Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Never Ceasing Doom

He completado mi examen oral de espanol y fue muy, muy mal.
I have finished my Spanish oral exam and it was really, really bad.

I wonder if they have a word in Spanish for "god-awful"? I know a certain verb I could use to indicate I screwed myself over...but this is a (fairly) clean blog, and I'd like to keep it that way, even in another language.

There are two parts to the IB Spanish oral. 5 minutes is talking about a photo/picture you've had 10 minutes to prepare 10 (two word) dot points about. You talk for about 3-4 minutes, and the teacher asks some questions about the picture. This leads into 5 minutes of general conversation about two prepared topics (mine were the environment (el medioambiente) and health and emergencies (la salud y emgergencias)).

I had the choice of a picture of a comtaminated beach covered in rubbish or a photo of a person who looked like she'd had a heart attack surround by a bunch of people (probablemente paramedicos) - as you can see, based around my two topics. I picked the rubbish one (ironically, it wasn't rubbish - there was a lot to talk about), but I was rubbish when it came to talking about it (sorry, I'm on a roll). I talked probably por dos minutos about the picture, then Senora asked me some questions which no comprendi (I didn't understand). General conversacion was alright - better than my spiel about the picture and my attempts to answer her questions.

You know how people come out of an exam and are all "OMG it was SO bad!!"? I'm not being melodramatic. I know I was bad. I couldn't even finish some of my sentences (and I'm sure some of them didn't make sense) because I couldn't think of the vocab.

And you know how generally, after an exam, there's this huge relief and you're all "who cares, it's over"? I've just got this huge, depressing disappointment.

[NB: While I may seem like a whiny, self-obsessed, teenage school girl, I'm not. OK, so I'm a tiny bit self-obsessed, but I do care about the environment and terrorism and Iraq and the rest of the world, m'k? Just let me have my moan, and I'll go back to petitioning to save Darfur.]

Just a girl

Saturday, 28 July 2007

The Bitch Review: Saturday Night Out

Tonight I went to see Evening with a friend. We must have been the youngest people in the theatre (I'm 17, and she's almost 17). Like when I went to see Calendar Girls with my father and brother, we were the youngest people in the audience (and my dad was one of the few males, too). In fact, come to think of it, I'm not sure if there were any men at Evening. That aside (although it was and tiny theatre, and not even half full), it was a good, but nothing more, film.

The Bitch Review:

Evening is a touching love story that explores the meaning of love, mistakes, relationships and happiness. Romantic, comic and tragic, the story moves between a mother on her deathbed, recalling her younger, fonder years, and her first 'love,' paralleling her daughters' own realisations about their lives, decision and futures. A cast of the big names in acting, including Toni Collette, who impresses as the 'unfulfilled' daughter, and Meryl Streep, who is equally wonderful in her unfortunately small role as the older, comforting friend, however, cannot save Evening from it's inconsequential end. While such a reminiscent love story can be a recipe for a beautiful film (see The Notebook), this in itself does not ensure a film's noteworthiness. Evening is both funny and sad, but Claire Danes seems forced in her role as the young girl she remembers she was, the mother's deathbed experience is sometimes awkward and confusing, the storyline leaves some desirous holes to be filled and the film ends somewhat abruptly. Essentially, it all comes down to Streep's comment that "in the end, so much of it doesn't even matter." Because in Evening, nothing seems to matter in the end. There is no point. Though it begins hopefully, as a celebration of experience, hopes, dreams and reality, it finishes much like the mother's life; unresolute, which even its Oscar winning cast can't save it from.

