Friday, June 21, 2013

They slumber not

They slumber not in mortal view,
The bravest of the bravest, the truest of the true.
Respect and honour are their due,
Theirs that died, for me and you.

They slumber not with mortal riches,
In fields and forests and muddy ditches.
Their lives persist as if mental itches,
Clawing back from dusty pictures.

They slumber not lost from mortal thought,
Though their battles have long been fought.
We remember still their lessons taught,
That, with their lives, were dearly bought.

- Oliver Jiang, 2013

Lest We Forget.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Time To Go

Time To Go
(Based on the lyrics of ‘Let Her Go’, by Passenger)

Well you only start to cry when your Moodle’s slow,
Only miss your high school when your lectures blow,
Only know you hate this when it’s time to go.

Only start to study when your grades are low,
Only hate the uni when you’re leaving home,
Only start your cramming when it’s time to go,
And it’s time to go.

Sitting at the back row of your class,
Hoping this time you'll focus at last,
But your grades start low and they drop so fast.

You “study” when you close your eyes,
When you fail you try to act surprised,
But in actual fact, it’s all just lies.

But you only check tonight which seat and which row,
Only want to finish and then go to the snow,
Only know you hate this when it’s time to go.

Only go and study what you right now know,
Only hate your brain cells when they just won’t grow,
Only start your cramming when it’s time to go.

Staring at the ceiling in the dark,
Same old empty feeling in your heart,
'Cause your brain’s so slow and set in park.

Well you “study” when you fall asleep,
But never to know and never to keep,
'Cause you procrastinated too much,
And now you reap.

Well you only say you’re tired but you’re hiding your woe,
Only know your name but you’re acting gung ho,
Only know you hate this when it’s time to go.

Only start to study when your grades plateau,
Only start to worry when you’re at 50 or so,
Only start your cramming when it’s time to go.

And it’s time to go.
And it’s time to go.
Well it’s time to go.

‘Cause you know only it’s SWOTVAC when the beards start to grow,
Only know you’re Asian when you’ve just got a mo’,
Only know you hate this when it’s time to go.

Only start to study when there’s no HBO,
Only close the TV when you finish this show,
Only start your cramming when it’s time to go.

‘Cause you wanna leave early but the clock’s going so slow,
Only know you’re screwed when your pen doesn’t flow,
Only know you hate this when it’s time to go.

Only start to regret not going to Prato,
Only try to revise stuff from long ago,
Only start your cramming when it’s time to go.

And it’s time to go.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to make friends: a guide for university students

Disclaimer: everything in this post refers to Arts or Science degrees only, or any other broad degree. Small cohorts like Medicine will obviously be different. Also, this is only based on my own personal experience, so any naysayers can go piss up a rope.

The first thing you need to know is that the overwhelming majority of people you meet through class, you will never see again. That's just how these degrees work; in any first or second year unit, you can have a mixture of people at anywhere from the first to the fourth year (or higher!) of their degree. And since many units count towards multiple majors, minors or sequences, many times you and the person sitting next to you are on very different pathways. Given this chaotic nature, classroom friendships are difficult to maintain unless anchored in some external source of unity. That isn't to say don't try and make friends in your classes; at the very least, it'll make each semester less boring. But don't rely on it as a reliable way of making long-lasting friendships.

By and large, the majority of your university friends will either be people you knew before university (high school, tutoring, language school etc.), or extensions of existing friendship groups (friend of a friend, mate's cousin, so on and so forth). It is easier to expand than to create anew, and pre-existing friendship networks and frameworks provide a firm foundation off which new friendships can sprout. Being actively engaged in your social life will be of immense help here; go to parties, go to birthdays, go for dinner, go to the pub, get out there.

The other source of new friendships, depending on how involved you become, is cocurricular or extra involvement, like clubs, societies and student organisations, or going on exchange. Shared experiences in an alien environment provides a focal point around which much social interaction is able to coalesce, and provides the impetus for ongoing communication, the basis of any successful friendship. Prolonged involvement also provides the opportunity for interaction with a fresh intake of students on an annual basis. This relies on you being proactive in seeking out new people and following up on any interactions.

The thing is, university gives you the freedom to pursue friendships with people who genuinely share common interests with you, rather than simply making the best of a random assortment of individuals as in high school. It also lets you be yourself without having to put on a facade to please those around you. Love to make stuff up and brag about it? You'll find friends. Hate humanity in general and dislike social interaction? You'll find friends too (though why you would want to is beyond me...). It's an important phase of self-discovery and an integral part of that is getting out there and seeing what other people are like, and using that to shape your own development.

