3 February 2010

Sam Sam!

Happy birthday to my superhuman ex-flatmate, Sam!! Yay. He is 28 today, and celebrated by going for a run.

Yes.

My hair extensions dream looks to be coming true! My mother asked me last night what I wanted for my birthday, to which I replied "hair extensions! Hair extensions!". She actually didn't seem too adverse to the idea, which was unexpected. As such, tomorrow I will be going to Uphair Salon on George Street and inquiring about hair extensions! And prices!

If you follow me on Twitter, you will have no doubt seen the myriad of photos I have posted of Lady Gaga's Grammy outing. I just have one more to add. If you or someone you know has a hat like this one, I will buy it off you for a princely sum.


Ah, she is just magnifique!

I need some new shoes. And while I'm tempted to just run out and buy the Asics Gel DS Trainer 15, I've done that before (different shoe, but you know) and then spent the next six months suffering through run training. To that end, I'm going to get some fancy foot analysis done at the Frontrunner in Dunedin. Last time I had shoes actually fitted, rather than purchased on a whim because I liked the colour scheme, I clocked the fastest XTERRANZ run for my age-group, and later won a World Championship title. I think getting my new shoes fitted is the best idea I've had in a while.

It's a beautiful day in Dunedin. Sounds unbelievable - is in fact true. People are surprised to hear that in Dunedin - much like Coventry, England (a place which is considered my home by everyone except me) - the sun does actually shine from time to time. Fingers crossed for outdoor lectures today! Then I have an excuse to wear my extraordinarily large sunglasses.

To that end, I must depart and make trails to the joys that is COMP113. Roll on semester one.

2 February 2010

Twit-dict

I've been a Twitter user since December 20, 2008. My first-ever post reads as follows:
"attempting to get out bed for another drive to cowtown"


Since then, my tweets have ranged from mildly entertaining, to downright depressing. Here are some of my personal favourites.


"eww, eye disease" - 9:12pm, April 4th
"I'm sick of SH1, it's always dark, foggy, rainy or 3am." - 5:41pm, April 20th
"I LOVE MY LIFE. In the way that I don't." - 10:57am, April 27th
"drinking cold hot chocolate. wait, if it's cold, does it just become cold chocolate? either way... wish it was still hot" - 6:38pm, June 18th
"@avantiplus plus cheers. about to throw current saddle into pit of hellfire" 6:29pm, June 27th
"going out for a casual drive in what might be a category 1 storm: not the best decision i've ever made" - 11:25pm, June 28th
"ahhh so freezing. never getting up before 6am again! until tomorrow, presumably." - 7:27am, July 2nd
"my back is soooo broken." - 8:52am, July 10th
"going back to sleep. i feel like a bike with no wheels." - 2:32pm, July 30th
"omg guys, did @Gary_Fisher just say LOL? love it" - 11:45pm, August 18th
"damn, i thought it said "china unicorn" on the trending topics. disappointed :(" - 11:34pm, August 28th
"Hello, Saturday. So far I haven't used you well. But it is only 8am so I have more plans for the rest of you. Love, Mim." - 8:10am, August 29th
"car: broken. bike: on its way out. me: still hanging on by a thread. yusss." - 4:10pm, September 2nd
"dear ticket website, you suck, all i want is to buy my bad religion ticket." - 5:53pm, September 16th
"workout + big mac = yessss" - 2:18pm, September 21st
"its official. the month of november is trying to ruin my life." - 11:09pm, September 23rd
"standing on an iPod jack: not recommended." - 5:30pm, September 27th
"he's not a man. he's a scrap of indian trash someone found in a pile in mumbai and tried to pass off as a person." - 5:32pm, October 2nd
"MIRIAM WINS" - 1:15pm, October 5th
"#beatbeingbasic? how? by being acidic?" - 4:58pm, October 19th
"my 23-year-old ex-boyfriend who has the IQ of my dog just told me he is pursuing a 34-year-old woman with a 14-year-old son." - 9:38pm, October 23rd
"met a guy from Dubai last night. talked to him for ten minutes and then he introduced me to his friends as his girlfriend. wtf." - 3:30pm, November 1st
"i am so tired. i don't know what part of my brain decided that 3 hours of sleep after 8 hours of drinking was sufficient." - 3:34pm, November 1st
"i just had a very uncomfortable nap on the floor of the UC library" - 2pm, December 1st
"i'm at uni without a pen again. it could be argued that i suck at life." - 11:58am, December 2nd
"haha, there's nothing like watching fashiontv to make me feel like a fat bitch. love it." - 4:36pm, December 8th
"my eyeball is not having a good day." - 2:47pm, December 26th
"hey, good idea willowbank, waterblast the apartments at 9:45pm! it's not like i wanted to sleep or anything." - 9:46pm, January 7th
"run, long-haired japanese man, run." - 4:55pm, January 9th
"afternoon activities: sit next to indian boy in central lib. become obsessed with him and stalk his fb. discover he is a fan of 123 pages. i need a new hobby." - 7:03pm, January 15th
"lost my pants... but found my shoe! a successful afternoon." - 7:30pm, January 15th
"well, our smoke alarm works. and our house smells like burnt pizza." - 6:13pm, January 17th
"i just drank a bottle of four-day-old apple juice. i wonder if i'll die." - 9:29pm, January 18th
"what can i say? i'm really just a fifteen-year-old punjabi girl at heart." - 11pm, January 25th

... Right.

So I have a few more favourites than expected.

I haven't been to sleep yet...

1 February 2010

Huitanguru

While I feel that this year is not traveling at the light speed with which 2009 passed (thank god, because 2009 sucked), it's already February so that's exciting stuff. It's my birthday in nine days!

Anyone do anything during January that they felt was particularly exciting? I know that for the most part, I didn't - but I did get my grade for the Te Reo Māori paper I sat at Canterbury (A+) and a $250 cheque from the uni. What? Yeah. That's exciting. I'm using it to get hair extensions.


Priorities? Power bills? Whatever. I'm getting my Lauren Conrad-esque hair at long last, bitches.

Unfortunately my new year's goal of cleaning myself up (well, my atrocious sailor mouth, to be more specific) is still in the works (you will have seen this when I referred to National Lady Gaga Day as "fucking hilarious"). I've also chowed down on the odd McDonald's binge feed. Which is fine, because I like McDonald's. I'm still struggling with the concept of restricting myself. It doesn't make sense. I do what I want!

January sucked for the people of Haiti. February is probably going to suck, too. Don't forget about them! Just because "Grammys" is the number one trending topic on Twitter right now, doesn't mean Port-au-Prince suddenly got better. There are still people who need your help. Men anpil chay pa lou.

Still, February is shaping up to be fun! And it's up to us to make it our best yet. Even if, like me, your resolutions didn't exactly pan out, you can still make an effort. I know I'm going to be.

Thankfully, the string of irrelevant posts regarding Taylor Phinney, the Mumbai attacks, and DailyBooth.com will not be continuing throughout February. There's only two weeks left of class! Hooray!

Oh, and one last thing! Congratulations to my g, Sophia who got engaged to her bee-eff yesterday! Exciting fun times.

30 January 2010

I Like This.


It's from the MAC website and it is just ridiculously beautiful. Ahh!

