Saturday, August 31, 2013

Blogging by a Pool with a Dog by my Feet

It seems that for a while now I haven't updated you on things that I actually do but rather my very important thoughts on different things like youtuber relationships or... actually, what have I been blogging about... OK so a quick check discovers that the previous statement is false but I've started typing this post anyway so let's continue.

I am by a pool. It has leaves on the bottom, has not been cleaned in a while, and it is too cold to even bother thinking about swimming but it is a nice day to be outside, under shade where the wind (and occasional sprinkle of rain) cannot get me. There is a dog sitting on my legs. Her name is Scamp and she has a hairbrush that she has mangled quite completely with her teeth and yet still thinks the job is not yet done. I don't know where it came from or why she has it but oh well.

It's not my dog and it's not my pool.

As the responsible adult (who can't even cook something without screwing up) I have been entrusted to look after a house. A whole house. For 6 weeks! It also comes with a FREE dog and a list of instructions on how to not accidentally let that dog die. It's very important I have instructions.

Scamp loves me though. She really does. It's great because some dogs seem to genuinely wish I was dead for no reason that I can fathom. They take one look at me and think "I hate this dude more than I've ever hate anything before." It might be the ginger hair. Dogs can tell when you don't have a soul. Seriously though I was going for a walk once, I turn a corner, and this dog goes crazy as soon as it sees me. It barks, growls, bares teeth, and generally has that "Come a bit closer so I can give you rabies!" look in its eyes.

My family was right next to me. It wasn't the presence of strangers that spooked it because the rest of my family it was fine towards. Just me it hated. Just me.

My friend has a dog. He's evil. (The dog that is, not my friend, though further studies need to be done to see if my friend really is neutral good or just pretending not to be evil so he can better take over the world at a later date.) The moment he saw me he decided "I hate this guy. I hate him and want him to know I hate him."

"He's such a lovely dog..." his owners tell me "...when you're not around."

Yeah. Out of all the people in the world he knows he has decided that me specifically is going to be hated. Some dogs seem to look at me and innately think "screw you buddy."

So it's nice to be able to open the door and have a dog run up to me excitedly and go "YAY! HUMAN IS HOME! ME LOVE HUMAN SO MUCH!" Though the fact that she always wants attention is a bit tiresome. I can't always rub your belly, Scamp. I need hands to feed you or do other things like type out blog posts about how adorable you are.

It's nice and relaxing having a house to yourself. I'm just chilling by myself, watching Scamp consider touching the pool and deciding not to. When there isn't the responsibility of having to do chores weighing down on me (the dog is well fed, the pool is operating normally, etc) it is nice and simple. My legs are up, I'm leaning back, and I'm watching flowers sway gently in the wind. The only company is my endlessly unconditionally loving companion, Scamp. Ah, so peaceful.

Plus there's an Xbox 360 and a bunch of games to play in the games room just to my right so that's going to be fun. HALO TIME!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

You Need to Stop Caring About Celebrity/Youtuber Relationships

You need to stop. Just stop. Here's why:

Every now and then a relationship occurs between two popular personalities. These could be two celebrities like Brad and Angelina (if we're going for super famous) or Jenny Bingham and Tom Ridgewell (if we're going for not so famous but still reasonably known for the Youtube example) and then people go "awwwww, that's great! I like this combination of people who I am fond of as individuals!" Yay. Good. Glad we are accepting of people getting together instead of bitterly sitting in the corner weeping "why won't Brad Pitt pick me even though he's never heard of me? If only he had twitter so I could profess my love to him in 140 characters or less!" (I'm so glad I'm over that phase of my life... *shivers*)

The issue arises when they break up and people decide they don't like that. Thankfully our great celebrity ship Brangelina remains canon and we can all rest safe and sound knowing that she will stick with him regardless of whatever weird facial hair he grows... But Tom and Jenny aren't together anymore and suddenly people seem to think that their input and opinions are relevant to this situation.

"But you were such a great couple. I wish you could get back together. Why did you break up? This is clearly [one of the people]'s fault. I'm so sad that you two broke up." Etc etc etc.

Stop. 2 months on and people still comment these sorts of things and discuss it under videos unrelated to their relationship.

Here's the thing: these relationships are experienced by you through filtered down snippets that are mediated by the individuals in that relationship and then expressed in tiny amounts through whatever medium that they choose, whether that's magazines or instagram and a 5 minute "boyfriend does my makeup" tag video. Do you honestly think you have a detailed and accurate representation of the complexities of that relationship? To you, the random observer who has no personal connection to these strangers on the internet, all you see is this idyllic 2 dimensional relationship where there's never any fighting or issues whatsoever because why would you publicly air a fight you just had on the internet? We forget that just because there is an element of the relationship being known to the public it doesn't mean that it is a public relationship. We see the good parts and only the good parts because those are the only things you'd share with a bunch of strangers.