Summary: chick flick for older women*

*(it's not stricly politically (or respectfully) correct, but perhaps such a genre could be introduced, named menopause movies or movies for the mid-life crisis)*

Favourite quotes:

  • Most romantic: What if we just sang and laughed together... for the rest of our lives. [Buddy]

  • Most philosphical: We are mysterious creatures, aren't we? And in the end, so much of it doesn't even matter. [Lila]

And for anyone who's interested (i.e Miss SM) here's a photo of my 'prom' (prom, formal - call me American if you will) dress (though the dress looks better on me, of course):

It's Jessica McClintock , who does some absolutely gorgeous dresses. I could take my pick of any of them. My mum and I found this one in Macy's when we were in Hawaii for Christmas, and I'm glad we did; it's often when you're not looking for something that you'll find what you really like. I'm not trying to be philosophical or anything, I've just had a couple of rushed experiences in trying to find that something at the last minute, which is hard to do when you've only got snatches of time and weekend exeats in Melbourne. And I've already got my shoes (found - again, when not sought - for my house dinner, half price!)...All that remains is jewellery, make-up, hair and car!

Just a girl

Friday, 27 July 2007


I couldn't think of a more apt title for this post.

It's been a funny day - as in funny ha ha, not funny peculiar (love that expression). I've been laughing at everything, from Neighbours' TC new look, to our English class discussion (which was unsupervised by a teacher), to Harry Potter 1 on audio tape (I swear it's funnier on tape)...

But the funniest thing would have to be this, my result from a Sparknotes King Lear quiz (I'm revising, OK? It was an easy quiz anyway):

You got 25 out of 25 correct. (That's 100%.)

Do they think I'm stupid? The brackets seem to imply that I can't do math (half right, but I can calculate simple percentages!) Seriously...hilarious, though.

Just a girl

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Doing My Bit

It's been...one week since I decided
Not to turn on my heater for a while
Three days since the epiphany
That I'm much warmer without my heater.

Yes, it's a lame parody of One Week. But the point (or epiphany) is that on Monday, I turned off my heater because I was feeling guilty about not volunteering to help plant trees on Sunday (do my bit for global warming and all that), so I decided that it was a waste of energy to leave my heater on, essentially, all the time. So I turned it off, and I haven't turned it back on since. I find I'm warm enough at nights anyway, and it hasn't hurt that the past two days have been pleasantly sunny...plus, with all the times I'm using Blackle, I must be saving heaps of energy! So that's my bit for the environment.

A sweet surprise today was my friend Miss SC showing up, flying down for a few days to pack! It was so nice to see her tonight, sitting together, watching the yr 12 IB Theatre production (very, very good, but emotionally intense - in a 'wow' way) together, walking back to her house...just like old times.

Another interesting (school-related) development is our formal, which isn't actually our school formal, but known as (something like) the Beginning of the End Ball (it's not called that, but I'm not releasing the name here.) It's not allowed to be associated with the school as we're organising it and there will be alcohol there. I'm quite excited about it - already bought my dress at the start of the year in America (it's not that I was so eager then, it's that my mum and I were looking for something different that no one else would find; dress shopping on a budget in Australia can be kind of limited around Melbourne). The big debate at the moment is dates or no dates? I'm not fussed either way - I'm pretty sure I won't be inviting anyone!! (no, not even the crush...whose attraction is waning...) Should be a good night, I think we've got a really nice venue booked. And I suppose if we end up having dates I can always invite a girl friend (is it girl friend or girlfriend? Because I always thought the latter implied more than friends...if you get my gist. Like boyfriend.)

BTW: Did you see: Lindsay Lohan got arrested for DUI again! And she had possession of drugs (again)...and she was driving on a suspended licence! I wonder if she'll get jail time? I think she deserves more than Paris got...it's a sad trend, especially for someone who has talent, like Lindsay (no comment on Paris - she's obviously got nothing better to do with her time.)

Just a girl

Monday, 23 July 2007

Shaping My So-Called Destiny

Just wasted about 2 hours of my precious study time, which seems to be deteriorating by the minute (funny thing, that). All the yr 12s had to attend a talk called "Shape Your Destiny" (no, not Anthony Robbins - if only!) by this motivational speaker who all the school prefects had to come back a day early for and spend 5 hours with on the day before school went back. He was annoying then - even more so now, because I knew what I was in for. I feel bad that the audience wasn't really reacting - the back row (boys) kept up with the "fake farts" but it was seriously boring. As many of us were saying throughout the day, we'd be "shaping our destinies" better if we were able to work in that time instead. I, at least, already know what I want to do, and I know how I'm going to get there. Here's the plan:
  • Survive IB and live to get an ENTER score, hopefully somewhere around 39 (= 98.5) or above
  • Get into uni (hopefully Uni of Melb., otherwise somewhere in America, eg University of Rochester, Yale or Columbia)
  • Survive uni and live to get a degree (bachelor of arts majoring in english or journalism)
  • Get a job (it gets a bit sketchy here...) hopefully at a newspaper/magazine etc
  • Be successful (I told you it gets sketchy...) - editor? travel journalist? front page?
  • Become an author - become bestseller
  • Somewhere in there, fall in love, get married and start a family