Of course, there's nothing that says that you have to make new friends when you're in university. Indeed, some people might leave university with fewer friends than when they went in. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as it was the intention of that person to do so. Regardless of the human need for some sort of external contact, university is very much what you make of it, and if you want to make it a lonely, desolate, work-focused experience, then that is your right in this democracy.

The other thing to remember is, no matter how friendly or likeable or open-minded you are, there are going to be people that you meet who you simply won't get along with - whether it's them not liking you, or you not liking them, the end result is the same. Every situation will be unique but in general, don't bother trying to patch things up with the other party. Rare is the relationship that goes from enemies to friends, no matter what Hollywood might attempt to tell you.

By the time you get to the later years of your degree (penultimate or final), you might find trying to make new friends a taxing and thankless chore, because, to be frank, you really won't give a fuck anymore. Chances are you'll already have your own friends, your only desire is to complete your degree, and there's no common interest you share with younger students. If that's the case, don't bother. It'll be clear as day to the other person that you don't really want to be there, so forcefully prolonging the contact just makes it awkward and disrespectful. Focus on what you want to get out of your few remaining years at university and prioritise those goals. That being said, it's not impossible that you'll make new friends. Don't be too rash to dismiss possibilities.

If you've got exams coming up, good luck. Study hard. I might have a parody or two posted here and on Stalkerspace in the coming weeks. Maybe I'll update, maybe I won't. Ramble ramble ramble.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Delicious cheesy goodness

Was walking through Coles today doing our usual weekly grocery run, went down the Spreads aisle. You know what I miss? iSnack 2.0. I know it's still being sold under some new name, but damn I loved it before it was changed. iSnack 2.0. Even the thought of it sends me into hysterics. It's also about the only way I'd ever consider eating a cheese spread. I miss you, iSnack 2.0.

My headset microphone doesn't work on this laptop. Poop.

Had Chicken Tonight for dinner. The ingredients don't call for greens but I added in beans, broccoli and some mushrooms. Tasted pretty good.

Dad's 52nd was last night. We walked around Crown for ages trying to find a restaurant, since we were stupid and didn't book in advance. Ended up eating at a decent Japanese place in Southbank called Miyako. Between the three of us, we had a sashimi platter (good variety), one serving of salmon sushi, a seaweed salad, one bottle of Asahi, one serving of lamb (it was beautifuly cooked, nice and rare, an absolute treat. Loin of Lamb, it was called on the menu), sukiyaki for two (my dad, an avowed sukiyaki expert, thoroughly approved of their preparation, method, and taste), and one bowl of rice. All that came to a grand total of...$191.50. 20% discount because they're running a promotion until June 14th, so it came down to around $155, but it was still surprisingly expensive. Definitely one of the better dining out experiences I've had in a while, marred only by a group of four elderly diners who walked out in disgust after claiming that they had been cheated on their bill. Apparently, from what I could make out from one elderly gentleman's rambling, they had a voucher which they wanted to use for both couples, despite attempting to pay separately. The restaurant refused, stating that the voucher clearly applied only to one transaction. As they left, they insulted everything from the food to the staff to the prices. Nothing in my experience justified any of their criticism, and indeed I would say that they were the worst part of that restaurant.

I want to read Game of Thrones, but one of my friends says I should watch the TV series first. Any thoughts or opinions either way?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Food and cooking

Alright, so if anyone still reads this thing, you'll notice that the sidebar on the left linking a whole bunch of other blogs indicates that almost nobody I know writes with any regularity anymore.


A few days ago, my post about jaffys and feeling old recieved a new comment. A NEW COMMENT.

C.H. from actually has an incredibly insightful blog delving into issues regarding racism, bullying, relationships, as well as a few crazy videos here and there. Check it out if you have the time, it's well worth the read :) (any BHS/MHS/Melb Uni folks out there, she's Alice's cousin! Crazeh small world.)

Anyway so the latest post from C.H. is about her cravings for Western food, which is interesting considering I've been cooking my own meals for the past two months and it's almost entirely been Western-style stuff (or at least Asian food for Western palates).

"There should come a certain point in your life when you put your chopsticks down and go: "No, I cannot take any more bowls of plain white rice, bok choi and sweet and sour pork.  Give me pasta, lasagne, pizza, steak, chips, gravy, mashed potatoes and pavolova okay not really that last one."" - C.H.