I have a long-held obsession with eye colours other than blue. Apparently, blue eyes are a recessive gene and so less people have them, making me "lucky" (hmm?), but I am just not convinced. I see people everywhere with blue eyes. I want brown eyes, dammit!

And while the so-white-it-almost-looks-like-she's-been-painted-or-at-the-very-least-been-lightened-post-production girl in this photos does not have brown eyes, she has perhaps even more excitingly, green eyes. What fun!

And clavicles. Ah, how I love clavicles. I have some, somewhere. But they don't poke out, and dammit, if there's one thing in life I want, it's clavicles that poke out!

Wow, this post has involved a lot of "dammit"s and "I want"s, hasn't it? Well, my birthday's coming up. I'm allowed.

Teeth

Yep, it's "name-every-post-after-Lady-Gaga" day!

It is sort of relevant, though. My mum, worried that down here in Dunedin we are completely isolated from the rest of the civilisation (and recently, with the Telecom XT outages, some of us have been), sends me copies of the Listener and Your Weekend magazines for my perusal. The beauty pages of Your Weekend are our favourite. There's an interesting recommendation in the copy I received today (from last Saturday, presumably) which suggests my favourite OPI shade, "My Chihuahua Bites!" may once again be fashion-forward.


You'll know from previous posts that my nails aren't usually in fashion. They're likely to be painted any colour that isn't considered stylish. Right now, they're sporting a shade from the 2008 OPI Holiday collection. Which was over a year ago. Last week, it was "Sahara Sapphire" - which was first introduced in the early 90s. Another favourite is "Curry Up, Don't Be Late!" - a tacky gold which has had some passengers in my car banging their heads on the dashboard. I'm not lying.

But now that obnoxious orangey-pinks are apparently back "in", this could be my time to shine!

Teeth? Oh yeah. Chihuahuas have teeth.

The Fame

I'll admit, I'm not actually as huge a fan of Lady Gaga as I make out. I know, right? Shock horror!!

I bought her album two days ago off iTunes (my first iTunes purchase!), which means my "Paparazzi" play count has gone from something like 946 to... about six.


I'm not going to lie - some of the stuff on The Fame and The Fame Monster is a bit shit. But hey, I don't think "52 Seconds" was Bad Religion's finest hour, either and I still love them unconditionally (we're currently on a break, but it's a long-term thing, my relationship with Bad Religion). My personal fave? Well, after "Paparazzi", anyway - which I love so much I want it played at my funeral - I'm going with "Speechless". It. Is. So. Good.

Apparently, yesterday was National Lady Gaga Day. Which I find just, fucking hilarious. National Lady Gaga Day. Obviously, had I known about the celebration, I would have rocked the leotard, six-inch heels and diamond-encrusted sunglasses to Moana Pool. You know, I just have diamond-encrusted sunglasses lying around the apartment. I probably made up for it by listening to her albums on repeat, though.

If you had any sort of decent upbringing, you will have no doubt experienced the amazing magic that is Walt Disney's Fantasia. Well, I tried to hire it last night. I have it on VIDEO at home, but unfortunately for me, you can't play videos on your laptop. Anyway, I was out of luck - the store's DVD copy is "damaged", so I settled for Fantasia 2000. And while it didn't have shit on the original, it was still surprisingly cool. Terry and I watched it at about 2am, and I'm not going to lie - we re-watched "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" several times - mainly for the half-second where Mickey Mouse starts chasing the broom and it RUNS AWAY. At 2am, there is nothing funnier than a running broom. In fact, it's 4pm now and I'm still laughing at the advent of a running broom.

Haven't seen it? Maybe you should. It's kind of good!

29 January 2010

DailyBoredom: COMP113 Blog Assignment #3

DailyBooth.com

I joined DailyBooth, grasping at straws for an online community which I could document for this blog. It is a social media-driven site: one which users join after filling in a simple form (name, username, email address and password) and its purpose is to share a daily photo with "followers". It can be likened to the slew of sites for uploading photos to Twitter (twitpic.com, tweetphoto.com, yfrog.com etc).

I initially came across the site by way of Wikipedia - I was directed to a "List of social networking websites".


The rather disappointing "Welcome" page doesn't allow new users to "sample" the site. Personally, I find this an important aspect of a social media-driven site - I would like to know what I'm signing up for. Instead, I was prompted to "Sign up now" and once this was completed, referred to sixteen individual users I might like to "follow". These individuals are recommended for - one presumes - no particular reason, as the site had not yet been given any information about me or my interests (these can be edited, in a Facebook-like profile found elsewhere on the site).

The "Dashboard" page - something which seems to dominate sites like these now - is initially uninspiring. Your profile avatar is an emoticon smiley face, and as you have yet to upload any photos, you can feel quite bored.
Photos can be uploaded through a variety of methods: traditional upload form, through email or mobile, or by using a webcam. While I can't think of any solutions that would improve user experience at this point, as a new user I was bored and didn't feel as if I had much invested in the community - I didn't feel inclined to contribute.
My first submission

Upon uploading my photograph, I was disappointed to discover that it just sat, bored, on my dashboard. How then, did I get it onto the fun, "live" map? This remains a mystery, with the geo-tag function in an undisclosed location somewhere on the site. If it's not easy to find, I can't be bothered looking, and to be honest I think this is to the detriment of the DailyBooth community.

The live map itself was also not as much fun as I expected. At first glance, DailyBooth appears to be a site where people might post pictures of fun, exciting happenings during their day - to me this held the possibility of seeing photos from fun places like "that place", 17 minutes in to the film "Home" - but instead, the overwhelmingly most popular upload seems to be the self-portrait. I fail to see the point. I don't know, maybe some "followers" like to see half-dressed girls lying in bed with a caption such as "mE lying in bEd, LOL". Not really my thing.


DailyBooth appears to lend itself to the ever-increasing number of social media-driven sites, but it's not one I would recommend. Yawn.


This is "that place", by the way. Know where it is? Tell me!

27 January 2010

Fun With Skis

I am not even kidding, you guys: in some countries, they compete in what might be the world's greatest sport: Ski Ballet (or acroski).



This strapping young man was the World Champion in 1993. In 1988 and 1992, ski ballet was a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics, under the freestyle skiing banner. Unbelievable. Where was I in these glory days?!



It's fizzled out since the mid-90s, presumably due to its non-inclusion at the Olympics, which is a shame. I'm sure you will all agree that ski ballet should not only be at the Olympics, it should be part of compulsory physical education in high schools across the world.

26 January 2010

Double Layout. Off BEAM?

So, you probably know that I love double layouts. On, floor, off the bars ... but off beam? Wow, I don't think I could contain my excitement if I ever saw one of those.

Apparently, though, it's happened. And though the sources are a little bit sketchy at best, I may be willing to accept that it's been done. The problem, then? That it's supposed to have been done by Armine Barutyan Fong.

Fong?

Yes, yes. She's married to Al Fong. Fail.

Still, I'm okay with ignoring that minor personality flaw if it means I get to see video footage of a double layout off balance beam. There's also reports of a triple back off uneven bars, but that just doesn't seem as exciting. Bars, you know, you have all that momentum, you're 7 feet, 9 inches off the ground, it seems almost natural that someone would attempt, and possibly land a triple back. But beam?