I know it's not all black and white, but I know what I want and I know I can get there. I didn't need this guy to tell me how to do it.

In other news...I'm saving the world, one click at a time. Did you know that Google has released a search engine called Blackle? It's based on the idea that using a white monitor uses more energy, and using a black one uses less, thus Blackle - a completely black version of Google, but totally the same. Pretty cool, huh? Now you, too, can be saving the world with a click from the comfort of your own home...gotta love it!

Just a girl

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly IB

Dedication: for my friend, Miss SC, whom I miss dearly, and whom I know awaits the next Harry Potter with more anicipation than I do (if that's possible). Thank you for the email. x


1. Of, resembling, or characteristic of death: a deathly silence.
2. Causing death; fatal.

If J. K. Rowling wrote about Harry and the IB, that's my title prediction. Clearly, I am referring to deathly in the second meaning of the word. Of course, I believe if Harry did the IB, he'd suffer far more than he has constantly fighting Voldemort over the past six books combined. What about "Harry Potter and the Unforgivable IB" or "Harry Potter and the Prison of IB" or, better yet, "Harry Potter and the Curse of the IB" (because that's definitely what it is - a curse.)

I'm going through a bit of a "Potter Phase" at the moment - can you tell? I've been rereading the books - listening to the first and third on audiotape, which is quite enjoyable, good for long car trips, I've found - mostly in preparation for the 5th movie and the 7th book. I have come across a "revelation" of sorts in the 4th book, when Dumbledore finally tells Harry about the prophecy etc and the bit about how "neither can live while the other survives" and Harry finally understands and says "one of us has got to kill the other...in the end." Oooh...the anticipation! Who dies? Who lives? Who gets with who? What will Harry do in his final year having left Howarts? With the aforementioned prophecy in mind, my prediction is that Harry won't die; it's either Voldemort or Harry (a final stand-off) and I don't think J.K. would let Harry die...not after everything he's been through. But I won't know until I've read the book (obviously), which unfortunately may not be for a while; I'm considering postponing reading it until after my Spanish and English orals (in two and three weeks' time respectively) as no doubt it will be highly distracting (rereading the 4th book was bad enough!) but knowing me, I'll probably end up reading it anyway. Just so I can read it before my brother.

However, before I blog about anything else (and there's a lot), I will first present the (ahem) eagerly awaited "Central Australia: A PhotoJourney;" highlights of a trip around the Rock and the discovery of a town that's a bigger hole than Canberra: Adelaide. OK, I'm kidding about Adelaide. Kind of. I suppose it's one advantage is that it's a beautiful city. And at least the shopping is decent. Too bad the football stadium's so far out of the city and their buses suck.

The view from the plane, flying into Alice Springs. It really is as bare as it looks; you can see for miles and miles and miles and miles. Although it's not that flat, it's slightly hilly and undulating. Beautiful view from high points (eg the Rock or the air), though, unobstructed by people or buildings or smog.

Sign to everywhere...in Todd Mall, near our hotel. There were actually two of these signs. I love these kind of signs. But it just goes to show how far away Alice Springs is from everything!

I love this photo; the contrast of red, green and blue; the simplicity; the up close perspective (I had to take it lying down). It's just so bright and colourful and show how beauty can survive in the desert. It's the Sturt Desert Pea, flower of South Australia.

