The Life and Laughs: Revenge of the Laugh

Oh, subscribers, are you still there? Are you surprised to see me again?

As of this moment, I have finished all the assessment tasks for my university degree. There is the small matter of handing it in and, oh, passing, but I have confidence that I will receive a high enough score to get me the certificate.

So, where I left you last.

I was about to start my two-week internship, which turned out really interesting. I found out lots about myself in those two weeks – how quickly I can really write, how to self-edit, how to take criticism (although, the sub-editor who sat me down and went through my work was very nice about correcting my mistakes, much nicer than my actual class teacher), how to make phone-interviews.

I also learned how much I hate journalism. Well, not all aspects of journalism – but I wasn’t a fan of slow moving, methodical get-the-interview-and-write-it journalism. I’m not knocking it, I just guess it wasn’t for me!

I also did some tough interviews for a writing class, since the assessments needed us to go interview complete strangers. I interviewed two research professors, and a few of my friends. For one article, I chose to interview April and Bianca about their personal lives. They were toughies, I had to fight to keep tears back with Bianca.

Overall, I did pretty well in Semester 1. Of course, I knew Semester 2 was going to be a bitch and half. But before that…

I went on the SAMA camp. SAMA is the Monash Anime club, which Mela is a part of. It was in the middle of July, so it was cold and wet – and the place we went to seemed to be creating mud out of every crevice. As the club is a nerdy one, most nights were spent playing Mahjong, watching anime or horror movies. The last night, however, saw everyone wanting to get rid of all the alcohol that was brought. Much drunkeness and throwing-upness occurred. Cindy drank til she was a bit beyond tipsy (we thought she was outright drunk, but a few weeks later we saw a video of her being actually drunk and talking in an infectious British accent). And my girl? Well, she went much beyond drunk – bashed through hilarious drunk by hugging everyone and telling them she loves them, and then crashed into bad drunk and threw up what smelled like pure alcohol. The next day, suffice to say, she suffered.

There was also the SAMA Social Night, which happened in August. I was forced to go, and went through a horrible process of trying to find clothing for the formal event. In the end, I put together some dodgy looking pieces, fixed with the bowtie that Amelia gave me for my birthday (oh, did I mention? I turned 21! I got loads of presents, but Amelia’s was the best: the bowtie, a great scarf, and a crap-load of Nerds lollies). I ended up winning best-dressed male. Clare, who went, could not stop smiling at me when I was up on stage. If I could have melted with embarrassment, I would have.

Semester 2 was tougher. I had 3 subjects again, but all requiring research, and none were creative. One was a whipping 8000 word mini-thesis. Amusingly, the other two subjects overlapped each other almost completely in content, simply from different ends. And so the first six weeks saw me learn a whole load of new information, and the last six saw me revise it in the other class.

Annie and I worked very hard, for once…and the last time. We holed ourselves up in the library every day we were in (which was, granted, around twice a week), for a whole month, and worked our asses off while we were at home. We did up to 20,000 words of research for a 2,500 essay, and sure we laughed about it later, but at that time, it was horrible. I once wrote so hard that my arms cramped, something I haven’t really encountered since VCE exams.

I also got a new laptop! A Samsung Series 9, which is as light as an eyelash and about as thick. It’s a beautiful machine, and I want so much to keep it beautiful I haven’t taken off the plastic cover on the front and on the wrist-rest.

Amelia bought me tickets for and attended with me Maroon 5. It was a shocking concert – although there wasn’t a mosh, and we sat further back than we thought we would, they made up for it with their relentless energy. I did not stop dancing the whole time they were on stage, and neither did they! Jen and I shouted ourselves hoarse (we both wanted to go, and dragged our other halves with us).

Amelia turned 20, and I took her to the Conservatory at Crown. It was a bad start, because I got lost and was late to the restaurant, but Amelia ate a massive fill from the buffet, and I gorged myself on the chocolate fountain. The food was very good (considering how much it costs), but the thing that got me the most was the service. First-class waiters and waitresses were patient as hell, despite covering about two dozen people each.

We also celebrated our 1 year anniversary (yes, it HAS been that long!) but, unfortunately, on the day I had classes I had to attend. We delegated the celebrating to her birthday, since they’re both very close to each other. Amelia also held another birthday dinner at Paesano’s at Knox O-Zone, and so many people showed up that we had to get two massive tables and squeeze together.

Meg, Amelia’s dog, has gotten extremely cute – and much bigger! Although she is still quite small, she no longer fits just on one arm, and I need to carry her with both. She’s not gotten much smarter, but she’s very loyal, and the other week when I visited her after a long break, she was so excited, she peed! I love Meg very much, and I can’t stop talking about her when I’m with other people. I think it annoys them but if they were loved by Meg, they’d do the same.

And now, I’ve finished all the assessments for my university schooling. I’m not going back to class next year, nor have I a job lined up. I was hoping to take a year off and see what my options are. Perhaps I can pay Amelia more attention too, as I have neglected her a lot this past few months.

