Jan 30, 2012

First Day Back

Wasn't as bad as I thought. Lots of people dropped English Extension 1 though. My Chemistry teacher was telling us "If you have 13, or 12 units, do the sane things and drop some of them" but not Chemistry, drop something else.


So, I'm doing After the Bomb in English Extension 1, which is about the period of the Cold War and how the atomic bomb changed people's ways of thinking.

I was googling about "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" because it's a movie I wanted to watch if I have time (I knew about it because Benedict Cumberbatch is in it, you know, the actor that plays Sherlock Holmes in BBC's modern adaption?). I thought I might be able to use it for my English Ext 1 because Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was about the British intelligence services and their agents and they people who controlled them some time in the Cold War period.

The book that the movie was adapted from (also called Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) sounded interesting and the author had some experience in the British intelligence system, which is what the book and movie was about, spies and betrayal and such (not very James Bond, but sounds a lot less glamourous and lot more realistic and gritty).

But clicking through links on the wiki, as you do, I found that the author of the book, John le Carré, is the author of one of the subscribed texts for by Extension course, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold! They're even set in the same universe! I was pretty unenthusiastic about that book before, but now I really can't wait to read it. I don't have the time now though, I'm reading Great Gatsby for English Advanced, and I'm finding that I really do like it, to my surprise. The language and techniques is very good.

p.s. The sentence structures of this whole post is too long and too clumsy and I'm sticking too many clauses together. But it's just a quick post and it's late and I just wrote this because I couldn't get to sleep yet, and I'm not going to go back and edit and rewrite like I usually do in my other posts.

Jan 23, 2012

Nan Tien Temple

This being the first day after Chinese New Year, Mum said we're going to Nan Tien Temple to pray for health, prosperity and help in my studies. I think a lot of Chinese people in Oz has been there before, I think (but am not absolutely sure) that it's the largest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere.

I watched the Chinese New Years gala last night live from start to finish (which means I slept at 3:30 in the morning). Naturally I slept in, and we actually got there at around 1:00 in the afternoon. It was a road trip of a little more than an hour (according to google maps) and there was a stretch of highway 33 km long. The trip itself was actually quite relaxing, and I listened to my iPod all the way.

I like going to temples, especially temples in Australia, it's always quite peaceful. If you went in China or Hong Kong, it'll be packed and there'll be whole crowds of people squeezing around every body around and holding lit incense over their heads and it'll be so so noisy. But it's quieter in Australia.

Everything was outrageously expensive, a pack of 15 sticks of incense is $10, having a year-long incense lit for you is $60 for one person and $100 for the whole family. My Grandma already lit them for me in China already, so I didn't need to do it here.

When we came back we went to Bankstown RSL for the all you can eat buffet. All the food was nice and I definitely over-ate. I'm still not feeling very comfortable.

So, photos! (photography not allowed inside the temple halls themselves)

 This statue was in the car park

Jan 15, 2012

is this what twitter is like? was that a black cat? will i get bad luck even if i don't know if it was a black cat or not? do you believe in that superstition? what are these really short posts doing here? why are there so many questions? how long can a blog title be? can you tell how hard I'm procrastinating?

A cat crossed my path just then, in the after-sunset light, it looked black. Hm...

(is this what twitter is like? Inane observations of mundane life that has next to zero significance limited to 140 characters? The first sentence in this post has 67 characters, I counted. I might add something like #wasthatablackcat Sigh, can you tell how hard I'm procrastinating?)

Apricot and almond cream cheese on toast

You know what tastes really good? Apricot and almond cream cheese on toast. You know what made me feel slightly sick after eating it? Apricot and almond cream cheese on toast. And I only had less than half a piece, the rest was shared by Mum and Grandma.

But it is yummy, I'm really partial to cheese anyway, and cheese with apricot and almond in it is even better. It's sweet-ish and the almonds are crunchy and the cheese tastes very nicely cheesy.

Now I want dip. My maths teacher bought it to school for the end of the term party, spinach and cheese flavour and capsicum flavour. Mmmm. I think eating too much of that will also make me feel sick. I'm going to buy them and eat them with crackers. Or I might try the healthy option of dipping them with vegetables (I've never tried eating raw celery, or do they cook the celery they use for the dip? It seems to me for a lot of western foods vegetable foods are eaten raw).

Which reminds me that I really want a good salad dressing. A thick and creamy one, not the vinegary ones. And that honey mustard in my Subway the other day was quite nice, and I might want to buy some of that because Grandma likes it.

And I'm still a little queasy from the apricot and almond cream cheese. I'm going for a walk. See ya.

New years resolution? What are those?

So this is something I came across in my wandering of the world wide web: "New Years Resolutions: I do not make them. Setting myself up for failure is NOT something I enjoy so much that I'll actively seek it."

And that applies to me so much. It's only January and I'm failing so miserably at all of them that I want to cry. What's worse is that that's still not enough to make me motivated enough to try and change anything at all.

I really want to delete that post... I feel like my own failure is staring me in the face and laughing.