Beam is unforgiving. You'll agree with me if you've ever walked across one. There is SO much less room for error on beam, it's almost unbelievable. There's a reason Carly Patterson is the only gymnast to perform her dismount (unless you cound Bulldog Bross, which I don't, because she butchered it). Why would you ever risk throwing something like that when you could just settle for a double back? And that is why there's about one hundred gymnasts out there throwing double backs.

Imagine then, something even harder than a double Arabian after 90 seconds on a four-inch wide plank, four feet above the ground. A double layout. The mind boggles. And then gets a little bit excited. If I'm honest? No, I don't think it really happened. Or, maybe it happened and she didn't stick it. Maybe she landed on her head, or her butt, or her knees. The fact that she might have tried is exciting.

Will anyone during this quad try it? It's unlikely. But once upon a time, it was "unlikely" that women would do Deltchevs on uneven bars. Hell, it was unlikely that I would win Sportswoman of the Year last year. So maybe someone - Murakami Mai? Deng Linlin? - will give it a whirl.


Murakami Mai

The triple back off bars I don't care so much about. But a double layout off beam? Call me.

25 January 2010

What Were You Guys Doing...

On this day, last year?

One of the cooler aspects of having a blog (besides reporting on the excitement that stems from Kate Gosselin's latest hairstyle, obviously) is that you can - for the most part - pick a day, and have a look what you were doing a year, or longer, ago. Today's it's my grandmother's birthday (which, no - I did NOT have to look back and check up on. Happy 81st, Grandma!) and this time last year (okay, maybe not this time, since it's 10:51pm) I was floating in the water at Long Bay, on Auckland's North Shore! Ah, the memories! Those were such good days. I was also preparing for my longtime pal, Libby's 21st. Hard to believe that six days from now, she'll be 22. Time flies, kids. Make the most of it!

Take my day today, for example. As a result of the AIDS face thing, I refused to leave the house, except to buy a skin supplement and some strawberries. What I did instead has already been written about, except I can now happily report that we went for our run - almost an hour's worth, too. Not bad for a pair of sloths who, until yesterday, hadn't worked out this year.


look out

Making the most of it? Okay, maybe not. But there's always tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be great. I just know it.

Peace and love.

If Only I Still Had Use For Sparkly Spandex...

Yeah, so I peruse the GK Elite website a bit too much for a 23-year-old sloth. Buuut their "Precious Metals" collection is just so cute, I'm willing to get back down to the necessary 35kg to wear one. Ha ha.

I've watched about a million different videos of Ivana Hong's uneven bars routine today, and I just kind of want to mention it to Valeri (her coach, and Nastia's dad) that maybe, just maybe she should consider a different dismount. Double layouts are my personal favourite, but they're just not for everyone. Including Ivana. I mean, if Ksenia Semenova, He Kexin, Beth Tweddle, Nastia Liukin and Bridget Sloan can pull off uneven bars without double layouts, so can Ivana.

Doesn't mean I love her any less... just don't love watching her crash.

AIDS Face

I was excited the other day when I came across an article on Time.com about Dr. David Ho, who is one of the world's leading AIDS researchers. You can read it here, but the gist is that there's a new agent called ibalizumab developed in Houston which may be the key to the antibody to prevent HIV infection in the first place. Can you imagine the implications if something like this actually works? OMG. I can. I'm so excited.

I wasn't so excited, however, when I woke up this morning looking like I have AIDS. I mean, quite often when I look in the mirror, pre-makeup, I have a bit of grimace at the state of my face, but this morning it was really just... something else. Something else that became worse once I put makeup on. Yeah, you read that right. Yeuch. Suffice to say I haven't left the house today.



On a more positive note, Shaun and I finally got off our butts yesterday and not only went to the gym, we RAN there. I know, I know. I never thought I'd exercise again, either. But the fact is, the gaunt, malnourished look has been restricted to my face - that aside, I more accurately resemble a whale. AND we're going for another run tonight! (My thinking being that I look like a tomato hit a windscreen when I run, regardless of AIDS face, so I might as well do it.) We are so fit.

Also, I spent the time at home today constructively, which is something of a small miracle in itself. Yes, I wrote my entire essay for Linguistics, which isn't due for a week. I'm rather pleased.

Peace, love and the antibody that inhibits HIV!

24 January 2010

SoKosuke

Well, apparently I forgot alllllll about the Southern California Grand Prix last week after Kosuke Kitajima smashed the 200y breaststroke (1:53.03!) on Sunday evening. I'm now (nearly a week later) very pleased to tell all of y'all that he dominated the 100y event, too - in 52.17.



The 100y event was held on Monday night (which is... strange) and was toted as a "showdown" of sorts between the Tsunami and comparatively average breaststroker Michael Phelps. Not really sure what that was all about, since Mike wound up fifth in 54.25 (that was comparatively average, after all). Oh, well. It just proves that Kosuke is still on top! Yeehaw, bring on London!

Uggh. Enough With The Red, White & Blue Wash Already

I can see where this is going.

The article, about gold medal hopeful Lindsay Vonn, is just a little bit blown out of proportion. The Vonncouver Olympics? Please.

We've heard it before - four years ago, in fact. In Torino. Some larrikin out of New Hampshire, Bode Miller, who "downplayed" claims that he might go five-for-five. It's eerily familiar. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've read these words - "her recent results suggest it's more than possible that she would fare well in every Alpine skiing event on the mountain at Whistler, B.C." - before, just replace "her" and "she" with "his" and "he", oh and "Whistler, B.C." with whichever mountain it was that Miller performed spectacularly badly on in Torino, Italy. Of course, his "downplaying" of these expectations involved stories just like the one about Lindsay Vonn, some bad behaviour on his part (drinking the night before races, living an RV outside the Olympic Village are two examples of this) and well, just generally being a jackass. Then he failed, and shut up.

Sure, next month I may be eating my words. Maybe Lindsay Vonn will win five events, and become the frost-bitten equivalent of Michael Phelps. But you only need to be realistic here: America just aren't that good when it comes to the Winter Olympics. The men's and women's alpine skiing events are usually dominated by good-looking Italians, Swiss, and Germans. The cross-country and Nordic combined? Well, Nordic countries. Even in figure skating, it's been a while since Michelle Kwan's heyday. Yup, they've got their "Flying Tomato" Shaun White, who I love love love, and Hannah Teter and Gretchen Bleiler aren't bad on boards either. And there's nothing wrong with dominating the one event! It doesn't mean you have to shove your mediocre "talents" in our faces, claiming they're going to not only sweep the Olympics, but that people may even start nicknaming the Games after them.

I am just going to crack up if a New Zealander wins a medal in Vancouver. That will be a fantastic day. One you're sure to hear about. Maybe not in the USA Today, though.

It's Three A.M.

I got sick of skating (seriously, "short" programmes are like, three times as long as floor exercise) and decided that instead, I'll post some photos of Ivana Hong. You may have noticed in previous posts (here and here) that I kind of love Ivana and especially love posting photos of her flying through the air. Seriously, she might be the best-looking airborne gymnast in the world.

 

Her most obvious competitor for that title would be Nastia's Pak Salto on uneven bars, of which I weirdly couldn't find the perfect shot of - but this is mainly because I couldn't be bothered trawling the screes of photographs on her website. Like Nastia? You can also follow her on Twitter. Personally, she gets my vote because she's one of a shrinking number of gymnasts who can kind of pull off the compulsory dance elements on floor exercise. Here's a particularly nice example, which I stole off her site.