What I'm trying to say is you are mourning a delusion. You are missing a fantasy you constructed in your head because you lacked enough information to accurately understand their relationship. When you say "I wish they got back together" what you're saying is "I miss the simplistic idea of you two together". It disregards that these people have lives that they live outside of your personal scrutiny and those lives are complicated. Their relationships don't end because it's some dramatic plot point in a fictional narrative that has reached the season finale. This isn't the cliffhanger and they're not getting back together next summer when regular episodes on 9:30pm on Thursday return. They had reasons, their relationship had issues, and they made personal decisions to deal with those issues by breaking up.

They owe you nothing but you owe them the decency to respect their decisions and leave their private life to them. They didn't have to tell you to begin with so be glad you got to ship them for however long they let you and then respectfully shut up. How do you think it makes them feel to read a bunch of strangers incessantly talking about a past relationship? How awkward would that be if someone came up to you in the street and said 2 months after your break up "you two are so cute together. You're my OTP."?

So before you comment on the relationship of a celebrity or a well known youtube personality (or actually just anyone you don't know personally whether they have 300,000 subscribers or 3) stop... and just don't.

Just stop.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Oh Uni, How Familiar

I have recently returned to University for my (potentially) last semester of my very long degree and it almost feels new again. Last semester I did not attend a single lecture (they were all too early in the morning) and did not find it necessary. This semester though, this final semester, in my fourth year of attending University.... I have decided to actually be the responsible organised student that I've been promising to be next semester each and every semester. It's going well so far. I attend lectures and those I can't (and some I legitimately can't) I listen to online. I read my textbooks and I finished an essay more than a week before it was due so I would have more than a week to work on another one. I'm doing so well.

And oh boy does it feel good to have it all sorted out for once. I'm doing a first year unit. An intro to the general idea of everything it seems called Ideas in Action. Different lecturers come in and say things about community vs autonomy and witch trials and all sorts of things. It's great because I walked in to this lecture theatre after not having been in a lecture since 2012 (and even then my lectures were all small theatres hidden in the humanities department building) but this... this theatre is huge. It's two stories tall at least and it is filled with hundreds of eager students with their ipads, laptops, pens, pencils, notepads, textbooks, highlighters, binders, and of course: that fresh faced look that says "I'm new here."

It is the iconic University experience. The massive theatre that's filled with a sea of faces that all look down at the tiny old professor talking about some subject that they find endlessly interesting whereas a lot of us are just learning about to pass this unit and go onto other, more interesting, subjects. It was both nostalgic and new all at once. It was the kind of lecture you see briefly in movies, not the kind of lectures I was used to where we would get told about the conventions and techniques of those movies. It feels great. It feels like I'm taking part in something.

Then I go to class for this 1st year unit and everything is just adorable. They've assigned us an 800-1000 word essay and oh gosh it's tiny. It's positively bite sized. All these first years are all so clueless. The tutor talks on and on about things and she is ever so helpful and understanding. She is really keen to make sure all those bright young first years are comfortable asking questions on things they're not sure about (and they are not sure about a lot of things) and it's all just so amusing to have put myself in such a relatively simple environment. While she was talking to the class about very basic essay related things like structure and choosing to express a single argument etc I was busy ignoring her and writing it anyway. I nearly finished it in class and would've had I not periodically interacted with the people around me/turned away to pretend to listen.

That may paint me in a bad light what with the whole not paying attention in class and being pretentious about it but I do actually aim to learn... just if you're going to spend half the class discussing the basics of essay writing then I don't need to really pay attention. I've been there, done that, repeat a dozen times over and then repeat again. Like I said, I'm actually being a responsible Uni student and doing work. I plan on evenly spacing everything out to minimise the rushed attempts to finish near crunch time that leads to being shut away in a room for hours on end with no distractions. I know I cannot do everything a week and a half in advance forever but that's OK because the more I get a headstart on now the less I'll need to do later.

Yes. I did it. I beat procrastination by simply just not procrastinating. I learned a valuable lesson last semester which was just that: do things sooner in advance and everything will be fine. Thankfully now I am doing only essay based units instead of film production units so I have this thing called "time". So much time and I know that if I don't waste my time I will enjoy my time a lot more.

Here's to a successful and slightly less stressful final semester!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Beach Beneath the Cliff

Yesterday I was bored. I was overcome with the feeling of being cooped up indoors. I'm normally a very indoors person but sometimes I get restless and need to move around and the way to deal with this involves exercising until I am physically tired. I feel the urge to adventure.

So that's what I did.

The sun was setting and the post-rain clouds that covered most of the sky lit up with this beautiful orange glow. My friend and I had driven to the beach because I had no real plan to this adventure. There didn't need to be a direction or end goal, there just needed to be something. The sunset was so pretty it annoyed the hell out of me because I wanted to photograph it and I hadn't brought my DSLR with me. Yes, I am the kind of person who gets annoyed at how beautiful the natural world is if it means I miss an opportune photogenic moment. Curse you nature for being really nice to look at!