I’m about to go to China for a two week holiday, by myself. I’m utterly terrified, because I’m about as good a flyer as a rock, and I’ve never had to go by myself before. But, hey, I’m 21 now, I should learn how to hack it.

It also means that, despite this lengthy and vigorous attempt to revive this blog, I will not be blogging for the next 2-3 weeks, because WordPress is blocked in China. But I will strive to come back.

So, Revenge of the Laugh! The Life Returns. Etc.

Alex.

/edit: Also, Brendan happened. He had to carry my drunk girlfriend since I couldn’t, and she kept on thinking she was flying, causing him to nearly drop her a lot. (This was at SAMA camp by the way.) Also a bunch of other stuff including him took place, like um. I don’t know. Also he got a new girlfriend.

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I could die lying in her arms

[Little Joanna – McFly]

Day 02: How you introduce yourself to new people.

While I like to say that I try to move as much fakeness as possible, I think, if anything, I put on an extra show of not putting on fakeness.

For most of the people who met me in person, I think it’s safe to say that they all thought I was outgoing if not slightly loud, and that I have an easy-to-like personality. Oh look at me piling modesty upon my good looks. And I think, at the core of things, that’s the kind of person I am – I like making other people feel comfortable but not bored, and make them smile.

But that’s also me putting on a show of being easy-to-like. I am making a conscious effort to be pleasant and make jokes and smile more. There are times when I either am not in the mood, or simply don’t feel the necessity to make nice – most of the time when I do this I’m with someone else, or it’s one of those momentary meetings that doesn’t require me to ever see them again. So I don’t actually talk or even make much eye contact. I have a friend who noted that there are times when I seem to have a “fuck off” sign plastered all over my face.

It’s not a matter of if I think you’re worth the effort, it’s really just what I interpreted social protocol to be.

Alex.

What’s left?

That was a pun. “What’s left” was my insanely punny way of saying “what’s wrong?”

I won’t be able to reproduce the arguments exactly, or at all, really. And I hope Bee’s okay with my posting of it here.

On the train ride home today, with Fel and Bee, Bee started a discussion about the Saudi Arabians stoning women to death for a certain reason within their society. I think it was as a sort of punishment for committing a crime but I really can’t remember.

Bee put to us that we really shouldn’t (or rather, not “shouldn’t” but that it doesn’t really achieve anything if we) decide and see whether it is “right” or “wrong” for them to do this. Their society and culture does not view it as “wrong” and we only see it as such because we were brought up to see it that way.

My basic argument had been that it is wrong and we can say that it is wrong even without understanding fully their culture because every human has a intrinsic right to live, and to take away that right (or the “arbitrary deprivation of their lives”) is intrinsically wrong.

Bee countered (along with Fel) that it is not actually our “right” to live. “Rights” wereย  a convention set up by society. Sure, we have the “will” to live, but in certain situations that will to live does not amount to anything significant.

(This, by the way, is a horrendously abridged version of the debate we had, and in the wrong chronological order as well.)

Thus, by convention, we believe that the stoning of these women are “wrong”. Are they actually “wrong”? And what is “wrong”? By saying that such acts are wrong, it does not do anything to help or stop it from happening, and really “it’s just them complaining” (in the slightly paraphrased words of Bianca herself).

I then put to her that, “Yes, it is just complaining. But by complaining you are at least giving that slight possibility of something BEING done, whereas if you don’t complain nothing will be done and that’s that. It’s like a kid complaining to his mom about being hit by his brother. Complaining about it MIGHT get the mom to tell the brother off, or the brother to stop, but not complaining about it will just make him keep going, or make the situation worse.”

That stopped Bianca for while, but we’d also gone on to another topic.

Are humans intrinsically evil?

I’d put that, yes, humans are intrinsically evil. Take for example the Stanford Experiment. When given the power and the authority, all humans will inevitably start relishing in the power, and abusing it and whomever their power grants them command over.

Fel had argued that while humans may have evil parts in them, intrinsically, it is also true that there are purely good parts in everyone. Absolutely everyone. Bianca agreed, saying that even Hitler had good parts in him, because despite what his actions really were, to him they were the “right thing” (and here is that term again) and his acting upon these beliefs show he is a good person (was that your point, Bianca?)

The discussion then petered out at that point. No one “won” per se but I think Bianca had the slight upper hand in the end, regarding the Saudi Arabian argument.

What is it that you believe? Were those actions wrong? Were those actions justified by the cultural differences? Is society to blame? Is there actually no way of determining whether those actions are right because, in the end, there is no such thing as “right”?

Alex.

P.S. I’m not going to be patronizing, just helpful. If by chance anyone who read this wasn’t sure what “intrinsically” actually means:

Princeton: belonging to a thing by its very nature; “form was treated as something intrinsic, as the very essence of the thing”- John Dewey

So sort of like saying “water is intrinsically wet”. Sort of.