And, just because I found it on Zimbio and it's not your average gymn shot, Hong again. SO glad she got out the Blue Springs ghetto that is GAGE. I heart WOGA.



Speaking of which, the WOGA Classic is soon! February 13-14, if I'm not mistaken. If short/long programmes with jumps that all look the same freeze your brain as well, check it out.

23 January 2010

Maxims In Practice

Relation:

Yup, this picture is relevant to my previous excited posts about the Olympics. It's of US team hopeful Mirai Nagasu (who's fourteen in the photo) and her coach, Charlene Wong. Mirai, who's currently leading the US Championships with a short programme score of 70.06 considered herself a darkhorse going into the event, and wasn't really pinning anything on Olympic selection. She's sixteen, and totes herself as "the future of the US".

Anyway, I love the contrast in facial expressions between Mirai and Charlene in this photo. It's pretty amazing. I've made a few faces like Mirai's in my time.



A US Figure Skating committee will name the team for the Olympics on Sunday night, PST. *bites knuckles*

22 January 2010

With Glowing Hearts

Eeee, I can barely contain my excitement: it's nearly Olympics time!!!

You guys have gotten off pretty lightly, given that my first-ever post was on November 21, 2008. If I'd started say, three months earlier, you would have caught the tail-end of the Beijing Games, which, like every other Olympic Games in my lifetime, captured my undivided attention for two weeks. So this is exciting: it's our first Olympics together! And I'm doubly excited because it's a Winter Games, a relatively new obsession.

My first instinct was to try and remember everything I've ever forgotten about figure skating, but the fact is, my brain just can't differentiate between Salchows, Lutzes, flips, and toe-loops anymore. What I have learnt is that Shizuka Arakawa's layback Ina Bauer could be the closest thing to perfection (after like, Nayuha, obviously) on the face of the Earth.


Let's have fun: bent in half edition

So, it may be that we'll go the entire Olympics without a critique of figure skating, but that's probably a good thing. Especially because you just know I'll be too busy salivating over the long-track speed skaters. Here's hoping for a massive Japanese turnout.

I have a new flatmate - who is Norwegian - and as such, knows more than anyone I've ever met about Nordic Combined, Biathlon, and Cross-Country. Which is good. It'll be like having my own compendium, right next to me on the couch, for the entire Olympics!

Yeah, wow - I'm excited.

The Bayswater Crucible

You really have no idea how long I've wanted to call a post "The Bayswater Crucible".

Today, it's in honour of Superhuman Sam, who I love and miss like crazy!!! Seriously, I hardly ever get to talk to him anymore, but I had the pleasure of doing so recently, funnily enough on the day that he chose to set his goals for 2010. (Don't know why this is funny? Read this)

We didn't really discuss his plans - I get the idea that he doesn't really parade them about quite the way I tend to, but we did get a bit reminiscent of our Bayswater days. There were the conversations about med school, the time I got hit by a car then lost my job, the time Sam went for a two-hour run in the rain (okay, that last one probably happened a few more times than once). And yes, he's still going about his action man ways - having recently competed in a 32km off-road run (yep - thirty-two kilometres. That's kind of a long way, guys) presumably with ideas to do more.

I miss Sam Sam!!

Strangely, I've forged a friendship of sorts with a guy in Dunedin who was going to be my flatmate (he told my friend Jess the other day that he realised I was a dick and didn't want to live with me, but it's actually because he got a job with accommodation) who kind of reminds me of Sam. We have similar conversations, and he's rather like Sam in that over-achiever kind of way. Sure, he doesn't run 30km with a smile on his face, but I kind of got the idea that he pursues excellence this morning after griping over the fact that he may have got one question wrong on his chemistry terms test (just to one-up him, I reminded him that I achieved a perfect score on mine). Which is nice. It's always nice to surround yourself with people who are also constantly trying to outdo everyone they know, too. But, he's not Sam... it's not really the same.

If you've been wondering why I've kept quiet on the "here's another foreign university I want to attend" front, it's because I've found a real "doozie". Is that a word? Doozie? I'm sure I've heard it before. It's Lomonosov Moscow State University, back in Mother Russia. Have a look.



It looks more like a palace than a university. That's Russia for you. It's the tallest educational building in the world, which kind of begs the question: how many really tall educational buildings are there in the world? I mean, until they start teaching English as a second language on the top floor of that new 828m-high monstrosity in Dubai, Lomonosov probably isn't going to have a heck of a lot of competition. Anyway, to its credit, the school ranks in the world's top five universities, and has a medical school. So you know, a natural choice. And I love love love Moscow *touches heart and wipes away tear*.

Have you guys donated some coin to relief in Haiti yet? I hope so. If you haven't though, there's still a long way to go for everyone involved, and you should never think that any small amount of money will go unnoticed. Right now in Port-au-Prince, looters with knives are wreaking havoc on the already devastated capital, people are burying amputated limbs, and little kids are going hungry. You can, and you should, help out. Like tshirts? Threadless are donating 100% of the profits from this tshirt to the American Red Cross efforts in Haiti. Not fussed? Visit Google's page to donate some money you would otherwise spend on manicures.

Speaking of manicures, my nails are ruined after doing the dishes without gloves this afternoon. They're in dire need of some OPI loving, so I'm going to shoot off and take care of them.

Peace, love and relief for Haiti!

"Bomb-Bay" And Viral Transmission Of Information (COMP113 Blog #2)

"In a few short generations, a viral population can explode." (source)

In "real life", viruses transmit by attaching to a host cell, then replicating exponentially. Similarly, information online can be shared "virally" - if information is given to two people, and each receiver tells two or more people, the information has the potential to be incredibly far-reaching, especially given the global nature of the internet.

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An example of information transmitted "virally" online is that of the Mumbai Bombings in November of 2008. It is estimated that witnesses to the attacks sent around 80 "tweets" every five seconds during the siege, which lasted three days (source). The subjects discussed ranged from actual accounts of the events ("Mumbai terrorists are asking hotel reception for rooms of American citizens and holding them hostage on the floor") to calls for aid, including the broadcast of emergency telephone numbers and locations for people to donate blood for victims.

For many people, the first news they heard of the Mumbai attacks was via Twitter. Since the service is free, mostly uncensored and incredibly far-reaching, new information - however biased and unconfirmed - was readily available online.


The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, South Mumbai

Facebook allowed users to "check up on" friends and family who may have been affected by the attacks. My partner at the time was on holiday in Hoshiarpur (admittedly, nearly 2000km from Mumbai - but the fact that he was in India at all concerned many friends here) and was able to alay our fears by posting the following Facebook status update: "alive and well, far away from "Bomb-Bay" (haha, get it?)" which drew a mixed response from our friends - some who commented "too soon" on his rather offensive play on words, to some who were relieved and passed the message on - another form of viral communication - to other friends. He became the guy that was "almost in Mumbai during the attacks".

In the wake of the Twitter explosion following the siege, the Indian government released a statement requesting that live Twitter updates from Mumbai "to cease immediately. ALL LIVE UPDATES - PLEASE STOP TWEETING" via news websites. This is comparable to the after-effects of the Sichuan Earthquake in China, where the Chinese government "shut down the social media" used to inform and co-ordinate the protests that followed the quake itself (source).

The internet has fairly revolutionised the "word-of-mouth" method of information transmission, and with the constant advances in technology and social media, this is likely to continue.