Next up: the look out on top of the taller of the sand dunes. It by itself was unimpressive and by this point it was getting dark. At this point my friend decided that hey, if we're going on adventure then fences didn't apply to us so over it we go and onwards towards the coast. The coast, of course, at this particular point isn't so much a nice sandy beach as it is a rocky cliff-face that has a sudden drop onto more jagged rocks. Woo! Rather fine thing to go exploring near at night. (#YOLO)

To the side though we discovered an alcove that hard been carved into the rock. It was a few metres drop to get into it and the sand was heavily littered with rocks larger than us so jumping could result in two outcomes: landing on the sand and breaking our legs or landing on the rocks and dying. We walked around the entire thing considering which parts were best of rock climbing until we found a small entrance of sorts where the rock jutted out in increments of about 2 feet above each other forming a very disfigured natural stair case down into the alcove. We managed to get down without injury.

It was like a secluded miniature beach only a few metres across. The rock had been carved inwards by the tide and so a small cave like structure had formed under the cliff. We sat on two large rocks near the entrance of it and talked about different things like comic books and life while the light of the crescent moon illuminated the waves. Small unidentifiable bugs that would jump away when you shone a light on them walked around near the seaweed. It was peaceful. I no longer felt restless. I decided I had done something worthwhile that day.

When the tide started coming in closer we decided it was time to leave. We parted ways and I went back home. It wasn't the grandest of adventures, I didn't go very far from home, but I explored, I found something new, and I had fun. Even small adventures can be good for you.

Attack of the Quarter Life Crisis

We've all heard of the mid-life crisis: balding head, bulbous gut, grey hairs, and the ever looming reality that you're not as young as you used to be... the fear that maybe you haven't done enough yet weighs down on you, or maybe you're running out of time to do the things that used to make you alive. This leads to the urge to buy an expensive car to impress a young 20-something blonde with similarly expensive plastic surgery. Horrifying.

Boy I hope that doesn't happen to me... I nearly have two arts degrees. I don't think I'll ever afford a fancy car.

But what about the quarter life crisis? The lesser known phenomenon occurs around the same time someone in their 20s is facing the 2nd half of their college/university degree or even scarier: GRADUATION!!! (Dramatic braawwwwwwrrrr). Everything's fine and then suddenly... everything stops.

And it hits: What am I doing? What am I really doing? Do I want this? HAS THIS BEEN A MISTAKE? DO I NEED TO MAKE DECISIONS NOW? Oh no! I'm GETTING OLDER! A few more years and all my dreams will be over and I'll be stuck doing whatever I'm doing! (Whatever that is!)

So then you stop mid-essay and get out your laptop and start blogging about a quarter life crisis in third-person...

The nagging feeling creeps into the back of your head. Something's wrong. How do I fix it? What do I even need to fix? Am I being productive enough? Are the things that I'm doing that are productive even what I want to do? It becomes difficult to understand if things are a waste or not. Not in an apathetic sense, but an unsure fear of the future brought on by the stress of responsibility.

Did our parents feel like this when they were our age? Are we faced with the multitude of choice and are overwhelmed with the reality of *dramatic chord* ADULTHOOD? (Did you really expect answers here? I'm 21. I don't know anything! I'm irresponsible, ignorant, vain, and fear job interviews more than death because let's face it... 21 year olds are immortal and we cannot die until age 30. 27 if we choose to be musicians) That alone cannot be it (unless it is it and I figured it out! Did I win the quarter life crisis? Can someone give me money so I can afford food?) because I do not believe that human motives and issues are so simplistic as to have one basic cause. See it'd be easy to blame the warm embrace of the internet that distracts us into a world of escapism and easy fixes, where we don't need to deal with the difficulties of day to day life because hey look a cat gif! Awwww! Reblog! But that's such a simplistic scapegoat and sounds like something our parents would say so naturally we have to disregard that. Truth is the future is scary and unsure and I believe we aren't failing at tackling it because of the safety net of easy-access endorphins supplied by the internet... I think a lot of us go on the internet a lot because we need something to escape from the uncertainty of adulthood for a while. Life doesn't go away because we have a Tumblr, life continues... just now we have cat gifs and an outlet to complain about how hard taxes and washing machines are. (WHY DO THEY HAVE SO MANY SETTINGS AND BUTTONS? I only ever use one for my clothes! What do I need the rest of these settings for!?)

I'm pretty sure I know what to do. I've been wanting to do it since I was 8. I just don't know how good I'll be at it or how to be more successful. I don't know if I'm trying hard enough to learn how to get better let alone working hard enough to reach my goals. I can't seem to shake the uneasy feeling that whatever I'm doing might be wrong. What if it's a mistake?

But come on... I'm 21. I can screw up. I can do poorly and fail because I have time to get up and try again. I have plenty of time to achieve my goals, I hope. I just need to reassure myself that it's OK to be unsure about things from time to time because I'll figure it out... my parents did. Your parents did. I hope. Did they? No? Oh. Awkward. Well someone's parents has it together so maybe one day we'll be some other worried 21 year old's friend's parents and we'll have it together by then. If we have kids that is... oh gosh I hope I don't start worrying about having kids.



I need to save my fear of the future until I'm 45 when I'm really running out of time to achieve things. 45 is old. A few mores years left and that's it... all my dreams will be over and I'll be stuck doing whatever I'm doing! (Whatever that is!)