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Mar. 11th, 2010

out to get you

From Little Things

So the internship didn't work out quite like I planned. But it wasn't all for naught, and I'm pretty sure it helped me get this new job. :)

But now, I also have this.

My first published feature article, let me show you it.


That's the online version of the magazine - my article is on pages 120-122, it's called 'Plant a Seed'.

I actually really enjoyed writing it. The two ladies I interviewed were the loveliest, and they were so passionate about what they're doing - promoting and working hard to integrate education for sustainability into their kids' primary school. I found them inspiring and awesome.

Okay, I'm going to go stroke its lovely imaginary pages some more and feel very pleased about how it all turned out. :D
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Feb. 26th, 2010

out to get you

Taking Back Sunday

It can be a real revelation, catching a beloved band live. Some bands are made to be heard in person, and some artists made to be seen in performance. Taking Back Sunday, as lead singer Adam Lazzara pronounced at least twice during the show, are a "professional rock band". A rock band they most certainly are - they played hard and loud and fast - but 'professional', well.

That was my revelation last night: while Taking Back Sunday may have build their live reputation in some part due to the showmanship of Lazzara and his antics, last night Lazzara was more sloppy than professional, the show and sound shambolic as a result. But Lazzara was so charmingly sloppy, and the whole band so sweetly enthusiastic, that they almost got away with it; I had fun, and sang my little heart out, despite the faults.

Read the rest of the review at Little Flames

Feb. 25th, 2010

under bluest light

Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World
23/2/10 @ UNSW Roundhouse

With an unpretentious setting - the lack of any splashy backdrops, minimal lighting - it was obvious that the music would be the star of the show at the Roundhouse last night. The last minute addition of Jimmy Eat World, replacing My Chemical Romance as one of the headliners at Soundwave Festival, made this huge five band line-up a must-see for any self-respecting punk/emo kid.

The bands that I saw, all boasting impressive musical pedigrees, put their all into the show. Energetic, relaxed and solid, their years of experience came through strongly, making it an enjoyable night of pop/punk music, despite some sound issues.

read the rest of the review at Little Flames

Feb. 18th, 2010

out to get you

Canberra (part the second)

After a breakfast of mocha hot cross buns (seriously - hot cross buns for sale in JANUARY, sigh - though they were yummy) April and I went out to the Old Bus Depot Markets, where we coindentally bumped into Al and her family out the front!

Once I had a coffee inside me, I was better equipped to spend a glorious few hours wandering from stall to stall, trying copious samples of food and drink, and trying to restrain myself from buying all sorts of perishables. I ended up limiting myself to some tea. Then I had to restrain April from buying too much as well! :)

We had a quick lunch at the markets (Laotian noodles with a green curry, and a deliciously cold guava juice) before heading out to the War Memorial where I once again tested April's patience with my endless capacity for museums.

The first thing we did was walk around the Commemorative Courtyard.

War Memorial

The Roll of Honour, filled with the names of all those who died in service, lines both sides of the courtyard and is immensely sobering. There are so many names...

Roll of Honour

Then we took in the Of Love and War exhibition, which equal parts lovely and heartrending. There were some great stories of love found during war, and continued for many years; one of my favourite stories and exhibits was of this small felt heart - a soldier wore it on his digger's hat during WWII in memory of his fiancee. After the war, he kept it in his wallet to the day he died in 2008.

But they were one of the lucky couples. There were also some very very sad stories of loss. One exhibit was of this great letter, a warm romantic note from this young soldier who was writing to his pregnant wife only after 2 months into his conscription stint in Vietnam. In the PS, he jokes about how she's not to marry someone else while he's gone.

He died in combat less than 2 weeks later. She never remarried.

We went through the WWI and WWII galleries as well. Even if the diorama exhibits are a bit staid, there are so many things that moved me, and reminded me of the futility of war.

I was particularly taken by 'The Dance of Death', a series of sketches from Perry Smith. He was a gunner in WWI who kept sketches of all his experiences (and was twice arrested on the suspicion of being a spy for doing so!) The art is so horrific and macabre and well-drawn for detail.

After the War Memorial, I had a little time to kill before my plane back to Sydney, so April and I went to the National Carillion and heard the chimes, enjoyed under a tree in the afternoon breeze by the water, before she took me to the airport.

National Carillion

Here endeth the Canberra trip, which was hugely enjoyable thanks to April and Luke's kind hospitality. :)

Feb. 6th, 2010


Canberra (part the first)

Last weekend I went down to check out our fair capital, with April, new Canberra denizen, as my intrepid tour guide. The next two highly exciting (to me! ahahah) entries will be a quick wrap up of sights seen and foods eaten (the important things).

So April drove me straight from the airport to the National Gallery of Australia to see the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition.

One of my biggest regrets is not having time to go to the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, so it was nice to see a small piece of it here.