17 January 2010

Yes, I Do Care About Haiti

A huge amount. And this is going to sound uber-lame and cliched, but it seriously upsets me to write about it. I've tried to read every story I can find about it, and I have the .kml auto-refreshing on my Google Earth, but damn, that is some heartbreaking shit.

What should you do if you care about Haiti but aren't in a financial position to donate relief? Um, donate anyway. Fact is, if you're online and reading this, you're better off than everyone affected by that earthquake. It means I have no food in my cupboard for the next eight days, but I'm alive, and online, so you can too.

Google's Haiti Relief Page

Peace, love and sending all the best thoughts in the world to those affected by the earthquake. xxx

RIP Heidi Montag

Good god, what has she gone and done to herself?

Yes, yes - I do realise I'm a bit slow on the uptake here but I do care so little about Heidi in comparison to the non-reciprocated love affair I have with her old The Hills co-star, Lauren Conrad. It's only tonight that I've seen the mortifying before-and-after pictures (scans from People magazine, I assume?) of Heidi, and only tonight that I see less and less hope for young women growing up in today's society.

I know, meep meep. But seriously you guys, have you SEEN her? Do you remember what she used to look like? By that I mean, a normal person? Now she looks like a well-fucked up Barbie doll. Are those breasts really necessary, Heidi? I mean really. They look like they would interfere with everyday activities like, I don't know, walking. Staying upright.
Obsessed with being "perfect"? Nuh-uh, sweetheart. You do not look perfect, or close to it. You look fuuuuuucked up beyond recognition.

Another thing that "grinds my gears" (wow, I hope that's the last time I ever use that phrase. Ugh) about this whole thing? Heidi has blamed her insecurities on the pressures of Hollywood, saying people used to make fun of her chin. She then goes on to say, and I quote "... what people say at the end of the day about me doesn't matter." Um, what?


"I was an ugly duckling before"


I know Hollywood is a tough place to feel beautiful. I've been there. But shit, so is anywhere. I see at least fifty girls that are better-looking than me right on campus here in Dunedin every single day when I'm at school. That's like, 250 people a week. De-puh-ressing, right? And it's not for lack of caring - because I do care - but I know getting sliced up to the extent where I look like a weird, half blown-up, half downsized, cat eyed and ears pinned back version of my former self isn't going to help. I know that. If I know that, why doesn't Heidi know? Can't someone tell her that?

As much as it pains me to say this, I bet there are some sad, misinformed girls out there that like Heidi. They wear "Team Heidi" tshirts, and keep their eyes peeled for guys that will abuse them into submission, then kick them when they're down, like Spencer Pratt does. What an example you're setting, Heidi! If you're sad, get transformed by the wonders of plastic surgery! Looking "perfect" is in fact the answer to all of life's problems!

Someone needs to intervene. Either have this girl exiled and banned from all forms of media, or get her some serious, serious psychiatric help, away from that monster Spencer Pratt. As far as I'm concerned, she's ruined her own life and she's in a position to influence young women to ruin theirs as well.

No more Heidi!

Crowing On

Wait, what? Crows use tools to get food? OMG. Look out people, this could be the fall of man. Remember back in the day when early hominids started using tools to get food? Then they became humans and took over the world?

Yeah, me neither, because I was only just born in 1986, but a well-informed Biology teacher told me that's what happened, and I'm willing to accept it as the gospel.

Anyone pick up that Bad Religion reference? Yee-ah. Love Greg Graffin (just because I don't listen to you constantly anymore, doesn't mean I feel any less strongly about you...).

Seriously though, I'm intrigued. Do crows have sophisticated mechanisms in trees that catch unsuspecting prey, or even better - some sort of transportation system for them to fish newly thrown-out food from trash cans? Someone needs to look into this for me!! If you're a bird enthusiast and know stuff about birds using tools to get food, please leave a comment.

Threadless again, here's a picture of a particularly fashion-conscious crow.


Warning: This May Break Your Heart

Luckily for me, as my heart is already tattered and torn, I found this "disappointing" but not devastating. Depending on how you feel about owls, though, it could ruin your life.

From "Lunanuula":

"I like a good nature myth as much as the next person, but I just found out that as birds go, owls are actually fairly stupid, because so much space is taken up in their heads by the mechanics required to give them such fantastic eyes.


Crows and ravens, on the other hand, are brilliant, and have different crow dialects based on location, and use tools to get food.


Owls do look better in glasses, though."

Ouch.


"Why is an owl smart?" by Lim Heng Swee


I mean, what's next? There's no milk in the milky way?

16 January 2010

Late Registration

Oh, yes I did. I just named a post after something Kanye West-related.

Anyway, it's because I really really really wanted to call my 420th post "Four and Twenty" after the nursery rhyme (even though on further reflections, it's irrelevant because "four and twenty" means 24, not 420). Just so you know, this is #423. Boo, me.

More importantly, it's BECKY'S BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


if I wasn't such a shit friend, I would have
made Becky a cake.


Yeah, I just over-punctuated, like the annoying Facebrat I am. Ha ha ha *makes gun noises*.

Sound like I'm drunk / on party pills / had too much caffeine and/or sugar? Well, as per my new year's resolution to stop drinking and ingesting illegal or frowned-upon substances, I'm NOT! I'm just excited because Becky and Manda left me the best voicemail ever. Seriously, it was like, 9:11pm and they were both pretty much pissed out of their trees, which is just so good and so Hamilton. Of course, I'm actually really disappointed because I'm not there. Sad face. After all, it's a year today since... Becky's last birthday, obviously. And oh, we had such fun that night! And nights subsequent to that, obviously (think every Saturday night between September and New Year). Anyway, supposedly Beck is wearing a sash that says "Number One Party Girl" which is pretty hilarious, and she has a to-do list, 14 items long. Why am I not there?!

Oh yeah, because I thought moving to Dunedin and becoming a responsible student was a good idea. Why was that again?

Birthdays are always exciting. If anything, they should symbolise more of a fresh start than new year does. It's the start of OUR new year, after all!! I'm excited because this year, Becky's 24th, is shaping up to be great. She starts beauty school really soon, and is running the Huntly Half Marathon in a few months. I should take a leaf out of her book. Congratulations Becky, me so proud of you! And I always am!

Yay. Peace, love and happy birthdays!

15 January 2010

Love Actually

It's entirely possible that I've found a new love of my life.

It may be that I love this necklace, designed by the amazing Frankie Murray, more than life itself, as well as actinoids and cell biology. It's a big call, but it's one I'm willing to make. I discovered Frankie and her unusual talent for making beautiful new things out of beautiful old things almost a year ago, and since then her business, Swell Vintage (new website went live today!) has gone from strength to strength, as has Frankie herself.

The aforementioned necklace is my new favourite in a long line of loves from her one-off creations. I want it more than you can even begin to imagine.



It might just be the most perfect piece of jewellery ever created. I'm not going to lie. I'm in love.

Wow, speaking of the word love, turns out I use it an awful lot! More than 100 times on the first page of my blog, for example. That's kind of heaps. Good though, right?

Peace and love.

14 January 2010

World Champion? Me?

Yeah, you wouldn't pick it, based on my current lifestyle.

My gold medal is tucked away in a box with medals from various other competitions, in a wardrobe in my room in Hamilton. And maybe that's the reason I've made such a departure from the athletic lifestyle.

