - if it's exactly 4000, or 3, 999 and their abstract is 299. (Funnily enough, my abstract and my essay were both 5 words under. NOT purposely!)

Apparently last night in the library was pretty hectic what with all the IB people printing to hand in today - people fighting over printers, people crying, people stealing library books and past EEs (every EE writing day there is always someone tries to take a book out of the library.) Would have been hilarious...I wasn't there though; too busy trying to print etc in house.

Now off for dinner (La Porchetta) and Pirates 3 with about 18 other girls! Should be awesome...celebrating my b'day, EE and any other excuse to go out!

Just a girl