Indeed Beast-Like

I’m starting to want to go back to using song titles. Maybe I will do that starting Tuesday, seeing as it’s the start of Winter!

Today I finished 750 words in my Travel Piece, pretty much rewrote a whole draft of my 750-word-OpEd, redrafted a 500 word Magazine profile, and at the end I figured I have earned an evening off. Tomorrow, before I go out to dinner with DANI I’m going to finish off the 300 words of the PR, and probably redraft my PNA. Still putting off those 2 horrid research essays.

I’m rather proud of myself today, actually. I have proven yet again that when I am put under stress I can work like a beast.

I would go into a huge argument with a guy who I’d met recently at Uni, and having read his blog we started a huge argument about the usefulness of Facebook events, the effort people make into charitable causes, rah rah rah, but the argument is still ongoing and if I present just my side of the argument I’m going to sound stupid and if I present both side it’s going to take too long.

Wish me luck on my remaining 9 days!

Alex

Winners Of The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

This is again, a handout from my Creative Writing tute this Friday (the last one). I’m going to miss these little things I get given.

So the handout came with a URL, which I suppose is where all the info is from.

Anyway, this is the introduction, as it is on my handout:

Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The contest (hereafter referred to as the BLFC) was the brainchild (or Rosemary’s baby) of Professor Scott Rice, whose graduate school excavations unearthed the source of the line “It was a dark and stormy night.”

I won’t write it all up, but I will show you some of my favorites (I think they’re meant to be so ridiculous that they’re funny):

The countdown had stalled at T minus 69 seconds when Desiree, the first female ape to go up in space, winked at me slyly and pouted her thick, rubbery lips unmistakably – the first of many such advances during what would prove to be the longest, and most memorable, space voyage of my career. – Martha Simpson, Glastonbury, Connecticut (1985 winner)

The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant for those who hadn’t heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn’t reacting yet to let you know. – Patricia E. Presutti, Lewiston, New York (1986 winner)

“Ace, watch your head!” hissed Wanda urgently, yet somehow provocatively, through red, full, sensuous lips, but he couldn’t you know, since nobody can actually watch more than part of his nose or a little cheek or lips of he really tries, but he appreciated her warning. – Janice Estey, Aspen, Colorado (1996 winner)

The moment he laid eyes on the lifeless body of the nude socialite sprawled across the bathroom floor, Detective Leary knew she had committed suicide by grasping the cap on the tamper-proof bottle, pushing down and twisting while she kept your thumb firmly pressed against the spot the arrow pointed to, until she hit the exact spot where the tab clicks into place, allowing her to remove the cap and swallow the entire contents of the bottle, thus ending her life. – Artie Kalemeris, Fairfax, Virginia (1997 winner)

They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tight as that two-flavor entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white…Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn’t taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by coloring it differently.¬† -Mariann Simms, Wetumpka, Alabama (2003 winner)

So I tried my hand at my own “horrible” fiction starts:

The first time I met him he’d run at me with uncontainable joy, his silky golden locks bouncing on his teddy-bear-like body with the same enthusiasm as that of a fat man’s bosoms. His tongue smeared my cheek with the fury of a fully-paid carwash service, attempting to encase me wholly, to the last inch of my life, in his warm saliva. His breath was on my ear, toasty like a dog’s – which was fitting, was because he was indeed a compact little Maltese Cross.

I’m in my Day 1 of my 11 Days of Writing Hell. So far I’ve finished 1 essay, and I will attempt to redraft and finish off my entire short fiction piece, thus finishing 1/4 subjects, by dinner tonight.

Alex.

Tell Me Baby, Why-ai-ai-ai

[20 Good Reasons – Thirsty Merc]

There is a widget on the side of my blog where it shows my archives (named Previously, on De Fluffe /EDIT sorry I mean “On This Day In History”), and I can see at a glance that my frequency in blogging is dramatically decreasing.