Currently, the extent of movement in my life each day is the dreaded 20-minute commute on foot (and usually in heels, as per my new year's resolution to dress better) to and from the University of Otago. This, along with my diet - mainly comprised of Bumper Bars, rice crackers and Frankly Sandwiches, has left me in a constant fog of lethargy. My life is boring, unfulfilling, for the most part lonely.

It's made worse by my inability to go more than an hour without staring mindlessly at my computer screen while it displays the graduate entry criteria for the University of Auckland MB ChB programme. As you can imagine, a month out from embarking on my Master's, it doesn't exactly do my already obliterated enthusiasm for study any favours.

I'm told my background as an "award-winning sportsperson" will lend much to my graduate applications - "yeah, they love shit like that!" was an exact quote from a friend, but I remain unconvinced. In 2012 (when I intend to apply, upon my return from the Nippon) I have fears that offering "2009 ITU World Champion" and "2009 Waikato Sportswoman of the Year" will not only seem redundant to the admissions committee but also  a little... desperate. It's kind of like how, once the Beijing Olympics began, my participation in Athens (way back in 2004. So little of my memory from this year is left, I sometimes wonder if it even happened) was instantly nullified. Athens? When even was that?

I find a return to my "normal" self unlikely. Even post-Athens, when I didn't swim for more than three months, I was racking up fairly huge mileage - by way of running - on the Waikato river paths. And since then, I've scarcely gone a week - let alone more than a month, without running, riding, or swimming. I don't even know what lung capacity means anymore.

Let's be frank: since my return from Worlds, I've avoided the gym like the plague (it helps that my membership expired), been running twice, and haven't been near a swimming pool in more than a month. There was that foray into the water for the Waikato Times pictures, but you only need to look at the resulting photos to see that I was hardly in the best shape of my life. It's a pretty huge fall from grace.

To that end, I had the quite serious intention of embarking on my first run of 2010 this morning. I wasn't going to get up early for it - we all know such ambitions when you've been away so long are always disastrous - I was just going to get up at a reasonable time, put on my shoes, and haul my ass a few miles. No such luck. When Michael Jackson's "Jam" (yes, I have a Michael Jackson song for my alarm. He's still relevant) burst into my ears this morning at the very reasonable hour of 8, I tried to move. I was unsuccessful. And besides, I told myself, it's raining. Only Ezekiel Kemboi runs in the rain (hugely untrue. In fact, I think I last year established that I may be the only athlete who doesn't run in the rain).

So this morning was a non-starter.

Start the year as you intend to continue? Meh. At least I haven't skipped class. Yet.

12 January 2010

"Delete Post?"

As a wannabe linguist I should really start adhering to Grice's Maxims... you know, those of quantity, quality, relation and manner. And in accordance with these I should note that in my previous post I did not make the distinction between "surgeon" and "surgical resident". My bad.

My point was... there are people around my age qualified to be involved in procedures I don't even want to think about (ooooh, hemispherectomies, maybe? God, I love the idea of a hemispherectomy!), and I'm still on the fence about school.

Yawn.

Forget brain explosions, I'm brain dead.

Brain Explosions

That was a bit grim of me. But I've been so bored the last few days (apparently two Summer School papers is not enough to keep me occupied? Bring on Semester One) that I've spent a great deal of time watching late 80s gymnastics videos (Daniela Silivas is a perennial fave), which inevitably develops into watching early 80s, late 70s, and of course - the glamour years - early 90s. Nothing like a bit of Mo Huilan to cheer up your Tuesday.



More exciting news? I got a text today telling me I need to stop buying Threadless tshirts. It was from my mum, and it's in light of the fact that apparently two more shirts arrived at my home in Hamilton this morning. That is to say, Blooming has finally arrived! Does this mean I am going to stop buying them? Probably not. I have a few more lined up...

The Great Debate rages on: am I ever going to apply for medicine?

For most of my life, this has been a largely internal debate. On one hand - of course I should, I've been fascinated by the concept of being a doctor since I knew what one was. Before you ask, yes, I do know that being a doctor is not like being on Scrubs (if only, right?) or Grey's Anatomy. I know that it's six years of university, followed by specialisation - in my case, oncology or immunology, followed by a lifetime of continual learning, struggling, and maybe dying unhappily because I never cured, or contributed to the cure of, AIDS (you've heard this before). And yes, I still want to do it. Even though I'm 23, sick to death of being a student with no money, and dead set on going to Japan next year. It's my dream, guys. What's life if you give up on your dreams?

And then I'm like, oh nah - who am I kidding? I won't get accepted, and if I do, by the time I even finish I'll be thirty - which only leaves me ten years (until my death at 40, obviously) to win a Nobel Prize and have "Emeritus Professor" prefixed to my name. There are other ways to live well. I don't have to be a doctor. There are other things in life.

So you see? My head is a bit of a hot mess right now. And it has been since I missed an interview for medicine in 2005 by 1%.

Consider my dilemma then when I recently met a 25-year-old "surgical resident" (don't know the difference between surgeon and surgical resident? Nah, me neither. Nor do I care that much). Yeah, read it again, and weep. Twenty-five years old, and practicing surgery. SURGERY! It's almost too much for my under-developed brain to process. You guys know I think medicine is the holy grail of professions, right? Well, surgery is like, the holy grail of holy grails. Not just any old medicine student becomes a surgeon. And this guy did it by 25. This time next year, I will be less than a month off 25. And I can guarantee you I will not be practicing surgery this time next year. It's heavy stuff.

Of course, in a state of drunken stupor, I told said surgeon of my own medicine dreams. So now we must add his argument to the table: that of course I should apply for medicine. Of course I should. And we all know what a sucker I am for other peoples' opinions, right? We all know this very post is going to end with, "Should I apply for medicine, guys?"

Maybe I should just do it. It's not like I'm going to get my Nobel Prize if I don't even try...



Did you like that? A "surprise" ending to my post. I'm sneaky.

Break Neck



I think my first memory of Elena Mukhina goes back to when I was about six years old. She who broke her neck tumbling. It's one of those things that you don't think about when you're six and tumbling (admittedly, not on the Thomas salto scale) is about the most fun way to spend your afternoon.

In case you've got no idea who Elena was...

While of course she is most remembered for the skill that's since been removed from the COP (largely because of her accident), Elena was an outstanding and pioneering gymnast, lending her name to several skills, including the Mukhina salto on floor. My personal favourite Mukhina "move"? Her now-defunct, almost death-defying full-twisting layout Korbut on uneven bars. And yup, it's about as complicated as it sounds. Watch it below (0:09 - 0:12) Since the current COP forbids standing on the high bar - and rightly, too! - gymnasts no longer perform the skill, but it is just so crazy-difficult and cool that you simply must watch!



As for the Thomas salto? Well, like to be honest, I don't even know why women were trying to do it in the first place. It's freakin' ugly. It just doesn't look nice when performed by women. Some skills do - the Deltchev (my personal lovechild of uneven bars) is a good example of a skill that works for both women and men, but the Thomas just does not. It looks, to be frank, like a fail. It's disgusting that coaches would force the young Elena into this skill, but the fact is they did, and look what happened.

In 2006, Elena passed away from "complications relating to quadriplegia".