I particularly loved:

Redhead (Bathing) [Rousse (La toilette)] by Toulouse-Lautrec

This is so vibrant and intimate and immediate; like a real passing glimpse into her bedroom, her life, in an unguarded moment. I'm also really intrigued by paintings where the subjects are looking away from the viewer because of the mystery, the feeling that we're uninvited voyeurs who can't look away (I really liked this painting too, for similar reasons, but it's not quite as striking as the Toulouse-Lautrec).

The White Cat [Le Chat Blanc] by Bonnard

This makes me grin. It's all wrong, but it's completely right.

Beach at Heist [Plage à Heist] by Lemmens

I really like pointillism; there's something so amazing and precise in the technique. This is so vividly coloured, and I love the curves, the lines, that make this landscape seem unusual and almost unreal.

Port-en-Bessin at high tide
[Port-en-Bessin, avant-port, marée haute]
by Seurat

The circus (sketch) [Le cirque (esquisse)] by Seurat

Two lovely Seurats. The first is more typical - the landscape scene, the detail and colour. The second surprised me with its sparsity, the simple colour palette, the spaced out dots, and I like it all the more for that.

We wandered a little around the rest of the gallery too, which despite being small has some great pieces, but I was starting to test April's patience, and it was lunchtime!

Mmmm, lunch. After that, I was feeling starting to feel drowsy in the afternoon heat, but we were determined to make the most of my Canberra visit so we pressed on to my next tourist destination.

over the entrance of Parliament House

Yes, I wanted to indulge my inner politics geek. :) We snuck in some sunbaking on the grassy roof of the Parliament House too.

Finally, we made our way back to April and Luke's home, and I got to meet their adorable rat Keira.


Dinner was a relaxed affair at a local club, where I crashed meal plans April and Luke had with some colleagues (current and former, respectively). Being the friendly and scintillating guest with all the people skills, oh yeah, I watched the women's Aus Open final on the big screen avidly instead. /o\ Great final though! We left at 2-2 in the third set to drive to a rather bogan area of Canberra in search of some very rich frozen custard for dessert before finally heading home so I could conk out on the air mattress (with awesome guitar printed pillows!) after a packed day...

Feb. 2nd, 2010

out to get you


So it's been almost a month since I made my resolutions.

A quick recap - at the start of the year:

blog posts/week in 2009: 0.7

average time spent exercising: 0 hours 0 mins 0 seconds

CPD points earned in 2009: 0

% income saved: ...what is this savings you speak of?

As you can see, I had a fair amount of work to do to fix some of the problem areas in my life.

So how am I going?

#1: blogging regularly

Google Reader tells me I'm up to 1.6 posts a week. This is an improvement, but not quite the 3 regular posts I was going for. However, I was writing 1-2 pieces a week for the internship blog, and I really enjoyed doing those for most part, so I think this is a completely achievable goal. Onwards and upwards!

But speaking of the internship...it is no more. And neither is the magazine I was working for! This came as a rather sudden and sad state of affairs, but I accept that I had a good three weeks, learnt a few things about being a working journalist, will hopefully get at least one clip out of this, and I don't regret the experience.

It does mean, however, that I am back to the dreaded jobhunting. Sigh.

#2: regular exercise

I have actually been exercising! Regularly!

...but only if you count once a week as 'regularly'. Ahem.

At the start I was just woeful - the c25k plan is jog 60s, walk 90s in the first week, but I was barely managing to jog 20s before collapsing into a wheezing, limping walk (so I was running for less than 10% of the time). But even with my sporadic attempts, I'm now up to a cycle of running 60s, walking briskly for 2mins for 20 minutes (ie. running 30% of the time). I'm still a wheezing, collapsed mess at the end, but hey, it's an improvement!

Also, the pool that was being renovated is now open once more, and without the internship I have more free time. No more excuses! So yeah, hopefully I will also work my way up to 3 times a week with this exercise thing...

#3: pharmacy education

Erm, does it count that I printed out the registration form for the pharmacy association, and looked over their calendar of education events? However, both registration and most of the courses are tres expensive. :( I am dithering, waiting for my bank balance to increase a little before I sign up for anything.

Which brings us to #4: keeping to my budget

Well, I'm kinda managing. The savings part is okay...but I am avoiding a particularly bad credit card bill this month. So I think we're only so-so on this one for now.

#5: regular QTs

The intership was a godsend in this area. By taking the train at the same time as my dad each morning, I got to work an hour early each day. I would buy a coffee, sit in Starbucks in a quiet corner, and do 20-30 minutes of QT, 3 times a week.

I'm really enjoying going through Luke again, in more depth this time, and so I hope this will help to keep this momentum going, even though I won't have this set routine now.
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Jan. 27th, 2010

out to get you


Argh! Falling...behind...must...post...

Last DVD Watched: The Simpsons movie - what else does one do at 11:30pm on a public holiday?