Drum roll please...it's The Rock. Ayer's Rock. Uluru. Whatever you want to call it. It's incredible. Huge. Mammoth. No, bigger than a mammoth. This photo is kind of cliched (I mean how many photos are there out there of the Rock? It's kinda hard to be original!) but I like it; there's just something about it that's captivating - I think it might be my use of foreground, it adds a kind of rugged beauty to the picture. It's stark and shows the Rock as it is - this huge monolith in the middle of nowhere. Up close is even more spectacular.

This is of my father and brother who I climbed the Rock with - they went ahead while I hung back to take some pics. This was one of them. I love the silhouette and the sun rising behind the Rock.

This was taken by my father of my brother (left) and I (right) peering over "the edge of the world." Pretty cool, huh? I'd never have thought of that (as a photo idea)...

One of the Rock's many multifaceted and unexpectedly lush sides.

The Olgas (meaning 'many heads').

The Olgas at sundown. Just as spectacular as the Rock at sundown.

This photo practically epitomizes the Outback landscape; rugged, rocky, red, clear blue skies, white ghost gums, patchy green shrubbery - a scene of intense beauty.

King's Canyon, which we were able to walk around the rim of. Absolutely gorgeous - it's huge, 6 km in circumference, dotted with trees and hidden valleys, pools of water shaded by palms, various rock formations and sharp cliffs like this one on many sides. A delight to explore.

A camel! This one was spotted on the side of the road, so we stopped, and I managed to snap this as he turned around. I love that I was able to capture it in such a natural setting.

Rock cairn found in Trephina Gorge. I thought it was cute, especially against such a simply picturesque background.

Fountain on the River Torrens. I particularly like the combination of the rainbow in the fountain,the green of the grass in the sun and the blue of the storm behind, all reflected on the water. If it's the only thing going for it, Adelaide is beautiful.

Another example of the beauty in Adelaide - this photo taken on the same river, in a spot close to the previous photo. In this I was trying to capture the bridge, the storm (ooh, look, a rainbow, top right corner, I didn't notice that!) and the coloured pedal boats sitting under the bridge.

I think what really captures the essence of my trip and the Outback is Dorothea Mackellar's poem My Country, which I can recite by heart.

For love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizon,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide, brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot, gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree tops
And ferns the warm, dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back three-fold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
A filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze...

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

I love the last verse. But the imagery, all the connections that Mackellar felt with the land, her passion for the wild beauty of this country, means so much more to me now, having experienced it's untamed splendour.

I have so much more to blog about, but Harry and my work are fighting, calling my name - which will I choose? No doubt Harry will jinx my work somehow, but I'm not complaining...I wonder if he can finish it for me? Or better yet, make it disappear?

Just a girl

Sunday, 8 July 2007

In My Dreams

I was listening to Deborah Harry's (a..k.a Blondie) I Want That Man yesterday when my mind got to wandering (one of my favourite pastimes is to daydream, and I have a tendency to do this when I'm listening to music). I had this strange vision - almost desire - to perform I Want That Man (a song I love, and can relate to) in one of the school's charity concerts (perhaps in the Battle of the Bands next term?). I would sing, with a backup group of a drummer, guitarist pianist. I would wear a black, sequined dress (which I bought from Miss SC) and every time I sing the chorus, a hot boy (student, of course, who I'd have previously chosen) would walk out of the shadows up to me, and I would run my hand down his chest, and he'd walk away.

In my dreams, not only would I be able to sing, but I'd have to guts to do it, too. That's why it will remain one of my more outrageous fantasies.

Just a girl

Friday, 6 July 2007

Celebrity Spotting

Excitingly, and rather ironically, I caught a few glimpses of Australian 'celebrities' (famous people by Australian standards, anyway) while in Adelaide. Ironically because I saw more famous people in Adelaide in one weekend than I've seen in Sydney or Melbourne in all the times I've visited...although perhaps not so ironic, as Adelaide is smaller than either city and therefore there is a higher chance of seeing a celebrity (but that might be skewed logic, because if it's a smaller city, there will probably be less celebrities.) That aside, in Adelaide Airport (as we were waiting for our delayed flight) I saw the West Coast Eagles, flying home from victory (and the funniest thing was we saw two players watching the game on replay in one of the eateries!) - unfortunately, both Ben Cousins and Chris Judd (their two star players) were absent; if they were there, I would have asked for their autographs (definitely Cousins', because he's hot!) - and Bruce McAvaney. In Melbourne Airport, at the other end of our flight, we saw Jason McCartney, ex-Kangaroo player and Bali bombings survivor.