10 January 2010

New Year's Resolutions Suck

Seriously, who resolves to "not talk about 2009"?

I do.

Buuuut, if you've read the last like, twenty of my blog posts (yes, sadly this year I have already posted twenty times) you will know that I'm publicly failing at this. Never mind. Speaking of which, Megan posted some ridiculous "2009 in REview" questionnaire on her Facebook account (yes, I'm back on Facebook too. I rule).

At first I was all, urgh, get out with your tacky questionnaires, Megan, she who claims not to be a conformist. Then I read some of the questions and felt they applied directly to me.

Did you meet any new friends this (last) year: Obviously. Thom and Luke are probably the best examples of this. Not only new friends but new faves!
Did any of your friendships end: Absolutely. In retrospect, I look at it and I'm like "oh, I don't talk to that person because they said something mean about Becky" and the most upsetting thing is, there were a LOT of people that said mean things about Becky! They can fuck off!!! Becky rules. I will end as many friendships as I need to for that girl.
Did you dislike anyone: Probably when I was drunk. I either love people or hate them while under the influence. It polarises feelings (seriously... alcohol metabolism thesis anyone?). But other than that, YES I dislike ANYONE that says mean things about Becky, or Thom, or any of my other faves.
Did you make any new enemies: Ooh, enemies is a strong word. I don't think so...
Did you resolve any fights: Temporarily. But that's all gone back to shit now. Oh, well.
Did you grow apart from anyone: Yeah, of course. It's pretty hard to stay in touch with like, Sam for example because I no longer live in the room underneath his, and he is NEVER on Facebook! Which sucks. Sam is probably the person I would least like to grow apart from. Conversely, my friendships with people like Becky, Sam (another Sam, obviously), Mandy and Kirsty got better, so that's nice. Always look for the beautiful positive.
Did you have any regrets when it came to friendships: Of course. I wish I still saw my Bayswater kids every day. I wish I saw Danielle every day. But we're all still friends so no *real* regrets.

Anyway.

2009 is done! Let's never speak of it again! Until like, the next time I feel the need to rant about it. Probably ten minutes from now.

Love and light.

9 January 2010

Even I Am Better-Looking Than This Guy



Urgh! This guy (Robert Pattinson, according to the blurb under the photo on Zimbio) is SO UGLY! What is he even doing?

"I'll turn up to *whatever event he's at* in a dinner suit with an UNDONE shirt, without having shaved, with my hair trying-to-look-like-it-hasn't-been-done-but-really-it-took-an-hour, and my eyes HALF SHUT!"

He looks like he has foetal alcohol syndrome! Someone buy this man a razor, and a clue. Please.

COMP113: Blog Assignment 1

Taylor Phinney
(Taylor on Twitter)
(Taylor's website)
(Taylor on Facebook)



Taylor ("world champion American racing cyclist" - from wikipedia.org) has used Twitter since October 2008 to establish a fanbase of nearly 13,500 Twitter users. Taylor, who doesn't even turn twenty until this June, is one of the United States' most prolific and successful cyclists - having won the UCI World Road Race Championships Junior Time Trial event in 2007, the UCI World Individual Pursuit (IP) Juniors title in 2008 (along with placing third in the Time Trial), along with a slew of international victories in 2009. Taylor competed - at just eighteen - at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China and was seventh in the IP event. Last year (2009) he dominated the track cycling world, winning the IP at the World Championships and earning second place in the Kilometre race, as well as a historic win at Paris-Roubaix Espoirs (U23) (source).

Taylor is an active Twitter user, and makes use of the site for self-promotion, as well as the promotion of his teammates (Bjorn Selander, Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley are just three examples of this) and to broadcast cycling news. He was a major, and vocal, supporter of the 2009 petition to UCI, when the organisation announced its plans to omit the IP event from future Olympic Games. The petition eventually gained more than 4,000 supporters from more than 55 countries, many of them Taylor's "followers", but was rejected. Taylor holds competitions via his Twitter account - they have included Halloween costumes as well as prizes for milestone followers (ie, his 7,000th and 8,000th followers). Since he is sponsored by a number of large companies, he has offered prizes like Oakley Jawbone sunglasses, and Nike "LiveStrong" shoes.





Taylor uses Twitter and other sites to raise the profile of cycling in the community. At local events around the US, he encourages his "Twitterati" to attend, and makes an effort to be a personable and friendly champion. His contribution to cycling website blogs (CyclingNews, VeloCast) and general availability to the press (he's also featured on numerous online radio interviews) led him to be ranked the second-most popular track cyclist of 2009 on CyclingNews.com. His own website plays second fiddle to his online presence elsewhere. There is an under-maintained Fan Page dedicated to Taylor on Facebook (992 fans) and he has nearly 5,000 friends on his personal page.

Taylor Phinney is a fine example of a "significant individual" who has used social media to engage with fans and supporters.

8 January 2010

Birthday City

So far, January has been a remarkably busy month for birthdays. On new year's day, Ying-Te turned 20, and then Aubrey did a few days later, on the same day that Joss turned 24. On January 2nd, Jono (my favourite director - of Radioactive Reptiles fame) had his 22nd, and today Niiiiiiiiiiiick is 21, and Sophie (not THE Sophie) is seventeen. I can actually still remember this Sophie when she was twelve. She's an amputee, and Theresa and I lamented the fact that she had a skin-coloured prosthetic.
"What she really wants," we proposed "is one of those titanium poles." Theresa theorised that at Sophie's age, she would probably be like, "argh! It's a monster!".

Anyway, Sophie has since gone on to become the world's most dominant Paralympic swimmer, with three gold medals and one silver at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, and last year she won four gold medals, in world record-setting times, and two bronzes at the IPC Short Course World Championships. Out of control.

Happy birthday, Nick and Sophie!

Jersey Shore?

Wow, I really cannot wait for the day they start broadcasting "Jersey Shore" in Aotearoa. Thus far, I've been reduced to watching clips of its tacky magnificence on YouTube, and reading endless stories about its trashy cast on gossip sites.

It sounds amazing.

There's one US accent I can't pull off convincingly, and that's a Guido accent. I'm not kidding, if I could, I would do it all day, every day. Everyone would believe I was from Jersey, the same way airline attendants in Las Vegas thought I was from Irvine, California.

And let's be honest, we all know I love trash. "Jersey Shore" is just trash central. The girls have nicknames, for crying out loud. J-Woww, Snooki, and Sweetheart? These are just not acceptable names for girls anywhere in the world besides Jersey. Don't even get me started on "The Situation". Roflmao. Seriously.

These kids all look like something out of an Ed Hardy ad. So you know, pretty much like a dream come true. Ed Hardy is just like, wow. So crap.

Bring "Jersey Shore" to New Zealand, MTV!

7 January 2010

I'm The Reason You're Not Allowed To Eat In The Library

Wow, I'm kinda starting to get over capitalising every word in every title. Especially when titles can be as long as eleven words. That's just silly.

"That's just silly" - actually - is a direct quote from my old chemistry lecturer, Associate Professor Allan Blackman, which he made (in 2005!) in referral to using equations to calculate the pH value of a solution. I'm bringing this up solely because I just walked past him in the Archway building on campus. He was my favourite first-year lecturer! He loves Calvin and Hobbes, so here's a strip in his honour.



Anyway.