Last Movie Watched: Up in the Air - good, but not as great as I thought it would be

Last Song Listened To: Last.FM says "Say I Won't (Recognize)" by Gaslight Anthem, but I think it was actually Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" which I was streaming from someone's tumblr

Last Book Read: Identity Crisis (comic) by Meltzer and Morales - ripped through this in half a day. Love the art, and the way of looking at superheroes from a more human side.

Last CD Listened To: Suburban Songbook by Bob Evans - on repeat in the car, since I found it for cheap at Elizabeth's in Newtown

Last Meal: t-bone steak with coleslaw and calamari rings - thanks mum!

Last Drink: chamomile tea - I'm trying to settle my stomach

Last Website Browsed: www.televisionwithoutpity.com - wanted to see if there were recaps for Californication, since I've never watched an episode until today, and I was intrigued. Too bad it was the season 3 finale! Still not quite sure why Hank's wife got so mad at him...

Jan. 21st, 2010

under bluest light

The Decemberists - 19 Jan 2010 - The Metro

This was the Decemberists' first non-festival show in Australia, something frontman Colin Meloy was quick to point out as the band took to the stage to rousing cheers. They were playing for an audience who had been waiting six years and five albums to see them, their music and reputation for live shows preceding them. They did not disappoint. Fun and funny, engaged and engaging, The Decemberists played a hour and a half long set packed with old favourites, new material (a song from the upcoming record, one a cover so new Meloy still needed lyric sheets), and tonnes of enjoyment for both the band and the audience.

read the rest of the review at Little Flames

Jan. 20th, 2010

out to get you

Go West

Before Ken left for Perth, I interviewed him for a story that didn't end up being published, so I promised him I'd put it up as a farewell. :)


Ken Cheung, 23, has been working as an optometrist in Sydney, on the east coast of Australia. In less than a week’s time he will move 3300 kilometres across the country to become a medical student at the Fremantle campus of the University of Notre Dame.

Ken said he applied for post-graduate medicine positions at Australian National University in the Australian Capital Territory and the University of Notre Dame in Western Australia because he thought there would be less competition than in Sydney.

“I realised later there were also eligible unis in Victoria and Queensland,” he added with a laugh, “But I didn’t even consider them at the time.”

It seems Ken was wise in his choices. This week, Western Australia, the country’s largest state, was hailed in the headlines as Australia’s largest growth state also, along with the Australian Capital Territory.

Covering a third of Australian land mass, with a coastline stretching over 12 000 kilometres, Western Australia houses only a tenth of Australia’s total population. But with its booming economic growth, fueled by its rich mineral resources, Western Australia is expected to hold onto its position as the best performing economy in Australia in 2010.

The state has a diverse cultural mix with more than eighteen per cent of the population speaking a language other than English at home. It also has possibly the healthiest population in the state, with the lowest mortality rate in Australia. Capital city Perth, and the south western parts of the state, enjoys temperate weather with more sunlight on average than any other Australian city. In the University of Western Australia, the state boasts an education facility that ranks among the top ten in Australia.

Ken travelled to Western Australia for the first time in early October 2009 to be interviewed for his medical school position. His first impressions of the cities of Perth and Fremantle were similarly very positive.

“It’s more organized, very user-friendly, it’s easy to get around,” Ken said.

With only two days and one night to explore Perth and its surrounds, and the fact he “didn’t know if I would have the chance to come back,” Ken plenty of research online beforehand to make the most of his time.

For example, Ken learnt about the CAT (Central Area Transit) system, which provides free public transport within the central business district zones of Perth and Fremantle, from his research.

He also has the advantage of two housemates who can help guide him. Both moved to Western Australia to take advantage of all these new opportunities for further education, research and career opening up in the state.

So like the song advises, the time is definitely right for Australians to consider going West.

For more information on living and working in Western Australia, visit http://www.health.wa.gov.au/livingwa
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Jan. 17th, 2010

future's bright

to schedule

This weekend, in short form:

Claire-bear, "medium hot" Thai food, tumbling monkeys, a man in a giant ugg-boot suit, Sarah Dessen books, salsa & cocktails & tapas, church, "epic cupcake!", stories about people taking off their shirts for no good reason, puppets and interpretive dance, pork belly, possibly the most depressing bar in the world, a completely transformed study.

All of these were wonderful things (except the depressing bar). Thanks to all involved!

It capped off an interesting week where I started my internship. I have a favour to ask: if any of you have the time and inclination, could you visit these links?

Global and Local Live Music Acts Come to Town

The Next Big Thing

And if you were really really keen, you could drop a comment! (But I foresee that this may be asking just a tad too much, heh.)

Anyway, I am anticipating an equally interesting week at work, as I work out the intricacies of working in an office for the first time in my life. But I am also anticipating another awesome week of meeting friends for good food, good chats, music and movies (THE DECEMBERISTS in t-2 days!!!!!!). So I guess we're even. :)
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