At least, my frequency is noticeable here on the WordPress; I’ve actually been blogging non-stop on my 365 for, what, nearly 50 days now.

I remember that I used to have long ambiguous rambles on here, and, despite their ambiguity, it more or less carved a semi-followable path through my life, and my thoughts. I obviously don’t do that anymore, and I wonder why? I was never worried before about what other people think of what I write, and what thoughts I have, so why did being an ARTS student at UNI stop me? If anything, it should have liberated me to be MUCH more verbal and, dare I say, ruthless.

Alright, so maybe I SHOULD catch up on my thoughts since the last time I recall being deep.

I’m annoyed to admit this, but I fell under the age-old tunnel-vision trap that I’d always thought was bullshit: I realized, having left it, that highschool really isn’t the most important part of life, and the things that happen in it really isn’t that tragic – and leaving it really isn’t that fucking hard.

Maybe I’ve had it easier, because my transition to Uni was smooth, and I don’t have avalanches of homework and studying, but I don’t miss highschool at all. The friends, who I thought were the only ones I could possibly ever have the luck to have, stopped contacting me, and after that shock wore off, I found myself not even thinking about it anymore. When I see highschool friends at Uni, sure there is that “yeah we went to school together” thing going on, but that almost seems like a process we go through, for the sake of it.

Now, I have quite a few great friends who, I’d dare to tangibly put down, seem to be quite a stroke of luck. I have grown cynical enough to think that this will probably go away at some point, and I’ll look back on this with the same “oops there goes that” that I already am with some of my older posts.

It’s even more temporary in Uni. Semesterly, we shift around in tute groups. I made a few semi-good friends in my tutes, and having left the Uni today, I realize that I might not see them again, not for more than 10 minutes. It’s like graduating highschool each semester.

So why do I even bother making friends in my tutes? Because it makes the time pass easier, sure, but then what happens to the awkwardness of having a friend who, with the friendship in such infancy, you don’t talk to anymore?

And then there’s the people I met coincidentally sharing same breaks. What about them, once the timetabling changes?

And what about the friend who you’re immensely close to because you take the same train all the time together? What happens when she decides to move to the city? (That’s pretty much just Jackie.)

Half a year ago, I would have said “it will be a test of our friendship to see if we can still be friends then”, but now I actually mend that to “it will be a test to see how much we actually secretly and truly dislike each other, and if that outweighs how much we truly enjoy being with the other or not”. It’s depressing and cynical, but hey, I’m an ARTS student.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my friends very much – friends are to me what family is like to most people. I actually am not comfortable with what will be constant tearing and shifting.

There, I’m sure this was enough gut-spillage for a while.

Alex.

P.S., this post from Katherine’s blog made me laugh.

Put The Brakes On!

When I missed my bus this morning, causing me to miss my 10:26 train, I didn’t think much of it except “oh no, I’m going to be late meeting Angie”.

However, that was the least of my worries!

If you missed it on the news today, this is what happened:

Toddler Hit By Train

I was on that train! I was sitting in the 3rd carriage, and felt absolutely nothing – the breaking wasn’t even that hard (so yes, the train really was traveling incredibly slow at that point). We noticed something was odd when a girl tried to get off, but the doors weren’t opened (you can see from the footage it was because the driver got out immediately).

There was a long pause.

Then the announcement came that the train will be delayed for about 10 – 15 minutes while the ambulance arrives.

Some people got out, and we all waited.

A fire truck came, and it was then that I thought, “maybe it wasn’t just someone fainting on the train

Then the ambos, and even the police came, sirens shrieking away.

I was playing Bejeweled when the announcement came again that the train would be suspended, and we should all find our way to the city, or wait for a replacement bus.

So I walked out of Tooronga station, and I saw the stretcher being pushed into the ambulance. I saw the TV cameras, and I knew that it was actually extremely serious. The grandma was standing by the ambo, pretty much in shock.