Jan 13, 2012

What's your opinion?

I just tweaked the appearance of my blog a bit yesterday (fonts and colours, mostly). How does everything look?

There's just some things I need a second opinion on.

1) Is the size of my sidebar and the main post column ok? I want it to be able to fit the x-large pictures.

2) Are the colours of the links on my sidebar too hard to see? I'm especially side-eyeing the more reddish purple.

Jan 12, 2012

100th Post!

This is the 100th post on this blog - my first blog in my whole entire life.

It's been a little more than a year since I first started blogging at the request (and plodding) of Helena and Cinda (to whom I am eternally grateful to for introducing me to this wonderful medium). It's quite a coincidence that when I began this blog I also began my life away from Hurlstone. I didn't even realise that until I went back and looked at some of my earliest posts. Reading through my old posts throughout this year I feel like I've changed, but also like I haven't really grown up at all.

There's a passage in the Bible that goes something like this:
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
I'm not ready to put away my childish things, I'm not ready to grow up and come away from my family's protective wings, I'm not ready to make my own way in the world. But if I never try I'll never be ready, and one day, there will be no one to shelter me from the big bad world out there. But it's not time yet, and I still have a little while to be childish and safe and not have to worry about anything more serious than my school results, and so, let's celebrate my 100th post on this blog!

Dance! Dance! Dance!
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            S S
           |, \.     b'ger

I'm also trying out blogger's scheduling function, fingers crossed it'll work.

Jan 11, 2012

how did yearbook bring out so much other stuff

Day 235/365 ~ Years Go By and Time Just Seems to Fly but the Memories Remain

Helena and Cinda are both having to fill out surveys for their yearbook. Doesn't that just hit home the fact that there's really not long at all until this stage of our lives are over? Looking at Cinda's answers, I remembered that she was in the same class as me in year 7 and 8. I don't really remember talking to you much during that time, Cinda. Do you? But I still talk to you while I'm not really talking to the people I was talking to in year 7 and 8. Is it a sign of my advanced years that I get so nostalgic at a drop of a hat or a sign that I'm just a person that always thinks too much? No matter which one it is, it's led to this long introspective piece of rambling after the cut that you are under no obligation to read.

Jan 7, 2012

Another Version of Helena's Picture

I can't believe I stayed up so late to do this, and I'm not even finished.

Ok, taking in account all advice given, here's a more solid-coloured version. But it takes a lot longer, so it's missing a lot of things, most notably the eyes. What do I do about the eyes? How do I colour it? It looks too complicated and I't bound to loss detail by covering the pencil lines.

I did my best with shading, but I think the clothing is too transparent again. It has a very different feel. Still not the same as Helena's style though... And the program I'm using only lets me use 5 layers. I'll be looking into GIMP for sure.

Jan 6, 2012

Coloured version of Helena's picture

I tried to colour a picture Helena drew, just playing around and trying to get it to work better. Note that I'm not using photoshop elements, but a program called SketchBookExpress, which does not have layers in its free version (which I'm using).

Ok, here's the latest version, where I'm trying to make the colours more solid and trying to give it some shadows and highlights. And I gave her a nose, if you came tell from the random dab of colour in the middle of her face. Please ignore the see through wall. It's definitely still not done, and the colours are probably all wrong. TT_TT Please don't kill me for ruining your beautiful picture!

Jan 4, 2012

2012 New Year's Resolutions

Ok, as per Helena's suggestion, I'm going to try and make some New Year's resolutions (if slightly late). These will be my goals for the year 2012, and this is my letter to myself:

  1. Stop procrastinating. This one is huge. I know I could be so much less stress and do so much better if I hadn't left work to the last minute because I keep putting them off.
  2. Have better time management. This is related to the above point. Don't put too much time into projects/assessments/subjects that don't deserve the effort. Be clever with time and effort put in. Don't spend time doing an assignment that doesn't count for HSC marks when you could be studying for that exam that's weighted at 25%.
  3. Wean off fanfiction. It's too good a time waster. It's a black hole. Don't get tempted, don't get distracted. There will be time for that later, after the HSC. This exam is important if you want to get into a good course.
  4. Don't stress. If you don't get a good ATAR, it's not the end of the world. There are other ways to get to where you want to be in life. If it's almost time for exams and you have to cram, it's already too late. You're better off getting a good night's sleep. Sleeping works. Remember it.
  5. Try to work out where you want to go after high school. Try and find a goal, something to work towards. What's a good career? What are you interested in? Even a vague direction is fine. Ask people if you have no idea.
  6. Be more active in interact with other people. Not just friends, but strangers too. Don't be scared of making that phone call to ask for more information or change that appointment. It's better to do that than to have events/meetings not work out and have no way of fixing it, and having to make that phone call/ask them anyway.
Next year I'll do a review and see how much I've achieved in terms of these resolutions. Hopefully I'll have at least improved in some aspects.

p.s. According to my English teacher, putting up a big poster with the mark you want in your study space helps you get that mark. It's testified to work by some of her students last year. Shall I try it?