But the reason I have been cooking lamb chops and beef rump and burgers and lasagna and carbonara and mini-pizzas and stirfry for white people (it comes out of a packet?! Wtf?) is mostly to satisfy my younger sister, who's less than enthusiastic about the Asian food that my mum cooks. Any opportunity for something different, she'll grab it with both hands.

Bit of background about me, I'm the eldest in my generation on both sides of my family, and my parents were pretty strict in my Asian upbringing. Maybe it's that, but I consider my sister's rejection of my mum's cooking almost unfilial in a sense, as well as being a rejection of an integral part of her culture. Whether she likes it or not, she IS Australian-Chinese. Now, I'm not saying that that alone is sufficient reason to actively enjoy Asian food, but it should at least be enough that you don't complain about it.

The thing is, though, I've never felt as strongly about food as some other people do. My idea of "good food" and "food I like" are synonymous with "food I will eat". Anything that I don't dislike eating, I will eat, and I will consider it good food. My food tastes don't so much sit on a gradient as they do on a dividing line between food that sucks (eggplant, asparagus) and food that's great (just about everything else that we eat here in Australia). I'll just as happily tuck in to a packet of instant noodles as I would a Big Mac from Maccas, or a $50 steak in the city. Food is food, and as long as I'm willing to eat it, that's good enough for me.

I mean, hell, I ate sandwiches for lunch for a solid 13 years, from prep right through to Year 12. My mum, who made the sandwiches, complained about it more than I did. "Don't you ever get sick of sandwiches?" she'd ask. Sometimes she'd pack a meat pie or something for me instead, but never by my request. I was content eating the same thing, day in, day out, for over a decade. Food, after all, isn't all that important in the bigger scheme of things. As long as I'm getting the sustenance that I need with a relatively acceptable taste, I don't really mind what form that sustenance takes. It's a tool to make sure you can keep going, but it pales in comparison to things like the Federal Budget, or religion in US politics.

So despite this three month hiatus from Asian food, when mum gets back I'll fully embrace her Asian cooking. After all, nobody's cooking tastes quite like mum's.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Anger, excitement and updates

I hate #yolo. Seriously. Every time I read it or hear it, I immediately set down the path towards uncontrollable rage. It is the very antithesis to my life philosophy (if you can call my insane ramblings that). Yolo, to me, is a call to arms of the stupid misinformed overcommercialised youth of today's Western world. It is a cry for imbeciles to perform acts of idiocy that may or may not get themselves killed. It basks in the idea that we should because we can, that living once is justification for any and all manner of action. It's a shallow philosophy that encourages impressionable kids to ignore the consequences, and teaches them to be satisfied with "well, why not?" as a reason why.

Three weeks until my family and I fly to the US for a two week trip around LA, DC and NY. This'll be my first time going to the US, so I'm suitably excited about it all. Got all my touristy things lined and ready to go; Disneyland in Anaheim, Hollywood in LA, Capitol Hill in DC, Statue of Liberty (amongst others) in NY. Had a nightmare a few days ago that I'd gotten to the airport and forgotten to bring my camera...woke up in a cold sweat. DEFINITELY going to bring my camera. Didn't take it to Vietnam at the start of this year and regretted it immensely.

Mum's been on work assignment in the US now for just on two months, which means my sister and I have been living at home alone for two months. It's gone well; we cook, we clean, pay the bills, and get our school stuff done. My weekly schedule pretty much revolves around uni and getting her to wherever she needs to be. Netball training on Tuesdays, tutor on Fridays, netball games on Saturdays, Chinese school on Sundays. I've enjoyed it, especially the cooking. Haven't burnt anything yet, and we've eaten, if not good, at least well-balanced and nutritious.

Exams coming soon: 2nd year Genetics on the 14th, then 3rd year Genetics and 3rd year Politics on the 25th and the 28th (I can't remember which one goes on which day).

I've killed my fourth laptop in nine years. The Lenovo ThinkPad I got from Dad a year and a half ago had a Chinese copy of Windows, so I tried to install English. Now, there's some security thing that won't let me log in, and safe mode causes BSODs. Fun. Reduced to using my sister's eight-year-old Toshiba that runs about as fast as glaciers melt. Good news though, I'll be purchasing a new laptop when I get to America.One more month, that's all I need to survive...

Exam time means StalkerSpace songs/parodies. Pressure's on. Hopefully I've got something decent lined up...we'll see come next week.