I didn’t realize, though, that a kid had fallen onto the tracks until much later when I googled what happened to see if it was on the news yet. I thought someone had just been injured a bit. Seriously, though, despite how slow we were going, it was AMAZING that the child only got away with some minor injuries. Nothing broken, even.

If you didn’t read the link to the story, then it basically says that station platforms have a small slope towards the tracks for drainage reasons. I never really noticed the slope except on those REALLY small slim platforms like North Richmond, but I agree that maybe it should slope AWAY from oncoming trains for drainage reasons. The newer platforms do do that, but a lot of platforms were built before the law came through for it to slope the other way, so that’s why we have this, and the thing that happened last October at Ashburton. The one at Ashburton looked so much scarier though.

So, if any mothers for some reason read this: Just put your baby pram’s brakes on. Even if you’re letting go for a moment to grab something from your handbag, just put the brakes on. Letting go for a moment could lead to having to let go forever. The small moment you save from having to go put the brake on will not justify your lifetime of pain, having lost your child.

Everything else that happened today will be mentioned on my 365.

Alex.

2 Weeks

My net uncapped!

But because for the next 2 weeks I have all my final essays to write, this is what I shall do:

Today: Watch 1 ep of NCIS from last week while nomming on coleslaw, then finish my Cinema Studies ACMI close analysis essay.

Then watch 1 ep of GLEE from last week, and then finish editing both my close analysis and my Creative Writing short fiction.

Then watch 1 ep of How I Met Your Mother from last week, and then start violently on my “Travel Piece” for Professional writing. Write at least 200 words.

Then watch 1 ep of The Big Bang Theory from last week, and then write another 200 words of Travel Piece.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I might be going out but tomorrow I aim to finish the Travel Piece, as well as the episodes of House and FlashForward from last week.

This month I aim to not download anything until the end of the month. I also figured that Megavideo streaming uses less downloads than those from, say, Zshare, so I will try my best to cope with the time limit on Megavideo.

I don’t know how I would cope with not getting new Glee songs.

I shall edit this piece later tonight to tell you if I managed to do this.

Alex.

/edit I finished Cinema Studies and I remembered that the Creative Writing piece can be workshopped on Friday so I don’t have to worry. Other than that I haven’t started on my Travel piece but I will bring a notebook to the city tomorrow and start writing it.

That’s The Way She Come Through Like

[wolf whistle]
[Starstrukk – 3OH!3 ft. Katy Perry]

Today, Jackie and I went to the Glen Waverley library to run an errand, and we walked into the study area. Immediately, an onslaught of wolf whistles attacked us.

Now, how do I know it’s not for me?

Jac went into one of the private study booths while I waited half outside. When we were done, I stepped out first. When Jac started coming back out I heard all the guys who’d whistled before say, “she’s coming out she’s coming out!” and then all the way out of the study area wolf whistled followed us.

My Jackie is all grown up!

Alex

Cucumbers And Tomatoes

Or tomatoes, however you say it.

Thanks to April, last night I went out for the first time in weeks. I went to the city in my nice blazer, with my hoodie in my bag in case it gets cold. My blazer has many buttons because of a certain feature, and so when I got on the train, a lady going to the footy smiled and said to me, “if I ever need buttons, I’ll come to you.”

On the tram from Flinders Station to QV, I had many many people stare at me. I later said to April, “either I’m ri-DI-kulusly good-looking (said in the same way as Zoolander), or each and every one of them was trying to figure out if I am a girl or a guy.” April agreed it was probably the latter. I mentioned that it happens every morning on the tram, too, to the point where I get paranoid and start sneakily wiping my face to check if there’s anything on it.

We sat on the fake grass area of QV, April, Si, Simon’s 2nd April (i.e. his newly bought PS3) and I. It got very very windy and cold, so I went for that cool hipster look where you wear a hoodie inside a blazer, and passersby think “woah, bro, that’s a sharp shoulder line because of the blazer, but a nice and cushy neck-line because of the hoodie. Righteous!”