Pretty cool, huh?

Unfortunately, I did not see Sam Newman patrolling the streets of Adelaide (close to our hotel!) for last night's Street Talk. Guess you can't see everyone (but what I want to know is, why not?!)

Just a girl

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Long Time Gone

My absence can be explained by the hectic nature of the end of term in which I found no time to pack let alone blog and the somewhat remote nature of my 10 day holiday to Central Australia.

Photos later, as I'm using the home computer. But what I've been doing can generally be described under these subheadings:

American Unis (Monday)
8 American universities visited the school on Monday night for a presentation. Very interesting, and now I'm interested in the University of Rochester, NY, which offers an IB scholarship!

Salsa Class (Tuesday)
The inspiration of my Chilean Spanish teacher (i.e. she's from Chile and teaches Spanish; obviously she speaks it, too). It was good fun though. Both the yr 11 and yr 12 Spanish classes were supposed to go, and most people did. It was an hour that began as an awkward conga line but finished in laughs and some almost graceful dancing. Highlight: got to dance with my yr 11 crush.

Public Speaking (Wednesday)
The Regional Final of the VCAA Plain Speaking Award, as hosted by our school. There were 9 competitors (including me and another girl representing our school). I was so nervous about it, but it ended up being great. I didn't win, but I had a really good time. The 6 min prepared speeches were first (mine was on the subject of interracial adoption - is it a solution? Good or bad?) and they were all really interesting and the students were all really passionate about their subjects. The impromptu topic (a 3 min speech with 4 min preparation time) was The time is now, which was good for me because I'd been thinking about that one beforehand (it was included in the 'previous impromptu topics' on the VCAA site). I talked about global warming and yr 12 - the time to act (be sustainable/study, respectively) is now. The other girl from our school came runner up, and the girl who won deserved it (she'd also beaten the girl who came runner up last year in another public speaking competition.) I feel that I went well, that I presented both speeches well. But what I loved most about the competition was when we were all in the same room waiting to go into the impromptu preparation room and we were just talking. It was really comfortable and friendly.

Goodbye (Thursday)
Said goodbye to Miss SC, very sadly. Spent the last hour before I was picked up (by my parents) in her kitchen, reminiscing and laughing and having a good old time. I'm grateful for that. I cried the first time she told me she was leaving, but not as hard as I did after I'd said goodbye and I was walking back to my boarding house. It just hit me hard that she's moving, and so far away. If you're reading my blog, chica, (and I know you are!) here's my shout out to ya: I'll see you when I see you (when I win $1,000,000!) but I'll talk to you even sooner.

Central Australia - the trip begins (Friday)
This isn't going to be a detailed description (that will be better accompanied by photos) but a snapshot of the highlights.
Flew out early Friday morning - first low light of the trip was leaving my retainers behind (but fortunately they still fit after a week away from my mouth - albeit a little tight!). But eventually I got over it and realised there was nothing I could do. The trip got better after that.
A really awesome trip, as I've never been to NT or SA before. Spent a few nights in Alice Springs, exploring Aboriginal art galleries and culture (fascinating), a few nights out at The Rock; we climbed it in the morning and walked around the Olgas in the afternoon. It was the hardest climb I've ever done (yes, including Timbertop) but definitely worth it. The view from the top - and on the way up - was amazing. Spent a night at King's Canyon - absolutely beautiful - and trained it down to Adelaide on the Ghan (which was pretty boring and cramped). Adelaide just reminded me of Sydney, but with less life and culture (that sounds harsh, but it was a pretty dead city when we were there. Maybe it was just us...) Caught the Eagles vs. Crows game, and my team (well, the team I was supporting) the Eagles pulled through to victory (my brother is a Crows fan.)

Best get back to that huge pile of work that is mounting over my shoulder.

Just a girl