I've picked up a computer science paper at Summer School (and dropped that fiction class! Hooray for me!) and part of the course requirements include posting blogs. So if some unrelated musings on Facebook or Twitter appear here, don't be alarmed. It's just me merging education with life, I suppose.

I've started carting my entire life around campus with me in my Jansport bag. Today, for example - along with my laptop, there's two diaries (two! Why anyone needs a diary at all, let alone two, is lost on me), a book I've been searching for since about 2006 - and finally found this morning at Otago's Storage Library and Bindery, probably three lipsticks, some eyeshadow (mainly for the mirror), two bottles of drink, seven pens, some hairties, receipts, keys, and my purse. I'm unnecessary.

Oh yeah! The reason you can't eat in the library! It's because of me.

Well, people like me. Who eat sandwiches and spill the contents everywhere. I mean everywhere. I just ate a sandwich (courtesy of Frankly Sandwiches... yum) and I suspect about ten percent of its filling now graces the 1m radius around where I'm sitting. There's also aioli on my pants. Could I be any classier? It's unlikely. I'm the same with cookies, rice crackers, chocolate (I know, right. How do you spill chocolate?) and pretty much any other kind of food you can think of. I'm a grub.

Other "that's just" or mildly related quotes?
"That's just weird" - said in a fantastic, half-cockney, half-East Anglian accent by the outrageous Justin Hawkins at the 2004 Big Day Out in Auckland.
"Which is nice" - I still maintain he stole it off me. I say it all the time! Emeritus Professor Colin Gibson.

One day, I hope I can get "Emeritus Professor" tacked on to the front of my name! Sure, it means I have to become a professor and then retire (before the age of 40, since that's when I'm going to die...) but I think it's an achievable goal. At the very least, I'd like a Nobel Prize. I don't ask much!

Peace, love and sparkling zesty lemonade (try it. You won't be disappointed).

6 January 2010

I Love My Brother: v3984739274



My brother, Karl, is unbelievably cool. His girlfriend posted this picture of them on Facebook. It's so cute.

Out With The Old

I know, I know.

The whole, crapping-on-about-the-new-year thing is getting a bit old.

But I've been thinking for a few days now about how one of my goals this year is to tidy myself up. To that end, I refuse to wear jandals or trackpants before 8pm at night. Arbitrary? Yes. But it goes hand-in-hand with my other endeavours which include dressing better in general. No jandals, except when supermarket shopping (and even then, I'm going to say it's frowned upon). No trackpants outdoors. Dress less like a scruff, less often. Stop tying my hair up. Just, make an effort every day.

Does that seem weird? A makeup artist who is lazily-kempt? Yeah, probably. It's one of my least favourite personality flaws. And it's going to get better.



Weirdly, I came across an article on a New Zealand site earlier about a girl and her love affair with jandals. I'm going against the grain of my generation here, giving jandals the heave-ho. But I think I'm going to have not only better foot health (there's been research to suggest they're bad for your feet, and looking at the state of mine, I'm not going to argue), but more class. Yes.

Anyway, anyway.

I stumbled across this tonight, quite by chance. I've long since stopped looking at the daily "Blogs Of Note", having given up hope of ever being featured the first time I said "fuck". It's weird, because she mentions "church" which is linked... to none other than the official site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's pretty weird, right?

Other weird stuff: Sophie was the most popular girls' name of 2009, in New Zealand. I mean, it's not that weird. I would probably name a baby girl Sophie, too. A nice feature of the list, for both girls and boys, is that New Zealanders don't seem to be buying into the trend that is giving your children stupid names (the noted exception being that couple who called their son 4Real). Names like Ruby, Emma and Charlotte pepper the girls' most popular list, while Jack tops and Thomas rounds out the boys' top ten.

Proud to be a New Zealander? Who, me?



Gaga: The Fallout

I loved my white-blonde, Lady Gaga-reminiscent tresses the way only a Lady Gaga wannabe could.



Unfortunately though, by Christmas, my hair was more reminiscent of... I don't know, copper wire (without the colour, obviously). My hair was about an inch shorter - due to breakage, not a haircut, a million times drier, and more sensitive to everything - water, hair product, being tied up, my hair straightener (okay so that last one was a given but I like my hair to be not only blonde, I like it to be straight). It's time to go, blonde hair.

So on about December 23rd, I bought some hairdye and away I went, expecting a low-key, fades-into-the-background brown. This was not the case. I ended up with quite an ... electric ... shade of red. Red?! Yeah, works for Brigette, and that horrible girl from Paramore. Does not work for me. Still, I braved it for a few days until Boxing Day, which when I bought yet another packet of hairdye - hoping, once again, for low-key brown. Instead, I got black.

People! Do not dye your own hair! It will not end up the way you want it.

Trouble is (apart from looking like an emo, I mean), restoring colour to my stressed tresses has by no means restored any sort of "vitality". No, no. It's even shorter. It's still hydrophobic and hates the straightener. IT STILL FEELS LIKE STRAW! Right now, I'm dressed in a white tshirt, and my hair is literally shedding on to my shirt. I mean, shit, if it was still white, at least no-one would see!

When it comes to hair, you can't win. Don't ever, EVER dye your hair.

The Climb

Some days, I feel about eighty years old.

Not in my mind, obviously - I'd like to think that in the unfortunate event that I reach eighty, I'll know a great deal more than I do now - but in my legs. I live on the third floor of our teeny-tiny, five-person apartment, and when you feel as old as I do, getting up those stairs after a day of lectures that make you want to die (it's that fiction paper! I knew it would be the end of me) is not an easy feat.

Take heed, athletes! Turns out spending your formative years underwater, in a weights room, on a four-inch wide beam and hanging from a pair of uneven bars isn't so great for you once you reach 24 (I know, I'm not 24 yet, but that's kind of past the point). There's being active, and then there's stupidity. I fall into the latter category.

Before Worlds last year, I was putting in fifty-hour training weeks. Every week. For months on end. I then went from full-time training to full-time dancing, whilst under the influence of copious amounts of alcohol, in town. It's not ideal, as I've recently discovered. Your body doesn't forget behaviour like that, people! It remembers! It repays you when you move into a three-storey house!

Admittedly, there are upsides. I'm not sure why, but I've recently (meaning: in the last two days) mastered the art of staying awake all day, and sleeping a little bit at night! It's only taken my whole life. Getting up to live, not work out, at 7am is a strange feeling. So is having inexplicable sore arms that I can no longer stretch because they literally NEVER get warmed up. I haven't exercised in forever.

I'm beginning to wonder if the muscle soreness is in part due to the almost-fatal (that's a self-appointed assessment and may not be all that accurate) fall down the stairs I had two days ago, which I managed to land headfirst. Seriously, landing ANY other way than headfirst would have been hugely preferable. Unfortunately, it was not to be - I not only crashed into the side of my skull, but the rest of my once tiny, now not-so-tiny body landed ON TOP of my head. Yeah, man. I had a pretty extreme fall. Of course, I lost consciousness and gave myself a concussion, carpet burns (including one on the back of my ear, that my hair now sticks to, which is ideal) and possibly some ruptured internal organs. I'm co-ordinated.

I will not let this dampen my year! Concussions go away. Bruises and internal organs heal. So do burnt ears. If there's anything that's going to destroy me, it's going to be that damn fiction paper.

New goal for the year: to successfully climb each flight of stairs every day. I don't like my chances.