A small girl began running circles around us, airplane style, so I screamed “WHEEEEEEEEE” which scared her off.

Soph, April’s little sister, showed up and we went to meet April’s childhood friend Tom on Swanston St. Tom is in the army, and has finally started having weekends off. He is training to drive tanks – the ones with 8-wheels and they’re fast so they’re not very good under fire but they’re FAST – and to handle weaponry, obviously. He has many stories of rough training sessions and wilderness camps.

Tom hasn’t been in the city very often, and if he was honest, he’d never had Chinese food at a Chinese restaurant before. So April decided Chinatown would be a good idea, until I reminded her that there is a chance Tom a) might not like the food and b) can’t use chopsticks (when I mentioned this, Tom sort of said, “chopsticks?”).

In the end we decided to hell with that, and went to Lygon St for Italian. Ironically, we met up with one of Soph’s friends called Pasta (nickname, obviously). We were waiting for Pasta next to an Asian busker playing Guang Liang songs on his keyboard.

Walked to Lygon St via Russel St, and it took a lot less time than I thought it would. We ended up going to/being pulled into this small restaurant near Grattan St. The manager who pulled us in was very friendly and incredibly heavily-accented. Fresh home-made pasta, she boasted. Better than the restaurant next door. Simon found an online review of the place, and the review mentioned that the manager would persuade and repeat about the freshness of their pasta. We supposed that we’ve just been had by a nightly routine.

Tom was served Coronas with a wedge of lemon inside the neck of the bottle. He says it tastes interesting, so I think I will try that next time.

After a while, Soph’s boyfriend Erh- arrived (now, I am more than certain I mentioned Erh-. In the post about Hamwu’s birthday last April, when I talked about a guy who walked around in a Scream mask scaring and shadowing everyone, that guy was Erh-) with his friend Anvo. I can’t remember Anvo’s name properly so I will say Anvo but it probably isn’t Anvo. Anvo and Erh- are Turkish and Pasta is Iranian. I have not really hung out with non-Asian guys much so yesterday was an eye-opener, in a good way.

Anvo was a fun character, he would be talking to me one moment, and a girl would walk past and I would just have to wait a few minutes for him to turn back around to me. The dinner table conversation got a bit MA rated when they started evaluating April’s true vegetarianism, seeing as she’s dating Si and everything. (Go on, draw the dirtiest conclusions from that.)

Erh- asked April if there is a vegetarian way of eating meat. April replied, “lick it.”

Laughter.

Soph said, “well, what about cucumbers and tomatoes?”

Laughter.

Erh-: “Cucumbers never go soft though.”

Soph: “What about when they get old?”

Laughter. A passing waiter gave us the eye.

Then, the conversation moved onto whether there is a Halal way of eating meat (still thinking dirty here, folks). Then ensued a demonstration of praying before “killing”, and at that point Tom was looking horrified, I was looking confused (being at the far end of the table, I get parts of the jokes only) and Si was just laughing.

After the meal, we said bye to Erh- and Anvo, and then bye to Soph, Pasta and Tom at Melb Central. Took the train home without too much problem, despite there being a slightly strange girl trying to play some sort of hand game with herself loudly.

I apologize if any readers were offended by what I wrote. I don’t think it’s excuse enough to say “but the jokes were made by people of the religion” but there it is…

Alex.

Words Of Strangers

I had 2 encounters with strangers today which I found worthy to be mentioned here.

Number 1: on the train home tonight with Jackie, I decided to be mean and continuously tried to stop her from dozing by poking, nudging, and making a nuisance of myself in general. This was partially because she’d said earlier in the day that she “wasn’t that easy to be really angered”.

When we’d reached Syndal, the second last station, the lady who sat opposite me spoke up. She gestured at me and said to Jackie, “She’s a bitch, eh?”

I laughed, “I sure am.” Jackie laughed as well. Seeing that really Jackie wasn’t too angry, the lady went on:

“Are you two siblings? Because if you were her sister,” she fixed her gaze on me, “she would have WOOSH hit you already.” The lady slapped the air, mimicking the exact action that Jackie actually uses to hit me.

“Oh no we’re not siblings,” I replied. “But she does hit me.”

Number 2: as I logged today onto WordPress, I saw on my user dashboard that I had a “pingback” which is when someone linked a post from my blog in their post. I followed that link…and I saw this. (Now she gets a pingback as well.)

Firstly, it was actually an amazing feeling to realize that something I blogged actually inspired a complete stranger. I felt accomplished for the week.

Secondly, this amazing experience was further spiced by the fact that she referred to me as “a guy”.

This happens in real life because apparently I look androgynous. I don’t really mind that much anymore (except when I’m clearly wearing feminine clothing and speaking out loud. I know my voice is a little husky but still…) but having a stranger on the net mistake me for one based on the one post she read…do I WRITE androgynously?

In other news, I went on Bridge Rd with Mandy, Dorothy, Struong, Joanne and of course Jackie today. Lots of walking produced nothing. Y.A.Y. I left my scarf on the train. I was absolutely shattered. Absolutely shattered with milk flying everywhere, along with my tears.

Someone get me a nice new (man)scarf please. (Oh yes I see how I don’t help my case much.)

Alex.

First Drop Of Rain

My Writing Project (which you can access right next to the 411 and home along the top-ish if the page) has had a huge drought, and finally after God knows how long, I’ve written and put up Chapter 5.

Am I satisfied with it? Not really. A lot of the stylistic features I tried to put in didn’t quite show up, but I have no idea how to edit it.

Did I see the ending of the chapter coming? Yes and no. There was always going to be a huge revelation. I just didn’t plan to put it in so early, or even that revelation for that matter. I won’t spoil it.

If you read my earlier chapters and forgot what it was about, then I suppose you’ll just have to read them again. I WOULD do a “previously on Untitled Writing Project” but nah.

I have a feeling Chapter 6 won’t take long. It’s almost like Chapters 3 and 4 coming out so quickly after one another.

I pretty much expect just Cheryl to read it, ha, but everyone else is welcome too.

Alex.

Rules For Writing Fiction

I’d put this off and I don’t know why. On Friday in Creative Writing I’d gotten this sheet, and I thought I’d share what’s on it.

It was quite interesting to me. In short, it is some “rules” for writing fiction.

If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in this writing.

– Ernest Hemingway.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Rules For Writing Fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things – reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them – in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Writer to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Now, I don’t personally agree with point 4 completely – I know that Edgar Allen Poe had once said that every word in a story must be necessary to be there, and each word must build up to the climax of the story, but in order to describe something, you should take a small amount of time out to describe it. Of course, meaningless physical description is pointless – I’d once read a fanfic where the writer would painstakingly describe every piece of clothing a character decides to wear, the brand, the color, how they folded their sleeves even – but to some degree, a description of places and setting in accordance with the story, both for emotive, symbolic or dynamic purposes, are useful.

I like how point 8 negates Hemingway a little. Not completely, just a little. I suppose you can always imply from point 8 that “as much as possible” isn’t “everything”, but just as much as it is necessary.

I think I’ve fucked up point 5 many, many times – flashbacks from a start point doesn’t count. I’m guilty of starting many an epic long story from the beginning of beginning. Still, I’d like to think I’m building up artistic flair in my writing.

Yes Cheryl, I will work on the writing project.

But apart from that, I really sincerely believe in points 1 – 3, and point 6 sounds like a lot of fun. Point 7 is probably something I will have to slowly develop, because I haven’t really thought about it.

I shall try my hardest to create a good ice-berg. One day it’ll be large enough to sink the Titanic again.

Alex.